The Chiranjeevi

Here I am, in the 21st century. Still sheltering myself in the woods. You must think it is funny that I call the wild forests my home. Or you must assume that I am too poor and unfit to live with the human beings of this age. The forests still carry the slightest trace of what this planet used to be and that fills me with solace. But then, there is no harm in coming out of those thick jungles to greet the civilization once a while, you might say. There is no harm if you feel that it is perfectly normal to see a giant, 12 feet long, with his head bandaged with a bloody looking piece of cloth and with limbs deformed due to leprosy, on your way to work. Pardon me, if I may be sounding bitter. But being on your own for almost 60,000 years, with no one to talk to does that to a person, no? Great man Krishna was. Or should I call him a God now? Whatever he is assumed to be now-a-days, he was always a master-mind. He has seen to it that I will be punished every single second of my life, which is nowhere near an end. Yes, I did something terrible. I killed innocent children and tried to destroy a fetus. Whenever I see stories of abortion in the bits of newspaper that people throw away, I only wonder what their punishment will be, because causing harm to the mother’s womb or a fetus is as sinful as killing a sacred cow. And I had sinned. Sinned in rage. Rage and fury are most destructive things in the world. Even more destructive than a Bramhashirastra which only channelizes your fury.

I was born to my father after days of deep penance to Lord Shiva. My father asked him to give a child who possessed the same valiance as Lord Siva. Thus, I was born as one of the eleven Rudras, having a part of the immense negative energy that the Mahadev manifests. That makes me being in rage an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction if you can call it that. The Panchalas had wronged in many ways to gain my wrath. They defeated and killed my father, who was also their guru, through deceit and lies. They killed my friend, who was my king, whom I was loyal to, in a shockingly similar manner. They stopped at nothing. All their confidence and support came from the all-knowing, clever and cunning Krishna. What happened to the dharma that Yudhishtir spoke of when he lied to my father? What happened to the ideals that Arjuna stood for, when he ruthlessly murdered Karna? Did Bheema not know how low a man gets by cheating, when he cheated in the fight with my king, Dhuryodhana? All of them sinned, and they paid for it too. They all lost their children and would have even lost their only heir, had Krishna not been there. It all comes down to Krishna. Given the enigma that he is, it comes as no surprise. He made sure that I await death every single second of my passing life and he also made sure that I never die. Which is why I am still here.

Ashwathama, the once Maharathi, now carries the wound of the missing diamond he was born with, with no divine powers left in him. The wounds and boils refuse to heal, the leprosy eating my limbs away. Life now is just misery and pain. From time to time, I used to keep hearing about the astonishing progress of mankind in the medical sector. I kept hoping that there is a cure somewhere to heal my wound. These were the instances when the world saw me. Some doctors were scared and others were left wondering. But none of them provided the magical remedies that could heal me. It is destined that I will live to see the end of the Kaliyuga. But what is left for me to see now?

I witnessed the biggest and the most ferocious war in the history of mankind and was a part of it. I saw my friends and family being ruthlessly defeated. What has changed in all this time, you might ask, out of natural curiosity. A lot of things changed in these 60,000 years. Man has shrunk in size and in his deeds. In the time of the ideal Emperor Rama, people were indebted to their King and the King was responsible for them. The wives were honoured and the husbands were respected. The society functioned with a perfect balance. There was good and bad, right and wrong and the people could differentiate between the stark opposites very precisely. The era during which the Kurukshetra battle happened was different. The King was now looking for power and for prestige. The people were now not his primary concern. The line drawn between dharma and adharma started becoming hazy. Ravana abducted Sita but never touched her. But Draupadi was disrobed in front of an entire Sabha. This shows the degradation of dharma. People started showing less respect to each other. Later, towards the modern era, terrible wars were fought for no specific purpose. People started killing each other for no specific reason. Women were raped for the fun of it and sometimes to just to humiliate them. Now, there are no Kings, because everyone wants power. But some don’t know what to do with it once they have it. Democracy, as they put it, is never justified because the politicians never play a fair game. During Mahabharatha, people were sometimes conflicted between what is right and what is not. Now, people do the wrong thing even when they know what is right. The world is filled with malice so strong that one can almost feel it. And it is getting worse. Innocent people are being murdered in front of bystanders who just watch and refuse to do anything. But something very interesting is also taking place. People are now more open about their sexuality. The difference is that during the Vedic times, people used to honour it and embrace it. Now, it is mostly being abused. Be it pornography or be it cinema, something as pure as sex is being shown as something dirty and disgusting. This is happening to all things. The respect with which our bodies, our families, our friends, our neighbours have to be treated is lost. It is replaced by lust, anger, envy and malice.

Slowly all the values that humanity stands for are disapperaing and I don’t think that anyone can do something about it. The Rakshasa Gana in most people is overriding the divine in them. I am afraid that towards the end of Kaliyuga, it will manage to destroy the Deva Gana completely. Till then, I sit here and watch the world as it collapses in its own wrong doings. I don’t feel sad anymore. 60,000 years of my life has left me with little emotion. As I await death, the world awaits its own. In a way we are keeping each other company, giving each other solace. And when the time comes for me to leave my mortal self and meet the unforgiving Kalki, he would have destroyed half of the living beings. But I will meet him with my arms wide open because he is the key to get rid of my misery. Kalki, I await you. Till then, I will bear my suffering, watching the world silently.

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