Mysterious Circle93 mins 1.1K 93 mins 1.1K
"Indian Mythology is one of the richest foundations of Indian Culture, which augments further & makes it a unique one in the world. Stories, which form backbone of Indian Mythology, are a great medium for people especially parents to inculcate interest in the younger generation for the Indian culture. The stimulating aspect of the stories there in, is that, they are usually meant to convey subtle facts, rules & maxims to guide the daily life. The stories herein vary from subtle maxim conveying tales of Panchtatnra & Jataka-tales to crafty life paradigm defining stories ranging from the speech of the divine, The Bhagwad Gita, The greatest epics of all the times, The Mahabharata & the Ramayana. So hereby, I, Dr. Rudransh Dave, head of the Mythology Dept. of Himachal Pradesh University, welcome you all to the world of stories on behalf of the University." Purrs began in the almost the entire classroom, the moment he finished with his pitch. Rudransh was one of the most prominent mythologists amongst the country, who had addressed a full auditorium of Harvard University on Indian Mythology just a month back. As he gawked through the tiny window of the classroom, light drizzle began and his eyes got stuck at the snow cladded mountain peaks far from the Shimla on the horizon line, trying to anticipate; yet unaware of the things that were coming his way soon.
-- X0X0X --
देवी प्रपन्नतिहरै प्रसीद प्रसीद मातर्जगतोखिलस्य |
प्रसीद विश्व पाहि विश्वं त्वमीश्वरी देवी चराचरस्व ||
"Oh Goddess, you who remove the distress of all, who take refuge in you, be pleased. Be pleased, oh mother of the entire perceivable world. Be pleased, oh supreme of the universe. Protect the universe. Oh goddess, you are supreme over all that moves & do not move." The enchanting of the Brahmin ricocheted around the ancient goddess temple, situated somewhere in the rural Himachal Pradesh, into the lap of the Himalaya. He was all alone in the temple, no one apart from him and the glorious idol of the goddess durga.
"You better enchant this one louder, because your safekeeping is surely under some doubt my friend." Slowly, a hefty and dark shadow interloped into the temple, his breath was heavy, his walk was slow but footholds were strong. His walk was one with intent and kind of dogged. The priest stole a look at him. A wave of fright passed through his body.
"Why are you here again?"
"Don't you know sir, why am I here?" He shot back with an intent gaze.
"I have told you a thousand times..!"
"I want it, right here right now, where the hell is the secret hidden..?" his voice got a little gaudier, this time.
"I have already told you my friend; I don't know anything about any damn clandestine." The priest said in an almost pleading tone, drops of sweat developing over his temples.
"Then, I guess you are of no need to me. And don't worry at all, if I can find you, you should know, I can find the secret too." The man said haughtily, with an air of unwavering calm in his voice.
"I hope, I have done my bit to save the secret. Oh Lord, It rests in your hands now to save it further from going it into this devil's hands." The priest prayed subconsciously folding his hands.
"You can go ahead my friend, I guess my time is about to end." The priest said submissively wanting to believe that his prayers will be heard.
"त्याज्यं दोषवद् इत्यं ऐकै कर्म प्राहर मनीषिण |
यज्ञदानतप कर्म न त्याज्यं इति चापरे ||"
"Some learned men declare that all kinds of surreptitious activities should be given up as faulty, yet other sages maintain that acts of sacrifice, charity & penance should never be abandoned." The shadow came up with this verse from the Bhagwad Gita in a fluent Sanskrit, reflecting his knowledge of the divine script. Yet, a streak of violence was shining evidently in his deep black eyes along with this knowledge.
"I just hope, the lord will recognize this sacrifice of yours, for you have tried your best to hide this ancient secret. You have tried to perform your karma, in the best manner you can. I pray to almighty to take note of this and give you a space in the Vaikuntha. And I will try and make it least sore for you - just one stroke of the sword and it will be done my friend." The man said with an ice like coldness in his voice that seemed dangerously ruthless.
"May lord give you the wisdom child…!" The priest closed his eyes, anticipating the end. That hefty shadow picked up his sword, its edge was shining like a gold glided jewel and he swung it in arch as a player who handled it with pretty much ease and precision. Indeed, it took just a stroke. Slowly hot blood trickled down the white marble floors of the temple, like darkness taking over the day, and turning it into red.
“ॐ असतोमा सद्गमय ।
तमसोमा ज्योतिर् गमया ।
मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय ॥
ॐ शान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति: ॥”
Lead us from the unreal to the real, Lead us from darkness to light, Lead us from death to immortality, Om.. Peace, peace, peace! The hefty shadow left the temple with a heavy heart and teary eyes, and priest lied lifeless in the lap of the mother he had served all his life.
1. First Chapter
“Grand paa, Please tell me the story of Arjuna na!” A little girl dashed down the hall to the swing in the centre of the room. An old man wearing Pitambar sat on the swing, his chest was bare, with sparse gray hair, and a Janoi was the only thing visible on his bare-chest. He was wearing a rudraksh around his neck. His personality looked placid.
“What is it between you and Arjun Svadha? Why are you so spellbound with this character?” Grand pa said with a smile. Little Svadha jumped into the lap of her grandfather, and started playing with the pendent he was wearing. It was little strange, but she loved it.
“Panditji, someone wants to meet you.”
“The temple is closed, munimji...! I am with Svadha right now, everyone can wait.”
“He has given this for you...!” An elderly munimji handed a brown colored envelope to him; he checked inside, God knows what he saw, but he seemed baffled, some sort of distress caught him. The little girl kept on peering at his face for some time. But, he had forgotten of her presence in his lap. It seemed as though the land beneath his legs was hard-pressed away. He handed little Svadha to munimji, and walked in hurry towards the temple barefoot, not even wanting to waste time for wearing his footwear. Svadha started to cry. There was some kind of trepidation on her face, out of strange anticipation perhaps and it seemed that she wanted to accompany her grandfather. With her grandfather going each step away, her crying turned brassier. Hearing the same, the old man turned to look at her; unaware of the fact this will be his last look at his dear, Svadha. She screamed, “Grand paa...!”
Svadha woke up petrified, from her usual nightmare, breathing heavily. It was early morning, and she lifted herself out of the blanket, totally covered in her own sweat pool. She sat there for a while, trying to return to normalcy and suddenly, a ringing phone grabbed her attention. She bent towards the side table and picked it up.
“Jay Hind madam...!”
“Jay Hind, Ram. What happened that you had to call at this hour?” She asked worriedly.
“Madam, there has been a murder in Thural village, a priest of a temple has been killed.”said the voice on the other end with a hint of haste and shock.
“A Priest..?” An indefinite fear crossed her face; lifeless body of her grandfather kept floating in front of her eyes now. Can there be any nexus? Her mind wandered. No there cannot be, it is long ago. How there can be any nexus between two murders spanned across twenty-five years? She tried to defy the possibility of the possible nexus with some logic that probably did make sense.
“I will be at police station in half an hour..!” She disconnected the call, unaware of the anarchy she was going to witness.
-- X0X0X –
It was still early morning, Rudransh was still in his night suit, standing in the balcony, trying to exactly recall nightmares he had last night, they weren't any new for him. Soon, he went inside, to make a hot coffee for himself. In a while, he was back on his favorite swing in the gallery, with the cup of coffee. Loneliness was seizing him; he was feeling it now, that he was unaided. Being lonely, since last, almost twenty-five years, he had almost forgotten what companionship is. But now, he was tired; tired of fighting it out alone, tired of preparing his coffee every morning, tired of packing his own lunch, no one was there to welcome him home when he came back from the college; neither there was anyone to share dinner with. In addition to these, the nights were reserved only for those nightmares. A little knock on his iron gate drove his attention; he finished his coffee in one gulp and rushed downstairs. An old man was standing with a brown colored envelope in his hand.
“Ira Dave..???” The name sounded very alien to Rudransh for a moment, but, next moment he realized, it was his wife's name.
“Ira Dave..? It has been almost twenty five years since she...........” He could not finish, his throat choked even after twenty-five years.
“This is what the envelope says..!”
“Okay, give it to me...!” The man handed him the envelope and dashed away on his rusty bicycle.
The envelope looked a bit strange; he opened it. What was in it, bamboozled him completely.
सर्वस्यार्तिहरे देवि नारायणि नमोऽस्तु ||
त्रिशूलं पातु नो भीतेर्भद्रकालि नमोऽस्तु ते ॥
“Who is intent upon rescuing the distressed and the oppressed; who take her refuge and remove all their sufferings; O Devi Salutations to you O Narayani. The Blazing , dreadful, exceedingly sharp, which does not get consumed, Destroyer of Demons, may that Trident of yours protect us from danger, Salutations to you O Narayani.”
There were only these four lines printed on the paper inside the envelope, and alongside the same, there was an emblem. Rudransh could not believe his eyes, he kept on glaring at the symbol at the center of the paper. He had seen the same twenty-five years ago- on the day before Ira had mysteriously disappeared.
-- X0X0X –
On a silent morning, a shadow in a saffron apparel silently pressed forward towards the impishly flowing water. The music of the river was comforting to his ears, as he had an awful night and he could not sleep at all. He had a mission in his hand. A mission which will lead him to the ultimate power, the ancient myth was going to be proven correct very soon. He closed his eyes towards the east horizon and the horizon slowly absorbed the color of the rising sun, turning red, slowly and gradually, identical to the marble floors of the temple yesterday.
“Hey Holy Gange, please wash all my sins & grant me enough métier to fulfill my task. A dream started twenty five years ago is going to come true soon now. Please show me the path, enlighten me with all your purity.” The shadow slowly merged with the flowing water; the cold water comforted his wavering mind. Slowly the sun rose, the day was about to start, he was keen to get back to ashram and switch on the television, to get on the updates on the completion of the work he had assigned last night. As he went deeper into, the cold water, somewhere on the nearby ghat, the morning aarti began, Om Jai Gange Mata, Shri Jai Gange Mata,Jo Nar Tumko Dhyata, Man Vanchhit Phal Pata, Om Jai Gange Mata.
2. Second Chapter
The temple was situated on a small hill, right at the center of it. It looked like an antediluvian one, at the very first view; beset by tall deodar trees all around, a green forest surrounding it & in front of it spread a lush green meadow up to the farthest possible horizon. Serenity was in the air, purity in the atmosphere and divinity in the surroundings. In addition, it was in the remote area so it heard the noise and chatter of a crowd less often.
“It’s a huge temple; I wonder how it hasn’t been turned out to be a religious business park till date.” Svadha slowly climbed the steps of the temple, so were few other people with her, a constable, a photographer, and two more from her team.
“It’s one of the ancient most temples in the India madam; it’s said to be here from the time of Mahabharata.” A local who was escorting them told her. She ignored him. She was busy enjoying the traditional Indian carvings on the walls on the either side of the staircase, forgetting that joy is a perishable boon of nature. Little did she know that a ghastly scene awaited her in the main shrine of the temple.
-- X0X0X –
The beginning of the day itself had been shadowy for Rudransh. The symbol on that letter with only one Shkloka scribbled on it was floating in front of his eyes and he had already cancelled his lecture for the day. He opened his laptop, from his favorites opened a link: ancient Indian mysteries. A web page opened and in the search field, he typed रहस्यमय मंडली - Mysterious Circle. A web page opened, he studied it carefully. His mind sensed something wrong was going to happen or had already happened. The same feeling now seemed to be returning to him; the one he had felt twenty-five years ago, that night, which he certainly would never forget.
“Rudransh, I need to tell you something!” a usual calm and composed Ira, looked perplexed today.
“What happened dear, you look a little concerned,” Rudransh said with a calm voice, running his fingers through the black hair of her.
“Stop being romantic Mr. Mythologist, it's something of very much importance and your interest as well” she straightened up herself on the couch and stepped out to get her handbag placed in their huge cupboard made of Mahogany wood.
