The Ninth Vibration and Other Stories
Fire Of Beauty
(Salutation to Ganesa the Lord of Wisdom, and to Saraswate the Lady of Sweet Speech!)
This story was composed by the Brahmin Visravas, that dweller on the banks of holy
Kashi; and though the events it records are long past, yet it is absolutely and immutably
true because, by the power of his yoga, he summoned up every scene before him, and
beheld the persons moving and speaking as in life. Thus he had naught to do but to set
down what befell.
What follows, that hath he seen.
Wide was the plain, the morning sun shining full upon it, drinking up the dew as the
Divine drinks up the spirit of man. Far it stretched, resembling the ocean, and riding upon
it like a stately ship was the league-long Rock of Chitor. It is certainly by the favour of
the Gods that this great fortress of the Rajput Kings thus rises from the plain, leagues in
length, noble in height; and very strange it is to see the flat earth fall away from it like
waters from the bows of a boat, as it soars into the sky with its burden of palaces and
Here dwelt the Queen Padmini and her husband Bhimsi, the Rana of the Rajputs.
The sight of the holy ascetic Visravas pierced even the secrets of the Rani's bower,
where, in the inmost chamber of marble, carved until it appeared like lace of the foam of
the sea, she was seated upon cushions of blue Bokhariot silk, like the lotus whose name
she bore floating upon the blue depths of the lake. She had just risen from the shallow
bath of marble at her feet.
Most beautiful was this Queen, a haughty beauty such as should be a Rajput lady; for the
name "Rajput" signifies Son of a King, and this lady was assuredly the daughter of Kings
and of no lesser persons. And since that beauty is long since ashes (all things being
transitory), it is permitted to describe the mellowed ivory of her body, the smooth curves
of her hips, and the defiance of her glimmering bosom, half veiled by the long silken
tresses of sandal- scented hair which a maiden on either side, bowing toward her, knotted
upon her head. But even he who with his eyes has seen it can scarce tell the beauty of her
face - the slender arched nose, the great eyes like lakes of darkness in the reeds of her
curled lashes, the mouth of roses, the glance, deer-like but proud, that courted and
repelled admiration. This cannot be told, nor could the hand of man paint it. Scarcely
could that fair wife of the Pandava Prince, Draupadi the Beautiful (who bore upon her
perfect form every auspicious mark) excel this lady.
(Ashes - ashes! May Maheshwara have mercy upon her rebirths!)