Chapter 183 — Blessing and Curse Argue before Brahma; — the Blessings Bear Fruit in the Minds of the Brahmin Brothers

Kundadanta said:—

I asked the hermit of Gauri’s ashram, whose head was hoary with age, and whose hair resembled the dried blades of withered grass. “There are only seven continents on this earth. Then how could every one of the eight brothers become the sole lord of earth at the same time? How could a person who never left his house conquer the seven continents or govern them himself? How could they who had a reward on one hand and its opposite curse on the other, go either way? They are opposed to one another, like the cool shade of trees and the heat of sunshine. How can opposite qualities reside together at the same time? It is as impossible as the container and contained becoming the same thing.

The kadamba tree hermit replied:—

Listen, O holy man, as I relate the sequel of their tale and you will come to see the sequence of their contrary fates.

As for you two, you will reach your home after eight days from this place. There you will meet your relatives with whom you will live happily for some time. These eight brothers also, having joined with their families at home, will breathe their last in course of time. Their bodies will be burnt by their friends and relations. Then their conscious souls will remain separately in the air for a little while in a state of sluggishness, such as in the insensibility of sleep. 10 During this time their acts will appear in the empty space of their minds for the sake of receiving their punishment and justice. The blessings of gods and the curse of the sage will visit them at his time.

11 Their acts will appear in the shapes of the persons to whom they were done. The blessings and curse also will assume their particular forms in order to make their appearance before them. 12 The blessings will assume the forms of fair moon-bright bodies with four arms holding a lotus bud, a club and other weapons. 13 The curse will take the forms of Shiva with his three eyes, holding lance and mace in either hand and having a dark terrific body with an arrogant grim and frowning countenance.

14 The Blessings will boastingly say, “Be far away you accursed curse! It is now our time to work, as it is with the seasons to act their parts at their proper times.”

15 The Curse will say in his turn, “Be far away from here, you blessed blessings. Do not intrude upon my time. It will take effect like any one of the seasons. There is none capable of counteracting its wonted course.”

16 The Blessing will reply, “You, cursed curse, are only a creature of a human sage. But we are messengers of the god of day. Now as the first born god of light has preference over a human being, it is proper that we should have our precedence here.”

17 Upon the blessings saying so, the personified curse of the sage Durvasa became enraged and replied, “I am no less the creator of a god than you since we are born of the god Rudra by his wife Rudrani. 18 Rudra is the greatest of gods, and the sage was born with a portion of Rudra’s bravery.” Saying so, the accursed curse lifted its head as high as the exalted summit of a mountain.

19 On seeing the haughty high-headedness of the personification of curse, the personified image of the blessing smiled scornfully at him. He replied with a speech of well weighed words. 20 “O you criminal curse, leave your wickedness and think on the end of this affair. Think about what is to be done after we are done arguing. 21 We must go to the father of the gods to get a decision on this case. It is better if we go now as sooner or later he is the one to make the determination.”

22 On hearing these words from the personified blessing, the Curse replied, “Well, I agree to what you say. Even a fool cannot decline to accept a reasonable proposal.” 23 The Curse agreed to go with the divine Blessing to the home of Brahma because the wise always seek the company of great minded gods for answers to their questions. 24 Curse and Blessing kneeled down before Brahma and related all that had occurred between them. The god, on hearing the whole of both sides, replied in the following manner.

25 Brahma said, “Listen unto me, you masters of blessing and curse, and let him have precedence who is possessed of intrinsic merit and essence.” 26 Upon hearing this from the mouth of the great god, each entered into the heart of the other in order to estimate his understanding and discover his respective parts. 27 Having searched into the eternal essentialities of the other, and having known the other’s character, each returned before the presence of the god and implored him in turn.

28 The Curse said, “I am overcome, O lord of creatures, by my adversary. I have no internal merit in myself. I find the blessings of my foe are as sound and solid as a hard rock or a powerful thunderbolt. 29 But Blessings and I, being only intellectual beings, have no material body whatever to boast of at anytime.”

30 The Blessing replied, “The intellectual blessing given to the eight brahmins is here present before you, entrusted to my charge. 31 Each person’s body is the evolution of his intelligence. This body enjoys the consequence of the curse or blessing that is passed on according to his knowledge of it, whether his eating or drinking or his feeling in all his wanderings at all times and places. 32 In time, the blessings received strengthen in the recipient’ mind. At last, the blessing acting forcibly within one’s self overcomes the power and effect of the curse.”

33 “The gift of a blessing to a devotee becomes strong and effectual only when it is deeply rooted and duly fostered in one’s self. 34 Through continued culture of our conscious goodness and by the constant habit of thinking about the results of our boons, they become perfected in one’s self and convert their possessor to their form. 35 Only pure and remorseful conscience consummates one’s consciousness in time. But the impure conscience of the evil minded never finds any peace or tranquility. Therefore, the brahmins’ thoughts of the blessing took possession of their minds, and not the curse. The earlier one, though it be minute, takes priority over the latter, and there is no rule or force of pride to counteract this law.”

36 “Hence the gods’ blessings, being prior to the sage’s curse, must take precedence over the latter. In fact nothing would like to increase the impact of a curse. 37 But where both sides have equal force, both must have joint effect upon the same thing. So the curse and blessing joined together must remain like water mixed with milk. 38 The equal force of blessing and curse must produce a double or divided effect on the mind of man, just as a person dreaming of the fairy city thinks he has become one of its citizens.”

