Praise for the Shiva Trilogy 'Amish's mythical imagination mines the past and taps into the possibilities of the future. lord shiva. Pages·· MB·4, Downloads. I bow before and pay my obeisance to Lord Shiva who is the universal and most In this holy book. sidjudendelstead.tk Sita: Warrior of Mithila Amish Tripathi Sita: Warrior of Mithila. The Oath of the Vayuputras: Shiva Trilogy.

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up to The Immortals Of Meluha. Its author Amish, an IIM graduate, created a delightful mix of mythology and history by making Lord Shiva the hero of his trilogy. The Hindu The idea of The Shiva Trilogy excited me because this sort of experimentation with Indian mythology is long overdue in popular literature, especially. footer_author_pic. Amish is a born, IIM (Kolkata)-educated boring banker turned happy author. The success of his debut book, The Immortals of Meluha.

My father will finally stop his endless preening about winning every race for the last three years! Bull-racing was a craze in the Chandravanshi areas, subject to massive bets, royal interest and intrigue. Riders were needed to scream and agitate the animals to keep them running on course. At the same time, if the riders were too heavy, they would slow down the animal. Therefore, boys between the ages of six and eight were considered perfect.

They would shriek out of fear and their weight was inconsequential. The children would be tied to the beasts. If the bull went down, the boy rider would be seriously injured or killed. Therefore, tribal children were often kidnapped to slave away as riders. Nobody important missed them if they died. The Magadhan leader nodded to one of his men who drew his sword. He then looked at the woman.

Let your son go. Or I will have to hurt you. The Naga was staring at the woman, his mouth open in awe. Her bloodied right arm hanging limply by her side, the woman still clung to her son, wrapping her left arm tightly around him. Vishwadyumna shook his head. He could tell it was a matter of time before the woman would be killed. He turned towards his soldiers, giving hand signals to crawl back. He turned back towards his Lord. But the Naga was not there. He had moved swiftly forward, towards the mother.

Vishwadyumna panicked and ran after his Lord, keeping his head low. The Magadhan soldier raised his sword, ready to strike. Suddenly, the Naga broke out from the cover of the trees, his hand holding a knife high.

Before the soldier knew what had happened, the knife struck his hand and his sword dropped harmlessly to the ground. As the Magadhan soldier shrieked in agony, the Naga drew out two more knives. But he had failed to notice the platoon of Magadhan soldiers at the back.

One had his bow at the ready, with an arrow strung. The soldier released it at the Naga. The arrow rammed into his left shoulder, slipping between his shoulder cap and torso armour, bursting through to the bone.

The force of the blow caused the Naga to fall to the ground, the pain immobilising him. Not Banga! Get out of my land! The Naga signalled Vishwadyumna to step back and tried to pull the arrow out of his shoulder. But it was buried too deep. He broke its shaft and threw it away. The Magadhan pointed at the Naga menacingly. This is my land. These people are my property.

Get out of the way. He turned around to see one of the most magnificent sights he had ever seen. The mother lay almost unconscious behind his soldiers. Her eyes closing due to the tremendous loss of blood. Her body shivering desperately. Too terrified to even whimper. And yet, she stubbornly refused to give up her son. Her left hand still wrapped tight around him. Her body protectively positioned in front of her child.

What a mother! The Naga turned around. His eyes blazing with rage. His body tense. His fists clenched tight. It even managed to get through to a person lost in royal ego. But Ugrasen could not back down in front of his fawning courtiers. Some crazy Branga with an unseasonal holi mask was not going to deprive him of his prize catch.

I can hurt whoever I want. So if you want to save your sorry hide, get out of here. He turned to see his followers. A shocked Vishwadyumna stared at his Lord. He had never heard his Lord raise his voice so loud. His body stiff with fury. He knew it instantly. His Lord had made a decision. The Naga reached to his side and drew his long sword.

Holding it away from his body. Ready for the charge. And then he whispered his orders. They charged after their Lord. They fell upon the hapless Magadhans. There was no mercy. Magadh was a far smaller town than Ayodhya. Not having suffered due to commercial or military success and the resultant mass immigration, it remained a pretty town with leafy avenues. While it did not have the awesome organisation of Devagiri or the soaring architecture of Ayodhya, it was not bogged down by the boring standardisation of the Meluhan capital or the grand chaos of the Swadweepan capital.

