Principal Dramatis Persone Udayana - King of Vatsa. Vasavadatta - Queen. Padmavati - Princess of Magadha. Yaugandharayana - Prime Minister. Rumanavan - Commander-in-Chief. The Clown. The Chamberlain. A religious student. Padmavati's Nurse. Svapna Vasavadatta Once upon a time, there ruled in Kausambi, the capital of the Vatsa country, a royal family of great prowess descended from Arjuna of Mahabharata fame. The most renowned prince of that line was Udayana who was not inferior in valour or magnanimity of soul of Arjuna himself. This prince was highly accomplished and was particularly famous for his skill in music and in elephant-hunting. It was his addiction to the latter that led him into captivity while yet he was very young. But we are not now concerned with this misadventure of his. It is sufficient to remember that at Ujjain, wher to he was taken as captive, he was required to teach playing on the vina to Vasavadatta, the Valiant. Udayana, charmed by the beauty of the princess, fell in live with her, and she also was smitten with a like passion for him. Escaping from the captivity soon, he returned with his pupil, the princess, to his capital Kausambi where he married her. The match was not unwelcome to Mahasena ar all. In fact his motive in capturing Udayana and employing him later as music-master to his daughter was that a natural affection might grow between them. But the prince had been too impatient in running away with Vasavadatta. Prevented thus from witnessing in the flesh their daughter united in happy wedlock to the youth of their choice, Mahasena and his queen celebrated the marriage with the portraits of the bride and the bridegroom, thereby deriving what little satisfaction they could. Udayana resumed sovereignty over his kingdom with Vasavadatta as his queen and, for some time, the couple lived happily together. There was also peace and plenty in the land. But adversity again overtook him, for the larger part of his kingdom was subjugated by his enemy Aruni. There was at that time another great kingdom more to the East-Magadha-with its capital at Rajagriha. Its king had lately died leaving the kingdom to his son, Darsaka. Darsaka had a sister named Padmavati who was of uncommon beauty and who, if what soothsayers had predicted was true, would one day become the queen of Udauana. Udayana had, as his chief minister, one Yaugandharayana by name who was known as much for his loyalty to his sovereign as for his cleverness in policies of state. When the minister whose whole intent now was to see supremacy restored to Udayana, came to know of the prediction about Padmavati, he made up his mind to secure her hand for his king; for, should she marry him, it would be easy to get back the lost kingdom with the aid of the king of Magadha. Any royal house in the country would have welcomed matrimonial alliance with the prince of Kausambi. But there was one insuperable difficulty. Udayana had already married Vasavadatta for whom he bore intense love, and nobody durst propose to him to take another to his wife. Yaugandharayana, however, would not be daunted by anything; and he devised a plan to achieve his purpose taking into his confidence Vasavadatta as well as Rumanvan, the commander-in-chief. What this plan was we shall presently see. Udayana, after his defeat by Aruni, was staying with his queen at a place called Lavanaka on the eastern frontier of his kingdom. Yaugandharayana then arranged with the commander-in-chief that, on a day on which the king had gone a-hunting, the royal camp should be set fire to, and the false news circulated that Vasavadatta had been burnt to death along with Yaugandharayana who attempted to save her life. This was accordingly done after Yaugandharayana and Vasavadatta had left Lavanaka. Udayana returned when his camp was almost in ashes; and, learning that both his beloved wife and his trusted minister had perished in the flames, greatly bewailed his destiny. He was on the point of throwing himself into the fire which was still blazing here and there, but was saved by the entreaties of Rumanvan. He, however, refused to be consoled, and recalling some one or other of the countless associations of his departed queen, he fainted again and again but was each time with great difficulty revived. After he was a little calmed, he was taken away from there with a view to turn his thoughts as far possible from Vasavadatta. Now Yaugandharayana, who had entrusted the burden of administration as well as the care of his master to his colleague, donned the garb of the ascetic, and set out eastwards towards Magadha with Vasavadatta, also in disguise, feigning that he was a pilgrim from Ujjain and representing the young lady accompanying him as his sister whom her husband had deserted. On their journey, they had to pass through dense and lonely forests and Basavadattawas subjected to much fatigue and many vexations, neither of which she as princess or as queen had ever known. Yaugandharayana had to comfort her often by pointing our how the wheel of Fortune turns and, in turning, lowers even the good, and by reassuring her of coming prosperity. As they approached Rajagriha they saw, in the woods they skirted the capital, a great many people-rather an unusual