Rajatarangini of Kahlana- (Book-II)

YUDHISHTHIRA in his old age relinquished all hopes of regaining his kingdom, and much humbled, abandoned all enjoyments. But others maintain that he was confined by his ministers in fort Agalika as he was attempting to get back his kingdom.

After deposing Yudhishthira the ministers coronated one Pratapaditya, a relative of Vikramaditya, king of some distant country. Some writers erroneously believe, that this was Vikramaditya [of Oujin], the enemy of Saka. The kingodom was torn by internal discord and was for sometimes governed by Harsha and other kings. Pratapaditya ruled well and died after a reign of thirty-two years.

He was succeeded by his son Jalauka. This prince derived his glory from his father, and reigned with equal glory for the same period as his father, it was like the full moon which succeeds the sun when days and nights are equal.

Him succeeded his son Tungjina, who shared the administration with his queen. This king and queen graced the world as the Ganges and the Crescent beautify the hair of Shiva. They governed well the country inhibited by people of the several castes and beautiful as the bow of Indra borne on two clouds. They built a city named Katika, and raised a temple to Mahadeva Tungeshvara. They also planted trees in the burning plains of Marava. In their reign lived Chandraka a partial incarnation of Vyasa the great poet. He invented a sort of dance. A severe calamity visited the kingdom in this reign, as if to test the noble hearts of the sovereigns. In the season of autumn, in the month of Bhadra, a sudden and heavy frost blighted the sali grain that was then ripening, and the consequence was a severe famine which threatened the destruction of the people. Natural feelings were smothered; nor shame nor pride nor nobility was then remembered. Everyone became mad with hunger, nor cared for his wife or son or father, but devoured what he could get, unmindful of the solicitations of his wife or child, son or father weak and famished with hunger. Men were reduced to bare skeletons disgusting to the sight; they abused and fought with one another for food, and oppressed with hunger they cast their eyes on every direction eager to satisfy their appetite by destroying every living thing. At this time of distress, the king and the king showed the greatest humanity; they invited the people to their palace and fed them; they imported rice from other countries, defraying the expenses from their own treasury, as well as from those of their ministers; and fed the people day and night. Everyone was taken care of weather residing in houses, or wandering in woods or streets or in the burning ghat. One night when the king found that his treasures were spent, and there was no rice, he was much grieved and said to his queen: “Surely O queen! For some sins of ours this great calamity has befallen our people. Who is me before whose eyes these people are dying of hunger; and since I cannot save these our helpless subjects, what is the use of my living? In consequence of much anxious care and attention there has been no mortality as yet. But now that the earth is reduced to poverty and deprived all glory, no means are left to deliver the people from this great calamity. It seems that the end of the world is nigh; the mountain passes are blocked up with snow, and there is no way left for people to go out of the country; and they are doomed to die here. See how the men, the heroic, the wise and the learned have been reduced. How in our days of prosperity, splendour smiled on every side, and now it is gone. Let me perish in the flames since I see no means to relive my subjects, and I am unable to see them die. Happy are those kings who seeing their subjects as their sons, at ease, can pass their nights in peace.” Thus saying, the tender-hearted king fell on his bed, and covering his face with cloth began to weep profusely. There was no wind, and the lamp burnt steadily with a long flame. The queen saw him in that condition and thus consoled him: “How the misfortune of your subjects has turned your sense that you lose your patience and behave like vulgar men! If the evil be inevitable, no one can avert it. But failures reflect no discredit on the great. Women should love their husbands, ministers should remain faithful, and the king should protect his subjects without deviating his attention to any other affair. Arise O king! My words are never spoken in vain, your subjects’ distress is over.” When the queen had finished her nobel speech, dead pigeons dropped in every house and the people lived on them. The king saw this and relinquished his intention of committing suicide. But loathed to destroy animal life the queen contrived to prevent the supply of these birds. In the meantime the sky cleared up and the famine disappeared. The queen gave the villages of Katimusha and Ramusha to Brahmanas. The king died after a reign of thirty-six years, and his queen, unable to bear the affliction, perished by burning herself. The place where she died is called Vakkashtatavi. There a place of rest for travellers was erected, and many weary wanderers from various countries are fed even to this day. They died without issue. God did not favour them with a son, but what can commemorate them better than their own acts. The sweet sugarcane bears no fruit, but no fruits could be sweeter. Some say that the queen perished in the flames, because she thought that the famine was brought in by her sins.

They were succeeded by one Vijaya of a different dynasty. He built a town named Vijayeshvara and reigned for eight years.

He was succeeded by his son Jayendra of great fame, whose long arms reached to his knees. He had a minister named Sandhimati, a devout worshipper of Shiva; but the king led by his flatterers suspected him of evil designs because of his great wisdom. He was forbidden to approach the king, his property was confiscated, and he was reduced to poverty for the rest of his days. Nor was there any officer of the court who spoke to him, for the countries are but the echoes of the king. But neither the anger of the king nor his own poverty ruffled his temper; for still he passed his days happily in the worship of his god. Even in his devotions he was not suffered to remain in peace. There was a rumour that the time would come when Sandhimati would reign. His enemies at court hinted to the king that the ex-minister had spread this rumour; and the king, alarmed at the probable consequences, threw Sandhimati into prison, chained with a heavy chain. There he remained for ten years till the time of the king’s death. When the last days of the king approached, the pain of his illness was aggravated by his fear that the imprisoned Sandhimati would succeed him, as he was childless. And to remove his anxieties, he intended to execute the minister. But however wisely man may contrive for his good, it is in the power of Fate, to turn it to his evil. If there be a spark of fire, and man wishes to put it out, and if Fate would have it otherwise, the man mistakes the pot of melted ghee for water and pours it over the fire. Now by the cruel king’s order the executioners impaled Sandhimati in the night, and when the king heard that the minister was dead, his heart became light; but he died soon after. He reigned for thirty-seven years, and died without a child.

