Chapter 107 — Chudala Makes a False Indra Appear to Test Sikhidwaja

Now as the eastern sun gilded the world with his golden rays, the queen consort of Sikhidhwaja changed her form of Madanika to that of the brahmin boy Kumbha. She stood openly as such before her friend, sitting in the cavern of Mandara where at night they lived in conjugal union together like a pair of forest deities.

During the days they wandered in the forests and among trees and plants loaded with fruit and flowers of various colors. They passed the day together as two loving friends and spent the night as a wedded couple. They were never separated from each other either by day or night. 5 They rambled about the caverns and trees of the mountain and played under the covered shelters of spice and mandara trees. They wandered about the outskirts of Dardura, Kailash, Mahendra, Malaya, Gandhamadana, Vindhadri, and Lokaloka.

On every third day or night, when Chudala found the king to be fast asleep, she used to assume her former form of the queen and return to her royal palace and discharge her state affairs as before, then return to her husband in the forest. Thus the loving pair lived as two friends by day and as husband and wife at night, both decorated with flowers and sleeping on their flowery bed.

They remained for a month in a shining cave of Mahendra under the shade of delightful sarala trees where they were greatly endeared by forest deities and kinnara foresters. 10 They lived a fortnight in a tree on Suktimat Mountain surrounded by mandara trees and kalpa plants, feasting upon the fruit which they could reach with their hands. 11 They passed two months on the southern ridge of the winged mountain of Mainaka, its covered shelters over hung by the fruits and flowers of the celestial parijata trees. 12 They dwelt a month in the valley of Jammu at the foot of Himalayan range and beside the Jambu River. They fed on the jam fruit that give its name to the whole country. 13 They travelled through the northern Kuru country for ten days, and for seven and twenty days they stayed in the districts lying north of Kosala. 14 In this manner they passed over many countries and hilly districts, living together as two friends by day and as a married pair at night.

15 Thus many months rolled away in their travels through many places, until a thought arose in the mind of Chudala to test her associate. She thought, 16 “I will test the heart of my partner and see whether it is liable to have any attraction toward beauty and pleasurable objects.” 17 Thinking so, Chudala by her magic skill showed the god Indra playing in the company of celestial apsara nymphs in that forest.

18 Sikhidhwaja saw the god Indra with his companion there. He advanced before him and worshipped him as he deserved, saying, 19 “O lord of gods, will you consent to reveal to me the cause of your arrival in this forest from your seat in the high and far distant heaven?”

20 Indra replied, “Virtue has attracted us down to these woods, as the flying kites of the air are drawn to earth by the string fastened to their breasts. 21 Now rise from here and proceed with us to heaven where the celestial apsara nymphs are eagerly expecting to see you since they have heard of your wonderful virtues. 22 Wear these sandals, hold this sword, anoint your body with this ointment, and ascend to the upper sky and thence to heaven in the manner of the masters and perfect yogis.”

23 “On reaching the region of the gods, you will enjoy all sorts of delights which await the living liberated souls in this world and the next, and to which I now come to invite you. 24 No holy man like yourself ever neglects the offered occasion to their prosperity, nor should you scorn to take your heavenward course with ourselves at this moment. 25 Let there be no impediment to your ascent to the enjoyment of heaven where you will enjoy your full bliss and which will be blessed by your presence as the three worlds are by the presence of Vishnu.”

26 Sikhidhwaja said, “I know, O lord of gods, the delights that abound in heaven, but I have my heaven everywhere and there is no particular place which I consider as heaven. 27 I am content everywhere and I am pleased with every place. My soul being desirous of nothing from its fullness in itself, I am fully satisfied everywhere. 28 O god, if remaining forever in the same place and in the same state is what you call heaven, then pardon me for I decline to go it.”

29 Indra answered, “I know, O holy saint, that those who have known the knowable and who are perfect in their understandings are indifferent to sensual gratification. However, it is not the part of the wise to reject an enjoyment which offers itself by the gracious allotment of his destiny.” 30 After the god had said so, the king remained silent and returned no answer. Then the god said, “If you are resolved not to leave this place, then I must leave you here and make my way to heaven.”

31 Sikhidhwaja said, “I must not go there now, though I may do so on some future occasion.” Upon this the god made farewell. 32 All the other gods who were in Indra’s retinue also vanished upon the disappearance of their chief, just as the huge surges of the sea subside in the deep together with their foaming froths.