Chapter 88 — Further Description of the Earth within Vasishta

Vasishta related:—

Hear you men what I conceived afterwards in my consciousness as I was looking in my form of the earth and considered the rivers running in my body.

I saw in one place a number of women lamenting loudly on the death of somebody. I also saw the great rejoicing of certain females on the occasion of their festive rejoicing. I saw a terrible scarcity and famine in one place, with the seizing and plunder of the people, and I saw the profusion of plenty in another and the joy and friendliness of its people. In one place I saw a great fire burning down everything before me, and in another a great flood over the land drowning its cities and towns in one common ruin. Somewhere I saw a busy body of soldiers plundering a city and carrying away their booty and fierce rakshasa demons bent on afflicting and oppressing the people.

I saw reservoirs full with water running out to water and fertilize the land all around. I saw also masses of clouds issuing from mountain caves, tossed and carried by the winds afar and aloft in the sky. I saw the outpourings of rainwater, the uprising of vegetation, and the land smiling with plenty. I felt within myself a delight which made the hairs on my body stand upright. I also saw many places, hills, forests and homes of men, and also deep and dreadful dens with wild beasts and bees in them. Here there were no footprints of human beings. They avoid those places for fear of falling in those terrible caves.

In some places I saw wars waged between hostile hosts and others where armies were sitting at ease in glad conversation with one another. 10 I saw some places full of forests and others of barren deserts with tornadoes howling in them. I saw marshy grounds with repeated cultivations and crops in them. 11 I saw clear and swirling lakes frequented by cranes and herons, smiling with blooming lotuses. I saw barren deserts with heaps and piles of grey dust collected together by winds. 12 I saw some places where rivers were running, rolling and gurgling in their play, and at others, the grounds were moistened and sown and shooting forth in buds and sprouts.

13 In many places I also saw little insects and worms moving slowly in the ground. They appeared to me to be crying out, “O sage, save us from this miserable state!” 14 I saw a big banyan tree rooting its surrounding branches in the ground. I saw many parasite plants growing on and about these rooted branches. 15 In some places huge trees were growing upon rocks and mountain tops, embracing one another with their branching arms shaking like the waves of the sea. 16 I saw the raging sun sending his drying rays and drawing the moisture from shady trees, leaving them to stand with their dried trunks and withered, leafless branches.

17 I saw the big elephants living on the summits of mountains, piercing sturdy oaks with the strokes of their tusks which, like the bolts of Indra, broke down, felled and hurled them below with hideous noise. 18 In some places many tender sprouts grew with joy as the green blades of grass, or like the erect hairs rising on the bodies of saints, enrapt in their reveries and sitting with their closed eyelids.

19 I saw the homes of flies and leeches and gnats in the dirt, and of bees and black bees on the petals of lotus flowers. I saw big elephants destroying lotus bushes, just as the ploughshare overturns the furrows of earth. 20 I saw the excess of cold when all living beings were shriveled and withered in their bodies, when waters froze to stone, and keen and cold blasts chilled the blood of men.

21 I have seen swarms of weak insects crushed to death under the feet of men, and many others diving and swimming and gliding in the waters below, and others to be born and growing therein. 22 I saw how water enters seeds and moistens them in the rainy season, and these put forth their hairy shoots on the outside, growing as plants in the open air. 23 I smile with the smiling lotuses when they are slightly shaken in their beds by the gentle winds of heaven. I parade with the gliding of rivers to the ocean of eternity for final extinction.