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 XII - Rama’s reply

Valmiki related:—

1. Being thus asked with soothing words by the chief of the sages, Rama made his answer in a soft and graceful speech replete with good sense.

2. Rama said, Oh venerable sage! I will tell thee in truth, untutored though I am, all the particulars as asked by thee; for who would disobey the bidding of the wise?

3. Since I was born in this mansion of my father I have all along remained, grown up and received my education (in this very place).

4. Then O leader of sages! being desirous to learn good usages (of mankind), I set out to travel to holy places all over this sea-girt earth.

5. It was by this time that there arose a train of reflections in my mind of the following nature which shook my confidence in worldly objects.

6. My mind was employed in the discrimination of the nature of things which led me gradually to discard all thoughts of sensual enjoyments.

7. What are these worldly pleasures good for, (thought I), and what means the multiplication (of our species) on earth? Men are born to die, and they die to be born again.

8. There is no stability in the tendencies of beings whether movable or immovable. They all tend to vice, decay and danger; and all our possessions are the grounds of our penury.

9. All objects (of sense) are detached from each other as iron rods or needles from one another; it is imagination alone which attaches them to our minds.

10. It is the mind that pictures the existence of the world as a reality, but the deceptiveness of the mind (being known) we are safe from such deception.

11. If the world is an unreality, it is a pity that ignorant men should be allured by it, like the deer tempted by a distant mirage (appearing) as water.

12. We are sold by none (to any one) and yet we remain as if enslaved to the world; and knowing this well, we are spellbound to riches, as it were by the magic wand of Sambara.

13. What are the enjoyments in this quintessence (of the world) but misery; and yet we are foolishly caught in its thoughts, as if clogged in honey (like bees).

14. Ah! I perceive after long that we have insensibly fallen into errors, like senseless stags falling into caverns in the wilderness.

15. Of what use is royalty and these enjoyments to me? What am I and whence are all these things? They are but vanities, and let them continue as such without any good or loss to any body.

16. Reasoning in this manner Oh Brahman, I came to be disgusted with the world, like a traveller in (his journey through) a desert.

17. Now tell me, O venerable sir! whether this world is advancing to its dissolution, or continued reproduction, or is it in course of its endless progression?

18. If there is any progress here, it is that of the appearance and disappearance of old age and decease, of prosperity and adversity by turns.

19. Behold how the variety of our trifling enjoyments hastens our decay, they are like hurricanes shattering the mountain trees.

20. Men continue in vain to breathe their vital breath as hollow-bamboo wind-pipes having no sense.

21. How is (human) misery to be alleviated, is the (only) thought that consumes me like wild fire in the hollow of a withered tree.

22. The weight of worldly miseries sits heavy on my heart as a rock, and obstructs my lungs to breathe out. I have a mind to weep, but am prevented from shedding my tears for fear of my people.

23. My tearless weeping and speechless mouth, give no indication of my inward sorrow to any body, except my consciousness the silent witness in my solitude.

24. I wait to think on the positive and negative states (of worldly bliss), as a ruined man bewails to reflect on his former state of affluence (and present indigence).

25. I take prosperity to be a seducing cheat, for its deluding the mind, impairing the good qualities (of men), and spreading the net of our miseries.

26. To me, like one fallen into great difficulties, no riches, offspring, consorts or home afford any delight, but they seem to be (so many sources of) misery.

27. I, like a wild elephant in chains, find no rest in my mind, by reflecting on the various evils of the world, and by thinking on the causes of our frailties.

28. There are wicked passions prying at all times, under the dark mist of the night of our ignorance; and there are hundreds of objects, which like so many cunning rogues, are about all men in broad day-light, and lurking on all sides to rob us of our reason. What mighty champions can we delegate (now) to fight with these than our knowledge of truth?