Kathasaritsagara (the Ocean of Story)

by Somadeva | 1924 | 1,023,469 words | ISBN-13: 9789350501351

This is the English translation of the Kathasaritsagara written by Somadeva around 1070. The principle story line revolves around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the Vidhyādharas (‘celestial beings’). The work is one of the adoptations of the now lost Bṛhatkathā, a great Indian epic tale said to have been composed by ...


VICTORY to Gaṇeśa, who, when dancing, makes a shower of stars, resembling a rain of flowers, fall from the sky, by a blow of his trunk!


163. Story of Mṛgāṅkadatta

Then Mṛgāṅkadatta, having passed that night, set out in the morning from that wood, together with Pracaṇḍaśakti and his other affectionate ministers, making for Ujjayinī in order to gain Śaśāṅkavatī, and looking out for the rest of his ministers.

And as he was going along on his way, he saw his minister Vikramakeśarin being carried through the air by a hideously deformed man. And while he was eagerly pointing him out to his other ministers, that minister alighted from the air near him. And quickly dismounting from the shoulder of that man, he came up and embraced the feet of Mṛgāṅkadatta, with his eyes full of tears.

And the delighted Mṛgāṅkadatta embraced him in return, and so did his ministers, one after another, and then Vikramakeśarin dismissed that man, saying:

“Come to me, when I think of you.”

Then Mṛgāṅkadatta out of curiosity asked Vikramakeśarin for the story of his adventures, and he sat down in the forest and related them.

“When I had been separated from you on that occasion by the curse of the Nāga, and had wandered about for many days in search of you, I said to myself, ‘I will make for Ujjayinī, for they will go there quickly,’ and having formed this intention, I set out for that city. And in course of time I reached a village near it, named Brahmasthala, and there I sat down on the bank of a lake at the foot of a tree.

There an old Brāhman, afflicted with the bite of a serpent, came up to me and said:

‘Rise up from this place, my son, lest you incur my fate. For there is a great serpent here, and I am so tortured by the bite which he has given me that I am now about to drown myself in this lake.’

When he said this, I dissuaded him, out of compassion, from committing suicide, and I then and there counteracted the effect of the poison by my knowledge of antidotes.

“Then the Brāhman eagerly, but with due politeness, asked me the whole story of my life, and when he knew the facts, said to me kindly:

‘You have to-day saved my life, so receive, hero, this charm for mastering Vetālas, which I inherited from my father. For it is suitable to you who possess all powers, but what, I pray, could a feeble creature like me do with it?’

When I heard that, I answered that noble Brāhman:

‘What use can I make of Vetālas, now that I am separated from Mṛgāṅkadatta?’

When the Brāhman heard that, he laughed, and went on to say to me:

‘Do you not know that you can obtain from a Vetāla all that you desire? Did not King Trivikramasena obtain of old time the sovereignty of the Vidyādharas by the favour of a Vetāla? Listen now, I will tell you his story in proof of it.


163G. King Trivikramasena and the Mendicant [1]

On the banks of the Godāvarī there is a place named Pratiṣṭhāna. In it there lived of old time a famous king, named Trivikramasena, the son of Vikramasena, equal to Indra in might. Every day, when he was in his hall of audience, a mendicant named Kṣāntiśīla came to him, to pay him his respects, and presented him with a fruit. And every day the king, as soon as he received the fruit, gave it into the hand of the superintendent of his treasury who was near him. In this way ten years passed. But one day, when the mendicant had left the hall of audience, after giving the fruit to the king, the king gave it to a young pet monkey, that had escaped from the hands of its keepers, and happened to enter there. While the monkey was eating that fruit it burst open, and there came out of it a splendid priceless jewel.

When the king saw that, he took up the jewel, and asked the treasurer the following question:

“Where have you put all these fruits which I have been in the habit of handing over to you, after they were given to me by the mendicant?”

When the superintendent heard that, he was full of fear, and he said to the king:

“I used to throw them into the treasury from the window without opening the door. If your Majesty orders me, I will open it and look for them.”

When the treasurer said this, the king gave him leave to do so, and he went away, and soon returned, and said to the king:

“I see that those fruits have all rotted away in the treasury, and I also see that there is a heap of jewels there resplendent with radiant gleams.”

When the king heard it, he was pleased, and gave those jewels to the treasurer; and the next day he said to the mendicant, who came as before:

“Mendicant, why do you court me every day with great expenditure of wealth? I will not take your fruit to-day until you tell me.”

