Sunday, May 18, 2014


Like many others around him, he had special powers. It was not just his golden teeth, or the horns, or the overall radiance. He could turn into ashes anything at will. Perhaps that is where the scandal started. That when he was born he consumed his parents for not being able to provide for him, however ridiculous it may sound. But that was to speak of his fury alone. He was the supreme cleanser of them all, blaze and heat fueling his powers. He was all-consuming. He could also see over the darkness of night, and he was the youngest of them all.

They were eight of them, the cosmic octet, attending to the Lord who was also his twin brother. But that was only going by one of the many versions about his origin. Across the vast unbound space he grew up in, everyone had a different story to tell about his birth, and in each of it, oddly enough, his parents were different! His birth was special, repeatedly implied the ballads of ‘the gifted ones’ who composed and performed music for the very best, but out of fear for him they remained vague about the versions not knowing which one pleased him more. They couldn’t mess with him, as he was the spirit of fire. In fact he was fire itself. He could destroy with a mere thought, let alone look. He was also equal in supremacy and might to his twin, their king.  

Of course, his birth was special. He rid the universe of its nebulous darkness after all. They could see finally, their world supported by pillars of smoke above the three stories of sky, the mesmerizing beauty of the celestial nymphs who danced to the tunes of ‘the gifted ones’, and the direction of every step they took to move away from the cosmic authority. But even at the end of it all, he was still the one with many fathers! As appalling as it was to stomach, he refused to claim out loud, like everybody else, his share of the great grand sire’s pedigree. His reputation as the infant who devoured his own parents at birth also remained uncorrected. How much ever truth there was in the allegations, it mostly came from rumors than reasoning. So deaf ears served them well.

The incessant wags took the tales far and wide across the space, and some to even the other world- a world he more than any of them was closely associated with – and where lived the humans, the descendants of the first mortal. He was the only immortal to coexist in their world as the singular link between the two worlds, as the messenger. There, his standing was unparalleled. He was their righteous protector who never discriminated the subjects. He was a part of their very essence, and he accepted their sacrifices. But if it was fear more than respect that made them bow in front of him, only the mottled lore of his origin was to blame. In one of the many versions they sang, he was born from the union of Sky and Earth. His origin from the mouth of the Cosmic Man also had orators. It was also widely assumed that he had ten unwed mothers, who were sisters. While many believed his father to be one of the seven great seers, the guardians of the divine law, some also called him ‘Son of Water’. There was absolutely no dearth to the variations how much ever mutually contradicting they were.

His birth was kept a secret, which explains the many assumptions. In fact he was born twice, and it was covertly dealt with both times. Right from when he was cuddled in the warmth of his mother’s womb coiled on his twin brother like a snug handclasp, they knew of the danger awaiting them, so did their parents, which is why nobody could know.

His great grandfather, the Wise One, was the creator, who amongst nine others had created the Lord of the Womb- the new master of creation and the first-born who was his grandfather. Sky and his love Earth were his creations- the siblings who were eternal lovers, always joined in a tight embrace, inseparable- a sinful but necessary union. They remained united even after they conceived the twins by which time, lurking in the dark was Evil in the form of a creation gone rogue with supernatural powers who already knew direction. Further creation could not stop, so their mother had to save them. But they were still not fully developed. Earth decided to carry them within her till the enemy left, and she did for many autumns. But he was not the one to give up. He had already imprisoned the waters of the world by then, and eagerly awaited the arrival of the progenies of incest. 

Meanwhile on the other side of the walls of Earth’s womb, they grew more vigilant by the day. Even though they both sensed danger, his brother was the intuitive of the two. He knew the usual exit was doom as evil waited at the gateway to strike on release. So he asked their mother to free him sideways. But even after discharge, the two undeveloped embryos were trapped in the embrace of their love-blind parents which, fairly enough, baffled the creators who were looking forward to the destruction of the rogue force in the hands of these two powerful successors.

It was the grandfather who provided the brothers with the cosmic nectar of immortality. At the same time as the release of his two grandchildren, he also wanted to separate Sky and Earth, hopelessly intertwined, slowing progress. His brother, the smarter and quicker of the two, drank the elixir and emptied the urn in a blink- the first blow of treachery before he was even born! When he still yawned and stretched in the primitive state, his brother expanded in size and strength widening the gap between their parents finally separating them. Excessive consumption of the elixir had made him so powerful and, Sky and Earth, torn form each other were hurled with great force in diametrically opposite directions to the far ends, and they never met ever again. In the process he, footless and headless, still not fully formed, was thrown out into the space while his brother stepped out into the dark amidst hails and applause.

