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 L - Intentions of rama

Argument. On subjection of the mind and greatness of knowledge;and stoutness of the heart as the cause of all evil.

Vasishtha continued:—

Know Rama, this delusion to be as extensive in its form, as it is inexplicable in its nature;it is fraught with ignorance; it is a spiritual illusion and no sensible deception.

2. Look on the one hand at the erroneous dream of the Brahman for a couple of hours, and his transformation into the state of Chandala which lasted for many years.

3. Observe how the false conception of the Brahman, appeared as present to his sensible perception; and see how the false thought appeared as true to him, and his true knowledge of him-self vanishing at last into untruth.

4. I say therefore this illusion, to be utterly inexplicable in its nature; and how it leads the unguarded mind, to a great many errors and difficulties and dangers at last.

5. Rama asked:—How Sir, can we put a stop to the wheel of delusion, which by its rapid rotation, is constantly grinding every part of our body? (Figuratively used for every good quality of the mind. Gloss).

Vasishtha said:—

6. Know Rama, this revolving world is the wheel of delusion, and the human heart is the nave or axis of this great wheel;which by its continual rotation produces all this delusion within its circle.

7. If you can by means of your manly exertion, put a stop to the motion of your heart, as it were by fixing a peg to the loop-hole of the wheel, you stop the rotation of the circle of delusion at once.

8. Again the mind is the nave of the wheel of ignorance; and if you can stop its motion, by binding it fast by the rope of your good sense; you escape the danger of falling into the vortiginous rotation of errors.

9. Rama, you are well skilled in the art of fighting by hurling the discus, and cannot be ignorant of preventing its motion by stopping it at the central hole.

10. Therefore, O Rama! be diligent to stop the nave of your mind; and you will be enabled thereby to preserve yourself, both from the revolution of the world and vicissitudes of time.

11. The soul that rejects this counsel, is exposed to interminable misery; while by keeping it always before the sight of the mind, it avoids all difficulties in this world.

12. There is no other medicine for any body, to heal the disease of his worldliness, save by restraining the mind to its own pivot.

13. Forsake therefore, O Rama! your acts of holy pilgrimage, and observance of austerity and charity (which are of no avail to the peace of the soul); but keep the mind under your control, for attainment of your supreme felicity.

14. The world is situated in the mind, as the air is confined in a pot;but the mind being restricted to itself, the world is lost to it; as the pot just broken, lets out the air to mix in endless vacuity.

15. You who are for ever confined in the imaginary world of your mind, like a gnat confined in the hollow of a pot; will get your release only by breaking out of this confinement, like the gnat flying into the open air.

16. The way to get rid of the delusions of the mind, is to fix your attention only to the present moment; and not to employ your thoughts about the past and future events. (This will keep your attention close to yourself).

17. You will then arrive to the state of that holy unmindfulness called nonchalance, when you cease to pursue at once any of the objects of your desire or imagination.

18. The mind is obscured so long, as it has the mist of its desires and fancies flying over it; as the sky is overcast as long as the watery clouds overspread upon it.

19. As long as the intelligent soul is joined with the faculty of the mind, so long it is subject to its gross desires and thickening train of its fancies; as the sky is filled with bright moon-beams as long as the moon shines in it. (I.e. as there is no moon-light without the moon, so there is no fancy without the mind, nor is there any mind which is devoid of its fancies).

20. When the intelligent soul is known without the medium of the mind (i.e. when the soul is seen face to face) then the existence of the world, is rooted out from the mind, like trees burnt down to their roots.

21. Intelligence unappertaining to the mind, is called perspicacity (pratyak chetana);which is of a nature unconnected with intellectuality, and freed from the foulness of the fumes of fancy. (I.e. quite clear of all mental thought).

22. That is verily the state of truth and of true felicity. It is the true state of spirituality, and a manner of omniscience; having all-sightedness of its own, and seeing all things in itself. It is quite unconnected with any mental operation, and is enlightened by the light of the spirit.

23. Whenever there is the action of the mind, it is invariably accompanied with the train of desires and the sense of pleasure and pain; and the feelings and passions are its concomitants, as the ravens are accompaniments of the burning ground. (The mind is the sensorium of feelings).

24. The minds of the intelligent are not, without their action, but they are aloof of those feelings, by their knowledge of the vanity of earthly things. And though these feelings are contained like plants in the seed vessel of their mind; yet they are not allowed to germinate in its sterile soil.

