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 - Recognition of the nihility of the phenomenal world

Drisyasatta Pratijnanam

Rama said:—

Tell me, O Brahman! where is this God situated and how can I know him, of whom you spoke all this, and whose knowledge you said, leads to our liberation.

Vasishtha replied:—

2. This God of whom I spoke, is not at a distance from us. He is situated in these our bodies, and is known to be of the form of mere Intellect (chinmatra) to us. So says Fichte: The Infinite Reason (chit) alone exists in himself—the finite in him. Lewis vol. II. p. 563.

3. He is all in all, though all this world is not the omnipresent Himself. He is one alone and is not termed the all that is visible (to us). So Fichte: God is infinite and embraces the finite, but the finite can not encompass the Infinite. Lewis vol. II. p. 573.

4. It is this Intellect which is in Siva, that wears the cusp of the moon in his crest; the same is in Vishnu that rides on his eagle Garuda, and in Brahma that is born of the lotus. The sun also is a particle of this Intellect; (but they are not the self-same Intellect themselves).

Rama rejoined:—

5. So it is; and even boys say this also, that if the whole world is mere Intelligence (chetana matrakam); then why call it by another name (as the world), and what is the use of giving admonition of it to anybody, (when every one is full of intelligence).

Vasishtha replied:—

6. If you have known the mere Intellect (Chinmatram), to be the same with the intelligent world (chetana viswa), you have then known nothing for getting rid of this world.

7. The world is verily intelligent, O Rama, (with the mundane soul); but the animal soul (Jiva) is called pasu or brutish observer of things pasyati, on account of its looking after sensual gratifications only as brutes, and giving rise only to the fears of disease, decay and death (from its love of itself, and care for self-preservation).

8. The animal soul (Jiva), though an incorporeal substance, is an ignorant thing and subject to pain and sorrow. The mind manas also, though it is capable of intelligence—chetaniyam, has become the root of all evils. (i. e. With its power of intellection and nature of intelligence (chetanam), it is yet ever inclined to the wrong side by itself).

9. Intellectual liberation (chetya mukta) from thoughts of the world, is one state (of the soul), and unintelligent gazing (unmukhata) at it, is another. He who knows the better of these two the states of the soul, has no cause of sorrow, (i. e. the rational from the irrational soul).

10. He who has seen the all surpassing Supreme Being, has his heartstrings all cut asunder, and the doubts of his mind all driven away. The sequences of his acts are washed away, (and leave no fear of his transmigration).

11. The longing after perceptibles (Chetyas) does not cease, unless the perception of the visibles is effaced from the mind.

12. How then is this perception to be effaced? How is it possible to have a longing after the unintelligible Intelligence, without suppression of our longing for the visibles? It is only to be effected by avoiding the external perceptions of the mind.

Rama said:—

13. Tell me sir, where and how is that vacuous soul called pasu, by the knowledge of which no one can get rid of his transmigration. (i. e. the worshippers of the jivatma or animal soul called jivavadis, are not entitled to their final liberation—mukti).

14. Tell me also, who is that man, who by his company with the good and study of good works, has gone over the ocean of the world, and beholds the Supreme soul in himself.

Vasishtha replied:—

15. Whatever animal souls being cast in the wilderness of this life, long after this intelligent soul (chetanatman), they are truly wise, and know him (in themselves).

16. Whoso believes the animal soul as the life of the world (or mundane soul), and thinks (the knowledge of the) Intelligence to be attended with pain only, he can never know Him anywhere (in this world).

17. If the Supreme soul be known to us, O Rama! the string of our woes is put to an end, like the fatal cholera after termination of its choleraic pain or extraction of its poison.

Rama said:—

18. Tell me, O Brahman! the true form of the Supreme soul, by light of which the mind may escape from all its errors.

Vasishtha replied:—

19. The Supreme soul is seen in the same way in ourselves and within our bodies, as we are conscious of our minds to be seated within us, after its flight to distant countries.

20. Our notion of the Supreme spirit is often lost in the depth of our minds, in the same way, as the existence of the outer world (objective knowledge), becomes extinct in our consciousness in yoga meditation.

21. It is He in whose knowledge we lose our sense of the beholder and visibles, and who is an invacuous vacuum or a substantive vacuity himself. (i. e. Who being known, we forget our knowledge both of the subjective and objective, and view his unity as the only to on or substratum of all). So Fichte: In thee, the Incomprehensible, does my own existence, and that of the world become comprehensible to me. Lewis. Phil. vol. II. P. 563.

22. He whose substance appears as the vacuum, and in whom subsists the vacuous plenum of the universe; and who appears as vacuity itself, notwithstanding the plenitude of his creation subsisting in him, is verily the form of the Supreme soul (that you want to know).

