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 XXXVIII - Cessation of the war

Vasishtha continued:—

1. Now as the war was waging fiercely, with mingled shouts on both sides, the sun shrouded his burnished armour under the mist of darkness, and was about to set.

2. The waters of the limpid streams glided with the showers of stones flung by the forces, and falling on the fading clusters of lotuses growing in them.

3. Flashes of fire glittered in the sky, by the clashing of the shafts and darts below; and waves of arrows were seen, now approaching nigh and now receding at a distance.

4. Severed heads like loose lotuses, floated and whirled in the whirlpools of blood below, and the sea of heaven was filled with flying weapons, moving as marine animals above.

5. The rustling of the breeze and the whistling of the overshadowing clouds of weapons, frightened the aerial Siddhas and sylvan apes, with the fear of an approaching rain.

6. The day declined after it had run its course of the eight watches (Yamardhas), and assumed the graceful countenance of a hero, returning in glory, after he has fought his battle.

7. The army like the day, declined in splendour, being battered in its cavalry, and shattered in its force of elephants.

8. Then the commanders of the armies, in concert with the ministers of war, sent envoys to the hostile parties for a truce to the fighting.

9. Both parties agreed to the armistice, seeing how much they were harassed in the engagement; and the soldiers with one voice, gave their assent to it.

10. They hoisted their soaring banners of truce on the pinnacles of the highest chariots (rathas); and a crier on each side, mounted over one, to give proclamation to the armies below.

11. They furled the white flags on all sides, which like so many moons in the gloom of night, proclaimed peace on earth by cessation from contention.

12. Then the drums sent their loud peals around, which were resounded by roarings of the clouds (Pushkaravartas) above and all about.

13. The flights of arrows and weapons, that had been raging as fire in the atmosphere, now began to fall in torrents, like the currents of the lake Mansaravara on the ground below.

14. The hands and arms of the warriors were now at rest like their feet; as the shaking of trees and the surges of the sea are at an end after the earthquake is over.

15. The two armies now went their own ways from the field of battle, as the arms of the sea run into the land in different directions.

16. The armies being at rest, there was an end of all agitation in the field; as the waves of the ocean are lulled to rest, on its calm after a storm (literally, after its churning by the Mandara mountain).

17. It became in an instant as dreadful as the dismal womb of death (Putana); and as deep and dark as the hollow pit of the sea, after its waters were sucked up by Agastya (the sun).

18. It was full of the dead bodies of men and beasts, and flowed in floods of purpling blood; it was resonant with the sounds of insects, like a heath with the humming of beetles.

19. The gory bodies were gushing with blood, and gurgling as the waves of the sea; and the cries of the wounded who wished to live, pierced the ears, and throbbed the heart strings of the living.

20. The dead and wounded weltering side by side in streams of blood, made the living think the dead as still alive like themselves.

21. Big elephants lying dead in piles in the field appeared as fragments of clouds, and the heaps of broken chariots seemed as a forest dispersed by the storm.

22. Streams of blood were running with the dead bodies of horses and elephants, and heaps of arrows and spears and mattocks and mallets, flowing together with broken swords and missiles.

23. Horses were lying girt in their halters and harnesses, and the soldiers wrapt in their mails and armours; and flags and flappers and turbans and helmets lay scattered in the field.

24. The winds were rustling in the orifice of the quivers, like the hissing of arrowy snakes, or as the whistling of the breeze in the holes of bamboo trees; and the Pisachas were rolling on beds of dead bodies, as upon their beddings of straws.

25. The gold chains of the helmets and the head ornaments of the fallen soldiers, glittered with the various colours of the rainbow, and greedy dogs and jackals were tearing the entrails of the dead like long ropes or strings.

26. The wounded were gnashing their teeth in the field of blood, like the croaking of frogs in the miry pool of blood.

27. Those clad in party coloured coats with a hundred spots on them, had now their arms and thighs gushing in a hundred streams of blood.

28. The friends of the dead and wounded, were wailing bitterly over their bodies; lying amidst the heaps of arrows and weapons, the broken cars and the scattered trappings of horses and elephants, which had covered the land.

29. Headless trunks of the goblins were dancing about with their uplifted arms touching the sky; and the stink of the carrion, fat and blood, filled the nostrils with nausea.

30. Elephants and horses of noble breed, lay dead and others gasping with their mouths gaping upwards; and the dashing of the waving streams of blood, beat as loud as drums against their rock-like bodies.

31. The blood gushing out of the pores of the wounded horses and elephants, ran like that of a wounded whale into a hundred streams. And the blood spouting from the mouths of the dying soldiers flowed into a hundred channels.