sight in a place which bore on it all the sighs of an abode of ascetic men and women. The fact was that after the death of the old king, his widowed queen, Darasaka's mother, had retired from the world and was living in a hermitage there, practising penance. That was the day on which her daughter Padmavati, the princess of Rajagriha, had come to pay her respects to her mother and receives her blessings. Naturally all the royal paraphernalia had followed her which accounted for the presence of so large a crowd in a place which one would expect to be lonely and secluded. To mark her visit to the forest, the princess had ordered it to be proclaimed that she would confer on any person staying there whatsoever he might ask for. "O Yeascetic dwellers of the forest! Listen, Listen, received sirs! Her Royal Highness, the princess of Magadha, returning your love by hers, offers you as presents whatever you may choose. Who heeds vessels? Who, clothes? And who that has duly completed his religious study seeks to pay the preceptor's fee? The princess in her devotion to virtue begs this favour of you-to tell her what she should give. Whoever wants anything may ask for it. To whom should she give? And what? Yaugandharayana who had just arrived there with Vasavadatta, when he heard this proclamation, thought he should seize the opportunity. He went up straight to the royal officer and desired to know if the princess would graciously take under her protection his sister till he returned from the pilgrimage which he pretended he had undertaken. Vasavadatta was greatly perplexed when she saw the new turn events were taking; but she dept quiet as she fully confided in the wisdom and goodness of Yaugandharayana. Besides, her love for Udayana was so deep that she deemed no hardship was too great to bear for his sake. The prayer of Yaugandharayana was in one sense simple and it would be easy to grant it, especially for it meant looking after a young and beautiful woman of good family in the absence of all her relations. "Your Royal Highness." said the Chief of her staff, "the request is a big one. How can we agree to grant it? Easy would it be to give away money, life, penance: or, for that matter, anything whatsoever; but hard it is to be surety for such a charge." But the princess had given her word and would not retract it. "Sir." said she," to proclaim first that whatsoever was wanted would be given and then to hesitate to give is not right. What he says, should be done." So Padmavati received Vasavadatta, whose very appearance showed that she was a high-born lady that had seen better days; and it so happened that at the first meeting itself, they two began to like each other. Vasavadatta, who had heard that Mahasena, her father, was desiring the princess for his daughter-in-law, left towards Padmavati like an elder sister; and Padmavati in her nobility of heart began to love and respect Vasavadatta as her senior. Just after Padmavati had plighted her word of Yaugandharayana for the care of Vasavadatta, a religious student from Lavanaka arrived there and he recounted how his study had been interrupted suddenly by a disastrous fire which, as he said, had not only killed the queen but, owing to the subsequent departure from there of the king, had rendered the place quite desolate. The vivid account which he gave of the lamentations of Udayana for his lost queen made a deep impression upon Padmavati; and she admired the prince so much for his tenderness and passion that love for him might be said to have stolen into her maiden heart then. After bidding adieu to them, the student pursued his way and Yaugandharauana also proceeded on his journey, the secret aim of which was to carry through the rest of his scheme for re-installing his master on his ancestral throne. The two princesses also reached in due course the palace at Rajagriha. Though sore at heart owing to separation from her lord, Vasavadatta appeared outwardly happy in the company of Padmavati; and being very discreet, she gave not the slightest clue to her identity during all her long stay there. To return of Udayana: the loss of his beloved queen and made life meaningless to him. Yet nobody could suggest to him the idea of marrying again. The very thought was unbearable to him. But time had its healing influence; and once when he was on a political visit at Darsaka's court, the entreaties of the bride's people induced him at last to consent to his marriage with Padmavati. Vasavadatta, as we know, all along believed that her own brother, the prince of Ujjain, was suitor for Padmavati's hand, and the news that she was engaged to marry Udayana was only casually made known to her. It happened thus: Once when Padmavati was indulging in some merry sport as became her. It happened thus: Once when Padmavati was indulging in some merry sport as became her maidenhood, Vasavadatta said to her: "You will, I know, be the daughter-in-law of Mahasena's queen," Padmavati asked her: "Who is Mahasena?" and then the following conversation took place:- VASAVADATTA.-There is one Pradyota, king of Ujjain who is called 'Mahasena' on account of his large and mighty army. PADMAVATI'S NURSE.-The Princess does not like to wed his son. VASAVADATTA.