Chapter 55 — Vasishta and Dasura Meet; Further Description of the Kadamba Forest

Vasishta said:—

Hear me, Rama, who is the delight of Raghu’s race and shines like the moon in the firmament of Raghu’s family. After I heard the conversation between Dasura and his son, I descended from the sky to the top of the kadamba tree, which was decorated with its green leaves and beautiful fruits and flowers. Then with my spiritual body, I sat myself slowly and silently on top of the tree, as a light cloud descends on the summit of a mountain.

I saw Dasura there, sitting like a giant by subduing the organs of his body and shining with the luster of his penance, like fire blazing with its flame. The light issuing from his body reflected purple gold on his seat and lit that spot like sunbeams emblazon the world. Seeing me present myself before him, Dasura spread a leafy seat for me to sit down and then honored me according to the rules of ceremonial law. Then I joined with the luminous Dasura to continue his discourse, which was meant for the edification of his son and salvation of mankind from the miseries of life.

With Dasura’s permission, I looked into the hollow of the tree and saw herds of stags grazing fearlessly about it. It was as delightful as a dwelling overhung with vines where smiling flowers shed their light and breathed their fragrance to the winds. Fantail deer flapped their long, hairy and moon-bright tails against the herb-like tree, like flimsy white clouds sweep over the sky. 10 The tree was adorned with fringes of pearly dewdrops and arrayed all over with the flowery garb of its blossoms. 11 Smeared with the dust of its flowers, it appeared to be anointed with sandal paste, while its reddish bark cloaked it in roseate red. 12 Decorated with flowers, the tree seemed to be standing in its bridal attire. It resembled a bridegroom embracing his twining brides.

13 The dwellings of shrubberies all around resembled the leafy huts of hermits which, covered with their blossoms, looked like a city flying flags in festivity. 14 Shaken by the stags in the act of rubbing their bodies, the trees darted their flowers abundantly upon the ground. Outlying lands were as shattered as if they were broken by the horns of fighting bulls. 15 Peacocks daubed with flower dust flying on the top of a nearby hill looked evening clouds gliding over it.

16 Here a goddess seemed to be playing on the lawns, red flowers in her hands and smiling sweetly with blooming blossoms. She reveled with the nectarine honey of flowers and shed her beauty on all sides. 17 The closing buds, resembling her eyelids, were lulled to sleep by the forest breeze breathing constantly with the fragrance of the flowers. Clusters of flowers forming her breasts were hidden under the bodice of leaves. 18 She sat at the window of her alcove, formed by twining creepers and vines, dressed in the purple garb of the flying powdery dust of flowers. 19 She swung in her swinging cradle of bluish blossoms adorned with various floral ornaments from head to foot. 20 She moved about the flowers in the garb of a woodland goddess, looking on all sides with her azure eyes of fluttering blue-bees, and singing to them with the sweet notes of the black kokila nightingales in the trees.

21 The bees, tired with their labor of love, refreshed themselves by sipping the dewdrops trickling on the tops of flowers. Then taking their repast on the starch-like meal, they slept together with their mates in the cells of flower cups. 22 The bee couples living in the flower cells, giddy from sipping the honey of the flower cups, were humming their love tunes to each other.

23 For a moment the sage remained attentive to the murmur proceeding from the village beyond the forest. Now he listened with pricked up ears to the busy buzz of blue bees and flies at a distance. 24 Then the sages looked down and saw moonbeams spread like a sheet of fine linen over the blades of grass on the ground below. 25 They saw beautiful antelopes sleeping in their leafy beds on the ground below the stretching branches of shady trees, as if they were the progeny of their native forest. 26 They saw fearless birds chirping on the branches and others sleeping confidently in their nests. They saw the ground covered with living creatures feasting on the ripe fruits that had fallen. 27 They saw long lines of black bees lying mute on the ground like strings of beads, blackening it with their dark bodies. 28 The forest was smelling with fragrance and the sky was covered by a cloud of flowers. The dust of kadamba blossoms colored the ground with a perfumed grey, and kadamba fruit covered the face of the land.

29 What more need be said other than there was no part of the tree which was not useful to living beings. 30 Here deer were sleeping on fallen leaves and there others were resting on the bare ground. Birds sat on the banks and beaches of the streams all about that lofty tree.

31 As they were looking at the beauties of the forest in this manner, the night passed away as quickly as a night of festivity. 32 The son of the hermit kept talking with me on many subjects and derived many useful instructions from my teaching. 33 As we conversed with each other on different subjects, the night passed away as quickly as that of a conjugal pair. 34 Now it began to dawn and blushing flowers began to open their petals while the host of stars on high disappeared from their arena of the sky.

35 I then took my leave and was followed by the hermit and his son for some distance from their kadamba tree, where I left them for my aerial course to the heavenly stream. 36 There, having performed my holy ablution, I came down under the roof of heaven and then entered the celestial region of the sages, which is situated in the midway sky.

37 Now I have related to you, Rama, this story of Dasura that you may learn from his example the unreality of the apparent world which is only a shadow of the ideal one. 38 It was for this reason that I told you what Dasura had said by way of explanation of the phenomenal world as a shadow of the ideal world. 39 Therefore, know the Spirit like Dasura, and imitate his example in the magnanimity of your soul. Forsake the unreal and pursue reality for your permanent delight.

40 Rub out the dirt of desire from your mind and see the image of truth in it as in a mirror. Thus you will attain the highest state of knowledge and be honored in all worlds as a perfect being.