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 LXVIII - On the virtue of taciturnity

Argument:—Four kinds of Reticence, and their respective qualities.

Vasishtha said:—

1. Rama! remain as taciturn as in your silent sleep, and shun at a distance the musings of your mind; get rid of the vagaries of your imagination, and remain firm in the state Brahma.

Rama said:—

2. I know what is meant by the reticence of speech, and the quietness of the organs, and the muteness of a block of wood; but tell me what is sleep like silence, which you well know by practice.

Vasishtha replied:—

3. It is said to be of two kinds, by the mute like munis and the reserved sages of old; the practiced by the wood like statues of saints, and the other observed by those that are liberated in their life time (jivan mukta).

4. The wood like devotee is that austere ascetic, who is not meditative in his mind, and is firmly employed in the discharge of the rigorous rites of religion; he practises the painful restraints of his bodily organs, and remains speechless as a wooden statue.

5. The other kind of living liberated Yogi is one, who looks at the world ever as before (with his usual unconcern);who delights in his meditation of the soul, and passes as any ordinary man without any distinctive mark of his religious order or secular rank.

6. The condition of these two orders of saintly and holy men, which is the fixedness of their minds and sedateness of their souls, is what passes under the title of taciturnity and saintliness (mauna and muni) (who hold their tongue and their peace, and walk sub silentio and incognito on earth).

7. Thus the taciturn sages reckon four kinds of latitancy, which they style severally by the names of reservedness in speech, restriction of the organs, woodlike speechlessness and dead like silence as in one's sleep.

8. Oral silence consists in keeping one's mouth and lips close, and the closeness of the senses implies the keeping of the members of the body under strict control; the rigorous muteness means the abandonment of all efforts, and the sleepy silence is as silent as the grave.

9. There is a fifth kind of dead-like silence, which occurs in the austere ascetic in his state of insensibility; in the profound meditation of the dormant Yogi, and in the mental abstraction of the living liberated.

10. All the three prior states of reticence, occur in the austere devotee, and the sleepy or dead silence is what betakes the living liberated only.

11. Though speechlessness is called silence, yet it does not constitute pure reticence, in as much as the mute tongue may brood evil thoughts in the mind, which lead to the bondage of men.

12. The austere devotee continues in his reticence, without minding his own egoism, or seeing the visibles or listening to the speech of others; and seeing nothing beside him, he sees all in himself, like living fire covered under ashes.

13. The mind being busy in these three states of silence, and indulging its fancies and reveries at liberty; makes munis of course in outward appearance, but there is no one, who understands the nature of God.

14. There is nothing of that blessed divine knowledge in any of these, which is so very desirable to all mankind; I vouch it freely that they are not knowers of God, be they angry at it or not as they may. (Vasishtha being a theoretic philosopher, finds fault with every kind of practical Yoga or pseudo hypnotism).

15. But this dormant or meditative silent sage, who is liberated from all bonds and cares in his life time, is never to be born in any shape in this world, and it is interesting to know much of them as I will recite to you.

16. He does not require to restrain his respiration, nor needs the triple restraint of his speech; he does not rejoice at his prosperity, nor is he depressed in adversity, but preserves his equanimity and the evenness of his sensibility at all times. (He sticks to what is natural, and does not resort to anything artificial).

17. His mind is under the guidance of his reason, and is neither excited by nor restrained from its fancies, it is neither restless nor dormant, and exists as it is not in existence. (owing to its even mindedness).

18. His attention is neither divided nor pent up, but fixed in the infinite and eternal one, and his mind cogitates unconfined the nature of things. Such a one is said to be the sleeping silent sage.

19. He who knows the world as it is, and is not led to error by its deluding varieties, and whoso scans everything as it is without being led to scepticism, is the man that is styled the sleeping silent sage.

20. He who relies his faith and trust, on the one endless and ever felicitous Siva, as the aggregate of all knowledge, and the displayer of this universe, is the one who is known as the sleeping silent sage.

21. He who sees the vacuum as the plenum, and views this all omnium as the null and nullum; and whose mind is even and tranquil, is the man who is called the sleeping silent sage.

22. Again he who views the universe as neither reality nor unreality either, but all an empty vacuum and without a substratum, but full of peace and divine wisdom, is said to be in the best state of his taciturnity.

23. The mind that is unconscious of the effects, of the different states of its prosperity and adversity and of its plenty and wants, is said to rest in its highest state of rest and quiet.

24. That perfect equanimity of the mind and evenness of temper, which is not liable to change or fluctuation; with a clear conscience and unflinching self-consciousness, are the source of an unimpairing reticence.

25. The consciousness that I am nothing, nor is there anything besides;and that the mind and its thoughts, are no other in reality (than fictions of the intellect); is the real source of taciturnity.

26. The knowledge that the ego pervades this universe, which is the representation of the "one that is"; and whose essence is displayed equally in all things, is what is meant by the state of sleepy silence. (i.e. the man that has known this grand truth, remains dumb and mute and has nothing to say).

27. Now as it is the consciousness which constitutes all and everything, how can you conceive your distinction from others, who are actuated by the same power, dwelling alike in all? It is this knowledge which is called the ever lasting sleep, and forms the ground work of every kind of silence.

28. This is the silence of profound sleep, and because it is an endless sleep in the ever wakeful God, this sleep is alike to waking. Know this as the fourth stage of Yoga, or rather a stage above the same.

29. This profound trance is called hypnotism or the fourth state of entranced meditation; and the tranquillity which is above this state, is to be had in one's waking state.

30. He that is situated in his fourth stage of yoga, has a clear conscience and quiet peace attending on him. This is practicable by the adept even in his waking state, and is obtainable by the righteous soul, both in its embodied as well as disembodied states.

31. Yes, O Rama! Be you desirous to be settled in this state, and know that neither I or you nor any other person is any real being in this world, which exists only as a reflection of our mind, and therefore the wise man should rely only in the bosom of the vacuous intellect, which comprehends all things in it.