And there she was…

Read the previous part here...

She was his wife in their previous janma (birth), and hence his deep desire to have her. He will return to his kingdom once he has obtained his objective!”

This consoled poor Lakṣmīdatta, who bowed with folded hands, and continued on his journey.

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

स राजापि यशःकेतुर् निमग्नो ऽन्तो महोदधौ ।
अकस्मान् नगरं दिव्यम् अपश्यज् जातविस्मयः ॥ १२,१९.९० ॥

भास्वन्मणिमयस्तम्भैः काञ्चनोज्ज्वलभित्तिभिः ।
विराजमानं प्रासादैर् मुक्ताजालगवाक्षकैः ॥ १२,१९.९१ ॥

नानारत्नशिलापट्टबद्धसोपानवापिकैः ।
कामदैः कल्पवृक्षाढ्यैर् उद्यानैर् उपशोभितम् ॥ १२,१९.९२ ॥

समृद्धे ऽपि पुरे तत्र निर्जने ऽथ गृहं गृहम् ।
अनुप्रविश्य न यदा तां ददर्श प्रियां क्वचित् ॥ १२,१९.९३ ॥

तदा विचिन्वन् दृष्ट्वैकम् उत्तुङ्गं मणिमन्दिरम् ।
आरुह्य द्वारम् उद्घाट्य प्रविवेश स भूपतिः ॥ १२,१९.९४ ॥

प्रविश्य चान्तः सद्रत्नपर्यङ्कस्थितम् एककम् ।
वस्त्राच्छादितसर्वाङ्गं शयानं कंचिद् ऐक्षत ॥ १२,१९.९५ ॥

किं स्यात् सैवेति सोत्कण्ठम् उद्घाटयति तन्मुखम् ।
यावत् तावद् अपश्यत् तां स्वेप्सिताम् एव सो ऽङ्गनाम् ॥ १२,१९.९६ ॥

स्रस्तनीलांशुकध्वान्तहसन्मुखशशिश्रियम् ।
ज्योत्स्नावदातां पातालगताम् इव दिवा निशाम् ॥ १२,१९.९७ ॥

तद्दर्शनेन चास्याभूद् अवस्था कापि सा तदा ।
ग्रीष्मर्तौ मरुपान्थस्य सरित्संदर्शनेन या ॥ १२,१९.९८ ॥

साप्य् उन्मीलितचक्षुस् तं कल्याणाकृतिलक्षणम् ।
वीक्ष्याकस्मात् तथाप्राप्तं संभ्रमाच् छयनं जहौ ॥ १२,१९.९९ ॥

When King Yaśaḥketu plunged into the water, he lost consciousness for a brief moment, and when he opened his eyes, an amazing scene unfolded before him.

He found himself standing in the middle of a beautiful city. It had buildings with pillars of precious stones, walls coated with gold, and windows latticed with pearls.

There were exquisite gardens with large tanks that had stairs made of gems and gold, and kalpavrikshas that could grant any wish that man desired.

Yaśaḥketu started to search frantically. He went house by house, in a bid to find his beloved. The houses look grand and majestic, but all were uninhabited.

When he had looked through more than a dozen houses, he came across a large palace, with ornate doors and bejeweled door knobs. He pushed open the doors and walked in.

And there it was. A gem-studded couch, set in the middle of a large hall, and a sole human form stretched across it’s length, covered with a beautiful shawl.

Yaśaḥketu walked up the couch, wondering if this was his lady-love, the one who he had been looking for. He reached out and uncovered her face, and it was her.

Her moon-like face radiated beauty, and her gentle smile lit up the night. The king felt a rush of extreme joy, much like a traveller who encounters an oasis as he travels through the barren desert.

The maiden slowly opened her eyes, which fell on the handsome king, a warrior whose wounds spoke of a hundred wars fought and won…and startled, she sprang from the couch, and hid her face in shyness.

to be continued…