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 ...


WE bow before that Gaṇeśa before whom, when dancing, even the mountains seem to bow, for they are made to stoop, owing to the earth being bent by the weight of Niśumbha.


[M] (main story line continued) Thus Naravāhanadatta, the son of the King of Vatsa, dwelt in Kauśāmbī in the palace of his father, having heard with astonishment of the reign of the King of the Vidyādharas. And once on a time, having gone out hunting, he dismissed his army and entered a great forest, with Gomukha as his only companion. There the throbbing of his right eye indicated the approach of good fortune,[1] and he soon heard the sound of singing, mixed with the notes of a heavenly lyre. After going a short distance to find whence the sound proceeded, he beheld a Svayambhū[2] temple of Śiva, and after tying up his horse he entered it. And there he beheld a heavenly maiden, surrounded by many other lovely maidens, praising Śiva with the harp. As soon as he saw her, with the effluent streams of her loveliness she disturbed his heart, as the orb of the moon disturbs the heart of the sea. She too looked on him with impassioned, loving and bashful eye, and had her mind solely fixed on him, and forgot to pour forth her notes.

Then Gomukha, who read his master’s soul, began to ask her attendants:

“Who is she, and whose daughter is she?”

But in the meanwhile a Vidyādharī of mature age, resembling her in feature, descended from heaven, preceded by a gleam red as gold. And she came down and sat by the side of that maiden, and then the maiden rose up and fell at her feet.

And that mature dame blessed that girl, saying:

“Obtain without impediment a husband, who shall be king of all the Vidyādharas.”

Then Naravāhanadatta came to that gentle-looking Vidyādharī, and bowed before her, and after she had given him her blessing he slowly said to her:

“Who is this maiden of thine, mother? Tell me.”

Then that Vidyādharī said to him:

“Listen, I will tell you.


63. Story of Alaṅkāravatī

There is on the mountain heights of the father of Gaurī[3] a city named Śrīsundarapura, and in it there dwells a king of the Vidyādharas named Alaṅkāraśīla. That lofty-souled king had a wife named Kāñcanaprabhā, and in course of time a son was born to the king by her. And when Umā announced to his father in a dream that he should be devoted to religion, he named him Dharmaśīla. And in course of time that son Dharmaśīla grew up to be a young man, and the king, having had him taught the sciences, appointed him Crown Prince. Then Dharmaśīla, when appointed Crown Prince, being exclusively devoted to virtue, and self-controlled, delighted the subjects even more than did his father.

Then the Queen Kāñcanaprabhā, the consort of King Alaṅkāraśīla, became pregnant again, and gave birth to a daughter.

Then a heavenly voice proclaimed:

“This daughter shall be the wife of the Emperor Naravāhanadatta.”

Then her father gave her the name of Alaṅkāravatī, and the girl gradually grew like a digit of the moon. And in course of time she attained mature youth, and learned the sciences from her own father, and through devotion to the god Śiva began to roam from temple to temple of his.

In the meanwhile that brother of hers, Dharmaśīla, who was saintly, though in the bloom of youth, said in secret to his father, Alaṅkāraśīla:

“My father, these enjoyments, that vanish in a moment, do not please me; for what is there in this world which is not distasteful at the last? Have you not heard on this point the saying of the hermit Vyāsa?—

‘All aggregations end in dissolution, all erections end in a fall, all unions end in separation, and life ends in death.’

So what pleasure can wise men take in these perishable objects? Moreover, neither enjoyments nor heaps of wealth accompany one into the other world, but virtue is the only friend that never moves a step from one’s side. Therefore I will go to the forest and perform a severe penance, in order by it to attain everlasting supreme felicity.”

When the king’s son, Dharmaśīla, said this, his father, Alaṅkāraśīla, was perturbed, and answered him, with tears in his eyes:

“My son, what is this sudden delusion that has overtaken you while still a boy? For good men desire a life of retirement after they have enjoyed their youth. This is the time for you to marry a wife, and rule your kingdom justly, and enjoy pleasures, not to abandon the world.”

