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 CXXXI - Bhasa's account of the worlds

Summary: Bhasa's account of the worlds and his journeys throughout.

Argument:—There is no substantive world, separate from the thoughts in the Eternal mind.

Dasaratha said:—

I understand that Vipaschit has acted unwisely, in taking so much pains in his wanderings for a knowledge of the spheres;because it is all in vain to inquire into unrealities and useless matters, and it was his ignorance or avidya alone, that led him to the search.

Valmiki related:—

2. At this moment the sage Viswamitra, who was sitting beside the king; oped his mouth and said on the subject now under consideration.

Viswamitra said:—

3. O king, there are many such men, who without a good understanding, and for want of best knowledge; are apt to think that all things are possible to be known by them.

4. Hence it is that the sons of king Vatadhana, have been wandering in his manner, and for very many years, in search of true knowledge, all over this earth, and without ever being able to arrive at it.

5. It is for exploring the limits of this earth, that they have been employed with ceaseless toil and unwearied labour, as a river runs in its incessant course for ever.

6. This great world (the earth), is situated as an orb in the air, like an imaginary tree of boys growing in the sky, or as a toy ball of fanciful Brahma, rolling about in empty air.

7. As creeping emmets move about a sugar ball, without falling off from it; so do all living bodies move about their support of this earth, which is sustained in the empty air.

8. Those that are situated on the lower surface of this globe, are moving thereabouts as erectly, as those that are on its upper side (and though this earth is turning up and down yet no one sides away from it).

9. The sun, moon and planets, together with the starry frame and the heavenly stream (the milky way); are attracted to turn round it incessantly, without ever coming in contact with it.

10. The sky girds and surrounds it on all sides, though the firmament appears to be above our heads, and the earth below our feet.

11. The living beings below the earth, are both moving downward or flying upward, as the beasts and birds on the upper side of it; and the region to which they fly is called the upper sky (whether it be in this or that side of it).

12. There is on some part of this earth, a warrior race by name of Vatadhanas; and there were born three princes of this royal family, in days of yore (and are said to be living still).

13. They were firmly intent like Vipaschit, to know the limits of the visible world; and set out in their journey to explore the same, with a firm and unfailing resolution.

14. They passed from the land to water, and the waters to other lands again; and thus they passed many lives and ages, in their repeated inquiries with their resuscitated bodies in reiterated births (because the steady pursuit of one, follows him in his successive births).

15. Thus wandering for ever all about the earth, they like ants moving on a sweet cake, found no end of it, nor reached to any other spot, beyond the same even in their thought of another one.

16. They are still turning around it in the air, like busy emmets about a roll; and they are yet in the same search without being tired of it. (Alexander said, "Earth is this thy end?" but these princes found no end of it).

17. Because whoever stands on any part of the globe, thinks it as the uppermost, and all other places on every side of it, to be lower than it; and so the antipodes below think themselves as upmost.

18. They then said among themselves that, if they could not find the end of the earth all their toil, they must give up the pursuit and remove themselves elsewhere.

19. So it is with this world, O king! which is no more than display of the thoughts of Brahma; it is a work or creation of the mind only, and a delusion as that of a protracted dream.

20. The mind is the Supreme Brahma, and Brahma is selfsame with his very mind; they are both of the form of the intellect, and there is no [more] difference between them, than that of open air and the sky.

21. The intellect operates in itself, like the running waters in whirlpools; and as the eddies and their swelling bubbles, are no other than the very water, so the operations of the mind, are modifications of the mind itself.

22. The sky which is but vacuum, and was a void in the beginning; shows itself in the form of the world; which is neither created nor ever destroyed.

23. Whatever the intellect suggests (from its preconceptions and predilections); the mind (which is the active principle), obeys the same and is inclined in the same way; and continues to view the outer world, as it has ever existed in thought.

24. The visible world is of the same form, and equally imperishable as the intellectual; it is the eternal God that manifests himself in this manner, which is otherwise nothing of itself.

25. There is an atom of the divine Intellect, an infinity of minuter atoms in the shape of ideas, just as there are innumerable stones in the body of a rock; they reside in the spirit of God, and are as translucent as the divine spirit.

26. They abide in their own natures in the unexpanded spirit of God; but they do not live independent of themselves, as there [is] nothing that is separate from the supreme spirit.

27. Therefore this world is said to be the manifestation of the Divine Mind; and this conclusion [is] arrived at by the learned, by means of their logical consideration of the antecedent and subsequent (i.e. by both their a priori as well as a posteriori arguments).

28. It is strange therefore that the human soul, should sorrow for its degradation and think itself as a different thing, though it is inseparable from the one universal soul.

29. Now let the so called prince Bhasa, who is otherwise known as the mighty monarch Vipaschit by his former appellation; what other strange things, he remembers to have seen, in all his wanderings through worlds.

Bhasa replied:—

30. I have seen many sights, and wandered untired through many regions; and remember also to have felt various vicissitudes in my life.

31. Hear O king, how much I have known and felt, in my course through remote regions in the spacious firmament on high; and know the joys and griefs, which I have enjoyed and suffered, in my transmigrations in different bodies and distant worlds, from a long long time out of mind.

32. It was by favour of the god of fire, and by the good and bad turns of fate; that I have seen a great many scenes, in my course in various forms and lives, like the revolving waters in a whirlpool, with a calm and constant and resolute mind.

33. Actuated by past reminiscence and misled by mistaken view of visibles; I was impelled by my firm zeal to inquire into all worldly things, in the different forms and changes of my body.

