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...
Argument. Self-confinement of the Living-liberated Bali in the Infernal Regions.
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After the thousand years of the celestials, had rolled on in Bali's unconsciousness; he was roused to his sensibility, at the beating of heavenly drums by the gods above (the loud peal of clouds).
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Bali being awake, his city (Mavalipura) was renovated with fresh beauty, as the lotus-bed is revivified by the rising sun in the eastern horizon (Vairincha or Brahma-loka, placed at the sunrising points).
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O how charming! said he, was that cooling rapture of spiritual delight, in which my soul had been enrapt for a short time.
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O how I long to resume that state of felicity! because these outward enjoyments which I have relished to my fill, have ceased to please me any more.
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I do not find the waves of those delights even in the orb of the moon, as I felt in the raptures which undulated in my soul, during the entranced state of my insensibility.
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Bali was again attempting to resume his state of inexcitability, when he was interrupted by the attendant demons, as the moon is intercepted by the surrounding clouds.
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He cast a glancing look upon them, and was going to close his eyes in meditation;after making his prostration on the ground; but was instantly obtruded upon by their gigantic statures standing all around him.
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He then reflected in himself and said: The intellect being devoid of its option, there is nothing for me to desire; but the mind being fond of pleasures vainly pursues after them: (which it cannot fully gain, enjoy or long retain).
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Why should I desire my emancipation, when I am not confined by or attached to anything here: it is but a childish freak to seek for liberation, when I am not bound or bound to anything below. (The soul is perfectly free of itself, but it is the mind that enchains it to earth).
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I have no desire of enfranchisement nor fear for incarceration, since the disappearance of my ignorance; what need have I then of meditation, and of what good is meditation to me?
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Meditation and want of meditation are both mistakes of the mind (there being no efficacy or inefficacy of either). We must depend on our manliness, and hail all that comes to pass on us without rejoicing or shrinking (since all good and evil proceed from God).
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I require neither thoughtfulness nor thoughtlessness, nor enjoyments nor their privation, but must remain unmoved and firm as one sane and sound.
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I have no longing for the spiritual, nor craving for temporal things; I have neither to remain in the meditative mood, nor in the state of giddy worldliness.
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I am not dead (because my soul is immortal);nor can I be living (because the soul is not connected with life). I am not a reality (as the body), nor an unreality (composed of spiritual essence only); nor I am a material or aerial body (being neither this body nor Vital air). Neither am I of this world or any other, but self-same ego—the Great.
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When I am in this world, I will remain here in quiet; I am not here, I abide calmly in the solace of my soul.
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What shall I do with my meditation, and what with all my royalty; let any thing come to pass as it may; I am nothing for this or that, nor is anything mine.
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Though I have nothing to do (because I am not a free agent; nor master of my actions); yet I must do the duties appertaining to my station in society. (Doing the duties of one's station in life, is reckoned by some as the only obligation of man here below. So says the poet: "Act well thy part, there all the honour lies.").
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After ascertaining so in his mind, Bali the wisest of the wise, looked upon the demons with complacence, as the sun looketh upon the lotuses.
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With the nods and glancings of his eyes, he received their homages;as the passing winds bear the odours of the flowers along with them (meaning to say: His cursory glances bore their regards, as the fleet winds bear the fragrance of flowers the rose).
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Then Bali ceasing to think on the object of his meditation; accosted them concerning their respective offices under him.
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He honoured with his largesse, all his servants and suitors; and he pleased the attendant maidens with various persons.
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He satisfied all beings with his great gifts, and gratified the great gods and sages with due honour and veneration. He then commenced the ceremony of the sacrifice under the guidance of Sukra and the chief gurus and priests.
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Then Vishnu the lord of Lakshmi, came to know that Bali had no desire of earthly fruition; and appeared at his sacrifice to crown him with the success of his undertaking, and confer upon him his desired blessing.
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He cunningly persuaded him, to make a gift of the world to Indra his elder brother, who was insatiably fond of all kinds of enjoyment. (Indra was elder to Vishnu, who was thence called Upendra or the junior Indra).
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Having deceived Bali by his artifices of dispossessing him of the three worlds, he shut him in the nether world, as they confine a monkey in a cave under the ground. (This was by Vishnu's incarnation in the form of a dwarf or puny man, who was considered to be the most cunning among men; multum in parvo; or a man in miniature).
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Thus Bali continues to remain in his confinement to this day, with his mind fixed in meditation, for the purpose of his attainment of Indraship again in a future state of life.
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The living liberated Bali, being thus restrained in the infernal cave, looks upon his former prosperity and present adversity in the same light.
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There is no rising or setting of his intelligence, in the states of his pleasure or pain; but it remained one and the same in its full brightness, like the disk of the sun in a painting.
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He saw the repeated flux and reflux of worldly enjoyments, and thence settled his mind in an utter indifference about them.
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He overcame multitudes of the vicissitudes of life for myriads of years, in all his transmigrations, in the three worlds, and found at last, his rest in his utter disregard of all mortal things.
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He felt thousands of comforts and disquiets, and hundreds of pleasures and privations of life, and after his long experience of these, he found his repose in his perfect quiescence.
