Chapter 61 — King Parigha’s Tapas; His Meeting with King Suraghu

Vasishta said:—

O lotus-eyed Raghava, you also act in the manner as Suraghu and rely on the sole existence of the Supreme One to cleanse your iniquities and to get rid of all sorrow in this world.

The mind will no longer pant or sorrow when it has this universal sight in itself, just as a child is no longer afraid of dark when it gets the light of a lamp in the room. The discriminating mind of Suraghu found its rest in perfect tranquility, just as a fool finds his security by laying hold of a big bundle of straw. Having this holy sight in your view and by your preaching this light to others, continue to enjoy this uniform detachment of samadhi in yourself and shine forth as a bright-gem before the world.

Rama said, “Tell me, O chief of sages, what is this uniform detachment? Set my mind to rest, which is now fluttering like peacock plumes ruffled by winds.”

Vasishta replied:—

O Rama, listen to the marvelous story of enlightened and sagely King Parigha, and how he conducted himself by subsisting on tree leaves. I will also tell you about the conversation between two princes, both of whom were equally enlightened in their souls and situated in the same sort of uniform quietism.

There was a mighty king of the Persians known by the name of Parigha. He was a victor over his enemies and the support of his kingdom, just as the axle is the support of a carriage. He was joined in true friendship with Suraghu and was as closely allied to him as the god of love is to spring.

10 It happened at one time that a great drought occurred in the land of Parigha. It caused a great famine that resembled the final desolation of the earth brought on by the sins of men. 11 It destroyed a great number of Parigha’s people who were exhausted by hunger and weakness like a fire destroys unnumbered living animals of the forest. 12 Seeing this great disaster of his people, Parigha was overwhelmed in grief. He left his capital in despair like a traveler leaving a city burned down to the ground.

13 He was so sorely soul-sick at his inability to remove this unavoidable calamity of his subjects that he went to a forest to devote himself to penance like Jiva, the chief of the devout. 14 He entered a deep wood unseen and unknown to his people, far away from mankind. There he passed his time in his disgust with the world. 15 He employed himself in austere penance in a mountain cave and remained sober-minded, living upon dry and withered tree leaves. 16 By subsisting on dry leaves for a long time, as fire devours them always, he earned the surname of Parnada (Leaf-Eater) among the devotees of that place. 17 From then on, the good and royal sage was known as Parnada to holy sages in all parts of Asia.

18 Having undergone the most rigid austerities for many years, he attained divine knowledge by his long practice of self-purification and by grace of the Supreme Soul. 19 He obtained his self-liberation by avoiding hatred and the passions and affections of anger, pity and other feelings and desires, and by his attainment of mental calmness and an enlightened understanding.

20 He wandered at his pleasure all around the temple of the triple world. He mixed with the company of spiritual masters and disciples like bees mixing with the company of swans in lotus beds. 21 At one time, his wanderings led him to visit the city of Hemajata, built with shining stones and shining as brightly as a peak of Mount Meru. 22 There he met his old friend, Suraghu, the king of that city. They saluted each other with mutual fondness. They were both delivered from the darkness of ignorance and perfect in their knowledge of the knowable. 23 They approached each other saying, “O! It is by virtue of our good fortune that we come to meet one another.” 24 They embraced each other with joyful faces and sat on the one and same seat, as when the sun and moon are in conjunction.

25 Parigha (Parnada) said:—

My heart rejoices to see you with full satisfaction, and my mind receives a coolness as if it immersed in the cooling orb of the moon. 26 Sincere friendship, like true love, shoots forth in a hundred branches in our separation from each other, just as a tree growing by the side of a pool stretches its boughs all around until the currents wash it and its roots away. 27 O my good friend, the memories of our private talks, merry sports and idle plays of our early days awaken those innocent joys in me.

28 I know well, O sinless friend, that the divine knowledge which I have gained by my long and painful tapas and by the grace of God is already known to you from the preaching of the wise sage Mandavya. 29 But let me ask, are you placed beyond the reach of sorrow and set in your rest and tranquility? Are you situated in the supreme cause of all as firmly as if you were seated upon the unshaken rock of Meru? 30 Do you ever feel that auspicious self-gratifying grace in your soul which purifies the fountain of your mind, like the autumn sky clears the springs of water on earth?

31 Do you, O ruler of your people, perform all your acts with a complacent air and steady mind discharging your duties for the good of mankind? 32 Do the people in your kingdom live in safety to enjoy their prosperity and competence. Are they all free from disease, danger and anxieties of life? 33 Is this land plentiful in its harvests and are the trees here bending down with their fruits? Do the people here enjoy the fruit of their labor and the objects of their desire?

34 Is your good fame spread about in all quarters, like the clear and cooling beams of the full moon? Does your fame cover the face of this land like a sheet of snowfall on the ground? 35 Are all quarters of the sky filled with the renown of your virtues as to leave no gap in it, and as the roots and stalks of lotus bushes spread throughout a reservoir and choke the course of its waters? 36 Do the young minds and virgins of your villages walk about pleasantly over plains and fields loudly singing your praises in their merry songs?

37 Does all welfare attend you with respect to prosperity, wealth and possessions and the produce of your fields? Do your family, children and dependents fare well in this city? 38 Do you enjoy your health free from all disease and complaint? Do you reap the reward of your meritorious acts done for this life and the next? 39 Are you indifferent in your mind with regard to temporary enjoyments, which appear pleasant for a moment but prove to be our deadly enemies at last?

40 It is after a very long separation that we come to meet again. It is my good fortune that rejoins me to you, as spring revisits valleys with verdure. 41 There are no joys or sorrows in this world which do not happen to the living in their union with and separation from one another. 42 During our long separation we have become quite altered in our circumstances, yet we happened to meet each other in the same unchanged state of our minds by a wonderful accident of destiny.

43 Suraghu replied:—

Yes, sage, the course of destiny is as crooked as that of a serpent. There is no man who can penetrate the depth of the mysterious nature of destiny. 44 There is nothing impossible for destiny, which has after the lapse of so long a time reunited us in one place from the vast distance between our two countries.

45 O great sage, we are all in good health and prosperity in this place. We have been supremely blessed by your graciousness to us. 46 Behold us purified and cleansed of our sins by your holy presence among us. The tree of our merits has borne the fruit of our peace and satisfaction at your sight. 47 O royal sage, we enjoy all prosperity in this our native city. Your presence here this day has made it shoot forth in a hundred branches of joy and happiness. 48 O noble minded sage, your appearance and speech have sprinkled this place with sweet nectar drops, joy and holiness. The company of the virtuous is reckoned to equal the supreme joy of man.