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...
Argument. Passing from the meaner to higher births, is the way to the attainment of Liberation, and supreme felicity.
1. [Sanskrit available]
Tell me sir, how Dama, Vyala and Kata obtained their liberation at last like all other virtuous souls, and got released from the torments of hell, like children getting rid of the fear of Yakshas and Pisachas.
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That Dama and others would obtain their liberation, upon their release from their demoniac bodies by death; and upon hearing the account of their lives and actions.
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Tell me sir, how, when and from what source, Dama and others, came to learn the accounts of their lives, and in what manner they obtained their release from hell.
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Being then crushed to death in that marshy ground under the feet of buffaloes, they were transformed afterwards to the shapes of cranes, frequenting that lake of lotuses.
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There they fed upon the moss and mushrooms and tender petals of lotuses, and had to live upon the leaves of aquatic plants and creepers, that floated on the surface of the waves.
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They swung in cradles of flowers, and rested on beds of blue lotuses; and dived in vortices of the waters, or flew under the cooling showers of rainy clouds.
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These charming cranes and herons, were at last becleansed of their brutish foulness, by their vegetable food of sweet fruits and flowers, and by their pure beverage of the crystal lake, the food of holy saints.
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Having by these means obtained a clear understanding, they were prepared for their release from the brutish state, as men when enabled to distinguish and get hold of the qualities of satva and rajas (i.e. of goodness and virtue), from that of tamas or wrong and evil, are entitled to their liberation.
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On the top of that hill, there is an edifice towering above all other buildings; and piercing the sky with its high turrets, which appears like pinnacles above its summit.
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On the north-east corner of that edifice, there is a hollow at the top of its towering head; which is overgrown with moss, and is continually resounding to the blowing winds.
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There the demon Vyala built his nest in the form of a sparrow, and chirped his meaningless notes, as one repeats the Vedic hymns without knowing their meanings. (This chanting is elsewhere compared with the croaking of frogs).
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Then the demon Dama became a gnat and dwelt in that dwelling, and continued to buzz his low tune in the crevice of a lofty column of that building.
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There the minister of the king known as Narasinha by name, took his residence. He understood the fates of human kind, as the astronomer knows the stars of heaven on a small celestial globe, which he holds in his hand.
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It happened at that time, that the deceitful demon Kata, is as reborn as a parrot, and became the favourite of the minister, by being kept in a silver cage in his house.
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It then turned out that the minister recited this poetical narrative of the Titan war to the inmates of the house.
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And the parrot Kata, happening to hear it, remembered his past life, whereby he was absolved of his sins, and attained his final liberation.
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The sparrow dwelling on the top of the Pradyumna hill, also chanced to hear the narration of his life in that place, and obtained his emancipation thereby.
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Dama who in the form of a gnat, resided in the palace, happened also to hear the minister's recital of his tale, and obtained thereby his peace and release.
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Thus I have related to you the whole of the story of the demon Dama and others, which will fully convince you of the vanity of the world.
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It is the ignorant only that are tempted to vanity by their error, as they are led to the delusion of water in a mirage; and so the great also are liable like these demons, to fall low from their high stations by their error.
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Think of one of these, that reduced the high Meru and Mandara mountains with a nod of his eyebrows, was constrained to remain as a contemptible gnat in the chink of a pillar in the palace. (So the huge Satan entered the body of the small and hateful serpent, and the gigantic devils in the hateful bodies of the herd of swine).
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Look at another who threatened to destroy the sun and moon with a slap, living at last as a poor sparrow in a hole of the peak of the Pradyumna mountain.
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When the sphere of the pure intellect, is tinged with the hue of egotism, it is debased to another form without changing its nature (by another birth).
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It is because of the wrong desire of a man that he takes the untruth for truth, as if by the excessive thirst of a person, that he mistakes the mirage for water, and thereby loses both his way and his life.
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Those men only can ford across the ocean of the world, who by the natural bent of their good understanding, are inclined to the study of the sastras, and look forward to their liberation, by rejecting whatever is vicious and untrue.
