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 - Story of the doubtful realm or reverie of lila

Section I

Sarasvati said:—

1. Remove my child, the dead body of thy husband to yonder shrine! and strew those flowers over it, and thou shalt have thy husband again.

2. Never will this body rot or fade as long as the flowers are fresh over it, and know thy husband will shortly return to life again. (The strewing of flowers over the dead body and the grave, is a practice common in many religions).

3. His living soul which is as pure as air, will never depart from this cemetery of thy inner apartment. (The departed soul is believed to hover about the crypt or cairn until the day of resurrection).

4. The black-eyed princess, with her eyebrows resembling a cluster of black-bees, heard this consolatory speech of the goddess, and was cheered in her spirit, as the lotus-bed on return of the rains.

5. She placed the corpse of her husband there, and hid it under the flowers, and remained in expectation of its rising, as a poor man fosters the hope of finding a treasure.

6. It was at midnight of the very day, when all the members of the family had fallen fast asleep, that Lila repaired to the shrine in the inward apartment.

7. There she meditated on the goddess of knowledge, in the recess of her understanding, and called her in earnest in the sorrow of her heart, when she heard the divine voice thus addressing to her.

8. "Why dost thou call me, child, and why art thou so sorrowful in thy countenance? The world is full of errors, glaring as false water in a mirage."

Lila answered said:—

9. "Tell me goddess, where my husband resides at present, and what he has been doing now. Take me to his presence, as I am unable to bear the load of my life without him."

The goddess replied:—

10. "His spirit is now roving in the sky, of which there are three kinds:—one the firmament or region of the sensible worlds; the other is the region of the mind, the seat of volition and creation; and third is the region of Intellect, which contains the two others.

11. "Your husband's soul is now in the sheath of the region of Intellect; (being withdrawn both from the regions of the visible world and sensuous mind). It is now by seeking in the region of the Intellect, that things which are inexistent here, are to be found there.

12. As in passing from one place to another, you are conscious of standing in the mid spot, (which is neither the one nor the other); so you will arrive in an instant at the intermediate region of the intellectual world, (lying between this sensible and spiritual worlds).

13. "If you will abide in that intellectual world, after forsaking all your mental desires, you will certainly come to the knowledge of that spiritual Being who comprehends all in himself.

14. "It is only by your knowledge of the negative existence of the world, that you can come to know the positive existence of that Being, as you will now be able to do by my grace, and by no other means whatever."(Forget the sensible to get to the Spiritual. Hafiz).

Vasishtha said:—

15. so saying, the goddess repaired to her heavenly seat; and Lila sat gladly in her mood of steadfast meditation. (Platonism).

16. She quitted in a moment the prison house of her body, and her soul broke out of its inner bound of the mind, to fly freely in the air, like a bird freed from its cage: (so Plato compares the flight of the parting soul with that of a bird from its cage).

17. She ascended to the airy region of the Intellect, and saw (by her intellectual light) her husband seated there in his seat, amidst a group of princes and rulers of the earth; (who had received various forms and states according to their acts and desires).

18. He was seated on a throne, and lauded with the loud acclamations of "Long live the king," and "Be he victorious." His officers were prompt in the discharge of their several duties.

19. The royal palace and hall were decorated with rows of flags, and there was an assemblage of unnumbered sages and saints, Brahmans and Rishis at the eastern entrance of the hall.

20. There stood a levy of innumerable princes and chiefs of men at the southern porch, and a bevy of young ladies standing at the western door-way.

21. The northern gateway was blocked by lines of horse, carriages and elephants; when a guard advanced and informed the king of a warfare in Deccan.

22. He said that the chief of Karnatic, has made an attack on the eastern frontier; and that the chieftain of Surat, has brought to subjection the barbarous tribes on the north; and that the ruler of Malwa, has besieged the city of Tonkan on the west.

23. Then there was the reception of the ambassador from Lanka, coming from the coast of the southern sea.

24. There appeared next the Siddhas, coming from the Mahendra mountains bordering the eastern main, and traversing the numerous rivers of their fluvial districts; as also the ambassador of the Guhyaka or Yaksha tribes, inhabiting the shores of the northern sea.

25. There were likewise the envoys, visiting the shores of the western main, and relating the state of affairs of that territory to the king. The whole courtyard was filled with lustre by the assemblage of unnumbered chieftains from all quarters.

