The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'Having spoken in this way (unto all things), the regenerate Rishi of austere penances, viz., Suka, stayed on his success casting off the four kinds of faults. Casting off also the eight kinds of Tamas, he dismissed the five kinds of Rajas. Endued with great intelligence, he then cast off the attribute of Sattwa. All this seemed exceedingly wonderful. He then dwelt in that eternal station that is destitute of attributes, freed from every indication, that is, in Brahma, blazing like a smokeless fire. Meteors began to shoot. The points of the compass seemed to be ablaze. The Earth trembled. All those phenomena seemed exceedingly wonderful. The trees began to cast off their branches and the mountains their summits. Loud-reports (as of thunder) were heard that seemed to rive the Himavat mountains. The sun seemed at that moment to be shorn of splendour. Fire refused to blaze forth. The lakes and rivers and seas were all agitated. Vasava poured showers of rain of excellent taste and fragrance. A pure breeze began to blow, bearing excellent perfumes. Suka as he proceeded through the welkin, beheld two beautiful summits, one belonging to Himavat and another to Meru. These were in close contact with each other. One of them was made of gold and was, therefore yellow; the other was white, being made of silver. Each of them, O Bharata, was a hundred yojanas in height and of the same measure in breadth. Indeed, as Suka journeyed towards the north, he saw those two beautiful summits. With a fearless heart he dashed against those two summits that were united with each other. Unable to bear the force, the summits were suddenly rent in twain. The sight they thereupon presented, O monarch, was exceedingly wonderful to behold. Suka pierced through those summits, for they were unable to stop his onward course. At this a loud noise arose in heaven, made by the denizens thereof. The Gandharvas and the Rishis also and others that dwelt in that mountain being rent in twain and Suka passing through it. Indeed, O Bharata, a loud noise was heard everywhere at that moment, consisting of the words--Excellent, Excellent!--He was adored by the Gandharvas and the Rishis, by crowds of Yakshas and Rakshasas, and all tribes of the Vidyadharas. The entire firmament became strewn with celestial flowers showered from heaven at that moment when Suka thus
pierced through that impenetrable barrier, O monarch! The righteous-souled Suka then beheld from a high region the celestial stream Mandakini of great beauty, running below through a region adorned by many flowering groves and woods. In these waters many beautiful Apsaras were sporting. Beholding Suka who was bodiless, those unclad aerial beings felt shame. Learning that Suka had undertaken his great journey, his sire Vyasa, filled with affection, followed him behind along the same aerial path. Meanwhile Suka, proceeding through that region of the firmament that is above the region of the wind displayed his Yoga-prowess and identified himself with Brahma. 1 Adopting the subtile path of high Yoga, Vyasa of austere penances, reached within the twinkling of the eye that spot whence Suka first undertook his journey. Proceeding along the same way, Vyasa beheld the mountain summit rent in twain and through which Suka has passed. Encountering the Island-born ascetic, the Rishis began to represent to him the achievements of his son. Vyasa, however, began to indulge in lamentations, loudly calling upon his son by name and causing the three worlds to resound with the noise he made. Meanwhile, the righteous-souled Suka, who had entered the elements, had become their soul and acquired omnipresence, answered his sire by uttering the monosyllable Bho in the form of an echo. At this, the entire universe of mobile and immobile creatures, uttering the monosyllable Bho, echoed the answer of Suka. From that time to this, when sounds are uttered in mountain-caves or on mountain-breasts, the latter, as if in answer to Suka still echo them (with the monosyllable Bho). Having cast off all the attributes of sound, etc., and showing his Yoga-prowess in the manner of his disappearance, Suka in this way attained to the highest station. Beholding that glory and puissance of his son of immeasurable energy, Vyasa sat down on the breast of the mountain and began to think of his son with grief. The Apsaras were sporting on the banks of the celestial stream Mandakini, seeing the Rishi seated there, became all agitated with grave shame and lost heart. Some of them, to hide their nudity, plunged into the stream, and some entered the groves hard by, and some quickly took up their clothes, at beholding the Rishi. (None of them had betrayed any signs of agitation at sight of his son). The Rishi, beholding these movements, understood that his son had been emancipated from all attachments, but that he himself was not freed therefrom. At this he became filled with both joy and shame. As Vyasa was seated there, the auspicious god Siva, armed with Pinaka, surrounded on all sides by many deities and Gandharvas and adored by all the great Rishis came thither. Consoling the Island-born Rishi who was burning with grief on account of his son, Mahadeva said these words unto him.--Thou hadst formerly solicited from me a son possessed of the energy of Fire, of Water, of Wind, and of Space; Procreated by thy penances, the son that was born unto thee was of that very kind. Proceeding from my
grace, he was pure and full of Brahma-energy. He has attained to the highest end--an end which none can win that has not completely subjugated his senses, nor can be won by even any of the deities. Why then, O regenerate Rishi, dost thou grieve for that son? As long as the hills will last, as long as the ocean will last, so long will the fame of thy son endure undiminished! Through my grace, O great Rishi thou shalt behold in this world a shadowy form resembling thy son, moving by the side and never deserting thee for a single moment!--Thus favoured by the illustrious Rudra himself, O Bharata, the Rishi beheld a shadow of his son by his side. He returned from that place, filled with joy at this. I have now told thee, O chief of Bharata's race, everything regarding the birth and life of Suka about which thou hadst asked me. The celestial Rishi Narada and the great Yogin Vyasa had repeatedly told all this to me in days of yore when the subject was suggested to him in course of conversation. That person devoted to tranquillity hears this sacred history directly connected with the topic of Emancipation is certain to attain to the highest end." 1
113:1 The Rishis knew that the height of the atmosphere is not interminable.
114:1 In this Section, Bhishma recites to Yudhishthira the fact of Suka's departure from this world, and Vyasa's grief at that occurrence. He speaks of the fact as one that had been related to him bygone times by both Narada and Vyasa himself. It is evident from this that the Suka who recited the Srimad Bhagavat to Parikshit, the grandson of Arjuna, could not possibly be the Suka who was Vyasa's son.
Next: Section CCCXXXV