Durgesa Nandini/Book 1/Chapter 14



On the other hand, Bimala grew impatient at Ashmani's delay, and thinking it inadvisable to wait any longer, went personally in search of Gajapati. On seeing her enter the cottage, Ashmani exclaimed,

"Welcome! welcome! Chandravali. O welcome!"

"Hey-day!" said Diggaja. "In what a lucky moment did I rise from my bed this morning! One alone is enough, and lo! there have arisen two! The Shastra hath it,—

"एकश्चन्द्रस्तमोहन्ति नच मूर्खशतैरपि."[1]
[A single moon darkness defeats,
And not a thousand fools.]

"And have you heard that the prince of gallants has lost his caste?" said Ashmani.

"How so?" said the prince.

"Havn't yon eaten the rice defiled by me?" replied Ashmani.

"And what's the earthly harm in that, I pray?" returned he. "It is my holy bread; you are my good mother Bhagabati."[2]

"Out open you!"

Here Bimala whispered into Ashmani's ear, "Won't he go?"

Ashmani.   "I havn't yet spoken it to him."

Bimala.   "I'll do it then."

"Ho! gallant," said she, addressing Diggaja, "I have a word of very great importance with you."

"What is it, eh?"

Bimala.   "Do you love us?"

Diggaja.   "What a question!"

Bimala.   "Both of us?"

Diggaja.   "Both, both."

Bimala.   "Will you do as I say?"

Diggaja.   "Why should you doubt it?"

Bimala.   "Instantly?"

Diggaja.   "Yes, instantly."

Bimala.   "At this moment?"

Diggaja.   "At this very moment."

Bimala.   "Do you know why we two have come to you?"

Diggaja.   "No, I don't."

"We'll elope with you," said Ashmani.

The Brahmin was struck dumb, and for a time remained agape—Bimala suppressed her rising laughter with difficulty.

"Why are you silent?" asked Bimala.

"Nya-nya-nya-ta-ta-ta-ta,"—no articulation.

"Then you won't go?"

"Nya-nya-nya, ta-ta, let me first go and speak to the holy Swami."

"What will you speak to him for? Is it an occasion for the celebration of your mother's funeral obsequies; that you will go to the holy man for instructions?"

Diggaja.   "No, then I needn't go; but pray, on what day are you going?"

Bimala.   "On what day! When but at this very moment? Don't you see me furnished with my ornaments?"

Diggaja.   "At this very moment?"

Bimala.   "And why not so? If you refuse, tell it,—and we go in search of another. But know we leave our hearts with you."

Gajapati could bear it no longer.

"Very well, I am ready."

"Then take your sheet," said Bimala.

Diggaja put on a namabali.[3] Bimala was about to set out, and the Brahmin about to follow, when he said,

"My fair one?"

Bimala.   "What do you say?"

Diggaja.   "When are we returning?"

Bimala.   "Return! Am I not going away for good? We three will live like man and wives in another country."

Diggaja's mouth filled with a laugh. He said,

"But shall I leave all these articles behind?"

Bimala.   "Doubtless you have no end of them!"

Diggaja.   "At any rate, the brazen utensils?"

Bimala.   "Never fear; I'll buy you all those."

The Brahmin was rather sad; but what could he choose but consent, without running the certain risk of having his love to the women called in question. Making the best of a bad bargain, he said,


"The fellow sure has cart-loads of them!" thought Bimala. "Make haste," said she.

Vidyadiggaja had two books in all, to wit,—a Sanskrita Grammar, and a treatise on Hindu Law. Taking up the grammar, he said, "What have I to do with this any more? I carry it on my fingers' ends." He then took the other book in his Khungi, and uttering 'Durga-Sri-Hari,'[5] sallied out with Bimala and Ashmani.

"Go on," said Ashmani. "I'll overtake you afterwards."

Saying this, Ashmani entered the house. Bimala and Gajapati went out. They left the castle-gate, unperceived in the darkness. After having advanced a little, Diggaja said,

"How's this? Ashmani is not come?"

"Perhaps she couldn't come out," answered Bimala. "But are you not content with having me alone?"

The prince of gallants was mute. After a while, he sighed forth, "O the utensils!"

  1. "एक: चन्द्रस्तमोहन्ति नच तारागणैरपि"
    [A single moon darkness defeats,
    And not a thousand stars.]
    is an aphorism of Chanakya—the minister of Chandragupta—the celebrated king of Magadha. Diggaja ludicrously misquotes it. The aphorisms of this sage have passed into proverbs.
  2. This is the name of the spouse of Mahadeva, the impersonation of Force.
  3. Vaishnabas wear a kind of sheet stained with the names of Hari (Vishnu).
  4. A Khungi is a kind of case composed of matted date leaves; it contains the puti or MS.
  5. Just before setting out on a journey, Hindus utter this word, to render it auspicious. The word is compounded of दुर्गा, श्री and हरि. Durga is the personification of power, Sri is the consort of Vishnu, and Hari is Vishnu himself.