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 XXIV - The aerial journey

Section I

Vasishtha continued:—

Thus ascending higher and higher and reaching by degrees the highest station, they went on viewing the heavens, with their hands clasped in each other's.

2. They saw a vast expanse as that of the wide extended universal ocean, deep and translucent within; but soft with etherial mildness, and a cooling breeze infusing heavenly delight.

3. All delightsome and pleasant was the vast Ocean of vacuity, into which they dived, and which afforded them a delight far greater in its purity, than what is derived from the company of the virtuous.

4. They wandered about all sides of heaven, under the beams of the full moon shining above them; and now halted under the clear vault of the clouds, covering the mountain tops of Meru, as if under the dome of a huge white washed edifice.

5. And now they roved by the regions of Siddhas and Gandharvas, breathing the charming fragrance of Mandara chaplets; and now passing the lunar sphere, they inhaled the sweet scent exhaled by the breeze from that nectarious orb (Sudhakara).

6. Now tired and perspiring profusely, they bathed in the lakes of showering clouds, fraught with the blushing lotuses of lurid lightnings flashing within them.

7. They promenaded at random of their free will on all sides, and now alighted like fluttering bees on the tops of high mountains, appearing as filaments of the lotus-like earth below.

8. They roved also under the vaults of some fragments of clouds, which were scattered by the winds, and raining like the cascade of Ganges, thinking them as shower-bath-houses in the air.

9. Then failing in their strength, they halted in many places, with their slow and slackened steps, and beheld the vacuum full of great and wondrous works.

 

Section II - Description of the Heaven

10. They saw what they had never seen before, the tremendous depth of vacuity, which was not filled up by the myriads of worlds which kept revolving in it.

11. Over and over and higher and higher, they saw the celestial spheres filled with luminous orbs adorned with their ornamental stars, roving one above and around the other.

12. Huge mountainous bodies as the Meru moved about in the vacuous space, and emitted a rubicund glare, like a flame of fire from within their bowels on all sides.

13. There were beautiful table-lands, like those of the Himalayas, with their pearly peaks of snow; and also mountains of gold, spreading an aureate hue over the land.

14. They saw in some place mountains of emerald, tinging the landscape with verdant green, as it were a bed of grass; and in others some dark cloud, dimming the sight of the spectator, and hiding the spectacle in dark blackness.

15. They beheld also tracts of blue sapphire, with creepers of parijata flowers, blooming with their blossoms as banners in the azure skies.

16. They saw the flights of Siddhas (or departed holy spirits), the flight of whose minds outstripped the swiftness of the winds; and heard the vocal music of the songs of heavenly nymphs in their aerial abodes.

17. All the great bodies in the universe (the planetary system), were in continual motion; and the spirits of the gods and demigods, were moving about unseen by one another.

18. Groups of spiritual beings, as the Kushmandas, Rakshasas and Pisachas, were seated in aerial circles at the borders; and the winds and gales blowing with full force in their etherial course.

19. Loud roarings of clouds, as those of the crackling wheels of heavenly cars, were heard in some places; and the noise of rapid stars, resembled the blowing of pneumatic engines.

20. There the half burnt Siddhas, were flying from their burning cars under the solar rays, by reason of their nearness to the Sun; and the solar embers were flung afar by the breath of the nostrils of his horses. (It means the falling of the burning meteors and meteorolites from the sky).

21. In some places they beheld the rulers of men, and trains of Apsaras, hurrying up and down the air; and in others, the goddesses roving amidst the smoky and fiery clouds in the firmament.

22. Here they saw some sparks of light, falling like the jewels of celestial nymphs, in their hurried flight to their respective spheres; and there they beheld the lightsome spirits of lesser Siddhas dwindling into darkness.

23. Flakes of mists were falling off from the clouds, as if by friction of the bodies of turbulent spirits, rushing up and down the skies; and shrouding the sides of mountains as with sheets of cloth.

24. Fragments of clouds, beset by groups in the shapes of crows, owls and vultures, were flying about in the air; and there were seen some monsters also, as Dakinis heaving their heads in the forms of huge surges, in the cloudy ocean of the sky.

25. There were bodies of Yoginis too, with their faces resembling those of dogs, ravens, asses and camels, who were traversing the wide expanse of the heavens to no purpose.

26. There were Siddhas and Gandharvas, sporting in pairs in the coverts of dark, smoky and ash coloured clouds, spread before the regents of the four quarters of the skies.

27. They beheld the path of the planets (the zodiac), which resounded loudly with the heavenly music of the spheres; and that path also (of the lunar mansions), which incessantly marked the course of the two fortnights.

28. They saw the sons of gods moving about in the air, and viewing with wonder the heavenly stream of Ganges (the milky way), which was studded with stars, and rolling with the rapidity of winds.

29. They saw the gods wielding their thunderbolts, discuses, tridents, swords and missiles; and heard Narada and Tumburu singing in their aerial abodes on high.

30. They beheld the region of the clouds, where there were huge bodies of them mute as paintings, and pouring forth floods of rain as in the great deluge.

31. In some place they saw a dark cloud, as high as the mountain-king Himalaya, slowly moving in the air; and at others some of a golden hue as at the setting sun.

