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 LXXII - A lecture on the nature of liberation

Argument. The subjection of the material body to sorrow and misery.

Vasishtha continued:—

You are not born with the birth of your body, nor are you dead with its death. You are the immaculate spirit in your soul, and your body is nobody to you.

2. The analogy of the plum on a plate, and of vacuum in the pot, which is adduced to prove the loss of the one upon loss of the other, is a false paralogy; since neither the plum nor the vacuum is lost, by the breaking of the plate or pot. (So the soul is not lost at the dissolution of its containing body).

3. Whoever having a body, thinks that he will perish with his perishable frame, and is sorry for it; is verily blinded in his mind, and is to be pitied for his mental blindness. (So said the Grecian philosopher, "it is no wonder that the mortal should die, and the fragile would be broken").

4. As there is no sympathy between the reins of a horse, and the riding chariot; so there is no relation between the organs of the body and the intellect. (This is in refutation of the argument, that the motion of a part affects the whole, as the shaking of the leaves and branches of a tree shaketh the trunk also; whereas the motion of body, makes no effect on the intellect).

5. As there is no mutual relationship, between the mud and clear water of a tank; so O Raghava! there is no correlation between the members of the body and the soul.

6. As the traveller retains no love nor sorrow for the path he has passed over, and the journey he has made already; so the soul bears no affection nor disaffection, towards the body with which it sojourned and which it has left behind. (Though some departed ghosts, are said to hover over their dead bodies).

7. As the imaginary ghost and fairy, strike fear and love in some persons; so the ideal world inspires pleasure and pain, in the mind of the idealist.

8. It is the assemblage of the five elementary bodies, that has framed all these different forms of beings in the world; as it is the same wood, whereof various images are carved and made.

9. As you see nothing but the woody substance in all timbers, so you find nothing except the assemblage of the five elements in all tangible bodies (all of which are subject to change and dissolution.)

10. Why therefore, O Rama! should you rejoice or regret at anything, seeing that the quintuple elements are wont to have their own course, in joining and disjoining themselves, in the formation and dissolution of bodies?

11. Why should one be so fond of female forms, and the forms of all other beautiful things on earth? seeing that men run after them like flies, and then falling in fire only to consume themselves (i.e. all goodly forms in the world, being for the delusion of men, we should avoid to look upon them).

12. Good features and goodly shapes and figures, are delightsome to the ignorant; but to the wise they present their real figures of the combination of the five elements and no more.

13. Two statues hewn from the same stone, and two figures carved of the selfsame wood, bear no affection to one another, however they may be placed near to each other; so it is the case with the body and mind. (This sloka is also applied to the want of fraternal affection, between brothers born of the same parents).

14. As dolls made of clay and placed together in a basket, form no friendship by their long association with one another; so the understanding, the organs of sense, the soul and mind, though so closely united in the same body, bear no relation with one another.

15. The marble statues though so fair and closely kept in a maison house, contract no acquaintance nor friendship with one another; so the organs of sense, the life, the soul and mind, though they are so sensible ones, and reside in the same body, have yet no alliance with one another.

16. As things growing apart from one another, come to be joined together for an instant by some accident, like the reeds and rushes borne by the waves of the sea; so are all beings, as men and their bodily senses and mind and the soul, brought to meet together for a time only, in order to be separated for ever.

17. As reeds and rushes are joined in heaps, and again separated from one another by the current of the river; so the course of time joins the elements, the mind and soul in gross bodies, for their separation only.

18. The soul in the form of the mind, unites the component parts of the body together; as the sea in the form of its eddies, rolls the reeds and rushes with its whirling waters up and down.

19. The soul being awakened to its knowledge of itself, relinquishes its knowledge of objects, and becomes purely subjective in itself; as the water by its own motion, throws away its dirt and becomes as pure as crystal.

20. The soul being released of its objective knowledge of the world, looks upon its own body, as celestial deities look upon this speck of earth below the region of air (i.e. without concern).

21. Seeing the elemental particles quite unconnected with the soul, it becomes disembodied as a pure spirit, and then shines forth in full brightness, like the blazing sun at mid-day.

22. It then comes to itself by itself, as it were without any check or bounds set to it; and being then set free from the giddiness of the objective, it sees itself subjectively in its own consciousness (as an immeasurable and boundless space).

