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 XLIV - Dangers to which the wandering (staglike) mind is exposed

Argument:—The tree of samadhi; its roots and filaments, its leaves and branches, its blossoms and flowers, its barks and fruits, its piths and marrows, its heights and moistures.

Rama said:—

Relate to me at length, O holy sage, the form of the arbour of samadhi, together with all its creepers, flowers and fruits, which supply holy men with good and refreshment, all along their lives.

Vasishtha replied:—

2. Hear me relate to you about the tree of samadhi, which always grows in the forest of holy people, and is ever fraught with its luxuriant foliage and flowers and its luscious fruits.

3. The learned say, that it is some how or other, either by culture or its own spontaneity, that there grows a dissatisfaction with the wilderness of this world, in the heart of the reasonable man.

4. Its field is the heart of the wise man, furrowed by the plough of prosperity (i.e. which has had better fortune); which is watered with delight by day and night, and whose conduit is now flowing with sighs.

5. It is the heart's regret at the world, which is the seed of samadhi or self-resignation; and it grows of itself in the ground of the contrite heart of the wise, in the forest land of reasonable men.

6. When the seed of contrite reflection, falls in the minds of magnanimous men; it must be watered with diligence and indefatigableness with the following articles. viz:—

7. The society of pure, holy and complacent men, who speak sweetly and kindly for the good of others; and whose speech serves as the sprinkling of fresh water or milk or dewdrops on the seeding grounds.

8. And by shedding the sacred waters of the sayings of the holy sastras, all about the aqueduct, which may serve to grow the seed, by their cool and ambrosial moisture.

9. When the magnanimous soul, perceives the seed of contrite reflection fallen in the mind; he must try to preserve and foster the same with all diligence.

10. This seed is to be grown by the manure of austerities, and by the power of using other means; by resorting to and resting in places [of] pilgrimage and holy shrines, and by stretching his perseverance as his defence (or a fence about the seed-ground).

11. It is the duty of the well taught man, after the sprouting forth of the seed, to preserve it always with the assistance of his two consorts—contentment and cheerfulness.

12. He should then keep off the aerial birds of his expectations and the fowls of his affection for others, and the vultures of his desire and cupidity, from darting upon and picking up the seed.

13. Then the rajas or dust of vanity, is to [be] swept away (from this field), by gentle acts of piety, serving as sweepers of vice and unrighteousness; and then the tamas or shades of ignorance are to be dispelled from this ground, by the ineffable light of the sun of reason—viveka.

14. Wealth and women, and all sorts of frail and fleeting enjoyments; overtake this rising germ (of godliness), as darts of lightning issuing from the cloud of unrighteousness.

15. It is by the iron rod of patience and gravity, by the muttering of mantras, and by holy ablutions and austerities, as also by the trident of the triliteral Om, that these thunderbolts are averted.

16. In this manner the seed of meditation also, being carefully preserved from neglect, sprouts forth in the germ of discrimination (viveka) with its handsome and thriving appearance.

17. The ground of the mind shines brightly, with this brilliant germ; and it gladdens the hearts of men in veneration to it, as the smiling moon-beams illume the sky.

18. This germ shoots forth in a couple of leaves, which grow out of themselves upon it; one of them is the knowledge of sastras, and the other is the society of the good and wise. (i.e. Divine knowledge

is to be gained from the study of scriptures, and attendance to the lectures of learned men).

19. Let your fixedness support the stem and height of this tree, and make your patience its covering bark; and cause your unconcernedness with the world, supply it with the moisture of indifference.

20. The tree of godliness being nourished with the moisture of unworldliness, and watered by the rain water of sastras, attains its full height in course of a short time.

21. Being thickened by the pith of divine knowledge, and marrow of good society, and the moisture of indifference, this tree attains a fixity, which is not to be shaken by the apes of passions and affections.

22. And then this tree shoots forth in luxuriant branches of wisdom, which stretches far and wide with their fresh verdure and virescent leaves, distilling their juicy sweets all around.

23. These are the branches of frankness and truth, of constancy and firmness, of equanimity and unchangeableness, of calmness and amicableness, and of kindness, self-respect and renown.

24. These branches are again adorned with the leaves of peace and tranquillity, and studded with flowers of good repute and fame;wherewith this tree of godliness becomes the parijata (or the arbour of paradise or Parnassus) to the hermits of the forests.

