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 CXV - Description of the triple conduct of men

Argument: Siva's interpretations of the three duties of action, Enjoyment and charity to his suppliant Bhringi.

Vasishtha said:—

1. Take my advise, Rama, and strive to be an example or the greatest man in thy deeds, enjoyments, and bounty; and rely in thy unshaken endurance, by bidding defiance to all thy cares and fears. (i.e. Remain as a rock against all accidents of life).

Rama asked said:—

2. Tell me sir, what is the deed that makes the greatest actor, and what is that thing which constitutes the highest enjoyments; tell me also what is the great bounty, which you advise me to practice.

3. These three virtues were explained long before by the God Siva, who holds the semi-circular disc of the crescent moon on his forehead; to the lord of the Bhringis, who was thereby released from all disease and disquiet. (Were the fair Bhringis the Fringis or Franks of modern times? If not, then who were this class of demigods?).

4. The God who has the horn of the moon as a crown on his head, used to hold his residence of yore, on a northern peak of the north polar mountain, together with all his family and attendants.

5. It happened that the mighty, but little knowing lord of the Bhringis, asked him one day, with his folded palms, and his body lowly bending down in suppliant mood before the godlike lord of Uma. (Uma is the same in sound and sense with Usha the dawn, appearing from the eastern ridge of the northmost mountain).

Bhringi said:—

6. Deign to explain to me, my lord, what I ask thee to tell for my knowledge; for thou knowest all things, and art the God of Gods.

7. Lord! I am overwhelmed in sorrow, to see the boisterous waves of this deep and dark world in which we have been buffeting for ever, without finding the calm and quiet harbour of truth.

8. Tell me, my lord, what is that certain truth and inward assurance, whereon we may rely with confidence, and whereby we may find our rest and repose in this our shattered mansion of this world.

The lord replied:—

9. Place always your reliance in your unshaken patience, and neither care nor fear for anything else, and ever strive to be foremost in your action and passion and in your relinquishment of everything (passion and relinquishment here are used in the senses of passivity and liberality).

Bhringi rejoined:—

10. Explain to me fully, my lord, what is meant by being the greatest in action and passion; and what are we to understand from the greatest liberality or abandonment of every thing here.

The lord replied:—

11. He is said to be the greatest actor, who does his deeds as they occur to him, whether of goodness or of evil, without any fear or desire of fruition. (i.e. Who expects no reward of his acts of goodness, nor fears for the retribution of some heinous deed, which he could not avoid to do).

12. He who does his acts of goodness or otherwise, who gives vent to his hatred and affection and feels both pleasure and pain, without reference to any person or thing, and without the expectation of their consequences, is said to be the greatest actor in the theatre of this world.

13. He is said to act his part well, who does his business without any ado or anxiety, and maintains his taciturnity and purity of heart without any taint of egoism or envy.

14. He is said to act his part well, who does not trouble his mind with the thoughts of actions, that are accounted as auspicious or inauspicious, or deemed as righteous or unrighteous, according to common opinion. (i.e. Best is the man that relies on his own probity, and is not guided by public opinion).

15. He is said to perform well his part, who is not affected towards any person or thing, but witnesses all objects as a mere witness; and goes on doing his business, without his desiring or deep engagement in it.

16. He is the best actor of his part, who is devoid of care and delight, and continues in the same tone and tenor of his mind, and retains the clearness of his understanding at all times, without feeling any joy or sorrow at anything.

17. He does his duties best, who has the readiness of his wits at the fittest time of action;and sits unconcerned with it at other times, as a retired and silent sage or saint (i.e. discharge your business promptly, but be no slave to service).

18. He who does his works with unconcern and without assuming to himself the vanity of being the doer of it, is accounted as the best actor, that acts his part with his body, but keeps his mind quite unattached to it.

19. He is reckoned as the best actor, who is naturally quiet in his disposition and never loses the evenness of his temper;who does good to his friends and evil to his enemies;without taking them to his heart.

20. He is the greatest actor, who looks at his birth, life and death, and upon his rising and falling in the same light; and does not lose the equanimity of his mind under any circumstance whatever.

21. Again he is said to enjoy himself and his life the best, who neither envies anybody nor pines for any thing; but enjoys and acquiesces to whatever is allotted to his lot, with cool composure and submission of his mind.

