Thursday, May 14, 2020

Andhaka - The Blind King of the Asuras - Part 1


Once Parvathi playfully closed the eyes of the three-eyed Lord when Shiva was in the form of a hermit, with ash sprinkled all over himself. At that time, Shiva was meditating in Mount Mandara.

Parvathi was surprised with what happened after that.

Because without any reason, the entire world grew dark and nothing was visible anymore.

Parvathi was shocked because her hands with which she had covered the third eye of the Lord were almost burning.

Realizing immediately that the world was in darkness because of her, the Goddess removed her hands from the Lord’s eyes.

Shiva, I am sorry!” She was apologetic as she saw that now the world was getting brighter and everything was getting back to normal.

Shiva smiled and said nothing and that was when a wail of a child was heard from near them.

Shocked Parvathi turned.

There was a small baby near them and by far it was one of the most ugliest baby that Parvathi had ever seen in her life.


You closed my eyes. You used your power against me. This child was born as a result of it.” Shiva said as he was studying the baby.

You… mean..” Parvathi was shocked as she was studying the baby. “This baby...”

Yes.” Shiva nodded again. “He is our child. He is born to us. Because he was born when I was blinded, I think he shall also be blind. He will be powerful and brave. But he will be blind.”

For a huge second, Parvathi looked at the baby with utter dismay.

But Shiva said nothing as he looked at the Goddess and it is said that he even rebuked the Goddess for her refusal to accept the baby.

A few seconds later, Parvathi looked at the innocent baby and then she smiled.

She picked it up and cooed at it. “Andhaka. The blind one. You are Andhaka. My son.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Gatothgaja - Chapter 11

Needless to say, the war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas could not be stopped.

Despite Krishna’s best efforts, Duryodhana rejected the Pandavas offering for peace. Krishna argued brilliantly for just five pieces of land – one for each Pandava – to avert the war. Duryodhana arrogantly refused.

Duryodhana was foolish enough to try and imprison Krishna himself, though Krishna had come to Hastinapur in the capacity of a messenger.

Krishna escaped and came back to the Virata kingdom and war started between the Pandavas and the Kauravas.

For the first ten days of the war, Bheeshma, the commander-in-chief of the Kaurava army wrecked havoc on the Pandava army.

However, when Bheeshma was brought down on the tenth day, the war started swinging in favour of the Pandavas.

Unfortunately in the thirteenth day of the war, because of Jayadratha – a warrior of the Kauravas, Abhimanyu was trapped all alone among the Kaurava warriors. All of the Kaurava warriors including Karna attacked Abhimanyu at the same time, when Abhimanyu was deep inside the Kaurava army and there the Kaurava soldiers cut off Abhimanyu’s bow and in the end killed Abhimanyu there.

Abhimanyu’s father Arjuna was furious when he heard about this. He vowed to kill Jayadratha the very next day, in the battlefield. Arjuna was so incensed with the death of his son that he had promised himself that if he could not kill Jayadratha the next day, he would kill himself.

Despite the clinical annihilation of the Kaurava army by Arjuna the next day, Arjuna nearly failed in his task. It was only because Krishna could exploit the fact that the fourteenth day of the Kurukshetra battle had been a solar eclipse that Arjuna was able to fulfill his vow.

However, that was another unfortunate fact.

Duryodhana was furious that he had been unable to protect Jayadratha.

Arjuna was easily one of the best warriors of the Pandava side.

If, Duryodhana had successfully protected Jayadratha on the fourteenth day of battle, Arjuna would have killed himself and after that, the victory of the Kauravas was certain.

However, it was not to be, because of Krishna’s work.

Usually, it was the custom to stop the battle after the sun had set. However, on the fourteenth day, Duryodhana was so furious that that day he let the battle go on. The fourteenth day was the first time in the Kurukshetra battle that the battle continued even after the sun had set.

