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 LXXXI - Description of the last night of death or general doom

Argument:—Rudra dancing as Bhairava on the last day, in company with his shadow the last night.

Vasishtha related:—

I beheld afterwards, O Rama! the same Rudra standing in the same firmament, and dancing with a hideous form in the same part of the sky.

2. This body then became as big as to fill the whole atmosphere, and as deep and dark black as to cover the ten sides of the sky, under the shadow of its sable appearance.

3. Its three eye-balls flashed with the flaming lights of the sun, moon and fire; and the body which was as black as the fumes of a dark flame, was as mute as the ten sides of the naked sky.

4. The eyes were blazing with the flame of the submarine fire, and the arms were as ponderous as the huge surges of the sea; and the blue body, seemed as the consolidated form of waters rising from the blue universal ocean.

5. As I was looking upon this enormous body, I saw a form like that of its shadow rising from it; and jumping about in the manner of dancing.

6. I was thinking in my mind, as to how could this appear in this dark and dreary night; when the heavens were hid under darkness, and there was no luminary shining in the sky (to cause the shadow).

7. As I was reflecting in this manner, I beheld on the foreground of that etherial stage, the stalwart phantom of a dark dingy female with three eyes, prancing and dancing and glancing all about.

8. She was of a large and lean stature, and of a dark black complexion; with her flaming eye-balls burning as fire, and girt with wild flowers all over her body.

9. She was as inky black as pasted pitch, and as dark as the darkest night or Erebus; and with her body of darkness visible, she appeared as the image of primeval night.

10. With her horrid and wide open jaws, she seemed to view the spacious vacuum of air; and with her long legs and outstretched arms, she appeared to measure the depth and breadth of open space on all sides.

11. Her frame was as faint as [if] it was reduced by long enduring fast, and it stooped lower and lower as if pressed down by hunger; it was wavering to and fro, as a body of sable clouds is driven backward and forward by the driving winds.

12. Her stature was so lean and long, that it could not stand by itself;and was supported like a skeleton, by the ligaments of the ribs, and ligatures of arteries, which uphold it fast from falling.

13. In a word her stature was so tall and towering, that it was by my diurnal journey in the upper and lower skies, that I came to see the top of her head, and the base of her feet.

14. After this I beheld her body, as a bush of tangling thickets and thistles, by the complicate ligatures of the tendons and arteries, which fastened all its members together.

15. She was wrapped in vests of various hues, and her head was decked by the luminaries belike her head-dress of lotus flowers. She was beset by the pure light of heaven, and her robe flashed as fire, enflamed by the breath of winds.

16. The lobes of her long ears, were adorned with rings of snakes, and pendents of human skulls; her knee bones were as prominent as two dried gourd shells, and her two dark dugs hung down loosely upon her breast.

17. The braid of hair on the top of her head, was adorned with feathers of male and young peacocks; and defied the crowned head of the lord of Gods (i.e. Indra), and the circlet of his discus (Khattanga).

18. Her moon-like teeth, cast their lustre like moon beams; and it glistened amidst the dark ocean of chaotic night, as the moon beams play upon the surface, and rising waves of the dark blue deep.

19. Her long stature rose as a large tree in the sky, and her two knee pans resembled two dry gourds growing upon it; and these clattered like the rustling of a tree by the breeze, as she turned about in the air.

20. And as she danced about in the air, with her sombre arms lifted on high; they resembled the rising of the waves of dark ocean of eternity. (The words Kala and Kali—implying both the black goddess and dark eternity).

21. Now she lifts one arm and then many more, and at last she displays her countless hands; to play her part in the playhouse of the universe.

22. Now she shows but one face and then another, and afterwards many more ad infinitum; in order to represent her various and infinite parts, in the vast theatre of the world.

23. Now she dances on one foot, and instantly on both her feet; she stands on a hundred legs in one moment, and on her numberless feet at another.

24. I understood this person to be the figure of chaotic, and the same which the wise have ascertained as the goddess known under the designation of Kali or eternal night. Or I presently recognized her as the figure of kala-ratri or dark night; which the wise have ascertained to be the image of dark eternity, as designated as the goddess Kali—Hecate or chaotic night. (But Kali as in Greek, means sundari or fair and beautiful also).

25. The sockets of her triple eyes flashed with a flame, like that of the furnace of a fire engine; and her forest was as glaring and flaring, as the burning Indra-nila mountain.

26. Her cheek-bones were as frightful as two high hills, projecting over her hideous open mouth; appearing as a mountain cavern, and capable of ingulfing the whole world in it. (Hence Kali the type of time, is said to be the devourer of all things, and restorer of them in unconscious womb).

