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 guest's description of [the] sanctuary of the goddess Gauri.
1. [Sanskrit available]
The guest Kunda-danta resumed his narration and said:—We then betook ourselves to our homeward journey, and bent our course towards the holy city of Mathura, which was as fair and splendid as the solar and lunar mansions, and the celestial city of Amaravati of Indra.
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We reached at the rustic habitation of Raudha, and halted at the mango forest over an adjacent rock. Then we turned towards the city of Salisa, where we remained two days in the cheerfulness of our spirits.
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We passed our itinerant time, with that hilarity of our hearts, which ever attends on travelling through unknown places and scenes; and the succeeding season of our halting, was passed in our repose under the cooling shade of woodland arbours, and refreshing ourselves in the cooling brooks and breezes.
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The faded flowers which were thrown down in profusion, from the flowery creepers growing on the banks of rivers; the dashing of the waves, the humming of the bees, and the singing of birds, are delightsome to the souls of passing travellers.
5. The thickening and cooling shades of beachening trees, the droves of deer and the flights of chirping birds; and the frozen ice and dew drops, hanging tremulously as pearls on the leaves of verdant trees, and at the ends of the blades of green grass (are refreshing to the soul of the weary passenger.)
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We passed many days through woods and forests, and over hills and dales, through caves and defiles, over marshes and dry lands, and in cities and villages; and also crossed over a great many rivers and channels and running waters.
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We passed our nights under the arbours of thick plantain forests; and being weary with walking over snow and dew, we laid ourselves on beds made of plantain leaves.
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On the third we came to a jungle full of gigantic woods and trees, which for want of human habitation, seemed to have divided the empire of heaven between themselves (meaning that there was to be seen nothing, except the skies above and woods below).
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Here that devotee left the right path, and entered into another forest, with uttering these useless words to me (which were discursive and preventive of our returning to our respective habitations).
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Let us go to the sanctuary of Gauri here, which is the resort of many munis and sages from all quarters; and is the asylum to which my seven brothers, have repaired for attainment of their objects.
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We are eight brothers in all, and all of us have fostered great ambitions in various respects; we are all equally resolved to devote ourselves to rigorous austerities, for the success of our determined purposes.
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It is for that purpose that [they] have sought their shelter in this holy asylum, and with fixed determination practiced various acts of self mortification, whereby they have been expurgated from their sins.
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Ere this I accompanied my brothers to this place, and remained here with them for six months together; and now I find this same sanctuary of Gauri in the same state as I had seen it before.
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I see the piece of ground, overhung by the shady flower of trees; under the shade of which I see the young fauns to be reposing in this their peaceful retreat; I see also the leafy bowers with the sprays of birds thereon, listening to the recital of the sastras, conducted by the sages underneath.
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Let us therefore go to the asylum of the sages, which resembles the seat of Brahma crowded by the Brahmans on all sides; here shall our bodies be purified of their sins, and our hearts will be sanctified by the holiness of the place.
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It is by sight of these holy men of superior understanding, that the minds of even the learned and saintlike persons, and even those of the knowers of truth are purified (wherefore it must be sanctifying to us also).
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Upon his saying so, we both went together to that asylum of the recluses of sages and hermits; but to our great disappointment, we saw nothing but the appearance of a total desolation.
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There was not a tree nor plant, and neither a shrub nor creeper to be seen on the spot; nor was there any man or muni or a boy or child was met thereabouts; nor any altar or priest was there anywhere.
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It was only a vast desert, all void and devoid of bounds; an unlimited space of burning heat, and appeared as the blank expanse of the sky, had fallen down on the ground below.
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Ah woe to us! what is all this come to be! said we to one another;and saying so, we continued to rove about for a long while, until we chanced to espy an arbour at some distance.
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It presented a thickly shady and cooling aspect, resembling that of a dark and drizzling cloud in the sky; and there was observed an aged hermit, sitting in his meditation beneath it.
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We two sat upon the grassy spot, spread out in front of the eremite; and though we kept sitting there for a long time, yet we could find no respite in the abstracted meditation of the muni.
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Then feeling uneasy at my staying there for a long while, I broke my silence in impatience, and cried out in a loud voice, saying, suspend, O sage, the life-long musings of your mind.
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My loud cry awakened the muni from the trance of his reverie, as the roaring of a raining cloud wakens the sleeping lion, rising straight with his yawning mouth (and stretched out limbs).
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He then said unto us, who are ye pious persons, that are in this desert; say where is that sanctuary of Gauri gone, and who is it that has brought me hither. Tell me what means this change and what time is this.
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Upon his saying so, I replied to him saying, you sir, know all this and not we; say how is [it] that you being a sage and seer do not know yourself?
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Hearing this the holy man betook himself to his meditation again, and there saw all the events that had occurred to himself and us also.
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He remained a moment in deep thought, and then coming to himself from his abstraction, he said unto us, learn now about this marvelous event, and know it to be a delusion only by your good common sense.
30. [Sanskrit available]
It was for some reason or other, that the chaste goddess Gauri, dwelt for full ten years upon it, in the form of the goddess of speech, and underwent all the inclemencies of the seasons sitting there upon.
31. It was by her that a goodly grove, and an extensive forest was stretched out at this place, which became therefore known by her name, and was decorated by the flora of all the seasons.
32. It was a romantic spot to all grades of gods and men, who kept singing and sporting here in concert with the melody of tuneful and sportive birds; the air was filled with clouds of flowers, which brightened as myriads of moon in the sky; while the flying dust of full blown lotuses, perfumed the air on all sides of the forest.
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The pollen of mandara and other flowers, perfumed the air around;and the opening bud and blooming blossoms brightened as moons; the flowering creepers sent forth their fragrance all about, and the whole courtyard of the forest, seemed to [be] strewn over with perfumery.
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Its bowers were the seats of the god of the vernal season and flora; and the orchestra of black-bees, sitting and singing in concert with their mates on the top of flowers; the flower beds were spread as the outstretched sheet of moon light, and as cradles for the swinging sports of siddha and celestial damsels.
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Here were brooks frequented by cranes and herons, and aquatic birds of various kinds; and there spacious lawns on the ground, graced by cocks and peacocks, and land birds of various hues.
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The gandharvas and yakshas, siddhas and the hosts of celestials, bowed down to this kadamba tree, and their coronets rubbed against the branch, which was sanctified by the touch of the feet of the goddess Sarasvati alias Gauri. And the flowers of the tree, resembling the stars of heaven, exhaled their fragrance all around.
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Gentle zephyrs were playing amidst the tender creeper, and diffusing a coldness throughout the secret bowers, even in the light and heat of the blazing sunshine; while the flying dust of the kadamba and other flowers, spread a yellow carpet all over the ground.
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The lotus and other aquatic flowers, were blooming in the brooks, frequented by storks and cranes and herons and other watery birds, that sported upon them; while the goddess regaled herself amidst the flowery groves, which displayed her wondrous powers in the variety of their flowers.
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It was in such a forest as this, that the goddess Gauri the consort of the god Hara, resided at this spot for a long time, for some cause known to her godly mind; and then by changing her name and form to that of kadamba—Sarasvati, she waved as gracefully as a kadamba flower, on the crown of the head of her spoused partner Hara or Siva.