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 XCIII - Admonition of sikhidhvaja

Argument:—As the prince was going to immolate himself after this, he is recalled from his rashness by the wisdom of his young monitor, who admonishes him to the relinquishment of his mind and not of the body.

Vasishtha said:—

He then rose up and set fire to his hut of dry leaves and grass, as it is the case with foolish men very often to demolish the structure of their own fancy and caprice. (i.e. To undo the doings of their own hobbies and wild imagination).

2. Whatever else there was left beside aught of the chattels and goods of the hermit Sikhidvaja took them all one after another, and set fire to them with his composed and unconcerned mind, and observing a strict taciturnity all the while.

3. He burnt and broke down every thing, and then flung away from him his eatables and preserved condiments; his clothings and all, with a quite content state of his mind. (This unconcerned state of the mind is called avahittha or insouciance; which cares for no mortal thing).

4. The hermitage was now turned to a desolation, for its having been a human habitation awhile before; and resembled the relics of the sacrificial pavilion of Daksha, after its devastation by the all-devouring fire of Virabhadra. (The legend of Daxa-yajna-bhanga, forms the subject of many puranas, poems and dramas, but the mystery and allegory of the fable remains as dark and inexplicable as the Runic characters).

5. The timorous fawns being affrighted at the lighted fire, left their lairs where they lay chewing the cud at their ease; and fled afar to distant deserts, as the townsmen free from a burning quarter to distant abodes.

6. Seeing the vessels and utensils to be all in a blaze, with the fuel of the dry woods on all sides; the prince seemed to remain quite content and careless amidst the scene, with the possession of his body only.

Sikhidvaja said:—

7. I am now become an all abandoning saint, by my abandonment of all desire and every object; and wonder that I should after so long a period of my life, be awakened to my right knowledge, by the holy lectures of my heavenly child.

8. I have now become a pure and perfect unit, and quite conscious of the ineffable joy in myself; of what use and to what good, are all these appendages of my ever varying desires to me. (No temporal object, leads to our permanent good; save our own bodies, which feel the inward bliss of the soul).

9. As the knots of the chain that bind the soul to this world, are cut asunder and fall off one after another; so the mind comes to feel its quiet composure, until it attains to its ultimate rest and inaction.

10. I am quite composed, and in perfect ease with the extinction of my desires; I am joyous and rejoice in myself, that my ties are all broken and fallen off from me; and that I have at last, fully accomplished the abandonment of all things (sarva tyaga).

11. I am become as nude as the open sky, and as roofless as the vault of vacuity; I view the wide world as an expanse of vacuum, and myself as a nullity within the whole inanity; say, O divine boy! is there anything still wanting to my complete renouncement of all.

Kumbha replied:—

12. Yet you must be aware! O prince Sikhidvaja! that you are never released from all the bonds of this life, by your renunciation of every mortal thing; appertaining to this your mortal and transitory state of your being.

13. I see the gravity and purity of the nature of your soul, which is placed far above the reach and track of the commonality; by its abandonment of the innumerable seeds and sprouts of fond desires, which incessantly rise as thistles and thorns on the human breast. (If virtue we plant not, vice will fill the place; and the rankest weeds, the richest soils deface).

Vasishtha said:—

14. On hearing these words of Kumbha, the prince Sikhidvaja reflected on its purport within himself for a short while; he spoke these words in reply as you shall, oh mighty armed Rama, now hear from me. (i.e. The prince was not so very easily prevailed upon by his eloquent monitor).

Sikhidvaja said:—

15. Tell me, O heaven born child! what else dost thou see remaining in me; except the serpentine entrails within myself, and supporting the body composed of a heap of flesh, blood and bones.

16. And if this body reckoned an appendage to myself, I will then ascend to the top of this mountain, and let it fall to be dashed to pieces on the ground; and thus get rid of my mortal part for ever.

17. Saying so, as he was proceeding to immolate his body on the craggy hill before him; he was interrupted by his monitor Kumbha, who spoke to him as follows:—

Kumbha said:—

18. What is it prince that you are going to do, why do you attempt to destroy this innocent body of yours from this hideous height, as the enraged bull hurls its calf below the hill?

19. What is this body, but a lump of dull and gross matter, a dumb and poor painstaking thing; it never does you any harm, nor can you ever find any fault in it; why then do you wish in vain to destroy so harmless and faultless a thing?

