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 LII - Grandeur of the air-born king

Argument. Description of Dominions of the Air-born King, and the Frailty of Worldly possessions.

Vasishtha continued:—

It was on one occasion that I passed by that (Dasura's) way in my invisible body, to bathe in the heavenly stream of mandakini (milky way) in the etherial regions.

2. After my departure from that region by the way of the Pleiades (saptarshi), I arrived to the spot where Dasura dwelt on his high Kadamba tree.

3. I came to listen to a voice proceeding from the hollow of the tree in the forest, which was as charming as the buzzing of the bee, fluttering about the bud of a lotus.

4. Attend my intelligent son! said he, to a narrative that I will relate unto thee by way of a simile of worldly things, and it is pleasant to hear.

5. There is a very powerful King renowned in all the three worlds for his great prosperity. His name is Khottha or Air-produced, and able to grasp the whole world. (Like the air whereof he was born. Kha, Khao and Khavi yet un, is empty air in Sanskrit, Hebrew and Arabic, and Khali in Persian and Urdu).

6. All the lords of the earth bend their heads lowly under his rule, and bear the badge of their submission to him with as great an honour, as poor men are proud to carry about a bright gem on the head.

7. He exulted in his valour and the possession of all kinds of rarities, and there is no one in the three worlds, that is able to bring him under his subjection.

8. His unnumbered acts and exploits, are fraught with successive pain and pleasure; and they are as interminable as the continuous waves of the sea.

9. No one has been able to check the prowess of that mighty brave by force of fire or sword, as none hath ever been able to press the air or wind in his hand.

10. Even the gods Indra, Upendra and Hara, have fallen short of following his steps in his ambitious pursuits, and the splendid inventions of his imagination.

11. With his triple form of the satvika, rajasika and tamasika qualities, he encompasses the world, and is enabled to accomplish all sorts of actions. (These are the qualities of goodness, moderation and excess, or the three states of deficiency, mediocrity and excess of moral acts, according to the text of Aristotelean Ethics. But I would prefer to call them the positive, comparative and superlative virtues, or rather the minimum, mean and maximum states of virtues).

12. He is born in the extensive vacuity (of the spirit of Brahma), with his triple body as that of a bird (viz;the flesh and bones and the feathers, and remains in vacuum as the air and the sound).

13. He has built a city in that unlimited space of the Universe, having fourteen provinces (chaturdasa Bhuvana) (the planetary spheres), in its triple divisions (tribhuvana) of the earth and regions above and below it.

14. It is beautified with forests and groves and pleasure-lawns and hills, and bounded by the seven lakes of pearly waters on all sides. (The city signifies the earth and the lakes the seven oceans in it).

15. It is lighted by two lamps of hot and cooling light (the sun and moon), which revolve above and below it in their diurnal and nocturnal courses, as those of righteous and nefarious people. (The original words, as the courses diva, and nisacharas or the day and nightfarers).

16. The king has peopled this great city of his with many selfmoving bodies (animals), which move in their spheres quite ignorant of themselves (i.e. of their origin, their course and their fates).

17. Some of these are appointed in higher and some in lower spheres, and others move in their middle course; some destined to live a longer time, and others doomed to die in a day (as the ephemerids).

18. These bodies are covered with black skins and hairs (as thatched huts), and furnished with nine holes (as their doors or windows); which are continually receiving in and carrying out the air to keep them alive.

19. They are supplied with five lights of sensation and perceptions and supported by three posts of the two legs and the back bone, and a frame work of white bones for the beams and bamboo rafters. It is plastered over with flesh as its moistened clay (or mud wall), and defended by the two arms as latches on door way.

20. The Great king has placed his sentinel of the Yaksha of egoism as a guard of this house; and this guard is as ferocious as a Bhairava in dark (ignorance), and as timorous as a Bhairava by the day (i.e. Egoism brags in ignorance, but flies before the day-light of reason).

21. The masters of these locomotive bodies, play many pranks in them, as a bird plays its frolics in its own nest.

22. This triformed prince (the mind) is always fickle, and never steady in any; he resides in many bodies and plays his gambles there with his guard of egoism, and leaves one body for another at will, as a bird alights from one branch upon another.

23. This fickle minded prince is ever changeful in his will; he resides in one city and builds another for his future habitation.

24. Like one under the influence of a ghost, he stirs up from one place and runs to another, as a man builds and breaks and rebuilds his aerial castle at his hobby.

25. The Mind sometimes wishes to destroy its former frame and remove to another, and effects its purpose at will.

26. It is produced again as the wave of the sea, after it had subsided to rest; and it pursues slowly and gradually a different course in its renewed course of life.

27. This prince sometimes repents of his own conduct and acts in his new life, and then laments for his ignorance and miseries and knows not what to do.

28. He is sometimes dejected by sorrow and at others elated by success, like the current of a river, now going down in the hot season, and again overflowing its banks in the rains.

29. This king is led by his hobbies like the waters of the sea by the winds; it puffs and swells, falls and rises, runs fast and ceases to flow at once as in a calm.