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 XXII - The yoga conducive to happiness or the way to happiness

Argument:—The signs and characters of wise men and of their wisdom; together with a disquisition into the nature of the world, soul and the Supreme spirit or Brahma.

Vasishtha resumed:—

1. The man who by his knowledge of the knowable one, hath placed his reliance in him; who hath set his mind to its pristine purity, by purging it from its worldly propensities, and has no faith in the merit of acts; is one who is called the truly wise. (This chapter is in answer to Rama's question about who is a wise man &c.).

2. The learned who knowing all kinds of learning, and being employed in acts, yet observe their indifference in every thing, are called to be truly wise. (It is wisdom to act, and not expect).

3. He whose heart is observed by the wise, to retain its coldness in all his acts and efforts; and whose mind is unaffectedly calm and quiet at all times; is said to be the truly wise man.

4. The sense of one's liberation from the doom of birth and death, is the true meaning of the word knowledge; or else the art of procuring simple food and raiment, is the practice of artificers only.

5. He is styled a wise man, who having fallen in the current of his transactions, remains without any desire or expectation, and continues with as vacant a heart as the empty air.

6. The accidents of life come to pass, without any direct cause and to no purpose; and what was neither present nor expected, comes to take place of its own accord. (All accidents are caused by an unknown and unforeseen fate or chance).

7. The appearance or disappearance of an event or accident proceeds from causes quite unknown to us, and these afterwards become causes of the effects produced by them.

8. Who can tell what is the cause of the absence of horn in hares, and the appearance of water in the mirage, which cannot be found out or seen at the sight of those objects.

9. Those who explore in the causality of the want of horns in hares, may well expect to embrace the necks of the sons and grandsons of a barren woman.

10. The cause of the appearance of the unreal phenomena of the world to our sight, is no other than our want of right sight (i.e. our ignorance), which presents these phantoms to our view; and which disappear at a glance of our acute vision (of reason).

11. The living (or human) soul appears as the Supreme spirit, when it is viewed upon by the sight of our blended intellect; but no sooner does the light of Divine intellect dawn in our minds, than the living or animal soul dwindles into nothing.

12. The insensible and unconscious Supreme soul, becomes awakened to the state of the living soul; just as the potential mango of winter, becomes the positive mango fruit in the genial spring.

13. The intellect being awakened, becomes the living soul; which in its long course of its living, becomes worn out with age and toil, and passes into many births in many kinds of beings (animal, vegetable as well as insensible objects).

14. Wise men that are possessed of their intellectual sight, look internally within themselves in the recesses of their hearts and minds; without looking at the lookables without, or thinking of anything or many efforts whatever; but move on with the even course of their destiny, as the water flows on its course to the ocean of eternity.

15. They who have come to the light of their transcendent vision, fix their sight to brighter views beyond the sphere of visibles; and discern the invisible exposed to their view.

16. They who have come to the vision of transcendent light (the glory of God), have their slow and silent motion like that of a hidden water course; owing to their heedlessness of everything in this world.

17. They who are regardless of the visibles and thoughtless of the affairs of the world, are like those that disentangled from their snares; and they are truly wise, who meddle with their business as freely, as the free airs of heaven gently play with and move the leaves of trees.

18. They who have come to sight of the transcendent light, athwart the dizzy scenes of mortal life; are not constrained to the course of this world, as seafarers are not to be pent up in shallow and narrow pools and streams. (Sailors are glad to be in the wide ocean, than to ply in the waters of inland creeks).

19. They that are slaves of their desire (of enjoyment in this and next life), are bound to the thraldom of works ordained by law and sruti; and thus pass their lives in utter ignorance of truth. (Hence knowledge and practice are opposed to one another, the one being a state of bondage for some frail good and gain, and the other of freedom and lasting bliss).

20. The bodily senses fall upon carnal pleasures, as vultures pounce upon putrid carrion; curb and retract them therefore with diligence, and fix thy mind to meditate on the state of Brahma and the soul.