22. He also is said to enjoy every thing well, who receives with his hands what his mind does not perceive; and acts with his body without being conscious of it and enjoys everything without taking it to his heart.

23. He is said to enjoy himself best, who looks on at the conduct and behaviour of mankind, as an unconcerned and indifferent spectator; and looks upon every thing without craving anything for himself.

24. He whose mind is not moved with pleasure or pain, nor elated with success and gain, nor dejected by his failure and loss; and who remains firm in all his terrible tribulations, is the man who is said to be in the perfect enjoyment of himself.

25. He is said to be in the best enjoyment of himself, who hails with an equal eye of complaisance his decay and demise, his danger and difficulty, his affluence and poverty, and looks on their returns and revolutions, with an eye of delight and cheerfulness.

26. He is called the man of greatest gratification, who sustains all the ups and downs of fortune with equal fortitude, as deep sea contains its boisterous waves in its fathomless depth.

27. He is said to have the highest gratifications who is possest of the virtues of contentment, equanimity and benevolence (lit. want of malice); and which always accompany his person, as the cooling beams cling to the disk of the moon.

28. He too is greatly gratified in himself, who tastes the sour and sweet, the bitter and pungent with equal zest; and relishes a savoury and an unsavoury dish with the same taste.

29. He who tastes the tasteful and juicy, as also the untasteful and dry food with equal zest, and beholds the pleasant as well as unpleasant things with equal delight, is the man that is ever gratified in himself.

30. He to whom salt and sugar are both alike, and to whom both saline as well as saccharine victuals are equally palatable; and who remains unaltered both in his happy and adverse circumstances; is the man who enjoys the best bliss of his life in this world.

31. He is in the enjoyment of his highest bliss, who makes no distinction of one kind of his food from another; and who yearns for nothing that he can hardly earn. (Happy is he, who does not itch beyond his reach).

32. He enjoys his life best, who braves his misfortune with calmness, and brooks his good fortune, his joyous days and better circumstances with moderation and coolness.

33. He is said to have abandoned his all, who has given up the thoughts of his life and death, of his pleasure and pain, and those of his merits and demerits at once from his mind.

34. He who has abandoned all his desires and exertions, and forsaken all his hopes and fears, and effaced all his determinations from the tablet of his mind, is said to have relinquished every thing in this world, and to have freed himself from all.

35. He who does not take to his mind the pains, which invade his body, mind and the senses, is said to have cast away from himself, all the troubles of his mortal state. (Because the mind only feels the bodily and sensuous pains, and its unfeelingness of them is its exemption from troubles).

36. He is accounted as the greatest giver (forsaker) of his all, who gives up the cares of his body and birth (life);and has abandoned the thoughts of acts, deemed to be proper or improper for himself. (These are the social, civil, ceremonial and religious acts, which are binding on worldly people).

37. He is said to have made his greatest sacrifice, who has sacrificed his mind and all his mental functions and endeavours, before the shrine of his self-abnegation.

38. He who has given up the sight of the visibles from his view, and does not allow the sensibles to obtrude upon his senses, is said to have renounced all and every thing from himself.

39. It was in this manner that the lord of gods Mahadeva, gave his instructions to the lord of the Bhringis; and it is by your acting according to these precepts, that you must, O Rama! attain to the perfection of your self-abnegation.

40. Meditate always on the everlasting and immaculate spirit, that is without its beginning and end; which is wholly this entire immensity and has no part nor partner, nor representative nor representation of itself. By thinking in this way you become immaculate yourself, and come to be extinct in the self-same Brahma, where there is all peace and tranquillity.

41. Know one undecaying Brahma, as the soul and seed of all various works or productions that are proceeded from him. It is his immensity which spreads unopened throughout the whole existence; as it is the endless sky which comprehends and manifests all things in itself.

42. It is not possible for anything at all, whether of positive or potential existence, to subsist without and apart from this universal essence of all, rely secure with this firm belief in your mind, and be free from all fears in the world.

43. O most righteous Rama, look always to the inner soul within thyself, and perform all thy outward actions with the outer members of thy body, by forsaking the sense of thy egoism and personality; and being thereby freed from all care and sorrow, thou shalt attain to thy supreme felicity.