How Raja Rasâlu Became a Jôgi
Then, after a time, Rasâlu went to Hodinagari. And when he reached the house of the beautiful far-famed Queen Sundran, he saw an old Jôgi sitting at the gate, by the side of his sacred fire.
"Wherefore do you sit there, father?" asked Raja Rasâlu.
"My son," returned the Jôgi, "for two-and-twenty years have I waited thus to see the beautiful Sundran, yet have I never seen her!"
"Make me your pupil," quoth Rasâlu, "and I will wait too."
"You work miracles already, my son," said the Jôgi; "so where is the use of your becoming one of us?"
Nevertheless, Raja Rasâlu would not be denied, so the Jôgi bored his ears and put in the sacred earrings. Then the new disciple put aside his shining armour, and sat by the fire in a Jôgi's loin-cloth, waiting to see Queen Sundran.
Then, at night, the old Jôgi went and begged alms from four houses, and half of what he got he gave to Rasâlu and half he ate himself. Now Raja Rasâlu, being a very holy man, and a hero besides, did not care for food, and was well content with his half share, but the Jôgi felt starved.
The next day the same thing happened, and still Rasâlu sat by the fire waiting to see the beautiful Queen Sundran.
Then the Jôgi lost patience, and said, "O my disciple, I made you a pupil in order that you might beg, and feed me, and behold, it is I who have to starve to feed you!"
"You gave no orders!" quoth Rasâlu, laughing. "How can a disciple beg without his master's leave?"
"I order you now!" returned the Jôgi. "Go and beg enough for you and for me."
So Raja Rasâlu rose up, and stood at the gate of Queen Sundran's palace, in his Jôgi's dress, and sang,
Now when Queen Sundran, from within, heard Rasâlu's voice, its sweetness pierced her heart, so that she immediately sent out alms by the hand of her maid-servant. But when the maiden came to the gate, and saw the exceeding beauty of Rasâlu, standing outside, fair in face and form, she fainted away, dropping the alms upon the ground.
Then once more Rasâlu sang, and again his voice fell sweetly on Queen Sundran's ears, so that she sent out more alms by the hand of another maiden. But she also fainted away at the sight of Rasâlu's marvellous beauty.
Then Queen Sundran rose, and came forth herself, fair and stately. She chid the maidens, gathered up the broken alms, and setting the food aside, filled the plate with jewels and put it herself into Rasâlu's hands, saying proudly—
And Rasâlu, in his Jôgi's habit, bent his head towards her, saying softly—
Now, when Rasâlu returned to his master with the plate full of jewels, the old Jôgi was sorely astonished, and bade him take them back, and ask for food instead. So Rasâlu returned to the gate, and sang—
Then Queen Sundran rose up, proud and beautiful, and coming to the gate, said softly—
But Rasâlu smiled a scornful smile, saying—
Then Queen Sundran took back the jewels, and bade the beautiful Jôgi wait an hour till the food was cooked. Nevertheless, she learnt no more of him, for he sat by the gate and said never a word. Only when Queen Sundran gave him a plate piled up with sweets, and looked at him sadly, saying—
then Raja Rasâlu, taking the alms, replied—
Then Rasâlu returned to his master with the sweets, and after that he went away from the place, for he feared lest the Queen, knowing who he was, might try to keep him prisoner.
And beautiful Sundran waited for the Jôgi's cry, and when none came, she went forth, proud and stately, to ask the old Jôgi whither his pupil had gone.
Now he, vexed that she should come forth to ask for a stranger, when he had sat at her gates for two-and-twenty years with never a word or sign, answered back, "My pupil? I was hungry, and I ate him, because he did not bring me alms enough."
"Oh, monster!" cried Queen Sundran. "Did I not send thee jewels and sweets? Did not these satisfy thee, that thou must feast on beauty also?"
"I know not," quoth the Jôgi; "only this I know—I put the youth on a spit, roasted him, and ate him up. He tasted well!"
"Then roast and eat me too!" cried poor Queen Sundran; and with the words she threw herself into the sacred fire and became sati for the love of the beautiful Jôgi Rasâlu.
And he, going thence, thought not of her, but fancying he would like to be king a while, he snatched the throne from Raja Hari Chand, and reigned in his stead.