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 XIX - Description of the form of virat

Summary: Description of the form of Virat or the all comprehending deity.

Argument:—The Essence of the Living soul, and of the undivided and Individual bodies; and Distinction of things with regard to their distinct natures and actions.

Rama said:—

1. Tell me sir, regarding the nature of the living soul, and the manner of its assuming its different forms; and tell me also its original form, and those which it takes at different times and places.

Vasishtha replied:—

2. The infinite intelligence of God, which fills all space and vacuum;takes of its own will a subtile and minute form, which is intelligible under the name of Intellect; and it is this which is expressed by the term living soul—jiva or zoa.

3. Its original form is neither that of a minute atom, nor a bulky mass;not an empty vacuity, nor anything having its solidity. It is the pure intellect with consciousness of itself, it is omnipresent and is called the living soul. (It is neither the empty space, nor anything contained therein).

4. It is the minutest of the minute, and the hugest of the huge; it is nothing at all, and yet the all, which the learned designate as the living soul. (The preceding one is a negative proposition, and this an affirmative one).

5. Know it as identic with the nature, property and quality, of any object whatever that exists any where; It is the light and soul of all existence, and selfsame with all, by its engrossing the knowledge of everything in itself. (Because nothing is existent in reality but in its idea, and the soul having all ideas in itself, is identic with all of them).

6. Whatever this soul thinks in any manner, of anything at any place or time, it immediately becomes the same by its notion thereof (i.e. Being full with the idea of a thing, it is said to be identified with the same). The collective soul becomes all whatever it thinks or wills, as the soul of God; but the individual soul thinks as it becomes at any place or time—as the soul of man or any particular being. Gloss).

7. The soul possesses the power of thinking, as the air has its force in the winds; but its thoughts are directed by the knowledge of things (that it derives by means of the senses); and not by the guidance of anyone, as the appearance of ghosts to boys.

8. As the existent air appears to be inexistent, without the motion of the wind; so the living soul desisting from its function of thinking, is said to be extinct in the Supreme Deity.

9. The living soul is misled to think of its individuality as the ego, by the density or dullness of its intellect; and supposes itself to be confined within a limited space of place and time, and with limited powers of action and understanding. (Thus the infinite soul mistakes itself for a finite being, by the dulness of its understanding).

10. Being thus circumscribed by time and space, and endowed with substance and properties of action &c., it assumes to itself an unreal form or body, with the belief of its being or sober reality. (Thus the incorporeal soul, is incorporated in a corporeal frame).

11. It then thinks itself to be enclosed in an ideal atom; as one sees himself in his dream to be involved in his unreal death.

12. And as one finds in its mind his features and the members of his body, to another form in his dream; so the soul forgets her intellectual entity in her state of ignorance, and becomes of the same nature and form, as she constantly thinks upon. (It forgets its pure spiritual form, and becomes a dull material body of some kind).

13. Thinking itself to be thus transformed to a gross and material form, as that of Virat the macrocosm (who combines the whole material universe in himself); it views itself as bright and spotted, as the disk of the moon with the black spot upon it.

14. It then finds in its person resembling the lunar disk, the sudden union of the five senses of perception, appearing in him of themselves.

15. These five senses are then found to have the five organs of sensation for their inlets, by which the soul perceives the sensation of their respective objects.

16. Then the Purusha or first male power known as Virat, manifests himself in five other forms said to be the members of his person; and these are the sun, the sides, water, air, and the land, which are the objects of five senses said before. He then becomes of endless forms according to the infinity of objects of his knowledge (i.e. the thoughts in this mind). He is thus manifested in his objective forms, but is quite unknown to us in his subjective or causal form, which is unchangeable and undecaying.

17. He sprang up at first from the supreme being, as its mental energy or the mind; and was manifest in the form of the calm and clear firmament, with the splendour of eternal delight.

18. He was not of the five elemental forms, but was the soul of the five element, he is called the Virat Purusha—the macrocosm of the world, and the supreme lord of all. (He was the collective body of all individual ones).

19. He rises spontaneously by himself, and then subsides in himself; he expands his own essence all over the universe, and at last contracts the whole in himself.

20. He rose in a moment with his power of volition, and with all his desires in himself; he rises of his own will at first, and after lasting long in himself, dissolves again in himself.

21. He is the selfsame one with the mind of God, and he is the great body of the material world; and his body is called the puryashtaka or container of the eight elementary principles, as also the ativahika or of the spiritual-form.

22. He is as the subtile and gross air, manifest as the sky, but invisible as the subtile ether; he is both within and as well as without everything, and is yet nothing in himself.

23. His body consists of eight members, viz—the five senses, the mind, the living principle and egoism, together with the different states of their being and not being, i.e., of their visible and invisible form (such as outward and inward organs of perception &c.).

24. He (in the form of Brahma), sang at first the four vedas with his four mouths; he determined the significations of words, and it was he who established the rules of conduct, which are in vogue to this time.

25. The high and boundless heaven, is the crown of his head; and the lower earth is the footstool of his feet; the unbounded sky is his capacious belly, and the whole universe is the temple over his body.

26. The multitudes of worlds all about, are the members of his body on all sides; the waters of seas are the blood of the scars upon his body; the mountains are his muscles, and the rivers and streams are the veins and arteries of his body.

27. The seas are his blood vessels, and the islands are the ligatures round his persons; his arms are the sides of the sky, and the stars are the hairs on his body.

28. The forty-nine winds are its vital airs, the orb of the sun is its eye-ball, while its heat is the fiery bile inside its belly.

29. The lunar orb is the sheath of his life, and its cooling beams are the humid humours of his body; his mind is the receptacle of his desires, and the pith of his soul is the ambrosia of his immortality.

30. He is the root of the tree of the body, and the seed of the forest of actions; he is the source of all existence, and he is as the cooling moonlight diffusing delight to all beings by the heating beams of that balmy planet oshadhisa.

31. The orb of the moon, is said in the sruti as the lord of life, the cause of the body and thoughts and actions of all living beings (by growing the vegetable food for their subsistance and sustenance of their lives).

32. It is from this moon-like Virat, that contains all vitality in himself, that all other living beings in the universe take their rise;hence the moon is the container of life, mind, action and the sweet ambrosia of all living beings.

33. It is the will or desire of Virat, that produced the gods Brahma, Vishnu and Siva from himself; and all the celestial deities and demons, are the miraculous creation of his mind.

34. It is the wonderful nature of the intelligent Intellect, that whatever it thinks upon in its form of an infinitesimal atom, the same appears immediately before it in its gigantic form and size.

35. Know Rama, the whole universe to be the seat of the soul of Virat (i.e. the whole universe to be teeming with life), and the five elements to compose the five component parts of his body. (Whose body is all nature and whose soul is God).

36. Virat that shines as the collective or universal soul of the world, in the bright orb of the moon, diffuses light and life to all individuals by spreading the moonbeams which produces the vegetable food for the supportance and sustenance of living beings.

37. The vegetable substances, which supply the animal bodies with their sustenance; and thereby produce the life of living beings; produce also the mind which becomes the cause of the actions and future births of persons by its efforts towards the same.

38. In this manner a thousand virats and hundreds of Mahakalpa periods have passed away; and, there many such still existing and yet to appear, with varieties of customs and manners of peoples in different ages and climes.

The first and best and supremely blest virat said:—

39. the male Deity, resides in this manner of our conception of him, and indistinct in his essence from the state of transcendent divinity; with his huge body extending beyond the limits of space and time. (This Virat or Brahma is the Demiurgus of platonic philosophy).