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 CX - Battle of the wise princes, with the ignorant barbarian

Argument:—Description of the warfare before the city gates, betwixt the Royal armies and the Rude Invaders of the Realm.

Vasishtha continued:—

In the mean time the battle was raging in its full fury, between the royal forces, and the hostile bands that had advanced before the city gates.

2. Here the enemies were plundering the city and villages, and there they set fire to the houses and hamlets; the sky was obscured by clouds of smoke and dust, and the air was filled by loud cries of havoc and wailing on every side.

3. The sun was obscured by the thickening shadow, of the network of arrows spread over the skies; and the disk of the sun now appeared to view: and was then lost to sight the next moment.

4. The burning fire of the incendiaries, set to flame the leaves of the forest trees; and the fire brands of burning wood, were falling as loosely all around, as the iron sleets of arrow breast were hurling through the air.

5. The flame of the blazing fire, added a double lustre, to the burnished and brandishing weapons; and the souls of the great combatants falling in battle, were borne aloft to the regions of Indra, where they were ministered by the heavenly nymphs.

6. The Thundering peals of fierce elephants, excited the bravery of bravados: and missile weapons of various kinds, were flung about in showers.

7. The loud shouts and cries of the combatants, depressed the spirits of dastardly cowards; and the hoary clouds of dust flying in the air, appeared as elephants intercepting the paths of the midway skies.

8. Chieftains eager to die in the field, were roving about with loud shouts; and men were falling in numbers here and there, as if stricken by lightnings in the battle field.

9. Burning houses were falling below, and fiery clouds dropt from above;flying arrows in the form of rocks, were rolling on high; and descending upon and dispatching to death, numbers of soldiers that were ready to die.

10. The galloping horses in the field gave it the appearance of wavy ocean afar; and the crashing of the tusks of fighting elephants, crackled like the clashing clouds in air.

11. The shafts of the arrows of the combatants, filled the forts and its bastion; and the flashing of the same on the top of it, made a glare of fire around.

12. The dashing of one another in passing to and fro, tore their garments into pieces, and the furling of flags in open air and the clashing of shield between combatants made a pat-pat noise all around.

13. The flash of the tusks of elephant, and the crash of weapons dashing on stony rocks, and the loud uproar and clangour of the battlefield, invited the elephants of heaven to join in the fray.

14. The flights of arrows, ran as rivers into the ocean of the sky; and the flying lances, swords and discuses, which were flung into the air, resembled the sharks and alligators, swimming in the etherial sea.

15. The concussion of the armours of the clamorous combatants, and the clashing of the arms in commingled warfare, represented the sounding main beset by islands.

16. The ground was trodden down to a muddy pool, under the feet of the foot soldiers; and the blood issuing out of their bodies from the wounds of the arrows, ran as river carrying down the broken chariots and slain elephants in its rapid course.

17. The flight of the winged shafts, and the falling of the battle axes, resembled the waves of the arrowy sea in the air; and the broken arms of the vanquished, floated as aquatic animals upon it.

18. The sky was set on fire, by the flames issuing forth from the clashing arms; and the celestial regions were filled with the deified souls of departed heroes, now released from the fetters of their wrinkled and decaying frames of earth.

19. Clouds of dingy dust and ashes filled the firmament, with flashes of lightnings flaming as arches amidst them; the missile weapons filled the air, as the tractile arms occupied the surface of the earth.

20. The contending combatants hooted at one another, and broke and cut their weapons in mutual contest; the cars were cleft by clashing at each other, and the chariots were reft by dashing together.

21. Here the headless trunks of the kabandhas (anthropophagi), mingled with the gigantic bodies of the vetala demons, were disastrous on every side; and there the demoniac vetala plucking their hearts for their hearty meal.

22. The bravos were tearing the arteries of the slain, and breaking asunder their arms, heads and thighs; while the uplifted and shaking arms of the Kabandhas, made a moving forest in the air.

23. The demons moving about with their open and jeering mouths, made their maws and jaws as caskets for carrion; and the soldiers passing with their helmets and coronets on, looked fiercely on all around.

