Geology of Morni hills

Planet Earth can be conceived of as a sphere with several layered shells. An inner ‘solid core’ is surrounded by a liquid ‘outer core’ that is in turn ensconced in a relatively more viscous ‘lower mantle’. The ‘upper mantle’ is more viscous, dense than the lower mantle and this is in turn contained in a solid ‘crust’. The continental crust is thicker but less dense than the thinner but tougher oceanic crust that forms the ocean beds. The earth is about 6350 KM from the outer crust to the centre of the inner core. The crust and the outer mantle together form earth’s ‘lithosphere’. The lithosphere is in turn broken into ‘plates’ that are moving/ swimming over the less viscous inner layers of the earth.

Some 70 million years ago one such plate called the ‘Indo-Australian Plate’ was moving north at 15 cm per year when it collided with the Eurasian plate. The ocean (Tethy’s Ocean) that separated the two plates disappeared with the collision. The Indian plate went under the Tibetan plateau pushing the ocean floor under the northern plate. The lighter sedimentary rocks on the ocean bed surface, however, got folded up into layers much like the crumpling of a table cloth of the table that is squeezed under another surface. The ‘folded’ sedimentary ‘geological table-cloth’ is what we know as our magnificent Himalayan mountain range. The Indian plate continues its northward journey, though now at a more sedate 6-7 cm a year pushing up the Himalayas by 5 mm every year. Needless to say that when the Indian plate presses against the Asian plate, the pressure sends an occasional tremble that is experienced as an ‘earthquake’. The movement of plates produces a fracture or discontinuity in the earth’s crust at the boundaries of the plates that are called ‘faults’ and these are the sites for the major earthquakes.

The area of collision between the Indian and the Asian plates was over 2000 KM long and the first fold was the Tibetan Himalayas and was comprised of the thick layer of marine sediments that had got deposited on the continental shelf and slope of Indian plate. This area is rich in fossils. The next fold was of the Greater Himalayas, the high mountains that were formed out of the continental crust of the Indian plate that got metamorphosed under high temperatures and pressures resulting from the collision. The next fold was of the Lesser Himalayas that is comprised of rocks that experienced lesser metamorphism as the initial impact of the collision was over. Then followed the Himalayan foothills, the Sub-Himalayas, which were formed by the folding up of the material eroded from the higher Himalayas by the great Himalayan rivers. As the Indian plate continues to press its way under the Asian plate, the crumpled folds of the ‘geological table cloth’ are getting pulled over the plate. Thus, the Sub-Himalayan hills are getting pulled over the alluvial plains that lie to their South along a long arc called the Main/ Himalayan Frontal Thrust/Fault. By a similar process, the Lesser-Himalayas are getting thrust over the Sub-Himalayas along the Main Boundary Thrust/Fault. The Lesser Himalayas are getting subsumed under the Greater Himalayas along the Main Central Thrust.

The Sub-Himalayan foothills that border the higher Himalayas are known as the ‘Shivaliks’ (literally the tresses of Lord Shiva). The Shivalik hill range is 2400 KM long and 10 to 50 KM in width with the elevation ranging from 900-1500 metres. The Shivaliks are divided into many sub-ranges. The Shivaliks are cut by the great Himalayan rivers like the Indus, Satluj, Ganga, Yamuna and Brahmaputra. Smaller seasonal rivers like the Ghaggar meander through the hills emerging from the gaps between the sub-ranges to flow into the plains to the south. The Lesser Himalayas rise sharply to the north and while these are abutting the Shivaliks in some areas yet at other places the two parallel ranges are separated by structural valleys called ‘Duns’. The Shivaliks are composed chiefly of sandstone and conglomerate rock formations that have been created by the solidification of rock material and gravel eroded by the rivers from higher Himalayas.

The Shivaliks have numerous choes and seasonal nadis that have deposited silt, sand and coarse gravel in a belt surrounding the foothills. This 5-8 KM wide belt is well drained and is called the ‘Kandi’ area in Punjab (Bhabar in UP). The coarse kandi area is highly permeable and the water from the springs and choes percolates deep so that groundwater levels are in the range of 300-400 feet. The area has historically been thickly forested due to replenishment of soil by the silt carried by the choes during monsoons and has been popular for game hunting. The Shivaliks have a sharp slope to the south. The higher permeability and high temperatures in summers allow only a dry-scrub forest on the southern slopes. The northern slopes are gentler. The Kandi belt then makes the transition to the great alluvial Indo-Gangetic plain. The Shivaliks are a repository of vertebrate fossils including those of several extinct species including the giant tortoise and the horned-giraffe.

Morni hills of Haryana form a part of the Shivalik range.

Morni hills, Shivalik hill range

Geologists study the structure of earth’s crust by classifying layers of rock into distinctive ‘formations’. A rock formation is a layer of rock that is distinct from the surrounding layers and is also extensive enough and thick enough to be plotted on a map by the geologist. Rock formations are generally named after the geographic name of the location where the rocks are well exposed. They may also be named after the dominant rock type comprising the formation.

The Sub-Himalayas in the area of Morni are classified by geologists into two main rock formations- the Shivalik Group and the the Sirmur Group.

Simplified geological map of Himalayas around Morni

The Sirmur Group is older and was formed some 40 to 20 million years ago. It includes the Dagshai, Subathu and Kasauli formations. The Subathu formation is the oldest and  consists of thick layers of gritty, grey-brown clay with irregular bands of impure limestone. The Subathus give way to the more striking purple and green sandstone and red clay of the Dagshai formation. The Dagshai formation merges into the upper Kasauli formation that has a softer, coarser and greener sandstone and shale with absence of red clay.

The Shivalik Group is more recent and was formed in the period 15 million years to about 800,000 years ago. Rocks were formed out of the eroded rock material that was deposited into the lake like basin created by the Indian plate (peninsular India) striking against the Tibetan plateau. There were differences in the type of material deposited over the geological ages leading to the Shivalik Group rocks being divided into 3 sub-groups: a) The Lower Shivalik Group (also known as the Nahan Formation). The sedimentary rocks in this formation are characterized by the grey sandstone (formed by compacting of medium grained sand < 2mm), siltstone (formed by compacting of fine grained silt <.063 mm) and red mudstone (formed by compacting of extremely fine grained clay <.004 mm. The sandstone is hard and resistant to erosion. b) The Middle Shivalik Group includes the Nagri formation and the Dhok Pathan formation. Nagri formation includes sandstone of coarser material and grey-black mudstone.The Dhok Pathan formation includes fine to medium grained bright grey sandstone, bright grey/ brown siltstone and red/orange/yellow clay. The Dhok Pathan formation is evidenced in the sandstone cliffs to the north of the plains at Dhanoura village. c) The Upper Shivalik Group consists of the Saketi, Pinjor and the Boulder Conglomerate Formations. Broadly, the group consists of conglomerates of pebbles (4-64 mm), cobbles (64 -256 mm) and boulders (> 256 mm). The loose, disorganized boulder-sized conglomerate occuring with buff-coloured sandstone and mudstone is seen on the hill road from Pinjore to Morni.

During the period of the Lower Shivalik deposition (the material that formed the rocks of the Nahan formation), finely eroded material was brought by the peninsular rivers that flowed into the basin created by the disappearance of the Tethys sea. At the time of the Middle Shivalik deposition, the Himalayas had risen and the Himalayan rivers flowed south-east with greater force, eroding and carrying coarser materials. During the Upper Shivalik sedimentation, the Himalayan uplift was complete exposing rocks to rapid erosion by strong streams and rivers that carried pebbles and boulders with it. The monsoon is believed to have increased in intensity increasing the water flow from lower to upper Shivalik period and to have thereafter receded.

Junction of the Sivalik and Nahan Groups in the Markunda, H.L. Frazer

Junction of the Sivalik and Nahan Groups in the Markunda, H.L. Frazer

References:

  1. Geology and Mineral Resources of Haryana, Geological Survey of India  (Northern Region), 2012
  2. Himalayan Frontal Fold-Thrust Belt, NW India: Geometry, Structural Evolution, and Hydrocarbon Prospects; Dilip K. Mukhopadhyay and Premanand Mishra (2007)
  3. Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India (Vol III); Thomas Oldham (1865)

Bollywood discovers Morni

A recent suspense thriller ‘2 Nights in Soul Valley’ produced by Pinta & Dehal Productions has been filmed extensively in the untouched forest locales of Morni hills.  The thriller is based on the hair-raising experience of a group of college friends who go for a two-day trek to a remote area in the Himalayas.

The director, Harish Sharma, has built the horror story around a real-life account by a person who had shared a frightening experience in the forest of Pithoragarh when interviewed by Harish during his days as a journalist with PTI. The film stars TV artists Hemant Pandey (of ‘Office Office’ fame) and Meenakshi Soni as also models Sumeet Sharma, Gaurav Shah and Aakshi Khari. A British singer-model (who plays the Sarangi!), Mili Moonstone, has been cast as ‘Jenny’ who is investigating unexplained ‘disapperances’ in the area.

The director has successfully exploited the haunting beauty of Morni and its air of mystery and intrigue that becomes palpable to anyone who ventures uninvited into the thorny scrub that clothe these lower Shivaliks. The overwhelming stillness, the sinister gnarled trees and the hovering vultures (they still survive in Morni!) promise to spook even the strong-hearted, especially once the sun has gone down.

2 Nights in Soul Valley – the haunting hills of Morni

Reference:

www.2nightsinsoulvalley.com

Samlasan Devi Temple at Samlotha, Morni

Samlasan Devi Temple is a temple dedicated to the Goddess Durga, atop a hill at village Samlotha some 10 KM from the Morni town. The hill offers a commanding view of the plains of Raipur Rani and the erstwhile Kotaha estate and the ruins of the forts of the Meers at Kotaha and Masoompur.

Samlasan Devi Temple, Samlotha

As per the folklore, Goddess Durga after slaying the demon brothers Shumbh and Nishumbh in a fierce battle stopped at Samlotha for rest. She assumed an asana (sitting posture) on the lotus (kamal) flowers in a pond and was thus called the ‘Kamalasan’ Devi, literally the goddess who sat on the lotus flowers. Over time the name got distorted to ‘Samlasan’ Devi. She is also referred to as ‘Samlothe Vali’, belonging to Samlotha. The ubiquitous Pandav princes came upon the holy spot during their exile and built the original ancient temple at the site in deference to the Goddess. As the devotees experienced great difficulties in accessing the temple, the Goddess sat in a palanquin (a sedan chair lifted by four bearers) and descended to the Chhota Tirlokpur village in the foothills of Morni where she appeared in statue (moorti) form in the dream of the Raja of Raipur Rani. The Raja got a second temple constructed at the spot where the ‘moorti’ was discovered. It is believed by the devout that the Goddess grants any wish made by praying at her feet at Samlotha temple. A two-day annual fair is held at Samlotha (during Chaitra Navratri) that is attended by thousands of devotees from the surrounding villages and towns.

The   legend of Shumbh-Nishumbh

According to Devee Bhaagvat in Vaaman Purana, Shumbh and Nishumbh   were two demon (asur) brothers – sons of Kashyap and Danu. They performed   severe penance (tapasyaa) at the Brahma temple at Pushkar and obtained a boon   (var) from Lord Brahma, the supreme creator, that they could not be killed by   any male, be it a human or an animal. Only a female could kill them. Emboldened   by Brahma’s boon the demon brothers increased their power and became arrogant.   They started committing atrocities on the gods making them leave their seats   of power and flee for their lives. The gods then got together and prayed to   the primordial power to save them from the terror. They prayed and did   penance for nine days, where on the primordial power (Aadi Shakti) appeared in the form of Goddess Durga for destroying the demons.

Durga ascended at Vindhyachal where the demons had founded there pagan kingdom. Sugreev the minister of the demon king   Shumbh spotted the Goddess and reported her divine beauty to the king. He   sent him with a marriage proposal to the Goddess who challenged the demon   king to a battle. Shumbh then despatched Dhoomralochan to bring the Goddess   to his palace as a captive. Dhoomralochan was slain by the Goddess. Sugreev   followed and met the same fate. Then Shumbh’s deputies, Chand and Mund   followed who also perished in combat. Durga gets her name ‘Chamunda’ for   having slain the duo. Nishumbh was to die next by Durga’s trident that   pierced his evil heart. Durga’s tiger (simha) devoured the demon army. The   final battle between Durga and Shumbh was fought on the ground and in the   skies until Shumbh exhausted his weaponry and like his brother fell to Chandi’s   trident. The gods rejoiced at the victory and peace prevailed.

