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 VI - Description of disaffection and disgust to the world

Argument:—Indifference and Apathy to the world, based on the Doctrines of the stoics and cynics, and the religious Recluses of all nations and Countries in every age.

The Vidyadhara continued:—Tell me even now, what is that most noble state (or highest category), which is devoid of increase or decrease or

any pain whatever; which is without beginning and end, and which is most sanctified and sanctifying.

2. I had been so long sleeping as an inert soul, and now I am awakened to sense by the grace of the Supreme Soul (displayed in the present vairagya or dispassionateness of the speaker).

3. My mind is heated with the fervour of the fever of my insatiate desire, and is full of regret at the state of my ignorance; now raise me from the depth of darkness in which I am grovelling under my delusion.

4. Many a time doth misfortune overtake the fortunate, and bitter sorrows betide the wise and learned; just as the hoar-frost falls on the tender leaves of lotuses, and discolours them at the end.

5. We see the frail living beings springing to birth, and dying away at all times to no purposes, they are neither for virtuous acts nor their liberation, but are born to die only, as the gnats and ephemera of dirt. (The Vidyadhara like the cynic, finds fault with every earthly thing).

6. How have I passed through different stages of life, how with one state of things and then with another, and deceived by the gain of paltry trifles. We are always discontent with the present state, and cheated repeatedly by the succeeding one.

7. The unwary mind, ever running after its frail pleasures, and floating as it were upon the breakers of its enjoyments, has no end of its rambling, nor rest after its toils; but wanders onward in the desert paths of this dreary world.

8. The objects of enjoyment, that are the causes of our bondage in this world, and appear as very charming and sweet at first; are all frail and ever changeful in their natures, and prove to be our bane at last.

9. Actuated by our consorting egoism, and led by the sense of honour to live in dishonour, I am degraded from the dignity my high birth as a vidyadhara, and am not pleased with myself.

10. I have seen the pleasure garden of Chitra-ratha (the chief of the Gandharva tribe); and all the sweet and soft flowery beds on earth; I have slept under the bowers of Kalpa Creepers in paradise, and have given away all my wealth and property in charity.

11. I have sported in the groves of Meru, and about the cities of the Vidyadharas; I have wandered about in heavenly cars, and in the aerial regions on all sides (in balloons or aerial cars).

12. I have halted amidst the heavenly forces, and reposed on the arms of my consorts; I have joined the bands of Haris in their jocund frolic and music, and have promenaded through the cities of the rulers of mankind.

13. I saw nothing of any worth among them, except the bitter sorrow of my heart in all; and I come now to find by my best reason, that every thing is burnt down to ashes before me.

14. My eyes which by their visual power, are ever inclined to dwell upon the sights of things, and to dote with fondness upon the face of my mistress, have been the cause of great affliction to my mind.

15. My eye-sight runs indiscriminately after all beautiful objects, without its power of considering, whether this or that is for our good or bad (i.e. Without the power of penetrating into and distinguishing the properties and qualities of objects).

16. My mind also, which is ever prompt to meet all hazards, and to expose itself to all kinds of restraints, never finds its rest until it is overwhelmed under some danger, and brought under the peril of death.

17. My scent likewise is ever alert in seeking after fragrant and delicious things to its own peril, and it is difficult for me to repress it, as it is hard for one to restrain an unruly horse.

18. I am restrained by the sense of my smelling to the two canals of my nostrils, bearing the putrid breath and cough and cold of the body; and am constrained like a prisoner or captive of war to the dungeon by my jailer or captor.

19. It is on account of this lickerish tongue of mine, that I am forced to seek for my food in these rugged and dreary rocks, which are the haunt of wild elephants, and where the wolves are prying for their forage. (From this it appears that, the Vidyadharas were a tribe of mountaineers in the north of the Himalayas).

20. I am to restrain the sensitiveness of my body, and to make my skin (the twak indreya or the organ of feeling), to endure the heat of the hot weather of the kindled fire and of the burning sun (all which it is

necessary to be undergone in the austere devotion known as Panchatapa).

21. My ears, sir, which ought to take a delight in the hearing of good lectures, are always inclined to listen to talk that are no way profitable to me; but mislead me to wrong; as the grassy turf covering a well, tempts the silly stag to his ruin.

22. I have listened to the endearing speeches of my friends and servants, and attended to the music of songs and instruments, to no lasting good being derived therefrom. (Sensuous pleasures are transient, and are not attended with any permanent good).

23. I have beheld the beauty of beauties, and the natural beauty of objects on all sides; I have seen the sublimity of mountains and seas, and the grandeur of their sides and borders; I have witnessed the prosperity of princes and the brilliancy of gem and jewels.

24. I have long tasted the sweets of the most delicious dishes, and have relished the victuals of the six different savours, that were served to me by the handsomest damsels.

25. I have associated with the lovely damsels clad in their silken robes, and wearing their necklaces of pearls, reclined on beds of flowers and fanned by soft breezes; I have had all these pleasures of touch, and enjoyed them unrestrained in my pleasure gardens.

26. I have smelt the odours on the faces of fairy damsels, and have had the smell of fragrant balms, perfumeries and flowers; and I have inhaled the fragrance, borne to me by the breath of the soft, gentle and odoriferous breezes.

27. Thus have I seen and heard, felt and smelt, and repeatedly tasted whatever sweets this earth could afford. They have now become dry, distasteful, stale and unpleasurable to me; say what other sweet is there left for me yet to enjoy.

28. I have enjoyed all these enjoyments of my senses for a full thousand years, and still I find nothing either in this earth or in heaven, which is able to yield full satisfaction to my mind.

