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 LVI - Description of the mind

Argument:—On the liberation of the living soul, and description of the mind as the miniature of the world.

The Lord continued:—Now Arjuna, forsake your sympathy for your friends, by the coldheartedness that you have acquired from the abandonment of your desires and cares, and the liberation that you have attained to in this your living state.

2. Be dispassionate, O sinless Arjuna! by forsaking your fear of death and decay of the body; and be as clear as the unclouded sky in your mind, by driving away the clouds of your cares from it, and dispelling all your aims and attempts either of good or evil for yourself or others.

3. Discharge your duties as they come to you in the course of your life, and do well whatever is proper to be done, that no action of yours may go for nothing (i.e. Do well or do nothing).

4. Whoso does any work that comes to him of itself in the course of his life, that man is called to be liberated in his life time; and the discharge of such deeds, belongs to the condition of living liberation.

5. That I will do this and not that, or accept of this one and refuse the other, are the conceits of foolishness; but they are all alike to the wise (who have no choice in what is fit and proper for them).

6. Those who do the works which occur to them, with the cool calmness of their minds, are said to be the living liberated; and they continue in their living state, as if they are in their profound sleep.

7. He who has contracted the members of his body, and curbed the organs of his senses in himself, from their respective outward objects, resembles a tortoise, that rests in quiet by contracting its limbs within itself.

8. The universe resides in the universal soul, and continues therein in all the three present, past and future times, as the painting-master of the mind, draws the picture of the world in the aerial canvas.

9. The variegated picture of the world, which is drawn by the painter of the mind in the empty air, is as void as the vacant air itself, and yet appearing as prominent as a figure in relief, and as plain as a pikestaff.

10. Though the formless world rests on the plane of vacuity, yet the wonderous error of our imagination shows it as conspicuous to view; as a magician shows his aerial cottage to our deluded sight.

11. As there is no difference in the plane surface of the canvas, which shows the swelling and depression of the figures in the picture to our sight; so there is no convexity or concavity in the dead flat of the spirit, which presents the uneven world to view. (i.e. All things are even in the spirit of God, however uneven they may appear to us).

12. Know, O red eyed Arjuna! the picture of the world in the empty vacuum is as void as the vacuity itself; it rises and sets in the mind, as the temporary scenes which appear in imagination at the fit of a delirium.

13. So is this world all hollow both in the inside and outside of it, though it appears as real as an air drawn city of our imagination, by our prejudice or long habit of thinking it so. (A deep rooted prejudice cannot soon be removed).

14. Without cogitation the truth appears as false, and the false as true as in a delirium; but by excogitation of it, the truth comes to light, and the error or untruth vanishes in nubila.

15. As the autumnal sky, though it appears bright and clear to the naked eye, has yet the flimsy clouds flying over it, so the picture drawn over the plane of the inane mind, presents the figures of our fancied objects in it. (Such is the appearance of our imaginary world and our fancied friends in the perspective of the mind).

16. The baseless and unsubstantial world which appears on the outside, is but a phantasy and has no reality in it; and when there is nothing as you or I or any one in real existence, say who can destroy one or be destroyed by another.

17. Drive away your false conception of the slayer and slain from your mind, and rest in the pure and bright sphere of the Divine spirit;because there is no stir or motion in the intellectual sphere of God, which is ever calm and quiet. All commotions appertain to the mental sphere, and the action of the restless mind.

18. Know the mind to contain every thing in its clear sphere, such as time and space, the clear sky, and all actions and motions and positions of things;as the area of a map presents the sites of all places upon its surface.

19. Know the mind to be more inane and rarefied than the empty air, and it is upon that basis the painter of the intellect, has drawn the picture of this immense universe.

20. But the infinite vacuum being wholly inane, it has not that diversity and divisibility in it, as they exhibit themselves in the mind, in the rearing up and breaking down of its aerial castle. (The imagination of the mind raises and erases its fabrics; but those of vacuum are fixed and firm for ever).

