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 ...

62. Story of Sūryaprabha and how he attained Sovereignty over the Vidyādharas

THEN, one day, when King Candraprabha was in the hall of assembly, and Sūryaprabha was there accompanied by all his ministers, they called to mind Maya à propos of a remark made by Siddhārtha, and suddenly the earth cleft open in the middle of the assembly. Then first a loud-sounding, fragrant breeze ascended from the aperture in the earth, and afterwards the Asura Maya rose up from it, looking like a mountain in the night, for his hair gleamed upon his black, lofty head like the potent herbs upon the mountain peaks, and his crimson robe resembled the flowing streams of cinnabar.

And the King of the Dānavas, after having been duly honoured by King Candraprabha, spake from his seat on a jewelled throne:

“You have enjoyed these delights of earth, and now it is time for you to enjoy others; set yourselves now to prepare for acquiring them. Send out ambassadors, and collect your subordinate kings, and your friends and connections; then we will unite with Sumeru, Prince of the Vidyādharas, and we will conquer Śrutaśarman, and win the sovereignty of the sky-goers. And Sumeru is our ally, considering us as friends, for he received at the outset a command from Śiva to support Sūryaprabha and give him his own daughter.”

When the Asura Maya said this, Candraprabha sent, as ambassadors to all the kings, Prahasta and the other ministers that travelled through the air; and, by the advice of Maya, Sūryaprabha communicated the magic sciences to all his wives and ministers, on whom they had not been bestowed already.

And while they were thus engaged the hermit Nārada arrived, descending from the sky, illuminating the whole horizon with brightness.

And after he had received the argha he sat down and said to Candraprabha:

“I am sent here by Indra, and he sends this message to your Highness: ‘I have learned that, by the instigation of Śiva, you purpose, with the assistance of the Asura Maya, being all of you deluded by ignorance, to obtain for this Sūryaprabha, of mortal frame, the great dignity of emperor of all the chiefs of the Vidyādharas. That is improper, for I have conferred it on Śrutaśarman, and, besides, it is the hereditary right of that moon of the sea of the Vidyādhara race. And as for what you are doing in a spirit of opposition to me, and contrary to what is right, it will certainly result in your destruction. Moreover, before, when your Highness was offering a sacrifice to Rudra, I told you first to offer an aśvamedha sacrifice, but you did not do it. So the haughty enterprise you are engaged in, without regard to the gods, relying upon Śiva alone, will not turn out to your happiness.”

When Nārada had delivered in these words the message of Indra, Maya laughed and said to him:

“Great hermit, the king of gods has not spoken well. For what he says about the fact of Sūryaprabha being a mortal is beside the point; for who was not aware of that fact when he met Dāmodara in fight? For mortals who possess courage can obtain all powers. Did not Nahuṣa and others of old time obtain the dignity of Indra? And as for his saying that he bestowed the empire on Śrutaśarman, and that it is his hereditary right, that also is absurd, for where Śiva is the giver, who has any authority? Besides, did not he himself take away the sovereignty of the gods from Hiraṇyākṣa, though it descended to him as the elder? And as for his other remark about opposition, and our acting contrary to what is right, that is false, for he violently puts himself in opposition to us out of selfish motives; and wherein, pray, are we acting contrary to what is right? for we are only striving to conquer our rival; we are not carrying off a hermit’s wife, we are not killing Brāhmans.[1]

“And what he says about the necessity of first performing an aśvamedha sacrifice, and about contempt of the gods, is untrue, for when sacrifice to Śiva has been performed, what need is there of other sacrifices? And when Śiva, the god of gods, is worshipped, what god is not worshipped? And as for his remark that exclusive attention to Rudra[2] is not becoming, I answer: Of what importance are the hosts of the other gods where Śiva is in arms? When the sun has risen, do the other luminaries give light? So you must tell all this to the king of the gods, O hermit, and we shall continue to carry out what we are engaged in. Let him do what he can.”

When the Ṛṣi Nārada had been thus addressed by the Asura Maya, he said, “I will do so,” and took back to the king of the gods that answer to his message.

When that hermit had departed, the Asura Maya thus spake to King Candraprabha, who was apprehensive on account of the message of Indra:

“You must not be afraid of Indra; even if he is on the side of Śrutaśarman in fight, with the hosts of the gods, out of hostility to us, still we Daityas and Dānavas are countless in number, and, under the leadership of Prahlāda, we are ranged together on your side. And if the destroyer of Tripura[2] favours us and is active on our side, what other miserable creature in the three worlds has any power? So set about this expedition, heroes.”

When Maya said this, all those there were pleased, and considered that it was as he said.

Then in accordance with the messages carried by the ambassadors, in course of time all the kings, Vīrabhaṭa and the others, assembled there, and all the other friends and relatives of Candraprabha.

When these kings with their armies had been duly honoured, the Asura Maya again said to Candraprabha:

“Perform to-night, O King, a great sacrifice in honour of Śiva; afterwards you shall do all as I direct.”

When he heard this speech of Maya’s, King Candraprabha immediately had preparations made for a sacrifice to Śiva. Then he went to the forest at night and, under the instructions of Maya, himself performed devoutly a sacrifice to Rudra.

And while the king was engaged in the fire-offering there suddenly appeared there Nandin, the prince of the host of Bhūtas.

He was honoured duly by the delighted king, and said:

“The god Śiva himself sends this command by me:

‘Through my favour thou needst not fear even a hundred Indras; Sūryaprabha shall become emperor of the sky-goers.’”

After he had delivered this message, Nandin received a portion of the offering and disappeared with the hosts of Bhūtas. Then Candraprabha became confident in the future elevation of his son, and after completing the sacrifice, at the end of the fire-offering, re-entered the city with Maya.

And the next morning, when King Candraprabha was sitting in secret conclave together with the queen, his son, the kings and his ministers, the Asura Maya said to him:

“Listen, King; I will to-day tell you a secret long guarded. You are a Dānava, Sunītha by name, my mighty son, and Sūryaprabha is your younger brother, named Sumundīka; after you were slain in the war of the gods you were born here as father and son. That Dānava body of yours has been preserved by me, skilfully embalmed with heavenly drugs and ghee. Therefore you must enter a cavern and visit Pātāla, and then return to your own body[3] by a charm which I will teach you. And when you have entered that body you will be so much superior in spirit and strength that you will conquer in fight the wanderers of the air. But Sūryaprabha, who is an incarnation of Sumundīka, with this same beautiful body which he now possesses, shall soon become lord of the sky-goers.”

When King Candraprabha heard this from Maya, he was delighted, and agreed to it, but Siddhārtha said this:

“O excellent Dānava, what ground of confidence have we if this doubt should arise,

‘Why has the king entered another body; has he then died?’

