Baala Kaanda - Sarga 56
The fight between Viṡwāmitra and Vasishṭha reaches its zenith in this Sarga. Viṡwāmitra hurls every single Astra that he got from Ṡiva at Vasishṭha. Vasishṭha swallows all of them through his Brahma Daṇḍa. In the end, Viṡwāmitra realizes that the strength of a Kshatriya is of no comparison to that of a Brāhmaṇa.
1.56.1
ஏவமுக்தோ வஸிஷ்டேந விஸ்வாமித்ரோ மஹாபல: ।
ஆக்நேயமஸ்த்ரமுத்க்ஷிப்ய திஷ்ட திஷ்டேதி சாப்ரவீத் ॥
ēvamuktō vasiṣṭhēna viṡvāmitrō mahābalaḥ ।
āgnēyamastramutkṣipya tiṣṭha tiṣṭhēti cābravīt ॥
When Vasishṭha said that, the mighty strong Viṡwāmitra
wielding Āgnēya Astra, retorted saying: "Hold on, you.."
1.56.2
ப்ரஹ்மதண்டம் ஸமுத்க்ஷிப்ய காலதண்டமிவாபரம் ।
வஸிஷ்டோ பகவாந் க்ரோதாதிதம் வசநமப்ரவீத் ॥
brahmadaṇḍaṃ samutkṣipya kāladaṇḍamivāparam ।
vasiṣṭhō bhagavān krōdhādidaṃ vacanamabravīt ॥
Then Bhagawan Vasishṭha wielding Brahma Daṇḍa,
that resembled the Kāla Daṇḍa, said angrily:
Kāla can mean time or Yama who puts an end to everything.
1.56.3
க்ஷத்ரபந்தோ ஸ்திதோऽஸ்ம்யேஷ யத்பலம் தத்விதர்ஸய ।
நாஸயாம்யத்ய தே தர்பம் ஸஸ்த்ரஸ்ய தவ காதிஜ ॥
kṣatrabandhō sthitō'smyēṣa yadbalaṃ tadvidarṡaya ।
nāṡayāmyadya tē darpaṃ ṡastrasya tava gādhija ॥
O wretched Kshatriya! Yes, I am here and will be here.
Show me your strength. O son of Gādhi!
I will put an end to your arrogance and to that of your Ṡastras!
1.56.4
க்வ ச தே க்ஷத்ரியபலம் க்வ ச ப்ரஹ்மபலம் மஹத் ।
பஸ்ய ப்ரஹ்மபலம் திவ்யம் மம க்ஷத்ரியபாம்ஸந ॥
kva ca tē kṣatriyabalaṃ kva ca brahmabalaṃ mahat ।
paṡya brahmabalaṃ divyaṃ mama kṣatriyapāṃsana ॥
O lowly Kshatriya! How dare you compare
the Kshatriya strength with the great Brāhmaṇic strength?
Now you shall see my amazing Brahmanic strength!
1.56.5
தஸ்யாஸ்த்ரம் காதிபுத்ரஸ்ய கோரமாக்நேயமுத்யதம் ।
ப்ரஹ்மதண்டேந தச்சாந்தமக்நேர்வேக இவாம்பஸா ॥
tasyāstraṃ gādhiputrasya ghōramāgnēyamudyatam ।
brahmadaṇḍēna tacchāntamagnērvēga ivāmbhasā ॥
The fearsome Agneya Astra hurled by the son of Gādhi
was then defused by the Brahma Daṇḍa,
like fire that entered water.
1.56.6
வாருணம் சைவ ரௌத்ரம் ச ஐந்த்ரம் பாஸுபதம் ததா ।
ஐஷீகம் சாபி சிக்ஷேப குபிதோ காதிநந்தந: ॥
vāruṇaṃ caiva raudraṃ ca aindraṃ pāṡupataṃ tathā ।
aiṣīkaṃ cāpi cikṣēpa kupitō gādhinandanaḥ ॥
The angry son of Gādhi then hurled the Astras of
Varuna, Rudra, Indra, Pāṡupata and Aisheeka.
1.56.7-13a
மாநவம் மோஹநம் சைவ காந்தர்வம் ஸ்வாபநம் ததா ।
ஜ்ரும்பணம் மாதநம் சைவ ஸந்தாபநவிலாபநே ॥
ஸோஷணம் தாரணம் சைவ வஜ்ரமஸ்த்ரம் ஸுதுர்ஜயம் ।
ப்ரஹ்மபாஸம் காலபாஸம் வாருணம் பாஸமேவ ச ॥
பைநாகாஸ்த்ரம் ச தயிதம் ஸுஷ்கார்த்ரே அஸநீ உபே ।
தண்டாஸ்த்ரமத பைஸாசம் க்ரௌஞ்சமஸ்த்ரம் ததைவ ச ॥
தர்மசக்ரம் காலசக்ரம் விஷ்ணுசக்ரம் ததைவ ச ।
வாயவ்யம் மதநம் சைவ அஸ்த்ரம் ஹயஸிரஸ்ததா ॥
ஸக்தித்வயம் ச சிக்ஷேப கங்காலம் முஸலம் ததா ।
வைத்யாதரம் மஹாஸ்த்ரம் ச காலாஸ்த்ரமத தாருணம் ॥
த்ரிஸூலமஸ்த்ரம் கோரம் ச காபாலமத கங்கணம் ।
ஏதாந்யஸ்த்ராணி சிக்ஷேப ஸர்வாணி ரகுநந்தந ॥
வஸிஷ்டே ஜபதாம் ஸ்ரேஷ்டே ததத்புதமிவாபவத் ॥
mānavaṃ mōhanaṃ caiva gāndharvaṃ svāpanaṃ tathā ।
jṛmbhaṇaṃ mādanaṃ caiva santāpanavilāpanē ॥
ṡōṣaṇaṃ dāraṇaṃ caiva vajramastraṃ sudurjayam ।
brahmapāṡaṃ kālapāṡaṃ vāruṇaṃ pāṡamēva ca ॥
painākāstraṃ ca dayitaṃ ṡuṣkārdrē aṡanī ubhē ।
daṇḍāstramatha paiṡācaṃ krauńcamastraṃ tathaiva ca ॥
dharmacakraṃ kālacakraṃ viṣṇucakraṃ tathaiva ca ।
vāyavyaṃ mathanaṃ caiva astraṃ hayaṡirastathā ॥
ṡaktidvayaṃ ca cikṣēpa kaṅkālaṃ musalaṃ tathā ।
vaidyādharaṃ mahāstraṃ ca kālāstramatha dāruṇam ॥
triṡūlamastraṃ ghōraṃ ca kāpālamatha kaṅkaṇam ।
ētānyastrāṇi cikṣēpa sarvāṇi raghunandana ॥
vasiṣṭhē japatāṃ ṡrēṣṭhē tadadbhutamivābhavat ॥
O prince of Raghu dynasty! Then he hurled the
Astras called Mānava, Mōhana, Gāndharva, Swāpana,
Jhṛmbhaṇa, Mādana, Brahmapāṡa, Kālapāṡa, Vāruṇapāsa,
Paināka, Dayita, Ṡushkādra, Aṡani, Daṇḍāstra, Paiṡāca,
Krounca, Dharma Chakra, Kāla Chakra,
Vishṇu Chakra, Vāyavya, Mathana, Hayasira,
Kaṅkāla, Mousala, Vidyadhara, Mahāstra,
fearsome Kālāstra, horrid Triṡula, Kāpāla, Kaṅkana
two types of Ṡakti, the invincible Vajra,
and Astras that cause sleep, delusion, yawning,
dullness, pain, dryness, brittleness and
Astras that dries and drenches,
at Vasishṭha, the foremost of the Munis.
It was quite a spectacle to watch!
All these Astras were granted by Ṡiva to Viṡwāmitra (refer to previous Sarga). It was hard enough for Arjuna to gain just one of these Astras, the Pāṡupata. Such was the greatness of Viṡwāmitra that he could acquire all of these Astras in one stroke from Ṡiva.


