Poem – The Address of Brahma

While impious Tárak in resistless might
Was troubling heaven and earth with wild affright,
To Brahmá’s high abode, by Indra led,
The mournful deities for refuge fled.
As when the Day-God’s loving beams awake
The lotus slumbering on the silver lake,
So Brahmá deigned his glorious face to show,
And poured sweet comfort on their looks of woe.
Then nearer came the suppliant Gods to pay
Honour to him whose face turns every way.
They bowed them low before the Lord of Speech,
And sought with truthful words his heart to reach:
‘Glory to Thee! before the world was made,
One single form thy Majesty displayed.
Next Thou, to body forth the mystic Three,
Didst fill three Persons: Glory, Lord, to Thee!
Unborn and unbegotten! from thy hand
The fruitful seed rained down; at thy command
From that small germ o’er quickening waters thrown
All things that move not, all that move have grown.
Before thy triple form in awe they bow:
Maker, preserver, and destroyer, Thou!
Thou, when a longing urged thee to create,
Thy single form in twain didst separate.
The Sire, the Mother that made all things be
By their first union were but parts of Thee.
From them the life that fills this earthly frame,
And fruitful Nature, self-renewing, came.
Thou countest not thy time by mortals’ light;
With Thee there is but one vast day and night.
When Brahmá slumbers fainting Nature dies,
When Brahmá wakens all again arise.
Creator of the world, and uncreate!
Endless! all things from Thee their end await.
Before the world wast Thou! each Lord shall fall
Before Thee, mightiest, highest, Lord of all.
Thy self-taught soul thine own deep spirit knows;
Made by thyself thy mighty form arose;
Into the same, when all things have their end,
Shall thy great self, absorbed in Thee, descend.
Lord, who may hope thy essence to declare?
Firm, yet as subtile as the yielding air:
Fixt, all-pervading; ponderous, yet light,
Patent to all, yet hidden from the sight.
Thine are the sacred hymns which mortals raise,
Commencing ever with the word of praise,
With three-toned chant the sacrifice to grace,
And win at last in heaven a blissful place.
They hail Thee Nature labouring to free
The Immortal Soul from low humanity;
Hail Thee the stranger Spirit, unimpressed,
Gazing on Nature from thy lofty rest.
Father of fathers, God of gods art thou,
Creator, highest, hearer of the vow!
Thou art the sacrifice, and Thou the priest,
Thou, he that eateth; Thou, the holy feast.
Thou art the knowledge which by Thee is taught,
The mighty thinker, and the highest thought!’
Pleased with their truthful praise, his favouring eye
He turned upon the dwellers in the sky,
While from four mouths his words in gentle flow
Come welling softly to assuage their woe:
‘Welcome! glad welcome, Princes! ye who hold
Your lofty sovereignties ordained of old.
But why so mournful? what has dimmed your light?
Why shine your faces less divinely bright?
Like stars that pour forth weaker, paler gleams,
When the fair moon with brighter radiance beams.
O say, in vain doth mighty Indra bear
The thunderbolt of heaven, unused to spare?
Vritra, the furious fiend, ’twas strong to slay:
Why dull and blunted is that might to-day?
See, Varun’s noose hangs idly on his arm,
Like some fell serpent quelled by magic charm.
Weak is Kuvera’s hand, his arm no more
Wields the dread mace it once so proudly bore;
But like a tree whose boughs are lopped away,
It tells of piercing woe, and dire dismay.
In days of yore how Yama’s sceptre shone!
