Chapter 113 — Combatants Exhausted; Description of the Ocean

Vasishta continued:—

The four Kings Vipaschit pursued the fleeing hostile forces for a great distance, as said before. These four forms of almighty power, and of one soul and mind, went on conquering the four regions on every side with one intent and purpose. They chased retreating enemies to the shores of the seas on all sides without giving them any rest, just as river currents keep on their course to the coast of the far distant ocean without rest. This long course of royal forces and the enemies they chased soon put an end to all their provisions and ammunition. All their resources and strength were exhausted at last, like a stream lost under sands before it reaches a lake. At the end, the king saw his forces and those of his enemies to be as exhausted as the merits and demerits of a man upon his ultimate liberation.

Weapons ceased to fly about, as if they were resting having done their part in the sky, and as the flames of fire subside of themselves for lack of combustible fuel. Horses and elephants went under their shelters and weapons stuck to trees and rocks. They seemed to fall fast asleep like birds upon their tree branches at nightfall. As waves cease to roll in a dried up channel, as snow falls under cloudy sky, as clouds fly before a storm, and as the fragrance of flowers is carried by the wind, so flying weapons were submerged like fish under showers of rain, and dripping drops of darts were thwarted by thickening showers of snow.

10 The sky was cleared of whirling discs that had been hurled by the hundreds in the hazy atmosphere. It was swept clean by gathering clouds that were soaring up in surges and pouring down floods of rain. 11 The sky appeared like an immense ocean composed of a vast void and containing sparkling gems of stars in its bosom, and the burning undersea fire of the sun in its midst. 12 The great vacuum appeared as extensive, deep, bright, serene, and devoid of the dust of pride as the minds of great men.

13 Then they saw the oceans, lying like junior brothers of the skies, being of equal extent and clarity, stretching to the utmost limits of the horizon. 14 These with their deep sounding waves and foaming froths are as gratifying to the minds of people as roaring clouds with their showers of snow captivate human hearts. 15 Having fallen down from high heaven, stretching wide their huge bodies on the earth below, they seem to be rolling grievously on the ground with deep groaning and breathing, raising up their wavelike arms to lift themselves on high.

16 They are gross and dull bodies, yet full of force and motion. Though they are mute and dumb, yet they are full of noise and howling in their hollow cavities. They are full of dreadful whirlpools, as is this world with all its dizzy rounds. 17 Gems sparkling on banks add to the brightness of sunbeams. Winds blowing in conch shells resound all along the coast. 18 Huge waves growl like big clouds roaring loudly on high. Circling currents whirl around scattering shattered coral branches.

19 Harsh snorting of sharks and whales howl in the bosom of the deep, their tails lashing water sounding like oars splashing. 20 Dreadful sharks and alligators devour mermaids and sailors in numbers. A thousand suns shine their reflections on rising waves. 21 Fleets of ships float on the surface of the waters, rising aloft on the tops of the waves, driven forward by blowing winds howling horribly through the furling sails and cracking ropes.

22 The ocean with his hundreds of arms of heaving waves handles the globes of the sun and moon and displays varieties of sparkling gems with reflections of their light rays. 23 Shoals of sharks glide over the foaming ocean. Water spouts rise to the skies like columns of elephants’ trunks and like a forest of bamboo. 24 In some places, rippling waves glide like twisting creepers with hairy tufts and frothy blossoms. In other places, little rocks resembling the backs of elephants and bearing spring flowers are scattered in the midst of the waters. 25 Somewhere are heaps of froth and frost and hills of icebergs resembling the homes of gods and demigods. Elsewhere are groups of sparkling little waves that laughed to scorn the clusters of shining stars in the skies.

26 Here are branches of rocks concealed in its depth, like little gnats hidden in underground hollows. There are huge wave surges that make dwarfs of the high hills on earth. 27 Its coasts are spread over with sparkling gems, like flower beds on the ground. Glistening pearls burst out of their silvery shells and sparkle in the sand. 28 The sea seems to weave a vest of silk with its cloudy waves, decorating it with floating gems and pearls. Rivers flow into it from all directions, serving to color it with their various waters. 29 Coasts studded with gems and pearls of various colors display the beams of a hundred moons in the multicolored nails of its feet. 30 The shadows of tall forests on the shores fall on the swelling waves of the sea imbued with the colors of marine gems. They appear like moving trees with their variegated foliage, fruits and flowers.

31 Shadows of different fruit trees reflect in the waters gliding below, rising up and falling down with their reflections in the moving waves and billows. False and falling shadows gathered numbers of marine beasts under them, gorging themselves on the falling fruit. 32 Greedy fish gather, leaping to catch the birds sitting on the fruit trees and seen in their reflections on the waves. 33 There are many sea monsters that break the embankments and randomly wander about in the watery maze, like birds flying freely in the empty air.

34 The ocean, being a formless deep, bears the image of the three worlds impressed on its bosom. It also bears the image of pure emptiness, as it bore the image of Narayana in its breast. 35 Its great depth, clarity and immeasurable extent give it the appearance of the majestic sky which is reflected in its bosom, as it were impressed upon it. 36 It bears the reflection of the sky and flying birds as if they were the images of aquatic fowls swimming on its surface, or resembling black bees fluttering about its lotus-like waves.

37 Its boisterous waves are carried to the skies by violent winds, washing the sky’s face with their salty spray. The deep sounding ocean, resounding from its hollow rocks, roars aloud like the clouds of the world flood. 38 The gurgling noise of whirlpools resembles the loud thunder claps of heaven. The undersea fire is sometimes seen to burst out of the deep, like the latent flame of the sage Agastya that consumed the waters of the ocean. 39 The watery maze presents the picture of a vast wilderness with its waves like the waving trees, its surf like as blossoms, and foam and froth like flowers. 40 The high heaving surges with great numbers of fish gliding and skipping appear like fragments of the sky fallen below, carried away by gliding waters.

41 Thus the hostile forces were driven far away to the shores of the salt seas extending far and wide and bounding the earth on every side. Lofty mountains, rising to the skies with their green tops, intercepted the sight on all sides.