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 X - Silent and solitary reflections of janaka

Argument. Janaka though employed in Ritual service, continues firm in his meditation, and comes to the conclusion of his immortality.

Vasishtha related:—

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While Janaka was thus musing in his mind, there entered the chamberlain before him, in the manner of Aruna standing before the chariot of the sun.

The chamberlain said:—

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O sire! thy realm is safe under thy protecting arms; now rise to attend to the daily rites, as it becomes your majesty.

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There the maidservants are waiting with their water pots, filled with water perfumed with flowers, camphor and saffron for your bathing, as the nymphs of the rivers, have presented themselves in person before you.

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The temples are decorated with lotuses and other flowers, with the bees fluttering upon them; and hung over with fine muslin, as white as the fibers of lotus stalks.

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?missing text?

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The altars are filled with heaps of flowers, aromatic drugs and rice; and adorned with every decoration in the princely style.

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The Brahmans are waiting there for your majesty's presence, after making their sacred ablution and purifications, and offering their prayers for the remission of sins; and are expecting to get their worthy gifts from thee.

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The hand-maids are attending to their duties, graced with flappers (chamaras) in their hands; and the feasting ground is cleansed with sandal paste and water.

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Rise therefore from thy seat, and be it well with thee to perform the prescribed duties; because it does not become the best of men, to be belated in the discharge of their duties.

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Though thus besought by the head chamberlain, yet the king remained in his meditative mood, thinking on the wonderful phenomena of nature.

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This royalty and these duties of mine, said he, are for a very short time; I do not require these things that are so transitory in their nature.

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I must leave these things, that are at best but waters of the mirage; and remain close to myself in my lonesome seclusion, like a calm and solitary lake or sea.

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These pleasures of the world, that are displayed around us, are entirely useless to me; I will leave them with promptness on my part, and remain in my happy retirement.

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Abandon, O my heart! thy shrewdness in pursuing after the objects of thy desire; in order to avoid the snares of disease and death (which have been set on thy way).

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In whatever state or condition of life, the heart is set to hanker for its delight; it is sure to meet with some difficulty, distress or disappointment coming out of the same.

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Whether your heart is engaged in, or disengaged from the objects of sense, you will never find any one of them, either in act or thought, conducing to the true happiness of your soul.

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Forsake therefore the thoughts of the vile pleasure of your senses, and betake yourself to those thoughts, which are fraught with the true happiness of the soul.

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Thinking in this manner, Janaka remained in mute silence, and his restless mind became as still, as it made him sit down like a picture in a painting or as a statue.

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The chamberlain uttered not a word any more, but stood silent in mute respect through fear of his master, from his knowledge of the dispositions of kings.

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Janaka in his state of silent meditation, reflected again on the vanity of human life, with cool calmness of his mind, and said:—

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Now must I be diligent to find out the best and most precious treasure in the world, and know what is that imperishable thing, to which I shall bind my soul as its surest anchor.

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What is the good of my acts or my cessation from them, since nothing is produced of anything, which is not perishable in its nature. (Thence the product of acts is perishing, and its want is a lasting good).

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It matters not whether the body is active or inactive, since all its actions end in utter inaction at last as all force is reduced to rest. It is the pure intellect within me that is always the same (i.e. ever active and undecaying), and which loses nothing from the loss of the body or by want of bodily actions. (The body is a dead mass without the active principle of the mind).

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I do not wish to have what I have not, nor dare leave what I have already got; I am content with myself; so let me have what is mine and what I have. (The Yogis like Stoics, were fatalists and content with their lot).

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I get no real good by my acts here, nor lose anything by refraining from them. What I get by my acts or want of action, is all Nil and Null of Vanity or Vanities, and nothing to my purpose or liking.

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Whether I am doing or not doing, and whether my acts are proper or improper; I have nothing to desire here, nor anything desirable that I have to expect from them. (Hence no exertion will bring on the desired object, unless it is given by our lot).

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I have got what was due to my past actions, and this body is the result of my former acts. It may be in its motion and action, or it may be still and fade away, which is the same thing to me.

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The mind being set at ease by want of its action or passion, the actions of the body and its members, are alike in their effects to those of not doing them. (Involuntary actions done without the will are of no account).

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The acts of men are reckoned as no acts of theirs, which happen to take place as the results of their destiny or previous actions. (The action or passion relates to the mind only, but the doing of destiny being involuntary, such action of men is accounted as no action of theirs).

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The impression which the inward soul bears of its past actions and passions, the same gives its colour to the nature and character of the actions of men afterwards. Now that my soul has obtained its imperishable state of spirituality, I am freed from the mutabilities of the transmigrations of my body and mind.

Commentary:—Janaka arrives after all his previous reasonings and deductions, to the conclusion of the certainty of his being an intellectual and spiritual being, endowed with an immortal soul, and entitled to everlasting life, after the destruction of the frail body and the changeful mind with it.

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