-Whom else does she like then? NURSE.-There is Udayana, king of Vatsa. The Princess admires him much. VASAVADATTA.-(To herself). So she wants to marry my lord. (Aloud) Why? NURSE.-Because of his great tenderness of heart. VASAVADATTA.-(To herself). I see, I see even so was it with me. NURSE.-Princess, suppose he is ugly? VASAVADATTA.- No, no, he is quite handsome. NURSE.-Friend, how do you know it? VASAVADATTA.-(To herself). My partiality for may lord has made me forget may resolve. What shall I do now? Yes, I see, (Aloud) Sister, thus the people of Ujjain say. Padmavati - That is likely. He is not a stranger to Ujjain; and beauty, as they say, is a joy for all.Though this incident reassured Vasavadatta that her lord was alive and well, and was so far a source of great relief, her feeling had another side which made her quite sad. Yet so strong of heart was she that she did not, even under such trying circumstances, reveal her identity. The wedding was soon arranged to take place at Rajagriha and, when the bridal day arrived, Vasabadatta herself, as Fate would have it, had to string the wedding garland which, according to custom, had to be entrusted to auspicious hands. She was chosen in particular for it, because of her high rank and her friendship for the bride, not merely for her skill in such work. When the marriage was over, Udayana remained at Rajagriha for some time. Vasavadatta, who was sorely distressed at the course which events had taken, would gladly have put an end to her life; but the hope that she might catch a glimpse of her sweet lord kept her alive. Now Padmavati had reared a beautiful flower-plant in the royal garden and it blossomed unusually well that season. Desirous of showing it to Udayana, she invited him to visit the garden; and herself, accompanied by Vasavadatta, went their early to await his arrival. When the two friends had seen and admired the wealth of flowers which the plant had borne, Vasavadatta asked, "Sister, How do you like your husband?" to which Padmavati replied: "Friend, I do not know what to say; but I cannot bear to be away from him". This made Vasavadatta introspective and she was saying to herself "Even Padmavati, who is but newly wedded to him feels thus! But I am yet alive!" when Padmavati interposed: "I have, however, one doubt," and added, "Was his Majesty as dear to Vasavadatta as he is to me?" Vasavadatta answered unawares—"Even more." Padmavati at once asked "How do you know?" Vasavadatta realised her mistake but it was too late and so added: "If she had not loved him so much, she would sot have stolen out of her father's house to follow him." At this stage, Padmavati's Nurse, who also was there, intervening, asked the Princess. "Why do you not, on a fit occasion, ask your lord to teach you how to play on the Vina?" Padmavati replied "I have already done so." Vasavadatta then eagerly enquired "And what was his reply?" and Padmavati said "Without uttering a syllable he fetched a deep sigh and kept quiet." It was certain from this that Udayana, recollecting the excellent qualities of Vasavadatta, was about to weep but restrained his tears out of regard for Padmavati's feelings. When Udayana arrived with the Vidushaka in the garden, Vasavadatta, as was the custom, retired into a bower near by, Padmavati also accompanying her; and from there the hapless lady looked upon her lord for the first time after her long separation. The conversation between him and his friend the Vidushaka made it clear to her how devoted to her memory the king was. All this, through consoling in one way, brought tears to her eyes, but under the pretext of not disturbing Padmavati from keeping company with Udayana, she returned to her apartment in the palace. One day, after this incident, Padmavati become ill; and when the news reached Udayana, he felt very uneasy; for over-much love always apprehends evil. He went to see his queen along with the Vidushaka to the garden-house where Padmavati was reported to be. But he did not find her, though the bed prepared for her was there. Expecting her soon, Udayana remained there and the Vidushaka, in order to while away time, began to narrate a story. The story was about Ujjain which at once put Udayana in mind of Vasavadatta. Observing the effect which it had on the king, the Vidushaka changed the theme of his story. By that time Udayana fell asleep. The night was growing cold; and the Vidushaka departed to fetch a shawl leaving the king alone who began to talk of Vasavadatta in his dream. At that time, Vasavadatta who also had heard of her friend's indisposition which, because it meant anxiety to her lord, was doubly disconcerting to her, came to the garden house to see her. When she came, she saw Udayana lying there on the couch; and, mistaking him for Padmavati, sat by his side. Just then Udayana said: O Vasavadatta, why have you not had your toilet?" Vasavadatta then discovered that it was not Padmavati but Udayana. While she was afraid that she had probably been discovered, Udayana muttered something from which she concluded that he was but dreaming. She accordingly made bold to stay there for sometime longer in order to have the satisfaction of looking well upon her lord. Udayana went on speaking in his dream; and