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...
Argument. The Action of the Mind is creative of the Error of the World, and Yoga is the suppression of that Action.
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As the rotation of a firebrand, describes a circle of sparkling fires; so the revolving of the mind, depicts the apparent circumference to the sky, as the real circle of the universe.
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In like manner the rolling of waters makes curves in the sea, appearing something other than water; so the revolution of the mind forms many ideal worlds, seeming to be bodies beside itself.
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And as you come to see strings of pearls in the sky, by the twinklings of your eyes fixed in it; so these false worlds present themselves to your view, by the pulsation of your mind.
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Tell me sir, whereby the mind has its vibration and how it is repressed, that I may thence learn how to govern the same.
Vasishtha answered said:—
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So Rama, the mind is accompanied by its fluctuations hand in hand, and they are virtually the one and the everything, though passing under different names by fiction.
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Of the two categories of the mind and its pulsation, if either of these comes to be extinct, the other also has its extinction, as the properties of a thing being lost, their subject likewise ceases to exist; and there is no doubt of this.
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There are two ways of extinguishing the mind, the yoga or hypnotism and spiritual knowledge;of these the yoga is the suppression of mental powers, and knowledge is the thorough investigation of all things.
Rama asked said:—
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How is it possible sir, to suppress the vital airs, and to attain thereby to that state of tranquillity, which is fraught with endless felicity?
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There is a circulating air breathing through the lungs and arteries of the body, as the water flows through the veins and pores of the earth, and which is called the vital breath or life.
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It is the fluctuation of this air, that impels and gives force to the internal organs of the body, and which is designated by the various names of prana, apana &c., according to their positions and motions (all of which are but varieties of the vital breath).
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As fragrance resides in flowers and whiteness in the frost, so is motion the flavour of the mind, and is one and the same with its receptacle—the mind.
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Now the vibration of this vital breath, excites the perception of certain desires and feelings in the heart; and the cognitive principle of these perceptions is called the mind.
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The vibration of vital air gives pulsation to the heart strings, causing their cognition in the mind; in the same manner as the motion of the waters, gives rise to the waves rolling and beating on the shore.
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The heart is said to be the afflation of the vital breath by the learned in the Vedas, and this being suppressed quiets the mind also. (The mind, says the Sruti, is moved by the vital air &c.).
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The action of the mind being stopped, the perception of the existence of the world becomes extinct (as we have no perception of it in our sound sleep, when the mind is inactive). It is like the extinction of worldly affairs at sunset.
Rama asked said:—
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How is it possible to stop the course of the winds, perpetually circulating through the cells of the body, like the unnumbered birds flying in the air to their nests. (The passage of the nostrils is the open air, and the cells in the body are as their nests).
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It is possible by study of the sastras and association with the good and wise, by habitual dispassionateness, by the practice of Yoga, and by removal of reliance in every transaction of the world.
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Meditation of the desired object, and keeping in view that single object, and firm reliance on one particular object, are the best means of suppressing the vital breath.
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Next, it is by suppression of breath in the acts of inspiration and respiration puraka and rechaka, in such manner as it may be unattended with pain, together with fixed meditation, it is possible to suppress the vital air (which gives longevity to the practitioner).
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The utterance of the syllable om, and pondering upon the significations of that word, and dormancy of the perceptive senses, are means of the suppression of breath.
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The practice of rechaka or respiring out, serves to purge out the crudities of the body, and by leaving the nostrils untouched, the vital breath is suppressed altogether.
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The practice of puraka or breathing in tends to fill the inside as the clouds fill the sky; and then the breathing being stopped, its vibrations are stopped also.
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Then the practice of kumbhaka or sufflation of the breath, the air is shut up in a closed vessel and this serves to stop the course of breathing. (Long explanations of these practices are given in the gloss forming subjects of anemography).
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Afterwards the tongue being carried to the orifice of the palate, and the tip being attached to the guttural bulb or nodule, will prevent the vibration of the breathing.
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Again the mind getting rid of the flights of fancy, and becoming as vacant as empty air, prevents the course of breathing by its fixed meditation of itself (as in the state of Samadhi or trance).
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Again as the vital breath ranges within the space of twelve inches about the tip of the nose, this region should be closely watched by the eyesight in order to prevent the egress and ingress of breath.
