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 XIV - Depreciation of human life

Human life is as frail as a pendant drop of water trembling on the tip of a leaflet; and as irrepressible as a raving madman, that breaks loose from its bodily imprisonment out of its proper season.

2. Again the lives of those whose minds are infected by the poison of worldly affairs, and who are incapable of judging for themselves, are (varily) but causes of their torment.

3. Those knowing the knowable, and resting in the all-pervading spirit, and acquiescing alike to their wants and gains, enjoy lives of perfect tranquility.

4. We that have certain belief of our being but limited beings, can have no enjoyment in our transient lives, which are but flashes of lightnings amidst the cloudy sky of the world.

5. It is as impossible to keep the winds in confinement, to tear asunder the sky to pieces, and wreathe the waves to a chaplet, as to place any reliance in our lives.

6. Fast as the fleeting clouds in autumn, and short as the light of an oilless lamp, our lives appear to pass away as evanescent as the rolling waves in the sea.

7. Rather attempt to lay hold on the shadow of the moon in the waves, the fleeting lightenings in the sky, and the ideal lotus blossoms in the ether, than ever place any reliance upon this unsteady life.

8. Men of restless minds, desiring to prolong their useless and toilsome lives, resemble the she-mule conceiving by a horse (which causes her destruction abortion or unfructification).

9. This world (Sansara) is as a whirlpool amidst the ocean of creation, and every individual body is as (evanescent) as a foam or froth or bubble, which can give me no relish in this life.

10. That is called true living, which gains what is worth gaining, which has no cause of sorrow or remorse, and which is a state of transcendental tranquility.

11. There is a vegetable life in plants, and an animal life in beasts, and birds: man leads a thinking life, but true life is above (the succession of) thoughts.

12. All those living beings are said to have lived well in this earth, who being once born herein have no more to return to it. The rest are no better than old asses (of burthen).

13. Knowledge is an encumbrance to the unthinking, and wisdom is cumbersome to the passionate; intellect—is a heavy load to the restless, and the body is a ponderous burden to one ignorant of his soul.

14. A goodly person possessed of life, mind, intellect and self-consciousness and its occupations, is of no avail to the unwise, but seem to be his over-loadings as those upon a porter.

15. The discontented mind is the great arena of all evils, and the nestling place of diseases which alight upon it like birds of the air: such a life is the abode of toil and misery.

16. As a house is slowly dilapidated by the mice continually burrowing under it, so is the body of the living gradually corroded by the (pernicious) teeth of time boring within it.

17. Deadly diseases bred within the body, feed upon our vital breath, as poisonous snakes born in caves of the woods consume the meadow air.

18. As the withered tree is perforated by minutest worms residing in them, so are our bodies continually wasted by many inborn diseases and noxious secretions.

19. Death is incessantly staring and growling at our face, as a cat looks and purrs at the mouse in order to devour it.

20. Old age wastes us as soon as a glutton digests his food;and it reduces one to weakness as an old harlot, by no other charm than her paint and perfumes.

21. Youth forsakes us as soon, as a good man abandons his wicked friend in disgust, after his foibles come to be known to him in a few days.

22. Death the lover of destruction, and friend of old age and ruin, likes the sensual man, as a lecher likes a beauty.

23. Thus there is nothing so worthless in the world as this life, which is devoid of every good quality and ever subject to death, unless it is attended by the permanent felicity of emancipation.