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 CIX - Migration of the chandalas

Argument. The perilous journey through the Delusive World.

The king continued:—As these calamities continued to rage in this place, by the displeasure of destiny; and the disasters of the last dissolution prematurely overtook the forest and mountaineers here:—

2. Some of these men went out from that place, with their wives and children, in search of some new abodes in foreign lands; as the clouds disperse and disappear from the sky, after the rainy season is over.

3. They were accompanied by their wives and children and close relatives, who clung to them as the members of their bodies; but the lean and infirm were left behind them, like the separated branches of trees.

4. Some of these emigrants were devoured by tigers, as they went out of their houses; as unfledged birds are caught by falcons, as they come out of their nests.

5. Some entered into the fire like moths, to put an end to their miserable lives; others fell into the pits, like fragments of rocks falling from the hills.

6. I separated myself from the connections of my father-in-law and others; and depending upon myself, I escaped narrowly from that distressed country, with my wife and children about me.

7. We passed the pit-falls and storms, and the wild beasts and snakes, without any harm; and came out of that forest safe from all the deadly perils of the way.

8. Having then arrived at the border of that forest, we got to the shade of some palm trees, where I lay down my children from my shoulders as burdens of my sin and woes.[1]

9. I halted here after my tiresome journey and lengthened troubles, as one who had fled from the confines of hell; and took my rest like the withering lotus, from the scorching sunbeams and heat of summer.

10. My Chandala wife also slept under the same tree, and my two boys lay fast asleep in each other's embrace, under the cooling shade.

11. Afterwards my younger son Prach'chhaka, who was as dear to us as he was the less intelligent, rose up and stood before me.

12. He said with a depressed spirit, and tears gushing out of his eyes, "Papa give me soon some meat-food and drink or else I die".

13. The little boy repeatedly made the same request, and said with tears in his eyes, that he was dying of hunger.

14. I told him I had no meat, and the more I said so, the more he repeated his foolish craving, which could neither be supplied with nor put down to silence.

15. I was then moved by paternal affection, and affliction of my heart, to tell him, "child, cut off a slice of my flesh, and roast and eat it."

16. He agreed to it, and said 'give it then'; because his hunger was so pressing and his vitality was so much exhausted, that he could not decline to crave my flesh for his food.

17. Being then overpowered by affection and compassion I thought of putting an end to all my grief with my life, which became so intolerable to me at his excessive distress.

18. Being unable to endure the pain of my affection, I despaired of my own life; and resolved to resort to death, as my only friend at this last extremity.

19. I collected some wood, and heaped them together for my funeral pile, and having put it on fire, I saw it blaze as I wished.

20. As I was hastening to throw myself on this pile, I was immediately roused from my reverie by the sound of music proceeding from this palace, hailing me as king, and shouting my victory jaya.

21. I understood this conjurer had wrought this enchantment on me, and put me to all these imaginable troubles for so long a period.

22. Like the ignorant, I was subject to a hundred changes of fortune (which can never approach the wise). As the great and mighty King—Lavana, had been recapitulating and expostulating on the vicissitudes of fortune:—

23. The sorcerer suddenly disappeared from his sight, at which the courtiers looked around them with their staring eyes; and then addressed the king, saying:—

24. This man was no sorcerer, our liege lord! who had no mercenary views of his own in this; but it was a divine magic (theurgy), that was displayed to our lord, to represent the lot of humanity and the state of the world.

25. This world is evidently a creation of the mind, and the imaginary world is only a display of the infinite power of the Almighty. (It was a coinage of the brain, a stretch of the imagination which gives images to ideals).

26. These hundreds of worldly systems, display the multifarious powers of Omnipotence; which delude even the minds of the most wise, to believe in the reality of unrealities, as it were by the spell of magic.

27. This delusion being so potent on the minds of wise, it is no wonder, that our king would be overpowered by it, when all common minds are labouring under the same error.

28. This delusive magic was not spread over the mind, by any trick or art of the conjurer; who aimed at nothing more than his own gain, by the act of his sorcery (it is the divine will, which spreads the illusion alike on all minds).

29. They that love money, never go away of themselves without getting something: therefore we are tossed on the waves of doubt (i. e. doubtful) to take him for a sorcerer.

Vasishtha said:—

30. Rama! though I am sitting here at this moment, before you and others of this assembly; yet I am quite sensible of the truth of this story, which is no fiction like the tale of the boy I have told you before, nor is it any coining or hearsay of mine.

31. Thus the mind is enlarged by the various inventions of its imagination, as a tree is extended by the expansion of its boughs and branches. The extended mind encompasses all things, as an outstretched arbour overspreads on the ground. It is the mind's comprehension of every thing, and its conversancy with the natures of all things, that serve to lead it to its state of perfection. (The amplitude of the mind, consists in the extent of its knowledge).

Footnotes and references:

1.

Compare the adventure of the prince Tājul Malur in Guli Bakāwalī, and his bearing the burthen of his children by the Negro wife on his shoulders.