The Villagers were pure. Not only the human beings of the Village, but all the living beings there, were the incarnations of Innocence. But Sorrow and Poverty could never think of leaving that Village. Of course, the Villagers did try hard to exile both of them far beyond the frontiers. But they failed miserably in that attempt.
Even while dragging their dreary lives, there was something that filled them with happiness. The Rising Sun! Every infant, every boy and girl, every young man and woman, every old man and woman dreamed of the sun rising at the Dawn, escorted by a fresh and caressing breeze. The dreams of the Rising Sun swept the sands, air, birds, trees and everything into an ecstasy.
It is doubtful whether the Village had ever heard of the Rising Sun during its early history. They had their first ideas about the Rising Sun from the poets and singers who came to the village from somewhere. Their poems that pictured the spectacular scenes of the Dawn, sent vibrations through the Soul of the Village. The singers sang of the shining orb of Light that majestically arrives from the multicoloured sky at the Eastern Horizon in a magnificent chariot driven by hundreds of thousands of golden horses. Those fantastic songs rained like honey in the eardrums of the Villagers. For them, who knew only the fierce noon sun who burned their souls with red-hot rays, this was entirely a novel experience.
But they, who waited for the stirring sights of the Dawn that could make a million flowers blossom in their minds, did not succeed. You might think that it was the geographical position of the Village that prevented them from seeing Sunrise. No! Not at all! It is doubtful whether there is any other place in this wide world, which is more suitable than the Village for watching Sunrise. So was it because the Villagers failed to get up early? That too is not true. Not a single day, when the Village failed to awaken from sleep before the Pole Star appeared, has been recorded in history. Then why did they fail to see Sunrise?
Dark Clouds! No! Not those who come to give at least a drop of water to quench the thirst of the Earth. These were clouds that covered the sky like a pitch-black curtain, spreading a sickening darkness in the atmosphere. The Clouds were usually accompanied by blinding lightning and ear-shattering thunder. Everyday, near the moment of Sunrise, the Villagers will go to the shores of the Big Blue Ocean, who had the special ability to play any kind of role, like being calm or extremely angry. But what they saw was not the Rising Sun. Instead they saw endless columns of Clouds reminding them of black Ghosts. The troops of Clouds took special care not to allow even a slight ray of the Sun to sneak out of the wall they had built up.
The Leader of the Clouds will shout through thunder to the depressed Villagers. “You Villagers! Go and do your jobs without wasting precious time. You know the poets and singers. They are frauds. The Rising Sun is not so beautiful as they’d like to have you believe. We’ve seen this Sun. You people will all become blind if you happen to see the light of that Sun. The rays of the Rising Sun are coloured. They will induce hallucinations and drive you mad. We are staying here to save you from this grave danger. You understand one thing. We are your saviours, your security guards. Without us, this Village has no existence.”
The Clouds will stay there till mid-noon. And they allow the noon sun to pour its heart out with rays that could vapourise the life-blood. But who can love the noon sun? It is not possible. How could the Villagers love the noon sun who burns their crops and turns their wells into waterless pits of scorching sand?
The Leader of the Clouds offered a concession. “See the setting sun if you want.” But the Villagers who hated that very word ‘sunset’ declined.
Months and years kept flying away without waiting to rest. No change was there in the condition of the Village. But during these years the Villagers grasped fully, the truth that the dark Clouds were not their saviours because they were witnessing the number of people who died due to thunder and lightning, shooting up year by year. So many lives were also lost to the horrible heat of the noon sun. Though the Villagers requested several times that they be allowed to see the Rising Sun at least once, the Dark Clouds didn’t even take it at face value.
In these hopeless circumstances, some of the Youth of the Village had a brainwave. After getting the permission of the Elders, they met the Birds of the Village. “Dear Birds, we know you love this Village. We want you to do us a favour. Please fly to the Eastern Horizon at the time of Sunrise and return after having a glimpse of at least a single ray of the Sun of our dreams. We’ll be grateful to you forever.”
Next morning, a flock of Birds flew up into the sky towards the spot where the Sun was supposed to rise. But just when it seemed they were closing in, the Eastern Horizon kept moving away and away. Even those birds experienced in long distance flight, felt their wings becoming weary. The Blue Ocean howled in mocking laughter. The waves started a dirty dance. But in the minds of the Birds, there was only one thought. The promise given to the Villagers.
