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 XXXVII - The stage play and dance of destiny

Argument: Of the endless powers or saktis of Siva, among whom the power of Destiny is described in this.

The god joined said:—

1. The beauty of the words said before is palpable, and their senses all allude to the truth, that the Lord of all is the rich chest of gems of all things in existence. (The gloss is too verbose in the explanation of this passage).

2. How very bright are the rays of the gems contained in the receptacle of the supreme Intellect, that shines forth with the collected light of all the luminous worlds in it. (It means to say, that the Divine intellect must be brighter far than all the orbs of light contained in it).

3. The essence of the intellect flies in the air in the form of the granular farina, and becomes the embryotic corpuscula; which in the manner of the vegetable seed, sprouts forth into the germ in its proper time, soil, moisture and temperature. (The gloss explains the essence satta to mean the energy—sakti, which is represented as the female attribute of the Divinity).

4. This power of the intellect, moves in the forms of froth and foam, and eddies and whirl pools in the sea; and rolls its waters against the hard stones of the beach. (The liquid waters are moving things that are hard to touch).

5. It is settled in the form of flavour in the clusters of flowers; it makes them full blown, and carries their fragrance to the nostrils.

6. Seated on bodies of stone (stony rocks), it makes them produce unstone-like substances (as the trees and their foliage and flowers of various hues); and makes the mountains to support the earth without their actually upholding it. (The mountains are called bhudharas or supports of the earth.)

7. The intellect takes the form of the air, which is the source of all vibrations, and touches the organ of touch (skin); with as much tenderness as a father touches the body of his child.

8. As the divine power extends itself in every thing, so it contracts the essences of all things in a mass within itself; and having absorbed the whole in the divine entity, makes all nature a vacuous nullity.

9. It casts the reflection of its own clear image, in the transparent mirror of vacuum; and takes upon itself the pellucid body of eternity, containing all divisions of time.

10. Then there issues the power of Destiny, which predominates over the five principal divinities; and determines the ultimate fate of all that "this is to be so, and this other wise."

11. It is in the presence of the bright light of the all witnessing eye of the great God, that the picture of the universe presents itself to our sight; as the presence of the lighted lamp in the room, shows us the lights of the things contained in it.

12. The universal vacuum contains the great theatre of the universe, wherein the Divine powers and energies are continually playing their parts, and the spirit of God is the witness there of.

Vasishtha asked said:—

13. What are the powers of that Siva (Jove), my lord! who are they and where are they situated; what is number, and how are they employed and who is their witness.

The god replied:—

14. The god Siva is the benignant, incomprehensible and tranquil supreme soul; He is gracious and formless and of the nature of the pure intellect only.

15. His essences are volition, vacuity, duration and destiny; and also the qualities of infinity and fulness.

16. Beside these he has the properties of intelligence and action, as also of causality and quietude;and there are many other powers in the spirit of Siva, of which there is no reckoning nor end.

Vasishtha rejoined:—

17. Whence came these powers to him, and how had they their variety and plurality; tell me, my lord! whence they arose, and how they were separated (from omnipotence which comprehends them all).

The god replied:—

18. The god Siva who is intellect only of himself, has endless forms also (according to his endless attributes), and the powers that I have said to belong to him, are little and no way different essentiality. (The properties that are predicated of god, belong to his intrinsical nature and not derived from without).

19. It is the discrimination of the powers of intelligence, action, passion, vision and others; that the powers of God are said to be many and different from one another, like the waves of the sea (which appears in the different shapes of billows, surges &c.).

20. Thus do those different powers act their several parts for ever, in the grand stage of the universe; as the ages, years, months and weeks and days, play their parts under direction of time—the manager of the stage.

21. That power which appears as the one or another, is called the divine powers of destiny; and is distinguished by the several appellations of action, energy or will of God, or the dispensation of his Time. (Time is said to be the producer, sustainer and leveller of all things.

[Sanskrit: kali prabhavati dharyyte, praliyate sarvvam tasmat kali hi valavattarah]).

22. That power which determines the states of gods, and those of the great Rudras as so and so, and what regulates the conduct of all things from a mean straw to the great Brahma, is called the predominant doom or destiny.

23. This destiny continues to dance about the great arena of the universe, until the mind is cleared of her bugbear and freed from anxiety by the knowledge of truth (that it is the Divine will which destines the destiny).

24. The play of destiny is very pleasing to behold, owing to the variety of its characters and contrivances, and the quick changes of the scenes, and the repeated entrances and exits of its players and actors. It is conducted all along with the music of the drums and trumpets of the roaring clouds of the Kalpanta-doomsday. (i.e. On the last day of universal dissolution, when the dance of destiny and her play are over).

25. The vault of heaven is the canopy over this stage, the season flowers are its decorations, and the showers of rain serve for the sprinkling of rose waters in it.

26. The dark clouds hung about the heavens are, the blue hanging screens around this stage, and the sexcentenary as of the earth with the shining gems in their bosom, serve for the ornamented pits and galleries of this playhouse.

27. The shining sky with its sight of the days and watches, and its eyes of the twinkling stars; is witnessing the continual rise and fall of all being, and the plunging and up heaving of mountaintops at the great deluge.

28. The revolving luminaries of the sun and moon, and the rolling currents of the Ganges, appear as the pearly jewels on the person of this actress, and the lustre of the twilight seems as the red red-dye of her palms.

29. The incessant motion of the upper and nether worlds, with the continued gingling of their peoples; resemble the footsteps of this dancing destiny, with the ringing trinkets and anklets fastened to her feet.

30. The sunshine and moonbeams, represent the lustre of her smiling face; and the twinkling stars in the sky, resemble the drops of sweat trickling on her face.

31. These very many worlds are supposed as so many apartments of this great theatre. The two states of pleasure and pain or joy and grief, which are destined to the lot of all living beings, show the different shows of comic and tragic representations.

32. The changing scenes, that are always seen to take place in the play of destiny, at the great stage of this world; are continually witnessed by the great God himself, who is neither distant, or distinct from this, nor is this so from that.