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tato hṛte bhartari gauraveṇa prītau hṛtāyām-aratau kṛtāyām /

And so, with her husband riven away through his respect for the Guru, bereft of her happiness, left joyless,

tatraiva harmyopari vartamānā na sundarī saiva tadā babhāse // 6.1 //

Though she remained at the same spot, high up in the palace, Sundarī no longer seemed to be herself.


sā bhartur-abhyāgamana-pratīkṣā gavākṣam-ākramya payodharābhyām /

Anticipating her husband's approach, she leant forward, her breasts invading the bulls-eye window.

dvāronmukhī harmya-talāl-lalambe mukhena tiryaṅ-nata-kuṇḍalena // 6.2 //

Expectantly she looked out from the palace roof towards the gateway, her earrings dangling down across her face.


vilamba-hārā cala-yoktrakā sā tasmād vimānād vinatā cakāśe /

With her pearl necklaces hanging down, and straps dishevelled, as she bent down from the palace,

tapaḥ kṣayād-apsarasāṃ vareva cyutaṃ vimānāt priyam-īkṣamāṇā // 6.3 //

She looked like the most gorgeous of the heavenly nymphs (the apsarases) gazing from her celestial abode at her lover, as he falls down, having used up his ascetic credit.


sā kheda-saṃsvinna-lalāṭakena niśvāsa-niṣpīta-viśeṣakeṇa /

With a cold sweat on her beautiful brow, her face-paint drying in her sighs,

cintā-calākṣeṇa mukhena tasthau bhartāram-anyatra viśaṅkamānā // 6.4 //

And her eyes restless with anxious thoughts, there she stood, suspecting her husband, somewhere else.


tataś-cira-sthāna-pariśrameṇa sthitaiva paryaṅka-tale papāta /

Tired out by a long time standing in that state, she dropped, just where she stood, onto a couch,

tiryak-ca śiśye pravikīrṇa-hārā sapādukaikārdha-vilamba-pādā // 6.5 //

And lay across it with her necklaces scattered and a slipper half hanging off her foot.


athātra kā-cit pramadā sabāṣpāṃ tāṃ duḥkhitāṃ draṣṭum-anīpsamānā /

One of her women, not wishing to see Sundarī in such tearful distress,

prāsāda-sopāna-tala-praṇādaṃ cakāra padbhyāṃ sahasā rudantī // 6.6 //

Was making her way down from the palace penthouse, when she burst into tears, and made a commotion with her feet on the stairs.


tasyāś-ca sopāna-tala-praṇādaṃ śrutvaiva tūrṇaṃ punar-utpapāta /

Hearing the sound on the stairs of that woman's feet Sundarī quickly jumped up again;

prītyāṁ prasaktaiva ca saṃjaharṣa priyopayānaṃ pariśaṅkamānā // 6.7 //

Transfixed with joy, she bristled with excitement, believing it to be the approach of her beloved.


sā trāsayantī valabhī-puṭa-sthān pārāvatān nūpura-nisvanena /

Scaring the pigeons in their rooftop roosts with the jangling of her ankle bracelets,

sopāna-kukṣiṃ prasasāra harṣād bhraṣṭaṃ dukūlāntam-acintayantī // 6.8 //

She dashed to the stairwell, without worrying, in her excitement, about what extremity of her diaphonous raiments might be falling off.


tām-aṅganāṃ prekṣya ca vipralabdhā niśvasya bhūyaḥ śayanaṃ prapede /

On seeing the woman she was crestfallen; she sighed, threw herself again onto the couch,

vivarṇa-vaktrā na rarāja cāśu vivarṇa-candreva himāgame dyauḥ // 6.9 //

And no longer shone: with her face suddenly pallid she was as grey as a pale-mooned sky in early winter.


sā duḥkhitā bhartur-adarśanena kāmena kopena ca dahyamānā /

Distressed at not seeing her husband, burning with desire and fury,

kṛtvā kare vaktram-upopaviṣṭā cintā-nadīṃ śoka-jalāṃ tatāra // 6.10 //

She sat down with face in hand and steeped herself in the river of worries, whose water is sorrow.


tasyāḥ mukhaṃ padma-sapatna-bhūtaṃ pāṇau sthitaṃ pallava-rāga-tāmre /

Her lotus-rivalling face, resting on the hennaed stem of her hand,

chāyāmayasyāmbhasi paṅkajasya babhau nataṃ padmam-ivopariṣṭāt // 6.11 //

Was like a lotus above the reflection in the water of its mud-born self, drooping down.


