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 XXXII - Sermon inculcating the knowledge of truth

Argument:—Liberation depends on self-exertion; and upon good company, study of good books, and the habit of reasoning.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. Soon as intellection commences to act, it is immediately attended by egoism—the cause of the erroneous conception of the world; and this introduces a train of unrealities, as the stirring of air causes the blowing of winds. (It means to say that being misguided by avidya or ignorance, we are liable to fall into all sorts of error).

2. But when intellection is directed by vidya or reason, its fallacy of the reality of the world, does not affect us in any manner, if we but reflect it as a display of Brahma himself, (that he is all in all); but we are liable to great error, by thinking the phenomenal world as distinct from Him.

3. As the opening of the eyes receives the sight of external appearance, the opening of intellection doth in like manner receive the erroneous notion of the reality of the phenomenal world.

4. What appears on the outside, being quite distinct from the nature of the inner intellect, cannot be a reality as the other; and therefore this unreal show is no more, than the dancing of a barren woman's boy before one's eyes. (Which is nothing).

5. The intellect is perceived by its conception of the notions of things, but when we consider the fallacy of its conceptions, and its notion of the unreal as real, it appears to us as a delusion like the appearance of a ghost to boys.

6. Our egoism also is for our misery, from the knowledge that "I am such an one;" but by ignoring (or the want of) this knowledge of myself, that I am not this or that, loosens me from my bondage to it. Therefore I say, that our bondage and liberation, are both dependant on our own option. (But as the innate consciousness of the self or ego is impossible to ignore, yet it is possible to every body, to ignore his being any particular person whatsoever).

7. Therefore the meditation which is accompanied with self-extinction and forgetfulness of one's self, and the remaining of the moving and quick in the manner of the quiet and dead, is the calm tranquillity of holy saints, which ever the same, unaltered and without decay.

8. Therefore, ye wise men, do not trouble yourself as the unwise with the discrimination of unity and duality, and the propriety or impropriety of speech, all which is wholly useless and painful frivolity.

9. The covetous man with his thickening desires, meets with a train of ideal troubles, gathering as thickly about him, as the thronging dreams assailing his head at night. These proceeding from his fondness of outward and visible objects, and from the fond desires inwardly cherished within his heart, grow as thickly upon him as the creation of his wild fancy.

10. But the meek man of moderate desire, remains dormant in his waking state (as a waking sleeper); and does not feel the pain or fear the pangs of his real evils, by being freed from his hankering after temporary objects.

11. Hence the desire being moderated and brought under proper bounds, bears resemblance even to our freedom from its bonds; as we get rid of our once intense thought of something, by our neglect of it in course of time and changing events.

12. The entire curtailment of desires, is sure to be attended with liberation; as the total disappearance of frost and clouds from the sky, leaves the empty vacuum to view.

13. The means of abating our desires, is the knowledge of ego as Brahma himself (and particular person or soul); and this knowledge leads to one's liberation, as study of science and association with the wise, serve to convert ignorant men to sapience and knowledge.

14. In my belief there is no other ego but the one Supreme ego, and this belief is enough to bring men to the right understanding of themselves, and make their living souls quite calm and tranquil, and dead to the sense of their personality and self-existence.

15. The world appears as a duality or something distinct from the unity of God, just as the motion of the wind seems to be something else beside the wind itself, or the breathing as another thing than the breath; but this fallacy of dualism will disappear upon reflection of "how I or any thing else could be something of itself" (and unless it proceeded from the One everlasting unity).

16. That I am nothing is what is meant by extinction, and why then remain ignorant (of this simple truth); go, associate with the wise and argue with them, and you will so come to learn it (i.e. this truth).

17. It is in the company of those who are acquainted with truth, that you loosen the bonds of your worldly errors; just as darkness is dispelled by light, and the night recedes from before the advancing of the day.

18. Make it the duty of your whole life, to argue with the learned, concerning such like topics, as "what am I," and what are these visible objects; what is life and what this living soul, and how and whence they come into existence.

19. The world is seen to be full of animal life, and I find my egoism is lost in it; the truth of all this is learnt in a moment in the society of the learned, therefore betake thyself to the company of those luminaries of truth.

20. Resort one by one to all those that are wiser than thee in the knowledge of truth, and by investigation into their different doctrines, the spectre of your controversy (i.e. error), will disappear for ever. (Because the maxim says, "as many heads so many minds, and as many mouths so many verdicts", therefore examine them all and glean the truth).

21. As the spectre of controversy rises before the learned, in the manner of an apparition appearing before boys; so the error of egoism rises before them, in their attempt to maintain their respective arguments.

22. Let therefore the diligent inquirer after truth, attend separately to the teaching of every professor of particular doctrines; and then taking them together, let him consider in his own mind, the purport of their several preachings.

23. Let him weigh well in his own mind, the meanings of their several sayings, for the sharpening of his own reasoning, and accept the doctrine which is free from the flights of imagination and all earthly views.

24. Having sharpened your understanding by associating with the wise, do you cut short the growth of the plant of your ignorance by degrees, and by little and little (lit.—bit by bit).

25. I tell you to do so, because I know it is possible to you to do so; we tell you boys, accordingly as we have well known anything, and never speak what is improper or impracticable to you.

26. As the gathering or dispersion of the clouds in the sky, and the rising and sinking of the breakers in the sea, is no gain or loss to either, so the attainment or bereavement of any good whatever, is of no concern to the unconcerned sage or saint.

27. All this is as false as the appearance of water in the mirage, while our reliance in the everlasting and all pervading One, is as firm, secure and certain (as our supportance on a solid rock). By reasoning rightly in yourself, you will discover your egoism to be nowhere; how and whence then do you beget this false phantom of your imagination.