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 XLVII - Description of the worlds and their demiurgi

Argument. Relation of many past and Future Worlds, and of the gods and other beings contained in them.

Rama said:—

O venerable sir, that art acquainted with all religious doctrines and versed in all branches of the Vedas, I am set at perfect ease by thy holy preachings.

2. I am never satiate with hearing your speech, which is equally copious, clear and elegant.

3. You have said sir, of the birth of Brahma in course of your lecture on the productions of the satva and rajasa qualities. I want you to tell me more on that subject.

4. Vasishtha answered:—There have been many millions of Brahmas and many hundreds of Sivas and Indras, together with thousands of Narayanas, that have gone by (in the revolution of ages).

5. There have been various kinds of beings also in many other worlds, having their manners and customs widely differing from one another.

6. There will also be many other productions in the worlds, synchronous with others, and many to be born at times remotely distant from one another.

7. Among these, the births of Brahma and the other gods in the different worlds, are as wonderful as the productions of many things in a magic show.

8. Some creations were made with Brahma as the first born, others with Vishnu and some with Siva as the next created beings. There were some other (minor productions), having the munis for the patriarchs. (These are the different periods of the formation of the world under the different Demiurgi).

9. One Brahma was lotus-born, another was produced from the water; and a third was born of an egg, and the fourth was produced in the air. (These are named as the Padmaja, Narayana, Andaja and Maruta).

10. In one egg the sun was born with all his eyes, and in another Vasava—the Indra;in some one was born the lotus-eyed Vishnu, and in another he with his three eyes as Siva.

11. In one age was born the solid earth, having no holes for the growth of vegetables, in another it was overgrown with verdure; it was again filled with mountains, and at last covered by living creatures.

12. The earth was full of gold in some place, and it was hard ground at others; it was mere mud in many places, and incrusted with copper and other metals in some.

13. There are some wondrous worlds in the universe, and others more wondrous still than they; some of them are luminous and bright, and others whose light have never reached unto us.

14. There are innumerable worlds scattered in the vacuum of Brahma's essence, and they are all rolling up and down like waves in the ocean. (Here the infinite vacuity, is represented as the body of Brahma, and the sole substance of all other bodies).

15. The splendours of worlds, are seen in the Supreme like waves in the sea, and as the mirage in the sandy desert; they abide in Him as flowers on the mango tree.

16. It may be possible to count the particles of the solar rays, but not the number of worlds abounding in the Supreme Spirit.

17. These multitudes of worlds rise and fall in the Universal Spirit, like gnats flying and following others in swarms in the rainy season.

18. It is not known since when they have been in existence, and what numbers of them have gone by, and are remaining at the present time.

19. They have been rolling without beginning like the billows of the sea; those that are past and gone had their previous ones, and they their prior ones also.

20. They rise over and over, to sink lower and lower again; just as the waves of the sea, rising aloft and falling low by turns.

21. There are series of mundane worlds like the egg of Brahma, which pass away by thousands like the hours in course of the year.

22. There are many such bodies revolving at present, in the spacious mind of Brahma; beside the mundane system of Brahma (Brahmanda).

23. There will grow many more mundane worlds in the infinity of the divine mind, and they will also vanish away in course of time, like the evanescent sounds in the air. (The sounds are never lost, but remain in the air. Sabdonityam).

24. Other worlds will come into existence in the course of other creations, as the pots come to be formed of clay, and the leaves grow from germs in endless succession. (Here Brahma is made the material cause of all).

25. So long doth the glory of the three worlds appear to the sight, as long as it is not seen in the intellect, in the manner as it exists in the divine mind.

26. The rising and falling of worlds are neither true nor wholly false;they are as the fanfaronade of fools, and as orchids of the air.

27. All things are of the manner of sea waves, which vanish no sooner than they appear to view, and they are all of the nature of paintings, which are impressed in the mind.

28. The world is a perspective, and all things are but paintings in it; they are not without the tableau of the mind, and are represented in it as the figures on a canvas.

29. The learned in divine knowledge, consider the creations proceeding from the Spirit of God, as showers of rain falling from the waters contained in the clouds.

30. The visible creation is no more distinct from God, than the sea water exuding from the earth and the earth itself, and the leaves and seeds of the Simul tree from the tree itself.

