Chapter 130 — Vipaschit the Stag Enters Fire, Is Restored and Becomes Bhasa

Valmiki related:—

Rama then asked Vasishta to tell him how Vipaschit could be released from his animal shape and restored to his human form.

Vasishta said:—

The way by which a person has had his rise is the only way that leads to his success, welfare and happiness in life.

Vipaschit had been a worshipper of the fire god Agni. So only through his return to the refuge of that god that his deer form may be altered and the king restored to its former figure of bright and unalloyed gold. I will try the means of his restoration in your presence, so you all may witness it with your open eyes. This deer will of itself enter into the fire before your sight.

Valmiki related:—

Saying so, the benevolent sage touched his water pot with his hand and muttered his mantras upon it in the proper form. He thought intently upon the god of fire with his flashing flames all around him. Immediately upon the sage’s reflection on Agni, a blaze of fire manifested in the royal hall. This was a pure flame, burning with a rumbling noise but without any coal or fuel, or any smoke or soot. Brighter and brighter it burned in its beauty, shining like a dome of gold and shedding a golden light all about. The light was like a blushing kinsuka blossom, glowing like the evening clouds of heaven.

Seeing the spreading flame, the assembled host moved backward but the deer, on seeing its adored deity manifest, became flushed with the passion of its former faith. 10 As it looked on the fire with its ardent desire, he got rid of his sins as if they were burnt away by its flames. Then advancing slowly towards the fire, the deer suddenly jumped into the blaze like a lion springing upon his prey.

11 At this moment, the muni moved his mind to meditation and found the king’s sins had been burnt away from his soul. Then he addressed the fire god, saying, 12 “O lord who carries the sacrificial butter to the celestials, recall the past acts of the king in your mind and his faith in you. Kindly restore him to his former handsome figure again.” 13 As the sage was praying in this manner, he saw the deer released from the flame and running towards the assembled princes with the speed of an arrow flying towards its mark. 14 Having been in the burning fire, he appeared like a flaming body. The assembly saw him in this form as bright as the appearance of an evening cloud. 15 Thus the deer was changed to the form of a man before the sight of the assembled princes, just as a spot of cloud is seen to assume another figure in the face of the bright vault of heaven. 16 Within the flames, he assumed a figure like pure gold, then after he emerged, he took the form of a man of handsome shape and appearance.

17 He appeared like the orb of the sun, like the disc of the moon in the sky, like the god Varuna in the waters of the deep, or like the evening cloud or rising moon. 18 There was the reflection of the sun in the pupils of his eyes, just as the sun reflects on the surface of water or on a mirror or bright gem. The fire of his faith blazed serenely deep within his eyes. 19 Shortly, this blaze of light disappeared from the court, just as the light of a lamp is blown away by the breath of wind, or as the colors of evening clouds vanish under the shade of night.

20 Then the man stood in the hall as plainly as the idol of a deity is seen to stand in a ruined temple, or as an actor is seen behind the scene without his dress. 21 He stood silently holding prayer beads in his hand, his sacred thread hanging down a chain of gold about his neck. He wore a robe of pure white bleached by the fiery heat. He appeared like the bright moon rising before the assembly.

22 On seeing the brightness of his body and clothing, the courtiers all and everyone cried out saying, “O, such radiance (bha)!” Because he shines (bhasa) as brightly as daylight, everyone called him “Bhasa”. 23 The courtiers also confirmed it by saying, “Because he is as bright as brightness itself, let him be called Bhasa,” which name he bore ever afterwards.

24 He sat in the hall in his meditative mood and remembered all the incidents of his past life and former body. 25 The assembly was struck with wonder and remained quite motionless and speechless, absorbed in thought as Bhasa reflected upon the adventures of his past life. 26 Then after a short while, the king rose from his reflections. He advanced towards the assembly under his newly obtained title of Bhasa, the light. 27 He first advanced towards Vasishta and saluted him with delight, saying, “I bow down, sage, before you, as the giver of my life and light of knowledge of myself.”

28 Vasishta raised him by touching his head with his hand, saying “May your protracted ignorance, O prince, disappear this day and forever after.

29 “Victory to Rama,” said Bhasa, and bowed down to King Dasharata who, rising a little from his seat, approached him smilingly.

30 Dasharata said, “You are welcome, O prince! Be seated on this seat. You have wandered through many difficulties of the world. Now take your rest here.”

31 Valmiki related:—

Thus approached by the king, the prince now bearing the name of Bhasa, after making his salutations to the venerable sages Vishwamitra and others, took his seat on a cushion. 32 Dasharata exclaimed, “O the pains that Vipaschit has so long undergone under the bondage of Ignorance, like a wild elephant tied by his feet in fetters by ruthless huntsmen. 33 O to what miseries is man exposed owing to his lack of precise understanding, and by his false knowledge of the reality of these worlds seen revolving in empty shape. 34 How wonderful are these worlds, so extensive and remote, through which Vipaschit has traversed, and how incredible are the pains through which he has passed for so long. 35 O how wonderful is the nature and glory of the empty Intellect of the empty spirit of the Supreme that exhibits the blank thoughts of his all comprehensive mind in empty air as substantial ones.