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 CXI - Healing of the heart and mind

Arguments. Prompt relinquishment of desires, and abandonment of Egoism, as the means of the subjection of the mind and intense application of the Intellect.

Vasishtha continued:—

Now attend to the best remedy, that I will tell you to heal the disease of the heart; which is within one's own power and harmless, and a sweet potion to taste.

2. It is by the exertion of your own consciousness by yourself, and by diligent relinquishment of the best objects of your desire, that you can bring back your refractory mind under your subjection.

3. He who remains at rest by giving up the objects of his desire, is verily the conqueror of his mind; which is reduced under his subjection as an elephant wanting its tusks.

4. The mind is to be carefully treated as a patient by the prescriptions of reason, and by discriminating the truth from untruth, as we do good diet from what is injurious.

5. Mould your heated imagination by cool reasoning, by precepts of the Sastras, and by association with the dispassionate, as they do the heated iron by a cold hammer.

6. As a boy has no pain to turn himself this way and that in his play;so it is not difficult to turn the mind, from one thing to another at pleasure.

7. Employ your mind to the acts of goodness by the light of your understanding; as you join your soul to the meditation of God by light of your spirit.

8. The renunciation of a highly desirable object, is in the power of one, who resigns himself to the divine will; it is a shame therefore to that worm of human being, who finds this precept difficult for his practice.

9. He who can take the unpleasant for the pleasurable in his understanding; may with ease subdue his mind, as a giant overcomes a boy by his might.

10. It is possible to govern the mind like a horse, by one's attention and exertion; and the mind being brought to its quietness, it is easy to enter into divine knowledge.

11. Shame to that jackass (lit.: jackalish man), who has not the power to subdue his restless mind, which is entirely under his own subjection, and which he can easily govern.

12. No one can reach the best course of his life, without the tranquillity of his mind; which is to be acquired by means of his own exertion, in getting rid of the fond objects of his desire. (The best course of life, is to live free from care, which is unattainable without subjection of our desires).

13. It is by means of destroying the appetites of the mind, by means of reason and knowledge of truth; that one can have his absolute dominion over it, without any change or rival in it. (The rival powers in the kingdom of the mind (manorajya), are the passions and the train of ignorance—moha).

14. The precepts of a preceptor, the instructions of the sastras, the efficacy of mantras, and the force of arguments, are all as trifles as straws, without that calmness of the mind, which can be gained by renunciation of our desires and by the knowledge of truth.

15. The One All and all-pervading quiescent Brahma can be known then only, when the desires of the mind are all cut off by the weapon of indifference to all worldly things.

16. All bodily pains of men are quite at an end, no sooner the mind is at rest, after the removal of mental anxieties by means of true knowledge.

17. Many persons turn their minds to unmindfulness, by too much trust in their exertions and imaginary expectations; and disregarding the power of destiny, which overrules all human efforts.

18. The mind being long practised in its highest duty, of the cultivation of divine knowledge, becomes extinct in the intellect, and is elevated to its higher state of intellectual form.

19. Join yourself to your intellectual or abstract thoughts at first, and then to your spiritual speculations. Being then master of your mind, contemplate on the nature of the Supreme soul.

20. Thus relying on your own exertion, and converting the sensible mind to its state of stoic insensibility, you can attain to that highest state of fixedness, which knows no decay nor destruction. (Spiritual bliss).

21. It is by your exertion and fixed attention, O Rama! that you can correct the errors of your mind; as one gets over his wrong apprehension of taking one thing for another (such as his mistaking of the east for the west).

22. Calmness of mind, produces the want of anxiety; and the man that has been able to subdue his mind, cares a fig for his subjection of the world under him. (For, what is this world, without its perception in the mind?).

23. Worldly possessions are attended with strife and warfare, and the enjoyments of heaven also, have their rise and fall; but in the improvement of one's own mind and nature, there is no contention with anybody, nor any obstruction of any kind.

24. It is hard for them to manage their affairs well, who cannot manage to keep their minds under proper control. (Govern yourself ere you can govern others. Or:—Govern your mind, lest it govern you).

25. The thought of one's being dead, and being born again as a man, continually employ the minds of the ignorant with the idea of their egoism (which is a false one, since the soul has no birth or death, nor any personality of its own).

