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 ...

[M] (Main story line continued) THEN, the next day, as Naravāhanadatta was sitting in the apartments of Alaṅkāravatī, a servant of Marubhūti’s, the brother of Sauvidalla, the guard of the prince’s harem, came and said to him in the presence of all his ministers:

“King, I have attended on Marubhūti for two years; he has given food and clothing to me and my wife, but he will not give me the fifty dīnārs a year which he promised me in addition. And when I asked him for it he gave me a kick. So I am sitting in dharnā [see notes on dharnā] against him at your Highness’s door. If your Highness does not give judgment in this case I shall enter the fire. What more can I say? For you are my sovereign.”

When he had said this he stopped, and Marubhūti said:

“I must give him the dīnārs, but I have not got the money at present.”

When he said this all the ministers laughed at him, and Naravāhanadatta said to the minister Marubhūti:

“What are you thinking about, you fool? Your intentions are not over-creditable.[1] Rise up, give him the hundred dīnārs without delay.”

When Marubhūti heard this speech of his sovereign’s he was ashamed, and immediately brought that hundred dīnārs and gave it to him.

Then Gomukha said:

“Marubhūti is not to be blamed, because the works of the Creator’s hand have varying moods of mind. Have you not heard the story of King Ciradātṛ and his servant, named Prasaṅga?


73. Story of Ciradātṛ

In old time there was a king named Ciradātṛ, sovereign of Cirapura. Though he was an excellent man, his followers were extremely wicked. And that king had a servant, named Prasaṅga, who had come from another country, and was accompanied by two friends. And five years passed while he was performing his duties, but the king gave him nothing, not even when an occasion was presented by a feast or something of the kind. And owing to the wickedness of the courtiers he never obtained an opportunity of representing his case to the king, though his friends were continually instigating him to do so.

Now one day the king’s infant son died, and when he was grieved at it all his servants came and crowded round him. And among them the servant named Prasaṅga, out of pure sorrow, said to the king as follows, though his two friends tried to prevent him:

“We have been your servants, your Highness, for a long time, and you have never given us anything; nevertheless we have remained here because we had hopes from your son; for we thought that, although you have never given us anything, your son would certainly give us something. If Fate has carried him off, what is the use of remaining here now? We will immediately take our departure.”

Thus he exclaimed, and fell at the feet of the king, and went out with his two friends.

The king reflected:

“Ah I though these men had fixed their hopes on my son, they have been faithful servants to me, so I must not abandon them.”

Thereupon he immediately had Prasaṅga and his companions summoned, and loaded them so with wealth that poverty did not again lay hold on them.


[M] (Main story line continued)

“So you see, men have various dispositions; for that king did not give at the proper season, but did give in the unseasonable hour of calamity.”

When Gomukha, skilful in story-telling, had said this, he went on, at the instigation of the son of the sovereign of Vatsa, to tell the following tale:—


74. Story of King Kanakavarṣa and Madanasundarī

There was in old time on the banks of the Ganges an excellent city named Kanakapura, the people of which were purified in the water of the river, and which was a delightful place on account of its good government. In this city the only imprisonment seen was the committing to paper of the words of poets, the only kind of defeat was the curling in the locks of the women, the only contest was the struggle of getting the corn into the granary.[2]

In that city there dwelt in old time a glorious king, named Kanakavarṣa, who was born to Priyadarśana, the son of Vāsuki, king of the snakes, by the Princess Yaśodharā. Though he bore the weight of the whole earth, he was adorned with innumerable virtues; he longed for glory, not for wealth; he feared sin, not his enemy. He was dull in slandering his neighbour, but not in the holy treatises; there was restraint in the high-souled hero’s wrath, not in his favour; he was resolute-minded; he was niggardly in curses, not in gifts; he ruled the whole world; and such was his extraordinary beauty that all women, the moment they saw him, were distracted with the pain of love.

Once on a time, in an autumn that was characterised by heat, that maddened elephants, that was attended by flocks of swans, and delighted the subjects with rejoicings,[3] he entered a picture gallery which was cooled by winds that blew laden with the scent of lotuses.

There he observed and praised the display of pictures, and in the meanwhile there entered the warder, who said to the king:

“Your Majesty, an unequalled painter has arrived here from Ujjayinī, boasting himself to be matchless in the art of painting. His name is Roladeva, and he has to-day set up a notice at the palace gate to the above effect.”

