Kamanita And Vasitthi
[By KARL GJELLERUP]
THE BUD OF THE LOTUS OPENS
IT SUDDENLY SEEMED TO Kāmanīta as though some‐
thing living were moving in the depths of the lake. In
the crystal deeps he became dimly aware of a rising
shadow. The waters bubbled and seethed, and a large
lotus bud, red‐tipped, shot like a fish above the surface
on which it then lay swimming and rocking. The waters
themselves rose and sank in ever‐extending rings and,
for a long time afterwards, trembled and glittered into
fragments and radiating light, as if the lake were filled with
liquid diamonds; the reflection of the watery coruscations
flickered up like miniature flames over the lotus leaves,
the robes and the faces and forms of the Blessèd.
"What was that?" his glance asked of his blue
"Deep down, among far‐distant worlds on the
gloomy earth, a human being has this instant centred their
heart's desire upon entering again into existence here in
Sukhavatī. Now let us also see whether the bud will
develop well and finally blossom. For many fix their desire
on this pure abode of bliss and yet are not able to live up
to its fulfilment but, on the contrary, they entangle them‐
selves again in a maze of unholy passions, succumb to the
cravings of sensuality and remain bound to the coarseness
of life on earth. Then the bud withers away and at last
disappears entirely. This time, as you see, it is a male.
Such a one, in the chequered life of earth, fails more easily
on the path to Paradise; and for this reason you will also
notice that, even if the red and white are about equal in
number, amongst the blue the females are by far the more
At this communication the heart of Kāmanīta
quivered strangely, as if all at once joy blended with pain
and sorrow, bearing a promise of future happiness, had
set it vibrating; and his gaze rested upon a closed lotus
flower nearby, as though seeking the solution to some
riddle. It was as white as the breast of a swan and rocked
gracefully quite near to him in the still gently moving
"Can you remember seeing the bud of my lotus
rise from the depths?" He asked of his experienced
"Surely, for it came up together with that white
flower you are now gazing upon. And I have always
watched the pair of you, at times with some anxiety. For
fairly soon after its birth your bud began perceptibly to
shrivel up, and it had almost sunk beneath the surface of
the water when all at once it raised itself again, became
fuller and brighter, and then developed magnificently until
it opened. The white one, however, grew slowly but
gradually and evenly towards the day when it should
open, when suddenly it was attacked as if by some sick‐
ness. It recovered, however, very quickly and became the
magnificent flower you now see before you."
And as though his gaze, which had rested
unwaveringly on the white lotus, had been a magician's
wand for the raising of hidden treasures, the apex of the
flower began to move, the petals bent their edges outward
to droop gracefully down on every side, and lo! — in their
midst sat the fair Vāsitthī with widely‐open eyes, whose
sweetly smiling glance met his own.
Simultaneously Kāmanīta and Vāsitthī stretched out
their arms to one another, and hand in hand they floated
away over the pond towards the bank.
Kāmanīta observed, of course, that Vāsitthī had not
as yet recognised him, but had only turned to him uncon‐
sciously as the sunflower towards the sun. How could she
have recognised him — seeing that no‐one, immediately
on awakening, remembered anything of their previous life
— even if at the sight of him dim presentiments might
have stirred in the depths of her heart, as had happened in
his own case when his neighbour spoke of the Heavenly
He showed her the gleaming river, which emptied
itself noiselessly into the lake:
"In the same fashion the silver waters of the Heavenly Gangā
feed all the lakes in the fields of the Blessèd."
"Come, let us go to the Coral Tree you will be
refreshed and revived by its wonderful perfume."
Vāsitthī followed him willingly — like a child that
one has comforted with the promise of a new toy.
As the perfume began to float towards
them her features grew more and more animated.
Even as he spoke there opened before them the
basin of the valley amid the malachite rocks, with the red
Coral Tree and the deep blue sky. Then the perfume of all
perfumes enveloped her.
Vāsitthī laid her hands on her breast as if to check
her all too deep breathing. In an intense intermingling of
sympathy and expectation Kāmanīta discerned, in the
rapid play of light and shadow on her features, how the
storm of life‐memories was sweeping over her. Suddenly
she raised her arms and flung herself on his breast:
"Kāmanīta! My belovèd!"
And he bore her thence, speeding back through
the gorge with eager haste.
In the open valley with its dark shrubbery and
thick groves, where the gazelles were at play but no
human form disturbed the solitude, he descended with
her, finding shelter under a tree.
"Oh, my poor Kāmanīta," said Vāsitthī, "what you
must have suffered! And what must you have thought of
me when you learned that I had married Sātāgira!"
Then Kāmanīta told her how he had not learned
that from hearsay but had himself, in the main street of
Kosambī, seen the bridal procession, and how the speechless
misery graven on her face had directly convinced him
she had only yielded to the pressure of her parents.
"But no power on earth would have compelled
me, my only love, if I had not been forced to believe that I
was in possession of sure proof that you were no longer
And Vāsitthī began to tell him of the events of that
**********to be continued****************
Edited by yawares