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Bali having forsaken his desire of enjoyments, enjoyed the fulness of his mind in the privation of his wants; and rejoiced in self-sufficiency of his soul, in the loneliness of his subterranean cave.
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After a course of many years, Bali regained his sovereignty of the world, and governed it for a long time to his heart's content.
But he was neither elated by his elevation to the dignity of indra said:—
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the lord of gods; nor was he depressed at this prostration from prosperity.
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He was one and the same person in every state of his life, and enjoyed the equanimity of his soul, resembling the serenity of the etherial sphere.
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I have related to you the whole story of Bali's attainment of true wisdom, and advise you now, O Rama! to imitate his example for your elevation, to the same state of perfection.
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Learn as Bali did by his own discernment, to think yourself as the immortal and everlasting soul; and try to reach to the state of your oneness or solity with the Supreme Unity, by your manliness (of self-control and self-resignation).
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Bali the lord of the demons, exercised full authority over the three worlds, for more than a millennium; but at last he came to feel an utter distaste, to all the enjoyments of life.
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Therefore, O Victorious Rama, forego the enjoyments of life, which are sure to be attended with a distaste and nausea at the end, and betake yourself to that state or true felicity, which never grows insipid at any time.
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These visible sights, O Rama! are as multifarious as they are temptations to the soul; they appear as even and charming as a distant mountain appears to view; but it proves to be rough and rugged as you approach to it. (The pleasant paths of life, cannot entice the wise; they are smooth without, but rugged within).
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Restrain your mind in the cavity of your heart, from its flight in pursuit of the perishable objects of enjoyment, either in this life, or in the next, which are so alluring to all men of common sense.
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Know yourself, as the self-same intellect, which shines as the sun throughout the universe; and illumines every object in nature, without any distinction of or partiality to one or the other.
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Know yourself O mighty Rama! to be the infinite spirit, and the transcendent soul of all bodies; which has manifested itself in manifold forms, that are as the bodies of the internal intellect.
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Know your soul as a thread, passing through, and interwoven with every thing in existence; and like a string connecting all the links of creation, as so many gems of a necklace or the beads of a rosary. (This hypostasis of the supreme spirit, is known as the sutratma or the all-connecting soul of the universe; as the poet expresses it: Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part, As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart. Pope).
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Know yourself as the unborn and embodied soul of viraj, which is never born nor ever dies; and never fall into the mistake of thinking the pure intellect, to be subject to birth or death. (The embodied soul of viraj, is the universal soul as what the poet says: "Whose body Nature is, and God the soul").
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Know your desires to be the causes of your birth, life, death and diseases; therefore shun your cupidity of enjoyments, and enjoy all things in the manner of the all witnessing intellect. (I.e. indulge yourself in your intellectual and not corporeal enjoyments).
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If you remain in the everlasting light of the sun of your intellect, you will come to find the phenomenal world to be but a phantom of your dream.
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Never regret nor sorrow for any thing, nor think of your pleasures and pains, which do not affect your soul; you are the pure intellect and the all pervading soul, which manifests itself in every thing.
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Know the desirables (or worldly enjoyments) to be your evils, and the undesirable (self-mortification) to be for your good. Therefore shun the former by your continued practice of the latter.
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By forsaking your views of the desirables and undesirables, you will contract a habit of hebetude; which when it takes a deep root in your heart, you have no more to be reborn in the world.
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Retract your mind from every thing, to which it runs like a boy after vain baubles; and settle it in yourself for your own good.
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Thus by restraining the mind by your best exertions, as also by your habit of self-control, you will subdue the rampant elephant of your mind, and reach to your highest bliss afterwards.
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Do not become as one of those ignorant fools, who believe their bodies as their real good; and who are infatuated by sophistry and infidelity, and deluded by impostors to the gratification of their sensual appetites.
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What man is more ignorant in this world and more subject to its evils, than one who derived his Spiritual knowledge from one who is a smatterer in theology, and relies on the dogmas of pretenders and false doctors in divinity.
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Do you dispel the cloud of false reasoning from the atmosphere of your mind, by the hurricane of our right reasoning, which drives all darkness before it.
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You can not be said to have your right reasoning, so long as you do not come to the light and sight of the soul, both by your own exertion and grace of the Supreme Spirit.
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It is by means of your self-culture, aided by my instruction and divine grace, that you have gained your perfect knowledge, and appear to rest yourself in the Supreme Spirit.
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There are three causes of your coming to spiritual light. Firstly your want of the knowledge of a duality, and then the effulgence of your intellectual luminary (thy soul) by the grace of God and lastly the wide extent of your knowledge derived from my instructions.
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You are now freed from your mental maladies, and have become sane and sound by abandonment of your desires, by removal of your doubts and errors, and by forsaking the mist of your fondness for external objects.
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O Rama! as you get rid of the faults (errors) of your understanding, so you advance by degrees in gaining your knowledge, in cherishing your resignation, in destroying your defects, in imbibing the bliss of ecstacy, in wandering with exultation, and in elevating your soul to the sixth sphere. But all this is not enough unless you attend to Brahmahood itself. (These are called the Sapta bhumika or seven stages of the practice of Yoga).