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 XIII - Government of the mind

Argument. Reasons and Rules of Restraining the Mind from the instance of Janaka's insouciance.

Vasishtha continued:—

Now Rama! Reflect on the Supreme spirit, in thy own spirit like Janaka; and know the object of the meditation of the wise, without any difficulty or failing.

2. The wise men of the latter genus rajasa-satvika or active goodness, obtain their desired objects by themselves (of their own institution), like Janaka and other holy sages.

3. As long as you continue to restrain your organs of sense from their objects, so long will the divine soul grace your own inward soul with its presence.

4. The Lord God and Supreme soul, being thus gracious to thee; thou shalt see a halo of light cast over all things, and dispersing all thy woes from thy sight.

5. The sight of the Supreme spirit, will remove the plentiful seeds of bias from thy mind; and it will drive away the woeful sights of misery, pouring upon thy view in copious showers.

6. Continue like Janaka in the wilful discharge of thy duties, and prosper by placing thy intellectual sight, on the divine light shining in thy inward spirit.

7. It was by his inward cogitations, that Janaka found the transitoriness of the world; and by placing his faith in the unchangeable Spirit, he found its grace in time.

8. Hence neither the pious acts of men, nor their riches nor friends, are of any use to them for their salvation from the miseries of life, unless it be by their own endeavor for the enlightenment of their soul.

9. They who rely their faith in the gods, and depend upon them for fulfilment of their desires and future rewards, are perverted in their understandings, and cannot be heirs of immortality.

10. It is by reliance in one's reasoning and resignation, and by his spiritual vision of the Supreme spirit, that he is saved from his misery in this ocean of the world.

11. The attainment of this blessed knowledge of intuition, which removeth our ignorance, is as what they call thy getting of fruit fallen from heaven (i.e. a heavenly and accidental fruit).

12. The intelligence which looks into itself as Janaka's, finds the soul developing of itself in it, as the lotus-bud opens of itself in the morning.

13. The firm conviction of the material world, melts into nothing under the light of percipience; as the thick and tangible ice, dissolves into fluidity under the heat of the sun.

14. The consciousness that this is I (i.e. one's self-consciousness), is as the shade of night, and is dispelled at the rise of the sun of intellect, when the Omnipresent light appears vividly to sight.

15. No sooner one loses his self-consciousness that 'this is himself,' than the All-pervading Soul opens fully to his view.

16. As Janaka has abandoned the consciousness of his personality, together with his desires also; so do you, O intelligent Rama, forsake them by your acute understanding and of the mind discernment.

17. After the cloud of egoism is dispersed, and the sphere is cleared all around;the divine light appears to shine in it, as brightly as another sun.

18. It is the greatest ignorance to think of one's egoism (or self-personality); this thought being relaxed by the sense of our nothingness, gives room to the manifestation of holy light in the soul.

19. Neither think of the entity nor non-entity of thyself or others; but preserve the tranquillity of thy mind from both the thoughts of positive and negative existences; in order to get rid of thy sense of distinction between the producer and the produced (i.e. of the cause and effect, the both of which are identic in Vedanta or spiritual philosophy).

20. Again your fostering a fondness for something as good, and a hatred to others as bad; is but a disease of your mind for your uneasiness only. (Since all things are good in their own kinds, and nothing bad in its nature, and in the sight of God, who pronounced all things good).

21. Be not fond of what you think to be beautiful, nor disgusted at what appears hateful to you, get rid of these antagonist feelings, and be even-minded by fixing it on One, before whom all things are alike and equally good (all partial evil is universal good Pope.)

22. They that view the desirable and the detestable in the same light, are neither fond of the one nor averse to the other.

23. Until the fancy of the desirableness of one thing and dislike of the other, is effaced from the mind, it is as hard to have the good grace of equanimity, as it is difficult for the moonlight to pierce through the cloudy sky.

24. The mind which considers one thing as some thing à propos, and another as nothing to the purpose (the one as desirable and the other worthless); is deprived of the blessing of indifference, as the brier sakota is despised, not standing with all its fruits and flowers.

25. Where there is a craving for the desirable, and an aversion to what is unseemly, and when there is a cry for gain and an outcry at one's loss; it is impossible for even-mindedness, dispassionateness and tranquillity of the mind, to abide then and there in that state.

26. There being only the essence of one pure—Brahma diffused throughout the universe, how very improper is it to take the one as many, and among them something as good or bad; (when the Maker of all has made all things good).

27. Our desires and dislike, are the two apes abiding on the tree of our hearts; and while they continue to shake and swing it with their jogging and jolting, there can be no rest in it.

28. Freedom from fear and desire, from exertions and action, together with sapience and equanimity, are the inseparable accompaniments of ease and rest.

