Sunday, May 5, 2013

Pradhyumna - Part 1 of 3

The man and the woman were hand in hand dancing beautifully complementing each other...The man looked handsome and the woman looked beautiful beside him….the man looked complete with the woman beside him. Together they seemed like two halves of a whole.....They danced away blissfully unaware of everything....Suddenly there was a flash of a bright fierce light.....the man disappeared and in his place were a lump of ashes. The woman screamed in anguish....

Mayawati woke up with a start, her face drenched in sweat, her heart racing as if she had run a mile. The screams of the woman in her dream were still ringing in her ears as she looked around, trying to calm herself. The maid's quarters where she lived in was small and neat. Looking around and realizing that she was early for the day's work, she tried to go back to sleep. But the dream kept haunting her..... Who was the man and the woman? The man looked so handsome..... Even in her dream, Mayawait had been able to sense that the man and the woman were made for each other. Mayawati sighed as sleep eluded her. She felt like she had to know the story of the man and the woman, but try as she might she could not remember.....

'Narayana! Narayana!'came a mischievous voice behind her. Mayawati did not need to turn around to know who the man was. She bowed and fell at the feet of the Sage Narada, who traveled throughout the three worlds without any inhibitions. Sage Narada never stayed in the same place for long....

'My Lord!' Mayawati said as she bowed before the sage.

Sage Narada smiled as he blessed Mayawati. Mayawati looked at the sage curiously as she asked. 'Sir! What are you doing here?

Sage Narada looked at Mayawati and smiled. 'Well I felt like I had to be here I have come!' Narada said with a smile. Mayawati looked at the sage and still did not say anything.

Sage Narada grinned as he continued. 'You are Mayawati – a beautiful woman who knows the power of Maya – the illusion...You could have been anywhere....done my request you work here...' Sage Narada looked around with slightly angry eyes. 'As a cook in the palace of Shambara....the demon Shambara!' Sage Narada looked at Mayawati. 'Aren't you even remotely curious as to why I asked you to work here?'

Mayawati looked at the sage, still not saying anything. She knew that the answers for which she had waited were all going to come. Sage Narada nodded his head as if he could read Mayawati's thoughts. He continued. 'The reason for you to come here, will become clear tomorrow....Shambara would most probably get the news of the birth of Lord Krishna and Queen Rukmini's son – Pradhyumana, latest by tonight....' Sage Narada smiled a little sadly. 'I am afraid...Shambara would take very drastic steps.....when he hears about it!'

Mayawati frowned as she looked at Sage Narada, a strange fear clutching her heart. 'What is Shambara going to do?'

Sage Narada let out a deep breath. 'Long ago....there was a prophecy.....Shambara...when he was younger....wanted to know about his own death....It was predicted that Lord Krishna and Princess Rukmini's son would be the cause of Shambara's death!' Mayawati looked at Sage Narada dazed as Narada continued. 'Since then....Shambara has kept the kingdom of Dwaraka constantly under vigil....He has many spies combing throughout the kingdom....gathering news of everything that has been happening there....When he heard the news of how Krishna married Rukmini, Shambara intensified the spying.....' Sage Narada looked outside the window of the maid's room as he continued. 'The news of the birth of Pradhyuma, Krishna and Rukmini's son would come to him in a few hours.....'

Mayawati looked at Sage Narada and whispered. 'What do you want me to do?'

Sage Narada looked at Mayawathi straight in the eye. 'Shambara would kidnap the child....' Mayawati gasped as Sage Narada nodded his head. 'He would bring the child here...' Sage Narada looked at Mayawathi. 'Once the child is brought here....I want you to make sure that the child is safe.....Keep him here and let him grow up here....'

Mayawati looked at Sage Narada with surprise. 'Don't you want me to take the child back to Lord Krishna?'

Sage Narada smiled. 'Not now! Not immediately! Eventually.....after Pradhyuman has finished the work for which he was born....he would go back to the Lord....'

Mayawathi looked at Sage Narda and blinked. 'But it would be dangerous.....Imagine...the child is whom Shambara wants to kill....and the child would grow up here.....' Mayawati shook her head in fear.

Sage Narada spoke with a smile. 'Believe me! This is the safest place for Pradhyuman! Taking him back to Dwaraka would be disastrous for him....!'

Mayawati looked at the sage waiting for him to elaborate. Sage Narada continued. 'Shambara would want to kill the child....But he would not want to do the act himself....he will probably give the work to his guards.....and at that time.....'

Mayawati nodded her head catching the drift of the sage's thought. Once she made sure the child was safe, the guards fearing Shambara would lie to him that the child was no more....once it was announced that the child was not alive, the child would grow up as one among all the other kids of the maids in the servants' quarters....and nobody would even give the child a second glance ...Taking him back to Dwaraka was out of the question.....

