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...
Argument:—Description of the Discomfiture of the Royal army, and their use of pneumatic arms.
1. [Sanskrit available]
Thus the war waged with the fury of the four elements, in their mutual conflict on the last doomsday of the world;and the forces on all sides, were falling and flying in numbers in and about the battle field.
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The sky was filled with the stridor of the fourfold noise of drums and conch-shells; and the rattling of arrows and clattering of arms on all sides.
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The furious warriors were violently dashing on one another, and their steel armours were clashing against each other, and splitting in twain with clattering noise.
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The files of the royal forces, were broken in the warfare; they fell fainting in the field, and were lopped off as leaves and plants, and mown down as straws and grass.
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At this time the trumpets announced the advance of king, with a peal that filled the quarters of the sky; and the cannons thundered with a treble roar, resounding with uproar of the kapa or doomsday clouds.
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They rent asunder at the same time, the sides of the highest hill and mountains; and split in twain, the rocky shores and banks every where.
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The king then issued forth to all the four sides, in the four fold or four parted form of himself; like the four regents of the four quarters of the sky, or like the four arms of Narayana, stretching to so many sides of heaven.
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Being then followed by his fourfold forces (composed of horse, elephants, war-cars and foot soldiers); he then rushed out of the confines of his city of palaces, and marched to the open fields lying out of the town.
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He saw the thinness of his own army, and the strong armament of his enemies all around; and heard their loud clamour all about, like the wild roar of the surrounding sea.
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Flights of arrows flying thickly through the air, appeared as sharks floating in the sea; and the bodies of elephants, moving in the wide battle field, seemed as the huge waves of the ocean.
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The moving battalions wheeling circular bodies, seemed as the whirling eddies in the sea; and the coursing chariots with their waving flags, appeared as the sailing ships with their unfurled sails.
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The uplifted umbrellas were as the foams of the sea, and the neighing of horses, likened the frothing of whales. The glaring of shining weapons, appeared as the flaring of falling rain under the sunshine.
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The moving elephants and sweeping horses, seemed as the huge surges and swelling waves of the sea; and the dark Dravidian barbarians gabbled, like the gurgling bubbles of sea waters.
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The big elephants with their towering and lowering bodies, seemed as they were mounting on dismounting from the heights of mountains, and breaking their hollow caves, howling with the rustling winds.
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The battle field looked like the vast expanse of water, in which the slain horses and elephants seemed to be swimming as fragments of floating rocks, and where the moving legions, appeared as the rolling waves of the sea.
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The field presented the dismal appearance of an untimely dissolution; appeared as an ocean of blood, stretching to the borders of the visible horizon.
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The fragments of the shining weapons, showed themselves as the sparkling gems in the womb of the sea; and the movement of forces, resembled the casting of ballast stones into it.
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The falling weapons, were as showers of gems and snow from above;and presented the appearance of evening clouds in some place, and of fleecy vapours in another.
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Beholding the ocean like the battalion of the enemy, the king thought of swallowing it up, as the sage Agastya had sucked in the ocean; and with this intent, he remembered his airy instrument, which he thought to employ on this occasion; (and which would disperse the cloud of the hostile force like the wind).
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He got the airy instrument, and aimed it at all sides; as when the god Siva had set the arrow to his bow on Mount Meru, to slay the demon Tripura. (This passage shows the slaughter of Tripura, when the Indo-Aryans had their habitation on Meru or the polar mountains).
He bowed to his god agni said:—
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Ignis, and let fly his mighty missile with all his might; in order to repel the raging fire, and preserve his own forces from destruction.
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He hurled his airy bolt, together with its accompaniment of the cloudy arms; both to drive off as well as to set down the fire of the enemy.
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These arms being propelled from his octuple cross bow, burst forth into a thousand dire weapons, which ran to and filled all the four sides or quarters of the sky.
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Then there issued forth from these, an abundance of darts and arrows; and currents of iron spears and tridents; and volleys of shots and rockets.
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There were torrents of missiles and mallets, as well as currents of discs and battle axes.
