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 LVII - Nature of volleity and nolleity

Argument. The bondage of volition causing our perdition, and the freedom of Nolition as leading to salvation.

Rama said:—

1. Thy words, O Brahman! are true and well spoken also. I find the soul to be the inactive agent of actions, and the impassive recipient of their effects, as also the spiritual cause of the corporeal.

2. I find the soul to be the sole lord of all, and ubiquitous in its course; it is of the nature of intelligence and of the form of transparency. It resides in all bodies, as the five elements compose the terraqueous bodies.

3. I now come to understand the nature of Brahma, and I am as pacified by thy speech, as the heated mountain is cooled by rain waters.

4. From its secludedness and nolleity, it neither does nor receives any thing; but its universal pervasion, makes it both the actor and sufferer.

5. But sir, there is a doubt too vivid and rankling in my mind, which I pray you to remove by your enlightened speech, as the moon-beams dispel the darkness of the night.

6. Tell me Sir, whence proceed these dualities, as the reality of one and the unreality of the other, and that this is I and this not myself. And if the soul is one and indivisible, how is this one thing and that another.

7. There being but one self-existent and self-evident soul from the beginning, how comes it to be subjected to these oppositions, as the bright disk of sun comes to be obscured under the clouds.

Vasishtha answered said:—

8. Rama! I will give the right answer to this question of yours, as I come to the conclusion; and then you will learn the cause of these biplicities.

9. You will not be able, Rama! to comprehend my answers to these queries of yours, until you come to be acquainted with my solution of the question of liberation.

10. As it is the adult youth only, who can appreciate the beauty of a love-song; so it is the holy man only, who can grasp the sense of my sayings on these abstruse subjects.

11. Sayings of such great importance, are as fruitless with ignorant people, as a work on erotic subjects is useless to children.

12. There is a time for the seasonableness of every subject to men, as it is the season of autumn which produces the harvest and not the vernal spring.

13. The preaching of a sermon is selectable to old men, as fine colourings are suitable to clean canvas; and so a spiritual discourse of deep sense, suits one who has known the Spirit.

14. I have ere while mentioned something, which may serve to answer your question, although you have not fully comprehended its meaning, to remove your present doubts.

15. When you shall come to know the Spirit in your own spirit, you will doubtlessly come to find the solution of your query by yourself.

16. I will fully expound to you the subject matter of your inquiry, at the conclusion of my argument; when you shall have arrived to a better knowledge of these things.

17. The spiritualist knows the spirit in his own spirit; and it is the good grace of the Supreme spirit, to manifest itself to the spirit of the spiritualist.

18. I have already related to you Rama! the argument concerning the agency and inertness of the soul, yet it is your ignorance of this doctrine, that makes you foster your doubts.

19. The man bound to his desires is a bondsman, and one freed from them is said to be set free from his slavery;do you but cast away your desires, and you will have no cause to seek for your freedom (as you are then perfectly free yourself).

20. Forsake first your foul (tamasi) desires, and then be freed from your desire of worldly possessions; foster your better wishes next, and at last incline to your pure and holy leanings.

21. After having conducted yourself with your pure desires, get rid of these even at the end; and then being freed from all desires, be inclined to and united with your intellect (i.e. knowing all and longing for nothing).

22. Then renounce your intellectual propensity, together with your mental and sensible proclivities; and lastly having reached to the state of staid tranquillity, get rid of your mind also in order to set yourself free from all other desires.

23. Be an intellectual being, and continue to breathe your vital breath (as long as you live); but keep your imagination under control, and take into no account the course of time, and the revolution of days and nights.

24. Forsake your desire for the objects of sense, and root out your sense of egoism, which is the root of desire. Let your understanding be calm and quiet, and you will be honoured by all.

25. Drive away all feelings and thoughts from your heart and mind; for he that is free from anxieties, is superior to all, (who labour under anxious thoughts and cares).

26. Let a man practice his hybernation or other sorts of intense devotion or not, he is reckoned to have obtained his liberation, whose elevated mind has lost its reliance on worldly things.

27. The man devoid of desires, has no need of his observance or avoidance of pious acts; the freedom of his mind from its dependence on anything, is sufficient for his liberation.

28. A man may have well studied the sastras, and discussed about them in mutual conversation;yet he is far from his perfection, without his perfect inappetency and taciturnity.

29. There are men who have examined every thing and roved in all parts of the world;yet there are few among them that have known the truth.

30. Of all things that are observed in the world, there is nothing among them which may be truly desirable, and is to be sought after by the wise.