In the tradition of the nine day prayer and   penance by the devtas to invoke the power of Shakti to destroy evil, the   devotees of Goddess Durga fast and live in austerity for nine days in a   festival called Navratri, literally nine nights. Navratri is celebrated  at the beginning of spring (lunar month   Chaitra) and the beginning of autumn (lunar month Ashvina), the exact dates   being determined by the clergy with the Lunar Calendar. The fasting ends on   the tenth day, when the eternal victory of good over evil (the slaying of   demon king Ravana by Lord Rama) is celebrated as ‘Vijaya Dashmi’ in the Dushehra   festival.

The Samlotha village, is a mere hamlet atop the hill-top with the impressive 70 foot high tower of the Samlasan Devi temple that covers a smaller and much older temple. A nearby pond is referred to by the locals as the Draupadi Kund. A couple of Dharamshalas (guest houses) have been added over the years but they bear a deserted look barring the days of the annual Samlasan fair.

Samlotha peak from Chikna Ghat, Morni Hills

Samlotha peak from Chikna Ghat, Morni Hills

Dharamshala at Samlotha

An observation tower of the fire department can be spotted from a distance while approaching Samlotha from Morni.

Fire tower at Samlotha

The village and the temple can be accessed by a rather steep climb up the hill along a cemented track that has been extensively damaged by the rains.

Climb to Samlotha

The road to Samlotha branches off from the Morni-Badiyal road near the Sherla tal and this 5 KM long stretch is in a state of disrepair.

The temple at Samlotha finds a mention in the Sanad of 1816 by which Meer Jafar Ali Khan received the ilaqa of Morni in recognition of his services to the British in the war against the Gurkhas. The Meer was entitled to the income from the fairs at the temples at Samlotha and Tirlokpur. Thus clearly, the temple had been in existence for a long time and the annual fair was a large enough event to merit a special reference in the Sanad.

Krishan K. Kamra in his book ‘Tourism: Theory, Planning and Practice (1997)’ attributes the story of Durga choosing Samlotha for resting after the battle with Shumbh Nishumbh to Bhrigu Samhita, a Vedic treatise on astrology compiled by the sage Bhrigu.

Captain Proby Thomas Cautley,the famous British Canal Engineer and amateur paleontologist reported in a letter addressed to the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1834 that the Raja of Nahan had gifted the fossils of an elephant tooth and tusk to Lieutenant W.E. Baker of the Engineers.  The fossils were recovered from Samrota, a village near the Pinjore valley and were believed by the Raja to be the remains of the giants who were vanquished by Lord Ram. The Asiatic Society printed the drawings of the fossils by Lieutenant W.E. Baker in their journal.

Fossils-from-Samrota (Drawings by WE Baker)

Cautley’s own party in November 1834 found a ‘splendid specimen of a head’ at Samrota that was termed by his Chaprassi as a ‘Deo ka Sir.’ The elephant head was carried off by a hill man who deserted Cautley’s party and presented the trophy to the Rajah of Nahan. Cautley was trying to persuade the Rajah to part with the fossil at the time of writing the letter!

The Samrota village of Captain Cautley is in all likelihood is the present day Samlotha village of Morni. Lt. W.E. Baker in his letter to the editor of the  Asiatic Society had reported that as per the Raja of Nahun ‘Sumrotee’ village was located 30 coss west of Nahan. 1 kos equals roughly 2 miles and 30 kos translates to 96 KM. Samlotha is about 80-85 KM from Nahan, the distance being measured by the modern metalled roads that connect the two places ( including Major District Road 118). The distance measured by the winding  hill roads and dirt tracks of early 19th century would definitely have been longer.

Alexandra van der Geer, Michael Dermitzakis, and John de Vos in their provocative research article of April 2008 titled ‘Fossil Folklore from India: The Siwalik Hills and the Mahabharata,‘ have hypothesized that the discovery of fossilized remains of large vertebrates in the fossil-rich Shivalik belt has helped sustain beliefs over the ages in the existence of giants and demons and their epic battles with the devtas and mythological heroes. Many species like the giant tortoise, sabre-toothed cats, four-horned giraffes etc were extinct at the time of their fossilized remains were discovered and this made them mysteries around which tales and folklore were created.

The Tara trilogy – Morni hills find their way into fiction!

Mahtab Narsimhan, a Toronto based writer from India, has blended figures from Indian mythology with elements of pure fantasy to create a world of magic, intrigue and adventure around Tara and her kid brother Suraj who combat the forces of evil to save their village, Morni. The ‘Tara Trilogy’ is a series of three books- The Third Eye, The Silver Anklet and The Deadly Conch, a continuing tale of adventures of Tara and her companions. The story is set in Morni and the surrounding forest covered Shivalik hills with temples and secret passages.

Every visitor to the picturesque hills of Morni senses on the very first visit that mystery hangs heavy in the air. The thick scrub forests that change beautiful hues with the seasons warn the curious visitor not to venture too deep into them. These forests were once famous for the plentiful tigers.  Ahmad Shah Abdali, the Afghan marauder, camped at Pinjore for two days to hunt at Morni. The British game hunters followed a hundred years later and wrote the earliest accounts of the hills. The British Gazetteers  described the forests and the fascinating lakes of Morni. The sparkling twin lakes are believed to be the fabled ‘Lake of Death’ where the Pandav princes very nearly perished but for the profound wisdom of Yudhistar that saved the day. The lakes and the surrounding meadows are ensconced by the terraced hill slopes to form a virtual bowl. The lakes are separated by a small hill that rises sharply to end in a cliff. The lakes are believed to be connected by an underground passage that runs under the hill so that water level remains the same in the two lakes. The excavations of beautifully sculpted pillars and rock figurines at the ruins of a 10th Century temple on the bank of the lake serve to remind you that the waters are sacred and that a million untold tales lie buried in the depths of the serene waters. One is forced to wonder if a thousand years ago a victorious warrior chief stood atop the very same cliff, his sword raised  to the skies, his troops massed on the banks of the sacred lakes. Was it a flourishing temple town with annual festivities and animistic rituals.  Where the head priest would lead a procession of chanting monks in a parikrama of the lakes.  And the local chieftains would offer sacrifices at the ancient temple on the bank of the holy lake. The brave-hearts would participate in a deadly competition to swim across the underwater passage, the winner surviving to emerge in the other lake, the losers condemned to a watery grave, trapped forever in the tunnel of death?

If the lakes inspire stories, then so does the forlorn 17th Century stone fortress of the Meers that stands atop the highest hill, a silent witness to the turn of events over the last four centuries. It whispers the tale of the proud Rajput chief of Morni who defied his overlord, the Raja of Nahan, by refusing his daughter’s hand in marriage. Of his flight to the Delhi durbar and his daughter’s marriage to the crown prince Jahangir. Of the march of the imperial troops under Hakim General Qasim Khan, who chased the Nahan troops back to the Bursingh Deo Range and avenged the chief’s honour. One wonders about the fate of the simple hill girl who ended up in the Mughal Emperor’s harem. Its a story waiting to be written.

The fort is witness to the short and bloody battle between the hill Rajputs and the fearsome Gurkhas, some two hundred years later; as the latter chased the fleeing Raja after ousting him from Nahan. The Gurkha commander of Mornee, a royal from Pyuthan, performed ‘tantra’ and prayed to Lord Bhim for strength as he defied the British efforts to dislodge him!  What became of this believer of the Gurkha Empire after the surrender to the British General, Ochterlony. Did he die in ignominy in the Gurkha tradition that had little respect for the defeated generals? Or did he redeem himself on some battlefield?

The magic of these hills led a recent traveler to compare its terraced fields and stone houses to the ruins of the Inca Empire at Machu Pichu. The Morni hills have been waiting patiently all these years for their story to be told and Mahtab Narsimhan’s ‘Tara Trilogy’ may only be, just a beginning.

Thakur-dwar temple, Tikkar tal, Morni

A hidden treasure of the Morni hills is the Thakur-dwar temple, a modest structure built at the site of a 10th Century AD temple on the bank of the Tikkar tal lake.

Thakur dwar temple, Tikkar tal Morni

The Legend:

As per the local legend, the Thakur-dwar temple was built in the ancient times by the Pandavas after Yudhisthir saved his brothers by answering the ‘Yaksha Prashna‘. ‘The Book of the Forest‘ constitutes one of the 18 Parvas of Mahabharat and gives the account of the 12 years of exile of the Pandavas in the forest. ‘The Story of the Righteous Crane‘ is a famous episode in the lives of the Pandavas when their 12 years of exile in the forest had just ended. They were approached for help by a Brahman whose wooden sticks used for igniting the sacrificial fire had been carried of by a deer on its antlers. The brothers followed the tracks of the culprit through the dense forest until they lay exhausted and thirsty. Sahadev the youngest set out to find water and came upon a beautiful lake with crystal clear water. As he started to drink to quench his thirst a crane warned him against it, asking him to drink only after he had satisfactorily answered its questions. The arrogant prince ignored the warning and drank the water that instantly turned to poison causing the prince to die. Nakul, Arjun and Bheem followed one-by-one only to die by commiting the same folly. It was finally the wise Yudhisthir who paid heed to the crane’s warning and discovered that the crane was actually a Yaksha, the guardian spirit of the Lake of Death, that had assumed the form of the bird. The 18 questions (prashans) of the Yaksha and Yudhistir’s profound answers are an important episode in the epic tale. A much quoted reply of Yudhistir was that ‘the most wonderful thing in the world is that although people die all the time yet one expects to somehow live for ever’. Impressed by the vituous answers of the eldest prince, the spirit restored his dead brothers to life. The people of Morni believe that the Tikkar tal is the  mystical ‘Lake of Death’ of the Mahabharat era and that the Thakur-dwar temple on its bank was built by the Pandavs in gratitude for being spared by the holy spirit.

Archaeological Findings:

The excavations at the Thakur-dwar temple site in the 1970s led to the discovery of several Brahmanical stone sculptures of the early medieval and the Pratihara period. While some of these sculptures are housed at the Government Museum and Art Gallery at Chandigarh, yet many beautiful sculptures are still in the possession of this modest lake-side temple. These sculptures place  the age of the original temple around 10 Century AD.

Medieval sculpture at Thakur dwar temple, Morni

Medieval sculpture at Thakur-dwar temple, Morni

Medieval sculpture at Thakur-dwar temple, Morni

Remnant of a carved stone pillar

Historical References:

Sir William Wilson Hunter makes a reference to this ancient temple in The Imperial Gazetteer of India (1885) as follows,‘ … a large hill tract, known as the Kotaha pargana, … composed of two parallel ranges, the sources of the river Ghaggar. This mountainous region differs widely in its physical features and in the character of its inhabitants, from the level plain at its foot. It is covered by the forest of Morni, in whose midst, enclosed by projecting spurs, lie two remarkable lakes. A hill divides them from one another, but some hidden communication evidently exists between their basins, as the level of either is immediately affected by any withdrawal of water from its neighbour. The people regard them as sacred ; and a ruined temple in honour of Krishna, which stands upon the bank of the larger lake, is the scene of a great annual festival. The village and fort of Morni lie considerably higher up the mountain-side.’

Forest Fires in Morni

The dry scrub forest of the Morni hills experiences devastating fires in the summer months every year. The fires find a mention in the 19th century British gazetteers so the problem is not a recent one. The spread of lantana has, however, aggravated the problem as the bush readily catches fire during the dry season. Lantana is highly inflammable during the dry season and provides continuous fuel to fire helping it spread over large areas. Lantana readily resprouts after the fire and grows faster than the slower growing native varieties of shrubs and trees that have been destroyed by the fire. Thus lantana fuels the fires and the fires in turn help in further spread of lantana that is better adapted to surviving fires. Lantana flowers and fruits all the year round and produces large amounts of seeds that are available in the soil helping it to resprout after the fire. It is efficient in uptake of nutrients from soils degraded by the fire and regenerates faster than its competitors.

The fires are generally blamed on sparking in electricity transmission wires and transformers  though a systematic investigation is rarely done to establish the cause.

The forest department maintains firelines to break the spread of fires and has watch towers at strategic locations to monitor the movement of fires. Fire tenders are pressed into service when the fires threaten human habitation. The loss to wildlife has not been systematically assessed. As per locals the fires  cause heavy losses to bush birds, jungle fowls, porcupines, monitor lizards and other smaller forms that are unable to escape in time.