25. They (the wise), have come to know the unsubstantiality and uncertainty of all worldly things and events, both by their knowledge of the natures of things; and by means of their acquaintance with the sastras; as also by their association with holy men, and their habitual observance of the practices of a pious and saintly life.

26. They have forcibly withdrawn their minds from ignorance, by their determined exertions to gain the true knowledge of things; and have strenuously applied them to the study of sastras, and the good conduct of righteous people.

27. But it is the purity of the soul only, that has the sight of the Supreme spirit; as it is the brilliancy of the gem itself, that makes it discernable amidst the waters of the deep, and enables it to be redeemed from darkness. (I.e. human soul being a reflexion of the Supreme, lends its light to the vision of the other).

28. As the soul naturally desires to get rid of things, which it has come to know to be attended with pain to it; so the soul is the sole cause of knowing the Supreme (by its discarding the knowledge of the gross objects, which interposes between it and the Divine;and obstructs the view of the latter).

29. Be therefore freed from your thoughts of all other things, both in your waking and sleeping states, and when you talk to or think of any body, give or receive anything to or from another. Rely and reflect on your consciousness alone, and watch constantly its secret admonitions and intuitions.

30. Whether when you are born or going to die, or do anything or live in this world, be steadily attentive to your conscious self, and you will perceive the clear light of the soul (and have your clairvoyance).

31. Leave off thinking that this is I and that is another, because all are alike before the Lord of all; and give up wishing this for thyself and that for others, for all things belong to God. Rely solely on the one, and that is thy internal consciousness alone.

32. Be of one mind in your present and future states of life, and continue to investigate into its various phases in your own consciousness. (I.e. know yourself in all the varying circumstances of your life).

33. In all the changes of your life from boyhood to youth and old age, and amidst all its changing scenes of prosperity and adversity, as also in the states of your waking, dreaming and sound sleep, remain faithful to your consciousness. (I.e. never lose the knowledge of your self-identity (as the one and unchanging soul)).

34. Melt down your mind as a metal, and purify it of its dross of the knowledge or impression of external things; break off the snare of your desires and depend on your consciousness of yourself.

35. Get rid of the disease of your desire, of whatever is marked as good or bad for you; and turn your sight from all, which may appear as favourable or unfavourable to you; and rely on your consciousness of pure intelligence. (This is having perfect mastery of yourself).

36. Leave untouched whatever is tangible to the touch, and obtainable to you by your agency or instrumentality; remain unchanged and unsupported by any thing in the world, and depend only on your own consciousness (as the intangible spirit).

37. Think yourself as sleeping when you are awake, and remain as calm and quiet as you are insensible of any thing; think yourself as all and alone, and as instinct with the Supreme Spirit.

38. Think yourself free from the changing and unchanging states of life

(i.e. from the states of life and death and of waking and sleep);and though engaged in business, think yourself as disengaged from all concerns.

39. Forsake the feelings of your egoism and nonegoism (as this is mine and that is others); and be undivided from the rest of the world, by thinking yourself as the macrocosm of the cosmos, and support yourself on the adamantine rock of your consciousness, by remaining unshaken at all events.

40. Continue to cut off the meshes of the net of your internal desires, by the agency of your intellect and its helpmate of patience; and be of the profession of belonging to no profession; (of any particular faith or creed or calling).

41. The sweet taste of trusting in the true faith of consciousness, converts even the poison of false faiths to ambrosia: (i.e. Belief in soul is the soul of all creeds).

42. It is then only, that the great error of taking the false world for true, prevails over the mind; when it forgets to remember the pure and undivided self-consciousness (and takes the outward forms for true).

43. Again the progress of the great error, of the substantiality of the world, is then put to an end; when the mind relies its trust, in the immaculate and undivided consciousness or intelligence.

44. One who has passed over the great gulf of his desires, and known the true nature of his soul; has his consciousness shining within himself, with the full blaze of the luminous sun.

45. One who knows the nature of his soul, and is settled in the transcendental bliss of knowing the peerless One; finds the most nectarious food as a poison to him. (I.e. the taste of spiritual bliss, is sweeter far than that of the daintiest food).

46. We revere those men, who have known the nature of the soul, and have reached to their spiritual state; and know the rest bearing the name of men, as no better than asses in human shape.

