Chapter 48 — Gadhi Verifies His Dream Again; Vishnu Explains the Wonderful Power of Illusion

Vasishta continued:—

Gadhi was bewildered with all that he heard and saw about the tribal and his home. He felt uneasy and wanted to learn more. He went back to the village and saw the huts that lay scattered upon the plain, as when the lotus-born Brahma looks over the ruins made by the great deluge at the end of a kalpa age.

He thought to himself, “Those bones lying scattered about the ruined huts in this forest look like little pisacha ghosts gathered round the trees standing on a burial ground. These posts and pegs of elephant’s tusks fastened on the walls of ruined houses look like the crags of Mount Meru drowned under the waters of the kalpa deluge. Here the tribal feasted on monkey flesh dressed with young bamboo sprouts. There he caroused with his country grog in company with his drunken friends. Here he slept on his bed of lion’s skin in the embrace of his murky spouse, drunk with liquor mixed with ichor fluid from elephant noses. There a pack of hounds used to be tied to the trunk of the withered bharaeda tree, fed with the rotten flesh of putrid carcasses. Here I see three earthen vessels covered with buffalo hide resembling fragments of dark clouds and which had once contained precious pearls falling from the sculls of slain elephants.”

“I see the place I saw in my dream where tribal children played in the dust with as much glee and gaiety as cuckoos flitting on the tufts of mango leaves. 10 I see the place I saw in my vision where children sang to the tune of their bamboo pipes, drank the milk of bitches, and decorated themselves with flowers from funeral grounds. 11 Here the families of wedding parties met to celebrate their marriage festivity, dancing and singing as loudly as the noise of the dashing waves of the sea. 12 There I find bamboo cages, still suspended high, which used to be laid to catch flying birds for food.

13 Vasishta resumed:—

Thus Gadhi remained for a long time in that place, seeing all what he remembered to have seen in his dream. He was lost in wonder to think on the miraculous disclosure of these things in his dream. 14 Then he left and for a long time travelled through many countries beyond the boundaries of Bhuta district. 15 He passed over many rivers and rocks and through many deserts and forests until he reached the snowy mountain and the lands of humankind beyond its borders. 16 He arrived at Kira, the city of a great monarch, its towers rising like hills upon the earth. There he stopped after his long journey, like when sage Narada rests in his heavenly dome after the fatigue of travelling through numerous worlds. 17 In that city he saw all the places that matched the romantic thoughts in his mind, the ones he had seen and enjoyed in his dream.

He respectfully asked some residents, 18 “Good sirs, do you remember anything about the tribal king who reigned here for sometime? If you do, please tell me in its proper order.”

19 The locals replied, “Yes, O brahmin. There reigned here a tribal king for full eight years. He was elected to its government by kingdom’s auspicious elephant. 20 In the end, he was discovered to be of so vile a race that he committed self-immolation on a funeral pyre. It has been a dozen years since that dire event took place.” 21 In this way the inquisitive Gadhi continued asking questions of every man he met, and was satisfied to learn the same information from the mouths of everybody there.

22 Then he saw the king of that city in procession with his body guards and vehicles on their way going out of the city. Gadhi recognized them as none other than the god Vishnu and his attendants, just as he had seen in his tapas. 23 He saw the sky shadowed by the cloud of dust raised by the feet of the passing procession, then he remembered with sadness the similar state of his pomp under his own past reign.

24 He thought to himself, “Here are the same Kira ladies with their rosy skins resembling lotus petals, and those with their bodies blazing as liquid gold, their blue eyes trembling like blue lotuses. 25 The waving of fans flash with the light of bright moonbeams and resembles the falling waters of a cascade and clusters of kasa flowers. 26 Beautiful maidens waving snow-white fans in their beautiful hands resemble forest plants with pearly flowers on their branches. 27 Rows of furious elephants standing on both sides of the field are like thick lines of kalpa trees growing on ridges of Sumeru Mountain.”

28 “These chieftains resemble the gods Yama, Kubera and Varuna, the lord of waters. They are like the rulers of the different quarters of the sky accompanying Indra, the lord of heaven. 29 These long lines of good buildings, each full with a great variety of things and abounding in all sorts of comforts, resemble a grove of wish-fulfilling kalpa trees conferring all the objects of desire. 30 In this royal city of Kira, and in the manners of its assembled people, I see exactly the same customs and usages as those of the kingdom of Kirapura in my past life.”

31 “Truly this is only a vision in my dream which appears as a reality in my waking state. I cannot understand why this delusive magic show is spread out before me. 32 O yes, I am as fast bound by my ignorance and captivated by my memories like a captive bird in a net that has lost all power over itself. 33 O fie. My silly mind is so deluded by its desires that it is always mistakes shadow for substance, or people dwelling in their castles in the air.”

34 “This is extraordinary magic. I believe Vishnu, the holder of the discus, is showing me this. I remember I asked him for the favor of showing delusion (maya) to me. 35 Now I will undertake austere tapas in the cavern of a hill in order to learn the origin and existence of delusion.”