The Birds reached the black Clouds. Is there any tiny ray of Light peeping out? No! Only Darkness! Some of the Birds tried to pierce the Clouds. All of a sudden, came thunder and lightning as if the world was going to end. Some Birds fell down dead. Those who saved themselves from thunder and lightning continued their efforts courageously. Shockwaves shot threw their hearts! Like Death in flesh and blood, a gang of dreadful Vultures came out of the Dark Clouds. Even before they had an opportunity to cry out, those innocent Birds went down in a hundred pieces. With a horrible roar, the Blue Ocean swallowed those lifeless bodies. The Villagers watched the sight with frozen blood. Though they wanted to wail as loud as they can, the sound got trapped in their throats.
They shuddered when thunder reverberated in their ears. “Go back! Every one of you! Immediately! These Birds received the punishment they deserved. They tried to mislead you. Remember this fact. Even now, we saved you.”
The Villagers who did not have the guts to say anything against the Clouds walked back with shivering feet. If a single word happened to drop from anyone’s mouth, they might become the next victims of the Vultures.
A group of Birds planned to make another attempt. But their calculations went awry. Vultures raided the nests of the Birds. Death danced in destruction. The Birds who were fortunate enough to escape, flew away for their dear lives. That Village then became a nightmare for the avian species. Even migratory Birds, who entered the Village unaware of the gory events, were brutally butchered by the Vultures. The people barely managed to push their ghostly lives in that accursed Village. They had lost Bird songs too. The Villagers only buried their anguish and simmering anger at the fate of being confined to a place where even the Birds had no freedom to fly. They did not know how to express it. Seasons came and went. But the Village didn’t feel any seasonal changes at all.
On that day also, the Villagers woke up before the Pole Star. The Sky was still sleeping inside the blanket of Black Clouds. A scene they see everyday. Some sour sighs crawled out of the innermost depths of the Village. But a few people sensed a strange change enveloping the atmosphere. An unusually strong Wind was sweeping through the Village. How did this Wind break through the walls of the Dark Clouds? The Villages wondered. They found a comfortable cool feeling. With jumping hearts, they saw the hands of the Wind trying to save the sky from the Black Cloud cover! They also saw some Vultures fumbling in the fierce flow of air. Many Vultures lost balance and smashed themselves into giant trees.
As if they got an uncanny intuition, the Villagers set out fast towards the shore of the Big Blue Ocean. Is it smiling?! Instead of snatching them to terrible whirlpools, the waves were competing to kiss the feet of all those who reached the shore! Tens of thousands of eyes turned towards the Eastern Horizon.
Yes! It is true! Eyes are not deceiving them! From the farthest point of the eastern horizon, terrified Clouds are running away! Some soft glitter is out there! What is it?! Hearts started beating very fast. They saw an ethereal ray of Light coming out. The Rising Sun! Dearest Sun! The number of rays increased. Yellow and red rays intermingled. Like a golden coin, a magnificent orb of Light slowly slowly coming up from the depths of the Blue Ocean! The beatific beauty of that vision is beyond words. A dignified yet musical voice echoed throughout the Village. The sweet speech of the Rising Sun!
“My Dearest Village! My Beloved Pure Souls! We waited for a long long time for this meeting. Though I don’t want to lessen the glory of this blessed moment, I must tell you. This rendezvous is only temporary. I can’t defeat the Dark Clouds everyday. Today, because of the support of a strong Wind, I could destroy the Dark Clouds. But the Clouds are powerful. They’ll return with reinforcements. If you want to witness the Sunrise everyday throughout the year, you should also do your part. None of you is weak. Live volcanoes are there inside your souls! Try to recognise your own power. Look there at the shore of the Blue Ocean! With wide-open eyes, the Villagers looked. A shining globe of Light was there at the Ocean shore!
“Fear not my friends! It is my Soul! The Soul of the Rising Sun! My energy is embedded in it. It is the essence of my Power and Glory. Go! Share it among yourselves! It is made of millions and millions of small suns. They’ll empower you to wipe out the arrogant Black Clouds from this Village. These Small Suns will start explosions in the volcanoes. In the red-hot flood of Lava, the Black Clouds and Vultures will burn to death. You too have now become Small Suns! With determination and peace of mind, you can return to the Village. Prepare yourself for the fight to pave my path, to begin life everyday with the vision of the Rising Sun! The Age when this Village will bathe in the beauty of the Dawn, day by day, is not far in the future!”
In the Villagers’ souls, the Soul of the Rising Sun sparkled. They too became suns, turned into Infinite indescribable waves of throbbing Power! On seeing this surprising Transformation, Electricity flooded through the veins of even the Universe!
Copyright © 1990 Prabhath P