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:—The sage relates the elevation of the Huntsman to heaven by means of his austere devotion.
The god agni said:—
1. Upon hearing all this the huntsman was lost in wonder, and remained as dumfoundered as a figure in painting in the very forest.
2. He could not pause to fix his mind in the supreme being, and appeared to be out of his senses and wits, as if he was hurled into a sea.
3. He seemed to be riding on the wheel of his reverie, which pushed him onward with the velocity of a bicycle; or appeared to be caught by an alligator, which bore him with rapidity, up and down the current of his meditation.
4. He was drowned in doubt, to think whether this was the state of his nirvana or delirium;wherein he could not find his rest, but was tossed headlong like a headstrong youth in his foolhardiness.
5. He thought the visibles, to be the work of his ignorance; but he came to think upon his second thought, this delusion of the world, to be the production (display) of Providence.
6. Let me see, said he, the extent of the visibles from the beginning;and this I will do from a distance, by means of the spiritual body, which I have gained by means of devotion.
7. I will remove myself to a region, which is beyond the limit of the existent and inexistent worlds; and rest myself quiet at a spot, which is above the etherial space (i.e. in heaven).
8. Having thus determined in himself, he became as dull as a dunce, and set his mind to the practice of his yoga devotion, as it was dictated to him by the sage, saying that no act could be fruitful without its constant practice.
9. He then left his habit of huntsmanship and applied himself to the observance of austerities, in company with the sages and seers.
10. He remained long at the same spot, and in the society of the sagely seers; and continued in the practice of his sacred austerities, for very many years and seasons.
11. Remaining long in the discharge of his austere duties, and suffering all along the severities of his rigorous penance; he asked once his sagely guide, as to when he shall obtain his rest and respite from these toils, to which the muni responded unto him in the following manner.
The muni said:—
12. The little knowledge that I have imparted unto thee, is a spark fire and able to consume a forest of withered wood; though it has not yet burnt down the impression of this rotten world from your mind.
13. Without assuetude you cannot have your beatitude in knowledge; and with it, it is possible to attain it in course of a long time. (i.e. No knowledge is efficacious without its long practice, hence a novice in yoga is no yogi or adept in it).
14. Such will verily be your case, if you will rely in my assurance of this to you, and wear my words as a jewel about your ears, knowing them to be oracular in this world.
15. You praise the unknown spirit of God, in your ignorance of his nature; and your mind is hanging in suspense between your knowledge and ignorance of (divine nature).
16. You are led [of] your own accord to inquire into the nature and extent of the cosmos, which is but a phantom of delusion. (The world being but a delusion, it is in vain to investigate about it).
17. You will be thus employed for ages, in your arduous understanding of making this research, until Brahma—the creative power will appear before you, being pleased at your investigation into his works.
18. You will then ask the favour of thy favouring god, to release you from your ponderous doubt of the reality or delusiveness of the world, saying:—
19. Lord! I see the cosmorama of the phenomenal world, is spread out every where as a delusion before our sight; but I want to see a spot, which exhibits the true mirror of the Divine mind, and which is free from the blemish of the visibles.
20. The mirror of the vacuous mind, though as minute as an atom, represents yet the reflection of this vast universe in some part or other within it. (i.e. The minute atom of the mind, is the reflector of vast universe).
21. It is therefore to be known, how far this boundless world extends to our woe only; and how far does the sphere of the etherial sky stretch beyond it.
22. It is for this that I ask your good grace, to make me acquainted with the infinite space of the universe; accept my prayer, O thou lord of gods, and readily grant this my request.
23. Strengthen and immortalize this body of mine, and make it mount upon the regions of sky, with the velocity of the bird of heaven (Garuda or Phoenix).
24. Make my body increase to the length of a league each moment; until it encircles the world in the manner of its outer and surrounding sky.
25. Let this pre-eminent boon be granted to me, O great and glorious God, that I may reach beyond the bounds of the circumambient sky, which surrounds the sphere of the visible world.
26. Being thus besought by thee, O righteous man, the Lord will say unto thee, "Be it so as though desirest," and then he will disappear as a vision from thy sight, and vanish into the air, with his attendant gods along with him.
27. After the departure of Dis Pater with his accompanying deities, to their divine abodes in heaven; thy thin and lean body emaciated by thy austerities, will assume a brightness as that of the brilliant moon.
28. Then bowing down to me and getting my leave, thy brightsome body will mount to the sky in an instant, in order to see the object of thy desire, which is settled in thy mind.
