The Cloud Messenger - Part 02 - Poem by Kalidasa
Your naturally beautiful reflection will gain entry into the clear waters of the
Gambhira River, as into a clear mind. Therefore it is not fitting that you, out
of obstinancy, should render futile her glances which are the darting leaps of
little fish, as white as night-lotus flowers.
Removing her blue garment which is her water, exposing her hips which are
her banks, it is clutched by cane-branches as if grasped by her hands.
Departure will inevitably be difficult for you who tarries, O friend. Who,
having experienced enjoyment, is able to forsake another whose loins are laid
A cool breeze, grown pleasant through contact with the scent of the earth
refreshed by your showers, which is inhaled by elephants with a pleasing
sound at their nostrils, and which is the ripener of wild figs in the forest,
gently fans you who desire to proceed to Devagiri.
There, you, taking the form of a cloud of flowers, should bathe Skanda, who
always resides there, with a shower of flowers, wet with the water of the
heavenly Ganges. For he is the energy surpassing the sun, that was born into
the mouth of the fire by the bearer of the crescent moon6 for the purpose of
protecting the forces of of the sons of Indra.
Then, with claps of thunder, magnified by their own echoes, you should cause
to dance the peacock of the son of Agni, the corners of whose eyes are bathed
by the light of the crescent moon at the head of Shiva and whose discarded
tail-feather, ringed by rays of light, Parvati placed behind her ear, next
to the petal of the blue lotus, out of her love for her son.
Having worshipped that god born in a reedbed, after you have travelled
further, your route abandoned by siddha-couples carrying lutes because they
fear rain-drops, you should descend while paying homage to the glory of
Randideva, born from the slaughter of the daughter of Surabhi, and who
arose on earth in the form or a river.
When you, the robber of the complexion of bearer of the bow Sharnga, stoop
to drink the water of that river, which is broad but appears narrow from a
distance, those who range the skies, when they look down, will certainly see
that the stream resembles a single string of pearls on the earth, enlarged at
its centre with a sapphire.
Having crossed the river, go on, making yourself into a form worthy of the
curiosity of the eyes of the women of Dashapura, adept in the amorous play of
their tendril-like eyebrows, whose dark and variageted brilliance flashes up at
the fluttering of their eyelashes, and whose splendour has been stolen from the
bees attendant on tossing kunda flowers.
Then, entering the district of Brahmavarta, accompanied by your shadow, you
should proceed to the plain of the Kurus, evocative of the battle of the
warriors, where the one whose bow is Gandiva brought down showers of
hundreds of sharp arrows, just as you bring down showers of rain on the faces
of the lotuses.
Having partaken of the waters of the Sarasvati which were enjoyed by the
bearer of the plough who was averse to war on account of his love for his
kinsfolk, after he had forsaken the wine of agreeable flavour which was
marked by the reflection of Revati’s eyes, you, friend, will be purified within:
only your colour will be black.
From there you should go to the daughter of Jahnu above the Kanakhula
mountains, where she emerges from the Himalaya, who provided a flight of
steps to heaven for the sons of Sagara, and who laughing with her foam at the
frown on the face of Gauri, made a grab at the hair of Shambhu and clasped
his crescent moon with her wave-hands.
If you, like an elephant of the gods, your front partly inclining down from the
sky to drink her waters which are pure as crystal, in an instrant, because of
your reflection on her gliding current, she would become very lovely, as if
united with the Yamuna in second location.
Having reached the mountain which is the source of that very river, whose
crags are made fragrant with the scent of the musk of the deer that recline
there, white with snow, reposing on the summit which dispells the fatigue of
travel, you will take on the splendour like that of the white soil cast up
by the bull of the three-eyed one.
If, when the wind is blowing, a forest fire were to afflict the mountain,
ignited by the friction of branches of the sarala trees, burning with its
flames the tailhairs of the yaks, it would befit you to extinguish it
completely with thousands of torrents of water, for the resources of the
great have as their fruit the alleviation of those who suffer misfortune.
The sharabha there, intent on springing in anger at you who departs from
their path, would lunge at you, only to break their own limbs. You should
cover them with a tumultuous storm of hail and rain. Who, intent upon a
fruitless endeavour, would not be the object of contempt?
There, with your body bowed in devotion, you should circumambulate the
foot-print of the one wears the half-moon diadem, which is continually
heaped with offerings from ascetics, and at the sight of which, at their
departure from the bodies, cleansed of their misdeeds, the faithful are able to
achieve the immuteable state of membership of Shiva’s following.
The bamboo canes filled with the wind sound sweetly. Victory over the three
cities is celebrated in song by the Kinnari demi-gods. If your rumbling like a
muraja drum resounds in the caves, the theme of a concert for Shiva will be
Having passed various features on the flanks of the Himalayas, proceed thence
north to Krauncarandhra, gateway for wild geese, which was the route to glory
for Bhrgupati—you whose beautiful form is flat and long, like the dark blue
foot of Vishnu uplifted for the suppression of Bali.
And having gone further, become the guest of Mt Kailasa, the seams of whose
peaks were rent by the arms of the ten-faced one and which is a mirror for
the consorts of the Thirty Gods, and which, extending with lofty peaks like
white lotuses, stands in the sky like the loud laughter of the three-eyed
one accumulated day by day.
I foresee that when you, resembling glossy powdered kohl, reach the foot of
that mountain as white as a freshly cut piece of ivory, the imminent beauty
will be fit to be gazed upon with an unerring eye, like the dark blue garment
placed on the shoulder of the plough-carrier.
And if Gauri should take a walk on the foot of that pleasure-hill, lent a hand
by Shiva who has set aside his serpent-bracelet, your shape transformed into a
flight of steps, your torrents of water withheld within yourself, become a
stairway rising in front of her for the ascent of the jewel-slopes.
There the young women of the gods will use you as a shower—you whose
waters are brought forth by the striking together of the diamonds in their
bracelets. If, friend, you were unable to release yourself from them, being
encountered in the hot season, startle them who are intent on playing with
you, with claps of thunder, harsh to the ear.
Partaking of the waters of Manasa which bring forth golden lotuses, bringing
at pleasure momentary delight like a cloth upon the face of Airavata, shaking
with your winds the sprouts of wish-fulfilling trees like garments, enjoy the
king of mountains with various playful actions, O cloud.
Once you, who wander at will, have seen Alaka seated in the lap of the
mountain like a lover, with the Ganges like a garment that has slipped, you
will not fail to recognise her again with her lofty palaces and bearing hosts of
clouds with showers of rain at the time of year when you are present,
resembling a woman whose tresses are interwoven with strings of pearls.
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