Fled are its glories, all its terrors gone;
Despised and useless as a quenched brand,
All idly now it marks the yielding sand.
Fallen are the Lords of Light, ere now the gaze
Shrank from the coming of their fearful blaze;
So changed are they, the undazzled eye may see
Like pictured forms, each rayless deity.
Some baffling power has curbed the breezes’ swell:
Vainly they chafe against the secret spell.
We know some barrier checks their wonted course,
When refluent waters seek again their source.
The Rudras too—fierce demigods who bear
The curved moon hanging from their twisted hair—
Tell by their looks of fear, and shame, and woe,
Of threats now silenced, of a mightier foe.
Glory and power, ye Gods, were yours of right:
Have ye now yielded to some stronger might,
Even as on earth a general law may be
Made powerless by a special text’s decree?
Then say, my sons, why seek ye Brahmá’s throne?
‘Tis mine to frame the worlds, and yours to guard your own.’
Then Indra turned his thousand glorious eyes,
Glancing like lilies when the soft wind sighs,
And in the Gods’ behalf, their mighty chief
Urged the Most Eloquent to tell their grief.
Then rose the heavenly Teacher, by whose side
Dim seemed the glories of the Thousand-eyed,
And with his hands outspread, to Brahmá spake,
Couched on his own dear flower, the daughter of the lake:
‘O mighty Being! surely thou dost know
The unceasing fury of our ruthless foe;
For thou canst see the secret thoughts that lie
Deep in the heart, yet open to thine eye.
The vengeful Tárak, in resistless might,
Like some dire Comet, gleaming wild affright,
O’er all the worlds an evil influence sheds,
And, in thy favour strong, destruction spreads.
All bow before him: on his palace wall
The sun’s first ray and parting splendour fall;
Ne’er could he waken with a lovelier glance
His own dear lotus from her nightly trance.
For him, proud fiend, the moon no waning knows,
But with unminished full-orbed lustre glows.
Too faint for him the crescent glory set
Amid the blaze of Śiva’s coronet.
How fair his garden, where the obedient breeze
Dares steal no blossom from the slumbering trees!
The wild wind checks his blustering pinions there,
And gently whispering fans the balmy air;
While through the inverted year the seasons pour,
To win the demon’s grace, their flowery store.
For him, the River-god beneath the stream,
Marks the young pearl increase its silver gleam,
Until, its beauty and its growth complete,
He bears the offering to his master’s feet.
The Serpents, led by Vásuki, their king,
Across his nightly path their lustre fling;
Bright as a torch their flashing jewels blaze,
Nor wind, nor rain, can dim their dazzling rays.
E’en Indra, sovereign of the blissful skies,
To gain his love by flattering homage tries,
And sends him oft those flowers of wondrous hue
That on the heavenly tree in beauty grew.
Yet all these offerings brought from day to day,
This flattery, fail his ruthless hand to stay.
Earth, hell, and heaven, beneath his rage must groan,
Till force can hurl him from his evil throne.
Alas! where glowed the bright celestial bowers,
And gentle fair ones nursed the opening flowers,
Where heavenly trees a heavenly odour shed,
O’er a sad desert ruin reigns instead.
He roots up Meru’s sacred peaks, where stray
The fiery coursers of the God of Day,
To form bright slopes, and glittering mounds of ease,
In the broad gardens of his palaces.
There, on his couch, the mighty lord is fanned
To sweetest slumber by a heavenly band;
Poor captive nymphs, who stand in anguish by,
