Rama’s Departure

By Harini Gopalswami Srinivasan 

According to Valmiki’s Ramayana, Sita’s departure into the earth had filled Rama with grief and anger. He threatened to destroy the whole earth if Sita was not returned to him. Brahma pacified him, saying,

“Do not grieve. Remember that you are an incarnation. You will be reunited with the pure and noble Sita in heaven.”

Illustration: Arijit Dutta Chowdhury

The next morning, Kusha and Lava sang the Uttara Kanda, the last book of the Ramayana, dealing with future events. After the sacrifice was over and all the guests had left, the sorrowful Rama returned to Ayodhya, treasuring Sita in his heart. He did not marry again; a golden image of Sita served as the queen in every sacrifice. Rama performed thousands of Ashwamedha, Vaajapeya, and other sacrifices, giving generous donations. He ruled over his kingdom righteously. The clouds poured forth rain in time, the harvest was good, and the cities were full of happy, well-fed and long-lived people. After a long time, Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi went to heaven and were happily reunited with Dasharatha. One day, Yuddhajeet, the king of Kekeya, asked Rama’s help in conquering the beautiful territory of the Gandharvas, along the river Sindhu. Rama sent Bharata with his two brave sons Taksha and Pushkala. After conquering the territory, Taksha was established as king of Takshasheela, and Pushkala as king of Pushkalaavati. Similarly, Rama carved out two kingdoms in the Kaarupatha region for Lakshmana’s sons, Angada and Chandraketu.

Ten thousand years passed, with the four brothers always striving to serve the citizens righteously. One day, Death appeared at the palace, in the form of a rishi. He told Rama that he wanted to speak to him in private. If anyone heard or saw their conversation, Rama would have to kill him. Rama agreed, and sent Lakshmana outside. Then the rishi said,

“I am your son, Kaala (time), the destroyer of all. I bring you this message from Brahma: O Vishnu, lord of the universe, you were born on earth in human form to slay Dashagreeva. Your scheduled stay of eleven thousand years in the mortal world is coming to an end. If you wish to return to heaven, the Devas will be happy.”

As Rama smilingly agreed, Rishi Durvasa appeared at the royal gate. He threatened to curse the kingdom and the whole family of Raghu if he was not allowed to see Rama immediately. Hearing those dreadful words, Lakshmana thought,

“If I go to Rama now, only I will be killed; all the others will be saved.”

Illustration: Arijit Dutta Chowdhury

He fetched Rama, who came hurrying out to see Durvasa. The rishi said he had just completed one thousand years of his tapas and he wanted cooked food. Rama immediately served him food and Durvasa, after eating well, went away praising Rama. Only then did Rama remember the words of Kaala. He was filled with sorrow. Lakshmana spoke to him sweetly,

“This is but the law of time. Keep your promise and do not grieve for me. For the sake of dharma and out of affection for me, punish me without hesitation.”

After consulting his councillors and priests, Rama renounced his brother, saying that renunciation was the same as destroying a person. Lakshmana went to the bank of the river, stood with joined palms, and stopped breathing. Raining flowers on that heroic scion of Raghu, the devas came and took him to heaven.

The grief-stricken Rama decided to place Bharata on the throne and follow Lakshmana at once. But Bharata and all the citizens pleaded with him to take them along. Seeing their devotion, Rama agreed. He lovingly installed his sons Kusha and Lava as the kings of Kosala and Uttara Kosala respectively. Then he sent a messenger to Shatrughna. Shocked at the news, Shatrughna installed his sons, Subahu and Shatrughati, on the thrones of Madhura and Vidisha respectively, and came straight to Ayodhya. The vanaras, bears and rakshasas also arrived in great numbers, eager to follow Rama. Rama asked Vibhishana, Hanuman, Jambavan, Mainda and Dwivida to stay on earth until the end of Kali Yuga. All the other vanaras and bears were to go with him.

Illustration: Arijit Dutta Chowdhury

The next morning, Vasishta performed all the rites of the final departure. Then, preceded by the priests with the brilliant umbrellas of Agnihotra and Vajpeya, the lustrous, lotus-eyed Rama walked to the Sarayu, praising the Supreme Brahma. He was followed by all the weapons of destruction, and accompanied by Shri, Mahi, the four Vedas, Gayatri, Omkara and Vashatkara, and all his devotees – Bharata and Shatrughna and their wives, noble rishis and rakshasas, and all the citizens of Ayodhya, young and old, even down to the tiniest animals and birds. As they approached the river ford at Goprataara, Brahma and the devas came in their shining chariots to receive Rama and his followers. Flowers rained on them all as they ascended to the heavens and were united with their ancestors. To the delight of the Devas, Rama and his brothers merged into Lord Vishnu.

