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 XXI - Explanation of the cause of the crow’s longevity

Argument. said:—

The eminence of the kalpatree, and its durability in all ages. The doings of destiny, and the results of past reminiscence.

Bhusunda continued. This kalpatree whereon we dwell remains firm and unshaken amidst the revolutions of ages and the blasts of all destroying cyclones and hurricanes. (Figuratively said of human desires, which continue with the soul through all the vicissitudes of life, and all its endless transmigrations, so says ([Sanskrit: kalah krinati gacchatyayustadapi namunchatyasarbayuh]).

2. This arbor of desire is inaccessible to other people dwelling in all worlds; it is therefore that we reside here in perfect peace and delight, and without disturbance of any kind. (i.e. We dwell on the firm rock of our secret hopes and expectations, where no body can obtrude upon us, and of which no external accident has the power to despoil us).

3. When Heranyakha the gigantic demon of antediluvian race, strove to hurt this earth with all its septuple continents into the lowest abyss, even then did this tree remain firm on its roots, and on the summit of this mountains.

4. And then as this mountainous abode of the gods, stood trembling with all other mountains of this earth (on the tusk of the divine Varaha or boar), even then did this tree remain unshaken on its firm basis.

5. When Narayana supported this seat of the gods on his two arms (i.e. the Meru), and uplifted the mandara mount on the other two, even then did this tree remain unshaken.

6. When the orbs of the sun and moon, shook with fear, at the tremendous warfare of the gods and demons, and the whole earth was in a state of commotion and confusion, even then did this tree stand firm on its root.

7. When the mountains were up-rooted by the hail-storms blowing with tremendous violence, and sweeping away the huge forest trees of this mount of Meru, even then was this tree unshaken by the blast.

8. When the mount Mandara rolled into the milky ocean, and gusts of wind filling its caverns (like canvases of a vessel), bore it afloat on the surface of the water; and the great masses of diluvian clouds rolled about in the vault of heaven, even then did this tree remain steadfast as a rock.

9. When this mount of Meru was under the grasp of Kalanemi and was going to crush by his gigantic might (with its inhabitants of the gods), even then this tree remained steady on its roots.

10. When the siddhas were blown away by the flapping wings of Garuda—the king of birds, in their mutual warfare for this ambrosial fare, even then this remained unmoved by the wind.

11. When the snake which upholds the earth, was assailed by Rudra in the form of Garuda, who shook the world by the blast of his wings, even then was this tree unshaken by the wind.

12. When the flame of the last conflagration, threatened to consume the world with the seas and mountains; and made the snake which supported the earth on his hoods, throw out living fire from all his many mouths, even then this tree was neither shaken nor burnt down by the gorgeous and all devouring fire.

13. Such being the stability of this tree, there is no danger O Sage! that can betake us here, as there is no evil than can ever betide the inhabitants of heaven. How can we, O great Sage! be ever exposed to any danger, who are thus situated in this tree which defies all casualties.

We are out of all fear and danger as those that are situated in heaven. (The object of one's desire is in a manner his highest heaven).

14. Vasishtha rejoined: But tell me, O Sagely bird! that has borne with the blasts of dissolution, how could you remain unhurt and unimpaired, when many a sun and moon and stars have fallen and faded away.

15. Bhusunda said: When at the end of a kalpa period, the order of the world and laws of nature are broken and dissolved; we are then compelled to forsake our nest as an ungrateful man alienates his best friend.

16. We then remain in the air freed from our fancies, the members of the body become defunct of their natural functions, and the mind is released from its volitions.

17. When the zodiacal suns shine in their full vigour, and melt down the mountains by there intense heat, I then remain with my understanding;under the influence of Varuna's mantra or power. (Varuna the god of water is said to be allied with the human soul, which is a watery substance).

18. When the diluvian winds blow with full force, and shatter and scatter the huge mountains all around, it is then by mending the parvati mantra, that I remain as fixed as a rock. (Vasishtha has explained the meaning of this mantra in the latter part of the Nirvana prakarana).

19. When the earth with its mountains is dissolved into water, and presents the face of an universal ocean over its surface; it is then by virtue of the vayu mantra or my volatile power, that I keep myself aloft in the air.

20. I then convey myself across this visible world, and rest in the holy state of the spotless spirit; and remain in a state of profound sleep, without any agitation of the body and mind.

21. I remain in this torpid state, until the lotus-born Brahmà is again employed in his work of creation, and then I re-enter into the limits of the re-created world, where I settled again on this arbour of desire. (The departed soul is free from desire, which it re-assumes to itself upon its re-entrance into life).

22. Vasishtha said:Tell me, O lord of birds, why the other Yogis do not remain as steady as you do by your dharana or fixed attention.

23. Bhusunda replied, O venerable sir! It is because of the inseparable and overruling power of destiny, which no body can prevent or set aside;that I am doomed to live in this wise and others in their particular modes of life.

24. None can oppose or remodel what must come to pass on him; it is nature's law that all things must be as they are ordained to be. (There is no helping for what is destined to happen, what is allotted, can not be averted).

25. It is because of my firm desire that things are so fixed and allotted to my share, that they must so come to pass to my lot at each kalpa and over again, and that this tree must grow on the summit of this mountain, and I must have my nest in its hollow. (The heart is the hollow of the tree of the body, and the soul is the bird that is confined there of its own desire).

