The Immortals Siva
Land of Pure Life
flowed farthest to the west. They succeeded spectacularly, after convoluted
journeys through the rich plains of Punjab. The Indus itself found comfort
and succour in the enormous, all embracing ocean. The mystery of the
oceans final destination though was yet to be unravelled.
What is Ram? enquired Shiva as he looked down at the word covering
every inch of his saffron cloth.
The three accompanying soldiers rode at a polite distance behind Shiva
and Nandi. Far enough not to overhear any conversation but close enough
to move in quickly at the first sign of trouble. It was a part of their standard
Meluhan service rules.
Lord Ram was the emperor who established our way of life, my Lord,
replied Nandi. He lived around one thousand two hundred years ago. He
created our systems, our rules, our ideologies, everything. His reign is
known simply as Ram Rajya or he rule of Ram. The term Ram Rajya
is considered the gold standard in how an empire must be administered, in order to create a perfect life for all its citizens. Meluha is still governed in
accordance with his principles. Jai Shri Ram.
He must have been quite a man! For he truly created a paradise right here
Shiva did not lie when he said this. He truly believed that if there was a
paradise somewhere, it couldn have been very different from Meluha. This
was a land of abundance, of almost ethereal perfection! It was an empire
ruled by clearly codified and just laws, to which every Meluhan was
subordinated, including the emperor. The country supported a population of
nearly eight million, which without exception seemed well fed, healthy and
wealthy. The average intellect was exceptionally high. They were a slightly
serious people, but unfailingly polite and civil. It seemed to be a flawless
society where everyone was aware of his role and played it perfectly. They
were conscious, nay obsessive, about their duties. The simple truth hit
Shiva: if the entire society was conscious of its duties, nobody would need
to fight for their individual rights. Since everybodys rights would be
automatically taken care of through someone elses duties. Lord Ram was a
Shiva too repeated Nandis cry, signifying Glory to Lord Ram. Jai Shri
Having left their horses at the government authorised crossing-house, they
crossed the river Ravi, close to Hariyupa, or the City of Hari. Shiva
lingered for sometime as he admired Hariyupa from a slight distance, while
his soldiers waited just beyond his shadow, having mounted their freshly
allocated horses from the crossing-house on the other side of the Ravi.
Hariyupa was a much larger city than Srinagar and seemed grand from the
outside. Shiva considered exploring the magnificent city but that would
have meant a delay in the trip to Devagiri. Next to Hariyupa, Shiva saw a
construction project being executed. A new platform was being erected as
Hariyupa had grown too populous to accommodate everyone on its existing
How the hell do they raise these magnificent platforms?
Shiva made a mental note to visit the construction site on his return
journey. At a distance, Jattaa, the Captain of the river crossing house, was
talking to Nandi as he climbed the platform to mount his fresh horse.
Avoid the road via Jratakgiri, advised Jattaa. They suffered a terrorist
attack last night. All the Brahmins were killed and the village temple was
destroyed. The terrorists escaped as usual before any backup soldiers could
When in Lord Agnis name will we fight back? We should attack their
country! snarled a visibly angry Nandi.
I swear by Lord Indra, if I ever find one of these Chandravanshi terrorists,
I will cut his body into minute pieces and feed it to the dogs, growled
Jattaa, clenching his fists tight.
Jattaa! We are followers of the Suryavanshis. We cannot even think of
barbaric warfare such as that! said Nandi.
Do the terrorists follow the rules of war when they attack us? Don they
kill unarmed men?
That does not mean that we can act in the same way, Captain. We are
Meluhans! said Nandi shaking his head.
Jattaa did not counter Nandi. He was distracted by Shiva who was still
waiting at a distance. Is he with you? he asked.
He doesn wear a caste amulet. Is he a new immigrant?
