Vikramorvasiyam Dramatis presonie Pururavas - King of Pratishtana, the Hero of the Play. Marivaka - The Vidushaka, the confidential companion of the King. Ayus - The son of the King. Narada - A divine sage, son of Brahama. Chitrarada - The King of the Gandharvas. Kanchuki - The Chamberlain. Kesin - A demon. Indra - The Lord of the Gods of King of Heaven. Bharata - A holy sage, the founder of Hindu Drama. Urvasi - A nymph of Heaven, the Heroine of the play. Chitralekha - Another nymph, Her friend, or maiden Attendant. Satyavati - The wife of Chyavana. Vikramorvasiyam The morning sun was shining and the ethereal space was brightly lit when a number of celestial damsels flying on the cloudy path suddenly sent a shriek for help. These were the Apsarases that wait upon the divine court of Indra, and that day they had been returning from their attendance upon Kubera the lord of wealth, when suddenly a Rakshasa by name Kesin, the ruler of Hiranayapura waylaid them and kidnapped Urvasi the gem of their group, along with her attendant Chitralekha. Hence it was that the Apsarases cried for succour and besought the help of any friend of the Devas who might be passing that way at that hour. King Pururavas the mighty, the grandson of the sun god (Surtya), and the ruler of Pratisthana Nagar was returning in his aereal car from the solar sphere where he had gone to attend upon the sun god, and heard the cry for help from the heavenly maidens. He hastened to them and the ladies with drooping faces and frightened looks quickly related to him what had befallen to their friend, whereupon the heroic Pururavas ascertained the direction in which the demon ran away, pursued and killed him with one arrow. He thus rescued both the maidens who for fear could not at first sight even know their deliverer, got them into his chariot and carried them off to their companions who had all the while been anxiously waiting on the top of the Hemakuta mountain, to know what has become of the king's attempt to release their friend. Urvasi our of mere fright was unconscious all along but was soon brought back to consciousness in the company of her friends. Great was the joy at the time of the meeting and many were the expressions of gratitude poured upon Pururavas, but he was too much engrossed in looking at the faultlessly beautiful form of Urvasi and was saying to himself Rightly did Narayana create her from his thigh to excel all celestial beauty, Urvasi who, by this time, could fully understand to whom she owed her deliverance, saw in the person of the king reason to thank the demons for being instrumental in bringing about that present situation. Urvasi and Pururavas were smitten with love for each other and they were alone for a time in that crowd. By this time the danger that had befallen Urvasi became known to Indra, who sent Chitraradha the king of the Gandharvas to fly to relieve her from the demon, and Chitraradha starting on his commission came to know of the deliverance effected by Pururavas. He soon joined the rejoicing group of damsels and thanked the king in the name of Indra, for having thus restored that magnificent jewel of the celestial court. Pururavas expressed his obeisance to the lord of heavens, delivered Urvasi formally and excused himself for not being able to accompany him to the capital of Svarga on account of certain duties he had to discharge at that time in his own capital. They departed and Urvasi, while rising from the top of the mountain into the skies, got her necklace entangled into a thicket and requested the help of her attendant. So she stayed a few minutes more than the others and threw her last amorous glances at the king before she finally departed to the heavens. Pururavas felt, as if the flying Urvasi had been carrying away his heart along with her, like the swan that flies away with the broken lotus stalk entangled in her feet. The king returned to h is abode and bean to attend to his normal duties, but very soon a change in his person was discerned by people who were near and dear to him. The one that was most affected was the Queen the daughter of the king of Benares, who grew very anxious to know the cause of the king's sullenness and desire for a sort of retired life. The only one that was aware of the king's secret was the Vidushaka, who had been the king's personal attendant in most of his love affairs and though he was enjoined by the king to observe the utmost secrecy with reference to this affair, could not contain himself and was too ready to give our the information to the first individual that happened to see him, when the female attendant of Her Majesty came to him with the very intention of fishing our the information from him. She could very easily learn from him shat the king was in love with Urvasi and at once carried it to the ears of the queen. By the time the king greed himself from the duties of the state and came back to his wonted abode of solitude to pore upon the picture of Urvasi that had permanently been impressed upon his mind. He met there his friend the Vidushaka, and both of them sat together thinking of the topic so dear to the king. At the suggestion of the Vidushaka they removed to the pleasure grove (Premadavana) hoping that the king would possibly derive some solace from the beautiful scenery around him. On the other hand the cool wafting breezes, the cuckoo's sweet cooing and the chirping of the happy birds soon fanned the fire of love, which burned in him with all the greater intensity. While the king was passing his tedious hours in his pleasure grove, the