27. Her shoulder-blades were as high as two mountain peaks, piercing the starry frame;where they were decorated by the clusters of stars, as with strings of pearls.

28. She danced with her outstretched arms, resembling the waving branches of trees; and displayed the brightness of her nails, like that of blooming blossoms upon them; or as so many full moons shining under the azure sky.

29. As she turned and tossed her sable hands on every side, she seemed as a dark cloud moving about in the sky; and the lustre of her nails, appeared to shed the splendour of stars all around.

30. The face of the sky resembled a forest ground, occupied by the black arbours of her two sable arms; and her outstretched fingers resembling the twigs of the trees, were covered over by the blossoms of their pearly nails, which waved as flowers in azure sky.

31. With her legs taller than the tallest tala and tamala trees, she stalked over the burning earth, and put to shame the largest trees that grew upon it (and kept burning without being able to move).

32. The long and flowing hairs on her head, reached to and spread over the skies; and seemed about to form black vestures for the dark elephantine clouds, moving about in the empty air.

33. She breathed from her nostrils a rapid gale of wind, which bore the mountains aloft in the air; and blew great gales in the sky; resounding with loud repeals from all sides of its boundless spheres.

34. The breath of her nostrils and mouth, blew in unison all about the circle of the universe; and kept the great sphere in its constant rotation, as it were in its enharmonic progression.

35. I then came to perceive, as I looked on her with attention, that her stature was enlarging with her dancing, till at last I found it to fill the whole space of the air and sky.

36. And as long I continued to behold her in her dancing state, I saw the great mountains pendant all about her body, as if they were a string of jewels around her person.

37. The dark diluvian clouds formed a sable garb about her body, and the phenomena of the three worlds appeared as the various decorations, that adorned her person.

38. The Himalaya and Sumeru mountains, were as her two silver and golden ear-rings, and the rolling worlds, resembled the ringing trinkets and belts about her waist.

39. The ranges of boundary mountains, were as chains and wreaths of flower upon her person; and the cities and towns and villages and islands, were as the leaves of trees scattered about her.

40. All the cities and towns of the earth, appeared as adornments on her person; and all the three worlds and their seasons and divisions of time, were as ornaments and garments upon her body.

41. She had the streams of holy rivers of Ganga and Yamuna, hanging down as strings of pearls from the ears of her other heads. So the virtues and vices (recorded in the srutis), formed decorations of her ears also.

42. The four vedas were her four breasts, which exuded with the sweet milk (of religion) in the manner of her sweat; and the doctrines of other sastras, flowed as milk from their nipples.

43. The armour and arms, and the various weapons as the sword and the shield, the spear and the mallet, which she bore on her body; decorated her person as with wreaths of flowers.

44. The Gods and all the fourteen kinds of animal beings, were all situated as lines of hair on her person, in her form of animated nature itself.

45. The cities and villages and hills, which were situated on her person; all joined in their merry dance with herself, in the expectation of their resurrection, in the same forms again.

46. The unstable moving creation also, which rested in her, appeared to me as if they were situated in the next world, and dancing with joy in the hope of their revivification. (The living that are dead and buried in the chaotic Kali, are to be revivified to life again).

47. The chaotic Kali, having devoured and assimilated the world in herself; dances with joy like the peacock, after gorging a snake in its belly, and at the appearance of a dark cloud.

48. The world continues to remain and exhibit its real form, in her wide extended figure; as the shadow of a thing is seen in a mirror, and the situations of countries are shown in a map.

49. I saw her sometimes to stand still, with the whole world and all its forests and mountains; to be moving and dancing in her person; and all forms to be repeatedly reduced in and produced from her.

50. I beheld the harmonious oscillation of the whole, in the mirror of that person; and I saw the repeated rising and setting of the world in that circle, without its utter extinction.

51. I marked the revolution of the stars, and the rising of mountains within its circumference, and I observed the throngs of gods and demigods, to assemble and disperse on her in time, as flights of gnats and flies, are driven to and fro by the winds in open air.

52. All these heavenly bodies and these islands in the ocean, are moving around her, like the flying wheels of a broken war-car; and they whirl up and down about her, like the rocks and woods in a whirlpool.

53. She is clad in the robes of the blue clouds, which are furled and folded by the breezes of air; and the cracking of wood and bones under feet, answer the sound of her foot-steps and anklets below.

