The love of Candrāvaloka…

Read the previous part here…

Like Indrā, he made mighty birds fall to the ground, by clipping their wings with his sharp vajra-like arrows…

In the heat of the chase, he kept spurring his horse to go faster and faster, and the horse, egged on by the strokes of the whip, didn’t care for the rough, or the smooth, but instead darted along like the wind, and in moments, covered a distance of ten yojanas, and carried the king, who was too excited to notice, deep into the forest.

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

तत्र तस्मिन् स्थिते वाहे राजा दिङ्मोहम् एत्य सः ।
भ्रमञ् श्रान्तो ददर्शैकम् आरात् सुविपुलं सरः ॥ १२,२७.१५ ॥

मारुतेनाभिमुख्येन नमितोन्नमितैर् मुहुः ।
इत एहीति हस्ताभैः संज्ञां कुर्वद् इवाम्बुजैः ॥ १२,२७.१६ ॥

तत्र गत्वा च तुरगं विपर्याणोपवर्तितम् ।
स्नातपीतं तरुच्छायाबद्धं दत्ततृणोत्करम् ॥ १२,२७.१७ ॥

कृत्वा स्वयं कृतस्नानः पीताम्बुर् गलितश्रमः ।
रम्येषु तत्प्रदेशेषु ददौ दृष्टिम् इतस् ततः ॥ १२,२७.१८ ॥

एकत्र चाशोकतरोर् अधस्तान् मुनिकन्यकाम् ।
आमुक्तपुष्पाभरणां वल्कलांशुकशोभिनीम् ॥ १२,२७.१९ ॥

मुग्धबद्धजटाजूटसविशेषमनोरमाम् ।
सखीद्वितीयाम् आश्चर्यरूपां राजा ददर्श सः ॥ १२,२७.२० ॥

अचिन्तयच् च पुष्पेषोः पतितः शरगोचरे ।
केयं स्यात् सरसि स्नातुं सावित्री किं स्विद् आगता ॥ १२,२७.२१ ॥

किं हरस्याङ्कविभ्रष्टा गौरी भूयः श्रिता तपः ।
अहन्य् अस्तंगतस्येन्दोः कान्तिः किं वा धृतव्रता ॥ १२,२७.२२ ॥

तद् एताम् उपसृत्येह शनैर् उपलभे वरम् ।
इत्य् आलोच्य ययौ तस्याः कन्यायाः सो ऽन्तिकं नृपः ॥ १२,२७.२३ ॥

The horse then stopped, and the king, too tired to make sense of where he was, got down and started to lead his steed as he walked through the dense undergrowth.

He walked, and walked, until he saw in the distance, a big lake, that seemed to beckon him with lotuses bent in his direction, as if bowing to him and welcoming him.

He walked up to it, and then, taking off the saddle, bathed his horse and fed it some grass after tying it to a nearby tree. The horse rested in it’s shade, as Candrāvaloka bathed himself, drank water, and rested on the banks of the lake.

As he lay there, running his gaze through the scenic beauty surrounding the lake, he noticed, at the foot of an aśoka tree, a beautiful young lady.

From her appearance, he inferred that she belonged to an āshram that was possibly in the vicinity. She wore a garland of flowers, her hair braided, and garments of bark, and she was accompanied by a friend of hers.

The king was immediately lovestruck, and he thought to himself…

“Who can this be?”

“Is it that Sāvitrī herself came to bathe in this lake?”

“Or did Gaurī manage to slip away from the arms of Śiva, and come here to take up the life of an ascetic again?”

“Or is it the beauty of the moon, that has come here to relax, now that it is day?”

“I have to approach her and find out…”

And so King Candrāvaloka started to walk towards that beautiful maiden.

सापि दृष्ट्वा तम् आयान्तं तद्रूपाकुलितेक्षणा ।
पूर्वप्रारब्धपुष्पस्रक्सन्नहस्ता व्यचिन्तयत् ॥ १२,२७.२४ ॥

को ऽयम् ईदृग् अरण्ये ऽस्मिन् सिद्धो विद्याधरो नु किम् ।
बतास्य रूपं विश्वस्य कृतार्थीकरणं दृशोः ॥ १२,२७.२५ ॥

एवं वितर्क्य पश्यन्ती तिर्यक् तं त्रपया ततः ।
उत्थाय सोरुस्तम्भापि गन्तुं प्रावर्ततैव सा ॥ १२,२७.२६ ॥

She also saw him coming, and her eyes could not stop looking at his handsomeness, her hand let go of the garland of flowers that she had begun to weave, and she said to herself…

“Who is this handsome man in this lonely forest? Is he a Siddha or a Vidyādhara?”

“Truthfully, his beauty can satisfy the thirst of the whole wide world…”

As she thought this way, she rose up, and tried to start walking away, but her legs seemed to lose all power of movement…

The king approached her and said…

to be continued…