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 CIII - On the nature of the mind

Argument. The sufferings of men of ungovernable minds, serving as a lesson towards the liberation of the wise.

Some minds are seen to break-forth in passions like the torrents of oceans, and to heave and overflow on earth on every side. (By the unrestrained rage of their appetites).

2. They reduce the great to lowness, and exalt the low also to greatness; they make strangers of their friends, as also friends to strangers. (Such is the changeful state of the human mind).

3. The mind makes a mountain of a mote by its thought, and thinks itself a lord with its little of a trifle. (These are those that are puffed up with vanity. Falsus honor juvat, non sed mendosum and mendacem. Horace).

4. The mind being elated by the prosperity, which attends upon it by the will of God, spreads a large establishment for a while, and is then reduced to poverty in a moment at its loss. (Fortuna nunquam perpetuo est bona:—Good luck lasts not for ever. The highest spoke in fortune's wheel, may soon turn lowest. Fortuna transmutat incertos honores. Fortune is ever shifting her uncertain favours).

5. Whatever things are seen in this world to be stationary or changeful, are all but accidents according to the state of viewing them in that light: Just as a passing vessel is thought stationary by its passenger on board, but as moving by the spectators on the shore.

6. The mind is so changeful by the influence of time, place, power and nature of acts and things, that it continually shuffles from one feeling to another, like an actor personating his many parts on the stage.

7. It takes the truth for untruth and its reverse for certainty: so it takes one thing for another, and its joy and grief are all of its own making (i. e. the creations of its imagination).

8. The fickle mind gets every thing according to its own doing, and all the actions of our hands, feet and other members of the body, are regulated by the same. (The mind is the mover of bodily organs).

9. Hence it is the mind that reaps the rewards of good or evil according to its past acts; just as the tree bears its fruits, according as it is pruned and watered in time. (Reap as you sow).

10. As the child makes a variety of his toy dolls at home from clay, so the mind is the maker of all its good and bad chances, according to the merit or demerit of its past actions.

11. Therefore the mind which is situated in the earthen dolls of human bodies, can do nothing of its own will, unless it is destined so by virtue of its former acts. (The mind that moves the body, is itself moved by the destiny derived from its prior acts).

12. As the seasons cause the changes in trees, so the mind makes differences in the dispositions of living beings. (As many men so many minds, and hard to have two men of one mind).

13. The mind indulges in its sport of deeming a span as a league, and vice-versa of thinking a long as short, as in the case of the operations of our dreams and fancy.

14. A Kalpa age is shortened to a moment, and so is a moment prolonged to a Kalpa, by the different modes of the mind; which is the regulator both of the duration and distance of time and place.

15. The perceptions of the quickness and slowness of motion, and of much or little in quantity, as also of swiftness or tardiness of time, belong to the mind and not to the dull material body (though these sensations are derived by means of the bodily organs).

16. So the feelings of sickness and error and of dolor and danger, and the passing of time and distance of place, all rise in the mind like the leaves and branches of trees. (From its inborn perceptions of them).

17. The mind is the cause of all its feelings, as water is the cause of the sea, and the heat of fire. Hence the mind is the source of all things, and intimately connected with whatever is existent in the world.

18. The thoughts that we have of the agent, effect and instrument of things, as also of the viewer, view and the instrumentality of sight, all belong to the mind.

19. The mind alone is perceived to be in existence in the world; and its representations of the forests and all other things are but variations of itself! So the thinking man sees the substance of gold only, in all its various formations of bangles and bracelets, which are taken for naught. (All objectivity is dependant on the subjective mind, as there is no perception of an object independent of the mind. See identity of the subjective and objective in the Pantheistic Idealism of Spinoza).