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 XI - Ascertainment of living liberation

Argument: Instances of Living Liberation in Hari, Hara and others, and its consisting in the oecumenical knowledge of the one Brahma in all and every thing.

Vasishtha said:—

1. I tell you again and repeatedly O pious Rama! for your understanding, that you can never know the spirit without your constant habit, of contemplating on it in your self-cogitation. (So the Sruti. Atma vara, mant avyam, "the soul is to be constantly thought upon" and so also the Vedanta aphorism "asakrit upadesat" the soul is known by repeated instructions on spiritual knowledge).

2. It is gross ignorance which is known as nescience, and it becomes compact by the accumulated erroneous knowledge of previous births and past life (namely; the errors of the dualities of matter and spirit and of the living and Supreme soul, and the plurality of material and sensible objects).

3. The perceptions of the external and internal senses of body, both in the states of sensibility and insensibility, are also the causes of great errors or ignorance crasse of embodied beings. (i.e. The sensible perceptions are preventives of spiritual knowledge which transcends the senses and is called [Sanskrit: atindriya]).

4. Spiritual knowledge is far beyond the cognizance of the senses, and is only to be arrived at after subjection of the five external organs of sense, as also of the mind which is the sixth organ of sensation.

5. How then is it possible to have a sensible knowledge of the spirit, whose essence is beyond the reach of our faculties of sense, and whose powers transcend those of all our sensible organs? (i.e. Neither is the spirit perceptible by our senses, nor does it perceive all things by senses like ours). So the Srutis He is not to be perceived by the faculties of our sense, who does and perceives all with our organs. ([Sanskrit: na tatra vaggacchati namani apanipadau yavanagtahita]).

6. You must cut off this creeper of ignorance, which has grown up in the hollow of the tree of your heart, with the sharp sword of your knowledge, if you should have your consummation as an adept in divine wisdom.

7. Conduct yourself Rama! in the same manner in the practice of your spiritual knowledge, as the king Janaka does with his full knowledge of all that is knowable to man.

8. He is quite confident in his certain knowledge of the main truth, both when he is employed in his active duties, in his waking state as well as when he remains quiet at his leisure. (The end of knowledge is to know God, and to rely on him both in busy and in active life).

9. It was by his reliance on this certain truth, that Hari was led to the performance of his various acts in his repeated births or incarnations. (A god in human flesh does his works as a god).

10. May you, Rama! be certain of the main truth, which conducted the three-eyed god Siva in the company of his fair consort; and which led the dispassionate Brahma to the act of creation. (i.e. the passionate and unimpassioned and those that are active or inactive are equally assured of this truth).

11. It was the assurance of this eternal verity, which led the preceptors of the gods and demons, even Brihaspati and Bhargava, in their duties; and which guide the sun and moon in their courses, and even directs the elements of fire and air in the wonted ways.

12. This truth was well known to the host of Sages, including Narada and Pulastya, Angira and Pracheta, and Bhrigu Krutu, Atri and Suka, as it is known to me also.

13. This is the certainty which has been arrived at by all other learned Brahmans and Sages, and this is the firm belief of every body, that has been liberated in his life time.

Rama said:—

14. Tell me truly, O venerable sir, the true nature of the truth, on which the great gods and wisest sages, have grounded their belief, and became freed from their sorrow and grief (in this world of sorrow and tears).

Vasishtha replied:—

15. Hear me tell you! O worthy prince that art great in arms as in thy knowledge of all things, the plain truth in reply to your question, and the certitude arrived at by all of them (named above).

16. All these spacious worlds, that you behold to be spread all about you, they are all that One or on, and are situated in the immensity of Brahma. (In their real or spiritual nature, and after obliteration of the erroneous forms in which they appear to you. Their phenomenal appearances, being but the misconceptions of our errors).

17. Brahma is the intellect, and the same is this world and all its animate and inanimate creatures also; Myself and Brahma and so art thou thyself, and such are all our friends and foes beside us.

18. Brahma is the tripletime of the past, present and future, all which are comprehended in his eternity; in the manner of the continuity of waves, billows and surges, contained in the immensity of the ocean.

19. It is thus the same Brahma that appears to us in all the various forms of our perception, and in the different shapes of the actor, action and its act, as those of the feeder, feeding and the food, and of the receiver, reception and the thing received. (There being but the only unity of God, the same is changed to all forms of action and passion and so says the poet "that change through all and yet in all the same"and also unvaried in all with a varied name. This the vedanta says to be the vivarta rupa or the one changed in many form vividha many, and varta let vertuus changed [Sanskrit: paribatta].

