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 XCIII - The advent and psalmody of a siddha

Summary: The advent and psalmody of a Siddha in the aerial abode of Vasishtha.

Argument:—The appearance of the spirit of a siddha in the aerial cell of Vasishtha, and his heavenly canticle.

Vasishtha continued:—

As my mind was turned from the sight of phenomenals, and employed in the meditation of the only One; I found myself to be suddenly transported to my holy cell in the air.

2. There I lost the sight of my own body, and knew not where I was seated; when all of a sudden the sacred person of a siddha or aerial saint, appeared in view, and to be seated before me.

3. He sat in his mood of deep meditation, and was entranced in his thought of the supreme spirit; his appearance was as bright as the sun, and his person was as shining as the flaming fire.

4. He sat quiet and steadily in his posture of padmasana between his two knees and heels; and remained absorbed in meditation, having no motion of his body, nor any thought of anything in his mind.

5. His body was besmeared with ashes, and his head was borne erect upon his shoulders; he sat quiet and quite at ease, with his bright countenance and in [a] sedate posture.

6. The palms of both his hands were lifted up, and were set open below his navel; and their brightness caused his lotiform heart to be as full-blown, as the sun-beam expands the lotuses in lakes.

7. His eyelids were closed, and his eyesight was as weak, as to view all the visibles in one light of whiteness, and they seemed to be as sleepy, as the closing petals of the lotus of the close of the day.

8. His mind was as calm in all its closets (i.e. thoughts), as the sides of the horizon in their stillness; and his soul was as

unperturbed, as the serene sky freed from a tempest (calm after storm).

9. I who did not see my own person, could yet plainly perceive that of the saint thus placed before me; and then I reflected in my mind, with the perspicacity of my discernment.

10. I find this great and perfect siddha or saint in this solitary part of the firmament;and I believe him to be as absorbed in his meditation, as I am at my ease in this lonely spot.

11. It is very likely that this saint, being earnest in his desire of deep meditation, and finding this retired cell of mine most favourable to it, has called here of his own accord.

12. He thought I had cast off my mortal coil, and could not perceive by his deep attention that I had returned to it; so he threw away my dead body as he thought it, and made his residence in that cell of mine.

13. Seeing thus the loss of my body here, I thought of repairing to my own abode (in the constellation of Pleiades [Sanskrit: Saptarshi mandalam]) and as I was attempting to proceed thereto, I resigned my attachment to my lone cell (which was now held by another).

14. This cell was dilapidated also in time, and there remained an empty void only in lieu of it; and the saint that had taken my place therein, lost his stay also for want of the cell, and fell downward in his meditative mood.

15. Thus that lonely cell was lost to me, together with the loss of my fond desire for it, just as a visionary and imaginary city vanishes with the dream and desire, which presented it to our view.

16. The meditative saint then fell down from it, as the rain falls down from the cloud; and as a spot of cloud is blown away to the winds in empty air, like the disc of the moon traversing in the sky.

17. He felt as a heavenly spirit falling to earth, after fruition of the reward of his meritorious acts; and as a tree falls headlong being uprooted from the ground, so he fell down upon the earth.

18. So when [we] wish for stability of our dwelling, with the continuance of our lives; we see on a sudden the termination of both, as it happened to the falling Siddha.

19. Seeing the falling Siddha, I felt a kind concern for him; and in the flight of my mind, came down from heaven in my spiritual form, to that spot on earth where he had fallen.

20. He fell on the wings of the current air, which conveyed him whirling as in a whirlwind, beyond the limits of the seven continents and their seven-fold oceans, to a place known as the land of gold and the paradise of the gods.

21. He fell from the sky in his very posture of padmasana as he had been sitting there before; and sat with his head and upper part of the body erect, owing to the ascension or upward motion of the prana and apana breaths that were inhaled by him. (The rising breath like the rope of a pitcher, keeps the body from sinking downward).

22. Though hurled from such height, and carried to such distance; yet he did not wake from the torpor of his samadhi—meditation, (to which he sat fixed and intent); but fell down insensible as a stone, and as lightly as a bale of cotton.

23. I was then much concerned for his sake, and from my great anxiety to waken him; I roared aloud like a cloud from my place in the sky, and showered a flood of rain-water also upon him.

