Page:Chandrashekhar (1905).djvu/106

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free-will she had abandoned the world and entered this hill-forest full of horrid brambles and ferocious beasts. So long she had been steeped in profound sin—would her sufferings now atone for it in any way?

Therefore, with lacerated feet and bloody limbs, oppressed with hunger and thirst, Shaibalini began her ascent. There was no pathway; as it was, it was difficult to find one's way through the shrubs, Creepers and crowd of stones even during day—time; now it was dark, consequently with great effort she could only advance a little.

In the meantime the clouds gathered in great strength. A solid, compact, endless, extensive black shroud sealed the face of the sky. Darkness fell on darkness and enveloped the hill-ranges, the under-lying forests, and the distant river. The world became one essential mass of darkness and it seemed to Shaibalini as if there was nothing in this universe save stones, brambles and darkness. It was useless to attempt any further ascent. In despair, Shaibalini sank on a thicket of brambles.

From the centre to the extreme verge of the horizon, from there again to the centre, the lightning flashed, How terrible! Deep roars of clouds started simultaneously. Shaibalini knew that a fearful summer gale would soon blow across the tableland. What was the harm?

In that body of the hill, many trees, branches, leaves, flowers and things of like nature, would be torn from their places and destroyed. Must not Shaibalini be permitted to participate in that cold comfort of destruction?

What is this impact of cold felt along the body? It is only a drop of rain. Drip, drip, drip!—and then a