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 LXXIV - Lecture on apathy or stoicism

Argument. Error is the cause of the misconception of the World, and Right Reason is the means of deliverance from it.

Vasishtha Continued:—

1. It is a pleasure to look at the outer world, and painful to turn the sight to the inner soul; as it is pleasant to see the delightful prospects abroad, and bitterness of the heart to be without them. (All men court pleasure, but fly from pain).

2. It is by the fascination of these delightsome objects, that we are subjected to all our errors and blunders; as the taste of spirituous liquors, fills the brain with giddiness.

3. It is this intoxication, that drives the knowledge of sober truth from our minds, and introduces the delirium of the phenomenal world in its stead; as the heat of the sun (like the heat of the brain), produces the false mirage in the desert.

4. It is then that the deep ocean of the soul boils in its various aspects of the mind, understanding, egoism, sensation and volition; as the sea when moved by the hot winds, bursts in the forms of foaming froths, waves and surges.

5. The duality of the mind and its egoism, is only a verbal distinction and not distinct in reality; for egoism is but a thought chitta, and the thought is no other than the mind or manas.

6. As it is in vain to conceive the snow apart from its whiteness, so it is false to suppose the mind as distinct from egoism (because the ego is a conception of the mind only).

7. There is no difference of the ego from the mind, as the destruction of the one is attended with the loss of the other also; just as the removal of the cloth, is accompanied with the absence of its colour also. (Egoism is said to be the son of the mind, and the one dies without the other).

8. Avoid both your desire of liberation, as also your eagerness for worldly bondage; but strive to enfeeble your mind by lessening its egoism, by the two means of your indifference to and discrimination of worldly objects (i.e. neither seek the world nor hate it, but remain as an indifferent spectator of everything).

9. The thought of getting liberation, growing big in the mind, disturbs its peace and rest, and injures the body also (by a rigid observance of the austerities necessary for liberation).

10. The soul being either apart from all things, or intimately connected with all, can neither have its liberation nor bondage also (when it is already so separate from, as well as united with everything in the world).

11. When the air circulates in the body, by its natural property of motion, it gives movement to the members of the body, and moves the voluble tongue, like the flitting leaf of a tree.

12. As the restless wind, gives motion to the leaves and twigs of trees; so the vital airs add their force to the movement of the members of the body.

13. But the soul which pervades the whole, never moveth like the wind, nor is it moved as any part of the body; it does not move of itself, but remains unshaken as a rock at the motion of the winds, and like the Lord of all, it is unmoved by the breeze.

14. The soul shows by its reflection, all things that are hid in it; as the lamp discovers by its light, whatever lay concealed in the darkness of the room.

15. It being so (but a counterfeit copy), why should you fall into the painful error, of conceiving like the ignorant and senseless men, that these members of your body and these things belong to you?

16. Thus infatuated by ignorance, men think the frail body as lasting, and attribute knowledge and agency of action to it (which in reality belong to the soul).

17. It is gross error only, that makes us believe the body as an automaton, or self-acting machine of its motions, actions and passions; and it is our sanguine wishes only, that present so many false views before us, as the solar heat, raises the mirage of water in the sandy desert.

18. It is this ignorance of truth, which makes the mind to pant after the pleasures of sense; and drags it along like a thirsty doe, to perish in the aqueous mirage of the parching shore.

19. But untruth being detected from truth, it flies from the mind, as a chandala woman when once known she comes to be as such, flies afar from the society of Brahmans.

20. So when error comes to be found out, it can no more beguile the mind than the mirage when it is discovered as such fails to attract the thirsty to it.

21. Rama! as truth is known and rooted in the mind, the seeds of earthly desires are uprooted from it, as thick darkness is dispelled by the light of a lamp.

22. As the mind arrives to certain truths, by the light of the sastras and reason; so its errors fastly fade away like icicles, melting under the heat of the solar rays.

