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...
Argument: Brahma intending to create the world, sees the orbs of light, and invokes the luminous Sun.
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I will relate to you Rama, agreeably to your request, the story that was narrated to me of old by Brahma himself (the personified mind of God and the lord of creatures). The manas or mind produced Manu—the progeny of the mind; who begat the Manujas otherwise called manavas or manushyas, or men—the offspring of the mind.
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I had asked the lotus-born god once before, to tell me how these hosts of creation had come to being. (Vasishtha the offspring of Brahma, had his communion with his father—the first great patriarch of mankind).
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Then Brahma the great progenitor of men, granted my request, and related to me the apologue of Aindava in his sonorous voice. (The oracles of God were delivered in the loud noise of thunders—brihad-vachas).
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All this visible world is the manifestation of the divine mind, like the circling whirl-pools and rippling curls of water on the surface of the sea. (Referring to the revolutions of heavenly bodies in the air).
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Hear me tell you, said he, how I (the personified mind), awoke at first on the day of creation in a former kalpa, with my volition to create (expand) myself. (The volitive mind rose out of the sleeping intelligence on the dawning day of creation).
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Erewhile I remained alone, and quietly intent upon the One at the end of the prior day (or Kalpa), by having compressed the whole creation in the focus of my mind, and hid it under the gloom of the primeval night. (Old chaos or darkness that reigned over the surface of the deep before the dawn of light. Tama asit, tamasagudhamagra. There was darkness enveloping all things. Sruti).
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At the end of the chaotic night I awoke as from a deep sleep; and performed my matins as it is the general law (of all living beings). I oped my eyes with a view to create, and fixed my look on the vacuum all about me. (When that spirit sleeps it is night, and when it awakes, it is a day of recreation (resurrection). Manu).
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As far as I viewed, it was empty space and covered by darkness, and there was no light of heaven. It was unlimitedly extensive, all void and without any boundary. (Infinite space existed ere creation came into existence. Sruti. All was teom and beom or tama and vyoma).
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Being then determined to bring forth the creation, I began to discern the world in its simple (ideal) form within me, with the acuteness of my understanding (i. e. I looked into the prototypes or models of things contained in the Mind).
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I then beheld in my mind the great cosmos of creation, set unobstructed and apart from me in the wide extended field of vacuity. (The archetypes of our ideas, are the things existing out of us. Locke. Our ideas though seen within us, form no part of ourselves or our being).
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Then the rays of my reflection stretched out over them, from amidst the lotus-cell of my abode, and sat in the form of ten lotus-born Brahmas over the ten orbs (planets) of this world; like so many swans brooding upon their eggs. (The spirit of God that dove-like sat, brooding over the deep. Milton).
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Then these separate orbs (mundane eggs), brought forth, to light multitudes of beings, amidst their transparent aqueous atmospheres. (All worlds girt by their covercles of watery ether or nebulous clouds, teemed with productions of every kind).
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Thence sprang the great rivers and the roaring seas and oceans; and thence again rose the burning lights and blowing winds of the firmament. (The atmospheric water is the source of all things).
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The gods began to sport in the etherial air, and men moved about on the earth, and demons and serpents were confined in their abodes underneath the ground. (The gods are called devas from their sporting in the regions of light—dividevah divyanti. Men are parthivas from prithvi the earth, and demons are called infernal from their abode in the infrapatala or antipodes).
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The wheel of time turns with the revolution of seasons and their produce, and it adorns the earth with her various productions by change of the seasons.
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Laws were fixed for all things on all sides, and human actions were regulated in the smritis as right or wrong, and producing as their fruits, the reward of heaven or the torments of hell. (And Brahma appointed to all beings their several laws. Manu. And there is no single atom that goes beyond its appointed law—nature or dharma, which is an attribute of the Great God).
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All beings are in pursuit of their enjoyments and liberty, and the more they strive for their desired objects, the better they thrive in them. (The gloss makes the pursuit of earthly enjoyments to be the cause of pain and hell, and that of liberation from them to be productive of heavenly bliss).
