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 XCIII - A view of the genesis of the mind and body

Argument. First Birth of the Mind, and then that of Light. Next grew the Ego, and thence came out the World.

Vasishtha said:—

I will now tell you Rama! What I was instructed of yore by lord Brahma himself. (The prime progenitor of mankind and propounder of the Vedas).

2. From the unspeakable Brahma, there sprang all things in their undefinable ideal state, and then the Spirit of God being condensed by His Will, it came to be produced of itself in the form of the Mind. (The volitive and creative agency of God).

3. The Mind formed the notions of the subtile elementary principles in itself, and became a personal agent (with its power of volition or creative will). The same became a luminous body and was known as Brahma the first Male. (Purusha or Protogonus—Pratha-janya or Prathamajanita).

4. Therefore know Rama, this same Brahma to be the Parameshthi or situated in the Supreme, and being a personification of the Will of God, is called the Mind.

5. The Mind therefore known as the Lord Brahma, is a form of the Divine essence, and being full of desires in itself, sees all its wills (in their ideal forms), present before it.

6. The mind then framed or fell of itself, into the delusion (avidya), of viewing its ideal images as substantial (as one does in his delirium); and thence the phenomenal world (with whatever it contains), is said to be the work of Brahma.

7. Thus the world proceeding in this order from the Supreme essence, is supposed by some to have come into being from another source, of dull material particles. (Doctrine of Hylotheism or the Materialistic system of Sankhya Philosophy).

8. It is from that Brahma, O Rama! that, all things situated in this concave world, have come to being, in the manner of waves rising on the surface of the deep.

9. The self existent Brahma that existed in the form of intellect (chit) before creation, the same assumed the attribute of egoism (ahamkara) afterwards, and became manifest in the person of Brahma. (Thence called Swayambhu or self-born).

10. All the other powers of the Intellect, which were concentrated in the personality of the Ego, were tantamount to those of Omnipotence. (The impersonal Intellect and the personal Ego or Brahma, are both of them equally powerful).[10]

[10] Note. The powers of the Intellect are, perception, memory, imagination and judgement. Ego is the subject of thoughts, or the subjective and really existent being. The personal God Brahma is an emanation of God according to the Gnostics, and is like the Demiurgus of Plato next to God and soul of the world. Plotinus.

11. The world being evolved from the eternal ideas in the Divine Intellect, manifested itself in the mind of the great father of all—Brahma. (Intellectus noster nihil intelligit sine phantasmata); it is the mind which moves and modifies them, and is the Intelligence (logos-Word) of the One, and the manifestation of its power.

12. The Mind thus moving and modeling all things is called the Jiva living soul or Nous. (The Scholiast says:—The Mind is the genus—Samashti, the soul is an individual name (Vyashti) of every individual living being. The Mind is soul without personality; the soul is the mind of a certain being. The Mind is the principle of volition, and the soul is that of animation).

13. These living souls rise and move about in the vacuous sphere of the infinite Intellect (chidakasa). These are unfolded by the elementary particles of matter, and pass in the open space surrounded by air. They then reside in the fourteen kinds of animated nature, according to the merit and demerit of their prior acts. They enter the bodies through the passage of their vital breath, and become the seeds of moving and immovable beings.

14. They are then born of the generative organ (foetus), and are met on a sudden by the desires of their previous births (which lay waiting on them). Thus led on by the current of their wishes, they live to reap the reward or retribution of their good or bad acts in the world.

15. Thus bound fast to action and fettered in the meshes of desire, the living souls enchained in their bodies, continue to rove about or rise and fall in this changeful world by turns.

16. Their wish is the cause of their weal or woe, says the Sruti; and which is inseparable from the soul as volition from the mind. (The wish is the inactive desire of the soul, and volition the active will of the mind).

17. Thousands of living souls, are falling off as fast as the leaves of forest trees; and being borne away by the force of their pursuits, they are rolling about as the fallen leaves wafted by the breeze in the valleys. (The aberration of living souls from the Supreme).

18. Many are brought down and bound to innumerable births in this earth, by their ignorance of the Chit or Divine Intellect, and are subjected to interminable transmigrations in various births.

19. There are some who having passed many mean births in this earth, have now risen high in the scale of beings, by their devotedness to better acts (and are likely to have their liberation in the course of their progression to the best).

20. Same persons acquainted with spirituality, have reached their state of perfection; and have gone to heaven, like particles of sea-water, carried into the air above by the blowing winds.

21. The production of all beings is from the Supreme Brahma; but their appearance and disappearance in this frail world, are caused by their own actions. Hence the actionless yogi, is free from both these states. (God made everything perfect; Man's sin brought his death and woe).

22. Our desires are poisonous plants, bearing the fruits of pain and disappointment; and lead us to actions which are fraught with dangers and difficulties. (Cursed was the ground for man's unrestricted desires, which sowed it with thorns and thistles).

23. These desires drive us to different countries, to distant hills and dales in search of gain. (Else man could live content with little and on his native plain).

24. This world O Rama! is a jungle of withered trees and brambles; and requires the axe of reason to clear away these drugs and bushes. So are our minds and bodies but plants and trees of our woe, which being rooted out by the axe of reason, will no more come to grow by their transmigration in this earth. (The mind and body are rooted out by Suppression of their desires and passions).