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The Seven Temples

By Viswa Sampreethi Pilla All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

The port of the Gods

Jayasimha, lord of the people known as Prajapathi, the last of the Narasimha dynasty stood more than six feet tall holding a scepter in his hand that had a huge sharp cut diamond on the top, in the supreme temple where they worshipped the deities, Sajja; the creator and Hara; the destroyer. The temple was flanked by his army. His knights were in golden armor sitting on stallions that could fly called Vimanashvas and his soldiers were standing behind the knights. They were all giants, at least fifteen feet tall. His people were all of average height. The young, the old and the children were all dressed up colorful waiting behind the temple. They looked excited for the yearly feast. In front of the Supreme temple was a row of six temples called The Port of the Gods. Each temple was dedicated to a God of the six elements; fire, wind, water, sky, earth and wood. Hence the gopura; gate tower of every temple was designed in a unique way.

The temple of the fire God; Shikhin had a golden gopura which was embellished with rubies and on top was a huge statue cut from a single ruby in the shape of a dragon. The earth God; Mahi’s gopura had yellow sapphires embedded in gold and it had the statue of a lion also made of sapphire. Garnets were embellished in gold and a gigantic statue of a cobra stood on the top of the gopura of the wood Goddess; Samidha. The gopuras of the temples of the water Goddess; Mira, the air God; Marut and the sky God; Viha were made of silver. They were decorated with blue sapphires, amethysts and diamonds respectively. The statue of a monkey for air, mermaid for water and an eagle for sky stood tall on the temples. The gopuras and the statues could be seen from more than a thousand miles in the sky.

Jayasimha’s royal council members were standing in front of him in the supreme temple. Beside him stood his most trusted and liked advisor of the royal council, SurApa; the eldest and wisest of them all. Jayasimha was gazing at the early morning sky impatiently. “Why do we have to do this every year SurApa?” he asked.

“We have been doing this for generations. We need to, we need their defense Prajapathi.”  SurApa explained. The king seemed agitated “We don’t need it. Even they know we are better than them. We have everything, all the wealth, all the happiness and the best army among all realms. Why do you think our city is called Aparapura - Paradise city?” SurApa was confused as he was sure that his king was aware of the consequences if he went to war with the Gods. “But we cannot afford that now Prajapathi. Think about the people. If we turn against the Gods then it is not only their wrath that we must face but also of other kingdoms that are waiting for the day when we lose the Gods’ shield.” He reminded his king. “Yes…Yes SurApa. I understand. I will wait till the day comes when I become the Shatbhuteshvar (God of the six elements).”

But SurApa had his doubts “What about the prophecy, Prajapathi? What if it comes true?” he asked. King Jayasimha was amused “Prophecy? It will never happen.” he scoffed “And if it doesn’t come true in another couple of years…?” he asked SurApa with pride filled in his eyes. “The Prajapathi of Aparapura will be made the Shatbhuteshvar and will be bestowed with powers to control all the six elements.” SurApa completed Jayasimha’s words.

Just when the sun was peeping out of horizon, Jayasimha saw six ships flying towards the city. Ships that were made of metal from the sun called Avidriya; the indestructible. It was the brightest and toughest of all metals found in Devalok; the realm of the Gods. “They have arrived.” SurApa said in awe. Jayasimha, his people and his royal council witnessed this every year but every time, the grandeur of the sight amazed them all. The sails of each ship had the same color as the gems on the gopuras. The bow of the ships also had similar engravings on it.The Gods anchored their ships by their temples and the welcoming ceremony had begun. The Gods were showered with flowers as they came in through their temples to the supreme temple. All the soldiers and the knights bent down on one knee honoring the Gods. Jayasimha welcomed them and bowed down to a pranama.

As the first rays of sunshine fell on the deities of Sajja and Hara in the supreme temple, the Gods, Jayasimha and his council members paid their respect to the creator and the destroyer before they entered the Paradise city.

