Part 3 out of 3
no wives and those who have bad wives are equally unfortunate, I will
not let my friends choose for me, but travel about and look out for
myself till I find a girl who may suit me.'
"Having formed this resolution, and changed his name, he set out alone,
taking very little with him, but a small bag containing two or three
pounds of rice in the husk.
"Whenever he saw a maiden of his own caste whose appearance he liked,
either in the houses where he was admitted or elsewhere, he would say
to her: 'My dear, could you make me a good dinner with this rice?'
This he did many times, but though parents in general would have been
willing to give him their daughters, he was always laughed at, and
often treated with contempt. One day, while sitting in a public
place in a town which he had lately entered, he observed a young girl
whose parents had fallen into poverty, which was shown by her scanty
dress and slender ornaments. She passed by him accompanied by an old
woman, and stood for a time very near him.
"The more he looked at her the more he was pleased, and thought to
himself: 'This is just the wife to suit me; she is neither too tall
nor too short, too stout or too thin; her limbs are rounded and well
knit; her back is straight, with a slight hollow; her shoulders are
low; her arms plump and soft; the lines of her hands indicate good
fortune; her fingers are long and slender; her nails are like polished
gems; her neck is smooth and rounded as a slender shell; her bosom
full and well shaped; her face has a sweet expression; her lips are
full and red; her chin small and compact; her cheeks plump; her
eyebrows glossy black, gracefully curved, meeting in the middle; her
eyes are long and languishing, very black and very white; her
forehead, adorned by beautiful curls, resembles a piece of the moon;
her ears are delicately formed, and well set off by the ear-rings; her
hair is glossy black, brown at the ends--long, thick, and not too much
curled. My heart seems to be drawn towards her; if she is what she
seems to be, I will certainly marry her; but I must not act rashly; I
will first try her with my test. Then approaching her with a polite
salutation, he said: 'My dear, are you clever enough to make a good
dinner out of this bag of rice;' Without answering a word, she looked
significantly at her old nurse, and taking the rice from his hand,
signed him to sit down on a terrace close by; and sat down herself
near him. Then, first spreading out the rice in the, sun that it might
be quite dry, she rubbed it gently between her hands, so as to get off
the husk unbroken, and giving it to the nurse, she said: 'Take this to
some goldsmith; they use it when prepared in this way for polishing
their gold, and you will get a few pence for it--with them buy a
little firewood, a few cheap dishes, and an earthen pipkin, and bring
also a wooden mortar with a long pestle.' On this errand the old woman
departed, and soon returned, bringing the things required.
"Then the girl put the rice into the mortar, and very gracefully
moving the pestle up and down, separated the rice thoroughly from the
remaining particles of husk and awns; which she carefully winnowed
"After this she washed the rice thoroughly, and the old woman having
meanwhile lighted a fire and placed the pipkin full of water on it,
she threw the rice into the water as soon as it boiled, in such a
manner that the grains lay loose and separate. When they began to
swell and burst, she took the pot from the fire, which she raked
together, and set it with the lid downwards near the embers, first
carefully draining off the rice liquor, and stirring the grains
several times with a spoon to prevent their sticking together.
"After this she put out the fire by throwing water on it, and taking
the charcoal, sent the old woman to sell it, and with the money to
procure some herbs, ghee, curds, tamarind fruit, spices, salt,
myrobalan, and sesamum oil. When these things were brought, she mixed
the myrobalan, finely pounded, with salt, and desired the nurse to
give it with the sesamum oil to the young brahman, and tell him to go
and bathe and anoint himself; and he having received these things,
went to bathe.
"When he was returned and comfortably seated, she gave him to drink
rice liquor, mixed with spices and cooled by fanning, and he was much
refreshed by it; afterwards, soup made with some of the liquor, a few
spoonfuls of rice, butter, and spices; and, lastly, the rest of the
rice mixed with curds, buttermilk, and several condiments, and he had
plenty, though some was left.
"When he had finished, he asked for drink. She gave him water in a new
cooler, sweetened and perfumed with lotus and other flowers; and it
looked and felt so cool, gurgled so pleasantly, and tasted so sweet,
that all his senses were gratified, and he drank eagerly again and
"After waiting on him in this manner, as soon as the dishes and the
remains of the meal had been removed by the old nurse, she sat down
beside him, arranging her scanty patched dress as well as she was
"The young brahman having thus satisfied himself of the capabilities
of the maiden, made known his real name and position to her parents,
and they having gladly accepted him, he married the girl in due form,
and took her home to his own house.
"Not very long afterwards, with very little consideration for her, he
took to himself another wife, a woman of bad character; yet such was
the sweetness of temper of the first, that she showed no anger at
this, but continued to treat her husband with all due honour and
respect, and so gained over her fellow-wife that she became her
dearest friend. At the same time she managed the household admirably,
keeping everything in order, yet making all the servants attached to
her. In short, she acted in such a manner that she entirely gained the
respect and affection of her husband, and he enjoyed great happiness,
and trusted and consulted her in all affairs.
"Therefore I say that the best thing for a householder is to have a
Then, in illustration of the third answer, I related the story of
Ratnavati. "There was, in a town in the country of Surat, a rich
ship-captain who had a daughter named Ratnavati. She was married to
Balabhadra, the son of a merchant living in another town. For some
reason he took a sudden dislike to his bride on the very day of the
wedding, and though she continued to live in his house, avoided her
as much as possible, and would never speak to her, notwithstanding the
remonstrances of his friends. The rest of the family and the servants,
seeing this, treated her with neglect and contempt, so that she led a
most wretched life.
"One day, wandering about disconsolate, she met with an old woman, a
buddhist mendicant, who, seeing her weeping and looking miserable,
asked her the reason. She, thinking that this woman might possibly be
possessed of some charm capable of bringing back her husband's
affections, half unwillingly told her the cause of her grief.
"'On the very day of our marriage my husband, from some cause or
other, took a sudden dislike to me, and since then he has treated me
with neglect and contempt, so that I hardly ever see his face, and
then only by chance for a moment, for he avoids me as much as
possible; his family also, following his example, behave to me with
great unkindness. I have no comfort or happiness, and only wish for
death. But you must not tell this to any one; I would not on any
account have my misfortune talked about.'
"The old woman answered: 'Surely this must be a punishment for some
great sin committed in a former existence, or such a charming person
as yourself would never be thus treated by your husband. I recommend.
you to practise penance and prayer; perhaps the gods may be appeased,
and a favourable change produced. Meanwhile, if there is any way in
which I can help you, I will gladly do so. You seem very intelligent;
cannot you think of some stratagem which may have the desired effect?'
"After reflecting for some time, she said Though my husband so
neglects me, I know that he is very fond of women in general, and
ready to be captivated by any one, especially respectable woman who
will give him a little encouragement. Acting on this propensity, I
think, with your help, that something may be done. There is a young
lady, a neighbour, the daughter of a very rich man, in great favour
with the Rajah; she is a friend of mine, and is very like me. As my
husband hardly knows her by sight, and scarcely ever sees me, it might
be possible to pass myself off for her. Do you, therefore, go to him
and say that that young lady is in love with him, and that you will
introduce him to her, only he must not give a hint that you have told
him anything. Meanwhile I will arrange with my friend, and will be
walking in her father's garden some evening, when you can bring him
in.' The old woman was delighted with this contrivance, and promised
to perform her part. She went, therefore, soon afterwards with a
pretended message of love from the merchant's daughter to Balabhadra,
who was delighted at having attracted the attention of such a charming
young lady, and took care to be at the appointed time in the garden,
where he saw his neglected wife playing at ball. As if by accident,
she threw the ball towards him, and the old woman said: This is an
invitation; pick up the ball, and take it to her with a pretty speech,
and you will get acquainted with her.' In this way an intimacy began,
and he often met his wife in the same place in the evening without in
the least suspecting the deception. At last she gave him a hint that
she was ready to run away with him. Madly in love, he eagerly caught
at the proposal, and one night, having collected what money he could
carry, he eloped with her, saying nothing to any of his friends. They
were much astonished by his sudden disappearance; but when they found
that Ratnavati was gone also, they readily believed the story told by
the old woman, that he had fallen in love with his own wife; but was
ashamed to acknowledge this after having so long neglected her, and
was therefore gone to live in another place, where he was not known.
Believing this story, her relations and his thought it best to take no
steps in the matter, and abstained from making inquiry after him.
"Meanwhile Balabhadra went to a town at some distance, and there by
his skill and energy, though beginning with a small capital, amassed
in a few years a considerable fortune, and was much respected in the
"When Ratnavati eloped under another name, she engaged a woman to
accompany her as a servant; and this woman one day having committed
some fault, was beaten by her master, who scolded her and told her she
was lazy, thievish, and impudent. Smarting under the punishment, she
determined to be revenged, and going to the magistrate told him: 'This
man, who seems to you so respectable, is a wicked wretch who has
abandoned his own wife, and run away in the night with the daughter of
one of his neighbours, with whom he is now living.'
