Saturday, 18 February 2012

Virshika accepts the proposal for the Hariyupiyah War

There were two men who did not sleep well that night. Payu Bharadvaja, inspite of all the training he had received on meditation, tossed and turned in bed. He had no idea how Virshika might react to the proposal of the Kaithal allies; even his mere being there, let alone the proposal. The man was clearly of unsound mind, erratic and ruthless, a deadly combination, enough to unsettle anyone, and Payu, for all his upbringing, was still a young man.

Virshika knew he was closer to realizing his dream. That Payu Bharadvaja would travel such far distances, there would be an outcome. The burdens of his dream would soon be shed and the mere thought pumped his entire body with energy. So, is this how the God Indra felt when he quaffed the elusive Soma?

Finally, morning came and Payu was escorted across the river by boat. As the boat neared the bank, he could see Vrindavan on the other side. It was grand, beyond comparison to any Puru settlement he had seen all his life. Well fortified and with a high gate, solders stood guard at the entrance. Payu tried hard to hide the utter awe he felt and hoped the Vrcivans would not notice.

A senior member of the Vrcivan's council met him at the entrance and escorted him to the impressive house of Virshika.

"Welcome to Vrindavan, son of Bharadvaja." Chitrarath greeted Payu. "The mighty, bull amongst men, King Virshika will join us soon. In the meantime, if you will submit yourself to a body search, at Vrindavan, we take no chances." Even before, Payu could respond, a couple of guards swooped on him, and conducted a thorough body search. Search over, they glanced at Chitrarath and shook their head, indicating they had found nothing.

"Allow us to make you comfortable while you are here. Let us know if you need anything, anything at all that you may need. And now, if you will please remain standing, as the King makes his way to the the chamber."

Then, suddenly, the imperious figure of Virshika, appeared in the room. It was not for nothing that Virshika had a fearsome reputation that had spread across the Arya land.

"Well, well, well, wise one, son of the illustrious Bharadvaja, what brings you our land, to meet us uncouth, forsaken descendants of Nahusa?"

"First, allow me to convey my respects to you, torch bearer for the peerless Yadu, my respects to Chitrarath here and to the rest of the elders of Vrindavan."

"I come here as an emissary of an alliance between the Panchala Kings, Vadhryasva and Srnjaya and Anu King Cayamana."

Alliance between the Panchala and the Anu??? Virshika and Chitrarath exchanged looks, caught completely by surprise. Why would the Anu King want to drag himself into this? This was support for the Panchala weaklings that Virshika had not considered at all. No wonder they had the temerity to send Payu to Vrindavan. Bastards!

"And what message do you carry?"

"One War, one Prize."

Now this was not going in the direction that the Vrcivans were anticipating. Virshika, could not hold back his rage. On his feet, he wagged his fingers at Payu, "You talk of war? We kill people in your settlements at will while your army hides in refuges in your capitals, and you dare to stand before me and talk of war?"

"I am but a messenger rajan, and I cannot respond to what you just said."

"Just because, your aging rulers have the backing of the young Cayamana, no doubt manufactured by your wily father, you are emboldened to even think of standing upto us in war?", Virshika was besides himself.

"Again, rajan, I cannot respond to you, all I can do is to deliver the message I carry and relay back your response."

Chitrarath decided to intervene. "What is this one war, one prize proposal you bring?"

"The prize is control over all the lands of the Panchalas and by extension the Purus and the Anu people as well. A prize you will win, if your army is able to douse the fire of Devavata on the banks of the Hariyupiyah."

"But we will crush you one settlement after another, anyway, till we raize Kampilya and Ahichhatra to ground. So why should we accept this proposal?"

"Time, rajan, time. Do you really think, your army can sweep across Puru lands and bring them in your control with no resistance? Don't you think it will be several winters before you achieve your dream?"

Payu's response was met with guarded silence. He had a point, both Virshika and Chitrarath thought to themselves. Sensing this, Payu pressed on, "The Panchalas will offer your army safe passage upto the Hariyupiyah river. There the two armies will face off. If your army is able to cross the river, and douse Devavata's fire that is the very symbol of Puru power, the prize is yours. The Puru and Anu tribes will be subjugated to the Yadu forever."

"What tricks has your father thought of entrapping us, Payu?" asked a skeptical Chitrarath.

"No tricks, respected elder, no tricks. The Panchalas will keep their word - safe passage to Hariyupiyah. The outcome will be decided on the battle field. The winner takes all."

Virshika looked at Chitrath, there was no reason to doubt the proposal, and most of all, it made sense, one war, one prize. It would be swift, Varshika felt he was so much closer to realizing his dream.


"Very well then, after the rains, the two armies shall meet. The Panchalas will send a signal at an appropriate time after the rains, and ensure your army is able make the long journey to the Hariyupiyah as guests."


Sunday, 5 February 2012

Payu prays for the Panchalas' enemies on the Yamuna

The news of Payu reaching the eastern banks of the Yamuna had spread to Vrindavan and other settlements close to the river banks on either side. Emotions ranged from the curious to awe amongst the laity and confusion within the Vrcivan royal council.

Virshika summoned Chitrarath, his Purohit, so they could determine how to deal with this unanticipated situation.

“Why is the son of Bharadvaja here? If he is here to discuss peace, I will have none of it”, thundered Virshika.

“Let us not jump to any conclusions, rajan”, Chitrarath cautioned. “Whoever has chosen to send him, have chosen well. It also means, he does not come with just a message, but with a proposal and a view to negotiate. Which then, further suggests, he perhaps comes here representing both the Panchalas, not just the Srnjayas.”

