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 CLXXX - Brahma gita: the story on austere devotee

Argument:—Vasishtha's elucidation of the story of Kunda-danta at the request of Rama.

Rama rejoined:—

1. I pray you sir, to remove the shade of a doubt from my mind, as the sunshine dispels the darkness from before it; in order to bring to light whatever is dark and obscure in the world.

2. I beheld once a self-governed ascetic, who came to the seminary, where I was sitting amidst the synod of the sages and learned men, and conversing on subjects of theology and divinity.

3. He was a learned Brahman, and of a godly appearance; he came from the land of the videhas or the Mithilas, and was practiced in religious austerities, and was as unbearable in the lustre of his person as the terrific seer Durvasas self.

4. On entering the assembly, he made his obeisance to the illustrious persons; when we also saluted him in return and advanced his seat for him to sit down.

5. The Brahman being well seated, I picked up many discourses with him from the vedanta, sankhya, and siddhanta philosophy, and when his weariness was gone, I made this question to him, saying:—

6. Sir, you seem to be tired with your long journey to this place, please tell me, O eloquent sir, from where you have started here today.

The brahman replied:—

7. so it is, O fortunate prince, I have taken great pains to come up to this place; and now hear me to tell you the reason, that brings me hither to you.

8. There is a district here, known by the name of Vaideha, it is equally populous as well as prosperous in all respects; and is a resemblance of its semblance of the heavenly paradise.

9. There I was born and educated, and held my residence at the same place; and named as Kundadanta from the whiteness of my teeth, bearing resemblance to the buds of Kunda flowers.

10. I resigned afterwards my worldly concerns, and betook myself to travel far and wide about this earth; and resorted to the asylums of holy sages and saints, and to the shrines of gods to rest from my fatigue.

11. I retired next to [a] sacred mountain, where I sat silent for a long period, practicing my devotional austerities.

12. There I found a desert, which was devoid of grassy pastures and woody trees; and where the light of the sun and the shade of night, reigned by turns, as it was the open sky on earth.

13. There is in the midst of it a branching tree, with little of its verdant leaves and leaf-lets; and the luminous sun dispensed his gentle beams, from the upper sky and through cooling foliage.

14. There hung suspended under one of its boughs, a man of a holy mien; who blazed as the resplendent sun pendent in the open air, by the cords of his wide extending beams and radiating rays.

15. His feet were tied upwards by a clotted cord of munja grass, and his head hung downward towards the ground beneath; and this gave him the appearance of an offshoot of the banian tree rooted in the earth below.

16. Having then after a while, approached to him at that place, I saw him to have his two folded palms affixed to his breast (as if he was intent upon the meditation of the lord, with the devoutness of his heart).

17. Advancing nearer to the body of the Brahman, I found it to be alive by its respiration, and from its having the feeling of touch, and the perception of heat and cold, and that of the breeze and change of weather.

18. Afterwards I employed myself solely, in my attendance on that devout personage only; and underwent all the rigours of the sun and seasons, until I was received into his confidence.

19. I then asked him saying; who art thou lord, that hast thus betaken thyself to this sort of painful devotion; say, O long sighted seer, what is the aim and object of this thy protracted state of self-mortification at the peril-expense of thy precious life.

He then replied to my question saying said:—

20. Tell me first O devotee, what is the object of thy devotion and those of all other persons, that are devoted to the particular objects of their pursuit. (So it is useless to inquire into the aim and object of another, when there is no body without his particular end in view).

21. This he said as introductory to his speech to me; but being pressed further by my importunate inquiries, he gave the following answer to my questions.

22. I was born, said he, at Mathura where I grew up from childhood to youth in the house of my father; and acquired my knowledge of philology and the arts in course of this time.

23. I then learnt this also, that princes are the receptacles of all pleasures and enjoyments, and that it is the early bloom of youth, that is capable of the fruitions of life.

24. Since then I began to reflect on my being the possessor of the seven continents of the earth; and to foster the ardent expectation, of the gratification of all my desires of this life.

25. It is for this purpose that I have come to this place, and have employed myself in this state of devotion, for attainment of objects of my desire.

26. Therefore, O thou disinterested and self offered friend of mine, do thou now return to thy own country and desired abode; and leave me to remain in this state, with my firm resolution for the accomplishment of my desired object.

27. Being thus bid by him to depart from that place, listen you now to what I replied unto him; this you will wonder at its rehearsal, and the wise will be gladdened in their hearts to learn.

I addressed him saying said:—

28. O holy saint, let me remain here at thy service, and underneath this holy tree, until you obtain the desired boon of your devotion.

29. On my saying so, the meek minded devotee, remained as cool and quiet as a block of stone, and with his closed eye lids, he persisted in his dormancy as a dead body, without any motion in his outer limbs.

30. I too continued to stay before him, as quiet and quiescent as a block of wood, and endured without shrinking the rigours of the climate and seasons, for full six months at that spot.

31. I saw at one time, effulgent as the blazing sun, descending from the solar orb, and then standing in presence of the devotee.

32. As this deific personage was adored mentally by the ascetic, and by bodily prostration of myself; he uttered his words, in a tone as sweet as the exudation of ambrosial sweetness.

33. He said: O painstaking Brahman, that hast long been pendent on the projected bough of this branching banian tree, suspend thy severe austerities, and accept thy desired boon, which I am ready to confer on thee.

34. Thou shalt as thou wishest, reign over the seven oceans and continents of this earth; and with this present body, thou shalt rule over it, for seven thousand years.

35. In this manner did this secondary sun, give his blessing to the devout ascetic; and was prepared to plunge into the bosom of the ocean out of which he rose of himself. (The sun is usually said to rise from and set in the mountain top, but he is made to rise out of and sink in the sea, according to the Grecian mythology).

36. The Deity having departed, I accosted the ascetic hanging below the branch, and said to him I witnessed to day what I had heard from before, that the gods are ever propitious to their suppliants.

37. Now O Brahman, as you have gained the object of your desire, it is desirable that you should give up your austerity, and pursue the proper callings and the course of your life.

38. He having assented to my proposal, I ascended on the tree and loosened his feet therefrom; as they let loose the feet of an elephant from the fetters tied to its prop and post.

39. Having then bathed himself, he made his offerings with his pure hands for the remission of his sins; and then with the fruits which he was fortunate to pluck from the tree, he broke the fast of his long lent.

40. It was by virtue of his meritorious devotion, that we obtained plenty of the delicious fruits of that holy tree; where upon we refreshed ourselves, and subsisted for three days.

41. Thus this Brahman being desirous of obtaining the sovereignity of the earth, consisting of the septuple continents girt by the seven oceans all around, made his painful maceration with his uplifted feet and downward head, until he obtained desired boon from the god of day, and refreshed himself for three days at the spot, till at last both of us set out on our journey towards the city of Mathura.