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 LXXIII - Inquiry into the nature of the soul

Argument. Two kinds of Ego, the one commendable and another Reprehensible Egoism; the abandonment of which is tantamount to Liberation.

Vasishtha continued:—

It is by reasoning in this manner, and renouncing the knowledge of duality, that the gnostic comes to know the nature of his soul; as the gods know the Divine nature which is the gem of their meditation—Chintamani.

2. Now hear about this surpassing sight, which is the soul or in-being of all visible beings; and by sight of which you will have the keen sightedness of the gods, to get into the sight of the Divinity.

3. Think yourself as the light of sun, and vacuum with all its ten sides and the upper and lower regions of space; and that your soul is the soul of gods and demigods, and the light of all luminous bodies.

4. Know yourself as darkness and the clouds, the earth and seas; and the air and fire and dust of the earth, and as the whole world, to be combined in thee.

5. That you are everywhere in all the three worlds together with the soul abiding in them; and that you are no other than the unity itself;nor is there any duality of any body, apart from the unity which pervades the whole.

6. Being certain of this truth, you will see the innumerable worlds situated in thy internal soul; and by this means you will escape from being subjected to, or overcome by the joys and sorrows of life.

7. Say, O lotus-eyed Rama! how can you call one as connected with or separate from you, when you know the whole world together with yourself, to be contained in the all-containing universal soul.

8. Say, do the wise live beside that being, that they should give way to joy or grief, which are the two phases of the universal soul? (The unwise who think themselves other than the one, may be affected by such changes).

9. There are two kinds of egoisms growing out of the knowledge of truth, and both of these are good and pure in their natures, and productive of spirituality and liberation of men.

10. The one is the ego of the form of a minute particle, transcending all things in its minuteness; and the other is the ego of one's self. The first is that the one ego is all, and the second is the knowledge, that my or thy ego is the same one.

11. There is a third sort of egoism amounting to the non-ego, which takes the body for the ego, and thus becomes subject to misery, and finds no rest in this life nor in the next.

12. Now leaving all these three kinds of subjective, objective and non egoisms; he who holds fast the fourth sort—non-ego, sees the sole intellect beyond these three.

13. This essence being above all and beyond the reach of all existence, is still the manifesting soul of the unreal world.

14. Look into it in thy notion of it, and thou shall find thyself assimilated to it; and then get rid of all thy desires and ties of thy heart herein, and become full of divine knowledge.

15. The soul is neither known by any logical inference, nor from the light the revelations of the vedas; it is always best and most fully known to be present with us by our notion of it.

16. All the sensations and vibrations that we have in our bodies, and all the thoughts we are conscious of in our minds, are all affections of the sovereign soul, which is beyond our vision and the visibles. (Invisible yet best seen in all its works and workings in us).

17. This Lord is no real substance, nor an unreal non-entity; He is not a minutiae nor a vast massiveness neither; He is not in the midst of these dimensions, nor is he this or that, but is always as he is. (I am that I am; says the Revelation).

18. It is improper to tell him such and such, or that he is otherwise than this or that; know him therefore as the inexpressible and undefinable one.

19. To say this is the soul and not the soul, is only a verbal difference of what no words can express or differentiate; it is the omnipresent power to which the soul is attributed.

20. It is present in all places, and comprehends the three times of the past, present and future in itself; and is yet invisible and incomprehensible to us, owing to its extreme rarity and immensity.

21. The soul residing in the infinity of substances, reflects itself as the living soul in animated bodies, as the sun-light reflects its rays in a prismatic glass.

22. It is owing to the animating power of the soul, that we have some notion of the soul (which no inanimate being can ever have). The soul though pervading all things, is most manifest in living bodies, as the air which surrounds all bodies everywhere, circulates only in the open etherial space.

23. The intellectual soul is all pervading and ubiquious, and never stationary in any place (as in the ideal heaven or empyrian of some sects); the spirit of the Lord is co-extensive with the vast range of his creation.

24. But the animating soul of living beings does not breathe in minerals but in animals only; as the light enlightens the eye only, and the dust flies with the winds.

25. When the animating principle resides in the soul, it bursts forth with all its desires; as people pursue their callings when the sun has risen above the horizon (i.e. all desires are concomitant with the living soul and not with lifeless beings, as all actions are attendant upon the waking world, and not upon the sleeping).

26. But as it is nothing to the sun, if people should cease from their activities, when he is shining above their heads; so it is nothing to the intellect, whether men be without their desires and actions, while it resides in the soul.

27. If the soul is existent by the inherence of the Lord (Intellect) in it, it suffers no loss by the absence of the frail body from it. (There is a Divinity that acts within us, and is deathless at the death of the body).

28. The soul is not born nor does it die, it neither receiveth nor desireth anything; it is not restrained nor liberated; but it is the soul of all at all times.

29. The soul is awakened by its enlightenment, or else the soul is supposed in what is no soul for our misery only; as the supposition of a snake in a rope, leads to our error and fear.

30. Being without its beginning, it is never born, and being unborn it is never destroyed; it seeks nothing save itself for lack of anything besides.

31. The soul being unbounded by time and space, is never confined in any place;and being always unconfined, it requires no liberation.

32. Such, O Rama! are the qualities of the souls of all persons; and yet the ignorant deplore for its loss from their want of reason.

33. Look thoroughly, O Rama! into the course of all things in the world;and do not lament for anything like senseless men.

34. Abandon the thoughts of both your imaginary confinement and liberation; and behave yourself as wise men like a dumb selfmoving machine.

35. Liberation is a thing neither confined in this earth or in heaven above or patala below; but resides in the hearts of the wise, in their pure souls and enlightened understandings.

36. The tenuity of the mind, by its expurgation from gross desires, is said to be its liberation by them that know the truth, and look into the workings of their souls.

37. As long as the pure light of the intellect, does not shines forth in the sphere of the mind, so long does it long for liberation as it's chief good. Liberation or freedom from all feelings, is less meritorious than the knowledge of all things. Here the sage gives preference to knowledge (guana) above liberation (moksha).

38. After the mind has got the fulness of its intellectual powers, and the intellect has been fully enlightened; it would not care for all the tenfold blessings of liberation, and far less desire its salvation also.

39. Cease O Rama, to think about the distinctions of the bondage and liberation of the soul; and believe its essence to be exempted from both.

40. So be freed from your thoughts of the duality (of worldly bondage and liberty), and remain steadfast to your duty of ruling the earth to its utmost limit of the sea, dug by the sons of Sagara (now called Sagara or the Bay of Bengal).