dropp the big tear, and heave the ceaseless sigh.
And now have Indra’s elephants defiled
The sparkling stream where heavenly Gangá smiled,
And her gold lotuses the fiend has taken
To deck his pools, and left her all forsaken.
The Gods of heaven no more delight to roam
O’er all the world, far from their glorious home.
They dread the demon’s impious might, nor dare
Speed their bright chariots through the fields of air.
And when our worshippers in duty bring
The appointed victims for the offering,
He tears them from the flame with magic art,
While we all powerless watch with drooping heart.
He too has stolen from his master’s side
The steed of heavenly race, great Indra’s pride.
No more our hosts, so glorious once, withstand
The fierce dominion of the demon’s hand,
As herbs of healing virtue fail to tame
The sickness raging through the infected frame.
Idly the discus hangs on Vishṇu’s neck,
And our last hope is vain, that it would check
The haughty Tárak’s might, and flash afar
Ruin and death—the thunderbolt of war.
E’en Indra’s elephant has felt the might
Of his fierce monsters in the deadly fight,
Which spurn the dust in fury, and defy
The threatening clouds that sail along the sky.
Therefore, O Lord, we seek a chief, that he
May lead the hosts of heaven to victory,
Even as holy men who long to sever
The immortal spirit from its shell for ever,
Seek lovely Virtue’s aid to free the soul
From earthly ties and action’s base control.
Thus shall he save us: proudly will we go
Under his escort ‘gainst the furious foe;
And Indra, conqueror in turn, shall bring
Fortune, dear captive, home with joy and triumphing.’
Sweet as the rains—the fresh’ning rains—that pour
On the parched earth when thunders cease to roar,
Were Brahmá’s words: ‘Gods, I have heard your grief;
Wait ye in patience: time will bring relief.
‘Tis not for me, my children, to create
A chief to save you from your mournful fate.
Not by my hand the fiend must be destroyed,
For my kind favour has he once enjoyed;
And well ye know that e’en a poisonous tree
By him who planted it unharmed should be.
He sought it eagerly, and long ago
I gave my favour to your demon-foe,
And stayed his awful penance, that had hurled
Flames, death, and ruin o’er the subject world.
When that great warrior battles for his life,
O, who may conquer in the deadly strife,
Save one of Śiva’s seed? He is the light,
Reigning supreme beyond the depths of night.
Nor I, nor Vishṇu, his full power may share,
Lo, where he dwells in solitude and prayer!
Go, seek the Hermit in the grove alone,
And to the God be Umá’s beauty shown.
Perchance, the Mountain-child, with magnet’s force,
May turn the iron from its steadfast course,
Bride of the mighty God; for only she
Can bear to Him as water bears to me.
Then from their love a mighty Child shall rise,
And lead to war the armies of the skies.
Freed by his hand, no more the heavenly maids
Shall twine their glittering hair in mournful braids.’
He spake, and vanished from their wondering sight;
And they sped homeward to their world of light.
But Indra, still on Brahmá’s words intent,
To Káma’s dwelling-place his footsteps bent.
Swiftly he came: the yearning of his will
Made Indra’s lightning course more speedy still.
The Love-God, armed with flowers divinely sweet,
In lowly homage bowed before his feet.
Around his neck, where bright love-tokens clung,
Arched like a maiden’s brow, his bow was hung,
And blooming Spring, his constant follower, bore
The mango twig, his weapon famed of yore.

