Kamanita And Vasitthi
[By KARL GJELLERUP]
THE GREAT NEWS
THE WHOLE NIGHT THROUGH I remained on the
Terrace, the unresisting prey of passions hitherto un‐
known to me, but which were now unchained and
which made sport with my heart as the whirlwind
flurries the leaf.
My Kāmanīta was still alive! In his distant homeland
he must have heard of my marriage, for otherwise he
would have come long ago. How faithless — or how
pitilessly weak — I must appear in his eyes! And for this
degradation of mine Sātāgira was alone to blame.
Then the prospect that Angulimāla had so unexpectedly
opened up to me presented itself: that, if I were
free, I could marry my belovèd. At the thought my whole
being became so wildly excited that I felt as if my blood
would rend my breast and burst my temples. Incapable of
holding myself upright I was not even able to totter to the
bench, but sank down upon the marble tiles and my
senses left me.
Eventually the coolness of the morning dew
brought me back to my unhappy existence.
I saw the rising sun gild the towers and cupolas of
Kosambī, as I had seen this ravishing spectacle so many
times from the Terrace of the Sorrowless — but with what
quite different feelings than when I spent the blessèd night
hours there with you! Unhappy as never before, weary
and miserable as though I had in this one night aged by
decades, I took myself back to my quarters.
So great was this calm that I fell asleep the instant I
laid myself down on my couch, as though my whole being
were anxiously endeavouring to bridge over the empty
hours of waiting.
When it became dark I went to the terrace; the
moon had not yet risen. I had not long to wait; Anguli‐
māla's powerful figure swung itself over the parapet and
came straight to the bench on which I sat half averted
from him. I did not move and, without raising my eyes
from the pattern of the coloured marble tiles.
Finally Angulimāla spoke, and the gentle, even sad
note in his voice surprised me. He assured me that he would
never harm me or anyone again because he was a changed man.
"Has not the Master himself taught me,'Like the Earth,you should
exercise evenness of temper. Even as one casts upon the
Earth both that which is clean and that which is unclean,
and the Earth is neither pleased nor horrified, humiliated
or disgusted at that — so also like the Earth, exercise
evenness of temper so that pleasant and unpleasant
experiences will not invade your mind and remain.' For
you speak, Vāsitthī, not with the robber, but with the
upāsaka, the disciple Angulimāla."
"What kind of disciple!? What Master?" I asked,with contemptuous
impatience, although the strange speech of this incomprehensible
man did not fail to exercise a peculiar, almost fascinating effect
"He whom they call the Tathāgata, the Knower of
the Worlds, the Fully‐Enlightened One, the Buddha," he
answered. "He is the Master. Have you not heard of him
I shook my head.
"I count myself happy," he exclaimed, "in that I am
the first from whose lips you hear the name of the Blessèd
One. If Angulimāla once, as robber, did you much harm,
as a disciple he has now done you far more good."
"Who is this Buddha?" I asked again in the same
tone, without wishing to let it be seen how much my sympathy
had been awakened. "What has he to do with this
strange behaviour of yours, and what blessing is hearing
his name supposed to bring me!?"
"Even to hear the name of him whom they call The
Welcome One," said Angulimāla, "is like the first shimmer
of light to one who sits in darkness. But I will relate everything
to you — how he met me and how he changed the
current of my life — for it is certain that its happening on
this very day has principally been on account of his concern
for your welfare."
In spite of the fierceness which emanated from his
whole being, even on the first of these two evenings a
certain grace of bearing in him had surprised me; how
much more striking, however, was the unsought dignity
with which he now sat down beside me, like one who
feels himself among his equals.
*************to be continued**************
Edited by yawares