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 V - Necessity of activity

Vasishtha said:—

1. It is the will or inclination that is the prime instrument of all actions done even according to the rules of law and sastras, as it is the reflection of light that gives various hues to things.

2. Whoever wishes to do anything desirable to him by unlawful acts, it becomes as fruitless as the endeavours of a madman.

3. As you try so you get both of good and evil: and fortune and exertion are the joint causes of acts according to fatalists.

4. Human exertions are either lawful or unlawful; the former leading to success, and the latter to dangerous consequences.

5. Fortune and exertions contend with each other like two rams of unequal strength, wherein the mightier overcomes the other.

6. Therefore should man apply himself diligently (to his duties), and employ his skill and promptness after them in such a way, as his to-day may overcome the morrow (i. e., do the works of to-morrow to-day).

7. When two unequal forces (of two persons) contend with one another like two rams, the stronger force whether of this or that man, overcomes the other.

8. When one incurs a failure or danger even by his lawful exertions, he should know it to be the result of his misapplied exertions.

9. One by his utmost exertion in the right way, as by the gnashing of his teeth (and the like), can overcome his misfortune and so does his bad luck sometimes baffle his exertions.

10. When one finds himself to be led astray by the demerit of his acts of a former state of existence, he must attempt to subdue the same by greater energy of his present state.

11. So far should one diligently endeavour to exercise his exertions, as he may be able to beat down the evils resulting from his bad fortune (or predestination).

12. The evils of bad fortune are undoubtedly removed by the meritorious acts of the present life, as the bad consequence of an act of yesterday is averted by its remedy of today.

13. Having trampled over an unfavorable fortune by one's reliance on his continuous energy, he must attempt to secure to himself every good for his well-being in his present life.

14. Know that tranquility is not to be found by the effortlessness of dull ass-like men; it is the lawful energy of men which is said to secure his welfare in both worlds.

15. And that one should make his way out of the pit of this world by force of his energy and diligence, just as the lion breaks out from his cage.

16. One must ponder in himself every day that his body is subject to corruption, his beastly acts must be kept backward and man like acts put forward.

17. It is our good exertions that are attended by good results as the bad ones are followed by bad consequences. Chance is a mere meaningless word.

18. Do not make your bloom of youth useless as ashes by sitting idly at home and enjoying the bliss of the harem like a worm in the sore.

19. He who has no reliance on present objects, but depends upon suppositions of the past, is as a man flying for fear of his own hands supposing them as snakes.

20. It is a pleasure to men of perverted understandings to think themselves guided by their fortunes, prosperity flies away far off from such men who depend on their fortunes.

21. Therefore let a man diligently apply himself first to (the cultivation of) his reason, and then investigate into the works of abstruse spiritual knowledge.

22. Those who do not set their hearts to acts according to the dictates of the sastras, but exert themselves otherwise to gain (their ends), are accursed as mad men for their vain attempts.

23. Thinking there is no end of exertions one declines to take the pains (after anything), and says that, no pains can bring out a gem from a stone (or oil from water).

24. Know that there is a limitation both of human lot and exertion, as of all other things as a pot or picture having a (limited capacity and length).

25. And that it is by means of good conduct derived from best precepts and the company of the good, that one succeeds to his object, and a disposition that breaks loose of these (bounds), is sure to fall to the contrary (extreme of) ruin.

26. Again any man who conducts himself in the right course of action, never fails in his attempts at any time.

27. Some among the best of men, who had been reduced to misery by their poverty and helplessness, have again risen to the eminence of Indra by exertion of their manhood.

28. By learning the Sastras well from boyhood, by keeping company with the good, and by possession of good qualities, as also by diligent application, a man is sure to gain his object.

29. It has been seen, known, heard, and experienced (by us) that acts are rewarded with success; and they are dull-headed who think of obtaining it from fortune or by chance.

30. Had there not been the folly of idleness in this world, what man would fail either to be rich or learned? It is by reason of idleness that this earth is filled to its utmost limit of the sea with indigent and beastly men.

31. Let a man after passing his childhood, and getting rid of its false and idle playfulness and when he has attained the age of youthful vigour, apply himself diligently to the company of wise men, and to the cultivation of his understanding by a knowledge of the Sastras and their meanings, and by scanning well his own faults and qualities.

Valmiki said:—

32. After the sage had said these sayings, the day passed away, and the sages went to bathe after taking leave of the assembly, where they joined again with the rising beams of the sun dispelling the gloom of night.