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 XVII - On cupidity

I see our vices like a flock of owls flying about in the region of our minds, under the darkness of our affections, and in the longsome night of our avarice.

2. I am parched by my anxieties like the wet clay under solar rays, infusing an inward heat in it by extraction of its soft moisture.

3. My mind is like a vast and lonesome wilderness, covered under the mist of errors, and infested by the terrible fiend of desire is continually floundering about it.

4. My wailings and tears serve only to expand and mature my anxiety, as the dews of night open and ripen the blossoms of beans and give them a bright golden hue.

5. Avarice by raising expectations in men, serves only to whirl them about, as the vortex of the sea wallows the marine animals in it.

6. The stream of worldly avarice flows like a rapid current within the rock of my body, with precipitate force (in my actions), and loud resounding waves (of my speech).

7. Our minds are driven by foul avarice from one place to another, as the dusty dry hays are borne away by the winds, and as the Chatakas are impelled by thirst to fly about (for drink).

8. It is avarice which destroys all the good qualities and grace which we adopted to ourselves in good faith, just as the mischievous mouse severs the wires (of a musical instrument).

9. We turn about upon the wheel of our cares, like withered leaves (floating) upon the water, and like dry grass uplifted by the wind, and as autumnal clouds (moving) in the sky.

10. Being over powered by avarice, we are disable to reach the goal (of perfection), as a bird entangled in the snare, is kept from its flight.

11. I am so greatly burnt by the flame of avarice, that I doubt whether this inflammation may be assuaged even by administration of nectar itself.

12. Avarice like a heated-mare takes me far and farther still from my place, and brings me back to it again and again. Thus it hurries me up and down and to and fro in all directions for ever.

13. We are pulled up and cast down again like a bucket in the well, by the string of avarice (tied about our necks).

14. Man is led about like a bullock of burthen by his avarice, which bends his heart as fast as the string does the beast, and which it is hard for him to break.

15. As the huntress spreads her net to catch birds in it, so does our affection for our friends, wives and children stretch these snares to entrap us every day.

16. Avarice like a dark night terrifies even the wise, blindfolds the keen-sighted, and depresses the spirit of the happiest of men.

17. Our appetite is as heinous as a serpent, soft to feel, but full of deadly poison, and bites us as soon as it is felt.

18. It is also like a black sorceress that deludes men by her magic, but pierces him in his heart, and exposes him to danger afterwards.

19. This body of ours shattered by our avarice is like a worn out lute, fastened by arteries resembling the wires, but emitting no pleasing sound.

20. Our avarice is like the long fibered, dark and juicy poisonous creeper called Kaduka, that grows in the caverns of mountains, and maddens men by its flavour.

21. Avarice is as vain and inane, fruitless and aspiring, unpleasant and perilous, as the dry twig of a tree, which (bears no fruit or flower) but is hurtful with its prickly point.

22. Venality is like a churlish old woman, who from the incontinence of her heart, courts the company of every man, without gaining the object of her desire.

23. Greediness as an old actress plays her various parts in the vast theatre of world, in order to please the different tastes of her audience.

24. Parsimony is as a poisonous plant growing in the wide wilderness of the world, bearing old age and infirmity as its flowers, and producing our troubles as its fruits.

25. Our churlishnesss resembles an aged actress, attempting a manly feat she has not the strength to perform, yet keeping up the dance without pleasing (herself or any body).

26. Our fleeting thoughts are as fickle as pea-hens, soaring over inaccessible heights under the clouds (of ignorance); but ceasing to fly in the day light (of reason).

27. Avarice is like a river in the rains, rising for a time with its rolling waves, and afterwards lying low in its empty bed. (Such are the avaricious by the flux and reflux of their fortunes).

28. Avarice is as inconstant as a female bird, which changes her mates at times, and quits the arbor that no longer bears any fruit.

29. The greedy are as unsteady as the flouncing monkey, which is never restive at any place, but moves to places impassable by others, and craving for fruits even when satiate.

30. The acts of avarice are as inconstant as those of chance, both of which are ever on the alert, but never attended with their sequence.

31. Our venality is like a black-bee sitting upon the lotus of our hearts, and thence making its rambles above, below and all about us in a moment.

32. Of all worldly evils, avarice is the source of the longest woe. She exposes to peril even the most secluded man.

33. Avarice like a group of clouds, is fraught with a thick mist of error, obstructing the light of heaven, and causing a dull insensibility (in its possessor).

34. Penury which seems to gird the breasts of worldly people with chains of gems and jewels, binds them as beasts with halters about the necks.

35. Covetousness stretches itself long and wide and presents to us a variety of hues as the rainbow. It is equally unsubstantial and without any property as the iris, resting in vapour and vacuum and being but a shadow itself.

36. It burns away our good qualities as electric fire does the hay; it numbs our good sense as the frost freezes the lotus; it grows our evils as autumn does the grass; and it increases our ignorance as the winter prolongs the night.

37. Greediness is as an actress in the stage of the world; she is as a bird flying out of the nest of our houses; as a deer running about in the desert of our hearts; and as a lute making us sing and dance at its tune.

38. Our desires like billows toss us about in the ocean of our earthly cares; they bind us fast to delusion as fetters do the elephant. Like the ficus indicus they produce the roots of our regeneration, and like moon beams they put our budding woes to bloom.

39. Avarice like (Pandora's) box is filled with miseries, decrepitude and death, and is full of disorder and disasters like a mad bacchanal.

40. Our wishes are sometimes as pure as light and at others as foul as darkness; now they are as clear as the milky way, and again as obscure as thickest mists.

41. All our bodily troubles are avoided by our abstaining from avarice, as we are freed from fear of night goblins at the dispersion of darkness.

42. So long do men remain in their state of (dead like) dumbness and mental delirium, as they are subject to the poisonous cholic of avarice.

43. Men may get rid of their misery by their being freed from anxieties. It is the abandonment of cares which is said to be the best remedy of avarice.

44. As the fishes in a pond fondly grasp the bait in expectation of a sop, so do the avaricious lay hold on any thing, be it wood or stone or even a straw.

45. Avarice like an acute pain excites even the gravest of men to motion, just as the rays of the sun raise the lotus blossoms (above the water).

46. It is compared with the bamboo in its length, hollowness, hard knots, and thorny prickles, and yet it is entertained in expectation of its yielding the manna and a pearly substance.

47. Yet it is a wonder that high-minded men, have been able to cut off this almost unseverable knot of avarice, by the glittering sword of reason:

48. As neither the edge of the sword, nor the fire of lightning, nor the sparks of the red-hot iron, are sharp enough to sever the keen avarice seated in our hearts.

49. It is like the flame of a lamp which is bright but blackening and acutely burning at its end. It is fed by the oily wicks (of years), is vivid in all, but never handled by any body.

50. Penury has the power of bemeaning the best of men to (the baseness of) straws in a moment, notwithstanding their wisdom, heroism and gravity in other respects.

51. Avarice is like the great valley of the Vindhya hills, that is beset with deserts and impenetrable forests, is terrible and full of snares laid by the hunters, and filled with the dust and mist (of delusion).

52. One single avarice has every thing in the world for its object, and though seated in the breast, it is imperceptible to all. It is as the undulating Milky ocean in this fluctuating world, sweeping all things yet regaling mankind with its odorous waves.