4 The Devotemen
The inner rampart of mahalay(mansion) was around 20 hands high and 6 hands wide. Four soldiers could easily stand on it. Just opposite of the main gate of the inner rampart, there was a grand temple of God Ganapati. On that temple there was a belfry. There were two towers on both sides of the main gate, on which the most beautiful work of the stone-work was done. Each day, thousands of oil lamps were lit on each tower. From a long distance, the light of these lamps used to point the direction of Somanath Mahalay(mansion) to the coming ships. On the top of these lighthouses, there were two huge marble statues of angles. In front of the southern lighthouse, there was moon cistern (Chandra Kund), it was famous about that bathing in it, would cure all kind of deceases make all wishes come true. At the center of these lighthouses, there were large stairs leading to the assembly-hall. Through the assembly-hall, there was the gate of the adytum. The worldwide famous jyotirlinga (statue of lord Shiva) was in this adytum.
There was a dome over the adytum, on each pillar of this dome, the great sculptors from all over India had curved the sculptures full of feelings and expressions. These sculptures were so vivid that the living beings looking at the expressions and feelings of these silent sculptures, used to become enchanted. This dome was built of gold and studded with gems from the inside. In the bright rays of the sun, it used to blaze like a second sun. After entering the assembly-hall, two giant white elephants were made of stone on both sides. On which lord Indra (King of the heaven) was made curving the entire rhinestone crystal. The vividness of lord Indra was such that as if he had just come to worship Dev Somanath leaving Indrapuri (City where lord Indra lives). There were 48 pillars in the assembly-hall, and it was so vast that five thousand men could stand and see Jyotirlinga in it. In front of the adytum facing in the east, there was a giant statue of Nandi (A bull which serves as the mount of Shiva) made of silver. Just touching its tail, the devotees used to believe that they had crossed the samsara. Inside the adytum, Rudri (a holy scripture) was chanted day and night and in the adjoining assembly -hall, there was continuous dance from sunrise to midnight.
The sunrise had not happened yet, sitting on the skin of a tiger Sarvagya was getting the rituals done. Outside of the adytum in the assembly hall thousands of devotees were standing to see Dev Somanath (that was Jyotirlinga). After completion of the rituals, Sarvagya signaled to Ganga. Holding a hand of Chaula, Ganga went before Sarvagya. Chaula was full of apprehension, Gang Sarvagya put his hand on her head and said in his gentle voice, "Kalyani! (an addressing word used for women) Today is the great festival of Kartik Ekadashi. As per the rules of the dancing-hall of mahalay(mansion) who is skilled in the eighteen types of dance, the twelve types of acting and the seven types of musical science, can dance before Dev Somanath during arati(prayer). Baale! (another addressing word used for girls) That right, I give you today from Ganga. Today at this blessed moment, dedicate the flower of your body to Dev, dedicate your body and mind to Dev, dedicate your everything to Dev, So Dev Somanath be pleased with you. Today, your austerity of lives will be succeeded. Suppress your senses and minds. Maintain restraint diet, sleep and lust." After saying this Sarvagya put his hand on Chaula's forehead and Chaula unconsciously fell on the earth as if she had merge into the feet of Dev Somanath.
It was time for arati, the redness of the sunrise began to glow in the east. Thousands of earthen lamps were burning on the lighthouses. The rows of earthen lamps were sparkling on the rampart. People had gathered in the assembly-hall. The sound of the golden bell of 5000kg weight that was hanging with a chain in the middle of the porch, suddenly began to resound like a thunder. Along with it, due to the clamor of "Hail Somanath! Hail Jyotirlinga! Hail God of Gods!" from thousands of throats, directions began to tremble. The eager gaze of everyone was on the adytum, where in the gems studded golden candelabrums, agarwood and sandalwood oil lamps were burning. In the middle of the adytum, covered under the pile of flowers and bilva leaves eight hands high Jyotirlinga was visible. Over which there was a parasol made of emerald, and the water of the river Ganga was dripping drop by drop from the golden pitcher.