29. The qualities of forbearance and fellow feeling, accompanied with contentment and good understanding, and joined with a mild disposition and gentle speech, are the indispensable companions of the wise man, who has got rid of his desires and the feelings of his liking or dislike.

30. The mind running to meanness, is to be repressed by restraining the passions and appetites; as the current of water running below, is stopped by its lock gate.

31. Shun the sight of external things, which are the roots of error and fallacy; and consider always their internal properties both when you are awake and asleep, and also when you are walking about or sitting down.

32. Avaricious men are caught like greedy fishes, in the hidden net of their insatiable desires, and which is woven with the threads of worldly cares, and is under the waters of worldly affairs.

33. Now Rama! cut the meshes of this net, with the knife of thy good understanding; and disperse it in the water, as a tempest rends the thick cloud and scatters it about the air.

34. Try O gentle Rama! to uproot the root of worldliness, which sprouts forth in the weeds of vice, with the hatchet of your perseverance and the eliminating shovel of your penetration.

35. Employ your mind to hew down the cravings of your mind, as they use the axe to cut down a tree, and you will then rest in quiet as you arrive at the state of holiness.

36. Having destroyed the former state of your mind by its present state, try to forget them both by your heedless mind in future, and manage yourself unmindful of the world. (There is a play of the word mind in the original).

37. Your utter oblivion of the world, will prevent the revival of your mind; and stop the reappearance of ignorance which is concomitant with the mind.

38. Whether you are waking or sleeping or in any other state of your life; you must remember the nihility of the world, and resign your reliance in it.

39. Leave off your selfishness (mamata or mei tatem), O Rama! and rely in the disinterestedness of your soul; lay hold on what ever offers of itself to you and without seeking for it all about.

40. As the Lord God doth every thing, and is yet aloof from all; so must thou do all thy acts outwardly, and without thyself mixing in any.

41. Knowing the knowable, one finds himself as the increate soul and Great Lord of all; but being apart from that soul, he views only the material world spread before him.

42. He who has the sight of the inner spirit, is freed from the thoughts of the external world, and is not subjected to the joy or grief or sorrow and other evils of his life.

43. He is called a Yogi who is free from passions and enmity, and looks on gold and rubbish in the same light;he is joined with his Joy in his Yoga, and disjoined from all worldly desires.

44. He enjoys the fruit of his own acts, and minds not what he wastes or gives away; he has the evenness of his mind in every condition, and is unaltered by pain or pleasure. (The Sanskrit sukh-dukkha means also prosperity and adversity, and good and evil of every kind).

45. He who receives what he gets, and is employed with whatever offers of itself to him, without considering the good or evil that he is to gain by it, is not plunged into any difficulty.

46. He who is certain of the truth of the spiritual essence of the world, pants not for its physical enjoyments, but he is even-minded at all times.

47. The dull mind follows the active intellect in accomplishing its objects, as the carnivorous cat or fox follows the lion in quest of meat.

48. As the servile band of the lion feeds on the flesh acquired by his prowess, so the mind dwells upon the visible and sensible object, which it perceives by power of the intellect.

49. Thus the unsubstantial mind, lives upon the outer world by the help of the intellect; but as it comes to remember its origination from the intellect, it recoils back to its original state.

50. The mind which is moved and lighted, by the heat and light of the lamp of the intellect; becomes extinct without its physical force, and grows as motionless as a dead body.

51. The nature of the intellect is known to exclude the idea of motion or pulsation from it; and the power which has vibration in it, is called intellection or the mind in the sastras.

52. The breathing (or vibration) of the mind, like the hissing of a snake, is called its imagination (kalpana); but by knowing the intellect as the Ego, it comes to the true knowledge of the inward soul.

53. The intellect which is free from thoughts (chetyas), is the ever lasting Brahma; but being joined with thought, it is styled the imaginative principle or Mind.

54. This power of imagination having assumed a definite form, is termed the mind; which with its volition and options, is situated in the heart of living beings.

55. With its two distinct powers of imagination and volition, it is employed in the acts of discriminating and choosing the agreeable from what is disagreeable to it. (I.e. the imagination and volitive faculties of the mind, supply it with the power of discrimination and option, between what is fit or unfit for or suitable to it).

56. The intellect being seated in the heart with its thoughts and volitions, forgets its spiritual nature, and remains as a dull material substance (i.e. the passivity of the heart as opposed to the activity of the mind).

57. The intellect being thus confined in the hearts of all animals in this world, continues in utter oblivion of its nature;until it is awakened of itself, either by its intuition or instruction of preceptors &c.

58. So it is to be wakened by means of instruction, derived from the sastras and preceptors; as also by the practice of dispassionateness, and subjection of the organs of sense and action.

59. When the minds of living beings, are roused by learning and self-control; they tend towards the knowledge of the Great Brahma, or else they rove at random about the wide world.

60. We must therefore awaken our minds, which are rolling in the pit of worldliness, through the inebriety of the wine of error, and which are dormant to divine knowledge.

