Kids Corner


Part III





Continued from yesterday …

At last Balnath understands Ranjha’s love and realizes that he would never give up the search for his beloved. So Balnath prays, pours ashes over his body and goes into deep meditation.

He closes his eyes and in the darbar of God utters, “Oh! God of the earth and the sky, Ranjha has given up his family and all that he possesses, to become a jogi for the love of Heer. Please grant him his heart’s desire.”

Balnath opens his eyes and says, “My son, Heer has been bestowed upon you. Go and find her.”

So Ranjha leaves with strange herbs and potent roots from the woods for Rangpur. He enters the village of the Kheras. Women young and old, surround him. They pour out their woes to him. He draws mysterious lines on some of their foreheads. To others, he gives strange herbs. And a few receive special lines to recite. His fame spreads: The Jogi with rings in his ears and eyes that shine with the brilliance of fire can cure many ailments.

He goes door to door, playing his conch and seeks alms. Some give him flour, others bread and dishes of food. He blesses them all.

Finally, Ranjha arrives at Heer’s home. Sehti opens the door and is mesmerized by him.

“Jogi, if you truly have the powers that I have heard of, maybe you can cure our bride Heer. Day by day, she is getting weaker.”

“Bring your bride here so that I may see her and check the color of her eyes. I need to feel her pulse before I can prescribe any remedy. But she needs to tell me what ails her,” Ranjha replies.

Heer overhears the conversation and says, “Jogi, be gone. Why should anyone disclose the secrets of one’s heart to jogis, strangers and fools?”

“We are the jogis of God. Ask anything from us, and we can bring it about. If a lover is parted, our magic spells can unite them.”

“What you say is not true, Jogi. Parted friends cannot be reunited. I have searched far and wide but have found no one who can accomplish that. Tell me, will your God bring back the lover I have lost?”

The Jogi replies, “I know all the secrets of the universe. If you sit near me, I will open the holy book and it will reveal all. You were young when you met a boy who played the flute. Your eyes met and your hearts were riveted by each other. He grazed your family’s buffaloes in hopes of marrying you, but you married elsewhere, and his hopes were drowned in the deep waters of despair. The Five Pirs had married you to him and this second marriage of yours is not lawful. Love has pierced him and he wanders in forests and desolate places. He went to Tilla and got his ears pierced and became a jogi. He has entered your village. He is not far from you.”

Heer is astonished and stands up. “Tell me, Jogi, where is my lover who stole my heart and has brought ruin on himself?”

The Jogi replies, “Why are you searching outside? Your lover is in your own home. Remove your veil and see him standing before you.”

“It cannot be true. He cannot be in this house.”

Heer unveils and sees her beautiful lover standing before her. With flowing tears, she whispers, “Our secret must be hidden from the eyes of all. Tomorrow afternoon, meet me in the field across the well.”

The next afternoon, Ranjha waits in the field. He sees her. “Do I really see the Heer of Sial or a fairy?”

With folded hands, Heer falls at Ranjha’s feet. “Embrace me, my beautiful one, for the fire of separation is burning me. My heart, liver and intestines have been charred. I have not let any man touch me. I am yours and only yours. But I can no longer bear this pain of separation. Take me away from here.”

Tears flow from Ranjha’s eyes. Tenderly he lifts her, kisses the palms of her hands and caresses her face. Their lips meet and nectar flows. Swaying together in the intoxication of love, passion ignites and races through their blood.

But they are seen. News of their meeting spreads like wild fire.

*   *   *   *   *

Heer’s mother-in- law beats her breast and wails, “We have loved you and done all that you have asked and is this the reward we get?”

With eyes of steel, Saida says, “Go, be with your lover. There is nothing left for you here.”

“You will leave empty-handed. We will not return any of your dowry to you,” screams her mother-in- law as Heer walks out of the village with Ranjha.

“Beloved, let me take you back to your parent’s home. It is the right thing to do. I will bring a wedding procession and we will be married in the ways of the world. Otherwise, people will say that you are a wanton woman, and their taunts will destroy you. I cannot let you suffer anymore.”

