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 CXXVII - Admonition to bharadwaja

Argument:—Relation of the Quietude of Rama, and the Queries of Bharadwaja; with further description of states of waking and others, and of the ultimate turiya condition of the fourth stage of yoga.

Bharadwaja asked said:—

1. Valmiki saying:—Tell me sir, what did Rama do after hearing the lecture of the sage; whether he with his enlightened understanding put any other question, or remained in his ecstatic quietude with his full knowledge of yoga and the supreme soul.

2. And what did next that supremely blest yogi (Vasishtha) do, who is adored by all and honoured even by Gods; who is a personification of pure understanding, and free from the state of birth and death; who is fraught with every good quality and kindly disposed for ever to the welfare and preservation of the peoples in all the three worlds.

Valmiki replied:—

3. After hearing the lecture of Vasishtha, combining the essence of the vedanta philosophy, the lotus-eyed Rama became perfectly acquainted with the full knowledge of yoga.

4. He felt the failing of his bodily strength, and the falling of the members of his body, he stared with his glaring eyes, and his clear intellect was shrouded under a cloud. He awoke in a moment from his entranced state, and felt a flood of rapturous joy within himself.

5. He forgot the fashion of putting his questions, and hearing their answers; his mind was full with the ambrosial draught of delight, and the hairs of his body stood up like prickles in his horripilation.

6. An inexpressibly ineffable light overspreads his intellect with its unusual glare; which cast the bright prospects of the eight dignities of yoga into utter shade. (The eight dignities—(ashta-siddhis) are so many perfections arrived at by practice of yoga).

7. In this way did Rama attain the supereminent state of Siva, in which he sat sedate without uttering a word.

Bharadwaja said:—

8. Oh! how much I wonder at such a high dignity, which Rama had attained; and how much I regret at the impossibility of its attainment, by a dull and ignorant sinner as myself.

9. Tell me, O great sage, how it may be possible for me to attain to that stage of perfection, which it is impossible for the gods Brahma and others to arrive at any time; and tell me likewise, how I may get over the unfordable ocean of earthly troubles.

Valmiki replied:—

10. It is by your perusal of the history of Rama from its first to last, and by your following the dictates of Vasishtha as given in these lectures; as also by your consideration of their true sense and purport in your understanding, that you may be able to attain to the state that you desire. This is all that I can tell you at present.

11. The world is an exhibition of our ignorance, and there is no truth in aught that we see in it; it is a display of our error only, wherefore it is entirely disregarded by the wise, and so much regarded by fools.

12. There is no entity of anything here, beside that of the divine Intellect; why then are you deluded by the visibles, learn their secrets and have a clear understanding. (or have the clearness of your understanding).

13. The perception of the delusive phenomenals, resembles the waking dream of day dreamers; and he alone is said to be waking, who has the lamp of his intellect ever burning within himself.

14. The world is based on vacuity, and it ends in vacuum also; its midmost part being vacuous likewise, there is no reliance placed upon it by the intelligent and wise.

15. Our primeval ignorance (avidya) being accompanied by our primordial desires, it presents all what is inexistent as existing in our presence; just as our fancy paints an Utopia or fairy city to our view, and as our sleep shows its multifarious dreams before us.

16. Being unpracticed to taste the sweet plantain of your beneficent intellect, you are deluded greedily to devour the delirious drug of your desire, and make yourself giddy with draughts of its poisonous juice.

17. He who lays hold on true knowledge for his support, never falls down into the pit of ignorance during his wakeful state; and those who depend on their subjective consciousness alone (as in the turiya or fourth stage of yoga), stand above all the other states (of fallibility).

18. So long as the adepts in yoga, do not plunge themselves (lit.—their souls), in the fresh and sweet waters of the great fountain of their consciousness; they must be exposed to the boisterous waves of the dangerous ocean of this world. (Spiritual knowledge alone saves a man from the troubles of life).

19. That which has no existence before, nor will remain to exist afterwards (such as all created and perishable things in the world);must be understood to be inexistent in the interim also, as our night dreams and fleeting thoughts that are never in being, and so is this world and whatever is seen in it.

