The upside down…

Read the previous part here

“If you command me, and promise me the reward, I will only enter this court after bearing a child by this yogi, and bring that child along, riding on his shoulders”, she declared.

The king was astonished, but quickly agreed. He gave her a betel-nut as a token of their arrangement, and wished her luck.

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

The courtesan went to the forest, and in a few days, reached her destination.

She was amazed by what she saw…there was the yogi, hanging upside down from the tree, inhaling smoke and staying still. He appeared all shriveled up, possibly due to extreme starvation from months of fasting. His eyes were closed, and he was in a state of deep meditation.

The courtesan sat down a little away from the tree, unpacked her small bag, and started to make small laddoos. She then took one in hand, walked up to the tree, pinched a very small bit of laddoo, and touched the yogi’s lips with it. At first, they didn’t open…but gradually, the lips parted and the piece of laddoo found it’s way into his mouth. It was pleasant to taste, and the second installment was not met with much resistance.

And in this manner, over the next two days, the courtesan fed the yogi, bit by bit, until he regained a part of his strength, and opened his eyes.

“Why have you come here?”, he enquired, when he climbed down from the tree.

The courtesan joined her hands and prostrated before the yogi. “I am the daughter of a deva, and have spent the early years of my life observing tapasya in swargaloka (heaven). I have now come down to bhuloka (the earth) to serve the noble and the wise.”

“Take me to your hut”, said the yogi.

The courtesan brought him to the small thatched tent that she had put up, made him sit down, and prepared a delicious meal for him.

In a few days, the yogi gave up inhaling smoke, and instead, began to have regular meals and water. In a few more days, Kāmadeva made his appearance, and the yogi lost control of himself, and as a result, in nine months, a boy was born.

One day, six months after the baby was born, the courtesan told the yogi “It has been a long time since you prayed. Let us perform a pilgrimage, visit some holy places, and spend some time in travel and prayer.”

He took a lot of convincing, but in the end, she had her way. They packed their bag, and she lifted the child and made him sit on the yogi’s shoulders. They then set out on their journey.

The first city they visited, was the capital of the kingdom. Since it was the day of the darshana of the king, they walked into the king’s court,along with the rest of the habitants of the city.

The king, who was seated on his throne, noticed her from afar. She was walking not alone, but with the yogi by her side, with a child on his shoulders.

“Sadhu, sadhu!” he exclaimed loudly. “There she is! The courtesan who accepted our challenge, and it looks like she has fulfilled it!”

By now the courtesan and the yogi were right in front of the king. She bowed to him, and smiled.

“Oh great king, you are correct!”, said the minister. “This is the very same woman. She not just accepted the challenge, but added more to it, and here she is, having fulfilled her promise. Incredible!”

The yogi now understood what had happened. He thought to himself “The king did all of this, just to deny me the fruits of my tapasya. The courtesan cannot be blamed as she was greedy, but the king should have known better.”

He quietly turned around, and walked away alone. Back in the jungle, he started intense tapasya and tantric rituals. In a few days, as the king was walking back to his court, he suddenly collapsed and died.

The yogi had got his revenge.

The deva continued” In short, the situation is this. Three of you took birth in the same city, in the same nakshatra, and in the same moment, when all the grihas were in the same position. The difference is that you were born in the house of a king, the second was born in the house of a commoner, and the third in the house of a yogi.”

“The child of that yogi is the same yogi whose story I just narrated to you – he killed the commoner’s son through tantra vidya, and hung him upside down on a tree, and is now plotting your destruction.

If you escape this, you will be an illustrious ruler.”

“I have now warned you of what is about to occur”, concluded the deva. “I will set out now, but do not be negligent. Things will start to happen…very soon.”

to be continued…