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 III - On the repeated creations of the world

Vasishtha said:—

1. "I will now expound to you Rama! the knowledge that was imparted of old by our lord the lotus-born (Brahma), after creation of the world, for the peace of mankind."

Rama said:—

2. I know sir, you will expound to me the subject of liberation in full length; but remove first my fallacy about the frailty of this world.

3. And how it was that, the great sage Vyasa—the father and guide of Suka, did not attain to disembodied emancipation (after his death) with all his omniscience, while his son did so.

Vasishtha said:—

4. (Hear me Rama), there is no counting of the atoms proceeding from the spirit and forming the three worlds both before and after the birth of the glorious sun.

5. There is no body even who can count the millions of orbs which at present form the three worlds.

6. Nor can any one say by calculation, what numbers of creation will rise from the (unlimited) ocean of divine existence, like its interminable waves (for ever).

Rama said:—

7. It is needless to talk of worlds gone by or yet to come; say what you will of the present (state of existence).

Vasishtha said:—

8. This world consists of brute, human and heavenly beings, whose lives when they are said to perish in any part of it are really existent in the same part.

9. The mind is called to be ever-fluctuating, and gives rise to (all things in) the three worlds in itself. It resides in vacuity in the form of the heart, and the increate (God) also residing in the vacuous soul (gives the mind the power to realize the latent ideas of the soul).

10. The millions of beings that are dead, those that are dying and will die hereafter, are all to be reborn here according to the different desires in their minds.

11. The external world appearing as a reality, is in truth but a creation of our desires; it is an ideal castle in the air, and a magic view spread before us.

12. It is as false as an earthquake in a fit of delirium, as a hobgoblin that is shown to terrify children, as a string of pearls in the clear firmament, and as the moving trees on the bank to a passenger in the boat.

13. It is an illusion as the phantom of a city in a dream, and as untrue as the imagination of a flower growing in the air. The unreality of the world best appears to one at the point of and after his death.

14. But this knowledge of (the unreality of the world) becomes darkened upon one's being reborn on earth, when the shadow of this world falls again on the mirror of his sentient soul.

15. Thus there is a struggle for repeated births and deaths here, and a fancy for the next world after one's death.

16. After one's shuffling off his body, he assumes another and then another form, and thus the world is as unstable as a stool made of plantain leaves and its coatings.

17. The dead have no sensation of the earth and other elementary bodies, nor of the course of the world; but they fall again to these errors upon their being reborn here.

18. There is an interminable ignorance resembling an immense river enveloping the face of creation, and breaking into streamlets of unfordable ignorance.

19. The Divinity like a sea shoots forth in the various waves of creation, which rise incessantly and plentifully one after the other.

20. All beings here are but the waves of this sea, of which some are alike to one another in their minds and natures, while others are half alike, and some quite different from the rest.

21. I reckon yonder sagely Vyasa as one of the thirty two of these waves, on account of his vast knowledge, and good looking appearance.

22. There were twelve of them possessed of a lesser understanding, they were the patriarchs of men, and endued with equal energy. Ten of them were men of subdued spirits, and the rest were adepts in their family duties.

23. There will be born again other Vyasas and Valmikis, and likewise some other Bhrigus and Angiras, as well as other Pulastyas and others in different forms.

24. All other men, Asuras and gods with all their hosts are repeatedly born and destroyed either in their former or different shapes.

25. Like this there are seventy two Treta cycles in a Kalpa age of Brahma, some of which have passed by and others to follow. Thus will there be other people like those that have gone by, and as I understand, another Rama and Vasishtha like ourselves (by the eternal rotation of ideas in the Divine mind).

26. There have been ten successive incarnations of this Vyasa, who has done such wondrous acts, and is famed for his vast knowledge.

27. Myself and Valmiki have been contemporaries many a time, as also born in different ages and very many times.

28. We have been many times, and there were others also like myself, and so was I born also in many forms (in many ages).

29. This Vyasa will again be born eight times hereafter, and again will he write his Mahabharata and the Purana histories.

30. He having divided the Vedas and described the acts of Bharata's race (in the Mahabharata), and established the knowledge of Brahm (in the Vedanta), is to attain to his disembodied liberation (after his final termination).

31. This Vyasa who is devoid of fear and sorrow, and has become tranquil and emancipate in himself after subduing his mind and discarding the worldly desires is said to be liberated even in his present life time.

32. The living emancipate may sometimes be associated by his relatives and estates, his acts and duties, his knowledge and wisdom, and all his exertions like other men's, or he may forsake them all at once.

33. These beings are either reborn a hundred times in some age or never at all (as in the case of divine incarnations), and depending on the inscrutable will (Maya) of God.

34. There souls undergo the like changes by repetition, as a bushel of grain, which is collected to be sown repeatedly, and to be reaped again and again (in the same or some other field).

35. As the sea heaves its incessant surges of different shapes, so are all beings born incessantly in various forms in the vast ocean of time.

36. The wise man who is liberated in his life time, lives with his internal belief (of God) in a state of tranquility, without any doubt in his mind, and quite content with the ambrosia of equanimity.