23. The certainty of the moral truth, that 'it is useless to foster and fatten this frail frame of the body,' is as powerful to break down the trammels of worldly desires, as the robust lion is capable to break down the iron grate of his prison.

24. The mind of man being freed from the bonds of its desires, becomes as brilliant as the moonlight night, with the pure beams of disinterested delight.

25. The contented mind gets a coolness like that of a heated rock, after it is washed by a shower of rain; and it finds a satisfaction equal to that of a pauper, by his getting the riches of a king and his whole kingdom.

26. The countenance of the contented man, shines as clear as the face of the autumnal sky; and his soul overflows with delight, like the deluvial waters of the deep.

27. The contented man is as silent, as the mute cloud after the rain; and his soul remains as composed with its consciousness, as the profound sea is tranquil with its fulness.

28. He has his patience and steadiness like those of a rock, and he glistens as quietly in himself, as the glowing fire glitters after its fuel is burnt out.

29. He is extinct in himself as the extinguished lamp; and has his inward satisfaction as one who has feasted on ambrosia.

30. He shines with his inward light like a lantern with its lighted lamp; and as fire with its internal lustre, which can never be put out.

31. He sees his soul, as identic with the universal and all pervading soul; which is the lord and master of all, and which abides in all forms in its formless state.

32. He smiles at every thing, by his setting himself above and beyond all mortal and frail things; his days glide away sweetly and softly with him; and he laughs at those men, whose fickle minds are made the marks of cupid's arrows.

33. His holy mind is isolated from the society of men, and from all their amusements; and rests secluded from all company and concern, with the fulness of its spiritual bliss within itself.

34. It gets clear of the turbid and turbulent ocean of this world, and is quite cleared of the dirt of worldly desires; it is loosened from the fetters of its error, and set free from the fear of dualism.

35. The man being thus released, attains the highest state of humanity, and rests in that supreme felicity, which is desired by all and found by few, and from which nobody returns to revisit the earth.

36. This height of human ambition being arrived at, there is nothing else to wish for; and this great gratification being once gained, there is no other joy which can delight us more.

37. The self contented man, neither gives to nor receives anything from anybody; he neither praises nor dispraises any one, nor does he rejoice or grieve at anything, nor is he ever elated nor depressed at any occurrence.

38. He is said to be liberated in his life time, for his taking no title on himself, and withholding from all business; as also for his being free from desires (which bind a man fast to this earth).

39. Abstain from wishing any thing in your heart, and hold your tongue in tacit silence; and remain as dumb as a cloud after it has poured down all its waters.

40. Even the embrace of a fairy fails to afford such delight to the body, as the cooling beams of contentment gladdens the mind.

41. Though decked with the disk of the moon, dangling as a breast plate from the neck, one does not derive such coolness, as he feels in himself from the frigidity of contentment-sang froid.

42. The florid arboret decorated with the blooming florets of the vernal season, is not so refreshing to sight; as the smiling countenance of one, fraught with the magnanimity of his soul, and want of cupidity in his mind.

43. Neither the frost of the snowy mountain, nor the coldness of a string of pearls; not even the gelidness of the plantain or sandal paste, or the refreshing beams of the lightsome moon, can afford that internal coolness, as the want of appetency produces in the mind.

44. Contentedness or inappetency of everything, is more charming than the pleasurableness of royal dignity and heavenly felicity, and the pleasantness of moonlight and vernal delights. It is more charming than the enchanting graces of a beauty, (which ravish the senses and not the soul).

45. Inappetence is the source of that complete self-sufficiency, to which the riches of the three worlds can make no addition. (Lit. It cares not a straw (or a fig) for all the prosperity of the world).

46. Self-complacency strikes the axe at the root of the thorny difficulties of the world; and decorates its possessor with blessings like the blossoms of a flowery tree.

