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 LXXXIX - Story of indra and ahalya

Argument. A Rooted Belief is not to be shaken by others as in the case of Lovers.

The sol said:—

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The mind is the maker and master of the world; the mind is the first supreme Male: Whatever is done by the Mind (intentionally), is said to be done; the actions of the body are held as no acts.

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Look at the capacity of the mind in the instance of the sons of Indu; who being but ordinary Brahmans, became assimilated to Brahma, by their meditation of him in their minds.

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One thinking himself as composed of the body (i. e. a corporeal being), becomes subject to all the accidents of corporeality: But he who knows himself as bodiless (an incorporeal being), is freed from all evils which are accidental to the body.

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By looking on the outside, we are subjected to the feelings of pain and pleasure; but the inward-sighted yogi, is unconscious of the pain or pleasure of his body. (Lit. of what is pleasant or unpleasant to the body).

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It is thus the mind that causes all our errors in this world, as it is evidenced in the instance of Indra and his consort Ahalya (related in the ancient legends).

Brahma said:—

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Tell me, my Lord Sol, who was this Indra, and who that Ahalya, by the hearing of which my understanding may have its clear-sightedness.

The sun said:—

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It is related my lord! that there reigned in former times a king at Magadha (Behar), Indra-dyumna by name, and alike his namesake (in prowess and fame).

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He had a wife fair as the orb of moon, with her eyes as beautiful as lotuses. Her name was Ahalya and she resembled Rohini—the favourite of moon.

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In that city there lived a palliard at the head of all the rakes; he was the intriguant son of a Brahman, and was known by the same name of Indra.

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Now this queen Ahalya came to hear the tale of the former Ahalya wife of Gotama, and her concupiscence related to her at a certain time.

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Hearing of that, this Ahalya felt a passion for the other Indra, and became impatient in the absence of his company; thinking only how he should come to her.

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She was fading as a tender creeper thrown adrift in the burning desert, and was burning with her inward flame, on beds of cooling leaves of the watery lotus and plantain trees.

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She was pining amidst all the enjoyments of her royal state, as the poor fish lying exposed on the dry bed of a pool in summer heat.

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She lost her modesty with her self possession, and repeated in her phrenzy, "here is Indra, and there he comes to me."

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Finding her in this pitiable plight, a lady of her palace took compassion on her, and said, I will safely conduct Indra before your ladyship in a short time.

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No sooner she heard her companion say "I will bring your desired object to you," than she oped her eyes with joy, and fell prostrate at her feet, as one lotus flower falls before another.

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Then as the day passed on, and the shade of night covered the face of nature, the lady made her haste to the house of Indra—the Brahman's boy.

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The clever lady used her persuasions as far as she could, and then succeeded to bring with her this Indra, and present him before her royal mistress forthwith.

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She then adorned herself with pastes and paints, and wreaths of fragrant flowers, and conducted her lover to a private apartment, where they enjoyed their fill.

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The youth decorated also in his jewels and necklaces delighted her with his dulcet caresses, as the vernal season renovates the arbour with his luscious juice.

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Henceforward this ravished queen, saw the world full with the figure of her beloved Indra, and did not think much of all the excellences of her royal lord—her husband.

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It was after sometime, that the great king came to be acquainted of the queen's amour for the Brahman Indra, by certain indications of her countenance.

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For as long as she thought of her lover Indra, her face glowed as the full blown lotus, blooming with the beams of her moon like lover.

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Indra also was enamoured of her with all his enraptured senses, and could not remain for a moment in any place without her company.

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The king heard the painful tiding of their mutual affection, and of their unconcealed meetings and conferences with each other at all times.

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He observed also many instances of their mutual attachment, and gave them his reprimands and punishments, as they deserved at different times.

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They were both cast in the cold water of a tank in the cold weather, where instead of betraying any sign of pain, they kept smiling together as in their merriment.

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The king then ordered them to be taken out of the tank, and told them to repent for their crimes; but the infatuated pair, was far from doing so, and replied to the king in the following manner.

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Great King! As long we continue to reflect on the unblemished beauty of each other's face, so long are we lost in the meditation of one another, and forget our own persons.

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We are delighted in our persecutions, as no torment can separate us from each other, nor are we afraid of separation, though O King, you can separate our souls from our bodies.

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Then they were thrown in a frying pan upon fire, where they remained unhurt and exclaimed, we rejoice, O King! at the delight of our souls in thinking of one another.

