karṇa-tāla-balāghāta- sīmantita-kulācalaḥ| panthānam-iva siddhīnāṃ diśaṃ jayati vighnajit|| (Kathā-sarit-sāgara 4.1.1) Victory to that vanquisher of obstacles (i.e., Ganeśa), who has parted the mountains with the forceful flapping of his ears resulting in lines that seem like the paths of attainment! 1. And thus, while Vatsarāja was peacefully spending his days in food, drink, song and dance, hunting, and other activities, one day...
War sculpture
Vatsarāja called Yaugandharāyaṇa in secret and said, “My friend! Thanks to your political acumen all kings have been defeated. I don’t think anyone will betray me. But I still have my doubts about Brahmadatta!” He replied, “O king! I know Brahmadatta won’t betray you for sure; if he does it would be his death!” Saying so he narrated the following story —   The Story of Phalabhūti Once upon a time, there lived a brāhmaṇa named Agnidatta in Padma-...
Merchant
Yaugandharāyaṇa then spoke to Vatsarāja. He said ‘O king, the divine is on your side and you have immense strength too. We are experts in the art of governance. Therefore, set out on your digvijaya – conquering expedition at the earliest.’ Listening to his Prime Minister’s suggestion, the king of Vasta said – ‘Let this wait for a moment. There can be several impediments for auspicious activities.  Therefore, I will first worship Śiva. Is it even...
Ashoka
...Continued from the Previous Part   ‘If that is the case, don’t feel sad; I’ll go there today; let your only son live; don’t worry about me; I’ve gained special powers; I’m not afraid of the consequences.’ She also agreed. In the evening he went to the palace along with the attendant of the army chief. The princess was like a creeper sagging due to the weight of flowers, haughty due to her youth. That night he worshipped Agni, got his sword,...
Pasture
The Story of the Brave Vidūṣaka Once upon a time, there lived a king called Ādityasena, in Ujjayinī. He was an Ekacakravartī, i.e., he was like the Sun who has access to the entire world on his one-wheeled chariot. Once, when he was travelling on the banks of river Gaṅgā,  Guṇavarmā, a merchant saw the king. He came forward and spoke - ‘O king! I have a daughter whose beauty is unparalleled in the three worlds; you are the only befitting groom...
The Story of Ahalyā and Devendra Once upon a time there lived a great seer named Gautama and he was sentient of things from times past, present, and future. He had a wife named Ahalyā, whose beauty surpassed that of the apsarās. Once, Devendra caught a glimpse of her, was besotted by her beauty, and desired her. The minds of the lords, blinded by riches, takes to immoral paths from time to time, indeed! Ahalyā refused his proposals. Gautama...
One of the days following this, Vatsarāja had a lavish party where he enjoyed drinking with Vāsavadattā and Padmāvatī. Later he called for Gopālaka, Rumaṇvanta, Vasantaka, and Yaugandharāyaṇa at a place that was not very crowded.  During the course of his conversation with them, when the topic turned to his days of separation [from Vāsavadattā], he narrated this tale: The Story of Ūrvaśī and Purūrava Long ago, there lived a king named Purūrava,...
Back in the royal palace of Magadha, Vāsavadattā tried to contain her sorrow. She sought solace in gazing upon the paintings depicting Sītā’s woes in the period where she was separated from Rāma. Looking at her beauty and conduct, Padmāvatī was convinced that Avantikā was a high-born lady and treated her accordingly. The princess felt Avantikā’s looks betrayed her noble origins and she had disguised herself, just as Draupadī had in Virāṭa’s...
Once the king refused, the commander married her. Once when the king was roaming, he saw her standing in the balcony of the commander’s house. As soon as he saw her it was as though he was put under a mesmerising spell. He came back to the palace and laid down with great mental agony. Having understood the reason for his present situation, the commander offered, ‘She is your servant, not parastrī[1]; I’ll abandon her in the temple, you can have...
निर्विघ्नविश्वनिर्माणसिद्धये यदनुग्रहम्। मन्ये स वव्रे धातापि तस्मै विघ्नजिते नमः॥ [Salutation to that deity, the killer of obstacles, (Gaṇeśa), from whom even the creator (Brahmā) seeks blessings so that the creation can happen without hindrances.] आश्लिष्यमाणः प्रियया शन्करोऽपि यदाज्ञया। उत्कम्पते स भुवनं जयत्यसमसायकः॥ [Even while embraced by his beloved, because of whom Śaṅkara trembles that wielder of five arrows (Manmatha) will...