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...
1. [Sanskrit available]
Sir, it appears to me that the hoarded merits of all my former lives, have brought you today to my presence here; as an unforeseen hurricane drives the waters of the sea on the dry mountain tops. (i.e. thy speech is as cooling draught to my perished soul).
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I reckon myself as highly blest among the blessed today to be thus favoured by your presence, and cooled by your speech distilling as ambrosial dews from your lips.
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Never did a more sensible speech, touch and cool my soul to such a degree as yours ere this; wherefore I deem your holy presence as more precious to me, than the gaining of a kingdom.
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The unrestrained delight which is felt in general (from the words of the wise), which are free from self-interest and selfish motives; is far superior to the self-restricted pleasure of sovereignty, which is delightful once in imagination only (and not in its actual possession).
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Please put a stop, sir, to these words of yours, and give me an account of yourself as I have given mine to you; and tell me who you are, and what you do in this lonely mountain.
7. [Sanskrit available]
How long is it that you have passed in this forester's life of yours, and what is your main object in view. Tell me the bare truth, because it is beyond the probity of an ascetic, to utter anything but the plain truth. (The ascetics are names of satyavrata or vowed to truth).
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Lord as you are the offspring of a God, everything must be well known to you; and as the Gods are full well acquainted with the secrets and circumstances of all people, I have very little to relate to you about me.
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It is from my fear of the world (and its temptations), that I have abandoned it and taken my abode amidst this forest; and this though you well know, will I now briefly state unto you.
10. [Sanskrit available]
I am Sikhidvaja the ruler of a country, which I have long relinquished for a seat in the forest; and know, O knower of all truths, that it is my fear of the trap-doors of the world and future transmigration in it, that has driven me to this retired wilderness.
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It is no more than the reiteration of pain and pleasure, and of life and death in this accursed world; and it is to evade all these, that I have betaken myself to my austerities in these solitary woods.
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I wander about on all sides, and perform my rigorous austerities without any respite; and I give no rest to myself, but keep my vigils like a miser over his little stock.
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I am without any effort or attempt, and so without any fruit and fruition also; I am lonely, and so helpless likewise; I am poor and therefore friendless also, and know me Divine personage! to be pining in this forest like a withered tree perforated by worms.
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I observe strictly all my sacred rites without any fail or failure, and yet I fall from one sorrow into a sea of sorrows; and have grown too pensive, that even the ambrosial draught is unpleasant to me.
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It was once on a time that I had my great progenitor (Brahma) to tell me which of the two, the observance of duties or their non-observance for the sake of knowledge (i.e. whether practice or theoretical knowledge); is the more useful to and preferable by mankind.
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Knowledge is no doubt the supreme Good, as it leads to ones acquaintance with the unity of the Deity and the oneness of himself; but action is inculcated to man at the duty of his life, both for the pleasure and passing of his life time.
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Let them that have not acquired their intellectual light and the sight of the soul, be employed in their duties by their offsprings and fellow creatures; for who that is devoid of a silken robe, will go about naked and not wrap himself with a blanket or coarse cloth.
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The ignorant that are actuated by their desires and live upon their hopes, meet with their objects as the reward of their action;but the knowing and speculative theorist, having neither any desire in his mind nor action of his body, meets with no reward of either.
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An action without its object goes to naught and for nothing, as the fruit bearing plants become fruitless and die away without being properly watered in their time. (There it is doubtful whether the comparison of watering refers to the desire or action. The gloss refers it to the action without which no desire is successful).
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As the effect of a certain season on plants &c., is displaced by that of the succeeding one; so the fruit of an action, is frustrated by its want of its desire (of the object).
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As it is the nature of kusa-grass never to fructify, though they bear the flowers in time; so my son, no action can produce any fruit without the desire of the main object (as its final cause). (Here Chudala addresses her husband as her son).
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As the boy possest the idea of a ghost in his mind, sees the apparition of a devil before him; and as a sick man having hypochondria of his malady, is soon attacked by it (so everyone meets with what he has in his mind).
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As the kusa-grass presents the fair flowers to view, without ever bearing their fruits; so does the speculative theorist meditate on the beauty of his theory, without producing its results by its practice.