"The magistrate having heard this, and being very covetous, thought:
'If this man is convicted, his property will be confiscated, and I
shall get a share of it.' He therefore began to take proceedings
against Balabhadra, who was greatly alarmed. But his wife said to him,
'Do not be frightened; put a good face on the matter, and say: "This
is not Kanakavati, the daughter of Niddhipatidatta; this is my own
lawful wife, the daughter of Grihagupta, who lives at Valabhi. She was
married to me with the proper ceremony and with the full consent of
her parents. This woman's accusation is altogether false; but if you
will not believe my assertion, send to Valabhi, to my wife's father,
and hear what he will say--or send to the town where I formerly lived,
and make inquiries there."'
"This was done, he was admitted to bail, and a letter was written to
the father of Ratnavati, who answered it in person, and declared that
the lady in question was really his daughter. Thus the matter was
settled; but the husband, thinking that the old man was deceived by
the likeness, held to his former belief, and continued to live happily
with his wife, without ever discovering the delusion. Therefore I say
that love is only imagination."
The Rakshas, though appearing to be satisfied with these stories,
required me to relate that of Nitambavati, which I proceeded to do.
"In a city called Madhura, there dwelt a man named Kalahakantaka, of
great strength and vigour, ready at any time to take up the quarrel of
a friend, famed for deeds of violence, and devoted to pleasures and
"One day he saw a picture exhibited by a painter, a new-comer, and
stopped to look at it. It was the portrait of a lady so beautiful
that he fell in love with her at once. Desirous of finding out whom it
represented, he praised the picture exceedingly, and having put the
artist in good humour, got him to say who the lady was. 'Her name,'
said he, 'is Nitambavati; she is the wife of a merchant living at
Avanti or Oujein, and I was so struck by her beauty that I sought and
obtained permission to paint her portrait.'
"On hearing this, Kalahakantaka, taking another name, went to Oujein;
and there, having disguised himself as a mendicant, got admission to
the merchant's house, saw the lady, whose beauty exceeded even his
expectation, and was confirmed in his wicked purpose.
"At this time a guardian or watchman was wanted for the public
cemetery, and he applied for and obtained the office.
"With the clothes which he took from the bodies brought to be burnt
there, he bribed an old woman to take a message from him. She went to
Nitambavati, and said: 'A very handsome young man is much in love with
you--pray let him see you if only for once.' On receiving this
message, the merchant's wife was very indignant, and sent the old
woman away with angry words. Kalahakantaka, however, was not
discouraged, and said to his messenger: 'Go again, and say to the
lady: "Do you imagine that a person like me devoted to religious
meditation, who have passed so many years in pilgrimages to holy
places, would wish to lead you into sin? Far from it. I had heard that
you were childless, and wishing for children, and I know of means
through which your wish may be accomplished; but I thought it right to
find out first whether you were worthy of such a service, and now
that I have ascertained you to be virtuous and true to your husband, I
will gladly assist you."'
"With this story the old cheat went again to the lady, who, believing
her to be sincere, gladly accepted the offer, and she went on to say:
'The reason of your being childless is that a spell has been laid upon
your husband, which can only be removed by the means which I will
indicate to you. You must go at night to a clump of trees in the park.
I will come to you there, and will bring with me a man skilled in
incantations. You have only to stand for a moment, putting your foot
into his hand while he utters certain charms, then go home, and, as if
in play, strike your husband on the breast. This will dissolve the
spell, and by-and-by you will have children.' Anxious to have the
spell removed from her husband, Nitambavati consented to this, and
went at night to the appointed place. There she found Kalahakantaka
waiting, and as the old woman had directed, put her foot into his hand
while he knelt before her.
"No sooner had he got hold of it than he took off her anklet, and
slipping his hand up her leg, inflicted a slight wound above the knee,
and ran away.
"The poor lady, dreadfully frightened, blaming herself, and enraged
with the old woman, who had so cruelly deceived her, got home as well
as she could, washed and bound up the cut, and kept her bed for
several days, having taken off the other anklet, that the loss might
not be observed.
"Meanwhile the rascal took the anklet he had stolen to the husband,
saying: 'I wish to dispose of this, will you buy it?'
"Recognising the ornament as having been his wife's, he asked: 'Where
did you get this?'
"The man answered: 'I will not tell you now, but if you are not
satisfied that it is honestly mine, take me before the magistrates,
and I will then declare how I came by it.'
"Upon this the merchant went to his wife and said: 'Let me see your
"With some confusion and alarm, she answered: 'I have only one of
them, the other being, as I suppose, loosely fastened, dropped off a
few days ago when I was walking in the evening in the garden, and I
have not been able to find it.'
"Dissatisfied with this answer, the husband went before the
magistrates with the man who had offered the anklet for sale, and he
being there questioned, said: 'You know I was appointed not long ago
to the care of the public cemetery, and as people come sometimes after
dark to steal the clothes, or to lay a dead body on a pile prepared
for another, and so cheat me of my fees, I have lately kept watch
there at night.'
"'A short time ago I saw a woman in a dark dress dragging away part of
a half-burnt body, and ran to seize her. In the struggle her anklet
came off, and I gave her a slight wound on the leg, but she got away,
and I could not overtake her; this is how the ornament came into my
possession. I leave it to you to say whether I have done wrong or no.'
"Then the magistrates and citizens who were assembled were
unanimously of opinion that the woman was a Sakini.
"She was therefore divorced from her husband, and condemned to be tied
to a stake in the cemetery, and left there.
"In this state she was found by Kalahakantaka, who cut the cords which
fastened her, and, falling at her feet, confessed all that he had
done, alleging his great love for her as an excuse for his cruel
conduct: 'And now,' said he, 'consent to be my wife, and I will carry
you away to my own home in a distant country, where you will not be
known. I will do everything in my power to make your life happy, and
atone for the suffering which I have caused you.'
"For a long time the unhappy lady refused; but at last, overcome by
his earnest entreaties, and feeling how unjustly she had been
disgraced and ill-treated, she consented to accompany him. Thus, by
cunning, he gained his end, which he could not have accomplished by
any other means. Therefore I say cunning best accomplishes difficult
Having heard these stories, the Rakshas was much pleased, and offered
me his assistance if I should require it. At that moment several
pearls fell close beside us. Looking up to see whence they came, I
perceived a Rakshas flying through the air, carrying a woman who was
struggling with him.
"Shall that monster carry off the lady before our eyes? O that I could
fly to rescue her!"
As I exclaimed thus, my new ally, without waiting to be entreated,
sprang into the air, and calling out "Stop! stop! wicked wretch!"
attacked and dragged down the other Rakshas. He, in defending himself,
when only a short distance from the ground, let the lady fall, and I
caught her with outstretched arms in such a manner that, though much
shaken and alarmed, she was not seriously injured. I held her for a
moment insensible in my arms, while I gazed at the combatants. Their
flight was of short duration, for they attacked each other so
furiously that both were killed.
Then laying my burden on the soft grass in a shady place, and
sprinkling her with water, I soon had the happiness of seeing her open
her eyes, and of recognising the beloved of my heart, the Princess
Kandukavati, who was equally delighted on finding who was her
When sufficiently recovered, she said to me: "On returning home after
the ball dance, longing to see you, and sad with the thought that we
might never meet again, I was filled with great happiness by the
report which Chandrasena brought me of your love; but when I heard
that you had been bound and thrown into the sea by my wicked brother,
I fell into the deepest despair, and wished for death. Wandering in
this state of mind about the gardens, I was espied by that vile
Rakshas, who, having assumed a human form, first made love to me, and
then, when rejected, forcibly carried me off. He is, happily, now
dead, and all that I have suffered is as nothing now that I am with
you; let us return as soon as possible to my parents, who will have
been greatly distressed at my disappearance."
Without delay I carried her down to the shore, embarked, set sail at
once, and the wind being favourable, we soon reached Damalipta. Here
we found great confusion and grief among the people, and were told on
inquiring: "The king and queen, utterly broken down by the loss of
their son and daughter, have determined to abandon life, and have just
set out for a holy place on the bank of the Ganges, with the intention
of fasting to death there; and several of the old citizens have
accompanied them with the same purpose."
On hearing this I immediately went after them, and having soon
overtaken them, was able to give them great happiness, by telling them
of all that had occurred, and how both their son and daughter were
safely returned; and they went back with me to the city, to the great
joy of the people. The king treated me with great honour, and not long
afterwards the princess became my wife. Her brother was reconciled to
me, and at my request, though very reluctantly, gave up all further
attention to Chandrasena, who was happily united with her lover.
When King Sinhavarma was attacked as you know, I marched with an army
to his assistance; and have thus the great pleasure of meeting with
The prince having heard this story said "Your adventures have indeed
been strange, and your escape from death wonderful. Great is the power
of fate, but excellent also is courage and presence of mind such as
you have shown." Then turning to Mantragupta, he desired him to relate
his adventures, which he immediately began to do:--
* * * * *
ADVENTURES OF MANTRAGUPTA.
