Of blisters and bruises…

Read the previous part here

Indulekhā was playing with the king’s hair, when a blue lotus accidentally slipped from her ear and fell onto her lap. Immediately, a wound formed on her thigh, where the lotus had fallen, and the delicate queen let out a feeble cry and fainted.

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

तद् दृष्ट्वा विह्वलेनार्त्या राज्ञा परिजनेन च ।
समाश्वास्यत राज्ञी सा शनैः शीताम्बुमारुतैः ॥ १२,१८.१३ ॥

ततो नीत्वा स राजा तां राजधानीं भिषक्कृतैः ।
प्रियाम् उपाचरद् दिव्यैर् आमुक्तव्रणपट्टिकाम् ॥ १२,१८.१४ ॥

रात्रौ च सुस्थितां दृष्ट्वा तां स राजा द्वितीयया ।
तारावल्या सहारोहच् चन्द्रप्रासादम् ईश्वरः ॥ १२,१८.१५ ॥

तत्र तस्याङ्कसुप्ताया राज्ञस् तस्या हिमत्विषः ।
करा जालपथैः पेतुर् अङ्गे चलितवाससि ॥ १२,१८.१६ ॥

ततः क्षणात् प्रबुद्धा सा हा दग्धास्मीति वादिनी ।
शयनात् सहसोत्तस्थौ तदङ्गपरिमर्शिनी ॥ १२,१८.१७ ॥

किम् एतद् इति संभ्रान्तः प्रबुद्धो ऽथ ददर्श सः ।
उत्थाय राजा विस्फोटान् अङ्गे तस्या विनिर्गतान् ॥ १२,१८.१८ ॥

पृच्छन्तं सा च तं प्राह राज्ञी तारावली तदा ।
नग्नाङ्गे पतितैर् इन्दोः करैर् एतत् कृतं मम ॥ १२,१८.१९ ॥

तेनास्याः कारयामास सजलैर् नलिनीदलैः ।
शय्याम् अदापयच् चाङ्गे श्रीखण्डार्द्रविलेपनम् ॥ १२,१८.२१ ॥

This shocked the king and his maids, but they quickly brought her back to her senses by sprinting cold water on her face. The king then had her taken to the palace and checked by various vaidyas (doctors) who prescribed aushadhīs for the queen and asked her to take rest.

At night, the king went into the chambers of Queen Tārāvalī. Her room was on the roof of the palace, with moonlight filtering in through big windows, creating a mesmerizing scene both inside and outside.

The king and queen lay side by side, speaking of the days gone by, and both fell asleep soon, as they were tired.

A gentle breeze was blowing outside, and suddenly, a small gust of wind blew part of the bedsheet away from the queen’s hand, exposing it to the moonlight. She awoke, screaming “Oh no! I am burnt!” and started to rub her hand vigorously.

The king too woke up, alarmed. “What happened”, he asked her.

She pointed to her hand, that had blisters all over the part that had been exposed to the moonlight. “The moon’s harsh rays fell on my exposed hand, and see how it has burnt me”, she said, sobbing.

The distressed king summoned her maids, who came running to see what happened. He then ordered a bed to be laid with lotus leaves, sprinkled with water and sandalwood paste to be applied to her whole body, so that she could recover well.

When she said this, and burst into tears, the king, being distressed, summoned her attendants, who ran there in trepidation and alarm. And he had made for her a bed of lotus leaves, sprinkled wdth water, and sandalwood lotion applied to her body.

In the meanwhile his third wife Mṛgāṅkavatī heard of it, and…

to be continued…