It did not take Shiva and his entourage more than just half—an—hour to get across to the far side of the city where the magnificent Narsimha temple stood. Shiva entered the compound of the grand shrine. His men waited outside as per his instructions, but only after scoping the temple for suspects. The garden had an ingeniously designed gargantuan fountain at its heart and rows of intricate waterways, flowerbeds and grass spread out from the centre in simple, yet stunning symmetry.

At the far end stood the Narsimha temple. Built of pure white marble, it had a giant staircase leading up to its main platform, a spire that shot up at least seventy metres and had ornately carved statues of gods and goddesses all across its face.

Shiva was sure this awe-inspiring and obviously expensive temple had been built at a time when Magadh had the resources of the entire Swadweep confederacy at its command.

He took off his sandals at the staircase, climbed up the steps and entered the main temple. At the far end was the main sanctum of the temple, with the statue of its god, Lord Narsimha, on a majestic throne.

He looked unnaturally tall, at least eight feet, with a musculature that would terrify even the demons. His mouth was surrounded by lips that were large beyond imagination.

His nose was abnormally large, with sharp eyes on either side. His hair sprayed out a fair distance, like a mane. It almost looked as though Lord Narsimha was a man with the head of a lion. Had he been alive today, Lord Narsimha would have been considered a Naga by the Chandravanshis and hence feared, not revered. A Vasudev Pandit emerged from behind the pillars. He was the shortest Pandit that Shiva had met so far; just a little over five feet. But in all other aspects, his appearance was like every other Vasudev, his hair snowy white and his face wizened with age.

He was clad in a saffron dhoti and angvastram. That conversation The words were broken, like the voice was coming from a great distance. Very soft and not quite clear. Oh Lord Vasudev The Pandit was smiling slightly. He could tell that the Neelkanth could hear his thoughts. This Vasudev was straightforward to the point of being rude. But Shiva knew the apparent rudeness was not intended. Maybe the Pandit was a Chandravanshi in another life.

Or husband. Or father. I am only a Vasudev. The Pandit narrowed his eyes. You earn it. There is a competitive examination, for which Suryavanshis or Chandravanshis can appear. If you pass, you cease to be anything else. You give up all other identities. You become a Vasudev. Shiva had many questions he wanted answered. But there was a most obvious one for this particular Vasudev. The Vasudev Pandit nodded. He had told me that the Suryavanshis represent the masculine life force and the Chandravanshis represent the feminine.

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What does this mean? It has to do with the way of life of the Suryavanshis and Chandravanshis. This is all we need. King Mahendra will think Ayodhya arranged the assassination. And you know how vengeful he can get. We cannot be blamed. By the way, where are the spies? He could have arranged the killing to claim the throne. For all his faults, the king of Magadh does respect capability, unlike some other rulers I know.

Surapadman practically has the throne. But why are we keeping his identity secret in Magadh? And the people here are loyal followers of the King.

We collaborate to achieve combined goals. We pass on knowledge to each other, so every generation begins its journey from the shoulders of the previous generation and not from scratch. But we are not the only ones who work in a pack. Other animals, like the elephants or lions, do it as well. But nobody does it on the scale that we do. It is sometimes about competition as well. From the way all of us live together. Some method for all of us to collaborate or compete with each other.

The Masculine and the Feminine. Laws that could be made by a great leader, perhaps a Vishnu like Lord Ram. Or laws that come down from a religious tradition. Or collective laws decreed by the people themselves. But the masculine way is very clear. Laws are unchangeable and they must be followed rigidly.

There is no room for ambiguity. Life is predictable because the populace will always do what has been ordained. Meluha is a perfect example of such a way of life. It is obvious, therefore, why the people of this way of life live by the code of Truth, Duty and Honour.

There are no absolutes. No black or white. For example, they will follow a king who they think has a higher probability of remaining in power. The moment the probabilities change, their loyalties do as well. If there are laws in such a society, they are malleable. The same laws can be interpreted differently at different points of time.

Change is the only constant. Feminine civilisations, like Swadweep, are comfortable with contradictions. And the code for success in such a system?

Unmistakeably, Passion, Beauty and Freedom. Both types of civilisations must exist. Because they balance each other. There is order and society moves coherently in a preordained direction. Look at the Suryavanshis today. But when masculine civilisations decline, they cause horrible turmoil, becoming fanatical and rigid. This especially happens when an age changes. Change is difficult for the masculine.

