The Immortals Siva

Lord Ram\'s Unfinished Task

You seem to be a little distracted this morning, my Lord. Are you alright?

asked a concerned Daksha.

Hmm? said Shiva as he looked up. Im sorry your Highness. I was a

little distracted.

Daksha looked at Kanakhala with a concerned expression. He had seen a

similar look of despair on Satis face at dinner the previous night. But she

had refused to say anything.

Do you want to meet later? asked Daksha.

Of course not, your Highness. Its alright. My apologies. Please

continue, said Shiva.

Well, continued a concerned Daksha, we were talking about the changes

that Lord Ram brought about in society.

Yes, said Shiva, shaking his head slightly to get the disturbing image of

Satis last plea out of his mind.

The Maika system worked fantastically well. Our society boomed. Ours

was always one of the wealthiest lands on earth. But in the last one

thousand two hundred years we have shot dramatically ahead of everyone

else. Meluha has become the richest and most powerful country in the

world by far. Our citizens lead ideal lives. There is no crime. People do

what they are suited for and not what an unfair social order would compel

them to do. We don force or fight unprovoked wars with any other

country. In fact, ours has become a perfect society.

Yes, your Highness, agreed Shiva, slowly getting into the conversation.

I don believe that perfection can ever be achieved. It is more of a journey

than a destination. But your society is certainly a near perfect society.

Why do you think we are not perfect? argued Parvateshwar aggressively.

Do you think it is perfect Parvateshwar? asked Shiva politely. Is

everything in Meluha exactly the way Lord Ram would have mandated?

Parvateshwar fell silent. He knew the obvious, even if he didn like the


The Lord is right Parvateshwar, said Daksha. There are always things to


Having said that, your Highness, spoke Shiva, your society is

wonderful. Things do seem very well ordered. What doesn make sense to

me then, is why you and your people are so concerned about the future.

What is the problem? Why is a Neelkanth required? I don see anything

that is so obviously wrong that disaster would be just a breath away. This is

not like my homeland where there are so many problems that you wouldn

know where to begin!

My Lord, a Neelkanth is needed because we are faced with challenges

that we cannot confront. We keep to ourselves and let other countries lead

their lives. We trade with other societies but we never interfere with them.

We don allow uninvited foreigners into Meluha beyond the frontier towns.

So we think its only fair that other societies leave us alone to lead our lives

the way we want to.

And presumably they don , your Highness?

No they don .


One simple word, my Lord, replied Daksha. Jealousy. They hate our

superior ways. Our efficient family system is an eyesore to them. The fact

that we take care of everyone in our country makes them unhappy because

they can take care of themselves. They lead sorry lives. And rather than

improving themselves, they want to pull us down to their level.

I can understand. My tribe used to face a lot of jealousy in Mount Kailash

since we had control over the shore of the Mansarovar Lake and hence the

best land in the region. But sometimes I wonder if we could have avoided

bloodshed if we had shared our good fortune more willingly.

But we do share our good fortune with those who wish to, my Lord. And

yet, jealousy blinds our enemies. The Chandravanshis realised that it was

the Somras that guaranteed our superiority. Funnily enough, even they have

the knowledge of the Somras. But they have not learnt to mass produce it

like we do and hence haven reaped all its benefits.

Sorry to interrupt, your Highness, but where is the Somras produced?

It is produced at a secret location called Mount Mandar. The Somras

powder is manufactured there and then distributed throughout the Meluhan empire. At select temples specially trained Brahmins prepare the solution

with water and other ingredients and then administer it to the population.

Alright, said Shiva.

The Chandravanshis could not become as powerful as us since they did

not have enough Somras. Eaten up with jealousy, they devised a devious

plan to destroy the Somras and hence us. One of the key ingredients in the

Somras is the waters of the Saraswati. Water from any other source does not


Really? Why?

We don know my Lord. The scientists can explain it. But only the

waters of the Saraswati will do. That is why, the Chandravanshis tried to

kill the Saraswati to harm us.

Kill the river? asked Shiva incredulously.

Yes my Lord! said Daksha, as his childlike eyes flared with indignation

at the Chandravanshi perfidy. The Saraswati is formed by the confluence of

two mighty rivers up north — the Sutlej and the Yamuna. In an earlier era

the course of the Sutlej and the Yamuna was considered neutral territory,

from which both the Chandravanshis as well as the Suryavanshis drew

water for the Somras.

But how did they try to kill the Saraswati your Highness?

