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 CCIII - Description of nirvana or self extinction in divine meditation

Argument:—Sounding of midday trumpet, performance of daily ablution, and description of the setting sun. The meeting of the assembly on the next morning upon the discourse on Nirvana.

Valmiki related:—

As Rama and the sage had been remonstrating in this manner, the sun advanced towards the zenith, to listen to their holy conversation in [its] royal dome.

2. The solar beams spread on all sides, with greater force and effulgence; as if to expose to clearer and greater light the sense of Rama's speech.

3. Then the lotus beds in the tanks of the pleasure gardens, all about the royal palace, began to expand their embosomed buds to bloom before him, as the princes shone forth in brightness amidst the royal hall.

4. The air was exhilarated with joy at hearing the holy lectures of the sage; and seemed to be dancing with the sunbeams, glistening in the strings of pearls, suspended at the windows of the palace.

5. The premature gleams of the sun, glistened as bright at the glittering glass doors and shining chandeliers of the court hall; as the gladdened hearts of the audience, glowed at enlightening speech of the sage.

6. After Rama was settled in his sedateness, his face shone as bright as a blooming blue lotus by its reflexion of the rays of the sage's look upon it. (Here the blue complexion of Rama, is compared to a blue lotus, blooming under the moon bright look of fair Vasishtha's countenance).

7. The sun advancing towards the summit of the horizon, like the marine fire rising on the surface of the blue ocean; sucked or dried up by his darting flames the dewy humidity of the sky, as the submarine heat resorbs the waters of the deep.

8. The cerulean sphere of heaven, appeared as the lake of blue lotuses, and the shining sun seemed as the golden pericarp of the flower; his bright beams resembled the aureate farina of flowers, and his slanting rays likened the aslant pistils in the air.

9. He shone as the dazzling crown upon the head of the azure queen of the worlds; and was hanging down like the resplendent earring, pendant on the ear of heaven; while the little lay hid under his glaring light, like bits of diamonds lying concealed under the effulgence of a blazing ruby.

10. The ethereal maids of all the quarters of heaven, held out the mirrors of silvery clouds before his face, with their uplifted arms of the mountain peaks all around; and these are emblazoned by solar rays, like the rainless clouds on mountain tops.

11. The sunstones in the quarries on earth emitted a fury blaze, which emblazoned the skies around, with a greater light than that of the sun.

12. The trumpets sounded aloud, with the wind blown by the mouths of trumpeters; and the conchshells blew as loudly at midday, as the winds of the last deluge, set the sea waves to their tremendous uproar.

13. Then the spherules of sweat, appeared on the faces of the princes, as the dew drops falling on lotus leaves; and they were so closely connected together, as to give them the appearance of strings of pearls.

14. The thickening noise of the hurry and flurry of men, resounded as hoarsely within the hollow walls of the hall, that they filled the cars of men, as the dashing waves fill the concave of the hollow sea.

15. The waiting maids then came forward with cups of liquid camphor in their hands; in order to sprinkle them on the persons of the princes; to assuage their fervour of the solar heat.

16. Then the assembly broke, and the king rose from his seat in company with Rama and the princes and Vasishtha, together with all the lords and nobles, that were present in the assembly.

17. The assembled lords and princes, the ministers of the state and religion, together with the high priests and sages; rose from their seats, and having gladly made their greetings to one another, took their leave and departed to their respective abodes.

18. The front of the royal inner apartment, was fanned with flappers of palm leaves, wafting the clouds [of] camphor powder, that was scattered for allaying the midday heat.

19. Then the chief of sages—Vasishtha, oped his mouth and spoke out to Rama, amidst the sonata of noonday music, that resounded amidst the walls of the royal hall.

Vasishtha said:—

20. Rama! you have heard whatever is worth hearing, and known also all that is worth your knowing; and now I see nothing further, that is worth communicating to you for your higher knowledge.

21. Now you have to reconcile in yourself, and by your best understandings, all that you have been instructed by me, and what you have read and learnt in the sastras, and harmonise the whole for your guidance.

22. Now rise to do your duties, while I hasten to the performance of sacred ablutions; it is now midday, and the proper time of our bathing is fastly passing away.

23. And then whatever else you have to enquire about, for the satisfaction of your wishes, you can propose the same to me tomorrow morning, when I shall be happy to expatiate on the subject.

Valmiki related:—

24. After the sage had spoken in this manner, the mighty king Dasaratha saluted the parting chiefs and sages, and honoured them according to their proper ranks and degrees.

25. And then being advised by Vasishtha, the virtuous king with Rama by his side, proceeded to give their due honours, to the sages and siddhas and to the Brahmanas also one after the other.

26. He gave them gems and jewels, and monies and bouquets of flowers; and he gave to others riches equivalent to the values of the gems and jewels; while he gave strings of pearls and necklaces to some also.