In the beginning this move of Duryodhana backfired on him. In the evening, there was utter confusion in both the armies who were fighting at night time. It was so bad that Duryodhana had to modify his original order – he could not let the entire Kaurava army fight like this – because that caused more harm to the Kaurava army than to the Pandava army – the Kaurava soldiers were killing their own as they were not able to see properly in the night. So Duryodhana ordered half the army to hold up the light for the other half to fight the Pandava army.

In the battlefield, both Arjuna and Gatothgaja were fighting against the onslaught of Dronacharya, the next general of the Kaurava army, after Bheeshma.

That was when the two men heard that Karna was massacring the Pandava soldiers elsewhere in the battlefield.

Arjuna wanted to meet Karna when Krishna stopped him.

Krishna turned to Gatothgaja. "Only two people can kill Karna. One of them is Arjuna and the other is you, Gatothgaja. I want you to face Karna, because it is night time now."

But Karna’s Shakthi…” Arjuna started.

Arjuna’s words were unheeded as Gatothgaja was already off to meet Karna during the night time.

Gatothgaja was brilliant. Already he was furious with Karna for having been one of the warriors who had killed his cousin and now that his army actually needed him, Gatothgaja was devastatingly efficient. He used his power of illusion to confuse the entire Kaurava army. Obviously, as a Rakshasa his powers were heightened after sunset. Gatothgaja wrecked havoc on the Kaurava army. It went so bad, that that night, Gatothgaja sent almost the entire Kaurava army running away from the battlefield.

The only person who stood up against the might of Gatothgaja was Karna.

Karna was very knowledgeable about powerful weapons. One of the powerful weapons which Karna had was the Vasavi Shakthi. The Shakthi was a gift from Indra, the king of the Devas to Karna. However, the most important caveat about the Shakthi weapon was that Karna could use it only once.

Gatothgaja continued with his massacre of the Kaurava army unmindful of anything. It went so bad that Duryodhana for a second, actually feared that the son of Bheema was going to win the war for the Pandavas on that night.

Naturally, Duryodhana went to Karna for help seeing Gatothgaja’s work. "Karna do something! Please just do something. If we do not stop Gatothgaja..." Duryodhana gasped unable to finish the sentence.

Karna looked worriedly because he knew exactly how to stop Gatothgaja.

Karna mumbled something when Duryodhana yelled at him. "If you know what to do, just do it."

"I have the Shakthi weapon with me. It would kill Gatothgaja. There is no escape from it – be it a human or rakshasa." Karna mumbled unhappily.

"Then use the Shakthi!" Duryodhana screamed.

"I was saving the weapon to use it on Arjuna," Karna mumbled. "Because I can use the Shakthi only once."

"Arjuna?" Duryodhana yelled angrily. "You think Arjuna is important right now? If you do not use the Shakthi against this son of Bheema, there will be no tomorrow for the war!" Duryodhana shouted as he stared at Gatothgaja who had now changed his size to that of a mountain.

Gatothgaja was crushing the Kaurava soldiers just by running over them.


Having no choice in the matter, Karna used the Shakthi – the weapon which Indra had granted Karna.

The weapon flew straight to Gatothgaja's chest and after fatally wounding the rakshasa after that, the Shakthi disappeared from there and went back to Indra.

"Fall on the Kaurava army!" Bheema screamed in utter horror as he saw the damage that the Shakthi had done to his son. Tears were rolling down Bheema’s eyes as Gatothgaja tottered.

The huge Rakshasa fell on the Kaurava army and even as he fell, because of his huge size, he destroyed a battalion of Kaurava army, even in his death.


With tears stricken eyes Bheema rushed forward to mourn for his fallen son.

But even at that time, Bheema could not miss the sad smile on Krishna's face.

"Why are you smiling, Krishna?" Arjuna demanded hugging the dead Gatothgaja. "My son is dead and you are smiling. Why?"

