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...

Section I - Exposition of Lila’s Vision

Rama said:—

Tell me sir, in what manner the goddesses broke out of the strongholds of their bodies, and the prison house of this world, (where their souls were pent up), and passed through infinite space, to survey the scenes beyond its confines. (i. e. How does the mind and the flight of imagination, reach to regions unknown and unseen before).

Vasishtha replied:—

2. Where is the world and where is its support or solidity? They were all situated in the region within the minds of the goddesses.

3. They saw in it the hilly tract, where the Brahmana Vasishtha had his abode and his desire of royalty, (pictured in in their minds).

4. They saw in a corner of it the deserted mansion of the Brahman, and they saw in it the surface of the earth stretching to the seas. (i. e. in their mental view).

5. They beheld in that imaginary spot of earth the city of the prince, and the royal palace which he had enjoyed with Arundhati his consort (in his imagination).

6. How she was born under the name of Lila, and worshipped the goddess of wisdom—Sarasvati; by whom she was miraculously conveyed to the delightful region of the sky.

7. It was in the mansion situated in that hilly village, that she beheld the world placed within the space of a span of her mind.

8. Having come out of her vision of the world, she found herself seated in her house, as one finds himself lying in his own bed, after his rambling from one dream to another.

9. All that she saw was mere vision and void; there was no world nor earth, nor a house nor the distance thereof.

10. It was the mind which showed them these images, as it presents the objects of our desire to our view; or else there was neither any world nor earth in actuality.

11. The sphere of intelligence is infinite, and without any covering; and being agitated by the powers of one's intellect, it presents all the objects of nature to his view, as the sky when agitated by heat produces the winds.

12. The sphere of the intellect is uncreated, (being a mode of the Divinity itself); it is ever calm everywhere; and is supposed as the world itself by deluded minds.

13. He who understands rightly, views the world to be as unsubstantial as air; but whoso is misled by his wrong judgement takes it to be as a solid mountain.

14. As a house and a city are manifested to us in our dream, so is this unreal world presented as a reality to our understandings.

15. As is the misconception of water in the mirage, and the mistake of gold in a bracelet; so does all this unreality appear as a substantiality to the mistaken mind.

16. Discoursing in this manner between themselves, the two charming ladies, walked out of the house with their graceful steps.

 

Section II - Description of the Mountainous Habitation

17. Being unseen by the village people, they viewed the mountain which stood before them, kissing the vault of heaven, and touching the orb of the sun with its lofty peaks.

18. It was decorated with flowers of various colours, and covered with a variety of woods of various hues. There were waterfalls gushing with their tremendous roarings on one side, and groves resounding with the warbling of birds in another.

19. The clouds were variegated by the many coloured clusters of flowers sweeping over them, and cranes and storks sat screeching on the cloud-capt top of gulancha trees.

20. There were the robust reeds, hedging the banks of rivers with their wide stretching stems and roots, and the strong winds tossing about the tender creepers, growing out of the rocky caves, for want of support.

21. The tops of trees covered with flowers, were over-topped by the sheds of clouds hanging from the vault of heaven; which shed profusely their pearly drops of rain water upon them, and formed the current streams below.

22. The banks of the streamlets were continually laved by the waves, raised by the winds playing upon the shaking arbours on them; and a continued cooling shade was spread by the branching trees all around.

23. Standing on that spot, the ladies beheld the hilly hamlet in the lawn, likening a fragment of heaven fallen upon the ground.

24. There the purling rills were softly gliding by, and here the brimming brooks wabbled in the ground. The birds of the air were chirping on the sprays and aquatic fowls were flying about the holes of the sea shore.

25. There they saw the herds of kine slowly moving and grazing in the plains, and filling the echoing woods with their loud lowing; and beheld the space, interspersed with shady groves and arbours and verdant meadows all about.

26. The cliffs were whitened with snow, impenetrable by sunbeams; and the tops of hills were covered with bushy brambles, forming as braids of hair upon their craggy heads.

27. Cascades falling in torrents in the cavities of rocks, and scattering their pearly particles afar, memorialized the churning of the milky ocean by the Mandara mountain.

28. The trees in the glens, loaded as they were with their fruits and flowers, appeared as waiters upon the goddesses, and standing to welcome their approach with their rich presents.

29. Shaken by gusts of roaring winds, the forest trees, were shedding showers of their mellifluent flowers, as offerings to the sylvan gods and people.

30. The birds that approached fearlessly to drink the water dropping from the hill, now fled for fear of their seeming as sleets, shells and shots of archers.

31. The birds parched by thirst, and wishing to drink the water dashed by the waves of the rivulet, were hovering upon it as stars in the sky.

32. There were rows of crows sitting on the tops of the tall tala (or palm) trees, from whose sight the boys were hiding the remains of their sweetmeat.

33. There they beheld the rustic lads with garlands of flowers on their heads and garments; and roaming in the cooling shades of the date, jam and nimba trees.

34. They saw the lean and hungry beggar woman passing slowly by the way, and clad in her flaxen robe, with chaplets of blossoms for her ear dress.

35. They saw the lazy rustics sitting retired in their lonely retreats, and conversing afar from the noisy brooks where they could hardly hear one another.

