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 XCIX - History of the heart continued

Argument. Explanation of the preceding Allegory.

Rama said:—

What is that great desert, Sir, and when was it seen by me, and how came it to be known to me? What were those men there, and what were they about?

Vasishtha replied:—

2. Attend O great-armed Rama! and I will tell you all:—That great desert is not distant nor different from this wilderness of the world.

3. That which bears the name of the world, is a deep and dark abyss in itself. Its hollowness is unfathomable and unfordable; and its unreality appearing as reality to the ignorant, is to be known as the great desert spoken of before.

4. The true reality is obtainable by the light of reason only, and by the knowledge of one object alone. This one is full without its union with any other, it is one and only by itself.

5. The big bodied men, that you beheld wandering therein, know them to be the minds of men, and bound to the miseries of the world.

6. Their observer was Reason personified in myself, and it was I only and no other person, that could discern the folly of their minds by my guiding reason.

7. It is my business to awaken those drowsy minds to the light of reason, as it is the work of the sun to open the lotus-buds to bloom, by his enlivening rays.

8. My counsels have prevailed on some minds and hearts, which have received them with attention; and have turned them away from earthly broils, to the way of true contentment and tranquillity.

9. But there were others that paid no attention to my lectures through their great ignorance; but fell down into the pit, upon being chid by me with reproofs and rebukes.

10. Those deep and dark pits were no other than the pits of hell and the plantain groves of which I have told you, were the gardens of Paradise.

11. Know these to be the seats of those minds which long for heavenly joys, and the dark pits to be the abode of hellish hearts, which can never get their release from those darksome dungeons.

12. Those who having once entered the plantain grove, do not come out any more from it; know them to be the minds of the virtuous, and fraught with all their virtues.

13. Those which having fallen into the Karanja thickets, were unable to extricate themselves from the thorns; know them to be the minds of men, that are entangled in the snares of the world.

14. Some minds which were enlightened with the knowledge of truth, got released from the snares; but the unenlightened are bound to repeated transmigrations in different births.

15. The souls which are subjected to metempsychosis, have their rise and fall in repetition, from higher to lower births, and the vice-versa likewise.

16. The thick thicket of Karanja brambles, represents the bonds of conjugal and family relations; they are the source of various human desires, which are springs of all other woe, difficulty and dangers.

17. The minds that have been confined in the Karanja bushes are those, that are repeatedly born in human bodies, and are repeatedly entangled into domestic attachments from which all other animals are quite at large.

18. O support of Raghu's race! the plantain grove which I told you was cooling with moonbeams; know the same to be the refreshing arbour of heaven, which gives delight to the soul.

19. Those persons are placed here, who have their bodies fraught with virtuous deeds and edified by persevering devotion and austerities, and whose souls are elevated above others.

20. Those ignorant, thoughtless and unmindful men, that slighted my advice, were themselves slighted by their own minds, which were deprived of the knowledge of their own souls and of their reason.

21. Those who told me, "we are undone at your sight, and you are our greatest enemy"; were demented fools, and melting away with their lamentations (for having disregarded my counsels).

22. Those who were loudly wailing, and let fall a flood of tears in their weeping; were men who bitterly deplored in their minds for being snatched from the snare of pleasures, to which they had been so fondly attached.

23. Those having a little sense and reason, but not arriving to the pure knowledge of God; were bitterly complaining in their hearts, for being obliged to forsake their fond enjoyments of life.

24. Those who came to their understanding, now wept over the pains which they had inflicted on their bodies, for the supportance of their families; and were grieved in their minds to leave behind the objects of their care, for whom they had taken such pains.

25. The minds that had some light of reason, and had not yet arrived to divine knowledge, were still sorrowing for having to leave behind their own bodies, wherein they had their late abode.

26. Those who smiled in the cheerfulness of their hearts, were men who had come to the light of reason; and it was their reason which gave consolation to their hearts.

27. The reasonable soul that is removed from its bondage of the world, exults with joy in its mind, to find itself liberated from the cares of life.

28. Those men who laughed to scorn their battered and shattered bodies, were glad to think in their minds, how they got rid of the confines of their bodies and limbs, the accomplices of their actions.

29. Those who laughed with scorn to see the falling members of their bodies, were glad to think in their minds, that they were no better than instruments to their various labours in the world.

30. Those who had come to the light of reason, and had found their rest in the supreme state of felicity, looked down with scorn upon the former abodes of their meanness from a distance.

31. The man who was stopped by me on his way and asked with concern (about what he was going to do); was made to understand how the power of wisdom could outbrave the desperate.

32. The weakened limbs, that gradually disappeared from sight, meant the subjection of the members of the body, under the control of the mind, that is freed from its venality of riches.

33. The man that is represented with a thousand arms and eyes, is a symbol of the covetous mind, which looks to and longs after everything, and wants to grasp all things, as with so many hands. (The ambition of Alexander is described to count the spheres, and grasp the earth and heaven in his arms).

34. The man that was striking himself with his blows, meant the torments which a man inflicts on his own mind, by the strokes of his anxieties and cares.

35. The man who had been running away with striking hard blows upon his body, signified how the mind runs all about, being lashed at every moment by the strokes of his insatiate desires.

36. The man that afflicts himself by his own desires, and then flies to this way and that, signifies his fool-heartedness to hunt after everything, and be a runaway from himself.

37. Thus every man being harassed by his ceaseless desires, pants in his mind to fly to his Maker, and set his heart to yoga meditation.

38. All these ceaseless woes are the making of one's own mind, which being worried at last by its incessant anxieties, strives to retire from them, to find its final repose in yoga.

39. The mind is entrapped in the net of its own wishes, as the silk worm is entwined in the cocoon by the thread of its own making.

40. The more is the mind of man afflicted by troubles, the more busily is it employed in its foibles; just as a boy indulges himself in his playfulness, unmindful of the evils waiting upon it.

41. The mind of man is in the same plight as that of the foolish ape, which in striving to pull out the peg of a half split timber, lost its life by the smashing of its testes in the crevice. (See the story of the ape and its pulling the peg in the Hitopadesa and its Persian version of the Anvarsoheli).

42. No flight can release the mind, unless it is practised to resignation, restrained from its other pursuits, and constrained to the continued practice of pious meditation, which can only relieve its sorrows.

43. It is the misjudgement of the mind, that is the cause of accumulated woes, which increase in height as the peak of a mount; so it is the government of the mind which melts our woes, like the hoarfrost under sunbeams.

44. Accustom your mind to the righteous ways pointed out by the sastras in all your life time. Restrain your appetites, and govern your passions, and observe the taciturnity of holy saints and sages. You will at last arrive to the holy state of holies, and rest under the cooling umbrage of holiness, and shall no more have to grieve under the calamities which betide all mankind.