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śrutvā tataḥ sad-vratam-utsisṛkṣuṃ bhāryāṃ didṛkṣuṃ bhavanaṃ vivikṣum /

Thus did he hear about Nanda's desire to abandon sincere practice, to see his wife, and to go home;

nandaṃ nirānandam-apeta-dhairyam-abhyujjihīrṣur-munir-ājuhāva // 10.1 //

And so the Sage summoned the joyless and weak-willed Nanda, wishing to take him up.


taṃ prāptam-aprāpta-vimokṣa-mārgaṃ papraccha citta-skhalitaṃ sucittaḥ /

When Nanda, having not yet arrived at liberation's path, arrived, he of the beautiful mind questioned him, whose mind was faltering.

sa hrīmate hrī-vinato jagāda svaṃ niścayaṃ niścaya-kovidāya // 10.2 //

Bowed down by humiliation, Nanda confessed to the one who was full of humility; he told his intention to a master intention-knower.


nandaṃ viditvā sugatas-tatas-taṃ bhāryābhidhāne tamasi bhramantam /

And so the Sugata, the One Gone Well, seeing Nanda wandering in the darkness called "wife,"

pāṇau gṛhītvā viyad-utpapāta maniṁ jale sādhur-ivojjihīrṣuḥ // 10.3 //

Took his hand and flew up into the sky, wishing to take him up -- like an honest man in the water bearing up a pearl.


kāṣāya-vastrau kanakāvadātau virejatus-tau nabhasi prasanne /

A shining gold they shone with their ochre robes, in the clear sky,

anyonya-saṃśliṣṭa-vikīrṇa-pakṣau saraḥ-prakīrṇāv-iva cakravākau // 10.4 //

Like a pair of greylag geese rising up from a lake, embracing one another with outstretched wings.


tau devadār-ūttama-gandha-vantaṃ nadī-saraḥ-prasravaṇaugha-vantam /

Filled with the heady fragrance of the divine deodar, full of rivers and lakes, and springs and gulches,

ājagmatuḥ kāñcana-dhātu-mantaṃ deva-rṣi-mantaṃ hima-vantam-āśu // 10.5 //

And filled with golden ore was the Himālayan mountain full of divine seers at which the two arrived, immediately.


tasmin girau cāraṇa-siddha-juṣṭe śive havir-dhūma-kṛtottarīye /

On that auspicious mountain -- which was frequented by celestial singers and saints and blanketed in smoke from burnt offerings --

agamya-pārasya nirāśrayasya tau tasthatur-dvīpa ivāmbarasya // 10.6 //

As if on an island in an unsupported sky, where no far shore is reached, the two stood.


śāntendriye tatra munau sthite tu sa-vismayaṃ dikṣu dadarśa nandaḥ /

While the Sage, his sense-power stilled, remained there standing, Nanda looked all around in amazement

darīś-ca kuñjāṃś-ca vanaukasaś-ca vibhūṣaṇaṃ rakṣaṇam-eva cādreḥ // 10.7 //

At the caverns and bowers and forest-dwellers that were the mountain's jewels and its guardians.


bahv-āyate tatra site hi śṛṅge saṃkṣipta-barhaḥ śayito mayūraḥ /

For there on a great long horn of white rock, lay a peacock with its tail feathers arrayed

bhuje balasyāyata-pīna-bāhor-vaiḍūrya-keyūra ivābabhāse // 10.8 //

So as to resemble, on the long and muscular arm of Bala, an armlet of cat's-eye gems.1


manaḥśilā-dhātuśilāśrayeṇa pītā-kṛtāṃso virarāja siṃhaḥ /

A lion with shoulders made orange from contact with the orange-red ore of 'the mind-rock,' arsenic,2

saṃtapta-cāmīkara-bhakti-citraṃ rūpy-āṅgadaṃ śīrṇam-ivāmbikasya // 10.9 //

Looked like Āmbika's3 crumpled armband of wrought silver streaked with refined gold.


