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...
Argument:—The princess goes in quest of the Prince. Their Meeting and the Admonition of the Princess.
1. In this manner, the prince Sikhidvaja remained in his monastery in the forest, in his state of perfect felicity; while the princess remained at home, and did as you shall now hear from me.
2. After the prince had gone away from the palace at midnight, Chudala started from her sleep; as a timid fawn lying in the village, is startled by fear.
3. She found the bed vacated by her husband and thought it as dreary as the sky, without the sun and moon. (A deserted wife is as forlorn as a deserted village or desolate country).
4. She rose up with a melancholy face, and with her heart full of sorrow and sadness; and her limbs were as lank as the leaves of plants, without being well watered in summer.
5. Sorrow sat heavy in her heart, and drove the charm and cheerfulness off her countenance; and she remained as a winter day, over cast by a cloud or covered by a hoar-frost over its face.
6. She sat awhile on the bedstead, and thought with sorrow in herself; saying, "Ah woe unto me" that my lord is gone away from here, and abandoned a kingdom for a retreat in the woods.
7. What then can I do now, than repair to my husband; where he is, because it is appointed both by the law of nature and God, that the husband is the only resort and support of the wife.
8. Having thought so, Chudala rose up to follow her husband and she fled by the door of a window into the open air. (This means that her spirit fled into air, by the power of her yoga).
9. She roamed in her aerial course, and by the force of her breath on the wings of air; and appeared before the face of the aerial spirits (siddhas), as a second moon moving in the skies.
10. As she was passing at the night time, she happened to behold her lord roving about with a sword in his hand; and appearing as a ghost of a vetala or demon wandering in the solitary forest.
11. The princess seeing her husband in this manner from her aerial seat, she began to reflect on the future state which awaited on her husband; and which she foresaw by power of her yoga.
12. It is certain, O Rama! that whatever is allotted in the book of fate to befall on any body at any time or place or manner, the same is sure to take place at the very moment and spot and in the same way (and all this is well known to the holy seer and seeress by the prophetic power, which they acquire by their knowledge and practice of yoga).
13. The princess seeing plainly in her presence, whatever is to take place on her husband; and knowing it to be averted by no means, she stopped from going to him to communicate the same.
14. Be my visit postponed to him to a future occasion, when it is destined for me to be in his company again.
15. Thinking so in her mind Chudala turned her course from him, and returned to her inner apartment and reclined on her milk white pillow; as the crescent of the moon lies recumbent on the hoary forehead of Hara.
16. She proclaimed to her people, that the prince was gone on some important occasion; and having relieved with the consolation of his quick return, she took the reins of the government in her own hands.
17. She managed the state in the manner of her husband, according to the established rules of toleration; and with the same care and vigilance, as the husband-woman guards her ripening cornfields.
18. In this manner they passed their days without seeing one another, and the conjugal pair lived separated from each other; in their respective habitations of the royal palace and the solitary forest.
19. And in this manner passed on their days and nights, their weeks and fortnights, their months and seasons in regular succession over one and another; the one counting his days in the woods and the other in her princely palace.
20. What is the use of a lengthy description of full eighteen years, which glided on slowly over the separated couple, the one dwelling in her palatial dome, and the other in his woodland retreat.
21. Many more years elapsed in this manner, until the hermit prince Sikhidvaja was overtaken by the hoary old age; in his holy hermitage in a cell of the great Mandara mountain.
22. Knowing the passions of the prince to be on the wane, with his declining age and grey hairs, and finding herself not yet too old to overtake him in the distant forest.
23. And believing that it was the proper time for her to prevail on him, and to bring him back to the palace, she thought of joining her husband where he was.
24. With these thoughts, she made up her mind of going towards the Mandara mountain; and started from her home at night, and mounted on the wings of air to the upper sky.
25. As she was moving onward on the pinions of air, she beheld in the upper sky some Siddhawomen, wearing the thin bark of the kalpatree and girt with jewels of clustering gems.
26. These were the inhabitants of the garden of paradise, and going out to meet their Siddha husbands; and sprinkled over with perfumeries, shedding their dews as bright moon beams.
27. She breathed the air perfumed by the flowers of the garden of paradise, and worn by the Siddhas of Eden; and wallowed in the moon beams, waving like the billows of the milky ocean.
