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. The Sun's Narrative of Indu and his Devotion.
The sun continued:—
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It was, my lord! only the other day of one of thy by gone kalpas, and at the foot of a mount, beside the table-land of mount Kailasa standing in a corner of the continent of Jambudvipa:—(A kalpa is one day of Brahma, and occupies the whole duration of a creation from its beginning to the end, which is called the Kalpanta or night of the god. This agrees with the seven days of creation in the book of Genesis, which are supposed to embrace so many long ages of creation).
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That there lived a man by name of Suvarnajata together with all his sons and their progeny, who had rendered that spot a beautiful and pleasant habitation. (The gloss says they were the patriarchs of mankind, settled first on the table-land and at the foot of the Himalayas).
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He resided in his residence with all his relatives, and passed his time agreeably in company with his wife, who was dear to his heart as his second self. (That, woman is ardhanga or half of the body of man, is established in Hindu law; and represented in mythology in the androgyne figures of Hara-Gauri and Uma-Maheswara).
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But there was no issue born of this virtuous pair, as there grows no grass in a sterile soil; and the wife remained discontented at the unfruitfulness of her efflorescence or seed.
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With all the purity and simplicity of their hearts, and the beauty and gracefulness of their persons and manners; they were as useless to the earth, as the fair and straight stem of the pure paddy plant, without its stalk of corn. The discontented pair then repaired to the mountain, in order to make their devotion for the blessing of progeny.
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They ascended the Kailasa mountain, which was unshaded by shady trees, and unpeopled by living beings; and there they stood fixed on one side, like a couple of trees in the barren desert.
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They remained in their austere devotion, subsisting upon liquid food which supported the trees also. They drank but a draught of water, which they held in the hollow of their palms, from a neighbouring cascade at the close of the day. (There is no single word for a gandusha or chuluka of water in English; the word handful being equivalent to mushthi and prastha).
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They remained standing and unmoved as immovable trees, and continued long in that posture, in the manner of an erect wood in heat and cold. (Varkshivritti means intense meditation conducted by forgetting one's self to wood or stone).
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They passed in this manner the period of two ages, before their devotion met with the approbation of the god, who bears the crescent of the moon on his forehead. (This crescent was no doubt the missile disk, which the war-like god Siva held on his head in the manner of the Sheiks).
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The god advanced towards the parching pair, with the cooling moon-beams on his forehead; as when that luminary casts her dewy light on the dried trees and scorched lotuses, under the burning sun beams of a summer day.
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The god, mounted on his milk-white bull, and clasping the fair Uma on his left, and holding the beaming moon on his head, appeared to them, as the vernal season was approaching to a green wood (or furze), with strewing flowers upon them. (There is an alliteration of soma and soma in the double sense of Uma and the moon. This kind of play upon words is very characteristic of metaphysical writers in all ages, as Alethes melethon. Lewis Hist. Phil. I. 69).
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They with brightening eyes and faces beheld the god, as the lotuses hail the appearance of the comely moon; and then bowed down to the god of the silvery bow and snow white countenance. (Kalidasa in his Mahapadya, has heaped all these and many more ensigns of whiteness on the hoary Hara of Himalaya).
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Then the god rising to their view like the full moon, and appearing in the midst of the heaven and earth, spoke smilingly unto them in a gentle and audible voice; the breath of which refreshed them, like the breath of spring reviving the faded plants of the forest.
The god said:—
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I am pleased with thy devotion, O Brahman! prefer thy prayer to me, and have thy desired boon granted to thee immediately.
The brahman replied:—
The sun rejoined:—
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The god said, be it so, and then disappeared in the air; and his great body passed through the etherial path, like the surge of the sea with the tremendous roar of thunders.
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The Brahmanic couple then returned to their home with gladness of their hearts, and appeared as the reflections of the two divinities Siva and Uma in their persons. (The god Siva otherwise called Hara, bears every resemblance to Hercules (Harakula) the son of Jove (Siva); and his consort Uma to Omphale the wife of Hercules. Todd's Rajasthan).
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She appeared as a thick cloud heavy with rain water, in the state of her full pregnancy; and brought forth in proper time (of child-birth), a boy as beautiful as the digit of the new moon.
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Thus there were born of her ten sons in succession, all as handsome as the tender sprouts of plants; and these grew up in strength and stature, after they had received their sacramental investitures.
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In course of a short time, they attained their boyhood, and became conversant in the language of the gods (Sanskrit); as the mute clouds become sonorous in the rainy season. (The Sanskrita, says Sir W. Jones, is more sonorous than Latin. It is the voice of gods, which is as high sounding as the roaring of clouds).