20. All things are born of our ignorance, as the bubbles are swollen by the air; they glisten and move about for a moment, and then melt into the sea of our knowledge.

21. Find out the stream of the cooling waters of your consciousness, and plunge yourself deep into it; and drive out all external things from you, as they shut out the warm and harmful sun-beams from their houses.

22. The one ocean of ignorance surrounds and over floods the world, as the single salt sea girds and washes the whole island; and the distinctions of ego and tu etc., are the waves of this salt sea of our erroneousness.

23. The emotions of the mind, and its various feelings and passions, are the multiform billows of this sea of ignorance; our egoism or selfishness is the great whirlpool, in which the self willed man is hurled of his own accord.

24. His love and hatred are the two sharks, that lay hold of him in their jaws; and drag him at last into the depth (or to his death), which no body can prevent.

25. Go and plunge yourself in the calm and cooling sea of your solitude, and wash your soul in the nectareous waters of your ambrosial solity;dive and dive deep in the depth of unity, and fly from the salt sea of duality, and the brackish waves of diversities.

26. Who is lasting in this world, and who is passing from it, who is related to anyone, and what does one derive from another;why are you drowned in your delusion, rise and be wakeful (to your spiritual concerns).

27. Know thyself as that one and very soul, which is said to be diffused all over the world; say what other thing is there except that and beside thee, that you should regret or lament for (since the one soul is all and that is thyself, thou hast all in thee, and there is nothing for thee to regret that thou hast not or dost require to have).

28. Brahma appears to the ignorant boys, to be diffused through all the worlds; but the learned always rely on the undiffused felicitous soul of God.

29. It is the case of unreasonable men, to grieve as well as to be pleased on a sudden and without cause; but the learned are always joyous, and it is a sad thing to find them in error.

30. The truth of the nice subtility of the divine soul, is hid from eyes of the ignorant; and they are as doubtful about its nature, as men are suspicious of land and water where they are not. (Water appears as ground in dark, and sand seems as water in the barren desert).

31. See the great bodies of the earth, air, water and sky, which are composed of atomic particles, to be so durable as to last for ever; why then mourn at the loss of anything in the world (which is never lost at all).

32. From nothing comes nothing, and something cannot become nothing; it is only the appearance of the form, which takes place in the substance of things.

33. But it is by virtue of the prior acts in the former births of men, that they are reborn in different shapes to enjoy or suffer the results of those acts; adore therefore the lord God and author of the worlds, who is always bountiful and bestower of all blessings.

34. The worship of this God destroys all our sins, and cuts off the knots of snares of this world.

35. You may worship Him in some form or other, until your mind is cleared and your nature is purified; and then you can resort to the transcendent spirit of the formless Deity.

36. Having overcome the impervious gloom of ignorance, by force of the purity of thy nature; you may pursue the course of the yoga, with the contrition of your inner soul, and belief in the sastras (and in the dictates of your spiritual guide).

37. Then sit a moment in your fixed meditation (samadhi), and behold the transcendent spirit in thy own spirit;in this state the dark night of your former ignorance, will break forth into open and bright daylight.

38. It must be by one's manly exertion or by virtue of the meritorious acts of former births only, as also by grace of the great God, that men may obtain the obtainable one. (The unknown God is said to be knowable and obtainable by yoga only).

39. It is neither the birth nor character, nor the good manners nor valour of a man, that ensures him his success in any undertaking, except it be by the merit of his acts in former births.

40. Why sit you so sad to think of the events of inscrutable and unavoidable fate, since there is no power nor that of God himself to efface what has been already written destined in the forehead (or luck) of anybody. (Fate overrules even Jove himself).

41. Where is the expounder of intellectual science, and where is the pupil that can comprehend it fully; what is this creeping plant of ignorance, and what is this inscrutable destiny, that joins two things together, are questions too difficult to be solved.

42. O Bharadwaja! Let your reason assist you to overcome your illusion, and then you will no doubt gain an uncommon share of wisdom.

