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 V - Lecture on tranquillity of the soul and mind

Argument. The existence of the world in ignorant minds, and tranquillity of the spirit.

Vasishtha said:—

1. Now listen with attention the subject of quietism for your own good, wherein you will find the best solutions (of many questions adduced before).

2. Know Rama, this world to be a continuous illusion, and to be upheld by men of rajasa and tamasa natures, consisting of the properties of action and passions or ignorance, that support this illusory fabric, as the pillars bear up a building.

3. Men born with the satvika nature of goodness like yourself, easily lay aside this inveterate illusion, as a snake casts off its time-worn skin (slough).

4. But wise men of good dispositions (or satvika natures), and those of the mixed natures of goodness and action (rajasa-satvika), always think about the structure of the world, and its prior and posterior states (without being deluded by it).

5. The understandings of the sinless and which have been enlightened by the light of the sastras, or improved in the society of men or by good conduct, become as far sighted as the glaring light of a torch.

6. It is by one's own ratiocination, that he should try to know the soul in himself; and he is no way intelligent, who knows not the knowable soul in himself.

7. The intelligent polite, wise and noble men, are said to have the nature of rajasa-satvika (or the mixed nature of goodness and action) in them; and the best instance of such a nature is found, O Rama! in thy admirable disposition.

8. Let the intelligent look into the phenomena of the work themselves, and by observing what is true and untrue in it, attach themselves to the truth only.

9. That which was not before, nor will be in being at the end, is no reality at all but what continues in being both at first and last, is the true existence and naught besides.

10. He whose mind is attached to aught, which is unreal both at first and at last, is either an infatuated fool or a brute animal, that can never be brought to reason.

11. It is the mind that makes the world and stretches it as in its imagination; but upon a comprehensive view (or closer investigation) of it, the mind is in its nothingness.

Rama said:—

12. I am fully persuaded to believe, sir, that the mind is the active agent in this world, and is subject to decay and death (like the other organs of sensation).

13. But tell me sir, what are the surest means of guarding the mind from illusion, because you only are the sun to remove the darkness of Raghu's race.

Vasishtha replied:—

14. The best way to guard the mind from delusion, is first of all the knowledge of the sastras, and next the exercise of dispassionateness, and then the society of the good, which lead the mind towards its purity.

15. The mind which is fraught with humility and holiness, should have recourse to preceptors who are learned in philosophy.

16. The instruction of such preceptors, makes a man to practice his rituals at first, and then it leads the mind gradually to the abstract devotion of the Most-Holy.

17. When the mind comes to perceive by its own cogitation, the presence of the supreme spirit in itself; it sees the universe spread before it as the cooling moonbeams.

18. A man is led floating as a straw on the wide ocean of the world, until it finds its rest in the still waters under the coast of reason.

19. Human understanding comes to know the truth by means of its reasoning, when it puts down all its difficulties, as the pure water gets over its sandy bed.

20. The reasonable man distinguishes the truth from untruth, as the goldsmith separates the gold from ashes; but the unreasonable are as the ignorant, incapable to distinguish the one from the other.

21. The divine Spirit is imperishable after it is once known to the human soul; and there can be no access of error into it, as long as it is enlightened by the light of the holy spirit.

22. The mind which is ignorant of truth, is ever liable to error, but when it is acquainted with truth, it becomes freed from its doubts; and is set above the reach of error.

23. O ye men! that are unacquainted with the divine spirit, you bear your souls for misery alone;but knowing the spirit, you become entitled to eternal happiness and tranquillity.

24. How are ye lost to your souls by blending with your bodies, expand the soul from under the earthly frame, and you will be quite at rest with yourselves.

25. Your immortal soul has no relation to your mortal bodies, as the pure gold bears no affinity to the earthen crucible in which it is contained.

26. The Divine Spirit is distinct from the living soul, as the lotus flower is separate from the water which upholds it; as a drop of water is unattached to the lotus-leaf whereon it rests. My living soul is crying to that Spirit with my uplifted arms, but it pays no heed to my cries.

27. The mind which is of a gross nature, resides in the cell of the body, like a tortoise dwelling in its hole; it is insensibly intent upon its sensual enjoyments, and is quite neglectful about the welfare of the soul.

28. It is so shrouded by the impervious darkness of the world, that neither the light of reason, nor the flame of fire, nor the beams of the moon, nor the gleams of a dozen of zodiacal suns, have the power to penetrate into it.

29. But the mind being awakened from its dormancy, begins to reflect on its own state; and then the mist of its ignorance flies off, like the darkness of the night at sun-rise.

30. As the mind reclines itself constantly on the downy bed of its meditation, for the sake of its enlightenment; it comes to perceive this world to be but a vale of misery.

