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Description of Airavana

Description of Airavana
Then the thrones of all the Indras shook, as if to urge them in the business of the Master’s kevala-festival. The bells in the heavens rang at once with a penetrating sound, like messengers in the business of summoning their respective people. From the mere thought of the Lord of Saudharma wishing to go to the Master’s feet, the god Airavana, turned into an elephant, approached. With his body a lac of yojanas long he shone like Meru which had become alive, wishing to see the Master. He spread sandal-ointment, as it were, all over the sky with the light of his body white as frost; and made the ground in heaven marked with a quantity of musk by the fragrant ichor trickling from his cheeks. By the waving fan-like flaps of his ears, he kept off a row of bees blind from the perfume falling on the surface of his cheeks.

The newly-risen sun-disc was surpassed by his forehead-protuberance; the King of the Nagas was surpassed by his trunk, round, and increasingly fat. His eyes and tusks resembled honey in color; his palate was like a tamra leaf; his neck was round and white like a drum; he had broad fore-quarters. His back-bone looked like a strung bow, his belly was lean, he was adorned with a circle of nails like the moon-circle; his breath was fragrant and deep; the end of his trunk quivering and long, his lip-buds long, his linga long, his tail long; he was marked with bells on his sides like Meru with the sun and moon; he wore a girth covered with flowers of the trees of heaven.

His eight faces, with their foreheads ornamented with golden frontlets, looked like pleasure-grounds of the Sris of the eight quarters. In each face eight tusks, curved, long, and turned upwards, massive, looked like peaks of a large mountain. In each tusk was a lotus-pond with sweet, spotless lotuses, like the lake on each zone-bounding mountain. In each pond were eight lotuses that were like faces put outside the water by the water nymphs. In each lotus eight full-blown petals looked like islands for resting-places of goddesses at play. On each petal shone eight companies of actors, each endowed with the fourfold modes of conveying pleasure.160 In each company there were thirty-two actors, like cascades with a wealth of waves of sweet emotions. Then Vasavas with his retinue mounted the best of elephants in the seat of honor, his nose concealed by the top of the protuberance. When Vasava and his retinue were seated, the lord of elephants set out impetuously, like the whole Saudharma-kalpa. In a moment he arrived at the garden purified by the Master Rsabha, gradually contracting his body like Palaka. The other Indras, Acyuta and the rest, came there with troops of gods making great haste as if from the desire to be first.

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