Poem – Uma’s Nativity

Far in the north Himálaya, lifting high
His towery summits till they cleave the sky,
Spans the wide land from east to western sea,
Lord of the hills, instinct with deity.
For him, when Prithu ruled in days of old
The rich earth, teeming with her gems and gold,
The vassal hills and Meru drained her breast,
To deck Himálaya, for they loved him best;
And earth, the mother, gave her store to fill
With herbs and sparkling ores the royal hill.
Proud mountain-king! his diadem of snow
Dims not the beauty of his gems below.
For who can gaze upon the moon, and dare
To mark one spot less brightly glorious there?[Pg 2]
Who, ‘mid a thousand virtues, dares to blame
One shade of weakness in a hero’s fame?
Oft, when the gleamings of his mountain brass
Flash through the clouds and tint them as they pass,
Those glories mock the hues of closing day,
And heaven’s bright wantons hail their hour of play;
Try, ere the time, the magic of their glance,
And deck their beauty for the twilight dance.
Dear to the sylphs are the cool shadows thrown
By dark clouds wandering round the mountain’s zone,
Till frightened by the storm and rain they seek
Eternal sunshine on each loftier peak.
Far spread the wilds where eager hunters roam,
Tracking the lion to his dreary home.
For though the melting snow has washed away
The crimson blood-drops of the wounded prey,
Still the fair pearls that graced his forehead tell
Where the strong elephant, o’ermastered, fell,
And clinging to the lion’s claws, betray,
Falling at every step, the mighty conqueror’s way.
There birch-trees wave, that lend their friendly aid
To tell the passion of the love-lorn maid,
So quick to learn in metal tints to mark
Her hopes and fears upon the tender bark.
List! breathing from each cave, Himálaya leads
The glorious hymn with all his whispering reeds,[Pg 3]
Till heavenly minstrels raise their voice in song,
And swell his music as it floats along.
There the fierce elephant wounds the scented bough
To ease the torment of his burning brow;
And bleeding pines their odorous gum distil
To breathe rare fragrance o’er the sacred hill.
There magic herbs pour forth their streaming light
From mossy caverns through the darksome night,
And lend a torch to guide the trembling maid
Where waits her lover in the leafy shade.
Yet hath he caves within whose inmost cells
In tranquil rest the murky darkness dwells,
And, like the night-bird, spreads the brooding wing
Safe in the shelter of the mountain-king,
Unscorned, uninjured; for the good and great
Spurn not the suppliant for his lowly state.
Why lingers yet the heavenly minstrel’s bride
On the wild path that skirts Himálaya’s side?
Cold to her tender feet—oh, cold—the snow,
Why should her steps—her homeward steps—be slow?
‘Tis that her slender ankles scarce can bear
The weight of beauty that impedes her there;
Each rounded limb, and all her peerless charms,
That broad full bosom, those voluptuous arms.[Pg 4]
E’en the wild kine that roam his forests bring
The royal symbols to the mountain-king.
With tails outspread, their bushy streaming hair
Flashes like moonlight through the parted air.
What monarch’s fan more glorious might there be,
More meet to grace a king as proud as he?
There, when the nymphs, within the cave’s recess,
In modest fear their gentle limbs undress,
Thick clouds descending yield a friendly screen,
And blushing beauty bares her breast unseen.
With pearly dewdrops Gangá loads the gale
That waves the dark pines towering o’er the vale,
And breathes in welcome freshness o’er the face
Of wearied hunters when they quit the chase.
So far aloft, amid Himálayan steeps,
Crouched on the tranquil pool the lotus sleeps,
That the bright Seven who star the northern sky
Cull the fair blossoms from their seats on high;
And when the sun pours forth his morning glow
In streams of glory from his path below,
They gain new beauty as his kisses break
His darlings’ slumber on the mountain lake.
Well might that ancient hill by merit claim
The power and glory of a monarch’s name;[Pg 5]
Nurse of pure herbs that grace each holy rite,
Earth’s meetest bearer of unyielding might.
The Lord of Life for this ordained him king,
And bade him share the sacred offering.
Gladly obedient to the law divine,
He chose a consort to prolong his line.
No child of earth, born of the Sage’s will,
The fair nymph Mená pleased the sovran hill.
To her he sued, nor was his prayer denied,
The Saints’ beloved was the mountain’s bride.
Crowned with all bliss and beauty were the pair,
He passing glorious, she was heavenly fair.
Swiftly the seasons, winged with love, flew on,
And made her mother of a noble son,
The great Maináka, who in triumph led
