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 XXVI - Manki's attainment of final extinction or nirvána.

Argument:—The vanity of Human wishes, and the tranquillity of Rational and spiritual speculation.

Vasishtha said:—

1. Thus the living soul, being let fall in the mazy path of his world, is encompassed by calamities and accidents as countless as the animalcules, which are generated in the rainy season.

2. All these accidents though unconnected with one another, follow yet so fast and closely upon each other, as the detached stone lying scattered and close together in the rocky desert, and linked in a lengthening chain of thought in the mind of man.

3. The mind blinded of its reason, becomes a wilderness overgrown with the arbour of its calamities, and yet appearing to be smiling as a vernal grove before men, by its feigned merriment and good humour. (Mirth and sorrow are both of them the effects of unreasonableness).

4. O how pitiable are all those beings! Who being bound to their subjection to hope, are subjected to divers states of pain and pleasure, in their repeated births in various forms on earth.

5. Alas for those strange and abnormal desires, which subject the minds of men, to the triple error of taking the non-existent to be actually present before them. (The triple error (Triputi bhrama) consists in the belief of the visibles, their vision and the viewer of them, that is, in the subject, act and objects of sight, which are all viewed as unreal in the light of vedanta).

6. Those who have known the truth, are delighted in themselves, they are immortal in their mortal life, and are diffusers of pure light all about them. What then is the difference between the sapient sage who is coldhearted in all respects, and the cooling moon (who cools and enlivens and enlightens the world with her ambrosial beams?).

7. And what is the difference between a whimsical boy and a covetous fool, who covets anything whatever at hand without any consideration of the past and future (good or evil which attends upon it).

8. What is the difference between the greedy fool and voracious fish or whale, that devours the alluring bait of pleasure or pain; and will not give up the line until they are sure to give up their lives for the same. (All seeming pleasure is real pain, and pain of both the body and soul of men).

9. All our earthly possessions whether of our bodies or lives, our wives, friends and properties, are as frail as a brittle plate made of sand, which no sooner it is dried and tried than it spurts and breaks to pieces.

10. O my soul! Thou mayst forever wander, in hundred of bodies of various forms in repeated births; and pass from the heaven of Brahma to the empyrean of Brahma; yet thou canst never have thy tranquillity, unless thou attainest the even insouciance of thy mind. (The stoic impassivity is the highest felicity).

11. The ties and bondage of the world, are dispersed by mature introspection into the nature of things; as the uneven ruggedness of the road, does not retard the course of the wayfarer walking with his open eyes.

12. The negligent soul becomes a prey to concupiscence and unruly passions, as the heedless passenger is caught in the clutches of demons;but the well-guarded spirit is free from their fright.

13. As the opening of the eyes, presents the visibles to sight; so doth the waking consciousness introduce the ego and phenomenal world into the mind. (i.e. Consciousness is the cause of both the subjective and objective).

14. And as the shutting of the eyelids, shuts out the view of the visible objects from sight; so, O destroyer of enemies, the closing of consciousness, puts out the appearance of all sights and thoughts from your eyes and mind (and this unmindfulness of everything besides, prepares the soul for the sight of the most high).

15. The sense of the existence of the external world, together with that of one's ego or self-existence, is all unreal and inane, it is consciousness alone that shows everything in itself and by the fluctuation of its erroneous; as the motion of winds displays the variegated clouds in the empty air. (It is the imaginative faculty of the mind, that creates and presents these phantoms before it).

16. It is the divine consciousness only, which exhibits the unreal phenomenals as real in itself, without creating anything apart or separate from its own essence; in the same manner as earth or any metal produces a pot or a jar out of itself, and which is no wise distinct or separate from its substance.

17. As the sky is only a vacuity, and the wind is a mere fluctuation of air; and as the waves are composed of nothing but water; so the world is no other than a phenomenon of consciousness: (because we have no knowledge of it without our consciousness of it).

18. The world subsists undivided in the bas-relief of consciousness, and without a separate existence of its own apart or disjoined in any part, from its substance or substratum of the conscious soul, which is as calm and clear as the empty air, and the world resembles the shadow of a mountain in the bosom of water, or a surge or wave rising on the surface of the sea.

19. There rises a calm coolness in the souls of wise and inexcitable sages, when the shining worlds appear as the cooling moon beams falling on the internal mirror of their minds.

20. How is it and by what means and in what manner, is this invisible supreme light, produced in the calm and quiet and all pervading auspicious soul, amidst the empty expanse of the universe. (Here is a double question of the production of uncreated light in creation and of the manifestation of divine and spiritual light in the quiet soul).

