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 XC - Admonition on the mind and its yoga meditation

Argument. The Two ways of subduing selfishness; by Universal Benevolence and want of Personality.

Vasishtha said:—

1. After the sage Vita-havya, had subdued his heart and mind by his rationality, there arose in him the qualities of universal benevolence and philanthropy (for want of his selfishness).

Rama asked said:—

2. How do you say, Sir, that the quality of benevolence sprang in the mind of the sage, after it had been wholly absorbed in itself by its rationality? (since the total insensibility of one if himself, cannot have any regard for others).

3. Tell me Sir, that art the best of speakers, how can the feelings of universal love and friendliness, arise in the heart which is wholly cold and quiet, or in the mind which is entranced in the divine spirit?

Vasishtha replied:—

4. There are two kinds of mental numbness, the one being its coma in the living body; and the other its deadliness after the material body is dead and gone. (The one is swarupa and the other arupa; the first having its formal existence, and the other being a formless one).

5. The possession of the mind is the cause of woe, and its extinction is the spring of happiness; therefore one should practise the abrasion of the essence of his mind (or personality), in order to arrive to its utter extinction.

6. The mind that is beset by the net of the vain desires of the world, is subject to repeated births, which are the sources of endless woes. (The world is a vale of tears, and worldlimindedness is the spring of misery).

7. He is reckoned as a miserable being, who thinks much of his person, and esteems his body, as the product of the good deserts of his past lives; and who accounts his foolish and blinded mind as a great gift to him. (Human life is usually esteemed as the best of all living beings;and the Sastra says "the human body is the best gain after millions of transmigrations in other forms").

8. How can we expect the decrease of our distress, as long as the mind is the mistress of the body? It is upon the setting down of the mind, that the world appears to disappear before us. (As the setting sun hides the world from our sight).

9. Know the mind to be the root of all the miseries of life, and its desires as the sprouts of the forest of our calamities.

Rama asked said:—

10. Who is it, Sir, whose mind is extinct, and what is the manner of this extinction; say also how its extinction is brought on, and what is the nature of its annihilation?

Vasishtha replied:—

11. O support of Raghu's race! I have told you before of the nature of the mind; and you will hear now, O best of inquirers! the manner of extinguishing its impulses.

12. Know that mind to be paralysed and dead, which is unmoved from its steadiness by pleasure and pain; and remains unshaken as a rock at the gentle breath of our breathing. (I.e. the man that lives and breathes, but moves not from his purposes).

13. Know also that mind, to be as dull as dead, which is devoid of the sense of its individuality from others; and which is not degraded from the loftiness of its universality, to the meanness of its personality.

14. Know that mind also, to be dead and cold, which is not moved by difficulties and dangers; nor excited by pride and giddiness, nor elated by festivity nor depressed by poverty and penury; and in short which does not lose its serene temperament at any reverse of fortune.

15. Know, gentle Rama! this is what is meant by the death of the mind, and the numbness of the heart; and this is the inseparable property of living liberation (of those that are liberated in their lifetime).

16. Know mindfulness to be foolishness, and unmindedness is true wisdom;and it is upon the extinction of mental affections, that the pure essence of the mind appears to light.

17. This display of the intrinsic quality of the mind, after the extinction of its emotions; and this temperament of the mind of the living liberated persons, is said by some to be the true nature of the mind.

18. The mind that is fraught with the benevolent qualities, has its best wishes for all living beings in nature;it is freed from the pains of repeated births in this world of woe, and is called the living liberated mind (Jivan-mukta manas).

19. The nature of the living liberated mind is said to be its intrinsic essence, which is replete with its holy wishes, and exempted from the doom of transmigration.

20. The Swarupa or personal mind, is what has the notion of its personality as distinct from its body; and this is the nature of the mind of those, that are liberated in their lifetime. (This is the nature of the individual and unembodied mind).

21. But when the living liberated person loses the individuality of his mind; and becomes as gladsome as moonbeams within himself, by virtue of his universal benevolence; it then becomes as expanded and extended, as it appears to be present everywhere at all times.

22. The living liberated person being mindless of himself, becomes as cold hearted as a plant growing in a frigid climate, where it blooms with its mild virtues, likening the blossoms of the winter plant.

23. The Arupa or impersonal mind of what I have told you before, is the coolness of the disembodied soul, that is altogether liberated from the consciousness of its personality.

24. All the excellent virtues and qualities, which reside in the embodied soul, are utterly lost and drowned in the disembodied soul, upon its liberation from the knowledge of its personality.

25. In the case of disembodied liberation, the consciousness of self personality being lost, the mind also loses its formal existence in Virupa or formlessness, when there remains nothing of it.

26. There remains no more any merit or demerit of it, nor its beauty or deformity; it neither shines nor sets any more, nor is there any consciousness of pain or pleasure in it.

27. It has no sense of light or darkness, nor the perception of day and night; it has no knowledge of space and sky, nor of the sides, altitude or depth of the firmament.

28. Its desires and efforts are lost with its essence, and there remains no trace of its entity or nullity whatever.

29. It is neither dark nor lightsome, nor transparent as the sky; it does not twinkle as a star, nor shines forth as the solar and lunar lights. And there is nothing to which it may resemble in its transparency.

30. Those minds that have freed themselves from all worldly cares, and got rid from the province of their thoughts also; are the minds that rove in this state of freedom, as the winds wander freely in the region of vacuum.

31. The intelligent souls that are numb and sleepy, and are set in perfect bliss beyond the trouble of rajas and tamas; and which have assumed the forms of vacuous bodies, find their rest in the supreme felicity, in which they are dissolved in the unity of the Deity.