Vritra's Last Wish

I will declare the manly deeds of Indra, 
the first that he achieved, the Thunder-wielder.
He slew the Dragon, then disclosed the waters, 
and cleft the channels of the mountain torrents.

He slew the Dragon lying on the mountain: 
his heavenly bolt of thunder Tvastar fashioned.
Like lowing kine in rapid flow descending 
the waters glided downward to the ocean. 
(Rig-Veda – 1.32)

Indra’s Vajra is gradually cutting into Vritrasura’s throat. Vritrasura smilingly looks at the sky waiting for the final cut off! Occasionally he stretches his eyes down to see the progress. Occasionally he sighs, ‘Toy Toy! Wastage of time!’.

An exhausted Indra broods nearby. He is almost squeezed after the final hurl! It has been a hectic day for him. The battle has been continuing for 360 days. His face is glowing red; his entire body is muddy with sweat and dust. He is very grave! He cannot do away with a scratching sensation in his soul. Vritra is a Brahmin, which is one cause to feel guilt no doubt. But Indra is more anxious over the manner Vritra finally yielded to his Vajra! There is plenty of cause to believe that Vritra yielded rather willingly. The whole world has seen that. Not only had he spared Indra at crucial moments, but also encouraged and cheered him throughout the battle, and even gave him tips about the correct grip of holding Vajra and the right technique of hurling it towards him! 

As the Vajra spins into Vritra’s throat, Indra’s head spins too. He stands up, and then starts walking up and down impatiently. The next moment he rushes at Vritra, ‘Now, what are you up to? Will you or won’t you die?’

Vritra glances him but makes no response. He looks up again at the sky.

- What’s the matter? Eh? Gone deaf all of a sudden?

Vritra yawns.

Indra is all red, ‘This is too much, too much. I am the lord of Heavens, I have right to dignity’. He stamps on the ground.

Vritra yawns yet again. Indra has to hold on to the ground with all the might of the fingers of his feet at the time of Vritra’s ebb of breath, and is almost flown away at the flow of his breath, like a proud tree about to be uprooted in violent storm. Indra’s crown and upper garment, already torn in the war, are swept away like dry leaves.

‘Most ungentlemanly!’ He cries in despair.

Vritra finally responds, as if out of pity, ‘Go home. How long will you wait?’

- You need not pretend to be so gracious. 

- I was thinking of sister Sachi. She must be going through a hell of tension.

- Shut up you scoundrel, and concentrate on your job at hand … throat!

- Good. Then stay! But one caution I must give you. I would die a conscious death, so it would take time to completely behead me.

- Impossible! Stay in your childish delusions. Vajra is Vajra! Don’t play fool with it.

Vritra laughs loudly. The mountains reverberate with the sound. Indra is absolutely flabbergasted. He nods his head in dejection, goes trudging to a nearby rock, looks up at the waiting populace who have been spectators to the battle at a far and safe distance, waves at them like a Neta in urgent hunt for votes with a forceful all-exposed grin, sits down in despair, and starts snoring almost immediately sounding like a saw running through hard wood.

Vritra glances at the spinning Vajra for a moment, then at Indra and nods, ‘Wretched fellow! Really going through a tough time. I am sorry Sachi sister.’

A Rishi emerges from nowhere. He approaches Vritra keeping a careful watch on the snoring Indra.

Vritra frowns, ‘No interview. Move on. You had been hiding behind that rock’

The Rishi pleads, ‘Please sir, don’t misunderstand me. Do I look like an idiot?’

- You are not paparazzi from Narada Media Company, then?

- Certainly not

- Good. Came to see the battle?

- Ummm … yes. More interested to see you sir. Heard a lot about you. Besides, I also wanted to see this thing called Vajra, which was made by your father Tvaster.

- I see. Now that you have seen me and the Vajra, why are you still here?

- Pardon me sir. This battle is already being regarded as the battle of the millennium, and Indra is receiving worship as Vritraghna! And you are not even dead!!

- So they have already killed me down the valleys? Very effective propaganda machinery, no doubt!

- Yes sir

Vritra has another hearty laugh, this time a bit conscious of the effect it might have on the Rishi. The panicked Rishi kneels in a gesture of submission. Indra snores on.

The Rishi folds his palms, ‘Pardon, sir ...’

- Yes you are pardoned. Don’t kneel like that. That does not befit your human dignity.

- Please don’t joke with me sir, I am already scared. May I ask you a question or two? I know you are going through great pain …

- Same old track! Just now you said you are not from the media.

- Absolutely sir. Only some personal curiosity.

- Hum. O.K. Have to kill some time. These Devs use such unsophisticated weaponry! Disgusting! Go on. But no question about my family life.

- Thanks sir. I find this is the dry river bed of Saraswati, and all water is blocked on the other side of this giant artificial rock behind you. I also overheard that you call this a dam. Why were you building this dam sir?

- Very intelligent! What’s your guess?

- Some sort of a construction, for a constructive purpose, I can’t gather anything more than that. I know you Ashuras are more advanced in science and technology. May be related to something like that. I noticed some iron wheels turning …

- Intelligent guess. Wheels indeed.

