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 XXXVI - Description of the intellectual sphere

Argument. The Intellect as pervading all things, and making us acquainted with them.

Rama said:—

1. Tell me O Brahman! how the mundane system subsists in the extra mundane immaterial soul, for the sake of my advancement in knowledge.

Vasishtha replied:—

2. The worlds having no separate existence (before or after their formation) except in the Supreme mind, they are all situated in the Divine Intellect, like the unheaving and unseen would-be waves of the sea.

3. As the all-pervading sky is not to be seen owing to its extreme tenuity; so the undivided nature of the all-pervasive intellect, is not to be perceived on account of its rarity.

4. As the gem has its brilliancy in it, whether it is moved or unmoved by any body, so the unreal world has its potential existence in the Divine Spirit, both in its states of action and inactivity. (Hence the eternity of the world in the Eternal Mind).

5. As the clouds abiding in the sky, do not touch the sky or have a tangible feeling of its vacuity; so the worlds subsisting in the receptacle of the Intellectual soul, have no contact with the extraneous (para) intellect, which is unconnected with its contents.

6. As the light residing in the waters of the sea or a pot of water, is not connected either with the water or pot, nor is it felt by us but by its reflection; so the intangible soul abides unconnected in its receptacle of the body, and reflects itself to our knowledge only.

7. The intellect is devoid of every desire and designation; it is the indestructible soul, and is named by our intelligence of it as (Chetya) intelligible; or from some one of our intelligible ideas as the living soul &c.

8. It is clearer than the translucent air, and finer than it by a hundred times; it is known as an undivided whole by the learned; who view it as identic with the whole undivided world, which it comprehends within itself.

9. As the sea water shows itself in various forms in all its waves, so the intellect does not differ from it, in showing us its various representations of its own motion.

10. The diversities of our subjective and objective knowledge of myself and thyself and these (ego, tu &c.), are like the varieties of waves and billows in the ocean of the intellect, these are but erroneous notions, since they are representations of the same element, and the very same intellect.

11. The various states of the intellect (Chit), intellection (Chinta), intelligence (Chittam) and intelligibles (Chetyas), all appertain to the main principle of the soul. They are differently conceived by the learned and ignorant, but the difference is a mere conceit (Kalpana).

12. The intellect presents its two different aspects to the wise and unwise people; to the ignorant, it shows its unreal nature in the realistic conception of the world, while to the learned it exhibits its luminous form in the identity of all things (with God).

13. The intellect enlightens the luminous bodies of the sun and stars, by its internal (intellectual) light; it gives a relish to things by its internal taste; and it gives birth to all beings from its inborn ideas of them.

14. It neither rises nor sets, nor gets up nor sits; it neither proceeds nor recedes to or fro, it is not here nor is it no where. (Omniscience is present everywhere and is ever the same).

15. The pure and transpicuous intellect which is situated in the soul, displays in itself the phantasmagoria which is called the world.

16. As a heap of fire emits its flame, and a luminous body blazes with its rays; and as the sea swells in surges and breaks in with its arms, so the intellect bursts out in its creations. (Omniscience is the cause and not percipience of the world—God makes all things, and does not perceive them like us).

17. Thus the intellect which is self-manifest and omnipresent of its own nature, developes and envelopes the world by its own manifestation and occultation, and by its acts of integration and segregation (sanhara and nirhara); or the acts of accretion and secretion.

18. It is led by its own error and of its own accord, to forget and forsake its state of infinitude;and then by assuming its individual personality of egoism (that I am), it is converted to an ignoramus. (So men of contracted views turn to be dunces).

19. It falls from its knowledge of generals to that of particulars, by its act of specialization; and comes to the discrimination of the positive, and negative, and of inclusion and exclusion (or admission or rejection).

20. It strives and struggles within the confines of the sensuous body (owing to its degradation from spirituality); and it multiplies in these bodies like the weeds sprouting out of the bosom of the earth. (I.e. from its unity becomes a multiplicity in the many animal bodies).

21. It is the intellect that stretches the spacious vacuum, to make room for the subsistence and growth of every thing; and makes the all and ever moving air and the liquid water, for the vitality and nourishment of all.

22. It makes the firm earth (terra firma) and the lightsome fire and the fixed worlds all around; and employs time by its injunctions and prohibitions (to do or undo any thing).

23. It gives fragrance to flowers, and grows by degrees their filaments and pistils; and it makes the moisture of the porous ground, to grow vegetables on earth.

24. The rooted trees fructify with fruits, by their juicy saps from beneath; and they produce their fruitage, and display their foliage with lineaments in them, as their veins and arteries.

25. It renovates the forest with its gifts of various hues, and dyes them with the variety of colours in the rainbow of Indra.

26. It bids the folia, fruits and flowers to wait on the flowery season of spring;and then brings their fruitage to perfection, under the heat of the summer sun.

27. It makes the dark blue clouds of heaven, to wait on the approach of the rainy weather; and causes the harvest of fields, to follow in the train of autumn.

28. The cold season is decorated with its smiling frost, in its faces of the ten sides of the sky; and the dewy weather is made to waft its icicles of dew drops, on the pinions of the chilling winds of winter.

29. It makes the ever moving time, to revolve in its rotation of years and cycles and Yuga—ages; and causes the tide of creation to roll on in its waves of worlds, on its bosom of the ocean of eternity.

30. Its decrees remain fixed with a wonderful stability, and the earth (terra or dhara), continues firm (dhira or sthira), with its quality of containing all things. (In this sloka there is both a homonym and paronym of similar sound and sense in the word dhara derived from the root dhri: namely, dhira, dhara, = sthira, terra and dharana and dharini).

31. It made the universe teem with fourteen kinds of beings in its as many worlds of the chaturdasa-bhuvanas; and these are as different in their modes of life as in their forms and figures. (The Atharvan or last Veda reckons tri-sapta or thrice seven worlds).

32. These are repeatedly produced from and reduced to nothing, and move in their wonted courses for ever, as bubbles in the waterless ocean of eternity.

33. Here the miserable multitudes, moving mad in vain struggles after their desired objects, and in their imbecility under the subjection of disease and death. They are incessantly coming to life and going away in their exits, remaining in their living states and acquiring their ends, and for ever running to and fro, in their repeated births and deaths in this world.