Two mysterious figures advanced cautiously using the murky shadows of Mount Sumeru as a cover. They were steadily proceeding towards a barrier separating two cliffs. The pitch black darkness of that area indicated the scrupulous engineering of Oblivion itself. When the gleaming rays of the full moon spread to every nook and corner of the Earth to dissolute darkness, this obscure place seemed to be a haven for all those chased away gloom.
The shorter one grunted in a barely audible whisper -"Why do we always take this route?"
"Because he wants us to."The other one replied smugly albeit with equal caution and near inaudibility. Gesturing his partner to remain quiet and follow, he moved northwards.
Five and a half miles later, two dimly lit torches came into view, lighting up the entrance to a cave. The shorter man's relieved sigh evanesced the uncanny silence prevailing between them.
As soon as their footsteps encroached the entrance, two swords wielded by a man of macabre reputation gently grazed their hoods. "Take them off!" snarled his thee-legged partner twirling his battle axes."Now now, take it easy Bhringi and Mahakal" the taller impostor chuckled taking off his hood followed by his companion.
He was revealed to be an anthropomorph. His broad chest, chiseled abdomen and muscular arms were allusions to his martial background. His rich golden mane was spread like a halo around his head. The chuckle exposed his canines. Wearing a yellow dhoti set off by a sheathed saber, there stood the gold-complexioned man-lion: Lord Narsimha, the Vishnu of that era.
His companion sported a flowing snow white beard, a janau and a cream dhoti. His almost shining head in the torch flame indicated his baldness but for a tuft of braided hair at the back of it. This fair-skinned man was none other than Lord Brahma - the great scientist, scholar, astrologer and inventor.
In the meantime, the two aggressive weapon wielders had knelt down on their right knees and their folded left legs supported their left hands with tightly closed fists placed parallel to the ground. Bringing the clenched right fists to rest on their hearts, they bowed their heads respectfully to these Great Souls greeting them with the Natmastak Salute reserved only for individuals of extraordinary eminence.
"Greetings Prabhu! Pardon our ignorance."
"Quit the formalities you two. I have an important meeting and an equally important mission awaiting my arrival" snapped Lord Brahma."Now stand up."
"Calm down Pitamah….."
"For the heaven's sake Lord Narsimha this is the two thousand eight hundred and sixty fourth time I enlighten you that I am NOT your grandfather."Growled Lord Brahma.
"Your beard suggests otherwise." The Vishnu winked at the Mahadev's accomplices and continued his teasing:" you try to threaten a man-lion by growling at him?"
Lord Brahma was glaring daggers at the anthropomorph."Where is Lord Shankar?" he demanded to curb his irritation.
"In his meditating chamber Prabhu." Lord Bhringi replied, almost choking himself in an effort to restrain his surfacing laughter.
"Ahem! That's enough brother. Do come in both of you." Lord Mahakal instantly came to his partner's rescue. Although the precarious condition of his strained voice suggested that he was in no better condition himself.
The Mahadev's disciples led them through the cave until they faced a dead end in the form of a huge rock. It had two burning torches on its either side fixed to the cave's wall. Lord Mahakal twisted the left torch anticlockwise by ninety degrees. The rock moved with a surprisingly quiet motion to reveal a chamber lit by the bright moonlight channeled through the numerous ducts on the roof.
"A fine piece of Lord Vishwakarma's work; what do you say Pashupati?" The fascinated man-lion's voice growled even when his vocal chords worked at their lowest amplitude.
"I say that the sour expression of Lord Brahma speaks volumes of your barbed humor Narayan." The unnerving gravity of Lord Shankar's voice echoed in the chamber, effectively silencing everyone present.
He rose from his Kush mat and advanced towards the quartet with a deadpanned face. On reaching Lord Narayan he spoke with a slow audible tone, "Was it the beard again? Did he again attempt to scare you?"
For a second or two there was pin drop silence, immediately followed by Lord Bhringi and Lord Mahakal's roaring laughter as soon as the meaning of their Prabhu's words sunk in. The Mahadev and the Vishnu followed suit. The critically outnumbered Lord Brahma's groan of displeasure added to the effects of Lord Shankar's brilliantly executed manoeuver.