sā strī-svabhāvena vicintya tat-tad dṛṣṭānurāge 'bhimukhe 'pi patyau /

She considered various possibilities, in accordance with a woman's nature; then, failing to see the truth that her husband had taken refuge in the dharma,

dharmāśrite tattvam-avindamānā saṃkalpya tat-tad-vilalāpa tat-tat // 6.12 //

While obviously still impassioned and in love with her, she constructed various scenarios and uttered various laments:


eṣyāmy-anāśyāna-viśeṣakāyāṃ tvayīti kṛtvā mayi taṃ pratijñām /

"He promised me: 'I'll be back before your make-up is dry';

kasmān-nu hetor-dayita-pratijñaḥ so 'dya priyo me vitatha-pratijñaḥ // 6.13 //

From what cause would such a cherisher of promises as my beloved is, be now a breaker of promises?


āryasya sādhoḥ karuṇātmakasya man-nitya-bhīror-atidakṣiṇasya /

In him who was noble, good, compassionate, always in awe of me, and all too honest,

kuto vikāro 'yam-abhūta-pūrvaḥ svenāparāgeṇa mamāpacārāt // 6.14 //

How has such an unprecedented transformation come about? Through a loss of passion on his part? From a mistake of mine?


rati-priyasya priya-vartino me priyasya nūnaṃ hṛdayaṁ viraktam /

The heart of my lover -- lover of sexual pleasure and of me -- has obviously waned in its passion,

tathāpi rāgo yadi tasya hi syān mac-citta-rakṣī na sa nāgataḥ syāt // 6.15 //

For if he did still love me, having regard for my heart, he would not have failed to return.


rūpeṇa bhāvena ca mad-viśiṣṭā priyeṇa dṛṣṭā niyataṃ tato 'nyā /

Another woman, then, in beauty and in nature better than me, my beloved has surely beheld;

tathā hi kṛtvā mayi mogha-sāntvaṃ lagnāṃ satīṃ mām-agamad vihāya // 6.16 //

For, having soothed me as he did with empty words, the guy has gone and left me, attached to him as I am.


bhaktiṃ sa buddhaṃ prati yām-avocat-tasya prayātuṃ mayi so 'padeśaḥ /

As for that devotion to Buddha of which he spoke, it was just a line to me for leaving;

munau prasādo yadi tasya hi syān-mṛtyor-ivogrād-anṛtād bibhīyāt // 6.17 //

For if he were clearly settled on the Sage he would fear untruth no less than a grisly death.


sevārtham-ādarśanam-anya-citto vibhūṣayantyā mama dhārayitvā /

While I put my make-up on, he held the mirror as a service to me, and thought of another!

bibharti so 'nyasya janasya taṃ cen-namo 'stu tasmai cala-sauhṛdāya // 6.18 //

If he holds it now for that other so much for his fickle affection!


necchanti yāḥ śokam-avāptum-evaṃ śraddhātum-arhanti na tā narāṇām /

Any woman who does not wish to suffer grief like this should never trust a man.

kva cānuvṛttir-mayi sāsya pūrvaṃ tyāgaḥ kva cāyaṃ janavat kṣaṇena // 6.19 //

How could he treat me before with such regard and then in a twinkling leave me like this, like anybody?"


ity-evam-ādi priya-viprayuktā priye 'nyad-āśaṅkya ca sā jagāda /

This she said and more, love-lorn, and suspecting her love of loving another.

saṃbhrāntam-āruhya ca tad-vimānaṃ tāṃ strī sabāṣpā giram-ity-uvāca // 6.20 //

Then the giddy weeping woman, having dizzily climbed the palace stairs, tearfully told her these words:


yuvāpi tāvat priya-darśano 'pi saubhāgya-bhāgyābhijanānvito 'pi /

"Though he may be young, good-looking, full of noble ancestry, and filled with charm and fortune,

yas-tvāṃ priyo nābhyacarat kadā-cit-tam-anyathā pāsyasi-kātarāsi // 6.21 //

Never did your husband cheat on you. You are being silly, and judging him amiss.