32. Those who were pierced with arrows in their eyes and mouths, were uttering an inaudible voice in their last gasp of death; and those pierced in their bellies, had their bowels gushing out with a horrible stench; while the ground was reddened with thickened blood issuing out of the wounds.

33. Half dead elephants grasped the headless trunks with their uplifted trunks (proboscis), while the loose horses and elephants, that had lost their riders, were trampling over the dead bodies at random.

34. The weeping, crying and tottering wives of the fallen soldiers, fell upon their dead bodies weltering in blood, and embracing them fast by their necks, made an end of themselves with the same weapons.

35. Bodies of soldiers were sent with their guides on the way, to fetch the dead bodies from the field; and the hands of their lively companions, were busily employed in dragging the dead.

36. The field had become a wide river running with waves of blood, and breaking into a hundred whirling streams, carrying the severed heads, as lotuses swimming in them, and the torn braids of hair floating as bushes on them.

37. Men were busy to extract the weapons from the bodies of the wounded, who lamented loudly on account of their dying in a foreign land, and losing their arms and armours and horses and elephants in the field.

38. The dying souls remembered their sons and parents, their dear ones and their adored deities, and called out by their names; and began to sigh and sob with heart-rending heigh-hos and alacks.

39. The brave that died cursed their fates, and those falling in their fighting with elephants, blamed the unkind gods they had adored in vain.

40. The cowards fearing to be killed betook themselves to base flight; but the dauntless brave stepped forward amidst the whirlpools of blood.

41. Some suffering under the agony of arrows piercing their mortal parts, thought upon the sins of their past lives, that had brought this pain upon them; while the blood sucking Vetalas, advanced with their horrid mouths for drinking the blood of the headless trunks (Kabandhas).

42. The floating flags and umbrellas and flappers, seemed as white lotuses in the lake of blood below, while the evening stretched her train of stars like red lotuses in the etherial sea above.

43. The battle field presented the appearance of an eighth sea of blood;the rathas or warcars forming its rocks, and their wheels its whirlpools; the flags being its foam and froth, and the white flappers as its bubbles. (There are seven seas only on record).

44. The field of blood with the scattered cars, appeared as a track of land plunged in mud and mire, and covered over with woods broken down and blown away by a hurricane.

45. It was as desolate as a country burnt down by a conflagration, and as the dry bed of the sea sucked up by the sage Agastya (the sun). It was as a district devastated by a sweeping flood.

46. It was filled with heaps of weapons, as high as the bodies of big elephants lying dead about the ground.

47. The lances which were carried down by the streams of blood, were as big as the palm trees growing on the summits of mountains. (Compare the description in Ossian's poems).

48. The weapons sticking in the bodies of the elephants, seemed as the shining flowers growing on verdant trees: and the entrails torn and borne up by vultures, spread a fretted network in the sky.

49. The lances fixed beside the streams of blood, were as a woody forest on the bank of a river; and the flags floating on the surface, appeared as a bush of lotuses in the liquid blood.

50. Dead bodies of men were drawn up by their friends, from the bloody pool in which they were drowned, and the embedded bodies of big elephants were marked by men by the jutting weapons sticking in them.

51. The trunks of trees which had their branches lopped off by the weapons, appeared as the headless bodies of slain soldiers, and the floating carcasses of elephants seemed as so many boats swimming in the sea of blood.

52. The white garments that were swept down by the current, seemed as the froth of the pool of blood, and were picked up by the servants sent to search them out.

53. The demoniac bodies of headless soldiers, were rising and falling in the field, and hurling large wheels and disks upon the flying army on all sides.

54. The dying warriors were frothing forth floods of blood from their throats, and stones stained with blood were inviting the greedy vultures to devour them.

55. Then there were groups of Sutala, Vetala and Uttala demons dancing their war dance about the field, and whirling the rafts of the broken cars upon the flying soldiers on all sides.

56. The stir and last gasp of those that were yet alive, were fearful to behold, and the faces of the dying and the dead that were covered in dust and blood, were pitiful to the beholder.

57. The devouring dogs and ravenous ravens beheld the last gasp of the dying with pity; while the feeders on carrions were howling and fighting on their common carcass, till many of them became dead bodies by their mutual fighting.

58. Now I have described the sea of blood, which flowed fast with the gore of unnumbered hosts of horses, elephants and camels, and of warriors and their leaders, and multitudes of cars, and war chariots;but it became a pleasure garden to the god of death, delighting in his bed of bloodshed, and grove of the weapons beset all around.