And, moreover, will he forget us when he enters another body, like a man gone to the other world? Who is he, and who are we?”[4]

When the Asura Maya heard this speech of Siddhārtha’s, he answered:

“You yourselves must come and see him with your own eyes entering another body, of his own free will, by the employment of a charm. And hear the reason why he will not forget you. A man who does not die of his own free will, and is born in another womb, does not remember anything, as his memory is destroyed by old age and other afflictions, but whoever of his own free will enters another’s body, penetrating by the employment of magic the internal organs and the senses, without his mind and intellect being impaired, and passes, as it were, from one house to another, that prince among Yogins has supernatural knowledge and remembers all. So do not feel doubtful; so far from there being any reason for it, this king will obtain a great divine body, free from old age and sickness. Moreover, you are all Dānavas, and by merely entering Rasātala,[5] and drinking nectar, you will obtain divine bodies free from sickness.”

When the ministers heard this speech of Maya’s, they all said, “So be it,” and consented to his proposal, abandoning their apprehensions out of the confidence they reposed in him. And by his advice Candraprabha, with all the kings, went on the next day to the confluence of the Candrabhāgā and the Airāvatī.[6] There Candraprabha left the kings outside, and committed to their care the wives of Sūryaprabha, and then he entered in company with Sūryaprabha, the queen, and the ministers with Siddhārtha at their head, an opening in the water pointed out by Maya, and after entering he travelled a long distance, and beheld a heavenly temple, and entered it with all of them.

And in the meanwhile the Vidyādharas descended with troops on those kings who were remaining there outside the opening; and paralysing the kings by supernatural arts, they carried off the wives of Sūryaprabha, and immediately a voice was heard from the sky:

“Wicked Śrutaśarman, if you touch these wives of the emperor you shall immediately perish with your host. So guard them respectfully, treating them like your mother; there is a reason for my not immediately slaying you and setting them free; so let them remain as they are at present.”

And when the kings, Vīrabhaṭa and the others, saw them carried off, they prepared to die by fighting with one another.

But a voice from heaven forbade their attempt, saying:

“No harm will befall these daughters of yours; you shall obtain them again, so you must not act rashly; prosperity befall you!”

So the kings remained waiting there.

In the meantime Candraprabha was in the temple in Pātāla surrounded by all his companions, and there Maya said to him:

“King, listen attentively to this wonderful thing: I will show you the supernatural art of entering another body.”

He said this, and recited the Sāṅkhya and the Yoga doctrine with its secrets, and taught him the magic art of entering another body; and that chief of Yogins said:

“This is the famous supernatural power, and the independence of knowledge, the dominion over matter that is characterised by lightness and the other mystic properties.[7] The chief of the gods, possessing this power, do not long for liberation; in order to obtain this power others endure the hardship of muttering prayers and performing asceticism. Men of lofty soul do not love the pleasures of heaven even when attained. And listen, I will tell you a story in illustration of this.


62a. The Brāhman Kāla and his Prayers

In a former Kalpa[8] there was a certain Brāhman, of the name of Kāla. He went to the holy bathing-place Puṣkara and muttered prayers day and night. While he was muttering, two myriads of years of the gods passed away. Then there appeared a great light inseparable from his head, which, streaming forth in the firmament like ten thousand suns,[9] impeded the movement of the Siddhas and others there, and set the three worlds on fire.

Then Brahmā, Indra and the other gods came to him and said:

“Brāhman, these worlds are on fire with your brightness. Receive whatever boon you desire.”

He answered them:

“Let me have no other pleasure than muttering prayers; this is my boon, I choose nothing else.”

When they importuned him, that mutterer of prayers went far off and remained on the north side of the Himālayas, muttering prayers.

When this extraordinary brightness of his gradually became intolerable even there, Indra sent heavenly nymphs to tempt him. That self-restrained man did not care a straw about them when they endeavoured to seduce him. Then the gods sent him Death as plenipotentiary.

He came to him and said:

“Brāhman, mortals do not live so long, so abandon your life; do not break the law of nature.”

When the Brāhman heard this, he said:

“If the limit of my life is attained, why do you not take me? What are you waiting for? But I will not of myself abandon my life, O thou god with the noose in hand; indeed, if I were wilfully to abandon my life, I should be a self-murderer.”

When he said this, and Death found that he could not take him on account of his power, he turned away from him and returned as he came.

Then Indra, repenting, seized that Kāla,[10] who had conquered Time the destroyer, in his arms and took him up to heaven by force. There he remained averse to the sensual enjoyments of the place, and he did not cease from muttering prayers, so the gods made him descend again, and he returned to the Himālayas.

And while all the gods were trying to induce him there to take a boon, the King Ikṣvāku came that way.

When he heard how affairs stood, he said to that mutterer of prayers:

“If you will not receive a boon from the gods, receive one from me.”

When the mutterer of prayers heard that, he laughed, and said to the king:

“Are you able to grant me a boon, when I will not receive one even from the gods?”

Thus he spoke, and Ikṣvāku answered the Brāhman:

“If I am not able to grant you a boon, you can grant me one; so grant me a boon.”

Then the mutterer said:

“Choose whatever you desire and I will grant it.”

When the king heard this, he reflected in his mind:

“The appointed order is that I should give, and that he should receive; this is an inversion of the due order, that I should receive what he gives.”

Whilst the king was delaying, as he pondered over this difficulty, two Brāhmans came there disputing; when they saw the king they appealed to him for a decision.

The first said:

“This Brāhman gave me a cow with a sacrificial fee: why will he not receive it from my hand when I offer to give it back to him?”

Then the other said:

“I did not receive it first, and I did not ask for it, then why does he wish to make me receive it by force?”

When the king heard this, he said:

“This complainant is not in the right; why, after receiving the cow, do you try to compel the man who gave it to take it back from you?”

When the king said this, Indra, having found his opportunity, said to him:

“King, if you hold this view of what is right, then, after you have asked the Brāhman, who mutters prayers, for a boon, why do you not take it from him when it is granted?”

Then the king, being at a loss for an answer, said to that muttering Brāhman:

“Revered sir, give me the fruit of half your muttering as a boon.”

Then the muttering Brāh-man said:

“Very well, receive the fruit of half my muttering,”

and so he gave the king a boon. By means of that boon the king obtained access to all the worlds, and that muttering Brāhman obtained the world of the gods called Śivas.[11] There he remained for many Kalpas, and then returned to earth, and by mystic contemplation obtained independence and gained everlasting supernatural power.


62. Story of Sūryaprabha and how he attained Sovereignty over the Vidyādharas

“Thus this supernatural power is desired by wise men, who are averse to heaven and such low enjoyments; and you have obtained it, O King; so, being independent, enter your own body.”

When Maya said this to King Candraprabha, after communicating to him the doctrine of mystic contemplation giving supernatural power,[12] he and his wife and his son and his ministers rejoiced exceedingly.