20. Brahma expands in himself by his power of evolution, or unfolding himself by his vivarta sakti; Hence He would be our enemy if he would do any thing unfavourable into us. (God is good and never does any evil to any one: all he does in and to himself)?

21. Thus Brahma being situated and employed with himself, does nothing aught of good or evil to any other. The attribution of passions to him, is as the planting of a tree in empty air. (God is not capable of any human attribute, as it is usual with anthropomorphists to load him with).

22. How very delighted are they that are dead to their desires, to reflect on this truth, that they are continually living and moving in the all pervading Brahma. (In Him we live and move).

23. All things are full of Brahma, and there is naught of pleasure or pain herein; Brahma resides in his self-same all and is pleased with all in himself. (The one is full of bliss with all in himself).

24. The Lord is manifest in his Lordship, and I am no other person beside himself; this pot and that painting and I myself, are full with the self-same Brahma.

25. Hence it is in vain to speak of our attachment or aversion to worldliness, since we bear our bodies and dare to die in Brahma only. (It is that something, for which we bear to live, and dare to die, Pope).

26. Our bodies being the abodes of Brahma, it is as false to think to our bodily pains, as also of our pleasure in bodily enjoyments, as to take a rope for a serpent. (Hence we can have no sense of our pleasure or pain, as long we know ourselves to be situated in Brahma and He in us).

27. How say you, that this or that is your doing, when you have the power of doing nothing. The fluctuation of the billows on the surface of the sea, cannot agitate the waters of the deep below).

28. Myself, thyself and himself, and all others, are but the breaths of the universal spirit; and they heave and then subside to rest as waves of the sea; but the spirit of God, like the water of the deep, neither rises nor falls as ourselves or the fleeting waves at any time.

29. All persons returning to Brahma after their death, have their bodies also reduced into Him and retain their personal identity in Him in the same manner, as the moving and unmoving waters rest alike in the sea.

30. All moving and unmoving souls and bodies, rest alike in the supreme Brahma; as the jiva and its form reside in God, and the whirling and still waters remain in the same sea.

31. The soul and the body, are the two states of the likeness and unlikeness of Brahma, the one is the living soul of bodies, and the other is the gross body itself.

32. Irrational souls, that are ignorant of this truth, are verily subject to delusion; but the rational souls are not so, but enjoy their full bliss on earth, while the other is ever doomed to misery.

33. The blind behold the world all dark, while the eye-sighted find it fully bright and shining; so the wise are blessed with the knowledge of the one soul of the whole, while the ignorant are immerged in misery, by their want of such knowledge.

34. As the darkness of the night, presents its goblins and spectres, to the sight of children only, and not those of the grown up and adult; so the world presents its delusions to ignorant and never to the wise, who behold one Brahma only in all things before them.

35. There is nothing here that lives of itself, nor dies away to nothing; all equally exist in God at all time, and nothing is doomed to be born or perish herein to happiness or misery.

36. All beings are situated in the universal soul, as the waves in the vast expanse of the ocean, therefore it is erroneous to say the one reside in the spirit, and another to be beside it.

37. As there is an inborn light in the crystal, which is capable of reflecting a variety of rays, so the spirit of God dwells in his own spirit in the form of the universe, showing various shapes to view by the inner light of the spirit.

38. As the particles of water flying from the waves, fall into the sea and mix with its body of water; so the bodies of dying people, fall into the body of Brahma, wherein they subsisted in their life time. (So there is neither an increase or diminution of the essence of Brahma, by the birth or death or increase or decrease of beings in the world).

39. There is nobody nor being beside the being of Brahma, as there is no wave nor foam or froth of the sea beside the water of the deep.

40. As the billows and waves, the surges and eddies, and their froths and foams, and bubbles and minute particles, are all formations of water in the great body of waters;so are all beings but productions of the spirit in the Infinite spirit. (All matter is reduced to the spirits, and the spirits are consolidated to material substances by chemical process).

41. All bodies with their various modes, and organs of sense and their several functions, and all visible objects and their growth and decay, together with every thing conducing to our happiness and misery, and all other energies and their gains, are the works of Brahma in himself. (i.e. they are the self reflective acts of gods and not done for the sake of others).

42. The production of these various beings in esse, is from the essence of Brahma; as the formation of different ornaments, is from the substance of gold. There is no other formal cause or formation distinct from Brahma, and the typo for distinction of the cause and its creation, is the erroneous conception of the ignorant.

