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 XII - On the greatness of intelligence

Argument. The Living Liberation of Janaka, and the preeminence of reason and intelligence.

Vasishtha continued:—

Janaka having expostulated in his manner with his mind, attended to the affairs of the state without shrinking from them by his mental abstraction.

2. He was however not gladdened by the gladsome tasks and tidings, but was indifferent to them as in his slumber of fixed-mindedness in his maker.

3. Hence forward, he was not intently employed in his duties, nor forsook them altogether; but attended unconcernedly to the business which presented itself to him.

4. His constant habit of reasoning, enabled him to understand the eternal verity; and preserved his intellect from blunders, as the sky is untouched by the flying dust.

5. By his cultivation of reasoning, his mind was enlightened and fraught with all knowledge.

6. Unaccustomed to duality, his mind had learnt to know the sole unity only; and his intelligent soul shone within him, as the full bright sun in the sky. (He felt a flood of light in himself, as the believer finds in his inmost soul. Gloss).

7. He became acquainted with the Soul, that is inherent in all bodies, and beheld all things abiding in the omnipotence of the Intellect, and identic with the infinite.

8. He was never too joyous nor exceedingly sorrowful, but preserved his equanimity amidst the conflicts of his soul and sensible objects (between spirituality and materiality).

9. The venerable Janaka, became liberated in his living state since that time; and is since renowned as a veteran theosophist among mankind.

10. He continues thence forward to reign over the land of the Videha people, without being subject to the feelings of joy or sorrow for a moment.

11. Knowing the causes of good and evil, he is neither elated nor dejected at any favourable or unfavourable circumstances of his life, nor does he feel glad or sad at the good or bad accident relating the state.

12. He did his duties without setting his mind to them, which was wholly employed in his intellectual speculations.

13. Remaining thus in his hypnotic state of sound sleep (abstraction), his thoughts are quite abstracted from all objects about him.

14. He is unmindful of the past, and heedless about the future; and enjoys the present moment only, with a gladsome heart and cheerful mind.

15. He obtained the obtainable what is worthy to be obtained, by his own ratiocination (or self-reflection), and not O lotus-eyed Rama! by any other desire (i.e. by abandoning all his worldly desires).

16. Therefore we should reason (or reflect) in our minds, so long as we succeed to arrive at the conclusion of the subject.

17. The presence of the Holy Light, is not to be had either by the lectures of a preceptor, or the teaching of the sastras; it is not the result of meritorious acts, nor of the company of the holy men; but the result of your own intellection.

18. A good understanding assisted by the power of its accompanying percipience (prajana), leads to the knowledge of that highest state, which the acts of your piety cannot do.

19. He who has set before his sight the keen light of the lamp of his percipience, is enabled to see both the past and future in his presence; and no shadow of ignorance intercepts his vision.

20. It is by means of his percipience, that one is enabled to cross over the sea of dangers; as a passenger goes across a river in a boat or raft.

21. The man that is devoid of his prescience, is overtaken even by small mishaps; as a light straw is blown away by the slightest breeze.

22. One who is endued with foresight, passes over the eventful ocean of the world, without the assistance of friends and guidance of the sastras.

23. The man with foreknowledge, sees the result of his actions beforehand;but one without his prevision, is at a loss to judge of the imminent events.

24. Good company and learning, strengthen the understanding;as the watering of a plant, tends towards its growth and fructification.

25. The infant understanding like a tender shoot, takes a deep root in time; and having grown up like a tree, bears the sweet fruit in its season; like the cooling moonbeams at night.

26. Whatever exertions are made by men for the acquisition of external properties, the same should be more properly devoted for the improvement of their understandings at first. (I.e. intellectual improvement should precede that of outward circumstances).

27. Dullness of the understanding, which is the source of all evils, and the storehouse of misery, and the root of the arbour of worldliness, must be destroyed first of all.

28. Great minded men get in their understandings, whatever good they may expect to find in this earth, in heaven above and in the nether world. (The mind is the seat of all treasures).

29. It is by means of one's good understanding only, that he can get over the ocean of the world; and not by his charities, pilgrimages or religious austerities,

30. The divine blessing attending on mortal men on earth, is the sweet fruit of the tree of knowledge. (Here is a contrast with the mortal taste of the forbidden fruit of knowledge).

31. Wisdom nips with its sharp nails, the heads of the elephantine (gigantic) bonds of giddiness, with as much ease as the lion kills the deer, or as if it were destroying a strong lion by a weak jackal. (Weak wisdom having the power of destroying the wild worldliness).

32. An ordinary man is often seen to become the ruler of men, by means of his greater knowledge than others; and the wise and discreet are entitled to glory in both worlds.

33. Reason overcomes all its adversaries, dealing in diverse forms of sophistry; as a disciplined warrior, overpowers on a host of untrained savage people.

34. Reasoning is as the philosopher's stone, which converts the base metals to gold; and is hidden in the casket of rational souls as the best treasure. It yields the desired fruits of men like the kalpa plant of Paradise at a thought.

35. The right reasoner gets across the wide ocean of the world, by means of his reasoning, while the unreasonable rabble are born away by its waves; as the skillful boat-man cuts across the current, while the unskilled waterman is tossed about by the waves.

36. A well directed understanding leads to the success of an undertaking, but the misguided intellect goes to the rack and ruin; the one sails to the shore before the wind; but the other is tossed in his wrecked vessel over the wide gulph of the world.

37. The keen sighted and unbiassed wise man, is never over-come by the evils arising from his desires: as the arrows of the adversary, do not pierce the body of a soldier in armour.

38. The sapience of a man, gives him an insight into every thing in the world and, the all knowing man, is neither subjected to dangers nor reverses of his fortune.

39. The dark and wide-stretching cloud of blind egoism, which overshadows the sun-light of the Supreme Spirit within us, is driven away by the breath of intelligence.

40. The improvement of the understanding, is the first requisite towards the knowledge of the Supreme soul; as the cultivation of the ground, is of primary importance to the farmer, desirous of reaping a rich harvest.