Chapter 19 — Bhushunda’s Birth with Twenty Brothers, Blessings of Brahmi, His Father’s Advice to Live in the Kalpa Tree on Mount Meru

Bhushunda continued:—

While the goddesses were making merry, their attractive vehicles, their carrier birds, also caught the infection and indulged themselves in giddy jigs and giggles, drinking the red blood of their victims for liquor. Giddy from their drink, the chattering swans that were fit vehicles for Brahma’s consorts danced and frolicked in the air in company with the crow Chanda, the vehicle of Alambusha. Then as the swans darted down, dancing and drinking and chattering on the banks of streams, they felt impassioned and inflamed by lust, because the borders of waters excite desire. The swans excited by their carnal desires dallied with that crow in their state of giddiness, which is often the cause of unnatural desires. 5 Thus that single crow, Chanda by name, mated with seven swans at once on that bank, one by one with everyone of them according to their desire. The swans became pregnant after gratification of their lust, and the goddesses being satisfied by their merry dance became quiet and took rest.

Then these goddesses of great delusion went to their consort Shiva and presented his favorite Uma to him for his food. The god bearing the crescent moon on his forehead and holding the trident in his hand, came to know that they had offered his beloved for his meat. He became highly enraged at the Mother Goddesses. Then these Matrikas brought out parts of Uma’s body which they had swallowed in their bodies as their food and presented her entire for her remarriage with the moon-headed deity. 10 At last the god Hara and his consorts, being all reconciled to one another together with their dependents and vehicles, retired to their respective quarters with gladness of their minds.

11 Brahma’s swans, perceiving their pregnancy, returned to the presence of their goddess (Brahmi, the spouse of Brahma) and described what had happened, as I have, O chief of sages, already described to you. 12 On hearing their words, the goddess spoke kindly and said, “You my servants, cannot now be capable of bearing my car in the air as before. You must be allowed to move about at your pleasure until you have delivered of your burdens.” 13 After the kind goddess said these words to her swans who were ailing under the load of their unborn, she returned to her customary meditation and remained in her irreversible rest with the gladness of her mind.

14 The swans, big with the burden of their unborn, grazed in the lotus bed of Vishnu’s navel which had been the birth place of the great Brahma. 15 The swans matured in their pregnancy by feeding upon the lotus-like navel of Vishnu. They brought forth their tender eggs in time, as calm vines shoot out sprouts in the spring. 16 They laid twenty-one eggs in their proper time, which afterwards cracked apart like so many cosmic eggs in the lake located in Vishnu’s navel.

17 It was these eggs, O great sage, that gave birth to twenty-one brothers, all of whom are known under the name of the fraternity of Chanda crows. 18 Born in the lotus bed of Vishnu’s navel, we were fostered and brought up in that place until we were fledged and able to fly and flutter in the air. 19 Then we joined our mother swans in the service of our Matrika goddess, who after our long services unto her, was roused from her intense meditation at last.

20 Now sage, it was in course of time that goddess Brahmi, inclined of her own wish to please, received us into her good graces and favored us with the gift (of foresight), whereby we are quite liberated in this life. 21 We thought of remaining in peace and in the tranquility of our minds. Being determined to take ourselves to solitary contemplation, we went to our father, the old crow Chanda, for his advice. 22 We were received by our father’s embraces and favored with the presence of his goddess Alumbusha. They looked on us with kindness and allowed us to remain near them with our self-restricted conduct.

23 Chanda said, “O my darlings! Have you obtained your release from weaving the web of your desires? You are then set free from the snare of this world which binds fast all beings in it. 24 If not so, then I will pray to my goddess, who is always generous to her devotees, to confer on you the blessing of complete knowledge.”

25 The crows replied, “O sir, we have known whatever is knowable by the good grace of the goddess Brahmi. Now we seek only a good solitary place for the sake of undisturbed meditation.”