31. All created things that you see in their gross or subtle forms, have proceeded from the vacuity of the Divine Mind, and are strung together, like a rosary of large and small gems and beads.

32. Sometimes the subtile air is solidified in the form of the atmosphere, and therefrom is produced the great Brahma, thence called the air-borne lord of creatures.

33. Sometimes the atmospheric air is condensed into a solid form, and that gives birth to a Brahma; under the title of the atmospheric lord of creation.

34. At another time it is light that is thickened to a luminous body, and thence is born another Brahma, bearing the appellation of the luminous lord of all creatures.

35. Again the water being condensed at another time, produced another Brahma designated the aqueous lord of creation.

36. Sometimes the particles of earth take a denser form, and produce a Brahma known as the terrene Brahma. (Such was Adam made out of the dust of the ground).

37. It is by extraction of the essences of these four Brahmas, that a fifth is formed under the name of the quintuple Brahma, who is the creation of the present world.

38. It is sometimes by the condensation of water, air or heat, that a being is produced in the form of a male or female.

39. It is sometimes from the speaking mouth of this being, and from his feet and back and the eyes, that different men are produced under the appellations of Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudras. (These Kshatriyas are born from the arms and eyes according to Manu).

40. Sometimes the great Being causes a lotus to grow out of his navel; in which is born the great Brahma known as the lotus-born.

41. All these theories of creation (in the different sastras) are idle dreams, and as false as the dreams in our sleeping state; they are the reveries of fancy like the eddies of water.

42. Tell me what do you think of these theories in your own judgment; do they not appear as the tales told to boys?

43. Sometimes they imagine a being produced in the pure vacuity of the Divine mind, this they call the golden and mundane egg, which gave birth to the egg-born Brahma.

44. It is said also that the first and divine Male, casts his seed in the waters, which grows up to a lotus-flower which they call the great world.

45. This lotus is the great womb of the birth of Brahma, and at another time of the sun also; sometimes the gods Varuna and Vayu also are born of it, and are thence called oviparous.

46. Thus Rama, are the different accounts of the production of Brahma—the creator, so various also is the description of this unsolid and unsubstantial creation.

47. I have related to you already about the creation of one of these Brahmas, and mentioned about the production of others without specifying their several works.

48. It is agreed by all, that the creation is but the development of divine mind; although I have related for your acquaintance, the various processes of its production.

49. The satvika and other productions, of which I told you before, have all come to existence, in the manner I have narrated to you.

50. Now know the endless succession of all things in the world; creation is followed by destruction as pleasure by pain; and as ignorance is followed by knowledge, and bondage by liberation.

51. Past creations and objects of affection being gone, others come to rise in future, as the lamps are lighted and extinguished by turns at home.

52. The production and destruction of all bodies, are as those of Brahma and the lamps, they assume their forms in their time, but become an undistinguishable mass after death.

53. The four ages of the world, namely, the Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali Yugas, revolve in endless rotation, like the wheel of the potter or of any other engine.

54. The Manvantaras and Kalpa cycles succeed one another, as the day and night, the morning and evening, and the times of work follow those of rest by turns.

55. All worlds and things are under the subjection of time. They are subject to repeated successions, and there is nothing without its rotation.

56. They all proceed of their nature from the vacuum of Divine Intellect, as the sparks of fire scintillate from the red-hot iron.

57. All things once manifest, are next concealed in the divine mind; just as the season fruits and flowers, disappear after their appearance in season.

58. All productions are but fluctuations of the mind of the Supreme spirit; their appearances to our view, are as the sight of two moons to infirm eyes.

59. It is the intellect alone, which exhibits these appearances to our view; they are always situated in the intellect, though they appear without it like the beams in the inner disk.

60. Know Rama, the world to be never in existence; it is a motionless show of that power, which resides only in the Supreme spirit.

61. It is never as it appears to you, but quite a different thing from what it seems to be;it is a show depending on the power of the Omnipotent.

62. What the world exists since the maha kalpa or great will of God, and there is no more any other world to come into existence in future, is the conclusion of the learned holds good to the present time. (This belief is based on the holy text, "so aikshata—God willed—'Let there be', and there was all").

63. All this is Brahma to the intelligent, and there is no such thing as the world, which is a mere theory (upapadya) of the unintelligent.

