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 LII - State of man after death

Vasishtha said:—

1. In the meanwhile, O Rama! Lila seeing her husband lying insensible before her and about to breathe his last, thus spoke to Sarasvati.

2. Behold, O mother! my husband is about to shuffle his mortal coil in this perilous war, which has laid waste his whole kingdom.

Sarasvati replied:—

3. This combat that you saw to be fought with such fury, and lasting so long in the field, was neither fought in thy kingdom nor in any part of this earth.

4. It occurred nowhere except in the vacant space of the shrine, containing the dead body of the Brahman; and where it appeared as the phantom of a dream only (in your imagination).

5. This land which appeared as the realm of thy living lord Viduratha, was situated with all its territories in the inner apartment of Padma. (The incidents of Viduratha's life, being but a vision appearing to the departed spirit of Padma).

6. Again it was the sepulchral tomb of the Brahman Vasishtha, situated in the hilly village of Vindya, that exhibited these varying scenes of the mortal world within itself (i. e. as a panorama shows many sights to the eye, and one man playing many parts in the stage).

7. As the departed soul views the vision of the past world within its narrow tomb; so is the appearance of all worldly accidents unreal in their nature. Gloss:—The apparitions appearing before the souls of the dead lying in their tombs, are as false as the appearances presenting themselves before the living souls in their tomb of this world. The souls of the living and the dead are both alike in their nature, and both susceptible of the like dreams and visions.

8. These objects that we see here as realities, including these bodies of mine and thine and this Lila's, together with this earth and these waters, are just the same as the phantoms rising in the tomb of the deceased Brahman of the hilly region.

9. It is the soul which presents the images of things, and nothing external which is wholly unreal can cast its reflection on the soul. Therefore know thy soul as the true essence which is increate and immortal, and the source of all its creations within itself. Note:—The subjective is the cause of the objective and not this of that.

10. The soul reflects on its inborn images without changing itself in any state, and thus it was the nature of the Brahman's soul, that displayed these images in itself within the sphere of his tomb.

11. But the illusion of the world with all its commotion, was viewed in the vacant space of the souls of the Brahman and Padma, and not displayed in the empty space of their tombs, where there was no such erroneous reflection of the world.

12. There is no error or illusion anywhere, except in the misconception of the observer; therefore the removal of the fallacy from the mind of the viewer, leads him to the perception of the light of truth.

13. Error consists in taking the unreal for the real, and in thinking the viewer and the view or the subjective and objective as different from each other. It is the removal of the distinction of the subjective and objective, that leads us to the knowledge of unity (the on or one or om).

14. Know the Supreme soul to be free from the acts of production and destruction, and it is his light that displays all things of which He is the source; and learn the whole outer nature as having no existence nor change in itself.

15. But the souls of other beings, exhibit their own natures in themselves; as those in the sepulchral vault of the Brahman, displayed the various dispositions to which they were accustomed. (Thus the one unvaried soul appears as many, according to its particular wont and tendency in different persons).

16. The soul has no notion of the outer world or any created thing in it; its consciousness of itself as an increate vacuity, comprehends its knowledge of the world in itself (i. e., the subjective consciousness of the Ego, includes the knowledge of the objective world).

17. The knowledge of the mountain chains of Meru and others, is included under the knowledge in the vacuity of the soul; there is no substance or solidity in them as in a great city seen in a dream.

18. The soul views hundreds of mountainous ranges and thousands of solid worlds, drawn in the small compass of the mind, as in its state of dreaming.

19. Multitudes of worlds, are contained in a grain of the brain of the mind; as the long leaves of the plantain tree, are contained in one of its minute seeds.

20. All the three worlds are contained in an atom as the intellect, in the same manner as great cities are seen in a dream; and all the particles of intellect within the mind, have each the representation of a world in it.

21. Now this Lila thy step-dame, has already gone to the world which contains the sepulchre of Padma, before the spirit of Viduratha could join the same.

22. The moment when Lila fell in a swoon in thy presence, know her spirit to be immediately conveyed to him and placed by his side.

Lila asked said:—

23. Tell me, O goddess! how was this lady endowed here with my form before, and how is she translated to and placed as my step-dame beside my deceased husband?

24. Tell me in short, in what form she is now viewed by the people in Padma's house, and the manner in which they are talking to her at present.

The goddess replied:—

25. Hear Lila, what I will relate to thee in brief in answer to thy question, regarding the life and death of this Lila as an image of thyself.

26. It is thy husband Padma, that beholds these illusions of the world spread before him in the same sepulchre in the person of Viduratha.

