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 LXXV - On mancipation and emancipation

Argument. Instances of the Enfranchisement of many great Examplars in Active Life among gods and men.

Vasishtha continued:—

See, Janaka the king employed in the government of his realm, and yet liberated in his lifetime from his bondage in the world; by means of his mental release from all its cares and anxieties.

2. Remember your grand sire Dilipa, who though deeply engaged in his state affairs, had yet enjoyed his long and peaceful reign, owing to the dispassionateness of his disposition;(which is tantamount to self-liberation).

3. Think of Buddha who ruled over his people, freed from all his passions and affections; and bring to your mind, how Manu ruled over in peace, his realm and who was as an exemplar of liberation in his lifetime.

4. Remember how the monarch Mandhata, had obtained the blessed state of his affranchisement; though he was incessantly engaged in various warfares and state affairs.

5. Think of Bali, who while he was confined in the infernal region, conducted himself in his virtuous course, and became liberated in his lifetime, by his unbounded bounty and want of attachment to the world.

6. Namuchi the lord of Danavas, who carried continued wars and contentions against the gods; was notwithstanding cool and quiet in his mind (which bespoke his freedom from earthly broils and bondage).

7. Vritra the Asura who fell in his battle with the god Indra, was however, of a great and calmly quiet mind, as long as he faught with him. (Vritra the Assyrian, called Vihithru in Zend, was killed by Indra the Aryan).

8. Prahlada the prince of the Daityas, dwelling in the demoniac world underneath the ground, dispensed his dispensations to them, with an unruffled and gladsome mind (and this want of perturbation, is tantamount to the deliverance of the mind, from the fetters of earthly broils).

9. Sambara the demon, who was a sorcerer in warfare, was as cool blooded as water in his heart; whereby he was delivered from the sorcery of the world, as a fleet deer flying from the dart. (Here is a play upon the word Sambara, which is repeated four times without their different meanings being given in the gloss).

10. The demon Kusala also, whose mind was not fettered to the world, waged an unprofitable war against Vishnu; from whom he obtained his spiritual knowledge, and his deliverence from this temporary scene.

11. Look at fire how free and uncompressed it is, while it answers for the mouth of gods, and serves to intromit for them the oblations that are offered to it, and perform the endless works of fusion for them. (The evanescent fire is said to be the mouth of the gods, because the primeval Aryans represented as gods, had long learnt to take boiled food cooked on fire, before the raw flesh eaters of the Turanian tribes. The yajniya oblations stand for all sorts of daily consecrated food of the panchayajnas. The endless works of fire allude to the vulcanian arts first, discovered by the Aryans).

12. See the gods drinking the juice of Soma plants, and presiding over the endless functions of the world; are ever as free as air (neither to be seen nor touched by anybody).

13. Jupiter the leader of the gods, and Moon the pursuer of his wife Rohini, have been continually performing their revolutions, without changing their places in heaven;and so the other planets also.

14. Sukra-(Venus) the learned preceptor of the Asura demons, shines in the same manner in the heavenly sphere, and runs in his unvaried course, of protecting the interests of the Asuras.

15. See also the winds to be flying freely at all times, and through all the worlds, with their charge of enlivening and giving motion to all bodies.

16. See Brahma continuing in the same unchangeable state of his mind, and giving life and velocity to all beings, which have been thereby continually moving about in the world.

17. The lord Hari, though ever liberated from every bond, has been continually employed in his contests and combats with the Asuras as if in sport.

18. The three-eyed god Siva, though ever freed from all concerns, is joined in one body with his dearer half the beauteous Gauri, in the manner of a lover enamoured of his beloved one.

19. The fair Hara thou ever free, is bound to the embrace of his fairy Gauri, and was as a crescent of the fair moon, or as a lace of pure pearls about her neck.

20. The heroic Skanda who was of vast understanding, and like a sea of the gems of his learning, and perfectly free (as the sole lord of the world), made war with Taraka (Darius?) of his free will. (This passage plainly shows them to be Alexander and Darius of history).

21. Mark how Bhringi the attendant of Siva, was absorbed in his meditation, and thinking himself to be freed from the burden of his body, made a free offering of his blood and flesh to his goddess Gauri.

22. The sage Narada, who was of a liberated nature from his very birth, and resigned the world and all its concerns altogether, was still engaged in many affairs with his cool understanding.

23. The honourable Viswamitra who is now present here, is liberated in his life time, and yet he does not slight to preside at sacrifices, solemnized according to the ritual of the sacred veda.

24. The infernal snake bears the earth on its head, and the sun makes the day by turns; the god of death is ever employed in his act of destruction, and still they are all free agents of their acts.

25. There are many others among the Yakkas, Suras and Asuras of the world, who are all liberated in their life time, and still employed in their respective employments.

26. What numbers of them are employed in worldly affairs, and how many more are engaged in different courses of life; and still they are cold blooded and cool headed within themselves, and as still and quiet as cold stones without.

27. Some attaining the acme of their understanding, have retired to solitude, to pass their lives in abstract meditation; and among these are the venerable Bhrigu and Bharadvaja, Sukra and Viswamitra (who were not less serviceable to mankind by many of their acts and works).

