Chapter 109 — Sikhidwaja & Chudala Reunited

Vasishta related:—

Sikhidhwaja was surprised to see his queen appearing so suddenly before him. He looked upon her with eyes staring with mute astonishment. Then he broke his silence, uttering the following words in a faltering speech. “What are you, O lotus eyed maid, and from where do you come to this place? Why do you come here and how long have you been here? Say for what purpose do you abide in this forest? Your gait and figure, your features and your form, your sweet smiles, manners and courtesy, speak you plainly to be a copy of the image of my wedded wife.”

Chudala replied, “So it is my lord, as you think me to be your lawful consort. As you see, I am no doubt your Queen Chudala who has met you today in her natural and undisguised form. 5 I assumed the counterfeit forms of Kumbha and others only to show your mistaken course. I have used every means and stratagem to recall you to the right path.”

“Ever since your foolishly renounced your kingdom to perform ascetic austerities in the forest, I have had recourse to employ every means to reclaim you to the right path of religion. I awakened to the light of truth. My form of Kumbha and all the other forms which I took upon myself were chiefly intended for your instruction. The forms of Kumbha and others were not real but magical appearances before you. You who knows the knowable can very well discern the whole affair in your meditation. You will be convinced of all this if you will only look into it by the light of your meditation and not otherwise.”

After Chudala said this much, the king sat in yoga asana posture and meditated. 10 He saw the whole affair, rising and exhibiting itself plainly before his mental vision, from the renunciation of his royalty until his meeting with Chudala at the end. 11 All these he saw rising in his soul in one moment of meditation. The successive events appeared from the renunciation of his kingdom to the present instant. 12 The king, seeing all these in his meditation, felt glad in himself and greatly rejoiced when he came to the end of the scenes, ended his meditation and opened his eyes. 13 He extended both arms, the hairs standing on end from joy, his face shining and expressing the gladness of his heart, tears trickling from his eyes, his limbs weakened by his want of self-control. 14 Then he embraced her to his bosom for a long time, as a weasel does its mate. This continued embrace indicated the permanency of their passion for one another.

15 Nobody, not even the hundred-hooded Sesha serpent with its hundred tongues, can express the height of happiness which the happy pair felt on this occasion of their reunion as their two bodies met together, like the two orbs of the sun and moon in their union, or as their two discs were joined in one, as if stuck together with some paste or clay. 16 The two constant lovers continued in their close contact like two adjacent rocks sticking to one another, until at last they parted, their bodies profusely perspiring. 17 Then they gradually relaxed their arms from their embraces. Their hearts, which had before long overflowed with delight, became as light as two empty pots of water. 18 They loosened their arms and stared at each another with a fixed and mute gaze of amazement. After the intensity of their delight was over, they sat silently with their deep felt love.

19 Then the king laid his hand under the chin of his legal and royal consort and spoke to her in soft and sweet words distilled with honey. 20 “Matrimonial love is righteous and far sweeter than celestial ambrosia itself. O my moon-faced love, then how was it that you could continue so long without tasting its sweets? 21 You have doubtless undergone much deprivation and suffered great pains in the absence of your husband. The struggle that you have taken on yourself to release me from the prison of the world was exceedingly great.”

22 “I know not with whom to compare you, for the great wisdom that you have displayed in your act of my redemption. Even the pious ladies Sachi and Arundhati and the great goddesses Gauri, Gayatri, Lakshmi and Saraswati fall short of your admirable qualities. 23 My love, I see that even the personified powers of understanding and prosperity, the persons of the graces and clemency, and the virtues of forgiveness, sympathy and universal love are unequal to your virtues and beauty. 24 I know no adequate recompense for your labor, or how to repay my gratitude to you who has spared no patience and persevered through all pains for the sake of my instruction and redemption.”

