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 LXXXI - Congeries of spiritual doctrines

Argument. The Prince's Answers to the Remaining Questions of the Rakshasi.

The Rakshasi said:—Well said, O councillor! Thy sayings are sanctifying and fraught with spiritual doctrines; now let the prince with his eyes like lotus-leaves answer to the other queries.

2. The Prince answered:—He whose belief consists in the relinquishment of all reliance in this world, and whose attainment depends upon forsaking all the desires of the heart:—

3. He whose expansion and contraction causes the creation and extinction of the world, who is the object of the doctrines of Vedanta, and who is inexpressible by words or speech of humankind:—

4. Who is betwixt the two extremities of doubt (whether he is or is not), and is the midst of both extremities (that both he is and is not);and the pleasure (Will) of whose mind, displays the world with all its movables and immovables to view:—

5. He whose Universal pervasion does not destroy his unity; who being the soul of all is still but one; it is he alone, O lady! who is truly said to be the eternal Brahma (so far the Exordium).

6. This minute particle is erroneously conceived as spirit (air), from its invisibleness to the naked eye; but it is in truth neither air nor any other thing except the only pure Intellect. (Answer to the question, "what is it of the form of air and not air?").

7. This minim is said to be sound (or the words), but it is error to say it so: because it is far beyond the reach of sound or the sense of words. (So the Sruti 'natatravakgacchati', no word (vox or voice) can reach unto him—express his nature. (In answer to the query "what is sound and no sound?").

8. That particle is all yet nothing, it is neither I, thou or he. It is the Almighty soul and its power is the cause of all. (The gloss explains pratibha as sakti or power, in preference to the other meanings of the word, as—knowledge, design, light, reflexion and influence. (This is in answer to "who is all yet no one omnium et nullum, and what are I, thou and he, which are viewed as the ego, tu and ille, the subjective and objective realities?").

9. It is the soul that is attainable with great pains (i. e. the knowledge of which is gained with pains of Yoga), and which being gained adds nothing to our stock (as we are already in possession of our souls); but its attainment is attended with the gain of the supreme soul, than which there is no better gain. (So the Sruti: yalalabhat naparamlabha. In answer to 'what gain is no gain').

10. But ignorance of the soul, stretches the bonds of our worldliness and repeated transmigrations, with their evils growing like the rankest weeds in spring; until they are rooted out by spiritual knowledge.

11. And those who are in easy circumstances in life, lose their souls by viewing themselves only as solid bodies, which rise fastly to view like the dense mirage by light of the sun. (It is easier for a camel to enter the hole of a needle, than for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Gospel).

12. It is the particle of self-consciousness, which contains the Meru and the three worlds, like bits of straw in itself. They are as disgorged from it in order to present their delusive appearances unto us. (This answers the question: "what particle hides in it the world as a straw,"and means the mind to be the container of the universe).

13. Whatever is imprinted in the intellect, the same appears exprest without it. The fond embrace of passionate lovers in dream and imagination, serves to exemplify this truth.

14. As the intellect rose of itself with its omnipotent Will at the first creation of the world, so it exercises the same volition in its subsequent formations also, like the sprigs rising from the joints of reeds and grass. (I. e. The eternal Will (Fiat) is productive of all things for ever).

15. The hobby that has entered in the heart, shows itself on the outside also, as in the instance of the whims of children. (The phrases, "the wish being father to the thought," and "every one delights in his hobby horse," correspond with the purport of the passage).

16. The iota of the intellect, which is as minute as an atom, and as subtile as air; fills the whole universe on all sides. (The three words paramanu, anu and sukshma, respectively signify the minuteness of the intellect with regard to its unity, dimension and rarity. Gloss).

17. Though but a particle, yet it is not contained in hundreds of leagues; and being all pervasive it is infinite. Having no beginning it is measureless, and having no form of itself it is formless. (In answer to 'what minutiae is immeasurable &c.').

18. As a cunning coxcomb deludes young girls by their becks and calls and winks and glances. (Quips and cranks and wanton wiles; Nods and becks and wreathed smiles. Pope):—

19. So the holy look of the divine intellect, serves as a prelude to the rotatory dance of worlds, with all their hills and contents for ever (i. e. a nod and look of the Almighty, moves the worlds).

