Chapter 121 — King Vipaschit’s Companions Settle by the Ocean and Pray to Agni

Vasishta related:—

Then King Vipaschit and his companions sat on the seacoast and did whatever was necessary to establish his sovereignty. They chose spots for their homes at that place and made houses for themselves according to their positions. They settled the boundaries of the provinces and set guards for their defense. At last they went down into the ocean, then proceeded to the other side of the world to show Vipaschit’s glory to other parts of the world.

Then dark night came in the form of an all-shading cloud and all people, after finishing their daily works and rituals, sank into the lap of sleep. The companions were amazed to think how they had been led so insensibly over such a great distance in so short a space of time, meeting the ocean-like currents of rivers falling into it. They said, “It is a wonder we have come so far without any attempt on our part. Therefore this great speed must be attributed to the swiftness of the vehicles of the great god Agni.”

“Lord!” they say, “how extensive is the view before us stretching from one end of Asia to its other extreme of the vast salt ocean, and thence again to the islands in it, and other lands and seas beyond them. There are islands and seas beyond these, and others again beyond them. How many such and many more may there be of this kind, and how inscrutable is the delusion which is thus spread before our minds? Therefore let us pray to the fire god Agni that we may see at once everything on all sides by his favor and without any effort or pain on our part.”

10 So saying and thinking in this manner, they all reflected on the fire god Agni with one accord, and meditated on him as they sat in their respective places. 11 The fire god Agni appeared to them in his tangible form and spoke to them, “Ask my sons, what favor you desire of me?”

12 They said, “O lord of gods who abides beyond this visible and elemental world, ordain that by means of Vedic mantra and our purified minds we may know in our minds what is knowable. 13 Give us, O fire god, this great and best boon that we ask of you, that we may know by your light whatever is knowable by the external senses, mind or self-consciousness. 14 Enable us to see with our eyes, O lord, the paths which lead the spiritual masters and yogis to the sight of the invisibles. Make us also perceive in our minds the things that are imperceptible to them. 15 Let not death overtake us until we have reached the ways of the spiritual masters. Let your grace guide us in the paths where no embodied being can pass.”

16 Vasishta said:—

“So be it,” said the fire god Agni, and instantly disappeared from their sight, just like an undersea fire bursts forth and immediately vanishes in the sea. 17 Dark night appeared as the fire god Agni disappeared. After a while, the night also fled and sunshine returned with the reviving wishes of the king and his men to survey the wide ocean lying before them.