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 LXIV - Sermon on self-knowledge

Argument. The way to guard the mind from faults, and deliver the soul from misery.

Vasishtha resumed:—

After Suraghu and Perigha had ended their discussion on the errors of this world, they honoured one another with due respect, and retired gladly to their respective duties of the day.

2. Now Rama, as you have heard the whole of this instructive typo dialogue between them, do you try to profit thereby by a mature consideration of the same.

3. It is by reasoning with the learned, that the wits are sharpened with intelligence; and the egotism of men melts down in their minds, like the raining of a thick black cloud in the sky.

4. It spreads a clear and calm composure over the mind, as the revisit of cloudless Autumn does, over the spacious firmament to the delight of mankind, and by its diffusion of bounteous plenty on earth.

5. After the region of the intellect, is cleared of its darkness, the light of the supreme soul which is the object of meditation and our sole refuge, becomes visible in it.

6. The man that is always spiritual and insighted within himself, who is always delighted with his intellectual investigations, has his mind always free from sorrow and regret.

7. Though the spiritual man is engaged in worldly affairs, and is subject to passions and affections; yet he is unstained by them in his heart, as the lotus bud is unsullied by the water under which it is sub-merged.

8. The silent sage that is all-knowing, holy, and calm and quiet in himself, is never disturbed by his ungoverned mind; but remains as firm as the dauntless lion, against the rage of the unruly elephant.

9. The heart of the wise man is never affected by the mean pleasures of the world; but it stands as the lofty arbor of paradise, above the encircling bushes of thorny brambles and poisonous plants.

10. As the religious recluse who is disgusted with the world, has no care for his life, nor fear of death; so the man whose mind is fraught with full knowledge, is never elated nor depressed by his good or bad fortune.

11. The man that knows the erroneousness of the mind and the panorama of the world in the soul, is never soiled by the stain of sin, as the clear sky is nowhere daubed by any dirt or dust.

12. It is the knowledge of one's ignorance, that is the best safe guard against his falling into greater ignorance, and it is the only remedy for his malady of ignorance, as the light of the lamp is the only remedial of nocturnal gloom.

13. The knowledge of our ignorance is the best healer of ignorance, as the knowledge of one's dreaming removes his trust in the objects of his dream. (A dream known as a dream to the dreamer, can not lead him to delusion).

14. A wise man engaged in business, with his mind disengaged from it, and fixed on one object, is not obstructed by it in his view of spiritual light; as the eye-sight of fishes, is not hindered by the surrounding water.

15. As the light of intellectual day, appears over the horizon of the mind, the darkness of the night of ignorance is put to flight;and then the mind enjoys its supreme bliss of knowledge, as in the full blaze of day.

16. After the sleep of ignorance is over, the mind is awakened by its intelligence, to the bright beams of the rising sun of knowledge; and then the mind is ever awake to reason, which no dulness can overpower.

17. A man is said to live so long, as he sees the moon of his soul, and the moon beams of his intellect, shining in the sphere of his mind; and he is said to have lived only for those few days, that he has discharged his duties with joy.

18. A man passing over the pool of his ignorance, and betaking himself to the contemplation of his soul; enjoys a coolness within him, as the cooling moon enjoys by the cold nectarious juice contained in her orb.

19. They are our true friends, and those are the best sastras; and those days are well spent, which have passed with them (the sastras), in discourse on dispassionateness, and when we felt the rise of the intellect within us.

20. How lamentable is their case, who are born to perish like ferns in their native forests; and who are immerged in their sinfulness, by their neglect to look into their souls.

21. Our lives are interwoven with a hundred threads of hopes and fears, and we are as greedy as bulls of their fodder of straws. We are at last over taken by old age and decrepitude, and are carried away with sorrow and sighs.

22. The dullheaded are made to bear, like heavy laden bullocks, great loads of distress on their backs in their native soil.

23. They are bitten and disturbed by the gnats of their passions, and are made to plough the ground under the halter of their avarice;they are shut in the cribs of their masters, and are bound by the bonds of their kindred.

24. Thus we are harassed in the supportance of our wives and children, and weakened by age and infirmity, and like beasts of burden we have to wade in dirt and mire, and to be dragged to long journeys, and be broken under heavy loads, without halting a while under the toil and fatigue.

25. Bending under our heavy loads, we are tired with our long journeys across the deserts, where we are burnt under the burning sunbeams, without having a cool shade, to shelter our heads for a while.

26. We are big bodied like bulls with poor souls in us; we are oppressed at every limb, and labour under our destiny by being tied as the ringing bell, about the necks of bullocks; and the scourge of our sins lashing us on both sides.

