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...

Vasishtha said:—

The several parts of this work as already related, give rise to the understanding, as seeds sown in a good field never fail to produce good fruitage.

2. Even human compositions are acceptable when they are instructive of good sense; otherwise the Vedas also are to be renounced (as unreliable); because men are required always to abide by reason.

3. Words conformable with reason are to be received even if spoken by boys; otherwise they are to be rejected as straws though pronounced by the lotus-born (Brahma himself).

4. Whoever drinks from a well by reason of its being dug by his ancestors, and rejects the holy water of the Ganges even when placed before him, is an incorrigible simpleton.

5. As early dawn is invariably accompanied by its train of light, so is good judgement an inevitable attendant on the perusal of this work.

6. Whether these lessons are heard from the mouth of the learned, or well studied by one's self, they will gradually make their impressions upon the mind by one's constant reflection on their sense.

7. They will first furnish (to the learner) a variety of Sanskrit expressions, and then spread before him a series of holy and judicious maxims, like so many ornamental creepers to decorate the hall.

8. They will produce a cleverness joined with such qualifications and greatness, as to engage the good grace of gods and kings.

9. They are called the intelligent who know the cause and effect of things, and are likened to a torch-bearer who is clear sighted in the darkness of the night. (Like the stoa of the Stoics).

10. All their erroneous and covetous thoughts become weaker by degrees, as the regions of the sky are cleared of their mists at the approach of autumn.

11. Your thoughts require only the guidance of reason (to hit the right), as every action needs be duly performed to make it successful.

12. The intellect becomes (by culture) as clear as a great lake in autumn, and it gets its calmness (by reason), like that of the sea after its churning by the Mandara mountain.

13. Like the flame of a chandelier cleansed of its sootiness and dispelling the shroud of darkness, the refined intellect shines forth in full brightness, and distinguishes (the different natures of) things.

14. The evils of penury and poverty cannot overpower on them, whose strong sight can discern the evils of their opposites (wealth and riches); as no dart can pierce the mortal parts of a soldier clad in full armour.

15. No worldly fears can daunt the heart of the wise man, however nearest they may approach to him. Just as no arrow can pierce through a huge solid stone.

16. Such doubts as "whether it is destiny or our own merit that is the cause of our births and actions," are removed (by learning), as darkness is dispelled by day-light.

17. There is a calm tranquility attending upon the wise at all times and in all conditions (of life); so also does the light of reason like solar rays, follow the dark night of error.

18. The man of right judgement has a soul as deep as the ocean and as firm as a mountain, and a cool serenity always shines within him like that of moon-light.

19. It is he who arrives slowly at what is called "living-liberation;"who remains calm amidst the endless turmoils (of the world), and is quite aloof from common talk (i. e. unnoticed by the world).

20. His mind is calm and cool at every thing; it is pure and full of heavenly light; shining serenely as the autumnal night with the radiance of moon-beams.

21. When the sun of reason illumines the cloudless region of the mind, no portentous comet of evil can make its appearance (within its sphere).

22. All desires are at rest with the elevated; they are pure with the steady, and indifferent to the inert, like the body of light clouds in autumn.

23. The slanders of envious ill-wishers are put out of countenance (by the wise), as the frolics of goblins disappear at the approach of day.

24. The mind that is fixed on the firm basis of virtue, and placed under the burthen of patience, is not to be shaken by accidents; but remains as a plant in a painting (unmoved by winds).

25. The knowing man does not fall into the pit-falls lying all about the affairs of this world: for who that knows the way will run into the ditch?

26. The minds of the wise are as much delighted in acting conformably to the precepts of good books and the examples of the virtuous, as chaste women are fond of keeping themselves within the bounds of the inner apartments.

27. Of the innumerable millions of atoms which compose this universe, every one of them is viewed in the light of a world in the mind of the abstracted philosopher.

28. The man whose mind is purified by a knowledge of the precepts of liberation, neither repines nor rejoices at the loss or gain of the objects of enjoyment.

29. Men of unfettered minds look upon the appearance and disappearance of every atomic world, as the fluctuating wave of the sea.

30. They neither grieve at unwished-for occurrences nor pine for their wished-for chances; and knowing well all accidents to be the consequences of their actions, they remain as unconscious as trees (totally insensible of them).

31. These (holy men) appear as common people, and live upon what they get; whether they meet with aught of welcome or unwelcome to them, their minds remain unconquered.

32. They having understood the whole of this Sastra, and having read and considered it well, as well as pondered (on its purport), hold their silence as in the case of a curse or blessing (which is never uttered by saints).

33. This Sastra is easy to be understood, and is ornamented with figures (of speech). It is a poem full of flavours and embellished with beautiful similes.

34. One may be self taught in it who has a slight knowledge of words and their senses; but he who does not understand the purport well, should learn it from a pandit.

35. After hearing, thinking and understanding this work, one has no more need of practising austerities, or of meditation and repeating the

Mantras and other rites: and a man requires nothing else in this world for the attainment of his liberation.