 

                                                  ~*****~   

Rituals were performed and by evening, the feast had begun in the royal castle. Lord Shikhin was very playful, the flirty kind. He was too young to be God. During the feast he sat down with a bunch of beautiful women of Aparapura around him, drinking wine and showing off his powers. Lord Marut and Lord Viha were seated with a few members of the royal council, cracking silly jokes to which the council members were compelled to laugh at. Goddess Mira was the most beautiful of all the Goddesses, delicate as a flower on the outside but as wild as the sea on the inside. She was not interested in the feast. In fact it bored her to the core. She was only concerned about the people of Aparapura so she slowly sneaked out to talk to the fishermen and other people to see if Aparapura was truly a paradise city. On the contrary, Goddess Samidha enjoyed the feast. She was tough as wood. While she taught the soldiers a few tricks with the sword, she also teased them with her beauty.

Lord Mahi was dining with Jayasimha. He was the ambitious one who envied Aparapura for its prosperity and for also being known as a place second to heaven. He also loathed King Jayasimha for he believed that someday Jayasimha would become the Shatbhuteshvar. He despised that a human from Bhulok; the realm of humans would be bestowed to control them. While Mahi sat there in deep thought, Prajapathi Jayasimha mocked “What’s the matter Lord Mahi? You haven’t eaten anything. Is it not good? Or is it better than what’s served in the heavens?”

Lord Mahi smiled sarcastically. “You envy us. Don’t you my Lord? You fear that when I become Shatbhuteshvar, the heavens would come down to Bhulok literally.” Jayasimha mocked again and laughed as he sipped wine from his golden chalice. “I wouldn’t say that if I were you. We are called Gods for a reason and you wouldn’t want to see what the power of a God could do. You shouldn’t take things for granted...Because by tomorrow you would be the one in fear. ” Lord Mahi replied. Jayasimha didn’t understand what Lord Mahi meant and looked at him bewildered. “I am truly surprised Jayasimha that you are unaware of your dicey situation.” Lord Mahi laughed and looked at SurApa who was also dinning with them. “What does the prophecy say SurApa?” Lord Mahi asked.

SurApa quoted the words that he had once read in the Bhavin-grantha. Literally meaning – The book of the future.

“When the Sun meets the moon by day

And the moon turns blue by nightfall.

The seventh of the sea will be sent to

Aparapura by Sajja and Hara.

With his neck so blue and third eye so bright,

He will rule the elements and bring peace for the right.

In their abode, he shall bring light

That will protect his kin from every plight.

For he is the chosen one who would rule all realms known.

Nothing can destroy him but of his own.”

“What is the meaning of that SurApa?” Lord Mahi asked again. “It means that on the day when there is a solar eclipse and a blue moon, the 7th generation of the fisherman will be born with the blessing of Sajja and Hara who would become the Shatbhuteshvar.” SurApa replied.

The king was still confused and didn’t understand what the earth God was trying to implicate. Lord Mahi got up from his chair, he picked his chalice and walked around the king’s chair towards SurApa who was seated opposite to king Jayasimha. He stood by SurApa’s chair. SurApa looked up at him in question while Lord Mahi was staring at Jayasimha. Lord Mahi said sarcastically “Even you disappoint me SurApa. You should have known this. Well, tomorrow is the day of a solar eclipse and a blue moon.” and took a sip of wine from his chalice.

The king was shocked and scared for a moment but then he was not a believer of some prediction in an old book. He immediately regrouped himself and said “That’s good. But not all prophecies come true my lord.” Lord Mahi’s lips curled in to a wicked smile “We shall see.” he said.

 

                                                ~*****~

The next day, the king ordered SurApa to discreetly check if any woman of the fishermen was due to deliver on that day and soon the king was informed that there was no one. Jayasimha was relieved to know but Sukanya, the wife of a fisherman, Hari delivered a premature baby boy in the seventh month of her pregnancy on the same evening. He was born with bluish colored skin on his neck and a birthmark on his forehead, between his eyes in the shape of a boat. The Goddess of water; Mira came to bless the baby. She named him Mahat.

 Late in the night, the sand on the beach floated in to the house of the fisherman. The sand piled up to form a projection of lord Mahi by the baby’s cradle. He saw that the baby looked just like what the prophecy had foretold. He tried to kill the baby but he couldn’t since the baby had a shield around him like a bubble; a circle of protection by the supreme Gods. Not knowing what to do, he vanished.

Soon Jayasimha was informed of the news. He panicked for a moment but he asked some of his men to keep an eye on the child. His people didn’t know of this prophecy and he wanted to keep it that way. He wasn’t sure if he should believe in it himself.

