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 LXXV - Description of the final conflagration of the world

Argument:—Destruction of the world by the great fire, produced by a dozen of suns at the behest of Brahma.

Vasishtha continued:—

Then sitting in my meditation of Brahma, I cast my eyes around, I came to the sight of the region before me.

2. It being then midday, I beheld a secondary sun behind me, appearing as a conflagration over a mountain (or a burning mountain), at the furthest border of that side.

3. I saw the sun in the sky as a ball of fire, and another in the water burning as the submarine fire; I beheld a burning sun in the south east corner, and another in the southern quarter.

4. Thus I saw four fiery suns on the four sides of heaven, and as many in the four corners of the sky also.

5. I was astonished to find so many suns all at once in all the sides of heaven; and their flame-fire which seemed to burn down their presiding divinities—the Agni, Vayu, Yama, Indra &c. (The twelve suns of Hindu Astronomy, are the so many solar mansions in the twelve signs of the zodiac, which encircle all the sides of the compass, together with the personified climates under the same).

6. As I was looking astonished at these unnatural appearances, in the heavens above; there appeared on a sudden a terrestrial sun before me, bursting out of the submarine regions below.

7. Eleven of these suns were as reflexions of the one sun, seen in a prismatic mirror; and they rose out of the three suns of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, in the vacuity of the different sides of heaven. (The gloss explains the eleven suns, as the eleven Rudra forms of Siva—the god of destruction amidst the Hindu Trinity).

8. The same form of Rudra with its three eyes, shone forth in the forms of the twelve burning suns of heaven. (As Siva with the eleven Rudras, makes the number twelve, so doth the sun with the other eleven signs of the zodiac, make the same number).

9. In this manner the sun burnt down the world, as the flame of fire burns away dry wood of the forest;and the world was dried up of its moisture, as in the parching days of summer season.

10. The solar fire burnt away the woods, without any literal fire or flame; and the whole earth was as dry as dust by this fireless incendiarism.

11. My body became heated and my blood boiled as by the heat of a wild fire; and I left that place of torrid heat, and ascended to the remoter and higher regions of air.

12. I beheld the heavenly bodies hurling as tops, flung from the string held by a mighty hand; and I saw from my aerial seat, the rising of the blazing suns in heaven.

13. I beheld the twelve suns burning in the ten sides of it, and I saw also the extensive spheres of the stars, whirling with incredible velocity.

14. The waters of the seven oceans were boiling, with a gurgling noise;and burning meteors were falling over the cities in farthest worlds.

15. The flame flashed upon distant mountains, making them flare with vermillion hue, and splitting noise; and continued lightnings flashed upon the great edifices on every side, and put the canopy of heaven in a flame.

16. The falling buildings emitted a cracking and crackling noise all around, and the earth was covered with columns of dark smoke, as by the thickening clouds and mists.

17. The fumes rising as crystal columns, appeared as turrets and spires upon the towers on earth; and the loud noise of wailing beasts and men, raised a gurgling (gharghara) clangor all over the ground.

18. The falling of cities upon men and beasts, made a hideous noise and huge heaps of omnium gatherum on earth; and the falling stars from heaven, strewed the earth with fragments of gems and jewels.

19. All human habitations were in flames, with the bodies of men and beasts, burning in their respective homes and houses; and the noiseless skirts of villages and towns, were filled with the stink of dead and burning bodies.

20. The aquatic animals were stewed, under the tepid waters of the seas: and the cry of people within the city, was hushed by the howling of the ambient flames on all sides.

21. The elephants of the four quarters of heaven, fell down and rolled upon the burning ground, and uplifted the hills with their tusks (to shelter themselves from the falling fires); while the caverns of the mountains, were emitting gusts of smoke, from the subterranean fire.

22. The burning hamlets and habitations, were crushed and smashed under the falling stones and hills; while the mountain elephants yelled aloud, with their deadly groans and agonies.

23. Heated by sunheat, all living beings rushed to and splashed the hot waters of seas, and the mountainous vidyadharas fell down into the hollow bosom of mountains, bursting by their volcanic heat.

24. Some being tired with crying, and others resorting to their yoga meditation, remained quiet in some places; and the serpent races were left to roll on the burning cinders, both below as well as upon the earth.

25. The voracious marine beasts as sharks and whales; being baked in the drying channels, were driven to the whirlpools of the deep; and the poor fishes attempting to evade the smarting fire, flew into the airs by thousands and thousands.

26. The burning flames, then clad as it were, in crimson apparel, rose high in the air; and there leaping as it were in dancing, caught the garments of the Apsaras in heaven.

27. The desolating Kalpa fire, being then wreathed with its flashing flames, began to dance about all around; with the loud sound of bursting bamboos and cracking trees, as it were with the beating of drums and timbrels.

28. The sportive fire danced about like a playful actor, in the ruinous stage of the world.

29. The fire ravaged through all lands and islands, and desolated all forests and forts; it filled all caves and caverns and the hollow vault of sky, till at last it over reached the tops of the ten sides of heaven.

30. It blazed in caverns and over cities and in all sides of dales, and the lands; it blazed over hills and mountain tops, and the sites of the siddhas and on the seas and oceans.

31. The flames flashing from the eyes of Siva, and the Rudras, boiled the waters of the lakes and rivers; and burned the bodies of devas and demons, and those of men and serpent races; and there arose a hoarse whispering sound from everywhere.

32. With column of flaming fire over their head, they began to play by throwing ashes upon one another; like the playful demon's flirtation with dust and water.

