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 XXIII - Meditation of the wonders in the realm of the body

Argument. The dominion of the enlightened man over the realm of his Body, and the pleasure of the government of the mind.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. The man that is liberated in this life, and is settled in the Supreme state of felicity, is not tarnished by his reigning over the realm of his body, and turning about like a wheel.

2. The body of the wise man is as a princedom to him, and calculated for his benefit and no disadvantage. It is comparable with the bower of a holy hermit, for the consummation of his fruition and liberation.

Rama said:—

3. How do you call, O great sage! the body to be the dominion of a man, and how the Yogi can enjoy his princely felicity in it?

Vasishtha replied:—

4. Beautiful is this city of the body, and fraught with every good to mankind, and being enlightened by the light of the mind, it is productive of endless blessings in both worlds.

5. The eyes are the windows of this city, letting out the light for the sight of distant worlds, the two arms are as the two valves of this city-gate, with the hands like latches reaching to the knees.

6. The hairs on the body are as the moss and grass on the walls, and the porous skin resembles the netted covering of the palace; the thighs and legs are as the columns of the edifice, and the feet with the ancles and toes, are as pedestals of the pillars.

7. The lines marked under the soles of the feet, are as inscriptions marked on the foundation stone, and upon those at the base of the pedestals of the pillars; and the outer skin which covers the flesh, marrow, veins and arteries, and the joints of the body, is as the beautiful plaster of the building, hiding the mortar and bricks inside.

8. The middle part of the body above the two thick thighs, contains the aqueducts, beset by the hairy bushes about them, and likening to rivers running amidst a city, between rows of trees on both sides of the banks.

9. The face is as the royal garden beautified by the eye-brows, forehead and the lips; the glancing of the eyes, are as the blooming lotuses; and the cheeks are as flat planes in it.

10. The broad bosom is as a lake with the nipples like buds of lotuses;the streaks of hairs on the breast, are as its herbage, and the shoulders are as the projecting rocks (ghats) upon it.

11. The belly is the storehouse, which is eager to receive the delicious articles of food; and the long lungs of the throat, are blown loudly by the internal winds.

12. The bosom is considered as the depository of jewels (from their being worn upon it); and the nine orifices of the body, serve as so many windows for the breathing of the citizens.

13. There is the open mouth like the open doorway, with its tooth-bones slightly seen as its gratings; and the tongue moving in the door way like a naked sword, is as the projecting tongue of the goddess Kali, when she devours her food. (The voracity of the goddess is well known whence she is called Kali, the consort of the all devouring Kala—death).

14. The ear-holes are covered by hairs like long grass, and the broad back resembles a large plain, beset by rows of trees on its borders.

15. The two private passages serve as sewers and drains of the city, to let out its dirt, and the heart is the garden-ground, where the passions parade about as ladies. (Or, the region of the mind is the garden-ground for the rambling thoughts as ladies).

16. Here the understanding is fast bound in chains as a prisoner, and the organs of sense are let loose as monkies to play about. The face is as a flower garden, the smiles whereof are its blooming blossoms.

17. The life of the man, knowing the proper use of his body and mind, is prosperous in everything;it is attended by happiness and advantages, and no disadvantage whatever.

18. This body is also the source of infinite troubles to the ignorant; but it is the fountain of infinite happiness to the wise man.

19. Its loss is no loss to the wise; but its continuance is the cause of continued happiness to the wise man.

20. The body serves as a chariot to the wise, who can traverse everywhere by riding in it; and can produce and procure everything conducive to his welfare and liberation.

21. The possession of the body, is of no disadvantage to the wise man; who can obtain by it, all the objects of his hearing and seeing, of his touch and smelling, and his friends and prosperity.

22. It is true that the body is subject to a great amount of pain and pleasure; but the wise man can well bear with them, (knowing them to be concomitant to human life).

23. Hence the wise man reigns over the dominion of his body, without any pain or trouble, in the same manner as one remains the lord of his house, without any anxiety or disturbance.

24. He is not addicted to licentiousness like a high mettled steed; nor parts with the auspicious daughter of his prudence, from his avarice after some poisonous plant.

25. The ignorant can see the cities of others, but not observe the gaps and breaks of their own. It is better to root out the fears of our worldly enemies (passions) from the heart, than live under their subjection.

26. Beware of diving in the perilous river, which flows fast by the dreary forest of this world, with the current of desire, whirl-pools of avarice, and the sharks of temporal enjoyment.

27. Men often bathe their outer bodies in holy streams, without looking to the purification of their inward souls; and they shave their persons at the confluence of rivers with the sea, in hopes of obtaining their object. ((Bathing in the sauger) (Sagora sangama stana), is said to confer every object of desire).

28. All sensual people are averse to the unseen happiness of the next world; and dwell on the pleasure of their own imagination in the inward recesses of their minds.

29. This city of the body is pleasant to one, acquainted with his spiritual nature; because he deems it as the paradise of Indra, which is filled with pleasurable fruits, as well as of those of immortality (or future life and bliss).

