The deadly Halahala, the all-devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction.
But was the Halahala truly destroyed?
A small portion still remains-a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possesses it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for supremacy, will stop at nothing to claim it.
As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to possess the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes-and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos!
A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger greed deceit, The Guardians of the Halabala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.
The flame appeared in the sometime during the fifth night of the Churning, while the devas and the asuras slumbered heavily on shores of the While Lake.
It wasn’t discovered until daybreak though, when a couple of devas emerged from their grand pavilion to view the bewildering sight in the western sky. Soon, the lake’s northern shore thronging with devas, their din rousing the asuras on the southern shore. The asuras, too, came out of their tents, shaking their heads, perplexed by the jagged, teardrop-shaped flame hanging overhead.
Wonder slowly changed to unease on both sides of the large lake, as the rising sun crested the young peaks of the Himalayas. For instead of being diminished by the sun, the brightness of the flame increased in ferocity; a glare in the sky like a sultry, malevolent eye.
Recognizing it for an omen, the asuras and devas exchanged emissaries it for an omen, the asuras and devas exchanged emissaries, each side trying to gauge what the other made of the phenomenon. Being the more timid of the two, the devas proposed calling a halt to the Churning, and waiting for the omen to wear itself out. But the asuras, spurred by their greed to find the magical Elixir hidden in the depths of the White Lake, goaded the devas to abandon caution and return to the of churning the lake.
The devas, who greatly outnumbered by the asuras, saw that latterwerefullPrepared to take on the Churning all by themselves. They also realized that should this happen, the asuras would stake full claim to the Elixir, with its promise of eternal youth. Unwilling to forgo their share of the Elixir, the devas were left with no choice but to accept the asuras’ proposal.
Thus, the two rival clans of demigods, born of a common father but torn apart by the lust for power, set about the chore of churning the White Lake for the sixth consecutive day.All day they toiled, as the flame glowered over their heads. They heaved and pulled, but the water yielded nothing. Fatigue grew on them, dull and cankerous-still they persevered, bauling on hope with bruised and blistered hands.
Then, a little before sundown, a black boulder emerged from the bottom of the muddy, turbulent lake. It bobbed in the water, heavy yet light, the eddying currents splashing against it, washing it slowly toward the far shore. The Churning was brought to a balt. The asuras and devas hastened to take a closer look at the rock. It was large and made of obsidian, and required half a dozen devas and asuras to drag it ashore. Once the stone was a safe distance from the water’s edge, the rival kinsmen crowded around, gaping at it in gluttonous fascination.
They knew their quest for the Elixir was finally over! What they saw, deep in the core of the volcanic glass, was an iridescent blue light, emanating from a softly swirling mass buried inside the stone. The swirl was flecked with a thousand gold and silver particles that burned like scintillas upon catching the rays of the setting sun. The blue light radiated at regular intervals, flashing seductively through the rock’s polished black surface like a beacon in the night.
The fat flame above burned blood red and spread across the sky an impure stain, but the devas and asuras were too entranced to notice the change. They summoned a council, and after some deliberation, determined that the rock should be cracked open and the Elixir be distributed among them right away. As the impatient devas and asuras jostled one another to line up, one of the devas struck the rock with his beauy mace. On the third blow, a slender crak appeared on the stone’s surface, and at once, a faint tendril iridescent blue vapor escaped into the open. The gathered demigods raised shouts of exultation...But almost immediately, cheer turned to dismay, and dismay to horror. Gripped by morbid waves of fear, they watched the unfortunate deva drop his mach and claw at his throat. His face started to convulse violently, a half-scream gurgling in the folds of his larynx. His eyes began bulging out of the sockets, the skin peeling off his contorted face. He slumped to the ground in agony as his steaming flesh melted off his bones, his entrails spilt out of his stomach and his body dissolved into a bloodied, messy pulp that settled into the sandy soil with a rasping dying moan. As more blue mist emerged from the boulder, a sulfuric stench filled the air, overpowering the smoldering reek of the deva’s corpse. Within moments, the devas and asuras closest to the boulder started to choke and fall. The toxic fumes enveloped the trees nearby, making birds tumble off their perches, their feather catching fire before they hit the ground. Plants and shrubs shriveled to a burned crisp and the White Lake’s surface boiled and frothed eerily at the shores. Tremors rose from deep underground, and sizzling fissures appeared on the earth’s surface. Up in the sky, the red, oppressive flame engulfed the sun, changing color to a vile, iridescent blue. Panic-stricken, the devas and asuras took flight, seeking refuge in the forests by the lake. But borne by the breeze, the noxious vapor followed them, claiming asura and deva without discrimination and wreaking bavoc on nature.
|Index of Major Characters||xiii|
Item Code: NAL584 Author: Shatrujeet Nath Cover: Paperback Edition: 2015 Publisher: Jaico Publishing House ISBN: 9788184956382 Language: English Size: 7.5 inch x 5.0 inch Pages: 442 (2 B/W Illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 335 gms
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