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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Svayambhu and Parvati's Vehicle

Upper Himalaya. Elevation 14000+ feet. Late Winter/Early Spring. 
Sunny Mid-morning. 19000 BCE.

“Where are you headed?” Svayambhu asked Parvati.
“I am going to go down to the lake and see my friends. They are coming back from a festival down south.”
“Are you going to walk there?”
“Yes. There is no other way.”
“Ok. Be safe. Come back by tomorrow night. I am going herb-picking over there by that hill.”
“Hill! That’s a mountain. You sure you will be back by the time I get back?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, sure.” Svayambhu smiled and winked at Parvati.
Parvati knew he was up to one of his tricks which he will never reveal to her unless she begged or pricked him with sharp pine needles or both.

Svayambhu ascended in front of her eyes into crisp cold air with sweet smelling sweat and a resonant sound of crushing air and disappeared. “See you soon!” She heard him in her head.
Parvati started walking, mumbling. “…could have given me a ride, but no, I have to suffer just like he did before I learn levitation. Stupid rocks and pebbles. Ouch!” A thorn went straight through her right foot. She plucked it out and looked at it-red glowing pointy head of the thorn freshly tainted by her blood. She went back inside their little hut/cave/dwelling on the side of the mountain to look for something to put around her foot. It took her forever.

Parvati cried. No one was there to wipe her tears. Then she remembered that Svayambhu had shown her those herbs next to the stream down by where she got pricked by the thorn. She walked slowly towards the stream. Again, it took her forever.
Sun was beginning to set by the time she got there. She cried again. ‘So much for getting together and having a good time with my friends. It doesn’t happen that often. Nothing happens here really. It’s quite boring at times. I need some company. How would he know?’

Parvati found the two specific herbs that Svayambhu had shown her-very unassuming. Very ordinary. She smelled them. Hum. That’s the one. And this one over here which has no smell but has darkish leaves. She chewed them. Forever. They had to mix well. Then she took out the thick paste from her mouth and gently smeared it on her wound. The toe looked funny. She felt sorry for herself. She slowly got up and sat next to a tree by the stream. She had no fear about being in open at night. And so, she dozed off and slept out in the open under the night sky, in a cold mountain air. The air was very soothing. She thought she would be cold, but a certain warmth was starting to rise up from her toe where she had applied the herbal paste. Soon it enveloped her completely as if she was covered by her favorite yak-skin blanket back in her home. Parvati slept off.

Mid-morning. Dewdrops on rocks. Sweet smell of early spring. Charred earth all round. Green grass, lush green valley, and a beautiful lake in the distance. Still 19000 BCE.

“How? What”-Parvati said to herself as she woke up rubbing her eyes.
She felt like she was 4 years old again-playing next to her childhood palace made up of metal, stone and wood.
“I was here all the time? Then why did I…what? I am hungry”. Parvati thought.
She remembered how she cried yesterday when the thorn went into her toe and later when she was frustrated while feeling helpless. Now she felt fully rejuvenated and agile. She got up and felt like she had grown new feet. Her wound was completely healed.
Parvati eventually met up with her friends who were camping in the valley. They all started talking at once. Parvati ate the food that her friends’ maids had cooked. Yummy. She gorged on sweet rice and thick yak yogurt. She felt happy. Her friends were happy to see her. They showed her their newly acquired clothes and jewelry. Parvati felt happy for them. She realized that she had no attachment left to the clothes or precious jewels. She laughed from inside. She was just happy to be with her friends. The entire day passed -talking, eating, and talking some more. They all had a good time.

It was time to head back. Parvati refused to get a ride from her friends. She thought it was worth climbing up and somehow, she knew that she will be there before sun down. Her friends thought she was crazy. They smiled and waved her goodbye. Parvati started her hike. Her friends gave her a set of thick furred sandals. She gladly accepted that gift. She was able to climb faster and faster gaining higher terrain very quickly. Soon she went into a meditative zone and kept climbing on.