Read Amar Chitra Katha’s six-volume set of ‘Valmiki’s Ramayana’ on the ACK Comics app or Kindle. Now, also available on Amazon, Flipkart, and other major e-tailers. 

Mythology’s Generous Fathers

By Srinidhi Murthy 

Indian mythology has but rare incidents of generous fathers. Here are some of the interesting boons and gifts the divine fathers gave to their sons. 

Surya and Karna

Illustration: Ram Waeerkar

Born to the maiden princess Kunti of Kuntibhoja, Karna was abandoned by his mother at birth. Kunti was granted a boon by sage Durvasa to summon any god of her choice and obtain a son through that god. Curious Kunti summoned Surya to test her boon. She was horrified when she realized that she would have to endure the life of an unwed mother due to the power of boon. She placed her newborn baby in a basket and let it flow in the river. She prayed for the protection of her son, hence Lord Surya gave him divine kavacha kundala (armour and earnings) to the newborn baby which would provide protection from any weapon in the world.

Vayu and Hanuman

Illustration: Sabu Sarasan

Hanuman was born to Anjana with the blessing of Vayu, the wind god. Hence, he was also called Pavanputra, meaning the son of Vayu. Even as a child, Hanuman possessed great strength. Once, young Hanuman saw the sun and assumed it to be a fruit. He decided to leap into the sky and eat the delicious fruit. Indra witnessed this act of Hanuman and in order to prevent him, he used his divine weapon, Vajra, against him. Hanuman fell defenceless against the power of Vajra. When Vayu saw this, his rage knew no bounds. Holding Hanuman in his arms, he moved into a cave. The wind god stopped blowing. With no air on earth, all creatures began to suffer. Alarmed by the situation, the gods approached Vayu. Learning about the incident, they showered Hanuman with boons such as immunity from all kinds of weapons and fire, good health and immortality. Vayu himself gifted his son the speed of the wind and the ability to fly. With these boons, Hanuman was revived again much to the happiness of his father.

Indra and Arjuna

Illustration: Dilip Kadam

Born to Kunti, the wife of King Pandu, and Indra due to the boon bestowed upon her by the sage Durvasa, Arjuna was a fierce archer. He was given the Vajra by his father, Lord Indra. The powerful celestial weapon, when released, would strike the target by bolts of lightning.  During a clash with Danavas, Indra also gifted a splendid crown to Arjuna. This also got him the name Kiritin. Additionally, when Arjuna visited heaven, he rejected the advances of a celestial apsara, Urvashi. Unable to take this insult, she cursed him to be a eunuch forever. However, Indra intervened on behalf of his son and pacified Urvashi to modify her curse. Thus, Arjuna became a eunuch for only a year, when he desired. Arjuna used this curse as an opportunity in his thirteenth year of hiding and became eunuch in the court of King Virata.

Shantanu and Bheeshma

Illustration: L.D. Pednekar

Born to King Shantanu of Hastinapur and Goddess Ganga, Bheeshma, originally known as Devavrata by his parents, was the crown prince of Hastinapur until his father fell in love with Satyavati, the daughter of a fisherman. King Shantanu put forward the marriage proposal to her father. He agreed only with one condition, which was to make Satyavati’s kids the heir to the throne, not Devavrata. Shantanu was troubled by this condition and refused to name any heir other than Devavrata. Unable to bear the dejected state of his father, Devavrata met the fisherman and took a vow of celibacy in front of him, thus making Shantanu and Satyavati’s union possible. Due to this strong vow, Devavarta came to be known as Bheeshma and Shantanu granted him the boon to choose the time of his own death.

Shiva and Ganesha

Illustration: C.M. Vitankar

Shiva blessed Ganesha to be the queller of obstacles, naming him Vigneshwara. Click here to read the full story.

Read the fascinating mythology stories of various Indian gods and goddesses on the ACK Comic app, Kindle, Flipkart, Amazon, and other major e-tailers.