26. The recitals of Brahmans on sacrificial altars, died away under the sound of the timbrels; and the loud shouts of panegyrists, were re-echoed by the uproar of elephants.

27. The vault of heaven, resounding to the sound of the vocal and instrumental music; and the dust raised by the procession of elephants and chariots, and the trotting of horses' hoofs, obscured the face of the sky as by a cloud.

28. The air was perfumed by the fragrance of flowers, camphor and heaps of frankincense; and the royal hall was filled with presents sent from different provinces.

29. His fair fame shone forth as a burning hill of white camphor, and raised a column of splendour reaching to the sky, and casting into shade the solar light.

30. There were the rulers of districts, who were busily employed in their grave and momentous duties, and the great architects who conducted the building of many cities.

31. Then the ardent Lila entered the court-hall of the ruler of men, and unseen by any, just as one void mixes with another void, and as air is lost in the air.

32. She wandered about without being seen by any body there; just as a fair figure, formed by false imagination of our fond desire, is not to be perceived by any one without ourselves.

33. In this manner she continued to walk about the palace unperceived by all, as the aerial castle built in one's mind, is not perceived by another.

34. She beheld them all assembled in the royal court in their former forms, and saw all the cities of the princes, as concentrated in that single city of her lord's.

35. She viewed the same places, the same dealings, the same concourse of boys, and the same sorts of men and women, and the same ministers as before.

36. She saw the same rulers of earth, and the very same Pandits as before; the identic courtiers and the self-same servants as ever.

37. There was the same assemblage of the learned men and friends as before, and the like throng of citizens pursuing their former course of business.

38. She saw on a sudden, the flames of wild fire spreading on all sides even in broad midday light; and the sun and moon appearing both at once in the sky, and the clouds roaring with a tremendous noise, with the whistling of the winds.

39. She saw the trees, the hills, the rivers and the cities flourishing with population; and the many towns, and villages and forests all about.

40. She beheld her royal consort as a boy of ten years of age after shaking off his former frame of old age, sitting amidst the hall with all his former retinue, and all the inhabitants of his village.

Section II - Description of the Court House and the Cortes

41. Lila having seen all these began to reflect within herself, whether the inhabitants of this place were living beings or the ghosts of their former living souls.

42. Then having recovered her sense at the removal of her trance, she entered into her inner apartment at midnight, and found the inmates fast bound in sleep.

43. She raised one by one her sleeping companions, and said she was anxious to visit the royal hall.

44. She wanted to be seated beside the throne of her lord, and to clear her doubt by seeing the courtiers all alive.

45. The royal menials rose up at her call, and obedient to her command they said "Be it so,"and attended to their respective duties.

46. A train of club-bearers ran to all sides to call the courtiers from the city, and sweepers came and swept the ground as clean as the sun had shed his rays upon it.

47. A better set of servants cleansed the court-yard as clean, as autumn days clear the firmament of its rainy clouds.

48. Rows of lights were placed about the court-yard, which looked as beautiful as clusters of stars in the clear sky.

49. The ground of the court-yard was filled by throngs of people, as the earth was covered of yore by floods of the great deluge.

50. The dignified ministers and chiefs attended first and took their respective seats, and appeared as a set of the newly created rulers of people of the world on all sides, or the regents of the quarters of the sky.

51. The cooling and fragrant odour of thickly pasted camphor filled the palace, and the sweet-scented zephyrs breathed profusely the fragrance of the lotus flowers, which they bore from all sides.

52. The chamberlains stood all around in their white garbs, and appeared as an assemblage of silvery clouds, hanging over the burning hills under the equator.

53. The ground was strewn over by the morning breeze with heaps of flowers, bright as the beaming dawn dispelling the gloom of night, and etiolated as clusters of stars fallen upon the ground.

54. The palace was crowded by the retinue of the chiefs of the land, and seemed as it was a lake full of full-blown lotuses, with the fair swimming swans rambling about them.

55. There Lila took her seat on a golden seat by the side of the throne, and appeared as the beauteous Rati seated in the joyous heart of Kama, (i. e. as Venus sitting in the lap of aureate lighted Phoebus).

56. She saw all the princes seated in their order as before, and the elders of the people and the nobles of men and all her friends and relatives, seated in their proper places.

57. She was highly delighted to behold them all in their former states, and shone forth as the moon with the brightness of her countenance, to find them all alive again.