Chapter 114 — The King’s Companions Praise Nature in India

Vasishta continued:—

Then the royal army saw whatever was on all sides of them, namely forests, hills, seas and clouds, foresters and hill people, and the trees of the forest.

They said:—

Behold, O lord, that high hill which lifts its lofty top to the sky and invites the clouds to settle upon it, while its midmost part is the region of the winds and its base is composed of hard and rugged stones. See, O lord, how they abound with fruit trees of various kinds, and groves whose fragrance is blown around by gentle winds. The sea breaks down peninsulas with its battering breakers, dispersing rocks on its banks. It shatters bordering forests with its wavy axes, scattering their fruit and flowers all over the waters. Behold the sea breeze blowing away clouds, settling on tops of mountains, shaking and dancing over the leafy branches of trees like men blowing smoke away with fans.

Here are trees on its coasts, like the trees in the Nandana garden of paradise, whose branches are as white as the conch shells growing in the full moon tide, and whose fruit are as bright as the moon. These trees with their wives, the vines, are honoring you with offerings of flowers from the rosy palms of their red leaves. There is Rikshavanta Mountain, howling like a ferocious bear, devouring huge sharks and swallowing waves in its cavern-like mouth and under its stony teeth. Mahendra Mountain growls at roaring clouds with a loud uproar, like a stronger champion hurling defiance at his weaker rival. 10 There enraged Malaya Mountain lifts his lofty head, decorated with sandalwood forests, threatening the loud ocean below, rolling with its outstretched arms of waves on the shore.

11 Celestials on high look upon the ocean rolling constantly with its sparkling waves on all sides, as if carrying away the earth’s treasured gems. 12 Wild hillocks, woods and ruddy rocks on the tops, wave with the blowing gales looking like huge serpents creeping with their crescent gems and inhaling the breeze. 13 Huge sharks and crocodiles move and grapple with each other upon the surges. This sight delights the minds of men like that of a rainy and light clouds opposing and pursuing one another.

14 There an elephant has fallen in a whirlpool, unable to raise itself up. It left its trunk on the water and dies sputtering water from its trunk on all sides.

15 High hills and low seas are all equally filled with living beings. As the oceans abound with aquatic animals, so all lands and islands are full of living beings. 16 The sea, like the earth and all worlds, are full of whirlpools and things revolving, and all these are mere falsities that are taken and viewed as realities. 17 The ocean bears liquid waves in its bosom that are inert in themselves, yet appear to be in constant motion. So Brahman contains innumerable worlds which seem to be solid without any substance.

18 When the gods and demons of the past churned the ocean, they stole all of its bright and hidden treasures which since have fallen to the lot of Indra and the gods. 19 Therefore, the ocean has adopted wearing the reflections of the greatest and brightest lights of heaven as its false and fictitious ornaments. These are seen even from the nether worlds, and of these no one can deprive it. 20 Among them is the shining sun whose image the ocean bears in its bosom with equal splendor as it is in heaven. This bright gem is daily thrown like a deposit in the western sea to give its light to the nether world. It is called the gem of day because it makes day wherever it shines.

21 There is a coming together of all waters from all sides. This assemblage in its reservoir gives it a clamorous sound, like that of crowds of men in a mixed procession. 22 Here is a continuous conflict among marine monsters, just as currents and torrents of the waters of rivers and seas jostle at the mouths of gulfs and bays. 23 There large whales roll and dance on rising waves, spurting forth water from their mouths, shedding showers of pearls carried aloft and scattered by the winds. 24 Streams of water, flowing like strings of pearls bearing bubbles like brilliant pearls, adorn the breast of the ocean like necklaces, whistling by their impacts.

25 Sea winds serve to refresh the spirits of the siddha spiritual masters and sadhya classes of spirits who dwell in the caves of Mahendra Mountains and traverse the howling regions of the sounding main. 26 Again, winds exhaled from the caves of Mahendra Mountains gently shake the woods growing upon it, stretching a cloud of flowers over its tablelands.

27 Here is Mount Gandhamadana full of mango and kadamba trees. There fragments of clouds enter its caves like deer eyes flashing like lightning. 28 Winds issuing from the valleys of the Himalaya Mountains, passing through the encircling bowers of creeping plants, scatter the clouds of heaven and break the waves of the sea. 29 The winds of Gandhamadana Mountain exhale the fragrance of kadamba flowers growing upon it, agitating the surface of the sea with whirling waves. 30 After twisting fleecy clouds into the forms of curling locks of hair on the peaks of Kubera’s Alaka residence, winds pass by the valleys of Gandhamadana groves, forming a canopy of flowers at this place. 31 Here scented airs creep slowly in the alleys bearing the sweet burden of fragrant flowers and moistened by a mixture of icy showers.

32 See there, nalikera vines diffusing their sour scent to the breezes, which being made acid by their sourness, turn towards the regions of Persia. 33 Here winds blow the scents of Shiva’s flowery forests on Kailash Mountain. There they breathe the perfume of lotuses from mountain lakes and blow away camphor white clouds from the face of the sky.

34 Liquid ichor flowing from the frontal trunk of elephants is dried and stiffened by breezes issuing out of the caverns of Vindhya Mountain. 35 The women of the Savara foresters, their bodies covered with the dry leaves of trees and accompanied by their dark skinned males in leafy apparel, have been making a town of their jungle by eradicating wild animals with their iron arrows.

36 Behold, great lord, these seas and mountains, these forests and rivers, and these clouds on all sides look as if they are all smiling under your auspices, as under the brightness of sunbeams. 37 Flower beds designed by vidyadharas on mountain and forest paths and the footprints from the shores suggest that man is tired of making love so the woman has gone on top of the man to continue the act of love making.