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 VI - Lecture on the discharge of duty

Argument. Effect of Acts, Transmigration of souls and their Liberation in Life time.

Vasishtha continued:—

In my opinion, a man is liberated who does his works from a sense of his duty, and without any desire of his own or sense of his own agency in it. (Here subjection to allotted duty, is said to be his freedom; but that to one's own desire or free choice, is called to be his bondage and slavery).

2. Who so having obtained a human form, is engaged in acts out of his own choice and with a sense of his own agency, he is subjected to his ascension and descension to heaven and hell by turns (according to the merit or demerit of his acts, while there is no such thing in the doing of his duty).

3. Some persons who are inclined to unduteous (or illegal) acts, by neglecting the performance of their destined (or legal) duties, are doomed to descend to deeper hells, and to fall into greater fears and torments from their former states.

4. Some men who are fast bound to the chain of their desires, and have to feel the consequences of their acts, are made to descend to the state of vegetables from their brutal life, or to rise from it to animal life again.

5. Some who are blessed with the knowledge of the Spirit, from their investigation of abstruse philosophy, rise to the state of monism (Kaivalya); by breaking through the fetters of desire. (Kaivalya is the supreme bliss of God in his solity, to which the divine sage aspires to be united. Or it is the complete unity with oneself irrespective of all connections).

6. There are some men, who after ascending gradually in the scale of their creation in former births, have obtained their liberation in the present life of rajas-satvika or active goodness.

7. Such men being born again on earth, assume their bright qualities like the crescent moon, and are united with all prosperity, like the Kurchi plant which is covered with blossoms in its flowering time of the rainy season. (The good effects of former acts, follow a man in his next birth).

8. The merit of prior acts follows one in his next state, and the learning of past life meets a man in his next birth, as a pearl is born in a reed. (A particular reed is known to bear pearly seeds within them, well known by the name of Vansalochana).

9. The qualities of respectability and amiableness, of affability and friendliness, and of compassion and intelligence, attend upon these people like their attendants at home. (I.e. he becomes master of them).

10. Happy is the man who is steady in the discharge of his duties, and is neither overjoyed nor depressed at the fruition or failure of their results. (Duties must be done, whether they repay or not).

11. The defects of the dutiful and their pain and pleasure, in the performance of duties, are all lost under the sense of their duteousness; as the darkness of night, is dispelled by the light of the day, and the clouds of the rainy season, are dispersed in autumn.

12. The man of a submissive and sweet disposition, is liked by every body; as the sweet music of reeds in the forest, attracts the ears of wild antelopes. (The deer and snakes, are said to be captivated by music of pipe).

13. The qualities of the past life, accompany a man in his next birth; as the swallows of the rainy weather, attend on a dark cloud in the air. (This bird is called a hansa or hernshaw by Shakespeare; as, when it is autumn, I can distinguish a swallow from a hernshaw).

14. Being thus qualified by his prior virtues, the good man has recourse to an instructor for the development of his understanding, who thereupon puts him in the way to truth.

15. The man with the qualities of reason and resignation of his mind, beholds the Lord as one, and of the same form as the imperishable soul within himself.

16. It is the spiritual guide, who awakens the dull and sleeping mind by his right reasoning;and then instils into it the words of truth, with a placid countenance and mind.

17. They are the best qualified in their subsequent births, who learn first to awaken their worthless and dormant minds, as they rouse the sleeping stags in the forest.

18. It is first by diligent attendance on good and meritorious guides (or gurus), and then by cleansing the gem of their minds by the help of reasoning that the pure hearted men come to the light of truth, and perceive the divine light shining in their souls.