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 LIV - Quiescence of uddalaka

Argument. Uddalaka meditates on the form of Vishnu, and his quietus in and coalescence with it.

Vasishtha continued:—

Thinking himself to be raised to this state of his transcendence, the saint sat in his posture of padmasana with his half shut eye-lids, and began to meditate in his translucent mind.

2. He then thought that the syllable Om, is the true emblem of Brahma; and he rises to the highest state, who utters this monosyllabic word.

3. Then he uttered the word with an elevated voice and high note, which rang with a resonance like the ringing of a bell.

4. The utterance of his Omkara, shook the seat of his intellect in the cranium; and reached to the seat of the pure soul, in the topmost part of his head.

5. The pranava or Omkara, consisting of three and half matras or instants, fills the whole body with the breath of inspiration; by having its first part or the letter a, uttered with an acute accent (Udatta).

6. He let out the rechaka or the exhaling breath, whereby the internal air was extracted from the whole body; and it became as empty as the sea, after it was sucked up by Agastya.

7. His vital breath was filled with the sap of the intellect, and rested in the outer air by leaving his body; as when a bird leaves its snug nest; and then mounts to and floats in the open air.

8. The burning fire of his heart, burnt away his whole body; and left it as dry as a forest, scorched by the hot wind of a conflagration.

9. As he was in this state at the first step of his practice of Yoga, by the pranava or utterance of this syllable Om; he did not attend to the hatha Yoga at all, on account of its arduousness at first.

10. He then attended to the other parts of the mystic syllable, and remained unshaken by suppression of his breath by the kumbhaka breathing.

11. His vital breaths were not suffered to pass out of his body, nor were they allowed to circulate up and down in it; but were shut up in the nostrils, like the water pent up in the drain.

12. The fire burning before burnt body, was blown out in a moment like the flash of lightning; and he left his whole frame consumed to ashes, and lying cold and grey on the naked ground.

13. Here the white bones of his body, seemed to be sleeping unmoved on the naked shore; and lying in quiet rest on the bed of greyish ashes, appearing as the powder of camphor strewn on the ground.

14. These ashes and bones were borne aloft by the winds, and were heaped at last on his body; which looked like the person of Siva besmeared with ashes, and wearing the string of bones about it.

15. Afterwards the high winds of the air, flying to the face of the upper sky, bore aloft and scattered about those ashes and bones, resembling an autumnal mist all about the air.

16. The saint attained to this state, in the second or middle stage of his pranava Yoga; and it was by his kumbhaka breathing, and not by hatha yoga (which is difficult to practise), that he effected it.

17. He then came to the third stage, of his pranava yoga, by means of the puraka or inhaling breathing, which confers a quiet rest to the Yogi, and is called puraka for its fulfilment of his object.

18. In the process of this practice, the vital breath is carried through the intellect to the region of vacuum; where it is cooled by the coldness of its climate.

19. From the region of vacuum, the breathing ascended to that of the lunar sphere; and there it became as cold as when the rising smoke, turns to the watery cloud in the upper sky.

20. Then the breath rested in the orb of the full moon, as in the ocean of ambrosial waters, and there became as cool, as in the meritorious samadhi meditation.

21. The respiring breaths were then exhaled as cooling showers of rain; and were brightened by the moon-beams to the form of fine wires of gold.

22. The same fell as a dew drop on the remaining ashes, as the stream of the heavenly Ganga fell on the crest of Siva; and this resuscitated the burnt body to its former form.

23. It then became as bright as the orb of the moon, and the body was bedecked with the four arms of Vishnu. It glistened like the parijata tree on the sea shore, after it was churned out by the Mandara mountain.

24. The body of Uddalaka, stood confessed as that of Narayana to view; and his bright eyes and lotus-like face, shone with a celestial light.

25. The vital breaths filled his body with a humid juice, as when the lake is filled with sweet water, and the trees are supplied with moisture by the breath of spring.

26. The internal airs filled the lungs, and the cavity of the heart; as when the waters of the sea, run towards and roll into the whirlpool.

27. His body was afterwards restored to and regained its natural state;as when the earth regains its prior and purer state, after it is washed by the waters of rain.

28. He then sat in his posture of padmasana, and kept his body fixed and firm in its straight and erect position. The five organs of his sense, were bound as fast, as the feet of an elephant with strong chains.

29. He strove to practise an unshaken hibernation (samadhi), and wanted to make himself appear as translucent, as the clear autumnal sky and air.

30. He restrained his breath (by means of his pranayama or contraction of breathing), and the fleet stag of his respiration from its flight to all sides; and he restricted his heart from its inclinations, and fixed it fast as by a rope to the post of his bosom.

31. He stopped his heart forcibly, from its running madly to the pits of its affection; as they stop the course of over-flowing waters, by means of embankments.

32. His eyes were half hid under his closing eye-lids, and his pupils remained as fixed and unmoved, as the contracted petal of the lotus, against the buzzing bees, fluttering about and seeking to suck their honey.

33. He employed himself to Raja Yoga, at first, by remaining silent with a graceful countenance.

34. He abstracted his senses from their objects, as they separate the oil from the sesamum seeds; and he contracted the organs of sense within himself, as the tortoise contracts his limbs under his hard covering.

