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 CLXXXIII - Description of the seven continents

Argument:—Brahma's relation of the contending sides of blessing and imprecation.

Kunda-danta rejoined:—

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I then asked the hermit of Gauri's asylum, whose head was hoary with age, and whose hair resembled the dried blades of withered grass.

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There are but seven continents only, that composed this earth; how then could every one of the eight brothers, become the sole lord of earth at one and the same time.

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Again how could a person, that had no egress from his house, conquer the seven continents abroad, or govern them himself (by sitting quietly at home).

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How could they that had the boon on one hand, and its contrary curse on the other, go in either way which are opposed to one another, as the cool shade of trees and the heat of sunshine?

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How can opposite qualities reside together at the same time, which is as impossible as the container and contained to become the same thing? (Here the blessing of the gods and the curse of the sage, must counteract one another, and neither of them could effect anything).

The hermit of the asylum returned said:—

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Attend, O holy man, to my relation of the sequel of their tale; and you will come to see the sequence of their contrary fates.

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As for you two, you will reach to your home, after eight days from this place; and there meet with your relatives, with whom you will live happily for some time.

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These eight brothers also, having joined with their families at home: will breathe their last in course of time; and have their bodies burnt by their friends and relations.

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Then their conscious souls, will remain separately in air for a little while; and there continue in a state of torpidity, as in the insensibility of sleep.

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All this interval their acts will appear, in the vacuous space of their minds, for the sake of receiving their retributive justice; and also the blessing of gods and the curse of the sage, will wait on them at this time.

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The acts will appear in the shapes of the persons to whom they were done and the blessings and imprecation likewise will assume their particular forms, in order to make their appearance before them.

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The blessings will assume the forms of fair moon-bright bodies, having four arms on each, and holding a lotus bud, a club and other weapons in each of them.

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The curse will take the forms of Siva with his three eyes, and holding the lance and mace in his either hand; and having a dark terrific body, with a surly grim and frowning countenance.

The blessings will vauntingly say said:—

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Avaunt thou accursed curse! it is now our time to work; as it is with the seasons to act their parts at their proper times.

The curse will say in his turn said:—

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Be afar from here; ye blessed blessings, and do not intrude upon my time; it will take effect as any one of the seasons, nor is there any body capable of counteracting its wonted course.

16. The blessings will rejoin and say; Thou cursed curse, art but a creature of an human sage; but we are messengers of the God of day; now as preference is given to the first born God of light, over a human being (who is the last work of God); it is proper that we should have our precedence here (in the present case).

17. [Sanskrit available]
Upon the blessings saying so, the personified curse of the sage got enraged, and returned in reply saying, I am no less the creation of a God than you are since we are born of the God Rudra by his consort Rudrani—the Fury.

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Rudra is the greatest of gods, and the sage was born with a portion of Rudra's prowess; saying so the accursed curse lifted up its head, as high as the exalted summit of a mountain.

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On seeing the haughty high-headedness of the personation of curse; the personified image of the boon smiled scornfully at him, and then made his reply in his speech of well weighed words.

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O thou miscreant curse, leave thy wickedness and think on the end of this affair; as also about what is to be done, after termination of all this altercation of ours.

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We must have recourse to the father of the gods, for his favourable decision of the case, is it not therefore better for us to do even now what must come to be finally determined by him.

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The curse on hearing these words of the personified boon replied, well, I agree to what you say; because a fool even cannot decline to accept the reasonable proposal of a person.

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Then the curse agreed to resort to the abode of Brahma; in company with the divine Blessing; because the great-minded gods are always resorted to by the wise, for the dissipation of their doubts.

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They bended down before Brahma, and related all that had occurred between them; and the god on hearing the whole [case] on both sides, replied to them in the following manner.

Brahma said:—

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Hearken unto me, ye master of blessing and curse, and let him have the precedence of the other, that is possessed of intrinsic merit and essence.

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Upon hearing this from the mouth of the great god, they both entered in their turn into the heart of one another, in order to sound their understandings, and descry their respective parts.

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They then having searched into the eternal essentialities of one another, and having known their respective characters; came out in presence of the God, and besought him by turns.

The curse said:—

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I am overcome, O Lord of creatures, by this my adversary, in my having no internal merit in myself, and finding the curses of my foe, to be as sound and solid as the hard stony rock and the strong thunderbolt.

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But both ourselves and the blessings, being always but intellectual beings, we have no material body whatever to boast of at any time.