When the king said this, the mendicant said to him in private:

“I have an incantation to perform which requires the aid of a brave man. I request, hero, that you will assist me in it.”

When the king heard that, he consented, and promised him that he would do so.

Then the mendicant was pleased, and he went on to say to that king:

“Then I shall be waiting for you at nightfall in the approaching black fortnight, in the great cemetery here, under the shade of a banyan-tree, and you must come to me there.”

The king said: “Well, I will do so.” And the mendicant Kṣāntiśīla returned delighted to his own dwelling.

Then the heroic monarch, as soon as he had got into the black fortnight, remembered the request of the mendicant which he had promised to accomplish for him, and as soon as night came, he enveloped[2] his head in a black cloth, and left the palace unperceived, sword in hand, and went fearlessly to the cemetery. It was obscured by a dense and terrible pall of darkness, and its aspect was rendered awful by the ghastly flames from the burning of the funeral pyres, and it produced horror by the bones, skeletons and skulls of men that appeared in it. In it were present formidable Bhūtas and Vetālas, joyfully engaged in their horrible activity, and it was alive with the loud yells of jackals,[3] so that it seemed like a second mysterious tremendous form of Bhairava.

And after he had searched about in it, he found that mendicant under a banyan-tree, engaged in making a circle,[4] and he went up to him and said:

“Here I am arrived, mendicant; tell me, what can I do for you?”

When the mendicant heard that, and saw the king, he was delighted, and said to him:

“King, if I have found favour in your eyes, go alone a long way from here towards the south, and you will find a śiṃśapā tree. On it there is a dead man hanging up; go and bring him here: assist me in this matter, hero.”

As soon as the brave king, who was faithful to his promise, heard this, he said, “I will do so,” and went towards the south. And after he had gone some way in that direction, along a path revealed by the light of the flaming pyres, he reached with difficulty in the darkness that śiṃśapā tree. The tree was scorched with the smoke of funeral pyres, and smelt of raw flesh, and looked like a Bhūta, and he saw the corpse hanging on its trunk, as it were on the shoulder of a demon. So he climbed up, and cutting the string which held it, flung it to the ground. And the moment it was flung down it cried out, as if in pain. Then the king, supposing it was alive, came down and rubbed its body out of compassion; that made the corpse utter a loud demoniac laugh.

Then the king knew that it was possessed by a Vetāla, and said, without flinching:

“Why do you laugh? Come, let us go off.”

And immediately he missed from the ground the corpse possessed by the Vetāla, and perceived that it was once more suspended on that very tree. Then he climbed up again and brought it down, for the heart of heroes is a gem more impenetrable than adamant. Then King Trivikramasena threw the corpse possessed by a Vetāla over his shoulder, and proceeded to go off with it, in silence.

And as he was going along, the Vetāla in the corpse that was on his shoulder said to him:

“King, I will tell you a story to beguile the way. Listen.


163g (1). How the Prince obtained a Wife by the Help of his Father’s Minister

There is a city named Vārāṇasī, which is the dwelling-place of Śiva, inhabited by holy beings, and thus resembles the plateau of Mount Kailāsa. The River Ganges, ever full of water, flows near it, and appears as if it were the necklace ever resting on its neck. In that city there lived of old time a king named Pratāpamukuṭa, who consumed the families of his enemies with his valour as the fire consumes the forest. He had a son named Vajramukuṭa, who dashed the God of Love’s pride in his beauty, and his enemies’ confidence in their valour. And that prince had a friend, named Buddhiśarīra, whom he valued more than his life, the sagacious son of a minister.

Once on a time that prince was amusing himself with that friend, and his excessive devotion to the chase made him travel a long distance. As he was cutting off the long-maned[5] heads of lions with his arrows, as it were the chowries that represented the glory of their valour, he entered a great forest. It seemed like the chosen home of love, with singing cuckoos for bards, fanned by trees with their clusters of blossoms waving like chowries. In it he and the minister’s son saw a great lake, looking like a second sea, the birthplace of lotuses[6] of various colours; and in that pool of gods there was seen by him a maiden of heavenly appearance, who had come there with her attendants to bathe. She seemed to fill the splendid tank with the flood of her beauty, and with her glances to create in it a new forest of blue lotuses. With her face, that surpassed the moon in beauty, she seemed to put to shame the white lotuses, and she at once captivated with it the heart of that prince. The youth too, in the same way, took with a glance such complete possession of her eyes, that she did not regard her own modesty, or even her ornaments.

