Malati and Madhava

Dramatis Personell
Madhava -Hero, son of Minister Devarata.
Malati - Heroine, daughter of Minister Bhurivasu.
Makaranda - A friend of Madhava.
Kalahamsa -An attendant of Madhava.
Nandana - Companion of Bhurivasu's royal master.
Kamandaki - A Buddhistic nun.
Avalokita and Soudamani-Her pupils.
Lavangika - Malati's nurse.
Madayantika - Sister of Nandana.
Mandarik - Kalahamsa's sweetheart.
Aghoraghanta - A fanatic devotee of Kali.
Kapalakundala - His pupil.

Malati and Madhava  

Devarata and Bhurivasu were tow ministers of state - one employed in Vidarbha and the 
other in another kingdom whose capital was Padmavati. They were great
friends in youth when they pursued their studies together ; and before they parted, they 
had bowed to bring about matrimonial alliance between their children, if ever they
should become father. There was born of Devarata in course of time a son; and of 
Bhurivasu, a daughter: the veriest jewels among children. The boy was named
Madhava: and the girl, Malati. As Maghaba grew up and was fit to go out to learn, his 
father sent him to Padmavati. In selecting the place for study, Devarata had the
idea that Madhava's presence there might put his old friend in mind of the bridal 
compact, if he chanced to forget it. He also thought that the great personal charm of the
youth and the qualities of his ind would serve as an inducement to Bhurivasu to offer 
Malati in marriage to him. Bhurivasu had not at all forgotten the school-day
compact and the youthful couple would readily have been united in happy wedlock; but 
there was one formidable obstacle. The king of Padmavati had a boon companion
by name Nadana, who was neither young nor handsome; and he was seeking the hand 
of Malati through the king, Bhruivasu was in a fix. He could not agree to such an
ill-assorted match; nor could he openly refuse to give the girl in marriage to one that was 
the favourite of his royal master. When the king once actually broached the
matter, he thought it best to give an inoffensive but equivocal reply. There was then at 
Padmavati a Bhuddhistic nun, Kamandaki, who was a great friend of both
Devarata and Bhurivasu. In fact it was in her presence that they in their student days 
had plighted their would to see their children married. She had also known and
fondled Malati from her infancy, and was therefore as much interested as the girl's 
parents themselves in seeing her united to so worthy a youth as Madhava Kaandaki
was besides very clever; and her position as a nun gave her an advantage which a 
secular official like Bhruivasu could not well command. Bhurivasu, who knew the
friendship which Kamandaki bore him, entrusted the whole affair to her and remained 
unconcerned to all outward appearance. Kamadaki on her part was not unwilling,
though a nun, to undertake a good office of the sort-especially as she felt whenever she 
thought of the equal excellence of Malati and Madhava that they were almost
predestined to wed each other. 

Now it so happened that Malati was one day standing at an upper casement of her 
father's mansion as Madhava passed along the road below. She saw him, and seeing
in her case was loving. This love at first sight deepened as she watched him passing not 
unoften the same say. It soon became known to her attendants that she was in
love and that Madhava was her sweetheart. Kamandaki wanted first to see that the two 
young people fell in love with each other before she actively exerted herself to
bring about their union. Half of her wish had now been fulfilled ; and the other half also 
was soon accomplished by the cleverness of one of her pupils. Avalokita. It was
the spting season and the custom for youthful maidens then was to go to the Garden of 
Love outside the city to pay their adoration of Cupid there in the shrine dedicated
to that deity. Avalokita, who knew that Malati would also follow the custom, arranged that 
Madhava should be present in the garden at the time. He went there alone,
But seeing a vakula tree in full blossom approached it; and discovering a wealth of 
flowers adorning the ground beneath, he in a holiday mood picked up the new-fallen
flowers and began to string them into a garland of exquisite design. He had not yet 
reached to the end of his task when Malati who had been worshipping inside the
shrine came out. As Madhava saw her graceful form, he fell in love with her as quickly 
as she had done with him before. The sight so much distracted him that though
he continued making the garland, it left visible traces on his workmanship. Malati also 
came up to the tree with her attendants attracted by the flowers; and as she
neared the spot where Madhava stood, she saw him more closely then she had ever 
done before. Her demeanour and recognising Madhava in the youth that was there,
first exchanged smiles with one another and then jestingly drew their mistress's attention 
towards him. Madhava, as he saw her, espied marks of love already
deep-rooted in her though he could not guess who the fortunate youth was that had 
been the object of her interest. Soon after Malati, mounting a stately elephant that
had been waiting for her, left the garden for her home but not without casting back 
glances in the direction of Madhava. He noticed this sign of love for him, although he
hesitated to draw much hope from it. A little later Malati's nurse, Lavangika, returned to 
the place under the pretext of collecting the vakula flowers and told him how
very much her mistress admired the garland which he was making. Madhava replied that 
he deemed it his great good fortune that it had evoked the admiration of so
noble and beautiful a damsel; and, taking the garland from off his neck, gave it to 
Lavangika. From her, he learnt that the maiden that had stolen his heart when he was
feeling all helpless in her presence was no other than Malati, the daughter of the 
minister, Bhurivasu, his father's friend. 