They diverted the course of the Yamuna so that instead of flowing south,

it started flowing east to meet their main river, Ganga.

You can do that? asked Shiva in amazement. Change the course of a


Yes, of course you can, answered Parvateshwar.

We were livid, interjected Daksha. But we still gave them an opportunity to make amends for their duplicity.


What can you expect from the Chandravanshis, my Lord? said Daksha in

disgust. They denied any knowledge of this. They claimed that the river

made such a dramatic change in its course all by itself, due to some minor

earthquake. And even worse, they claimed that since the river had changed

course of its own accord, we Meluhans would simply have to accept what

was essentially Gods will!

We of course refused to do that, said Parvateshwar. Under the

leadership of King Brahmanayak, his Highness father, we attacked


The land of the Chandravanshis? asked Shiva.

Yes Shiva, said Parvateshwar. And it was a resounding victory. The

Chandravanshi army was routed. King Brahmanayak magnanimously let

them keep their lands and even their system of governance. We didn even

demand any war reparations or a yearly tribute. The only term of the

surrender treaty was the return of the Yamuna. We restored the Yamuna to

her original course which eventually met with the Saraswati.

Did you fight in that war, Parvateshwar?

Yes, said Parvateshwar, his chest swollen with pride. I was a mere

soldier then. But I did fight in that war.

Turning to Daksha, Shiva asked, Then what is the problem now, your

Highness? Your enemy was comprehensively defeated. Then why is the

Saraswati still dying?

We believe that the Chandravanshis are up to something once again. We

don understand it as yet. After their defeat, the area between our two

countries was converted into a no-mans land and the jungle has reclaimed

it. This includes the early course of the Yamuna as well. We have stuck to

our part of the agreement and have never disturbed that region. It appears

that they haven honoured their end of the bargain.

Are you sure about that your Highness? Has the area been checked? Has

this been discussed with the Chandravanshis representative in your


Are you trying to say that we are lying? countered Parvateshwar. True

Suryavanshis don lie!

Parvateshwar! scolded Daksha angrily. The Lord was not implying any

such thing.

Listen to me, Parvateshwar, said Shiva politely. If I have learnt one

thing from the pointless battles of my land, it is that wars should be the last

resort. If there is an alternative available what is the harm in saving some

young soldiers life? Surely, a mother would bless us for it.

Lets not fight! Wonderful! What a great saviour we have! Parvateshwar

muttered under his breath.

You have something to say Parvateshwar? barked Kanakhala. I have

told you before. You will not insult the Neelkanth in my presence!

I don take orders from you, growled Parvateshwar.

Enough! ordered Daksha. Turning to Shiva, he continued, I am sorry

my Lord. You are right. We shouldn just declare war without being sure. That is why I have avoided a war until now. But just look at the facts. The

flow of the Saraswati has been gradually waning for the last half century.

And the last few years have been horrible, said Kanakhala as she

controlled her tears at the thought of the slow death of the river most

Meluhans regarded as a mother. The Saraswati doesn even reach the sea

now and ends in an inland delta just south of Rajasthan.

And the Somras cannot be made without water from the Saraswati,

continued Daksha.

The Chandravanshis are aware of this and that is why

they are trying to kill her.

What does the Swadweep representative have to say about it? Has he

been questioned?

We have no diplomatic relations with Swadweep, my Lord, said Daksha.

Really? I thought having representatives of other countries was one of

your innovative systems. It gives you an opportunity to understand them

and maybe avoid jumping into a war. I had heard of a diplomatic mission

from Mesopotamia coming in two days ago. Then why not have this with

Swadweep as well?

You don know them, my Lord. They are untrustworthy people. No

follower of the Suryavanshi way of life will sully his soul by even speaking

to a Chandravanshi willingly.

Shiva frowned but didn say anything.

You don know the levels they have sunk to my Lord. Over the last few

years they have even started using the cursed Nagas in their terrorist attacks

on us! said Kanakhala, with a disgusted look.

Terrorist attacks?

Yes, my Lord, said Daksha. Their defeat kept them quiet for many

decades. And because of our overwhelming victory in the previous war,

they now believe that they cannot overpower us in an open confrontation.

So they have resorted to a form of assault that only repulsive people like

them can be capable of. Terrorist attacks.

I don understand. What exactly do they do?

