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 XXXV - Description of insouciance

Argument. On the Abandonment of worldly desires, as conducive to the composure of the Mind, and society of the good, accompanied with rationality and spiritual knowledge, constituting the Samadhi of the soul.

Vasishtha continued:—

Blessed are the virtuous, who have cleansed their hearts from the dirt of ignorance; and victorious are those heroes, who have conquered their insatiable and ungovernable minds.

2. It is self-control or the government of one's own mind, that is the only means of wading through all the troubles and distresses, and amidst all the dangers and difficulties of this world.

3. Hear the summary of all knowledge, and retain and cultivate constantly it in your mind; that the desire of enjoyment (avarice) is our bondage in the world, and its abandonment is our release from it.

4. What need is there of many precepts, learn this one truth as the sum substance of all, that all pleasures are poisonous and pernicious, and you must fly from them as from venomous snakes and a raging fire.

5. Consider well and repeatedly in yourself, that all sensible objects are as hydras and dragons; and their enjoyment is gall and poison. Avoid them at a distance and pursue after your lasting good.

6. The cupidinous mind is productive of pernicious evils, as the sterile ground is fertile only in thorns and brambles. (The vitiated mind brings forth but vice, as the vicious heart teems with guilt).

7. The mind devoid of desire, lacks its expansion, as the heart wanting its passions and affections, is curbed and contracted in itself.

8. The goodly disposed mind ever teems with virtues, that are opposed to wrong acts and vice, as the ground of a good quality, grows only the good and useful trees in spite of weeds and bushes.

9. When the mind gains its serenity by culture of good qualities, the mist of its errors and ignorance gradually fade and fly away, like clouds before the rising sun.

10. The good qualities coming to shine in the sphere of the mind, like stars in the moonlight sky, gives rise to the luminary of reason to shine over it, like the bright sun of the day.

11. And as the practice of patience grows familiar in the mind, like the medicinal vansa-lochana within the bamboo; it gives rise to the quality of firmness in the man, as the moon brightens the vernal sky.

12. The society of the good is an arbour, affording its cooling shade of peace, and yielding the fruit of salvation. Its effect in righteous men, is like that of the stately sarala-tree, distilling the juice of spiritual joy from the fruitage of samadhi (sang-froid).

13. Thus prepared, the mind becomes devoid of its desires and enmity, and is freed from all troubles and anxieties. It becomes obtuse to the feelings of grief and joy, and of pain and pleasure also, and all its restlessness dies in itself.

14. Its doubts in the truths of the scriptures die away, as the ephemeral and all its curiosities for novelties, are put to a stop. Its veil of myths and fictions is unveiled, and its ointment of error is rubbed out of it.

15. Its attempts and efforts, malice and disdain, distress and disease, are all removed from it; and the mist of its grief and sorrow, and the chain of affections, are all blown and torn away.

16. It discards the progeny of its doubts, repudiates the consorts of its avarice, and breaks loose from the prison-house of its body. It then seeks the welfare of the soul, and attains its godly state of holiness.

17. It abandons the causes of its stoutness (i.e. its nourishments and enjoyments), and relinquishes its choice of this thing and that; and then remembering the dignity of the soul, it casts off the covering of its body as a straw.

18. The elevation of the mind in worldly affairs, tends to its destruction, and its depression in these leads to its spiritual elevation. The wise always lower their minds (pride); but fools are for elevating them (to their ruin).

19. The mind makes the world its own, and ranges all about it; it raises the mountains and mounts over them; it is as the infinite vacuum, and comprehends all vacuity in itself; and it makes gods of friends and foes of others unto us.

20. The understanding being soiled by doubts, and forgetting the true nature of the intellect, takes upon it the name of the mind, when it is full of all its worldly desires.

21. And the intellect being perverted by its various desires, is called the living soul; the animal soul being distinct from the rational soul.

22. The understanding which forgets its intellectuality, and falls into the error of its own personality, is what we call the internal principle of the mind which is all hollow within.

23. The soul is not the man of the world (i.e. no worldly being), nor is it the body or its blood. All material bodies are but gross and dull matter; but the soul in the body is empty air and intangible.

