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...

Argument: The liberation of the mendicant's soul and destruction of his body, and the application of this instance in the cases of the confinement and liberation of all souls in and from the bondage of their bodies.

Dasaratha said:—

1. O great sage, let these attendants of mine, repair immediately to the cells of the mendicant, and having roused him from his hypnotism, bring him hither in my presence.

Vasishtha replied:—

2. Great king! the body of that mendicant, is now lying lifeless on the ground;it is now pale and cold and daubed with dirt, and has no jot of its vitality left in it.

3. His life has fled from his body, like odour from the lotus of the lake; he is now liberated from the bond of this life, and is no more subject to the cares of this world.

4. It is now a whole month that his servants have opened the latch of his door, and standing at a distance looking at his emaciated frame.

5. They will afterwards take out the body and immerge it in water, and then having anointed it, they will place it for their adoration, as they do a deified idol. (The bodies of saints are sanctified by their votaries among all nations, and their tombs are visited with religious veneration).

6. The mendicant being in this manner freed from his body, cannot be brought back to his senses, which have entirely quitted their functions in his mortal frame.

7. It is hard to evade the enchanting delusion of the world, so long as one labours under the darkness of his ignorance; but it is easily avoided by one's knowledge of truth at all times.

8. The fabrication of the world is untrue, as the making of ornaments from gold; it is the error of taking the form for the substance, that appears as the cause of creation.

9. This delusion of the world, appears to be so situated in the supreme soul, as the rows of waves are seen to roll upon the surface of the calm waters of the sea. So it is said in the very words of the vedas, that the moving worlds are as the fluctuation of the Divine Soul.

10. The intelligent soul, taking the form of the living or human soul, sees the phenomenal world, as one sees one dream after another, but all these vanish away upon his waking to sense and right reason.

11. As every man of understanding sees the original in its image, so the man of reason views the archetype of the soul in its representation of the creation;while the ignorant man that sees the world as a thorny bush or confused jungle, can have no idea of the all designing framer of his frame work of the universe. (Right reason points out to spiritual source of the world).

12. The world is represented to the view of every living being, as it was seen in the vision of the dreaming mendicant, in the form of the undulations of the supreme spirit, like the fluctuation of waves on the surface of the sea.

13. As the world appeared to be presented at first in its visionary form, before the view of the universal or collective mind of the creative Brahma; so does it rise in its shadowy form in the opacous minds of all individual persons. (The world appears in its unspiritual form, to the minds of the great Brahma and all other living beings).

14. But to the clear mind this world appears as an evanescent dream, as it appeared to Brahma at first; and the multitudes of worlds that are discovered one after the other, are no more than the successive scenes of passing dreams in the continuous sleep of ignorance.

15. So do all living beings in their various forms, are subject to the error of believing the unreal world as a reality, though they well know it in their minds, to be no better than a continuous dream or delusion. (The varieties of living souls are included under the unintelligible terms of universal and individual:—general and particular &c.).

16. The animal soul, though possessed of intellego (or the property of the intellect); is yet liable to transgress from its original nature (of holiness and purity);and thereby becomes subject to decay, disease and death and all kinds of awe. (It is the chyuty of the fall of man from his primary purity, that brought on him all his miseries on earth).

17. The godly intellect frames the celestial and infernal regions in our dreams, by the slight vibration of the mind at its pleasure; and then takes a delight in rambling over and dwelling in them.

18. It is this divine intellect, which by its own motion, takes the form of living soul upon itself;and wanders from itself to rummage over the false objects of the deceptive senses.

19. The mind also is the supreme soul, and if it is not so it is nothing; the living and embodied is likewise a designation of the same, likening to the shadow of the substance.

20. So the supreme Brahma is said to reside in the universal Brahma, according to the distinct view of men, with regard to the one Brahma, in whom all these attributes unite, like the water with water and the sky with air. (All these attributive words apply to and unite in the unity of Brahma).

21. Men residing in this mundane form of Brahma, and yet think it otherwise than a reflection of the deity; just as a child looking at its own shadow in a glass, startles to think it as an apparition standing before it.

22. It is the wavering understanding that causes these differences, which disappear of themselves, after the mind resumes its steadiness in the unity of the Deity, wherein it is lost at last, as the oblation of butter is consumed in the sacred fire.

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24. There is no more any vacillation or dogmatism, nor the unity or duality, after the true knowledge of the deity is gained; when all distinctions are dissolved in an indistinct intellect, which is as it is and all in all.

25. When it is known from the sum and substance of all reasoning, that it is the one Intellect, which is the subject of all appellations which are applied to it; there remains no more any difference of religious faith in the world. (That is one and all, is the catholic religion of all).

26. Difference of faith, creates difference in men; but want of distinction in creed, destroys all difference, and brings on the union of all to one common faith in the supreme being.

27. Rama, you see the variety from your want of understanding, and you will get rid of the same (and recognise their identity), as you come to your right understanding; ask this of any body and you will find the truth of what I say and be fearless at any party feeling and enmity. (Confession of faith in one Divinity, that is acknowledged and adored by all alike, is the root of catholicity, and brings on unity in philosophy of religion).

28. In that state of fearlessness, the Brahmavadi finds no difference in the states of waking, dreaming, sound sleep or the fourth stage of devotion; nor in his earthly bondage or liberation from it, all which are equal to him. (So says the sruti:—The Brahmavadi is ever blest and is afraid of nothing in any state of life, in all of which he sees the presence of his God).

29. Tranquillity is another name of the universe, and God has given his peace to everything in the world; therefore all schisms are the false creations of ignorance, as none of them has ever seen the invisible God.

30. The action of the heart and the motion of the vital air, cannot move the contented mind to action;because the mind which is devoid of its desire, is indifferent about the vibrations of his breath and heart strings.

31. The intellect which is freed from the dubitation of unity and duality, and got rid of its anxious cares and desires; has approached to a state, which is next to that of the deity.

32. But the pure desire which subsists in the intellect, like the stain which sticks to the disk of the moon; is no speck upon it, but the coagulation of the condensed intellect. (As the fluid water is congealed in the forms of snow and ice).

33. Do you, Rama! ever remain in the state of your collected intellect, because it concentrates (the knowledge of) everything (that is sat) in itself, and leaves nothing (that is not asat) beyond it. (This is the most faultless undefective form of faith, that I have abstracted from all religions).

34. The moon like disk of the intellect, having the mark of inappetency in it, is a vessel of ambrosia, a draught of which drowns the thoughts of all that is and is not (in esse—et non-esse) into oblivion. (Contentment is the ambrosial draught for oblivion of all cares).

35. Refer thy thoughts of whatever thou hast or wantest, to the province of thy intellect (i.e. think of thy intellectual parts and wants only); and taste thy inward delight as much as thou dost like. (Pleasure of intellectual culture, is better than physical enjoyments).

36. Know Rama, that the words vibration and inaction, desire and inappetency and such others of the theological glossary, serve only to burden and mislead the mind to error; do you therefore keep yourself from thinking on these, and betake yourself to your peace and quiet, whether you attain to your perfection or otherwise.