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 IV - Annihilation of egoism

Argument:—Egoism is shown as the root of worldliness and its extirpation by spiritual knowledge.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. The abandonment of the world (which is otherwise termed as liberation—moksha), is effected only upon subsidence of one's egoism and knowledge of the visibles in the conscious soul; in the manner of the extinction of a lamp for want of oil. (The knowledge of the phenomenal is the root of illusion, and it is the removal of this that is called the abandonment of the world, and the cause of liberation).

2. It is not the giving up of actions, but the relinquishment of the knowledge of the objective world, that makes our abandonment of it;and the subjective soul, which is without the reflection of the visible world, and the objective-self, is immortal and indestructible.

3. After the knowledge of the self and this and that with that of mine and thine, becomes extinct like an extinguished lamp, there remains only the intelligent and subjective-soul by itself alone (and it is this state of the soul that is called its extinction—nirvana and its liberation or moksha).

4. But he whose knowledge of himself and others, and of mine and thine and his and theirs, has not yet subsided in his subjectivity, has neither the intelligence nor tranquillity nor abandonment nor extinction of himself. (It is opposite of the preceding).

5. After extinction of one's egoism and meism, there remains the sole and tranquil and intelligent soul, beside which there is nothing else in existence.

6. The egoistic part of the soul being weakened by the power of true knowledge, every thing in the world wastes away and dwindles into insignificance; and though nothing is lost in reality, yet every thing is buried in and with the extinction of the self. (So the Hindi adage:—Ápduba to jagduba—the self being lost, all things are lost with it).

7. The knowledge of the ego is lost under that of the non-ego, without any delay or difficulty; and it being so easy to effect it, there is no need of resorting to the arduous methods for removal of the same. (It being easy to ignore the silver in a shell, it is useless to test it in the fire).

8. The thoughts of ego and non-ego, are but false conceits of the mind; and the mind being as void as the clear sky, there is no solid foundation for this error.

9. No error has its vagary anywhere, unless it moves upon the basis of ignorance, it grows upon misjudgment, and vanishes at the light of reason and right judgment.

10. Know all existence to be the Intellect only; which is extended as an unreal vacuity; therefore sit silent in the empty space of the Intellect, wherein all things are extinct as nothing. (The reality of the Divine Mind, containing the ideal world which appears as a reality).

11. Whenever the idea of ego comes to occur in the mind, it should be put down immediately by its negative idea of the non-ego or that I am nothing.

12. Let the conviction of the non-ego supplant that of the ego, as a meaningless term, or as untrue as empty air, or a flower of the aerial arbour; and being fixed as an arrow in the bow-string of holy meditation, strive to hit at the mark of the Divine Essence.

13. Know always your ideas of ego & tu—I and thou, to be as unreal as empty air; and being freed from the false idea of every other thing, get over quickly across the delusive ocean of the world.

14. Say how is it possible for that senseless and beastly man, to attain to the highest state of divine perfection, who is unable to overcome his natural prejudice of egoism.

15. He who has been able by his good understanding, the sixfold beastly appetites of his nature; is capable of receiving the knowledge of great truths; and no other asinine man in human shape.

16. He who has weakened and overcome the inborn feelings of his mind, becomes the receptacle of all virtue and knowledge, and is called a man in its proper sense of the word.

17. Whatever dangers may threaten you on rocks and hills and upon the sea, you may escape from the same by thinking that they cannot injure your inward soul, though they may hurt the flesh.

18. Knowing that your egoism is nothing in reality, except your false conception of it, why then do you allow yourself to be deluded by it, like the ignorant who are misled by their phrenzy?

19. There is nothing (no ego) here, that is known to us in its reality; all our knowledge is erroneous as that of an ornament in gold (and springs from the general custom of calling it so), so is our knowledge of the ego which we know not what, and may be lost by our forgetfulness of it. (So the different names and shapes of golden ornaments being forgotten, we see the substance of gold only common in all of them).

20. Try to dislodge the thoughts that rise in your mind, in the manner of the incessant vibrations in the air, by thinking that you are not the ego, nor has your ego any foundation at all.

21. The man who has not overcome his egotism, and its concomitants of covetousness, pride and delusion, doth in vain attend to these lectures which are useless to him.

22. The sense of egoism and tuism which abides in thee, is no other than the stir of the Supreme spirit, which stirs alike in all as motion impels the winds.

23. The uncreated world which appears as in act of creation, is inherent and apparent in the Supreme soul, and notwithstanding all its defects and frailty, it is fair by being situated therein. (Because a thing however bad, appears beautiful by its position with the good).

24. The Supreme soul neither rises nor sets at any time; nor is there anything else besides that One, whether existent or inexistent. (All real and potential entities are contained in the mind of God).