"Bheema's son has done more than just fight the war. He has practically won the war for you." Krishna said quietly. "The only person in the Kaurava army who has the capacity to win the war was Karna. He could do it if he had used his Shakthi on Arjuna, my friend." Krishna took in a deep breath as he continued. "And today Karna has used the weapon. He cannot use it again. Gatothgaja has just won the war for you. He is the true hero of the Pandavas." Krishna repeated looking proudly at the dead rakshasa. “Gatothgaja is the rakshasa who saved the Pandavas.”

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Gatothgaja - Chapter 10

Virata, the king of Matsya has accepted my marriage with Uttara.” A gushing Abhimanyu told his cousin, in the forests. “They want to formalize the wedding and they want us all to come to the Matsya kingdom for the proper wedding ceremonies.”

Abhimanyu looked happily at his brother and hugged him tightly. “It is all because of you, my brother.” Abhimanyu told the rakshasa.

Gatothgaja smiled proudly. “You are my brother. Of course, I will help you.”

I want you to come with me to the Matsya kingdom. The Matsya king would have invited all of my relatives. Which means that he would invite our fathers and he would have invited Krishna mama, too.”

Gatothgaja stared. “Krishna? Who is that?”

Abhimanyu laughed. “Krishna is the king of Dwaraka and he is mother’s brother.” Abhimanyu looked proud. “I grew up in Dwaraka. Krishna has taught me all that I know. You should meet this man. I think he will love you as much as he loves me. Do you remember Daruka? Our charioteer? He was Krishna’s charioteer.”

Gatothgaja suddenly laughed. “Then I must definitely meet this man. He has brought my brother to my forests, knowingly or unknowingly.”


You are Bheema and Hidimbi’s son.”

Gatothgaja was in awe as he was looking at the dark man standing in front of him. The shade of the man was so black that Gatothgaja was sure that the man’s complexion was darker than the night. Added on top of it, the man was the most handsome human that Gatothgaja had ever seen. No, it could be the deep, intelligent eyes of the man which seemed to notice everything.

Yes, my Lord.” Gatothgaja told the man.

For a few minutes, the two men studied Abhimanyu’s wedding ceremony as all of Abhimanyu’s uncles including Gatothgaja’s father were in the front and happily looking at the blushing Uttara.

Do you see that there are many kings here in the Matsya kingdom – more than what King Virata has invited for the wedding?” The Dark One asked Gatothgaja.

Gatothgaja frowned for a few seconds. “Is there a reason why you brought that to my attention?”

Krishna laughed. “Yes.”

Krishna frowned for a few seconds and then finally seemed to convince himself of something. “The five Pandavas ruled the lands of Indraprastha, thirteen years back. The eldest Pandava Yudhishtara, was addicted to gambling. He gambled and lost the entire kingdom to their cousins – the Kauravas – Duryodhana, the prince of Hastinapur is the eldest of the Kauravas.”

Gatothgaja was silent for a few seconds. “I know all this, my lord.”

Krishna smiled to himself sadly and it seemed like he was not paying any attention to Gatothgaja’s interruption. “Do you know that Yudhishtara played the dice game twice? Not once. The first dice game… it is best if it is not referred to. Because that single game sealed the fate of the Kauravas. Had they not been so cruel in that game, things would have turned out, a little differently. But they did not act like the kings and princes that they were supposed to be. The Kauravas humiliated their daughter-in-law and for that alone, they deserve to be annihilated.”

Gatothgaja stared at the Dark One, feeling uneasy. “I did not know of this, my Lord.” Besides Gatothgaja was slightly confused. “Why would Yudhishtara play the dice game twice, when the first game ended in so much misery.”

