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...
Argument. First the Counsellor's reply to the Questions.
1. After the giant-like progeny of the Rakshasa had proposed her occult questions, in the deep gloom of night in that thick forest, the good and great counsellor began to give his replies. (The repetition of the word great in the original, expresses the solemnity of the occasion; as the disquisitions' concerning the Great God in the Aranyakas or forest lectures of the vedic Rishis, were conducted with great solemnity in their holy hermitage in forests. So was the sermon on the Mount of Jesus).
The counsellor said:—
2. Hear, me! thou dark and cloud like form! to unravel thy riddling questions, with as great ease as the lion foils the fury of gigantic elephants.
3. All thy questions relate to the Supreme Spirit, and are framed in thy enigmatical language, to try the force of our penetration into their hidden meanings.
4. The soul which is Selfsame with the intellect which is minuter than a particle of air, is that atomic principle that thou dost inquire into, because it is a nameless minim imperceptible by the six organs of sense, and unintelligible to the mind. (Answer to the first question about the atom. [Sanskrit: anu].)
5. Underlying the atomic intellect, is the minute seed which contains this universe; but whether it is a substantial or unsubstantial reality, nobody can say. (This is the answer to the second question with regard to the mundane seed).
6. It is called a reality from our notion of its being the soul of all by itself; and it is from that soul that all other existences have come in to being. (Answer about the nature of God).
7. It is a void from its outward inanity, but it is no void as regards its intellect (which is a reality); it is said to be nothing from its imperceptibility, but it is a subtile something from its imperishableness. (All finite bodies are unreal, the immortal soul is real, and identic with the Supreme soul).
8. It is not a nothing from its being permeated in all things (i. e. though all pervading yet it is an absolute entity); for all things are but reflections of the minute Intellect, and its unity shines forth in the plurality, all which is as unreal, as the formal bracelet formed of the substantial gold.
9. This minutial is the transcendental vacuum, and is imperceptible owing to its minuteness; and though it is situated in all things, yet it is unperceived by the mind and external senses.
10. Its universal pervasion cannot make it void and null, because all that is (existent) is not that (Intellect), which alone is known as the thinking principle, that makes us speak, see and act.
11. No kind of reasoning can establish the non-entity of the real Ens (sat), because of it is not being seen by anybody. Yet the universal soul is known in its hidden form, like the unseen camphor by its smell.
12. The unlimited soul resides in all limited bodies, and the atomic intellect pervades the vast universe; and it is in the same manner as the mind fills all bodies, in its purely subtile state unknown to the senses.
13. It is one and all, the unity as well as plurality, by its being the soul of each and all, both singly as well as collectively, and its supporting and containing each and all by and within itself.
14. All these worlds are as little billows in the vast ocean of the divine Intellect; whose intelligence, like a liquid body, shows itself in the form of eddies in the water. (Hence nothing is different from the Supreme).
15. This minutiae of the intellect being imperceptible to the senses and the mind, is said to be of the form of vacuity; but being perceived by our consciousness, it is not a nothing, although of the nature of a void in itself.
16. I am That and so art thou, by our conviction of the unity (of the spirit); but neither am I That nor thou art He, by believing ourselves as composed of our bodies only. (It is in answer of what art thou &c. Spiritually considered all souls are the same with the supreme; but being viewed in the body, all bodies are different from one another, and quite apart from their unity with the Divine spirit).
17. Our egoism and tuism being got rid of by our knowledge of truth, we cease to be the ego and tu; and so all other persons lose all their properties (svayam or suum) in the sole Unity. (This is an enlargement of the preceding answer to the question—What art thou &c.).
18. This particle of the intellect is immovable, though it moves thousand of miles over; and we find in our consciousness many a mile to be composed in this particle. (The mind notwithstanding its wide range, never stirs from its seat in the soul).
19. The mind is firmly seated in the vacuous intellect, from which it never stirs, though it goes to all places where it is never located. (This is the answer of what moveth not).
20. That which hath its seat in the body can never go out of it; as a baby hanging on the breast of its mother, cannot look to another place for its rest.
21. One though free to range over large tracts at will, will never start from his own abode, where he has the liberty and power to do all he likes.
