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 XLIII - On the infinite extension of brahma

Argument:—The mind likened to the fairy land, full with the world of its ignorance; and these being rubbed out from it, there remains but an infinite expanse of the essence of one Brahma only.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. The internal sense of egoism and the outward perception of the world, vanishes into unreality upon right inspection of them; and then truth of self-consciousness appears even to the dull headed after removal of their dulness.

2. He who is freed from the fever of ignorance, and whose soul is cooled by the draught of good understanding, is known by the indication, that they bear no further thirst for worldly enjoyments.

3. It is useless to use many words by way of logomachy, when the knowledge of one's unegoism only, is enough to lead him to the nirvana-extinction of himself.

4. As waking men do not relish the pleasure of things seen in their dream, so wise people feel no zest either for themselves or the world, which they know to be as erroneous as the sight in their sleep.

5. As one sees the chimera of a magic city in a forest, and filled with the families of Yakshas all about; so doth the living soul, look upon this world and all its contents.

6. As the deluded soul sees the Yakshas and their place of abode, as realities and stable in their nature; so it believes its egoism or personality as a reality, and the unreal world as a substantiality.

7. As the phantoms of Yakshas are seen with their false shapes in the open desert, so we see all these creatures in the fourteen worlds around us.

8. He who knows himself as nothing, and the knowledge of his ego a mere error; finds his phantasm of Yaksha to be no such thing in reality; and that of his mind melts into the predicament of his intellect (i.e. both of them to be the one and same thing).

9. Be you as quiet in your mind, as you are sitting still before us;by relinquishing all your fears and fancies, and renouncing all your givings and takings (to and from all persons), together with the suppression of all your desires.

10. The visible phenomenon is neither in esse nor in posse, and the whole extent of the objective world, is identic with the subjective spirit of God; or if it be impossible for the subjective reality to become the objective unreality, say then how the objective could come to being or exist.

11. As it is the humidity of the vernal season, that produces and diffuses itself in the verdure of the ground; so it is the pith and marrow of the intellect, which fills and exhibits itself in the form of creation.

12. If this appearance of the world, is no other than reflection of the intellect; why then speak of its unity or duality than knowing its identity with the sole entity, and holding your peace and tranquillity.

13. Be full with the vacuous intellect, and drink the sweet beverage of spirituality (i.e. be an intellectual and spiritual being); and sit without any fear and full of joy in the blissful paradise of nirvana-extinction.

14. Why do ye men of erroneous understandings, rove about in the desert ground of this earth like the vagrant stags, that wander about the sandy deserts (appearing as sheets of sweet water).

15. O ye men of blinded understandings! Why do ye run so hurriedly with your insatiable thirst after the mirage of the world; only to be disappointed in your most sanguine expectations.

16. Why do ye, O foolish men! thirst after the mirage of the appearances and the fancies of your minds; do not waste your lives in vain toils, nor fall victims to your desires like the deluded deer.

17. Demolish the magic castle of worldly enticements, by the stronger power of your reason; and see how you can destroy the train of evils, which appear as pleasure at the first sight. (All apparent good is latent evil).

18. Do not look at the blue vault of heaven as a reality by thy error, it is a mere show amidst the great void of Brahma, wherefore thou shouldst fix the sight on its true aspect of vacuity (which is the real form of Brahma).

19. O ye men that are as frail and fickle and liable to fall down, as the tremulous dewdrop hanging on the edge of a leaf on high; do not sleep regardless of your fates, in the womb of this frail and mortal world (or in this world of mortality).

20. Remain always from first to last, in your true nature of calmness, without ever being unmindful of thyself; and remove the faults of the subjective and objective from thy nature.

21. The world known as a reality to the ignorant, is an utter nihility to the wise; the other one which is the true reality bears no name for itself (being called a nullity and void).

22. Break the iron fetters of appetency, which bind you fast in this world; and rise high above the heaven of heavens, as the lion mounts on the towering tops of mountains, by breaking loose from his imprisoning cage by force.

23. The knowledge of self and meity (or selfishness) is an error, and it is the peace of mind only which makes liberation; it is the essence of the yogi, wherever and however he may be situated.

