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 XXXVII - Catalogue of the forces continued


vasishtha said:—

Thus the ravaging war was making a rapid end of men, horse, elephants and all; and the bravos coming foremost in the combat, fell in equal numbers on both sides.

2. These (as named before), and many others were reduced to dust and ashes; and the bravery of the brave, served but to send them like poor moths to the fire and flame of destruction.

3. Know now the names of the central districts, not yet mentioned by me, that sent their warriors to the field, in favour of the consort prince of Lila.

4. These were the inland forces of Sursena (Muttra), the Gudas

(Gaudas?), and the Asganas (?); the Madhymikas and they that dwell under sunlight (the tropics).

5. The Salukas and Kodmals, and Pippalayanas; the Mandavyas, Pandyans, Sugrivas and Gurjars.

6. The Pariyatras, Kurashtras, Yamunas and Udumvaras; the Raj-waras, the Ujjainas, the Kalkotas (Calicuts) and the Mathuras (of Muttra).

7. The Panchalas (Panjabis), the Northern and Southern Dharmakshetras; the Kurukshetriyas, Panchalakas and Saraswatas.

8. The line of war chariots from Avanti, being opposed by the arms of the warriors of the Kunta and Panchanada districts, fell in fighting by the sides of the hills.

9. Those arrayed in silken attire, being dismantled by the enemy, fell upon the ground, and were trodden down by the elephants.

10. The bravadoes of Daspura, being hacked in their breasts and shoulders by the hostile weapons, were pursued by the Banabhuma warriors, and driven to the distant pool.

11. The Santikas being ripped in their bellies, lay dead and motionless in naked field, and wrapped in their mangled entrails, which were torn and devoured by the voracious Pisachas at night.

12. There the veteran and vociferous warriors of Bhadrasiri, who were well skilled in the battle field, drove the Amargas to the ditch, as they drive the tortoises to their pits.

13. The Haihayas were driving the Dandakas, who like fleet stags were flying with the swiftness of winds, and all gushing in blood by the pointed and piercing arrows of the enemy.

14. The Daradas were gored by the tusks of the elephants of their enemies, and were borne away in floods of their blood, like the broken branches of trees.

15. The Chinas (Chinese) were mangled in their bodies by darts and arrows, and cast their tortured bodies in the water, as a burden they could no longer support.

16. The Asuras, pierced in their necks by the flying lances of the Karnatic lancers, fled in all directions like the faggots of fire, or as the flying meteors of heaven.

17. The Sakas and Dasakas were fighting together, by holding down one another by the hair on their heads, as if the whales and elephants were struggling mutually from their respective elements.

18. The flying cowards were entrapped in the snares cast by the Dasarna warriors, as dolphins hiding under the reeds, are dragged out by nets on the blood-red shore.

19. The lifted swords and pikes of the Tongas (Tonguise), destroyed the Gurjara (Guzrati) force by hundreds, and these like razors balded the heads (i. e. made widows) of hundreds of Gurjara women. (It is their custom to remain bald-headed in widowhood).

20. The lustre of the lifted weapons of the warriors, illumined the land as by flashes of lighting; and the clouds of arrows were raining like showers of rain in the forest.

21. The flight of the crowbars (bhusundis), which untimely obscured the orb of the sun, affrighted the Abhira (cowherd) warriors with the dread of an eclipse, and overtook them by surprise, as when they are pursued by a gang of plunderers of their cattle.

22. The handsome gold collared army of the Tamras or tawny coloured soldiers, were dragged by the Gauda warriors, as captors snatch their fair captives by the hair.

23. The Tongons were beset by the Kanasas, like cranes by vultures with their blazing weapons, destroying elephants and breaking the discuses in war.

24. The rumbling noise (gudugudurava), raised by the whirling of cudgels by the Gauda gladiators, frightened the Gandharas to a degree, that they were driven like a drove of beasts, or as the dreading Dravidas from the field.

25. The host of the Saka or Scythian warriors, pouring as a blue torrent from the azure sky, appeared by their sable garb as the mist of night, approaching before their white robed foes of the Persians.

26. The crowded array of lifted arms in the clear and bright atmosphere, appeared as a thick forest under the milk white ocean of frost, that shrouds the mountainous region of Mandara.

27. The flights of arrows which seemed as fragments of clouds in the air from below, appeared as waves of the sea, when viewed by the celestials from above.

28. The air appeared as a forest thickly beset by the trees of spears and lances, with the arrows flying as birds and bees; and innumerable umbrellas, with their gold and silver mountings, appearing as so many moons and stars in the sky.

29. The Kekayas made loud shouts, like the war hoops of drunken soldiers, and the Kankas covered the field like a flight of cranes, and the sky was filled with dust over their heads.

30. The Kirata army made a purling noise (kulakula) like the effeminate voice of women; causing the lusty Angas to rush upon them with their furious roar.

31. The Kasas (Khasias) covering their bodies with kusa grass (in their grassy garbs), appeared as birds with feathers, and raised clouds of dust by flapping their feathered arms.

