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 LVIII - Legend of suraghu and admonition of mandavya

Argument. Self-dejectedness of Suraghu;and Mandavya's Admonitions to him.

Vasishtha said:—

Hear me relate to you Rama, an old legend, in illustration of this subject; and it is the account of the Kirata Chief Suraghu, which is marvelous in its nature.

2. There is a tract of land in the regions on the north, which was hoary as a heap of camphor with its snowfalls, and which seemed to smile as the clear night, under the moon-beams of the bright fortnight.

3. It was situated on the summit of Himalaya, and called the peak of Kailasa; it was free from mountainous elephants, and was the chief of all other peaks (owing to its being the seat of Siva).

4. It was as milk-white, as the bed of Vishnu in the milky ocean, and as bright as the empyrean of Indra in heaven;it was as fair as the seat of Brahma, in the pericarp of the lotus; and as snow-white as the snowy peak of Kedara, the favourite seat of Siva.

5. It was owing to the waving of the Rudraksha trees over it, and the parade of the Apsara fairies about it, as also by the pencils of rays of its various gems, that it appeared as the undulating sea (of milk or curd).

6. The playful Pramathas, and other classes of demigods (ganadevatas) frolicked here as gaily as blossoms of Asoka plants, when tossed about by the feet of their wanton damsels. (It is said that the Asoka jonesia flowers blossom, better, when they are kicked by and trodden under the feet of females). See Sir W. Jones' Indian plants.

7. Here the god Siva wanders about, and sees the waterfalls proceeding from and receding into the caves of the mountain, by dilution of the moon-stones contained in them (the thick ice and snows here, are taken for moon-stones).

8. There was a spot of ground here enclosed by trees, and by plants and creepers and shrubs of various kinds; and which is intersected by lakes, hills and rivers, and interspersed by herds of deer and does of various species.

9. There dwelt a race of the Kiratas called Himajatas at this spot, who were as numerous as the ants living at the foot by a big banyan tree.

10. They lived like owls in the shades and hollows of the trees, and subsisted upon the fruits and flowers and herbage of the nearest forests, and by felling and selling the Rudraksha woods of the Kailasa mountain.

11. They had a chief among them, who was as nobleminded, as he was brave to baffle his enemies; he was as the arm of the goddess of victory, and stretched it for the protection of his people.

12. He had the name of Suraghu, and was mighty in quelling his brave and dreadful enemies; he was powerful as the sun, and as strong as the god of wind in his figure.

13. He surpassed the lord of the GuhyakasKubera, in the extent of his kingdom, his dignity and riches; he was greater than the guru of the lord of gods in his wisdom, and excelled the preceptor of the Asuras in learning.

14. He discharged his kingly duties, by giving rewards and punishments of the deserts of his men as they appeared to him; and was as firm in the acquittal of this duties, as the sun in making the day and his daily course.

15. He considered in himself the pain and pleasure, that his punishments and rewards caused his people; and to which they were like birds caught in nets from their freedom of flight.

16. "Why do I perforce pierce the hearts of my people," he said, as they bruise the sesamum seeds for oil; it is plain that all persons are susceptible of pain and affliction like myself?

17. Yes, they are all capable of pain, and therefore I will cease to inflict them any more; but give them riches and please all persons.

18. But if I refrain to punish the tormentors of the good, they are sure to be extirpated by the wicked, as the bed of the channel is dried up for want of rain.

19. Oh! the painful dilemma in which I am placed, wherein my punishment and mercy to men are both grievous to me, or pleasing and unpleasing to me by turns.

20. Being in this manner much troubled in his mind, his thoughts disturbed his spirit like the waters in the whirlpools.

21. It happened at one time the sage Mandavya met him at his house, as the divine sage Narada (the Mercury or messenger of gods), meets Indra in his celestial abode, in his journey through the regions of the sky.

22. The king honoured him with reverence, and then asked that great sage to remove his doubt, as they cut down a poisonous tree in the garden, with the stroke of the axe at its roots.

Suraghu said:—

23. I am supremely blest, O sage, at this call of thine at mine, which has made me as joyous as the visit of the spring on the surface of the earth, and gives a fresh bloom to the fading forest.