61. As long as the mind is unawakened, it is insensible of every thing (in its true light); and though it perceives the visibles, yet this perception of them is as false as the sight of a city in our fancy.

62. But when the mind is awakened by divine knowledge, to the sight of the supreme Being; it presents every thing in itself, as the inward fragrance of flowers pervades the outer petals also. (I.e. the inward sight of God, comprehends the view of every thing in it).

63. Though the intellect has the quality of knowing every thing, contained in all the three worlds; yet it has but a little knowledge of them from the paucity of its desire of knowing them. (I.e. though the capacity of the intellect is unlimited, yet its knowledge is proportionate to its desire of gaining it).

64. The mind without the intellect is a dull block of stone; but it is opened by divine light, like the lotus-bud expanding under the light of the sun.

65. The imaginative mind is as devoid of understanding, as a statue made of marble, is unable to move about by itself.

66. How can the regiments drawn in painting, wage a war in a mutual conflict, and how can the moon-beams, make the medicinal plants emit their light? (I.e. as it is life that makes the armies fight, so it is the intellect that actuates the mind to its operations. And as the plants shine by night by the sun-beams, which are deposited in them during day, so shines the mind by means of its intellectual light).

67. Who has seen dead bodies besmeared with blood to run about on the ground, or witnessed the fragments of stones in the woods to sing in musical strains?

68. Where does the stone idol of the sun, dispel the darkness of the night; and where does the imaginary forest of the sky spread its shade on the ground?

69. Of what good are the efforts of men, who are as ignorant as blocks of stones, and are led by their error in many ways; except it be to endanger themselves by the mirage of their minds? (The exertions of the ignorant are as vain as the labour of a Sisyphus).

70. It is the imagination that displays the non-existent as existent in the soul, as it is the sun-beams, which exhibit the limpid main in the mazy sands.

71. It is the moving principle in the body, which the sophists designate as the mind; but know it as a mere force of the winds, like the vital breath of living beings.

72. Those whose self-consciousness is not disturbed, by the currents of their passions and desires; have their spiritual souls like an unperturbed stream (of psychic fluid).

73. But when this pure consciousness is befouled by the false fancies of this and that, and that this is I and that is mine; then the soul and the vital principle, are both taken together to form a living being.

74. The mind, the living soul and understanding, are all but fictitious names of an unreality, according to the conceptions of false thinkers, and not of them that know the true spirit.

75. There is no mind nor understanding, no thinking principle, nor the body in reality; there is the only reality of the One universal spirit, which is ever existent everywhere. (So says the Sruti:—All else are but transitory creations of imagination, and so pass into nothing).

76. It is the soul, which is all this world, it is time and all its fluctuations, it is more transparent than the atmosphere, and it is clear as it is nothing at all.

77. It is not always apparent, owing to its transparency; yet it is ever existent, owing to our consciousness of it. The spirit is beyond all things, and is perceived by our inward perception of it.

78. The mind vanishes into nothing, before our consciousness of the Supreme Soul; just as darkness is dispelled from that place, where the sunshine is present.

79. When the transparent and self-conscious soul, raises other figures of its own will; then the presence of the soul is forgotten, and hid under the grosser creations of the mind.

80. The Volitive faculty of the Supreme Spirit, is denominated the mind;but it is unmindedness and want of volition on our part, which produces our liberation. (I.e. our submission to the Divine Will, sets us free from all liability, as it is said in the Common prayer: "Let thy will (and not mine) be done").

81. Such is the origin of the mind which is the root of creation; it is the faculty of the volition of the principle of our consciousness, otherwise called the soul. (The mind is the volitive faculty of the Spirit, see 80).

82. The intellectual essence being defiled by its desires, after falling from its state of indifference; becomes the principle of production or producing the desired objects. (This is called the mind or the creative power, and is represented as the first male or the agent of procreation).

83. The mind becomes extinct, by loss of the vital power; as the shadow of a thing disappears, by removal of the substance. (This passage establishes the extinction of the mind, with all its passions, feelings and thoughts upon the death of a man).

84. The living body perceives in its heart, the notion of a distant place which exists in the mind, and this proves the identity of the vital breath and the thinking mind. (Again the communication of the passions and feelings between the heart and mind, proves them to be the same thing). (Hence the word antah-karana or inward sense, is applied both to the heart as well as mind).

85. It is therefore by repressing the mind, that the vital breath is also repressed, to produce longevity and healthiness. (It is done by the following methods, viz; by dispassionateness, suppression of breathing, by yoga meditation, and by cessation from bodily labour in the pursuit of worldly objects).

86. The stone has the capability of mobility, and the fuel of inflammability; but the vital breath and mind, have not their powers of vibration or thinking (without the force of the intellect and the spirit).

