“Bhishma said, ‘Then upon the expiration of the great Kalpa, when thecelestial Purohita Vrihaspati was born in the race of Angiras, all thedeities became very happy. The words, Vrihat, Brahma, and Mahat all bearthe same sense. The celestial Purohita, O king came to be calledVrihaspati because he was endued with all these attributes. KingUparichara, otherwise called Vasu, became a disciple of Vrihaspati andsoon became the foremost of his disciples. Admitted as such, he began tostudy at the feet of his preceptor that science which was composed by theseven Rishis who were (otherwise) known by the name of Chitrasikhandins.With soul cleansed from all sorts of evil by sacrifices and otherreligious rites, he ruled the Earth like Indra ruling the Heaven. Theillustrious king performed a great Horse-sacrifice in which his preceptorVrihaspati became the Hota. The sons of Prajapati (Brahman) themselves,viz., Ekata, Dwita, and Trita, became the Sadasyas in thatsacrifice. There were others also who became Sadasyas in thatsacrifice, viz., Dhanusha, Raivya, Arvavasu, Parvavasu, the RishiMedhatithi, the great Rishi Tandya, the blessed Rishi Santi, otherwisecalled Vedasiras, the foremost of Rishis, viz., Kapila, who was thefather of Salihotra, the first Kalpa, Tittiri the elder brother ofVaisampayana, Kanwa, and Devahotra, in all forming sixteen. In that greatsacrifice, O monarch, all the requisite articles were collected. Noanimals were slain in it. The king had ordained it so. He was full ofcompassion. Of pure and liberal mind, he had cast off all desires, andwas well-conversant with all rites. The requisites of that sacrifice allconsisted of the products of the wilderness. The ancient God of gods(viz., Hari), became highly gratified with the king on account of thatsacrifice. Incapable of being seen by any one else, the great God showedhimself to his worshipper. Accepting by taking its scent, the shareoffered to him he himself took up the Purodasa. The great God tookup the offerings without being seen by any one. At this, Vrihaspatibecame angry. Taking up the ladle he hurled it with violence at the sky,and began to shed tears in wrath. Addressing king Uparichara hesaid,–Here, I place this as Narayana’s share of the sacrificialofferings. Without doubt, he shall take it before my eyes.
“Yudhishthira said, ‘In the great sacrifice of Uparichara, all thedeities appeared in their respective forms for taking their shares of thesacrificial offerings and were seen by all. Why is it that the puissantHari only acted otherwise by invisibly taking his share?’
“Bhishma continued, ‘When Vrihaspati gave way to wrath, the great kingVasu and all his Sadasyas sought to pacify the great Rishi. With coolheads, all of them addressed Vrihaspati, saying,–It behoveth thee not togive way to anger. In this Krita age, this anger to which thou hast givenway, should not be the characteristic of any one. The great deity forwhom the share of the sacrificial offerings was designed by thee, ishimself free from anger. He is incapable of being seen either byourselves or by thee, O Vrihaspati! Only he can see Him to whom Hebecomes gracious.–Then the Rishis Ekata, Dwita, and Trita, who were wellconversant with the science of morality and duties compiled by the sevenRishis, addressed that conclave and began the following narration.–Weare the sons of Brahman, begotten by a fiat of his will (and not in theordinary way). Once on a time we repaired to the north for obtaining whatis for our highest good. Having undergone penances for thousands of yearsand acquired great ascetic merit, we again stood on only one foot likefixed stakes of wood. The country where we underwent the austerest ofpenances, lies to the north of the mountains of Meru and on the shores ofthe Ocean of Milk. The object we had in mind was how to behold the divineNarayana in his own form. Upon the completion of our penances and afterwe had performed the final ablutions, an incorporeal voice was heard byus, O puissant Vrihaspati, at once deep as that of the clouds andexceedingly sweet and filling the heart with joy. The voice said,–YeBrahmanas, well have ye performed these penances with cheerful souls.Devoted unto Narayana, ye seek to know how ye may succeed in beholdingthat god of great puissance! On the northern shores of the Ocean of Milkthere is an island of great splendour called by the name of White Island.The men that inhabit that island have complexions as white as the rays ofthe Moon and that are devoted to Narayana. Worshippers of that foremostof all Beings, they are devoted to Him with their whole souls. They allenter that eternal and illustrious deity of a thousand rays. Theyare divested of senses. They do not subsist on any kind of food. Theireyes are winkless. Their bodies always emit a fragrance. Indeed, thedenizens of White Island believe and worship only one God. Go thither, yeascetics, for there I have revealed myself!