Kamanita And Vasitthi
[Translated ~By KARL GJELLERUP]
True, I had instantly comforted myself with the idea that, if a man had one wife, he might just as well have two. But alas, how sadly had I deceived myself! My first wife, Sītā, was a sweet person and had always seemed to possess a gentle demeanour, she certainly leaned to the side of mellowness rather than to that of irritable passion; and Savitrī was also quite loveable and had always been praised for her genuine warmth and her true womanly softness. In the same way, brother, that water and fire both have truly beneficial qualities, when they meet on the hearth, one must be prepared for noise and steam. And from that unhappy day onward there was indeed the sound of hissing in my home. It was misery and I also chided myself for having brought this situation about, where two good women were set up in competition with each other, and thus caused to bring out the very worst in themselves. But imagine to yourself, if you can, what became of the situation when Savitrī did indeed bear me the first of those five heroic sons. Now Sītā accused me of not having wanted sons by her, and of having refrained from offering the fitting sacrifices in order that I might thus have an excuse for marrying another; while Savitrī, when she was irritated by Sīta, performed a very devil's dance of triumphant scorn. Then, between the two, there was a constant wrangle as to precedence; my first wife laying claim to the first position as having actually been the first, while the second made the same demand as the mother of my son.But worse was yet to come.
One day Savitrī dashed in to me, trembling from head to foot in frenzied agitation, and demanded that I should send Sītā away as she wished to poison my belovèd son: the boy - whom everybody knew by the nickname of 'Krishna,' on account of his unusually dark coloration and mishevious nature - had merely had an attack of colic from eating too many sweets,a habit in which he also imitated his divine namesake. I rebuked her severely, but had scarcely freed myself from her presence when Sītā stood before me, clamouring that our two daughters, Ambā and Tambā, were not sure of their lives so long as that vile woman remained in the house:— Her rival wished to get both of my dear little daughters out of the way in order that their dowries should not diminish the heritage of her son.
So, under my roof, peace was no longer to be found. And it also became, I am sorry to confess, a proverbial saying in Ujjenī at that time: "The two agree: like Kāmanīta's wives!"
*****************to be continued**************
Edited by yawares