Chapter 5 — The Story of Shukra (Bhargava): Shukra Falls in Love with a Fairy Nymph

Rama said, “Tell me sage, who knows all truths and is best acquainted with all that is past and is to come, how does the form of the world exist so vividly in the mind? Please explain to me by some illustration how this world appears as a visible object to the inner mind.”

Vasishta replied:—

The world truly is situated in the minds of men, just as it appeared in its firm and compact state to the ten bodiless sons of Indu. It is situated in the same manner in the minds of men as the thought of King Lavana’s transformation of himself to a tribal (chandala) under the influence of sorcery. It is in the same manner as Bhargava believed he possessed all worldly gratifications. Because true bliss has much more relation to the mind than to earthly possessions.

Rama said, “Sage, how did the son of Bhrigu came to enjoy earthly pleasures when he had been longing for heavenly joy?”

Vasishta replied:—

Rama, listen to my narration of the history of Bhrigu and Kala, whereby you will know how he came to possess earthly enjoyments.

There is a tableland of Mandara Mountain that has rows of tamala trees with beautiful flowers under them. Here sage Bhrigu conducted his arduous tapas (spiritual penance) in olden times and it was in this place that his high-minded and valiant son Shukra also came to perform his tapas.

10 Shukra was as handsome as the moon, radiant with his brilliant beams. He took his seat in that happy grove of Bhrigu for the purpose of his tapas. 11 Having long sat in that grove under the shade of a rock, Shukra removed himself to the flowery beds and fair plains below. 12 He wandered freely about the bowers of Mandara pleasure garden in his youthful sport, and became revered among the wise and ignorant men of the place. 13 He wandered there at random like Trisanku, between the earth and sky, sometimes playing about as a boy, and at others sitting in fixed meditation like his father. 14 He remained without any anxiety in his solitude, as a king who has subdued his enemy. Then he happened to see an apsara fairy traversing in her aerial journey.

15 He saw her with the eyes of Hari (Vishnu) fixed upon his Lakshmi as the fairy skimmed over the watery plain, decorated with wreaths of mandara flowers, her tresses waving loosely with the playful air. 16 Her trinkets jingled with her movements and her fragrance perfumed the winds of the air. Her fairy form was as beautiful as a vine, and her eyeballs rolled as in the state of intoxication. 17 The moonbeams of her body shed their ambrosial dews over the landscape and bewitched the hard heart of the young devotee as he stared at the fairy form before him.

18 She also, with her body shining like the fair full moon and shaking like a wave of the sea, became enamored of Shukra as she looked at his face. 19 Shukra then checked the impulse of his mind which the god of love had raised after her, but losing all power over himself, he became absorbed in the thought of his beloved object.