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 CXIV - Sermon on divine and holy knowledge

Argument:—Consideration of the Real and unreal, and of good and evil; Exhortation to the former and Dehortation from the latter.

Vasishtha said:—

1. The mind sprang at first from the supreme spirit of Brahma, and being possest of its power of thinking, it was situated in the Divine soul, and was styled as the Divine mind or intellect.

2. The fickle mind resides in the spirit of God as the feeling of fragrance abides in the cup of a flower; and as the fluctuating waves roll about in a river. Know, Rama! the mind to radiate from its central point in Brahma, as the rays of the sun extend to the circumference of creation.

3. Men forget the reality of the invisible spirit of God, and view the unreal world as a reality; as deluded persons are apt to believe a serpent in a rope (as they do in magic play).

4. He who beholds the solar beams, without seeing the sun whence they proceed; views them in a different light than the light of the sun. (Whoso sees the world without its God, is an ungodly man, and sees a Godless world).

5. He who looks at the jewel without looking into the gold whereof it is made, is deluded by the finery of the jewellery, without knowing the value of the precious metal of which it is made.

6. He who looks at the sun together with his glory, or sees the sun-beams as not without the sun whence they proceed, verily beholds the unity of the sun with his light, and not his duality by viewing them separately. (The monotheism of vedanta comprises everything in the unity of the Divinity).

7. He who looks on the waves without seeing the sea, wherein they rise and fall, has only the knowledge of the turbulent billows disturbing his mind; and no idea of the calm waters underlying them (like the tranquil spirit of Brahma).

8. But who looks on the waves, without exception of the water of which they are composed; he sees the same water to be in common in all its swellings, and has the knowledge of its unity and commonalty in all its varieties.

9. In this manner, seeing the same gold in its transformation into sundry sorts of jewels; we have the knowledge of the common essence of gold in all of them, notwithstanding their formal distinctions to sight.

10. He who sees the flames only, and is unmindful of the fire which emits the flashes; is said to be ignorant of the material element, and conversant with its transient and evanescent flash only.

11. The phenomenal world presents its aspect in various forms and colours, as the multiform and variegated clouds in the sky; and whoso places his faith and reliance on their reality and stability, has his mind always busied with those changeful appearances.

12. He who views the flame as the same with its fire, has the knowledge of the fire only in his mind, and does not know the duality of the flame, as a thing distinct from its unity.

13. He who is freed from his knowledge of dualities, has his mind restricted to the one and sole unity; he has a great soul that has obtained the obtainable one, and is released from the trouble of diving into the depth of the duality and plurality of all visible objects.

14. Get rid of thy thoughts of the endless multiplicities and varieties of things, and keep thy mind fixed steadily within the cavity of thy pure intellect, and there employ it in the meditation of the supreme Intellect, in privation of the thoughts of all sensible objects. (This is the Buddhistic meditation of the soul only, by abstraction of the mind from all objects of sense).

15. When the silent soul forms in itself its effort of volition, then there rises in it the power of its versatile desires, like the force of the fluctuating winds rising from the bosom of the quiet air.

16. Then there rises the wilful mind from it, as a distinct and independent thing of itself, and thinks in itself as the undivided and universal Mind of the mundane world.

17. Whatever the volitive mind wills to do in this world, the same comes to take place immediately, agreeably to the type formed in its volition.

18. This mind passes under the various names of the living principle, the understanding, the egoism, the heart &c.;and becomes as minute as an animalcule and an aquatic mollusc, and as big as a mountain and fleeter than the swiftest winds.

19. It forms and sustains the world at its own will, and becomes the unity and plurality at its own option; it extends itself to infinity, and shows itself in the endless diversity of objects which fill its ample space.

20. The whole scenery of the universe, is nothing otherwise than a display of the eternal and infinite mind; it is neither a positive reality nor a negative unreality of itself, but appears to our view like the visionary appearance in a dream.

21. The phenomenal world is a display of the realm of the divine mind, in the same manner as the Utopia and Elysium, display the imaginary dominions formed in the minds of men; and as every man builds the airy castle of his mind.

22. As our knowledge of the existence of the world in the divine mind alone, serves to remove our fallacy of the entity of the visible world;so if we look into the phenomenal in its true light, it speedily vanishes into nothing.

23. When we do not consider the visibles in their true colour, but take them in their false colour as they present themselves to view; we find them to ramify themselves into a thousand shapes, as we see the same sea-water in its diversities of the various forms of foam and froth, of bubbles and billows, of waves and surges, and of tides and whirlpools.

24. As the sea bears its body of waters, so doth the mind show itself in the shape of its various faculties (which are in constant motion like the waves of water); the mental powers are always busy with their manifold functions under the influence of the supreme intellect, without affecting its tranquillity. (The movements of the mental powers, can never move the quiet intellect to action).

25. Yet the mind doth nothing otherwise of itself and apart from the dictates of the intellect, whether in its state of sleeping or waking, or in its bodily or mental actions.

26. Know that there is nothing anew, in whatever thou dost or seest or thinkest upon; all of which proceed from the inherent intellect which is displayed in all things, and in all the actions and thoughts of men.

27. Know all these to be contained in the immensity of Brahma, and besides whom there is nothing in existence; He abides in all things and categories, and remains as the essence of the inward consciousness of all.

28. It is the divine consciousness that exhibits the whole of the imaginary world, and it is the evolution of the consciousness, that takes the name of the universe with all its myriads of worlds.

29. Say how and whence rises your supposition of the difference of things from one another, and wherefore you take this thing as distinct from the other; when you will know that it is your consciousness alone that assumes these various forms, and represents itself to you under the various shapes and colours. (If therefore there is no other object of which you are conscious besides our consciousness itself (i.e. if there be nothing objective beside the subjective itself); then you have nothing to fear about the bondage of your soul to any object whatsoever;nor anything to care for your liberation from such bondage).

30. Rama, relinquish at once the vanity of your egotism, together with all its concomitants of pride, self-esteem and others, and give up altogether your thoughts of bondage and liberation (proceeding from the belief of your objectivity and subjectivity); and remain quiet and self subdued in the continued discharge of your duties, like the holy Mahatmas of elevated souls and minds.