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:—Release of the Dead from the error of the world, their wanderings and fancies of themselves.
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One of the Vipaschitas, that was roving about the westerly ridge of a mountain in Kraunchadwipa, was crushed to death by the tusk of an elephant, as it tears a lotus in the lake.
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The third was taken up by a Vidyadhara, to the region of the celestials; where he was reduced to ashes by curse of the god Indra, who was offended at the prince's want of respect towards him.
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The fourth that went to the farthest edge of a mountain in the Kusadwipa, was caught by a shark on the sea shore, which tore his body to eight pieces.
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In this manner did all these four lose their lives on all sides, and they all fell as sorrowfully as the regents of the four quarters, at the last dissolution of the world on the doomsday.
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After they were reduced to the state of vacuity amidst the vast vacuum, their vacuous and self-conscious souls, were led by the reminiscence of their former states to behold the earth (to which they had been so much attached).
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They saw the seven continents with their belts of the seven oceans, and also the cities and towns with which they were decorated every where.
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They beheld the sky above, with the orbs of the sun and moon forming the pupils of its eyes; and also the clusters of stars, that were hanging as chains of pearls about its neck, and the flaky clouds that formed its folded vest.
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They saw with their intellectual eye, the stupendous bodies that rose out of chaos at the revolutions of past kalpa cycles, and filled the amplitude of the sky and all sides of the horizon with the gigantic forms. (These were the big bodies of the many Unitarian Saivas that appeared at the beginning of repeated creations).
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Being possest of their consciousness in their spiritual forms, they descended to observe the manners of elemental bodies that were exposed before them.
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All the four Vipaschitas were actuated by their previous impressions, to the inquiry into the measure and extent of the ignorance, which led people to the belief of the body as soul itself, in want of their knowledge of the spiritual soul (as it is the case with gross materialists).
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They roved from one continent to another, to witness in what part of this ideal globe of the earth was this ignorance (avidya) most firmly seated, so as to give it the appearance of a visible substance.
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Finding afterwards his soul to be full with divine presence, he relinquished even his spiritual body, he fled like his vital breath, to the transcendent vacuum of final extinction nirvana.
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The eastern Vipaschit was translated to the region of moon (by his adoration of that luminary), and was seated beside that full bright orb (for his great purity and piety). But the prince, though placed in the exalted sphere of the moon, continued ever afterwards to lament for the loss of his former body. (So heavenly souls are said to long for their bodies).
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The southern prince being forgetful of his spiritual nature, thinks himself to be reigning in the Salmalidwipa, and employed in the investigation of external and sensible objects.
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The northern one dwelling amidst the limpid waters of the seventh ocean, thought himself to be devoured by a shark, which retained him in his belly for the space of a thousand and one years.
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There he fed upon the bowels of the shark, which killed the animal in a short time; and then he came out of its belly, as if it gave birth to a young shark.
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He next arrived [at] a spot of solid gold, which was the haunt of gods, and stretched to ten thousand yojanas, and here he met with his end.
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In this land the prince Vipaschit attained the state of a Godhead, in the same manner as a piece of wood is turned to fire in a burning furnace.
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It rises to the height of fifty thousand yojanas, and has the inhabited earth on one side of it which faces the sunlight, and eternal darkness reigning on the other.
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He ascended to the top of the polar mount, which pierced the starry sphere; and as he was seated upon it, he was beheld in the light of a star by the beholders below.
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Beyond that spot and afar from this highest mountain, lay the deep and dark abyss of infinite void.
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Here was the end of the globular form of this earth, and beyond it was the vacuity of the sky, of fathomless depth, and full of impervious darkness.
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There reigns a darkness of the hue of a swarm of black bees, and as the shade of the black tamala trees; there is neither the stable earth nor any moving body under the extended sky; this great void is devoid of support, nor does it support anything whatever at any time. (This is chaos).