1 Vasishta related:—
As the war of the gods and titans raged violently on both sides, and their bodies were cut by the others’ weapons, 2 streams of blood gushed out from their wounds like waterfalls in the Ganges basin. Gods caught into the snares of demigods groaned and roared aloud like lions.
3 Byala with his stretching arms was crushing the bodies of the gods. Kata was harassing them in their unequal challenge with them. 4 The demons waged their battle with the rage of the midday sun, and put to flight the Airavata elephant of Indra, the leader of the gods. 5 Gods dropped down with their bodies gored with wounds and spouting with blood. Their armies fled on all sides like the currents of a river overflowing and breaking down its bank.
6 Dama, Byala and Kata pursued the flying and fleeing gods in the same manner as a raging fire runs after wood for its fuel. 7 The demons sought and searched long after the gods in vain, for they had disappeared like deer and lions among the thickets after breaking loose from their traps. 8 Failing to find the gods, the generals Dama, Byala and Kata returned with cheerful hearts to their chief in his home in the infernal region.
9 The defeated gods halted awhile, then prayed to almighty Brahma in order to consult him on the means of gaining victory over the demons. 10 Brahma then appeared to the blood smeared gods with his purple countenance, like the bright and cooling moonbeams appear in the evening on the surface of the sea, colored with the crimson colors of the setting sun.
11 The gods bowed down before Brahma and complained of the danger that was brought upon them by Sambara through his generals Dama, Byala and Kata, whose doings they fully described to him. 12 The judging Brahma, having heard and considered all this, delivered the following encouraging words to the host of gods before him.
13 Brahma said:—
“You will have to wait another hundred thousand years before you can destroy Sambara under the arms of Hari (Vishnu) in an open engagement. 14 Today you have been forced to flee by the demonic Dama, Byala and Kata who have been fighting with their magical arts. 15 They are elated with pride at their great skill in warfare, but it will soon vanish like the shadow of a man in a mirror.
16 These demons, led by their ambition to annoy you, will soon be reduced under your might like birds caught in a snare. 17 The gods, being devoid of ambition, are free from the vicissitudes of pain and pleasure. They have become invincible by destroying the enemy through their patience. 18 Those who are caught and bound fast in the net of their ambition, and led away by the thread of their expectation, are surely defeated in their aims, just like birds are caught with a string.
19 The learned who are devoid of desire and are unattached to anything in their minds are truly great and invincible, as nothing can elate or depress them at anytime. 20 A man, however great and experienced he may be, is easily overcome by a boy when he is enticed by his greed to pursue after everything. 21 The knowledge that “this is I” and “these are mine” is the bane of human life. One with such knowledge of his self and egoism becomes the receptacle of evils like the sea of briny waters.
22 He who confines his mind within a narrow limit for lack of his great and extended views is called dastardly and narrow-minded man in spite of all his learning and wisdom. 23 He who puts a limit on his soul (atma), which is both unbounded and infinite, surely reduces his divine grace to minuteness by his own making.
24 If there is anything in the world beside the one Self that may be yours or worth your desire, you may long to have it. But all things being only parts of the universe, there is nothing particular for anyone to have or seek. 25 Reliance on earthly things is the source of unhappiness, while our disinterest with all things is the fountain of everlasting joy.
26 As long as the gods are independent of worldly things, they must remain invincible. But if they are dependent on them, they will perish like a swarm of gnats in the flame of a wildfire. 27 It is man’s inner desire that makes him miserable in himself and allows him to become subdued by others. Otherwise, worm-like man is as firm as a rock. 28 Where there is any desire in the heart, it is thickened and hardened in time, just like everything in nature increases in its bulk in time. But not so things that are not in existence, such as the lack of desires.
29 O Indra, if you want to cause their destruction, try to foster both ego selfishness and the ambition of Dama and others for their universal dominion. 30 Know that it is greed that causes poverty and all dangers to mankind, just like the karanja tree is the source of its bitter and pernicious fruit. 31 All those men who rove about under the bondage of greed have bid farewell to their happiness by subjecting themselves to misery. 32 One may be very learned and well-informed in everything, and he also may be a noble and great man, but he is sure to be tied down by his greed, just like a lion is tied by his chain.
33 Greed is known as the trap of the mind, which is situated like a bird in its nest of the heart, as it is within the hollow of the tree of the body. 34 A miserable man by his greed becomes an easy prey of the clutches of death, just like a bird is caught in a boy’s net and lies panting on the ground owing to its greed.
35 You gods need not bear the burden of your weapons anymore, nor toil and moil in the field of war any longer, but try your best to inflame the pernicious greed of your enemies to the utmost. 36 Know, O chief of the gods, that no arm or weapon or any program or policy is able to defeat the enemy until they defeat themselves by their lack of patience and excess of their greed.
37 Dama, Byala and Kata have become elated with their success in warfare. Now they must cherish their ambition and foster their greed to their ruin. 38 No sooner have these ignorant creatures of Sambara gained their high desires, than you are sure to foil their vain attempts. 39 Now you gods, excite your enemies to the war by your policy of creating in them an ambition and intense desire for conquest. By this you will gain your object. 40 They, being subject to their desires, will be easily subdued by you, for nobody that is led blindfold by his desires in this world is ever master of himself.
41 The path of this world is either even or rugged according to the good or restless desires of our hearts. The heart is like the sea in its calm after storm, when its waves are still as our subsided desires, or as boisterous as the stormy sea with our increasing greediness.