My Lord, I also, in my anxiety to find you, wandered about like the
Late one evening I came to a wood, a few miles from the city of
Kalinga, and very near a public cemetery. Seeing no dwelling near, I
made myself a bed of leaves, and lay down under a large tree, where I
was soon asleep. About midnight, when evil spirits are wont to roam,
and everything was quiet around me, I awoke, and fancied I heard a
whispering conversation going on among the branches of the tree
immediately above me. Listening very attentively, I was able to
distinguish these words: "We are powerless to resist that vile Siddha
whenever he chooses to command us; could not some person be found
powerful enough to counteract the designs of that vile magician?"
After this the voices ceased, and I thought I could hear a rustling
among the branches as if the speakers were moving from tree to tree.
This strange occurrence greatly excited my curiosity. I said to
myself: "Who are these creatures whose voices I have heard? who can
that magician be, and what dreadful thing is it which he is about to
do?" With these thoughts, I determined if possible to discover the
mystery, and followed, as well as I was able, the direction which the
demons, or whatever they were whom I had heard conversing, had taken.
Guided by the rustling sound which I still heard above me, I made my
way through the darkness, till at last I thought I saw a light in the
distance, and going a little further, I perceived a fire shining
through the thick foliage. Approaching very cautiously, I saw a Siddha
standing near it, his head covered with a large mass of tangled hair,
his body begrimed with the dust of charcoal, and a girdle of human
bones round his waist. He was throwing at intervals handfuls of
sesamum and mustard-seed into the fire, causing flickering flames to
rise up and dispel the surrounding darkness. Before him, in humble
attitude, stood two Rakshas, male and female, whom I supposed to be
those whose voices I had heard in the tree. They said to him, "We
await your commands. What are we now to do?"
"Go," he answered in a stern voice, "immediately to the palace of the
King of Kalinga, and bring here his daughter Kanakalekha." This they
did in an incredibly short time. As soon as she was brought he seized
her by the hair, and disregarding her tears and entreaties and screams
for help, was about to cut off her head with a sword.
Meanwhile I had cautiously crept nearer, and perceiving the danger of
the princess, I made a sudden rush at him, snatched the sword from his
hand and cut off his head.
Seeing this, the two Rakshas approached me, and showing great delight
at the death of their cruel master, said to me: "That wicked man has
for a long time had power over us; we have continually been compelled
to go on his vile errands, and have had no rest night or day. You have
done a truly good deed in killing him; your valour has freed us from
this slavery; he is gone to the kingdom of Yama, where he will receive
the reward of his evil deeds, and we are ready to serve you; say only
what is to be done."
I thanked them for their grateful offer, and said: "I have only done
what every good man would have done under the circumstances; but if
you are willing to serve me, all that I require of you is to carry
this lady again to her father's house, from which she was so cruelly
The princess hearing this, stood for a moment irresolute, with her
head bent down, her eyes half closed, her eyebrows quivering, her
bosom agitated by hurried breathing and wetted by tears of joy,
restlessly moving one foot, as if scratching the ground, and betraying
the struggle between bashfulness and love by alternate blushes and
paleness. Then, in a low sweet gentle voice, she uttered these words:
"O gracious sir, why do you, having just delivered me from a terrible
death, now overwhelm me in a sea of love whose waves are the
agitations of anxiety driven by the wind of passion? My life, saved by
you, is entirely at your disposal. Take pity on me; regard me as your
own. Let me be your servant, your slave; I would endure anything
rather than separation from you. Come with me to my father's palace;
you need not fear discovery; all my friends and attendants are
faithful and devoted to me; they will carefully keep the secret."
Pierced to the heart by the arrows of Kama, tied and bound by her
looks and words as if with chains of iron, I had no power to refuse,
and turning to the two Rakshas, I said: "I have no choice here.
Whatever this fair lady commands must be done. Take us both,
therefore, to the place from which you brought her."
Bowing down in submission, they lifted us from the ground, carried us
through the air, and placed us while it was yet night in the
apartments of the princess. There she introduced me to her attendants,
assigned me a room in the upper story where I might most easily escape
detection, and appointed them to keep watch so that no one might enter
her apartments without notice. I had thus abundant opportunities of
being with the princess; but though my love daily increased, I made no
further advances to her.
One day some of her women came with tears in their eyes, and bowing
down to my feet, said, with whispering timid voice, "O gracious sir,
our lady is doubly yours, since she was gained by your own valour
when you rescued her from death, and is assigned to you by the
all-powerful God of Love. Do not let her languish in vain. Make her
your wife without delay." With this request I could not refuse to
comply, and taking the hand of the princess, I declared our solemn
For a time we enjoyed the greatest happiness. It was destined,
however, to be of no long duration; our separation was at hand, for
now was the time of spring, when the trees were covered with blossoms
bent down by the eager bees, and the song of birds was resounding
among their branches waved by the soft south wind, bearing perfume
from the sandal groves of Malaya; at which season the king was
accustomed to go with all his court to the sea-shore, and there, in
tents under the shade of lofty trees, to enjoy the cool sea breezes.
My bride of course went with the rest; and as there was no possibility
of concealing me in such a place, I was obliged, though reluctantly,
to let her depart alone, consoling myself by looking forward to her
The royal party had not long been gone, when news was brought to the
city that the king and all his court, thinking only of enjoyment, and
unsuspicious of danger, had been captured by Jayasinha, King of
Andhra, who, sailing with a large fleet, had suddenly landed and taken
them by surprise.
This news caused me the greatest consternation. "Jayasinha," I
thought, "will certainly be captivated by the beauty of the princess;
she will take poison rather than submit to his embraces; and I could
not long survive her, for how could I live without her?"
While perplexed with this thought, and not knowing what to do, I heard
of a brahman just arrived from Andhra, who was full of a strange event
which had lately happened there.
"The King of Andhra," he said, "has long been a bitter enemy of the
King of Kalinga, and having taken him prisoner, was about to kill him,
but he has fallen in love with the princess Kanakalekha, and wishing
to marry her, not only spares her father's life, but treats him with
kindness for her sake.
"An unexpected obstacle to the accomplishment of his wishes has,
however, arisen; the lady has suddenly become possessed by an evil
spirit, whose rage is greatest whenever the king visits her.
"Anxious for her recovery, he has offered a large reward to any one
who shall succeed in driving out the demon, but as yet no one has been
able to effect her cure."
This information filled me with hope, for I was well aware of the
nature of the princess's disease, and knew that no one but myself
could cure it. I was able, therefore, to form a plan for her
deliverance, and quickly decided on the disguise to be adopted. At the
time when I killed the magician, I had taken off his scalp, with all
the mass of tangled hair, and had hid it in a hollow tree. I now went
to the place, and taking out this scalp, fitted it on my own head;
then rubbing over my whole body with dirt and charcoal dust, and
dressing myself in old rags, I was completely disguised as an
ascetic--and when I went into the neighbouring villages I was regarded
as a very holy devotee, and had many applications from persons
wishing for advice or seeking to be cured of diseases. This belief I
encouraged to the utmost, and took care to keep up my credit by means
of various tricks and contrivances.
In this manner I was soon able to collect a number of disciples, glad
to live in idleness on the offerings continually brought to me, fully
believing in my sanctity, entirely devoted to me, and ready to obey
all my commands.
Having got together this troop of followers, I went to the side of a
tank or small lake not far from the city of Andhra, built myself a
hut, and made known that I intended to stay there for a time.
The news of my arrival was soon spread abroad by my disciples, who
were loud in their praises of my miraculous powers, and the wonderful
cures which I had effected; and great numbers of people came from the
city to see me, either from curiosity or from the hope of receiving
In a very short time wonderful stories about me were brought to the
Raja. "There is now a very holy devotee sleeping on the ground near
the lake; he is possessed of the most marvellous knowledge. There is
no question which he cannot answer, no difficulty which he cannot
solve. His power of healing is beyond belief; a few grains of dust
fallen from his feet, when sprinkled on the head of the sick, are more
efficacious than any medicine; and water in which his feet have been
washed has cured in a moment diseases, and driven out evil spirits
which have resisted for a long time all the efforts of physicians and
exorcists. Yet with all this he is exceedingly kind and
condescending, and free from pride."
The king, hearing all this, thought: "This is just the person I am in
need of; no doubt he will be able to cure the princess." He therefore
determined to apply to me; but so great was his respect for my dignity
and supernatural powers, that he did not venture to send for me, but
came several times to see me, distributing each time money among my
followers, before mentioning his request that I would drive out the
evil spirit from the princess.
After hearing his statement, I looked very grave, and appeared for
some time to be wrapped in profound meditation. At last I said: "Sir,
you have done very right to apply to me; I will undertake that the
lady shall be cured, but it would be useless for me to see her at
present. The case is a very peculiar one, and the cure requires much
thought and consideration; wait therefore for three days, then come
again, and I will tell you what is to be done." On receiving this
answer, the king went away very well satisfied.
That night, as soon as it was dark, telling my followers on no account
to disturb me, I went, as if for private meditation, to one side of
the tank, at some distance from the steps, and there dug a large hole
in the bank sloping upwards, with the opening partly under water and
concealed by loose stones above; taking care to throw the excavated
earth into the tank.
On the third day, at dawn, I rearranged my dress as before, and having
worshipped the all-seeing sun as he rose, returned to my followers.
I had not long been settled in my usual place when the king made his
appearance, and bowing down to my feet, he awaited my pleasure.
