I continue to gradually read the Yog Vasistha. As I mentioned in the beginning, the book is a discourse between the sage Vasistha and Rama, mostly told in stories. It is told in the royal court, filled with royalty, sages, and angels. Valmiki is remotely telling the story of the discourse, plus Valmikis discourse of the discourse is being related by one sage to yet another. In other words, a story about a story about a story telling stories. (laughs)
I’ve also mentioned other stories, like the story of Lila where a king lives a lifetime within a lifetime within a lifetime. Not the usual linear lives. And of Bhusunda the crow. Bhusunda has figured out how to live beyond a dissolution or world cycle when everything completes and ends for a time. He has thus seen that each world cycle repeats itself (from memory or Veda) with small variations in each.
Last night I read the story of Arjuna. It’s a brief synopsis of the story of Arjuna and Krisna on the battlefield, told in the Bhagavad Gita. Krisna is quoted verbatim. The thing is, Krisna and Arjuna were not yet due to be born for several thousand more years. Vasishta describes who his elder brothers “will be” and why this battle is destined to take place.
“… when the people become predominantly sinful, Yama the god of death sometimes engages himself in meditation for some years, during which the population increases and explodes. The gods, frightened by this population explosion, resort to various devices to reduce it. All this has happened again and again countless times.” Eventually, the next avatar of Vishnu arrives. In this case, the story is of the next one, Krisna.
“When the Lord will thus instruct Arjuna, the later will remain silent for a few moments and then say: “Lord, in the light of the sun of your admonitions, the lotus of the intelligence in my heart has fully unfolded.” Having said this, Arjuna will instantly pick up his weapons [he had thrown down] and engage himself in the conduct of war, as if in a play.”
Both the Bhagavad Gita and the Yog Vasistha offer unique worldviews from very different times.