Also recall that these are the same Astras that Viṡwāmitra passes on to Rāma (in Sarga 27).


The Astras named after gods, such as Varuna, Pāṡupata, Vāyavya, etc. have all the power of those gods.


The other Astras such as those that cause sleep, delusion, seem to be the equivalents of today's chemical weapons.
1.56.13b-14a
தாநி ஸர்வாணி தண்டேந க்ரஸதே ப்ரஹ்மண: ஸுத: ॥
தேஷு ஸாந்தேஷு ப்ரஹ்மாஸ்த்ரம் க்ஷிப்தவாந் காதிநந்தந: ॥
tāni sarvāṇi daṇḍēna grasatē brahmaṇaḥ sutaḥ ॥
tēṣu ṡāntēṣu brahmāstraṃ kṣiptavān gādhinandanaḥ ॥
All of them were swallowed by the
son of Brahma (Vasishṭha) through his Daṇḍa.
After all of them were quieted down,
the son of Gādhi hurled the Brahmāstra.
1.56.14b-15
ததஸ்த்ரமுத்யதம் த்ருஷ்ட்வா தேவா: ஸாக்நிபுரோகமா: ।
தேவர்ஷயஸ்ச ஸம்ப்ராந்தா கந்தர்வா: ஸமஹோரகா: ॥
த்ரைலோக்யமாஸீத் ஸந்த்ரஸ்தம் ப்ரஹ்மாஸ்த்ரே ஸமுதீரிதே ॥
tadastramudyataṃ dṛṣṭvā dēvāḥ sāgnipurōgamāḥ ।
dēvarṣayaṡca sambhrāntā gandharvāḥ samahōragāḥ ॥
trailōkyamāsīt santrastaṃ brahmāstrē samudīritē ॥
As that Brahmāstra was hurled, all the Dēvas led by Agni,
all the Dēvarshis, Mahōragas and Gandharvas were worried.
All the three worlds panicked.
What is the reason for panic here?


