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 XV - Vasishtha’s visit to bhusunda

Argument. said:—

Description of the scenery on the top of Mount Meru. Allegory of the arbour of desire, the resort of all living beings. Description of Birds of the mountainous region, and lastly the character of kaka bhusanda.

Vasishtha continued:—

I saw the kalpa tree on the top of one of these peaks, which was girt by its branches on all sides; and covered with flowers appearing as tufts of hairs on its head.

2. This tree was covered with the dust of its flowers, which shrouded it as a thick mist or cloud; and its flowers shown as bright as brilliant gems upon it; its great height reaching to the sky, made it appear as a steeple or pinnacle standing upon the peak. (Allegorically the Kalpatree is the tree of Desire, which branches out into the various objects of our wish. Its flowers are all our sanguine hopes and expectations, which are hidden under the dark mist of futurity. The crown dwelling in its dark hollow, is the undwelling obscure soul, which is hid under the impervious gloom of our ignorant minds and false egoism. Its nest is in the highest divinity, and it is immortal because it is a particle of Eternal spirit).

3. Its flowers were twice as much as the number of stars in heaven, and its leaves redoubled the clouds in their bulk and thickness. Its filaments were more shining than the flash of lightnings, and the pollen of the flowers were brighter far than the circumambient beams of the radiant sun. (The flowers of the tree of Desire being our hopes and expectations, they are of course more numerous than the countless stars in the sky, but it is to say, what things are meant under the allegory of their leaflets farina and pistils).

4. The songs of the sylphs dwelling on the branches of this tree, resounded to the buzz of the humming bees, and the nimble feet and waving palms of the Apsaras in their sportive dance on every leaflet, reduplicated the number of the leaves as much again. (The feet and palms are always compared with the leaves of trees, so these meeting on every leaf is the lightsome leaping and skipping of the airy sylphs over them, increased the number of leaves to more than ever so many).

5. The spirits of the aerial siddhas and gandharvas hovering on this tree, far out-numbered the number of birds that flocked and fluttered about it; and the greyish frost which wrapped it as a gemming mantle, out-shone the glossy rind which served for its raiment of fine linen.

6. The top of this tree touches the lunar sphere, and by deriving its moisture from that humid planet, yields its fruits of larger size than the orb of the moon itself. And the clouds gathering about its trunk, have doubled the size of its joints. (i.e. The fruits of high desire are fairer and larger and more cooling than even the orb of the moon, and its sections are as bright as the bodies of clouds).

7. The gods rested on the trunk of this tree, and the Kinnaras reposed themselves on its leaves, the clouds covered its arbours, and the Asuras slept on its banks.

8. The Fairies repelled their mates by the sound of their bracelets, as the bees put the beetles to flight by their busy buzzing, and sucked the honey from the flowercup to their fill. (It means that females very often taste the sweets of their desire, while men are driven to labour).

9. The arbour of desire extends on all sides of the sky, and fills the space of the whole world, by embodying the gods and demigods and men and all kinds of living beings in it. (It is some desire or other that tends both the mortals and immortals in the course of their lives. Desire is the in-being of active life, and its want is either dulness or death).

10. It was full of its blooming buds and blossoms, and was covered with its tender leaves and leaflets, it was fraught with its flourishing flowers, and had graced the forest all around.

11. It flushed with its filaments, and abounded with its gemming florets; it was replete with its radiant vestures and ornamented trappings, to afford to the wants of its votaries, and it was ever in a flurry with sportive dance of the tender plants and creepers all around it.

12. It was full laden with flowers on all aides, and was abundant with its fruits on all its branches, and being fraught with the copious farina of its flowers, which it lavished and scattered on all its sides, it became charming and attractive of all hearts towards it.

13. I saw flock of the feathered tribe fluttering about the happy bowers, or resting about the broad boughs and branches of the tree; some of these were reposing in the coverts of the leafy arbour, and others pecking the flowers and fruits with their bills.

14. I saw the storks and geese which are the vehicles of Brahma, feeding on fragments of lotus-stalks, resembling the digits of the bright moon in whiteness; and picking the bulbous roots of the arjuna and lotus plants in the lakes.

15. The goslings of the geese of Brahma, muttered the omkara, the initial syllable of the Veda, as they were addicted in it by their preceptor the god—Brahma himself.