"You are a natural Sire." Lord Narsimha mock-saluted Lord Shankar. His adherents on the other hand, were clutching their abdomen and brushing away their tears of laughter.
"If you manage to get over your childish acts, I would be highly obliged." The aggravated Lord Brahma tried to coerce them into focusing on the task at hand.
"Pashupati this is about Hanuman and it cannot wait. His future is at stake!"
"What?" "How?" "Excuse me?" "And you kept quiet all along the way?"
The quartet bombarded the scientist with questions.
"I cannot answer all the questions at once even if I borrow Rahu's mouth. So calm down and listen patiently to what I have to say. Bhringi and Mahakal lock this room and please ensure the safety of this place and keep an eye on Hanuman. We have to use those objects that the Devas had entrusted us with."
"But Prabhu he is absolutely….."
"Just do as Lord Brahma says." The steel-laced tone of Lord Pashupati did not allow Lord Mahakal to complete his sentence. "And see to it that my apprentice has a peaceful sleep."The Mahadev added on a softer note. Lord Mahakal along with Lord Bhringi got up to carry out the instructions with a nod of understanding and sealed the entrance by rotating the torch back to its position.
"Pashupati and Narayan; I need both of your help in this matter. We need to sit together. Right now. Pashupati take out that special tiger skin mat."Lord Brahma's eyes darted between the two iconic figures of the era. He nodded and sighed, "It is time."
The Vishnu and the Mahadev understood his implications and its seriousness.
Lord Shankar lifted the Kush mat to reveal a trap-door with an unusual key hole and took a few steps backwards signaling the bearded man. Suddenly with an expression of shock, Lord Brahma frantically searched for the key in the folds of his dhoti. Lord Narsimha exhaled loudly shaking his head and thrust his finger-nail into the key-hole unlocking it with a click, much to the relief of Lord Brahma. Pushing it open, one by one the three of them jumped into a cavity of infinite darkness, sliding down a path of numerous and unpredictable twists. Finally, with a loud thud, they made contact with an immensely rough surface.
Dusting themselves while getting up the trio struggled to adjust to the pitch black darkness that encircled them. Lord Shankar was searching for something on the floor, while moving his toe around. His nerves relaxed the moment his toe stuck a thin furrow filled with an oily powdered substance.
"Narayan!"He exclaimed to Lord Narsimha, unsheathing his Chandrahaas scimitar. The Vishnu in turn approached the Mahadev freeing his Nandak saber. The swords touched the area where Lord Shankar's toe had been and they were struck against one another. The spark emitted due to the friction came in contact with the substance, lighting it up. A trail of fire ran through the furrow branching and further branching at regular intervals throughout the room's volume. After a few minutes, all traces of darkness were eliminated from the room. The three of them approached a small raised platform and Lord Pashupati fixed his sword in an almost invisible hole, twisting it with a clinking sound. The platform parted with a screech and gave way to a wide groove containing a kamandal (a utensil that looks like a small uncovered kettle, used by Indian sages to keep holy water), a conch, a lotus bud and a corked vial filled with a transparent liquid, placed on a folded tiger-skin mat. Taking these items they set afoot northwards at an unbelievable pace. Lord Brahma was a strangely awe inspiring sight to behold while moving at that speed with minimum perspiration. The other two did not even break a sweat. Soon they reached their destination - the dead end of a snow-capped ridge.
Breathing in some fresh air and resting himself the bearded gentleman signaled his companions to begin their mission. The man-lion took a deep breath as the other two stepped back. He brought the conch to his lips, boisterously blowing it. The emitting sound emanated peace and positive vibes throughout the region.
"It is the Panchajanya Conch of Lord Narayan!" Lord Bhringi knowingly exclaimed looking at the equally awestruck Lord Mahakal, who was nodding meaningfully. The balming reverberation lingered on for a long time even after the conch was silenced.
On the other side of the mountain, the trio looked down in anticipation to hear a swooshing sound in the waters below. "Look!" Lord Brahma pointed towards the visible ripples bubbling vigorously.