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But it is said that all human desire is vain, and its accompanying egoism is a fallacy; and that they are the creatures of our ignorance, like our error of a sea in the burning sands of a desert.
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So it is to the gnostic theist, whose ignorance is altogether removed by his knowledge of all things as the Divine spirit; such a man of course has no desire rising in his mind, as there is no appearance of the sea in the sands before the eyes of the wise.
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It is by forsaking his desires, that a person is freed from his bonds of his disease and death; and his internal soul arriving to the perfection of the Deity, is exempted from future birth.
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But know the human mind to be fraught with desires, from which the learned few are only exempt; it is by their transcendental knowledge of the knowable one, that the Divinely wise alone are exempted from their regeneration in this mortal world.
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It is true, O princely sage! that knowledge is said to be the chief good (summum bonum), by the Gods Brahma and others and also by all sapient sages; and notwithstanding thy knowing of this, why is it that thou remainest in this state of thy gross ignorance?
29. [Sanskrit available]
What mean these pots and staffs, these wooden stools and those seats of kusa-grass; and why is it, O royal prince! that you delight in these false playings of fools?
30. [Sanskrit available]
Why is it that you do not employ your mind to inquire into the questions as to what thou art, and how has this world came to existence, and how and when will cease to exist (in your consciousness of reality). Instead of making inquiries in these solemn truths, you are passing your time like the ignorant in your fooleries only?
31. [Sanskrit available]
Why don't you discuss about the natures of bondage and liberation in the company of the learned, and pay your homage at their venerable feet?
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Do you want, O prince to pass your life in the discharge of your painful austerities, as some insects finish their days in perforating the stones in which they live?
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You can easily obtain the delight you seek, if you will but betake yourself to the service of holy man; and keep company with the tolerant and wise souls, arguing with them on spiritual subjects.
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Or you may continue to remain in your grotto, in this forest living on the simple food of holy men; and by forsaking the evil propensities of your mind, abide here as an insect in a hole under the ground.
Being thus awakened to sense by his wife said:—
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the Divine boy—Sikhidvaja, melted into tears; and with his face bathed in water, spoke to the lad as follows:—
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O Divine child! it is after a long time, that I am awakened by thee to my senses; and I perceive now that it was my weak-headedness, which drove me from the society of respectable to this lonely forest.
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Ah! I find now that my mind is purged to-day of its endless sins, which has brought thee to my presence here, and remonstrate with me on my past misconduct.
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O beauteous boy! I deem thee henceforward as my monitor and father and my best friend forever, and acknowledge myself as thy pupil; wherefore I bow down at thy feet and pray thee to take piety on me.
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Please admonish me now on the subject of Divine knowledge, as you are best acquainted with it; and whereby I may be freed from all my sorrows, and be settled with perfect peace and bliss of my mind.
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You said at first, that knowledge is the supreme bliss or summum bonum of mankind; now tell me, which is that knowledge which saves us from misery; whether it is the knowledge of particulars which lead us to the acquaintance of specials, or that of the general which brings as to the transcendental. (The former is the inductive knowledge of ascending from particulars to the universal, and the latter is deductive knowledge of deducing everything from the primitive one).
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I will tell thee prince as far as I know about it, and what may be best acceptable to thee; and not throw away my words in vain, like crowing ravens about a headless trunk.
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Because the words that are uttered to the impertinent questions of a person and not heeded by him, are thrown in vain; and become as useless to him, as her eye sight in the dark.
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Sir, your words are as acceptable to me as the ordinances of veda (gospel truth); and though you utter them without previous meditation (extempore), yet I have full faith in them.
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As a boy obeys the words of his father, knowing it to be pronounced for his certain good; so must you receive my words (knowing them to tend to your best welfare).
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Think my advices to be all good for you, after you hear them with proper attention; and hear unto my words, as you hear music without inquiring into their reason or rhyme.
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Hear me now relate to you an interesting story of a certain person, whose conduct and character resembled in every way to thine; and who was brought back to his sense after his long aberration. This is a tale to dispel the worldly cares and fears of the intelligent.