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 XLIV - Inquiry into the essence of the mind

Argument: On the means of forsaking all connections and desires, and the subjection of the mind by spiritual knowledge.

Vasishtha said:—

1. Rama! whatever acts you do with your organs of action and without application of the mind to the work in hand, know such work to be no doing of yours. (An involuntary action is not accounted as the act of one, in absence of his will in it).

2. Who does not feel a pleasure at the time of his achieving an action, which he did not feel a moment before, nor is likely to perceive the next moment after he has done the work. (Therefore it is the attention of the mind which gives pleasure to an action, and which is not to be felt in absence of that attention, both before and after completion of the act).

3. The pleasure of a thing is accompanied only with the desire of its passion, and not either prior or posterior to the same;therefore it is boyish and not manliness to take any delight in a momentary pleasure. (All pleasure and pain are concomitant with their thoughts only; and these being fleeting there is no lasting pleasure or pain in anything).

4. Whatever is pleasant during its desire, has that desire only for the cause of its pleasantness: hence the pleasurableness of a thing lasting till its unpleasurableness is no real pleasure; wherefore this frail pleasure must be forsaken together with its temporary cause of desire by the wise.

5. If you have arrived to that high state (of knowing the universality of the soul); then be careful for the future, and merge yourself no more in the narrow pit of your personality.

6. You who have now found your rest and repose, in being seated in the highest pinnacle of spiritual knowledge (by cognoscence of yourself);must not allow your soul any more, to plunge in the deep and dark cave of your egoistic individuality.

7. Thus seated on the pitch of your knowledge, as on the top of the Meru mountain; and remembering the glorious prospect all around you; you cannot choose to fall down into the hellpit of this earth, and to be reborn in the darksome cave of a mother's womb. (Because the living soul is doomed to transmigration and regeneration until its final liberation).

8. It appears to me, O Rama! that you are of an even temperament, and have the quality of truth (satyaguna) full in your nature; I understand you have weakened your desires, and have entirely got over your ignorance.

9. You appear to be settled in your nature of purity, and the temperament of your mind appears to me to be as calm and quiet as the sea, when it is full and untroubled by the rude and rough winds of heaven.

10. May your expectations set at ease, and your wants terminate in contentment, let your dementation turn to rightmindedness, and live unconnected with and aloof from all.

11. Whatever objects you come to see placed before you, know the same as full of the Divine intellect, which is consolidated and extended through all, as their common essence. (The solid intellect forming the body, and its rarity the mind. "That extended through all yet in all the same; great in the earth as in the etherial frame", Pope).

12. One ignorant of the soul, is fast bound to his ignorance; and one acquainted with the soul, is liberated from his bondage. Hence, O Rama! learn to meditate constantly and intensely, the supreme soul in your own soul.

13. It is indifference which wants to enjoy nothing, nor yet refuses the enjoyment of whatever presents of itself to any body; and know inappetency to consist in the cool calmness of the mind, resembling the serenity of the sky. (Insouciance is the want of desire and renunciation of prurience and not the abdication of enjoyment).

14. Preserve the cold listlessness of your mind, and discharge your duties with the cool application of your organs of action;and this unconcernedness of your mind, will render you as steady as the sky at all accidents of life.

15. If you can combine the knower, knowable and the knowledge (i.e. all the three states of the subjective, objective and the intermediate percipience) in your soul alone; you will then feel the tranquillity of your spirit and shall have no more to feel the troubles of sublunary life.

16. It is the expansion and contraction of the mind, that causes the display and dissolution of the world; try therefore to stop the action of thy mind, by restraining the breaths of thy desire in thyself.

17. So it is the breath of life, which conducts and stops the business of the world, by its respiration and rest; restrain therefore the breathing of the vital air, by thy practice of the regulation of thy breathing (as dictated before).

18. So also it is the act of ignorance to give rise to ceremonious works, as it is that of knowledge to repress them; Do you therefore boldly put them down by your own forbearance, and the instructions you derive from the sastras and your preceptors.

19. As the winds flying with dust, darken the fair face of the sky; so the intellect being daubed with the intelligibles (the subjective soiled with the objective), obscure the clear visage of the soul.

20. The action of the relation between the vision and visibles (i.e. the mutual of the eyesight and outward objects on one another), causes the appearance of the world and its course; as the relation that there exists between the solar rays and formations of things, makes them appear in various colours to the eye. (Neither the course of the world, nor the appearance of colour is in real being, but is owing to the relative combination of things).

21. But the want of this relativity removes the phenomenals from sight, as the want of light takes away the colours of things. (The former is an instance of the affirmative kind (anvayi); and the latter a vyatireki or negative one).

22. The oscillation of the mind causes the illusions, as the palpitation of the heart raises the affections, and they are all at a stop at the suspension of the actions of these organs. So the waves raised by motion of waters and action of the winds, subside in the deep, by cessation of the actions of these elements. (The question is whether the affections are not causes of the palpitation of the heart?).

23. The abandonment of every jot of desire, the suspension of respiration, and the exercise of intellection, will contract the actions of the heart and mind, and thereby prevent the rise of the passions and affections and of illusions also. (Entire dispassionateness is the perfection of yoga asceticism).

24. The unconsciousness which follows the inaction of the heart and mind, in consequence of the suspension of the vital breath is the highest perfection (of yoga philosophy).

25. There is a pleasure in respect to the vision of visibles, which is common to all living being; but this being felt spiritually, amounts to holy pleasure paramananda. But the sight of God in one's consciousness, which is beyond the province of the mind; transcends the mental pleasure, and affords a divine ecstacy, called the Brahmananda.

26. The mind being dormant and insensible, affords the true rapture of the soul; and such as it is not to be had even in heaven, as it is not possible to have a refrigeratory or cooling bath in the sandy desert.

27. The inertness of the heart and mind is attended with a delight, which is felt in the inmost soul and cannot be uttered in words; it is an everlasting joy that has neither its rise nor fall, nor its increase or decrease. (It is the lasting sunshine and unchanging moonlight of the soul).

28. Right understanding weakens the sensuous mind (by the blaze of rationality), but wrong understanding serves to increase its irrational sensuousness only. It then sees the thickening mists of error, rising as spectres and apparitions before the sight of boys.

29. Though the sensational mind is existent in us, yet it seems as quite inexistent and extinct before the light of our rationality, as the substance of copper appears to disappear by being melted with gold. (The carnal mind is converted to the rational understanding by its association with it).

30. The mind of the wise is not the sensuous mind, because the wise mind is an essence of purity by itself; thus the sensible mind is changed in its name and nature to that of the understanding, as the copper is converted to the name and nature of gold.

31. But it is not possible for the mind to be absorbed at once in the intellect, its errors only are moved by right understanding, but its essence is never annihilated. (As the alloy of copper in gold).

32. Things taken as symbols of the soul, are all unsubstantial as the mind and vital principle; all which are as unreal as the horns of a hare (which are never known to grow). They are but reflections of the soul, and vanish from view after the soul is known. (The mind is said to be an expansion of the soul [Sanskrit: atmanivivartta rupam|]).

33. The mind has its being for a short time only, during its continuance in the world; but after it has passed its fourth stage of insensibility, it arrives to the state of comatosity which is beyond the fourth stage.

34. Brahma is all even and one, though appearing as many amidst the errors that reign over the world; He is the soul of all and has no partial or particular form of any kind. He is not the mind or any thing else, nor is He situated in the heart (as a finite being). (Gloss:—The Divine Soul like the human mind has conceptions of endless things, which are neither situated in it nor parts of itself, but are as empty phantoms in the air).