“What is it?”
“Look at this, what you make out of this?” She fished out a prop from her bag and handed it over to him. He examined it carefully. It was like a small arrow, made of gold. The tip of it was not like a traditional arrow in anyway. It was something different. The tip bore some symbols- there was a crescent moon and on the very top of it, towards the end of the tip, it took the form of a symbol, which is considered very pure in Hinduism-a pot topped with a coronet of mango leaves and a coconut known as The Purna Kalash. His eyes stayed glued at it for some time. He thought of something and a spark could be seen in his Greenish-Grey eyes.
“Is it a Daivi Astra –a Divine Weapon?” He asked with curiosity encompassing his vivid features.
“Bingo, it’s actually a membership card, a membership card for a society!” Ira said with an unusual blend of anxiety and excitement in her voice.
“Which society, you haven't mentioned it ever before!” Rudransh was surprised.
“I had sworn the oath of Lord Krishna to keep it a secret whole my life.”
“Then why today, all of a sudden?”
“Because, my life is in danger!” She blurted out an unpleasant truth.
“What?” Rudransh jumped out from his place, his eyes reflecting what he felt exactly at that moment-PANIC.
“Look, I can't tell you anything in particular, I had sworn in the name of god to keep the secret, but if something happens to me, try and find out the रहस्यमय मंडली - Mysterious Circle. The hunt begins at an ancient temple of Goddess Durga in the lap of Himalayas. Then she had left to meet someone in haste and that was the last time he had seen her; she never came back. He could find neither her, nor the temple in the lap of Himalayas, for, there were plenty of temples in the mysterious lap of the lord of mountains. How to find the one that was a gateway to the ancient mystery was altogether a task beset with great difficulty. He remembered the somber and sweet face of his wife, his eyes turning moist. He checked the symbol on the letter once again, while a teardrop rolled its way out.
In a while he settled, trying to get his mind back on track, thinking a way to break through this mystery. Something sparked in his mind; he took the receiver and dialed a number.
“Hello, is this Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Samaj...?”He enquired
“May I speak to Swami Saraswati Satananda...?”
“Do you have a telephonic appointment?” asked a trained voice from the other end.
“No, tell him, it’s Rudransh – his best student ever. He won't refuse!”
Rudransh waited holding the receiver blank-headed as the girl on the other side transferred the call.
3. Third Chapter
All the beauty of the ancient temple had vanished from Svadha's mind and the only thing stood there was white marble floor colored with now almost black blood of the priest. His body lied in serenity; there was not even a single sign of threat on his face, which one normally sees on the face of a murdered person. The real frightening thing was something, which Svadha witnessed next. On his side, on the marble, the priest had written some message, with his own blood. Svadha stood there trying to interpret, with her mind dwindling in a pool of emotions, but, she could not guess a bit, what that little Sanskrit shloka written with uneven strokes of the warm red fluid meant to say.
सर्वस्यार्तिहरे देवि नारायणि नमोऽस्तु ||
त्रिशूलं पातु नो भीतेर्भद्रकालि नमोऽस्तु ते ॥
She kept staring at it again and again.
But what baffled her most was what lied beneath that scribbled shkloka. A little gold jewel, a pendent in the shape of arrow, the same her grandfather used to wear. “Now, this just can't be a coincidence!”She stood there wondering, the photographer on her side, busy taking snaps of the murder site and the victim. Her team had already started the work; she was in a psychological dilemma of what to do, how to do and how to go about with this bewildering happening. They still were not able to trace why her grandfather was killed and that thing still tormented her mind. Will she be able to solve this new mystery now? Only the goddess in front of them knew it!
-- X0X0X –
“Hello, can I please speak to ACP Svadha?”
“May I know who this is?” A lumpy voice hit through the receiver
“I am Professor Rudransh Dave; need to talk to her for an exigent matter.”
“Alright. Hold on.” The Line played music for a while, as he transferred the call.
“This is ACP Svadha Vahia here.” A relief came to his irksome mind as this time it was a sweeter voice.
“Hi, Svadha, I am Dr. Rudransh Dave, mythology professor from Himachal Pradesh University. I need to talk to you personally, it’s really urgent.”
“Hi Professor, I have heard of you. Can I please know, what matter it is, which you are classifying as so urgent?”
“Ms. Svadha, it is something about the murder that happened in that ancient temple. I can help you with certain facts I know. I saw the coverage on the local news channel and mark my words, it’s just the beginning.”
“What are you talking about?” She sounded alarmed, listening to this.
“Can we meet personally to discuss this?”
“I am waiting at the police station; no one will disturb us here.”
“Good, I will be there in fifteen minutes.” He hung up and got set to go, considering the fact that time was running.
Well, Shimla police station was just a ten minutes’ ride from his place. Taking the envelope, he had received, he left on his bike in hurry. The police station was situated in Lakkhar Bazar, a place normally crowded with tourists. However, today the traffic was not much on the streets and it felt a bit comforting to him as the poky streets had always made him feel kind of exasperated. It took him about eight minutes to reach the place, seven minutes fifty-six seconds to be precise. The police station as usual was a dull complex that had a screeching silence and nothing about it was pleasant. In fact, the first look of the place gave the feel that it was understaffed. Rudransh was escorted to the last portion of the room where in a nameplate hung reading, ‘ACP Svadha Vahia’.
“Hello Professor, glad to meet you.” She welcomed him with a bright smile on her face, as he entered the cabin. He could make it out that it was a forced one, and probably a big battle was going on in her mind, about the turnover of the events, or possibly the consequences of this meet and what new things would be unveiled today. She looked very young; too young for the post of an ACP. She had decent looks, a little tanned skin tone, beautiful brown eyes that seemed like they had just leaped into a pool of afflictions, and yet had managed to come up with the positivity. She chortled to break Rudransh’s focus on discerning her thoroughly. He took a seat in front of her and narrated everything to her, starting from Ira’s incident to the envelope he had received yesterday and about the रहस्यमय मंडली - Mysterious Circle. To his surprise, she also had something to share, the incident that happened with her grandfather, who was a priest at the famous Dwarika Temple, and the strangest part was both the incidences happened almost at the same time, twenty-five years back. They both just kept on looking at each other, at the mere happenstance that they were the prey to the same crime, and may be bystander to the few, which are going to be committed in near future.
-- X0X0X –
“So, according to your wife, the mystery unfolds itself at a goddess temple in the lap of Himalayas.” She repeated, as a kid left two cups of tea on the table; this was his third visit in last one hour.
“Yes, so this temple should be the one she was pointing at, this temple must hold some furtive message or clue to unveil the truth of this enigmatical रहस्यमय मंडली - Mysterious Circle.”
“But you still haven’t told me what this Mysterious Circle is all about?” She asked with a perplexed curiosity.
“I am not the best person to tell you that!”
“Then who else is?”
“I already have called him. He was the teacher through whom I studied the Hindu Mythology, and he was the one who guided me in my thesis while doing my doctorate. Swami Saraswati Satananda- he is the best person to guide us. Moreover, for your knowledge, he was in consideration for the post of Shankaracharya, just at the age of thirty. However, due to some legal problems he was rejected and now he is heading the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Samaj in Banaras. I have already given him a call for help and he is on his way to Shimla.”
“I just pray, he can be of some help. Coz, I do not want to witness few more crimes, few more deaths. I have heard and seen enough for this life.”
“I am not having so much of a good feel about all these, anyways. The sooner it gets over better it will be.” He took a deep breath, trying to load his lungs with oxygen to fight with these negative vibes taking over him.
-- X0X0X –
Somewhere in the Ashram on the banks of River Ganga, a shadow in the saffron picked up the cell phone, and dialed a number in hurry.
“Well done my child. Did he tell you anything?”
“No Guruji, that fucking ass-hole gave his life away, but didn’t speak a word. Now what? We don’t know from where to begin the hunt!”
“Don’t worry my child, I already have a backup plan; I knew something like this will happen. I have already hired an expert; he shall be on his way to the ancient temple to decipher the code hidden in the temple.”
“What is the command for me?”
“You have lot more blood to shed my child, till further briefings, take a time-out in the lap of the Himalayas.”
4. Fourth Chapter
After completing his doctorate, it was first time Rudransh was seeing his Guruji; but he had not changed a single bit. The same saffron throbe, the same tripunda on his temple, the same luminosity in his eyes, the same equanimity on his face; nothing seemed to have changed in the fleeting years. Rudransh traveled back to his education days, for a while, when he had kept on ogling at that man. It had always given him an unprecedented sense of peace. Presently, they were walking in the small garden outside the temple where all the mobocracy had been activated, the place that Ira wanted him to find to decipher the codes and reach to the next level towards finding that ancient mystery. “Swamiji, I am ACP Svadha Vahia, the officer handling this case. I am unreservedly confused, and Mr. Rudransh had come up with something entirely eerie called रहस्यमय मंडली - Mysterious Circle. Please help us with this.” She summarized the crux of the matter to the Swamiji.
“A baffled mind can only create conundrums; to disentangle one you need an unruffled mind.” Svadha took two three deep breaths, remembering what his Grand paa used to tell her everytime she became anxious.
“So, Rudransh first of all tell me one thing, why do you think there is involvement of रहस्यमय मंडली - Mysterious Circle in all this? This can just be a mere coincidence.” The swamiji now commenced.
“Have a look at this sir, this arrived yesterday morning.” Rudransh said, handing over the envelope he had received, and once again stood silent as Swamiji turned busy observing the paper.
“This shloka is certainly iconically used as an SOS message by whosoever has sent it. Plus the symbol embossed on this paper, is something iconic as well, reminds you of something Rudransh?” Swamiji said, studying the icon carefully.
“Yes sir, Daivi Astra– The Divine Weapon.”
“How you cannot identify it, you have written thesis on the same.”
“Daivi Astra – The Nuclear Powerhouse of the ancient Indians.”
“So how you want me to help you?”
“We want to know everything about this रहस्यमय मंडली - Mysterious Circle, every little thing you know about it.”
“Okay, let’s start from your favorite topic: The Mahabharat.”
-- X0X0X –
Time: Thirty-Five Years after the Mahabharata War
Place: Somewhere in the Kingdom of Hastinapura
“Hey Paartha, I have been perceiving since we left Dwarika; something is fretting you but you are not speaking it out.”
“Madhav, even after companionship of these many years I have not been able to know, how you come to know about everything going on in my mind?”
“O Bull of Bharata race, Thou art mine and I am thine. O Paartha, no one can understand the difference that is between us. Both of us form what is called Nar-Narayana. You are the Nar and I am the Narayana, you are the one who completes me. Now tell me what that thing is which is bothering my friend?” asked Madhav with benevolence. The chariot slowly and steadily kept on moving towards the Hastinapur, The Holy Ganga River also silently flowed with them, Krishna observed his best friend’s face for a while, perturbed expressions were clearly visible, a pale smile crossed his lips.
“Keshav, Knowledge is usually deliberated as god-sent, and then can it become a scourge as well?”
“Paartha, knowledge is never a curse, misuse of knowledge is.”
“That is what is concerning me Madhav. I possess so much of a knowledge that can be fruitful for the coming generations, but I am petrified what if the same will be misused. If so, it will be disparaging for entire society.”
“Which knowledge you are talking of Paartha?”
“Regarding, how to use various astras, including deadly ones like Pashupatasra, Brahmastra & even Brahmashira.”
“If this is misused it can destroy whole of mankind.”
“Especially Brahmashira Madhav, only few persons knew how to use it, Lord Parshurama, Guru Draunacharya, his son Ashwasthama & myself. It’s the most destructive astra on this planet earth.”
“I know Paartha, but knowledge is something you should pass on to next generations. Nothing is immortal, neither you, nor me but through our knowledge we can guide coming generations. And our time is looming its end, we have to find a way out to hide this information in reliable hands.”