And as he was looking at her with his attendants, and wondering who she was, she made, under pretence of pastime, a sign[7] to tell him her country and other particulars about her. She took a lotus from her garland of flowers and put it in her ear, and she remained for a long time twisting it into the form of an ornament called dantapatra, or tooth-leaf, and then she took another lotus and placed it on her head, and she laid her hand significantly upon her heart. The prince did not at that time understand those signs, but his sagacious friend the minister’s son did understand them.

The maiden soon departed, being led away from that place by her attendants, and when she had reached her own house she flung herself down on a sofa, but her heart remained with that prince, to justify the sign she had made.

The prince, for his part, when without her, was like a Vidyādhara who has lost his magic knowledge, and, returning to his own city, he fell into a miserable condition.

And one day the minister’s son questioned him in private, speaking of that beauty as easy to obtain, whereupon he lost his self-command and exclaimed:

“How is she to be obtained, when neither her name, nor her village, nor her origin is known? So why do you offer me false comfort?”

When the prince said this to the minister’s son, he answered:

“What! did you not see what she told you by her signs?[8] By placing the lotus in her ear she meant to say this:

‘I live in the realm of King Karṇotpala.’

By making it into the tooth-leaf ornament she meant to say:

‘Know that I am the daughter of an ivory-carver[9] there.’

By lifting up the lotus she let you know her name was Padmāvatī; and by placing her hand on her heart she told you that it was yours. Now there is a king named Karṇotpala in the country of Kaliṅga; he has a favourite courtier, a great ivory-carver named Saṅgrāmavardhana, and he has a daughter named Padmāvatī, the pearl of the three worlds, whom he values more than his life. All this I knew from the talk of the people, and so I understood her signs, which were meant to tell her country and the other particulars about her.”[10]

When that prince had been told all this by the minister’s son, he was pleased with that intelligent man, and rejoiced, as he had now got an opportunity of attaining his object; and, after he had deliberated with him, he set out with him from his palace on the pretence of hunting, but really in search of his beloved, and went again in that direction. And on the way he managed to give his retinue the slip by the speed of his swift horse, and he went to the country of Kaliṅga accompanied by the minister’s son only. There they reached the city of King Karṇotpala, and searched for and found the palace of that ivory-carver. And the prince and the minister’s son entered the house of an old woman, who lived near there, to lodge.

The minister’s son gave the horses water and fodder, and placed them there in concealment, and then said to that old woman in the presence of the prince:

“Do you know, mother, an ivory-carver named Saṅgrāmavardhana?”

When the old woman heard that, she said to him courteously:

“I know him well; I was his nurse, and he has now made me attend upon his daughter as a duenna. But I never go there at present, as I have been deprived of my clothes; for my wicked son, who is a gambler, takes away my clothes as soon as he sees them.”

When the minister’s son heard this, he was delighted, and he gratified the old woman with the gift of his upper garment and other presents, and went on to say to her:

“You are a mother to us, so do what we request you to do in secret. Go to that Padmāvatī, the daughter of the ivory-carver, and say to her: ‘The prince, whom you saw at the lake, has come here, and out of love he has sent me to tell you.’”

When the old woman heard this, she consented, being won over by the presents, and went to Padmāvatī, and came back in a moment.

And when the prince and the minister’s son questioned her, she said to them:

“I went and told her secretly that you had come. When she heard that, she scolded me, and struck me on both cheeks with her two hands smeared with camphor. So I have come back weeping, distressed at the insult. See here, my children, these marks of her fingers on my face.”

When she said this the prince was despondent, as he despaired of attaining his object; but the sagacious minister’s son said to him in private:

“Do not despond, for by keeping her own counsel and scolding the old woman, and striking her on the face with her ten fingers white with camphor, she meant to say: ‘Wait for these remaining ten moonlight nights of the white fortnight, for they are unfavourable to an interview.’”

After the minister’s son had comforted the prince with these words he went and sold secretly in the market some gold which he had about him, and made that old woman prepare a splendid meal, and then those two ate it with that old woman. After the minister’s son had spent ten days in this fashion, he again sent the old woman to Padmāvatī, to see how matters stood.

And she, being fond of delicious food, liquor and other enjoyments of the kind, went again to the dwelling-house of Padmāvatī, to please her guests, and returned and said to them:

“I went there to-day and remained silent, but she of her own accord taunted me with that crime of having brought your message, and again struck me here on the breast with three fingers dipped in red dye, so I have returned here thus marked by her.”

