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 XXVIII - Mutability of the world

Rama said:—

Whatever we see of all moveable or immovable things in this world, they are all as evanescent as things viewed in a dream.

2. The hollow desert that appears as the dried bed of a sea to-day, will be found to-morrow to be a running flood by the accumulation of rain-water in it.

3. What is to-day a mountain reaching the sky and with extensive forests on it, is in course of time levelled to the ground, and is afterwards dug into pit.

4. The body that is clothed to-day with garments of silk, and decorated with garlands and fragrance, is to be cast away naked into a ditch to-morrow.

5. What is seen to be a city to-day, and busy with the bustle of various occupations, passes in course of a few days into the condition of an uninhabited wilderness.

6. The man who is very powerful to-day and presides over principalities, is reduced in a few days to a heap of ashes.

7. The very forest which is so formidable to-day and appears as blue as the azure skies, turns to be a city in the course of time, with its banners hoisted in the air.

8. What is (to-day) a formidable jungle of thick forests, turns in time to be a table-land as on the mount Meru.

9. Water becomes land and land becomes water. Thus the world composed of wood, grass and water becomes otherwise with all its contents in course of time.

10. Our boyhood and youth, bodies and possessions are all but transient things, and they change from one state to another, as the ever fluctuating waves of the ocean.

11. Our lives in this (mortal) world, are as unsteady as the flame of a lamp placed at the window, and the splendour of all the objects in the three worlds, is as flickering as the flashing of the lightning.

12. As a granary stored with heaps of grains is exhausted by its continued waste, so is the stock of life spent away by its repeated respirations.

13. The mind of man is as fluctuating as a flag waving in the air and filled with the dust of sin, to indicate its wavering between the paths of heaven and hell.

14. The existence of this delusive world, is as the appearance of an actress on the stage, shuffling her vests as she trudges along in her dancing.

15. It's scenes are as changeful and fascinating as those of a magic city; and its dealings as bewitching and momentary as the glances of a giggling girl.

16. The stage of the world presents us a scene of continued dancing (of the sorceress of deception), and the deceptive glances of her eyes resembling the fleeting flashes of lightning.

17. The days, the great men, their hey-days and deeds (that are past and gone), are now retained in our memory only, and such must be our cases also in a short time.

18. Many things are going to decay and many coming anew day by day; and there is yet no end of this accursed course of events in this ever-changeful world.

19. Men degenerate into lower animals, and those again rise to humanity (by metempsychosis), gods become no-gods, and there is nothing that remains the same.

20. The sun displays every thing to light by his rays, and watches over the rotations of days and nights, to witness like time the dissolution of all things.

21. The gods Brahma, Vishnu and Siva and all material productions, are reduced to nothingness, like the submarine fire subsiding under the waters of the deep.

22. The heaven, the earth, the air, the sky, the mountains, the rivers, and all the quarters of the globe, are subject to destruction like the dry fuel by the all-destroying fire of the last day.

23. Riches and relatives, friends, servants and affluence, are of no pleasure to him who is in constant dread of death.

24. All these are so long delightful to a sensible man, as the monster of death does not appear before the eye of his mind.

25. We have prosperity at one moment, succeeded by adversity at another; so we have health at one time, followed by sickness soon after.

26. What intelligent being is there, that is not misled by these delusions of the world, which represent things otherwise than what they are, and serve to bewilder the mind?

27. (The world is as varying) as the face of the skies; it is now as black as dark clay, and in the next moment bright with the golden hues of fair light.

28. It is now over-cast by azure clouds resembling the blue lotuses of the lake, and roaring loudly for a time and then being dumb and silent on a sudden:

29. Now studded with stars, and now glowing with the glory of the sun;then graced by the pleasant moonbeams, and at last without any light at all.

30. Who is there so sedate and firm, that is not terrified at these sudden appearances and their disappearance, and the momentary durations and final dissolution of worldly things?

31. What is the nature of this world, where we are overtaken by adversity at one moment, and elated by prosperity at another, where one is born at a time, and dies away at another?

32. One that was something else before, is born as a man in this life, and is changed to another state in course of a few days; thus there is no being that remains steadily in the same state.

33. A pot is made of clay, and cloth is made of cotton, and they are still the same dull materials of which they are composed: thus there is nothing new in this world that was not seen or known before, and that changes not its form. (i. e. all is but a formal and no material change).

34. The acts of creation and destruction, of diffusion, production, and sustentation follow one another, as the revolution of day and night to man.

35. It happens sometimes, that an impotent man slays a hero, and that hundreds are killed by one individual; so also a commoner becomes a noble man, and thus every thing is changeful in this varying world.

36. These bodies of men that are always changing their states, are as bodies of waters rising and falling in waves by motion of the winds.

37. Boyhood lasts but a few days, and then it is succeeded by youth which is as quickly followed by old age: thus there being no identity of the same person, how can one rely on the uniformity of external objects?

38. The mind that gets delighted in a moment and becomes dejected in the next, and assumes likewise its equanimity at another, is indeed as changeful as an actor.

39. The creator who is ever turning one thing into another in his work of creation, is like a child who makes and breaks his doll without concern.

40. The actions of producing and collecting (of grains), of feeding (one's self) and destroying (others), come by turns to mankind like the rotation of day and night.

41. Neither adversity nor prosperity is of long continuance in the case of worldly people, but they are ever subject to appearance and disappearance by turns.

42. Time is a skilful player and plays many parts with ease; but he is chiefly skilled in tragedy, and often plays his tragic part in the affairs of men.

43. All beings are produced as fruits in the great forest of the universe, by virtue of their good and bad acts (of past lives): and time like a gust of wind blasts them day by day before their maturity.