21. So the earthly mortals seem to be born and die away every moment, as the chargeful thoughts of the all-engrossing mind, are ever rising and subsiding in it.

22. Though the erroneous thoughts of the mind, are so instantaneous and temporary; yet it has the power of stretching out the ideas of the length and duration of the world, as it has of producing new ideas of all things from nothing. (So God created every thing out of nothing).

23. The mind has moreover the power of prolonging a moment to a kalpa age; as of enlarging a minim to a mountain, and of increasing a little to a multitude.

24. It has the power also of producing a thing from nothing, and of converting one to another in a trice; it is this capacity of it, which gives rise to the erroneous conception of the world, in the same manner, as it raises the airy castle and fairy lands of its own nature in a moment.

25. It has likewise brought this wonderous world into existence, which rose out in the twinkling of an eye, as a reflexion and not creation of it. (Because the disembodied mind can not create any material thing).

26. All these are but ideal forms and shadowy shapes of imagination, though they appear as hard and solid as adamant; they are the mistaken ideas of some unknown form and substance.

27. Whether you desire or dislike your worldly interests, show me where lies its solidity, both in your solicitude as well as indifference about it; the mind being itself situated in the intellect of the Divine contriver, the picture of the world, can not have its place any where else. (The world being in the mind, and this again in the Divine intellect, the world must be situated also in the same, which is the main receptacle of the world also).

28. O how very wonderous bright is this prominent picture, which is drawn on no base or coating, and which is so conspicuous before us, in various pieces without any paint or color whereof it is made.

29. O how pleasant is this perspicuous picture of the world, and how very attractive to our sight. It was drawn on the inky coating of chaotic darkness, and exhibited to the full blaze of various lights (of the sun, moon, stars and primeval light).

30. It is fraught in diverse colors, and filled with various objects of our desire in all its different parts; it exhibits many shows which are pleasant to sight, and presents all things to view of which have the notions in our minds.

31. It presents many planets and stars before us, shining in their different shapes and spheres all about. The blue vault of heaven resembling a cerulean lake, brightens with the shining sun, moon and stars liking its blooming and blossoming lotuses.

32. There are the bodies of variegated clouds, pendant as the many coloured leaves of trees on the azure sky; and appearing as pictures of men, gods and demons, drawn over the domes of the three regions (of earth, heaven and hell below, in their various appearances of white, bright and dark).

33. The fickle and playful painter of the mind, has sketched and stretched out the picture of the sky, as an arena for the exhibition of the three worlds, as its three different stages; where all deluded peoples are portrayed as joyful players, acting their parts under the encircling light of the supreme Intellect. (The world is a stage, and all men and women its players, Shakespeare).

34. Here is the actress with her sedate body of golden hue, and her thick braids of hair; her eyes glancing on the people with flashes of sunshine and moon-beams, the rising ground is her back and her feet reaching the infernal regions; and being, clothed with the robe of the sastra, she acts the plays of morality, opulence and the farce of enjoyments.

35. The Gods Brahma, Indra, Hari and Hara, form her four arms of action, the property of goodness is her bodice, and the two virtues of discretion and apathy, are her prominent breasts. The earth resting on the head of the infernal Serpent, is her lotus like foot-stool upheld by its stalk; She is decorated on the face and forehead with the paints of mineral mountains, whose valleys and caves form belly and bowels.

36. The fleeting glances of her eyes dispelling the gloom of night, and the twinkling of stars are as the erection of hairs on her body; the two rows of her teeth emitted the rays of flashing lightnings, and all earthly beings are as the hairs on her person, and rising as piles about the bulb of a Kadamba flower.

37. This earth is filled with living souls, subsisting in the spacious vacuum of the Universal soul, and appearing as figures in painting drawn in it. This the skilful artist of the mind, that has displayed this illusive actress of the Universe, to show her various features as in a puppet show.