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 LXXVIII - Beautification of chudala

Argument:—The distaste and indifference of the happy pair to worldly enjoyments.

Vasishtha continued:—

In this manner did this happy pair, revel for many years in the pleasures of their youth, and tasted with greater zest, every new delight that came on their way day by day.

2. Years repeated their reiterated revolutions over their protracted revelries till by and by their youth began to give way to the decay of age; as the broken pitcher gives way to its waters out (or rather as the leaky vessel gives way to the waters in).

3. They then thought that their bodies are as frail as the breakers on the sea; and as liable to fall as the ripened fruits of trees, and that death is not to be averted by any body.

4. As the arrowy snows rend the lotus leaves, so is our old age ready to batter and shatter our frames; and the cup of our life is drizzling away day by day, as the water held in the palm falls away by sliding drops.

5. While our avarice is increasing on our hand, like the gourd plant in the rainy weather, so doth our youth glide away as soon as the torrent falls from the mountain cliffs to the ground.

6. Our life is as false as a magic play, and the body a heap of rotting things; our pleasures are few and painful, and as fleeting as the flying arrows from the archers bow.

7. Afflictions pounce upon our hearts, as vultures and kites dart upon fish and flesh; and these our bodies are as momentary as the bursting bubbles of dropping rains (or of rain drops).

8. All reasoning and practice are as unsound, as the unsolid stem of the plantain tree; and our youth is as evanescent, as a fugacious woman that is in love with many men.

9. The taste of youthful pleasure, is soon succeeded by a distaste to it in old age; just as the vernal freshness of plants, gives room to the dryness of autumn; where then is that permanent pleasure and lasting good in this world; which never grows stale, and is ever sweet and lovely.

10. Therefore should we seek that thing, which will support us in all conditions of life, and which will be a remedy of all the maladies (evils), which circumvent us in this world.

11. Being thus determined, they were both employed in the investigation of spiritual philosophy; because they thought their knowledge of the soul to be the only healing balm of the cholic pain of worldliness. (Because spiritual knowledge extricates the soul from its earthly bondage).

12. Thus resolved, they were both devoted to their spiritual culture, and employed their head and heart, their lives and souls in the inquiry, and placed all their hope and trust in the same.

13. They remained long in the study and mutual communication of their spiritual knowledge; and continued to meditate upon and worship the soul of souls in their own souls.

14. They both rejoiced in their investigations into Divine knowledge, and she took a great delight in attending incessantly, to the admonitions and sermons of the Divine prelates.

15. Having heard the words of salvation, from the mouths of the spiritual doctors, and from their exposition of the Sastras; she continued thus to reflect about the soul by day and night. (Blessed is the man, that meditates on the laws of God by day and night. Psalm.)

16. Whether when engaged in action or not, I see naught but the one soul in my enlightened and clear understanding; what then, am I that very self, and is it my own self? (The yogi, when enrapt in holy light, loses the sense of his own personality. So lost in Divine light, the saints themselves forget).

17. Whence comes this error of my personality, why does it grow up and where does it subsist (in the body or in the mind)? It cannot consist in the gross body which knows not itself and is ignorant of everything. Surely I am not this body, and my egoism lies beyond my corporeality.

18. The error then rises in the mind and grows from boyhood to old age, to think one's self as lean or fat as if he were the very body. Again it is usual to say I act, I see &c., as if the personality of one consists in his action; but the acts of the bodily organs, being related with the body, are as insensible and impersonal as the dull body itself.

19. The part is not different from the whole, nor is the product of the one otherwise than that of the others. (As the branch and the tree are the same thing, and the fruit of the one the same as that of the other. Hence the actions of both the outward and inward organs of the body, are as passive and impersonal as the body itself).

20. The mind moves the body as the bat drives the ball, and therefore it must be dull matter also, being apart of the material body, and differing from it in its power of volition only. (The mind is called the antah-Karana or an inward organ of the material body, and also material in its nature).

21. The determination of the mind impels the organs to their several actions, as the sling sends the pebble in any direction;and this firmness of resolution is no doubt a property of matter. (Like the solidity of current).

22. The egoism which leads the body forward in its action, is like the channel that carries the current of a stream in its onward course. This egoism also has no essence of its own and is therefore as inert and inactive as a dead body. (The ego [Sanskrit: aham] is subjective and really existent in Western philosophy). But egoism or egotism [Sanskrit: ahamkara] is the false conception of the mind as the true ego).

23. The living principle (jiva or zoa) is a false idea, as the phantom of a ghost; the living soul is one principle of intelligence and resides in the form of air in the heart. (That life is a produce of organism, acted by external physical stimuli).

24. The life or living principle lives by another inner power, which is finer and more subtile than itself, and it is by means of this internal witness (the soul), that all things are known to us, and not by means of this gross animal life. (Because there is a brute life, and a vegetable life also, which are as insensible as dull matter. Hence there is a distinct principle to direct vitality to all vital functions).

25. The living soul lives in its form of vitality, by the primordial power of the intellect, the vital soul which is misunderstood as an intelligent principle, subsists by means of this intellectual power. (Life is the tension of the power, imparted by the intellect).

26. The living soul carries with it the power, which is infused in it by the intellect; as the wind wafts in its course the fragrance of flowers, and the channel carries the current of the stream to a great distance. (Hence life also is an organism and no independent active power by itself).

