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 LXVII - Abandonment of intrinsic relations

Argument. Refutation of the Intimate Relation of the Body and Soul. This relation is the Bondage and its abandonment the Release of the soul.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. [Sanskrit available]
Having thus accosted and welcomed each other, the two brothers applied themselves to the acquisition of divine knowledge; and gained thereby their liberation in the living state (of Jivan mukta).

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I will now tell, O strong armed Rama! that there is no salvation for the enslaved mind, without true knowledge of Divinity.

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Know, O Rama of polished understanding! that this world of endless woes, is as easily traversed by the intelligent, as the wide ocean is crossed over by the bird of Jove, though it is impossible for any other bird to do so.

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The great soul is without and lies beyond the body: it is situated in its own intellect, and looks on the body from a distance, as a beholder beholds a concourse of people (without him).

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The body being pulled down by decay and disease, does not affect us any more, than the coach being broken, there is no injury done to the rider.

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The mind also when it is depressed and dejected, does not affect the understanding, as the moving waves which ruffle the surface of the sea, do not perturb the waters of the deep.

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What relation do the swans bear to the waters of the lake, and what relativity is there between the pebbles and stones of the sea and its waters; so the blocks of wood borne by the current are no way related to the waters of the stream; and in the like manner no object of sense has any relation with the supreme soul.

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Tell me, O fortunate Rama! what correlation is there between a rock and the sea? The rock verily puts no obstruction to the internal current of the sea; so none of these worlds can stop the course of the Divine Mind (as there is nothing which can bind the subtle and immeasurable sky).

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What relation do the lotuses bear upon the waters of a stream, than that of their being contained in the bosom of their containing waters: so are all solid bodies related as contents with the all containing Divine soul.

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As the concussion of a log with a body of waters, is attended with the effusion of watery particles around; so the contact of the body and soul, is productive of the various affections of the mind.

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As the contiguity of a bordering tree, produces its shadow in the waters below; so the proximity of all objects to the soul, reflects their images in the mind.

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As the reflections of things in a mirror or watery glass, and in the swelling waves of the sea, are neither real nor unreal; so the reflections in the soul, are neither substantial nor unsubstantial, (but adscititious and extrinsic only).

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As the breaking of a tree or rock by the howling winds, does not affect the wind at all; so the union or separation of the elemental substance, and component parts of a body, makes no alteration in the soul.

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As the falling of a tree in the water, produces a vibratory sound in it; so the contact of the body and soul, produces a vibration in the intellectual organs (the recipients of all impressions).

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But these impressions have no relation either with the pure and simple soul, nor with the gross body (neither of which is concerned with them). All these are but the delusions of our erroneous knowledge, at the absence of which we have the transparent intellect only.

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As one has no notion of the manner of connection, between the wood and the water (which nourishes it); so no body has any knowledge, how the body is united with the soul.

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As the world appears a reality to the non-intelligent, so it appears a substantial entity, to those who are ignorant of truth.

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They that are devoid of their internal percipience of moisture in wood and stone, resemble the worldly minded materialist, having the knowledge of external objects only.

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As those devoid of their intuitive knowledge, find no difference in the wood and water; so they believe the body and the soul to be the same thing, and do not know their irrelation and unconnection with one another.

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As the relation of wood and water, is imperceptible to them that have no intellection; so are they unacquainted with the irrelation between the soul and body, owing to their want of intuition.

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The soul is purely conscious of itself in all places, and without any objective knowledge of anything at all; nor is it liable to the erroneous knowledge of a duality also.

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The bliss of the soul is converted to misery, by its false apprehension of unrealities; as when one comes in sight of an apparition, by his false imagination of a ghost.

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Things quite irrelevant become relevant, by our internal conviction of their relevancy; as our sight and apprehension of thieves in our dreams, and the appearance of a demoniac spectre in a block of wood.

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As the relation between the wood and water is altogether unreal; so the correlation between the soul and body, is wholly false and unsubstantial.

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As the water is not troubled, without the falling of the tree into it; so the soul is not disturbed, without its thoughts of the body: and the soul freed from its connection with the body, is free from all the maladies and miseries, which the flesh is heir to.

26. [Sanskrit available]
The misconception of the body as the soul, makes the soul subject to all the imperfections and infirmities of the body; as the limpid water of the lake is soiled, by the leaves and twigs, that are seen to float upon it.