28. Many among mankind were rulers of their realms, and held the exalted canopy and chowry and other ensigns of royalty on their heads, and were not less distinguished for the piety and spirituality at the same time. Among these, the conduct of the royal personages Janaka, Saryali and Mandhatri, stand preeminent above the rest.

29. Some among the living-liberated, are situated in the planetary spheres, and are thence adored by their devotees for their blessings on the world. Of these Jupiter and Venus, the Sun and Moon, are the deities of gods, demons and human kind.

30. Some among the deities, are seated in their heavenly vehicles, and continually ministering to the wants of all created beings, as the regents of fire, air, water and death and Tumbura and Narada.

31. Some situated in the secluded regions of Patala, are equally distinguished both for their holiness and piety; such as Vali, Subotra, Andha, Prahlada and others.

32. Among beasts of the field and fowls of the air, and inferior animals, you will find many intelligent beings, as the bird Garuda (Jove's eagle), and the monkey Hanumana (the god Pan), Jambubana &c; and among the demigods there are some that are sapient, and others as muddle headed as beasts.

33. Thus it is possible for the universal soul that resides everywhere, and is at all times the same, to show itself in any form in any being according to its will (since it is all in all).

34. It is the multifarious law of His eternal decree, and the manifold display of His infinite power, that invests all things with multiform shapes and diverse capacities, as they appear to us.

35. This law of divine decree is the lord of all, and embodies in itself the creative, preservative and destructive powers under the titles of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. These names are indicative of the intelligent faculties of the universal soul.

36. It is not impossible for the supreme soul, to reside in all bodies in any manners it likes; it presides sometimes in the manner of the grains of pure gold, amidst worthless sands and dust; and at others as the mixture of some base metal in pure gold.

37. Seeing some good connected with or resulting from evil, our inclinations would lead us even to the evil (in expectation of reaping the good); were it not for fear of the sinfulness of the act and its consequent punishment, that we are deterred from doing it (i.e. human nature is addicted to vice, but fear of sin and its punishment, leads us to virtue. Had there been no such thing, we would all become vicious).

38. We see sometimes something substantial arising from the unsubstantial, as we arrive to the substantial good of divine presence, by means of the unsubstantial meditation of his negative attributes (that he is neither this nor that nor such and such (neti-neti-iti sruti).

39. What never existed before, comes to existence at sometime or place unknown to us;as the horns of a hare which are never to be seen in nature, are shown to us in magic play, and by the black art of sorcery.

40. Those which are seen to exist firm and solid as adamant, become null and void and disperse in air; as the sun and moon, the earth and mountains, and the godlike people of the antedeluvian world.

41. Seeing these changes in the state of things, you must give up, O mighty armed Rama! your joy and grief on any occasion, and preserve the equanimity of your mind at all times.

42. The unreal (material existence) seems as real, and the sober reality (of spiritual essence), appears as a non-entity in nature; resign therefore your reliance in this deceitful world, and preserve the equanimity of your mind under all circumstances.

43. It is true that you gain nothing by your resignation of the world; and it is equally true on the other hand, that you lose nothing by your getting rid of its unrealities by yourself.

44. But it is true, O Rama! that you gain a certain good by your getting rid of this world; and it is your riddance from the manifold evils and mischances, which are unavoidable concommittants with this life.

45. Again you obtain the certain gain of your salvation, by your resignation of the world, which you can never earn by your attachment to it. Therefore strive for your liberation by purging your mind from its attachments to the world.

46. He who wishes for his prosperity, must take the pains to have an insight of his soul; because a single glimpse of the soul, is sure to cut off all the pains and pangs of the world from their root.

47. There are many dispassionate and disconnected men, even in the present age; who are liberated in their lifetime, like the sacrificial king Janaka and others.

48. So you too are liberated for life, for your having an unpassionate and unprejudiced mind, and may manage to conduct yourself with your tolerant spirit, like the patient earth, stone and moveless metals.

49. There are two kinds of liberation for living beings, viz.: one in their present life and body, and the other after separation of life from the body, both of which admit of some varieties as you will bear afterwards.

50. First of all the peace of mind, from its unconcernedness with everything is termed its liberation; and it is possible to be had by the sinless man either in this life or in the next.

51. Lessening of affections is fraught with the bliss of solity (Kaivalya), and it is possible to become impassible both in the embodied as will as disembodied states of life.

52. He who lives in perfect apathy and without his affection for any body, is called the living liberated man; but the life which is bound by its affections is said to be in bondage, or else it is free as air.

53. It is possible to obtain liberation, by means of diligent inquiry and reasoning; or else it is as difficult to come to it, as it is hard for a lame man to leap over a hole, though as small as the footmark of a cow-goshpada.

54. For know, O Rama of great soul, that the soul should not be cast into misery by your neglect of it, or by subjecting it through ignorance to its affection for others (i.e. be master of yourself and not bound to others).

55. He who relies on his patience, and employs his mind, and cogitates upon the supreme soul in his own soul, for the attainment of his consummation;finds the deep abyss of the world, as a small chink in his vast comprehension.

56. The high station to which Buddha had attained by his patience, and from which the Arhata prince fell to scepticism by his impatience; and that summum bonum which is reached at by great minds, is the fruit of the tree of diligent inquiry, which like the Kalpa arbor, yields all what is desired of it.