SOMEWHERE AROUND TRETAYUGA:
Just like every day, she completed her daily chores, sat in her meditating position over the holy- mat spread on the floor of Maya’s darkest cave and began engaging in a trance-filled prayer to Lord Shiva. But today her focus is elsewhere. “May be the loneliness-void has crept inside me again. Let me wait till it passes,” she thought, while clenching her fists and vigorously moving her closed eyelids. “OM NAMAH SHIVAAY”-she chanted almost loudly in a vain attempt to regain her sacred focus. Flashes of her past swayed through her mind quickly. This used to happen before, except this time, they are more pronounced and powerful, as if the Gods are trying to shoot her a message which needs immediate decipherment. The picture got more and more unclouded and she can clearly visualize the memory.
“Hema, this is a huge step. Are u certain that your love for Mayasura is mightier than all the Devas, particularly Lord Indra himself? Mayasura is a Danava and you are a nymph, one of the favorites of Indra. If you are firm with this decision and true towards love with all your soul, I am ready to take risk and extend help to you, dear friend.” Hema was overwhelmed and hugged her generous friend with tear-filled eyes. Finally she gasped strength to mutter-“Against all odds. Yes, against all odds is my love for Maya! You’re the best friend one can have. You’re the great soul showing the path of light when one gets sunk deep inside the pit of darkness. You live upto your name, Swayamprabha. Thank you very much. Remember, once I am married to Maya, whatever happens, you will always be taken care by us.”
The next memory flashed and this is sharper than the earlier one. It is as if she is reliving it all over again. She let Hema elope for her wedding to Mayasura. Indra might have known this by now and probably raging towards her secluded palace at the Swarga. She stood by the palace window, tall and still, gazing absently at the blurred distance. She had two choices: both unattractive, out of which, she would have to take a decision. She could either escape before his arrival and live like a coward for eternity, or, stay by standing up against the oppressive attitudes of Indra and other Devas towards nymphs like her and Hema.
She turned back, and from one of the miniscule clouds that dangle at all places in Swarga, Indra emerged. Both infuriated and emasculated by her act, Indra slapped Swayamprabha. He looked at her, with eyes filled of hatred, and rage to destroy her with his thunderbolt. He shouted, “You’re always the one who constantly disobey your superiors. You’re a woman of neither dignity nor virtue, and worse, you’re a traitor. I always looked upon you generously and lovingly. Even though your role as a nymph is confined to pleasure-giving, you’re given liberty to study puranas and shastras and pursue your interest. I even tolerated your adamant attitude of refusing to dance during important gatherings. This is what you pay me after all the things I’ve done for you?”
She kept her calm all throughout Indra’s tantrums and at the end, she spoke-“Oh mighty Indra, love is the most eternal thing in all the worlds. I am not even feeling the tiniest tinge of guilt for my act of helping them elope, because, love is the most sacred and I couldn’t let it get poisoned by your nasty ego attained through abuse of power. God is the one who unconditionally loves every creation of his’
and treats them with respect and dignity. All of you Devas ever did to our nymphs was, suppress our free will and make us act according to your whims and fancies. You are now abusing me just because your ego feels belittled and it has blinded you from distinguishing the right from the wrongs.”Indra’s eyes reddened with fury and he angrily cursed her- “How dare you speak to me like this, you witch! I curse you lose all your powers and banish you from Swarga right now.”
THUD! She fell upon Bhuloka (earth) at once.
Swayamprabha opened her eyes after reminiscing all that happened.
