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 VII - On the necessity of activity

Having obtained a body free from disease and a mind free from trouble, one should try to know the knowable to prevent his further birth (in this world).

2. Whoso wishes to avert his destiny by means of his activity, obtains the acme of his wishes both in this world as well as in the next.

3. But whoever is averse to assiduity and relies in his luck, he is an enemy to his own soul, and sacrifices all his virtues, riches and hopes

(to his idleness).

4. It is the exercise of our sensuous and mental faculties as also of the members of the body, which are the different modes of our exertions, that leads us to success.

5. Our perceptions are the cause of our mental activity, and this actuates the body to action, whereby we obtain the fruits of our desire.

6. In whatever case there is some act (enjoined in the Sastra), it points us to our exertions and never to destiny. Even children are well aware of this.

7. It was by the exercise of their exertions that Divaspati (Jupiter) became the lord of gods, and Sukra obtained the preceptorship of demons.

8. There have been many weak, poor and miserable men, who have by means of their manly exertions become equal to Indra himself.

9. So also there have been many great men on earth, who after enjoyment of a great many extraordinary things and luxuries here, have become guests in hell for want of the exercise of their manly virtues.

10. In this manner have all beings evaded the effects of their various states of want and opulence by means of their own exertions (in the right way).

11. There are three fold benefits derived from the study of books, from lectures of a preceptor, and from one's own industry, all of which are attendant on our exertions and not destiny.

12. This is the long and short of all the Sastras, that diligence preserves our minds from all evils, by employing them to whatever is good and right.

13. To apply with diligence to whatever is excellent, not low or mean and not liable to loss or decay, is the precept of parents and preceptors to their sons and pupils.

14. I get the immediate fruit of my labour in proportion to my exertion: hence I say, I enjoy the fruit of my labour and not of fortune.

15. Activity gives us success and it is this that elevates the intelligent. But men of little understandings rely only in fortune in their miserable state.

16. We have ocular evidence (of the efficacy) of activity every day, in the instances of men travelling in distant countries (for the sake of gain).

17. He that eats becomes satiate and not who starves: so he who walks is said to proceed and not one who rests: and in like manner whoso speaks is called a speaker and not the silent man: thus action makes the man.

18. Wise men escape from great difficulties by means of their exertions;but not so the mistaken fatalist by his fruitless inertness.

19. Whoso acts in any manner, gets his reward accordingly; but the restive man has nothing to expect anywhere.

20. By well directed industry a man reaps the best reward, as he meets with its reverse by his misapplied labour: think upon this O Rama! and do as you like.

21. The reward of industry which a man meets with sooner or later at any time or place, the same is said by the wise to be his fortune.

22. No one can see his fortune, nor has any body ever seen the same, nor is there such a thing to be found in any world: it is but the merit of our acts here which they place in the other world.

23. A man is born on earth to grow up and decay in his time, and no destiny is seen therein in the same way as his childhood, youth and old age.

24. One's application to diligence and action for the attainment of an object, is known by the term exertion by the wise, whereby all things are accomplished, (and which is no destiny).

25. One's going from one place to another, his holding a thing in the hand, and the movement of his limbs, are all the acts of his exertion and not his destiny.

26. There is another kind of propensity to acts productive of evil; this sort of action is likened to the attempt of a mad man which yields no good.

27. Men of acute understandings raise themselves to elevation, by their association with the virtuous, study of good works and active employment to duties tending to their own good.

28. The boundless joy arising from equanimity, is said to constitute one's Summum bonum (upon earth). This blessing also results from a man's diligent application to the Sastras (and not from his destiny).

29. It is the understanding that leads to the knowledge of the Sastras, as it is the other that tends to our right understanding of things. Just so does the lotus serve to beautify a lake, as it is the lake which lends its grace to the lotus. (i. e. they serve mutually to assist each other).

30. It is also by virtue of one's deep study and good company in youth, that a man attains his desirable objects afterwards (which are the results of his exertions).

31. It was by means of his activity that Vishnu had conquered the demons, and established the order of the world. It was by this that he created the worlds none of which could be the work of fate.

32. Now, O lord of Raghu's race! employ your efforts to the exertion of your manly activities in such a way in this earth, that you may live free from fear of being bitten by the serpentine people in this arbor of the world (i. e. crush the malice of your enemies).