64. The insapient consider the world as eternal, from the continued uniformity of its course; but it is the effect of the everlasting error, which raises the false supposition of the world.

65. It is their theory of repeated transmigrations, that they cannot say anything otherwise; but must conclude the world as such, in order to keep pace with their doctrine. (The doctrine of perpetual metempsychosis of the Mimamsaka materialists, naturally makes them suppose the eternity of the world).

66. But it is to be wondered why they do not consider the world to be destructible, seeing the incessant perishableness of all things all around. (They flash as momentary lightenings in their appearance, to be extinguished into nothingness soon after).

67. So others (the Sankhyas) seeing the continuous course of the sun and moon, and the stability of mountains and seas all about, come to the conclusion of the indestructibility of the world from these false analogies.

68. There can be nothing whatever, which does not reside in the wide expanse of the Divine mind; but as these are but the conceptions of the mind, they can never have any visible or separate form of existence.

69. All these appear in repetition, and so repeated is the course of our births and deaths; as those of pain and pleasure succeeding one another, and our rest and actions, following each other for evermore.

70. This same vacuum and these quarters of the sky, with all these seas and mountains, appear in the recurrent course of creation with their various hues, like those of the solar rays seen through the chink of a wall.

71. The gods and demigods appear again and again, and all people come and depart by turns, bondage and liberation are ever recurrent, and Indras and Somas ever reappear to view.

72. The god Narayana and the demigods appear by turns, and the sky is always revolving with the regents of all its sides, the sun and moon, clouds and winds.

73. The heaven and earth appear again like the lotus-flower full open to view, and having the mount Meru for its pericarp, and the Sahya peak for its filament.

74. The sun resumes his course in the maze of the sky like a lion, and destroys the thick darkness with his rays, as the lion kills the huge elephant with his beaming nails.

75. See again the moving moon shining with her bright beams, resembling the white filaments of flowers; and anointing the countenances of the etherial goddesses, with sweet ambrosial light, and borne by the air and breezes of heaven.

76. Again the holy arbour of heaven sheds its heap of flowers, on the deserts of meritorious men, as rewards of their virtuous acts.

77. Behold again the flight of time, riding as the eagle on its two wings of acts and actions, and passing with the noise of pat-pat over the vast maze of creation.

78. See another Indra appearing, after the by-gone lords of gods have passed away; and taking his seat on the lotus-like throne of heaven like a contemptible bee. (The passing lords of gods and men are as fleeting flies on flowers).

79. Again the wicked age of Kali appears to soil the holy satya yuga, as the black body of Narayana fills the clear waters of the deep, or as a blast of wind sweeps the dust of the earth on its pellucid surface.

80. Again doth time form the plate of the earth like a potter, and turn his wheel incessantly, to bring on the revolutions of his creations in successive kalpas.

81. Again doth the veteran time, who is skilled in the work of renovation, wither away the freshness of creation, as the autumnal winds blast the foliage of a forest, in order to produce them anew.

82. Again the dozen of zodiacal suns, rising at once and burning the creation, leaves the dead bodies all around, like the white bones lying scattered in a country.

83. Again the pushkara and avartaka clouds, poured down their rain water, deluging the tops of the boundary mountains, and filling the face of the earth with foaming froth, swimming on the surface of one sheet of water.

84. And after the waters had subsided and the winds had ceased to blow;the world appeared as a vast vacuum void of all beings.

85. Again we see living beings filling the earth, and feeding for some years upon the moisture of its verdure, leaving their decayed bodies, and being mixed up with their souls in the universal spirit.

86. Again the Divine Mind stretches out other creations at other times, and these are drawn like pictures of fairylands (airy castles) in the canvas of vacuum.

87. Again the creation appears to view, and again it is submerged in the water of deluge, both of which follow one another like the axles of a wheel.

88. Now consider, O Rama! if there is any stability of any thing in this revolutionary world, beside its being a maze of continuous delusion.

89. The revolution of the world resembles the hallucination of Dasura's mind; it is a phantasia without any solidity in it.

90. The world appearing so extensive and thickly peopled, is but a fancied unreality like the erroneous appearance of two moons in the sky. It is made of unreality though appearing as real, and is not worth reliance by our ignorance of its nature.