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 XXXIII - Consideration of egoism

Argument. Of good attempts, good company and good studies; also of liberation by Renunciation of Egoism and Worldly Bondage.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. [Sanskrit available]
Seeing the complete success of every undertaking, depending on your own exertion at all times and places, you should never be slack in your energy at all.

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See how Nandi gratified the wishes of all his friends and relations by his own exertions, and how he became victorious over death itself, by his adoration of Mahadeva by the side of a lake.

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See also, how the Danavas too got the better of the gods, who were fraught with every perfection, by their greater wealth and prowess, as the elephants destroy a lake of lotuses.

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See, how Marutta the King of demons, created another world like that of Brahma, by means of his sacrifice through the great sage Samvarta (the law giver).

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See, how Viswamitra (the military chief) obtained the dignity of Brahmanhood by his great energy and continued exertions. He obtained by his austerities what is impossible to be gained by another.

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See, how the poor and unfortunate Upamanyu, obtained his nectarious food of the cake and curdled milk, by his worship of Siva, from the milky ocean in days of yore.

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See how the god Vishnu devoured (destroyed), like a wild fire the demons of the triple world, likening the tender filaments of lotuses; and how the sage Sweta became victorious over death by means of his firm faith in Siva (as it is described in the Linga Purana).

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Remember, how the chaste Savitri, brought back her spouse Satyavana from the realm of death, by her prevailing on stern Yama with the suavity of her discourse.

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There is no great exertion of any kind that goes unrewarded in this world;all impossibility is thought possible by ardent pursuit after it (or to the ardent pursuer, as it is said: Fortune is found by the swiftest pursuer).

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So men having full knowledge of the spirit, and exerting their utmost devotion, are enabled to root out their destiny of transmigration, which is fraught with so much pain and pleasure (both of which are equally hurtful to the soul).

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All visible things are full of danger to the sight of the intelligent. There is no pleasure to be had from anything, without its concomitant pain (either preceding or following it).

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Though it is difficult to know the Supreme Brahma, and facile to attain supreme felicity;yet should Brahma be sought at first, as the giver of all felicity. (Seek happiness through its giver—the Great God).

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Forsake your pride, and rely on your unalterable peace of mind; consider well your worthiness in your understanding, and stick to your attendance on the wise and good.

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There is no other way for your salvation in this ocean of the world, save by your attendance on the wise. All your pilgrimage, austerity and learning of the sastras, are of no avail to your liberation.

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He is called the wise, whose greediness, anger and erroneous conceptions, are on their wane day by day; and who walks in the path of rectitude, as it is inculcated in the Sastra.

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The society of spiritual guides, serves to dispel the visibles from the sight of the devout, as the invisibles are hidden from sight (i.e. as they are not in being).

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In the absence of all other objects, there remains the Supreme Spirit alone in view, and the human soul having nothing else to rest upon, rests at last in the Supreme Soul only.

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The visibles did not exist before, nor are they produced from naught;they are not in existence though seen in our presence, nor are they to exist in future. The supreme alone exists for ever without change or decay.

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I have already shown you by various instances the falsehood of the visibles (in the book of Genesis); I will now show you the falsity of existence, as it is known to the learned.

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Now that our passive consciousness of the three worlds, being the sober truth with the wise, there can be no room for the unrealities of matter and maya-illusion, to enter into our belief. (We know nothing of the external world, except our inward consciousness of it. Berkeley).

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Whatever wonders are displayed by the active intellect to the inactive soul, the same is thought to be the world. (There is no outward world, beside the working of the intellect).

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The notion of the sphere of the world, is derived from the rays of the central intellect, stretching to the circumference of the understanding, and there being no difference between the radiating point and the radiated circle, acknowledge the identity of the radiator, the radii and the periphery. (I.e. of the intellect, its intelligence and the world).

23. [Sanskrit available]
The twinklings of the intellectual eye in its acts of opening and shutting, cause the notions of the appearance and disappearance of the world in continued succession.

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One unacquainted with the true sense of Ego, is blind amidst the luminous sphere of the intellect, but he who knows its true meaning, finds himself amidst the sphere of spiritual light (or rather loses himself in the divine light).

