The fourth chapter of the Darpa Dalana satirises the pride people take in their physical appearance and contains plenty of salutary lessons for today’s beauty-obsessed world. The poet intersperses the tale of this chapter with some appropriately delicate stanzas. Here is the opening verse:
पद्मोपमानां दिनसुन्दराणां कोऽयं नृणामस्थिररूपदर्पः ।
रूपेण कान्तिः क्षणिकैव येषां हारिद्ररागेण यथांशुकानाम् ॥ १ ॥
What makes people arrogant
with beauty? It is transient.
Men are like lotuses which stay
looking good for just a day.
Beauty’s glow is for a moment,
as turmeric dye upon a garment.
And towards the end, Kṣemendra further elaborates this idea of human beauty being like the lotus:
प्रातर्बालतरोऽथ कुड्मलतया कान्ताकुचाभः शनै–
र्हेलाहासविकाससुन्दररुचिः सम्पूर्णकोषस्ततः ।
पश्चान्म्लानवपुर्विलोलशिथिलः पद्मः प्रकीर्णेऽनिलै–
स्तस्मिन्नेव दिने स पङ्ककलिलक्लिन्नस्तटे शुष्यति ॥ ७३ ॥
A tender bud at dawn, the lotus resembles a girl’s breast,
it blossoms further as if smiling in the full bloom of youth;
then it begins to fade, trembling unsteady in the breeze,
only to lie sodden with mire, withering on the bank – all in one day.
This is the fourth post in the series on the Darpa Dalana. To learn more about the Rasāla edition, and/or to purchase a copy of the print or eBook please click here. To read the previous posts, please click here.