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 XLVI - Description of living-liberation

Argument. The emancipation of Living souls from the thraldom of the World.

Vasishtha said:—

No man knows sorrow as long as he is in possession of his pleasant home, family and wealth; but why should he be sorrowful upon their disappearance, knowing them as a short-lived enchantment and accompaniment.

2. What pleasure or pain can one derive, either from the grandeur or destruction of his aerial castle, and what cause of joy can he have in his ignorant children, or of sorrow upon their death? (An ignorant son is sorrow to his father. Solomon).

3. What joy is there in the increase of our wealth or family, seeing them as the increasing mirage of water which can never satisfy the thirsty. (The thirst for riches is never satisfied. Lat. Auri sacra fames. Verg.).

4. There is increase of care with the increase of wealth and family; and there is no happiness in the increase of worldly possessions and affections. (Care follows increasing wealth. Little wealth little care).

5. The abundance of carnal enjoyments, which are delightsome to the ignorant voluptuary, is quite distasteful and disgusting to the abstemious, wise and learned. (Carnal pleasures are brutish, but mental delights are relished by the wise).

6. What joy is there in the possession of temporary wealth and family to the wise, that seek their lasting welfare, and are quite indifferent about these?

7. Therefore, O Rama! be truly wise in thy conduct in this world; shun the transient as they are transitory, and lay hold on whatever offers of itself unto thee. (Be content with what thou gettest).

8. Inappetency of what is ungotten, and enjoyment of what is in present possession; are the true characteristic of the wise and learned. (Contentment is abundance; and a contented mind is a continued feast).

9. Take care of this bewildering world, where thy enemies are lurking in many a deceitful shape; and conduct thyself as the wise man, evading the dangers that wait upon the unwise. (The enemies are of seven shapes, viz.: a swordsman, a poisoner, an incendiary, a curser, an exorcist, a backbiter and an adulterer).

10. They are great fools who do not look deeply into the things, and think the world to be without any fraud or guile. (The credulous are most imposed upon).

11. Fools are led by the deceitful speech of cheats, to fall into the temptations of the world; but men of right understanding place no reliance in them, nor plunge themselves into the pit of errors. (It is cunningness to keep from the cunning).

12. He who knowing the unrealities, place no reliance in anything; is said to have mastered all knowledge, and is never liable to error. (Discrimination of truth and untruth, and of right and wrong, constitute the highest wisdom of man).

13. Whoso knowing himself as frail as any thing in this frail world, has his faith in neither, is never liable to fall into the error of taking either of them for real.

14. Placed between the unreality and reality of this and next life, you must have the good sense of sticking to the Truth, and neither wholly reject or stick to this or the next. (The text says, stick not to the outward or inward alone:i.e. neither to the outer world nor the inner spirit entirely, but attend to your interests in both of them).

15. Though engaged in business, yet you must remain, O Rama! quite indifferent to all things; because the apathetic and inappetent are truly happy in this world.

16. He who has nothing to desire or leave, but lives as he is obliged to live, has his intellect as unsullied as the lotus-leaf, to which the laving waters never stick.

17. Let thy accessory organs manage thy outward affairs or not; but keep thy apathetic soul quite unconcerned with all. (I.e. the body and mind may attend to business; but the soul must remain aloof from all).

18. Let not thy mind be plunged in and deeply engaged with the objects of sense, by thinking them in vain to be thy properties and possessions;but manage them or not with utter indifference of thy mind. (I.e. observe a stoical indifference in all thy worldly concerns).

19. When thou comest to feel, Rama! that the sensible objects have ceased to give any relish to thy soul, then thou shalt know thyself to have reached the acme of thy spiritual edification, and got over the boisterous sea of the world.

20. The embodied or disembodied soul whether living or dead, that has ceased to have any taste for sensuous enjoyments, has attained its liberation without its wishing for it.

21. Try Rama! by your superior intelligence, to separate your mind from its desires, as they extract the perfume from flowers.

22. They that have not been swept away by the waves of their desires, to the midst of the ocean of this world, are said to have got over it; but the others are no doubt drowned and lost in it. (This is the first time that I found the word budita to occur in Sanskrit in the sense of drowned. See the vernacular Bengali dubita also).

23. Sharpen your understanding to the edge of a razor, erase the weeds of doubt therewith, and after scanning the nature of the soul, enter into thy spiritual state of blessedness.

24. Move about as those who have attained to true knowledge, and elevated their minds with true wisdom; and do not act as the ignorant worldling: who is mindful of the present state, and unmindful of the future.

25. In conducting yourself in this world, you should imitate them that are liberated in their life time, who are great in their souls and understandings, and who are ever satisfied with themselves, and not follow the examples of the greedy and wicked.

26. Those having the knowledge of both worlds, neither slight nor adhere to the customs of their country, but follow them like other people during their life time. (I.e. act in harmony and conformity with approved custom and usage).

27. Great men knowing the truth, are never proud of their power or good qualities, nor of their honour or prosperity like the vulgar people.

28. Great men are not depressed by adversity, nor elated by prosperity; but remain fixed like the sun in the sky without anything to support it.

29. Great minds like warriors ride in the chariots of their bodies, clad in the armour of their knowledge; they have no desire of their own, but conduct themselves according to the course of the time.

30. You too Rama! have gained your extensive learning in philosophy, and it is by virtue of your prudence, that you can manage yourself with ease.

31. Suppress the sight of the visibles, and avoid your pride and enmity; then roam wherever you will, and you will meet with success.

32. Be sedate in all circumstances, unattached to the present, and wishing to know all other things in future; have the calm composure of your mind, and go where you will.

Valmiki said:—

33. Rama, being advised in this manner by the pure doctrines of the sage, brightened in his countenance; and being full within himself with the ambrosia of his knowledge;shone forth like the ambrosial moon with her cooling beams.