27. The heart which is the body or seat of the intellect, is nothing essential by itself; it is called chitta or centre for concentrating chayana of the powers of the intellect, and also the hrid or heart, for its bearing harana of these powers to the other parts of the body; and therefore it is a dull material substance. (The heart is the receiver and distributor of force to the members of the body, and therefore a mere organism of itself).

28. All these and the living soul also, and anything that appears real or unreal, disappear in the meditation of the intellect, and are lost in it as the fire when it is immerged in water. (So the appearances at a ghata or pot and that of a pata or cloth, are lost in their substances of the clay and thread).

29. It is our intelligence Chaitanya alone, that awakens us to the knowledge of the unreality and inanity of gross material bodies. With such reflections as these, Chudala thought only how to gain a knowledge of the all-enlightening Intellect.

30. Long did she cogitate and ponder in this manner in herself; till at last she came to know what she sought and then exclaimed, "O! I have after long known the imperishable one, that is only to be known". (The knowledge of all things else, is as false as they are false in themselves).

31. No one is disappointed in knowing the knowable, and what is worth knowing; and this is the knowledge of the intellectual soul and our contemplation of it. All other knowledge of the mind, understanding and the senses and all other things, are but leading steps to that ultimate end. (The end of learning is to know God, Milton, or: nosce te ipsum; know thyself which is of the supreme self or soul).

32. All things besides are mere nullities, as a second moon in the sky; there is only one Intellect in existence, and this is called the great entity or the ens entium or the sum total of all existence.

33. The one purely immaculate and holy, without an equal or personality of the form of pure intelligence, the sole existence and felicity and everlasting without decay.

34. This intellectual power is ever pure and bright, always on the zenith without its rise or fall, and is known among mankind under the appellations of Brahma—supreme soul, and other attributes. (Because beyond conception can have no designation beside what is attributed to Him).

35. The triple appellations of the Intellect, Intelligence, and Intelligible, are not exactly definitive of His nature; because He is the cause of these faculties, and witness of the functions of Intellections.

36. This unthinkable intellect which is in me, is the exact and undecaying ectype of the supreme intellect; and evolves itself in the different forms of the mind, and the senses of perception.

37. The intellect involves in itself the various forms of things in the world, as the sea rolls and unrolls the waves in its bosom. (The intellect either means the Divine intellect, or it is the subjective view of the intellect, as evolving the objective world from itself).

38. This world is verily the semblance of that great intellect, which is like the pure crystal stone and is manifest in this form. (The world reflects the image of the intellect, which again reflects the image of the mundane world, the one in the form of its visible appearance murta; and the other, in its invisible form amurta. Gloss).

39. The same power is manifest in the form of the world, which has no separate existence except in the mind of the ignorant; because it is impossible for any other thing to exist except the self-existing one.

40. As it is the gold which represents the various forms of jewels, so the intellect represents everything in the world as it sees in itself. (The Divine is the source and store house of all figures and forms).

41. As it is the thought of fluidity in the mind, that causes us to perceive the wave in the water, whether it really exists or not (as in our dream or magic); so is the thought in the Divine mind, which shows the picture of the world, whether it is in being or in not esse.

42. And as the divine soul appears as the wave of the sea, from its thought of fluidity; so am I the same intellect without any personality of myself. (Because the one impersonal soul pervades everywhere).

43. This soul has neither its birth nor death, nor has it a good or bad future state (Heaven or Hell); it has no destruction at any time;because it is of the form of the various intellect, which is indestructible in its nature.

44. It is not to be broken or burnt (i.e. though every where, yet it is an entire whole, and though full of light;yet it is not inflammable); and it is the unclouded luminary of the intellect. By meditating on the soul in this manner, I am quite at rest and peace.

45. I live free from error and rest as calm as the untroubled ocean; and meditate on the invisible one, who is quite clear to me, as the unborn, undecaying and infinite soul of all.

46. It is the vacuous soul, unrestricted by time or place, immaculate by any figure or form, eternal and transcending our thought and knowledge. It is the infinite void, and all attempts to grasp it, are as vain as to grasp the empty air in the hand.

47. This soul pervades equally over all the Sura as well as the Asura races of the earth; but is none of those artificial forms, in which the people represent it in their images of clay, likening the dolls of children.

48. The essences of both the viewer and the view (i.e. of both the subjective and the objective), reside at once in the unity of the intellect; though men are apt to make the distinctions of unity and duality, and of the ego and non ego through their error only.

49. But what error or delusion is there, and how, when and whence can it overtake me, when I have attained my truly spiritual and immortal form, and seated in my easy and quiet state. (This is calmness of the soul attending the thought of one's immortality begun in this life).

50. I am absorbed and extinct in eternity, and all my cares are extinct with my own extinction in it. My soul is in its entranced state between sensibility and insensibility, and feels what is reflected upon it. (i.e. the inspiration which is communicated to the ravished soul).

51. The soul settled in the great intellect of God, and shining with the light of the supreme soul, as the sky is illumed by the luminary of the day. There is no thought of this or that or even of one's self or that of any other being or not being; all is calm and quiet and having no object in view, except the one transcendent spirit.

52. With these excogitations, she remained as calm and quiet as a white cloudy spot in the autumnal sky; her soul was awake to the inspiration of Divine truth, but her mind was cold to the feelings of love and fear, of pride and pleasure, and quite insusceptible of delusion.