Chudala: Chapter 13, Madanika
After Chudala had given enlightening instruction to her husband, she sent the sagely Kumbha into a cave nearby and then returned her consciousness to the Community for a few days – Michael would be busy enjoying his new-found enlightenment. Chudala needed to arrange to physically leave the Community for some time in order to personally take Michael through the final test. And also, she just wanted to really spend some time with her husband.
After three days she teleported to the cave where she had left Kumbha. There she transformed her body to look exactly like Kumbha and returned the clone body of Kumbha to the elements. In the form of Kumbha, she advanced to the hermitage of Michael in the forest.There she saw him in his woodland retreat, sitting in his posture of deep meditation resembling a figure carved in wood. Seeing him this way, she thought: This is so nice! He is sitting quiet and tranquil in himself. I must now awaken him from his trance in the Supreme Being or else his soul will soon forsake the body owing to his disregard of it. He will end his worldly life by excessive meditation, but I want him to live with me in the Community so we can work on our projects together.
She thought: It would be difficult to instruct him in all stages of meditation. There is no end of these things. I will try to train him only in the practical aspects of yoga.
Thus, reflecting in herself she made a loud shout which startled the wild beasts but did not rouse Michael, though she repeated her loud shouts again and again. Then she shook him with her hands in an effort to bring him back to his sense. Though shaken and moved and thrown down on the ground, yet Michael neither awoke nor came to his senses. Then Chudala thought on another means in the disguise of Kumbha. She entered into Michael’s body and implanted a vibration into his heart that would stir him out of his meditation.
Then she rose in her form of the brahmin boy Kumbha and sat upon a flowery bed, where she began to chant her hymns of the Sama Veda, her soft tunes resembling the melodious chime of buzzing bees.
Michael, on hearing the tuneful chime of the hymns, felt an intellectual exhilaration. His dormant life was awakened to its consciousness, just as the lotus bud comes to bloom by the breath of spring season. His eyelids opened to light like a lotus bud blooms with sunlight, and Michael’s whole body became vivid with renewed life.
Before him, he saw the brahmin boy Kumbha in his divinely fair form singing Sama hymns as if the god of music was present in person.
O fortunate am I, he thought, to have found my friendly Kumbha again before me.
So, thinking, he picked up some flowers and offered them to him.
“O how great is my good fortune,” he said to his guest, “to be thus recalled to your gracious memory. What else could cause a divine person like yourself to be so favorably disposed towards me? The cause of my salvation has caused you to come and call on me. What else would bring a son of a god down to visit me again?”
Kumbha spoke. “Michael, my mind was ever intent on you ever since I left you. Now it has come back to me as I find you well in this place. I do not reap so much delight in the ever-delightful region of heaven as I do here in your presence. It is because I have the great work of your redemption no longer pending before me. I have no friend or companion that is dearer to my soul than you. I have no faithful pupil or confidential disciple like you in this world.”
Michael replied, “Ah! Now I see that the trees of this mountain are about to yield the fruit of my meritorious acts. They have made a retired recluse like you condescend to desire my company. If these woods and trees and I, who is so devoted to you, should find more favor in your sight than the bliss of your heavenly abode, then please may you live with me in this lonely forest. As for me, I am so blessed with the gift of your samadhi that I always have my perfect rest in God, even in this place. I have no desire for heavenly delights. Resting in that state of pure effulgence, I enjoy my fill of heavenly bliss even in this earth below.”
Kumbha questioned, “Have you ever had your repose in the state of supreme joy? Were you ever freed from the misery which always attends the knowledge of duality? Have you ever felt a disgust with all temporary enjoyments? Have you rooted out your taste for the tasteless pleasures of this earth? Has your mind ever rested in that state of even detachment which has no liking for the desirable or dislike for the undesirable, but is always content with whatever awaits upon it at any time?”
Michael replied, “It is by your favor sage, that I have seen all that transcends human sight. I have reached beyond the limits of the universe and obtained the best obtainable and most certain bliss. After long I am freed from decay and disease and gained all which is to be gained, and wherewith I am quite content. I require no further advice from anyone for my upliftment.”
“I feel fully gratified with everything in all places. I am quite at ease and freed of disease everywhere. I have nothing to know that I don’t know; nothing to obtain that has not been obtained. I have forsaken whatever is not worth having, and my soul has its reliance in the supreme essence. I rest quite aloof from everything. I am devoid of any fear or error or apathy of anything. I am always situated in the even and calm course of my mind and in the equality of my soul with all others. I am free from all imagination, as the clear sky is free from all tint and cloud.”
