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 II - On the perfect calm and composure of the mind

Argument: The sages joining the assembly the next morning, and preaching of Divine knowledge to it.

Valmiki related:

1. [Sanskrit available]
Then the shade of night, with her face as dark as that of the darkened moon, began to waste and wane away; as the darkness of ignorance and the mists of human wishes, vanish before the light of reason.

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Now the rising sun showed his crown of golden rays, on the top of the eastern mountain, by leaving his rival darkness to take its rest, beyond the western or his setting mount of astachala (the two mountains mean the eastern and western horizons).

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Now the morning breeze began to blow, being moistened by the moon-beams, and bearing the particles of ice, as if to wash the face and eyes of the rising sun.

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Now rose Rama and Lakshmana, with their attendants also, from their beds and couches; and after discharging their morning services, they repaired to the holy hermitage of Vasishtha.

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There they saw the Sage coming out of his closet, after discharge of his morning devotion; and worshipped his feet with offerings of arghya (or flowers and presents worthy of him).

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In a moment afterwards, the hermitage of the Sage was thronged by munis and Brahmans, and the other princes and chiefs, whose vehicles and cars and horses and elephants, blocked the pathways altogether.

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Then the Sage being accompanied by these, and attended by their suite and armies;and followed by Rama and his brothers, was escorted to the palace of the Sovereign King Dasaratha.

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The king who had discharged his morning service, hastened to receive the Sage before hand; and walked a great way to welcome him, and do him honour and pay his homage.

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They entered the court hall, which was adorned with flowers and strings of gems and pearls; and there they seated themselves on the rich sofas and seats, which were set in rows for their reception.

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In a short time the whole audience of the last day, composed both of the terrestrial men and celestial spirits, were all assembled at the spot, and seated in their respective seats of honor.

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All these entered that graceful hall, and saluted one another with respect; and then the royal court shone as brilliant as a bed of blooming lotuses, gently moved by the fanning breeze.

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The mixed assemblage of the munis and rishis or the saints and Sages, and the Vipras and Rajas or the Brahmans and Kshatriyas, sat in proper order, on seats appropriated for all of them.

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The soft sounds of their mutual greetings and welcomes, gradually faded away; and the sweet voice of the panegyrists and encomiasts, sitting in a corner of the hall, was all hushed and lulled to silence.

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The sun-beams appearing through the chinks in the windows, seemed to be waiting in order to join the audience, and to listen to the lectures of the Sage. (Another translation has it thus:—The audience crept in the hall, no sooner the sun-beams peeped through the windows).

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The jingling sound of bracelets, caused by the shaking of hands of the visitors in the hall; was likely to lull to sleep the hearers of the sage. (It was a custom in olden times, to make a tinkling sound to ear, in order to lull one to sleep, as by a kind of mesmerism).

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Then as Kumara looked reverently on the countenance of his sire Siva, and as Kacha looked with veneration upon the face of the preceptor of the God or Brihaspati; and as Prahlada gazed upon the face of Shukra—the preceptor of demons, and as Suparna viewed the visage of Krishna.

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So did Rama gloat upon the countenance of Vasishtha, and his eye-balls rolled upon it, like the black bees fluttering about a full blown lotus.

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The sage resumed the link of his last lecture, and delivered his eloquent speech to Rama, who was well versed in eloquence also.

Vasishtha said:—

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Do you remember Rama! the lecture that I gave yesterday, which was fraught with deep sense and knowledge of transcendental truth?

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I will now tell you of some other things for your instruction, and you shall have to hear it with attention, for consummation of your spiritual wisdom.

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Whereas it is the habit of dispassionateness, and the knowledge of truth; whereby we are enabled to ford over the boisterous ocean of the world, you must learn therefore, O Rama! to practice and gain these betimes.

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Your full knowledge of all truth, will drive away your bias in untruth; and your riddance from all desire, will save you from all sorrow. (Desire is a burning fire, but want of yearning is want of pain and sorrowing).

