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KUMARA SAMBHAVAM- Canto -6

KUMARA SAMBHAVAM- Canto -6

English articles on Sanskrit Mahakavya Kumarasambhavam of Kalidasa by Prof. Radhakrishnan (Rtd Vivekananda College) for benefit of devotees and those interested to have a glimpse of our literature.

After Siva tested the sincerity and devotion of Parvati, he was more than convinced of her resolute mind and even told her that she has literally purchased him by the power of her penance. The fifth chapter ended with Kalidasa’s observation that all the ordeals that Pavati underwent were forgotten the moment she obtained the fruit of her penance.
         The sixth canto commences with Parvati sending her friend to Siva with a request that he shouldget  a formal approval from her father Himavan for this marriage. It has to observed here that even though Pavati and Siva are now in love with each other , the formality of the process of marriage is observed. There are eight  types of marriages mentioned in the Dharmasastas. One of them is Prajapatya which is similar to the arranged marriage. For, marriage is an alliance between  two families, not just the love or lust between the boy and the girl. It is for this reason that Parvati sent such a message to Siva to get the formal consent of her father:
दातामेभूभृतांनाथःप्रमाणीक्रियतामिति।
Daataa me bhoobhrtaamnaathah
Pramaaneekriyataamiti.
Siva also agreed to this and thought of the seven sages. Immediately, the seven sages along with Arundhati, appeared in front of  Siva. After having a bath in the celestial Ganges and wearing the sacred thread of pearls, dressed in golden bark-garments and carrying the rosary of gems, they look liked the Kalpaka tree of heaven in ascetic form. As they were travelling in the sky , they were looked up with respect by the Sun god. The sages were so ancient that when the earth was lifted from the water of deluge by the Great Boar ( Incarnation of Vishnu), they were resting on its tusk along with the Goddess Earth. They, in fact, carried on the work of creation, after Brahma. They continue to do intense penance even though they have been already enjoying the fruit of their previous penance:

प्राक्तनानांविशुद्धानांपरिपाकमुपेयुषाम्।
तपसामुपभुञ्जानाःफलान्यपितपस्विनः।।
Praaktanaanaamvisuddhaanaam, Paripaakamupeyushaam
Tapasaamupabhunjaanah, phalaanyapitapasvinah

In the midst of them, Arundhati the wife of Vasishta was shining as if she is the vey personification of the power of penance. Siva welcomed them and her with equal distinction of honour. For, it is the character of person that matters, not the gender as male or female, observes Kalidasa:
स्त्रीपुमानित्यनास्थैषावृत्तंहिमहितंसताम्।।
Streepumaanityanaashtaishaa
vrttam hi mahitamsataam.
After seeing Arundhati, Lord Siva’s desire for wedding with Parvati increased all the more, because good wife is a pillar of support for all religious activities:
तद्दर्शनादभूच्छम्भोर्भूयान्दारार्थमादरः।
क्रियाणांखलुधर्म्याणांसत्पत्न्योमूलसाधनम्।।
Taddarsanaatabhootsambhoh
bhooyaandaaraarthamaadarah.
Kriyaanaamkhaludharmyaanam
Satpatnyahmoolakaaranam.
When Siva set his mind in marrying Parvati, the God of love, who earlier felt guilty and afraid, heaved a sigh of relief.
Then the seven sages, who were delighted , addressed Siva:
“ O Lord ! For all the chanting of the Vedas we have done well all along, the offering that we made into the sacred fire and the penance that we have undertaken, today we got the fruitful result of meeting you.  You are the Supreme Being of the Universe and beyond the reach of the mind. That being the case, we are really fortunate to have been thought of by you. Though we as the seven stars (sages) occupy a region in the sky above the Sun and the Moon, today we consider ourselves even higher due to  the fact that we have been thought of by you:
सत्यकर्माच्चसोमाच्चपरमध्यास्महेपदम्।
अद्यतूच्चैस्तरंतस्मात्स्मरणानुग्रहात्तव।।
Satyamarkaat cha somaat cha
Padamadhyaasmahevayam
Adyatuuchaistaramtaabhyaam
Smaranaanugrahaattava.
We are very much honoued since, in general, the confidence in one’s own self increases when the elders show honour:
प्रायःप्रत्ययमाधत्तेस्वगुणेषूत्तमादरः।
Praayahpatyayamaadhatte
Svaguneshuutthamaadarah
The intensity of our joy need not be conveyed to you , since you are the Inner Being ( Antaraatmaa) of all  creatures. Even though we are seeing you in front of us , we do not know in reality as to  whether it is your aspect which creates the world, or the one which sustains it or the one which destroys it. Please command us as to what we are summoned here for.”
After hearing their speech, Lord Siva started to reply, rendering the moon on his head all the more white by means of the white rays emanating from his teeth:
“ You know very well that none of my activities is selfish in purpose. It has been proved by the fact that I have taken the form as Ashtamurti for the welfare of the world:
विदितंवोयथास्वार्था न मेकाश्चित्प्रवृत्तयः।
ननुमूर्तिभिरष्टाभिरित्थम्भूतोऽस्मिसूचितः।।
Viditamvoyathaasvaarthaa
Na me kaaschitpravrttayah
Nanumoorthibhihashtaabhih
Itthambhootosmisoochitah
( Lord Siva is called as Ashtamuthi. His eight forms are the earth, water, fire, wind, space, sun, moon, and the performer of Sacrifice (Yaga))
I have been requested by the gods, oppressed by the enemies, to beget a son, just as the Chataka birds, affected by thirst are looking for the cloud.Hence I wish to may Parvati to get a progeny. Therefore , on my behalf, you should approach Himavan seeking the hand of Pavati in wedlock. The alliance brought about by good people like you will never be a failure. This alliance will be between two equals since he is very lofty, firm and he bears the weight of the earth. I need not advise you as to what you should say to Himavan, for what you do is considered as Achara by the wise men:

