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When she said this, the king recalled what Kuśanābha had told him, and he brought her close to him and held her affectionately, wanting to give her all the love in the world and even more.
Mṛgāṅkavatī too was overpowered by affection, and agreed to accept him as her husband. But, she told him that she had one condition…
शुक्लकृष्णचतुर्दश्याम् अष्टम्यां चार्यपुत्र ते ।
प्रतिमासम् अनायत्ता चतुरो दिवसान् अहम् ॥ १२,१९.१११ ॥
यत्र क्वापि दिनेष्व् एषु गच्छन्ती चास्मि न त्वया ।
प्रष्टव्या न निषेद्धव्या कारणं ह्य् अत्र विद्यते ॥ १२,१९.११२ ॥
एवं ताम् उक्तसमयां स राजा दिव्यकन्यकाम् ।
तथेत्य् उक्त्वैव गान्धर्वविधिना परिणीतवान् ॥ १२,१९.११३ ॥
भेजे ततश् च संभोगसुखं तत्र तया सह ।
यथाभूद् अन्य एवास्या मान्मथो मण्डनक्रमः ॥ १२,१९.११४ ॥
केशेषु स्रस्तमाल्येषु कचग्रहनखावली ।
बिम्बाधरे ऽथ निष्पीतनीरागे दशनक्षतिः ॥ १२,१९.११५ ॥
कुचयोः करजश्रेणिर् भिन्नमाणिक्यमालयोः ।
लुप्ताङ्गरागेष्व् अङ्गेषु गाढालिङ्गनरागिता ॥ १२,१९.११६ ॥
इति तद्दिव्यसंभोगसुखावस्थितम् अत्र तम् ।
सा मृगाङ्कवती भार्या भूपं प्राहेदम् एकदा ॥ १२,१९.११७ ॥
त्वम् इहैव प्रतीक्षेथाः कार्यार्थं क्वापि याम्य् अहम् ।
अद्य सैषा हि संप्राप्ता मम कृष्णचतुर्दशी ॥ १२,१९.११८ ॥
इह स्थस् त्व् आर्यपुत्रामुं मा स्म गाः स्फाटिकं गृहम् ।
मात्र वाप्यां निपतितो भूलोकं त्वं गमिष्यसि ॥ १२,१९.११९ ॥
इत्य् उक्त्वा सा तम् आमन्त्र्य ययौ तस्मात् पुराद् बहिः ।
राजापि प्राप्तखड्गस् तां छन्नो जिज्ञासुर् अन्वगात् ॥ १२,१९.१२० ॥
“My dear, for four days in a month, from the fourteenth day of the Kṛṣṇa Paksha, I am not my own mistress.”
” You should not question me where I go and what I do on those days, nor forbid me to go, since there is a reason for it. Do you agree?”
The king agreed, but actually, he didn’t have a choice in the matter. His heart had taken over, and his desire drove his decision.
They had a gāndharva union, and spent seven days happily in each other’s arms, without a care in the world.
On the eighth day, as he was lying with his head in her lap, Mṛgāṅkavatī said…
“My dear, it is time. Today is the fourteenth day of the Kṛṣṇa Paksha, and as I had told you beforehand, I will have to leave for the next four days.”
“You can stay in the palace for these four days, but please do not go towards the pavilion made of crystal in the garden outside, for if you fall into the lake beyond, you will be transported back to the world of men.”
She then hugged him, touched his feet, and then set out.
Yaśaḥketu wait for her to be out of sight, and then grabbed his sword, and followed her in secret, determined to find out the reason behind her compulsion.
तत्रापश्यत् तमःश्यामं व्यात्तवक्रबिलं च सः ।
साकारम् इव पातालम् आयान्तं राक्षसं नृपः ॥ १२,१९.१२१ ॥
स राक्षसो निपत्यैव मुक्तघोररवस् तदा ।
तां मृगाङ्कवतीं वक्त्रे निक्षिप्यैव निगीर्णवान् ॥ १२,१९.१२२ ॥
तद् दृष्ट्वैवातिकोपेन सहसा स ज्वलन्न् इव ।
निर्मोकमुक्तभुजगश्यामलेन महासिना ॥ १२,१९.१२३ ॥
कोषाकृष्टेन धावित्वा राजसिंहो ऽभिधावतः ।
चिच्छेद रक्षसस् तस्य संदष्टौष्ठपुटं शिरः ॥ १२,१९.१२४ ॥
रक्षःकबन्धवान्तेन राज्ञस् तस्यास्रवारिणा ।
क्रोधजो ऽथ शशामाग्निर् न तु कान्तावियोगजः ॥ १२,१९.१२५ ॥
ततो मोहनिशान्धे ऽस्मिन् विनष्टगतिके नृपे ।
अकस्मान् मेघमलिनस्याङ्गं भित्त्वेव रक्षसः ॥ १२,१९.१२६ ॥
They had barely reached outside the city, when the king saw a terrible Rākṣasa in Mṛgāṅkavatī’s path. It was approaching her fast, it’s mouth opened wide, like the gates of naraka.
Then, after making a huge roar, the Rākṣasa swooped down on Mṛgāṅkavatī, took her in his mouth, and swallowed her whole.
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.
to be continued…