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 LXXXVIII - The tale of the crystal gem

Argument:—The slipping of a precious stone in ignorance, and picking of a glossy glass in view of it.

Chudala related:—

There lived once a rich man, combined with opposite qualities (of charity and penury) in his character; as the sea contains the water and the submarine fire in its depth.

2. He was as skilled in arts, as he was practiced in arms; and was trained up in all dealings, as he was expert in business. But his great ambition in all his pursuits, kept him from the knowledge of the most high. (His excess of worldliness, was a preventive to spiritual knowledge).

3. He employed all his endeavours to obtain the imaginary gem of the philosopher's stone chinta mani (by means of his pujas and prayers and other sacred rites); as the submarine fire wants to devour the waters, and dries up the bed of the sea.

4. His great avidity and persevering patience, succeeded after a lapse of a long time to obtain the precious gem at last; because there is nothing which may not be effected by the ardent zeal of man. (Omnia vincit labor).

5. He succeeded in his attempts by his unwearied labour, joined with his firm resolution and well directed plan; as the meanest man is favoured with a fortune, by his employment of these means. (Fortune crowns all strenuous efforts with success).

6. He saw the stone as lying before him, and ready to be grasped in his hand; as a hermit sitting on the peak of a mountain, thinks the rising moon as easy to be grasped by his hand. (Too ardent desire presents the shadow of the object to one's view).

7. He saw the brilliant gem before him, but became mistrustful of his sight and the reality of the object before it; as a poor man hearing of his sudden elevation to royalty, mistrusts the report and doubts its being meant for him.

8. He was then immerged in himself to think with amazement for a long time, he overlooked and neglected to lay hold on his great gain, and kept dubitating in his mind in the following manner.

9. Whether this stone is gem or not, and if so, whether it be the philosopher's stone or any other; shall I touch it or not, for I fear lest it fly away from my touch or be soiled by it.

10. No one hath until this time obtained the long sought philosopher's stone, and if ever it was obtained by any one, it was, says the sastra, in his next life.

11. It is no doubt that my miserliness only, that makes me view aslant this brilliant gem before me with my eyes; as a purblind man sees a flashing fire-brand and deep-laid moon in the sky.

12. How could the tide of my fortune run so high at once, that I should succeed so soon to obtain the precious stone, that is the pink and acme of perfection and productive of all treasure.

13. There must be few and very few indeed of those fortunate men, who can expect their good fortune to court and wait on them; at a little pains in a short time.

14. I am but a poor and honest man, and one possest of very little qualification nor of any worth and account among mankind; and it is impossible that so miserable a wretch, could ever be blessed with this masterpiece of perfection.

15. The incredulous man hung for a long time in a state of suspense, between his certainty and uncertainty;and was infatuated by his mental blindness, that he did not even stretch out his hand to lay hold on the jewel lying open before him.

16. Hence whatever is obtainable by anyone at any time, is often missed and lost sight of by either his ignorance or negligence of it; as the precious gem in the parable, which was proffered and lay palpable in full view.

17. As the undetermined man hung in the balance of his suspicion, the precious gem flew away and vanished from his sight; as the merited man avoids his slighter, and as the shaft flies from its string or the stone from its sling. (Fly from the fool as the arrow flies from the bow-string).

18. When prosperity appears to one, she confers on him her blessings of wisdom and prudence &c.;but as she forsakes her foolish votary, she deprives him of all his discretion. (Such is the case with this once wise and afterwards foolish devotee of prosperity).

19. The man tried again to invoke and recall the precious gem to his presence, because the persevering spirit is never tired to try again and again for his expected success.

20. He came to behold before him a brittle piece of glass, shining with its false glare as the former gem; and this was placed in his presence by the invisible hands of the siddha that had come to tempt him and deride his folly.

21. The fool thought this brittle thing to be the real gem now lying before him, as the ignorant sot believes the sparkling sands to be the dusts of the purest gold.

22. Such is the case with the deluded mind, that it mistakes the eight for six and a foe for a friend;it sees the serpent in the rope and views the desert land as the watery expanse, it drinks the poison for the nectar and spies another moon in the sky in the reflexion of the true one.

23. He took up that sham trumpery for a real gem, and thought it as the philosopher's stone that would confer on him whatever he desired; with this belief he gave up in charity all he had, as they were no more of any use to him.

24. He thought his country to be devoid of all that was delightsome to him and its people as debasing to his society; he thought his lost house was of no use to him, and his relatives and friends to be averse to his happiness.

25. Thus thinking in his mind, he determined to remove himself to a distant country and enjoy his rest there; and then taking his false gem with him, he went out and entered an uninhabited forest.

26. There his deceptive gem proving of no use to him loaded him all imaginable calamities, likening to the gloomy shadow of the black mountain and the horrid gloom of deep ignorance.

27. The affections which are brought to one by his own ignorance, are by far greater than those which are caused by his old age and the torments of death. The calamity of ignorance supercedes all other earthly affections, as the black hairs rise on the top of the body and cover the crown of the head.