29. It will rise high into the air as a second moon, and higher still as the luminous sun itself; and blaze above as brightly as a burning fire, in defiance of the brightness of the luminaries.
30. Then it will fly upwards in the empty sky, with the force of the strong winged phoenix; and run forward with the rapidity of a running current, in order to reach at the bounding belt of the world.
31. Having gone beyond the limit of the world, thy body will increase in its bulk and extent; and become as swollen as the diluvian ocean, that covered the face of the whole universe.
32. There thou wilt find thy body, growing bigger and bigger still; and filling like a big cloud the empty space of air, which is devoid of all created things.
33. This is the great vacuum of the Divine spirit, filled with the chaotic confusion of elements, flying about as whirlwinds; and the unbounded ocean of the infinite Mind, swelling with the waves of its perpetual thought.
34. You will find within this deep and dark vacuity, numberless worlds and created bodies, hurling headlong in endless succession; just as you perceive in your consciousness, a continued series of cities and other objects appearing in your dream.
35. As the torn leaves of trees, are seen to be tossed about in the air by the raging tempest; so you will see multitudes of worlds, hurled to and fro in the immensity of the Divine Mind.
36. As the passing world presents a faint and unsubstantial appearance to one looking down at it on the top of a high citadel; so do these worlds appear as mere shades and shadows when viewed in their spiritual light from above.
37. As the people of this world view the black spots attached to the disk of the moon, which are never observed by the inhabitants of that luminary; so are these worlds supposed to subsist in the Divine spirit, but they are in reality no other than the fleeting ideas of the infinite Mind.
38. You will thus continue to worlds after worlds, moving in the midst of successive spheres and skies; and thus pass a long time viewing the creation stretching to no end.
39. After viewing the multitudes of worlds, thronging in the heavens like the leaves of trees; you will be tired to see no end of them in the endless abyss of Infinity.
40. You will then be vexed in yourself, at this result of your devotion, as also at the distention of your body, and stretch of your observations all over the immensity of space.
41. Of what good is this big body, which I bear as a ponderous burthen upon me; and in comparison with which millions of mountain ranges, as the great Meru etc., dwindle away into lightsome straws.
42. This boundless body of mine, that fills the whole space of the sky; answers no purpose whatever, that I can possibly think of.
43. This ponderous body of mine, that measures the whole space of the visible world; is quite in the darkness—ignorance without its spiritual knowledge, which is the true light of the soul.
44. I must therefore cast off this prolated body of mine, which is of no use to me, in the acquisition of knowledge or in keeping company with wise and holy men.
45. Of what good is this big and bulky body of mine, to scan the unknowable infinity of the endless and supportless Brahma, whose essence contains and supports the whole of this universe, and is hard to be ascertained.
46. Thinking so in yourself, you will shrivel your bloated body, by exhaling your breath (as you had expanded it by your inhalation of it), and then shun your frame as a bird cast off the outer crust of a fruit after suction of its juicy sap.
47. After casting off the mortal clod and coil of your body, thy soul will rest in empty air accompanied with its respirative breath of life, which is more tenuous than the subtile ether (over which it floats).
48. Thy big body will then fall down on earth, as when the great mount of Meru fell on the ground, being cleft of its wings by ire of Indra; and will crush all earthly beings, and smash the mountains to dust underneath it.
50. Now you heard me fully relate unto your future fate, go therefore to yonder forest of palm trees, and remain there in practising your austerities as well as you may like.
The huntsman rejoined:—
51. O sir, how great are the woes that are awaiting upon me, and which I am destined to undergo in my vain pursuit after knowledge (of the infinite nature and works of God).
52. Pray tell me sir, if you have anything to say, for my averting the great calamity that you have predicted; and tell me also, if there be no expedient to avoid the destined evil.
The sage replied:—
53. There is no body nor any power whatever, that is ever able to prevent the eventualities of fate; and all attempts to avert them, are thrown on one's back.
54. As there is no human power to the left on the right, or fix the feet on the head; so there is no possibility to alter the decree of fate.
55. The knowledge of the science of astrology, serves only to acquaint us with the events of our fate; but there is nothing in it, that can help us to counteract the shafts of adverse fortune.
56. Therefore those men are blest, who with their knowledge of sovran predestination are still employed in their present duties; and who after the death and burning of their bodies, rest in the eternal repose of Brahma in their consciousness.