Chapter 85 — Chudala Appears as a Brahmin Boy to Sikhidhwaja; Narada’s Ejaculation; the Outline of Nature as Created by Brahma
1 Vasishta continued:—
In this manner, King Sikhidhwaja remained in his monastery in the forest in his state of perfect joy. The queen remained at home and did as you shall now hear from me.
2 After the king left the palace at midnight, Chudala woke up from her sleep like a frightened deer startled by fear. 3 She found the bed vacated by her husband and thought it as dreary as the sky without sun or moon. 4 She rose up with a sad face, her heart full of sorrow. Her limbs were as lank as the leaves of plants deprived of water in summer. 5 Sorrow sat heavy in her heart and drove away the charm and cheerfulness of her face. She remained like a winter day, overcast by clouds or covered by a frost.
6 For a while she sat on the bedstead sorrowfully thinking, “Ah sorrow unto me that my lord has gone from here and abandoned a kingdom for a retreat in the woods. 7 What can I do now? I ought to go to my husband, wherever he is, because it is appointed both by the law of nature and God that the husband is the only resort and support of the wife.”
8 Having thought so, Chudala rose up to follow her husband. She fled through a window shutter into the open air. 9 She roamed in her aerial course by the force of her breath on the wings of air. To the aerial spirits, the spiritual masters, she looked like a second moon moving in the skies. 10 As she was passing at nighttime, she happened to see her lord wandering about with a sword in his hand, looking like the ghost of a vetala demon wandering in the lonely forest. 11 The queen, seeing her husband in this manner from her aerial seat, began to reflect on the future state which awaited her husband and which she foresaw by the power of her yoga.
12 It is certain, O Rama, that whatever is allotted in the book of fate as befalling on anybody at anytime or place or manner, the same is sure to take place at the very moment and place and in the same way.
13 The queen, plainly seeing whatever was to take place with her husband and knowing it could not be averted by any means, refrained from going and telling him what was to happen. 14 “Let my visit to him be postponed to a future occasion when it is destined for me to be in his company again.” 15 Thinking so, Chudala turned her course away from him and returned to her inner apartment where she reclined on her milk-white pillow like the crescent moon rests on the ancient forehead of Shiva.
16 The queen told her people that the king had gone on some important occasion. Relieved with the knowledge that he would return, she took command of the government in her own hands. 17 She managed the realm like her husband according to the established rules of toleration, and with the same care and vigilance as a woman guarding her ripening cornfields. 18 In this manner they passed their days without seeing one another. The married pair lived separately from each other, one in the royal palace and other in the lonely forest. 19 Days and nights passed into weeks and fortnights, then months and seasons in regular succession. One counted his days in the woods and the other in her princely palace. 20 What is the use of a lengthy description of all eighteen years that slowly passed over the separated couple, one living in her palatial dome and the other in his woodland retreat?
21 Many more years passed in this manner until the hermit King Sikhidhwaja, in his holy retreat in a hut by the great Mandara Mountain, was overtaken by hoary old age. 22 The queen knew that the passions of the king were declining with age and grey hairs. Finding herself not yet too old to overtake him in the distant forest, 23 and believing that it was the proper time for her to prevail on him and bring him back to the palace, she thought of joining her husband where he was.
24 With these thoughts, she made up her mind to go towards Mandara Mountain. She left her home that night, mounting on the wings of air into the upper sky. 25 As she flew onward on the wings of air, she saw in the upper sky some women who were spiritual masters wearing the thin bark of the kalpa tree and covered with clusters of jewels. 26 These were the inhabitants of the garden of paradise going out to meet their spiritual master husbands, sprinkled with perfumes and shedding their dew like bright moonbeams. 27 She breathed the air perfumed by the flowers of the Nandana garden of paradise and worn by the women masters of paradise. She wallowed in the moonbeams that spread like waves of the Milky Ocean. 28 She felt a purer moonlight as she ascended into the higher atmosphere. She passed through clouds like lightening.
29 She thought to herself, “This lightning, though situated in the bosom of her cloudy spouse, is yet looking at him repeatedly with the winkling of her eyes. In the same way I must look for my absent lord as I pass like the lightning through the midway sky.”