vyāghraḥ klama-vyāyata-khelagāmī lāṅgūla-cakreṇa kṛtāpasavyaḥ /

A tiger moved unhurriedly and expansively, its tail curling around its right shoulder,

babhau gireḥ prasravaṇaṁ pipāsur-ditsan pitṛbhyo 'mbha ivāvatīrṇaḥ // 10.10 //

As it went to drink at a mountain spring: it looked like an offering to the ancestors, being made by somebody who has arrived at water.4


calat-kadambe himavan-nitambe tarau pralambe camaro lalambe /

A yak had got stuck in a dangling kadamba tree swaying on the Himālayan hillside:

chettuṃ vilagnaṃ na śaśāka bālaṃ kulodgatāṃ prītim-ivāryavṛttaḥ // 10.11 //

Unable to free its tangled tail, it was like a man of noble conduct who cannot break away from a kindness that has been shown in his House.


suvarṇa-gaurāś-ca kirāta-saṃghā mayūra-pittojjvala-gātra-lekhāḥ /

Communities of golden mountain-men, the Kirātas,5 their limbs streaked with shining peacock gall,

śārdūla-pāta-pratimā guhābhyo niṣpetur-udgāra ivācalasya // 10.12 //

Rushed out from their caves like flying tigers, as if spewed out of the unmoving mountain.


darī-carīṇām-atisundarīṇāṃ manohara-śroṇi-kucodarīṇām /

Hanging out in nooks and crannies, and going beyond Beauty with their heart-stealing hips, breasts and bellies,

vṛndāni rejur-diśi kinnarīṇāṃ puṣpotkacānām-iva vallarīṇām // 10.13 //

Were the bevies of kiṁnarīs who appeared in every quarter, like creepers with flowers in their upward winding curls.


nagān-nagasyopari devadārūn-āyāsayantaḥ kapayo viceruḥ /

Pestering the godly deodars,6 monkeys roved from peak to peak;

tebhyaḥ phalaṃ nāpur-ato 'pajagmur-mogha-prasādebhya iveśvarebhyaḥ // 10.14 //

Obtaining from those trees no fruit, they went away, as if from powerful masters whose favour is futile.


tasmāt-tu yūthād-alasāryamāṇāṃ niṣpīḍitālaktaka-rakta-vaktrām /

But lagging behind that troop was one whose face was red as pressed red resin --

śākhā-mṛgīm-eka-vipanna-dṛṣṭiṃ dṛṣṭvā munir-nandam-idaṃ babhāṣe // 10.15 //

A female monkey with one eye missing. Seeing her, the Sage spoke this to Nanda:


kā nanda rūpeṇa ca ceṣṭayā ca saṃpaśyataś-cārutarā matā te /

"Which, Nanda, in beauty and in manner, is the lovelier in your eyes:

eṣā mṛgī vaika-vipanna-dṛṣṭiḥ sa vā jano yatra gatā taveṣṭiḥ // 10.16 //

This one-eyed monkey, or the person who is the focus of your wishing?"


ity-evam-uktaḥ sugatena nandaḥ kṛtvā smitaṃ kiṃ-cid-idaṃ jagāda /

Addressed thus by the One Gone Well, Nanda said, with a slight smirk:

kva cottama-strī bhagavan vadhūs-te mṛgī naga-kleśa-karī kva caiṣā // 10.17 //

"How can a gap be measured, Glorious One!, between that most excellent of women your sister-in-law, and this tree-tormenting monkey?"


tato munis-tasya niśamya vākyaṃ hetv-antaraṃ kiṃ-cid-avekṣamāṇaḥ /

Then the Sage, hearing his protestation, and having in mind a slightly unconventional means,

ālambya nandaṃ prayayau tathaiva krīḍā-vanaṃ vajra-dharasya rājñaḥ // 10.18 //

Took hold of Nanda as before and proceeded to the pleasure-grove of the royal bearer of the thunderbolt.7


ṛtāv-ṛtāv-ākṛtim-eka eke kṣaṇe kṣaṇe bibhrati yatra vṛkṣāḥ /

There one by one, season by season, and moment by moment, trees convey their individual form;

citrāṃ samastām-api ke-cid-anye ṣaṇṇām-ṛtūnāṃ śriyam-udvahanti // 10.19 //

While some odd ones8 also bring out the combined manifold glory of all six seasons.