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They were tied to the feet of elephants, to be trampled down by them; but they remained uninjured and said, King we feel our hearty joy at the remembrance of each other.

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They were lashed with rods and straps, and many other sorts of scourges, which the king devised from time to time.

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But being brought back from the scourging ground, and asked about their suffering, they returned the same answer as before; and moreover, said Indra to the King, this world is full with the form of my beloved one.

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All your punishments inflict no pain on her also, who views the whole world as full of myself. (We see our beloved in every shape. Hafiz. A thousands forms of my love, I see around me. Urfi. "berundaruna man sad surate O paidast" id).

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Therefore all your punishments to torment the body, can give no pain to the mind (soul); which is my true self, and constitutes my personality (purusha), which resides in my person (purau sete).

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This body is but an ideal form, and presents a shadowy appearance to view; you can pour out your punishments upon it for a while; but it amounts to no more than striking a shadow with a stick. (The body is a thing that my senses inform me, and not an occult something beyond the senses. Berkeley. Man can inflict the (unsubstantial) body, and not the (substantial) spirit within. Gospel).

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No body can break down the brave (firm) mind; then tell me great king! what the powers of the mighty amount to? (The mind is invulnerable, and no human power can break its tenor).

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The causes that conspire to ruffle the tenor of the resolute mind, are the erroneous conceptions of external appearances. It is better therefore to chastise such bodies which mislead the mind to error. (The certainty of the uncertainty of our bodies, is the only certain means for the certitude of our minds and safety of our souls; and better is it for us that our bodies be destroyed, in order to preserve our minds and souls intact).

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The mind is firm for ever that is steadfast to its fixed purpose. Nay it is identified with the object which it has constantly in its thoughts. (This is called mental metamorphosis or assimilation to the object of thought, as there is a physical transformation of one thing to another form by its constant contact with the same; such as by the law of chemical affinities, which is termed yoga also in Indian medical works).

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Being and not being are words applicable to bodies (and are convertible to one another); but they do not apply to the mind; since what is positive in thought, cannot be negatived of it in any wise.

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The mind is immovable and cannot be moved by any effort like mobile bodies. It is impregnable to all external actions, and neither your anger or favour (barasapa), can make any effect on it.

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It is possible for men of strong resolutions to change the coarse of their actions; but where is such a strong minded man to be found, who is able to withstand or change the current of his thought?

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It is impossible to move the mind from its fixed fulcrum, as it is impracticable for tender stags to remove a mountain from its base. This black-eyed beauty is the fixed prop of my mind. (The black eyed beauty of India and Asia, is very naturally opposed to the blue eyed maid of Homer and Europe).

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She is seated in the lofty temple of my mind, as the goddess bhavani (Juno) on the mount Kailasa (Olympus); and I fear nothing as long I view this beloved preserver of my life and soul before me. (The Persian poet Urfi uses the same simile of the temple and mind in the hemistich or distich. "I see her image in my inward shrine, as an idol in the temple of an idolatrous land)."

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I sit amidst the conflagration of a burning mountain in summer's heat, but am cooled under the umbrage of her showering cloud, wherever I stand or fall.

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I think of nothing except of that sole object of my thought and wish, and I cannot persuade myself, to believe me as any other than Indra the lover of Ahalya.

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It is by constant association, that I have come to this belief of myself; nor can I think of me otherwise than what is in my nature; for know, O King! The wise have but one and the same object in their thought and view. (So says Hafiz:—If thou wilt have her, think not of another).

49. [Sanskrit available]
The mind like the Meru, is not moved by threat or pity; it is the body that you can tame by the one or other expedient. The wise, O King! are masters of their minds, and there is none and nothing to deter them from their purpose.

50. [Sanskrit available]
Know it for certain, O King, that neither these bodies about us, nor these bodies and sensations of ours are realities. They are but shows of truth, and not the movers of the mind: but on the contrary, it is the mind which supplies the bodies, and senses with their powers of action; as the water supplies the trees and branches with their vegetative juice.

51. The mind is generally believed as a sensuous and passive principle, wholly actuated by the outward impressions of senses; but in truth it is the mind, which is the active and moving principle of the organs of action. Because all the senses become dormant in absence of the action of the mind; and so the functions of the whole creation are at a stop, without the activity of the Universal Mind—anima mundi. (See Psychology and Mental Philosophy).

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