28. She felt a purer moon light, as she ascended the higher atmosphere; and she passed amidst the clouds, as the flashing lightning moves in their midst. (The fair princess flashed as the lightning).
29. She said, this flashing lightning though situated in the bosom of her cloudy spouse, is yet looking at him repeatedly with the winkling of her eyes; so must I look out for my absent lord, as I pass like the lightning in the midway sky.
30. It is true, she said, that nature is irrepressible during the life time of a person; hence it is impossible for my disquieted mind, to have its quiet without the sight of my loving and lion like lord.
31. My mind roves and runs mad, when I say, I will see my lord, and when I will see these creepers turning round and clasping their supporting tree. (And all my philosophy avails me naught against my nature).
32. My mind loses its patience to see the contraction of these senseless creepers, and the excursion of the superior siddha females in quest of their consorts. (All animated nature from the vegetable to the immortal are bound by conjugal love).
33. How then and when, shall I like them come to meet the man that is situated in my heart.
34. These gentle breezes, and these cooling moon-beams and those plants of the forest, do all continue to disquiet my heart and set it on fire (instead of cooling its fervour).
35. O my simple heart, why dost thou throb in vain and thrill at every vein within me? and oh my faithful mind, that art pure as air, why dost thou lose thy reason and right discretion?
36. It is thou O faithless mind! that dost excite my heart to run after its spouse; better remain with thy yearnings in thyself, than torment my quiet spirit with thy longings.
37. Or why is it, O silly woman! that thou dost long in vain after thy husband, who possibly became too old (to require thee any more); he is now an ascetic and too weak in his bodily frame, and devoid of all his earthly desires.
38. I think thee, desires of the enjoyment of his princely honors and pleasures, have now been utterly rooted out of his mind;and the plant of his fondness for sensual gratifications, is now as dry as a channel that pours forth its waters into a large river or sea.
39. I think my husband, who was as fond of me as to form one soul with myself; has become as callous to soft passions, as a dried and withered tree.
40. Or I will try the power of my yoga to waken his mind to sense, and infuse the eager longings and throbbings of my heart into his.
41. I will collect the thoughts of the ascetic devotee to one focus, and employ them towards the government of his realm; where we may be settled for ever to our hearts content.
42. O I have after long discovered the way to my object, and it is by infusing my very thoughts into the mind of thy husband.
43. The unanimity of the minds of the wedded pair, and the pleasure of their constant union; contribute to the highest happiness of human beings on earth.
44. Revolving in this manner in her mind, the princess Chudala passed onward in her aerial journey; now mounting on mountains and mountainous clouds, and then passing the bounds of lands and visible horizons;she reached the sight of Mandara, and found the glen and cavern in it.
45. She entered the grove as an aerial spirit invisible to sight, and passed as the air amidst it known by the shaking of the leaves of trees. (The spirits like winds have motion and the power of moving other bodies).
46. She beheld a leafy hut in one corner of the wood, and knew her husband by the power of her yoga; though appeared to be transformed to another person.
47. She found his body that was decorated before by a variety of jewels, and glittered as the mount of Meru with its gold; to have grown as lean and thin and as dark and dry, as a withered and dried leaf.
48. He wore a vest of rays, and seemed as if he had dipped in a fountain of ink; he sat alone in one spot, and appeared as the god Siva to be wholly devoid of all desire.
49. He was sitting on the barren ground, and stringing the flowers to his braided hairs; when the beauteous princess approached before him.
50. She was moved to sorrow at the sight of his miserable plight, and thus bespoke to herself inaudibly in her mind. Alas, how painful it is to behold this piteous sight!
51. O! the great stupidity that rises from ignorance of spiritual knowledge, and which has brought on this miserable condition on this self-deluded prince.
52. I must not call him unfortunate, as long as he is my husband; though the deep darkness of his mind (ignorance) hath brought to this miserable plight. (The living husband however miserable, is always to be called true fortunate by the faithful wife.)
53. I must try my best to bring him to the knowledge of truth, which will no doubt restore him to his sense of enjoyment here, and of his liberation hereafter; and change his figure to his another form altogether.
54. I must advance nearer to him to instil understanding in his mind, or else my words will make no effect in him; who treats me always as his young and silly wife.
