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 CXXXIX - Description of the dissolution of the world

Argument:—Predominance of the mind over the vital breath, and the view of final Dissolution in Dream.

Vasishtha related:—

Whatever the mind wills, regarding the creation of the world, the same immediately appears before it; whether it be the production of the non-existent to view, or annihilation of existing ones, or the representation of one as the other—pratibhashika.

2. [Now in an answer to Rama's question, "how does the mind subsist or have its action or thought without being moved by the vital breath, he says that] whenever the mind fancies itself as the vital breath, and can neither subsist nor do any thing without its being actuated by the air of respiration; it is then said to be subject to vitality (i.e. to exist with the breath of a living being and no more).

3. It thinks it cannot live long without the association of respiration (as in the state of transient and breathless dream) but must come back to its life and living action (of thinking) with the return of breathing. (The thinking power of the mind is suspended with the breathing, in the states of dreaming and wondrous sight seeing).

4. Again as the mind fancies itself to be accompanied with the vital breath in some living body; it finds itself instantly joined with same, and beholds the world rising as an enchanted city to view.

5. The mind thinks of the convenience of its union with the vital breath and body; and with this persuasion it is pleased to remain for ever as a triplicate being, combined with its intellectuality, vitality and corporeality.

6. Know now that the uncertainty of knowledge, which, keeps the mind in suspense, is the cause of great woe to mankind; and that there is no way of getting rid of it except of the true knowledge of tattwajnana.

7. He who has the knowledge of the distinction of his self and another (i.e. of the ego and nonego—the subjective and objective as different from another); can have no redress from his error, save by means of his spiritual knowledge of the only spirit.

8. There is no way to true knowledge, except by means of the investigations of liberation; therefore be employed with all vigilance to inquire into the means of liberation.

9. Verily the very conceptions of ego and alias I and another are erroneous, and proceed from utter ignorance; and there is no other means to remove them, except by means of liberation. (The knowledge of ego and tu is the bondage of the soul: and the want of egoism and tuism, leads it to its liberation from all).

10. Hence any thought which is habitual to the mind, comes to be firmly impressed upon it in time;and hence the idea that the vital breath is one's life and all, makes his mind dependent upon the breath. (i.e. As the thought of one's being this or that, makes him as such; so the firm belief of the mind as breath, makes it subject to the same).

11. So also when the body is in a healthful state with its vitality, the mind is dependent on it and has its free play; but being in ill health, it feels its life embittered and forgets to know itself in its true nature.

12. When the respiration is quick in discharging the duties of the body, and the mind is engaged in its busy thoughts, then neither of them [is] capable of meditation, unless they are repressed in the breast.

13. These two the mind and respiration, stand in relation of the car and driver to one another, and what living being is there, that is not driven along by them in their train?

14. It was in this manner that the supreme spirit, hath ordained the mind and vital breath, in the very beginning of creation; and therefore this law of their co-operation, continues unaltered to this day.

15. Hence the mind and vital airs are acting in concert in all living bodies, and conducting them at all times in all places in their stated course or action all along (except those of yogis who have repressed them under their subjection).

16. The co-equal course of both, serves to the regular conduct of the functions of life (as in the waking state); but their unequal course, produces dissimilar effects (as that of dreaming when the mind alone is active; and the inactivity of both causes the inertness of the body and soul (as in the state of sound sleep).

17. When the intestines are blocked by the chyle of food taken into them, and the breathing becomes dull and slow; the mind also becomes calm and quiet, and then ensues the blissful state of sound sleep.

18. When the stomach is filled with food, and the lungs are languid with weariness, the breathing then remains without its inflation, and brings on [a] state of sweet and sound sleep of susupti or hypnotism.

19. Again when the intestinal parts are cool and phlegmatic, or exhausted by effusion of blood owing to some sore or wound, and the breathing being stopped in the body, there comes the state of numbness of sleep.