30 “It is true,” she thought to herself, “that it is impossible to avoid one’s nature during one’s lifetime. Hence it is impossible for my disturbed mind to be calm without the sight of my loving and lion-like lord. 31 My mind wanders and runs mad when I think, “I will see my lord” and “When will I see these vines turning round and clasping their supporting tree?” 32 My mind is impatient seeing the close contact of these senseless vines and the superior female masters in quest of their consorts. 33 How and when shall I, like them, come to meet the man who is in my heart?”
34 “These gentle breezes, these cooling moonbeams, and those plants of the forest all continue to disturb my heart and set it on fire. 35 O my simple heart, why do you throb in vain and thrill within every vein within me? O my faithful mind who is as pure as the air, why do you loose your reason and right discretion? 36 It is you, O faithless mind, that excites my heart to run after its spouse. Better remain with your yearnings in yourself than torment my quiet spirit with your longings.”
37 “Or why is it, O silly woman, that you long in vain after your husband who possibly has become too old? He is now an ascetic, too weak in his body and devoid of all earthly desires. 38 I think that any desire to enjoy his royal honors and pleasures have been utterly rooted out of his mind. The plant of his fondness for sensual gratifications is now as dry as a channel that has emptied its waters into a large river. 39 I think my husband, who was fond of me as to share the same soul, has become as indifferent to soft passions like a dried and withered tree.”
40 “Or I will try the power of my yoga to waken his mind to sense and infuse the eager longings and throbbing of my heart into his? 41 I will collect and focus the thoughts of the ascetic devotee towards the government of his kingdom where we may settle forever to our hearts’ content. 42 After such a long time I have discovered the way to my object by infusing my very thoughts into the mind of my husband. 43 The union of minds between a wedded pair and the pleasure of their constant union contribute to the highest happiness of human beings on earth.”
44 Revolving in this manner, Queen Chudala continued on her aerial journey, now over mountains and clouds, then passing the boundaries of lands and visible horizons. She reached the sight of Mandara and found the glen and cavern in it. 45 She entered the grove as an aerial spirit invisible to sight. She passed like air, revealed only by the shaking of the leaves on trees. 46 She saw a leafy hut in one corner of the wood and recognized her husband by the power of her yoga, though he appeared to be transformed into another person.
47 She found that his body, previously decorated with royal clothes and jewels glittering like Mount Meru with its gold, had grown lean and thin, dark and dry as a withered, dried leaf. 48 He wore a covering of coarse material and looked as if he had been dipped in a fountain of ink. He sat alone in one spot, looking like the god Shiva wholly devoid of all desire. 49 He was sitting on the barren ground, stringing flowers to his braided hairs, when the beautiful queen approached before him.
50 She was moved to sorrow at the sight of his miserable plight, thinking, “Alas, how painful it is to see this pitiful sight! 51 O, the great stupidity that rises from ignorance of spiritual knowledge and which has brought on this miserable condition on this self-deluded king.”
52 “I must not call him unfortunate as long as he is my husband, though the deep darkness of his mind (ignorance) has brought on this miserable plight. 53 I must try my best to bring him to the knowledge of truth. No doubt that will restore him to his sense of enjoyment here and of his liberation hereafter, and change his figure to another form altogether. 54 He always treats me like his young and silly wife, but I must get closer to him to instill understanding in his mind or else my words will have no effect on him. 55 Therefore, I will assume the form of a devotee in order to admonish my husband. It is possible that if I admonish him in this manner, it will make its effect upon he who is now grown white haired with old age. 56 It is possible that good senses may dawn in a clear understanding that is not perverted from its nature.”
Thinking in this way, Queen Chudala took the shape of a brahmin boy. 57 She reflected a little on the agni-soma mantra and changed her form like water turning into a wave, then descended on the earth in the form of a brahmin’s lad. 58 She advanced toward her lord with a smiling face, and King Sikhidkwaja saw the brahmin boy advancing towards him.
59 The boy appeared to come from some other forest and stood before the ascetic king in the form of devotion itself. His body, bright as molten gold, was ornamented with a string of pearls. 60 The white sacrificial thread graced his neck and his body was covered with two pieces of milk-white vests. He held a sacred water pot on one hand, and with his pupil’s staff in the other, he made his approach to the king. 61 His wrist was entwined by a string of beads and a long, double chain of beads hung from his neck to the ground. 62 His head was covered by long and flowing jet black hair, like strings of black bees fluttering about the tops of white lotuses. His radiance shed a brightness on the spot. 63 His face, ornamented with earrings, glowed like the rising sun with his luster of rosy rays. The knotted hair on top of his head, a mandara flower fastened on it, appeared like a mountain peak with the rising moon above it.
