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...

The whole vision of Lila, like that of Mirza, shows the state of human life, with its various incidents and phases to its last termination by death. It is not so compact and allegorical as that of the western essayist; but as idle effusions of those ideal reveries or loose vagaries which are characteristic of the wild imagination of eastern rhapsodists. The discontented Brahmana longs for royal dignity, imagines to himself all its enjoyments in the person of Padma, and sees at last all its evils in the character of Viduratha; which serves as a lesson to aspirants from aiming at high worldly honours which end in their destruction.

Lila by her wisdom sees in her silent meditation, the whole course and vicissitudes of the world, and the rise and fall of human glory in the aspirations of her husband. These parables serve to show the nature of Yoga philosophy to be no other, than an absolute idealism or mental abstraction, consisting in the abstract knowledge of all things appertaining to our temporal as well as Spiritual concerns.

The knowledge is derived either by intuition as that of the Brahmana and Padma, or by inspiration like that of the genius of wisdom to her votary Lila. It may also be had by means of communication with others, as in the discourse of Rama and his preceptor; as also from the attentive perusal of such works as the present one, treating both of temporal and spiritual subjects, and reviewing them with the eye of the mind.

The Yogi is said to know all things through the medium of his intellectual eye (jnana chakshu), apart from his connection with every thing in the world called nissanga, as it is expressed by the Persian sophist;—"amokhteh Oniamekhteh az harche hast."—Knowing and not mixing with all that is."

From this view of Yoga, it will appear that, all kinds of knowledge, whether as it existed among the ancients, or is in the course of its improvement in modern times, forms a subject of the Yoga or meditative philosophy, which embraces and comprehends in itself a knowledge of all practical arts and sciences, as the military art and other things treated of in this work. Hence it is evident, that a large fund of learning forms the greatest Yoga, and the most learned among men, were the greatest thinkers or Yogis amongst mankind in all ages. No rational being therefore can either refrain from thinking, or employing his mind to the acquisition of knowledge, both of which are termed Yoga in Indian philosophy.

But the yogi is commonly believed to be an inspired sage or seer, viewing all things appearing before him in his dream and vision. These are sometimes retrospective, and resultants of the vibrations of waking feelings and imagination, as in the case of the Brahmana's anticipation of royalty as a coming reality.

In many instances they are believed as prospective and prophetic of future events, as in Padma's dread of his future life and fate. In Lila's case however they were "no dreams but visions strange" of supernatural sights, and prophetical of the future state of her husband, as it was revealed to her by the goddess.

But as there are few that rely any faith "in the baseless fabric of a vision", they require to be told that the books of revelation in all religions are based upon these dreams and visions, which are believed to be the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the souls of saints, in the sacred records of all nations.

The holy scriptures furnish us with many texts on the divine origin of dreams and visions as the following.

"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God. I shall pour out of my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

And on my servants and on my handmaidens, I will pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy;

And I will shew wonders, in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire and vapour of smoke:

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood &c."

The Book of Acts, Chap II. v. 16-20.