एवंवाच्यः स कन्यार्थमितिवोनोपदिश्यते।
भवत्प्रणीतमाचारमामनन्तिहिसाधवः।।
Evamvaachyahsakanyaartham
Itivonopadisyate
Bhavatpraneetamaachaaram
Aamananti hi saadhavah
Arundhati will be able to help you much in this matter. In general, ladies are more clever in matters related to marriage:
प्रायेणैवंविधेकार्येपुरन्ध्रीणांप्रगल्भता।
Praayenaevamvidhekarye
Purandhreenaampragalbhataa
Hence, you proceed to Oshadhiprastha which is the capital of Himavan’s kingdom. We shall again meet again near the Mahakoshiriver.”
When Lord Siva the foremost among ascetics himself was inclined to get married, the sages gave up their sense of shame of their own marriage.
In a short time, the sages reached Oshadhiprastha. The city was so splendid that it appeared as if Alaka the city of Kubera was transplanted here and the excess people of the heaven made to stay here.  The elephants here were not afraid of the lions, the horses were of high breed and where the citizens were Yakshas and Kimpurushas and the women were the sylvan deities. The celestial tree with its silken branches served the purpose of  flags in the houses. Where the people had only youth and no old age, and their only fear was from the god of love. On the outskirts of the city was a mountain named Gandhamadana where the Vidyadhara travelers used to sleep under the shade of the Santanaka trees. On seeing the heaven, the sages felt that getting heaven as a result of merits amounts to cheating !
When they descended on the mountain, in a row according their age, they were shining like the many reflections of Sun in the water. On seeing them from a distance, Himavan the king came forward to receive them  with due hospitality. Here Kalidasa describes the twin aspects of Himavan , the king and Himalaya, the mountain. His red lips looked like the copper ( Copper itself was the lip), he was lofty ( high peaks), and had hands as long as Devadaru tree ( Devadaru trees were the hands) and  his chest was naturally like a rock ( the rocks were the chest of the mountain):
धातुताम्राधरःप्रांशुर्देवदारुबृहद्भुजः।
प्रकृत्येवशिलोरस्कःसुव्यक्तोहिमवानिति।।
Dhaatutaamraadharahpraamsuh
Devadaarubrihadbhujah
Prakrtyaivasiloaskah
Suvyaktohimavaaniti
After offering water and seats, Himavan addressed them with folded hands.
“ O sages ! Your sudden arrival here is like a rain without clouds, and like the emergence of fruits without flowers. I consider  myself as a lay man elevated as an enlightened person, as iron converted to gold, and  as one raised to heaven from earth.  From today onwards, my place will be visited by people as a holy Tirtha, because only such a place on which great men have resided deserves to be called as Tirtha:
अद्यप्रभृतिभूतानामधिगम्योऽस्मिशुद्धये।
यदध्यासितमर्हद्भिस्तद्धितीर्थंप्रचक्षते।।
Adyaprabhrtibhootaanaam
Adhigamyo’smisuddhaye
Yadadhyaasitamarhadbhih
Tad hi teerthampachakshate.
I consider myself sanctified for two reasons: by the fact that the Ganges is falling on me and the other is due to the water offered to wash your feet. Your appearance has dispelled not only the darkness from my caves , but the ignorance from the mind. I presume that you have come here only to purify me. For, I do not find anything to be done by you. Even if there is some, nothing which cannot be accomplished by you;
कर्तव्यंवो न पश्यामिस्याच्चेत्किंनोप्पद्यते।
शङ्केमत्पावनायैवप्रस्थानंभवतामिह।।