25 “O say, what payment will reward your pains and gladden your mind in exchange for releasing me from the dark pit of ignorance and reclaiming me from the boundless wilderness of errors? 26 The true virtue of faithful wives is to raise their fallen husbands. This virtue can serve to save a man from his degradation much greater than scriptures or learning, riches, or the spiritual guide and his teaching. 27 Faithful and affectionate wives are of greater service by far to their husbands than a brother or relation or any friend or servant, or even a guru or one’s riches can ever be. 28 The faithful wife is a man’s best guide. She serves as his best abode and attendant more than anything else in this world. Therefore the wife deserves always to be regarded above all others, with utmost diligence and attention. 29 The happiness of both worlds depends entirely on the disinterested and virtuous wife who serves as a raft to her husband for his going across the wide ocean of the perilous world.”

30 “How shall I, O virtuous lady, possibly repay what you have done for me? I now regard you as the wisest and best of all the virtuous ladies in the whole world. 31 Your name must ever after remain foremost among all virtuous woman in the world in all future stories of female virtues and respectable character among the women. 32 I think the virtuous lady Arundhati and others, whose names are immortalized in the record of sacred history because of their virtues, will feel jealous of you as they came to learn about your chastity and other admirable qualities. So my dear, let me embrace you again to my bosom.”

33 Vasishta related:—

Saying so, Sikhidhwaja again held Chudala to his close embrace, as the weasel does his mate in their mutual fondness.

34 Chudala said, “My lord, I was sorry to find you entirely devoted to your dry ceremonial duties. It was for that reason that I took so much pain to dissuade you from them and lead you to the knowledge of the intelligent soul. 35 Now tell me, my lord, what shall we do in this place and what is the use of your extolling my virtues so far?”

36 Sikhidhwaja replied, “O most excellent among women, you are here at your liberty to do whatever you think is best. It is the prerogative of respectable ladies to manage everything in their own way.”

37 Chudala answered, “Now my lord, as you have come to know that you are released from the network of this world and are set free on the shore from all its conflicts and confusions, you must have perceived by now that your past austerities were all in vain and gone for nothing. 38 You must have known that it is all in vain when you say ‘I do this or that, and will get its reward, and will thus be settled in life,’ and the like. Say do you smile to think of these and other wanderings of your simple understanding? 39 Do you know that these wanderings are the creatures of your greed and mere creations of your fancy? 40 Do you perceive that these false creations of your imagination are as unreal as the appearance of mountains in the empty air?”

41 “Say what have you learnt after all? What do you depend upon? What object do you seek at present? How do you see all your bodily acts, either of your past or future life?”

42 Sikhidhwaja replied, “O dear lady, with your blooming eyes resembling the leaves of a full blown blue lotus, I am likewise situated in and at the same place where you are also located. 43 I am tranquil and like the object of my meditation. I am situated in the true ego long after leaving the sense of my personality. I have arrived at that state which is known and felt only by the heart.”

44 “There is no power anywhere, not even that of Hari and Hara, that is able to obstruct my heartfelt joy which makes me think myself as nothing else or less than the consciousness itself. 45 I am now free from errors and liberated from the chains of the world. I am neither this nor that, nor am I glad or sorry at anything or at any event in the world. 46 I am neither any gross or subtle matter, nor am I like a ray of sunlight that emanates from the body of the sun and falls below by traversing through the midway sky.”

47 “I am of the essence of that glorious light which is ever without increase or decrease. I am always tranquil and even in my nature. I am quite at ease, having no desire of my own or anything to expect from anyone. 48 O you, most chaste lady, know me to be of that essence which exists as nirvana everywhere. I am what I am and what I cannot describe, and no other than this.”

49 “O beautiful lady, with your eyes glancing like the flitting waves of rivulets, I bow down to you as my instructor because it is by your good grace that I have come across the turbulent ocean of the world. 50 No longer shall I be soiled with the dirt of the earth. I am cleansed of it like a bit of gold purified from its alloy by repeated burnings. 51 I am quite calm and easy, quiet and free from passions, and never divided in my attention or distracted in my mind. I am beyond all things. I am everywhere and all pervading. I am situated as I am.”

52 Chudala said, “If you remain in this manner, O lord of my life and dearly beloved of my heart, then tell me, my lord. What is now most agreeable to your most noble disposition?”

