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 VIII - Dasaratha’s reply to viswamitra

Valmiki added:—

On hearing these words of Viswamitra, the tiger among kings remained speechless for a moment, and then besought him in the lowliness of his spirit.

2. Rama my lotus-eyed boy is only of fifteen years of age. I do not see he is a match for the Rakshasas.

3. Here is a full akshauhini legion of my soldiers; of whom, Oh my Lord! I am the sole commander; surrounded by them I will offer battle to the Rakshasas cannibals.

4. Here are my brave generals who are well disciplined in warfare; I will be their leader in the height of war with my bow in hand.

5. Accompanied with these, I can offer fight to the enemies of the gods, and to the great Indra himself, in the same manner as the lion withstands the wild elephants.

6. Rama is but a boy who has no knowledge of the strength of our forces, and whose experience has scarcely stretched to the battle field beyond the inner apartments (of the house).

7. He is not well trained in arms, nor is he skilled in warfare. He does not know to fight with a foe, arrayed in the order of battle.

8. He only knows how to walk about in the gardens of this city and amidst the arbours and pleasant groves.

9. He only knows how to play with his brother princes, in the flowery parks set apart for his play within the precincts of the palace.

10. Now a days, Oh Brahman! he has become by a sad reverse of my fortune, as lean and pale as the withering lotus under the dews.

11. He has no taste for his food, nor can he walk from one room to another, but remains ever silent and slow brooding over his inward grief and melancholy.

12. In my great anxiety about him, O chief of sages, I have been, with my family and dependants, deprived of the gist of our bodies, and become as empty clouds of autumn.

13. Can my boy, so young as he is, and thus subjected to distemper, be fit to fight at all, and again with those marauders who rove about at nights.

14. Oh thou high-minded sage! it is one's affection for his son that affords him far greater pleasure than his possession of a kingdom, or his connection with beauteous females, or even his relish for the juice of nectar.

15. It is from paternal affection that good people (engage to) perform the hardest duties and austerities of religion, and any thing which is painful in the three worlds.

16. Men are even prepared under certain circumstances to sacrifice their own lives, riches and wives; but they can never sacrifice their children: this is the nature with all living beings.

17. The Rakshasas are very cruel in their actions and fight deceitful warfares: so that Rama should fight them, is an idea which is very painful to me.

18. I that have a desire to live, cannot dare to live for a moment in separation from Rama; therefore thou shouldst not take him away (from me).

19. I have O Kausika! passed nine thousand rains in my lifetime, ere these four boys were born to me after much austerity.

20. The lotus-eyed Rama is the eldest of these without whom the three others can hardly bear to live.

21. This Rama is going to be conveyed by thee against the Rakshasas; but when I am deprived of that son, know me certainly for dead.

22. Of my four sons he is the one in whom rests my greatest love. Therefore do not take away Rama—my eldest and most virtuous son from me.

23. If thy intention Oh sage, is to destroy the force of night wanderers, take me there accompanied by the four kinds (elephants, horse, chariots and foot soldiers) of mine army.

24. Describe to me clearly what these Rakshasas are, how strong they are, whose sons they be and what their size and figure.

25. Tell me the way in which the Rakshasas are to be destroyed by Rama or my boys or by myself, when they are known to be treacherous in warfare.

26. Tell me all these, Oh great sage! that I can calculate the possibility of our making a stand against the fiercely disposed Rakshasas in the open field, when they are certainly so very powerful.

27. The Rakshasa named Ravana is heard as being very powerful, he is brother of Kuvera himself, and is the son of the sage Visravas.

28. If it is he, the evil minded Ravana, that stands in the way of thy rites, we are unable to contend with that pest.

29. Power and prosperity in all their flourish come within the reach of the living at times, but they disappear at others.

30. Now a days we are no match for such foes as Ravana and some others. Such is the decree of destiny.

31. Therefore, O thou, that art acquainted with law, do this favour to my son, (as not to take him away); unlucky as I am, it is thou that art the arbiter of my fate.

32. The gods, and Asuras, the Gandharvas and Yakshas, the huge beasts, birds and serpents are unable to fight with Ravana: what are we human beings in arms to him.

33. That Rakshasa holds the prowess of the most powerful, we cannot afford to fight with him, nor even with his children.

34. This is a peculiar age in which good people are made powerless; I am moreover disabled by old age and want that spirit (that I was expected to possess) derived as I am from (the most powerful) race of the Raghus.

35. Tell me O Brahmana! if it is Lavan the son of Madhu (the notorious Asura) that disturbs the sacrificial rites; in that case also I will not part with my son.

36. If it be the two sons of Sunda and Upasunda terrible as they are like the sons of the sun, that disturb your sacrifice, in that case also I will not give my son to thee.

37. But after all, O Brahman, shouldest thou snatch him from me (by dint of the supernatural power that thou possessest), then I am also dead and gone with him. I do not see any other chance of a lasting success of thy devotion (except by my death).

38. Saying these gentle words, the descendant of Raghu was drowned in the sea of suspense with regard to the demand of the sage, but being unable to arrive at a conclusion, the great king was carried away by the current of his thoughts as one by the high waves of the sea.