When the Chandravanshi emperor Arjun begins expanding his empire to cover the entire world, the Asurs hit back with an insidious plan. Caught in the crossfire is Raam, the son of Rishi Yamdagni and scion of the Bhargava clan. Will the machinations of the Asur, Naga and Urag tribes affect the Brahmin boy and his family? Will the political intrigues of Nabhi-varsh let Bhargava Raam find his destiny, or push him towards a future he never envisioned? This is the story of a man who rose to the level of divinity to establish a fair and just society; the story of the making of a legend...
Dr Vineet Aggarwal is a doctor by qualification, manager by profession and artist by temperament. Born in a family of doctors, he successfully completed an initial stint with the family occupation before deciding to venture into pharmaceutical management. He pursues writing as a passion and is an avid travel photographer as well.
His literary repertoire extends from politics to poetry and travel to terrorism but his favourite genre remains the amalgamation of science and mythology. He is the author of the popular online blogs Decode Hindu Mythology and Fraternity Against Terrorism and Extremism. Vishwamitra was his debut novel. This is his second book.
It was a pleasant, sunny day in Kailash when its residents returned from a visit to Brahmalok.
Lord Brahma, the First Mortal Being of the universe had stepped into the fifty-first year of his life, officially hitting middle age and there had been a huge celebration in his honour. All his offspring, including the four Kumars, the ten Manas-putras, the Devas, Asurs and Pitris were present with their spouses, children and extended families to make Brahma feel special, and he deserved every bit of attention he was getting.
For the past five decades of his incredibly long lifespan that ran into trillions of human years, Brahma had been creating and recreating galaxies, stars and planetary systems along with numerous life forms that could strive for salvation. His efforts had resulted in the appearance of dynasties, civilizations and interstellar alliances, which was a matter of pride for him, but on the other hand, had also led to conflicts, subjugation and galactic wars which gave him a lot of heartburn, causing a sort of midlife crisis.
The celebration was a way to remember all the good work he had done and, for the first time in years, Shiva had seen a smile light up Brahma’s four faces. He knew how deeply the creator god wished for someone else to take over the responsibility so that he could just spend his days lazing around on the golden lotus, listenling to the divine notes of Saraswati’s stringed veena but creation was a task meant for him alone just as Shiva himself was responsible for destruction.
Shiva knew that gave him a lot of heartburn. He had asked Brahma to forget all those worries and enjoy the moment by lighting up a chillum, and to his surprise the creator god had given in to his suggestion, taking a drag from each of his four mouths. He had been much better company since then and they had lost all sense of time, immersed as they were in the cosmic trance of Shiva’s special concoction. In the relaxed mental state induced by the contents of the chillum, Brahma had shared with his friend the brief glimmer of hope he had felt when the Manav king Vishwamitra had audaciously dared to create a new star system. It had been a stupendous feat since even demigods were not capable of accomplishing such a task without Brahma’s help. However, this was not a task for a mortal since their short lifespans made it practically impossible for them to help Brahma consistently.
Shiva turned his gaze towards the eastern end of the Himalayas, where the star of their discussion, the man who had dared to challenge the gods was meditating. He remembered the time when Vishwamitra had been conceived by means of a magical potion. The joyous moment had been mired by controversy though—Ruchik, the rishi who had prepared the potion, had divided it in two parts for his wife, Princess Satyavati and his mother-in-law, Queen Ratna.
But the latter, suspecting that son-in-law may have saved the best portion for his own child, had convinced her daughter to exchange their potions. When Ruchik found out, he had quite understandably felt betrayed and in his anger, had decided to leave his family and head to the Himalayas. Before leaving though, he had revealed to the women the blunder they had made by doubting his integrity. The two portions had been imbibed with different character-enhancing herbs—one with those that encouraged Brahmin virtues of scholarship and the other with those that promoted aggression fit for a Kshatriya. By switching their portions, they had ensured that the queen would be giving birth to a child with scholastic tendencies while Ruchik’s son would be born a warrior.
Satyavati had begged for forgiveness for she did not wish to have a combative child and her husband had finally given into her request by making the Kshatriya trait skip one generation. Fortunately, the boon had turned out well for Prince Vishwamitra but what came out of the second part of the boon remained to be seen.
Shiva had a feeling he would have a role to play in the events that would transpire but he was glad that, for now, things seemed to be stable. On earth, the lce Age had ended and human civilization seemed to be prospering under the leadership of Vaivasvat Manu. On the other lokas, the Asurs and Devas were also experiencing a rare phase of tranquillity after Lord Vishnu had forbidden the Asur king Bali entry into higher lokas for one whole Manvantar. Devas, Asurs and Manavs were all related to each other through Rishi Kashyap, the grandson of Brahma and the progenitor of most species populating the world, yet they seldom saw eye to eye. While Brahma had always fretted about this scenario Shiva knew that the rise and fall of different species was a way for nature to find a balance.
Bringing his attention back to Kailash, he noticed Parvati asking the children to take a dip in the Ganga to get rid of the interstellar dust and, quite predictably, Ganesh, their younger son, was throwing a good-natured tantrum. Shiva watched with a smile as Kumar, his elder son, managed to convince his brother by turning it into a competition-whoever got to the river first would get to eat from their mother’s hand that night.
His heart brimmed over with love watching the mundane affairs of a householder’s life and he realized that he had come a long way from Sati’s death. It seemed like he had lived the life of an ascetic for almost an eternity before Parvati had come marching into his boring life and turned everything upside down. She broken down the defences he had built around his heart with her care and affection and opened his eyes to the realization that it was possible to love again...
From an austere yogi, he had turned into a householder, looking after his family and attending functions such as the one for Brahma, and could now balance the two roles with perfect ease. Contrary to what many believed, his involvement in the functioning of the universe was not limited to destroying it alone.
Yes, he wouldn’t deny that was the highlight of his day but the dance of destruction, the Tandav, was not enacted just at the end of Brahma’s day; rather it was taking place every single moment as one grain of time turned into another and the old gave in to the new. Destruction and creation existed in tandem and each depended on the other for it to become possible. For the same reason. Shiva made sure he helped one or the other special of life at regular intervals with a benediction that could keep the process running.
He knew he would have to intervene in the life of the yet-to-be born grandchild of Satyavati and Ruchik as well but till then, he would let life take its own course. A lot had to happen before the Brahmin child with the destiny of a Kashatriya could come into world and he felt a frisson of excitement run through his chakras.
He was the Supreme Yogi Shiva, the perfect householder Shankar, the easily pleased Bholenath, yet it was his fierce Rudra avatar that easily pleased Bholenath, yet it was his fierce Rudra avatar that would get expression through this yet-to-be- born child and he loved the chance it provided for him to get rid of all his anger.
Shiva, the destroyer of the world, was ready for the next adventure.
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