Book I : Bala Kanda - The Youthful Majesties
Vashishta nullifies Vishvamitra's missiles just by his Brahma's baton. All missiles are defused when Vashishta consumed tghem. Vishvamitra launches the highest missile, namely Brahma-missile, which too is consumed by Vashishta, whereby the body of Vashishta becomes a Brahma missile and starts to emit radiation. Then, upon the prayer of gods and saints, Vashishta withdraws the effect of that missile. Vishvamitra on seeing this concludes that mere missiles are of no use and thus he embarks on a sublime ascesis for Brahma-hood.
evam ukto vasiṣhṭhena viśhvāmitro mahābalaḥ |
āgneyam astram utkṣhipya tiṣhṭha tiṣhṭha iti cha abravīt || 1-56-1
1. mahaabalaH vishvaamitraH = great-mighty, Vishvamitra; vasiSThena evam uktaH = by Vashishta, this way, spoken to; aagneyam astram utkSipya = fiery, missile, brandishing; tiSTha tiSTha = withstand, withstand [this missile]; iti abraviit ca = thus, said [challenged,] also.
"When Vashishta spoke in this way, the great-mighty Vishvamitra brandishing Fiery-missile challenged Vashishta saying, 'withstand this, withstand this..." Thus, sage Shataananda continued his narration of Vishvamitra's legend. [1-56-1]
brahmadaṇḍam samudyaṃya kāla daṇḍam iva aparam |
vasiṣhṭho bhagavān krodhāt idam vachanam abravīt || 1-56-2
2. bhagavaan vasiSThaH = reverential one, Vashishta; aparam kaala daNDam iva = the other, Terminator's, baton, like; brahma daNDam sam udyamya = Brahma's, baton, well, raising up; krodhaat idam vacanam abraviit = furiously, this, sentence, spoke.
"That reverential sage Vashishta then upraising his Brahma-baton, which is like the other baton of the Terminator, spoke this sentence furiously. [1-56-2]
kṣhatra bandho sthito asmi eṣha yad balam tad vidarśhaya |
nāśhayāmi adya te darpam śhastrasya tava gādhija || 1-56-3
3. kshatra bandhaH = oh, Kshatriya, meritless; eSa = this me; sthitaH asmi = staying, I am; yat balam = which, prowess - you have; tat vi darshaya = that, entirely, you display; gaadhi ja = oh, to Gaadhi, one born to - Vishvamitra; adya te darpam = now, your, vanity; tava shastrasya [darpam] = your, missile's, [vanity]; naashayaami = I will ruin.
" 'I am staying here only, you meritless Kshatriya, you may clearly display whatever prowess you have, oh, Gaadhi's son Vishvamitra, I will now ruin whatever vanity you or your missiles have. [1-56-3]
kva cha te kṣhatriya balam kva cha brahma balam mahat |
paśhya brahma balam divyam mama kṣhatriya pāṃsana || 1-56-4
4. kshatriya paansana = oh, Kshatriya, abased one; te kSatriya balam kva = your, Kshatriya's force [force of belligerence's,] where is; mahat brahma balam kva ca = supreme, Brahma's [sagacity's,] force, where is; mama divyam brahma balam pashya = my, seraphic, Brahma's [sagacity's,] strength, you watch.
" 'Where stands the force of belligerence when compared to the supreme force of sagacity, you abased Kshatriya, watch out for my strength of seraphic sagacity." So said Vashishta to Vishvamitra. [1-56-4]
tasya astram gādhi putrasya ghoram āgneyam uttamam |
brahma daṇḍena tat śhāṃtam agneḥ vega iva aṃbhasā || 1-56-5
5. tasya gaadhi putrasya = his, Gaadhi, son's; uttamam ghoram tat aagneyam astram = matchless, deadly, that, Fire, missile; [udyatam = projected, bolted]; ambhasaa agneH vega iva = by water, fire's, speed [rage,] as [silenced] with; brahma daNDena shaantam = by Brahma's, baton [of Vashishta,] that, is silenced.