Krishna gave a mirthless laugh. “That question has no answer. Blame it on fate if you believe in it. Yudhishtara said that it was the duty of a king to play the game when he was invited to it. The king of Hastinapur – King Dhirdharashtra – was ashamed of the things which had happened at the end of the first dice game and he wanted to hand over all that Yudhishtara had lost in the game, back to Yudhishtara. Dhirdharashtra’s son, Duryodhana did not want that and so he offered the second game for Yudhishtara to win back everything. Yudhishtara played it because he thought he was supposed to play the game, when invited to play the game. Naturally, Yudhishtara lost the second game and he spent the past thirteen years in exile as one of the conditions for losing the dice game. The condition of the second dice game was that if Yudhishtara and his brothers successfully spent the exile in the forests, Duryodhana would give back the kingdom of Indraprastha to the Pandavas.”

Gatothgaja frowned as he looked at Krishna. “Why are you telling me this, my Lord?”

Krishna was silent for some time.

Karna.” Krishna told Gatothgaja finally.

Who is he, my Lord?” The rakshasa was confused.

Krishna laughed at the question. “The answer is irrelevant. But what matters is that he is Duryodhana’s best friend. He was the main man responsible for the events of the court of Hastinapur after the first dice game. Karna goaded his friend to commit the crime out of spite for the queen of the Pandavas.”

Gatothgaja shook his head. “I still do not understand.”

Krishna obviously changed the topic and studied the young rakshasa. “King Virata has already sent a learned man to the court of Hastinapur asking the Kauravas to return the kingdom of Indraprastha to Yudhishtara for having successfully completed the conditions of the second dice game.” Before Gatothgaja could ask the question, Krishna raised his hands. “The learned man was insulted and sent back. Duryodhana has absolutely refused to hand over the kingdom of Indraprastha to the Pandavas under any conditions.”

Then Gatothgaja understood it. “The kings who have come here – it is not just for the wedding – they have come here to help King Yudhishtara fight back for his kingdom, isn’t it?”

Krishna nodded at Gatothgaja. “Yes.”

Gatothgaja looked at Abhimanyu again. “So there is going to be a war?”

Krishna was silent again. “I am going to Hastinapur tomorrow in an attempt to make Duryodhana see his foolishness. I am going to try my best and make sure that the war is averted.” Krishna shook his head. “I do not think I will be successful. Duryodhana is too arrogant for that. But I will still give it my best.”

What do you want from me in the war, my Lord?” Gatothgaja asked the Dark One. “I will fight on my father’s side.”

The Dark One studied the young rakshasa. “Alambusha.”

Gatothgaja frowned. “Who is he?”

Krishna shook his head. “Alambusha is a rakshasa too and he is Bakasura’s brother. Bakasura was a rakshasa who was killed by your father long before all this. Alambusha had always maintained an enmity towards your father. I am sure that he would fight on behalf of Duryodhana. You are the only answer that we have for Alambusha and…”

Gatothgaja swelled with pride as he heard the words of Krishna; but he faltered as he heard the last word of the Dark One. “And?”

Karna is the one that I am worried about, son of Bheema.” Krishna told the young rakshasa. “There are very few people in the Pandava side who can successfully fight Karna.” Krishna waved at the young rakshasa. “You are one of them.”

Gatothgaja nodded proudly at the dark man. “I shall do what I can, my Lord.”

Krishna looked at the wedding again. “Abhimanyu will fight this war too.”

Gatothgaja looked shocked and he shook his head. “Abhimanyu is sixteen, my Lord. He is just married. He cannot…”

Just like you, he is the son of a powerful Pandava, Gatothgaja. Abhimanyu has been trained by me too. He cannot stay away from the battlefield.” Krishna smiled sadly to himself. “He will not.”

For a second there was consternation in Gatothgaja’s face. Then he looked at Abhimanyu’s smiling face. “No one can defeat him, my Lord.” Gatothgaja said with a smile. “Abhimanyu’s technique is flawless and as long as he has a bow in his hands, he cannot be defeated.”

Krishna was sad again. “As long as he has a bow.” The Dark One repeated studying the young rakshasa.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Gatothgaja - Chapter 9

Gatothgaja and a few of his trusted rakshasas – all of whom had the magical power of the rakshasas, entered the Virata kingdom. They all flew inside the kingdom in the dead of the night and none of the people or the guards in the kingdom were any wiser.

