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 CXVII - Description of the lotus-lake, bee and the swan

Argument:—Description of a Lake of lotus, and the bees and swans frequenting them.

The companions said:—Behold there, O lord! the lotus lake on the tableland of the mountain; reflecting the sky in its bosom, and resembling the pleasure pond of Kama or Cupid. Behold there the beds of white, red and blue lotuses, with their protruding stalks; and listen to the mingled sounds of the water fowls sporting thereon.

2. Lo the full blown lotus standing on it stalk with its thousand petals, and the royal gander or swan resting on its pericarp; it is crowded by double streaked bees, and birds of various kinds, as if it were the abode of the lotus-seated Brahma himself.

3. All the sides are overspread by mists and fearful frost, and the red dust of the farina of full blown flowers and lotuses, have been flying all about; the bees and birds giddy with the odours spread around, are humming and warbling their tunes and notes in the open air; and the clouds are spreading above as an aerial canopy.

4. There is the lashing sound of the breaking waves, beating against the shore; and here is the rumbling noise of the humming bees, vying with one another; somewhere the silent waters are sleeping in the deep, and elsewhere the fair lotus of the lake, are lying hid in the bushes.

5. The pearly particles of water, are lulling away the heat of the people; wild beasts are prowling on the bank, overgrown by wild thickets all around; the waves are laving the stones on the bank, and the land appears as the clear sky on the earth.

6. The bosom of the lake displays the rays of lightnings, from the redness of the clouds by the dust of flowers borne above by the winds; and one side of it is obscured by a dark rainy cloud hanging over it, while the other side exhibits the variegated rays of the evening skies above it.

7. There is a fragment of the autumnal cloud, borne aloft by the driving winds; and appearing as it were a part of the sky supported upon the air.

8. The rippling waves of the lake by gentle breeze, and the wettish humming bees fluttering over the bed of the lotus lake, made a noise all around; like the falling of flowers from the branches of trees, lying on the bank of a river.

9. The large lotus leaves are waving like fans made of palm leaves, and the foaming froths were puffing as the snowy chowries of princes; the buzzing bees and cooing cuckoos, were singing to and lauding the lake which lay like a lord, in the assemblage of lotuses, resembling the consorts of his harem. (The lake is likened to a lord).

10. Lo the chorus of black bees, singing their charming chimes before him; and the yellow farina of the lotus flowers, have strewn his waters with dust of gold. The yellowish froths are floating like fragments of its gold coloured flowers; and the flowery furzes on the bank, decorate it as its headdress.

11. The deep fountain, having the beautiful lotuses on its bosom; enjoys their sweet fragrance, as princes derive from the assemblage, of talented men in their courts.

12. The pellucid lake, reflecting the clear autumnal sky on its surface; resembles the mind of the wise man, which is ever clear and composed, with the light of the true sastra.

13. The limpid lake is little discernible in winter, when the keen blasts have covered it with hoar frost, and converted its blueness to white.

14. So the world appears to the wise, a vast sheet of the glory of God; and all these distinct forms of things, like waves of the sea are lost at last, into the bright element of Eternity.

15. It is by one's own exertion, that every body should try to raise himself above the sea of error, or else he must be continually whirling in the whirlpool of blunder, like all other ignorant men.

16. As the waters of wells, tanks, lakes and seas, differ from one another in their quality; so the persons of men and women, are different from each other in their respective dispositions.

17. Who can count the aquatic plants and lotuses, which grow in the lakes as plentifully, as the passions and desires spring in the fountain of the human heart; and which are carried away by the waves of accidents, or hurled into the whirlpool of perdition.

18. Oh, the wonderful effect of bad company, that the lotus growing in the company of aquatic plants, loses its fragrance in the current waters, and shows its thorny stalks to view.

19. The good qualities of a person like those of the lotus, are lost under the assemblage of vicious faults in the same; such as the pores, the hollowness and the too fine and fragile fibres of the lotus stalks, make them entirely useless to any body.

20. But the lotus which adorns its natal waters, and fills the air with its fragrance; is as a nobleman born with the noble qualities of a noble family, and whose virtues are impossible for the hundred hooded serpent—Vasuki also to relate. (Such a person is called the lotus of his family).

21. What other thing can equal the lotus in its praise, which in form of Laxmi, rests on the bosom of Hari, and graces his hand in the manner of a bouquet or nose gay.

22. The white and blue lotuses, are both esteemed for their quality of sweet scent, though they differ in their colour; and hence the one is sacred to the sun and the other to the moon.

