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Yaśaḥketu, who had been very badly affected by the minister’s absence, came out of the palace gates to personally welcome Dīrghadarśin. He embraced him tightly and taking his hand, led him into the palace.
There, he instructed his attendants to ensure that a warm bath, good food and a soft bed was prepared for Dīrghadarśin, who then freshened up, had food and rested well after a long journey.
The next day, the king called Dīrghadarśin to his chambers and said…
ततः सुवर्णद्वीपान्तं सो ऽध्वानं वर्णयन् क्रमात् ।
अब्धाव् उद्गमिनीं तस्मै तां दृष्टां दिव्यकन्यकाम् ॥ १२,१९.६२ ॥
गायन्तीं त्रिजगत्सारभूतां कल्पतरुस्थिताम् ।
यथावत् कथयामास दीर्घदर्शी महीभृते ॥ १२,१९.६३ ॥
स तां श्रुत्वैव च नृपस् तथा स्मरवशो ऽभवत् ।
यथा तया विना मेने निष्फले राज्यजीविते ॥ १२,१९.६४ ॥
जगाद च तम् एकान्ते नीत्वा स्वसचिवं तदा ।
द्रष्टव्यासौ मयावश्यं जीवितं नास्ति मे ऽन्यथा ॥ १२,१९.६५ ॥
यामि त्वदुक्तेन पथा प्रणम्य भवितव्यताम् ।
निवारणीयो नाहं ते नानुगम्यश् च सर्वथा ॥ १२,१९.६६ ॥
गुप्तम् एको हि यास्यामि राज्यं रक्ष्यं तु मे त्वया ।
मद्वचो मान्यथा कार्षीः शापितो ऽसि ममासुभिः ॥ १२,१९.६७ ॥
इत्य् उक्त्वा तत्प्रतिवचो निरस्य विससर्ज तम् ।
मन्त्रिणं स्वगृहं राजा चिरोत्कं स्वजनं प्रति ॥ १२,१९.६८ ॥
तत्रानल्पोत्सवे ऽप्य् आसीद् दीर्घदर्शी सुदुर्मनाः ।
स्वामिन्य् असाध्यव्यसने सुखं सन्मन्त्रिणां कुतः ॥ १२,१९.६९ ॥
“Look at you – lost so much weight and looking so tired. Why did you leave us so suddenly and go traveling, that too for so long? Only destiny knows her own ways, for why else would you have your mind fixated on traveling so far and to so many holy places?”
“So tell me, what kingdoms did you visit, and what did you see and experience during your journey?”
Dīrghadarśin went on to describe his journeys, but his trip to SvarnaDeepa took centerstage. The minister spoke in detail of the beautiful island, the wonderful sights and of course, of the maiden, who rose from the waters and sang that lovely song, only to go back into the water again.
The king was mesmerized. Dīrghadarśin described the maiden in such good detail that the king fell in love with her that very instant.
“My kingdom, my wealth…why, my life itself holds no value without her”, he thought to himself.
And so he took Dīrghadarśin aside and said “I have to see that maiden, else I will not be able to live. I will set out to the place where you saw her, hoping that my prayers to the Devi will guide me along.”
“Don’t stop me, and don’t follow me. I will travel alone, in secret. You will have to take care of the kingdom while I am gone.”
“Don’t disobey my order, like you did the last time. You have to swear on my life!”
Dīrghadarśin started to protest, but it fell on deaf ears. The king ordered him out of his chambers, asking him to go visit his family, since they had been waiting for him for long.
There were festivities at Dīrghadarśin’s house. His family had invited all his friends and relatives to greet him. But Dīrghadarśin remained pensive in the midst of all the rejoicing,
For how can good ministers be happy when the king’s vices remain incurable?
अन्येद्युश् च स तद्धस्तन्यस्तराज्यभरो नृपः ।
यशःकेतुस् ततः प्रायान् निशि तापसवेषभृत् ॥ १२,१९.७० ॥
गच्छंश् च कुशनाभाख्यं मुनिं मार्गे ददर्श सः ।
सो ऽत्र तं तापसाकल्पं प्रणतं मुनिर् आदिशत् ॥ १२,१९.७१ ॥
लक्ष्मीदत्तेन वणिजा सह पोतेन वारिधौ ।
गत्वा प्रप्स्यसि ताम् इष्टां कन्यां व्रज निराकुलः ॥ १२,१९.७२ ॥
इति तद्वचसा प्रीतास् तं प्रणम्य स पार्थिवः ।
गच्छन् देशान् नदीर् अद्रीन् क्रान्त्वा तं प्रापद् अम्बुधिम् ॥ १२,१९.७३ ॥
सुतारशङ्खधवलैर् वीचिभ्रूभिर् विकस्वरैः ।
वीक्षमाणम् इवावर्तनेत्रैर् आतिथ्यसंभ्रमात् ॥ १२,१९.७४ ॥
तत्तीरे वणिजा तेन मुनिप्रोक्तेन संगतिः ।
लक्ष्मीदत्तेन जज्ञे ऽस्य स्वर्णद्वीपं यियासुना ॥ १२,१९.७५ ॥
तेनैव सह चक्राङ्कपादमुद्रादि दर्शनात् ।
प्रह्वेणारुह्य वहनं प्रतस्थे सो ऽम्बुधौ नृपः ॥ १२,१९.७६ ॥
King Yaśaḥketu set out the very next night, dressed as a sadhu, having entrusted the affairs of his kingdom to Dīrghadarśin.
A bit along the way, the king came across a sadhu named Kuśanābha, and prostrated before him.
“Continue on your journey”, said the all-knowing Kuśanābha. “You will meet a merchant named Lakṣmīdatta on the way, and you can sail on his ship to reach the one you desire.”
This delighted Yaśaḥketu, who bowed to the sadhu once again, and then took his leave.
He traveled for long, crossing many kingdoms, rivers and mountains, before he reached the sea-shore. The waves of the sea crept up onto the shore and touched his toes, as if welcoming him to venture into it’s realms.
On that same shore he met Lakṣmīdatta, the same merchant who had been mentioned in his conversation with Kuśanābha.
Incidentally, Lakṣmīdatta was about to set out to SvarnaDeepa. The merchant greeted Yaśaḥketu, having noticed the signs of royalty that shone beyond the costume of the sadhu that the king had worn.
Yaśaḥketu returned the greeting, and then set out by ship, on the sea, towards the island of SvarnaDeepa.
And when they reached the middle of the sea…
to be continued…