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 XXXI - Prahlada’s faith in vishnu

Argument. Prahlada's Lamentations at the slaughter of the demons, and his conversion to Vishnuism.

Vasishtha continued:—

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Prahlada remained disconsolate in his subterranean region, brooding over the melancholy thoughts of the destruction of the Danavas and their habitations.

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Ah! what is to become of us, said he, when this Hari is bent to destroy the best amongst us, like a monkey nipping the growing shoots and sprouts of trees.

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I do not see the Daityas anywhere in earth or in the infernal regions, that are left in the enjoyment of their properties; but are stunted in their growth like the lotuses growing on mountain tops.

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They rise only to fall like the loud beating of a drum, and their rising is simultaneous with their falling as of the waves in the sea. (I.e. no sooner they rise, than they are destined to fall).

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Woe unto us! that are so miserable in both our inward and outward circumstances; and happy are our enemies of light (Devas), that have their ascendency over us. O the terrors of darkness!

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But our friends of the dark infernal regions, are all darkened in their souls with dismay: also their fortune is as transitory as the expansion of the lotus-leaf by day, and its contraction at night.

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We see the gods, who were mean servants at the feet of our father, to have usurped his kingdom; in the manner of the timid deer, usurping the sovereignty of the lion in the forest. (So said the sons of Tipu Sultan, when they saw the English polluting his library with their hands).

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We find our friends on the other hand, to be all disfigured and effortless; and sitting melancholy and dejected in their hopelessness, like lotuses with their withered leaves and petals.

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We see the houses of our gigantic demons, filled with clouds of dusts and frost, wafted by gusts of wind by day and night;and resembling the fumes of fire which burnt them down.

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The inner apartments are laid open without their doors and enclosures, and are overgrown with the sprouts of barley, shooting out as blades of sapphires from underneath the ground.

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Ah! what is impossible to irresistible fate, that has so reduced the mighty demons; who were this while used to pluck the flowers from the mountain tops of Meru like big elephants, and are now come to the sad plight of the wandering Devas of yore.

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Our ladies are lurking like the timorous deer, at the rustling of the breeze amidst the leaves of trees, for fear of the darts of the enemy whistling and hurling in the open air.

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O! the gemming blossoms of the guluncha arborets, with which our ladies used to decorate their ears, are now shorn and torn and left forlorn (desolate) by the hands of Hari, like the lorn and lonesome heaths of the desert.

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They have robbed us of the all-producing kalpa-trees, and planted them in their mandana pleasure gardens now teeming with their shooting germs and verdant leaflets in the etherial sphere.

15. The eyes of haughty demons, that formerly looked with pity on the faces of their captured gods; are now indignantly looked upon by the victorious gods, who have made captives of them.

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It is known, that the water (liquid ichor) which is poured from the mouths of the spouting elephants of heaven on the tops of the mountains, falls down in the form of cascades, and gives rise to rivers on earth. (It means the water spouts resembling the trunks of elephants, which lifted the sea water to the sky, and let them fall on mountain tops to run as rivers below).

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But the froth exuding from the faces of our elephantic giants, is dried up to dust at the sights of the Devas, as a channel is sucked up in the dry and dreary desert of sand.

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Ah! where have those Daityas fled, whose bodies were as big as the peaks of mount Meru once, and were fanned by the fragrant breeze, breathing with the odorous dust of Mandara flowers. (Mandara is the name of a flower of the garden of Paradise).

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The beauteous ladies of the gods and Gandharvas, that were once detained as captives in the inner apartments of demons, are now snatched from us, and placed on Meru (the seat of the gods), as if they are transplanted there to grow as heavenly plants.

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O how painful is it to think! that the fading graces of our captured girls, are now mocked by the heavenly nymphs, in their disdainful dance over their defeat and disgrace.

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O it is painful to think! that the attending damsels, that fanned my father with their chowry flappers, are now waiting upon the thousand-eyed Indra in their servile toil.

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O! the greatest of our grief is, this sad and calamitous fall of ours at the hands of a single Hari, who has reduced us to this state of helpless impotency.

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The gods now reposing under the thick and cooling shades of trees, are as cool as the rocks of the icy mountain (Himalaya); and do not burn with rage nor repine in grief like ourselves.