Brahmāstra is the most powerful of all the Astras. If it is hurled at a trifling object, it will destroy that object and still will be left with tons of residual power that could destroy other unintended objects in the world.


To comprehend this phenomenon, compare it with laws that are put in place to deter certain anti-social elements. If those laws were written in broad strokes, they may end up stifling legitimate political activities. This has always been the concern of civil rights activists.

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The Brahma Daṇḍa of Vasishṭha was able to swallow even the Brahmāstra. But recall the Hālāhala (poison) that was created during the churning of the milky ocean. No one was able to hold it and only the lord of lords, Ṡiva could contain it - even then, not swallowing it, but holding it in transit in his throat.


All of these illustrate the penetrating imagination of the ancient Ṛshis, in comprehending the powers and energies that govern the world.


Behind the enigma of a baby's smile and enchanting moon light are molecules and atoms dancing in weird ways. Ancient Ṛshis tried to model that primordial dance of fundamental elements through the concepts of Panca Bhoota and through stories like these.
1.56.16
ததப்யஸ்த்ரம் மஹாகோரம் ப்ராஹ்மம் ப்ராஹ்மேண தேஜஸா ।
வஸிஷ்டோ க்ரஸதே ஸர்வம் ப்ரஹ்மதண்டேந ராகவ ॥
tadapyastraṃ mahāghōraṃ brāhmaṃ brāhmēṇa tējasā ।
vasiṣṭhō grasatē sarvaṃ brahmadaṇḍēna rāghava ॥
O prince of Raghu dynasty!
Even that horrid Astra of Brahma (i.e., Brahmastra)
was swallowed in its entirety by the Brahma Daṇḍa of
the supremely radiant Brāhmaṇa Vasishṭha.
1.56.17
ப்ரஹ்மாஸ்த்ரம் க்ரஸமாநஸ்ய வஸிஷ்டஸ்ய மஹாத்மந: ।
த்ரைலோக்யமோஹநம் ரௌத்ரம் ரூபமாஸீத் ஸுதாருணம் ॥
brahmāstraṃ grasamānasya vasiṣṭhasya mahātmanaḥ ।
trailōkyamōhanaṃ raudraṃ rūpamāsīt sudāruṇam ॥
At that time of swallowing the Brahmastra,
Vasishṭha looked surreal, as if he were
the fearsome embodiment of anger,
disorienting all the three worlds.
When we see a spectacle that we have never seen in our lives before, that is beyond the normal scale of human experiences, we get dizzy and disoriented.


I experienced this profoundly, at least twice in my life.


The first time was in 1980, at Rangapur Observatory near Hyderabad, at the time of total solar eclipse. It was weird and out of the ordinary to experience night in the middle of the day with bright stars against the dark sky for those few minutes. I can still remember screaming out loud, not with fear, but with a weird sense of ecstasy and oneness with the grand phenomena of the universe.


The other experience was during the winter of 1993 in Minneapolis. It was a surreal experience watching every light shade of green reflected in the frozen waters of river Mississippi. It was like touching the edges of human experience. It was not clear whether I was using my eyes to see the ice or whether the eyes were feeding images into my brain.


In modern times, computer graphics and cartoon art are helping us illustrate such imaginations as provided here in Ṡlōka 18. Be a child and enjoy!


