Chapter 31 — Leela & Saraswati Arrive on Earth; Fate of Good & Bad Fallen in War

Vasishta said:—

After having seen the worlds in their aerial journey, the ladies arrived on earth and quickly entered King Padma’s inner apartment. There they saw the king’s dead body lying in state under heaps of flowers, Leela’s spiritual body sitting beside the corpse. It was the dead of night and the residents had fallen into sound sleep one by one. The room was perfumed with the incense of resin, camphor, sandalwood and saffron.

Leela, seeing the house of her late husband and wishing to enter it, came to his tomb in her assumed body. Then she passed through the fictitious spacious palace of her lord by breaking out of the confines of her body and head that in yoga terminology are called earthly and worldly environs. Then with the goddess she went again to the bright and spacious temple of the world and quickly entered. She saw her husband’s imaginary world (that of King Viduratha) like a dirty and mossy pool, just like a lioness beholds a mountain cave covered by darkness and clouds. Then the two goddesses entered that empty world with their airy bodies, like weak ants make their passage through the hard crust of the wood-apple. There they passed through regions of cloudy hills and skies, and reached the surface of the earth, consisting of tracts of land and basins of water. 10 They came to the continent of Jambu (Asia) situated amid the nine-fold petals of the other continents, and from there proceeded to the territories of Leela’s husband in the land of Bharata (India).

11 During this time they saw a certain prince (the ruler of Sindh), strengthened by other chiefs, making an attack on this land which was the beauty of the world. 12 They saw the air crowded by people of the three worlds who had assembled to see the conflict. 13 They remained undaunted, and saw the air crowded by aerial beings in groups like clouds.

14 There were the spiritual masters (siddhas), charana and sura demigods, celestial gandharvas, supernatural vidyadharas, and other celestials and apsara nature spirits in large bodies. 15 There were also bhuta and pisacha demons, and rakshasa demon cannibals; while female vidyadhara were flinging handfuls of flowers on the combatants like showers of rain. 16 The evil-spirit vetalas, yakshas and kushmands were looking at the battle with pleasure, taking the shelter of hills to avoid flying arrows and weapons. 17 The imps were flying from the air to keep out of the path of flying weapons. The spectators were excited by sound of the combatants’ war cries.

18 Leela, who was standing by with a fan in her hand, was frightened at the imminent, dreadful conflict. She smiled in scorn at the boasting on each side. 19 Virtuous people unable to endure the horrid sight took to praying with the chief priests to avert the calamity.

20 Indra’s messengers were ready with their decorated elephants to bear the souls of mighty heroes to grace the seats of heaven. 21 The demigod charanas and gandharvas sang praises of the advancing heroes. Those heavenly apsara nymphs who liked heroism were glancing at the best combatants. 22 Voluptuous women wished to embrace the arms of the brave. The fair fame of the heroes had turned the hot sunshine to cool moonlight.

23 Rama asked, “Tell me, sage, what sort of a warrior is called a hero and becomes a jewel in heaven, and who is an insurgent?”

24 Vasishta answered:—

He who engages in a lawful warfare and fights for his king, whether he dies or becomes victorious in the field, is called a hero and goes to heaven. 25 Whoever otherwise kills men in war for an unjust cause and dies is called an insurgent and goes to hell. 26 Whoever fights for unlawful property and dies in battle becomes subject to everlasting hellfire. 27 Whoever wages a war justified by law and custom, that warrior is called both loyal and heroic in deed. 28 Whoever dies in war with a willing mind to protect cattle, brahmins and friends, and whoever protects his guest and refugee with all diligence, after his death he truly becomes an ornament in heaven.

29 The king who is steadfast protecting his subjects and his own country is called just, and those who die in his cause are called brave. 30 They who die fighting on the side of riotous subjects, or in the cause of rebellious princes or chiefs, are doomed to fire. 31 They who die fighting unjustly against their kings, law-givers and rulers are subjected to the torments of hell.

32 A war that is just serves to establish order, but the unsteady who are mindless of the future destroy all order. 33 ‘The hero dying goes to heaven’ is the common saying. Scriptures call the lawful warrior a hero, and not otherwise. 34 They who suffer wounds while protecting the righteous and good are said to be heroes. Otherwise, they are insurgents.

35 It was in expectation of seeing such heroes that the maidens of the gods were standing in the air and talking among themselves about becoming the wives of such warriors. 36 The air was decorated by an illumination on high, and by rows of beautiful heavenly cars of gods and masters, and by the presence of celestial maidens who sang in sweet notes and decorated their hair with mandara flowers.