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 LIII - Admonition of arjuna

Argument: Abandonment of Egoism, knowledge of the Adorable one and its different stages.

The lord said:—

1. Arjuna, you are not the killer (of any soul), it is a false conceit of yours which you must shun; the soul is ever lasting and free from death and decay.

2. He who has no egoism in him, and whose mind is not moved (by joy or grief), is neither the killer of nor killed by any body, though he may kill every one in the world. (This is an attribute of the supreme soul).

3. Whatever is known in our consciousness, the same is felt within us;shun therefore your inward consciousness of egoism and meity, as this is I and these are mine, and these are others and theirs.

4. The thought that you are connected with such and such persons and things, and that of your being deprived of them, and the joy and grief to which you are subjected thereby, must affect your soul in a great measure.

5. He who does his works with the parts or members of his body, and connects the least attention of his soul there with; becomes infatuated by his egoism and believes himself as the doer of his action. (here is a lesson of perfect indifference enjoined to any act or thought that a man does by or entertains in himself).

6. Let the eyes see, the ears hear, and your touch feel their objects, let your tongue also taste the relish of a thing, but why take them to your soul and where is your egoism situated in these?

7. The minds of even the great, are verily employed in the works that they have undertaken to perform, but where is your egoism or soul in these, that you should be sorry for its pains. (The soul is aloof from pain).

8. Your assumption to yourself to any action, which has been done by the combination of many, amounts only to a conceit of your vanity, and exposes you not only to ridicule, but to frustrate the merit of your act. (So is the assuming of a joint action of all the organs and members of the mind, and the achievement of a whole army to one's self. So also many masters arrogate to themselves the merit of the deeds of their servants).

9. The yogis and hermits do their ritual and ordinary actions with attention of their minds and senses, and often times with the application of the members and organs of their bodies only, in order to acquire and preserve the purity of their souls.

10. Those who have not subdued their bodies with the morphia of indifference, are employed in the repetition of their actions, without ever being healed of their disease (of anxiety).

11. No person is graceful whose mind is tinged with his selfishness, as no man however learned and wise is held in honour, whose conduct is blemished with unpoliteness and misbehaviours.

12. He who is devoid of his selfishness and egotism, and is alike patient both in prosperity and adversity, is neither affected nor dejected, whether he does his business or not.

13. Know this, O son of Pandu as the best field for your martial action;which is worthy of your great good, glory and ultimate happiness. (War in a just cause is attended with glory).

14. Though you reckon it as heinous on the one hand and unrighteous on the other; yet you must acknowledge the super excellence and imperiousness of the duties required of your martial race, so do your duty and immortalize yourself.

15. Seeing even the ignorant stick fast to the proper duties of their race, no intelligent person can neglect or set them at naught; and the mind that is devoid of vanity, cannot be ashamed or dejected, even if one fails or falls in the discharge of his duty.

16. Do you duty, O Arjuna, with your yoga or fixed attention to it, and avoid all company (in order to keep company with the object of your pursuit only). If you do your works as they come to you by yourself alone, you will never fail nor be foiled in any. i.e. thy object thou canst never gain, unless from all others you refrain.

17. Be as quiet as the person of Brahma, and do your works as quietly as Brahma does leave his result (whether good or bad) to Brahma (because you can have no command over the consequence), and by doing so, assimilate thyself into the nature of Brahma (who is all in all).

18. Commit yourself and all your actions and objects to God, remain as unaltered as God himself, and know him as the soul of all, and be thus the decoration of the world. (The gloss says, it is no blasphemy to think one's self as God, when there is no other personality besides that of Deity).

19. If you can lay down all your desires, and become as even and cool mind as a muni—monk; if you can join your soul to the yoga of sannyasa or contemplative coldness, you can do all your actions with a mind unattached to any.

Arjuna said:—

20. Please lord, explain to me fully, what is meant by the renunciation of all connections, commitment of our actions to Brahma;dedication of ourselves to God and abdication of all concerns.

21. Tell me also about the acquisition of true knowledge and divisions of Yoga meditation, all which I require to know in their proper order, for the removal of my gross ignorance on those subjects.

The lord replied:—

22. The learned know that as the true form of Brahma, of which we can form no idea or conception, but which may be known after the restraining of our imagination, and the pacification of our desires.

