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 XXXIII - Sermon on the true sense of truth

Argument:—Causes of erroneous conceptions and false Imagination, our hankering for the future world and its remedy.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. Rama, if a man will not gain his wisdom by his own exertion, by his own reasoning and by the development of his understanding in the company of good men, then there is no other way to it.

2. If one will try to remove his mis-apprehensions and the false creations of his imagination, by the prescribed remedies of the sastras, he will succeed to change and rectify them himself, as they remove or remedy one poison by means of a counter poison.

3. All fancies and desires are checked by unfancying them, and this unfancifulness or undesirousness is the cause of liberation, by relinquishment [of] worldly enjoyment, which is the first step to it. (So says the sruti:—Renunciation of enjoyments, is the leader to liberation).

4. First consider well the meanings of words, both in your mind and utterance of them; and all the habitual and growing misconceptions will slowly cease and subside of themselves.

5. There is no greater error or ignorance in one's self, except the sense of his egoism; and this error having subsided by one's disregard of its accepted sense, it is not far from him to arrive at his liberation.

6. If you have the least reliance in your body and egoism, you surely lose the infinite joy of your unbounded soul; but by forsaking the feeling of your egoism or personality, you are freed from the bondage of your fondness for anything of this world, and become perfected in divine knowledge and blissfulness.

7. It is from want of understanding, that all these unrealities appear as real to the ignorant; but we venerate and bow down to the sage, who remains unmoved as a stone at all this.

8. Who from want of his sense of external objects, remains as cold as a stone, and being reclined in the Supreme spirit by the meditation of the Divine Mind in his own mind; sees but an empty void both within and all around himself. (This is called perfect liberation of the soul).

9. Whether there be or not be all these visibles, they tend alike to our misery; it is our thoughtlessness of them alone that conduces to our happiness, wherefore it is better to remain insensible of them, by shutting our senses against them. (Our happiness or misery does not depend on the presence or absence of things, but upon our disregard of or concern for them).

10. There are two very serious diseases waiting on mankind, in their cares for this as well as those of the next world; and both of these are attended with intolerable pains to the patients of both their temporal as well as spiritual maladies.

11. In this world the intelligent are seen to try all their best medicines in vain, to remove their inveterate diseases of hunger and thirst, by means of their remedies of food and drink, during the whole period of their lives; but there is no remedy whatever for to heal their spiritual maladies of sin and vileness, and avert their inevitable fate of death and rebirths in endless succession.

12. The best sort of men are trying to heal their spiritual maladies, and avert their future fate, by means of the ambrosial medicines of dispassionateness, keeping good company and improvement of their understanding.

13. Those who are careful to cure their spiritual complaint, become successful to get their riddance, by means of their desire of getting better, and by virtue of the best medicine of abstinence and refraining from evil. (Gloss. apathya tyaga &c.).

14. Whoever does not heal even now his deadly disease of sin, which is his leader to hellfire on future; let him say what remedy is left for him to try, after he has gone to the next world, where there is no balsam to heal the sickly soul.

15. Try all earthly medicines to preserve your life, from being wasted away by earthly diseases;and keep your souls entire for the next world, by the healing balm of spiritual knowledge in this life.

16. This life is but a breath, likens a tremulous dew drop, hanging at the end of a shaking leaf, and ready to fall down; but your future life is long, and enduring under all its variations, therefore heal it for the everlasting futurity.

17. By carefully attending to the treatment of spiritual diseases at present, you will not only be hale and holy in your soul in the next world, but evade all the diseases of this life, which will fly off afar from you.

18. Know thy conscious soul as an animalcule, which evolves itself into the form of this vast world; just as an atom contains a huge mountain in it, which evolves from its bosom in time.

19. As the evolution of your consciousness, presents to your view the forms that you have in your mind (i.e. ideals); so doth the phenomenon of the world appear in the womb of vacuum, and is no more real than a false phantasy.

20. Notwithstanding the repeated deluge and destruction of the visible earth, there is no change nor end of the false phantom of our mind, where its figure is neither destroyed nor resuscitated, owing to its being a phantasy only and no reality whatever. (It is possible to destroy the form of a, but not its idea in the mind).

21. Should you like to lift up your soul, from the muddy pit of earthly pleasures and desires, wherein it drowned forever; you must put forth your manly virtues, as the only means to this end, and without which there is no other.

22. The man of ungoverned mind and soul, is a dull-headed fool, and fallen in the miry pit of carnal desires; he becomes the receptacle of all kinds of danger and difficulty, as the bed of the sea is the reservoir of all the waters falling to it.

23. As boyhood is the first stage of the life of a man, and introduces the other ages for perfection of human nature; so the first step to one's self-extinction, is the renunciation of his carnal enjoyments, conducing to the subjection of passions.

