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...
Argument: Bharadwaja's Enlightenment and the duties of the Enlightened.
1. The yogi should be peaceful and tranquil, and exempt from all forbidden acts and those proceeding from a desire of fruition; he must avoid all sensual gratifications, and have his belief in God and his holy religion of the vedas.
2. He must rest quiet in his seat, and have his mind and members of the body under his control; and continue to repeat the syllable Om, until his mind is cleared (from all its doubts).
3. He must then restrain his respiration, for the purification of his inner organs (the heart and mind); and then restrict his senses by degrees, from their respective outward objects.
4. He must think on the natures and causes of its body and its organs of sense, of his mind and its understanding, as also of his soul and its consciousness; and repeat the srutis or the holy texts which relate to these subjects.
5. Let him sit reclined in the meditation of Viraj, the God of visible nature at first, and then in the internal soul of nature; next to this he must meditate on the formless spirit, as a part and abstracted from all; and at last fix his mind in the supreme cause alone. (Rising from the concrete to the discrete deity).
6. Let him cast off in his mind, the earthly substance of his flesh and bones to the earth; and commit the liquid part of his blood to the water, and the heat of his body to fire.
7. He is then to consign the airy and vacuous parts of his body to air and vacuum, and after having thus made over his elemental parts to the five elements; he shall deliver the organs of his sense to the particular divinities from whom they are derived.
8. The ears and other organs, which are for the reception of their respective from all sides, being cast aside on all sides, he is to give the skin of his body to electricity (which imparts to it the sensations of heat and cold by the electric shock).
9. Let him then resign his eye sight to the solar disc, and his tongue to water, he must next give up his breath to air, his voice to fire, and his palms to the god Indra (water and fire mean Varuna and Agni—the regent gods of these elements).
11. He must afterwards lay down his understanding to Brahma, and the other inward faculties to special divinities, and at last abdicate his outer senses also to their presiding duties.
12. Having thus resigned his whole body to the gods, he should think himself as the all comprehending viraja; and this he must do in pursuance to the dictates of the veda, and not of his own will or fabrication.
13. The lord that embodies the whole universe in himself, in his androgynous form of half-male and half-female, is said to be the source and support of all sorts of beings.
14. He was born in the form of creation, and it is he that is settled in everything in the universe; and caused this earth to appear from the bipartite mundane egg, as also the water which is twice as much as the land.
15. He produced the heat twice as much as the water, and the air also which is double in its volume to that of heat, and lastly the vacuum which is twice more in its extent than the air which it contains. Each latter one lying next above the former. (So the sruti:—each succeeding one is above its preceding element).
16. These form the world whether they are divided or undivided from their succeeding and surrounding ones; the earth being girt by the sea, and the same by submarine fire.
17. Thus the yogi by contracting his thought of the former one under the latter, will engross his thought of heat under that of air, and this again under his idea of vacuum, which last is swallowed up by his thought of the great cause of all.
18. In this manner must the yogi remain for a moment in his spiritual form only, by contraction of his corporeal body (composed of the elemental particles, his desires and prior acts and his primeval ignorance—avidya), under the same (because the material part is contained under the spiritual, and not the latter under the former as it is erroneously supposed by materialist).
19. The spiritual body is represented by the wise, to be composed of the ten senses of perception and conception, the mind or memory and the understanding faculties;which is above and outside the corporeal half of the mundane egg. The yogi must think himself to be this supermundane spiritual being. (This form is styled Hiranyagarbha).
20. The former or intramundane half, which is composed of the quadruple subtile elements, is represented by the figure of the four faced Brahma;and differs from the former by its being an evolution of unevolved spirit.
22. The same is said to be ignorance—avidya, by agnostics, whose minds are confused by false reasoning; and it is after all that hidden and unknowable something, in which all things are dissolved at the ultimate dissolution of the world.
23. Again everything which is quite unrelated with the divine spirit and intellect (i.e. material substance); comes to existence at the recreation of the world; and retains and remains in its primary form to the end of the world.
24. Think of creation in the direct method, and of its destruction in the reversed order; and then betake yourself to the fourth stage of turiya, after you have passed over the three preceding steps. (The direct method of creation is the procedure from vacuity to air, and thence to heat, water and earth; or the meditation of the creative power under the three hypostasis or substantiality of Hiranyagarbha, Brahma and Prakriti; and the reversed order is the annihilation of these in the quiet state of the unpredicable Deity).
25. And in order to that state of blissfulness, you must enter into the supreme spirit by removing from your mind all its impressions (lingas), of matter and sense, mind and understanding and all desires and acts; that lie unexpanded and hidden in it.
Bharadwaja responded said:—
26. I am now quite released from the fetters of my impressions, as my intellectual part has found its entrance into the sea of turiya or transcendent blissfulness.
