HC12. IN THE CITY OF KASI

a poem by Rajaram Ramachandran, India - poetry writer, author, poet

HARICHANDRAN

Kasi was a well known city,
Noted for its culture and beauty.
The bees hummed in the fields.
Honey flowed from flowers.

Hearing the songs of parrots
The trees gave their fruits.
The plants in the gardens
In the air, shook their heads.

The faces, hands, legs, of girls
Resembled more like lotus,
Their mouths, like lilies,
With their blue-lily eyes.

Circling o’er them, the bees
Mistook them all for lotus,
They added more beauty
To this beautiful city.

For the dues outstanding,
Sukran was after the King.
How to settle the same?
And that too in short time?

The King told Sathyakeerthi
“In the market, sell me
And pay Sukran the dues.
Now, I’ve no other clues.”

The minister said like this:
“Sell me and pay the dues.
How can I sell my master?
You’re more like my mother.”

The King said, “I should suffer,
As that was the Sage’s desire.”
He appreciated the minister
And rejected his offer.

In Viswanath temple, they prayed.
Then in an inn, they stayed.
Chandramathi cooked food.
Sumptuous food everyone had.

Sukran was so vehement
He insisted on the payment.
Of dues, the same day
With no further delay.

He had nothing to pay
On the very same day,
And helpless he was
To settle the dues.

Chandramathi said then,
“Sell me with my son,
For a reasonable sum
And this day, pay him.”

He said, “Oh God,
How can I sell my kid
With his dear mother?
I’ll do this never.”

“For a king, duty is first,
And his love comes next.
It’s the fate that rules us.”
She consoled him like this.

Tears rolled in his eyes,
When for a fair price,
He tried to sell them,
Cursing his bad time.

As none could afford,
No one came forward
To buy mother and kid,
For such a heavy bid.

Though the price was high,
A Brahmin came to buy.
He paid the fixed sum
To his house took them.

Before leaving she cried,
Devadasan cried aloud.
Harichandran swooned
When they both departed.

To pacify, the minister tried,
But still the king cried,
Sukran got the full amount,
But demanded his payment.

After a long persuasion
Minister took Harichandran
To the market place near
And waited for a buyer.

One Veeravagu by name,
To buy him, he came.
He wanted a servant
In his own burning ghat.

Minister sold Harichandran
For ten thousand gold coins.
Veeravagu posted him to the ghat
Where dead bodies were burnt.

Sukran got his payment.
To meet the sage he went.
The King turned servant
To the burning ghat went.

His wage was, mouthful-rice
That came with dead bodies
For him to cook and eat
After burning the bodies out.

The cloth covering the dead
With a quarter piece of gold
Was taken by his master,
As the burning ghat owner.
.
A great king of the past
Later became a servant.
What was its root cause?
It was the Sage’s curse.

What a pathetic scene
To see this king, the one
Reduced to a menial state?
Was it due to his “Fate”?


HC11. LEFT THE CITY AYODHYA (PART II)
KING HARICHANDRA
HC13. SERVANT IN THE GRAVEYARD

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