Enter KING DUSHYANTA and MATALI in the car of Indra, moving in the air.
My good Matali, it appears to me incredible that I can merit such a mark of distinction for having simply fulfilled the behests of the great Indra.
Great Prince, it seems to me that neither of you is satisfied with himself.
You underrate the services you have rendered,
And think too highly of the god’s reward;
He deems it scarce sufficient recompense
For your heroic deeds on his behalf.
Nay, Matali, say not so. My most ambitious expectations were more than realised by the honour conferred on me at the moment when I took my leave. For,
Tinged with celestial sandal, from the
Of the great Indra, where before it hung,
A garland of the ever-blooming tree
Of Nandana was cast about my neck
By his own hand; while, in the very presence
Of the assembled gods, I was enthroned
Beside their mighty lord, who smiled to see
His son Jayanta envious of the honour.
There is no mark of distinction which your Majesty does not deserve at the hands of the immortals. See,
Heaven’s hosts acknowledge thee
their second saviour:
For now thy how’s unerring shafts (as erst
The Lion-man’s terrific claws) have purged
The empyreal sphere from taint of demons foul.
The praise of my victory must be ascribed to the majesty
When mighty gods make men their delegates
In martial enterprise, to them belongs
The palm of victory; and not to mortals.
Could the pale Dawn dispel the shades of night,
Did not the god of day, whose diadem
Is jewelled with a thousand beams of light,
Place him in front of his effulgent car?
A very just comparison!
Great King, behold! the glory of thy fame has reached even to the vault of heaven.
Hark! yonder inmates of the starry sphere
Sing anthems worthy of thy martial deeds,
While with celestial colours they depict
The story of thy victories on scrolls
Formed of the leaves of heaven’s immortal trees.
My good Matali, yesterday, when I ascended the sky, I was so eager to do battle with the demons, that the road by which we were travelling towards Indra’s heaven escaped my observation. Tell me, in which path of the seven winds are we now moving?
We journey in the path of Parivaha—
The wind that bears along the triple Ganges
And causes Ursa’s seven stars to roll
In their appointed orbits, scattering
Their several rays with equal distribution.
’Tis the same path that once was sanctified
By the divine impression of the foot
Of Vishnu, when, to conquer haughty Bali,
He spanned the heavens in his second stride.