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 XXI - What constitutes true knowledge

Argument:—Amateurs of learning of two kinds, the real and the affected or Description of the two kinds of the lovers of knowledge, viz, the real and the Fictitious.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. The wise man must always conduct himself wisely, and not with mere show or affectation of wisdom; because the ignorant even are preferable to the affected and pretended lovers of learning. (According to the maxim which says that, if the show of anything be good for anything, surely the Reality must be better).

Rama rejoined:—

2. Tell me sir, what is meant by true wisdom, and by the show or affectation of it; and what is the good or bad result of either. (i.e. What kind of men they are, their signs and their respective ends).

Vasishtha replied:—

3. He who reads the sastras, and practices his learning as a practitioner for earning his livelihood, without endeavouring to investigate into the principles of his knowledge, is called a friend to learning.

4. Whose learning is seen to be employed in busy life only, without showing its true effect in the improvement of the understanding;such learning being but an art or means of getting a livelihood, its possessor is called a fellow of learning; (and no doctor in it).

5. He who is satisfied with his food and dress only, as the best gain of his learning; is known as an amateur and novice in the art of explaining the sastra (or as mere teachers and pedagogues).

6. He who persists in the performance of his righteous and ceremonial acts, as ordained by law (Srouta sastra) with an object of fruition, is termed a probationer in learning, and is near about to be crowned with knowledge.

7. The knowledge of the soul (spiritual knowledge), is reckoned as the true knowledge; all other knowledge is merely a semblance of it, being void of the essential knowledge (necessary for mankind).

8. Those who without receiving the spiritual knowledge, are content with bits of their secular learning; all their labour is in vain in this world, and they are styled as mere noviciates in learning.

9. Rama, you must not rest here with your heart's content, unless you can rest in the peace of your mind, with your full knowledge of the knowable one; you must not remain like a novice in learning, in order to enjoy the fruitions of this deleterious world. (Here all pleasure is palpable pain).

10. Let men work honestly on earth to earn their bread, and let them take their food for sustenance of their lives; let them live for the inquiry after truth, and let them learn that truth, which is calculated to prevent their return to this miserable world.