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 XXVII - Past lives of lila

1. The two ladies then disappeared from that place, leaving the Brahman family at their house in the mountainous village.

2. The family exclaimed "We are highly favoured by the sylvan goddesses;" and then forgetting their grief, they betook themselves to their domestic employments.

3. Then the etherial goddess spake to the aerial-Lila, who stood fixed in air, over the mansion of the Brahman, in a state of mute astonishment.

4. They then conversed as familiarly with each other, as persons having the same thoughts and desires, agree with one another in their views and acts; and as the dreamers of the same dream hold their mutual correspondence, like Usha and Anniruddha (the Cupid and Psyche of India).

5. Their conversation in their immaterial forms, was of the same intellectual (psychical) kind, as we are conscious of in our dreams and imaginations.

Sarasvati said:—

6. Now you have fully known the knowable, and become acquainted with whatever is visible and invisible: such is the essence of Brahma; say now what more you want to know.

Lila said:—

7. Tell me the reason why I was seen by my son, and not where the spirit of my departed lord is reigning over his realm.

Sarasvati replied:—

8. Because you were not then perfect by your practice of Yoga to have your wish fulfilled, nor had you then lost your sense of duality, which is a preventive of perfection.

9. He who has not known the unity, is not entitled to the acts and benefits of his faith in the true god; as no one sitting in the sun, can enjoy the coolness of shade.

10. You were not practiced to forget your identity as Lila, nor learnt that it is not your will, but the will of God that is always fulfilled.

11. You have afterwards become of pure desire, and wished that your son might see you, whereby he was enabled to have your sight.

12. Now if you should return to your husband, and do the like, you will undoubtedly be successful in your desire.

Lila said:—

13. I see within the sphere of this dome (of my mind), the Brahman to have been my husband before; and I see also in it, that he died and became a ruler of the earth afterwards.

14. I see in it that spot of the earth, that city and that palace of his where I sat as his queen.

15. I see within myself my lord to be reigning in that place, and I see even there how he died afterwards.

16. I see herein the glory of the sovereign of so many countries on earth, and I see also the perfect frankness of his conduct through life.

17. I see the worlds in the inner sky of my mind, as they are placed in a casket, or as the oil is contained in a mustard seed.

18. I see the bright orb of my husband ever roving before me, and now I pray you to contrive any how to place me by his side.

The goddess replied:—

19. Tell me Lila, to what husband you shall go, as there are hundreds of them that you had, and shall have in your past and future lives, and now there are three of them confined in this earth.

20. The nearest of the three, is the Brahman who is here reduced to ashes; the next is the prince lying in state and covered with flowers in the inner apartment.

21. The third is now a reigning prince in this earth, and has been buffeting in the waves of error in the vast ocean of the world.

22. His intellect is darkened and disordered by the splashing waves of worldliness, his intelligence is perverted to stupidity, and he is converted to a tortoise in the ocean of the world.

23. The management of his very many disordered state affairs, has stultified him to a lubbard, and he is now fast asleep amidst the turmoils of business.

24. He is fast bound to subjection by the strong chain of his thoughts, that he is a lord, is mighty, accomplished, and that he is happy and is to enjoy his estates for ever.

25. Now say, O excellent lady! to what husband you wish to be led, in the manner of the fragrance of one forest borne by the breeze to another.

26. Here you are in one place, and there they in others amidst this vast world; and the state of their lives and manners differs widely from one another.

27. These orbs of light in the heaven, though they appear to be placed so near us (both to our eyesight and in the mind), are yet situated millions of leagues apart from one another; and the departed souls are carried in them (in their endless transmigrations).

28. And again all these bodies are as vacuous as air, though they contain the great mounts Meru and Mandara in themselves.

29. All bodies are formed by the combination of atoms, incessantly proceeding from the Great Intellect, like particles of sun-beams over the universe.

30. The great and stupendous fabric of the world, is no more (in the eye of intelligence), than a quantity of paddy weighed in the balance.

31. As the spangled heavens appear like a forest full of brilliant gems in it, so the world appears as full of the glory of God to the contemplative mind, and not as composed of earth or other material bodies in it.

32. It is intelligence alone, that shines in the form of world in the intelligent soul, and not any material body, which was never brought into being before.