“What do you mean by looming its end Keshav?”
“O great son of Kunti, the tenacity of our life is almost served; to establish the dharma. Now, we need to go back to where we belong. Every beginning has an end scripted, from the day it begun. Next year is the year, when the Dwapar Yuga is finishing and the Kali Yuga is beginning, and I have accepted Devi Gandhari’s curse that also has to come true. Thus, the day on which Kali Yuga will start I will take leave from all of you. Soon thereafter, you will have to start your journey for the swarga. Before all of this, you will have to find a way out for this mystery.” All of sudden words of Krishna made Arjun remember, words of Gandhari after the war had ended, when she outraged her anger on the Madhav for being reason of this war.
“Listen to this, oh mocking God. If my years of Vishnu Bhakthi have been true, and if my Pati Bhakthi since my marriage has been unshaken and strong, then, may you die in 36 years from today. May Dwaraka be flooded and may every one of your Yadava kin perish by killing each other, just as you made the kins of Kuru kill one another. Since the Yadavas cannot be killed by any other race, they will die at each other’s hands. May the Yadavas die out…. may the Yadavas die out….” Response of Krishna to this was even more surprising,
“Tathastu Maathey, that curse of yours will take effect, not only because of your true devotion towards me and your husband, but also due to the ever changing sands of time. In the meantime, let’s attend to the tending of the dead and sending them away on their journey to the heavens.” And, supporting Gandhari, Krishna walked past the startled and shocked pandavas to their encampment. Arjuna reminisced the scene as it was; a wave of trepidation taking over his face.
“Madhusudan, It always has been you who have steered me whenever I have stopped somewhere. Only thought of you leaving us is making me disconsolate.”
“You are losing these fantastic moments of us being together, by tormenting about tomorrow. Leave in present Gandivdhari, look at this flawlessly flowing Ganga, listen to these squeaking birds, feel the rhythmic music of this wind, your mind will conquer tranquility.” Arjuna slowly closed his eyes, Krishna took out his flute –‘Vamsi’ and started playing euphonious melody onto it, slowly Arjuna’s lips stretched into an amusing leer.
-- X0X0X –
It was a pleasant early evening at the Indraprastha, Arjuna and Panchali were seating on a little bench in the garden in front of their palace with few rodents playing infront of them. They watched at them with a little smile on their face. All of a sudden a little mayhem caught their attention. A chariot was rushing towards the palace, the flag was that of Dwarika; but Madhav was not there on the chariot, it was Daruk. Both Arjuna and Draupadi rushed towards him.
“What happened Daruka? Why you have to come so rushingly?” Arjuna became a little worried seeing unease on the face of Daruka.
“Annihilation, Paartha whole Yadav Dynsty has ruined themselves. Madhav has asked me to take you to Prabhas. He is alone over there. Madhav also gave permission to Lord Balrama for videha mukti. Lord is alone; please make it fast to Prabhas.”
“I hope Sakha is safe Daruka, please tell me he is safe.”
“Have patience Panchali, I believe the time has come for Govinda to leave us all. He had already given me the signals some time back. Don’t ask any questions right now, we should get going, we don’t have much time left now.”
They reached the place. It was late evening. The whole surrounding of beautiful and serene Prabhas was in woe, wind which normally comforted people was adding to the agitation of Arjuna and Panchali along with some Brahmins and their army. The sky had turned into pale orange showing grief and pain, the sun was slowly dissolving into the endless sealine, was it indicator of something – whether the sun which had lit the world with his light was about to set?
As the chariot kept on moving, horrifying scene of Killed Yadus haunted Arjuna and Panchali, but their eyes were searching something else. From far, they saw a figure running towards them, they asked to increase the speed of chariot towards the same direction.
“You must be Arjuna and Paanchali right?” A villager asked them
“Yes, who are you?”
“Jara, I am a hunter. I shot a poisoned arrow seeing a foot, considering it a deer, later I found it was Shree Krishna. He is there under Peepal tree wounded, waiting for you. Please hurry up.” They all hurried up in the direction Jara pointed, the scene there was something Arjuna could not withstand nor could Panchali, her sakha was leaving her forever. The lord was seated taking a support of trunk of a Peepal Tree, his leg was bleeding profusely, pain was clearly visible on his face, yet the tranquility was there.
“Sakha, is it paining a lot?” Draupadi sat there with teary eyes.
“No Sakhi, not at all. Slowly I am arriving at a peace which I had never ever before.” Draupadi could not speak, her throat chocked, eyes became squelchy.
“The time has come, let me go Sakhi. Now don’t bind me into the maya of relations.”
“त्वदीयम वस्तु गोविन्दम तुभ्यमेव समर्पयेत” – “Whatever is yours, I am capitulating back it to you Govinda.”
“Yajnaseni, I could not repay the debt for the word Govinda (when she uttered Govinda at the time of Vastraharan, the way she had called Govinda – Krishna always felt indebted to Draupadi for the same), I am going without repaying it.” She could not bear anymore, she ran away from the place crying like a child.
“Paartha, take care of her. In addition, do not waste time in crying over my death. Dwarika is in a deep danger, soon after my death whole of dwarika will sink under the sea. Take all the residents of the Dwarika to Indraprastha with you. And yes, make sure the knowledge you possess is safe in the deserving hands, as we discussed.” Arjuna just nodded, he had no courage left to utter a word.
“Now go and see for Sakhi, I need to be alone for a while.”
These were the last words of Madhav, when they came back Arjuna and Panchali, their god and beloved friend had already left his body. As cursed by Gandhari, he was alone; no one was around with him during his last time. Arjuna touched his feet and he was broken from within, he busted into tears like a kid, so were others present with him. After cremating mortal body, Arjuna took all the residents of the Dwarika to the Indraprastha. On their way back they were attacked by the robbers. Arjuna tried to fight them but somehow he could not, his age was catching upon him. They ran away to the Indraprastha. Back to Indraprashta depressed Arjuna met with Sage Vyasa and discussed his failure to protect women and children of Dwarika. Sage Vyasa explained him that Arjuna & his brothers have served the purpose of their lives, it is time for them to retire and renounce their kingdom. After handing over the kingdom to Parikhsit, Pandavas , along with Draupadi retired and travelled across the country on pilgrimage. It is said that somewhere in Himachal in an ancient goddess temple, Arjuna conferred his knowledge of various Astras to a Saint and asked him to form a Secret Society and divide all the knowledge amongst them to protect. That is what is known as रहस्यमय मंडली - Mysterious Circle, which till date holds the secret.
5. Fifth Chapter
The temple premise was in total muteness, not a single movement inside. Goddess showered her blessings from inside the main shrine of the temple, which looked empty in absence of its main priest. All three of them silently moved inside the temple, to find out any cue. ‘The hunt begins at a goddess temple in the lap of the Himalayas.’ Sweet voice of Ira echoed into his ears, “At any cost I have to find an answer to this one, she trusted me to solve this mystery. At least I can do that much for wife, by helping her society.” Thoughts were hovering in his mind. He looked at his young companion, Svadha, who seemed to be lost in her own world of thoughts too. His mind started to start thinking of ways, secret could be hidden in the temple; an image, a Shloka, or even some scribbled message hidden in some scripture designed into the walls of the temple.
“Prof. Dave, what kind of hidden message do you expect?” Svadha spoke up, suddenly breaking his chain of thoughts.
“Rudransh is fine Svadha, and about what to expect inside temple, I certainly don’t know. We have to check for each and every little thing scribbled on these walls.”
“Are you serious, Rudransh?”
“Have never been more serious before!”
They started the hunt for the each symbol, each little shloka scribbled on the wall. It was a daunting task; the temple premises were a huge one. After almost one and half-hour wasted without a success, they decided to take a rest for a cup of tea.
“Svadha, I guess we are almost there, we just need to focus a little more. And yes, why don’t we search for that symbol of secret society, that should be present there, what do you say?”
“I guess you are correct Rudransh, and I guess I saw something like that on some wall. Yes, I definitely saw an arrow.”
“Let’s get to the left hand side of the shrine once again, that’s where you were searching. Let us finish this tea fast and get back. We are playing with time; Guruji too is waiting for us in his hotel room.”
-- X0X0X –
They finished their round of tea quickly and got back on the work quickly. Rudransh was eager to find out the truth. He was eager to help her wife’s cause, the cause for which she died. His persona was calming, his eyes were soothing; yes, his hair had started to turn grey but it actually added to his good looks. He was a keen observer, slowly but minutely he started observing each little scripture on the left sidewall of the shrine. Yes, Svadha might have seen some arrow like scripture somewhere, but where she was unable to remember. Her mind was not capable enough to handle so many things at a time, a dead priest, haunting memories of dead grandfather, a secret society, ancient secrets from Mahabharata and a psycho on a spree of killing people. Phew, it was difficult to digest even for the brightest IPS Officer, the one who topped her batch.
It was almost half an hour since they had finished their tea; Svadha had already given up on her efforts, but She could see Rudransh was looking at the wall, all of a sudden from a far She could see the trigger of optimism in his eyes.
“Svadha, come here. I have found it out, almost.”She dashed towards the left side of the main shrine of the temple.
“Look at this, what do you make up of this.”
She had a look at the work of art on the wall, five men and a woman besides them were pouring water on the Shiva Linga, and on the top of it was an arrow, just like the one they had witnessed on the paper Rudransh had received, the one which Svadha’s grandfather used to wear and the one they found out near the dead body.
“You did it…!”She squeezed him tight in the enthusiasm, but it didn’t last more than a moment, as a thought of reality struck her mind.
“Professor, yes it’s clear. First one is a Shiva Temple, but how to know which Shiva Temple?”
“Good Question, ACP…!” There was a mild smirk on his face, a deep smile.
“You know that as well?”He just smiled in affirmation.
“How...! There is nothing here to indicate that.”
“It is there; look in the direction of the tip of the arrow from here.”She took her eyes to the right hand side.
“Bloody genius….!” Words came out from her mouth; there was a little Shiva Temple and what was written there was the place, they will start their journey, the words written were, ||ॐ सोमनाथाय नमः||
6. Sixth Chapter
“Can you please tell me ACP, what the hell is going on? And who the bloody hell is this some smart ass with you?”
“It’s a long story sir, but let me tell you, he is the one who can help us with this case. I guess, he is the one who can crack the mystery for us.”
It took almost an hour to explain everything in detail to the Commissioner of the Police; phew, it was a tough task.
“So, Professor Dave, how do you thing I can help you?”
“By staying silent as of now, coz we don’t know who the person is behind all these. In short, we do not know, If my guess regarding the Somnath is correct or not. Let us go there, check everything. Until then no announcements, no press release, nothing, as if none of us knows anything at all. Coz, what I believe is the primary objective of all these is just to create anarchy. I don’t want us to help him in creating it by creating media hype. And you know our media very well sir, don’t you.”
“I can understand…! But I and my team will also be with you in complete civil dress, don’t worry we won’t put our nose in your work, but in case you need help, which I know your surely will.”
“Thanks sir, then all of us will fly to Somnath today itself. I already have asked Guruji, Swami Saraswati Satananda, to talk to the main priest of the temple. He is the well- known figure in the religious circle. Let’s hope for the best.”
“Hope, hope is the driving force of the Police Force Professor. We always hope.”
“Thanks a lot sir, will take your leave for now. I hope, when we will be back, we will have your culprit
-- X0X0X --
Somnath, a temple located in the Prabhas Kshetra, near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast of the Gujarat and the first amongst the twelve jyotirlinga shrines of God Shiva, the god of destruction. The Place is located at such a place that there is no land in straight-line between Somnath Seashore till Antarctica, such an inscription in Sanskrit is found on the Arrow-pillar called Baan-Stambh erected on the sea-protection wall at the Somnath Temple. The place is known for its Serenity, the moment you put your feet on the land of the Somnath, you surely will attain tranquility. Tranquility that you cannot find anywhere else, so much that even Lord Krishna decided to make this place the place, where he took his last breath. What more proof might be required to prove it?