64 The husband, sitting quietly with his tall body, his limbs and senses under his subjection, ash rubbed all over his body, appeared like a mountain of ice. 65 He saw the brahmin boy appearing before him like the full moon rising on the golden mount of Meru. He rose before him respectfully. 66 Thinking his guest was the son of some god, Sikhidkwaja stood with his bare feet before him and addressed him saying, “Obeisance to you, O you son of a god! Take this seat and sit yourself here.” 67 With his hand, Sikhidkwaja pointed to the leafy bed that spread before him and offered a handful of flowers which he poured into the boy’s hands.
68 The brahmin boy responded saying, “I greet you in return, O son of a king! You look like a dew drop or beaming moonlight sparkling on a lotus leaf.” He then received the flowers from his hand and sat upon the leafy bed.
69 Sikhidhwaja said, “Tell me, O you heaven-born boy, from where did you come and where are you going? It is a lucky day for me that has brought you to my sight. 70 Please accept this pure water, fragrant flowers, and this offering also. Receive this garland of flowers that I have strung with my hands. May all be well with you.”
71 Vasishta related:—
So saying, Sikhidhwaja offered the flowers, the garland, and other offerings to the lady who was devoted to him, as is the custom of ceremonial law.
72 Chudala (as the brahmin boy) said:—
I have travelled far and wide over many countries on the surface of this earth. I have never met with such a hearty reception and such honors as I have now received from you. 73 Your humility, courtesy and complacence reveal you to be highly favored of the gods and indicate that you will have a long life on earth.
74 Tell me, O devotee. You have abandoned all your earthly desires and practiced magnanimity and tranquility of your soul for a long time. Have you ever applied your mind to attain your final liberation and extinction? 75 You have vowed to undergo the hardship of this forest life and forsaken the care of your large kingdom. You have, my dear sage, chosen a very painful alternative for your final liberation.
76 Sikhidhwaja replied:—
Being a god yourself, I do not wonder how you know these things. You wear this form of a brahmin boy, yet the supernatural beauty of your body says that you are an all-knowing god. 77 I think that your body is designed and formed with the ambrosial beams of moonlight. Otherwise, how could your mere appearance shed such sweet peace even at first sight? 78 O handsome boy, I see in your person a great resemblance to the features of my beloved who is now ruling over my kingdom.
79 Please, now refresh your fair and fatigued body by wearing these flower garlands from head to foot, just as a white cloud is a garment covering a mountain from its top to bottom. 80 I see your face as beautiful as the stainless moon. Your limbs are as delicate as tender flower petals, and I see them now waning and fading under the bright sun. 81 Pretty youth, know that I strung these flower garlands in service for the gods. Now I offer and give them to you who is no less a god to me. 82 My life is crowned today with its best luck by this opportunity to serve a guest like you. The wise say that hospitality to guests has merit equal to service to the gods.
83 Now please, O moon-faced god, reveal to me, which god are you? From which lineage of gods comes the god who consents to dignify me with this visit? Please tell me all this and remove the questions that disturb my breast.
84 The brahmin boy replied:—
Hear me, king, relate all that you want to know of me, for who is there so uncivil as to deceive and not comply with the request of a humble suppliant?
85 In this world there lives the well known holy saint, Narada by name. He is the snowy spot of pure camphor on the face of those who are famed for the purity of their lives. 86 Once this godly saint sat in meditation in a cave of the golden mountain where the holy Ganges River flows fast with her running current and huge waves dashing against the shore. 87 The saint stepped onto a beach of the river to see how it glided on in its course like a necklace of gems torn down from the high mountain. 88 He heard the tinkling sound of trinkets and bracelets and a mixed murmur of voices. He was curious to know what it was and from where it came.
89 He lightly looked towards the sacred stream and saw a group of young ladies who equaled the celestial nymphs Rambha and Tilottama in their beauty. These damsels were playing and bathing in the clear waters of the holy river. 90 They plunged and played in the waters, hidden from the sight of men and all naked with uncovered breasts blooming like buds of golden lotuses in a lake. 91 They ran to and fro, dashing against each another like ripe fruit on trees, as if intoxicated with flavored liquor, making their observers giddy themselves. 92 Their swollen breasts formed the sanctuary of the god of love. They were washed by the pure waters of the sacred river. 93 Their fullness with delicious liquor put to blush the sweet waters of the sacred Ganges River. They were enclosed in the garden of paradise like the wheels of the car that the god Kama rides upon. 94 Their buttocks were like the pillars of a bridge in water, obstructing and dividing the free passage of the waters of the Ganges. Their upper bodies gave a luster of the world’s beauty. 95 The shadows of their bodies were clearly visible to the naked eye on the clear waters of the Ganges, like a kalpa tree in rainy season with all its branches.