55. I will therefore admonish my husband in the figure of a devotee, and it is possible that my admonition delivered in this manner, will make its effect in him; who is now grown hoary with age (old age must have abated the ardour of youth).
56. It is possible that good senses may dawn in the clear understanding, which is not perverted from its nature; saying so the princess Chudala took the shape of a Brahman boy on herself.
58. She advanced toward her lord with a smiling countenance, and the prince Sikhidvaja beheld the Brahman boy advancing towards him.
59. He appeared to come from some other forest, and stood before him in the form of devotion itself; his body was as bright as the molten gold, and his person was ornamented with a string of pearls.
60. The white sacrificial thread graced his neck, and his body was covered with two pieces of milk white vests; he held the sacred water pot on one hand, and with his pupils staff in the other, he made his approach to the prince. (The order of the students was called dandi from their holding the sacred stick in one hand, like the pilgrim staff in Europe).
61. His wrist was entwined by a string of beads, and a long and double chain of rosary hang from his neck to the ground. (Double and triple threads of sacred seeds worn about the necks of saints).
62. His head was covered over by long and flowing jet black hairs, in the manner of the strings of black bees, fluttering about the tops of white lotuses; and the radiance of his, shed a lustre on the spot.
63. His face ornamented with earrings, glowed as the rising sun with his lustre of rosy rays, and the knotted hair on the top of his head with the mandara flower fastened on it, appeared as pinnacle of a mountain with the rising moon above it.
64. The husband that sat quiet with his tall stature, and his limbs and senses under his subjection;appeared as a mount of ice with the ashes rubbed all over his body.
65. He saw the Brahman boy appearing before him, as the full moon rising on the aureate mount of Meru; and rose before him with the respect. (Which is paid to that luminary by her worshippers).
66. Thinking his guest as the son of some God, the prince stood with his bare feet before him; and addressed him saying, obeisance to thee O thou son of a God, take this seat and sit thyself there.
67. He pointed out to him with his hand the leafy bed that was spread before him, and offered him a handful of flowers which be poured into his hands.
68. The Brahman boy responded to him saying: "I greet thee in return, O thou son of a king! that lookest like a dew drop or the beaming moon-light sparkling on a lotus leaf." He then received the flowers from his hand and sat upon the leafy bed.
69. Tell me O thou heaven born boy, whence thou comest and whither thou goest, as for me it is lucky day that has brought thee to my sight.
70. Please accept this pure water, and fragrant flowers and this honorarium also; and receive this string of flowers, that I have strung with my hands; and so be all well with thee.
71. So saying, Sikhidvaja offered the flowers, the wreathed blossoms, the honorariums and other offerings; as directed by the ceremonial law to his worshipful lady.
72. I have travelled far and wide over many countries on the surface of this earth, and have never met with so hearty a reception and such honors; as I have now received from thee.
73. Thy humility, courtesy and complacence bespeak thee to be highly favoured of the Gods, and betoken thee to be attended with long life on earth. (Because the meek and gentle are said to be long lived on earth).
74. Tell me O devotee, whether you have ever applied your mind towards the acquirement of your final liberation and extinction; after the abandonment of all your earthly desires, by the magnanimity and tranquillization of your soul for a long time. (It is true you have long forsaken the vanities of the world, but have you set your heart to seek the eternal emancipation of your soul?).
75. You have, my dear Sir, chosen a very painful alternative for your final liberation, that you have made the vow of your undergoing the hardship of this forest life, by forsaking the care of your large dominion. (The care of the state is painful, but the pains of hermitage are much more so).
76. I wonder not that thou must know all things, being a God thyself and thou wearest this form of the Brahman boy, yet the supernatural beauty of thy person, bespeaks thee to be an all-knowing deity.
77. Methinks these members of the body, are bedewed with the ambrosial beam of moonlight, or how could thy very appearance shed such nectarious peace even at the first sight.
78. O handsome boy! I see in thy person a great resemblance of the features of my beloved one, who is now reigning over my kingdom (and whom perhaps I will see no more in this life).
79. Please now to refresh thy fair and fatigued frame, with wearing these flowery chaplet from the head to foot; as the vest of a hoary cloud, invests a mountain from its top to bottom.
