Chapter 66 — The Mendicant’s Wanderings; Multiple Births with Similar Forms and Personalities

Valmiki related:—

After the sages Vasishta and Vishwamitra had taken their seats in the court hall, groups of celestials and aerial spiritual masters entered, together with the monarch of earth and the chiefs of men. Then Rama and Lakshman came into the court with their companions. They shone like a clear lake of lotus beds unshaken by the gentle breeze, glistening by the bright light of moonbeams.

The chief of sages opened his mouth without anyone asking him. He did not wait for anyone to ask because wise men are always kind hearted, ready to communicate their knowledge to others of their own accord.

Vasishta said:—

O Rama who is the moon in the sphere of Raghu’s family, last night after a long time I came to see the mendicant with the all seeing eye of my intellectual vision. 5 I thought in my mind and wandered wide and afar to find out where that man was. I traversed all continents and islands, passing over all hills and mountains on earth. I had my head running upon the search, but could not find anywhere a mendicant of that description. Because it is impossible to find in the outer world the fictions of our air-built castles.

Then at the last watch of the night, I ran in my mind and passed over the regions on the north like fleet winds fly over ocean waves. There I saw the extensive and populous country of Jina, lying beyond the utmost boundaries of Valmika, where there is a beautiful city called Vihara by its inhabitants. There a mendicant named Dirghadrusa (foresighted) lived whose hair was silver with age and who continues meditation confined in his lovely cottage. 10 He is used to sitting in meditation for three weeks at a time, keeping the door of his cell locked for fear of being disturbed by outsiders’ intrusion. 11 In this way, even his dependents are kept outside while he is absorbed in meditation. 12 He passed his three weeks sitting in deep, secluded meditation, which in his mind was a thousand years.

13 In olden times, there had been a mendicant of his kind, as I have already related to you. This is the second living instance of that sort. We know not where and when a third or another like this may be found to exist.

14 I was long in quest, like a bee in search of flowers, to find such another in the womb of this lotus-like earth, with all possible inquiry on my part. 15 I passed beyond the limit of the present world and pierced through the mist of future creations. There I met with what I sought, the resemblance of the present mendicant. 16 As I looked into the world lying in the womb of the future, deposited in the mental world of Brahma, I met with a third one resembling Brahma in his conduct.

17 Passing through many worlds, one after another, I saw many things in various futures which are not in the present world. 18 There I saw sages who are now sitting in this assembly, and many more brahmins who are of the nature of these who are present here, but also different from them. 19 There will be this Narada with his present course of life, but also differing from this Narada. Likewise there will be many others with their various modes of life. 20 This Vyasa and this Suka, and these Saunaka, Pulaha and Krutu, will reappear in future creations with the same natures and characters. 21 The same Agastya, Pulastya, Bhrigu and Angirasa, all of them and all others, will again come into existence with their very same forms and character traits. 22 They will be born and reborn sooner or later so long as they are subject to this delusion of regeneration and resuscitation. They will retain their similar births and modes of life, like all others to be reborn in this or in the future world.

23 The souls of men revolve repeatedly in the world, like waves rolling forever in the waters of the sea. Some souls retain their same forms, while others very nearly so in their reappearance. 24 Some are slightly altered in their figures, and others are entirely different in their forms, never regaining their original likeness. So does this prevailing error of regeneration delude even the wise to repeated births.

25 So what is the meaning of the mendicant’s long meditation of twenty days and nights when a moment’s thought and the results of bodily actions produce endless births and transformations? 26 And where is the reality of these forms that are mere conceptions of the mind? These ideas and reflections, growing ripe with repetition, appear as full blown flowers to sight. They resemble the water lily in the morning, beset by the busy murmur of humming bees. 27 Gross form is produced from pure thought, just as a large burning fire is lit by a minute spark or a sunbeam. Such is the formation of the whole fabric of the world.

28 All things are manifest as particles of divine reflection, and each particle exhibits a variety of parts. These neither exist nor are nothing at all, but they all exist in the universal, which is the cause of all causes and the source of all sources.