Chapter 115 — The King’s Companions Continue to Praise Nature in India

The royal companions related:—

Hear, O high minded lord, the kinnara women enjoying themselves singing their songs in their homes in leafy tree branches. Kinnara men, enraptured by the music, listen attentively and forget their business of the day.

There the Himalaya, Malaya, Vindhya, Krauncha, Mahendra, Mandara, Dardura and other mountains, from a distant view, appear to be clothed in robes of white clouds, or like heaps of stones covered with the dry leaves of trees. Those distant and indistinct chains of boundary mountains appear to stretch themselves like the walls of cities. Those rivers seen falling into the ocean with their gurgling noises appear like the warp and woof threads of a broad sheet of ocean waters. The ten sides of the sky spread over mountain tops appear like royal consorts looking at you from their lofty palaces, smiling gladly at your success. The many colored and roaring clouds in the sky resemble the variegated birds of air, warbling their notes on high. Rows of trees dropping showers of flowers from high appear like the arms of heavenly apsara nymphs showering their blessings upon your head with their hands. High hills overgrown with rows of trees stretching all along the seashore appear like ramparts. These hills, beaten by surges of waves, seem like mere moss gathered on the coast.

O! the extensive, all sustaining and wonderful body of the ocean that supported the body of Vishnu sleeping upon it. It contained the unrighteous creation at the great deluge and it covered all the mountains and rocks and undersea fires under it. There is the northern ocean into which the Jambu River pours all the gold from Mount Meru. It contains numerous cities and forests and mountains and countries. It washes the face of the sky and all its lights and therefore is adored by gods as well as men. Mount Meru reaches the sun, presenting the trees on its top like its cloud-capped head. May the earth extending to this mountain all be yours, and may this mountain which hides the sun under its clouds not obstruct the expansion of your realm.

In the south is Malaya Mountain growing fragrant sandalwood which converts all other woods into its own nature. Its sweet paste decorates the bodies of gods, men, and demons and is put as a spot on the forehead like Shiva’s third eye. It is sprinkled over the body like perspiration on women’s bodies. 10 The waves of the ocean continually wash the coast overgrown with sandalwood forests and encircled by folds of snakes. Meanwhile, woodland vidyadhari nymphs wandering on this mountain throw a luster about it by the beauty of their bodies.

11 Here is the hill called Krauncha, its groves vibrating with the sound of cuckoos cooing, its rugged caves and rivers resounding harshly to one another. Meanwhile, bamboo cracks as they rub against each other. Bumble bees hum and we hear the warbling of migrating cranes on high and the loud screams of peacocks that are terrifying to snakes. 12 Behold here, O great lord, the play of woodland vidyadhari nymphs in the groves of their soft leafy bushes. Listen to the tinkling sound of their bracelets, so sweet to the ears. 13 There behold the dripping ichor exuding from elephants’ foreheads and making swarming bees giddy with the drink, which has made the sea melt in tears on account of being neglected by them. 14 Behold there the fair moon with his retinue of celestial stars, playing in their reflections in the lap of his father the Milky Ocean, from which it was churned as its froth. 15 See there the tender vines dancing merrily on the tablelands of Malaya Mountain displaying their red petals like the palms of their hands, winking their eyes formed of fluttering bees. Blooming flowers speak of their spring festivity and warbling cuckoos fill the groves with their festive music.

16 Here raindrops produce a pearly substance in the hollows of bamboos, the frontal pearl in elephants’ heads, and large pearls in the womb of pearl shells. So the words of the wise produce different effects in different people, 17 and so gems produce various effects depending on their settings, whether decorating men or stones, in seas and forests, in frogs, clouds, and elephants. They gladden and distract the mind, cause fear and error, fever, death, and many other supernatural effects.

18 Behold here the city smiling under the rising moon and singing the praises of that ambrosial luminary through all its windows, doorways and openings, as it were from the mouths of its women, as if responding to the praises sung by Mandara Mountain from the many mouths of its caves and caverns, and the pipes of hollow bamboo.

