Friday, November 20, 2015

[Short Story] The Trial of Hanuman

On the southernest peak of Bharatvarsha the army of monkey kingdom Kishkinda camped near the ocean bank. Few were busy preparing food for the rest, while others were sharping their weapons. There was a murmur among the army about crossing the ocean.

At that time four people huddled at the beach discussing their option. Ram, Lakshman, Hanumaan and Jambavana discussing the strategy for crossing the ocean.
"We need to find out if Ravana is holding Sita captive in that kingdom. I do not wish to battle the king without any sort of proof," Lord Ram said.
"King Ravana rules Lanka. He is one of the most powerful and the richest king," Jambavana said.
"But is there is a way to confirm if he has held Sita captive there and..." Lord Ram spoke, "... I need proof that he holds her captive against her wishes."
"Brother!!!!," Lakshman gasped, "Do not doubt Sita mayya please."
"I do not but as prince of Ayodhya and the leader of the army, I need definite reason to attack." Lord Ram said.
"Perhaps," Jambavana explained, "I can help. I know the ancient vidya of leaping high but since I am injured I cannot do it myself. I would be happy to tell one willing participant the secret to flying."
"I can do it," Lakshman volunteered, "if anyone can fly, I would like to do so."
"No brother," Lord Ram said, "You are a prince of Ayodhya. Stepping inside the kingdom of Lanka will put both kingdoms in an awkward position. A third party should do it, someone like Hanumaan."

Hanumaan looked at his mentor and bowed.

"Hanumaan," Lord Ram said, "I know it seems herculean task but if there is anyone who can do this, its you. I believe in you. You have to jump across the ocean and find Sita. Once you find her, give her my ring as a proof that you are my companion and inform her that I am on my way to save her."
"Why can't Hanuman bring Sita Mayya back?" asked Lakshmana, "If we have the knowledge of flight. If he can leap across the entire ocean, he can as well bring her on his shoulders."
"Yes he can," Lord Ram said, "But that won't do justice to Ravana. By kidnapping my wife from my own house, Ravana has challenge me to defend my house. By sending Hanuman I am asserting that we are going in the correct direction and we will build a bridge across this ocean to cross it."
"But brother, with all due respect, we have a band of monkeys. If our knowledge is correct we will be facing a horde of monsters, demons and what-not in that kingdom."
"Perhaps we will," Lord Rama said, "But we cannot let that deter our efforts can we? We can fight the battle with best of our efforts and hold Ravana in my court. It is not an easy task, I agree, no one has defeated the King in so many years. He is good but by taking my wife against her wishes, he has made the battle personal."
"Ravana is evil," Lakshmana spoke, "Ravana is evil and his trickery knows no bound. Why do we even fight the battle in just way."
"We fight the battle in the just way because Ravana is evil and we are not like him. He used trickery to kidnap Sita, we cannot use trickery to bring her back. That way there will be no difference between him and us. We will follow the procedure, protocol and we will bring him to justice."

"Are you ready Hanumaan?" Jambavana asked.
The revelation troubled Hanumaan, can he leap across an entire ocean? He though to himself. Jambavana was the wisest among all, he was the advisor to Sugriva in the kingdom as well as Prabhu Ram. What if he failed? What if he never reached across and died in the way? He would let his mentor down.

He looked Jambavana in fearful eyes, "I know what you are thinking vaanar raj." Jambavana spoke, "The task is difficult. You will be having a lot of questions now but this is a leap you have to take on faith. Just believe Vaanar raj, just believe. It will all come to you from now, you will be able to enlarge or reduce your body as your will too. But for once, answer me this?" he asked, "Do you trust me?"

All the doubts, all the questions Hanumaan had vanished at the question and he answered, "yes, I trust you."

"Then jump Vaanar raj," Jambavana said, "Jump."

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

[Short Story] The Trial of Ravana

Ravan was pacing hard in his royal chamber. A disturbing trend was brought to light in his peoples court today. His advisors informed of rise in corruption among the civil servants.  Ravan had always tried hard to instill discipline in his people. He tried hard to maintain peace and policy in the golden land of Lanka. We are the richest kingdom ever, don't they see it? he asked himself, If everyone is rich, why is there corruption?

He kept asking question again and again. Why are the people corrupt? We are just and fair to everyone, we do not over tax them, no one is poor? Then why do we have corruption?

Watching him agitated Vibhishan walked towards him, "Anything worrying you brother?"

"Why is there corruption Vibhishan? We have given them everything they want.... why corruption then?" Ravan asked, "Even the poorest of the villager eats in the plate of Gold, then why do we have corruption? Why can't we end it once and for all?"

Surpanakha was sitting close by watching a few ants carry the block of sugar to their house, she quipped, "Of Course there is a way to end it forever, I have been telling you since ever. Burn one or two corrupt officers in the middle of the kingdom for the junta to see... fear will make them obey."

Vibhishan looked at his sister horrified at the thought and turned back to his brother,

"I can't burn my own subjects," Ravan said, "What message will that send to others? The king hates them?"

"You are the demon king," Surpanakha said, "What is there to like about you? You are not like those sissy Ayodhya people whose prince gave up his rightful throne just for the wishes of a half dead king," she said simply drowning the ant in the glass of water.

Ravan watched her drown the ant and felt agitated, was he as the king only suppose to impose fear in his subjects? Why would people live in his kingdom then?

Vibhishan kept his hand on his brothers shoulder, "As a king you need to have faith in your subjects and so should they. Corruption begins when you loose their faith. The prince of Ayodhya gave up his rightful throne to keep word of his father. It was not done because he loved his father well, it was done because if he refused there would be a clash in royal household. Why will the subjects listen to the king if his own son won't? A strong royal family..." he glance at Surpanakha, who had lost her attention in the talk and was busy in her ant drowning"... can restore faith in the just king. If we can take some advise from the prince of Ayodya it was, the prince will lead the subjects, not by ordering them but by bowing before them.

As a King, instead of making stringent laws, ask them to have faith in the system. Build the system so strong that no external agent can peak inside it. Only then can you curb the corruption from inside. ."

Vibhishan's words only were drowned by the screams of Surpanakha, "Stupid ants... they all biting me, get away. Shoo Shoo..."

"If the subjects fear you, sooner or later they will revolt against you," Vibhishan concluded.

P.s. The story is entirely fiction. Characters adopted from Indian Mythology Ramayana

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