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 XLII - Philosophy of dreaming

Swapnam or Somnum

The man who is devoid of understanding, ignorant and unacquainted with the All-pervading principle, thinks the unreal world as real, and as compact as adamant.

2. As a child is not freed from his fear of ghosts until his death; so the ignorant man never gets rid of his fallacy of the reality of the unreal world, as long as he lives.

3. As the solar heat causes the error of water in the mirage to the deer and unwary people, so the unreal world appears as real to the ignorant part of mankind.

4. As the false dream of one's death, appears to be true in the dreaming state, so the false world seems to be a field of action and gain to the deluded man.

5. As one not knowing what is gold, views a golden bracelet as a mere bracelet, and not as gold; (i. e. who takes the form and not the substance for reality); so are the ignorant ever misled by formal appearances, without a knowledge of the causal element.

6. As the ignorant view a city, a house, a hill and an elephant, as they are presented before him; so the visibles are all taken only as they are seen, and not what they really are.

7. As strings of pearls are seen in the sunny sky, and various paints and taints in the plumage of the peacock; so the phenomenal world, presents its false appearances for sober realities.

8. Know life as a long sleep, and the world with myself and thyself, are the visions of its dream; we see many other persons in this sleepy dream, none of whom is real, as you will now learn from me.

9. There is but one All-pervading, quiet, and spiritually substantial reality. It is of the form of unintelligible intellect, and an immense outspreading vacuity.

10. It is omnipotent, and all in all by itself, and is of the form as it manifests itself everywhere.

11. Hence the citizens that you see in this visionary city, are but transient forms of men, presented in your dream by that Omnipotent Being.

12. The mind of the viewer, remains in its self-same state amidst the sphere of his dreams, and represents the images thought of by itself in that visionary sphere of mankind. (So the Divine Mind presents its various images to the sight of men in this visionary sphere of the world, which has nothing substantial in it).

13. The knowing mind has the same knowledge of things, both in its waking as well as dreaming states; and it is by an act of the percipient mind, that this knowledge is imprinted as true in the conscious souls of men.

Rama said:—

14. If the persons seen in the dream are unreal, then tell me sir, what is that fault in the embodied soul, which makes them appear as realities.

Vasishtha replied:—

15. The cities and houses, which are seen in dreams are in reality nothing. It is only the illusion (maya) of the embodied soul, which makes them appear as true like those seen in the waking state, in this visionary world.

16. I will tell you in proof of this, that in the beginning of creation the self-born Brahma himself, had the notions of all created things, in the form of visionary appearances, as in a dream and their subsequent development, by the will of the creator; hence their creator is as unreal as their notions and appearances in the dream.

17. Learn then this truth of me, that this world is a dream, and that you and all other men have your sleeping dreams, contained in your waking dreams of this visionary world. (i. e. the one is a night dream and the other a day dream, and equally untrue in their substance).

18. If the scenes that are seen in your sleeping dream, have no reality in them, how then can you expect those in your day dreams to be real at all?

19. As you take me for a reality, so do I also take you and all other things for realities likewise, and such is the case with every body in this world of dreams.

20. As I appear an entity to you in this world of lengthened dreams; so you too appear an actual entity to me; and so it is with all in their protracted dreaming.

21. Rama asked:—If both these states of dreaming are alike, then tell me, why the dreamer in sleep, does not upon his waking, think the visions in his dream, to be as real as those of his day dreaming state?

Vasishtha replied:—

22. Yes, the day dreaming is of the same nature as night dreams, in which the dreamt objects appear to be real; but it is upon the waking from the one, as upon the death of the day dreamer, that both these visions are found to vanish in empty air.

23. As the objects of your night dreams do not subsist in time or place upon your waking, so also those of your day dream, can have no subsistence upon death.

24. Thus is every thing unreal, which appears real for the present, and it disappears into an airy nothing at last, though it might appear as charming as a fairy form in the dream.

25. There is one Intelligence that fills all space, and appears as every thing both within and without every body; It is only by our illusive conception of it, that we take it in different lights.

26. As one picks up a jewel he happens to meet with in a treasure house, so do we lay hold on any thing, with which the vast Intellect is filled according to our own liking. (Here we find the free agency of human will).

27. The goddess of intelligence, having thus caused the germ of true knowledge, to sprout forth in the mind of the prince, by sprinkling the ambrosial drops of her wisdom over it, thus spake to him in the end:—

28. I have told you all this for the sake of Lila, and now, good prince, we shall take leave of you, and these illusory scenes of the world.

Vasishtha said:—

29. The intelligent prince, being thus gently addressed by the goddess of wisdom, besought her in a submissive tone.

Viduratha said:—

30. Your visit, O most bounteous goddess, cannot go for nothing, when we poor mortals cannot withhold our bounty from our suppliant visitants.

31. I will quit this body to repair to another world, as one passes from one chain of dreams into another.

32. Look upon me, thy suppliant, with kindness, and deign to confer the favour I ask of thee; because the great never disdain to grant the prayers of their suppliants.

33. Ordain that this virgin daughter of my minister, may accompany me to the region, where I shall be led, that we may have spiritual joy in each other's company hereafter.

Sarasvati said:—

34. Go now prince to the former palace of your past life, and there reign without fear, in the enjoyment of true pleasure. Know prince, that our visits never fail to fulfil the best wishes of our supplicants.