33. Flames flashed forth from subterranean cells and caves on earth, and all things situated amidst them, were reddened by their light.

34. All the sides of heaven lost their azure hue, under the vermilion colour of the clouds which hung over them; and all things and the rubicund sky, lost their respective hues, and assumed the rosy tint of the red lotus (sthala padma—growing on land).

35. The world appeared to be covered under a crimson canopy, by the burning flames which overspread it all around, and resembled the evening sky under the parting glories of the setting sun.

36. Overspread with the flaming fires, the sky appeared as an overhanging garden of blooming Asoka flowers, or as a bed of the red kinsuka blossoms hanging aloft in the sky.

37. The earth appeared to be strewn over with red lotuses and the seas seemed to be sprinkled with red dye; in this manner the fire blazed in many forms, with its tails and crests of smoke.

38. The fire of conflagration, raged with its youthful vigour in the forest, where it glared in variegated colours, as a burning scenery is shown in a painting.

39. The vicissitudes of sunrise and sunset (i.e. the succession of day and night), now disappeared from the vindhyan mountain, owing to the continual burning of the woods upon its summit.

40. The flying fumes had the appearance of the blue sahya mountain in the south (Deccan), from their emitting the flashes of fire in the midst, like the lustre of the gems in that mountain.

41. The blue vault of the sky seemed as a cerulean lake, decorated with lotus like fire brands all over it, and the flames of fire flashed over the tops of the cloudy mountains in air (like the brisk dancing of actresses in a play).

42. Flames of fire with their smoky tails, resembling the train of a comet, danced about on the stage of the world, in the manner of dancing actresses, with the loosened and flouncing hair.

43. The burning fire burst the parched ground, and flung its sparkling particles all around, like the fried rice flying all about the frying pan in various colours.

44. Then the burning rocks and woods exhibited a golden hue on the breast of the earth, with their bursting and splitting noise (as if the earth was beating her breast at her impending destruction).

45. All lands were crushed together with the cry of their inhabitants, and all the seas dashed against one another, with foaming froths in their mouths.

46. The waves shone in their faces, with the reflexion of the shining sun upon them; they clashed against each other, as if they were clapping their hands; and dashed with such force against the land, that they beat and broke down the rocks on the sea shore.

47. The raging sea with his billowy arms, grasped the earth and stone, as foolish men do in their anger; and devoured them in his hollow cell with a gurgling noise, as fools swallow their false hopes with vain bawling.

48. The all destroying fire with a hoarse sound, melted down the rivers with their banks, and the regents of the sphere fell before the geysers.

49. The ten sides of the compass, were out of order and confounded together; and all the mountains were reduced to the form of liquid gold (fire), with their woods and abodes and caves and caverns.

50. By degrees the prodigious mountain Meru, was dissolved to snow by the heat of fire; and soon after the great mount of Himalaya, was melted down as lac-dye by the same fire.

51. All things were cold and pinched in themselves, as good people are thawed by the awe of the wicked; except the Malaya mountain, which yielded its fragrance even in that state (of its tribulation).

52. The noble minded man never forsakes his nobleness, though he is exposed to troubles; because the great never afflict another, though they are deprived of their own joy and happiness.

53. Burn the sandal wood, yet it will diffuse its fragrance to all living beings; because the intrinsic nature of a thing, is never lost or changed into another state.

54. Gold is never consumed nor disfigured, though it is burnt in the fire of a conflagration; thus there are two things, namely, aura and vacuum, that cannot be consumed by the all destroying fire.

55. Those bodies are above all praise, which do not perish at the perdition of all others; such as the vacuum is indestructible on account of its omnipresence, and gold is not subject to any loss owing to its purity.

56. The property of goodness (sattwa) alone is true happiness, and neither rajas nor ostentation or passion. Then the fiery clouds moved aloft as a moving forest, ashed showers of vivid flame.

57. Mountainous clouds of fire, accompanied with flame and fume, poured liquid fire around; and burnt away all bodies, already dried up by heat and for want of water.

58. The dried leaves of trees ascending high in the air, were burnt away by the flame instead of the rain of heavy clouds. (Now the clouds were heavy with fire, and not with rain water).

59. The ambient and gorgeous flame passed by the Kailasa mountain without touching it, knowing it to be the seat of the dread God Siva; in the manner of wise men, flying from the mud and mire of sin (knowing it to be attended with their perdition).

60. Then the God Rudra growing furious, at the final destruction of the world, darted the direful flame of his igneous eyes, and burnt down the sturdy arbours and robust rocks to ashes, with their stunning cracklings.

61. The hills at the foot of mountains, being crowned with flames of fire, moved forward as it were, to fight against the fire, with their stones and clubs of the clumps of trees.

62. The sky became as a bed of full blown lotuses, and creation became a mere name as that of Agastya, that departed and disappeared for ever from sight.

63. The suffering idiot on remembering into his mind the Kalpanta, took the world to be at an end; as the fire consumes all objects like the unreality of the world.

64. The falling thunderbolts pierced all bodies, and the glittering flames inflamed all the trees and plants; the winds too blew with fiery heat, and scorched the bodies of even the gods, and singed all things on every side.

65. Here the wild fire was raging loose among the arbours in the forest, and there were clouds of hot ashes flying in the air; and smoky mists emitting red hot embers and fiery sparks. Again darkness was rising upward with faggot of fire falling from amidst them, and gusts of wind blew with speed and force, to befriend the destructive fire. (The air enkindled and spread the wild fire all about).