In this manner these two who knew the knowable Brahma continued their conversation on spiritual matters until the third watch of the day in that forest. Then rising together, they wandered in the delightful valleys about cooling lakes and pleasant streams. In this way they wandered in that forest for full eight days, passing their time in conversation on various subjects.
Then Kumbha said to Michael, “Let us walk to some other forest.” He gave his consent uttering and then they walked forward in each other’s company. In this manner they walked over many forest lands and passed by many jungles and shores. They saw many lakes, thick woods, and rising hills and their thickets of dense woods and plants. They traversed many woodland tracts and rivers, and saw many villages, towns, and woods on their way. They passed by many sweet-sounding rivers and gardens, and many holy places and the abodes of men.
They were united together in equal love and friendship, the same even course of mind. They were of equal liveliness, and both walked or stayed together with their unanimity.
They worshipped the gods and the spirits of their ancestors in holy places and ate what they got at any place. They lived together both in marshy and dry lands in concord and peace. The loving pair, bearing equal affection for one another in their hearts, dwelt together in friendship amidst woods of tamara trees and in the forests of the Mandara hills.
To them no place was their home or own, but they were alike in all. Nothing occurred to disturb their minds which were always as undisturbed as a mountain amidst the winds. Sometimes they walked amidst the flying dust and at other times amidst the far stretching fragrance of sandalwood forests. They were now covered with ashes and then besmeared with sandal paste. They were sometimes clad in good garments and sometimes in multicolored clothes. Now they were covered with tree leaves and at another they were decorated with flowers.
Remaining in each other’s company for some days, and having the unanimity of their hearts and minds, the king was as perfected in his nature as another Kumbha himself.
The faithful Chudala, seeing the divine form of her husband Michael, began to reflect within herself in the following manner: How divinely fair has my husband become, and how very charming are these woodland scenes. By living long in this place, we must be an easy prey for the god of love. I see that although one is liberated in his lifetime, yet the sense of his liberation cannot give him freedom from his obligation of testing the pleasures that are presented before him. I think it is ignorance to refuse offered enjoyments. Seeing my husband to be noble minded and free from all bodily disease and debility, and having a flowery grove before, it must be a wretched woman who refuses to advance to her lord at such a time. That wretched woman is truly undone who, seated in her covered shelter of flowers, has her husband presented before her and yet fails to approach to him for her satisfaction. Accursed is the woman who being wedded to a handsome husband, and having him alone in her company, fails to associate with him. To one acquainted with true knowledge, of what good is it to reject a lawful pleasure that presents itself before that person? So I must contrive some means in this forest whereby I may be successful to make my husband join with me.
Having thought so in her mind, Chudala, disguised in the form of Kumbha, spoke to Michael like a female nightingale mutters to her mate from her flowery covered shelter in the forest. “This is the first day of the new moon of the lunar month of Chaitra, and this is a day of great festivity in the court of Indra in heaven. So, I must return to the assembly of the gods and present myself before my father in that assembly. So my departure is ordained by destiny and cannot be averted by any means. You shall have to expect my return to this forest this evening. In the meantime, divert yourself in these flowery trees, which will lull your anxiety for me to rest. I shall positively return here from the blue sky by the evening of this day. I shall soon join your company, which is ever delightful to me.”
So saying, she gave a stalk of flowers of the Nandana forest to her beloved to serve as a token of her affection for him.
Michael said, “You must return to me soon.” She instantly disappeared from his sight and mixed with the air like a light autumn cloud vanishing in the empty sky. He flung flowers after her as she mounted in the sky, and these floated in the air like icicles in the cold season.
Michael first saw her flight, then her disappearance from him like a peacock looking at the flight of a cloud with uplifted eyes. At last the body of Kumbha vanished from Michael’s sight and mixed in the open air, as the waves of the sea subside in still and smooth waters.
Chudala, in the body of Kumbha, waited in the sky for a few hours. She hatched a plan to test Michaels enlightenment, so she dropped at Michael’s abode like flowers and fruit of autumn dropping on the ground. She appeared there with a sad face and deeply dejected in her mind, like the fair moon darkened under mist or a beautiful lotus hidden under a fog. Believing her to be his Kumbha, Michael rose up and stood in his presence. But he was troubled in his mind to see him so sad and sorry. He asked the cause and addressed him saying, “I greet you, O Kumbha, but why do you appear so sad today? You are the son of a god and must not be sorry at anything. Please take your seat here. Holy saints and those who know the knowable one, like you, are never moved by joy or grief, but remain untouched by them, as the lotuses remain intact in the water.”
Kumbha speaking: “I know that those who know the truth, but remain impatient under bodily accidents and mental anxieties, are not truthful men but cheats who cheat people by their pretended truthfulness. Know prince that the most learned, if they foolishly expect to evade the condition to which they are exposed by their nature, are the most ignorant.”
