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 LXXVI - Refraining from unlawful food

Argument. Advice of the god of winds to Karkati; and her resort to the Abode of Kirata—flesh eaters.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. Suchi the needle now became the fiend Karkati again; and her leanness turned to bulkiness, in the manner of a flimsy cloud; assuming a gigantic form in the rainy season.

2. Now returning to her natal air and element, she felt some joy in herself; but renounced her fiendish nature by the knowledge she had gained; as a snake throws off its old slough. (She was regenerated to a new life in the very same body).

3. There seated in her lotiform posture, she continued to reflect on her future course; and relying on the purity of her new life and faith, she remained fixed as a mountain peak. (Unmoved by the stormy temptations of the world).

4. After six months of her continued meditation, she got the knowledge of what she sought; as the roaring of clouds rouses the peacock, to the sense of an approaching rain.

5. Being roused to her sense, she felt the pains of her thirst and hunger; because the nature of the body never forsakes its appetites as long as it lasts in the same state. (There cannot be a thorough change of innate nature in the same person).

6. She was sorrowful at last, not to find out what food she should take to herself; because she thought the killing of animal life for food, was unlawful and repugnant to her nature.

7. The food forbidden by the respectable and got by unjust means, must be rejected even at the expense of one's valuable life. (Respectable men abhor the flesh of unclean animals and forbidden meat).

8. If my body, said she, should perish for want of lawful food, I do not transgress the law in that; but the guilt lies in my taking of unlawful food; for the sustenance of my life. (Hence no man is guilty of his legal gain and lawful food).

9. Whatever is not obtained according to the customary rules of society, is not worth taking; and if I should die without my proper food, or live upon improper fare, it amounts to the same thing whether I live or die: (because unrighteous living is moral death).

10. I was only the mind before, to which the body is added as a base appendage. It vanishes upon the knowledge of self; hence its care and neglect are both alike. (The soul forming our true essence, must be preserved pure in expense of the impure body).

Vasishtha resumed:—

11. As she was uttering these words, in silence to herself, she heard a voice in the air, coming from the god of winds, who was pleased at the renunciation of her fiendish disposition.

12. "Arise Karkati", it said, "and go to the ignorant and enlighten them with the knowledge thou hast gained; for it is the nature of the good and great, to deliver the ignorant from their error.

13. Whosoever will not receive this knowledge (of lawful food), when it is imparted to him by thee, make him verily the object of thy derision, and take him as being a right meat and proper food for thee."

14. On hearing these words she responded, "I am much favoured by thee, kind god!"; and so saying, she got up and descended slowly from the height of the craggy mountain.

15. Having passed the heights, she came to the valley at the foot of the mountain; and thence proceeded to the habitation of the Kirata people, who inhabit the skirts at the bottom of the hills.

16. She saw those places abounding in provisions of all sorts; such as human kind and their cattle with their fodder and grass. There were vegetable as well as animal food, with various kinds of roots and plants. There were eatables and drinkables also, with the flesh of deer and fowls, and even of reptiles and insects.

17. The nocturnal fiend then walked her way, under the shade of the deep darkness of night, towards the habitation at the foot of Himalaya, in her form of the sable mount of Anjanagiri (unperceived by the inhabitants).