The king followed the boar inside and discovered a divine city; he, however, could not spot the boar. As he sat by a pond, he spotted a maiden, as beautiful as Ratī. She came there with her friends. She fell in love with him even upon the first sight. Overcome with empathy and with tears in her eyes, she said – “Alas! Why did you come here? The boar you laid your eyes on is the daitya Aṅgāraka; he is endowed with a diamond-body and is extremely strong; he has discarded his boar form and is sleeping inside his house. When he awakes, right at his breakfast hour, he will cause you trouble. I am his daughter Aṅgāravatī; I am engulfed with sorrow thinking about your perilous state!” When she said these words, the king remembered Devī’s boon and was infused with such confidence as if his work was already done; he told Aṅgāravatī, “O beautiful maiden! If you truly love me, then listen to my words carefully. By the time your father wakes up, sit next to him sobbing; when he asks you why you are crying, tell him the reason thus: ‘If someone were to kill you, what will befall me?’ This will be beneficial for you and me both!” She did as instructed. In response, the rākṣasa said, “Mine is a diamond-hard body; therefore nobody can kill me; the only vulnerable spot on my body—in my left hand—is covered by my holding the bow!” The king was secretly listening to the entire conversation. After the daitya had finished his bath and was immersed in performing Śiva-pūjā, the king confronted him and challenged him to a fight. The daitya raised his left hand and gestured in a manner as if to indicate, ‘Wait for a moment!’ The king instantly aimed at the vulnerable spot on his left hand and shot an arrow; the daitya fell down dead. Just before breathing his last, the uttered a śāpa – “You have killed me when my throat was parched and my mouth was dry; every year, you have to offer jala-tarpaṇa to me, or else five of your ministers will die!” The king took Aṅgāravatī to Ujjayinī and married her. From then onwards, it became a tradition to offer udaka-dāna to Aṅgāraka once every year. Now, the ritual has to be performed. What your father was doing annually, now, you must do.” Thus he was instructed.
Accordingly, as he performed the utsava, amidst all the ceremonies, an elephant in rut had broken free of its chains and was running wild, stamping several people to death. Nobody could stop it. When it went to the holageri quarter of the village [inhabited by people from the holeya jāti], a cāṇḍāla girl approached the elephant, patted its trunk, and gave it a sharp glance; it became calm. It stood still looking at her. It did not take a single step forward. Then she took her uttarīya [cloth worn on the upper part of the body; akin to a stole], tied its ends to one of the tusks of the elephant and created a make-shift swing; she sat down happily swinging from the tusk. Looking at the miracle, the townsfolk said, “This must be a divine damsel; her physical form and her influence have been successful in taming even mute animals.” When this news reached Avantīvardhana, he came to the spot; he laid eyes on the girl and was besotted with her. She also instantly fell for him, got off the temporary swing and went away. The mahouts then took control of the elephant. Upon making enquiries, he learnt the following: ‘She was Suratamañjarī, the daughter of Uttalahasta who resides in the holageri. Just like looking at a painting, you can see her with your eyes, that’s it!’ When the prince heard those words, he said, “She will surely not be a holati [woman of the holeya jāti]; she must be a celestial maiden; I’m certain; how can a holati have such dazzling beauty! If she does not become my wife, then what is the use of my staying alive!” When his mother Avantivatīdevī heard this, she was agitated; she rushed to her husband and said, “Does this make any sense? Our son desires to get married to a holati!” King Gopālaka spoke words of solace to his wife and said, “If our son has so desired, then she is surely not a holati; she must be from some other jāti; just from the manner in which a noble person's mind is influenced one can learn about what is to be done and what is not to be done. In this context, there is a story; if you have not heard it, let me narrate it to you!” So saying, he recounted the following tale:–
The story of Agnikumāra and Kuraṅgī
There lived a king named Prasenajit in Supratiṣṭhanagara, he had a beautiful daughter named Kuraṅgī. Once when she was in the royal grove an elephant shattered its constraints, ran uncontrolled and threw her chariot; everyone ran helter-skelter, one caṇḍāla youth drew his sword, cut off its trunk and killed it. Everyone returned. She decided, “the valiant man who rescued me from the elephant would be my husband; if not I’ll kill myself!”. The caṇḍāla youth also had the same feelings; but “Can a crow and the rājahaṃsī have a relationship? But I cannot live without her; so death is the only solution!” He decided to do so, went to the crematorium, prepared a pyre to kill himself, Agni appeared and said, “My dear boy! Stop; she will indeed be your wife; you are not a caṇḍāla; there lives a brāhmaṇa named Kapilaśarman in this city; i stay in his agnigṛha in my true form; there seeing the beautiful daughter of his, I was mesmerised and I married her; you were born out of that relationship which she discarded due to shame; you were taken by a caṇḍāla and was brought up on goat’s milk. You are my progeny born from a brāhmaṇa woman.” he narrated the backstory and disappeared. The caṇḍāla youth returned with confidence. Meanwhile Agni appeared in Prasenajit’s dreams and narrated everything, which convinced him and he gave his daughter’s hand in marriage to Agnikumāra.