They will cling even more rigidly to their laws, even though those laws may be unsuitable for the new age. Masculine civilisations enforce order which is welcome when they are strong, but is suffocating when they decline. The Asuras, who were followers of the masculine way, had faced similar problems when their power started waning. The feminine way incorporates all differences. People of varying faiths and belief can coexist in peace. Nobody tries to enforce their own version of the truth.

There is a celebration of diversity and freedom, which brings forth renewed creativity and vigour causing tremendous benefits to society. The Devas, who were followers of the feminine way, brought in all this when they defeated the Asuras. But as it happens with too much freedom, the feminine civilisations overreach into decadence, corruption and debauchery. The country was corrupt, immoral and depraved.

People clamoured for order and civility. Lord Ram ushered that in as he created a new masculine way of life. Very intelligently, to prevent unnecessary rebellions, he never decried the Deva way. He just called his rule a new way of life: Their relative influence within the individual changing, depending upon the situations he faces?

But most people have a dominant trait. Either the masculine or the feminine. You will have to convince the Suryavanshis in one manner and the Chandravanshis in an altogether different manner in the battle against evil.

Courage is only needed once the war begins. To begin with you need to persuade the people to embark upon the war against evil.

You will need to influence them to give up their attachment to evil. To evil! Shiva sighed. The time is not right? You would not understand. And when you discover evil, you would not need my explanation in order to understand. Jai Guru Vishwamitra. Jai Guru Vashisht. Bhagirath turned towards Shiva. The Neelkanth nodded.

The prince of Ayodhya turned towards Siamantak. Tall, well-built and swarthy, Surapadman sported a handle bar moustache smoothly oiled and curled up at the edges.

His well- maintained hair was long and neatly arranged under an extravagant yet tasteful crown. He wore an ochre dhoti with a white angvastram, sober for a Chandravanshi royal. There were numerous battle scars on his body, a sign of pride on any Kshatriya. That could easily have been seen as an insult. He blessed Surapadman with a long life. How did you know who I am? He bowed politely and changed the subject.

But my father can be a little stubborn. My brother was killed a few days back while in the forest with some friends and his bodyguards. There is a belief that Ayodhya may have carried out this dastardly act. Surapadman stretched out his hand, requesting for silence. It was exactly similar to the gold coin that Shiva had recovered from the Naga Lord of the People. I believe that you had recovered a gold coin from a Naga while you were in Ayodhya.

Is this similar to that coin? Rumours about Surapadman building his own spy network must be true. A network independent of the outrageously incompetent Magadh intelligence services. Shiva took the coin from Surapadman, staring at it hard, his body taut with anger. I fear he may have escaped into the rat hole he emerged from. He was quiet. Surapadman turned towards Bhagirath. I will report to the King that my brother, Prince Ugrasen, died while valiantly defending Magadh from a Naga terrorist attack.

I will also report that Ayodhya had nothing to do with this. Especially not now, when we have suffered such a grievous loss to the Suryavanshis. Ayodhya had lost face amongst Chandravanshis due to its leadership in the disastrous war against the Meluhans at Dharmakhet.

He turned towards Shiva again with a low bow. I request you to call me to your service when the war with this particular demon is to be fought.

The prince had not given an impression till now that he loved his brother or even sought vengeance. I must avenge his blood. Unlike any other city that Shiva had been to, both in Meluha and Swadweep, there was no jamboree organised to see him off.

His coming and going had been secret from most people in Magadh. Surapadman however had come to the Magadh port incognito to pay his respects to the Neelkanth before his departure.

The ships sailed in the standard Meluhan convoy formation with the main ship carrying the Neelkanth and his companions, surrounded on all four sides by a ship each. A crucial role in this formation was played by the lead ship. It was the speed controller for the entire convoy. A Chandravanshi captain was in command of the lead ship and he was doing a spectacularly inept job.

He was speeding at a maniacal pace, perhaps to show the prowess of his vessel. Parvateshwar had to keep blowing the ship horn to alert the lead boat Captain and slow him down. Tired of this inefficiency, Parvateshwar had decided to travel in the lead ship to teach a thing or two to the Chandravanshi captain about the basics of naval defence formations.

Considering the task at hand, Parvateshwar was distressed that Anandmayi had, for some inexplicable reason, decided to also travel on the lead ship. Parvateshwar turned from the balustrade at the fore of the ship.

He had not seen her tip-toe to his side. Her posture had the effect of raising her already short dhoti a fair distance up her right leg and stretching her bosom out provocatively.