“The sesame seed naturally has oil inherent in it, and the body also has its inherent incidents. He who is not subject to his bodily accidents is like one who can separate wind from air with his sword. Of course, it is best to evade the evils that are incidental to the body, but it is necessary to undergo patiently what is unavoidable by our bodily powers. Again, as long as we have our bodies we must exert our bodily organs to their proper actions and never attempt to suppress them by our understanding, as it is done by many a wise man. Even the great Brahma and the gods are subject to the conditions of their bodily frames. Even they with their great understandings do not have the power to avoid what is determined by irrevocable destiny. It is beyond the power of both the wise and the unwise to deter the power of destiny. Destiny makes all things run in their destined course, just as the waters of rivers run into the sea. The same irrevocable destiny equally determines the fates of the wise and unwise. She guides them with her fingers to the same goal until they get their release from the body.”
“However, the ignorant, whether exposed to prosperity or adversity, are always destined to undergo their effects upon their bodies. Therefore, it must be known by both the wise and unwise that all beings are destined to roll in their repeated rotations of pleasure and pain, and that there is no power to change the ever-chanceful ordinances of unchanging destiny.”
Michael said, “If such is the case, sage, that destiny overrules all events, why should you be sorry for anything that has happened to you? You know you are a son of a god and you know the knowable.”
Kumbha replied: “Hear the wonderful accident that has occurred to me. I will relate to you all that has happened to me in this body. The heart becomes light when its grief is shared with a friend, just as the thickened gloom of clouds dissipate after they discharge their waters in rain. The troubled mind is restored to its serenity by its communication with a sincere friend, just as the muddy waters of a jar are cleared by filtering with kata seeds.”
“After I left here, by handing over the stalk of flowers to you, I traversed though the regions of air until I reached the heavenly abode of the gods. There I met my father Narada and accompanied him to the court of the great Indra, where having sat a while, I got up with my father and then departed from him at his abode. Leaving the seat of the gods in order to come down on earth, I entered the region of air. I kept my pace with the fleet steeds of the chariot of the sun in the airy paths of the skies. Thus sailing together with the sun, I reached the point of my separation from him and there took my path through the midway sky, as if I were sailing in the sea. I saw there, in a track before me, a path stretching amidst the watery clouds of air, and marked the angry sage Durvasa gliding swiftly by it. He was wrapped in the covering of clouds and encircled with girdles of flashing lightning. The sandal taints on his body were washed off by showering rains and he seemed like a maiden making her way in haste to meet her lover at the appointed place. Like a devotee he hastened to discharge his fond devotions on the beach of the River Ganges, flowing under the shade of the boughs of the rows of trees on the shore.”
“I saluted the sage from my aerial seat, and said, ‘You, wrapped as you are in your blue vest of the cloud, seem to advance in haste, like an amorous woman going to meet her lover.’ Hearing this, the reverend sage was angered and pronounced his curse upon me saying, ‘Be you transformed to the amorous woman you think me to be. Go your way and bear my curse, that every night you shall become a woman with protuberant breasts and long braids of hairs on your head, filled with all feminine grace and dalliance.’ I was thunderstruck and deeply dejected at this curse. I found the old muni had already disappeared from before me, then I turned my course this way from the upper sky, being quite sick in my heart. Thus, I have related to you everything about my being changed to a lady at the approach of night. My constant thoughts are how I shall manage myself under my womanhood. How shall I divulge to my father the shame of becoming a swollen breasted maid at night? How can I reconcile myself to my terrible fate throughout the course of my life? O how wonderful is the decree of fate that we are fated to bear in this world in the course of time!”
“Now I am unlucky to become a prey for young men and the subject of fighting among them, like a piece of flesh among hungry vultures. O what fun have I become to the ludicrous children of the gods in heaven! Ah, how shameful have I been before the sages who must be quite ashamed of me. How shall I remain anywhere and before anybody in my female form at night?”
After saying this, Kumbha became as mute as a silent muni. Then the pretended Kumbha, seeming to recover his senses and his patience also, spoke out to himself, “Ah! why do I wail like the ignorant when my soul suffers no change by this?”
Michael spoke: “Sage, why do you sorrow for the body? You are the son of a god. Whatever may happen to the body, it can never affect the intangible soul. Whatever pain or pleasure befalls us in this life, it all affects the changing body and can never touch the unchanging soul. If you are acquainted with the Vedas and fortified against all events, you should not allow yourself to be so much moved by these accidents. You are not like others who are constantly subject to all the casualties of life. To be sorry in sorrow is very sorrowful in the wise. Therefore, you who have spoken these precepts before should not now be overwhelmed in sorrow. Remain as unmoved as you are and be unshaken all along.”
