The first circle

There we moved swiftly on our vAhana and placed it on the stalls. The two shUdra-s kR^iShNamukha and shUdra-shiromaNi met us at the ashvashAla where we kept our horses. One of the shUdra-s asked, O foreign brahmin, should we participate in a vigorous game of kandUka kR^iDa in the yonder kandukaprastha that lies beyond the nAga-bila and at the foot hills of the vAnara parvata. The other shUdra said: this place is blessed with many women who are the handiworks of manmatha, yet why is it we are cursed to wander in these uninteresting assemblages with nothing more of interest than the aforesaid kR^IDa. Soon some others joined in and asked who among the young women was the greatest of the works of manmatha-kalA. Just then madana’s companion, the malaya-vAta wafted bearing the fresh odors of the shaila-puShpa-s captivating the minds with the presence of the wielder of the ikShu-chApa. There was considerable unanimity in the assembly in picking one of the foremost of the strI-chUDAmaNi-s. They described that one whose voice was like the one who is brought up in another’s nest, whose tvacha was like the light of the star Ardra, whose eyes were like those of a tittirI, whose each vakShas was like the suvarNa kalasha held by the awful vinAyaka. We knew this kAMini better than the rest and uttered silently to ourselves the statement: “She said: “gaurI rests in her abode guarded by nandin” “. We cannot talk more of this sakhI, for in the world of men, people can connect the dots. Then they moved on to describe that other mohini on whom they were unanimous. Firstly, they declared she was unusually a tIkShNa tri-patha strI, while most strI-s were komala tripatha-s or chatush-patha-s. Our curiousity was greatly roused regarding this strI-ratna, so we asked our priya-sakhI to lead us to her.

She was guarded by the nabhas, which we surveyed carefully and only after that could we sight her. She was definitely a trailokyasundari, the like of which one rarely encounters. She was to the eyes, what ghee is to jatavedas, with all the accourtments of ratipati in her- her blue- black locks the monsoonal clouds blown by the malaya-marut and her lips with the teeth his flag, and her sushroNi his rathachakras. We wondered like upahAravarman in daNDin’s novel as to what we were witnessing… Here ends the first circle.

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