the oath of the vayuputras - Page 24

‘I know he is like a father to you, maa,’ said Ganesh politely. ‘But the truth is Lord Parvateshwar will fight for Meluha.’

‘No, he will not. Your father trusts him completely. How can you believe he will escape and join those who tried to kill the Neelkanth?’

‘Maa, Parvateshwarji has too much honour to escape. He will leave openly, once he has revealed his intentions to baba. And trust me, baba will let him go. He will not even try to stop him. For they are both honourable men who’d rather bring harm upon themselves than forsake their honour.’

‘Indeed, he’s an honourable man, Ganesh. Will that sense of duty not bind him to the path of the Neelkanth?’

‘No. Parvateshwarji is with baba because he is inspired by him, not because he is honour-bound to follow him. He is supremely committed to one value alone, as in fact all Meluhans are: the protection of Meluha. You can ask any of the Meluhans here.’

Nandi’s eyes flashed with anger as the normally affable man stared at Shiva’s son, his eyes unblinking. ‘Lord Ganesh, I have already made my choice. I live for the Neelkanth. And I will die for the Neelkanth. If that means I have to oppose my country, so be it. I will face my karma for having betrayed my country. But I will not have you questioning my loyalty again.’

Ganesh immediately reached out to Nandi. ‘I was not questioning your loyalty, brave Nandi. I was wondering how you think General Parvateshwar will react.’

‘I don’t know what the General thinks. I only know what I think,’ Nandi bristled.

‘Well, I know how Parvateshwar thinks,’ said Brahaspati. ‘I realise this will hurt you Sati, but Ganesh is right. Parvateshwar will not abandon Meluha. In fact, he will battle those who seek to hurt Meluha. And if Shiva, as I hope, decides that the Somras is Evil, then Meluha will be our primary enemy. The battle lines are drawn, my child.’

Wordlessly, Sati looked out of the window at the Vishnu temple and sighed.

Shiva rubbed his throbbing brow as he pondered over the mysteries of his childhood.

Gopal bent forward. ‘What is it, great Neelkanth?’

‘It is not the hand of fate, Panditji,’ said Shiva. ‘Neither is it the grand plan of the Parmatma that I emerged as the Neelkanth. I suspect it was my uncle’s doing. Though how he did all this is a mystery to me.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I remember being administered some medicine in my childhood by my uncle. I used to suffer severe burning between my brows from when I was very young. My uncle’s medicine helped me calm the burning sensation. The throbbing persists to this day but it is not as bad as it used to be. I still recall his words as he readied the medicine: “We will always remain faithful to your command, Lord Rudra, this is the blood oath of a Vayuputra”. Then he’d pricked his index finger and let the blood drop into the potion. It was this mix that he gave to me, and bade me rub it into the back of my throat.’

Gopal’s eyes had been pinned on Shiva, fascinated. He briefly looked at the Vasudev pandit from the Ayodhya temple, who was sitting in the first row.

The Ayodhya Vasudev spoke up. ‘Great Neelkanth, what was the name of your uncle?’

‘Manobhu,’ said Shiva.

The stunned Ayodhya Vasudev turned to Gopal. ‘In the great name of Lord Ram!’

‘What is it?’ asked a surprised Shiva.

‘Lord Manobhu was your uncle?’ asked Gopal.

‘Lord Manobhu?’

‘He was a Vayuputra Lord, one of the Amartya Shpand, a member of the council of six wise men and women who rule the Vayuputras under the leadership of the Mithra.’

‘He was a Vayuputra Lord?!!’

‘Yes, he was. Many years ago, when we were still trying to convince the Vayuputras about the Somras having turned evil, he was the only one amongst the Amartya Shpand who had agreed with us. Unfortunately, he got no support from the others in the council. The Mithra had also overruled Lord Manobhu.’

‘What happened thereafter?’

‘I remember that conversation as if it happened yesterday,’ said Gopal. ‘Lord Manobhu and I had spoken for hours about the Somras. It was obvious that we would not be able to convince the council. He had promised that he would ensure a Neelkanth arose. When I asked him how he would do it, he had said that Lord Rudra would help him. He made me promise that when the Neelkanth did rise, the Vasudevs and I would support him wholeheartedly. I had assured him that this was our duty in any case.’

‘And then what happened?’

‘Lord Manobhu disappeared. Nobody knew what happened to him. Some believed that he had gone back to his homeland of Tibet since he had been isolated in the Vayuputra council. Some thought he had been killed. I tended to believe the latter for only death could have stopped a man like him from fulfilling his promise. But he did not fail. He created you. Where is he now? How did he contrive to get you invited to Meluha and receive the Somras?’

‘He didn’t. He died many years ago, at a peace conference, in a cowardly ambush mounted on him by the Pakratis, our local enemies in Tibet.’

‘Then how were you invited into Meluha within that specific period? As I’ve told you, your throat could turn blue only if you drank the Somras within fifteen years of entering adolescence.’

‘I don’t know,’ answered Shiva. ‘Nandi just happened to come to Mansarovar at that time, asking for immigrants.’

Gopal looked up at the central pillar of the temple, towards the idols of Lord Ram and Lady Sita. ‘It is obvious then. It was the will of the Almighty that events unfolded the way they did.’

Shiva looked at Gopal, his eyes revealing his scepticism that his life was somehow all part of a divine plan.

Gopal tactfully changed the topic. ‘My friend, you said that your brow has throbbed from a very young age. Did it happen after a specific incident? Did your uncle give you something which started the burning sensation?’

Shiva frowned. ‘No, I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. I think from when I was born. Whenever I’d get upset, my brow would start throbbing.’

‘Would this happen when your heart rate went up dramatically?’

Shiva thought about it for a second. ‘Yes. Whenever I am angry or upset, my heart does beat dramatically. Or when I think of Sati, but that is a happy heartbeat.’

Gopal smiled. ‘Which means your third eye has been active from the time of your birth, and that is very rare. It convinces me that you are the one chosen by the Parmatma.’

‘Third eye?’

‘It is the region between one’s brows. It is believed that there are seven chakras or vortices within the human body which allow the reception and transmission of energy. The sixth chakra is called the ajna chakra, the vortex of the third eye. These chakras are activated by yogis after years of practice. Of course, they can also be activated by medicines. The Vayuputras use medicines to activate the third eye of those amongst their young who are potential candidates. But in all my one hundred and forty years, I have yet to hear of a child born with his third eye active.’

‘So what is so special about that? It just causes me trouble. It burns dreadfully.’

Gopal smiled. ‘That is just a small side-effect. I believe that your active third eye could be one of the reasons why your uncle thought you may have been the chosen one. For it set your body up to easily accept the Vayuputra medicine.’