31. Know Rama! the soul to be as unsullied by its outer covering of the body, as the sky is unsoiled by the clouds of dust which hide its face; and as the petals of the lotus are untainted by the dew-drops, falling upon them at night. (No liquid is attached to the oily surface of lotus-leaves).

32. As dirt or clay clinging to the outer side of a gold ornament, cannot pierce into the inside; so the gross material body is attached outside the soul, without touching its inside.

33. Men commonly attribute pleasure and pain to the soul; but they are as separate from it, as the rain drops and the flying dust, are afar and apart from the sky.

34. Neither the body nor the soul is subject to pain or pleasure, all which relate to the ignorance of the mind; and this ignorance being removed, it will be found that they appertain to neither. (The mind alone is subject to both through its ignorance; but the philosophic mind knows all partial evils sarvarti, to be universal good).

35. Take not to your mind O Rama! the pain or pleasure of either; but view them in an equal light, as you view things in the tranquillity of your soul.

36. All the outspreading phenomena of the world, which are beheld all about us, are as the waves of the boundless ocean of the Divine Spirit; or as the gaudy train of the peacock, displayed in the sphere of our own souls. (So the mind displays its thoughts in a train).

37. The bright substance of our soul, presents to us the picture of creation, as a bright gem casts its glare to no purpose; but by its own nature. (And so the mind deals with its dreams in vain).

38. The spirit and the material world, are not the same thing; the spirit is the true reality, and the duality of the world, is only a representation or counterpart of the Spirit.

39. But Brahma, is the whole totality of existence, and know the universe as the expansion of the universal soul; therefore O Rama! give up your error of the distinction of one thing from another (lit.: such as I am this one, and the other is another).

40. There can be no distinction, Rama, in the everlasting and all extensive plenum of Brahma; as there is no difference in the whole body of water of the wide extended ocean.

41. All things being one and alike in the self-same substratum of the Supreme Soul, you cannot conceive of there being any other thing (a duality) in it, as you cannot imagine a particle of frost to abide in the fire.

42. By meditating on the Supreme Soul in yourself, and by contemplation of the intelligent Spirit in your own intellect, you will find the glory of the Supreme Spirit, shining brightly in your pure spirit.

43. Therefore ease your mind, O Rama! and know that there is no mistake nor error in your believing the all as one; and that there is no new birth or a new born being (in the world), but all that is or has come to existence, is ever existent in the Supreme.

44. Ease yourself, O Rama! by knowing that there is no duality (save the Unity of God); and that there is no contrariety of things (as that of heat and cold), except their oneness in the Divine monism. Then knowing yourself as a spiritual being, and situated in the purity of Divine essence, you shall have no need of devotion or adoration (in order to appease or unite yourself with the Deity). And knowing also that you are not separated from God, forsake all your sorrow (to think of your helpless state).

45. Be tolerant, composed and even-minded; remain tranquil, taciturn and meek in your mind; and be as a rich jewel, shining with your internal light. Thus you will be freed from the feverish vexations of this worldly life.

46. Be rational and dispassionate and calm in your desire; remain sober minded and free from ardent expectations; and rest satisfied with what you get of your own lot, in order to be freed from the feverish heat of worldliness.

47. Be unimpassioned and unperturbed with earthly cares; be pure and sinless, and neither be penurious nor prodigal, if you will be freed from the fever heat of this world.

48. Be free from all anxiety, O Rama! by your obtaining of that good which the world cannot give, and which satisfies all our earthly wants. Have this supermundane bliss, O Rama, and be as full as the ocean, and free from the feverish cares of this world.

49. Be loosened from the net of thy loose desires, and wipe off the unguent of delusive affections from thy eyes: let thy soul rest satisfied with thyself, and be freed from the feverish anxieties of the world.

[Sanskrit: bikalpajala nirmmukta mayanjanarbbrjitah |
atmanatmanitthaptatmavijbarobaraghava || 46 ||]

50. With your spiritual body reaching beyond the unbounded space, and rising above the height of the highest mountain, be freed from the feverish and petty cares of life.

51. By enjoyment of what you get (as your lot), and by asking of naught of any body anywhere; by your charity rather than your want or asking of it, you must be free from the fever of life.

52. Enjoy the fulness of your soul in yourself like the sea, and contain the fulness of your joy in your own soul like the full moon. Be self-sufficient with the fulness of your knowledge and inward bliss.

53. Knowing this world as unreal as a pseudoscopic sight, no wise man is misled to rely in its untruthful scenes. So you Rama, that are knowing and a visionary, and are sane and sound headed, and of enlightened understanding, must be always charming with your perfect ease from sorrow and care.

54. Now Rama! reign over this unrivalled sovereignty, by the direction of your sovran Sire, and manage well everything under your own inspection. This kingdom is fraught with every blessing, and the rulers are all loyal to their king. Therefore you must neither leave out to do what is your duty, nor be elated with your happy lot of royalty.