puṣyanti ke-cit surabhīr-udārā mālāḥ srajaś-ca granthitā vicitrāḥ /

Some produce garlands and wreaths9 which are fragrant and affecting, with variously interwoven strands,

karṇānukūlān-avataṃsakāṃś-ca pratyarthi-bhūtān-iva kuṇḍalānām // 10.20 //

And small round creations suited to the ear which are akin to earrings' opponents.


raktāni phullāḥ kamalāni yatra pradīpa-vṛkṣā iva bhānti vṛkṣāḥ /

Trees there that abound in red lotuses look like trees ablaze.

praphulla-nīlotpala-rohiṇo 'nye sonmīlitākṣā iva bhānti vṛkṣāḥ // 10.21 //

Different trees,10 growing full-blown blue lotuses,11 seem to have their eyes open.


nānā-virāgāṇy-atha pāṇḍarāṇi suvarṇa-bhakti-vyavabhāsitāni /

In various colourless hues, or else white; beautifully illuminated with golden dividing lines;

atāntavāny-eka-ghanāni yatra sūkṣmāṇi vāsāṃsi phalanti vṛkṣāḥ // 10.22 //

Beyond the weaving together of strands, being nothing but a unity; are the exquisite robes that trees there bear as fruit.12


hārān maṇīn-uttama-kuṇḍalāni keyūra-varyāṇy-atha nūpurāṇi /

Pearl necklaces and gemstones, supreme earrings, choicest armlets, and ankle bracelets,

evaṃ-vidhāny-ābharaṇāni yatra svargānurūpāṇi phalanti vṛkṣāḥ // 10.23 //

Are the kinds of ornament, fit for heaven, that trees there bear as fruit.13


vaiḍūrya-nālāni ca kāñcanāni padmāni vajrāṅkura-kesarāṇi /

There rise golden lotuses with beryl stems and diamond shoots and stamens;

sparśa-kṣamāṇy-uttama-gandhavanti rohanti niṣkampa-talā nalinyaḥ // 10.24 //

Receptive to touch, they have a scent of the ultimate: still pools without ripples allow them to grow.14


yatrāyatāṃś-caiva tatāṃś-ca tāṃs-tān vādyasya hetūn suṣirān ghanāṃś-ca /

All kinds of musical instrument, with lengthened [sinews] and widened [skins], with open tubes and solid substance,

phalanti vṛkṣā maṇi-hema-citrāḥ krīḍā-sahāyās-tridaśālayānām // 10.25 //

Are born there as fruit, by the distinctively bejewelled and gilded trees which are the heaven-dwellers' playing companions.15


mandāra-vṛkṣāṃś-ca kuśe-śayāṃś-ca puṣpānatān koka-nadāṃś-ca vṛkṣān /

Over mandāra coral trees, and over trees weighed down with water-lily and ruddy lotus blossoms,

ākramya māhātmya-guṇair-virājan rājāyate yatra sa pārijātaḥ // 10.26 //

The 'Full Grown' Coral, shining there with majestic qualities, steps up and reigns supreme.16


kṛṣṭe tapaḥ-śīla-halair-akhinnais-tripiṣṭapa-kṣetra-tale prasūtāḥ /

Growing there, on soil tilled in Indra's heaven by unwearying ploughs of austerity and discipline,

evaṃ-vidhā yatra sadānuvṛttā divaukasāṃ bhoga-vidhāna-vṛkṣāḥ // 10.27 //

Are such trees as these, which are always adapting to provide for sky-dwellers' enjoyment.


manaḥśilābhair-vadanair-vihaṃgā yatrākṣibhiḥ sphāṭika-saṃnibhaiś-ca /

Birds there have bright red beaks, the colour of red 'mind-rock' arsenic; and crystalline eyes;

śāvaiś-ca pakṣair-abhilohitāntair-māñjiṣṭhakair-ardha-sitaiś-ca pādaiḥ // 10.28 //

