Bheriyo was the son of Jaisalmer’s King but he chose to be a Garorri Faqir and migrated to Sindh when he was exiled by his father. Here Bheriyo’s life takes a new turn when he falls in love with a woman and wanders in Karoonjhar Mountain range in search of a Bhajang snake.
Noor Ahmed Janjhi
The story of Bheriyo Garorri is a wonderful piece of the mosaic of the mythology of Parkar. It has been transferred through oral heritage and is also documented by Mr. Mangharam Ojha in his book Purano Parkar.
Bheriyo Garorri was the son of Bhatti king Moro of Jaisalmer. It is said that a great Saint’s prayer had blessed Moro with a son. However, the saint had prophesied that the King’s son would become a ‘Garorri Faqir’. When the King showed his concern for the continuity of his rule, again the Saint blessed him with good news of the second son. Local bard has depicted it in these words:
پاٽوي ڪنور ڀيريو، ڪيهر ٿيو ٻيو
هي جيسلمير جو راڄيو، هو گاروڙي ٿيو
(The crown prince Bheriyo and Kehar was the second son. Former became wandering Faqir and the second became ruler of Jaisalmer)
Bheriyo had been away from worldly affairs from early childhood. He made flutes and other vocals and played with his friends. He developed a circle of more than two hundred friends. His father warned him and advised to avoid the life style of a wandering person for the sake of the rule at Jaisalmer. Bheriyo did not pay heed to it. Consequently, he was sent into exile. Bheriyo made farewell to his homeland and left for Sindh. He reached at a mountain called Pachhmai Range where a guru was teaching to his disciples. Bheriyo started listening to it staying outside the marhi of the guru. At the conclusion of the lesson, the guru asked some questions from his disciples but they failed to respond correctly. Bheriyo answered all of the questions asked by the guru. It made the guru very happy and he asked Bheriyo about his guru. The latter replied that he accepts him as his guru. The Guru taught Bheriyo to be invincible and protected in any situation by following certain conditions. These conditions were:
- The snake he would not see and if it may bite him at an unseen part of body, it would be fatal for him
- If he will cross over the river, all of his knowledge would be faded away.
With such strict warnings of his mentor he came to the island of Sheesha Patan where a ladi Sagie of Sanghar caste ruled there. Bheriyo sent his disciples in the groups of five to the different areas. All those garorri were with poisonous snakes. Sagie had had command over snakes except Bhajangraj snake. She was interested in snake charming so came to the garorris along with her girlfriends. She asked:
ڪٿان اچو گاروڙيا، ڪيهو اوهان جو ڏيهه
سڳئي پڇي جي ، سي نانگ ڏيکاريو نانگڙا
(From where you are coming O garorri and which country you do belong? Show the snakes, Sagie is asking to you)
اسين گاروڙي اتي جا، جتي جيسلمير
گر اسان جو ڀيريو، پورو ڇيل ڇڳير
(We are garorri from Jaisalmer. Bheriyo, the person with aplomb is our guru)
Sagie asked them to show their snakes. As they opened their baskets, there were no snakes because she had hidden all of the snakes with her magic. They came to Bheriyo and apprised him of the situation. He became very much angry and left for Sheesha Patan to meet Sagie. She had heard much about the Bheriyo since long time and became very happy to have him as a guest. She went to meet the garorri along with her seven hundred girlfriends. Bheriyo welcomed them warmly and prepared a sumptuous treat for them. She fell in love with Bheriyo to see his knowledge of magic. He proposed her. She replied in affirmation with the condition of catching the Bhajang snake. Bheriyo accepted the demand and left for Maruwar. He searched every stone and rock but did not find the snake. One day he saw a hole and started playing his flute. Bhajan snake peeped out of the hole and ran away. Bheriyo followed him and reached at Karoonjhar. The snake ran away towards Kachh and crossed over a river too. Bheriyo also crossed over the river following the snake. He remembered the warning of his guru but ignored it in the love of Sagie Sanghar. The snake turned itself into a stick and lay on the way. Bheriyo took the stick and kept it on his shoulders. The snake bit him at his back where he could not see at all. The second warning by the guru was violated in this way. Bheriyo fainted and fell down because of the poison. He was moving towards death. His disciples reached there. He asked his disciples to eat his flesh rather than wasting it. According to the will of the guru, they kept the flesh on fire to bake it. A Brahman stopped them from doing so. They threw the pots of the flesh in river. Albeit, those who smelt its fragrance became very knowledgeable and started narrating prophesies. The pots reached to Kamroodesa, the land known for its magic. As the Sagie heard it, she reached there and threw herself in the fire and accompanied her lover in this way. The snake came to the mountain of Bhuj. It was said that as the snake put its tongue out during monsoon, there had been thunderstorm and lightning in the north. Thar, Parkar and Kachh got rainfall and had been green and flourished with crops too. The thunderstorm and lightning ultimately had fallen on the hole of snake. During the colonial era the hole of the snake was stuffed away and the story of the snake ended once for all.
This story reflects the diversity in the culture of power. The son of a king can be a wandering dervish or garorri. A king can pass away from this world without any issue. Thus, power shifts from people to people. Every person has his own temperament and taste. Bheriyo was faqir from his early childhood. None can be motivated to assign the reins of power if he or she is not interested in it as Bheriyo did. He accepted exile but did not agree to rule over people. During the suffering and adversity, one can learn different skills and knowledge at high level as Bheriyo did. The teachers or gurus bless their students with the knowledge and techniques but they also warn them about certain things and advise them not to violate the restrictions. They seek commitments from their disciples. It is just control over the information and strict following of the code. There are codification techniques, skills and information even today. All of the software programming techniques are codified and only those can move ahead who do follow the code. The codification is real magic. The warnings and advices are violated because of love, as the love doesn’t see any other thing on its way. It tries to remove everything on its way to make a straight road towards his or her beloved. Bheriyo violates guru’s two advices when he fell in love with Sagie Sanghar. As the violation happens, the fall occurs immediately. Bheriyo succumbed to death by the bite of the snake. The snake is named as Bhajangraj. It means a running away snake. The guru did advise his disciples to eat his flesh but they avoided it on the suggestion of a Brahman. The climax of the story is attributed to the lightning in monsoon and it is said that the lightning in the north was because of the tongue of the snake. The lightning is called ‘Bakrar’ means ‘of goats’. Starting from the changing culture of power, the story is concluded with a great phenomenon of nature….lightning and thunderstorm. The area of the story is a vast ranging from entire Maruwar to Kachh via Thar and Parkar. It is the great characteristic of the intangible cultural heritage to describe human aspirations, inspirations, happenings, dreams, love, beauty, bravery and knowledge effectively.
Noor Ahmed Janjhi is a senior educationist based in Tharparkar. He is author of several books on folk literature including two poetry books.