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 XXIX - Account of the previous life of lila

A Description of the Domestic Duties of a Hindu Lady

The two goddesses then alighted in that cooling village seat, as the two states of felicity and liberation, meet in the tranquil spirit of the man knowing the Divine spirit.

2. Lila, who had by this time, become personified to the form of pure intelligence, by her knowledge of yoga, now became a seer of the three times presenting themselves before her.

3. She remembered the whole course of her past life, and derived pleasure in relating the events of her former life and death.

Lila said:—

4. I recollect by thy favour, O goddess! and by sight of this place, all what I did and thought of in my past life.

5. Here I had grown up to old age, and here I had withered and become lean and thin as a skeleton. I was a Brahmani here, and had my body scratched by the dried sacrificial grass (kusa), which I had to meddle with.

6. I was the legal wife of my lord, and producer of his race, and was employed in the acts of milking the kine, and churning the curd (for butter and ghee). I had been mother of many sons, and a kind hostess to my guests.

7. I was devoted to the service of the gods, Brahmans and good people, and rubbed my body with cow milk and ghee: I was employed in cleaning the frying pans and the boiling kettles of the house.

8. I boiled the food daily with a single bracelet of glass and one of conch-shell in my wrists; and served my father, mother, brother and daughters and sons-in-law with their daily victuals.

9. I was emaciated in my body like a domestic servant, by working all day and night; and 'haste and hasten,' were the words I used to repeat to myself.

10. Being thus busied and employed, I was so silly and ignorant, that I never thought within myself, even in a dream, about what I was and what was this world, although I had been the wife of a Brahman.

11. Wholly engaged in the collection of fuel, cow-dung, and sacrificial wood and vegetables, I became emaciated in my body, which was wrapt in a worn out blanket.

12. I used to pick out the worms from the ears of the milch cow, and was prompt to water the garden of greens with watering pots in hand.

13. I used to go to the swelling lake every day, and get the fresh green grass for the fodder of my tender calves. I used to wash and clean the house every morning, and paint the doorway with the white tints of pasted and powdered rice (gundi].

14. I had to correct my domestics with gentle rebukes, and tell them to keep within their bounds like the billows in the rivers.

15. With my infirm body and ears shaking as dried leaves of trees, and supporting myself on a stick, I lived here under the dread of old age.

16. As she was speaking in this manner, and walking in company with Sarasvati about the village, in the valley of the mountain, she was astonished to see her former seats of pleasure, and showed them to the goddess.

17. This was my flowery arbour, decorated by these torn patala plants, and this was my garden alcove of flowering Asokas.

18. This is the bank of the pond where the calves were loosely tied to the trees; and this is my pet calf Karnika, which has refrained from browzing the leaves (in my absence).

19. This is my watering woman, now so languid and dirty in her appearance; and weeping these eight days in my absence, with her eyes daubed in tears.

20. This, O goddess, is the place, where I used to eat and sit, and where I slept and walked; and these are the places where I gave and received the things to and from my attendants.

21. This is my eldest son Jyeshtha Sarma, weeping in the house; and this is my milch cow, now grazing on the grassy plain in the forest.

22. I see this portico and these windows, once dear to me as my person, and besmeared with the dry powder of the huli festival of the vernal season.

23. I see these pulpy plants of gourd planted with my own hands, and dear to me as myself, now spreading themselves over the oven place.

24. I see these relatives of mine, who had been the bonds of my life before, now smoking in their eyes with tears, and carrying the fuel for fire, with beads of rudraksha seeds on their bodies.

25. I see that stony shore, baffling the force of the waves, which have been pelting their pebbles against it, now covered by bushes of the beach.

26. The verdant meadows were full of leafy plants, with pendant dew drops on their tips; and the plains were whitened by the hailstones falling on them in showers.

27. The mid-day was mantled by sun beams, as by a white mist of frost, and the arbours resounded with the humming of bees, fluttering about their clustering flowers.

28. The blooming palasa glowing as reddish corals, had covered the trees and the land with heaps of crimson flowers.

29. The village rill was flowing with the floating fruits, which it bore from shore to shore; and the rustic lads jumbled together with loud noise, eager to lay hold on them.

30. The cool shady beach of the rill, was strewn over with pebbles, washed and carried away by the current, and covered by leaves falling from the trees.