–All of us, hearing theseincorporeal words, proceeded by the way indicated to the countrydescribed. Eagerly desirous of beholding Him and our hearts full of Him,we arrived at last at that large island called White Island. Arrivedthere, we could see nothing. Indeed, our vision was blinded by the energyof the great deity and accordingly we could not see Him. At this,the idea, due to the grace of the great God Himself, arose in our mindsthat one that had not undergone sufficient penances could not speedilybehold Narayana. Under the influence of this idea we once more setourselves to the practice of some severe austerities, suited to the timeand place, for a hundred years. Upon the completion of our vows, webeheld a number of men of auspicious features. All of them were white andlooked like the Moon (in colour) and possessed of every mark ofblessedness. Their hands were always joined in prayer. The faces of somewere turned towards the North and of some towards the East. They wereengaged in silently thinking on Brahma. The Yapa performed by thosehigh-souled persons was a mental yapa (and did not consist of the actualrecitation of any mantras in words). In consequence of their heartshaving been entirely set upon Him, Hari became highly pleased with them.The effulgence that was emitted by each of those men resembled, Oforemost of ascetics, the splendours which Surya assumes when the timecomes for the dissolution of the universe. Indeed, we thought that Islandwas the home of all Energy. All the inhabitants were perfectly equal inenergy. There was no superiority or inferiority there among them.We then suddenly beheld once more a light arise, that seemed to be theconcentrated effulgence of a thousand Suns, O Vrihaspati. Theinhabitants, assembling together, ran towards that light, with handsjoined in reverential attitude, full of joy, and uttering the one wordNamas (we bow thee!) We then heard a very loud noise uttered by all ofthem together. It seemed that those men were employed in offering asacrifice to the great God. As regards ourselves, we were suddenlydeprived of our senses by his Energy. Deprived of vision and strength andall the senses, we could not see or feel anything. We only heard aloud volume of sound uttered by the assembled inhabitants. Itsaid,–Victory to thee, O thou of eyes like lotus-petals! Salutations tothee, O Creator of the universe! Salutations to thee, O Hrishikesa, Oforemost of Beings, O thou that art the First-born! Even this was thesound we heard, uttered distinctly and agreeably to the rules oforthoepy. Meanwhile, a breeze, fragrant and pure, blew, bearingperfumes of celestial flowers, and of certain herbs and plants that wereof use on the occasion. Those men, endued with great devotion, possessedof hearts full of reverence, conversant with the ordinances laid down inthe Pancharatra, were then worshipping the great deity with mind, word,and deed. Without doubt, Hari appeared in that place whence thesound we heard arose. As regards ourselves, stupefied by His illusion, wecould not see him. After the breeze had ceased and the sacrifice had beenover, our hearts became agitated with anxiety, O foremost one of Angira’srace. As we stood among those thousands of men all of whom were of puredescent, no one honoured us with a glance or nod. Those ascetics, all ofwhom were cheerful and filled with devotion and who were all practisingthe Brahma-frame of mind, did not show any kind of feeling for us.We had been exceedingly tired. Our penances had emaciated us. At thattime, an incorporeal Being addressed us from the sky and said unto usthese words–These white men, who are divested of all outer senses, arecompetent to behold (Narayana). Only those foremost of regenerate personswhom these white men honoured with their glances, become competent tobehold the great God. Go hence, ye Munis, to the place whence yehave come. That great Deity is incapable of being ever seen by one thatis destitute of devotion. Incapable of being seen in consequence of hisdazzling effulgence, that illustrious Deity can be beheld by only thosepersons that in course of long ages succeed in devoting themselves whollyand solely to Him. Ye foremost of regenerate one, ye have a great duty toper-form. After the expiration of this the Krita age, when the Treta agecomes in course of the Vivaswat cycle, a great calamity will overtake theworlds. Ye Munis, ye shall then have to become the allies of the deities(for dispelling that calamity).–Having heard these wonderful words thatwere sweet as nectar, we soon got back to the place we desired, throughthe grace of that great Deity. When with the aid of even such austerepenances and of offerings devoutly given in sacrifices, we failed to havea sight of the great Deity, how, indeed, can you expect to behold Him soeasily? Narayana is a Great Being, He is the Creator of the universe. Heis adorned in sacrifices with offerings of clarified butter and otherfood dedicated with the aid of Vedic mantras. He has no beginning and noend. He is Unmanifest. Both the Deities and the Danavas worshipHim.–Induced by these words spoken by Ekata and approved by hiscompanions, viz., Dwita and Trita, and solicited also by the otherSadasyas, the high-minded Vrihaspati brought that sacrifice to acompletion after duly offering the accustomed adorations to the Deities.King Uparichara also, having completed his great sacrifice, began to rulehis subjects righteously. At last, casting off his body, he ascended toheaven. After some time, through the curse of the Brahmanas, he fell downfrom those regions of felicity and sank deep into the bowels of theEarth. King Vasu, O tiger among monarchs, was always devoted to the truereligion. Although sunk deep into the bowels of the Earth, his devotionto virtue did not abate. Ever devoted to Narayana, and ever recitingsacred mantras having Narayana for their deity, he once more ascended toheaven through Narayana’s grace. Ascending from the bowels of the Earth,king Vasu in consequence of the very highest end that he attained,proceeded to a spot that is even higher than the region of Brahmanhimself.'”