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He that understands the Divine Ego, does no more retain the notion of his own egoism; but mixes with the Supreme soul, as a drop of water is lost in the waters of the ocean.

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In reality there exists no I or thou nor the visible world nor anything else; but all these blend upon right reasoning in the One Ego, which remains and subsists after all other existences.

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Even clear understandings are sometimes clouded by false apparitions, as those of ogres &c.; when there are no such things, just as children are seized with false fear of goblins.

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As long as the moonlight of the intellect, is obscured by the darkness of egoism, so long the lotus lake of spirituality, will not come to its bloom.

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The feeling of egoism being wiped off from the mind, the sense of self and selfish passions, will vanish of themselves from the heart; and there will be an utter end of the fears of death and hell, as also of the desires of heaven and liberation.

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So long as the egoistic feelings float about, like clouds over the sphere of the mind, there will be no end of desires, growing in the heart like weeds in the plains.

31. [Sanskrit available]
As long as the cloud of egotism continue to overcast the mind and obscure its intelligence, the humidity of dullness will fill its sphere, and prevent the light of intellect to pierce through it.

32. [Sanskrit available]
Egoistic pride is unmannerly in men, and is taken in the light of vanity, it is the cause of sorrow and not delight; and is as bug-bears to boys.

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The vain assumption of egoism, is productive of a great many errors, it leads to the ambition of gaining an infinity of worlds, as it was in the cases of the foolish demons.

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The conceit that I am such and such (a great man), is an error than which there is none other, nor is ever likely to be a greater error to lead us to utter darkness.

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Whatever joy or grief betides us at any time in this changeful world, is all the effect of the rotatory wheels of egoism, turning up and down at every moment.

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He who weeds and roots out the germs of egoism from his heart, he verily prevents the arbor of his worldliness (Samsara Vriksha), from jutting out in a hundred branches.

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Egoism is the sprout of the trees of our lives, in their interminable revolutions through the world; and meity or the sense that "this is mine," is the cause that makes them expand in a thousand branches. (I am one, but claim many things as mine).

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Swift as the flight of birds, do our desires and desirable objects disappear from us; and upon mature consideration, they prove to be but bubbles, bursting on the evanescent waves of our lives.

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It is for want of the knowledge of the one Ego, that we think ourselves as I, thou, this or the other;and it is by shutting out our view of the only soul, that we see the incessant revolutions of this world and that.

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As long as the darkness of egoism reigns over the wilderness of human life, so long doth the goblin of selfishness infest it with its wanton revelry.

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The vile man that is seized by the avaricious demon of selfishness, is at an utter loss of any moral precept, and any mantra of his religion to satisfy his wants.

Rama said:—

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Tell me, O venerable Brahman, how we may be enabled to suppress our egoism or selfishness, for evading the dangers and difficulties in our course through the world.

Vasishtha replied:—

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It is by seeking to settle mind in the resplendent soul, as it shines in the transparent mirror of the intellect, that it is possible for any body to suppress the consciousness, of his self or personal existence. (I. e. by losing one's self in the self-existence of the Supreme Soul).

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A closer investigation into human life, proves it to be a maze full with the false shows of magic. It is not worth loving or hating, nor capable of causing our egoism or pride.

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He whose soul is free from egoism, and devoid of the impression of the phenomenals; whose course of life runs in an even tenor, is the man who can have no sense of egoism in him. (Whose life doth in one even tenor run, and end its days as it has begun. Pope.)

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He who knowing his internal self to be beyond the external world, and neither desires nor dislikes anything in it, but preserves the serenity of his temper at all times, is not susceptible of egoism.

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Whoso thinks himself to be the inward noumena, and distinct from the outward phenomena, and keeps the calm equanimity of his mind, is not ruffled by the feeling of his egoism.

Rama said:—

48. [Sanskrit available]
Tell me, sir, what is the form of egoism, and whether it consists in the body or mind or of both of these, and whether it is got rid of with the riddance of the body.