His Serpent beauties to the bridal bed;
And once when Indra’s might those pinions rent
That bare the swift hills through the firmament,
(So fierce his rage, no mountain could withstand
The wild bolt flashing from his red right hand,)
He fled to Ocean, powerful to save,
And hid his glory ‘neath the friendly wave.
A gentle daughter came at length to bless
The royal mother with her loveliness;
Born once again, for in an earlier life
High fame was hers, as Śiva’s faithful wife.[Pg 6]
But her proud sire had dared the God to scorn;
Then was her tender soul with anguish torn,
And jealous for the lord she loved so well,
Her angered spirit left its mortal cell.
Now deigned the maid, a lovely boon, to spring
From that pure lady and the mountain-king.
When Industry and Virtue meet and kiss,
Holy their union, and the fruit is bliss.
Blest was that hour, and all the world was gay,
When Mená’s daughter saw the light of day.
A rosy glow suffused the brightening sky;
An odorous breeze came sweeping softly by.
Breathed round the hill a sweet unearthly strain,
And the glad heavens poured down their flowery rain.
That fair young maiden diademmed with light
Made her dear mother’s fame more sparkling bright.
As the blue offspring of the Turquois Hills
The parent mount with richer glory fills,
When the cloud’s voice has caused the gem to spring,
Responsive to its gentle thundering.
Then was it sweet, as days flew by, to trace
The dawning charm of every infant grace,
Even as the crescent moons their glory pour
More full, more lovely than the eve before.
As yet the maiden was unknown to fame;
Child of the Mountain was her only name.[Pg 7]
But when her mother, filled with anxious care
At her stern penance, cried Forbear! Forbear!
To a new title was the warning turned,
And Umá was the name the maiden earned.
Loveliest was she of all his lovely race,
And dearest to her father. On her face
Looking with love he ne’er could satisfy
The thirsty glances of a parent’s eye.
When spring-tide bids a thousand flowerets bloom
Loading the breezes with their rich perfume,
Though here and there the wandering bee may rest,
He loves his own—his darling mango—best.
The Gods’ bright river bathes with gold the skies,
And pure sweet eloquence adorns the wise.
The flambeau’s glory is the shining fire;
She was the pride, the glory of her sire,
Shedding new lustre on his old descent,
His loveliest child, his richest ornament.
The sparkling Gangá laved her heavenly home,
And o’er her islets would the maiden roam
Amid the dear companions of her play
With ball and doll to while the hours away.
As swans in autumn in assembling bands
Fly back to Gangá’s well-remembered sands:
As herbs beneath the darksome shades of night
Collect again their scattered rays of light:[Pg 8]
So dawned upon the maiden’s waking mind
The far-off memory of her life resigned,
And all her former learning in its train,
Feelings, and thoughts, and knowledge came again.
Now beauty’s prime, that craves no artful aid,
Ripened the loveliness of that young maid:
That needs no wine to fire the captive heart,—
The bow of Love without his flowery dart.
There was a glory beaming from her face,
With love’s own light, and every youthful grace:
Ne’er had the painter’s skilful hand portrayed
A lovelier picture than that gentle maid;
Ne’er sun-kissed lily more divinely fair
Unclosed her beauty to the morning air.
Bright as a lotus, springing where she trod,
Her glowing feet shed radiance o’er the sod.
That arching neck, the step, the glance aside,
The proud swans taught her as they stemmed the tide,
Whilst of the maiden they would fondly learn
Her anklets’ pleasant music in return.
When the Almighty Maker first began
The marvellous beauty of that child to plan,
In full fair symmetry each rounded limb
Grew neatly fashioned and approved by Him:
The rest was faultless, for the Artist’s care
Formed each young charm most excellently fair,[Pg 9]
As if his moulding hand would fain express
The visible type of perfect loveliness.
What thing of beauty may the poet dare
With the smooth wonder of those limbs compare?
The young tree springing by the brooklet’s side?
The rounded trunk, the forest-monarch’s pride?
Too rough that trunk, too cold that young tree’s stem;
A softer, warmer thing must vie with them.
Her hidden beauties though no tongue may tell,
Yet Śiva’s love will aid the fancy well:
No other maid could deem her boasted charms
Worthy the clasp of such a husband’s arms.
Between the partings of fair Umá’s vest
Came hasty glimpses of a lovely breast:
So closely there the sweet twin hillocks rose,
Scarce could the lotus in the vale repose.
And if her loosened zone e’er slipped below,
All was so bright beneath the mantle’s flow,
