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 XVII - On the extirpation of avarice

Argument. Liberation of Embodied or living beings.

Vasishtha said:—

1. It is difficult O Rama! to describe in words the inexplicable nature of the liberation of disembodied souls; hear me therefore relate to you further about the liberation of living beings.

2. The desire of doing one's duties without expectation of their reward, is also called the living liberation, and the doers of their respective duties, are said to be the living liberated.

3. The dependance of beings on their desires, and their strong attachment to external objects, are called to be their bondage and fetters in this world, by the doctors in divinity.

4. But the desire of conducting one's self according to the course of events, and without any expectation of fruition, constitutes also the liberation of the living; and is concomitant with the body only (without vitiating the inner soul).

5. The desire of enjoying the external objects, is verily the bondage of the soul; but its indifference to worldly enjoyments, is what constitutes one's freedom in his living state.

6. Want of greediness and anxiety prior to and on account of some gain, and absence of mirth and change in one's disposition afterwards (i.e. after the gain); is the true freedom of men.

7. Know, O high-minded Rama! that desire to be the greatest bondage of men, which is in eager expectation of the possession of anything. (Lit.:that such things may be mine).

8. He who is devoid of desire of everything, whether existent or inexistent in the world; is the truly great man, with the greatest magnanimity of his soul.

9. Therefore, Rama! forsake the thoughts both of thy bondage and liberation, and also of thy happiness and misery; and by getting rid of thy desire of the real and unreal, remain as calm as the undisturbed ocean.

10. Think thyself, O most intelligent Rama! to be devoid of death and decay, and do not stain thy mind with the fears of thy disease or death (because thy soul is free from them).

11. These substances are nothing, nor are you any of these things that you see; there is something beyond these, and know that you are that very thing (which is the soul or a spiritual being).

12. The phenomenon of the world is an unreality, and every thing here is unreal, that appears real in thy sight; knowing then thyself to be beyond all these, what earthly thing is there that thou canst crave for?

13. All reasoning men, O Rama! consider themselves in some one of these four different lights in their minds, which I shall now explain to you in brief.

14. He who considers his whole body (from his head to foot), as the progeny of his parents (i.e. devoid of his spiritual part), is surely born to the bondage of the world. (This is the first kind).

15. But they who are certain of their immaterial soul, which is finer than the point of a hair, are another class of men; who are called the wise and are born for their liberation. (This is the second).

16. There is a third class of men, who consider themselves as same with the universal soul of the world; such men O support of Raghu's race, are also entitled to their liberation. (These belong to the third kind.)

17. There is again a fourth class, who consider themselves and the whole world to be as inane as the empty air (or vacuum); these are surely the partakers of liberation.

18. Of these four kinds of beliefs, the first is the leader to bondage;while the three others growing from purity of thought, lead to the path of liberation.

19. Among these, the first is subject to the bondage of avarice; but the other three proceeding from pure desire, are crowned with liberation.

20. Those of the third kind, who consider themselves same with the universal soul, are in my opinion never subject to sorrow or pain.

21. The magnitude of the Supreme spirit, extends over and below and about all existence; hence the belief of "all in One, or One in all" never holds a man in bondage.

The fourth kind said:—

22. vacuists (or sunyavadis), who believe in the vacuum, and maintain the principles of nature or illusion, are in ignorance of divine knowledge, which represents God as Siva, Isha, male, and eternal soul.

23. He is all and everlasting, without a second or another like him; and he is pervaded by his omniscience, and not by the ignorance called maya or illusion.

24. The spirit of God fills the universe, as the water of the ocean fills the deep (patala); and stretches from the highest heaven (empyrean), to the lowest abyss of the infernal regions.

25. Hence it is his reality only which is ever existent, and no unreal world exists at any time. It is the liquid water which fills the sea, and not the swelling wave which rises in it.

26. As the bracelets and armlets are no other than gold, so the varieties of trees and herbs, are not distinct from the Universal Spirit.

27. It is the one and same omnipotence of the Supreme spirit, that displays the different forms in its works of the creation.

28. Never be joyous nor sorry for anything belonging to thee or another, nor feel thyself delighted or dejected at any gain or loss, that thou mayest happen to incur. (For know everything to be the Lord's and nothing as thine own. Or: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away". Job).

29. Be of an even disposition, and rely on thy essence as one with the Supreme soul. Attend to thy multifarious duties, and thus be observant of unity in thy spiritual concerns, and dualities in thy temporal affairs.

30. Take care of falling into the hidden holes of this world, in your pursuit after the varieties of objects; and be not like an elephant falling into a hidden pit in the forest.

31. O Rama of great soul! There cannot be a duality, as it is thought in the mind; nor O Rama of enlightened soul; can there be any unity or duality of the soul. The true essence is ever existent without its unity or duality, and is styled the all and nothing particular, and as itself—Svarupa or suiform. (The soul is not unity, because one is the prime number of all others by addition with itself; nor is it a duality, having no second or another like it. It is the indefinite all or whole:and no definite that, this or so says the Sruti: [Sanskrit: tasmattat sarbbamabhavat neha nanasti kincana])

32. There is no ego or thy subjective-self, nor the objective worlds that thou seest. All this is the manifestation of the eternal and imperishable omniscience, and know this world as neither an entity nor non-entity by itself.

33. Know the Supreme being to be without beginning and end, the enlightener of all lights, the undecaying, unborn and incomprehensible one. He is without part, and any change in him. He is beyond imagination and all the imaginary objects all about us.

34. Know for certain in thy mind, that the Lord is always present in the full light of thy intellect. He is the root of thy consciousness, and is of the nature of thy inward soul. He is conceivable in the intellect, and is the Brahma—the all and everlasting, and the all-pervading, the subjective I, and the objective thou and this world.