Shiva’s Pinaka

By Shivam Pathania

Illustration: Ram Waeerkar

Lord Shiva’s bow, known as the Pinaka, was one of the two bows that Vishwakarma had created for Shiva and Vishnu. Shiva first used the weapon to destroy the three impregnable cities of Maya, Tripura, and put an end to the evil asuras Tarakaksha, Vidyunmalin and Kamalaksha. Lord Shiva had used Vasuki, the snake he wears as a garland, as the string of Pinaka. The day Shiva destroyed the three cities is celebrated as Kartik Purnima.

Illustration: Zoheb Akbar

The bow also has had a key role in the Ramayana. Pinaka was passed down in King Janaka’s dynasty, who was Sita’s father. Once, while playing with her sisters, a young Sita lifted the bow with ease. King Janaka was astonished to see such a miracle as it took several strong grown men to lift the bow, but his young daughter had done the deed effortlessly. And so, he decided that he would marry his daughter to someone who could also lift the divine bow. Years later, King Janaka organised a swayamwar for his daughter and invited princes from all distant kingdoms. The king announced to the assembly of princes that whoever of the bunch could string the divine Pinaka, would be granted the permission to marry his daughter Sita. Several men tried the challenge but all of them failed miserably. They could barely move the heavy bow. Finally, prince Rama of Ayodhya, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu, was able to lift the divine Pinaka, and while trying to put a string to the bow, he snapped the bow into two. King Janaka announced Rama as the winner of the swayamwar, and wed his daughter to the prince as promised.

Read the complete six-volume set of Valmiki’s Ramayana on the ACK Comics app and Kindle. The collection is also available on Flipkart, Amazon, and other major e-tailers. 

Supernatural Beings

Supernatural beings are celestial souls that may possess magical powers and unique physical forms. Our epics and mythology mention several supernatural beings. Some of the commonly mentioned are described below.

  • Devas
Illustration: Zoheb Akbar

Devas are gods, each with special powers and qualities. They look regal and handsome.

  • Gandharvas
Illustration: Zoheb Akbar

Gandharvas and Kinnaras are the musicians of the gods. They may have the head or body of a horse or some other animal or bird. Gandharvas are also good healers.

  • Yakshas
Illustration: Zoheb Akbar

Yakshas are nature spirits, who can be good or evil. Kubera is the king of the Yakshas.

  • Apsaras
Illustration: Zoheb Akbar

Apsaras are celestial dancers. They are very beautiful and talented.

  • Nagas
Illustration: Zoheb Akbar

Nagas are part-human and part-snake. They are strong and handsome, and can be good or evil.

  • Vanaras
Illustration: Zoheb Akbar

Vanaras are children of the devas. They look like apes and are strong and intelligent, though they have poor memories.

  • Sidhas
Illustration: Zoheb Akbar

Sidhas and Charanas are enlightened souls and demigods.

  • Rakshasas
Illustration: Zoheb Akbar

Rakshasas and Asuras are huge, powerful and enemies of the gods, though there are exceptions like Vibhishana and Ghatotkacha.

The Rakshasa Brothers: Vatapi and Ilvala

By Srinidhi Murthy 

Illustration: Arijit Dutta Chowdhury

According to Valmiki’s Ramayana, there once lived rakshasa brothers, Vatapi and Ilvala. All their life they killed holy men by tricking them. Vatapi had the boon of transforming into any life form at will. While Ilvala had the power to bring back the dead. 

In order to kill the sages, both would take another form. Ilvala would assume the form of a holy man and Vatapi would transform himself into a goat. Every time sages passed through the forest, Ilvala would invite them for a feast. Ilvala would cook the goat, which was Vatapi, and serve it to the holy men. After they were done feasting, Ilvala would shout,

“ O Vatapi! Come out.”

Vatapi would emerge tearing the stomach of the sages. The rakshasa brothers killed thousands of holy men using this trick. 

One fine day, Ilvala saw Sage Agastya passing by. As usual, he invited the sage for a feast. Sage Agastya, through his divine powers, understood that he was being tricked by the rakshasa brothers. However, he decided to play along. As expected, Ilvala cooked Vatapi in his goat form and served it. Sage Agastya ate the meal, rubbed his right hand over his belly and said,

“Vatapi get digested.”

Illustration: Arijit Dutta Chowdhury

Thus, when Ilvala tried recalling Vatapi, he didn’t come back. Agastya said,

“You wicked Ilvala, you and your brother thought you could kill me but Vatapi can’t come back now. He has already been digested and his soul has departed his body.”

