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 XLIV - Spiritual interpretation of the vision

Vasishtha said:—

1. At this instant the great queen, who was in the bloom of youthful beauty, entered the camp of Viduratha, as the goddess of grace pops upon the lotus flower.

2. She was decorated with pendant wreaths of flowers and necklaces, and accompanied by a train of her youthful companions and handmaids, all terrified with fear.

3. With her face as bright as the moon and her form as fair as the lily, she appeared as a luminary of heaven, with her teeth shining as sets of stars, and her bosom throbbing with fear.

4. Then the king was informed by one of her companions about the fate of the warfare, which resembled the onset of demons upon the Apsara tribe.

5. Lord! this lady, said she, has fled with us from her seraglio, to take refuge under thy arms, as a tender creeper seeks the shelter of a tree, from a rude gust of wind.

6. Behold! the ravishers ravishing the wives of the citizens with their uplifted arms, like the swelling waves of the sea carrying away the arbours of the bank in their rapid current.

7. The guards of the royal harem are all crushed to death by the haughty marauders, as the sturdy trees of the forest are broken down by the furious tornado.

8. Our armies frightened by the enemy from afar, dare not approach the falling city, as nobody ventures to rescue the lotus beds from a flood, under the threatening thunders of a rainy night.

9. The hostile force have poured upon the city in terrible numbers, and having set it on fire, are shouting loudly under the clouds of smoke, with their weapons brandishing on all sides.

10. The handsome ladies are dragged by the hair from amidst their families, in the manner of screaming cranes, caught and carried away by the cruel fowlers and fishermen.

11. Now we have brought this exuberant tender creeper to thee, that thou mayst save her from similar fate by thy might.

12. Hearing this, he looked at the goddesses and said, now will I go to the war from here, and leave this my lady as an humble bee at your lotus feet.

13. Saying so, the king rose in a rage from his seat and sprang like the enraged lion from the den, when pierced and pressed by the tusk of a furious elephant.

14. The widowed Lila beheld the queen Lila to be exactly of her form and features, and took her for a true inflexion of herself in a mirror.

Then said the enlightened lila to sarasvati said:—

15. Tell me, O goddess! how this lady here is exactly as myself, she is what I have been before, and how she came to be as myself.

16. I see this prime minister with all these soldiers and citizens, these forces and vehicles, to be the same as mine, and situated in the same place and manner as before.

17. How is it then, O goddess! that they came to be placed in this place. I see them as Images situated within and without the mirror of my mind, and know not whether these be living beings (or the false chimeras of my imagination).

Sarasvati replied:—

18. All our external perceptions of things, are the immediate effects of our internal conceptions of them. The intellect has the knowledge of all the intelligibles in it, as the mind has the impressions of mental objects in itself. (Or in other words:—the intellect is possessed of all intelligence, like the mind of its thoughts, as they present themselves in dreams. Gloss).

19. The external world appears in an instant in the same form and manner to one, as he has its notion and impression in his intellect and mind; and no distance of time or place, nor any intermediate cause can create any difference in them.

20. The inward world is seen on the outside, as the internal impressions of our minds, appear to be seen without us in our dreams. Whatever is within us, the same appears without us, as in our dreams and desires, and in all our imaginations and fancies of objects.

21. It is the constant habitude of your mind, that presented these things as realities to your sight, and you saw your husband in the same state in which you thought him to be, when he died in that city of yours.

22. It is the same place wherein he exists at present, and is presented with the same objects of his thought at present as he had at that moment. Any thing that appears to be different in this state, proceeds from the turn of his mind of thinking it so before.

23. All that appears real to him, is as unreal as his dream or desire, and the creation of his fancy; for every thing appears to be the same as it is thought of in the mind. (All external objects are representations of their prototypes in the mind).

24. Say therefore what truth can there be in these visionary objects, which are altogether unsubstantial as dreams, and vanish in the end into airy nothing.

25. Know then every thing to be no better than nothing; and as a dream proves to be nothing upon waking, so is waking also a dream and equally nothing at death.

26. Death in life time is a nullity, and life in death becomes null and extinct; and these extinctions of life and death, proceed from the fluctuating nature of our notions of them.

27. So there is neither any entity nor nonentity either, but both appear to us as fallacies by turns. For what neither was before, nor will be, after a Kalpa=creation or dissolution, the same cannot exist to-day or in any Yuga=age, whether gone before or coming afterwards.

