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 XII - On the identity of the will

Summary: On the identity of the will and its work of the desire and its production.

Argument:—The falsity of egoism, and the futility of the expansion of the intellect in creation. Ignorance as the cause of this fallacy and the manner of its removal.

Bhusunda continued:—

1. As the supposition of one vacuity (as that subsisting in a pot or any spot), to be a part or derived from the universal vacuum is false and wrong; so the conception of the visionary ego (as produced from the unknown vacuum Brahma), is altogether an error. (i e. The error of conceiving a subtile or gross spirit called the ego, proceeds from ignorance of the True Spirit).

2. The erroneous conception of limited vacuities, being produced from the unlimited vacuum, has given rise to the mistaken belief of unreal and individual souls, as proceeding from the one universal and undivided soul of God.

3. The divine intellect exists in the form of air in air, which it takes for its body; it is manifest throughout the aerial sphere and therefore I am neither the ego nor the non-ego either. (Man is the ego in his intellectual part, and the non-ego in his material frame).

4. The unity of the subtile intellect is of such a nature, that it contains the gravity of the immense world in it (i.e. in its thought);in the same manner as a ponderous mountain is contained in an atom (or as it is composed of atomic particles). The conscious intellect is of the form of air (empty and all pervading in its nature). (This is another instance of the vacuous essence of God, according to the vacuistic theory of Vasishtha).

5. The intellect which is rarer than subtile air, thinks in itself the gross nature of unintellectual matter; which exhibits itself in the form of the world. (The dull external world, is a counterpart of the internal conception of the mind).

6. It is well known to the spiritualist, that the egoism of ourselves and the materialism of the world, are but dilations of the intellect; as the currents and curlings of streams in eddies are but dilations of water. (This process of the Divine spirit is called its vivarta rupa).

7. When this process of the intellect is at a stop, the whole course of nature is at a stand still, like the liquid water of the lake without its undulation; or like the quiet sphere of the sky, without the stir or agitation of winds in it. (It means to say that, as the motion of the spirit causes the action of the world, so its cessation nivarta-rupa, put an end to the course of nature).

8. Thus there is no other cause of any physical action, in anything in any part or period of the world; except what is derived from the agitation of the Intellect, without which this whole is a shapeless void and nil.

9. It is the action of the intellect, that makes the world to appear to us at all times and places; whether in the sky, water or land, as also when we wake, sleep or dream (and this action of the mind being put to a stop in death deep sleep, the world ceases to exist both in the mind and to our external senses also).

10. The action and inaction of the intellect, is imperceptible to our understanding, owing to the extreme tenuity of the mind, which is more transparent than the clear sky.

11. The knowing soul that is unified or settled as one with the Supreme spirit, is unconscious of its pleasure or pain and the sense of its egoism; and being melted down into the divine essence, it resides as the fluidity of the psychic fluid.

12. The sapient mind is regardless of all external intelligence, fortune, fame, or prosperity; and having no desire or hope to rise or fear or shame to fall, he sees none of these things before him, as one sees no object of broad daylight in the gloom of night. (The holy man has lost sight of all worldly things).

13. The moonlight of the intellect which issues forth from the moon like disk of the glory of God, fills the universe with its ambrosial flood; and there is no other created world, nor its receptacles of time and space, except the essence of Brahma, which fills the whole.

14. Thus the whole universe being full with the glorious essence of God, it is the mind which revolves with the spheres of the worlds on itself, like the curling circles on the surface of waters.

15. The revolving world, is evanescently rolling on like a running stream to its decay, with its ever rising and sinking waves, and its gurgling and whirling eddies and whirlpools.

16. As the moving sands appear as water (in the mirage of the desert), and as the distant smoke seems as a gathering clouds to the deluded; so doth this world appear to them as a gross object of creation, and a third thing beside the Divine spirit and Mind.

17. As the wood pared by the saw appear as separate blocks, and as the water divided by the winds has the appearance of detached waves; so doth this creation in the Supreme spirit, seem to be something without and different from it.

18. The world is as unsolid and unsubstantial, as the stem of a plantain tree, and as false and frail as the leaves of the arbour of our desire;it is plastic in its nature, but as hard as stone in the substance. (Being like the shadow of something in the hard crystal of the Divine Mind).

19. It is personified in the form of Viraj, with his thousand heads and feet, and as many arms, faces and eyes; and his body filling all sides, with all the mountains, rivers and countries situated in it.

