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 CXL - Workings of imagination

Argument:—The sage's situation at the end of the Deluge, and his description of the reproduction of creation.

The Huntsman said:—Tell me sir, how a sage as yourself, could be exposed to that state (of the dream or delusion of the Deluge); and why were you not delivered from your meditation.

2. The sage replied:—At the end of the Kalpa age, all kinds of beings meet with their destruction; namely, there is a termination of the erroneous forms of the worlds, and a cessation of the luminous bodies in the heaven.

3. Sometimes the dissolution takes place gradually at the end of a kalpa; and at others it comes on all on a sudden, with a simultaneous turmoil and disorganization on all sides.

4. So when there was an outbreak of waters on every side, and the gods were repairing to Brahma the first cause of all; for redress from the impending danger, they were all swept away by the overflowing tide.

5. Moreover, O forester! know time to be the most mighty destroyer of all things; and every thing must occur in its time, as it is predestined at the beginning. (Time devours all things).

6. The time of one's dissolution being nigh, there ensues a detriment in the strength, intellect and prowess of everybody not excepting even the great. (Nothing is of any avail before fate).

7. I have told you also, O fortunate forester! that all that is seen in a dream is mere dreaming; and nothing of it, comes to take place in reality herein.

8. The forester responded:—Sir, if the dream is a mere falsity and error of imagination; then what was the good of your relating all this, that know well what is good and useful for mankind.

9. The sage replied:—There was much use of my relating all this to you, O intelligent huntsman, for improvement of your understanding; and as you have come to know, that the visibles are all as false as the sights

in sleep, you shall now know what is real and true.

10. Now as long as the waters of deluge lasted, I remained seated in the heart of the said medium, and saw some other false sights in his dream.

11. I saw the waters of the deluge, to recede to the unknown region from where they had overflown; and the huge waves disappeared altogether, as when the winged mountains fled away for fear of the thunders of Indra. (Who lopped of their pinions of yore. See the legend in stanza—Book I. Kumara sambhava of Kalidas).

12. I was borne aloft by my good fate to some distant shore, where I was seated as firmly as upon the elevated peak of a high and solid mountain.

13. Thence I saw the waters to subside in their basins, and the stars of heaven shining upon them, like the sparkling particles of their splashing billows, or as their foaming and floating froths.

14. The reflexions of the stars in water, seemed as the shining gems in the bosom of the ocean; and the stars that shone above in the firmament, appeared as the nightly flaming bushes on the tops of mountains. (There are the medicinal plants that are said to burn by night. Vide Kumara Sambhaba Stanza—Book I.).

15. The firmament studded with lustrous stars, and had the appearance of an island beaming with gold; and the azure sky seemed wrapt over with the blue garments of celestial dames.

16. The blue diluvian clouds that floated in the sky, resembled a bed of cerulean lotuses in the etherial lake; and the lightnings that flashed in their bosoms, likened the yellow farina of flowers, flying all about the midway sky.

17. Masses of mountain-like clouds flushed with frost, and poured down showers of rain on all sides; the floods of the deluge rolled down with their reflexions, as bearing the huge Kalpa forests in their bosom.

18. Afterwards the basin of the universal ocean was dried up, and turned to an empty and dry hollow on all around; and the mountain of the Mandara and Sahya hills, that had been drowned under the waters were found to be melted down to mud or washed away by the receding flood.

19. Here the sun and moon were found to be sunk in the slough, and there the gods Yama and Indra to be hid under the soil; somewhere the serpents and takshakas were rolling in the mire, and elsewhere the Kalpa woods lay buried with their tops and branches underneath the mud.

20. In some places the heads and hands of people were scattered over the ground, and looked like lotus buds and flowers torn from their stalks and strewn about the bare and barren land.

21. There were the Vidyadhara females drowned up to their necks in the slime, and crying in their piteous chimes in one place; and there were the big bodied buffaloes of Yama lying in another, and resembling the huge bodies of dead elephants appearing in dream. (The buffalo of Yama is no less bulky than the Airavata elephant of Indra).

22. In some place the bulky body of Garuda, bulged out like the huge mountain of the gods; and in others the embankments were swept away; as if they were slashed by the mace of Yama fallen upon the ground.

23. There were the remains of the dead hansa of Brahma, muddled in the mire somewhere, and the relics of Indra's elephant were huddled in the mud in another place.

24. In the meanwhile I found a flat land in one spot, where I resorted for rest from my weariness; and was there overtaken by sound sleep, that insensibility stole upon me.

25. Then waking from my sound sleep, I found myself seated in the heart of the hunter; and retaining the possession of my sensibility, I was led by my innate desire to see the similar sights of desolation as before.

26. I beheld upon my waking, the said flat land to lie in the very heart of the hunter where I was situated; and was seized with greater grief and sorrow at my sight of the spectacle. (The reproduction of the world being but the renovation of our woe, and happy are they who work no more to the sight).

27. I saw therefrom the rising of the bright and beautiful sun on the next day; and by means of the solar light, I came to the sight of the worlds and the sky, of this earth and its hills, which presented themselves to my view.

28. But I soon found that, the earth and sky, the air and all its sides, together with the hills and rivers, were all but the reproduction of my mind (from its previous ideas of them); as the leaves shoot forth from the trees. (Because the insensible stones, have no perception of the visibles).

29. Then on seeing the things, as they were exposed to my sight on the earth; I began to manage with them in a manner as I had somewhat forgotten their right and proper use. (Reminiscence of the past being often liable to obliteration).

30. After my birth I passed sixteen years at that spot, and had the knowledge of this person as my father, and that one as my mother, and this spot as my dwelling place, and all this knowledge rising spontaneously from my self-cogitation.

