By Budhasvāmin
Translated by Sir James Mallinson


Budha·svamin tells the astonishing epic tale of the youthful exploits of prince Nara·váhana·datta. It is indeed a great story, as its Sanskrit title declares. Epic in scope and scale, it has everything that a great story should: adventure, romance, suspense, intrigue, tragedy and comedy. The reader is taken from royal palaces to flying sorcerers’ mountain fastnesses via courtesans’ bedrooms and merchant ships. The frame story narrates Nara·váhana·datta’s progress culminating in his enthronement as Emperor of the Sorcerers, winning twenty-six wives along the way. Unfortunately, the surviving manuscripts of the text break off while he is in pursuit of his sixth wife. Volume One’s adventures end with his lute contest and marriage to Gandhárva·datta. The fast and witty narrative eschews lengthy description and provides fascinating insights into ancient India.

I said, ‘I’m worried because I don’t know how to interact with a young woman. You must quickly turn me into a man-about-town!’ He replied, ‘The saying that horses are tamed in the hour of battle has today proved to be true! One cannot become a man-about-town by instruction. It’s like spiritual liberation-mastered through repeated practice. But I’ll tell you in brief: copy whatever her ladyship does.’

452 pp.  |  ISBN-13: 978-0-8147-5701-7  |  ISBN-10: 0-8147-5701-4  |  Co-published by New York University Press and JJC Foundation

About the Translator

Sir James Mallinson translates and edits Sanskrit literature for the JJC Foundation, co-publishers (with NYU Press) of the Clay Sanskrit Library. He also translated The Emperor of the Sorcerers (volume two), Messenger Poems, The Ocean of the Rivers of Story (volume one of seven), and The Ocean of the Rivers of Story (volume two of seven).