33. As billows in the lake, rise and set and rise again, so the rising and falling days and nights present these various scenes to our knowledge.

Lila said:—

34. So it is, O mother of mankind! and so I come to remember now, that my present birth (state) is of a royal (rajasika) kind, and neither of too pure nor gross a nature. (Sattvika or Tamasika).

35. I having descended from Brahma, had undergone a hundred and eight births (in different shapes); and after passing various states, I find myself still in existence.

36. I recollect, O goddess! to have been born in another world before, and to have been the bride of a Vidyadhara, when I used to rove about as freely as a bee over flowers.

37. Being debased by my libertinism, I was born in this mortal world, and became the mate of the king of the feathered tribe (an eagle).

38. And then having been a resident in the woods, I was turned to a woodman's mate, wearing a vest of leaves on my loins.

39. Growing fond of my life, I sported wantonly about the forest, and was changed to the guluncha plant, delighting the woods with my leafy palms and flowering eyes.

40. This arboret of the holy hermitage, was held sacred by the society of saintly sages; and then I was regenerated in the form of an anchorite's child, after the woods were burnt down by a wild-fire.

41. Here I was initiated in the formularies for removing the curse of womanhood, and became as a male being in the person of the handsome prince of Surashtra (Surat), where I reigned for a hundred years (or for a whole century).

42. I was then denounced to become a weasel, and covered with leprosy, in the lowlands of Tali, on account of my misconduct in the government.

43. I remember, O goddess! how I became a bullock at Surat, and was goaded by thoughtless cowherd boys, in their merry sport for full eight years.

44. I bear in mind when I was transformed to a bird, and with what difficulty I broke the net, that was laid by bird-catchers for my destruction. It was in the same manner as we release ourselves from the snares of sinful desires.

45. I remember with pleasure when as a bee, I lighted lightly on the leaflets of blossoms, sipped the honey of the blooming buds, dined on the pistils, and slept in the cups of lotus flowers.

46. I wandered about in pleasant wood-lands and lawns, with my exalted and branching horns and beautiful eyes, in the form of an antelope, till I was killed by the dart of a huntsman in my mortal part.

47. I have been in the form of a fish, and was lifted up by the waves of the sea above the surface of the water. I saw how a tortoise was killed by the blow of a club on the neck, when it failed to break its back-bone.

48. I was a Chandala huntsman once, roving by the side of Charmanvati (the river Chenab), when I used to quench my thirst with cocoa water, as I was tired with roaming.

49. I became a stork also, delighting in lakes with my mate, and filling the air with our sweet cries.

50. In another birth, I rambled about in groves of palm and tamala trees, and fixed my eyes with amorous looks and glances upon my lover.

51. I had next been a fairy Apsara, with a form as bright as melted gold, and features as beautiful as those of the lotus and lily, in which the celestials like bees and butterflies, used to take delight.

52. I remember to have decked myself in gold and pearls, and in gems and rubies upon earth, and to have sported with my youthful consorts in pleasure gardens and groves, and on hills and mountains.

53. And I remember also to have lived long as a tortoise on the borders of a river, and to have been carried away by the waves, sometimes under an arbour of creepers, over-hung with clusters of beautiful flowers; and at others to some wild cave washed by the waves.

54. I see how I acted the part of a goose with my covering of feathers, swimming on the high heaving waves on the surface of a lake.

55. Then seeing a poor gnat hanging on the moving leaf of a Salmali branch, I became its associate and as contemptible a thing like itself.

56. I became an aquatic crane also, skimming playfully over the waters gushing from the hills, and slightly kissing the crests of the waves rising over the rapid torrent.

57. I remember also how I slighted the loves of amorous youths, and spurned off from me the Vidyadhara boys on the Gandha Madana and Mandara hills.

58. I remember likewise the pangs of a lovelorn lass, when I lay pining in my bed, strewn over with the fragrance of camphor, and how I was decaying like the disk of the waning moon.

59. Thus I passed through many births, in the wombs of higher and lower animals, and found them all to be full of pain. And my soul has run over the billows of the irresistible current of life, like the fleet antelope, pacing its speed with the swiftness of the wind (Vataprami).