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 LXVIII - Inquiry into the nature of internal and external relations

Argument. The Relativity of the body or mind, either externally or internally with any object, is the cause of its woe and misery.

Rama said:—

Tell me, sir, what are those connexions which become the bondages of men, and how are they to be avoided;as also what is that congeniality that leads to their emancipation here.

2. Vasishtha answered:—The division of Unity into the duality of the body and soul (whose body nature is, and God the Soul); and the rejection of the latter part—the soul (under the idea of its being assimilated to body); produce the misbelief in the body only, and is called the association of bondage (i.e., binding the soul to the body, and subjecting it thereby to repeated transmigrations in various embodied forms, from which it can never fly away to its etherial element).

3. Again the consideration of the infinite soul as a finite being, and confined in the limited confines of the body (under the impression of its being seated in the heart, and becoming extinct with it) leads to the bondage of the soul (to sensual gratifications).

4. But the conviction "that this whole-cosmos is the selfsame soul, and therefore we have nothing to choose or reject in it beside the very soul", is termed the unrelated condition of the mind, which is settled in the supreme-self only, and this state is known under the title of living liberation jivanmukti (which has its connexion with naught, but with one's self only, which is the universal soul of all).

5. The unattached and self-liberated man thus speaks in himself that:—"Neither do I exist nor are these others in existence:let aught of good or evil, pleasure or pain befall unto me, but I am not to be changed in any condition of life."

6. He is said to be the unattracted or undistracted and self-devoted (stoic); who neither fosters his desires, nor hankers after things, nor continues in his actions at all times of his life.

7. The self-devoted man, whose mind is not subject to the feelings of joy and sorrow, and is indifferent to worldly matters (whether good or bad), is verily said to be liberated in his lifetime.

8. He whose mind is not solicitous about the results of his actions, but takes them lightly as they come to pass upon him; such a man is said to be listless and lukewarm in his mind (that sets no worth on any worldly thing).

9. All our efforts impelled by various motives, are avoided by our indifference to those pursuits; and this unconcernedness about worldly matters, is productive of our greatest good (in this world and in the next).

10. It is by reason of our concern with many things, that we load innumerable distresses upon ourselves; and all worldly cares serve only to multiply the growing ills of life, like the branching thorny bushes in the caves.

11. It is the effect of worldly attachment, which drives silly men to labour under their heavy burdens; as the dastardly donkeys are dragged by their nose-strings, to trudge and drudge under their loads, in their long and lonesome journeys. (It is on the part of the earthly minded, to toil and moil in the earth, from whence they rose, and whither they must return).

12. It is one's attachment to his home and country, that makes him stand like an immovable tree on the spot; and endure all the rigours of heat and cold, of winds and rains without shrinking (or thinking to change his place for a happier region).

13. See the reptiles confined in the caves of earth, with their weak bodies and tortuous movements; to be the instances of earthly attachment, and passing their time in pain and agony, and in a state of continual helplessness.

14. See the poor birds resting on the tops of trees, and whining their while with cries of their empty stomachs, and constant fear (of hunters), as instances of worldly attachment (which prevents them from flying away).

15. Observe the timorous fawn of the lawn, crazing on the tender blades of grass, and dreading the darts of the huntsman, to serve as another instance of earthly leaning.

16. The transformation of men to worms and insects in their repeated transmigrations; and the congregation of all these animals of all kinds in all places, are but instances of their earthly fondness (ever to abide in it, and bide all its miseries).

17. The multitudes of animal beings, that you see to rise and fall like the waves of the sea, are all the effects of their worldly attachment.

18. The selfmoving man becomes immovable, and turns to the state of fixed trees and plants; and thus grows and dies by turns, in consequence of his worldly propensities.

19. The grass, the shrubs and the creepers, which grow on earth from the moisture of the earth; are all products of the cause of their addictedness to the world.

20. These endless trains of beings, that are borne away in this running stream of the world, and are buffeting in their ever-increasing difficulties, are all the sports of their earthly inclinations.

21. Worldly affections are of two kinds—the praiseworthy and the fruitless ones; those of the wise and learned men, belong to the former kind;but the tendencies of the ignorant, are of the latter or unfruitful kind.

22. Any tendency to this world, which springs from the base bodily and mental affections, and does not proceed from or bears its relation with spiritual motives and purposes, are said to be quite fruitless (of any good result).

23. But that tendency, which has its origin in spiritual knowledge, and in true and right discrimination, and b ears no relation to anything that is of this world, but leads to one's future and spiritual welfare, is the truely laudable one (because the desire to rise higher tends to make one a higher being).

24. The god holding the emblems of the conch-shell, his discus and the club, had various inclinations of this better kind, whereby he became the support of the three worlds (the god Vishnu).

25. It is by means of this good tendency, that the glorious sun makes his daily course, in the unsupported path of heaven for ever more.