27. The indistinct nature of my soul from the supreme spirit, makes me identic to it; and I find myself to be devoid of all attributes, and only an intellectual power like the same (the human soul being as intelligent a principle as the divine).
28. As the vacuity contained in the hollow of a pot, becomes one with the universal and all pervading vacuum after the pitcher is broken; so the human soul vanishes into the supreme spirit, after it flies from the confines of the body after its destruction.
29. As a fire brand being cast into the burning furnace, becomes the one and same fire with it; so the kind mixing with its kind, becomes indistinctly known under common name, one: (Here we have the axiom, the even being added to the even, whole is even).
30. Again as straws swimming in the salt sea, are transformed to the sea salt; so all animal souls and the inanimate even mixing with the divine soul, become animated also. (Here is opposite dogma of unequals being equal; because the greater includes the less under it).
31. As saltpetre being thrown into the sea, looses its name and nature and becomes the sea salt; so everything is swallowed in the universal soul and assimilated to it.
32. As water mixing with water, salt with salt, and butter with butter;lose their distinctions and not their substances; so my self and all other substances mixing with the divine spirit, lose our distinct appellations without losing our substantialities.
33. All bodies being absorbed in the all-knowing and ever blissful intellect of the great creator of all; become equally all pervading and tranquil and everlasting and blessed for ever.
34. So I think myself as that eminently transcendent being, which is without any part or partner, without action or passion, without the organs of sense, and neither loving nor hating any one.
35. I think myself as that sole entity, which is of the form of truth and immutable in its nature and desires, which is devoid of virtue and vice, perfectly pure and the supreme cause of all worlds.
36. ?missing text?
37. I am that blissful Brahma, who is without a second and without decay, and of the form of pure light; who is expressed by these negative properties, and is beyond the three degrees of quality; as the satva, rajas and tamas—the positive, comparative, and superlative, which do not relate to him as they do to others.
38. Thus should one meditate himself as Brahma, even when he is employed in discharging the duties destined to his station in life: and his continued practice of this kind of meditation, will gradually wear out all other impressions from his mind.
39. The mind being thus set down, the soul will then appear of itself within the man; and the appearance of the inward spirit, serves to destroy all his internal grief, and fill its place with his heart felt joy.
40. He also perceives the height of the truth shining in himself, that there is no other blissful God beside his own intellect;and this is what he calls his ego and the supreme Brahma likewise.
41. Friend, give up your observance of religious acts;and be devoted yourself to the meditation of Brahma, if you want to stop the revolution of the wheel of this world upon you.
42. I have well understood the drift of the knowledge, you have imparted to me; I have acquired clearness of my understanding, and I have no more any reliance in the world.
43. I am now desirous of knowing about the duties of those, who have gained the spiritual knowledge of God; as to whether they are subject to or freed from the performance of meritorious acts (i.e. whether their knowledge is sufficient to to save them or requires their acts also).
44. The seekers of liberation are not liberated from the doing of those duties, whose avoidance entails the guilt of the omission of duty upon them; but he must refrain from doing the acts of his desire (of fruition), and those which he is prohibited to do.
45. When the living soul comes to feel the spiritual bliss in itself, and to find his sensuous appetites disappear from his mind; as also when he perceives his organs of sense lying quite calm and quiet under him; he may then consider himself as one with the all pervading spirit of the lord (and therefore freed from the bonds of action and all earthly duties).
46. When the sentient soul conceives in itself, the sense of its conversion to the essence of God (as conveyed by the formula Soham He ego, I am He); and beyond the bounds of his body and its senses, and the reach of his mind and understanding; it is then freed from its obligation of worldly duties.
47. When the soul is free from all its action and passions, and remains aloof from all titles and attributes; when it gets rid of the feelings of pain and pleasure, he is then exonerated from the burthen of his duties.
48. When one sees the supreme soul to pervade over all beings, and beholds all creation to exist in the universal spirit;and when he finds no difference between the mundane soul and the supreme spirit, he is then released from the bonds of his action.
49. When the living soul has passed over the three states, of waking, dreaming, and sound sleep;and enters into the fourth or turya state of perfect bliss, he is then freed from the binding of his earthly duties.
50. The fourth state of turiya, which consists in the residence of the living soul, in the lap of the universal soul of God, is the state of the soul's liberation from its condition of sleep or hypnotism, and is full of its spiritual blissfulness.
51. This turya state or the consciousness of one's felicity, derived from the fixedness of the soul in the supreme; is the great end of yoga meditation.
52. After the mental operations of a man have ceased in a man, he perceives nothing within himself except the turya state; which is a calm quiescence of the soul, in the sea of the ambrosial waters of one sole unity.
53. Why are you plunging yourself, under the waves of the briny waters of the sea of duality; fly to the Lord of worlds and adore the great God, who is abundant of all blessings.