Then the king, with his son and companions, was led by Maya to a second underworld and made to enter a splendid city. And there they saw a gigantic hero, reclining at full length upon a beautiful couch, as if asleep, anointed with potent herbs and ghee, awful from the ghastly transformation of his features, surrounded by the daughters of the kings of the Daityas, with their lotus-faces full of melancholy.

Then Maya said to Candraprabha:

“This is your body, surrounded by your former brides; enter it.”

The king had recourse to the magic contemplation taught by Maya, and entered the body of that hero, abandoning his own frame.[13]

Then the hero yawned slowly, opened his eyes and rose up from the bed, as if awaking out of sleep. Then a shout arose from the delighted Asura brides:

“Happy are we that our husband, the god Sunītha, is to-day restored to life.”

But Sūryaprabha and the others were immediately despondent, beholding the body of Candraprabha lying lifeless. But Candraprabha-Sunītha, appearing as if arisen from a refreshing sleep, saw Maya, and falling at his feet honoured his father.

That father too embraced him, and asked him in the presence of all:

“Do you remember both your lives, my son?”

He said: “I do remember them,” and related what had happened to him in his life as Candraprabha, and also what had happened to him in his life as Sunītha, and he comforted one by one Sūryaprabha and the others, and also his queens, mentioning each by name, and also the Dānava ladies, his wives in his first life. And he preserved the body which he had as Candraprabha, carefully laid by, embalmed by means of drugs and ghee, saying: “It may possibly be useful to me.”

Then Sūryaprabha and the others, tranquil now that they had gained confidence, bowed before him, and joyfully congratulated him.

Then Maya, having conducted all of them in high delight out of that city, led them to another city adorned with gold and jewels. When they entered it they beheld a lake of the appearance of beryl, filled with nectar, and they all sat down on the bank of it. And they drank that nectarous draught there, more excellent than the Water of Life, in curiously ornamented cups formed of jewels, which were brought to them by the wives of Sunītha. And by that draught they all rose up, as from a sleep of intoxication, and became possessed of divine bodies, and of great strength and courage.

Then the Asura Maya said to Candraprabha-Sunītha:

“Come, my son, let us go and see your mother after so long a separation.”

And Sunītha said: “So be it,” and prepared to go, conducted by Maya, and so proceeded to the fourth underworld with Sūryaprabha and the others. There they beheld curious cities made of various metals, and at last they all reached a city built entirely of gold. There, on a pillar composed of jewels, adorned with every luxury, they beheld that mother of Sunītha, the wife of Maya, by name Līlāvatī, surpassing in beauty the nymphs of heaven, surrounded with Asura maidens, and adorned with all ornaments. The moment she beheld that Sunītha, she rose up in a state of excitement, and Sunītha, after saluting her, fell at her feet. Then she embraced with gushing tears the son whom she once more held in her arms after so long an interval, and again praised her husband Maya, who was the cause of her regaining him.

Then Maya said:

“Queen, your other son, Sumundīka, has been born again as the son of your son, and here he is, Sūryaprabha by name. He has been appointed by the god Śiva the future emperor of the Vidyādharas, and is destined to rule over them in the body which he now possesses.”

When Sūryaprabha heard this, and saw her look at him with an eye of longing affection, he and his ministers fell at her feet.

And Līlāvatī gave him her blessing, and said to him:

“My darling, you do not require the body of Sumundīka; in this you are sufficiently glorious.”

When his sons were thus triumphant, Maya called to mind his daughter Mandodarī, and Vibhīṣaṇa, and when called to mind, they came.

And Vibhīṣaṇa, welcomed with triumphant rejoicings, said to him:

“O Prince of the Dānavas, if you will listen to my advice, I will give it you. You are among the Dānavas singularly virtuous and prosperous, so you ought not to take up a causeless enmity against the gods, for you will gain nothing but death from your hostility to them. For Asuras have been slain in battle by the gods, but not gods by Asuras.”

When Maya heard this, he said:

“We are not forcing on war, but if Indra violently makes war on us, tell me, how can we remain passive? And as for those Asuras who were slain by the gods, they were reckless; but did the gods slay Bali and others who were not infatuated?”

That king of the Rākṣasas having, with his wife Mandodarī, been addressed with these and similar speeches by Maya, took leave of him, and went to his own dwelling.

Then Sunītha, with Sūryaprabha and the others, was conducted to the third underworld to visit King Bali. In that world, which surpassed even heaven, they all beheld Bali, adorned with chain and tiara, surrounded with Daityas and Dānavas. Sunītha and his companions fell at his feet in due order, and he honoured them with appropriate welcome. And Bali was delighted with the tidings related by Maya, and he quickly had summoned Prahlāda and the other Dānavas. Sunītha and the others honoured them also by falling at their feet, and they, being full of joy, congratulated them as they bent before them.

Then Bali said:

“Sunītha became Candraprabha on the earth, and is now restored to life for us by regaining his body. And we have also gained Sūryaprabha, who is an incarnation of Sumundīka. And he has been appointed by Śiva the future emperor of the Vidyādharas: and by the power of the sacrifice offered by Candraprabha my bonds have been relaxed. So without doubt we have gained prosperity by recovering these.”

When Śukra, the spiritual adviser of the Dānavas, heard this speech of Bali’s, he said:

“In truth, those who act according to right never fail of prosperity in any matter; so act according to right, and do on this occasion also what I bid you.”

When the Dānavas, the princes of the seven underworlds, who were assembled there, heard that, they agreed to it and bound themselves so to act. And Bali made a feast there, out of joy at the recovery of Sunītha.

In the meanwhile the hermit Nārada arrived there again, and after taking the argha he sat down, and said to those Dānavas:

“I have been sent here by Indra, and he in truth says this to you: ‘I am exceedingly delighted at the fact that Sunītha has come back to life; so you must not take up a causeless enmity against me, and you must not fight against my ally Śrutaśarman.’”

When the hermit had thus delivered Indra’s message, Prahlāda said to him:

“Of course Indra is pleased that Sunītha has come back to life; how could it be otherwise? But we, at any rate, are not taking up causeless hostility. This very day we all took an engagement that we would not do so, in the presence of our spiritual adviser. But if Indra makes himself a partisan[14] of Śrutaśarman, and violently opposes us, how are we to be blamed for it? For Sūryaprabha’s ally, Śiva, the god of gods, has long ago appointed him, because he propitiated him first. So what have we to do with this matter which has been settled by the lord Śiva? It is clear that this, which Indra says, is without cause and and not right.”

When Prahlāda, the King of the Dānavas, said this to Nārada, he blamed Indra by expressing his agreement with it, and disappeared.

When he had gone, Uśanas[15] said to the kings of the Dānavas:

“Indra is evidently determined to oppose us in this matter. But, as Śiva has decidedly girded up his loins to show us favour, what is his power, or what will his reliance upon Viṣṇu do?”

