KUMARA SAMBHAVAM- Canto -3
After the meeting with Lord Brahma, Indra wanted to take the help of the God of Love, Manmatha in order to accomplish the task. Kalidasa says beautifully that all the thousand eyes of Indra fell on Cupid, at the same time. He substantiates this with the Alankara known as Arthantaranyasa. The regard of masters for their subordinates changes according to the work to be accomplished:
Cupid was offered a seat next to Indra. Manmatha addressed Indra, as follows:
I would be too happy to carry out any instruction of you. Who is desirous of your post so much so that he is indulging in rigorous penance? I can make him a victim of my arrows. Who should be distracted from his goal of Moksha by means of the glances of beautiful damsels ? Let me know as to whom I should disturb, even if he follows the rules of Sukracharya in pursuit of Dharma and Artha, like a river in torrential flow of water will destroy both the banks:
(The usage, by Kalidasa, of the figure of speech Upama is very apt here) O Lord ! Let your weaponVajra take rest. Which demon should be attacked with my arrows in such a way that he will be even afraid of looking at the throbbing lips of the damsels ?
With your blessings, even though I have only the flowers as my arrows, with the help of Madhu or the spring season, I can disturb the courage of even Lord Siva who has bow Pinaaka as his weapon. What to speak of the other archers !:
Dhairyachyutimke mama dhanvino’nye .
( Kalidasa has beautifully used the figure of speech called Parikara where the adjectives are used in a very significant way. Here the pride of Cupid is reflected when he says that he is flower-arrowed and his enemy is having the bow Pinaka. According to the poetic convention, Cupid has five arrows namely five flowers which are the lotus, the Asoka, the mango flower, the jasmine and the blue lotus.)
Lord Indra replied:
My dear friend ! I have two weapons namely my thunder-bolt ( Vajraayudha) and your self. While my Vajra is blunted against those who are doing intense penance, you have the power to penetrate everywhere. I know your strength. That is why I am entrusting to you this task which is very important. It is only after seeing Adisesha being capable of carrying the earth that Lord Vishnu selected him to bear his own body as Anantasayana !
( Very beautiful parallel Drishtantam is given by the poet here).
In fact, the task that I want to give you has been already spelt by you when you promised that you can even take upon Siva. The Gods desire that they should have a Chief of Army, as the Senapathi to conquertheir enemies. It is only the son bon to Siva who will be able to kill Tarakasura. And as advised by Lod Brahma, only Parvathi, the dear daughter of Himavan , will be able to bear a progeny of Lord Siva. Hence make your best efforts in making Siva fall in love with Parvathi.
I understand from my spies, the Apsaras that Parvathi is doing service to Lord Siva who is in deep meditation, as instructed by her father Himavan. You are really blessed that such a great task is given to you to prove the success of your arrows and the victory of the gods. Achievement is that which a person accomplishes what others cannot do !
Apyaprasiddhamyasase hi pumsaam
Your valour is enviable indeed. For, the request to you has come from the Gods. The work is going to be beneficial for all the three worlds. Your attack with the arrows does not involve any killing either:
चापेनतेकर्म न चातिहिंस्रमहोबतासिस्पृहणीयवीर्यः॥
Chaapenate karma nachaatihimsram
It is needless to say that Madhu, the spring season will be your help even without being asked. Who does prompt the wind to fan the fire ?”
( This kind of parallel idea, used by Kalidasa is an Alankara by name Prativastupama.)
Cupid accepted the request of Indra with the words ‘So be it’ and proceeded to SthanuAshrama or the penance grove of Lord Siva on the Himalayas. He was accompanied by his friend Madhu and his with an apprehensive wife Rati, , but determined to achieve the goal even at the cost of his physical body.