In this did the two hearty friends continue to grieve with one another, consoling each other by turns under the cooling shade of the grove where they sat together. At last the bright sun, who is the light of the world, set down in darkness like lamp without oil. Kumbha was despondent at the prospect of her female form.
The full-blown lotuses closed their leaves like the closing eyelids of the busy dwellers of the world. Footpaths became as deserted by their passengers as the hearts of loving wives are lonely in the absence of their husbands who are devoted to travelling and staying in distant countries. The upper sky borrowed the appearance of the lower earth by spreading the curtain of darkness over groups of its twinkling stars, like the outstretched nets of fishermen enfolding fish. The black dome of the sky was smiling above with its retinue of shining stars, just like the blue beds of lakes rejoiced with their chains of blooming lilies below. The land resounded with the noise of black bees and beetles and the cries of reddish geese on the water.
The two friends rose and offered their evening prayers at the rising of the moon, chanted their hymns and muttered their mantras, and took their shelter under the forest retreat. Afterwards Kumbha, changed as he was to a female form, and sitting before Michael, spoke his faltering speech to him in the following manner.
“Sage, I seem to fall down, cry out and melt away in my tears to see myself even now changed to my feminine figure in your presence. See sage, how quickly the hairs on my head lengthen into curling locks, and how they sparkle with strings of pearls fastened to them, like the brilliant clusters of stars in the azure sky. Look here at two snowy balls bulging out of my bosom, like two white lotus buds rising on the surface of waters in the spring season.”
“Look how my long robe is stretched down to the heels and how it covers my whole body, like that of a female. Look at these shining ornaments and wreathes of flowers decorating my body, like the blooming blossoms of spring ornamenting the forest tree. Lo! the moon-bright vest covering the crown of my head and the necklaces hanging about my body. Look at my features, how they are converted to their feminine attractiveness, and see how my whole body is graced all over with feminine loveliness.”
“O! how very great is my sorrow at my sudden change into a woman. Tell me friend, what am I to do and where to go with this my female form? I perceive also the change in my inner parts and in my thighs and posterior.” Kumbha said this much to her friend, then remained quite mute and silent.
The king also, seeing him thus, remained in mute gaze and silence. Then after a while, he opened his mouth and spoke as follows, “Of course it is very sorrowful and pitiable to see you transformed this way into a female. But you, sage who knows the truth, also know that there is no contending with fate. Whatever is destined must come to pass. Wise men must not be startled or feel sorry because all events affect only the body and cannot affect the inner soul.”
Kumbha replied, “So it is, and I must bear my feminine form with an unfeminine soul. I will no more sorrow for what is never to be averted, but must endure with patience what I cannot reject.”
Relying on this principle, they alleviated their sorrow for what was impossible to avoid. They passed their nights in peace and slept in the same bed without touching one another.
Kumbha rose in the morning in his masculine form again, without any trace of his female features, feminine beauty or grace. Kumbha was Kumbha again by being divested of his female form. Thus, he passed as bisexual and having two forms being of the brahmin boy Kumbha by day and of a beautiful woman by night. In his male form, Kumbha continued as a friend to the king in the daytime. In the female form, he lived as a virgin maid with him at night. Thus did Chudala, disguised as a brahman boy by day and a beautiful woman by night cling to her husband like a necklace hangs upon a person’s neck and breast. They continued to wander in each other’s company to different countries and over distant hills to satisfy their curiosity.
After several days passed this way, Chudala, in her disguise as the pretended brahmin boy Kumbha, spoke to her husband.
“Hear me Michael,” she said, “to what I tell you in good earnest, because I am obliged to become a woman every night and continue to be so for ever more. I wish to fulfill the part of my womanhood by joining myself to a husband by legal marriage for all that time. I want to taste the pleasure of conjugal union with my dear friend, who is of his own accord so very friendly to me without any endeavor on my part. So, I hope you will place no difficulty in my way.”
“I choose you Michael, as my husband, of all others in the three worlds. Therefore, be pleased to accept me for your wife every night. The delightful pleasure of conjugal union has come down to us ever since the commencement of creation. Therefore, our obedience to the ordinance of nature can cause no guilt on our part. I desire that we may do as we like without desiring or disliking anything, and that we be far from expecting the consequence of what we like or dislike.”
Michael answered, “Friend, I see neither good nor evil in accepting your proposal. You are at liberty to do as you like. Being indifferent my mind to everything in the world, I see everything in the same and in an equal light. So, I let you have your choice as you may like.”
