Chapter 134 — The Story of the Carcass Continued: Goddess and Demons Devour It; Celestials Lament the Loss

Vipaschit (Bhasa) continued:—

All this time I was looking at the carcass that had fallen from above and covered the whole surface of the earth under it. I distinguished that part of the body that was the belly. Inside it the whole earth, with all its seven continents and immeasurable mountain, was hidden. Then the god of fire told me that there was no limit to its arms or thighs or the extent of its head, and that it had fallen from beyond Lokaloka Mountain, which is inaccessible to mankind.

The goddess who is so much praised by the celestials is the manifestation of emptiness. She appeared in the sky with a dry and lean body. She is represented as accompanied by vetala and dakini spirits. She was followed by demons and demons that walk in her retinue and shine like stars and meteors in the night sky. Her long and muscular arms stretched to the skies like the tall pines of the forest. Her eyeballs flashed with living fire and scattered sunbeams all around. She brandished weapons in her hands that jangled in the sky. Her missiles darted like flocks of birds flying from their aerial nests. Her flaming body and flashing eyes and limbs glistened with the glare of dry reeds set on fire, or like the sparkling of a flight of arrows midway in the air. Her glittering teeth shed the light of the beaming moon and brightened the faces of the four quarters of heaven with a milk white splendor. Her tall slender stature reached and touched the sky.

10 She stood without any support, like clouds stretched over the evening sky. She was mounted on a dead body as if she were resting on the blessed seat of Brahma. 11 She shone in her brilliant form like the crimson clouds of evening. She added the burning blaze of an undersea fire to the ocean of the ethereal expanse. 12 She flaunted her decorations of human skeleton and bones. She was swinging her weapons of the club and others, darting her arrows all around like a mountain scatters its flowers all about. 13 She flew into the air with her necklace of human skulls sounding with a harsh clattering noise that resembled the rattling of stones falling down a mountain with the rains.

14 The gods then prayed to her saying, “O Mother Goddess, we make an offering of this carcass to you. Please join with your adherents, take this corpse for your food and make an end of it.” 15 Upon this prayer of the gods, the goddess with her inhaling breath began to draw the blood and core of the carcass into her bowels and intestines. 16 As the goddess was absorbing the dead blood by breathing it in, the red fluid rushed into her wide open month, like the entrance of the evening clouds into the cavity of the western mountain. 17 The ethereal goddess drank the blood drawn in by her breath. Her lean skeleton-like frame grew fat from being well fed. She stood acknowledged in her form of the goddess Chandika.

18 Being thus filled and fattened by full drinks of the bloody drink, she had the appearance of a blood red cloud with flashing lightning shooting from her eyes. 19 The pot bellied goddess, giddy with her bloody drink, became loose in her dress. She began to move her ornaments and swing all her weapons in the empty air. 20 She began to dance and toss about in the air which was almost filled by the bulk of her body. Meanwhile the gods kept watching her movements from their seats on distant mountains.

21 Immediately upon this, the whole host of her female ghosts and demons, composed of rupikas and others, flew upon the carcass, just as rain clouds alight upon mountains. 22 The mountainous carcass was grabbed by the clutches of kumbhandas and torn to a thousand pieces. Meanwhile, the rupikas pierced its belly and the yakshas gored its back with their elephantine tusks. 23 But they could not get or break its arms, shoulders or thighs because these members of its body stretched far beyond the limits of the solar system. 24 Therefore they could not be reached by the ghosts who are confined within the limits of this world. They could not go beyond where those parts rotted away of themselves.

25 As the goddess was dancing in the air and her demons were prancing over the carcass, the celestials remained sitting on mountain tops looking on this dreadful scene. 26 They saw disgusting morsels of putrid flesh. The stench of the rotten carcass filled the air and blood red clouds shrouding the scene. It seemed like burning bushes forming the fuel of the furnace. 27 The chopping of fetid flesh raised a sap-sap sound. The breaking of its hard bones sent forth a kat-kat noise. 28 The gathering of demons caused a clashing sound like the impacts of rocks and mountains colliding against one another.

29 The goddess devoured mouthfuls of flesh roasted in the fire that flashed forth from her mouth. Waste material and fragments fell down and covered the earth below with filth. Meanwhile, drops of blood from the draughts she drank reddened the sky with tints of vermilion color. 30 The celestial spectators saw a universal ocean of blood within the visible horizon over the surface of the continents of the earth. 31 All the mountains on earth were covered with blood that reflected their redness to the cloud on high. It gave the appearance of a red covering veil spreading over the faces of the female regent deities of all sides of heaven.

32 The sky below blazed with the flash of weapons waving all around in the hands of the goddess. There was no trace of any city or house to be seen on earth. 33 It was an incredible sight to see. All the moving and unmoving objects of nature were absorbed into the bodies of the ghosts of insatiable death. 34 Dancing demons were waving their arms in air as if they were weaving nets to snare birds. They were lifting and dropping them up and down as if measuring the height and depth of the sky. 35 They stretched out the victim’s entrails from the earth below to the circle of the sun above. They appeared to measure the distance with lines and cords.

