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Sansaaraaranyaye Dadayakkaraya

(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 the mountain.

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 the Hunter.

‘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 blood.’

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.

‘Get aside!’

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.

 

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