23. Promptitude after these things constitutes our wisdom or knowledge, and perseverance in these practices is what is called Yoga. Self dedication to Brahma rests on the belief that, Brahma is all this world and myself also.

24. As a stone statue is all hollow both in its inside and outside, so is Brahma as empty, tranquil and transparent as the sky, which is neither to be seen by us nor is it beyond our sight.

25. It then bulges out a little from itself, and appears as something, other than what it is. It is this reflection of the universe, but all as empty as this inane vacuity.

26. What is again this idea of your egoism, when every thing is evolved out of the Supreme Intellect, of what account is the personality of any body, which is but an infinitesimal part of the universal soul.

27. The Egoism of the individual soul, is not apart from the universal spirit, although it seems to be separate from the same; because there is no possibility of exclusion or separation of anything from the Omnipresent and all comprehensive soul of God, and therefore a distinct egoism is a nullity.

28. As it is the case with our egoism, so is it with the individuality of a pot and of a monkey also. (i.e. of all insensible and brute creatures too), none of which is separate from the universal whole. All existences being as drops of water in the sea, it is absurd to presume an egoism to any body.

29. Things appearing as different to the conscious soul, are to be considered as the various imageries represented in the self-same soul (like the sundry scenes shown in the soul in a dream).

30. So also is the knowledge of the particulars and species, lost in the idea of the general and the summum genus. Now by sannyasa or renunciation of the world is meant, the resignation of the fruition of the fruits of our actions. (The main teaching of Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavadgita, tends to the renunciation of the fruits of our actions).

31. Unattachment signifies the renunciation of all our worldly desires, and the intense application of the mind to the one sole God of the multifarious creation, and the variety of his imaginary representations.

32. The want of all dualism in the belief of his self-existence as distinct from that of God, constitutes his dedication of himself to God; it is ignorance that creates the distinction, by applying various names and attributes to the one intellectual soul.

33. The meaning of the word intelligent soul, is undoubtedly that it is one with the universe; and that the Ego is the same with all space, and its contents of the worlds and their motions.

34. The Ego is the unity of Eternity, and the Ego is duality and plurality in the world, and the variety of its multifarious productions. Therefore be devoted to the sole Ego, and drown your own egoism in the universal Ego. (Here the purport is given instead of the literal version of the too verbose tetrastich verse).

Arjuna said:—

35. There being two forms of the Deity, the one transcendent or spiritual and the other transpicuous or material; tell me to which of these I shall resort for my ultimate perfection.

The lord replied:—

36. There are verily two forms of the all pervading Vishnu, the exoteric and the other esoteric; that having a body and hands holding the conch-shell, the discus, and the mace and lotus, is the common form for public worship.

37. The other is the esoteric or spiritual form, which is undefined and without its beginning and end; and is usually expressed by the term Brahma—great.

38. As long as you are unacquainted with the nature of the supreme soul, and are not awakened to the light of the spirit; so long should you continue to adore the form of the God with its four arms. (or the form of the four armed God).

39. By this means you will be awakened to light, by your knowledge of the supreme; and when you come to comprehend the Infinite in yourself, you shall have no more to be born in any mortal form.

40. When you are acquainted with the knowledge of the knowable soul, then will your soul find its refuge in eternal soul of Hari, who absorbs all souls in him.

41. When I tell you that this is I and I am that, mind that I mean to say that, this and that is the Ego of the supreme soul, which I assume to myself for your instruction.

42. I understand you to be enlightened to truth, and to rest in the state of supreme felicity; and now that you are freed from all your temporal desires, I wish you to be one with the true and holy spirit.

43. View in yourself the soul of all beings and those beings themselves; think your own self or soul as the microcosm of the great universe, and be tolerant and broad sighted in your practice of Yoga. (The word Sama darsi, here rendered broad sighted, means one who sees every in one and same light; whence it is synonymous with universal benevolence and fellow feeling).

44. He who worships the universal soul that resides in all beings, as the one self-same and undivided spirit; is released from the doom of repeated births, whether he leads a secular or holy life in this world.

45. The meaning of the word "all" is unity (in its collective sense), and the meaning of the word "one" is the unity of the soul; as in the phrase "All is one" it is meant to say that the whole universe is collectively but one soul. (The soul also is neither a positive entity, nor a negative non-entity, but it is as it is known in the spirit (of the form of ineffable light and delight).

