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 LI - Desire of uddalaka

Argument, Uddalaka's struggle for Liberation, amidst all his worldly attachments.

Vasishtha said:—

Rely no confidence, O Rama! in the course of the mind, which is sometimes continuous and sometimes momentary, now even and flat and then sharp and acute, and often as treacherous as the edge of a razor.

2. As it occurs in the course of a long time, that the germ of intelligence comes to sprout forth in the field of the mind; so do you, O Rama! who are a moralist, grow it by sprinkling the cold water of reason over its tender blades.

3. As long as the body of the plant does not fade away in course of time, nor roll upon the ground as the decayed and dead body of man; so long should you hold it up upon the prop of reason (i.e. cultivate your knowledge in your youth).

4. Knowing the truth of my sayings, and pondering on the deep sense of these sayings of mine, you will get a delight in your inmost soul, as the serpent killing peacock, is ravished at the deep roaring of raining clouds.

5. Do you, like the sage Uddalaka, shake off your knowledge of quintuple materiality as the cause of all creation, and accustom yourself to think deeper, and on the prime cause of causes by your patient inquiry and reasoning.

6. Rama requested:—Tell me sir, in what way the sagely Uddalaka got rid of his thoughts of the quintessential creation, and penetrated deeper into the original cause of all, by the force and process of his reasoning.

Vasishtha replied:—

7. Learn Rama, how the sage Uddalaka of old, rose higher from his investigation of quintuple matter to his inquiry into their cause, and the manner in which that transcendent light dawned upon his mind.

8. It was in some spacious corner of the old mansion of this world, and on the northwest side of this land, a spot of rugged hills and overtopping it as a shed.

9. Among these stood the high hill of Gandhamadana with a table land on it, which was full of camphor arbours, that shed the odours of their flowers and pistils continually on the ground.

10. This spot was frequented by birds of variegated hues, and filled with plants of various kinds. Its banks were beset by wild beasts, and fraught with flowers shining smilingly over the woodland scene.

11. There were the bright swelling gems in some part of it, and the blooming and full blown lotuses on another; some parts of it were veiled by tufts of snow, and crystal streams gliding as glassy mirrors on others.

12. Here on the elevated top a big cliff of this hill, which was studded with sarala trees, and strewn over with flowers up to the heels, and shaded by the cooling umbrage of lofty trees:—

13. There lived the silent sage by name of Uddalaka, a youth of a great mind, and with high sense of his honour. He had not yet attained his maturity, ere he betook himself to the course of his rigorous austerity.

14. On the first development of his intellect, he had the light of reason dawning upon his mind; and he was awakened to noble aims and expectations, instead of arriving at the state of rest and quietude.

15. As he went on in this manner in his course of austerities, religious studies and observance of his holy rites and duties, the genius of right reason appeared before him, as the new year presents itself before the face of the world.

16. He then began to cogitate in himself in the following manner, sitting aside as he was in his solitude, weary with thoughts and terrified at the ever changing state of the world.

17. What is that best of gains, said he, which being once obtained, there is nothing more to be expected to lead us to our rest, and which being once had, we have no more to do with our transmigrations in this world?

18. When shall I find my permanent rest in that state of holy and transcendent thoughtlessness, and remain above all the rest, as a cloud rests over the top of the Sumeru mountain, or as the polar star stands above the pole without changing its pace.

19. When will my tumultuous desires of worldly aggrandizement, merge in peaceful tranquillity; as the loose, loud and boisterous waves and billows subside in the sea?

20. When will the placid and unstirred composure of my mind, smile in secret within myself, to reflect on the wishes of mankind, that they will do this thing after they have done the other, which leads them interminably in the circuit of their misery.

21. When will my mind be loosened from its noose of desire, and when shall I remain unattached to all, as a dew drop on the lotus-leaf? (It is called anasanga sango or intangible connection).

22. When shall I get over the boisterous sea of my fickle desires, by means of the raft of my good understanding?

23. When shall I laugh to scorn, the foolish actions of worldly people, as the silly play of children?

24. When will my mind get rid of its desire and dislike and cease to swing to and fro in the cradle of its option and caprice; and return to its steadiness, as a madman is calmed after the fit of his delirium has passed away?

25. When shall I receive my spiritual and luminous body, and deride the course of the world; and have my internal satisfaction within myself, like the all knowing and all sufficient spirit of Virat?

