(The hunter in the wilderness of Sansara)
(Part 19):Ancient stories
He looked at the drama unfolding before his eyes until he could bear
it no longer. The obvious pain she was suffering began to seep into his
body, pierce his bones and take up residence within. He immediately
turned away and climbed down the mountain at a great pace as though he
was fleeing from her voice.
His eyes fell on the gun. It was as he had left it. He forgot
everything. He picked it up and sat down. He spent several hours taking
the gun apart and several hours cleaning it. He loaded the gun.
He became a hunter once more. The Hunter, as had been his practice
before, roamed the jungle all night in utmost calm and when it was close
to the dawning hour returned, placed the gun in a safe place and climbed
As he climbed the lament of the drummer’s daughter once again caught
his ear. He did not stop to listen to her curses.
At midday, when he saw the Hamuduruwo, a certain thought occurred to
him. His body was covered with hair. The Hamuduruwo’s body was hairless.
There was none on the Hamuduruwo’s crown and it was as though the
eyebrows had been shaved. The Drummer’s daughter’s beautiful locks of
hair were now hanging as untidy dreadlocks.
The Hunter looked at the Hamuduruwo’s bald pate as though he was
seeing it for the first time. He went to the pond and saw the water
reflect the thick black hair that covered his body. Through all this he
saw the hair of the drummer’s daughter, once lush and lovely but now
matted into dreadlocks.
That night he sat on the rock, listening with utmost joy to the
thousand voices, quarrels, play and happy cries of the countless
friendly creatures resident in the vast jungle that had been bequeathed
to him. As he listened thus, the Tree Spirit came to him. He spoke, now
with sadness and now with joy.
‘There will be no restful sleep for me for a long time to come, this
is certain,’ the Tree Spirit said, as he made himself comfortable beside
‘Our Hamuduruwo has not begun meditating deeply throughout the day at
the foot of the Esatu tree, which is my abode as you know, cultivating
insight into the three characteristics, anicca,dukkha and anathma of the
five aggregates. The Hamuduruwo is striving to evacuate the final
remnants of the seeds of desire within him so that these will not be
reborn, even as the first signs of the nirvanic seeds enter the compass
of his comprehension. The heat of the Hamuduruwo’s wisdom has gradually
risen and has begun to caress my abode. It is becoming increasingly
difficult for me to remain there. Therefore, my friend…’ The Tree Spirit
could not complete the narrative, not of his discomfiture nor his
delight in the Hamuduruwo showing signs of ascending to heights closer
and closer to the incomparable nirvanic bliss.
The sound of incessant drumming emanating from the region of the cave
half way down the rock wafted into their midst. The beat became
insistent by and by. Before long the sound of the drum came running up
the rock at great speed. The drummer’s daughter came into view. She was
rotating her head at great speed, her unruly hair spinning in all
directions. She ran towards the Esatu tree. The Hunter instantly stood
up and ran after her.
‘I am empowered by license granted by the Vesamuni and the permission
of Mother Kali. I am indeed the Goddess Kali. Last night, my late
father, with the fragrance of parental love, reached me from the
afterlife to show me the path. I caught up with the two men, Fatty and
Skinny, on the rock at the Southern end of the wilderness beneath which
the great treasure lies hidden, duly slaughtered them, broke their bones
and consumed their flesh. I have with me the license to similarly
slaughter both Hunter and Hamuduruwo and make a holy offering of their
Such words spouted from the mouth of the drummer’s daughter, laced
with vile threats and foul epithets. She continued to beat the drum with
increasing fervor, the deafening sound thundering and reverberating over
the rock and throughout the jungle. Shards of rock broke and flew in all
directions. She screamed, hooted, spun like a menacing bolt of
lightning, the circle of her incensed dance bringing her ever closer to
the Hamuduruwo. Just as she was about to pounce on the frail body of the
Hamuduruwo, the Hunter caught up with her, held her tight by her waist.
The Hunter, at that very moment, heard the voice of the Hamuduruwo, as
though in a dream. It was unbelievably calm. Melodious. It was a command
endowed with incredible stature and authority.
The Hunter let go of the girl. He wiped his eyes in disbelief. Where
was the crazed daughter of the drummer? Where was the drum that
threatened to split the rock asunder? The drummer’s daughter was on her
knees, clutching tightly the drum.
‘Come to me, little girl!’
She let go of the drum. It rolled away down the rock and over the
precipice and into the tree tops beneath, the Hunter understood from the
hollow sound that accompanied its descent.
‘You have sinned much in the past. Someday, however, thanks to the
blessings of the Noble Triple Gem, you too will come to the end of your
sansaric journey. All things are born and all things decay and perish
and accordingly your kleshas too will be exhausted one day and you will
be duly cleansed. The Hamuduruwo fell silent. He looked at her with
utmost serenity. She slowly crawled towards the Hamuduruwo. Unable to
hold in her eyes the compassionate gaze of the Hamuduruwo she fell
senseless at his feet.