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 III - Disappearance of the phenomenals

Argument:—Admonition for ignoring the visibles, and the means of attaining the insensibility and inactivity of the wise.

Rama said:—

1. [Sanskrit available]
Tell me, O Sage, how it may be possible to convert our knowledge to ignorance, since it is impossible to make a nothing of something, as also to make anything out of a nothing.

Vasishtha replied:—

2. [Sanskrit available]
Verily a nothing or unreality, cannot be something in reality; nor a real something can become an unreal nothing;but in any case where both of these (viz.; reality as well as unreality of a thing) are possible, there the cognition and incognition of something, are both of them equally palpable of themselves. (This is termed a Chatushkotika Sunsaya or quadruplicate apprehension of something, consisting, of the reality or unreality of a thing, and the certainty or uncertainty of its knowledge).

3. [Sanskrit available]
The two senses of the word knowledge (i.e. its affirmative and negative senses) are apparent in the instance of "a rope appearing as a snake": here the knowledge of the rope is certain, but that of the snake is a mistake or error. And so in the case of a mirage presenting the appearance of water. (Here the things snake and water prove to be nothing, and their knowledge as such, is converted to error or want of knowledge).

4. [Sanskrit available]
It is better therefore to have no knowledge of these false appearances, whose knowledge tends to our misery only; wherefore know the true reality alone, and never think of the unreal appearance. (Do not think the visibles either as real or unreal, but know the deathless spirit that lies hid under them).

5. [Sanskrit available]
The conception of the sense of sensible perceptions, is the cause of woe of all living beings; therefore it is better to root out the sense of the perceptible from the mind, and rely in the knowledge of the underlying universal soul only. (Taking the particulars in the sense of individual souls, is the cause of misery only).

6. [Sanskrit available]
Leaving aside the knowledge of parts, and the sense of your perception of all sensible objects, know the whole as one infinite soul, in which you have your rest and nirvana extinction.

7. [Sanskrit available]
Destroy all your acts of merit and demerit, by the force of your discrimination; and your knowledge of the evanescence of your deeds, aided by your knowledge of truth, will cause the consummation of Yoga (Siddhi).

8. [Sanskrit available]
By rooting out the reminiscence of your acts, you put a stop to their results and your course in the world; and if you succeed to gain the object of your search (i.e. your spiritual knowledge), by means of your reason, you have no more any need of your action.

9. [Sanskrit available]
The divine intellect, like the Bel fruit, forms within itself its pith and seeds (of future worlds), which lie hid in it, and never burst out of its bosom. (So all things are contained in divine mind).

10. [Sanskrit available]
As a thing contained in its container, is not separate from the containing receptacle, so all things that lie in the womb of space, are included in the infinite space of the universal soul (or the divine mind) which encompasses the endless vacuity in it.

11. [Sanskrit available]
And as the property of fluidity, is never distinct from the nature of liquids; so the thoughts (of all created things), are never apart from the thinking principle of the Divine mind. (The words Chittam and Chittwam, and their meanings of the thought and mind, appertain to their common root the chit or intellect with which they are alike in sound and sense).

12. [Sanskrit available]
Again as fluidity is the inseparable property of water, and light is that of fire; so the thoughts and thinking, inhere intrinsically in the nature of the Divine Intellect, and not as its separable qualities.

13. [Sanskrit available]
Intellection is the action of the intellect, and its privation gives rise to the chimeras of error in the mind; there is no other cause of error, nor does it last unless it rises in absence of reason.

14. [Sanskrit available]
Intellection is the action of the intellect, as fluctuation is that of the wind; and it is by means of their respective actions, that we have our perceptions of them. But when the soul ceases from action, then both of these (viz: our intellection and perceptions) are at an utter stop within and without us. (i.e. The soul is the prime mover of our inward and outward senses).

15. [Sanskrit available]
The body is the field and scope of our actions, and our egoism spreads itself over the world; but our insensibility and want of egoism, tend to put away the world from us as want of force puts down the breeze.

16. [Sanskrit available]
Insensibility of the body and mind, renders the intelligent soul, as dull as a stone; therefore root out the world from thy mind, as a boar uproots a plant with its tusk (by means of your insensibility of it, and the full sense of God alone in thee).

17. [Sanskrit available]
In this way only, O Rama, you can get rid of the seed vessel of action in your mind; and there is no other means of enjoying the lasting peace of your soul besides this.

18. [Sanskrit available]
After the germinating seed of action is removed from the mind, the wise man loses the sight of all temporal objects, in his full view of the holy light of God.

19. [Sanskrit available]
The holy saints never seek to have, nor dare to avoid or leave any employment of their own choice or will; (but they do whatever comes in their way, knowing it as the will of God and must be done). They are therefore said to be of truly saintly souls and minds, who are strangers to the preference or rejection of anything (lit., to the acceptance or avoidance of a thing).

20. [Sanskrit available]
Wise men sit silent where they sit and live as they live, with their hearts and minds as vacant as the vacuous sky; they take what they get, and do what is destined to them as they are unconscious of doing them. (The vacant mind without any care or thought, is like a clear mirror of the untainted seat of the Holy God).

21. [Sanskrit available]
As sediments are swept away by the current of the stream, so the saintly and meek minded men are moved to action by a power not their own; they act with their organs of action with as much unconcern, as babes have the movements of their bodies, in their half-sleeping state.

