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...
Argument. Gadhi learns from a guest the report of the Keri people, and goes out to inquire into the fact on the spot.
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Gadhi was soon afterwards relieved from the perturbation of his mind at the delusions of the world;and he was set at rest from his perturbed state, like the disturbed sea after subsidence of its waves.
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His mind being freed from its painful thoughts, regained its repose after the troublesome dream, had passed away, and he resumed his calmness, as the god Brahma had his rest, after the labour of his creation was over at the end of the kalpa (the time of his creative will or the duration of creation).
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He regained his senses slowly, as a man upon waking from his sleep; and as one gains his sobriety after the passing off of his ebriety.
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He then said to himself, I am the same Gadhi and in the same function (of my sacred ablution in the water). All this is nothing that I had been seeing so long, and this I see as clearly as men see things after dispersion of the shade of night.
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Remembering himself what he was (i.e. coming to himself), he lifted his feet from amidst the water (i.e. got out of it); as the lotus-bud lifts its head above the water, after the frost is over in spring.
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He said again, this is the same water, sky and earth (where I stood before); but what I was just seeing, is quite astonishing to me.
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What am I and what do I see now, and what was I and had been doing all this time? With these thoughts he remained a long time with his knitted brows and staring eyes.
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It was my weakness, said he, that showed me this delusion; and knowing it for certain, he came out of the water, as the rising sun appears above the horizon.
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Then rising on the bank, he said:—Ah! where is that mother and wife of mine, who attended on me at the moment of my death.
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Or were my parents dead in the ignorant state of my boyhood, like the parent plant of a young shoot, cut off by the sword of death?
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I am too far from my country and know none of my friends and relatives; unto whom I shall return and there to die.
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Therefore all these scenes that I have come to see, are no more than the forms of the fairy land pictured in my fancy.
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Be it as it may, all this is but delusion and dream, and we are living dead among our friends; it is all magic and delusion, and nothing is true or real herein.
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Our minds are as wild beasts, roaming furiously in the forest of error; which presents endless scenes of delusion to living beings at large.
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Reflecting on these delusions in his mind, Gadhi passed some days at his own house amidst the woods.
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Once on a time he happened to entertain a Brahman at his house as his guest, who resorted there to take his rest from his travels.
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He was highly gratified with feasting upon fruits and syrup of flowers, and was as refreshed supplied with sap as the tree which is supplied by the bounteous spring, and shoots forth in its foliage and fruitage in time.
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They then performed their evening service, and turned their beads, and afterwards took to their beds made of tender leaves and grass.
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There they began to talk on divine subjects, with which they were conversant; and the words fell from the lips, like the sweets of the vernal season.
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Then Gadhi asked his guest in the course of their conversation, saying: why is it sir, that you are so thin and lean and appear to lie so very weary.
The guest replied:—
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Hear me sir, relate to you the cause both of my leanness and weariness, and I will tell you the true facts, and not as a travelling teller of tales deals and lies.
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There is on the surface of this land, and in the woody tracts of the north, the great district of the Kir (Kirgis?), which is far renowned for its richness. (Kir the land of the Gees in Afghanistan).
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I lived in the city there; and was honoured by its inhabitants, and the gust of my soul and mind were mightily pleased with the variety of dainty food that I used to get there.
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I inquired of the village people about the truth of this report, and they all told me with one voice, that a chandala, had really reigned there for full eight years.
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Hearing this news from their mouths, I departed from that district, intending, O Brahman, to do my penance, by making a pilgrimage to Prayaga (Allahabad, on the doab or confluence of the two sacred streams of Ganga and Jamuna).
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I made my chandrayana fast for three days and nights, and had to break my fast only this day. It is for this reason, that have become so very thin and lean, as you find me at present.
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Gadhi on hearing this, made a hundred inquiries of his guest about the matter, to which he answered everything in verification of the fact.
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Gadhi was quite surprised at this narration, and passed the night till sunrise in great palpitation of his heart.
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Waking in the morning, he made his ablution and discharged his matins; then took leave of his guest, and began to reflect in himself with his bewildered understanding.
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He said to himself, what I saw in my delusion, is ratified as a fact by my Brahman guest. I am puzzled to think, whether this be a magic, or a fascination of the conjurer Sambara.
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What I saw about my death amidst my relatives, was undoubtedly a delusion of my mind; but the latter part of my vision (of becoming a Chandala), is verified by the Brahman's observance of the penance Chandrayana for his having entered the Chandala city.
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Thus determined, Gadhi rose to visit the distant district, as the sun rises over the horizon to visit all the sides of Sumeru (the Altain chain, at the bottom of which the country of the Kirgis is situated).