The Dānavas heard and approved this speech of Śukra’s, and, taking leave of Bali and Prahlāda, went to their own homes. Then Prahlāda went to the fourth underworld, his habitation, and King Bali, rising up from the assembly, retired within. And Maya and Sunītha and the others, Sūryaprabha and all, bowed before Bali, and went to their own habitations.

After they had eaten and drunk there sufficiently, Līlāvatī, the mother of Sunītha, came to him and said:

“My son, you know that these wives of yours are the daughters of mighty ones, Tejasvatī being the daughter of the God of Wealth, Maṅgalāvatī of Tumburu; and as for Kīrtimatī, that wife that you married in your existence as Candraprabha, her you know to be the daughter of the Vasu Prabhāva, so you must look upon these three with an equal eye, my son.”

After saying this, she commended to him his three principal wives. Then, that night, Sunītha entered his sleeping apartment with the eldest Tejasvatī.

But Sūryaprabha, in another chamber, with his ministers, reclined on a couch without any of his wives that night, and the Goddess of Sleep[16] did not come to him, who remained continually alone, saying to herself:

“What is the use of this unloving man, who leaves his wives outside?”

And she would not approach Prahasta out of jealousy, as he was so exclusively in love with the cares of his official duties, but the other ministers around Sūryaprabha went to sleep comfortably.

In the meanwhile Sūryaprabha and Prahasta beheld an incomparable maiden entering, accompanied by a female friend. She was so beautiful that Providence seemed, after creating her, to have placed her in the lower regions in order that the nymphs of heaven, also his creation, might not be eclipsed by her.

And while Sūryaprabha was debating who she might be, she approached each of his friends, one by one, and looked at them; and as they did not seem to possess the distinguishing marks of emperors, she left them, and seeing that Sūryaprabha possessed them, she approached him, who was lying in the midst of them; and she said to her friend:

“Here he is, my friend; so touch him on the feet, wake him up with those hands of yours cool as water.”

When her friend heard that, she did so, and Sūryaprabha ceased to feign sleep, and opened his eyes, and beholding those maidens, he said:

“Who are you, and why do you come here?”

When the friend of the lady heard that, she said to him:

“Listen, King: in the second underworld there is a victorious king named Amīla, a chieftain of the Daityas, the son of Hiraṇyākṣa; this is his daughter Kalāvatī, whom he loves more than life. Her father came back to-day from the Court of Bali, and said:

‘I am fortunate in that I have to-day beheld Sunītha once more restored to life; and I have also seen the young man Sūryaprabha, an incarnation of Sumundīka, who has been brought into the world by Śiva as the future emperor of the Vidyādharas. So I will now offer a congratulatory tribute to Sunītha. I will give my daughter Kalāvatī to Sūryaprabha, for she cannot be given to Sunītha because she belongs to the same family; but Sūryaprabha is his son in his birth as a king, not in his birth as an Asura, and any honour paid to his son will be paid to him.’

When my friend heard this speech of her father’s, her mind being attracted by your virtues, she came here out of curiosity to see you.”

When that friend of the lady’s said this, Sūryaprabha pretended to be asleep in order to discover the real object of her wish. The maiden slowly approached the sleepless Prahasta, and after telling him all by the mouth of her friend, went out.

And Prahasta advanced towards Sūryaprabha and said:

“King, are you awake or not?”

And he, opening his eyes, said to him:

“My friend, I am awake, for how could I sleep to-day being alone? But I will tell you a strange fact; listen, for what can I hide from you? I saw a moment ago a maiden enter here with her friend; her equal is not beheld in these three worlds. And she departed in a moment, taking my heart with her. So look for her at once, for she must be somewhere hereabout.”

When Sūryaprabha said this to him, Prahasta went out, and seeing the maiden there with her friend, he said to her:

“I, to please you, have again awakened my master here, so you, to please me, must once more grant him an interview. Behold once more his form that gives satisfaction to your eyes,[17] and let him, who was overpowered by you as soon as he beheld you, behold you again. For when he woke up he said to me, speaking of you: ‘Bring her from some place or other and show her to me, otherwise I cannot survive.’ Then I came to you; so come and behold him yourself.”

When she was thus addressed by Prahasta, she hesitated to go in boldly, owing to the modesty natural to a maiden, and reflected; and then Prahasta, seizing her hand, led her into the presence of Sūryaprabha.

And Sūryaprabha, when he saw that Kalāvatī had come near him, said:

“Fair one, was this right of you to come in to-day and steal away my heart, as you did, when I was asleep? So, thief, I will not leave you unpunished to-day.”

When her sly friend heard this, she said to him:

“Since her father knew of it before, and determined to assign this thief to you for punishment, who can forbid you to punish her? Why do you not inflict on her to your heart’s content the punishment due for thieving?”

When Sūryaprabha heard that, he wanted to embrace her, but Kalāvatī, being modest, said:

“Do not, my husband, I am a maiden.”

Then Prahasta said to her:

“Do not hesitate, my queen, for the gāndharva marriage is the best of all marriages in the world.”

When Prahasta had said this, he went out with all the rest, and Sūryaprabha that very moment made Kalāvatī, the maiden of the underworld, his wife.

And when the night came to an end Kalāvatī went to her own dwelling, and Sūryaprabha went to Sunītha and Maya. They all assembled and went into the presence of Prahlāda, and he, seated in the hall of audience, after honouring them appropriately, said to Maya:

“We must do something to please Sunītha on this day of rejoicing, so let us all feast together.”

Maya said:

“Let us do so; what harm is there in this?”

And then Prahlāda invited, by means of messengers, the chiefs of the Asuras, and they came there in order from all the underworlds. First came King Bali, accompanied by innumerable great Asuras. Close behind him came Amīla and the brave Durāroha and Sumāya, and Tantukaccha, and Vikaṭākṣa and Prakampana, and Dhūmaketu and Mahāmāya, and the other lords of the Asuras; each of these came accompanied by a thousand feudal chiefs. The hall of audience was filled with the heroes, who saluted one another, and after they had sat down in order of rank Prahlāda honoured them all. And when the time of eating arrived they all, with Maya and the others, after bathing in the Ganges, went to a great hall to dine. It was a hundred yojanas wide, and had a pavement of gold and jewels, and was adorned with jewelled pillars, and full of curiously wrought jewelled vessels. There the Asuras, in the company of Prahlāda, and with Sunītha and Maya, and with Sūryaprabha, accompanied by his ministers, ate heavenly food of various kinds, containing all the six flavours, solid, liquid and sweetmeats, and then drank the best of wine. And after they had eaten and drunk they all went to another hall, which was made of jewels, and beheld the skilful dance of the Daitya and Dānava maidens.