Gatothgaja and his friends were disguised as the normal humans and they looked around the city.

There, Gatothgaja was in for a bigger surprise. The city had an absolutely beautiful and festive look. Asking around, the rakshasa realized that Uttara, the princess of Matsya was to be married the next day. She was to be wedded to Duryodhana’s son – Lakshmana Kumara.

Obviously, the king of Virata had not only decided to reject Abhimanyu as Uttara’s suitor, but he had also decided to marry Uttara to Abhimanyu’s father’s rival. The preparations for the wedding were on at a full scale and the entire capital was in a festive look.

Realizing that he would have to act fast, Gatothgaja asked his friends to make the necessary preparations.

Gatothgaja’s friends used their magic and created the most beautiful textile shop right in the middle of the city of the Matsya kingdom. The clothes of the shop were unbelievably beautiful.

Better still, knowing that the marriage of the beautiful princess would create a huge demand of rich clothes, the rakshasa friends took the rich and beautiful clothes to the part of the Matsya palace where the Kauravas and their soldiers were staying.

The rakshasas could have made a killing profit by selling their beautiful clothes at a high price, just before the grand royal wedding.

Instead of focusing on the profits, the disguised rakshasas undersold the clothes.

The Kaurava soldiers did not understand the purpose of why the people were almost giving away their rich clothes. The Kauravas bought all the beautiful clothes of the rakshasas and the Kauravas were snickering at the foolish people for having sold the beautiful and rich goods at a seeming loss.


Meanwhile ignoring the buying spree outside, Gatothgaja entered the palace using his magic.

For doing that, the rakshasa had changed himself into a beautiful woman. He looked around and went to the room of the princess.

The maids of the princess were surprised at the sudden arrival of a strange and beautiful woman, but the woman was so beautiful that the maids could not ask any questions.

My princess….” The strange woman told Princess Uttara as soon as she had entered the room of the princess. The words of the woman however died in her throat as the woman was shocked on seeing the princess.

The hair of the princess was unkempt and the princess looked like she was not even going to get ready for any of the ceremonies of the wedding. Her friends had been trying to convince the princess to get ready when the woman had come inside.

Why are you not getting ready for the wedding ceremonies, my princess?” The woman asked.

Why should I get ready?” The princess demanded looking furious. “I do not want this marriage….”

Have you told your parents about this, your majesty?” The woman asked the princess.

Of course!” The princess nearly exploded. “You think I can marry anyone else other than Abhimanyu? How can my parents even think that…”

Prince Abhimanyu who is the son of Arjuna and Subhadra, my princess?”

The other maids were behind the woman and they could not see the face of the woman.

But Uttara saw it and she nearly gasped. Uttara saw that the strange woman now had the face of the man whom Uttara loved with her whole heart.

Uttara stared blankly at the woman, unable to believe what she had just seen.

What? How….” The princess was gasping.

I think it would help if we talk alone, your majesty.” The woman told the princess. “I think it is best that you get ready for the wedding. You shall see that this match is the best one for you. I can convince you of it.”

Princess Uttara recovered.

I need to talk to her alone.” The princess said suddenly unable to hide the smile in her face as she had sent the other girls away from her room.


Who are you?” The slightly shocked princess asked the woman. “Do you know Abhimanyu?”

I am Gatothgaja, Bheema’s son.” The woman said as she shed her false face.

The princess nearly screamed as she saw a huge male rakshasa appear in front of her. Then the princess heard the rakshasa’s words.

Bheema’s son? Bheema the Pandava?” Uttara demanded looking shocked.

Yes, your majesty.” The rakshasa said smiling at the princess.

What are you doing here?” The princess demanded and suddenly she looked worried. “My father is getting worried. He wants to get me married as soon as possible. Tomorrow is the wedding. Lakshmana Kumara is already here. It is a certainty that the wedding will take place tomorrow.”