21. Know that Brahma is not without the creation, as no gold is without its form and reflection; but keep yourself clear from thoughts of creation and reflection, and confine your mind to the meditation of Brahma, which is replete with perfect bliss.

22. Know the nature of Brahma to be as inscrutable, as the face of the universe is indiscernible, in the darkness of the chaotic state at the end of a Yuga age; when there was no appearance of anything, nor distinction of conduct and manners. (See Manu's institutes I. 2).

23. And the elements of production existing in the consciousness of divine nature, were in their quiescent agitation in the divine spirit; as the movements of flimsy vapours amidst the darkness of an immovable and wide spreading cloud. (So are the fickle thoughts of the firm mind, and the moving engines of the fixed machine).

24. And as the particles of water are in motion, in a still pond and in the standing pool; so are the changing thoughts of the changeless soul, and so the motions of the element bodies in unchanging essence and nature of God.

25. As the universal and undivided sky and space, take the names of the different sides of heaven (without having any name or side of its own); so the undivided and partless Brahma, being one and same with the creation, is understood as distinct and different from it.

26. The world contains the egoism, as the ego contains the world in it; they contain the one within the other, as the coats of the plantain tree contain and are contained under one another.

27. The living soul or jiva being possessed of its egoism, sees its internal world (which lies in its egoism), through the pores of the organs of sense, as lying without it; in the same manner, as the mountains look upon the lakes issuing out of its caverns, as if they outward things altogether. (So the mental and internal world appears as a visibly external phenomenon).

28. So when the living soul sees itself by mistake, to any thing in the world (i.e. in the light of an object); it is the same as one takes a ball or bar of gold, for an ornament which was or is to be made of it. (So the soul residing in any body at any time, is not that body itself but the indwelling power thereof).

29. Hence they that are acquainted with the soul, and are liberated in their life time (or become jivanmukta); never think themselves to be born or living or dying at any time (though they are thought and looked upon as such by others. The soul being eternal and unchangeable).

30. Those that are awakened to the sight of the soul, are employed in the actions of life without looking at them; (without taking heed of them in their hearts); just as a householder discharges his domestic duties, while his mind is fixed at the milk pot in the cowstall.

31. As the God Virat is situated with his moon like appearance, in the heart of the universal frame, so does the living soul reside in the heart of every individual body like a little or large dew drop, according to the smallness or bigness of the corporeal body.

32. This false and frail body believed to be a solid reality, on account of its tripartite figure; and is mistaken for the ego and soul, owing to the intelligence that is displayed and dwells in it.

33. The living soul is confined like a silkworm, in the cell of its own making Karma-Kosha, by acts of its past life, and resides with its egoism in the seed of its parents, as the floral fragrance dwells in the honey cups of flowers.

34. The egoism residing in the seminal seed, spreads its intelligence throughout the body from head to foot; as the moon-beams are scattered throughout the circumference of the whole universe.

35. The soul stretches out the fluid of its intelligence, through the openings of its organs of sense; and this being carried to the sides through the medium of air, extends all over the three worlds, as the vapour and smoke fill and cover the face of the sky.

36. The body is full of sensibility, both in its inner as well as outer parts; but it is in the viscera of the heart, where our desires (vasana) and egoism (abhimana) are deeply seated.

37. The living soul is composed of its desires only, and consists of and subsists under its hearty wishes alone, the same soon come out of themselves from within the heart, and appear on the outside in the outward conduct of the person. (Whatever is in the heart, the same appears also in action).

38. The error of egoism is never to be suppressed, by any other means whatsoever; save by one's unmindfulness (nis-chitta) of himself, and fulness of divine presence (Brahmai karasya) in his calm and quiet soul.

39. Though dwelling on your present thoughts, yet you must rely in your reflection of the vacuous Brahma;by suppression of your egoism by degrees and your self-controul betimes.

40. They who have known the soul, manage themselves here without fostering their earthly thoughts any more; and remain as silent images of wood, without looking at or thinking of any thing at all.

41. He who has less of earthly thoughts in him, is said to be liberated in the world; and though living in it, he is as clear and free in his mind as the open air (no earthly affections, tie down his rising soul).

