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 X - Descension of knowledge

Vasistha resumed:—

This thing called destiny is as true as the reality of God. It is the cause of causes and effect of effects. (It is an attribute of God).

2. Now attend to my words and depend on your exertions, and intently apply your ever confident mind to the attainment of your chief good.

3. Try your exertions to turn to your subjection the misleading senses from pursuing their objects.

4. I will now propound to you a code containing of the essence of the best means of liberation, which will confer the fruits of your exertions and lead you to your welfare in both worlds.

5. Let them that have great minds, forsake their worldly desires in order to avoid their future births, and attend to these lectures with calm contentment (in their minds).

6. Weigh well the meanings of the antecedent and subsequent propositions, repress your mind from its worldly cares, and dispose your self to equanimity for its inquiry after truth.

7. Hear me relate to you Rama, the way to emancipation, which will remove your feelings of pain and pleasure, and become the surest means to lead you to supreme happiness.

8. On hearing this lecture on liberation in the company of all those reasonable men, you will know that highest state which is free from pain, and of which there is no termination.

9. This was spoken of old in a former Kalpa age by Brahma abiding in the Supreme spirit. It is the remover of all anxiety and giver of all comfort to the soul.

10. Rama asked saying:—Say O Brahman—that art my guide, what cause moved Brahma himself of old to reveal this knowledge, and in what manner was it obtained by you.

Vasishtha replied:—

11. The supreme soul of infinite manifestations exists by itself; it passes through and supports the whole in the form of vacuity and understanding, and as light to all living beings.

12. From him who remains the same (unaltered being) in his rest and motion, the great Vishnu was born, like a moving wave on the quiet waters of the sea.

13. Then was Brahma produced from the lotus of his heart, having the mount Meru for its pericarp, and the points of the compass for its petals, and the stars for its pistils.

14. He being beset by gods and sages acquainted with the Vedas and their significations, created all the worlds and the minds with their various thoughts.

15. He then created the groups of men in the Bharata division (India) in a corner of Jambudwipa (Asia), and subjected them to all manner of diseases and afflictions.

16. They are also troubled with the possession and want of many things, and their subjection to dangers and diseases. Here all species of created beings are subjected to a variety of tribulations and afflictions.

17. The lord and creator of worlds, seeing the misery of these people, felt compassion for them, as a father does for his children.

18. He then pondered within himself for a moment with intensity of thought and for the good of all creatures, how to exterminate the misery of these beings who were subjected to death and despair.

19. With this thought the lord god (Brahma), established himself the rules of austerity, piety, charity, veracity and pilgrimage.

20. Having established these, the lord and creator again thought within himself, how to make an end of the many miseries of the men he had created.

21. He thought upon self-extinction as the Supreme bliss, which was obtainable only through a knowledge of the Deity, and whereby man might be exempted from repeated births and deaths.

22. It was divine knowledge, he thought, the only means of men's crossing over (the ocean) of this world; but austerity, charity and pilgrimage were no means to it. (But mere preparatives to knowledge).

23. Upon this said he "I will immediately make a new and sure bridge for the salvation of men and for their liberation from pain."

24. Having thought so, the lord Brahma sitting on the lotus, meditated in his mind, and produced me from himself.

25. Being thus produced, I stood forthwith in the presence of my progenitor, as a wave rising from the sea leans towards it.

26. I then bowed down to the god who held a water-pot in one hand and a rosary in the other, with a pitcher and a bead of seeds in my either hand, and was thus addressed by him.

27. Come my son said he, and then holding me with his hand, made me sit on the northern petal of his lotus of truth, which shone as bright as the moon amidst the silvery clouds.

28. Wearing the skin of an antelope, Brahma my father, spoke to me who was in the like habit, with the voice of a gander addressing a stork

(i. e. a talkative person addressing a mute one).

29. He said "I will for a moment overpower thy ficklemindedness under a mist of insensibility, as a dark cloud overshadows the disk of the moon."

30. It was under this imprecation that I lost my reason and forgot every thing, even the clear idea I had of God.

31. I then became as helpless as one out of his wits, and came to be afflicted with distress and sorrow like an indigent person.

32. Ah woeful is this world! said I, and how came evil to dwell in it? With these thoughts I remained in silence (pondering on the origin of evil).

33. Then he my father spoke to me saying: Ah my son, why art thou so afflicted? Ask of me the remedy for thy affliction, and thou shalt become happy.

34. Then the lord creator of all peoples was asked by me, seated as I had been on the gold-coloured leaflet of the lotus, about the medicine of worldly woes.

35. How came, said I, O my lord, this world to be so full of misery, and how can people get rid of it, is what I ask of thee (to know).

36. I then learnt the most holy wisdom which Brahman my father delivered to me, and following his advice, I became quite composed (in my mind).

37. Then the Creator of the world and revealer of all causes, seeing me knowing the knowable and restored to my own natural state said:—

38. I had turned thee to insanity my son, by an illusion, in order to make thee an enquirer into the essence of true knowledge for the welfare of mankind.

39. Now art thou released from the curse of illusion, and arrived to thy highest state of understanding. Thou hast become as one soul (with the Supreme), and art as pure gold (after its purification from dross).

40. Now shut thy heart against the world, and proceed to the land of Bharata on the surface of the earth for the good of mankind.

41. There employ thyself to ceremonial duties to the best of thy knowledge; and advise others to ritual acts in their proper order (of exoteric faith).

42. But such as are disgusted (with the world) in their hearts, and are rational with their elevated understandings, are to be counseled to esoteric knowledge which confers true felicity (to man).

43. Being thus appointed by him who was born in the lotus, I continue to abide herein throughout the succession of beings. (i. e. for ages).

44. I have no duty to perform here, but live while I have to live free from all cares. I do my acts always with as tranquil a mind as it were in a state of sleep; I do my works with the body; but I do nothing here with my soul (which is fixed in God).