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 XVI - Conversation of vasishtha and bhusunda

Argument: Reception of Vasishtha by Bhusunda, and the Inquiries of the sage regarding the life and acts of the crow.

Vasishtha Continued:—

1. I then alighted before the veteran crow with my brilliant etherial body, as a bright meteor falling from the sky on the top of a mountain; and this my sudden appearance startled the assembly, as if they were disturbed by my intrusion.

2. The assembly of the black birds trembled like the lotuses of the lake, at the shaking of the gentle breeze;and the agitation of the air at my slow descent, troubles them as much as an earthquake troubles the waters of the deep.

3. But Bhusunda who was a seer of the three times, was not at all disturbed at my arrival; but know me as Vasishtha, now in attendance upon him. (Like a flimsy cloud from the mount).

4. He then rose from his leafy seat, and advancing slowly before me, he said with sweet sounds distilling as honey. I welcome thee great sage to my humble cell.

5. Then he stretched both hands to me, holding clusters of flowers that he had at his will and then strewed them in hand-fulls upon me, as a cloud scatters the dewdrops over the ground. (The comparison of raindrops with the shedding of flowers is common in India and well known by the compound term pushpa-vrishti).

6. Take this seat said he, and stretched with his hand a newly shorn rind of the Kalpa tree; this he had plucked with his own hand, nor needed the help of his attendant crows in this gladsome task.

7. On the rising of Bhusunda, the menials also arose from their seats, and then on seeing the sage seated on his seat, they looked to and betook themselves to their respective seats and posts.

8. Then having refreshed myself with the sweet scent of the Kalpa creepers all about me, I was surrounded by all the birds that gathered round me, and had their chief sitting face to face in front of me. (This time worn etiquette of old India is still in vogue in the politest courts of the world).

9. Having offered me the water and honey for my refreshment, together with the honorarium worthy of me, the high minded Bhusunda felt the cheer of his mind, and then accosted me with complaisance and in words sweet as honey. (The serving of honey and water to guests of yore served the offering of brandy and water of modern fashion).

Bhusunda said:—

10. O lord! thou hast after long favoured us with your kind visit, which has by its ambrosial influence resuscitated our arbor and ourselves. (Such is the visit of a superior to an inferior).

11. I ween, O great Muni! that art honoured of the honourable, that it is by virtue of my long earned virtues that you are now brought to this place, and want to be informed from where your course is bent to my humble abode.

12. You sir, that have long wandered amidst the great gloom of this world, and know its errors by your infallible experience, must have at last in the peace of your mind. (Peace after broils and strife. Pax post turba).

13. What is it that makes you take this trouble on yourself today, is what we wished to be informed at present; and your answer to those that are expectant of it, will be deemed as a great favour by them.

14. It is by the sight of your holy feet, O venerable sage! that we are put to the knowledge of every thing; and yet our obligation at this uncalled for call of yours here, emboldens us to ask this farther favour of yours. (Nobody asks nobody, that has nothing to do with him).

15. We know that it is your remembrance of us among the long living, that has directed your attention towards us, and made your holiness to sanctify this place by your gratuitous visit to us.

16. Though thus we know this as the cause of your calling into us; yet it is our desire of satisfying ourselves with the sweetness of your nectarious words, that has prompted to propose this query to you at present.

17. In this manner did the longival crow, that was clear sighted with his knowledge of the three times, deliver his inquiry by way of formality.

Vasishtha answered said:—

18. Yes, O king of birds! it is true as thou sayst, that I have come here thus to see thy diuturnal self; (because the aged are honoured as sages, and their shrines are visited as those of saints).

19. You are verily very fortunate with your cold heartedness, and your sagacity has haply saved you from falling into the dangerous snares of this world.

20. Now sir, deign to remove my doubt regarding to your anility, and tell me truly of what family you are born, and how you come to know what is worth knowing (respecting the origin and end of beings, and their good or bad lot afterwards).

21. Tell me sir, if you remember the length of life that you have passed, and if you recollect by your long sightedness how you came to be settled in this lodging. (Lit. who appointed this place for your habitation).

22. Bhusunda replied, I will relate to you all, O great sage! that you ask of me, and your great soul shall have to hear it attentively without any inadvertence of your mind.

23. It is certain, O venerable sir! that the topics, which deserve the attention of great minded souls like yourselves; will prove effective of destroying the evils of the world, as the influence of the clouds and their propitious rains remove the heat of the sun.