Manaḥsvāmin saw Śaśiprabhā, running her hands through the flowers, smelling them, laughing when the butterflies flew away in alarm…and he fell in love that very instant. He felt that his heart was no more with him, and he felt that he was no longer a master of his feelings.
“Is this Rati, the Devi of love, who has come here in person to gather the flowers of spring, so that she can make arrows for Kāmadevā? Or is it the Devi of nature, who has come here to worship the spring?”
किं वार्चयितुकामेयं माधवं वनदेवता ।
इति संचिन्तयन्तं तं साप्य् अपश्यन् नृपात्मजा ॥ १२,२२.११ ॥
दृष्टमात्रे च सा तस्मिन् साङ्गे नव इव स्मरे ।
न पुष्पाणि न चाङ्गानि सोत्का नात्मानम् अस्मरत् ॥ १२,२२.१२ ॥
इत्य् अन्योननवप्रेमसरसौ यावद् अत्र तौ ।
तिष्ठतस् तावद् उदभूद् धाहाहेति महारवः ॥ १२,२२.१३ ॥
किम् एतद् इति चोत्क्षिप्तकंधरं पश्यतोस् तयोः ।
आयाद् अत्रोपलब्धान्यगजगन्धोत्थया रुषा ॥ १२,२२.१४ ॥
भग्नालानो विनिर्गत्य मत्तो मार्गद्रुमान् रुजन् ।
पतिताधोरनो धावंल् लम्बमानाङ्कुशः करी ॥ १२,२२.१५ ॥
ततः परिजने त्रस्तविद्रुते तां ससंभ्रमम् ।
राजपुत्रीं प्रधाव्यैव दोर्भ्याम् उत्क्षिप्य चैककाम् ॥ १२,२२.१६ ॥
अङ्गैः किंचित् कृताश्लेषां भयप्रेमत्रपाकुलाम् ।
निनाय स मनःस्वामी सुदूरं गजगोचरात् ॥ १२,२२.१७ ॥
अथागतैः परिजनैः स्तुवद्भिस् तं द्विजोत्तमम् ।
मुहुर् विवृत्य पश्यन्ती सा निन्ये निजमन्दिरम् ॥ १२,२२.१८ ॥
तत्र तस्थौ तम् एवार्ता स्मरन्ती प्राणदायिनम् ।
स्मराग्निपुटपाकेन पच्यमाना दिवानिशम् ॥ १२,२२.१९ ॥
While he was lost in thought, the princess too caught sight of him. “Oh, this is Kāmadevā in the flesh!” she thought to herself, and she forgot not just the flowers, but her own body, her mind, her whole identity…
And as both were lost in thoughts of one another, born out of the pangs of first love, someone raised an alarm…and both of them looked around to see what had happened.
They saw an elephant, running fast towards them, with people running helter-skelter as it crushed the plants and trees in it’s path. The elephant had smelt the presence of a female elephant, and, in a desperate need to locate her, ran amok in the garden, having also thrown off it’s mahout.
The princesses’s maids ran away in terror, but Manaḥsvāmin rushed forward, took her in his arms, and while she clung to him in bewilderment, and fear, and love, he carried her to safety.
As the elephant crossed the garden and the danger subsided, the maids returned, praising Manaḥsvāmin as they enquired with the princess, asking her if she was unharmed. They then accompanied her back to the palace, but princess Śaśiprabhā turned around many a time to look at her savior, the handsome and valiant Manaḥsvāmin, until he was out of sight.
And when she reached the palace, she stayed smitten, smoldering in the fire of love and attraction…
सो ऽप्य् उद्यानान् मनःस्वामी तदा तस्माद् अनुव्रजन् ।
स्वान्तःपुरप्रविष्टां तां दृष्ट्वा सोत्को व्यचिन्तयत् ॥ १२,२२.२० ॥
नैतां विनाधुना स्थातुं जीवितुं वाहम् उत्सहे ।
तन् मे श्रीमूलदेवो ऽत्र धूर्थः सिद्धो गुरुर् गतिः ॥ १२,२२.२१ ॥
इति संचिन्त्य कथम् अप्य् अस्मिन्न् अवसिते दिने ।
प्रतो ययौ गुरोस् तस्य मूलदेवस्य सो ऽन्तिकम् ॥ १२,२२.२२ ॥
ददर्श तं च मित्रेण शशिना नित्य संगतम् ।
सिद्धमायाद्भुतपथं सशरीरम् इवाम्बरम् ॥ १२,२२.२३ ॥
न्यवेदयच् च तत् तस्मै प्रणम्य स्वमनीषितम् ।
सो ऽपि साधयितुं तस्य प्रतिपेदे विहस्य तत् ॥ १२,२२.२४ ॥
ततः स योगगुलिकां क्षिप्त्वा धूर्तपतिर् मुखे ।
मूलदेवो व्यधाद् वृद्धब्राह्मणाकृतिम् आत्मनः ॥ १२,२२.२५ ॥
द्वितीयां गुलिकां दत्त्वा मुखक्षेप्यां चकार च ।
सुकान्तकन्यकारूपं तं मनःस्वामिनं द्विजम् ॥ १२,२२.२६ ॥
तद्रूपं तं समादाय गत्वा धूर्ताधिपो ऽथ सः ।
तत्प्रियाजनकं भूपम् आस्थाने तं व्यजिज्ञपत् ॥ १२,२२.२७ ॥
Manaḥsvāmin too left the garden with a heavy heart, and seeing the princess going far away from him, thought to himself…
“No, I cannot live without her for sure. And the only person who can help me in getting her is Mūladeva (the master of the dark arts). His deceitful magic is what I need, so that I can have the princess to myself!”
And so, the next morning, Manaḥsvāmin went to meet Mūladeva.
The cunning master was seated in his house, as usual, with his friend and confidant Śaśin by his side. Manaḥsvāmin greeted Mūladeva with folded hands, and told him what he desired.
Mūladeva laughed loudly, and then, in a serious tone, told Manaḥsvāmin that he would help him.
The deceitful master then took out a magic pill, and placed it in his mouth. The very next moment, he was transformed into an aged man!
He took out another pill, and giving it to Manaḥsvāmin, asked him to place it in his mouth. And in an instant, Manaḥsvāmin was transformed into a beautiful maiden.
They then set out to the palace, and sought audience with the king.
And when they came in front of the king, Mūladeva, who now looked like an aged man, said…
to be continued…