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 LVI - Investigation into meditation and contemplation

Argument. That a man in secular life, is not barred from spiritual contemplation. Nor is the spiritualist debarred from engaging in secular duties.

Vasistha continued:—

1. Proceed in this manner to know the universal soul in your own soul, and thereby obtain your rest in that holy state.

2. You must consider all things by the light of the sastras, and dive into their true meaning; you will also benefit yourselves by the lectures of your preceptor, and by pondering on them in your own mind;as also by your constant practice of ignoring the visibles, until you come to know the invisible One.

3. It is by means of your habitual dispassionateness, your acquaintance with the sastras and their meanings, and your hearing the lectures of the spiritual teachers; as well as your own conviction that you can gain the holy state (for it is your confidence only), whereby you can come to it.

4. It is also by your enlightened understanding too, when it is acute and unbiased, that you can attain to that everlasting state of felicity, without the medium of anything else.

Rama said:—

5. Tell me sir, that art acquainted with the past and future; whether one who is employed in the affairs of life, and at the same time is enlightened and situated in his quietude;—

6. And another who remains in his solitary devotion, apart from worldly connections; which of these two has greater merit: (i.e., whether the social or solitary devotee).

Vasishtha replied:—

7. -He who views the association of properties and qualities of things (which constitute all bodies in general), as quite distinct from the soul; enjoys a cool tranquillity within himself, which is designated by the name of Samadhi.

8. He who is certain that the visibles bear relation to his mind only, and have no connection with his soul; and remains calm and cool in himself, may be either engaged in business, or sit quietly in his meditation.

9. Both of these are happy souls, as long as they enjoy a cool calmness within themselves; because it is this internal coolness of the soul only, which is the result of great and austere devotion.

10. When a man in his habit of quietude, feels the fickleness of his mind, his habitude then, turns to the reeling of a giddy or mad man.

11. When the sprawling mad man is devoid of desires in his mind; his foolish frolic is then said to resemble the rapturous emotions, and gesticulations of Buddhist mendicants.

12. The worldly man who is enlightened in his mind, and the enlightened sage who is sitting in his hermitage;are both of them alike in their spiritual coolness, and have undoubtedly reached the state of their blessedness.

13. The man who is unrelated with the actions which he does, but bears a mind which is free from desires, such as the mind of a man engrossed with other thoughts; he is sensible of what he hears and sees, with his organs only, without being affected by them.

14. A man becomes the agent of an act, even without his doing it actually, who is fully intent upon the action; as the unmoving man thinks himself to be moving about, and falling down in a ditch (startles even at the thought, as if it were in actuality).

15. Know the inaction of the mind, to be the best state of anaesthesia;and solity or singleness, as the best means to your insouciance.

16. It is the activity and inactivity of the mind, which are said to be the sole causes, of the restlessness and quietness of men, as also of their fixed meditation and want of its fixity: therefore destroy the germs of thy rising desires.

17. Want of desire is called the neutrality of the mind, and it is this that constitutes its steadiness and meditation; this gives solity to the soul, and contributes to its everlasting tranquillity.

18. The diminishing of desires leads the man to the highest station of inappetency and innocence (i.e. from the fourth to the seventh pithika).

19. The thick gathering desires, serve to fill the mind with the vanity of its agency, which is the cause of all its woes; (because it wakens them, only to labour under their throes); therefore try to weaken your desires at all times.

20. When the mind is tranquil, after it is freed from its fears, griefs and desires; and the soul is set at its rest and quiet, in want of its passions; it is then called the state of its samadhi or nonchalance.

21. Relinquish the thoughts of all things from thy mind, and live wherever thou livest, whether on a mount or in a forest, as calmly as thou dost at thy home.

22. The houses of house-holders of well governed minds, and of those who are devoid of the sense of their egoism, are as solitary forests to them (without any stir or disturbance to annoy them).

23. Dwelling in one's own house or in a forest, is taken in one and the same light by cool-minded men, as they view all visible objects, in the light of an empty vacuum only.

24. Men of pacified minds, view the bright and beautiful buildings of cities, in the same indifferent light, as they behold the woods in the forest.

25. It is the nature of ungoverned minds, to view even the solitary woods, to be as full of people as large towns and cities. (i.e., they have no peace of mind anywhere).

26. The restless mind falls asleep, after it gets rid of its labour; but the quiet mind has its quietus afterwards (its nirvana extinction) (i.e., the one sleeps and rises again, but the other one is wholly extinct). Therefore do as you like: (either sleep to rise again, or sleep to wake no more).

27. Whether one gets rid of worldly things or not, it is his sight of the infinite spirit, that makes him meek and quiet. (The worldly and the recluse are equally holy, with their divine knowledge only).

28. He whose mind is expanded by his like indifference, to both the objects of his desire and disgust also; and to whom all things are alike insignificant everywhere, he is called the staid and stoic, and the cool and meek.

29. He who sees the world in God in his inmost soul, and never as without the Divine Spirit; and whose mind sees everything in waking as in his sleep, is verily the lord of mankind.

30. As the market people, whether coming in or going out, are strangers to and unrelated with one another; so the wise man looks upon the concourse of men with unconcern, and thinks his own town a wilderness.

31. The mind which is fixed to its inward vision, and is inattentive to external objects; thinks the populous city as a wilderness before it, both when it is awake or asleep, and active or inactive.

32. One who is attentive to the inward mind, sees the outer world as a vacuous space to him; and the populous world appears as a desert desolate to him, owing to its unworthiness of his attention.

