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 XXXII - Onset of the war

Vasishtha said:—

Lila standing with the goddess of wisdom in air, saw the Apsaras dancing there, at the eagerness of the combatants for war below.

2. She beheld the assemblage of the forces in her own territory once governed by her lord; and saw the field of the air not less formidable by the assembled ghosts (and its encircling belt composed of the lion, scorpion, crab and the archer).

3. The meeting of the two forces made the ground appear as a billowy sea; like the meeting of two clouds in the sky, giving it the appearance of two hostile forces.

4. The battle array of armoured warriors, flashing as the fire of heaven, was succeeded by their commingled blows, resembling the rattling of thunders above, deafening the ears and dazzling the sight.

5. Then darts and javelins, spears and lances, and many other missiles (prasas) began to fall on both sides, like showers of raindrops, hailstones and meteorolites from the skies.

6. Showers of shafts fell with a force, that would pierce the pinions of garuda, and struck out the glare of sunbeams, by hitting at the armours of the warriors.

7. The combatants standing face to face with their lifted arms, and staring at each other with steadfast looks, seemed as they were pictures in a painting.

8. The armies drawn in long regiments, standing in lines opposite to each other, were heard to answer one another by their repeated shouts.

9. The battalia of both armies, and the drums on both sides, were put to a stop by the warnings of their leaders, against striking the first blow.

10. The intermediate space of the breadth of two bows, that separated the hostile forces like a bridge from one another, appeared as the gap, caused by the winds in the midst of the ocean at the universal deluge. (Or more like the partition of the waters of the Red sea by the rod of Moses).

11. The leaders were drowned in thoughts for fear of bloodshed and massacre; and the cowardly soldiers groaned in their hearts, with the hoarse noise of croaking frogs.

12. There were numbers of bravoes, eager to yield up their precious lives in a trice; and the bowyers stood with their bowstrings drawn to the ear, and ready to let loose their pointed arrows at the foe.

13. Others stood dreadfully fixed to strike their arms upon the enemy, and many were looking sternly at their adversaries, with their frowning looks.

14. The armours were clashing by mutual concussion, the countenances of the bravoes were burning with rage, and the faces of cowards were turned towards sheltered retreats for flight.

15. The lookers stood in doubt of their lives until the end of the war, and old men like big elephants, were covered with horripilation on their bodies.

16. The silence which ensued at the expectation of the first blow, resembled the calm of the stormy main, and the deep sleep of a city at the dead of night.

17. The musical instruments, the drum and conch-shell were all silent, and a thick cloud of dust, covered the face of the earth and sky.

18. The retreaters were flying from their stronger assailants, who kept running after them, in the manner of sharks pursuing the shoals of fishes in the sea.

19. The glittering fringes of the flags, put the etherial stars to blush, and the lifted goads in the hands of the elephant-drivers, made a forest of tapering trees in the sky.

20. The flinging arrows were flying like flocks of the winged tribe in air, and the loud beating of drums and blowing of pipes, resounded amidst the air.

21. There was a phalanx in a circular form, attacking a host of wicked demons, and here was a squadron in the form of Garuda, with its right and left wings, attacking a body of elephants.

22. Somewhere a great howling was heard to rise from the vanguard of a body of troops, disconcerted by a cohort in the form of eagles: and at another many were seen to fall upon one another with mutual shouts.

23. Thus a tremendous noise was raised by the warriors of the many legions, and a multitude of big mallets were seen to be raised on high by the hands of the combatants.

24. The glaring of sable steel, shaded the sunbeams like a cloud, and hissing darts in the air, emitted a sound, resembling the rustling of breeze amidst the dry leaves of trees.

25. Now the brunt of battle, began like the dashing of clouds upon clouds at the end of a Kalpa, and the war raged like the raging sea ruffled by a hurricane.

26. Big elephants were falling in the field like coal-black rocks, hurled down by gusts of wind.

27. It seemed that the infernal spirits were let loose from their caves of hell, to rage in the battle field with their horrid and dismal figures.

28. The day light was obscured by the sable cloud of swords, and the mallets and lances were raised up by the black Kunta warriors, who seemed bent upon converting the earth to an ocean of bloodshed.