19 Wondering women of the siddha spiritual masters behold with astonished and uplifted faces and eyes a large cloud carried away by winds. They wonder whether it is a mountain peak carried away by the winds, or a forest of the snowy mountain flying upward in the air, or a column to measure the distance between earth and sky, or a balance to weigh their weight. 20 See the plains at the foot of Mandara Mountain. How cool they are with breezes blowing the coldness of the waves of Ganges. See its foothills inhabited by fair vidyadhara spirits. Behold its flowery woodlands all around, topped by shady clouds of flowers. 21 See forests, groves and thickets scattered with men’s huts, hamlets and homes. Look at the holy shrines and the sacred brooks and fountains lying in them. Their very sight disperses our sorrows, poverty and iniquities.

22 There are mountain crags and ridges on all sides of the horizon. Valleys, groves and caves are overshadowed by clouds. Still lakes resemble the clear sky. Such sights are sure to melt away masses of our crimes. 23 Behold here my lord, the ravines of Malaya Mountain scented with the odor of the aromatic sandalwood. There are the Vindhyan Hills abounding with infuriated elephants, Mount Kailash yielding the best kind of gold in its olden poetic tradition, and Mount Mahendra filled with its mineral ores. The summits of the snowy mountain are plenteous with the best kind of horses and medicinal plants. Every place is found to abound with richest productions of nature. What a pity that man complains in his time worn cell, like an old and blind mouse in its dirty hole.

24 Behold the dark rain cloud on high, appearing like another world to submerge the earth under its flood, threatening it with its flashing and forked lightning, and swimming like frisky shrimp in the ethereal ocean. 25 O the bleak, rainy winds blowing with the keen icy blasts of frozen snows, poured down profusely by the raging rainy clouds on high. They are howling aloud in the air, chilling the blood and shaking the body with hairs rising erect. 26 O the cold winds of winter are blowing with the dark clouds of heaven, scattering clusters of flowers from the branches of trees. Drizzling raindrops drop in showers upon thick forests scented with the fragrance of kadamba blossoms. 27 Winds bear the fragrance of the breaths of longing females as if it were the celestial odor of ambrosia, stolen and carried on the wings of warm breezes. 28 Here gentle breezes breathe with the breath of freshly blooming lilies and lotuses of the lake, sweeping their tender odors to the land. Blasts of wind burst the flakes of folded clouds, blowing perfumes from the gardens and groves. 29 Beyond, mild airs calm our struggles, cooled by their contact with the evening clouds of heaven, and resembling servant gardeners perfumed all over from picking flowers from the royal gardens. 30 Some are perfumed with the scents of different flowers, and others with the fragrance of lilies and lotuses. In some places they scatter showers of blossoms and in others they shed pollen. Somewhere the air blows from hoary mountains of frost and at others from those of blue, black, and red minerals.

31 The sun scatters his rays like firebrands in some places, spreading a fire with a loud noise in the woods, like an unruly crowd in the country. 32 Winds, like the sun’s wicked attendants, spread the fire caused by the sun and carry their clattering noise far away. 33 Cooling winds blowing from the woods, moistened by the gentle moonbeams, though cheering others’ souls, appear as fiery hot to separated lovers.

34 Behold here, O lord, how Sabara women on the lowlands of the eastern sea are covered with their rude and rough leafy garments, wearing their noisy bracelets of brass. See how they strut about in the giddiness of their prime of youth. 35 See how these newly loving ladies cling to the bodies of their mates for fear of darkness of the approaching night, like timid snakes twining about the trunk of sandalwood trees. 36 Struck with fear by the alarm given by the bell at daybreak, the loving consort leans on the bosom of her lover as darkness lingers in the enclosed room.

37 There is a shrub of kinsuka flowers blooming like firebrands on the border of the southern sea which is continually washing them with the watering of its waves, as if it wanted to extinguish them. 38 Winds blow their smoking powder flying upwards like mists of hazy clouds to heaven. Flowers fall like flames of fire. Birds and black bees hover over them like extinguished cinders of fire. 39 Behold, there on the other side, real flashes of living wildfire blazing in the forests on the east. Their flames are carried above the mountain tops by the flying winds of the air.