The spring season, which is detrimental to the pursuit of the penance of the sages, suddenly appeared on the penance grove. There was the blossoming of Asoka flowers as well as the mango-sprout, besides that of Karnikara, without smell, the Palasa, Priyala and so on. On seeing the sudden and untimely appearance of abundant flowers, the sages of SthanuVana somehow controlled their sense organs:
When Manmatha, accompanied by Rati approached that place, all the birds and animals exhibited their feelings towards their partners:
For instance, Kalidasa describes how a bee accompanies its female bee and drinks honey from the same flower. The black antelope rubbed its horn against the female deer which had closed its eyes in good trust:
शृङ्गेन च स्पर्शनिमीलिताक्षींमृगीमकण्डूयतकृष्णसारः॥
Sringena cha sparsanimeelitaaksheem
Mrgeemakandooyata Krishna saarah
At this time, though Siva was able to hear the singing of the Apsaras damsels, he was focusing on meditation. For, so far as people of self control are concerned, obstacles such as these cannot disturb their concentration:
आत्मेश्वराणां न हिजातुविघ्नाःसमाधिभेदप्रभवोभवन्ति॥
Aatmesvaraanaamna hi jaatuvignaah
Nandikesvara who was standing at the entrance of the creeper house, with a golden stick in his left hand, gesticulated to the Ganas with his finger that they should not become fickle.
By the command of Nandi, the entire forest came to a stand still , dawn, as it were in a portrait, with its trees bereft of waving, the bees becoming silent, the birds without chirping and the animals without any movement :
The command of Nandi vey succinctly described by Kalidasa. Four species of living beings are mentioned here, namely the trees, the bees, the birds and the animals. According to Dharma sastras, there are four types living beings, those which sprout from the spouts, those which spring from the warmth such as the insects, those which come out of egg ,like the bids and finally those which are the mammals. Even in description of the forest, Kalidasa has observed the minute details.
Avoiding the glance of Nandikeswara, the God of love Manmathastealthily entered the exact place of Siva’s meditation. There he saw Trayambaka Siva seated on a tiger skin atop a platform of Devadaru trunk of wood. Siva was sitting erect in the Veerasana posture with his palms of the hand facing upward on his lap. His glances were fixed to the tip of his nose, as he appeared in that meditation posture. Since he had controlled his inner vital air, Siva appeared like a dense cloud which did not burst into a shower, like a reservoir without ripples, and like a lamp in a calm place:
Siva was in such a deep meditation that his mind was fixed in his heart, where the activities of the mind through the nine openings were shut, that the Lord realized his self in himself. On seeing the grand posture of Siva in deep meditation, Manmatha started shivering thereby causing his bow and arrows to fall on the ground. At that Parvati, accompanied by the sylvan deities came there, enhancing his hopes of success in his mission. Decorated with flowers and dapped in red garments, she appeared like a creeper with its foliages, in move:
On seeing Parvati who was flawless in beauty, making even Rati to feel shy, Manmatha was convinced of victory in his task:
As Parvati came near the entrance, her arrival was announced by Nandikeswara to Lord Siva who had just then come out of the Veeraasana posture. Since Parvati was sent there by her father for the purpose of service to Siva, the Lord instructed Nandi, with a slight knotting of eyebrows , to usher her in. After her two friends offered flowers at the feet of Los Siva, the daughter of Himavan saluted Siva, when the flowers on her tresses of hair fell down. She was blessed truly by the Lord that she would get a husband who will be sincere to her:
Seizing this opportunity, Manmatha was touching the bow-string often with a view to shoot his arrow at Siva when Parvati will go near. While looking at Parvati who felt shy in his presence, Siva felt a slight disturbance in the mind and wanted to find out the cause for that. As he looked around, he found the mind-born Manmatha ready to shoot the arrow at him. Angry at him for confronting his penance, Siva ‘s face became furious and the fire emerged from his third eye, at once:
Even before the gods pleaded with Lord Siva to control his anger, the fire from the third eye of the Lord reduced Manmatha to ashes:
It was such a rude shock forRati that she became unconscious, which was a boon , so to say , for her as an escape from the great agony. After destroying the Cupid, as Indra would cut a tree with his thunderbolt, Lord Siva also disappeared from there, along with the Bhutaganas, in order to avoid the vicinity of women. Parvati felt very much ashamed because the desire of her father could not be fulfilled, nor her charm was able to attract Siva and also that the entire event happened in front of her two friends. Himavan, the king of mountains sympathized with his dear daughter who had closed her eyes due to fear of the anger of Siva, and took her home like an elephant carrying a lotus in its tusks.
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