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 CXII - A fanciful being and his occupation of air drawn and air-built abodes

Argument:—Man likened to a fantastic being, his egoism a mere phantasm, and his repeated births and bodies compared to aerial castles.

Vasishtha related:—

Kacha the son of the divine preceptor Brihaspati, being thus advised by his venerable sire in the best kind of yoga meditation; began to muse in himself as one liberated from his personal entity, and lost and absorbed in essence of the sole and self-existent Deity. So says the sufi Sadi:—"Dui rachum badar kardam Eke binan Eke danam. &c."When I kept the duality of my personality out of my sight, I saw before me all blending in one, ineffable blaze of light.

2. Kacha remained quite freed from his egoism and meism, with the tranquillity of his mind, and cut off from all the ties of nature, and all apart from the bonds of worldly life. So I advise you, Rama, to remain unchanged and unmoved amidst all the changes and movements of earthly bodies and vicissitudes of a mortal life.

3. Know all egoistic personality to total nihility, and never hesitate to remove yourself from this asylum of unreality, whose essence is as nothing at all as the horns of a hare whether you lay hold on it or lose your grasp of it (and as inextricable and inexplicable as the horns of a dilemma).

4. If it is impossible for your egoism to be a reality, why then talk of your birth and demise or your existence and inexistence; which is as it were planting a tree in the sky, of which you can neither reap the fruits or flowers.

5. After annihilation of your egoism there remains the sole ego, which is of the form of intellect only and not that of fickle mind;It is tranquil and without any desire, and extends through all existence; it is minuter and more subtile than the smallest atom, and is only the power of intellection and understanding. (i.e. the omniscience).

6. As the waves are raised upon the waters and the ornaments are made of gold; so our egoism springing from the original ego appears to be something different from it.

7. It is our ignorance or imperfect knowledge only that represents the visible world as a magic show, but the light of right knowledge, brings us to see the one and self-same Brahma in all forms of things.

8. Avoid your dubiety of the unity and duality (i.e. of the singleness of the prime cause, and variety of its products); but remain firm in your belief of that state, which lasts after the loss of both (i.e. the one and all the same). Be happy with this belief, and never trouble yourself with thinking any thing otherwise like the false man in the tale.

9. There is an inexplicable magic enveloping the whole, and this world is an impervious mass of theurgy or sorcery, which enwraps as thickly, as the autumnal mists obscure the firmament, and which is scattered by the light of good understanding.

Rama said:—

10. Sir, your learned lectures, like draughts of nectar, have given me entire satisfaction; and I am as refreshed by your cooling speeches, as the parching swallow is refrigerated by a shower of rain water.

11. I feel as cold within myself, as if I were anointed with heavenly ambrosia; and I think myself raised above all beings, in my possession of unequalled riches and greatness, by the grace of God.

12. I am never satiated to the fullness of my heart, at hearing the orations of thy mouth; and am like chakora or swallow that is never satiate with swallowing dewy moon-beams by night.

13. I confess to thee that I am never surfeited by drinking the sweet of thy speech, and the more I hearken to thee, the more am I disposed to learn from and listen to thee; for who is there so cloyed with the ambrosial honey, that he declines to taste the nectarine juice again?

14. Tell me sir, what do you mean by the false men of the tale; who thought the real entity as a nonentity, and look at the unreal world as a solar and solid reality.

Vasishtha related:—

15. Now attend to me, Rama, to relate unto you the story of the false and fanciful man; which is pleasant to hear, and quite ludicrous and laughable from first to last.

16. There lived once a man, like a magical machine somewhere; who lived like an idiot with the imbecility of his infantine simplicity, and was full of gross ignorance as a fool or block-head.

17. He was born somewhere in some remote region of the sky, and was doomed to wander in his etherial sphere, like a false apparition in the air, or a mirage in the sandy desert. (as a phantom or phantasmagoria).

18. There was no other person beside himself, and whatever else there was in that place, it was but his self or an exact likeness of itself.

He saw naught but himself, and aught that he saw he thought to be but his self.

19. As he grew up to manhood in this lonely retreat, he pondered in himself saying: I am airy and belong to the aerial sphere; the air is my province, and I will therefore rule over this region as mine.

20. The air is my proprietory right, and therefore I must preserve it with all diligence, then with this thought he built an aerial house for his abode, in order to protect and rule his etherial dominion.

21. He placed his reliance inside that aerial castle, from where he could manage to rule his aerial domain, and lived quite content amidst the sphere of his airy habitation for a long time.

22. But in course of time his air built castle came to be dilapidated, and to be utterly destroyed at last; as the clouds of heaven are driven and blown away in autumn, and the waves of the sea are dispersed by the breeze, and sunken down in a calm.

23. He then cried out in sorrow, saying; O my air built mansion, why art thou broken down and blown away so soon; and, O my air drawn habitation, where art thou withdrawn from me. In this manner, he wailed in his excessive grief and said; Ah, now I see, that an aerial something must be reduced to an aerial nothing.

24. After lamenting in this manner for a long time, this simpleton dug a cave in the vacuity of the atmosphere; and continued to dwell in that hollow cavity, in order to look up to his aerial realm from below. Thus he remained quite content in the closed air of the cave for a long period of time.

25. In process of time his cell was wasted and washed away, and he became immerged in deep sorrow upon the immersion of his empty cave.

26. He then constructed a hollow pot, and took his residence in its open bowel, and adapted his living to its narrow limits.

27. Know that his brittle earthen pot also, was broken down in course of a short time; and he came to know the frailty of all his habitations, as an unfortunate man finds the fickleness of all the hopes and helps, which he fondly lays hold upon.

28. After the breaking of his pot, he got a tub for his residence (like the tub of Diogenes); and from there he surveyed the heavenly sphere; as any one beholds it from his particular habitation.

29. His tub also was broken down in course of time, by some wild animal;and thus he lost all his stays, as the darkness and the dews of night, are dispelled and sucked up by the solar light and heat.

30. After he had sorrowed in vain for the loss of his tub, he took his asylum in an enclosed cottage, with an open space in the midst, for his view of the upper skies.

31. The all devouring time, destroyed also that habitation of his; and scattered it all about, as the winds of heaven dispersed the dried leaves of trees, and left him to bewail the loss of his last retreat and flitting shelter.

32. He then built a hut in the form of a barn house in the field, and thence watched over his estate of the air, as farmers keep watch and take care of their granaries in the farms.

33. But the driving winds of the air, drove away and dispersed his hovel, as they do the gathering clouds of heaven; and the roofless man had once more to deplore at the loss of his last refuge.

34. Having thus lost all his abodes, in the pool and pot, in the cottage and hut; the aerial man was left to bemoan over his losses, in his empty abode of the air.

35. Being thus situated in his helpless state, the aerial man reflected upon the narrow confines of the abodes, which he had chosen for himself of his own accord;and thought on the multifarious pains and troubles, that he had repeatedly to undergo, in the erection and destruction of all his aerial castles by his own ignorance only.