Chapter 28 — Bali’s Meditation, Shukra’s Advice to the Demons

Vasishta continued:—

Bali’s attendant servant demons ascended hastily to his high crystal palace and stood at the door of his chamber. There were his ministers Dimbha and others among them, and his generals Kumuda and others also. There were likewise the princes Sura and others in the number, and his champions Vritta and the rest. There were Hayagriva and the other captains of his armies, with his friends Akraja and others. His associates Laduka and some more joined the retinue, with his servants Valluka and many more. There were also the gods Kubera, Yama and Indra who paid him their tribute, and the yakshas, vidyadharas and naagas who rendered him their services. There were the heavenly nymphs Rambha and Tilottama in the number, with the fanning and flapping women of his court. The deputies of different provinces and of hilly and maritime districts were also in attendance. These, accompanied by the spiritual masters inhabiting different parts of the three worlds, all waited at that place to render their services to Bali.

They look at Bali reverently, their heads bending down with the crowns upon them, their arms hanging loosely with bracelets upon them. The great asuras made their obeisance to him in due form, and were stupefied with sorrow and fear, struck with alternating wonder and joy at his sad condition. The ministers kept pondering about what was the matter with him, and the demons sought their all knowing teacher Shukra to explaining the situation.

10 Quick as thought, they saw the shining figure of Shukra standing before them, as if they saw the phantom of their imagination appearing tangibly to view. 11 Shukra, being honored by the demons, took his seat on a sofa. In his silent meditation he saw the state of the mind of the king of demons. 12 He remained for a while to behold with delight how the mind of Bali was freed from errors by the exercise of its reasoning powers. 13 The illustrious teacher, whose personal brightness put to shame the brightness of the Milky Ocean, then said smiling to the listening throng of the demons.

14 “Know you demons, this Bali has become an adept in his spiritual knowledge. He has fixed his seat in holy light by the working of his intellect. 15 Leave him alone, you good demons. Let him remain in his reverie in this position, resting in himself and beholding the imperishable one within himself. 16 Lo! here the weary pilgrim has got his rest. His mind is freed from the errors of this false world. Do not disturb him with your talking, who is now as cold as ice. 17 He has received that light of knowledge amidst the gloom of ignorance, like a waking man beholds the full blaze of the sun when he awakes at dawn after the darkness is dispersed.”

18 “In time he will wake from his samadhi and rise like the germ of a seed sprouting from the seed vessel in its proper season. 19 You leaders of demons, go from here and perform the duties that your master has assigned to you, for it will take a thousand years for Bali to wake from his samadhi.”

20 After Shukra, the guru and guide of the demons, had spoken in this manner, they were filled with alternate joy and grief in their hearts, and cast aside their anxiety about him, as a tree casts its withered leaves away. 21 The asuras then left their King Bali resting in his palace and returned to their respective offices, as they had been employed heretofore.

22 It now became night and all men retired to their earthly abodes, the serpents entered into their holes, the stars appeared in the skies, and the gods reposed in their celestial domes. The rulers of all sides and mountainous tracts went to their own quarters, and the beasts of the forest and birds of the air fled and flew to their own dens and nests.