20. It is that atom of the intellect, which envelops all things within its consciousness, and represents also their forms without it; as a picture canvas shows the figures of the hills and trees drawn in it, to stand out as in bas-relief. (The external world being but a prominent representation of the internal, the phenomenal of the noumenal. So Persian: Suvaribatini and Zahiri).

21. The divine spirit though as minute as the hundredth part of the point of a hair, is yet larger than the hills it hides in itself, and as vast as infinity, being unlimited by any measure of space or time. (In answer to "what is it that retains its minuteness and yet comprehends the great Meru").

22. The comparison of the vast vacuity of divine understanding with a particle of air (as it is made by the minister), is not an exact simile.

It is as a comparison of a mountain with a mustard seed, which is absurd.

23. The minuteness which is attributed to it (in the veda), is as false as the attribution of different colours to the plumage of the peacock, and of jewellery to gold, which can not be applicable to the spirit.

(The Veda says, anoraniyan. He is minuter than the minute &c.; because the spirit admits no attribute).

24. It is that bright lamp which has brought forth light from its thought, and without any loss of its own essential effulgence. (Answer to "what lamp gave light in darkness?" "He was the light of the world, and the light shine forth in darkness", Gospel).

25. If the sun and other luminous bodies in the world, were dull and dark in the beginning; then what was the nature of the primeval light and where did it abide? (This question is raised and answered by the prince himself in the next).

26. The pure essence of the mind which was situated in the soul, saw the light displayed on the outside of it, by its internal particle of the intellect. Gloss:—That light existed inside the intellectual atom before creation, and its preceding darkness; it was afterwards set forth by itself without it, when it shone amidst the darkness. (So the passage, lux fiat et lux fit, and then the mind beheld it, and said it was good).

27. There is no difference in the lights of the sun, moon and fire from the darkness, out of which these lights were produced: the difference is only that of the two colours black and white. (Gloss:—Both of them are equally insensible things).

28. As the difference of the cloud and snows, consists in the blackness of the one and whiteness of the other; such is the difference of light and darkness in their colours only, and not in their substance (as they have no real substantiality in them).

29. Both of these being insensible in their natures, there is no difference between them: and they both disappear or join with one another before the light of intellect. They disappear before the intellectual light of the Yogi, who perceives no physical light or darkness in his abstract meditation under the blaze of his intellect.

They join together as light and shade,—the shadow inseparably following the light. The adage goes, Zer cheragh tariki:—there is darkness beneath the lighted lamp.

30. The sun of the intellect, shines by day and night without setting or sleeping; It shines in the bosom even of hard stones, without being clouded or having its rise or fall.

31. The light of this blazing soul, has lighted the sun, which diffuses its light all over the three worlds; it has filled the capacious womb of earth with a variety of provisions, as they lay up large panniers of food in a store-house (i. e. it is the sun-light that grows and ripens all things for our food).

32. It enlightens darkness without destroying itself, and the darkness that receives the light, and becomes as enlightened as light itself. (This passage is explained both in a physical as well as spiritual sense. The light dispelling ignorance and the gloom of nature).

33. As the shining sun brings the lotus-buds to light, so the light of the Divine Spirit, enlightens our intellects, amidst the gloom of ignorance which envelopes them.

34. And as the sun displays himself by making the day and night by his rise and fall, so does the intellect show itself by its development and reticence by turns.

35. All our notions and ideas are contained in the particle of the intellect, as a healthy seed contains the leaves and fruits and flowers of the future tree in its breast.

36. These and all the powers of the mind, develope themselves in their proper times, as the fruits and flowers make their appearance in spring and proper seasons—khandas. (The Hindu festivals of Khanda palas, are celebrated in honour of the returning seasons, and continue as a relic of the primitive agricultural state of society).

37. The particle of divine spirit is altogether tasteless, being so very vapid and void of qualities; yet it is always delectable as the giver of flavour to all things. (The gloss explains the spirit as spiritual knowledge, which is unpalatable to all, owing to its abstruse and subtile nature; but which becomes tasty when blended with all other knowledge, which mainly depends on spiritual science. This is in answer to "What particle is that which is entirely tasteless, yet always tasted with zest?").

38. All savours abide in the waters (water being the receptacle of taste), as a mirror is the recipient of a shadow; but the savour like the shadow is not the substance; it is the essence of the spirit that gives it the flavour. (The Nyaya says "jaleparamanurasah", the atom of the spirit is the savour of the water).