Madhava stood there till he could no longer see the form of Malati. When she 
disappeared from his sight, he turned back only to discover that what had filled him with
joy but a moment ago had become a source of intense anguish to his heart. He left the 
place after some time and was returning slowly, dwelling on his new passion,
when he met his bosom friend, Makaranada, advancing towards him. They both sat 
down in an arbour there. Surprised to find the change that had suddenly come over
Madhava, Makaranda inquired of him as to its cause. After great pressure from him, 
Madhave opened his heart to his friend and told him how he had met Malati that
morning and what all had happened. Makaranda, when he learnt how love-forlorn 
Malatai seemed and with what eagerness she looked at Madhava, assured him that
she was in love with him; for virtue, as he said, is incapable of inconstancy and maidens 
like Malati will not allow their eyes to stray from the path which their hearts
have once taken. When Makaranda was giving other reasons to think so, Madhava's 
attendant Kalahamsa, who had for some time been in the same part of the garden
and had overhead all that had passed between the two friends, presented himself saying 
'This also', and handed over to Makaranda a portrait of his master. Pining with
love for Madhava, Malati had once put on canvas his likeness; and it was that very 
likeness that Kalahamsa had obtained through his beloved Mandarika and brought
here now. It helped greatly to confirm what Makarands had though was probable and 
what Madhava's own heart was persuading him to relieve ever since he had seen
Malati. Now Makaranda who had not met Malati but had just heart so much about her 
beauty and dignity suggested to his friend that he might point her portrait on the
same canvas so that he might delight him eyes by looking at it. Madhava consented; and 
not only did he paint her likeness there but also added the following couplet:- 

"Whatever lovely things in life there be, sole joy thou art to me, O Malati." 

Observing the two forms, Makaranda admired their mutual fitness and foretold that 
where God and Cupid had planned alike, nothing would go amiss. At that stage,
Mandarika, who as we know was instrumental in bringing away the portrait, came 
pursuing Dalahamsa and demanded it of him. When she got it and discovered it
improved in the manner mentioned, she pretended to be angry but inwardly felt glad that 
it would advancer the cause that was so dear to the heart of Bhurivasu. From
her, Madhava learnt how and when Malati had first seen him, and how deep he 
attachment for him was, Madarika went away taking the portrait with her. Madhava and
Makaranda also left the garden as the sun by then had reached the zenith.  

These incidents were soon made known to Kamandaki who was glad that the mutual 
love between Malati and Madhava to which she was looking forward had become
a matter of fact, and she went to meet Malati the same afternoon. She was at that time 
alone with Lavangika, the subject of their conversation naturally being

Malati : And what happened then, friend? 

Lavangika : Then the high-souled youth gave me the garland (Hands it over to Malati) 

Malati : (Receiving it and liking at it joyfully): It is unevenly strung in one portion.

Lavangika : You yourself are to blame for it.

Malati : How?

Lavangika : Because he was then so much taken off his mind by you.

Malati : Friend Lavangika, you seem to have made up your mind to comfort me under all 

Lavangika : Have I not told you that I saw with my own eyes clear signs of love in him?

Malati : Could it all be natural to him and we are deceived? Or is it as you guess?

Lavangika : (Ironically): Your deportment then, I suppose, was also natural!

Malati : (Bashfully). And then?

Lavangika : I returned and no my way went to Mandarika with whom. I had left the 
portrait in the morning.

Malati : With the intent?

Lavangika : You know she is in love with Kalahamsa. I thought she would show it to him 
and bring good news. 

Malati : (To herself): Could he have shown the portrait to his master? (To Lavangika). 
And news she has brought?

Lavangiaka : Here is the portrait and you see from it hat solace Madhava should have 
derived from it. (Shows the portrait to her). 

Malati : (Contemplating it): Alas! Even now my heart feels not sure. It despairs where it 
ought to hope. Oh! I see something written here, (Reads it), Illustrious youth,
your words are not less sweet than your form. But alas! your sight, thought so joyful 
then, has become a torment to me since. Lucky are those damsels that never meet
you; or having met, are not able to be mistresses over their hearts. 

