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 XXII - Practice of wisdom or wisdom in practice. (vijnana-bhyasa)

Section I - Abandonment of Desires (Basana Tyaga)

The goddess continued:—

1. As objects seen in a dream, prove to be false as the dream, on being roused from sleep and upon knowing them as fumes of fancy; so the belief in the reality of the body, becomes unfounded upon dissolution of our desires.

2. As the thing dreamt of disappears upon waking, so does the waking body disappear in sleep, when the desires lie dormant in the soul.

3. As our corporeal bodies are awakened after the states of our dreaming and desiring, so is our spiritual body awakened after we cease to think of our corporeal states.

4. As a sound sleep succeeds the dormancy which is devoid of desires, (i. e. when we are unconscious of the actions and volition of our minds); so does the tranquillity of liberation follow the state of our inappetency even in our waking bodies.

5. The desire of living-liberated men (jivan-muktas), is not properly any desire at all, since it is the pure desire relating to universal weal and happiness.

6. The sleep in which the will and wish are dormant, is called the sound sleep susupta, but the dormancy of desires in the waking state, is known as insensibility moha or murchha.

7. Again the sleep which is wholly devoid of desire, is designated the turiya or the fourth stage of yoga, and which in the waking state is called samadhi or union with Supreme.

8. The living man, whose life is freed from all desires in this world, is called the living liberated—jivan-mukta, a state which is unknown to them that are not liberated (amukta).

9. When the mind becomes a pure essence (as in its samadhi), and its desires are weakened, it becomes spiritualised (ativahika), and then it glows and flows, as the snow melts to water by application of heat.

10. The spiritualised mind, being awakened (as if it were from its drowsiness or lethargy), mixes with the holy spirits of departed souls in the other world.

11. When your egoism is moderated by your practice of yoga, then the perception of the invisible, will of itself rise clearly before your mind.

12. And when spiritual knowledge gains a firm footing in your mind, you will then behold the hallowed scenes of the other world more than your expectation.

13. Therefore O blameless lady! try your utmost to deaden your desires, and when you have gained sufficient strength in that practice, know yourself to be liberated in this life.

14. Until the moon of your intellectual knowledge, comes to shine forth fully with her cooling beams, so long you shall have to leave this body of yours here, in order to have a view of the other world.

15. This fleshy body of yours, can have no tangible connection with one which is without flesh; nor can the intellectual body (lingadeha), perform any action of the corporeal system.

16. I have told you all this according to my best knowledge, and the state of things as they are: and my sayings are known even to boys, to be as efficacious as the curse or blessing of a deity.

17. It is the habitual reliance of men in their gross bodies, and their fond attachment to them, that bind their souls down, and bring them back to the earth; while the weakening of earthly desires serve to clothe them with spiritual bodies.

18. No body believes in his having a spiritual body here even at his death bed; but every one thinks the dying man to be dead with his body for ever.

19. This body however, neither dies, nor is it alive at any time; for both life and death are mere resemblances of aerial dreams and desires in all respects.

20. The life and death of beings here below, are as false as the appearances and disappearance of persons in imagination, (or a man in the moon), or of dolls in play or puppet shows.

Lila said:—

21. The pure knowledge, O goddess! that thou hast imparted to me, serves on its being instilled into my ears, as a healing balm to the pain caused by the phenomenals.

Section II - On the Practice of Yoga

22. Now tell me the name and nature of the practice, that may be of use to Spiritualism, how it is to be perfected and what is the end of such perfection.

The goddess replied:—

23. Whatever a man attempts to do here at any time, he can hardly ever effect its completion, without his painful practice of it to the utmost of his power.

24. Practice is said by the wise, to consist in the conference of the same thing with one another, in understanding it thoroughly, and in devoting one's self solely to his object.

25. And those great souls become successful in this world, who are disgusted with the world, and are moderate in their enjoyments and desires, and do not think on the attainment of what they are in want of.

26. And those great minds are said to be best trained, which are graced with liberal views, and are delighted with the relish of unconcernedness with the world, and enraptured with the streams of heavenly felicity.

27. Again they are called the best practised in divine knowledge, who are employed in preaching the absolute negation of the knower and knowables in this world, by the light of reasoning and Sastras.

28. Also the knowledge, that there was nothing produced in the beginning, and that nothing which is visible, as this world or one's self, is true at any time, is called to be practical knowledge by some.

29. The strong tendency of the soul towards the spirit of God, which results from a knowledge of the nihility of visibles, and subsidence of the passions, is said to be the effect of the practice of Yoga.

30. But mere knowledge of the inexistence of the world, without subduing the passions, is known as knowledge without practice, and is of no good to its possessor.

31. Consciousness of the inexistence of the visible world, constitutes the true knowledge of the knowable. This habitude of the mind is called the practice of Yoga, and leads one to his final extinction—nirvana.

32. The mind thus prepared by practice of Yoga, awakens the intelligence which lay dormant in the dark night of this world, and which now sheds its cooling showers of reason, like dew drops in the frosty night of autumn.

33. As the sage was sermonizing in this manner, the day departed as to its evening service, and led the assembled train to their evening ablutions. They met again with their mutual greetings at the rising beams of the sun after the darkness of night was dispelled.