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Moreover the practice of stretching the tongue to the distance of twelve inches above the palate, and sticking the tip of it to the cavity called Brahmarandhra, serves to make one unconscious of himself, and stop his breathing. (These processes are explained in great length in the gloss for the practice of Yoga cult, resembling the mesmerism of modern spiritualists, for causing the comatosity of the practitioner).
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The eyesight being lifted upwards and fixed in the cavity between the eyebrows, exhibits the light of the intellect, and stops the vibrations of breath. (This is called the Khechari mudra and practised by all intelligent men).
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No soon does the spiritual light dawn over the soul, and the mind is steadfastly fixed to it, without any intermixture of dualism (i.e. worldly thoughts), there is an utter stop of breathing.
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The livelong practice of seeing a simple vacuity within one's self, and freeing the mind from all its thoughts and desired objects, serves to stop the fluctuation of breath. (This is supported by the Patanjali yoga sastra).
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Sir, what is this thing which they call the human heart, which receives the reflections of all things as a large reflector or mirror?
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Hear my good Rama; the hearts of all animals in this world, are of two kinds, namely: the superior and inferior, and learn their difference.
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That which has a certain dimension, and is placed as a piece of flesh inside the breast, is called an inferior heart, and forms a part of the body.
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The other is of the nature of consciousness, and is called the superior mind; because it is both in the inside and outside of the body, and yet it is situated in no part of it.
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That is the superior part, wherein all this world is situated, which is the great reflector of all things, and receptacle of all goods (so says the Sruti:"the earth and sky and all things reside in it").
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The consciousness of all living creatures, is also called their heart; though it is no part of the animal body, nor is a dull inert substance as a pebble or stone.
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Now this conscious or sensitive heart, being purified of its internal desires, and joined perforce with the chitta or thinking mind, the vibrations of vital breath are put to a stand.
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These as well as many other methods, which have been adopted by others, and dictated by the mouths of many sages, equally serve to suppress the breathing (both for the fixity of attention and prolongation of life).
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These methods which are adapted to the process of yoga meditation (or concentration of the mind); are to be slowly adopted by continued practice, for the redemption of the good from this world; or else their hasty adoption of it may prove detrimental to life.
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As it is long practice, that perfects a man to the rank of a cenobite and anchorite, so the gradual suppression of respiration, is attended with equal success; as repression of desires, is accompanied by many happy results.
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It is by continued practice, that the breath is compressed within the confines of twelve inches about the cavities of the brows, nostrils and palate, as the cataract is confined within the limit of the pit.
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It is repeated practice also, that the tip of the tongue should be brought to a contact with the gullet of the throat, through which the breath doth pass both in and out.
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These are the various modes which by their constant practice, lead to Samadhi or hypnotism, when the mind has its fullest tranquillity, and its union with the Supreme soul.
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It is by practice of these methods, that a man is freed from sorrow, and is filled with internal rapture, and becomes enrapt in the supreme soul.
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The vibrations of the vital air, being suppressed by continued practice, the mind gets a tranquillity, which is akin to its extinction.
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Human life is wrapt in desires, and liberation (moksha) is the release of the mind from these; and breathing is the operation of life, and its suppression is the path to its extinction or nirvana.
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The vibration of breath is the action of the mind, producing the error of the existence of the world; and this being brought under subjection, dispels this error.
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The knowledge of duality being removed, shows the existence of the unity only; which no words can express, except by attributes that are ascribed to it.
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In whom and from whom is all, and who is all in every place; yet who is not this world, nor there abides such a world as this in him, nor has the world come out from him (i.e. the world abides in its ideal and not material form in the spirit).
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Owing to its perishableness and its situation in time and space, and limitation by them, this material world cannot be a part of identic with that immaterial spirit, which has no attribute nor its likeness.
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It is the moisture of all vegetables and the flavour of all eatables; it is the light of lights and the source of all desires rising in the heart, like moonbeams proceeding from the lunar disk.
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The high minded man that depends on that boundless spirit, and rests secure in its bosom, is verily called the wise and liberated in his life time.
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He is the best of men, whose mind is freed from all desires and cravings; and who has found his rest from the thoughts of his fancied good and evil. He remains listless amidst all the cares and concerns of this life.