Vasishtha replied:—

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There are three sorts of egoism, Rama! in this triple world, two of which are of superior nature, but the third is of a vile kind and is to be abandoned by all.

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The first is the supreme and undivided Ego, which is diffused throughout the world; it is the Supreme soul (Paramatma), beside which there is nothing in nature.

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The feeling of this kind of egoism, leads to the liberation of men, as in the state of the living-liberated;but the knowledge of the ego, as distinct and apart from all, and thought to be as minute as the hundredth part of a hair, is the next form of self-consciousness, which is good also.

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This second form of egoism, leads also to the liberation of human souls, even in the present state of their existence, known as the state of living-liberation (Jivan-Mukta).

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The other kind of egoism, which is composed of the knowledge of the body, with all its members as parts of the Ego, is the last and worst kind of it, which takes the body for the soul or self.

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This third and last kind, forms the popular belief of mankind, who take their bodies as parts of themselves; it is the basest form of egoism, and must be forsaken in the same manner, as we shun our inveterate enemies.

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The man that is debased by this kind of egoism, can never come to his right sense; but becomes subject to all the evils of life, under the thrall of the powerful enemy.

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Possest with this wrong notion of himself, every man is incessantly troubled in his mind by various desires, which expose him to all the evils of life.

57. [Sanskrit available]
By means of the better egoisms, men transform themselves to gods;but the common form of it, debases a man to the state of a beast and its attendant evils.

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That I am not the body, is the certainty arrived at by the great and good, who believing themselves to be of the first two kinds, are superior to the vulgar.

59. [Sanskrit available]
Belief in the first two kinds, raises men above the common level;but that in the lower kind, brings every misery on mankind.

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It was owing to their baser egoism, that the demons Dama, Vyala and others, were reduced to that deplorable state, as it is related in their tale.

Rama said:—

61. [Sanskrit available]
Tell me, sir, the state of that man, who by discarding the third or popular kind of egoism from his mind, attains the well being of his soul in both the present and future worlds.

Vasishtha replied:—

62. [Sanskrit available]
Having cast off this noxious egoism, (which is to be got rid of by every body), a man rests in the Supreme Spirit in the same manner, as the believers in the two other sorts of it. (I.e. of the Supreme and superior sorts of spiritual egoisms, consisting in the belief of one's self, as the impersonal or personal soul—the undivided or individual spirit).

63. [Sanskrit available]
The two former views of egoism, place the egotist in the all pervasive or all exclusive spirit (in the Ego of the Divine Unity).

64. [Sanskrit available]
But all these egoisms which are in reality but different forms of dualism, being lost in the unity, all consciousness of distinct personality, is absorbed in the Supreme monism.

65. [Sanskrit available]
The good understanding should always strive to its utmost, to get rid of its common and gross egotism, in order to feel in itself the ineffable felicity of the unity.

66. [Sanskrit available]
Renunciation of the unholy belief of one's self personality in his material body, is the greatest good that one can attain to for his highest state of felicity parama padam.

67. [Sanskrit available]
The man that forsakes the feeling of his egoism (or personality) from his mind, is not debased nor goes to perdition by either his indifference to or management of worldly affairs (i.e. the doing or refraining from bodily or worldly actions, is equally indifferent to the philosophic mind).

68. [Sanskrit available]
The man who has got rid of his egoism by the subsidence of his selfishness in himself, is indifferent to pain and pleasure, as the satiate are to the taste of sweet or sour.

69. [Sanskrit available]
The man detesting the pleasures of life, has his full bliss presented before himself; as the mind cleared of its doubts and darkness, has nothing hidden from its sight.

70. [Sanskrit available]
It is by investigation into the nature of egoism, and forsaking this gross selfishness, that a man crosses over the ocean of the world of his own accord.

71. [Sanskrit available]
The man who having nothing of his own, and knowing himself as nothing, yet has all and thinks himself as all in all, and who though possessed of wealth and properties, has the magnanimity of his soul to disown them to himself; he is verily situated in the Supreme soul, and finds his rest in the state of Supreme bliss. (I.e. the world is the Lord's, and human soul as a particle of the Divine, has its share in all and every thing).

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