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 CLX - Description of heaven and hell

Argument:—The Breaking and Rejoining of the Court and the dissolution of the Ignorance of Bhasa and his Liberation in Life.

Valmiki related:—

1. As Vipaschit was going on saying these things, the sun wishing to put an end to his speech, proceed with his rapid strides to enlighten another world.

2. Loud trumpets gave the alarum of the departing day, and filled the air on all sides with their swelling sound: and all the quarters of heaven seemed to re-echo in their joy, the fanfare of victory.

3. The king Dasaratha gave Vipaschit, many gifts in money, maidservants and houses; and bestowed on him many rich and royal presents worthy of kings, and then rose from his seat.

4. The king, Rama and Vasishtha, having taken leave of the assembly, and saluted one another in their proper order, retired to their respective abodes.

5. Then having bathed and refreshed themselves, they passed the night in ease and repose; then resorted to the assembly in the morning, and were seated in their respective seats.

6. The sage Vasishtha then resumed the subject of the last discourse;and spoke his sweet words with such complacence of his countenance, as if the comely moon was shedding her ambrosial beams, from her bright and cooling face.

7. Let me tell you, O king, that Vipaschit has not been able with all his endeavours, to ascertain the true nature of Ignorance; nor is it an error of the mind which makes the unreal appear as real.

8. The nature of Ignorance as long as it is unknown, appears to be eternal and endless; but being understood, it proves to be as null and nothing, as the limpid water in a mirage.

9. You have already heard, O wise monarch, the narration of Bhasa the minister of Vipaschit; and shall now hear of his liberation in his living state.

10. It is likely that he will come to be acquainted with truth from some other source or discourse, and then he will be liberated in his life time; by being freed from his ignorance.

11. And because this ignorance or Avidya, is ever accompanied with Intellect of the Lord himself, it is for this very reason, that the unreality is erroneous by taken for the reality itself.

If this ignorance said:—

12. avidya—nescience, be an attribute of God, then it is no other than the very God; and the unknown or the mysterious nature, is not otherwise than the inscrutable nature of God.

13. This ignorance is infinity (in the infinity of created things), and is productive of endless shoots like the sprouts of spring, some of which are insipid and others sapid, some are luscious, while others are mellow and inebriating.

14. Some growing as thorny plants, all hollow within and hollow without, while others are straight and herbaceous as the succulent reeds or sugar cane.

15. Some of them are unfruitful and unprofitable, and others are attractive of the heart by their untimely blossoming, which is predicative of evil only and no desirable good. (Early blossoms are ominous).

16. Avidya or Nescience has no form nor shape, save that of its shapeless bulk, which fills all worlds; it is a long and broad mass of darkness, and infested by demons and devils (that take in the dark and at night).

17. Like false light and phantasms in the open air, and like the linked and twisted motes of light curling about in the sky; do all these visibles appear to our view in the clear firmament, and are in reality but fallacies of our vision.

18. The variegated views which are stretched all about the empty air, without any connecting chain or link between them;are as the many coloured rainbows of heaven, which are described by the falling rains and melt into the empty air.

19. The world resembles a rainy river, with all its orbs appearing as the countless waves of water, with the dirty and foaming froths floating over it; and the fearful eddies and whirlpools, resembling the revolving planetary bodies.

20. The world is a vast and dreary desert, ever exhibiting the waters of mirage on its surface; while in reality but a body of dust, and filled with the ashes of dead bodies.

21. As a man wandering in the fairyland of his dream, finds no terminus of his journey; so have I been roving forever in the land of my waking dream, without finding any end to my travelling.

22. The web of desires that I have been fondly weaving so long, proved at last to be fragile and frail; hence men of firm minds learn betimes, to abandon their desires for the whole range of visible objects.

23. All those objects (ideas) that are contained in the empty space of the Intellect, are as precious germs safely stored in the casket of the mind; and appear by our misconception of them, as visible objects placed in the open space of air.

24. Those worlds are as the celestial cities of the siddhas, which are situated in the air and are quite invisible to us; but these that appear to our view, are non-entities, and mere phantoms of our fancy.

25. The heavenly abodes of the siddhas or godly souls, are feigned as teeming in gold, precious gems and rubies, with rivers yielding pearls and fields of diamonds; they abound with victuals and eatables, and rivers running with limpid and drinkable waters.

26. They are said to abound in honey and wines, in milk and curds, in butter and clarified butter also; there are streams of sweet beverage, and celestials nymphs in groups.

27. There fruits and flowers grow in the gardens at all seasons, and heavenly damsels sport in the bowers at all times;and all sorts of gains and enjoyments, readily attends on the immediate desire of every body.