87. The breath of life is inert by itself, and its pulsation is the effect and composed of the surrounding air; so the action of the mind, is owing to the force of the intellect; whose pellucidity pervades all nature.

88. It is the union of the intellectual and vibrating powers, which is thought to constitute the mind. Its production is as false, as the falsity of its knowledge. (All mental phenomena are erroneous).

89. The mental power is called error and illusion also, and these in ignorance of the Supreme Brahma, produce the knowledge of this poisonous world (which springs from illusion of the mind).

90. The powers of the intellect and vibration, combined with those of imagination and volition which constitute the mind, are productive of all worldly evils, unless they are weakened and kept under restraint.

91. When the intellect thinks on or has the perception by the pulsation caused by the air. The wind of breath gives pulsation to the intellect, and causes its power of intellection; and this intellectual power gives rise to all the thoughts and desires of the mind.

92. The percussive intellect which extends over the undivided sphere of the universe, is verily the thinking power, the mind is a false imagination like the ghost of infants.

93. The intellect is the power of intellection, which cannot be intercepted by any thing else, like the mind any where; as there is no power to rise in contest against the almighty Indra. (The Intellect or chit being the Divine mind).

94. Thus there being no relation between intellection and the mind, it is wrong to attribute the mind with the power of thinking, which is not related with it.

95. How can this union of the intellect with its vibration only, be styled the mind with its multifarious functions. The commander alone cannot be called an army without its component parts of horse, elephants and others.

96. Hence there is no such thing as a good or bad mind in any of the three worlds (when there is no mind at all). The bias of its existence will be utterly removed by full knowledge of spirituality (tatwajnana). (That there is but one Spirit only).

97. It is in vain and to no purpose, that they imagine the being of the mind. It is proved to be an unreality and having no substantiality of its own.

98. Therefore, O magnanimous Rama! never give rise to false imaginations of any kind, and particularly that of the mind which never exists any where.

99. False phantasies rise as the mirage, from want of a full knowledge of things; they spring in the heart which is as barren as a desert, for want of the rain of full knowledge.

100. The mind is a dead thing owing to its want of a form or activity, and yet it is a wonder as it is idolized in the circles of common people.

101. It is a wonder that the mind, having no soul nor essence, nor a body nor size or support of its own, should spread its net over all ignorant minds.

102. One who falls a victim to his unarmed and impotent mind, likens a man who says, he is hurt in his body by the falling of a lotus-flower upon it.

103. The man that is undone by his inert, dumb and blinded mind (that neither sees nor seizes nor talks to him); is as one who complains of his being burnt by the cool full-moon-beams.

104. People are verily killed by an antagonist, who is present before them; but it is a wonder that the ignorant are foiled by the inexistent mind of their own making.

105. What is the power of that thing, which is a creation of mere fancy, and an unreal presentation of ignorance; and which being sought after, is nowhere to be found.

106. It is a great wonder, that men should be overcome by their impotent minds, dealing in their delusions only.

107. It is ignorance that is ever exposed to dangers, and the ignorant are always the victims of error. Know the unreal world to be the creation of ignorance and of the ignorant only.

108. Oh! the misery of miseries, that the ignorant make of this creation of their ignorance to themselves, and that they fabricate a living soul for their sufferings only. (A separate living soul jivatma, is denied in Vedanta).

109. I weet this frail world to be a creation of the false imagination of the ignorant, and this earth to be as fragile as to be broken and borne away by the waves of the ocean.

110. It is like the dark collyrium, which is broken down by the surrounding waters or seas, serving as its grinding mill; and yet men are maddened with it, as those struck by moon-beams. (Moonstruck lunatics).

111.The visible world disappears at the sight of reason, as a man flies from the sight of his foe; and the train of imaginary creations fly before it, like hosts of demons vanquished by the gods.

112. Thus is this world, which is a false creation of fancy, and exists nowhere except in the idle brains of the ignorant, lost into nothing at the sight of reason.

113. He who is not able to govern his mind, and efface the thoughts of this false world, arising in the minds of the ignorant only; is not worthy of being advised in the abstruse doctrines of spirituality.

114. Those who are confirmed in their belief of the visibles, and are self-sufficient in their knowledge of these; are unable to grasp the subtile science of abstract philosophy, and are therefore unfit to receive spiritual instruction.

115. These men are insensible of the soft tunes of the lute who are accustomed to the loud beatings of drum, and they are startled at seeing the face of a sleeping friend (i.e. their hidden soul).

116. They who fly with fear from the loud songs (preachings) of false preachers, cannot have the patience to listen to the silent lesson of their inward monitor;and they who are deluded by their own minds, can hardly be reclaimed by any other.

117. Those who are tempted to taste the gall of worldly pleasures for sweet, are so subdued by its effects on their understandings, that they lose the power of discerning the truth altogether; and it is therefore useless to remonstrate with them.