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 XXXVIII - Disquisition of nirvana—quietism

Argument:—Exposition of the Error of the Duality of the Intellect and Intelligibles, and establishment of the unity of the world with the Intellect by legitimate Reasoning.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. The Intellect perceives the world raised before it, by the fallacy of its understanding; as a man beholds mountains in the sky, by the delusion of his eye sight.

2. The doctrines that the world is the creation of Brahma or of the mind, are both alike in substance; in as much as they regard it in an immaterial and not physical sense.

3. The world subsisting in our knowledge or consciousness of it, is same with its internal knowledge, and not as existing externally or out of our consciousness; and although it appears to be situated out of it, like the features of a picture appearing as prominent above their base, it is on a level with its plane. The original figure being contained in the substratum of our inner knowledge, the outward appearance is to be likewise known as the same also.

4. In our opinion there is no difference, between the two systems of the interior and exterior knowledge of the world; because both of them being of the form of our knowledge of them, the exterior shape is no reality at all.

5. Hence all things being the same with our intellectual knowledge of them, and this knowledge being indistinct and invariable in its nature, the distinctions of the changing scenes of the world can have no place in it (and must therefore be false and unreal).

6. Therefore I adore that omniscience which is the soul of all, in which all things exist and whence they all come to existence; which is all and displays all things in itself and pervades all infinity forever.

7. When the subjective intellectual power chinmaya, becomes united with the objective Chitya or intelligible world, by means of the intrinsic Chit or intellect; it is then that the visible or objective organs of sense drishyangas, get the sensation chaitanya of their objects and not otherwise.

8. As it is the intellect alone which is both the subjective as well as the objective, that is both the viewer and the view, the seeing and the sight also; it comes to the same effect, that the knowledge of all these, is derived from and dependent upon the main intellect.

9. If the subjective and objective be not alike in the intellectual soul, then the subjective and intellectual soul, can have no perception of the objective and material world. (Because matter cannot enter into the intellect, but by the ideas of things which are of an intellectual nature).

10. It is from their intellectual nature, that the objective world is perceived in the subjective soul; just as a drop of water mixes with the body of waters, owing to the similarity of the natures. (Things of the same kind easily combine with one another, by their natural affinity), otherwise there is no combination of them as of two pieces of wood.

11. When there is no homogeneous affinity between two things as between the intellect and a log of wood, there can be no union between them; nor can two pieces of wood know one another, owing to their want of intellect.

12. As the two pieces of wood have [no] knowledge of one another, owing to their dull insensibility; so nothing insensible can be sensible of any thing, save the intellect which is conversant with intellectuals only.

13. The great intellectual soul, beholds the world as one with itself in its intellectual light; and sees the material bodies settled as a rock in it, without their properties of life or motion.

14. Life, understanding and other faculties, are the products of intellection, [by] which the wonderful property of the intellect, rises spontaneously in itself.

15. The essence of Brahma exists and exhibits itself in the form of the quiescent universe, and is personified as the male agent of creation, by his seminal seed resembling the minute seed of a fig fruit.

16. There is first of all a small seed, which developes itself to a tree; but that first seed had another smaller seed before, from which it was produced. Thus the primary or initial seed being the minutest of the latter ones, is contained in and let out as an effluvium of the Supreme soul.

17. Brahma is the first and minutest soul of all, which gives to innumerable souls as its seeds; the inner ones abiding in the spirit of God, are known as spirit; and the grosser sorts known as things, are wrongly considered as otherwise, though they are of the same nature with their original.

18. As a thing is the same thing and not different from itself, whether it is placed above or below; so everything is the selfsame Brahma, in whatever state or form it may appear unto us.

19. As gold is no other than gold, in the various (lit. a hundred different) forms of golden trinkets; so the invariableness of the unchangeable spirit of God, continues the same in all the changing scenes and varieties in nature.

20. As the clouds of the shadowy dreams that hang over your mind, are in no way related to you; so the great bustle of creation and its dissolution, bear no relation to my vacuous soul, nor disturb the even tenor of my mind.

21. As the blueness and moistness, which are attributed to the vacuous atmosphere of heaven, are nothing in reality; and as the legions of siddha spirits, which are supposed to traverse the regions of air, are but deceptions of our eye sight; such is the pageant of the world but an empty air and fallacy of our vision.

