Chapter 27 — Conclusion of the Story of Bhushunda

Bhushunda added, “O sage, I have described what I am and how I am situated at this place. Only because you commanded was I lead to the arrogance of speaking so much to one of superior intelligence.”

Vasishta replied, “O sage, it is a wonderful account that you have given of yourself. O excellent! It is a jewel to my ears and fills me with admiration. Blessed are those great souls who have the good fortune to behold your most venerable person, which in respect of antiquity is next to none except the great grandfather of the gods, the lotus born Brahma himself. Blessed are my eyes that are blessed this day with the sight of your holy person, and thrice blessed are my ears filled with the full recital of your sacred knowledge and all purifying wisdom.”

5 “In my wanderings all about the world, I have witnessed the dignity and grandeur of the great knowledge of gods and learned men, but never have I come to see anywhere so holy a seer as yourself. It may be possible by long travel and search to meet with a great soul somewhere or another, but it is hard to find a holy soul like yourself anywhere. We rarely come to find the grain of a precious pearl in the hollow of a lonely bamboo tree, but it is rarer still to come across a holy person like you in any part of this world.”

“I have truly achieved an act of great piety and sanctity having paid a visit to your holy shrine and seen your sacred person and liberated soul this very day. Now please enter your cell and go well in this place. It is now the time of midday devotion and the duties of my noontide service call my presence to my heavenly seat.”

Vasishta speaking:—

10 Hearing this, Bhushunda rose from his seat in the tree and held out a golden twig from the tree with his two fictitious hands. 11 The full knowing crow made a vessel with his beak and hands, filled it with the snow-white leaves, flowers and pistils of the kalpa plant, and put a brilliant pearl in it to be offered as symbol of respect (arghya) worthy of a divine sage. 12 Then the long-born, ancient bird took the arghya with some water and flowers and sprinkled and scattered them over me from head to foot with great veneration as when they adore the three-eyed god Shiva.

13 Then I said, “It is enough. You need not take the pains to walk after me.” So saying I rose from my seat like a bird stretching its wings to fly in the air. 14 Yet the bird followed me a few miles in the air, until I hindered his proceeding farther by compelling him to return after shaking our hands. 15 The chief of birds looked up for some time as I soared upward in my ethereal journey, then he returned with reluctance because it is difficult to part company from the good. 16 Then both of us lost sight of one another like the sight of the waves is lost after they sink down in the sea.

Full with the thoughts of the bird and his sayings, I proceeded upward to meet the munis there. At last I arrived at the sphere of the seven stars of the Pleiades (the saptarshi, the seven rishis) where I was honorably received by my wife Arundhati.

17 It was two hundred years into the prior golden age (satya yuga) when I had been at Bhushunda’s and sat with him upon the tree on the summit of Sumeru. 18 Now, O Rama, that golden age has gone by and we are in the middle of the silver age (treta yuga) when you are born to subdue your enemies. 19 Only eight years ago I met with him again on the same mountain, and found him as sound and the same as I had seen him long before.

20 Now I have told you the whole of the exemplary character of Bhushunda. As you have heard it with patience, so should you consider it with diligence and act according to his sayings.

21 Valmiki says:—

The man of pure heart who well considers the story of virtuous Bhushunda will undoubtedly pass over the unstable gulf of this world full of formidable dangers on all sides.