So dazzling bright, as if the maid had braced
A band of gems to sparkle round her waist;
And the dear dimples of her downy skin
Seemed fitting couch for Love to revel in.
Her arms were softer than the flowery dart,
Young Káma’s arrow, that subdues the heart;
For vain his strife with Śiva, till at last
He chose those chains to bind his conqueror fast.[Pg 10]
E’en the new moon poured down a paler beam
When her long fingers flashed their rosy gleam,
And brighter than Aśoka’s blossom threw
A glory round, like summer’s evening hue.
The strings of pearl across her bosom thrown
Increased its beauty, and enhanced their own,—
Her breast, her jewels seeming to agree,
The adorner now, and now the adorned to be.
When Beauty gazes on the fair full moon,
No lotus charms her, for it blooms at noon:
If on that flower she feed her raptured eye,
No moon is shining from the mid-day sky;
She looked on Umá’s face, more heavenly fair,
And found their glories both united there.
The loveliest flower that ever opened yet
Laid in the fairest branch: a fair pearl set
In richest coral, with her smile might vie
Flashing through lips bright with their rosy dye.
And when she spoke, upon the maiden’s tongue,
Distilling nectar, such rare accents hung,
The sweetest note that e’er the Koïl poured
Seemed harsh and tuneless as a jarring chord.
The melting glance of that soft liquid eye,
Tremulous like lilies when the breezes sigh,
Which learnt it first—so winning and so mild—
The gentle fawn, or Mená’s gentler child?[Pg 11]
And oh, the arching of her brow! so fine
Was the rare beauty of its pencilled line,
Love gazed upon her forehead in despair
And spurned the bow he once esteemed so fair:
Her long bright tresses too might shame the pride
Of envious yaks who roamed the mountain-side.
Surely the Maker’s care had been to bring
From Nature’s store each sweetest, loveliest thing,
As if the world’s Creator would behold
All beauty centred in a single mould.
When holy Nárad—Saint who roams at will—
First saw the daughter of the royal hill,
He hailed the bride whom Śiva’s love should own
Half of himself, and partner of his throne.
Himálaya listened, and the father’s pride
Would yield the maiden for no other’s bride:
To Fire alone of all bright things we raise
The holy hymn, the sacrifice of praise.
But still the monarch durst not, could not bring
His child, unsought, to Heaven’s supremest King;
But as a good man fears his earnest prayer
Should rise unheeded, and with thoughtful care
Seeks for some friend his eager suit to aid,
Thus great Himálaya in his awe delayed.[Pg 12]
Since the sad moment when his gentle bride
In the full glory of her beauty died,
The mournful Śiva in the holy grove
Had dwelt in solitude, and known not love.
High on that hill where musky breezes throw
Their balmy odours o’er eternal snow;
Where heavenly minstrels pour their notes divine,
And rippling Gangá laves the mountain pine,
Clad in a coat of skin all rudely wrought
He lived for prayer and solitary thought.
The faithful band that served the hermit’s will
Lay in the hollows of the rocky hill,
Where from the clefts the dark bitumen flowed.
Tinted with mineral dyes their bodies glowed;
Clad in rude mantles of the birch-tree’s rind,
With bright red garlands was their hair entwined.
The holy bull before his master’s feet
Shook the hard-frozen earth with echoing feet,
And as he heard the lion’s roaring swell
In distant thunder from the rocky dell,
In angry pride he raised his voice of fear
And from the mountain drove the startled deer.
Bright fire—a shape the God would sometimes wear
Who takes eight various forms—was glowing there.
Then the great deity who gives the prize
Of penance, prayer, and holy exercise,[Pg 13]
As though to earn the meed he grants to man,
Himself the penance and the pain began.
Now to that holy lord, to whom is given
Honour and glory by the Gods in heaven,
The worship of a gift Himálaya paid,
And towards his dwelling sent the lovely maid;
Her task, attended by her youthful train,
To woo his widowed heart to love again.
The hermit welcomed with a courteous brow
That gentle enemy of hermit vow.
The still pure breast where Contemplation dwells
Defies the charmer and the charmer’s spells.
Calm and unmoved he viewed the wondrous maid,
And bade her all his pious duties aid.
She culled fresh blossoms at the God’s command,
Sweeping the altar with a careful hand;
The holy grass for sacred rites she sought,
And day by day the fairest water brought.
And if the unwonted labour caused a sigh,
The fair-haired lady turned her languid eye
Where the pale moon on Śiva’s forehead gleamed,
And swift through all her frame returning vigour streamed.