34. I had been an arbour for a thousand years, having my senses undeveloped in me, and feeling the rigours of all climates and seasons within myself. I had no mind nor mental action, save those of drawing the sap of the earth by my roots, and expanding myself into fruits and flowers.

35. I had been a mountain stag for a hundred years, with my skin of golden hue, and my ears as flat as leaves of trees; I fed on blades of grass, was charmed with all kinds of music, and being the weakest of all animals of the forest, I could do no injury to any one.

36. I lived for half a century as a Sarabha, a wild animal with eight legs; I dwelt in the caves of Krancha mountain, and brought on my death by falling down from a craig, in attempting to fight with the raining clouds on high. (The Sarabha is a fabulous beast that dies by jumping down the hill).

37. I had also been born once as Vidyadhara, and had lived upon the table land of Malaya mountains, and amidst the happy bowers of Mandara, redolent with the sweet scent of sandal woods and kadamba flowers. Here I have breathed the sweet air perfumed by gum agallochum, and enjoyed the company of Vidyadhari-fairies.

38. I was born as a cygnet of the swan of Brahma, and tasted the honey of aureate lotuses for more than a century, and sported on the banks of the heavenly stream of Mandakini, on the celestial mount of Meru.

39. For a hundred years, I remained by the side of milky ocean, feeling the cooling breezes wafting the moisture of its waves, and the fragrance of the forests and listening to the songs of the songsters of springs, which join to vanish the infirmities and sorrows of life.

40. I was once born as a jackal, in the woods of Kalenjara mountains, and roved about the blossoming gunja and karanja forests; here I was trodden down by an elephant, and was about to expire, when I beheld that elephant to be killed by a lion in his turn.

41. I was at one time transformed to the form of a celestial nymph, and accursed by a siddha to dwell alone in some other sphere; where I lived for the period of half a yuga upon the sahya mountain, smiling with the blooming blossoms of santanaka arbours.

42. I next lived as a Valmika bird of raven, in my nest amidst the karavira plants, growing on the marshy grounds at the foot of a mountain; and there I passed my solitary life of a hundred years, with a fearful breast and ceaseless scrambles on the dreary rocks.

43. I saw afterwards a level plain somewhere, with shady bowers of sylvan creepers under the shade of sandal trees; and beheld some females amusing there with swinging, like fruits on the branches of trees, and to be ravished away by the passing siddhas.

44. At another time, I passed my days as an anchorite, under the shade of Kadamba trees at the foot of a mountain; where I dwelt on the meditation of the single object of my devotion, and thus foolishly met my end with the pain of not meeting my object.

45[a]. I saw also this universe to be full of beings, which fill it as fishes people the ocean on every side; the air, sky and light, are all inhabited by beings, as well as this earth of ours.

45[b]. There is another wonder which fills this universe, as the shadow of the sky fills the ocean on all sides; it pervades in the air, water, sky and light, as well in all forms of things on earth. (This is the reflexion of Brahma in all creation, as that of the sky in water. gloss).

46. I also [saw] another wonder in a woman, who contains the three worlds in her ample womb; and who is pictured with the forms of hills and all things, resembling their reflexions in a mirror.

47. I asked her saying: O thou big bodied and big bellied one! tell me who thou art; to which she replied and said:—know me sir, to be the pure and clear Intellect, that contains all these worlds within herself.

48. She added and said:—O sir, as you see me so wondrous in my form, so must you know all things in the world to be of the same kind; but people who view them in their natural form find them otherwise, unless they look into them in their spiritual light, when the gross forms vanish into nothing.

49. These numberless beings on earth, are continually hearing, even without the directions of the Vedas and sastras, a warning voice arising from some part of their bodies, bidding them what is right or wrong for them to do. (This is called anahata dhwani or the voice of conscience).

50. Nature reigns over all elements like anahata dhwani. The elements appear immovable at sight, but in fact, they possess inherent mobile forces; no one can assign any cause over them except delusion or maya.

51. I once went to a place, where there were no females to be found, nor had the people any desire for them; and yet many among the living there were fastly passing away, and many others newly coming to existence.

52. I have seen the wonder of some portentous clouds in the sky, charging against each other with a jarring noise; and pouring down their rains with fragments of things on all sides, which were picked up and used as weapons by men.

53. I have [seen] another wonder somewhere that, these earthly cities and buildings, were passing in their aerial course, amidst a mist of thick darkness; and then vanishing in the air, returning to be your habitations here below.

54. Another wonder that I saw was, that all these men and gods and reptiles, having left their differences of species, came to be of one kind in common with all other beings. (All distinctions are lost in the end). Because all things proceed at first from vacuum, and to this they return at last.

55. I also beheld a spot which was full of light, and shone forth brightly without the lights of the sun, moon and stars. I remember well that effulgent glory, before which there was [neither] darkness nor day and night, and nothing else in existence.

56. I saw also a place never seen before, which was devoid of gods and demons, men and animals of all kinds, it was without the vegetable creation, and habitation of any kind of being; and a world where the present and future, and all worlds are blended into eternity.

57. In short, there is no place which I have not seen, nor any side (of the compass) where I have not been; there is no act or event which I have not known, and in a word there is nothing unknown to me, that is unknown to the knower of all. (The soul that becomes one with Omniscient soul, becomes all-knowing like the same).

58. I remember to have heard the jingling sound of the armlets of Indra, which resembled the noise of the rattling clouds on high; or likened the jangling jar of the gems, which glistened on the peaks of the Mandara mountain, in its trepidation of churning the milky ocean.