22. It is the desire of the heart and the false fancy of the mind, that leads out within us and brings forth the fruit of the world; just as the dirty water at the bottom of the earth, moistens the seed that produces a big tree in time.

23. The wise man that forgets his egoism, becomes one with the Supreme spirit; and by reducing himself like a bit of rotten straw, becomes an anima or a minimum particle of the divine soul.

24. I find no one among the gods, demigods and mankind in the three worlds, who wishes to approach to that Great Spirit, who has the whole world as a hair upon his body.

25. He who knows the unity of the soul of the universe, is free from the thought of a duality, in every state of his life, and wherever he may be situated. (The monotheist sees the One soul in all places and all kinds of beings).

26. Who has a great soul, and views the world and all as a mere vacuity and nothing in reality; how can he have any desire for unspiritual and sensible objects.

27. He who is indifferent to, and unconcerned with the endless particulars of the world; and who views the existent and inexistent in the same light, is truly a great soul and beyond all praise.

28. There is no living being that lives, or has any property for ever, it is only the inner consciousness that shows the various appearances in the empty space of the mind. (Note. Our friends and properties are no lasting realities, except that our minds paint them as such unto us).

29. In vain do men think of their life and death, in this world of nullity; neither of them is anything in reality, but as false as the flowing and ebbing of waters in the mirage of life.

30. Upon due examination, this error vanishes from view with its cause also; and then it appears that there is nothing as life or death, beside the existence of the imperishable one. (Note. Our life is no life, since we live in death; and our death is no death, since we die to live again).

31. That man is said to have gone across the ocean of the world, who has withdrawn himself from the sight of visibles; who is quiet and content with himself, and who while he is living, reckons himself with the dead and as nothing.

32. Our nirvana extinction is said to be the cessation of our mental actions, like the extinguishing of a burning flame or lamp; it is assimilation into the quiescent spirit of God, and continuance in the hebetude of a holy saint.

33. Again he is called the mukta or liberated, who finds no delight either in the noumenal or phenomenal (i.e. either in his mental functions or visual operations); but remains as quiet and quite aloof from all as the intangible vacuum.

34. I speak of my ego from my want of reason, but reason points out no egoism in me;hence the want of any sense in the word ego, makes the existence of the world quite null and void to me (who am a mere nullity myself). (So says the Persian mystic Ke man Khodra namedanam; I know not my very self).

35. The intellect is a mere vacuum, and our consciousness (which is also a vacuous substance), gives us the knowledge of the nature of our inner understanding; the mind (which is a void likewise), views the external appearances agreeably to its internal ideas (Hence all things are but airy nothing without their substantiality).

36. Now the real entity of your soul, will become truly blessed in itself, by your getting the mind, freed from all its objects at all places and times. (The mind being the mirror of soul), and by thy doing everything in the name of God. (In every work begin and end with God).

37. Whatsoever thou doest or eatest, anything thou givest or offerest in sacrifice; and whatever thou seest, killest or desirest know them all to proceed from God. (Here man's free will is denied, and all human actions are believed as ordained by God).

38. All that we call as ourselves or yourselves and all others, what we name as space, time and the sky, mountains &c.; all these together with the actions of all, are supported by and full of the power and spirit of God.

39. The vision of our eyes and the thoughts of the mind, the world and its three times;and all our diseases, death and decay, are all the phenomena appearing in the vacuity of the Divine Intellect.

40. Remain if you can as a silent sage, unseen and unknown by men, and without any desire, thought or effort on your part; remain as a lifeless thing, and this is the extinction of a living being. (The torpidity of the body combined with mental inactivity constitutes the coolness of the soul).

41. Be freed from your thoughts and desires, and remain fixed in the eternal One without any care for anything; you may be busy or sit easy, like the air when it breathes or is calm and still.

42. Let your manliness be above the feelings of desire and affections, and let your thoughts be directed by rules of the sastras, and your action by the motion of a clock or watch, which act their outward movement.

43. Look on all beings, without the show of fondness or disfavour (or love or hatred) to any one; be you an inconspicuous light of the world, resembling a lighted lamp in a picture (which never burns). (Here the hidden light is opposed to the sacred text. No one lights a lamp to put it under a bushel).

44. The man that has no desire nor any object in view, and has no relish in carnal and sensual enjoyments; can have no other delight except in his inquiries after truth by the light of the sastras. He who has his mind purified by the teachings of the sastras and the precepts of holy men, finds the inscrutable truth shining vividly in his consciousness of it.