Chapter 29 — Defeat of the Demons

Vasishta continued:—

In this manner, the energetic and murderous demons repeated their attacks and waged many wars with the gods. They carried on their warfare sometimes by fraud and often by their aggressiveness, and frequently after a truce of open war was made with the gods. They sometimes fled, renewed their strength, then attacked again in the open field. Other times they lay in ambush, concealed in their underground caves. Thus they waged their battle against the celestials for five and thirty years, by repeatedly flying and withdrawing from the field, then reappearing with their arms. They fought again for five years, eight months and ten days, shooting their firearms, trees and stones and thunders upon the gods.

Being used to warfare for such a long a period, at last they grew proud of their superior strength and repeated successes and entertained the desire of their final victory. Their constant practice in arms made them sure of their success, just as the nearness of objects casts their reflection in the mirror. But as distant objects are never reflected in the glass, so the desire for anything is never successful without intense application to it. So when the desires of the demons Dama and others became identified with their selves, their souls degraded from their greatness and became confined to their belief of the desired objects.

All worldly desires lead to false expectations, and those entangled in the snares of their expectations are thereby reduced to meanness in their spirits. 10 Falling into the errors of egotism and selfishness, the demons were led into the blunder of me-ism, thinking these things as “mine,” just as a man mistakes a rope for a snake. 11 Being reduced to the depravity of selfishness, they began to think their personalities consisted in their bodies. They began to reflect how their bodies could be safe and secure from harm from head to foot. 12 They lost their patience by continually thinking about protecting their bodies, their properties and their pleasures of life.

13 Desire of their enjoyments diminished their strength and valor. Their former acts of gallantry now became a dead letter to them. 14 They thought only how to become lords of the earth, and thus became lazy and weak like lotus flowers without water. 15 Their pride and egoism led their inclination towards the pleasures of good eating and drinking and to the possession of every worldly good. 16 They began to hesitate to join in warfare and became as timid as timid deer afraid to encounter furious elephants ravaging the forest.

17 They moved slowly in despair of their victory and for fear of losing their lives in their encounters with the gods’ furious elephants in the field. 18 These cowards, wishing to preserve their bodies from the hands of death, became so powerless that they rested satisfied with their enemies’ feet on their heads. 19 Thus these unnerved demons were as unable to kill the enemy standing before them as a fire without enough fuel is unable to consume the sacred ghee offering. 20 They became like gnats before the aggressive gods, standing with their bruised bodies like beaten soldiers.

21 What more needs to be said? The demons were overpowered by the gods and fled from the battlefield in fear of their lives. 22 When the demons Dama, Byala, Kata and others were repulsed by the prowess of the gods and fled cowardly in different ways, 23 the remaining demons fell down before the gods and fled from the air on all sides, like the falling stars of heaven at the end of a kalpa age.

24 They fell upon the summits of mountains, and in the trees of the Sumeru Range. Some were wrapped in the folds of the clouds above, and others fell on the banks of distant seas below. 25 Many fell in the cavities of the eddies of seas, and in the abyss of the ocean, and in the running streams. Some fell into far distant forests, and other dropped down amidst the burning woods of wild fire.

26 Some being pierced by the arrows of the celestials, fell in distant countries, villages and cities on earth. Others were hurled into thick jungles of wild beasts and in sandy deserts and in wild fires. 27 Many fell in the polar regions, some landing on the mountain tops and others sinking in the lakes below. Several were tossed over the countries of Andhra, Dravida, Kashmir and Persia. 28 Some sank in billowy seas and in the watery maze of the Ganges, and others fell on distant islands, in different parts of Asia, and in the nets of fishermen.

29 Thus the enemies of the gods lay everywhere with their mountainous bodies, all full of scars from head to foot and mutilated in hands and arms. 30 Some were hanging by their outstretched entrails on tree branches, gushing out with blood. Others with cropped off crowns and heads were lying on the ground with open and fiery eyes. 31 Many were lying with their broken armor and weapons, slashed by the superior power of the enemy, their robes and garments all dismantled and torn by their fall. 32 Their helmets which were terrific by their blaze were hanging down their necks. The braids of their hair, woven with stones, hung loosely about their bodies. 33 Their heads covered with hard brazen and pointed crowns were broken by stone slabs hurled upon them from the hands of the gods.

34 In this manner, at the end of the battle, the demons together with all their weapons were destroyed on all sides. They were devoured like seawater dissolves dust.