Forest fire near Jallah (Courtesy KS Bains 7-5-12)

Morni forest fires

Forest fire at Morni (Courtesy KS Bains)

Forest Tower at Bunga

Forest tower at Bhoj Balag

Classification of Agricultural Land in Morni

P.S. Melvill’s Ambala Settlement Report 1855 presented an interesting classification of agricultural land in Morni with many terms being still in usage with the revenue department.

MELVILL’s 19th CENTURY CLASSIFICATION OF AGRICULTURAL LAND IN MORNI

KOOLAHOO

Land watered from kools (i.e., small water-courses from a stream etc.). Such land was ploughed.

BARANEE (OBUR)

Land ‘dependent on the heavens’ for moisture (rain-fed)

TODUH

Land built up into small and narrow hanging fields (bughuree) that were piled one above the other. Land was ploughed.

KHEEL

Land broken up on the high slopes of the hills after cutting down and burning of jungle and mingling of ashes with the soil. Such land was rarely ploughed and instead it was dug with a ‘kusee’ (small hoe).  It then lay fallow for a period varying from three to twenty years.

AVUL

Land that was free from stones, was manured and produced well

DOYUM

Land was dry, stony and did not produce much

FIRST KHEEL

The hill side was not very steep and the soil was deeper because of lesser erosion- crops could be grown at lesser intervals

SECOND KHEEL

The slope was sharp and the soil was washed away with rain- a longer interval was necessary between crops

SEER– Level land was called ‘Seer’

Goga-Marhi Temples of Morni

The Morni hills and the neighbouring countryside is dotted with the numerous ‘Goga-Marhi’ (also Gugga-Marhi) temples. The Goga-Marhi temple is invariably located at the boundary of the village and is typically built like a square white fort with conical towers at each of the four corners. The bare white-washed walls are adorned with paintings of the ‘Goga pir’ riding his mythical blue horse. Also painted on the walls are the images of dreadful, venemous-black hooded-snakes.

Belief in Goga pir is spread all-over Northern and Western India with millions of devotees in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Delhi, Uttarpradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Almost every village in Rajasthan is said to have a ‘Than’ (sacred place) under a Khejari tree dedicated to the pir.

Goga-Marhi Temple at Mandana

Gorakhnath Temple/ Guga-Marhi at Bunga

THE LEGEND OF GOGA-PIR:

There are numerous legends around Goga-pir with varied accounts of his life and death. The story of Goga pir is largely constructed from the hymns and lokgeets of the Rajasthani bards and the 19th century British writings on the subject. According to the most popular version, Goga was born to the Chohan Rajput king, Raja Jewar Singh (Vacha as per another tradition). His mother Rani Bachun (Bachchal) (a Tooar) had been childless and is said to have prayed to Gorakhnath (a famous 11th century ascetic after whom the Gorakhpur district is named) for twelve years. Gorakhnath is then believed to have given her ‘jao/jawahar’ (barley corn) after which she gave birth to Goga. Goga is believed to have been born at Dadrewa village near Rajgarh (on the Hissar-Bikaner National Highway 65) in Churu district of Rajasthan. Goga is said to have been married to Sireal, the daughter of Sinja, the Chahil Rajput king of Sirsa Putun.  Goga ruled over his kingdom (Bhagar Desh) comprising the forested area between the Sutluj (the ‘Garra’ or the ditch) and Hansi in Haryana. His capital, Mehera (Goga-ka-Marih), was located on the banks of Satluj.

Goga Chauhan was a contemporary of Prithvi Raj Chohan and is believed to have fought the invading armies of Mohamad Gori when the latter crossed the Satluj. He is said to have died on the battlefield, while defending his city, alongwith his forty-five sons and sixty nephews. He is said to have died on a Sunday on the ninth of the month. The day is held sacred amongst the ’36 royal races of Rajputs’ and especially so in the desert area called Gogadeo-ka-Thul. ‘Gogawuts’ living in this desert are said to be his descendants.

Goga pir’s tomb or samadhi is located at Gogamedi, a village in Rajasthan that lies midway between Bhadra and Nohar in Hanumangarh district. The ‘samadhi’ is a marble structure with two minarets and has been fortified by a boundary wall. The idol of Goga pir is seated on a blue horse with a snake coiled around his neck. An inscription in Persian at the main entrance is popularly attributed to Mahmud Ghazni who is said to have got the memorial renovated after the fulfillment of his wish and to have expressed his gratitude in the inscription.

According to Elliot, Goga’s tomb lay some 200 miles south west of Hissar and 20 miles beyond Dudrera (modern Dadrewa) and the Chahil (Chahil’s are a shakha of the Chauhan Rajputs) Rajputs were said to be the guardians of the tomb.

Shrine at Gogamedi village

GOGA’s STEED:

There is a legend around his blue steed Javadia (he is referred to as the ‘neele-ghodeh walah’). As per the story Goga Chauhan had no children so he approached his patron saint Gorakhnath, who gave him two barley-corns (java or jao), one of which he gave his queen and the other to his favourite mare which produced the steed Javadia. The horse was docile like a lamb but was fiery on the battlefield. It is a favourite name for horses in Rajasthan.

Guga Marhi Temple, Kakrali (near Ramgarh- Morni)

DISAPPEARANCE OF GOGA:

As per yet another version (reported by H.M. Elliot, 1844), Goga is supposed to have killed his two half-brothers, the sons of Rani Kachchal (Bachchal’s sister) over a land dispute and to have fled to the jungles to escape the moral flaying by his mother, Rani Bachchal. He is said to have prayed to be swallowed with his horse by mother earth. The Gods are then supposed to have asked him to utter the kulma and become a musalman in order to be swallowed. Goga is then said to have disappered. As per Elliot there is a clan of musalman chouhans settled near Goga’s tomb. This version seems to be related to Goga being widely regarded as a ‘pir’ ( the term used for a sage or a sufi saint). As per Cunningham, Goga was initially killed by his brothers Urjoon and Soorjun but he resurrected.

WORSHIP OF GOGA-PIR

The festival of the Goga Pir is celebrated on Goga Navami, the 9th day of the dark half of Bhadon when offerings are made at the shrine of Goga pir, often referred to as Goga-Marhi after the fabled city of Goga. ‘Chirags’ (earthern lamps) are lighted at the shrines.  19th century British sources talk of the  ‘kaanphata’ jogi’s (ascetics) of Gorakhnath’s tradition carrying Goga’s ‘chhari’ (stick), a long bamboo with peacock-feathers, a coconut and a fan fixed to the top and also a blue flag and begging for alms. The jogi’s of Gorakhnath are called ‘kaanphatas’ (with torn ears) as they get their ears punctured for wearing rings at the time of initiation to the Gorakhnath tradition.

The worship of the Goga pir seems also to be linked to man’s primordial fear of the snake. Goga pir is believed to have been given supernatural power by Gorakhnath to cure snake-bites and to ward-off venemous snakes. ‘Jharas’ are performed to date in most rural areas by the shamans at these shrines to ‘cure’ snake bites. ‘Til’ and rice are scattered in the tradition of the Goga pir at places frequented by snakes.

The Snake God

According to a popular legend, when Gugga’s mother, Queen Bachchal could not conceive, she approached Guru Gorakhnath to obtain his benediction.  After she eventually conceived Gugga, her husband, King Jewar turned her out of his home, due to gossip spread by Queen Kachchal (Bachchal’s sister) that she has been unfaithful to the King. On Bachchal’s journey back to her parents’ house the oxen drawing the cart were bitten by snakes. Gugga, still in the womb, told his mother to apply neem leaves to the bites. She did so and the oxen recovered. Gugga remained unborn till the thirteenth month,   fearing the reproach of being born in the house of his mother’s parents. Eventually by appearing to his father in dreams, he induced him to take back his mother. Gugga was then born in his father’s house, and even from the cradle became famous as a snake killer. He later gained such power over snakes that when the father of his betrothed refused to give him his daughter in marriage, he went to Basak Nag (Naga King), the king of the snakes, and threatened him and his house with extermination if his betrothed should not be brought to him.  Tatig Nag, Basak’s   sister’s son, thereupon   consented   to   carry   out Gugga’s wishes. He went to Dhup Nagar in Bengal where Sirial, the Pir’s betrothed, lived with her father.    There he contrived to bite Sirial while she was bathing   in   a tank.  Sirial neither died nor recovered from the effects of the poison till Tatig Nag, in the shape of a Brahmin, agreed to cure, her on condition she should be married to Gugga.  Her father agreed and   Sirial was cured.   Her father then   fixed   the seventh day for the marriage, so that Gugga should not be able to arrive in time. Gugga, however, arrived in an airship contrived by his Guru, and the wedding took place.

Goga pir is also regarded as a protector of children and mothers pray at the shrine for the longevity of their children. The childless women seek his blessings for conceiving.

A large 3 day fair is held at Gogamedi village at ‘Gogaji’s samadhi’ commencing on Goga navami. It is marked by prayers, processions, devotional dances and singing of hymns to the beating of drums and gongs.  Devotees rub incense at the samadhi and make offerings of coconuts and ‘batashas’ (sugar drops).  Offerings are made to the ‘Nath’ jogis who carry replicas of Gogaji’s ‘chabuk’ (the auspicious whip). People carry multicoloured flags, the ‘Nishan’ (symbol) of Gogaji.

The festival is equally popular amongst the Muslims who also know Goga as the Jahar pir. Raja Karamchand son of Raja Motay Rai Chauhan of Dadrewa area of Churu (believed to be Goga pir’s birthplace) was converted to Muslim religion by Firoz Shah Tughlak in the mid-14th century and given the name Nawab Qaim Khan and made governor of Hissar. His descendants are known as Qaimkhani Rajputs who claim descent from Goga Chauhan.

Malcolm writes that the Pindari women in Central India would pray to the pir when their husbands ‘proceeded on plundering expeditions’. The Pindaris were loose confederations of plundering tribes under the Maratha chiefs in the Malwa region in the early 19th century.

Cunningham 1882, talks of the many short songs that are sung in the praise of the ‘Zahir Pir’ in Northern India, a popular one being the song that expresses his mother Bachal’s feelings as he prepares for battle:

Git Zahir Pir Ko

(Song to Zahir Pir )

1- Nhao to dhoe Zahir kapra ao pahre

Age se kwari kanya ae ri

Shamshir larega

Tera toh kwari kanya byah karadun

Jo mera Zahir jita awe ri

Shamshir larega

2- Nhao to dhoe Zahir kapra ao pahre

Age se andhi andha ae ri

Shamshir larega

Toe to andhi andha nettar dungi

Jo mera Zahir jita awe ri

Shamshir larega

3- Nhao to dhoe Zahir kapra ao pahre

Age se banjh bajhota ae ri

Shamshir larega

Tera toh banjh bajhata puttar dungi

Jo mera Zahir jita awe ri

Shamshir larega

 

R. C. Temple in the ‘Legends of the Panjab’ Volume I, 1884 has translated a ‘Swang’ of the Guru Gugga as it was played annually at Jagadhri, Ambala District at the Holi festival. Swang is a popular form of folk theatre in Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh where religious stories and folk tales are enacted in the open through theatrics, mimicry, dialogue and song. Swang as a form of folk theatre is believed to have originated in Rajasthan in the early 19th century.
The ‘Swang of Guru Gugga’ narrates the story of his life, his birth with the blessings of sage Gorakhnath, his marriage to princess Siriyal (daughter of Raja Sanja from the line of Aham rulers of Kamrup, Assam), his bloody encounter with his murderous half-brothers, his conversion to Muslim faith and his disappearance into the earth on being cursed by his mother, Queen Bachhal.
R.C. Temple identifies Gugga son of Raja Jewar with the Chauhan Rajput king of Bagar (Darera in Bikaner) who led the Chauhans against Mahmud of Ghazni in 1000 A.D. His mother belonged to the Rajput dynasty that ruled Kabul (Ghajni) before the Muslim rule.

THE LEGEND OF GUGA, THE RAJPUT OF BAGAR

O mother Sarad (Saraswati – the Goddess of Learning) thou art great! Blessed be thy worship! Grant me thy grace! Give me knowledge of poetry! Give me knowledge of poetry; Mother mine, that I may obtain the desire of my heart! Thou, Mother art the giver of wisdom! I lay my head at thy feet. Grant me the light of wisdom, that day and night I may come and worship thee! Dwell in my heart and soul, that I may sing the legend of Guga. Ah,Mother Shakambhari (the cherisher of herbs-a name of the Goddess). Excellent is thy light! Saith Bansi Lal (the bard), ‘come thou and help!’

