Continuing with the story of Kaliya, Nilanjana retells the story of Ramanaka Island, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
“Ramanaka Island? My curiosity is kindled for this story now,” Parikshit confessed.
Sukha smiled, “Well your curiosity is insatiable. You see human beings are scared of snakes. Hence they try to keep the snakes happy by providing something edible from time to time. Usually, on new moon days, the edible stuff would be left under an ashwattha tree. Snakes would happily accept the food and not disturb human beings. Now snakes were afraid of Garuda. You know that Garuda is the vahana (carrier) of Lord Vishnu. To keep him happy, the snakes would keep a part of his food for Garuda. But Kaliya refused to do so. He was blinded by arrogance and ego and refused to follow this accepted arrangement. Garuda was enraged by this defiance and decided to teach Kaliya a lesson. Kaliya was the son of Kadru and Garuda had to settle a score with him too. But that is again another story!
Coming back to this story, Garuda attacked Kaliya for his defiance and arrogance. Both fought with all their might but Garuda cornered Kaliya who eventually escaped and took refuge in Lake Madu.”
“But why Lake Madu?” Parikshit asked.
“Many years ago Lake Madu was home to many fishes. One day when Rishi (sage) Shaubari was standing near the lake, he saw an eagle pick up a fish from the lake to eat it up. As the eagle devoured the mother fish, her little ones were completely heartbroken. The compassionate sage cursed all the birds, forbidding them to ever touch the water of this lake. Somehow, Kaliya was aware of this and hence he chose this lake as a shelter from Garuda and other birds that keep attacking snakes.
Meanwhile, as the cowherds were enjoying the defeat of Kaliya on the banks of River Yamuna, a forest fire broke out. As the distraught cowherds began to run around helplessly, Krishna came to their rescue once again. He opened his little mouth and swallowed the forest fire.”
Parikshit could not control the tears that were flowing from his eyes, “I am indeed very lucky. I am not even concerned that death is lurking around the corner for me. These stories are so enchanting that I feel something inside me melting down when I hear any of them.”
Sukha looked pleased, “Yes, the divine is so elusive to the greatest mediators. But then he gave himself completely to the simple cowherds. Are they not the luckiest in this world?”
[To be continued]
Footnote: Srimad Bhagavatam is often called the Bhagavad Purana. Authored by Ved Vyasa, the stories are about the various avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu, also known as Narayana.
Photos from the Internet
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A story-teller at heart, Nilanjana Dey is on a journey to experiment with fiction and poetry. Her first novel, largely aimed towards children, is titled ‘The Adventures of Puti – The Cheese Trail’. Her poems have been published at various prestigious portals. An alumni of English Literature from Jadavpur University (Kolkata), she is a marketing and communication professional based in Mumbai. She volunteers with a Mumbai based NGO working with the marginalised sections of the society.