When the king heard that, he felt respect for him, and ordered him to be introduced, and the warder immediately went and brought him in. The painter entered, and beheld the King Kanakavarṣa amusing himself in private with looking at pictures, reclining his body on the lap of beautiful women, and taking in carelessly crooked fingers the prepared betel.

And the painter Roladeva made obeisance to the king, who received him politely, and sitting down said slowly to him:

“O King, I put up a notice principally through the desire of beholding your feet, not out of pride in my skill, so you must excuse this deed of mine. And you must tell me what form I am to represent on canvas. Let not the trouble I took in learning this accomplishment be thrown away, O King.”

When the painter said this to the king, he replied:

“Teacher, paint anything you will; let us give our eyes a treat. What doubt can there be about your skill?”

When the king said this, his courtiers exclaimed:

“Paint the king. What is the use of painting others, ugly in comparison with him?”

When the painter heard this he was pleased, and painted the king, with aquiline nose, with almond-shaped fiery eye, with broad forehead, with curly black hair, with ample breast, glorious with the scars of wounds inflicted by arrows and other weapons, with handsome arms resembling the trunks of the elephants that support the quarters, with waist capable of being spanned with the hand, as if it had been a present from the lion-whelps conquered by his might, and with thighs like the post for fastening the elephant of youth, and with beautiful feet, like the shoots of the aśoka.

And all, when they beheld that life-like likeness of the king, applauded that painter, and said to him:

“We do not like to see the king alone on the picture-panel, so paint on it one of those queens by his side, carefully choosing one that will be a worthy pendant to him. Let the feast of our eyes be complete.”

When they said this, the painter looked at the picture and said:

“Though there are many of these queens, there is none among them like the king, and I believe there is no woman on the earth a match for him in beauty, except one princess. Listen, I will tell you about her.

“In Vidarbha there is a prosperous town named Kuṇḍina, and in it there is a king of the name of Devaśakti. And he has a queen named Anantavatī, dearer to him than life, and by her there was born to him a daughter named Madanasundarī. How could one like me presume to describe her beauty with this one single tongue, but so much will I say: When the Creator had made her, through delight in her he conceived a desire to make another like her, but he will not be able to do it even in the course of yugas. That princess, alone on the earth, is a match for this king in shape, beauty and refinement, in age and birth. For I, when I was there, was once summoned by her by the mouth of a maid, and I went to her private apartments. There I beheld her, freshly anointed with sandal unguent, having a necklace of lotus-fibres, tossing on a bed of lotuses, being fanned by her ladies-in-waiting with the wind of plantain leaves, pale and emaciated, exhibiting the signs of love’s fever. And in these words was she dissuading her ladies occupied in fanning her:

‘O my friends, away with this sandal unguent, and these breezes wafted by plantain leaves; for these, though cool, scorch up unhappy me.’

“And when I saw her in this state I was troubled to divine the reason, and after doing obeisance I sat down in front of her. And she said: ‘Teacher, paint such a form as this on canvas and give it me.’ And then she made me paint a certain very handsome youth, slowly tracing out the form on the ground with trembling, nectar-distilling hand,[4] to guide me. And when I had so painted that handsome youth I said to myself:

‘She has made me paint the God of Love in visible form; but, as I see that the flowery bow is not represented in his hand, I know that it cannot be the God of Love; it must be some extraordinarily handsome young man like him. And her outburst of love-sickness has to do with him. So I must depart hence, for this king, her father, Devaśakti, is severe in his justice, and if he heard of this proceeding of mine he would not overlook it.’

Thus reflecting, I did obeisance to that Princess Madanasundarī, and departed, honoured by her.

“But when I was there, O King, I heard from her attendants, as they talked freely together, that she had fallen in love with you from hearing of you only.[5] So I have secretly taken a picture of that princess on a sheet of canvas, and have come here quickly to your feet. And when I beheld your Majesty’s appearance my doubt was at an end, for it was clearly your Majesty that the princess caused to be painted by my hand. And as it is not possible to paint her twice, such as she is, I will not represent her in the picture as standing at your side, though she is equal to you in beauty.”

When Roladeva said this, the king said to him:

“Then show her as she is represented on the canvas you have brought with you.”

