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 LXXXIII - Story of the miserly kirata

Argument:—Perfection of Chudala and the imbecility of the Prince; efficacy of instruction and its elucidation in the tale of niggardly Kirata.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. Thus the royal dame was possest of the qualities of contracting and expanding herself to any form, and became so expert in these by their continued practice of them;

2. That she made her aerial journey and navigated at pleasure over the expanse of waters; she moved on the surface of the earth, as the river Ganges glides on in her silent course.

3. She dwelt in the bosom of her lord, as the goddess of prosperity abides in the heart of Hari, and travelled in a moment with her mind over every city and country over the earth.

4. This fairy lady fled in the air, and flashed like the lightning with the flashes of her twinkling eyes;she passed as a shadow over the earth, as a body of clouds passes over a range of mountains.

5. She passed without any hazard through the grass and wood, stones and clods of earth, and through fire and water and air and vacuum, as a thread passes through hole of a heart. (Milton says:—That with no middle flight, to the heaven of heavens I have presented through an earthly quest).

6. She lightly skimmed over the mountain peaks, and pryed through the regions of the regents of all the sides of heaven; she penetrated into the cavities of the empty womb of vacuity, and have a pleasant trip whatever she directed in her flight. (All this is brain action and no reality at all).

7. She conversed freely with all living beings, whether they move or prone on the ground as the beast of earth, or crawl upon it as the snakes and insects. She talked with the savage Pisacha tribes and communicated with men and the immortal Gods and demi-gods also. (The clever princess like the far-seeing seer saw every thing with her mind's eye, and held her converse (vyavahara) with all).

8. She tried much to communicate her knowledge to her ignorant husband, but he was no way capable of receiving her spiritual instruction. (Atmajnana means also her intuitive or self taught knowledge).

9. He understood her as no other than his young princess and the mistress of his house, and skilled only in the arts of coquetry and house wifery (and quite ignorant of higher things because the ladies of India were barred from spiritual knowledge).

10. Until this time the prince had been ignorant of the qualifications of the princess Chudala, and knew not that she had made her progress in the spiritual science, as a young student makes his proficiency in the different branches of learning.

11. She also was as reserved to show her consummate learning to her unenlightened husband; as a Brahman declines to show his secret rites to a vile sudra.

Rama said:—

12. If it was impossible, sir, for the seeress of consummate wisdom to communicate her knowledge to her husband Sikhidvaja, with all her endeavours to enlighten him on the subject; how can it be possible for others, to be conversant in spiritual knowledge in any other means.

Vasishtha answered said:—

13. Rama, it is obedience to the rule of attending to the precepts of the preceptor, joined with the intelligence of the pupil, which is the only means of gaining instruction.

14. The hearing of sermon nor the observance of any religious rite, is of any efficacy towards the knowledge of the soul; unless one will employ his own soul, to have the light of the supreme soul shine upon it. It is the spirit alone that can know the spirit, as it is the serpent only that can trace out the path of another serpent.

Rama rejoined:—

15. If such is the course of the world, that we can learn nothing without the instruction of our preceptors; then tell me, O sage! how the precepts of the wise lead to our spiritual knowledge also.

Vasishtha replied:—

16. Hear me Rama, relate to you a tale to this effect. There lived an old Kirata of yore, who was miserly in his conduct as he was rich in his possessions of wealth and grains. He dwelt with his family by the side of the Vindhyan woods, as a poor Brahman lives apart from his kith and kin.

17. He happened to pass by his native forest at one time, and slip a single couri from his purse, which fell in a grassy furze and was lost under the grass.

18. He ran on every side, and beat at the bush for three days to find out his lost couri, and impelled by his niggardliness to leave no fallen leaf unturned over the ground.

19. As he searched and turned about, he ran and turned it ever in his mind, saying:—Ah! this single couri would make four by its commerce, and that would bring me eight in time, and this would make a hundred and a thousand, and more and more by repetition, so I have lost a treasure in this.

20. Thus he counted over and over, over the gains he would gain, and sighed as often at the loss he did sustain; and took into no account of the rustic peasantry on his foolish penury.

21. At the end of the third day he came across a rich jewel, as brilliant as the bright moon in the same forest; which compensated for the loss of his paltry couri by a thousand fold.

22. He returned gladly with his great gain to his homely dwelling, and was highly delighted with the thought of keeping off poverty for ever from his door. (The word Kerate is commonly used for Kirata—the miser).

23. Now as the Kirata was quite satisfied, with his unexpected gain of the great treasure, in the search of his trifling couri; and passed his days without any care or fear of the changeful world.

24. So the student comes to obtain his spiritual knowledge from his preceptor, while he has been in quest of his temporal learning, which is but a trifle in comparison to his eternal concern.

25. But then, O sinless Rama! it is not possible to attain to divine knowledge, by the mere lectures of the preceptor; because the lord is beyond the perception of senses, and can neither be expressed by nor known from the words of the instructor's mouth. (It requires one's intuition and spiritual inspiration also to see the spirit in one's own spirit).

26. Again it is not possible to arrive to spiritual knowledge, without the guidance of the spiritual guide; for can one gain the rich gem without his search after the couri like the miserly Kirata? (This means that it is impossible to attain the esoteric or abstract knowledge of the soul, without a prior acquaintance of the exoteric and concrete).

27. As the search of couri became the cause of or was attended with the gain of the gem, so our attendance on secular instructions of the preceptor, becomes an indirect cause to our acquirement of the invaluable treasure of spiritual knowledge.

28. Rama, look at this wonderful eventualities of nature, which brings forth events otherwise than the necessary results of our pursuits (as the search of couri resulted the gain of the gem).

29. As it often comes to pass, that our attempts are attended with other result than those which are ought; it is better for us to remain indifferent with regard to the result of our act.