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There were streams of iron clubs, crows and lances; and floods of bhindipalas or short arrows thrown from the hand or through tubes; and also swashes of spring nets, and air instruments of incredible velocity.
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There was an effusion of fire bolts, and a profluence of lightnings, as also showers of fallings shorts, and scuds of flying swords and sabres.
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There were falls of iron arrows, and javelins and spears of great force and strength; and purling of huge snakes, that were found in mountain caves, and grew there for ages.
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It was in no time, that the force of these flying arms, blasted the ocean of the hostile forces; which fled in full haste and hurry in all directions, as heaps of ashes before the hurricane and whirlwind.
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The thunder showers of arms, and the driving rain of weapons, were driven away by the impetuous winds; and invading hosts hurried to all sides, as the torrent of a river breaks its embankment, and overflows on the land in the rains.
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The four bodies of troops (consisting of horse, elephant, chariots and foot-soldiers), fled vanquished from the field to the four directions; just as the mountain cataracts precipitate on all sides during the rains.
32. [Sanskrit available]
The lofty flags and their posts, were torn and broken and hurled down as large trees by storm; and the forest of uplifted swords were broken to pieces, and scattered like the petals of mariche flowers over the ground.
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The sturdy bodies of stout soldiers, were rolling as stones on the ground, and besmeared with blood gushing out of their wounds; while the groans of their agony, broke down the stoutest hearts.
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Large elephants rolled upon the ground with their elevated tusks rising as trees; and roared aloud with their crackling sounds, vying with thunder claps and roaring clouds.
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The clashing of the weapons against one another, was as the crashing of the branches of trees against each other; and the horses clashing on one another, sounded as the clashing of waves of the sea.
36. [Sanskrit available]
The crackling of war cars and their huge wheels, sounded as the rattling of the hail storm on high; and the mingled noise of the clashing of carriages, horse, elephants and foot-soldiers, sounded as the crashing of stones.
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The harsh sound of war hoops and shouts, was loud on all sides;and cries of dying soldiers, crying "we die, we are slain," swelled in the air all around.
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The army appeared as a sea, and their march was as the whirling of an eddy with its gurgling sound; and the bloodshed on their bodies, exhibited the roseate hue of the evening sky.
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The waving weapons, appeared as a lowering cloud moving upon the shore; and the ground besmeared in blood seemed as the fragment of a purple cloud.
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The lancers, mace bearers and spearmen, seemed to bear the tall tala trees in their hands; while the cowardly crowds of men, were seen to cry aloud like the timid deer in the plain.
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The dead bodies of horses, elephants and warriors, lay prostrate on the ground liken the fallen leaves of trees; and the rotten flesh and fat of the bruised carcasses, were trodden down to mud and mire in the field.
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Their bones were pounded to dust under the hoofs of the horses; and the concussion of wood and stones under the driving winds, raised a rattling sound all around.
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The clouds of dooms-day were roaring, and the winds of desolation were blowing; the rains of the last day were falling, and the thunders of destruction were clapping all about.
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The surface of the ground was all muddy and miry, and the face of the land was flooded all over; the air was chill and bleak, and the sky was drizzling through all its pores.
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The huts and hamlets, and the towns and villages, were all in a blaze; and the people and their cattle, with all the horses and elephants, were in full cry and loud uproar.
46. [Sanskrit available]
The earth and heaven, resounded with the rolling of chariots and rumbling of clouds; and the four quarters of heaven, reverberated to the twanging of his four fold bow on all the four sides.
47. [Sanskrit available]
The forky lightnings were playing, by the friction and clashing of the clouds; and showers of arrows and missiles fell profusely from them, with the thunder bolts of maces, and darts of spears.
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The armies of the invading chiefs, fled in confusion from all the four sides of the field; and the flying forces fell in numbers like swarms of ants and troops of gnats and flies.
49. [Sanskrit available]
The myrmidons of the bordering tribes, were burnt amidst the conflagration of fiery arms; and were pierced by the fiery weapons, falling like thunderbolts upon them, from the darkened sky. The flying forces resembled the marine animals of the deep, which being disturbed by the perturbed waters of the sea, plunge at last into the submarine fire.