Parvateshwar, uncomfortable for some reason he could not fathom, stepped back a bit. You old devil, you. Instead of trying to keep our lead boat agonisingly slow, simply tie a rope of approximately the right length from here to the main ship.

Then have a soldier posted at the back who signals every time the rope touches the water, which would mean that the lead vessel is too slow and should speed up. And if the rope becomes taut, the soldier can relay a signal that the lead ship should slow down. I will immediately have the captain execute these orders.

A few minutes will make no difference. Talk to me for a while. He looked down at her hands. Anandmayi frowned and pulled her hands back.

Especially not you. I am sworn to lifelong celibacy. Are you saying you are a year-old virgin?! Anandmayi collapsed into a fit of giggles. Vishwadyumna heard the soft footfalls. He immediately drew his sword, giving hand signals to his platoon to do likewise. Their platoon had moved deeper into the forests south of Magadh after the skirmish with Prince Ugrasen and his platoon.

The Naga had been injured seriously and was not in a position to travel far. Vishwadyumna hoped the sounds he was hearing did not come from the Magadhans. His Lord was in no state to fight. Or flee. Perhaps, the tiredness of long travel or the cold of winter had roughened the voice. But he certainly recognised the tone. He immediately put his sword down and bowed his head.

The Queen of the Nagas emerged from the trees, leading her horse quietly. Behind her was her trusted Prime Minister, Karkotak, and fifty of her elite bodyguards. Is that so difficult to do? She entered the cramped tent and took off her mask.

On a bed of hay lay her nephew, the Lord of the People. He was covered in bandages, his body limp and weak. The Queen looked at her nephew with concerned eyes, her tone kind.

Why are you causing me so much grief? And that is the only reason why I have come all this way for you. You have earned the devotion of all the Nagas.

But your karma is still not complete. There are many things you need to do. And stopping some royal brat from what you believe is wrong does not figure high on that list.

This country is full of repulsive royals who abuse their people. Are we going to fight every single one? The Magadh prince was doing something wrong. But it is not your duty to stop every person who does something wrong. You are not Lord Rudra. It happens to thousands of children. This bull fighting is an addictive disease. How many will you stop? Quick anger rose within her. How many times have I told you to forget this? Her men kept their heads bowed, terrified of her fearsome rage.

Make preparations. Karkotak knew that. The city had been settled along a voluptuous bend of the holy Ganga river as it took a leisurely northwards meander before flowing East again. If looked at from the sky, this meander gave the impression of a crescent moon, incidentally the royal insignia of the Chandravanshis. Therefore, in the eyes of the Swadweepans, Kashi was the most natural Chandravanshi city. Kashi also had its own superstition.

The city had been built only along the western banks of the river meander, leaving its eastern banks bare. It was believed that whoever built a house on the eastern side at Kashi would suffer a terrible fate.

The royal family of Kashi had therefore bought all the land to the East, ensuring that nobody, even by mistake, would suffer the wrath of the gods. Shiva looked at her and smiled, taking her hand, kissing it gently and holding it close to his chest. This is where our child should be born. This shall be the place. They wanted the Mahadev to notice and favour them. But the Neelkanth noticed something more unusual.

Why in the name of the Holy Lake do they have no protection? Tell me the entire tale, for this is one of the strangest sights I have seen in India. Neither did it get its name from the small Assi rivulet that flows close by. It got its name due to an execution that took place here. In fact, eighty executions in just one day. Eighty members of the Asura royalty were put to death by Lord Rudra for war crimes.

Many believe that it was not the exhausting battles between the Devas and Asuras that put an end to the evil Asura menace, but this sublime act of justice that Lord Rudra performed. Without their key leaders, the Asura insurrection against the Devas fizzled out.

Who said the Asuras were evil? Soon thereafter, Lord Rudra, the greatest and most fearsome warrior in history, abandoned all violence. He banned the use of Daivi Astras that had caused enormous casualties in the Deva-Asura war. Anyone who disobeyed this order would feel the wrath of Lord Rudra who said he would even break his vow of non-violence and destroy seven generations of the man who used any divine weapons.

What made him give this order? I know , mused Shiva. This must have been the moment when Lord Rudra realised the Asuras were not evil, just different. He must have been racked by guilt. Lord Rudra also said Assi Ghat and Kashi had become holy. Lord Rudra said there would be no further killing at Assi Ghat. That the place should be respected. That the spirits at Assi Ghat and Kashi would forgive the sins of even the most sinful and guide them to salvation if their dead body was cremated there.

