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 XVIII - Exposure of the errors of this world

She said, "I have much consolation in you, and now will I console my sorrowing heart."So saying, she made a sign for the assembly to break, and rose from her royal seat.

2. She entered the inner apartment and sat by the side of the dead body of her lord, hidden under the heap of flowers, and thus began to reflect within herself.

3. She exclaimed:—"O the wondrous magic! that presents these people of my place situated in the same manner without myself, as they were seen to be seated within me.

4. "O how great is the extent of this delusion, as to contain the same high hills, and the same spacious forests of palm and Hintala trees, both in the outside as well as they are situated in the inside of myself.

5. "As the mirror shows the reflexion of the hills within itself as they are without it, so the reflector of the intellect presents the whole creation inwardly as it has outwards of itself.

6. "I must now invoke the goddess of wisdom to ascertain which of these is illusion, and which the sober and certain reality."

7. So saying, she worshipped and invoked the goddess, and beheld her immediately present before herself, in the form of a virgin.

8. She made the goddess sit on the elevated seat, and having seated herself low upon the ground before her, asked that divine power to tell her the truth.

Lila said:—

9. "Vouchsafe, O goddess, and clear this doubt of thy suppliant; for it is thy wisdom which has framed this beautiful system of the universe at first and knows the truth. (Divine wisdom is the prime cause of all).

10. "Tell me, O great goddess, about what I am going to lay before thee at present, for it is by thy favour alone that I may be successful to know it.

11. "I saw the pattern of this world in the intellect, which is more transparent than the etherial sphere, and as extensive as to contain millions and millions of miles in a small space of it.

12. "It is what no definite words can express, and what is known as the calm, cool and ineffable light. This is called the unintelligible intelligence, and is without any cover or support (niravarana nirbhitti).

13. "It exhibits the reflexions of space and the course of time, and those of the sky and its light, and the course of events concentrating in itself.

14. "Thus the images of the worlds, are to be seen both within and without the intellect, and it is hard to distinguish the real and unreal ones between them."

15. The goddess asked:—"Tell me fair lady, what is the nature of the real world, and what you mean, by its unreality."

Lila replied:—

16. "I know the nature of the real to be such as I find myself to be sitting here, and looking upon you as seated in this place.

17. "And I mean that to be unreal, as the state in which I beheld my husband in the etherial region erewhile; because vacuity has no limit of time or place in it."

18. The goddess rejoined:—"The real creation cannot produce an unreal figure, nor a similar cause produce a dissimilar effect".

Lila replied:—

19. "But we often see, O goddess! dissimilar effects to be produced from similar causes: thus, the earth and earthen pot though similar in their substance, yet the one is seen to melt in water, and the other to carry water in it."

20. The goddess said:—"Yes, when an act is done by the aid of auxiliary means, there the effect is found to be somewhat different from the primary cause. (Thus the earthen pot being produced by the auxiliary appliances of fire, the potter's wheel and the like, differs in its quality from the original clay).

21. Say O beauteous lady! what were the causes of thy husband's being born in this earth? The same led to his birth in the other world also. (i. e. The merit of the acts and desires of men, are the causes of their transmigrations in both worlds).

22. When the soul has fled from here, how can the earth follow him there any more, and what auxiliary causes can there be in connection with this cause?

23. Wherever there arises a coaction with its apparent causality, it is usually attributed by every one to some unknown antecedent cause or motive".

Lila said:—

24. Methinks goddess, that it was the expansion of my husband's memory that was the cause of his regenerations; because it is certain that reminiscence is the cause of the reproduction of objects before us.

25. The goddess replied that, memory is an aerial substance, and its productions are as unsubstantial as itself.

Lila said:—

26. Yes I find reminiscence to be an airy thing, and its reproduction of my husband and all other things within me to be but empty shadows in the mind.

27. The goddess replied:—So verily was this reproduction of thy husband and all those things which appeared to thy sight in thy reverie; and so, my daughter, is the appearance of all things I see in this world.

Lila said:—

28. Tell me goddess for the removal of my conception of the reality of the world, how the false appearance of my formless lord, was produced before me by the unreal world, (since nothing unsubstantial can cast a shadow).

29. The goddess replied:—As this illusive world appeared a reality to thee before thy reminiscence of it, so must thou know all this to be unreal from what I am going to relate to thee.

30. There is in some part of the sphere of the Intellect the great fabric of the world, with the glassy vault of the firmament for its roof on all sides.

31. The Meru (the polar axle or mountain) is its pillar, beset around by the regents of the ten sides, as statues carved upon it. The fourteen regions are as so many apartments of it, and the hollow concavity containing the three worlds, is lighted by the lamp of the luminous sun.

32. Its corners are inhabited by living creatures resembling ants and emmets, which are surrounded by mountains appearing as ant-hills in the sight of Brahma, the prime lord of creatures and the primeval patriarch of many races of men.

33. All animal beings are as worms confined in the cocoons (prison houses) of their own making. The azure skies above and below are as the soot of this house, beset by bodies of Siddhas (or departed spirits), resembling groups of gnats buzzing in the air.

34. The fleeting clouds are the smoke of this house or as webs of spiders in its corners, and the hollow air is full of aerial spirits, like holes of bamboos filled with flies.

35. There are also the playful spirits of gods and demigods, hovering over human habitations, as swarms of busy and buzzing bees about vessels of honey.

36. Here there lay amidst the cavity of heaven, earth and the infernal regions, tracts of land well watered by rivers, lakes and the sea on all sides.

37. In a corner of this land, there was situated a secluded piece of ground (a vale or village), sheltered by hills and crags about it.

38. In this secluded spot thus sheltered by hills, rivers and forests, there lived a Brahman with his wife and children, free from disease and care of gain and fear of a ruler, and passed his days in his fire-worship and hospitality, with the produce of his kine and lands.