54. The world is filled with the noise of the concussion and separation of its objects, and the tumult of worldly people; appearing as passing shadows in a mirror, or as the entrance and exits of actors in a play on the stage.

55. The high-headed Meru and the long armed (ranged) boundary mountains, seem to be dancing about her in their representations in the moving clouds; and the forest trees seen in the clouds, seem to perform their circuitous dance all around.

56. The high-swelling seas were heaving their waves to heaven, bearing with them the uprooted woods of the coasts on high, and again hurling them down, and sinking them in the waters below.

57. The cities were seen to be rolling with a tremendous noise in the waters below, and no relics of houses and towers and the habitations of human kind, were found to be left beneath.

58. As the chaotic night (kala-ratri) was thus roving at random, the sun and moon with their light and shade, found shelter in the tops of her nails, where they sparkled as threads of gold. (i.e. The flash of her nails, afforded the only light amidst the universe of gloom).

59. She was clad in the blue mantle of the clouds, and adorned with necklaces of frost and icicles; and the worlds hang about her, like the trickling dewdrops of her perspiration.

60. The blue sky formed her covering veil about her head, the infernal region her footstool, the earth her bowels, and the several sides (or points of the compass) were so many arms on her.

61. The seas and their islands, formed the cavities and pimples in her person; the hills and rocks made her rib bones, and the winds of heaven were her vital airs.

62. As she continues in her dancing, the huge mountains and rocks swing and reel about her gigantic body, as her attendant satellites.

63. The mountain trees turning around her, appear to weave chaplets and dance about, in congratulation of her commencing a new cycle or kalpa.

64. The gods and demigods, the hairless serpents and worms, and all hairy bodies; are all but component parts of her body; and being unable to remain quiescent while she is in motion, are all turning round with her.

65. She weaves the three fold cord of the sacred thread—trivrit, consisting of acts, sacrifices and knowledge, which she proclaims aloud in the thundering voice of the triple vedas.

66. Before her (i.e. in the infinite space), there is no heaven

or earth (i.e. up or down); but the one becomes the other, by its constant rotation like the wheel of a vehicle.

67. Her wide open nostrils constantly breathe out hoarse currents of her breath, which give rise to the winds of air, and their loud sufflation and whistling.

68. Her hundred fold arms revolving in all the four directions, give the sky the appearance of a forest; filled with the tall heads of trees and their branches, shaken by a furious tornado in the air.

69. At last my steady eye-sight grew tired, with viewing the varieties of productions from her body; and their motions and movements, resembling the manners of an army in warfare.

70. Mountains were seen to be rolling as by an engine, and the cities of the celestials falling downward; and all these appearances were observed to take place in the mirror of her person.

71. The Meru mountains were torn and borne away as branches of trees, and the Malayas were tossed about as flying leaves; the Himalayas fell down as dewdrops, and all earthly things are scattered as straws.

72. The hills and rocks fled away, and the Vindhyas flew as aerials in the air; the woods rolled in the whirlpools, and the stars floated in the sea of heaven, as swans and geese in the lakes below.

73. Islands floated as straws in the ocean of her body, and the seas were worn as circlet on it; the abodes of the gods were like lotus-flowers, blooming in the large lake of her person.

74. As we see the images of cities in our dream, and in the darkness of night, as clearly we behold them in the fair sky light; so I beheld all things in her dark body, as vividly as they shone in broad sunlight.

75. All things though immovable, as the mountains and seas and arbours;appear to be moving in and dancing about in her person.

76. So the wandering worlds are dancing about in the great circle of her spacious body, as if they were mere straws in the vast ocean of creation. Thus the sea rolls on the mountain, and the high hills pierces the hollow of the heaven above. This heaven also with its sun and moon, are turning below the earth; and the earth with all its islands and mountains, cities, forests and flowery gardens; is dancing in heaven round about the sun. (Describing the harmonious dance of the planetary spheres in empty air).

77. The mountains are wandering (with the earth), amidst the surrounding sky; and the sea passes beyond the horizon (with the rotation of the earth); and so the cities and all human habitations, traverse through other skies; and so also the rivers and lakes pass through other regions, as objects reflecting themselves in different mirrors, and as swiftly as the leaf of a tree torn by a tempest, is hurled on and borne afar to distant parts.

78. Fishes skim in the desert air (or etherial desert), as they swim in the watery plain; and cities are situated in empty air, as firmly as they are fixed on solid earth. The waters are raised to heaven by the clouds, which are again driven back by the winds, to pour their waters on mountain tops.

