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 XX - Remonstration of pavana

Argument. Punya's relation of his various transmigrations and their woes to Pavana.

Punya said:—

1. Who is our father and who our mother, and who are our friends and relatives, except our notion of them as such; and these again are as the dust raised by the gusts of our airy fancy?

2. The conceptions of friends and foes, of our sons and relations are the products of our affection and hatred to them; and these being the effects of our ignorance, are soon made to disappear into airy nothing, upon enlightenment of the understanding.

3. The thought of one as a friend, makes him a friend, and thinking one as an enemy makes him an enemy; the knowledge of a thing as honey and of another as poison, is owing to our opinion of it.

4. There being but one universal soul equally pervading the whole, there can be no reason of the conception of one as a friend and of another as an enemy.

5. Think my boy in thy mind what thou art, and what is that thing which makes thy identity, when thy body is but a composition of bones, ribs, flesh and blood, and not thyself.

6. Being viewed in its true light, there is nothing as myself or thyself; it is a fallacy of our understanding, that makes me think myself as Punya and thee as Pavana.

7. Who is thy father and who thy son, who thy mother and who thy friend? One Supreme-self pervades all infinity, whom callest thou the self, and whom the not self (i.e. thine and not thine).

8. If thou art a spiritual substance (linga sarira), and hast undergone many births, then thou hadst many friends and properties in thy past lives, why dost thou not think of them also?

9. Thou hadst many friends in the flowery plains, where thou hadst thy pasture in thy former form of a stag; why thinkest thou not of those deer, who were once thy dear companions?

10. Why dost thou not lament for thy lost companions of swans, in the pleasant pool of lotuses, where thou didst dive and swim about in the form of a gander?

11. Why not lament for thy fellow arbours in the woodlands, where thou once stoodest as a stately tree among them?

12. Thou hadst thy comrades of lions on the rugged crags of mountains, why dost thou not lament for them also?

13. Thou hadst many of thy mates among the fishes, in the limpid lakes decked with lotuses; why not lament for thy separation from them?

14. Thou hadst been in the country of Dasarna (confluence of the ten rivers), as a monkey in the grey and green woods: a prince hadst thou been in land of frost; and a raven in the woods of Pundra.

15. Thou hadst been an elephant in the land of Haihayas, and an ass in that of Trigarta; thou hadst become a dog in the country of Salya, and a bird in the wood of sarala or sal trees.

16. Thou hadst been a pipal tree on the Vindhyan mountains, and a wood insect in a large oak (bata) tree; thou hadst been a cock on the Mandara mountain, and then born as a Brahman in one of its caverns (the abode of Rishis).

17. Thou wast a Brahman in Kosala, and a partridge in Bengal; a horse hadst thou been in the snowy land, and a beast in the sacred ground of Brahma at Pushkara (Pokhra).

18. Thou hadst been an insect in the trunk of a palm tree, a gnat in a big tree, and a crane in the woods of Vindhya, that art now my younger brother.

19. Thou hadst been an ant for six months, and lain within the thin bark of a bhugpetera tree in a glen of the Himalayan hills, that art now born as my younger brother.

20. Thou hadst been a millepede in a dunghill at a distant village;where thou didst dwell for a year and half, that art now become my younger brother.

21. Thou wast once the youngling of a Pulinda (a hill tribe woman), and didst dwell on her dugs like the honey-sucking bee on the pericarp of a lotus. The same art thou now my younger brother.

22. In this manner my boy, wast thou born in many other shapes, and hadst to wander all about the Jambudvipa, for myriads of years: And now art thou my younger brother.

23. Thus I see the post-states of thy existence, caused by the antecedent desires of thy soul; I see all this by my nice discernment, and my clear and all-viewing sight.

24. I also remember the several births that I had to undergo in my state of (spiritual) ignorance, and then as I see clearly before my enlightened sight.

25. I also was a parrot in the land of Trigarta, and a frog at the beach of a river; I became a small bird in a forest, and was then born in these woods.

26. Having been a Pulinda huntsman in Vindhya, and then as a tree in Bengal, and afterwards a camel in the Vindhya range, I am at last born in this forest.

27. I who had been a chataka bird in the Himalayas, and a prince in the Paundra province; and then as a mighty tiger in the forests of the sahya hill, am now become your elder brother.

28. He that had been a vulture for ten years, and a shark for five months and a lion for a full century; is now thy elder brother in this place.

29. I was a chakora wood in the village of Andhara, and a ruler in the snowy regions; and then as the proud son of a priest named Sailacharya in a hilly tract.

30. I remember the various customs and pursuits of different peoples on earth, that I had to observe and follow in my repeated transmigrations among them.

31. In these several migrations, I had many fathers and mothers, and many more of my brothers and sisters, as also friends and relatives to hundreds and thousands.

32. For whom shall I lament and whom forget among this number; shall I wail for them only that I lose in this life? But these also are to be buried in oblivion like the rest, and such is the course of the world.

33. Numberless fathers have gone by, and unnumbered mothers also have passed and died away; so innumerable generations of men have perished and disappeared, like the falling off of withered leaves.

34. There are no bounds, my boy, of our pleasures and pains in this sublunary world; lay them all aside, and let us remain unmindful of all existence (whether past, present or future)!

35. Forsake thy thoughts of false appearances, and relinquish thy firm conviction of thy own egoism, and look to that ultimate course which has led the learned to their final beatitude.

36. What is this commotion of the people for, but a struggling for rising or falling (to heaven or hell); strive therefore for neither, but live regardless of both like an indifferent philosopher (and permit thyself to heaven).

37. Live free from thy cares of existence and inexistence, and then thou shalt be freed from thy fears of decay and death. Remember unruffled thy self alone, and be not moved by any from thy self possession by the accidents to life like the ignorant.

38. Know thou hast no birth nor death, nor weal or woe of any kind, nor a father or mother, nor friend nor foe anywhere. Thou art only thy pure spirit, and nothing of an unspiritual nature.

39. The world is a stage presenting many acts and scenes; and they only play their parts well, who are excited neither by its passions nor its feelings.

40. Those that are indifferent in their views, have their quietude amidst all the occurrences of life; and those that have known the True One, remain only to witness the course of nature.

41. The knowers of God do their acts, without thinking themselves their actors; just as the lamps of night witness the objects around, without their consciousness of the same.

42. The wise witness the objects as they are reflected in the mirror of their minds, just as the looking glass and gems receive the images of things.

43. Now my boy, rub out all thy wishes and the vestiges of thy remembrance from thy mind, and view the image of the serene spirit of God in thy inmost soul. Learn to live like the great sages with the sight of thy spiritual light, and by effacing all false impressions from thy mind.