And wings a deathly shade of yellow, with intensely red tips; and claws as red as red dye, but half white.17


citraiḥ suvarṇac-chadanais-tathānye vaiḍurya-nīlair-nayanaiḥ prasannaiḥ /

Birds which are -- again -- different, with distinctively golden wings and bright, beryl-blue eyes,

vihaṃgamāḥ śiñjirikābhidhānā rutair-manaḥ-śrotra-harair bhramanti // 10.29 //

Birds called śiñjirikas fly to and fro, carrying away minds and ears with their songs.18


raktābhir-agreṣu ca vallarībhir-madhyeṣu cāmīkara-piñjarābhiḥ /

Adorned with curling feathers that are red at the tips, golden in the middle,

vaiḍūrya-varṇābhir-upānta-madhyeṣv-alaṃkṛtā yatra khagāś-caranti // 10.30 //

And the colour of beryl within borders, birds there move.19


rociṣṇavo nāma patatriṇo 'nye diptāgni-varṇā jvalitair-ivāsyaiḥ /

Winged ones of a different ilk, named rochiṣṇus, who have the lustre of a blazing fire, their faces seeming to be aglow,

bhramanti dṛṣṭīr-vapuṣākṣipantaḥ svanaiḥ śubhair-apsaraso harantaḥ // 10.31 //

Roam around, shaking views with their wonderful appearance, and carrying apsarases away with their splendid sound.20


yatreṣṭa-ceṣṭāḥ satata-prahṛṣṭā nirartayo nirjaraso viśokāḥ /

There, merit-makers do whatever they like; constantly erect, they are free from pain, free from aging, and beyond sorrow;

svaiḥ karmabhir-hīna-viśiṣṭa-madhyāḥ svayaṃ-prabhāḥ puṇya-kṛto ramante // 10.32 //

Each by his actions inferior, superior, or in the middle, each letting his own light shine, the merit-makers rejoice.


nityotsavaṃ taṃ ca niśāmya lokaṃ nis-tandri-nidrārati-śoka-rogam /

Seeing that world to be in a perpetually elevated state, free from tiredness, sleep, discontent, sorrow, and disease,

nando jarā-mṛtyu-vaśaṃ sadārtaṃ mene śmaśāna-pratimaṃ nṛ-lokam // 10.33 // (EHJ: 10.34)

Nanda deemed the ever-afflicted world of men, under the sway of aging and death, to be akin to a cremation ground.


aindraṃ vanaṃ tac-ca dadarśa nandaḥ samantato vismaya-phulla-dṛṣṭiḥ /

Nanda beheld Indra's forest all around him, his eyes wide open with amazement.

harṣānvitāś-cāpsarasaḥ parīyuḥ sagarvam-anyonyam-avekṣamāṇāḥ // 10.34 // (EHJ: 10.35)

And the apsarases surrounded him, bristling with joyous excitement, while eyeing each other haughtily.


sadā yuvatyo madanaika-kāryāḥ sādhāraṇāḥ puṇya-kṛtāṃ vihārāḥ /

Eternally youthful and devoted purely to Love, the apsarases are zones of recreation open to all who have made merit;

divyāś-ca nir-doṣa-parigrahāś-ca tapaḥ-phalasyāśrayaṇaṃ surāṇām // 10.35 // (EHJ: 10.36)

They are the heavenly and innocent resort of gods, their reward for ascetic practices.


tāsāṃ jagur-dhīram-udāttam-anyāḥ padmāni kāś-cil-lalitaṃ babhañjuḥ /

Odd ones among those women sang, in low and in high voices; some pulled lotuses apart, playfully;

anyonya-harṣān nanṛtus-tathānyāś-citrāṅga-hārāḥ stana-bhinna-hārāḥ // 10.36 // (EHJ: 10.37)

Others in the same vein danced, bristling with mutual delight, limbs making exotic gestures, breasts perturbing pearl necklaces.


pūrvaṃ tapo-mūlya-parigraheṇa svarga-krayārthaṃ kṛta-niścayānām /

Here, having first accepted the price in austerities and made the decision to splash out on heaven,

manāṃsi khinnāni tapo-dhanānāṃ haranti yatrāpsaraso laḍantyaḥ // 10.37 // (EHJ: 10.33)