"With his baton of Brahma Vashishta silenced that matchless and deadly Fiery-missile of Gaadhi's son, namely Vishvamitra, as a deluge of water silencing a rage of fire. [1-56-5]
vāruṇam chaiva raudram cha aindram pāśhupatam tathā |
aiṣhīkam cha api chikṣhepa ruṣhito gādhi naṃdanaḥ || 1-56-6
6. ruSitaH gaadhi nandanaH = rancorously, Gaadhi's, son; vaaruNam caiva = Varuna missile, also thus; raudram ca = Rudra missile, also; aindram = Indra missile; tathaa = like that; paashupatam = Paashupata missile; aiSiikam ca api = Ishiika, also, even; cikSepa = fusilladed.
Vishvamitra, the son of Gaadhi then rancorously fusilladed the missiles regulated by gods like Varuna, Rudra, Indra, Paashupata, and even a missile which is projectile through grass blade called Ishiika. [1-56-6]
The accounts of these missiles are narrated in chapters 27, 28 of this canto Bala, where Vishvamitra accords these very missiles to Rama. Hence, their details are not reiterated here but just catalogued.
mānavam mohanam chaiva gāṃdharvam svāpanam tathā |
jṛṃbhaṇam madānam chaiva saṃtāpana vilāpane || 1-56-7
7. maanavam mohanam caiva = Humane, Rager, also thus; gaandharvam svaapanam tathaa = Stupefier, Hypnotiser, thus; jR^imbhaNam maadanam caiva = Yawner, Intoxicator, also thus; santaapana vilaapane = Humidifier, Weep-inducer.
"Vishvamitra also launched missiles named Humane, Rager, Stupefier, Hypnotiser, Yawner, Intoxicator, also thus Humidifier, Weep-inducer. [1-56-7]
śhoṣhaṇam dāraṇam chaiva vajram astram sudurjayam |
brahma pāśham kāla pāśham vāruṇam pāśham eva cha || 1-56-8
8. shoSaNam daaraNam caiva = Drainer, Ripper, also thus; vajram astram su dur jayam = Thunderbolt, missile, highly, not, conquerable one; brahma paasham kaala paasham = Brahma's, lasso, Time's, lasso; vaaruNam paasham eva ca = Rain's, lasso, even, also.
"He also launched the missiles called Drainer and Ripper, and the highly unconquerable Thunderbolt, even the lassos of Brahma, Time and Rain-gods. [1-56-8]
pinākam astram cha dayitam śhuṣhka ārdre aśhanī tathā |
daṇḍa astram atha paiśhācham krauncham astram tathaiva cha || 1-56-9
9. pinaakam astram ca = Shiva's, missile, also; dayitam = Baffler [of gandharva-s]; shuSka aardre ashanii tathaa = Drier, Drencher, Bolter, like that; daNDa astram atha paishaacam = Punisher, missile, then, Monster; krauncam astram tathaiva ca = Wrester, missile, like that, also.
"Also missiles called Shiva, Monster, Punisher, Wrester and like that the Baffler, Bolter, Drier, Drencher are launched. [1-56-9]
dharma chakram kāla chakram viṣhṇu chakram tathaiva cha |
vāyavyam mathanam chaiva astram haya śhiraḥ tathā || 1-56-10
10. dharma cakram = Virtue, Disc; kaala cakram = Time, Disc; viSNu cakram tathaiva ca = Vishnu's, disc, like that, also; vaayavyam mathanam caiva = Blower, Stirrer, also thus; astram haya shiraH tathaa = missile, Horse, Head, like that.
