Yoga Vasistha [English], Volume 1-4

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...

Chapter III - Valmiki’s admonition

Section I - On True Knowledge.

Bharadwaja said, O Brahman! relate to me first about Rama, and then enlighten me by degrees with the conditions of attaining liberation in this life, that I may be happy for ever.

Valmiki replied:—

2. "Know, holy Saint! all worldly conceptions to be as erroneous as the various hues that taint the clear firmament. It is better therefore to efface them in oblivion, rather than revive their reminiscence (in repeated states of existence).

3. All visible objects are absolute negation; we have no idea of them save from sensation. Inquire into these apprehensions, and you will never find them as real.

4. It is possible here (on earth) to attain to this knowledge (of worldly vanities) which is fully expounded herein: if you will listen to it attentively, you shall get at the truth and not otherwise.

5. The conception of this world is a mistake, and though we actually see it, it is never in existence. It appears in the same light, O sinless saint, as the variegated colours in the sky.

6. The conviction of the non-existence of the objects of vision, leads to efface their impressions from the mind. Thus perfected, there springs in it the supreme and eternal bliss of self-extinction.

7. Otherwise there is no quietism to be had herein by men like you, rolling in the depths of science for thousands of years and unacquainted with the true knowledge.

8. Complete abandonment of desires, styled as the best state of liberation, is the only pure step towards beatitude.

9. The absence of desires leads to the extinction of mental actions, in the same manner as the absence of cold conduces to the dissolution of small particles of ice.

10. Our desires which uphold our living bodies (and minds), bind us fast as by strings to our bodily prison. These being loosened, the inward soul is liberated (as a bird from its cage).

11. Desires are of two kinds, pure and impure. The impure ones are the cause of transmigration, while the pure ones serve to destroy it.

12. An impure desire is of the form of a mist of ignorance, consisting in the feeling of an obdurate egoism. This is said by the wise to be the cause of birth (transmigration).

13. A pure desire is like a parched seed incapable to bring forth the germ of transmigration, and only supports the present body (in its dry rigidity).

14. The pure desires which are unattended with transmigration, reside in the bodies of living-liberated men, like unmoving wheels (unable to move them to action).

15. Those that have the pure desires are not liable to transmigration, and are said to be knowing in all things that ought to be known. These are called the living-liberated and are of superior intelligence.

16. I will explain to you how the high minded Rama attained the state of liberation in life, hear you this that old age and death may not come upon you.


Section II - Early History of Rama.

17. Hear Oh highly intelligent Bharadawaja, the auspicious course and conduct of Rama's life: whereby you shall be enabled to understand everything at all times.

18. The lotus-eyed Rama after coming out of his school, remained for many days at home in his diversions, and without anything to fear.

19. In the course of time as he took the reins of the Government, (in his hand), his people enjoyed all the bliss that absence of grief and diseases could impart (to them).

20. At one time Rama's mind virtuous as he was, became anxious to see the different places of pilgrimage, the cities and hermitages (that lay about).

21. So Raghava with this view, approached his father's feet, he touched the nails (of his toes) as a swan lays hold on the buds of lotus.

22. "Oh my father" he said, "my mind is desirous to see the different places of pilgrimage, temples of gods, forests and abodes (of men).

23. "Grant me my lord this my petition, as there is no petitioner of thine on earth whom didst thou ever dishonor."

24. Thus solicited (by Rama), the king consulted with Vasishtha, and after much reflection granted him the first request he ever made.

25. On a day of lucky stars Rama set out (on his journey) with his two brothers (Lakshmana and Satrughna), having his body adorned with auspicious marks, and (receiving the) benedictions which were pronounced on him by the priests.

26. Accompanied also by a body of learned Brahmans whom Vasishtha had chosen on the occasion, and a select party of his associate princes;

27. He started from home towards his pilgrimage after he received the benedictions and embraces of his mothers.

28. As he went out of his city, the citizens welcomed him with the sounds of trumpets, while the bee-like fickle eyes of the city ladies were fixed upon his lotus like face.

29. He was bestrewn with handfuls of fried paddy thrown over his body by the beautiful hands of village-women, that made him appear like the Himalaya covered over with snow.

30. He dismissed the Brahmans with honor, and went on hearing the benedictions of the people, and taking a full view of the landscape around him until he proceeded towards the forest.

31. He went on distributing alms after making his holy ablutions and performing his devotion and meditation, as he gradually passed the limits of Kosala after starting from his palace.


Section III - Rama’s Pilgrimage.

32. He went about seeing the many rivers and their banks, visiting the shrines of gods, sacred forests and deserts far and remote from the resorts of men, as also the hills, seas and their shores.

33. He saw the Mandakini bright as the moon, the Kalindi, clear as the lotus, and also the following rivers, Sarasvati, Satadru, Chandrabhaga and Iravati.

34. Also Veni, Krishnaveni, Nirvindhya, Saraju, Charmanvati, Vitasta, Vipasa and Bahudaka.

35. He saw also the (holy places of) Prayaga, the Naimisha, the Dharmaranya, Gya, Varanasi, Srigiri, Kedara and Pushkara.

36. He saw the Manasa and the northern Mansaravara lakes, and many fiery lakes and springs, the Bada, the Vindhya range and the sea.

37. He saw the fiery pool of Jwalamukhi, the great shrine of Jagannatha, the fountain of Indradumna and many other reservoirs, rivers and lakes.

38. He visited the shrine of Kartikeya and the Gandak river of Salagramas, and also the sixty four shrines sacred to Hari and Hara.

39. He saw various wonders, the coasts of the four seas, the Vindhya range, the groves of Hara, and the boundary hills and level lands.

40. He visited the places of the great Rajarshis and the Brahmarshis, and went wherever there was any auspicious sanctuary of the gods and Brahmans.

41. Thus they all honouring Rama, travelled far and wide in company with his two brothers, and traversed all the four quarters on the surface of the earth.

42. Honoured by the gods, Kinnaras and by men, and having seen all the places on earth, the descendant of Raghu returned home, like Siva when he returns to the Sivaloka.