Kartavyamvo a pasyami
Syaatchetkimnopapadyate
Manye mat paavanaayaiva
Prasthaanambhavataamiha.
Even then, please command me as to what I should do. For, the servants will be happy only when their master engages them in some work:
विनियोगप्रसादाहिकिङ्कराःप्रभविष्णुषु।
Viniyogaprasaada hi
Kinkaraahpabhavishnushu
All of us, my family and my daughter are at your disposal. Needless to say about all my other belongings.”
The words of Himavan echoed in the caves of the mountain Himalaya as if to assert what he said.
The sages, then deputed sage Angiras to speak on their behalf. Sage Angiras addressed Himavan like this:
“ It is highly proper on your part, O Himavan! to have offered your service. It shows the loftiness of your peaks and your mind:
उपपन्नमिदंसर्वमतःपरमपित्वयि।
मनसःशिखराणां च सदृशीतेसमुन्नतिः।।
Upapannamidamsarvam
Atahparamapitvayi
Manasahsikharaanaam cha
Sadrseetesamunnatih.
It is befitting that you are hailed as Vishnu in the form of mountain. For, you are the abode for sentient and insentient beings:
स्थानेत्वांस्थावरात्मानंविष्णुमाहुस्तथाहिते।
चराचराणांभूतानांकुक्षिराधारतांगतः।।
Sthaanetvaamsthaavaraatmaanam
Vishnumaahuhtathaa hi te
Charaacharaanaambhootaanaam
Kukshihaadhaarataamgatah.
{ It has to noted here that poet Kalidasa has beautifully brought in the idea from the Bhagavad Gita where Krishna speaks of himself in superlative degree: sthaavaraanaamhimaalayah}
How is it possible for the serpent Adisesha to bear the burden of the earth on his tender hoods, if not for the fact that you have been supporting it from the bottom of the Rasatala? Your fame as well as the rivers like Ganges originating from you, purify the world. The sacred river Ganges is praised for the reason that it originated from the feet of Lord Vishnu and equally that you are its second source of origin. In the case of Vishnu in his TrivikramaAvatara, he started spreading in all directions, horizontally, upwards and downwards , but this all-pervasive nature is natural to you:
तिर्यगूर्ध्वमधस्ताच्चव्यापकोमहिमाहरेः।
त्रिविक्रमोद्यतस्यासीत्स च स्वाभाविकस्तव।।
Tiryagoordhvamadhastaacha
Vyaapakahmahimaahareh
Trivikramodyatasyaaseet
Satusvaabhaavikahtava.
You have excelled the peaks of Sumeru mountain by virtue of the fact that you are eligible to take the offerings made into fire in a Yaga. Your hard nature is visible in your immobile form as the mountain and this body of yours,bend down in devotion is praise-worthy. Please listen to the purpose of our visit, which , in fact, is you own matter. Our participation in it is advising you on what is beneficial. We have come to you seeking the marriage of your daughter with Lord Siva who is the witness to all the activities of the world:
स तेदुहितरंसाक्षात्साक्षीविश्वस्यकर्मणः।
वृणुतेवरदःशम्भुरस्मत्सङ्क्रामितैःपदै।।
Sateduhitaramsaakshaat
Saaksheevisvasyakarmanaam
Vrnutevaradahsambhuh
Asmatsankraamitaihpadaih
The title ‘Isvara’ is applicable only to him, who has the crescent moon on his head. The universe is sustained by him through his eight forms like the earth, water etc. His place is a seat of freedom from birth and death, and the ascetics contemplate on him as the in-dweller of all living beings.  It is for you to connect your daughter in marriage with him, like the word being connected to the meaning. For, a father need not worry about his daughter if she is married to a worthy husband:
तमर्थमिवभारत्यासुतयायोक्तुमर्हसि।
अशोच्याहिपितुःकन्यासद्भर्त्रेप्रतिपादिता।।
Tamarthamivabhaaratyaa
Sutayaayoktumarhasi
Asochyaa hi pituhkanyaa
Sadbhatrpradipaaditaa.
Since he is the father of the universe, all these people will look upon your daughter as the mother of the universe. There is nothing greater gain for your family than the combination of these facts that Uma is the bride, you are the giver, we are the solicitors and Siva the bridegroom :
उमावधूर्भवान्दातायाचितारइमेवयम्।
वरःशम्भुरलंह्येषत्वत्कुलोत्भूतयेविधिः।।
Umaavadhoohbhavaandaataa
Yaachitaaahimevayam
Varamsambhuhalamhyesha
Tvatkulodbhootayevidhih
You will also have the great honour of becoming the father-in-law of the Lord of the universe.”
When sage Angiras was talking to Himavan, Parvati was standing beside him , her head bent in shyness, and she was counting the petals of lotus in her hand:
एवंवादिनिदेवर्षौपार्श्वेपितुरधोमुखी।
लीलाकमलपत्राणिगणयामासपार्वती।
Evamvaadinidevarshau
Parsvepituhadhomukhee
Leelaakamalapatraani
Ganayaamaasapaarvati
( This is one of the most popular verses of Kalidasa. Without using the word shyness, he has beautifully brought out the implied sense and sentiment. Anandavadhana , the celebrated exponent of the Dhvani theory of suggestive power, cites this sloka as an example for VivakshitaAnyaparaVaachyaDhvani, particularly its variety called Anuranana, like the sound produced from the bell travels in waves thereby one wave giving rise to the subsequent wave. Here the meaning of the sentence, that Parvati counted the petals suggests the feelings of bashfulness ( Lajja) in her mind, which is considered as one of the fine inherent ornaments of a lady.Mallinatha, the commentator on Kumarasambhava says that it points out a Bhaava called Avahittha namely trying to suppress the joy of the mind so that others will not notice. )
On hearing the speech of sage Angiras, even though Himavan was very happy, he looked at his wife Mena. For, in matters related to the daughter, the house-holders take the guidance of the wife:

शैलःसम्पूर्णकामोऽपिमेनामुखमुदैक्षत।
प्रायेणगृहिणीनेत्राःकन्यार्थेहिकुटुम्बिनः।।
Sailahsampoornakaamo’pi
Menaamukhamavaikshata
Praayenagrhineenetraah
Kanyaartheshukudumbinah
After getting her indication which was the same as his desire, Himavan thought that the best way to answer the words of sages was to show his willingness and consent. So, at the end of their speech, Himavan summoned his daughter and told her that she has been offered to Siva and the seekers are the renowned seven sages and his duty as a house-holder is getting fulfilled. He then told the sages,” This bride of Lord Siva is saluting you all”. They also showered their blessings on him and Arundhati, in particular, made Parvati ascend her lap and also consoled Mena , who was shedding tears due to love for he daughter, by saying about the virtues of the bride-groom. When asked by Himavan about the auspicious day of the marriage, they said after three days, it is very auspicious.  They took leave of Himavan , came back to Lord Siva and conveyed to him about the successful mission. Lord Siva, with his mind longing to meet Parvati, spent those three days with great difficulty. This chapter ends here, with Kalidasa’s observation that if these feelings can overpower even the Lord, on whom will they not have a hold ?


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