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 XLI - Discrimination of error

Vasishtha said:—

1. Upon the entrance of the ladies in the tent, it appeared as a bed of lotuses; and its white vault, seemed as graceful as the vault of heaven with two moons rising at once under it.

2. A pure and cooling fragrance spread about it, as if wafted by the breeze from the Mandara flowers; and lulled the prince to sleep, with every body lying in their camps.

3. It made the place as pleasant as the garden of Eden (Nandana), and healed all the pains and cares of the people there. It seemed as a vernal garden, filled with the fragrance of the fresh blown lotuses in the morning.

4. The cooling and moon-bright radiance of the ladies, roused the prince from his sleep, as if he was sprinkled over with the juice of ambrosia.

5. He beheld upon his rising the forms of two fairies (apsaras), seated on two stools, and appearing as two moons risen on two pinnacles of the mount Meru.

6. The prince beheld them with wonder, and after being composed in his mind, he rose up from his bed, as the god Vishnu rises from his bed of the serpent.

7. Then advancing respectfully to them, with long strings of flowers in his hands, he made offerings of them to the ladies, with handfuls of flowers flung at their feet.

8. Leaving his pillowed sofa in the midst of the hall, he sat with his folded legs on the ground;and lowly bending his head, he addressed them saying:—

9. Be victorious, O moon-bright goddesses! that drive away all the miseries and evils and pains and pangs of life, by your radiance, and dispellest all my inward and outward darkness by your sunlike beams.

10. Saying so he poured handfuls of flowers on their feet, as the trees on the bank of a lake, drop down their flowers on the lotuses growing in it.

11. Then the goddess desiring to unfold the pedigree of the prince, inspired his minister, who was lying by, to relate it to Lila.

12. He upon waking, saw the nymphs manifest before him, and advancing lowly before them, threw handfuls of flowers upon their feet.

The goddess said:—

13. Let us know, O prince! who you are and when and of whom you are born herein. Hearing these words of the goddess, the minister spake saying:—

14. It is by your favour, O gracious goddesses! that I am empowered to give a relation of my prince's genealogy to your benign graces.

15. There was a sovereign, born of the imperial line of Ixaku, by name of Mukunda-ratha, who had subjugated the earth under his arms.

16. He had a moon-faced son by name of Bhadraratha; whose son Viswaratha was father to the renowned prince Brihadratha.

17. His son Sindhuratha was the father of Sailaratha, and his son Kamaratha was father of Maharatha.

18. His son Vishnuratha was father of Nabhoratha, who gave birth to this my lord of handsome appearance.

19. He is renowned as Viduratha, and is born with the great virtues of his sire, as the moon was produced of the milky ocean, to shed his ambrosial beams over his people.

20. He was begotten by his mother Sumitra, as the god Guha of Gauri; and was installed in the realm at the tenth year of his age, owing to his father's betaking himself to asceticism.

21. He has been ruling the realm since that time with justice; and your appearance here to night, betokens the blossoming of his good fortune.

22. O goddesses! whose presence is hard to be had, even by the merit of long devotion, and a hundred austerities, you see here the lord of the earth-famed Viduratha, present before you.

23. He is highly blessed to-day by your favour. After saying these words, the minister remained silent with the lord of the earth.

24. They were sitting on the ground with their folded legs (padmasana), and clasped hands (kritanjali), and downcast looks; when the goddess of wisdom told the prince, to remember his former births, by her inspiration.

25. So saying, she touched his head with her hand, and immediately the dark veil of illusion and oblivion was dispersed from over the lotus of his mind.

26. It opened as a blossom by the touch of the genius of intelligence, and became as bright as the clear firmament, with the rays of his former reminiscence.

27. He remembered by his intelligence his former kingdom, of which he had been the sole lord, and recollected all his past sports with Lila.

28. He was led away by the thoughts of the events of his past lives, as one is carried away by the current of waves, and reflected in himself, this world to be a magic sea of illusion.

29. He said: I have come to know this by the favour of the goddesses, but how is it that so many events have occurred to me in course of one day after my death.

30. Here I have passed full seventy years of my lifetime, and recollect to have done many works, and remember also to have seen my grand-sire.

31. I recollect the bygone days of my boyhood and youth, and I remember well all the friends and relatives and all the apparels and suite, that I had before.

The goddess replied:—

32. Know O king! that after the fit of insensibility attending on your death was over, your soul continued to remain in the vacuum of the same place, of which you are still a resident.

33. This royal pavilion, where you think yourself to abide, is situated in the vacuous space, within the house of the Brahman in that hilly district.

34. It is inside that house that you see the appearances of your other abodes present before you: and it was in that Brahmana's house, that you devoted your life to my worship.