But, Rudransh and Svadha’s minds were not at tranquility at all, they were perturbed instead. It was pouring down, as if Lord of Rains had opened all his floodgates. Rain was so dense that Rudransh was not even able to look at Svadha who was just next to him; so much was the force of the rain. Whole of the Somnath was locked in their houses. He checked his wrist-watch; it showed 10:10 PM.
“It’s really late Professor, do you think we should go and disturb them at this time?”
“Rudransh, Svadha; have told you many times. This gives me the feel that I am still in my college, please. And about time, I don’t think the killer would be working looking at the clock hands, neither should we.”
Slowly, they moved ahead towards a small apartment, in the congested street of Somnath, water was still pouring down heavily from the heavens and they were all inundated. He knocked on the old styled wooden door, once, twice, he was almost going to knock third time when a relatively young girl opened the door.
“Yes, who do you need?”
“Can I meet Panditji?” He timidly asked
“He went to temple; you had any business with him?”
“Temple? At this time? In this heavy rain?” He looked at Svadha; she too had a little dumbfounded expression on her face.
“He had a visitor, who asked him to come at temple, being a chief priest of the temple, he had to go.”His face turned wishy-washy hearing this
“When did he go? Which is the shortest route to the temple?”
“Must be fifteen minutes back, and temple is just five to ten minutes’ walk away, why what happened?”
“Nothing, I will catch up with him in the temple itself, Thank you.”
The girl casually closed the door, both Svadha and Rudransh looked at each other for a moment, the expression on their face was identical - DUMBFOLDED
“Run Svadha, call your boss, we need his team’s back-up straight away at the temple.” Something finally struck his numb mind; He tightened his fists, and started running towards the temple direction, through the dirty water puddles on the streets. That reminded him of his college days; He used to be a 400 meter champion. Gathering all his strength he was running, so was Svadha. And one must say even middle aged; he was giving a tough fight in running even today to a fully fit, young IPS officer. In a few minutes’ run, a gigantic structure of the temple was in front of them. Anyone would have been pleased on seeing this temple ninety nine times out of hundred, this was that one time, when Rudransh was not. The whole area was in grim solitude, water puddles had gathered all around the temple, and the usual shops normally selling the Prasad and Flowers and other items for Pooja at the temple, was being used as the temporary shelter house for dogs. They rushed towards the front door, it was closed from inside.
“Goddd dammmmmmm it…” Svadha banged her fist on the door.
“Wish we had Inspector Daya in your team…” A sardonic smile passed on his lips
“You and your bloody sense of humor…!”
“There must be a door in the back for the priest and VIP entries. Let’s give a try there.”They rushed towards the back of the premises, there truly was a door and luckily, it was open. They could see the light of the main shrine from the far. They rushed in the temple; there was a pin drop silence, not a single movement inside. However, the scene in there was unexplainably atrocious.
Rudransh was already busy observing the walls of this magnificent temple. He was looking for a clue to find the next one; they had failed to prevent this one. DCP and his team sent by the commissioner were busy observing the main shrine of the temple, to find any clues, any evidences the killer had left mistakenly. Svadha was alone in the center of the main shrine, being the single witness present there. The whole scene was still in front of her eyes, when they first entered the temple premises. As both Svadha and Rudransh entered the premises, there was no one present, only thing they could see was a huge vessel, which we normally use to cook in marriage functions, that kind of; in the center of the main shrine. They ran towards the same, and the scene was eerier than they might have anticipated in worst of their nightmare. Lifeless, naked Body of the priest was floating in the vessel almost full of water, and on his bare chest killer had scribbled वरुण देवाय नमः using his knife. Sign of fear and pain was palpable in the eyes of Rudransh, who kept on scaring at the scene for a while.
“Oh my fucking god, this is freaking…!” Rudransh yelled…
“This bloody mother fucker is killing according to the nature of divine weapon he is going to find.”
“How can you say this?”
“Look at the chest of corpse, he has scribbled the name of the Varun Deva, and he has killed him by drowning him in the water. This means he has found Varunastra over here; Varunastra – The Divine Weapon of the Lord of Water.”
“This is fear-provoking...”
“It will become more if we don’t catch him soon. I can’t even imagine what will he do when he will find Pashupatastra or Brahmastra?.”
“They are equivalent to our nuclear weapons of today; will he destroy the whole city or what?”Emblems of anxiety were clearly noticeable on the professor’s ever-calm face.
“Don’t worry, everything will be fine.” She pressed her hand hard on his shoulder, wondering she was comforting him or herself.
“Hope so. We need to be ahead of this fella, let us get back to work. We need to find which the second place is.”She could see fortitude on his face; his eyes had already started searching for any clues present on the temple walls.
“Holy Fucccc……, Rudransh look at this...!”She couldn’t help but squawk, looking at this one, Rudransh turned to look at her pointed finger.
|| मृत्युंजय महादेव त्राहिमाम शरणागतम
जन्मा मृत्यु जरा व्याधि पीडितम् कर्मा बन्धनम् ||
This Shloka was scribbled on the floor, with the blood. They kept on glaring at the spitefulness of the person.
7. Seventh Chapter
The code was broken now, finally…! It wasn’t a difficult task to find which the next place will be. It was a simple game put forward by the ancient ones. It was just in front of your eyes, you just needed that open mind to interpret it. The simple game, Odd Man out…! Still not many had been able to solve it; even super smart Professor Rudransh Dave would not have been, if not put into these extreme circumstances. It’s how we have become or maybe we always were like that, thinking of multifarious bits and pieces we cannot even decipher the simpler ones in front of our eyes. And yes, the ancient ones were smart enough to decode that; it won’t be found out, how correct were they? Yes, they were superior in every area including knowing human mind than we are today. We are just trying to revive the knowledge they had known ages back. Here He was standing in the left hand side of the main shrine of the temple, in front of the clue for the second place; Svadha too was there with him glaring at the wall blank mindedly. Again the pattern was the same, five men and a woman were standing folding their hands to God – a man with the flute in his hand and above was the symbol, symbol of the ancient group, and beneath the same a little words were scribbled –જયદ્વારિકાધીશ. So, the next place was Dwarika – a place The Great Arjuna certainly would have loved to store one of his weapons. It was the place of his beloved friend, his friend, philosopher and guide.
“So, Professor What now?”
“Somnath to Dwarika is two hundred and thirty Kms, so maximum four to five hours ride. We shall start DCP Sharma, ASAP..!”
“You already have been late once, I can’t take any chance this time. I am calling Dwarika Police station to make sure no more killings happen this time.”
“I can understand your point DCP, and you are free to do whatever you feel correct. My idea behind not publicizing this is just to make sure; purpose of the killer is not fulfilled.”
“And that is what professor?”
“To create anarchy in the society..!” Rudransh took a little pause to gulp a dose of fresh air
“Even I was going you to ask for arranging security forces at Dwarika Temple. But can you do me a favor?’
“I am here to favor you and ACP Svadha only sir…!”
“Ask them to go there in civilian dresses and make sure it’s just counted as a security drill, no threats, no murders, and no psychopath to be mentioned.”
“That can be done Professor..!”
“So, Svadha ready to drive to Dwarika, your birthplace…!”
“I certainly would have been excited on any other day, but not today professor. I am startled..!”
“So, am I dear, but don’t worry. I am there with you, whatever will happen we shall take it together. “Never before she had realized at times someone just being there with you is the biggest thing in the world. In the ruthless days, “I am there” becomes snootier than even “I Love You”. She accredited Professor’s word by taking his hand in hers, she felt the dampness in his hands, and even he was feeling nervy, wasn’t he?
Dwaraka or Dwarika; one of the Saptapuri, Seven most ancient religious cities in the country; Primordial Kingdom of King Krishna and his brother Lord Balrama and the Inborn place of ACP Svadha Vahia. She had spent whole of her childhood here in the streets of Dwarika, playing on the seaside of the magnificent coast line. They weren’t any new for her, but her feelings right now were extra-terrestrial for sure. DCP Sharma had already asked for a team at the Dwarika Temple, just as a security measure for the terrorist attack threat received by the intelligence team. There wasn’t any attack on the priest so far. That meant this was the best place for them to catch him and find out the truth.
“Guruji, they have asked for some additional security at the Dwarika Temple.” The hefty Shadow was resting somewhere on the cool sand on the shoreline of the Dwarika.
“I know dear.”
“This Professor and that hot-shot ACP are creating glitches with each day passing. Kindly give me the acquiescence to eradicate them today along with that fucking priest…!”
“Patience dear, a confounded brain can only create enigmas; to extricate one you need an unflustered mind. And yeah, don’t even think to exterminate them; I want to do the honors myself. Yes, you can bring them over here to me. And about that additional security, do you think that will stop us from attaining our objective?”
“I don’t have a single doubt over your planning Guruji, but those ill-advised mortals do think they can catch me tonight and then grab your balls.”
“Let them dream, but yeah don’t underrate them. They both are shrewd, I have experience of them, personal experience. I like challenges; once you are done with today, do try and bring them for a dinner.”
“God bless son, Vijayi Bhavah……!”The call got disconnected, humid air from the sea, played with the harsh, expression-less face of the hefty shadow. Now he had two jobs on hand, he not only had to kill the priest but he has to catch those smart-ass well, that too alive. He would have loved to eradicate them by his own, and yeah by every means he was capable enough to do that, but this was Guruji’s order, even in the worst of his dream he could not overlap his order. He closed his eyes, allowing the wind to play with his face for some more time.
It is said that, the Dwarikadhish Temple was built by Lord Krishna’s grandson Vajranbha over the Hari-Griha (Lord Krishna’s residential palace). The temple is a five-storied complex, supported by seventy-two pillars; archaeological findings suggest it to be 2,200 years old. This is the place, Lord is worshipped as a King, as a Ruler who ruled the world. It was late evening, the temple was closed for the day, and both Svadha and Rudransh entered the temple using Swarga-Dwar from the south-side entrance to the temple. Rudransh could see the thrown jargons on the face of Svadha; she knew each and every little corner of this place to the minute of the details. He pressed his hand on her shoulder, reassuring her of the fact, he was there, she acknowledged his sustenance just by blink of an eye – who said you need words all the time, eyes can do even enhanced schmooze. As they entered the main shrine, He saw a young guy in his mid-twenties making sure everything was fine before he left. He is too young to be a priest of such an imperative temple… A thought crossed his mind. He checked on Svadha, she was lost in her own world. He could see even from far, she had teary eyes. A season of loneliness and isolation is when the caterpillar gets its wings; a random quote crossed Rudransh’s mind.
“I guess, I should allow you to be with your commemorations for a while.” He gawked deep into those misty eyes, He just wanted to hold her and wipe those tears away. But, he didn’t have the valor to do so after spending an age in the lonesomeness.
“Thank you professor..!” She plowed her hand strongly on his shoulder.
“I will walk priest to his home, I need to talk to him. Meanwhile you can check with DCP Sharma, if everything is okay here.”
“And, I am just a call away….!”
“Be Safe, I won’t be away long..!”
“I will be, don’t worry. This place comes next to my house. Be back soon, I will be waiting…!”
“But some psychopath doesn’t come to slaughter people in your house; one may drop-in here, anytime soon.”
“If you have elapsed, I am ACP, professor; yap a bit lost in the past and a bit emotional as well right now. But, I am trained to tackle those bastards.”
“I have not forgotten, Ms. Lost in the past-Emotive ACP. I was just concerned.”
“I know, don’t take long.”He sneered at her in reply; she came back with a pale one too.
