The Seduction of Shiva: Tales of Life and Love
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The god Shiva is utterly seduced by Mohini, the enchanting female form assumed by the god Vishnu during the churning of the ocean for nectar. A barber employs wit and wile and rumours of witchcraft to win his wife back from the lustful attentions of their king. The celestial nymph Urvashi curses the Pandava prince Arjuna when he rejects her sexual advances. A woman caught in adultery befools her elders with a religious ritual. A man with a disagreeable missing wife insists nevertheless that she be recovered by his ruler who has a similar problem.
Refined, colloquial, romantic, cynical, satirical by turns, these stories of erotic love, elegantly translated from the Sanskrit classics, make a sustained argument for the secular ends of life of desire tempered with discrimination and pleasure with restraint.
the rising moon, all of these made that mighty warrior a prisoner of Kama. Sighing repeatedly, he stared at the lunar orb. It was at this time that Rambha happened to pass by. She was the choicest of all the celestial nymphs. With a face as radiant as the full moon, ornamented with divine jewels, a paste of heavenly sandalwood adorning her limbs and coral blooms her hair, she seemed ready for a special feast. Her eyes were enchanting, set below eyebrows that were like curved bows. Her
wealth, the second received but a fraction of it. ‘Prince,’ he asked, ‘what will you do for me when you become the king after your father’s passing?’ The reply was: ‘Just as my father appointed your brahman colleague as his priest, so will I appoint you.’ This news reached the other brahman through a chain of ears. ‘I will so act,’ he decided, ‘that the prince does not succeed to the kingdom. How will he then make that fellow the royal priest?’ Meanwhile there was a rebellion in a hill town
Devayani addressed Kacha as his departure neared. ‘Grandson of the sage Angiras,’ she said, ‘you shine with your conduct and family, your learning, restraint and other merits. Your father and grandfather are as honourable for me as my own famous father. Bear this in mind as I speak, also my behaviour while you kept your vow. Your studies are now complete, but you should not leave me. I love you. Take my hand in marriage.’ ‘Speak not thus, Devayani. I honour and respect you no less than the lord
and bees humming over the flowers. There was a lake within the park, and the verdure around it rustled in the mild spring breezes and the cool spray of waterfalls. The animals in that park were peaceful and harmless; and the nightingale’s call beckoned the traveller to rest in it. Wandering in that marvellous woodland, Prince Puranjan beheld a damsel coming his way. With her was a retinue of ten attendants, each the leader of a hundred maidens, and a five-headed serpent guarded her. She was in
son. ‘Mother,’ said her firstborn as he first saluted and then sprinkled her with holy water, ‘I have come to carry out your wishes. You know the sacred law. Tell me what I should do.’ The mother seated Vyasa and asked at length about his welfare as she gazed at him. ‘Wise one,’ she then said, ‘sons are born from both mothers and fathers, and both have the same rights over them. Of this there is no doubt: just as fate willed you to be my firstborn, so was Vichitra Virya my last. And just as