32. In some place there were flimsy sheets of clouds, as are said to hover on the peaks of the Rishya range; and at another a cloud like the calm blue bed of the Sea, without any water in them.

33. There were tufts of grass seen in some places, as if blown up by the winds and floating in the stream of air; and swarms of butterflies at others with their glossy coats and wings.

34. In some place, there was a cloud of dust raised by the wind, and appearing as a lake on the top of a mountain.

35. The Matris were seen, to be dancing naked in their giddy circles in some place, and the great Yoginis sat at others, as if ever and anon giddy with intoxication.

36. There were circles of holy men, sitting in their calm meditation in one place; and pious saints at others, who had cast away their worldly cares at a distance.

37. There was a conclave of celestial choristers, composed of heavenly nymphs, Kinnaras and Gandharvas in one place; and some quiet towns and cities situated at others.

38. There were the cities of Brahma and Rudra full with their people, and the city of illusion (Maya) with its increasing population.

39. There were crystal lakes in some places and stagnant pools at others; and lakes with the Siddhas seated by them, and those embosomed by the rising moon.

40. They saw the sun rising in one part, and the darkness of night veiling the others; the evening casting its shadow on one, and the dusky mists of dusk obscuring the other.

41. There were the hoary clouds of winter in some places, and those of the rains in others; somewhere they appeared as tracts of land and at another as a sheet of water.

42. Bodies of gods and demigods, were roving from one side to the other;some from east to west, and others from north to the south.

43. There were mountains heaving their heads to thousands of miles in their height; and there were valleys and caves covered in eternal darkness.

44. There was a vast inextinguishable fire, like that of the blazing sun in one place; and a thickly frost covering the moonlight in another. (The burning heat of the tropics and the cold of the frigid zone).

45. Somewhere there was a great city, flourishing with groves and arbours; and at another big temples of gods, levelled to the ground by the might of demons.

46. In some place there was a streak of light, described by a falling meteor in the sky; in another the blaze of a comet with its thousand fiery tails in the air.

47. In one place there was a lucky planet, rising with its full orb to the view; in another there spread the gloom of night, and full sunshine in another.

48. Here the clouds were roaring, and there they were dumb and mute; here were the high blasts driving the clouds in air, and there the gentle breeze dropping the clusters of flowers on the ground.

49. Sometimes the firmament was clear and fair, and without an intercepting cloud in it, and as transparent as the soul of a wise man, delighted with the knowledge of truth.

50. The vacuous region of the celestial gods, was so full with the dewy beams (himansu) of the silvery orb of the moon (sweta-vaha), that it appeared as a shower of rain, and raised the loud croaking of the frogs below.

51. There appeared flocks of peacocks and goldfinches, to be fluttering about in some place, and vehicles of the goddesses and Vidyadharis thronging at another.

52. Numbers of Kartikeya's peacocks were seen dancing amidst the clouds, and a flight of greenish parrots was seen in the sky appearing as a verdant plain.

53. Dwarfish clouds were moving like the stout buffaloes of Yama; and others in the form of horses, were grazing on the grassy meadows of clouds.

54. Cities of the gods and demons, appeared with their towers on high;and distinct towns and hills, were seen at distances, as if detached from one another by the driving winds.

55. In some place, gigantic Bhairavas were dancing with their mountainous bodies; and great garudas were flying at another, as winged mountains in the air.

56. Huge mountains also, were tossed about by the blowing of winds; and the castles of the Gandharvas, were rising and falling with the celestial nymphs in them.

57. There were some clouds rising on high, and appearing as rolling mountains in the sky, crushing down the forests below; and the sky appeared in some place, as a clear lake abounding in lotuses.

58. The moon-beams shone brightly in one spot, and sweet cooling breezes blew softly in another. Hot sultry winds were blowing in some place, and singeing the forest on the mountainous clouds.

59. There was a dead silence in one spot, caused by perfect calmness of the breeze; while another spot presented a scene of a hundred peaks, rising on a mountainlike cloud.

60. In one place the raining clouds, were roaring loudly in their fury; and in another a furious battle was waging between the gods and demons in the clouds.

61. In some place the geese were seen gabbling in the lotus lake of the sky, and inviting the ganders by their loud cackling cries.

62. Forms of fishes, crocodiles and alligators, were seen flying in the air, as if they were transformed to aerial beings, by the holy waters of their natal Ganges.

63. They saw somewhere the eclipse of the moon, by the dark shadow of the earth, as the sun went down the horizon; and so they saw the eclipse of the sun by the shadow of the moon falling on his disk.

64. They saw a magical flower garden, exhaling its fragrance in the air; and strewing the floor of heaven, with profusion of flowers, scattered by showers of morning dews.

65. They beheld all the beings contained in the three worlds, to be flying in the air, like a swarm of gnats in the hollow of a fig tree; and then the two excellent ladies stopped in their aerial journey, intent upon revisiting the earth.

NOTE. Most part of the above description of the heavens, consists of the various appearances of the clouds, and bears resemblance to Shelly's poetical description of them. All this is expressed by one word in the Cloud-Messenger of Kalidasa, where the cloud is said to be "Kama rupa" or assuming any form at pleasure.