condition of Urvasi was in no way enviable. The pleasures of paradise after which everybody hankers, were the most painful to her, removed as she was from her lover. Snatching a few hours of leisure and accompanied by her attendant Chitralekha she flew down to the mortal world to feast upon the sight of the idol of her heart. On the way she felt how immodest her action was, but the motive force of love was sufficiently strong to carry her through the journey, and soon she discovered her lover in his Premadavana quite absorbed in his own thoughts of love. She saw him so occupied but was not sure if she was herself the object of the king's adoration, and so wanted to overhear their conversation by remaining invisible. She did so and was very soon convinced of his love to her. Not willing to keep him any longer in uncertainty she wanted to express her attachment to him and devised a plan to achieve that end. She created a bhurja leaf by her supernatural powers and wrote a love message on it which read as follows. 'My Lord, if indeed I, whose heart you do not know, am towards you (who love me) such as am supposed by you, then how is it that even the Nandana breezes become excessively hot to may person rolling about through restlessness even on a bed of Parijata, flowers, and threw it near them. The king read it and gave it to the Viduahaka who said to him 'How is it that Urvasi has merely made her love blossom but not bear fruit. At this juncture Urvasi requested her friend to convey her love in person to the king, before she could prepare herself to appear before him. While Chitralekha was thus explaining Urvasi's condition to the king, she discovered herself at the opportune moment, and the king overjoyed at her appearance received her with extended arms and made her sit close by him. Scarcely did a few minutes pass when the messenger of the gods announced to Chitraleka from above, that she should hasten Urvasi to get ready to assume her part in the staging of a drama composed by her heavenly bard Bharata, to witness which Lord Indra had been waiting along with the rulers of the cardinal points. Thus Urvasi was obliged to part from the king a second Time. After her departure the king wanted to console himself by looking at the billet sent to him by Urvasi and asked the Vidhushaka for it, but having lost it he had merely to blink the question. While the king was so engaged with his own love affair, the queen, whose fire of jealousy was soon wafted to a flame by he attendant's information, came to the Pramadavana to overhear them. She accidentally glance! at the billet carried way by the southern breeze, took it up our of curiosity, and heard it read by her attendant. The cup of insult was full to the brim and the queen introduced herself abruptly on the scene, held up the billet and handed it over to the king in the most unexpected manner, just at the time when he was searching for it. The king almost taken aback by this unexpected turn of events, wanted to extricate himself from the difficulty by saying that it was not the same Bhurja patra for which they had been searching. The Vidhushaka put forth another excuse saying that the king was really suffering from an attack of biliousness for which he advised the queen to administer the proper remedy. Seeing the incoherence of their explanations the queen started in full rage to go away to her feet and begged of her pardon. With a half reluctant heart the queen went her way only to be struck with remorse later on. Seeing that the sun had already attained the highest position in the sky, the king retired to his chambers along with his companion. Uryasi thus reminded by the messenger of gods flew to the havens to assume he own part in the drama to be staged before the gods. The divine theatre was thronged with spectators with Indra at it head. The play began. Everybody was rapt in expectant attention. Urvasi played Lakshmi and Menaka played Varuni. Varuni questioned Lakshmi before she attended the Swayamvara gathering, whom she loved. Forgetting momentarily herself and her character in the play, Urvasi was once more with her lover Pururavas in her imagination and replied at that very unwary moment that she was in love with Pururavas instead of with Purushothama. This misdemeanour before the royal audience was enough to enrage the celestial playwright and stagemanager, Bharata, and he cursed Urvasi to lose her celestial nature. After the drama was concluded Urvasi bashfully stood before Indra looking a request of forgiveness, which was immediately granted saying that she would be permitted to live with her love Pururavas on the earth till he would see his own offspring from her. Here in Pratishthana the royal consort, struck with remorse for having thus repudiated her lord's expressions of excuse and penitence was searching for an opportunity to conciliate herself with her husband, and devised the performance of a Vrata in consultation with her attendant. Accordingly she sent word to the king to await he arrival on the Maniharmya place in the evening at the time of the moonrise. The king could see through the plan of the queen, and accordingly awaited her arrival at the appointed place, accompanied by the Vidushaka. Seeing the magnificent orb of the moon rise in the east Pururavas paid his homage to his sir's sire and prayed to him. But soon he began to take up to his wonted tune, his love for Urvasi, and was almost lost in it when Urvasi herself attended by her faithful friend came to the very same place and remained invisible to hear the professions of the king during