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 XV - Lamentation and expostulation of sukra

Argument. Sukra laments on seeing his former body, and his consolation at its ultimate anaesthesia.

Vasishtha said:—

Thus contemplating on the course of nature, these philomaths moved with their spiritual bodies, from the bank of Samanga (towards the Mandara mountain).

2. They ascended to the sky, and passed through the pores of the clouds to the region of the Siddhas; whence they descended to the lower world, and arrived at the valley of Mandara.

3. There Sukra saw on a cliff of that mountain, the dried body of his former birth, lying covered under the dark and dewy leaves of trees.

4. He said, here is that shriveled body, O father! which thou hadst nourished with many a dainty food before.

5. There is that body of mine, which was so fondly anointed with camphor, agallochum and sandal paste, by my wet-nurse before.

6. This is that body of mine, which was used to repose on the cooling beds, made with heaps of mandara flowers, in the airy spots of Meru.

7. This is that body of mine, which was so fondly caressed by heavenly dames of yore, and which is now lying, to be bitten by creeping insects and worms, on the bare ground below.

8. This is that body of mine, which was wont of yore to ramble in the parterres of sandalwood; now lying a dried skeleton on the naked spot.

9. This is that body of mine, now lying impassive of the feelings of delight in the company of heavenly nymphs, and withering away unconscious of the actions and passions of its mind.

10. Ah my pitiable body! how dost thou rest here in peace, forgetful of thy former delights in the different stages of life; and insensible of the thoughts of thy past enjoyments and amusements of yore.

11. O my body! that hast become a dead corpse and dried by sun-beams;thou art now become so hideous in thy frame of the skeleton, as to frighten me at this change of thy form.

12. I take fright to look upon this body, in which I had taken so much pleasure before, and which is now reduced to a skeleton.

13. I see the ants now creeping over that breast of mine, which was formerly adorned with necklaces studded with starry gems.

14. Look at the remains of my body, whose appearance of molten gold, attracted the hearts of beauteous dames, bearing now a load of dry bones only.

15. Behold the stags of the forest flying with fear, at the sight of the wide open jaws, and withered skin of my carcass; which with its horrid mouth, frightens the timid fawns in the woods.

16. I see the cavity of the belly of the withered corpse, is filled with sunshine, as the mind of man is enlightened by knowledge.

17. This dried body of mine, lying flat on the mountain stone, resembles the mind of the wise, abased at the sense of its own unworthiness.

18. It seems to be emaciating itself like an ascetic, in his supine hypnotism on the mountain, dead to the perceptions of colour and sound, and of touch and taste, and freed from all its desires and passions.

19. It is freed from the demon of the mind (mental activity), and is resting in its felicity without any apprehension of the vicissitudes of fate and fortune, or fear of fall.

20. The felicity which attends on the body, upon the calmness of the demon of the mind; is not to be had, from possession of the vast dominion of the world.

21. See how happily this body is sleeping in this forest, by being freed from all its doubts and desires in the world; and by its being liberated from the network of its fancies.

22. The body is disturbed and troubled like a tall tree, by the restlessness of the apish mind; and it is hurled down by its excitation like a tree uprooted from its bottom.

23. This body being set free from the impulses of the mischievous mind, is sleeping in its highest and perfect felicity, and is quite released from the jarring broils of the world, clashing like the mingled roarings of lions and elephants in their mutual conflict.

24. Every desire is a fever in the bosom, and the group of our errors is as the mist of autumn; and there is no release of mankind from these, save by the impassionateness of their minds.

25. They have gone over the bounds of worldly enjoyments, who have had the high-mindedness, to lay hold on the tranquillity of their minds.

26. It is by my good fortune, that I came to find this body of mine, resting in these woods without its troublesome mind; and freed from all its tribulations and feverish anxieties.

Rama said:—

27. Venerable Sir, that art versed in all knowledge, you have already related of Sukra's passing through many births in different shapes; and feeling all their casualties of good and evil.

