Peacock, peacock, pretty peacock
may the tunes become words
and words, a song. May the ray of light
move in the song showing the world beyond.

Shivadevanayaka, the lord of Shivapura
had a wife. Maadevi was her name.
She was slender like a creeper
and her virtues blossomed like flowers.
Lord Shiva was pleased
with the love the couple shared.

The season of rains came.
But Shivapura had not a drop to drink.
“If it rains I’ll walk to Savalagi Mutt
with my hands folded, and dressed in wet clothes,”
said Maadevi and started to the pond
in the distant desolate land
to fetch sweet water to drink.

As the maiden entered the woods
she heard a voice gentle and sweet.
From where is this voice
when there is no noise?
Honne trees stand quietly
holding their heads high
and the colourful birds are silent.
Oh! Look, look, the peacock!

Ah, then the happy peacock
all its secrets uncovered.
His crown pierced the sky-world,
a thousand eyed happiness
was everywhere spread.

 

Life came to the astonished eyes of Maadevi
and all her numbed emotions overflowed,
a jasmine-smile came to her lips.

Her lotus feet dancing
she came straight to the palace
thinking of her waiting husband.

“O Maadevi, why are you late today?
Why is the pitcher empty?”
“I saw the peacock, my lord,
a feast to the eyes. The pond
has grown old in daydreams
and has not a sip of water,”
*
“Oh my dear, the most virtuous,
why are you late today?
Why have you brought the pitcher empty?”
“I was happy, my lord,
looking at the happiness of the peacock,
With stealthy steps he encircled me.
Entranced, I could not find the source of water.”
*
“You are blissful as if blessed.
Why have you come back empty handed?
You are soaking wet. What’s the reason?”
“Nothing to hide, my lord.
The peacock came even today.
The peacock fair and alluring
like the blue treasure come to life.”
*
“O peacock, you exalt me with happiness new and fresh.
Shivapura has no rains.
I’m having my periods and I can’t wash.
Lord Shiva has no mercy.
Peacock, shining like the sun,
please do something,
at least you should bring the rain.”

Listening to her deep desires
the peacock smiled.
His crowning crest stood erect
like the berserk plaits of Shivadevaraya.
His pride boiled and overflowed, feathered
and spread a thousand eyes all over his body.

The dance of the peacock
was like the swaying of the forest.
His screech slit the horizon.
The pitchers of the nymphs overflowed.
Elephant-clouds, terrified,
poured water from their trunks.

Even as the peacock danced
rains came down
like a web nit by the stars.
The vitality of the sun poured down
like the beat of the monsoon.
In the very interior of the space
the doors of Alakavathi opened
and the life-water overflowed.

The borders collapsed
by the force of the rain,
containers were broken to pieces.
“I now go to fulfill my vow, my lord,
I go to the mutt in wet dress.”
Maadevi the chaste maiden went away.
And darkness descended
on the eyes of her husband.
*
What is this water everywhere?
This is the bath-water of the chaste woman.
That water spread everywhere
and made fresh green appear
where there were none.

Emotions clouded the mind of the wife
as she turned homewards in her drenched clothes.
The moon had set and the stars were dead.
Dead embers rained on her.

Shivadevanayaka called his wife
and said, “take off these dripping clothes.
Put on this new sari, woven by my order.”

Chandrakali sari woven
with the feathers of the peacock
the hem of the sari lined
with the eyes of the peacock
the design of the sari made
with the crest of the peacock
the colour of the sari sprinkled
with the colour of blood of the peacock.

The wife was wordless.
Bending like a sickle
she looked at her husband.
Wrenched the sari,
threw it on the ground
and walked away to the woods
disappearing in darkness.

Peacock, peacock, pretty peacock
may the tunes become words
and words, a song. May the ray of light
move in the song showing the world beyond.