The blessing replied:—

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The intellectual blessing, which its giver (the god in the sun), has given to its askers the Brahmans, is here present before you; and this is entrusted to my charge (to be delivered unto them).

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The body of every one is the evolution of one's intelligence, and it is this body which enjoys the consequence of the curse or blessing that is passed on one according to his knowledge of it; whether it is in his eating or drinking or in his feeling of the same, in all his wandering at all times and places. (i.e. The consciousness of one's merits and demerits, accompanies him every where, and makes him enjoy or suffer their results accordingly).

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The blessing received from its donor, is strengthened in the mind of the donee in time; and this acting forcibly within one's self, overcomes at last the power or effect of the curse. (i.e. Firm good will, turns away the evil ones).

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The donor's bestowal of a blessing, to his supplicants for it; becomes strong and effectual only, when it is deeply rooted and duly fostered in one's self. (i.e. A good given us by others, is of no good, unless we cultivate it well ourselves).

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It is by means of the continued culture of our conscious goodness, and by the constant habit of thinking of our desert, that these become perfected in one's self, and convert their possessor to their form. (It is the habitual mode of the mind's thought, that makes the future man, be it a holy or accursed one).

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The pure and contrite conscience alone, consummates one's consciousness in time; but the impure conscience of the evil minded, never finds its peace and tranquillity. Hence the Brahmans' thoughts of the blessing, had taken the possession of their minds, and not that of the curse: because the earlier one, has the priority over the latter, though it be that of a minute only (as the law of primogeniture, supersedes the claim of youngsters to state); and there is no rule;—

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Nor force of pride to counteract this law. (Hence the blessing of the god, being prior to the curse of the sage, must have its precedence over the latter).

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But where both sides are of equal force, there both of them have their joint effect upon the same thing; so the curse and blessing being conjoined together, must remain as the commingling of milk with water.

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The equal force of the blessing and curse, must produce a double or divided effect on the mind of man; as a person dreaming of the fairy city in his sleep, thinks himself as turned to one of its citizens (without losing the idea of his own personality: so a man has a different idea of himself, in different states of his life).

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Now pardon me, O Lord for my repetition of the same truths before thee that I have learnt from thee, and permit me now to take leave of thee, and depart to my place.

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Upon his saying so, the curse felt ashamed in itself, and fled away from the presence of the god; as the ghosts and goblins fly away from the air, at the dispersion of darkness from the sky.

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Then the other blessing (which was given by the goddess Gauri to the ladies of these brothers), concerning the restriction of their departed ghosts, to the confines of their house, came forward and presented itself before Brahma in lieu of the curse, and began to plead his case, as a substitute does for his constituent.

He said:—

42. I know not, O Lord of gods, how human souls can fly over the seven continents of the earth, after their separation from their dead bodies (Deign to explain this therefore unto me.)

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I am the same blessing of the goddess, that promised unto them their dominion over the seven continents in their own house; and also their conquest of the whole earth within its confines.

44. [Sanskrit available]
Now tell me, O Lord of gods, how am I to restrain their spirits to the narrow limits of their own abodes; and at the same time confer the domain of the septuple earth, to each and every one of them (as it is destined to them by the blessing of the God of day.)

Brahma responded said:—

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Hear me, O thou blessing of conferring the realms of the seven continents on each of them; and thou the boon of detaining their departed spirits within the confines of these mansions; that both of you are successful in executing your respective purposes on them.

46. [Sanskrit available]
Now do you retire from this place with full assurance in yourselves, that the delivered ghosts of these brothers; will never quit nor ever depart from their present abodes after their demise; but continue to reside there forever more; with the belief of their being the Lords of the seven regions of this earth. (It is the firm belief of the mind of the possession of anything, that makes it the true possessor thereof, much more than its actual enjoyment of the same).

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Their souls will remain at proper distances from each other, after the loss and extinction of their frail bodies; and will deem themselves as lords of the seven regions of earth, though dwelling in the empty air of their own abodes.

48. [Sanskrit available]
How could there be the eight regions and seven continents of the earth, when to all appearance the surface of the earth, presents but a flat level everywhere.

49. [Sanskrit available]
Tell us Lord! where are these different divisions of the earth situated, and in what part of their petty abode; and is it not as impossible for the small place of their house to contain this wide earth in it, as it is for the little cell of a lotus bud to hide an elephant in its pericarp.

Brahma replied:—

50. [Sanskrit available]
It being quite evident to you as to ourselves also, that the universe is composed of an infinite vacuity only; it is not impossible for its being contained within the hollow of the human heart, as in the minute particle of the vacuous mind, which contains all things in it in the manner of its dreams.

