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 LXXXIV - Pilgrimage of prince sikhidhvaja

Argument:—Sikhidvaja's abandonment of the world, and remaining as religious Recluse on the Mandara mountain; followed by the visit of the Princess and her admonition to him.

Vasishtha related:—

1. The prince Sikhidvaja continued in utter darkness, without the sight of his spiritual knowledge; and groped his way amidst the gloom of the world, as a childless man passes his woeful days, in utter despair of any glimpse of hope. (As son is the hope of a man both in this world as well as in the next).

2. His heart burned disconsolate in the flame of his anxieties, without the consolation of his salvation;and the great affluence of his fortune, served as full to feed the fire of his hopelessness, for want of the cooling shower of religion.

3. He found his consolation in lonely retreats, in the caves of mountains and beside their falling waters; where he strayed at large, like the beasts of prey flying from the arrows of huntsmen.

4. Rama, he became as distracted as you had been before; and discharged his daily rituals, at the humble request and repeated solicitations of his attending servants.

5. He was as inexcitable and cold blooded, as a religious recluse; he desisted from the enjoyments of his princely pleasures, and abstained also from his usual food.

6. He gave his homage with large largesses of lands and gifts of gold and kine to the gods, Brahmans and his relatives also.

7. He went on performing the austerities of the religious rites, and the rigorous ceremonies of the chandaryana and others; he travelled through wilds and deserts and inhabited tracts, to his pilgrimages far and near.

8. Yet he found nowhere the consolation of his mind, which he kept seeking all-abouts; as a miner digs the sterile soil in quest of some mineral, where there is no such thing to be found.

9. He was pining away under the ardour of his anxiety, as it were under the fiery heat of the sun; in search of some remedy for his worldly cares, which hunted him incessantly both by day and night.

10. Being absorbed in his thoughts, he sought not for aught of the poisonous pleasures of his realm;and with the meekness of his spirit and mind, he did not look at the grand estate which lay before him.

11. It happened one day, as he was sitting with his beloved princess reclining on his lap; that he spoke to her as followed, in his mellifluent speech.

Sikhidvaja said:—

12. I have long tasted the pleasures of my realm, and enjoyed the sweet and bitter of my large property and landed possessions. I am now grown as weary of them, as they are both the same and stale to me.

13. Know my delighted lady, that the silent sage is exempt from pleasure and pain; and no prosperity nor adversity, can ever betide the lonely hermit of the forest.

14. Neither the fear of the loss of lives in battle, nor the dread of losing the territory in the reverse of victory, can ever betake the lonely hermit of the forest; wherefore I ween his helpless state, to be happier far than the dignity of royalty.

15. The woodland parterres are as pleasing to me, as thyself with the clusters of their blossoms in spring, and with their ruddy leaves resembling thy rosy palms; their twisted filaments are as the fillets of thy curling hairs, and the hoary and flimsy clouds in the air, are as their white and clean vests and raiments.

16. The blooming flowers resemble their ornaments, and their pollen is the scented powder on their persons; and the seats of reddish stones, bear resemblance to the protruberances on their posteriors.

17. The ambient and pearly rills flowing amidst them, resemble the pendant strings of pearls on their necks; and their foaming waves seen as clusters of pearls, tied as the knots of their vestures. The tender creepers are as their playful daughters, and the frisking fawns are as their playsome darlings.

18. Perfumed with the natural fragrance of flowers, and having the swarming bees for their eye-lids and eyebrows; and wearing the flowery garment of flowers, they are offering an abundance of fruits for the food of the passengers.

19. The pure waters of the falling cascades are sweet to taste, and cool the body as thy company gratifies my senses. I foster therefore an equal fondness for these woodland scenes, as I bear for thy company also.

20. But the calm composures which these solitudes seem to afford to the soul, are in my estimation far superior to the delight, that I derive from the cooling moon light, and the bliss that I might enjoy in the paradise of India and in the heaven of Brahma himself.