- Would you kindly throw some light sir?

- Hah! Would you understand? Anyway, you please me. We were constructing this dam for production of real Vajra.

- Real Vajra? Then what is it that is cutting your throat?

- That is also Vajra! They call it so. If at all it can be called so! Ha Ha! Father gifted it to Indra.

The Rishi is puzzled. He scratches the back of his head.

‘Why strain your brain?’ Asks Vritra softly.

- I am very curious sir. Life is short and there is so much to learn.

- Hum … a philosopher sort! Fine, I will tell you. What’s your name?

- Vamdeva sir

- Hum … any kin of the ancient one?

- May be sir. After so much intermixing I personally have no faith in the Gotra system.

- Very progressive. You must be a bastard then. 

- Right sir. My father got heated up at the sight of an Apsara

- Her apparel must have been flown by the wind? Or she must have been bathing?

- You are always right sir! But a little twists sir! The Apsara was drowning! Passionate Dad had to relieve himself upon a Matsya woman, my mother.

- Hum … it’s fashionable nowadays to claim to be bastards. But you appear to be a genuine one. Well, to your query. I wanted to create the power of Vajra to make it available to commoners. Your snoring Devaraj felt threatened.

- Vajra for commoners? Micro-Vajra? Whoa!

- You are really very intelligent. After some thousand years they will call it by other names, may be electricity, as far as I can foresee.

- You must not die sir. What will happen to the project if you die like this sir?

- Ha Ha! Project! Yes Yes! They might even call it hydro electric Project!

- What will happen to it sir? Think of the commoners’ sir!

- None is indispensable for this game of creation. Other brains will bubble up in time. May be even improved ones! Inventive brains are accidental, but then accident is natural.

- Pardon me sir; I cannot understand your logic. Why are you dying like this at the hand of this idiot? He is a reptile. He will go on in his elitist manner always trying to cast his Indra-Jal for perpetuating his control system. What shocks me sir, is that Indra is your own brother, and the Vajra which kills you now was fashioned by your own father, the great Tvaster! Why encourage this fratricide sir?

- Every war is fratricidal! Every future war would be so! It is the legacy of flesh-blood!

Vritra remains silent. His eyes stretch to the far horizon where the sun sets smeared with the hue of blood. Vamdeva waits eagerly. He looks awe struck at Vritra and then wonderingly at the Vajra spinning and cutting deep into Vritra’s throat. Indra snores on.

Vamdeva suddenly notices some minute activity on the Vajra itself! He moves closer to observe it.

‘Watch out, watch out!’ Vritra cries to warn Vamdeva, ‘Don’t you touch it!’

- But I notice a cobweb near the hub of Vajra! How strange! Is it real?

- Ha Ha! Of course it is real.

- How strange! Is there a real spider?

- Of course! It is utilising time. It is working. It is not an idiot.

- How hopeful of the spider!

- Being an insect, future is non-existent to him. It is ever hopeful, which is why it cannot be human. Human must always run after an imaginary non-existent future!

- I do not get it entirely. 

- You need not. Give yourself time, and just remember my words for now. Information and taught-concepts nourished by the sincerity of the heart blooms into wisdom.

- Will my time come?

- Time never comes. It waits for you somewhere. When you reach there you are it. Can you separate yourself and time at this moment?

Vamdeva scratches his head again. He joins his hands, ‘pardon sir, and don’t give me such overdose!’

- O.K O.K, on with your questions

- Why are you dying sir?

- Ah! Same old question! 

- Please sir

- I am dying for the greater benefit of humanity. Will that satisfy you?

- Impossible sir! No one thinks of the commoners like you sir!

- When I speak you must keep mum, otherwise …

- Sorry sir

- That’s like a good boy. Having arrived before time, I have become an obstacle. Placed ahead of time, I have nowhere to go any further. I have become a strain to my fellow beings. They can neither swallow me, nor puke me out. I apprehend myself degenerating into the very embodiment of stasis! Now for the sake of progress, I must die, so that progress does not lose dynamics! That is the real Saraswati!

- But sir, it is actually you who are progressive! Indra is such a black hog of a damp backlog! He can only misuse your father’s invention!

- Hum … I see it is very difficult to make you see. I guess I will remain misunderstood for that! What a funny game, this life that is!

- Have mercy on me sir!

- Mercy? Hum …! Did I get mercy to find myself in such a peculiar predicament?
Because I have grasp over nature and cannot be dominated by nature, I am unnatural. Not to nature, of course, to her even unnatural is natural; but to fellows, to whom nature is a limited concept! So I must remove myself to allow their natural order! 

- I understand this a bit. As it is enigmatic and paradoxical, it hides a great truth!

- I know you are very intelligent. Had I lived, my dominance would have spoiled the natural order of progress. I would have been thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis all in one! The flow of Saraswati would have stopped. Can we really let that happen? Let Saraswati make route through friction, let Saraswati flow through rocks, let Saraswati find her ways through treacherous vales! In that way Saraswati will be joyful wisdom!

- Resembles something else sir! Sounds like gushing out of the…I mean!