27. He honoured some with his respects and civilities, and others with monies suited to their worth and degree, while he gave his gifts of cloths and seats, food and drink, and of gold and lands to others.

28. He saluted others with perfumeries and aromatic spices and wreaths of flowers; he honoured the elders with due respects, and gave his bare regards to others.

29. Then the king rose from amidst the assembly, with the whole body of his courtiers, and the holy sages and Vasishtha with him;as the splendid moon rises in the sky, with the train of stars about him. (The moon is masculine in Sanskrit, and twin brother of the sun).

30. The rising of the assembly and its people, was attended with a rumbling noise, as it is heard in the treading of men, over a bog of knee deep mud and mire.

31. The clashing of the concourse against one another, and the cracking of their armlets and wristlets by their friction with each other; joined with the broken jewels and scattered pearls, slipped from the torn necklaces of the nobles, gave the floor of the court hall, the appearance of the spangled heaven.

32. There was a close concussion of the bodies, of sages and saints, of Brahmans and princes and nobles all jumbled together; and there was a rapid undulation of the chowrie flappers, waving in the hands of fanning maid servants.

33. But there was no huddling or dashing or pushing one against the other; as they were intent upon reflecting on the sense of the sages preaching, and rather asking excuses of one another, with the gestures of their bodies, when they came in contact with others.

34. At last the king and the sages and nobles, accosted one another with sweet and soft words; and took their parting leave (for repairing to their respective abode for the day).

35. They then left the palace, and proceeded to their residences, with their gladdened faces and contented minds; as when the immortals repair to all parts of heaven, from the synod of the king of gods—Indra or Sakra.

36. After every one had taken leave of others, and arrived at his house; he employed himself in the discharge of his ritual services of the day.

37. Thus the king and all, performed their daily ablutions and services as usual, until the end of the day.

38. As the day ended with the discharge, of the duties of the daily ritual; so the sojourner of the etherial path—the tired sun, sat down to rest in the west (as the birds of air repair at eve, to their respective nests). (The sun is said to be the unka or falcon of heaven; resting at his aspiand or nest in the west, by a poet of Persia).

39. After the performance of their vespers, the prince Rama and the people at large, passed their nights awake and fastly, with talking about and thinking upon the discourse of the day.

40. Then the rising sun advanced in the east, with sweeping away the dust of darkness from before his path, and strewing about the starry flowers on his way, in order to fix his seat in the midst of his dome of the universe.

41. The infant or rising sun, reddened the skies with his rays, resembling the crimson hue of kusambha flowers; and then he embarked on the board of his bright orb, amidst the wide ocean of the etherial region. (The sun sailed in the etherial sea, through the scattered island of the hidden stars and planets on his way. gloss).

42. Then the regnant princes and lords of men, together with the nobles, peers and their ministers, met at the court hall of King Dasaratha; when there gathered also the great saints and sages, with Vasishtha at their head.

43. They entered into the court and took their seats, according to their different degrees and ranks; just as the stars of heaven appear and occupy their places, in their respective constellations and circles in the expanse of heaven.

44. Then the king and his ministers, advanced and bowed down to Vasishtha, and ushered him to his high seat or pulpit; and they all poured forth their praises to him, after that sage was seated in the rostrum.

45. Now the lotus-eyed Rama, who sat before the king and the holy sage, oped his lotus like mouth, and spoke in the following manner, with his natural good sense, and usual elegance of speech.

Rama said:—

46. O Venerable sir, that art acquainted with all religions, and art the great ocean of knowledge; thou art the axe of all knotty questions and doubts, and remover of the griefs and fears of mankind.

47. Please tell us whatever more is worth our hearing and knowing; for thou knowest best whatever there remains to be said, for the edification of our knowledge.

Vasishtha replied:—

48. Rama you have gained your full knowledge, and have nothing more to learn; you have attained the perfection of your understanding, and obtained the summum bonum which is sought by all (but found by few), and wherewith you are quite content in yourself.

49. You better consider in yourself and say, how do you find yourself and your inner mind at present; and what else is there, that you wish to know and hear from me.

Rama rejoined:—

50. Why sir, I find myself fully perfected in my understanding; and being possest of the peace and tranquillity of my mind, with the blessing of Nirvana or ultimate beatitude of my soul, I have nothing to ask or desire of thee.

51. You have said all that you had to impart to me, and I have known all that is worth my knowing; Now sir, take your rest with the Goddess of speech, who has done her utmost for the instruction of us all.

52. I have known the unknown and knowable One, that is only to be known by us as the true reality; and knowing this all as the One Brahma, I am freed from my knowledge of the duality (of the living and supreme soul); and having got rid of the deception of the diversity of the visibles, I am released from my reliance in all worldly things.