Chapter 126 — Death and Further, Varied Consciousness of the Four Vipaschitas

Rama said, “Now tell me sage, what did the four Vipaschitas do, being cast in seas, islands and forests in the different parts of the earth?”

Vasishta replied:—

Rama, now hear about the four Vipaschitas and their wandering in forests of palm and tamara trees, upon the hills and in the islands in all directions.

One of the Vipaschitas, wandering about the westerly ridge of a mountain in Kraunchadwipa, was crushed to death by the tusk of an elephant, just as when it tears a lotus in the lake. Another was smashed in his contest with a rakshasa, who carried his mangled body aloft in air, then cast it amidst an ocean fire where it was burnt to ashes. The third was taken up by a vidyadhara to the region of the celestials. There he was reduced to ashes by curse of the god Indra who was offended at the king’s lack of respect for him. The fourth, the one that went to the farthest edge of a mountain in Kusadwipa, was caught by a shark on the seashore which tore his body to eight pieces. In this manner, all four lost their lives. They all fell as sorrowfully as the regents of the four quarters at the destruction of the world on doomsday.

After they were reduced to the state of emptiness in the vast vacuum, their empty and self-conscious souls were led by memories of their former states to see the earth. They saw the seven continents with their belts of seven oceans and the cities and towns with which they were decorated everywhere. 10 They saw the sky above with the sun and moon forming the pupils of its eyes. They also saw clusters of stars hanging like chains of pearls about its neck and billowy clouds that formed its folded vest. 11 With their intellectual eye, they saw the stupendous bodies that rose out of chaos at the revolutions of past kalpa cycles, filling the vastness of the sky and all sides of the horizon with their gigantic forms.

12 Being possessed of consciousness in their spiritual forms, they descended to observe the manners of elemental bodies that were exposed before them. 13 All four Vipaschitas were moved by their previous impressions to inquire into the measure and extent of the ignorance that led people to the belief that the body is the soul, for their lack of knowledge of the spiritual soul. 14 They wandered from one continent to another to observe in which part of this ideal planet of the earth was this ignorance most firmly seated so as to give it the appearance of a visible substance.

15 Passing over the seven continents and oceans, the western Vipaschit happened to meet with the god Vishnu standing on a parcel of firm land. 16 From the god, Vipaschit received the incomparable knowledge of divine truth and remained in samadhi trance at that spot for a full five years. 17 Afterwards, finding his soul to be full of the divine presence, he renounced even his spiritual body. He fled like his vital breath to the transcendent vacuum of final nirvana. 18 The eastern Vipaschit was carried to the region of moon where he sat beside that fully bright globe. But the king, though placed in the exalted sphere of the moon, continued to lament the loss of his former body. 19 The southern king, forgetful of his spiritual nature, thought he was ruling in Salmalidwipa and employed himself investigating external objects of the senses.

20 The northern one, living in the clear waters of the seventh ocean, thought he had been devoured by a shark which held him in his belly for a thousand years. 21 There he fed upon the bowels of the shark, which killed the animal in a short time. Then he came out of its belly as if the shark had given birth to a young shark. 22 Then he traveled over the frigid ocean of snows and its icy tracts stretching eighty thousand leagues in dimension. 23 He arrived at a spot of solid gold which was the home of gods and stretched to ten thousand leagues. Here he met with his end. 24 In this land King Vipaschit attained the state of a godhead in the same way a piece of wood is turned to fire in a burning furnace. 25 Being one of the principal gods, he went to Lokaloka Mountain which surrounds the earth like an aqueduct surrounds the base of a tree. 26 The mountain rises to the height of fifty thousand leagues and has the inhabited earth on one side of it which faces the sunlight, and eternal darkness reigning on the other.

27 He ascended to the top of Lokaloka Mountain which pierced the starry sphere. As he was seated upon it, he was seen in the light of a star by the beholders below. 28 Beyond that spot and far away from this highest mountain lay the deep and dark abyss of infinite void. 29 Here was the end of this earth. Beyond it was the emptiness of the sky of fathomless depth and full of impervious darkness. 30 There reigns a darkness of the color of a swarm of black bees and like the shade of black tamara trees. There is neither the dark earth nor any moving body under the extended sky. This great void is devoid of support, nor does it support anything whatever at anytime.