“My beautiful Ranjha, I will do as you wish. But know that my family may not still agree to our marriage. What will you do then?”

“Beloved, I will not be able to bear the insults that will be hurled on you by the world. We must try and if they don’t agree, then I will take you to Takht Hazara.”

*   *   *   *   *

News of them being reunited reaches Jhang. Heer’s family welcomes them back with open arms. They put a turban on Ranjha’s head and give him a silk shirt to wear. All seems well.

Ranjha leaves Heer for Takht Hazara. He shares the news of his upcoming wedding with his brother’s and their wives. They dance with joy and sing wedding songs. Many baskets of fruit and sweets are being prepared to take to Jhang.

But Kaido, Heer’s uncle is distraught. He approaches the elders and says, “Brothers of Sial, our honor is at stake. The world will say, ‘Look at the faithfulness of these Sials. They marry their daughters to one man and then contemplate giving her in marriage to another.’ We will be taunted forever with the story of Heer. We will be disgraced if we allow her to marry Ranjha. The only way out of this mess, is to kill Heer -- even if it sinful in the eyes of God. This way Sial’s honor will be protected.”

The men agree, as does Heer’s mother. She prepares a drink mixed with poison and gives it to her unsuspecting daughter. Heer drinks it and as her breathing becomes difficult, she cries out again and again: “Bring Ranjha to me so that I may see him once again. Please bring him, please bring him.”

Her cries fall on deaf ears and she leaves this earth with the name of Ranjha on her lips.

O Ranjha!
You and I
Will meet again,
When and where,
I know not.

All I know
Is that
You and I
Will meet again.

Her family buries her and sends a messenger with a letter to Ranjha. The messenger hands the letter to Ranjha and sobbingly says, “Death from whom no one can escape has taken your treasure. Heer has been dead for the last four days. The family buried her yesterday and have sent me to give you the news.”

Ranjha’s brothers and their wives gather around him. Wails fill the air. Ranjha picks up his flute and walks out of his home once again.

Walking aimlessly, he reaches the banks of the Chenab River. Every pore is his body is crying out in pain. Darkness descends. When he is about to jump into the Chenab, he hears, “No, my beautiful Ranjha, don’t do that.”

Ranjha stops. It’s Heer’s voice. He looks around, searching for her.

“Beautiful, I am within you. I am with you. You must live, for me to live.”

Ranjha feels Heer’s presence within him. He can no longer contemplate taking his own life, for Heer is in him. He sits under the shade of the tree, and plays his flute. Song flows like never before. He sees Heer smiling in the waters of the Chenab. He sees her dancing on the banks of the Chenab. Chenab is now his home, for that is where Heer lives.

His songs reach every heart. His fame grows. He asks for nothing, for he has everything. He is totally content and at peace with himself and the world. And when people ask who he is, “I am Heer’s Ranjha,” is all he says.

Heer lives.

*   *   *   *   *

The story of true lovers is like the fragrance of a jasmine. The ones who read this story with love in their hearts will feel the love of Heer and Ranjha.

Lovers abide in their own realms,
They journey through the layers of intimacy
Of flesh, mind, spirit.

Deep in the throes of love,
They leave the world behind.

Cocooned --
Nectar overflows
Nourishing them.

The hum of the universe
Pulsates in their hearts.

The luster of the stars
Reflects in their eyes.

Egos transcended,
Boundaries lost,
Identities merged,
Vision distinct.

*   *   *   *   *


[Inni Kaur is the author of the book series, ‘Journey with the Gurus'.]

May 6, 2017


Conversation about this article

1: Ajit Singh Batra (Pennsville, New Jersey, USA), May 06, 2017, 12:27 PM.

Inni ji, beautiful portrayal in words of the narrative of Heer and Ranjha. Love and truth wins.

2: Hardev Singh (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), May 08, 2017, 2:12 PM.

Waris Shah's great love story retold beautifully by Inni ji. Thank you.

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Part III"

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