Maya and Hema left her in-charge of the wondrous cave within Vindhyan mountain-ranges specially designed by Maya himself. Indra’s envy for the cave and his threats made the couple abandon it, leaving Swayamprabha on-guard. Ever since Indra’s curse, Swayamprabha lost her celestial powers and turned into an ordinary woman just like any other. Leading a lonely cave-dwelling life and waging a cold lonely war within herself, she is always trying to figure out the purpose of her life. Indra was able to chop-off her supernatural powers but barely could even touch her spirit and determination. She totally immersed herself into acquiring knowledge and worshipping Lord Shiva. She firmly believed that Knowledge and Devotion are the strong suits through which one can achieve the impossible even without mystic powers; and that the Inquisitive temperament and intense passion is what drives even a petty being to intimidate prodigious Devas or Asuras or any other superpower whatsoever. Every day she engages herself studying something new and experimenting whatever she has learnt that day. She is much keener about Brahmanda Purana (study of universe) and laws of nature and even added some of her expertise touches to the artistic grandeur of the cave.
For instance, she created wild creatures imitating the appearances of actual wild life and whose resemblances are indistinguishable. She was able to grow varieties of plants that are nowhere present, whose fruits are much juicier, tastier and even more nutritious along with having commendable medicinal properties. She even managed to unravel the mysteries of time-travel simply through applying available practical knowledge and was no less than any scholarly man on earth. Above all, she achieved all these while being impotent or powerless all along. It is quite amusing that, a lot’s been done when undergoing pain and vulnerability, than it’s been done when being powerful!
She has a feeling that today’s interruption while meditating got something to do with the Gods.
Perhaps, she’s about to find out actual purpose of her curse and her life, real soon!
FEW DAYS LATER:
Enchanted by a beautiful peacock dancing tenderly, she’s completely absorbed in watching its graceful movements and pretty feathers, which is when Swayamprabha suddenly overheard a huge bunch of monkeys clapping and screaming. Within few minutes, she observed two sturdy men approaching towards her. A tall man with a well-built body, but rather bulgy mouth portion was the first one to get near her. He has blood-shot eyes. However, he seemed modest and well-mannered. His charisma and angelic-radiance is so bright that one would possibly assume him to be God-sent.
“Oh sacred lady, I’m Hanuma, messenger of Lord Rama. We all are Vanaras, the monkey- warriors sent by our king Sugreeva. We’re in search of Sita, Rama’s wife who was kidnapped by Ravanasura and we are on a mission to rescue her. We lost our way in a desert and suffered long from hunger and thirst, which is when we happened to fall into this magnificent cave. May I know your name?”Before she could answer, the other monkey-man barged in to threaten. He yelled, “She seems like a demon-in-disguise, and also this place seems unreal and dangerous. We might be tricked into getting trapped in this hell-hole. Hanuma, give me the command and let me break her before she could wreck our mission.” Hanuma immediately reacted and daunted him, “Angadha, This is no manner to speak to a woman and more so, this lady looks like a saint. You better be stable, else I’ll have to take action to keep you silent.”
Swayamprabha quickly picked up, “It’s alright Hanuma, don’t be tough on him. The man seems lost and weak.” She then looked at Angadha smilingly and said, “Listen carefully, young monkey-man! Without me, there can be no exit from the cave. So if you execute your unmindful plan of killing me, it will only prove detrimental to you and your army.” Next, she advanced towards a high rock and ascended it. Then, she addressed the Vanaras– “In the name of Lord Shiva, let me introduce myself. I am Swayamprabha, sole-guardian of this gigantic cave. This cave belongs to Mayasura and he left me this to look after it. I am no threat to you, and I am more than happy to help you in your mission. But first of all, you all look dull and pale. There are golden mansions and plenty of tasty food here for you. So rest and make yourself comfortable.”Hearing this, they felt relieved. Cheering and whistling, the Vanaras proceeded to eat.
This is the first time in many years that Swayamprabha felt less lonely. She enjoyed the company of Vanaras especially of Hanuma. Both sat for long hours, absorbed themselves in sharing each other’s respective intellectual and spiritual prowesses. In a way, they are more alike. Both are passionate, humble, and seekers of higher knowledge. Also, both are loyal to their austerity and abstinence. They would immerse themselves into each other so much so that, they’d often forget to rest or have food until Angadha comes to remind them. She toured the Vanaras all over the cave, showed them all the alluring things. They’re quite entertained and enjoyed every single day since they arrived. She showed Hanuma, the things created by her and explained him their functioning.