Then the painter looked out a piece of canvas which was in a bag, and showed the king Madanasundarī in a painting. And the King Kanakavarṣa, seeing that even in a painting she was wonderfully beautiful, immediately became enamoured of her. And he loaded that painter with much gold, and taking the picture of his beloved retired into his private apartments. There he remained with his mind fixed on her alone, abandoning all occupations, and his eyes were never satisfied with gazing on her beauty. It seemed as if the God of Love was jealous of his good looks, for now that he had obtained an opportunity he tormented him, smiting him with his arrows and robbing him of his self-control. And the love-pain, which he had inflicted on women enamoured of his handsome shape, was now visited on that king a hundredfold.

And in the course of some days, being pale and emaciated, he told to his confidential ministers, who questioned him, the thought of his heart. And after deliberating with them he sent to the King Devaśakti, as ambassador, to ask for the hand of his daughter, a trustworthy Brāhman of good birth, named Saṅgamasvāmin, who was skilled in affairs, knew times and seasons, and could speak in a sweet and lofty style. That Saṅgamasvāmin went to Vidarbha with a great retinue and entered the city of Kuṇḍina. And there he had a formal interview with the King Devaśakti, and on behalf of his master asked for the hand of his daughter.

And Devaśakti reflected:

“I must give away this daughter of mine to someone, and this King Kanakavarṣa has been described as my equal, and he asks for her, so I will give her to him.”

Accordingly he granted the prayer of Saṅgamasvāmin, and the king displayed to the ambassador the astonishing elegance in the dance of his daughter Madanasundarī. Then the king sent away, after honouring him and promising to give his daughter, that Saṅgamasvāmin, who was charmed with his sight of her.

And he sent with him a counter-ambassador to say:

“Fix an auspicious moment and come here for the marriage.”

And Saṅgamasvāmin returned, accompanied by the counter-ambassador, and told the King Kanakavarṣa that his object was effected. Then the king ascertained a favourable moment, and honoured that ambassador, and heard from him over and over again how Madanasundarī was in love with him.

And then the King Kanakavarṣa set out for the city of Kuṇḍina, in order to marry her, with mind at ease on account of his own irresistible valour, mounted on the horse Aśīkala,[6] and he smote the Śavaras that inhabited the border forests, and took the lives of living creatures, like lions and other wild beasts. And he reached Vidarbha, and entered that city of Kuṇḍina with King Devaśakti, who came out to meet him. Then he entered the king’s palace, in which preparations had been made for the marriage, robbing the ladies of the city of the feast which he had given to their eyes. And there he rested a day with his retinue, pleased at the noble reception which King Devaśakti gave him. And on the next day Devaśakti gave him his daughter Madanasundarī, together with all his wealth, retaining only his kingdom.

And King Kanakavarṣa , after he had remained there seven days, returned to his own city with his recently married bride. And when he arrived with his beloved, giving joy to the world, like the moon with the moonlight, that city was full of rejoicing. Then that Queen Madanasundarī was dearer than life to that king, though he had many wives, as Rukmiṇī is to Viṣṇu. And the wedded couple remained fastened together by their eyes with lovely eyelashes, which were fixed on one another’s faces, resembling the arrows of love.

And in the meanwhile arrived the lion of spring, with a train of expanding filaments for mane, tearing to pieces the elephant of female coyness. And the garden made ready blossoming mango-plants, by way of bows for the God of Love, with rows of bees clinging to them by way of bow-string. And the wind from the Malaya mountain blew, swaying the love-kindled hearts of the wives of men travelling in foreign lands, as it swayed the suburban groves.

And the sweetly speaking cuckoos seemed to say to men:

“The brimming of the streams, the flowers of the trees, the digits of the moon wane and return again, but not the youth of men.[7] Fling aside coyness and quarrelling, and sport with your beloved ones.”

And at that time King Kanakavarṣa went with all his wives to a spring garden to amuse himself. And he eclipsed the beauty of the aśokas with the red robes of his attendants, and with the songs of his lovely ladies the song of the cuckoos and bees. There the king, though all his wives were with him, amused himself with Madanasundarī in picking flowers and other diversions. And after roaming there a long time the king entered the Godāvarī with his wives to bathe, and began the water-game. His ladies surpassed the lotuses with their faces, with their eyes the blue water-lilies, with their breasts the couples of Brahmany ducks, with their hips the sandbanks, and when they troubled the bosom of the stream it showed frowns of anger, in the form of curling waves. Then the mind of Kanakavarṣa took pleasure in them, while they displayed the contours of their limbs in the splashing-game. And in the ardour of the game he splashed one queen with water from his palms on her breast.