Kumbha replied, “If so, then I say that this day is very favorable for celebrating the wedding ceremony. It is the full moon of Sravana and an all lucky constellation according to my best calculation. On this day of the full moon, our marriage may take place both during the day as well as at night by mutual consent. It will be celebrated either on the summit of Mahendra Mountain or on the delightful tableland there about, or in the cave of some mineral mine, and in the light of the shining gems and mineral ores in the mountain.”
“Rows of stately trees all around will shed their flowers at the nuptial ceremony. The twining vines on them will represent the dance of dancing girls by their twisting and shaking. Let the bright luminary of the night, accompanied by his consort retinue of shining stars, witness our marriage from the high sky with their wide open and glaring eyes.”
“Rise, Michael, for your wedding. Let us both hasten to select the forest flowers and prepare the sandal paste and collect the scattered gems with which to decorate our wedding seats.”
Saying so, they both rose together and picked the flowers and collected the gems. Then in a short time, they went to the shining land and heaped it with flowers of various kinds. They had their wedding clothing and necklaces ready on the spot, and the god of love helped with supplying everything required on the occasion. Having thus prepared the items of their wedding ceremony and stored them in a golden cave of the mountain, they both went to sacred stream of the heavenly Ganges Mandakini for making their holy ablutions therein.
Here Kumbha served as the priest, pouring the holy water profusely on the lofty head and elevated shoulders of Michael, just as the elephantine clouds of Indra pour rainwater in plentiful showers on the towering tops and height of hills. Similarly, Michael acted the part of the ministering prince, washing the body of his beloved princess now in the form of Kumbha. Thus, the two friends anointed and wiped clean the bodies of their former and future consorts. Bathed and purified, they adored the gods, the munis and the spirits of their ancestors for the sake of their honor and without any desire of getting any good or gain from them, for they well knew that there was nothing to benefit themselves from their service to the gods, deified spirits and divine sages.
They took their frugal food as their nature and the course of the world required, seasoned with the nectarine juice of their good and refined intelligence. They wore the whitish bark of kalpa trees as their clean wedding clothes and ate its fruit as their wedding cakes. Then they went to the altar for their wedding ceremony. At this time the sun descended below his setting mountain, as if to complete their conjugal union in secret. It now became dark and twilight. They discharged their evening service and offered their prayers. Groups of stars appeared in the sky to witness their union in marriage. Then came the dark night as the only friend of the happy pair, spreading the veil of darkness over the face of nature and smiling with the blushing of snow white lotuses and lilies of the valley.
Kumbha collected rich stones and placed those shining on the tableland of the mountain, while Brahma lighted his two lamps of the sun and moon together in the heavens. Being then changed to the female form, Kumbha anointed Michael with fragrant sandalwood paste, agallochum, camphor powder and pulverized musk. She adorned his body with strings, bracelets and wristlets of flowers, and dressed it in a robe of thin kalpa tree bark. His body was also decorated head to foot with the filaments of kalpa plant, clusters of parijata flowers, and many other flowers and gems. She appeared in her bridle garb and maiden-like figure, with her big and swollen breasts and all her youthful grace and allurements.
She thought that as she was now attired and appeared as a marriage bride, she must now offer herself to a husband worthy to her. Here I am as a lovely bride, she thought to herself, and there is my husband in my presence. I must ask him to accept my hand. This is not the time to withdraw the hand.
So saying, she approached her husband sitting apart from her in the wood. She appeared like Rati, the goddess of love, advancing towards her loving Kama. She went to him and said, “I am Madanika by name and your loving wife. Therefore, I bow down at your feet with the regard due to a husband.”
So saying, the beautiful lady bent down her head with female bashfulness and made her obeisance to her lord with the pendant locks on her head. Then she said to him, “O my lord, adorn me with ornaments then light the marriage fire to affirm your acceptance of my hand. You appear exceedingly fair to my eyes. You make me quite fond of you. You seem to surpass the god of love in your beauty, even when he wedded his Rati at first in his youthful bloom. O prince, these flower wreathes on your body look like the bright beams in the body of the moon. To me, those strings of flowers hanging on your chest look like the stream of Ganges gliding on the breast of Sumeru Mountain. With the flowing braided hairs on your head, you look like Mandara Mountain with clusters of vines hanging down from its top. Your head appears like a golden lotus with its hanging hairs resembling the filaments of the flower and covered with strings of blackening bees. The shining ornaments and flowery decorations of your body add a light and gracefulness of Mount Meru, with its mineral ores on one side and its floral beauty on the other.”
