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 - Causes of bondage in the body

Rama said:—

1. It is even so as you have said, that the mind is a pure essence, and has no connection with the earth and other material substances; and that it is verily Brahma itself.

2. Now tell me, O Brahman! Why the remembrance of his former states (in the past and previous Kalpas), is not (to be reckoned as) the cause of his birth, as it is in the case of mine and yours and of all other beings.

Vasishtha replied:—

3. Whoever had a former body, accompanied with the acts of his prior existence, retains of course its reminiscence, which is the cause of his being (reborn on earth).

4. But when Brahma is known to have no prior acts, how is it possible for him to have his reminiscence of any thing?

5. Therefore he exists without any other cause except the causation of his own mind. It is by his own causality that the Divine spirit is self-born, and is himself his own spirit.

6. He is everlasting, and his body is born of itself from the self-existent Brahma. This unborn or self-born Brahma has no material body whatever, except his subtile ativahika or linga deha.

Rama said:—

7. The everlasting body is one thing (called the Sukshma sarira or subtile or immaterial body), and the mortal body is another (called the sthuladeha or the gross and material frame). Now tell me sir, whether all created beings have a subtile body also as that of Brahma?

Vasishtha replied:—

8. All created beings that are produced of a cause, have two bodies (the sukshma and the sthula or the subtile and the gross). But the unborn being which is without a cause, has one body only (which is called the ativahika or the everlasting spiritual body).

9. The increate Brahma is the cause of all created beings, but the uncreated spirit having no cause for itself, has one body for it.

10. The prime lord of creatures has no material body; but manifests himself in the vacuous form of his spiritual body.

11. His body is composed of the mind alone, and has no connection with the earth or any other material substance. He is the first lord of creatures, that stretched the creation from his vacuous body (or spiritual essence).

12. All these are but forms of the images or ideas in his vacuous mind, and having no other patterns or originals in their nature. And that every thing is of the same nature with its cause, is a truth well known to all (from the identity of the effect and its material cause).

13. He is an inexistent being and of the manner of perfect intelligence. He is purely of the form of the mind, and has an intellectual and no material entity.

14. He is prime (cause) of all material productions in the physical world, and is born of himself with his prime mobile force in the form of the mind.

15. It was by the first impulse given by the prime moving power, that this expanse of creation came to be spread in the same ratio, as the currents of air and water (or the velocity of winds and tides), are in proportion to the impetus given to them.

16. This creation shining so bright to our sight, has caught its light from the luminous mind of the formless Brahma, and appears as real to our conceptions (as they are ideal in the Divine mind).

17. Our vision in a dream is the best illustration of this (unreality of worldly things): as that of the enjoyment of connubial bliss in dreaming. It is then that an unreal object of desire, presents itself as an actual gain to our fond and false imagination.

18. The vacuous, immaterial and formless spirit, is now represented as the self-born and corporeal lord of creatures in the form of the first male. (Protogonus or the only begotten son of God).

19. He remains undiscerned in his state of pure intelligence; but becomes manifest to all by the evolution of his volition. He is indiscernible in his absolute state (of inaction); but becomes conspicuous to us in the display of his nature (in creation).

20. Brahma is the divine power of volition (or the will of God). He is personified as the first male agent of creation, but devoid of a corporeal body. He is only of the spiritual form of the mind, and the sole cause of the existence of the triple world.

21. It is his volition that makes the self-born (Brahma) to exert his energies, as human desires impel all mankind to action: and the vacuous mind manifests itself as a mountain of desires.

22. It then forgets its everlasting and incorporeal nature, and assumes to itself the solid material body, and shows itself in the shape of a delusive apparition (in his creation).

23. But Brahma, who is of an unsullied understanding, is not involved in oblivion of himself, by the transformation of his unknowable nature to the known state of volition (or change of the nirguna to saguna).

24. Being unborn of material substance, he sees no apparition like others, who are exposed by their ignorance to the misleading errors of falsehood, appearing in the shape of a mirage before them.

25. As Brahma is merely of the form of the mind, and not composed of any material substance, so the world being the product of the eternal mind, is of the same nature with its original archetype.

26. Again as the uncreated Brahma is without any accompanying causality with himself, so his creation has no other cause beside himself (i. e. There is no secondary cause of the universe).

27. Hence there is no difference in the product from its producer;because it is certain, that the work must be as perfect as its author (so says the Sruti:—Purnat purnam &c.).

28. But there is nothing as a cause and effect to be found in this creation, because the three worlds are but the prototypes of the archetype of the divine mind.

29. The world is stretched out in the model of the Divine mind, and not formed by any other holy spirit. It is as immanent in the mind of God, as fluidity is inherent in water.

30. It is the mind which spreads out this extended unreality of the world like castles in the air, and builds Utopian cities (by its imagination only).

31. There is no such thing as materiality, which is as false a conception as that of a snake in a rope. Hence it is no way possible for Brahma and other beings to exist as individual bodies.

32. Even spiritual bodies are inexistent to enlightened understandings. As for the material body, it has no room in existence. (Matter or a corporeal substance or an unseen substratum is a non-entity. Berkeley).

33. Man (manu) who derives his name from his mind (mana) is a form of the volitive soul called Verinchi (Lat. vir—inchoare the inchoative spirit of Brahma); and has for his dominion the mental or intellectual world mano-rajyam (Lat. mentis regio vel regnum) where all things are situated in the form of realities.

34. The mind is the creative Brahma called Verinchitvas (Lat. Virinchoativus), by the exercise of its inherent sankalpa or the volition of incipience or creation—sisriksha;and displays itself in the form of the visible universe by development of its own essence.

35. This Virinchi or the creative power is of the form of the mind manas, as the mind itself is of the form of Virinchi also. It has no connection with any material substance, which is a mere creation of the imagination. (That is to say, matter is an imaginary substance or substratum of qualities only).

36. All visible things are contained in the bosom of the mind, as the lotus-bud and blossom reside in the seed of the lotus. Hence there is no difference between the mental and visible appearances of things, nor has any one ever doubted of it any where.

37. Whatever things you see in a dream, whatever desires you have at heart and all the ideals of your fancy, together with your ideas, notions and impressions of the visibles, know your mind to be the receptacle of them all.

38. But the visible objects relating to the option of the mind (i. e. which are desirable, to every one), are as baneful to their beholder, as an apparition is to a child (i. e. they are equally tempting and misleading to all).

39. The ideal of the phenomenal drisyadhi, developes itself as the germ contained in the seed and becomes in its proper time and place a large tree (comparable with the great arbor of the world known as sansaramahi ruha or Vriksha).

40. If there is no rest with what is real, there can be no peace with the phenomenals which are full of troubles, and give no solace to the mind. It is impossible that the feeling of the perception of visibles will be ever lost to their perceiver (observer), though its subsidence only is said to constitute liberation.