Chapter 200 — Loud Applause for the Sage’s Speech

Valmiki continued:—

Upon completion of the holy sermon on nirvana, a loud commotion arose outside the court which put a stop to the sage continuing any discourse. The entire audience in the court hall was immersed in a state of steadfast trance, settled attentive in the Supreme. The faculties of their mind were quite clear and their workings at rest. The entire audience, on hearing the lecture on the investigation after consciousness, became passengers on the raft of existence and they all gained salvation.

Immediately a loud chorus of applause arose from the mouths of emancipated sages and spiritual masters dwelling in the upper regions of the skies. The vault of heaven was filled with the acclamations of praise for the venerable sage. Shouts of praise also arose from the holy sages seated in the assembly, including Vishwamitra, the son of Gadhi, who sat at their head. A swelling sound filled the face of the four quarters of the sky, just as blasts of wind fills the hollows of withered bamboo in the forest, making them resound with a soft sweet melody. Next arose a flourish of trumpets from the celestials, mingling with the praises of the spiritual masters, which rumbled together and resounded loudly amidst the hollow caves of distant mountains and valleys.

Along with the fanfare of celestial trumpets, showers of flowers fell from above like cascades of snow covering all sides of heaven. Flowers were scattered over the floor of the court hall and the fanfare of drums filled the mouths of hollow caves. Flying dust covered the face of the sky and the rising smell of after rain were carried upon the wings of winds everywhere. 10 Then there was a mingled rumble of shouts of applause and the sound of heavenly trumpets joined with the whistle of hissing showers of flowers and the rustling of the winds all about.

11 The courtiers looked around with uplifted faces and eyes, struck with wonder and surprise. The beasts all about the palace and in the parks remained amazed at the event with ears uplifted. 12 Women and children inside sat staring with wonder-stricken eyes. Princes sitting in the court hall looked astonished at one another with smiling faces.

13 The face of the sky became exceedingly brightened by falling showers of flowers from above. The great vault of the world was filled with the hissing sound of falling rain. 14 Showers of flowers and drizzling raindrops with their hissing sounds gave a festive appearance to the royal palace. 15 Not only the palace, but all places in the worlds seemed to celebrate their festive joy, tossing flower garlands and joining with the celestial music. 16 The shouts of spiritual masters and their utterances of joy rolled and growled high in the upper sky as rolling billows and bellowing waves howled in the depth of the ocean.

17 After the commotion of heavenly hosts subsided, the following words from the spiritual masters above were heard uttered in an audible and distinct voice. 18 The spiritual masters (siddhas) said, “Since time first began, we have listened to thousands of sermons in the assembly of spiritual masters on the means of attaining liberation. But never before have we heard a lecture so impressive on the mind as this last lecture of the sage. 19 We see children and women and brute creatures, together with creeping and crawling animals, all enrapt by this soothing speech which will doubtless enrapture its readers and hearers in the future. 20 The sage has used every argument and example to rouse Rama to his bliss. It is doubtful whether he has ever shown such affection even to his wife Arundhati.”

21 “Hearing this lecture on liberation, even brute beasts and birds became emancipated from the burden of their base bodies. As for men, they altogether forget the nets of their bodies in their embodied state. 22 Our drink of these nectar drops of divine knowledge through the vessels of our ears has not only satisfied our appetite for wisdom, but renewed our understanding and added a fresh beauty to our spiritual bodies.”

23 On hearing these words of the heavenly host of spiritual masters, the citizens of Ayodhya were struck with wonder and looked upward with open eyes. Then, as they cast their looks below, they saw the surface of the court hall scattered with flowers and lotuses falling in showers from above. 24 They saw heaps of mandara and other celestial flowers piled to the roof of the lofty hall. They saw the courtyard covered with blossoming plants and vines and with garlands of flowers without space between. 25 The surface of the ground was covered with blossoms of parijata plants. Thick clouds of santanaka flowers covered the heads and shoulders of the assembled people in the court. 26 The saffron flowers of yellow sandalwood hung over the jeweled crowns of princes like an awning of rain clouds spread over the glittering ceiling lights of the assembly hall.

27 Seeing these events in the court, all the people repeatedly shouted with loud applause, talking with one another of this and that as befitted the solemnity of occasion. 28 They adored the sage by prostrating their bodies and limbs, offering him their obeisance with offerings of handfuls of flowers. 29 After the loud sounds of applause had somewhat settled down, the king also rose and prostrated himself and worshipped the sage, offering a tray of presents and flower wreaths held in his hands.

30 Dasharata said, “By your teachings, O husband of Arundhati, I was released from my mortal frame and gained the transcendent knowledge which filled my soul and joined it with the supreme essence in perfect bliss. 31 I think we have nothing in this earth or with the gods in heaven which is worthy enough to be given as a proper offering in your adoration. 32 Yet I beg you to ask something in order to free myself of my duty to you, and to render my services to you and have them prove effectual to me. I hope you will not be irritated at what I am saying. 33 I adore you with my queens and my wealth in both worlds, together with all my dominions and servants. 34 All my possessions are yours, so my lord, take them as yours and make them part of your hermitage. Please dispose of these as you please or use them as you like.”