43. See how a high mettled hero overpowers on all his imminent dangers, and stretches his conquest far and wide; and behold on the other hand, how a mean spirited man is tried and grieves at the ordinary casualties of life.

44. A good understanding is the result of, and attendant upon the meritorious deeds of many lives; as it appears in the acts of wise men, and in the lives of all living liberated persons.

45. Know my son, that the same action is fraught both with your freedom as well as bondage, accordingly as it proves favourable or adverse to you. (As true faith is attended with salvation, but false faith or hypocrisy with damnation).

46. The righteous acts of virtuous men, serve to destroy the sins of their past lives; as the showers of rain water, extinguish the flame of a conflagration in the forest.

47. But my friend, I would advise you rather to avoid your religious acts, and attach your mind to the meditation of Brahma, if you want to avoid your falling into the deep eddy of this world. (Because all actions bind a man to the world over and over again).

48. So long as one is attached to the outer world, being led to it by his insatiable desires, or so long as one is led by the insatiable desires of his mind, to attach himself to the outer world; he is exposed to the contrary wind and waves of the sea, and has only to find his rest in the calm water of his loneliness.

49. Why do you lean so much upon your sorrow only to blind your understanding, rather support yourself on the strong staff of your good understanding, and it will never break under you.

50. Those who are reckoned in the number of the great men, never allow themselves to be altered and moved by their joy or grief; and to be carried away like straws by the current of the river.

51. Why do you sorrow, friend, for these people, who are swinging in the cradle of the circumstance of life in the dark night of this world, and playing their several parts with giddy amusement.

52. Look at the gamesome time, that sports joyously in this world, with the slaughter and production of endless beings by turns.

53. There is no body of any age or sex for his game in particular, he chases all in general like the all devouring dragon.

54. Why talk of mortal men and other animals, that live to die in a moment; even the whole body of gods (said to be immortals), are under the clutches of the remorseless and relentless death.

55. Why do you dance and make yourself merry in your amusement, when you are in danger of losing by degrees the powers of your body and limbs; sit but silently for a while, and see the drama of the course of this world (combining its comedy and tragedy together).

56. Seeing the ever varying scenes of this changeful theatre of the world, the wise spectator, O good Bharadwaja, never shrinks nor shudders for a moment (knowing such to be its nature).

57. Shun your unwelcomed sorrow, and seek for the favourable amidst all that is unfavourable; nor sadden the clear and cheerful countenance of your soul, which is of the nature of the perfectly blissful intellect of God.

58. Bear always your reverence towards the gods, Brahmans and your superiors; and be a friend even to irrational animals; in order to meet with the grace of God, according to the dicta of the vedas (that the grace is the leader to the light of truth, and thereby to the way of liberation).

Bharadwaja rejoined:—

59. I have known by your kindness all these and much more of such truths, and come to find that, there is not a greater friend to us than our indifference to the world, nor a greater enemy than this world itself to us.

60. I want to learn at present the substance of all the knowledge, which was imparted by the sage Vasishtha, in many works of great verbosity.

Valmiki answered said:—

61. Hear now, Bharadwaja, of the highest knowledge (which is taught by that sage) for the salvation of mankind; and the hearing of which will save you from your drowning in the iniquities of the world.

62. First bow down to that supreme being, who is of the nature of the sole entity combined with intellect and felicity;(all which are his forms in the abstract), and who is ever existent with his attributes of creation, sustentation and destruction: (which are said to be so many states of himself).

63. I will tell you in short, and upon the authority of the sruti; how you may come to the knowledge of the first principle, and the manner in which it exhibits itself in the acts of creation, preservation and destruction of the universe.

64. But tell me first, how you have lost your remembrance of what I have told you on this subject; since it is possible by your reconsideration of all that from first to last, to know every thing from your own memory, as they have a survey of the earth from a small globe in their hand.

65. Now consider all this in your own mind, and you will get the truth which will prevent all your sorrows; associate moreover with the learned and study the best books, which with the help of your reasoning and resignation, may lead you to endless felicity.