the-iron-mine-moksha-pictopara
10 mins read

The bhata, Nirbhaya is prepared to execute his plans driven by Kama for Artha without knowledge of Dharma. Will he attain Moksha ?

The river surrounding the island

Nine months and ten days have passed since I arrived. I will ferry against the torrents of Daiva again. Daiva perturbs our life to stop us from attaining Moksha.

I walk behind Nirvaira as we walk to the river bank , where the newly built boat is anchored. We have not talked about the iron mine again. Winter and Spring have passed and it is summer. Kalyani has shrunk because of summer. We have to walk few steps on hot sands. The heat and humidity is tormenting me. I have never walked such long distance as a crippled. Nirvaira does not show any sign of discomfort.

We arrive where  the boat is anchored. We will take the newly built boat, ferry across Kalyani, and offer the new boat to the son of the boatman. Then we will return with the old boat of Nirvaira’s.  I wonder what would have happened to the family of boatman. He sustained his family with day  labor. It is not my fault he wanted to work in fatal conditions. I also gave him a lump sum.

I sit in the boat and Nirvaira starts paddling. There is a bow and three arrows with iron tip right under my feet. I do not want to talk. Nirvaira initiates

“What are you going to do after you leave the island?”

“I do not know. May be the king will give me some annuity. ” I reply grudgingly.

“Rather than feeding upon the taxes forcibly taken from poor, you can help them by working as a carpenter or smith. You are not some old man who cannot lift a hammer. You can marry and have a family.” Nirvaira replied with an empathetic tone. “I can also leave you the island as the king may send more bhatas after me looking for you.I am going to leave the island with my family.”

“As long as war exists, enemies exist and as long as enemies exist carpentry and forging cannot solve the problems of a kingdom.” I reply.

“Years ago I was you, a bhata, striving for honor with blood. Then I met a man in that island and I reflected upon myself. I abandoned my old path and chose completely a new one. Thought it took years for me to understand who the real enemies are. If you know them, you can attain Moksha. Perhaps you can too, someday.”

The real enemies ?  Aren’t they humans who want more lands? Moksha, the freedom from all the Kama ? I cannot see what Nirvaira sees.

We have crossed half of the river. “Can you paddle for some time?” Nirvaira asks me and I accept to paddle the rest of the river.     

The boat eventually reaches the opposite bank. Now Nirvaira will leave me there to wait  to call the son of the boatman. Nirvaira gets out of the boat and stands by the side of Kalyani. “It is time.” He says and walks a few steps. When he is at an inaudible distance I use the hammer to remove the nail. There it is, the bow and the arrows.

 I pull them out and nock one arrow.Will the boat tilde my fate ? Will I be again drifted away from my coveted bank?  I draw the arrow; aim for the wooden leg of Nirvaira’sand loose it.

The arrow finds its mark. Glory to Abheepsa, the godesss who created the universes, the immortals and the mortals.

This time my ill-fate has not intervened.The wooden leg is broken and Nirvaira lies on the bank. I do not want to see him.

 I start paddling the boat alone. Let’s move faster towards the island. I paddle faster. When I cross half of the river and my hands starts hurting immensely. Now I know why Nirvaira passed me the paddle. It is not possible to ferry across and ferry back lone with this boat by a lone crippled. The heat and humidity incapacitates my body. I cannot move further. Thirst disables me to think or see right. I sit on the boat helplessly.

 I know what is going to happen. Kalyani will drift me with the boat downstream. This time I will not I bind the anchor to my body. Let her drown me, end all my kama which never had any artha for me and my life of  bhata-dharma without any hope of Moksha. I collapse on the boat as the boat drifts downwards.

                                                       ***

 I wake up inside a hut at twilight. My clothes are not wet, the wooden leg is still attached and I also have a fever. As I walk outside I see Kalyani flowing the same as before I blanked out. There is also an old woman and the tools of a blacksmith.

I approach her and I ask “How many days have passed since you found me at the bank of Kalyani ?”

“I did not find you anywhere. A man wearing white and blue clothes just like you brought you here in afternoon. He also paid me to take care of you.” She answered.

Nirvaira. He never considered me his enemy. “Where is your family? ” I inquire. 

“My husband is in the city to mold for the war and my two sons are killed in the war.” She tears up as she says. “My daughter-in-laws who works now as maids have thrown me and my daughter out of the house. ”

This is the cost of war which the king does not know and I did not knew. I have paid it with only a leg. This family has paid tenfold of what I have paid. I am a part of the cause that destroyed this family. I only cared about victory and defeat never about hunger and fear. The least thing I can do is payback a little. I will take her to her husband in the city. That will be my Moksha.

“And your daughter?”  

“She works as a blacksmith. She is in the village market now to sell iron goods. I do not know when she will return in night. ”

“Do you know any iron mine nearby?”

“Yes, but that is our family’s secret.”

I do not want to know where the iron mine is. Let the kings fight their wars.There are places I know where I have hidden my coins in the city. I should take them to city as soon as possible. Only she and her daughter needs to agree.

“I am going to the market. I will bring her along with me. Can you tell me the name of your daughter? ”

“Ilika.” She replies.

PAUSE

(Stories that are Santanan(timeless) do not have an ending or beginning, there are only pauses(Biram). If you want to end the story here, then it is the end. If not they will continue after me and you. This story is set in the multiverse of EToHaF)

Deepak

The Free Parrot

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