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 XLII - Production of jiva or living souls

Argument. Condensation of Desires in the Intellect. And Formation of living souls thereby.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. Hear now Rama! the antidote against the wide extended malady of Ignorance, and the raging endemic of unreality, which vanishes from view upon your close inspection of it.

2. That which was proposed to be said (in chapter XL), concerning the satvika and rajasika qualities. I am now going to expound the same, on account of investigating into the powers of the mind.

3. The same Brahma who is all-pervading, undecaying and immortal; is known as intellectual light and without beginning and end, and free from error.

4. The Intellect, which is body of Brahma, and has its vibration in itself, becomes agitated and condensed at intervals, as the translucent water of the ocean has its motion of itself, and becomes turbid and thickened by its perturbation. (I.e. the mind is possest of motion contrary to dull and motionless matter, and it is by its moving force, that it forms the gross bodies, as the huge surges of the sea).

5. As the water of the sea, is agitated in itself without any motion or excitation from without; so the Almighty power exerts its force in itself, throughout all its eternity and infinity. (The water composed of the gases, is always in motion).

6. As the air stirs in its own bosom of vacuity for ever, so the power of the Divine Spirit, exerts itself spontaneously and freely in its own sphere of the spirit.

7. And as the flame rises high of its own accord, so the power of the spirit, extends in itself in all directions. (It is the nature of the flame to rise upward only, but that of the Spirit, is to move in every way and all round the great circle of creation).

8. As the sea seems to move with its sparkling waters, reflecting the sun and moonbeams upon its surface, so the almighty spirit appears to shake with the fleeting reflections of creation in its bosom.

9. As the sea sparkles with the golden beams of the starry frame; so the translucent vast soul of God, shines with the light of its own intellectual sphere.

10. As chains of pearly rays, glitter to our sight in the empty sky; so sundry forms of things fly about in the vast vacuity of the intellect. (These are as bubbles in the vast expanse of the Divine Mind).

11. These intellectual images, being pushed forward by the force of intellect, they begin to roll in its vacuous sphere like waves in the sea. (They are the same in substance, though different in appearance).

12. These images though inseparable from the intellect of the Divine spirit, yet they seem to be apart from it, like the light in the holes of needles and other cavities. (The glory of God, is the light and life of all).

13. The universal Omnipotence exhibits itself in those particular forms, as the moon shows her various horns in her different phases.

14. Thus the intellectual power of the Supreme spirit, coming to shine forth as light, refracts itself in various forms as the very many semblances of that great light.

15. The Supreme spirit, though conscious of its nature of infinity and indivisibility, yet assumes to itself the state of its individuality, in every separate and limited form of created beings.

16. When the supreme Entity takes upon itself these several forms, it is immediately joined by a train of qualities and properties, with quantity, modality and the like as followers in its train.

17. The unsubstantial intellect, deeming itself as a substance by its being separated from the supreme soul; becomes divided into infinity like the waves of the sea water (which is one and many).

18. As there is no material difference of the armlet and bracelet, from their matter of the same gold; so is the intellect and the soul the one and same thing. It is the thought that makes the difference in their different modes.

19. As there is no difference between one lamp and the others, that are lighted from the same light;so it is of all souls and intellects, which are alike in their nature, but differ only in their particular attributes—upadhis.

20. The Intellect, being put to action by the force of the soul on particular occasions, pursues its desires and the objects of its fancy.

21. The same intellect also, taking its volitive and active forms at different times and places; is styled the embodied soul or spirit, and known as Kshetrajna.

22. It is so named from its familiarity with the body or Kshetra, and its knowledge of the inward and outward actions of it (or from its knowing its person and personality).

23. This being fraught with its desires, is designated as Egoism or selfishness; and this again being soiled by its fancies, takes the name of the understanding.

24. The understanding leaning to its wishes, is termed the mind; which when it is compacted for action, takes the name of the senses or sensation.

25. The senses are next furnished with their organs called the organs of sense, which being joined with the organs of action, the hands and feet are jointly denominated the body.

26. Thus the living soul being tied to its thoughts and desires, and being entrapped in the net of pain and sorrow, is termed Chitta or heart.