23. Who though full of intelligence, appears to stand as an unconscious huge rock before us; and who though quite subtile in his nature, seems as some gross body to our conception: such is the form of the Supreme soul (that you want to know).

24. That which encompasses the inside and outside of every thing, and assumes the name and nature of the very thing to itself, is verily the form of the Supreme (that you want to know).

25. As light is connected with sunshine and vacuity with the firmament and as Omnipresence is present with every thing and every where: such is the form of the Supreme spirit (that you want to know).

26. Rama asked:—But how are we to understand that He who bears the name and nature of absolute and infinite reality should yet be compressed within any thing visible in the world, which is quite impossible to believe?

Vasishtha replied:—

27. The erroneous conception of the creation of the world, resembles the false impression of colours in the clear sky;wherefore it is wrong, O Rama! to take a thing as real, of which there is an absolute privation in nature.

28. It is the knowledge of Brahma that constitutes his form, or else there is no act of his whereby he may be known to us; (the universe being but a development of himself). He is entirely devoid of any visible form, and therefore there is no better course for any one than to know him as truth.

29. After an absolute negation of the visibles comes to be known, (i. e. after disappearance of the traces of phenomenals from the mind), there remains a pre-eminent object of conception, which is inborn and manifest of itself.

30. This concept (of the Super-eminent) has oftentimes no reflexion, owing to its having no visible appearance; and at others it is not without its reflexion on the mirror of the mind (which has received its image).

31. No body has ever conceived this transcendent verity in himself, who has not at the same time been convinced of the impossibility of the existence of the visible world. (i. e. Conviction of the nullity of the phenomenal alone, leads to the perception of the Reality).

Rama rejoined:—

32. Tell me, O sage! how the existence of so many extensive worlds composing the visible Universe, can be thought of as unreal, or comprised in the chinmatram (or minutiae of the divine mind), as the mount Meru in the sesamum seed.

Vasishtha replied:—

33. If you will but stay a few days in the company of holy men, and study the sacred Sastras with a steady mind with me:

34. Then I will purge away this false view of the visibles from your understanding, like the delusive mirage from one's sight. This absence of the view will extinguish your sense of being the viewer, and restore you to your intelligence alone.

35. When the viewer is united with the view, and the view with the viewer, there then turns out an unity of the duality, and the duality blends into an inseparable unity.

36. Without union of the two there is no success of either; and this union of both the viewer and the view having disappeared at last, there remains an only one unity (which is indissoluble).[2]

[2] Kant says:—'The pure Ego is the condition of all consciousness, the condition of the sum total of experience, consequently the Ego is the source from which the universe is to be deduced.' Again: "The thing per se underlying all phenomena, is one and the same substance with Ego. We know not wherein the Ego is different from it. This identity of both is only an affirmation of Monism, not of Idealism. Lewis: Hist.-Phil. Vol.

II. pp. 356-7. Fichte says:—The Non-Ego is a product of the Ego. It is the Ego which thus creates the necessity for a Non-Ego and the Non-Ego wanted. Ibid. p. 358.

37. I will now cleanse away the dross of all your sense of egoism and tuism, with that of the world and all other things from the mirror of your mind, by bringing you to your consciousness of self, and total negation of every thing besides.

38. From nothing never comes a something, nor from something ever proceeds a nothing; and there is no difficulty whatever in removing what does not exist in nature, (i. e. That a nil is nil is self evident, and no argument is required to prove it so).

39. This world which appears so very vast and extensive, was not in being at the beginning. It resided in the pure spirit of Brahma, and was evolved from the mind (Chitta) of Brahma.

40. The thing called the world was never produced, nor is it in being nor in actual appearance. It is as the form of a bracelet in gold, which it is not difficult to alter and reduce to its gross metallic state.

41. I will explain it fully by other reasons, whereby this truth may appear of itself, and impress irresistibly in your mind.

42. How can that be said to have its being, which was not brought into being before, and how can there be a rivulet in the mirage, or the ring of an eclipse in the moon?

43. As a barren woman has no son nor a mirage any water in it; and as the firmament has no plant growing in it, so there is no such thing which we erroneously call the world.

44. Whatever you see, O Rama! is the indestructible Brahma himself: this I have many times shown you with good reasons, and not in mere words (as my ipse dixit only).

45. It is unreasonable, O intelligent Rama! to disregard what a learned man speaks to you with good reasons;because the dull-headed fellow who neglects to listen to the words of reason and wisdom, is deemed as a fool, and is subject to all sorts of difficulties.