At this stage Kamandaki stepped in accompanied by Avalokita; and in the conversation 
that followed, she artfully let fall the news that Malati was being sought by the
king for his favourite Nandana. The mention of this unwelcome suitor sent a dart, as it 
were, to the heart of Malati; and she wished she had not been born. Kamandaki
did not disclose her intention to thwart, if possible, Nandana's purpose; but she gave 
general advice which suggested that the choice of a husband against the will of the
elders in such circumstance was not without precedent in the history of virtuous 
maidens. Just than Avalokita reminded her of Madhava's indisposition, news of which
has reached them before; and it gave occasion for Malati to learn that the youth on 
whom she had set her heart was the son of the much-esteemed Devarata, her
father's great friend. His high birth recommended Madhava to her affections the more 
and it was a joy to her to find that her heart had, by instinct, made the right

On a certain day, Malati was to go to the temple of Sankara outside the city and worship 
the God of all auspiciousness with flowers gathered by herself. When
Kamandaki learnt of this, she instructed Madhava to be there at the time, with a view to 
bring about what may appear a casual interview between the two lovers.
Kamandaki also went there. Soon Malati arrived accompanied by Lavangika, bewailing 
her lot in life which had made Nandana her suitor and wondering if she would
ever again have the joy of meeting Madhava. After she had gathered flowers for the 
worship. Kamandaki made her sit under a shady tree to rest from the fatigue. Then
she spoke of the great merits of Madhava and mentioned how his passion for Malati was 
preying upon him. Lavangika in her turn informed Kamandaki of the similar
affection of her mistress owing to her love for Madhava and showed her the picture she 
had painted as well as the vakula garland she was wearing concealed round her
neck. While they were conversing thus to the great joy of Madhava who remained 
unseen near by, and Malati was ardently listening a sudden cry informed them that a
ferocious tiger kept in the neighbouring garden had burst open the doors of its iron cage 
and attacked Madayantika, sister of Nandana, the would-be bride-groom of
Malati. The news greatly agitated the party; and Madhava leaving the place where he 
was, stepped into their midst creating agreeable surprise in Malati and himself
feeling in her presence as if he were under a shower of heavenly ambrosia. Soon it 
transpired the Makaranda who had learnt of Nandana's efforts and was hastening to
be with Madhava lest the unwelcome news should unsettle him too much, saw the 
pitiable state in which Madayantika was and went to her rescue. Makaranda was
injured in his encounter with the tiger but he succeeded in slaying the animal and saving 
Madayantika from its fury. When Kamandaki and the rest went out, they saw
Makaranda had fainted and was being supported by Madayantika. Seeing his friend in 
that sad condition, Madhava also swooned. After some time both the friends
recovered, the one with Madayantika's ministrations and the other with Malati's loving 
caresses. The incident strengthened further the love between Malati and
Madhava. It also gave rise to a like affection between Makaranda and Madayantika 
which betrayed itself through 'intermingling looks'. At this juncture, a messenger
brought the news that the king had settled the marriage of Malati with Nandana; and 
Madayantika left with him to congratulate her brother. The news from Nandana
upset our hero who heard it for the first time now, and he cursed his fate which had 
planted in his heart such fruitless love. While Kamandaki was asking him to be of
good cheer, Bhurivasu's wife sent word to her to fetch Malati immediately. She left the 
place and Malati followed her thinking that she was liking upon Madhava for the
last time. Madhava also departed soon after along with Makaranda. 

With all his hopes thus suddenly blighted, Madhava felt that he could never more think of 
love of his matchless Malati. So in a desperate mood he went in the evening
towards the graveyard to invoke the aid of the spirits of the dead. But what was his 
surprise when he heard the wailings of Malati there! Forgetting his errand of despair,
he rushed in the direction from which the pitiful cry came, and reached the temple of 
Kali. When he went in, he saw a terrific votary of Kali there, Aghoraghanta by
name, standing with upraised sword and reciting a hymn. By his side stood a woman, 
Kapalakundala, his pupil. There was seated before them Malati decked in all the
symbols of the victim about to be sacrified. When Madhava saw her, she had the sweet 
syllables of his name on her lips which gave him one more proof of the secure
place he had won in her heart. Without waiting for a moment, he dispossessed 
Aghoraghanta of the sword he held; and, on inquiring Malati, he learnt that all that she
knew was that she retired to rest in her chamber but found herself in the temple when 
she awoke. The fact was the Aghoraghanta had taken a vow to offer in sacrifice
of Kali the most beautiful girl in the city for success in attaining some magic power and 
that was the final day of the vow. The choice had naturally fallen on Malati.
Neither her exalted rank nor the security common to it had prevented her being 
conveyed away from her paternal mansion by Kapalakundala who could wander in the
air. The result was this distressful scene in which Malati was in the presence of two such 
miscreants like an innocent fawn before two ferocious wolves. By this time
Bhurivasu's people who had discovered that Malati was missing came near the temple 
searching for her. Handing over Malati to their charge, Madhava questioned
Aghoraghanta about his fiendish undertaking. On his replying in an impertinent tone, a 
duel ensued between them in which Madhava sprang with rage against the
would-be perpetrator of the wicked deed and killed him. He left alone Kapalakundala 
because she as a woman. Malati was saved; but Kapala Kundala resolved to
wreak he vengeance upon the murderer of her chief. 

