The curse – part 2

Read the previous part here...

The king was taken aback by what he saw, and blood rushed to his head in anger. He unsheathed his sword, and rushing towards the Rākṣasa, jumped high up and cut off his head in one stroke.

A stream of blood gushed forth from the trunk of the beheaded Rākṣasa, quenching the king’s anger, but proving to be little consolation for the loss of his beloved wife. Yaśaḥketu fell to the ground, the sword falling from his hands, and tears streaming down his face.

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

तस्योद्द्योतितदिक्चक्रा चन्द्रमूर्तिर् इवामला ।
सा मृगाङ्कवती जीवन्त्य् अक्षताङ्गी विनिर्ययौ ॥ १२,१९.१२७ ॥

तां तथा संकटोत्तीर्णां दृष्ट्वा कान्तां ससंभ्रमम् ।
एह्य् एहीति वदन् राजा प्रधाव्यैवालिलिङ्ग सः ॥ १२,१९.१२८ ॥

प्रिये किम् एतत् स्वप्नो ऽयम् उत मायेति तेन सा ।
पृष्टा नृपेण संस्मृत्य विद्याधर्य् एवम् अब्रवीत् ॥ १२,१९.१२९ ॥

शृण्व् आर्यपुत्र न स्वप्नो न मायेयम् अयं पुनः ।
विध्याधरेन्द्रात् स्वपितुः शापो ऽभूद् ईदृशो मम ॥ १२,१९.१३० ॥

बहुपुत्रो ऽपि स हि मे पिता पूर्वं वसन्न् इह ।
मया विनातिवात्सल्यान् नाहारम् अकरोत् सदा ॥ १२,१९.१३१ ॥

अहं च सर्वदा शर्वपूजासक्तेह निर्जने ।
चतुर्दश्योर् अथाष्टम्योर् आगच्छं पक्षयोर् द्वयोः ॥ १२,१९.१३२ ॥

एकदा च चतुर्दश्याम् इहागत्य रसान् मम ।
चिरं गौरीं समर्चन्त्या दैवाद् अवसितं दिनम् ॥ १२,१९.१३३ ॥

Yaśaḥketu was at a loss as to what to do, when suddenly Mṛgāṅkavatī tore apart the body of the Rākṣasa, which was as dark as a cloud, and emerged alive, and uninjured, like the moon that slowly creeps over the horizon.

Yaśaḥketu could not believe his eyes. He rushed to her and embraced her, overjoyed. After a few moments, he asked her…

“My dear, what was all this? Was this a dream, or delusion?”

Mṛgāṅkavatī replied…

“My dear, this is not a dream, and not delusion. This was a curse that my father, the king of the Vidyādharas, had given me…”

“My father lived in the city with all our subjects. He had many sons, but I was his favorite. He loved me so much that he would not even eat his food if I was not present.”

“I am a staunch devotee of Śiva, and so used to come here everyday for four days from the fourteenth day of the Kṛṣṇa Paksha, to pray and meditate.”

“Once I came here and meditated on Maa Gaurī for a long time. I was so deep in meditation that as fate would have it, I lost track of time and the day ended before I completed my puja.”

तद् अहर् मत्प्रतीक्षः सन् क्षुधितो ऽपि स मत्पिता ।
नाभुङ्क्त नापिबत् किंचिद् आसीत् क्रुद्धस् तु मां प्रति ॥ १२,१९.१३४ ॥

ततो रात्राव् उपेतां मां सापराधाम् अधोमुखीम् ।
भवितव्यबलग्रस्तमत्स्नेहः शपति स्म सः ॥ १२,१९.१३५ ॥

यथा त्वदवलेपेन ग्रस्तो ऽद्याहम् अयं क्षुधा ।
मासि मासि तथाष्टम्योश् चतुर्दश्योश् च केवलम् ॥ १२,१९.१३६ ॥

हरार्चनरसाद् यन्तीम् अत्रैव त्वां बहिः पुरे ।
नाम्ना कृतान्तसंत्रासो राक्षसो निगरिष्यति ॥ १२,१९.१३७ ॥

भित्त्वा भित्त्वास्य हृदयं जीवन्ती च निरेष्यसि ।
न स्मरिष्यसि शापं च न तां निगरणव्यथाम् ॥ १२,१९.१३८ ॥

स्थास्यस्य् एकाकिनी चात्रेत्य् उक्तशापवचाः शनैः ।
सो ऽनुनीतो मया ध्यात्वा शापान्तं मे ऽब्रवीत् पिता ॥ १२,१९.१३९ ॥

भर्ता भूत्वा यशःकेतुनामाङ्गनृपतिर् यदा ।
राक्षसेन निगीर्णां त्वां दृष्ट्वा तं निहनिष्यति ॥ १२,१९.१४० ॥

तदा त्वं मोक्ष्यसे शापाद् धृदयात् तस्य निर्गता ।
संस्मरिष्यसि शापादि विद्याः सर्वास् तथा निजाः ॥ १२,१९.१४१ ॥

“That day, my father did not have a drop of water or a morsel of food, and even though he was hungry, he waited for me all day long, seething with anger inside.”

“I returned in the evening, conscious of what had happened, and when I went in front of him, his love for me was so overpowered by the twists of fate that he cursed me, saying…”

“You disregarded me and forgot about me, and I was devoured the whole day by hunger, so shall you, for four days from the fourteenth day of the Kṛṣṇa Paksha. A Rākṣasa named Kṛtāntasantrāsa (the one who harasses like death) shall swallow you when you go to worship Śiva, and every time you will make your way through his heart and come out alive.”

“But you will not remember this curse, nor feel the pain of being swallowed, and you shall remain here, alone, like you left me today.”

“I didn’t know what to do, so I fell at his feet and begged him to lift the curse”, continued Mṛgāṅkavatī. “When he was finally placated, he said…”

“In time, Yaśaḥketu, the king of Aṅga, shall become your husband, and shall see you swallowed by the Rākṣasa, and shall kill him, and when you emerge from his heart, you shall be delivered from this curse, and also regain your memory of all what has happened.”

“And so”, she said…

to be continued…