24. I went on darting hail stones, and flashing as lightnings in order to waken him; and I succeeded to bring him to sense, as the clouds rouse the peacock in the rainy season.

25. His body flushed and his eyes opened, as a blooming blossom and full blown flowers; and the drizzling rains enlivened his soul, as the driving rain, gives the lotuses of lakes to bloom.

26. Finding him awake, and seated in my presence, I cast my complacent look upon him; and asked him very politely, about the prosperity of his spiritual concerns.

27. I said, tell me, O great sage, who you are, and where is your abode, and what to do; and how is it that you are so insensible of your state, notwithstanding your fall from so great a distance. (It is a pity that men are so insensible of the fall of their heavenly souls to this miserable earth).

28. Being addressed by me in this manner, he looked steadfastly upon me, and then remembering his visit at mine, he replied to me in a voice, as sweet as that of the chataka—swallow to the sonorous clouds.

29. The sagely siddha said:—you sir, shall have to wait awhile until I can recollect myself and my former state; and then I will relate to you the latter incidents of my life.

30. So saying he fell to the recollection of his past incidents, and then having got them in his remembrance, he related the particulars to me without any reserve, and as if they were the occurrence of his present day.

31. He then spoke to me in a voice, as soft and cooling as the sandal paste and moonbeams; and the words were as blameless and well spoken, as they were pleased to my ears and ravishing of my soul.

32. The siddha said:—I now come to know you sir, and greet you with reverence; and beg you to pardon my intrusion upon you, as it is the nature of the good to forgive the faults of others. (Because to err is human, to forgive divine).

33. Know me, O sage, to have long enjoyed (in one of my former births), the sweets of the garden of paradise in the form of butterfly; as a bee sucks the honey of lotus-flowers in the lake.

34. I fluttered over a running stream, and found it swelling with sounding waves at pleasure; and then seeing it whirling with its horrid whirlpools, I began to reflect with sorrow in my mind (in the following manner).

35. Such is the sight of the troubles in this ocean of the world, which overwhelms me quite in sorrow and grief; and I have become like a parching and plaintive swallow, that wails aloud at a draught of rain water.

36. I find my chief delight to consist in intelligence, and perceive no pleasure in worldly enjoyments, therefore I must rely only in my intellectual speculations, and abide without any anxiety, in the unclouded sphere of my spiritual felicity.

37. I see there is no real pleasure here, but what is derived from our sensations of the sensible objects (of figure, sound, taste, touch and smell); I find no lasting delight in these, that I should depend on them.

38. All this is either the vacuity of the intellect, or representations of the intellect itself; when then should I be deluded with these false appearances, as a madman or one of a deluded mind is apt to do.

39. The sensibles are causes of our insensibility as poison, and women are deluders of men and provokers of their passions; all sweets are but gall, and all pleasures are only a sort of pleasing pain.

40. And this body which is subject to sickness and decay, with its mind as fickle as a shrimp fish, is hourly watched upon by inexorable death, as the old crane lurks after the skimming fish for his prey.

41. The frail body being subject to instant extinction, likens a bubble of water in the ocean of eternity; it resembles also the flame of lamp, which is put out in a moment, while it burns vividly before us.

42. What is the life any more than a stream of water, running between its two shores of birth and death; flowing on with the currents of passing joys and griefs, swelling with the waves of incidents, and whirling with the whirlpools of dangers and difficulties?

43. It is muddied with the pleasures of youth, and blanched with the hoary froths of old age; and emits but casually a few bursting bubbles of glee and gladness, which are afloat for and flitting in a moment.

44. It runs with the rapid torrent of custom, sounding with the hoarse noise of current opinions; it is overcast by the roaring clouds of envy and anger, and overflows the earth in its liquid form (of evanescent bodies).

45. The word stream of life, is as pleasing to hear and pleasant to the ear, as the term stream of water is soothing to the soul; but its waters are ever boiling with heat of tritapa, and abounding with whirlpools of illusion and avarice, that carry us up and down for ever more.

46. The course of the world is as that of the waters of a river, which bears away the present things on its back, and brings with its current, what was unforeseen and unexpected before. It is thus full with these events.