This mischance did not affect the arrangements for Malati's marriage with Nandana and 
once, when the wedding day approached, the king sent special presents to
Malati in the form of jewels and garments. It was proposed the Malati should put on the 
bridal apparel in the temple of the guardian deity of the town - a fit place for
such an auspicious act - and them meet the bridge-groom. Kamandaki, determined to 
discomfit Nandana, sent both Madhava and Makaranda there beforehand. She
then accompanied Malati to the temple, Lavangika also following them. Malati was in a 
miserable plight and her one thought was how to end her existence. When the
party had reached the temple, Kamandaki asked Lavangika to take Malati inside to offer 
worship. They both went in, and when Malati found herself alone with her
friend she spoke to he as followers:- 

MALATI: Sister Lavangika, your friend who is in great distress begs of you to meet 
Madhave after she is dead and speak to him consoling words so that he may do
nothing that will rob the world of such a prince among youths. Thus will you fulfil your 
friend's last wishes.

LAVANGIKA: May God avert all harm! I cannot bear to hear more of this.

MALATI: Friend, dear is Malati's life to you, not Malati herself.

LAVABGIKA: How do you mean?

MALATI: You ask me to survive this shame. This is now my resolve: I have offended the 
saviour of my life by becoming another's; and I want to atone for it by
ceasing to be. Don't you stand in my way (Falls at the feel of Lavangika) 

Then Lavangika motioned to Madhava who alone with Makaranda stood concealed 
within the shrine; and he, taking Lavangika's place gently, went on answering the
sad questions which Malati put. At last, half-agreeing that she might do as she pleased, 
he begged for he last embrace. Poor Malati, least suspecting who had replaced
Lavangika, rose with tearful eyes and threw herself into Madhava's arms thanking him 
for his permission. She thought of giving her friend as a final present the dearest
thing in her eyes-the vakula garland which she so much cherished ever since the day it 
had reached her. AS she was trying to transfer it from her. As she was trying to
transfer it from her neck to that of her friend, she discovered whom she was addressing. 
Madhava told her that she was too selfish in complaining of her own distress,
ignoring his at this time. Kamandaki came is; and, well pleased to find the time so 
propitious, betrothed Malati to Madhava showering her choicest blessings upon them