When Dharmaśīla heard this speech of his father’s, he answered:

“There is no period for self-control or absence of self-control fixed by age; anyone, even when a child, attains self-control if favoured by the Lord, but no bad man attains self-control even when old. And I take no pleasure in reigning, nor in marrying a wife; the object of my life is to propitiate Śiva by austerities.”

When the prince said this, his father, Alaṅkāraśīla, seeing that he could not be turned from his purpose even by the greatest efforts, shed tears, and said:

“If you, who are young, my son, display such freedom from passion, why should not I, who am an old man? I too will go to the forest.”

He said this, and went to the world of men, and bestowed on Brāhmans and the poor a myriad loads of gold and jewels.

And returning to his city, he said to his wife Kāñcanaprabhā:

“You must, if you wish to obey my commands, remain here in your own city and take care of that daughter of ours, Alaṅkāravatī; and when a year has passed there will be, on this very day, an auspicious moment for her marriage. And then I will give her in marriage to Naravāhanadatta, and that son-in-law of mine shall be an emperor, and shall come to this city of ours.”

Having said this to his wife, the king made her take an oath, and then made her return, weeping, with her daughter, and himself went with his son to the forest. But his wife Kāñcanaprabhā lived in her own city with her daughter. What virtuous wife would disobey her husband’s commands? Then her daughter Alaṅkāravatī wandered about to many temples together with her mother, who accompanied her out of affection.

And one day the science named Prajñapti said to her:

“Go to the holy places in Kaśmīra named Svayambhū, and there offer worship, for then you will obtain without difficulty, for a husband, Naravāhanadatta, the sole emperor of all the Vidyādhara kings.”

After hearing this from the science she went with her mother to Kaśmīra, and worshipped Śiva in all the holy places, in Nandikṣetra, and Mahādevagiri, in Amaraparvata, in the mountains of Sureśvarī, and in Vijaya, and Kapaṭeśvara. After worshipping the husband of Pārvatī in these and other holy places, that princess of the Vidyādharas and her mother returned home.


[M] (main story line continued)

“Know, auspicious youth, that this is that very maiden. Alaṅkāravatī, and that I am her mother Kāñcanaprabhā. And today she came to this temple of Śiva without telling me. Then I, perceiving it by the Prajñapti science, came here; and I was told by the same science that you had come here also. So marry this daughter of mine who has been ordained your wife by the god. And tomorrow arrives the day of her marriage appointed by her father, so return for this day, my son, to Kauśāmbī, your own city. And we will go hence; but tomorrow the King Alaṅkāraśīla will come from the grove of asceticism and himself give you this daughter of his.”

When she said this, Alaṅkāravatī and Naravāhanadatta were thrown into a strange state of distraction, for their eyes were full of tears, since their hearts could not bear that they should be separated from one another even for a night, and they were like Cakravākas when the end of the day is near.

When Kāñcanaprabhā saw them in such a state, she said:

“Why do you show such a want of self-restraint because you are to be separated for one night? People who possess firmness endure for a long time mutual separation to which no termination is assigned; hear in proof of this the tale of Rāmabhadra and Sītā.


64. Story of Rāma and Sītā

Long ago King Daśaratha, the sovereign of Ayodhyā, had a son named Rāma, the elder brother of Bharata, Śatrughna and Lakṣmaṇa. He was a partial incarnation of Viṣṇu for the overthrow of Rāvaṇa, and he had a wife named Sītā, the daughter of Janaka, the lady of his life. As fate would have it, his father handed over the kingdom to Bharata, and sent Rāma to the forest with Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa. There Rāvaṇa carried off his beloved Sītā by magic, and took her to the city of Laṅkā, having slain Jaṭāyus on the way. Then Rāma, in his bereaved state, made Sugrīva his friend by killing Bālin, and by sending Hanumān to Laṅkā obtained news of his wife. And he crossed the sea by building a bridge over it, and slew Rāvaṇa, and gave the sovereignty of Laṅkā to Vibhīṣaṇa, and recovered Sītā.