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In this way were the sevenfold worlds and continents, the septuple oceans and the seven boundary mountains, brought to existence, and they continue to exist until their final dissolution at the end of a Kalpa period (which is determined by the Kalpa or will of God).
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The primeval darkness fled before light from the face of open lands, and took its refuge in mountain caverns and hollow caves; it abides in some places allied with light, as in the shady and sunny forest lands and lawns.
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The azure sky like a lake of blue lotuses, is haunted by fragments of dark clouds, resembling swarms of black-bees on high; and the stars twinkling in it, liken the yellow filaments of flowers shaken by the winds.
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The earth is encircled by the polar mountains serving as her girdles, and the circles of the polar seas serving as her sounding anklets and trinkets. She is girt by the polar darkness as by a blue garment, and studded all about with gems, growing and glowing in the bosoms of her rich and ample mines and seas. (The lokaloka or polar mountain, is so called from its having eternal light and night on either side, turned towards or beyond the solar light).
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The earth covered over by the garniture of her verdure, resembles a lady sitting begirt by her robes; and having the produce of paddy for her victuals; and the busy buzz of the world for her music.
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The sky appears as a bride veiled under the sable mantle of night, with the glittering chains of stars for her jewels. The season fruits and flowers hanging in the air, resemble wreaths of lotuses about her person.
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The orbs of worlds appear as the beautiful fruits of pomegranates, containing all their peoples in them, like the shining grains of granites in the cells of those fruits.
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The bright moon-beams stretching both above and below and all around the three sides, appear as the white sacred thread, girding the world above and below and all about; or as the stream of Ganga running in three directions in the upper, lower and nether worlds.
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The clouds dispersing on all sides with their glittering lightnings, appear as the leaves and flowers of aerial forests, blown away by the breezes on all sides.
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But all these worlds with their lands and seas, their skies and all their contents, are in reality as unreal as the visionary dreams; and as delusive as the enchanted city of the Fairy land.
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The gods and demons, men and serpents, that are seen in multitudes in all worlds, are as bodies of buzzing gnats, fluttering about the dumbura—fig trees. (Udumbara is the ficus religiosus—yajnadumbura or sacred fig tree. It is by the orthographical figure aphaeresis or elision of the initial, that udumbara is made dumbura, vulgo).
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Here time is moving on with his train of moments and minutes, his ages, yugas and kalpas, in expectation of the unforeseen destruction of all things. (Time devours and destroys all things).
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Having seen all these things in my pure and enlightened understanding, I was quite confounded to think, whence could all these have come into being. (The first inquiry into the cause and origin of beings).
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Why is it that I do not see with my visual organs, all that I perceive, as a magic scene spread out in the sphere of my Mind?
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Having looked into these for a long time with my steadfast attention, I called to me the brightest sun of these luminous spheres and addressed him saying:—(The first address of Brahma to the sun, corresponds with Adam's address to that luminary. "Thou glorious sun nature's first born and the light and life &c." Milton).
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Approach to me, O god of gods, luminous sun! I welcome thee to me! Having accosted him thus, I said:—
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Tell me what thou art and how this world with all its bright orbs came to being; if thou knowest aught of these, then please reveal it to me.
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Being thus addressed, he looked upon me, and then having recognized me, he made his salutation, and uttered in graceful words and speech.
The sun replied:—
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Thou lord! art the eternal cause of these false phenomena, how is it then that thou knowest it not, but askest me about the cause thereof?
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But shouldst thou, all knowing as thou art, take a delight in hearing my speech, I will tell thee of my unasked and unthought of production, which I beg thee to attend to.
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O great Spirit! this world being composed of reality and unreality in its twofold view, beguiles the understanding to take it sometimes for a real and at others for an unreal thing. It is the great mind of the Divine Soul, that is thus employed in these incessant and unceasingly endless creations for its diversion. (The soul is the animating power, and the mind is the principle of action. Metaphysically, the soul is an individual name; the mind is a generic term or genus. The soul is opposed to body, the mind to matter. The soul is the principle of animation, the mind of volition. The soul is the mind of a certain being, the mind is the soul without its personality).