35 Vasishta replied, “Know, O great king, that we brahmins are pleased with the mere obeisance of people. We are truly satisfied receiving reverence from men, and this you have already done and shown to me. 36 You know how to rule the earth. Therefore its sovereignty is suitable to you. You cannot give an example of any brahmin who has ever reigned as a king. Therefore keep what is yours and prosper.”

37 Dasharata answered, “What is this insignificant realm to me, which I am ashamed to call and own as mine? It cannot lead me to the knowledge of its true lord. Therefore lead me to this knowledge so I may clearly and truly know the most high.”

38 Valmiki relates:—

As the king was saying this, Rama rose from his seat and threw handfuls of flowers on the sacred body of his preceptor. Then lowly bowing before him, he addressed him as follows. 39 “Venerable sage, as you have made the king speechless by telling him that you are pleased with mere obeisance of men, so I am taught to wait here with my simple prostration at your venerable feet.” 40 Saying so, Rama bowed his head down lowly at the feet of his guide, then scattered a handful of flowers on his pure body, just like trees on mountain sides sprinkle their dew at the foot of the mountain. 41 Then the pious prince repeatedly bowed in reverence to his venerable preceptor, while his lotus-like eyes were filled with the tears of his inner joy and piety.

42 Next rose the brother princes of Dasharata’s royal race, namely Bharata, Satrughna and Lakshman, together with their equals in friends and kindred relations. They all advanced to the sage and bowed down to him with respectful reverence. 43 The other chiefs and nobles and regents who sat in their order at a distance, together with saints, sages and the priest at large, rose in groups from their seats and paid their homage to the sage, flinging handfuls of flowers upon him. 44 At this point, the sage was almost covered and hidden under heaps of flowers poured upon him from all sides, just like the snowy Himalaya Mountains are wrapped and concealed under the snow.

45 After the clamorous sounds and exuberances of the assembly was over and the loud ringing sounds of their hailing had ended, Vasishta remembered what he had said to the assembled sages, sharing with them the truth of his doctrines and removing the doubts of his audience regarding the miracles he had effected. 46 Then with both arms he shoved heaps of flowers from his sides revealing his fair face, as if the moon had appeared from behind hoary clouds. 47 There followed a hush over the flourish of the trumpets and a silence upon the fanfare of applauses. The falling of flowers was at a stop and the murmur of spiritual masters above ceased with the noise of the assemblage below. 48 After the princes and assembled nobles had made their obeisance and greetings, there was a calm stillness in the assembly, like a lull in the atmosphere after a storm.

49 Then the chief of sages, Vasishta, having heard the applause poured upon him from all sides, spoke softly from the unblemished purity of his soul to the royal sage Vishwamitra. 50 “Hear me, O sage who is the lotus of the princely race of Gadhi, and you other sages who are assembled here, namely Vamadeva, Nimi, Kruta, Bharadwaja, Pulastya, Atri, Narada, Ghrishti and Sandilya, and 51 also you sages Bhasa, Bhrigu, Bharanda, Vatsa and Vatsayana, together with all others now assembled here who have had the patience to listen to my unworthy discourse 52 with your well known graciousness to me. Please point out to me whatever you have found to be meaningless or unintelligible or ambiguous in my discourse.”

53 The audience responded, “O venerable sage, we have never heard or marked a single word in your spiritual and divine discourse that is meaningless or unintelligible to anybody. 54 We confess that whatever foulness was inbred in our natures by our repeated births in this sinful world has all been cleansed out by your holy lecture, just as the alloy in gold is burnt away by purifying fire. 55 O sage, our minds are as expanded by your divine sermon like blue lotus buds are opened to bloom by the cold and ambrosial beams of moonlight. 56 We all bow down to you, O chief of sages, as our best guide in divine knowledge and the giver of true wisdom with regard to all things in nature.”

57 Valmiki relates:—

The sages hailed and bowed down to Vasishta again. Their united applause for him rose as high as the loud roar of raining clouds. 58 Then the speechless spiritual masters again poured down showers of flowers from above which covered the sage’s body like the clouds of winter cover rocks under ice and snow. 59 Afterwards, the intelligent and learned men in the court praised King Dasharata and Rama saying that the four princes were no other than the fourfold incarnation of the god Vishnu himself.

60 The spiritual masters said, “We hail the four princes of Dasharata’s line who are the fourfold forms of the self incarnate Vishnu, quite liberated from the bonds of flesh in these their living states of humanity. 61 We hail King Dasharata as having the mark of sovereignty over the whole world that extends to the limits of the four oceans and lasts forever with his race. 62 We hail sage Vasishta who is as bright as the sun and stands at the head of the whole host of sages, and also the royal sage Vishwamitra of renowned fame and dignity. 63 It is through their means that we have had this fair opportunity to hear this divine discourse, so full of knowledge and filled with reason that it serves to dispel the great gloom of error at once.”

64 So saying the spiritual masters of heaven again let fall handfuls of flowers in showers, making the assembly look up to them in silence with uplifted eyes and gladdened minds. 65 Then there were greetings between the spiritual masters from above and the assembled people below. 66 At last the assembly broke with their respectful greetings to one another, accompanied with mutual offerings of flowers and salutations. The celestial and terrestrial, the great munis and sages, the pundits and brahmins, together with princes and nobles bade farewell to and took leave of one another.