Then he returned from the forest, and while he was ruling his kingdom, that Bharata had made over to him, Sītā became pregnant in Ayodhyā.

And while the king was roaming through the city at leisure, with a small retinue, to observe the actions of his subjects, he beheld a certain man turning his wife, whom he held by the hand, out of his house, and giving out that her fault was going to the house of another man.[4] And King Rāma heard the wife saying to her husband:

“King Rāma did not desert his wife, though she dwelt in the house of the Rākṣasa; this fellow is superior to him, for he abandons me for going to the house of a relation.”

So he went home afflicted, and, afraid of the slander of the people, he abandoned Sītā in the forest. A man of reputation prefers the sorrow of separation to ill-repute. And Sītā, languid with pregnancy, happened to reach the hermitage of Vālmīki, and that Ṛṣi comforted her, and made her take up her abode there.

And the other hermits there debated among themselves:

“Surely this Sītā is guilty, otherwise how could her husband have deserted her? So, by beholding her, everlasting pollution will attach to us. But Vālmīki does not expel her from the hermitage out of pity, and he neutralises by means of his asceticism the pollution produced by beholding her; so come, let us go to some other hermitage.”

When Vālmīki perceived that, he said:

“Brāhmans, you need not have any misgivings about the matter; I have perceived her by my meditation to be chaste.”

When, even then, they exhibited incredulity, Sītā said to them:

“Reverend sirs, test my purity by any means that you know of, and if I turn out to be unchaste let me be punished by having my head cut off.”

When the hermits heard that, they experienced an emotion of pity, and they said to her:

“There is a famous bathing-place in this forest, called Ṭīṭibhasaras, for a certain chaste woman named Ṭīṭibhī, being falsely accused by her husband, who suspected her of familiarity with another man, in her helplessness invoked the goddess Earth and the Lokapālas, and they produced it for her justification. There let the wife of Rāma clear herself for our satisfaction.”

When they said that, Sītā went with them to that lake. And the chaste woman said:

“Mother Earth, if my mind was never fixed even in a dream on anyone besides my husband, may I reach the other side of the lake.”

And after saying this she entered the lake, and the goddess Earth appeared and, taking her in her lap, carried her to the other side.[5] Then all the hermits adored that chaste woman, and, enraged at Rāma’s having abandoned her, they desired to curse him.

But Sītā, who was devoted to her husband, dissuaded them, saying:

“Do not entertain an inauspicious thought against my husband. I beg you to curse my wicked self.”

The hermits, pleased with that conduct of hers, gave her a blessing which enabled her to give birth to a son, and she, while dwelling there, in good time did give birth to a son, and the hermit Vālmīki gave him the name of Lava.[6]

One day she took the child and went to bathe, and the hermit, seeing that it was not in the hut, thought:

“She is in the habit, when she goes to bathe, of leaving her child behind her, so what has become of the child? Surely it has been carried off by a wild beast. I will create another, otherwise Sītā, on returning from bathing, will die of grief.”

Under this impression, the hermit made a pure babe of kuśa grass, resembling Lava, and placed him there; and Sītā came, and seeing it, said to the hermit:

“I have my own boy, so whence came this one, hermit?”

When the hermit Vālmīki heard this, he told her exactly what had taken place, and said:

“Blameless one, receive this second son, named Kuśa, because I by my power created him out of kuśa grass.”

When he said this to her, Sītā brought up those two sons, Kuśa and Lava, for whom Vālmīki performed the sacraments. And those two young princes of the Kṣatriya race, even when children, learned the use of all heavenly weapons and all sciences from the hermit Vālmīki.

