The Legend of The "Adwaita"
The Legend of The "Adwaita"12 mins 17.9K 12 mins 17.9K
In 285 BC, Kalinga was a small state where people believed in democracy instead of Rajdharma, which was in a way a unique thing at that time in India. “Adwaita” was a clandestine group led by Guru Birupaksha, the only man at that time who was believed know the secret of the 8th weapon of “Ast-astra Vidya”.
No one clearly guesses the origin, but the legend of “Ast-astra Vidya” is believed to be from 370 BC. There existed a King, who was believed to be unconquerable at his time and had conquered many parts of India. He had kept an army full of men having great knowledge of warfare tactics and hand to hand combats. What made him a great fighter was the knowledge of a unique art called “Ast-astra Vidya”. It was the knowledge of 8 weapons that he mastered the usage of. The 8th weapon, which he never used was believed to be the invisible one. The queen used to worship “Choushathi Jogini” (64 yoginis/goddesses), before each war expedition of the King. It was believed that, the goddesses had given this art of “Ast-astra Vidya” as boon which was the reason, the King was undefeated.
He knew after his rule, Kalinga will be weak as a power and will be attacked by outside forces. He created a clandestine group called “Adwaita” which had 8 members who guarded the secrets of the skills of 8 weapons. The group members were always scattered and were united only when it was required to pass the knowledge to successive eligible persons, but gradually the members did not abide to the purpose of the knowledge and got scattered all over India except for one. He was the 8th Guru who had kept the biggest secret with him, the knowledge of the invisible 8th weapon. According to some, this weapon was generated by some hymns which had many heavy and light syllables of Sanskrit in it. Guru Birupaksha is the son of that 8th master. He has not forgotten the purpose of the group and still leads this “Adwaita” group where he teaches various ancient weapon tactics to his students. He has these students who will be once a part of the army that will protect Kalinga from the outside attackers.
Everyone knew that the secret learning of the 8th weapon will be given to the student who will prove himself to be worthy of it by winning the series of competitions involving usage of various weapons. Guru Birupaksha has two students in mind whom he thought to be eligible. Sidhartha and Mauryabhan. The former had excelled the weapon “Bow and Arrow” while the later had no match in “Sword”.
Sidhartha and Mauryabhan were not best friends. But they used to interact a lot about the skills, about the weapons that they were learning. Sidhartha was part of the group since he was a child when he came to know about this from his father, who was also a member of “Adwaita”. After his death, Guru Birupaksha treated him as his child and thought he would once be the worthy of the knowledge of the invisible weapon. Mauryabhan was never a part of the group till he was found severely wounded at a river bank by Guru Birupaksha and his disciples. He could remember nothing about his past at that time. It has been 1 year since Mauryabhan is in the group and he has excelled all the skills to match up to the level Sidhartha.
Both Sidhartha and Mauryabhan think each other as competition. While Sidhartha is the favourite among all the other students, Guru Birupaksha liked Mauryabhan more as within just one year he has excelled in the skills. Mauryabhan had once saved the life of Sidhartha when he was attacked by a snake in the forest. From that day Sidhartha was indebted to him. He used to say: “Mauryabhan, I am indebted to you for my life”. Deep inside both were competing against each other to excel the skills being taught there. That was perhaps the only thing common in them. Or maybe not.
Birupaksha had a daughter whom he loved more than his life. Her name was Karuvaki. She was very beautiful and apart from that, she was also the member of the group. Sidhartha was in love with her but never felt the courage in him to tell. But Karuvaki liked Mauryabhan. She was impressed by both his skills and looks. Sidhartha always felt sad as he thought, no one should judge anyone to be better unless they are put against each other under similar circumstances. By saying this he meant, he will show that I am the better than Mauryabhan by winning the final competitions. Mauryabhan on the other hand was always quiet. He liked Karuvaki too and knew that she likes him. They never shared their feelings though.
Guru Birupaksha had an announcement to make. He had decided that it’s time for him to select his successor for the skills he has. But that would be decided through a series of competitions involving various weapons. As per the rule of the “Ast-astra Vidya”, the successor can’t be blood relative. So Karuvaki is not participating. The competition happened for the whole day. Sidhartha defeated Mauryabhan in the task that required skills of bow and arrow. In the of sword fight, it was evident that Mauryabhan will defeat him and it happened too. Had Sidhartha won that round, he would have got what he dreamt of. After the event, that night Mauryabhan told Sidhartha: “I can’t see you win over me. And I can’t defeat you either. Let’s see which of these things I believe more. The problem is, I don’t have time till tomorrow, to see this.” Sidhartha could not understand, but replied: “Don’t worry. None of us will die before realizing, who was the better man.” Since there was no clear winner, Birupaksha asked for another day where he will give both the finalists one task. Whoever would complete that would be declared the winner.
Sidhartha knew, he had to win it. If not for himself, then for the dignity of his father. That night Guru Birupaksha came to Sidhartha to talk about something. He told him “I know you since you were a kid. I see you no less than Mauryabhan. But if I judge both of you as my opponent in the battlefield, I find him more focused and confident. That is what makes me scared to be his opponent. You are no way less than him, but you lack that focus. The day you will bring it in you, you can defeat him, and even me.” Sidhartha was so touched by this that he promised “If Mauryabhan wins this competition; I will never show you my face again.”
Next day was the final day. No one knew what task Birupaksha will give both the. Before he final task, Sidhartha asked Karuvaki “Whom would you like to win. I or Mauryabhan?” She answered “I would be honest. I would stand for the person I love. So I would like Mauryabhan to win as I love him.” Siddhartha smiled and replied: “I used to think the same as you think. But I would rather stand for the people who loved me and against the person who didn’t. No matter what, he is not winning today.”