39. All bodies existing in the world, are forsaken by the atomic spirit of the supreme, by their unconsciousness of Him; but they are dependant upon him, by the consciousness of the divine particle, shining in their souls (i. e. consciousness is the connecting link between the human and Divine souls). In answer to "who are forsaken by and supported by the Divine Spirit."

40. It is He who being unable to wrap up himself, enwraps the world in him, by spreading out the vesture of his atomic intellect over all existence. (In answer to "who being uncovered himself covers the whole?").

41. The supreme Spirit which is of the form of infinite space, cannot hide itself in any thing within its sphere, which would be like the hiding of an elephant in the grass.

42. Yet this all knowing spirit encompasses the world, knowing it to be a trifle, just as a child holds a particle of rice in his hand. This is an act of maya or delusion. (Here delusion like destiny is represented to exercise its influence on omniscience itself).

43. The spirit of God exists even after the dissolution of the world, by relying in his chit or intellect; just as plants survive the spring by the sap they have derived from it.

44. It is the essence of the Intellect which gives rise to the world, just as the garden continues to flourish by the nourishment of the vernal season.

45. Know the world is verily a transformation of the intellect, and all its productions to be as plants in the great garden of the world, nourished by the vernal juice of the intellect.

46. It is the sap supplied by the intellectual particle, that makes all things grow up with myriads of arms and eyes; in the same manner as the atom of a seed, produces plants with thousand branches and fruits. (In answer to "What formless things take a thousand forms?").

47. Myriads of kalpas amount to an infinitesimal part of a twinkling of the atomic intellect, as a momentary dream presents a man all the periods of his life from youth to age. In answer to "What twinkling of the eye appears as many thousand Kalpas &c."

48. This infinitesimal of a twinkling even, is too long for thousands of kalpas, the whole duration of existence is as short as a flash of his eye.

49. It is the idea only that makes a twinkling, appear a kalpa or many, just as the idea of satiety in starvation, is a mere delusion to the deluded soul.

50. It is concupiscence only, that makes the famishing to feed upon his thoughts of food; as it is the despair of one's life, that presents his death before him in his dream.

51. All the worlds reside in the intellectual soul within the atom of its intellect; and the outward worlds are only reflexions (réchauffé) of the inner prototype. (The phenomenal is an ectype of the original noumenal).

52. Whatever object appears to be situated anywhere, it is but a representation of its like model in some place or other, and resembles the appearance of figures in bas-relief on any part of a pillar; but the changes occurring in the external phenomena, are no results of the internal, which as the serene vacuum is subject to no change.

53. All existences, which are present in the intellect at this moment, are the same as they have existed, and will ever exist inwardly like trees in their seeds.

54. The atom of the intellect, contains the moments and ages of time, like grains within the husk; it contains these (as its contents) in the seed within the infinite soul of God. (The soul is the unconscious container of the intellect, which is conscious of the ideas contained in it).

55. The soul remains quite aloof as if retired from the world (udasina), notwithstanding the subsistence and dependence of the latter upon the former. The Divine soul is unconcerned with its creation and its sustentation at all times. (In answer to "who is the cause of the world without any motive or causality in him?"This is the doctrine of perfect bliss of the soul without being ruffled or disturbed by any motivity or activity. So the man imitating divine perfection, is required to be apathetic and callous to all worldly affairs).

56. The essence of the world springs from the atom of the pure Intellect, which however remains apart from both the states of action and passion itself (the intellect being the thinking principle, has only its perceptivity, without sensitivity of passion, or the Will or volition for action).

57. There is nothing created or dissolved in the world by any body at any time; all apparent changes are caused by the delusion of our vision; (and it is the province of Vedanta to remove the error of conceiving the unreal worlds as a reality).

58. (Viewed in its spiritual light), this world with all its contents, is as void as the vault of the vacuous atmosphere; the word world applied to the phenomena, is but an insignificant term signifying a nothing.

59. It is the particle of intellect that is led by the delusion of

maya, to view the scenes situated in the Divine soul, in the outward appearance of the phenomenal world. (Answer to what thing that has eyes; views on its outside what is contained in the soul?).

