Chapter 49 — More Supernatural Weapons

Vasishta speaking:—

Then blew the icy winds of winter, blasting the beauty of the forest tree foliage, shaking and breaking the beautiful trees, and covering them with gusts of dust. Then rose a gale whirling the trees like birds flying in the air, dashing and smashing soldiers on the ground, and hurling and breaking buildings to dust. This dreadful squall blew away Viduratha and his force, like a rapid current carries away broken and rotten fragments of wood.

Then Viduratha, skilled in ballistics, hurled his huge and heavy arrows that stretched themselves to the sky and withstood the force of wind and rain. Opposed by these rock-like barriers, the airy weapons were at a stand still, just like animal spirits are checked by the firm detachment of the soul. Trees that had been blown up by the winds and were floating in the breezy air, now came down and fell upon dead bodies, like flocks of crows upon putrid carcasses. The shouting from the city, the distant hum of the village, the howling of forests, and the rustling of the trees ceased on all sides like the vain words of men.

Sindhu saw burning rocks falling from above like leaves of trees, and flying about like the winged menakas (mind-born from apsaras) or moving rocks of the sea or Sindhu. He then hurled his thundering weapons, falling like flaming thunderbolts from heaven, which burnt the rocks away like flaming fire destroys darkness. 10 These falling bolts broke the stones with their pointed ends, and hewed down hilltops like a hurricane scattering fruit from trees on the ground. 11 Viduratha then darted his Brahma weapon to quell the thunderbolts, which jostling against one another, disappeared in their mutual conflict.

12 Sindhu then cast his demonic weapons as black as darkness, which fled as lines of horrid pisacha demons on all sides. 13 They filled the sky with the darkness of their bodies, and made the daylight turn to the shade of night, as if it were for fear of them. 14 They were as strong in their figures as huge columns of smoke, and as dark in their complexion as the blackest pitch, and tangible to the hand. 15 They were like lean skeletons with erect hair on their heads and bearded faces, with looks as pale as those of beggars, and bodies as black as those of the aerial and nocturnal fiends. 16 They were terrific and like idiots in their looks, and moved about with bones and skulls in their hands. They were as meager as churls, but more cruel than either the sword or thunderbolt. 17 The pisacha demon-ghosts lurk about woods, bogs and highways and pry into empty and open door houses. They hunt about like ghosts in their dark forms, and fly away as fast as fleeting lightning. 18 With fury they ran and attacked the remaining enemy forces that stood weaponless in the field with their broken and sorrowful hearts. 19 Frightened to death they stood motionless, and dropped down their arms and armor, and stood petrified as if they were demon-struck, with staring eyes, open mouths, and unmoving hands and feet. 20 They let fall both their lower and upper garments, loosened their bowels and slackened their bodies through fear, and kept shaking like trees by the wind

21 The line of the pisachas then advanced to frighten Viduratha out of his wits, but he had the good sense to understand them as the mere magic mumbo-jumbo. 22 He knew the counter charm to force the pisachas from the field, and employed his charmed weapons against the enemy pisacha army. 23 He fired his rupika weapon with anger, which gave comfort to his own army and deluded the enemy pisacha force. 24 These rupikas flew in the air with erect hairs on their heads, their terrific eyes sunk in their sockets. Their waists and breasts moved like trees with bunches of fruit. 25 They had past their youth and become old. Their bodies were bulky and worn out with age. They had deformed backs and hips, and protuberant navels and naves. 26 They had dark dusky bodies and held human skulls in their hands all besmeared with blood. They had bits of half devoured flesh in their mouths, and pouring out fresh blood from their sides. 27 They had a variety of gestures, motions and contortions of their bodies, which were as hard as stone, with wry faces, crooked backs and twisted legs and limbs. 28 Some had their faces like dogs, crows, and owls, with broad mouths and flat cheek-bones and bellies, and held human skulls and entrails in their hands. 29 They laid hold of the pisachas like men catch little children, and joined with them in one body as their consorts. 30 They joined together in dancing and singing with outstretched arms and mouths and eyes, now joining hand in hand and now pursuing one another in their merry sport. 31 They stretched their long tongues from their horrid mouths, and licked away the blood exuding from the wounds of the dead bodies. 32 They plunged in the pool of blood with as much delight as if they had dived into a pond of ghee. They scrabbled in the bloody puddle with outstretched arms and feet, and uplifted ears and nose. 33 They rolled and jostled with one another in the puddle of carrion and blood, and made it swell like the Milky Ocean when churned by Mandara Mountain.

34 As Viduratha employed his magic weapon against the magic of Sindhu, so he had recourse to others from a sense of his inferiority. 35 He fired his vetala weapon, which made dead bodies, whether with or without their heads, rise up in a body in their ghastly shapes. 36 The joint forces of the vetalas, pisachas and rupikas presented a dreadful appearance like that of the Kavandhas, and they seemed as if ready to destroy the earth.

37 The other monarch was not slow to show his magic skill by hurling his demon rakshasa weapon, which threatened to grasp and devour the three worlds. 38 Their gigantic bodies rose as high as mountains, and with their ghostly forms, they seemed like hellish fiends appearing from the infernal regions. 39 The ferocious body of the roaring rakshasas terrified both gods and demigods with their loud martial music and war dance of their headless trunks. 40 The giddy vetalas, yakshas and kushmandas devoured the fat and flesh of dead bodies as their toast, and drank the gory blood as their lurid wine in the course of their war dance. 41 The hopping and jumping of the kushmandas in their war dance in streams of blood, scattered its crimson particles in the air, which assembled in the form of a bridge of red evening clouds over the sparkling sea.