On that occasion Sūryaprabha beheld the daughter of Prahlāda, named Mahallikā, who came forward to dance, by order of her father. She illuminated the world with her beauty, rained nectar into his eyes, and seemed like the moon-goddess[18] come to the underworld out of curiosity. She had her forehead ornamented with a patch,[19] beautiful anklets on her feet, and a smiling face, and seemed as if all made of dancing by the Creator. With her curling hair, her pointed teeth, and her breasts that filled up the whole of her chest,[20] she seemed, as it were, to be creating a new style of dance. And that fair one, the moment she was beheld by Sūryaprabha, forcibly robbed him of his heart, though it was claimed by others. Then she also beheld him from a distance, sitting among the Asura princes, like a second God of Love made by the Creator, when the first God of Love had been burnt up by Śiva. And when she saw him her mind was so absorbed in him that her skill in the expression of sentiments by gesture forsook her, as if in anger at beholding her want of modesty. And the spectators beheld the emotion of those two, and brought the spectacle to an end, saying: “The princess is tired.”

Then Mahallikā was dismissed by her father, looking askance at Sūryaprabha, and after she had bowed before the princes of the Daityas she went home. And the princes of the Daityas went to their respective houses, and Sūryaprabha too went to his dwelling at the close of day.

And when the night came Kalāvatī again came to visit him, and he slept secretly within with her, with all his followers sleeping outside. In the meanwhile Mahallikā also came there, eager to see him, accompanied by two confidantes. Then a minister of Sūryaprabha’s, named Prajñāḍhya, who happened at that moment to have his eyes forsaken by sleep, saw her attempting to enter.

And he, recognising her, rose up and said:

“Princess, remain here a moment until I enter and come out again.”

She, alarmed, said:

“Why are we stopped, and why are you outside?”

Prajñāḍhya again said to her:

“Why do you enter in this sudden way when a man is sleeping at his ease? Besides, my lord sleeps alone to-night on account of a vow.”

Then the daughter of Prahlāda, being ashamed, said: “So be it; enter”; and Prajñāḍhya went inside.

Seeing that Kalāvatī was asleep, he woke up Sūryaprabha and himself told him that Mahallikā had arrived.

And Sūryaprabha, hearing of it, gently rose up and went out, and beholding Mahallikā with two others, he said:

“This person has been supremely blessed by your arrival; let this place be blessed also; take a seat.”

When Mahallikā heard this, she sat down with her friends, and Sūryaprabha also sat down, with Prajñāḍhya by his side.

And when he sat down he said:

“Fair one, although you showed contempt for me by seeming to look on others in the assembly with respect, nevertheless, O rolling-eyed one, my eyes were blessed as soon as they beheld your dancing as well as your beauty.”

When Sūryaprabha said this, the daughter of Prahlāda answered him:

“This is not my fault, noble sir[21]; he is in fault who made me ashamed in the hall of assembly by putting me beside my part in the pantomime.”

When Sūryaprabha heard this, he laughed and said:

“I am conquered.”

And then that prince seized her hand with his, and it perspired and trembled, as if afraid of the rough seizure. And she said:

“Let me go, noble sir. I am a maiden under my father’s control.”

Then Prajñāḍhya said to that daughter of the chief of the Asuras:

“Is not there such a thing as the gāndharva marriage of maidens? And your father, who has seen your heart, will not give you to another; moreover, he will certainly do some honour to this prince here; so away with timidity! Let not such a meeting be thrown away!”

While Prajñāḍhya was saying this to Mahallikā, Kalāvatī woke up within. And not seeing Sūryaprabha on the bed, after waiting a long time, she was terrified and apprehensive, and went out. And seeing her lover in the company of Mahallikā, she was angry and ashamed and terrified. Mahallika too, when she saw her, was terrified and angry and ashamed, and Sūryaprabha stood motionless like a painted picture.

Kalāvatī came to his side, thinking:

“Now that I have been seen, how can I escape? Shall I display shame or jealousy?”

And she said with a spiteful intonation to Mahallikā:

“How are you, my friend; how comes it that you have come here at night?”

Then Mahallikā said:

“This is my house; as you have arrived here from another mansion of the underworld, you are to-day my guest here.”

When Kalāvatī heard that, she laughed and said:

“Yes, it is clearly the case that you entertain with appropriate hospitality every guest as soon as he arrives here.”

When Kalāvatī said this, Mahallikā answered:

“When I spoke to you kindly, why do you answer in such an unkind and spiteful way, shameless girl? Am I like you? Did I, without being bestowed in marriage by my parents, come from a distance, and in a strange place sleep in the bed of a strange man alone at night? I came to see my father’s guest, as he was going away, in accordance with the duty of hospitality, a moment ago, accompanied by two female friends. When this minister entered, after first reproaching me, I guessed the real state of the case; you have now of yourself revealed it.”

When thus addressed by Mahallikā, Kalāvatī departed, looking askance at her beloved with an eye red with anger. Then Mahallikā too said to Sūryaprabha in wrath: “Now I will depart, man of many favourites,” and went away. And Sūryaprabha remained in heartless despondency, as was reasonable, for his heart, devoted to his loved ones, went with them.

Then he woke up his minister Prabhāsa and sent him to discover what Kalāvatī had done after she had separated from him in anger; and in the meanwhile he sent Prahasta to find out about Mahallikā, and he remained with Prajñāḍhya awaiting their report.

Then Prabhāsa returned from investigating the proceedings of Kalāvatī, and, being questioned, he said as follows:

“From this place I went to the private apartment of Kalāvatī in the second underworld, concealing myself by my science. And outside it I heard the conversation of two maids.

The one said:

‘My friend, why is Kalāvatī distressed to-day?’

Then the second said:

‘My friend, hear the reason. There is at present in the fourth underworld an incarnation of Sumundīka, named Sūryaprabha, who in beauty surpasses the God of Love; she went secretly and gave herself to him. And when she had repaired to him to-day of her own accord at nightfall, Mahallikā, the daughter of Prahlāda, chose to come there too. Our mistress had a jealous quarrel with her, and was in consequence preparing to slay herself, when she was seen by her sister, Sukhāvatī, and saved. And then she went inside, and, flinging herself down on a bed, she remained with that sister, who was despondent when she learnt by inquiry what had taken place.’

When I had heard this conversation of the two maids, I entered the apartment, and beheld Kalāvatī and Sukhāvatī, who resembled one another exactly.”

While Prabhāsa was saying this to Sūryaprabha in private, Prahasta also came there, and, being questioned, he said as follows:

“When I arrived from this place at the private apartment of Mahallikā, she entered despondent with her two intimate friends. And I entered also, invisible, by the employment of magic science, and I saw there twelve friends like her; and they sat round Mahallikā, who reclined on a sofa ornamented with splendid jewels; and then one said to her:

‘My friend, why do you seem to be suddenly cast down to-day? What is the meaning of this despondency when your marriage is about to come off?’