26. So no body is born here nor dies at any time; it is the mind that conceives its birth and death and migration in other bodies and worlds (i. e. its transmigration and apprehension of its rise or fall to heaven or hell).

27. It goes hence to another world, and there appears in another form (of the body and mind); or it is relieved from the encumbrance of flesh, which is called its liberation. Where then is this death and why fear to die (which is no more than progress to a new life?).

28. Whether the mind roves here; or goes to another world with its earthly thoughts, it continues in the same state as before unless it is changed to another form (of purity), by its attainment of liberation (from humanity).

29. It is in vain that we are overwhelmed in sorrow, upon the demise of our brethren and dependants; since we know it is the nature of the mind, to be thus deluded from its state of pure intelligence to that of error. (It is the deluded mind, and not the intelligent soul that is subject to sorrow).

30. It has been repeatedly mentioned both before and afterwards, and in many other places (of this work); that there is no other means of obtaining the pure diet of true knowledge, without subduing the mind, (and bringing it under the control of reason).

31. I repeat the same lesson, that there is no other way, save by the government of the unruly mind, to come to the light of the truly real, clear and catholic knowledge of the Supreme. (By catholic knowledge is meant the universally received doctrines of divinity).

32. The mind being destroyed (i. e. all its function, being suspended); the soul attains its tranquillity, and the light of the intellect shines forth in the cavity of the heart.

33. Hold fast the discus of reason, and cut off the bias of your mind;be sure that no disease will have the power to molest you, if you can have the good sense to despise the objects of pleasure, which are attended by pain. (All pleasure is followed by pain. Or: Pleasure leads to pain, and pain succeeds pleasure).

34. By lopping the members of the mind, you cut it off altogether; and these being egoism and selfishness which compose the essence of the mind. Shun your sense that 'it is I' and 'these are mine.'

35. Want of these feelings, casts down the mind like a tree felled by the axe; and disperses it like a scattered cloud from the autumnal sky.

36. The mind is blown away by its destitution of egoism (Ahanta) and meitatism (mamata), like a cloud by the winds. (Unconsciousness of one's egoism and personality, is the tantamount to his utter extinction, and unification with the one universal Soul).

37. It is dangerous to wage a war, against winds and weapons, and fire and water, in order to obtain the objects of worldly desire; but there is no danger whatever in destroying the growing soft and tender desires of the mind. (It is easier to govern one's self than to suppress his enemies).

38. What is good, and what is not so, is well known for certain even to boys (i. e. the immutability of good and evil is plain to common and simple understandings); therefore employ your mind to what is good, as they train up children in the paths of goodness. (Sow good betimes, to reap its reward in time. If good we plant not, vice will fill the place; and rankest weeds, the richest soils deface).

39. Our minds are as inveterate and indomitable, as ferocious lions of the forest; and they are true victors, who have conquered these, and are thereby entitled to salvation. (Govern your restless mind, and you govern the rest of your kind).

40. Our desires are as fierce lions, with their insatiable thirst after lucre: and they are as delusive as the mirage of the desert, by leading us to dangers.

41. The man that is devoid of desires, cares for nothing, whether the winds may howl with the fury of storms;or the seas break their bounds, or the twelve suns (of the Zodiac) rise at once to burn the universe.

42. The mind is the root, that grows the plants of our good and evil and all our weal and woe. The mind is the tree of the world, and all peoples are as its branches and leaves (which live by its sap and juice).

43. One prospers every where, who has freed his mind from its desires;and he that lives in the dominion of indifference, rests in his heavenly felicity.

44. The more we curb the desires of our minds, the greater we feel our inward happiness; as the fire being extinguished, we find ourselves cooled from its heat.

45. Should the mind long for millions of worldly mansions in its highest ambition; it is sure to have them spread out to view within the minute particle of its own essence. (The ambitious mind grasps the whole world within its small compass).

46. Opulence in expectancy, is full of anxiety to the mind, and the expected wealth when gained is no less troublesome to it; but the treasure of contentment is fraught with lasting peace of mind, therefore be victorious over your greedy mind by abandonment of all your desires.

47. With the highly holy virtue of your unmindfulness, and with the even-mindedness of those that have known the Divine spirit; as also with the subdued, moderated and defeated yearnings of your heart, make the state of the increate One as your own. (Sedateness of the mind, resembles the state of God).