It was impossible for the small Assi Ghat to cater to such large numbers of the dead. So cremations were stopped at Assi and the city converted another massive ghat, called Manikarnika, into a giant crematorium. The royal family publicly swore that neither they, nor their descendants, would ever indulge in warfare. In fact, they foreswore any killing, except in the case of self-defence. To prove their commitment to their words, they actually tore down their fort ramparts and built an open ring road around the city.

They then erected great temples all along the road, giving it an aura of spirituality. Nobody could attack this city, for it would be seen as an insult to Lord Rudra. It became a land of supreme peace and hence prosperity.

Suppressed people from across the confederacy found solace here. Traders found that this was the safest place to base their business. Peace and nonalignment to any other kingdom in Swadweep has actually made Kashi an oasis of stability. Where else would they be safe?

But the Brangas have tested even the famed Kashi patience and hospitality. Kashi is a cosmopolitan city and nobody is forced to change their way of life. Is it connected to the Tsangpo in any way? At the eastern extremities of the Himalayas, it takes a sharp turn, almost reversing its flow. It then starts moving south-west and crashes through massive gorges before emerging near Branga as the Brahmaputra.

The cold waters of the Tsangpo dilute the poisonous impact to a degree. However, as the river enters India in the form of the Brahmaputra, the rising temperature reactivates the dormant toxin in the water.

Though the Branga children also suffer from the same body-wracking pain as the Nagas, they are free from deformities. Sadly, Branga also has a high incidence of cancer.

Being highly populous, the number of deaths is simply unacceptable. That is the time when ice melts faster in the Himalayas, making the poison flow out in larger quantities. Even though we told King Chandraketu how his kingdom was being poisoned, some Brangas prefer to believe that the plague strikes every year because of a curse that the Nagas have cast upon them.

If only we were that powerful! But it appears that at least Chandraketu believes us. This is why he sends us men and gold regularly, to stealthily attack Somras manufacturing facilities, the root of all our problems. Raise the issue in Meluha or with the Vayuputras?

He turned to the one intellectual he trusts, the venerable royal priest, Raj guru Bhrigu. Lord Bhrigu seemed genuinely interested and took me to the Vayuputra council so I could present my case before them, but they were not at all supportive.

This was where the issue was effectively killed. Nobody was willing to believe me about the source of the Brahmaputra. They also laughed when they heard that I was ostensibly listening to the Nagas. According to them, the Nagas were now ruled by an extremist harridan whose frustration with her own karma made everyone else the object of her ire.

Shiva smiled at Kali before turning back to Brahaspati. So the plague could have been caused by their bad practices and karma rather than the Somras. Remember, there is little sympathy for the Brangas amongst the Vayuputras because it is well known that they drink the blood of peacocks, a bird that is held holy by any follower of Lord Rudra. Emperor Daksha is weak and can be easily influenced.

He could have brought about changes in Meluha. The Vayuputra council does not govern your country. On returning to Meluha I received a letter from her telling me that she was disappointed with my tirades against the Somras. I asked Lord Bhrigu to check with his friends in Pariha. I was told that she had just disappeared. It was a message for me. Keep quiet or else Had I made the issue any bigger within Meluha, I would have lost what little standing I have amongst the Suryavanshis as well.

I would have lost my ability to do anything at all. Though I knew I had to do something, I also realised that the strategy of open lobbying and debate had become counter-productive. There were too many vested interests tied into the Somras. Only the Vayuputra council could have had the moral strength to stop it openly, through the institution of the Neelkanth.

But they refused to believe that the Somras had turned evil. But I had to do something. Maharishi Bhrigu was convinced there was nothing to fear from the Somras waste. So the manufacturing of Somras continued at the same frantic pace. The Saraswati kept getting prodigiously consumed.

Somras waste was being generated in huge quantities. Since the empire now believed that cold, fresh water had worked in disposing of the toxic waste, new plans were being drawn up to use other rivers. This time the idea was to use the upper reaches of either the Indus or the Ganga. We were going to unleash toxic waste right through the heart of India.

Almost as a message from the Parmatma, the ultimate soul, I was approached by Lord Ganesh around this time. He had formulated a plan, and I must admit his words made eminent sense. There could be only one possible solution. The destruction of Mount Mandar.

