4th Century - 5th Century / Ujjain / India

The Cloud Messenger - Part 03

Where the palaces are worthy of comparison to you in these various aspects:
you possess lightning, they have lovely women; you have a rainbow, they are
furnished with pictures; they have music provided by resounding drums, you
produce deep, gentle rumbling; you have water within, they have floors made
of gemstones; you are lofty, their rooftops touch the sky;

Where there are decorative lotuses in the hands of the young wives; fresh
jasmine woven into their hair; where the beauty of their faces is made whiter
by the pollen of lodhra flowers; in the thick locks on their crowns are fresh
kurubaka flowers; on their ears charming shirisa flowers; and on the parting
of their hair, nipa flowers that bloom on your arrival;

Where the trees, humming with intoxicated bees, are always in flower; the lily
pools, having rows of wild geese as waistbands, always produce lotuses;
where the tails of the tame peacocks, their necks upstretched to cry out, are
always resplendent; and where the evenings are perpetually moonlit and
pleasant, and darkness has been banished;

Where the tears of the lords of wealth are of utmost joy, having no other
cause, there being no suffering other than that caused by the flower-arrowed
god which is to be assuaged by union with the desired one; where there is
separation other than that arising from lovers’ quarrels; and where there is
indeed no age other than youth;

Where yakshas, having assembled on the upper terraces of the palace, made of
crystal, accompanied by their excellent womenfolk, enjoy ratiphalam wine
produced by a wish-fulfilling tree, while drums whose sound resembles your
deep thunder are beaten softly;

Where the girls fanned by breezes cooled by the waters of the Mandakini
river, the heat dispelled by the shade of the mandara trees that grow on its
banks, are urges by the gods to play with jewels hidden by burying them with
clenched fists in the golden sands and which are to be searched for;

Where the handfuls of powder flung by those red-lipped women bewildered
by shame when their lovers passionately pull away their linen garments, the
ties of which have been loosened and undone by restless hands, although they
reach the long-rayed jewel-lamps, they fail to extinguish them;

Where ragged clouds, like yourself, brought to the upper stories of the palaces
by the leader of the wind, having committed the misdeed of shedding
raindrops on a painting, cleverly imitating puffs of smoke, flee immediately
by way of the lattices as if filled with dread;

Where at night the moonstones, hanging from a web of threads and shedding
full drops of water under the influence of moonbeams bright since the removal
of your obstruction, dispel the physical langour after sexual enjoyment on the
part of the women who are freed from the embraces of their lovers’ arms;
Where lovers, with inexhaustible treasure their residences, together with the
kinnaras who sing with sweet voices of the glory of the lord of wealth,
accompanied by celestial courtesans, engage in conversation and enjoy
everyday the outer grove known as Vaibhraja;

Where at sunrise the route taken by women the previous night is indicated by
mandara flowers with torn petals that were shaken from their hair by the
movement of their walking, by the golden lotuses that slipped from behind
their ears, and by necklaces of strings of pearls the threads of which broke
upon their breasts;

Where a single wish-fulfilling tree produces every adornment for women:
coloured garments, wine which is suitable for introducing an amorous
playfulness to the eyes, flowers together with buds which are distinctive
among ornaments, and red lac dye suitable for application to their lotus-like

Where horses, as dark as leaves, rival the steeds of the sun; where elephants,
as tall as mountains, pour forth showers, like you, from the pores of their
temples; and where the foremost warriors stood in battle against the ten-faced
one, the splendour of their ornmanets surpassed by the scars of the wounds
from Candrahasa;

Where the god of love does not generally carry his bow strung with bees,
knowing that the god who is the friend of the lord of wealth dwells there in
person: his task is accomplished by the amorous play of talented women
whose glances are cast by means of curved eyebrows and which are not in
vain among the objects of their desire.

There, to the north of the residence of the lord of wealth, our home is to be
recognised from afar by an arched portal as lovely as a rainbow, near which a
young mandara tree, caused to bow down by bunches of flowers that may be
touched by the hand, is cherished by my beloved like an adopted son.

And within is a pool the steps of which are studded with emerald stone, filled
with flowering golden lotuses whose stalks are of smooth chrysoberyl. On its
waters the geese that have take up residence there do not think of Lake Manas
close at hand, and are free from sorrow, having seen you.

On its bank there is a pleasure hill whose summit is studded with fine
sapphires, beautiful to behold with a hedge of golden plantain trees. Having
seen you, O friend, with flashing lightning, near at hand, I recall that mountain
with a despondent mind, thinking, ‘It is enjoyed by my spouse’.

Here is a red ashoka with trembling buds and a charming kesara near a hedge
of kurubaka and a bower of madhavi. One desires (as I do) the touch of your
friend’s left foot. The other longs for a mouthful of wine from her, having as
its pretext a craving.

And between these is a golden perch with a crystal base, studded at its foot
with gems that shine like half-grown bamboo, on which rests your friend the
blue-necked one, who, at the day’s end, is caused to dance by my beloved
with claps of her hands, made pleasant by the jingling of her bracelets.

Having seen the figures of Shanka and Padma painted near the door, by
these signs preserved in yout heart, O noble one, you may distinguish the
residence, now reduced in beauty because of my absence. Indeed, at the
setting of the sun, even the lotus does not display its own splendour.

Having shrunk at once to the size of a small elephant for the sake of a swift
descent, resting on the pleasure mountain with lovely peaks that I have
mentioned, please cast your gaze in the form of a flickering bolt of faint
lightning upon the interior of the house, like the glow of a swarm of fire-flies.
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