22. Wherever the mind may rove, it is never affected by the climate of that place; as a jar taken to a distant country with its mouth shut, does not yield any passage to the light and air of that region into it. (In answer to what remains in a place so as it does not remain there).
23. The cogitation and incogitancy of the intellect, being both perceived in our minds, it is said to be both intellection as well as dullness of the intellect. (This is the answer "of what is ever active, yet as dull as a block of stone").
24. When our intellection is assimilated into the solid substance of Divine Intellect, then is our intellect said to become solidified as a stone. (By forgetting one's self to a stone. Pope).
25. The worlds which the intellect of the Supreme Being has spread in the infinite space, are the most wonderful as they are his increate creations. (These being but manifestations of his inborn essence).
26. The Divine Soul is of the essence of fire, and never forsakes its igneous form. It inheres in all bodies without burning them, and is the enlightener and purifier of all substances. (This answers the question, "what is fiery without its inflammability").
27. The blazing intelligence of the divine soul, which is purer than the etherial sphere, produces the elemental fire by its presence. (As the burning of mount Sinai in the Bible and Taurus in the Koran, and the fiery form of Brahma the creator and regent of vulgar fire). (This is in answer of "what unigneous entity produces the substance of fire?").
28. The intellect which is the light of the soul, and enlightener of the lights of the luminous sun, moon and stars, is indestructible and never fades; although the light of the luminaries, is lost on the last day of universal doom. (In answer to "what unextinguishable fire is the kindler of planetary lights").
29. There is an inextinguishable light (glory), known as ineffably transcendental, which the eye cannot behold, but is perceptible to the mind as its inward illumination, and presenting all things to its view. (Answer to "what light imperceptible to the eye, brings all things to view?"This is spiritual light).
30. Thence proceeds the intellectual light, which transcends the sensible and mental lights; and presents before it wonderful pictures of things invisible to visual light. (It is luminous by itself and shows things lying hid in darkness, as one walking in the dark, makes himself known to another by telling him "it is I").
31. The eyeless vegetable creation, is sensible of an inward light within them, causing their growth and giving them the capability of bearing their fruits and flowers. (In answer to the question regarding the light and life of vegetable creation, which are also classed under animated nature).
32. With regard to time, space and action and existence of the world, all which are but the percepta or perceptions of sense, and have no master or maker, father or supporter except the Supreme Soul in whom they subsist, as mere modifications of himself and are nothing of themselves. (It is in answer to the question, "who is the maker of the skies &c.").
33. The atomic spirit is the casket of the bright gem of the world, without changing its minuteness. The divine spirit is its measure and measurer, beside which there is no separate world of itself. (Answer to the question "who is the holder and measurer of the world").
34. It is that Spirit which manifests itself in every thing in all these worlds; but it shines as the brightest gem, when all the worlds are compressed in it (at the universal dissolution).
35. From the unintelligibleness of his nature, he is said to be a speck of obscurity, as he is called to be a ray of light, from the brightness of his intellect. He is known as existent by our consciousness of him, as he is said to be non-existent from his being removed from our visual sight.
36. He is said to be afar from his invisibleness to our eyes, and to be near us from his being of the nature of our intellect. He is represented as a mountain for his being the totality of our consciousness, although he is minuter than any perceptible particle. (In answer to "what is minute yet vast").
37. It is his consciousness that manifests itself in the form of the universe; the mountains are not real existences, but subsist like the Meru in his atomic substratum. (In answer to the question "how an atom contains and expands itself as a hill &c.").
Sometimes a twinkling said:—
39. instant represents a Kalpa, when it is fraught with the acts and thoughts of an age; as an extensive country of many leagues, is pictured in miniature or in a grain of the brain.
40. The course of a long Kalpa, is sometimes represented in the womb of a nimesha instant; as the period of the building of a great city, is present in the small space of the mind's remembrance, as it is in the bosom of a mirror.
41. As little moments and Kalpa ages, high mountains and extensive yojanas, may abide in a single grain of the intellect; so do all dualities and pluralities unite and meet in the unity of God.
42. That 'I have done this and that before', is an impression derived from the thought of our actual actions and activity at all times; but the truth thereof becomes as untrue as our doings in the dream. (This to prove that all vyavaharika or customary events, are real untruths; being but pratibhasika or phenomenal appearances only).
