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 XLVII - The first step towards liberation

Argument:—Of the different steps leading to Liberation, and firstly of Indifference to the world and lastly of putting reliance in the holy precepts.

Vasishtha continued:—

Hear now the manner and the measures which the yogi adopts to himself, in order to obtain his release from his cumbrous burthen and troubles of the world.

2. As the germ of discrimination springs in the mind at first, by reason of the disparagement of the world (for the multiplicity of its faults, or from some cause or other).

3. All good people, resort under the wide stretching shade of this (fullgrown) tree; as the weary and sunburnt traveller halts under the cooling shade of trees on their way.

4. The wise man shuns the ignorant at a distance, as the wayfarer casts aside the sacrificial wood; because the worshippers of the gods only observe the ceremonious rites of holy ablutions and almsgivings, austerities and offering of sacred oblations.

5. In his fair, just, polite and undissembling behaviour, and in his placid and pleasing countenance, he resembles the fair moon with her ambrosial beams.

6. He acts with sound wisdom and prudence, is polite and civil in his manners, is prompt in serving and obliging others, is holy in his conduct and humorous in his discourse.

7. He is as clear and cold, soft and pleasing as fresh butter, and his company is delightsome to people even at his very first appearance.

8. The deeds of wise men are as pure and grateful to mankind, as the dews of moon-beams, are refreshing and refrigerating of whole nature.

9. No one sleeps so delighted on a bed of flowers, and in a flower garden devoid of fears; as he rests secure in the society of reasonable and pious men.

10. The society of holy and wise men, like the pure waters of the heavenly river, serve to cleanse the sins and purify the minds of the sinful.

11. The society of the holy recluse and liberated men, is as cooling as a refrigeratory or ice house.

12. The great and high delight, which the holy sage feels in his heart, is not to be enjoyed in the company of fairies among the gods, gandharvas and human kind.

13. It is by continued performance of proper acts, that the pious devotee attains his knowledge and clearness of understanding; when the significance of the sastras, is reflected as clearly in the tablet of his mind, as the reflections of objects are seen in a reflector.

14. A good understanding moistened by instruction of the sastras, thrives in the mind of a holy man, as a plantain tree grows in the forest.

15. The mind which is cleared by good judgment, retains the clear impression of everything in it, as a mirror reflects the images of objects on its surface.

16. The wise man whose soul is purified by the association with holy men, and whose mind is cleansed with the lavation of scriptural instruction, is as a sheet of linen cloth flaming with fire.

17. The holy saint shines with the effulgence of his person, as the sun does with his golden beams, diffusing a pure light all around the world.

18. The wise man follows the conduct of holy sages, and the precepts of the sastras in such a manner; as to imitate and practice them himself.

19. Thus the tyro becomes by degrees, as good as the good and great objects of his imitation, and as full of knowledge as the sastras themselves; and having then put down all the enjoyments of life under him, he appears to come out of a prison, by breaking down his chains and fetters.

20. He who is practiced in reducing his appetites and enjoyments day by day, resembles the crescent moon daily increasing in brightness, and enlightening his family, as the moon throws her lustre over the stars about her.

21. The penurious miser (who amass their wealth without enjoying it), is always as sulky as the face of eclipsed moon, and never as smiling as the countenance of the liberal, which is as bright as the face of the moon when freed from eclipse.

22. The liberal man spurns the world as mere straw, and becomes renowned among the great for his munificence; he resembles the kalpa plant of paradise, which yields the desired fruit to every body.

23. Though one may feel some compunction in his mind, at the wilful abdication of his possessions; yet the wise man is glad at his having no property at all. (It is better to have no property, than to regret at its loss or resignation).

24. Any one may laugh at his prior acts, if he will come to know what he was and he is; as a low chandal by being jatismara, laughs in disgust in making comparison of his past birth with that of the present.

25. Even the siddhas or holy saints, repair with wonder to see the yogi for their esteem of him;and look upon him as the moon risen on earth, with their delighted eyes.

26. The yogi who is ever accustomed to despise all enjoyment, and has attained his right judgement, does not hold in estimation any of the enjoyables in life, though it presents itself to him in the proper manner.

27. The holy man whose soul is raised and enlightened in time, feels his former enjoyments to become as dull and insipid to him, as a luxuriant tree becomes dry and withered in autumn.