Poem – The Cloud Messenger – Part 01

A certain yaksha who had been negligent in the execution of his own duties,
on account of a curse from his master which was to be endured for a year and
which was onerous as it separated him from his beloved, made his residence
among the hermitages of Ramagiri, whose waters were blessed by the bathing
of the daughter of Janaka1 and whose shade trees grew in profusion.

That lover, separated from his beloved, whose gold armlet had slipped from
his bare forearm, having dwelt on that mountain for some months, on the first
day of the month of Asadha, saw a cloud embracing the summit, which
resembled a mature elephant playfully butting a bank.

Managing with difficulty to stand up in front of that cloud which was the
cause of the renewal of his enthusiasm, that attendant of the king of kings,
pondered while holding back his tears. Even the mind of a happy person is
excited at the sight of a cloud. How much more so, when the one who longs to
cling to his neck is far away?

As the month of Nabhas was close at hand, having as his goal the sustaining
of the life of his beloved and wishing to cause the tidings of his own welfare
to be carried by the cloud, the delighted being spoke kind words of welcome
to the cloud to which offerings of fresh kutaja flowers had been made.

Owing to his impatience, not considering the imcompatibility between a cloud
consisting of vapour, light, water and wind and the contents of his message
best delivered by a person of normal faculties, the yaksha made this request to
the cloud, for among sentient and non-sentient things, those afflicted by desire
are naturally miserable:

Without doubt, your path unimpeded, you will see your brother’s wife, intent
on counting the days, faithful and living on. The bond of hope generally
sustains the quickly sinking hearts of women who are alone, and which wilt
like flowers.

Just as the favourable wind drives you slowly onward, this cataka cuckoo,
your kinsman, calls sweetly on the left. Knowing the season for fertilisation,
cranes, like threaded garlands in the sky, lovely to the eye, will serve you.

Your steady passage observed by charming female siddhas who in trepidation
wonder ‘Has the summit been carried off the mountain by the wind?’, you
who are heading north, fly up into the sky from this place where the nicula
trees flourish, avoiding on the way the blows of the trunks of the elephants of
the four quarters of the sky.

This rainbow, resembling the intermingled sparkling of jewels, appears before
Mt Valmikagra, on account of which your dark body takes on a particular
loveliness, as did the body of Vishnu dressed as a cowherd with the peacock’s
feather of glistening lustre.

While being imbibed by the eyes of the country women who are ignorant of
the play of the eyebrows, who are tender in their affection, and who are
thinking ‘The result of the harvest depends on you’, having ascended to a
region whose fields are fragrant from recent ploughing, you should proceed a
little to the west. Your pace is swift. Go north once more.

Mt Amrakuta will carefully bear you upon its head—you whose showers
extinguished its forest fires and who are overcome by fatigue of the road.
Even a lowly being, remembering an earlier kind deed, does not turn its back
on a friend who has come for refuge; how much less, then, one so lofty?

When you, remembling a glossy braid of hair, have ascended its summit, the
mountain whose slopes are covered with forest mangoes, glowing with ripe
fruit, takes on the appearance of a breast of the earth, dark at the centre, the
rest pale, worthy to be beheld by a divine couple.

Having rested for a moment at a bower enjoyed by the forest-dwelling
women, then travelling more swiftly when your waters have been discharged,
the next stage thence is crossed. You will see the river Reva spread at the foot
of Mt Vandhya, made rough with rocks and resembling the pattern formed by
the broken wrinkles on the body of an elephant.

Your showers shed, having partaken of her waters that are scented with the
fragrant exudation of forest elephants and whose flow is impeded by thickets
of rose-apples, you should proceed. Filled with water, the wind will be unable
to lift you, O cloud, for all this is empty is light, while fullness results in
heaviness.

Seeing the yellow-brown nipa with their stamens half erect, eating the kankali
flowers whose first buds have appeared on every bank, and smelling the
highly fragrant scent of the forest earth, the deer will indicate the way to the
cloud.

Watching the cataka cuckoos that are skilled in catching raindrops, and
watching the herons flying in skeins as they count them, the siddhas will hold
you in high regard at the moment of your thundering, having received the
trembling, agitated embraced of their beloved female companions!

I perceive in an instant, friend, your delays on mountain after mountain
scented with kakubha flowers—you who should desire to proceed for the sake
of my beloved. Welcomed by peacocks with teary eyes who have turned their
cries into words of welcome, you should somehow resolve to proceed at once.

Reaching their capital by the name of Vidisha, renowned in all quarters, and
having won at once complete satisfaction of your desires, you will drink the
sweet, rippling water from the Vetravati River which roars pleasantly at the
edge of her banks, rippling as if her face bore a frown.

There, for the sake of rest, your should occupy the mountain known as Nicaih
which seems to thrill at your touch with its full-blown kadamba flowers, and
whose grottoes make known the unbridled youthful deeds of the townsmen by
emitting the scent of intercourse with bought women.

After resting, move on while watering with fresh raindrops the clusters of
jasmine buds that grow in gardens on the banks of the forest rivers—you who
have made a momentary acquaintance with the flower-picking girls by lending
shade to their faces, the lotuses at whose ears are withered and broken as they
wipe away the perspiration from their cheeks.