They send small bands of assassins who launch surprise attacks on non-

military but public places. Their idea is to attack non-combatants — the

Brahmins, Vaishyas or Shudras. They try to devastate places like temples,

public baths — areas that might not have soldiers who can fight back — but

whose destruction will wreck the empires morale and spread terror.

Thats disgusting! Even the Pakratis in my land, a bunch of complete

barbarians, would not do that, said Shiva.

Yes, said Parvateshwar. These Chandravanshis don fight like men.

They fight like cowards!

Then why don you attack their country? Finish this once and for all.

We would like to my Lord, said Daksha. But I am not sure we can

defeat them.

Shiva observed Parvateshwar seething silently at the insult to his army,

before turning towards Daksha. Why, your Highness? You have a well

trained and efficient force. I am sure your army can defeat them.

Two reasons, my Lord. Firstly, we are outnumbered. We were

outnumbered even a hundred years back. But not by a very significant

margin. Today, we estimate that they have a population of more than eighty

million as compared to our eight million. They can put up a much larger

army against ours — their sheer numbers will cancel out our technological


But why should your population be less? You have people who live

beyond the age of two hundred years! Your population should be higher.

Sociological causes, my Lord, said Daksha. Our country is rich.

Children are a matter of choice, and not a duty. Parents adopt children from

the Maika system in small numbers, may be one or two, so that they can

devote more attention to their upbringing. Fewer mothers are giving birth at

Maika as well. In Swadweep the children of the poor are often treated as

mere bonded labour meant only to supplement the family income.

Resultantly, the whole country, though deprived, has a large population.

And the second reason for avoiding war?

The second reason is something that is under our control. We fight in

accordance with ”rules of war ”, with norms and ethics. The Chandravanshis

do no such thing. And I fear this is a weakness in us that our ruthless

enemies can exploit.

Rules of war? asked Shiva.

Yes. For example, we will not attack an unarmed man. A better-armed

person like a cavalry man will not attack a lesser-armed person like a spear

wielding foot-soldier. A swordsman will never attack a person below his

waist because that is unethical. The Chandravanshis don care for such

niceties. They will attack whoever and however they find expedient to

ensure victory. Begging your pardon, your Highness, said Parvateshwar. But that

difference is what makes us who we are. Like Lord Ram had said, a

persons character is not tested in good times. It is only in bad times that a

person shows how steadfast he is to his dharma.

But Parvateshwar, sighed Daksha. We are not under attack by people

who are as ethical and decent as we are. Our way of life is under assault. If

we don fight back in any which way we can, we will lose.

My apologies once again, your Highness, said Parvateshwar. I have

never said that we should not fight back. I am eager to attack. I have been

asking repeatedly for permission to declare war on the Chandravanshis. But

if we fight without our rules, our codes, our ethics, then ”our way of life ” is

as good as destroyed. And the Chandravanshis would have won without

even fighting us!

The conversation came to a halt with the ringing of the prahar town bell,

as everyone said a quick prayer. Shiva turned towards the window,

wondering if Sati would be dancing today.

Daksha turned to Shiva expectantly. Do you need to leave my Lord?

No, your Highness, said Shiva, hiding the pain and confusion he felt

inside. I don believe I am expected anywhere at this point in time.

Dakshas smile disappeared along with his hopes, on hearing this. Shiva

continued, If it is alright with you, your Highness, may we continue our

conversation? Perhaps we can delay our lunch a little.

Of course we may, my Lord, smiled Daksha, pulling himself together.

I have got the story so far, your Highness. Whereas I can understand your

reasons for not wanting to attack right now, I can also see that you clearly

have a plan, in which my blue throat has some strange role to play.

Yes, we do have a plan, my Lord. I feel that as an emperor, my giving in

unthinkingly to the righteous anger of some of our people will not solve our

problem. I believe that the people of Swadweep themselves are not evil. It

is their Chandravanshi rulers and their way of life that has made them evil.

The only way forward for us is to save the Swadweepans themselves.

Save the Swadweepans? asked Shiva, genuinely surprised.

Yes, my Lord. Save them from the evil philosophy that infects their soul.

Save them from their treacherous rulers. Save them from their sorry,

meaningless existence. And we can do this by giving them the benefits of

the superior Suryavanshi way of life. Once they become like us, there will

be no reason to fight. We will live like brothers. This is the unfinished task of my father, King Brahmanayak. In fact, it is the unfinished task of Lord


That is a big task to take on, your Highness, said Shiva. It is sweeping

in its kindness and reason. But it is a very big task. You will need soldiers to

defeat their army and missionaries to bring them to your side. It is not going

to be easy.