mā svāminaṃ svāmini doṣato gāḥ priyaṃ priyārhaṃ priya-kāriṇaṃ tam /

Ma'am! Do not accuse your loving husband, a doer of loving deeds who merits your love;

na sa tvad-anyāṃ pramadām-avaiti svacakravākyā iva cakravākaḥ // 6.22 //

He never even looks at any woman other than you, like greylag gander with kindred greylag goose.


sa tu tvad-arthaṃ gṛha-vāsam-īpsan jijīviṣus-tvat-paritoṣa-hetoḥ /

For you, he wished to stay at home; for your delight, he wished to live;

bhrātrā kil-āryeṇa tathāgatena pravrājito netra-jalārdra-vaktraḥ // 6.23 //

But his noble brother, the Tathāgata, so they say, has banished him, his face made wet by tears, into the wandering life.


śrutvā tato bhartari tāṃ pravṛttiṃ sa-vepathuḥ sā sahasotpapāta /

Then, on hearing what had happened to her husband, all of a sudden, up she leapt, shaking;

pragṛhya bāhū virurāva coccair-hṛdīva digdhābhihatā kareṇuḥ // 6.24 //

She clasped her arms and screamed out loud like a she-elephant shot in the heart by a poisoned arrow.


sā rodanāroṣita-rakta-dṛṣṭiḥ saṃtāpa-saṃkṣobhita-gātra-yaṣṭiḥ /

Her eyes puffed-up and reddened by tears, the slender trunk of her body trembling with anguish,

papāta śīrṇākula-hāra-yaṣṭiḥ phalātibhārād-iva cūta-yaṣṭiḥ // 6.25 //

She broke and scattered strings of pearls, as down she fell, like a mango branch weighed down by too much fruit.


sā padma-rāgaṃ vasanaṃ vasānā padmānanā padma-dalāyatākṣī /

Wearing clothes suffused with lotus colours, with lotus face, and eyes as long as lotus petals,

padmā vipadmā patiteva lakṣmīḥ śuśoṣa padma-srag-ivātapena // 6.26 //

She was like a Lotus-Hued Lakṣmī,1 who had fallen from her lotus pedestal. And she withered like a lotus-garland left in the sun.


saṃcintya saṃcintya guṇāṁś-ca bhartur-dīrghaṃ niśaśvāsa tatāma caiva /

She thought and thought about her husband's good points, sighing long and hard and gasping

vibhūṣaṇa-śrī-nihite prakoṣṭhe tāmre karāgre ca vinirdudhāva // 6.27 //

As out she flung the arms that bore her gleaming jewels and hennaed hands, with reddened fingertips.


na bhūṣaṇārtho mama saṃpratīti sā dikṣu cikṣepa vibhūṣaṇāni /

"Now I don't have any need for ornaments!" she cried, as she hurled her jewels in all directions.

nirbhūṣaṇā sā patitā cakāśe viśīrṇa-puṣpa-stabakā lateva // 6.28 //

Unadorned and drooping, she resembled a creeper shorn of blossoms.


dhṛtaḥ priyeṇāyam-abhūn-mameti rukma-tsaruṃ darpaṇam-āliliṅge /

She clasped the golden-handled mirror, and reflected, "My husband held this up for me."

yatnāc-ca vinyasta-tamāla-patrau ruṣṭeva dhṛṣṭaṃ pramamāja gaṇḍau // 6.29 //

And the tamāla paint she had applied so carefully, she rubbed aggressively off her cheeks, as if the paint had angered her.


sā cakravākīva bhṛśaṃ cukūja śyenāgra-pakṣa-kṣata-cakravākā /

Like a greylag goose, when a hawk has wounding talons on the gander's wing, she hooted mightily,

vispardhamāneva vimāna-saṃsthaiḥ pārāvataiḥ kūjana-lola-kaṇṭhaiḥ // 6.30 //

As if in competition with the cooing pigeons on the palace roof, whose throats were all atremble.


vicitra-mṛdvāstaraṇe 'pi suptā vaiḍūrya-vajra-pratimaṇḍite 'pi /

She lay down to sleep in soft and gorgeous bedclothes, on a bed bedecked with cats-eye gems and diamonds,

rukmāṅga-pāde śayane mahārhe na śarma lebhe pariceṣṭamānā // 6.31 //

But in her costly crib with golden legs, she tossed and turned, and no respite did she obtain.


saṁdṛśya bhartuś-ca vibhūṣaṇāni vāsāṃsi vīṇā-prabhṛtīṃś-ca līlāḥ /

She eyed her husband's ornaments; his clothes, guitar and other items of amusement;

tamo viveśābhinanāda coccaiḥ paṅkāvatīrṇeva ca saṃsasāda // 6.32 //

Thus she entered deeply into darkness: she raised a shriek, and then, as if descending into a mire, sank down.


sā sundarī śvāsa-calodarī hi vajrāgni-saṃbhinna-darī-guheva /

Her belly trembled out of breathlessness, like a cave being rent inside by fiery thunderbolts.

