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 XXXVI - Hymn to the soul

Argument. Prahlada getting the light of his internal soul, delights himself as one in the company of his sweet-heart.

Prahlada continued:—

1. I thank thee, O lord and great spirit! that art beyond all things, and art found in myself by my good fortune.

2. I have no other friend, O my Lord, in the three worlds except thee; that dost vouchsafe to embrace and look upon me, when I pray unto thee.

3. It is thou that preservest and destroyest all, and givest all things to every body; and it is thou, that makest us move and work, and praise thy holy name. Now art thou found and seen by me, and now thou goest away from me.

4. Thou fillest all being in the world with thy essence;thou art present in all places, but where art thou now fled and gone from me?

5. Great is the distance between us, even as the distance of the places of our birth, it is my good fortune of friend! that has brought thee near me today, and presented thee to my sight (so fleeting is spiritual vision).

6. I hail thee, thou felicitous one! that art my maker and preserver also; I thank thee that art the stalk of this fruit of this world, and that art the eternal and pure soul of all.

7. I thank the holder of the lotus and discus, and thee also that bearest the crescent half moon on thy forehead—great Siva. I thank the lord of gods—Indra, and Brahma also, that is born of the lotus.

8. It is a verbal usage that makes a distinction betwixt thee and ourselves (i.e. between the Divine and animal souls); but this is a false impression as that of the difference between waves and their elemental water.

9. Thou showest thyself in the shapes of the endless varieties of beings, and existence and extinction are the two states of thyself from all eternity.

10. I thank thee that art the creator and beholder of all, and the manifester of innumerable forms. I thank thee that art the whole nature thyself.

11. I have undergone many tribulations in the long course of past lives, and it was by thy will that I became bereft of my strength, and was burnt away at last.

12. I have beheld the luminous worlds, and observed many visible and invisible things; but thou art not to be found in them. So I have gained nothing (from my observations).

13. All things composed of earth, stone and wood, are formations of water (the form of Vishnu), there is nothing here, that is permanent, O god, beside thyself. Thou being obtained there is nothing else to desire.

14. I thank thee lord! that art obtained, seen and known by me this day;and that shalt be so preserved by me, as never to be obliterated (from my mind).

15. Thy bright form which is interwoven by the rays of light, is visible to us by inversion of the sight of the pupils of our eyes, into the inmost recesses of our heart.

16. As the feeling of heat and cold is perceived by touch, and as the fragrance of the flower is felt in the oil with which it is mixed; so I feel thy presence by thy coming in contact with my heart.

17. As the sound of music enters into the heart through the ears, and makes the heart strings to thrill, and the hairs of the body to stand at an end; so is thy presence perceived in our hearts also.

18. As the objects of taste are felt by the tip of the tongue, which conveys their relish to the mind; so is thy presence felt by my heart, when thou touchest it with thy love.

19. How can one slight to look and lay hold on his inner soul which shoots through every sense of his body; when he takes up a sweet scenting flower, perceptible by the sense of smelling only, and finally decorating his outer person with it.

20. How can the supreme spirit, which is well known to us by means of the teachings of the Vedas, Vedanta, Sidhantas and the Puranas, as also by the Logic of schools and the hymns of the Vedas, be any way forgotten by us?

21. These things which are pleasant to the bodily senses, do not gladden my heart, when it is filled by thy translucent presence.

22. It is by thy effulgent light, that the sun shines so bright;as it is by thy benign lustre also, that the moon dispenses her cooling beams.

23. Thou hast made these bulky rocks, and upheld the heavenly bodies;thou hast supported the stable earth, and lifted the spacious firmament.

24. Fortunately thou hast become myself, and I have become one with thyself, I am identic with thee and thou with me, and there is no difference between us.

25. I thank the great spirit, that is expressed by turns by the words myself and thyself; and mine and thine.

26. I thank the infinite God, that dwells in my unegoistic mind; and I thank the formless Lord, that dwells in my tranquil soul.

27. Thou dwellest, O Lord! in my formless, tranquil, transparent and conscious soul, as thou residest in thy own spirit, which is unbounded by the limitations of time and space.

28. It is by thee that the mind has its action, and the senses have their sensations; the body has all its powers, and the vital and respirative breaths have their inflations and afflations.

29. The organs of the body are led by the rope of desire to their several actions, and being united with flesh, blood and bones, are driven like the wheels of a car by the charioteer of the mind.