Pleasant was the land of Bagar, Jewar was the Raja’s name. He dwelt ever in the law and never at all committed sin. He had committed no si, (yet) remained uneasy day and night. No joy was in his heart and sleep came not at night.

RAJA JEWAR: “O Lord! I have no offspring to leave, nor have I any resource! This is the decree of Fate, who shall now withstand it? I have no son to leave as guardian of the kingdom. I brood over it day and night, what hast thou done to me O God? Lord, what misery is this thou hast caused? My grief is very great. The decree of fate is strong and waits not for postponing.”

QUEEN BACHHAL (the favourite wife of Raja Jewar): “Whom wouldst thou blame? Thy fate itself is evil! Without a son, Raja, thy body is aflame (in great grief). Thy body is aflame, listen to these my words. Whom should I blame? I, too, am Fate’s victim! O Lord! I gave no alms; I took not the name of Hari (Vishnu)! Thus I wasted my life: I praised thee not in my heart. I committed sins in my former lives : now have they come up against me. The decree that fate has written down against me have I suffered in full.”

RAJA JEWAR: “O Queen! Without Hari what help is there in the world? Who can be saved in this world without good deeds? Who can be saved in this world? Our fate has been recorded as wretched! Without a son is no salvation in the world, (as) all the scriptures have sung. Our life has been wasted fruitlessly in this world. This world is an illusory dream; we ever sorrow and grieve. One comes, another goes; if fate will they reap a reward. I am unfortunate and the victim of fate; sorrow ever wears me out.”

QUEEN BACHHAL: “O Raja, listen to the thoughts of my heart. Without a son I am uneasy as a chakwi (a water fowl whose plaintive cries signify intolerable grief) at night. Like the chakwi at night. Raja, I am restless day and night. No child plays in the yard and my heart is very full. What, Fate, has thou written in my fate? That I grieve with lowered head. I unfortunate have fallen into sorrow, nor have I any resource.”

RAJA JEWAR: “O Queen! Listen: why grieve day and night? Keep the sorrow of your heart afar: Raghunath (Lord Ram) is gracious. God is gracious. Listen with heart and soul. When our fate is accomplished He will Himself call us to pleasure. O Queen! Faith and works are a great thing; let go neither of them. Through their aid Heaven and salvation will come to us both. O Queen! If posterity had been decreed in my fate, it would have been through you. 60 Drops of rain may fall in Swat (a bright star- Arcturus),(but) without shells there are no pearls (the popular belief is that if a rain drop fall into a shell when the moon is in Swat it becomes a pearl).”

PANDIT RANGACHAR (family priest of Raja Jewar): ” O Raja, grieve not: Raghbir (God) is gracious. Keep the sorrow of thy heart afar: keep courage in thy heart. Keep courage in thy heart, Raja: grieve now no more greatly. In this illusory world is much sorrow to many men and women. There will be three sons, Maharaja: mark my words. One son shall be such that all kings and subjects (alike) shall bow to him! Keep this sorrow afar, for your desire is fulfilled, I have told you this word Raja: I am true: mark my words.”

In the mean time Gorakhnath (the Brahmanical opponent of the Freethinking reformers of mediaeval India headed by Ramanand, Kabir and others, who flourished in the 14th and 15th centuries A.D.) arrived. He rested in the garden: full is he of miraculous power. Full is he of miraculous power: the saint made his bed to rest himself. The object of the king is fulfilled ; his fortune prosperous
in the twinkle of an eye. What can be done he (the saint) doeth; protection is in his hand. Without (the favour of) fate nothing is obtained in the world, and good deeds are never useless, The gardener came running.

GARDENER: “Listen, Sir King, A saint has come into the garden to-day. He has come into the garden: your fate doth prosper. Come with me O Raja; hearken to my words. His beauty is glorious as the glories of the sun. Visit him and thy sins will be forgiven and thy salvation will be glorious.”

RAJA JEWAR: “My anxiety is to see the saint. I will go now and visit him. What sort of saint is he?
My friend. What sort of saint is he, my friend? I hearkened to thy words.”

GARDENER: “Carriages, horses and palkis; he comes with a splendid retinue.”

Shawls and hangings (he took), and filled a golden platter with pearls and coral; With joined hands he made salutation, placed them down and sat before (the saint).
.
RAJA JEWAR: “To visit saints is honourable! I serve thee – heart and soul! May my sins be forgiven, may I reach the farther shore (May I obtain salvation)!

QUEEN BACHHAL: “My maid, go quickly! This is your work! A great disturbance is going on in the court of the palace. In the court of the palace, my maid ! Run off now and quickly! What is this noise (about), my maid? Come and tell me quickly. Go and ask the door-keeper and do not lose your head!
This is what you must ask and then explain to me.”

Hearing this maid went off and tarried not. There was a great noise and a crowd assembled in the
Courtyard. A crowd assembled in the courtyard; they were preparing a beautiful and splendid cavalcade. Carriages, horses and palkis covered with untold gold.

The Maid, HIRA DEI (Rani Bachhal’s private servant): “No son is born to the king and they hold such rejoicings! Door-keeper, tell me quickly the whole story.”

DOOR-KEEPER: “Thou maid, Hira Dei, listen and I will tell thee. A saint has come into the garden as glorious as the sun. As glorious as the sun is be; blooming as a thousand flowers. Sweet marjoram, mustard, jasmine: he is showing great wonders. The Raja goes to visit him, and for this is the glorious cavalcade. Mark my words Hira Dei: I have told thee the whole tale.”

The Maid, HIRA DEI: “Queen! A mighty saint has come into this garden. They praise him as being like the swan of Sarwar (Mansarovar lake near Kailasa mountain, the fabled dwelling of the Swan). Like the swan of Sarwar he has entered into the garden. I tell thee with joined hands and to go and visit him. Very great is his beauty say all men and women. No (maid) in Indra’s Court hath greater beauty.
Queen, let us all visit him together. Hearken to my words. I tell thee with joined hands, thy desires will be fulfilled.”

Then the Queen at once dressed herself in her best bracelets, rings and anklets, each and all her ornaments; Each and all her ornaments: and took a platter of pearls in her hand. Her glory shone as a star in the heavens, as the sun driving away the shadows. With joined hands she bowed her head at the feet of the Guru there.

QUEEN BACHHAL:”If thou cherish me. Saint, then will my body rejoice.”

GURU GORAKHNATH: “My lady! Who art thou? Why hast thou come here? Where is thy home? What is thy name? What is thy name? Tell the truth with thy lips. O lady, thou seemest to me to be a Queen of a great line.”

QUEEN BACHHAL: “I have no pleasure in my heart.”
Weeping (thus) spake she with her lips. When she spake thus the saint’s eyes filled with tears.

QUEEN BACHHAL: “With joined hands I pray thee: hear. Saint, my words. I am without a child, miserable day and night. Miserable day and night am I: pleasure hath left my body. I wring my hands, I dash my head, I have no resource. Without a son, Maharaj, sorrow remains in my heart, As a fish without water lies thirsting on the sands. I am a great sinner; be thou my protector! Make thou my sinful face bright and happy to-day.”

GURU GORAKHNATH: “In this illusory world grief is always present. My lady; I have nothing to do with this world. I have nothing to do with this world: the invisible Being, the imperishable, Brahma is he, Bishnu is he, Kailas is he of the thousand forms: Take thou his name: salvation is written down for thee (by fate), thou art released from the eighty-four (lakh) lives. Go to thy palace, Lady: Why art thou grieving here?”

QUEEN BACHHAL: “O Guru Gorakhnath, thou art the home (ocean) of mercy! I am (but) a slave-girl at thy feet: fulfil my desire. Fulfil my desire: I worship at thy feet. Speak a word from thy lips and I shall obtain the gift of a son. I cannot eat or drink at all, miserable day and night, As a tuskless elephant wandering in the forests. As a body growing weak without food. I am a miserable sinner! I have received no joy.”

Change of scene.

QUEEN KACHHAL (sister of Bachhal): “My maid, I tell thee, this must thou do. Come with me, we must visit the beautiful garden at once. See the garden at once, my maid; I tell thee. Betel leaves and nuts, fruits, sugar-candy, bring me on a platter. Tell no one, my dear: listen with all thy heart. The saint that has come into the garden must I go and visit.”

MAID: ” Obeying thy order I will do it forthwith; I will now carry out your order well, there shall be no
Delay. I will carry it out well without delay; Listen, Queen, I have a tale. She has gone to visit the saint, has Bachhal, thy sister: When she returns to the palace I will tell the whole story. Have patience, Queen, keep a (brave) heart: hearken to my words.”

The Queen then remained in sorrow all night.

QUEEN KACHHAL: ” My maid, wake up, it is already dawn. It is already dawn! Take comfort! Get up and worship Hari my dear. This beautiful golden ewer filled with water has been placed here; Taking it I will quickly wash: why should I grieve sorrowfully?”

Then donning ornaments the Queen with all her attendants came and fell at (the saint’s) feet.

QUEEN KACHHAL: “Guru! May my hope be accomplished! Thou art full of pity and mercy, observer of the law, a teacher of religion!”

GURU GORAKHNATH: ” My Lady, who art thou? Tell the truth with thy lips. From what home hast corne? To what home art going? To what home art going? Tell me with thy lips. Lady. What is thy desire? Say quickly why hast thou come here? Thou art a black and hard-hearted woman! Thou hast
Deceived the whole world! I will beat thee with a bamboo! Be off from here! Why dost thou court death?”

QUEEN KACHHAL: ” With joined hands I pray: be my protector. My bark is on the sea; make it to cross over. Make it to cross over! With joined hands! Protection! Thou art perfect, a spiritual guide, without illusion. May thy splendour (increase) and my name remain in the world! If there be a son through thee may thine heart rejoice?”

GURU GORAKHNATH: ” Hear one word of mine: take courage in thy heart. Keep this grief afar: worship always Raghbir. Worship always Raghbir, thou fool! Why art confounded in thy heart?
Serve saints and holy men, and receive the desire of thy heart. This world is full of fate, why dost grieve for nothing? Hearken to these my words. Go to thy palace at once!”

That night at midnight when all were at rest; Queen (Bachhal) left the palace and worshipped
Gorakhnath. Worshipped Gorakhnath: when the Queen came into the garden With joined hands she saluted him and bowed her head at his feet.

QUEEN BACHHAL: “Without a son I live in sorrow! My body and mind are in trouble. Fulfil, saint, the desire of my heart: for this am I come.”

GURU GORAKHNATH: “Whose body is full of envy it makes him blind. Not knowing right from wrong he would be loving: He would be loving: I speak truth from my lips- This world is a pit of deceit: why art become mad? The fate that god has written, the sign of that fate has been made. Go home! Sit in the palace, worshipping Hari.”

QUEEN BACHHAL: “Do as thou wilt! Be thou true, Gorakhnath! Protect my name in this world! Protect my name: the power is in thy hand! Do as thou wilt! Whom dost thou fear? I am afloat on the sea of the world! Grant me salvation! Accursed I live in the world, ruined (by being) without a son!”

Change of scene.

QUEEN KACHHAL: ‘‘With joined hands I pray! O Guru Gorakhnath! Many days have I served thee: my honour is in thy hands. My honour is in thy hands, Guru. I make my prayer to thee: On whom is thy mercy is saved at once. Happy fates were fulfilled to them in whose house thou wert born! Immortal is their name in the world! Happy is thy bearing mother!”

The saint took two flowers from out of his wallets.

GURU GORAKHNATH: “Go lady I have given to thee! Two sons will be born: Two sons will be born. Go, make no delay now. I know that thou hast done me many days of service and worship. Come here again no more! Hearken to my words: Shall I give a son to every one? Child-giving is a constant
Request.”

Change of scene

She (Bachhal) filled a cup of milk and gave it (the Guru) with her own hands.

QUEEN BACHHAL: “Have mercy always, Guru Gorakhnath!”

Bachhal sings a song.

“Have mercy, my Guru!
I am a slave at thy feet!”

Saying this, the Queen fell to weeping.
And her eyes were full of tears.

“I am indeed a woman without a son!
As the night is wearisome to the chakwi,
So is this evil plight to me.
Guru, I am thy slave!
Fulfil my desire!
Wipe out all my sorrows from my heart!”

GURU GORAKHNATH: ” Go, thou daughter of a cur! Be off! If thou wouldst preserve thy life. One should not strike a woman; it is against the law. It is against the law. Be off! Show thy face no more!
I gave thee two sons (fruits) yesterday; thou hast no shame at all! One must live alone in this world and trust no one! This is the condition of this age: all religion has fled away!”