47. The man decorated with inappetency (or self sufficiency), has all in himself though possest of nothing. He spurns the deep earth as a cave, and the big mountain as the trifling trunk of a tree. He looks on all the sides of air as mere caskets, and regards the worlds as straws.

48. The best of men that are devoid of desire, laughs to scorn at the busy affairs of the world, and at men taking from one and giving to another, or storing or squandering their riches.

49. That man is beyond all comparison, who allows no desire to take root in his heart, and does not care a fig or a straw for the world.

50. Wherewith is that man to be compared, whose mind is never employed in the thoughts of craving something and avoiding another, and who is ever master of himself?

51. O ye wise and intelligent men! rely on the want of cravings of your heart, which is your greatest good fortune, by setting you to the bliss of safety and security, and beyond the reach of the dangers and difficulties of the world.

52. Rama! you have nothing to desire in this world, nor are you led away by worldly desires, like one who is borne in a car, and thinks that his side-views are receding back from him.

53. O intelligent Rama! why do you fall into the error of ignorant men, by taking this thing to be yours and that as another's by the delusion of your mind? (For all things are the Lord God's for ever more, and mortal men are but the poor pensioners of a day).

54. The whole world is the selfsame spirit, and all its variety is in perfect uniformity with the supreme soul; the learned know that the world is eternally the same and unvaried in itself, and do not grieve at the apparent changes of things and vicissitudes of times.

55. Seeing all things in their true light, to be a manifestation of the divine essence; all intelligent men place their dependance in Him (as the support and substance of all), and do not desire for any thing else.

56. Rely therefore on that invariable state of things, which is free from the conditions of existence and inexistence and of beginning and end (and this is the everlasting essence of God which fills the whole).

57. This illusive enchantment of the world flies afar before the indifference of strongminded men; as the timid fawn flies of or at the sight of the ferocious lion.

58. Men of subdued passions and sedate minds, regard the graces of fairy forms, to be no more than the loveliness of wild creepers, or the fading beauty of dilapidated statues of stone.

59. No pleasures gladden their hearts nor dangers depress their spirits; no outward good or bad can make any effect on their minds, which are as inflexible as the firm rocks against the violence of winds.

60. The mind of the magnanimous sage, is as impregnable as a rock, which baffles the blandishments of youthful damsels, and breaks the darts of love to pieces, and falling down as pulverised atoms of dust and ashes.

61. One knowing his self, is not carried away by his fondness or aversion of any person or thing;because the heart which has no vibration in it, is insensible of all feelings.

62. The dispassionate man who looks on all things with an equal eye, is as insensible as a stone of the charms of blooming maids; and is as averse to pernicious pleasures as a traveller is to the sandy desert.

63. All things necessary for life, are obtained with little labour of those, who are indifferently minded about their gain; and the wise get the free gifts of nature, with as much ease as the eye sight gets the solar light. (Nature's-bounties of air and light and of water and vegetable food, which are essential to life, are denied to nobody).

64. The gifts of nature, which are alloted by fortune to the share of every one, are relished by the wise without their rejoicing or murmur.

65. Neither rejoicing nor bewilderment, can overtake the mind of the way-farer, who well knows his way (and is aware of the states of its stages); but he stands firm as the Mandava mountain, amidst the turbulent waves of the sea.

66. He looks indifferently on the pains and pleasures of the world, with his usual patience, taciturnity and want of anxiety; and relies his trust in that spirit, which resides in the interior of every body.

67. Though beset by anxious cares, he remains without the anxiety of his mind; and stands steadfast with his confidence in the supreme soul, like Brahma in his hurry of the creation of the world.

68. Though overtaken by the accidents of the times, places and circumstances of life, yet he is not overpowered by the influence of their pain or pleasure; but stands erect as the sturdy oak against the influence of the seasons.

69. The wise may fail in the action of their bodily organs, and falter in their speech also; but their strong and unconcerned minds never fail in their operations, nor despond under the pressure of outward circumstances.