36 Having long thought in this manner, Gadhi left the city and came to a cave in a mountain where he rested after all his travels and mental exertions, like a lion tired with his roaming for food. 37 He remained there for a whole year, living only on water from waterfalls collected in the hollow of his palm. He devoted himself to the worship of Vishnu, the holder of the bow named Saringi.

38 Then the lotus-eyed god appeared to him in his pale blue form, which was clear and graceful to sight as a clear lake in autumn with blue lotuses in full bloom. 39 With this form, the god approached the hermit’s cell in the mountain and stood over it like a transparent, watery cloud rests on humid atmosphere. 40 The lord spoke to him saying, “Gadhi, you have fully seen the great spell of my magic and know the network of delusion which destiny spreads over all the affairs of this world. 41 Now you well understand the nature of delusion, which in your heart you did desire to know. What is it again that you want to know through these austerities in this mountain cave?”

42 Vasishta said:—

Gadhi the best of brahmins, seeing Vishnu addressing him in this manner, honored him duly by scattering plentiful flowers at his divine feet. 43 After Gadhi had made his offering of flowers, with due obeisance and circumambulating the god, he addressed the god with words as sweet as the notes of a chataka cuckoo to a blooming lotus.

44 Gadhi said, “Lord! I have seen the dark delusion that you showed me in her form of gloom. Now I pray that you show her to me in her fair form, like the sun appearing after the gloom of night. 45 The mind weakened by the dirt of its desires sees a great many errors rising before it like false phantoms and visions in a dream. But my Lord, how is it that the same visions continue to be seen in the waking state? 46 When I stood in the waters I experienced a false dream that I thought lasted only a moment. How was it, O enlightener of the mind, that it became manifest to my outward sense and sight? 47 Why wasn’t the delusion of my birth and death as a tribal, which took place long ago, confined only to my memory like other idle creations of the brain? How could I have recently verified my delusions as tangible to my naked eyes by many visible signs?”

48 The Lord replied:—

Gadhi, it is the nature of delirium, like one’s desires, to present many false appearances to view and to make one believe what he has never seen before to be present to his external sight, which in reality is only a vision of his mind.

49 There is nothing like the earth, sea, hills or sky on the outside of anybody. They are all contained in the mind like the fruit, flowers and leaves of trees are born in the seed and grow from its germ. 50 Like fruit and flowers growing out of the seed and its sprout, this earth and all other things are the productions of the mind alone. They are not distinct from it in their essences. 51 Know for certain that this earth and all other things are situated in the mind and not outside of it, just as fruit, flowers and leaves are all contained inside the seed and not outside.

52 The sight of things present and the thoughts of the absent past and unseen future are all only acts of the mind, just as the making and unmaking of pots are the doings of the potter. 53 Whatever notions exist in the minds of men from their youth to old age are the same as the phantoms of their dreams or the deliriums of their intoxication or some mental disease. 54 The established desires of the mind present a thousand appearances before its sight, just as the rooted plants on earth abound with fruit and flowers of various kinds. 55 But when plants are uprooted, there remains no trace of fruit or flower or leaf upon the ground. So desires having being driven out of the mind, there is no more any trace of anything left behind, nor is there any probability of future reincarnations when the memory of the past is utterly obliterated from the soul.

56 It is no wonder for the shifting stage of the mind to present you with a single scene of the tribal. It has in store and can with equal ease show you an infinity of appearances at its pleasure. 57 The impression in your mind made you think of yourself as the tribal, in the manner that many phantoms arise before the mind in the delirium of a sick person. 58 The same frenzy made you see the arrival of your brahmin guest and entertain him with board and bed. All your conversations with him were only the fantasies of your mind.

59 Then the thoughts of leaving home and arriving at Bhuta district, your sight of the Bhutas and their villages and homes, were only aberrations of your mind. 60 Next your sight of the ruins of the former huts of Katanja and the descriptions of the tribal that you got from the mouths of the people were all the fumes of your fancy. 61 Afterwards, your visit to the city of Kira and the tale told you of the tribal’s rule by the people were the reflections of your own mind.

62 Thus all that you heard and saw was the network of your imagination. What you believe as true is as false as a fantasy in your brain. 63 The mind infatuated by its hopes and desires sees everything before it, no matter how distant it may be. One dreams of objects as present before him which would take a whole year for him to reach. 64 There was no guest or city, no Bhuta district or Kirapura that you saw in reality. It was all a daydream that you saw with your mind’s eye.

65 The truth is that at one time, on your way to the country of the Bhutas, you did stay in a mountain cave, like a stag resting in a forest after his long wandering. 66 There being tired from your travel, you fell into a sound sleep and dreamed of the Bhuta city and the tribal, all in your reverie without seeing anything in reality. 67 It was there and in the same state of mind that you saw the city of Kira. It was the delusion of your mind that showed you those things when you were performing your devotion in the water. 68 In this manner you saw many other things whenever you went anytime, just like one flying high sees everything all about him.

69 Rise therefore and remain unshaken in the discharge of your duties without being misled by the changes of your mind. Because it is practice of one’s profession that leads him to success, and not the ideals or his mind.

70 Vasishta said:—

So saying the lotus navel Vishnu, who is worshipped by saints and sages in all places, went to his abode in the sea where he was received by the hands of gods and holy sages who led him to his residence.