Bandhan Mukta

Note: this is a retelling of a Marathi folktale.

 

In a village, there lived a Sahukar. He was slightly more knowledgeable than a fool but bragged as if he had a lot of knowledge. Unable to bear with this attitude, even his wife had left him. He lived alone in his big house.

The Sahukar had a Parrot as his pet. It was just an ordinary Parrot but the Sahukar wanted to present it as a special one. He would often pester the Parrot to behave against its will; forcibly make it speak, eat things that it did not like at all. He spoke to the Parrot every evening. He narrated all that happened to him that day and how he fooled people with his falsity.

Slowly, the Parrot learned to speak. It learned to think, understand and judge. As time passed the Parrot’s thoughts evolved. It started to meditate and tried to find answers for its existence.

While all this was happening, one day, a renowned saint visited the village. There was a gathering announced on his arrival and the Sahukar was eager to be a part of it. He told the Parrot about the saint and his achievements. The Parrot was more than convinced that the saint could give him the answer to a question he had in his mind for long.

“Will you ask the saint a question for me?” the Parrot requested the Sahukar.

“Ah! what question can you have? anyway, tell me, I shall ask” He answered.

The Parrot composed himself and spoke

“Ask him, ‘how can one become Bandhan Mukta?'”

Listening to the question, the Sahukar felt that this was a complicated question and putting it to the saint would enlarge his image amongst the village folk. He accepted the Parrot’s request.

By evening, the saint had completed his sermon and opened the stage for questions. It was then, the Sahukar stood up with pride and asked thus,

“Sir, I want to know…How can one become Bhandhan Mukta?”

The question appeared to be complicated to everyone present there. But, the saint was sure that the question had its origin in a matured mind, and that the Sahukar was only asking it.

As a response to the question, the Saint stood up and began spinning his head in a frantic manner. After a vigorous bout of shiver, the saint fell unconscious on the ground.

The people present at the gathering thought that the saint was having a maniac attack, everyone rushed to help the saint. As for the Sahukar, he was scared to death. He doubted if the question the Parrot had sent to ask was actually a dark magical spell? he could not understand anything. at the right moment, the Sahukar ran away from the venue and reached home, panting.

“Oh! you are back? Did you put him the question? What did the saint answer?” the Parrot asked anxiously.

“Shut up! you bloody bird. you made me utter a dark spell…” the Sahukar shouted.

“Ah! Just tell me what happened?” said the Parrot, pensively.

Listening to the Sahukar’s narration of what befell after he put the question, the Parrot closed its eyes for a moment. Slowly it started spinning its head, much like what the saint did. In a little while, the Parrot too suffered a shiver and fell unconscious. Seeing this, the Sahukar was shocked. He quickly opened the Cage and tried to check if the bird was dead. At once, the Parrot sprang back to life and flew away into the blue sky.

None in the gathering and nor the Sahukar could understand that the answer was specific to the question, and only the one who had asked it could understand the essence!

Thus the Parrot became Bhandhan Mukta.

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