After her flattering speech was over, the new bride and bridegroom and future husband and wife sat contented together, unmindful and forgetful of their past conjugal relation. The brave princess, now Madanika by name, and the noble prince Michael the saint both sat together on a golden seat, which added fresh luster to the beauty and decoration of their bodies. They were bedecked with their headdresses, garlands of flowers and ornaments of gems and pearls, and were furnished with flowers and ointments and clad in fine cloths all over their bodies. The young lady Madanika blazed like Rati with her maddening beauty. She appeared like the goddess Gauri, the excellent model of beauty, at her wedding festivity.
The noble lord having adorned his noble lady with his own hands, spoke to her. “O deer-eyed lady, you are as graceful as the goddess Lakshmi of grace and prosperity. I pray that all prosperity attend on you as it does with Sachi, the queen of heaven, in the company of her lord Indra, and as it existed between Hara and Gauri, and between Hari and his consort Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune. You look like a clear lake of lotuses, your breasts blooming like lotus buds and your black-blue eyes resembling blue lotuses. The sweet fragrance of your lotus-like body invites buzzing bees fluttering all about you. You also appear like the tender shoot of the kalpa plant of Kama, your red palms resembling its reddish leaves and your swollen breasts like its blooming buds, and every part of your body is as delicate as its delicious fruits. With your cooling body and your moonlike face and its smiles like moonbeams, you are as beautiful as the full moon and equally delightful to sight. Rise therefore my beautiful lady and ascend on the matrimonial altar and there perform the wedding ceremony standing on the slab of stone marked with creeping plants and their fruits.”
The altar was studded with strings of semi-precious stones, bunches of flowers suspended on all sides. It had four large coconuts hung over the four sides of its square. Pots filled with holy water from the river were set about it, and the sacred matrimonial fire was lighted amidst it, fed with sandalwood and other fragrances. They walked around the flaming fire clockwise, then sat on seats of leaves with their faces turned towards the east. After sitting on the altar, the matrimonial couple lighted the nuptial fire and made offerings of sesame seeds and fried rice upon its flames.
Having lifted the wife with his own hands, the husband and wife appeared like Shiva and Parvati in the forest. The married pair turned again about the sacred fire, and offered to each other their own selves and loves as their marriage dowries. They showed their shining faces to one another as their nuptial presents, and completed the ceremony by going round the fire and scattering the fried rice upon it. The husband and wife now parted other hands from their hold of the palms of one another. Their smiling faces appeared like the lunar disc on the new moon.
After this, when the moon had already run her course of the first watch of the night, they went to sleep on a flowery bedstead which they had newly prepared. The moon cast her beams to fall aslant on the bedstead, as when attendant women cast their glances askance on the bridal bed. She next spread her bright beams all about the couple’s leafy covered shelter, as if to listen to the pleasant conversation of the new married couple. The pair, having sat awhile in the light of mineral lamps, retired to their sleeping bed which they had prepared in a secluded spot.
It was a bedding of flowers covered with heaps of flowers of various kinds. There were heaps of lotuses of golden color, as also mandara and other sorts of flowers, to drive away fatigue by their fragrance. The flat of the flowery bed of the bridal pair resembled the plane of the broad and bright moon, and a level surface covered by cooling ice. It also resembled the wide sea whose waters are permeated by the bright moon and whose surface supplies a bed to Ananta, the sleeping serpent of the infinite god Vishnu.
The loving pair then lay themselves down and rolled upon their snow-white bed of flowers, as when Mandara Mountain rolled about and churned the Milky Ocean. They passed their bridal night caressing each other and conversing on topics of love. The entire night glided before them as if only a few moments.
Now as the eastern sun gilded the world with his golden rays, the wife of Michael changed her form of Madanika to that of the brahmin boy Kumbha. She stood openly as such before her friend, sitting in the cavern of Mandara where at night they lived in conjugal union together like a pair of forest deities.
During the days they wandered in the forests and among trees and plants loaded with fruit and flowers of various colors. They passed the day together as two loving friends and spent the night as a wedded couple. They were never separated from each other either by day or night. They rambled about the caverns and trees of the mountain and played under the covered shelters of spice and mandara trees. They wandered about the outskirts of Dardura, Kailash, Mahendra, Malaya, Gandhamadana, Vindhadri, and Lokaloka. Thus, the loving pair lived as two friends by day and as husband and wife at night, both decorated with flowers and sleeping on their flowery bed.
They remained for a month in a shining cave of Mahendra under the shade of delightful sarala trees where they were greatly endeared by forest deities and kinnara foresters. They lived a fortnight in a tree on Suktimat Mountain surrounded by mandara trees and kalpa plants, feasting upon the fruit which they could reach with their hands. They passed two months on the southern ridge of the winged mountain of Mainaka, its covered shelters over hung by the fruits and flowers of the celestial parijata trees. They dwelt a month in the valley of Jammu at the foot of Himalayan range and beside the Jambu River. They fed on the jam fruit that give its name to the whole country. They travelled through the northern Kuru country for ten days, and for seven and twenty days they stayed in the districts lying north of Kosala. In this manner they passed over many countries and hilly districts, living together as two friends by day and as a married pair at night.