I agree. There are many in my empire who have concerns about even

attacking Swadweep, and I am putting forth a much bigger challenge to

them, of reforming Swadweep. That is why I did not want to launch this

without the Neelkanth, my Lord.

Shiva remembered his uncles words, spoken many years ago, in what was

almost another life. Your destiny lies beyond the mountains. Whether you

fulfil it or run away once again, is up to you.

As Daksha resumed speaking, Shiva refocused his attention on him.

The problems that we are facing were prophesied, my Lord, continued

Daksha. Lord Ram had himself said that any philosophy, no matter how

perfect, works only for a finite period. That is the law of nature and cannot

be avoided. But what the legends also tell us is that when the problems

become insurmountable for ordinary men, the Neelkanth will appear. And

that he will destroy the evil Chandravanshis and restore the forces of good.

My Lord, you are the Neelkanth. You can save us. You can complete the

unfinished task of Lord Ram. You must lead us and help us defeat the

Chandravanshis. You must rally the Swadweepans to the side of good.

Otherwise I fear that this beautiful country that we have, the near perfect

society of Meluha, will be destroyed by endless wars. Will you help us my

Lord? Will you lead us?

Shiva was confused. But I don understand, your Highness. What exactly

would I do?

I don know, my Lord. We only know our goal and that you will be our

leader. The path we take is up to you.

They want me to destroy the entire way of life of eighty million people all

by myself! Are they mad?

Shiva spoke carefully. I empathise with your people and their hardships,

your Highness. But to be quite honest, I don really understand how one

man can make a difference.

If that man is you my Lord, said Daksha, his moist eyes opened wide in

devotion and faith, he can change the entire universe. I am not so sure about that, your Highness, said Shiva with a weak smile.

What difference will I make? I am no miracle worker. I cannot snap my

fingers and cause bolts of lightning to descend upon the Chandravanshis.

It is your presence itself that will make the difference, my Lord. I invite

you to travel through the empire. See the effect your blue throat has on the

people. Once my people believe that they can do it, they will be able to do


You are the Neelkanth, my Lord, added Kanakhala. The people have

faith in the bearer of the blue throat. They will have faith in you. Will you

help us, my Lord?

Will you run away once again?

But how do you know that my blue throat makes me the genuine

Neelkanth? asked Shiva. For all you know, there may be many Meluhans

with a blue throat waiting to be discovered!

No, my Lord, said Daksha. It cannot be a Meluhan. The legend says that

the Neelkanth will be a foreigner. He cannot be from the Sapt-Sindhu. And

that his throat will turn blue when he drinks the Somras.

Shiva did not answer. He looked stunned as truth suddenly dawned upon

him Srinagar. The first night. Somras. Thats how my body got repaired. Thats

why Im feeling stronger than ever.

Daksha and Kanakhala looked at Shiva breathlessly, waiting for his

decision. Praying for his right decision.

But why only me? All the Gunas were given the Somras. Was my uncle

right? Do I really have a prophesied destiny?

Parvateshwar stared at Shiva with narrowed eyes.

I don deserve a prophetic destiny. But maybe this is my chance to redeem

myself. But first…

Shiva asked with controlled politeness, Your Highness, before I answer,

may I ask you a question?

Of course, my Lord.

Do you agree that honesty is required to make any friendship work? Even

if it means deeply offending your friend with the truth?

Yes, of course, replied Daksha, wondering where Shiva was going with


Complete honesty is not just the bedrock of an individual relationship,

but of any stable society, interjected Parvateshwar.

I couldn agree more, said Shiva. And yet, Meluha wasn honest with


Nobody said anything.

Shiva continued in a courteous, but firm tone. When my tribe was invited

to Meluha, we were under the impression that you needed immigrants to

build a work force. And I was happy to escape my benighted land. But now

I realise that you were systematically searching for the Neelkanth.

Turning to Nandi, Shiva said, We weren told that a medicine called the

Somras would be administered to us as soon as we entered. We weren told

that the medicine would have such effects.

Nandi looked down with guilty eyes. His Lord had the right to be angry

with him.

Turning to Daksha, Shiva continued, Your Highness, you know that the

Somras was probably administered to me on my first night in Kashmir,

without my knowledge.

I am truly sorry for that act of perfidy My Lord, replied Daksha with

folded hands and downcast eyes. Its something that I will always be

ashamed of. But the stakes were too high for us. And the Somras has

considerable positive effects on ones body. It causes no harm.

