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 LXXXVI - The convertibility of the world to the supreme spirit

Argument:—The huge body of Rudra, that absorbs the world in it, is at last dissolved in empty air and vacuity.

Vasishtha added:—

1. Hear now Rama, how this whole world resides in the infinite void; and how the airy Rudra which rises from it, is freed from his deluded body, and finds his final rest in it.

2. As I stood looking on upon that block of stone, I beheld the aerial Rudra and the two upper and nether worlds, marked over it (as in a map), and remaining quite at rest.

3. Then in a moment that airy Rudra, beheld the two partitions of the earth and sky within the hollow of vacuum, with his eye balls blazing as the orb of the sun.

4. Then in the twinkling of an eye, and with the breath of his nostrils, he drew the two partitions unto him, and threw them in the horrid abyss of his mouth.

5. Having then devoured both the divisions of the world, as if they were a morsel of bread or paste food to him; he remained alone as air, and one with the universal air or void about him.

6. He then appeared as a piece of cloud, and then as a small stick, and afterwards as little as [a] digit. (A stick is the measure of cubit, and a digit is that of a span).

7. I beheld him afterwards to become transparent as a piece of glass, which at last became as minute as to melt into the air, and vanish altogether from my microscopic sight.

8. Being reduced to an atom, it disappeared at once from view; and like the autumnal cloud became invisible altogether.

9. In this manner did the two valves of heaven (the earth and sky), wholly disappear from my sight; the wonders of which I had erelong been viewing with so much concern and delight.

10. The cosmos being thus devoured as grass by the voracious deer; the firmament was quite cleared of everything, it became as pellucid, calm and quiet as the serene vacuum of Brahma himself.

11. I saw there but one vast expanse of intellectual sky, without any beginning, midst or end of it; and bearing its resemblance to the dreary waste of ultimate dissolution, and a vast desert and desolation.

12. I saw also the images of things drawn upon that stone, as if they were the reflection of the things in a mirror; and then remembering the heavenly nymph and seeing all these scenes, I was lost in amazement.

13. I was amazed as a clown upon his coming to a royal city, to see that stone again clearer far than ever before.

14. This I found to be the body of goddess Kali, in which all the worlds seemed to be inscribed as in a slab of stone; I saw these with my intellectual eyes, far better than they appear to the supernatural sight of deities.

15. I beheld therein every thing that there ever existed in any place, and though it seemed to be situated at a distance from me, yet I recognized it as the very stone (which was represented as the Divine Intellect.)

16. This stone alone is conspicuous to view, and there was nothing of the worlds it contained so perspicuous in it. The stone remained for ever in the same unvaried state, with all the worlds lying concealed in it.

17. It was taintless and clean, and as fair and clear as the evening cloud; I was struck with wonder at the sight, and then fell to my meditation again.

18. I looked to the other side of the stone with my contemplative eye, and found the bustle of the world lying dormant at that place.

19. I beheld fully the great variety of things, as described before; and then I turned my sight to look into another side of it.

20. I saw it abounding with the very many creations and created worlds, accompanied with their tumults and commotions as I observed before; and whatever place I thought of and sought for, I found them all in the same stone.

21. I saw the fair creation, as if it were an ectype cast upon a reflector; and felt a great pleasure to explore into the mountainous source of this stone.

22. I searched in every part of the earth, and traversed through woods and forests; until I passed through every part of the world, as it was exhibited therein.

23. I saw them in my understanding, and not with my visual organs (which are both delusive and incapable of reaching so far); and beheld somewhere the first born Brahma—the lord of creatures.

24. I then beheld his arrangement of the starry frame, and the spheres of the sun and moon; as also the rotations of days and nights, and of the seasons and years; and I saw likewise the surface of the earth, with its population here and there.

25. I saw somewhere the level land, and the great basins of the four oceans elsewhere; I saw some places quite unpeopled and unproductive, and others teeming with Sura and Asura races.

26. Somewhere I saw the assemblage of righteous men, with their manners and conduct as those of the pure golden age; and elsewhere I beheld the company of unrighteous people, following the practices and usages of the corrupt iron age.

27. I saw the forts and cities of the demons in certain places, with fierce and continuous warfares going on all along among them.

28. I saw vast mountainous tracts, without a pit or pool in them any where; and I beheld elsewhere the unfinished creation of the lotus-born Brahma.

29. I saw some lands where men were free from death and decay; and others with moonless nights and bare headed Sivas in them. (The moon being the coronet of Siva's head, it must be bare for want of the moon on it).

30. I saw the milky ocean unchurned, and filled with the dead bodies of gods; and the marine horse and elephant, the Kamadhenu cow, the physician Dhanvantari and the goddess Laxmi; together with the submarine poison and ambrosia, all lying hidden and buried therein.

31. I saw in one place the body of gods, assembled to baffle the attempts of the giants and the devices of their leader Sukra; and the great god Indra in another, entering into the womb of of Deity—the mother of demons, and destroying the unborn brood therein.

