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...
Argument. The loss and oblivion of all things and thoughts, leading to the security and Tranquillity of spirit.
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After the sage had gone, the prince also retired to a lonely place;and there began to reflect on the nature of his soul, and the manner of his existence (in this world and the next).
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I am not in this mountain (nor in any visible thing), nor are they mine (or any part of myself); I am not the cosmos, nor is this world myself. (I am no hill, nor do the hills appertain to my soul; I am not of this earth, nor is the earth any part of mine unearthly spirit, Gloss). So says the Sufi poets: na azarsham &c.
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Without this election I am no body here, nor is this place any thing to me; though this city and this place are to last for ever.
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The city so magnificent with its highflying flags, its groves and gardens and groups of my servants, and the long train of horse, elephants and soldiers, is, alas! nothing to myself.
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All this was nothing to me before my election, and will not be mine after my disposal; and all these possessions, enjoyments and consorts, do neither appertain to me nor I to them.
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Thus this Government with all its force and officers in the city, is naught to me, nor am I aught to it in reality, except mere adscititious compliments to one another.
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I think myself to be this body of mine, composed of my legs, hands, and feet, and believe myself to be placed in the midst of these (i.e., in the heart.)
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But I perceive my body to be composed of flesh and bones; and not constituting my rational self; which like the lotus flower rises amidst the waters, without bearing any relation with that element.
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I find the flesh of my body, to be dull and gross matter which do not make my soul; and I find too my rational part to be not this gross flesh at all. So do I find my bones likewise to be insensible substances, and consequently forming no part of my sentient soul.
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I am none of the organs of action, nor do these organs compose myself. All organic bodies are composed of gross matter, and do not consequently constitute the animated soul.
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I am not the nourishment, which nourishes the body and not the soul which makes myself; nor am I any organs of sense, which perceives the material impressions, and have no sensibility without the intellect.
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I am not the mind which is a passive agent, and minds whatever is felt by it. It is called the understanding (buddhi) from its standing under all its external and internal perceptions and conceptions (bodha), and is the root of all worldly evils caused by its egoistic feelings.
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Thus I am neither the mind nor understanding, nor the internal senses nor the external organs of action. I am not the inward subtile body, nor its outward material and self locomotive form, but am something besides all of these which I want to know.
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I see at last my intelligent living soul, reflecting on the intelligibles, thence called its intelligence. But this intelligent principle being roused (to its action of thinking) by others (the intelligibles), does not come under the category (padartha) of the soul—atma (which is independent, and self-consciousness only).
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Thus I renounce the knowable (living soul), and do not acknowledge the intelligible intelligence as myself. It is at the end of all the immutable and pure Intellect, which remains to be owned as myself.
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Ah! it is wonderful at last, that I have come to know the soul after so long a time, and find it to be myself the infinite soul, and the Supreme Spirit which has no end.
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As Indra and the gods reside and are resolved in Brahma, so the spirit of God pervades through all material bodies, as the string of the necklace, passes through the poles of all the pearls of which it is composed. (This all pervasive soul is known as sutratma, one of the ten hypostases of the Divinity).
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The power of the soul known as intellect, is pure and unsullied in its nature; it is devoid of the dirt of thinkable objects, and fills the infinite space with its immense and stupendous figure. (The omniscience of God comprehends the whole universe in itself, and pervades all through it as the subtile air).
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The intellect is devoid of all attributes, and pervades all existences in its subtile form; stretches itself from the highest empyrean of heaven to the lowest deep, and is the reservoir of all power.
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It is replete with all beauty, and is the light that enlightens all objects unto us; it is the connecting chain to which all the worlds are linked together like pearls in the necklace.
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It is formless but capable of all forms and mutations; being connected with all matters, and conversant with all subjects at all times. (The intellect embraces all subjects and its subjective knowledge comprehends all objects). It has no particular name nor form, but is taken as varied into different forms, according to the operations of the intellect.
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It assumes fourteen forms in its cognition of so many sorts of beings contained in the two wombs of the world;it is varied in all these forms, in order to take cognizance of all things composing the whole body of the natural world. (The intellect comprises the fourteen sciences of Sanskrit literature over which it bears its command. Another gloss means by it the fourteen worlds, which are under the cognizance and dominion of the intellect).
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The course of human happiness and misery, is a false representation of the understanding; and the varieties of representations in the mind, are mere operations of the soul and its attribute of the Intellect. (Here the mental sciences are meant to be subordinate to the intellectual, and that again under the psychological).
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Thus this soul of mine is the same with the All pervading spirit; and this understanding in me, is no other than that All knowing intellect. It is the same mind, that represents these imaginary images in the sensory of my mind, and causes the error of my kingship in me.
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It is by good grace of the Intellect, that the mind is seated in the vehicle of the body; and ranges with joy amidst the sports and diversions of the diversified scenes of this world.
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But this mind and this body and all diversities are nothing in reality; they are all destroyed by the cruel hand of death, and not a vestige of them remains behind. (But the soul and its intellect are indestructible).
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This world is a stage, stretched out by the mind its chief actor, and the soul sits silent as a spectator of this scene, under the light of the intellect.
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Alas, I find these painful thoughts of mine for the punishment, retribution and well being of my people, to be all for nothing;since whatever is done for the body, perishes with the body also.
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O, that I am awakened to truth at present, and released from the mirage of my false views long before; I have come to see what is worth seeing, and have found all that is worthy to be had.
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All these visibles which are seen to be wide spread throughout this universe, are no more than false phantoms, presented or produced by the vibrations of the intellect; and do not last for long.
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What is the good then of these my punishments and rewards to my people, which produce their pain and pleasure for a short time, and do not lead to the lasting welfare of their souls.
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What mean these pains and pleasures to us, when they both proceed from ourselves, and are alike in the sight of God? I had been all along ignorant of this truth, which has fortunately now dawned upon me.
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What shall I now do under the influence of this light;shall I now be sorry or joyous for it; what have I now to look at and do, as to whether I shall now remain in this place or go away from here?
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I behold this wondrous sphere of the intellect, now shining upon me in its full splendour; and I hail thee, O holy light! which I see blazing before me, but of which I can predicate nothing.
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Ah! that I am now so awakened and enlightened and come to know the whole truth in me; I hail, therefore, myself now instinct with infinity and Omniscience.
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Being freed from the paintings of my mind, and cleared from the dross of the sensible objects, and also released from the errors of this world; I rest myself, in the lap of my tranquil soul, as in a state of sound sleep, and in utter oblivion of all my internal and external impressions.