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...

Vasishtha said:—

1. After the excellent ladies had returned from their visit of the mundane sphere, they entered the abode where the Brahman had lived before.

2. There the holy ladies saw in that dwelling, and unseen by any body, the tomb or tope of the Brahman.

3. Here the maid servants were dejected with sorrow, and the faces of the women were soiled with tears. Their countenances had faded away, like lotuses with their withered leaves.

4. All joy had fled from the house, and left it as the dry bed of the dead sea, after its waters were sucked by the scorching sun (Agastya). It was as a garden parched in summer, or a tree struck by lightning.

5. It was as joyless as the dried lotus, torn by a blast or withering under the frost; and as faint as the light of a lamp, without its wick or oil; and as dim as the eyeball without its light.

6. The house without its master, was as doleful as the countenance of a dying person, or as a forest with its falling and withered leaves, and as the dry and dusty ground for want of rain.

Vasishtha continued:—

7-8. Then the lady with her gracefulness of divine knowledge, and the elegance of her perfections, and her devotedness to and desire of truth, thought within herself, that the inmates of the house might behold her and the goddess, in their ordinary forms of human beings.

9. The dwellers of the house then beheld the two ladies as Laxmi and Gauri together, and brightening the house with the effulgence of their persons.

10. They were adorned from head to foot, with wreaths of unfading flowers of various kinds; and they seemed like Flora—the genius of spring, perfuming the house with the fragrance of a flower garden.

11. They appeared to rise as a pair of moons, with their cooling and pleasant beams; infusing a freshness to the family, as the moonlight does to the medicinal plants in forests and villages.

12. The soft glances of their eyes, under the long, loose and pendant curls of hair on their foreheads, shed as it were a shower of white malati flowers, from the dark cloudy spots of their nigrescent eyes.

13. Their bodies were as bright as melted gold, and as tremulous as the flowing stream. The current of their effulgence, cast a golden hue on the spot where they stood, as also over the forest all around.

14. The natural beauty of Laxmi's body, and the tremulous glare of Lila's person, spread as it were, a sea of radiance about them, in which their persons seemed to move as undulating waves.

15. Their relaxed arms resembling loose creepers, with the ruddy leaflets of their palms, shook as fresh Kalpa creepers in the forest.

16. They touched the ground again with their feet, resembling the fresh and tender petals of a flower, or like lotuses growing upon the ground.

17. Their appearance seemed to sprinkle ambrosial dews all around, and made the dry withered and brown boughs of tamala trees, to vegetate anew in tender sprouts and leaflets.

18. On seeing them, the whole family with Jyeshtha Sarma (the eldest boy of the deceased Brahman), cried aloud and said, "Obeisance to the sylvan goddesses,"and threw handfuls of flowers on their feet.

19. The offerings of flowers which fell on their feet, resembled the showers of dew-drops, falling on lotus leaves in a lake of lotuses.

Jyeshtha sarma said:—

20. Be victorious, ye goddesses! that have come here to dispel our sorrow;as it is inborn in the nature of good people, to deliver others from their distress.

21. After he had ended, the goddesses addressed him gently and said, tell us the cause of your sorrow, which has made you all so sad.

22. Then Jyeshtha Sarma and others related to them one by one their griefs, owing to the demise of the Brahman pair.

They said:—

23. Know O goddess pair! there lived here a Brahman and his wife, who had been the resort of guests and a support of the Brahminical order.

24. They were our parents, and have lately quitted this abode; and having abandoned us with all their friends and domestic animals here, have departed to heaven, and left us quite helpless in this world.

25. The birds there sitting on the top of the house, have been continually pouring in the air, their pious and mournful ditties over the dead bodies of the deceased.

26. There the mountains on all sides, have been lamenting their loss, in the hoarse noise (of the winds) howling in their caverns, and shedding showers of their tears in the course of the streams issuing from their sides.

27. The clouds have poured their tears in floods of rainwater, and fled from the skies; while the quarters of the heavens have been sending their sighs in sultry winds all around.

28. The poor village people are wailing in piteous notes, with their bodies mangled by rolling upon the ground, and trying to yield up their lives with continued fasting.

29. The trees are shedding their tears every day in drops of melting snow, exuding from the cells of their leaves and flowers, resembling the sockets of their eyes.