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Absence of the intrinsic relation of external things with the internal soul, liberates it from all the casualties in the course of things; but the presence of extraneous associations, makes the internal soul as turbid water, by reason of the mess of the leaves and foul things and fruit and flowers, continually falling upon it.

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The soul freed from its innate knowledge of the objective, is wholly absolved from misery; while the knowledge of its connection with the body, senses and the mind, is the mainspring of all it woes.

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The internal connection of the externals, is the seed of all the evils of men in this world, and brings forth all the pain and sorrow and errors of mankind.

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The man that is internally connected with the externals, sinks deep under the load of his connexions in the depth of this earth, but he who is aloof from his internal relations, floats above the surface of this sea, and rises aloft in air as an aerial being.

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The mind with its internal bearings, is as an arbor with the hundred ramifications; but the mind with its wants of internal relations, is said to have faded and grown extinct.

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The mind unattached to the world is as a pure crystal, without any shade of colour in it; but the mind that is attached to the world, is as a prismatic glass with all the colours of the rainbow.

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The unattached and untinged mind is said to be set at liberty, though it is set at work in the world; but the mind which though it is attached to the world, is said to be unattached, if it is thoughtless of it, though it is practiced to austerities.

34. [Sanskrit available]
The mind attached to the world, is said to be bound to it; but that which is detached from it, is said to be set free from it. It is the internal attachment and detachment of the mind, that are the causes of its bondage and liberation.

35. [Sanskrit available]
The unworldly minded persons, are not tied down to the earth by their worldly actions; it remains aloof from all its actions, as a floating vessel remains aloft of the sweet and salt waters of the lake beneath it. (The spiritual man is above his bodily actions).

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It is the tendency of the mind, that makes a man master of an action, which he has not actually done; as the delusion of the mind in dreaming, makes one feel the pleasure and pain of his pleasing and unpleasing dreams. (It is the mind and mental action, that differentiate the rational man from the body and bodily actions of an irrational beast, brute or bird).

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The activity of the mind gives activity to the body also, as the action of the mind in dreaming, gives motion to the inert body of the sleeping man (as in somnambulism and somniloquism).

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Inactivity of the mind, causes the inaction of the body; and though it should act by its physical force, yet the insane mind is not sensible of the action (nor is an idiot or madman responsible for his deeds).

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Man gets the retribution of his actions done with his mind; and not of those that pass beyond his knowledge. The inert body is never the cause of an action, nor the mind is ever joined with the living body, as an automaton or self moving machine, or like a clock or watch, the spring of whose action lies in itself. But the body requires the action of the mind, to put that animal force into motion).

40. [Sanskrit available]
The mind unattending to an action of the body, is never considered as its agent (as it is never said to be the agent of breathing, which is a spontaneous action of the living body). No reward of any action ever accrues to one, that is not engaged in the doing of that action.

41. [Sanskrit available]
The man not intentionally employed in the sacrifice of a horse or slaughter of a Brahman, neither reaps the good of the one, nor incurs the guilt of the other; and so the minds of distracted lovers are never aware of the results of their own deeds. (The killing of a Brahman with the idea of his being an aggressor, does not amount to Brahmicide; and so the acts of the lovelorn Indrahalya and Vikramorvasi, are taken into no account).

42. [Sanskrit available]
One free from his intrinsic relation (or interest) with anything, is most agreeable to all by his elevated demeanour; and whether he acts and neglects his part, he remains indifferent and neutral to both. (It is the deliberate choice, and not the unheeded action that constitutes the deed).

43. [Sanskrit available]
No agency is attached to the man whose action is involuntary, and whose mind is released from its internal attachment to anything. It is the unconcerned indifference of the mind, that is attended with its composure; while its careful concern for anything whatsoever, is fraught with its vexation only.

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Therefore, avoid your internal concern for anything, that thou knowest to be but externally related to thee; and release thyself from the mortification of the loss to all external relations.

45. [Sanskrit available]
The mind being cleared of the foulness of its internal relation with the externals, acquires the pellucidness of the cloudless firmament; and after clearance of all dirt and dross from within, the mind becomes one with the soul; like a bright gem shining with double effulgence with the lustre of a luminary, or like a blue streamlet, receiving the cerulean hue of the azure sky.

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