The rakshasa smiled at the agitated princess. “Just tell me where Prince Lakshmana Kumara is, and get ready and stay in your bed. Do not worry about anything else.” The rakshasa said looking proudly at the princess. “My brother loves you. And you also love him. I am here. I shall take care of it. Take rest and worry about nothing else.”

But…” The princess started.

Don’t worry, my princess.”

With those words, the rakshasa walked away leaving the princess in her room.


From there, the rakshasa went to the room of Lakshamana Kumara.

It was said that the rakshasa went inside the prince’s room with the face of the princess.

But once the rakshasa met Lakshmana Kumara, Gatothgaja took a huge and hideous form.

The rakshasa terrified the Kaurava prince with his appearance so badly that the prince fell unconscious!


From there, the rakshasa flew to the room of the princess and there he carried the princess who was sitting in her bed.

The rakshasa carried the princess from the balcony of the place. All the soldiers of the palace, especially, the Kaurava soldiers saw it. They all shouted as they ran after the flying rakshasa trying to catch them.

It was at that time, that Gatothgaja’s friends also joined him.

The clothes that the Kauaravas had purchased from the disguised rakshasas also flew away along with the flying rakshasas!

Embarrassed, the Kauravas went back to their room.

Now without any hindrance, Gatothgaja and his friends had carried Uttara to the forests, where Abhimanyu was waiting for them.

Abhimanyu married Uttara in the same auspicious time that Uttara’s father had fixed for her wedding with Lakshaman Kumara.

In the end, Lakshmana Kumara was so terrified with the sudden apparition that he had seen that he vowed never to marry in his life!

Gatothgaja - Chapter 8

Subhadra looked around the forests and she was feeling uneasy. Till date, she had never seen Daruka lose his way.

But somehow the forests made her uneasy.

Are you sure we are going to the Virata kingdom, Daruka?” Subhadra asked in a quiet voice.

Abhimanyu was puzzled. “Why mother? Why do you doubt Daruka?”

The forests make me uncomfortable.” Subhadra said in a quiet voice looking around, as Daruka drove around a tree and kept going in the same direction.

Do not worry mother.” Abhimanyu said with a quiet pride. “Rest your mind. No matter what happens, I shall…”

Abhimanyu had not even finished talking when the chariot skidded to a sudden halt. Daruka pulled the reins of the horses tightly as Abhimanyu caught the chariot in one hand and held his mother in the other hand.

Even at that time before Daruka spoke, the warrior in Abhimanyu was instinctive and powerful, as he was looking around and pulling the arrow from his quiver.

What is it, Daruka?” Abhimanyu asked Daruka in a whisper as he was making sure that his mother was well hidden inside the chariot.

I sense movement. There is someone in the forest watching us, my prince.” Daruka said in a quiet voice. “I do not think it is advisable to drive further without…”

That was when the two men saw it. A powerfully built rakshasa came from behind the tree and he was studying the chariot and its people with slight interest and a lot of suspicion marked his face.

Abhimanyu’s arrow was in the bow as he pulled it back and he looked at the rakshasa. “Step no further! Or the arrow shall decapitate you.”

The rakshasa laughed loudly. “I am a part rakshasa. I have magic in my blood. You think you can stop me with mere mortal weapons?”

Saying this, the rakshasa vanished from the place.

Subhadra and Daruka from inside the chariot gasped as they saw the suddenly missing rakshasa. But then not for nothing was Abhimanyu the pupil of Krishna. He jumped out of the chariot and he did not even blink and he fired arrows in a clean trajectory in the direction that the rakshasa had been there.

Much to the rakshasa’s surprise, the aim of the boy was perfect.

Even without seeing him, Abhimanyu was able to pierce the rakshasa with his arrow.

Gasping, the rakshasa made himself visible as he pulled out the arrow from his arm. Seeing that his enemy was in a weakened state, Abhimanyu threw down his arrow and bow and stood before the rakshasa.