21. That essence which is expressed by the term Brahma, forms the essential nature and form of everything besides; and the same is permeated throughout all nature, except where it is obstructed by some preventive cause or other,—badha.

22. Anything which presents a hindrance to this, and whatever is preventive of the pervasion of divine essence, is a nullity in nature like a sky flower—akasa pushpa, which is nothing at all in nubibus.

23. The wise man sits quietly like a stone, without the action of even his inner and mental faculties; because the lord is without the reflection or sensation of anything, and without birth or decay at any time. (Here the mind and its workings, are explained as vikalpana or changing thoughts, which are wanting in the eternal mind).

24. He who remains insensible and unconscious of every thing, like the empty state of the open sky; arrives by his constant practice to his state of sound sleep or hypnotism without the disturbance of dreams.

25. But how is it to be known that the world is the mere thought or will of the Divine mind? Whereto it is said: It is the creative power of Brahma (called Brahma or Hiranyagarbha—the demiurgus), thought of forming the wondrous world in his mind (as it were he pictured it in himself), without the aid of any tool or instrument or means or ground for its construction; hence (it is plain), the world is merely ideal and nothing real, nor is there any cause or creator of it whatsoever.

26. As the lord stretches out the world in his thought, he or it instantly becomes the same; and as the lord is without any visible form, so this seeming world has no visible nor material form whatever; nor is there any framer of what is simply ideal.

27. So all men are happy or unhappy, as they think themselves to be one or the other in their minds; they all abide in the same universal soul, which is common to all; and yet believe themselves every one of his own kind in his mind.

28. Therefore it is as vain to view anything, or any intellectual being, in the light of an earthly substance, as it is false to take the visionary hills of one's dream, in the light of their being real rocks situated on earth.

29. By assigning egoism to one's self, he becomes subject to error and change; but the want of egoism, places the soul to its invariable identity and tranquillity. (i.e. The sense of one's personality, subjects him to change and misery).

30. As the meaning of the word bracelet, is nothing different from the gold (of which it is made);so the sense of thy false egoism, is no other than that of the tranquil soul. (The soul, self, and ego are all the one and same thing).

31. The anaesthetic sage, that is cold-blooded and sober minded as a silent muni, is no voluntary actor of any act, although he may be physically employed in his active duties; and the quiet saint carries with him an empty and careless mind, although it may be full of learning and wisdom. (Lit. the knower of God is as quiet, as the calm vacuum of heaven).

32. The wise man manages himself as a mechanical figure or puppet, never moving of its own motion but moving as it is moved, and having no impulse of his desire within him, he sits as quiet as a doll without its mobility.

33. The wise man that knows the soul, is as quiet as a babe sleeping in a swinging cradle, and which is moved without moving itself; or he moves the members of his body like a baby, without having any cause for his doing so.

34. The soul that is intent on the thought of the one (Supreme) only, and is as calm and quiet as the infinite spirit of God; becomes unconscious of itself and all other things, together with all its objects of desire, and expectations of its good and bliss.

35. He that is not the viewer himself, nor has the view before him, and is exempt from the triple condition (triputi bhaba) of the subjective, objective and action; can have no object in his view; which is concentrated in the vision of the invisible one.

36. Our view or regard of the world, is our strict bondage, and disregard of it, is our perfect freedom; he who rests therefore in his disregard of (or indifference to) whatever is expressed by words, has nothing to look after or desire.

37. Say, what is it that is ever worth our looking after, or worthy of our regard; when these material bodies of ours, are as evanescent as our dreams, and our self-existence is a mere delusion. (There is nothing therefore worthy of our inquiry beside the divine intellect. gloss).

38. Therefore the wise man rests only in his knowledge of the true one, by subjection of all his efforts and desires, and quelling all his curiosity; and being devoid of all knowledge, save that of the knowable one.

39. Hearing all this, Manki was released from his great error; as a Snake gets loose from its slough by which it has been fast bound.

40. He retired from there to a mountain, on which he remained in his deep meditation for a century of years; and discharged the duties that occurred to him of their own accord, without his retaining any desire of any (or expectation of fruition).

41. He resides there still, unmoved and insensible as a stone, quite callous in all his senses and feelings, and wakeful with his internal sensibility by the light of his yoga contemplation.

42. Now Rama, enjoy your peace of mind, by relying in your habit of reasoning and discrimination; do not deprave your understanding, under the fits of your passion;nor let your mind turn to its levity like a fleeting cloud, in the unrainy season of autumn.