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 LXXXVI - Government of bodily organs

Argument. Necessity of controul over senses for concentration of the Mind.

Vasishtha resumed:—

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The muni thought again to resume his accustomed meditation, and entered a spacious cave in the Vindhya at the end of the day.

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He continued in the investigation of the soul, with his command over the sensible organs, and he reflected on the reality and unreality of things in his mind.

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I find, said he, these organs of sense which were under my subjection before, are now set at liberty in the exercise of their various functions (tending to the destruction of the mind from its fixed attention).

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I will now cease to think concerning the existence and inexistence of substances, and will recline solely (with my steady posture on that Being to whom the being and not being of things is truly known like that of a mountain peak).

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I will remain wakeful inwardly, appearing as I were dead and asleep outwardly; and yet sensible in my insensibility, as the quiet and living soul, and thus continue both with the vigilance and supineness of my spirit in the state of my quietism. (i.e. appearing as a dead block before the ignorant, but as thinking and vivacious in the eye of the intelligent. Or the wise appear as fanatics before the foolish worldlings).

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Waking as if asleep and sleeping as awake, I will remain in my torpor of turiya, which is neither dead nor quick (and neither the corporeal nor spiritual state. Gloss).

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I will remain retired as a rock from all things, and even apart from my mind, and dwell in the bosom of the all pervading soul; I will abide with the universal spirit in my tranquillity, and having ease from all disease.

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Having mused in this manner, he sat at his meditation for six days and nights; after which he was roused as a passenger wakes after his short nap on the way.

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Then this great devotee having obtained the consummation of his devotion, passed his long life in the state of his living liberation. (Or living apart from all cares and concerns of the world).

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He took delight in nothing nor hated anything;he felt no sorrow for aught nor any pleasure in naught (i.e. he had his stoic indifference to every thing, whether good or bad).

11. Whether walking or sitting, he was thoughtless of every thing; his heart was void of cares, and he conversed with his mind alone at pleasure.

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Behold! he said to his mind, O lord of my senses! the unsullied and undecaying joy that thou dost enjoy in the tranquillity; and say if there is a greater felicity than this to be found on earth. (For true felicity, according to the Vedantist, consisted not in the possession, but renunciation of earthly cares and concerns, so Hafiz:"Daadduniaoahilha." Abandon the world and all its people).

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Therefore O my mind! that art the fleetest of all things, repress thy flight and excitability; and rely on thy cool composure for thy lasting happiness.

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O my roguish senses, and O ye my perverted organs, ye have nothing to do with me. (The senses are related with the mind, and bear no relation to the soul).

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The stiffness of the outer organs, is the cause of their failure;and the volition of the mind, is the cause of its disappointment; and neither of these have the power to protect me from evil.

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Those that believe the senses, as same with the soul, are as deluded as they, that mistake the rope for a snake.

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To take what is not the self for self, is equal to the taking of an unreality for reality; want of reason produces this mistake, but right reason removes the fallacy.

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You my senses and thou my mind, and my living soul, are different things, and quite separate from the unity of Brahma. The mind is the active principle, and the intellect is passive, and so no one related to the other. (All these have their different functions to perform).

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But it is their union, that serves to produce the same effect, as the wood that grows in the forest, the rope that is made of flax or hide, the axe made of iron, and the carpenter that works for wages, do all combine in the building of a house.

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Such is the accidental conjunction of different things, that becomes the efficient cause of producing certain effects, which could never result alone, as in the case of house building just mentioned.

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So also in the causation of the various acts of the body, as speech and all other works; which are effected by the accidental and simultaneous union of the different organs of the body and mind, without the waste or impairing of any of them.

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Thus when the forgetfulness of death and sleep, are buried in oblivion, and reminiscence is awakened upon revivification and waking, the inactualities are again brought to the position of actuality (i.e. the inaction is changed to action, by combination of mental and bodily activities, which are again productive of their purposed results).

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In this manner that great devotee, went on with his cogitations for many years, in that solitary cell of Vindhya mountain.

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Freed from ignorance and afar from temptation, he remained there in perfect felicity, and ever contemplating on the means of preventing the metempsychosis of his soul.

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Seeing the natures of things in their true light, he avoided all that presented a false appearance; and for fear of being misled by appearances, he resorted to the shelter of meditation (of the intrinsic natures and properties of things).

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Having his option of choosing what he liked from whatever he disliked, he was indifferent to both of them, and his apathetic mind was elevated from all that is desirable or detestable in life.

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And having renounced the world, and all its connections and the society of mankind; and setting himself beyond the bonds of repeated births and actions of life, he became one with the incorporeal unity, and drank the ambrosial draughts of spiritual delight.

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He seemed to sit in his lonely abstraction, in the golden grotto of the Sahya mountain;and looked on the entangled paths of the world below, without any desire of walking in it, or mixing in its perfidious society.

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Then sitting in his erect posture, he said to himself; "Be passionless, O my impassioned heart, and rest at peace my intolerant spirit."

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I bid you farewell, O ye enjoyments of the world, that have tempted me to taste your bitter pleasures in innumerable births and transmigrations.

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Ye pleasures that have deluded me so long like the indulgences of boys; behold me now placed above your reach, by the absence of desire in my state of holy and heaven-born nirvana anaesthesia.

