Mischief committed by the celestial Vasu brothers sets the wheels in motion. Who are the Vasus? What did they do that altered the destiny of Man?
The Vasus and their wives came upon celestial Nandini; grazing the grounds of Vasishtha’s ashramic community
Nandini’s milk held immortality for underlings; the immortal Vasus had scant need for her offerings
One queen pleaded a kalash for her friend, a mortal; little did she know Vasishtha’s wrath was terrible
The Vasus knew but could not deny their love; stole Nandini and into the dark they dove
Vasishtha in outrage trembled; the betrayal his anger welled
Their curse he purchased with currency; he’d amassed by long austerity
Enter the world of man, he cursed them their fate; to Vasishtha’s feet they ran to prostrate
However, a curse once released is a raven freed; Vasishtha softened to rebuild his store of merit
To Prahasa, who seized Nandini, a glorious life, he decreed; his brothers Seven would gain their freedom when as mortals they breathe
The Vasus sought out and implored Ganga to woe-a-man; birth and release us, after living on earth as woman
Ganga acceded to their petition and took on human life; for a human to love and revile her after bedding her as wife
Now alone, his beloved Ganga and son gone; Santanu forsook sensual pleasures and atoned
As a woman is wont, Ganges her banks broke; when her waters withdrew, a young man out strode
Santanu rejoiced and beheld his love, Ganga; she had returned as promised with Devavrata
Embrace our son, my husband, he is your progeny; by your seeds sown, you’ll seal his destiny
He is equal in prowess to Parasurama; Vasishtha his tutor in Vedas and Vedanta
Well versed in the arts and the sciences of Sukra; our Last Born, a hero and master in statecraft
Now the beginnings of Bhishma and the magical waters from which he drinks fortify us. Why these great powers vested in this hypostatic being, what great challenges await him, what triumphs, what tragedies? And so, the dice rolls.
Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2020
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