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 XLVI - Gadhi’s loss of his visionary kingdom

Argument. Continuation of Gadhi's Vision:—

Vasishtha continued:—

Thus was Gadhi surrounded by his courtiers, and attended by his ministers; the chiefs paid their homage to him, and the royal umbrella was raised above his head and the chowry flapped about him.

2. He attained great dignity on seeing his mandates were carried out on every side. He was delighted to learn the state affairs, and to be informed that his subjects were happy and lived fearless within his dominion.

3. The paeans of the panegyrists, made him forget himself and his former state; and the excess of his delight, made him as giddy as if by intoxication.

4. He reigned for full eight years over the Kiri kingdom, and managed himself in an honourable manner all along that time.

5. He was once sitting at his pleasure and without his regal attire in the open air; and was looking at the clear firmament, which was devoid of clouds and darkness, and without the light of the sun, moon and stars.

6. His heart was full with the enjoyment of royal dignity, and did not think much of the trinkets and ornaments, which were loaded upon him.

7. He went abroad at one time in this naked state of his body, and beheld the setting sun bending his course below the horizon from his wonted path of glory. (The setting sun refers to his present state and his impending fall).

8. He saw there a band of chandalas of black complexions and big bodies, singing like melodious cuckoos the approach of the vernal season.

9. They were striking the strings of their wired instruments—lyre, with the strokes of their trembling fingers; as the swarm of sweet sounding bees, shake the tremulous leaves of trees with their fluttering and buzzing.

10. There stood an old man among them, who seemed to be the leader of the band; and appeared with his grey head and ruby eyes, like the mount Meru with his snow covered top and gemming caverns.

11. He accosted the king saying:—How is it, O Kalanjaka! that you came to be here, has the king of this place taken you for his associate on account of your skill in music?

12. Does he take a liking for sweet songsters, as they do for the musical kokilas, and does he load upon them his favours, with presents of household cloths and seats?

13. I am as much glad to see you here today (in this happy condition of yours), as men are pleased to see the mango tree, fraught with its fruits and flowers in spring.

14. I am as glad in my heart as the budding lotus at the sight of the rising sun, and the selenian or medicinal plants at moon rise; and as great men are pleased with all their best gains, so am I pleased at seeing thee here, because the highest limit of joys is the sight of a friend.

15. As the Chandala was addressing the king in the said manner, he acquainted him of the manner in which the wheel of time turned to his favour. (Here is a misprint of avadhirana for avadharana, which would alter the meaning and express, that he felt ashamed at the speech).

16. At this instant his consorts and servants that were standing at the window, overheard their conversation, and were in deep sorrow to learn that he was a Chandala by birth.

17. They were as sick at heart as the lotus-flowers under a shower of frost, and as a tract of land under a draught;and the citizens were as cheerless upon learning this, as upon seeing the conflagration of a mountain wood.

18. He hurled his defiance at these words of the old Chandala, as the lion lying on the ground, shows his teeth at the sneering of a cat on the top of a tree.

19. He fled in haste into the inner apartment, and among its sorrowful inmates, with as much palpitation of his heart, as the reluctant swan enters a lake of withering lotuses, in the dry season.

20. His limbs grew stiff, and his countenance became pale with fear; and his knees tottered with inward rage, as the trunks of trees shake with the burning fire in their hollows. (The sami or sain tree is an instance of it. Gloss).

21. He beheld all persons there sitting in a melancholy mood, with their downcast looks and drooping heads; like the bending tops of plants, eaten up at the root by mice and rats.

22. The ministers, the ladies of the harem and all people of the city, refrained from touching his person, as they avoid the touch of a dead body lying in the house.

23. The servants ceased to minister unto him, and the ladies with all their love and sorrow for him, loathed his company.

24. They looked upon his cheerless face and dark complexion with its departed lustre, as the funeral ground which every one loathes to look upon.

25. Though the people sorrowed for his darksome body, now smoking with fumes of his grief; yet they durst not approach his person, which appeared to burn as a volcano amidst its smoke.

26. The courtiers left him with the heavings of their hearts, nor were his orders obeyed any more, than those of quenching the cool ashes with water.

27. The people fled from him as from a heinous Rakshasa, who is the cause of evil and danger only.

28. Thus was he shunned by all, and left lonesome amidst the populous city; and became as an unbefriended traveller passing through a foreign country, without money or skill to support him.

29. Though he called and accosted every body, yet he got no answer from any one; as the hollow sounding reed, is never returned with a reply by any of the passers by.

30. They all said to one another, that the guilt of their long association with the Chandala, cannot be expiated by any other penance, than by the act of burning themselves alive on the funeral pile in the form of self-immolation.

31. Being so resolved, the ministers and citizens all joined together, and raised for themselves piles with heaps of dry wood.

32. These being lighted, blazed all about the ground like stars in the sky, and the city was filled with loud wailings of the people all around.

33. The wailing wives were shedding showers of tears with their loud and piteous cries; and the weeping people were heaving their heavy groans with their choked voices, all about the burning furnaces.

34. The plaintive cries of the dependants of the self-cremating ministers, rose as the swell of whistling winds amidst the forest trees.

35. The bodies of great Brahmans, that were burnt on the piles, sent forth their fatted fumes in the air; which were scattered about by the winds, and overcast the landscape as with a portentous mist.

36. The winds bore aloft and spread far and wide in the open sky, the stench of the burning fat and flesh of men; which invited flocks of the flying fowls of the air to the feast, and the disk of the sun was hid under the wide extending shadow of the winged tribe.

37. The flame of the burning pile, borne by the winds to the sky, burned as a conflagration on high; and the flying sparks of fire scattered in the air, appeared as falling meteors blazing in the horizon.

38. Here the helpless boys were crying for their ornaments being robbed by atrocious robbers, owing to their want of guardians; and there the citizens were threatened with the loss both of their lives and properties by the dacoits.

39. On one side the people were seen to lament the loss of their relatives (in the destructive fire); on the other were the bands of thieves, lurking and prying unobserved about the houses for plunder and booty.

40. As adverse fate brought on this direful change on the devoted city;its horrified inhabitants remained in mute amazement; as on the last doom of nature.

41. Gavala, the Chandala prince, whose mind was purified and whose manners were refined in the society of the great men of the palace; witnessed the sad catastrophe of the state, and mourned in himself with a pensive heart.

42. It is all owing to me, said he, that all this woe has befallen on this state;and that time has brought on the untimely dissolution of the doomsday; both on this realm and the royal family and its ministerial officers.

43. What is the good of this miserable life of mine? My death is a blessing to me than living in this wretched state. It is better for the mean and base to die away, than live to be reviled by others.

44. Thus resolved, Gavala prepared a pile for himself, and made an offering of his body in the burning furnace, like the poor moth dropping on fire, without betraying a sigh.

45. As Gavala cast his body (nicknamed as Gavala) amidst the flame, and was pulling his limbs singed by the fire; their violent motion and his painful emotion, roused the dreaming Gadhi from his reverie amidst the water.

Valmiki said:—

46. As the sage was saying these things, the day departed with the setting sun to its evening devotion;the congregation broke with mutual salutations, for the performance of their evening ablutions, and assembled again with the rising sun after dispersion of the gloom of night.