47. Behold the devotees going from hill to hill, and roving like bigbodied elephants, for the performance of their devotions; but they are far below the spiritualist, who sits as high above them as on the top of the mountain.

48. The heavenward sight of consciousness, reaching beyond the limits of all regions to the unseen and invisible God; derives no help from the light of the sun and moon (which can never reach so far, as the highest empyrean).

49. The lights of the luminaries fade away like candle lights, before the sight of consciousness; which sees the great lights of the sun and moon and all, within the compass of its knowledge.

50. He who has known the truth of God, stands highest above the rest of men, by reason of his self-sacrifice, and the greatness of his soul, by means of his practice of yoga; and is distinguished from others by the brightness of his person. (The eternal light shines in the body also).

51. Like Him whose effulgence shines forth unto us, in the lustre of the sun, moon, stars, gems and fire, the pre-eminent among men shine among mankind, in their knowledge of what is knowable, and worthy to be known. (The sapient shine with their knowledge, as luminous bodies before us).

52. Those that are ignorant of truth (or the true natures of things), are known to be viler than the asses, and other brute creatures that live upon the land; and are meaner than the mean insects that dwell in the holes beneath the earth. (Knowledge of truth ennobles man-kind, above their fellow-creatures).

53. So long is an embodied being said to be a devil of darkness, as he is ignorant of spiritual knowledge, but no sooner is he acquainted with his soul, and united with his self in his intellection, than he is recognized as a spiritual being.

54. The unspiritual man is tossed about on earth as a carcass, and is consumed with the fuel of his cares, as a dead body is burnt away by the flames of its funeral fire; but the spiritualist knowing the nature of his soul, is only sensible of his immortality.

55. Spiritualism flies afar from the man, whose heart is hardened in this world; just as the glory of sunshine, is lost under the shadow of the thickening clouds in the sky.

56. Therefore the mind is to be gradually curbed and contracted in itself, by a dislike of all earthly enjoyments; and the knower of his self should try by long practice of abstinence, to desiccate his spirit of its moisture, to the dryness of a faded leaf.

57. The mind is thickened and fattened by consolidating itself with those of others; and staining it with the affections, of wife and those of offspring, relations and friends.

58. The passions and feelings also are often the causes, of the solidity and stolidity of the mind; and these are its egotism and selfishness, gaiety and impurity of thoughts, and its changing tempers and affections. But most of all it is the sense of meity that this is mine, that nourishes it to gross density. (The mind is puffed up with the increase of possessions).

59. The mind is swollen on coming to prosperity, even under the deadly pains of old age and infirmity; as also under the poisonous pangs of penury and miserliness. (Stinginess is a painful pleasure).

60. The mind grows lusty in its expectation of some good in prospect, even under the afflictions of disease and danger. It grows stout with enduring what is intolerable, and doing what ought not to be done.

61. The heart too becomes stout with its affection for others, and also with its desire and gain of riches and jewels; it becomes lusty with its craving after women, and in having whatever is pleasant to it for the moment.

62. The heart like a snake, is big swollen with feeding on false hopes as air; and by breathing the empty air of passing delights and pleasures. It is pampered by drinking the liquor of fleeting hope, and moves about in the course of its endless expectations.

63. The heart is stanch in its enjoyment of pleasures, however injurious they are in their nature;and though situated inside the body, yet it is subject to pine in disease and uneasiness, under a variety of pains and changes.

64. There grows in the heart of the body, as in the hollow of a tree, a multitude of thoughts like a clump of orchids; and these bearing the budding blossoms of hope and desire, hung down with the fruits and flowers of death and disease.

65. Delay not to lop off the huge trunk of the poisonous tree of avarice, which has risen as high as a hill in the cavity of thy heart, with the sharp saw of thy reason; nor defer to put off the big branch of thy hope, and prune its leaves of desires, without the least delay.

66. The elephantine heart sits with its infuriate eyes, in the solitary recess of the body; and is equally fond of its ease as of its carnal gratification: it longs to look at the lotus bed of the learned, as also to meet a field of sugarcanes composed of fools and dunces.

67. Rama! you should, like a lion, the monarch of the forest, destroy your elephantine heart which is seated amidst the wilderness of your body, by the sharp saws of your understanding;and break the protruding tusks of its passions, in the same manner as they break down all big bodies.