Ascetics rich in austerities have their weary minds enthralled by the flirting apsarases.


kāsāṃ-cid-āsāṃ vadanāni rejur-vanāntarebhyaś-cala-kuṇḍalāni /

The faces of some of these women, ear-rings atremble, peeped through chinks in the undergrowth

vyāviddha-parṇebhya ivākarebhyaḥ padmāni kādamba-vighaṭṭitāni // 10.38 //

Like duck-dunked lotuses peeping through scattered and displaced leaves.


tāḥ niḥsṛtāḥ prekṣya vanāntarebhyas-taḍit-patākā iva toya-debhyaḥ /

When he saw them emerging from their forest niches like ribbons of lightning from rainclouds,

nandasya rāgeṇa tanur-vivepe jale cale candramasaḥ prabheva // 10.39 //

Nanda's body trembled with passion like moonlight on rippling water.


vapuś-ca divyaṃ lalitāś-ca ceṣṭās-tataḥ sa tāsāṃ manasā jahāra /

Their heavenly form and playful gestures he then mentally seized;

kautūhalāvarjitayā ca dṛṣṭyā saṃśleṣa-tarṣād-iva jāta-rāgaḥ // 10.40 //

And, while his eye was appropriated by curiosity, he became impassioned, as if from a thirst for union.


sa jāta-tarṣo 'psarasaḥ pipāsus-tat-prāptaye 'dhiṣṭhita-viklavārtaḥ /

He became thirsty, desirous of drinking up the apsarases, afflicted by a pervading itch to have them.

lolendriyāśvena mano-rathena jehrīyamāṇo na dhṛtiṃ cakāra // 10.41 //

Dragged along by the mind-chariot whose horse is the restless power of the senses, he could not come to stillness.


yathā manuṣyo malinaṃ hi vāsaḥ kṣāreṇa bhūyo malinī-karoti /

For just as a man adds soda ash to dirty clothes and thereby makes them even dirtier

mala-kṣayārthaṃ na malodbhavārthaṃ rajas-tathāsmai munir-ācakarṣa // 10.42 //

Not in order to increase dirt but in order to remove it, so the Sage had stirred the dust of passion in Nanda.


doṣāṃś-ca kāyād bhiṣag-ujjihīrṣur-bhūyo yathā kleśayituṃ yateta /

Again, just as a healer who wishes to draw faults from the body would endeavour to aggravate those faults,

rāgaṃ tathā tasya munir-jighāṃsur-bhūyastaraṃ rāgam-upānināya // 10.43 //

So, wishing to kill the red taint of passion in him, the Sage brought about an even greater passion.


dīpa-prabhāṃ hanti yathāndhakāre sahasra-raśmer-uditasya dīptiḥ /

Just as a light in the dark is extinguished by the thousand-rayed brightness of the rising sun,

manuṣya-loke dyutim-aṅganānām-antar-dadhāty-apsarasāṃ tathā śrīḥ // 10.44 //

So the lovely radiance of women in the human world is put in the shade by the brilliance of the celestial nymphs.


mahac-ca rūpaṃ svaṇu hanti rūpaṃ śabdo mahān hanti ca śabdam-alpam /

Great beauty blots out lesser beauty, a loud noise drowns out a small noise,

gurvī rujā hanti rujāṃ ca mṛdvīṃ sarvo mahān hetur-aṇor-vadhāya // 10.45 //

And a severe pain kills a mild pain -- every great stimulus tends towards the extinction of a minor one.


muneḥ prabhāvāc-ca śaśāka nandas-tad-darśanaṃ soḍhum-asahyam-anyaiḥ /

And Nanda was able, relying on the power of the Sage, to endure that sight unendurable to others.

avītarāgasya hi durbalasya mano dahed-apsarasāṃ vapuḥ-śrīḥ // 10.46 //

For the mind of a man lacking dispassion, when he was weak, would be burned up by the apsarases' shining splendour.