43. The mind, understanding, egoism, and the elemental atoms, and the organs of sense, are all the various forms of Brahma; wherefore there is cause of our joy or grief.

44. The words I, thou, he, and this and that, as also the terms of the mind and matter, are all significant of the self-same Brahma atmatmani, in the same manner as the roaring of a cloud in the hills, resounds in a hundred echoes through their caverns. (All words applied to every thing, relate to the one self-same Brahma who is all in all to pan).

45. Brahma appears as an unknown stranger to us, through our ignorance of him, as the visions seen in a dream by our mind itself, appear foreign to us. (I.e. Our belief in the visibles is the cause of our disbelief in the invisible God;as our familiarity with the objects of our waking state, makes us reject our visionary dreams as false).

46. Ignorance of Brahma as Brahma or what he is, makes men to reject divine knowledge altogether; as our ignorance of the quality of gold causes us to cast it off dross. (Brahma to the brute is, as the gem in the dung hill cast away by the silly cock).

47. Brahma is known as the Supreme spirit and sole Lord, by those who are acquainted with divine knowledge; but he is said to be unknown and involved in ignorance by them that are ignorant of Him.

48. Brahma being known as Brahma, becomes manifested such in a moment;just as gold when known as such, is taken in due esteem.

49. Those who are versed in divine knowledge, know Brahma as without a cause and causing nothing by himself, and that he is free from decay, and is the Supreme spirit and sole Lord of all.

50. He who can meditate in himself, on the omnipotence of Supreme spirit of Brahma; comes to behold him as such in a short time, even without a leader to guide him in his spiritual knowledge (one's own faith in Divine Omnipotence, is the surest means to the sight of his Maker).

51. The want of divine knowledge, that is called the ignorance of the ignorant; whereas it is the knowledge of God, that constitutes the true knowledge which removes the ignorance.

52. As an unknown friend is no friend at all, until he is recognized as such, after removal of one's forgetfulness; so God is no God to one, as long he continues in ignorance of Him.

53. We can then only know God, when the mind comes to perceive the unconnection of the soul with the body; and whereby it alienates itself from all worldly connections in disgust.

54. It is then that we come to know the one true God, when the mind is freed from its knowledge of duality; and by its distaste of dualism, it abandons its attachment to the world.

55. We then come to the knowledge of God, when we come to know ourselves to be other than our persons; and when by getting rid of our personal egoism, we forsake our affection for this unkindred world.

56. It is then that the thought of God rises in our minds, when we come to the true knowledge of thinking ourselves the same with Brahma; and when the mind is absorbed in the meditation of the divine truth in one's self. (This is the sublimation of the Yogi to the divine state;or when the Yogi loses himself, in his rapturous vision on the one God. This kind of meditation is indicated in the formula "Soham"in Vedanta and an ald Huq in sufism).

57. God being known as the tout ensemble or comprising the whole plenum, we come to believe the same as Brahma; and losing our egoism and tuism in the same, we come to the knowledge of that entity only comprising the entire universe. (This belief of the entirety of the Deity, is expressed in the words "Tat Sat" corresponding with to on, idest, alast, that is, He in the creeds of other people).

58. When I come to know this true and omniform Brahma, as all in all, and forming the entire whole; I become released from all my sorrow and grief, and am set free from all my delusion and desire, and the responsibility of my duties (from the belief of God's agency in all things).

59. I am quite calm and at ease and without any sorrow or grief, by my knowledge of the truth, that I am no other than Brahma Himself; I am as cool as the moon, without her spots and phases in me, and I am the all entire, without any disease, decay or diminution in me. (This is said with regard to the universal soul, which engrosses all souls and things in itself).

60. It is true that I am the all pervading Brahma, and therefore I can neither wish to have or leave any thing from me; being of myself the blood, bones and flesh of my body. (The soul is the source of the body, and the spirit its life, without which it decays and dies away).

61. It is true that I am Brahma the universal soul, and therefore the intellect, mind and sensibility also; I am the heaven and sky with their luminaries and quarters and the nether worlds also.

62. It is true that I am Brahma, composing this pot and painting, these bushes and brambles, these forests and their grass, as also the seas and their waves. (One God is manifest in many forms).

63. The unity of Brahma is a certain truth, and it is the ego which is manifest in the seas and mountains and all living beings;and in the qualities of reception and emission, and of extension and contraction in all material bodies. (It is the Divinity that actuates the physical powers in nature).