When the daughter of Prahlāda heard that, she answered her friend pensively:

‘What marriage for me? To whom am I betrothed? Who told you?’

When she said that, they all exclaimed:

‘Surely your marriage will take place to-morrow, and you are betrothed, my friend, to Sūryaprabha. And your mother, the queen, told us to-day when you were not present, and ordered us to decorate you for the marriage ceremony. So you are fortunate, in that you will have Sūryaprabha for a husband, through admiration for whose beauty the ladies of this place cannot sleep at night. But this is a source of despondency to us—what a gulf there will now be between you and us! When you have obtained him for a husband, you will forget us.’

When Mahallikā heard this from their mouth, she said:

‘Has he been seen by you, and is your heart attached to him?’

When they heard that, they said to her:

‘We saw him from the top of the palace, and what woman is there that a sight of him would not captivate?’

Then she said:

‘Then I will persuade my father to cause all of you to be given to him.[22] So we shall live together and not be separated.’

When she said this, the maidens were shocked, and said to her:

‘Kind friend, do not do so. It would not be proper, and would make us ashamed.’

When they said this, the daughter of the King of the Asuras answered them:

‘Why is it not proper? I am not to be his only wife; all the Daityas and Dānavas will give him their daughters, and there are other princesses on the earth whom he has married, and he will also marry many Vidyādhara maidens. What harm can it do to me that you should be married among these? So far from it, we shall live happily in mutual friendship; but what intercourse can I hold with those others who will be my enemies? And why should you have any shame about the matter? I will arrange it all.’

While these ladies were thus conversing, with hearts devoted to you, I came out at my leisure and repaired to your presence.”

When Sūryaprabha had heard this from the mouth of Prahasta, he passed that night in happiness, though he remained sleepless in his bed.

In the morning he went to the Court of Prahlāda, the King of the Asuras, with Sunītha and Maya and his ministers, to visit him. Then Prahlāda said to Sunītha, after showing him respect:

“I will give to this Sūryaprabha my daughter Mahallikā, for I must show him some hospitable entertainment which will be agreeable to you.”

Sunītha received with joy this speech of Prahlāda’s. Then Prahlāda made Sūryaprabha ascend an altar-platform, in the middle of which a fire was burning, and which was adorned with lofty jewelled pillars illuminated by the brightness of the flame, and there gave him his daughter, with splendour worthy of the imperial throne of the Asuras. And he gave to his daughter and her bridegroom heaps of valuable jewels, obtained by his triumph over the gods, resembling the summit of Mount Meru.

And then Mahallikā boldly said to Prahlāda:

“Father, give me also those twelve companions whom I love.”

But he answered her:

“Daughter, they belong to my brother, for they were taken captive by him, and I have no right to give them away.”

And Sūryaprabha, after the marriage feast was ended, entered at night the bridal chamber with Mahallikā.

And the next morning, when Prahlāda had gone to the hall of assembly with his followers, Amīla, the King of the Dānavas, said to Prahlāda and the others:

“To-day you must all come to my house, for I intend to entertain there this Sūryaprabha, and I will give him my daughter Kalāvatī, if you approve.”

This speech of his they all approved, saying: “So be it.”

Then they all went in a moment to the second underworld, where he dwelt, with Sūryaprabha, Maya and others. There Amīla gave, by the usual ceremony, to Sūryaprabha his daughter, who had previously given herself. Sūryaprabha went through the marriage ceremony in the house of Prahlāda, and, surrounded by the Asuras, who had feasted, spent the day in tasting the enjoyments which they provided for him.

On the next day Durāroha, Prince of the Asuras, invited and conducted them all to his own underworld, the fifth. There, by way of hospitality, he gave to Sūryaprabha his own daughter Kumudāvatī, as the others had done, in the prescribed manner. There Sūryaprabha spent the day in enjoyment with all these united. And at night he entered the apartment of Kumudāvatī. There he spent that night in the society of that lovely and loving woman, the beauty of the three worlds.

And the next day Tantukaccha invited and conducted him, surrounded with his companions, headed by Prahlāda, to his palace in the seventh underworld. There that king of the Asuras gave him his daughter Manovatī, adorned with splendid jewels, bright as molten gold. There Sūryaprabha spent a highly agreeable day, and passed the night in the society of Manovatī.

And the next day Sumāya, a prince of the Asuras, after presenting an invitation, conducted him with all his friends to his underworld, the sixth; there he too gave him his daughter, by name Subhadrā, with body black as a stalk of durvā grass, like a female incarnation of the God of Love; and Sūryaprabha spent that day with that black maiden, whose face was like a full moon.

And the next day King Bali, followed by the Asuras, in the same way led that Sūryaprabha to his own underworld, the third. There he gave him his own daughter, named Sundarī, with complexion lovely as a young shoot, and resembling a cluster of mādhavī flowers. Sūryaprabha then spent that day with that pearl of women in heavenly enjoyment and splendour.

The next day Maya also in the same way reconducted the prince, who was in the fourth underworld, to his own palace, which possessed curiously adorned jewelled terraces, was constructed by his own magic power and, on account of its refulgent splendour, seemed to be new every moment. There he gave him his own daughter, named Sumāyā, whose beauty was the wonder of the world, who seemed to be his own power incarnate, and he did not think that she ought to be withheld from him on account of his being a mere mortal. The fortunate Sūryaprabha remained there with her. Then the prince divided his body by his magic science,[23] and lived at the same time with all those Asura ladies, but with his real body he lived principally with his best beloved, Mahallikā, the daughter of the Asura Prahlāda.

And one night, when he was happy in her presence, he asked the noble Mahallikā in the course of conversation:

“My dear, those two female friends, who came with you, where are they? I never see them. Who are they, and where have they gone?”

Then Mahallikā said:

“You have done well to remind me. My female friends are not only two, but twelve in number, and my father’s brother carried them off from Indra’s heaven. The first is named Amṛtaprabhā, the second Keśinī; these are the auspiciously marked daughters of the hermit Parvata. And the third is Kālindī, the fourth Bhadrakā, and the fifth is the noble Kamalā with beautiful eyes. These three are the daughters of the great hermit Devala. The sixth is named Saudāminī, and the seventh Ujjvalā; these are both of them daughters of the Gandharva Hāhā. The eighth is by name Pīvarā, the daughter of the Gandharva Huhu. And the ninth is by name Añjanikā, the daughter of the mighty Kāla. And the tenth is Keśarāvalī, sprung from the Gaṇa Piṅgala. And the eleventh is Mālinī by name, the daughter of Kambala, and the twelfth is Mandāramālā, the daughter of a Vasu. They are all heavenly nymphs, born from Apsarases, and when I was married they were taken to the first underworld, and I must bestow them on you, in order that I may be always with them. And this I promised them, for I love them. I spoke too to my father, but he refused to give them, out of regard for his brother.”