53 Sikhidhwaja answered, “I know of nothing, O good lady, that is either delectable or detestable to me. I do the same as you do. I am exactly of the same mind as you in everything. 54 O you who is as fair as the sky, know that I have nothing to choose for myself beyond what I am possessed of. I leave it to you to choose and do whatever you think proper for us. 55 I will act as you will, like your shadow or reflection in the mirror, because my mind is devoid of desire and effort. I will patiently bear with whatever comes to pass on me. 56 I will neither excite nor prevent, neither praise nor blame you for anything you do, but leave you at full liberty to do whatever you best choose for yourself.”

57 Chudala replied, “If it is as you say, then hear me tell you what is best to be done by you at present. You are to imitate the conduct of living-liberated persons, released from ignorance and knowing the unity of the deity pervading all things in every place. 58 We are both as devoid of desires as the emptiness of the sky is without population. But that which I wish to do is what you do not wish at all.”

59 “Say what man is there who neglects his life and livelihood and remains only in his intellect? There are three stages of human life, namely, its beginning or boyhood, its middle or youth, and its end or old age. Being situated in the middle stage, we must do the duties belonging to this state before we proceed to the last stage of our being. 60 We are by birth the king and queen of a kingdom, therefore it is most important for us to rule our state and pass our days discharging the duties of our royalty until our end.”

61 Sikhidhwaja said, “Tell me, O steady minded lady, what do you mean by the three stages? How do we stand at the midmost one without having a bit to care for the final one?”

62 Chudala replied, “Know king that we are royal persons by birth. We must continue as such from the first to the last stage of our lives. 63 Why then do you allow the incapacity of old age to overtake you in the prime of your youth when it is your duty to remain in your city and palace and govern your princely state? 64 I will rule there as your consort queen and crown the ladies in the royal apartment. All young maidens of the city will dance with joy to see their king and queen again in the royal palace. 65 Then the city glittering with its uplifted flags, resounding with loud beating drums and decorated with wreaths of flowers hanging all about, will resemble a spring garden smiling with its green plants, blooming buds and blushing flowers all around.”

66 Vasishta related:—

Hearing these words of the queen, the king smilingly spoke to her with sweet words spoken from the simplicity and frankness of his soul. 67 “If such is your pleasure, my dear broad-eyed beloved, to incite me to earthly pleasures, then tell me what cause had I to disregard the heavenly happiness which was offered to me by the god Indra?”

68 Chudala replied, “Know prince, that I also have no taste for earthly enjoyments or any great pleasure for its grandeur or greatness. I depend upon the bounty of nature and live as I receive from her hand. 69 Hence I have no taste for heavenly joys or earthly royalty, nor do I derive any pleasure from the performance of virtuous and courageous acts. My delight is in the undisturbed equanimity of my mind and the positive rest of my position. 70 Only after I have lost my feeling of pleasure in something and that of pain in another do I gain my equanimity and indifference to both and am settled in my perfect rest and tranquility.”

71 Sikhidhwaja responded, “You have rightly said, O large eyed lady with your calm and cool understanding, that it is all alike, whether we get or lose a kingdom, since we derive no lasting good nor suffer great evil from either its gain or loss. 72 Let us remain in perfect peace by avoiding all thoughts of pleasure or pain, freed from envy, imitation and jealousy. Let us continue in the same state of thoughtlessness as we are at present.”

73 In this manner the married couple passed the day in their sweet endearments and mutual conversation. The day glided on swiftly and sweetly over their feast of reason and flow of the soul. 74 They rose on the departure of the day to discharge their duties on the parting days. Though they were ill provided for the emergencies of night, yet they well knew how to suit themselves to every occasion in every place. 75 Despising heavenly bliss, the loving pair lived together in perfect contentment with their conjugal bliss. They both slept in the same bed, loving and loved by one another.

76 The entire night passed swiftly in their heaven-like happiness of conjugal enjoyment, their expressions of love and affection for each other, and in their excited anxiety for each other’s embrace.