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 XVIII - Manners of the matrika goddesses

Argument. said:—

Bhusunda traces his origin from the Matres, whose manners and revelries he describes in length.

Bhusunda related:—

There is in this world, the god of gods Hara (Horus?) by name; who is the chief among the celestials, and honoured by all the divinities of heaven.

2. He had his consort Gauri constituting the better half of his body, and by whom he is embraced in the manner of an ivy clasping the young Amra tree. Her bosom likened a cluster of blooming blossom, and her eyes resembled the lines of black bees fluttering in the summer sky.

3. The hoary locks of hair on the braided head of Hara, were entwined as with a white lace, by the snow white stream of Ganges, whose billows and waves as clusters of flowers on the hair-band.

4. The crown of his head was decorated with the gemming milk-white disk of the moon, which sprung from the bosom of the milky ocean; and spread her bright radiance and ambrosial dews about his person. (The streams of ganguari are represented as consorts of Hara, and the moon as forming the discus on the braces of the hairs on his head).

5. The incessant effusion of ambrosial draughts, from the disk of the moon on his crest, has made him immortal by assuaging the heat of the deadly poison which he swallowed, and has marked his throat with the bluish hue of the sapphire or lapis lazuli, whence he named the blue gulletted Nila Kantha. (Hara is said to have swallowed the kala-kuta poison, as hercules drank his full bowel of henbane).

6. The god is besmeared with powdered ashes on his body, as emblematical of the particles of dust, to which the world was reduced by the flame of his all destructive conflagration; while the stream of water flowing from the Ganges on his head, is typical of the current of his clear knowledge of all things. (Others make the burning fire of his frontal eye bhala netra to represent the flash of his cognoscence—jnanagni).

7. His body is decorated with strings of blanched bones, which are brighter far than the silvery beams of fair moon, and these serve as necklaces of argent and pearly gems about his person. (Hence he is named as Jala-padda-malika).

8. His vest is the open sky with its plates of folded clouds, which are washed by the milk white beam of the moon, and studded with the variegated spots of the stars. (This means the nudity of the god, hence called Digamvara or sky attired).

9. He is beset by the prowling shakals, devouring the burnt carcasses on funeral grounds, and holds his abode beyond the habitations of men, in cemeteries and mortuaries in the outer skirts of cities. (Whence his name of Smashana sayi).

10. The god is accompanied by the Matres, who are decorated with strings of human skulls about their necks, and girt with the threads of their entrails on their bodies; while the fat and flesh of dead bodies, and the blood and moisture of putrid carcasses, form their delectable food and drink.

11. Their bodies are soft and shining as gold, and moving about with sparkling gem on their heads and bracelets of snakes curled round their wrists.

12. The acts of this god are dreadful to relate, and strike terror in hearts of the gods and demons, and all beings beside. One glance of his eye (coup d'oeil) is enough to set the mountains in a blaze, and his hunger grasps the whole world in one morsel.

13. The perpetual rest of his meditative mind in holy trance samadhi, hath restored the world to rest; and the movement of his arms at intervals, is attended with the destruction of demons.

14. His forms of the elements are intently lent on their fixed purposes, without being deterred from them by the impulses of his anger, enmity or affection; and the wind of his breath makes the mountains to tremble, and turn the humid earth to arid ground.

15. His playmates are the devils with their heads and faces, resembling those of bears and camels, goats and serpents; and such as have their heads for hoofs, and their hoofs as their hands, and whose hands serve as their teeth, and who have their faces and mouths set upon their bellies and breasts.

16. His face shone brightly with the rays of his three eyes (whereby he is denominated the triple eyed god trinetra); and the matres were dependant on him as his dependant demoniac bands—gana-devatas.

17. The Matres joined with the bands of demons, dance about him lowly at his bedding, and feed upon the living bodies, that are born and dead in all the fourteen regions of creation.

18 The Matres having their faces as those of asses and camels, rove at great distances from him; and are fond of feeding on the flesh and fat, and drinking the red hot blood of bodies as their wine. They have the fragments and members of dead bodies, hanging about their persons as strings of pearls.

19. They reside in the hollows of hills, in the open sky and in other regions also; they dwell also in the holes underneath the grounds, and like to abide in cemeteries and in the holes and pores of human and brute bodies.

20. There are the Goddesses known under the names of jaya and Vijaya, jayanti and Aparajita; and again sidha Rakta and Alambusha, and also another bearing the name of utpata.

21. These eight are denominated the Nayikai of leaders, of the whole body of Matrikas; the others are subordinate to these, and there are others again subordinate to them.

22. Among all these venerable Matres, there one by name of Alambusha, that is the source of my birth; and this I have revealed to you on account of your great favour to me, by your kind call to my cell.

23. She had the crow by name of chanda for her vehicle, which had its bones and bills as strong as the bolts of Indra's thunder; it was as dark as a mountain of jetblack or blue agate, and served her Goddess as garuda served the consort of vishnu.

24. This octad of Matri Goddess were once assembled together, and bent their course in the ethereal firmament on some of their malevolent purposes.

25. They made their merry makings and religious revels in the air, and then turned their course to the left side where they halted at the shrine of Tumburu, which was sacred to Siva.

26. They there worshipped the forms of Tumburu and Bairava, which are adored in all the worlds; and then regaled themselves with a variety of discourses, seasoned with drinking and to toping.

27. Then they look up the topic among other subjects of their conversation, as to whether they were slighted and disliked by their paramour—the spouse of Uma, who is taken to share one half of his body. (In the shape of androgyne—Uma—Maheswara or Hara—gauri; having the male and female bodies joined in two halves in one bisex forms).

28. We shall now show him our prowess, that he may never think of despising our great powers even by a contemptuous look, for though the god feigns to be single and naked, yet we know he is bipartite with his consorts Uma forming his better half.

29. Thus determined the goddesses overpowered on Uma by some potent charm of theirs, and by sprinkling a little water upon her, as they do to captivate a beast, which they are going to sacrifice before the altar, and by this spell they succeeded both to change the fine features of Durga, as also to enervate her frame.

30. They succeeded also by their power of enchantment, to detach Uma from the body of Hara, and set her before them, with an imprecation of converting her fair form to their meat food.

31. They made great rejoicings on the day of their execration of Parvati; when they all joined in dancing and singing, and making their giddy revelries before her.

32. The shouts of their great joy and loud laughter resounded in the sky, and the jumping and hopping of their big bodies, laid open their backs and bellies to sight.

33. Some laughed as loudly with the deafening clappings of their palms, that they rebounded in the sky as the roarings of lions and clouds. They showed the gestures of their bodies in their warlike dance, and the sound of their singing rang through the forests and reached in the mountains.

34. Others sang as loud as it rang through the mountain caves, and ran to the depth of the ocean; which rebillowed with its surges as at the time of the full-moon tide.

35. Others drank their bowls, and daubed their bodies from head to foot with liquor; and muttered their drunken chatters, that chattered in the sky.

36. They drank over and sang louder and louder, they turned about as tops, and uttered and muttered as sots. They laughed and sipped and chopped and fell down and rolled and prattled aloud. Thus they reeled in fits, and bit the bits of their flesh meats, till these Bacchanal goddesses did all their orgies in their giddy revels.