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The gods protected by the power of Sauri (Hari), are raised to the pinnacle of prosperity, have been mocking and restraining us in these caves, as the apes on trees do the dogs below. (The enmity of dogs and apes is proverbial, as obstructing one another from alighting on or rising above the ground).

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The faces of our fairies though decked with ornaments, are now bedewed with drops of their tears; like the leaves of lotuses with the cold dews of night.

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The old stage of this aged world, which was worsted and going to be pulled down by our might, is now supported upon the azure arms of Hari, like the vault of heaven standing upon the blue arches of the cerulean sky.

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That Hari has become the support of the celestial host, when it was about to be hurled into the depth of perdition; in the same manner as the great tortoise supported the mount Mandara, as it was sinking in the Milky ocean in the act of churning it. (Samudra manthana). This was the act of the post-diluvians reclaiming from the sea all that had been swept into it at the great deluge.

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This our great father, and these mighty demons under him, have been laid down to dust like the lofty hills, that were levelled with the ground by the blasts of heaven at the end of the Kalpa.

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It is that leader of the celestial forces, the peerless destroyer of Madhu (Satan), that is able to destroy all and every thing by the fire in his hands (the flaming lightnings preceding the thunder-bolts of Indra). (The twin gods, the thundering (vajrapani) Indra and the flaming (analapani) Upendra, bear great affinity to Jupiter tonitruous or the thundering Jove, and his younger brother the trident-bearer Neptune).

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His elder brother Indra baffled the battle axes in the hands of the mighty demons, by the force of the thunder-bolts held by his mightier arms, as the big male monkeys kill their male offspring. (These passages prove the early invention of fire arms by the Aryans, to have been the cause of their victory over Daityas or the demigods).

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Though the missive weapons (lightnings), which are let fly by the lotus-eyed Vishnu be invincible; yet there is no weapon or instrument which can foil the force of the thunder: (lit. break the strong thunderbolt). (Vishnu the leader of Vishas or the first foreign settlers of the land, overpowered the earth-born Daityas by his fire and fire arms, and dispossessed them of their soil, and reduced them to slavery. The descendants of the Vishas are the Vaishyas, who settled in India long before the Aryans).

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This Hari is inured in warfare, in the previous battles fought between him and our forefathers; in which they uprooted and flung great rocks at him, and waged many dreadful campaigns.

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It cannot be expected that he will be afraid of us, who stood victorious in those continuous and most dreadful and destructive warfares of yore.

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I have thought of one expedient only to oppose the rage of Hari, beside which I find no other way for our safety (lit. remedy).

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Let us therefore with all possible speed, have recourse to him, with full contriteness of our souls and understanding;because that god is the true refuge of the pious and the only resort of every body.

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There is no one greater than him in all the three worlds; for I come to know, that it is Hari only, who is the sole cause of the creation, sustentation and destruction or reproduction of the world.

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From this moment therefore, I will think only of that unborn (increate) Narayana for ever more; and I must rely on that Narayana, who is present in all places, and is full in myself and filling all space.

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Obeisance to Narayana forms my faith and profession, for my success in all undertakings; and may this faith of mine ever abide in my heart, as the wind has its place in the midst of empty air.

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Hari is to be known as filling all sides of space and vacuum, and every part of this earth and all these worlds; my ego is the immeasurable Spirit of Hari, and my inborn soul is full of Vishnu.

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He that is not full with Vishnu in himself, does not benefit by his adoration of Vishnu; but he who worships Vishnu by thinking himself as such, finds himself assimilated to his god, and becomes one with him. (Or rather he loses himself in his God and perceives nought besides).

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He who knows Hari to be the same with Prahlada, and not different from him, finds Hari to fill his inward soul with his spirit. (So says the Sruti:—Prahlada was the incarnate Hari himself).

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The eagle of Hari (son of Vinata) flies through the infinite space of the sky as the presence of Hari fills all infinity, and his golden body-light, is the seat of my Hari also. (Here the bird of heaven means the sun, which is said to be the seat of Hari).

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The claws, of this bird,—- Kara (or rays) serve for the weapons of Vishnu; and the flash of his nails, is the flash of the Vishnu's weapons. (Here Garuda bird of heaven, serves for a personification of the sun, and his claws and nails represent the rays of solar light).