30. I am the consciousness of my body, and am neither the body itself nor my egoism of it; let it therefore rise or fall, it is of no advantage or disadvantage to me.

31. I was born in the same time with my ego (as a personal, corporeal and sensible being); and it was long afterwards that I had the knowledge of my soul; I had my insensibility last of all, in the manner of the world approaching to its dissolution at the end.

32. Long have I travelled in the long-some journey of the world;I am weary with fatigue and now rest in quiet, like the cooling fire of the last conflagration. (I.e. of the doomsday).

33. I thank the Lord who is all (to pan), and yet without all and everything; and thee my soul! that art myself likewise. I thank thee above those sastras and preceptors, that teach the ego and tu (i.e. the subjective and objective).

34. I hail the all witnessing power of that providential spirit, that has made these ample and endless provisions for others, without touching or enjoying them itself.

35. Thou art the spirit that dwellest in all bodies in the form of the fragrance of flowers, and in the manner of breath in bellows; and as the oil resides in the sesamum seeds.

36. How wonderful is this magic scene of thine, that thou appearest in everything, and preservest and destroyest it at last, without having any personality of thy own.

37. Thou makest my soul rejoice at one time as a lighted lamp, by manifesting all things before it; and thou makest it joyous also, when it is extinguished as a lamp, after its enjoyment of the visibles.

38. This universal frame is situated in an atom of thyself, as the big banian tree is contained in the embryo of a grain of its fig.

39. Thou art seen, O lord, in a thousand forms that glide under our sight; in the same manner as the various forms of elephants and horses, cars and other things are seen in the passing clouds on the sky.

40. Thou art both the existence and absence of all things, that are either present or lost to our view; yet thou art quite apart from all worldly existences, and art aloof from all entities and non-entities in the world.

41. Forsake, O my soul! the pride and anger of thy mind, and all the foulness and wiliness of thy heart; because the high-minded never fall into the faults and errors of the common people.

42. Think over and over on the actions of thy past life, and the long series of thy wicked acts; and then with a sigh blush to think upon what thou hadst been before, and cease to do such acts anymore.

43. The bustle of thy life is past, and thy bad days have gone away; when thou wast wrapt in the net of thy tangled thoughts on all sides.

44. Now thou art a monarch in the city of thy body, and hast the desire of thy mind presented before thee; thou art set beyond the reach of pleasure and pain, and art as free as the air which nobody can grasp.

45. As thou hast now subdued the untractable horses of thy bodily organs, and the indomitable elephant of thy mind; and as thou hast crushed thy enemy of worldly enjoyment, so dost thou now reign as the sole sovereign, over the empire of thy body and mind.

46. Thou art now become as the glorious sun, to shine within and without us day by day; and dost traverse the unlimited fields of air, by thy continued rising and setting at every place in our meditation of thee.

47. Thou Lord! art ever asleep, and risest also by thy own power; and then thou lookest on the luxuriant world, as a lover looks on his beloved.

48. These luxuries like honey, are brought from great distances by the bees of the bodily organs; and the spirit tastes the sweets, by looking upon them through the windows of its eyes. (The spirit enjoys the sweets of offerings, by means of its internal senses).

49. The seat of the intellectual world in the cranium is always dark, and a path is made in it by the breathings of inspiration and respiration (pranapana), which lead the soul to the sight of Brahma (lit.: to the city of Brahma. This is done by the practice of pranayama).

50. Thou Lord! art the odour of this flower-like body of thine, and thou art the nectarious juice of thy moonlike frame, the moisture of this bodily tree, and thou art the coolness of its cold humours: phlegm and cough.

51. Thou art the juice, milk and butter, that support the body, and thou being gone (O soul!), the body is dried up and become as full to feed the fire.

52. Thou art the flavour of fruits, and the light of all luminous bodies; it is thou that perceivest and knowest all things, and givest light to the visual organ of sight.

53. Thou art the vibration of the wind, and the force of our elephantine minds; and so art thou the acuteness of the flame of our intelligence.

54. It is thou that givest us the gift of speech, and dost stop our breath, and makest it break forth again on occasions. (Speech—Vach—vox in the feminine gender, is made Vacha by affix a according to Bhaguri).

55. All these various series of worldly productions, bear the same relation to thee, as the varieties of jewelleries (such as the bracelets and wristlets); are related to the gold (of which they are made).