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There exists but one Brahma, unbounded by space and time; He is never limited by either of them; and is the world himself, though it appears to be a distinct duality beside Him.

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Brahma abides in all infinity and eternity, and is not limited in any thing; He is tranquil and shines with equal effulgence on all bodies; He cannot be any particular thing, beside his nature of universality.

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Knowing the nature of Brahma as such, be you freed from the knowledge of your egoism (personality); and knowing yourself as the same with him, think yourself as bodiless and as great as he; and thus enjoy the tranquillity and felicity of your soul.

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There is neither the mind nor the avidya (or ignorance), nor the living principle, as distinct things in reality; they are all fictitious terms (for the one and same nameless Brahma himself).

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It is the self-same Brahma, that exhibits himself in the forms of our enjoyments, in the faculties of enjoying them, in our desires and appetites for the same, and in the mind also for their perception. The great Brahma that is without beginning and end, underlies them all, as the great ocean surrounds the earth (and supplies its moisture to every thing upon it).

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The same Brahma is seen in the form of his intellect (or wisdom) in heavens, on earth and in the infernal regions, as also in the vegetable and animal creations; and there is nothing else beside him.

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The same Brahma, who has no beginning nor end, spreads himself like the boundless and unfathomable ocean, under all bodies and things; and in whatever we deem as favourable and unfavourable to us, as our friends and our enemies.

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The fiction of the mind, like that of a dragon, continues so long, as we are subject to the error and ignorance of taking these words for real things; and are unacquainted with the knowledge of Brahma (as pervading all existence).

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The error of the mind and its perceptibles, continues as long as one believes his personality to consist in his body; and understands the phenomenal world as a reality; and has the selfishness to think such and such things to be his (since there is nothing which actually belongs to any body, besides its temporary use).

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So long as you do not raise yourself, by the counsel and in the society of the wise and good; and as long as you do not get rid of your ignorance; you cannot escape from the meanness of your belief in the mind.

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So long as you do not get loose of your worldly thoughts, and have the light of the universal spirit before your view; you cannot get rid of the contracted thoughts of your mind, yourself and the world.

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As long as there is the blindness of ignorance, and one's subjection to worldly desires; so long there is the delusion of falsehood also, and the fictions of the fallacious mind.

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As long as the exhalation of yearnings infest the forest of the heart, the chakora or parrot of reason will never resort to it; but fly far away from the infected air.

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The errors of thought disappear from that mind, which is unattached to sensual enjoyments; which is cool with its pure inappetency, and which has broken loose from its net of avarice.

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He who has got rid of his thirst and delusion of wealth, and who is conscious of the inward coolness of his soul, and who possesses the tranquillity of his mind;such a person is said to have fled from the province of his anxious thought.

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He who looks upon unsubstantial things, as unworthy of his regard and reliance; and who looks upon his body as extraneous to himself; is never misled by the thoughts of his mind.

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He who meditates on the infinite mind, and sees all forms of things as ectypes of the universal soul; and who views the world absorbed in himself; is never misled by the erroneous conception of the living principle.

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The partial view of a distinct mind and a living principle, serves but to mislead a man (to the knowledge of erroneous particulars); all which vanish away, at the sight of the rising sun of the one universal soul.

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Want of the partial view of the mind, gives the full view of one undivided soul; which consumes the particulars, as the vivid fire burns away the dry leaves of trees, and as the sacrificial fire consumes the oblations of ghee or clarified butter.

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Those men of great souls, who have known the supreme one, and are self-liberated in their lifetime; have their minds without their essences, and which are therefore called asatwas or nonentities. (These minds, says the gloss, are as the watermarks on the sand, after a channel is dried up (or its waters have receded); meaning that the mind remains in its print but not in its substance).

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The body of the living liberated man, has a mind employed in its duties, but freed from its desires; such minds are not chittas or active agents, but mere sattwas or passive objects. They are no more self-volitive free agents, but are acted upon by their paramount duties. (Free will is responsible for its acts, but compulsion has no responsibility).