“Namaskar, I am Rudransh Dave, Professor of Mythology from Himachal Pradesh University..!”Rudransh folded his hands together in Namaskar, walking alongside young priest of the temple. It was almost dark; sun had diluted itself into the horizon of coastline of the Dwarika. The look of the sky was identically similar to a burnt charcoal, so dark red it just looked black at the look of it.
“Namaskar Professor, is there something wrong? So many police, a professor of mythology visiting us, can’t be such a strange co-incidence, can it be? By the way I am, Jagdish Vyas..!” His voice had the edge of the intelligence
“Jagdishji, you have guessed it correctly, it isn’t any co-incidence. There is a stuff we need to talk about. It’s little serious.”
“I am listening professor…!” He sounded inquiring, He was expressive, seemed his voice tone modulated itself regards to how he felt each time.
“But, first I am little curious. Can I ask you a question first?”
“You are very young, must be in your mid-twenties. How come you become a priest of such an important temple at such a young age?” He glared at Rudransh for a while, trying to scan his facial expressions.
“Good Observation Professor. I am not a priest over here; it’s my father who is a priest. He is not well since last three days, so I am coming to manage the temple in place of him, as a substitute.” A thunder struck his face, Are we outthought again by the killer, has he succeeded again?
“What the Fu…. Where is your father?”
“Why Professor what happened?”
“I have to meet him right now. His life is in danger.”
“What the hell are you talking…why?”
“This isn’t a right time to play quiz Jagdish, for god’s sake tell me WHERE HE IS RIGHT NOW….?” Rudransh was shouting at his loudest
“He wanted to stay away from the entire hullabaloo; he is at a little hut outside the town near seashore.”
“I want to go there, RIGHT NOW…!”
The place Jagdish had asked for was some five kilometers away from the city. Each passing minute brought more ache in the heart for Rudransh. On his way, he already had given a call to Svadha; she also was on her way to the place. When they reached there, scene was eerier than Rudransh had anticipated.
The small hut on the sea-shore was covered in flames & blazes. A heavy man was standing in front of the place, with a torch in his hands; he had a cruel smile on his face. Rudransh froze seeing the scene. It’s Agneyastra, he managed Agneyastra as well. I can’t fail twice in a raw.
“Hey you, stop over there you fucking ass hole.” Rudransh felt the adrenaline rush inside, he dashed towards the hefty figure. That fella had a small grin painted over his face; his fish was coming in the rod on its own. He didn’t even need to fish for him.
Rudransh was not a well-built man, nor was he any fighter; yes, he was agile for a one almost to be middle-aged but not for combats. On the opposite side, the man was of nice built, he knew exactly where to hit to kill a person and where, not to kill as well. He slowly tortured Rudransh with his hits, fits and kicks in his abdominal area, his back, even gave a forceful blow to his left-hand. Crack, Rudransh felt something cracking inside, must have broken his hand. Earlier he tried to fight back with him, even managed to hit him with a brick lying on the ground, and even managed to break one of his teeth with that blow of brick, but now he had given up. Obscurity had slowly started to catch up in front of his eyes. The sensation of unadorned throbbing, gave him the feel that his end was looming nearby.
“Hey you, stop there.” Rudransh heard some familiar female voice. He was about to faint, he tried hard to keep his eyes open. He was hardly able to see anything.
Svadha was better trained to fight such people, she had weapon as well, Rudransh felt better on hearing her, He could feel, he will not die now, at least he will not die. On the edge of collapsing, Rudransh heard two gun shots.
“Fuck I missed him…!” He overheard Svadha from distance; he forced his eyes open to look at the scene, but they unbendingly repudiated him of that opportunity.
“Rudransh, are you alright?” She was back, trying to get Rudransh back into his conscience, he already was half-fainted, but he recognized her touch. He was in some staid ache; he could feel something had broken inside his left hand. All of his body felt sore. Svadha was caressing his forehead. All of a sudden he felt some movement behind, before he could realize, that hefty fella hit a strong blow on the head of Svadha, next one came on his head, very next moment it was all dark, absolute dark, placidly dim.
“Job well done, once again; you never disappoint me…!”
“No Guruji, Sorry. It’s not hundred percent done...!”
“Mean to say...?”
“I could not get that professor, though I have hot-shot ACP with me. I managed to black-out both. I carried the ACP in the car first, just before I go and get that arse, DCP Sharma and his team came running in. Didn’t risk going there to catch him, so….! I hope you are not angry with me…!”
“You have done brilliantly my son; please don’t bother about the professor. We will catch him next time up. He will walk himself to us. It’s time to welcome our guest, please take care of her. I will meet her directly at the ashram.”
“Okay. I’ll keep her blacked out till then…!”
“See you at the ashram soon; now take some well-deserved rest.”
8. Eighth Chapter
It was coal-black in front of his eyes, only thing he could feel right now was pain. Relentless pain almost through whole of his body, he was unable to identify which area was hurting him more. He just lied in there; realizing that he was slowly getting back into the consciousness, but he chose not to try and open his eyes. After a while, he also could feel, some very heavy thing tied to his hand. He remembered the blow he had on his hand while fighting that monster –must have been fractured badly– a thought crossed his mind. Sounds of some murmurs were hitting his eardrums not from far; he tried to listen without opening his eyes.
“Sir, I have a very peculiar doubt in my mind, someone is trying to misguide us...!” DCP Sharma’s harsh voice hit his ear-drums, seemed he was on the phone, so conversation from the other end was not audible
“To be direct, I doubt this bloody professor. Both the time the case was similar, he knew where the murder is going to happen, but we were late. Look even now, murderer took ACP Svadha with him, but he was left there injured. What this signifies?” He lied there frozen, but a thousand thoughts had started roving inside his mind. “Oh, my god, a mystifying murderer was not enough to tackle, now I must tackle, even more perfidious Policemen...!”
“Yes Sir, I will have him intermitted. And as soon as he reveals the next place to us, we will have him arrested and he doesn’t know, how much will he have to pay for misguiding us so much. My hands are itching…!”
“Don’t worry sir, I will make sure we have ACP Svadha safe with us before taking any action on that prick Professor, I have a plan in my mind, you leave it to me...”
“Jai Hind Sir…!” Rudransh padlocked his eyes which he had opened to see DCP Sharma hastening out of the room, wondering if he was dreaming or he was in such a tumult. He had almost broken one of his hands trying to fight a psych killer, he had lost his companion on the mission, she was now a war-prisoner with his nemesis, and making the matters worst now police were thinking he was one of those murderers, “Wow what an astounding position to be in at...! “He took an abysmal pant, gulping a cheap smell of medicines, lying in his ages old eroding iron bed. He knew he had to think of something, that too fast.
The Night had already taken over the office from the evening; stars were busy showcasing their glamour quotient on the dark black mattress spread over the Dwarika. People were busy discussing schedule of The Sahakracharya of Dwarika Pitha; an ancient monastery situated in the Dwarika, and being one of the four cardinal mathas of learning founded by Adi Shankara, for day after tomorrow’s address at Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Samaj, Varanasi. It was the night of the high tide; Sea was throwing all his angst on the shore through these gigantic High Tides. Two men were standing there in the balcony of the Dwarika Pitha watching these tides, rising above the normal heights, rushing towards the sea-shore and thrashing over there, losing all its strength once lashed. The Sea was growling today for some unknown reason.
“Swamiji, someone is here to meet you…!” A lady in the saffron saree broke the attention of one of the two gentlemen.
“At this point in time? “
“Yes, he says it is imperative. He is having a plastered hand, some other injuries as well. Looks like, he is in some hitch.” She sounded fretful.
“Ask him to wait in the main hall; I will be there in a while.” Lady went from there folding her hands.
“Guruji, I will be back in some time, excuse me.”
Rudransh tried to wake up his utterly void psyche in the middle of the dimly lit main hall, his body still ached at various parts but he knew he had a big responsibility relying on his broken hand and tired shoulders. The big issue was not only he had to solve this mystery to prove his ingenuousness but Svadha’s life was also at stake. And the worst was, he had inflated the reservations in the mind of DCP Sharma of him being involved in all these misshapes by absconding from the hospital, taking the advantage of the obscurity of the night. Keeping all these thoughts aside he tried to shake his mind up from the numbness, he knew he had to contemplate on the next chore, his next destination, and it had to be his best shot to end this all. But he needed a help, alone he could not succeed. And who better than Swami Saraswati Satanand, it was his city where he was headed next, the oldest ad-infinitum colonized city in the world, the city where people came to die, the holy land of Kashi - Banaras. His task was to filch out a life for himself and Svadha from the city where people came to die happily. He knew what a gargantuan task it was, still he was indomitable enough to succeed, coz this time around he didn’t have an option but to be successful, lots of things were at stake. His thoughts were put at hold by movement on the staircase on his left-hand side, he switched his focus over there, he saw Guruji coming downstairs, his speed increased looking at Rudransh and from that much remoteness he could sense the stupefaction on his face.
A brand-new Mahindra Scorpio was driving at around hundred kilometers per hour on the National Highway 8E under the dimness of the night. Hefty shadow was purely concentrating on the road; he knew his destination was far away from where he was; overnight driving will also take at least twenty-four hours to reach Banaras. He didn’t like the idea of this much driving, but with a hostage travelling by any other means would have been precarious. Right now, he was not worried about her, he had given her level three anesthesia by and large used in major surgeries to sedate the patients as advised by Guruji and she was busy dreaming on the back seat. Wind was hard-hitting on his harsh face, sleep was nowhere close to be seen in his hazel brown eyes, he was focused on what was lying ahead of him. Lot were going through his mind, in last three to four weeks he had been working overtime, he had killed three priests at three different places, broken bones of an over-smart professor and abducted an ACP. If this was not less, he was going to kill fourth priest in next twenty-four hours or so, orders from Guruji were clear eradicate them and he also advised how to carry out the task. He had to just act as advised, no brain to be applied.
A bit of bewilderment was flagrant in his eyes; he was out on a killing spree without knowing why he was killing them all. He was just receiving a phone call from Guruji about who to be killed, how to be killed and that’s it. Blood shedding was not a new thing for him, but he had given it up long back. But, suddenly one fine day, Guruji called him inside his personal room at the Ashram.
“Pranam, Guruji… Any particular order for me?” He stood there with his hands folded; expressions on the face of the Guruji were looking totally nameless to him. He had not seen him like this before.
“What can you do for me Vritra?”
“What kind of question is this Guruji...? Have I done anything wrong?” A wave of foreboding passed through his body
“Just answer me Vritra? What can you do for me?”
“I can do anything for you Guruji; my whole life is obliged on you. I was a local thug, a murderer, a criminal, who was supposed to die an unknown death some ten-twelve years back at the hands of his own men. I was down on the banks of River Ganga with three bullets, one on my left shoulder, one in the abdominal area and third on my leg, in anticipation of an excruciating death. It was you who saved me, gave me this new identity, new name – Vritra. I owe whole of my life to you.”
“You know who Vritra was?”
“Vritra was an Asura, he is considered as the chief of the Asura clan. Tvashta had acquired him from the sacrificial fire to kill Indra, to avenge his father’s death at the Indra’s hands. He was tall & blackish; he appeared like a burnt hill and was as lustrous as a bright array of clouds in the evening. His eyes were acute like midday sun. He appeared insurmountable, as if holding the three worlds on the points of his blazing trident. That very fearful demon, who was the son of Tvashta, covered all the planetary systems by dint of austerity. Therefore, he was named Vritra or one who covers everything. He kept the waters of the world captive, until he was killed by the King of the Gods – Indra. He was a great warrior; before he was killed he broke both the jaws of Indra and even swallowed him in, but other gods forced him to vomit Indra out. The battle continued and Indra was eventually forced to flee. It was once again Lord Vishnu, who had to come out to rescue of Lord of the Lords. As Indra, had sworn that he would not attack Vritra with anything made of metal, wood or stone not anything that was dry or wet, or during the day or the night. Thus, Lord Vishnu made Indra attack Vritra using Foam (which Lord Vishnu had entered to ensure victory for Indra) from the Waves of the ocean to kill him at the twilight.”