Yes. replied Nandi, growing uncomfortable with the questions about
e going to Devagiri? asked an increasingly suspicious Jattaa,
looking harder towards Shivas throat. Ive heard some rumours coming
Nandi interrupted Jattaa suddenly. Thank you for your help, Captain
Before Jattaa could act on his suspicions, Nandi quickly climbed the
platform, mounted his horse and rode towards Shiva. Reaching quickly, he
said, We should leave, my Lord.
Shiva wasn listening. He was perplexed once again as he saw the proud
Captain Jattaa on his knees. Jattaa was looking directly at Shiva with his
hands folded in a respectful Namaste. He appeared to be mumbling
something very quickly. Shiva couldn be sure from that distance, but it
seemed as if the Captain was crying. He shook his head and whispered,
We should go, my Lord, repeated Nandi, a little louder.
Shiva turned to him, nodded and kicked his horse into action.
Shiva looked towards his left as he rode upon the straight road, observing
Nandi goading his valiant horse along. He turned around and was not
surprised to see his three bodyguard soldiers riding at exactly the same
distance as before. Not too close, and yet, not too far. His glance also took
in Nandis jewellery which he suspected were not merely ornamental. He
wore two amulets on his thick right arm. The first one had some symbolic
lines which Shiva could not fathom. The second one appeared to have an
animal etching. Probably a bull. One of his gold chains had a pendant
shaped like a perfectly circular sun with rays streaming outwards. The other
pendant was a brown, elliptical seed-like object with small serrations all
Can you tell me the significance of your jewellery or is that also a state
secret? teased Shiva.
Of course I can, my Lord, replied Nandi earnestly. He pointed at the first
amulet that had been tied around his massive arm with a silky gold thread.
This is the amulet which represents my caste. The lines drawn on it
symbolise the shoulders of the Parmatma, the almighty. This means that I
am a Kshatriya.
I am sure there are clearly codified guidelines for representing the other
castes as well.
Right you are, my Lord. You are exceptionally intelligent.
No, I am not. You people are just exceptionally predictable.
Nandi smiled as Shiva continued. So what are they?
What are what, my Lord?
The symbols for the Brahmins, Vaishyas and Shudras.
Well, if the lines are drawn to represent the head of the Parmatma, it
would mean the wearer is a Brahmin. The symbol for a Vaishya would be
the lines forming a symbol of the thighs of the Parmatma. And the feet of
the Parmatma on the amulet would make the wearer a Shudra.
Interesting, said Shiva with a slight frown. I imagine most Shudras are
not too pleased about their placement.
Nandi was quite surprised by Shivas comments. He couldn understand
why a Shudra would have a problem with this long ordained symbol. But he
kept quiet for fear of disagreeing with his Lord.
And the other amulet? asked Shiva.
This second amulet depicts my chosen-tribe. Each chosen-tribe takes on
obs which fit its profile. Every Meluhan, in consultation with his parents,
applies for a chosen-tribe when he turns twenty-five years old. Brahmins
choose from birds, while Kshatriyas apply for animals. Flowers are
allocated to Vaishyas while Shudras must choose from amongst fish. The
Allocation Board allocates the chosen-tribe on the basis of a rigorous
examination process. You must qualify for a chosen-tribe that represents
both your ambitions and skills. Choose a tribe that is too mighty and you
will embarrass yourself throughout your life if your achievements don
measure up to the standards of that tribe. Choose a tribe too lowly and you
will not be doing justice to your own talents. My chosen-tribe is a bull. That
is the animal that this amulet represents.
And if I am not being rude, what does a bull mean in your rank of
Well, its not as high as a lion, tiger or an elephant. But its not a rat or a
Well, as far as I am concerned, the bull can beat any lion or elephant,
smiled Shiva. And what about the pendants on your chain?
The brown seed is a representation of the last Mahadev, Lord Rudra. It
symbolises the protection and regeneration of life. Even divine weapons
cannot destroy the life it protects.
And the Sun?
My Lord, the sun represents the fact that I am a follower of the
Suryavanshi kings — the kings who are the descendants of the Sun.
