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 XVIII - Living liberation or true felicity of man in this life

Argument. The True Enfranchisement of the Soul, in the Living state of man in this world.

Vasishtha continued:—

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I will now relate to you, O Rama! the nature of those great men, who conduct themselves in this world, with their desires under their subjection, and whose minds are not blemished by evil inclinations.

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The sage whose mind is freed in his life-time, conducts himself unconcerned in this world; he smiles secure at its occurrences, and is regardless of the first, last and middle stages of his life (namely: the pains of his birth and death, and the whole course of his life).

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He is attentive to his present business, and unmindful of every other object about him; he is devoid of cares and desires, and his thought is of his internal cogitations only.

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He is free from anxiety in all places, who tolerates whatever he happens to meet with; he sees the light of reason in his soul, and walks in the romantic groves of his musings.

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He rests in that transcendental bliss, with prospects as bright as the cooling beams of the full-moon, who is neither elated nor depressed in any state of his life, nor droops down under any circumstance.

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Whose generosity and manliness do not forsake him, even when he is beset by his bitterest enemies; and who is observant of his duties to his superiors, such a man is not crest-fallen in this world.

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Who neither rejoices nor laments at his lot, nor envies nor hankers after the fortune of another; but pursues his own business in quiet silence, is the man that is never down-cast in this world.

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Who, when asked, says what he is doing, but unasked remains as a dead block; and is freed from desire and disgust; he is never depressed in his heart and mind. (The Urdu poet expresses this sort of unconcern, more beautifully, when he says:—Should one ask you of aught, look to his face and reply him not. Koi kuch'h puchhe to munh dekh kar chup rahjana &c. And who so understands the hearts of men, is never sick at his heart).

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He speaks agreeably to every one, and utters gently what he is required to say; he is never put out of countenance, who understands the intentions of others. (Speaking agreeably or his questioners means what pleases every body, be it good or bad for him as it is said in Chanakya's excerpta: [Sanskrit: satyam bruyat priyambruyat, na bruyat satyampriyam]. Because says Bharavi:'It is rare to have a useful saying, which is delectable also at the same time'. [Sanskrit: hitam mano harichadurlamabachasa]).

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He sees the right and wrong dealings of men, and the acts of the depraved desires of their minds; but knowing all human affairs as clearly as in a mirror in his hand, he holds his peace with every one.

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Standing on his firm footing (of nonchalance), and knowing the frailty of worldly things, he smiles at the vicissitudes of nature with the cold frigidity (sang-froid) of his heart (like the laughing philosopher).

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Such is the nature, Rama, of the great souls, who have subdued their minds, and know the course of nature, as I have described to you.

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I am unable to describe to you, the fond beliefs of the minds of the ignorant populace, who are plunged in the mud of their sensual enjoyments (like earthly worms). (Who are of ungoverned minds).

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Women, devoid of understanding, and graced with their personal charms, are the idols of these people; who are fond of their golden forms, without knowing them to be the flames of hell fire.

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Wealth, the fond object of the foolish people, is fraught with every ill and evil desire; its pleasure is poison and productive of misery, and its prosperity is replete with dangers.

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Its use in the doing of meritorious deeds, and various acts of piety, is also fraught with a great many evils, which I have not the power to recount. (The works of merit being productive of pride and passions, and those of piety being the source of transmigration).

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Therefore Rama! keep your sight on the full view (clairvoyance) of your spirit, by retracting it from the external visibles and internal thoughts; and conduct yourself in this world as one liberated in his life-time.

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Being free from all your inward passions and feelings of affection, and having given up all your desires and expectations; continue in the performance of your outward duties in this world.

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Follow all your duties in life with a noble pliability of your disposition; but preserve the philosophic renunciation of everything in your mind, and conduct yourself accordingly in this world.

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Think well on the fleeting states of all earthly things, and fix your mind in the lasting nature of your soul; and thus conduct yourself in this transitory stage, with the thoughts of eternity in your mind.

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Conduct yourself, Rama, with your inward indifference and want of all desire: but show your outward desire for whatever is good and great. Be cold blooded within yourself but full of ardour in your external demeanour.

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Conduct yourself among men, O Rama! with a feigned activity in your outward appearance, but with real inaction in your mind; show yourself as the doer of your deeds, but know in your mind to be no actor at all.

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Conduct yourself such, O Rama! with your full knowledge of this world, as if you are acquainted with the natures of all beings herein; and go wherever you please with your intimate acquaintance of everything there.

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Demean yourself with mankind, with a feigned appearance of joy and grief, and of condolence and congratulation with others, and an assumed shape of activity and action among mankind.

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Manage yourself, O Rama! with full possession of your mind, and untinged by pride and vanity, as if it were as clear as the spotless sky.

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Go on through your life unshackled by the bonds of desire, and join in all the outward acts of life, with an unaltered evenness of your mind under every circumstance.

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Do not give room to the thoughts of your bondage or liberation in this world, nor of the embodiment or release of your soul here; but think the revolving worlds to be a magic scene, and preserve perfect tranquillity of your mind.

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Know all this as an illusion, and it is ignorance only, that presents the false appearance of the world to sight; and yet we take them for true, as you view the water in the burning beams of the sun in a desert.

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The unobstructed, uniform and all pervading soul, can have no restriction or bondage; and what is unrestricted in itself, cannot have its release also.

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It is want of true knowledge, that presents the false view of the world before us; but the knowledge of truth disperses the view; as the knowledge of the rope, dispels the fallacy of the snake in it.