54. I have thus related to you my son, all the doctrines of Vasishtha, as the best means to the way of your knowledge and practice of yoga meditation.
55. You will verily be able, O wise Bharadwaja, to learn everything from these, by means of your digesting the substance of this sastra, and reconsidering the purport of the precepts of this great preceptor.
56. It is by continued practice, that we attain to the perfection of any thing, according to the dictum of the vedas; therefore must you avoid to attend to all things besides, and concentrate your mind to the object of your practice.
57. Tell me O sage, the course of conduct which Rama followed, after he had received his knowledge of yoga or uniting his soul with the supreme spirit.
58. By knowing this I will also try to practice upon the same model, that I may succeed to attain to the same state of spiritual elevation and rapture like him.
59. When the virtuous and high minded Rama, was absorbed and sat entranced in the divine essence, it was then that Viswamitra addressed the venerable Vasishta and said.
60. O highly endowed son of Brahma—wise Vasishtha, you have even now shown the efficacy of your preceptorship, by hypnotising and laying dormant the powers of Rama.
61. He is verily the best to yoga, who mesmerises the body of his pupil, by his kind look, touch and sound; and causes his inspiration by the infusion of the holy spirit of Siva in him.
62. So it was with Rama, whose pure soul was dispassionate by its own nature; and whose earnest desire of hebetude led him to that happy state, by means of his conversation with his guru or spiritual guide.
63. It is the intelligence of the student which is the cause of his understanding, by means of the guidance of his spiritual preceptor; but when these three roots or principles are imperfect, how can the understanding arrive to its perfection.
64. It is evident, that knowledge is in need of both the pupil and preceptor for its communication; where both of them are competent and worthy of one another; it is certain that the result will be so likewise (as in Rama's case). (The commentary adds the good sastras, as the third means of gaining knowledge).
65. Now be pleased to rouse Rama from his torpor, which you alone can do, by your beatification in the apathy; whilst we being employed in worldly affairs, are too far from it.
66. Please sir, remember the cause that calls us hither, and the business to which we are invited at earnest request of king Dasaratha himself (for the performance of a certain sacrifice).
67. Therefore O sage, do not frustrate that object of ours, by the purity of thy mind; we have a service to perform to the Gods, and which is the cause of Rama's incarnation on earth.
68. Rama is to be conducted by me to the abode of the siddhas, and then shall he be called to the destruction of the Rakshasas; after which he will be led to the salvation of Ahalya and to his marriage with Sita.
69. He will break the great bow of Siva in a chivalrous feat at that marriage, and then he shall encounter the furious Parusha-Rama, and restrain his way to heaven.
70. The fearless Rama will then forsake his uncared for paternal and ancestral realms, and under pretext of his banishment, betake himself to the Dandaka woods of foresters.
71. He will restore the sanctity of many places of pilgrimage, and will thereby save the lives and souls of beings from sin and its wages of death. He will show to the world the sorrows of men at the loss of their wives, from his own example of the loss of accompanying Sita by Ravana.
72. He will set the lesson of the husband's duty of recovering the wives from the hands of their ravishers, by his recovery of Sita by slaughter of Ravana, and by his assembling the ape-savages of the forest in his favour.
73. He will prove the purity of Sita to please his plea, and will be employed in the observance of all religious acts, with his entire liberation in this world, and want of the desire of fruition in the next.
74. But in order to secure the future welfare of men, he will encourage the practice both of spiritual devotion and ritual acts, according to the instruction of those best acquainted with those subjects.
75. He will liberally bestow his liberation to every living being of every kind. These and many others are the duties of Rama to this world and to myself also. (Viswamitra means a friend to the world, and the good services of Rama done to it were reckoned by the sage as done to the sage himself).
76. Such are the acts that are to be performed by Rama, wherefore he is to be thanked by every one here for all his conquests which no one else can make. So fare you well.
77. After these words of the sage, were listened to by the princes in the court and by the assembled siddhas and great yogis as Vasishtha and others; they thanked the hero, and remained to think of his lotus-like feet with respect and esteem.
78. ?missing text?
79. But the sages Vasishtha and others, were not to be satisfied until they could hear further about the lord of Sita; whose virtues they all eagerly expected to hear those fully and recite in their carols.
Vasishtha then said to viswamitra:—
80. Tell me sir, who was this lotus-eyed Rama in his past life, whether he had been a god or sage or an ordinary man.
81. Believe what I say, that this Rama is that primary Male, who had churned the sea for the good of the world, and is known only by the deepest learning of the vedas.
82. He is full of spiritual joy, meek and gentle, and has the mark of the auspicious calf (lamb) upon his person; he is bountiful to all living beings, and is soon appeased by all (that rely in him).
83. He destroys every one in his rage, and abandons all the frail trifles of this world; he is the first male and creator of all, and is the supporter and nourisher and kind friend of all.