śokāgnināntar-hṛdi dahyamānā vibhrānta-citteva tadā babhūva // 6.33 //

As, in her innermost heart, she burned with the fire of grief, Sundarī seemed at that moment to be going out of her mind.


ruroda mamlau virurāva jaglau babhrāma tasthau vilalāpa dadhyau /

She howled, then wilted, screamed, then swooned; she reeled, stood rooted, wailed then brooded.

cakāra roṣaṃ vicakāra mālyaṃ cakarta vaktraṃ vicakarṣa vastram // 6.34 //

She vented anger and rended garlands; she scratched her face and slashed her clothes.


tāṃ cāru-dantīṃ prasabhaṃ rudantīṃ saṃśrutya nāryaḥ paramābhitaptāḥ /

Hearing the howling of the lovely-toothed one – for O, how l2ovely were her teeth! - the ladies-in-waiting suffered utmost torment;

antar-gṛhād-āruruhur-vimānaṃ trāsena kiṁnarya ivādri-pṛṣṭham // 6.35 //

They climbed from inside the palace up to the roof, like nervous kiṁnarīs ascending a mountain peak.


bāṣpeṇa tāḥ klinna-viṣaṇṇa-vaktrā varṣeṇa padminya ivārdra-padmāḥ /

Their despondent faces wet with tears, like lotus ponds with rain-soaked lotus buds,

sthānānurūpeṇa yathābhimānaṃ nililyire tām-anu-dahyamānāḥ // 6.36 //

They settled down along with her, according to rank and as they wished, and along with her they burned in grief.


tābhir-vṛtā harmya-tale 'ṅganābhiś-cintā-tanuḥ sā sutanur-babhāse /

On the palace roof, enfolded by her women, the slender Sundarī, gaunt with worry,

śata-hradābhiḥ pariveṣṭiteva śaśāṅka-lekhā śarad-abhra-madhye // 6.37 //

Seemed like a streak of crescent moon enshrouded among the autumn clouds by a hundred rays of lightning.


yā tatra tāsāṃ vacasopapannā mānyā ca tasyā vayasādhikā ca /

There was one among them there, however, who was senior in years, and good with words, a well-respected woman:

sā pṛṣṭhatas-tāṃ tu samāliliṅge pramṛjya cāśrūṇi vacāṃsy-uvāca // 6.38 //

Holding Sundarī from behind in a firm embrace and wiping tears away, she spoke as follows:


rājarṣi-vadhvās-tava nānurūpo dharmāśrite bhartari jātu śokaḥ /

"Grief does ill become you, the wife of a royal seer, when your husband has taken refuge in dharma;

ikṣvāku-vaṃśe hy-abhikāṅkṣitāni dāyādya-bhūtāni tapo-vanāni // 6.39 //

For in the lineage of Ikṣvāku, an ascetic forest is a desired inheritance.


prāyeṇa mokṣāya viniḥsṛtānāṃ śākya-rṣabhāṇāṃ viditāḥ striyas-te /

Well you know of wives of Śākya bulls gone forth in search of freedom:

tapo-vanānīva gṛhāṇi yāsāṃ sādhvī-vrataṃ kāmavad-āśritānām // 6.40 //

As a rule, they turn their houses almost into ascetic groves and they observe the vow of chastity, as if it were a pleasure.


yady-anyayā rūpa-guṇādhikatvād bhartā hṛtas-te kuru bāṣpa-mokṣam /

If your husband had been stolen by another, due to her superior looks and qualities, then tears you should let flow;

manasvinī rūpavatī guṇāḍhyā hṛdi kṣate kātra hi nāśru muñcet // 6.41 //

For how could any beautiful and virtuous wife, who abounds in excellence, refrain from shedding teardrops when her heart was broken?


