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 XXXVIII - The same quietness or quietude of the spirit

Argument. The unconnected Soul being connected with the Mind, is believed as the Active Spirit by the unwise. But the quiet

spirit of the wise, which is unaffected by its actions, is ever free and emancipate from the acts.

Vasishtha resumed:—

1. (Prose). Such being the state of the wise, the actions they are seen to do, whether of goodness or otherwise or pleasurable or painful, in and whatsoever they are engaged, are nil and as nothing, and do not affect them as they do the other worldly mortals. (The unconcernedness of the wise, is opposed to the great concern of fools in their actions).

2. For what is it that is called an action, but the exertion of mental and voluntary energies, with a fixed determination and desire of performing some physical acts, which they call the actions of a person. (But the apathetic minds of the wise, being insensible both of the purposes and their ends, there is no imputation of agency which can ever attach to them. (Gloss)).

3. The production of an act by appliance of the proper means, and the exertion and action of the body in conformity with one's ability, and the completion of the effect compatible with one's intention, together with the enjoyment of the result of such agency, are defined and determined as the action of the man. (It is the deliberate and voluntary doing of an act, and not the unintentional physical action, that constitutes human agency. Gloss).

4. (Verse). Moreover, whether a man is agent or no agent of an action, and whether he goes to heaven or dwells in hell, his mind is subject to the same feelings, as he has the desires in his heart. (The mind makes a heaven of hell, and a hell of heaven by its good or bad thoughts. Milton).

5. (Prose). Hence the agency of the ignorant, arises from their wishing to do a thing, whether they do it or not; but not so of the wise, who having no will, are not culpable even for their involuntary actions. Untutored minds are full with the weeds of vice, but well cultivated souls are quite devoid of them. Gloss. (So: "If good we plant not, vice will fill the place:And rankest weeds the richest soils deface").

6. He who has the knowledge of truth (tatwajnana), becomes relaxed in his earthly desires; and though he acts his part well, he does not long eagerly for its result as others. He acts with his body but with a quiet unconcerned mind. When successful, he attributes the gain to the will of God; but the worldly minded arrogate the result to themselves, though they could not bring it about.

7. Whatever the mind intends, comes verily to pass, and nothing is achieved without the application of the mind; whereupon the agency belongeth to the mind and not to the body. (An involuntary action is not a deed).

8. The world doth proceed from the Mind (Divine); it is the mind (by being a development of it), and is situated in the (infinite and eternal) mind; knowing all things as such manifestations of the powers of the intellect, the wise man remains in the coolness of his desire or lukewarmness.

9. The minds of spiritualists (or those knowing the soul), come to the state of that perfect insensibility of their desires, as when the false watery mirage is set down by the raining clouds, and the particles of morning dews, are dried up by the raging sun. It is then that the soul is said to rest in its perfect bliss (The turya—sans souci or impassibility).

10. This is not the felicity of the gusto of pleasure, nor the dolour of sorrow or discontent; it consists not in the liveliness of living beings, nor in the torpidity of stones. It is not situated in the midst of these antitheses (i.e. in the sandhisthana or golden medium between these); but in the knowing mind which is Bhumananda—all rapture and ravishment. (Neither is il allegro nor il spinseroso, the true bliss of man).

11. But the ignorant mind (which is unacquainted with this state of transport) is transported by its thirst after the moving waters of earthly pleasures; as an elephant is misled to the foul pool, where he is plunged in its mud and mire, without finding any thing that is really good.

12. Here is another instance of it based upon a stanza in the Sruti, which says that:—A man dreaming himself to be falling into a pit, feels the fear of his fall in his imagination even when he has been sleeping in his bed; but another who actually falls in a pit when he is fast asleep, is quite insensible of his falls. Thus it is the mind which paints its own pleasure and pains, and not the bodily action or its inactivity.