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You have known the true essence of your being by your right discernment (that it is He—the Sat); you are thereby freed from the sense of your personality, and are set free as the subtile air.

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You have known the truth, and must give up your knowledge of untruth, together with the thoughts of your friends and relatives, all which are unreal in their natures.

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Such being the case, you must consider yourself (your soul), as something other than those: and that you have received the same, from the Supreme source of all.

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This soul bears no relation to your friends or possession, to your good or evil actions, or to anything whatever in this world;

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When you are convinced that this very soul constitutes your essence; you have nothing to fear from the erroneous conception of the world, which is no more than a misconception.

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You can have no concern, with the weal or woe of a friend or foe, who is not born so to you; for every one being born for himself, you have no cause of joy or grief for any body (whether he is friendly or not to you).

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If thou knowest that thou hadst been before (creation), and shalt be so for ever afterwards (to eternity); you are truly wise.

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Shouldst thou feel so much for the friends, by whom thou art beset in this life; why dost thou then not mourn for them, that are dead and gone in thy present and past lives?

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If thou wert something otherwise than what thou art at present, and shalt have to be something different from what now thou art, why then shouldst thou sorrow for what has not its self-identity? (i.e. the body which is changed in all its transmigrations).

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If thou art to be born no more, after thy past and present births (i.e. if there be no further transmigration of thy soul), then thou hast no cause for sorrow, being extinct thyself in the Supreme Spirit.

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Therefore there is no cause of sorrow, in aught that occurs according to the course of nature; but rather be joyous in pursuing the duties of thy present life (for want of thy knowledge of thy past and future states).

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But do not indulge the excess of thy joy or grief, but preserve thy equanimity everywhere;by knowing the Supreme Spirit to pervade in all places.

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Know thyself to be the form of the infinite spirit, and stretching wide like the extended vacuum; and that thou art the pure eternal light, and the focus of full effulgence.

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Know thy eternal and invisible soul, to be distinct from all worldly substances; and to be a particle of that universal soul, which dwells in and stretches through the hearts of all bodies; and is like the unseen thread, running through the holes and connecting the links of a necklace (or like the string in the beads of a rosary). (This connecting soul is denominated the Sutratma, which fills, bounds, connects and equals all).

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That the continuation of the world, is caused by the reproduction of what has been before, is what you learn from the unlearned; and not so from the learned (who know the world to be nothing). Know this and not that, and be happy in this life.

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The course of the world and this life, is ever tending to decay and disease. It is ignorance that represents them to be progressing to perfection. But you who are intelligent, knowest their real natures (of frailty and unreality).

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What else can be the nature of error but falsehood, and what may the state of sleep be, but dream and drowsiness? (So is this world a mistaken existence, and this life a mere dream of unreal appearance, which so vividly shines before you).

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Whom do you call your good friend, and whom do you say your great enemy? They all belong to the Sole One, and proceed alike from the Divine will.

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Everything is frail and fickle, and has its rise and fall from and into the Supreme Spirit; it likens the wave of the sea, rising and falling from and into the same water.

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The worlds are rolling upward and going down again, like the axis and spokes of a wheel. (The rotations of the planets in their circuits above and below the sun).

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The celestials sometimes fall into hell, and the infernals are sometimes raised to heaven; animals of one kind are regenerated in another form, and the people of one continent and island are reborn in another (as men are led from one country and climate to another, and settle there).

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The opulent are reduced to indigence, and the indigent are raised to affluence; and all beings are seen to be rising and falling in a hundred ways.

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Who has seen the wheel of fortune, to move on slowly in one straight forward course for ever, and not tumbling in its ups and downs, nor turning to this side and that in its winding and uneven route. Fixedness of fortune is a fiction, as that of finding the frost in fire.

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Those that are called great fortunes, and their components and appendages as also many good friends and relations; are all seen to fly away in a few days of this transient life.

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The thought of something as one's own and another's, and of this and that as mine, thine, his or others', are as false as the appearance of double suns and moons in the sky.

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That this is a friend and this other a foe, and that this is myself and that one is another, are all but false conceptions of your mind, and must be wiped off from it (since the whole is but the one Ego).

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Make it thy pleasure however to mix with the blinded populace, and those that are lost to reason; and deal with them in thy usual unaltered way. (Mix with the thoughtless mob, but think with the thoughtful wise. So says Sadi: I learnt morals from the immoral, adabaz bedabanamokhtam).

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Conduct thyself in such a manner in thy journey through this world, that thou mayst not sink under the burden of thy cares of it.

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When thou comest to thy reason, to lay down thy earthly cares and desires; then shalt thou have that composure of thy mind, which will exonerate thee from all thy duties and dealings in life.

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It is the part of low-minded men, to reckon one as a friend and another as no friend; but noble minded men do not observe such distinctions between man and man. (Lit. Their minds are not clouded by the mist of distinction).

62. There is nothing wherein I am not (or where there is not the Ego); and nothing which is not mine (i.e. beyond the Ego: the learned who have considered it well, make no difference of persons in their minds).

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The intellects of the wise, are as clear as the spacious firmament, and there is no rising nor setting of their intellectual light, which views everything as serenely as in the serenity of the atmosphere and as plainly as the plain surface of the earth.

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Know Rama! all created beings, are friendly and useful to you, and there is no body nor any in the world, wherewith you are not related in some way on your part. (No body is a unit himself, but forms a part of the universal whole).

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It is erroneous to look on any one as a friend or foe, among the various orders of created beings in the universe; which in reality may be serviceable to you, however unfriendly they may appear at first.

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