And one day they killed a deer belonging to the hermitage, and ate its flesh, and made use of a liṅga, which Vālmīki worshipped, as a plaything. The hermit was offended thereby, but at Sītā’s intercession he appointed for those youths the following expiatory penance:

“Let this Lava go quickly and bring from the lake of Kuvera golden lotuses, and mandāra[7] flowers from his garden, then worship, both of you brothers, this liṅga with those flowers; in this way this crime of those two will be atoned for.”

When Lava heard this, he went, though a boy, to Kailāsa, and invaded that lake and garden of Kuvera, and, after killing the Yakṣas, brought back the lotuses and the flowers; and as he was returning, being tired, he rested on the way under a tree. And in the meanwhile Lakṣmaṇa came that way, seeking a man with auspicious marks for Rāma’s human sacrifice.[8] He, according to the custom of Kṣatriyas, challenged Lava to fight, and paralysed him by the stupefying weapon, and, taking him prisoner, led him to the city of Ayodhyā.

And in the meanwhile Vālmīki comforted Sītā, who was anxious about the return of Lava, and said to Kuśa in his hermitage:

“Lakṣmaṇa has taken prisoner the child Lava and has carried him off to Ayodhyā; go and deliver him from Lakṣmaṇa, after conquering him with these weapons.”

When the sage said this, and gave to Kuśa a heavenly weapon, he went and with it attacked and besieged the sacrificial enclosure in Ayodhyā, and he conquered in fight that Lakṣmaṇa, who advanced to repel him, by the help of those heavenly weapons. Then Rāma advanced to meet him, and when he could not, though exerting himself to the utmost, conquer that Kuśa, owing to the might of Vālmīki, he asked him who he was and why he came.

Then Kuśa said:

“Lakṣmaṇa has taken my elder brother prisoner and brought him here. I have come here to set him at liberty. We two are Kuśa and Lava, the sons of Rāma; this is what our mother, the daughter of Janaka, says.”

Thereupon he told her story. Then Rāma burst into tears, and summoned Lava, and embraced both, saying:

“I am that same wicked Rāma.”

Then the citizens assembled and praised Sītā, beholding those two heroic youths, and Rāma recognised them as his sons. And then he summoned the Queen Sītā from the hermitage of Vālmīki, and dwelt with her in happiness, transferring to his sons the burden of the empire.


[M] (main story line continued)

“Thus heroic souls endure separation for so long a time, and how can you find it difficult to endure it for only one night?”

When Kāñcanaprabhā had said this to her daughter Alaṅkāravatī, who was eager to be married, and to Naravāhanadatta, she departed through the air, with the intention of returning again, and took her daughter with her; and Naravāhanadatta, for his part, returned despondent to Kauśāmbī.

Then, as he could not sleep at night, Gomukha said to him to amuse him:

“Prince, hear this story of Pṛthvīrūpa, which I will relate to you.


65. Story of the Handsome King Pṛthvīrūpa [9]

There is in the Deccan a city named Pratiṣṭhāna. In it lived a very handsome king named Pṛthvīrūpa. Once on a time two discerning Buddhist hermits came to him, and seeing that that king was very handsome, they said to him:

“King, we have travelled through the world and we have nowhere seen a man or woman equal to you in beauty, except the daughter of King Rūpadhara and Queen Hemalatā, in the isle of Muktipura, Rūpalatā by name, and that maiden alone is a match for you, and you alone are a match for her; if you were to be united in marriage it would be well.”

With these words of the hermit, which entered by his ears, the arrows of Love entered also and stuck in his heart.

Then King Pṛthvīrūpa, being full of longing, gave this order to his admirable painter, Kumāridatta by name:

“Take with you my portrait, accurately painted on canvas, and with these two mendicants go to the isle of Muktipura, and there show it by some artifice to the King Rūpadhara and his daughter Rūpalatā. Find out if that king will give me his daughter or not, and take a likeness of Rūpalatā and bring it back.”