Hanuma was quite impressed by her intellect when she told him that all the things created by her in the cave, are devoid of any mystic powers and are purely created through abstract knowledge. He
expressed his admiration saying, “Oh lady, I am honored to meet the greatest scholar on this earth. I’ve never seen such high wisdom in any scholarly man and I’m quite sure no saint could ever match your level of intelligence and spirituality. But I’d like to ask you one question. You‘ve been lying in this large empty cave all for yourself and haven’t you atleast for an instance felt like losing your sanity?”
She felt delighted by his admiration and thanked him. She then greeted the idol of Shiva infront of her and chanted some mantras with closed eyes, while Hanuma waited patiently. Afterwards, she turned towards Hanuma and took a deep breath. She then continued to speak, “Yes Hanuma, there are many days where I felt lonely and terrified. There are days where I questioned my very own sanctity and my purpose in this life. I was even at the verge of succumbing to material temptation. But my passion for inquisition and single-minded devotion to Lord Shiva is what kept me going. I’ve always doubted whether my standing up against the vice is worthy enough or not. But now, after meeting you, the epitome of Lord Shiva himself, and helping your army who are on a mission for greater good, everything is making sense. You showed me the light of hope in this darkest cave.”
“Just like you showed us light when we are ailing in the darkness of hunger and despair,”
Both of them bowed, displaying affection in their eyes for one another.
THIRTY DAYS LATER:
When Swayamprabha opened her eyes after finishing the prayer, she found Hanuma standing next to her. “The time-frame set by Sugreeva has ended during our time spent here. There’s long distance to travel which is impossible to cover. Nor can we go back to our king empty handed, else we’ll all be slaughtered. I am struck in dilemma.”- said Hanuma nervously. “Oh Hanuma, don’t you worry. Let me take you to the right destination and your mission will not be delayed,” she replied.
She explained Hanuma the way she is going to transport them which involved no mysticism of any kind. Hanuma, though apprehensive of its success, had faith in her inquisitive knowledge and capability. Immediately, all the Vanaras are taken into a dark chamber where everything is barely visible. She asked everyone to close their eyes and pray to the Gods for the success of their transport. Within minutes they crossed the long path and arrived at the edge of the ocean. She gave them the directions to reach their destination, Lanka, which is on the other side of the ocean, and bid them farewell with a heavy-heart. Hanuma praised her that she is an exceptional saint and knower of the past, present and the future. He also told her that the knowledge he sought from her would be carried in his heart forever. Angadha and the other Vanaras cheered for her and bowed to her in gratitude. Then, they proceeded onto their pursuit for Sita.
Feeling disappointed due to parting, Swayamprabha returned to the cave. But her soul felt a
sense of satisfaction and completion of her life’s purpose. Suddenly, an infinite cosmic light filled the
cave, which is remarkably bright. A divine voice emanated out of it which said, “You’re an enlightened soul. You’re courageous, intelligent and always stood up for what’s right. Your service for the higher cause is successfully rendered. You are thus relieved-off your curse and bestowed with more celestial powers than you’ve possessed earlier.”
SOMEWHERE DURING KALIYUGA:
Swayamprabha decides to revisit Bhulok in quest for more knowledge and sent to be born to a woman named Gowri.
AT JAISALMER AFTER 5 MONTHS FROM THEN:
“Doctor said that Gowri can be discharged tomorrow, she’s still weak from that abortion. That was the third stupid girl foetus carried by her dumb-ass womb. Marry some other. You need sons to attain the privilege of heaven,” he yelled at Gowri’s husband. He then took the newspaper lying on the stand at the side, in which one of the articles read-
“It was a Wormhole through which Hanuma has been transported in Ramayana! Interesting evidences discovered by Archaeologists.”
After he completed reading the whole article, he whispered himself, “Our culture is probably the most advanced. We’ve had the foremost scientists and elite sages. JAI SHRIRAM!”