29. I have reigned for a long time over a realm, and enjoyed the company of the courtezans in my court, I have vanquished the forces of my enemies in battle, but I know not great gain I have gained thereby. (All is vanity of vanities only).

30. Those (demons) that were invulnerable in warfare, and usurped to the dominion of the three worlds, even those invincible giants, have been reduced to ashes in a short time.

31. I think that to be the best gain, which being once gained by us, there remains nothing else to be desired or gained herein; I must now therefore, remain in quest of that precious gain, however it may be attended with pain.

32. What difference is there between those, who have enjoyed the most delightful pleasures, and others that have never enjoyed them at all; nobody has ever seen the heads of the former kind crowned with kalpa laurels, nor the latter with diminished heads.

33. I have been long led by my organs of sense, to the enjoyment of beautiful objects in the wilderness of the world, and have been quite deceived by them like a child by a cheat. (All enticements are deceitful at the end).

34. I have come too late and to-day only to know, that the objects of my senses are my greatest enemies; and this I have known after being repeatedly deceived by my organs of sense.

35. I see the deceitful organs of sense like so many sly huntsmen, have laid their snares about the wild forest of this world, only to entrap all unwary people in them, as they do the silly stags or beasts of prey by enticements.

36. There are but very few men in this world, who are not found to be envenomed by the deadly poison of their serpent-like organs of sense.

37. The forest of the world is full with the furious elephants of enjoyments, and surrounded by the snare of our desire, wherein our greediness is roving rampant with sword in hand, and our passions are stirring like keen spearmen, and rending our hearts and souls every moments.

38. Our bodies are become as a field of battle, where the commanding charioteer of our egoism hath spread the net of duplicity, by employing our efforts as horsemen, and setting our desires as boisterous rioters.

39. The organs of sense are set as flag-bearers, at the extremities of the battle-field of our bodies; and they are reckoned as the best soldiers, who are able by their prowess to overtake these staff-bearers in the field.

40. It may be possible for us, to pierce the frontal bone even of the furious Airavata elephant of Indra in war; but it is too hard for any body, to repress the aberrant senses within their proper bounds.

41. It is reckoned as the greatest victory, that may be won by the valour, magnanimity, and fortitude of great men, if they can but conquer the unconquerable organs of sense, which makes the utmost glory of the great (or which redounds with the greatest to the great).

42. So long as a man is not flung and carried about as a light and trifling straw, by the irresistible force of his sensual appetites, he is said to have attained to the perfection and excellence of the deities of heaven.

43. I account men of well governed senses and those of great fortitude, to be truly men in their sense, or else all other men of ungoverned minds, are mere moving machines of the flesh and bones that compose their bodies.

44. O Sage! I think I can overcome all things, if I can but reduce the force of the five external organs of sense, which form the battalion under the command of the mind (and is led against the province of the soul).

45. Unless you can heal your sensual appetites, which forms the great malady of the mind, by the prescriptions of your reason, you cannot get rid of them by any medicine or mantra, or by holy pilgrimage or any other remedy. (The subjection of the senses, is the first step to holiness).

46. I am led to great distress by the joint force of my senses, as a lonely traveller is waylaid in his journey by a gang of robbers. (It may be possible to withstand any particular appetite but not all at once).

47. The organs of sense are as dirty canals of the body, with their stagnate and foul watery matter, they are filled with noxious and hairy moss, and emit a malarious stink.

48. The senses seem to me as so many deep and dark forests, covered with impervious snows, and full of terrors that render them impassable to travellers.

49. The organs of the outward senses resemble the stalks of lotuses, growing upon the dirt of the body with holes in them, but without any visible thread therein. They are knotty on the outside, and without any sensibility of their own; (except what is supplied to them by the soul).

50. Our sensualities are as so many seas with their briny waters, and huge billows dashing on every side; they abound with various gems and pearls, but are full of horrible whales and sharks at the same time.

51. Sensual pleasure brings on the untimely death of the sensualist, and causes the grief and sadness of his friends therein; it makes others to take pity on his state, and mourn at his fate, which conducts him to repeated transmigrations only.

52. The senses are as vast and unlimited wilderness to men, which prove friendly to the wise, and inimical to the unwise.

53. The sphere of the senses is as dark as that of the clouded sky, where the black clouds of distress are continually growling, and the lightnings of joy are incessantly flashing with their transient glare.

54. The organs of sense are as subterranean cells or mounds of mud upon earth; these are resorted to by inferior animals, but shunned by superior and intelligent beings.

55. They are like hidden caves on earth overspread with thorns and brambles, and inbred with venomous snakes, in which the unwary fall to be smitten and bitten to death.

56. All sensualities are as savage Rakshasas or cannibals, that rove and revel about in their venturous excursions in the darkness of night; and glut themselves with human victims.

57. Our organs of sense are as dry sticks, all hollow and pithless in the inside; they are crooked and full of joints all along, and fit only as fuel for fire.

58. The bodily organs are the instruments of vice, and are as pits and thickets on our way; they are fitted with dirt within, like the notes of canes and reeds that are full of useless stuff.

59. The organic limbs and members are the implements of action, and the apparatus for producing an infinite variety of works. They are like the potter's wheels, turning and whirling with their mud, in order to produce the fragile pottery of clay.

60. Thus Sir, I am plunged in the dangerous sea of my sensual appetites, and you alone are able to raise me out of it by your kindness to me; because they say, that holy saints only are victorious over their senses in this world, and it is their society only that removes the griefs of mankind, and saves them from the perilous sea of sensuality.