I know. I am not exactly upset about having to live a long and healthy

life, said Shiva wryly. Do you know that my tribe was also probably given

the Somras that night? And they fell seriously ill, perhaps because of the


They were under no risk my Lord, said Kanakhala apologetically. Some

people are predisposed towards certain diseases. When the Somras enters

the body, it triggers the immediate occurrence of these diseases, which

when cured, never recur. Hence, the body remains healthy till death. Your

tribe is actually much healthier now.

No doubt they are, said Shiva. That is not the point. Both my tribe and I

are the better for it. Yet I hardly expected such deceit in the land of Lord

Ram. You should have told us the complete truth at Mount Kailash. Then

you should have let us make an informed choice rather than you making it

for us. We probably would still have come to Meluha anyway but then it

would have been our choice.

Please forgive us the deception, my Lord, said Daksha, with guilty

regret. It is not our way to do something like this. We pride ourselves on

our honesty. But we had no choice. We are truly sorry, my Lord. Your

people are well taken care of. They are healthier than ever. They will live

long, productive lives.

Parvateshwar finally broke his silence, speaking about what had always

been in his heart ever since the search had begun many decades ago. Shiva,

we are truly sorry about what has been done. You have every right to be

angry. Lying is not our way. I think what was done is appalling and Lord

Ram would never have condoned this. Deception is the instrument of the

weak and even extenuating circumstances can provide no excuse. I am

deeply sorry.

Shiva raised his eyebrow a bit.

Parvateshwar is the only one apologising instead of making excuses. He is

a true follower of the great king Ram.

Shiva smiled.

Daksha let out an audible sigh of relief.

Shiva turned towards Daksha. Let us put this in the past, your Highness.

Like I said, there are some things about your nation that could be improved.

No doubt about that. But it is amongst the best societies that I have seen.

And it is worth fighting for. But I have a few conditions.

Of course, my Lord, said Daksha, eager to please.

At this point of time, I am not saying that I can perform the tasks that you

expect of me nor am I saying that I cannot do it. All I am saying is that I

will try my best. But to begin with, I want to spend some more time

understanding your society before I can be sure of how I can help. I am

assuming that from now on nothing will be hidden from me nor will I be


Of course, my Lord.

Secondly, you still need immigrants to expand your population. But you

should not mislead them. I think that you should tell them the entire truth

about Meluha and let them make an informed decision on whether they

want to come here. Or you don invite them at all. Is that fair?

Of course it is, my Lord, said Daksha. Nodding briefly towards

Kanakhala, he committed, We will implement that immediately.

Furthermore, it is clear to me that I am not going back to Kashmir. Can

my tribe, the Gunas, be brought to Devagiri? I would like them to be with me.

Of course, my Lord, said Daksha with a quick look at Kanakhala.

Instructions will be sent today itself to bring them to Devagiri.

Also, I would like to visit the location where you manufacture the

Somras. I would like to understand this drink of the gods. Something tells

me that it is important to do so.

Of course you may, my Lord, said Daksha, his face finally breaking into

a nervous smile. Kanakhala will take you there tomorrow itself. I too will

be there along with my family for a scheduled puja at the temple of Lord

Brahma. Perhaps we could meet.

That would be nice, said Shiva smiling. Then taking a deep breath he

added, And lastly, I guess that you would like to announce the arrival of

the Neelkanth to your people.

Daksha and Kanakhala nodded hesitantly.

I would like to request that you don do that for now.

Daksha and Kanakhalas face fell immediately. Nandis eyes were glued to

the floor. He had stopped listening to the conversation. The enormity of his

prevarication was tearing him apart.

Your Highness, I have a terrible feeling that when people know I am the

Neelkanth, every action and word of mine will be over-interpreted and

over-analysed, explained Shiva. I am afraid that I don know enough

about your society or my task to be able to handle that at this point of time.

I understand my Lord, said Daksha, willing a half-smile back on his

face. You have my word. Only my immediate staff, my family and the

people you yourself allow will know of the Neelkanths arrival. Nobody


Thank you, your Highness. But I will say it again: I am a simple tribal

man who just happened to acquire a blue throat because of some exotic

medicine. Honestly, I still don know what one man like me can do in the

face of the odds that you face.

And Ill say it again my Lord, said Daksha, with a child-like smile. If

that man is you, he can change the entire universe!

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