20. It is empty within and any pith in it, it is painted in many colours and having no colour of itself.

21. It is studded all over with bodies of gods and demigods, gandharvas, vidyadharas and great serpents; it is inert (dull matter of itself), and is moved by the all moving air of sutratma—the all connecting spirit of God; and is animated by the all enlivening anima of the Supreme soul.

22. As the scene of a great city appears brilliant to sight, in a painting which is well drawn on a canvas, so does the picture of the world, which is displayed by imagination in the retina of the mind, appear charming to them, who do not deign to consider (to examine) it in its true light.

23. The reflection of the unreal and imaginary world, which falls on the mirror of the fickle and fluctuating mind; appears to swim upon its surface, as a drop of oil floats over the face of water.

24. This world is overspread with the network of the feelings imprinted in the heart, and interspersed with winding eddies of mistake and misery; it runs with the flood of our affections, and with silent murmurs of sorrow.

25. The understanding is apt to attribute optionally, the predicates I, thou and so forth to the original and prime Intellect; but none of these is apart from the Supreme one, as the fluid is no other than the water itself. (Jiva—the living soul and Brahma—the universal being synonymous terms there is no distinction whatever between them).

26. The luminous Intellect itself is styled the creation, (after it has assumed to itself the title of ego (or its personality); or else there is no other creation or any creator thereof (beside the everlasting intellect, which is represented as the personal God-Ego and personified as the creation itself).

27. As the power of impulsion is inherent in every moving substance, like the blowing of winds and flowing of water; so the intellectual soul, being of a vacuous form, knows all things in their vacuous or ideal states only.

28. As seas and oceans are becoming the seeming cause of separate name of countries, by separating the connection from one land to another, though the vacuum remains ever the same; so delusion is the cause of different ideas and dreams of material objects, but spirit remains unchangeful forever.

29. Know the words mind, egoism, understanding and such other terms, which are significant of the idea of knowledge; to proceed from ignorance alone, and are soon removed by proper investigation into them.

30. It is by means of conversation with the wise, that it is possible for us to remove one half of this ignorance, and it is by investigation into the sastras, that we are enabled to remove a quarter of it, while our belief of and reliance in the Supreme spirit, serves to put down the remaining fourth part of it altogether.

31. Having thus divided yourself into the said fourfold duties, and destroyed by degree the four parts of ignorance by each of them; you will find at last a nameless something which is the true reality itself.

Rama said:—

32. I can understand sir, how a moiety of our ignorance is removed by conversation with the wise, as also how a fourth part of it driven by the study of sastras, but tell me sir, how the remainder of it is removed by our belief and reliance in the spirit.

33. Tell me sir, what you mean by the simultaneous and gradual removal of ignorance, and what am I to understand by what you call the nameless one and the true reality, as distinguished from the unreal.

Vasishtha replied:—

34. It is proper for all good and virtuous people who are dispassionate and dissatisfied with the world, to have recourse to wise and holy men, and argue with them regarding the course of nature, in order to get over the ocean of this miserable world.

35. It is proper also for intelligent persons, to be in diligent search after the passionless and unselfish men wherever they may be found; and particularly to find out and reverence such of them, as are possessed with the knowledge of the soul, and are kindly disposed to impart their spiritual knowledge to others.

36. The acquisition of such a holy sage, takes away one half of one's temporal and spiritual ignorance; by setting him on the first and best step of divine knowledge. (The subsequent stages of yoga, are based upon the initiatory step or stage).

37. Thus half of one's spiritual gloom being dispelled by association with the holy; the remaining two fourths are removed, by religious learning and one's own faith and devotion.

38. Whenever any desire of any enjoyment whatever, is carefully suppressed in one's self by his own endeavour; it is called his self-exertion, which destroys one fourth of spiritual ignorance.

39. So it is the society of the holy, the study of Sastras and one's own exertion, which tend to take away one's sins, and it is done by each of these singly or all of these conjointly, either by degrees or at once and at the same time.

40. Whatever there remains either as something or nothing at all, upon the total extinction of ignorance, the same is said to be the transcendent and nameless or unspeakable something or nothing (owing to its being beyond all conception).

41. This is verily the real Brahma, the undestroyed, infinite and eternal one; and which being but a manifestation of the unsubstantial will, is understood as an inexistent blank likewise. By knowing the measureless, immeasurable and unerring being, do you rely in your own nihility of nirvana, and be free from all fear and sorrow. (He who thinks himself as nothing, has no care or fear for anything).