24. The stream of the life of a wise man, is ever flowing onward with the undulations of events, without over[flowing] its banks or breaking its bounds; and resembles a river drawn in a picture, which is flowing without the current of its waters.

25. The course of the lives of ignorant people, runs with tremendous noise, like the precipitate current of rivers; it rolls onward with dangerous whirlpools, and flows on with its rising and setting billows (till it mixes with the sea of eternity).

26. Continuous creations and course of events, are transpiring with the succession of our thoughts; and appearing before us like the illusive train of our dreams, and the false appearance of two moons in the sky, and the delusion of mirage and apparitions rising to the sight of children.

27. So the incessant waves raised by the undulating waters of our consciousness, appears as the endless chain of created objects, rising in reality to our view; but being taken into mature consideration, they will appear to be as false and unreal, as they seem true and real to our erroneous apprehension of them.

28. It is said that [there] are worlds and the cities of Gandharvas and siddhas, contained in the concavity of the firmament, and it is supposed also that, the cavity of the sky is a reservoir of waters; but all these are but creations of the mind, and there [are] no such things in reality.

29. The worlds are as bubbles of water, in the ocean of the conscious mind; they are only the productions of the fanciful mind, and no such things, as they are thought to be; and the idea of ego, is but forms of our varying thoughts.

30. The expansion of consciousness is the course of unfolding the world, and the closing of it conceals the phenomenals from view; therefore these appearances are neither in the inside nor outside of us; and they are neither realities, nor altogether unreal also (but effects of the opening and shutting of our minds only).

31. There is one thing alone of the form of the intellect, which is unborn and unknown (in its true nature), and is the undecaying (i.e. everlasting) lord of all; it is devoid of substance and property, and is called Brahma or immensity, and tranquil spirit, which is as quiet and calm as the infinite void, are rarer than even the empty atmosphere.

32. There is no cause whatever, which can be reasonably assigned to the agitation, consciousness and creations of the spirit of Brahma; which being above nature is said to have no nature at all. Its agitation is as that of the air; whose cause is beyond all conception.

33. Brahma has his thoughts rising in him, as waves in the ocean of himself, and as our conscious[ness] of the dreams rising in our soul; and the nature of this creation is in reality, neither as that of his dream, or the wave produced from his essence. (It is hard to say, whether this is a thought of himself as a dream, or a part of him like a wave).

34. This much therefore can only be said of him that, there is only an unknowable unity, which is ever the same and never as quick as thought, nor even as dull as matter;it is not a reality or unreality, nor any thing this positive or negative. (In a word, it is nothing that [is] conceivable by the human mind).

35. The Yogi that remains in this insouciant state of Brahma, and insensible of his own consciousness (i.e. who is inexcitable both in his body and mind), such a person is said to be the best of sages and saints.

36. Who becomes inactive and inert as a clod of earth, even while he is alive; who becomes unconscious of himself and the outer world, and thinks of nothing (except the Supreme soul); he is said as the best of sages and saints.

37. As we lose sight of wished for objects, by ceasing to wish for them (such as the sights of fairy lands &c.); so we get rid of our knowledge of ourselves and the world, by our ceasing to think about them (by confining our thoughts in God alone).

38. All things expressed, in words have certain causes assigned to them; but the cause of their nature remains inexplicable, (whence nature—swabhava is said to be avidya or hidden ignorance). It is the cause of this prime nature (i.e. God), whose knowledge alone conduces to our liberations (from ignorance).

39. Nothing whatever has its particular nature of itself, unless it were implanted in it by the intelligence of God, as it were by infusion of the moisture of divine intelligence.

40. All our thoughts, are agitated by inspiration of the breath of the great intellect; know them therefore as proceeding from the vacuum of the entity of the supreme Brahma.

41. There is no difference whatever, in the different nature of the creator and creation; except it be as that of the air and its agitation, which are the one and same thing and of the same nature. The thought of their difference is as erroneous, as the sight of one's death in his dream.

42. An error continues so long, as the blunder does not become evident by the light of reasoning; when the error being cleared of its falsity, flies to and vanishes into the light and truth of Brahma.

43. Error being the false representation of something, flies away before a critical insight into it; and all things being but productions of our error, like our conception of the horns of hare, they all vanish before the light of true knowledge, which leaves the entity of Brahma only at the end.

44. Therefore give up all your errors and delusions, and thereby get rid of the burden of your diseases and decay; and meditate only on the One, that has no beginning, middle, or end, is always clear and the same, and full of bliss and felicity, and assimilate yourself to the nature of the clear firmament: (which according to Vasishtha is the nature and form of God).