47. All that was present before us, is lost to and borne away from us, and it is in vain to repine at their loss; and whatever was never thought of before, come to pass upon us, but what reliance can there be in any one of them.

48. All the rivers on earth, have their waters continually passing away, and filling them by turns from their sources; but life which the water of the river of the body, being once gone, is never supplied to it from any source.

49. The vicissitudes of fortune, are incessantly turning like a potter's wheel, over the destinies of people, and are entailing some person or other every moment, in this ocean of the world.

50. A thousand thieves and enemies of our estate, are constantly wandering about to rob us of our properties, and nothing avails whether we sleep or wake to ward them off.

51. The particles of our lives, are wasting and falling off every moment; and yet it is a wonder that, nobody is aware of the loss of the days of his life, as long as he has but a little while to live.

52. The present day is reckoned as ours, but it is as soon passed as the past ones; and thus ignorant of the flight of days, nobody knows the loss of the duration of his life, until he comes to meet with his death.

53. We have lived long to eat and drink, and to move about from place to place, and to rove in foreign lands and woods; we have felt and seen all sorts of weal and woe; say what more is there that we can expect to have for our share.

54. Having well known the pain and pleasure of grief and joy, and experienced their changes and the reverses of fortune, I am fully imprest with the idea of the transitoriness of all things, and therefore kept afar from seeking any thing.

55. I have enjoyed all enjoyments, and seen their transitoriness every where; and yet I found no satisfaction with or distaste to anything, nor felt my cool inappetency for them any where.

56. I wandered on the tops of high hills, and roved in the airy regions on the summits of the Meru mountains; I travelled to the cities of many a ruler of men, but met with nothing of any real good to me any where.

57. I saw the same woody trees, the same kind of earthly cities, and the same sort of fleshy animal bodies every where; I found them all frail and transitory, and full of pain and misery as never to be liked.

58. I saw no riches nor friends, no relatives nor enjoyments of life, were able to preserve any one from the clutches of death.

59. Man passes away as soon, as the rain-water glides down the mountain glades; and is carried away by the hand of death as quickly, as a heap of hollow ashes is blown away by the wind.

60. No enjoyment is desirable to me, nor has the gaudiness of prosperity any charm for me; when I find my life to be as transient, as the transitory glance from the side long look of an amorous woman.

61. How and where and whose help shall we seek, when O sage; we see a hundred evils and imminent death hanging every day over our heads. (i.e. Naught can save us from death and distress).

62. Our lives are as frail as falling leaves, upon the withered woods of our bodies; and the moisture which they used to derive from them, is soon dried up and exhausted at the end.

63. I passed my life in vain desires and expectations, and derived nothing therefrom, that is of any intrinsic good or profit to me.

64. My delusion is at last removed from me, and I see it useless to bear the burthen of my body here any longer; I find it better to place no reliance in it, than bemean ourselves by our dependence to it.

65. All prosperity is but adversity, owing to its transitory and illusive nature; therefore the wise accounting it as such, place no reliance on the vanities of this world.

66. Men are sometimes led by the directions of the sastras, and at other by their prohibitions also; as the movables are carried up and by the rising and falling waters (i.e. running in right or wrong directions).

67. The poisonous air of worldliness, contaminates the sweet odour of reason in the mind of man; and makes it noxious to the person, as the canker in the bosom of the bud, corrodes the future flowers.

68. The vanities of the world, are as usually taken for realities, as all other unrealities in nature are commonly taken for actualities. (The world is unreal, and all seeming realities are unreal also).

69. Men are moving about with their bodies upon earth, with as much haste as the rivers are running to the seas; thus the great mass of mankind here, are seen to be in pursuit of the sensible objects of their desire.

70. The desires of our hearts run to their objects, with as much speed as the arrow's fly from the archer's bow; but they never return to their seat in the heart or bow string, as our ungrateful friends that forsake us in our adversity.

71. Our friends are our enemies, as the blasts of wind that blow us away with their breath; all our relations are our bonds and fetters, and our riches are but causes of our poverty.

72. Our pleasures are (causes of) our pains, and prosperity the source of adversity; all enjoyments are sufferings (as leading to maladies), and all fondness tends at last to distaste and dislike.