20. The ascetic said:—Then I had entered into his heart, it became all dark to me as night; and he fell into a sound sleep, from his satiety with the fulness of his food.

21. I was there assimilated into one with his mind, and lay in deep sleep with himself without any effort of my own.

22. Then as the passage of his lungs was re-opened, after digestion of the food in his stomach; his breathings resumed their natural vibration, and he began to breathe out slowly and softly in his slumbering state.

23. After the sound sleep had become light and airy, I beheld the sunny world arising out of my breast, and appearing manifest before me in my dream.

24. This world seemed to rise out of the troubled ocean, and to be filled with water (seas) upon its surface; it was released from the darkness of diluvian clouds, which had enveloped it, like the mists overhanging on oceans.

25. There was a hurricane blowing over it, bearing aloft the rocks and stones, in its whirling and uproarious course; and carrying away uprooted arbours, with the furze and grassy turfs along with them.

26. It was carrying away and casting all about, the fragments and remains of the last conflagration of desolation; and hurling down the detachments of celestial cities from high.

27. Then as I was looking at a certain place, I found my self situated with my consort in one of the abodes of a splendid city rising at that spot.

28. And there as I was sitting in company with my consort and children, and attended by my friends and servants, and supplies with dishes and cups of food and drink, I was all on a sudden carried away by the waves of the deluging waters.

29. The flood swept me away together with the edifice and the city, wherein we were situated; and we were floating on the tops of mountainous waves, and buffeting in the water.

30. There arose a loud dashing noise louder than the roaring sea; I was stunned by the stridor, and was insensible of the fates of my family.

31. Men were driven away and hurled down into the whirling eddies, and were buried deep into the dreadful mud, with their wailings and loud cries, with the beating of their breasts.

32. The houses and huts were breaking and cracking, their beams and posts were splitting, the pillars and supports were bursting, and the roofs and coverings were falling down, while the females were looking out with their faces fixed at the windows. (i.e. Women stared from within the doors and windows and dared not to stir without).

33. As I was looking awhile at all this, being affected at the sight; and was weeping sorrowfully at the event, I saw the whole edifice falling down on the ground.

34. The walls on the four sides broke down, and buried the old and young and female inmates under them; and these were borne away by the waves at last, as the impetuous waterfall carries away the shattered and scattered stones to a hundred different ways.

35. I was then blown away into the waters of the deluge, leaving behind me my family and friend; and accompanying only my mind and vital breath with me.

36. I was tossed about by the waves, and borne away to the distance of leagues after leagues; and was thrown upon the floating woods, which roasted me by their inburning wildfire.

37. I was dashed against the floating planks and timbers, and slashed in many parts of my body, then falling into a whirlpool I was hurled into the abyss of patala.

38. Being thus tossed all about, and hurled up and down, I had been for a long time, buffeting amidst the waves and waters, and their gurgling, roaring and rumbling sounds.

39. I was then buried under the mud, caused by the friction of the drowned mountains against one another; and was again lifted upward like an elephant, by the influx of a flood of water.

40. As I was halting on a hill covered with foam and froth; immediately I was run over by a rush of water, as a man is overtaken by his enemy.

41. Being then ingulfed in the water, and carried away by the waves and current wheresoever they pleased, I lost the sight of whatever I was seeing, and was greatly dejected in my mind.

42. At this moment there, I had come to know by my reminiscence, that [a] certain muni will lecture to the public, the Vasishtha's address

of Rama hereafter.

43. I remembered my former state of holy trance (samadhi) and exclaimed; O, had I been an ascetic in another world.

44. I have entered into the body of another person, in order to see the sights in his dreaming; and all that I am now seeing (of this flood and others), is no more than a dream, and mere error of the mind and falsehood.

45. It is from our habitual bias in the present scene, that I believed these falsehoods as true in me; and though I was troubled to see myself to be borne away by the flood in my dream; yet I feel myself happy at present to find, it was but the unreality of a dream.

