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 XI - Spiritual view of creation

Rama said:—

Tell me, O Brahman, wherein this world abides at its last dissolution, when it does not retain its present form, nor this resplendent show (as we see in it now).

2. Vasishtha answered:—Tell me, Rama, what is the form of the barren woman's son, and wherefrom he comes and where he goes, tell me also from where comes the sky-arbour (aerial castle), and where it remains.

Rama replied:—

3. There never was, nor is, nor ever will be the son of a barren woman or an arbour in the sky; why then ask about the form and figure of what is nothing?

Vasishtha said:—

4. As there never was a barren woman's son or a forest in the air, so there existed no such scene as that of the world before.

5. That which has no existence at all, could have neither its production before, nor can it have its dissolution afterwards. What shall I then tell you regarding its genesis or exit.

Rama rejoined:—

6. The son of a barren woman and a forest in the sky are mere fictions, but the visible world is not so, which has both its beginning and end.

Vasishtha replied:—

7. It is hard to have a comparison of the compared object, agreeing in all respects with what it is compared. The comparison of the world, is as a simile of those objects, which admit of no comparison (but with themselves).

8. The appearance of the world, is compared with that of a bracelet, because the one is as false as the other, and neither of them is real.

9. And as there is nothing in the sky except a negative emptiness, so the existence of the world in Brahma, is but a negative idea.

10. As the collyrium is no other than blackness, and as there is no difference between frost and its coldness, so the world is not otherwise than the great Brahma himself.

11. As coldness can not be negatived of the moon and frost, so creation can not be negated of God. (Literally, creation is no negative property of Brahma, but essential to his nature).

12. As there is no water in a sea of the mirage, nor light in the new moon, so this world, as it is, does not abide in the pure spirit of God (in its gross state).

13. That which did not exist at first owing to its want of a cause, has neither its existence at present, nor can it be destroyed (when it is a nil itself).

14. How is it possible for a dull material object to have any other cause but a material one; just as it is not the light (but some solid substance), that is the cause of a shadow.

15. But as none of these works, has come into existence without some cause, that cause whatever it is, is situated in these productions of it: (i. e. the author is displayed in his works).

16. Whatever appears as ignorance or delusion (as this world), has some appearance of intelligence or truth (of the Divinity) in it, as the delusion of the world seen in a dream, is the effect of the intellect within us. (Consciousness is awake in our dreams also).

17. As the illusion of the world in a dream, is not without our inward consciousness of it, in like manner Brahma was not unconscious of the expansion of the world, at the beginning of creation.

18. All this that we behold about us, is situated in the divine soul,

(in the same manner as the visions in our dreams, are but archetypes of our souls); there is no other world that rises and sets (but what is imprinted in our minds).

19. As fluidity is another name for water, and fluctuation the same with wind; and as sunshine is no other than light, so the world is naught but Brahma (displayed in nature).

20. As the figure of a city, resides in the inward intellect of one, who is conscious of his dreaming, in the same manner this world, is displayed in the Supreme soul.

Rama said:—

21. If it is so, then tell me, O Brahman! whence is this our belief of its substantiality, and how this unreal and visionary ideal, presents its baneful visible aspect unto us.

22. For the view being in existence, there must be its viewer also, and when there is the viewer, there is the view likewise. As long as either of these is in existence, there is our bondage, and it is on the disappearance of both, that our liberation chiefly depends: (which can hardly take place).

23. It is entirely impossible to be so, as long as our notion of the view, is not lost in our minds, for unless the view is vanished both from the vision of the eyes and mind, no one can even form an idea of liberation in his mind.

24. Again the representation of the view at first, and its obliteration afterwards, is not enough for our liberation, because the remembrance of the view, is bondage of the soul.

25. Moreover when the picture of the view, is settled in the soul, and reflected in the mirror of the mind, there is no necessity of its recollection; (for what is deeply rooted in the soul, comes out of itself).

26. The intellect which was without the notion of the visibles at first, would be entitled to liberation, were it not owing to the nature of the viewer, (to imbibe the ideas of visibles).

27. Now sir, please to remove by your reasoning, my hopelessness of liberation, which I ween, is unattainable by any.

Vasishtha said:—

28. Hear me, Rama! explain to you in length, how the unreal world with all its contents, appears as real to us.

29. For unless it is explained to you by my reasoning, and the narratives and instances (of the practice of others), this doubt will not subside in your breast, as dirt sets down in the lake.

30. Then Rama, you will be able to conduct yourself on earth, as one under assurance of the erroneous conception of the creation and existence of the world.

31. You will then remain as a rock against the impressions of affluence and want, and of gain and loss, and your relation with whatever, is fleeting or lasting and the like.

32. Mind, that there is that only one spirit, which is self-existent, and all besides is mere fiction. I will now tell you, how the triple world was produced and formed.

33. It was from Him, that all these beings have come to existence; while He of himself, is all and every thing in it. He likewise appears to us and disappears also, both as forms and their appearances, and as the mind and its faculties, and as figures and their shapes, and as modes and motions of all things.