 As the boy turned nine, everyone knew that he was a transgender due to his behavioral changes. Mahat was constantly humiliated by his friends and people around. But that didn’t break him. He spent his time learning how to fish. But one day while he was returning home from his fishing routine he overheard his father. “He is a disgrace to us. I wish he hadn’t been born.” Hari said to Sukanya. Sukanya loved her son like any mother would do. She later tried to convince her husband that he would bring pride to their family someday. But Mahat had left by then and never returned home after that evening.

 

                                                ~*****~

It had been seven years since the boy ran away. King Jayasimha was getting impatient and rage grew within him. He tried to strike a deal with lord Mahi. “I will give you all the wealth of Aparapura my lord. Please convince the remaining Gods to elect me as their Shatbhuteshvar.” But lord Mahi did not agree. During their intensifying argument, a young lad made his way in to the city looking for Sukanya. He was more than seven feet tall and well built in an armor that seemed like it was made of Avidriya. He wasn’t a giant nor did he look like a resident from the neighboring cities.  He also held a trident made of Avidriya.  His long tresses were plaited and he adorned a nose ring. People of Aparapura were amazed by this young boy who was mighty as a God.

The very moment Sukanya saw him, she knew he was her son. “Mahat?” she said with tears rolling down her cheeks and the young boy nodded. His family was celebrating his return. His mother asked him “Where were you all these years? And you have changed.”

Mahat told his mother that when he left, he ran far in to the woods of Chandanavanam where he was fortunate to meet his Guru, Vikrama Maharshi who taught him how to balance his mind, body and soul through Kalaripayattu; a martial arts form. “That is how I learnt to accept the boy I was born as and also embrace the girl within. Guruji even helped me discover virtues that were hidden.” he said. “It’s Goddess Mira’s grace. She watches over all her sons. But please don’t ever leave this hapless mother again.” Sukanya said. Mahat looked in to his mother’s eyes that were filled with love. He couldn’t say no but he had to. “My guru said that the people of Aparapura needed me on this day and that I had a destiny to be fulfilled. I am not sure what he meant but mother, I cannot promise to stay.” he tried to convince his mother who stood there perplexed.

Mahi was done with his patience and decided to end the argument. The people of Aparapura heard a huge explosion in the king’s castle. King Jayasimha fell from the castle’s tallest tower face down. He was covered in a pool of blood. Lord Mahi hovered on Jayasimha’s corpse. His eyes were as red as fire. He unleashed rock giants and an army made of sand on the people of the city. He was filled with rage and envy. Before any of the terrorizing sand creatures could get to the people, they were blown in to pieces. Lord Mahi was bewildered. He tried to bring his army back but he couldn’t. He could sense that some power was controlling him. “What’s happening? What is this?” Mahi cried out. “It is over Mahi.” Mahat said.

“You! I looked for you everywhere. All these years I have tried to find you before your powers could manifest. Before you’d realize who you are --I wanted to kill you. But Sajja and Hara have protected you well.” Mahi looked fierce. “No! You can’t. Nobody can nor ever will control me” he said and tried to fight Mahat but he failed. Mahi looked up at the sky and pleaded Shikhin, Viha, Marut, Samidha and Mira to help him but none of the Gods responded. “I was born to liberate you. But your deeds…they don’t offer me a choice. Now leave this city. Your fate shall be decided in the court of Gods.” Mahat affirmed and released him. But Lord Mahi got furious and split the earth under the sea to form a massive wave that would submerge the paradise city.

Mahat tried to control it but he was not strong enough yet. He kept trying but then he heard a voice whispering in his ears “Go to the supreme temple Mahat. Use your trident. Go now.” The voice kept coming back. He ran to the supreme temple and raised his trident to the roof. A shield was created around his people like a huge bubble. The wave crashed on the shield and flowed over it. Goddess Mira became furious at Mahi for his deeds. “I shall consume you little by little until you are no more to be seen one day.” she cursed him.

Mahat saved his people and most of the city but the six temples; The Port of the Gods were submerged under the sea forever. The people of Aparapura celebrated the dawn of their new king and the God of the six elements – Shatbhuteshvar. Lord Mahat banished Mahi and took his powers away. He then chose Mahi’s daughter, Vasudha as the earth Goddess but the curse remained and the sea continued to plunge its rage on earth.

                                         ~***************~

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