athāpi kiṃ-cid vyasanaṃ prapanno mā caiva tad bhūt sadṛśo 'tra bāṣpaḥ /

Or had he met with some disaster -- and may no such thing ever be! -- then yes, tears;

ato viśiṣṭaṃ na hi duḥkham-asti kulodgatāyāḥ pati-devatāyāḥ // 6.42 //

Because there is no greater sorrow for a woman of noble birth who dignifies her husband as if he were a god.


atha tv-idānīṃ laḍitaḥ sukhena sva-sthaḥ phala-stho vyasanāny-adṛṣṭvā /

But on the contrary, he now is roving happily, meeting no disasters, but enjoying a healthy and fruitful life.

vīta-spṛho dharmam-anuprapannaḥ kiṃ viklave rodiṣi harṣa-kāle // 6.43 //

Free from eager longing, he is following dharma: at a time for celebration, why are you in such a state of weeping consternation?"


ity-evam-uktāpi bahu-prakāraṃ snehāt-tayā naiva dhṛtiṃ cakāra /

Though this woman, with her unctious kindness,3 thus put forward many sorts of argument, Sundarī could not be satisfied at all.

athāparā tāṃ manaso 'nukūlaṃ kālopapannaṃ praṇayād-uvāca // 6.44 //

Then another woman, with a sense of intimacy, said what helped her mind and fit the occasion.4


bravīmi satyaṃ su-viniścitaṃ me prāptaṃ priyaṃ drakṣyasi śīghram-eva /

"Truly and categorically, I am telling you that soon enough you'll see your husband back again.

tvayā vinā sthāsyati tatra nāsau sattvāśrayaś-cetanayeva hīnaḥ // 6.45 //

Dispossessed of you, the fellow will survive out there no longer than living things survive when dispossessed of consciousness.


aṅke 'pi lakṣmyā na sa nirvṛtaḥ syāt tvaṃ tasya pārśve yadi tatra na syāḥ /

Even in the lap of luxury he could not be happy, lacking you there by his side;

āpatsu kṛcchrāsv-api cāgatāsu tvāṃ paśyatas-tasya bhaven-na duḥkham // 6.46 //

And even in the direst pickle, not a thing could trouble him, as long as you were in his sight.


tvaṃ nirvṛtiṃ gaccha niyaccha bāṣpaṃ taptāśru-mokṣāt parirakṣa cakṣuḥ /

Be happy. Don't keep crying. Spare your eyes from shedding molten tears.

yas-tasya bhāvas-tvayi yaś-ca rāgo na raṃsyate tvad-virahāt sa dharme // 6.47 //

The way he feels for you, and his passion, are such that he, bereft of you, will find no pleasure in the dharma.


syād-atra nāsau kula-sattva-yogāt kāṣāyam-ādāya vihāsyatīti /

Some might say that having worn the ochre robe, he won't relinquish it, by dint of noble birth combined with strength of character.

anātmanādāya gṛhonmukhasya punar-vimoktuṃ ka ivāsti doṣaḥ // 6.48 //

But, he put it on unwillingly, while looking forward to going home: what fault is there in taking it back off?"


iti yuvati-janena sāntvyamānā hṛta-hṛdayā ramaṇena sundarī sā /

Thus consoled by her little women when her husband had purloined her heart,

dramiḍam-abhimukhī pureva rambhā kṣitim-agamat parivāritāpsarobhiḥ // 6.49 //

Sundarī came to earth, just as Rambhā,5 with her heart turned towards Dramiḍa, came once upon a time, enfolded in the midst of sister apsarases.



saundaranande mahā-kāvye bhāryā-vilāpo nāma ṣaṣṭhaḥ sargaḥ //6//

The 6th canto in the epic poem Handsome Nanda, titled "A Wife's Lament."





1 The goddess of beauty, Lakṣmī, is portrayed in statues set on top of a lotus pedestal.

2 The original contains a play on rudantīm. “Howling” is rudantīm. “Lovely teethed-one” is cārudantīm.

3 Snehāt originally means “out of oiliness” and hence both “unctuously” and “tenderly.”

4 The words of latter woman, therefore, are a precursor to those of the Buddha and Ānanda in Cantos 10 & 11, whereas the unctuous but ineffectual words of the eloquent woman may be seen as a precursor to the words of the striver in Cantos 8 & 9.

5 Rambhā was reputedly the most gorgeous of all the apsarases, or celestial nymphs; she is also mentioned in 7.36.






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