20. It is of itself a dull and dumb thing (as your beast of burden); it ever remains in its torpid meditative mood, and is moved to and fro by other agencies; as a plank is tossed up and down, by the adverse current and waves in the sea.

21. He who hurts or annoys his inoffensive body, deserves to be put to torturous punishment; like the ruffian rogue who robs and annoys the holy saint, sitting in his solitary cell.

22. The body is quite guiltless of all the pain and pleasure, which betide the living soul by turns; as the tree is wholly unconcerned with the fall of its fruits and leaves, which are dropped down by the blowing winds.

23. You see the gusts of winds dropping down the fruits, flowers and leaves of trees; then tell me, O holy men! how you can charge your innocent tree, with the fault of letting fall its best produce.

24. Know it for certain, O lotus eyed prince! that the immolation of your body even, is not enough to make your total renouncement of all things, sarva tyaga you must know is not an easy matter.

25. It is in vain that you intend, to destroy this inoffensive body of yours on this rock; your quitting or getting rid of your body, does not cause your renunciation and freedom from all. (Death releases us from the bondage of the body, but not from the stings of conscience).

26. There is an enemy of this body which agitates it, as an elephant shakes a huge tree; if you can but get rid of that mortal enemy of your body and soul, you are then said to be freed from all.

27. Now prince, it is by avoiding this inveterate enemy of yours, that you are freed from the bondage of your body, and everything besides in this world; or else however you may kill your body, you can never put a stop to its regrowth (in some form or other).

Sikhidvaja rejoined:—

28. What is it then that agitates the body and what is the root of our transmigrations and of the doings and sufferings of our future lives? And what is it by the avoidance of which, we avoid and forsake everything in the world?

Kumbha replied:—

29. Know, holy prince, that it is neither the forsaking of your realm nor that of your body, nor the burning of your hut and chattels, nor all these things taken together, that can constitute your renouncement of all and everything.

30. That which is all and every where, is the one only cause of all; it is by resigning everything in that sole existent being, that one becomes the renouncer of all.

Sikhidvaja said:—

31. You say that there is an all—to-pan, which is situated in all to whom all things are to be resigned at all times. Now sir, you that know all, what this all or omnium can be.

Kumbha replied:—

32. Know, O holy man, this all pervading being is known under the various appellations of the living soul jiva, the life Prana and many more also; it is neither an active or inactive principle, and is called the mind which is ever liable to error.

33. Know the mind to be the seat of illusion, and to make the man by itself; it is the essential constituent of every person, and the speculum of all these worlds in itself.

34. Know the mind, as the source of your body and estates;and know it also, as the root of your hermitage and everything else; just as one tree bears the seed of another. (The ingrained desire of the mind is the seed of all extraneous accidents).

35. It is therefore by your giving up this seed of all events, that you really resign everything in the world, which is contained in and depends on this primary seed and mainspring of the mind. All possible as well as impossible renunciations, depend on the resignation of the mind.

36. The man that is under the subjection of his mind, is ever subject to cares, both when he is attentive to his duties or negligent of them; as also when he rules his realm, or flies from it to a forest; but the man of a well governed mind, is quite content in every condition of life.

37. It is the mind which revolves incessantly in the manner of the rotatory world, and evolves itself in the form of the body and its limbs; as the minute seed displays itself in the shape of a tree and its branches and leaves.

38. As the trees are shaken by the blowing winds, and as the mountains are shook by the bursting earthquakes; and as the bellows are blown by the inflated air, so is the animated body moved about by the mobile force of the mind.

39. These miserable mortals that are born to death and decay, and those happy few that live to enjoy the pleasures of life; and the great sages of staunch hearts and souls, are all of them bound alike to the thraldom of their minds. (The mind governs all, and there are few to govern it).

40. The mind acts its several parts, in all the various forms and figures of the stage of the world; it shows its gestures in the motions of the body, it lives and breathes in the shape of the living spirit, and it thinks and cogitates in the form of the mind. (The mind and the heart, the living soul and the active body, are all the one and same thing).

41. It takes the different epithets of the understanding buddhi, consciousness mahat, egoism ahamkara, the life or prana and the intellect, agreeably to its sundry internal functions in the body, or else it is the silent soul, when it is without any action to be assigned to it.