56. Thou art called by the words I, thou, he &c., and it is thyself that callest thyself such as it pleaseth thee. (The impersonal God is represented in different persons).

57. Thou art seen in the appearances of all the productions of nature, as we see the forms of men, horses and elephants in the clouds, when they glide softly on the wings of the gentle winds. (But as all these forms are unreal, so God has no form in reality).

58. Thou dost invariably show thyself in all thy creatures on earth, the blazing fire presents the figures of horses and elephants in its lambent flames. (Neither has God nor fire any form at all).

59. Thou art the unbroken thread, by which the orbs of worlds are strung together as a rosary of pearls; and thou art the field that growest the harvest of creation, by the moisture of thy intellect. (The divine spirit stretches through all, and contains the pith of creation).

60. Things that were inexistent and unproduced before creation, have come to light from their hidden state of reality by thy agency, as the flavour of meat-food, becomes evident by the process of cooking.[1]

61. The beauties of existences are imperceptible without the soul; as the graces of a beauty are not apparent to one devoid of his eyesight.

62. All substances are nothing whatever without thy inherence in them;as the reflection of the face in the mirror (or a picture in painting), is to no purpose without the real face or figure of the person.

63. Without thee the body is a lifeless mass, like a block of wood or stone; and it is imperceptible without the soul, as the shadow of a tree in absence of the sun.

64. The succession of pain and pleasure, ceases to be felt by one who feels thee within himself; as the shades of darkness, the twinkling of stars, and the coldness of frost, cease to exist in the bright sunlight.

65. It is by a glance of thy eye, that the feelings of pain and pleasure rise in the mind; as it is by the beams of the rising sun, that the sky is tinged with its variegated hues.

66. Living beings perish in a moment, at the privation of thy presence; as the burning lamp is extinguished to darkness, at the extinction of its light. (Light and life are synonymous terms, as death and darkness are homonyms).

67. As the gloom of darkness is conspicuous at the want of light;but coming in contact with light, it vanishes from view.[19]

[19] So there is but dead matter without the enlivening soul, and every thing is full of life with the soul inherent in it.

68. So the appearances of pain and pleasure, present themselves before the mind, during thy absence from it; but they vanish into nothing at the advance of thy light into it.

69. The temporary feelings of pleasure and pain, can find no room in the fulness of heavenly felicity (in the entranced mind); just as a minute moment of time, is of no account in the abyss of eternity.

70. The thoughts of pleasure and pain, are as the short-lived fancies of the fairy land or castles in air; they appear by turns at thy pleasure, but they disappear altogether no sooner thy form is seen in the mind.

71. It is by thy light in our visual organs, that things appear to sight at the moment of our waking, as they are reproduced into being; and it is by thy light also poured into our minds, that they are seen in our dream, as if they are all asleep in death.

72. What good can we derive from these false and transient appearances in nature? No one can string together the seeming lotuses that are formed by the foaming froth of the waves.

73. No substantial good can accrue to us from transitory mortal things;as no body can string together the transient flashes of lightning into a necklace. (This is in refutation of the usefulness of temporary objects maintained by the Saugatas).

74. Should the rationalist take the false ideas of pain and pleasure for sober realities; what distinction then can there be between them and the irrational realists (Buddhists).

75. Should you, like the Nominalist, take everything which bears a name for a real entity; I will tell you no more than that, you are too fond to give to imaginary things a fictitious name at your own will. (Gloss:—according to the ideas and desires of one's own mind, or giving a name to airy nothing).

76. But the soul is indivisible and without its desire and egoism, and whether it is a real substance or not we know nothing of, yet its agency is acknowledged on all hands in our bodily actions.

77. All joy be thine! that art boundless in thy spiritual body, and ever disposed to tranquillity; that art beyond the knowledge of the Vedas, and art yet the theme of all the sastras.

78. All joy to thee! that art both born and unborn with the body, and art decaying undecayed in thy nature; that art the unsubstantial substance of all qualities, and art known and unknown to every body.

79. I exult now and am calm again, I move and am still afterwards; I am victorious and live to win my liberation by thy grace;therefore I hail thee that art myself.

80. When thou art situated in me, my soul is freed from all troubles and feelings and passions; and is placed in perfect rest. There is no more any fear of danger or difficulty or of life and death, nor any craving for prosperity, when I am absorbed in everlasting bliss with thee.

Footnotes and references:


(I.e. as the work is known after it is worked out by the workman).