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 XLII - A lecture on nirvana—extinction

Argument:—A full exposition of the identity of God and the world, and the adorableness of our soul as one with God.

Vasishtha continued:—

The mind being as calm and quiet as the Intellect, there can be no difference between them;and it is impossible to assign the creation to the divine mind, in its undeveloped and tranquil state. (The difference of the mind and intellect, consists in their activity and inactivity).

2. The lighted lamp of the understanding being extinguished, the erroneous conceptions of the world vanishes into the air; and the ocular vision and mental operations, are as undulations of consciousness. (i.e. The conscious acts through all the sensible organs, mental faculties and bodily members).

3. The world bears the same relation to the supreme soul, as the fluctuation of the winds bear to air, and as the radiation of rays bears to light, which have no other causality except in themselves.

4. The world is inherent in the Supreme, as fluidity is connate with water, and vacuity is connatural with air. But why and how they are so intimately connected with one another, is quite inconceivable to us.

5. The world which is thus immanent in the vast vacuity of the great intellect, is manifest to our minds as brilliancy in a gem. (The appearance of light or lustre in a gem is no other than a property of that itself).

6. The world therefore appertains to the supreme intellect, in the same manner, as liquidity is related with water and fluctuation pertains to air, and as vacuity belongs to the infinite void.

7. As ventilation has its relation with air, so doth the world bear upon the supreme intellect; so there is no reason of supposing a duality to subsist in the unity of any two of these.

8. The world is manifest to the sight of the ignorant, but it is frail and nebulous in the estimation of the intelligent. It is however neither manifest nor mysterious to the sapient, who believe it as an existence subsisting in the entity of the self-existent unity.

9. It is well ascertained (in every system of philosophy), that there [is] nothing else in existence, beside the sole intellect, which is pure intelligence, and having no beginning, middle or end of it.

10. This is the great intellect of some, and the holy spirit of others; it is the eternally omniscient Brahma according to some, and the infinite void or vacuum of vacuists. It is also called jnapti—knowledge or science by scientists.

11. Now people understand this infinite and intellectual spirit, in the sense of an intelligible being; while others suppose him as knowable in themselves, and thus trying to know, become quite ignorant of him.

12. Without the intellect there is no knowledge of the intelligibles, neither is there the faculty of intellection unless there be the intellect; as there is no air without vacuum, nor is there any air without its ventilation.

13. So it is the shadow of the great intellect, that makes our consciousness to perceive the existence of the world; and whether the world is an entity or non-entity, there is no other cause of its knowledge than the intellect.

14. It is owing to the unity of this duality (viz of the world and the spirit), that this sense of their identity is verified; nor is there any one who can make unity or duality the all pervading vacuity.

15. There is but one universal concavity, of the whole sphere of the vacuous sky, and the dualism of the air and its fluctuations, is only in words and nominal and not in reality.

16. The duality of the universe and its universal Lord, is a mere verbal and no real distinction of the one positive unity of God. It is impossible for the self-existent soul to have a counterpart of itself, except its own intellect.

17. That which has the appearances of the world, is no world in reality, but a shadow of it; and that which is limited by space and time, cannot be the infinite and external sphere.

18. As the different forms of jewels, are related to the substance of gold (out of which they are made), so doth the world bear its relation to Brahma; whose unity admits of duality, nor the attribute of cause and effect (i.e. of the creator and creation).

19. If it be only a creation of the imagination, it is then no other than a nothing and no such thing; it is just as well as the vacuity of the firmament, and the fluidity of water and liquids.

20. As the sky bears the appearance of the sky, so doth Brahma present the sight of the world; and both of them being of the same kind (of vacuum), there can be no duality nor unity of the two in one.

21. All these are of the like kind, as the vast vacuum of itself; they are selfsame in their nature with the one all extended and transparent essence of the interminable intellect of God.

22. As all pebbles and dolls and marble statues, have the stony substance in them; and there is no relation of cause or effect in anyone of them, so these varieties of beings have no difference in them from the nature of divine essence.

23. As it is impossible for vacuity to be another thing than vacuum, and the reflexion of light is no other than the very light; so this creation resides in and radiates from the great intellect.

24. As the images carved in a stone, are of the same sort being hewn of the same substance; so O wise Rama, all these various forms of things in the world, are lost upon their insight, into the substantiality of the all engrossing intellect of the great Deity.

25. It is the delusion of your mind, that presents to your sight all this bustle and commotion of the world, which upon your right inspection of them, must remain as mute and motionless as a block of wood or stone, and as imperceptible as the prospect of things to a man with his closed eyes.

26. As things absent from sight, appear to be present before one in his thought of them, both in his waking and sleeping states; so it is the misconception of the mind, that presents the phenomenals to the sight of the open-eyed man.

27. As it is by the hallucination of your mind, that you see the absent objects as present before you, both when you are awake as well as asleep; but suppress your thoughts, and you will be as inert as a stone, as in the abstracted and sound sleeping states of your mind.