24. The weary pilgrim of the world, has the following five stages for his rest; namely his nirvana or self resignation, his nirvasana want of any desire, and the absence of his triple sorrow-tritapa; occasioned by his own fault and those of others, and the course of nature.

25. The wise man is unknown to the ignorant, and the ignorant are not known to the wise; and the world is viewed in two opposite lights by them respectively, which are quite unknown to one another. (Namely, that it is a vale of tears to one, and a pleasure garden to the other. The one of the school of Heraclitus or the crying philosopher, and of that of Democritus the laughing philosopher).

26. The fallacy of the world having once fallen off from the mind, there is no more the appearance of any worldly thing before it; as a seafarer seeing one vast expanse of water about him, does not see the inland arms which gush out of it as its offspring.

27. After disappearance of the error of the world, from the awakened mind of the anaesthetic yogi; he sits quite insensible of it, as if it were melt into eternity.

28. As the grass and straws being burnt to ashes, we know not whether they fly and vanish away with the winds of the air; so the nature of the sage being numbed to callousness, his knowledge of the world goes to nothing.

29. It is good to know the world, as the ectype of the essence of Brahma; but the meaning of the word Brahma, being the universal soul, it does not apply in that sense to the changing world, and as the work of God.

30. As the world appears to be everlasting and unchanging to the ignorant lad, so doth it seem to the listless sage to be co-existent with its eternal cause (to whom everything is eternally present).

31. The wakeful sage keeps his vigils at that time, when it is the night of all beings to lie down in sleep; and the daytime when all creation is awake, is the night of retired saints. (The wise and ignorant are opposed to one another in their knowledge of things).

32. The wise man is active in his mind, while he seems to be sitting still and inactive in his body; and when he is waking, his organs of sense are as dormant as those of figures in a painting.

33. The wise man is as blind as one who is born blind, in his knowledge of the outer world, and has merely a faint notion of it in his mind;where it appears or not at times, like a dream in his slight and sound sleep (swapna and susupti).

34. All the worlds and worldly things, conduce to the woe of the ignorant, who are unacquainted with and delight in untruth, and are busy with the visibles and their thoughts about them, as one with the visions in his dream.

35. As the wise man tastes no pleasure in his waking state, so must he remain insensible of them in his sleep also; but continue with undivided attention, in the meditation of the Supreme being.

36. The wise man who has curbed his desire of worldly enjoyments, and is liberated from its bonds; remains with his cool and composed mind, and enjoys the tranquillity of nirvana, without his efforts of yoga meditation.

37. As the course of water is always to run downward, and never to rise upward; so the course of the mind is ever toward the objects of sense, and sensible objects are the only delight of the mind.

38. The nature of the mind, with all its thoughts of internal and external objects, is of the same kind as that of the great ocean, which is full with the waters of its tributary rivers as well as those of the internal waters.

39. As a river flows in one united course, of the waters of all its confluent streams; so doth the mind run in an unvaried course, with all its internal and external, and righteous and unrighteous thoughts.

40. Thus the mind appears as a vast and wide extended sea, and rolling on with all its indistinct thoughts and feelings, as the inseparable waters and waves of the sea.

41. In this manner, the absence of one thing causes the extinction of both, as in the case of the air and its fluctuation; either of which being wanting, there is neither the wind nor its ventilation. (Such is the intimate connection between the mind and its thought).

42. The mind and its working being one and the same thing, they are both controuled at once by bringing the other under subjection; know this well, nobody should cherish any earthly desire in order to foster his mind.

43. The mind may get its peace by true knowledge, and the mind of the wise man is destroyed of itself with all its desires, without the aid of austerities to destroy them.

44. As a man gets freed from the fear of the enmity of an enemy, by destroying his effigy made of mud by himself, so is one enabled to kill his mind, by committing himself to the Divine spirit.

45. The wise man sees the cosmos and chaos as concomitant with each other, though [they] appear as separate. The birth and death as well as prosperity and adversity are mere error, there is nothing else beside one infinity.

