Kopal-Kundala/Towards the House

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Chapter IX.

Towards the House.

Kopal-Kundala went slowly towards her house—very slowly and very softly, for she was immersed in deep thought. Lutufonissa's words had completely changed Kopal-Kundala's ideas. She was prepared to sacrifice herself. Self-sacrifice for whom? For Lutufonissa? No.

Kopal-Kundala was at heart a Tantrik's child. As, from a desire for the favour of the goddess Káli, a Tantrik does not shrink from taking another's life, so, from the same desire, Kopal-Kundala was ready to sacrifice her own life. Not that Kopal-Kundala had, like the Kapálik, entirely devoted herself to asking the favour of the goddess; still, by hearing, seeing, and practising devotion towards her day and night, a love for Káli had become rooted in her mind, and she firmly believed that Bhoirobi was the ruler of the universe and the giver of salvation. Her sympathetic heart could not endure that Káli's place of worship should be drenched with human blood, but she was not remiss in showing her devotion in all other matters. Now that Bhoirobi, ruler of the world, she who bestows happiness and pain, giver of future salvation,—she had ordered her in a dream to give up her life. And why should not Kopal-Kundala obey that order?

You and I do not wish to leave life. Whatever we may say in anger, this life is sweet. In expectation of pleasure we wander about in the world like a ball—there is no expectation of pain. If now and again, owing to our own fault, our expectations are not realised, then we loudly cry out about our unhappiness. But for all that, it is certain that pain is not the rule, but only the exception. You and I have happiness everywhere, and it is through such happiness that we are bound to the world, and do not wish to leave it. But in these fetters of the world love is the principal link. Kopal-Kundala had not that link—she had no tie at all. Then who should keep Kopal-Kundala?

He who has no ties, his force is irresistible. Who can stop the torrent that falls from the mountain-top? When once it is driven by the wind, who can stop its spray? When Kopal-Kundala's heart was restless, who was to steady and control it? Who can calm the madness of the young wild elephant?

Kopal-Kundala asked her heart, "Why should I not lay this body at the feet of the ruler of the world? If I die, what then?" She was putting the question, but could not give any certain reply. Even if the world has no other fetter, there is the one fetter of death.

Kopal-Kundala walked on with her head downwards. When man's heart is full of some terrible feeling, and he is so absorbed in thought that he does not notice outward objects, at such a time even unreal things are clearly seen. Such was Kopal-Kundala's state. It appeared to her that a sound entered her ear from above, "Child, I am showing you the way." Kopal-Kundala was startled, and casting her eyes up, saw a form that put to shame the new clouds! Blood was flowing from a garland of human skulls on her neck; human hands encircled and swung from her waist; in her left hand a human skull; on her limbs were streams of blood. Her forehead was adorned with a young moon that touched the extremities of her eyes, lighted up with a bright and fierce flame. It seemed as if Bhoirobi were raising her right hand and calling Kopal-Kundala.

Kopal-Kundala went on with eyes fixed upwards. That form, like a new cloud, went before her along the path of the sky. Now the limbs of the goddess Durga were concealed in the clouds, and again they became clearly visible. Kopal-Kundala fixed her eyes on them, and walked on.

Neither Nobokumar nor the Kapálik had seen this. Nobokumar's heart was on fire with the poison of the wine. Impatient of Kopal-Kundala's slow footsteps, he said to his companion—

"Kapálik!" The Kapálik said, "What?" "Give me to drink." The Kapálik again gave him wine. Nobokumar said, "Why delay further?" The Kapálik replied, "Why delay further?" Nobokumar called out in a voice of thunder, "Kopal-Kundala!"

Kopal-Kundala heard and was thunderstruck. At this time no one used to call her Kopal-Kundala. She turned her head and stood. Nobokumar and the Kapálik came in front of her. Kopal-Kundala could not at first recognise them. She said, "Who are you? The messengers of death?"

The next moment she recognised them, and said, "No, no, father; have you come to sacrifice me?"

Nobokumar seized Kopal-Kundala's hand with a firm grasp. The Kapálik said in a sweet voice, full of pity, "Child! come with us."

With these words the Kapálik led the way to the burning-ground.

Kopal-Kundala looked towards the sky; here she had seen the terrible form sporting in the sky, she looked there, and saw that the goddess of battle was merrily laughing, and, holding a long trident in her hand, was pointing towards the path the Kapálik had taken. Like one who knew not her fate, Kopal-Kundala without a word followed the Kapálik. Nobokumar went on, firmly grasping her hand as before.