80. I see thy face as beautiful, as the stainless moon;and thy limbs as delicate, as tender petals of flowers; and I find them now waning and fading under the solar gleams.
81. Know pretty youth that it was for the service of the gods, that I had wreathed the flowers together; and now I offer and bequeath them to thee, that art no less a God to me.
82. My life is crowned today with its best luck by its service of a guest like thyself, for it is said by the wise that attendance on guests is meritorious than the merit of attending on the Gods. (Hence the law of Hospitality is not less binding on the Hindu than it is with the Bedouin Arabs).
83. Now deign O moon faced deva (deity) to reveal unto me what God thou art, and the progeny of what deity that dost deign to dignify me with thy visit; please tell me all this and remove the doubts that disturb my breast.
The brahman boy replied:—
84. Hear me, prince, relate to thee all that thou requirest to know of me; for who is there so uncivil, that will deceive and not comply to the request of his humble suppliant.
85. There lives in this world, the well known, the holy saint Narada by name; who is the snowy spot of pure camphor, on the face of those that are famed for the purity of their lives.
86. It was at one time that this Godly saint sat in his devotion in a cavern of the golden mountain; where the holy river of Ganga, fast flows with her running current and huge billows dashing against the shore.
87. The saint stepped out once to the beach of the river, to see how it glided on in its course; like a necklace of gems torn down from the mountain on high.
88. He heard there at once the tinkling sound of trinkets and bracelets, and a mixed murmur of vocal voice; and felt the curiosity to know what it was and whence it came.
89. He lightly looked towards the sacred stream and observed there an assemblage of young ladies, who equalled the celestial nymphs Rambha and Tilottama in the beauty of their persons;who had come out to sport by and bathe in the clear waters of the holy river.
90. They plunged and played in the waters removed from the sight of men, and were all naked with their uncovered breasts; blooming as the buds of golden lotuses in the lake.
91. These were jogging to and fro and dashing against one another like the ripened fruits of trees, and seemed to be filled with flavoured liquor for the giddiness of their observers.
92. Their swollen bosoms formed the sanctuary of the God of love, and were washed by the pure waters of the sacred river.
93. Their fullness with luscious liquor, put to blush the sweet waters of the sacred river of Ganga; they were as mound in the garden of paradise, and as the wheels of the car for the God Kama to ride upon.
94. Their buttocks were as pillars of the bridge in water, obstructing and dividing the free passage of the waters of the Ganges; and their upper part of the body, gives a lustre of world's beauty.
95. The shadow of one another's body was clearly visible to the naked eye, on the limpid waters of the Ganga; like a Kalpa tree in rainy season, with all its branches.
96. The thick verdure of the verdant season, had put to shade the light of the day; and the flying dust of flowers, had filled the forest air with fragrance.
97. Water-fowls of various kinds were sporting on the banks, as they do by the sea side and about the watering places round the trees; while the budding breasts of these dames, had put to blush the blooming buds of lotuses.
98. They held up their faces, which were as beautiful as a bud of lotuses; while their loosened hairs hung by them, like swarms of bees; and the loose glances of their eye-balls, were playing as the fluttering black-bees.
99. Their swollen breasts resembling the aureate lotuses, which were used by the Gods as golden cups to hide their ambrosial nectar; therein for fear of its being ravished by the demons and demi-Gods.
100. They were now seen to be hiding themselves in the secret bowers and caverns of the mountain, like lotuses hidden under foliage; and now hastening to the cooling beach of the river, to leave their lovely limbs in its limpid stream.
101. The saint saw the bevy of the young ladies, resembling the body of the full moon complete with all its digits; and his mind was ravished with their beauty (as the minds of men are turned to the delirium of lunacy by looking at the moon-light).
102. He lost the balance of his reason, and became elated with giddiness; and his breath of his life throbbed in his heart, by impulse of the delight that raged and boiled in his breast.
103. At last the excess of his rapture, gave effusion of his passion; as the fullness of a cloud in summer, breaks out in water in the rainy weather.
104. The saint turned as wan as a waning moon, and as the pale moon-light in frost; and like a fading plant, torn from its supporting tree.
