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 LXXXV - The sage’s samadhi or absorption in the divine spirit

Argument. Lecture on Samadhi Yoga or complete concentration of the Mind in God.[1]

Rama said:—

Now tell me Sir, what became of this sage in his mansion of the cavern; how he lifted his body from it, and what did be accomplish by his austere and intense devotion.

Vasishtha said:—

2. At last the mind of the sage was as extended as the divine mind, and he beheld the Divine soul in its full glory in his own soul.

3. He saw the primeval or dawning light of the intellect in his meditation, which exhibited to his remembrance the scenes of his former states of existence.

4. He then beheld the various forms of the bodies, through which he had passed in his former lives; as also those things which had passed and gone and those living with his present body in the cell.

5. He found his living body lying in the cave as an insect, and had a mind to raise it above the surrounding mud and mire.

6. This body of Vita-havya which was confined in the cave, was covered over with the dirt, carried by the rain waters and collected over its back.

7. He saw his body pent up in the prison house of the cave, with loads of clay on its back, and fettered in its limbs by the shrubs, carried into it by the torrents of rain.

8. He thought in his clear understanding, of raising his incarcerated body out of the cave; and made repeated efforts by force of his breathings, to extricate it from its confinement.

9. With all his efforts, be found it impossible for his bodily powers, to eliminate himself and walk upon the ground; whereupon he exerted his spiritual power (which he had obtained by his devotion), to raise his spirit to the orb of the sun.

10. He thought either of being raised upward by the golden rays of the sun, or of obtaining his disembodied liberation, by the disengagement of his soul from the bondage of his body.

11. He thought in his elevated mind; "I lose nothing by the loss of my bodily exertions and exercise; but rather loosened myself from my bonds, and repairing to my state of blessedness."

12. Then remaining for some time in his thoughtful mood on earth, he said; "neither is the leaving or having of this body, of any good or loss to me".

13. For as we forsake one body, so we betake to another: the difference consisting on the size and bulk of the one, and the minuteness and lightness of the other. (These are the garima of the corporeal, and laghima or anima of the spiritual body).

14. Let me then mount on this golden ray—pingala, of the sun and fly in the open air; and borne by the vehicle of light, I will enter into the body of the sun. ("Lo! I mount, I fly."Pope's Dying Christian to his soul).

15. I will enter in the form of my shadow in the etherial mirror of the sun, and this my aerial breath will conduct me to that orb. (The spiritual body resembles the shadow of the material frame, and is reflected in the luminaries of heaven as in their mirrors. The departing breath of the dying person, is the conductor of his soul to upper worlds).

16. He ascended with his puryashtaka or subtile and spiritual body upon the air, as the heat of fire passes out through the hollow of a pair of bellows; and the mindful sun saw a great sage in this state within his breast. (The sun is said to be a muni or mindful; i.e. having a mind as any animated being).

17. On seeing the sage in this state, the high minded sun, called to his mind the former acts of his devotion, and remembered his body lying in the cell of the Vindyan region.

18. The sun traversing amidst the etherial regions, came to know the actions of the sage; and beheld his body lying insensible in the cave, covered under the grass and stones.

19. He ordered his chief attendant to lift up the body of the sage, whose soul had now assumed its spiritual form.

20. The aerial form of the sage, now saluted the adorable sun with his reverential mind; and was then recognized and received by him with due honour.

21. He entered into the body of the solar attendant—Pingala, who was now proceeding from heaven to the cell amidst the delightful groves of the Vindhyan range.

22. Pingala entered the Vindhyan grove in the form of a cloud, which assuming the shape of a big elephant, removed the earth from the surface of the cave, with the long nails of his toes.

23. He then brought out the body of the sage with his trunk, as a stork pulls up a lotus stalk from amidst the mud; and then the spiritual body of the muni, fled from the form of Pingala to his own.

24. [2]The sage after his long wanderings in the regions of ether, like a bird in the sky; found at last his own body, into which it entered as its nest, and took his leave of Pingala with mutual salutations.

25. They then hurried to their respective callings with their refulgent forms; the one fled into the air, and the other repaired to a lake to cleanse his body.

26. It shone as a star in the limpid lake, and as sun beams under the water; and then it appeared above it, as a full blown lotus on the surface of waters. (The effect of devotion is said to brighten the body also).

27. He rose out of the water as a young elephant, after its sport in some dirty pool; and then offered his adoration to the sun, who had restored his body and mind to their luminous states.

28. Afterwards the sage passed sometime on the bank of the Vindhyan lake, fraught with the virtues of universal benevolence, fellow feeling and kindness, and joined with the qualities of his peace and tranquillity, his wisdom and internal bliss, and above all his seclusion and retirement from society, and unconcernedness with the concerns of the world.

Footnotes and references:


Samādhi is described as the continual concentration of thought, by means of which all external objects, and even one's own individuality is forgotten, and the mind is fixed completely and immoveably on the one Being.


Note to 24. This is an allegory of the revivification of the torpid body, by means of the solar gleams and heat.