When the king had said this, he made the painter take his likeness on canvas, and sent him with the mendicants to that island. And so the painter and the mendicants set out, and in course of time reached a city named Putrapura on the shore of the sea. There they embarked on a ship, and going across the sea they reached in five days that island of Muktipura. There the painter went and held up at the gate of the palace a notice to the effect that there was no painter like him in the world.

When the King Rūpadhara heard of that, he summoned him, and the painter entered the palace, and bowing, he said:

“O King, though I have travelled all over the earth, I have never seen my match as a painter, so tell me whom I am to paint of gods, mortals and Asuras.”

When the king heard that, he summoned his daughter Rūpalatā into his presence, and gave him the following order:

“Make a portrait of this daughter of mine and show it me.”

Then the painter Kumāridatta made a portrait of the princess on canvas and showed it, and it was exactly like the original.

Then King Rūpadhara was pleased, and thinking him clever, he asked that painter, in his desire to obtain a son-in-law:

“My good fellow, you have travelled over the earth, so tell me if you have anywhere seen a woman or a man equal to my daughter in beauty.”

When the king said this, the painter answered him:

“I have nowhere in the world seen a woman or a man equal to her, except a king in Pratiṣṭhāna, named Pṛthvīrūpa, who is a match for her; if she were married to him it would be well. Since he has not found a princess equal in beauty, he remains, though in his fresh youth, without a wife. And I, your Majesty, having beheld that king, dear to the eyes, took a faithful likeness of him, out of admiration of his beauty.”

When the king heard that, he said:

“Have you that portrait with you?”

And the painter said: “I have,” and showed the portrait. Thereupon the King Rūpadhara, beholding the beauty of that King Pṛthvīrūpa, found his head whirl round with astonishment.

And he said:

“Fortunate are we to have beheld that king even in a picture; I felicitate those who behold him in the flesh.”

When Rūpalatā heard this speech of her father’s, and saw the king in the picture, she was full of longing, and could neither hear nor see anything else.

Then the King Rūpadhara, seeing that his daughter was distracted with love, said to that painter Kumāridatta:

“Your pictures exactly correspond to the original, so that King Pṛthvīrūpa must be an appropriate husband for my daughter. So take this portrait of my daughter and set off immediately, and show my daughter to King Pṛthvīrūpa, and tell him the whole incident as it took place, and if he pleases, let him come here quickly, to marry her.”

Thus the king spake, and honoured the painter with gifts, and sent him off with his ambassador, in the company of the mendicants.

The painter, the ambassador and the mendicants crossed the sea, and all reached the Court of Pṛthvīrūpa, in Pratiṣṭhāna. There they gave the present to that king, and told him the whole transaction as it took place, and the message of Rūpadhara. And then that painter Kumāridatta showed to that king his beloved Rūpalatā in a painting. As the king gazed,[10] his eye was drowned in that sea of beauty, her person, so that he could not draw it out again. For the king, whose longing was excessive, could not be satisfied with devouring her form, which poured forth a stream of the nectar of beauty, as the partridge cannot be satisfied with devouring the moonlight.

And he said to the painter:

“My friend, worthy of praise is the Creator who made this beauty, and yourself who copied it. So I accept the proposal of King Rūpadhara. I will go to the island of Muktipura and marry his daughter.”

After saying this, the king honoured the painter, the ambassador and the hermits, and remained looking at the picture.

And, afflicted with the sorrow of absence, the king spent that day in gardens and other places, and set out the next day on his expedition, after ascertaining a favourable moment. And the king mounted the great elephant Maṅgalaghaṭa, and proceeded on his way with many horses and elephants, with chiefs and Rājpūts, and with the painter and the hermits, together with the ambassador of Rūpadhara, and in a few days he reached the entrance of the Vindhya forest, and encamped there in the evening.

