King Eagle was expecting a crown prince.
He is now old, and needs a son to accept his responsibility. Their earlier children were either very weak, or could not survive their childhood. This time they had prayed to God Vayu to give them a crown prince to continue the legacy. King Eagle is almost sure God Vayu would grant his wish.
When the prince was born, there was great rejoicing around their tree palace. Birds of all species, dear to King Eagle were invited to see the new baby breaking the shell and shrieking into the light of a new life. The little thing decided to take revenge on the flimsy walls which imprisoned him for long, and with a powerful peck of his well formed beak destroyed the shell to leap from darkness to light. He was a beautiful specimen of the King of Air, and almost immediately made his presence felt. King Eagle knew God Vayu had given him not only an heir, but someone who would set new standards of royalty. The Queen mother fed him with carefully picked dishes. Looking at his appetite she was satisfied that at last she had succeeded in perpetuating the king’s dynasty. The invitees had some repast, and returned both satisfied, and scared. Satisfied that King Eagle would not fault them, and scared that this boy was going to exercise his authority ruthlessly.
And the little heir, who was named Akash, grew up fast as if by magic. King Eagle knew his hold on his long life was getting weaker by day, and the little Akash knew he must tighten his hold on life. Around him lay a huge world, for that was what his father, King Eagle, told him, and above an immense sky, his namesake. He had to conquer both, he had to prove what the father did the son could do better. But King Eagle knew Akash had to go a long way to realise his dreams. King Eagle remembered his own childhood with his father. His father doted on him, but during learning times he was a block of stone. That paid him good dividends in the long run. He would make his son too go through the same hard school.
It was a bright day, gentle and quiet. Both father and son were sitting on the top branch of their home tree. King Eagle was silent, looking at the horizon, as if he knew what lay there across the wall of invisibility. Akash wanted to ask him many questions, but he respected father’s silence. Though he loved his father immensely, he was always awed by his presence. But when he sat with his father Akash always felt there was nothing he could not achieve, nowhere he could not go, no impediment he could not shatter. When his father sat like that on top of a branch, or a tall rock, Akash would keep looking at him, his strong legs, powerful wings, penetrating eyes, the golden beak reaching out from a shapely and muscular neck which appeared as if it can shift a snow-clad peak. He would be overwhelmed by his father’s personality, and knew no other growing child had a father like his. He would always thank God Vayu for giving him such a wonderful father, for his mother had told him that God Vayu was their family Deity, and the Lord of earth and sky.
Suddenly King Eagle turned, looked at his son, and smiled. A wave of great warmth filled the adoring son’s heart. He came closer to him, and said, “Dad”…
“Yes, my son…”
“I wanted to ask you some questions”.
“Yes, go on, son…”
“Dad, you are the king of earth and sky?”
“God Vayu is, I am only asked by him to look after his kingdom. So shall you do after me.”
“After you means you are going somewhere?”
“I have to leave when God Vayu relieves me from my charge.”
“And go where?”
“Wherever God Vayu takes me. You don’t worry about all that. Now your work is to grow
up fast and prepare to take up my responsibility.”
Akash thought for some time, and asked,
“But Dad, if you are not around who would look after me?”
“I cannot always be with you to look after you. You must learn to look after yourself, and
this kingdom too. You are the crown prince, after me you shall be crowned king, and
then you have to do what I have been doing all these years.”
“What have you been doing all these years, dad?”
“Keeping the earth and sky safe for all the birds.”
It was a new revelation for Akash. So his father has been a protector for all the birds flying around their home. His heart was filled with pride. But he felt that pride is a heavy thing to carry. He almost felt the heaviness on his shoulders.
“Yes my son?”
“Surely it was not easy to carry such a load for so many years?”
“Well, I never asked for a lighter weight. I knew it was my duty to look after
my subjects, and when you love them, there is no weight in love.”
“Dad, I don’t think I understood that properly.”
“You will, when you accept the responsibility.”
“But I want you to be always with me.”
“You are my son. So I will always be in your heart guiding you.”
“But why can’t you be with me like this, talking to me?”
“The rule of God Vayu is that every father must give his responsibility to his son when
the son grows up so that he could be as big as his father.”
“So you are saying that in order that I must be as big as you, you must leave me?”
King Eagle smiled at the cleverness and loyalty of his son.
“It is not like that my son. We have to follow rules so that everybody will know some
rules cannot be broken. They will discipline themselves, and the king’s work shall be
easier. There will be peace in the world, and the weak birds shall be safe from the
Akash thought for some time, and nodded. King Eagle was happy that his son would soon be ready to take up his life’s work.
“Yes my son…”
“Will that make you happy?”
“Very much. I can leave with satisfaction that I have a worthy son.”
“Why? Did you have any doubts about that?”
“Not really. But you have to prove that.”
“Why do you need me prove what you already know?”