79. The groups of stars are wandering about, like lustres of a thousand lamps lighted in the sky; they seem to shed gems with their rays as they roll, or scatter flowers from all sides on the heads of gods and aerial beings.

80. Creations and destructions accompany her, as fleeting days and nights, or as jewels of brilliant and black gems on her person. They are as the two fortnights resembling her white and black wings on either side.

81. The sun and moon are the two bright gems on her person, and the clusters of stars form her necklaces of lesser gems; the clear firmament is her white apparel, and the flashes of lightnings form the brocaded fringes of her garment.

82. As she dances in her giddy dance of destruction, she huddles the worlds under her feet as her anklets, raising thereby a jingling sound as that of her trinkets.

83. In her warfare with the jarring elements, rolling on like waves of the ocean, and darkening the daylight as by the waving swords of warriors, she listens to the tumult of all the worlds and their peoples.

84. The gods Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, together with the regents of sun and moon and fire, and all other gods and demigods, that shine in their respective offices;are all made to fly before like a flight of gnats, and with the velocity of lightning.

85. Her body is a congeries of conflicting elements and contrary principles, and creation and destruction, existence and non-existence, happiness and misery, life and death, and all injunctions and prohibitions (i.e. the mandatory and prohibitory laws, do all abide conjointly and yet separately in her person).

86. The various states of production and existence, and continuance of action and motion, and their cessation which appear to take place in her body, as in those of all corporeal beings, together with the revolution of the earth and all other worlds in empty air; are all but false delusions of our minds, as there is nothing in reality except a boundless vacuity.

87. Life and death, peace and trouble, joy and sorrow, war and truce, anger and fear, envy and enmity, faith and distrust and all other opposite feelings; are concomitants with this worldly life, and they dwell together in the same person, as the various gems stored in a chest.

88. The intellectual sphere of her body, teems with notions of multifarious worlds; which appear as phantoms in the open air, or as fallacies of vision to the dim sighted man.

89. Whether the world is quiescent in the intellect, or a passing phenomenon of outward vision; it appears both as stable as well as moving, like the reflexion of objects in a standing or shaking mirror.

90. All worldly objects are as fluctuating, as the changing shows in a magic play; they forsake their forms and assume others as quickly, as the fickle desires of whimsical boys are ever shifting from one object to another.

91. It is the combination of causal powers, which cause the production of bodies; and it is their separation which effects their dissolution; as it is the accumulation of grains, which makes a granary, and their abstraction which tends to its disappearance.

92. The Goddess now appears in one form, and then in another; she becomes now as small as the thumb finger, and in a moment fills the sky (with the bigness of her body).

93. That goddess is all in all, she is changed through every thing in world, and is the cosmos itself and the power of the intellect also; she fills the whole concavity of the sky with her form of pure vacuity.

94. She is the intellect, which embraces all, whatever is contained in the three worlds and in all the three times (of the past, present, and future). It is she that expands the worlds which are contained in her, as a painter draws out the figures which are pictured in [the] receptacle of his mind.

95. She is the all comprehensive and plastic nature or form of all things; and being one with the intellectual spirit, she is equally as calm and quiet as the other. Being thus uniform in her nature, she is varied to endless forms in the twinkling of her eye.

96. All these visibles appear in her, as marks of lotuses and carved figures are seen in a hollow stone (or in the perforated saligram stones of gunduk). Her body is the hollow sphere of heaven, and her mind is full of all forms, appearing as waves in the depth of sea, or as the sights of things in the bosom of a crystal stone (as reflected in it by the Divine Intellect).

97. The very furious goddess Bhairavi—the consort of the dread god Bhairava—the lord of destruction, was thus dancing about with her fierce forms filling the whole firmament.

98. On one side the earth was burning with the fire, issuing from the eye on the fore-head of all destroying Rudra; and on the other was his consort Rudrani, dancing like a forest blown away by a hurricane.

99. She was armed more over with many other weapons, (beside those that are mentioned before); such as a spade, a mortar and pestle, a mallet, a mace &c.; which adorned her body as a garland of flowers.

100. In this manner, she danced and scattered the flowers of her garlands on all sides; in her acts of destructions and recreation (as preliminaries on one another).

101. She hailed the god Bhairava—the regent of the skies, who joined her in dancing with his form as big and high as hers.

102. May the god Bhairava, with his associate Goddess of kalaratri or chaotic night, preserve you all in their act of heroic dance, with the beating of high sounding drums, and the blowing of their buffalo horn, as they drunk their bowls of blood and are adorned with wreaths of flowers, hanging down from their heads to the breasts.