31. I then saw a village and the hermitage of a Brahman at that place; and there I beheld a house and found a friend therein, and many more other places.

32. Thus I remained in the society of my friends, in the village huts and hamlets; and passed many days and nights, in the states of repeated watchfulness and returning sleep.

33. Remaining thus in company with these, I came to lose in course of time the light of the understanding I had attained before, and forgot myself as one of them by my habitual mode of thinking, as the man forgot himself to a fish (as it is related before in the story of Dama, Vyala and Kata).

34. In this manner, I remained as a village Brahman (or parish-person) for a long time; relying only in my body as begotten by a Brahman, and quite forgetful of other.

35. I believed my material body only to constitute my person, and my wife alone as my should be co-partner; I understood my desires only to be the essence of my soul, and thought that riches only were the sole object of gain in life.

36. I had an old cow only for my treasure, and the greens of my garden as my only provision; my collections were only the sacred fire and sacrificial animals, and my utensil an only water pot. (Kines constituted the wealth of the ancient Indians, as the pecus or sheep were reckoned as riches by the old Latins; hence godhana means kine

money, as pancha godhanam—the value of five cows corresponding with the penta pecuniae of the Romans).

37. My hopes were as frail as perennial plants, and my conduct the same with that of other men; and the state of my living was as mean, as of the mud and mire about my dwelling.

38. I passed my days in pruning and weeding the garden of my greens; and in performing my daily ablutions, in the rills and rivulets reckoned as holy by men.

39. I was employed in providing my food and drink, and in procuring the fuel and cow-dung for fire; and remained entangled in the snare, of scrutinizing about what was right or wrong for daily observance.

40. In this way a whole century of my life time, passed away at that place, when it happened on a time that a holy hermit passed by that way from a great distance, and became my guest in my humble abode.

41. Being welcomed and honoured by me, he entered in my dwelling, and took his rest after washing and bathing himself. Then after his meal he sat on his bed, and began to tell his fate at the approach of night.

42. He spoke of many climes and countries, and of many lands and mountains; and talked of their different customs and manners, which were pleasant to hear, and related to various subjects.

43. All these, he said, are the display of the One Intellect, which is infinite and immutable in its nature; and manifests itself in the form of cosmos, which is for ever present with it as it is now seen to be.

44. Being thus enlightened by him, I was filled as it were with a flood of light, and remained listening to him with attention, all whatever he said on this and other subjects.

45. I heard also my own tale from him, and learning that the person which contained me within its womb, is no less than the body of Virat himself, I was eager to come out of the same.

46. So long as I was not aware, that its mouth is the only door way for my exit of that body; I kept moving through it, as if I were wandering amidst the vast extent of the earth and oceans.

47. I then left that spot, beset as it was by my friends and relations; and entered into his vital part, in order to make my egress with the vital breath.

48. Intending then to see both the inside and outside of the Virata's body, in which I resided, I continued to mark well the process of its outer movements as also of its inner thoughts.

49. I fixed my attention to my consciousness, and remained settled at my station without changing its spot; and then breathed out with his breath, as the fragrance of flowers accompanies the wind.

50. The rising with his respiration, I reached the cavity of his mouth;and mounting afterwards on the vehicle of the wind, I went on forward, and beheld all that lay before me.

51. I observed there the hermitage of a sage, situated in the grotto of a mountain at a distance; and found it full with anchorites, and myself sitting in my padmasana among them. (He saw the sight to which he was habituated all along his life).

52. These anchorites stood before me as my pupils, and were employed in their duty of taking care of my person in its state of anaesthesia.

53. After a while that man was seen among them, in whose heart I had been residing; and he appeared as lying flat and at ease upon his back, after taking some food which he got in the adjacent village.

54. Seeing this wonder I remained quiet, and did not speak any thing about it to any body waiting upon me; I then re-entered that body for my own amusement.

55. I got to [the] region of vitality which was situated within the heart, and was by my lasting desire to see the friends I had before, and I left behind.

56. As I was looking around, I saw the end of the world approaching with its direful aspect; and changing the course of nature, together with the positions of the world.

57. The mountains appeared altered and changed to another state, the sky presented another face, and the whole world seemed [to] be dislocated from its place.

58. I could find no trace of my former friends or habitation nor mark the situation of that tract of land, nor find the direction where it lay before; all these seemed to be swept away by the winds, nor could I know where they were taken.

59. I then found the world appearing in another form, and presenting a sight altogether different from what it had been before, and quite anew to view.

60. I saw the twelve suns of the twelve signs of the zodiac, shining all at once and burning in all the quarters of heaven and melting down the high mountains, like snows and icebergs to water.

61. The volcanic fire spread from mountain to mountain, and the fire of conflagration flew from forests to forests; the earth was parched with all the gems in her bowels, so that there remained no vestige of them save in the memory of men.

62. The seas were dried up, and the earth was full of burning embers on all sides; and there rose a strong gale, which wafted the ashes all away.

63. Subterranean, terrestrial and etherial fires, began to issue forth in flames and flash on all sides; and the face of the whole universe flushed with a blaze, glistening like the glowing clouds of the evening sky.

64. I entered amidst this burning sphere, as a flying moth falls into a flame; and was confined within its cave, as the roving bee is closed up in the calyx of the shutting lotus, and was quite unscorched and unscathed by the burning flame.

65. I then flew amidst the flames as freely as air, and flickered as the flash of fleet lightnings in the cloud; and sometimes hovered over the burning fire, as the light winged butterfly flies upon the lotus of the lands (sthala padma).