Having kept him a short time in suspense, I thus addressed him:
"Success does not come to the careless, but all advantages are
attainable by the energetic; being devoted to your service, I have
given my whole mind to the consideration of this difficult affair, and
can now point out a certain way to success.
"The evil spirit by whom the princess is possessed cannot bear the
sight of you in your present form, and therefore breaks out into fury
when you appear. If your body can be changed, he will no longer be
offended, and will immediately depart; there is no other way by which
he can be driven out. I have therefore so prepared this lake that if
you bathe in it in accordance with my directions, you will acquire a
new and beautiful body acceptable to the lady, and she will no more be
troubled with the evil spirit.
"You must therefore come here at midnight, and having stripped
entirely, swim out into the middle of the tank, and there float on
your back as long as possible. Presently a rushing noise will be
heard, and the water will be troubled, and dash against the bank. As
soon as the commotion has subsided, come forth; you will find that
your body has become younger, stronger, and improved in every respect;
and when you return to the palace there will be no further difficulty
or obstacle on the part of the princess, who will immediately undergo
a change in her feelings, and will long for your society as much as
she now abhors it. All this is quite certain; you need not have the
smallest doubt; but if you think proper, before deciding, consult your
ministers, and be guided by their advice. If they consent, first
worship the gods and propitiate them with offerings, make large
donations to the brahmans and the poor, and come here to-night at the
appointed time. That there may be no danger from alligators or
concealed enemies, let the tank be thoroughly dragged with nets by a
hundred fishermen, and place a line of soldiers all round it with
torches in their hands a few steps from the water; with these
precautions no possible harm can happen to you."
The enamoured king, very anxious for the expulsion of the supposed
demon, and fully believing that I had the power to perform what I had
promised, went away well pleased, and immediately consulted his
ministers. They seeing how eager he was, and not anticipating any
possibility of danger, readily approved of the proceeding.
Having obtained their consent the king returned to me, and finding
that I was about to depart, earnestly entreated me to stay, saying
that half the pleasure of success would be taken away if I were not
there to witness it; but I answered that there were urgent reasons for
my immediate departure, and that I had already remained longer than I
had intended to do, solely on his account. I assured him that I had so
prepared everything that my presence was now quite unnecessary, that I
was about to disappear from the world, and that he would see me no
more. Finding me quite determined, he took leave of me with many
expressions of respect, and went back to his palace to give orders for
the performance of all that I had directed.
Accordingly, a large number of fishermen with nets were engaged, by
whom the lake was thoroughly dragged, and large donations were made to
the brahmans and the poor. Towards evening, soldiers with torches were
placed, all round the tank, and at midnight the king, attended by a
numerous retinue, and followed by a great crowd anxious to witness the
expected miracle, came to the steps leading down to the water, and
having undressed there in a tent which had been pitched for that
purpose, plunged in and swam out to the middle.
Meanwhile I had said to my followers: "I have no further need of you;
I am about to retire to a lonely place to practise meditation; you may
now leave me; go, and my blessing be upon you." Well satisfied with
the gifts they had received, they departed; and when they were gone I
slipped unobserved into the lake, and entered the hole which I had
prepared. There I remained till I heard the noise of the crowd who
came with the king, and perceived him floating on the surface. Diving
cautiously under him, I pulled him down, strangled him, and dragged
the body into the hole; then swimming to the steps, I boldly came
forth, to the astonishment of the attendants, who, though they had
expected a miracle, were scarcely prepared for such a great change. No
one, however, doubted that I was really their sovereign, and having
dressed and mounted an elephant, I entered the city, escorted by the
soldiers and followed by a great crowd of people, who had come forth
from curiosity, and were loud in their praises of the pious man who
had wrought such a miracle.
That night I was unable to sleep. In the morning I summoned all the
ministers and counsellors, and said: "Behold the power of piety and
penance. That holy man has performed a great miracle, and bestowed on
me this new body, which you see, by means of the tank which he has
consecrated, and through the favour of the gods, whom he had long
propitiated; after such a manifestation, who shall doubt their power?
Let the faces of all unbelievers be bowed down by shame; let a great
and solemn festival be made with song and dance in honour of Brahma,
Siva, Yama, and the other deities, the rulers of the world, and
distribute much money among the poor."
This speech was received with great approbation, and all,
congratulating me and praising the gods, performed the duties imposed
After this I went to the women's apartments, and there the first
person whom I met was a very devoted servant of the princess, who had
been especially attentive to me. She, not imagining what had occurred,
would have let me pass without especial notice; but I called her, and
said: "Have you never seen me before?"
Then indeed she opened her eyes wide with joy and astonishment,
saying: "Can it be possible? is not this a delusion? Tell me what it
I gave her a brief account of what had happened, and sent her to
prepare my wife. How glad she was to see me you may well imagine.
So well did we manage, that the secret was kept, no suspicion even
arose, and all the people were rejoiced at the favourable change, not
only in the person, but in the temper and disposition of their
In due time I was publicly married to the princess, and reinstated her
father in his kingdom.
I have now come here with an army to assist the King of Anga, and have
thus obtained the great happiness of seeing you again.
The prince, having heard this story, said "Your cleverness has indeed
been great, and your personation of the Siddha wonderful. May you
long continue to possess such wisdom and prudence, combined with wit
and cheerfulness." Then, looking at Visruta, he said: "It is now your
turn;" and he forthwith began:--
* * * * *
ADVENTURES OF VISRUTA.
My Lord, as I was wandering one day in the forest of Vindhya, I met
with a very handsome boy, standing by the side of a well, crying
bitterly. When I asked what was the matter, he said: "The old man who
was with me, when trying to get water from this well, fell in, and I
am unable to help him. What will become of me?"
Hearing this, I looked down the well, which was not very deep, and saw
the old man standing at the bottom, the water not being sufficient to
cover him. By means of a long and tough stem of a creeper, I pulled
him up safely; then using it again as a rope, with a cup made from
the hollow stem of a bamboo, I drew water for the poor child, who was
half dead with thirst; and finding that he was suffering from hunger
also, I knocked down some nuts from the top of a high tree with a
well-aimed blow of a stone.
The old man was very grateful for my timely assistance; and when we
were all comfortably seated in the shade, he gave me, at my request, a
long account of the circumstances which had brought him there,
"There was formerly a King of Vidarba remarkable for wisdom and
justice, learned in the Scriptures, a protector of his subjects (by
whom he was much beloved), a terror to his enemies, wise in political
science, upright and honest in all his actions, kind to his
dependents, grateful for even small services, and gracious to all.
Having lived the full age of man, he died, leaving a prosperous
kingdom to his son Anantavarma, a young man of great abilities, but
caring more for the mechanical arts, music, and poetry, than for his
duties as a ruler.
"One day, one of his father's old counsellors in private addressed him
thus: 'Sire, your majesty, with the advantage of royal birth, has
almost every good quality that can be desired; your intelligence is
very great; your knowledge superior to that of others; but all this,
without instruction in political science and attention to public
affairs, is insufficient for a king; void of such knowledge, he is
despised, not only by foreigners, but by his own subjects, who,
disregarding all laws, human and divine, at last perish miserably, and
drag down their sovereign in their fall. A king who has not political
wisdom, however good his eyesight may be, is regarded by the wise as a
blind man, unable to see things as they are. I entreat you, therefore,
to give up the pursuits to which you are so devoted, and to study the
art of government. Your power will then be strengthened, and you may
long reign over a happy and prosperous people.'
"To this exhortation the young king appeared to listen attentively;
and said: 'Such is the teaching of the wise; it ought to be followed.'
"After dismissing the old counsellor, the king went into the women's
apartments, and began to talk to them of the exhortation which he had
just received. His observations were attentively listened to by one of
his constant attendants, who determined, if possible, to turn the
king's thoughts in another direction, and prevent him from being
influenced by the good advice which had been given. This man had many
accomplishments; he was skilled in dancing, music, and singing; quick
at repartee; a good story-teller; full of fun and jokes; but devoid of
honour and honesty; false, slanderous, a receiver of bribes, a bad man
in every way; yet, from his wit and humour, very acceptable to the
king, whom he now thus addressed: 'Wherever there is a person of
exalted position, there are always clever rogues ready to prey upon
him, and, while degrading him, to accomplish their own base purposes.
Some, under the guise of religion, will tell him: "The happiness of
this world is shortlived and fleeting; eternal happiness can only be
obtained by prayer and penance;" and so they persuade him to shave
his head, wear a dress of skins, gird himself with a rope of sacred
grass, and, renouncing all pleasures and luxuries, to betake himself
to fasting and penance, and give away his riches to the poor, meaning,
of course, themselves; some of these religious impostors will even
persuade their dupes to renounce children, wife--nay, even life
"'But suppose a man to have too much sense to be deluded in this way,
they will try a different plan; to one they will say: "We can make
gold; only furnish us with the means, and your riches shall be
increased a thousandfold;" to another: "We can show you how to destroy
all your enemies without a weapon;" to another: "Follow our advice,
and, though you are nobody now, you shall soon become a great man."
