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 LX - The network of worlds (continued)

Argument:—Vasishtha sees the siren songstresses in his Reveries and then turns to his meditation of the world.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. Then I went on forward to find out the spot of the etherial sounds, and continued journeying onward in the vacuous region of my excogitation, without any interruption from any side.

2. I heard far beyond me the sound that came to my ears, resembling the jingling thrill of the Indian lute; it became more distinct as I appeared nearer to it, till I heard the metrical cadence of Arya measure in it.

3. As I glanced in my meditation at the site of the sound, I beheld a damsel on one side as fair as liquid gold, and brightening that part of the sky (by the blaze of her beauteous body).

4. She had necklaces pendant on her loose garments, and her eyelashes were tinged with lac dye, and with loosened traces and fluttering locks of her hair, she appeared as the goddess of prosperity (sitting in the air).

5. Her limbs were as calm and handsome, as they were made of pure gold;and sitting on the way side with the near-blown bloom of her youth, she was as odorous as the goddess Flora, and handsome in every part of her body.

6. Her face was like the full moon, and was smiling as [a] cluster of flowers; her countenance was flushed with her youth, and her eyelids betokened her good fortune.

7. She was seated under the vault of heaven, with the brightness of her beauty blooming as the beams of the full moon; and decorated with ornaments of pearls, she walked gracefully towards me.

8. She recited with her sweet voice, the verses in the Arya metre by my side; and smiled as she recited them in a high tone of her voice, saying:—

9. I salute thee, O sage, she said, whose mind is freed from the evil propensities of those, that are deluded to fall into the currents of this world; and to whom you are a support, as a tree standing on its border.

10. Hearing this I looked upon that sonant charming face, and seeing the maiden with whom I had nothing to do, I disregarded her and went on forward.

11. I was then struck with wonder, on viewing the magic display of the mundane system, and was inclined to wander through the air, by slighting the company of the damsel.

12. With this intention in my mind, I left the etherial dame in the air;and assumed an aerial form in order to traverse the etherial regions, and scan the phantasmagoria of the world.

13. As I went on viewing the wondrous worlds, scattered about in the empty sky; I found them no better than empty dreams, or the fictions in works of imagination.

14. I neither saw nor ever heard of anything at any place, about those creations and creatures, that existed in those former kalpas and great kalpa ages of the world (nor the world destroying deluges of yore).

15. I did not see the furious pushkara and avarta clouds (of the great deluge), nor the portentous and raging whirlwinds of old; I heard no thunder claps, that split the mighty mountains, and broke the worlds asunder.

16. The conflagration of diluvian fire, which cracked the edifices of Cuvera, and the burning rays of a dozen of solar orbs were to be seen no more.

17. The lofty abodes of the gods, which were hurled headlong on the ground, and the crackling noise of the falling mountains, were no more to be seen or heard.

18. The flame of the diluvian fire, which raged with tremendous roar all about, and boiled and burnt away the waters of the etherial oceans, were now no more.

19. There was no more that hideous rushing of waters, which over flooded the abodes of the gods, demigods and men; nor that swelling of the seven oceans, which filled the whole world, up to the face of the solar orb.

20. The peoples all lay dead and insensible of the universal deluge, like men laid up in dead sleep, and sung the battle affray in their sleep.

21. I beheld thousands of Brahmas, Rudras and Vishnus, disappearing in the different kalpa or diluvian ages of the world.

22. I then dived in my excogitation, into those dark and dreary depths of time, when there were no kalpa nor yuga ages, nor years and days and nights, nor the sun and moon, nor the creation and destruction of the world.

23. All these I beheld in my intellect, which is all in all, to which all things belong, and which is in every place; it is the intellect which engrosses every thing in itself, and shows itself in all forms.

24. Whatever, O Rama, you say to be anything, know that thing to be the intellect only; and this thing being rarer than the subtile air, know it next to nothing.

25. Therefore it is this empty air, which exhibits every thing in it under the name of the world; and as the sound proceeding from the empty air, melts again into the air, so all things are aerial and the transcendent air only.

26. All these phenomena and their sight are simply erroneous, and appertain to the vacuous intellect alone; and are exhibited as foliage of the aerial tree (which I know is false and nothing).

27. The intellect and vacuum are identic and of the same nature with themselves, and this I came to understand from the entire absence of all my desires.

28. These worlds that are linked together in the chain of the universe, and lie within the limits of the ten sides of it, are but One Brahma only; and the infinite vacuity, with all its parts of space and time, and all forms of things and actions, are the substance and essence of Brahma only.

29. In this manner, I saw in manifold worlds that were manifested before me, many a great muni like myself; all sons of the great Brahma, and named as Vasishthas, and men of great holiness and piety.

30. I saw many revolutions of the treta age, with as many Ramas in them; I marked the rotation of many Satya and Dwapara periods (the golden and brazen ages) of the world, which I counted by hundreds and thousands.

31. From my common sense of concrete particulars, I saw this changing state of created things; but by the powers of my reflection and generalization, I found them all to be but one Brahma, extended as the infinite vacuity from all eternity.