When Madanasundarī saw it she was jealous, and got angry with him, and in an outburst of indignation said to him:

“How long are you going to trouble the river?”

And going out of the water she took her other clothes and rushed off in a passion to her own palace, telling her ladies of that fault of her lover’s. Then Kanakavarṣa, seeing her state of mind, stopped his water-game and went off to her apartments. Even the parrots in the cages warned him off in wrath when he approached, and entering he saw within the queen, afflicted with wrath, with her downcast lotus-like face supported on the palm of her left hand, with teardrops falling like transparent pearls.

And she was repeating, with accents charming on account of her broken speech, in a voice interrupted with sobs, showing her gleaming teeth, this fragment of a Prakrit song:

“If you cannot endure separation, you must cheerfully abandon anger. If you can in your heart endure separation, then you must increase your wrath. Perceiving this clearly, remain pledged to one or the other; if you can take your stand on both, you will fall between two stools.”

And when the king saw her in this state, lovely even in tears, he approached her bashfully and timidly. And embracing her, though she kept her face averted, he set himself to propitiate her with respectful words, tender with love. And when her retinue signified her scorn with ambiguous hints, he fell at her feet, blaming himself as an offender. Then she clung to the neck of the king, and was reconciled to him, bedewing him with the tears that flowed on account of that very annoyance. And he, delighted, spent the day with his beloved, whose anger had been exchanged for good-will, and slept there at night.

But in the night he saw in a dream his necklace suddenly taken from his neck, and his crest-jewel snatched from his head, by a deformed woman. Then he saw a Vetāla, with a body made up of the limbs of many animals, and when the Vetāla wrestled with him he hurled him to earth. And when the king sat on the Vetāla’s back the demon flew up with him through the air, like a bird, and threw him into the sea. Then, after he had with difficulty struggled to the shore, he saw that the necklace was replaced on his neck, and the crest-jewel on his head.

When the king had seen this he woke up, and in the morning he asked a Buddhist mendicant, who had come to visit him as an old friend, the meaning of the dream.

And the mendicant answered clearly:

“I do not wish to say what is unpleasant, but how can I help telling you when I am asked? The fact that you saw your necklace and crest-jewel taken away means that you will be separated from your wife and from your son. And the fact that, after you had escaped from the sea, you found them again, means that you will be reunited with them, when your calamity comes to an end.”

Then the king said:

“I have not a son as yet; let him be born first.”

Then the king heard from a reciter of the Rāmāyaṇa, who visited his palace, how King Daśaratha endured hardship to obtain a son; and so there arose in his mind anxiety about obtaining a son, and the mendicant having departed, the King Kanakavarṣa spent that day in despondency.

And at night, as he was lying alone and sleepless upon his bed, he saw a woman enter without opening the door. She was modest and gentle of appearance, and when the king bowed before her she gave him her blessing, and said to him:

“Son, know that I am the daughter of Vāsuki, the king of the snakes, and the elder sister of thy father, Ratnaprabhā by name. I always dwell near thee, invisible, to protect thee, but to-day, seeing thee despondent, I have displayed to thee my real form. I cannot bear to behold thy sorrow, so tell me the cause.”

When the king had been thus addressed by his father’s sister, he said to her:

“I am fortunate, mother, in that you show me such condescension. But know that my anxiety is caused by the fact that no son is born to me. How can people like myself help desiring that, which even heroic saints of old days, like Daśaratha and others, desired for the sake of obtaining Svarga.”

When the Nāgī[8] Ratnaprabhā heard this speech of that king, she said to her brother’s son:

“My son, I will tell thee an admirable expedient; carry it out. Go and propitiate Kārttikeya with a view to obtain a son. I will enter thy body, and by my power thou shalt support the rain of Kārttikeya falling on thy head to impede thee, difficult to endure. And after thou hast overcome a host of other impediments thou shalt obtain thy wish.”

When the Nāgī had said this she disappeared, and the king spent the night in bliss.

The next morning he committed his realm to the care of his ministers, and went, desiring a son, to visit the sole of Kārttikeya’s foot. There he performed a severe penance to propitiate that lord, having power given him by the Nāgī that entered his body. Then the rain of Kumāra[9] fell on his head like thunderbolts, and continued without ceasing. But he endured it by means of the Nāgī that had entered his body. Then Kārttikeya sent Gaṇeśa to impede him still further. And Gaṇeśa created in that rain a very poisonous and exceedingly terrible serpent, but the king did not fear it. Then Gaṇeśa, invincible[10] even by gods, came in visible form and began to give him bites on the breast.