31. All this ado of the world, and all the pursuits of men, tend only towards the supportance of the animal body; and there is nothing in it, leading to the edification of the rational soul.

32. Search all over this earth, in heaven above and in the infernal regions below; and you will find but few persons, who have known what is worth knowing. (The true nature of the soul and that of God, is unknown to all finite beings every where).

33. It is hard to have a wise man, whose mind is devoid of its firm reliance on the vanities of the world; and freed from its desire or disgust of something or others, as agreeable or disagreeable to its state.

34. A man may be lord of the world, or he may pierce through the clouds and pry in heaven (by his Yoga); yet he can not enjoy the solace of his soul without his knowledge of it.

35. I venerate those highminded men, who have bravely subdued their senses; it is from them that we can have the remedy to remove the curse of our repeated births. (It is by divine knowledge alone that we can avoid the doom of transmigration).

36. I see every place filled by the five elements, and a sixth is not to be seen any where in the world. Such being the case every where, what else can I expect to find in earth or heaven or in the regions below.

37. The wise man relying on his own reason and judgment, outsteps the abyss of this world, as easily as he leaps over a ditch; but he who has cast aside his reason, finds it as wide as the broad ocean. (The original word for the ditch is gospada—the cove of a cows hoof—a cul-de-sac).

38. The man of enlightened understanding, looks upon this globe of the earth, as the bulb of a Kadamba flower, round as an apple or a ball—teres atque rotundus; he neither gives nor receives nor wants of aught in this world.

39. Yet fie for the foolish that fight for this mite of the earth, and wage a warfare for destruction of millions of their fellow creatures.

40. What, if any one is to live and enjoy the blessings of this world for a whole Kalpa when, he can not escape the sorrow, consequent on the loss of all his friends during that period.

41. He who has known the self, has no craving for heavenly bliss within himself; because he knows his gain of all the three worlds, can never conduce to the strengthening of his soul.

42. But the avaricious are not content with all they have, and like the body of this earth, is not full with all its hills and mountains and surrounding seas. (The earth is never full with all its fullness).

43. There is nothing in this earth or in the upper and lower worlds, which is of any use to the sage acquainted with spiritual knowledge.

44. The mind of the self-knowing sage, is one vast expanse like the spacious firmament, it is tranquil and sedate and unconscious of itself.

45. It views the body as a network of veins and arteries, pale and white as frost, and all cellular within.

46. It sees the mountains floating as froth, on the surface of the pellucid ocean of Brahma; it looks upon the intellect blazing as brightly as the sun, over the mirage of existence.

47. It finds the nature of the soul, to be as extensive as the vast ocean, containing the creations as its billows; and it considers the all-pervasive soul as a big cloud, raining down in showers of sastras or knowledge.

48. The fire, moon and the sun, appear as the fuel in a furnace, requiring to be lighted by the blaze of the intellect, as every opaque atom in nature.

49. All embodied souls of men, gods and demigods, rove in the wilderness of the world, for feeding upon their fodder of food, as the deer graze in their pasturage.

50. The world is a prison house, where every one is a prisoner with his toilsome body. The bones are the latches of this dungeon, the head is its roof, and the skin its leather; and the blood and flesh of the body, are as the drink and food of the imprisoned.

51. Men were as dolls covered with skin for the amusement of boys, and they are continually roving in quest of sustenance, like the cattle running towards their pasture grounds.

52. But the high minded man is not of this kind; he is not moved by worldly temptations, as the mountain is not to be shaken by the gentle breeze.

53. The truly great and wise man, rests in that highest state of eminence; where the stations of the sun and moon, are seen as the nether regions.

54. It is by the light of the Supreme Spirit, that all the worlds are lighted, and the minds of all are enlighted. But the ignorant are immerged in the ocean of ignorance, and nourish their bodies only in disregard of their souls.

55. No worldly good can allure the heart of the wise, who have tested the vanity of temporal things; and no earthly evil can obscure their souls, which are as bright as the clear sky which no cloud can darken.

56. No worldly pleasure can gladden the soul of the wise man, as the dance of monkeys can give no joy to the heart of Hara, that delights in the dancing of Gauri.

57. No earthly delight can have its seat in the heart of the wise, as the sun-light is never reflected in a gem hidden under a bushel.

58. The material world appears as a solid rock to the stolid ignorant;but it seems as the evanescent wave to the wise. The ignorant take a great pleasure in the transitory enjoyments of the world; but the wise take them to no account, as the swan disdains to look upon the moss of the lake.