26. The god Brahma, that now shines in his fiery form, had for a whole kalpa age, to foster his project of creation; and it was owing to this laudable purpose of his, that be became the creator of the world. (The world was not made in a day, but took many ages for its formation).

27. It was because of this kind of praiseworthy purpose, that the god Siva acquired his bipartite body of the androgyne, graced by the female form of Uma, linked with his as its other half. (In Siva-Isha; we have the androgynous form of Adam-Ish or man, and in Uma that of Eve or woman, linked together before their separation. God made woman out of man and from a rib of his on the left side).

28. The Siddhas and other heavenly and aerial beings, and the regents of the skies, that move in their spiritual spheres of intelligence, have all attained their high positions by means of their laudable tendencies.

29. They bear their bodies of heavenly growth (i.e. of a celestial nature); and have set themselves beyond the reach of disease, decay and death, by means of their praiseworthy inclinations.

30. The fruitless desire, expects to derive pleasure from unworthy objects, and causes the mind to pounce like a vulture on a bit of flesh (that will not fill its gizzard).

31. It is the force of habit, that makes the winds to blow in their wonted course, and causes the five elements to continue in their usual states, in support of the order of nature.

32. This Sansakti constitutes the constitution of the system of nature;which is composed of the heavens, earth and infernal regions; peopled by gods, men, demons &c., who are like gnats fluttering about the fruit of the mundane fig tree.

33. Here are seen numberless orders of beings; to be born and rise and fall and die away; like the ceaseless waves of the sea; rising for falling.

34. The results of worldly leanings rise and fall by turns, until they disappear all at once. They are as bitter as the drops of waterfalls are to taste.

35. It is mere worldliness, which makes these crowds of men devour one another like sharks and fishes; and they are so infatuated by their ignorance, that they have been flying about like stray leaves of trees in the air.

36. It is this which makes men rove about, like revolving stars in their courses in the sky; and flutter about as flights of gnats upon fig trees; or to lie low like the whirling waters of eddies underneath the ground.

37. Men are tossed as the play balls of boys, by the hands of fate and death; and are worn out like these toys, by their incessant rise and fall and rolling upon the ground;yet these worrying wanderings, do not abate the force of their habitual motion, as the repeated waste and wane of the ever changing moon, makes no change in the blackish spot marked upon her disk.

38. The mind is hardened by seeing the miseries of the repeated revolutions of ages, resembling the rotations of fragments of wood in whirlpools; and yet the gods will not deign to heal the stiff boil of the mind, by any operation in their power.

39. Behold, O Rama! this wonderful frame of the universe, to be the production of the desire of the divine Mind only (i.e. the divine will of creation, is the cause of this world, as the human wish of seeing it, presents its view to his sight).

40. It is the pleasure of association, that presents this view of the triple world, in the empty sphere of the mind; for know the wondrous world to be a creation of the mind only, and nothing in reality. (The pleasure of association, means the pleasure of memory or reminiscence).

41. The avarice of worldly men eats up their bodies, as the flame of fire feeds upon dry fuel (i.e. in order to feed the body, we become the food of our toils).

42. Yet the bodies of worldly minded men, are as countless as the sands of the sea; and these again are as unnumbered as the atoms of earth which nobody can count.

43. It may be possible to count the hoary foams of Ganga, and the pearly froths of sea waves; it is likewise possible to measure the height of mount Meru, from its foot to the top and its peaks; but not so to number the desires in the minds of worldly minded men.

44. These rows of inner apartments, which are built for the abode of the worldly minded, are as the lines of Kala Sutra and the spires of hell-fire.

45. Know these worldly men to be as dry fuel, heaped up to light the piles of hell-fire.

46. Know all things in this world, to be full of pain and misery; and are stored up not for enjoyment but torments of the worldly minded.

47. The minds of all worldly men are the receptacles of all woe and misery; as the great sea is the recess of the outpourings of all rivers.

48. The mind which is attached to the world, and the body which is bent down under its toilsome loads; are both of them the fields for the exercise of Ignorance, which elevates and depresses them by turns.

49. Want of attachment to worldly enjoyments, is productive of ease and prosperity; and it expands the capacity of the mind, as the rains increase the extent of rivers.

50. Inward attachment of the mind to worldly objects, is the burning flame of the outer body; but want of this internal attachment, is the healing balm of the whole frame.

51. Inward attachment burns the outward body, as the hidden poisonous plant infects the creepers, which recline on it for their support.

52. The mind which is unattached to everything in all places, is like the lofty sky aloof from all things; and by having no desire in it, it is always clear and bright, and enjoys its felicity for ever.

53. As the light of knowledge rises before the sight of the mind, the darkness of ignorance which veiled all objects, wastes away of itself and is put to flight. The man who is devoid of all sorts of worldly attachments, and lives in communion with his own mind, is truly liberated in his life.