32. The giddy warriors of Narmada's coasts, came rushing in the field unarmed with their weapons, and began to fleer and flout and move about in their merry mood.

33. The low statured Salwas came with the jingling bells of their waist bands, flinging their arrows in the air, and darting showers of their darts around.

34. The soldiers of Sibi were pierced with the spears hurled by the Kuntas. They fell as dead bodies in the field, but their spirits fled to heaven in the form of Vidyadharas.

35. The Pandu-nagaras were laid groveling on the ground in their quick march, by the mighty and light footed army, who had taken possession of the field.

36. The big Pancha-nadas (Punjabis), and the furious warriors of Kasi (Benares), crushed the bodies of stalwart warriors with their lances and cudgels, as elephants crush the mighty trees under their feet and tusks.

37. The Burmese and Vatsenis were cut down on the ground by the disks of the Nipas (Nepalese); and the Sahyas were sawn down with saws as withered trees.

38. The heads of the white Kakas (Caucasians), were lopped off with sharp axes; and their neighbouring prince of the Bhadras was burnt down by the fiery arrows (fire arms).

39. The Matangajas (of Elephanta) fell under the hands of Kashthayodhas (of Katiawar), as old unchained elephants falling in the miry pit; and others that came to fight, fell as dry fuel into the blazing fire.

40. The Mitragartas falling into the hands of the Trigartas, were scattered about as straws in the field, and having their heads struck off in their flight, they entered the infernal regions of death.

41. The weak Vanila force, falling into the hands of the Magadha army, resembling a sea gently shaken by the breeze, went down in the sands, as lean and aged elephants.

42. The Chedis lost their lines in fighting with the Tongans, and lay withered in the field of battle, as flowers when scattered in the plains, fade away under the shining sun.

43. The Kosalas were unable to withstand the war cry of the deadly Pauravas, and were discomfited by showers of their clubs, and missile arrows and darts.

44. Those that were pierced by pikes and spears, became as coral plants red with blood all over their bodies, and thus besmeared in bloodshed, they fled to the sheltering hills like red hot suns to the setting mountains (astachala).

45. The flight of arrows and weapons borne away by the rapid winds, moved about in the air as fragments of clouds, with a swarm of black bees hovering under them.

46. The flying arrows seemed as showering clouds, and their feathers appeared as the woolly breed; their reedy shafts seeming as trees, were roving with the roar of elephants.

47. The wild elephants and people of the plains, were all torn to pieces like bits of torn linen.

48. War chariots with their broken wheels, fell into the pits like the broken crags of mountains, and the enemy stood upon their tops as a thick mist or cloud.

49. The multitude of stalwart warriors meeting in the field, had given it the appearance of a forest of tala and tamala trees; but their hands being lopped off by weapons, they made it appear as a mountainous wood, with its clumps of tapering pine trees.

50. The youthful damsels of Paradise were filled with joy and glee, to find the groves of their native hill (Meru), full of the brave champions (fallen in the field).

51. The forest of the army howled in a tremendous roar, until it was burnt down by the all devouring fire of the enemy.

52. Hacked by the Pisachas (Assamese), and snatched of their weapons by the Bhutas (Bhoteas), the Dasarnas (at the confluence of the ten streams of Vindhya) threw off their staffs, and fled as a herd of heifers (nikuchya karnidhavati—bolted with their broken staves. Panini).

53. The Kasias were eager to despoil the tinsels from the dead bodies of the chiefs by their valour, as the summer heat robs the beauty of lotuses in a drying pool.

54. The Tushakas were beset by the Mesalas, with their darts, spears and mallets; and the sly Katakas were defeated and driven away by the Narakas in battle.

55. The Kauntas were surrounded by Prastha warriors, and were defeated like good people by the treachery of the wily.

56. The elephant drivers, that struck off the heads of their hosts in a trice, were pursued by the harpooners, and fled with their severed heads, as they do with the lotus-flowers plucked by their hands.

57. The Saraswatas fought on both sides with one another until it was evening, and yet no party was the looser or gainer, as in a learned discussion between pandits and among lawyers.

58. The puny and short statured Deccanese, being driven back by the Rakshas of Lanka, redoubled their attack on them, as the smothering fire is rekindled by fuel.

59. What more shall I relate Rama about this war, which baffles the attempt of the serpent Vasuki even, to give a full description of it with his hundred tongues and mouths.

Footnotes and references:


Note. It is not easy to say, whether this continuation and lengthy description of the warfare, is Vasishtha's or Vālmīki's own making; both of them being well acquainted with military tactics: the former having been the general of King Sudāsa against the Persians, and the latter the epic poet of Rāma's wars with Rāvana in the celebrated Ramāyana.

These descriptions are left out in the vernacular translations of this work as entirely useless in Yoga philosophy, without minding, that they formed the preliminary step to Rāma's military education, which he was soon after called to complete under the guidance of Viswāmitra in the hermitage.