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 LIX - Knowledge of the latent and inscrutable soul

Argument:—The incomprehensible nature of God, expressed by indefinite predicates, and his Latency in the works of creation.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. Keep this lesson in view, O Rama! and know it as the purifier of all sins; remain in your resignation of all attachments, and resign yourself to God.

2. Know the Supreme soul, in which all things reside, from which everything has issued, and which is everything itself on all sides of us; it is changed through all, and is ever the same in itself.

3. It seems to be afar though it is nearest to us, it appears to be ubiquitous though ever situated in everything. It is by that essence thou livest, and it is undoubtedly what thou art thyself. (There is but one unity pervading over all varieties).

4. Know that to be the highest predicament, which is above the knowables, and is knowledge or intelligence by itself; which is beyond our thoughts and thinkables, and is the thinking principle or intellect itself. (Beyond thought Divine. Milton).

5. It is preeminent consciousness and that supreme felicity, and passing wonder of our sight; which surpasses the majesty of majesties, and is the most venerable of venerables.

6. This thing is the soul and its cognition, it is vacuum which is the immensity of the supreme Brahma; it is the chief good (summum Bonum) which is felicity and tranquillity itself; and it is full knowledge or omniscience, and the highest of all states.

7. The soul that abides in the intellect, and is of the form of the conception of all things: that which feels and perceives every thing, and remains by its own essence.

8. It is the soul of the universe, like the oil of the sesame seed; it is the pith of the arbor of the world, its light and life of all its animal beings.

9. It is the thread connecting all beings together like pearls in a necklace, which is suspended on the breast of empty air; (the sutratma that connects all nature). It is the flavour of all things like the pungency of pepper.

10. It is the essence of all substance (ens entium) and a verity which is the most excellent of all the truth of truths); it is the goodness of whatever is good, and the great or greatest good in itself.

11. Which by its omniscience becomes the all that is present in its knowledge, and which we take by our misjudgment for real entities in this world (when our ignorance mistakes the manifest world for its latent cause).

12. We take ourselves the world in mistake of the soul, but all these mistaken entities vanish away before the light of reason.

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14. The vacuum of Brahma or the space occupied by the Divine spirit, is without its beginning and end, and cannot be comprehended within the limited space of our souls; knowing this for certain, the wise are employed in their outward duties.

15. That man is freed from his rising and setting (ups and downs), who rests always in the equanimity of his soul, and whose mind is never elated nor dejected at any event, but ever retains the evenness of its tenor.

16. He whose mind is as vacant as the empty air, is called a mahatma or great soul, and his mind resting in the state of unity, remains with the body in a state of sound sleep. (But this evenness is inadmissible in business and behaviour to a preceptor. So it is said, [Sanskrit: [mostly illegible]].

17. The man of business also who preserves the evenness of his mind, remains as undisturbed under the press of his duties, as the reflection of one in a mirror. They are both the same, being but shadows of reality.

18. He who retains the impression in his mind, in their even and unvaried state, like images in a mirror, is himself as a reflection in the Divine Intellect. (All beings live and move inseparably in the intellect of God. Gloss).

19. So let a man discharge the customary duties of life as they occur to him, with the pure transparent of his mind; as all the creatures of God perform their several parts, like images imprinted in the divine intellect.

20. There is no unity nor duality in the divine intellect, (where the images are neither inseparably attached to nor detached from it); the application of the words I and thou to one or the other is all relate to the same, and they have come to use from the instruction of our elders. (Human language is learned by imitation).

21. The intellect which of itself is tranquil in itself (i.e. in its own nature), acts its wonders in itself (i.e. displays or developes itself in the very intellect); it is the pulsation of intellect which displays the universe, as its vivarta or development, and this pulsation is the Omnipotence of God.

22. The pulsation of the Divine Intellect being put to a stop, there ensues a cessation of the course of the universe, and as it with the supreme Intellect, so it is with its parts of individual intellects, whose action and inaction spread out and curb the sphere of their thoughts.

23. What is called consciousness or its action, is a non entity in nature; and that which is a mere vacuum, is said to be the subtile body of the Intellect. (i.e. The intellectual powers have no material forms).

24. The world appears as an entity, by our thinking it as such; but it vanishes upon our ceasing to think as such, like the disappearance of figures in a picture, when it is burnt down to ashes.

25. The world appears as one with the Deity, to one who sees the unity only in himself; it is the vibration of the intellect only, that caused the revolution of worlds, as the turning of a potters wheel (is caused by the rotatory motion given to it).

26. As the measure, shape and form of the ornament are not different from the gold, so the action of the intellect, is not separate from it; and it is this which forms the world, as the gold, becomes the ornament and the world and intellect are the same thing, as the ornament and its gold.

