Chapter 51 — Dasura Begets a Son

Vasishta continued:—

Dasura remained as an ascetic in his hermitage in that forest. He was known as Kadamba Dasura and he was a giant of austere penance. Sitting on the leaves of the vine growing on the branch of that tree, he looked up to heaven. Then sitting himself in the lotus posture, he called his mind back to himself.

Unacquainted with spiritual adoration and unpracticed as to the ceremonial ritual, he started to perform his mental sacrifice with a desire of gaining its reward. Sitting on the leaves of the vines in his aerial seat, he employed his inner spirit and mind to discharge his sacrificial rites of the sacred fire and horse sacrifice. For the space of full ten years he continued there in his acts of satisfying the gods with his mental sacrifices of the bull, horse and human immolations; their rewards in his mind.

In process of time, his mind was purified and expanded and he gained the knowledge of the beatification of his soul. His ignorance being dispelled, his heart became purified of the dirt of worldly desires. He came to behold a woodland goddess standing beside his leafy and mossy seat.

She was a body of light and dressed in a robe of flowers. Her form and face were beautiful to behold, and her large bright eyes turned wistfully towards him. Her body breathed the fragrance of the blue lotus and her figure charmed his inner most soul. Then he spoke to the goddess standing before him, her eyes demurely looking down. 10 “What are you, O tender lady who looks like a vine covered with flowers? You defy Kama, the god of love, with your beautiful form and eyes resembling lotus petals. 11 Why do you stand like a forest nymph, a goddess befriending flowering vines?”

Thus approached, the dame with deer-like eyes and protruding bosom replied to him. 12 She said to the hermit with a sweet and charming voice, “May you prosper in obtaining the objects of your wishes. 13 Anything which is desirable and difficult to attain in this world is surely obtainable when sought after with proper effort by the great. 14 I am, O brahmin, a woodland goddess of this forest, which is so full of creeping plants and decorated by beautiful kadamba trees.”

15 “I strayed here to see the festive joy of the woodland goddesses, which always takes place in this forest on this thirteenth day of the lunar month of Chaitra. 16 Here I saw my companions enjoying their festival of love and felt myself sorry among them to think of my childlessness. 17 Finding you accomplished in all qualifications, I have come here with my intent of begetting a son by you. 18 Please sage, do procreate a son in me or else I will burn my body to get rid of my sorrow of childlessness.”

19 Hearing the woodland lady speaking in this manner, the hermit smiled at her, gave her a flower with his own hand, and spoke kindly to her. 20 “Leave, O lady! Commit yourself to the worship of Shiva for a whole month and then, like a tender vine, you shall give birth to a boy as beautiful as a bud by this time of the year. 21 But that son, who you desired of me at the sacrifice of your life, will give himself over to austerities like mine and will become a seer like myself.”

22 So saying the sage dismissed the suppliant lady now gladdened in her face, and she promised to perform the necessary for her blessing’s sake. 23 Then the lotus-eyed lady left and went to her home. The hermit passed his months, seasons and years in his holy meditation.

24 After a long time the lotus-eyed lady returned to the sage with her boy, now grown up to the twelfth year of his age. 25 She made her obeisance and sat before him with her boy of the moon-bright face. She uttered her words, sweet as the murmur of a humble bee to a stately amra tree. 26 “This, sage, is the would be son (Bhavya) of both of us, whom I have trained in all the branches of learning. 27 He is only untaught in the best knowledge, that which releases the soul from its return to this world of troubles. 28 My lord, please instruct him in that knowledge, for who is there that should like to keep his own son in ignorance?”

29 Being so asked by her, Dasura spoke to the tender mother and asked her to leave the child and leave. 30 She being gone, the boy remained submissive to his father and dwelt by his side as his student, like Aruna waiting upon the Sun. 31 Accustomed in austerity, the boy continued to receive his best knowledge from his father’s various lectures. He passed a long time with his father in that place as the sage’s son.

32 The boy was taught with various narratives and tales, with many examples and visible illustrations, and also with historical accounts and the evidence of the Vedas and the Vedanta. 33 The boy remained attendant on his father’s lessons without feeling any anxiety. He formed his right notions of things by means of their instruction. 34 Thus the magnanimous father instilled true knowledge into the mind of his son through the fourfold process of right reasoning and correct diction, rather than the elegance of expression, as the cloud by its hoarse sounds indicates approaching rain to the peacock.