“I am obliged at your gratitude for letting me know this wonderful story Guruji, but I am still confused. Can you please tell me; how can I be of some help to you?” Vritra stood there in utter amazement trying to interpret what this meant, what was Guruji trying to tell him
“My dear, today your time has come to become my Vritra. You are the Vritra from the story and I am the Tvashta.”
“You want me to avenge something for you? Is that what you are trying to convey me Guruji?”
“Yes, my dear.”
“Tell me Guruji, what I have to do; I can lay down my life for you.”
“No Vritra…No… You don’t need to lay down your own life. Its way easier than that, you have to take someone else’s lives for me...!”
“Yes, a few people need to be reminded of their wrong doings…!”
“Look, tell me yes or no. If you can’t do it for me, say it upfront and I will get someone else on the job. It’s said in the Holy Geeta, you must do your Karma, and whatever is the result should not be looked upon. And for establishment of rectitude, nothing is wrong. I thought, I can trust upon you, but I was wrong, you are not my Vritra, I was wrong...!! Completely wrong…!”
“No Guruji, no; I will do whatever you ask of me. Just tell me the details. It was you who brought me out of the world of the atrocities and for you; I am ready to go back to that world as well. You are very much next to the god to me.”
“निर्भय भवः|| विजयी भवः ||” “Be intrepid, be triumphant...!” A smile crossed Guruji’s face.
Guruji’s words ricocheted deep inside his mind, I will do whatever you ask of me and he had done the same as instructed by Guruji. First, he went to Shimla and asked the Priest for the ancient secret but he never gave up and finally as per the instructions of the Guruji, he had to kill the priest. But now, they were not sure where to go next, but Guruji was two steps ahead of what he thought. He had some of his contacts in the opposite team as well, someone had informed him the location of the first place with the hidden secret, not only that, that person also helped Guruji to identify how exactly to find out which will be next place for him. He didn’t know who he was, but surely, he was as much able as that ass-hole professor, who decoded everything. Now, He knew the pattern and based on the same he had identified that next destination was Banaras. And he was sure to prove his loyalty once again, and with that steadfastness he pressed the accelerator harder, the car dashed towards its destination on the national highway, a carpet of the tiny silver stars flickered over his head on the far end of the horizon.
9. Ninth Chapter
“What is this Rudransh? What has happened?” Swami Satananda rushed down the stairs, to where Rudransh was standing
“Long Story Sir...!”
“Is everything alright?
“No. They have Svadha with them. I don’t even know, is she alive or not? And the worst is, Police believes I am directly involved in all these. I am the prime suspect for DCP Sharma and his team.”
“Oh, my god...!”
“I need your help sir...!”
“Don’t worry Rudransh, everything will be fine soon. And nothing will happen to Svadha as well, we will save her.”
“I don’t see any hope sir; the next destination is Banaras. That’s why I came directly to you; you somehow must take me to Banaras without being caught by police. I need to reach Banaras to prove my ingenuousness and to have any chances of saving Svadha as well.”
“Banaras, oh I see...!” He was lost in the world of his thoughts, Rudransh could perceive through his eyes. The wrinkled face had immense glow still left on it. His completely black eyes, gave nothing away about what was going inside his mind. Rudransh stood there, fully surrendering himself upon him.
“I have a plan in my mind. I, Shankracharyaji of this Matha and some of our followers are already travelling to Banaras tomorrow morning via chartered plane for his holiness’s lecture tomorrow at my institute. You can fly along with us to the Banaras in disguise being one of our followers.”
“Wait before thanking me…!” Rudransh gawked startlingly at him
“You can come with us, only if Shankracharyaji approves of it. I will talk to him about your situation, but he has to approve it, otherwise I can’t help.”
“You don’t need to approve Satanandji; I have heard all your talk. And he can come with us tomorrow morning.” Both turned towards the heavy voice, an aged man was walking down from the stairs. He had amazing lure about his persona, his eyes had unexplainable glitz, and his persona was blazing positive energy all around the place. Rudransh couldn’t take his eyes from him. Slowly he came towards, where Rudransh stood.
“Don’t worry Professor, everything will be alright.” There was a soothing assertion in his voice, Rudransh’s hands automatically folded in the Namaskar mudra, and he bowed down to his feet. He felt some sort of reprieve, as the aged man touched his temple to bless him. Suddenly Rudransh’s eyes took him to his neck, a known pendent hung around there, a gold glided jewel in the shape of the divine weapon. Rudransh’s eyes smirked with a shade of anticipation and a meager concurrence of the destiny.
Here he was, standing at the Lalbahadur Shastri International Airport, Varanasi; they had taken a chartered flight from the Jamnagar Airport after driving their way to the Jamnagar by road from Dwarika. Rudransh was feeling uncomfortable in this new attire of his. If he would have considered the mirror, even he will not recognize his own self. He was in a Saffron throbe, an artificial bun of curly hair had been placed over his normal haphazard golden-brown hair, so was artificial beard and moustache placed on his face, his forehead was covered with huge Tripunda marked by ashes. Varity of accessories were given to him to wear in his neck and around his arms, which mainly included Rudraksha. His broken hand was hidden behind saffron Jhola matching with his throbe. He imagined that he looked like those Aghori Baba seen on various television shows faking their achievements and spreading various myths. The sun was about to fuse into the sanctified waters of the Ganga, shadows had already stretched themselves beyond the normal length. Rudransh was eager to reach The Kashi Vishwanath Temple and talk to the main priest. But, Swamiji had asked him to wait till Ganga Aarti, and Rudransh happily accepted the proposal as he needed to sooth his wavering mind a bit and what better than a Ganga Aarti with Adi Shakaracharyaji would help him.
Dashashwamedh Ghat – one of the most important ghat in the city of Varanasi on the Banks of River Ganga, located very close to the Vishwanath temple and most probably the most spectacular ghat at Varanasi. Two Hindu theologies are associated with it: Per one, Lord Brahma created it to welcome Lord Shiva. And per another one, Lord Brahma sacrificed ten horses during Dasa-Ashwamedha Yajna performed over here. Every evening, as dusk descends, a group of priests perform “Agni Pooja” (worship to fire) wherein a dedication is made to Lord Shiva, River Ganga, Surya (Sun), Agni (Fire) and the whole universe. This has become a very famous ritual and more commonly known as Ganga Aarti, which people from the world come over here to see. The evening was dim and placid at the Dashashwamedh Ghat, the crowd had gathered to watch the epic Ganga Aarti live, Rudransh could see the lexis of enthrallment & lure on the faces, he was also amongst them. He was seated among the followers behind the grand seats of Shri Shankracharyaji & Guruji. There were young priests in front of them in saffron dhoti & kurta, all in same clothes preparing for the Aarti on the stages in front of them. Around seven in the evening, announcement was made indicating, beginning of the Aarti. Young group of priests started Aarti in well-organized manner by having a lighting lamp in their hand, soon they started rhythmic chant of mantras. The whole crowd joined in the Aarti and started to clap their hands in the rhythm of the mantras, Rudransh too joined in. His body was present here, but his mind was somewhere else, he seemed lost. Only thing in his mind was how to save Svadha. But, loud enchanting of the Aarti and the whole divine atmosphere over was working in his favor right now, his flabbergasted mind had started to sooth a bit, slowly the worries in his mind were taken over by the prayers and straight away they got diverted towards Svadha, she had achieved a special place in his subconscious. Blowing of conch shells, took him out of his thoughts and prayers for Svadha. Whatever he tried – worries, prayers ultimately got redirected only at one person. He tried hard to get his mind back at the proceedings in front of him. The young group of priests was now doing the Aarti with the multi-tiered brass lamp having firing camphor or kapoor. It seemed the whole background of the River Ganga was painted in amber right now, the air smelt of incense and the universe was covered in the divinity of the Holy Ganga. The scene was magnificent; Rudransh silently closed his eyes and gave his final prayer. He knew he could no longer wait here. His patience had given up on him, he silently pressed away from the Dashashwamedh Ghat towards the Kashi Vishwanth Temple, with the hope that Holy Ganga will mark his way. As he closed towards the temple premises, crowd erupted: Gange maiya ki Jay, Gange maiya ki jay…... Gange maiya ki Jay……
Kashi Vishvanath Temple, one of the most famous Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and one of the twelve Jyotirlingas located on the western banks of river Ganga in the holiest existing place of Hindus – Kashi or Banaras or Varanasi. The Vishveshvara Jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India. Tradition has it that the merits earned by the darshan of other Jyotirlingas scattered in various parts of India accrue to a devotee by a single visit to Kashi Vishvanath Temple. Deeply and intimately in the Hindu Mind, the Kashi Vishvanath Temple has been a living embodiment of India’s timeless cultural traditions & highest spiritual values.
Rudransh slowly entered the huge temple premises; still in the disguise. The Temple Complex consists of a series of smaller shrines, located in small lane called the Vishwanatha Galli, near the River. Rudransh slowly passed by small temples of Kaalbhairav, Dhandpani, Avimukteshwara, Vishnu – he stopped by and bowed down. It was always Vishnu – Krishna who captivated Rudransh the most – for some anonymous rationale he always considered Krishna as his ultimate teacher – Guru. He slowly moved forward towards the main shrine – the main temple is quadrangle. There was absolute peace – he could see the huge linga of the main deity at the shrine about sixty cms tall and ninety cms in circumference housed in a silver altar. The sight was amazing – he just kept on glaring at the linga – something unusual stricken his mind. There were tourists inside – not much crowd but still enough to frighten a murderer to try and attempt a murder over here plus there was enough security in this place for that psyche not to attempt anything stupid and get caught. He once again thought – he is missing some clue – something was missing in this puzzle of Varanasi – but what he didn’t had any clue, he silently closed his eyes and prayed to Vishveshwar to help his cause unaware of the fact that Kashi Vishwanath Mahadev always helps the ones in real need. Rudransh too was going to be helped, but will that really be a help or a curse?
“So, my dear Vritra – have you reached the place safely? And how is our dear friend?”
“Guruji, yes we have reached the place – and now I have two captives with me – our next victim and that hot-shot ACP. I have kept them tied with Royal Chains. What are the orders for me?”
“Oh Wonderful, you already have our next victim and yeah, your friend – that professor is searching for you in Kashi Vishvanath Temple. Poor guy...!”
“Even I had interpreted that sign at Dwarika for being Kashi Vishwanath Temple only Guruji. It was you who got it correct this time. I couldn’t even imagine it being this.”
“Those ancient ones were very very smart dear – they never gave away their secrets that much easily.”
“What are the orders for me, Guruji? And shall I get the Professor first over here and then take out three of them together?”
“He is smart enough Vritra; he will find out where he is supposed to come sooner than the later. He himself will hand over himself to you. You don’t need to do anything. And it’s a big big day – enough of these hidden wars – the time has come for me to come in the front. So, let him come to you – than I myself will come and take all four of them out from our way.”
“Four of them Guruji?”
“Yes, four of them...!”
“We will only have three of them - ACP, Rudransh and our victim.”
“There’s where the surprise lies – I have the fourth one and the most important of them all. “
“So, I shall wait for you to come here and do the honors?”
“Yes, keep your eyes and ears open – Rudransh will be there soon.”