73. All prosperity and adversity, tend only to our temporary joy and misery; and our life is but a prologue or prelude to our extinction or quietus (nirvana). All these are the display of our unavoidable delusion.

74. As time glides along on any man, shewing him the various sights of joy and misery; the poor creature lives only to see the loss of his friends, and to repine at his hapless and helpless longevity.

75. The enjoyment of pleasures, is as playing with the fangs of a deadly serpent; they kill you no sooner you touch them, and they disappear from your sight, whenever you look after them.

76. The life is spent without any attempt, to attain that perfect state, which is obtained without any pain or toil; while it is employed every day in hardships of acquiring the perishable trifling [pleasures].

77. Men who are bound to their desire of carnal enjoyment, are exposed to shame and the contumely of the rich every moment; and are as wild elephants, tied with strong fetters at their feet.

78. Our fortunes and favourites, are not only as frail and fickle, as the transitory waves and bubbles; but they are as pernicious as the fangs of a snake; and who is there so silly enough, as to take his rest under the shadow of the hood of enraged serpent.

79. Granting the objects of desire to be pleasing, and the gifts of prosperity to be very charming; still what are they and this life also any more, than the fickle glances of a mistress' eyes.

80. Those who enjoy the pleasures of the present time with so much zest;must come to feel them quite insipid at the end, and fall into the hell-pit at last.

81. I take no delight in riches, which are worshipped by the vulgar only; which are ever subject to disputes, earned with labour, kept with great care, and are yet as unstable as the winged winds in air.

82. Fortune which is so favourable for a while, turns to misfortune in a trice; she is very charming to her possessor, but is as fickle in her nature, as the fleeting flash of lightning.

83. Riches like flatterers, are very flattering at first and as long as they last; but they are as fleeting as those deceitful cheats, who mock at us upon their loss.

84. The blessings of health, wealth and youth, are as evanescent as the fleeting shadow of autumnal clouds; and the enjoyments of sensual pleasures, are pernicious at the end.

85. Say who has remained the same even among the great, to the end of his journey in this world, the lives of men are as fleeting, as the trickling dew drops at the end of the leaves of trees.

86. Our bodies are decaying in time, and our hairs are turning grey with age, and the teeth are falling off; thus all things are worn out in the world, except our desires, which know no decrease or decay.

87. The carnal enjoyments like wild beasts, come to decay in the forest of the body; but the poison plant of our desire which grows in it, is ever on its increase.

88. Our boyhood passes as quickly as our infancy, and our youth passes as soon as our boyish days; and here there is an equal transience, to be seen in both the comparison and the object compared with.

89. Life melts away as quickly, as the water oozes out of the hold of our palms; and like the current of a river, it never returns to its receptacle.

90. The body also passes away as hurriedly, as a hurricane sweeps in the air; and it vanishes even before our sight of it, like a wave or cloud, or as fast as the flame of a lamp.

91. I have found unpleasantness in what I thought to be very pleasant, and found the unsteadiness of what I believed to be steady; I have known the unreality of what I took to be real, and hence have I become distrustful and disgustful of the world.

92. The ease and rest that attend on the soul, upon the cool indifference of the mind; are never to be obtained in any enjoyment, that the upper or nether worlds, can ever afford to any body.

93. I find the pleasurable objects of my senses, are still alluring me to their trap, as a fruit and flower entices the foolish bee to fall upon them.

94. Now after the lapse of a long time, I am quite released from my selfish egoism; and my mind has become indifferent to the desire of future rewards and heavenly felicity.

95. I have long found my rest in my solitary bliss of vacuity, and have come here as thyself, and met with this etherial cell. (The aerial cell is a creation of the saint's imagination).

96. I came to learn afterwards that this cell belonged to thee; but I never thought that thou shalt ever return to it.

97. I saw there a lifeless body, and thought it to be the frame of a siddha or holy saint, who having quitted his mortal coil, has become extinct in his nirvana.

98. This sir, is my narrative as I have related to you; and am seated here as I am, and you can do unto me as you may like.

99. Until a siddha sees all things in his mind, and considers them well in his clear judgment, he is incapable of seeing the past, present and future in his clairvoyance, even though he be as perfect as the nature of the lotus-born Brahma himself.