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 XCVIII - History of the human heart

Argument. The wide extent of the Heart and its ultimate Dissolution.

1. Whatever may be the origin and nature of the human heart (which some take for the mind), it should be always inquired into in seeking out one's own liberation. (The heart called antahkarana—an inner organ, is often supposed as the same with the mind; its cravings after worldliness, are to be suppressed under its longing for liberation from worldly cares).

2. The heart being fixed in the Supreme, becomes purified of its worldly desires and attachments; and then O Rama! it perceives that soul in itself, which transcends all imaginations of the mind. (Kalpanas are imaginary attributes of God in the mind; who can only be seen in the heart).

3. It is the province of the heart, to secure the sedateness of the world in itself; and it lies in the power of the heart, either to make its bondage or get its freedom, from the desires and troubles of the world.

4. On this subject there hangs a curious tale relating the legend of the heart, which was revealed to me of yore by Brahma himself; and which I will now relate to you Rama, if you will listen to it with attention.

5. There is a long, open and dreary desert Ramatavi by name; which was quite still and solitary and without an inhabitant, in it; and so vast in its extent, as to make a pace of a league of it. (Or rather to make a league of a pace of it).

6. There stood a man of a terrific and gigantic figure in it, with a sorrowful visage and troubled mind, and having a thousand arms and a thousand eyes.

7. He held many clubs and maces in all his manifold arms, with which he was striking his own back and breast, and then running away in this direction and that (as if for fear of being caught by some one).

8. Then having struck himself fast and hard with his own hands, he fled afar a hundred leagues for fear of being laid hold by some body.

9. Thus striking and crying and flying afar on all sides, he became tired and spent, and lank in his legs and arms.

10. He fell flat with his languid limbs in a large blind pit, amidst the deep gloom of a dark night, and in the depth of a dire dark cave (from which he could not rise).

11. After the lapse of a long time, he scrambled out of the pit with difficulty; and again continued to run away, and strike himself with his own hands as before.

12. He ran again a great way, till at last he fell upon a thorny thicket of Karanja plants, which caught him as fast in its brambles, as a moth or grasshopper is caught in a flame.

13. He with much difficulty extricated himself from the prickles of the Karanja furze; and began again to beat himself as before, and run in his wonted course as usual.

14. Having then gone a great way off from that place, he got to a grove of plantain arbour under the cooling moonbeams, where he sat for a while with a smiling countenance.

15. Having then come out of the plantain grove, he went on running and beating himself in his usual way.

16. Going again a great way in his hurriness, he fell down again in a great and darksome ditch, by being exhausted in all his limbs and his whole body.

17. Rising from the ditch, he entered a plantain forest, and coming out from that spot, he fell into another ditch and then in another Karanja thicket.

18. Thus he was falling into one ditch after rising from a thorny furze, and repeatedly beating himself and crying in secret.

19. I beheld him going on in this way for a long time, and then I with all my force, rushed forward and stopped him in his way.

I asked him saying said:—

20. Who are you Sir, and why do you act in this manner? What business have you in this place, and why do you wail and trouble yourself for nothing?

21. Being thus asked by me, O Rama! he answered me saying:—I am no body, O sage! nor do I do any such thing as you are telling me about.

22. I am here stricken by you, and you are my greatest enemy; I am here beheld and persecuted by you, both to my great sorrow and delight.

23. Saying so, he looked sorrowfully into his bruised body and limbs, and then cried aloud and wept a flood of tears, which fell like a shower of rain on the forest ground.

24. After a short while he ceased from his weeping, and then looking at his limbs, he laughed and cried aloud in his mirth.

25. After his laughter and loud shouts were over, hear, O Rama! what the man next did before me. He began to tear off and separate the members of his big body, and cast them away on all sides.

26. He first let fall his big head, and then his arms, and afterwards his breast and then his belly also.

27. Thus the man having severed the parts of his body one after another, was now ready to remove himself elsewhere with his legs only, by the decree of his destiny.

28. After he had gone, there appeared another man to my sight, of the same form and figure with the former one, and striking his body himself as the other.

29. He kept running with his big legs and outstretched stout arms, until he fell into the pit, whence he rose again, and betook to his flight as before.

30. He fell into a pond again, and then rose and ran with his body wringing with pain; falling again in hidden caves, and then resorting to the cooling shade of forest trees.

31. Now ailing and now regaling, and now torturing himself with his own hands; and in this way I saw him for sometime with horror and surprise in myself.

32. I stopped him in his course, and asked about what he was doing; to which he returned his crying and laughter for his answers by turns.

33. Finding at last his body and limbs decaying in their strength, he thought upon the power of destiny, and the state of human lot, and was prepared to depart.

34. I came again to see another succeeding him in the same desert path, who had been flying and torturing himself in the same way as the others gone before him.

35. He fell in the same dark pit in his flight, where I stood long to witness his sad and fearful plight.

36. Finding this wretched man not rising above the pit for a long time, I advanced to raise him up, when I saw another man following his footsteps.

37. Seeing him of the same form, and hastening to his impending fall in the doleful pit, I ran to stop his fate, by the same query I made to the others before.

38. But O lotus-eyed Rama! the man paid no heed to my question and only said, you must be a fool to know nothing of me.

39. You wicked Brahman! he said to me, and went on in his course; while I kept wandering in that dreadful desert in my own way.

40. I saw many such men coming one after the other to their unavoidable ruin, and though I addressed to all and every one of them, yet they softly glided away by me, like phantoms in a dream.

41. Some of them gave no heed to my saying, as a man pays no attention to a dead body; and some among the pit-fallen had the good fortune of rising again.

42. Some among these had no egress from the plantain grove for a long while, and some were lost forever, amidst the thorns and thistles of Karanja thickets.

43. There were some pious persons among them, that had no place for their abode; though that great desert was so very extensive as I have told you already (and capable of affording habitations for all and many more of them).

44. This vast desert is still in existence, together with these sorts of men therein; and that place is well known to you, Rama, as the common range of mankind. Don't you remember it now, with all the culture of your mind from your early youth?

45. O that dreadful desert is this world, filled with thorns and dangers on all sides. It is a dark desert amidst a thick spread darkness, and no body that comes herein, finds the peace and quiet of his heart, except such as have acquired the divine knowledge, which makes it a rose garden to them. (See the pit-falls in the bridge of Addison's The Vision of Mirza).