her absence. He was remembering, incident after incident, his body with the exception of one arm was useless as it was the only portion of his body that came into contact with her while getting down from his ethereal car on the mountain of Hemakuta. Feeling that any more delay on her part would be inexcusable, Urvasi was on the point of revealing herself when the servants announced the approach of the queen. Clad in white garments, with only Mangala Sutra on her body, and the sacred grass on her head, the fasting queen arrived at the place, was welcomed by the king and questioned as to the purpose of her present vow (vratam.), She bowed to her lord and answered him that she had started this penance to propitiate her lord. The king replied in the proper way and told her how he was overjoyed by her attention, upon which the penitent lady worshipped the Brahaman Vidushaka, gave him presents of eatables, money and clothes and told her lord "May the Chandra with his Rohini witness this statement of mine? I shall not interfere with your majesty's love affairs. Your lordship is free to love whomsoever it pleases your lordship, if thereby the present bodily and mental condition is improved." Having conciliated her lord thus and received his loving permission the queen withdrew to her own chambers leaving him and his companion to themselves. Urvasi who had been witnessing all the loving attention paid by Pururavas to his consort, began to feel uncomfortable but was soon relieved by the ungrudging permission of the queen granted to the king. The king again lapsed into his reverie about Urvasi and wished that she should come down from the heaves and amorously close his eyes from behind. She heard the wish and soon translated it into action and once more did the lovers meet in the Pramadavana, but this time not to part so soon. Having thus discharged her duty Chitralekha bade fare-well to her friend and flew to the heavens. Having been permitted both by Indra and the royal consort, Pururavas now married Urvasi and having entrusted the state to his ministers, the Royal pair left to Gandhamandavana to spend their honeymoon. There amidst the most delightful surroundings, the cool mountain streams, and the inviting and shady bowers resounding with the wild cuckoos, song, time glided on. They thought that they could continue like that for some time at least, but fate which would have it otherwise soon kept ready to pangs of separation to the unhappy couple. It so happened that they one day went on to the sandy banks of the Mandakini to enjoy a happy stroll and there a young Vidyadhara lady was playing in the sand with pearls. The king gazed at her long and Urvasi who probably saw more than what was really meant by that long gaze of the king, wanted to punish him for his supposed misconduct by hiding herself from him for some time. With this intention, unobserved she slopped into the adjacent grove where-from she did not again emerge. The place she entered, really belonged to the forest of Kumaraswamin who, having taken upon himself eternal celibacy was practising there penance. There was a curse attached to that forest that, whichsoever woman enters it, would immediately be turned into a creeper. Poor Urvasi was not unaware of it but the curse of her Guru operated upon her mind at that moment and made her forget it. She was at once metamorphosed into a creeper. Poor Pururavas who was being tossed by fate from happiness to misery to happiness successively, very soon found out that he was alone and began to search for his love. He called and called until the trees and mountains echoed and re-echoed with hoed with his love-sick cries; he searched every bower to see if she had hidden herself anywhere but nothing was of any avail. He was distracted and began to address the cuckoos, the clouds, the wild elephants and all the mature around him. While he was thus aimlessly wandering from place to place, he saw something shining red, in the cleft of a rock and began to think of what it could be. "What is it which shines yonder It cannot be a piece of deer's flesh left by the lion which preyed upon it, nor can it be piece of live charcoal. Oh! It is a precious gem sparkling like the red Asoka flower, and the sun looks as if he is trying to pick it up with his rays. It attracts me. I shall go and bring it. But what should I do with it? The dear one whose plaited hair decked with celestial flowers, I could adorn with this precious gem, she herself is now away from me, and so I shall not insult the precious stone by soiling it with my fears," Soliloquising thus he was about to leave the stone and go his own way when an invisible voice said to him. "O son, take that stone. It is the Sangamaniya jewel produced out of the lace of Parvati's foot and he who wears it will very soon meet with his dearest." Having heard this the king thought that it must be some ancient sage in the shape of an animal, or some ancient sage in the shape of an animal, or some invisible and benevolent Providence that had so advised him, took up the precious stone and began to address it as follows "O, jewel! If thou canst bring me the jewel of my heart, I shall make you the ornament of my head, even as Lord Siva wears the digit of the moon on his head," He again began to wander in his distraction and liking at a creeper, clasped it as if it was his own love. Fortunately it was the very creeper into which his love has been metamorphosed and by the touch of the Sangamaniya she regained her form in no time. He looked at her and addressed her saying, "O, love, having