When the minister’s son heard this, he said, of his own accord, to the prince:

“Do not entertain any despondent notions, for by placing the impression of her three fingers marked with red dye on this woman’s heart, she meant to say: ‘I cannot receive you for three nights.’”

When the minister’s son had said this to the prince, he waited till three days had passed, and again sent the old woman to Padmāvatī. She went to her palace, and Padmāvatī honoured her and gave her food, and lovingly entertained her that day with wine and other enjoyments. And in the evening, when the old woman wished to go back to her house, there arose outside a terrible tumult.

Then the people were heard exclaiming:

“Alas! alas! a mad elephant has escaped from the post to which he was tied, and is rushing about, trampling men to death.”

Then Padmāvatī said to that old woman:

“You must not go by the public road, which is rendered unsafe by the elephant, so we will put you on a seat, with a rope fastened to it to support it, and let you down by this broad window here into the garden of the house; there you must get up a tree and cross this wall, and then let yourself down by another tree and go to your own house.”

After she had said this she had the old woman let down from the window by her maid into the garden, by means of that seat with a rope fastened to it. She went by the way pointed out to her, and related the whole story, exactly as it happened, to the prince and the minister’s son.

Then the minister’s son said to the prince:

“Your desire is accomplished, for she has shown you by an artifice the way you should take; so go there this very day, as soon as evening sets in, and by this way enter the palace of your beloved.”

When the minister’s son said this, the prince went with him into the garden, by the way over the wall pointed out by the old woman. There he saw that rope hanging down with the seat, and at the top of it were some maids, who seemed to be looking out for his arrival. So he got on to the seat, and the moment those female servants saw him they pulled him up with the rope, and he entered the presence of his beloved through the window. When he had entered, the minister’s son returned to his lodging. And when the prince entered, he beheld that Padmāvatī with a face like a full moon, shedding forth beauty like beams, like the night of the full moon remaining concealed through fear of the black fortnight.[11] As soon as she saw him, she rose up boldly and welcomed him with affectionate embraces and other endearments natural in one who had waited for him so long. Then the prince married that fair one by the gāndharva form of marriage,[12] and all his wishes being now fulfilled, remained with her in concealment.

And after he had lived with her some days, he said to her one night:

“My friend the minister’s son came with me and is staying here, and he is now left alone in the house of your duenna; I must go and pay him a visit, fair one, and then I will return to you.”

When the cunning Padmāvatī heard that, she said to her lover:

“Come now, my husband, I have a question to ask you: did you guess the meaning of those signs which I made, or was it that friend of yours the minister’s son?”

When she said this, the prince said to her:

“I did not guess anything at all, but that friend of mine, the minister’s son, who is distinguished for superhuman insight, guessed it all, and told it to me.”

When the fair one heard this, she reflected, and said to him:

“Then you have acted wrongly in not telling me about him before. Since he is your friend, he is my brother, and I must always honour him before all others with gifts of betel and other luxuries.”

When she had dismissed him with these words, the prince left the palace at night by the way by which he came, and returned to his friend. And in the course of conversation he told him that he had told his beloved how he guessed the meaning of the signs which she made. But the minister’s son did not approve of this proceeding on his part, considering it imprudent. And so the day dawned on them conversing.

Then, as they were again talking together after the termination of the morning prayer, the confidante of Padmāvatī came in with betel and cooked food in her hand. She asked after the health of the minister’s son, and after giving him the dainties, in order by an artifice to prevent the prince from eating any of them, she said, in the course of conversation, that her mistress was awaiting his arrival to feast and spend the day with her, and immediately she departed unobserved.

Then the minister’s son said to the prince:

“Now observe, Prince, I will show you something wonderful.”

Thereupon he gave that cooked food to a dog to eat, and the dog, as soon as he had eaten it, fell dead upon the spot. When the prince saw that, he said to the minister’s son:

“What is the meaning of this marvel?”

And he answered him:

“The truth is that the lady has found out that I am intelligent, by the fact that I guessed the meaning of her signs, and so she has sent me this poisoned food in order to kill me, for she is deeply in love with you, and thinks that you, Prince, will never be exclusively devoted to her while I am alive, but, being under my influence, will perhaps leave her, and go to your own city. So give up the idea of being angry with her, persuade the high-spirited woman to leave her relations, and I will invent and tell you an artifice for carrying her off.”

When the minister’s son had said this, the prince said to him:

“You are rightly named Buddhiśarīra, as being an incarnation of wisdom.”