28. There a hundred suns are shining, on one side, and a thousand moons on another; and some inhabitants are dressed in gold and purple, while others are quaffing their fill of ambrosial draughts.

29. There is a spontaneous darkness in one place, and full sunshine in another, and an everlasting joy in some place; and the siddhas or perfected spirits are continually wafted as by a breeze, from one of these to another, with their light and ponderous bodies.

30. Some meet with their birth and death at each moment, while there are others that live to enjoy their everlasting joys of heaven.

31. There are magnificent palaces and great dignities of all sorts; it is fraught with the delights of all seasons, and filled with whatever is desirable to mind, and delectable to the spirit.

32. But these desirable blessings, attending upon the pious deeds of virtuous; find no place in the quiet minds of the righteous (which [are] fixed [in] divine felicity alone).

33. There is nothing that is desirable to the soul, which is devoted to the contemplation of Brahma only; say therefore, O ye unholy, of what good are all these blessings, if they do not lead to divine felicity.

34. If in the beginning there was no creation at all, owing to its want of a creator; say then what is this world, of what it is composed, and how came it into existence.

35. If the world is not the act of causality and nothing in reality, then how does [it] appear to be existent? It is the everlasting will of God, that manifests itself in the manner in the Divine Mind; just as we see the display of our rising thought and wishes in our mind.

36. It is even so, O ye simpletons, that you or I or he, come to see our imaginary castles in the air; by the stretch of our imagination, or the liveliness or flight of our fancy.

37. He who has the single object of divine felicity, for his sole pursuit in life; comes to attain the same supreme bliss, after he forsakes his mortal body.

38. But whoso pursues after the two fold objects of heaven and heavenly bliss, by means of his religious rites and sacrifices in this life; acquires both of them afterwards, as the unity of purpose secures one only to one.

39. The siddhas reign in the said manner, according to the thoughts in their minds; while the unholy are doomed to the torments of hell, owing to the sinful thoughts of their minds.

40. Whatever one thinks upon, he feels the same in himself, as long as he possesses his mortal body; and after he loses his material body, he feels it in his mind, which is but a part of the body.

41. When a living person quits one body for another, he carries with him the same mind into the other that he had in the prior one, and sees the same things in its thoughts, which he was accustomed to look upon before.

42. A good conscience has all goodly prospects before it, as a vitiated soul meets with ghastly aspects on all sides; the airy mind sees only such aerial shapes in its vacuity.

43. Pure souls only come to enjoy the sights of these siddha cities in the air, but impure spirits are subjected to suffer their torments in hell.

44. There is a continual rotation of the unwieldy stones of grinding mills, for crushing the vicious souls; and the hurling of wicked into blind wells or dark pits, out of which they can rise no more.

45. There some bodies are cast amidst the frozen snows, where they are petrified to stones; and many are thrown into the burning coals of devils, or led amidst the burning sands of trackless deserts.

46. The clouds dropped down living fire, and the skies poured forth fiery showers; and red-hot bolts and arrows darted down from heaven.

47. Stones and disks and swords, were floating on the running stream of the sky; and falling like fragments of clouds upon the breasts of the accurst, and breaking them as with the strokes of felling axes.

48. The hot iron sleets and brimstones, falling with a hissing sound; and weapons were hurled from engines, with a loud tremendous noise.

49. Missiles and bolts and discs, together with pikes and clubs, and swords and shafts were falling in showers; and traps and tackles and malls and mallets were striking in hundred.

50. There the hot and burning sands, buried the passengers under the ground; and there burning meteors were falling like torches; while large ravens were devouring the dead bodies around.

51. Blazing piles also ingulfed the dead, from which they could never get out; while darts and spears and bolts and arrows, were piercing the other bodies all about.

52. Hunger and dismay and excruciating pains, tormented by turns, the bodies of dead apostates; while others were hurled down from high hills and heights, on rough and hard stones below.

53. Some were weltering in blood, and rolling in pools of dirt, rotten flesh and disgusting pus; and others were crushed under stones and weapons, and beneath the feet of horses and elephants.

54. Hungry vultures and owls, were picking up and tearing the dead bodies, out of caves and places; and their limbs and members, were mangled and scattered all over the ground.

55. It is thus that men are prepossessed, with these thoughts of the punishment of their guilt, from the sacred writings; and thereby come to suffer the same, both in their bodies and minds, from their inward impressions of them.

56. Whatever form or figure, ever appears in the vacuum of the Intellect; or whatsoever is dreamt or thought of at anytime; the same holds fast the imagination, and presents itself before the mirror of the mind of its own accord.