The Seduction of Shiva: Tales of Life and Love
The god Shiva is utterly seduced by Mohini, the enchanting female form assumed by the god Vishnu during the churning of the ocean for nectar. A barber employs wit and wile and rumours of witchcraft to win his wife back from the lustful attentions of their king. The celestial nymph Urvashi curses the Pandava prince Arjuna when he rejects her sexual advances. A woman caught in adultery befools her elders with a religious ritual. A man with a disagreeable missing wife insists nevertheless that she be recovered by his ruler who has a similar problem.
Refined, colloquial, romantic, cynical, satirical by turns, these stories of erotic love, elegantly translated from the Sanskrit classics, make a sustained argument for the secular ends of life of desire tempered with discrimination and pleasure with restraint.
thought Kundamalika, and she quickly told that woman about all that had happened. The old lady hugged her lovingly and took her inside the cottage where she had her take off the skull-bearer’s garb, massaged her limbs wearied by its weight, and washed them with pleasantly warm water. She then had her lie down on her bed and covered her with a quilt. The next morning Kundamalika put on the kapalika’s hideous chain of bones and went back to the town where people were running about excitedly. ‘Why
the mother of our line and my elder. I place my head at your feet, best of nymphs, but go! I respect you like a mother and you should protect me like a son.’ Urvashi almost fainted with anger. With eyebrows upraised, her body swaying, she cursed Arjuna. ‘I came to you myself, on your father’s order,’ she cried, ‘but you made me unwelcome, even though I was stricken by love’s arrow. So will you live in disgrace, Arjuna: among women as a dancer, a eunuch, carrying on like one of that kind.’ And,
for me to die than to live. Maybe I wanted the man who came to me, but I have been put in this condition as if I was fully awake. Who could do this when I was fast asleep? I was a virgin. How can I show my face now?’ ‘It is the wickedness of intent which determines good or bad,’ said her companion. ‘Your mind is pure. If you chanced to be enjoyed by someone in a dream, it does not affect your chastity. The sages say that sin attaches to thought, speech and action. But you are pure, and if this
‘Here are the chief ones among the gods, the demons and the others that I have drawn,’ she said, ‘and here are those from the human race. Identify the one you saw in your dream, my dear.’ Usha looked with excitement at the pictures, one after the other, till she came to the Yadu clan and their progeny. Her eyes widened with amusement when she saw Aniruddha. ‘Here is that love-thief, my friend!’ she cried. ‘The man who took me in my dream. I recognize him, but where did he come from? Tell me all
protection of their chief warrior, Prince Arjuna. In this they were advised and assisted by their friend, the god Krishna. Several battles were fought to guard the horse in its wanderings. Eventually the beast entered the kingdom of Champa,1 where it was seized by the local ruler who then readied his army to fight the Pandava force. One of his warriors was his own son, the noble Prince Sudhana. The prince took leave of his mother and sister. They were aware that he would be confronting the