the bird lady of manhat-atraz… (Indian legend)


Long ago, it is told, Manju Akuti captured the heart of a young man named Vallabh. She loved birds more than anything under the sun and lived in a garden surrounded by beauty. Manju lived up to her name meaning ‘snow’ – no one could melt her heart, and she had an icy demeanor towards all who showed the slightest interest in her.

Vallabh went and spoke to Manisha (Goddess of mind, intelligence, desire) and asked her how he might be seen in a different light by the enchanting Manju. Manisha thought deeply for a time, and then answered him saying, ‘you must turn yourself into a songbird and enter her garden upon a full moon’. And so with Manisha’s blessing, Vallabh became a nightingale and flew away. He waited until the next full moon and entered the garden of Manju and began to sing at night.

Manju heard his singing and sought to find the source of this song. In a tree close to her window – she spotted him and was quite taken by his song. She begged her father to have him captured for her, and this he ordered be done by the servants. And so Vallabh found himself in a cage but still he sang the most beautiful songs for Manju. And she came to love him more than any other living thing on this earth.

One day after many years had passed, she was talking to her brother Panduranga, and laughing about how she had won her bet with him that no man would ever take her heart. Then that night, Manisha appeared to her in a dream and told her how she was mistaken, and that Vallabh had indeed managed to melt all of her ice,and turn them into dewdrops. Manju was so troubled by this dream, she awoke immediately and remembered every detail. She walked over to the cage where the nightingale was singing and noticed dewdrops all over the cage. She looked out her window and a heavy fog blanketed the whole garden. Back to bed she went – pondering the meaning of her dream, and fell into a deep sleep.

The next day she awoke and decided to let her nightingale free. She opened the cage door and placed her hand inside, and the bird hopped onto her finger. Next the bird was raised to her eye level, and she said ‘I love you, now go, you are free from this cage. I love you enough to set you free’. And the bird sang one more beautiful song, and flew out the window. She watched as the bird flew, and then in mid-flight it dropped like a rock, straight down to the ground. No movement at all. She could see the bird on the ground in the garden, and ran downstairs and outside to take a closer look. When she got there to the spot, the bird was gone and there lay Vallabh. Manju cried to the heavens, ‘what is this Sorcery?’.

Just at that time, Manisha appeared and said, ‘He became a bird because he knew it was the only way to ever win your heart. Unknowingly, you gave him what he wanted more than his own life, and now he is truly free. And in so doing, he has changed your heart forever’.

And as for Vallabh, well he became a shining star in the heavens. According to the Indian legend, anyone who ever has an unrequited love that lasts till they die – shall become a bright star that burns eternally in the skies. And so it was… +The end+.

Akuti …. princess
Manisha …. Goddess of mind, intelligence, desire
Manju …. snow, dew drops, beautiful
Panduranga …. one with a pale white complexion
Vallabh …. dear, beloved

(Copyright 02-05-08)  Dormis Aeternitas©


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