Divine ant

by venkata krishnan

When the egg hatched; something told the old sorcerer ant from inside, that this little one was special.

For just about the same time, it rained after many years.

Monstrous dark thunder clouds accompanied by gusty winds lashed rain heavily on the parched fields, lakes and canals; much to the joy and relief to the inmates of the ant-hill, one among the several that dotted the barren grounds around the holy hillock; abode of the temple of the great God.

Built by the great Chola Empire in the early 10th century, the temple atop the steep hill had been a revered religious center for devotees who thronged in from various places - far and nearby. 

Over many centuries, many village settlements had sprung up around the hill to cash in on the burgeoning number of devotees.

All these changed, when the rains failed for several years together, resulting in severe famine all across the kingdom.

Acute shortage of water and food lead to starvation and forced most of the villagers to move out of the kingdom in hordes along with the livestock.

The temple too lost its glory as the flow of devotees got trickled down to a few staunch handful.

The once busy villages around the hillock wore a deserted look and the lush green fields, bountiful lakes and canals, lay barren.

The ant community too felt the pinch of the famine as food became scarce to get.

But now, looking at the rain,  the old sorcerer ant sensed that everything was about to change.

“Look at the rains! It's a sign...” the old sorcerer ant said, rising up his voice as much as he could, so that the other ants could listen, “It’s the holy sign!”
“This little one is the offspring of God himself” the sorcerer ant said looking towards the temple on top of the hill.

**

At first, no ant was ready to accept and agree upon the prophecy of the old sorcerer ant, including the parents of the little one.

“He’s become old and mad” the ants would say; as it was too hard for them to contemplate how God, whom the humans so reverently worship, could send someone for them.

“Why not?” the old sorcerer ant would argue, “Haven’t we heard from our elders that we are all part of God’s creation! Why would the God ignore us then?”

“Didn’t you see how it started to rain when he was born?” 

“But this little one wasn't the only thing to be born at that specific moment”, some ants argued.

“You know what our problem is?” the old sorcerer ant said “We ants have assumed that we are too trivial in God’s creation. We believe that an offspring of God should necessarily take the form of some of his larger creations – a man or an animal perhaps… Why do we have to feel inferior about ourselves?”

“What’s wrong with us? Aren’t we intelligent than most of other God’s creations of our size?"

“Don’t we built and live in colonies? Don’t we communicate with one another by relaying information? Don’t we exhibit togetherness with one another while completing tasks through teamwork and understanding? Don't we "store" food for the future? Aren't we then rightly the first “civilized” creation of God?” 

“Tell me one good reason as to why God shouldn’t send his progeny in our form?” 
No ant could come up with any justifying answer to contradict his claim.

“From today…We will call this little gift of God... Divine”” proclaimed the old sorcerer ant. 

**


When Divine was big enough to understand, he was told by the old sorcerer ant, that he was special.

He was also told about the sign of God - the torrential rains that proclaimed his birth.

And since his birth, it rained regularly, and the people returned back to the villages, the barren fields have turned green again, lakes and ponds are abundant with water and devotees started teeming back to the holy temple on the hillock.

Scarcity of food became a thing of the past - both for the people in the villages and the ant community in its vicinity.

“You are unique”, the old sorcerer ant looked up at Divine and said, “You shouldn't waste your life by doing what all other ants do... you aren't born for doing mundane work... you are here to do something - SPECIAL”

“What shall I do?” Divine wondered.

“Something that no other ant has ever done before”

“I need time to think”, Divine said and left off for solitude on top of the steep cliff  in the hillock overlooking the temple.

**

A few days later, Divine came down the hill and announced before the old sorcerer ant and all the other ants, “I think I know what to do..... I will meet God in heaven - face to face”


All ants were dumbstruck on hearing it. How would a tiny and humble ant meet God? Is it possible? Will God accept an audience with a tiny ant? 

But the old sorcerer ant's face lit up on hearing it. 

“Divine, my child... I knew it... You were born to do something different...” he said holding back his tears “Go on...my child...  Be the first ant to meet our God...”

**

From that day onwards, Divine started his journey to meet God.

He had seen from the cliff above how the people circumambulated the holy hillock in clockwise direction as part of the religious practice. Something told him from inside that he could meet God if he did the same thing too.

And so he started to walk around the hillock saying out the God's name every now and then.

At first, all other ants would look at him in wonderment and disbelief as he walked past through the villages and fields around the hillock all through day and night, resting only for a while for food and some rest.

But with passing time, they started to awe and believe in his grit and determination to meet the God. Slowly they started to accept that he was indeed born for a purpose and the mission to meet God.

For years, Divine walked around the hillock. 

He became old and weak and soon lost count on how many rounds he had taken.

Until one day, he finally died.

  **

It took a while for Divine to believe his own eyes.

He was standing in heaven at the doorstep of the abode of the very God whom he reverently worshipped all throughout his life.

On the other side of the door step was expanse of the milky waters; just as he had heard about it from the old sacred ant. He knew his God was somewhere in these waters.

He looked around and saw several people walking through the enormous doorstep and in the waters chanting out the name of God. But they were all humans and he was the only odd one out. 

He was happy for making it so far.

"Where's my Lord?"

"Over there" the angel escorting Divine said.

"Where? I couldn't see HIM"

"Do you see the bright light over there!" the angel said pointing out to a bright luminance on the horizon "That's where our Lord is resting along with his consort... But first, we might have to walk across these milky waters to reach Him..." pointing to the water in front of them

"Let's walk then" Divine said.

"Shall I carry you to meet Him?"

"Why?"

"I am afraid you have very little spark in your soul left..." the angel said, "It wouldn't be sufficient enough to last long enough for your walk"

"No.." Divine said, "I intend to walk myself"

"Not only that...  Once you cross these waters, you may have to stand in a queue to seek his final audience... And today there are several visitors to see Him.."

"Let it be... I wish to walk and meet my Lord myself" Divine insisted as he took a step in the milky water.

**

Short Story continued here.....