“So, it is not peace talks then?”

“Unlikely, nor talks of surrender, as we hoped our attack might trigger.”

“What proposal do you think he carries with him?”

“I am not sure, but I can say without any hesitation, that the proposal has the blessings of his father, perhaps, put together under his directions and also it has come about after proper discussions and planning amongst the Panchalas. Whatever the proposal, our response must be guarded and not delivered in haste.”

“If it not peace, then it must be war…” Virshika trailed off, “Once and for all, we can crush these vain Panchalas, who live on their past glories.”

“Let us not get ahead of ourselves. Let us hear what Payu has to say”, the Purohit tried to rein in his rajan.

“Send for him immediately then”.

“No, not so soon. We must make him wait. We will meet him tomorrow and send for him at daybreak. Until then, we will also have the time to think.” Being the Purohit of an impetuous rajan was not an easy job and he did his gamely.

“Until then, we need to make sure he is treated well, cared for and brought in our presence with due respect. Even though they align with our foes, the Bharadvajas remain respected throughout the Arya people.”

As dusk set in, Payu began to put together a makeshift venue for the evening prayers. As if on cue, nearby settlers, began to provide him the material he needed. It was an event they would never witness ever in their lifetime. As the crowds gathered, they began to beg him to invoke the Gods for their well being.

Payu readily chose to cast aside his role as a representative of the Panchalas. As an individual, he had a larger role to play and that was to connect people with their Gods.

“Please gather so we may together, pray to the Visvadevas (all the Vedic Gods). Let us pray to the mighty and noble Varuna and Mitra so their eye will be ever watchful on you all. Let us call upon the Adityas, bestowers of fair homes for you to dwell in. Let us pray to them that you and your children do not fall prey to evil creatures and that they bless you at all times with proper speech and vigour.”

“Gather to pray to the Universal Gods that they may harm those that harm you unprovoked, let us ask them for homage and banish sin. Ask them to bless you with noble splendour that you may emerge through your troubles safely and with even more magnificence and piety.”

“Let the Visvadeva increase our fivefold people (this meant both the Yadu and Panchalas, not one as an exclusion over the other), give us good help, good refuge, good guidance, and protection”.

“Let Indra destroy the Pani. Let the bountiful Indra give us good paths and guard us well at home too.” By calling out only the Panis, Payu, deftly avoids bringing out the conflicts between the two Arya tribes.

So saying, Payu asked some of the local priest to join him at the altar. He then recited a prayer to the Visvadevas, a prayer composed by this ancestor, Rjisvan Bharadvaja.

Author’s note: Hymn 61 of Mandala VI composed by Rjisvan is a wonderful prayer that bears attentive reading. It is best left to the interpretation of you the reader.

Below is a reproduction of the entire Hymn (as translated by Griffitth).

RV 6.061 – Visvadevas
1. THAT mighty eye of Varuna and Mitra, infallible and dear, is moving upward.
The pure and lovely face of holy Order hath shone like gold of heaven in its arising.

2 The Sage who knows these Gods' three ranks and orders, and all their generations near and distant,
Beholding good and evil acts of mortals, Sura marks well the doing of the pious.

3 I praise you Guards of mighty Law eternal, Aditi, Mitra, Varuna, the noble,
Aryaman, Bhaga, all whose thoughts are faithful: hither I call the Bright who share in common.

4 Lords of the brave, infallible, foe-destroyers, great Kings, bestowers of fair homes to dwell in,
Young, Heroes, ruling heaven with strong dominion, Adityas, Aditi I seek with worship.

5 O Heaven our Father, Earth our guileless Mother, O Brother Agni, and ye Vasus, bless us.
Grant us, O Aditi and ye Adityas, all of one mind, your manifold protection.

6 Give us not up to any evil creature, as spoil to wolf or she-wolf, O ye Holy.
For ye are they who guide aright our bodies, ye are the rulers of our speech and vigour.

7 Let us not suffer for the sin of others, nor do the deed which ye, O Vasus, punish.
Ye, Universal Gods! are all-controllers: may he do harm unto himself who hates Me.

8 Mighty is homage: I adopt and use it. Homage hath held in place the earth and heaven.
Homage to Gods! Homage commands and rules them. I banish even committed sin by homage

9 You Furtherers of Law, pure in your spirit, infallible, dwellers in the home of Order,
To you all Heroes mighty and far-seeing I bow me down, O Holy Ones, with homage.

10 For these are they who shine with noblest splendour; through all our troubles these conduct us safely-
Varuna, Mitra, Agni, mighty Rulers, trueminded, faithful to the hymn's controllers.

11 May they, Earth, Aditi, Indra, Bhaga, Pusan increase our laud, increase the Fivefold people.
Giving good help, good refuge, goodly guidance, be they our good deliverers, good protectors.

12 Come now, O Gods, to your celestial station: the Bharadvajas' priest entreats your favour.
He, sacrificing, fain for wealth, hath honoured the Gods vath those who sit and share oblations.

13 Agni, drive thou the wicked foe, the evil-hearted thief away,
Far, far, Lord of the brave I and give us easy paths.

14 Soma, these pressing-stones have called aloud to win thee for our Friend.
Destroy the greedy Pani, for a wolf is he.

15 Ye, O most bountiful, are they who, led by Indra, seek the sky.
Give us good paths for travel: guard us ivell at home.

16 Now have we entered on the road that leads to bliss, without a foe,
The road whereon a man escapes all enemies and gathers wealth.