Chapter 77 — Vasishta Describes a Final Dissolution of the World (4)

Vasishta continued:—

Hear now about the chaotic state of the world brought on by conflict of earth, air, water and fire with one another, and how the three worlds were covered by the great antediluvian floodwaters.

Dark clouds flying in the air like pitch black ash spread over the world like a great ocean with whirlpools of rolling smoke. The dark blaze of fire glimmered amidst flammables and converted all of them into heaps of ash which flew and spread over all the world. The swelling sound of hissing showers rose as high as if they singing a song of their victory. All five kinds of clouds assembled and all of them poured their waters profusely upon the ground. These were the ashy clouds, the grey clouds, the antediluvian clouds, the misty clouds, and the showering clouds.

Howling breezes shook the foundations of the world. The strong wind rose high to heaven and filled all space, carrying flames to burn down the cities of the gods on every side. Winds dived deep into the depths of water, carrying and dispersing their frigidity in all directions, numbing the senses and deafening ears. A loud noise filled the world raised by the constant fall of rain in columns from the vault of heaven, and by the roaring and growling of the kalpa fire. The entire earth became one ocean filled with water falling like waterfalls from the clouds of heaven, resembling the torrents of Ganges and the currents of all rivers.

10 The canopy of antediluvian clouds, pierced by shining sunbeams above them, appeared like the leafy tuft at the top of a blackish palm tree, with clusters of lurid flowers peeping through the dark leaves. 11 The all destroying tornado carried away the broken fragments of trees and rocks and the tops of towers and castles, dashing them against sky covered mountains, breaking them into pieces. 12 Swift stars and planets clashed with rapid comets and meteors, striking sparks of fire and flame from their impacts, burning like fiery whirlpools in the air. 13 Raging, rapid winds raised the waves of seas as high as mountains that struck against rocks on the seashore, breaking and hurling them down with tremendous noise. 14 Deep dusky and showering clouds joined with wet antediluvian clouds cast bright sunlight into shade and darkened the air with their dark shadows.

15 Seas overflowed their beds and banks, bearing down broken fragments of rocks under their depths. They became dreadful and dangerous from the rocks falling and rolling down with their currents. 16 Huge sea surges carried fragments of rocks on their waves, raised aloft by cloud-tearing winds. They dashed against and broke down shores with deep and tremendous noise. 17 The antediluvian cloud then broke the vault of heaven asunder and split the ceiling of the sky with its loud rattling, then clapped together its oak-like hands to see the universal ocean which it had made. 18 Earth, heaven and infernal regions were torn to pieces, tossed and lost in the all devouring waters. All of nature was reduced to its original emptiness, as if the world was a vast depopulated desert.

19 Now the dead and half-dead, the burnt and half-burnt bodies of gods and demigods, of gandharva spirits and men saw one another in the general ruin. They fled and fell upon each other with their lifted arms and weapons and the speed of the winds. 20 Antediluvian winds were flying like funeral ashes from the piles, or like the arjunavata disease of bile drives a person up and down in the air like a column of ash. 21 Heaps of stones collected in the air fell forcibly on the ground, breaking whatever they struck, just as falling hailstones from heaven clatter out of season and shatter everything where they fall.

22 Rustling breezes howling in mountain caves resounded with a rumbling noise from the fall of the mansions of gods of every side. 23 Winds growled with harsh sounds resembling the jarring noise of demons. Winds blowing in the woods appeared to be passing through windows. 24 Cities and towns burned with the demonic fire, and the mountains and homes of the gods were blazing with solar flashes, sparks in the air flying like swarms of gnats. 25 The sea roared with its whirling rain waters on the surface and boiling with undersea fire below, destroying great mountains below and the homes of the gods above.

26 The conflict between waters and rocks demolished the cities of the rulers of earth and hurled down the homes of gods and demons, spiritual masters and gandharva spirits. 27 Stones and all solid substances were pounded to powder. Firebrands were reduced to ash when flying winds blew them all about like dust. 28 Homes of gods and demons being hurled down, their walls smashing together emitted a noise like that of clouds crashing or the jarring sound of metal upon metal.

29 The sky was filled with people and buildings falling from the seven regions of heaven. The gods themselves were whirling in the air, like something fallen in a whirlpool of the sea. 30 All things whether burned or not were swimming up and down in the ethereal ocean, like dry leaves tossed about by winds. 31 The air was filled with jarring and jingling sounds from fallen buildings hitting various metals and minerals in all the worlds.

32 Then the smoky and ashy clouds all flew upward, while the heavy, watery clouds lowered upon the earth. Again swelling waves rose high upon the water and the hills and all other substances sank below. 33 Whirlpools wheeled against one another with gurgling noises. The old ocean was rolling on with gigantic mountains floating on it like clumps of leaves and shrubs.

34 The good deities were wailing loudly and weary animals moved slowly. Comets and other portents flew in the air and the universe appeared dreadful and horrible. 35 The sky was full of dead and half-dead bodies carried by the breezes into its broad expanse. It presented a grey and dingy appearance, like that of dry and discolored tree leaves. 36 The world was full of water falling in profuse showers from the mountain peaks. Hundreds of streams flowed down the sides of mountains, carried all about by the breeze.

37 Fire now ceased to rage with its hundred flames and the swelling sea ran over its boundary shores and overflowed its banks. 38 A mass of grassy plants mixed with mud and mire appeared like a large island. Intellect appeared in the far distant emptiness, like lighting over a forest.

39 The rains stopped, having extinguished the fires, but the rising fumes and smoke filled the air and hid heaven so that the existence of the prior world and the former creation was altogether forgotten from memory. 40 Then there rose the loud cry of the extinction of creation and there remained only the one being who is exempt from creation and destruction. 41 Now the winds that had been constantly struggling to upset the world, continually filling the universe with their particles, like an unceasing supply of grain, also stopped. 42 The bodies of comets clashing against one another were reduced to sparks of fire resembling gold dust. These extinguished at last to ashes, filled the vault of heaven with powdered dust.

43 The orb of the earth and all its contents was shattered to pieces, rolling in large masses together with the fragments of the infernal worlds. 44 Now the seven regions of heaven and those of the infernal worlds, being mixed up in one mass with the shattered mass of the earth and its mountains, filled the universal space with chaotic waters and antediluvian winds. 45 Then the universal ocean was swollen with the waters of all its tributary seas and rivers. There was a loud uproar of rolling waters resembling the clamor of enraged madmen.

46 Rain began to fall in the form of fountains and cascades, then it assumed the shape of falling columns or water spouts. At last it took a figure of a palm tree, pouring down its showers in torrents. 47 Then it ran like the current of a river, flooding on all sides. Raining clouds made the surface of the earth one extended sheet of water. 48 The flaming fire at last subsided, just like some very great danger in human life is averted by observing the precautions given in the scriptures and the advice of the wise.

49 At last the vast vault of the mundane world became desolate of all its contents and submerged in water, just as a bael fruit loses its substance by being tossed about in play by the hands of children.