The phone got disconnected; the look in the eyes of the hefty persona was of utter disorientation. He never understood his Guruji. Earlier he was adamant on making sure his involvement was never proved in all these and now all of a sudden, he himself wanted to come in the forefront of the war and who was this fourth and most important of them person? Only Guruji knew that. He looked at a naked wall in front of him - no color – no plaster – the wall was made of stones – ACP Svadha was tied to the wall with the iron chains, he looked at her exhausted figure – she was still out cold. She looked gorgeous even exhausted, her hair were skewed over her face, there was angst in her eyes – which made her look more striking. She was a tough lady; he liked stoutness combined with suppleness. He slowly stroked her face; he felt the soft flesh of her under his punitive hands. All of a sudden, he felt a sudden wave of manly-hood in him – he had not satisfied himself since a while now. If he would not have been ordered by Guruji to wait – he would have forced himself into her by now. But he couldn’t override the orders, so he decided once Guruji will be here – he will ask a reward for his good work till now – ACP’s body – he wanted her- absolutely - roughly. Lust illuminated his dark eyes, a spark; which was required to ignite the dreary ambiance around him.
Rudransh sat in the main shrine confused – there were only handful people in the temple. The sun had already dissolved himself into the holy waters of the Ganga, people had offered their final prayers to Vishveshwar Mahadev and were off on their ways but Rudransh was completely off his. He didn’t know where to go further. He knew of one thing – the place in Kashi was something else and not the Vishvanath Temple. There was a mystery behind the mystery. He had just closed his eyes and was praying to almighty for some divine intervention.
“Such a huge Linga no? I am awed by the grandeur of it.” Someone in the distance was talking; the voice was harshly hitting Rudransh’s eardrums.
“If you really want to see the grandeur of Vishveshwar then you should visit the temple on Mahashivratri.”
“Yes, Kashi Naresh (The King of Kashi) leads the proceedings for the day; it’s a huge occasion for the Kashi People. That is the day you should visit.” Rudransh silently listened to all this – something from his past struck his mind – a sitting in his tutoring days came live in front of his mind.
“Kashi Vishwanath Mahadev – meaning Ruler of the world...! And if you guys want to look at the grandeur of this ruler of the universe – the day is Shivratri. “Guruji was emanating positive energy all around him – Rudransh kept of glaring at him from the first bench – he continued.
“As per Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati on Mahashivratri and Gauna (a ritual associated with consummation of marriage) was performed on Ranghbhari Ekadashi. Residents of Kashi – the adobe of Lord Vishvanath – celebrate the occasion in a grand style. During the religious occasion, Kashi Naresh (King of Naresh) is the chief officiating priest and no other person can enter the temple sanctorum. It is only after he performs his religious functions that others can enter. As per tradition, devotees carry the idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in a ‘Palki’ from the house of former mahant of Kashi Vishvanath Temple. Blowing Conch, damru and other musical instruments, the devotees go to sanctum sanctorum of Kashi Vishvanath Temple and offer gulal and rose petals to the deities. You must see how much beautiful the procession is. Who of you all would like to attend this one?” Rudransh was the first one to raise his hand; Guruji looked at him with his routine smile. He could see the expressions of amazement on one of his favorite student’s face.
“Eureka…! The Kashi Naresh is the next target, the first allowed chief officiating priest of the Kashi Vishvanath Mahadev.” Rudransh felt the surge to go and hug the person talking behind his back tightly. Ramnagar Fort, on the eastern bank of River Ganga was his destination. He felt the rush of blood inside his body, a rejuvenating energy inside was telling him, he had to succeed this time around. He bowed his head in front of the Huge Shiva Shrine and rushed for his final destination.
As he headed out of the temple premises, he noticed a small mob assembled around a tiny shop. As he passed by, he overheard a known voice, he instantaneously turned towards the television set in the shop.
“We are looking for a middle-aged professor named Rudransh. He is of whitish complexion, greenish-grey eyes and golden-brown shaded hair. He is a prime suspect in murders happened at Somnath, Dwarika and kidnapping of one of our police officers. We have got the clues that, he is in Banaras right now. You can see his photograph here on the screen of your television sets, who so ever gets any information on him, please contact nearest police station without any second thoughts, he is very very dangerous criminal. Thank you.” Rudransh’ s feet froze there for a moment; he was on a national television as a wanted criminal. He checked onto his disguise, and thanked god it was all okay. He looked nothing like what was being pronounced on the television in front of him right now. He knew he had to make a move, that too quickly.
10. Tenth Chapter
The Ramnagar Fort, an ostentatious manor built in Mughal Style opposite Tulsi Ghat, looked more like a spooky grange in the dark hours. The palace was dimly lit and no one was around, Rudransh could even feel the hush of air besides him. He slowly moved forward, with furrows around his temple, apprehension on his face and grit in his mind. The feel of the place itself was deleterious, he could feel the negativity around, he continued moving forward. As he moved forward, he saw a door on the sideway open, as he reached there, he found a stairway which in dark appeared like it was headed to infinitude. He slowly moved up on the pebbly stairway, he could see some light at the top of it, a faded gleam of optimism glimpsing through the array of the dark path. As he was about to reach the top, he heard some activities inside the room. He slowly hid himself under the shade of dark and tried to overlook the activities inside. The moment he looked inside, the first feel was of relief, Svadha was still alive. She was tied to the wall using old metal chains, seemed she was unconscious, by her side an old man was also tied, he looked tired and exhausted. Rudransh could also notice some dried blood spots on his face, he must have tried to fight this monster, the way I did; he thought looking at his plastered hand. His eyes moved towards the figure he was here to fight; same huge fella he had fought twenty-four hours back. He was talking to someone on the phone, Rudransh pressed his ears to hear what he was talking about, only a part of it was audible to him.
“Guruji, yes we have reached the place – and now I have two captives with me – our next victim and that hot-shot ACP. I have kept them tied with Royal Chains. What are the orders for me?”
…. …. …. …. …. ……
“Even I had interpreted that sign at Dwarika for being Kashi Vishwanath Temple only Guruji. It was you who got it correct this time. I couldn’t even imagine it being this.”
… …. …… ….. ……
“What are the orders for me, Guruji? And shall I get the Professor first over here and then take out three of them together?”
… … … … .. .. .. .. . . .
“Four of them Guruji?”
This one hit Rudransh’s ears harsh than others, “they are trying to take four of us out of it, three are visible to me, who is the fourth one?”
“So, I shall wait for you to come here and do the honors?”
Rudransh was too busy to anticipate who the fourth one might be, in the meantime the heafty fella had disconnected the phone. Now, he slowly moved towards where Svadha was tied, he started to caress his face with his harsh hands. Rudransh could clearly see the spur of covetousness in his eyes. That very moment, Rudransh knew he had to make a move, he tried to look out for his options.
A car was quickly moving across the Banaras streets towards the Tulsi Ghat, in there sat an elderly man in his saffron outfits. He could hear some voices coming from the rear seat of his SUV, he tried to check his captive, a very well-known figure in the spiritual circle of Hindus.
“Why are you doing all these?” He almost shouted as the guy in saffron removed cloth tied to his mouth.
“You will get to know soon…!”
The captive was about to say something else as well, but before he could speak, his captor forced the cloth back in his mouth, he almost felt choked. He signaled his driver to move fast towards the Tulsi Ghat. Before that, something stuck his mind, he took out his phone and dialed a number saved in his phone book, DCP Sharma.
Somewhere in some ashram in Banaras, DCP Sharma was keenly watching his laptop monitor, a red dot was tickling along on a map in it, he followed it curiously.
“Sir I am still not getting you, we should have caught him yesterday only.”
“What do you think about me, Gupta; an idiot?”
“I didn’t say that sir….!”
“What do you think, Rudransh ran away from me? Do I look that much stupid that I could not even contain a middle-aged professor?”
Gupta, a senior constable of Delhi Police, looked with a pale face at his boss.
“It was me who let him run, not only I had doubt on him from day one but I suspected someone else’s involvement with him as well. And that’s why I had put a GPS tracker beneath his plaster on his fractured hand. I want to catch him red-handed with his allies. And look that has brought us here in this Ashram, where we have found so much new things we didn’t even expected...!
“And some of the evidences that we have got here are very conclusive in the nature….” Before he could finish his sentence, his cell phone rang. Private Number flashed on its LED Screen.
11. Eleventh Chapter
Rudransh knew, he had a little time to react, he looked around himself for the options. In the dark corner of the staircase, he saw an antique candle stand made from brass may be. By the look of the cobwebs on it, it seemed it hadn’t been used for a while. He grabbed it from the corner, rushed to take the revenge of his fractured hand. One blow to the head of the huge fella and he fell unconscious. It happened easier than he thought. Quickly he rushed to unchain Svadha first and then old and tired Kashi-Naresh. It all happened so quickly, he didn’t even have a thought in his mind.
“What is all this going on?” Old man asked in his exhausted voice.
“I can’t explain you everything, but let me tell you this guy was here to kill you.” Rudransh took Svadha’s head in his lap and started caressing it smoothly, he could feel her presence again, it was soothing for his soul.
“Because of this...!” He pointed towards a pendent hung around old man’s neck.
“Before you could ask anything, lets tie this beast first. We don’t have much time and we need so many answers from him. He holds the key to my freedom.”
“Your freedom?” Something struck old man’s mind seeing face of the guy in the little light in the room, he remembered a news bulletin he was watching when this beast captured him. Face of this guy resembled with the one showcased on it. Oh god, what to do, you have landed me from one murder’s hand to another.
“Yes, who is this speaking?” DCP Sharma looked perplexed, this was the third call from the private number.
“It’s not important who am I DCP, it’s what I am going to say.”
“And what is that...”
“Your culprit is at Ramnagar Fort, and he is there to kill Kashi-Naresh...!”
“There are going to be three more murders there tonight...!” And the phone disconnected, DCP Sharma smirked in some dark corner on the river bank of the Ganga, as an SUV passed through at full speed without reckoning his presence there.
Dark, pitch dark it was in front of her eyes, her body was aching due to some unfamiliar reasons, her head was throbbing due to tranquilizers that were given to her. She tried to move her body a bit but it seemed to be repudiating to take any orders at that instant. She felt some hand stroking her forehead, momentarily smooth silken touch of a hand made her feel better. But the very next moment, she apprehended it may be of his captor. And in the angst of just a thought that devil touching her, she woke up.
“Are you alright, Svadha?” Some known hands were holding her, deep concern for her was evident in those greenish-grey eyes gawking at her, she could feel the warmth in those hands, tenderness in those eyes, a strong current passed through her body.
“Oh Rudransh…!” And she kissed him, a deep, emotional and thank god you are here kiss it was. It was the moment, when she capitulated herself to him and he also got painted in her colors. She was a tough cop but even gold gets melted into furnace, all its required is heat, that could be of a burning charcoal or a moment.
His head was throbbing, whatever had hit him must be very heavy and forcefully blown upon his huge body to fell unconscious. Vritra was slowly getting back to his senses, at that point he realized, instead of being a captor, he was the one held captive right now and six eyes stared at him with questions marks written all over them, Rudransh had handed over himself to him but it was he who had failed to take advantage of the occasion. I have failed Guruji, what happens now? I should keep my mouth shut.
“Hey you fucking moron, why the hell have you been doing all these?” Svadha gave a tight police slap on his face to start with it.
“You have got a velvety flesh ACP, I would love to play with it all day...!” One could see the yearning in the beast’s eyes, Rudransh’s blood boiled at it, this time he was the one to have a go, a tight slap and Vritra smirked at him
“What’s you name…!” He kept on gawking at Rudransh with the violent streak in his eyes, “Name…?” Another slap came roaring on his face, his cheeks had started to turn red with the hostile treatments of his captors.
“Suits you, demon...!” Rudransh knew the story, How suitable a name… He thought.
“For whom are you doing all these?”
“Guruji, and trust me he will take the revenge of all what you are doing to his favorite pupil...!” A bullet shot rang up in the silent night atmosphere. The beast felt the warm feeling on the left side of his chest, slowly hot red blood started flowing out on his body. Under the feel of the searing pain, he lifted his eyes to check on the angel who had freed him from this evil life, and he saw the face he saw twelve years ago, dying on the banks of River Ganga, the one who had saved him, the one for whom he was ready to lay his life down.