The next day the King Prithvīrūpa mounted an elephant named Śatrumardana, and going on, entered that forest. And as he was slowly proceeding he beheld his army, which was marching in front of him, suddenly fleeing.

And while he was perplexed as to what it could mean a Rājpūt named Nirbhaya, mounted on an elephant, came up and said to him:

“King, a very large army of Bhillas attacked us in front there; in the fight that ensued those Bhillas slew with their arrows just fifty of our elephants, and a thousand of our footmen, and three hundred horses; but our troops laid low two thousand Bhillas, so that for every single corpse seen in our host two are seen in theirs. Then our forces were routed, galled with their arrows, which resemble thunderbolts.”

When the king heard that, he was angry, and advancing he slew the army of the Bhillas, as Arjuna slew that of the Kauravas. Then the other bandits were slain by Nirbhaya and his comrades,[11] and the king cut off with one crescent-headed arrow the head of the commander of the Bhillas. The king’s elephant Śatrumardana, with the blood flowing from arrow-wounds, resembled a mountain of collyrium pouring forth streams coloured with cinnabar. Then his whole army, that had been dispersed, returned, finding themselves victorious, and those Bhillas, that had escaped slaughter, fled in all directions. And the King Pṛthvīrūpa, having brought the fight to an end, had his might extolled by the ambassador of Rūpadhara, and, being victorious, encamped in that very forest district, on the bank of a lake, to recruit the strength of his wounded troops.

And in the morning the king set out thence, and slowly advancing he reached that city of Putrapura on the shore of the sea. There he rested for a day, being entertained in becoming fashion by the king of that place, named Udāracarita. And he crossed the sea in ships supplied by him, and in eight days reached the isle of Muktipura.

And the King Rūpadhara, hearing of it, came to meet him, delighted, and the two kings met and embraced one another. Then the King Pṛthvīrūpa entered his city with him, being, to so speak, drunk in by the eyes of the ladies of the city. Then the Queen Hemalatā and the King Rūpadhara, seeing that he was a suitable husband for their daughter, rejoiced. And that King Pṛthvīrūpa remained there, and Rūpadhara honoured him with entertainment in accordance with his own magnificence.

And the next day the long-desiring Rūpalatā ascended the altar in an auspicious moment, and he with exultation received her hand in marriage. And when they beheld one another’s beauty the expanded eye of each was extended to the ear, as if to inform that organ that the report it had heard before was true. When the parched grain was thrown, Rūpadhara gave jewels in such abundance to the happy couple that men thought he was a perfect mine of jewels. And after his daughter’s marriage had taken place he honoured the painter and the two mendicants with dresses and ornaments, and bestowed gifts on all the others. Then that King Pṛthvīrūpa, remaining in that city with his attendants, enjoyed the best meat and drink the isle could produce. The day was spent in singing and dancing, and at night the eager king entered the private apartments of Rūpalatā, in which jewelled couches were spread, which was adorned with jewelled pavement, the circuit of which was propped on jewelled pillars, and which was lit up with jewel-lamps.[12] And in the morning he was wakened by the bards and heralds reciting, and he rose up and remained as the moon in heaven.

Thus King Pṛthvīrūpa remained ten days in that island, amusing himself with ever-fresh enjoyments furnished by his father-in-law. On the eleventh day the king, with the consent of the astrologers, set out with Rūpalatā, after the auspicious ceremony had been performed for him. And he was escorted by his father-in-law as far as the shore of the sea, and accompanied by his retainers he embarked on the ships with his wife. He crossed the sea in eight days, and his army, that was encamped on the shore, joined him, and the King Udāracharita came to meet him, and then he went to Putrapura. There King Prithvīrūpa rested some days, and was entertained by that king, and then he set out from that place. And he mounted his beloved Rūpalatā on the elephant Jayamaṅgala, and he himself mounted an elephant named Kalyāṇagiri.