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These are the four arms of Vishnu and their armlets, which are represented by the four gemming pinnacles of mount Mandara which were grappled by the hands of Hari, at his churning of the milky ocean with it.

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This moonlike figure with the chowry flapper in her hand and rising from the depth of the milky ocean, is the goddess of prosperity (Laksmi) and associating consort of Vishnu.

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She is the brilliant glory of Hari, which was easily acquired by him, and is ever attendant on his person with undiminished lustre, and illuminates the three worlds as a radiant medicinal tree—mahaushadhi.

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There is the other companion of Vishnu called Maya or illusion, which is ever busy in the creation of worlds upon worlds, and in stretching a magical enchantment all about them.

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Here is the goddess Victory (Jaya), an easy earned attendant on Vishnu, and shines as a shoot of the kalpa tree, extending to the three worlds as an all-pervading plant.

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These two warming and cooling luminaries of the sun and moon, which serve to manifest all the worlds to view, are the two eyes situated on the forehead of my Vishnu.

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This azure sky is the cerulean hue of the body of my Vishnu, which is as dark as a mass of watery cloud; and darkens the sphere of heaven with its sky blue radiance. The meaning of the word Vishnu was afterward changed to the residing divinity in all things from the root vish.

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Here is the whitish conch in the hand of my Hari, which is sonant with its fivefold notes (panchajanya), and is as bright as the vacuum—the receptacle of sound, and as white as the milky ocean of heavens (the milky path).

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Here I see the lotus in the hand of Vishnu, representing the lotus of his navel the seat of Brahma, who rose from and sat upon it, as a bee to form his hive of the world.

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I see the cudgel of my Vishnu's hand (the goda) studded with gems about it, in the lofty peak of the mountain of Sumeru, beset by its gemming stones, and hurling down the demons from its precipice.

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I see here the discus (chakra) of my Hari, in the rising luminary of the sun, which fills all sides of the infinite Space, with the radiant beams emanating from it.

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I see there in the flaming fire, the flashing sword—nandaka of Vishnu, which like an axe hath cut down the gigantic bodies of Daityas like trees, while it gave great joy to the gods.

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I see also the great bow of Vishnu (Saranga), in the variegated rainbow of Indra; and also the quiver of his arrows in the Pushkara and Avarta clouds, pouring down their rains like piercing arrows from above.

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The big belly (Jathara) of Vishnu, is seen in the vast vacuity of the firmament, which contains all the worlds and all the past, present, and future creations in its spacious womb.

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I see the earth as the footstool of Viraj, and the high sky as the canopy on his head;his body is the stupendous fabric of the universe, and his sides are the sides of the compass.

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I see the great Vishnu visibly manifest to my view, as shining under the cerulean vault of heaven, mounted on his eagle of mountain, and holding his conch-shell, discus, cudgel and the lotus in his hands (in the manner described above).

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I see the wicked and evil minded demons, flying from me in the manner of the fleeting straws, which are blown and borne away after by the breath of the winds. (Lit.: as the heaps of straw or hay tarna).

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This sable deity with his hue of the blue sapphire and mantle yellow, holding the club and mounted on the eagle and accompanied by Lakshmi; is no other than the selfsame Imperishable One. (Vishnu latterly called (Krishna) is the queller of demons, like Christ in the battle of the gods and Titan, and is believed to be the only begotten Son of God).

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What adverse Spirit can dare approach this all-devouring flame, without being burnt to death, like a flight of moths falling on a vivid fire?

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None of these hosts of gods or demigods that I see before me, is able to withstand the irresistible course of the destination of Vishnu. And all attempts to oppose it, will be as vain as for our weak-sighted eyes to shut out the light of the sun.

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I know the gods Brahma, Indra, Siva and Agni (Ignis—the god of fire), praise in endless verses and many tongues, the god Vishnu as their Lord.

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This Lord is ever resplendent with his dignity, and is invincible in his might; He is the Lord beyond all doubt, dispute and duality, and is joined with transcendent majesty.

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I bow down to that person, who stands as a firm rock amidst the forest of the world, and is a defence from all fears and dangers. It is a stupendous body having all the worlds situated in its womb, and forming the essence and substance of every distinct object of vision. (Here Vishnu is shown in his microcosmic form of Viraj (Virat murti)).

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