30. The streets are deserted for want of passers-bye, and have become dusty without being watered. They have become as empty as the hearts of men forsaken by their joys of life.

31. The fading plants are wailing in the plaintive notes of Cuckoos and the humming of bees; and are withering in their leafy limbs by the sultry sighs of their inward grief.

32. The snows are melted down by the heat of their grief and falling in the form of cataracts, which break themselves to a hundred channels by their fall upon stony basins.

33. Our prosperity has fled from us, and we sit here in dumb despair of hope. Our houses have become dark and gloomy as a desert.

34. Here the humble bees, are humming in grief upon the scattered flowers in our garden, which now sends forth a putrid smell instead of their former fragrance.

35. And there the creepers that twined so gayly round the vernal arbors, are dwindling and dying away with their closing and fading flowers.

36. The rivulets with their loose and low purling murmur, and light undulation of their liquid bodies in the ground, are running hurriedly in their sorrow, to cast themselves into the sea.

37. The ponds are as still in their sorrow, as men sitting in their meditative posture (Samadhi), notwithstanding the disturbance of the gnats flying incessantly upon them.

38. Verily is that part of the heaven adorned this day by the presence of our parents, where the bodies of heavenly choristers, the Kinnaras, Gandharvas and Vidyadharas, welcome them with their music.

39. Therefore, O Devis! assuage this our excessive grief; as the visit of the great never goes for nothing.

40. Hearing these words, Lila gently touched the head of her son with her hand, as the lotus-bed leans to touch its offshoot by the stalk.

41. At her touch the boy was relieved of all his sorrow and misfortune, just as the summer heat of the mountain, is allayed by the showers of the rainy season.

42. All others in the house, were as highly gratified at the sight of the goddesses, as when a pauper is relieved of his poverty, and the sick are healed by a draught of nectar.

Rama said:—

43. Remove my doubt, sir, why Lila did not appear in her own figure before her eldest son—Jyeshta Sarma.

Vasishtha answered said:—

44. You forget, O Rama! to think that Lila had a material body, or could assume any at pleasure. She was in her form of pure intellect (lingadeha), and it was with her spiritual hand that she touched the inner spirit of the boy and not his body. (Gloss). Because whoso believes himself to be composed of his earthly body only, is verily confined in that; but he who knows his spirituality, is as free as air: (and it was in this aerial form that Lila was ranging about and touched her son).

45. Belief in materialism leads one to think his unreal earthly frame as real, as a boy's belief in ghosts makes him take a shadow for a spirit.

46. But this belief in one's materiality, is soon over upon conviction of his spirituality; as the traces of our visions in a dream, are effaced on the knowledge of their unreality upon waking.

47. The belief of matter as (vacuous) nothing, leads to the knowledge of the spirit. And as a glass door appears as an open space to one of a bilious temperament, so does matter appear as nothing to the wise.

48. A dream presents us the sights of cities and lands, of air and water, where there are no such things in actuality; and it causes the movements of our limbs and bodies (as in somnambulation) for nothing.

49. As the air appears as earth in dreaming, so does the non-existent world appear to be existent in waking. It is thus that men see and talk of things unseen and unknown in their fits of delirium.

50. So boys see ghosts in the air, and the dying man views a forest in it; others see elephants in clouds, and some see pearls in sun-beams.

51. And thus those that are panic-struck and deranged in their minds, the halfwaking and passengers in vessels, see many appearances like the aforesaid ghosts and forests, as seen by boys and men in the air, and betray these signs in the motions and movements of their bodies.

52. In this manner every one is of the form of whatever he thinks himself to be; and it is habit only that makes him to believe himself as such, though he is not so in reality.

53. But Lila who had known the truth and inexistence of the world, was conscious of its nothingness, and viewed all things to be but erroneous conceptions of the mind.

54. Thus he who sees Brahma only to fill the sphere of his intellect, has no room for a son or friend or consort to abide in it.

55. He who views the whole as full with the spirit of Brahma, and nothing produced in it, has no room for his affection or hatred to any body in it.

The hand that lila laid on the head of jyeshtha sarma said:—

56. her eldest son, was not lain from her maternal affection for him, but for his edification in intellectual knowledge.

57. Because the intellect being awakened, there is all felicity attendant upon it. It is more subtile than ether and far purer than vacuum, and leads the intellectual being above the region of air. All things beside are as images in a dream.