Chapter 49 — Description of Dasura’s Kadamba Forest

Vasishta continued:—

Thus Dasura remained in the forest that reached to the region of the clouds and formed a stage for the halting of the tired horses of the meridian sun at midday. Its far stretching boughs spread a canopy on all sides under the roof of heaven, and it looked to the skies all around with its full blown blossoming eyes. Gentle winds shed fragrant dust from the tufts of its hanging hairs, which, studded with swarms of fluttering bees and its leaves waving like palms of its hands, brushed over the face of its fairy sky.

The banks with their long shrubbery and the crimson filaments of their milk-white blossoms smiled like the fair faces of beauties with their teeth colored reddish from betel leaves. Creeping plants danced with delight and shed dust from the pistils of their flowers clustered in bunches and beaming with the luster of the bright full moon. The earth with its thickening thickets, warbling chakoras among them, appeared like the milky path of heaven studded with stars singing heavenly tunes. Groups of peacocks sitting on the tops of branching trees appeared with multi-colored trains, like rainbows among the green foliage, seeming as bluish clouds in the blue sky.

White fantail deer, half of their bodies hidden under the cover of the woods and their fore parts appearing outside, looked like so many moons with their dark and bright sides in the sky. The warbling of chataks, joined with the trill of cuckoos and the whistling of chakoras, filled the groves with a continuous harmony. 10 Flocks of white herons sitting on their nestling boughs seemed like bodies of siddha-master aerial beings sitting quietly in their refuge places in heaven.

11 Waving vines with ruddy leaflets shaking with the breeze, their blooming blossoms beset by bees, resembled the apsara nymphs of heaven flapping their rosy palms and looking at the skies. 12 Clusters of kumuda blue lotuses moving on the sky-blue waters with their yellow filaments, shedding their golden dust around, appeared like rainbows and lightning darting their radiance in the blue sky.

13 The forest’s thousands of uplifted branches seemed like the god Vishwarupa lifting his thousand arms on high, dancing with the breeze, the sun and moon hanging like earrings on either side. 14 Elephant herds lying under the branches and clusters of stars shining above gave the woodlands an appearance of the sky, with its dark clouds moving below the blazing stars above. 15 The forest was like a warehouse of all sorts of fruits and flowers, just as the god Brahma is the reservoir of all sorts of productions. 16 The ground glistened with falling small flowers and the powdery dust of the flowers, just as the sky glitters with the luster of solar and stellar light.

17 Flights of birds flying on tree branches fluttering about their nests and flocks of fowls feeding on the ground made the forest appear like a city with its people above, below and all about it. 18 Its bowers resembled the inner apartments of houses, with blossoms waving like flags over them, and strewn over with the white powdery dust of flowers, as they decorate floors with flowers and powders, and flowers hanging over them like over house windows.

19 There was the joint harmony of humming bees and buzzing beetles, twittering of chakoras and parrots, and cooing of kokilas in the thick canopy of the woods and issuing out of their holes like the music of songstresses coming out in unison from the hollows of windows.

20 Birds of various kinds hovered about the coverings of woodland goddesses, as they were the only guests of their lonely retreats. 21 Bees were continually hummed over the powdery pistils of flowers. The sound of waterfalls constantly diffused from nearby high hills. 22 Here gentle soft warm breezes continually played with waving flowers and white clouds covered lofty trees, as they do the tops of mountains. 23 The sturdy woods that resembled high hills were rubbed by the scabby cheeks of elephants and stood unmoved, though they were constantly dashed by their huge legs and feet.

24 Birds of multi-colored feathers that dwelt in the hollows of the trees were like the various races of beings dwelling in the person of Vishnu. 25 With the movements of their painted leaves, resembling the fingers of their palms, trees seemed to keep time with the dancing vines and point out the modes of their vibration. 26 They danced in delight with their branching arms and clasping armlets of vines to think on the nourishment that every part of their bodies affords to all kinds of living beings. 27 Thinking how they are the support of thousands of creeping plants which entwine round them as their consorts, the trees sang their joyous chime with the buzzing of bees about them. 28 Kind aerial masters who dropped flowers from the trees were hailed by the bees and cuckoos with their joyous notes and tunes.

29 The blooming blossoms of the kadamba tree made it seem to be laughing in derision at the five woody trees on the forest edge which were not bearing their flowers. 30 With its uplifted head reaching to the sky and flights of birds flying over it like hairs on its head, the kadamba tree seemed to defy the parijata tree of Indra’s heaven. 31 A swarm of bees thronging all about the kadamba tree gave it the appearance of thousand eyed Indra, with whom it competed with its greater number of eyes. 32 The tree had a tuft of flowers on some part of its head, appearing like the hood of a snake decorated with gems, as if the infernal serpent had mounted its top with his crowned head in order to survey the wonders of heaven. 33 Smeared with the pollen of its flowers, the tree appeared like the god Shiva anointed with his powdered ashes, while its shady dwelling overhung with luscious fruits refreshing passing travelers with rest and repast.

34 The kadamba tree was like the Nandana garden of paradise, having alcoves under its thickening branches and caves formed by the flowery vines below it, while the birds of heaven hovered about it like its perpetual inhabitants.