36. They saw the naked mendicant boys, besmeared in their face and hands with curd, and with cow-dung upon their bodies, and holding the flowery branches of plants in their hands, and crowding in the compound.

37. The bushes on the verdant banks of the river, were shaken to and fro as in a swing by the dashing of the waves, which left their marks on the sandy shore, as the waters receded to their bed.

38. The house was full of flies cloyed with the sweets of milk and curds; but the children were moaning with cries for their want of sufficient food.

39. The herdswomen were observed to be fretting, at seeing their wristlets daubed by the cow-dung, (which they were pasting); and the men were seen to be smiling, at seeing the eagerness of women, for tying the loosened knots of their hair.

40. The crows were alighting from the tops of hills, to pick up the offerings of the holy sages; and the paths about their houses, were strewn over with the sacred kuru and kurunta leaves.

41. The floral plants growing in the caverns of the hills, and about the precincts of the house, covered the ground every morning, with heaps of flowers to the depth of the heels.

42. There were the chouri kine and antelopes, grazing in one part of the forest; and also the tender fawn sleeping on the bed of grass under the gunja groves.

43. There were the young calves lying on one side, and shaking their ears to drive the flies away; which were fluttering on their faces, and upon the milk exuding from the sides of their mouths.

44. The rooms were stored with honey, which had been collected by driving the bees from the hives; the gardens were full of flowering asokas (asoka Jonesia); and their rooms were painted with lacdye.

45. The winds moistened by the showers of rain, had given the arboretum to bloom, and the blooming buds of Kadamba, overhung like a canopy, the beds of green grass below.

46. The Ketaka (keya) arbour was blooming white by removal of its weeds, and the water-course was gliding along with its soft murmuring tune.

47. The winds whistled in the windows of the caves, and the clouds rested on the roofs of the mountain tops;the ponds were brimful of water, and filled with lotuses like so many lightsome moons.

48. The green arbour cast its cooling and undivided shade upon the ground, where the dew-drops trembling on the blades of grass, glistened like twinkling stars in the azure sky.

49. The trees incessantly dropped down their ripened fruits, and dried flowers and leaves of various sorts, like showers of snow on the whitened ground.

50. There some clouds were seen to hang continually over the household compound, like the chirinti (or kulina) girls, that never forsake the abode of their parents; while there were others hovering over the roof of the house, and flashing in lightenings that supplied the place of lights.

51. The altar here, re-echoed to the loud roaring of the winds, confined in the caverns of the mountains; and the temple there, was graced by the twittering swallows and parrots, that alighted upon it in their numerous flights.

52. Soft breezes were moving slowly, loaded with the fragrance exhaled by the sleepy flowers (in the evening), and gently shaking the leaves of trees as they passed along the lawn.

53. There the ladies were attentive to the prattling and playful parrots and partridges, and here they listened to the melodious notes of the Kokila, responsive to the jarring crows on the branches.

54. The palma and tamala trees were loaded with fruits, and the forest trees were entwined by creepers, which waved their leafy palms around them.

55. There were the tender ivy creepers, clasping the branches on one side, and the fragrance of the efflorescent Kandala and silindhra plants, exhaled on the other. The tapering tala and tamala trees rising as high as spires, and a cooling breeze was blowing amidst the flower plants in the gardens.

56. There were the kine hastening to drink the water in the troughs, and garden trees hanging with loads of green unripe fruits and beautiful flowers; the running streams were hidden under rows of trees on the banks, and the stalks of plants were studded with flowers without alternation.

57. The gardens were perfumed with the nectarious fragrance of kunda flowers, and the lakes were redolent with the odour of lotuses, hiding the humble bees giddy with liquor, in their honied cells. The air was reddened with the roseate pollen, flying from the crimson lotuses (sthala padmas) of the land, and mocked the redness of Indra's palace in the sky.

58. The gargling noise of the rivulets running down precipitately from the hills, and the whiteness of the hoary cloud, hanging with the hue of kundu flowers over them; the beauty of the flowery parterres in the compound of the house, and the melodious warbling of musical birds singing joyous in the air, enchanted the scene.

59. The youths were sporting on their beds of flowers, and the playful damsels were decked with flowery wreaths hanging down to their feet. The ground was adorned every where with sprouting and prickly shrubs and blades of grass; and there was a beauty displayed in the clasping of creepers about the clumps of reeds.

60. The new shooting buds and blossoms covered the trees around, and fragments of clouds shrouded the houses below; the ground was decorated by wreaths of icicles, and the flash of lightnings in the clouds over the houses, terrified the women within.

61. There was the fragrance of blue lotuses exhaling its sweets about, and the hoarse lowings of the kine, hastening to their green grazing ground. The confident deer and does were lying tamely in the house-yard, and the peacocks dancing merrily before the water-falls, as if they were the showers of rain water.

62. The odoriferous breezes were blowing giddily, with the flavour of the fragrance they bore about; and the medicinal plants were lending their lights like lamps at night. The nests of birds were resonant with ceaseless warblings, and the noise of the cataracts deafened the ears of men on the bank.

63. The pearly dew drops, that were continually dropped on the ground, from the leaves of trees and blades of grass; and the gleaming beauty of the ever blooming blossoms above, form with others, the everlasting charms of mountainous habitations, and baffle the description of poets.