24. The body being dissected into atoms, and analysed in all its particles, presents nothing but blood and entrails as the plantain tree, which when cut into pieces, presents naught but its folded rinds.

25. Know the mind and living soul as making a man, and assuming his mortal form; the mind takes its form by itself according to his own option.

26. Man stretches his own sphere of action by his own option only to entrap himself in it, as the silkworm weaves its cocoon for its own imprisonment.

27. The soul lays down its error of being the body, when it has to forsake the same at some time or other (i.e. sooner or later), and assume another form as the germ sprouts forth into leaves. (I.e. the body is not the soul, nor is the soul the same with the body, as the materialist would have it; because the soul has its transmigration, which the body has not).

28. As is the desire or thought in the mind, so is it born in its next state of metempsychosis. Hence the new born babe is given to sleeping, because it thinks itself to be dead, and lying in the night-time of his death. It is also given to the dreaming of those things, which had been the objects of its desire or thought in its previous state or birth.

(This establishes the doctrine of innate ideas in the dreaming state of new-born babies).

29. So sour becomes sweet by mixture with sugar, and the bitter seed produces sweet fruits by being sown with honey. So on the contrary, sweet becomes bitter by intermixture of gall and wormwood. (This is a fact in horticulture.—Arama Sastra, and applies to the goodness and badness of the human mind, according to its good and bad associations).

30. Aiming after goodness and greatness, makes a man good and great; as one wishing to be an Indra or a lord, dreams of his lordliness in his sleep. (The mind makes the man).

31. Inclination to meanness bemeans a man, and a tendency to vileness vilifies his conduct in life; as one deluded by his fancy of devils, comes to see their apparitions in his nightly visions.

32. But what is naturally foul or fair, can hardly turn otherwise at any time; as the limpid lake never becomes muddy, nor the dirty pool ever becomes glassy. (Nature of a thing is unchangeable).

33. The perverted mind produces the fruits of its perversion in all its actions, while puremindedness is fraught with the effects of its purity everywhere.

34. Good and great men never forsake their goodness and greatness, even in their fall and decline; so the glorious sun fills the vault of heaven with his glory, even when he is sinking below (the horizon).

35. There is no restriction or freedom of the human soul, to or from any action or thing herein;it is a mere passive and neutral consciousness, of all that passes before it as a magic scene.

36. The world is a magical city, and as a mirage appearing to sight;it is of the nature of the delusive panorama, showing many moons of the one, whose unity admits of no duality. So the one Brahma is represented as many by delusion. (The Hindus contrary to Europeans, have many suns but one moon. Escas—Chandra).

37. All this is verily the essence of Brahma, and this is the sober reality; the substantive world is an unsubstantiality, and peers out to view as a hollow phantom. (It is a phantasmagoria of phantasms).

38. That I am not the infinite but an infinitesimal, is the misjudgment of the ignorant;but the certitude of my infinity and supremacy, is the means of my absorption in the Infinite and Supreme.

39. The belief of one's individuality in his undivided, all pervasive and transparent soul, as "I am this," is the cause of his bondage to his personality, and is a web spun by his erroneous dualism. (Knowledge of a separate existence apart from solity, amounts to a dualistic creed).

40. Want of the knowledge of one's bondage or freedom, and of his unity or duality, and his belief in the totality of Brahma, is the supreme truth of true philosophy.

41. Perfect transparency of the soul, amounting to its nihility, and its want of attachment to visible appearances, as also its unmindfulness of all that is, are the conditions for beholding Brahma in it. There is no other way to this.

42. The purity of the mind produced by acts of holiness, is the condition for receiving the sight of Brahma; as it is the whiteness of the cloth that can receive any colour upon it.

43. Think thy soul, O Rama! as same with the souls of all other persons, and abstain from all other thoughts, of what is desirable or undesirable, what invigorates or enfeebles the body, and what brings liberation after bondage, or Salvation after sinfulness. (Since none of these states appertains to the universal soul, which is quite free from them).

44. The mirror of the mind being cleansed by the knowledge of the sastras, and dispassionateness of the understanding, it receives the reflexion of Brahma, as the clear crystal reflects the images of things.

