Chapter 51 — Sindhu’s Rule

Vasishta said:—

The loud cry that the king was killed in battle by the rival monarch, struck the people with awe, and filled the realm with dismay. Carts loaded with utensils and household articles were driving through the streets. Women with their loud wailing were running away amidst the impassable paths of the city. Weeping maidens fleeing for fear were ravished on the way by their captors. Inhabitants were in danger of being plundered of their properties by one another. The joyful shouts of soldiers in the enemy camp resounded with the roaring of loose elephants and neighing of horses trampling men to death on their way. The doors of the royal treasury were broken open by brave brigands, the hinges flew off and the ceilings re-echoed to the strokes. The warders were overpowered by numbers, and countless treasures were plundered and carried away. Bandits ripped off the bellies of the royal dames in the palace, and the chandala freebooters hunted about the royal apartments. The hungry rabble robbed provisions from the royal stores, and soldiers were snatching jewels from weeping children trodden down under their feet. Young and beautiful maidens were dragged by their hair from the seraglio, and the rich gems that fell from the hands of the robbers glistened all along the way.

Chiefs assembled with ardor with their troops of horses, elephants and war-chariots, and announced the installation of Sindhu by his minister. 10 Chief engineers were employed in decorating the city and its halls, and the balconies were filled by the royal party attending the inauguration. 11 It was then that the coronation of Sindhu’s son took place amidst the loud acclamations of victory. Titles and dignities were conferred upon the noblemen on the victor’s side.

12 The royal party were fleeing for their lives into the villages, where they were pursued by the victorious soldiers. A general pillage spread in every town and village throughout the realm. 13 Gangs of robbers thronged about and blocked the passages for pillage and plunder. A thick mist darkened the light of the day for want of the magnanimous Viduratha. 14 The loud lamentations of the friends of the dead, and the bitter cries of the dying, mixed with the clamor raised by the driving cars, elephants and horses, thickened in the air like a solid body of sound.

15 Loud trumpets proclaimed the victory of Sindhu in every city and announced his sole sovereignty all over the earth. 16 The high-shouldered Sindhu entered the capital like a second Manu for repopulating it after the all-devastating flood of war was over. 17 Then the tribute of the country poured into the city of Sindhu from all sides. These loaded on horses and elephants resembled the rich cargoes borne by ships to the sea. 18 The new king issued forthwith his circulars and royal edicts to all sides, struck coins in his own name, and placed his ministers as commissioners in all provinces. 19 His iron-rod was felt in all districts and cities like the inflexible rod of Yama, and it awed the living with fear of instant death. 20 All insurrections and tumults in the realm soon subsided to rest under his reign, like the flying dust of the earth and the falling leaves of trees fall to the ground upon subsidence of a tempest.

21 The whole country on all sides was pacified to rest, like the perturbed sea of milk after it had been churned by Mandara Mountain. 22 Then there blew the gentle breeze of Malaya, unfurling the locks of the lotus-faced maidens of Sindhu’s realm, and blowing the liquid fragrance of their bodies around, and driving away the unwholesome air of the carnage.

[The entire vision of Leela shows the state of human life, with its various incidents and phases to its last termination by death. The discontented brahmin longs for royal dignity, imagines all its enjoyments in the person of Padma, and at last in the character of Viduratha sees all its evils. The lesson is for aspirants to avoid aiming at high worldly honors which end in their destruction. In her silent meditation, Leela by her wisdom sees the whole course and vicissitudes of the world, and the rise and fall of human glory in the aspirations of her husband. — V. L. Mitra]