27. He fought this battle as thou didst see in his reverie, and this Lila resembling thyself was likewise a delusion. These his men and enemies were but illusions, and his ultimate death, was as illusory as a phantom of the imagination, like all other things in this world.

28. It was his self delusion, that showed him this Lila as his wife, and it is the same deceit of a dream, which deludes thee to believe thyself as his consort.

29. As it is a mere dream that makes you both to think yourselves as his wives, so he deems himself as your husband, and so do I rely on my existence (also in a like state of dream).

30. The world with all its beauty, is said to be the spectre of a vision; wherefore knowing it a mere visionary scene, we must refrain from relying any faith in this visible phantasmagoria.

31. Thus this Lila, yourself and this king Viduratha, are but phantoms of your fancy: and so am I also, unless I believe to exist in the self-existent spirit.

32. The belief of the existence of this king and his people, and of ourselves as united in this place, proceeds from the fulness of that intellect, which fills the whole plenitude.

33. So this queen Lila also situated in this place with her youthful beauty, and smiling so charmingly with her blooming face, is but an image of divine beauty.

34. See how gentle and graceful are her manners, and how very sweet is her speech; her voice is as dulcet as the notes of the Kokila, and her motions as slow as those of a lovelorn maiden.

35. Behold her eyelids like the leaves of the blue lotus, and her swollen breasts rounded as a pair of snow-balls; her form is as bright as liquid gold, and her lips as red as a brace of ripe Vimba fruits.

36. This is but a form of thee as thou didst desire to be to please thy husband, and it is the very figure of thy own self, that thou now beholdest with wonder.

37. After the death of thy husband, his soul caught the same reflection of thy image, as thou didst desire to be hereafter; and which thou now seest in the person of the young Lila before thee.

38. Whenever the mind has a notion or sensation or fancy of some material object, the abstract idea of its image is surely imprinted in the intellect.

39. As the mind comes to perceive the unreality of material objects, it thenceforth begins to entertain the ideas of their abstract entities within itself. (Hence the abstract ideas of things are said to accompany the intellectual spirit after its separation from the body).

40. It was the thought of his sure death, and the erroneous conception of the transmigration of his soul in the body of Viduratha, that represented to Padma thy desired form of the youthful Lila, which was the idol of his soul. (This passage confutes the doctrine of metempsychosis, and maintains the verity of eternal ideas).

41. It was thus that thou wast seen by him and he was beheld by thee according to your desires; and thus both of you though possest of the same unvaried soul which pervades all space, are made to behold one another in your own ways (agreeably to your desires).

42. As the spirit of Brahma is all pervasive, and manifests itself in various ways in all places; it is beheld in different lights, according to the varying fancies (vikshepa sakti); or tendencies (vasana sakti) of men, like the ever-changeful scenes appearing to us in our visions and dreams.

43. The omnipotent spirit displays its various powers in all places, and these powers exert themselves everywhere, according to the strong force and capability it has infused in them (in their material or immaterial forms).

44. When this pair remained in their state of death-like insensibility, they beheld all these phantoms in their inner souls, by virtue of their reminiscence and desires (which are inherent in the soul).

45. That such and such person were their fathers and such their mothers before, that they lived in such places, had such properties of theirs, and did such acts erewhile (are reminiscences of the soul).

46. That they were joined together in marriage, and the multitude which they saw in their minds, appeared to them as realities for the time in their imagination (as it was in a magic show).

47. This is an instance that shows our sensible perceptions, to be no better than our dreams; and it was in this deluded state of Lila's mind, that I was worshipped and prayed by her:—

48. In order to confer upon her the boon that she might not become a widow; and it was by virtue of this blessing of mine, that this girl had died before her husband's death (to escape the curse of widowhood).

49. I am the progeny of Brahma, and the totality of that intelligence of which all beings participate: it is for this reason that I was adored by her as the Kula Devi or tutelar divinity of all living beings.

50. It was at last that her soul left her body, and fled with her mind in the form of her vital breath, through the orifice of her mouth.

51. Then after the insensibility attendant upon her death was over, she understood in her intellect her living soul to be placed in the same empty space with the departed spirit of Padma.

52. Her reminiscence pictured her in her youthful form, and she beheld herself as in a dream, to be situated in the same tomb. She was as a blooming lotus with her beautiful countenance, and her face was as bright as the orb of the moon; her eyes were as large as those of an antelope, and she was attended by her graceful blandishments for the gratification of her husband.