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 XLIII - The repositories of living souls

Argument. The Transmigrations of Souls by virtue of their Acts, and the way of their salvation.

Vasishtha continued:—

Thus the living soul being derived from Brahma, assumes to itself the form of the mind, and is tossed about with the thoughts and cares of the world. It is then changed into thousands and millions of forms, as it figures to itself in its imagination.

2. It has undergone many prior births, and is in the course of migrating into many more; it will transmigrate into many more also, which are as multitudinous as the flitting particles of a water-fall (splitting to many atoms).

3. These atomic souls of living beings, being subjected to their desires by the great variety of their wishes; are made to wander under many forms, to which they are bound by their desires.

4. They rove incessantly to different directions, in distant countries both by land and water; they live or die in those places, as the bubbles blow out but to float and burst, and then sink in the water below.

5. Some are produced for the first time in a new kalpa age, and others are born a hundred times in it; some have had only two or three births, while the births of others are unnumbered (in a kalpa).

6. Some are yet unborn and are to be born yet on earth, and many others have passed their births by attainment of their liberation at last. Some are alive at present, and others are no more to be born.

7. Some are born again and again, for myriads of kalpas, some remaining in one state all along, and many in various states repeatedly changing their forms and natures.

8. Some are subjected to the great misery of hell, and some are destined to a little joy on earth; some enjoying the great delights of the gods in heaven, and others raised to the glory of heavenly bodies above.

9. Some are born as Kinnaras and Gandharvas and others as Vidyadharas and huge serpents; some appear in the forms of Sol, Indra and Varuna (Ouranas), and others in those of the triocular Siva and the lotus-born Brahma.

10. Some become the Kushmanda and Vetala goblins, and others as Yaksha and Rakshasa cannibals; some again become the Brahmanas and the ruling class, and others become Vaisyas and Sudras. (The four tribes of Indo-Aryans).

11. Some become Swapacha and Chandala (eaters of dog and hog-flesh), and others as Kiratas and Puskasa (eaters of rotten bodies); some become the grass and greens on earth, and others as the seeds of fruits and roots of vegetables, and as moths and butterflies in the air.

12. Some are formed into varieties of herbs and creeping plants, and others into stones and rocks; some into Jama and Kadamba trees, and others into Sala, Tala and Tamala forests.

13. There are some placed in prosperous circumstances, and become as ministers and generals and rulers of states; while others are clad in their rags and remain as religious recluses, munis and taciturn hermits in the woods.

14. Some are born as snakes and hydras, worms, insects and ants; whilst there are others in the forms of great lions, big buffaloes, stags and goats, the bos guavas and fleet antelopes in forests.

15. Some are begotten as storks and cranes, ruddy geese and cuckoos; and others are become their pastures in the shapes of lotuses and water lilies, the nilumbium and other aquatic shrubs and flowers.

16. Some are brought forth as elephants and their cubs, and as wild boars, bulls and asses; and others come into being as bees and beetles, flies and gadflies, gnats and mosquitoes.

17. Many are born to difficulties and dangers, and many to prosperity and adversity; some are placed in hell pits and others in their heavenly abodes.

18. Some are situated in the stars, and some in the hollows of trees; some move upon the wings of the winds, and others rest in the still air above or fly freely in the sky.

19. Many dwell in the sunlight of the day, and many subsist under the moonbeams at night; while there be others subsisting upon the beverage, which they draw from the herbaceous plants.

20. Some are liberated in their life-time, and rove about freely in this earth; while others live in their blissful states (in holy and lonely hermitage). Some are altogether emancipate in their reliance in the Supreme Spirit.

21. There are some that require long periods for their blessed and ultimate liberation; and others there are that disbelieve the intellectuality and spirituality of mankind, and dislike their being reduced to the solity of the soul, or to be reduced to their oneness or unity with the Supreme soul—Kaivalya.