Within seconds, a majestic white serpent of overwhelming proportions emerged out of the aquatic surface and spread his awesome hood with five heads as if he intended to overshadow the entire cosmos. He bowed his terribly marvelous hood reverentially as soon as he noticed the iconic trio standing before it. Lord Narsimha gently stroked its middle head speaking to it with a tone of endearment, "Sheshnag, we need your help to venture into the folds of time."
The creature hissed its approval and coiled its gigantic frame forming a bed whose height from the sea level was only fifty six feet more than the ridge.
"The last time I did it, I was normal." The anthropomorph sighed twirling his janau in his little finger."I am okay. Just feeling a bit weird, that's all pal."He responded while gently removing the warm hand of Lord Shankar from his shoulder. Nodding at Lord Brahma with a smile, he climbed on the bed. He laid down sideways on it, supporting his head with his left hand. Sheshnag immediately covered his beloved Prabhu with his enormous hood and proudly received the man-lion's grin in his direction. Lord Brahma took on from there. The progenitor of the Brahmans uncorked the vial and poured three drops of the liquid on the lotus bud. He then handed it over to Lord Narsimha and started chanting an incantation in the primordial Devabhashyam script - the predecessor of the modern day Sanskrit. The bud's stalk grew tiny slender roots at its bottom and attached itself to the Vishnu's navel. Feeding on Lord Narsimha's divine energy – the Daivik Oorja, the lotus started blooming slowly. It made its way towards the rhythmic chants of Lord Brahma. By the time it reached the man of quintessential merit, it had a thousand petals. Completing his chants, the Lord stepped on the floral pedestal and seated himself, clutching the kamandal. The lotus then curved upwards from the Vishnu's navel in a clean parabola. A wave of energy surged between the two beings through that lotus as if, a mother was communicating with her child through the umbilical cord.
This was the Mahadev's cue. He laid down the tiger skin mat on the ice slab just beside the magnificent creature, facing it. Seating himself on it, he folded his left leg and placed it on his right one. The toe of his right leg touched the cold layer of ice beneath. His hands were placed on the knee and ankle of his folded leg. His palms faced outwards. The first fingers of both the hands curled inwards with the thumb placed on their respective nails. His remaining fingers pointed downwards. He straightened his spine as a prompt to Lord Brahma, who acknowledged it by scooping a dew drop from the lotus and placing it in the kamandal. He channeled the surging energy between him and Lord Narayan in the kamandal. A foaming, bubbling yet surprisingly cold torrent of water started rising inch by inch the brazen container. When it almost reached the brim, Lord Brahma slightly tilted it aiming for the matted locks of the Mahadev. The roaring waters flowed at a tremendous velocity until it reached the raised inverted U-shaped portion of Lord Shankar's locks. A feeling of blissful serenity coursed through his entire being as soon as the waters wetted his locks, cascading beautifully like a tender creeper. The scar on his forehead shone with a dazzling gleam and a wave of mystic clairvoyant energy travelled towards the man-lion. It concentrated on his chest exactly at the place where his heart lied, catering an unfathomably soothing sense of conglomeration to the Vishnu.
The smiling Lord Narayan now closed his eyelids followed by Lord Brahma and Lord Pashupati. The trio was drifting into a stage of semi-consciousness known as Yoganidra, the yogic sleep. As if on a cue, their lips parted and their vocal chords strung together producing the holiest of all syllables in the Aryan lexicon: "AUM".
A halo was slowly forming around the individual heads of each of the three Yogis. Gradually outlining their entire body, the halos radiated outwards until all the three celestial auras intersected one another. This wonderful spectacle meant that they had successfully begun decoding the mysteries of past, present and future. In other words, the phenomenon of Trikaldarshan had been set in motion.
The Universe savored every moment of this extraordinary vista of divinity being etched in its canvas. How could the Devas be left out? Wholeheartedly taking part in that banquet, they sumptuously feasted their eyes.
"Tridev have begun Trikaldarshan, my liege." A charioteer observed from the high heavens.
"I know Matali; a firm edifice has been laid to my fortress. The Vanquisher of Indra your days are numbered." The rider stated while eerily looking down with anticipation at the Time's reel being unfurled.