39 “Now pardon me, O lord for repeating the same truths which you previously have taught me. Permit me to take leave and depart for my place.” 40 Upon Blessing saying so, Curse felt ashamed and fled from the presence of the god, just as the ghosts and demons fly away when darkness is dispersed from the sky.

41 Then the other Blessing, the one that the departed ghosts would remain in the confines of their houses, came forward and presented itself before Brahma instead of Curse and began to plead his cause, as a substitute does for his dependent. 42 He said, “O lord of the gods, I do not know how human souls can fly over the seven continents of the earth after separation from their dead bodies. 43 I am the same blessing of the goddess who promised them dominion over the seven continents in their own house, and also their conquest of the whole earth. 44 Now tell me, O lord of the gods, how am I to restrain their spirits to the narrow limits of their own homes and, at the same time, confer the domain of the sevenfold earth to each of them?”

45 Brahma responded, “Hear me, O you Blessing of conferring the realms of the seven continents on each of them, and you Boon of detaining their departed spirits within the confines of their home. Both of you are successful in executing your respective purposes on them. 46 Now retire from here with full assurance that the delivered ghosts of these brothers will never depart from their present homes after their deaths, but will continue to live there forever with the belief of being lord of the seven regions of this earth. 47 After the loss of their frail bodies, their souls will remain a proper distances from each other. Each will consider himself as lord of the seven regions of earth, though dwelling in the empty air of their own homes. 48 How could there be the eight regions and seven continents of the earth, when to all appearance the surface of the earth is a flat level everywhere?”

Blessing asked, 49 “Tell us lord! Where are these different divisions of the earth situated? Where is of their petty home? Is it not as impossible for their small house to contain the wide earth as it is for a small lotus bud to hide an elephant?”

50 Brahma replied, “It should be quite evident to you as it is to ourselves that the universe is composed of only infinite emptiness. It can be contained within the hollow of the human heart or in a minute particle of the empty mind which contains all things in the manner of its dreams. 51 If the minute granule of their empty minds can contain the images of their houses and their domestic circles, why should it be impossible for them to compress the greater and lesser circle of this earth within their ample space?”

52 “After the death of a person, the world exhibits itself in the minute atom of his mind. This is only an empty mass of the visible and material world in its invisible and imaginary figure. 53 In this invisible particle of the mind, the world is seen in its abstract form within the precincts of the body in each person’s home. This earth appears drawn like on a map, with all its sevenfold continents and their contents. 54 Whatever manifests in the mind is only a mere mental conception inborn in the mind. In reality, there is no such thing as an extraneous or material world. The vacant mind presents these fanciful ideas of the world and everything else that is visible, just as the empty sky shows varieties of atmospheric appearances to our sight.”

55 Having learnt this abstract truth from the mouth of divine Brahma, personified Blessing who had conferred this reward upon the brahmin brothers abandoned his false conception of the material world and returned to the homes of the deceased brothers who had been released from the mistake of their mortal bodies. 56 Personified Blessing bowed down to the bounteous Brahma, then departing with speed, entered the room of the eight brother kings in his eightfold spiritual personality.

57 They saw the brothers in their respective homes, each sitting as the lord of the earth with its seven continents. Each one was occupied performing his sacrifices and enjoying his blessings, like eight lordly Manus for the whole period of a day of Brahma. 58 They were all friendly to each other, though unacquainted with the others respective dominions. Each was employed with his concerns with the world without clashing with the other’s authority over it.

59 One of them, handsome in the bloom of his youth, held his happy reign over the great city of Ujjain located in the precincts of his own house, or rather, in the boundaries of his own mind. 60 Another had his empire over the country of Sakadwipa where he settled to conquer the Naagas. He sails as a privateer over wide foreign seas, victorious on every side. 61 Another reigns secure in his capital of Kusadwipa conferring perfect security to his subjects from all dangers. Like a hero who has conquered his enemies, he rests in peace on the bosom of his beloved. 62 One of the brothers indulges himself playing with the celestial vidyadhari nymphs, skimming over the waters of the lakes on mountain tops, and in the gushing waterfalls on mountain sides. 63 Another is engaged these eight days conducting his horse sacrifice in his royal palace at Kraunchadwipa, which he has greatly increased with gold collected from other continents. 64 Another is occupied waging a battle in Salmali Continent where his war elephants have assembled and have been uprooting the boundary mountain from their bases with robust tusks. 65 The monarch of Gomedha Continent, who had been the eighth and last of the brahmin brothers, was smitten with love for the princess of Pushkara Continent. He enlisted a large army to seize her in warfare. 66 The monarch of Pushkara Continent, who was also the master of the mountainous regions of Lokaloka, set out with his deputy to inspect the land of gold mines.

67 Thus every one of these brothers thought he is the lord of his respective province, just as his imagination portrayed himself in the region of his mind. 68 Blessings, having renounced their several forms and personalities, became united and one with the consciousness of the brahmins. They felt and saw whatever passed in them as if they were passing in themselves. 69 These brothers became and found in themselves what they had long been longing after. They attained their respective lordships over the seven regions of the earth, which they have continued to enjoy ever since to their heart’s content.

70 In this manner these men of enlarged understandings obtained what they sought in their minds through austere meditation and firm devotion to their purpose. So it is with the learned that they find everything beside them, whatever they are intent upon in their minds, through acting upon the same principle and using the proper means leading to that end.