Then King Kanakavarṣa, thinking that he was a foe hard to subdue, proceeded, after he had endured that ordeal, to propitiate Gaṇeśa with praises.

“Honour to thee, O god of the projecting belly, adorned with the elephant’s ornament, whose body is like a swelling pitcher containing success in all affairs! Victory to thee, O elephant-faced one, that makest even Brahmā afraid, shaking the lotus, which is his throne, with thy trunk flung up in sport! Even the gods, the Asuras and the chief hermits do not succeed unless thou art pleased, the only refuge of the world, O thou beloved of Śiva! The chief of the gods praise thee by thy sixty-eight sin-destroying names, calling thee the pitcher-bellied, the basket-eared one,[11] the chief of the Gaṇas, the furious mast elephant, Yama the noose-handed, the Sun, Viṣṇu and Śiva. With these names to the number of sixty-eight, corresponding to so many parts of the body, do they praise thee. And when one remembers thee and praises thee, O lord, fear produced by the battle-field, by the king’s court, by gambling, by thieves, by fire, by wild beasts and other harms, departs.”

With these laudatory verses, and with many others of the same kind, King Kanakavarṣa honoured that king of impediments. And the conqueror of impediments said: “I will not throw an impediment in thy way; obtain a son,” and disappeared then and there from the eyes of that king.

Then Kārttikeya said to that king, who had endured the rain:

“Resolute man, I am pleased with thee, so crave a boon.”

Then the king, delighted, said to the god:

“Let a son be born to me by thy favour.”

Then the god said:

“Thou shalt have a son, the incarnation of one of my Gaṇas, and his name shall be Hiraṇyavarṣa on the earth.”

And then the rider on the peacock summoned him to enter his inmost shrine, in order to show him special favour.[12] Thereupon the Nāgī left his body invisibly, for females do not enter the house of Kārttikeya through dread of a curse. Then King Kanakavarṣa entered the sanctifying temple of that god, armed only with his human excellence. When the god saw that he was deprived of the excellence he formerly had, because he was no longer inhabited by the Nāgī, he reflected: “What can this mean?”

And Kārttikeya, perceiving by his divine meditation that that king had performed a very difficult vow by the secret help of the Nāgī, thus cursed him in his wrath:

“Since thou didst make use of deceit, intractable man, thou shalt be separated from thy son, as soon as he is born, and from thy queen.”

When the king heard this curse, terrible as a thunderstroke, he was not amazed, but, being a mighty poet, praised that god with hymns. Then the six-faced god, pleased with his well-turned language, said to him:

“King, I am pleased with thy hymns; I appoint thee this end of thy curse: thou shalt be separated from thy wife and son for one year, but after thou hast been saved from three great dangers thou shalt come to an end of the separation.”

When the six-faced god had said this, he ceased to speak, and the king, satisfied with the nectar of his favour, bowed before him and went to his own city.

Then, in course of time, he had a son born to him by Queen Madanasundarī, as the nectar-stream is born of the light of the cold-rayed moon. When the king and queen saw the face of that son, being filled with great delight, they were not able to contain themselves.[13] And at that time the king made a feast, and showered riches, and made his name of Kanakavarṣa[14] a literal fact on the earth.

When five nights had passed, while guard was being kept in the lying-in house, on the sixth night a cloud suddenly came there. It swelled, and gradually covered the whole sky, as a neglected enemy overruns the kingdom of a careless king. Then the mast elephant of the wind began to rush, showering drops of rain like drops of ichor, and rooting up trees. At that moment a terrible woman, sword in hand, opened the door, though it was bolted, and entered that lying-in chamber. She took that babe from the queen as she was nursing it and ran out, having bewildered the attendants.

And then the queen, distracted, and exclaiming, “Alas, a Rākṣasī has carried off my child!” pursued that woman, though it was dark. And the woman rushed on and plunged into a tank with the child, and the queen, pursuing her, plunged in also, eager to recover her offspring. Immediately the cloud disappeared, and the night came to an end, and the lamentation of the attendants was heard in the lying-in chamber.

Then the King Kanakavarṣa, hearing it, came to the lying-in chamber, and seeing it empty of his son and wife, was distracted.

