Morning breeze is soothing in the forests. I am grateful to the gods for my life on this earth – my birth in Luner dynasty brought me the privilege of enjoying both the palatial luxury and gentleness of nature. Palace is the source of my power; nature is where I prove my power. I did not inherit enemies within the family like others kings. I have no enemy among the neighbouring kings as well. I could remain unknown to the world being a worthless king while showing strength against enemies is an influential king’s only way to retain his popularity proving worth. Nature offers herself to me to prove my worthy spirit – even my palace-ladies did not. None of them gifted me a son, the proof of man’s sincerity towards his clan. It is nature that never deceived me. Time and again I visit her, I enjoy her company, watch her bloom for me, flow for me, spreading tracks of mossy pebbles in front of me. I indulge myself in loving her, then quit her – a ravaged part of the forest without a trace of animals bears the marks of my love on her body she carries for seasons afterwards. From her I never go back empty handed to my palace. Yesterday’s hunting game was another day of proving my loving relationship with her. Only difference this time is – I miss the chirping of birds today. Like last evening, today morning is also awfully silent, as if there is no life left in nature any longer. I could never imagine silence too could be a reason for discomfort.
Discomfort did not last long as the usual hue and cry of my hunters soon fill the air in the forest. I pray to Sun-god, dress up with the help of my maids, have Barley cake with honey and appear before my men like yesterday. I order them to follow me today. They do not need to beat the forest. All of us will enter another part of the forest and face whatever comes before us. I will ride my horse taking my long heavy spear. These old weapons are sometimes more useful than our fashionable bow and arrows.
We enter the forest; my fearless people are good at every kind of hunting. Even today they are showing their excellence in killing animals standing opposite to them. I see them picking several boars and deer before long. I somehow lost my natural enthusiasm to hunt today. I usually kill more than any hunter in my group. The absence of the lady’s voice – her name was Peggy as far as I remember – makes me feel uncomfortable today. True I did not know her for long. I could not comprehend the meaning of many of her words and that became one reason of my displeasure while talking to her. But now it seems she was trying to tell me something. She was teasing me for sure, but didn’t she also trust me as a king? She told she had read that ancient Kings were forgiving by nature. Where did she read that? Did she believe that I could never kill her? Couldn’t I show little more compassion for the lady from future? Perhaps I missed a possibility to know the women of an era that will remain unknown to me. I lost my chance of knowing one of those ladies whom I will never have a chance to meet. But why did she need to mention my shortfall? Entire world mocks at me for not having a son – why did the lady of the unknown future need to join them? Didn’t she know how much mentioning the insufficiencies of the king before him enrages him? My thoughts prevent me from concentrating on hunts today as I continue moving along with my troupe.
I tell them to stop for midday meal in a relatively cleaner space inside the forest. They skin and roast their hunts here – we all share the food together. Having same food sitting in the same place with the hunter troupe grows their respect for me. Retaining loyalty of the supporting men is challenge to everyone seating on the throne. I try to please people who hold my throne high. They feel obliged seeing their master on the ground with them. I come to know from them that his forest’s name is Hiranya,
Roasted boar energizes me. As I sit on the horse with my spear after meal, I feel the need of chasing an animal once again. And not long after I get the chance, I spot a beautiful Chital grazing alone. I chase it – and it starts playing its tricks with me. Every animal tries to survive. This one’s survival efforts also seem unique – I decide to catch it alive. It takes me far inside the forest – finally it enters grassland which looks like the end of the forest. I stop – look at the hunter who was riding immediately after me. He says, “Pardon me My King. The forest ends here.”
“What lies beyond the grassland?” – I enquire.
He replies, “The hermitage of the famous sage Kanva. There is a river close by. They have also several sweet water ponds inside the hermitage. His students cultivate and graze cows here in that grassland.”
I realise I have to stop here. I get down from my horse, tell my people to stop here until I come back. Keeping my weapons with them, I walk towards the hermitage cutting the grassland. In the country ruled by a competent king, Sages must be shown due respect.
To be cont.