"'If their victim is a sovereign, they will say to him: "Four
branches of study are said to be proper for kings--the vedas, the
puranas, metaphysics, and political science;--but the first three are
of very little advantage; they may safely be neglected, and he should
give up his mind to the last only. Are there not the six thousand
verses composed for the use of kings, and containing the whole
science? Learn these by heart, and you will be prepared for all
emergencies." So then he must set to work to learn all these crabbed
rules. He must; according to them, distrust every one, even wife or
son. He must rise early, take a very scanty meal, and immediately
proceed to business.
"'First he must go over accounts, and balance income and expenditure;
and while his rascally ministers pretend to have everything very
exact, they have forty thousand ways of cheating him, and take good
care of themselves.
"'Then he must sit in public, and be tired to death with receiving
frivolous complaints and petitions, and will not even have the
satisfaction of doing justice; for, whether a cause be just or not,
his ministers will take care that the decision shall be according to
their own interests.
"'Then he is allowed a short time for bathing, dressing, and dining;
if, indeed, the poor wretch can venture to dine, with the constant
fear of poison in his mind.
"'After this he must remain a long time in council with his ministers,
perplexed with their conflicting arguments, and unable to understand
even the half of them; while they, pretending to act impartially, get
everything settled as they had previously agreed and by twisting and
distorting the reports of spies and emissaries, manage to serve
themselves and their friends, and to get credit for putting down
disturbances which they themselves had excited.
"'He is now allowed to take a little amusement, but the time for this
is restricted to an hour and a half.
"'Then he must review his army; hear the reports of the commander of
his forces; give orders for peace or war; and act upon the accounts
brought by spies and emissaries.
"'However weary he maybe with all this, he must sit down and read
diligently, like some poor student, for several hours. Then at last he
may retire to rest; but before he has had half enough sleep, he will
be awaked in the early morning; and the priests will come to him, and
say: "There is an unfavourable conjunction of the planets; evil omens
have appeared; there is danger impending; the gods must be
propitiated; let a great sacrifice be made to-day. The brahmans are
continually engaged in supplicating the gods on your behalf; your
prosperity is dependent on their prayers; they are miserably poor, and
have many children to support; let large donations be made." Thus the
greedy wretches, under the pretence of religion, are continually
robbing the king and enriching themselves.
"'This is the sort of life which you will have to lead, if you give
yourself up to the guidance of those greybeards; and, after all,
though you may have studied and studied, pored over their musty
volumes, and listened to their tedious lectures, you are not sure of
"'And who are these fellows who set themselves up for wise men? Do
they always do right? Are they not often themselves cheated by the
unlearned? Common sense is far better than all this learning; instinct
and feeling will guide us in the right way; even an infant without
teaching finds out how to draw nourishment from the mother's breast.
Cast aside, then, the rules and restrictions with which these old
fools would bind you. Follow your natural inclinations, and enjoy life
while you can. You possess youth, beauty, and strength. You have a
large army, ten thousand elephants, and three hundred thousand horses;
your treasury is full of gold and jewels, and would not be emptied in
a thousand years. What more would you have? Life is short, and those
who are always thinking of adding to their possessions, go on toiling
to the last, and never really enjoy them.
"'But why should I waste your time with needless arguments? I see you
are already convinced. Commit, then, the cares of government to your
ministers; spend your time with your ladies, and congenial friends
like me; enjoy drinking, music, and dancing, and trouble yourself no
more with affairs of state.'
"Having thus spoken, he prostrated himself in very humble attitude at
the feet of his master, who remained for a time silent, as if
"The women, who had been listening with delight to all that was said,
seeing his hesitation, assembled round him, and, with sweet words and
caresses, easily persuaded him to follow his own inclination and
"From that time the young king, given up entirely to pleasures and
amusements, left the affairs of the kingdom to his ministers; and,
while allowing them to manage as they pleased, provided they did not
trouble him, openly treated them with insolence and neglect, and even
took pleasure in hearing them ridiculed by the worthless parasites who
surrounded him, so that even the wisest of his ministers, while
lamenting the sad state of affairs, could only acknowledge their
inability to remedy it, and wait till some great public calamity, or
the invasion of the country by a neighbouring sovereign, who was
gradually extending his dominions by force or cunning, should bring
the young king to his senses.
"Ere long, what they had expected came to pass; for the King of
Asmaka, who had for some time coveted the country, but did not dare
openly to invade it while it was strong and prosperous, took measures
in secret to weaken the authority of Anantavarma, and diminish his
resources; and, lest he should perchance see the error of his ways and
abandon his vicious courses, he secretly gave a commission to the son
of one of his ministers, a young man of great abilities and agreeable
manners, an eloquent flatterer and amusing companion, who arrived at
the court of Anantavarma, attended by a numerous retinue, as if
travelling about for his own pleasure.
"This man soon became intimate with the king, and took care to fall in
with all his tastes, and to justify and praise every pursuit which he
"Thus, if he saw the king fond of hunting, he would say: 'What a fine
manly sport this is! How it strengthens the body, braces the spirits,
and quickens the intelligence! While roaming over hill and dale, you
become acquainted with the country; by destroying the deer and wild
buffaloes, you benefit the husbandmen; by killing the tigers and other
wild beasts, you make travelling safer.' And he would go on in this
way, without any allusion to the damage and destruction caused by the
king's hunting expeditions.
"If gambling was the favourite amusement, or there was excessive
devotion to women, or to drinking, he would very ingeniously bring
forward everything that could be said in favour of them, passing over
their disadvantages in silence. If the king was lavish to his
dependants, he would praise his generosity; if cruel, he would say:
'Such severity is good; you maintain your own dignity by it; a king
ought not to be like a patient devotee, submitting to insults, and
ready to forgive.
"In this manner that wicked wretch obtained great influence over the
king, and employed it to lead him into all sorts of excesses.
"With such an example before them, all classes gradually became
corrupted. The magistrates neglected their duties, and thought only
how they might enrich themselves; great criminals, who could bribe,
escaped with impunity; the weak were oppressed by the strong; violence
and robbery were rampant; disturbances broke out on all sides; and
severe and indiscriminating punishments only stirred up indignation,
without repressing crime. The revenue diminished, while expenditure
was increasing; everywhere loud complaints were heard, and great
"As if all this were not sufficient, the cruel King of Asmaka sent
emissaries in all directions to mix unsuspectedly with the inhabitants
of Vidarba, and do as much mischief as possible.
"Some would distribute subtle poisons in various ways; some would stir
up quarrels between neighbouring villages, and so cause party fights;
some contrived to let loose a furious elephant into a crowd, or get up
an alarm by other means, and so cause a sudden panic, in which the
people trampled down each other, and many lives were lost; others,
disguised as hunters, promising abundance of game, would tempt men
into some narrow valley, between high mountains, where they were
devoured by tigers, or, unable to find their way out again, perished
of hunger and thirst.
"By these and many other devices, they succeeded in destroying life
and weakening the country, so that less resistance might be offered to
"Then, thinking the time to be arrived, the King of Asmaka prepared
for war. Meanwhile, his emissary was leading on the foolish young king
to destruction; and at this very time, as if in perfect security, he
was amusing himself with the performances of a celebrated actress and
dancer, having, at the instigation of his treacherous friend,
persuaded her, by large donations, to leave the King of Kuntala, with
whom she was a great favourite.
"Indignant at such an insult, that king was easily persuaded to join
the King of Asmaka, who had already obtained several other allies
eager to have a share in the expected conquest and plunder.
"Thus, when the country was actually invaded, no effectual resistance
was made; Anantavarma was easily defeated, and fell into the power of
his cruel enemy.
"The cunning King of Asmaka, who had gained his allies by many liberal
promises, had no intention of sharing the conquered country with any
one; he professed, however, great disinterestedness; declared that he
should be contented with a very small part; and, having desired his
allies to arrange between themselves what each should take, contrived,
by his intrigues, to make them quarrel over the division. The result
was that they fought with, and so weakened each other, that he was
able to disregard their claims, and to annex the whole of the
conquered country to his own dominions.
"After the defeat and death of Anantavarma, an old and faithful
minister escaped with the queen and her two children, this boy and his
elder sister Manjuvadini, together with a few faithful followers,
including myself; and though the old minister was taken ill and died
on the road, the rest arrived safely at Mahishmati, where the queen
was well received by the king Amittravarma, a half-brother of her
husband, and where she devoted herself to the education of her son,
hoping that he might one day recover his father's kingdom.
"After a time, however, that king sought to marry his brother's widow;
and, having been rejected by her, determined to take revenge by
killing her son.
"The queen, having discovered his intentions, sent for me, and said:
'My life is wrapped up in this boy; I can endure any thing, so long as
he is safe; take him and make your escape at once; I know not where to
send you, but if you can find a safe refuge, let me know, and I will
come to you, if possible.'
"In obedience to her commands, I took the boy, succeeded in escaping
with him, and reached a shepherd's hut on the borders of this forest.
There we stayed a few days till I saw a man whom I suspected to be
searching for us. Fearing discovery, I left the cottage, and entered
the forest. Here, while trying to get water to quench the poor child's
burning thirst, I slipped into the well, where I should have perished
but for your timely assistance; and now, having done us this kindness,
will you add to it by protecting the boy, and helping us to reach a
place of safety?"
