Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Exchocist- by Hari Mohan Jha from Khattar Kaka-Translation by Chandrahas

THE EXORCIST That day Vikatakavi Uncle was seen grinding bhang. He saw the tantrik beside me and I said, “He’s Ozha. An evil spirit has entered Chowdari’s bungalow. Ozha has Uncle smiled and said, “He’s a big evil spirit himself. Can there be an end to the difficulties of those whom he possesses?” Ozha glared at uncle and said, “I’m a tantrik, an exorcist. I have attained control over the mantras after being in Kamakhya for twelve years. There’s nothing that I can’t Uncle said, “I will make a leech catch your nose. Can you with the power of your mantra drive away a leech? I will hold a paisa in my fist. I will agree that you have the power if you can make it disappear with your mantra and tantra, will you?” Sensing that the situation was not conducive, the tantrik slipped off quietly from I said, “The tantrik says the bride is possessed by a ghost.” Uncle sported a smile. “My son, old Chowdary unfortunately married again and has brought an elephant in must. Is it then a surprise that at night a ghost gets on top of I said, “Everything is a joke for you, uncle.” “If this is not something to laugh at, what else is? There is a saying that - ‘A weak fellow’s wife is the sister-in-law of the whole colony’. The ghost too must have desired to come here and become the brother-in-law, couldn’t it?” “Uncle, do you believe in the evil spirits?” Uncle said, “Why not? I believe in ‘bhutam’, ‘vartamanam’ and so on.” “I don’t mean that ‘bhutam’.” “The ghost that possesses human beings.” Uncle thought for a while and said, “Yes. I believe in that ghost too. Even now that ghost is perched sitting atop your head.” I said, “Uncle, you are sarcastic. But Padma Purana contains descriptions of the Mixing black pepper in bhang, Uncle said, “That evil spirit surely is perched on your head and is speaking. It must have sat on the heads of mighty scholars also. Whenever you question them, their reply is ‘It’s written like this and that’. They need to be told ‘O, great one. Let what’s written be what it is. Have you ever written that you are their servants? What happened to your sense? Have you pledged it somewhere? When people of other countries are inventing new machines, you say that you won’t swerve from the path of your grandfathers, why?” I said, “Once upon a time, there was science in our country also. There was Uncle was irritated. He said, “That ghost is still speaking. The ghost of the past. The elephant has gone. The place where elephants were tied also is gone. But we still are holding the goad and sitting just to say that once upon a time there was an elephant tied in front of our house also. My son, what’s the point in talking about the past? What’s needed is to see what is there now, shouldn’t we? The tamarind is not there but its taste still is lingering. People of other countries have marched forward a great deal. But we sleep on the cot boasting ‘once upon a time we were flying in the sky’. When people of other countries look to the future, we look backwards, at bhutkal. How can we push forward unless we discard this ghost?” “I know you don’t believe in ghosts and phantoms. But we witness so many possessed by the devil. How come?” Mixing a fistful of soamf in bhang, uncle said, “Arey, that’s the fear of the ghost. That’s all. On a dark night in a deserted place seeing a thief or an adulterer many start reciting Gayatri mantra or eulogy of Hanuman. Taking krishnabhisarika (a heroine who goes to a secret place wearing dark dress on a dark night to meet her paramour) for a ‘yakshini’, they are frightened to death. If anyone prattles because of mental instability, it’s assumed that a ghost is speaking. If anyone throws a stone or a brick in front of the house, it’s said that the ghost has caused trouble. On a dark night in a deserted place if a light is seen it’s an ogre; if it’s a snake it’s ghost snake. If it is not known how fire is kindled, it’s ‘bhahmagni’. It’s all due to blind belief. That’s all.” “Uncle, you have no interest in other worldly matters. But there are wizards who have control over the devil and get to know everything. They can cause death with a mantra. They can roll a dice and take control of a snake. They can turn a wheel and detect a thief. They can overpower a Betala and get articles they wish for. With the power of mantra, they can cause death, cast a spell or exorcise a devil.” Uncle who was grinding bhang with his head lowered raised his head and said, “Untrue. Totally untrue. If at least one of these was true, I would have publicised it beating a drum. The government would have employed the fellow who turned the wheel instead of CID police. The irrigation minister would have caused rains by reciting