46. He who shines as light within the minds of all persons, and dwells in the inward consciousness or percipience of every being, is no other than the very soul that dwells within myself also.

47. That which is settled in shape of savour in the waters all over the three worlds. (i.e. in the earth, heaven, and underneath the ground);and what gives flavour to the milk, curd and the butter of the bovine kind, and dwells as sapidity in the marine salt and other saline substances, and imparts its sweetness to saccharine articles, the same is this savoury soul, which gives a gust to our lives, and a good taste to all the objects of our enjoyment.

48. Know your soul to be that percipience, which is situated in the hearts of all corporeal beings, whose rarity eludes our perception of it, and which is quite removed from all perceptibles; and is therefore ubiquitous in every thing and omnipresent every where.

49. As the butter is inbred in all kinds of milk, and the sap of all sappy substances is inborn in them, so the supreme soul is intrinsical and immanent in every thing.

50. As all the gems and pearls of the sea, have a lustre inherent in them, and which shines forth both in their inside and outside; so the soul shines in and out of every body without being seated in any part of it, whether in or out or where about it.

51. As the air pervades both in the inside and outside of all empty pots, so the spirit of God is diffused in and about all bodies in all the three worlds. (This is the meaning of omnipresence).

52. As hundreds of pearls are strung together by a thread in the necklace, so the soul of God extends through and connects these millions of beings, without its being known by any. (This all connecting attribute of God, is known as sutratma in the vedanta).

53. He who dwells in the hearts of every body in the world, commencing from Brahma to the object grass that grows on the earth; the essence which is common in all of them, is the Brahma the unborn and undying.

54. Brahma is a slightly developed form of Brahma, and resides in the spirit of the great Brahma, and the same dwelling in us, makes us conceive of our egoism by mistake of the true Ego.

55. The divine soul being manifest in the form of the world, say what can it be that destroys or is destroyed in it; and tell me, Arjuna, what can it be that is subject to or involved in pleasure or pain.

56. The divine soul is as a large mirror, showing the images of things upon its surface, like reflections on the glass; and though these reflections disappear and vanish in time, yet the mirror of the soul is never destroyed, but looks as it looked before.

57. When I say I am this and not the other (of my many reflections in a prismatic glass, or of my many images in many pots of water), I am quite wrong and inconsistent with myself; so is it to say, that the human soul is the spirit or image of God, and not that of any other being, when the self-same Divine spirit is present and immanent in all. (The catholic spirit of the Hindu religion, views all beings to partake of the Divine spirit, which is in all as in a prismatic glass).

58. The revolutions of creation, sustentation and final dissolution, take place in an unvaried and unceasing course in the spirit of God, and so the feelings on surface of the waters of the sea. (Egoistic feelings rising from the boisterous mind, subside in the calmness of the soul).

59. As the stone is the constituent essence of rocks, the wood of trees and the water of waves; so is the soul the constituent element of all existence.

60. He who sees the soul (as inherent) in all substances, and every substance (to be contained) in the soul; and views both as the component of one another, sees the uncreating God as the reflector and reflection of Himself.

61. Know Arjuna, the soul to be the integrant part of every thing, and the constituent element of the different forms and changes of things; as the water is of the waves, and the gold is of jewelleries. (The spirit of God is believed as the material cause of all).

62. As the boisterous waves are let loose in the waters, and the jewels are made of gold; so are all things existent in and composed of the spirit of God.

63. All material beings of every species, are forms of the Great Brahma himself; know this one as all, and there is nothing apart or distinct from him.

64. How can there be an independent existence, or voluntary change of anything in the world; where can they or the world be, except in the essence and omnipresence of God, and wherefore do you think of them in vain?

65. By knowing all this as I have told you, the saints live fearless in this world by reflecting on the supreme Being in themselves; they move about as liberated in their lifetime, with the equanimity of their souls.

66. The enlightened saints attain to their imperishable states, by being invincible to the errors of fiction, and unsubdued by the evils of worldly attachment; they remain always in their spiritual and holy states, by being freed from temporal desires, and the conflicts of jarring passions, doubts and dualities.