QUEEN BACHHAL: “I speak no lie, Guru Gorakhnath! Some wanton woman has deceived thee.
Some wanton has misled all thy discrimination. Why dost frown, Maharaj? My fate has become unfortunate! No blame is yours: I live a victim of fate. As the chakwi’s at night, so has my plight become (evil)! As a deserted wife without a husband remains devoid of ornaments! As from a fish without water the joy of my life has departed!”

GURU GORAKHNATH: “Weep not, my Queen! Why art always sorrowful? Go! Thy son will be the Prince Guga! The Prince Guga will he be, beautiful, brave, miraculous. From his very birth shall he work miracles that the whole world may be his subjects. In every house shall be congratulations throughout the city: the women shall sing songs of rejoicing. The woman who deceived me, the deceitful sinner! She shall die at their birth, very heavy sorrow shall fall on her. Twelve years shall their life last. Remember my words.”

QUEEN BACHHAL: “To-day has my boon been granted, rejoicing my heart. The meshes of the sorrows of all my lives have been cut.”

Song by Queen Bachhal.

“The griefs of all my lives have been blotted out! My fate has become propitious! Thy mercy, Guru, has come upon me! The victim of fate did I live, But thou hast preserved my honour! Guru! I am thy slave. Thou gavest me joy in my sorrow: So my fruit hath ripened in the world.”

SABIR DEI (Raja Jewar’s sister): “Bachhal! Thou hast destroyed thy honour in the world! Thou didst keep the jogi in the garden, always going to him. Always going to him: no shame came to thee at all.
Our relatives are always blaming thee, and the whole world jeers. The honour of the family has been lost since thou wast married into it. All night are scandals in the house and the people have begun to jeer. Better die than live thus: how canst thou show thy face now? Such wickedness hast thou done, thou sinner, that no shame comes at all!

QUEEN BACHHAL: ” I know nor good nor evil: listen to my words. Why speak evil with your lips ? No good comes of it. No good comes from speaking evil with the lips. Why do you give me a bad name : thou art a wise woman, my girl! Speaking evil with your lips without seeing and without hearing. Take this (to heart). Know this for certain! Thy life will be passed in Hell. Who forsakes the law will be destroyed in the next world. Her virtue remains not who disobeys her husband’s word!”

SABIR DEI: “As thou hast done hath no one done. All the honour of the Chauhans of Bagar is lost.
All the honor is lost, my sister: I heard it all from Kachhal. I will go to my brother Jewar and have thee turned out of the palace. Thy place is not in the palace: go where thou wilt! Why dost show thy face in the world: take poison and die!”

QUEEN BACHHAL: “Do you what you have to do! Delay not! What is written in one’s fate none can blot out. None can blot out: do as you please. I swear to thee thrice. Get me turned out of the palace! If you speak evil words again with your lips, I will stab myself and die: I will destroy my life at once. I will not live a minute: I will destroy my life in a moment! I will bring you to account for it in the next world”

Change of scene.

SABIR DEI: “Ah Jewar, Brother mine! I would speak with you today! The honor of the Chauhans of Bagar has been taken away. Honour has been lost through an enemy: I will tell it all (to you). Such wickedness as Bachhal has done has not been since the world has been. She kept the jogi in the garden and was always going and giving him food: It was dead of night at midnight when she returned to the palace. Great wickedness has she done: All our honour is gone. Turn her out of the palace Or else destroy her.”

RAJA JEWAR: Hearing your words my body is full of anger: I will not now let her live; I will destroy her life. I will destroy her life: I will turn her out of the palace at once. I will beat her and flay off her skin: my body is full of anger. I thought her virtuous and secretly she was vile. Women kind are without thought or mind: praise them not with thy mouth. Hold them as the very pit of deceit! The world will jeer (at her). My connection with her is at an end: Fate hath done this.”

SABIR DEI: “Ah Brother, grieve not: make a plan. What? Send her to her father; do not destroy her life. Do not destroy her life: I will tell thee a plan. It is no secret: go and ask the whole palace. See! The Queen will at once deny swearing a hundred oaths. Believe none of them: they will kill thee with poison. Grieve not: what sorrow has come to grieve about? An unexpected evil has come upon in this world.”

RAJA JEWAR: “So long we were connected: fate hath decreed separation.”

He took his dagger in his hand immediately from off the peg. He took his dagger in his hand.

RAJA JEWAR (Speaking to the dagger): ”My beloved never have I used thee. A heavy sorrow, friend, has come for which I draw thee.”

When he said this the king’s eyes filled with tears. The blade would not leave the scabbard, through Gorakhnath’s power!

Change of scene.

QUEEN BACHHAL:”Why slayest thou (me), Raja, without crime, without fault? What crime have I committed? What injury have I done? What injury, O my Lord! Hear my prayer. Why art thou angry? Why fall tears from thy eyes? Why hast thou taken the sword in thy hand? Why are (thine eyes) full of redness? Tell me the truth. Thou art my God and protector!”

RAJA JEWAR: “O Queen as thou hast done none hath done. Seizing my arm thou hast plunged me into the stream (of sorrow). Plunged me into the stream: thou art an evil woman. Since thou hast made love to the jogi the world has laughed. This matter is in the hands of Fate, which does as it pleases. Miserable sinner, listen: thou didst not dread (the result)!”

QUEEN BACHHAL: ” O fate what misery hast thou given? Come and protect me! Why hast given me such grief that I cannot bear the pain (of it)? I cannot bear the pain. Pate ; why hast thou made me
so wretched ? My tears drop upon the ground: tears fall from my eyes.”

What wailing there was in the palace when she cried out from her mouth!

QUEEN BACHHAL: ” My heart will (not) bear this separation: I will die, stabbing myself with a dagger.”

She went outside the palace and at once entered a carriage.

QUEEN BACHHAL: “See, this was written in the lines of Fate: this misery of mine. God! Hear me! My honour is in thy hands! I go uninvited; what will my parents say? What will my parents say to me? Why hast thou come now?'”

Her road lay to Ghazni Fort, a long march she made. Sorrowing thus (was she when) the sun rose quickly and she rested herself.

QUEEN BACHHAL: ” Let us rest an hour: here is water, let us drink and bathe. This is a dreadful grief that has come upon me: I have received the sorrow that has come’ to me. Had I known it would be thus I would have destroyed my life.”

COACHMAN: “Let us rest an hour: the full sun has come (on us). I will drink these bullocks and return here soon. I will drink them and return here.”

He took the bullocks at once to the river : They began to drink in the river where a serpent was
on the bank. Bitten they fell to the ground, and their life went to the next world. He began to dash his head on the ground and cried out and wept.

COACHMAN: ” O Bachhal, hear me: Fate has come and destroyed me! Thou art the victim of Fate ! But what harm have I done?”

QUEEN BACHHAL: ” Ah Fate! What hast thou done in this desert? My bullocks are dead, bitten by a snake. Bitten by a snake: why hast given me great sorrow? I have no hope of life: now will my life depart. In this desert I have no friend. I wring my hands, I dash my head: do what I will it is in vain!”

Thus did she cry out till she swooned away. Then did Guga from within her womb work a miracle. Work a miracle.

GUGA: “Grieve not, mother mine! Near the carriage stands a nim tree, cut one of its branches. Call on Gorakhnath : He will come and protect thee. What is there in poison (after all)? It will go away without a moment’s delay. Lay aside a mite for Guru Gorakhnath and thy hope will be fulfilled. Do this much. Mother, and hearken to these my words!”

QUEEN BACHHAL: ”Thus did I dream; what shall I say? I cannot say it! It showed me a nim tree near the carriage. It showed me a nim tree; such was my dream. It was a very lovely child that came to me. He caught my arm, took my hand, sat down and said with his lips. ‘Call on Guru Gorakhnath. The difficulty will go as you worship!’”

Prayer of Queen Bachhal to Guru Gorakhnath.

“O Guru Gorakhnath! Be thou my helper!”

She took the branch of the nim tree and placed the offering of a mite. Placed the offering of a mite : and called on Gorakhnath. She repeated the charms for the eight kinds (of snakes) and then sang the praises of the charmer. Then the poison went away in a moment, and they lifted their heads. And the bullocks stood up immediately! Guga worked this miracle!

QUEEN BACHHAL: “(Through) the mercy of Gorakhnath my desire has been fulfilled. Thou art the supporter of the whole world: the great cherisher of the humble! Great cherisher of the humble! O Saint! First of all I worship thee. Now I know thee well: always will I worship at thy feet! Thou hast shown mercy to me. I will go to my father’s house. I, the unfortunate, have been dismissed, never will
I return.”

Then the Queen worshipped Gorakhnath and went on. Stage by stage she journeyed and reached her house in, Gajni Fort. Her house in Gajni Fort: when’ the Queen entered the palace, she met her mother with extended arms and fell on the ground. Great longing filled her breast: How shall I say? It
cannot be said.

QUEEN BACHHAL: “Why didst thou not slay me the day I was born?”

THE MOTHER OF QUEEN BACCHAL: “My daughter, why dost weep? Why dost sorrow in thy
heart? What troubles thee? Tell me! Tell me, O my daughter! Why is sorrow in thy heart? What reproach have husband, sister-in-law and sister cast on thee with their lips? I have borne no such sorrow as this since I was born. Tell me with thy lips, my daughter! Why hast come here?”

QUEEN BACHHAL: “O mother hear me! I will explain and tell it you. A jogi came (int& the garden), I went and worshipped him. I went and worshipped the saint: I laid my heart and soul at his feet. My sister-in-law went to the Raja and slandered me thus. ‘She has kept the jogi and bestowed gifts on him and squandered all her property. Either do you kill her or turn her out of the palace.’ So I am in great sorrow and have no hope in life! My child is not yet born, though this is the twelfth month (of my pregnancy). Though this is the twelfth month, Mother! What a sad plight am I in? Since he came into my womb I have been in sorrow! The Raja dismissed me thinking such (evil) things. I was born ill-fated! I am such a dreadful sinner!”

Guga speaks from the Womb.

“My mother lives in sorrow day and night. Take away her sorrows, O Guru Gorakhnath! O Guru Gorakhnath! Come and succour her quickly! My mother lives on with great sorrow in her heart.
I shall suffer great reproach in the world if I am born here. Show my father some miracle that he take back my mother. Hear my prayer that worship at thy feet! O Guru Gorakhnath, we are in great trouble!”

RAJA JEWAR: “I was sleeping in ease and comfort r I lay down at ease. I lost consciousness of myself and lay on the ground: I lay on the ground and lost all consciousness. I was restless though unconscious: no words came from my lips. (Something) said to me, ‘ Listen, foolish Raja; why have thy senses left thee? If thou bring not thy Queen back, sorrow will fall on thee day and night.”

Said his Minister with joined hands :

MINISTER: “Hear my Lord Maharaja!’ Bring back the Queen at once, and all will be well. All will be well. Sir King! Hearken to my words. If you bring not the Queen back your life will be lost. All the Chauhans will be your enemies: so make ready quickly. Carriages, elephants, and palkis; take your whole cavalcade.”

When he heard this the Raja thought thus in his mind.
RAJA JEWAR: “I will worship Ganpat, find out the favourable time and make ready. First I will worship Sarada and then I will worship Ganpat. O Hanuman grantor of the heart’s desire. Grantor of desires, Hanuman! Preserve us! This is to thine honour!”

He took the road to Gajni Fort; and marched many stages. He reached the garden with a splendid and glorious cavalcade. The news of it reached the Raja and his heart was very pleased.
Hearing (of it) the Raja came taking his minister with him. With joined hands he stood, very pleased in his heart. Very pleased in his heart.

RAJA CHANDARBHAN: “Great is my good fortune in the world! Great is thy kindness to me, Raja, that thou hast visited me, Happy be thy country! Happy be thy household! For many days have I had a continual desire to see thee! Now is my desire fulfilled since thou hast put thy foot in my palace. With joined hands I fall at thy feet : I am thy slave,”

RAJA JEWAR: “Grant me leave now! Hear, my Lord Maharaja. Now hath Hari granted all thy desire.
All thy desire, Raja. Hear a word from me. Much time has passed, Maharaja: let us make ready
quickly. Now my desire is to go; my anxiety is very great. Quarrels arise, my enemies come upon me z all men and women are anxious. With joined hands I pay my respects: answer me with your lips.
Come out of the palace, Raja, and bid adieu to me.”

When the Raja departed thence he was very pleased in his heart; On the right a partridge called, and on the left was a snake.