Chudala spent all of her time with Michael, away from the Community and enjoyed her life with him very much. But she was leading up to the test that she imagined some time ago. She thought, I will test the heart of my partner and see whether it is liable to have any attraction toward beauty and pleasurable objects. Thinking so, Chudala by her siddha-yogini skill showed the god Indra playing in the company of celestial apsara nymphs in that forest.
Michael saw the god Indra with his companion there. He advanced before him and worshipped him as he deserved, saying, “O lord of gods, will you consent to reveal to me the cause of your arrival in this forest from your seat in the high and far distant heaven?”
Indra replied, “Virtue has attracted us down to these woods, as the flying kites of the air are drawn to earth by the string fastened to their breasts. Now rise from here and proceed with us to heaven where the celestial apsara nymphs are eagerly expecting to see you since they have heard of your wonderful virtues. Wear these sandals, hold this sword, anoint your body with this ointment, and ascend to the upper sky and thence to heaven in the manner of the masters and perfect yogis.”
“On reaching the region of the gods, you will enjoy all sorts of delights which await the living liberated souls in this world and the next, and to which I now come to invite you. No holy man like yourself ever neglects the offered occasion to their prosperity, nor should you scorn to take your heavenward course with ourselves at this moment. 25 Let there be no impediment to your ascent to the enjoyment of heaven where you will enjoy your full bliss and which will be blessed by your presence as the three worlds are by the presence of Vishnu.”
Michael said, “I know, O lord of gods, the delights that abound in heaven, but I have my heaven everywhere and there is no particular place which I consider as heaven. I am content everywhere and I am pleased with every place. My soul being desirous of nothing from its fullness in itself, I am fully satisfied everywhere. O god, if remaining forever in the same place and in the same state is what you call heaven, then pardon me for I decline to go it.”
Indra answered, “I know, O holy saint, that those who have known the knowable and who are perfect in their understandings are indifferent to sensual gratification. however, it is not the part of the wise to reject an enjoyment which offers itself by the gracious allotment of his destiny.”
After the god had said so, Michael remained silent and returned no answer. Then the god said, “If you are resolved not to leave this place, then I must leave you here and make my way to heaven.”
Michael said, “I must not go there now, though I may do so on some future occasion.” Upon this the god made farewell. All the other gods who were in Indra’s retinue also vanished upon the disappearance of their chief, just as the huge surges of the sea subside in the deep together with their foaming froths.
Chudala was pleased with Michael but decided to test him again to be sure. She retracted the enchantment by which she had presented the god Indra before Michael. He remained with perfect tranquility and equanimity of his mind at the appearance and in the presence of the god Indra, fearless, indifferent and unmoved by the god’s persuasion.
She thought: I will again try to know by some means or other whether Michael is subject to the passions of anger or annoyance or any other feeling, which serve at best but to blindfold the understanding.
With this intention she assumed the form of the chaste Madanika at the approach of night, when the moon had already appeared above that forest land. The wind was blowing gently, bearing the sweet fragrance of flowers. Michael was sitting by the side of a river performing his evening prayers. She entered her covered shelter formed by twining vines and decorated with flower garlands that made it look like the shelter of a forest goddesses. She slept there on a bed of flowers she had made herself, adorned with flower wreaths on her body. She had her beloved one seated in her heart and laid herself on a pillow. Then by her siddha-yogini skill, she manifested a lover to join her.
Michael sought her in the gardens and at last found her sleeping in the covered shelter, with a pretty paramour holding her neck in his arms. Her lover’s hair hung on his neck and shoulders and his beautiful body was daubed with sandalwood paste. He had a wreath of flowers on his head, distorted from his crown which lay loose on the pillow over which it rolled. The flowing tresses of the mistress fell in two-fold braids on her shoulder blades of golden color, hanging over her ears and eyebrows and her cheeks and face.
He saw the amorous pair with their smiling faces kissing and embracing each another, as when ivy twists around a large tree. They lay with wreathed flowers hanging loosely on their bodies. Both were fascinated with love of one another by the contact of their bodies, which infused their reciprocal passions in the heart for each other. They were both infatuated and ravished by their mutual love, bruising breasts on the other’s bosoms.
Seeing this, Michael felt no change in his disposition. He was rather pleased to find them sleeping so very happily in each another’s embrace. “Remain you lovers,” he said, “as you are to your hearts’ content. I will put no obstacle in your way, nor make you afraid of me by my presence in this place.”