46. As one has no knowledge of the dream of another sleeping by his side, and as the adult man has no fear of yaksha like timid boy; and as a giant knows no Pisacha or demon, so the wise sees no insensible world before him (but all full of the Intellect of God).

47. The ignorant think the wise as fools, and the old barren woman thinks of her conception; so one unacquainted with the meaning of a word, attempts to explain its sense (all which is absurd).

48. The understanding is ever existent, and without having its beginning and end; and nature is known to exist ever since creation has began. The word mind is meaningless and is undivided and unbounded in its nature. (The mind or understanding is everlasting but nature is not so).

49. The understanding resembles the water of the sea, and the mind and intelligence are likened to its limpid waves; how can this fluid have an end, and what is the meaning of mind, but a shape of this psychic fluid. (Here is a similarity of Vasishtha's intellectual liquid to Stahl's psychic fluid).

50. For all error is useless, and live to your nature for your good; and being of the nature of pure understanding, you will become as perspicacious as the clear autumnal sky. (Here is Vasishtha's vacuism again as the ultimate perfection of men).

51. After passing the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep (to the fourth state of turiya or nirvana insensibility), there is no more any perception of the mind or mental operation to the abstracted yogi; and then the knowledge of the endless varieties of unrealities of creation, is blown away and lost in the sight of the everlasting One.

52. Forsake the endless chain of knowables, and be attached to thy nature of the solid intellect; because all things whether internal or external, are comprehended under its knowledge.

53. Say how can you separate the objects from the mind, as you do the seed, branches and fruits from one another; the knowables are unknowable without their knowledge, and knowledge is no known category (apart from the mind).

54. The endless varieties and particulars are still and quiet in the Divine soul, which is the only entity and manifest of itself as all. The objects being but ideas in the mind and this being a negative also, they are all but errors of the brain. (The mind and its objective ideas being dependent to and identic with one another, the conception of them is altogether erroneous).

55. The mind which is the framer of objective thoughts, is a nihility of itself and an error also. The eternal spirit being the sole soul of all, it is useless to imagine the entity of the mind.

56. The objective being an erroneous notion, is but a false apparition appearing to sight, the objects also having no cause for their creation, prove the subjective mind to be a falsity likewise.

57. The mind is as fickle as the flickering lightning, and deludes us by the flashes of things of its own making.

58. The mind is nothing before knowledge of the self-existence One, nor does it then deceive us with its false shows; and this world which is the creation of the mind, disappears before the knowledge of the soul.

59. Men in vain wish to take the shell for silver, and believe the negative world as a positive one, and is found to be nothing before the light of reason.

60. The error of egoism is opposed to the verity of nirvana, and is the cause of misery only to mankind; the ego is verily a falsity as mirage, and a non-entity as vacuity itself.

61. The knowledge of the self or soul, removes the error of egoism;and by knowing and being full with the knowledge of the soul, one is incorporated with it, both internally as well as externally.

62. One who is unified with the universal soul, resembles a wave that mixes altogether with the main water; because the Divine soul sends its essence to all, as a tree supplies its marrow to all parts of it from top to foot.

63. There is one unchanging soul, that shines afar above the reach of our knowledge; in the same manner as the clear vault of heaven, appears at the distance of millions of miles from us.

64. There is only one unknowable and infinite Being, that is far beyond our knowledge of the knowables, and is purer and more rarefied than the all pervading vacuum.

65. Therefore knowing that pure and holy One, as both the states of knowledge and knowables (i.e. the subjective and objective); just as the clarified butter is consolidated to the compactness of stone. (The soul is solidified to matter).

66. The Divine intellect makes itself the object of its thought as a thinkable being; and the soul thinks in itself as the mind, from eternity to eternity, throughout the infinity of space. (The soul reflects in itself, as the congeries of all things of its omniscience).

67. The unintelligent Nyaya School maintains the unity and positive rest of God; and although there may be no mistake of theirs in this position, yet it is wrong to separate omniscience from the entity of Divine unity.

68. All great minded souls that are free from pride, melt away into the inscrutable quiescence of God; and those that [are] unerring in divine knowledge, find their eternal rest in the samadhi or resignation of themselves to the Supreme spirit.