PANDIT RANGACHAR: “On the left is a snake. Raja; I think the omen good. Thy son will be a miracle-worker: thy good fortune is accomplished. I have examined the decree of the stars thoroughly.
Look to the commencement of his life, Maharaja: all the world will honour him. The eighth day of Bhadhou is the propitious time (for his birth), in which he will make his appearance. They will use fans of flowers and set up blue standards. Set up blue standards!” A tall pole covered over with a blue and white striped cloth, surmounted with a large tuft of peacock’s feathers, is the peculiarity of Gugga’s festival in the autumn.

The Raja (Guga) was born at midnight. The palace rejoiced : lovely maidens sang songs of joy. The drums of the Raja were sounded, one after the other. Every house rejoiced: saith one, ‘ There is no fathoming fate.’ The Raja thought that it was well: He gave very many gifts. The land of Bagar rejoiced, And was glad at heart.

RAJA JEWAR: ” O Minister, I say to thee: take it to thy heart. Put the sign of royalty on the Prince (Guga): obey my command. Obey my command: send for the priest at once. When the auspicious moment has been found, tell me. Day and night have I thought this over: obey my command. Let there be rejoicing in the palace: let joyful music be played.”

PANDIT RANGACHAR (to the Minister): “Hearing thy command, I will go now without delay. How shall I delay the Raja’s orders? How shall I delay them? I will obey thy order. Taking the book thus in my hand I will go with thee. Why has the Raja sent for me so quickly today? Tell me: no? Why make it a secret? When I reach the Raja’s presence I will speak sweet words with my lips. ‘ Say with thy lips, Maharaja, what thou hast resolved in thy mind!'”

RAJA JEWAR: “I fall at thy feet, thou High Priest! Enquire and ascertain the auspicious moment for
putting on the signs of royalty:; For putting on the signs of royalty : this is my desire. All the men and women are pleased that you should put on the marks (on Guga). This world is fleeting, its ppearances false. Sages, saints and doctors have always sung this. Nor father, nor mother, nor brother, nor any one is a friend. All are always for self: this life is worthless!”

PANDIT RANGACHAR: “Thou hast well spoken; I have thought it over. To-day is the really auspicious time; make the investiture. Make the investiture. Raja: this is what I think. From to-day this boy will enter on the eight kinds of wisdom. There will be great rejoicing. Raja; grant me some alms.
There is no necessity for anxiety, Raja: God* will grant some blessing.”

QUEEN BACHHAL: “Raja, hear me; I would speak to thee. It is two months since the day the Priest spoke. It is two months, Raja; hear my prayer! I tell thee, thou hast now forgotten the intention of
thy heart. I tell thee with joined hands: hear my petition. Seat him on the throne. Make not a moment’s delay!”

RAJA JEWAR: “Worshipping Ganpat I have sent for the nobles. With joined hands I say to you do my desires. Do my desires: I have laid my head at the Brahman’s feet. See the auspicious hour and moment: have I not ordered thee? Make no delay now, Guru: I lay my head at thy feet. With joined hands I stand before thee, earnestly do I beseech thee.

It was dawn, and when he (Guga) arose thus thought he.

GUGA: “This is in my heart, that I go somewhere for the chase. I will go for the chase somewhere: this is the desire of my heart to-day. I will spur on my horse and will go into this forest. I am a Rajput warrior, I can never stay at home without wandering (at times).”

The sun’s rays here became scorching and his body was a weary. He spurred on his horse and the Raja quickly reached a well.

GUGA: “O Brahmani! Give me a drink of water! I can hardly speak with my lips. Give me a drink of water. From the well by you. I have come into misfortune! I can hardly speak with my lips.”

BRAHMANI: “Oh, my boy Guga, I will tell thee and explain. My pitcher is an earthen one: how can I give thee to drink (without pollution)? How can I give thee to drink, my boy? Hear my words! An earthen pot is polluted if even a drop of water falls on it.”

Having said this she made ready to go. She lifted up and put the two pitchers on her head. He (Guga) was grieved in his heart (at the insult); Hearing her words he worshipped Gorakhnath. Quickly he took his bow from his shoulder into his hand. He took his bow in his hand and was angry in his heart. He drew his bow and let fly and both pitchers broke at once. All her body was drenched and she began to weep (and sorrow) in her heart. And all who were standing by the well began to be very anxious.

BRAHMANI: “As thou hast done hath no one done. Mayest thou not live or prosper!”

Thus spake she weeping.

Song.

“I tell thee this from my lips : Mayest thou not live in the world ! Guga may thy children die: May their youth be never attained! May thy good fortune come to naught! Look at the state of my body. Thou hast broken my two pitchers, And made me thoroughly ashamed.”

QUEEN BACHHAL: ” With joined hands I pray thee: be not sorrowful. For thy coarse clothes that have been wetted, take silken cloths. Take silken cloths: thy pitchers were broken. They were of earth, go and take pitchers of brass. Thou hast spoken hard words and thy body does not tremble!
This is an unthinking child: there is no confidence in his deeds. Nor has he any wisdom, however much you warn him.”

RAJA SANJA (King of Kamrup in Assam, was father of Chhariyal/ Sariyal/ Siriyal, wife of Guga- her name may be a corruption of Saradya Devi – Sarawati, still worshipped at the Kamakhya shrine near Gauhati in Assam): ” Thou Priest, listen this is my desire. Go and find somewhere a match for the Princess Chhariyal. Go and find her a match: seek somewhere a handsome prince. Go quickly : delay not; hearken to my words. There is a king of the land of Bagar: they say his name is Jewar. He is of a good virtuous line; his family has some wealth. The rest is my daughter’s fate, (over which) none hath
power, Go quickly : delay not : waste not time in thinking.”

PANDIT GUNMAN (family priest of Raja Sanja): “Well hast thou said: the work shall be accomplished, Worshipping Ganpat I will complete it, Maharaja. I will complete it, Maharaja. To-day will I worship Ganpat.”

Scene changes.

PANDIT GUNMAN: “East, West, North, South, all four have I seen wandering. Four months have I spent wandering and attained nothing; O Siriyal! May yon suffer as I have suffered (for you)! What an evil hour it was, the moment of my leaving home!”

Grieving thus in his mind, he reached Jewar’s house.

RAJA JEWAR: “I fall at thy feet, O Pandit Gunman! From what land hast thou come? Where is thy home and city? Where is thy home and city? Speak pleasant words with thy lips. Remain at thy ease in my palace, sage Pandit. Why art thou ever in thought? That thou canst neither eat nor drink! Tell the truth with thine own lips, what thing thy heart hath resolved.”

PANDIT GUNMAN: “My home Dhupnagar is across seven rivers. The Raja’s name is Sanja, whose order I obey. Whose order I obey. Raja: I have wandered over the four Quarters. This is in the hands of Fate, Raja, that to-day I have succeeded. I would betroth Guga: for this am I come hither. I would put the marriage-mark on his forehead: this is the resolve of my heart.”

The news reached the palace and joy entered their hearts. They sent for all their relatives in the city at once. At once they sent.

RAJA JEWAR: “My honour is in your hands, Friends. As the matter seems to your understandings why do you not explain to me? I will not rebuff the bride that has come; I will take her heart and soul.”
There was joy in all the palaces: Guga was betrothed.

PANDIT GUNMAN: “O Raja, listen: all the work has been performed. Give me leave: may my patrons rejoice! May my patrons rejoice! May’st thou ever remain a ruler! This is my blessing, Raja: may my words be fruitful! Diamonds, pearls, rubies, jewels so the blessing leaves my lips! The betrothal over I take my leave: the anxiety of my heart is blotted out.”
Scene changes. Raja Jewar is dead.

QUEEN BACHHAL: ” Ah Fate! What hast thou done? Why hast thrown misfortune (on me)? The desires of my heart have remained in my heart, if my husband has gone to Heaven. O Husband, thou art gone to Heaven! What misery is in heart! There is none to protect (me)! Why is such trouble
given (to me)? O Lord! Thou hast given grief in the midst of joy! There is no fathoming Fate. My life will not go: I am fallen in grief day and night. My body has become unkempt! Whither hast gone
leaving me? Speak one word with thy lips and tell me!”

RAJA SANJA (on hearing of the death): “Great is my anxiety: my body is aflame. Ah Siriyal my child! Untoward is thy fate. Untoward was thy fate, my girl, from the day thou wert born. There has been no joy in the (bridegroom’s) house from the time of thy betrothal: an evil fate brought a bad and wretched destiny at thy birth. The desires of my heart have remained in my heart: nothing has been accomplished. This was the desire of my heart, that I should promise thee to him (Guga). It was in the hands of Fate that the desire of my heart should come to naught.”

Then he wrote a letter that be desired a separation.

Raja Sanja’s Letter (to Guga): ” I will not make the connection : take not the name of relationship. Take not the name of relationship, Raja : hear my words. I will not give her in marriage : take my adieus.”
Thus the Raja wrote the letter: said all his say.

As soon as the Queen (Bachhal) heard it she cried out.

QUEEN BACHHAL: “Lord! What misfortune has thou brought? I was grieving for my dead Raja: And I did not know that the world would thus jeer at me!”

GUGA: ” Why dost weep, my mother? Why art so miserable? Why dost thou not speak? Why dost thou tear the hair of thy head? Why dost thou tear the hair of thy head, mother? Why is grief in thine heart? Why dost thou brood over things that are past, mother? Tell me, mother; may the saint protect thee! What? Has anyone spoken evil to thee with his lips?”

QUEEN BACHHAL: ” My son, hear the words that are in my heart: Thy betrothal is broken off: that is why I sorrow day and night. Thus do I sorrow day and night, Prince; an evil fate is on me. When thy father went to heaven the betrothal was broken off. Some unfriendly relative has done this, going and
speaking evil. I have no right to live on in the world now.”

Hearing his mother’s words his body was filled with anger. Going into the wild forest he took and made a flute. The Raja made a flute and called on Gorakhnath. Sat somewhere under the shade of a tree and sang the Rag Bhairavi (Song of Defiance and War). Six rags and thirty-six raginis, all he played on his flute. He played his flute with his lips so that the beasts and birds of the forest were pleased.

When Basak (Chief of the Snakes) heard the sound he was displeased in his heart.

BASAK NAG: “Who hath such power in the world, that he should wake the sleeping snake? Who is this strong man that is born that plays the flute with his mouth? He has waked all the snakes in this transitory world! He has waked all the snakes. Go quickly and bring news (of him). Why has he played the flute? Go and ask the whole story, ‘ What misfortune has fallen on thee? Tell me with thy lips. Ask the whole tale: Go now and make no delay.”

TATIG NAG (servant and priest of Basak Nag):”My friend who art thou? Speak the truth from thy
Lips. Where is thy city? What is thy caste? What is thy caste? Tell me the truth. Why art thou playing the flute in the wild forest? Raja Basak has sent me to speak to thee. (Speak) or I will blow on thee in anger and thou wilt at once become ashes (breath of a Cobra is believed to be scorching).”

GUGA: “I am grandson of Raja Amar, my village is Gard Darera (in Bikaner?). I am Raja Jewar’s son, my name is Guga. Guga is my name, given me by Gorakhnath. My betrothal has been broken off. This is why I have come. He (the injurer) lives across seven rivers; his name they call Sanja. I came to the forest to complain. This is why I have come.”

BASAK NAG: “Tatig, I tell you: listen now with all your heart. Whatever Guga orders go and do thou now. 650 Go and do thou now! Delay not a moment. He is the beloved follower of Gorakhnath, obey his orders. Leave him not without his command, my friend: why do you hesitate and think? Go now and bring me news of him, and come back to me.”

TATIG NAG: “I have thought carefully over what you have said. What you have ordered with your lips, I will do it all. I will do it all as you have spoken with your lips. Wherever I may be in the forest Maharaja, be my help!”

Saying this with his lips he went to Guga. with joined hands he saluted him and bowed his head
at his feet.

TATIG NAG: “If thou hast any command say it with thy lips: I am come to thee. Basak Nag sent me to thee: worshipping thee without hearing thee.”

GUGA: “My friend, I command thee : do this. It is across seven rivers: its name is Dhupnagar. Its name is Dhupnagar (Gauhati?): the king’s daughter is Siriyal. She was betrothed (to me) and then he drew back. This is what I want. This is all I want; I have told the whole facts. The country is Karu (Kamrup?) the Goddess Kamachhya (Kamaksi, a form of Devi worshipped at Kamakhya Temple in Kamrup district near Gauhati); (the people) are great sorcerers.”