28. That which is never inexistent, is the ever existent Brahma, and the same is the world. It is in him that we see everything to rise and fall by our fallacy, and what we falsely term as the creation or the created.

29. As phantoms appearing in the vacuum, are all vacant and void, and as the waves of the sea, are no other than its water; so do these created things exist and appear in Brahma only.

30. As the minutiae appearing in the air, vanish in the air; and as the dust driven by the winds, are lost in the winds; so the false notions of yourself and myself, are lost in that Supreme self, in which all things rise and fall like waves of the ocean.

31. What reliance can there be in this dust of creation, which is no more than the water of the mirage? The knowledge of individualities is mere fallacy, when every thing is united in that sole unity.

32. We see apparitions in the dark, though the darkness itself is no apparition; so our lives and deaths are the false notions of our error, and the whole existence is equally the production of gross error (maya).

33. All this is Himself, for He is the great Kalpa or will which produces every thing; it is He that exists when all things are extinct in Him; and therefore these appearances, are neither real nor unreal of themselves.

34. But to say both (the real and unreal) to be Brahma, is a contradiction; therefore it is He, who fills the infinity of space, and abides equally in all things and their minutest particles.

35. Wherever the spirit of Brahma abides, and even in the minute animalcule, it views the whole world in itself; like one thinking on the heat and cold of fire and frost, has the same sensation within himself at that moment. (Vide Hume).

36. So doth the pure intellect perceive the Holy Spirit of God within itself, just as one sees the particles of light flying in his closet at sunrise.

37. So do these multitudes of worlds, move about as particles in the infinite space of the Divine mind, as the particles of odoriferous substances oscillate in the empty air.

38. In this manner does this world abide in its incorporeal state in the mind of God, with all its modifications of existence and inexistence, emanation and absorption, of its condensation and subtilization and its mobility and rest.

39. But you must know all these modes and these conditions of being to belong to material bodies only and not to the spirit, which is unconditioned and indivisible; (i. e. without attributes and parts).

40. And as there is no change or division of one's own soul, so there is no partition or variation of the Supreme Spirit. It is according to the ideas in our minds, that we view things in their different aspects before us.

Yet the word world said:—

41. visva—all, is not a meaningless term; it means the all as contained in Brahma (who is to pan). Therefore it is both real and unreal at the same time like the fallacy of a snake in a rope.

42. It is the false notion (of the snake), that makes the true (rope) to appear as the untrue snake to us, which we are apt to take for the true snake itself, so we take the Divine Intellect, which is the prime cause of all, as a living soul (like ours), by mistake.

43. It is this notion (of the living soul), that makes us to think ourselves as living beings, which whether it be false or true, is like the appearance of the world in empty air.

44. Thus these little animals delight themselves with their own misconceived idea of being living beings, while there are others who think themselves so, by their preconceived notions as such.

45. Some there are that have no preconceived notions, and others that retain the same as or somewhat different notions of themselves than before. Somewhere the inborn notions are predominant, and sometimes they are entirely lost.

46. Our preconceived notions of ourselves, represent unrealities as realities to our minds, and present the thoughts of our former family and birth, and the same occupations and professions before us (as also the enjoyments we had before and no more existent at present).

47. Such are the representations of your former ministers and citizens, imprinted as realities in your soul, together with the exact time and place and manner of their functions, as before.

48. And as the intelligence of all things, is present in the omniscient spirit of God, so is the idea of royalty inherent in the soul of the prince (i. e. like the ex-king Lear, he thinks himself every inch a king).

49. This notion of his goes before him as his shadow in the air, with the same stature and features, and the same acts and movements as he had before.

50. In this manner, Lila! Know this world to be but a shadowy reflection of the eternal ideas of God; and this reflection is caught by or refracted in the consciousness of all animal souls as in a prismatic mirror.

51. Everything shows itself in every place in the form in which it is;so whatever there is in the living soul, casts out a reflection of itself, and a shadow of it is caught by the intellect, which is situated without it. (The mind is a mirror of the images in the soul).

52. Here is the sky containing the world, which contains this earth, wherein you and myself and this prince are situated, as reflections of the One Ego only. Know all these to be contained within the vacuous womb of the Intellect, and to remain as tranquil and transparent as vacuity itself.