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They that know the truth, are mindless and unmindful of everything save their duty;they rove about at pleasure and discharge their duties by rote and practice, in order any object to gain.

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They are calm and cold with all their actions and in all their dealings; they have the members of their bodies and their senses under full control, and know no desire nor duality.

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The saint having his sight fixed upon his inner soul, sees the world burnt down as straws by the fire of his intellect; and finds his erroneous conceptions of the mind, to fly far away from it, like flitting flies from a conflagration.

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The mind which is purified by reason, is called the sattwa as said above, and does not give rise to error; as the fried paddy seed, is not productive of the plant (The sattwa mind is spiritless and dead in itself).

48. [Sanskrit available]
The word Sattwa means the contrary of Chitta, which latter is used in lexicons to mean the mind, that has the quality of being reborn on account of its actions and desires. (The chitta is defined as the living seed of the mind, and productive of acts and future regenerations, which the Sattwa or deadened mind cannot do).

49. [Sanskrit available]
You have to attain the attainable Sattwa or torpid state of your mind, and to have the seed of your active mind or chitta, singed by the blaze of your spiritual mind or sattwa.

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The minds of the learned, which are lighted by reason, are melted down at once to liquidity; but those of the ignorant which are hardened by their worldly desires, will not yield to the force of fire and steel; but continue still to sprout up as the grass, the more they are mowed and put on fire. (The over-growing grass in the fields, though set on fire, will grow again from their unburnt roots, and became as rank as before).

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Brahma is vast expanse, and such being the vastness of the universe too there is no difference between them; and the intellect of Brahma is as full as the fulness of his essence.

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The Divine Intellect contains the three worlds, as the pepper has its pungency within itself. Therefore the triple world is not a distinct thing from Brahma, and its existence and inexistence (i.e., its creation and dissolution), are mere fictions of human mind. (It is ever existent in the eternal mind).

53. [Sanskrit available]
It is the use of popular language, to speak of existence and non-existence as different things; but they are never so in reality to the right understanding. Since whatever is or is not in being, is ever present in the Divine Mind.

53a. This being a vacuity, contains all things in their vacuous state (which is neither the state of sensible existence, nor that of intellectual inexistence either). God as the Absolute, Eternal, and Spiritual substance, is as void as Thought. (The universe is a thought in the mind of God, and existence is thought and activity in the Divine Mind. Aristotle).

54. [Sanskrit available]
If you disbelieve in the intellectual, you can have no belief in your spirituality also; then why fear to die for fear of future retribution, when you leave your body behind to turn to dust. Tell me Rama! how can you imagine the existence of the world in absence of the intellectual principle. (There can be no material world, without the immaterial mind; nor can you think of it, if you have no mind in you).

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But if you find by the reasoning of your mind, all things to be mere intellections of the intellect at all times; then say why do you rely on the substantiality of your body.

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Remember Rama, your pellucid intellectual and spiritual form, which has no limit nor part of it, but is an unlimited and undivided whole; and mistake not yourself for a limited being by forgetting your true nature.

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Thinking yourself as such, take all the discreet parts of the universe as forming one concrete whole; and this is the substantial intellect of Brahma.

58. [Sanskrit available]
Thou abidest in the womb of thy intellect, and art neither this nor that nor any of the many discrete things interspersed in the universe. Thou art as thou art and last as the End and Nil in thy obvious and yet thy hidden appearances.

59. [Sanskrit available]
Thou art contained under no particular category, nor is there any predicable which may be predicated of thee. Yet thou art the substance of every predicament in thy form of the solid, ponderous and calm intellect; and I salute thee in that form of thine.

60. [Sanskrit available]
Thou art without beginning and end, and abidest with thy body of solid intellect, amidst the crystal sphere of thy creation, and shining as the pure and transparent sky. Thou art calm and quiet, and yet displayest the wondrous world, as the seed vessel shows the wooden of vegetation.

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