51. [Sanskrit available]
If it were possible for the minute granule of their vacuous minds, to contain the figures of their houses and their domestic circles within itself, why should it be thought impossible for them, to compress the greater and lesser circle of this earth also, within their ample space.

52. [Sanskrit available]
After the demise of a person, the world exhibits itself in the same form as it is, in the minute atom of his mind; and this is but a vacuous mass of the visible and material world, in its invisible and imaginary figure.

53. [Sanskrit available]
It is in this invisible particle of the mind, that the world is seen in its abstract form, within the precincts of the body and abode of every body; and this earth appears to be drawn in it as in a map, with all its sevenfold continents and the contents thereof.

54. [Sanskrit available]
Whatever is manifest in the mind, is a mere mental conception and inborn in the mind, and there is no such thing as an extraneous or material world in reality. It is the vacant mind that presents these vagaries of the world and all other visibles before its vision, as the vacuous firmament shows the variety of atmospherical appearances to our sight.

55. [Sanskrit available]
The personified benediction, having learnt this abstract truth, from the mouth of the divine Brahma, who had conferred this boon to the Brahmanical brothers, abandoned his erroneous conception of the material world, and repaired to the abode of the deceased brethren, that had been released from the mistake of their mortal bodies.

56. [Sanskrit available]
The personated blessing bowed down to the bounteous Brahma, and departing from his presence with speed, entered into the parlour of the eight brother kings, in his eight-fold spiritual personality (called the ashta siddhi).

57. [Sanskrit available]
They beheld the brothers there in their respective residences, each sitting as the Lord of the earth with its septuple continents, and all of them employed in the performance of their sacrifices and enjoyment of their blessings, like the eight Lordly Manus for the whole period of a day of Brahma.

58. [Sanskrit available]
They were all friendly to each other, though unacquainted with the respective provinces of one another; each of them was employed in his concern with the world, without clashing with the authority of another over it.

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One of them who was handsome in the bloom of his youth; held his happy reign over the great city of Ujjain, which was situated in the precincts of his own house, or rather in the environs of his own mind.

60. [Sanskrit available]
Another one of them had his domain over the country of Scythia (saka), where he settled himself for his conquest of the Nagas (saccae); he cruises as a corsair in the wide outlandish seas, for his victory on every side.

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Another reigns secure in his capital of Kusadwipa, and confers perfect security to his subjects from all alarm; and like a hero who has quelled his enemies, he rests in peace on the bosom of his beloved, after all his conquest.

62. [Sanskrit available]
Some one of them indulges himself to sport, in company with the celestial Nymphs of Vidyadhara; in skimming over the waters of the lakes on mountain tops, and in the gushing water falls on their side.

63. [Sanskrit available]
Another one is engaged these eight days in conducting his horse sacrifice in his royal abode at Krauncha dwipa, which he has greatly aggrandised with his accumulated gold, from the other continents.

64. [Sanskrit available]
Another one is employed in waging a battle in the Salmali continents, where his war elephants have assembled, and have been uprooting the boundary mountain from their bases with robust tusks.

65. [Sanskrit available]
The Monarch of the Gomedha continent, who had been the eighth and last of the Brahman brothers, was smitten with love for the princess of the Pushkara dwipa; upon which he mustered a large armament for ravishing her in warfare.

66. [Sanskrit available]
The monarch of the Pushkara continent, who was also the master of the Mountainous regions of Lokaloka; set out with his deputy to inspect the land of the gold mines.

67. [Sanskrit available]
Thus every one of these brothers, thought himself to be the Lord of his respective province, as his imagination portrayed unto him in the region of his mind.

68. [Sanskrit available]
The Blessings then, having relinquished their several forms and personalities, became united and one with the consciousness of the Brahmans, and felt and saw whatever passed in them, as if they were passing in themselves likewise. (The divine blessing on them being no other than the approbation of their conscience).

69. [Sanskrit available]
So these brothers became and found in themselves, what they had long been longing after, in their respective lordship over the seven regions of the earth, which they continued to enjoy ever since to their heart's content.

70. [Sanskrit available]
It was in this manner that these men of enlarged understandings, obtained what they sought in their minds, by means of their austere devotion and firm devotedness to their purpose. So it is with the learned that they find everything beside them, whatever they are intent upon in their minds, by means of their acting upon the same principle, and using the proper means conducing to that end.

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