35. With his steady mind, he cast off the external sensations afar from him; as a rich and brilliant gem, casts off its outer coating and rubbish, and then scatters its rays to a distance.

36. He compressed his external sensations, without coming in contact with them within himself; as the trees contract their juice in the cold season within their rind.

37. He stopped the circulation of his respiration, to the nine openings of his body, and their passing through the mouth and anus; and by means of his kumbhaka inspiration, he compressed the winds in the internal cells of his body.

38. He held his neck erect like the peak of mount Meru, in order to receive the light of the soul; which irradiated in the form of flowers, before the vision of his mind.

39. He confined his subdued mind in the cavity of his heart, as they imprison the big elephant in a cavern of the Vindhya mountain;when they have brought him under their subjection by some artifice.

40. When his soul had gained its clearness, resembling the serenity of the autumnal sky; it forsook its unsteadiness like the calm ocean, when it is full and unagitated by the winds.

41. The mist of doubts, which sometimes gathered in his breast, and obscured the light of his reason and truth;now fled from before him, like a flight of gnats driven by the wind.

42. As yet the crowds of doubt, rose repeatedly in his breast, and of their own accord; he dispersed them boldly by the sword of his reason, as a hero drives the enemy before him.

43. Upon the dispersion of the thick mists of doubts, and all worldly desires from his mind; he beheld the bright sun of reason rising in his breast, from amidst the parting gloom of ignorance.

44. He dispelled this darkness, by the sun-beams of his full intelligence; which rose in his mind as a blast of wind, and dispersed the clouds of his doubts in the skies.

45. After dispersion of this darkness, he saw a beautiful collection of light, shining upon him like the morning twilight, and alighting upon his lotus bed, after dispersion of the shade of night. (This was his

satvikabhava or state of purity).

46. But this clear light of his soul, was soon after removed by the rajas or worldliness of his mind; which devoured it as the young elephant feeds upon the red lotuses of the land, (sthala padma), and as Vetala, goblins lick up the drops of blood.

47. After the loss of this heavenly light, his mind turned flighty from the giddiness of his passions (or tamoguna); and he became as drowsy as the sleeping lotuses at night, and as tipsy as a drunken sot over his cups.

48. But his reason soon returned to him, and made him shake off his sleepiness, as the winds disperse the clouds, and as the snake inhales the air; and as the elephant devours the lotus bush, and the sunlight dispels the darkness of night.

49. After removal of his drowsiness, his mind beheld the broad expanse of the blue firmament, filled with fancied forms of animals, and flights of peacocks and other birds.

50. When, as the rain water washes off the blackness of tamala leaves, and as a gust of wind drives away the morning mist, and as the light of a lamp disperses the darkness; so returned to him, his spiritual light, and removed the blue vacuum, of his mind, by filling it with its benign radiance.

51. The idea of an empty vacuity (vacuum), being replaced by that of his self consciousness, his idea of the mind was also absorbed in it; as the drunken frenzy of a man is drowned in his sleep.

52. His great soul, then rubbed out the impressions of error from his vitiated mind; as the luminous sun drives from the world, the shades of darkness which had overspread it at night.

53. In this manner his misty mind, being freed from its shades of light and darkness, and from the dross of its drowsiness and error; obtained its rest in that state of samadhi or trance, which no language can describe.

54. In this state of calm and quiet repose, his limbs dropped down as in the drowsiness of sleep; and their powers were absorbed in the channel of his self consciousness, as a flood recoils to its basin, when it is bound by an embankment.

55. It was then by means of his constant inquiry, that he advanced to the state of his intellectuality, from that of his consciousness of himself; as the gold that is moulded to the form of a jewel, is reduced afterwards to the pure metal only.

56. Then leaving his intellectuality, he thought himself as the intellect of his intellect; and then became of another form and figure, as when the clay is converted to a pot.

57. Then leaving his nature of a thinkable being (or objectivity), he became the subjective thinking intellect itself; and next to that, as identic with the pure universal intellect; just as the waves of the sea, resolve their globules into the common air. (It is by the process of generalization, that particulars are made to blend in one ultimate universal).

58. Losing the sight of particulars, he saw the Great One as the container of all; and then he became as one with the sole vacuous intellect.

59. He found his felicity in this extra phenomenal state of the noumenon; like the ocean, which is the reservoir of all moistures.

60. He passed out of the confines of his body and then went to a certain spot, where leaving his ordinary form, he became as a sea of joy (in the transport of his ecstacy).

61. His intellect swam over that sea of joy like a floating swan, and remained there for many years with as serene a lustre, as the moon shines in her fulness in the clear firmament.

62. It remained as still as a lamp in the breathless air, and as the shadow of a picture in painting; it was as calm as the clear lake without its waves, and as the sea after a storm, and as immovable as a cloud after it has poured out its waters.

63. As Uddalaka had been sitting in this full blaze of light, he beheld the aerial Siddhas and a group of gods (advancing towards him).