matvā tato nandam-udīrṇa-rāgaṃ bhāryānurodhād-apavṛtta-rāgam /

Deeming then that Nanda was roused to a new height of passion, his passion having turned from love of his wife,

rāgeṇa rāgaṃ pratihantu-kāmo munir-virāgo giram-ity-uvāca // 10.47 //

And desiring to fight passion with passion, the dispassionate Sage spoke these words:


etāḥ striyaḥ paśya divaukasas-tvaṃ nirīkṣya ca brūhi yathārtha-tattvam /

"Look at these women who dwell in heaven and, having observed, truly tell the truth:

etāḥ kathaṃ rūpa-guṇair-matāste sa vā jano yatra gataṃ manas-te // 10.48 //

Do you think more of these women with their lovely form and excellent attributes or the one upon whom your mind has been set?"


athāpsaraḥsv-eva niviṣṭa-dṛṣṭī rāgāgnināntar-hṛdaye pradīptaḥ /

So, letting his gaze settle upon the apsarases, burning in his innermost heart with a fire of passion,

sa-gadgadaṃ kāma-viṣakta-cetāḥ kṛtāñjalir-vākyam-uvāca nandaḥ // 10.49 //

And stammering, with a mind stuck on objects of desire, Nanda joined his hands like a beggar and spoke.


haryaṅganāsau muṣitaika-dṛṣṭir-yadantare syāt-tava nātha vadhvāḥ /

"Whatever difference there might be, Master, between that one-eyed she-monkey and your sister-in-law,

tad-antare 'sau kṛpaṇā vadhūs-te vapuṣmatīr-apsarasaḥ pratītya // 10.50 //

Is the same when your poor sister-in-law is set against the lovely apsarases.


āsthā yathā pūrvam-abhūn-na kā-cid-anyāsu me strīṣu niśāmya bhāryām /

For just as previously, when I beheld my wife, I had no interest in other women,

tasyāṃ tataḥ-samprati kā-cid-āsthā na me niśāmyaiva hi rūpam-āsām // 10.51 //

So now when I behold their beauty I have no interest in her.


yathā pratapto mṛdunātapena dahyeta kaś-cin mahatānalena /

Just as somebody who had been pained by mild sunshine might be consumed by a great fire,

rāgeṇa pūrvaṃ mṛdunābhitapto rāgāgninānena tathābhidahye // 10.52 //

So I who was previously toasted by a mild passion am now roasted by this blaze of passion.


vāg-vāriṇāṃ māṃ pariṣiñca tasmād-yāvan-na dahye sa ivābja-śatruḥ /

Therefore pour on me the water of your voice, before I am burned, as was The Fishes' Foe;21

rāgāgnir-adyaiva hi māṃ didhakṣuḥ kakṣaṃ sa-vṛkṣāgram-ivotthito 'gniḥ // 10.53 //

For a fire of passion is going now to burn me up, like a fire rising up to burn both undergrowth and treetops.


prasīda sīdāmi vimuñca mā mune vasundharā-dhairya na dhairyam-asti me /

Please, O Sage firm as the earth, I am sinking. Liberate me who am without firmness.

asūn vimokṣyāmi vimukta-mānasa prayaccha vā vāg-amṛtaṃ mumūrṣave // 10.54 //

I shall give up my life, O Man of Liberated Mind, unless you extend to a dying man the deathless nectar of your words.


anartha-bhogena vighāta-dṛṣṭinā pramāda-daṃṣṭreṇa tamo-viṣāgninā /

For a snake whose coils are calamity, whose eyes are destruction, whose fangs are madness, whose fiery venom is dark ignorance:

ahaṃ hi daṣṭo hṛdi manmathāhinā vidhatsva tasmād-agadaṃ mahā-bhiṣak // 10.55 //

The snake of love has bitten me in the heart. Therefore, Great Healer, supply the antidote!


anena daṣṭo madanāhinā hi nā na kaś-cid-ātmany-anavasthitaḥ sthitaḥ /

For nobody bitten by this snake of love remains anything but unsettled in himself

mumoha vodhyor-hy-acalātmano mano babhūva dhīmāṃś-ca sa śantanustanuḥ // 10.56 //