70. The gold becomes impure by its inward alloy, and not by its outward soil; so a man becomes unholy by the impurity of heart and foulness of his mind, and not on account of the dust or dirt on his body.

71. The learned understand the wise man apart from his body; because the maimed body does not take away anything from the wisdom of a man.

72. The pure and luminous soul being once known, is never to be lost sight-of, as a friend being once known, is never thought to be a foe.

73. The fallacy of the snake in the rope, being once-removed, it is no more looked upon as a snake;as the river receiving its torrents from the water-fall of a hill in the rainy season, retains no more its current after the rains have passed.

74. Gold though purified by fire, does not retain its purity for ever;for it becomes dirty by being thrown into the mud and mire.

75. After the heart string has been broken, it can never be joined any more; as the first that has fallen down from its stalk, can be stuck to it no more.

76. As no analysis can distinguish the gem from the ore, when they are both broken to pieces; so there is no reasoning to show the soul which is lost with body.

77. Who that knows what error is, will be so great a fool as to fall to it again? as none that has known a body of men to be the pariah chandalas, will ever like to mix in their company.

78. As the mistake of milk in water, passes away upon examination of the liquid; so the error of worldly desires, vanishes upon knowledge of their vanity.

79. Even learned Brahmans may fall into the error, of drinking some liquor for pure water; until they come to detect their mistake of the same. (So the wise are deluded to error, by their mistake of the same).

80. Those who are acquainted with truth, took upon fairy forms and features in no better light than as paintings and pictures with respect to their outward bodies.

81. The sable locks and crimson lips of the fairy, are portrayed as in black and red in a picture;so their is no difference of the figure in its living form or in painting.

82. The idea of sweetness which is accompanied with that of molasses, is not to be separated in the mind even by its separation from the body;in the same manner the idea of bliss is inseparably accompanied with that of the soul, which is indestructible by the destruction of the body.

83. Spiritual felicity may be enjoyed in this corporeal body, in the same manner, as one enjoys the pleasure of imagination, while he is occupied with his bodily functions.

84. Thus a man who is steadfast in his spiritual meditation, and intent upon the supreme soul, is not to be turned away from it by the power of the gods, or by the jealousy of Indra (for the preservation of his dignity, from its being superceded by an austere devotee).

85. As there is no lover of a licentious woman, that can turn her heart from the dearest object of her love; so there is nothing in the world that can alienate the fickle mind, from its love of spiritual joy.

86. There is no such joy in the whole world, which is able to divert the mind of the magnanimous philosopher, from its reliance on the delight of intellectual light.

87. As a domiciled woman who is subject to all domestic toils and privations, and is constantly employed in her household drudgeries, and subjected to maltreatment under the subjection of her husband and father-in-law:—

88. Has still the comfort of thinking on her sweet heart, and dissipate her sorrows with the thought of her favourite lover;such is the mystic love of spiritualists (as that of Persean Mystic poets).

89. So the man who is bound to the cares of worldly affairs, has the consolation of his soul and spiritual bliss, by freeing his mind from ignorance, and conducting himself in the right way, by his comprehensive view of all things. (The worldly man may have the blessing of spiritualism).

90. He does not break under his bodily torture, nor does he wail with his bleeding heart and weeping eyes; he is not burnt by the flame of his martyrdom, nor does he die when perishing under the scourge of the stake and stock of persecution. (As the crucifixion of Mandavy did not alter the tenor of his mind. Gloss. Nor the unity of Mansur belief was changed by the cruciating pains of the cross. So says Hafiz. Kashad maqshe Ana-al Haq bar Zamin Khun; cho Mansur ar Kuni bar daram imshab).

91. The mind is free from the pain and pleasure which befall to the lot of humanity, and is unmoved amidst all the mishaps of fortune. The devotee rejoices in the region of his spiritual bliss, whether he remains in his hermitage in the forest, or wanders about in deserts, or ranges wide over mountains.