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 XXIII - Desire of tranquillity and quiescence of the mind

Argument: Relation of the vices and virtues which hasten and prevent death, and the peace and rest of the mind which is sought after by mankind.

Vasishtha rejoined:—

1. I then besought the chief of the crows, that was stationed on one end of a branch of the kalpa tree, to tell me how he was not liable to fall into the hands of death, when all other animals moving about the expanse of the world, are doomed to be crushed under its all devouring jaws.

2. ?missing text?

Bhusunda replied:

3. You sir, that know all things and would yet ask me to tell that you know full well. Such bidding of my master emboldens your servant to speak out where he should otherwise hold his tongue.

4. Yet when you desire me to tell, I must do it as well as I can, because it is deemed to be the duty of a dependant, to carry out the commands of their kind masters.

5. Death will not demolish the man, who does not wear on his bosom the pearl-necklace of his vicious desires; as a robber does not kill a traveller that has not the pernicious chain of gold hanging on his breast.

6. Death will not destroy the man whose heart is not broken down by sorrows, whose breast is not sawed as a timber by the friction of his sighs, and whose body is not worsted by toil like a tree by canker worms.

7. Death will not overtake the man, whose body is not beset by cares like a tree by poisonous snakes, lifting their hoods above its head; and whose heart is not burnt by its anxieties, like a wood by its enraging fire.

8. Death will not prey upon the person, which is not vitiated by the poison of anger and enmity, and cavity of whose heart does not foster the dragon of avarice in its darkness, and whose heart is not corroded by the canker of cares.

9. He is not carried away by the cruel hand of death, whose body is not already fried by the fire of his resentment, which like hidden heat of the submarine fire, sucks up the waters of reason in the reservoir of the mind.

10. Death will not kill the person whose body is not inflamed by the fiery passion of love; which like the wild fire consumes the hoarded corn of good sense, and as a pair of sharp scissors rives the heart strings of reason.

11. Death doth not approach the man, that puts his trust in the one pure and purifying spirit of God, and hath the rest of his soul in the lap of the supreme soul.

12. Death does not lay hold on the person that is firm and sedate in the same posture and position, and does not ramble like an ape from one tree to another, and whose mind is a foreigner to fickleness.

13. Thus then the mind being settled in unalterable state of calm repose in its Maker, it is no more possible for the evils and diseases of this world, to overtake it at any time.

14. The fixed and tranquil mind, is never overtaken by the sorrows and diseases of the world; nor it is liable to fall into the errors and dangers, which betide the restless mob here below.

15. The well composed mind, hath neither its rising nor setting, nor its recollection nor forgetfulness at any time or other. It has not its sleeping or waking state, but has its heavenly revery which is quite distinct from dreaming.

16. The vexatious thought which take their rise from vitiated desire and feelings of resentment and other passions, and darken the region of the heart and mind, can never disturb the serenity of those souls, which have their repose in the Supreme Spirit.

17. He whose mind is enrapt in holy meditation, neither gives away to nor receives anything from others, nor does he seek or forsake whatever he has or has not at any time. He does his duties always by rote as he ought without expectation of their reward or merit.

18. He whose mind has found its repose in holy meditation, has no cause of his repentance, for doing any misdeed for his gain or pleasure at any time.

19. He has enough of his gain and an excess of his delight and a good deal of every good, whose mind has met with the grace of his God. (He that has the grace of God, has every thing given and added to him).

20. Therefore employ your mind, to what is attended with your ultimate good and lasting welfare;and wherein there is nothing of doubt or difficulty, and which is exempt from false expectation.

21. Exalt your mind above the multiplicities of worldly possessions, which the impure and unseen demon of evil presents for the allurement of your heart, and settle it in the unity of the Divinity. (So did Satan attempt in vain to tempt our Lord to worldly vanities and all its possessions).

22. Set your heart to that supreme felicity which is pleasant both in the beginning and end, and even delectable to taste; that is pleasant to sight, sweet to relish, and is wholesome in its effect.

23. Fix your mind to what is sought by all the good and godly people, which is the eternal truth and the best diet of the soul, from its beginning and during its course in the middle and end and throughout its immortality.

24. Apply your mind to what is beyond your comprehension, which is the holy light, which is the root and source of all, and wherein consists all our best fortune and the ambrosial food for our souls.

25. There is no other thing so very permanent or auspicious among immortals or mortals, and among the gods and demigods, asuras and Gandharvas, and Kinnaras and Vidyadharas, nor among the heavenly nymphs, as the spiritual bliss of the soul.

26. There is nothing so very graceful or lasting, to be found in cities and mountains and in the vegetable creation, nor among mankind and their king, nor any where in earth or heaven as this spiritual felicity.

27. There is nothing steady or graceful, among the Naga-snake or Asura races and their females, and in the whole circles of infernal region.

28. There is nothing so lovely and lasting in the regions above and below and all around us, and in the spheres of all other worlds, so very graceful and durable as the lasting peace of mind.

29. There is nothing that is felicitous or persistent in this world, amidst all its sorrows and sicknesses and troubles which encompass all about. All our actions are for trivial matters and all our gains are but trifles at best.

30. There is nothing of any lasting good, in all those thoughts which employ the minds of men and gladden their hearts, and which serve at best to delude the sapient to the fickleness of their spirits.

31. No permanent good is derived from the ever busy thoughts and volitions and nolitions of mankind, which tend at best to trouble their minds, as the Mandara mountain disturbed the waters of the deep, at the time of its churning by the gods and demons.

32. No lasting good results to any body from his continuous exertions, and various efforts about his gain and loss even at the edge of the sword (i.e., even at the peril of one's life).

33. Neither is the sovereignty of the whole earth so great a boon, nor is one's elevation to the rank of a deity in heaven so great a blessing;nor even is the exaltation of one to the position of the world supporting serpent so great a gain, as the sweet peace of mind of the good.

34. It is of no good to trouble the mind, with its attention to all the branches of learning, nor is it of any advantage to one to employ his wits and enslave his mind to the service of another, nor of any use to any body, to learn the histories of other people, when he is ignorant of himself and his own welfare.

35. It is of no good to live long, under the trouble of disease and the sorrow of life. Neither is life or death, nor learning nor ignorance, nor heaven or hell any advantage or disadvantage to any body, until there is an end of his desires within himself.

36. Thus these various states of the world and all worldly things, may appear gratis to the ignorant vulgar, but they afford no pleasure to the learned who knows their instability. (Hence longevity and stability depend on one's reliance in the eternal God, and not on the transient world).