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 LXXIV - Consummation of suchi’s devotion

Argument. Return of the god of winds to the Indra, and his narration of the Devotion of Suchi and her desired Boon.

1. The god of the winds beheld Suchi standing erect, like a crest on the summit of the mountain, amidst that vast tract of the desert all around.

2. She stood upon one leg fixed in her meditation and roasted by the burning sun over her head; she was dried up to a skeleton by her continued fasting, and her belly was contracted to the shrunken skin (i. e. she was threadbare as skin in all her body and belly).

3. Now and then, she inhaled the hot air with her open mouth, and then breathed it out, as her heart could not contain the repeated influx of air. (Respiration of air is practised by Yogis, to sustain their lives therewith for want of solid food).

4. She was withered under the scorching sunbeams, and battered in her frame by the hotter winds of the desert; yet she moved not from her stand-point, as she was relieved every night by the cold bath of moonbeams.

5. She was content with covering her head under the particles of dust, and did not like to change her state for a better fortune (i. e. she preferred her poverty to high dignity).

6. She gave up the possession of her forest to other living beings, and lived apart from all in the form of a crest of hair. Her breathings being withdrawn to the cranium, appeared out of it as a tuft of hairs or bushes clapped on her head. (Air confined in the cranium, is said to keep the body alive for ages).

7. The god of air was astonished to see Suchi in this state; he bowed down to her and was struck with terror as he beheld her more earnestly. (The countenance of the holy is awful to the sight of the unholy).

8. He was so overawed by the blaze of her person, that he durst not ask her anything, such as:—"O saintly Suchi! why dost thou undertake thyself to these austerities"?

9. He only exclaimed, O holy Suchi, how wondrous is this sight of thy devotion! Impressed with veneration for her holiness, the god made his departure to heaven whence he came.

10. He passed the region of the clouds, and reached the sphere of the still air (sthira vayu); and then leaving the realm of the Siddhas behind him, he arrived to the path of the sun—the ecliptic.

11. Then rising higher in his airy car, he got into the city of Indra, where he was cordially embraced by the lord of gods, for the merit of his sight of Suchi. (Visit to sacred persons and holy shrines, is believed to impart a share of holiness to the visitant).

12. Being asked what he saw, he related all that he had seen, before the assembled gods in the synod of Sakra or Indra.

Pavana said:—

13. There is the King of mountains the high Himalaya, situate in the midst of Jambudwipa (in Asia); who has the lord Siva, that bears the crescent of the moon on his forehead, for his son-in-law.

14. On the north of it, is a great peak with a plain land above it, where the holy Suchi holds her hermitage, and performs her rigorous devotion.

15. What more shall I relate of her, than that she has abstained herself even of her sustenance of air, and has made a mess of her entrails coiled up together.

16. She has contracted the opening of her mouth to a needle hole, and stopped even that with a particle of dust, in order to restrain it even from the reception of a cold dewdrop for its food.

17. The fervour of her devotion, has made the snowy mountain to forsake its coldness; and assume an igneous form which it is difficult to approach. (The blaze of holiness is said to set mountains on fire, as the presence of the Holy spirit set the sacred mount of Sinai on flame).

18. Therefore let all of us rise and repair soon to the great father of creatures for redress; or know this fervent devotion of hers must prove to our disadvantage in its result.

19. Hearing these words pronounced by Pavana, the lord Indra in company with the other gods, proceeded to the abode of Brahma, and prayed unto him for their safety.

Brahma answered said:—

20. "I am going even now to the summit of the snowy Himalaya, to confer to Suchi her desired boon." Upon this assurance of Brahma, the gods all returned to their celestial abodes.

21. During this time Suchi became perfect in her holiness, and began to glow with the fervour of her devotion on the mountain of the immortals.

22. Suchi perceived very clearly the revolution of the time (of her castigation), by fixing her open eyes on the sun, and by counting the days by the rays of solar light penetrating the opening of her mouth:—the needle hole.

23. Suchi though flexible as a bit of thread, had yet attained the firmness of the mountain Meru, by her erect posture.

24. She beheld by the ray of sun light, which penetrated the eye of the needle, that the shadowy attendant upon her erect posture, was the only witness of her upright devotion.

25. The shadow of Suchi which was the only attendant on her devotion, hid herself under her feet for fear of the midday heat, so do people in difficulty find their best friends forsake their company in times of adversity.

26. The union of the three persons of the iron, the ascetic and shadowy Suchi, like the meeting of the three rivers (Asi, Varana and Ganga from three sides), described a triangle in the form of the sacred city of Benares (or a delta of Ganga or the triune divinity).

27. This union of the three, like the confluence of three rivers of a Triveni (as Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati), purifies the sins of men by the three different hues of their waters, viz. the blue, black and white.

28. A person becomes acquainted with the unknown cause of all, only by suchana or reasoning in his own mind; and by means of his self-consciousness (of the truth or untruth of a thing). It is the cogitation of one's own mind that is best guide in all things or else, O Rama! there is no other better preceptor for men.