31. There I see the altar of my house, which is so beautifully ornamented with the flowering creepers, and which is overhung on its windows by clusters of fruits and flowers.

32. Here lived my husband, whose life has fled to the sky in its aerial form, and became afterwards the lord of the earth, reaching to the surrounding seas.

33. I remember, how he had fostered the fond wish of obtaining royal dignity, and how ardently he looked forward on its attainment.

34. I see, O goddess! his royal dignity of eight days, which had seemed to be of so long a duration (as eighty years) before.

35. I see the soul of my Lord, residing in the empty space of this mansion, as in his former kingly state; although it is invisible to all as the current air in the sky, and as the odours borne by the winds.

36. It is in this vacuous space, that his soul is contained in the form of a thumb; which contains in its bosom, the whole extent of the realm of my lord, stretching to thousands of leagues in its circumference.

37. I see also O goddess! the spacious kingdom of my lord, in the space of my intellect, which makes room for thousands of mountains by the miraculous power of God, styled as illusion. (maya).

38. I wish now, O Goddess! to see the earthly city of my lord again;let us therefore turn our course that way, as no place is distant to the resolute.

Vasishtha said:—

39. Having said so, she bowed down to the goddess and entered into the shrine, and then like a bird, she flew into the air with the goddess.

40. It was a region devoid of darkness, and as fair as a sea of moonlight. And then it was as azure as the person of Narayana, and as bright as the back of a locust.

41. They passed above the regions of the clouds and winds, as also beyond the spheres of the orbits of the sun and moon.

42. They passed beyond the path of the north polar star, and the limits of the circuits of the sadhyas and siddhas and other celestial beings.

43. Thence they ascended to the higher heavens of Brahma and the Tushita divinities, and then upward to the sphere of Golaka (the zodiac); and thence again to the Sivaloka, and the sphere of the Pitris or the departed souls of the dead.

44. Passing thus beyond the spheres of the embodied living beings, and bodiless souls of the dead, they proceeded far and farther to the unknown regions of empty space.

45. Having passed the etherial sphere, they beheld nothing there, except the sun, moon and the stars shining below them.

46. There was only a deep darkness to be seen, filling the whole vacuity of space, and appearing as the basin of the waters of universal deluge, and as compact as the impenetrable cavity of a rock.

Lila said:—

47. Tell me, O goddess! what became of the light of the sun and other luminaries, and whence came this dense darkness as to be compressed under the fist (mushti-grahya).

48. The goddess replied: you have got to a spot so remote from the spheres of heaven, that the light of the luminaries can never reach to it.

49. And as one in a deep dark pit, can see no light of a fire fly flitting over it; so the solar light is invisible to one behind the great belt of heaven.

Lila said:—

50. Oh! the great distance that we have come to, whence the great luminary of the sun also, appears as small as an atom below.

51. Tell me mother, what sort of a place is that which lies beyond this region, and how can we come to it after traversing this gloomy expanse.

Sarasvati said:—

52. Behind this is the great pole of the universe, which is scattered over with innumerable nebular stars in the form of the particles of dust.

Vasishtha said:—

53. As they were talking in this manner, they glided imperceptibly to that pole, as the bee saunters over the solitary hut on the height of a mountain.

54. They then were at no pains to come down from that precipice, as there is no pains to effect what must certainly come to pass in the end, though it appeared difficult at first. (Or) that which is certain must come to pass, however hard it might seem at first.

55. They saw the system of the universe, laid naked to their sight, as the bold navigator beholds a world exposed to his view beyond the wide expanse of waters.

56. They saw the watery expanse to be ten times greater than the earth, and enveloping it in the shape of the crust of the walnut fruit.

57. Then there is a latent heat which is ten times as great as the water, and the circumambient air which is as much greater than the water; and then the all encompassing vacuum of which there is no end.

58. There is no beginning, middle or end of that infinite space; and it is productive of nothing, like a barren woman of her offspring.

59. It is only an extended expanse, infinite, calm and without beginning, middle or end, and is situated in the Supreme spirit.

60. Its immensity is as immeasurable as if a stone is flung with full force from its top, or if the phoenix would fly up to it with all his might, or if he would traverse through it in full velocity, it is impossible for him to reach from one end to the other, in a whole Kalpa age.