The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, , at sacred-texts.com
Ribhu returns to his disciple, and perfects him in divine knowledge. The same recommended to the Rájá by Bharata, who thereupon obtains final liberation. Consequences of hearing this legend.
"AFTER the expiration of another thousand years, Ribhu again repaired to the city where Nidágha dwelt, to instruct him farther in true wisdom. When he arrived near the town, he beheld a prince entering into it, with a splendid retinue; and his pupil Nidágha standing afar off, avoiding the crowd; his throat shrivelled with starvation, and bearing from the thicket fuel and holy grass. Ribhu approached him, and saluting him reverentially (as if he was a stranger) demanded why he was standing in such a retired spot. Nidágha replied, 'There is a great crowd of people attending the entrance of the king into the town, and I am staying here to avoid it.' 'Tell me, excellent Brahman,' said Ribhu, 'for I believe that thou art wise, which is here the king, and which is any other man.' The king,' answered Nidágha, is he who is seated on the fierce and stately elephant, vast as a mountain peak; the others are his attendants.' You have shewn me,' observed Ribhu, 'at one moment the elephant and the king, without noticing any peculiar characteristic by which they may be distinguished. Tell me, venerable sir, is there any difference between them? for I am desirous to know which is here the elephant, which is the king.' 'The elephant,' answered Nidágha, 'is underneath; the king is above him. Who is not aware, Brahman, of the relation between that which bears and that which is borne?' To this Ribhu rejoined, 'Still explain to me, according to what I know of it, this matter: what is it that is meant by the word underneath, and what is it that is termed above?' As soon as he had uttered this, Nidágha jumped upon Ribhu, and said, 'Here is my answer to the question you have asked: I am above, like the Rájá.; you are underneath, like the elephant. This example, Brahman, is intended for your information.' Very well,' said Ribhu, you, it seems, are as it were the Rájá, and I am like the elephant; but come now do you tell me which of us two is you; which is I.'
"When Nidágha heard these words, he immediately fell at the feet o the stranger, and said, Of a surety thou art my saintly preceptor Ribhu the mind of no other person is so fully imbued with the doctrines of unity as that of my teacher, and hence I know that thou art he.' To this Ribhu replied, 'I am your preceptor, by name Ribhu, who, pleased with: the dutiful attention he has received, has come to Nidágha to give him instruction: for this purpose have I briefly intimated to you divine truth, the essence of which is the non-duality of all.' Having thus spoken to Nidágha, the Brahman Ribhu went away, leaving his disciple profoundly impressed, by his instructions, with belief in unity. He beheld all beings thenceforth as the same with himself, and, perfect in holy knowledge, obtained final liberation.
"In like manner do thou, oh king, who knowest what duty is, regarding equally friend or foe, consider yourself as one with all that exists in the world. Even as the same sky is apparently diversified as white or blue, so Soul, which is in truth but one, appears to erroneous vision distinct in different persons. That One, which here is all things, is Achyuta (Vishńu); than whom there is none other. He is I; he is thou; he is all: this universe is his form. Abandon the error of distinction."
PARÁŚARA resumed.--The king, being thus instructed, opened his eyes to truth, and abandoned the notion of distinct existence: whilst the Brahman, who, through the recollection of his former lives, had acquired perfect knowledge, obtained now exemption from future birth. Whoever narrates or listens to the lessons inculcated in the dialogue between Bharata and the king, has his mind enlightened, mistakes not the nature of individuality, and in the course of his migrations becomes fitted for ultimate emancipation 1.
258:1 This legend is a good specimen of a sectarial graft upon a Pauráńik stem. It is in a great measure peculiar to the Vishńu P., as although it occurs also in the Bhágavata, it is narrated there in a much more concise manner, and in a strain that looks like an abridgment of our text.