40 See the slow moving clouds shrouding the lowlands lying at the foot of Krauncha Mountain. Observe crowding peacocks dancing under them, screaming aloud with their grave and shrill cries to the clouds. Behold there the gusts of rain-winds rising high, blowing fruit, flowers and leaves from trees afar on all sides. 41 Behold the sun-setting mountain in the west, with its thousand peaks of glittering gold shining amidst the dusky color of the evening sky. See the sloping sun descending below, his chariot whirling down with rattling wheels in the rustling of evening winds. 42 The moon rises upon the eastern peak of Mount Meru like a full blown flower in order to give light to the darkened mansion of this world. The moon itself is accompanied by its black spots, sitting like black bees upon a blossom. Hence there is no good thing in this perverted world which is free from fault or frailty.

43 Moonlight shines like the laughter of the god Rudra in his dome of the triple world. Moonlight is like a whitewash over the great hall of the universe, or like the milky fluid of the Milky Ocean in the night sky. 44 Look on all sides of the sky, tinged with evening twilight and the variegated colors of mountain tops, filled with milky moonbeams churned from the Milky Ocean by Mount Mandara. 45 Look there, O incomparable lord, those hosts of Guhyaka ghosts, hideous as large palm trees. See those puny vetala-ghost younglings pouring upon the ill-fated dominions of the Hunas, devouring troubled inhabitants at night.

46 The face of the moon shines brightly like the beautiful face of a lady, as long as it does not appear out of its nighttime home. But in daylight, the moon’s beams are cut off and it appears like a piece of fleecy cloud, just as the lady’s face becomes disgraced by appearing out of her inner apartment.

47 Look at the lofty peaks of the snowy mountain covered with the fair vesture of bright moonbeams. See its crags washed by floods of the falling Ganges. Behold its head capped by perpetual snow, surrounded by creepers of snowy whiteness. 48 Behold there Mandara Mountain touching the sky, crowning the forest with its lofty ridges. Here winds blow the cradle chimes of apsara nymphs, and there the mountainous mines sparkle in various colors. 49 See high hills all around abounding with blooming flowers like offerings to the gods. See thickening clouds around their loins, resounding harshly within their hollows, while the starry heaven shines over their heads.

50 There is Mount Kailash to the north, contending with the sky in its brightness. Below it there is the hermitage of Skanda and the moon shines in her brilliance above. 51 Behold, the god Indra has let loose his winds to break the branches of trees and demolish the huts on the ground, carrying their fragments afar. 52 Winds blow the profuse fragrance of flowers after the rains, filling men’s nostrils with their odors. Meanwhile, flights of bees float like clouds in the blue sky. 53 I think goddess Lakshmi has chosen the blooming flowers in the forests, the clear waters in marshy grounds, and villages abounding in fruitful trees and flourishing fields for her home. 54 Windows are overgrown with creeping vines in the rains and house tops are decorated with the flowers of the climbing creepers upon them. The ground is scattered with flowers up to the heels. Breezes blow flower pollen all about. All these have made the woodlands the homes of the forest gods.

55 The rains have converted a rustic village into a romantic paradise with blooming champaka flowers, rural nymphs swinging in their cradles made of flowering vines, the warbling of birds and gurgling of waterfalls, the blossoming of the tall palm trees in the outskirts, tender vines blooming with clusters of snow-white blossoms, peacocks dancing on roof tops, borders shaded by trees, and rain clouds hanging over the village and its neighboring hills. 56 Again, soft and sweet breathing breezes, the variegated leaves of plants and creepers, the vegetation of the village, the cries of cranes and other fowls, and the wild notes of foresters, together with the merriment of the shepherds and other pastoral people over their plenty of milk, curd, butter and ghee, and their joy in their peaceful abodes, add a charm to this hilly tract.