Bewildered was the mind of Vodhyu, whose essence had been immovability, while 'Good-Body' Śan-tanu, who had been a sensible man, grew gaunt.22


sthite viśiṣṭe tvayi saṃśraye śraye yathā na yāmīha vasan diśaṃ diśam /

In you who abides conspicuously in the state of refuge, I seek refuge. So that I do not wander through this world loafing in this place and that place;

yathā ca labdhvā vyasana-kṣayaṃ kṣayaṃ vrajāmi tan-me kuru śaṃsataḥ sataḥ // 10.57 //

So that I might come to and then go beyond that abode which is my adversity-ending end, please, repeatedly I plead that you help me."


tato jighāṃsur-hṛdi tasya tat-tamas-tamo-nudo naktam-ivotthitaṃ tamaḥ /

Desiring to dispell that darkness in his heart like the moon dispersing the darkness that rises by night,

maha-rṣi-candro jagatas-tamo-nudas-tamaḥ-prahīṇo nijagāda gautamaḥ // 10.58 //

Then spoke the moon of great seers, the disperser of the world's darkness, the one devoid of darkness – Gautama:


dhṛtiṃ pariṣvajya vidhūya vikriyāṃ nigṛhya tāvac-chruta-cetasī śṛṇu /

"Embrace firmness, shake off indecision, get a grip of hearing and of heart, and listen!

imā yadi prārthayase tvam-aṅganā vidhatsva śulkārtham-ihottamaṃ tapaḥ // 10.59 //

If you desire these women practise now the utmost asceticism to pay their price.


imā hi śakyā na balān-na sevayā na saṃpradānena na rūpavattayā /

For these women are conquered neither by force nor by service, neither by gifts nor by good looks;

imā hriyante khalu dharma-caryayā sacet praharṣaś-cara dharmam-ādṛtaḥ // 10.60 //

They are mastered just by dharma-conduct. If aroused, practise dharma diligently.


ihādhivāso divi daivataiḥ samaṃ vanāni ramyāṇy-ajarāś-ca yoṣitaḥ /

Perching here in heaven with gods; delightful forests; ageless women --

idaṃ phalaṃ svasya śubhasya karmaṇo na dattam-anyena na cāpy-ahetutaḥ // 10.61 //

Such is the fruit of your own pure action. It is not conferred by another; nor is it without cause.


kṣitau manuṣyo dhanur-ādibhiḥ śramaiḥ striyaḥ kadā-cidd-hi labheta vā na vā /

Through strenuous efforts on earth -- drawing a bow and suchlike -- a man may sometimes win women, or else he may not;

asaṃśayaṃ yat-tv-iha dharma-caryayā bhaveyur-etā divi puṇya-karmaṇaḥ // 10.62 //

But what is certain is that, through his practice of dharma here and now, these women in heaven can belong to a man of meritorious action.


tad-apramatto niyame samudyato ramasva yady-apsaraso 'bhilipsase /

So delight in restraint, being attentive and ready, if you desire to secure the apsarases,

ahaṃ ca te 'tra pratibhūḥ sthire vrate yathā tvam-ābhir-niyataṃ sameṣyasi // 10.63 //

And I guarantee that, insofar as you persist in your observance, you certainly shall be one with them."


ataḥ-paraṃ paramam-iti vyavasthitaḥ parāṃ dhṛtiṃ parama-munau cakāra saḥ /

"From now on, I will!" he agreed. Believing intently in the supreme Sage, he had become extremely determined.

tato muniḥ pavana ivāmbarāt patan pragṛhya taṃ punar-agaman-mahī-talam // 10.64 //

Then the Sage, gliding down from the sky like the wind, brought him back down again to earth.




saundaranande mahākāvye svarga-nidarśano nāma daśamaḥ sargaḥ /

The 10th canto in the epic poem Handsome Nanda, titled "A Vision of Heaven."






1 Bala means Bala-rāma, the elder brother of Kṛṣṇa and third of the Rāmas, regarded as the 8th avatar of Viṣṇu. In contrast to his brother, Kṛṣṇa, who is shown as dark blue or black, Bala is generally depicted as being fair skinned (hence the comparison to a long horn of white rock), and as wearing armlets.