32. It was on account of the unfading virtue (or unalterable course) of nature, that the world was brilliant as ever before; unless that some things were placed out of their former order.

33. The ever lasting vedas ever retain their same force and sense, and never did they feel the shock of change, by the revolution of ages or even at the kalpanta dissolution of the world.

34. Sometimes the demons have despoiled, some parts of the heavenly abodes of gods; and sometimes the paradise of Eden (udyana), resounded with the songs of Gandharvas and kinnaras. (Hence some part of the Himalayas, is said to have been the site of the garden of paradise).

35. Sometimes an amity was formed between the gods and giants, and I saw in this manner, the past, present, and future commotions of the world.

36. I then beheld in the person of the great soul of worlds, (i.e. in the face of nature which is the body of God); the meeting of the Pushkara and Avarta clouds together.

37. There was an assemblage of all created things, in peaceful union with one another in one place; and there was a joint concussion, of the gods, and demigods and sovereigns of men, in the one and same person.

38. There was the union of the sunlight and deep darkness in the same place, without their destroying one another; and there were the dark clouds, and their flashing lightnings also in the very place.

39. There were the demons Madhu and Kaitabha, residing together in the same navel-string of Brahma; and there were the infant Brahma and the lotus bud in the same navel of Vishnu.

40. In the ocean of the universal deluge, where Madhava (the divine spirit), floated on the leaf of the bata tree (ficus religiosus); there reigned the chaotic night along with him, and spread its darkness over the face of the deep.

41. There was then but one vast void, wherein all things remained unknown and undefined, as if they lay buried and asleep, in the unconscious womb of a stony grave.

42. Nothing could be known or inferred of anything in existence, but everything seemed to be submerged in deep sleep every where; and the sky was filled by darkness, resembling the wingless crows and unwinged mountains of old.

43. On one side the loud peals of thunder, were breaking down the mountains, and melting them by the fire of the flashing lightnings; and in another, the overflowing waters were sweeping away the earth into the deep.

44. In certain places there were the warfares of the giants, as those of Tripura, Vritra, Andha, and Vali, and in others there were terrible earthquakes, owing to the trepidation of the furious elephant in the regions below. (This elephant is said so be one of the supports of the earth).

45. On one hand the earth was tottering on the thousand hoods on the infernal serpent Vasuki, which trembled with fear at the kalpanta deluge of the world; and on the other the young Rama killing the Raxas, with their leader Ravana (an event which was yet to occur).

46. On one side was Rama foiled by his adversary Ravana; and I saw these wonders, now standing upon my legs on earth, and then lifting my head above the mountain tops.

47. I saw kala-nemi invading the sky one side, where he stationed the demons, by ousting the gods from their heavenly seats.

48. In one place I found the Asuras foiled by the gods, who preserved the people from their terror; and in another the victorious son of PanduArjuna, protecting the world from the oppression of Kauravas, with the aid of lord Vishnu. I saw also the slaughter of millions of men in the Bharatic war.

Rama rejoined:—

49. Tell me sir, how I had been before in another age, and who had been these Pandavas and Kauravas too, that existed before me. (Wheeler in his India dates the Pandavas prior to Rama).

Vasishtha replied:—

50. Rama! all things are destined to revolve and return, over and over again as they had been before. (In the same manner as the impressions in the mind, recur repeatedly to it every where; and the present state of the world, is no more than a reminiscence of the past ones).

51. As a basket is filled repeatedly with grains of the same kind, or mixed sometimes, with some other sorts in it; so the very same thoughts and ideas, with their self-same or other associations, recur repeatedly in our minds.

52. Our ideas occur to us in the shape of their objects, as often as the waters of the sea run in their course, in the form of waves beating upon the banks; and thus our thoughts of ourselves, yourselves and others, frequently revert to our minds.

53. There never comes any thought of anything, whereof we had no previous idea in the mind; and though some of them seem to appear in a different shape, it is simply owing to our misapprehension of them, as the same sea water seems to show the various shapes of its waves.

54. Again there is a delusion, that presents us many appearances which never come to existence; and it is this which shows us an infinite train of things, coming in and passing and disappearing like magic shows (or maya) in this illusive world.

55. The same things and others also of different kinds, appear and reappear unto us in this way (either by our reminiscence of them, or by illusion of our minds).

56. Know all creatures, as drops of water in the ocean of the world; and are composed of the period of their existence, their respective occupations, understanding and knowledge; and accompanied by their friends and properties and other surroundings.

57. All beings are born, with every one of these properties at their very birth; but some possess them in equal or more or less shares, in comparison with others. (That some are and must be greater (or less) than the rest. Pope).

58. But all beings differ in these respects, according to the different bodies in which they are born; and though some are equal to others, in many of these respects, yet they come to vary in them in course of time.

59. Being at last harassed in their different pursuits, all beings attain either to higher or lower states in their destined times;and then being shackled to the prison houses of their bodies, they have to pass through endless varieties of births in various forms. Thus the drops of living beings, have to roll about in the whirlpool of the vast ocean of worldly life, for an indefinite period of time, which no body can gainsay or count.