"Who was his mother," I asked. "Of what family was she?"
"She is the daughter of the King of Oude," he answered, "and her
mother was Sagaradatta, daughter of Vaisravana, a merchant of
"If so," I replied, "she and my father are cousins by the mother's
side; this boy is therefore my relation, and has a right to my
The old man was much pleased at hearing this, and I promised not only
to protect the boy, but to contrive some means for reinstating him in
his proper position, and overcoming that wicked King of Asmaka with
cunning equal to his own.
For the present, however, the most needful thing was to procure food.
While I was considering how to obtain this, two deer passed, pursued
by a forester, who shot three arrows and missed them, and, in despair,
let fall his bow and two remaining arrows. Hastily snatching up these,
I discharged the arrows in rapid succession, and killed both the deer;
one of them I gave to the hunter, the other I prepared, and roasted a
part of it for ourselves.
The forester was astonished by my skill, and delighted at the
acquisition of so much food; and it occurred to me that I might get
some information from him. I asked him therefore: "Do you know
anything of what is going on at Mahishmati?"
"I was there early this morning," he answered, "for I had a tiger skin
and other skins to sell, and great festivities were in preparation;
the Prince Prachandavarma, the king's younger brother, is about to
marry the Princess Manjuvadini, and the rejoicings are on this
After the forester was gone, I said to the old man (whose name was
Nalijangha): "That wretch Amittravarma is trying to make it up with
his sister-in-law by promoting a good marriage for her daughter; no
doubt he thinks to persuade her to recall her son, that he may have
him in his power. Do you therefore leave the boy with me, and go back
at once to his mother. Tell her how you have met with me, and that the
child is quite safe under my protection; but give out in public that
he has been carried off and devoured by a tiger. I shall come to the
city disguised as a beggar; do you wait for me near the cemetery."
All this he promised to do, and set off immediately, having first
received further directions for the guidance of the queen.
After some days, it was generally understood at Mahishmati that the
boy who had escaped into the forest had been killed by a tiger; and
the king, secretly rejoicing, went to condole with the mother. She
appeared as if greatly distressed by the news, and said to him: "I
look upon the death of my son as a judgment upon me for not complying
with your wishes, and am therefore now ready to become your wife."
The old wretch was delighted at her compliance, and preparations were
made for the marriage.
On the appointed day, in the presence of a numerous assembly, she took
a small leafy branch, and dipping it in what appeared to be water, but
which really contained a deadly poison, struck him gently with it on
the face, saying: "If you are acting right, this will not injure you;
if you are sinning in taking me, your brother's wife, and I am
faithful to my husband, may this be like the blow of a sword to you."
Such was the strength of the poison that he fell dead almost
instantaneously. Then dipping the same branch into other water
containing an antidote, she struck her daughter in a similar manner;
and, as no injury followed, the spectators were fully convinced that
the death of Amittravarma was a punishment from heaven.
Soon after this (by my directions, and in order to throw him off his
guard), she said to Prachandavarma: "The throne is now vacant; you
should occupy it at once, and make my daughter your queen."
He listened to the suggestion; and, as the young boy, the nephew of
the late king, was supposed to be dead, no opposition was made by the
Then the Queen Vasundhara (also by my directions) sent for some of the
late king's ministers, and of the elders of the city, whom she knew to
be ill-affected towards Prachandavarma, and said to them: "Last night
the goddess Durga appeared to me in a vision, and said: 'Your child is
safe; I myself, in the form of a tigress, carried him away, to save
him from his enemies. In four days from this time Prachandavarma will
suddenly die; on the fifth day let all the authorities assemble round
my temple on the bank of the river, and close the doors, after having
ascertained that no one is concealed inside. After waiting one hour,
the door will open and a young brahman will come forth, holding your
son by the hand. That boy will become King of Vidarba, and that
brahman is to marry your daughter.'"
After the divine manifestation in favour of the queen when
Amittravarma was struck dead, this account of the vision was readily
believed by her hearers, who promised to keep the secret and to be
guided by her directions.
When the fourth day arrived I entered the city, disguised as a beggar,
and brought the boy to his delighted mother, who introduced me to her
daughter, whom I greatly admired, and she, though agitated, was
evidently pleased with me, even under such a disguise.
I did not venture to stay long, and after receiving an alms and
assuring the queen that the imagined dream would prove true, I went
away, taking the boy with me, and at parting, in order to deceive her
attendants, she said aloud: "Your application shall not have been in
vain; I will take care to protect your boy."
Nalijangha, the old servant whom I had rescued in the forest, met me
on my arrival, and was waiting at the place which I had appointed. I
went to him there and asked him for information as to the movements
and occupations of the new king. "That doomed man," he answered,
"thinking all obstacles removed, and rejoicing at his accession to
power, is now amusing himself in the palace gardens, with a number of
actors, tumblers, and dancing girls."
"I could not have a better opportunity," I replied; "do you therefore
stay here with the boy, and wait for me in this old ruin. I shall not
be long gone."
I then dressed myself in the clothes of a tumbler, which I had brought
with me for the purpose, went boldly into the garden, presented myself
to the king, and asked for permission to exhibit my skill before him.
This was readily granted; an opportunity was soon given me of showing
what I could do, and I obtained much applause from the spectators.
After a time I begged some of those present to lend me their knives,
and I caused much astonishment by the way in which I appeared to
balance myself on the points. Then, still, holding one of the knives,
I imitated the pouncing of a hawk and an eagle, and having by degrees
got near the king, I threw the knife with such good aim, that it
pierced him to the heart, and I shouted out at the same time, "Long
live Vasantabhanu!" that it might be supposed I had been sent by him.
After this, dashing by the guards, who tried to stop me, I suddenly
leaped over the wall, and before any of my pursuers could cross it, I
had run a long way on the other side. Doubling back, I got behind a
great heap of bricks, and from thence, concealed by the trees,
succeeded in reaching the ruins unobserved. Here I changed my clothes
and went back to the city, as if nothing had happened.
In order to have everything ready for my intended concealment, I had
gone secretly the day before to the Temple of Durga, and had there
made an underground chamber, communicating with the interior through
an opening in the wall, which was carefully closed with a large stone,
and now, taking the boy with me, I entered the hiding place, having
been furnished with suitable dresses and ornaments, sent by the queen,
The assassination of Prachandavarma was universally attributed to his
enemy, the King of Asmaka, and the first part of the prophecy of
Durga, as told by the queen, being thus accomplished, there was no
doubt, on the part of those who were in the secret, as to the
fulfilment of the remainder.
In the morning a great crowd was assembled round the temple; for
although the secret of the queen's vision had been kept, it was
generally understood that something wonderful was to take place there.
Presently the queen and her attendants arrived, entered the building,
and paid their devotions to the goddess, after which the whole temple
was carefully searched, to make sure that no one was concealed there,
and all having withdrawn, the doors were closed, and the people stood
without in silence, anxiously awaiting the pleasure of the goddess.
A band then began to play and the kettledrums were loudly struck, so
that the sound reached me in the hiding-place. At this, which was the
preconcerted signal, I made a great effort, moved the large stone, and
came forth with the boy into the temple. Having changed our dresses, I
placed the old ones in the hole, carefully refitted the stone, and
throwing the temple door wide open, stood in front of the astonished
multitude, holding the young prince by the hand.
While they were gazing in bewilderment, I thus addressed them: "The
great goddess Durga, who lately showed herself in a vision to the
queen, has been pleased to restore to his longing mother this child,
whom she, in the form of a tigress, had carried away, and she commands
you, by my mouth, to accept him as your sovereign."
Then turning to the queen, I said:--"Receive your child from the hands
of Durga, who will henceforth protect him as her own son; and by her
command accept me as the husband of your daughter."
To the ministers and elders I said:--"The goddess has brought me here,
not merely as a messenger of her will, but as a defender of your
country from that wicked King of Asmaka, whose cruel and unscrupulous
intrigues are well known; accept me, therefore, as your deliverer, and
as the guardian of the young king appointed by Durga."
Upon this all broke out into loud acclamations, saying: "Great is the
power of the glorious Durga! happy the country of which you are the
protector!" and I was conducted in triumph to the palace, together
with the queen, who could now openly show her joy at the recovery of
So well had I managed, that no suspicion arose of the deception which
had been practised, and all the people venerated the young king as
being especially under the protection of the goddess, and me as the
agent chosen by her for his restoration.
Thus my authority was well established. I caused, in due time, the
young prince to be formally proclaimed king, and had him carefully
educated; and I myself received the hand of the lovely Manjuvadini, as
the reward of my services and in obedience to the commands of Durga.
After some time, however, I began to reflect: "Though my position now
seems quite secure, yet, after all, I am a foreigner here, and when
the first burst of admiration is over, people may perhaps begin to
ask, 'Who is this stranger who has come among us in such a mysterious
manner? and what is he that he should thus lord it over us?' And it
occurred to me that if I could make friends with an old and
much-respected minister, named Aryaketu, so as to trust him entirely,
he might be of great assistance to me."