28. You must not however allow your mind, become as insensible as a stone; but remain in your natural state and employ it in the service of your adorable object, with the best offerings of your reason on all things about you.

29. Adore the Supreme God of nature; for the enlargement of your understanding; and He being worshipped with your right reason and good sense, will soon reward you with the best boon of your transcendent felicity—neratisayananda.

30. The adoration of Indra, Upendro and the other gods, is as the worshipping rotten straws with respect to that of the God in spirit; and the offering of flowers and sacrifices, are nothing in comparison to your cultivation of reason, and association with wise and learned men.

31. The Supreme God who is the giver of all blessings, being worshipped in the true light of the spirit in one's own soul, confers his best blessing of liberation in an instant.

32. Why does the ignorant man resort to another, when his soul is the sole lord; Do you associate with the good and have your equanimity and content, and adore the Supreme soul with your best reason.

33. The worship of idols, pilgrimages and all sorts of devotion, together with all your charities, are as useless as the offering of scentless Sirisha flowers, and injurious as fire, poison and the wounds of weapons are to the body.

34. The actions of mean minded men, are as useless as ashes on account of their unreasonableness; let them therefore act with reason in order to render their deeds fruitful.

35. Why therefore don't you foster your reasoning powers in your mind, by means of your knowledge of the true natures of things, and the concentration of your desires in the Supreme spirit.

36. It is by divine grace only, that the reasoning faculty has its exercise in the mind, therefore the power of reasoning is to be fostered in the mind, by sprinkling the ambrosial water of equanimity over it.

37. Until the fountain of error in the mind, is dried up by the blaze of right knowledge, so long the tendency towards the corporeal, continues to run over it in all directions.

38. Equanimity overcomes the sense of shame, sorrow, fear and envy; as the conviction of the nihility of the world and all corporeal things, removes the possibility of their existence at any time. (According to the dictum—nyaya,—nasato vidyate vaba. Ex nihilo nihil fit nothing comes from nothing).

39. And if it be the work of a cause, it must be the self-existent Brahma that both at once; as the reflexion is alike the reflector, and the reflected knowledge of a pot or picture is nothing in reality. (The effect is akin to the cause agreeably to the maxim "similes similibus".)

40. Know this world to be the shadow of the intellect, as one's feature is seen within a mirror; but the idea of the shadow of both, vanishes when one [is] acquainted with the original.

41. For want of the knowables or objects of objective knowledge, there remains the only unknowable One, who is of the form of everlasting felicity; and this soul of the incorporeal spirit, is extended all over the infinite space in its form of perfect tranquillity.

42. All knowledge, knowable and knowing, are said to be quite mute and silent in their nature (being confined in the mind); therefore it behoves you to remain as quiet and calm, as stones and pebbles and the caverns of rocks.

43. Remain as knowing and wise man, both when you are sitting or doing anything; because wise men are persons who know the unknown, and personifications of true knowledge.

44. Remain as clear as the sphere of the sky, and be content with whatever may happen to you; when you are sitting quiet, or moving about or doing anything, and in every state of your life.

45. It is for wise men to be doing what they have to do, and whatever comes in their way; or to give up and renounce all and everything, and remain with their quiet and peaceful minds at every place.

46. Whether sitting in solitude or in silent meditation, let the wise man remain as quiet as a statue or a picture; and having repressed his imagination, let him view the world as an imaginary city or an airy nothing.

47. The waking wise man sees the rising world, as sitting down in his state of sleep; and let him view the spectacles before his eyes, as the born-blind man has no sight of anything before him.

48. The ignorant man resorting to his nirvana, has more cause of regret than the peace of his mind, at his renunciation of the world; and the preaching of beau idéal serves rather to increase their ignorance, than enlighten in the path of truth.

49. The ignorant man who thinks himself wise in his own conceit, is deluded to greater ignorance, by thinking himself successful with his ill success.

50. The man comes to meet with his ill success, who strives to thrive by improper means; because the learned reckon all fanciful steps, as no steps at all to successfulness.

51. It is wrong to resort to nirvana-resignation, on account of some transitory mishap which ever happens to humanity. But that is known as true resignation by the wise, which a man has recourse to after his full knowledge of the errors of the world, and the indifference which he lays hold upon, at his entire disgust with and distaste of all worldly affairs.

52. Rama, as you are delighted at the recital of tales, so should you take a pleasure in your spiritual instructions, with a melted heart and mind; unless you know the transparent intellect, and view it as diffused in the form of the infinite world, you cannot attain to your nirvana-extinction into it.

53. The knowledge of God, that you have gained from the vedas, is sheer ignorance, and resembles the false notion of the world, that is born blind on earth. Trample over that knowledge, and do not fall into its errors; but know God in spirit, and by your nirvana-extinction into it, be exempt from future births and transmigrations.