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 CXV - Causes of happiness and misery

Argument. The Nature and Powers of the Mind elucidated in the moral of Prince Lavana's story.

Valmiki relates said:—

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Being thus admonished by the high minded Vasishtha, the lotus eyes of Rama became unfolded as new blown flowers.

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He with his expanded heart and blooming face, shone forth with a pure grace, like the fresh lotus reviving at the end of night, under the vivifying beams of the rising sun.

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His smiling countenance shone forth as the shining moon, with his inward enlightenment and wonder; and then with the nectarious beams of his bright and white pearly teeth, he spoke out these words.

Rama said:—

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O wonder! that the want of ignorance should subdue all things, as if it were to bind the huge hills with the thin threads of lotus stalks. (Wondrous achievements of science).

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O! that this straw of the earth, which shows itself to be so compact a body in the world; is no more than the production of our ignorance, which shows the unreal as a reality.

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Tell me further for my enlightenment regarding the true nature of this magical earth, which rolls as a ceaseless stream, running amidst the etherial worlds.

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There is another great doubt that infests my breast, and it is with regard to the state which attended on the fortunate Lavana at last.

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Tell me moreover regarding the embodied soul and the animated body, whether they are in concord or discord with one another, and which of them is the active agent and recipient of the rewards of acts in this earth.

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Tell me also who was that sorcerer and where he fled, after putting the good prince Lavana to all his tribulation, and then restoring him to his former exalted position.

Vasishtha said:—

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The body is as a frame of woodwork, and contains nothing (spiritual) in it; it receives the reflection of an intelligence in it as in a dream, and this is called the mind.

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This mind becomes the living principle (life), and is endued with the power of thinking also. It is as unstable as a boat on the current of world of affairs, and plays the part of a fickle monkey, amidst the busy castle of the world.

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The active principle in the body, is known under the several appellations of the mind, life and egoism (or consciousness); and having a body for its abode, is employed in a variety of actions.

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This principle is subject to endless pains and pleasures in its unenlightened or unawakened state, and the body bears no relation with them. (The mind is the perceptive and sensitive principle and not the body).

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The unenlightened understanding again has received many fictitious names, according to the various faculties which it exhibits in its acts.

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As long as the unawakened mind is in its sleeping state, it perceives the busy bustle of the world as it were in his dream, and which is unknown to the waking or enlightened mind.

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As long as the living being is not awakened from its dormancy, so long it has to labour under the inseparable mist of worldly errors.

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But the darkness over-hanging on the minds of the enlightened, is as soon put to flight as the shade of night overspreading the bed of lotuses, is dispersed at sun rise.

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That which is called the heart, the mind, the living soul, ignorance and desire by the learned, and what is also styled the principle of action, is the same embodied being that is subject both to the feelings of pleasure and pain.

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The body is dull matter and is insensible of pain and pleasure; it is the embodied being, which is said to be subject to these by men of right reason: and this by reason of its impervious ignorance and irrationality, is the cause of its own misery.

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The living soul is the subject of its good and bad actions; but it becomes confined in its body by reason of its irrationality, and remains pent up there like the silkworm in its cocoon.

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The mind being fast bound to its ignorance, exerts its faculties in various ways, and turns round like a wheel in its various pursuits and employments.

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It is the mind dwelling in the body, that makes it to rise and set, to eat and drink, to walk and go, and to hurt and kill, all which are acts of the mind, and not of the body.

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As the master of the house does his many acts in it, and not the house itself; so the mind acts its several parts in the body, and not the body by itself.

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The mind is the active and passive agent of all the actions and passions, and of the pains and pleasures of the body; and it is the mind only that makes the man.

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Hear me now tell you the useful moral of the story of Lavana; and how he was transformed to a Chandala, by derangement of his mind.

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The mind has to feel the effects of its actions whether good or evil; and in order that you may understand it well, hear attentively what I will now relate unto you.

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Lavana who was born of the line of king Harischandra, thought within himself one day, as he was sitting apart from all others of his court.

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My grand-father was a great king and performed the Rajasuya sacrifice in act; and I, being born of his line, must perform the same in my mind (i. e. mentally).

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Having determined so, and getting the things ready for the sacrifice, he entered the sacrificial hall for his initiation in the sacred rites.

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He called the sacrificial priests, and honoured the holy saints; he invited the gods to it, and kindled the sacrificial fire.

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Having performed the sacrifice to his heart's content, and honoured the gods, sages and Brahmans; he went to a forest to reside there for a year.

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Having then made presents of all his wealth to Brahmans and other men, he awoke from his slumber in the same forest by the evening of that day.

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Thus the king Lavana attained the merit of the sacrifice, in his internal satisfaction of having attained the meritoriousness of the sacrifice.

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Hence learn to know the mind to be the recipient of pleasure and pain; therefore employ your attention, Rama! to the purification of your mind.

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Every man becomes perfect in his mind in its full time and proper place; but he is utterly lost who believes himself to be composed of his body only.

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The mind being roused to transcendental reason, all miseries are removed from the rational understanding; just as the beams of the rising sun falling upon the lotus-bud, dispel the darkness that had closely contracted its folded petals.

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