Pālaka finished the narration saying, ‘Suratamañjarī should indeed be some woman of divine origin, she cannot be a holati!’ We all listened to it. Then I narrated the story of the fisherman:-
The story of Suprahāra and Māyāvatī
There was a king named Malayasiṃha ruling Rājagṛha. He had an exquisitely beautiful daughter named Māyāvatī; while sporting in the royal grove she saw a fisherman named Suprahāra. Both were instantly smitten seeing each other; he went home and stopped consuming food and water, his mother worried inquired about his situation and convinced him, “Why bother so much about this! Get up, have food; I’ll do what is needed by tact!” She took some fresh fish and went to the palace to meet the princess. She gave the fish as a gift to the princess. Like this the fisherwoman named Rakṣitikā eventually gained the confidence of the princess. One fine day the princess said, “if you want any favour from me, tell me; I’ll do it however difficult it may be!”. Rakṣitikā asked for her safety and then in secrecy she said, “Devī! From the time my son saw you in the royal grove he has been emaciated due to the separation; only you can rescue him and make him live again!” the princess was ashamed; but she also desired to fulfil the promise she made. She said, ‘Tonight bring your son here in secrecy!’ Rakṣitikā’s joy knew no bounds. That night, Rakṣitakā decked her son Suprahāra with precious ornaments as best as she could and brought him to the princess’ chambers. Princess Māyāvatī took his hand in hers and led him to the bed and made him lie upon it! With her hands icy cool like sandalwood, she thoroughly massaged his weary and weak limbs. Suprahāra felt as if he had been soaked in ambrosia and gradually fell asleep. Seeing this, the princess got up and went away to sleep elsewhere. Soon after her soothing touch was gone, Suprahāra woke up. He felt as if fate had snatched away the morsel of food which was right in the palm of his hand, before it could reach his mouth. It was as if a destitute man who had suddenly come upon incomparable riches, lost it all within the blink of an eye. Out of intense disenchantment, Suprahāra breathed his last. When princess Māyāvatī saw this, she was inconsolable. Blaming herself for it, she resolved to join him on the funeral pyre at dawn. When king Malayasiṃha came to know of his daughter’s implacable decision, he performed ācamana (a sanctifying ritual) and prayed to the gods thus: ‘If I am indeed a worthy devotee to that god of gods, lord Parameśvara, may the protecting deities of this realm reveal to me as to what my duty now is!’.
The current article is a translation of Prof. A R Krishnasastri’s Kannada classic Kathāmṛta along with additional segments added from the original Kathā-sarit-sāgara (of Soma-deva). Bṛhat-kathā-mañjarī (of Kṣemendra) and Bṛhat-kathā-śloka-saṃgraha (of Budha-svāmin) have also been referred to. The translation has been rendered by Raghavendra G S, Arjun Bharadwaj, Srishan Thirumalai, and Hari Ravikumar. We thank Dr. Shankar Rajaraman for his timely help.