LAVANAN AND THE DREAM
Once there lived a King named Lavanan in a country called Utharapandavam,endowed with thick forests and all such bounties. The King was a descendant of Raja Harishchandra and he lived upto the reputation too. He was dharma personified. Transparent and pure. One day,while he was having his durbar, a magician walked upto him,paid his respects and talked in whispers to the King like a black beetle to lotus flower.
O, King, kindly allow me to show this indrajala to you…Lord you can watch it right from your royal seat…
He took out a peacock-feather from nowhere and stirred it in circles. As the King keenly watched, the peacock feather started emitting light.
Suddenly, the King of Sind, a dependent state of Utharapandavam arrived at the royal durbar with a thoroughbred. He brought the horse near to Lavanan and said,
O Maharaja, this horse Uchchaisravas is a special gift for you. Kindly accept it and I shall be honoured.
Hearing this, the magician requested King Lavanan to take it and have a go. The King had a good look at the horse and then the unexpected happened. He became standstill! The courtesans thought he was meditating. The eyes were open and the irises were motionless! The whole durbar was struck with fear. While they waited helplessly, the King woke up and started shivering. Those near him rushed in but he was back to normal, almost. He looked drained and crest-fallen.
O King, you’re so pure at heart. Purity brings greatness. How can this sort of tremor happen to you?
The King replied.
See, the magician was a trickster. When he showed me the peacock –feather, my mind was transfixed. I felt like going out for hunting and saddled on the horse immediately. All alone, I was riding at a hectic speed. Several terrains and landscapes went by. Places with no names! At last, I reached at a scary forest which didn't have any birds or even trees! The whole area was covered with snow. It was as if the forest was destroyed entirely in a wild-fire. There was not even a drop of water anywhere in sight. My horse was also tired. We had been travelling for the whole day without break. Still we couldn't settle for the night and we had to move on And finally we reached at another forest which luckily had trees and birds. I was immensely relieved and I took shelter in the shade of lemon trees.As I started cooling off my heels, quite abruptly, the horse deserted me and ran off! There wasn't any choice left for me except dropping down flat and spend the night alone in the forest. It was a dreadful experience and after day-break the next morning, I set out for a walk. The forest too was deserted. A few birds were crisscrossing the sky. The sun had risen to quarter sky-high. There I saw a girl, dark and naughty,walking away wearing dirty clothes. She had a plantain-leaf wrap containing cooked rice. The sight made me happy and I yelled out to her. However, she was in no mood to listen. She walked ahead, stopping at intervals to have wild fruits.
Young girl, please give me some food. I desperately need a bite, I pleaded.
She completely ignored me, however. She surged ahead, playful as ever.
O King, I’m a chandalika. (You’re not supposed to eat from my hands).Well, if you’re bent on having my food, there is one pre-condition. You’ll have to marry me. No other way. My father is tilling the lands nearby and he is very tired. The food is for him.
OK, I said. You’re not an untouchable for me. Everybody is equal in hunger and death. When one faces such a crisis, all these demarcations will simply vanish….
She divided the food equally, cooked rice and wild-strawberry juice, and offered one part to me. I ate it with great relish and rested for a while. She then held my hand and guided me to her father. She introduced me …
Father, this is the one who’s going to marry me. Please give your approval.
He nodded in agreement.
The father invited me to his dwelling. It was a weird place with meats of animals and birds such as pork, horse, monkey, chicken and crow strewn all over. The wet intestines were laid out in the open for drying. Flies swarmed around.
A plantain leaf was spread before me and I was seated.
The chandala then called out for his wife, Kekaraakshi and introduced me. She appeared pleased.
Thus the marriage took place and the whole tribe freaked out. Dances, drum-beats, smoke. The brews kept them high night after night. I forgot all about me. I turned into a full-fledged chandala.
A daughter was born to me and three years later, a son too. Again another son. My life was going on ….oblivious of everything…and I was into old age. Diseases caught up with me…Hair turned grey ‘like fire spreading in dry grasses’. I started worrying about my wife and children. To make matters worse, a famine broke out, unexpected. Several untimely deaths took place and the whole tribe was getting extinct. The forest was a graveyard …no leaves, no rains, no water…the wind blew only fire… The tribe was scattered and everybody was on the run…Some people stayed back and they perished in wild fire…some others jumped off from cliffs and ended their lives…I decided to move out with my wife and three children. We walked and walked and crossed the forest. As we were very tired, we took shelter under a Palmyra Palm tree. My chandalika wife spread herself and two children under the tree and slept while the youngest one, the son dearest to us was sitting on my lap. He was crying silently.
Father… I’m hungry. Give me meat to eat and blood to drink…please
He kept on repeating. After a while the voice thinned and his body was getting stationary. He was going to die. I just couldn't bear the sight. He was so dear…
I collected logs and lit it. Let it be my pyre, I thought. Only sacrifice can make one happy and fulfilled.
I was about to jump into the fire…
The sound of litanies suddenly woke me up. The bells were chiming.
The magician was nowhere to be seen.
He is not a trickster, O King! He is someone divine who has reached here to teach you the essence of Maya, the courtiers said.
Anyway, King Lavana decided to undertake a quixotic journey. He was remembering the dream well enough to lead the way and he stated off the next morning with his support-staff. Going southwards, he reached at the Vindhya Valley and the place seemed too familiar. He met the chandala tribe, known to him in the dream. At last he located the Village where he lived as a chandala for several years. The people too were the same! They were crying in grief. He even found his in-laws who were lamenting over the sudden disappearance of their daughter her husband and their children.
The King was not amazed. He consoled them, gave them so many gifts and went back to the palace.
He had become a realised person.
|EH Pushkin- "The Colour of Three Colours "- 2007|
Explanation as given in LaghuyogaVasishtam
King Lavana thought of the magician. The magician had already given him a primer in bhramakalpanas (cannot find a suitable translation) of the Mind. The Mind creates the world. The Mind creates dreams too. Both are at par. Both are products of avidya. One needn't explore the cause and effects of a dream. Instead, one has to cut through illusions and get at what is real.