Before, however, making any overtures to him, I desired Nalijangha to
try him secretly and ascertain his feelings towards me.
My agent, therefore, had many interviews with him, and tried to
persuade him that it was not for the good of the country that a
stranger and foreigner should occupy such an important position,
which ought rather to be held by a native, and that it would be very
desirable to get rid of me.
To all this Aryaketu answered: "Do not speak against so good a man,
and one of such wonderful ability, endowed with such great courage,
generosity, and kindness. So many good qualities are rarely found
united in one person. I esteem the country very fortunate in having
such a ruler, and am convinced, that through him the King of Asmaka
will one day be driven out, and our prince established on his father's
throne. Nothing shall induce me to plot against such a man."
After hearing this from Nalijangha, I tried the old minister in
various ways, and seeing no reason to doubt his fidelity and
attachment, I gave him my full confidence, and found him a most useful
With his advice and assistance, I was able to appoint efficient
officers in every department. I encouraged religion and punished
heresy; I kept each of the four castes in their proper sphere, and
without oppressing the people, I collected a large revenue, for there
is nothing worse than weakness in a ruler, and without money he cannot
[Here the story breaks off abruptly.]
* * * * *
My Lord, I, having a common cause with my friends of wandering, saw
among the Suhmans, in the outer park of a city called Damalipta, a
great festal crowd. There, in a bower of Atimukta creepers, I saw a
certain young man amusing himself with the sound of a lute. I asked
him "Worthy sir, what is this festival called? on what account is this
beginning, through what cause do you stand in solitude, accompanied
(only) by your lute, as if out of spirits, not having done honour to
He replied: "The King of Suhma, called Tungadhanwa, being without
offspring, begged from the feet of Durga, called Vindhyavasini,
dwelling in this abode, having her love for the abode in Vindhya
forgotten, two children, and by her in a vision to him sleeping near
(her temple) direction was given: 'There shall be produced of thee one
son, and one daughter shall be born; but he shall be in subjection to
her husband. But let her, beginning from the seventh year till her
marriage, propitiate me every month while the moon is in Krittika (the
constellation of the Pleiades), with the ball-dance, for the obtaining
an excellent husband; and whom she likes, to him she is to be given
and let this festival be called the Ball Festival.' So she said.
"Then in a very short time the beloved queen of the king, named
Medini, bore a son, and a daughter was born at the same time. That
damsel, called Kandukavati, will to-day propitiate the goddess having
the moon as a diadem.
"But her friend, Chandrasena by name, her foster-sister, was beloved
of me; and in these days she has been violently besieged by the king's
son Bhimadhanwa. Therefore I, distressed, perplexed at heart by the
pain of the arrow-darts of Kama, somewhat consoling myself with the
soft tones of the lute, occupy a solitary place."
And at that moment there came near a certain sound of anklets, and a
certain lady came up. He indeed having seen her, with eyes opened
wide, having risen up, having been embraced by her, sat down; and he
said "This is the (lady) dear as my life, separation from whom,
burning as it were, burns me up; and by that prince the robber of
this, my life, I am brought to a state of coldness, as if by death;
and I shall not be able, saying he is the king's son, to practise
loyalty towards him; therefore, having caused myself to be favourably
regarded by her, I will abandon a life which has no remedy."
But she, with her face full of tears, said "O beloved, do not, on my
account, engage in violence. Thou, who having been born of a worthy
merchant, Arthadasa, wast called Kosadasa by thy parents, art called
by thy enemies Vesadasa (slave of a girl), from thy excessive
attachment to me. Thou thyself being dead, I should imagine the
popular saying would be (he was) Nrisansa-Vesa--the slave of a wicked
one. But now take me to any place you will."
But he said to me: "Friend, in the regions seen by you, which was
(the most) prosperous, abounding in corn, and having the greatest
number of good men?"
To him, having laughed a little, I said "Wide is this (world bounded
by) ocean and sky. There is no end of pleasant regions in one place or
another. But, indeed, if I should not be able to produce some plan
causing you to live comfortably here, then, indeed, I will show you
Meanwhile, the sounds of jewel-anklets arose. Now she, in a hurry,
said: "My lord's daughter Kandukavati is come to propitiate Durga with
playing at ball; and she is of unforbidden sight in this Kanduka
(ball) festival. May the eye of you going to see her be successful; I
must be keeping near her." So saying, she went away, and we two
I first saw the red-lipped (lady) standing on the floor of a jewelled
stage; and she, seen by me a stranger and at a distance, immediately
settled in my heart. And I, having my mind occupied by astonishment,
thought: "Is this Lakshmi? for the lotus is not placed in her hand;
but in her (Lakshmi's) hand there is a lotus, and she (the goddess)
has been all enjoyed by Vishnu, and by former kings; but in this
(lady) there is unimpaired faultless youth."
While I was thus reflecting, she, faultless in every limb, touching
the ground with the tips of her stretched-out fingers, having her dark
curled locks shaken, having with agitation saluted the mighty goddess,
took hold of the ball, resembling (in colour) the god without a body
(_i.e._ Kama) having his eye reddened by no slight passion; and having
dropped it with graceful languor to the ground, having struck it,
gently rising, with her bud-like hand having the delicate fingers
stretched out, the thumb a little bent; having thrown, it up with the
back of the hand, she caught it observed with active grace, in the air
as it fell like a bunch of flowers joined with a circle of bees; and
she discharged it in middling slow and quick musical time, throwing it
very gently; and at that moment she displayed a quick movement with
her feet; and when it stopped, she caused it to rise up with numerous
blows; and, contrarywise, she caused it to rest; and she made it rise
up like a bird, striking it regularly with her left and right hands
when it was come straight to her side, and having caught it fallen
when it had risen to a very great height, she practised a song-step;
and having caused it to go up in various directions, she made it come
back again. Thus sporting sweetly in various ways, accepting the words
of praise loudly spoken at every moment by the people with their
feelings interested come near to the stage, she stands turned towards
me (who was) leaning on the shoulder of Kosadaasa, having just then
confidence produced in me, with flushed cheek and wide expanded eye.
Then she being caused to have a glancing look like that of Kandarpa
when first descended to earth, corresponding therewith having her
gracefully-curved creeper eyebrows sportively playing; with the
network of the rays of light of her lips oscillated by the waves of
the wind of her breath, like twigs moved in sport, as if beating off
the bees eager to catch the perfume of heir lotus-face. In the
circular whirlings of the ball (caused) by very rapid striking,
entering, as it were, a flowery cage, through bashfulness at sight of
me; in the Panchavindhu movement shaking off, as if through fear, the
five arrows of Kama simultaneously falling (on her); in the Gomuttrika
steps quivering like the brightness shown in the cloud imitating
forked lightning; in the harmonious movements of her feet, having the
time kept by the sound of the jewelled ornaments; with her lower lip
suffused with the brightness of a furtive smile; with the mass of her
locks put up again when fallen down; with her jewelled girdle-belt
sounding by knocking together; with the brightness of her muslin
dress, agitated as it rested on her gracefully prominent full hips;
with the beautiful ball, struck by the quivering, bent, and extended
arms; with the arms like a loop, turned downwards; with her graceful
hair reaching to the end of the back, rolled round upwards; with the
game continued (and) not neglected from her rapidity in putting up the
fallen-down golden leaf of the ear-ring; with the ball whirled inwards
and outwards by the feet and hands throwing it up repeatedly; with the
necklace lost to sight through bending down and rising up; the pearls
without separation in falling and rising; with the wind of the little
branch (stuck) in (or behind) the ear engaged in drying up the paint
of the cheek spoilt by the perspiration breaking forth; with one hand
engaged in holding back on the surface of her bosom the falling
muslin dress; sitting down and rising up, closing and opening her
eyes, striking on the ground or in the air, with one ball or more than
one, she showed various sorts of play worth looking at.
* * * * *
After that, a certain damsel, adorned with a quantity of ornaments,
made of jewels, who had become the chief of the whole race of women in
the world, attended by a numerous train of modest female friends,
having the gait of a swan, having come up softly, having made an
offering to the most excellent brahman, of one jewel of the form
(colour) of flame, being asked by him: "Who art thou?"
Sorrowfully, with a low murmuring voice, very gently, in a submissive
attitude, said: "O excellent brahman, I am the daughter of a chief of
Asuras, Kalindi by name. My father, the ruler of this world, great in
dignity, in a battle in which the immortals were removed to a
distance, was made a guest of the city of Yama by Vishnu, impatient of
his own valour. Me, immersed in an ocean of grief at separation from
him, a certain compassionate perfected devotee told: 'Damsel, a
certain mortal, bearing a divine body, having become thy new husband,
shall rule over the whole of Patala.'"