22. [Sanskrit available]
As the sweetest things appear unsavoury to those, that are satiate and sated with them; so do the delights of the world, seem disgusting to them, that are delighted with divine joy in themselves; and with which they are so enrapt in their rapture, as to become unconscious of what is passing in and about them like insane people.

23. [Sanskrit available]
The unconsciousness of one's acts, makes the abandonment of his action, and this is perfected when a person is in full possession of his understanding (or else the unconsciousness of a dead man of his former acts, does not amount to his abandonment of action). It matters not whether a man does ought or naught, with his unsubstantial or insensible organs of action. (It is external consciousness that makes the action, and not the external doing of it, with the insensible organs of the body; because the mental impressions make the action and not its forgetfulness in the mind).

24. [Sanskrit available]
An action done without a desire, is an act of unconsciousness; and they are not recognized as our actions, which have no traces of them in our minds. (Hence all involuntary acts and those of insanity, are reckoned as no doings of their doer).

25. [Sanskrit available]
An act which is not remembered, and which is forgotten as if it were buried in oblivion, is as no act of its doer; and this oblivion is equal to the abandonment of action.

26. [Sanskrit available]
He who pretends to have abandoned all action, without abandoning (or effacing) them from his mind, is said to be a hypocrite, and is devoured by the monster of his hypocrisy: (of this nature are the false fakirs, who pretend to have renounced the world).

27. [Sanskrit available]
They who have rooted out the prejudice of actions from their lives, and betaken themselves to the rest and refuge of inaction, are freed from the expectation of reward of whatever they do, as also from the fear of any evil for what they avoid to perform.

28. [Sanskrit available]
They who have extirpated the seeds of action, with their roots and germs, from the ground of their minds, have always an undisturbed tranquillity to rest upon, and which is attended with a serene delight to those that have made habitude their habit.

29. [Sanskrit available]
The meek are slightly moved in their bodies and minds, by the current of business in which they have fallen; but the reckless are carried onward whirling in the torrent, like drunken sots reclining on the ground, or as anything moved by a machine (or as the machines of an engine).

30. [Sanskrit available]
Those who are seated in any stage of yoga, and are graced with the calmness of liberation, appear as cheerful as men in a play house, who are half asleep and half-awake over the act in this great theatre of the world.

31. [Sanskrit available]
That is said to be wholly extirpated, which is drawn out by its roots, or else it is like the destroying of a tree by lopping its branches which will grow again, unless it is uprooted from the ground.

32. [Sanskrit available]
So the tree of acts (the ceremonial code), though lopped off of its branches (of particular rites and ceremonies), will thrive again if it is left to remain, without uprooting it by the ritual (of acharas).

33. [Sanskrit available]
It is enough for your abandonment of acts, to remain unconscious of your performance of them; and the other recipes for the same (as given before) will come to you of themselves.

34. [Sanskrit available]
Whoever adopts any other method of getting rid of his actions, besides those prescribed herein; his attempts of their abandonment are as null and void, as his striking the air, (in order to divide it). (Outward abandonment of anything is nothing, unless it is done so from the mind).

35. [Sanskrit available]
It is the rational abandonment of a thing, that makes its true relinquishment, and whatever is done unwilfully, is like a fried grain or seed, that never vegetates nor brings forth its fruit. (The rational renouncement of a thing, is said in the Veda, to mean its resignation to God, to whom belongs every thing in the world, and is lent to man for his temporary use only. And fruitless actions are those that are done unwillingly, and are not productive of future births for our misery only).

36. [Sanskrit available]
But the act that is done with the will and bodily exertion, becomes productive with the moisture of desire; but all other efforts of the body without the will, are entirely fruitless to their actor.

37. [Sanskrit available]
After one has got rid of his action, and freed himself from further desire; he becomes liberated for life (Jivan-mukta), whether he may dwell at home or in the woods, and live in poverty or affluence.

38. [Sanskrit available]
The contented soul is as solitary at home, as in the midst of the farthest forest; but the discontented mind find the solitary forest, to be as thickly thronged with vexations as the circle of a family house.

39. [Sanskrit available]
The quiet and calmly composed spirit, finds the lonely woodland, where a human being is never to be seen even in a dream, to be as lovely to it as the bosom of a family dwelling.

40. [Sanskrit available]
The wise man who has lost the sight of the visibles, and of the endless particulars abounding in this forest of the world, beholds on every side the silent and motionless sphere of heaven spread all around him.

41. [Sanskrit available]
The thoughtless ignorant, whose insatiate ambition grasps the whole universe in his heart, rolls over the surface of the earth and all its boisterous seas with as much glee as upon a bed of flowers.

42. [Sanskrit available]
All these cities and towns, which are so tumultuous with the endless of men, appear to the ignorant and moneyless man as a garden of flowers; where he picks up his worthless penny with as much delight as holy men cull the fragrant blossoms to make their offerings to holy shrines.

43. [Sanskrit available]
The wide earth with all her cities and towns, and distant districts and countries, which are so full of mutual strife and broil, appear to the soiled soul of the gross-headed and greedy, as if they are reflected in their fair forms in the mirror of their minds; or painted in their bright colours upon the canvas of their hearts. (Worldly men are so infatuated with the world, that they take side of things for fair and bright).

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