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 CIX - Fighting with the invading armies at the gate of the city

Argument:—Adopting ways and means to quell the disturbances of the hostile enemies.

Vasishtha continued:—

In the mean while, the assembled ministers advanced before the king, as the sages of yore resorted to the celestial Indra, being invaded by the Daityas—Titans around.

2. The ministers addressed:—Lord! We have consulted and ascertained, that as the enemy is irresistible by any of the three means (of peace, dissension and bribe or concession); they must be quelled by force or due punishment.

3. When the proffer of amity is of no avail, and the offer of hostages doth also fail; it is useless to propose to them, any other term for a reconciliation.

4. Vile enemies that are base and barbarous, that are of different countries and races, that are great in number and opulence; and those that are acquainted with our weakness and weak parts; are hardly conciliated by terms of peace or subsidy.

5. Now there is no remedy against this insurrection, save by showing our valour to the enemy; wherefore let all our efforts be directed, towards the strengthening of our gates and ramparts.

6. Give orders to our bravos to sally out to the field, and command the people to worship and implore the protection of the gods; and let the generals give the war alarm with loud sounding drums and trumpets.

7. Let the warriors be well armed, and let them rush to the field; and order the soldiers to pour upon the plains in all directions, as the dark deluging clouds inundate the land.

8. Let the outstretched bows rattle in the air, and the bowstrings twang and clang all around; and let the shadows of curved bows, obscure the skies as by the clouds.

9. Let the thrilling bow strings, flash as flickering lightnings in the air, and the loud war whoop of the soldiers, sound as the growling clouds above; let the flying darts and arrows fall as showers of rain, and make the combatants glare, with the sparkling gold rings in their ear.

10. The king said:—Do you all proceed to the battle, and do promptly all what is necessary on this occasion; and I will follow you straight way to the battle field, after finishing my ablution and the adoration of Agni—the fiery god.

11. Notwithstanding the important affairs, which waited on the king; yet he found a moment's respite to bathe, by pouring potfuls of pure Ganga water upon him, in the manner of a grove watered by a showering of rain water.

12. Then having entered his fire temple, he worshipped the holy fire with as much reverence, as it is enjoined in the sastras; and then began to reflect in himself, in the following manner.

13. I have led an untroubled and easy life, passing in pleasure and prosperity; and have kept in security all the subjects of my realm stretching to the sea.

14. I have subdued the surface of the earth, and reduced my enemies under my foot; and have filled the smiling land with plenty, under the bending skies on all sides.

15. My fair fame shines in the sphere of heaven, like the clear and cooling beams of the lunar orb; and the plant of my renown, stretches to the three worlds, like the three branches of Ganga.

16. I have lavished my wealth, to my friends and relatives, and to respectable Brahmans;in the manner, as I have amassed my treasures for myself; and I quenched my thirst with the beverage of the cocoanut fruits, growing on edges of the four oceans. (That is to say:—his realms were [Sanskrit: chaturabdisima] or bounded by the four oceans on all sides).

17. My enemies trembled before me for fear of their lives, and they groaned before me as croaking frogs with their distended pouches, and my rule extended over and marked the mountains, situated in the islands amidst the distant seas.

18. I have roved with bodies of siddhas, over the nine regions beyond the visible horizon; and I have rested on the tops of bordering mountains, like the flying clouds that rest on mountain tops.

19. With my full knowing mind, and my perfection in Divine meditation;I have acquired my dominions entire and unimpaired, by cause of my good will for the public weal. (It means the prince's high attainments in spiritual, intellectual as well as territorial concerns).

20. I have manacled the lawless Rakshasas, in strong chains and fetters; and kept my cares of religious duties, and those of my treasures and personal enjoyments within proper bounds, and without letting them clash with one another.

21. I have passed my life time, in the uninterrupted discharge of those triple duties of mine; and have relished my life with great joy and renown. But now hoary old age hath come upon me, like the snow and frost fallen upon the withered leaf and dried straw.

22. Now hath old age come, and blasted all my pleasures and efforts; and after all, these furious enemies have overpowered upon me, and are eager for warfare.

23. They have poured upon me in vast numbers on all sides, and the victory is doubtful; it is therefore better for me to offer myself as a sacrifice, to the god of this burning fire, which is known to crown its worshipper with victory.

24. I will pluck this head of mine, and make an offering of it to the Fire-god (as a fit fruit to shrine; and say:—O Igneous god, I make here an offering of my head to thee).

25. I give this offering, as I have ever before given my oblations to fire; therefore accept of this also, O god, if thou art pleased with my former offerings.

26. Let the four urns of thy fiery furnace, yield four forms of mine, with brilliant and strong bodies, like that of Narayana, with his mighty arms.

27. Thus will I be enabled, with those four bodies of mine, to meet my enemies on all the four sides; and be invulnerable like thyself, by keeping my thought and sight, ever fixed in thee.

Vasishtha replied:—

28. So saying, the king took hold of a dagger in his hand; and separated the head from his body with one blow of it, as boys tear off a lotus bud from the stalk with their nails. (In many instances, the head is mentioned to be torn off by the nails).

29. As the head became an oblation, to the fire of dusky fumes;the headless trunk of the self-immolated sovereign, sprang and flew also upon the burning furnace.

30. The sacred fire, being fed with the fat and flesh of the royal carcass; yielded forth with four such living bodies, from amidst its burning flames; as it is the nature of the good and great, to make an instantaneous of fourfold, of what they receive in earnest.

31. The king sprang from amidst the fire, in his fourfold forms of his kingly appearance, and these were as luminous with their effulgence, as the radiant body of Narayana, when it rose at first from the formless deep. (The spirit of god rising over the surface of the deep).

32. These four bodies of the king, shone forth with their resplendent lustre; and were adorned with their inborn decorations of the royal crown and other ornaments and weapons. (The fire born form allude to the Agniculas or fiery races of men).

33. They had their armours and coronets on, together with helmets, bracelets and fittings for all and every part of the body; and necklaces and ear-rings hung upon them as they moved along.

34. All the four princes were of equal forms, and of similar shapes and sizes in all the member of their bodies; and were all seated on horse back, like so many Indras riding on their Uchai-srava horses (having their ears pricked up, as in the plight of their heavenward flight).

35. They had their long and capacious quivers, full with arrows of golden shafts; and their ponderous bows and bowstrings, were equally long and strong with the god of war.

36. They rode also on elephants and steeds, and mounted on their war-cars and other vehicles in their warfare; and were alike impregnable by the arms of the enemy, both themselves as well as the vehicles they rode upon.

37. They sprang from the bosom of the sacred fire, as the flames of the submarine fire, rise from amidst the ocean, by being nourished with the oblations that were offered upon it.

38. Their flowery bodies on jewelled horses, made resplendent on all sides as four smiling faces of the moon; and their good figures looked like Hara-Hari, as if they have come out from fire and water.