* * * * *
Having propitiated with clasped hands, put together in the form of the
red lotus; the mass of rays coloured by the red sandalwood body of the
thousand-eyed elephant of the eastern quarter having a thousand
flames, the witness of things (which ought) to be done and not to be
done, the unique sea-monster leaping over the row of cloud-waves of
the celestial ocean, the graceful actor dancing on the stage of the
golden rock, the one lion the tearer of the scented elephant of
nocturnal darkness, the jewel arranged at the top of the pearl
necklace the canopy of the stars; I went to my own dwelling. And three
days being gone, when the lord of day had a splendour of colour common
to it with the red chalk side of the peak of the western mountain, and
was looking like the orb of one bosom of the Goddess of Twilight,
united with the body of Siva, under the name of atmosphere, for the
disparagement of the daughter of the king of mountains; that king also
having come, stood in humble attitude, having his diadem eclipsed by
the rays from the nails of the feet of this person placed on the
ground; and he was thus addressed:--
* * * * *
PROPER NAMES, ETC., OCCURRING IN THE TALES.
_Alaka_, a mountain inhabited by Kuvera and the Yakshas.
_Ambalika_, the daughter of Sinhavarma, wife of Mantragupta.
_Amittravarma_, King or Governor of Mahishmati.
_Anantavarma_, King of Vidarba.
_Apaharavarma_, son of Praharavarma, and one of the nine companions of
_Apsaras_, heavenly females, nearly corresponding with the houris of
_Arthapala_, son of Kamapala, one of the nine companions of Rajahansa.
_Arthapati_, a merchant at Champa, who wished to marry Kulapalika.
_Aryaketu_, a minister and friend of Visruta.
_Asura_, a general term for various supernatural beings not regarded
as gods, but in general hostile to them, nearly the same as the jins
or genii of the "Arabian Nights."
_Avantisundari_, daughter of Manasara, wife of Rajavahana.
_Balabhadra_, a merchant, husband of Ratnavati.
_Balachandrika_, wife of Pushpodbhava, and friend of Avantisundari.
_Bandhupala_, a merchant, father of Balachandrika.
_Betel and pawn_, a mixture for chewing, frequently offered in
politeness, as snuff with us.
_Bheels_, savages, wild tribes, robbers.
_Bhimadhanwa_, brother of Kandukavati.
_Buddhist_, a disciple of Buddha. Buddha was a Hindoo reformer, whose
followers were once very numerous in India, but at the date of these
stories had been much diminished in number, through the persecutions
of the brahmans. They still, however, form a large part of the
population of Ceylon, Thibet, China, and some other countries, though
the comparatively pure religion of the founder has for the most part
degenerated into gross idolatry and unmeaning ceremonies.
_Chakravaka_, name of a bird quoted for affection, as turtle-doves by
_Chandala_, a pariah, outcast.
_Chandrasena_, foster-sister of the Princess Kandukavati.
_Chataka_, a bird supposed to be very fond of rain, and to make a loud
noise at its approach.
_Dhanamittra_, husband of Kulapalika, friend of Apaharavarma.
_Dharmapala_, one of Rajahansa's ministers.
_Dharmavardhana_, King of Sravasti.
_Durga_ or _Kali_, wife of Siva, a terrific goddess, delighting in
_Gauri_, wife of Siva.
_Ghee_, liquid butter, or butter which has been liquefied.
_Indra_, the chief of the inferior gods, presiding over the clouds,
rain, thunder, &c.
_Kailasa_, a mountain, part of the Himalaya chain.
_Kalahakantaka_, the man who fell in love with a portrait.
_Kalindi_, Queen of Patala, wife of Matanga.
_Kalpasundari_, wife of Vikatavarma, afterwards of Upaharavarma.
_Kama_ or _Kandarpa_, the God of Love.
_Kamamanjari_, the actress who seduced the Muni.
_Kamapala_, son of Dharmapala, minister and son-in-law of the King of
_Kanakalekha_, daughter of the King of Kalinga, wife of Mantragupta.
_Kandukavati_, the princess who performed the ball-dance.
_Kantaka_, the gaoler killed by Upaharavarma.
_Kantimati_, the wife of Kamapala, mother of Arthapala.
_Kirata_, a savage, forester, Bheel.
_Kosadasa_, lover of Chandrasena.
_Kusa-grass_, a scented grass, much used at sacrifices for laying
offerings on, &c.
_Kuvera_, the God of Wealth, whose attendants were the Yakshas.
_Magadha_, the kingdom of Rajahansa.
_Mahakala_, a famous temple of Siva, the object of many pilgrimages.
_Mahishmati_, name of a city.
_Malaya_, a mountain, or range of mountains, having many sandal trees,
the perfume from which was supposed to be carried a long distance by
_Malwa_, the kingdom of Manasara.
_Manapala_, the officer who guarded Vamalochana.
_Manasara_, King of Malwa, conqueror of Rajahansa.
_Manibhadra_, a Yaksha, father of Taravali.
_Manjuvadini_, daughter of Anantavarma, wife of Visruta.
_Mantra_, a verse or chapter in the vedas, any prayer or words recited
as a charm.
_Marichi_, a great muni seduced by Kamamanjari.
_Matanga_, a brahman who went down to Patala together with Rajavahana.
_Mithila_, a city or country, called also Videha.
_Mitragupta_, one of the nine companions of Rajavahana.
_Muni_, a holy man devoted to study, meditation, and penance.
_Nalijangha_, the old man whom Visruta rescued from the well.
_Narayana_, a name of Vishnu, an incarnation of the three principal
gods, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva.
_Navamalika_, daughter of the King of Sravasti, wife of Pramati.
_Padmodbhava_, one of Rajahansa's ministers.
_Patala_, a fabulous subterranean country.
_Prachandavarma_, King or Governor of Mahishmati, killed by Visruta.
_Praharavarma_, King of Mithila, father of Apaharavarma and
_Priyamvada_, Queen of Praharavarma.
_Purnabhadra_, the reformed robber, servant of Kamapala.
_Pushpapuri_, the capital of Magadha.
_Ragamanjari_, an actress, sister of Kamamanjari.
_Rajahansa_, king of Magadha, father of Rajavahana, the hero of the
_Rakshas_ or _Rakshasas_, evil spirits or ogres, hostile to men, whom
they used to devour.
_Rati_, a goddess, wife of Kama.
_Rishi_, nearly the same as Muni, a holy man retired from the world,
devoted to prayer and meditation.
_Satyavarma_, son of a minister of Rajahansa, and father of Somadatta.
_Savara_, fem. _Savari_, a savage, not a Hindoo.
_Siddha_ (literally perfected), a very holy devotee.
_Simanta_, a religious ceremony performed on behalf of a woman at a
certain period of pregnancy.
_Sinhaghosha_, the deposed King of Benares.
_Sinhavarma_, King of Anga, father of Ambalika.
_Sitavarma_, one of Rajahansa's ministers.
_Sringalika_, the nurse of Ragamanjari.
_Siva_, one of the three chief gods or triad of the Hindoos, Brahma,
Siva, and Vishnu, who are sometimes regarded as one, sometimes
confounded with each other.
_Sumantra_, son of Dharmapala.
_Susruta_, son of Padmodbhava.
_Taravali_, a Yaksha lady, wife of Kamapala.
_Vamadeva_, a holy man consulted by Rajahansa.
_Vamalochana_, daughter of Viraketu, wife of Somadatta.
_Vasumati_, Queen of Rajahansa.
_Vasundhara_, Queen of Anantavarma the King of Vidarba.
_Vidarba_, name of a country.
_Videha_, a country called also Mithila.
_Vidyadhara_, one of the numerous demigods.
_Vidyeswara_, the conjuror who married Rajavahana to Avantisundari.
_Vikatavarma_, King of Mithila, husband of Kalpasundari.
_Vimardaka_, a keeper of a gaming house, employed by Apaharavarma.
_Viraketu_, King of Patali, father of Vamalochana.
_Yaksha_, a sort of demigod or fairy, a servant of Kuvera.
_Yama_, God and Judge of the Infernal Regions.
_Yati_, an ascetic, a devotee.
_Yavana_, a Greek, an Arabian--any foreigner.
* * * * *
[Footnote 1: A religious ceremony on behalf of a woman at a certain
period of pregnancy.]
[Footnote 2: The Hindoos attach much importance to certain marks on
the body, such as the lines on the hands, &c.]
[Footnote 3: Kusa-grass, or kuskus, is used for strewing the floor of
a sacrificial enclosure, for laying offerings on, and for other sacred
[Footnote 4: To be pushed in through opening in a wall, so as to
receive any blow which might be given.]
[Footnote 5: To be let loose that it might put out the lights.]
[Footnote 6: Hindoo women, when absent from their husbands, always
wear, or used to wear, their hair done up into a single braid.]
[Footnote 7: The author has here made a mistake which cannot be
explained. In the introductory chapter Pramati is the son of Sumati,
and there is nowhere mention of a second son of Kamapala. The
confusion of names is, however, of little importance, since the
adventures of Arthapala and Pramati are quite distinct.]
[Footnote 8: Increaser of virtue.]
[Footnote 9: It was considered a very great sin to be, even
indirectly, the cause of the death of a brahman.]
[Footnote 10: An evil spirit, the ghoul of the "Arabian Nights," the
readers of which will remember the story of Amina, who goes out at
night to feast on dead bodies.]
[Footnote 11: The inhabitant of Vindhya.]
[Footnote 12: Resembling tendrils.]
* * * * *