TATIG NAG: ” Since I heard the name of the city of Dhupnagar, It has dwelt in every hair (of my body) life has come into my body. Life has come into my body. I will go to Dhupnagar at once. It is a journey of a moment and I will not lose my head. I will drop my snake’s body and assume the form of a Brahman. Going thus into the palace I will see Siriyal.”

GUGA: “Do as thou wilt it rests with you. Guard my honour and marry me to Siriyal, the damsel. Marry me to Siriyal, the damsel; and all my joy will come about. My relatives have reproached me with their lips ever since the betrothal. Very wicked words have the people said with their lips. Continually is Bachhal weeping: charm away her grief.”

When he (Tatig) heard this from his lips, his eyes filled with tears.

TATIG NAG: “O Guru Gorakhnath, come and give me courage. Come and give me courage: my eyes are dropping tears. Come and give me joy in the midst of this misfortune.”

He left all the country and came to the city of Sanja. He wandered all round it and rested himself in the garden. The Princess Siriyal was with her seven maidens. She came to see the garden. He was lying quietly on the ground. He was lying quietly on the ground, dressed up as an old Brahman priest:
Stick in hand, kerchief on shoulder, and lean in appearance.

TATIG NATH: “Gjve alms! It will be a good work! I am an old Brahman priest! May virtue increase in thy father’s house! This is my blessing!”

PRINCESS SIRIYAL: “What does this Brahman want? Why is he so wretched? Ho, my maid, ask him! Why does he trouble about me? Why does he trouble about me, my maid? Go and ask him.”

She gave him a ring of nine mashas (1/12 th the weight of one tola) covered with dirt.

PRINCESS SIRIYAL: “Here, old man, take thou this! It is given thee!”

TATIG NAG: “I cannot take a dirty gift, this would not profit thee.”

Then Siriyal began swinging and singing a song. He was very pleased at heart, for now his chance had come. His chance had come; so he quickly changed his form. Slipped up a branch (of the tree) in the form of a snake. Slowly and slowly he came down, planning his deceit; Siriyal raised her eyes and saw him and fell to the ground in her fright.

TATIG NAG: “Lord, what hast thou done to me to-day?”

The opportunity came and was lost, he wept and wrung his hands. He wept and wrung his hands.

TATIG NAG: “This opportunity has gone: nothing came of it. What other plan can I make to-day? I have no resource, I made the best plan I could to-day in my mind; The opportunity that came to me has been altogether lost.”

PRINCESS SIRIYAL: “I came to the lake to bathe with all my maidens. I was nearly killed, but was saved: I saved the life in my body. I saved the life in my body, my maids; how shall I tell it with my lips? I saw him (the snake) and was very much afraid, the signs of death were on me. I had a Nagdaun (a fabulous kind of wood for taking off fetters, curing snake-bite etc) among my playthings and no one would come to me (and bring it),”

Saying this she began to weep, and shed many tears. Then Siriyal quickly spread out her sheets and took off (her clothes). And all her maids began to bathe loving her in their hearts: Loving her in their hearts.
Then he called on Gorakhnath. He made no delay, quickly put he on the snake’s form. Went into the water and no one caught sight of him.

TATIG NAG: “I wander searching for Siriyal, for whom I am come.”
When an opportunity came, then he so bit her on the toe. That great pain came into her body and she was in great trouble. Having done this to Siriyal he showed his hood.

PRINCESS SIRIYAL: “This snake has bitten me and the poison ran up me at once. This snake has bitten me! The poison has run up my body! My life cannot be saved! Death has come upon me!”

She moaned and became restless and fell upon the ground. The snake bit Siriyal and the poison ran up her body. The poison ran up her body and the news reached the Raja.

MAIDEN: “A snake has just bitten thy royal daughter Siriyal. No breath comes from her mouth and her body lies lifeless. 735 There is no hope of saying her, Raja, I tell thee.”

RAJA SANJA: “Siriyal, my daughter, why didst thou not die at thy birth? Now grieving me thou art gone! What has God done? What has God done? Great is my grief! Speak but one word with thy lips, thou darling of my life!”

Dark was the palace, men and women wept; All were miserable, Crying ‘Ah! Ah!’ with their lips. ‘Thou didst not obey, we told thee: thou wouldst go to see the garden: Unhappy was the hour: the snake bit thee!’

TATIG NAG (to a female water bearer, now as a Brahman): “I ask this of thee, tell me with thy lips: Thou wearest neither bracelets nor anklets! Why hast thou no ring in thy nose? Why hast thou no ring in thy nose? Wretched is thy plight in the land! Thou speakest not with thy lips ; why are thine eyes
filled with tears ? The tears drop from thine eyes and all thy clothes are wet (with them)? Thou goest from house to house with uncertain step as wanders a disgraced woman!”

(Female) WATER-BEARER:”Brahman, listen: I can hardly say it. The king’s daughter, Siriyal, has been bitten by a snake! Has been bitten by a snake: so there is weeping in the city: The charmers of every land have come, but they availed nothing. She was betrothed at Gard Darera, it was given up and not carried out. She went to bathe in the lake (ocean) and an evil fate befell her!”

TATIG NAG: “Water-bearer, listen! Go and tell the Raja, ‘ A charmer has come’: send for him. Send for him, Raja, I tell thee. He says with his lips, ‘ I will restore her to life; What is poison in my presence? I will send it off at once. Fleeted breath I will restore: it is an art I have acquired!’ ”

Hearing, life (and hope) came into the Raja’s body.

RAJA SANJA: “Bring him here at once, he is a worthy priest I”

Song.

“Bring him here at once! Delay not a moment. Come, Sir Priest, My honour is in thy hands! All my grief is taken away: (Since) the priest’s visit had delighted me.”

When he removed the shroud from her face, How great was the grief in his heart!

TATIG NAG: “Come and succour us, O Guru Gorakhnath! Make her sit up now, the matter is in thy hand. The matter is in thy hand.”

He borrowed a branch of a nim tree: But first he obtained in writing (a promise) of betrothal and marriage to Guga. He repeated some charms and began to exorcise, and then he moved Siriyal.
He took her toe in his mouth and sucked out the poison at once.

RAJA SANJA: “I adore thee with joined hands, I lay my head at thy feet, thou hast saved the life of the Princess Siriyal. Thou hast saved her life. I will tell thee my heart’s desire. In seven days shall her marriage be ; there shall be no lack of wealth. Come and obtain the bride; hearken: it is my desire. My hope has been fulfilled: delay not a moment.”

Then he (Tatig) took the letter of (consent to the) marriage, and his work was accomplished. He made ready to go and worshipped the Guru (Gorakhnath).

TATIG NAG: “Worshipping the Guru I started and I came in a moment. All my anxieties are afar, the fruit of my desire is fulfilled. Here is his own letter of (consent to the) marriage.”

GUGA: “Why should I be disconcerted?”

It was seven days to (the time of) returning (to Dhupnagar) and fear came into his (Guga’s) mind.

GUGA: “Come and tell me now O Guru Gorakhnath! I am fallen into the midst of trouble. My honour is in thy hand!”

Song.

“Preserve my honour. Guru, Make ready my marriage now. I am in great trouble: Great anxiety
Overwhelms me. Bring me to the other shore. Thou art Lord! Preserve my honour! Thou hast aided all the saints: Why has my turn been otherwise?”

GURU GORAKHNATH:”Why art fallen on the ground in grief? Take courage in thy heart! Get up quickly and bathe and put on splendid garments. Put on splendid garments, thou fool! why art sad at
heart?”

Taking Guga with him then he (Tatig) arrived in the twinkling of an eye. Arriving at the fields of Dhupnagar they pitched their tents. Hem Nath and Khem Nath (were there), my (of Gorakhnath) brother Gurus. They wept all round it and sounded their conchs. Carriages, elephants and palkis, beyond all number.
Seeing the procession all were astonished.

RAJA SANJA: “What devilry is this? I did not know it would be like this! An evil fate hath come (The procession was so large, that he felt unable to stand the expense and attend to their wants, and feared that therefore Gorakhnath would curse him)! With joined hands I adore thee, thou art the crown of my head. I gave thee my daughter preserve thou my honour! Preserve thou my honour: to-day I am thy humble servant. Keep me or slay me, but be my salvation! I would visit once each of these holy and revered saints. Respectfully I place myself under thy protection speak a word to me!”

Then the Raja quickly got all his elephants: With diamonds, pearls, rubies he filled a golden platter.
He filled a golden platter: the king took it in his own hands. He placed it before Gorakhnath and laid his head at his feet. He received the procession and worshipped and spread a grand feast; The marriage was held under Cancer, as the priest had directed.

PANDIT GUNMAN: “Oh Raja, hear me: listen to my .words. The proper time has now come, there remains but one night. There remains but one night, Raja: I have ascertained the time.”

Then the priest raised an altar and called on Gorakhnath. He worshipped Gauri’s son (Ganesa) and performed the marriage. The maidens sang songs of joy and all the ceremonies were performed. Some were fair, some were slim and beautiful, their beauty filled all eyes! Their hearts rejoiced, ‘ To-day have we performed Siriyal’s marriage! They bade adieu and went home with many a loving
parting.

THE QUEEN: “Ah, Siriyal, my darling, put thy arms round my neck! Put thy arms round my neck! I am desolate to-day! My love has left me and great is my grief! Darkened is the palace, darling of my life! I will not live a moment; I will stab myself and die!”

PRINCESS SIRIYAL: “Ah Mother, listen to my wretched words. How shall I live without thee; lost are my father and mother. Lost are my father and mother: from to-day is this sad plight. Mother, I will leave this life: I never had a moment’s grief (till to-day)!”

Saying this, she threw her arms round her mother’s neck. Never had she been parted from her for a moment since she had made her appearance (been born).

PRINCESS SIRIYAL: “Where have my maiden companions gone? They were the beloved of my life!”

Reason left her mind and weeping she forgot all joy!

GURU GORAKHNATH: “I pay my adieus {Ram! Ram!) to all you kings and rulers! May you have flocks and herds, sons and all wealth, and happiness to your land! Happiness to your land, Raja: these are my blessings.”

With joined hands they adored him, and quickly the cavalcade started: They reached Gard Darera ; all men and women rejoiced.
GURU GORAKHNATH: “O Bachhal, I have brought in marriage to thee thy daughter Siriyal. Rejoice in the palace, all thy sorrows are blotted out.”

Saying this Saint went away, thinking thus in his heart.

Scene changes.

GUGA: ” Mother, I say to thee with joined hands before thee: I have a desire day and night to visit the twins (Urjan and Surjan, sons of Kachhal, as promised to her by Gorakhnath through her deceit). I desire it day and night, Mother: this is in my heart. They are the sons of my aunt and very dear to me.
Without seeing them no joy is in me, pleasant are they to behold. I have not forgotten them a moment since I was born.”

She sat him on her knee and loved and caressed him.

GUGA:” Without seeing them I have no joy, I tell thee.”

Scene changes.

SURJAN: “Ah Brother, I had no joy in my heart until I saw thee. How could I live without seeing thee? Nor could I speak with my lips! Nor could I speak with my lips! I was like a woman without her lord. My life was desolate like a night without the moon: this was my state. As a house without a lamp (son), who shall guard it? Ah Brother give me something (share in the hereditary property) as it beseems thy heart!”

GUGA: “Ah Brother, why hast spoken such evil words? Why speak bitter words? They come to no good! They come to no good! Ah Brother, who has led thee on? Thousands of times I have told thee and thou hearest not. Ah fool and ignorant, look! What is it you have said? Long have I grieved that you did not understand this !”

SURJAN: “Give me half in share; there is no unfairness in that: You look to your interests and speak hard words. Speak hard words, my brother: what is in your heart? We will take half shares each; you spoke evil words. Go and ask Mother Bachhal; is she a fool? ‘They have been disinherited this is resolved in your heart to-day. If you speak evil words from your lips, you will lose your kingdom. No good will come of the thing you have resolved in your heart.”

GUGA: “Mother, hear the words of my heart. Surjan came and said an evil thing to me. He said an evil thing: I will tell thee, Mother listen! Your eyes will become red, be spoke (such) bitter words,
‘Give me half (the property) as my share, if you would keep your loved ones safe.’ I am grieved in my heart, Mother: and I have told thee. Call them and make them hear, that brothers be not separated.
They will hear thy words, be not anxious.”

