A tragedy…

Read the previous part here…

“I am a Nāga! And why do you ask such questions? You are to act in accordance with your natural instincts, for who except a fool will act contrary to his basic nature?”

As they were engaged in conversation, Śaṅkhacūḍa arrived at the scene and called out from the distance…

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

मा मा कृथा महापापं साहसं विनतात्मज ।
को ऽयं भ्रमस् ते न ह्य् एष नागो नागो ऽहम् एष ते ॥ १२,२३.१७१ ॥

इत्य् उक्त्वा द्रुतम् आगत्य मध्ये स्थित्वा तयोर् द्वयोः ।
दृष्ट्वा च तार्क्ष्यं विभ्रान्तं शङ्खचूडो ऽब्रवीत् पुनः ॥ १२,२३.१७२ ॥

किं भ्राम्यसि फणाः किं मे जिह्वे द्वे च न पश्यसि ।
विद्याधरस्य किं चास्य सौम्यां पश्यसि नाकृतिम् ॥ १२,२३.१७३ ॥

शङ्खचूडे वदत्य् एवं भार्या च पितरौ च तौ ।
जीमूतवाहनस्यात्र सर्वे सत्वरम् आययुः ॥ १२,२३.१७४ ॥

विलुप्ताङ्गं च तं दृष्ट्वा पितरौ तस्य तत् क्षणम् ।
चक्रन्दतुस् तौ हा पुत्र हा हा जीमूतवाहन ॥ १२,२३.१७५ ॥

हा कारुणिक हा वत्स परार्थप्रत्तजीवित ।
हा कथं वैनतेयेदम् अविमृश्य कृतं त्वया ॥ १२,२३.१७६ ॥

“Oh son of Vinatā! What a blunder you have committed! A rash and criminal deed! He is not a Nāga…I am the Nāga who was to be sacrificed today!”

Śaṅkhacūḍa came running and stood in front of Garuḍa, and seeing the king of birds bewildered, said…

“Why are you so confused, o king of birds? Do you not see that I have a hood and two tongues…and do you not see the charm of this Vidyādhara?”

As Śaṅkhacūḍa was saying this, Jīmūtavāhana’s wife and parents too arrived at the scene.

His parents, seeing him wounded thus, cried out and said…

“Oh what have you done my son! Oh compassionate one, you have sacrificed yourself for the sake of another! Oh how could you, son of Vinatā, have done this thoughtless deed?”

एतच् छ्रुत्वैव तार्क्ष्यो ऽत्र सो ऽनुतप्तो व्यचिन्तयत् ।
हा कथं बोधिसत्त्वांशः संमोहाद् भक्षितो मया ॥ १२,२३.१७७ ॥

जीमूतवाहनः सो ऽयं परार्थप्राणदायकः ।
यस्य भ्रमति कृत्स्ने ऽस्मिंस् त्रैलोक्ये कीर्तिघोषणा ॥ १२,२३.१७८ ॥

तन् मे मृते ऽस्मिन् पापस्य प्राप्तम् अग्निप्रवेशनम् ।
अधर्मविषवृक्षस्य पच्यते स्वादु किं फलम् ॥ १२,२३.१७९ ॥

इति चिन्ताकुले तार्क्ष्ये दृष्ट्वा बन्धून् निपत्य सः ।
व्रणव्यथायां पञ्चत्वं प्राप जीमूतवाहनः ॥ १२,२३.१८० ॥

The Garuḍa heard this, and was deeply disturbed…he thought to himself…

“Oh no! What have I done? In my greed, have I mortally wounded an incarnation of Bodhisattva?”

“This is the same Jīmūtavāhana who sacrifices his life for others, and is renowned in the three worlds for his compassion. If he dies, it is time for my wicked self to enter the fire and immolate myself.”

“Does the fruit of adharma ever taste sweet?”

As Garuḍa was lost in thought again, Jīmūtavāhana, who had now seen his family, joined his hands together for a final goodbye..and died from the agony of the immense pain he had endured.

to be continued…