Vasavadatta taking up the conversation gave answers to his dream questions:- Udayana - Ah! Dear! Ah! Dear pupil! Why don't you speak to me? Vasavadatta - Speak? Dear! I am speaking. Udayana - Are you angry with me? Vasavadatta - No, no; sad rather. Udayana - If you are not angry, why are you not wearing ornaments? Vasavadatta - Could there be any ornament better than being honoured thus by your love? Udayana - Are you thinking of the separation? Vasavadatta - (Angrily) Away! Talk of separation even now? Udauana - Then I shall appease you for having deserted you. (Stretches forth both hands) Fearing that her stay there longer might upset Yaugandharayana's plants, she resolved to leave the room; but, before doing so she lifted up Udayana's arm which was then hanging down and placed it on the couch. That act half awoke Udayana Realising the situation, Vasavadatta, through loath to part, left immediately; and Udayana followed her half-dreaming, but coming against the door-way, suddenly stopped. That awoke him fully but it was only after Vasavadatta had made good her escape. Udayana saw a lovelorn form flit across, but was scarcely able to say whether what he had seen in that flash between waking and dream was actually Vasavadatta or only a vision of her. When after some time the Vidushaka returned, Udayana, who was still thrilling with emotion, told him that he had encountered Vasavadatta alive; but, as might be expected, the Vidushaka laughed at him saying that it should have been either a dream or a delusion. To which Udayana replied:- "If it be a cream, delusion, let me throughout be so deluded". The incident made his grief for the lost queen all the more poignant. About this Udayana had to leave Rajagriha as the arrangements for the expedition against Aruni were complete, thanks chiefly to the untiring exertions of Yauganadharayana. Placing himself at the head of the allied armies of Vatsa and Magadha, he marched against the enemy and easily vanquished him. One day, after his victorious return, while Udayana was in an upstairs hall of the royal mansion at the capital, he heard sweet music played by a street mendicant; and he at once discovered that the notes were emanating from the vina which he had presented to his beloved Vasavadatta—so delicate was his perception of sound and so attached was he to Vasavadatta. We have referred above to Udayana's captivity at Ujjain which led to his marriage with Vasavadatta. It was with the romantic circumstances of that marriage that the Ghoshavati—for that was the name of the vina—was associated, and it was the very same instrument on which some one was playing in the street. Udayana at once made enquiries of the mendicant who revealed where and how he had secured it and in what plight it was when he saw it. It had been thrown upon brambles in a forest and it bore on its body the droppings of the winged folk of the forest. Udayana took the vina which the minstrel willingly made over to him and it once again brought vividly before his mind the whole tragedy of Vasavadatta; but it also helped him to spend his days closer, as it seemed to him, to his beloved lost. Now Vesavadatta's parents at Ujjain who had received the news of the restoration to Udayana of his lost kingdom, through sorrowing for the woeful loss of their daughter, sent envoys to congratulate him. They also sent, to serve as a sort of memento to him, the portraits of him self and Vasavadatta which they had used in the marriage they celebrated after his escape from Ujjain. The envoys were admitted into the presence of Udayana, when Padmavati also was with him. After the usual exchange of courtesies, the portraits were presented and when Padmavati was about to bow to the likeness of her departed sister, she at once observed the resemblance of the person portrayed where as Vasavadatta to the lady under her protection. When she mentioned this surprising resemblance to Udayana, he naturally grew anxious to see the lady but restrained himself when he learnt the circumstances in which she had come to be with Padmavati. Meanwhile Yaugandharayana also was there under the pretext of taking back his sister, and when the lady was sent for in response to his call, the identity of Vasavadatta was at once made known. Yaugandharayana also revealed him self and, through the was conscious that he had striven all along for nothing but what was good for the king explained with a quivering heart the motive which had prompted him to put this plan in operation. He implored the pardon of his sovereign for having separated his beloved queen from him for so long. The king thanked him for so long. The king thanked him after fully forgiving him and the party rejoiced of Vasavadatta which had so beautifully synchronised with the restoration to Udayana of full sovereignty over his kingdom. Vasavadatta's friendship for Padmavati was already old and firm; and so noble and generous was Padmavati herself that the knowledge that she had arrival in her did not in the least unsettle her mind. When it was suggested that the happy tidings should be communicated to the parents of Vasavadatta at Ujjain, Udayana said he would himself repair thereto with all; and so he did to the infinite joy of Mahasena and his queen.