And at the very moment that he was thus praising him, there was suddenly heard outside a general cry from the sorrowing multitude:

“Alas! alas! the king’s infant son is dead.”

The minister’s son was much delighted at hearing this, and he said to the prince:

“Repair now to Padmāvatī’s palace at night, and there make her drink so much that she shall be senseless and motionless with intoxication, and apparently dead. And when she is asleep, make a mark on her hip with a red-hot iron spike, and take away all her ornaments, and return by letting yourself down from the window by a rope; and after that I will take steps to make everything turn out prosperously.”

When the minister’s son had said this, he had a threepronged spike made, with points like the bristles of a boar, and gave it to the prince. And the prince took in his hand that weapon which resembled the crooked hard hearts of his beloved and of his friend, which were firm as black iron; and saying, “I will do as you direct,” went at night to the palace of Padmāvatī as before, for princes should never hesitate about following the advice of an excellent minister. There he made his beloved helpless with drink, and marked her on the hip with the spike, and took away her ornaments, and told him what he had done. Then the minister’s son considered his design as good as accomplished.

And the next morning the minister’s son went to the cemetery and promptly disguised himself as an ascetic, and he made the prince assume the guise of a disciple.

And he said to him:

“Go and take the pearl necklace which is part of this set of ornaments and pretend to try to sell it in the market, but put a high price on it, that no one may be willing to buy it, and that everyone may see it being carried about; and if the police here should arrest you, say intrepidly: ‘My spiritual preceptor gave it me to sell.’”

When the minister’s son had sent off the prince on this errand, he went and wandered about in the market-place, publicly showing the necklace. And while he was thus engaged, he was seen and arrested by the police, who were on the look-out for thieves, as information had been given about the robbery of the ivory-carver’s daughter.

And they immediately took him to the chief magistrate of the town; and he, seeing that he was dressed as an ascetic, said to him courteously:

“Reverend sir, where did you get this necklace of pearls which was lost in this city, for the ornaments of the ivory-carver’s daughter were stolen during the night?”

When the prince, who was disguised as an ascetic, heard this, he said:

“My spiritual preceptor gave it me; come and question him.”

Then the magistrate of the city came to the minister’s son, and bowed, and said to him:

“Reverend sir, where did you get this pearl necklace that is in the possession of your pupil?”

When the cunning fellow heard that, he took him aside and said:

“I am an ascetic, in the habit of wandering perpetually backwards and forwards in the forests. As chance would have it, I arrived here, and as I was in the cemetery at night, I saw a band of witches collected from different quarters. And one of them brought the prince, with the lotus of his heart laid bare, and offered him to Bhairava. And the witch, who possessed great powers of delusion, being drunk, tried to take away my rosary, while I was reciting my prayers, making horrible contortions with her face. And as she carried the attempt too far, I got angry, and heating with a charm the prongs of my trident, I marked her on the loins. And then I took this necklace from her neck. And now I must sell this necklace, as it does not suit an ascetic.”

When the magistrate heard this, he went and informed the king. When the king heard it, he concluded that that was the pearl necklace which had been lost, and he sent a trustworthy old woman to see if the ivory-carver’s daughter was really marked with a trident on the loins. The old woman came back and said that the mark could be clearly seen. Then the king made up his mind that she was a witch, and had really destroyed his child. So he went in person to that minister’s son, who was personating an ascetic, and asked him how he ought to punish Padmāvatī. And by his advice he ordered her to be banished from the city, though her parents lamented over her. And when she was banished, and was left in the forest, though naked, she did not abandon the body, supposing that it was all an artifice devised by the minister’s son. And in the evening the minister’s son and the prince, who had abandoned the dress of ascetics, and were mounted on their horses, came upon her lamenting. And they consoled her, and mounted her upon a horse, and took her to their own kingdom. There the prince lived happily with her. But the ivory-carver, supposing that his daughter had been devoured by wild beasts in the forest, died of grief, and his wife followed him.


163g. King Trivikramasena and the Mendicant

When the Vetāla had said this, he went on to say to the king:

“Now I have a doubt about this story; resolve it for me: Was the minister’s son guilty of the death of this married couple, or the prince, or Padmāvatī? Tell me, for you are the chief of sages. And if, King, you do not tell me the truth, though you know it, this head of yours shall certainly split in a hundred pieces.”

When the Vetāla said this, the king, who discerned the truth, out of fear of being cursed, gave him this answer:

“O thou skilled in magic arts, what difficulty is there about it? Why, none of the three was in fault, but the whole of the guilt attaches to King Karṇotpala.”