13. Hence whether a man is the doer of an action or not, he perceives nothing of it, when his mind is engrossed in some other thought or action; but he views every thing within himself, who beholds them on the abstract meditation of his mind. The thinking mind sees the outward objects, as reflections of his pure intellect cast without him. (The spiritualist regards the outward as images of his inward ideas, in opposition to the materialist, who considers the internal ideas to be but reflections derived from external impressions).

14. Thus the man knowing the knowable soul, knows himself as inaccessible to the feelings of pleasure and pain. Knowing this as certain, he finds the existence of no other thing, apart from what is contained in the container of his soul, which is as a thousandth part of a hair. This being ascertained, he views every thing in himself. With this certainty of knowledge, he comes to know his self as the reflector of all things, and present in all of them. After these ascertainments, he comes to the conclusion that he is not subject to pain or pleasure. Thus freed from anxieties, the mind freely exercises its powers over all customary duties, without being concerned with them.

15. He who knows the self, remains joyous even in his calamity, and shines as the moonlight, which enlightens the world. He knows that it is his mind and not his self, that is the agent of his actions although he is the doer of them: and knowing the agency of the mind in all his actions, he does not assume to himself the merit of the exercise of his limbs, hands and feet, nor expects to reap the rewards of all his assiduous labours and acts.

16. Mental actions (thoughts) being brought to practice, tend to involve their unguarded agents of ungoverned minds, into the endurance of its consequence. Thus the mind is the seed (root) of all efforts and exertions, of all acts and actions, of all their results and productions, and the source of suffering the consequences of actions. By doing away with your mind, you make a clean sweep of all your actions, and thereby avoid all your miseries resulting from your acts. All these are at an end with the anaesthesia of the mind. It is a practice in Yoga to allay (laisser aller), the excitement of the mind to its ever varying purposes.

17. Behold the boy is led by his mind (fancy) to build his toy or hobby-horse, which he dresses and daubs at his wilful play, without showing any concern or feeling of pleasure or pain, in its making or breaking of it at his pleasure. So doth man build his aerial castle, and level it without the sense of his gain or loss therein. It is by his acting in this manner in all worldly matters, that no man is spiritually entangled to them. (Do your duties and deal with all with a total unconcernedness and indifference).

18. What cause can there be for your sorrow, amidst the dangers and delights of this world, but that you have the one and not the other. But what thing is there that is delectable and delightful to be desired in this world, which is not evanescent and perishable at the same time, save yourself (soul), which is neither the active nor passive agent of your actions and enjoyments; though they attribute the actions and their fruitions to it by their error.

19. The importance of actions and passions to living beings, is a mistake and not veritable truth. Because by the right consideration of things, we find no action nor passion bearing any relation to the soul. Its attachment or aversion to the senses and sensible actions and enjoyments, is felt only by the sensualist, and not by them that are unconscious of sensuous affections (as the apathetic ascetics).

20. There is no liberation in this world for the worldly minded, while it is fully felt by the liberal minded Yogi, whose mind is freed from its attachments to the world, in its state of living liberation. (Jivan-mukta).

21. Though the Sage is rapt in the light of his self-consciousness, yet he does not disregard to distinguish the unity and duality, the true entity from the non-entities, and to view the omnipotence in all potencies or powers that are displayed in nature (for these display His power and goodness beyond our thought).

22. (Verse). To him there is no bond or freedom, nor liberation nor bondage whatever, and the miseries of ignorance are all lost in the light of his enlightenment. (Bondage and freedom here refer to their causes or acts ([Bengali: karma]) by the figure of metonymy; and that these bear no relation to the abstracted or spiritualistic Yogi).

23. It is in vain to wish for liberation, when the mind is tied down to the earth; and so it is redundant to talk of bondage, when the mind is already fastened to it. Shun them both by ignoring your egoism, and remain fixed to the true Ego, and continue thus to manage yourself with your unruffled mind on earth. (The whole of this is a lesson of the Stoical and Platonic philosophic and unimpassioned passivity).