Without Mount Mandar, there would be no Somras. And with the Somras gone, all these problems would disappear too. When it happened, I knew in my heart that it was time for the destruction of Evil.

The Neelkanth appeared.

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It was the final sign for me: the time to destroy Evil was upon us. The hunting party went down on their knees. Kartik, who was right behind Vishwadyumna, whistled softly as his eyes lit up. Kartik, having proved himself as an accomplished hunter throughout the journey to Panchavati, was the natural leader of one of the groups.

Vishwadyumna had accompanied the son of the Neelkanth. He intensely admired the fierce warrior skills of Kartik. The rhinoceros was a massive animal, nearly four metres in length. It had bumpy brownish skin that hung over its body in multiple layers, suggestive of tough armour. Its most distinctive feature was its nasal horn, which stuck out like a fearsome offensive weapon, to a height of nearly fifty centimetres.

These beasts have terrible eyesight, but they have a fantastic sense of smell and hearing. They were quiet animals who kept to themselves, but if threatened, they could charge wildly. Few could survive a direct blow from their massive body and terrifying horn. Kartik reached over his shoulder and drew out the two swords sheathed on his back.

In his left hand was a short twin-blade, like the one his elder brother Ganesh favoured. In his right was a heavier one with a curved blade which was certainly not appropriate for thrusting.

This weapon was perfect for swinging and slashing — a style of fighting Kartik excelled at. Make as much noise as you can. I want you to drive it forward. Too many soldiers charging in will cramp us. All it would need to do is swing its mighty horn and it would cause several casualties. Do you really think our arrows can actually penetrate deep enough to cause serious damage?

Along with the noise, the stench of your soldiers will also drive the animal forward. Like all warriors, Vishwadyumna admired humour in the face of danger. But he checked his smile, not sure if Kartik was joking.

The soldiers meanwhile, moved upwind, behind the rhinoceros. Having reached his position, Kartik whistled softly.

A volley of arrows attacked the animal as the soldiers began to scream loudly. The rhinoceros raised its head, ears twitching as the arrows bounced harmlessly off its skin. As the soldiers drew closer, some of the missiles managed to penetrate enough to agitate the beast. The animal snorted mightily and stomped the dirt, radiating strength and power as light gleamed off its tiny black eyes.

It lowered its head and charged, its feet thundering against the ground. Kartik was in position. The beast only had side vision and could not see straight ahead. Therefore, it was no surprise that it crashed into an overhanging branch in its path, which made it change its direction slightly.

At which point, it saw Kartik standing to its right. The furious rhinoceros bellowed loudly, changed course back to the original path and charged straight towards the diminutive son of Shiva. Kartik remained stationary and calm, with his eyes focused on the beast. His breathing was regular and deep. The animal was running, guided by the memory of where it had seen Kartik last. Vishwadyumna fired arrows into the animal rapidly, hoping to slow it down. But the thick hide of the beast ensured that the arrows did not make too much of a difference.

It was running straight towards Kartik. Vishwadyumna could see the boy warrior holding his swords lightly. That was completely wrong for a stabbing action, where the blade needs to be firmly held. Just when it appeared that he was about to be trampled underfoot, Kartik bent low and, with lightning speed, rolled towards the left.

As the rhinoceros continued running, he slashed out, his left sword first, pressing the lever on the hilt as he swung. One of the twin-blades extended out of the other, slicing through the front thigh of the beast, cutting through muscles and veins.

Admirably, it still continued its charge, its three good legs heaving against its bulk as it struggled to turn and face its attacker. Kartik ran forward, following the movement of the animal, now circling in from behind the beast. He hacked brutally with his right hand, which held the killer curved sword. The blade sliced through the thigh of the hind leg, cutting down to the bone with its deep curvature and broad metal.

With both its right legs incapacitated, the rhinoceros collapsed to the ground, rolling sideways as it tried to stand with only two good legs, writhing in pain. Its blood mixed with the dusty earth to make a dark red-brown mud that smeared across its body as it flailed against the ground, panting in fear. Kartik stood quietly at a short distance, watching the animal in its final throes. Vishwadyumna watched from behind, his mouth agape.

He had never seen an animal brought down with such skill and speed. Kartik approached the rhinoceros calmly. Even though immobilised, the beast reared its head menacingly at him, grunting and whining in a high-pitched squeal. Kartik maintained a safe distance as the other soldiers rapidly ran up to him. The son of the Neelkanth bowed low to the animal. I am only doing my duty. I will finish this soon. He took the letter from Kanakhala and dismissed her. With a polite Namaste towards her Emperor and Empress, Kanakhala turned to leave.