Drums began to sound. Pushing each other, the people moved forward. Lashing with whips of clothes, the carefree sadhus made the crowd to vacate the front of the entrance of the adytum. One of them blew shankh, sound of which resounded in all directions. After this the crowd became silent and everyone stared towards the stairs. First of all, Sarvagya came out in a quiet posture. His lips were shaking and chanting sound of mantra was coming out. The crowd remained stunned. This was the very person who was supposed to be the only representative of Dev Somanath; who was omniscient. Whose words were the words of Dev Somanath. All the kings of the India used to bow their head to who feet.
The crowd bowed with reverence. Thousands of throats enounced loudly," Hail Sarvagya! Hail Swaroop!".
Holding the hand of Chaula, Ganga followed Sarvagya. Seeing her comely figure, her youth and blushed lotus-like face, the crowd was mesmerized. All of sudden with joy, people began to shout," Hail Dev! Hail Dev! Hail Dev".
But then, one more figure came out of the adytum. Seeing him, A commotion broke into the crowd and the people began to shout with excitement and joy," Hail the prince! Hail the crown prince Bheem Dev!"
Looking around, putting a hand on the hilt of his sword crown prince Bheem Dev was coming while talking to his companion in low voice. First of all, raising his both hands Sarvagya gave the blessing to everyone. Everyone stood up silently before Dev Somanath. Sarvagya prostrate himself before the Jyotirlinga to pay the respect; then a disciple gave the candelabrum in his hand and he started to pray.
After the prayer, everyone enounced with Sarvagya," Hail Dev! Hail Somanath! Hail God of Gods!" and the sound of this acclamation riding on the northern wind began to resound in the atmosphere of Prabhas Patan city. The crowd once again bowed to Dev Somanath.
Having seated on the skin of tiger Sarvagya said in loud voice," start the dance now". Others guests also sat down on their seats. Every sat down accordingly. Drums and other musical instruments began to play. The waves of music began to flow in the air.
Ganga started to dance and along her six other devadasis also began to dance. Merely in a moment, the art of Ganga became vivid. The river of sweetness started flowing from her throat. And in this river, devotion and weal began to swim. Her gaze was at Sarvagya's face and the gaze of Sarvagya was at the earth. He was sitting still, devoid of any emotion. He had a deep understanding of the dance.
The dance stopped, and Sarvagya looked into the thirsty eyes of Ganga for a moment. Then he gazed at Chaula. He called in gentle tone," Chaula!"
Chaula's heart began beating rapidly. He looked at Sarvagya. Sarvagya showed Jyotirlinga by pointing a finger. Chaula stood up and bowed to Jyotirlinga and then to Sarvagya. And She stood up to dance. The surrounding became quiet. Thousands of eyes were on her, only Sarvagya was looking at the ground. Ganga removed chuniri from her head. When the eyes of crowd fell on her charming face, every one was spellbound and mesmerized.
Then a slap fell upon the mridangam and with a gentle kick of the tender foot the ankle-bells started to tinkle- chhan! One more slap fell upon the mridangam and the ankle-bells tinkled- chhan-chhan-chhan!
Then wearing ankle-bells, red lotus-like that feet started to jangle on the white marble floor of the assembly-hall. Tinkling of the ankle-bells started to stir up the tide in the hearts of the crowd. The dance was so beautiful that the people forgot about their surroundings. Many great artists were dump struck watching such pious Shaiv-Nraty. It was seemed as if a celestial beauty had descended in Mahalay.
Slowly she started to lose her conscious, she looked at Sarvagya and then at Jyotirlinga, she began to dance fast. The drummer started panting. Chaula's feet gained such motion as if she had become motionless. And then her motion began to slow down. Like a tender stem bent from the weight of its flower, she started bending. Music became slow, and Chaula unconsciously fell down on the floor before the crowd. Each blood drop in the vein of the people was dancing. The crowd remained sitting there silently without blinking their eyes. Staring at Ganga with tearful eyes, Sarvagya signaled her. Ganga embraced Chaula in her arms and took har away. Sarvagya stood up silently and went to his cave. In each heart There was only one imagination, only one figure was awakening and that figure was Chaula. As magnificent as Venus, as cold as white moonlight, as precious as a pearl and as inaccessible as moon.