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He travelled onward, and obtained at last the sight of the country he had seen in his dream; as intelligent and wayfaring men, reach to their desired destinations in distant regions.
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Finding everything, however unattainable it may appear at first, to be attained by perseverance, Gadhi was resolved to make a test of the truth of his delusive dream.
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He had proceeded from his home, with the swiftness of a current rivulet in the rainy weather; and traversed through many unknown countries, as a cloud passes over distant realms on the back of its airy steed.
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At last he came to the country of the Bhatas (Bhoteas), a people following their own debased customs; and thought himself to be got amongst a savage people, as a camel is confounded to find itself, fallen in a karanja forest, in quest of thorny thistles. (The camels or cramelas are called kantaka* bhojes*, from their browsing the brambles).
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Proceeding onward, he saw at the further end, the locality of the chandalas, resembling the hell-pit of the infernal region. (The out-castes are always located at the filthy outskirts of towns).
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It was as spacious a place as what he had seen in his vision, and beheld his own likeness in the dream appearing in the figures of the chandalas, as one sees the shape of a Gandharva or ghost, in his dream or delirium.
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He saw in that place the habitation of chandalas, as what he had seen before in his delusion, and observed with grief and coldness of his mind (the deserted abodes of his fellow Chandalas).
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He saw his own residence flooded over by rain water grown with sprouts of barley and brambles; his house was left roofless, and his bedstead was almost indiscernible.
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His hut presented the picture of poverty and wretchedness, and its compound was a scene of ruin and desolation (as if it was laid waste by the hand of oppression and pillage).
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Gadhi stood long gazing upon the dry white bones of bulls and cows, buffaloes and horses, which lay strewn over the plains round about his hut;and which he remembered to be the remains of the beasts of his prey and slaughter. (lit.:—the bones broken under the teeth and jaws of men and wild beasts).
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He saw the dry hollow skulls lying on the ground, which had served for his eating and drinking vessels before; and which still lay unmoved on the spot, and were filled with rain water (as if to supply him with drink).
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He saw strings of the dried entrails of the beasts of his victims, lying like parched plants on the plain, and pining with thirst for the rain-water.
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Gadhi who was conscious of himself (as Gadhi), the Brahman looked long at his former house and its environs, resembling the dry and dilapidated skeleton of a human body, lying unburied on the naked land.
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He stood amazed at what he saw, and then withdrew himself to the adjacent village; as when a traveller repairs to the habitation of the Aryas, from his sojourning in the land of barbarians (Mlech'chas).
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There he asked some one saying, sir, do you remember anything concerning the former state of yonder village, and the lives of its chandala inhabitants?
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I have heard all good people say, that knowing men are conversant with the annals of all places, as they know every spot on a globe in their hand.
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If you recollect aught of the good old chandala that, lived retired at yonder spot, and if you remember his adventures, as every one does the past accidents of his own life:—
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If you are acquainted with the particulars thereabouts, then please to relate them unto me; for it is said there is great spirit in directing a stranger, and in dispelling the doubts of one hanging in suspense.
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The village people being one by one importuned in this manner by the strange Brahman; they were as much surprised at his odd request, as physicians are concerned at the abnormal complaint of a patient.
The villagers said:—
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It is an undeniable truth, O Brahman! as you say, that there lived a chandala of hideous shape by name of Katanjala at that place.
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He was beset by a large family, consisting of his sons, grandsons, friends and servants; and had other relatives and kinsmen besides. His children were as many as the fruits of a mango tree.
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But cruel fate snatched all his family in course of time, as a conflagration burns down a mountain forest with all its fruits and flowers at once.
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He then deserted his native land and went over to the city of the Kirs, of which he became the king; and reigned there for the space of twice four years.
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The citizens coming to know his mean birth afterwards, drove him from there at last; as they remove a noxious and poisonous tree from the garden.
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Gadhi seeing the people immolating themselves on funeral piles entered into a burning pyre, which he had prepared for himself; and was thus purified with others by the sacred fire pavaka.
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But tell us, O Brahman, why you are so curiously inquisitive about the chandala, and as to whether he was any friend of yours, or you had contracted any friendship with him.
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Being accosted in this manner, Gadhi made many more inquiries of them concerning the chandala, and passed a whole month in their several houses on his inquiry.
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He also told the village people, all that he knew of the chandala in his dream; and they heard him attentively relating the whole story from first to last.
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Gadhi being informed of all the particulars regarding the chandala, both from the hearsay of the people as well as from his personal observations; returned equally ashamed and astonished to his abode, with the disgraceful reflection of his past vileness, which was stamped like the black spot of the moon upon the tablet of his mind.