28. How was it then that he regretted so much for his body begotten by Bhrigu; in disregard of all his other bodies; and the pains and pleasures which attended upon them?

29. Vasishtha answered:—Rama! the other bodies of Sukra were merely the creations of his imagination; but that of Bhargava or as the son of Bhrigu, was the actual one, as produced by the merit of his pristine acts. (Here the gloss is too verbose on the theory of metempsychosis; but the literal meaning of the couplet is what is given above).

30. This was the first body with which he was born by the will of his Maker, being first formed in the form of subtile air, and then changed into the shape of wind.

31. This wind entered into heart of Bhrigu in a flux of the vital and circulating breaths, and being joined in time with the semen, formed the germ of Sukra's body. (so called from the seed—sukra).

32. The person of Sukra, received the Brahmanical sacraments, and became an associate of the father; till at last it was reduced to the form of a skeleton in course of a long time.

33. Because this was the first body which Sukra had obtained from Brahma the creator, it was on this account that he lamented so much for it.

(Sukra the son of Bhrigu, was the grandson of Manu—the first human being, after creation of the world called kalparambha).

34. Though impassionate and devoid of desire as Sukra was, yet he sorrowed for his body, according to the nature of all being born of flesh (dehaja). (All flesh is subject to sorrow).

35. This is the way of all flesh, whether it be the body of a wise or unwise man (to mourn for its loss). This is the usual custom of the world, whether the person was mighty or not.

36. They who are acquainted with the course of nature, as also those that are ignorant of it as brutes and beasts; are all subject to the course of the world, as if they are bound in the net of fate and liable to grief and sorrow. (It is not the greatness of a great mind, to be insensible of the tender feelings of his nature, but to keep his joys and sorrows under proper bounds).

37. The wise as well as the unwise, are on an equal footing with respect to their nature and custom. It is only the difference in desire that distinguishes the one from the other, as it is the privation of or bondage to desires, that is the cause of their liberation or enthralment in this world. It is also the great aim that distinguishes the great, from the mean-mindedness of the base.

38. As long as there is the body, so long is there the feeling of pleasure in pleasure and that of pain in pain. But the mind which is unattached to and unaffected by them, feigns to itself the show of wisdom. (Unfeelingness is a mere show and not reality).

39. Even great souls are seen to feel happy in pleasure and become sorrowful in matters of pain; and show themselves as the wise in their outward circumstances.

40. The shadow of the sun, is seen to shake in the water, but not so the fixed sun himself; so the wise are moved in worldly matters, though they are firm in their faith in God.

41. As the unmoved and fixed sun, seems to move in his shadow on the wave, so the wise man who has got rid of his worldly concerns, still behaves himself like the unwise in it.

42. He is free who has the freedom of his mind, although his body is enthralled in bondage; but he labours in bondage whose mind is bethralled by error, though he is free in his body. (True liberty consists in moral and not in bodily freedom).

43. The causes of happiness and misery as also those of liberty and bondage, are the feelings of the mind; as the sun-beams and flame of fire, are the causes of light.

44. Therefore conform thyself with the custom of the society in thy outward conduct; but remain indifferent to all worldly concerns in thy inward mind.

45. Remain true to thyself, by giving up thy concerns in the world; but continue to discharge all thy duties in this world by the acts of thy body. (Keep your soul to yourself, but devote your body to the service of the world).

46. Take care of the inward sorrows and bodily diseases, and the dangerous whirlpools and pitfalls in the course of thy life; and do not fall into the black hole of selfishness (meitatem), which gives the soul its greatest anguish.

47. Mind, O lotus-eyed Rama, that you mix with nothing, nor let anything to mix with you; but be of a purely enlightened nature, and rest content in thy inward soul.

48. Think in thyself the pure and holy spirit of Brahma, the universal soul and maker of all, the tranquil and increate All, and be happy for ever.

49. If you can rescue yourself from the great gloom of egotism, and arrive at the state of pure indifference to all objects; you will certainly become great in your mind and soul, and be the object of universal veneration.