Subhadra and Daruka watched with baited breath as the two people fought bare handed and it almost seemed like Abhimanyu was going to win the fight.

That was when Subhadra saw someone else in the forest. A feminine form which was walking towards the two fighters. A few seconds later, Subhadra could see better and the form turned out to be an old female rakshasi. She had presumably been dragged here by the sounds of the fighting of the two men.

It was at that minute that Subhadra saw the fallen rakshasa looking wide-eyed with surprise to see the older rakshasi here. “Mother! What are you doing here?” The rakshasa demanded looking furious. “You were supposed to stay in the house with Ahilawati and the children.”

Abhimanyu stepped back confused as he saw the older rakshasi.

It seemed to Subhadra like the older rakshasi was shocked too. “How… How..” She stammered looking at the young Abhimanyu again. “How can a young human overpower the son of Bheema?” She shook her head looking shocked. “It is impossible.”

Subhadra was shocked as she heard the older rakshasi’s words. She hurriedly came out of the chariot and stood before Abhimanyu before Abhimanyu could attack the fallen rakshasa. The older rakshasi seemed shocked too as she saw the woman.

The rakshasa is the son of Bheema? Bheema the second Pandava?” Subhadra asked the older rakshasi in a dazed voice. “How…”

Subhadra suddenly bowed to the older rakshasi. She turned to her confused son and waved him over.

Abhimanyu, meet your cousin, Gatothgaja. The son of Bheema uncle and Hidimbi, the queen of the rakshasas of the forest.”


Daruka claimed to have lost his way. Everybody was suspicious about it, but then no one asked any questions.

Abhimanyu was thrilled to find his cousin’s children in the beautiful house in the forest – the children were Babarika and Anjanaparva. Abhimanyu also met Gatothgaja’s wife Ahilwati in the forests there.

Abhimanyu found the older Gatothgaja, a sweet and lovable older brother who seemed eager to help him.

Just like Abhimanyu, Gatothgaja had spent far too little time with his own father.

There was a family which was passing through the forest. I was tracking them for the sacrifice before Goddess Kali. The family had a father, mother and three children. When they saw me and saw that I wanted one of them for the sacrifice of Goddess Kali, the wife wanted to come with me. The husband refused to listen to his wife and he wanted to come instead. Finally, the second son agreed and I was to take him to the temple, when a human came to the scene.” Gatothgaja told his cousin.

The human was huge and powerfully built. When he saw the second son, he asked what the matter was.” Gatothgaja shrugged. “The human offered to come with me, instead of the second son, on the condition that I had to defeat him in a fair fight.”

Gatothgaja smiled in an absentminded tone, as he studied Abhimanyu. “We fought for hours together and the human could match my speed for speed and ferocity for ferocity.” Gatothgaja smiled at his younger brother. “Just like the fight between you and me, mother interfered that time too. She told me that the human fighting me was Bheema, the second Pandava.”

Abhimanyu looked surprised as Gatothgaja continued. “After that day we no longer follow the practice of sacrifice. We have given it up all together.” Gatothgaja smiled at his younger brother. “Enough about me. You said you were going to Matsya kingdom? Why? What work do you have there?”

Slowly over lunch, Abhimanyu told him the reason for his travels to the Matsya kingdom and how Daruka had lost the way.

Gatothgaja looked slightly angry after Abhimanyu had finished.

That was not fair. Yudhishtara uncle gambled away the kingdom. Why should the Virata king refuse to marry his daughter to Arjuna’s son for that?”

Abhimanyu said nothing as he was looking dejected. The young prince was surprised as he saw a sudden smile in the face of the young rakshasa.

Fear not young brother.” Gatothgaja told Abhimanyu with a sudden smile. “Whether you have lost your way or not, the fact remains that you have come to the right place. Uttara loves you and you love her. It is my duty to make sure that you marry the woman that you love.” That was all that the rakshasa said with a hearty laugh.