42. The egoism which is bred in the pith, grows into intelligence extending from head to foot; and circulates throughout the whole body, as the sun beams pervade all over the sphere of heaven.

43. It becomes the sight of the eyes, the taste of the tongue and hearing in the ears; then the five senses being fastened to the desires in the heart, plunge the ego into the sea of sensuality.

44. Thus the omnipresent intellect, becomes the mind after losing its purity; and is employed with one or other of the senses, as the common moisture of the earth, grows the sprout to in the vernal season.

45. He who thinks on the various objects of the senses, without knowing their unreality and the reality of the only one; and does not endeavour for his liberation here, has no end of his troubles in life. (Because sensible objects, afford no intellectual or spiritual happiness).

46. That man reigns as an emperor, who is content with any kind of food and raiment; and with any sort of bedstead at any place. (And is not confined to any particular mode of life).

47. Who with all his desires of the heart, is indifferent to all the outward objects of desire; who with his vacant mind is full with his soul, and being as empty vacuum is filled with the breath of life.

48. Who whether he is sitting or sleeping, or going anywhere or remaining unmoved, continues as quiet as in his sleeping state; and though stirred by any one, he is not awakened from his slumber of nirvana, in which his mind and its thoughts, are all drowned and have become extinct. (This is the state of the sixth stage of Yoga meditation).

49. Consciousness though common to all, resides yet in each breast, like fragrance in flowers and flavour in fruits.

50. It is self-consciousness only, that makes an individual person, and its extinction is said to form the wide world all about; but being confined to the soul or one's self, it vanishes the sight of the world from view. (i.e. The subjective consciousness is the soul or self, and its objectivity makes the world; and this is the abstract of this doctrine).

51. Be unconscious of the objects on earth; and remain insensible of all your prosperity and affluence: make your heart as hard as impenetrable as stone, if you will be happy forever.

52. O righteous Rama! convert the feeling of your heart to unfeelingness, and make your body and mind as insensible as the hardest stone (upala or opal).

53. Of all the positive and negative acts, of the wise and unwise sets of men, there is nothing that makes such a marked difference between them, as those proceeding from the desire of the one, and those from want of the desire of the other.

54. The result of the desired actions of the unwise, is their stretching out of the world before them; while that of the acts done without desire by the wise, serves to put an end to the world before them. (The acts of desire produce repeated births in the world, while the other puts an end to the future transmigrations of the soul).

55. All visibles are destructible, and those that are destroyed come to be renewed to life; but that which is neither destroyed nor resuscitated, is thyself—thy very soul.

56. The knowledge of existence (of the world), is without its foundation; and though it is thought to be existent, it is not found to be so in reality; it is as the water in the mirage, which does not grow the germ of the world.

57. The right knowledge of things, removes the thought of egoism from the mind; and though it may be thought if in the mind, yet it takes no deep root in the heart, as the burnt seed or grain does not sprout forth in the ground.

58. The man that does his duties or not, but remains passionless and thoughtless and free from frailty; has his rest in the soul, and his nirvana is always attendant upon him.

59. Those who are saintly calm and quiet by the controul of their mind, and by suppression of the bonds (appetites) for enjoyments; but not having weakened (governed) their natures, have in their hearts a mine of evils.

60. The wise soul is full of light like the cloudless sky, and is distinguished from others by its brightness; but the same soul which is alike in all, appears as dim as the evening twilight in the ignorant.

61. As a man seated in this place, sees the light of heaven (heavenly bodies), as coming to him from a great distance, and filling the intermediate space; so the light of the Supreme soul fills and reaches to all.

62. The infinite and invisible intellect, which is as wondrous as the clear vacuum of the sky; conceives and displays this wonderful world, within the infinitude of its own vacuity.

63. The world appears to the learned and unerring, and those who have got rid of the error of the world, and rest in their everlasting tranquillity, as a consumed and extinguished lamp; while it seems to all common people, to be placed in the air, by the will of God and for the enjoyment of all. (The two opposite views of the world with the learned and ignorant).