25. All this is transcendental in the transcendent spirit of God, and everything is perfect in his perfection. All things are quiet in his tranquillity, and whatever is, is good by the goodness of the Great God.

26. All things are extinct in the unextinguished spirit of God, they are quiet in his quiescence, and all good in his goodness; this extinction in the inextinct or ever existent soul of God, is no annihilation of any; it is understood as the sky, but is not the sky itself.

27. Men may bear the strokes of weapons and suffer under the pain of diseases; and yet how is it that no body can tolerate the thought of his unegoism or extinction.

28. The word ego is the ever growing germ of the significance of everything in the world (i.e. our selfishness gives growth to our need and want of all things for our use); and that (egoism or selfishness) being rooted out of the mind, this world also is uprooted from it. (i.e. Think neither of thyself or anything in the world as thine but of the Lord, and be exempt from thy cares of both).

29. The meaningless word ego, like empty vapour or smoke, has the property of soiling the mirror of the soul, which resumes its brightness after removal of the mist.

30. The significance of the word, I or ego, is as force or fluctuation in the calm and quiet atmosphere; and this force being still, the soul resumes its serenity, as that of the unseen and imperceptible and one eternal and infinite air. (Here is Vasishtha's vacuism again).

31. The significance of the word ego, produces the shadow of external objects in the mind;and that being lost, there ensues that serenity and tranquillity of the soul, which are the attributes of the unknowable, infinite and eternal God.

32. After the cloudy shadow of the sense of the word ego, is removed from the atmosphere of mind; there appears the clear firmament of transcendent truth, shining with serene brightness throughout its infinite sphere.

33. After the essence of the soul is purged of its dross, and there appears no alloy or base metal in it; it shines with its bright lustre as that of pure gold, when it is purified from its mixture with copper or other.

34. As an insignificant term (nirabhidhartha), bears no accepted sense (vypadesartha); so the unintelligible word ego bearing no definite sense of any particular person, is equal to the non-ego or impersonal entity of Brahma.

35. It is Brahma only that resides in the word ego (i.e. the word ego is applicable to God alone).

36. The meaning of the word ego, which contains the seed of world in it, is rendered abortive by our ceasing to think of it. Then what is the good of using the words I and thou, that serve only to bind our souls to this world. (Forget yourselves, to be free from bondage).

37. The essence is the pure and felicitous spirit, which is afterwards soiled under the appellation of ego, which rises out of that pure essence, as a pot is produced from the clay; but the substance is forgot under the form, as the gold is forgotten under that of the ornament.

38. It is this seed of ego, from which the visible plant of creation takes its rise; and produces the countless worlds as its fruits, which grow to fade and fall away.

39. The meaning of the word ego, contains in it like the minute seed of a long pepper, the wonderful productions of nature, consisting of the earth and sea, the hills and rivers, and forms and colours of things, with their various natures and actions.

40. The heaven and earth, the air and space, the hills and rivers on all sides, are as the fragrance of the full blown flower of the Ego.

41. The Ego in its widest sense, stretches out to the verge of creation, and contains all the worlds under it, as the wide spread daylight comprehends all objects and their action under it.

42. As the early daylight brings to view the forms and shapes and colours of things; so it is our egoism (which is but another name for ignorance) that presents the false appearance of the world to our visual sight.

43. When egoism like a particle of dirty oil falls into the pellucid water of Brahma; it spreads over its surface in the form of globules, resembling the orbs of worlds floating in the air.

44. Egoism sees at a single glance the myriads of worlds spread before its visual sight; as the blinking eye observes at a twinkling thousands of specks scattered before its sight.

45. Egoism (selfishness) being extended too far, perceives the furthest worlds lying stretched before its sight; but the unegotistic or unselfish soul, like a sleeping man doth not perceive the nearest object, as our eyes do not see the pupils lying within them.

46. It is only upon the total extinction of our egoistic feelings, by the force of unfailing reasoning; that we can get rid of the mirage of the world.

47. It is by our constant reflection upon our consciousness only, that it becomes possible for us to the great object of our consummation—Siddhi; and the attainment of the perfection of our souls; we have nothing more to desire or grieve at nor any fear of falling into error.

48. It is possible by your own endeavour, and without the help of any person or thing, to attain to thy perfection; and therefore I see no better means for you to this than the thought of your unegoism.

49. Now Rama, this is the abstract of the whole doctrine, that you forget your ego and tu, and extend the sphere of our soul all over the universe, and behold them all in yourself. Remain quite calm and quiet and without any sorrow, and exempt from all acts and pursuits of the frail and false world, and think the soul as one whole and not a part of the universe. (Samashti and not Vyashta.)