64. All things of extended forms situated in the intellectual spirit of Brahma, who is the cause of the growth of creepers and plants, and of the germination of vegetative seeds.

65. The supreme Brahma resides in his sheath of the intellectual soul, in the manner of flavour in the cup of the flower; and thence diffuses itself on all sides in the form of everything everywhere.

66. He that is known as only soul of all, and who is ascertained as the supreme spirit, and who is designated by the appellations of the intellectual soul, Brahma the great, the only entity and reality, the Truth and Intelligence and apart from all.

67. He is said to be the all-inhering element, and Intelligence only without the intelligibles in it; He is the pure light that gives every being its consciousness of itself.

68. He appears to the spiritualist to be existent everywhere, as the tranquil and intelligent Brahma; and contains in himself the powers of all the faculties of the mind and body, such as the understanding and the organs of sense, so the sruti; "He is the mind of the mind, the sight of the eye."[Sanskrit: yascat?u sascat?unmanasa manoyadityadi].

69. Give up the thought of thy difference from Brahma by knowing thyself as the reflection of the intelligent soul; which is the cause of the causes of the existence of the world. Such as vacuum and others, which are causes of sound and are caused by vacuous spirit of God (and not as the vacuists and materialists belief them, to be increate essences from eternity).

70. The intellect of Brahma is the transparent receptacle of all essences, and my ego is of the same essence, which exudes continually as a shower of rain, from the transparent spirit of God.

71. I am that light which shines in the souls of yogis, and I am that silent spirit which is supported by the ambrosial drops of Divine Intellect; which continually distils its nectarious juice into our souls, as we may feel in ourselves.

72. I am as a wheel or circle without having the beginning or end of myself, and by having the pure intellect of Brahma in me. I am quiet in my deep sleep of samadhi meditation, and I perceive holy light shining within me. (The yogi in his devotion is absorbed in the calmness of his soul and is wrapt in divine light).

73. The thought that I am Brahma, affords afar greater delight to the soul, than the taste of any sweet meat, which gives but a momentary delight, so the sruti:—God is all sweetness [Sanskrit: rasobetat] (sweet is the memory of a friend, and sweeter far must be the thought of God, who is best and greatest friend).

74. One knowing his soul and intellect, knows the indestructible Brahma and himself as identic with the same;as one whose mind is possessed with the image of his beloved, beholds her bright countenance in the shining orb of the moon.

75. As the sights of earthly people are fixed in the etherial moon, so the sight of intellectual beings, is fixed in the supreme and indestructible soul, which he knows as self-same with himself.

76. The intellectual power which is situated in the vacuity of the heart, is verily the verity of the immaculate Brahma himself. Its pleasure and pain, and mutability and divisibility, are attributed to by ignorance only.

77. The soul that has known the truth, knows himself as the supreme Intellect, as the pilgrim on the way sees only his saint before him, and no intermediate object besides.

78. The belief that I am the pure and all pervading intellect, is attended with the purity and holiness of the soul, and the knowledge of the Divine power as the cause of the union of earth, air and water in the production of the germ of creation, is the main creed of all creeds.

79. I am that intellect of Brahma which is inherent in all things as their productive power; and I am that soul which causes the sweetness of the beal and bitterness of nimba fruits.

80. I am that divine intellect which inheres alike in all flavours, which is devoid of pain and pleasure and which I perceived in my mind by my consciousness.

81. I am the undecaying intellect of Brahma, and deem my gain and loss in equal light of indifference; while I view this earth and sky, and the sun and moon displayed before my eyes in all their glory.

82. I am that pure and serenely bright Brahma, whose glory is displayed alike in all of these, and which I behold to shine vividly before me, whether when I am awake or asleep or whenever I am in the state of dreaming or profound sleep.

83. I am that Brahma who is without beginning and end, who is known by his four fold hypostases, and is ever indestructible and undecaying. He resides in the souls of men in the form of sweetness in the sugarcane through all their transmigrations.

84. I am that intellect of Brahma, which like the sunshine pervades equally in the form of transparent light in and above all created beings.

85. I am that all pervasive intellect of Brahma, which like the charming moon light fills the whole universe; and which we feel and taste in our hearts, as the delicious draught of ambrosia.

86. I am that intellect of Brahma, which extends undivided over the whole and all parts of the universe, and which embraces all existence as the moving clouds of heaven encompasses the firmament.