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They shone in their circle with the lustre of their persons, as the resplendent orbs of the sky burn and turn about in their spheres.
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In process of time these youths lost both their parents, who shuffled off their mortal coil to go to their last abode (i. e. to be amalgamated with the person of Brahma, with which they were acquainted by their proficiency in yoga divinity).
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Being thus bereft of both their parents, the ten Brahman lads left their home in grief, and repaired to the top of the Kailasa mountain, to pass there their helpless lives in mourning.
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Here they conversed together about their best welfare, and the right course that they should take to avoid the troubles and miseries of life.
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They parleyed with one another on the topics, of what was the best good (Summum bonum) of humanity in this world of mortality, and many other subjects (which form the common places in ethics), such as:—
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What is true greatness, best riches and affluence, and the highest good of humankind? What is the good of great power, possessions, chiefship and even the gain of a kingdom? What forms the true dignity of kings, and the high majesty of emperors?
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What avails the autocracy of the great Indra, which is lost in one moment (a moment's time of Brahma). What is that thing which endures a whole kalpa, and must be the best good as the most lasting?
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As they were talking in this manner, they were interrupted by the eldest brother, with a voice as grave, as that of the leader of a herd of deer to the attentive flock.
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Of all kinds of riches and dignities, there is one thing that endureth for a whole kalpa, and is never destroyed; and this is the state of Brahma, which I prize above all others.
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Hearing this, the good sons of Indu exclaimed all in one voice saying:—Ah! well said; and then they honoured him with their mild speeches.
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They said: How—O brother, can it be possible for us to attain to the state of Brahma, who is seated on his seat of lotuses, and is adored by all in this world?
The eldest brother then replied to his younger brothers saying said:—
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"O you my worthy brothers, do you do as I tell you, and you will be successful in that.
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Do you but sit in your posture of padmasana, and think yourselves as the bright Brahma and full of his effulgence; and possessing the powers of creation and annihilation in yourselves". (Padmasana is a certain posture with crossed legs for conducting the yoga).
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Being thus bid by the eldest brother, the younger brothers responded to him by saying "Amen;"and sat in their meditation together with the eldest brother, with gladness of their hearts.
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They remained in their meditative mood, like the still pictures in a painting; and their minds were concentrated in the inmost Brahma, whom they adored and thought upon, saying:—
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Here I sit on the pericarp of a full blown lotus, and find myself as Brahma—the great god, the creator and sustainer of the universe.
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I find in me the whole ritual of sacrificial rites, the Vedas with their branches and supplements and the Rishis; I view in me the Sarasvati and Gayatri mantras of the Veda, and all the gods and men situated in me.
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I see this terraqueous orb ornamented with all its oceans and continents, its mountains and islands, hanging as an earring in the mundane system.
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I have the hollow of the infernal world, with its demons, and Titans, and serpents and dragons within myself; and I have the cavity of the sky in myself, containing the habitations and damsels of the immortals.
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There is the strong armed Indra, the tormentor of the lords of peoples; the sole lord of the three worlds, and the receiver of the sacrifices of men.
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I see all the sides of heaven spread over by the bright net of the firmament; and the twelve suns of the twelve months dispensing their ceaseless beams amidst it.
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I see the righteous regents of the sky and the rulers of men, protecting their respective regions and peoples with the same care, as the cowherds take for protection of their cattle.
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I find every day among all sorts of beings, some rising and falling, and others diving and floating, like the incessant waves of the sea. (Everything is changing in the changeful world).
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It is I (the Ego) that create, preserve and destroy the worlds, I remain in myself and pervade over all existence, as the lord of all.
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I observe in myself the revolution of years and ages, and of all seasons and times, and I find the very time, to be both the creator and destroyer of things.
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I see a Kalpa passing away before me, and the night of Brahma (dissolution) stretched out in my presence; while I reside for ever in the Supreme soul, and as full and perfect as the Divine Spirit itself. (Immortality of the human soul and its unity with the Divine).
Thus these brahmans said:—
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the sons of Indu, remained in this sort of meditation, in their motionless postures like fixed rocks, and as images hewn out of stones in a hill.
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In this manner these Brahmans continued for a long period in their devotion, being fully acquainted with the nature of Brahma, and possest of the spirit of that deity in themselves. They sat in their posture of the padmasana on seats of kusa grass, being freed from the snare of the fickle and frivolous desires of this false and frail world. It is evident from this instance of the Brahmans' devotion, that it consisted of the contemplation of every thing in the world in the mind of man; like that of the whole universe in the mind of God. It is the subjective view of the objective that forms what is truely meant by yoga meditation and nothing beside.