The two rulers of Ponnivala lie dead after a great battle. Their sister reads the signs they left and knowing they have given up their lives. She burns the palace. She then sets off on a to find her brothers’ bodies. When she does she revives them briefly for a last conversation. Memorial pavillions are built. Then all three rise up to find a place beside Lord Shiva in his world above.
The Sister Reacts With Anger Upon Discovering That Her Brothers Are Dead
The sister knows that her brothers have died in the mountains. Her first act is to go to the “jail” where her sisters-in-law live and ask them to perform their husbands’ funeral ceremonies. The women, angry at their life spent locked in a humble home, refuse. The sister is angry, feeling that these women have refused to give her brothers the ceremonial respect they are due. She leaves and returns to her own palace. There, will still more anger, she asks her servants to take home anything they want. As soon as the great home is emptied she asks Lord Vishnu to send her a fireball. With that she burns the family palace to the ground. When little but ashes are left she stops the fire by asking for rain. Next she turns to her sisters-in-laws’ palace and burns that too. She cools the ashes of this second fire with more rain. Then she collects her sisters-in-laws’ bones and takes them to the river. There she performs a minimum funeral for these women by feeding a flock of crows cooked rice. Turning towards the hills where her brothers’ bodies lie, the devoted sister now begins a long pilgrimage to search for the spot where they died.
The Sister Becomes a Wanderer
Eventually, after wandering for days through the forest, the sister finds a clearing where a lovely ascetic maiden is performing penance. Vishnu has been watching and descends to help the sister at this moment. He asks the meditating maiden to climb down from her pillar momentarily, so that the heroic little sister can use it to obtain a gift from Lord Shiva. When that woman agrees and the sister climbs this huge post she asks for a special wand. Vishnu gets this from Shiva’s counsel chambers and the sister (later) uses it to revive her brothers. After obtaining the all-important wand, the ascetic maiden sends the sister to a nearby village to fetch a stack of tiered pots. But the sister has no money and the local potter refuses to be generous. Facing injustice once more, the sister calls on a great rain cloud. There is a sudden downpour and the potter’s unfired work disintegrates before his eyes. He apologizes and begs for forgiveness, exactly what the sister needs to return the many pots to their former state. Now the potter readily gives her what she needs. When the sister returns to the forest maiden with her tiered vessels the maiden fills them with the exact ritual substances she will need when she finds her brothers’ bodies. The forest maiden also lends her “gooselike” vehicle to the sister for a flight to her brothers’ place of death.
The Sister Finds Her Brothers’ Bodies And Briefly Revives Them From Death
The meditating maiden offers the distraught girl her own lovely vehicle, a golden bird. The young sister is then flown by this bird to the site of her brothers’ suicides. There she finds her little palace dog guarding the boar meat left over from the great kill. With this dog’s help she locates her brothers’ bodies. Then awakens them with the help of her golden wand and talks to them briefly. The two men reaffirm that their lives are now over and that they can not go back to their lands in Ponnivala. It is time for others there to take up the responsibilities of kingship.
The Heroes’ Three Spirits Are Returned To Lord Shiva And Blessings Are Showered Upon All
Lord Vishnu then takes their spirits back to heaven and the bodies are carried on magical biers to the town nearby. There they are paraded through the streets to receive their final respects. Then the bodies magically turn to stone and become shrines. The sister sets a lovely array of offerings before the two stone heroes. The Lord Shiva himself sends a chariot down from heaven and the sister is taken up to join him in his counsel chambers. The epic ends with a lovely blessing addressed to all who listen to the story. There are images of ploughing the land, of planting, of a lovely river that flows through the kingdom, of a spreading banyan tree, of well rooted grasses and finally, of birds singing in the bamboo.