THE PROMISE OF HOPE
As had become his practice in recent past, Indra stopped by Kailash to pay his respects to Mahadev and Parvati. It was a very different Indra.
Gone was his swagger, his arrogance and pride. Stripped of his crown, deprived of heaven’s choicest pleasures, forced to live in hiding and constant fear, Indra had been forced to learn a few harsh lessons taught by karma and destiny. In a bid to escape the harassment by Tarakasur and his cronies, Indra and other devas had taken to a life of piety and austerity. Yet, Indra could not help hoping that the kingship of Swarga would be his once again soon
Every day he would come to Kailash and from a distance offer his silent prayer. A prayer that the son of Shiva – the one destined to kill Tarakasur- will make his appearance soon. But the struggle of the last few years had also taught Indra that it is the intensity and devotion of the prayer that determines how soon it will be answered.
So, he also prayed to Mahadev to give him the strength and courage to continue and not let his faith weaken in face of adversity. Silently, he would make his obeisance and leave- without even appearing in front of Shiva. Indra had no idea whether his supplication was being heard by Shiva.
But even Indra, preoccupied by worries and anxiety could not fail to notice that Kailash was sporting a different look the last couple of months.
The usual cold icy winds were replaced by warm mellow sunshine. The fragrance of flowers blooming in the valley below, wafted upwards on a light breeze. A flock of white anna-pakshis alighted there and were waddling noisily. Sounds of laughter and merriment could be heard.
Indra ventured to move nearer to get a clearer look. He gasped.
Was this the same God whose anger had burnt down Kamadeva? Shiva was looking more relaxed now and surprise….surprise… was actually smiling. Parvati was holding an anna-pakshi in her lap and was stroking it. Shiva was watching her fondly. Apparently satisfied, the annapakshi flapped its wings and took flight, squawking loudly. Everyone watched as the bird flew away and their eyes fell on Indra.
“Come closer Devraj” invited Shiva kindly. “What are you doing out there?”
Hesitantly Indra walked forward, his palms joined together.
“Welcome Devraj. What brings the king of Devas here?” asked Shiva
“I am no longer a king, Lord” answered Indra sorrowfully. “I have lost everything- my throne, my kingdom, my authority….everything.”
“You have only lost your pride, Devraj- and that’s not a bad thing to lose. Your self respect, character, and spirit remain intact. You have found the strength to let go your ego and accept humility. You had the courage to set aside your pain and rally your Devas’ morale.”
“You have proved that you are once again capable to rule over Swarga. Fear not, Indra your wait is over.” Shiva replied.
Indra hardly dared to breathe.
Shiva glanced at Parvati and announced “The time has come for Shiva and Shakti to unite and present to the world the perfect creation.”
Kailash erupted into cheers and joyous shouts.