46. What I saw as water, was the whirling eddy in the ocean of the universal deluge, and as false as the water of mirage; and the hills and woods, and the cities and towns, that were swept away by the flood, were as false as any visual deception.

47. There were the gods and aerials, men and women, and huge snakes also borne away by the flood; and the great cities and mansions of the rulers of men (i.e. royal edifices), all floating upon the waters.

48. I saw the mountain merged in and mixed up with the waters, and being battered and shattered by the waves; I saw the approaching dissolution of the world, and thus considered within myself.

49. There is even the god Siva with his three eyes, swimming upon and swept away as a straw by the waves: O fie for shame! that there is nothing impossible for the fates.

50. Fragments of houses floating upon the waters, looked like lotus flowers flaunting under the sun-beams.

51. It was astonishing to see the bodies of Gandharvas, Kinnaras, and of men and Nagas, floating on the waters, like swarms of bees fluttering over lotus-beds in the lake.

52. The fragments of the splendid edifices of the gods and demigods and others, decorated with the ornamental works of the vidyadharas, were floating like golden vessels on the wide expanse of the ocean.

53. The god Indra was floating on the glassy water, as if he were lying in his crystal palace; he mounted over the waves, as if he rode on his elephant; and was swinging on the surges as upon his cradle.

54. The waves rising to the sky, were washing the faces of the stars, and the winds were scattering them all about; as they drop down the flowers of the garden of Eden on the mansions of the gods, and as men strew the ground with fried rice.

55. Waves as high as mountains rose to the sky, and then their breakers flying aloft like stones flung by ballistas, fell upon the lotus seat of Brahma, and turned it about with the god also, who was sitting upon it in his deep meditation.

56. The clouds were roaring aloud with deep and appalling thunder, and the billows were flashing like frightful lightnings in the air; elephants, horses, and ferocious lions were wandering in the atmosphere, and forests as large as the earth, were floating in the sky.

57. The dark blue waves of over-flowing waters, pushed with such violent force against one another; as if the god of destruction was propelling them one after another to the act, of utter annihilation (or as the powers of destruction were propelling one another).

58. The waves were carrying down into the deep, the gods, men, and Nagas, together with their abodes in heaven, earth and the regions below.

59. The irresistible flood having flooded over all sides, of earth, heaven and the infernal region, the bodies of the gods and demigods, were all floating together like shoals of fishes; and their heavenly cars and vehicles were swimming over on the surface of the waters, as in the field of battle.

60. The body of dark blue waters, resembled the azure form of Krishna;and their foaming froths, likened the milk white calves about him. (The text is utterly meaningless).

61. The waves pushed one another, with the burber sound for drowning every thing; and the females both of the gods and giants were heard to wail aloud with cries of hola and howling. (Hola is the exclamation of wailing, corresponding with waila in Persian).

62. The loud cries raised by all, at the falling down of their houses, were resounded by the waters on all sides; and the clouds roving over the rolling waves, appeared as the covers of fallen and floating domes.

63. Ah it was piteous to behold, how the whirling waters of whirlpools, hurled down even the gods into the deep; and how Indra, Yama, and Kubera, breathed out their last breaths in the form of flying and flimsy clouds.

64. There the learned and saintly persons, were carried away with the ignorant, in the shape of dead bodies and devoid of their pride; and the cities of the gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Indra, were swept away, all broken and crushed to pieces.

65. The bodies of weak women, were washed and carried over by the waves, and there was no body left to save them from the grasp of death; which devoured them altogether under his horrid jaws.

66. The floods which flowed at first with their serpentine course into the caves of mountains, overflooded them to their tops at last; and the cities of the gods, which floated at first as boats upon the waters on mountain tops, were hurled to the bottom at last.

67. The gods and giants and all other beings, together with their residences in heaven, and the continents and mountains on earth, were all submerged and shattered like lotus-beds by the waters; and the three worlds were turned to an universal ocean and all their grandeur and splendour were swallowed up by time, together with all the sovran powers of earth and heaven.