16. I saw the parrots with their blue pinions resembling the blue clouds of heaven, and beheld their red dusk beaks shining as the flash of lightnings, and uttering their shrill sound in the manner of the swaha of the veda. (The parrot is the vehicle of the god of fire, wherefore it is fit for him to utter the syllable swaha; which is used in the invocation of fire: as swaha agnaye).

17. I saw also the green parrots of the god of fire, scattered all about like the green kusa grass lying scattered on the sacrificial alter of the gods; and I beheld the young peacocks with their crests glowing as the glistening flames of fire.

18. I saw there the groups of peacocks fostered by the goddess Gauri (The peacocks of Juno), as also the big peacocks belonging to the god Kumara; I beheld likewise the vehicle of skanda, which are versed in knowledge. (One of these is said to be the expounder of a grammar, known by the name of Kaumari Kalapa Vyakarana).

19. I saw there many bulky and big bodied birds, that are born to live and breed and die away in their natal air, and never alight on the nether ground. These were as white as the clouds of autumn and nestles with their mates in air, and are commonly known under the name of Aerial Birds.

20. I saw the goslings of the breed of Brahma's geese, and the younglings of the brood of Agni's parrots. I beheld the big breed of the peacocks forming the vehicles of war god; (Skanda, Alexander)?

21. I saw the Bharadwaja and I saw there many other kinds of big birds. (Charui, birds with two mouths and gold finches with their golden crests). I saw also kalavinca sparrows, the little cranes and pelicans and cuckoos and vultures likewise and cranes and cocks.

22. I saw likewise a great variety of other birds as the Bhushus, Chushus and partridges of many kinds, whose numbers are no less than all the living animals of this earth taken together. (That is to say, the air and water abound with fowls and fishes of as great a variety and number as the animals on earth, and all of them dwell in tree of Desire as mankind and other terrestrial animals. Nemo sine desiderium).

23. I then began to pray from my etherial seat, and through the thickening leaves of the tree to the nest of the bird; amidst the hollows of far distant boughs towards the south.

24. After some time I came to descry at a distance a body of ravens, sitting in rows like leaves of the branches, and resembling the streaks of sable clouds on either sides of the Lokaloka—horizon. (The Lokaloka mountain is a fictitious name for the horizon, which has light and darkness ever attendant on its either side. The term lokaloka or light and shade, is also used to represent vicissitudes of life).

25. Here I beheld awhile afterwards, a lonely branch with a spacious hollow in it. It was strewn over with various flowers and redolent with a variety of perfumes. (The houses of great men are always scented with odours. ([Sanskrit: subasit harmmatalam manoramam]).

26. It was as the happy abode of virtuous women in heaven, which are perfumed with sweet scenting clusters of flowers, and there the crows were sitting in rows, as they were perfectly freed from all cares and sorrows.

27. Their great group appeared as the big body of a cloud, separated from the tumultuous air of the lower atmosphere and resting on the calm firmament of the upper sky; and the venerable Bhusunda was seen sitting quietly with his exalted body.

28. He sat there as an entire sapphire shining prominent amongst fragments of glass, and seemed to be of a stout heart and mind, and of a dignified mien and graceful appearance.

29. Being heedful of the rule of the restriction of his respiration and suppression of his voice, he was quite happy with his long longevity, and was renowned every where as a long lived passe (seer).

30. He witnessed the course of ages and periods, and marked their advent and exodus in repeated succession; and was thereby known as the time worn Bhusunda in this world, and a being of stout and unflinching mind.

31. He was weary with counting the revolutions of the Kalpa cycles, and with recounting the returns of the preserving divinities of the world; such as the Sivas, Indras, the gods of the winds and other.

32. He was the chronicler of all antiquity, and the recorder of the wars of the gods and demons, and the hurling of the high hills in heaven; and yet he was of a clear countenance and profound mind; he was complacent to all, and his words are as sweet as honey.

33. This old seer related distinctly all that was unknown and indistinct to others, he was wanting in his egotism and selfishness, and was the lord over all his friends and children, and his servants and their seniors and he was the true narrator of all things at all times.

34. His speech was clear and graceful, sweet and pleasing, and his heart was as tender as the cooling lake, and as soft as the lotus-flower; he was acquainted with all usages and customs and the depth and profoundness of his knowledge, ever the serenity of his appearance.