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The last few months had inured her to the strange goings-on in Meluha. Kanakhala had lost all respect for her emperor. She continued with her job because she remained loyal to Meluha. But what earthly reason could there be for the Swadweepan emperor to go as well? Daksha began to cry. Veerini immediately reached over and snatched the letter from him.

As she read through it quickly, Veerini let out a deep sigh of relief as tears escaped from her eyes. For Bhrigu, the greatest gain would be that the Somras would not be targeted by the Neelkanth. The faith of the people in the legend of the Neelkanth was strong. If the Neelkanth declared that the Somras was evil and decided to toe the Naga line, so would his followers. For Dilipa it meant the killing of two birds with a single stone.

Daksha would be rid of the troublesome Neelkanth and be able to blame all ills on the Nagas once again. The plan was perfect. Except that Daksha could not countenance the killing of his daughter.

He was willing to put everything on the line to ensure that Sati was left unharmed. Bhrigu and Dilipa had hoped that with the rupture in relations between Daksha and his daughter, the Meluhan emperor would support this mission wholeheartedly. They were wrong. Veerini had covertly kept in touch with her daughter Kali through all these years of strife, and had made Daksha aware of the river warning and defence system of the Nagas.

All that had to be done was to get the alarm triggered in time. He was to escape and return to Meluha after that. The Arishtanemi brigadier and acting general of the Meluhan army had carried a homing pigeon with him to deliver the news of the subsequent battle to Daksha.

The happy message for the Meluhan emperor was that the progeny Daksha cared for — Sati and Kartik — were alive and safe. Veerini looked at her husband. He shook his head. And never breathe a word of this to anyone. He took the letter from Veerini and set it aflame, holding it by the edge for as long as possible, to ensure that every part of it had charred beyond recognition.

Night had fallen on the Panchavati guest colony just outside the main city. Sati and Shiva were in their chambers, having just returned from the city.

They had not even told the Suryavanshis that Brahaspati, their beloved chief scientist, was still alive. They were to meet him again the next day. He is a rare sight in Meluha, since he usually chooses to spend his time meditating in his Himalayan cave. He helped my father get elected as emperor because he believed my father would be good for Meluha.

Beyond that Lord Bhrigu has had no interest in the day-to-day governance of Meluha.

He is a simple man, rarely seen in the so-called powerful circles. That may have been unusual, but what about the other things that Brahaspati said? Perhaps they were in Pariha at the time. And yes, the talented and lovely Taraji, who worked at Mount Mandar and had been sent to Pariha for a project, did disappear suddenly.

It was announced that she had taken sanyas. Renouncing public life is very common in Meluha. But what Brahaspatiji revealed today was something else altogether. But is it actually so or is he mistaken?

This decision of yours can change the course of history. What you do now will have repercussions for generations to come. It is a momentous occasion, a big battle. You have to be completely sure.

What made Brahaspatiji disappear for over five years? What was he doing in Panchavati all this while? I feel this is an important question; perhaps linked to the back-up manufacturing facility for the Somras that father had told me about. But if the Somras is Evil, that facility is the key.

A manufacturing facility can always be rebuilt. But wherever it is built, it will always need the Saraswati waters. Kali told me at Icchawar that her people attacked Meluhan temples and Brahmins only if they were directly harming the Nagas. Maybe those temples were production centres that used the powder from Mount Mandar to manufacture the Somras drink for the locals.

She also said that a final solution would emerge from the Saraswati. That the Nagas were working on it. We need to find out. You thought that Ganesh had killed Brahaspatiji. Now that the truth has emerged, you are willing to listen. It was late the next morning, four hours into the second prahar.


Shiva sat with Sati at his side in his private chambers. Parvateshwar and Bhagirath stood in front, holding a plank. The Meluhan general and the Ayodhyan prince had just returned after surveying the destroyed battleships.

Lord Parvateshwar has identified them. These ships had navigated through a lot of sea water, judging by the molluscs on them. They needed the best to be able to make the journey quickly. He simply does not have the capability. He is just a follower in this plot. You have to target him, of course. He is not. Emperor Daksha too is incapable of leading this conspiracy. In the hands of a lesser king, this can lead to a lot of wrong. There is a master who has brought the royalty of Meluha and Swadweep together.