And the king, proceeding by continual stages, in due course reached his good city of Pratiṣṭhāna, where flags and banners were waving. Then, after beholding Rūpalatā, the ladies of the city lost at once all pride in their own beauty, and gazed on her with eyes unwinking from wonder. Then King Pṛthvīrūpa entered his palace, making high festival, and he gave to that painter villages and wealth, and he honoured those two hermits with wealth as they deserved, and gave complimentary presents to the chiefs, ministers and Rājpūts. Then that king, having attained his object, enjoyed there this world’s happiness in the society of Rūpalatā.


[M] (main story line continued) After the minister Gomukha had told Naravāhanadatta this tale, with the object of amusing him, he went on to say to the impatient prince:

“Thus the resolute endure painful separation for a long time, but how is it that you cannot endure it even for one night, O King? For tomorrow your Highness shall marry Alaṅkāravatī.”

When Gomukha had said this, Marubhūti, the son of Yaugandharāyaṇa, came up at that instant, and said:

“What stuff will you not prate, being ungalled, and never having felt the agony of love? A man possesses firmness and discernment and morality only so long as he does not come within the range of the arrows of Love. Happy in the world are Sarasvatī, Skanda and Buddha, these three who have brushed off and flung away love, like a blade of grass clinging to the skirt of the robe.”

When Marubhūti said this, Naravāhanadatta, perceiving that Gomukha was distressed, said in order to comfort him:

“What Gomukha said to me was appropriate, and it was said to amuse me, for what loving friend exults over one in the agony of separation? One afflicted by the pain of separation should be comforted by his friends to the best of their ability, and the sequel should be left to the disposal of the five-arrowed god.”

Talking in this style, and hearing various tales from his attendants, Naravāhanadatta somehow managed to get through that night. And when morning came he rose up and performed his necessary duties, and saw Kāñcanaprabhā descending from heaven, accompanied by her husband Alaṅkāraśīla, and her son Dharmaśīla, and that Alaṅkāravatī her daughter; and they all descended from the chariot and came near him, and he welcomed them as was fitting, and they saluted him in like manner. And in the meanwhile thousands of other Vidyādharas descended from heaven, carrying loads of gold, jewels and other valuables. And after hearing of this occurrence the King of Vatsa came there with his ministers and his queens, delighted at the advancement of his son.

After the King of Vatsa had performed the rites of hospitality duly, the King Alaṅkāraśīla said to him, bowing graciously:

“King, this is my daughter Alaṅkāravatī, and when she was born she was declared by a voice, that came from heaven, to be destined to be the wife of this thy son, Naravāhanadatta, the future emperor of all the Vidyādhara kings. So I will give her to him, for this is a favourable moment for them; for this reason I have come here with all these.”

The King of Vatsa welcomed that speech of the Vidyādhara sovereign’s, saying:

“It is a great favour that you do me.”

Then the ruler of the Vidyādharas sprinkled with water, produced in the hollow of his hand by virtue of his science, the ground of the courtyard. Immediately there was produced there an altar of gold, covered with a heavenly cloth, and a pavilion, not made with hands, for the preliminary ceremony, composed of various jewels.

Then the successful King Alaṅkāraśīla said to Naravāhanadatta:

“Rise up, the favourable moment has arrived—bathe.”

After he had bathed, and had the marriage-thread put on, the King Alaṅkāraśīla, being delighted, gave him with all his heart his daughter, after bringing her to the altar in her bridal dress. And when the grain was thrown into the fire he and his son gave to his daughter thousands of loads of jewels, gold, garments and ornaments and heavenly nymphs. And after the marriage was over he honoured them all, and then took his leave of them, and with his wife and son departed, as he came, through the air. Then the King of Vatsa, seeing his son destined to advancement, being honoured by the bending kings of the Vidyādharas, was delighted, and prolonged that feast to a great length. And Naravāhanadatta, having obtained Alaṅkāravatī, charming on account of her good conduct, and of noble virtues, like a skilful poet who has obtained a style, charming on account of its excellent metre, and of splendid merits, remained delighted with her.[13]

Footnotes and references:


See Vol. II, pp. 144-145n. For a long list of lucky omens see Thurston, Ethnographic Notes in Southern India, 1906, pp. 239, 240, 242; and R. E. Enthoven, Folk-Lore of Bombay, 1924, p. 249.— n.m.p.


