(A forest. Matsyendranath’s voice is heard; then characters enter and take over the story.)
MATSYENDRANATH: Once Lord Shiva and his consort, Parvati, were roaming in the forest of Manapuri. When they wanted to go back home, they discovered that they had lost their way. Lord Shiva was extremely hungry, so he asked his consort to make him some food.
SHIVA: Parvati, you prepare a meal for me, and in the meantime let me go and look for a road so that we can come out of this forest. I will try to find a road that leads to the city. I am sure there is one.
(Lord Shiva begins to leave. Suddenly he has a vision.)
SHIVA: Parvati, I have just had a vision. I saw that as soon as I leave you a hostile force will come to attack you.
PARVATI: Please, please, if you have seen this then don’t leave me here alone!
SHIVA: Don’t worry. You can stay here in perfect safety. I am drawing a circle on the ground. You stay inside it. Do not go out of the circle. Now, I am leaving my trident with you. As soon as this asura comes, you just throw it at him, and he will be killed. I must go now.
(Parvati begins to prepare the meal. Enter a giant asura.)
PARVATI: O God! This asura is a giant! What a ferocious looking creature! I shall throw the weapon of Lord Shiva at him and pierce his heart.
(She throws and hits him. He falls.)
PARVATI: Oh! This awful asura is bleeding profusely. Look! His blood has fallen on my meal. The impure blood of the giant has poisoned Shiva’s food!
SHIVA: Parvati, are you all right? What a tremendous asura! A giant!
ASURA: Shiva, your consort has struck me with your weapon. Since my life has been brought to an end by you two, I am all gratitude. All my life I have done undivine things. I have become the champion devotee of ignorance. Now your divine weapon and your consort, who is the divine Mother, have taken my life away. Please grant me one boon, only one boon: that I may not recover. Do not use your power to revive me. Just let me die here. But first, please allow me to touch your feet and be blessed by you.
(He touches Shiva’s feet.)
SHIVA: O giant, you will now be liberated. On the physical plane you will die, but on the inner plane you will be immortal because of your most sincere prayer for liberation.
PARVATI: My Lord, the impure blood of this hostile force has fallen on your food and polluted it.
SHIVA: I am concentrating on it, and with my compassion-power I am purifying it.
SHIVA: Now that I have conquered this undivine force with my spiritual power, I shall taste a portion of this food. The world is full of ignorance. When ignorance is transformed it is a divine miracle. I am offering this portion of food to the giant, and I am using my spiritual power to transform the food that is left into mala beads. Whoever uses these beads for japa will get realisation without fail.