26. With internal equanimity and serenity of the soul, and indifference to external objects, when shall I obtain my calm quietness, like the sea after its release from churning?

27. When shall I behold the fixed scene of the world before me, as it is visible in my dream, and keep myself aloof from the same? (as no part of it).

28. When shall I view the inner and outer worlds, in the light of a fixed picture in the sight of my imagination; and when shall I meditate on the whole in the light of an intellectual system?

29. Ah! when shall I have the calmness of my mind and soul, and become a perfectly intellectual being myself; when shall I have that supernatural light in me, which enlightens the internal eye of those that are born blind?

30. When will the sunshine of my meditation, show unto me the pure light of my intellect, whereby I may see the objects at a distance, as I perceive the parts of time in myself.

31. When shall I be freed from my exertion and inertness, towards the objects of my desire and dislike; and when shall I get my self-satisfaction in my state of self-illumination.

32. When will this long and dark night of my ignorance come to its end? It is infested by my faults fluttering as the boding birds of night, and infected with frost withering the lotus of my heart (hrid-padma),

33. When shall I become like a cold clod of stone, in the cavern of a mountain, and have the calm coolness of my mind by an invariable samadhi—comatosity.

34. When will the elephant of my pride, which is ever giddy with its greatness, become a prey to the lion of right understanding.

35. When will the little birds of the forest, build their nest of grass in the braids of hair upon my head; when I remain fixed in my unalterable meditation, in my state of silence and torpidity.

36. And when will the birds of the air rest fearlessly on my bosom, as they do on the tops of fixed rocks, upon finding me sitting transfixed in my meditation, and as immovable as a rock.

37. Ah! when shall I pass over this lake of the world, wherein my desires and passions, are as the weeds and thorny brambles, and obstructing my passage to its borders of felicity.

38. Immerged in these and the like reflections, the twice-born Uddalaka sat in his meditation amidst the forest.

39. But as his apish ficklemindedness turned towards sensible objects in different ways, he did not obtain the state of habitation which could render him happy.

40. Sometimes his apish mind turned away from leaning to external objects, and pursued with eagerness the realities of the internal world or intellectual verities (known as satvikas).

41. At others his fickle mind, departed from the intangible things of the inner or intellectual world; and, returned with fondness to outer objects, which are mixed with poison.

42. He often beheld the sunlight of spirituality rising within himself, and as often turned away his mind from that golden prospect, to the sight of gross objects.

43. Leaving the soul in the gloom of internal darkness, the licentious mind flies as fast as a bird, to the objects of sense abroad.

44. Thus turning by turns from the inner to the outer world, and then from this to that again; his mind found its rest in the intermediate space, lying between the light of the one and darkness of the other.

(I.e. in the twilight of indifference to both).

45. Being thus perplexed in his mind, the meditative Brahman remained in his exalted cavern, like a lofty tree shaken to and fro by the beating tempest.

46. He continued in his meditation as a man of fixed attention, at the time of an impending danger;and his body shook to and fro, as it was moved forward and backward by the tiny waves splashing on the bank.

47. Thus unsettled in his mind, the sage sauntered about the hill; as the god of day makes his daily round, about the polar mountain in his lonely course.

48. Wandering in this manner, he once observed a cavern, which was beyond the reach of all living beings; and was as quiet and still, as the liberated state of an anchorite.

49. It was not disturbed by the winds, nor frequented by birds and beasts; it was unseen by the gods and Gandharvas, and was as lightsome as the bright concave of heaven.

50. It was covered with heaps of flowers, and was spread over with a coverlet of green and tender grass; and being overlaid by a layer of moonstones, it seemed to have its floor of emerald.

51. It afforded a cool and congenial shade, emblazoned by the mild light of the bright gems in its bosom; and appeared to be the secret haunt of woodland goddesses, that chanced to sport therein.

52. The light of the gems that spread over the ground, was neither too hot nor too cold;but resembled the golden rays of the rising sun in autumn.

53. This cave appeared as a new bride decked with flowers, and holding a wreathed garland in her hand; with her countenance fading under the light of the gemming lamps, and fanned by the soft whistling of winds.

54. It was as the abode of tranquillity, and the resting place of the lord of creation; it was charming by the variety of its blooming blossoms, and was as soft and mild as the cell of the lotus (which is the abode of the lotus-born Brahma).