Even though the route would be circuitous for one who, like you, is
northward-bound, do not turn your back on the love on the palace roofs in
Ujjayini. If you do not enjoy the eyes with flickering eyelids of the women
startled by bolts of lightning there, then you have been deceived!

On the way, after you have ascended to the Nirvandhya River, whose girdles
are flocks of birds calling on account of the turbulence of her waves, whose
gliding motion is rendered delightful with stumbling steps, and whose
exposed navel is her eddies, fill yourself with water, for amorous distraction
is a woman’s first expression of love for their beloved.

When you have passed that, you should duly adopt the means by which the
Sindhu River may cast off her emaciation—she whose waters have become
like a single braid of hair, whose complexion is made pale by the old leaves
falling from the trees on her banks, and who shows you goodwill because she
has been separated from you, O fortunate one.

Having reached Avanti where the village elders are well-versed in the legend
of Udayana, make your way to the aforementioned city of Vishala, filled with
splendour, like a beautiful piece of heaven carried there by means of the
remaining merit of gods who had fallen to earth when the fruits of the good
actions had nearly expired;

Where, at daybreak, the breeze from the Shipra River, carrying abroad the
sweet, clear, impassioned cries of the geese, fragrant from contact with the
scent of full-blown lotuses and pleasing to the body, carries off the lassitude
of the women after their love-play, like a lover making entreaties for further
enjoyment.

And having see by the tens of millions the strings of pearls with shining gems
as their central stones, conches, pearl-shells, emeralds as green as fresh grass
with radiating brilliance and pieces of coral displayed in the market there, the
oceans appear to contain nothing but water;

And where the knowledgeable populace regale visiting relatives thus: ‘Here
the king of the Vatsa brought the precious daughter of Pradyota. Here was the
golden grove of tala-trees of that same monarch. Here, they say, roamed
Nalagiri (the elephant), having pulled out his tie-post in fury.’

Your bulk increased by the incense that is used for perfuming the hair that
issues from the lattices, and honoured with gifts of dance by the domestic
peacocks out of their love for their friend, lay aside the weariness of the
travel while admiring the splendour of its palaces which are scented with
flowers and marked by the hennaed feet of the lovely women.

Observed respectfully by divine retinues who are reminded of the colour of
their master’s throat, you should proceed to the holy abode of the lord of the
three worlds, husband of Chandi, whose gardens are caressed by the winds
from the Gandhavati River, scented with the pollen of the blue lotuses and
perfumed by the bath-oils used by young women who delight in water-play.

Even if you arrive at Mahakala at some other time, O cloud, you should wait
until the sun passes from the range of the eye. Playing the honourable role of
drum at the evening offering to Shiva, you will receive the full reward for
your deep thunder.

There, their girdles jingling to their footsteps, and their hands tired from the
pretty waving of fly-whisks whose handles are brilliant with the sparkle of
jewels, having received from you raindrops at the onset of the rainy season
that soothe the scratches made by fingernails, the courtesans cast you
lingering sidelong glances that resemble rows of honey-bees.

Then, settled above the forests whose trees are like uplifted arms, being round
in shape, producing an evening light, red as a fresh China-rose, at the start of
Shiva’s dance, remove his desire for a fresh elephant skin—you whose
devotion is beheld by Parvati, her agitation stilled and her gaze transfixed.

Reveal the ground with a bolt of lightning that shines like a streak of gold
on a touchstone to the young women in that vicinity going by night to the homes of
their lovers along the royal highroad which has been robbed of light by a
darkness that could be pricked with a needle. Withhold your showers of rain
and rumbling thunder: they would be frightened!

Passing that night above the roof-top of a certain house where pigeons sleep,
you, whose consort the lightning is tired by prolonged sport, should complete
the rest of your journey when the sun reappears. Indeed, those who have
promised to accomplish a task for a friend do not tarry.

At that time, the tears of the wronged wives are to be soothed away by their
husbands. Therefore abandon at once the path of the sun. He too has returned
to remove the tears of dew from the lotus-faces of the lilies. If you obstruct
his rays, he may become greatly incensed.