The Book of Vanci canto 26 Summary
[C] Canto 26 – Removing the Stone:
The councillors, including the priests, ministers and astrologers, came to the King and blessed him. They asked the king regarding his intention to go to the north. The king spoke in the public that they could no longer ignore the talks of northern kings as have been reported by the sages of the Himalayas, who had travelled to their country. For ignoring any more would mean humiliation for kings, such as himself. He added that if his sword is not able to make the kings of north carry the stone on which the image of the Goddess is to be carved, and if he himself is not able to win the rebellious kings, then may his scepter become the tool of destruction of the people of his land.
The king ordered his sword and his royal parasol to be moved in the direction of the north. The entire atmosphere was supportive and the serpent Adisesa, who supported the entire earth, bent down his head. Everyone, the councillors, the army, the priests, the tax-collectors and so on, spoke in a loud voice “May the ruler of the entire world live for ever!”
“The sepent, Adisesa who supports the earth Bent down his head. Jewelled lamps trimmed
The darkness of night…..”
The king went on to address his army who seemed much excited at the very idea of a possible war. Cenkuttuvan placed the sandals of the Lord Siva on his head and bowed his head at the holy shrine, the head which never bowed to anyone. After that he climbed his elephant, as the Brahmanas appeared to him with offerings from Vishnu. They blessed him to be victorious. The king accepted the offerings, and since he had placed the sandals of the Lord Siva on his head, he put the offerings on his shoulders. As he was about to depart for his journey, the dancing girls came and praised him.
All the poets and bards sang in his praise and described his valour in the battlefield. And the soldiers of all kings, foot soldiers, elephant soldiers, and so on praised the power and strength of King’s sword. The king left the capital of his kingdom with his massive army that it seemed to have spread to the seashore. The sages stopped by his tent,for they were curious to see this mighty ruler of the spacious world.
The king bowed to them, and they said to him that they would be going to the Malya hills and it should be his responsibility as a king to protect the Brahmanas on that hill. After the Brahmanas left, many came to pay tribute and the King rewarded everyone with open heart especially who sang in his praise.
After a while, a guard reported to him that Samjaya had come with news. The king ordered the guard to let Samjaya in. He, after greeting the King, informed him that King Satakami had sent a message that if the Ceral king would want a stone from the Himalayas to engrave the image of a Goddess, then they could bring the stone from the mountain and present it to the Ceral king.
The king told the messenger that during a banquet, sons of Balakumara, Kanaka and Vijaya, insulted the Tamil kings without knowing the courage they possessed. So, his army would march ahead with untamed fury, and he asked the messenger to tell King Satakami to arrange for a large fleet of boats so that they could cross the river Ganga. Cenkuttuvan asked his scribes to send a sealed message of his intends to all the kings through these messengers.
The local chief received Cenkuttuvan with respect and honour, and then he went to the river Ganga, which he crossed by the boats arranged by the kings, and reached the northern bank where he was received with respect and awe. He marched further with his army to the land of his enemy and there he camped with his soldiers. Northern kings marched with a massive army as big as the boundless sea. They wanted to see the courage of the Tamil kings. The sight of his enemy marching towards him made Cenkuttuvan joyous.
“Like the God of death, this army
Marches forth with untamed fury.”
The earth shook with the roaring of the war drums. As the war began the warriors of the Arya kings who were known for their chariot fight fell and corpses were destroyed by the warriors of Ceral king. Cenkuttuvan appeared like the God of death himself to the mighty Arya kings, capable of destroying all their lives.
Cenkuttuvan threshed his enemies with his sword and was applauded by the Goblins who danced with the crowned heads in their hands in the battlefield. After achieving the victory, the Ceral king asked his messengers to go and tell those in the northern country who respect and honour the Vedas, that theywould have the Tamil King’s support and that they were set free to live flawless lives. Cenkuttuvan along with Villavan Kotai went to the Himalayas with several of his regiments to get the stone on which the image of the Goddess Pattini was supposed to be engraved.
“Who had won the war and achieved his end With Villavan Kotai, led several regiments of his army To the gold-browed Himalaya to get a stone To engrave the image of the goddess Pattini.”
Notes: The Canto is not only descriptive but also very vividly picturizes the war set that can be compared to the epic of the War of Troy.
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