Maya and Hari looked at one another in surprise. Then, Maya spoke:
“How do you know us? I am amazed. We are separated by many millenniums of evolution and history.”
Bhibhatsu smiled at her awestruck expression and said –
“This here, girl, is my friend Aniruddha, also known by varied names as Krishna, Mukunda, Vasudeva and Abyankara. He knows the past, present and future. Aniruddha, who are these children?”
“I will tell you in a moment, Bhibhatsu, but these children come here, bearing a message for you. You would be wise to listen. Maya, narrate the story of Baliyadev, that your aunt, Akshara told you a while ago. I will then help you with the knowledge your Guruji sent you here for.”
Maya stared at him for a minute before she began her narration:
“Baliyadev was the son of Ghatotkacha, and the grandson of Bhima. He was a brilliant warrior, and was given a boon of three magical arrows from Lord Shiva. When the Kurukshetra war was about to begin, Baliyadev promised his mother he’d participate in the war only if he could aid the losing side. He wished to watch the war as a spectator otherwise.
Before the war, Lord Krishna went around asking people how long they’d take to end the war on their own. Arjuna estimated they’d take 28 days. However, Baliyadev promised Krishna he could end the war in a minute. Krishna, perturbed, visited Baliyadev disguised as a Brahmin. He asked Baliyadev to demonstrate his arrows and realized they were infallible. The first arrow Baliyadev fired would mark all the things he wished to destroy. The second, if used, would mark all the things he wished to save. The third, finally, would destroy all the things the first had marked. To test these arrows, Krishna asked Baliyadev to shoot down all the leaves from a nearby tree. However, he kept a leaf hidden under his foot. Baliyadev, upon firing his first arrow, saw it mark all the leaves on the tree and then prick Krishna’s foot. (This is often quoted as the reason why Krishna’s foot was his Achilles’ heel, along with Durvasa’s curse)
Seeing this, Krishna realized it wasn’t in his power to hide anything from Baliyadev’s arrows, and that the Pandavas wouldn’t be safe from him.
It dawned upon him that this man could single-handedly destroy the world if he so wished, and he decided to nip this threat in the bud.
First, he explained to Baliyadev that if he chose to aid the losing side, the other side would start losing, and he’d be oscillating between the two sides and eventually be the only man left. He was also aware that Baliyadev was a generous man, and never refused to grant someone a boon. So he asked Baliyadev for his head as a sacrifice, to anoint the battlefield in the blood of the bravest Kshatriya. Baliyadev, obviously, grew suspicious of the Brahmin, and asked him to reveal his true self. Upon seeing Krishna in his divine glory, Baliyadev agreed to sacrifice himself on the condition he could watch the war. Krishna agreed, lopped his head off, and mounted it on a pole next to the battlefield.
Eventually, after Kurukshetra war ended, the Pandavas argued about who had been the best warrior. Krishna suggested they go and ask Baliyadev. On being questioned, he said “All I could see were two things. One, a divine chakra spinning all around the battle field, killing all those who were not on the side of Dharma. The other was Goddess Mahakali, who spread out her tongue on the battle field and consumed all the sinners as her sacrifice”.
Hearing this, the Pandavas realized it was Lord Narayan, and Goddess Mahamaya who had cleansed the world with this war, and they had been mere instruments of this divine cleansing.”
As Maya finished her story, she saw Bhibhatsu’s expression change from being stunned to an abject contrition. Bhibhatsu turned and bowed his head to Aniruddha.
“Forgive me for my ignorance and conceit.”
Aniruddha raised his hand in a conciliatory gesture before responding.
“Peace, Bhibhatsu. This is not the last time you will have these doubts. There will come a time again when fear and familial attachments will cloud your mind again. But for now, calm your fears.”
Turning to Maya and Hari, Aniruddha said – “Well done. Now come with me, I will give you what you came here for.”
Author’s note: This is the second chapter in the novella – “The God, The Girl and The Gem” that I am publishing as a part of Blogchatter #AtozChallenge in April.
(1) The story of Baliyadev was first published as a part of my published work – “Maya & the Mind Mystics” available on Kindle Unlimited. I just couldn’t resist making it a part of the plot line for this work as well. You can also read sample chapters of “Maya & the Mind Mystics” here.
(2) For those of you who are unfamiliar with Indian Mythology, the story of Baliyadev is based on the epic, Mahabharata. He was a relatively obscure and minor character. Aniruddha and Bhibhatsu are alternative names of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, the protagonists of the epic.