24. To kill or die, to slay or to be slain, was the soldier's final glory in the field; as it was their greatest infamy, to be backward in their giving or receiving of wounds.

25. He is the gladdener of death, who dries up the boast of soldiers and chieftains, and drains the flowing ichor of ferocious elephants (i.e. puts an end to them); and one who is entirely bent on destruction.

26. There were loud applauses given to the victory, of unboasting and unrenowned heroes; as there were the great censures, which were poured upon the nameless and dastardly cowards.

27. The rousing of the sleeping virtues of prowess and others, is as glorious to the great and strong; as the laying out of their treasures, for the protection of their protégés.

28. The proboscides of the elephants, were broken in the conflict of elephant riders and charioteers; and oozing of the fragrant fluid of ichor from their front, was altogether at a stop.

29. Elephants left loose by their flying leaders, fell into the lakes, and cried like shrill storks in them; and here they were pursued and overcome by men who inflicted terrible wounds upon them with their hands.

30. In some place the unprotected as well as the uninvaded people, being downtrodden and half dead in their mutual scuffle; fled to and fell at the feet of their king, as the daytime takes its shelter under the shining sun.

31. They being maddened by pride with the force of giddiness, became subject to death (i.e. they called death, to be re-born); as millionaires and traders seek a better place in dread of their life.

32. The red coats of soldiers, and the red flags lifted upon their arms as a wood of trees; spread a rubicund colour all around, like the adoration of the three worlds.

33. White umbrellas, resembling the waves of the Milky ocean, when churned by the Mandara mountain; covered the weapons of the soldiers under them, and made the sky appear as a garden of flowers.

34. The eulogies of song by the bards and Gandharvas, added to the valour of the warriors; and profluent liquor of the tall palma trees (i.e. the toddy juice), infused a vigour to their veins, as that of Baladeva (who fought dead drunk in battle).

35. There was the clashing of arms of the Rakshasas, who fought together in bodies; who were as big as lofty trees, and fed on carcasses, with which they filled their abodes in the caverns of mountains.

36. There was a forest of spears rising to the sky on one side, with the detached heads and arms of the slain attached to them; and there were the flying stones on another, which were flung from the slings of the combatants, and which covered the ground below.

37. There was the clapping of the arms and hands of the champions, resembling the splitting and bursting of great trees; and there was heard also the loud wailing of women, echoing amidst the lofty edifices of the city.

38. The flight of fiery weapons in the air, resembled the flying fire brands on high, with a hissing and whistling sound; and the people betook themselves to flight from these, leaving their homes and treasures all behind.

39. The lookers were flying away, from the flying darts all about, in order to save their heads; just as the timid snakes hide themselves, for fear of the devouring phoenix, darting upon them from the sky.

40. Daring soldiers were grinded under tusks of elephants, as if they were pounded under the jaws of death, or as the grapes are crushed in their pressing mills.

41. The weapons flying in the air, were repelled and broken by the stones, flung by the ballistics; and the shouts of the champions, resounded as the re-echoing yells of elephants, issuing out of the ragged caverns.

42. The hollow sounding caves of mountains, resounded to the loud shouts of warriors; who were ready to expose their dear lives and dearly earned vigour in the battle field.

43. The burning fire of firearms, and the flames of incendiarism flashed on all sides; these and mutual conflicts and chariot fightings, went on unceasingly all around.

44. The battle field was surrounded by the surviving soldiers, who were as stanch hearted as the Mount Kailasa, with the strong god Siva seated therein.

45. The brave men that boldly expose their lives in battle, enjoy a lasting life by their death in warfare, and die in their living state, by their flight from the field. (The text is very curt and says:—The brave live by dying, and die by their living).

46. Big elephants being killed in the battle field, like lotus flowers immerging into the waters of lakes; great champions were seen to stalk over the plains, as towering storks strutted on the banks of lakes.

47. Here showers of stones were falling in torrents, with a whizzing sound; and the showers of arrows, were running with a whistling noise around; and the uproar of warriors were growling in the skies. The flying weapons were hurtling through the air, and the neighing of horses, the cries of elephants and the whirling of chariot wheels, together with the hurling of stones from the height of hills, deafened the ears of men all about.