"And he launched discs called the Discs of Virtue, Time and Vishnu and he also launched other missiles like the Blower, Stirrer and like that the missile with Horse-head. [1-56-10]
śhakti dvayam cha chikṣhepa kaṃkālam musalam tathā |
vaidyādharam mahāastram cha kālāstram atha dāruṇam || 1-56-11
11. shakti dvayam ca cikSepa = power, pair of [Power of Vishnu, and the Power of Rudra,] also, hurled; kankaalam musalam tathaa = Impeller, Crowbar, like that; vaidyaadharam mahaaastram ca = Staggerer, great missile, also; kaala astram atha daaruNam = Time, missile, then, lethal one.
"A pair of powers are launched, namely Power of Vishnu and the Power of Rudra, like that the Impeller, Crowbar, and a great missile called Staggerer, and then he launched the lethal missile of the Time. [1-56-11]
triśhūlam astram ghoram cha kāpālam atha kaṃkaṇam |
etāni astrāṇi chikṣhepa sarvāṇi raghu naṃdana || 1-56-12
vasiṣhṭhe japatām śhreṣhṭhe tad adbhutam iva abhavat |
12, 13a. raghu nandana = oh, Raghu's, descendent; etaani sarvaaNi astraaNi = these, all, missiles; atha = then; tri shuulam astram ghoram ca = Tri, pronged spear [Trident,] missile, deadly one, also; kaapaalam kankaNam = Skull, Torque; japataam shreSThe vasiSThe = among meditator's, best one, on Vashishta; cikSepa = triggered off; tat adbhutam iva abhavat = [all] that, spectacle, like, it became.
"Oh, Rama, the descendent of Raghu, Vishvamitra on triggering off all these missiles then he launched the deadly Trident, Skull and Torque missiles on Vashishta, and whole thing has became a spectacular display of Vishvamitra's arsenal. [1-56-12, 13a]
tāni sarvāṇi daṇḍena grasate brahmaṇaḥ sutaḥ || 1-56-13
teṣhu śhāṃteṣhu brahmāstram kṣhiptavān gādhi naṃdanaḥ |
13b, 14a. brahmaNaH sutaH = by Brahma's, son [Vashishta]; taani sarvaaNi = them [missiles,] all; daNDena grasate = by baton, consumed [defused]; teSu shaanteSu = they [missiles,] [when] silenced; gaadhi nandanaH = Gaadhi's, son [Vishvamitra]; brahma astram kSiptavaan = Brahma's, missile, touched off.
"Brahma's son Vashishta defused all of those missiles just with his baton and when all of them are thus silenced, Gaadhi's son Vishvamitra touched off Brahma's missile. [1-56-13b, 14a]
tat astram udyatam dṛṣhṭvā devāḥ sa agni purogamāḥ || 1-56-14
deva ṛṣhayaḥ cha saṃbhrāṃtā gaṃdharvāḥ sa mahā uragāḥ |
trailokyam āsīt saṃtrastam brahmāstre samudīrite || 1-56-15
14b, 15. udyatam tat astram dR^iSTvaa = uplifted [for launching,] that, missile, on seeing; sa agni purogamaaH = with, Fire-god, as their vanguard; devaaH = gods; deva R^iSayaH ca = godly, sages, also; sa mahaa uragaaH gandharvaaH = along with, great, reptiles, gandharva-s; sambhraantaa = are perplexed; brahma astre samudiirite = Brahma's, missile, while being launched; trailokyam = triad of worlds; sam trastam = highly, perturbed; [sam taptam = highly, burnt]; aasiit = became.
"When Vishvamitra brandished and set up Brahma missile for launching, seeing it all the gods keeping the Fire-god at their vanguard, godly sages, reptiles along with gandharva-s are perplexed, and the triad of worlds itself is perturbed. [1-56-14b, 15]
tat api astram mahāghoram brāhmam brāhmeṇa tejasā |
vasiṣhṭho grasate sarvam brahma daṇḍena rāghava || 1-56-16
16. raaghava = oh, Raghava; vasiSThaH braahmeNa tejasaa = Vashishta, with seraphic, resplendence [of his baton]; brahma daNDena = by Brahma's, baton; mahaa ghoram = deleteriously, destructive; tat braahmam astram api = that, Brahma, missile, even; sarvam grasate = completely, consumed.