Ilvala got furious. Seeking revenge, Ilvala pulled out his weapon to attack Agastya. But Agastya, through his powers obtained through penance, let out fire from his eyes burning the rakshasa to ashes.

Legends say that Agastya vanquished the two rakshasas at Konnur, in the southernmost state of India, Tamil Nadu. The place is presently known as Villivakkam, in Chennai. Sage Agastya built a Shiva temple here and performed severe penance. Years later, Shiva appeared before him and blessed the sage. That’s how the sage was set free from his sins. The temple is believed to be one of the oldest Shiva temples. 

Read more stories from the Ramayana in our six-volume box set ‘Valmiki’s Ramayana’. Now available on the ACK Comics app, Kindle, Amazon, Flipkart, and other major e-tailers. 

The Sad Story of Pushan

By Shivam Pathania

Illustration: Shivam Pathania

Pushan is one of the twelve Adityas that reside in the heavens above with his parents, Sage Kashyap and Aditi. He wears his hair in braids, has a beard, and carries a golden sceptre. According to the Vishnu Purana, one of the Adityas would take the role of the sun every month and rule over the planets for that entire month. As per hymns in the Rig Veda, Pushan has a chariot pulled by rams, which can be interpreted as a symbolic way of representing the Mesh Rashi or Ram constellation preceding the Revati constellation that is ruled by Pushan. During the New Year, the two mentioned constellations appear just before sunrise, in the dim-lit winter sky in the northern hemisphere, and this astronomical event is creatively narrated through the symbolic story of Pushan’s chariot clearing the path for the sun god, Surya and his chariot pulled by the seven-headed horse, Uchchaihshravas.

Ancient Indians were pioneers in the realm of astronomy, and the abovementioned role of Pushan is a symbolic representation of the stars and constellations. This depiction of Pushan in the story can be further used to interpret the deity’s other duties. Pushan is considered the god of journeys and roads, and a protector of travellers. His golden sceptre is a symbol of his constant movement as the god of journeys. The same logic can be used to explain the deity’s role as a psychopomp, guiding departed souls on their journey to their afterlife. Pushan is also the god of meetings, a natural culmination of his status as god of journeys, because in order to have a successful meeting with someone, one must make a successful journey. He also plays the role of the god of nourishment, which is an aspect of the sun, as all living beings on earth rely on the sun for their survival, making Pushan the deity responsible for healthy crops, pasture and cattle. 

However, even after playing so many essential roles as a deity, the prominence of Pushan is replaced by more important gods with similar roles. Even among his siblings, the Adityas, there are those that are considered more important such as Surya and Indra. Surya is the sun god and the king of all planets, overshadowing Pushan’s role as the deity of nourishment, whereas Indra is the god of rain and lightning, and the king of gods, overshadowing Pushan’s role as the god of crops and pastures. Pushan also shares his role as a psychopomp with another major deity, Agni, the god of fire, who is crucial in all major Hindu rituals. The prominence of Pushan’s role as the god of journeys is also diminished as this duty is in some way similar to Ganesha’s. The elephant-headed god is known as Vighnaharta, which literally means ‘the one who removes obstacles’. Ganesha’s father, Shiva, the God of destruction and one of the Trimurti, is also called Pashupati where he is seen as the king of all animals, overshadowing Pushan’s duty as the god of cattle.

Shiva and his family have been a source of trouble for Pushan previously as well. After Shiva’s wife, Sati immolated herself, Shiva was wreaking havoc at Prajapati Daksha’s yagna in the form of Veerabhadra, when he ended up knocking out all of Pushan’s teeth.  The poor god’s teeth were smashed with such brute force that the broken teeth flew to outer space and are said to have become the stars in the milky way! This is the reason why the god of meeting can only consume liquid food, and is given curd or ground-up food as an offering.

Kacha and Devayani 

By Srinidhi Murthy

In the days of yore, the war between the devas and asuras for control of the three worlds was an endless one. Whenever the devas managed to overpower the asuras in battles, they managed to revive themselves from the dead and attacked the abode of the gods again with new energy. This was thanks to the asura guru, Shukracharya, who possessed the knowledge of the Sanjivani Mantra. Unfortunately, despite being the guru of the devas and the wise Shukracharya himself, Brihaspati lacked this knowledge. The helpless devas turned to Brihaspati’s son, Kacha, and asked him to join the tutelage of Shukracharya to learn the Sanjivani Mantra from him without raising any suspicion.

