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:—Meeting of the Kadamba Hermit with his brothers, their bane and blessing and final success.
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The old anchorite resumed and said:—The goddess Gauri dwelt for a full decade of years, on this very Kadamba tree of her own accord; and then she left this arbour of her own will, in order to join her lord Hara on his left side.
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This young Kadamba tree, being verified by the ambrosial touch of the goddess, never becomes old, nor fades or withers; but ever remains as fresh as a child in the lap of her mother.
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After the goddess had left this place, that great garden was converted to a common bush, and was frequented only by woodmen, who earned their livelihood by woodcutting.
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As for myself, know me to be the king of the country of Malwa, and to have now become a refugee in this hermitage of holy ascetics, by abdication of my kingdom.
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On my resorting to this place, I was honoured here by the inhabitants of this holy asylum; and have taken my abode beneath this kadamba tree, where I have been in my meditative mood ever since that time.
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It was some time ago, that you sir, had come here in company with seven brethren, and betaken yourselves to the practice of your religious austerities.
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So did you eight persons reside here as holy devotees since that time, and were respected by all the resident devotees of this place.
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It came to pass in process of time, that one of them removed from here to the Sri mountain; and then the second among them, went out to worship the lord Kartikeya in another place.
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It was the earnest desire of each and every one of them, to become the sovran lord of all the seven continents of the earth.
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At last they all succeeded to accomplish their objects of their selfsame desire, by the grace and boon which [they] obtained from the respective deity of their adoration, that was pleased with the austerity of his particular devotee.
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The brethren returned to their habitation, when you had been employed in your devotion; and after their enjoyment of the fruition of this earth in golden age, they have ascended to the empyrean of Brahma.
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O sir, those brothers of yours, finding their respective gods propitious to them, and willing to confer blessings upon them, had made the following request of them saying:—
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Ye gods! make our seven brothers, the lords of the seven continents of the earth; and let all our subjects be truthful and sincere, and attached to the occupations of their respective orders.
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The gods that were adored by them, gladly occupied their prayer; and having assented to their request, disappeared from them, and vanished in the open sky.
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They all went afterwards to their respective habitation, and met death except this one who is now here.
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I only have been sitting alone, devoutly intent upon meditation; and have remained as motionless as a stone, beneath this kadamba tree, which is sacred to the goddess of speech.
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Now as the seasons and years, have been rolling on upon my devoted head, I have lived to see this forest, to be broken and cut down by woodmen, living in the skirts of these woods.
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They have spared only this unfading kadamba tree, which they had made an object of their veneration, as the abode of the goddess of speech; and me also whom they believe to be absorbed in inflexible meditation.
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Now sirs, as you seem to have newly come to this place, and bear the appearance of aged ascetics; I have therefore related to you all that I have come to know by my cogitation only.
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Rise then ye righteous men, and proceed to your native homes; where you will meet your brothers in the circle of their family and friends.
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After that great devotee had said so far, I interrupted him saying:—I have a great doubt in this wondrous relation of yours, which you will be pleased to expound it to me.
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We know this earth to be composed of seven continents only, how then is it possible for eight brothers, to be the lord of them all, at the one and same time.
The kadamba ascetic said:—
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It is not inconsistent what I have related to you, there are many such [things which] are seemingly incongruous, but [which] become evident when they are explained.
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These eight brothers, having passed their periods of asceticism, will all of them become lords of the seven continents of the earth, in their domestic circles. (i.e. Each thinks himself as such).
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All these eight brothers, will remain in their respective houses on the surface of the earth; and will there become the lords of the septuple continents, in the manner as you shall now hear from me.
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Every one of these eight persons had each a wife at home, who were of unblemished character and persons withal; and resembled the eight stars or planets of heavens, in the brightness of their bodies. (They were equally chaste and fair and loving wives also).
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After these eight brothers have departed, to conduct their protracted devotion abroad; their love born wives became disconsolate at their separation, which is altogether intolerable to faithful wives.
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They in their great sorrow of spirit, made painful austerities to the memory of the absent lords; and conducted a hundred chandrayana vows and rites, to the satisfaction of the goddess Parvati. (The Olympian Juno, and the patroness of chastity).
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Invisibly the goddess appeared to them, and spake her words to them separately in their inner apartments; after each and every one of them had performed her daily devotion to [the] goddess.
The goddess said:—
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O Child, that hast been long fading away by thy austerities, like the tender shoot under the scorching sun; now accept this boon to thy heart's desire, both for thyself as also for thy husband.
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Hearing this voice of the goddess of heaven, the lady Chirantika, offered her handfuls of flowers to her, and began to address her prayer to the goddess, to her heart's satisfaction.
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The reserved and close tongued damsel, uttered her words in a slow flattering voice flushed with joy; and addressed the heavenly goddess, as the peahen accosts the rising cloud.
The goddess replied:—
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Know, O goodly minded lady, that it is impossible to gain immortality, from the inflexible decree of destiny, ever since the creation of the world. No devotion, austerity nor charity can buy life, ask therefore some other blessing.
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O goddess! if it be impossible to attain immortality, then ordain it thus far; that he being dead, his soul may not depart beyond the confines of this house of his.
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When the body of my husband, falls dead in this house; then confer me this boon, that his parted soul may never depart from this place.
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Be it so, O daughter, that your husband being gone to [the] other world, you may still continue to be his beloved wife, even after his demise.
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Saying so, the goddess Gauri held her silence in the midst of the air; as the sound of the clouds is stopped, after its betokening the welfare of the world.
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After disappearance of the goddess in air, the husbands of these ladies returned to them from all sides, and at the lapse of some time after they had received their desired blessings.
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Now was there a mutual interview of the wives with their husbands, and general meeting of the brothers with each other, and with their friends and relatives.
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Hear now a wonderful event, which happened to them at this time; and which presented itself as an obstacle, towards the achievement of their noble purpose.
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It was at the time when the brothers were employed in their devotion, that their parents had gone out with their wives in search of them, and were wandering about the hermitages of saints, with their sorrowful hearts.
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Thinking him to be an ordinary old passenger, the parents forgot to do him due honour, and let the dust of the ground they trod upon, fly unwarily to his sacred person. This irritated the old passenger, who thus bespake to him in his ire.
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For this act of thy negligence, the boons so dearly earned by thy sons and daughters in law will go for nothing, and will be attained with their contrary effect.
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On hearing this malediction the old parents and their daughters in law, were proceeding to do him reverence, when the ancient sage disappeared from their sight and vanished in air.
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At this the parents and their daughters, were greatly dismayed and disheartened; and returned disappointed to their home, with their melancholy countenances.
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Therefore I say, there was not the only inconsistency, in each of the brothers reigning over the seven continents all at once; but there were many other odds awaiting upon them as on all human wishes; and these occurring as thickly one after the other as the sores and ulcers growing on goitres. (Or pouches on the throat).
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There are as many oddities and vanities, always occurring in the wishes, and aerial castles of the vacuous mind; as the numberless portents and comets and meteors and unnatural sights, are seen to appear in the empty sky.