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 LIX - Works of brahma’s creation

Argument. Vanity of the World born of Brahma's conception. Its Disappearance and Liberation.

Vasishtha continued:—

There is nothing in this world except the gratification of the carnal appetites, and the pleasure of eating, drinking and concupiscence with the vulgar;but it is the lasting good of men, which is desired by the good and great.

2. The crooked and creeping beings and things, and beasts and wicked men and ignorant people only are gratified with carnal pleasures; they are all fond of everything conducing to their bodily enjoyments.

3. They are human asses, who dote on the beauty of female bodies, which are no better than lumps of flesh, blood and bones.

4. This may be desirable to dogs and devouring animals, but not to man (who is a rational and spiritual being). All animals have their fleshy bodies, as the trees have their trunks of wood, and the minerals their forms of earth.

5. There is the earth below and the sky above, and nothing that is extraordinary before us; the senses pursue the sensible objects, but human reason finds no relish in them.

6. The consciousness (or intuition) of men, leads them only to error;and true happiness, which is desired by all is situated beyond all sensible objects and gratifications.

7. The end of worldly pleasure is sorrow and misery, as the product of a flame is soot and blackness; and the functions of the mind and senses, are all fleeting having their rise and fall by turns. All enjoyments are short lived, owing to the fugacity of the objects, and the decay of the powers of our enjoying.

8. Prosperity fades away as plant encircled by a poisonous viper; and our consorts die away as soon as anything born of blood and flesh. (Fortune is fleeting and life a passing dream).

9. The delusion of love and lust, makes one body to embrace another, both of which are composed of impure flesh and blood. Such are the acts, O Rama! that delight the ignorant.

10. Wise men take no delight in this unreal and unstable world, which is more poisonous than poison itself, by infecting them that have not even tasted the bitter gall.

11. Forsake therefore your desire of enjoyment, and seek to be united with your spiritual essence; because the thought of your materiality (or being a material body), has taken possession of your mind (and separated you from yourself and the spirit of God).

12. Whenever the thought of making the unreal world, rises in the mind of Brahma the creator, he takes an unreal body upon him of his own will.

13. It becomes as bright as gold by his own light, and then he is called Virinchi (virincipiens) on account of his will; and Brahma also for his being born of Brahma. (He is represented as of red colour, as Adam is said to be made of red earth).

14. Rama asked:—How does the world become a solid substance, from its having been of a visionary form in the spirit or mind of God?

Vasishtha replied:—

15. When the lotus-born male (Brahma), rose from his cradle of the Embryo of Brahma, he uttered the name of Brahma whence he was called Brahma. (The word Brahm answers the Hebrew Brahum—create them, and corresponds with the Latin ficet—bhuya [Bengali: bhuya]).

16. He then had the conception (Sankalpa) of the world in his own imagination, and the same assumed a visible and solid form by the power of his will, called the conceptional or conceived world. (Sankalpasri).

17. He conceived at first luminous idea of light, which having assumed a visible form spread on all sides, as a creeping plant is outstretched all about in autumn. (Light was the first work of creation).

18. The rays of this light pierced all sides like threads of gold; they shone and spread themselves both above and below.

19. Concealed amidst this light, the lotus-born Hiranyagarbha, conceived in his mind a figure like his luminous form, and produced it as the four faced Brahma.

20. Then the sun sprung forth from that light, and shone as a globe of gold amidst his world encircling beams.

21. He held the locks of his flaming hair on his head, which flashed as fire all around him; and filled the sphere of heaven with heat and light.

22. The most intelligent Brahma, produced afterwards some other luminous forms from portions of that light, which proceeded from it like waves of the ocean (and these are thence called the Marichis or rays, who were the first patriarchs of other created beings).

23. These most potent and competent beings, were also possessed of their concepts and will, and they produced in a moment the figures as they thought of and willed.

24. They conceived the forms of various other beings also, which they produced one after the other, as they desired and willed.

25. Then did Brahma bring to his recollection the eternal vedas and the many ceremonial rites, which he established as laws in his house of this world.

26. Having taken the gigantic body of Brahma, and the extensive form of the mind—manas, he produced the visible world as his own offspring—Santati. (Brahma means brihat—great; and santate derived from the root tan Latin-leoreo means continuation of race).

27. He stretched the seas and mountains, and made the trees and upper worlds. He raised the Meru on the surface of the earth, and all the forests and groves upon it.

