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 CXX - Lamentation of the chandala woman

Argument. Lavana goes to the Vindhyan region, and sees his consort and relatives of the dreaming state.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. Now Rama, attend to the wonderful power of the said Avidya or error, in displaying the changeful phenomenals, like the changing forms of ornaments in the substance of the self-same gold.

2. The king Lavana, having at the end of his dream, perceived the falsehood of his vision, resolved on the following day to visit that great forest himself.

3. He said to himself: ah! when shall I revisit the Vindhyan region, which is inscribed in my mind; and where I remember to have undergone a great many hardships in my forester's life.

4. So saying, he took to his southward journey, accompanied by his ministers and attendants, as if he was going to make a conquest of that quarter, where he arrived at the foot of the mount in a few days.

5. There he wandered about the southern, and eastern and western shores of the sea (i. e. all round the Eastern and Western Ghats). He was as delighted with his curvilinear course, as the luminary of the day, in his diurnal journey from east to west.

6. He saw there in a certain region, a deep and doleful forest stretching wide along his path, and likening the dark and dismal realms of death (Yama or Pluto).

7. Roving in this region he beheld everything, he had seen before in his dream; he then inquired into the former circumstances, and wandered to learn their conformity with the occurrences of his vision.

8. He recognised there the Chandala hunters of his dream, and being curious to know the rest of the events, he continued in his peregrination about the forest.

9. He then beheld a hamlet at the skirt of the wilderness, foggy with smoke, and appearing as the spot where he bore the name of Pushta

Pukkasa or fostered Chandala.

10. He beheld there the same huts and hovels, and the various kinds of human habitations, fields and plains, with the same men and women that dwelt their before.

11. He beheld the same landscapes and leafless branches of trees, shorn of their foliage by the all devouring famine; he saw the same hunters pursuing their chase, and the same helpless orphans lying thereabouts.

12. He saw the old lady (his mother-in-law), wailing at the misfortunes of other matrons;who were lamenting like herself with their eyes suffused in tears, at the untimely deaths and innumerable miseries of their fellow brethren.

13. The old matrons with their eyes flowing with brilliant drops of tears, and with their bodies and bosoms emaciated under the pressure of their afflictions; were mourning with loud acclamations of woe in that dreary district, stricken by drought and dearth.

14. They cried, O ye sons and daughters, that lie dead with your emaciated bodies for want of food for these three days; say where fled your dear lives, stricken as they were by the steel of famine from the armour of your bodies.

15. We remember your sweet smiles, showing your coral teeth resembling the red gunjaphalas to our lords, as they descended from the towering tala (palm trees), with their red-ripe fruits held by their teeth, and growing on the cloud-capt mountains.

16. When shall we see again the fierce leap of our boys, springing on the wolves crouching amidst the groves of Kadamba and Jamb and Lavanga and Gunja trees.

17. We do not see those graces even in the face of Kama the god of love, that we were wont to observe in the blue and black countenances of our children, resembling the dark hue of Tamala leaves, when feasting on their dainty food of fish and flesh.

Lamentation of the mother-in-law.

18. My nigrescent daughter, says one, has been snatched away from me with my dear husband like the dark Yamuna by the fierce Yama. O they have been carried away from me like the Tamala branch with its clustering flowers, by a tremendous gale from this sylvan scene.

19. O my daughter, with thy necklace of the strings of red gunja seeds, gracing the protuberant breast of thy youthful person; and with thy swarthy complexion, seeming as the sea of ink was gently shaken by the breeze. Ah! whither hast thou fled with thy raiment of woven withered leaves, and thy teeth as black as the jet-jambu fruits (when fully ripe).

20. O young prince! that wast as fair as the full moon, and that didst forsake the fairies of thy harem, and didst take so much delight in my daughter, where hast thou fled from us? Ah my daughter! she too is dead in thy absence, and fled from my presence.

21. Being cast on the waves of this earthly ocean, and joined to the daughter of a Chandala, thou wast, O prince! subjected to mean and vile employments, that disgraced thy princely character. (This is a taunt to all human beings that disgrace their heavenly nature, and grovel as beasts while living on earth).

22. Ah! that daughter of mine with her tremulous eyes, like those of the timorous fawn, and Oh! that husband valiant as the royal tiger; you are both gone together, as the high hopes and great efforts of men are fled with the loss of their wealth.

23. Now grown husbandless, and having of late lost my daughter also, and being thrown in a distant and barren land, I am become the most miserable and wretched of beings. Born of a low caste, I am cast out of all prospect in life, and have become a personification of terror to myself, and a sight of horror to others.

24. O! that the Lord has made me a widowed woman, and subjected me to the insult of the vulgar, and the hauteur of the affluent. Prostrated by hunger and mourning at the loss of a husband and child, I rove incessantly from door to door to beg alms for my supportance (as it is the case of most female beggars).

25. It is better that one who is unfortunate and friendless, or subject to passion and diseases, should rather die sooner than live in misery. The dead and inanimate beings are far better than the living miserable.

26. Those that are friendless, and have to toil and moil in unfriendly places, are like the grass of the earth, trampled under the feet, and overwhelmed under a flood of calamities.

27. The king seeing his aged mother-in-law mourning in this manner, offered her some consolation through the medium of her female companions, and then asked that lady to tell him, "who she was, what she did there, who was her daughter and who is his son."

She answered him with tears in her eyes said:—

28. This village is called Pukkasa-Ghosha, here I had a Pukkasa for my husband, who had a daughter as gentle as the moon.

29. She happened to have here a husband as beautiful as the moon, who was a king and chanced to pass by this way. By this accident they were matched together, in the manner that an ass finds by chance a pot of honey lying on her way in the forest.

30. She lived long with him in connubial bliss, and produced to him both sons and daughters, who grew up in the covert of this forest, as the gourd plant grows on a tree serving as its support.