Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ponnar and Shankar Part XIII: The Battle Ends

  • The great King Komban is dead. The two farmer-heroes have conquered their prey, using the giant boar spear the family has had for years. The huge weapon has pieced Komban’s heart. Shankar, the younger brother has ordered the boar cut into pieces and laid out in seven sacrificial servings.  

  • But as soon as this butchering complete and the pieces laid out on their ritual leaves, a stranger who claims he is a washerman happens on the scene. This man begs for a piece of boar meat for his pregnant wife. Ponnar, the elder brother, tries to be helpful but he tells the stranger he is just a little too late. All seven portions of boar meat have already been allocated. The washerman shrewdly notes that the boar’s head has not been included in these offerings and he asks if he may have that to take away with him. Ponnar sees no harm in this and tells the washerman he may have this “leftover” part.

  • The washerman proceeds to take the huge head with him, even though it is so big that he has trouble dragging it! What Ponnar didn’t realize was that this washerman is actually Lord Vishnu in disguise. For him to take the “head” of the great sacrifice is highly symbolic.

  • Shankar and Shambuga see what has happened from a distance. They begin to question Ponnar on his generosity towards this stranger.  

  • Shankar comments: “This is a bad omen. It means we shall soon have to give up our own heads!” But it is too late to do anything now. The washerman has disappeared!

  • What Ponnar and Shankar also do not know is that Lord Vishnu has just “switched sides” in this grand confrontation. Before the great Komban was killed he was supporting their struggles and helping them. Now he is leading the forest dwellers, the Vettuvas, into battle against them! The Vettuvas seem to appear out of nowhere, in one large wave.

  • Shankar sees this and orders the First Minister, Shambuga, to grab his brother’s sword. Shambuga is a far better fighter than Ponnar, and much stronger too.  

  • Ponnar watches as Shambuga takes a hold of that sharp weapon, substituting it for his normal fighting stick.

  • The Vettuva fighters are now appearing from everywhere, jumping off cliffs and out of trees too.

  • Shankar rushes forward bravely. He is ready for any challenge.

  • It would seem that the Vettuva’s traditional stick-weapon are no match for Shankar’s fine sword. Meanwhile Shambuga tackles another hunter. Again the weapons carried by the two fighters are unequally matched!

  • But the Vettuvas have a secret weapon of their own, Lord Vishnu!  

  • Shankar suddenly realizes who is leading this great mass of forest dwellers against him!

  • Angry and not thinking clearly, Shankar threatens the great god. He hollds his sword high and is about to strike.

  • But Lord Vishnu is too fast for Shankar. His magical power forces Shankar backwards. He falls awkwardly to the ground. He feels humbled and embarrassed by his actions.

  • Looking up he now has a vision. Lord Vishnu, here called Mayavar or the magician, reveals himself standing on a cliff. From his right hand there are hundreds of Vettuvas emerging, pop-pop.

  • Now Shankar understands where this great wave of warriors has come from and who has created this vision-illusion. Now Lord Vishnu speakers to Shankar: “Just fight a little bit longer. Bring Ponnar into the battle too. You both will not have to fight much longer!”

  • Ponnar now grabs his sword from Shambuga and enters the fray in his place. He kicks and fights, resisting the oncoming warriors with as much power as he can muster.

  • Shankar works hard too, He is already tired but he fights on valiantly, obediently following Lord Vishnu’s instructions.

  • Soon there are a number of Vettuvas lying on the ground around the two valiant brothers. They take this to be a sign that they have finished their task.

  • Shankar now speaks to Ponnar saying: “We are tired. The battle is over. Let us go and wash our swords in the nearby river before the blood has dried on them.”

  • The two brothers now approach the refreshing mountain stream that lies before them. Just as they are about to enter the cooling water they hear a rustling sound. The look around but see nothing. “All is well,” says Shankar. “Let us enter this lovely river together and wash ourselves up properly.”

[<==Back to Part 12]

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