26 Chanda returned. “I will point it out to you. It is in the high mountain of Meru in the polar region, which is the seat of all the celestials and the great receptacle of all the treasures and gems on earth. 27 This mountain stands like a lofty pillar of gold in the middle of the great dome of the universe. It is lit by the luminous orbs of the sun and moon as its two lamps, and it is the home of all kinds of animals. 28 This lofty mountain stands like the lifted arm of this orb of the earth, its shining peaks and heights resembling its fingers and their jewels and having moonbeams as a golden canopy raised over its head and the main islands for its bracelets.”

29 “Mount Meru is situated as the sole monarch in the middle of Asia. It is surrounded on all sides by boundary mountains as its chieftains. With its two eyeballs, the rolling sun and moon, it glances over the surrounding hillocks like a king seated in the center looking upon his courtiers sitting around him. 30 Clusters of stars in the sky hang like wreaths of malati flowers around his neck. The bright moon that leads the retinue of stars forms the crowning jewel over its head. The sky on ten sides girds it as its vest, and the naagas of both kinds are the guards at its gates. 31 The apsaras of heaven are employed fanning it with breezes from all quarters, flapping their fly-whisk fans of passing clouds, their hands decorated with the many colors of heaven as their ornaments. 32 Its huge body is stretched over a huge distance, and its feet are rooted fast many fathoms underneath the earth where they worshipped by naagas, asuras and large serpents.”

33 “It has thousands of ridges and steeps, crags and cliffs below its two eyes of sun and moon. These are praised as celestial regions by the gods, gandharvas and kinnaras who inhabit them. 34 There are fourteen kinds of superior beings inhabiting the supernatural world of this mountain. These dwell there with their households and relatives in their respective circles without ever seeing the others’ cities.”

35 “On the northeast corner of this mountain there is a large ridge with its shining summit rising as high and bright as the shining sun. 36 There stands a large wish-fulfilling kalpa tree on the outside of that ridge. This tree is peopled with living beings of various kinds and presents a picture of a whole world in miniature. 37 The southern stem of this tree has a protruding branch with golden leaves. Its blossoms bloom like clusters of brilliant gems. Its fruit are bright and luscious to view, like the bright and cooling orb of the moon.”

38 “Formerly I had built my nest on that branch and decorated it with all sorts of shining gems. There it was, O my children, that I played and enjoyed myself while my goddess sat in meditation. 39 My nest was hidden under shining flowers and stored with luscious fruits. Its door was fastened with bolts of precious gems. 40 It was full of young crows who knew how to behave properly with one another. Its inside was scattered with flowers and was cooling at all times and seasons. 41 Therefore, my children, go to that nest which is inaccessible even to the gods. By remaining there, you will obtain both your livelihood and liberation without any molestation.”

42 Saying so, our father kissed and embraced everyone of us and presented us with meat food he had received from his goddess. 43 After taking our meal, we prostrated ourselves at the feet of our father and his goddess, then flew in the air from the Vindhyan range which is sacred to the goddess Alumbusha. 44 We passed over the nether sky, entered the region of the clouds, then coming out of their hollow caves, we flew on the wings of winds to the empty void of the ethereal gods to whom we paid our homage. 45 Having passed the solar world, we arrived at another sphere of the fixed stars above where we saw the heaven of the immortals. From there we reached the highest heaven of Brahma. 46 There we bowed down to the goddess Brahmi and our mother (the swan) which was her vehicle, and described in detail what our father had told us to do. 47 They endeared and embraced us with kind affection, then bade us to do as we were bid by our father. At this we bowed down to them, then departed from the seat of Brahma.

48 We directed our flight to Meru where we found this kalpa tree and our appointed nest. Here, apart and remote from all, we hold our silence in all matters. 49 We passed the region of the rulers of the skies which shone to a great distance with the blaze of solar rays. We fled through empty air with the speed of winds.

50 I have told you in length in answer to your question regarding the manner of our birth and how we are settled in this place. I have also told you how we came to the knowledge of truth, whereby we have come to this state of undisturbed peace and tranquility. Now bid us, O great sage, what more can I say to satisfy your curiosity about me?