105. He faded as the stalk of a creeper parted in two, and withered away as a sapling after it has lost its juicy sap.
Sikhidvaja asked said:—
106. How is it that the pure and peerless saint, who is liberated in his life time and acquainted with all knowledge; who is void of desires and devoid of passions, and who is as pure as the clear air both in the inside as well as outside of his body?
107. How is it that even he the holy Narada himself, could lose his patience and countenance who leads his life of celibacy all along?
108. Know, O princely sage! that all living beings in the three worlds not excepting even the Gods;have their bodies composed of both ingredients (of good and evil) by their very nature.
109. Some remain in ignorance, and others in knowledge to the end of their lives; and some remaining in happiness, and others in misery to the end of their days.
110. Some thrive in happiness with their virtue of contentment and the like, and are enlightened in their minds like a room by the light of the lamps; and as the bosom of the sea by the light of the luminaries of heaven.
111. Some are tormented by their hunger and poverty, and are involved in misery like the face of nature under the darkness of clouds.
112. The true and pure reality of the soul (divine spirit), being once lost to one's sight (the visible or phenomenal world): makes its appearance before him, like a dark and thick cloud of rainy weather.
113. Though one may be employed in his continuous investigation into spirituality, yet a moment's neglect of his spiritualism is sure to darken his spiritual light; as the apparition of the world appears to sight.
114. As the succession of light and darkness makes the course of the day and night, so the return of the pain and pleasure indicates the progress of life. (This variety kills the monotony of life).
115. Thus the two states of pleasure and pain, are known to accompany over lives from birth to death; as the results of our prior acts (of merit and demerit).
116. This impression of past life marks the lives of the ignorant entirely, as the red colouring sticks for ever in a cloth; but it is not so with the intelligent, whose knowledge of truth wipes off the stigma of their pristine acts.
117. As the eternal hue of a gem, whether it be good or bad, is exhibited on the outside of it; and also as a crystal stone, however clear it may be, takes the colour of the outward object in it (so the ignorant exhibit their inherent nature in their outward conduct, and partake also the qualities of their surroundings).
118. But it is not so with the intelligent knower of truth (tatwajna), whose soul is free from all inward and outward impressions in his life time; and whose mind is never tinged like that of the ignorant, by the reflection of anything about him. (Knowledge of truth is vitiated by nothing).
119. It is not only the contiguity or presence of things or pleasures, that taint the minds of the ignorant; but the absence and loss also are causes of great regret, from the stain they leave in the memory; as it is not only a new paint that paints a thing, but also the vestiges that it leaves behind, give it also a colouring. (The remembrance of past things, gives a colouring to the character of man).
120. Thus as the minds of the ignorant are never cleansed from the taint of their favourite objects, so they are never free from their bondage in this world; like the liberated sage by his want of earthly attachment. Because it is the parvitude of our desires that contributes to our liberation, while the amplitudes of our wishes lead us to our continued bondage in this world. (This passage presents us with the pains of memory, instead of the pleasures which some poets have portrayed on its face).
121. Tell me my lord, why men feel sorry or joyous at their pain or pleasure, to which they are bound by their birth in this world; and for what is far off from them (either as past or gone and what is in their expectation in future, since both the past and future are absent from us)?
122. I find your words my lord to be as clear as they are pretty and full of meaning, and the more I hear them so much the more do I thirst to listen to them; as the peacock is insatiate with the roarings of clouds.
Chudala answered said:—
123. It is pleasant to inquire into the cause of our birth, and how the soul being accompanied with the body, derives its knowledge through the senses, and feels thereby a delight which is apparent in babes. (We see by observation how babies are pleased with the exercise of their limbs and senses).
124. But the living soul (or the vital principle), which is contained in the heart and runs through the Kundalini artery as the breath of life; is subject to pain and sorrow by its very birth. (Hence we see, new born child coming to cry out no sooner it comes to life after its birth).
125. The living soul or vital spirit (which is as free as air), comes to be confined in the arterial chains of the prison houses of the different bodies; by its entering into the lungs breathing with the breath of life. (The spirit of God was breathed into the nostrils of man).
126. The breath of life circulating through the body, and touching its different parts or the organs of sense, raise their sensations in the soul; and as the moisture of the ground grows the trees and shrubs on earth, so doth our vitality produce the sensations of the pleasure and pain in the soul.