To everyone’s surprise, Mauryabhan was nowhere to be found. No one had any idea where he went. It was a shock for all and specially for Karuvaki. Sidhartha knew, Mauryabhan is not that kind of person who would escape such an event. They searched for him for many days, but could not find any trace of him. No one knew where he came, where he had gone now.
Four years have been passed now. It was the 261 BC. Kalinga was threatened by a power, 20 times of its size. And this enemy was not any ordinary one. This is the biggest force that ever ruled India. It was the greatest Of Mauryan king, Ashoka.
Ashoka (means "painless, without sorrow") (304–232 BCE), was son of the Mauryan emperor Bindusara and was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya. During his reign, Mauryan empire had the largest expansion. He was believed to be a barbarous man, who proclaimed himself as the worthy king by killing all his brothers. He was also known as “Chand-Ashoka”(Chand=Cruel). He had a huge army and rarely any king challenged him in war.
With such a huge army and hunger to conquer everything, he is about to attack Kalinga now. Raja Anantha Padma, the King of Kalinga, knew that his army strength is nothing compared to that of Asoka. But Kalinga was not a land that will surrender itself to external forces.
Everyone thought, the battle will not last long. But when Asoka saw the army of Kalinga in front of him at the battle ground, he was surprised to see their strength. Someone told him, “This is not the army that is standing in front of you. Every man and women of Kalinga has come out for their homeland”.
However, the limited forces of Kalinga were still of no match for the Mauryan army, but There were times when they came very close to a victory at places. During the battle Asoka came to know that, there was a certain group that was giving the Mauryan army a tough time. It was no ordinary group. Their skills were unique for the Mauryan army to understand and fight. They were the “Adwaita”. Somebody also warned Ashoka that if this group battles, the way it was doing, there might be chances that Mauryas may lose. Such a brave king he was, Ashoka wanted to fight with the Adwaita personally. One by one he defeated them and the battle shifted to Mauryas' side again. He was the only man against whom, even Adwaita group was of no match. He kept on killing everyone one by one. Suddenly he saw a brave woman who was fighting nothing less than a tigress and was able to kill many of his soldiers. She was Karuvaki.
Ashoka felt like the time is frozen for him. He dropped his sword and kept walking towards Karuvaki. When he went near her, she had almost raised her sword to kill him but she could not. Because, inside that face armour, she saw the face of someone she had never forgotten about.
Only this man could defeat each of the members of the Adwaita group. Or maybe not. Far away from the battle field, a man was standing, with a bow in his hand and an arrow which was eager to be fired from it to hit the supposed target. He had a purpose to be there. The only visible part of Ashoka were his eyes which were not covered by the face armour, but this man was so skilled that, he could easily target them from such a long distance. He was Sidhartha. He wasn't shooting the arrow as he was confused. “Why isn’t she fighting with him? Why both of them has dropped their weapons?”. Assuming her life to be in danger, he ran into the battle field towards Karuvaki, with a sword in his hand. He killed anyone who came in his way. It was like a wave that was unstoppable. When he arrived near her, he saw Ashoka. There was a sense of vacuum that both of them felt. Both the men, were looking at each other. Sidhartha told Ashoka: “Mauryabhan, I had told you that none of us is going to die till we know, who was the better fighter .Let’s find it out now.”. Sidhartha had his sword in his hand and Ashoka smiled and picked up his sword. He knew he was invincible with the sword. They started the sword fight. Within no time, Ashoka was on the ground as Sidhartha was able to defeat him. It was decided now. Ashoka could not believe he was defeated by Sidhartha in the sword fight. Sidhartha told him: “You were right. I might not have been able to defeat Mauryabhan. But today you are king Ashoka to me, who has attacked my motherland.”
Before Ashoka could reply, an arrow came from a distance and pierced into the chest of Sidhartha. It was fired from a soldier of Ashoka. The battle was won by the Mauryan army and Sidhartha was the last yodhha (fighter) to be killed.
Next morning when the sun rose, it was a little more red in colour. It is said that the The Daya River near which the Kalinga war was fought, had its water turned red in blood that day. Ashoka could see the battle ground full of dead bodies and blood and wounded soldiers. He could hear the groaning of those who were injured and mourning of orphaned children and wives who lost their nears and dears, Vultures were hovering over the dead bodies. At least 0.1 million Kalinga soldiers and almost equal number of Magadha soldiers were also killed. This battle which Ashoka thought, would be an easy one, was the bloodiest battle he had ever fought.
Ashoka was filled with remorse. He thought to himself: “Whom will I rule now. Not a single man in Kalinga left now. I am responsible for all these.” A women approached to him and said: ”This war took my father, husband and son from me. Whom should I live for now. And whom will you think of ruling?”
The Kalinga war prompted Ashoka to devote the rest of his life preaching “Ahimsa (non-violence)”. He later married Karuvaki . He stopped the military expansion of Mauryan empire and both of them spread Buddhism across the country.
Once Ashoka asked his wife Karuvaki: “I still have a question in mind. Why didn’t Sidhartha kill me when he could have easily done that? I was lying in front of him defeated and he had that sword in his hand.” Karuvaki replied: “If not by the sword, you still could not have defeated him. Because he was the only one in the Adwaita group to know the usage of the 8th weapon of the Ast-astra, the invisible one. Yet he could not kill you because, if you can remember you had saved his life once and he was indebted to you for it. ”
The legend of “Adwaita” died in history after the Kalinga war. But the bravery and devotion with which that group stood in front of the massive army of king Ashoka, it was commendable. History will never remember that last yodha(fighter) who knew the usage of the invisible weapon, who defeated the king. The last of its kind. The undefeated Adwaita.