42. The mind is said to be all in all, and by getting release of this, we are released of all diseases and dangers; and then we are said to have avoided and abandoned all and every thing.

43. O ye, that want to know what resignation is, must know that it is the resignation of the mind, which makes your renunciation of all things. If you succeed in the abnegation of your mind, you come to know the truth, and feel the true felicity of your soul.

44. With the riddance of your mind, you get rid of the unity and duality of creeds, and come to perceive all diversities and pluralities blend in one universal whole; which is transcendental tranquillity, transparent purity and undiminished felicity: (which is anamaya without alloy).

45. The mind is the field for the course of every body, in his career in this world; but if this field be over grown with thorns and brambles, how can you expect to grow rice in it?

46. The mind shows its manifold aspects, and plays its many parts at will; it turns and moves in the forms of things, as the waters roll in the shapes of waves.

47. Know young prince, that your abandonment of all things by the resignation of your mind, will redound to your joy, not unequal to that of your gaining a kingdom to your self.

48. In the matter of self-abnegation, you are on the same footing with other men; in that you resign whatever you dislike, and want to have some thing that you have a liking for.

49. He who connects all the worlds with himself, as the thread that connects the pearls in a necklace, is the man that possesses everything, by renouncing all things from himself. (This is the attribute of sutratma—the connecting thread of the supreme soul, which unites all units to it, by living all things as apart from it).

50. The soul that is unattached to all things, doth yet connect and pass alike through them all; as the thread of the divine soul, connects the world as a string of pearls. (It spreads unspent).

51. The soul that bears no attachment to the world, is like an oilless lamp that is soon extinguished to darkness; but the spirit that is warm with its affections, likens an oily lamp, that burns with universal love, and enlightens all objects about it.

52. The lord that lives aloof from all, resembles the oilless lamp in dark obscurity; but the same Lord manifesting himself in all things, resembles the oily lamp that lights every object. (The two hypostases of the supreme spirit—the unknowable and the Manifest, the aprakasatma and the saprakasatma).

53. As after the relinquishment of all your possessions (both in your estate as also in this forest), you still remain by yourself; so after your resignation of your body, mind and all, you have still your consciousness by you, which you can never get rid of.

54. As by the burning of your articles, you have burnt no part of your body; so by your resignation of all things, you can not resign yourself or your soul, which would then amount to nirvana or utter extinction (which is tantamount to moksha or ultimate absorption in the supreme spirit).

55. Sarvatyaga or total abnegation, means the voidance of the soul of all its worldly attachment, when it becomes the seat of all knowledge; and likens to the etherial paradise of the hosts of celestial beings.

56. Sarvatyaga or self-abnegation is like the water immortality, which drives away all fear of disease and death by a single draught of it; and it remains untouched by the cares of the world, as the clear firmament is untinged by the spots of clouds.

57. Sarvatyaga again is the entire abandonment of all affections, gives a man his true greatness and glory; and as you get rid of your temporary affections, so you get the stability of your understanding, and the firmness of your determination.

58. Sarvatyaga or abandonment of all, is fraught with perfect delight; as its contrary is attended with extreme misery. This is a certain truth, and knowing as such, choose what you think best for you.

59. He who gives away his all in this life, comes to be in possession of them in his future state; as the rivers which pour their waters into the sea, are again filled by its flood tide.

60. After resignation of all things from the mind, its hollowness is filled with full knowledge of them, which is highly gratifying to the soul; as an empty box, is stored with rich gems and jewels in it.

61. It was by virtue of his resignation of all things, that Sakya muni became dauntless amidst the troubles of the Kali-age, and sat as firm as a rock. (Hence the yogis of prior ages, have remained as pure air).

62. Total resignation of all things, is tantamount to the acquisition of all prosperity; because the lord gives every thing to him, who dedicates and devotes his all unto Him.

63. You have now, O prince, become as quiet as the calm atmosphere, after your abandonment of all things; now try to be as graceful as the lightsome moon, by the complaisance of your manners.

64. Now, O high minded prince, forget at once your past abdication of your crown and kingdom, as also your subsequent of all things in this hermitage; drive away the pride of your total abandonment of all you had, and be of a clear and complacent countenance.