When Sūryaprabha heard this, he said to her with a downcast expression:

“My beloved, you are very magnanimous, but how can I do this?”

When Sūryaprabha said this to her, Mahallikā said in anger:

“In my presence you marry others, but my friends you do not desire, separated from whom I shall not be happy even for one moment.”

When she said this to him, Sūryaprabha was pleased, and consented to do it. Then that daughter of Prahlāda immediately took him to the first underworld and gave him those twelve maidens. Then Sūryaprabha married those heavenly nymphs in order, commencing with Amṛtaprabhā. And, after asking Mahallikā’s leave, he had them taken by Prabhāsa to the fourth underworld and concealed there. And Sūryaprabha himself went there secretly with Mahallikā, but he went to the hall of Prahlāda, as before, to take his meals.

There the King of the Asuras said to Sunītha and Maya:

“Go all of you to visit the two goddesses, Diti and Danu.”

They said: “So be it.” And immediately Maya, Sunītha and Sūryaprabha left the lower world, accompanied by the Asuras in order of precedence, and ascended the chariot Bhūtāsana, which came to them on being thought of, and repaired to the hermitage of Kaśyapa, situated on a ridge of Mount Sumeru. There they were announced by hermits who showed them all courtesy, and after entering they beheld in due order Diti and Danu together, and bowed their heads at their feet.

And those two mothers of the Asuras cast a favourable look upon them and their followers, and after shedding tears and kissing them joyfully upon their heads,[24] and bestowing their blessing upon them, said to Maya:

“Our eyes are to-day blessed, having seen this thy son Sunītha restored to life, and we consider thee one whose merits have procured him good fortune. And beholding with heartfelt satisfaction this prosperous Sumundīka, born again in the character of Sūryaprabha, possessed of heavenly beauty and of extraordinary virtue, destined to be successful and glorious, abounding in unmistakable marks of future greatness, we openly adore him here with our bodies. Therefore rise up quickly, darlings, and visit Prajāpati here, our husband; from beholding him you shall obtain success in your objects, and his advice will be helpful to you in your affairs.”

When Maya and the others received this order from the goddesses, they went as they were commanded, and beheld the hermit Kaśyapa in a heavenly hermitage. He was like pure molten gold in appearance, full of brightness, the refuge of the gods, wearing matted locks yellow as flame, irresistible as fire.

And, approaching, they fell at his feet with their followers, in order; then the hermit gave them the customary blessing, and after making them sit down, out of delight at their arrival, said to them:

“I am exceedingly glad that I have beheld all you my sons; thou art to be praised, Maya, who, without diverging from the good path, art a treasure-house of all sciences; and thou art fortunate, Sunītha, who hast recovered thy life though lost; and thou, O Sūryaprabha, art fortunate, who art destined to be the king of the sky-goers. So you must all continue now in the path of righteousness, and hearken to my word, by means of which you will obtain the highest fortune, and taste perpetual joys, and by which you will not again to conquered by your enemies; for it was those Asuras, that transgressed law, that became a prey for the discus of the vanquisher of Mura. And those Asuras, Sunītha, that were slain by the gods are incarnate again as human heroes. He who was thy younger brother, Sumundīka, has been born again now as Sūryaprabha. And the other Asuras, who were your companions, have been born as his friends; for instance, the great Asura named Śambara has been born as his minister Prahasta. And the Asura named Triśiras has been born as his minister named Siddhārtha. And the Dānava named Vātāpi is now his minister Prajñāḍhya. And the Dānava named Ulūka is now his companion named Śubhaṅkara, and his present friend Vītabhīti was in a former birth a foe of the gods, named Kāla. And this Bhāsa, his minister, is an incarnation of a Daitya by name Viṣaparvan, and his minister Prabhāsa is an incarnation of a Daitya named Prabala. He was a great-hearted Daitya, with a frame composed of jewels, who, when asked by the gods, though they were his enemies, hewed his body to pieces, and so passed into another state of existence, and from that body of his all the jewels in the world have originated. The goddess Durgā was so pleased at that that she granted him a boon, accompanied by another body, by virtue of which he has now been born as Prabhāsa, mighty, and hard to be overcome by his enemies. And those Dānavas, who formerly existed under the names of Sunda and Upasunda,[25] have been born as his ministers Sarvadamana and Bhayaṅkara. And the two Asuras, who used to be called Vikaṭākṣa and Hayagrīva, have been born as his two ministers here, Sthirabuddhi and Mahābuddhi. And the others connected with him, these fathers-in-law, ministers and friends of his, are also incarnations of Asuras, who have often vanquished Indra and his crew. So your party has again gradually acquired strength. Be of good courage; if you do not depart from the right you shall obtain the highest prosperity.”

While the Ṛṣi Kaśyapa was saying this, all his wives, the daughters of Dakṣa, headed by Aditi, arrived at the time of the midday sacrifice. When they had given their blessing to Maya and the others, who bowed before them, and had performed their husband’s orders for the day, Indra also came there with the Lokapālas[26] to visit the sage.

And Indra, after saluting the feet of Kaśyapa and his wives, and after having been saluted by Maya and the others, looking angrily at Sūryaprabha, said to Maya:

“This is the boy, I suppose, that is desirous of becoming emperor of the Vidyādharas; how is he satisfied with so very little, and why does he not desire the throne of heaven?”

When Maya heard this, he said:

“The throne of heaven was decreed to you by Śiva, and to him was appointed the sovereignty of the sky-goers.”[27]

When Indra heard this, he said, with an angry laugh:

“This would be but a small matter for this comely shape of a youth who is furnished with such auspicious marks.”

Then Maya answered him:

“If Śrutaśarman deserves the sovereignty of the Vidyādharas, then surely this shape of his deserves the throne of heaven.”

When Maya said this, Indra was angry, and rose and uplifted his thunderbolt, and then the hermit Kaśyapa made a threatening noise of anger. And Diti and the other wives became enraged, and their faces were red with anger, and they loudly cried: “Shame!” Then Indra, afraid of being cursed, withdrew his weapon and sat down with bowed head.

Then Indra fell at the feet of that hermit Kaśyapa, the sire of puls and Asuras, who was surrounded by his wives, and after striving to appease him, made the following representation, with hands folded in supplication:

“O reverend one, this Sūryaprabha is attempting to take away from Śrutaśarman the sovereignty of the Vidyādharas, which I bestowed on him. And Maya is exerting himself in every way to procure it for Sūryaprabha.”