The Vetāla then said:

“Why, what did the king do? Those three were instrumental in the matter. Are the crows in fault when the swans eat the rice?”

Then the king said:

“Indeed no one of the three was in fault, for the minister’s son committed no crime, as he was forwarding his master’s interests, and Padmāvatī and the prince, being burnt with the fire of the arrows of the God of Love, and being therefore undiscerning and ignorant, were not to blame, as they were intent on their own object. But King Karṇotpala, as being untaught in treatises of policy, and not investigating by means of spies the true state of affairs even among his own subjects, and not comprehending the tricks of rogues, and inexperienced in interpreting gestures and other external indications, is to be considered guilty, on account of the indiscreet step which he took.”

When the Vetāla, who was in the corpse, heard this, as the king by giving the correct answer had broken his silence, he immediately left his shoulder and went somewhere unobserved by the force of his magic power, in order to test his persistence; and the intrepid king at once determined to recover him.

Footnotes and references:


Here begins the Vetālapañcaviṃśati, or Twenty-Jive Tales of a Vetāla. The collection occupies the rest of this volume and three-quarters of Vol. VII, finishing in Chap. CXIX. As notes are to be given not only on the collection itself, but on its " frame-story” and on each individual tale, it has been considered advisable to print them all together as an appendix. Thus the Appendix in the present volume contains a general account of the Vetālapañcaviṃśati, its various recensions and editions, followed by notes on the “frame-story” and on the first eight tales. The remaining seventeen tales will be discussed in the Appendix to Vol. VII.—n.m.p.


Here the reading is doubtful. According to D. the king dressed himself in black. See further, Speyer, op. cit., p. 133.—n.m.p.


Here there is probably a pun. The word translated “jackal” also means the god Śiva. Bhairava is a form of Śiva.


See Vol. I, pp. 190-193; Vol. II, pp. 98-100n; and Vol. III, pp. 201-203.—n.m.p.


I read saṭālāni, which I find in the Sanskrit College MS., instead of sajālāni. The mistake may have arisen from the blending of two readings, saṭālāni and jaṭālāni.


In this there is a pun; the word translated “lotus” may also refer to Lakṣmī, the wife of Viṣṇu.


See the note on this story in the Appendix, p. 247 et seq.—n.m.p.


The B. text seems corrupt, though Tawney has expressed the exact meaning of the Sanskrit. The D. text restores the genuine wording:... tvayā tad yat... etc.—n.m.p.


Tawney was persuaded to translate dantaghāṭaka as dentist, but no dictionary supports this. The “tooth-leaf” ornament was probably a special kind of carved ear-ring. Besides, the dentists in Somadeva’s time, as in many parts of India to-day, were lowr-caste men, usually barbers.—n.m.p.


Cf. the way in which Puṣpadanta’s preceptor guesses the riddle on pp. 81-82 in Vol. I of this work; so Prince Ivan is assisted by his tutor Katoma in the story of “The Blind Man and the Cripple,” Ralston’s Russian Folk-Tales, p. 240. The rapid manner in which the hero and heroine fall in love in these stories is quite in the style of Greek romances. See Rohde, Der Griechische Roman, p. 148.


This is another point at which Kṣemendra expatiates on the beauty of the loved one. (See p. 2n1 of this vol.) For Somadeva’s one śloka he has six. It is interesting to compare this passage of the Bṛhatkathā-mañjarī (ix, 120- 126 a). Dr Barnett translates:

“He entered the jewelled dwelling, which had bounds of marble attached. In it, which was like Pātāla, yellow with rays of lamp-jewels and had the circle of chamberlains [or snakes] slumbering, he beheld the Snake-maiden.

As she rose, and modestly bent down, the prince said to her, as she made a display of fearlessness with hand laid upon her quivering breast:

‘Prithee, O moonlight to the milk-ocean of the soul, uplift the face bent down in shame, let all the regions of space be filled with lotus-flowers.’

On these words the lady with a smile like jasmine-flowers gave him to drink from a jewel-bowl [tāṃ seems to be a mistake for taṃ ], and he drank mādhvīka of intense fragrance. Then with relish he kissed her, as her eyes were half closed with delight at his passionate embrace of her neck and her cheeks red with rapture. She appeared like a lotus-pool invaded by a bull-elephant, which has lines of grouped swans as its ringing girdle...”



See Vol. I, pp. 87-88.—n.m.p.

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