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 XXXI - Sermon on the means of attaining the nirvana (extinction)

Argument:—Refutation on the falsity of imagination, and the ideal creation of the world; establishing the true God, who is all in all, and who remains ever the same.

Vasishtha said:—

He who has devoted his whole soul to the contemplation of the Intellect, and feels the same stirring within himself, and knows in his mind the vanity and unreality of all worldly things (is the person whose soul is said to be extinct in the deity).

2. By habituating himself to this sort of meditation, and seeing the outward objects in his perceptive soul, he views the external world, as an appearance presenting before him in his dream.

3. All this is verily the form of the Intellect, represented in a different garb. The intellect is rarer than the pure air, but collects and condenses itself as the solid world, and recognizes itself as such; wherefore the world is no other than the consolidated intellect, and there is nothing beside this anywhere.

4. It has no dissolution or decay, nor it has its birth or death; it is neither vacuity nor solidity, it is neither extension nor tenuity, but it is all and the Supreme one and nothing in particular.

5. Nothing is lost by the loss of egoism, and of this world also; the loss of an unreality is no loss at all, as the loss of anything in our dream, is attended with loss of nothing.

6. Nothing is lost at the loss of an imaginary city, which is altogether a falsity; so nothing is destroyed by the destruction of our egoism and this unreal world.

7. Whence is our perception of the world, but from a nullity; and if it is granted as such, then there is nothing that can be predicated of it, any more than that of a flower growing in the air (which is a nullity).

8. The conclusion arrived at last after mature thought in respect to this is, that you must remain as you are and as firm as a rock in the state in which you are placed, and in the conduct appertaining to your own station in life.

9. The world is the creation of thy fancy as thou wishest it to be, and there are the peculiar duties attached to thy station in all thy wanderings through life; but all these cease at once at the moment (of your divine meditation), and this is the conclusion arrived at (by the joint verdict of the sastras). (Every one cuts his own course in life, which ceases no sooner he thinks of its nihility. So it is said:—do thy duties till thy death but the thought of thy living in death, puts a

stop to thy course all at once. sanchintya mrituyncha tamugra dantang, sarvey projutna shithila vabanti).

10. All this is inevitable and unavoidable in life, and is avoided only by divine meditation; in which case the whole creation vanishes into nothing, and there is no more any trace of it left behind. (i.e. In a future life or transmigration).

11. The unholy souls that view the creation, appearing before them like the dreams of sleeping men; are called sleeping souls, which behold the world rising before them, like the waving waters in a mirage.

12. Those who consider the unreality (of the world) as a reality, we know not what to speak of them, than with regard to the offspring of barren women. (i.e. the impossibility of the existence of either of them).

13. The souls of those that have known the true God, are as full as the ocean with heavenly delight; because they do not look upon the visible objects, nor do the visible ever fall under sight or notice.

14. They remain as calm as the still air, and as sedate as the unshaking flame of a lamp;and they continue to be quite at ease both [as] they are employed or unemployed in action.

15. As a minute atom makes a mountain, so the atomic heart becomes full when it is employed in business; and yet the cold-heartedness of the wise seer, continues the same as ever before. (i.e. The mind of the wise man, is not ruffled by the bustle of business).

16. The wish makes the man, though it is not seen by anyone; it is the cause of the world (worldly affairs), though it is not perceived by any body. (The wish being master to the thought—the master of action).

17. What is done by oversight or in ignorance, is undone or foiled by sight or knowledge of it; as for instance the thefts and other wicked acts, which are carried on in the darkness, disappear from sight before the blaze of daylight.

18. All beings composed of the fleshy body and the five elemental substances, are altogether unreal as the gross productions of error only; and so are the understanding, mind, egoism and other mental faculties, of the same nature and not otherwise.

19. Leaving aside both the elemental and mental parts and properties of your body, you attain to the purely intellectual state of your soul, which is called to be your liberation.

20. Attachment to the intellect and adherence to the intellectual thoughts, being once secured there will be end to the view of visibles, and there will be no more any appearance of fancy in the mind, nor any desire or craving rising in the heart.