33. The world is all cool and calm to the cold hearted, as the system of the body is quiet cool to one without his fit of fever-heat.

34. Those that are parched with their internal thirst, find the world as a burning conflagration to them; because everybody sees the same without him, as he sees within himself.

35. The external world with all its earthly, watery and airy bodies, and with all its rocks, rivers and quarters, is the counterpart of the inner mind, and is situated without it, as it is contained within itself.

36. The big banyan tree and the little barley plants, are exact ectypes of their antitypes in the eternal mind; and they are exhibited out of it, as they are within it, like the fragrance of flowers diffused in the air.

37. There is nothing situated in the inside or the outside of this world, but they are the casts and copies, as displayed by their patterns in the great mind of God.

38. The external world is a display of the essence, contained in the universal soul; and appears without it from within its concealment, like the smell of camphor coming out of its casket.

39. It is the divine soul, which manifests itself in the form of the ego and the world also (the subjective and the objective); and all what we see externally or think internally, either in and out of us is unreal, except the real images which are imprinted in the soul.

40. The soul which is conscious of its innate images, sees the same in their intellectual appearances within the mind, and in their external manifestations in the visible creation.

41. He who has his internal and external tranquillity, and enjoys his peace of mind, and views the world inseparable from the soul, enjoys his quiet samadhi everywhere; but he who perceives their difference, and differentiates his egoism from all others (that is, who sees his distinction from other beings), he is ever subject to be tossed about, as by the rolling waves of the sea.

42. The soul that is infested by the maladies of this world, sees the earth, sky, air and water, together with the hills and all things in them, burning before it as in the conflagration, of the last day of dissolution (pralaya).

43. He who performs his work with his organs of action, and has his soul fixed in its internal meditation; and is not moved by any joy or grief, is called the dispassionate yogi.

44. He who beholds the all pervading soul in his own self, and by remaining unruffled in his mind, doth never grieve at nor thinks about anything; is styled the unimpassioned yogi.

45. Who looks calmly into the course of the world, as it has passed or is present before him, and sits still smiling at its vicissitudes, that man is named the unpassionate yogi.

46. Because these changing phenomena do not appertain to the unchanging spirit of God, nor do they participate with my own egoism (i.e. they are no parts, of God or myself); they but resemble the glittering atoms of gold in the bright sun-shine which do not exist in the sky.

47. He who has no sense of egoism or tuism in himself, nor the distinction of things in his mind, as of the sensible and insensible ones; is the one that truly exists, and not the other who thinks otherwise. (So says the Sruti:—The one alike in all is the All, and not the other, who is unlike every thing).

48. He who conducts all his affairs with ease, by his remaining as the intangible and translucent air about him, and who remains as insensible of his joy and sorrow, as a block of wood or stone, is the man that is called the sedate and quiet.

49. He who of his own nature and not through fear, looks on all beings as himself, and accounts the goods of others as worthless stones; is the man that sees them in their true light.

50. No object whether great or small, is slighted as a trifle by the polished or foolish; they value all things, but do not perceive in their hearts, the Reality that abides in them like the wise. (Fools look into the forms of things, but the wise look in their in-being).

51. One possessed of such indifference and equality of his mind, attains to his highest perfection; and is quite unconcerned with regard to his rise and fall, and about his life and death.

52. He is quite unconcerned with any thing, whether he is situated amidst the luxuries at his home, and the superfluities of the world, or when he is bereft of all his possessions and enjoyments, and is exposed in a dreary and deep solitude:

53. Whether indulging in voluptuousness or bacchanal revelry, or remaining retired from society and observing his taciturnity (it is all equal to him, if he is but indifferent about them).

54. Whether he anoints his body with sandal paste or agallochum, or besmears it with powdered camphor; or whether he rubs his person with ashes, or casts himself into the flames (it is all the same to him, with his nonchalance of them).

55. Whether drowned in sinfulness, or marked by his meritoriousness; whether he dies this day or lives for a kalpa-age (it is all the same to the indifferent).

56. The man of indifference is nothing in himself, and therefore his doings are no acts of his own. He is not polluted by impurity, as the pure gold is not sullied by dirt or dust.

It is the wrong application of the words consciousness said:—

57. samvit, and soul (purusha), to I and thou (or the subjective and objective), which has led the ignorant to the blunder (of duality), as the silvery shell of cockles, misleads men to the error of silver.

58. The knowledge of the extinction of all existence (in the Supreme Spirit), is the only cure for this blunder of one's entity, and the only means to the peace of his mind.

59. The error of egoism and tuism of the conscious soul, which is the source of its vain desires, causes the variety of the weal and woe of mankind in their repeated births. (Selfishness grows our desires, and these again produce our woes).

60. As the removal of the fallacy of the snake in the rope, gives peace to the mind of there being no snake therein; so the subsidence of egoism in the soul, brings peace and tranquillity to the mind.

61. He that is conscious of his inward soul, and unconscious of all he does, eats, drinks;and of his going to others, and offering his sacrifice; is free from the results of his acts: and it is the same to him, whether he does them or not.

62. He who slides from outward nature, and abides in his inward soul; is released from all external actions, and the good and evil resulting therefrom.

63. No wish stirs in such unruffled soul, in the same manner as no germ sprouts forth from the bosom of a stone; and such desires as ever rise in it, are as the waves of the sea, rising and falling in the same element.

64. All this is Himself, and He is the whole of this universe, without any partition or duality in Him. He is one with the holy and Supreme soul, and the only entity called the Id est tat sat. (He is no unreality, but as real as the true Reality).