Have you ever been under a magical spell or charm or enchantment? An enchantment so strong, that it has held you captive. So captive, that you have been unable to let go. As letting go, would be akin to death.
Here’s a tale from the Mahabharata, when a great King was so enchanted with someone that it changed the course of his dynasty forever.
King Shantanu had become very lonely. He had broken his vow and Ganga had left him leaving their son, Devvrat behind. Heartbroken, he had been grieving for a very long time. One day, he wanted to enter the forest across the banks of river Yamuna. He wanted to go hunting and waited for a boatman to ferry him across the river. A gentle mist shrouded the banks and he stood staring at the calm waters of the river Yamuna.
He remembered how Ganga had emerged from the Ganges many moons ago. She had looked so ethereal and divine as she walked towards him for the very first time. He had been so happy with her. Would she ever come back again? He wished she would. He closed his eyes lost in her thoughts, when an intoxicating perfume wafted towards him.
Ah! What an enchanting fragrance. Who could that be? Is it an apsara from heaven? I must find out, he thought, as he walked searching for the source of the fragrance.
Through the mist, he saw a boat and in the boat, was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. She gently rowed her boat towards him, and as she emerged out of the mist, he saw her eyes. She had huge eyes shaped like the bud of the lotus and the longer he looked at them, they seemed to be holding him captive. They glittered like stardust on an expansive blue sky. He looked at her luscious lips, slightly upturned at the corners, breaking into a smile, her most seductively expressive feature, that were unleashing a million desires within him with their slightest manipulations.
She gave him her hand and beckoned him to step into the boat. Her hands felt like silk against his hand and he suddenly found himself wishing he never had to let go of them. She laughed when he kept holding onto them like one mesmerized, and even her laughter sounded melodious to him. When they were seated, she masterfully plunged the oars into the waters and he heard his own heart plunging into unknown depths of love.
“Who are you?” she asked him, breaking his trance, and the lilt in her voice fanning the embers of passion and rekindling the burning desires within him.
“I’m King Shantanu of Hastinapur. What is your name?”
She lowered her head, realizing that it was the King himself seated in her ferry, “My name is Satyavati and I’m the daughter of a fisherman”.
“Look at me, O lotus-eyed maiden,” said Shantanu, lifting her face by her chin, “I have conquered vast lands beyond my kingdom, and have travelled far and wide, but never before has any woman left me so utterly enchanted. I find myself lost in your charms. Marry me and become my queen.”
Satyavati’s face glowed like the full moon as she replied coyly, “You must meet my father and ask him for my hand in marriage.”
Shantanu was overjoyed. He would no longer be lonely.
This meeting would signal the beginning of an enchantment so great, that it would lead not only to love and subsequent marriage of Shantanu and Satyavati, but also to the end of the Kuru dynasty and the start of the Satyavati dynasty. It would also lead the unwitting protagonists to be the starting point of the biggest war that was ever fought on earth.
Has anything left you so enchanted that you have pined for it every moment?