Kamanita And Vasitthi
[[Translated ~By KARL GJELLERUP]
THE MAGIC PORTRAITS
After another sleepless night I remained in my room and, in order to occupy and relieve my mind which was still utterly possessed by her image, I sought with the aid of brush and colour to transfer to the wooden panel on my wall her fair lineaments as I had last beheld them, when dancing she had struck the golden ball.
The early morning sun, however,found me again at work with brush and colour.Several hours had already flown away as if on wings while I was thus occupied with the painting, when Somadatta entered the room. In my embarrassment he saw the painting of a maiden playing ball then he said "this is Vāsitthī, the daughter of the rich goldsmith! I shall show this picture to my belovèd Medinī, who was also one of those at the dance and who is, furthermore, the foster‐sisterof the fair Vāsitthī."
Somadatta had carried off the picture I felt myself in a particularly exalted and energetic mood, for a step had now been taken which, in its consequences, might lead to the longed‐for goal of all my happiness.
In the entrance hall I found the ambassador's attendant, who informed me that I must prepare for departure at once and come to the courtyard of the palace that very night, bringing my wagons in order to be able to start with the first glimmer of daylight on the morrow. My despair knew no bounds.As soon as I was able to collect my thoughts I dashed away to the ambassador and filled his ears with lies about some business that I had not yet arranged, and that it could not possibly be brought to a satisfactory conclusion in so short a time. And I must stay here for a while before I could return home by myself.
I found immediate comfort when Somadatta came back and said that Medini and Vasitthi loved the portrait. My heart jumped as Somadatta playfully added that " Vasitthi really has a good heart. She knows that for a long time I have not seen her foster‐sister, my belovèd Medinī, except at large social gatherings where only the eyes may speak and so she has arranged a meeting for tomorrow night, on the terrace of her father's palace. Perhaps you would like to accompany me on this adventure?" As he said this, he laughed with much slyness and I laughed with him, assuring him that he would have my company.
ON THE TERRACE OF THE ASOKA TREES http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKPaHpCoAE0
NOW THAT NIGHT AND darkness had come,Somadatta and I took ourselves clad in shadow‐coloured clothing, we went to the western side of the palatial house of the goldsmith, where the terrace that we sought was perched, crowning the steep and rocky side of a deep ravine. We swung over the wall with ease and found ourselves on a spacious terrace decorated with palms.Asoka trees and magnificent flowering plants of every description, all now bathed in the silver light of the moon.
Not far away, beside a young girl on a garden bench and looking like a visitant from the heavenly spheres in her wonderful likeness to Lakshmī, sat the great‐eyed maiden who had played ball with my heart. Meanwhile Somadatta hastened to his belovèd, then Medini introduced me to Vasitthi who appeared to be surprised at the arrival of a stranger,and seemed undecided as whether she should go or stay. As for me, I was barely able to stammer a few words in which I told her how much I appreciated the unhoped‐for happiness of meeting her here. But she, when she noticed my great shyness, seemed herself to become calmer. She sat down on the bench again, and invited me with a gentle movement of her lotus‐hand to take a seat beside her; and then, in a voice full of tremulous sweetness, assured me that she was very glad to be able to thank me for having flung the ball back to her with such skill that the game suffered no interruption.
Now I happily forgot my bashfulness, grew passionately eager to convince her, and told her how, at the sight of her, the Love God had rained his flower darts upon me.
Night after night we came together there, and on each occasion Vāsitthī and I discovered new treasures in
our mutual affection and bore away with us an increased longing for our next meeting. The moonlight seemed to me to be more silvery, the marble cooler, the scent of the double‐jasmines more intoxicating, the call of the Kokila bird more languishing, the rustling of the palms more dreamy, and the restless whispering of the Asokas more full of mysterious promise than they could possibly have been anywhere else in the world. Oh! How distinctly can I still recall the splendid Asoka trees which stood along the whole length of the terrace.
One wonderful night, when the moon was at its full, I stood beneath them with the belovèd cause of their early bloom, my sweet Vāsitthī. Beyond the deep shadow of the ravine we gazed far out into the land. We saw the two rivers before us wind like silver ribbons away over the vast plain and unite at that most sacred spot, which people call the Triple Union, because they believe that the Heavenly Gangā joins them there as a third river — for by this beautiful name they call the wonderful heavenly glow which we in the South know as the Milky Way — and Vāsitthī, raising her hand, pointed to where it shone far above the tree‐tops. Then we spoke of the mighty Himalayas in the north, whence the blessèd Gangā flows down; the Himalayas, whose snow‐covered peaks are the dwelling places of the gods and whose immense forests and deep chasms have given shelter to the great ascetics.
****************************************To be continued**********************
Edited by yawares