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 XXXV - Adoration of the great god mahadeva

Argument. said:—

Of Mahadeva, the father of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva and the manner of his worship.

Vasishtha said:—

Then Hara, who is the lake of the lotus of Gauri (i.e. her husband), being desirous of my enlightenment, glanced on me for a minute, and gave utterance to his lecture.

2. His eyes flashed with light under his heavenly forehead, and were as two caskets of his understanding, which scattered its rays about us. (The eyes are the indexes of men's understanding in Physiognomy).

3. The god said:—O sage, call your thoughts home, and employ them soon to think of your own essence; and to bring about your ends, as the breezes of heaven convey the fragrance to the nostrils. (The mind is usually compared in its fleetness with the winds, and therefore the task of the breezes is imposed upon the thoughts, which are as vagaries unless they answer one's purposes).

4. When the object long sought for is got in one's possession, what else is there for one to desire any more. I who have known and come to the truth, have nothing to expect as desirable nor any thing to reject as despicable. (When one is possest of his sole object, he is indifferent about all others, whether they be good or bad).

5. When you have got your mastery over yourself, both in the states of your peace and disquiet; you should apply yourself to the investigation of yourself or soul, without attending to any thing besides. (Nothing better than self-culture, and the advancement and salvation of one's own soul).

6. You may at first depend on your observations of the phenomenal, (as preparatory to your knowledge of the noumenal), which you will now learn from my lecture, if you will attend to it with diligence.

7. After saying in this manner, the holder of the trident told me, not to rely on my knowledge of the externals, but to attend to the internal breathings, which move this abode of the body, as the physical forces move a machine.

8. The lifeless body being without its breathing, becomes dull and dull and dumb as a block; its power of movement being derived from the air of breath, but its powers of thought and knowledge are attributed to the intellect.

9. This intellect has a form more rare and transparent than the vacuous air, it is an ens which is the cause of all entities; and is not destroyed by destruction of the living body for want of vital breath.

10. The intellectual is more rarefied and translucent than the ethereal air, and never perishes with the body; because it remains as the power of intellection, in the mental (percipient) and living body. (The sruti says: it is the life of life, and mind of the mind).

11. As the clear shining mirror, receives the reflexion of external things; so the mind of God reflects all images from within itself, and from nothing situated without.

12. As the soiled glass receives no reflexion of outward things, so the lifeless body has no reflexion of any thing, though it is preserved to our view. (And so are all thoughtless persons considered as dead bodies).

13. The all-pervasive intellect, though it is formless itself, is yet prone towards the movement of sensible objects owing to its sensuous perceptions; but coming to the pure understanding of its spiritual nature, it becomes the supreme Siva again.

14. The sages then called this immaculate intellect by the several names of Hari, Siva, Brahma, and Indra, who are the givers of the objects of desire to all living beings.

15. It is also styled the fire and air, the sun and moon, and the supreme Lord; and it is this which is known as the ubiquious soul and the intellect, which is the mine of all intelligence.

16. It is the lord of gods, the source of celestials, the Dhata or

Brahma, the lord of gods, and the lord of heaven. Any body who feels the influence of this great intellect in himself, is never subject to illusion.

17. Those great souls that are known in this world, under the names of Brahma, Vishnu, Hara and others, are all but offspring of the supreme Intellect, and endowed with a greater portion of it.

18. They are all as sparks of hot iron, and as particles of water in the immense ocean of creation;so all those that are mistaken for gods, have sprung from the source of the supreme Intellect.

19. As long as there exist the seeds of error, and the sources of endless networks of imagination;so long the arbour of gross illusion does not cease, to sprout in endless ramifications.

20. The veda, its exposition and the vedic literature, are but tufts of the tree of ignorance for the bondage of men; and these again produce many other clumps, to hold men fast in their ignorance.

21. Who can describe the productions of nature, in the course of time and place; the gods Hari, Hara, and Brahma are among the number, and have all their origin in the supreme Being—their common father. (So says the Atharva Sera Sruti: [Sanskrit: sarvvamidram brahmavishnurudrendraste sampamuyate sarvvani cindrayanisahamuteh sakaranam karananama.])

22. Mahadeva the great god is the root of all, as the seed is the source of the branches of trees; He is called the All (sarva), because He is the essence of all things, and the sole cause of our knowledge of all existence. (The purana says to the same effect). [Sanskrit: trayaste karanatmanah jatah mahamaheshvarat / tapasa topathitva tam pitaram parameshvaram /]

23. He is the giver of strength to all beings, he is self manifest in all, and is adorable and hallowed by all. He is the object of perception to them that know him, and is ever present in all places. (The word Mahadeva commonly applied to Siva, originally meant the great god, as in the definition of the term in the gloss. [Sanskrit: mahatyaparicchinne atmajnana yogaishvartye mahiyate pujyate] [Sanskrit: iti mahadevah] So the sruti also: [Sanskrit: yo atmajnana yogaishvaryye mahati mahivate tasmaducyate mahadevah].

24. There is no need of addressing invocatory mantras unto the Lord, who being omniscient and omnipresent, knows and sees all things as present before him at all places and times.

25. But being always invoked (or prayed unto) in the mind, this god who resides in every thing is attainable by us in every place; and in whatever form doth one's intellect appear to him, it is all for his good. (This passage means the visible form in which the deity makes his manifestation to the devotee).

26. He takes upon him the visible form, according to the thought in the mind of the worshipper, and this form is to be worshipped first of all with proper homage, as the most adorable Lord of gods.

27. Know this as the ultimate of the knowables of the greatest minds;and whoso has beheld this self-same soul, is freed from fears and sorrows and the complaints of old age, and is released from future transmigration, like a fried grain which vegetates no more.

28. By worshipping this well known and unborn first cause in one's self and at ease (i.e. without the formal rite);every one is freed from his fears, and attains his supreme felicity, why then do you bewilder yourselves amidst the visible vanities of the world.