Saying so, he withdrew from there.
Immediately at this time, she also withdrew her energy from the paramour who then vanished and assumed herself as the beautiful goddess of love and loving spouse of the prince. She came out and saw the king sitting in a cave of the mountain, in the posture of intense meditation with both eyes open. The lady Madanika advanced towards him with a bashful face, then sat silently by his side with her downcast look and sad appearance, as if abashed and ashamed of her past misconduct. After a moment, as Michael was released from his meditation, he cast his eyes upon her and spoke to her with an exceedingly sweet voice, which spoke the frankness of his mind.
“Lady,” he said, “why do you come so soon to me and leave off the enjoyment of your happiness? Happiness is the end and aim of all beings on earth. Go, return to your lover and gratify him with all your passionate embraces. Mutual love, so much desired by all, is hard to be had by any in this world. Think not, lady, that I am at all angry or sorry for this affair as I am always contented in myself, knowing the true One that is only to be known. My companion Kumbha and I are always dispassionate in our temperaments. But you arise as a woman from the curse of Durvasa, so you are always at liberty to do whatever you like without incurring any displeasure from me.”
Madanika replied, “So it is, O highly favored one of heaven. You know that women by their nature are eight times more passionate than men and therefore should not be criticized on account of their gratification of their natural passions. I am only a frail woman. I found you absorbed in deep meditation. I could not choose other than to take a partner as you saw in the depth of the forest and in the night.”
“The weak sex in general, and maidens in particular, are ever fond of illicit love by their very nature for the gratification of their lust, which they can never have the power to check. A woman becomes graceful in the company of man and no curse, prohibition, men’s menaces or regard of chastity is of any use to stop them from it. I am a woman and a weaker vessel, an ignorant and independent lady. Therefore sage, it becomes you to forgive my unsteadiness, because forgiveness is the most prominent feature of holiness.”
Michael replied, “My young lady, know that anger has no seat in my heart, as there grows no plant in the sky. It is only for fear of incurring the disgrace of good people that I must decline to take you as my spouse. But I can associate with you as before in mutual friendship for ever more, without bearing any yearning or grudge in my heart, either for or against one another.”
After Michael had consented to continue in his detachment and disinterested friendship with his only companion in the forest, Chudala was highly pleased to know the nobleness of his mind. She thought to herself: O, the transcendent tranquility which this lord of mine has gained, whose dispassion has set him above anger and who has attained his living liberation. No delight attracts his heart, nor any excellence ever attracts his soul whose mind is not elated by pleasure or prosperity, or depressed by pain or calamity. I think that all the imaginable perfections have jointly met in his person, as the goddess Lakshmi of prosperity is united with the lord Narayana. It is now the proper time for me to bring to his memory all and everything relating to me by abandoning my form of Kumbha and disclosing myself to him in my form of Chudala. But there remains one issue; how could Michael marry another while yet married to me?
With this thought, she said to Michael: “We have been enjoying conjugal bliss for many months as husband and wife. Yet I have not asked you if you are now married to another woman in your country of origin. Are you?”
Michael laughed so hard he began to choke. Having recovered his composure, he said: “My dear Amanda, I have succeeded in hiding this truth from you for all these months, but I recognized you as my loving wife the moment you appeared before me as the brahmin boy, Kumbha! I was amazed that you loved me so much as to go to all of this trouble and my love for you redoubled as a result. At first I thought arrogantly that I should send you back home, but then you charmed me with the brahmin boy appearance and your words were like nectar to me. You are indeed my enlightened wife.”
Chudala was dumbfounded. She could not speak. She thought: That rascal! He was enlightened all the time and was actually testing me!
Chudala abandoned her form as Madanika and stood before Michael as a young Amanda. She embraced Michael and they held that embrace for many minutes, tears of joy streaming down their faces.
“Michael!” Chudala said as she released her embrace and pulled back to see his eyes, “I bow down to you as my god and the best of all persons! I came to you with my huge spiritual ego intact to ‘help you become enlightened’ and you used that opportunity to help me and shatter my ego. I now feel the presence of the Divine One in my heart for the first time.”
“Tell me, my love, did anything that I said help you at all?” Chudala said.
“I have thought of you, lovingly, for these long 17 years. Your words were perfect and an immense blessing for me. By your words you shattered my spiritual ego and allowed me to taste the Bliss of Enlightenment for the first time. Fortunately for me, I was able to accept you as Kumbha and innocently listen to your words, which truly worked magic in my consciousness. I am sure that without your help, I would still be sitting here, getting more and more depressed. I did not plan anything, I just felt that if you loved me so much to go to all of this trouble, then I am so grateful for your help.”
“Well, we have so much to talk about!” Chudala said.