Kacha was warmly welcomed by Shukracharya as he was the son of his guru after all. As learning was handed down by word of mouth, it was customary for the pupil to live with the family of his teacher till he completed his education. Thus, Kacha came to live with Shukracharya and his daughter Devayani. Over time, Kacha bonded with Devayani and soon, Devayani was determined to marry him as soon as his education was completed. This gave rise to a lot of jealousy and contempt on the part of the other asuras. It didn’t help matters that they were already suspicious of Kacha, fearing that he may learn the secrets of the Sanjivani Mantra by tricking Shukracharya.

Illustration: Souren Roy | Script: Kamala Chandrakant

One day, Kacha went to the forest for cattle-grazing. However, the cattle returned to Shukracharya’s abode in the evening without him. Devayani grew worried and terrible thoughts began to cross her mind. She went to her father Shukracharya and asked him to trace Kacha using his divine powers. Shukracharya soon realised that his asura students had killed Kacha in the forest. Using his gifts, he immediately brought him back to life to ease his distressed daughter. The asuras were terribly disappointed by this action of Shukracharya and killed Kacha again when they managed to catch him alone in the forest. Luckily for Kacha, Shukracharya revived him once again out of love for his daughter.

Illustration: Souren Roy | Script: Kamala Chandrakant

Realising that Shukracharya would always bring Kacha back from the dead, the asuras began to plot a way to kill Kacha that would make Shukracharya hesitate before bringing him back. This time around, the asuras killed Kacha and cremated his body. They then carefully collected his ashes, mixed it in the goblet of wine and presented the wine to Shukracharya who happily accepted it. With Kacha missing, a distraught Devayani went to her father in tears and begged him to revive Kacha once again. However, this time, when Shukracharya divined Kacha’s location, he realised he had been tricked and that Kacha was in his stomach. Shukracharya told Devayani that if he were to revive Kacha, only one of them would survive as Kacha would tear through his stomach when he came back to life. Devayani insisted that she wanted them both to be alive and could not live in a world without either of them. Shukracharya realized that it was time to fulfil Kacha’s objective. He passed on the secrets of the Sanjivani Mantra to the yet-to-be revived Kacha, and after Kacha emerged from his guru’s stomach, he used the secrets he had learnt to revive Shukracharya. Shukracharya was pleased with this noble act of Kacha and blessed him.

Illustration: Souren Roy | Script: Kamala Chandrakant

Having accomplished his mission, Kacha sought Shukracharya’s permission to leave. Devayani was dismayed to hear this and confessed her love for him, asking Kacha to marry her. Kacha pointed out that since he emerged from her father’s stomach, he was now the brother of Devayani and it would be incorrect for him to marry her.

Devayani’s disappointment on hearing these words from Kacha soon turned into rage. She cursed him,

“You used the one who was sinless in her devotion to you. You will never be able to use the Sanjivani Mantra.”

In return, an angry Kacha said that she had cursed him for no fault of his and hence, she would never marry a rishi’s son. Kacha also proclaimed that he would teach his fellow gods the mantra, even if he couldn’t use it himself. Thus, Kacha departed to Indra’s abode, his mission completed but his heartbroken, never to see Devayani again. 

Read the complete story of Kacha in our title ‘Kacha and Devayani’ on the ACK Comics app and Kindle. 

Why Crows Are Auspicious

Illustration: Srishti Tiwari

Once, a king named Marutta performed a ceremony to which he invited all the devas. Ravana heard about this ceremony and decided to attend it. Hearing that Ravana was on his way, the devas escaped immediately by assuming the forms of different birds.

Yama, the guardian of Pitruloka or the abode of the ancestors, had assumed the form of a crow to fly away. Then, he blessed all crows and declared that they will have the right to eat the rice that is offered to the pitrs or ancestors. This why, even today, people call out the crows to come and eat the rice that they offer to their ancestors.

Krishna and Sudama

By Srinidhi Murthy

Krishna’s love for his friends was beyond the comprehension of his friends too. One such ethereal bond was the one shared between Krishna and Sudama. 