22. Some become regents of the skies above, and others roll down in the form of mighty streams; some become females of beautiful appearances, and others as ugly hermaphrodites and abnormalities.

23. Some are of enlightened understandings, and some are darkened in their minds. Some are preachers and lecturers of knowledge, and others in their ecstatic trance of Samadhi.

24. The living souls that are under the subjection of their desires, are so powerless of themselves, that they have forgotten their freedom, and are fast chained to the fetters of their wishes.

25. They rove about the world, now flying up and then falling down in their hopes and fears; and are incessantly tossed up and down, like playing balls flung on all sides, by the relentless hands of playful Death.

26. Entrapped in the hundred fold snare of desire, and converted to the various forms of their wishes, they pass from one body to another, as the birds fly from one tree to alight on another.

27. The endless desires of the living soul, bred and led by the false imaginations of the mind, have spread this enchanted snare of magic or maya, which is known by the name of the great world.

28. So long are the stupefied souls doomed to rove about in the world, like the waters in a whirlpool;as they do not come to understand the true nature of their selves, as selfsame with the Supreme-Self.

29. Having known and seen the true Self, by forsaking their false knowledge of it, they come to their consciousness of themselves, as identic with the divine Self; and having attained this in process of time, they are released from their doom of revisiting this world of pain and sorrow.

30. There are however some insensible beings, who notwithstanding their attainment of this knowledge, are so perverted in their natures, that they have to return again to this earth, after passing into a hundred lives in it in various shapes (owing to their disbelief in the self).

31. Some there are who after having attained to higher states, fall down again by the lowness of their spirits, and appearing in the shapes of brute creatures, have to fall into hell at last.

32. There are some great minded souls, who having proceeded from the state of Brahma, have to pass here a single life, after which they are absorbed in the Supreme soul. (Such were the sage Janaka and the sagely Seneca).

33. There are multitudes of living beings in other worlds also, some of whom have become as the lotus-born Brahma, and others as Hara (the Horus of the Egyptian trinity).

34. There are others who have become as gods and brute creatures in them, and there are snakes and other reptiles also in them as well as in this earth. (Astronomers have descried kine in the moon, and Hindoos have found it to abound in deer, whence the moon is called mriganka by them. So are the constellations in the heavens).

35. There are other worlds as obvious to view as this earth (in the starry heavens), and there are many such worlds that have gone by, and are yet to appear (in the immensity of space).

36. There are various other creatures of different shapes, produced by various unknown causes in the other worlds also, which have their growths and deaths like those of this earth.

37. Some are produced as Gandharvas, and others as Yakshas (the Yakkas at Ceylon); and some are generated as Suras (Sorians); and some others as Asuras (Assyrians) and Daityas (demons).

38. The manners and modes of life of the peoples in other parts of the globe, are as those of the men living in this part of the earth.

39. All creatures move according to their own natures and mutual relations for ever more, as the waves and currents of a river move forward, following and followed by others in regular succession.

40. The whole creation moves onward in eternal progression, in its course of evolution and involution, and in its motions of ascension and descension like the waves of the ocean.

41. In this manner do the multitudes of living beings, proceed from the Supreme Spirit, who with the consciousness of their self-existence, rise from and fall at last into it. (The consciousness of the universal soul, is divided into the individual souls of beings, that are derived and detached from it).

42. All created beings are detached from their source, like the light from the lamp and the solar rays from the sun; they are like sparks of red hot iron, and the scintillation of fire.

43. They are as the particles (or minute moments) of time, and the flying odours of flowers; or as the cold icicles and the minutial of rain water, borne by breeze and cooling the air all around.

44. So the flitting particles of life, flying from one spot to another, and filling different bodies with animation, are at last absorbed in the main spring of vitality whence they had risen.

45. The particles of vital air, being thus spread out and scattered over the universe, come to assume the various forms of animated beings in all the worlds, but they are all mere creations of our ignorance, and are in reality like the rolling waves of water in the vast ocean of eternity.