60. The words external and internal as applied to the world, are meaningless and not positive terms; there is no inside or outside of the divine soul, they are contrived to explain its different views by the intellect for the instruction of pupils. (Brahma has no inside nor outside. Sruti).

61. The viewer looking into the invisible being within himself, comes to see the soul; but he who looks on the outside with his open eyes, comes to view the unreal as real.

62. Therefore whoever looks into the soul (as the true reality), can never view the false phenomena as realities as others do.

63. It is the internal sight of the intellect that looks into the inward soul, which is without all desires; while the external eyes are mere organs to look upon the false appearance of outward objects (i. e. the eye of the mind, is the true eye to see the real nature of the soul; but the outer eyes are no eyes, that feed only upon the falsities of nature).

64. There can be no object of sight, unless there is a looker also, as there can be no child without its parent. This duality (of their mutual dependence upon one another), proceeds from the want of knowledge of their unity (i.e. the viewer, the view and the vision (drashta,

drishya and darsana), being one and the same thing, as the parent and the offspring, and the seed and its sprout, are the same substance. The doctrine of the Vedantic unity, thus attempts to reduce and unite all varieties to their primitive simplicity).

65. The viewer himself becomes the view as there can be no view without its viewer. No body prepares any food, unless there be some body to feed upon it. (It is the agent that makes the act, as there can be no act without its agent).

66. It is in the power of the intellect (imagination), to create the views of its vision; as it lies in the capacity of gold, to produce all the various forms of jewellery (i. e. fancy paints and moulds itself in many colours and shapes. The creations of phantasy are mere phantoms—phantasia et phantasmos).

67. The inanimate view never has nor can have the ability of producing its viewer; as the golden bracelet has no power of bringing the gold into being.

68. The intellect having the faculty of intellection (chetana), forms the thoughts of intelligibles (chetyas) within itself, which however unreal are erroneously viewed as real entities by its intellectual vision to its own deception, as it is caused by the appearance of jewellery in gold.

69. That the viewer (the divine intellect), being transformed to the view (of the visible world), is no more perceptible in it, than as the jewellery of gold and not gold itself (i. e. the formal part of the world and jewel, hides the material part of the intellect and gold which formed them).

70. Thus the viewer becoming the view (i. e. the subject being turned to the object), still views himself as the viewer; as gold transformed to a jewel, is always looked upon as gold.

71. One unity alone being apparent in all nature, it is useless to talk of the duality of the viewer and view. A word with a masculine affix cannot give the sense of a neuter noun (so the masculine noun Intellectus, cannot apply to the neuter phenomenon).

72. The viewer who feasts his eyes with a view of the outer visible world, cannot have the sight of the inner soul with the internal eyes of his intellect; but when the viewer shuts out the outer view, all its realities appear as unreal.

73. When the viewer perceives the unreality of the visibles by the light of his understanding, he then comes to see the true reality. So by retracting the mind from viewing the figure of the jewel, one comes to see the nature of its gold only.

74. The visibles being present, there must be their viewers also to whose view they are apparent. It is the absence of both (the viewer and the view), and the knowledge of their unreality, that produce the belief of unity. (The disappearance of the visible, causes the withdrawal of the viewer; like the removal of the umbrella, drives away its shade).

75. The man who considers all things in the contriteness of his conscious soul, comes at last to perceive something in him, which is serenely clear, and which no words can express.

76. The minute particle of the intellect, shows us the sight of the soul as clearly as a lamp enlightens everything in the dark. (Answer to "who shows the soul as clearly as a visible thing"?)

77. The intelligent soul is absolved of its perceptions of the measure, measurer and measurables (i. e. of the forms and properties of things), as liquid gold when dissolved of its form of an ornament. (Answer to "what thing is absolved of its properties like gold of its jewellery?").

78. As there is nothing which is not composed of the elementary bodies of earth, water &c.;so there is nothing in nature which is apart from the nature of the atomic intellect. (Answer to "what is that from which nothing is apart?").

79. The thinking soul penetrates into all things in the form of their notions; and because all thoughts concentrate in the intellect, there is nothing apart from it.

80. Our desires being the parents of our wished for objects, they are the same with our prospects in our view: therefore there is no difference between our desires and desired objects; as there is none between the sea and its waves. (In refutation of the question, "what is that which is distinct from the wish?").