21. Now my dear one, you ought to put no obstacle to these designs of mine; because no faithful wife ever presents any obstructions to the desire of her lord.

Chudala replied:—

22. The work done in its proper time, is commendable as seasonable and not that which is unseasonable or intempestive; it is as delightful to see the blossoming of flowers in the vernal season, as it is pleasant to find the ripened fruits and grains in autumn.

23. It is for the old and decrepit and those broken down in their bodies by age, to resort in their retirement in the woods; and does not befit a young man as yourself to fly from the world, wherefore I do not approve your choice. (So says the poet, "O that my weary age may find a peaceful hermitage").

24. Let us remain at home, O young prince, so long as we have not passed our youth, and flourish here as flowers which do not forsake the parent tree, until the flowering time is over.

25. Let us like flowery creepers grow hoary with grey hairs on our heads, and then get out together from our home; as a pair of fond herons fly from the dried lake for ever.

26. Mind also my noble lord, the great sin that awaits on the person of that disgraceful prince of the royal race, who forsakes to seek after the welfare of his people during the time of his rule and reign. (Abdication of the crown was not allowable without an apparent heir).

27. More over mind the opposition you will have to meet with from your subjects, who are authorized to check your unseasonable and unworthy act, as you are empowered to put a check to theirs. (The Hindu law is opposed to the spirit of despotism and lawlessness of the ruling power).

Sikhidvaja rejoined:—

28. Know my royal dame, that thy application is all in vain to my determination of going away from here; and know me as already gone from thee and thy realm to the retreat woods afar from hence.

29. Thou art young and handsome, and aught not accompany me to dreary deserts and forests; which are in many respects dreadful to and impassable by men.

30. Women however hardy they may be, are never able to endure the hardships of forest life; as it is impossible for the tender tendril to withstand the stroke of the felling axe.

31. Do thou remain here, O excellent lady, to rule over this realm in my absence; and take upon thee the burden of supporting thy dependants, which is the highest and best duty of women.

Vasishtha related:—

32. Saying so to the moon-faced princess, the self governed prince rose from his seat; to make his daily ablution and discharge his multitudinous duties of the day.

33. Afterwards the prince took leave of his subjects, notwithstanding all their entreaties to detain him; and departed like the setting sun towards his sylvan journey, which was unknown to and impassable by every one.

34. He set out like the setting sun shorn of his glory, and disappeared like the sun from the sight of every body; veil of melancholy covered the face of the princess, as she saw the egress of her lord from the recess of her chamber; as the face of nature is obscured from the shadow of darkness, upon the disappearance of day light below the horizon. (Here is a continued simile between the parting sun and the departing prince, and the face of nature and that of the princess).

35. Now the dark night advanced, veiling the world under her mantle of the ash-coloured dusk; as when the God Hara forsakes the fair Ganga, and takes the nigrescent Yamuna to his embrace. (The day and night representing the two consorts of the sun).

36. The sides of heaven seemed to smile all around, with the denticulated clumps of evening clouds;and with the brightness of the moon beams, glittering on the shoots of Tamala trees. (i.e. The skies seemed to smile with their glittering teeth of the evening clouds, and smiling moon beams all around).

37. And as the lord of the day departed towards the setting mountain of Sumeru on the other side of the horizon, in order to rove over the elysian garden or paradise of the gods on the north; so the brightness of the day began to fail, as the shade of evening prevailed over the face of the forsaken world.

38. Now sable night accompanied by her lord the nocturnal luminary, advanced on this side of the southern hemisphere; to sport as a loving couple with this cooling light and shade.

39. Then were the clusters of stars seen spangled in the etherial sphere under the canopy of heaven, and appeared as handfuls of lajas or fried rice scattered by the hands of celestial maiden on the auspicious occasion.

40. The sable night gradually advanced to her puberty, with the buds of lotuses as her budding breasts; she then smiled with her moony face, and littered in the opening of the nightly flowers.

