Today is a cold day in the Himalayas but for someone who hasn’t eaten in a month I am pretty jovial, because today I was granted the boon I had desired. I am Guptasura which literally means an Asura who can hide himself well. In fact, unless I want you to, you will never be able to see me.
I come from the Asura tribe. We are humanoid creatures with animal traits like immense stamina and unbreakable willpower. We are constantly at war with the Devas (minor gods). We strive to win their kingdom and rule the world but are plans are foiled almost always by the Trimurthi. Before plunging into my story, I’ve got to tell you about the Trimurthi. Since the beginning of time (consult Stephen Hawking here), the world’s balance is maintained by three powerful gods – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, each having their own responsibilities to stick to. The three of them together are called the Trimurthi.
Brahma, the creator is the one who decides all our fates, but this is something I have always had a doubt about. If he is the one who decides what we do, then isn’t he to blame for most of our twisted lives filled with greed, lust, and destruction? And if he isn’t to blame and we ourselves are responsible wouldn’t that mean we are the ones with real powers and he is there for nothing? Well, these are just my thoughts on him and maybe they don’t count for anything.
Moving on, let’s talk about Vishnu, the preserver. I hate him. In fact, our whole clan does. He is a big cheat. Whenever any Asura prays hard, does all kinds of sacrifices and finally gets granted a boon from one of the gods, this Vishnu tricks them into using the boon to kill themselves. For instance, Bhasmasura (a fellow Asura) got a boon which allowed him to burn people and turn them to ash by simply touching their head but Vishnu, the meddler that he was transformed himself into a girl and seduced the poor Asura and finally made him touch his own head leading to the poor guy’s death. Then again there was Hiranyakashyap whose boon gave him invincibility and immortality (at least almost). He couldn’t be killed by a human or an animal, He also couldn’t be killed inside his house or outside of it and he couldn’t be killed on the ground or in the air. But Vishnu found a way through. He transformed into a half man and half lion thing called Narasimha and killed the guy on the first floor door threshold thus finding a loophole for all the conditions successfully. There are many more, but it you get the gist he tricks kills you.
Now, the greatest of all is Shiva, the destroyer. In spite of his intimidating name he is the most loved as he loves his devotees the most and grants any boon without hesitation. Now that you know a little about my world let’s dive into my story.
It all started when my friends and I were told by our parents to go and snack up on tasty humans in the villages nearby as kids. Don’t judge me! In fact, thank me for keeping a check on their population which grows uncontrollably, thanks to their reproduction rate. Anyway, there we were like good Asuras listening to our parents and eating some humans when one my friends Jatasura said “Have you heard about Mahishi, the one who got a boon which let her get killed only by a son of Vishnu and Shiva?”
“No. What happened? Last I saw her she was conquering many deva kingdoms and winning everywhere she went” I said.
“Yeah, well she was killed yesterday” he replied.
“What! how is that even possible?” I replied, dumbfounded.
“Apparently Vishnu turned into a woman and had a son with Shiva called Manikandan and he killed her” he said.
I was totally shocked. I admired her to have asked for the perfect boon. Then, suddenly out of nowhere came the voice “The boon giving system is rigged. First, they make you do all kinds of penances during which you can even die. When they finally notice and come to see you there are ridiculous rules which prevent you from directly asking for immortality. So finding the perfect boon without any flaws is absolutely impossible and they take advantage of this, exploit our flaws and kill us.”
It was Mara holding a half-eaten human body in his hand. He always had these weird thoughts about everything and yet they seemed to have some meaning in them. But still there has got to be a way to become invincible. While I was thinking that Jatasura came over to me and started taunting me.
“Hey, you got any ideas as to ask for the perfect boon? Want to bet on that? If you are able to ask for the perfect boon I will serve you my whole life but incidentally if you can’t, then, well that would mean you die, wouldn’t it? So, how about betting on that?”
This taunt got me thinking. Anyhow I was the son of the commander of armies in the northern region and I have to inherit that position someday so why not accept this challenge and figure out a perfect boon. I would also be getting a loyal servant in the process.
“Ok Jatasura. I accept your challenge and Mara here can be the witness. How about that?” I said.
Seeing me so nonchalant and confident about it shocked him but we Asuras never back down from anything we say even if it costs us our life, so he complied. And that’s how it all started.
That day I went home to find my father sitting with my mother drinking some freshly poured blood and chatting with her on the current events. I walked to them and timidly said “Mother, father I want to talk with you. I want to go out into the Himalayas and do deep penance till the great Shiva comes and grant me a boon”. At least they didn’t act like human parents and force me to take up engineering. But I surely do remember my dad every time I sit on a chair uncomfortably.