2 Orange-red arsenic ore, or realgar, is manaḥ-śilā, lit. “mind-rock.” The compound might be a clue to something that Aśvaghoṣa is intending to draw to the reader's attention in this Canto, namely the material basis for even the most exotic and outlandish mental phenomena. What we imagine always has its basis in what we have experienced. Investigating how a buddha imagines heaven to be, we can learn something about how a buddha experiences the world – as, for example, governed absolutely by cause and effect.

3 The name Āmbika is a conjecture, but evidently the reference is to some mythical figure; the point might be that a lion's mane (something real, albeit imagined to exist in Indra's heaven) resembled something mythical or legendary.

4 The tail curling around the right shoulder may allude to the traditional method of wearing a kaṣāya, with the right shoulder bare. Arriving at water might suggest the state of a tathāgata, one who has arrived at reality.

5 Kirāta mountain men were said to be golden; they were famous, or infamous, for their abandonment of all religious rites and views (in the Brahmanical tradition, they were regarded as heretics). As an adjective, the final word of the verse, ācala, means “not moving” or “immoveable”; as a noun it means a mountain. See also 3.7.

6 Deva-dāru, as in 10.5, lit. means “divine tree.” Because of its heady fragrance, the deodar tree was assigned a certain divinity, to which the behaviour of greedy monkeys is comically opposed.

7 I.e. Indra.

8 Anye means other. At the same time it means different, odd, individual, atypical, not conforming to ideas and expectations. This use of the Sanskrit word anya may thus be understood as similar to the use of the Chinese/Japanese character (HI), non-, in the phrase 非仏 (HI-BUTSU), “non-buddha.” A non-buddha means a buddha as a real individual.

9 Mālā and sraj, wreath and garland, are the names of metres used in Sanskrit poetry.

10 Anye vṛkṣāḥ again means different trees, or trees that are not what people think of as trees, as in Yakusan's famous phrase describing the practice of sitting-dhyāna as 非思量 (HI-SHIRYO), “non-thinking.”

11 Whereas blazing redness symbolizes the passions, a blue lotus, which comes into full bloom in cool pools at the height of the hot season, is a symbol of coolness and hence enlightenment.

12 Another allusion to the robe. Verses 10.19-22, then, relate to things in Indra's paradise that seem to have religious, spiritual, or holistic meaning – like poetic words, symbols of Buddhist enlighenment, and traditionally-sewn robes.

13 The ornaments described in this verse, from a spiritual viewpoint, might be meaningless baubles. The verse can thus be taken as antithetical to the previous four verses.

14 Golden lotuses with beryl stems can be understood as symbolizing what transcends the opposition between red and blue, profane and spiritual, organic and inorganic, material and immaterial, et cetera. That they grow out of stillness seems to acknowledge yogic practices that allow body and mind to come to quiet.

15 Krīḍā, play or sport, suggests enjoyment of actions, like standing, walking, lying down, and sitting.

16 The mandāra and pārijāta tree are the same species of tree – the majestic coral tree. But pārijāta literally means “fully developed”; so it suggests something mature, fully transcendent, and ultimate – for example, a fully enlightened buddha's sitting practice, which might be both exactly the same as, and totally beyond, the sitting practice of you and me.

17 The four colours mentioned here, 1. the red of 'mind-rock'; 2. transparency, or absence of independent colour; 3. deathly yellow still tinged with red; 4. contrast or opposition between red and white, may be taken as symbolizing our painful struggles as ordinary, unenlightened people in the world.

18 Anye vihaṁgamāḥ, “birds which are different,” may once again be taken as symbols of those non-buddhas who have mastered the practice of non-thinking, and on that basis talk the talk of dharma beautifully and inspiringly.

19 The verse points us away from figurative expression back into the reality in which birds are not interested in symbolizing anything, and they don't live anywhere else but in the present moment of their action.

20 These birds, like the 'Full Grown' Coral Tree, seem to have something especially transcendent and energetic about them.

21 Abja-śatruḥ lit. “the enemy of the water-born,” can be understood as another name for mīnaripu (The Fishes' Foe) mentioned in 8.44.

22 Śan-tanu is the king mentioned by Nanda in 7.41 and 7.44. No reference to Vodhyu has been traced.






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