- Witty as well as naughty! Compose some Vedic chants, you have the talent! They will survive. Remember, wisdom is never without joy! It’s natural that a single metaphor will work meaningfully on different planes of existence!

- That’s why you allow Indra to ejaculate … er… I mean destroy you and release the water of Saraswati River?

- Yes. I have got Saraswati’s shelter; Indra is badly in need of her.

- But will that idiot ever realise your sacrifice?

- My sacrifice is not that important. Living itself is a sacrifice! What matters is whether he understands the purpose of my death. 

- Suppose he does not understand?

- Time will not wait for him. Just as he sidelined Varuna, someone will make him meet the same fate. That will happen when his power and might become static. Then, he will become the obstacle to Saraswati though this river flows physically! In my case my Sattwik qualities become stasis, in his case his Rajahguna would be!

- If you are so prophetic sir, why do you allow stasis to set in?

- See, the progress that comes after stasis, also becomes stasis in time. My eyes are fixed on a greater synthesis in future, which will never come unless I allow this play of destruction of one stasis by another!

- Just now you said future is non-existent! If the future of your dream never comes!

Vritra laughs heartily again, ‘by your own logic, if future is non-existent why think whether dream will come true or not! Just dream! It is no less real than your supposed reality, because you live of such dream, for such dream, by such dream! Can anything that sustains you be unreal? Actually nothing can be unreal! The moment you think of unreal, that unrealness is a reality to you!’

- I am baffled sir!

- Leave aside verbal jugglery! What I mean is that every synthesis degenerates to thesis in time! And when it is so, another synthesis must come! Endless game!

Both are so busy in conversation that they fail to notice that Indra has waked up and is gaping at them shocked and surprised! Indra yells to the Rishi, ‘You there! I will not allow any application of herbal! This dual was supposed to be without medical intervention!’

Vamdeva at once starts, and is about to run, when Vritra calls out, ‘Hey Vamu, stop stop!’ He then turns at Indra, ‘You! Had a nice siesta I hope!’

Indra approaches the two and speaks threateningly to Vamdeva, ‘You Rishi, look here! You must not reveal to public what you see here! If anything leaks out …,’ he shakes his right-hand index vehemently.

Vamdeva folds his palms and nods earnestly, ‘Certainly not Devaraja. May I sing a eulogy unto you?’ And he extemporises the hymns mentioned at the beginning!

Vritra frowns ‘Fine composition worthy to be appreciated by the next-generation editor Vyasa! But stop the nonsense now! Indra is grown up enough for such idiocy! Now Indra, you better take this advice. Go home and console Sachi-sister.’

Indra tries to pull up a brave obstinate front before the Rishi, ‘What if I don’t?’

- I will simply eat away your Vajra like a biscuit. 

- Wha-What? What’s that? Bis … what!!

- Never mind. Will you or won’t you?

- O.K. O.K. I am going, but remember I don’t fear you. You must promise …

- Yes, I promise to die. Now go. After I die this dam will also be broken and Saraswati River will flow again, though Saraswati of science will not for another 5 thousand years at least.

- Remember a gentleman …

Indra is about to begin, but Vritra gives him a cold look. Indra swallows his words. Vritra cries, ‘Hey you! Come back after I am gone to take back your Vajra. In the meantime better avoid conflicts, or use a replica and avoid any real warfare.’

- Thanks for your advice. Indra hurries off!

No sooner he is gone, than Vamdeva complains, ‘How can this coward be the king of Devas? I still cannot accept that you are leaving us under his rule!’

- Never mind. It is these fellows that make sincere rulers. But for them, brain would have stopped evolving! Without their reptilian down pulling, brain would have lost the charm to rise up! Saraswati would not appear in the brain then!

- Sir, may I spread to the world your thoughts?

- And iconize me and make an institution out of me? Soon to break-up in rivalling sects claiming my legacy! Soon to make an industry of my sayings and deeds, and exploit less intelligent lots? No thanks! You may use my thoughts and claim them to be yours. I give you all copyrights unconditionally. 

Vamdeva is suddenly excited, ‘Look sir! The spider has already made a connection between the hub and the dam!’

Vritra laughs heartily, ‘He has this eternal source of Saraswati in him. Look, child. How he connects the two static points of Indra’s pride and mine pride! He is doing his own constructive work in his own way. Never minding that his endeavour would be ruined soon! Well, I feel like meditating. This spider has made me tranquil. I will meditate for sometime and then leave this frame.’

- May I return again sir, and cremate your body?

- What for? 

- You deserve it sir. Your soul... I mean for the emancipation …

- STOP! I was born of nature, nourished by Saraswati, and now I want to be taken away by her. The moment I leave this frame of flesh and blood, the dam will crack, and the river will rush in torrential joy carrying me to the ocean of eternity. No childish game of cremation for saving the soul needed!

- Before death, don’t you have any last wish?

- Last wish? What is there so last in last? No last, ever lasts! Well, if you are so interested in that game, here it is. My last wish is – Let there be no last!  


More by :  Indrajit Bandyopadhyay

Top | Hinduism

Views: 3408      Comments: 0

Name *

Email ID

Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.