30. All things depend on the existence of the city of the body, yet nothing is lost by its loss since the mind is the seat of everything. These bodily cities which fill the earth, cannot be unpleasant to any body.

31. The wise man loses nothing by loss of the citadel of his body; as the vacuity in a vessel is never lost, by the breaking of the vessel. (So the death of the body, does not destroy the vacuous soul).

32. As the air contained in a pot, is not felt by the touch like the pot itself, so is the living soul, which resides in the city of the body.

33. The ubiquitous soul being situated in this body, enjoys all worldly enjoyments, until at last it comes to partake of the felicity of liberation, which is the main object it has in view.

34. The soul doing all actions, is yet no doer of them; but remains as witness of whatever is done by the body; and sometimes presides over the actions actually done by it.

35. The sportive mind rides on the swifting car of the body, as one mounts on a locomotive carriage for the place of its destination, and passes in its unimpeded course to distant journeys. (So the body leads one to his journey from this world to the next).

36. Seated there, it sports with its favourite and lovely objects of desire, which are seated in the heart as its mistresses. (The embodied mind enjoys the pleasurable desires, rising before it from the recess of the heart).

37. These two lovers reside side by side in the same body, as the moon and the star visakha, remain gladly in the same lunar mansion.

38. The sage, like the sun, looks down from above the atmosphere of the earth, on the hosts of mortals that have been hewn down by misery, like heaps of brambles and branches scattered in the woods.

39. The sage has the full satisfaction of his desires, and full possession of his best riches, and shines as the full-moon without the fear of waning.

40. The worldly enjoyments of the wise, do not tend to vitiate their nature; as the poisonous draught of Siva, was not capable of doing him any injury. (The baneful effects of worldliness, do not affect the wise).

41. The food which is habitual to one (as the poison of Siva) is as gratifying to him; as a thief by long acquaintance forgets his thievishness, and becomes friendly to his neighbours.

42. The wise man looks upon the separation of his friends and possessions, in the light of the departures (exits), of the visitant men and women and actors and actresses, at the end of a play from the theatre.

43. As passengers chance to meet unexpectedly, at the exhibition of a play on their way; so the wise people look unconcernedly, at their meeting with and separation from the occurrences of life.

44. As our eye-sight falls indifferently on all objects about us, so doth the wise man look unconcernedly upon all things and transactions of life.

45. The wise man is selfsufficient in all conditions of life; he neither rejects the earthly blessings that are presented to him; nor longs or strives hard for what is denied to him.

46. The regret of longing after what one does not possess, as also the fear of losing what he is in possession of, does not vacillate the mind of the wise; as the plumes of the dancing peacock, do not oscillate the unshaken mountain.

47. The wise man reigns as a monarch, free from all fears and doubts, and devoid of all cares and curiosity; and with a mind freed from false fancies (of subtile and gross bodies).

48. The soul which is immeasurable in itself, is situated in the Supreme Soul; as the boundless Milky ocean, is contained in the body of the one universal ocean.

49. Those that are sober in their minds, and tranquil in their spirits, laugh to scorn the vile beasts of sensuality as madmen; as also those that have been bemeaned by the meanness of their sensual appetites to the state of mean reptiles.

50. The sensualist eager for the gratification of his senses, are as much ridiculed by the wise; as a man who takes to him a woman deserted by another, is derided by his tribe.

51. The unwise man becomes wise by relinquishing all the pleasures of his body, and subduing the emotions of his mind by his reason; as the rider subdues the ungovernable elephant by the goad (ankusa) in his hand.

52. He whose mind is bent to the enjoyment of carnal pleasures, should first of all check the inclination, as they draw out the poisonous plants from the ground.

53. The well governed mind, being once let loose, recurs like a spoiled boy to its former habits; as the tree withered in summer heat, grows luxuriant at a slight rain-fall.

54. That which is full out of its time, does not become fuller in its season; as the river which is ever full, receives no addition in the rains over its fulness. (The full never becomes fuller).

55. The mind that is naturally greedy, wishes for more with all its fulness; as the sea with the sufficiency of its water to overflood the earth, receives the rain waters and the outpourings of innumerable rivers in its insatiate womb. (The greedy mind like the insatiate sea, is never full).

56. The mind that is restrained in its desires, is gladdened at its little gains; and these being increased are reckoned as blessings by the stinted mind.

57. A captive prince when enfranchised, is content with his morsel of bread, who ere before had been discontented with a realm in his free and uncaptured state.

58. With the writhing of your hands and gnashing of your teeth, and twisting of your limbs and body, you must chastise your reprobate members and mind. (So is Plato said to have chastised his angry self).

59. The brave and wise man, who intends to overcome his enemies; must first of all strive to subdue the internal enemies of his own heart and mind, and the members of his body. (Subdue yourself, ere you subdue others).

60. Those men are reckoned the most prosperous, and best disposed in their minds in this earth; who have the manliness to govern their minds, instead of being governed by them.

61. I revere those pure and holy men, who have quelled the huge and crooked serpent of their minds, lying coiling in the cave of their hearts; and who rest in the inward tranquillity and serenity of their souls.