41. The prince returned to his beloved princess after performing his evening services, and was drowned in deep sleep; as the mount Mainaka has drowned in the depth of the sea. (Mainaka is a hidden rock in the sea).

42. It was now the time of midnight, when all was still and quiet all about; and the people were all as fast asleep, as if they were pent up in the bosom of stones.

43. He finding her fast asleep in her soft and downy bed, and lolling in the lap of indolence like the female bee in the cup of the lotus.

44. The prince started from his sleep, and parted the sleeping partner of his bed from his cold embrace; as the ascending node of rahu slowly lets off from its mouth, the eclipsed moon in the east.

45. He got up from one-half of the bed cloth, while the supine princess lay on the other-half of it; as when the God Hari rises from his bed of the waters of the milky ocean, leaving the lonely Lakshmi roll in the waves after him.

46. He walked out of the palace, and bade the guards to stand at their places; while he was going, he said to arrest a gang of robbers beyond the skirts of the city, with his full confidence in himself.

47. Farewell my royalty, said he, and then passed onward out of his princedom; and passed through inhabited tracts and forest lands, as the course of a river runs to the sea.

48. He passed amidst the gloom of night and through the thickets of the forest beset by thorny bushes; and full of heinous beasts and reptiles, with his firm fortitude.

49. In the morning he arrived at an open tract of land which was free from woods and jungles, and ran the course of the day with his peregrination on foot from sun rise to the setting sun; when he took refuge under the bower of the grove.

50. The sun departing from sight left him to the darkness of night, when he performed his bathing and the daily rite; and having eaten some root or fruit which he could get, he passed the night resting on the barren ground under him. (The custom of evening bath, is now falling into disuse).

51. Again and again the morning appeared and brought to light many new cities and districts, and many hills and rivers; which he passed over bravely for twelve repeated days and nights.

52. He then reached at the foot of the Mandara mountain, which was covered by a dense and immense forest which no human foot could penetrate; and lay (stood) afar from the reach of man and the boundaries of human habitation.

53. There appeared a spot beset by sounding rills amidst it, and set with rows of trees with aqueducts under them; here the relics of a dilapidated dwelling came to sight, and seemed to bear the appearance of the deserted mansion of some holy hermit.

54. It was clear of all heinous reptiles and small insects, and was planted with sacred plants and creepers for the sacerdotal purposes of the holy siddhas; while it was full of fruit trees which supplied its occupant with ample food.

55. There was seen a level and pure spot of ground with a water course, and presenting the green verdure and verdant trees; loaded with luxuriant fruits and stretching a cooling shade all over it.

56. The prince built here a bower of verdant creepers and leafy branches, which with their blooming blossoms glistened; as the blue vault of heaven under the lightnings of the rainy season.

57. He made for himself a staff of bamboo and some vessels for his food and drink, as also some plates to put his offerings of fruits and flowers in them; and a jar for the presentation of holy water. He likewise strung some seeds together for the purpose of his saintly rosary.

58. He procured the hides of dead animals and the deerskin for his seat and cover let in cold, and placed them carefully in his holy hermit's cell.

59. He also collected all other things, which were of use in the discharge of his sacerdotal functions;and preserved in his sacred cell, as the Lord of creatures has stored the earth, with every provisions requisite for living beings.

60. He made his morning devotion, and turned his beads with the muttering of his mantras in the hours of his forenoon; and then performed his sacred ablution, and offered the flowers in the service of the Gods in the afternoon.

61. He afterwards took some wild fruits and ground roots, and the soft lotus stalks for his food in the evening, and then passed the night with his lonely self-possession, and in the meditation of his Maker.

62. Thus did the prince of Malwa pass his days with perfect cheer of his heart in the cottage cell, which he had constructed at the foot of the Mandara mountain; and thought no more of his princely pleasures which were utterly lost under the influence of the resignation, which had now taken full possession of his entire soul and mind.