The kingdom was for a few days left without a king. At last Sandhimati, [who, it appears, was falsely reported to the king as dead,] was selected by the citizens to reign over them; and he reluctantly, and only at the request of his guru, ascended the throne. Dressed in royal clothes, and midst the shouts of his subjects who scattered parched grain in his way, he entered the capital with his army. An experienced man as he was, he governed wisely, without being taught, and did everything in a perfect manner. He was not susceptible to the fascinations of women and his reign was peaceful. He was ever pleased with burning incense and camphor; and though regular in the discharge of regal duties, he would often go to visit different Shivas, viz. Bhutesha Bardharnanisha Vijayesha and Ishana and would feel pleasure even in breathing the air that blew from the temple of Hara, braring the particles of the water with which the steps of the temple were washed, or of listening to the sound of the water as it was poured over the god. He alone knew the happiness which may be derived from visiting the image of Shiva, beautiful in its simplicity, and washed after the morning service. Every day he made one thousand Shiva-lingas. If through any accident he failed to do this, he would order his servants to collect a thousand stones in their stead; and after worship, threw them into a tank or river which looked like Narmada; and such a collection of stones is still to be seen. He filled his court with Rishis, besmeared with ashes and with jatas in their heads, and his country with large temples and large lingas, with big images of bulls, and huge tridents. The villages and gifts which he gave away to the gods have however since been reclaimed. In the place for burning the dead, where he was revived into life, he set up a Shiva named Sandhishvara, and another named Isheshvara after the name of his guru. He also raised houses and images, temples and lingas at Ksheda, Bhima, Devi, and other places. He alone knew to enjoy Kashmira purified with images of Shiva and holy places. In the month of Chaitra he used to bathe in a fountain in which the flowers, with which his god was worshipped, were thrown. In the heat of summer he lived in cool retreats in the woods, and there beside a tank he would sit and contemplate on Shiva. In autumn he would worship his god beside some tank, and in the month of Magha he would keep up nights with the Rishis. A life of continued devotion but ill pleased his subjects, as all his time was spent in devotions, and he had none to spare for the management of his kingdom. His subjects therefore began to look for another whom they could raise to the throne; and they came to hear that there lived an ambitious prince of the line of Yudhishthira, the Blind.

Gopaditya, the king of Gandhara, in the hope of conquering Kashmira, had given shelter to the great grandson of Yudhishthira. This exiled prince had a son named Meghavahana, whom his father sent to the country of East Yotisha to be present at the Sayamvara marriage of the daughter of its king who was a Visnuvite; and he had the fortune of being selected as the husband of the princess. He was also presented with an umbrella, which was got from Varuna by king Naraka and which cast its shade on none but a paramount king. This connection gave him some importance in the eyes of the people who believed that he would one day rise to power. And after his return with his wife to his father, the ministers of Kashmira invited him to accept the sceptre of their country, he being the descendant of their ancient king. Sandhimati, otherwise called Aryyaraja, found his kingdom weakened by internal disagreement, but took no steps to mend matters. On the contrary, he was anxious to resign his office, believing that his tutelary god had given him a fitting opportunity to relieve himself of his kingdom, and to engage himself in devotion. He thought himself happy that in the midst of the enjoyments of the kingdom, he did not forget his various duties which were yet to be performed; and he was glad that he would resign the kingdom of his own free will, and was not compelled to do it by force; and that during the long period of his reign there had been no misrule. “Fortunately” he said “I am not grieved to resign my office, nor blame my fortune for it.” Thus resolved, and making his mind a kingdom in itself, he one day assembled his subjects and resigned the kingdom into their hands after a reign of forty-seven years, as if he returned to them what was entrusted to him for safe keeping. Many people tried to induce him to retain his office, but in vain. Having once resigned it, he refused to accept the kingdom again. Dressed as a hermit, and, clad in white cloth and without a turban, he went on foot towards the north like a devotee, speaking to none, and fixing his eyes on his feet. Many of his late subjects followed him weeping silently. After he had proceeded more than four miles, he sat down under a tree, and having consoled his weeping followers, he sent them back. In this way, he proceeded, loitering at the foot of the hills, and as he went on further his subjects gradually left him. With a few attendants he began to ascend to mountains. At last taking leave of his last weeping followers, he entered the woods, where many a hermit slept in his cavern home. There in the evening he built a cottage beside a tank, and within it made a bed of leaves, keeping his water in a pot made of the same material. The moon shone on the top of the hills, the new grass variegated the colour at the base of the mountains; there beneath the Mallika tree slept the milk women; and there was heard the music of the fountains mingled with that of the goat herds’ lute- all these lulled the weary king to rest. The howl of the wild beasts and the cry of karkaretu told him that the night was past. Rising from his sleep, he performed his morning devotions and repaired to the celebrated shrine of Sodara. There in Nandikshetra he stood before the image of Mahadeva besmeared with ashes, his locks of hair tied, his hand holding a garland of seeds, while the old Rishis looked on him with surprise. He spent his days in devotions and begging alms.

Here ends the second book of the Rajatarangini by Kalhana, son of Champakapravu, the great minister of Kashmira. There reigned six kings over a period of one hundred and ninety-two years. From the beginning there were forty-four kings.

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