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 XIX - On holy knowledge

Argument. Story of Punya and Pavana, and the instruction of the former to the latter.

Vasishtha continued:—

I will now set before you an example on the subject (of the distinction of friend and foe), in the instance of two brothers, who were born of a sage on the banks of Ganges, going in three directions of tripatha or trisrot as trivia.

2. Hear then this holy and wonderful tale of antiquity, which now occurs to my mind on the subject of friends and enemies, which I have been relating to you.

3. There is in this continent of Jambudvipa (Asia), a mountainous region beset by groves and forests, with the high mount of Mahendra rising above the rest.

4. It touched the sky with its lofty peaks, and the arbour of its kalpa trees; spread its shadow over the hermits and kinnaras that resorted under its bower.

5. It resounded with the carol of the sages, who chaunted the Samaveda hymns on it, in their passage from its caverns and peaks to the region of Indra (the god of the vault of heaven).

6. The fleecy clouds which incessantly drizzled with rain water from its thousand peaks; and washed the plants and flowers below, appeared as tufts of hair hanging down from heaven to earth.

7. The mountain re-echoed to the loud roars of the impetuous octopede Sarabhas, with the thunder claps of kalpa clouds from the hollow mouths of its dark and deep clouds. (So Himalaya is said to warble to the tunes of Kinnaras from its cavern mounts).[1]

8. The thundering noise of its cascades falling into its caverns from precipice to precipice, has put to blush the loud roar of the Surges of the sea.

9. There on tableland upon the craggy top of the mountain, flowed the sacred stream of the heavenly Ganges, for the ablution and beverage of the hermits.

10. There on the banks of the trivious river—tripatha—Ganga, was a gemming mountain, sparkling as bright gold, and decorated with blossoming trees.

11. There lived a sage by name of Dirghatapas, who was a personification of devotion, and a man of enlightened understanding; he had a noble mind, and was inured in austerities of devotion.

12. This sage was blessed with two boys as beautiful as the full moon, and named Punya and Pavana (the meritorious and holy), who were as intelligent as the sons of Vrihaspati, known by the names of the two Kachas.

13. He lived there on the bank of the river, and amidst a grove of fruit trees, with his wife and the two sons born of them.

14. In course of time the two boys arrived to their age of discretion, and the elder of them named Punya or meritorious, was superior to the other in all his merits.

15. The younger boy named Pavana or the holy, was half awakened in his intellect, like the half blown lotus at the dawn of the day; and his want of intelligence kept him from the knowledge of truth, and in the uncertainty of his faith.

16. Then in the course of the all destroying time, the sage came to complete a century of years, and his tall body and long life, were reduced in their strength by his age and infirmity.

17. Being thus reduced by decrepitude in his vitality, he bade adieu to his desires in this world, which was so frail and full of a hundred fearful accidents to human life (namely, the pains attending upon birth, old age and death, and the fears of future transmigration and falling into hell fire).

18. The old devotee Dirghatapas, quitted at last his mortal frame in the grotto of the mount; as a bird quits its old nest for ever, or as a water-bearer lays down the log of his burthen from his shoulders.

19. His spirit then fled like the fragrance of a flower to that vacuous space, which is ever tranquil, free from attributes and thought, and is of the nature of the pure intellect.

20. The wife of the sage finding his body lying lifeless on the ground, fell down upon it, and remained motionless like a lotus flower nipt from its stalk.

21. Having been long accustomed to the practice of yoga, according to the instruction of her husband; she quitted her undecayed body, as a bee flits from an unfaded flower to the empty air.

22. Her soul followed her husband's, unseen by men, as the light of the stars disappears in the air at the dawn of the day.

23. Seeing the demise of both parents, the elder son Punya was busily employed in performing their funeral services; but the younger Pavana was deeply absorbed in grief at their loss.

24. Being overwhelmed by sorrow in his mind, he wandered about in the woods; and not having the firmness of his elder brother, he continued to wail in his mourning.

25. The magnanimous Punya performed the funeral ceremonies of his parents, and then went in search of his brother mourning in the woods.

Punya said:—

26. Why my boy, is thy soul overcast by the cloud of thy grief; and why dost thou shed the tears from thy lotus-eyes, as profusely as the showers of the rain, only to render thee blind.

27. Know my intelligent boy, that both thy father and mother, have gone to their ultimate blissful state in the Supreme Spirit, called the state of salvation or liberation.

28. That is the last resort of all living beings, and that is the blessed state of all self subdued souls; why then mourn for them, that have returned to and are reunited with their own proper nature.

29. Thou dost in vain indulge thyself in thy false and fruitless grief, and mournest for what is not to be mourned for at all: (rather rejoice at it owing to their ultimate liberation).

30. Neither is she thy mother nor he thy father;nor art thou the only son of them, that have had numerous offspring in their repeated births.

31. Thou hadst also thousands of fathers and mothers in thy by-gone births, in as much as there are the streams of running waters in every forest.

32. Thou art not the only son of them, that had innumerable sons before thee; for the generations of men, have passed away like the currents of a running stream.

33. Our parents also had numberless offspring in their past lives, and the branches of human generation are as numerous, as the innumerable fruits and flowers on trees.

34. The numbers of our friends and relatives in our repeated lives in this world, have been as great, as the innumerable fruits and flowers of a large tree, in all its passed seasons.

35. If we are to lament over the loss of our parents and children, that are dead and gone; then why not lament also for those, that we have lost and left behind in all our past lives?

36. It is all but a delusion, O my fortunate boy, that is presented before us in this illusive world; while in truth, O my sensible child, we have nobody, whom we may call to be our real friends or positive enemies in this world.

37. There is no loss of any body or thing in their true sense in the world; but they appear to exist and disappear, like the appearance of water in the dry desert,

38. The royal dignity that thou seest here, adorned with the stately umbrella and flapping fans; is but a dream lasting for a few days.

39. Consider these phenomena in their true light, and thou wilt find my boy, that none of these nor ourselves nor any one of us, are to last for ever: shun therefore thy error of the passing world from thy mind for ever.

40. That these are dead and gone, and these are existent before us, are but errors of our minds, and creatures of our false notions and fond desires, and without any reality in them.

41. Our notions and desires, paint and present these various changes before our sight; as the solar rays represent the water in the mirage. So our fancies working in the field of our ignorance, produce the erroneous conceptions, which roll on like currents in the eventful ocean of the world, with the waves of favorable and unfavorable events to us.

Footnotes and references:


So it is represented in Kumāra Sambhava: [Sanskrit: unclear]