Brahmā Requests the Ketaka Bunch to Perjure
1 -4Naṇḍikeśvara narrated: The Ketaka Bunch laughed and spoke to him again: The Ketakī said: O foolish one, you don’t know anything? Who are you? Whence have you (come)? Who is competent to know the dimensions and magnitude of that (Lord) round whom crores of Cosmic Eggs like this one, have been attached? Since I first began to fall off ten thousand sets of four Yugas have elapsed. Even now the middle of that (Column of Refulgence), i.e. the earth has not been reached. As the Bunch of Ketaka spoke these words, the Lotus-born Lord bowed down to it. Giving up all his pride he spoke with palms joined in reverence:
5-6Brahmā said: O noble-souled Ketaka Bunch, it is true that I have been a stupid fellow. I, Brahmā, had a great rivalry with Viṣṇu. The greatness of Śiva had been forgotten by both of us. Merely because of (our ability of creation and protection of the universe) both of us were puffed up with excessive pride.
7Even now I am not free from the rivalry with the Garuḍa-emblemed One. But let this shameful talk be left aside.
8-12Friendship is said to be Sāptapadīna (‘formed when two people have walked together seven steps or talked together seven words’). So you do give up unworthy thought. It behoves you to do me a favour. Both Viṣṇu and I had been blind due to delusion. On seeing the Column of Refulgence, we wanted to dispel the notion of our equality (and decide as to who is superior). So we assumed the forms of a boar and a swan. He was desirous of finding out the root? I do not know as to what stage he has reached. But this is the plight of mine who am desirous of seeing the top (of this Column of Fire). A thousand years have passed since I first began to fly. I have become so utterly exhausted that I find as though I am parting with my life-breath. Fortunately, I have got you as the support of those who become frustrated.
13Hence grant this request of mine who am your friend. I am your friend and companion because of mutual conversation. I am your slave because of your association with me.
14I have folded my palms in reverence (to you). This request (of mine) should therefore be carried out by you. If he (i.e. Viṣṇu) sees (i.e. happens to see) the root (of the Column of Fire), I am defeated by him.
15Or if he does not see, it comes to this that I am equal to him. Both these (alternatives), O friend, cause great shame to me.
16-20The avoidance of this situation (that would arise) is to be managed by you alone. For the sake of a friend utter a befitting lie; speak a word in front of the Discus-bearing Lord. “This Brahmā in the form of a swan has been to the highest point (of the Lord) in the form of the Column of Refulgence. I bear witness unto the same. This Pitāmaha (i.e. Brahmā) has been greatly honoured by that Moon-crested Lord who has assumed the form of a Column of Refulgence, as though he was his father. Hence, O Viṣṇu, he alone is superior to you.” Let this great help be rendered to me by you by kindly stating this.
21Nandikeśvara said: Thus the Ketakī Bunch was repeatedly entreated by Brahmā. Being overwhelmed with kindness (to Brahmā), he told every word of what Brahmā had requested to Viṣṇu who was near the Column of Refulgence.