Mayawati looked at Sage Narada. 'Ok....After saving the child, what do you want me to do?' Sage Narada smiled once more. 'Well Shambara can be killed only by someone who knows the power of illusion – Maya....'

Mayawati smiled as she nodded her head. So she had to teach the child the power of the that the child would grow up and fulfill the prophecy for which he was born....and kill Shambara.... Even as she thought of it, Mayawati was a little surprised....She had her duties...but it still did not answer many of her questions....why was she so specifically chosen for this job? This work could be done by anyone.....

Sage Narada looked at the slightly angry face of Mayawati and nodded encouragingly. 'Go ahead, my Lady! I think you have earned the right to ask the question....'

Mayawati's face flushed as she looked down, but she still did not speak a word. Sage Narada looked at her and said gently. 'You are the perfect choice for this job .You are the only person who can do this........If you knew who you would realise why you were chosen for this work....'

Mayawati's heart raced as she listened to the words of the sage with rapt attention. Sage Narda looked at Mayawati and almost spoke with pity. 'Don't you remember anything at all about who you are? You have always been the same age....You have never grown old....don't you know why?'

Mayawati looked at the sage with anguish. 'I can't remember anything....I just can't....'

Sage Narada looked at Mayawati strangely. 'Any strange dreams? Dreams that keep haunting you....'

Mayawati jerked her eyes a little angrily and studied the sage suspiciously. Slowly she told him the dream....which had woken her up....the dream which she had had so many times and which never made sense to her....

Sage Narada smiled as he cleared his throat. 'Do you know how Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvathi,my Lady?'

Mayawati felt  a rush of images come inside her head....but still none of the images made sense to her.....

Sage Narada smiled gently at her. 'I will tell you the story....It will fill in the gaps in your memory....After the death of Goddess Sati, Lord Shiva lost interest in everything...He gave up everything and focused on meditation.....That became very bad news for the Gods and very good news for demons in general and one particular demon – Taraka ...Taraka knew that only a child of Lord Shiva could destroy him.....Now that Lord Shiva had become an ascetic, Taraka thought that Lord Shiva would never get married or have any children....that actually meant that Taraka was invincible....Taraka became arrogant and haughty.....He would stop at nothing and tormented the Devas and the humans and the worst part was, no one could stop him.....Nothing could stop him....' Sage Narada spoke with anguish as he remembered those days. 'Having no other choice, the Gods prayed to Mahadevi – the Great Goddess, of whom Goddess Sati was an incarnation....Mahadevi promised to reincarnate to marry Shiva....And so Parvathi was born as the daughter of Himavan and Menaka.....Parvathi was  a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva since her childhood. When she came of marriageable age, told her father that she wanted to marry Shiva....Himavan took Parvathi to Shiva to help him out in his daily prayers, in the hope that she would win Lord Shiva's heart, while helping him!'

'....However the Gods....' Mayawati spoke unsteadily as she kept having flashes of memories. 'They found that Shiva was not even looking at Parvathi, much less fall in love with her!' Sage Narada nodded his head as he encouraged Mayawati to go on. 'So they went to Kamadeva, the God of Love!...They wanted Kamadeva to shoot Lord Shiva with his flowery that Lord Shiva would be infatuated with the Goddess!' Mayawati whispered as she saw everything as if it was happening right before her eyes. 'Rati, Kamadeva's wife.....' Mayawati swallowed. 'She was against it....However deciding that this was all necessary for people everywhere, Rati eventually agreed to this insane mission.....' Mayawati closed her eyes as she remembered everything. Wryly she continued with the story, '….Waiting for this right time, Kamadeva shot Lord Shiva with his flowery arrows....For a second....Lord Shiva was disturbed....Lord Shiva found himself attracted to Parvathi.....But then.....then.....' Mayawati blinked away tears unable to go on.....

Sage Narada nodded his head sadly. 'Lord Shiva gained control over himself....He came to know that Kamadeva was responsible for his loss of concentration! And in his anger, Lord Shiva burned Kamadeva, with his third eye!' 

Mayawati blinked away the tears from her eyes as she understood the dreams which had been tormenting her for so long.....Kamadeva was the God of Love, Rati was the essence of the desire.....Neither could ever be complete without the other....Without Kama, there was no life for Rati.....

Sage Narada sadly nodded and looked particularly at Mayawati. 'Mad with grief, Rati went to Parvathi and cried about Lord Shiva's act. Hearing this, Parvathi promised Rati that once she [Parvathi] married Lord Shiva...... Kamadeva would come back to Rati!'

Mayawathi smiled through tears in her eyes. 'And now that the Lord and the Goddess are back together.....'

Sage Narada smiled. '….Rati and Kamadeva have to get back together!'

Mayawati nodded her head happily as she wiped tears from her eyes. 'When exactly would the spies bring the message of the birth of Pradyumna?'

'Anytime now!' Sage Narada smiled as he looked at the faint morning light....