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 CVII - Description of a train of dangers

Argument. The King's residence at the Chandala's abode and his adventures during sixty years at that place.

The king continued:—What more shall I say of that festivity, which had quite subdued my soul? I was thenceforward named as Pushta-Pukkusha or cherished Chandala by my fellows. (Beng-ghar-jamai or home-bred bridegroom).

2. After the festivity had lasted for a week, and I had passed full eight months at that place; my wife had her pubertal efflorescence, and afterwards her conception also (garbhadhana and garbha).

3. She was delivered of a daughter which is the cause of woe, as a danger is the spring of calamities. (The parallel passage is well known darika dukhkha dayika, a daughter is the source of grief). This daughter grew up as soon as the growth of the cares and sorrows of the ignorant. (The wise neither care nor sorrow for any earthly matter).

4. She brought forth again a black boy in course of three years; as the fruit of folly raises the false expectation of fruition (i. e. We are often frustrated in our hopes in our boys).

5. She again gave birth to a daughter and then to another boy; and thus I became an old Chandala, with a large family in that forest land.

6. In this manner passed many years with these shoots of my woe in that place; as a Brahmicide has to pass long years of torment in hell-fire. (Here is a piece of priestcraft in the augmented torment for killing a Brahman as any other man).

7. I had to undergo all the pains of heat and cold, of chill-winds and frost, without any help to be had in that dreary forest; and as an old tortoise is constrained to move about in the mud of a pool for ever.

8. Being burthen with the cares of my family, and troubled by anxieties of my mind; I saw my increasing afflictions like a conflagration rising all about me.

9. Clad in bark and wrapt in old and ragged cloths, with a covering of grass and a straw hat on my head, I bore loads of logs from the woods; as we bear the burden of sins on our backs and heads. (See Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress).

10. I had to pass full many a live-long year, under the shade of

dhavali trees; with no other cloth or covering on me than an old tattered, dirty and stinking Kaupina, which was beset by flees and leeches. (Kaupina a piece of rag covering the lower secret parts of the body as that of Fakirs and Yogis).

11. I was exposed to the chill cold winds, in all my toils to support my family; and lay like a frog in some cave in the woods, under the keen blasts of winter.

12. The many quarrels and bickerings, and the sorrows and wailings, to which I was often exposed at home and abroad, made my blood to gush out in tears from my weeping eyes.

13. We passed the nights on marshy grounds in the jungle, and being deluged by the raining clouds, we took our shelter in the caverns of mountains, with no other food than the roasted flesh of bears.

14. Afterwards the rainy season of sowing being over, and the dark drizzling clouds having dispersed in air, I was driven from my abode, by the unkindness of my relations and continued contention with others.

15. Being thus in dread of every body in the neighbourhood, I removed myself to the house of another man, where I dwelt with my wife and prattling children for some years.

16. Then vexed by the scolding of the termagant Chandali, and the threats of the villainous Chandalas; my face became as pale as the waning moon under the shadow of Rahu (the ascending node).

17. I was bit and scratched by the teeth and nails of my wife, as if my flesh and muscles were torn and gnawed down under the grinders of a tigress; and I was as one caught by or sold to a hellish fiend, and thought myself as changed to an infernal being also.

18. I suffered under the torrents of snow thrown out of the caverns of the Himalaya, and was exposed to the showers of frost, that fell continually in the dewy season.

19. I felt on my naked body the iron shafts of rain, as darts let fly from the bow of death; and in my sickly and decrepit old age, I had to live upon the roots of withered vegetables.

20. I dug them out plentifully from the woodland grounds and eat them with a zest, as a fortunate man has in tasting his dainty dishes of well cooked meat.

21. I took my food apart and untouched by any body, for fear of being polluted by the touch of a vile and base born family; and because the pungency of my unsavoury diet, made my mouth wry at every morsel.

22. While I was famishing in this manner, I saw others had their venison and sheep's flesh bought from other places for their food; and who pampered their bodies also with the flesh they cut out from other living animals and devoured raw with great zest.

23. They bought animal flesh sold in iron pots and stuck in spits, for undergoing migrations into as many thousand bodies as they have killed and fed upon. (This is the Pythagorean doctrine of metempsychosis of the soul, as described in Goldsmith's Citizen of the world).

