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 XIX - Investigation into the nature of the living soul

Argument. The quadruple conditions of the soul in its waking, dreaming, sound sleep and its anaesthesia.

Vasishtha continued:—

Brahma is the seed of life, and remains as empty air everywhere. Hence there are many kinds of living beings, situated in the world within the womb of universal Life. (God is the light and life of all we see).

2. All living beings composed of the dense intellect and soul, contain other living animals under one another, like the manifold crusts of the plantain tree, and the insects contained in the womb of earth. (So also the parasite plants and worms growing upon the bodies of trees and animals).

3. The worms and insects, that grow out of the dirt and scum of earth and water in the hot season, and appear filthy to our sight;are nevertheless full of the particles of intellect, becoming to them as living beings. (Even the dirty worms, are full with the holy spirit of god).

4. According as living beings strive for their progress, so they prosper in their lives, agreeably to the various scope of their thoughts and actions.

5. The worshippers of gods, get to the region of gods, and those of Yakshas meet at the place of Yakshas, and the adorers of Brahma ascend to Brahmaloka. Resort therefore to what is best and the greatest refuge.

6. So the son of Bhrigu, obtained his liberation at last by the purity of his conscience;though he was enslaved of his own nature to the visibles, at his first sight of them (as of the Apsara and others).

7. The child that is born on earth with the purity of its soul at first, becomes afterwards of the same nature, as the education he gets herein, and not otherwise.

Rama said:—

8. Please sir, tell me the difference of the states of waking and dreaming, and what are the states of waking watchfulness, waking dream and waking delusion.

9. Vasishtha answered:—The waking state is that wherein we have a sure reliance; and that is called dreaming, in which we place no certain reliance and believe to be untrue.

10. That which is seen for a moment (as true), and as it were in the waking state, is called a dream; but if the object is seen at a distance of time and place, it is said to be waking dream or dreaming wakefulness.

11. The state of waking dream is again of longer or shorter duration, in both of which the visions appear the same at all places and times.

12. Dreaming also appears as waking, as long as it lasts; but waking seems as dreaming, when the objects of its vision are not lasting.

13. A dream which is understood as an occurrence of the waking state, is believed as waking (as the prolonged dream of Harish Chandra); but the inward consciousness of dreaming makes it a dream.

14. As long as one knows anything to be lasting before him, so long he believes himself to be waking, but no sooner is it lost to him, than he thinks himself to have been dreaming of it.

15. Hear now how it is. There is the principle of life in the body, which causes it to live; this vital element is an electric force, which is termed the life.

16. When the body has its activity with the powers of the mind, speech and the other members of action, it is to be understood, that its vital element is put to motion by the vital breath which it breathes.

17. This breath circulating through out the whole body, gives it the powers of sensibility and consciousness, which have their seats in the heart and mind, wherein the erroneous conception of the world is hidden.

18. The mind circulates about the outer world, through the passages of sight and other organs; and sees within itself the forms of many mutable shapes and figures.

19. As long as these forms, remain permanent in the mind, it is called the waking state. So far have I told you about the cause of waking; now hear me expound to you the laws of sleep and dreaming.

20. When the body is weary with action of its limbs, mind or speech, the living element then becomes still, and remains in its composure, with the calm and quiet soul residing within the body.

21. The internal actions of the body and mind being quieted, and the motion of the heart being at rest, the living principle becomes as still, as the flame of a lamp unshaken by the wind.

22. The vital power ceases to exert itself in the members of the body, and to keep the consciousness awake. The senses of sight and others do not act upon their organs, nor receive the sensations from without.

23. Life lies latent in the inner heart, as the liquid oil resides in the sesamum seed; it lies as dormant in the interior part, as frigidity within the frost, and fluidity in the clarified butter.

24. The particle of intellect taking the form of life, after being purified from its earthly impurity; mixes with the internal soul, and attains the state of sound sleep, as if lulled to insensibility by the cooling breeze.

25. One feeling the impassibility of his mind, and dealing unconcernedly with every one, and reaching to the fourth stage of consciousness, beyond the three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping, is said to be turiya or deadened in life.

26. When the vital principle comes again to action, after the enjoyment of its sound sleep, either in this or the other world, (i.e. when it is restored to or reborn in life); it takes the name of the living element or the mind or self-consciousness (in the living body).

27. This principle of life and thought, sees the multitudinous worlds situated with all their vicissitudes within itself, as the large tree and all its parts and productions, are observed to be contained within the seed. (This is the picture of life in its dreaming state).

28. When the element of life is put to slight motion, by the breeze of the vital breath, it becomes conscious of its self-existence as "I am"; but the motion being accelerated, it finds itself to be flying in the air.

29. When it is immerged in the water (phlegm) of the body: it gets the feeling of humidity in itself, as a flower perceives its own fragrance.

30. When it is assailed by the internal bile, it has then the feeling of its inward heat, and sees all outward objects with its splenetic humour.

31. When it is full of blood, it perceives a fiery redness in itself, like that of a rubicund rock, or as the crimson red of the setting sun in the sky.

32. Whatever one desires to have, he sees the same in himself in his sleep; and this is by the force of his inward wind acting upon his mind, as upon his outward organs.

33. When the organs are not besieged by external objects, which disturb the inward senses of the mind; it indulges itself in the reflexion of many things, which is called its dreaming state.

34. But when the organs are besieged by outward objects, and the mind is moved by flatulence ([Bengali: vayu] vayu), to their sight and perception, it is called the state of waking.

35. Now O great-minded Rama! you have learnt the inward process of your mind; but there is no reality in them nor in this existent world, which is subject to the evils of death, desire and destruction.