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 XXXIV - Sermon on the practice of spiritual yoga

Summary: Sermon on the practice of spiritual yoga or intellectual meditation.

Argument:—Elucidation of the doctrine that, the best [way] of avoiding worldly affairs, is to refrain from mixing with them.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. The man who is lost in the pleasure or under the pains, which fall to his share in this life, is lost for ever for the future; but he who is not thus lost (by keeping his soul aloof from the vicissitudes of life), is pronounced to be imperishable by the verdict of the sastras.

2. He who has his desires always rising in his mind, is ever subject to the changes of his fortune; therefore it is proper to give up desire at first, in order to prevent the alternation of pain and pleasure.

3. The error that this is I and that the world, does not attach to immortal soul; which is tranquil and unsupported, quite dispassionate and undecaying in itself.

4. That this is I, that is Brahma, and the other is the world, are verbal distinctions that breed error in the mind; by attributing different appellations, to one uniform and invariable void that is ever calm and quiet (This is the eternal vacuum of Vasishtha, beside which there is nothing else in existence).

5. Here there is no ego nor world, nor the fictitious names of Brahma and others; the all pervading One being quite calm and all in all, there is no active or passive agent at all in this place (or vacuity).

6. The multiplicity of doctrines and the plurality of epithets, which are used to explain the true spirit and inexplicable One, are null and refutable, and among them the word ego in particular, is altogether false and futile.

7. The man absorbed in meditation does not see the visibles, as the thoughtless person has no perception of the ghost standing in his presence; and as one sleeping man does not perceive the dreams, occurring to another sleeping by his side, nor hear the loud roar of clouds, in the insensible state of his sound sleep.

8. In this manner the courses of the spirits are imperceptible to us, though they be continually moving all about us; because it is our nature to perceive what you know of, and never know anything, which is without or beyond our knowledge.

9. Knowledge also being as our soul, shows all things like itself (i.e. as we have their ideas or representations of them in our mind);therefore our knowledge of the ego and the world beside, is not separate from the soul and the Supreme soul also.

10. So our knowledge (idea or notion), manifests itself in the form of the world before us; in like manner as our dreams and desires (or imaginations), represent the same as true to us. These various manifestations of the inward soul, are no way different from it, as the waves and bubbles are no other than the water, whence they take their rise.

11. Notwithstanding the identity of the soul, and its manifestations of knowledge, notion, idea and others; they are considered as distinct things by ignorant thinkers, but the learned make no distinction whatever, between the manifestation and its manifesting principle.

12. As the integral soul becomes a component body, by its assuming to itself all its members and limbs; so the eternally undivided spirit of God, appears to be multiplied in all parts of the world, and various works of creation.

13. So the intellect contains numberless thoughts in itself, as a tray holds a great many golden cups in it; and whenever this intellect is awake, it sees innumerable worlds appearing before it.

14. It is Brahma himself that shines in his brightness, in the form of this fair creation; by being dissolved throughout the whole, in his liquified form of the Intellect, as the sea shows itself in the changing forms of its waves.

15. Whatever is thought of in the mind, the same (thought or idea) appears in the form of the world &c., and the formless thought takes a definite form; but what is not in the mind, never appears to view.

16. The word intellection and want of thought, are both applied to the Supreme Intellect, from its almighty power to assume either of them to itself; this sort of expression is for the instruction of others, or else there are no such states, appertaining to the ever intelligent soul in reality.

17. The world is neither a reality nor unreality, but exhibits itself as such by intellection of the intellect; but as it does not appear in absence of intellection, the same is inculcated in this lecture. (i.e. Never think of the world or anything at all, and it will vanish of itself withal).

18. Intellection and its absence, are as the agitation and stillness of the soul; and both of these being under your subjection, it is quite easy and never difficult for you to restrain yourself, by remaining as still as a piece of stone.

19. An appearance which has neither its essence or substance, and any assignable cause for its existence, is the very nature of this egoism of ours, which we know not whence it has appeared as an apparition before us.

20. It is very strange that this apparition of your ego, which has no entity in reality; should take such possession of your mind, as to make you insensible of yourself.

21. It is by accident that one happens to observe (or resolve) the ego, in the person of the impersonal Brahma; just as a man by deception of his eye sight, comes to descry an arbour in the sky.

22. If my ego and the world are really the same with Brahma, then how and whence is it that [they have] come to have their production and dissolution, and what is the cause of our joy or sorrow in either of these cases.

23. It is by the almighty power of God, that this world of thought (or the ideal world), comes to be visible to sight; but as the absence of thought of it, prevents its appearance into us; there be thoughtless of it in order to avoid its (repeated) sight (in repeated births).