36 The gods saw the earth endangered by the ominous carcass, its surface converted to an ocean of blood. 37 They felt dismayed and distressed sitting in their seats on Lokaloka Mountain beyond the boundary of the seven continents where the stench of the putrid carcass could not reach their nostrils.

38 Rama asked, “How is it sage, that the stench of the carcass could not reach the gods in their seats on Lokaloka Mountain when the dead body is said to extend even beyond the limits of the mundane system?”

39 Vasishta replied:—

It is true, O Rama, that the dead body stretched beyond the limits of the mundane sphere, but its belly lay within the boundaries of seven continents and its head, thighs and feet extended beyond. 40 But from its breasts, two sides and its loins and waist, which lay out of this sphere, one could have a clear view of the polar circle, as well as that of its mountainous top. 41 Sitting in those parts and places, the gods could well see the peaks of the mountain which were surely bright to sight, and as white as the rainless clouds of the skies.

Presumably, Bhasa continues:—

42 Then the Matris (mother goddesses) of heaven danced on the wide spread dead body. Meanwhile hosts of ghosts devoured the flesh as the corpse lay with its face turned downwards. 43 Seeing streams of reddish blood running around and the putrid stink of rotten body spreading on all sides, the gods all felt sorrowful at heart and grieved among themselves, exclaiming as follows:

The gods lament:—

44 Ah alas! Where has the earth disappeared with all the bodies of waters upon her? Where have all those multitudes of men fled, and where are the mountains swept away from its surface? 45 Alas for those forests of sandal, mandara and kadamba woods which had so ornamented the earth! What sorrow for the flower gardens and the happy groves of the Malaya Mountains! 46 Where are those uplands of the lofty and gigantic snowy mountains of the Himalayas which now appear to be reduced by anger to lurid clay with the red hot blood of the bloody ghost of the carcass? 47 Even the gigantic kalpa trees that grew below the Krauncha Mountains in Krauncha Continent, trees which had spread their branches up to reach the world of Brahmaloka, are now reduced to dirt.

48 O you lordly Milky Ocean, where are you now? You had produced the moon and the goddess Lakshmi from your bosom. In the past you yielded the parijata flower and the celestial nectar of the gods. 49 O you Ocean of Curd, what has become of you who was full with waving forests of billows rising as high as mountains, carrying sweet butter with their foaming froth? 50 O you sweet Sea of Honey, bordered by mountains studded with coconut trees whose fruit gave sweet liquor for the drink of goddesses, where have you and they fled?

51 O Krauncha Continent that did abound in kalpa trees inseparably clasped by twining ivy of golden color, say, where have you hidden with your towering Krauncha Mountain? 52 O Pushkara Continent, where are you now with your clear fountains, always decorated with beds of lotus bushes where the silvery swans of Brahma used to play? 53 O, where have your kadamba groves gone, with their outstretched branches on all sides, whose sheltered coverings were frequented by aerial apsara nymphs for their secluded amusements?

54 O where has Gomedha Continent gone with its springs of sweet waters, and flowery gardens by its holy places? Where are those valleys beautified by kalpa trees and their golden creepers? 55 Ah, where is Saka Continent with its forests of heavenly evergreen trees? The very memory of them raises a sense of holiness and sensations of heavenly bliss. 56 Ah! Where are those tender plants that waved their leaves at the gentle breeze? Where are those blooming flowers that had brightened the scene all around? 57 The devastation of all these beautiful landscapes fills our minds with pity and grief. We do not know how much more piteous and painful it must be to the majority of mankind.

58 Ah, when shall we again see sugar-cane fields by the sea of sugar waters and hardened sugar candy on the dry lands about? When shall we see candy made of molasses and confectionary dolls of sugar? 59 When shall we again sit on our golden seats on Mount Meru and see the merry dance of beautiful apsaras daubed with sandal paste in their palm and tamara tree grooves, blown by the cooling breeze of kadamba and kalpa trees on woodland mountains?

60 Ah, we remember the memorable Jambuvati River flowing with the sweet juice of jambu fruit, passing through Jambu Continent to its boundary ocean. 61 “I often remember,” said one, “the giddy song and dance of celestial apsaras in the thick and shady groves of sailendra trees and in the shelter of mountains beside the heavenly stream. It tears my heart. like the lotus flower as it opens its petals in the morning.”

62 Another one said, “Look at this ocean of blood, sparkling like melted gold on the top of the golden mountain of Meru, brightening the beams of the rising and setting sun, or as moonbeams spread over the face of all sides of heaven.”

63 Alas, we know not where the earth has gone, with all her encircling oceans about the continents. Nor do we know where that high hill of Himalaya has fled, which was the resort of many rainy clouds and yielded lotus flowers on its summit. 64 We do not know where those rivers, forests and groves which had decorated the earth have gone. We have pity for the cities and villages and their people that are now seen no more.