68. Drive away the crow-like ravenous heart, from within the nest of your bosom. It is fond of frequenting filthy places, as the ravens hover over funeral grounds, and crows squat in dirty spots, and fatten their bodies by feeding on the flesh of all rotten carcasses. It is cunning in its craft and too cruel in its acts. It uses the lips like the bills of the crow only to hurt others, and is one-eyed as the crow, looking only to its own selfish interest; it is black all over its body for its black purposes and deeds.

69. Drive afar your ravenlike heart, sitting heavy on the tree of your soul, intent on its wicked purposes, and grating the ear with its jarring sound. It flutters on all sides at the scent of putrid bodies, to pollute its nest with foul putrescence of evil intents.

70. Again there is the pernicious hideous demon—avarice, roving at large like a goblin, or lurking in ambush in the dark cavity of the heart, as in a dreary desert. It assumes a hundred forms, and appears in a hundred shapes (in repeated births), pursuing their wonted courses in darkness (without any knowledge of themselves and their right course).

71. Unless and until you drive away this wicked goblin of your heart, from the abode of your intelligent soul (i.e. the body) by means of your discrimination and dispassionateness, and your power of mantras and tantras, you cannot expect to be successful (siddha) in your endeavours. (For perfection [Sanskrit: siddhi] Siddhi).

72. Moreover there is the serpentine mind, hid under the slough of the body; which with its poisonous thoughts, frothing at the mouth as the destructive venom of mankind, is continually breathing in and out as a pair of bellows, and inhaling and exhaling the air as a snake, for the destruction of all other persons.

73. You must subdue, O Rama, this great serpent of the mind, lying hid in a cell of the cellular simal tree of your body, by some mantra formula, pronounced by the Garuda of your intelligence; and thus be free from all fear and danger for ever.

74. Repress, O Rama! thy vulture-like heart, that bears an ominous figure by its insatiate greediness for dead bodies; it flies about on all sides and being annoyed by the hungry crows and kites, it rests in desolate cemeteries. (The greedy mind dwells on the ruin of others).

75. It ransacks all quarters in quest of its meat of living and dead bodies, and lifts its neck to watch for its prey, when it is sitting silently with patience. The vulturous heart flies afar from its resting tree of the body, and requires to be restrained with diligence from its flight.

76. Again the apish mind is wandering through the woods on all sides, and passing fastly beyond the limits of its natal horizon in search of fruits; it outruns the bounds of its native land and country, and thus being bound to nowhere, he derides at the multitude, that are bound to their homely toil, and confined in their native clime and soil.

77. The big monkey of the mind that sports on the tree of the body, with its eyes and nose as the flowers of the tree, and having the arms for its boughs, and the fingers for its leaves, ought to be checked for one's success in any thing.

78. The illusion of the mind rises like a cloud with the mists of error, for laying waste the good harvest of spiritual knowledge. It flashes forth lightning from its mouth to burn down every thing and not to give light on the way: its showers are injurious to ripened crops, and it opens the door of desire (to plunge the boat of the body in the whirlpool of the world).

79. Forsake to seek the objects of your desire, which are situated in the airy region of your mind; and exert your energy to drive off the cloud of your mind, in order to obtain the great object of your aim.

80. The mind is as a long rope, that binds mankind to their incessant acts. It is impossible to break or burn its knots in any other way except by means of one's self-knowledge. Its bond of transmigration is painful to all, until they obtain their final emancipation.

81. Break boldly, O Rama! by the instrumentality of your inappetency the bondage of your mind, that binds fast in infinite number of bodies to the chain of their transmigration; and enjoy your freedom without any fear for evermore.

82. Know avarice as a venomous snake, which destroys its votaries by the poison of its breath, and never yields to the good counsel of any body.

It is this serpent that has ruined mankind, by its deceit and by laying in wait for its prey, it emaciates the body to a stick.

83. Avarice which is hid in the body, and lurks unseen in its cells, is as a dark cobra or hydra in its form; it is to be burnt to death by the fire of lukewarmness, for your safety and security from all evil.

84. Now put your heart to rest by the intelligence of your mind, and gird yourself with the armour of purity for your defence; forsake your fickle-mindedness for ever, and remain as a tree uninfested by the apes of passion.

85. Purify both your body and mind with the sanctity of your soul, and be dauntless and quiet by the aid of your intelligence and calm composure of your intellect. Think yourself as lighter and meaner than a straw, and thus enjoy the sweets of this world by going across it to the state of beatitude in this life.