What? The Sun came down and some queen… teased an incredulous
Of course not, my Lord, laughed Nandi. All it means is that we follow
the solar calendar. So you could say that we are the followers of the ”path
of the sun ”. In practical terms it denotes that we are strong and steadfast.
We honour our word and keep our promises even at the cost of our lives.
We never break the law. We deal honourably even with those who are
dishonourable. Like the Sun, we never take from anyone but always give to
others. We sear our duties into our consciousness so that we may never
forget them. Being a Suryavanshi means that we must always strive to be
honest, brave and above all, loyal to the truth.
A tall order! I assume that Lord Ram was a Suryavanshi king?
Yes, of course, replied Nandi, his chest puffed up with pride. He was the
Suryavanshi king. Jai Shri Ram.
Jai Shri Ram, repeated Shiva.
Nandi and Shiva crossed the river Beas on a boat. Their soldiers waited
for the following craft. The Beas was the last river to be crossed after which
the straight road stretched towards Devagiri. Unseasonal rain the previous
night had made the crossing-house Captain consider cancelling the days
crossings across the river. However the weather had been relatively calm
since the morning, allowing the Captain to keep the service operational.
Shiva and Nandi shared the boat with two other passengers as well as the
boatman who rowed them across. They had traded in their existing horses at
the crossing-house for fresh horses on the other side.
They were a short distance from the opposite bank when a sudden burst of
torrential rain came down from the heavens. The winds took on a sudden
ferocity. The boatman made a valiant effort to row quickly across, but the
boat tossed violently as it surrendered to the elements. Nandi stretched
towards Shiva in order to tell him to stay low for safety. But he did not do it
gently enough. His considerable weight caused the boat to list dangerously,
and he fell overboard.
The boatman tried to steady the boat with his oars so he could save the
other passengers. Even as he did so, he had the presence of mind to pull out
his conch and blow an emergency call to the crossing-house on the other
side. The other two passengers should have jumped overboard to save
Nandi but his massive build made them hesitate. They knew that if they
tried to save him, they would most likely drown.
Shiva felt no such hesitation as he quickly tossed aside his angvastram,
pulled off his shoes and dived into the turbulent river. Shiva swam with
powerful strokes and quickly reached a rapidly drowning Nandi. He had to
use all of his considerable strength to pull Nandi to the surface. In spite of
being buoyed by the water, Nandi weighed significantly more than what
any normal man would. It was fortunate that Shiva felt stronger than ever
since the first night at the Srinagar immigration camp. Shiva positioned
himself behind Nandi and wrapped one arm around his chest. He used his
other arm to swim towards the bank. Nandis weight made it very
exhausting work, but Shiva was able to tow the Meluhan Captain to the
shore, just as the emergency staff from the crossing-house came rapidly towards them. Shiva helped them drag Nandis limp body on to the land. He
The emergency staff then began a strange procedure. One of them started
pressing Nandis chest in a quick rhythmic motion to the count of five. Just
as he would stop, another emergency staff would cover Nandis lips with
his own and breathe hard into his mouth. After which, they would repeat the
procedure all over again. Shiva did not understand what was going on but
trusted both the expertise as well as the commitment of the Meluhan
After several anxious moments, Nandi suddenly coughed up a
considerable amount of water and woke up with a start. At first he was
disoriented but he quickly regained his wits and turned abruptly towards
Shiva, screeching, My Lord, why did you jump in after me? Your life is too
precious. You must never risk it for me!
A surprised Shiva supported Nandis back and whispered calmly, You
need to relax, my friend.
Agreeing with Shiva, the medical staff quickly placed Nandi on a stretcher
and carried him into the rest house abutting the crossing-house. The other
boat passengers were observing Shiva with increasing curiosity. They knew
that the fat man was a relatively senior Suryavanshi soldier, judging by his
amulets. Yet he called this fair, caste-unmarked man his Lord. Strange.
However, all that mattered was that the soldier was safe. They dispersed as
Shiva followed the medical staff into the rest house.
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