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 LXV - Rama's wonder at the error of men

Argument: Application of the mendicant's case to all men, who are equally mistaken in their choice.

Vasishtha Continued:—

1. As the mendicant saw this transient scene of error in his mind; so it is the case with all living beings, to look on their past lives and actions apart from themselves, and in the persons of other men.

2. The past lives, actions and demise of all reflective souls, are as fast imprinted in them, as any thought is preserved in the retentive mind and vacuous intellect.

3. Distant and separate things are mingled together, in the present sphere of one's soul; and all persons appear as distinct figures in the dream.

4. And the human soul, though it is a form of the divine, yet being enclosed in its frail and mortal body, is doomed to misery until its final liberation from birth and body. Thus I have related to you the fate of all living souls, in the state and tale of the mendicant Bhikshu.

5. Now know, O Rama! that the souls of all of us like that of the mendicant, are vibrated and moved by the impulse of the supreme spirit;and are yet fallible in their nature, and falling from error to error every moment (as we find in our dreams).

6. As a stone falling from a rock, falls lower and lower to the nether ground; so the living soul once fallen from its height of supreme spirit, descends lower and lower to the lowest pit.

7. Now it sees one dream, and then passes from it to another; and thus rolling for ever in its dreaming sleep, it never finds any substantiality whatsoever.

8. The soul thus obscured under the illusion of errors, happens some times to come to the light of truth, either by the guidance of some good instructor, or by the light of its own intuition;and then it is released from the wrong notion of its personality in the body, and comes to the true knowledge of itself.

Rama said:—

9. O! the impervious gloom of error that ever spreads on the human soul, causes it to rely in the mist of its errors, as a sleeping man enjoys the scenery of his dreams.

10. It is shrouded by the thick darkness of the night of erroneous knowledge, and falls into the pit of illusion which over spreads the world (maya or error is the fruit of the forbidden tree whose mortal taste brought death into the world, while knowledge is the fruit of the tree of immortality, which liberates the soul from the bonds of birth and death).

11. O the egregious error of taking a thing for our own, which in reality belongs to no body but the lord and master of all.

12. It behoves you, sir, to explain to me, whence this error takes its rise, and how the mendicant with his share of good and right understanding, could fall into the error (of wishing himself to become another, that was as frail and mortal as himself). Tell me also that knowest all, whether he is still living or not.

Vasishtha replied:—

13. I will explore into the regions of the three worlds in my samadhi meditation this night, and tell you tomorrow morning, whether the mendicant is living or not, and where he may be at present.

Valmiki said:—

14. As the sage was saying in this manner, the royal garrison tolled the trumpet of the departing day with beat of drum; which filled the sky with the loud roar of diluvian clouds.

15. The princes and the citizens assembled in the court, threw handfuls of flowers at his feet, as the trees drop down their flowers in the ground, wafted by the odoriferous breeze.

16. They honoured the great sages also, and rose from their respective seats; and the assembly broke afterwards, with mutual salutations to one another.

17. Then all the residents of the earth and air, went to their respective residences with the setting sun; and discharged their duties of the departing day, in obedience to the ordinance of the sastras.

18. They all performed their services as prescribed in their liturgies, in which they placed their strong faith and veneration. (This shows the division of caste and creed even in the heroic age of Rama; which being more marked in later ages, prevented the people from participating in a common cause).

19. All the mortals and celestials, that formed the audience of "Vasishtha", began now to reflect on the lecture of the sage, and the night passed as short as a moment with some, and as long as an age with others. (Gloss. They that took the subject for study, found time too short for their deep meditation of it, while those that were light minded and eager to hear more, felt time to roll on heavily on them. A very good lesson for lightening time by the practice of patient enquiry, and avoiding the troublesomeness of impatience).

20. As the morning rose with the returning duties of men, and employed all beings of heaven and earth to discharge their matin in services; the court reopened for the reception of the audience, who assembled there with mutual greetings and salutations to their superiors.