A generous offer…

Read the previous part here

“I came here to have a darshana of the Devi, hearing about her magnificent temple, from this man over here”, said the king, pointing to Sattvaśīla. “We were guided by that magnificent flagpost, and we also saw this splendid city, had a beautiful darshana of the Devi…what other hospitality can we possibly need?”

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

तच् छ्रुत्वा साब्रवीत् कन्या कौतुकात् तर्हि वीक्षितुम् ।
आगम्यतां द्वितीयं मे पुरं त्रिजगदद्भुताम् ॥ १२,१४.९२ ॥

एवम् उक्तवतीं तां च स विहस्य नृपो ऽब्रवीत् ।
तद् अप्य् अनेनैवोक्तं मे यत्र सा स्नानवापिका ॥ १२,१४.९३ ॥

ततः सा कन्यकावादीद् देव मा स्मैवम् आदिश ।
न विडम्बनशीलाहं का वा पूज्ये विडम्बना ॥ १२,१४.९४ ॥

अहं हि सत्त्वोत्कर्षेण युष्माकं किंकरीकृता ।
तन्मम प्रार्थनाभङ्गं नैवैवं कर्तुम् अर्हथ ॥ १२,१४.९५ ॥

एतच् छ्रुत्वा तथेत्य् उक्त्वा सत्त्वशीलसखः स तत् ।
प्रभामण्डलकोपान्तं ययौ राजा तया सह ॥ १२,१४.९६ ॥

अपावृतकवाटे च तस्मिन्न् अन्तस् तथैव सः ।
प्रवेशितो ददर्शास्यास् तद् दिव्यम् अपरं पुरम् ॥ १२,१४.९७ ॥

नित्य संनद्धसर्वर्तु सदापुष्पफलद्रुमम् ।
मेरुपृष्ठम् इवाशेषं निर्मितं रत्नकाञ्चनैः ॥ १२,१४.९८ ॥

रत्नासने महार्हे तं राजानम् उपवेश्य सा ।
यथोचितोपनीतार्घ्या दैत्यराजसुताब्रवीत् ॥ १२,१४.९९ ॥

कन्याहम् असुरेन्द्रस्य कालनेमेर् महात्मनः ।
चक्रायुधेन च स मे स्वर्गतिं प्रापितः पिता ॥ १२,१४.१०० ॥

विश्वकर्मकृतं चेदं पैतृकं मे पुरद्वयम् ।
न जरात्र न मृत्युश् च बाधते सर्वकामदे ॥ १२,१४.१०१ ॥

The maiden replied…

“In that case, just to satisfy your curiosity, why don’t you accompany me to see my second city, that which is a wonder in the three worlds?”

“Oh yes, I have heard about it”, laughed the king. “He told me all about it, and also about the tank in which he went to bathe!”

The maiden felt a bit embarrassed and said “I am not a deceitful person, o king. I would never think of cheating a person like you, who is worthy of respect. I have been enslaved by your noble qualities, and would hence request you to please accept my offer.”

The king consented and, along with Sattvaśīla, walked towards the glittering door. The maiden opened the door, and as they stepped through it, they stopped, amazed at what they saw.

This was truly a city beyond compare. It seemed like the garden of svarga, with trees filled with flowers and fruits, and the splendour of seasons all at once. Gold and jewels lay around the pathways, and the whole city was filled with a pleasant fragrance, one that was the best they had ever experienced.

The maiden then made the king to sit on a bejeweled throne, offered him arghya as per tradition, and then said…

“O revered king, I am the daughter of Kālanemi, the king of the Asuras. These two cities, that I have inherited from my father, were constructed by Viśvakarman, the architect of the kings.”

“They have a speciality – you can find anything that your heart desires in these cities, and old age and death have no place in them. I, along with these cities, now belong to you…”

The king replied…

to be continued…