81. The Supreme Soul exists alone unbounded by time and space. Being the universal soul, it is the soul of all; and being omniscient, it is no dull matter at all. (Answer to "what is the undivided duality and plurality?").

82. The Ens being but intelligence, is not perceptible to sight; there is unity and no duality in it; but all forms unite into one in the great self of the Supreme.

83. If there be a duality, it is the one and its unity. The unity and duality of the universal soul, are both as true as the light and its shade joined together.

84. Where there is no duality or any number above it, there unity also can have no application to any; and where there is no unit, there cannot be any two or more over it, which are but repetitions of the unit, (except an indeterminate all or whole).

85. Anything which is so situated, is in itself such as it is; it cannot be more or less than itself; but is identic with itself like water and its fluidity. (Its plurality is but a repeated unity).

86. The multiplicity of forms which it exhibits, blends into a harmonic whole without conflicting with one another. The multifarious creation is contained in Brahma, like a tree with all its several parts in the embryonic seed.

87. Its dualism is as inseparable from it as the bracelet from its gold; and although multiform of nature, is evident to the comprehensive understanding; yet it is not true of the true entity (of God).

88. Like fluidity of water, fluctuation of air, vacuity of the sky, is this multiformity an inseparable property of the Godhead.

89. Disquisition of unity and duality is the cause of misery to the restless spirit, it is the want of this distinction that consummates the highest knowledge.

90. The measure, measurement and measurer of all things, and the viewer, view and vision of the visible world, are all dependent on the atom of the intellect which contains them all (i. e. the divine mind is the maker and pattern of the great fabric of the universe, which it contains and views in itself).

91. The atom of the divine intellect, spreads out and contracts in itself, like its limbs, these mountainous orbs of the world, by an inflation of its spirit as it were by a breath of air.

92. O the wonder, and the great wonder of wonders! that this atom of the intellect, should contain in its embryo, all the three regions of the worlds, above and below one another.

93. O! it is an incredible delusion that must ever remain an inexplicable riddle, how the monstrous universe is contained in the minute atom of the Intellect.

94. As a pot contains in it, the seed, with a huge tree within its cell, so does the divine soul contain the atom of the intellect, containing the chains of worlds (outstretched within itself).

95. The all-seeing eye sees at once all the worlds, situated within the bosom of the intellect, as the microscopic sight discovers the parts of the future tree concealed in the seed.

96. The expansion of the world in the atom of the Intellect, is analogous to the enlargement of the hidden parts of the seed, into leaves and branches, fruits and flowers.

97. As the multiformity of the future tree, is contained in the uniform substance within the seed; it is in like manner that the multiplicity of worlds, is situated in the unity of the atomic Intellect, and as such it is seen by any one who will but look into it.

98. It is neither an unity nor a duality, not the seed or its sprout, neither is it thin or thick, nor is born nor unborn (but ever the same as it is).

99. He is neither an entity nor nonentity, nor graceful nor ungraceful (but a vacuity); and though it contains the three worlds with the ether and air, yet is nothing and no substance at all.

100. There is no world nor a not-world beside the intellect, which is all of itself, and is said to be such and such in any place or time, as it appears so and so to us there and then.

101. It rises as if unrisen, and expands in its own knowledge; it is selfsame with the supreme soul, and as the totality of all selves, it spreads through the whole vacuum as air.

102. As a tree springs from the ground according to its seed, so the world appears to sight in the form, as it is contained in the seed of the intellect.

103. The plant does not quickly quit its seed, lest it would be dried up and die away for want of its sap; so the man that sticks to the soul and seed of his being, is free from disease and death.

104. The mount Meru is like the filament of a flower, in respect to the vastness of that atom; all visibles have their place in that invisible atom. (In answer to the question, in respect to whom is the great Meru but a filament?)

105. The Meru is verily a filament of the atomic flower of the divine soul; and myriads of Merus resemble the cloudy spots, rising in the sphere of the intellect.

106. It is that one great atom that fills the world, after having made it out of itself; and given it a visible, extended and material form in its own hollow sphere. (Answer to "By whom is the world created, extended &c.").

107. As long as the knowledge of duality is not driven out of the mind, so long does it find the charming form of the world, as in its dream upon waking. But the knowledge of unity, liberates the soul from its stay in and return to the world, which it beholds as a mass of the divine essence.