- Aug 19, 2004
Part 1 - The Fall of the City of Victory
Lord Shiva the destroyer.
Lord Shiva the destroyer.
26th January 1565
Oh Lord Vishnu, preserve me.
That was the first thought that entered Devesh Chandra's mind as he set eyes for the first time on the combined armies of the northern Sultanates, who stood in unison against Vijayanagar, poor, solitary, lonesome and hated. He could not tell how many there were, but the columns seemed to stretch out into infinity, and in the plumes of dust left in their wake he imagined he could see the grinning, cruel faces of the asuras, mocking and taunting the army of the City of Victory, at the head of which was Rama Raja, the ruler of the empire.
For a few seconds everything went still, and Devesh heard the delightful, peaceful sound of the gently lapping waters of the River Krishna before being almost defeaned by the sound of artillery fire, from the other side of the river. He watched in horror as the cannons smashed into the front line of the infantry, killing at least a third there and then, and as the terrified war elephants trampled, smashed and blundered around, crushing many of the Vijayanagarans underfoot. It was a truly awful sight.
The army of Vijayanagar had little reply, and the Sultans continued their pummeling for a further ten minutes, softening up the enemy to attempt a charge across the river. All around Devesh men fell as the screaming Mohemmadans came smashing into the weakened Hindu infantry from all sides, and Devesh was able to duck just in time as a Mohammedan charged at him with bloodshot eyes. Devesh wildly stabbed his sword, cutting the man down with a slash across his side.
More and more enemy troops came at him, and it was all he could do to stay alive. He fought bravely, standing his ground and resisting the urge to run for his life, but that changed when, chancing a glance across the battlefield, he saw that Vijayanagar was all but defeated, that the Muslim and those treacherous Hindus who had allied with them had triumphed, so quickly and so easily. The Raja Rama had been slain, and in the corner of his eye Devesh saw that he had been beheaded, held aloft in triumph by one of the commanders of the Sultanates.
Uttering a prayer to Shiva Devesh ran from the battlefield, at every moment expecting a sword or an arrow in his side, but it never came. He fled into the shaded forest, thinking the he was the only survivor of the battle, that he must get back to Vijayanagar to warn the people of the armies of the Sultans that would undoubtedly be coming to sack the City of Victory and destroy her empire. He hoped with desperation that he could see his family again, just once, before they were raped and murdered by the brutes of the north.
His hopes were in vain. The forest was a vast maze, and in the tangle of the undergrowth he could not help but get lost. The air was thick and humid, and the sun blazed with unfettered ferocity in the clear blue sky. Even in the shade the heat was overwhelming, and Devesh began to feel more dizzy and sick as he walked. Soon he could take no more, and he crumpled to the ground, overcome with fatigue and the heat.
...his eyes flicked open, and although he was surprised by what he saw he could do nothing but smile dreamily. He sat up, gazing upon the figure that was looking at him with benevolent interest. His skin was dark, so dark that it could have been mistaken for black, and in his hand was a flute. Beside him was a cow, docile and calm, garbed like a king in lavish jewelry and cloths. The air was much cooler than before, and the sky was darkening, and looking around he was in a place he did not recognise, but which somehow seemed familiar. He rubbed his eyes, and spoke to the figure.
"Where am I? Who are you?"
"You should know that, you should recognise me," was the response, in a laughing, chiding voice. Devesh stood up unsteadily, and bowed his head in shame.
"Forgive me, stranger, but I do not. My mind is in pieces, for the armies of my country have just been destroyed, and I am tired and scared."
"I know, I watched with half an eye as I was fighting a battle of my own alongside my brethren, who also were humiliated in defeat."
"What battle was this?"
"You ask, but I can tell you know the answer to your question, even though you may not know you do, for you caught a glimpse of the fight in your mind. But to answer your question, I have many names, among them Govinda and Gopala."
Devesh widened his eyes in amazement. "Lord Krishna!"