Parvati was singing and humming as soon as she went up to a cliff that led her to her home. She could see that side of the mountain from her vantage point. It was high up and must be at least 1000-2000 feet from where she was. She looked up, looked at the low sun, and climbed on without a drop of fear. Until that one moment. All of a sudden, she slipped off a loose rock. She nearly fell into the steep ravine on the side of the cliff. She barely hung on. She was afraid. ‘What should I do? She swung her one-piece cloth she was wearing around on her left arm with her teeth and grabbed part of the dried branches of a bush. Then she slowly tied the cloth around the tiny bush and slowly pulled herself out. Sweat broke out on her brows. It must have been very arduous to climb like that. However, this time, she didn’t feel sorry. She felt it was a slight delay that made her appreciate her humbling attire of one-piece of thick white cotton. That’s all she had. And that’s what saved her life. She felt grateful. With a new wave of ecstasy rising from deep inside her being, she pressed on. Then she spotted a big, very big, cow looking at him. ‘A cow? Here? Is she lost’? The cow was standing still in the path. Parvati’s eyes were fixed on her eyes. She did not know that the cow was a young bull as she was distracted by her recent crisis (Also being a princess, she didn’t know that a bull does not like to be looked at directly especially if he feels he is being threated by a human). Parvati didn’t know what to do. She walked slowly towards the bull. Bull sniffed the air, looked up at Parvati, and felt strange attraction towards her. He let her come close and put her hands on him. It seemed very natural for Parvati that she can tie her cloth around the animal’s neck and pull him behind her. Both Parvati and the bull walked up the mountain-stark naked. As naked and natural as the virgin earth and the mountain around them. Pure, absolute, completely immersed in the moment.

Finally, Parvati reached the side of her home peak. She motioned the bull to sit down next to her cave. She gave him some grass and water. That’s all she knew she could do. But it all came so naturally to her. Parvati went inside her home and found Svayambhu roasting and eating peanuts. He also had several fruits, thick bread, and a pitcher of reddish liquid with inviting aromas.
“What’s all this?” Parvati happily asked.
“A feast. Especially for someone who has just been through so much in 7 long days.”
“Seven? I have been gone a day or two. I think. It’s been…” Then she gasped some air and realized he was up to one of his tricks again. She stopped talking and started eating.
“One day I am going to crack your magic and slap you with your own stick”. She thought.
“I am sure you will.” Svayambhu smiled. She heard him in her head. As clear as the crystal-clear lake that she swam in early that day.
“I can smell that little friend of yours. He is big. May be twice as big as you.”
“He is a she. A cow. A very nice cow. I found her on my way. She is mine now.”
“You are amusing yourself. He is a bull, not a cow. Go look.”
Parvati went out after finishing up her meal. She patted the animal and checked her genitals. Surely. This is a cow.
“It’s a cow. Don’t mess with me again. I will call her Nandita.”
“Please check again.” Svayambhu said as he started preparing the bed for her. A bed made of soft feathers and amazingly tough grass twigs that won’t bend under her weight.
“I don’t need to. It’s a cow. I thought I can have her breed and give birth to some offspring. We can finally have some milk and some life here.”
“Sure. That all sounds fine. But you will need to find a cow for him to mate with to do all of that. And by the way, I would not try that. This beast is too untamed and lacks self-control. If he mates, he will die. Instead, use his wild energy and make him your vehicle. He needs a sense of direction. Make him smell the herb that you put on your wound in the morning when you feed him. It will calm him. Talk to him before you ride him. Grab his giant hump before you climb on. Then he will carry you and take you wherever you want to go. He can climb the same distance in half as much time as you did today. He is very strong. But very hot headed. He needs your gentle touch and calm energy. I would ride him too but he won’t let me. May be later. I know that where he comes from…a cursed soul, brash being with a lot of potential to grow and realize his own inner nature.”

“He is a she. And her name is Nandita”.
“Please check again in the morning. You will see.”

Late afternoon/Early evening. Hot/humid air with gusts of cool wind. Still 19000 BCE.

Parvati had been busy that day. She cleaned up around her home. Picked dried twigs, and went for a hike. She got flowers from a bush next to the stream. Ate the meal that Swayambhu had made for her in the morning. She forgot all about the animal. The animal grazed all day and eventually returned to the stone ground next to the Dhuni (never ending fire in a small pit). She picked up the herbs and took them to the animal. She gasped the air again. There he was. A bull! Very big bull! Just like he said he was. How can this be?
“Did you do this to her? Did you change her into a bull? Why are you against me having some milk? It’s not so bad you know.”
“Parvati. Please think of it as gaining a vehicle instead of gaining a milk giving cow. A vehicle like that is more useful than a cow filled with udders and multiple calves trying to graze sparse vegetation and dying off eventually in hunger. He is your vehicle now.”

“Well, I will still call him Nandita.”
“And, I will call him Nandi.”

Parvati whispered an impromptu tune into the bull’s ears. Then she flung herself on the bull and grabbed the hump firmly. The bull at once startled and huffed in the air. ‘Ehhhh, aaaah.” Parvati’s bun opened and hair fluttered in the wind blown by the speedy bull’s pace. He went all over the flat ground and circled around everywhere, crushed the grass and twigs, and the ground all the while trying to throw her off his back. He didn’t succeed. She rode him all the while laughing and getting overjoyed by the wild ride. He finally gave up and slowed down. She hadn’t had this kind of fun ever. She had never ridden a bull before. She was happy!

And that’s how Parvati learn to ride her vehicle-Nandita, the bull.

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