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 VI - Admonition for attempt to liberation

Mumukshu Praytnopadesa

Vasishtha said:—

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It is by the knowledge of this transcendent supreme spirit and God of gods, that one may become an adept (in divine service), and not by the rigour of religious austerities and practices. (Proficiency by theoretic knowledge).

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Here nothing else is needed than the culture and practice of divine knowledge, and thereby the truth being known, one views the errors of the world, as a satiate traveller looks at a mirage in a clear light.

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He (God) is not far from nor too near us, nor is he obtainable by what he is not (as the adoration of images and ceremonial acts). He is the image of light and felicity, and is perceivable in ourselves.

4. [Sanskrit available]
Here austerities and charities, religious vows and observances, are of no good whatever. It is the calm quietude of one's own nature only that is serviceable to him in his services to God.

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Fondness for the society of the righteous and devotedness to the study of good books, are the best means of divine knowledge; while ritual services and practices, serve only to strengthen the snare of our in-born delusions, which true knowledge alone can sever.

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No sooner one has known this inward light of his as the very God, than he gets rid of his miseries, and becomes liberated in this his living state.

Rama said:—

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Having known the Self in himself, one is no more exposed to the evils of life and even to death itself.

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But say how is this great God of gods to be attained from such great distance (as we are placed from him), and what rigorous austerities and amount of pains are necessary for it.

Vasishtha replied:—

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He is to be known by means of your manly exertions (in knowledge and faith), and by the aid of a clear understanding and right reasoning, and never by the practice of austerities and ablutions, nor by acts attended with bodily pain of any kind. (Hence the mistake of Hatha yoga).

10. [Sanskrit available]
For know, O Rama! all your austerities and charities, your painstaking and mortification are of no efficacy, unless you wholly renounce your passions and enmity, your anger and pride, your selfishness and your envy and jealousy.

11. [Sanskrit available]
For whoever is liberal of any money which he has earned by defrauding others, and with a heart full of vile passions, the merit of such liberality accrues to the rightful owner of the property and not to its professed donor.

12. [Sanskrit available]
And whoever observes any vow or rite with a mind actuated by passions, he passes for a hypocrite and reaps no benefit of his acts.

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Therefore try your manly exertions in securing the best remedies of good precepts and good company, for putting down the diseases and disturbances of the world.

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No other course of action except that of the exertion of one's manliness, is conducive to the allaying of all the miseries and troubles of this life.

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Now learn the nature of this manliness for your attainment to wisdom, and annihilation of the maladies of passions and affections and animosity of your nature.

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True manliness consists in your continuance in an honest calling conformable with the law and good usage of your country; and in a contented mind which shrinks from smelling the enjoyments of life.

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It consists in the exertion of one's energies to the utmost of his power, without bearing any murmur or grief in his soul; and in one's devotedness to the society of the good and perusal of good works and Sastras.

18. [Sanskrit available]
He is styled the truly brave who is quite content with what he gets, and spurns at what is unlawful for him to take; who is attached to good company, and ready at the study of unblamable works.

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And they who are of great minds, and have known their own natures and those of all others by their right reasoning, are honoured by the gods Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and Siva.

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He who is called a righteous man by the majority of the good people of the place, is to be resorted to with all diligence as the best and most upright of men.

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Those religious works are said to compose the best Sastra, which treat chiefly of Spiritual knowledge; and one who constantly meditates on them, is surely liberated (from the bonds of this world).

22. [Sanskrit available]
It is by means of right discrimination derived from the keeping of good company and study of holy works, that our understanding is cleared of its ignorance, as dirty water is purified by Kata seeds, and as the minds of men are expurgated by the Yoga philosophy.

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