“Guruji…?” Every one turned in the direction from where the bullet had come.
“You were never my beloved Pupil Vritra, it was always, Rudransh...!”
“Guruji...??” Rudransh almost collapsed
Rudransh could not believe his eyes, nor could Svadha. It was Swami Saraswati Satananda, Rudransh’s Guruji holding a .22 pistol, there was a mild grim on his face. Behind was one of his monk, holding Shankracharyaji as captive.
“Why Guruji? Why these much of blood-shed?” Rudransh was still in the shock, it was difficult for him to see his own mentor as the antagonist of the whole saga he was trapped in.
“Ask me why not Rudransh, WHY NOT…!” He almost shouted, Rudransh hadn’t imagined watching his ever calm and composed mentor in such outrageous avatar, he kept on ogling at him; words had denied to come out of his mouth.
“It is because of these bunch of ass-holes, I had been denied to what was rightfully mine.”
“The Position of Shankracharya of the math of Dwarika, I still remember the night it all begun…!!!”
12. Twelfth Chapter
It was late night in Dwarika, but Satya was still reading a book on Rig Veda when a man-servant from Adi Shankaracharyaji came to ask him that, Guruji was expecting him at this hour. He quickly took his shawl and rushed to Guruji’s room in the matha.
“What happened Guruji?”
“Have a seat Satya...!” He sat next to Guruji’s bed with bewilderment painted all over his face
“What is the matter Guruji?”
“We need to talk about your future.”
“I am aware of your ambitions Satya, you have been the most belligerent and the sharpest student I have ever had. I know that you wish to become the Youngest Shankracharya of the Dwarika Pitha.”
“You know everything Guruji, and I also know that I have always been your favorite acolyte. And you will choose me as your inheritor. I have worked hard enough for that.”
“Yes, you have there is no doubt about that Satya. You know each and everything a successor to my throne should. But, I am afraid to tell you, you will have to curb your ambitions.”
“What are you saying Guruji?”
“Coz apart from being knowledgeable and sharp, there is one more requirement to the throne of my seat.”
“And what is that guruji?” He showed him a pendent he was wearing. He categorically hinted him that he needed to be a member of something called mysterious circle in order to claim the throne of Dwarika Pitha, as the same held very much importance in the scheme of the secret society.
“I am sorry Satya, but tomorrow I am going to announce that Swarupa is going to be the next Shankaracharya of this Pitha. And I know you will serve him the way you have been serving me.”
“Have you made your decision final?”
“It’s not necessary that every time it will happen exactly as you decided.” He picked up a pillow from a bed next to him, a violent streak shined in his eyes for the first time.
“That was the night I did the first ever murder of my life. Each and every dream of mine was crushed, just because of these fucking Mysterious Circle. I moved to court for claiming my right to the chair but even then, using their influence the secret society placed their puppet, this bloody Swarupa to the chair. He didn’t even know half of what I knew. That was the day I became Satananda Saraswati and I vowed to extinguish the whole fucking society. It was not difficult to find out who were the members, coz I already knew Swarupa was one. In the time of the digital world, eavesdropping has become even easier. I just had to tape the phone calls of Swarupa. That lead me to two more prominent personalities of Dwarika, daughter of famous astrologer Pandit Tatvagyani Mehta, your wife and the priest of the famous Dwarika Temple. But, they turned out to be utter disenchantment to my cayse. They didn’t utter a single word and their unlucky death turned out to be the dead end for me.”
“What got you back after twenty-five years?”
“I had wired your house as well my dear student. I knew, secret lied at a goddess temple in the lap of the Himalayas. But, I could not find out the exact temple just the way you could not. But, luck was in my favor, destiny wanted me to take my revenge. Last year, I was invited to Shimla by one of the ancient monastery over there. While my visit to Shimla, I visited this very old goddess temple situated in the rural area. As I entered the temple premises, first thing I saw was the flag on the top of the temple. My eyes lit up, it bore the sole symbol of the emblem of the secret society, I knew I had found my entry gate. But, nothing has come easily to me ever. Even the priest here was akin to your wife and her grandfather, willing to die but, not at all willing to utter even a word. So, I fulfilled his wish.”
“Then, my involvement? It was not a coincident, was it?” Rudransh’s eyes flashed confidence first time since he saw his Guruji in this devilish avatar.
“Even coincidences can be planned Rudransh. I knew there will be something in this temple which would give me the answer to my riddle. And I needed my best student on the field for me. It was me who sent you that envelope with the name of Ira on it.”
“And you knew that, first person I would contact after this would be you. So, without any fuss you will get all the updates you needed.”
“How smart of you my dear...!”
“What if, I hadn’t contacted you at all?”
“Then, I already had planned to give you a helping hand from my own. In any case I had to join your party and you mine. And that is how it exactly happened.”
“Then why you killed your own man right now?”
“He had become dangerous now, he knew too much about me. A commander of the army caught by the enemies is far more perilous than the enemy himself.” Rudransh glared at the stone-cold eyes of the person in front of him, this was the person whom he had adored whole of his life. He couldn’t think of anything to say or do.
“Enough of knowledge sharing ladies and gentleman. I think you know way too much about me now and it’s time for all of you to bid adieu to this material world.” He asked to get all four of his hostages to get in line in front of him. He silently observed each of them, a worn-out professor who once used to be his favorite student, a relatively young and hot police officer who he would love to share his bed with, a bearded old king of kashi who was the king for the namesake and his old nemesis who won the throne to the shankaracharya, because of which the whole episode started.
“I think, I will start with you, my beloved student. Close your eyes, give your final prayers, it’s time for you to meet your beautiful wife.” Rudransh silently closed his eyes, gave his prayers. In last forty-eight hours, this was second time he was awaiting his death. A gun shot rang from the distant, Rudransh’s eyes opened at the velocity of the shot, he watched bloody body of his teacher dropping dead in front of him, DCP Sharma stood behind him aiming his revolver dead straight. He could not believe his luck, he had evaded the death twice, in forty-eight hours.
“Thank you DCP Sharma and sorry for running away that night.”
“Do you still think, you ran away professor.?”
“What does that mean?” Rudransh gawked blankly at DCP Sharma, DCP Sharma returned a weird smirk back to Svadha and got out of the hospital room
“This is his oldest trick to catch people red-handed. He must have tagged you with some tracking devise somewhere to track you down. That is how he reached at that place to save us in time.” Svadha looked beautiful red t-shirt and Jeans, Rudhransh’s eyes got stuck at her. She sat on a stool next to his bed. He gave a scratchy look to her, she caressed his forehead, he forgot all his pain, enjoyed the feminine touch and passed out for the night smilingly. He had escaped nearly two death-defying moments in last forty-eight hours, but could not save himself from even more dicey trap which sat right next to him, he was about to be sentenced a life-term, he sneered at the thought, thinking it to be a dream.
-: Epilogue: -
Rudransh stood on the seashore of Dwarika, the waves rushed towards the shore, creating a foam on its way. The sun was about to set in the ocean for the day, the whole sky was painted red, the waves shone on its way to the shore, creating the illusion of being made of gold. Rudransh was amazed at the mere thought of how the whole city made of gold would have looked in the old times of Lord Krishna. He was released from the hospital just a day before in Varanasi, his hand was now in better shape, still bandaged though. A hand pressed hard on his shoulder, he turned back to look at who it was.
“Hello Professor, I hope you are better now.” Swami Swarupanand Saraswati, Adi Shankaracharya of Dwarika Pitha stood in front of him
“Namaskar Acharya, Yes I am better now. Just got released from hospital, received your call to come here at the earliest. So, rushed to the place without even a second’s delay.”
“Thank you, Professor, now can you please tie this piece of cloth to your eyes?”
“I don’t think, I have recovered enough to start playing hide and seek, Acharya ji…!”
“Do, as you are told professor. You are not allowed to see where I am going to take you now. Thus, you will be required to be blindfolded, Please….!!!” He handed over a piece of black cloth to Rudransh, he tied it to his eyes himself.
“Please professor, be honest with it.” Swamiji checked if he could see by lighting a matchstick almost next to his eyes which were covered by cloth, no reaction came. Rudransh stood there without a single word, a second passed away, another and then another, he felt the time was slowing up. Shortly thereafter, he felt someone was directing him in the seawaters, he felt the rush of the waves, thrusting on his body, he could taste the salty wind on his lips. He was on a boat now, he could feel another human presence with him in the boat, he was not alone. He didn’t know what happened next, sweet and cold wind from the sea made him dizzy, his eyes forced themselves into a power nap.
“Professor…!” Swamiji woke him up, he could feel the land was nearby, he was driven out of the boat.
“Please wear these and then follow me.” As he took cloth from his eyes, he could see a mask in his hand. The mask was golden in color, it was sufficient enough to cover his full face, a peacock feather was tied at the top of it. It looked beautiful, he covered his face with the mask and followed Acharyaji, without even giving a thought about what was happening. After all the incidences he had been part of in recent past, Rudransh had learnt to let the things as they are without giving much thoughts about it. He had decided to take the things as and when they come hitting at him. Shortly thereafter they reached the last point of the island they were at. Rudransh looked around, it was already night, there was no sign of electricity in the near vicinity the whole area was dark, he could feel the presence of the rushing ocean next to him.
“This way…!” He heard swamiji’s voice, as he turned around and walked for a while, he could see around hundred men-women in the same masks, he was in. The surrounding atmosphere looked haunted, there was a pin drop silence. The whole area where they sat, was lit-up using Diyas, it looked fabulous. He slowly moved towards the area, with a blank mind.
“सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।
अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः||
Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear. ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय.” He immediately recognized the voice of Acharyaji, he was there on the podium in front of them, the crowd joined him on his enchanting, Rudransh too joined in. They chanted the puranic mantra full hundred and eight times.
“My dear fellow friends, firstly accept my apologies to call this urgent meeting without giving proper time to all as required by the routine laws of the society. But, the situation was such it required urgent attention from all of us.” The crowed nodded their heads, Rudransh was startled at the thought of being present at the secret meeting of an ancient secret society.
“We all know, gone past was the worst time the council has ever faced till date from its incorporation. An outsider had managed to get inside the council and not only that, a few of our brothers were brutally killed keeping the secret safe, which we have been since centuries. We bow our heads down remembering their sacrifices and pray to the almighty to rest their souls in peace. As a chairperson of this council, it is my duty to consider the matter and take adequate steps to ensure such a thing does not happen again. That is the reason why I propose to form a security council – Raksha Samiti, whose sole purpose would be safeguard the interest of the council members. The council shall directly report to the chairperson and should suggest the ways to keep the ancient secret and the members safe and secure. With that let me introduce to you the two chairpersons of the council, these are the two persons because of whom we all are alive here together. Please welcome them on the stage.” Rudransh slowly moved towards the podium with heavy steps, along with him a figure rose from the exact opposite raw he was seating, even in the darkness, covered with mask; he could recognize Svadha. Slowly both reached the center of the stage, where they were presented with the emblems of the society, as Rudransh took one for himself teary-eyed, he could feel the smiling face of his wife, he certainly knew, she was smiling right now wherever she was.
Rudransh was busy playing with the emblem he had just received in the darkest corner of the island, he wanted to be alone for a while, to realize how much superior a responsibility he had just been handed over. He was one of the chairperson of a security council of an ancient secret society which was supposed to be holding one of the most destructive secrets of the ancient Bharat. Slowly, a hand ran through his hair, he turned to greet her. As their eyes met, they felt the glow on the sea-waters, a group of fireflies were passing on the wave which was rushing towards them, a shining wave came, crashed on them, they smiled at each other all drenched.
“Have you ever been in a police custody before professor?” A wicked smile went on her lips as Rudransh slowly nodded his head, she pressed his lips on hers, as the council passed the resolution proposed by the chairperson, divine chanting once again rose in the dark woods, ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय