CHAPTER 1: MAHAPRALAYAM
A gently awakening dawn over Kurukshetra set off the deafening sounds of galloping horses, war cries, drum beats and conches. Clouds of dust rose into the air in either direction as the armies of the Pandavas and the Kauravas headed towards collision. The armies clashed and a bloody war ensued.
Perched atop a nearby hill, a group of ragtag tantric monks watched the event with rapt attention. A young boy with braided locks and ash-covered face was particularly observant. He was Bhairav, a tantric from the Thuggee clan. It was a war between the Pandavas and Kauravas. The Kaurava army outnumbered the Pandavas by orders of magnitude. As the two armies were about to collide, he whispered to himself, ‘Mahapralayam!’
From dawn to dusk, both armies fought fiercely and mercilessly. At sunset, the sounds of conches signaled the armies to stop the battle and rescind to their camps. Royal carriages hauled away the fallen upper-caste warriors and royal citizenry. They were taken to the camps and proffered imperial funeral rites. The corpses of the lower caste foot-soldiers were left behind.
At night, after the dust settled and an eerie quietness pervaded the battlegrounds, the tantric monks descended from the hilltops to survey the carnage.
The Thuggees were ritualistic gatherers of gold. There was an unspoken pact between the lower caste soldiers and the Thuggees. The Thuggees picked out the gold from the soldier’s body and in return, they accorded the owner a funeral. All night, the Thuggees searched for golden ornaments on soldiers – rings, earrings, amulets, bangles and other artifacts. Using their axes, they pried away the ornaments. The items were aggregated, bagged and dispatched. The bodies of those soldiers were disposed in a communal funeral pyre.
The residual corpses became part of the feast for the Aghori monks and the Oudhad sadhus – the cannibalistic tantric sects. They scavenged upon the corpses along with the vultures and hyenas. Injured soldiers were hunted down and consumed.
After 16 days of war, the battleground became a veritable display of human carnage and apocalypse. A foul stench of rotting flesh permeated the air. Broken chariots, dead horses, puddles of blood and small fires were speckled across the land.
As Bhairav wandered through the battleground looking for gold, he came across a princely looking warrior lying on the ground. He was badly wounded, drenched in blood and writhing in pain
Bhairav cringed. He was unable to fathom how such a fine warrior was left behind. He had the appearance of a king. There must be a mistake, he thought and wondered if his eyes were playing tricks on him.
“O holy man! I am sorry. I have nothing to give you,” said the injured warrior. Bhairav felt a twinge of sympathy. He picked up the warrior and held him in his arms.
“Who are you?” inquired Bhairav.
“I am Karna,” said the warrior. “Wait! I do have something to give you.” He picked up a broken arrow lying nearby, put it in his mouth, and plucked out a golden tooth. He cleaned it with his blood-soaked fingers and offered it to Bhairav. Bhairav accepted it. Karna gasped for a few moments and died in his arms.
A few moments later, another warrior appeared from the darkness. He spoke in a deep, husky voice, “get away from him. He is my friend. I have come to take him.” Bhairav recognized this warrior. He was Duryodhana – the leader of the Kaurava army. Bhairav scurried away. At a distance, he saw Duryodhana carry Karna’s body out of the battlefield in his arms.
Bhairav wandered through Kurukshetra, assessing the apocalypse. Everywhere he looked, he saw death and destruction stretched all way to the horizon. Corpses were piled on top of each other and the land was littered with limbs and body parts, animal carcass, broken chariots, weapons and pools of blood. The sounds of cackling vultures and hyenas and the smell of rotting flesh and smoke pervaded the air.
Bhairav was shell-shocked at the ghastly sight. He dropped on his knees. He buried his head in his palms and cried profusely.
Just then, he heard a voice from afar, “Mahapralayam”! He turned around to find the source. A trident-wielding tantric, with long deadlocks and beard, appeared from within the darkness. He adorned a garland made of skulls and loin cloth made of tiger’s skin and was covered in ash-dust. He looked intimidating and fierce. He approached Bhairav and said in a low voice, “Mahapralayam”.
“Who are you?” asked an awe-struck Bhairav.
“I am Kaal Durvasa,” he said!
“Kaal Durvasa?” Bhairav dropped on his knees and touched his feet. “You are the sage of sages, the wisest of all. You are the mystic who instills fear in Indra himself. My mind is filled with doubt and my heart is heavy with sorrow. I yearn for instruction, for guidance. So please bestow your knowledge upon me. Help me understand the source of this agony and what I can do to relieve it.”
Kaal Durvasa said, “If you want to get the right answer, you have to ask the right question. Tell me, what plagues your mind?”
Bhairav spoke, “my body quivers; my mouth dries up; my hair stands on its end and my skin burns intensely. I am unable to stand steadily. O Kaal Durvasa, you are a wise sage. Please tell me this. Of what value is this victory, if it is earned upon destroying everyone and everything that you know and love? When I look around me, I see mankind racing towards self-destruction. I see brothers killing brothers, fathers turning against their sons, students slaying teachers. What is the purpose of such an existence? Who can celebrate such a victory when everything you desire and everyone you love has been destroyed?” He dropped on his knees and cried profusely.
Kaal Durvasa smiled and spoke,“16 days ago, on a full-moon night, just before the war was to begin, Arjuna had a premonition. He had a vision about the looming slaughter and the destruction. His mind was riddled with questions and full of ambiguity. He rushed to Krishna and questioned the validity of such a victory. Krishna steered the chariot to the center of the battlefield. Amidst the two armies, in the gentle glow of the early morning light, Krishna expounded to Arjuna, the knowledge of DHARMA.
And now here we are. It’s the darkest of dark nights. We are amidst the very slaughter and destruction that was envisioned by Arjuna. You come to me with the same riddled mind and mourning heart as Arjuna. You ask me the very question that Arjuna asked Krishna; while sitting at the very spot that Arjuna sat down to listen to Krishna.
O Bhairav! You have asked me the right question. So listen carefully, I will share with you my knowledge of TANTRA!”
same questions as those of charvaka. i'd like the questions answered before before i read. please oblige. tia.
BigMoney - where's part 2?!
We need some knowledge of Dharma here too.
The story is continued here:
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