"Even that deleteriously destructive Brahma's missile is completely consumed with the seraphic resplendence of Brahma-baton of Sage Vashishta. [1-56-16]
brahma astram grasamānasya vasiṣhṭhasya mahātmanaḥ |
trailokya mohanam raudram rūpam āsīt sudāruṇam || 1-56-17
17. brahma astram grasamaanasya = Brahma, missile, while being finished off; mahaatmanaH vasiSThasya ruupam = great-souled one, of Vashishta, appearance of; trailokya mohanam = for Tri-worlds, perplexing; raudram = appalling; su daaruNam aasiit = surely, petrifying, it became.
"The appearance of that great-souled Vashishta became appallingly perplexing when he is finishing off that Brahma missile as if to surely petrify the Tri-world. [1-56-17]
roma kūpeṣhu sarveṣhu vasiṣhṭhasya mahātmanaḥ |
marīchya iva niṣhpetuḥ agneḥ dhūma ākula archiṣhaḥ || 1-56-18
18. mahaatmanaH vasiSThasya = great-souled one, of Vashishta; sarveSu roma kuupeSu = from all, hair, pits; dhuuma aakula arciSaH = with fumes, rolling up, with radiated shafts; agneH mariicyaH = of radiation, beams [radiational beams]; niS petuH iva = out, fallen [ramified,] so to speak.
"From all of the pits of hair of that great-souled Vashishta ramified are the raditional beams and those radiated shafts are rolling up with the fumes of radiation, so to speak. [1-56-18]
prājvalat brahma daṇḍaḥ cha vasiṣhṭhasya kara udyataḥ |
vidhūma iva kāla agniḥ yama daṇḍa iva aparaḥ || 1-56-19
19. vasiSThasya kara udyataH = of Vashishta, by hand, upraised; brahma daNDaH ca = Brahma's, baton, also; vi dhuuma kaala agniH iva = without, fumes, Time's, inferno, as if; aparaH = another [or, earthly one]; yama daNDa iva = Yama, the Terminator's, baton, as if; praa jvalat = highly, glowing.
"The baton of Brahma gripped in his hand and upraised by Vashishta is highly glowing as if it is the fumeless inferno of Time, and as if it is the earthly baton of Yama, the Terminator. [1-56-19]
tato astuvan muni gaṇā vasiṣhṭham japatām varam |
amogham te balam brahman tejo dhāraya tejasā || 1-56-20
nigṛhītaḥ tvayā brahman viśhvāmitro mahātapāḥ |
prasīda japatām śhreṣhṭha lokāḥ santu gata vyathāḥ || 1-56-21
20. tataH = then; muni gaNaaH = saint's, assemblages; japataam varam vasiSTham astuvan = among meditators, the best, at Vashishta, have extolled; brahman = oh, Brahman; te balam amogham = your, prowess, is infallible; tejaH tejasaa dhaaraya = combustion, [with your own] combustive power, you bear; brahman = oh, Brahman; tvayaa = by you; mahaatapaaH vishvaamitraH nigR^ihiitaH = supreme ascetic, Vishvamitra, is forestalled; japataam shreSTha = oh, among meditators, the best; prasiida = be gracious; lokaaH gata vyathaaH santu = [let] worlds, with shooed away, anguish, survive.
