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 LXXV - Supineness of bhagiratha

Argument:—Great bounty of Bhagiratha and his indigence in consequence; and his recourse to asceticism with his tutor.

Vasishtha related:—

1. Having heard these monitions from the mouth of his religious monitor, he determined in his mind what he was about to do, and set about the execution of his purpose.

2. He passed a few days in devising his project, and then commenced his agnishtoma sacrifice to the sacred fire, for consecrating his all to it, for the sake of obtaining his sole object (of Nirvana or being extinct in the essence of God).

3. He gave away his kine and lands, his horses and jewels, and his monies without number, to the twice born classes of men and his relatives, without distinction of their merit or demerit.

4. During three days he gave away profusely all what he had, till at last he had nothing for himself, except his life and flesh and bones.

5. When his exhaustless treasures were all exhausted, he gave up his great realm like a straw to his neighbouring enemies, to the great mortification of his subjects and citizens (paurakas).

6. As the enemy overran his territories and kingdom, and seized his royal palace and properties; he girt himself in his undergarb, and went away beyond the limits of his kingdom.

7. He wandered afar through distant villages and desert lands, till at last he settled himself where he was quite unknown to all, and nobody knew his person or face or his name and title.

8. Remaining there retired for some time, he became quite composed and blunt to all feelings from within and without himself; and he obtained his rest and repose in the serene tranquillity of his soul.

9. He then roved about different countries and went to distant islands (to see the various manners of men); till at last he turned unawares to his natal land and city, which was in the grasp of his enemies.

10. There while he was wandering from door to door, as he was led about by the current of time; he was observed by the citizens and ministers to be begging their alms.

11. All the citizens and ministers recognized their ex-king Bhagiratha, whom they honoured with their due homage, and whom they were very sorry to behold in that miserable plight.

12. His enemy (the reigning prince) came out to meet him, and implored him to receive back his neglected estate and self-abandoned kingdom; but he slighted all their offers as trifling straws, except taking his slender repast at their hands.

13. He passed a few days there and then bent his course to another way, when the people loudly lamented at his sad condition saying: "Ah! what has become of the unfortunate Bhagiratha".

14. Then the prince walked about with the calmness of his soul, and with his contended mind and placid countenance; and he amused himself with his wandering habits and thoughts, until he came to meet his tutor Tritala on the way.

15. They welcomed one another, and then joining together, they both began to wander about the localities of men, and to pass over hills and deserts in their holy peregrinations.

16. Once on a time as both the dispassionate pupil and his preceptor, were sitting together in the cool calmness of their dispositions, their conversations turned on the interesting subject of human life.

17. What good is there in our bearing the frail body, and what do we lose by our loss of it. (Since neither reap nor lose any real advantage, either by our having or losing of it at any time, yet we should bear with it as it is, in the discharge of the duties that have come down unto us by the custom of the country).

18. They remained quiet with this conclusion, and passed their time in passing from one forest to another; without feeling any joy above their inward bliss, or knowing any sorrow or the intermediate state of joy and grief (which is the general lot of humanity), and the rotatory course of pleasure and pain in this world).

19. They spurned all riches and properties, the possession of horses and cattle, and even the eight kinds of supernatural powers (Siddhis) as rotten straws before the contentedness of their minds.

20. This body which is the result of our past acts, must be borne with fortitude, whether we wish it or not, as long as it lasts; with his continued conviction in the discharge of their duties (of asceticism).

21. They like silent sages, hailed with complaisance, whatever of good or evil, or desirable or undesirable befell to their lot, as the unavoidable results of their prior deeds; and had their repose in the heavenly felicity, to which they had assimilated themselves. (So the sruti: The Divine are one with Divine felicity).