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 XLV - Story of the vilva or belfruit

Argument. said:—

God represented as the Belfruit or Wood apple; containing the Worlds as its seeds.

Vasishtha said:—

Attend now, O Rama! to a pleasant story, which was never told before, and which I will briefly narrate to you for your instruction and wondrous amusement.

2. There is a big and beautiful vilva or bel fruit, as large as the distance of many myriads of miles, and as solid as not to ripen or rot in the course of as many many ages.

3. It bears a lasting flavour as that of sweet honey or celestial ambrosia; and though grown old yet it increases day by day like the crescent new moon, with its fresh and beautiful foliage.

4. This tree is situated in the midst of the universe, as the great Meru is placed in the middle of the earth; it is as firm and fixed as the Mandara mountain, and is immovable even by the force of the diluvian winds.

5. Its root is the basis of the world, and it stretches to the distance of immeasurable extent on all sides.

6. There were millions of worlds all within this fruit as its un-countable seeds; and they were as minute in respect to the great bulk of the fruit, that they appeared as particles of dust at foot of a mountain.

7. It is filled and fraught with all kinds of delicacies, that are tasteful and delicious to the six organs of sense; and there is not one even of the six kinds of savoury articles, that is wanting in this fruit.

8. The fruit is never found in its green or unripe state, nor is it ever known to fall down ever over-ripened on the ground;it is ever ripe of itself, and is never rotten or dried or decayed at any time by age or accident.

9. The gods Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, are not sempiternal with this tree in their age, nor do they know aught of the origin and root of this tree, nor anything about its extent and dimensions.

10. None knows the germ and sprout of this tree, and its buds and flowers are invisible to all. There is no stem or trunk or bough or branch, of the tree that bears this great fruit.

11. This fruit is a solid mass of great bulk, and there is no body that has seen its growth, change or fall. (It is ever ripe without ripening or rotting at any time).

12. This is the best and largest of all fruits, and having no pith nor seed, is always sound and unsoiled.

13. It is as dense as the inside of a stone in its fullness, and as effluent of bliss as the disk of the moon, drizzling with its cooling beams; it is full of flavour and distils its ambrosial draughts to the conscious souls of men.

14. It is source of delight in all beings, and it is the cause of the cooling moon-beams by its own brightness; It is the solid rock of all security, the stupendous body of felicity, and contains the pith and marrow that support and sustain all living souls, which are the fruits of the prior acts of people. (i.e. The souls of all beings are as fruits formed according to the nature and merit of their previous acts—karma, and all these souls are filled with delight by the great soul of God).

15. Therefore that transcendent pith which is the wonder of souls, is contained in the Infinite spirit of God, and deposited and preserved in that auspicious fruit—sriphala—the bel or wood apple.

16. It is deposited with its wondrous power in that small bel fruit, which represents the human as well as the divine soul, without losing its properties of thinness and thickness and freshness for ever. (i.e. All the divine powers—of evolution are lodged in the soul).

17. The thought that 'I am this', clothes the unreality with a gross form (as the thought of a devil gives the unreal phantom a foul figure);and though it is absurd to attribute differences to nullities, yet the mind makes them of itself and then believes its fictitious creatures as real ones.

18. The Divine ego contains in itself the essential parts of all things set in their proper order, as the vacuity of the sky is filled with the minute atoms, out of which the three worlds did burst forth with all their varieties. (So the substance of the bel fruit, contains the seeds of the future trees and all their several parts in it).

19. In this manner there grew the power of consciousness in its proper form, and yet the essence of the soul retains its former state without exhausting itself. (It means that notwithstanding the endless evolutions of the Divine soul, its substance ever continues the same and is never exhausted).

20. The power of consciousness being thus stretched about (from its concentration in itself), makes it perceive the fabric of the world and its great bustle in its tranquil self. (It means how the subjective consciousness is changed to the objective).

21. It views the great vacuum on all sides, and counts the parts of time as they pass away; it conceives a destiny which directs all things, and comes to know what is action by its operation.

22. It finds the world stretching as the wish of one, and the sides of heaven extending as far as the desires of men;it comes to know the feelings of love and hatred, and the objects of its liking and dislike.

23. It understands its egoism and non-egoism or tuism, or the subjective and objective and views itself in an objective light, by forgetting its subjectivity. It views the worlds above and being its itself as high as any one of them, finds itself far below them. (The human soul though as elevated as the stars of heaven, becomes as low as a sublunary being by its baseness).

24. It perceives one thing to be placed before, and another to be situated beside it; it finds some thing to be behind, and others to be near or afar from it; and then it comes to know some things as present and others as past or yet to come before it. (The soul losing its omniscience has a partial view of things).

25. Thus the whole world is seen to be situated as a play house in it, with various imaginary figures brightening as lotuses in a lake.

26. Our consciousness is seated in the pericarp of the lotus of our hearts, with the knowledge of our endless desires budding about it, and viewing the countless worlds turning round like a rosary of lotus seeds.

27. Its hollow cell like the firmaments is filled with the great Rudras, who rove about in the distant paths of the midway sky, like comets falling from above with their flaming tails. (The vedas describe the Rudras as blue necked &c. (nilagrivah). These worshipful gods of the vedas are found to be no other than wondrous phenomena of the vacuity which are deified in the Elementary religion of the ancients).

28. It has the great mount of Meru situated in its midst, like the bright pericarp amidst the cell of the lotus flower. The moon capt summit of this mount is frequented by the immortals, who wander about it like wanton bees in quest of the ambrosial honey distilled by the moon beams on high. (The gloss places the Meru in the northern region of the distant pole, while the Puranas place it in the midst of the earth). It was the resort of the gods as also the early cradle of the pristine Aryans, who are represented as gods).

29. Here is the tree of the garden of Paradise with its clusters of beautiful flowers, diffusing their fragrance all around; and there is the deadly tree of the old world, scattering its pernicious farina for culling us to death and hell. (The gloss explains rajas or flower dust as our worldly acts, which lead us to the hell torments of repeated transmigrations).

30. Here the stars are shining, like the bright filaments of flowery arbors, growing on the banks of the wide ocean of Brahma; and there is the pleasant lake of the milky path, in the boundless space of vacuity.

31. Here roll the uncontrolled waves of the ceremonial acts, fraught with frightful sharks in their midst, and there are the dreadful whirlpools of worldly acts, that whirl mankind in endless births for ever more.

32. Here runs the lake of time in its meandering course for ever, with the broad expanse of heaven for its blooming blossom; and having the moments and ages for its leaves and petals, and the luminaries of sun, moon and stars for its bright pistils and filaments.

33. Here it sees the bodies of living beings fraught with health and disease, and teeming with old age, decay and the torments of death; and there it beholds the jarring expositions of the sastras, some delighting in their knowledge of spiritual Vidya, and others rambling in the gloom of Ignorance—Avidya (which leads them from error to error).

34. In this manner doth our inner consciousness, represent the wonders contained in the pulp of the vilva fruit; which is full of the unsubstantial substance of our desires and wishes, and the pithless marrow of our false imagination.

35. It sees many that are tranquil, calm, cool and dispassionate, and who are free from their restraints and desires; they are heedless of both their activity and inactivity, and do not care for works whether done or left undone by them.

36. Thus this single consciousness presents her various aspects, though she is neither alone nor many of herself, except that she is what she is. She has in reality but one form of peaceful tranquillity; though she is possest of the vast capacity of conceiving in herself all the manifold forms of things at liberty.