Chapter 14 — Yama & Bhrigu Awaken Shukra from His Tapas; He Remembers His Past Lives

Vasishta said:—

Yama and Bhrigu departed from the cave of Mandara Mountain and traveled towards the bank of Samanga River. As they descended from the mountain they saw a great light below proceeding from the bodies of the celestials sleeping in the tree groves of golden vines. Birds were playing in sprays formed by cradling vines under the canopy of heaven. Lovely antelopes looked face to face, their eyes resembling blue lotuses. They saw spiritual masters sitting on their stony seats upon elevated rocks, their bodies full of vigor and their eyes looking on the spheres with defiance.

They saw the lords of the elephant herd, their big trunks as large as palm trees, plunging in lakes covered with flowers falling constantly from the branches of flowering trees on the shore. They saw mountain bulls dozing in their giddiness and sitting as if intoxicated, while their bodies were reddened by the red dust of flowers and their tails flushed with the crimson dust blown by the breeze. There were deer whose tails served as fans for the mountain king immersed in pools filled with falling flowers.

They saw kinnara lads sitting on the tops of straight and stately date trees, playing by pelting each other with date fruit that stuck to the reeds below. They saw big monkeys jumping about with their hideous reddish cheeks and hiding themselves in wide spreading vines. 10 They saw spiritual adepts clad with vests of the tawny clouds that shrouded them and being hit with mandara flowers thrown by celestial ladies.

11 The uninhabited foothills of the mountain were like the solitary walks of Buddhist wanderers, and the streams at its foot were flowing as if they were running to meet the sea, covered under yellow vests of kunda and mandara flowers of the spring season. 12 Trees decorated with wreaths of flowers and shaken by the breeze seemed like bacchanals giddy with the honey of flowers, rolling their dizzy eyes formed of fluttering bees.

13 They walked about here and there and looked at and admired the grandeur of the mountain, until at last they descended on the nether earth decorated with its cities and human dwellings. 14 In a moment they arrived at the bank of the Samanga, flowing with the loosened flowers of all kinds as if it were a bed of flowers itself.

15 Bhrigu saw his son on one of its banks, his body changed to another form and his features quite altered from his former state. 16 His limbs were stiff and his sense at a standstill as he sat with his mind fixed on steady meditation.

He seemed to have been there a long time to rest from the turmoil of the world. 17 He thought upon the course of the currents of the world that continually flow with successive joy and sorrow to man, who gets rid of them after his long trial. 18 He became motionless as a wheel after its long winded motion. He found his rest after his prolonged whirling in the whirlpool of the ocean of the world. 19 He sat retired like a lover reclined solely on the thought of his beloved object. His mind was at rest after its long wanderings. 20 He sat in a state of uniform meditation without a shadow of division or differentiation, smiling with a cold apathy at all the pursuits of mankind. 21 Liberated from all concerns, released from the enjoyments of life, and free from the snare of desires and fancies, he rested in the supreme bliss of the soul. 22 His soul was at rest in the everlasting rest of God, just as a pure crystal catches the color of the gem that is next to it.

23 Bhrigu saw his son in the calmly composed and awakened state of mind, freed alike from his thoughts of what was desirable and from his hatred of what was disgusting.

24 Yama, seeing the son of Bhrigu, said to the father in a voice, hoarse as the sounding sea, “Lo there your son.” 25 “Awake,” he said to Bhargava (Shukra), which startled him from his meditation just like the roaring of a cloud rouses a slumbering peacock from his summer sleep.

26 Upon opening and lifting up his eyes, Shukra saw the god standing with his father on one side, both so pleased at the sight that their faces glowed like the discs of the sun and moon. 27 Shukra rose from his seat of kadamba leaves and made his obeisance to them who appeared to have come to him like the gods Hari and Hara in the disguise of a couple of brahmins. 28 After their mutual salutations, Yama and Bhrigu sat on a slab of stone and appeared like the venerable gods Vishnu and Shiva seated on the pinnacle of Meru.

29 The brahmin boy, having ended chanting his mantras on the bank of Samanga, approached them with a voice as sweet as nectarine juice of ambrosia. 30 “My lords, I am emancipated at your sight this day. You have blessed me by your sights, resembling those of the sun and moon appearing together. 31 The darkness that reigned in my mind, which no light of scriptures or spiritual or temporal knowledge or even my austerities could remove, is dispelled today by the light of your presence. 32 A kind look of the great gives as much joy to the mind as draughts of pure ambrosia satisfy the heart. 33 Tell me who are you, whose feet have sanctified this place like the glorious orbs of the day and night enlighten the sky?”

34 Being addressed in this manner, Bhrigu desired that Shukra remember his prior births, which he could well do by his enlightened understanding. 35 Bhrigu acquainted him with the state of his former birth, and he remembered it instantly by the clairvoyance of his inward sight. 36 He was struck with wonder at the memory of his former state. He smiled with a joyful face and glad heart to think on what he had been.

Then Shukra said as follows. 37 “Blessed is the law of the Supreme Being that is without beginning or end and is known here below as destiny, and by whose power the world revolves like a two-wheeled carriage. 38 I see my countless and unknown births from first to last, and the innumerable accidents to which they were subject, for an entire kalpa duration of the world. 39 I have undergone great hardships and known prosperity also with the toil of earning. In different lives I have wandered, and I remember having roamed for a long time over the mountainous regions of Meru.”

40 “I drank water reddened with the pollen of mandara flowers and wandered along the bank of the heavenly Mandakini (the Milky Way) filled with lotuses. 41 I wandered about mandara groves filled with flowering vines like gold. I wandered under the shade of the kalpa trees of Mount Meru, and in the flowery plains above and about it.”

42 “There is nothing of good or evil that I have not tasted or felt or done myself. There is nothing that I have not seen or felt or known in my past lives. 43 Now I know the knowable and I have seen the imperishable one in whom I have my repose. Now I have rested after my toils were over and I have passed beyond the domain of error and darkness.”

44 “Now rise, O father, and let us go see that body lying on Mandara Mountain which is now dried like a withered plant. 45 I have no desire to remain in this place, or go anywhere of my own will. It is only to see the works of fate that we wander all about. 46 I will follow you with my firm belief in the one adored deity of the learned. Let that be the desirable object of my mind, and I will act exactly in conformity with my belief.”