32. It is not to be supposed, that the world subsists in Brahma or He in this (as either the container or contained of the whole); but Brahma is the uncreated and endless all himself, and whatever bears a name or is thought of in our understanding.

33. He is like a block of silent stone, that bears no name or epithet; but is of the form of pure light, which is termed the world also.

34. This light shines within the sphere of the infinite intellect, which is beyond the limit of our finite intelligence; it manifests itself in the form of the world, which is as formless as the other, and is as unknown to us, as anything in our dreamless sleep.

35. Brahma is no other than himself, and all else is only his reflection; His light is the light of the world, and shows us all things like the solar light.

36. It is by that light, that these thousands of worlds appear to view; and that we have the notion of heat in the lunar disk, and of cold in the solar orb(?)

37. We see some creatures that see in the dark, and do not see in the day light; such are the owls and bats (asses?), and so there are men of the same kind.

38. There are many here, that are lost by their goodness, while there are others, who thrive and ascend to heaven by their wickedness;some [that] come [to] life by drinking of poison, and many that die by the taste of nectar.

39. Whatever a thing appears to be by itself, or whatsoever is thought of it in the understanding of another, the same comes to occur and is presented to the lot of every one, be it good or evil.

40. The world is a hanging garden in the air, with all its orbs fixed as trees with their firm roots in it and yet rolling and revolving about, like the shaking leaves and tossing fruits of this arbour.

41. The sand-like mustard seeds being crushed under stony oil mills, yield the fluid substance of oil; and the tender flower of lotus, grows out of the clefts of rocks. (So things of one nature produce another of a different kind).

42. The moving images that are carved out of stone or wood, are seen to be set in the company of goddesses; and to converse with them. (The gloss gives no explanation of this unintelligible passage).

43. The clouds of heaven are seen to shroud many things as their vests, and many trees are found to produce fruits of different kinds every year.

44. All terrestrial animals are seen to move upon the earth, in different and changing forms with different kinds of the members of their bodies and heads.

45. The lower worlds (regions) are filled with human beings, that are without the pale of the vedas and sastras; and live without any faith, religion, and lead their lives in the state of beasts.

46. Some places are peopled by heartless peoples, who are without the feelings of love and desire; and others who are not born of women, but appear to be strewn as stones on the ground.

47. There are some places, which are full of serpents that feed upon air only; and others where gems and stones are taken in an indifferent light; some again where the indigent are without avarice and pride.

48. There were some beings, who look on their individual souls, and not on those of others; and others who regard the universal soul, that resides alike in all. (i.e. In all the four kinds of living creatures).

49. As the hairs and nails and other members of a person, are parts of his same body, though they grow in different parts of it; so do all beings appertain to the One universal soul, which is to be looked upon in all.

50. The one infinite and boundless vacuum, seems as many skies about the different worlds which it encompasseth; and it is by the exertion of Divine energy, that these empty spaces are filled with worlds.

51. There are some who are entirely ignorant of the meaning of the word liberation (which is freedom from the knowledge of everything beside Brahma); and move about as wooden machines without any sense in them.

52. Some creatures have no knowledge of astronomical calculation, and are ignorant of the course of time; while there are others quite deaf and dumb, and conduct themselves by signs and motions of their bodies.

53. Some are devoid of the sense of sight of their eyes, and the light of the sun and moon, are all in vain to them.

54. Some have no life in them, and others have no sense of smelling the sweet odours; some are quite mute and cannot utter any sound, while others are deprived of the sense of their hearing.

55. There are some who are entirely dumb, and without the power of speech; and some again that having no power of touch or feeling, are as insensible blocks or stones.

56. Some have their sense (of conception) only, without possessing the organs of sense; and others that manage themselves as foul Pisachas or goblins, and are therefore inadmissible in human society.

57. There are some made of one material only (as solid earth), and others have no solidity in them (as air &c.); some are composed of the watery substance, and others are full of fiery matter in them.

58. Some are full of air, and some there are of all forms (i.e. capable to do anything). All these are of vacuous forms, and are shown in the vacuity of the understanding. (This is [an] effect of a yoga called prakamya siddhi or the power of seeing every thing in the mind or imagination).

59. So the surface of the earth, and air and water, teem with living beings, and the frogs live in the cell of stones, and the insects dwell in the womb of the earth.

60. There are living beings living in vast bodies of water, as in lands, forests and mountains; and so there are living creatures skimming in the other elements and air, as the finny tribes move about and swim in the air.

61. There are living things also, peopling the element of fire, and moving in fiery places, where there is no water to be had; and there they are flying and flitting about as sparks and particles of fire.

62. The regions of air are also filled with other kinds of living beings; and these have airy bodies like the bilious flatulency which runs all over the body.

63. Even the region of vacuum is full of animal life; and these have vacuous bodies, moving in their particular forms.

64. Whatever animals are shut up in the infernal caves, or skip aloft in the upper skies; and those that remain, and rove about all sides of the air; these and all those which inhabit and move about the many worlds in the womb of the great vacuum, were seen by me in the vacuity of my Intellect.