28. It was he who ordained happiness and misery, birth and death and disease and decay; and he created the passions and feelings of living beings, under their threefold divisions of satva, rajas and tamas.

29. Whatever has been wrought by the hands (faculties) of the mind of Brahma before, the same continues to be still perceived by our deluded vision.

30. He gave the mind and laws to all beings, and makes the worlds anew as they are situated in his mind.

31. It is error, that has given rise to the erroneous conception of the eternity of the world, whereas it is the conception of the mind alone that creates the ideal forms. (The world is neither material nor substantial, but a conceptual and ideal creation of the mind).

32. The acts of all things in the world, are produced by their conception and wishes; and it is the concept or thought, that binds the gods also to their destiny.

33. The great Brahma that was the source of the creation of the world, sits in the meditative mood, contemplating on all that he has made.

34. It was by a motion of the mind, that the wonderful form of the living principle was formed; and it was this that gave rise to the whole world, with all its changeful phenomena.

35. It made the gods Indra, Upendra and Mahendra and others, and also the hills and seas in all the worlds above and below us, and in the ten sides of the heaven above:—

36. Brahma then thought in himself, "I have thus stretched out at large the net work of my desire, I will now cease from extending the objects of my desire any further".

37. Being so determined, he ceased from the toil of his creation, and reflected on the eternal spirit in his own spirit. (According to the Sruti:—the spirit is to be reflected in the spirit).

38. By knowing the spirit, his mind was melted down by its effulgence, and reclined on it with that ease, as one finds in his soft sleep after long labour.

39. Being freed from his selfishness and egoism, he felt that perfect tranquillity which the soul receives by resting in itself, and which likens the calmness of the sea by its subsidence in itself.

40. The Lord sometimes leaves off his meditation, as the reservoirs of water sometimes overflow their banks and boundaries.

41. He beholds the world as a vale of misery, with very little of happiness in it; and where the soul is fast bound to its alternate passions, and led by the changes of its hopes and fears.

42. He takes pity on the miserable condition of man, and with a view of their welfare, promulgates the sacred sastras and rites, which are full of meaning for their guidance.

43. He propounds the Vedas and their branches—the Vedangas, which are fraught with spiritual knowledge, and precepts of wisdom, and he revealed the Puranas and other sastras for the salvation of mankind.

44. Again the spirit of Brahma reclined on the supreme spirit, and was relieved from its toil; and then remained as tranquil as the becalmed ocean, after its churning by the Mandara.

45. Brahma having observed the efforts of mankind on earth, and prescribed to them the rules of their conduct, returned to himself, where he sat reclined on his lotus seat.

46. He remains some times entirely devoid of all his desires; and at others he takes upon him his cares for mankind from his great kindness to them.

47. He is neither simple in his nature, nor does he assume or reject his form in the states of his creation and cessation. He is no other than intelligence, which is neither present in nor absent from any place.

48. He is conversant with all states and properties of things, and is as full as the ocean without intermixture of any crude matter in him.

49. Sometimes he is quite devoid of all attributes and desires, and is only awakened from his inertness, by his own desire of doing good to his creatures.

50. I have thus expounded to you concerning the existence of Brahma (Brahmi Sthiti), and his real states of Satvika, Vidhyanika and Suranikas creation. (The first is the creation of his intellectual nature, and the second that of his mind or will or mental form).

51. The intellectual creation is what rises of itself in the Spirit of Brahma, and the mental is the result of his mind and will. The first is the direct inspiration of Brahma into the Spirit of Brahma.

52. After creation of the material world by the rajasika nature of Brahma, there rises the visible creation in the air by the will of the creator. (This is called the madhyanika, because it is the intermediate creation, between the elemental and animal creations).

53. In the next step of animal creation, some were born as gods (angels) and others us Yakshas—demigods, and this is called the suranika, because the suras or gods were created in it.

54. Every creature is born in the shape of its inherent nature, and then it is either elevated or degraded, according to the nature of its associations. It lays also the foundation of its future state of bondage to birth or liberation, by its acts, commenced in the present life.

55. In this manner, O Rama! has the world come to existence. Its creation is evidently a work of labour, as it is brought to being by various acts of motion and exertion of the body and mind; and all these products of the god's will, are sustained also by continuous force and effort on his part.