84. He has passed over the unsubstantial and illusory things of this world; he is the sea of felicity, and is dived in by the dispassionate.
85. He is some times known as a liberated soul, and relying in himself;at others he is seen to be settled in his turya state of hypnotism, and sometimes as a male or female agent of creation.
86. He is the God of the triple veda, and beyond the reach of the three qualities of things; he is the soul of the veda and the wondrous male (viraj), that is displayed in the six branches of veda.
87. He is the four armed and four-faced Brahma—the creator of the world, he is also the great Mahadeva with his three eyes, who is the destroyer of the world.
88. He is the uncreated creator, that is born by his yoga or union with the power of delusion (maya). He is the ever wakeful and the ever great spirit of God, which though it is formless doth yet form and support this frame of this universe, by transforming himself to the form of a man-lion.
89. As victory is borne upon the wings of valour, and as light is borne upon the flame of fire; and as learning bears and conveys the fruit of good understanding, so is this god-like Rama borne upon the wings of the bird of heaven (i.e. as Garuda bears Vishnu upon his back).
90. Blessed in this king Dasaratha, who has the supreme prime male for his son, and fortunate is the ten headed Ravana, for his finding a place in the mind of Rama (as his enemy). (The enemies of the gods are not less fortunate than the godly; because their fall under the blessed hands of gods, secures to them the blissful seats of heaven and not of hell).
91. Oh! how lamentable is the state of heaven by the absence of Rama from it; and how pitiable is the infernal region from its loss of Lakshmana who is present here. Happy is this midland of Oudh at present, from the presence of the two gods from those two regions in this place.
92. This Rama is an incarnation of the god Vishnu, who sleeps in the midst of the sea; he is the incarnate and undecaying supreme soul, and is a consolidation of the divine intellect and felicity in his person.
93. The yogis of subdued organs discern Rama in spirit, but we of ordinary understanding can see him only in his outward figure.
94. We hear that he has come down to blot out the iniquities of the race of Raghu, and hope that the venerable Vasishtha will kindly guide him to the affairs of the world.
95. Saying so far, the great sage Viswamitra held his silence, when the vehement Vasishtha oped his mouth and addressed Rama saying:—
96. O great armed Rama! O highly intellectual prince! it is not the time for you thus to slumber in yoga, rise and rejoice the hearts of your people.
97. Until you satisfy the wants of men and their expectations of you, you are not filled to attain the acme of your pure samadhi meditation.
98. Therefore attend to the temporal affairs of your state for some time, and discharge the onus of your duties to the gods; and then betake yourself to the state of your entrancement, and be happy forever.
99. Notwithstanding Rama was addressed in this manner, yet as he remained transfixed in his trance and uttered not a word in reply; then the spirit of Vasishtha entered into the heart of Rama, through dormitory passage of susumna.
100. It infused its force to the respiratory beings, mental faculties, organs and to the vital spirit of Rama, it ran through the veins and arteries and inflated the organs of sense; then Rama slowly oped his eyelids, and saw before him the sage Vasishtha with the learned men about him. He remained gazing upon all without any wish or effort of his own;and without considering aught of his duties, or what he was to avoid.
101. He heard the voice, which his preceptor Vasishtha had uttered to him; and in reply respectfully answered him saying:—
102. By your kindness sir, I am taught to have no concern with aught of the injunctions or prohibitions of the law; yet it is my duty to abide by all, what my preceptor bids me to do.
103. I ween, O great sage! that of all the sayings of the vedas, Agamas, Puranas, and smrits, it is the word of the preceptor, is the highest law, his bidding is commandment and its opposite a positive prohibition.
104. So saying, the virtuous Rama bowed down his head at the feet of the venerable Vasishtha, and then bespoke of his indifference to the world, to all present in the assembly.
105. May ye all prosper, and know the most certain truth to which I have arrived; that there is nothing better than the knowledge of the self, and none superior to the preceptor from whom it is derived.
The siddhas and others responded saying said:—
106. Such is the impression of Rama, in our minds also; and it is by your favour and conversions also, that this belief is ratified in us.
107. We thank you, Rama Chandra, and wish all happiness to attend on our great prince; and beg leave of the sage Vasishtha for our departure as we are called here (to attend to his lecture).
108. so saying they rose with giving praises to Rama, and blessing him with showers of flowers falling upon his head from their hands.
109. Thus have I related to you the whole narrative of Rama, do you now, O Bharadwaja, follow the same course of yoga, and be happy forever.
110. Now this relation of mine of the consummation to which Rama had arrived, together with my rehearsal of the varied sayings of the sage which are as so many strings of gems to be worn on the breasts of yogis and poets, will serve by the grace of the sage, to give you liberation (from the troubles of the world).
111. Whoever hears and attends to these discourses of Rama and Vasishtha, is sure to be relieved in every state of life; to be united with Brahma after his release.