mantra and doing japa. Our external affairs minister would have appointed devils in place of the ambassadors. The defence minister would have cast a spell against the enemy. Crores of rupees spent on the army would have been saved. When the country is attacked the tantriks would have lined up against the enemy army. And when they said the mantra, ‘aam fat’, the enemy would have been reduced to ashes. When the plague spread, the health minister would have mrityunjaya mantra recited – ‘I worship Triyambak Siva who makes aroma and vigour to increase.’” I said, “Uncle, the tantrik is procuring many items to secure release of the ghost. Mustard seeds, dung of black cow, ash, hair of a black horse!” Rolling bhang into a ball, Uncle said, “This is absolute fraud. Tell me what is the cause and effect between the ghost and the hair of a black horse?” I said, “The world of mantra and tantra is clothed in secrecy. That’s why the tantrik rids the bride of the ghost at night when there is no one around.” Tapping the ground with his walking stick Uncle said, “I call this a crime. The education in the other countries is publicised by the drum beat whereas in our country it’s talked of in whispers. A thief can never tolerate light. Trickery is carried out in darkness. The science of foreign countries is dazzling brightly. The entire world went into raptures at the discovery of radio and television. If on the contrary a thing like radio was discovered by a scholar of our country, you wouldn’t know how he would have behaved. He would have said that the radio was broadcast straight from the Brahma Lok. He would have made a householder bathe with his cloths on, take him to the deserted burial ground on a no moon night, made him listen to something on the radio and made him believe that that was the voice of a dead man and would have squeezed him all his life. He would have made radio look like Chandika, cover it with a red cloth, sprinkle grains of rice (akshatalu) and red vermillion, recite inane mantras and would have hid it without revealing the truth to anyone. And just before dying, he would whisper the secret into his son’s ear and make him an expert in that.” I said, “Uncle, in your view, is mantra nothing but deceit?’ Continuing to grind bhang, Uncle said, “Son, mantra means advice. If a woman is unable to conceive I would advise her to go for uterus examination. That’s the correct mantra. Instead, if I say ‘Sun is sitting on the uterus door and until he does not get away from there you cannot conceive’ that would amount to fraud. Further if I say ‘To please the Sun god, arrange twelve Brahmins to recite “Om ghrinih suryaya namah” six thousand times a day after a feasting on halwa and puris” that will amount to a greater fraud. Add to this advice ‘The wheel of Sun’s chariot is stuck up a little bit and so to pull it up we need droppings of an owl, camel dung, bat’s droppings, the horse shoe, red gem, and twelve tolas gold’ then it will amount a much greater fraud. These wretched rascals only go about the world as miracle men. ‘Sri 108’ is added to their name at the beginning. If I had the authority I would have dragged them to court under section 420 for cheating.” “Uncle, all those who perform mantra- tantra are rascals, are they?” Uncle said, “Son, all of them are cheats and conmen. They live on deceit. You remember this sloka in my ‘Vikatakavi Purana’ – ‘Tantrik, mantrik, palmists, those who give the results of signs and those who make predictions are cheats and pakands.’” I said, “Then Uncle, are mantra-tantra a myth?” Mixing sugar in bhang, Uncle said, "In fact, tantra means chemistry. A mixture of two things results in creation of a new thing which has different qualities. It’s due to this science that the people of foreign countries have attained such heights in technology. We on the contrary are tricksters who create useless things and say that through mantra and tantra convert soil into sugar and stone into gold and such humbug. That’s all.” Uncle understood that I was surprised and so he said, "Here in the name of tantra, mantra, yoga, magic and sorcery the ocean of deceit is welling up. Look at the mantra- tantra ideas suggested in Agni Purana to vanquish the enemy- ‘Pound the enemy with your weapon. Pulverise.’ After reciting this mantra for 108 times, if the damaruk is sounded, the enemy army will go helter-skelter. The soldiers will run away dropping their weapons.’ “Listen to Chamundadevi mantra – ‘If this mantra is under your control, Chamundadevi with her trushul will slash, cut your enemies and beat with the cane. She will tie them up with a rope. She will drive a dagger. She will reduce the enemy to dust. She will eat up.’ Those with atom bombs will all be defeated. Now tell me. Will any country have a defence against such When he found me stupefied, Uncle said, "People will be shocked when they know the kind of tricks that our mantra tantra talk of. Sample this – ‘No weapon can touch the body if it is smeared with the paste of aapaamurga herb “An enemy becomes impotent with this trick of Dattatreya. Good riddance. Hear ‘On Saturday or Wednesday bury a chameleon where the enemy urinates. That’s all. The enemy turns impotent. Sankara himself revealed this secret.’ “If a woman has to be subjugated, recite this mantra – “That’s it. She will run and fall in your lap. Shabash. What else?” ‘On Pushya nakshatra day, give rudra jata root by placing it in the betel leaf. The moment she takes it, she becomes your slave.’ “My son, there is yet another trick. With that not only your lover but her father too will start pressing your legs. – ‘If white jilledu and ox gall is ground and mixed in own urine and applied on forehead as tilak, everyone who sees it will become his servant. “What no formula can achieve is accomplished with urine, isn’t it?” Uncle smiled and said, “My dear, don’t conduct any of these experiments. Be careful otherwise you will land in trouble. Leave these things to tantrik.” I said, "If he really has such powers, would he have been loafing like this? Alas! Uncle said, "Then tell him to apply tilak of donkey’s fat.” When he found me staring at him, Uncle said, "I’m not saying this for fun. It’s ‘If anyone applies tilak of a mixture of donkey’s fat, haratal and manhsila, he’ll become a king like the king of Lanka.’ “I wonder why they don’t patent the tricks that they have invented!” “Uncle, why are there such nonsensical things in the tantras?” “Tantras are full of such experiments in abhichara and adultery, one more ludicrous than the other, to dupe people and fulfil their selfish interests. ‘You can roam about unseen on a particular star, if you recite so-and-so mantra and by keeping a particular herb in the mouth.’ If this is true, our riffraff would have lived in trains without noticed by the T.C. Sweetmeat shops would have gone bankrupt. Everyday the tantriks would have had tasty food free of cost. They would have visited any in-laws’ house and would have had feast. When there is such a tantra who would care for prajatantra?” “I’m surprised to hear all this, Uncle.” Uncle said, “We have broken world record in our creativity and boasting. It’s just not the human beings but the cows of our country also knew mantra-tantras. Hear the super natural power of Kapila Cow – ‘From its mouth, three crores of people brandishing swords, from the nose five crores with spears, from the eyes one hundred crores sporting arrows and bows, from udder crores holding staves, from the hooves crores of instrumentalists, from anus crores “Now tell me. Has such a cow been born anywhere in the world so far? That’s why I say there is none to equal us. In our society, even dog is a vehicle of a god (Bhairava). Owl and donkey too are vehicles of goddesses (Lakshmi and Sitala Devi). Owl is of use in tantrik experiments. See what’s written in Dattatreya Mantra – ‘One can read a book in dark if collyrium made of owl’s skull, ghee and water is “It’s for owl-like people that such tricks are useful!” I said, "Uncle, the tantrik is preparing a machine for the bride.” Mixing bhang well, Uncle said, "Don’t call it a machine. Call it a conspiracy instead. With the help of this machine, one can fly in the sky; hills can be broken; ocean can be controlled; rain can be made and electricity can be created. All these machines have been invented by the people of other countries. In fact, it can be said that the machine known as Betala has been overpowered by them. Machine ploughs the land; pounds paddy; cooks food; weaves cloths; carries loads; turns the fan; plays songs and takes one for a trip in the sky. We import all the machines from abroad. What machine can we give in return for them? At best, our tantriks can pull out a hair, make talisman out of it and send it labelling it as ‘siddhi Vinayaka yantra’.” Finally I asked again, “That means, you have absolutely no faith in ghost Uncle said, "Son, when did we know about ghost mantra? The ones who really know about ghost mantra are the foreigners. They have taken control of the five elements known as the earth, water, fire, sky and air and out of them whatever they need. They are winning over water, earth and the sky. Look at us. We roam about searching for the hair of a black horse while hunting fake evil spirits! The country can be better off only after we make bhasmibhuth (ash) of foolishness bhuth (evil spirit) which is sitting atop us and riding us. Isn’t it because of that I worship Siva, who is Bhuthnath.” After saying this, Uncle raised his bhang glass and drank it as an offering to Siva. ***

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