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But Diti, when her sons were slain,
Wild with a childless mother's pain.
To Kas'yap spake, Marícha's son,
Her husband: 'O thou glorious one!

p. 59

Dead are the children, mine no more,
The mighty sons to thee I bore.
Long fervour's meed, I crave a boy
Whose arm may Indra's life destroy.
The toil and pain my care shall be:
To bless my hope depends on thee.
Give me a mighty son to slay
Fierce Indra, gracious lord, I pray.'

Then glorious Kas'yap thus replied
To Diti, as she wept and sighed:
'Thy prayer is heard, dear saint! Remain
Pure from all spot, and thou shalt gain
A son whose arm shall take the life
Of Indra in the battle strife.
For full a thousand years endure
Free from all stain, supremely pure;
Then shall thy son and mine appear,
Whom the three worlds shall serve with fear.'
These words the glorious Kas'yap said,
Then gently stroked his consort's head,
Blessed her, and bade a kind adieu,
And turned him to his rites anew.
Soon as her lord had left her side,
Her bosom swelled with joy and pride.
She sought the shade of holy boughs,
And there began her awful vows.
While yet she wrought her rites austere,
Indra, unbidden, hastened near,
With sweet observance tending her,
A reverential minister.
Wood, water, fire, and grass he brought,
Sweet roots and woodland fruit he sought,
And all her wants, the Thousand-eyed,
With never-failing care, supplied,
With tender love and soft caress
Removing pain and weariness.

When, of the thousand years ordained,
Ten only unfulfilled remained,
Thus to her son, the Thousand-eyed,
The Goddess in her triumph cried:
'Best of the mighty! there remain
But ten short years of toil and pain;
These years of penance soon will flee,
And a new brother thou shalt see.
Him for thy sake I'll nobly breed,
And lust of war his soul shall feed;
Then free from care and sorrow thou
Shalt see the worlds before him bow.' 1


58:1b 'That this story of the birth of Lakshimi is of considerable antiquity is evident from one of her names *Kshirábdhi-tanayá, daughter of the Milky Sea, which is found in Amarasinha the most ancient of Indian lexicographers. The similarity to the Greek myth of Venus being born from the foam of the sea is remarkable.'

'In this description of Lakshmi one thing only offends me, that she is said to have four arms. Each of Vishnu's arms, single, as far as the elbow, there branches into two; but Lakshmi in all the brass seals that I possess or remember to have seen has two arms only. Nor does this deformity of redundant limbs suit the pattern of perfect beauty.' SCHLEGEL. I have omitted the offensive epithet.

58:2b Purandhar, a common title of Indra.

Next: Canto XLVII.: Sumatí.