He is of the Kshatriya or "warrior caste," and during the action is living as a Hermit retired in the forest. Proposals for its production here having been made to him, he went through this translation and provided stage directions, but wished these omitted if it were printed as a book. Madana I am he who was the first born in the heart of the Creator. I bind in bonds of pain and bliss the lives of men and women!
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He is of the Kshatriya or "warrior caste," and during the action is living as a Hermit retired in the forest. Proposals for its production here having been made to him, he went through this translation and provided stage directions, but wished these omitted if it were printed as a book. Madana I am he who was the first born in the heart of the Creator. I bind in bonds of pain and bliss the lives of men and women! Chitra I know, I know what that pain is and those bonds. I am his friend--Vasanta--the King of the Seasons.
Death and decrepitude would wear the world to the bone but that I follow them and constantly attack them. I am Eternal Youth. Chitra I bow to thee, Lord Vasanta. Madana But what stern vow is thine, fair stranger? Why dost thou wither thy fresh youth with penance and mortification?
Such a sacrifice is not fit for the worship of love. Who art thou and what is thy prayer? I am Chitra, the daughter of the kingly house of Manipur. With godlike grace Lord Shiva promised to my royal grandsire an unbroken line of male descent.
Madana I know, that is why thy father brings thee up as his son. He has taught thee the use of the bow and all the duties of a king. I know no feminine wiles for winning hearts. Madana That requires no schooling, fair one.
The eye does its work untaught, and he knows how well, who is struck in the heart. Chitra One day in search of game I roved alone to the forest on the bank of the Purna river. Tying my horse to a tree trunk I entered a dense thicket on the track of a deer. I found a narrow sinuous path meandering through the dusk of the entangled boughs, the foliage vibrated with the chirping of crickets, when of a sudden I came upon a man lying on a bed of dried leaves, across my path. I asked him haughtily to move aside, but he heeded not.
Then with the sharp end of my bow I pricked him in contempt. Instantly he leapt up with straight, tall limbs, like a sudden tongue of fire from a heap of ashes. An amused smile flickered round the corners of his mouth, perhaps at the sight of my boyish countenance. Then for the first time in my life I felt myself a woman, and knew that a man was before me.
Madana At the auspicious hour I teach the man and the woman this supreme lesson to know themselves. What happened after that? Chitra With fear and wonder I asked him "Who are you? Was this indeed Arjuna, the one great idol of my dreams! Many a day my young ambition had spurred me on to break my lance with him, to challenge him in disguise to single combat, and prove my skill in arms against him.
Ah, foolish heart, whither fled thy presumption? Could I but exchange my youth with all its aspirations for the clod of earth under his feet, I should deem it a most precious grace. I know not in what whirlpool of thought I was lost, when suddenly I saw him vanish through the trees.
O foolish woman, neither didst thou greet him, nor speak a word, nor beg forgiveness, but stoodest like a barbarian boor while he contemptuously walked away! I donned bracelets, anklets, waist-chain, and a gown of purple red silk. The unaccustomed dress clung about my shrinking shame; but I hastened on my quest, and found Arjuna in the forest temple of Shiva.
Tell me the story to the end. I am the heart-born god, and I understand the mystery of these impulses. Chitra Only vaguely can I remember what things I said, and what answer I got. Do not ask me to tell you all. Shame fell on me like a thunderbolt, yet could not break me to pieces, so utterly hard, so like a man am I. His last words as I walked home pricked my ears like red hot needles. I am not fit to be thy husband! Surely thou knowest, thou god of love, that unnumbered saints and sages have surrendered the merits of their life-long penance at the feet of a woman.
I broke my bow in two and burnt my arrows in the fire. I hated my strong, lithe arm, scored by drawing the bowstring. Now teach me thy lessons; give me the power of the weak and the weapon of the unarmed hand. Madana I will be thy friend. Had I but the time needed, I could win his heart by slow degrees, and ask no help of the gods. I would stand by his side as a comrade, drive the fierce horses of his war-chariot, attend him in the pleasures of the chase, keep guard at night at the entrance of his tent, and help him in all the great duties of a Kshatriya, rescuing the weak, and meting out justice where it is due.
Surely at last the day would have come for him to look at me and wonder, "What boy is this? Has one of my slaves in a former life followed me like my good deeds into this?
The flower of my desire shall never drop into the dust before it has ripened to fruit. Therefore I have come to thy door, thou world-vanquishing Love, and thou, Vasanta, youthful Lord of the Seasons, take from my young body this primal injustice, an unattractive plainness.
For a single day make me superbly beautiful, even as beautiful as was the sudden blooming of love in my heart. Give me but one brief day of perfect beauty, and I will answer for the days that follow.
Lady, I grant thy prayer. Vasanta Not for the short span of a day, but for one whole year the charm of spring blossoms shall nestle round thy limbs. It seemed that the heart of the earth must heave in joy under her bare white feet. Methought the vague veilings of her body should melt in ecstasy into air as the golden mist of dawn melts from off the snowy peak of the eastern hill.
She bowed herself above the shining mirror of the lake and saw the reflection of her face. She started up in awe and stood still; then smiled, and with a careless sweep of her left arm unloosed her hair and let it trail on the earth at her feet. She bared her bosom and looked at her arms, so flawlessly modelled, and instinct with an exquisite caress.
Bending her head she saw the sweet blossoming of her youth and the tender bloom and blush of her skin. She beamed with a glad surprise.
So, if the white lotus bud on opening her eyes in the morning were to arch her neck and see her shadow in the water, would she wonder at herself the livelong day. But a moment after the smile passed from her face and a shade of sadness crept into her eyes. She bound up her tresses, drew her veil over her arms, and sighing slowly, walked away like a beauteous evening fading into the night.
To me the supreme fulfilment of desire seemed to have been revealed in a flash and then to have vanished. But who is it that pushes the door? Quiet, my heart! Fear me not, lady! I am a Kshatriya. Honoured sir, you are my guest. I live in this temple. I know not in what way I can show you hospitality. Arjuna Fair lady, the very sight of you is indeed the highest hospitality.
If you will not take it amiss I would ask you a question.
Lopa Banerjee translates it into English. There, he met Chitrangada, the daughter of the king of Manipur and eventually married him on the preconditioned premise that he would never take away either Chitrangada or their children from her maiden kingdom of Manipur. The couple later had a son named Babruvahana. Rabindranath Tagore took the basic story of Chitrangada from the epic and adapted it in his drama, expanding the narrative with his deep sensitivity in the characterization of princess Chitrangada, where the feminine subjectivity comes out through his characteristic lyrical style. Through her transformation from the masculine warrior princess to the diva with charming, feminine attributes, Tagore carves her as the timeless, complete woman who personifies love, courage and substance. Chitrangada — the classic audio rendition by the legendary Suchitra Mitra, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay and Kanika Bandopadhyay Preface: The dawn emerges, a primal hue, with its sunlit garb. The eyes, half-open, trance-like, soak in the rays, their first stimulus.
They ask Chitra who she is and what is bothering her, to which she replies that she is the daughter of the king of Manipur and has been raised like a boy as her father had no male heir. She is a great warrior and hero despite being born as a woman, but has never had the chance to truly live as a woman or learn how to use "feminine wiles". Chitra explains that she had met the warrior hero Arjuna after seeing him in the forest while she was hunting for game. Despite knowing that he had pledged several vows including one for twelve years of celibacy , Chitra fell instantly in love with him.