“Not to me, but to your subjects who need to be confident about your ability.”
“How can I do so?”
“By training hard. You have to train your mind to understand when God Vayu speaks
from your heart. Then train your body to do what God Vayu tells your mind.”
Akash thought for a long while, then said,
“Dad, it is very hard to understand.”
King Eagle suddenly opened out his wings and flew away like an arrow. Before Akash could take the surprise move, King Eagle caught up with a hawk who was after a baby dove. When the hawk found King Eagle coming towards him, he changed his direction and flew away. King Eagle returned to his home tree, and sat by his son.
“Dad, how could you see the hawk and the dove at such a distance?”
“O that is nothing. I can see beyond that mountain peak. You must be able to see far
if you must protect the weak and the helpless. And you must learn to do it fast. You
can’t say, let it be, anyway I am not affected. When you do God Vayu’s work, you
must not think of yourself.”
“Dad, but doves are food of hawks. You prevented the hawk from getting its food.
Was that right ?”
King Eagle was glad his son had started thinking about right and wrong.
“Doves are one of the most beautiful birds created by God Vayu. And they cannot
defend themselves against hawks. If allowed, hawks can destroy all the doves
in the sky. I cannot allow complete destruction of such a beautiful race. So I
“I understand. You have to see far, decide what is right and wrong, stand up for the
weak and helpless, outfly the rogue bird… dad, did the God Vayu ask you do this?’
“When you purify your mind by long practice, God Vayu’s thoughts would flash in
“How long one has to practise?”
“Depends on how strong is your desire to learn.”
“When are you starting my training dad?”
“From tomorrow. Tomorrow is your third birthday. It is time to start.”
“Dad, what are you going to teach me?”
“You will first learn to overcome space and time.”
“O, dad, why can’t you speak in a language your son can understand?”
“Nothing is difficult for my son. You have to learn flying in high speed. Low speed,
sideways flying, arrow flying etc. That is overcoming space. You have to eat well,
and get strong for this practice.”
“And overcoming time?”
“When you decide to do a good thing, do it immediately. Don’t tell yourself,
tomorrow I will do it, or day after, or let me think more about it, or why should I
do it first? Let others start, and then I will follow. There is no wisdom in inviting
risk, or some such thing. You will gradually learn all about it.”
“And then your training would come to a very exciting final stage.”
“What is that dad?”
“You will learn to make friends with the sky.”
“Make friends with the sky? How does one do that?”
“This is the most rewarding, and most practical part of your training. You will go to the Eagle Peak, where generations of eagles go for their final training, and live there alone with the sky all around you until you see the face of God Vayu in the sky, see Him everywhere, outside and inside of yourself. It is like a fish living in water completely surrounded by it. You will gradually be lost in that glorious experience of God Vayu surrounding you on all sides.”
“Is it a scaring experience?”
“No it is a very delightful experience.”
“But is it necessary, for example, to rule a kingdom?”
“Very much. After that you will be able to love everything more and more, the birds on sky, as well as trees around you on earth. That will teach you compassion, and sacrifice. Without compassion, and sacrifice you cannot be a king. After you experience that on the Eagle Peak, come back, I will crown you king, and retire.”
King Eagle had been waiting for his son for months. He had gone away for his last stage of training months ago, and the light from the eyes of the old king was fading away. He could not leave without declaring him king, for that was the order of God Vayu, nor could he carry the burden of a long life any further. His soul was crying out for release from the cage, to be one with the sky, and God Vayu. But Akash hadn’t yet completed his training. The queen had left him, the world around was changing very fast. Birds didn’t seem to have as much faith in his words as he had seen when his father was the king. But he had faith in his son. Akash had been an intelligent boy, a hardworking, and stubborn boy. Besides, he kept him under personal supervision, and loved him both as a father and mother when the queen left them a few weeks after Akash was born.
King Eagle woke up from a daydream. That familiar modulation, a little gruffy notwithstanding. A voice you can tell embodied power, confidence and affection, even without opening your eyes. There was only one person who could call him dad. And King Eagle was wafted back years when he had stood by his ailing father after returning from the Eagle Peak. King Eagle had lost count of time. It was as if he was expanding through the corridors of time bursting at all seams, spreading all over the earth and sky, merging in all that ever was, and shall be. He saw himself sitting in front of his son, or himself? He didn’t have to open his eyes though.
“Dad, I have completed my training. You were correct. You were always correct. Now I can experience God Vayu all around me. I know He is all this, and in all this. The experience of this oneness fills me with love for everything, the birds, beasts as well as the trees, the hills, and the rivers. Dad, thank you for your patient training. Now I understand what it means to be a king, unless he experiences himself in smallest of his subjects he cannot be bigger than them.”
King Eagle opened his eyes, smiled at the new king, and allowed his soul to leave the cage.