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 XLII - The supreme soul and its phases and names

Argument: The various Processes whereby the supreme soul becomes the animal soul; and this again extending in all beings.

Vasishtha said:—

1. Tell me Lord! what is the state of the living soul, after its situation in the open air, and its observation of the vanity of the elemental and material body on its first creation.

The god replied:—

2. The living soul having sprung from the supreme, and being situated in the open firmament, views the body formed in the aforesaid manner, as a man sees a vision in his dream.

3. The living soul being ubiquitous, enters and acts in every part of this body, according to the behest of the embodied intellect, as a sleeping man acts his parts in a dream, and bears his body still.

4. It was the indiscrete infinite soul before, and then became the discrete spirit called the first male, and this spirit was the primary cause of creation in itself.

5. Thus this animated spirit became as Siva, at the beginning of the first creation;it was called Vishnu in another, and became the lotus born Brahma or the great patriarch in the other.

6. This great progenitor of one creation, became the intellect in another, this became the volitive male agent of creation afterwards, and at last look upon it a male form according to its volition.

7. The primary volition of ideal creation becoming compact in time, it takes the form of the mind; which feels itself able to effect in act, whatsoever it wills in itself. (This form of the Mind is called Hiranyagarbha or Brahma—the creative power of God).

8. This creation of the world by Brahma is mere visionary, as the sight of a spectre in the air or in a dream; but it appears as a positive reality, to the erroneous sight of the realist. (i.e. The world is ideal to the idealist, but a sober reality to the positivist).

9. The prime male agent that becomes the beholder of his creation, retains in him the power of exhibiting himself (or displaying his will) in the empty air every moment, or to retract them in himself into time.

10. To him a Kalpa or great Kalpa age, is a mere twinkling of his eye; and it is by the expansion or contraction of himself, that the world makes its appearance or disappearance.

11. Worlds come to appear and disappear at his will, at each moment of time, in each particle of matter, and in every pore of space, and there is no end of this successions in all eternity.

12. Many things are seen to occur one after another, in conformity with the course of our desires; but we never find any thing to take place, in concurrence with our sight of the holy spirit. (i.e. Nothing is both temporally as well as spiritually good).

13. All things are created (and vanish) with this creation, which do not occur to the unchanging Siva; and these are like the shadowy appearances in empty air, which rise of themselves and disappear in air.

14. All real and unreal appearances vanish of themselves, like mountains appearing in dreams; all these creations have no command over their causality, space or time.

15. Therefore all these phenomenals are neither real, potential or imaginary or temporary appearances; nor is there any thing, that is produced or destroyed at any time.

16. All these are the wondrous phenomena of our ideas and wishes (sankalpas), exhibited by the intellect in itself; and this world is like the appearance of an aerial castle in the dream, and subject to its rise and fall by turns.

17. The visible which appears to be moving about in time and space, has actually no motion whatever in either; but remains as fixed as an ideal rock in the mind for ever. (The unreal world can have no actual motion).

18. So also the extension of the unreal world, is no extension at all; as the magnitude of an ideal rock has no dimension whatever. (Things in the abstract, have no imaginable measure).

19. The situation and duration of the unreal world, conform exactly with the ideas of its time and place, which exist in the mind of the maker of all (or the great Archetype).

20. It is in this manner that he is instantly changed to a worm (from his idea of it), and so are all the four orders of living beings born in this world.

21. Thus the curative power becomes all things, from the great Rudras down to the mean straws in a minute (from his ideas of these); and even such as are as minute as atoms and particles of matter (i.e. in the forms of the protozoa and small animalcula).

22. This is the course of the production of the past and present creations, and it is the reminiscence of the past, which is the cause of the delusion of taking the world for a real existence.

23. After giving away the thought of the difference between the creator and the created, and by the habit of thinking all as the unity, one becomes Siva in a minute, and by thinking so for a longer period, one is assimilated to the nature of the supreme Intellect.

24. The intellect proceeds from the original intellect (of God), and rises without occupying any place. It is of the nature of understanding, and resides in the soul in the manner of empty air in the midst of a stone.

25. The soul which is of the manner of eternal light, is known under the denomination of Brahma and the intellect which seated in this (soul), becomes weakened as the creative power increase, and strengthens in it. (i.e. The power of the thinking intellect decreases in proportion, as the power of the creative mind is on its increase).

26. Next the particles of time and place, join together in the formation of minute atoms; which by forming the elementary bodies, have the living principle added to them. (These are called the protozoa or animalcules).

27. These then become vegetables and insects, and beasts, brutes and the forms of gods and demigods; and these being stretched out in endless series, remain as a long chain of being, connected by the strong and lengthening line of the soul, (called the sutratma).

28. Thus the great god that pervades over all his works in the world, connects all things in being and not being, as pearls in a necklace by the thread of his soul. He is neither near us nor even far from us; nor is he above or below anything whatever. He is neither the first nor last but ever lasting (having neither his beginning nor end). He is neither the reality or unreality, nor is he in the midst of these.

29. He is beyond all alternatives and antitheses, and is not to be known beyond our imaginary ideas of him. He has no measure or dimension, nor any likeness, form or form to represent him. Whatever greatness and majesty are attributed to him by men, they are all extinguished in his glory as the fire is cooled in the water.

30. Now, I have related to you all what you asked me about, and will now proceed to my desired place. Be you happy, O sage, and go your way; and rise, O Parvati and let us take our way.

Vasishtha said:—

31. When the god with his blue throat had spoken in this manner, I honoured him with throwing handfuls of flowers upon him. He then rose with his attendants, and pierced into the vacuity of heaven.

32. After departure of the lord of Uma, and master of the three worlds, I remained for some time reflecting on all I had heard from the god, and then having received the new doctrine with the purity of my heart, I gave up the external form of my worshipping the Deity.