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...
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This single wived husband, enjoyed the pleasure of an undivided and unfeigned love, in company with his only consort, as with an Apsara (or heavenly nymph) on earth. (The Apsaras are the Abisares of Ptolemy and Absairs of the Persians: a term applied to the fairy race in the watery valley of Cashmere, supposed to be the site of Paradise-Firdous, and the scene of innocent attachment).
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The seats of their youthful sports were the gardens and groves, the arbours of shrubberies, and forests of Tamala trees. They sported also in the pleasant arbours of creepers and delightful alcoves of flowers.
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They delighted themselves in the inner apartments, on beds decked with fragrant flowers, and on walks strewn over with fresh blossoms. They amused in their swinging cradles in their pleasure gardens in spring, and in rowing their tow-boats in summer heat.
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Hills overgrown with sandal woods and shades of shady forests; the alcoves of Nipa and Kadamba trees, and coverts of the Paribhadra or Devadaru-cedars, were their favourite resorts in summer.
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They sat besides the beds of kunda and Mandara plants, redolent with the fragrance of full-blown flowers; and strayed about the vernal green-woods, resounding with the melody of kokilas' notes.
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The glossy beds of grassy tufts, the mossy seats of woods and lawns, and water-falls flooding the level lands with showers of rain, (were also their favourite resorts).
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Mountain layers overlaid with gems, minerals and richest stones; the shrines of gods and saints, holy hermitages and places of pilgrimage, were oft visited by them.
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Lakes of full-blown lotuses and lilies, smiling Kumudas of various hues, and wood-lands darkened by green foliage, or overhung with flowers and fruitage, were their frequent haunts.
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They passed their time in the amorous dalliances of godlike youths; and their personal beauty, was graced by the generous pastimes, of their mutual fondness and affection.
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They amused each other with bon-mots and witticisms and solution of riddles; with story telling and playing the tricks of hold-fists mushti-bandha (purmuthi), and the various games of chess and dice.
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They diverted themselves with the reading of dramas and narratives, and interpretation of stanzas difficult even to the learned. And sometimes they roamed about cities, towns and villages.
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They decorated their persons with wreaths of flowers and ornaments of various kinds; fared and feasted on a variety of flavours, and moved about with playful negligence.
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They chewed betel leaves mixed with moistened mace and camphor, and saffron; and hid the love marks on their bodies, under wreaths of flowers and corals, with which they were adorned.
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They played the frolics of "hide and find"(Beng. lukichuri), tossing of wreaths and garlands, and swinging one another in cradles bestrewn with flowers.
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They made their trips in pleasure-boats, and on yokes of elephants and tame camels; and sported in their pleasure-ponds by pattering water upon one another.
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They had their manly and womanly dances, the sprightly tandava and the merry lasya; and songs of masculine and effeminate voices the Kala and gita. They had symphonious and euphonious music, and played on the lute and tabor, (the wired and percussive instruments).
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They passed in their flowery conveyances through gardens and parterres, by river sides and highways, and amidst their inner apartments and royal palaces.
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The loving and beloved princess being thus brought up in pleasure and indulgence, thought at one time with a wistful heart within herself:—
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"How will this my lord and ruler of earth, who is in the bloom of youth and prosperity, and who is dearer to me than my life, be free from old age and death.
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"And how will I enjoy his company on beds of flowers in the palace, possessed of my youth and free-will, for the long long period of hundreds of years.
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"I will therefore endeavour with all my vigilance and prayers, and austerities and endeavours, how this moon-faced prince, may become free from death and decline.
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She accordingly invited the Brahmans and honoured them with presents, and asked them lowly, to tell her how men might become immortal on earth.
The brahmans replied:—
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"Great queen! holy men may obtain success in every thing by their austerities, prayers and observance of religious rites; but no body can ever attain to immortality here below."
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Hearing this from the mouths of the Brahmans, she thought again in her own mind, and with fear for the demise of her loving lord.
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"Should it happen, that I come to die before my lord, I shall then be released from all pain of separation from him, and be quite at rest in myself.
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But if my husband happen to die before me, even after a thousand years of our lives, I shall so manage it, that his soul (the immortal part of his body), may not depart from the confines of this mansion (the charnel-house).
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"So that the spirit of my lord, will rove about the holy vault in the inner apartment, and I shall feel the satisfaction of moving about in his presence at all times."
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"I will commence even from this day, to worship Sarasvati—the goddess of Intelligence, and offer my prayers to her for this purpose, with observance of fasts and other rites to my heart's content."
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She kept her fasts, and broke them at the end of every third night;and then entertained the gods, Brahmans, the priests and holy people, with feasts and due honours.
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She was then employed in the performance of her daily ablutions, in her act of alms-giving, in the observance of her austerities and in meditation; in all of which she was painstaking, an observant of the rules of pious theism.
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She attended also to her incognizant husband at stated times, and ministered unto him to the utmost, her duties as required by law and usage.
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Thus observant of her vows, the young princess passed a hundred of her trinoctial ceremony, with resolute and persevering pains-taking and unfailing austerities.
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The fair goddess of speech, was pleased at the completion of her hundredth trinoctial observance, in which she was honoured by her, with all outward and spiritual complaisance, and then bespoke to her.
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"I am pleased my child! with thy continued devotion to me, and thy constant devotedness to thy husband. Now ask the boon that thou wouldst have of me."
The princess replied:—
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"Be victorious, O moon-bright goddess! that puttest to an end all the pains of our birth and death, and the troubles, afflictions and evils of this world; and that like the sun, puttest to flight the darkness of our affections and afflictions in this life.
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"Save me O goddess, and thou parent of the world, and have pity on this wretched devotee, and grant her these two boons, that she supplicates of thee.
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"The one is, that after my husband is dead, his soul may not go beyond the precincts of this shrine in the inner apartment.
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"The second is, that thou shalt hear my prayer, and appear before me, whenever I raise my voice to thee, for having thy sight and blessing."
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Hearing this, the goddess said, "Be it so;" and immediately disappeared in the air (whence she came); as the wave subsides in the sea whence it rises to view.
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The princess being blessed by the presence and good grace of the goddess, was as delighted as a doe at the hearing of music.
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The wheel of time rolled on its two semicircles of the fort-nights. The spikes of months, the arcs of the seasons, the loops of days and nights and the orbit of years. The axle composed of fleeting moments; giving incessant momentum to the wheel.
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The perceptions of the prince, entered into the inner man within the body (lingadeha); and he looked in a short time, as dry as a withered leaf without its juicy gloss.
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The dead body of the warlike prince, being laid over the sepulchre, in the inside of the palace, the princess began to fade away at its sight, like a lotus flower without its natal water (of the lake).
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Her lips grew pale by her hot and poisoned breath of sorrow;and she was in the agony of death, as a doe pierced by a dart (in her mortal part).
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Her eyes were covered in darkness at the death of her lord, as a house becomes dark at the extinction of the light of its lamp.
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She became leaner every moment, in her sad melancholy; and turned as a dried channel covered with dirt in lieu of its water.
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She moved one moment and was then mute as a statue; she was about to die of grief, as the ruddy goose at the separation of her mate.
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Then the etherial goddess Sarasvati, took pity on the excess of her grief, and showed as much compassion for her relief, as the first shower of rain, does to the dying fishes in a drying pond.