35. It is the shrine within the very house and on the same spot, that contains the whole world which you are seeing all about you.

36. This abode of yours is situated in the same place, and within the clear firmament of your mind.

37. It is a false notion of your mind, which you have gained by your habitual mode of thinking, that you are born in your present state, of the race of Ixaku.

38. It is mere imagination, which has made you to suppose yourself to be named so and so, and that such and such persons were your progenitors, and that you had been a boy of ten years.

39. That your father became an ascetic in the woods, and left you in the government of the realm. And that you have subjugated many countries under your dominion, and are now reigning as the lord paramount over them.

40. And that you are ruling on earth with these ministers and officers of yours, and are observant of the sacrificial rites, and a just ruler of your subjects.

41. You think that you have passed seventy years of your life, and that you are now beset by very formidable enemies.

42. And that having waged a furious battle, you have returned to this abode of yours, where you are now seated and intend to adore the goddesses, that have become your guests herein.

43. You are thinking that these goddesses will bless you with your desired object, because one of them has given you the power of recollecting the events of your former births.

44. That these goddesses have opened your understanding like the blossom of a lotus, and that you have the prospect of getting your riddance from all doubts.

45. That you are now at peace and rest, and enjoy the solace of your solity; and that your long continued error (of this world), is now removed for ever.

46. You remember the many acts and enjoyments of your past life, in the body of prince Padma, before you were snatched away by the hand of death.

47. You now perceive in your mind, that your present life is but a shadow of the former, as it is the same wave, that carries one onward, by its rise and fall.

48. The incessant current of the mind flows as the stream of a river, and leads a man, like a weed, from one whirlpool into another.

49. The course of life now runs singly as in dreaming, and now conjointly with the body as in the waking state, both of which leave their traces in the mind, at the hour of death.

50. The sun of the intellect being hid under the mist of ignorance, there arises this network of the erroneous world, which makes a moment appear as a period of hundred years.

51. Our lives and deaths are mere phantoms of imagination, as we imagine houses and towers in aerial castles and icebergs.

52. The world is an illusion, like the delusion of moving banks and trees to a passenger in a vessel on water, or a rapid vehicle on land;or as the trembling of a mountain or quaking of the earth, to one affected by a convulsive disease.

53. As one sees extraordinary things in his dream, such as the decapitation of his own head; so he views the illusions of the world, which can hardly be true.

54. In reality you were neither born nor dead at any time or place; but ever remain as pure intelligence in your own tranquility of soul.

55. You seem to see all things about you, but you see nothing real in them; it is your all seeing soul, that sees every thing in itself.

56. The soul shines as a brilliant gem by its own light, and nothing that appears beside it, as this earth or yourself or any thing else, is a reality.

57. These hills and cities, these people and things, and ourselves also, are all unreal and mere phantoms, appearing in the hollow vault of the Brahmana of the hilly district.

58. The kingdom of Lila's husband, was but a picture of this earth, and his palace with all its grandeur, is contained in the sphere of the same hollow shrine.

59. The known world is contained in the vacuous sphere of that shrine, and it is in one corner of this mundane habitation, that all of us here, are situated.

60. The sphere of this vaulted shrine, is as clear as vacuity itself, which has no earth nor habitation in it.

61. It is without any forest, hill, sea or river, and yet all beings are found to rove about in this empty and homeless abode. (i. e. in the Divine Mind).

62. Here there are no kings, nor their retinue, nor any thing that they have on earth. Viduratha asked:—If it is so, then tell me goddess! how I happened to have these dependants here?

63. A man is rich in his own mind and spirit, and is it not so ordained by the Divine mind and spirit also? If not, then the world must appear as a mere dream, and all these men and things are but creatures of our dreams.

64. Tell me goddess, what things are spiritually true and false, and how are we to distinguish the one from the other.

Sarasvati answered said:—

65. Know prince that, those who have known the only knowable one, and are assimilated to the nature of pure understanding, view nothing as real in the world, except the vacuous intellect within themselves.

66. The misconception of the serpent in a rope being removed, the fallacy of the rope is removed also; so the unreality of the world being known, the error of its existence, also ceases to exist.

67. Knowing the falsity of water in the mirage, no one thirsts after it any more, so knowing the falsehood of dreams, no one thinks himself dead as he had dreamt. The fear of dreaming death may overtake the dying, but it can never assail the living in his dream.

68. He whose soul is enlightened with the clear light of the autumnal moon of his pure intellect, is never misled to believe his own existence or that of others, by the false application of the terms I, thou, this &c.

69. As the sage was sermonizing in this manner, the day departed to its evening service with the setting sun. The assembly broke with mutual greetings to perform their ablutions, and it met again with the rising sun, after dispersion of the gloom of night.