Kamandaki's plan compassed more than this betrothal. So she proposed that 
Makeranda should dress himself like Malati, wearing the clothes and putting on the
ornaments presented by the king, to meet Nadana. When Makaranda accordingly 
appeared in Malati's attire before the party, he produced immense merriment.
Kamandaki and Lavangika departed immediately with this mock-Malati, leaving our hero 
and heroine behind in charge of Avalokita, Makaranda played his new role so
cleverly that the wedding with Nabdaba was celebrated, his identity being suspected by 
nobody. It was arranged that Malati should be taken to the bride-groom's
residence in the evening. But meanwhile Nandana, impatient of meeting his new bride, 
approached Makaraanda in his usual vulgar mannar, but was repulsed by him
with disdain, Nandana was greatly offended. He had heard of Malati's love of Madhava, 
Making that the plea for rejecting her, he left his supposed bride in great wrath.
Kamandaki had succeeded in creating a dislike for Malati in Nandana's mind, but the 
final success of her plan was yet far from sight, as the king's attitude in the matter
had to be reckoned with. When the news of Malati's affront reached Madayantika, she 
felt the insult to her brother as her own and resolved to see Malati and prevail
upon her to agree to meet her brother in good humour. Madayantika reached 
Bhruivasu's residence with much indignation but as she entered Malati's apartment,
Makarnda noticing her come pretended to be asleep. Madayantika, unwilling to disturb 
him, seated herself on his couch and began to converse with Lavangika. After
they had referred to the untoward incident that had enraged Nandana, the conversation 
turned upon Madayantika's love for Makaranda, her deep love for him,
Makaranda was greatly pleased to listen to it. On her being cunningly asked whether, if 
Makarands was greatly pleased to listen to it. Oh her being cunningly asked
whether, if Makarands met her that moment and proposed to marry her, she would yield 
her assent, she replied that he who had hazarded his life for her sake had entire
liberty over her. Makaranda discovered himself then the Madayanatika, having agreed to 
run away with her lover, they all started in the night for the garden where
Malati and Madhava were. Meanwhile the city guards who had been apprised of the 
elopement, pursued the party and overtook them, Makarands stayed behind to meet
them, while the others advanced towards the garden to inform Madhave of all that had 
happened. Madhava started at once to assist his friend. In the on fusion that
followed. Malati stepped our alone in anxiety to look for her lord, Just at that time, 
Kapalakundala, who, as we know, had sworn revenge, came and carried Malati away.
She had been waiting all along for a fir opportunity to perpetrate her misdeed 
unobserved by anybody. Such an opportunity had now arrived and she conveyed Malati 
a hill known as Sri-parvata to tear her to piece there as she said. Madhava and 
Makaranada who had successfully routed the guards were conducted to the king. When
he learnt of their prowess and of their high range with his usual partiality for merit, 
pardoned them. When the two youths returned to the garden soon after, they were
sorely disappointed not to find Malati there and they immediately set out in search of her. 

The first place in which they liked for her was Kamandiki's residence. When they did not 
find her there, they grew suspicious; and when further search was equally
fruitless, they grew desperate and took her for lost. The grief of Madhava knew no 
bounds. As he was unable to bear the sight of the things associated with Malati,
Makaranda took him away to a wood skirting a hill some miles beyond the city, hoping 
that his friend might find some relief there. But it proved a change from bad to
worse. Any and every sight in that pretty wood would unbalance his mind and it needed 
all the cleverness which Makaranda could command to see that he did not go
mad over the loss of his love. One day when Madhava fainted and lay in a deathlike 
swoon, Makaranda, despairing of his recovery and feeling his own life a burden
make up his mind to drown himself in a river close by. But just at that time, an unfamiliar 
voice spoke to him asking him to forever Makaranda was more than surprised
and looking up discovered an ascetic lady before him. She asked whether he was 
Makaranda and on his answering I am that hapless being Soudamani - for that was her
name - told him that she had news of Malati and showed him the vakula garland in 
support of what she said Makaranda was overwhelmed with joy, and he dashed at
once with Soudamani to where Madhava was lying. Madhava had just recovered his 
consciousness. They saw him first blaming the god of wind for bringing him back to
consciousness from the swoon where he had found an escape from sorrow and then 
begging the same god with bowed head and joined hands to waft his life to where
Malati was or blow on something of her to him. AT that time Soudamani placed the 
garland in his hands. Madhava was overjoyed and the holy woman told him how she
had come by it. Sri-parvata where Kapalakundala had carried Malati away was the place 
where Soundamani performed penance. Oh hearing the screamings of Malati,
Soudamani went to her help and, after rescuing her from the clutches of Kapalakundala, 
had hastened to convey the good news knowing that Malati was so dear to her
former preceptor, Kamandaki, and to them all. Then suddenly Soudamani with her 
supernatural power disappeared taking away Madhava with her. Makaranda who
was left alone, not knowing what it might be and marvelling at the sport of fate as it 
seemed to him, resolved to go and report the whole matter to Kamandaki. She and
he friends, disgusted with the turn which affairs had taken in spite of their best efforts, 
had meanwhile repaired to the same wood,-there to fall from some precipice and
kill themselves. As Makaranda was relating to them what had happened, there we an 
unexpected flash of splendour and Madhava appeared with Malati restored to him,
thus preventing the wholesale tragedy that would otherwise have been enacted there 
that day. Soudamani also had accompanied Malati and Madhava; but hearing on
her way that Bhurivasu, grieving over the loss of his daughter, was about to end his life, 
had gone thither to prevent that calamity. She had succeeded in turning back the
sorrowing minister from his resolve by communicating to him in happy news of his 
daughter's safety. She soon returned to where Kamandaki and the others were with a
letter from the king, written in the presence of Nandana. The king, when apprised of 
everything, had written to Madhava graciously approving of not only his marriage
with Malati but also that of Makaranda with Madayantika. Fate proved to be friendly to 
the two couples in the end; and Love, though it had taken a chequered course,
was triumphant at last. 

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