43. It is calamity that prolongs the course of time, as our prosperity on the other hand diminishes its duration; as the short space of a single night, appeared as a period of twelve long years to king Haris Chandra in his misery. (The fallacy of human conception of the length or shortness of time).
44. Anything appearing as a certain truth to the mind, stamps the same impression in the soul, as the sense of some golden jewellery, becomes more impressive in the soul than the idea of its gold. (The fallacy of our perceptions, creating errors in the judgement of the understanding).
45. There is nothing as a moment or an age or as near or afar to the soul; it is the conception in the minute intellect (or the working of the mind), that creates their length or brevity and their nearness and remoteness. (As a year of men is a day of Gods, and such a year of these makes a day of Brahma; while there is no measure of time or space in the infinity of the Divine mind).
46. The contraries as light and darkness, nearness and distance, and a moment and an age, being but varied impressions on the unvaried percipient mind, have no real difference in them. (They are as unreal as the various evanescent hues of the recipient and reflexive clouds. So no colour is real chromatics or Science of colours).
47. All things or objects which are perceptible to the senses, are called to be evident or apparent; and those which lie beyond them, are said to be imperceptible or unapparent. But visual sensation is not self-evident, except the vision of the intellect, which is the real essence. (In answer to the question "What is perceptible and unreal?"Answer—All what is apparent, is untrue).
48. As long as there is the knowledge of the jewel, there is the knowledge of the gem also; that of the real gem, being lost under the apparent form. (So reliance on ocular evidence, presents an obstruction to the vision of the intellect).
49. It is by reversion of the attention from the visible form of the jewel to the real essence of the gem, that one is led to the sight of the pure light of the only One Brahma. (So says a poet:—Forsake the visible to see the invisible).
50. Brahma is viewed as Sat or reality, when He is considered as pervading all things; and He is said to be Asat or unreal, because He is not the object of vision. So is the Intellect said to be a reality from its faculty of intellection, otherwise it is a stolid or dull matter. (Answers to "what reality appears as unreal, and what intellect as the absence of intellect").
51. The intellect is the wonderful property of the Divine Spirit, in which it is present as its object (chetya); but how can a man have a view of it, whose mind fixed to the sight of the world, which is a shadow of the Intellect, and moves as a tree which is shaken by the wind?
52. As a mirage is the reflection of the dense light of the sun, so is the world a shadow of the solid light of the Divine intellect.
53. That which is rarer than the rays of the sun and never decays, is ever as uniform as it was before creation and disjoined from it. Hence its existence is tantamount to its nonexistence.
54. As the accumulation of sunbeams, exhibits the formation of a gold mine in the sky; so the golden appearance of the world, prevents the deluded to look to the knowable object of the intellect.
55. Like the appearance of a visionary city in dream, the sight of this world is neither a reality nor altogether unreal; because it is a reflection of the intellect, as the dream is that of images in the memory. It is but a continued medley of error.
56. Knowing it as such, men should consider everything by the light of reason; and proceed to the knowledge of truth by their intellectual culture.
57. There is no difference between a house and a void, than that the one is the object of vision, and the other of consciousness. Again all nature teeming with life, is said to live in God, who is light and life of all for evermore.
58. But all these living beings have no room in the empty sphere of Divine Intellect. They live and shine like the solar rays, proceeding imperceptibly from that luminous orb.
59. There appears a difference in these rays both from the original light, and also from one another (in different beings), by a curious design of Providence; but it is yet the same in all, like the forms of the trees growing out of the same kind of seed.
60. As the tree contained in the seed, is of the same kind with the parent seed; so the innumerable worlds contained in the vacuous seed of Brahma, are also void and vacuum as Brahma himself.
61. As the tree which is yet undeveloped in the seed, is not in esse without development of its parts; so the world in the womb of Brahma, was discernible only to the Divine Intellect (in the form of the ideal or spiritual world to be in futuro).
62. There is but one God, who is one and increate, calm and quiet, without beginning, middle or end, and without a body and its parts. He has no duality and is one in many. He is of the form of pure light, and shines for ever with everlasting and undiminished lustre.