by Vihari-Lala Mitra | 1891 | 1,121,132 words | ISBN-10: 8171101519
The English translation of the Yoga-vasistha: a Hindu philosophical and spiritual text written by sage Valmiki from an Advaita-vedanta perspective. The book contains epic narratives similar to puranas and chronologically precedes the Ramayana. The Yoga-vasistha is believed by some Hindus to answer all the questions that arise in the human mind, an...
Section 1 - Divine Adoration.
1. [Sanskrit available]
Hail The Eternal. Om, salutation to the self-same Reality, from whom all beings proceed, by whom they are manifest, upon whom they depend, and in whom they become extinct (in the end).
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He is the knower, the knowledge and all that is to be known. He is the seer, the (act of) seeing, and all that is to be seen. He is the actor, the cause and the effect: therefore salutation to Him (who is all) knowledge himself.
3. [Sanskrit available]
Salutation to Him (who is) supreme bliss itself, from whom flow the dews of delight (as water springs from a fountain) both in heaven and earth, and who is the life of all.
Section II - Narrative of Sutikshna.
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Oh great sage! that art informed in all the ways and truths of virtue, and knowest with certainty all the Sastras, I am in a great doubt (about something) which I pray you will kindly remove.
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Tell me whether a man's acts or his knowledge or both of these, is in your opinion, the cause of his emancipation.
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As the flight of birds in the air is effected by means of both their wings, so the highest state of emancipation is attained through the instrumentality of both knowledge and acts.
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It is neither our acts nor knowledge alone that produces emancipation, but both together are known as the means of it.
Section III. - Anecdote of Karunya.
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He remained a sceptic at home, holding his taciturnity and inertness to acts: when his father Agnivesya saw his son so slack in his duties, he upbraided him thus for his good.
12-13. Why my son do you not discharge your duties, tell me how can you succeed (in anything) if you remain inactive, and tell me also the reason of your cessation from acts.
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But it is neither by acts or riches, nor by means of progeny, that one obtains his liberation, it is solely by self-denial that Stoics taste the ambrosia (of emancipation).
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Tell me my father! which of these two ordinances is to be observed by me? Doubtful of this I have become indifferent to acts.
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Hear me my son, that Karunya after saying so held his silence; when his father seeing him thus, rejoined his speech.
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Hear me relate a narrative (to you) my son, and you having fully considered its purport in your mind, may do as you may choose (best for you).
Section IV - Story of Suruchi.
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O thou herald of gods, tell me kindly whence thou comest and whither art thou destined at present.
Section V - Account of Arishtanemi.
The divine ariel replied:—
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Tell me, my Lord, what matter has taken place there. I am with submission (much) inquisitive after it, nor shouldest thou cause me (the pain of) anxiety.
The messenger replied:—
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Hear me gentle maid, relate to thee in length (everything) as it has occurred.
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On hearing that the king was practising the utmost rigors of asceticism in that forest, Indra, the lord of Gods, desired me to take this heavenly car and repair at once to the spot.
The messenger added:—
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Receiving this injunction of Indra and taking the car with all its equipments, I proceeded to that mountain.
33. [Sanskrit available]
Having arrived at the mountain and advancing to the hermitage of the king, I delivered to him the orders of the great Indra.
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Hearing my words, Oh happy damsel! the king spoke to me with reluctance and said: "I wish to ask thee something O messenger, which (I hope) thou wilt deign to answer.
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"Tell me what good and what evils there are in heaven, that knowing them (beforehand), I may think of settling there as I may choose."
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I answered, saying:—In heaven there is ample reward for merit, conferring perfect bliss (to all); but it is the degree of meritoriousness that leads one to higher heavens.
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By moderate virtue, one is certainly entitled to a middle station, and virtue of an inferior order, leads a person to a lower position (in the heavens).
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But one's virtue is destroyed by his impatience at the excellence of his betters, by his haughtiness to his equals, and by his joy at the inferiority of others.
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When one's virtue is thus destroyed, he must enter the abode of mortals. These and the like are the effects of merit and demerit (with us) in heaven.
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Hearing this, Oh good maiden, the king answered and said: "I do not, Oh divine messenger! like the heaven that is of such like conditions.
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"I will henceforth practise the most austere form of devotion, and abandon this my unhallowed human frame in the same way, as the snake abandons his time-worn-skin (slough).
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"Be thou pleased, Oh delegate of the Gods! to return with thy heavenly car to the presence of the great Indra whence thou comest, and fare thee well."
The celestial emissary resumed:—
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Thus being bid, I went Oh goodly dame to the presence of Sakra to report the matter. Who upon my rehearsal of the matter, was struck with great wonder.
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"He is well acquainted with every truth, tell him my errand for the instruction of the dispassionate prince, saying:—
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"Oh thou great sage! remonstrate with this prince who is humble and dispassionate, and dislikes the enjoyments of heaven.
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"So that this prince who is aggrieved at the miseries of the world, may gradually come to attain his emancipation."
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I then went and explained my mission to the royal hermit, took him to the sage Valmiki (who had grown amidst the ant-hills), and to whom I delivered great Indra's charge for the king's practice (of the means) for his final liberation.
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Then the sage (named after the ant-hill in which he had grown), welcomed the King with gentle inquiries regarding his welfare.
The prince replied:—
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"Oh great seer, that art informed in all the truths of religion, and art the greatest of them that know the knowable, thy very sight has given me all that I desired, and therein is all my welfare.
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"Great sire, I wish to learn from thee how I may escape the miseries which arise from one's connection with this world, and which (I hope) thou wilt reveal to me without reserve."
Section VI - History of Rama.
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Hear me Oh great and intelligent king, repeat to you the sacred conversation which took place between Rama and Vasishtha relating the way to liberation, and which I well know from my knowledge (of human nature).
The prince said:—
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"O thou best of sages, tell me precisely who and what this Rama was, what was his bondage and how he got freed from it."
56. [Sanskrit available]
The prince said: "Tell me who was the author of that imprecation, and how it could befall on Rama, who was the personification of consciousness and felicity, and the very image of wisdom."
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Valmiki replied: Sanat-kumara, who was devoid of desires, had been residing at the abode of Brahma, to which Vishnu, the Lord of the three worlds, was a visitor from Vaikuntha.
59. [Sanskrit available]
"Sanat-kumar, it is ignorance that makes thee forsake thy desires for fear of regeneration (on earth), therefore must thou be born under the name of Sara-janma to be troubled with desires."
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Sanat-kumara in return denounced Vishnu by saying:—"Even all discerning as thou art, thou shalt have to sacrifice thine omniscience for some time, and pass as an ignorant mortal (on earth)."
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There was another anathema pronounced upon Vishnu by the sage Bhrigu, who seeing his wife killed (by him), became incensed with anger and said: "Vishnu thou shalt have also to be bereft of thy wife."
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The leonine Hari was denounced by the husband, who was sorely afflicted at the loss of his consort, to be thus separated from his wife also.
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I have thus explained to you the causes of all the imprecations (which were passed on Vishnu), and will now relate to you all other things which you shall have carefully to attend to.