A Mine of Faults
A Mine of Faults
An Instrument of Policy
Hail to the Lord of the Moony Tire, whose throat derives its blue less from the Kalakuta which he drank but once to save the world, than from the cloud of colour that rests for ever like a ring around his neck, formed of dark glances from the shadowy eyes of the Daughter of the Snow, permanently fixed with indelible affection[ 1 ] on his face!
Long ago, as the God of gods was playing in the evening on the edge of an awful precipice in Himálaya with his wife, it happened, that, all at once, that lotus-eyed Daughter of the Snowy Mountain fell into a brown study. And Maheshwara, by his magic power, penetrated her thoughts. Nevertheless, after a while, making as if he did not know, he enquired of her politely: Of what is my beloved thinking, with such intense abstraction? And hearing him speak, Párwatí started, and blushed, and hesitated. And presently she said: I was but thinking of my Father.[ 2 ] And then, the Great God smiled. And he said, looking at her with unutterable affection: O thou Snowy one, I see, that thou also art but a mine of faults. Thou hast not told me the literal truth! For thou wast thinking, that thy own eyes resembled that great blue chasm in yonder ice, but that the eyes were superior. And it was true. Then Párwatí blushed again, while the god watched her with attention. And after a while, she said: Why didst thou say, that I also am a mine of faults? Then said Maheshwara: Every woman is a mine of faults, and thou art thyself a woman, although a goddess, being, as it were, Woman incarnate, the very type and pattern of them all. And it is very well. For if women had no faults, half their charm would disappear. For, apropos , thou hast already blushed twice, which thou wouldst not have done, at all, but for thy feminine preoccupation about thy own incomparable beauty, which led thee to compare thy lotus-eyes with the blue mountain ice, to its inferiority, and for thy shame, which led thee to endeavour to hide from me thy self-approval by telling me a fib. And thy blush is an ornament to thee, which I love to look at, resembling as it does the first kiss of early Dawn on thy father's snowy peaks.
And then, that lovely one blushed in confusion for the third time, deeper than before. And again she said: But why is every woman a mine of faults? Then said her lord: I could tell thee many instances to prove it, had I leisure: but as it is, just now, I have not time. And the goddess exclaimed: Out upon thee! Thou dost only tease me. What is Time to thee? Do I not know that thou thyself art Time itself? And she began to coax and wheedle and caress him, to gain her end, knowing her own power, and certain of success.
So then, after a while, Maheshwara said: See now, if even I, who am a god, even among gods, am utterly unable to resist the feminine cajolery incarnate in thy form, what are the miserable mortal men below to do, against it? Come, then, I will humour thee, by telling thee a tale. But first, I must provide against the mischief that would otherwise come about, by reason of my delay on thy account. For I can remedy the ill, which thou dost overlook, preferring thy own amusement to the business of the three worlds: but it is otherwise with men, who, cajoled and befooled by thy sisters in witchery below, often lose golden opportunities.
And then, by his magic power, he suspended the operation of the three worlds, so that everything, animate and inanimate, fell as it were suddenly into a magic sleep, and all action stopped, remaining suspended on the very brink of coming into being, like a mountain waterfall suddenly turned to ice. And he said: When the story is told, I will release things from the spell, and all will go on just as it would have done before. For time, uncounted, is the same as none at all. And then, he turned towards his wife, and said: And now, where shall we sit, to tell and hear? The