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 I - The ahnika or daily ritual

Argument. The Book on calm quiet and rest, necessarily follows those of Creation and sustentation; as the sleeping time of night succeeds the working time of the Day, and as the rest of God followed his work of Creation and supportance.

Vasishtha said:—

Hear me, Rama, now propose to you the subject of quietude or rest, which follows that of Existence and sustentation of the universe; and the knowledge of which will lead you to nirvana or final extinction (as the evening rest, leads to sound sleep at night, and quietude is followed by quietus).

Valmiki says:—

2. As Vasishtha was delivering his holy words, the assembly of the princes remained, as still as the starry train, in the clear sky of an autumnal night.

3. The listening princes looking in mute gaze, at the venerable sage amidst the assembly, resembled the unmoving lotuses looking at the luminous sun from their breathless beds.

4. The princesses in the harem forgot their joviality, at hearing the sermon of the sage; and their minds became as cool and quiet as in the long absence of their consorts.

5. The fanning damsels with flappers in their hands, remained as still as a flock of flapping geese resting on a lotus-bed;and the jingling of the gems and jewels on their arms, ceased like the chirping of birds on the trees at night.

6. The princes that heard these doctrines, sat reflecting on their hidden meanings, with their index fingers sticking to the tip of their noses in thoughtfulness; and others pondered on their deep sense, by laying the fingers on their lips.

7. The countenance of Rama flushed like the blushing lotus in the morning, and it brightened by casting away its melancholy, as the sun shines by dispelling the darkness of night.

8. The king of kings—Dasaratha felt as delighted in hearing the lectures of Vasishtha, as the peacock is gladdened at the roaring of raining clouds.

9. Sarana the king's minister removed his apish fickle mind from his state affairs, and applied it intensely to attend to the teachings of the sage.

10. Laxmana who was well versed in all learning, shone as a digit of the bright crescent moon, with the internal light of Vasishtha's instructions, and the radiance of his Spiritual knowledge.

11. Satrughna the subduer of his enemies, was so full of delight in his heart at the teaching of the sage; that his face glowed with joy, like the full moon replete with all her digits.

12. The other good ministers, whose minds were absorbed in the cares of state affairs; were set at ease by the friendly admonition of the sage, and they glowed in their hearts like lotus-buds expanded by the sunbeams.

13. All the other chiefs and sages, that were present in that assembly, had the gems of their hearts purged of their dross by the preachings of Vasishtha; and their minds glowed with fervour from his impressive speech.

14. At this instant there rose the loud peal of conch shells, resembling the full swell of the sounding main, and the deep and deafening roar of summer clouds, filling the vault of the sky, and announcing the time of midday service. (The trisandhya services are performed at the rising, setting and vertical sun).

15. The loud uproar of the shells, drowned the feeble voice of the muni under it, as the high sounding roar of rainy clouds, puts down the notes of the sweet cuckoo. (It is said, the cuckoo ceases to sing in the rains). [Sanskrit: bhabram kritam kritam maunam kokileh jaladagame.]

16. The muni stopped his breath and ceased to give utterance to his speech; because it is in vain to speak where it is not heeded or listened to. (The wise should hold their tongue, when it has lost its power to hold people by their ears).

17. Hearing the midday shout, the sage stopped for a moment, and then addressed to Rama! after the hubbub was over and said:—

18. Rama! I have thus far delivered to you my daily lecture for this day; I will resume it the next morning, and tell you all that I have to say on the subject.

19. It is ordained for the twice born classes to attend to the duties of their religion at midday; and therefore it does not behove us to swerve from discharging our noonday services at this time.

20. Rise therefore, O fortunate Rama! and perform your sacred ablutions and divine services, which you are well acquainted with, and give your alms and charities also as they are ordained by law.

21. Saying so, the sage rose from his seat with the king and his courtiers, and resembled the sun and moon, rising from the eastern mountain with their train of stars.

22. Their rising made the whole assembly to rise after them, as a gentle breeze moves the bed of lotuses, with their nigrescent eyes of the black bees sitting upon them.

23. The assembled princes rose up with their crowned heads, and they marched with their long and massive arms like a body of big elephants of the Vindhyan hills with their lubberly legs.

24. The jewels on their persons rubbed against each other, by their pushing up and down in hurry, and displayed a blaze like that of the reddened clouds at the setting sun.

25. The jingling of the gems on the coronets, resembled the humming of bees; and the flashing rays of the crowns, spread the various colours of the rainbow around.

26. The beauties in the court hall resembling the tender creepers, and holding the chowry flappers like clusters of blossoms in their leaf-like palms, formed a forest of beauties about the elephantine forms of the brave princes. (It means the joint egress of a large number of damsels employed to fan the princes in the Court hall).

27. The hall was emblazoned with the rays of the blazing bracelets, and seemed as it was strewn over with the dust of mandara flowers, blown away by the winds.

28. There were crystal cisterns of pure water, mixed with ice and pulverized camphor; and the landscape around was whitened by the kusa grass and flowers of autumn.

29. The gems hanging down the head-dresses of the princes, cast a reddish colour over the hollow vault of the hall; and appeared as the evening twilight preceding the shade of night, which puts an end to the daily works of men.

30. The fair faces of the fairy damsels, were like lotuses floating on the watery lustre of the strings of pearls pendant upon them; and resembling the lines of bees fluttering about the lotuses; while the anklets at their feet, emitted a ringing sound as the humming of bees.

31. The large assemblage of the princes, rose up amidst the assembled crowds of men; and presented a scene never seen before by the admiring people.

32. The rulers of the earth bowed down lowly before their sovereign, and departed from his presence and the royal palace in large bodies; likening the waves of the sea, glistening as rainbows by the light of their gemming ornaments.

33. The chief minister Sumantra and others, that were best acquainted with royal etiquette, prostrated themselves before their king and the holy sage, and took their way towards the holy stream; for performance of their sacred ablutions.

34. The Rishis Vamadeva, Viswamitra and others, stood in the presence of Vasishtha; and waited for his leave to make their departure.

35. King Dasaratha honored the sages one by one, and then left them to attend to his own business.

36. The citizens returned to the city, and the foresters retired to their forests, the aerials flew in the air, and all went to their respective abodes for rejoining the assembly on the next morning.

37. The venerable Viswamitra, being besought by the king and Vasishtha, stayed and passed the night at the abode of the latter.

38. Then Vasishtha being honoured by all the princes, sages and the great Brahmanas, and adored by Rama and the other princes of king Dasaratha's royal race:—

39. Proceeded to his hermitage, with the obeisance of the assembled crowd on all sides; and followed by a large train, as the god Brahma is accompanied by bodies of the celestials.

40. He then gave leave to Rama and his brother-princes, and to all his companions and followers, to return to their abodes from his hermitage in the woods.

41. He bade adieu to the aerial, earthly and the subterraneous beings, that kept company with him with their encomiums on his merits; and then entering his house, he performed his Brahmanical rites with a duteous disposition.