QUEEN BACHHAL: ” Ah Surjan, my boy, why art thou down-hearted? Be a king, my son; keep courage in thy heart. Keep courage in thy heart: my son, I am thy benefactor. Hear thy mother’s words, and do not grieve. This world is false: it is all a false illusion. This world is false: we are in the power of falsehood. False is husband, son and wife: falsehood has destroyed religion. The mind is full of illusion in the midst of this illusion!”

SURJAN: “Mother, that speakest such words of wisdom: Why dost thou not give me (my share)? If thou be so upright! If thou be so upright! Mother, thou hast taught me wisdom. It is in thy power, Mother as thy heart desires. You speak to me often; you do not speak to Guga. Why did you blame me needlessly? I am grieved and sorrowful.”

Scene changes.

He stood before him (Guga,) with joined hands, loving him in his heart.

SURJAN: “Come Brother, let us, you and I, go hunting to-day. Let us, you and I, go hunting to-day: this is in my heart. We are Rajput warriors: this is a law to us, Brother.”

Thus he came and spread a net (of deceit) and quickly beguiled him. They mounted their horses: there was not a moment’s delay. Nothing could see them in that wild forest. Death hovered overhead and thus these three wandered madly.

GUGA: “O Brother Surjan mine, my heart is in distress. Thirst is on me, I am wretched: who will help us? Who will help us? What plight is this we are in to-day? Who can tell whether we shall save our lives in this forest! Death has surrounded us, all our joys are forgotten. Guru Gorakhnath, who would have thought such a thing as this (would happen)!”

URJAN: “Ah! Brother, listen, why art upset in thy mind? Why art in grief? Tell me the truth! Tell me the truth: why dost show such grief to-day!”

Then Urjan sat him down and beguiled the Raja with words and then Surjan drew (his sword) from the scabbard and struck him one blow. The matter was in Fate’s hands and she saved the Raja at once. He again struck a second time, but nothing came of it.

SURJAN and URJAN: “We will not leave you alive; we will take your life!”

GUGA: “O Guru Gorakhnath, why hast thou forgotten me? What? Hast gone to sleep at my turn for help? Is he sitting in some assemblage? Is he sitting in some assembly? Come and help me. What is the good of returning, Guru, when my life has gone? ‘Now is my turn to strike, say I in defiance (to the brothers).”

He drew (his sword) from the scabbard and quickly took it in his hand and struck Urjan. Quickly he struck a second blow and struck off his head. He took it, put it on his horse’s pommel and went on.

GUGA: ” Look at it, recognise it. Mother mine! And delay not. I stand before thee with joined hands, receive my greeting {Ram! Ram!)!”

She saw it and began to weep as soon as she recognised it. In her grief she fell on the ground, nor did any life remain in her body: Nor did any life remain in her body.

QUEEN BACHHAL: “Ah my son, what wickedness have you done? Why did you stretch forth your hands (to slay), wretched sinner? Such a crime as you have committed my eyes cannot bear! See me no more, nor let me see you again!”

GUGA: “Mother, I tell thee, know the truth in thy heart! Thou spakest the word; it goes not back; we are the sport of the Guru. We are the sport of the Guru, Mother: thou hast spoken the word: Know me for a Rajput warrior, it is law to me. Bhagwan is my witness that I will never see thee again, May I live seven lives in Hell if I disobey the command of my father and mother! With joined hands I pray thee, Mother Earth! Take me into thyself, or else I will kill myself now! Or else I will take my own life now. I have no friend in the world! I beseech thee, for death hath encompassed me. Delay not, but take me to-day. I have thrice vowed that I will see my mother (no more). If thou wilt take the curse (on thee) I will go whither thou sendest me. Tell it me and I will fetch and bring it thee.”

MOTHER EARTH: “Ah my son, I tell thee, how is it that thou dost not know? Musalmans are buried below, Hindus go to the pyre. .Hindus go to the pyre, my son, I tell thee. Go to Rattan Haji (probably Khwaja Mu’ainu’ddin Chishti of Ajmer, who flourished in the 12th and 13th centuries A.D.) and learn the (Musalman’s) Creed. When thou hast done this I will take thee to myself. Siriyal, Raja Sanja’s child, will curse me!”

GUGA: ”My mother spoke most wicked words to me; How can I tell them thee? Hear, Mother Earth!
Hear, Mother Earth, why dost always put me off? (She said), ‘The curse of Guru Gorakhnath be upon thee if thou return! As I mourn for these twins so mayest thou know sorrow!’ My mother cursed me, who shall put it aside?”

MOTHER EARTH: “My son, go quickly: I have shown thee. Go now, my son, and worship in Ajmer.
My son, go now and worship: make no delays. He (the saint) is as full of honour as Khwaja Khizar: go to him. Say nothing (false) with thy lips: tell him the whole tale. Thy hope will be fulfilled; repeat the Creed and come.”
GUGA: “Mother, thy true words have entered into my heart. I will go now in a minute: the fears of my heart have departed. The fears of my heart have departed: I will make ready to go at once. I will go onwards to Ajmer and my hope will be fulfilled.”

When he saw Rattan Haji and Khwaja Khizar he stood before them. He saluted them with joined hands and said :

GUGA:”Hear ye my words. Many days have I waited to see you. Teach me the Creed! Alas! my Mother’s words have slain me.”

RATTAN HAJI: “My friend, who art thou? Why is thy mind upset? What is thy name? Tell me the truth.”

Song.

“Tell me the truth, friend: Why dost make such delay? What is thy name and caste? What misfortune hath encompassed thee? Thou comest to learn the Creed, And dost not tell thy name and caste!”

GUGA: ” I am Gorakhnath’s disciple: Bagar is my home. Guga is my name, the whole world knows me: The whole world knows me. I had two (brothers) sons of my mother’s (sister). They deceived me greatly: they took me into the forest. They first tried to slay me and then I slew them. I took both their heads, and came and showed them to my mother. When my mother saw the heads she said evil words to me. If thou come and show thy face again mayest thou go down into Hell!”

RATTAN HAJI: “My heart is fall hearing all this evil. Come, my son, sit down here: I will teach thee the Creed. I will teach thee the Creed, and repeat the call to prayer in thy ears. Be thou Hindu or Musalman I teach thee the Creed. Go, my son, to Gard Darera, (Mother Earth) will receive thee.
I am responsible to no one (for this): Fate hath decreed it.”

GUGA: ” I have heard the call to prayer, I have learnt the Creed, I come to thee: Mother (Earth), fulfil the desire of my heart. Fulfil the desire of my heart. Mother; much trouble have I borne. Whose virtue remains will not come back to this world,(will be free from cycle of life and death). See Hari Chand (Raja Harishchandra), he lost not his faith through his virtue.”

When he had said this the Earth took him to herself at once.

Sarad, I adore thee; Ganpat, I worship thee. I have finished the whole legend; be ye my salvation. Be thou my salvation, Mother (Sarad). I have fulfilled my desire. From the day I worshipped thee, thou hast shown me the forgotten verses. In the seven climes and the nine quarters thou art not fathomed.
Saith Bansi Lal; Mother, I have finished Guga’s Legend. Mother, be my help. That art sung in the Four Vedas, To him who worships thee, Grant eternal knowledge, Great Mother!

References:

  1. Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, James Tod (1832)
  2. Supplement to the Glossary of Indian Terms; H.M. Elliot (1844)
  3. Sketch on the religious sects of the Hindus; H.H. Wilson, R. Rost (1861)
  4. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Volume 38, Part 1
  5. Qanoon-e-Islam; Jafar Sharif, 1832
  6. A memoir of Central India; John Malcolm, 1832
  7. A History of the Sikhs; J.D. Cunningham, 1853
  8. Punjab District Gazetteers, Volume VII (Part A) Ambala District, 1923-24
  9. Report of a tour in the Punjab in 1878-79; Sir Alexander Cunningham;1882
  10. Legends of the Panjab, Volume I, R. C. Temple (1884).

 

 

Mountain Biking in Morni Hills

Morni Hills are increasingly becoming a popular destination for mountain biking. The serene atmosphere, the challenging gradients with sharp bends and low motorised traffic make the hill track ideal for cycling enthusiasts. Trainees from the ITBP Training Centre at Bhanu and the Indian Army from the Chandimandir Cantonment are frequently seen sweating it out on this challenging track.

Mountain Biking in Morni

 

 

 

Tals of Morni

The Morni hills are off-shoots of the Shivalik range and run in two-parallel ranges from south-east to the north-west. The ranges are divided by the Ghaggar river.

Morni and Tipra Ranges

To the south-east of the Morni range, the ground is broken by projecting spurs that nestle two-ancient natural lakes, Bhim Tal and Draupti Tal.

Tals of Morni

The lakes are located at 28 degree 25′ N and 76 degree 30′ E, at a height of 2000 feet and are seperated by a small hillock. The lakes are surrounded by slopes with terraced agricultural fields on all sides. The higher reaches of the surrounding hills are covered with trees including chil pines. The slopes thus drain naturally into the lakes that overflow into the Tangri rivulet which joins the Ghaggar river. The water of the lakes is used to meet the drinking water needs of the surrounding areas as well as for irrigating the fields. Bhim Tal is the larger of the two lakes and has a water spread of 16.8 hectares and a maximum depth of 4 metres. The gross capacity of the lake is 66.5 hectare metres. The Draupti Tal has a water spread of 7.08 hectares with a maximum depth of 3.4 metres and a gross capacity of 23.67 hectare metres. The morni tals are sometimes collectively referred to as the ‘Tikkar Tal’.

Tikkar Tal

To get an idea of the size of the Morni tals we may compare them to the other well known lakes. The capacity of the man made Sukhna Lake at Chandigarh is 513 hectare metres (down from its original 1074 hectare metres in 1958). The Bhim Tal of Nanital district has a water surface of 63.25 hectares and 18 metre depth. The smallest lake of Nanital, Sattal has a water surface of 17 hectares and 30 metre depth. Naukuchiatal Lake of Nanital district is 40 metres deep.

In the year 2001-02, scientists from the Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Kolkatta conducted an ecological study of the Morni taals to assess their suitability for fish production. They found the water alkaline and rich in dissolved organic matter and nutrients. The waters are rich in plankton (dinophyceae being the dominant plankton) and bottom fauna (dominated by chironomids). The basin soil is alkaline, sandy loam. Common Carp is the predominant species of fish that has flourished owing to its hardy nature, tolerance to the cold waters and prolific breeding. P. sarana, L. rohita, C. catla, H. molitrix and C. mrigala are the other varieties. Common Carp and P. Sarana comprise 95% of the catch by the private contractors to whom the taals are auctioned for fish farming by the Haryana Fisheries Department.

Haryana Tourism Department runs a resort by the lakeside. Boating facilities are managed by private contractors. A couple of private resorts also operate from this area. The lakes are located at a distance of 9 km from the Haryana Tourism Resort, Mountain Quail located on the Morni Hill close to the seventeenth century fort of the Meers.

The 19th Century Gazetteers of British India and books refer to the twin sacred tals of Tikkar. Two such references have been reproduced here:

‘ … a large hill tract, known as the Kotaha pargana, … composed of two parallel ranges, the sources of the river Ghaggar. This mountainous region differs widely in its physical features and in the character of its inhabitants, from the level plain at its foot. It is covered by the forest of Morni, in whose midst, enclosed by projecting spurs, lie two remarkable lakes. A hill divides them from one another, but some hidden communication evidently exists between their basins, as the level of either is immediately affected by any withdrawal of water from its neighbour. The people regard them as sacred ; and a ruined temple in honour of Krishna, which stands upon the bank of the larger lake, is the scene of a great annual festival. The village and fort of Morni lie considerably higher up the mountain-side. Below the hills, the face of the country assumes at once the appearance of a level plain. It has, however, a uniform slope towards the south-west ; and near the hills its surface is broken at intervals by the beds of mountain torrents . . .

The Imperial Gazetteer of India (1885); Author: Hunter, William Wilson, Sir

 

‘In this locality (Kotaha pargana) there are two curious lakes, situated in the extensive forest of Morni, about 2000 feet above sea level, and only a few miles from the town of Kotaha; a hill runs between them but the water in these lakes is always on the same level, perhaps because they are connected by some subterraneous passage. The Hindus regard them as very sacred, and they have several shrines on the margin erected in honour of Krishna.’

The Land of Five Rivers and Sindh (1883); Author: David Ross

 

In 1868, the British toyed with the idea of supplying water to Umballa cantonment from the lakes of Morni to meet the water shortage on account of declining sub-soil water level and drying of wells.

Indian notes- Francis Roberts Hogg – 1880