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I hail thee, O spiritual delight, that madest me forget my past pleasures; and I thank you ye pains! that have led me to the inquiry of the soul with so much ardour.

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It is by thee, O sour misery! that this blissful state is revealed to me; and thou art to be thanked for bringing me under the cooling umbrage of heavenly delight.

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I thank thee Adversity! that hast revealed to me the felicity of my soul; and I bless thee, my friend! for thy making the vanity of worldly life known unto me.

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O my body! that art so intimately united with myself, I see thy union to be but a temporary one; and like the short lived amity of interested men, who forsake their beneficient friends in a moment.

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Thus am I forsaken by all my bodies, in my various by gone births; and so hath my soul, forsaken them all, in its repeated transmigrations in different forms of living bodies.

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Even in my present state, my body brings its own ruin on itself;by its being slighted by the soul, upon its advancement in spiritual knowledge. (Spiritualism is deteriorative of physical powers).

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It is no fault of mine, that the body is discontented at my contentment; or that it should be impaired by my abstinence, and broken down by my indigence (i.e. the practice of austerities is a preventive of bodily growth).

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Grieve not my churlish avarice, that I have grown averse to gain; and you must pardon me, O my fond desires, that I have become so devoid of my wishes, and betaken myself to the virtue of Vairagya or insouciance.

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I have now betaken myself to my indifference, and want to thrive therein; and pray of thee, O thou restless concupiscence! to have no more any concern with me.

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And I bid my last farewell to thee, O thou deity of piety and pious deeds! that I may no more engage myself to the performance of acts (because acts are attended with temporary and no lasting resultants).

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I am lifted from the pit of hell and placed in heaven, and bid adieu to the arbour of pleasures, growing in the soil of wicked acts, and bearing as its fruits the torments of hell.

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I bid farewell to the tree of sin, bearing the flowers of our punishment, whereby I was doomed to repeated transmigrations in lower births. (Does the passage allude to the forbidden tree, which brought death on earth, and its sequence of repeated births in endless misery?)

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I bow down to that unseen form of delusion, which uttered the sweet voice of a sounding bamboo, and covered itself with a garment of leaves. (Does it mean the deluded Adam hiding his nudity under the leaves of trees?)

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I bow to thee my holy cell, that art my associate in this devout devotion; and art the only refuge of this weak body of mine, after its weary journey in the rugged paths of the world.

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Thou wast my kind companion, and remover of all my desires; and hast been my only shelter, after I fled from all the dangers and difficulties of the world.

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And thou my pilgrim's staff, that wast the support of my aged body and arm; I have found my best friend in thee, for thy relieving my fatigue, and guiding my footsteps in this dangerous and cavernous retreat.

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I thank thee also, O my aged body! that art the prop of my life, even in this old age of thine; when thou art reduced to thy ribs, covering thy bloodless entrails, and thy shrivelled veins and arteries.

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Depart now my dilapilated body, with the pith and marrow that there yet remain in thee; and away ye excrements that were in need of my repeated ablutions and purifications.

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I bid adieu to all my acts and dealings in the world, which had been the destined causes and my connate companions, in all my transmigrations in this world. (Human actions being causes of their repeated births, for the sake of reaping their proper retributions).

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I next bid you farewell, O my vital airs! who kept company with me through all my various births, and from whom I (i.e. my soul) will soon fly away.

52. [Sanskrit available]
How oft have I passed with you to foreign parts, and reposed in the dales and groves of mountainous tracts; how long have we sported about the cities, and how often have we dwelt in mountain retreats (i.e. the soul with its subtile body, is sempiternal and ubiquious).

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How many times have we run to different directions, and were engaged in various avocations of life. In fact there was no time and place in the space of the universe, when and where we did not live together.

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In truth I have never done nor seen, nor given nor taken anything apart from you; and now I bid you adieu my friend, as I must soon part from you.

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All things in the world have their growth and decay, and are destined to rise and fall by turns; and so also are the union and separation of things, the unavoidable course of nature.

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Let this light which is visible to sight, reenter in the sun whence it proceeds, and let these sweet scents which come to my smelling, mix with the flowers from which they are breathed and blown.

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Let my vital breath and oscillation, join with the etherial air; and let all the sounds I hear, return from my ears to the vacuous sphere. (Lit. Let me lose my audibility in vacuity which is receptacle of sounds).

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Let my taste or sapidity, revert to the orb of the moon whence it has sprung; and let me be as quiet as the sea after its churning by the Mandara mount; and as the cool hour of the evening after the sun has set. (Gustation or flavour—rasa comes from the moon. Sruti. Dinanta-ramya the cooling evening. Kalidasa).

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Let me be as silent as the dumb cloud in autumn, and as still as the creation, after the great deluge at the end of a Kalpa; let me remain thoughtless, as when the mind is concentrated in the dot of om or on, and when my soul rests in supreme soul. Let me be as cold as when the fire is reduced to ashes, and as extinct as the extinguished and oilless lamp.

60. [Sanskrit available]
Here I sit devoid of all actions, and removed from the sight of all living beings; I am freed from the thoughts of worldly things, and am resting in the peace of my soul, which is seated in my cranium.

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