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.
एवम् उक्तो वसिष्ठेन विश्वामित्रो महाबलः |
आग्नेयम् अस्त्रम् उत्क्षिप्य तिष्ठ तिष्ठ इति च अब्रवीत् || १-५६-१
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]
ब्रह्मदण्डम् समुद्यंय काल दण्डम् इव अपरम् |
वसिष्ठो भगवान् क्रोधात् इदम् वचनम् अब्रवीत् || १-५६-२
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]
क्षत्र बन्धो स्थितो अस्मि एष यद् बलम् तद् विदर्शय |
नाशयामि अद्य ते दर्पम् शस्त्रस्य तव गाधिज || १-५६-३
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]
क्व च ते क्षत्रिय बलम् क्व च ब्रह्म बलम् महत् |
पश्य ब्रह्म बलम् दिव्यम् मम क्षत्रिय पांसन || १-५६-४
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]
तस्य अस्त्रम् गाधि पुत्रस्य घोरम् आग्नेयम् उत्तमम् |
ब्रह्म दण्डेन तत् शांतम् अग्नेः वेग इव अंभसा || १-५६-५
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]
वारुणम् चैव रौद्रम् च ऐन्द्रम् पाशुपतम् तथा |
ऐषीकम् च अपि चिक्षेप रुषितो गाधि नंदनः || १-५६-६
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.
मानवम् मोहनम् चैव गांधर्वम् स्वापनम् तथा |
जृंभणम् मदानम् चैव संतापन विलापने || १-५६-७
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]
शोषणम् दारणम् चैव वज्रम् अस्त्रम् सुदुर्जयम् |
ब्रह्म पाशम् काल पाशम् वारुणम् पाशम् एव च || १-५६-८
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]
पिनाकम् अस्त्रम् च दयितम् शुष्क आर्द्रे अशनी तथा |
दण्ड अस्त्रम् अथ पैशाचम् क्रौन्चम् अस्त्रम् तथैव च || १-५६-९
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]
धर्म चक्रम् काल चक्रम् विष्णु चक्रम् तथैव च |
वायव्यम् मथनम् चैव अस्त्रम् हय शिरः तथा || १-५६-१०
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]
शक्ति द्वयम् च चिक्षेप कंकालम् मुसलम् तथा |
वैद्याधरम् महाअस्त्रम् च कालास्त्रम् अथ दारुणम् || १-५६-११
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]
त्रिशूलम् अस्त्रम् घोरम् च कापालम् अथ कंकणम् |
एतानि अस्त्राणि चिक्षेप सर्वाणि रघु नंदन || १-५६-१२
वसिष्ठे जपताम् श्रेष्ठे तद् अद्भुतम् इव अभवत् |
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]
तानि सर्वाणि दण्डेन ग्रसते ब्रह्मणः सुतः || १-५६-१३
तेषु शांतेषु ब्रह्मास्त्रम् क्षिप्तवान् गाधि नंदनः |
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]
तत् अस्त्रम् उद्यतम् दृष्ट्वा देवाः स अग्नि पुरोगमाः || १-५६-१४
देव ऋषयः च संभ्रांता गंधर्वाः स महा उरगाः |
त्रैलोक्यम् आसीत् संत्रस्तम् ब्रह्मास्त्रे समुदीरिते || १-५६-१५
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]
तत् अपि अस्त्रम् महाघोरम् ब्राह्मम् ब्राह्मेण तेजसा |
वसिष्ठो ग्रसते सर्वम् ब्रह्म दण्डेन राघव || १-५६-१६
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]
ब्रह्म अस्त्रम् ग्रसमानस्य वसिष्ठस्य महात्मनः |
त्रैलोक्य मोहनम् रौद्रम् रूपम् आसीत् सुदारुणम् || १-५६-१७
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]
रोम कूपेषु सर्वेषु वसिष्ठस्य महात्मनः |
मरीच्य इव निष्पेतुः अग्नेः धूम आकुल अर्चिषः || १-५६-१८
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]
प्राज्वलत् ब्रह्म दण्डः च वसिष्ठस्य कर उद्यतः |
विधूम इव काल अग्निः यम दण्ड इव अपरः || १-५६-१९
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]
ततो अस्तुवन् मुनि गणा वसिष्ठम् जपताम् वरम् |
अमोघम् ते बलम् ब्रह्मन् तेजो धारय तेजसा || १-५६-२०
निगृहीतः त्वया ब्रह्मन् विश्वामित्रो महातपाः |
प्रसीद जपताम् श्रेष्ठ लोकाः सन्तु गत व्यथाः || १-५६-२१
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]
एवम् उक्तो महातेजाः शमम् चक्रे महातपाः |
विश्वामित्रो अपि निकृतो विनिःश्वस्य इदम् अब्रवीत् || १-५६-२२
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]
धिक् बलम् क्षत्रिय बलम् ब्रह्म तेजो बलम् बलम् |
एकेन ब्रह्म दण्डेन सर्व अस्त्राणि हतानि मे || १-५६-२३
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]
तत् एतत् समवेक्ष्य अहम् प्रसन्न इन्द्रिय मानसः |
तपो महत् समास्थास्ये यत् वै ब्रह्मत्व कारणम् || १-५६-२४
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
इति वाल्मीकि रामायणे आदि काव्ये बाल काण्डे षट् पंचाशः सर्गः
© Jan, 2003, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : December 04]
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