23. It is the soul which agitates the world, rising of its own essence;as the agitation of the particles of water, raises the waves raging all over the wide extent of the sea. (The soul is the source and spring of the motion of all bodies).

24. Thus the dispassionate and sinless men of great understanding, who have obtained their self-liberation in this life, move about as freely, as the waves in the great ocean of the all-comprehending soul.

25. As the waves move freely in the sea, and pour the gems and pearls which they bear over distant shores; so the best of men rove everywhere free of all desire, but enriching mankind with the treasure of their knowledge.

26. As the sea is not soiled by the floating woods it carries from the shore, nor the face of the sky by the flying dust of the earth; so men of great minds and souls, are not perverted by their conduct with the world. (Or, worldly conduct).

27. Those that are masters of themselves, are not moved to love or hatred, in their behaviour with their comers or goers; or with those that are steady or fickle in their friendship, and with such as are vicious and ignorant.

28. Because they know, that whatever passes in the mind relating to worldly matters; are all its vagaries and reveries of thought, which are but airy nothing.

29. The knowledge of one's self and of other things, belonging to the past, present and future times; and the relation of the visibles with the sense of vision, are all the workings of the mind.

30. The visibles depending upon sight only, may be false from the fallacy or deception of our vision; and our vision of them likening an apparition in darkness, it is in vain that we are glad or sorry at their sight or disappearance.

31. What is unreal is always unreal (and can never be a reality); and what is real is ever the same (and can never be an unreality); but that which is real and unreal at the same or different times, must be a false appearance, and not deserving our rejoicing or sorrowing at their presence or absence.

32. Refrain from a partial (i.e. superficial or onesided) view of things, and employ yourself to the full (or comprehensive) knowledge of objects; and know that the learned man of vast knowledge, never falls into the erroneous conceptions of things.

33. I have fully expounded the relation of the visibles and their vision, and shown the spiritual pleasure which is derivable from the contemplation, of the abstract relation subsisting between them.

34. The abstract meditation of things is said to be a divine attribute (or Platonism of the mind); and our consciousness of the relations of vision and visibles, afford the highest delight to the soul.

35. The consideration of the relation of the visibles and vision, affords the physical delight of knowing the material world to the ignorant; and it gives also the spiritual joy of liberation to the wise (by their contemplation of the vanity of all worldly things).

36. Hence the attachment of our mind to the visibles, is called its bondage; and its detachment from them, is said to be its freedom; the former is pleasant to the sensuous body, and the latter is delightsome to the conscious soul.

37. The mind having the notions of the relations of things before it, and freed from the thoughts of its loss and gain in this world, is said to enjoy its freedom.

38. Abstaining from the sight of the visibles, constitutes the hypnotic vision of the soul, which is enlarged and illumined by its inward vision within itself.

39. Release from the bondage of the visibles, and restraining the mind to its inward workings, constitute its turiya or fourth stage of perfection, which is also termed its liberation.

40. The knowledge of the relations of the visibles in the conscious soul, neither makes it stout or lean, nor more manifest nor obscure in its nature.

41. It is neither intelligent nor inert, nor a being nor not being;it is neither the ego nor nonego, nor an unit nor many in one.

42. It is not near nor even far from us, nor is it an entity nor non-entity either;it is neither within nor without our reach; it is in all yet not the all and nothing at all. [Sanskrit: na tahu re na tadantike]

43. It is none of the categories nor no category, nor is it the quintuple elements nor composed of any one of them; it is not the well known mind, which is reckoned as the sixth organ of sense.

44. That which is beyond all things, is nothing at all of this world;but it is something as it is known and seen in the hearts of the wise.

45. All the world is full of the soul, and there is nothing which is without and beyond it. It is in all that is solid or soft or liquid, and in all motions which proceed from it.

46. The soul is all in all things, which are composed of the five elements of earth, water, air, fire and vacuum; and there is nothing, O Rama! that has its existence without the essence of the soul.

47. This single soul is diffused in all the worlds and throughout all the parts of space and time, there is no fragment of anything without the soul; therefore keep thy mind fixed in the universal soul, if thou wilt have a great soul in thee.