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 LXXVII - On living liberation

Argument. On Liberation from Earthly Bondage, and Salvation of the Soul during one's Lifetime.

Rama rejoined:—

O sage! nobody is satiate with all thou sayest, but must learn more and more from you; therefore say in short the substance of the present subject, which is as grand as it is wondrous to hear.

Vasishtha replied:—

2. I have already given you many interpretations of living liberation, and here are some more for your satisfaction and close attention.

3. With their visual organs they view this world, as a hazy maze in their state of sound sleep; and they consider it as an unreality in their spiritual light, when their minds are fixed in the Supreme soul only.

4. He who has got his disengagement, has his mind as still as in sleep; and he that sees the soul, is ravished with joy at the sight.

5. He takes nothing that is within his reach, nor retains what is within his grasp; but keeps his mind looking within himself as having everything there. (The liberated and self-contented man having nothing in his hand, has all in his inward soul).

6. He sees the bustle of the tumultuous with the eye of his mind, and smiles in himself at the hurry and flurry of the world (like the laughing philosopher of old).

7. He does not live in future expectation, nor does he rely in his present possession; he does not live on the pleasure of his past memory, but lives listless of all (in perfect insouciance).

8. Sleeping he is awake, in his vision of heavenly light, and waking he is plunged in the deep sleep of his mental reveries; he does all his works with his external body; but he does nothing with his inward mind (which is fixed in his God).

9. In his mind he has relinquished the thoughts of all things, and renounced his care also for anything; he does his outward actions, and remains as even as if he has done nothing. (The spiritualist is neither concerned with nor affected by his external acts).

10. He pursues the course of duties of his caste and family, as they have descended to him from the custom of his forefathers.

11. He does all that is required and expected of him with a willing mind, and without the error of believing himself as their actor. (He does them as a machine, and without the false persuasion of his agency of them).

12. He remains insouciant, of all that he does by rote and habit, and neither longs for, nor loathes nor rejoices nor grieves at anything.

13. He takes no notice of the amity or enmity of others to him, and is devoted to them that are devoted to him; but cunning with such as deal in craftiness with him.

14. He deals as a boy with boys, and as a veteran with old people; he is youthful in the society of young men, and is grave in the company of the aged and wise. He is not without sympathy with the woes of others (but rejoices at their happiness).

15. He opens his mouth in edifying speeches, and never betrays his penury in any way; he is always sedate in his mind, and ever of a cheerful complexion.

16. He is wise and deep, yet open and sweet (in his conversation;and is full with the fulness of his knowledge, as the full moon with all her digits); he is ever free from pain and misery.

17. He is magnanimous in his disposition, and as sweet as a sea of delight; he is cool and cooling the pains of others, and as refreshing as the full moonbeams to mankind.

18. He has meritorious deeds for his object, nor is any action or worldly good of any purpose to him; neither does he gain anything by his abandonment of pleasures or riches or friends, nor by their disappearance from him.

19. Neither action nor inaction, nor labour nor ease; neither bondage or release, or heaven or hell, can add to or take away anything from his inner contentment.

20. He sees everything and everywhere in the same uniform light, nor is his mind afraid of bondage or eager for its release. (Such inflexible passivity was the highest virtue of the stoics).

21. He whose doubts are wholly removed by the light of his knowledge, has his mind towering upwards as the fearless phoenix of the sky.

22. He whose mind is freed from error, and is settled in its equanimity, doth neither rise nor fall like any heavenly body, but remains unaltered as the high heaven itself.

23. He does his outward actions, by the mere movement of the outer members of his body, and without the application of his mind to them; as a baby sleeping in a cradle, has the spontaneous play of his limbs, without any purpose of his mind. (This shows the possibility of bodily actions independently of the mind).

24. So the drunken and delirious man, doth many acts in his state of dementedness; and as he never does them with the application or attention of his mind, he retains no trace of them in his remembrance.

25. And as children lay hold of or reject everything, without knowing whether it is good or bad for them; so do men do their actions or refrain from them, without their deliberate choice or aversion of them. (This proves the causality of the mind).

26. So a man doing his duty by habit or compulsion, is not sensible of any pain or pleasure that he derives from it (because his mind was quite unconcerned with the act).

27. An act done by the outer body without its intention in the inner mind, is reckoned as no act of the actor, nor does it entail upon him its good or bad result. (An involuntary act is not taken into account).

28. He neither shrinks from misery, nor does he hail his good fortune; he is neither elated at his success, nor depressed by his failure.

29. He is not dismayed at seeing the sun growing cool, and the moon shining warmly over his head; he is not disconcerted by the flame of fire bending downwards, nor at the course of waters rising upwards. (He is not terrified by the prodigies of nature).

30. He is not affrighted nor astonished, at any wonderful occurrence in nature; because he knows all the phenomena of nature, to be the wondrous appearances of the omnipotent and all-intelligent soul.

31. He expresses no need nor want of his, nor is in need of other's favour or kindness; nor has he recourse to wiliness or cunning;he undertakes no shameful act as begging and the like, nor betrays his shamelessness by doing an unworthy action.

32. He is never mean-spirited nor haughty in his spirit, he is neither elated nor depressed in his mind, nor is he sad or sorry or joyous at anytime. (The word dinatma is used for the meek in spirit in Dr. Mill's version of the "Sermon on the mount").

33. No passions rise in his pure heart, which is as clear as the autumnal sky; and as the clear firmament which gives no growth to thorns or thistles.

34. Seeing the incessant births and deaths of living beings in the course of this world, who is it whom you may call to be ever happy or unhappy? (Since happiness and sorrow succeed one another by turns).

35. Froth as the foaming bubble bursts in the water, so our lives flash to fly out into eternity;whom therefore do you call to be happy anywhere, and what is that state of continued pleasure or pain?

36. In this world of endless entrances and exits, what being is there that lasts or is lost for ever; it is our sight that produces the view, as our failing sight takes it out of view: (as every spectre of optical delusion). (The text drishti srishti kara narah is very expressive; and means, "man is the maker of the world by his sight of it").

37. The sights of these worlds are no more than the transitory view of spectacles in our nightly dreams; which are unforeseen appearances of momentary duration, and sudden disappearance.

38. What cause can there be of joy or sorrow in this wretched world, which is a scene of incessant advents and departures?

39. It is the loss of some good, that is attended with sorrow to the sufferer; but what sorrow can assail the self-liberated man, who sees nothing as positive good in the ever-changing state of things herein?

40. Of what avail is prosperity or the enjoyment of any pleasure to one, when it is succeeded by adversity and pain the next moment, which embitters life by its baneful effects.

41. It is riddance from the states of pleasure and pain, of choice and dislike, of the desirable and displeasing, and of prosperity and adversity, that contributes to the true felicity of man.

42. After your abandonment of pleasing and unpleasing objects, and relinquishment of your desire for enjoyments, you get a cold inappetence, which will melt your mind like frost.

43. The mind being weakened, its desires will be wasted also; as the sesamum seeds being burnt, will leave no oil behind. (The mind being repressed, will put a check to all its passions and feelings).

44. By thinking existence as non-existent, the great souled man gets rid of all his desires, and sets himself aloof as in the air; and with his joyous spirits that know no change, the wise man sits and sleeps and lives always content with himself.