45. The sight which is conversant with visible objects and not with images and ideas in the mind, is called false vision of what is soon lost from view. (I.e. mental sight is more lasting than that of the visual organs).

46. When the mind is fixed upon God, by abstracting its sight from all mental and ocular visions, it has then the view of the Supreme before it. (This is called spiritual vision).

47. The visible sights which are obvious to view, are all but unreal phantoms; it is the absorption of the mind in the Divine, that makes it identical with the same and no other.

48. The visibles now present before us being absent from our view, either before or after our sight of them, must be considered as absent in the interim also. Therefore one unacquainted with his mind, is as insensible as the man that knows not what he holds in his hand.

49. One having no knowledge that "the world is the same with the Supreme spirit," is always subject to misery; but the negation of the visibles as distinct from God, gives us both the pleasure of our enjoyments here, and our liberation in future.

50. It is ignorance to say the water is one thing and its wave is another; but it shows one's intelligence, who says they are the one and the same thing.

51. The vanities of the world, are fraught with sorrow, therefore discard all its appendages from thee. The abandonment of superfluity, will conduce to thy attainment of wisdom at last.

52. The mind being composed of vain desires, is an unreality in itself;say therefore, O Rama! why should you sorrow for something which in reality is nothing.

53. Do you, O Rama! look upon all things as traps set to ensnare the soul; and regard them with the eye of an unkind kinsman looking upon his relatives, with an eye of apathy and unconcern.

54. As the unkind relative is unconcerned with the joys and griefs of his relations; so shouldst thou remain aloof from all things, by knowing the falsehood of their natures.

55. Rely on that eternal Spirit, which is infinite knowledge and felicity, and which is between the viewer and the view (i.e. betwixt the noumenon and the phenomenon). The mind being fixed to that truth, will adhere to it as clay, after the swiftness of its flight is at an end.

56. The airy flight of the mind being restrained, the sluggish body must cease to run about;and the cloud of the dust of ignorance, will no more spread over the city of the world.

57. When the rains of our desires are over, and the calmness of the mind is restored; when the shuddering coldness of dullness has fled, and when the mud of worldliness is dried up:—

58. When the channel of our thirst is dried up, and the drinking pots are sucked up and emptied; when the forest of the heart is cleared, and its brambles are rooted out, and the frost of false knowledge has disappeared:—

59. It is then that the mist of error vanishes from view, like the shadow of night on the approach of dawn; and the frigidity of dullness is put to flight, like the poison of snake-bite by the potent charm of mantras.

60. Then the rivulets of our desires, do not run down the rock of the body; nor do the peacocks of our fleeting wishes, fly and sport on its top.

61. The sphere of our consciousness becomes as the clear sky; and the luminary of the living soul, shines as brightly over it as the midday sun.

62. The cloud of error is dispelled and succeeded by the light of reason; and the longings of the soul, being purified of their dross, make it shine brilliantly amidst its sphere.

63. Then raptures of serene delight, shoot forth in the soul like blooming blossoms in the open air; and a cool light is shed upon it, like the cooling beams of the autumnal moon.

64. This ecstasy of the soul, unfolds all prosperity before it, and fructifies with abundance the well cultivated ground of the reasoning mind. (Truth is the fruit of holy joy in the reasonable mind).

65. It sheds its clear lustre all over the world, and shows the depths of the hills and forests, and everything on earth in their clearest light. (Heavenly joy unfolds all things to light).

66. It expands the mind and makes it translucent, and the heart as a clear lake, renders blooming with blossoms of the lotus of satva, and without the dust—rajas of egoism. It is never infested by the swarming passions of pride or tamas.

67. The mind then being purged of its selfishness, turns to universal benevolence and philanthropy; and being quite calm in itself without any desire of its own, it reigns as lord over the city of its body.

68. The man whose investigation has made him acquainted with all things, whose soul is enlightened with truth; whose mind is melted down from his highmindedness; who is calm and quiet in his understanding, and looks at the unpleasant course of the births and deaths of men with pity; he verily lives happily in the realm of his body, without his feverish anxieties about anything.