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 XCII - On the powers of mind

Argument. Force of the Faculties of the Mind and Energy of Men.

Vasishtha added:—

Now hear, O support of Raghu's race! what I next proposed to the lotus-born lord Brahma, after we had finished the preceding conversation.

2. I asked him saying:—Lord! you have spoken before of the irrevocable power of curses and imprecations, how is it then that their power is said to be frustrated again by men.

3. We have witnessed the efficacy of imprecations, pronounced with potent Mantra—anathemas, to overpower the understanding and senses of living animals, and paralyze every member of the body. (This speaks of the incantations and charms of the Atharva Veda).

4. Hence we see the mind and body are as intimately connected with each other, as motion with the air and fluidity with the sesamum seed: (because the derangement of the one is attended by the disorganization of the other: i. e. of the body and mind).

5. Or that there is no body except it but be a creation of the mind, like the fancied chimeras of visions and dreams, and as the false sight of water in the mirage, or the appearance of two moons in the sky.

6. Or else why is it that the dissolution of the one, brings on the extinction of the other, such as the quietus of the mind is followed by the loss of bodily sensations?

7. Tell me, my lord! how the mind is unaffected by the power of imprecations and menace, which subdue the senses and say whether they are both overpowered by these, being the one and same thing.

Brahma replied:—

8. Know then, there is nothing in the treasure-house of this world, which is unattainable by man by means of his exertions in the right way.

9. And that all species of animal being, from the state of the highest Brahma, down to minute insects, are bicorpori or endowed with two bodies the mental and corporeal (i. e. the mind and the body).

10. The one, that is the mental body, is ever active and always fickle;and the other is the worthless body of flesh, which is dull and inactive.

11. Now the fleshy part of the body which accompanies all animal beings, is overpowered by the influence of curses and charms, practised by the art of incantation—abhichara Vidya. (Exorcism, the Mumbo Jumbo of the Tantras).

12. The influence of certain supernatural powers stupifies a man, and makes him dull and dumb. Sometimes one is about to droop down insensible, as spell bound persons are deprived of their external senses, and fall down like a drop of water from a lotus-leaf.

13. The mind which is the other part of the body of embodied beings, is ever free and unsubdued; though it is always under the subjection of all living beings in the three worlds.

14. He who can control his mind by continued patience on one hand, and by incessant vigilance on the other, is the man of an unimpeachable character, and unapproachable by calamity.

15. The more a man employs the mental part of his body to its proper employment, the more successful he is in obtaining the object he has in view. (Omnium vincit vigilentia vel diligentia).

16. Mere bodily energy is never successful in any undertaking (any more than brute force); it is intellectual activity only, that is sure of success in all attempts. (The head must guide the body).

17. The attention of the mind being directed to objects unconnected with matter, it is as vain an effort to hurt it (an immaterial object); as it is to pierce a stone with an arrow (or to beat the air).

18. Drown the body under the water or dip it in the mud, burn it in the fire or fling it aloft in air, yet the mind turneth not from its pole; and he who is true to his purpose, is sure of success. (The word tatkshanat phalitah or gaining immediate success, is an incredible expression in the text).

19. Intensity of bodily efforts overcomes all impediments, but it is mental exertion alone which leads to ultimate success in every undertaking (for without the right application of bodily efforts under guidance of reason, there can be no expectation of prospering in any attempt).

20. Mark here in the instance of the fictitious Indra, who employed all his thoughts to the assimilation of himself into the very image of his beloved, by drowning all his bodily pains in the pleasure of her remembrance.

21. Think of the manly fortitude of Mandavya, who made his mind as callous as marble, when he was put to the punishment of the guillotine, and was insensible of his suffering. (So it is recorded of the Sophist Mansur, who was guillotined for his faith in the anal Haq "I am the True One," and of the martyrs who fell victims to their faith in truth).

22. Think of the sage who fell in the dark pit, while his mind was employed in some sacrificial rite, and was taken up to heaven in reward of the merit of his mental sacrifice. (Redemption is to be had by sacrifice of the soul, and not of the body).

23. Remember also how the sons of Indu obtained their Brahmahood, by virtue of their persevering devotion, and which even I have not the power to withhold (i. e. even Brahma is unable to prevent one's rising by his inflexible devotedness).

24. There have been also many such sages and master-minds among men and gods, who never laid aside their mental energies, whereby they were crowned with success in their proper pursuits.

25. No pain or sickness, no fulmination nor threat, no malicious beast or evil spirit, can break down the resolute mind, any more than the striking of a lean lotus-leaf, can split the breast of a hard stone.

26. Those that you say to have been discomfited by tribulations and persecutions, I understand them as too infirm in their faiths, and very weak both in their minds and manliness.

27. Men with heedful minds, have never been entrapped in the snare of errors in this perilous world; and they have never been visited by the demon of despair, in their sleeping or waking states.

28. Therefore let a man employ himself to the exercise of his own manly powers, and engage his mind and his mental energy to noble pursuits, in the paths of truth and holiness.

29. The enlightened mind forgets its former darkness, and sees its objects in their true light; and the thought that grows big in the mind, swallows it up at last, as the fancy of a ghost lays hold of the mind of a child.

30. The new reflexion effaces the prior impression from the tablet of the mind, as an earthen pot turning on the potter's wheel, no more thinks of its nature of dirty clay.

(One risen to a high rank or converted to a new creed, entirely forsakes and forgets his former state).

31. The mind, O muni! is transmuted in a moment to its new model; as the inflated or aerated water rises high into waves and ebullitions, glaring with reflexions of sun-light. (Common minds are wholly occupied with thoughts of the present, forgetful of the past and careless of the future).

32. The mind that is averse to right investigation, sees like the purblind, every thing in darkness even in broad day light; and observes by deception two moons for one in the moonshine. (The uninquisitive are blind to the light of truth).

33. Whatever the mind has in view, it succeeds soon in the accomplishment of the same. And as it does aught of good or evil, it reaps the reward of the same, in the gladness or bitterness of his soul.

34. A wrong reflector reflects a thing in a wrong light, as a distracted lover sees a flame in the moonbeams, which makes him burn and consume in his state of distraction. (This is said of distracted lovers, who imagine cooling moon-beams and sandal-paste as hot as fire, and inflaming their flame of love).

35. It is the conception of the mind, that makes the salt seem sweet to taste, by its giving a flavour to the salted food for our zest and delight.

36. It is our conception, that makes us see a forest in the fog, or a tower in the clouds; appearing to the sight of the observer to be rising and falling by turns.

37. In this manner whatever shape the imagination gives to a thing, it appears in the same visionary form before the sight of the mind; therefore knowing this world of your imagination, as neither a reality nor unreality, forbear to view it and its various shapes and colours, as they appear to view.