21. But who has fallen into the error of taking the visibles for true, his sight of the unreal prevents his coming to the view of the true reality; and he finds at the end, that the visible world is but a mirage, and is never faithful to any body at any place.

22. So he finds the falsity of the world, whose soul has risen to its enlightenment within himself; but who ever happens to have the remembrance of the world in him, he comes to fall to the error of its reality again.

23. Therefore avoid your reliance in all worldly objects, and rely only on one who is simply as mere vacuum; and mind that is good [for] you not to remember the world any more, and that your forgetfulness of it altogether is best for you.

24. In your forgetfulness of the world you will find nothing to be seen or enjoyed in it, and nothing of its entity or nullity whatsoever; it is as well as it is all quiet and still as the calm and unruffled ocean for ever.

25. The whole visible world is Brahma himself, and as such, the ocean of it is to be understood as a positive reality; it is a bubble in His eternity, which is all quiet and calm after immersion of bubbles and waves.

26. Meek and tolerant men, are seen to be sedate and dispassionate in their worldly transaction; and to be resigned to the Supreme spirit in their souls. (Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven).

27. Or the saint whose soul is extinct in his god, has only his meekness remaining in him; and being devoid of all desire, he is unfit for all worldly concerns. (It his hard to attend equally to one's secular and spiritual concerns).

28. As long as one is not perfect in the extinction of his soul in the deity, he may be employed in the practice of his secular duties, by being devoid of passions, animosity and fear of any one. (This is enjoined for a devotee, till he reaches the seventh stage of his devotion).

29. The saint being freed from his passions and feelings of anger and fear and other affections, and getting the tranquillity of nirvana extinction in his mind, becomes as frigid as snow and remains as a block of stone forever.

30. As the pericarp contains the seed of the future flower in it, so the saint has all his thoughts and desires quite concealed in his inmost soul, and never gives any vent to them on the outside.

31. The mind wanders on the outside by thinking about the outer world, and so is it confined within itself by its meditation on the inner soul; such is the contemplation of the Supreme being, either as he is thought of or seen in spirit in the inner soul, or viewed himself to be displayed in his works of creation in the outer world. (The spiritual and natural adoration of God).

32. The outer world is no other than an external representation of the delusive dream, which is in the inside of ourselves; there is not the slightest difference between them, as there is none in the same milk, contained in two different pots only.

33. The motion or inertness and the fickleness or steadiness of the one or other of them, are no more than the effects of our lengthened delusion; and the state of one being the container of the other, makes no difference in them, as there is none between the containing ocean and the waves it contains.

34. The dreams that we see in sleep, are no other than operations of the mind, though they are supposed in our ignorance to be quite apart from ourselves.

35. He that remains in the manner of the Supreme soul, quite calm and tranquil and free from all fancy and desires, becomes (extinct in) the very soul, by thinking himself as such; but he never becomes so unless he thinks himself to be as so; (Hence the formula of daily meditation soham, "I am he", Atman bramatvena sambhavan).

36. The divine state is that of the perfect stillness of the soul (as in sound sleep), when there is not even a dream stirring in the mind; but what that state is or is not, is incomprehensible in the mind, and inexpressible in words. (It is, because we know it in our consciousness and it is not, because we know it not by the predicaments of space and time, and those of the container, contained, or any other category whatsoever).

37. Yet is this state made intelligible to us by instructions of our preceptors, and by means of the entire removal of our error as well as by our intense meditation of it; else there is no body to tell us what it really is. (The sastras tell us, what it is not; by their dogmas neti neti and tanna tanna; but never say a word about its real nature as idamasti).

38. It is therefore proper for you to remain entirely extinct in the external one and tranquil as the Divine spirit by giving up all your fear and pride, your griefs and sorrows, and your covetousness and all errors besides. You must forsake with these the dullness of your heart and mind, as also of your body and all its members, together with the sense of your egoism and the distinctions of things from the one perfect unity. (Knowing that "all are but parts of the one undivided whole").