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 XVI - Ontology of the self existent sat = being

1.  Philology of Sat.

The last word of the formular motto of Vedanta is sat, which derived from the root asa, Lat. esse—to be, makes the present participle Sat and means a being, like the Latin ens and Greek On, the participial noun of eimi meaning a being. Thus the knowledge of sat which is Satyam = reality, is the doctrine of On—the real being, which as said before is to on onton—the being of beings and prime cause of all existences, and forms the main subject of Ontology. This primary and fundamental truth of the existence of a first cause, led the Rishi a priori to deduce all other existences from it by the text  ~~ Ego in multis et pluribus—the one in many: or in other words, when the Brahman believes in but one real being in the Universe, he believes also that this being constitutes the Universe. (M.W. Indian Wisdom p. 36).


2.  Etymology of Sat.

The noun Sat in its verbal form is equivalent to asti, corresponding with Lat. est, Gr. esti, Persic ast and hast, Bengali—achhe, Uria achchhe &c. Eng. is, Ger. ist and the like. And tat sat together makes the Greek to estin, Lat. Id est French Il est &c.; Arabic alast, Persic ost, and Hindi Ohihae. The Om Tat Sat is either an identic proposition, meaning the "Being that is" or a definitive one, expressing Om that (is) existent.


3.  The Ontology of Sat or Being.

The Ch'handogya Upanishad says: "In the beginning there was the mere state of sat—being (to on)—the one only without a second." Some however say that, "in the beginning there was a state of asat—not being; (Lat. non est, Gr. to mi on), the one without a second. Hence out of a state of non-being would proceed a state of being. But how can this be? How can sat = being, proceed out of asat not being?" It is logically absurd by the well known maxim Ex nihilo nihil fit of Lucretius. "Hence in the beginning there was a mere state of being (the om). One only without a second. (om eka meva dvitiyam  ~~). He willed and became many" (Chand. VI. 2. M. W. Ind. Wisdom p. 41).


4.  A Priori Argument of Vedanta.

The Original text runs thus.


The above cited passage and numerous other texts of the Vedanta such as the following,  ~~ and  ~~ &c., unanimously prove a priori and by deductive reasoning that Brahma is the primary cause from which all others are derived and deduced by reason. This is called the Purva vat or a priori reasoning in the Nyaya philosophy, which is shewn to be the logical inference of the effect from its cause.  ~~


5.  Evidences of the First cause.

The priori inference of a pre-existent cause is supported by many other modes of reasoning as we shall state below. 1. By the Cosmological reasoning of Humboldt, Leibnitz and others, it is evident that some being was uncaused, or was of itself without a cause. Therefore God is the first cause of all things. (Leibnitz). 2. By the Anthropological reasoning founded on certain observed facts or phenomena of human consciousness, its knowledge of the subjective ego and objective non ego &c. 3. By the Ontological, we find the existence in the mind of a clear and distinct idea of God, as a perfect Being or Ens or entity (sat) perfectly eminent. 4. Psychological Intuitive reasoning shows us clearly that "we may form the idea of a supremely perfect being of whom we have a conscious proof. And as in the exercise of our intellect we become conscious of a subjective unity underlying the external diversity, so by the unvarying revelations of reason, we are led to recognize the existence of a Deity who, amidst all the shifting phenomena of the universe remains one and Immutable." Vide Devendra Nath Tagore's Ontology p. 14.


6.  A Posteriori Argument.

The Vedanta philosophy pursues also a course of inductive reasoning in its aphorism of  ~~  ~~, rising from the creation to its maker. This is the process of  ~~ or a posteriori reasoning of the Nyaya philosophy, in its inference of the cause fire from its effect the smoke

( ~~), or of the major term  ~~ from the middle  ~~. This is the physical reasoning of modern inductive science, which infers from the facts of existence an author of these facts. The Universe exists, therefore it has a cause, which is prior to all other causes. There are some who attempt to prove the posteriori  ~~ argument of the Veda from a different construction of the Gayatri hymn, ascending from the Vyahritis or creation of the worlds ( ~~) to their creator  ~~; but this mode of reasoning is not justified by others, by reason of the initial Om = God.


7.  Ambiguity of the word Sat.

We shall now take notice of the other meanings which the lexicons assign to sat, beside the being and entity of God  ~~ we have so long dwelt upon. It means the goodness and excellence of a thing.  ~~

In this sense the phrase Om tat sat would mean "God The Good", which is quite correct on all hands. In English the etymology of God is good, and so the Sanskrit sat means both God and good; thus also all systems of philosophy predicate the attribute of goodness of the nature of God. The Persian term Khoda though so nearly allied to God and sat in sound, will be found to bear no affinity with either; but to owe its derivation to the Sanskrit  ~~ (from  ~~) meaning self-produced; swa  ~~ being invariably rendered into kha in Persian, as swata  ~~ khod, swasri  ~~ khwahir &c.


8.  Another sense of Sat.

Sat appears moreover in the sense of sitting in composition with an objective word preceding it, as diri-*shad a celestial, sabhasat a courtier. It is from the root sad, Latin sedo—to sit, with the suffix kwip. Thus we have in the Katha Valli: (V. 2.)  ~~

"The Hansa, (God) sits above the heavens, it dwells in the atmosphere, as invokers it dwells in temples, and as guests it is not afar from us. It dwells in man, in truth, in the ether, in water, mountains &c. &c."