24. Thy visit, O sage! has really made me more blest than the blessed, and gives my heart to bloom, as the rising sun opens the closed petals of the lotus.

25. Thou oh lord! art acquainted with all truths and art quite at rest in thy spirit; deign, therefore to remove this doubt from my mind, as the sun displaces the darkness of night by his orient beams.

26. A doubt festering in the heart is said to be the greatest pain of man, and this pain is healed only in the society of the good and wise.

27. The thoughts of my rewards and punishments to my dependents, have been incessantly tormenting my heart, as the scratches inflicted by the nails of a lion, are always afflicting to the bruised body of the elephant.

28. Deign, therefore, O sage, to remove this pain of mine, and cause the sunshine of peace and equanimity to brighten the gloom of my mind.

Mandavya replied:—

29. It is O prince;by means of one's self-exertion, self-dependence and self-help that the doubts of the mind, are melted down like snows under the sunshine.

30. It is by self-discrimination also, that all mental anguish is quickly put to an end; as the thick mists and clouds are dispersed in autumn.

31. It must be in one's own mind, that he should consider the nature and powers of his internal and external organs, and the faculties of his body and mind.

32. Consider in thy mind (such things as these); as what am I, what and whence are all these things; and what means this our life, and what is this death that waits upon it? These inquiries will surely set thee to eminence.

33. As you come to know your true nature by your introspection into the state of your mind, you will remain unchanged by your joys and griefs, as a firm rock (stands against the force of winds and waves, to shake or move it).

34. And as the mind is freed from its habitual fickleness and feverish heat, it regains its former tranquillity; as the rolling wave returns to the state of the still water from which it rose.

35. And as the mind remains in the impassability of living liberated men (Jivan-mukta), all its imageries are wiped off from it; as its impressions or reminiscences of past lives, are lost and effaced upon its regeneration (in each succeeding manvantara).

36. The unimpassioned are honoured as the most fortunate among mankind on earth; and the man knowing this truth and remaining with his self-contentment is regarded as venerable father by every body.

37. When you come to see the greatness of your soul by the light of reason, you will find yourself to be of greater magnitude, than the extent of the sky and ocean put together; and the rational comprehensiveness of the mind, bears more meaning in it, than the irrational comprehension of the spheres.

38. When you attain to such greatness, your mind will no more dive into worldly affairs; as the big elephant will not be engulfed in the hole made by the bullock's hoof.

39. But the base and debased mind, will plunge itself in mean and vile matters of the world; as the contemptible gnat is drowned in a drop of water in a little hole.

40. Little minds are led by their greediness, to dive in to dirty affairs, like insects moving about in the dirt; and their miserliness makes them covet all out-ward things (without seeking their inward good).

41. But great minds avoid to take notice of outward things, in order that they may behold the pure light of supreme soul shining in themselves.

42. The ore is cleared and washed, until pure gold is obtained from it;and so long is spiritual knowledge to be cultivated by men, until spiritual light fills their souls.

43. See always all things of all sorts with an ecumenical view in all places; and with an utter indifference to the varieties of their outward forms and figures; behold all with the eye of thy soul fixed to one universal soul pervading the whole.

44. Until thou art freed from thy view of all particular specialities, thou canst have no sight of the universal spirit, it is after the disappearance of all particularities, that there remains the catholicity of the transcendental spirit.

45. Until thou gettest rid of all individualities, it is impossible for thee to come to the knowledge of universality; and much more so, to comprehend the all-comprehending soul of all.

46. When one endeavours to know the supreme soul, with all his heart and soul, and sacrifices all other objects to that end; it is then only possible for him, to know the Divine soul in its fulness, and not otherwise.

47. Therefore forsake to seek aught for thy own soul; and it is only by thy leaving all other things, that thou comest to the sight of the best of things.

48. All these visible objects which appear to be linked together, by the concatenation of causes and their effects, are the creation of the mind;which combines them together, as the string doth a necklace of pearls.

That which remains after expunging the mind and its created bodies, is the sole soul, and this is that soul Divine;—the paramatma.