Chapter 66 — The Vidyadhari’s Description of the Inside of Her World inside Stone

Vasishta said:—

Then, seated as I was in my imaginary seat in the sky, I asked the lady who was also sitting like me in the imaginary air, “Tell me, O gentle lady. How could an embodied being like you live inside a block of stone? How could you move about within that impervious substance? What was caused you to live there?”

The vidyadhari replied:—

Wonder not, O sage, at this kind of home which is as habitable to us and inhabited by other creatures as the open and spacious world in which you live. There are the snakes and reptiles living and moving about the interior of the earth. There are huge rocks deeply rooted underground. Waters run in the bottom of the ground with as much freedom as winds flying in the open air. Oceans flow with the fullness of their waters and fish move slowly beneath and above their surface. There are infinite numbers of living creatures constantly born and dying in them. Waters glide inside the cavity of the mundane stone just like winds fly above. Here celestials move and wander in the air, and the earth and planets revolve with their unmoving mountains and other inert materials.

There are also gods, demigods and human beings moving in their respective circles within the womb of this stone. From the beginning of creation, waters of rivers run like those of the oceans. Again, since the beginning of creation the sun has been sending his beams from above and scattering them like lotuses on the lake-like land, while the dark clouds of heaven hover over them like a swarm of black bees fluttering upon those blooming blossoms. The moon spreads her light on all sides like sandal paste and thereby erases the darkness of night and covers the face of the evening star.

10 Sunlight is the lamp of his light in heavenly mansion, scattering its rays on all ten sides of the skies, conducted by means of the air. 11 The wheel of the starry firmament continually revolves in the air by the will of God, like a threshing mill turning about its central axle by means of a rope. 12 This circle of celestial bodies, revolving about its axis of the pole, kills all things under its clouds that look like two doors between heaven and earth, just as the wheel of fate grinds them to dust. 13 The surface of the earth is full of hills and mountains and the bosom of the sea is filled with rocks and islands. The upper sky contains celestial abodes and demons occupy the lower regions below the ground.

14 The orbit of this earth resembles the earring of Lakshmi, goddess of the three worlds. The green orb of this planet is like the hanging gem of her ringlet, continually fluctuating with its people. 15 Here all creatures are impelled by their desires to their mental and bodily activities, as if moved to and fro by flying winds, and thus are led to repeated births and deaths. 16 The silent sage sits in calm meditation, just as the sky is unmoved with its capacity of containing all things within itself. But the earth is shaken and wasted by dashing waves, fire is put down by its blazing flame, and everything is moved about by the wind of its desires like a monkey.

17 All living beings abounding in earth and water, and those flying in the air, as well as those who live in hills or on trees, together with gods and demons are all alike doomed to death and rebirth, just like short lived insects, worms and flies. 18 Time, the greatest slaughterer, destroys gods, giants, gandharva spirits and all else with its many arms of ages and yugas, and of years, months, days and nights, just like a herder kills the cattle he has reared himself. 19 All these rise and fall in the eventful ocean of time. Having leapt and jumped and danced a while, they sink in the abyss of the fathomless whirl of death from which none can rise again. 20 The gust of death carries away all sorts of beings living in the fourteen spheres of the world like dust and ashes to the hollow womb of air where they disappear like empty clouds in the autumn sky.

21 The high heaven, ever clad in the clean and clear attire of the atmosphere and wearing the framework of stars like crown on its head, holds the two lights of the sun and moon in either hand and shows us the works of gods in the skies. 22 It remains unmoved forever, never changing its sides composed of the four quarters of heaven in spite of changes in the sky, the rushing of winds, the tremors of earth, the roaring of clouds, and the intense heat of the sun. 23 All things continue in their destined course, whether they are conscious or unconscious of these changes in nature, whether meteors and portents appear in the sky, the clouds roar, planets eclipse, or the earth trembles below. 24 The undersea fire sucks up the overflowing waters of the seven great oceans on earth in the same way as all-destroying time devours creatures in all the different worlds. 25 All things continue in their course like the continued motion of currents in the air. Namely, all earth-born worms move on and return to the earth, the birds of the air move and fly on all sides of the sky, fish swim and glide all about the waters, beasts return to their caves in earth and hills, and such is the case with the inhabitants of all continents and islands lying in the womb of this world.