64. The groups of Siddhas, that were eager to confer the ranks of the Sun and Indra upon him, assembled around him with groups of Gandharvas and Apsaras, from all sides of heaven.

65. But the saint took no notice of them, nor gave them their due honour; but remained in deep thought, and in the continuance of his steady meditation.

66. Without paying any regard to the assemblage of the Siddhas, he remained still in that blissful abode of his bliss; as the sun remains in the solstices, or in the northern hemisphere for half of the year.

67. While he continued in the enjoyment of his blessed state of living liberation, the gods Hari, Hara and Brahma waited at his door, together with bodies of Siddhas, Sadhyas and other deities beside them.

68. He now remained in his state of indifference, which lies between the two opposites of sorrow and joy; and neither of which is of long continuance, except the middle state of insouciance which endureth for ever.

69. When the mind is situated in its state of neutrality, and whether it is for a moment or a thousand years;it has no more any relish for pleasure, by seeing its future joys of the next world, as already begun in this.

70. When holy men have gained that blissful state in this life, they look no more on the outer world; but turn aside from it, as men avoid a thorny bush of brambles (Lit., catechu plants).

71. The saints that attained to this state of transcendental bliss, do not stoop to look upon the visible world; as one who is seated in the heavenly car of Chitraratha, never alights on the thorny bush of the Khadira (catechumemosa).

72. They take no account of the visible world, who enjoy this felicity of the invisible in them; as the self-sufficient rich man, takes into no account the condition of the miserable poor.

73. The wise heart that has found its rest in that blissful state, does either keep itself from the thoughts of this world, or shrink from it with disgust and hatred.

74. Uddalaka thus remained in his holy seat for six months, after which he awoke from his trance;and removed from there to another place, as the sun gets out of the mists of frost in the vernal season.

75. He beheld before him, the assemblage of the bright beings of enlightened minds; and who with their countenances shining as the lightsome moon, hailed the hermit with high veneration.

76. They were fanned with chowries flapping about them, like swarms of bees besmeared with white powders of mandara flowers; and sitting on their heavenly cars, decorated with flags waving in the sky.

77. There were the great saints like ourselves sitting in them, decorated with ringlets of the sacred grass in their fingers, and accompanied by Vidyadharas and Gandharvas, with their damsels ministering unto them.

78. They addressed the great-souled and saintly Uddalaka with saying:—"Deign, O venerable sir, to look upon us, that have been waiting here upon you with our greetings."

79. "Vouchsafe to mount on one of these heavenly cars, and repair to our celestial abode; because heaven is the last abode, where you shall have the full gratification of your desires after this life."

80. "There remain to enjoy your desired pleasures, until the end of this kalpa age; because it is pure heavenly bliss which is the inheritance of saints, and the main aim and object of ascetic austerities on earth."

81. "Behold here the damsels of Vidyadharas, are waiting for you with fans and wreaths of flowers in their hands; and they have been hailing and inviting you to them, as the young elephantess, entices the big elephant towards her."

82. "It is the desire of fruition only, which is the main object of riches and meritorious acts; and the greatest of our enjoyments is the company of fairy damsels; as the flowers and fruits are the desired products of the vernal season."

83. The hermit heard his heavenly guests, speaking in this manner; and then honoured them as he ought, without being moved by aught they said unto him.

84. He neither complemented them with his courtesy, nor changed the tenor of his even and inexcitable mind; but bidding them depart in peace, he betook himself to his wonted devotion.

85. The Siddhas honoured him for his devotedness to his pursuit, and his abjuring the desire of carnal gratifications. They then departed to their elysian abode from there, after tarrying there in vain for some days, to entice the hermit to their Parnassian fields.

86. Afterwards the saint continued to wander about at pleasure, in his character of a living liberated Yogi; and frequented the hermitages of the ascetics, at the skirts of the woods and forests.

87. He roved about freely over the mountains of Meru, Mandara, and Kaylasa, and on the table lands of the Vindhyan and Himalayan ranges;and then travelled through woods and forests, groves and deserts, to distant islands on all sides.

88. At last the saintly Uddalaka chose his abode in a cavern, lying at the foot of a mountain;and there dedicated the remainder of his life, to devotion and meditation in his seclusion.

89. It was then in the course of a day, and then of a month, and sometimes after the lapse of a year or years, that he rose once from his meditation.

90. After his yoga was over, he came out and mixed with the world; and though he was sometimes engaged in the affairs of life, yet he was quite reserved in his conduct, and abstracted in his mind.

91. Being practiced to mental abstraction, he became one with the divine mind; and shone resplendent in all places, like the broad day light in view.

92. He was habituated to ponder on the community of the mind, till he became one with the universal Mind; which spreads alike throughout the universe, and neither rises nor sets any where like the solar light.

93. He gained the state of perfect tranquillity, and his even mindedness in all places, which released him from the snare of doubts, and of the pain of repeated births and deaths. His mind became as clear and quiet as the autumnal sky, and his body shone as the sun at every place.


Formulæ of the Pranava yoga

1. Á Acute or Rechaka yoga  } 2. U. Grave or Kumbhak yoga. {  3. M. the Circumflex or Puraka yoga.