Childhood friends

Krishna and Sudama were childhood friends. Both of them gained knowledge from the same guru and were inseparable during their childhood. After their schooling came to an end, they promised to cherish their bond forever. Years later, Krishna became the king of Dwaraka and married the goddess of prosperity, Rukmini, whereas Sudama became a pandit and married a girl arranged by his parents. 

Illustration: Prabhakar Khanolkar | Script: Kamala Chandrakant

As a pandit, Sudama didn’t earn much. Overtime, it became extremely difficult for him to manage his wife and kids’ needs with a meagre wage. Sudama’s wife suggested that he should meet Krishna who might help him financially for the sake of their children. Sudama felt embarrassed to reach out to his childhood friend only to get a favour from him. So, while he agreed to meet his bosom buddy, he also made it clear to his wife he would not bring up their issues nor would he ask for a handout. Sudama’s wife supports his decision seeing the sincerity of her husband. On the day of his journey, his wife packed some flattened rice or poha for Krishna as she knew it was his favourite food. 

Journey to Dwaraka

After days of walking, Sudama reached Dwaraka where he was awed by its prosperity. The people were very visibly happy with no house in Dwaraka showing any signs of poverty. Sudama reaches the palace and, to his surprise, no one questions him when he enters. Seeing his childhood friend, Krishna’s face brightened, rushing towards Sudama and hugging him with joy. Krishna and his wife Rukmini then place him in a royal seat and wash his feet as a warm gesture. They also serve Sudama with delicious dishes and make comfortable arrangements for his stay in their palace.

Illustration: Prabhakar Khanolkar

Krishna and Sudama recall their early childhood days and spend the next few hours asking about each other’s lives. However, Sudama doesn’t burden Krishna with stories of his penury, even feeling a little embarrassed about giving Krishna the flattened rice that his wife had packed, especially after the grand welcome Krishna accorded him. However, Krishna had taken notice of Sudama’s small cloth rucksack, and playfully snatches it away from him. On opening it, Krishna is delighted to see his favourite snack hidden inside and takes a handful of it into his mouth. As he is about to take a second handful, Rukmini stops him and reminds him that Sudama had already got what he wanted and he didn’t need more than that. After all, the goddess of prosperity had to maintain balance. Sudama gets confused by her statement, but is also happy that Krishna liked his humble gift.

True Friendship
Illustration: Prabhakar Khanolkar | Script: Kamala Chandrakant

The next morning, Sudama takes his leave from Krishna and heads home. He is content with meeting Krishna and wanted nothing more than this reunion from him. However, when he reaches his house, he finds a grand mansion there instead of his humble hut. His children came running towards him wearing expensive clothes and jewels and his wife was decked out like a queen. She explained to her confused husband that their life got transformed the moment he reached Dwarka. She later asked him what exactly did he ask Krishna for that changed their fortune so drastically. Sudama smiled and replied,

“I didn’t ask anything from Krishna, but like a true friend, he understood and fulfilled all my needs. He knows it all.” 

Read the complete story of Krishna and Sudama’s friendship in our title Sudama. Now available on the ACK Comics app, Kindle, Amazon, Flipkart, and other major e-tailers. 

The Many Curses of Agni

Illustration: Arijit Dutta Chowdhury

According to the Anushasana Parva, the fire god Agni was once cursed by Sage Bhrigu to ‘swallow everything in his path’. Upset by the curse, he withdrew into himself and hid himself away. This put the other gods in a bind, as there could be no religious activities without Agni. So the other gods began looking for him.

Agni had first hid himself in the ocean. But, because of his fiery being, the ocean got too hot for the creatures in it. The frogs decided to take up the matter with the gods on behalf of their fellow sea creatures, and told the celestial beings where Agni was hiding. Agni was angry and cursed the frogs to lose their sense of taste.

The fire god then hid in a big banyan tree, where a passing elephant spotted him and informed the gods. Furious, Agni cursed the elephant to have a short tongue. He then took refuge in a Shami tree. A bird saw him there and tweeted his hiding place to the gods. Agni cursed the bird to have a tongue that would be curved inside.

Eventually, the gods were able to track down the blazing deity and placate him enough to come back, with Brahma praising him and bestowing him the power to purify whatever went through him. Feeling better, Agni returned to his heavenly duties. But what about all the  creatures Agni had cursed? They were blessed by the gods for helping them; the frogs were given the skill to move comfortably even in darkness, the elephants would never be be hindered by their tongue to eat anything they wanted, and the birds were blessed with the gift of singing!