96 The thick vegetation of spring gave shade from the light of day. The flying dust of flowers filled the forest air with fragrance. 97 Water fowls of various kinds were sporting on the banks, as they do by the seaside and watering places round the trees. These ladies’ budding breasts made the blooming lotus buds blush. 98 They held up their faces, beautiful as lotus buds, while their loosened hair hung like swarms of bees. The loose glances of their eyes played like fluttering black bees. 99 Their swollen breasts resembled golden lotuses used by the gods as golden cups to hide their ambrosial nectar for fear of it being seized by demons and demigods. 100 Now they were seen hiding in secret covered shelters and in mountain caves, like lotuses hidden under foliage, and then they were hastening to the cooling river beach to bathe their lovely limbs in its clear stream.
101 The saint saw the collection of young ladies looking as beautiful as the body of the full moon. His mind was ravished with their beauty. 102 He lost the balance of his reason and became elated with giddiness. The breath of his life throbbed in his heart from the impulse of delight that raged and boiled in his breast. 103 At last the excess of his bliss made his passion pour out, just as the fullness of a summer cloud breaks out in water in rainy weather.
104 The saint turned as pale as the waning moon, like pale moonlight on frost, like a fading plant torn from its supporting tree. 105 He faded like the stalk of a vine split in two and withered away like a sapling after it has lost its juicy sap.
106 Sikhidhwaja asked:—
Narada is a pure saint, liberated in his lifetime and acquainted with all knowledge. He is devoid of desires or passions, as pure as the clear air both inside and outside his body. 107 How is it that even holy Narada himself, who always leads his life of celibacy, could lose his patience and composure?”
108 Chudala (as the brahmin boy) replied:—
Know, O kingly sage, that all living beings in the three worlds, not even the gods are exceptions, by their very nature have bodies composed of both good and evil ingredients. 109 Some remain in ignorance and others in knowledge to the end of their lives. Some remain in happiness and others in misery to the end of their days. 110 Some thrive in happiness with their virtues of contentment and the like, enlightened in their minds like a room by the light of the lamps, and like the bosom of the sea brightened the light of the stars of heaven. 111 Some are tormented by their hunger and poverty, involved in misery like the nature under dark clouds. 112 The true and pure reality of the soul, once lost to sight, makes its appearance before him like a dark and thick cloud of rainy weather.
113 Though one may be employed in continuous investigation into spirituality, yet a moment’s neglect of his spiritualism is sure to darken his spiritual light, just as the apparition of the world appears to sight. 114 As the succession of light and dark makes the course of days and nights, so the return of pain and pleasure indicates the progress of life. 115 Thus the two states of pleasure and pain, the results of our prior acts, accompany our lives from birth to death. 116 This impression of past life completely dominates the lives of the ignorant, just as red dye forever colors a cloth, but it is not so with the intelligent. Their knowledge of truth wipes off the stigma of their prior acts.
117 The eternal color of a gem, whether it be good or bad, shows on the outside. A crystal stone, however clear it may be, takes the color of the other objects reflected in it. 118 But it is not so with the intelligent knower of truth, whose soul is free from all inner and outer impressions in his lifetime, and whose mind is never tinged by the reflection of anything around him, as it is with the ignorant. 119 Not only the presence of things and pleasures stain the minds of the ignorant. Their absence and loss also cause great regret from the stain they leave in the memory, just as things are colored not only by new paint, but also various marks and signs.
120 Thus the minds of the ignorant are never cleansed from the stain of their favorite objects. They are never free from their bondage in this world, unlike the liberated sage who is free because of his lack of earthly attachment. Reducing our desires contributes to our liberation. Increasing our wishes leads us to continued bondage in this world.
121 Sikhidhwaja said:—
Tell me my lord, why do men feel sorry or happy at their pain or pleasure, and for things that are far away from them and to which they are bound by their birth in this world? 122 I find your words to be as clear as they are pretty and full of meaning. The more I hear them, the more I thirst to listen to them, just as the peacock is not satisfied with the roaring of clouds.