"The assemblages of saints then extolled the best meditator Vashishta saying, 'oh, Brahman, infallible is your prowess, but bear this combustion of missile by your own combustive power. Though Vishvamitra is a supreme ascetic he is forestalled by you and your seraphic power, but this power of yours is equally anguishing all the worlds. Hence, let the worlds survive shooing away their anguish caused by your prowess. Oh, Brahman, be gracious, for you are the best among the best meditators...' So said saints to Vashishta. [1-56-20, 21]
evam ukto mahātejāḥ śhamam chakre mahātapāḥ |
viśhvāmitro api nikṛto viniḥśhvasya idam abravīt || 1-56-22
22. evam uktaH = thus, spoken to; mahaatejaaH mahaatapaaH = great-resplendent one, high-ascetic [Vashishta]; shamam cakre = composure, brooked; nikR^itaH vishvaamitraH api = estranged, Vishvamitra, but; vi niH shvasya = verily, out, breathing - suspiring heavily; idam abraviit = this, spoke [to himself.]
"When that great-resplendent Vashishta is spoken thus by saints and gods he composed himself, and then that estranged Vishvamitra spoke this to himself with heavy suspiration. [1-56-22]
dhik balam kṣhatriya balam brahma tejo balam balam |
ekena brahma daṇḍena sarva astrāṇi hatāni me || 1-56-23
23. kSatriya balam dhik = Kshatriya's, might, fie; brahma tejaH balam balam = Brahman's, resplendence's, might, is mightier; ekena brahma daNDena = with only one, Brahma's, baton; me sarva astraaNi hataani = my, all, missiles, defused.
" 'Fie upon the might of Kshatriya, mightier is the might of Brahman's resplendence, only with one baton of Brahma all of my missiles are defused. [1-56-23]
tat etat samavekṣhya aham prasanna indriya mānasaḥ |
tapo mahat samāsthāsye yat vai brahmatva kāraṇam || 1-56-24
24. tat = therefore; etat samavekSya = all thius, on analysing; aham prasanna indriya maanasaH = I, with, quietened, senses, heart; yat = which; brahmatva kaaraNam vai = Bahaman-hood, causative of, really; [tat = that]; mahat tapaH samaasthaasye = sublime, ascesis, I embark on.
" 'Therefore on analysing this matter, I with my heart and senses quietened will embark on a sublime ascesis which really will be the causative factor for according Brahma-Sage-hood.' So thought Vishvamitra..." Thus Sage Shataananda continued his narration of Vishvamitra's legend. [1-56-24]
brahmatva - brahaman-hood
Firstly the difference between a Brahmin and a Brahman may be differentiated, where a Brahmin is just by his birth in that caste and if he practises numerous ordeals he will attain Brahman-hood. Not all Brahmins are Brahmans and a real Brahman will not look back for his birth details.
Throughout this chapter Vashishta is called by Valmiki as japataam varaH, japataam shreSTaH and the like, only to remind us that Vashishta is an eminent meditator of Vedic hymns, all of which culminate into Gayatri hymn. Thus, Vashishta's only weapon is Gayatri hymn with which he subjugated all the arsenal of Vishvamitra. The fight between Vishvamitra and Vashishta is not just a fight between a sage and king, but between vidya - avidya; aatma vidya - anaatma vidya 'enlightenment and un-enlightenment...' An enlightened one does not spring up at any trivial inconvenience but becomes a horrid being, if that antagonistic assail becomes intolerable for living beings. This is the real essence and nature of a true Brahman, whose arsenal is just a wooden baton and heartfelt Gayatri hymn.
For this Bhagavad Gita says at Ch. 18, verse 42:
shamo damaH tapaH shaucamkShaantiH aarjavam eva ca |
j~naanam vij~naanam aastikyam braahmam karma svabhaavajam ||
'A Brahman's virtues, / Prince Born of his nature, are serenity / Self-mastery, religion, purity / Patience, uprightness, learning, and to know / The truth of things which be...' Sir Edwin Arnold.
Thus, Vashishta had never resorted to meaningless curses, menacing arsenal, mutinous retaliation but just swallowed the wrath of a wrathful king. This is brahmaNatva
iti vālmīki rāmāyaṇe ādi kāvye bāla kāṇḍe ṣhaṭ paṃchāśhaḥ sargaḥ
© Jan, 2003, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : December 04]