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 XXXIX - Vasishtha's gita or sermon on the sweet peace of mind

Argument:—The inward composure of the enlightened soul and its view of the outer World.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. The man whose reliance in this world is really lessened, who is free from desire and unobservant of his religious vows (for the sake of future reward), knowing them to be all in vain (i.e. the vanity of human wishes).

2. Our egoism is as the vapour of our breath, falling and sticking on the surface of glass; which when taken under consideration, proves to be a causeless sight, and vanishes to nothing at all in a moment.

3. He who is unloosed from the veil of delusion, who has numbed his rising wishes and efforts; whose soul is filled with heavenly ambrosia (i.e. full of holy delight), it is he who is said to be happy in his very nature and essence. (Blest is the enlightened and contented soul).

4. The enlightened mind, that is unshrouded from the mist of doubts or scepticism; bears resemblance with the full-moon, by illuming the sphere of its circle, with the splendour of its intelligence.

5. The intelligent man who is freed from his worldliness and doubts, who has come out of the curtain of ignorance and received the light of truth; is known as the knowing soul, shining in the sphere of the autumnal sky. (So the sruti: the knower of the soul, is as luminous as the very soul).

6. The holy man likens the pure breeze of heaven, that blows freely from the region of Brahma, without any aim and without its support; it is cool in itself and cooling and purifying every thing by its touch.

7. The desire to have an unreality, is to expect something that is a nullity in nature; such as the dreaming of heaven, and seeking for the son of a barren woman. (The belief in a future heaven, which is countenanced in every scheme of religion, is negatived by Vasishtha).

8. So also is the belief of this imaginary world, which appears as something in existence; such is the nature of our desire also, which attributes a substantiality to an aerial nothing.

9. Thus the world being an unreality even at present, there can be no reality in a heaven or hell in future; and yet the use of these words is as false, as the negative expression of a barren woman's son, or a flower of the etherial arbour.

10. The world is truly the form of Brahma himself, and is neither an actual or ideal existence, nor does it rest on any support; so we are at a loss to understand what is in reality.

11. By relying in the tranquil nature of the soul, you lose your reliance in the natures of things, and your confidence in yourself; whereby you come to avoid the troubles concomitant with the whole creation and created beings. (Reliance in the soul, relieves the miseries of the world).

12. The sight of the intellect like the eye-sight of men, and the light of the luminaries of heaven, passes in a moment to the distance of millions of miles; just so does the sight of the divine intellect, stretch all over the unlimited space of creation in an instant.

13. The divine intellect is as unconceivable as the womb of vacuum, and as imperceptible as the calm and breathless air of the sky; and yet it is as joyous as a plant in full-bloom and blossom.

14. The learned know all living beings, to appertain the nature of that intellect; wherefore men of good intellect and judgment, place no faith in the creation of the world.

15. As we have no knowledge of the dreaming state in our sound sleep, nor that of sound sleep in our state of dreaming; just so is our error of creation and annihilation of the world. (That is to say: creation is as false as a dream, and extinction a quietus as sound sleep, neither of which relates to the ever-wakeful intellect of God).

16. Error is incidental to the nature of things, and sleeping and dreaming are properties accidental to the material body; hence neither do these nor the acts of creation and annihilation, (which are likened to them), relate to the omniscient and self-sufficient intellect.

17. Error is the unreal appearance of something, which flies before examination, and vanishes ere it may be laid hold upon. The shell appearing as silver is an unreality, because you cannot get your expected silver from it. (All is not gold that glitters).

18. Whatever is not obtained and unattainable is a nullity, and whatsoever is wrongly supposed (as obtainable), is impossible to be had; the thing that is unobtainable by its very nature, is never to be expected, as anything which is otherwise than and contrary to nature.

19. It is the nature of a thing, that agrees well with it at all times; and the invariability of any thing, can never admit of variety under any circumstance.

20. All that is natural, is attended with ease and delight; but the unnatural, is full of pain and misery; know and consider it well, and do what you think best (i.e. prefer the one or the other).

21. A minute seed containing a large tree, is an instance applying to the formless spirit of God, containing the form of the universe in itself. This is a dictum of the Veda.

22. Hence visual sight and sensations, mental thought and understanding, consciousness of ego or self, and all other properties belonging to intellectual man, are the original types of the transcendent spirit, as fluidity is immanent in water. All these intellectual and spiritual properties are of an airy or vacuous nature. (The properties of the adhyatma or intellectual soul, are but reflections of the pratyangatma or the spiritual soul of God).

23. As an embodied being discharges his bodily functions, by means of his material members and limbs, so doth spirit and spiritual beings conduct their spiritual functions like the air, without actually doing them? (Here hangs a long note on the mode of the spiritual actions).

24. It is by force and power of the spirit, that we mute creatures are enabled to utter the words I, thou &c.; which are mere meaningless sounds, as those emitted by a drum and bear no sense. (Sound is the gift of God, but its sense is conventional, and determined by consent of a people).

25. An appearance which vanishes on our insight into it, must be held as no appearance at all; so the formal and phenomenal world, which vanishes into the formless and invisible spirit of God, is nothing real or substantial of itself.

26. Those who are possessed of the dream of the world, are dreaming men, who being joined together with their dreams, are never united with the spirit of God, nor do they join the society of holy divines like ourselves.

27. All these men are identic with myself in spiritual light, being one with Brahma in the tranquil and vacuous nature of the selfsame spirit (pervading alike in all). But physically considered they are different from me, in as much as they are fluctuating in their busy course, like the vacillating winds in air (while the spirit of yogis is calm and quiet).

28. I who am full of the True One, appear as a dream or dreaming man to these daydreamers; while they are in reality as nil and naught to me, as the dream of a man drowned in the depth of his sleep. (A deep or sound sleeper, sees no dream at all).

29. Whatever be their conduct in life, my business is but with Brahma, and my living and reliance in Brahma only. Let others think and see whatsoever they like and do, they are all nil and nothing to me. (Care not about what others may think of or do to you).

30. I am nothing myself, but belong to the all pervading essence of Brahma, it is by means of the divine spirit, that the body appears as something and utters the word I etc.

31. The soul that is of the nature of pure consciousness, and not subject to the contrary sense (of its materiality), hath neither its desire for enjoyments or liberation; and so also they that know the Lord, have nothing else to desire.

32. The bondage and liberation of men, being dependent to their own dispositions; it is folly to foster a great ambition here, as it is foolishness to look for a sea in [a] cow's hoof-hole on the ground.

33. It is by restraining our natures, and mitigation of our wants, that it is possible for us to obtain our liberation here; or else no riches nor friends nor any of our endeavours, can serve to bring about the emancipation that is so eagerly sought by us.

34. The Intellect is stretched over all our thoughts about this imaginary world, as a drop of oil spreads over and diffuses itself in circles upon the surface of water.

35. As the scenes seen in a dream, seem pleasant in their recollection in the waking state; so the wise sage sees the worldly sights and his egoism also in the same light of a dream.

36. By practice of the conditions of yoga meditations alone, that the impressions of the world are so effaced from the mind, as not to leave behind any trace of them, save that of an infinite and still vacuity.

37. Whenever the true nature of the soul, appears with its solar blaze within us; it then dispels the mists of our irrational appetites, and displays an empty nihility of all entity.

38. After the desires are dead and gone and the understanding is cleared from its ignorance, the soul shines forth with the light of a burning lamp within us.