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Long, long ago, in the country of the Gandas in a city named
Pundravardanam, a young tailor and a carpenter, dressed in their best
clothes, wandered through the crowd, celebrating a great festival.
They walked beside the Palace, marvelling at the majestic spires gleaming in the
warm fragrant Sunlight.
The tailor looked up and there he beheld a wondrous girl dressed in
ravishing white silks. Her matchless beauty transfixed his heart. His friend
tugged at his sleeve, "Come away, my friend, you cannot hope to win the
But as the days passed it became apparent to Hariswami that the tailor had
become so distraught for love he could not continue to live. He came upon
Ajay sitting outside his house on the river bank in silent gloom. "My friend, it
pains me much to see you in this sorrowful state."
Ajay said, "I cannot help it. I must go to her. I must win her. Help me,
Hariswami; you were always the bright one. Conceive a plan that I may win
her - for I desire naught but her... Ahhh! She is as lovely as a thousand
stars, with a form so gracious -"
"Be silent, Ajay! I am trying to think..."
Three weeks later, Ajay received a messenger. A little boy in rags had come
upon him. Ajay was so much in trance he did not hear him. So the boy took
hold of Ajay's hair and pulled him off his seat.
From the dust, the tailor said angrily, "What do you want, you scragamuffin!"
The boy retreated some distance and said, "Your friend the carpenter wants you
to go to him - straightaway!"
A few minutes later, Hariswami welcomed him into the house. "Come into my
work-building - I have a surprise for you."
Ajay followed him and then stopped in amazement at the door.
In the middle of the building, on the floor, was a large bird, made of wood
and painted in glowing gold, silver and white.
"What is it?"
"It's a wonderful aerial car whereby you can fly to the Rajkumari. It will impress her into loving
you - I am sure of it. It is painted like Lord Vishnu's flying chariot - the great
bird from Heaven: Garuda!" Hariswami said.
"But you know it is forbidden for any citizen to make a vimana without Royal
Permission. Are you forgetting the old days? Skies filled with battling flying
But Hariswami calmed him, "Who will know? It does not look like the old
machines. It is disguised... looking from the ground would you say it looks
round and silver? Also remember it will be dark - and... the Princess is the loveliest
girl in the land..."
The Rajkumari slept alone on her balcony under the warm sparkling night
sky. As was her custom, she gazed into the heavens, sighing at the Moon.
And then, she watched with growing disbelief as a shining huge bird came
out of the sky and rested beside her. From out of it stepped a beautiful youth
dressed in fine attire, surrounded by clouds of fresh incense.
The Princess knelt at his feet.
"I am Vishnu the God!"
The maiden did not dare look up. In unaccustomed timidity, she asked,
"What does the King of Heaven and the Lord of the Sun want with me?"
"You were my wife in former incarnations," and he knelt in front of her bowed
figure. "I have come for you, mere Saajni, my dear one." And he embraced
And they stood beside each other and looked upwards. "At this moment," he
said, "we are being wed under the stars. The devas of the air and the water
are singing. See how the stars wink and glow at our reunion!"
And then nightly he visited the Rajkumari and as each Sunrise illumined
their lovemaking, he said a fond farewell and ascended to the heavens.
"Doesn't our dear princess look so bright and happy nowadays," said the
Queen to her husband at their morning meal. "I do believe she has
consented to marry King Vikramasena."
"What! That tyrant, the barbaric -"
"But, my Lord, it is surely a match in everyone's best interests? I hear the
King Vikramasena has threatened to invade if we do not approve of the
"Hmm... I do not approve of his style of courtship. What does the Princess
The Princess said, "I do not want to marry anyone - for I am already united."
And she smiled, her thoughts far away...
The King and Queen looked at each other thoughtfully.
That night the King concealed himself to watch his daughter. And in the
morning, he said, "Your lover must die!"
"You cannot kill my husband. He is more powerful than any upon the Earth."
"Every man bleeds when he is cut by my mighty sword!"
"Yes, but you cannot harm a God!"
"He comes to me every night from Sani - the Sun!"
"Aah... she is mad!" cried the Queen and fainted.
But the King and Queen were delighted at Vishnu making love to their daughter.
At Court, the King pronounced: "With Vishnu as my Son-in-law I will conquer
the Three Worlds." And he refused to pay further tribute to King
Vikramasena, after he had led his armies into the Gandas and surrounded
the city walls, declared war and delivered an ultimatum.
"Your Majesty, a soldier comes under a flag of truce!"
"We will receive him," said the King, who had refused to recruit an army,
informing the people, "with Blessed Vishnu on our side who needs soldiers?"
"The Great King, His Mightiness, the Vikramasena, Lord of the North, Brave
Warrior of -"
"You can cut all that out," said the King. "What's the message?"
"...In his great Mercy, my Mighty King will give you one final chance. Send to him your
Gracious Daughter, the lovely princess, heir of -"
"Are you a soldier or a poet? I've heard enough! We hereby challenge your
Vikramasena to hand-to-hand combat with my Son-in-law. At dawn
tomorrow. Outside the North Gates."
The Princess was prevailed upon to ask the God to honour the challenge.
And as Vishnu stepped onto his flying machine, he answered, "I... er... yes..."
And the gold and silver bird flew off so quickly that the Princess's hair flew
back in the wind.
Hariswami watched the craft land some minutes later and helped Ajay to
push the machine into his work-building.
"It is time to stop. Have you not had enough?"
"No," Ajay said. "Never! The princess is mine for always even as in past
incarnations. Life without my Rajkumari will be death."
"Perhaps the Warrior King will imagine you to be the real Vishnu and flee,"
said Hariswami half-heartedly, for he knew Vikramasena was a Master of
the black arts and had boasted his strength equal to that of any Son of
"I will have to fight. I promised her. And I have never broken a promise to her.
Lied to her - yes, but never broken a promise..."
From above, the real Vishnu had watched the tailor's impersonation and He
decided to take an active part in the forthcoming fray. So that dawn when
Ajay, with heavy heart, left his Rajkumari to go to battle, Vishnu Himself
entered his body in a flash of golden light.
As the Sun rose it illuminated the city and the surrounding Indian forests.
Thousands of invaders lined up to watch. The city walls took the weight of
Nobles, including the Princess, watched from flying craft hovering above. She watched
the familiar flashing gold and silver bird-chariot descend to the ground.
Out stepped Vishnu.
Vikramasena formed himself into a bat and hid in the crevice of a large rock.
Vishnu levitated into the air and became a silver-white sphere and moved in
circles around the area - very quickly.
Vikramasena resumed his form and took up his ray projector and fired one-two-three black beams of power.
In a flash, Vishnu adopted humanoid form, threw himself away from the black
beams. He fell onto the ground as if wounded.
Vikramasena levitated and flew towards the body.
Vishnu suddenly shot into the air and formulated from his right hand a white
disc of light. The discus spun around in a wide arc, approached his
adversary from behind, cut Vikramasena in half and returned to Vishnu's
The invaders fled in confusion as the two halves of Vikramasena's body
disintegrated into dust.
Vishnu flew down to the ground and with lightning speed left Ajay's body;
and, invisible to the crowd, sped through the clouds to another world that
required His help and attention.
Ajay breathed a silent prayer of gratitude to Vishnu and was covered in
clouds of red, white and blue flowers. Cheers rang out, drums, trumpets and
conches sounded throughout the land. And the Rajkumari embraced him in
And so Ajay the tailor claimed the vast wealth of the defeated enemy and
married his Rajkumari and, I do believe, lived happily and peacefully ever
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