23. The blooming beauty of the lotus-bed, is not comparable to that of the full blown flowers of the forest;nor does the lotus-lake bear comparison with the starry heaven also; but they are to be compared with the comely and smiling face of the dancing girl in her fete.

24. Blessed are bees, that have all along enjoyed their lives in revelling over the sweets of flowers, without having any other thing to care about.

25. Blest are the bees and cuckoos, that feast upon the flavour of mango fruits, and regale themselves with the fragrance of their flowers; all others not so blest, are born only to bear the name of the species.

26. The bees cloyed with honey, and giddy with the flavour of lotuses, in the lake where they revel; laughed to scorn some others of their tribe, that led their humble lives on the common farina of flowers.

27. The black bee that buzzed to the lotus, lived and sported in its company and slept in its honey cup at night; was in trouble at the approach of autumn, not knowing what flower to choose for its fare, and were to resort for its rest.

28. A black bee sitting on the unblown bud of a flower, appeared as a black man placed over a trident by kala.

29. O thou insatiate bee! that ever rovest over hills and dales, and suckest the sweets of all kinds of flowers; why wanderest thou still, unless it were for thy restless discontent.

30. Thou soft bodied bee, that art bred up in sweets, and feedest upon the farina of flowers; it is better for thee to resort to the lotuses of the lake, than bruise thy body in thorns and thistles.

31. O humble bee, if thou art deprived of thy mellifluous food and thy fair fare of the farina of flowers in stern winter; thou shouldst yet repair as wise men do to such as may suit thy taste, and be congenial to thy nature; rather than be mean and debase thyself, by thy attendance upon the base and mean.

32. Look there, O lord! the assemblage of milk white swans, swimming in the lake, and feeding upon the silvery fibres of lotus stalks, and guggling as gravely, as the chaunters of the Sama Veda.

33. Here the gander pursuing the geese, seated in their cradles of lotus bushes; thinks the limpid lake as the blue sky, and the lotus cradle as a cloud, and stops from his pursuit (for fear of falling down on earth). (Mistake of the terrestrial lake, for the aerial mandakini).

34. Let no body be so unfortunate, O lord, as was this gander, which [was] in pursuit of the shadow of the goose.

35. The sweet music of the swan as it sings of its own accord, is inimitable by the crow or crane, although they are taught to learn it for many years in its society.

36. Although the swan and drake are both of the same kind, and of like form and figure, and live upon the same sort of food; yet they differ widely from one another in their respective species and qualities.

37. The swan soaring in the sky, with his snow white wings and feathers;appears as the hoary lotus sitting upon its stalk; and then it gladdens the minds of men, as the full-moon with her icy beams.

38. The elevated stalks of lotuses, rising as the lofty stems of plantain trees, with the lotuses sitting as the goddess Flora upon them, afford delight to swans only, and to no other bird.

39. Lo, how the lake is adorned like a beauteous lady, with the waves resembling her waving bracelets, and the ripples likening her necklaces; while the aquatic plants and flowers, represent wreaths and garlands on her bosom.

40. The strings of fluttering bees, are as streaks of black spots on her person; the swelling of cranes and storks are as the tinklings of her anklets, and the rippling waves are as the glances of her eyes.

41. The lake is graced like a lady, by the young swans crying by her side as her young ones;and looking up to the mountain as her lord, for a fresh supply of fresh water from his profluent cascade.

42. Don't you, O harmless swan, says one, reside with the malicious water fowls and birds of prey, in one and the same lake; it is better that thou dost remain with thy own kind, that may assist thee in distress.

43. Look to thy end, O silly bee, says one, that art now so giddy with thy drink of the sweet honey of flower, and treadst on the heads of elephants, to sip and suck their exuding ichor, and ramblest at large among the blooming lotuses, that the winter of scarcity is fast approaching to thee, when thou shalt be constrained to live upon the dewdrops drizzling on blades of grass or dripping from stones.

44. O lord! the milk white swan with wide stretched wings entered into the lotus bush, to see after his young ones, they on seeing him, begin to cackle, as a child does on seeing his father before him. The young ones said, O father, it is all delusion, like white pearl in silver and one sees fog over his head at midday.

45. The swan is as silently floating over the limpid waters of the lake, as the bright moon is gently gliding along the translucent atmosphere of the firmament; and as it passes through, the beds of lotuses, its wings bruise against the blossoms, causing them to distil their fragrant fluid, which is gulped in by fishes, in the manner of the holy water of Ganges.