The seeds of Manduka

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Once upon a time, there was a young man, Manduka, who lived in a prosperous land. The land was fertile, lush green, and they had plenty of water. Manduka was clever, he knew all about trees and vegetation, for he had studied them closely for long. He had grown a medley of fruit trees which burst with fruits all year- mangoes, papayas, chikoos, custard apples, everything you could ask for. It was a place to live and die for.

One day, a king from the neighbouring kingdom came to visit. Impressed by the fruit bearing trees, he asked the young man’s father to send Manduka with the seeds to his kingdom. To plant the fruit trees and reap prosperity for his people. He offered them riches in return. Manduka’s father gladly obliged, and tasked Manduka with the job.

Over months, Manduka collected a motley mix of seeds. When he had enough, he made a small cloth bundle filled with the seeds, and started off on the journey. The journey was arduos, took many days, and went over hills, forests and valleys. And then he reached.

The king welcomed him and gave him a lovely room in the palace. When Manduka woke up, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The place was gorgeous. He was in the midst of undreamt of luxury. Velvet sheets, glimmering mirrors and more. Beautiful birds flew around fearlessly. Manduka enjoyed the luxurious food and drink, the joys of the palace. He got more and more immersed in the luxes of the land, and forgot to plant the seeds- the reason for being there. And thus time went by…

The day came to meet the King. Manduka hurried around, just the day before, to show the seeds to the King before he planted them in the Royal garden. But when he looked around, he could only find the scraps of cloth left over from the bundle. It seemed that birds had pecked at the bundle, destroyed it completely, and taken away the seeds.

Manduka was ashamed. What face could he show to the king, having partaken of his hospitality all along, but having forgotten what he had come for? That very night, he packed his belongings, and quietly ran away from the Kingdom.

Manduka’s journey is not new. It is the journey of the human being. The human birth, the seers say, comes every once in an era. The birth is earned, and meant to be spent for reaching the next higher stage of existence- Moksha or Nirvana. But, what happens? Just like Manduka, we get sidetracked, immersed in the luxes of the land, epheremeral joys, and forget the purpose of this existence. And one day, when the time comes to go, we realise, and we run. But, its too late by then. Manduka’s seeds are lost for ever, and so is our time on this earth too…

Aina Rao – for more Quirky reads on India.

Author: Aina Rao

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