tell you now. It is the wonder of wonders.
I have seen it in the clear sky, in consequence of
my adjacence to Surya. In former times, one day
at the hour of noon, while Surya was shining in all
his glory and giving heat to everything we beheld
a Being coming towards Surya, who seemed to shine with
effulgence that was equal to that of Surya himself.
Causing all the worlds to blaze up with his glory
and filling them with his energy, he came, as I have
already told thee, towards Surya, rending the firmament,
as it were, for making his path through it. The
rays that emanated from his body seemed to resemble
the blazing effulgence of libations of clarified butter
poured into the sacrificial fire. In consequence
of his energy and splendour he could not be looked
at. His form seemed to be indescribable.
Indeed, he appeared to us to be like a second Surya.
As soon as he came near, Surya extended his two hands
(for giving him a respectful reception). For
honouring Surya in return, he also extended his right-hand.
The latter then, piercing through the firmament, entered
into Surya’s disc. Mingling then with Surya’s
energy, he seemed to be transformed into Surya’s
self. When the two energies thus met together,
we were so confounded that we could not any longer
distinguish which was which. Indeed, we could
not make out who was Surya whom we bore on his car,
and who was the Being that we had seen coming through
the sky. Filled with confusion, we then addressed
Surya, saying,—’O illustrious one
who is this Being that has mixed himself with thee
and has been transformed into thy second self?’
“Surya said, ’This Being is not the god
of fire, he is not an Asura. Nor is he a Naga.
He is a Brahmana who has attained to heaven in consequence
of his having been crowned with success in the observance
of the vow called Unccha. This person had subsisted
upon fruits and roots and upon the fallen leaves of
trees. He had sometimes subsisted upon water,
and sometimes upon air alone, passing his days with
concentrated soul. The deity Mahadeva had been
gratified by him with constant recitation of the Samhitas.
He had endeavoured to accomplish those acts that lead
to heaven. Through the merits of those acts he
hath now attained to heaven. Without wealth and
without desire of any kind, he had observed the vow
called Unccha in the matter of his sustenance.
This learned Brahmana, ye Nagas, had been devoted
to the good of all creatures. Neither deities,
nor Gandharvas, nor Asuras, nor Nagas, can be regarded
as superior to those creatures that attain to this
excellent end of coming into the solar disc?—Even
such, O regenerate one, was the wonderful incident
that I beheld on that occasion. That Brahmana,
who was crowned with success by the observance of
the Unccha vow and who thus obtained an end that persons
crowned with ascetic success acquire, to this day,
O regenerate one, goes round the Earth, staying in
the disc of Surya!’”