After he had recovered consciousness he began to lament:

“Alas, my queen! Alas, my infant son!”

And then he called to mind that the curse was to end in a year. And he exclaimed:

“Holy Skanda, how could you give to ill-starred me a boon joined with a curse, like nectar mixed with poison? Alas! how shall I be able to pass a year, long as a thousand years, without the Queen Madanasundarī, whom I value more than my life?”

And the king, though exhorted by the ministers, who knew the circumstances, did not recover his composure, which had departed with his queen.

And in course of time he left his city, distracted with a paroxysm of love, and wandered through the Vindhya forest in a state of bewilderment. There, as he gazed on the eyes of the young does, he remembered the beauty of the eyes of his beloved, and the bushy tails of the camarīs[15] reminded him of the loveliness of her luxuriant hair, and when he marked the gait of the female elephant he called to mind the languid grace of her gait, so that the fire of his love broke out into a fiercer flame. And wandering about, exhausted with thirst and heat, he reached the foot of the Vindhya mountains, and, after drinking the water of a stream, he sat down at the foot of a tree.

In the meanwhile a long-maned lion came out of a cavern of the Vindhya hills, uttering a roar which resembled a loud demoniac laugh, and rushed towards him to slay him. At that very moment a certain Vidyādhara descended rapidly from heaven and cleft that lion in two with a sword-stroke.

And that sky-goer, coming near, said to the king:

“King Kanakavarṣa, how have you come to this region?”

When the king heard it, he recovered his memory, and said to him:

“How do you know me, who am tossed with the wind of separation?”

Then the Vidyādhara said:

“I, when in old time I was a religious mendicant, of the name of Bandhumitra, dwelt in your city. Then you helped me in my rites, when I respectfully asked you to do so, and so I obtained the rank of a Vidyādhara, by making a goblin my servant. Thus I recognised you, and being desirous to confer on you a benefit, by way of recompense, I have slain this lion which I saw on the point of killing you. And my name has now become Bandhuprabha.”

When the Vidyādhara said this, the king conceived an affection for him, and said:

“Ah! I remember; and this friendship has been nobly acted up to by you, so tell me when I shall be reunited with my wife and son.”

When the Vidyādhara Bandhuprabha heard that, he perceived it by his divine knowledge, and said to the king:

“By a pilgrimage to the shrine of Durgā, in the Vindhya hills, you will recover your wife and son, so go you to prosperity and I will return to my own world.”

When he had said this he departed, and King Kanakavarṣa, having recovered his self-command, went to visit that shrine of Durgā.

As he was going along, a great and furious wild elephant, stretching out its trunk and shaking its head, charged him in the path. When the king saw that, he fled by a way full of holes, so that the elephant, pursuing him, fell into a chasm and was killed. Then the king, fatigued with toil and exertion, slowly going along, reached a great lake, full of lotuses with straight upstanding stalks. There the king bathed, drank the water of the lake, and ate the fibres of the lotuses, and lying tired at the foot of a tree was for a moment overpowered by sleep. And some Śavaras, returning that way from hunting, saw that king with auspicious marks lying asleep. And they immediately bound him and took him to their King Muktāphala, in order that he might serve as a victim.

The King of the Śavaras, for his part, seeing that the king was a suitable victim, took him to the temple of Durgā to offer him up. And when the king saw the goddess he bowed before her, and by her mercy and the favour of Skanda his bonds fell off. When the King of the Śavaras saw that miracle he knew that it was a mark of the goddess’s favour towards him, and he spared his life. So Kanakavarṣa escaped the third danger, and accomplished the year of his curse.

And in the meanwhile the Nāgī, the aunt of the king, came there, bringing the Queen Madanasundarī with her son, and said to the king:

“O King, when I heard the curse of Kārttikeya I took these away by an artifice to my own dwelling and preserved them there. Therefore, Kanakavarṣa, receive here your wife and son, and enjoy this empire of the earth, for now your curse is at an end.”

When the Nāgī had said this to the king, who bowed before her, she disappeared, and the king looked upon the arrival of his wife and child as a dream. Then the grief of separation of the king and queen, who had so long been forced to live apart, trickled away in their tears of joy. Then Muktāphala, the King of the Śavaras, fell at the feet of the King Kanakavarṣa, on finding that he was his master, the lord of the whole earth. And after he had propitiated him, and persuaded him to visit his town, he furnished his wife and child with all kinds of luxuries, such as it was in his power to give.