36. By deep study of this work and its repeated perusal, a man attains to an uncommon scholarship next to the purification of his soul.

37. The ego and the non-ego, that is, the viewer and the view, are both but chimeras of the imagination, and it is their annihilation alone, that leads insensibly to the vision of the soul.

38. The error of the reality of ego and the perceptible world, will vanish away as visions in a dream; for who, that knows the falsehood of dreams, will fall into the error (of taking them for truth?)

39. As an imaginary palace gives no joy or grief to any body, so it is in the case of the erroneous conception of the world.

40. As no body is afraid of a serpent that he sees in painting, so the sight of a living serpent neither terrifies nor pleases one who knows it.

41. And as it is our knowledge of the painted serpent that removes our fear of it as a serpent, so our conviction of the unreality of the world, must disperse our mistake of its existence.

42. Even the plucking of a flower or tearing of its (tender) leaflet, is attended with a little exertion (of the nails and fingers), but no (bodily) exertion whatever is required to gain the blessed state (of Yoga meditation).

43. There is an action of the members of body, accompanied with the act of plucking or pulling off a flower; but in the other case (of Yoga), you have only to fix your mind, and make no exertion of your body.

44. It is practicable with ease by any one sitting on his easy seat and fed with his usual food, and not addicted to gross pleasures, nor trespassing the rules of good conduct.

45. You can derive happiness at each place and time, from your own observations, as also from your association with the good wherever it is available. This is an optional rule.

46. These are the means of gaining a knowledge of the highest wisdom, conferring peace in this world, and saving us from the pain of being reborn in the womb.

47. But such as are afraid of this course, and are addicted to the vicious pleasures of the world, are to be reckoned as too base, and no better than faeces and worms of their mother's bowels.

48. Attend now, Rama, to what I am going to say with regard to the advancement of knowledge, and improvement of the understanding in another way.

49. Hear now the recent method in which this Sastra is learnt (by people), and its true sense interpreted to them by means of its Exposition.

50. That thing which serves to explain the unapparent meaning (of a passage), by its illustration by some thing that is well known, and which may be useful to help the understanding (of the passage) is called a simile or Example.

51. It is hard to understand the meaning given before without an instance, just as it is useless to have a lampstick at home without setting a lamp on it at night.

52. Whatever similes and examples I have used to make you understand (the precepts), are all derived from some cause or other, but they lead to knowledge of the uncaused Brahma.

53. Wherever the comparisons and compared objects are used as expressive of the cause and effect, they apply to all cases except Brahma (who is without a cause).

54. The examples that are given to explain the nature of Brahma, are to be taken in their partial (and not general) sense.

55. Whatever examples are given here as explanatory of divine nature, they are to be understood as appertaining to a world seen in a dream.

56. In such cases, no corporeal instance can apply to the incorporeal Brahma, nor optional and ambiguous expressions give a definite idea of Him.

57. Those who find fault with instances of an imperfect or contradictory nature, cannot blame our comparison of the appearance of the world to a vision in dream.

58. A prior and posterior non-entity is considered as existent at the present moment (as is the visible world which was not, nor will be afterwards). So the waking and dreaming states are known to be alike from our boyhood.

59. The simile of the existence of the world with the dreaming state is exact in all instances, as our desires, thoughts, our pleasures and displeasures, and all other acts are alike in both states.

60. Both this work and others which have been composed by other authors on the means of salvation, have all pursued the same plan in their explanation of the knowable.

61. The resemblance of the world to a dream is found also in the Srutis or Vedanta. It is not to be explained in a word, but requires a continued course of lectures (on the subject).

62. The comparison of the world to an imagery in the dream or an imaginary Utopia of the mind, is also adduced in examples of this kind in preference to others.

63. Whenever a causality is shown by a simile of something which is no cause, there the simile is applied in some particular and not all its general attributes.

64. The partial similitude of this comparison with some property of the compared object, is unhesitatingly acknowledged by the learned in all their illustrations.

65. The light of the sense (of some thing) is compared with a lamp in its brightness only, in disregard of its stand or stick, the oil or the wick.

66. The compared object is to be understood in its capacity of admitting a partial comparison (of the properties); as in the instance of sense and light, the simile consists in the brightness of both.

67. When the knowledge of the knowable thing is derived from some particular property of the comparison, it is granted as a suitable simile, in understanding the sense of some great saying (passage in the scriptures).

68. We must not overshadow our intellect by bad logic, nor set at naught our common sense by an unholy scepticism.

69. We have by our reasoning well weighed the verbosity of our opinionative adversaries, and never set aside the holy sayings of the Vedas, even when they are at variance with the opinions of our families.

70. O Rama! we have stored in our minds the truths resulting from the unanimous voice of all the Sastras, whereby it will be evident that we have attained the object of our belief, apart from the fabricated systems of heretical Sastras.