127. The living soul being confined in the arteries of different bodies, gives a degree of happiness and steadiness to some, which the miserable can never enjoy. (The poor are bereft to the comforts of high life).
128. Know that the living soul, is said to be liberated in the same proportion as it manifests its tranquilized state; and know also that it is bounden bondage in the same degree, as it appears to be sorry in the face and choked in its breathing. (The dejected and depressed spirit does not breathe out freely).
129. The alternate feeling of pain and pleasure, is likewise the bondage of the soul and no other, but this and it is the want of these alternations, that constitutes its liberation; and these are the two states of the living soul.
130. As long as the deceptive senses, do not bring the false sensations of pain and pleasure unto the soul; so long does it rest in its state of sweet composure, and the calm tranquillity of the positive rest.
131. The invisible soul coming in sight of some transient pleasure or want of pain, becomes as joyous as the cheerful sea passing the reflection of the bright moon-beams in its bosom.
132. The soul equally exults at the sight of pleasure, as it grieves at the knowledge of its unsteadiness; as a foolish cat rejoices to see of fish, which it has not the power to catch or hold fast in its clutches.
133. When the soul, has the pure knowledge of the intelligibles and the cognition of itself; it comes to know, that there is no such thing as positive pain or pleasure; and has thereby its calm and quiet composure for ever, and under every circumstance.
134. When it comes to know that it has no concern with any pain or pleasure, and that its living is to no purpose at all; it is then said to be awakened in itself, and to rest in its quietude of nirvana-extinction (unconsciousness of one's self or its consciousness of itself as a cypher, is termed the state of its nirvana-annihilation).
135. When the living soul comes to know by its internal intuition, that pain and pleasure are unreal in their nature; it is no longer concerned about them, but rests quietly within itself.
136. When the soul comes to the belief, that the visible world is no other than the vacuity of Intellect or Brahma himself; it gets its rest in its quietness, and becomes as cool as an oilless and extinguished lamp. (Here is the vacuism of Vasishtha again).
137. The belief that all nature is vacuity, and all existence is the one unity together with the thought of an infinite inanity; is what leads the soul to its unconsciousness of pain and pleasure. (All is but void and vacancy, and mere air-drawn phantasy).
138. The thoughts of pleasure and pain therefore are as false, as the false appearance of the world; and this error is inherited by the living soul from Brahma the first of living beings in the world. (The error of taking the unreal for real began with Brahma himself).
139. Whatever was thought and ordained by the first creative power in the beginning, the same has taken root in the living soul; and is going on even to the present time as its nature.
Sikhidvaja asked said:—
140. It is only when one feels some pleasure in his mind, that it runs in the blood through his veins and arteries; but the holy Narada could not be affected by the sight, nor drop his semen from him.
141. The animal soul being exited (by the existent sight of women), excites the living breath of prana to motion; and the whole body obeys the dictate of the mind, as the body of soldier obeys the command of their commander.
142. The vital airs being put to motion, they move the internal sap and serum from their seats; as the blowing winds bear away the fragrance of flowers and the dust of leaves, and drop down the fruits and flowers and leaves of trees.
143. The semen being put to motion falls downwards, as the clouds being driven together burst into the rain water.
144. The semen then passes out of the body by the canals of the veins and arteries, as the running waters pass through the channels and canals of a river.
145. O thou divine boy! that knowest both the past and present states of things, as it appears from thy instructive discourse; please to instruct me at present, what you mean by the nature of things by the Brahmic power of Brahma.
146. Nature is that intrinsic character, which is implanted in the constitution of things at the beginning of their creation; and the same which continues to this day the essential part of the ghata, pata, and all other things.
147. It comes on by a kakatalya or accidental course of its own, as it is compared by the learned with the rise and fall of waves and bubbles in the water; and the marks of the lacuna in wood and iron. (The fortuitous combination of the atomic principles, is the cause of the formation of concrete bodies; according to the Atomic philosophy of Leucippus, Democritus and the Epicureans of old).
148. It is under the power of this nature, that all things move about in the world in the various forms; and with all their properties of change and persistence. It is only the indifferent and inappetent soul that is liberated from the subjection of nature, while the apparent is fast bound to its chains and wander with their prurient nature in repeated transmigrations.