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 XLVIII - Story of dasura

Argument. Description of the vanity of worldly enjoyments, illustrated in the tale of Dasura.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. All worldly men that are engaged in a variety of business, and are perverted in their understandings with a desire of opulence and enjoyments; can never learn the truth, until they get rid of their worldliness.

2. He only who has cultivated his understanding, and subdued his sensual organs, can perceive the errors of the world, as one knows a bel fruit held in his hand (i.e. as one knows the places on earth in a small globe).

3. Any rational being, who scans well the errors of the world, forsakes his delusion of egoism, as a snake casts off his slough.

4. Being thus paralysed (unconscious) of his selfishness, he has no more to be born; as a fried grain can never germinate, though it is sown in the field, and lies for ever in it.

5. How pitiable is it that ignorant men take so much pains for the preservation of their bodies, which are ever subject to diseases and dangers; and liable to perish to-day or to-morrow at the expense of their souls.

6. Do not therefore, O Rama! take so much care for the dull body like the ignorant; but regard only for the welfare of thy soul.

Rama said:—

7. Tell me Sir, the story of Dasura, which is illustrative of the visionary and air-drawn form of this rotatory universe, which is all hollow within.

Vasishtha replied:—

8. Hear me rehearse to you, O Rama! the narrative of Dasura, in illustration of the delusive form of the world, which is no more than the air-built utopia of our brains.

9. There is on the surface of this land, the great and opulent province of Magadha, which is full of flower trees of all kinds.

10. There is a forest of wide extending kadamba groves, which was the pleasant resort of charming birds of various sorts and hues.

11. Here the wide fields were full of corns and grains, and the skirts of the land were beset by groves and arbours; and the banks of rivulets were fraught with the lotuses and water lilies in their bloom.

12. The groves and alcoves resounded with the melodious strains of rustic lasses, and the plains were filled with blades of blossoms, bedewed by the nightly frost, and appearing as arrows of the god of love, Kama.

13. Here at the foot of a mountain, decked with karnikara flowers, and beset by rows of plantain plants and kadamba trees, was a secluded spot over-grown with moss and shrubs.

14. It was sprinkled over with the reddish dust of crimson flowers borne by the winds, and was resonant to the warblings of water fowls, singing in unison with the melodious strains of aquatic cranes.

15. On the sacred hill overhanging that spot, there rose a kadamba arbor, crowded by birds of various kinds; and there dwelt on it a holy sage of great austerity.

16. He was known by the name of Dasura, and was employed in his austere devotion; sitting on a branch of his kadamba tree with his exalted soul, and devoid of passions.

Rama said:—

17. I want to know Sir, whence and how that hermit came to dwell in that forest, and why he took his seat on that high kadamba tree.

Vasishtha replied:—

18. He had for his father, the renowned sage Saraloman, residing in the same mountain, and resembling the great Brahma in his abstract meditation.

19. He was the only son of that sire, like Kacha the only progeny of Brihaspati, the preceptor of the gods, with whom he came to dwell in the forest from his boyhood.

20. Saraloma having passed many years of his life in this manner, left his mortal frame for his heavenly abode, as a bird quits its nest to fly into the air.

21. Dasura being left alone in that lonely forest, wept bitterly and lamented over the loss of his father, with as loud wailings as the shrieks of a heron upon separation from its mate.

22. Being bereft of both his parents, he was full of sorrow and grief in his mind; and then he began to fade away as the lotus blossom in winter.

23. He was observed in this sad plight by the sylvan god of that wood, who taking compassion on the forlorn youth, and accosted him unseen in an audible voice and said:—

24. O sagely son of the sage! why weepest thou as the ignorant, and why art thou so disconsolate, knowing the instability of worldly things?

25. It is the state of this frail world, that everything is unstable here; and it is the course of nature that all things are born to live and perish afterwards into nothingness.

26. Whatever is seen here from the great Brahma down to the meanest object, is all doomed to perish beyond a doubt.

27. Do not therefore wail at the demise of thy father, but know like the rising and falling sun, every thing is destined to its rise and fall. (Here sun—the lord of the day—ahah-pati, is spelt aharpati by a varttika of Katyayna).

28. Hearing this oracular voice, the youth wiped his eyes red hot with weeping; and held his silence like the screaming peacock at the loud sound of the clouds. (The peacock is said to cry at the sight, but to be hushed at the sound of a rainy cloud).

29. He rose up and performed the funeral ceremonies of his sire, with devoutness of his heart; and then set his mind to the success of his steady devotion.

30. He was employed in the performance of his austerities according to the Brahmanic law, and engaged himself in discharging his ceremonial rites by the Srauta ritual, for the accomplishment of his sundry vows.

31. But not knowing the knowable (Brahma), his mind could not find its rest in his ceremonial acts, nor found its purity on the surface of the stainless earth. (The earth appears sullied to the tainted soul, but it is all unstained to the taintless soul, which views it full with the holy spirit of God).

32. Not knowing the fulness of the world with divine spirit, and the holiness of the earth in every place, he thought the ground polluted (by the original sin), and did not find his repose any where.

33. Therefore he made a vow of his own accord, to take his seat on the branch of a tree, which was untainted with the pollution of the earth. (Because the Lord said, "Cursed is the ground for thy sake"; but not so the trees growing upon it).

34. Henceforth said he, "I will perform my austerities on these branching arbours, and repose myself like birds and sylvan spirits, on the branches and leaves of trees."

35. Thus sitting on high, he kindled a flaming fire beneath him, and was going to offer oblations of living flesh on it, by paring bits of his shoulder blade (mixed with blood).

36. When the god of fire thought in himself that, as fire is the mouth whereby the gods receive their food, the offering of a Brahman's flesh to it, would wholly burn down their faces. (Fire is the mouth of gods, says Veda, because the gods of early Aryans were distinguished from the savages for their taking cooked food and meat, while the latter took them raw for want of their knowledge of kindling fire. Again all flesh was palatable to the gods, except that of their brotherhood—Brahmans).

37. Thinking so, the god of fire appeared before him in his full blaze, as the luminous sun appeared before the lord of speech—Brihaspati or Jupiter.

38. He uttered gently and said, "Accept young Brahman your desired boon from me, as the owner of a store, takes out his treasure from the chest in which it is deposited".

39. Being thus accosted by the god, the Brahman boy saluted him with a laudatory hymn; and after adoring him with suitable offerings of flowers, addressed him in the following manner.

40. "Lord! I find no holy place upon earth, which is full of iniquity and sinful beings; and therefore pray of thee to make the tops of trees, the only places for my abode."

41. Being thus besought by the Brahman boy, the god pronounced "Be it so" from his flaming mouth, and vanished from his sight.

42. As the god disappeared from before him, like the day light from the face of the lotus-flower; the son of the sage being fully satisfied with his desired boon, shone forth in his face like the orb of the full moon.

43. Conscious of the success of his desire, his gladdened countenance brightened with his blooming smiles; just as the white lotus blushes with its smiling petals, no sooner it perceives the smiling moonbeams falling upon it.