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Those who are prone to false reasoning and heresy, by rejecting the revelations, are subject to various changes and miseries, and fall like the running water into the pit, by loss of their best interests in life.
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But those who walk by the dictates of conscience, and follow the path pointed by the Agama (Veda), are saved from destruction, and attain their best state (of perfection and bliss).
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O highminded Rama! he whose mind always longs after having this thing and that, loses the best gain of his manliness (parama purushartha) by his avarice, and leaves not even ashes or traces behind.
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The high-minded man regards the world as a straw, and shuns all its concerns as a snake casts off its slough.
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He whose mind is illumined by the wondrous light of truth, is always taken under the protection of the gods, as the mundane egg is protected by Brahma (or rather under the wings of Brahma's swan, hatching over its egg).
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Nobody should walk in paths which are long and wearisome, crooked and winding, and encompassed by dangers and difficulties; because Rahu—the ascending node, lost its life by its curvilinear course, to drink the nectarine beams of the moon.
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He who abides by the dictates of the true sastras, and associates with the best of men, are never subject to the darkness of error.
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Those who are renowned for their virtues, have the power to bring their destiny under their command, convert all their evils to good, and render their prosperity perpetual.
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Those who are unsatisfied with their qualifications (but wish to qualify themselves the more), and those who thirst after knowledge and are seekers of truth, are truly called as human beings, all others are but brutes.
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Those, the lakes of whose hearts are brightened by the moonbeams of fame (i.e. whose heart are desirous of fame); have the form of Hari seated in their hearts, as in the sea of milk.
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The repeated desire of enjoying what has been enjoyed, and of seeing what has often been seen, is not the way to get rid of the world; but is the cause of repeated birth, for the same enjoyments.
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Continue to abide by the established rule of conduct, act according to the sastras and good usages, and break off the bonds of worldly enjoyments, which are all but vanities.
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Let the world resound with the renown of your virtues reaching to the skies; because thy renown will immortalize thy name, and not the enjoyments thou hast enjoyed.
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Those whose good deeds shine as moonbeams, and are sung by the maidens of heaven, are said to be truly living, while all others unknown to fame are really dead.
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They that aspire to their utmost perfection by their unfailing exertions, and act according to the precepts of the sastras, are surely successful in their attempt.
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Now Rama, renounce all your sorrow and fear, your anxieties, pride and hastiness; conduct yourself by the ordinances of law and sastras, and immortalize your name.
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Take care, that your sensuous soul does not perish as a prey in the snare of your sensual appetites, nor as a blind old man by falling in the hidden pits of this world.
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Do not allow yourself henceforward to be degraded below the vulgar; but consider well the sastras as the best weapons, for defeating the dangers and difficulties of the world.
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Why do you endanger your life in the muddy pit of this world, like an elephant falling in a pitfall under the keen arrows of the enemy? Avoid only to taste of its enjoyments, and you are free from all danger.
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Of what avail is wealth without knowledge; therefore devote yourself to learning, and consider well your riches to be but trash and bubbles.
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The knowledge of heretical sastras, has made beasts of men, by making them only miserable and unhappy by their unprofitable arguments.
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Now wake and shake off the dullness of your long, deep and death-like sleep, like the torpor of the old tortoise lying in the bog.
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Rise and accept an antidote to ward off your old age and death; and it is knowledge of this prescription, that all wealth and property are for our evils, and all pleasures and enjoyments, tend only to sicken and enervate our frames.
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Know your difficulty to be your prosperity, and your disrespect to be your great gain. Conduct yourself according to the purport of the sastras, as they are supported by good usage.
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Acts done according to the sastras and good usage also, are productive of the best fruits of immortality.
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He who acts well according to good usage, and considers everything by good reasons, and is indifferent to the pains and pleasures of the world; such a one flourishes like an arbour in the spring, with the fruits and flowers of long life and fame, virtues and good qualities and prosperity.