Chapter 45 — Gadhi Reborn as a Tribal, then Made Gavala, King of Kirapura

Vasishta said:—

Then Gadhi, standing as he was in the water with his sorrowful heart, saw many other occurrences in the clarity of his mind.

He saw a village in the vicinity of Bhuta district full of inhabitants, and that he was reborn there in the womb of a tribal woman, in which he remained with great pain. Confined in the cavity of the womb, he felt his body pressed by the pressure of her intestines while his senses were sorely annoyed by being forced to abide the stink of the ordure and filth in the intestinal parts of the tribal woman.

After the fetus matured, he was born in proper time with a black complexion like a dark cloud in rainy season and soiled with filth all over his body. He grew up to childhood and then to boyhood in the tribal woman’s house, and moved about here and there like a pebble thrown up by a current of the Yamuna River. He reached his twelfth, then his sixteenth year of age, and his body fully developed like a rain cloud increasing in size. Then accompanied by a pack of hounds, the lad wandered from one forest to another, hunting and killing wild deer in his occupation of a hunter. 8 He was joined then with a tribal wife, as black as the leaf of a tamala plant and who with her budding breasts, swarthy hands and palms, resembled the newly sprouting stalks and leaves of trees.

She was black and swarthy in her whole complexion, except her two rows of milk-white teeth. All of her limbs were as lively and supple as the tender vines of the forest. 10 They played together at the edge of the forest in their youthful dalliance, and they wandered about the flowery meadows like a couple of black bees. 11 When tired they took their seats on beds of leaves and vines spread over the plains by driving winds, like those scattered over the environs of Vindhya Hills. 12 They rested in woodland gardens and slept in mountain caves. They sat on heaps of leaflets and lived under shrubberies and covered shelters of creeping plants. 13 They decorated their heads with kinkirata flowers and their necks and bosoms with blossoms of various kinds. They hung ketaka flowers from their ears and made necklaces of small amra flowers. 14 They rolled on beds of flowers and roved about the foot of the mountain. They knew all the trees where to play, and they were skilled in archery and hunting deer.

15 In the hilly region they produced many children as the descendants of their race. They were as rude and rough as the prickly thorns of the khadira plant. 16 After passing their youth in family life, they came gradually to their decay and decline until at last they were overtaken by decrepit old age, which was as dry of pleasure as a parched desert. 17 Then returning to their native village in Bhuta district, they built a poor hut of leaves and straws for themselves and lived there as hermits.

18 Gadhi (known as Katanja, the tribal) found his body worn out with age, grown as thin and lean as a dry leaf, and like a withered tamara tree growing in a mountain cave which, for lack of moisture, soon dwindles into decrepitude. 19 He saw his family of savages increasing in numbers and himself becoming reduced in means and irritated in speech in his extreme old age. 20 Gadhi found himself to be the oldest man alive among the savages. In his dotage, his comfort was in the members of his family, 21 but at last he saw all his family swept away by the cruel hand of death, as rainwater carries away fallen leaves of the forest. 22 He continued to lament over their loss, his heart rent with sorrow and his eyes drenched in tears, like those of a male deer separated from its companions.

23 Thus passing some days in that forest with his heart overcome with grief, at last he left the land of his birth, as aquatic fowls quit their native lake when its waters and the lotus plants are dried up. 24 He travelled through many countries with his sad and sick heart without finding a place to rest. He was driven to and fro, like a cloud carried by contrary winds.

25 At one time he entered the opulent city of Kira. He observed birds flying over it, like so many balloons hanging in the air. 26 There he saw rows of trees on both sides of the road, waving their variegated leaves and clusters of flowers like enameled cloths and gems. The road was strewn with beautiful flowers of various kinds up to the heels. 27 Then he came to the royal road that looked like the milky path of heaven. He found it filled with soldiers and citizens and their women without number. 28 There he saw the auspicious royal elephant decorated with shining and embroidered trappings, appearing like the golden mountain of the gods moving on the earth.

29 He learned that the elephant was rambling about in search of a new king to be elected in place of the last king who had recently died. The royal elephant was employed as a jeweler to select the best gem to be placed on the royal throne. 30 The savage gazed steadily at the elephant with a curious eye and found it to be no other than a hill in motion. 31 As he was looking on it with amazement, the elephant came to him and lifted him with his trunk and respectfully set him on his head, bearing him as Mount Meru bears the sun on its top.

32 Seeing him sitting on the animal’s head, the people sounded their trumpets. The noise was as loud as that of the ocean crashing to the roaring of the antediluvian clouds in the sky. 33 Then shouts of “Victory to the king!” rose from the assembled throng and filled the air. It seemed as if they were the united cries of morning birds all over the waking world. 34 Next rose the loud voices of eulogists that moved in the air like the dashing waves of the sea.

35 Then women joined to anoint him as their king, moving about him like waves of the sea surrounding Mandara Mountain after its labor of churning. 36 The respectable ladies adorned him with many ornaments of various gems, like the sea washes rocks on its shore with the many colored waves under the beams of the rising sun. 37 Youthful maidens poured cooling ointments on him, like rain clouds pour their waters on mountain tops. 38 Other women used their tender hands to decorate his body with garlands of fragrant flowers, just as spring season with her hands adorns the forest with a variety of tender stalks, branches and flowers. 39 They put a great many paints and pastes upon his body, which decorated it like the rays of the sun paint a mountain with the many colors of its minerals. 40 His body decorated with ornaments made of gems and gold attracted all hearts to him, just as the variegated clouds of evening shining upon Mount Meru is attractive to all hearts. 41 He was adorned by beautiful maids with shoots of creeping plants which gave him the appearance of the wish-fulfilling kalpa tree entwined by its vines.

42 Being thus anointed and decorated, all the royal family and subjects attended upon him like travelers resting under a shady and flowering tree. 43 They all assembled and installed him on the throne, just as the gods join together to place Indra on the throne after he is borne on the back of his elephant Airavata. 44 In this manner, the tribal was made a king in the city of Kira. He was much overjoyed at his unexpected good fortune, like a raven delighted to find a stout dead deer in the forest.

45 His feet were rubbed by the lotus-like hands of the Queen of Kira. His body daubed with scented powder of frankincense which gave it the bright appearance of evening with its crimson clouds. 46 He paraded in Kira city in the midst of their women like a lion strutting in the company of lionesses in a flowery forest. 47 Now he forgot his former pains and sorrows. His body was much cooled by wearing a necklace of pearls, as if dropped from the heads of elephants killed by lions. He took great delight at the enjoyment of the luxuries in company with these good people, like a sunburned elephant is refreshed in a lake full of water and forage.

48 He ruled for sometime in his self-gotten kingdom of Kirapura, having extended his power and mandates on all sides. He ruled the state through his ministers and became known by the name of Gavala throughout his dominions.