His grandfather, the Lord of the Womb, got hold of his propelling embryo, carried him in his two hands, and nursed him with his ten fingers- his ten unwedded daughters. These sisters who were also his aunts in the role of foster mothers, nurtured him till he was relocated to what would be his first birthplace. His flaming embryo was still inside the membrane when he was submerged in the waters of the world that by then were freed from the confines of the Evil force, killed by his mighty brother, in the ecstasy of the elixir, at the request of the immortals, in return of his position as their king. Back then nobody knew his part in the killing; it was only his brother. The Lightning was made with the heat form his fiery embryo, and that was the weapon, which his grandfather granted to his brother that eventually culled the enemy. Treachery struck again, and the smart one left with the name, fame and recognition while he unhurriedly matured in the waters.

In the meantime more creations had begun to crowd the realms, and his two sisters, Dawn and Dusk, were also born. By the time he was born from the womb of the Waters, the great grandsire had already let his imagination run wild, and Ii was given more color by the visuals of his birth- his splendid emergence from the water as the blazing ball of fire. Before he took shape with two heads, three legs, four horns and seven hands, the idea of Sun as the giver of light was fully in motion. It was he who was born from the collective forces of Sky, Earth and Water that used his flames to fuel the new life-nourishing idea called Sun, who would in the due course become the chief of the celestial planets as well as the husband to his two sisters, Dawn and Dusk, the quarrelsome siblings who refused to see eye to eye all their lives. To date, Sun remained one of his eternally grandiose contributions to the wheels of progress.

Now, not counting his original dynamic form, he was already in two of his illustrious apotheosis, Sun and Lightning. The third was due, and to go by the prophesies of the fortunetelling seers, it was to happen in the other world that had no fire- in the land of his mother. This was because it was his essence that was used for the spark inside the mortals sent to that world. That is when the eternal debate started- a debate headed by his twin brother who was already King - to appoint him the messenger between the two worlds. He was unanimously elected. He who by then was assigned to guard the southeast direction, panicked and fled for life. He was unsure about being the channel between two worlds, as the receiver of the sacrifices of the mortals, and having to carry it to the destination amongst the immortals in his realm. It took a great deal from the faceless patrons of his brother to coax him out of his hiding in the womb of the waters. This time, without the protective membrane, he was holed up inside the stalk of a water lily.  But ultimately he agreed to the arrangement- to live in both worlds. That is when they blessed him to be forever youthful, and forever pure no matter what he consumed, and to be the supreme cleanser of all.

The draft of the Chosen One carried him to the other world, to the first wise mortal and the writer of the big book of astrology who chose two sticks to be his new parents. He was born again at the union of these two, but ended up burning them up. The dishonor of having killed his parents at birth clung to his name and refused to leave him ever since. He who was to have countless rebirths at innumerable hearths would kill that many more parents in times to come, but that came with deal. Whoever spoke about it did that behind his back when his second head, turned that way, was not listening. He was the most powerful of them all. So nobody messed with him. Depraved of the celestial nectar at birth, he had an insatiable thirst for it, and apart from the King, he was the heaviest consumer of the elixir in all the worlds, and with his strengths constantly powered by it, he unreservedly rode his ram wherever he wished, leaving his mark as charred trail behind him. He was not just immortal like the others, but was eternally young as well, which is why despite being one of the firstborns he remained youngest of them all. He, the purest of the pure, the first proof of the existence of energy in the universe, related to all three parts of the cosmos, self created and unchanging, could turn into ashes anything at will. Nothing ever created, in any form could render him impure, and despite wanting to, nobody could offend or defeat him as even when directed downwards, he never falls. He, the spirit of fire, in fact, fire itself, had special powers like many others around him, but the shame of many fathers and many births was there to stay, and they never stopped singing about it, but when was the universe a kind place to begin with!
COMMENTARY: In the Hindu pantheon, going by the scriptures, even though Fire-God Agni and the God-King Indra are numerously cited as twins, the details surrounding their births are only dealt with separately, and are associated with different episodes of creation. The polytomic lineage of Agni and the ambiguous parentage of Indra, is united here in a single event involving the separation of the two halves of the golden egg formed by Sky Father, Dyaus Pita, and Earth mother, Prithvi Mata, who are their parents. To enable an easy flow of the story, many such instances, textually jumbled and isolated, are articulated into a single narrative. The sequence of events is also streamlined to fit in those several events that from the texts could sound to have happened at the same time.


  1. A cosmic tale indeed. Brilliantly narrated.

  2. Lovely cosmic tale. Absolutely loved the narration, the fact that you chose this story to tell and the awesome title to the post.

    If you don't mind me asking, where is the source for this story? I mean, where did you read this, to retell in this post?

  3. That was one heavy piece, I had first redirected to your blog via blogadda(The whore) and have been a loyal reader since...jut wanted to let you know how much i appreciate your write ups!

  4. I liked this one...Where did you get all the information from?

  5. Well researched, detailed yet interesting! I liked reading it Jithesh!


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