Someone who also managed to procure the feared daivi astras. Heaven alone knows if he has any more divine weapons. It was a brilliant plan. It cannot be Emperor Daksha or Emperor Dilipa. This is someone of far greater importance, intelligence and resource. And, one who is clever enough to conceal his identity.

Kali and Sati were also present. Before they do so, I want you to slip into Meluha quietly and take our people to Kashi. I will meet you there. After that, you are on your own. After that we can travel on boats plying on the river.

With luck, we will reach Devagiri in another two weeks. The Gunas are in a small village not far from there. Go now. Veerbhadra and Krittika turned around. Shiva knew Veerbhadra would not abandon her to her fate so easily. You will be of no use to your mother if you are dead, Bhadra. If you cannot get them out, I will. But do not do anything rash. Promise me. What have you discovered here? Why are you so afraid suddenly?

Is there going to be a war? Is Meluha going to become our enemy? Had you asked me a month back, I would have said this would be the safest journey possible. A lot has changed since then. You have to tell me the truth. I deserve that. Anandmayi, Ayurvati and Kartik were settled comfortably on soft cushions in the dining room. Kshatriya in word and deed, Anandmayi and Kartik partook of the delicious rhinoceros meat.

The Brahmin Ayurvati restricted herself to roti, dal and vegetables. You need to enjoy your childhood. He has so much to contribute to society, to the country. And yet, he was almost eaten alive by dumb beasts because he was trying to save me.

Parvateshwar and Bhagirath walked in. Just by looking at them, Anandmayi could tell that they had discovered what she feared. Parvateshwar sat next to Anandmayi and held her hand. He looked at Ayurvati, his pained expression bearing witness to his stark misery. Women also learnt music and dancing. According to the Vedic literature, women had their rights and privileges during the period. They were allowed to be educated as the initiation ceremony or Upanayana was for both girls and boys.

The age witnessed many women poets and philosophers "like Visvavara, Apala and Ghosha even composed mantras and rose to the rank of rishis. Lopamudra, one of the female preachers, is said to have preached as many as hymns of the first book of the Rig Veda along with sage Agasthya. Perhaps Amish wants to break down this myth by presenting Sati as a warrior. The concept of woman as warrior is not completely fictitious as Indian history has witnessed a large number of female warriors e.

From mythology to contemporary society, the example of warrior women has never lacked. Sati rises to the occasion by voluntarily staking her life and fighting the beast to save the lives of the villagers.

She is about to lose her life when the Nagas, a tribe of people with deformities, appear and save the situation. Amish has structured a myth that in Egyptian culture, in the cult of Aten, every assassin would one day meet such a magnificent opponent, who though defeated, would make it impossible for him to carry on the business of elimination. The relationship of General Parvateswar and Princess Anandmayi is allegorised with the mythic story of Menka and Viswamitra.

A celibate sage, Viswamitra, is seduced by the heavenly nymph Menka into marriage but Viswamitra leaves her when he finds out that she has been sent only to break his celibacy by Indra, thunder God in Hindu religion, akin to Zeus, Jupiter or Jove, Shango or Perun in ancient Greek, Roman, Yoruba, and Slavic religions respectively. In the same way, the celibate Parvateshwar is seduced by Princess Anandmayi into benign marriage.

In media, the woman form sells. Contemporary popular literature has also used it to a similar effect. Chandravanshis in the front row leaned forward to get a better view of the ample cleavage that was revealed. The rest of her, a feast for his eyes. This erotic www. Naturally, the erotic image appears to be an afterthought. Amish has also presented a balanced view of life on the basis of on gender. There are two ways of Life - Masculine and Feminine.

Both are necessary for balance. A few other female characters like Kali and Anandhmayi are from outside yet their social status is equally superior. Amish recreates these ideals to present true social and community models for 21st Century India. Works Cited: Austen, Jane. Persuasion, Maple Press Classics U. Ibid, P.

De Beauviur, Simone. The Second Sex. Accessed 20th August Ibid, p.Choudhiri, Ray. The Devas, who were followers of the feminine way, brought in all this when they defeated the Asuras. A man who rose to become godlike because of his karma. She smiled warmly. My mission, I admit, prevailed over my love for you. This is not true. They helped the great seventh Vishnu, Lord Ram, complete his mission. Shiva turned back and saw Sati resting against the wall, holding her head up, pressing her nose hard.