27. Thus the gradual development of the intellect, produces its successive results (or phases as said above); so these are the different states or conditions of the living soul, and not so many forms of it, but all these are the impurities of the soul.

28. The living soul becomes associated with egoism in its embodied state, and this being polluted by its egoistic understanding, it is entangled in the net of selfish desires, which becomes the mind.

29. The concupiscent mind becomes eager to engraft itself in its consorts and offspring, and to secure the false possessions of the world to itself and without a rival.

30. The tendencies of the mind, pursue their desired objects, as the cow follows the lusty bull;and the mind runs after its objects only to be polluted by them, as the sweet stream of the river, meets the sea to become bitter and briny.

31. Thus the mind being polluted by its selfishness, loses the freedom of its will; and becomes bound to its desires, as the silkworm is enclosed in the cocoon.

32. It is the mind that exposes the body to confinement, by its pursuit after its desires, until it comes to feel the gall of its own thraldom, and the bitter regret of the conscious soul.

33. Knowing itself to be enslaved, it bids farewell to the freedom of its thought and knowledge; and begets within itself the gross ignorance, which rages and ranges free in the forest of this world, with its horribly monstrous appearance.

34. The mind containing within it the flame of its own desires, is consumed to death like the fettered lion in a fire.

35. It assumes to itself the agency of all its various acts, under its subjection to a variety of desires; and thus exposes itself to the changes of its state, in this life and all its future births.

36. It labours continually under all its octuple state of understanding;namely that of the knowledge, intelligence and activity or active agency, and its egoism or selfishness, all of which are causes of all its woe.

37. It is sometimes styled the prakriti or character, and at others the maya or seat of self delusion. The mind—manas is often converted to malas or foulness, and very often to karman or activity.

38. It is sometimes designated as bondage, and is often synonymous with the heart; it is called also as avidya or ignorance, and frequently identified with the will or volition likewise.

39. Know Rama, the heart is tied to the earth by a chain of sorrow and misery; it is brimful of avarice and grief, and the abode of passions.

40. It is living dead with the cares of age and the fear of death, to which the world is subject; it is troubled with desire and disgust, and stained by its ignorance and passions.

41. It is infested by the prickly thorns of its wishes, and the brambles of its acts; it is quite forgetful of its origin, and is beset by the evils of its own making.

42. It is confined as the silkworm in its own cell, where it is doomed to dwell with its sorrow and pain; and though it is but a minim in its shape, it is the seat of endless hell-fire. (A hair as heart. Pope. The heart is hell &c. Milton).

43. It is as minute as the soul, and yet appears as huge as the highest hill;and this world is a forest of wild poisonous trees, branching out with their fruits of decay and death.

44. The snare of desire is stretched over the whole world; its fruits are as those of the Indian fig trees, which has no pith or flavour within.

45. The mind being burnt by the flame of its sorrow, and bitten by the dragon of its anger; and being drowned in the boisterous sea of its desires, has entirely forgotten its Great Father.

46. It is like a lost stag straying out of its herd, and like one demented by his sorrows; or more like a moth singed by the flame of world affairs.

47. It is torn away as a limb from its place in the Spirit, and thrown in an incongenial spot; it is withering away like a lotus plant plucked from its root.

48. Being cast amidst the bustle of business, and among men who are inimical or as dumb pictures to him, every man is grovelling in this earth amidst dangers and difficulties.

49. Man is exposed to the difficulties of this dark and dismal world, like a bird fallen in the waters of the sea; he is entangled in the snare of the world, like one snatched to the fairy land in the sky.

50. The mind is carried away by the current of business, like a man borne by the waves of the sea. Lift it, O brave Rama! from this pit, as they do an elephant sinking in the mud.

51. Lift up thy mind by force, O Rama! like a bullock from this delusive puddle (palvala) of the world, where it is shorn of its brightness and is weakened in its frame.

52. Rama! the man whose mind is not troubled in this world, with successive joy and grief, and the vicissitudes of decrepitude, disease and death, is no human being: but resemble a monstrous Rakshasa, although he may have the figure of a man on him. (It is not humanity to be devoid of human feeling).