|Uluka, the owl and Hamsa,
the swan met only on very rare occasions. This was because Uluka was a nocturnal bird, who
kept awake all night, while Hamsa enjoyed his beauty sleep. But tonight it was different.
Hamsa decided to fly throughout the night in order to reach Brahmaloka where his
mistress, Goddess Saraswati was waiting for him. Uluka was surprised to see Hamsa flying
around so late at night.
Uluka: Whoot tu whoo whoo. Hi friend! By now, you should have been fast asleep with your red beak tucked into your tummy. What happened?
Hamsa: But you never sleep at night they say. Why not?
Uluka and Hamsa
|Uluka: How can I
sleep at night when thieves prowl around and bad deeds are done in the dark? I watch out
for that kind of thing and report to my mistress, Goddess Lakshmi.
Hamsa: You sure look scary with your huge round eyes and your deep hooting tone! Let us fly together. I have to reach Brahmaloka and I can keep awake if we keep chatting.
Uluka: Oh, I will sing for you. The best way to keep awake is to listen to good music. Have you heard this Gitam? It is very ancient but the beginners simply love it! (Hums to himself... Vara Vina).
Hamsa: Oh great! Vara Vina, the exquisite Vina that my Devi holds so gently in her arms strumming it with such soft hands (mrudu paani). Just keep singing Uluka, or else I feel like tucking my beak in and sleeping.
|Uluka: Of course! Vina means
lute and everyone knows that, but it has another meaning too. My mistress Lakshmi is quick
and brilliant like a superb flash of lightning. You did not know that Vina means
lightning, did you?. When in doubt ask an owl, we are the wise ones! Now listen. Vanaruha
Hamsa: Your voice has too much of u-kara sound. You should really take some voice training lessons. My Queen, Saraswati, is the authority on music. I shall ask her to help you.
Uluka: The song is about my Goddess, Lakshmi. She is the Queen (Rani) of Lord Vishnu, with eyes like the petals of a lotus (vanaruha lochana).
Hamsa: Keep singing, or else I will be so sleepy you will have to carry me home!
|Uluka: Oh, no! You
cant fall asleep! How can I carry you? You are too heavy and big! (Hums suruchira
Hamsa: Suruchira means fragrant and I think it is because of the jasmine flowers in her hair. There, I said it before you!
Uluka: Ok, what is pambara veni? You dont know that Mr. Know-all-Hamsa!
Hamsa: Veni is the lovely braided hair of the ladies, but pambara... hmm...
Uluka: Think hard. Pambara ....bzz... bzz... bzz... bzz... What is the colour of a bumble bee?
Hamsa: Oh, yes! It means braid that is black and glossy like the bumble bee. What next?
Uluka: Suranuta kalyani.. That is not so hard. One who is worshipped (nuta) by Sura, the Devas.
Hamsa: Kalyani means, the lady who is ever-auspicious, making good things happen.
Uluka: Nirupama - one who is incomparable, Subha guna (good qualities) lola.
Why Lola? It means playing. She plays and revels in good qualities. I think that
is what it means.
|Uluka: (Sings loudly) Varadaa
priya.. Oh, she loves, just loves, giving gifts. Ranganayaki, She is the
consort of Lord Vishnu.
Hamsa: Oh, come on. You have blinkers on your eyes. Owl eyes. And dont sing so loudly! You sound as if you are shrieking when your voice goes up. Try to make your voice thin and pointed when you sing the high notes. Oh, blinkered bird, Ranga means stage or seminar and Nayaki is the Presiding Deity or chairperson of the Sabha or the stage!
Uluka: Vaanchita phala dayaki. Huh, these humans want favours all the time! She is so full of Daya (kindness), that she gives them all that they want.
Brahma seated on a lotus and emerging from Vishnu's navel
|Hamsa: My friend, I cant
keep up with your pace. Are we almost there?
Uluka: Oh almost there. Sarasijasana janani... This is easy. Sarasijasana is Lord
Brahma. You know he is the Lord who uses the lotus (sarasija) as his seat (asana).
Now Brahmas mother is.... Guess who?
Hamsa: Well, Brahma is seated on the lotus and this lotus emerged from Vishnu. That makes Vishnu the father of Brahma. And so Goddess Lakshmi is the mother of Brahma.
Uluka: Well done! You are a smart bird if you worked that one all by yourself!
|Hamsa: Well, I can
tell you some more. My mistress Saraswati sits on a lotus (Sarasijasana). She is the
universal Janani (Mother). That is a better explanation, I think.
Uluka: Ok, dont grumble! The last line just says Jaya Jaya Jaya.
Hamsa: Why repeat so many times?
Uluka: Jaya is the name of my mistress Lakshmi; success in getting wealth, beauty, fame; success in .
Hamsa: Wait, wait! Jaya is the name of my Goddess Saraswati too. Success in music, and other fine arts like dancing, creative writing, science, sports...
Uluka: Enough, enough, we have arrived. Now you can go home to Brahmaloka.
Hamsa: Bye then. Come sometime for voice training to my country!
Omnipotent Omnipresent and Omniscient - The one and only Sakti.
|After 5 minutes a puzzled Uluka and
a bewildered Hamsa look at each other.
Uluka: Not you again!
Dr. Lalita Ramakrishna
|Other stories for kids: Mushika's long trip
Haughty Narada learns a lesson