28. He then resorts to the company of holy men, for his greatest and lasting good; and becomes as sane and sound, as the sick man becomes hale by his abstinence and recourse to physicians.

29. Being then exulted in his mind, he dives into the deep sense of the sastras; as a big elephant plunges into a large lake of clear water.

30. It is the nature of virtuous men, to deliver their neighbours from danger and calamity; and to lead them to their well being and prosperity, as the sun leads people to light.

31. The reasonable man becomes from before, averse to receive anything from another, and lives content with what is his own.

32. He hates to taste the delicacies of others, from his satiety with the ambrosial draughts of contentment; and prepares himself for his abandonment of what he is already possessed of himself.

33. He is accustomed to give away his gold and money to beggars, and beg his vegetable food from others; and by habitual practice of giving away whatever he has, he is even ready to part with the flesh of his body.

34. Verily the man of subdued mind and holy soul, gets over the hidden traps of ignorance with as much ease, as a running man leaps over a pitfall (goshpada).

35. The holy man being accustomed to despise the acceptance of wealth from others, learns betimes to slight the possession of any wealth for himself also.

36. Thus the aversion to the wealth and possessions of others, leads the wise and holy man by degrees to be averse to the retaining of anything for himself.

37. There is no such trouble in this earth, nor any great pain in the torment of hell, as there is in the punishment of earning and accumulation of wealth.

38. Ah! how little are the money making fools aware, of the cares and troubles which they have to undergo in their restless days and nights, in their servitude for money.

39. All wealth is but lengthening woe, and prosperity is the harbinger of adversity; all enjoyments and aliments are but ailments, and thus every earthly good turns to its reverse.

40. One cannot have a distaste to sensual enjoyments, as long he thinks on the objects of sense;and so long as he has a craving for riches, which are the spring of all evils and bane of human life.

41. He who has got a relish for his highest heavenly bliss, looks upon the world as a heap of straw, and riches as the fire that kindles them to a flame. Avoid this fire and be cool and quiet.

42. The meaning of wealth is known to be the source of all evils in the world, and as the cause of all wants and disorders and even of diseases and death. It is also the cause of oppression and plunder, of incendiarism and the like, and their consequent poverty and famine.

43. In this mortal world of the death and diseases of living beings, there is one elixir which confers perpetual health and life to man, and this is his contentment only. (Hence called the ambrosia of life, santoshamritang).

44. The vernal season is charming, and so are the garden of paradise, the moon-beams and fairies, but all combine in contentment only, which is alone capable of yielding all the delights.

45. The contented soul likens a lake in the rains, when it is full as it is deep, and as clear and cooling as the nectarious beverage of the gods.

46. The honest man is strengthened by his contentment and flourishes with full glee, as a flower tree is decked with blooming blossoms in the flowering season.

47. As the poor emmet is likely to be crushed under the foot of every passer, in its ceaseless search and hoarding of food; so the greedy and needy man is liable to be spurned, for his incessant wanderings after paltry gains and lucre.

48. The deformed and disfigured beggar, is as a man plunged in a sea of troubles, and buffeting in its waves without finding a support for rest, or any prospect of ever reaching to the shore.

49. Prosperity like a beauty, is as frail and fickle as the unstable waves of the ocean; what wise man is there that can expect to find his reliance in them, or have his rest under the shade of the hood of hideous serpent? (This simile is borrowed in the Nyaya wherein world is said kupita phani phana chhayeva).

50. He who knowing the pains attending on the gaining, keeping and losing of money, still persists to pursue in its search, is no better than a brute, and deserves to be shunned by the wise as unsociable.

51. He who mows down at once the growing grass of his internal and external appetites, from the field of his heart, by the means of the scythe of insouciance, gets it prepared for reception of the seeds of Divine knowledge.

52. Ignorant people take the world for a reality, and wise men also conduct themselves under this supposition though they are well aware of its unreality; and this owing to their neglect of practicing what they are taught to believe. (The wise and foolish are in the same footing, by equally unwise conduct in life).

53. The sum of the whole is that, it is the resignation of the world which leads men to the society of sages and study of the scriptures; and then by reliance in the holy precepts, one abandons his worldliness, and at last his firm dislike of the temporal, leads him to seek his spiritual bliss.