27. The mind is the pulsation of the intellect, and it is want of this knowledge that frames a separate world; as it is ignorance of the gold work, that makes the jewel appear as another thing.

28. The mind being wholly absorbed in the intellect, there remains this pure intellect alone; as the nature of one's self or soul being known, there is an end of worldly enjoyments. (He that has known the intellectual world, is not deluded by his sensuous mind; and whoever has tasted his spiritual bliss, does not thirst for sensual pleasures).

29. Disregard of enjoyments is an education of the highest wisdom; hence no kind of enjoyments is acceptable to the wise: (cursed are they that hunger and thirst for enjoyments of this world).

30. Know this to be another indication of wisdom, that no man that has eaten to satiety has ever a zest for any bad food that is offered to him. (i.e. No sensual pleasure is delectable before spiritual bliss).

31. Another sign of wisdom is our natural aversion, to enjoyments, and is the sense of one's perception of all pleasures, in the vibrations of his intellect (i.e. the mind is the store house of all pleasures).

32. He is known as a wise man, who has this good habit of his deeply rooted in his mind, and he is said to be an intelligent man, who refrains from enjoying whatever is enjoyable in this world. (For thy shall hunger hereafter, who stuff themselves with plenty here below. St. Mathew Ch.v).

33. Again whoso pursues after his perfection, in pursuance of the examples of others, doth strike the air with a stick, or beat the bush in vain in search of the same, because it requires sincerity of purpose to be successful in anything (and not the bodily practices of the ignorant, as they do in Hatha Yoga).

34. Some times thy emaciate and torture the body in order to have a full view of the inner soul (because they think to be an envelope of the soul, and an obstruction to its full sight; but the intellectual soul, being settled in a thousand objects of its intelligence, it sees only errors instead of the light of the soul. (So the hermits, ascetics, monks, and friars emaciate their bodies, and the religious fanatics torture their persons in vain).

35. So long doth the unconscious spirit flutter in its fickleness, and goes on roving from one object to another; as the light of the understanding do not rise and shine within it. (The ignorant are strangers to rest and quiet).

36. But no sooner doth the light of the tranquil intellect, appear in its brightness within the inward soul; than the flattering of the fickle spirit is put to flight, like the flickering of a lamp after it is extinguished.

37. There is no such thing as vibration nor suspension of the tranquil spirit; because the quiescent soul neither moves forward or backward, nor has its motion in any direction.

38. The soul that is neither unconscious of itself, nor has any vibration in it, is said to be calm and quiet; and as it remains in the state of its indifference to vibrations, and gains its forms of pure transparence, it is no more liable to its bondage in life, nor inquires its moksha liberation to set it free from regeneration.

39. The soul that is settled in itself (or the supreme soul), has no fear of bondage nor need of its liberation also; and the intellect being without its intellection, or having no object to dwell upon, becomes unconscious both of its Existence as well as extinction. (One that is absorbed in his self meditation, is unconscious of everything in-esse et non-esse).

40. He that is full in himself with the spirit of God, is equally ignorant both of his bondage and liberation; because the desire of being liberated, indicates want of one's self sufficiency and perfection (or rather the sense of his bondage, from which he wants to be liberated).

41. "Let me then have my equanimity and not my liberation."This desire is also a bondage in itself; and it is the unconsciousness of these, which is reckoned as our chief good. For know the Supreme state to be that, which is pure intelligence and without a shadow.

42. The restoration of the intellect to its proper form consists in divesting it of all its intelligibles; and that form of it (which is marked by desire or the prurient soul), is no more than the oscillation of the great Intellect. (All animal souls are vibrations of the Divine spirit).

43. That only is subject to bondage and liberation, which is seen and destructible in its nature (i.e. the visible and perishable body); and not the invisible soul, which take the name of ego, and has no position nor form or figure of itself.

44. We know not what thing it is, that is brought under or loosened from bondage by any one. It is not the pure desire which the wise form for themselves, and does not affect the body. (It is the vibration of mind acting upon the body, and causing its actions that subjects to Bondage).

45. It is therefore, that the wise practise the restraint of their respiring breath, in order to restraint their desires and actions;and being devoid of these, they become as the pure Intellect.

46. These being suppressed, the idea of the world is lost in the density of the intellect; because the thoughts of the mind, are caused by the vibration of the intellect only (and set in also in the same).

47. Thus there remains nothing, nor any action of the body or mind, except the vibration of the intellect; and the phenomenal world is no other, than a protracted dream from one sight to another. The learned are not deluded by these appearances, which they know to be exhibitions of their own minds.

48. Know in thy meditation within thyself that recondite soul, which gives rise to our consciousness of the essences of things, appearing incessantly before us; and in which all these phantasms of our brain, dissolve as dirt in the water; and in which all our perceptions and conceptions of the passing world are flowing on as in a perpetual stream.