123 Chudala (as the brahmin boy) answered:—
It is pleasant to inquire into the cause of our birth and how the soul with the body derives its knowledge through the senses, thereby feeling a delight which is obvious in babies. 124 But the living soul, contained in the heart and running through the kundalini nadi as the breath of life, is subject to pain and sorrow from its birth.
125 The living soul, which is the vital energy entering into the lungs breathing with the breath of life, becomes confined in the arterial chains of prison houses that are different bodies. 126 The breath of life circulates through the body, touching its different parts and the organs of sense, raising their sensations in the soul. As the moisture of the ground grows trees and shrubs, so does our vitality produce the sensations of pleasure and pain in the soul. 127 The living soul, confined in the arteries of different bodies, gives a degree of happiness and steadiness to some which the miserable can never enjoy.
128 Know that the living soul is liberated in the same proportion as it manifests its peaceful tranquil state. Know also that the soul is in bondage to the same degree that there is sorrow on the face and breathing is choked. 129 Alternating feelings of pain and pleasure also indicate bondage of the soul. The absence of these alternations constitutes its liberation. These are the two states of the living soul.
130 As long as the deceptive senses do not bring false sensations of pain and pleasure to the soul, it rests in its state of sweet composure and calm tranquility. 131 When the invisible soul comes in sight of some transient pleasure or want of pain, it becomes as happy as the cheerful sea reflecting bright moonbeams in its bosom. 132 The soul equally exults at the sight of pleasure as it grieves at the knowledge of its unsteadiness, just as a foolish cat rejoices to see a fish even though it does not have the power to catch it. 133 When the soul has the pure knowledge of phenomena and awareness of itself, it comes to know that there is no such thing as actual pain or pleasure. With this knowledge, it remains calm and quietly composed forever and under every circumstance.
134 When the soul comes to know that it has no relationship with any pain or pleasure, and that its living has no purpose at all, then it is then said to be awakened in itself and to rest in its stillness of nirvana. 135 When the living soul comes to know by its internal intuition that pain and pleasure are unreal in their nature, it is no longer concerned about them but rests quietly within itself. 136 When the soul comes to believe that the visible world is nothing but the emptiness of Consciousness or Brahman himself, it gets its rest in its stillness and becomes as cool as a lamp that has gone out because it lacks oil.
137 What leads the soul to becoming unconsciousness of pain and pleasure is the belief that all nature is emptiness, that all existence is the one unity, and the thought of an infinite emptiness. 138 Thoughts of pleasure and pain are as false as the false appearance of the world. This error is inherited by the living soul from Brahma, the first of living beings in the world. 139 Whatever was thought and ordained by the first creative power in the beginning, the same has taken root in the living soul and is going on even to the present time as its nature.
140 Sikhidhwaja asked:
Only when one feels some pleasure in his mind does it run in the blood through his veins and arteries. But the holy Narada could not be affected by the sight, or drop his semen because of it.
141 Chudala (as the brahmin boy) replied:—
When the animal soul is excited, that excites the living breath of life force (prana) into motion. The entire body obeys the dictates of the mind, just as soldiers obey the orders of their commander. 142 The vital airs being put to motion, they move the internal sap and serum from their seats, just as blowing winds bear the fragrance and pollen of flowers and drop down flowers, fruit and leaves of trees. 143 When semen is put into motion, it falls downwards, just as clouds driven together burst into rainwater. 144 The semen then passes out of the body by the channels of the veins and arteries, just as running waters pass through the channels and canals of a river.
145 Sikhidhwaja said:—
O you divine boy! Your instructive words indicate that you know both the past and present states of things. Now please instruct me. What do you mean by the nature of things, the power of Brahma?
146 Chudala (as the brahmin boy) replied:—
Nature is the intrinsic character implanted in the constitution of things at the beginning of their creation. This nature continues to this day as the essential part of the pot or painting, as examples, and all other things. 147 It comes on through an accidental course of its own. The learned compare it with the rise and fall of waves and bubbles in water, or the marks of defects in wood or iron. 148 Through the power of this nature, all things in the world move about in their various forms with all their properties of change or inertia. Only the indifferent soul without desires is liberated from the influence of nature. Souls with cravings are fast bound with its own chains, wandering with their restless craving nature in repeated reincarnations.