Monday, August 11, 2014

Ponnar and Shankar Part I: Birth

  • The two hero-kings of Ponnivala are born as twins. Furthermore, they embody the spirits of two famous Pandava brothers known from the great Mahabharata epic, men named Bhima and Arjuna. The Ponnivala brothers reincarnate these two earlier giants of the Indian story world, but with a difference. Arjuna, the younger of the two in that tale, is here born first. His reincarnation becomes known the “elder” of twins in this new story, while Bhima is born second and becomes the younger half of the pair. This is because he was born just minutes after his other brother!   

  • But there is more. The heroes’ mother is about to bear three children! Two of these babes are brothers, but the third will be a sister. There will be triplets! As we shall soon see, the life of this female will differ from that of her twin brothers in many ways.

  • The queen is now pregnant and the goddess of Ponnivala, Celatta, comes to know of this. She begins to prepare by digging down to create a cave-like space under her temple.

  • This is hard work and it takes Celatta many days. But she is determined to have a hiding place ready.

  • On the day of the birth, as the queen’s labour pains increase, Lord Vishnu secretly comes to her side. She has been blind folded by a Wicked midwife, on the pretext that this is her first childbirth and it is best not to see what is happening. But in reality, that midwife wants to steal the twin boys she has heard will be arriving. She has been hired by some jealous clansmen who do not want these boys to inherit the family’s fine lands!   

  • But Lord Vishnu outsmarts her. While the midwife is in a die room sharpening her knife, Lord Vishnu opens up the queen’s womb with his powerful magical knife.

  • The two fine looking boys, already well formed, dressed and carrying weapons, emerge from the queen’s belly. One comes out from the right side and the other from the left. They can already stand, jump, walk and talk!

  • The moment the two boys emerge thy jump down onto the bedroom floor and start to wave their weapons in the air. They even have palace jewels around their necks!

  • Only minutes after their arrival the two boys start to run off together.

  • They are headed for the small side room where they find the evil-intentioned hunchbacked midwife. Ponnar, the elder twin, threatens her with a long knife while Shankar, the younger, stomps on her hunch with his right foot. She is distracted from her plan to kidnap and kill these boys. At the very moment she becomes unable to put into action her evil plot boys, she is also cured of her back problem!

  • The brothers run back to their mother’s side, but now the goddess is waiting for them. She picks them up gently and the twins do not resist her. They know she is a good woman, in contrast to the evil one they have just dispensed of!

  • The goddess has dug a tunnel from her cave to the birthing room and hidden its entrance under a decorative stool. She quickly shoves that stool aside and begins her descent into this pre-dug passageway with two newborn boys.

  • The goddess deftly whisks the twins along her tunnel pathway. She holds them tight, making sure they are not scrapped by any rocks that jut out as she swiftly runs past.

  • As soon as the boys enter their cave-like living quarters for the first time, they discover that the goddess keeps a pet tiger there. It will become their constant companion.

  • The goddess Celatta sets the boys down and encourages them to rest for awhile.

  • Then, when she is ready, Celatta lifts both brothers up through a hole that leads to the inside of her shrine. It is located just above their secret living cave!

  • Coming up into the sanctuary the goddess lets the two boys sit for a moment on her own throne! She is treating them like her own two sons!

  • As soon as no one is looking, the goddess allows the brothers to play on the sacreed ground around her shrine. There they discover an elephant. And their pet tiger follows them everywhere!

  • It is a she-tiger and both Ponnar and Shankar enjoy drinking her milk. It will make them both strong and fierce, just like her!

  • Even more fun is the elephant which the boys get to ride. Notice that Shankar was the one milking the tiger. He also gets to ride the elephant first. We begin to see the personalities of the two boys diverge, already. And they are still just infants.

  • The goddess also provides her “sons” with marshal arts training. They both practice throwing their weapons at a target, always under the goddess’ watchful eye.

  • Shankar is the real marksman. He can already throw his spear straight and true!

  • But while the boys begin their life under Celatta’s gentle care, something else is happening in the palace birthing room. Now the queen’s labour pains begin again. This time it is a little girl! The midwife has recovered from her beating and she is there to receive the tiny babe. It is born naturally. Vishnu’s Cesarean magic is not needed this time around.   

  • The tiny baby is presented to the queen and she is allowed to hold it. Er husband, the king now enters the bed chamber to have a look. But the queen is upset. This is a girl! She was expecting twin boys. Where are they she wonders?

  • After a time the queen accepts her fate. She was only given a baby girl. The king and queen raise the little girl with tender care. There is love in their hearts and they are happy with their fate. They know nothing about the goddess’ secret cave and the two boys growing up there!

  • The two boys also know nothing about their sister. They are content and life is fun. After all they have a gentle tiger to play with! They are never bored.

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