“A Vanara being slain by a prince...the prince was dark, looking almost blue..The prince who was hiding behind a tree had hit the Vanara with a bow and arrow. The Vanara was not even fighting with the prince, but was fighting with someone else...another Vanara...”.
Jara was disoriented for a few minutes wondering where he was.
Then slowly everything came back. The dream was so vivid, so clear. It was almost as if he had been there...Jara did not know what the dream meant, but he had had the dream often.
Jara sighed as he shook himself up. He was feeling hungry and had to find some food fast.
Soon Jara got ready, packed his bow and arrow. As he was packing the arrows, his eyes fell upon his favourite arrow. He smiled. Till date he had never missed with the arrow. The sharp metal from which the arrow was made was unlike any that Jara had ever seen.
But to be honest, Jara had not made the arrow, it had found him. A few days back as Jara cut open a fish for eating, he had been surprised to find the metal piece inside it. When Jara examined it, he found the metal piece so sharp and hard that he used it as arrowhead. And it had never failed him till date.
Jara was walking in the forest listening, his bow ready. After straining for a few minutes he sighed. He had thought he heard something...but then it was nothing. Jara was really dejected. He had been wandering in the forest for hours now and still he had not found anything to eat. He had to find some animal and fast. Jara walked further on.
There! Behind the shrub, Jara was sure he had seen a movement. He waited for some time observing, listening, there it was again....Jara knew that it could only be an animal behind such a low shrub.
Jara knew that he had to hit the animal or he would go hungry for the night. He pulled out his favourite arrow.
He twanged his bow and pointed at the shrub and pulled the arrow back, the bow stretched to the maximum, ready to let go....
When the arrow flew, Jara was sure, he would hit the target.
His smile turned to horror when he heard a scream from behind the low shrub. A human scream...He ran towards the shrub haphazardly almost falling down. Lying behind the shrub was one of the most handsome men Jara had ever seen. But the features of the man were contorted in pain.
Jara knew that the man was royal...a king....His colour...Jara blinked....The dying man's complexion looked so black that it was almost blue....
For a second Jara had a vision from his dream come to him. The man was the same colour as the man in his dreams. Jara shook his head. The man....Jara breathed in quickly. He suddenly realized whom he had hit. His vision blurred with tears and he was hyperventilating as he fell on the ground and picked up the dying body of the dark Lord. 'My Lord! My Lord Krishna! What have I done? How could I even do something like this....I can never forgive myself....'
Krishna looked at the weeping face of Jara and said sadly, 'No my friend. There is nothing to forgive. Now we are even. All of us, no matter who, is always bound by our Karma. It is the law of the universe!'
Karma? What Karma? Jara looked uncomprehendingly wondering whether the Dark Lord was delirious in pain. Krishna said calmly to him, 'Remember who you are my friend....Remember....Neither of us have always had the same body...I have gone by many names before this and so have you and we have met before....'
Jara shook his head disbelievingly. No...No it was not possible! But then Krishna...the dark prince, the Vanara....All these figures intertwined in Jara's head...
'Rama!' Jara spoke slowly afraid to voice his opinion.
Krishna nodded as the pain from the arrow threatened to overwhelm him, 'Yes my friend! You were Vali, the Vanara king. As Rama, I killed you when you were fighting with Sugreeva. Whatever my reasons for killing you then, it was not correct to kill you from a hiding place though I had no enmity with you...I did what I felt was the right thing to do....So now...' Krishna smiled a little hazily as he looked at Jara, '…Now we are even..!
For a second Jara thought he saw a mischievous smile in Krishna's face. But then he saw Krishna's face twist in pain. Jara sobbed unrestrained as Krishna took a deep breath and continued again, 'You will attain salvation for what you have done...be in peace now!'
Jara remembered all the details of his past life with startling clarity, but he was weeping. This was not right. He looked at the Dark Lord not wanting to leave him. Krishna smiled tiredly. 'Now my friend! Just remove the arrow and then leave this place. Go and perform penance...We will meet again in better circumstances....Go now!'
Not understanding, Jara pulled out the arrow from Krishna's body. Krishna gasped as blood oozed out from the wound. Krishna looked at the arrowhead and smiled to himself despite the pain...Now it was all over....
Jara left the Dark Lord as he ran far from there....He wanted to run away....and keep running.... as far away as possible....
As he was running aimlessly, he heard a deep voice within him …We are all bound by our Karma, my friend...whether we are God or mortal. I killed you though there was no enmity between us. Now it has come a full circle as you have now been the reason for me to leave the earth....And please do not be worried...My work here is done for now....Your role in it just marks the end of that role. And remember,my friend, you were just fulfilling the words of a grieving mother....
Jara knew it was Krishna. He felt a little peaceful. He would meet the Dark Lord, in a different place at a different plane of existence....But he definitely would...of that Jara had no doubt. Jara started his penance....
The author thanks Mr. A. Narayan for his review.
The author thanks Mr. A. Narayan for his review.