24. It is by mere accident that the vacuous (empty) mind of Brahma, exhibits the ideal world in itself; just as any man dreams a fairy city, or sees the objects of his desire and fancy in his mind. How then is it possible to separate the contained from the containing mind?

25. The creation abides in the divine mind, in the same manner, as the waves appertain to the sea and statue inheres in the wood; and as the relation of pots and other things is with the earth, so do all things pertain to the nature of Brahma.

26. As all things appear in their formless (immaterial) state, in the unsubstantial and transparent vacuity of the mind; so doth the ego and this world also appear in the divine mind: (in the same manner as the shapeless clouds appear in the clear and empty sky, and exhibit afterwards their various shapes).

27. As the air by its natural inflation, breathes out in various sorts of breezes, so One whose nature is unknown, evolves himself in every form of the ego of each individual and of the world. (The breezes are said to be forty-nine in number. The nature of God is called avidya—ignorance or what we know not). The meaning is that, as the formless and vacuous air produces all sorts of winds. So doth God who is nihsabhava without and beyond sabhava nature produce all natures.

28. As the formless smoke or vapour, presents the forms of elephants, horses, &c., in the empty clouds; so doth the unsubstantial spirit of God, represent the formless ego, tu and all things beside in itself.

29. The creation is a component part, of the unknown body of Brahma, as the leaves and branches are those of the tree; and it contains both its cause and effect of the other.

30. Knowing the impossibility of the existence of the world, beside the self ever existent soul; remain at peace and without trouble within thyself. Be free from attributes and errors, and remain as free and detached as the free, open and void space.

31. Know that neither you nor ourselves, nor the worlds nor the open air and space, are ever in existence; and that Brahma alone is ever existent, in his eternal tranquillity, calmness and fulness.

32. Seeing the endless particulars in the universe, do thou remain free from all particularities as I, myself, thou, thyself &c., and think thyself in the sole and Supreme One, if thou shalt have thy liberation.

33. Know the knowledge of the particulars, is for thy bondage alone to them, and thy ignorance of them lends only to thy liberation (from all these trammels). Sit as thou art and doing thy business, in thy state of tranquillity and total nescience of everything.

34. Let not the visibles attract thy sight, nor allow their thoughts engross thy mind; thus the world disappearing with thy thoughtlessness of it, say what else have you to think about.

35. The absence of the states of the visible and its looker i.e. of the subjective and objective, resembling the state of the waking sleeper, will make remain as void of thoughts, as the vault of the autumnal sky is devoid of clouds.

36. The Knowledge of the action of the divine Intellect, as distinct from the invariable of Brahma, is the cause of our making a distinction of the creation from its creator; just as our knowledge of the difference of the wind from air, causes us to think of their duality. It is therefore our want of this distinction, and the knowledge of the unity of Brahma, that leads us to our liberation.

37. The knowledge of the inflation of the divine spirit, is verily the cause of our knowledge of the world; whereas the absence of this knowledge, and want of our own intellection, is what is called our nirvana or utter extinction in God.

38. As the seed is conscious of the sprout growing out of it to be of its own kind, so the divine Intellect knows the the world that is produced from it, to be self-same with itself.

39. As the seed becomes the plant from its conception of the same in itself, so the divine Intellect becomes the creation itself from its concept of the same.

40. As the thoughts are but the various modifications of the mind, so the creation is a modality of the divine Intellect; and in this case all kinds of seeds serve as instances, of having their products of the same nature.

41. The world is the changeless form of the unchanging essence of One, and know to be as unchangeable and undecaying as One, himself, who is without beginning and end.

42. The divine soul is replete with its innate will, whereby it produces and destroys the world out of and into itself;this form of unity and duality, is as the appearance and disappearance of an imaginary city.

43. As you have no distinct idea of the things, expressed by the words sky and vacuum; so must you know the words Brahma and creation to bear no distinction in the divine spirit. (Creation being but the breathing or inflation of the spirit and inseparable from it).

44. The great Intellect or omniscience, which is the sempiternal form of divine essence, has the knowledge of the ego coeternal with itself, which men by ignorance assume to themselves.

45. There is nothing that ever grows or perishes in the mundane form of Brahma, but everything rises and falls in it like the undulation of the sea, to rise and fall in all way and never to be lost in any way.

46. All things being of the form of Brahma, remain in the selfsame Brahma; as all spaces remain in the infinite space and all waves and billows rise and fall in the same sea.

47. Wherever you are placed and whenever you have time, attend but for a moment to the (subjective) nature of the soul in your consciousness (without minding any of the objects), and you will perceive the true ego.

48. The sages, O Rama, have said of two states of our consciousness, namely its sensible and insensible states; now therefore be inclined to that which thou thinkest to be attended with thy best good, and never be forgetful of it. (i.e. Attach thyself to the subjective side of it, in disregard of the objective).