Then the king, remaining there, summoned by messengers his father-in-law Devaśakti and his army[16] from his own city. Then he sent on in front of him his beloved wife Madanasundarī, mounted on a female elephant, and his son, who Kārttikeya said was to be called Hiraṇyavarṣa, and went with his father-in-law towards his father-in-law’s house.[17] And in a few days he reached the residence of his father-in-law, a hermitage[18] in the country of Vidarbha, and after that his wealthy city of Kuṇḍina, and there he remained some time with his wife and son, and his army, being entertained by his father-in-law. And setting out thence he at last reached his own town of Kanaka-pura, where he was, as it were, drunk in by the eyes of the wives of the citizens, long desirous of beholding him again. And with his son and Madanasundarī he entered the palace, like an embodied feast, accompanied with joy and splendour. And there he gave Madanasundarī a turban of honour, and made her his head wife, and he honoured his subjects with gifts on this day of triumph.[19] And then King Kanakavarṣa ruled this circle of the earth, four-limited by the sea, without opponents, in perpetual happiness, with his wife and son, without experiencing again the grief of separation.


[M] (Main story line continued) When the Prince Naravāhanadatta heard this magnificent tale from his head minister Gomukha, in the company of the fair Alaṅkāravatī, he was exceedingly delighted.

Footnotes and references:


In the D. text we read mūrkhabhāvaḥ as a single word, and Speyer (op. cit., p. 123) would translate the line with both sentences as interrogations: “Is your stupidity [still] such? Does your wit not exceed it?”—n. m. p.


The puns here defy translation.


Here the Sanskrit text has “and so resembled himself.” Each of the Sanskrit compounds may be taken in another sense. The “heat” is valour; the “swans” subject kings; the sight of the king delighted his subjects, and he possessed furious elephants.


The D. text reads dhṛtavartinā instead of amṛta-vartinā, meaning a pencil-holding hand.—n.m.p.


See Vol. I, p. l28n1.—n.m.p.


The Sanskrit College MS. reads Aśīkalahayārūḍhaḥ.


Cf. the Lament of Moschos for Bion, i, 99-104.


I.e. female snake, somewhat of the nature of the Echidna of our boyhood:

“ἥμισυ μὲν νύμφην ἑλικώπιδα καλλιπάρῃον
ἥμισυ δ’αὖτε πέλωρον ὄφιν, δεινόν τε μέγαν τε.”

Hesiod, Theog., 298.


Cf. the following passage which Wirt Sykes (British Goblins, p. 385) quotes from “The Mabinogion”:

“Take a bowl and throw a bowlful of water on the slab,” says the black giant of the wood to Sir Kai,

“and thou wilt hear a mighty peal of thunder, so that thou wilt think that heaven and earth are trembling with its fury. With the thunder will come a shower so severe that it will be hardly possible for thee to endure and live. And the shower will be of hailstones; and after the shower the weather will become fair, but every leaf that was upon the tree will have been carried away by the shower.”

Cf. Prym and Socin, Syrische Märchen, p. 116, and Gaal, Märchen der Magyaren, pp. 101, 102.


I read with the Sanskrit College MS. ajayyaḥ.


Böhtlingk conjectures śūrpa for sūrya; śūrpa is a winnowing-basket.


This is the sense, but ēpsur cannot be right; the Sanskrit College MS. reads ecchuṃ. Perhaps ecchuḥ will do.


I read tadā for padā, a conjecture of Babu S.C. Mookerjea’s. The Sanskrit College MS. reads atyānandabhṛte yuktam nāvartetām yadātmani.——The D. text has atyānandasamayukte nāvartetāṃ tadātmani.—n.m.p.


I.e. showerer of riches.


For a note on the chowrie, or fly-whisk, see Vol. III, pp. 84n1, 85n.


The MS. in the Sanskrit College reads svasainyam, which saves the metre.


Śvasuraveśmavartmāśritas is the reading of the MS. in the library of the Sanskrit College.


An error has crept in here. Āśramam should read āśritam of the D. text. Thus we get over the strange statement that Devaśakti resided in a hermitage. The sense is then that Kanakavarsha reached Kuṇḍina, the capital of his father-in-law situated in Vidarbha, and stayed there for some days. See Speyer, op. cit., p. 124.—n.m.p.


I read mānitaprakṛtiḥ, following the MS. in the Sanskrit College.

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