6. Volcano Islands

Karingila the blue whale carrying Krishna and Balarama, whistling and spouting water jets travelled fast in a north western direction in the Indian Ocean. With a length of hundred feet and with the dimension of five elephants, it was a very big animal in the sea and other fishes and creatures were afraid to come near it.

Karingila was nearing the shores of Chavaka (Java) island. Sitting on his back, Krishna and Balarama were enjoying the sight of the setting sun. Krishna played raga malayamarudam on his flute (A raga of Indian music) All the ocean creatures came nearby, enraptured by the music.

While gliding in the water Karingala was telling them of life in the oceans.

There are thousands of species of fish here. Generally they have scaly bodies and bones. They have fins for swimming, gills for breathing. As water flows through a thin membrane in the gills, oxygen is taken to the blood stream. Some fish escape their enemies by camouflaging their colour with that of their surroundings. Unlike fish which are cold-blooded, whales and dolphins are warm blooded mammals.

There are hundreds of varieties of sharks too. Some of these, big white sharks, now collected around them, smelling human flesh, and started attacking them. Each of them were about thirty feet in length. With open mouth and sharp teeth, one of them tried pouncing on the back of the whale, to get at Krishna and Balarama. Karingila maneuvered by turning swiftly to save them. Miraculously the flute in Krishna’s hand transformed into his all-powerful weapon, the Sudarshana chakra. Krishna aimed the chakra towards the attacking shark. The Chakra, with lightning speed, cut the head of the shark. This effectively dispersed the other sharks too. The chakra came back to Krishna.

Next day at dusk Karingila reached the shores of Chavaga island. There was a mountain at a distance which was fuming and fretting. Fire and smoke were emanating from its top. From the inner vaults of the earth, granite and metals in a liquid state called lava overflowed from the top of the mountain and flowed down the sides. The sky was filled with ashes.

People living in the vicinity fled hither and thither. The lava flowed like giant serpants chasing the helpless people. Some of them were caught in the river of fire.

Krishna blew his shankha called Panchajanya. There was tremour in the wind. Then a voice from the sky loudly called out Jwalamukhi! A black woman with firy red dress came from the mountain.

Krishna asked her “Why are you so angry, my girl?”

She answered in a voice soaked with anger and frustration. “My sweetheart Madhi Vadhanan (Moon) has left me high and dry and has not returned still. I was bubbling with the fire of separation in the womb of mother earth. I just tried to peep from this mountain window to check whether my beloved has come. Please forgive me, my Lord!”

In the meantime, the moon with red face rose from the eastern ocean. Jwalakukhi the sweet heart of Madhivadanan the moon, paid her respects to Krishna and cooled down by embracing her love.

Balarama asked Krishna whether this woman lives in this part of the earth.

“Bhooma Devi, from the time of her separation from Lord Sooryanarayana (the Sun God), is carrying the eternal fire of separation in her heart. Jwalamukhi her daughter is the embodiment of that fire. She peeps her head wherever the earth’s crust is brittle. These islands are some such areas. The moon god pacifies her anger from time to time. But still this anger is in her nature.” So said Krishna to Balarama.

“I don’t know how people live in such perpetually dangerous places” sighed Balarama.

“Can you show a place which is trouble-free to life? That is why nature has provided its creatures the ability to adapt! It is upto their intelligence to survive the dangers of nature!”

Then they explored the island by riding on Karimukha. This area was around the equator where the sun’s heat was intense. There were abundant rain and rain forests. They saw orangutans, lion-tailed monkeys, fresh water crocodiles and many other animals. They were to travel north east to putpaka island (Sumatra) and cross over to the south east Asian peninsula. At this juncture Naradha appeared and started singing and dancing in which Jwalamukhi and orangutans took part.

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