The Japanese have produced many graphic works during the past decade related to Rāmāyaṇa based on such vivid imagination provided by Vālmeeki.
1.56.18
ரோமகூபேஷு ஸர்வேஷு வஸிஷ்டஸ்ய மஹாத்மந: ।
மரீச்ய இவ நிஷ்பேதுரக்நேர்தூமாகுலார்சிஷ: ॥
rōmakūpēṣu sarvēṣu vasiṣṭhasya mahātmanaḥ ।
marīcya iva niṣpēturagnērdhūmākulārciṣaḥ ॥
From every pore of the skin of Mahātma Vasishṭha,
shot out jets of flame and smoke.
1.56.19
ப்ராஜ்வலத் ப்ரஹ்மதண்டஸ்ச வஸிஷ்டஸ்ய கரோத்யத: ।
விதூம இவ காலாக்நிர்யமதண்ட இவாபர: ॥
prājvalad brahmadaṇḍaṡca vasiṣṭhasya karōdyataḥ ।
vidhūma iva kālāgniryamadaṇḍa ivāparaḥ ॥
The Brahma Daṇḍa held out by Vasishṭha in his hand
seemed like another Daṇḍa of Yama,
and like Kālāgni sans the smoke.
1.56.20-21-22a
ததோऽஸ்துவந் முநிகணா வஸிஷ்டம் ஜபதாம் வரம் ।
அமோகம் தே பலம் ப்ரஹ்மந் தேஜோ தாரய தேஜஸா ॥
நிக்ருஹீதஸ்த்வயா ப்ரஹ்மந் விஸ்வாமித்ரோ மஹாதபா: ।
ப்ரஸீத ஜபாதாம் ஸ்ரேஷ்ட லோகா: ஸந்து கதவ்யதா: ॥
ஏவமுக்தோ மஹாதேஜா: ஸமம் சக்ரே மஹாதபா: ॥
tatō'stuvan munigaṇā vasiṣṭhaṃ japatāṃ varam ।
amōghaṃ tē balaṃ brahman tējō dhāraya tējasā ॥
nigṛhītastvayā brahman viṡvāmitrō mahātapāḥ ।
prasīda japātāṃ ṡrēṣṭha lōkāḥ santu gatavyathāḥ ॥
ēvamuktō mahātējāḥ ṡamaṃ cakrē mahātapāḥ ॥
All the Munis then praised and hailed
Vasishṭha, the foremost of Munis, saying:
"Your power is amazing.
Hold your power back unto yourself by your radiance.
O Brahman! Viṡwāmitra who has performed great Tapa,
is now subdued by you.


O foremost among Munis!
May you be pleased and contented now!
May all the worlds be relieved of their concerns!"
Hearing them, the supremely radiant and
great Tapasvi pacified himself.
1.56.22b-23
விஸ்வாமித்ரோऽபி நிக்ருதோ விநி:ஸ்வஸ்யேதமப்ரவீத் ॥
திக்பலம் க்ஷத்ரியபலம் ப்ரஹ்மதேஜோபலம் பலம் ।
ஏகேந ப்ரஹ்மதண்டேந ஸர்வாஸ்த்ராணி ஹதாநி மே ॥
viṡvāmitrō'pi nikṛtō viniḥṡvasyēdamabravīt ॥
dhigbalaṃ kṣatriyabalaṃ brahmatējōbalaṃ balam ।
ēkēna brahmadaṇḍēna sarvāstrāṇi hatāni mē ॥
Viṡwāmitra also sighed with humiliation and said:
What a shame! What kind of strength
is the strength of a Kshatriya?


The Brāhmaṇic strength is the real strength.
The entire scads of my Astras were
made to naught by a single Brahma Daṇḍa !
This has been the guiding principle of Indic civilization for long.


This civilization has put the strength gained by austerity and knowledge above the strength that can be gained through muscle, dominance, authority and riches.


I cannot help recalling a Pakistani recently lamenting: "while India is striving to put a computer in every child's hand, we are striving to put a gun in every child's hand."


I wish the United States also strives to lead the world by its educational and innovative excellence, which it has in abundance, and not by resorting to brandishing a military budget that exceeds the defense budgets of the next ten countries combined.






1.56.24
ததேதத் ஸமவேக்ஷ்யாஹம் ப்ரஸந்நேந்த்ரியமாநஸ: ।
தபோ மஹத் ஸமாஸ்தாஸ்யே யத்வை ப்ரஹ்மத்வகாரணம் ॥
tadētat samavēkṣyāhaṃ prasannēndriyamānasaḥ ।
tapō mahat samāsthāsyē yadvai brahmatvakāraṇam ॥
Having learnt from this experience,
I must set myself upon performing
that great Tapa, which would lead to Brahmatva,
with clear mind and clear senses.
இத்யார்ஷே ஸ்ரீமத்ராமாயணே வால்மீகீயே ஆதிகாவ்யே
ஸ்ரீமத்பாலகாண்டே ஷட்பஞ்சாஸ: ஸர்க: ॥
ityārṣē ṡrīmadrāmāyaṇē vālmīkīyē ādikāvyē
ṡrīmadbālakāṇḍē ṣaṭpańcāṡaḥ sargaḥ ॥
Thus concludes the fifty sixth Sarga
in Bāla Kāṇḍa of the glorious Rāmāyaṇa,
the first ever poem of humankind,
composed by Vālmeeki.

We completed reading 1668 Ṡlōkas out of ~24,000 Ṡlōkas of Vālmeeki Rāmāyaṇa.