By Somadeva
Translated by Sir James Mallinson


“The Ocean of the Rivers of Story” was written by Soma·deva in Kashmir in the eleventh century CE, in order to amuse queen Súryavati. Its frame narrative is so swamped in the flood of stories that it is not until volume two of this CSL edition, 3000 verses into the text, that Nara·váhana·datta, the protagonist, is born. Shiva has foretold his birth and said that he is a partial incarnation of the god of love and will become the emperor of the sorcerers. From here on the main narrative and many of the tales pouring into it describe the exploits of sorcerers and lovers. The central part of this volume, the Attainment entitled “Four Girls,” covers both: it is the story of how Shakti·deva won the four daughters of a sorcerer king who then gave him his throne:

The delighted sorcerer king then and there betrothed all the girls to him at the same time. Immediately afterwards he gave to Shakti·deva, who had achieved his aim, his prosperous throne in Kánaka·puri and all his magical sciences, and he bestowed upon him his name, Shakti·vega, which was dear to his sorcerers.  “No one else shall conquer you, but from the extremely powerful king of Vatsa shall arise among you an emperor, who shall have on earth the name Nara·váhana·datta. He shall be your ruler and you shall bow to him.”

This volume ends with the events preceding the birth of Mádana·máñchuka, Nara·váhana·datta’s first and greatest love.

608 pp.  |  ISBN-13: 978-0-8147-9558-3  |  ISBN-10: 0-8147-9558-7  |  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 has also translated The Ocean of the Rivers of Story (volume one), The Emperor of the Sorcerers volume one and volume two, and Messenger Poems for the CSL.