When Prajāpati heard that, he said, seated with Diti and Danu:

“Thou lovest Śrutaśarman, O Indra, but Śiva loves Sūryaprabha, and his love cannot be fruitless, and he long ago ordered Maya to do what he has done. So what is all this outery that thou art making against Maya; what offence has he committed herein? For he is one who abides in the path of right, wise, discreet, submissive to his spiritual superior. The fire of my wrath would have reduced thee to ashes, if thou hadst committed that sin, and thou hast no power against him. Dost thou not recognise his might?”

When that hermit with his wives said that, Indra was abashed with shame and fear, and Aditi said:

“What is that Śrutaśarman like? Let him be brought here and shown to us.”

When Indra heard this, he sent Mātali[28] and had brought there immediately that Śrutaśarman, the prince of the sky-goers. The wives of Kaśyapa, when they had seen that Śrutaśarman, who prostrated himself, looked at Sūryaprabha, and said to the hermit Kaśyapa:

“Which of these two is the richer in beauty and in auspicious marks?”

Then that chief of hermits said:

“Śrutaśarman is not even equal to his minister Prabhāsa; much less is he equal to that incomparable one. For this Sūryaprabha is furnished with various heavenly marks of such excellence that, if he were to make the attempt, he would even find the throne of Indra easy to obtain.”

When they heard that speech of Kaśyapa’s, all there approved it, and said: “So it is.”

Then the hermit gave Maya a boon in the hearing of great Indra:

“Because, my son, thou didst remain undaunted, even when Indra lifted up his weapon to strike, therefore thou shalt remain unharmed by the plagues of sickness and old age, which are strong as the thunderbolt. Moreover, these two magnanimous sons of thine, who resemble thee, shall always be invincible by all their enemies. And this son of mine, Suvāsakumāra, resembling in splendour the autumn moon, shall come when thou thinkest of him, and assist thee in the night of calamity.”

When the hermit had thus spoken, his wives and the Ṛṣis and the Lokapālas in the same way gave boons to them, to Maya and the rest, in the assembly.

Then Aditi said to Indra:

“Desist, Indra, from thy improper conduct; conciliate Maya, for thou hast seen to-day the fruit of discreet conduct, in that he has obtained boons from me.”

When Indra heard that, he seized Maya by the hand and propitiated him, and Śrutaśarman, eclipsed by Sūryaprabha, was like the moon in the day. Then the king of the gods immediately prostrated himself before Kaśyapa, his spiritual guide, and returned as he came, accompanied by all the Lokapālas; and Maya and the others, by the order of that excellent hermit, departed from his hermitage to meet success in their proposed undertaking.

[Additional note: the power of entering another’s body]

Footnotes and references:


Alluding to Indra’s slaying the demon Vritra, who was regarded as a Brahman, and to his conduct with Ahalyā.


I.e. Śiva.


See the note at the end of this chapter.— n.m.p.


Similar phrases of comparison are found throughout the East, especially in Egypt and Syria. The main uses of such expressions are to show the great social difference between two parties, or the distance of some far-off place. Readers will remember that in the Nights, at the end of each separate night, Shahrazad, on her sister saying how delightful she found the story, replies: “And what is this compared to what I can tell thee, the night to come, if I live, and the king spare me.” In a note Burton compares this to the Indian: “Where is Rajah Bhoj and where is Gaṅgā the oil-man?”

Cf. also Supp., vol. ii, p. 7: “Where am I and where is the daughter of the Kazi Amin al-Hukm?” While in vol. vii, p. 344, great distance is expressed by, “but where is this land and where lies China-land?”—n.m.p.


One of the seven underworlds-the others being Mahātala, Atala,

Sutala, Vitala, Talātala and Pātāla. They are, however, collectively known as Pātālas, and lie directly above the six hells, and below Vasumatī, the earth. For details see H. Jacobi, “Cosmogony and Cosmology (Indian),” Hastings’ Ency. Rel. Eth., vol. iv, pp. 155-161.—n.m.p.


I.e. Acesines and Hydraotes.


See note at the end of this chapter.—n.m.p.


I.e. a day of Brahmā consisting of 1000 Yugas.


Cf. the halo or aureole round the heads of Christian saints, the circle of rays and nimbus round the head of Greek divinities, and the beam that came out of Charles the Great’s mouth and illumined his head (Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology, translated by Stallybrass, p. 323).

Cf. Livy, i, 39; and Le Lotus de la Bonne Loi (Burnouf), p. 4.


Kāla means Time, Fate, Death.


I divide sa śivākhyānām and take sa to be the demonstrative pronoun.


I.e. the Yoga system.


This superstition appears to be prevalent in China. See Giles’s Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, vol. i, p. 23, and other passages. It was no doubt carried there by the same wave of Buddhism that carried there many similar notions connected with the transmigration of souls, for instance the belief that children are born able to speak, and that this is very inauspicious. (Cf. Giles, op. cit., vol. i, p. 184, with the story of Dharmagupta and Candraprabha in the seventeenth chapter of this work.) The existence of this latter belief in Europe is probably to be ascribed to the influence of Buddhism.


Here I read Śrutaśarma-sapakṣatvam.


Uśanas here means Śukra, the spiritual guide of the Asuras.


The word translated by Tawney as “goddess of sleep” is nidrā-strī, but nidrā, being feminine already, does not need strī as well. In the D. text it belongs to the next word, and the sense now becomes that the sleep-deity thus (considering) did not come to him who was in the habit of (enjoying) female company, though he was alone. See Speyer, op. cit., p. 117.—n.m.p.


I read paśyāsya rūpam. This gives a better sense. It is partly supported by a MS. in the Sanskrit College. The same MS. in the next line reads tvām tu paśyati chaiko’pi. I read tvām tu paśyatu chaisho’pi.——The D. text has now proved this reading correct.—n.m.p.


Literally, “the shape of the moon”; put for the moon, because the author is speaking of a woman. See Böhtlingk and Roth s.v.


See Vol. II, p. 22n3.—n.m.p.


See Vol. I, p. 30n2.— n.m.p.


I.e. āryaputra, used by a wife in addressing a husband.


A MS. in the Sanskrit College reads asau where Brockhaus reads amūr.


The magical powers obtained by Yogis include also the ability to become invisible, to change one’s size, to reach distant objects with ease, to be transported anywhere at will, etc. See R. Garbe, “Yoga,” Hastings’ Ency. Rel. Eth., vol. xii, pp. 831-833. Further details will be found in the note at the end of the chapter.—n.m.p.


The Petersburg lexicographers remark that sampadād is “wohl fehlerhaft.” A MS. in the Sanskrit College has sādarād. But this seems improbable with sādare in the line above. Babu S. C. Mukhopādhyāya suggests sammadād, which I have adopted.-This is confirmed by the D. text.—n.m.p.


See Vol. II, pp. 13-14n.— n.m.p.


The eight Lokapālas, or guardians of the world.


I.e. the Vidyādharas.


His charioteer.

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