I.e. connected in some way with Buddha. See Böhtlingk and Roth s.v.


I.e. the Himalaya.


This seems to agree with the story as told in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa. For various forms of the Rāma legend see the translation of the Uttara Rāma Charita by M. Félix Nève.


For notes on the “Act of Truth” motif see Vol. II, pp. 31-33, and Vol. Ill, pp. 179-182.— n.m.p.


The story of Genovesa in Simrock's Deutsche Volksbücher, vol. i, p. 371, bears a striking resemblance to that of Sītā. The way in which Schmerzens-reich and his father retire to the forest at the end of the story is quite Indian. In the Greek novel of Hysminias and Hysmine the innocence of the heroine is tested by the fountain of Diana (Scriptores Erotici, p. 595). For parallels to the story of Genovesa or Genovefa see Prym and Socin, Syrische Märchen, lii, and the Introduction, p. xxii.


One of the five trees of Paradise. For the golden lotuses see Chapter XXV. In Chapter LII we find trees with trunks of gold and leaves and fruit of jewels. A similar tree is found in the mediæval romance of King Alexander. Dunlop compares the golden vine carried away by Pompey. Liebrecht remarks that there was also a golden vine over the gate of the temple at Jerusalem, and compares the golden lotus made by the Chinese emperor Tunghwan. He refers also to Huoti of Bordeaux, Ysaie le Triste, and Grimm’s Kinder-und Hausmärchen, 130 and 133. (Liebrecht’s Dunlop, p. 184.) See also Milton’s Paradise Lost, iv, 220 and 256. Cf. Thalaba the Destroyer, Book I, 30. The passage in the Pseudo-Callisthenes will be found in iii, 28, Karl Müller’s edition.——For analogues to Grimm’s 130th and 133rd tales see Bolte, Anmerkungen su den Kinder-und Hausmärchen der Brüder Grimm, vol. iii, p. 60 et. seq., and p. 78 et. seq.—n.m.p.


See pp. 64n1, 65n.— n.m.p. vol. IV.


A similar story occurs on p. 207.—n.m.p.


Cf. the story of Seyf ul Mulk in the Persian Tales and the Bahār-i-Dānish, C, xxxv (Dunlop, vol. ii, p. 208, Liebrecht’s translation, p. 385). See also Dunlop’s remarks upon the Polexandre of Gomberville. In this romance Abdelmelec, son of the Emperor of Morocco, falls in love with Alcidiana by seeing her portrait (vol. ii, p. 276, Liebrecht's translation, p. 372). A similar incident is found in the romance of Agesilaus of Colchos (Liebrecht’s translation, p. 157). See Prym and Socin, Syrische Märchen, p. 3; Rohde, Der Griechische Roman, p. 49; Coelho, Contos Populares Portugueses, p. 109.——The idea is found in the Daśa Kumāra Charila, whence it found its way into Persian and Arabic collections. See Clouston, The Book of Sindibād, pp. 166, and 303 et seq.; Nights (Burton, Supp., vol. i, p. 226), and the notes by Clouston in Supp., vol. ii, pp. 328, 329. Numerous references are given in Chauvin, op. cit.,. v, p. 132. See also Bolte, op. cit., vol. i, p. 43 et seq.—n.m.p.


For the vidruteshu of Brockhaus’ edition I read nihateshu, which I find in the Sanskrit College MS.——This is confirmed by the D. text.—n.m.p.


See Vol. II, p. 169.— n.m.p.


An elaborate pun. Rasika also means “full of (poetical) flavour.”

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