27. We toil like bulls labouring under the poles of the carts which they draw along; and traverse through dreary deserts, without laying down our bodies to rest for a moment.

28. We are always prone to and plunged in our own evils, and move on like heavy laden bullocks with trolling and groaning all the way long.

29. Rama! try your best to redeem by all means, this bullock of your living soul, from the pool of this world; and take the best measures, to restore it to its form of pristine purity.

30. The animal soul that is released from the ocean of this world, and becomes purified in its mind by the light of truth, is no more liable to roll in the mud, like some beasts after they are cleansed.

31. It is in the society of highminded men, that the living soul receives the instruction, for its salvation in this ocean of the world; just as a passenger easily gets a boat from the ferry-man to go across a river.

32. That country is a desert where there are not learned and good people, resembling the verdant trees of the land. The wise must not dwell in the land, where the trees yield neither fruits nor afford cooling shades.

33. Good men are as the flowering Champa trees of the land; their cooling words resemble the shady leaves of the tree, and their gentle smiles its blooming flowers. Let men therefore resort to the umbrage of such champaka bowers.

34. For want of such men, the world is a desert, burning under the darkening heat of ignorance, where no wise man should allow himself to rest in peace and quiet.

35. It is the self that is the true friend to one's self, therefore support thyself upon thy self only; nor obscure the brightness of thy soul, under thy darkness of the bodily pride, to bury thy life in the slough of ignorance.

36. Let the learned ponder in themselves, "what is this body and how came it to existence, what is its origin and to what is it reduced?" Thus let the wise consider with diligence, the miseries to which this body is subject.

37. Neither riches nor friends, nor learning nor relatives, serve to redeem the drowning soul. It must be one's own mind to buy its own redemption, by resigning itself to its source and cause.

38. The mind is the constant companion and true friend to the soul; and therefore it is by consultation with the mind, that one should seek to redeem himself.

39. It is by a constant habit of dispassionateness and self deliberation, that one can ford the ocean of this world, riding on the raft of true knowledge (or the knowledge of truth).

40. It is pitiable to see the inward torments of the evil minded, that neglect to release their souls from all worldly vexations.

41. Release the elephant of your living soul—jiva, from the fetters of its egoism, its bonds of avarice and the ebriety of its mind; and deliver it from the muddy pit of its birth place, and retire to your solitude.

42. It is by these means, O Rama, that the soul has its salvation; therefore cast away your ignorance, and wipe off your egoism.

43. This is the best way that leaves the soul to its purity, that makes you disentangle your self from the snare of your mind, and disengage your soul from the trap of egoism.

44. It is by this means, that the lord of gods, the supreme soul is beheld by us; and the corporeal body is regarded as a clod of earth, or a block of wood, and not better than these.

45. The sunlight of the intellect comes to view, after dispersion of the cloud of egoism by which it is obscured;and it is after this that you attain the state of supreme felicity.

46. As the light of the day is seen, after withdrawal of the dark veil of night; so you come to see the light of the soul, after removal of the curtain of your egoism.

47. That felicitous state of the soul, which remains after dispersion of the darkness of egoism; the same is the state of divine fulness, and is to be adored with all diligence.

48. This state of the vast oceanlike and perfect fulness of soul, which no words can express nor any eye can behold, is beyond all comparison, and every colour of human attribution.

49. It is but a particle of the pure intellectual light, which gains its stability in the devout spirit, and is then comparable with naught beside the light of the Divinity, which shines before the internal sight of the holy.

50. Though it is beyond all comparison, yet it is beheld by us to be in the state of our sound sleep—susupta (hypnotism), it is the state of immensity, and is as extended as the vast extent of the firmament.

51. After extinction of egoism and the mental powers, and subsidence of all the feelings in oneself; there arises a transcendent ecstasy in the soul, which is styled the form of the divine or perfect joy and blissness:—(paripurnamanandam).

52. This blissful is attainable only by yoga meditation, and in the hypnotism of sound sleep. It is not utterable by speech, O Rama, but to be perceived only in the heart.

53. The totality of the Divinity is perceived only by the percipience of the mind, and by no categorial distinction of the divine essence; without this intuitive percipience, we can have no conception of the soul.

54. The knowledge of the soul, comprehends in itself the whole totality and infinity together; and resides in the invariable steadiness of the mind. It is by the shutting out the internal and external from the senses and the mind, that the lord of lords, the divine soul appears to our intelligence.

55. Hence follows the extinction of our desire of sensible objects, and hence we derive the light of our supreme felicity; that we have an even minded composure in all circumstances; which leads the souls of the magnanimous, to revert to that inscrutable identity (which has no convertibility in it).