It had to be perfect. After all it was not every day, that they got an opportunity to party till the wee hours of the night. Managing an enormous enterprise took up all their time. Millions of people depended on them. Whilst most looked up to them in gratitude, there were some ungrateful people too. But not looking after them just because they were ungrateful was not the way they operated.
Who are they you ask?
Well, they are none other than the triumvirate of the Hindu religion. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv.
The business of managing this crazy world kept them very busy. Their better halves were equally devoted to their tasks. The get-together was once in a blue moon affair and hence imperative that it be perfect and this was the topic of discussion.
“I want a beach party; I want to feel the sand under my toes, a zephyr on my face. I live on Kailaash mountain and I am tired of the cold,” said Shiv as his brows creased and he splayed out his hands to point out the snow-covered mountains. At the rate the temperatures were dipping due to pollution and global warming, Shiv was sure that his fingers would soon match the blue color of his throat. Standing next to him Nandi nodded in agreement. He too was ready for a party anywhere other than Kailash.
“Absolutely not. I live in the ocean and am tired of all things wet. No sandy beaches or gently lapping waves,” said an agitated Vishnu. It seemed the more agitated Vishnu got, faster the sundarshan-chakra spun on his forefinger. He continued, “I want to go a mountain retreat and party. I want to breathe in the cool, crisp mountain air,” Vishnu said, inhaling deeply, “just like this.” Then still staring at Shiv, he exhaled it slowly.
Feet firmly planted, with their hands on their hips, both Gods glared at each other. They were a sight to behold. One bedecked in the most luxuriant yellow and green cloth a god could own and the other bare chested and magnificent with only a tiger skin to cover him.
Poor Brahma was literally caught between them. His heads kept swiveling back-and-forth, as the argument continued. What could he possibly do? The memory of that one time when he had tried to assert his superiority over Vishnu was still fresh in his mind. What a disaster that had been, he thought, as he shook his head. Shiv’s turning into the fire-pillar, the lie in which he Brahma, the creator of this universe had roped in the innocent ketki flower, Shiv’s tremendous anger at this deception and the resultant curse. He shuddered. He had paid a very heavy price for it.
Still, he tried. “Perhaps we can go to…” he trailed off as he realized that neither of them was paying any attention to him.
He cleared his throat and tried again. “Maybe we can go to places like Ibiza, Amsterdam or even Las Vegas,” he said wistfully. A whimsical smile spread across his face at the thought of partying in these cities and enjoying the various attractions they had to offer.
At that precise moment, Devi Parvati and Devi Laxmi popped in, as if they had been eavesdropping on the conversation and waiting for the right moment to jump-in and offer their advice.
“No! Absolutely not. I am not going to those places. One is no better than the other,” asserted Parvati. Wearing a deep red colored sari with her long tresses adorned with jasmin flowers, she looked resplendent.
“Yes!” agreed Laxmi, who was wrapped in a bright pink sari and bedecked with gold jewelry from head to toe. “More over these are all earthly places with earthly experiences. I don’t want mountain or ocean or cities,” she said as she pursed her lips and looked at each God in turn. “I want something truly exceptional.”
Parvati nodded emphatically, sending her earrings jingling. This effectively shot down the three ideas and resulted in three hung faces. Apparently being chastised by your wife is not just a mortal affliction.
Just then, astride her majestic white swan, arrived Devi Sarasvati. As she dismounted Brahma rushed forward to offer her a hand. Clad in a white saree and holding her customary book in one hand and rosary in the other, she alighted. Her countenance shone with the brilliance of knowledge. With her gentle demeanor and her serene smile, she looked regal.
In a dulcet voice she said, “I second what Laxmi has said. The venue has to be extraordinary. Neither earthly nor heavenly.” She looked around and asked, “Any ideas?”
That was all the encouragement the others needed to get into an argument, again.
Amidst all the bickering came Devlok’s live correspondent Narad.
“My Lords and ladies, please desist from all this squabbling. It is causing mild tremors on earth and people are fearing earthquakes and tsunamis. What’s wrong? Tell me and I shall strive to solve it.” He offered clicking his khartals.
Shiv said, “Narad, all of us want to party and we want it to be unforgettable. You know we rarely get an opportunity to do this.” He then went on to explain the whole situation.
After listening carefully Narad said, “That’s it? That’s the entire problem? Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.” Then saying, “Narayan, Narayan” he vanished.
Narad went to Vishwakarma, the divine architect and said, “You need to bring your considerable experience and expertise to design this venue. It has to be something which has never been seen before. It cannot be earthly or heavenly and the lighting and decoration has to be truly spectacular.” Considering the enormity of the task, both dedicated themselves to it immediately.
On the day of the party Vishnu summoned Narad and said, “So Narad, where’s the party tonight?”
Narad smiled. With a twinkle in his eyes, he gave a cryptic reply, “Just follow the lights My Lord. They will lead you to the venue.”
So, at the appointed hour the three couples accompanied by their eclectic entourage prepared to follow the light.
Narad and Vishwakarma had outdone themselves. True to his word, Narad presented the Gods with a celestial soiree like none other. Magical and mystical it was a place neither on earth nor in heaven, it was somewhere in between. And those lights, that the duo had strung, gave the place a truly ethereal feel.
The Gods were awed. Once they finished marveling at the beauty of the venue, they got down to the business of enjoying their party. Seeing them all settled in and enjoying themselves, Narad made to leave.
Vishnu called out to him, “Narad! Wait.”
Narad turned around, his face adorned with a mischievous smile, for he knew what was coming.
“What are these undulating and pulsating lights?” Vishnu asked enthralled, as he gazed at the hues of green, pink, violet and blue as they lit up the Northern sky. “Do they have a name?”
Narad tilted his head and said, “Aurora Borealis, my Lord.”
So, the next time you watch the aurora borealis, look closely. You never know who you might glimpse. For it is rumored that that venue is visited by other Gods too. Afterall, who wouldn’t be in need of a break when they manage this crazy gone-to-dogs world? Right?
Kailaash mountain – Shiv’s abode
Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh/Shiv – Holy Trinity of Hindu religion
Vishwakarma – the architect, divine engineer
Devlok – where Gods’ reside
Narad – is a Vedic sage, famous in Hindu traditions as a traveling musician and storyteller, who carries news and enlightening wisdom.
Narayan, Narayan – Narad’s pet phrase (Narayan is another name for Vishnu)
Khartals – Khartal is an ancient instrument mainly used in devotional / folk songs and it is usually made of wood or metal.