25. In this manner the tree of divine knowledge, being fraught with its branches, leaves and flowers; brings for the best and richest fruits of knowledge, day by day (during the life time of its possessor).

26. It blossoms in clusters of the flowers of fame, and is covered with leaves of bright qualities all over; it is profluent with the sweets of dispassionateness; and its filaments are full of the dust of intelligence.

27. It cools all sides like clouds in the rainy weather, and always the heat of worldly anxieties, as the moon-beams assuage the warmth of sun-shine.

28. It spreads the awning shade of harmony, as the clouds cast a cooling shadow below; it stretches a quiet composure over the mind (chitta-vritti nirodha), as an extensive cloud overspreads a still calm in the air.

29. It builds a sound and sure basis for itself, as the rocks stand on their solid bases; it lays the foundation of future rewards on high, and causes all blessings to attend upon it.

30. As the arbour of discrimination, grows higher and higher day by day; so it stretches a continuity of cooling shade, over the forest of the hearts of men.

31. It diffuses a coldness, that pacifies the heat below; and makes the plant of the understanding to shoot forth (develop), as a tender creeper juts out of the snows.

32. The deerlike mind being tired with its wanderings, about the deserts of this world; takes its rest and refuge under this cool shade; as a weary traveller, worried out from his very birth, in his journey among men, comes to take his rest at last.

33. This deer of the mind, that is galled in its mouth by browsing the thorny brambles of the forest for food, is again hunted by its enemies of the passions, which lay waiting like huntsmen, to kill the soul, as these slay the body of the stag for its skin.

34. The deerlike mind being ever impelled by its vain desires, wanders all about the desert land of this world, and pursues after the poisonous water of mirage of its egoism.

35. It sees the extended and verdant valley at distance, and is battered and shattered in its body with running after its verdure; and being harassed in search of the food and forage for its offspring, it falls headlong into the pit for its destruction.

36. Being robbed of his fortune, and put to bodily troubles, and led by thirst of gain to the ever running stream of desires, the man is at last swallowed up and carried away by the current waves.

37. The man flies afar for fear of being overtaken by a disease, as the stag does for fear of a huntsman, but he is not afraid of the hunter of fate, that falls upon him unawares at every place.

38. The timid mind is afraid of the shafts of adverse fortune, flying from every known quarter; and of being pelted by stones flung from the hands of its enemies on every side.

39. The mind is ever hurled up and down, with the ups and downs of fortune; and is continually crushed under the millstone of his rising and setting passions (of anger and hatred &c).

40. One who follows after thirst, without putting reliance on the laws inculcated by the great, falls headlong into the delusion of the world; as one suffers a scratch is well as wounded over his body, by penetrating within the beautiful thorny creepers.

41. Having entered in the organic body of man, the mind is eager to fly away from it; but there is the ungovernable elephant of earthy desire, that stuns it with its loud shrieks (on its way).

42. There is again the huge snake of worldly affairs, which benumbs it with its poisonous breath; and so do the fairies on the face of the earth, serve to enslave the mind in love to them.

43. There is also the wild fire of anger, which boils like a smart bile with its burning flame in the human breast; and inflames the mind with endless pain, by its repeated recurrence in the bosom.

44. The desires clinging to the mind, are as gnats and fleas, biting and stinging it constantly; and its carnal enjoyments, appetites and revelries, are as shakals shrieking loudly about it.

45. It is led by virtue of its actions, to wander all about without any rest or profit to its self, and driven from place to place by the tiger like poverty, staring grimly at its face, again it is blinded amidst the mist of its affections to children and others, and lost at last in the hidden pitfall of death.

46. Again it trembles with the sense of and fear for its honor, which like a lion strikes tremor in its heart; while it is struck with terror at the glaring of the wolf of death at its face.

47. It is afraid of pride, as a forester in dread of dragon coming to devour him; and it fears the appetites, which with their open mouths and bloody teeth, threaten to ingulph it in ruin.

48. It is no less in fear of its female companions in youth, whose amorous embraces like gusts of wind threaten to hurt it headlong to repeated hell-pits.

49. It seldom happens, O prince! that the deerlike mind finds its rests in the arbour of godliness; as the living beings do, when they come from darkness to day light. (It ought to be, when they come from day light to repose at night).

50. O ye hearers, let your deerlike minds find that delight in the arbour of peace, whose name even is not known to the ignorant, who are deluded by their fickle and smiling fortunes, resembling the oscillating smiles of flowers.