26. Vasishtha said: You sir, are as longeval as our salvation is diuturnal, and are able to guide us in the paths of truth; because you are sapient in true wisdom, and sedate in your purpose of Yoga or deep meditation.

27. Sir, you have seen the many changes of the world, and have been experienced in all things in the repeated course of creations; must be best able to tell me the wonders that you have witnessed during the revolution of ages.

Bhusunda replied:—

28. I remember, O great sage! the earth beneath this mount of Meru to have been once a desolate land, and having no hill or rock, nor trees, plants or even grass upon it. (This was the primeval state of the earth, when nothing grew upon it, and agrees with what the Persian sophist thinks with regard to the priority of the soul to all other created things, as "manan wakt budam ke nechak nabud" I existed when there is nothing in existence).

29. I remember also the earth under me, to have been full of ashes for a period of myriads and centuries of years. (This was the age after the all devouring conflagration on earth).

30. I remember a time when the lord of day—the sun was unproduced, and when the orb of the moon was not yet known, and when the earth under me was not divided by day and light, but was lighted by the light of this mount of Meru.

31. I remember this mountain throwing the light of its gems on one side of the valley below it, and leaving the other in utter darkness; and resembling the lokaloka mount presenting its light and dark side to the people on either side of the horizon. (The sun is said to turn round the Meru, and the day and night as he is on one or the other side of this mountain).

32. I remember to have seen the war rising high between the gods and demons, and the flight and slaughter of people on all sides of the earth.

33. I remember to have witnessed the revolution of the four yuga-ages of the world, and the revolt of the haughty and giddy asuras all along; I have also seen the Daityas driven back to the wall.

34. I remember the spot of the earth, which was borne away beyond the boundaries of the universal flood; and recollect the cottage of the world, to have only the increate three (the Holy triad) left in it.

35. I remember to have seen no other creature on earth, except the vegetable creation for the long duration of one half of the four yuga-ages. (The earth was covered with jungle for a long period after the great flood).

36. I also remember this earth to be full of mountains and mountainous tracts, for the space of full four yugas; when there were no men peopled on earth, nor their customs and usages got their ground in it.

37. I remember to have seen this earth filled with the bones of dead Daityas and other fossil remains, rising in heaps like mountains, and continuing in their dilapidated and crumbling state for myriads of years. (These are the fossil remains of the monsters of the former world).

38. I remember that formless state of the world, when darkness prevailed over the face of the deep, when the serpentine support of the earth fled for fear, and the celestials left their etherial courses; and the sky presented neither a bird or the top of a tree in it.

39. I remember the time when the northern and southern divisions (of India), were both included under the one boundary mountain (of Himalaya); and I remember also when the proud vindhyan vied to equal the great Meru.

40. I remember these and many other events, which will be too long to relate; but what is the use of long narrations, if you will but attend to my telling you the main substance in brief.

41. I have beheld innumerable Munis and manwantaras pass away before me, and I have known hundreds of the quadruple yugas glide away one after the other, all of which were full of great deeds and events; but which are now buried in oblivion.

42. I remember the creation of one sole body named Virat in this world, when it was entirely devoid of men and asuras in it.

43. I remember that age of the world, when the Brahmans were addicted to wine and drunkenness, when the Sudras were out casted by the Suras (Aryans); and when women had the privilege of polyandry (which is still practised among the Pariahs of Deccan).

44. When the surface of the earth presented the sight of one great sheet of water (after the deluge), and entirely devoid of any vegetable produce upon it; and when men were produced without cohabitation of man and woman, I remember that time also (when Bhrigu and the patriarchs were born in this manner).

45. I remember that age of the world, when the world was a void, and there was no earth or sky nor any of their inhabitants in it, neither men nor mountains were in existence, nor were there the sun and moon to divide the days and nights.

46. I remember the sphere of heaven shrouded under a sheet of darkness, and when there was no Indra nor king to rule in heaven or earth, which had not yet its high and low and middle classes of men.

47. It was after that, the Brahma thought of creating the worlds, and divided them into the three spheres of the upper, lower and the intermediate regions. He then settled the boundary mountains, and distinguished the Jambu Dvipa or the continent of Asia from the rest.

48. Then the earth was not divided into different countries and provinces, nor was there, the distinctions of cast and creed, nor institutions for the various orders of its people. There was then no name for the starry frame, nor any denomination for the polar star or its circle.

49. It was then that the sun and moon had their birth, and the gods Indra and Upendra had their dominions. After this occurred the slaughter of Hiranya-Kasipu, and the restoration of the earth by the great Varaha or boar like incarnation of Vishnu.

50. Then there was the establishment of kings over the peoples on earth, and the revelation of the Vedas given to mankind; after this the Mandara mountain was uprooted from the earth, and the ocean was churned by the gods and giant races of men.

51. I have seen the unfledged Garuda or bird of heaven, that bore Vishnu on his back; and I have seen the seas breaking in bays and gulfs. All these events are remembered by me as the latest occurrences in the course of the world, and must be in the memory of my youngsters and yourself likewise.

52. I have known in former ages the god Vishnu with his vehicle of Garuda, to have become Brahma with his vehicle of swan, and the same transformed to Siva having the bull for his bearer and so the vice-versa. (This passage shows the unity of the Hindu trinity, and the interchangeableness of their persons, forms and attributes).