parted from you I was like one immersed in darkness, and having got you back fortunately I feel that I am like a dead man attaining consciousness." Urvasi and "O, my lord, through I was prevented from expressing myself I was witnessing all that had happened to you." Pururavas asked "What obstruction, my dear; where did you go leaving me all this while to suffer in may loneliness'? Urvasi explained to him at length the curse attached to her, how she became a creeper, and how the touch of the Sangamaniya stone alone could bring her back to her usual form. The king then showed her the stone and adorned her hair with it, which by its red lustre gave her face the look of a red lotus. Urvasi then reminded her lord that it was a long time back they had come there and begged him to return to his capital, lest she should be disliked by the ministers and the people for having thus selfishly kept the king entirely to herself. At his request she carried him upon a cloud decorated with flashes of lightning, back or Pratisthana. They returned to the capital and were living a happy life for a very long time with no desire unfulfilled except the want of a heir. One day it so happened that Pururavas went along with his ladies to have a bath in the holy place where the Ganges and the Jumana meet. The servants to whom all the jewels and dresses where entrusted were carrying them to a place of safety and on the way a kite perceiving the red Sangamaniya stone sparkle in the sun, mistook it to be a piece of flesh and carried it off in one swoop in its talons while the servant merely cried for help in bewilderment. The king hearing of this soon ran after the bird and sent the accompanying maiden of fetch a bow and arrows to strike the offender with. By the time she returned with the bow, the kite flew sway out of reach and the king had merely to lay them aside. But soon a proclamation was made that the bird should be followed to its nest and hunted down to bring back the Sangamaniya. The king was Vidushaka were talking of how dear the stone had been to hem in as much as it was the same that brought back Urvasi, and presently the man in attendance entered with the stone and an arrow in hand and the report that that arrow from an invisible hand brought the offender down with his booty. The king was agreeably surprised at its, recovery, ordered that it may be properly purified and sent in and began to examine the arrow that was the cause of his seeing the gem back. Finding something written at its end he began to read it as follows: "This is the (Bana) arrow of Ayusha, the destroyer of enemies, the son of Urvasi and Pururavas." This was a more agreeable and greater surprise to the king. How could Urvasi from whom he never separated himself give birth to the child, without his knowledge, is a question which was really perplexing to the king. He then remembered that when he performed a sacrifice in the forest of Naimisa, he had been obliged to be away from Urvasi and it must be then that the child should have been born. While the king was just trying to link circumstances together, the chamberlain announced the arrival of a lady from Chyavana's penance grove accompanied by a boy, and they were soon admitted into his presence. The lady Satyavati brought the boy and introduced him as his son by Urvasi, who, she said brought him when a baby to the penance grove, told her that he was her child by the king, and asked her to bring him up with a request that the matter should be kept close. The rules of the Ashrama by killing a bird flying with a piece of flesh in its beak and Chyavana hearing of this, ordered her to hand him over to his parents. She further intimated the king that the day had undergone all the religious ceremonies of Jata Karna etc in regular order, and mastered the science of archery, (Dhanaurveda.) The king sent for Urvasi who came, received the boy and thanked the lady Satyavati for her kind help, when Satyavati took leave to go back to the ashrama. The happy union was enjoyed to its fullest extent by all the people, when suddenly it was noticed that Urvasi had been shedding tears with her face turned aside. The king alarmed at this asked the reason of her sorrow upon such a happy occasion as that. Then she replied: "This is the rime of our parting. Indra has ordered that I should stay with your Lordship till you should see your own child by me and it is to avoid this and prolong my stay, that I kept him away from the palace under the pretext of his education," "O, what a cruel fate is this to have cut a away my happiness in this way" cried the king and determined to go away to the forest and lead the life of an ascetic leaving the Government in the hands of the Price. The boy hearing of this asked " O father, can a young calf bear the burden of a grown up bull; can I take up the reins of Government into my hands at this age. "The father replied : "O, no, my dear boy, be not afraid, the ruling talent is latent in you: it is not your age but your birth that will fit you into your new duties." Just at that time Narada the divine sage was announced and admitted before the king, and to him the king, queen and the prince bowed. Narada blessed them and announced Indra's wish as follows: "O. Pururavas, we wish that you should not resign your warrior life and get into the forest to make penance. We are in need of your help on our future wars with the demons. "We permit Urvasi to stay with you life long." The joyful occasion terminated in the happy coronation (abhishekam) of the Prince with the holy waters brought by Narada.