24. I often repaired to the garden grounds of the Chandalas, with my spade and basket in the cool of the evening, in order to collect the raw flesh, which had been cast about in the dirt, for making any food of them.

25. But the time seemed to turn favourable to me, when I was about to be cast into hell, by leading me to take refuge of the mountain caverns, and seek my supportance there by the roots and plants growing therein.

26. In this state, I was met by my good chance, on some Chandalas appearing in person before me, and driving away the village dogs with their clubs from before them (to the woods).

27. They gave my wife and children some bad rice as the villagers used to take, and we passed the night under the shade of a palm tree, whose withered leaves were rattling with the rain drops, that fell in showers upon them.

28. We passed the night in company with the sylvan apes, with our teeth clattering with cold; and the hairs of our bodies standing on their ends, like a thousand thorns through coldness.

29. The rain drops decorated our bodies with granules of vivid pearls, and our bellies were as lean and lank like an empty cloud through hunger and for want of food.

30. Then there rose a quarrel in this direful forest, between me and my wife; and we kept answering one another, with our clattering teeth and ruddy eyes by effect of the cold.

31. My foul and dirty person resembled that of a dark black demon, and we roved about the borders of rivers and brooks, to fish with a rod and hook in my hand.

32. I wandered also with a trap in my hand, like Yama with his noose at the desolation of the earth; and caught and killed and drank the heart blood of the deer in my hunger and thirst.

33. I sucked the warm heart blood, as the milk of my mother's breast, at the time of famishing; and being besmeared in blood, I stood as a blood sucking demon in the cemetery.

34. The Vetalas of the woods fled before me, as they do from the furies of the forests; and I set my snares and nets in the woods, for catching the deer and birds of the air.

35. As people spread the nets of their wives and children, only to be entangled in them in the false hope of happiness; so did I spread my net of thread, to beguile the birds to their destruction.

36. Though worried and worn out in the nets of worldly cares, and surrounded on every side by the miseries of our vicious lives; yet do our minds take their delight, in the perpetration of cruel and foul acts (to the injury of others).

37. Our wishes are stretched as far and wide, as a running river overflows its banks in the rainy season; but the objects of our desires fly afar from us, as snakes hide themselves from the snake eating Karabhas by their own sagacity. (The Karabha is a quadruped of the weasel kind, and is called gohadgel—in Bengali).

38. We have cast off kindness from our hearts, as the snake leaves off his slough; and take a delight to let fly the hissing arrows of our malice, as the thunder storm betides all animals.

39. Men are delighted at the sight of cooling clouds, at the end of the hot season; but they avoid at a distance the rough briny shore spreading wide before them. (So men hail their happiness, and avoid their troubles).

40. But I underwent many a difficulty, which multiplied as thickly upon me, as the weeds growing in dales; and I moved about all the corners of that hellish spot, during my destined time. (What is decreed, cannot be avoided).

41. I have sown the seeds of sin under the rain-water of my ignorance, to grow speedily as thorns on my way. I have laid hidden snares for the unwary innocent, to secure myself in the mountain caves.

42. I have caught and killed the innocent deer in the trap; to feed upon its flesh; and have killed the chowry kine, to lay my head on the hair hanging down their necks.

43. I slept unconscious of myself in my ignorance, as Vishnu lay on his huge hydra; I lay with my out-stretched legs and limbs in the brown cell, resounding to the yell of wild beasts abroad.

44. I lay my body also, on the frost of a cave in the marshy ground of Vindhya; and wrapped my swarthy form in a tattered quilt, hanging down my neck and full of fleas.

45. I bore it on my back, as a bear bears the long bristles upon him even in the hot season;and suffered the heat of the wild fire, which burnt away many wild animals which perished in groups as in the last conflagration of the world.

46. My wife bore her young ones, both for our pleasure as well as pain:as the food of the glutton, is both for his satiety and sickness; and the influence of planets, is for our good and evil also.

47. Thus I the only son of a king, had to pass sixty painful years of my life, as so many kalpa ages of long duration.

48. I raved sometimes in my rage, and wept at others in my bitter grief;I fared on coarse meals, and dwelt, alas! in the abodes of vulgar Chandalas. Thus I passed so many years of my misery at that place, as one fastened to the fetters of his insatiable desires, is doomed to toil and moil for naught until his death. (Bound to our desires, we are dragged to the grave).