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 XLIX - Total stoicism and insouciance

Argument:—The tranquillity arrived at by the holy sage, and his relation with the world.

Vasishtha continued:—

Those that are stanch in their discernment of truth, and firm in the abandonment of their desires, are truly men of very great souls, and conscious of their greatness in themselves.

2. The vast extent of magnanimity of noble minded men, and the fathomless depth of their understanding, is even greater than the space occupied by the fourteen worlds. (The unbounded mind of the divine Newton, comprehended the boundless with all the hosts of heaven in its fathomless depth).

3. Wise men having a firm belief in the erroneous conception of the reality of the universe, are quite at rest from all internal and external accidents, which overtake the unwary ignorant as sharks and alligators. (The sea of ignorance abounding with sharks of casualties).

4. What reliance is there in our hope or desire for anything in this world, which is as tempting and deceitful, as the appearance of two moons in the sky, of water in the mirage, and the prospect of a fairy city in the air. (Here the falsity applies both to worldly things as well as our desire for them, and means the unrealizeableness of unrealities).

5. Desires are as vain as the empty void, owing to the nullity of the mind in which they arise; the sapient therefore are not led away by their desires, which they know, have their origin in the unreal and vacant mind. (The yogi who has arrived at the state of his inappetency in the seventh stage of yoga, never falls back to his desires any more).

6. The three states of waking, dreaming and sound sleep, are common to all living beings at large; but that state which is beyond those triple functions, and is all seeing and all knowing, without its being seen or known in the state or nature of the Supreme being (whose omniscience neither wakes, nor dreams nor sleeps at any time).

7. The soul in its enraptured state sees the world as a collection of light, issuing from gems of various kinds; and the human soul as a reflexion of that light, and not as a solid or earthly (material) substance.

8. The phenomenal world presenting its various appearances to the eye sight, is no more than an empty vacuity; and the varieties of light and lightsome bodies which appear in it, are no other than reflexions of the rays of the vast mine of brilliant gems, which is hid under it, and shoots forth its glare in the open air.

9. Here there is no other substance in reality, neither the vast cosmos nor the boundless vacuity itself; all this is the glare of that greatest of gems, whom we call the great Brahma, and whose glory shines all around us.

10. The created and uncreated all is one Brahma alone, and neither is there any variety or destructibility in these or in him. All these are formless beings, and appear as substantial ones in imagination only, as the sun beams paint the various figures in empty clouds in the air. (Note. Whereas there is no variation in God, there is neither the creation nor destruction of any thing at all; these are but creations of imagination, and evolutions of the infinite mind of the eternal God).

11. Thus when the imaginary world appears to blend with the etherial void, this solid mass of the material world, will then vanish into nothing.

12. So the whole proving to be a perfect unsubstantiality, it is quite impossible for it to admit any property or predicate whatever (whether material or immaterial), which is usually attributed to it; because there is no probability of any quality belonging to an absolute nothing, as it is impossible for a bird of air to alight upon, or find a resting place in an air-grown tree.

13. There is no solidity of anything, nor is there a vacuity at all; the mind also is itself a nullity but that which remains after all these, is the only being in reality, and which is never inexistent at any time.

14. The soul is one alone and without its variation, and has the consciousness of all varieties in itself, and these are inherent in its nature, as all the various forms of jewelleries are ingrained in a lump of gold.

15. The sapient sage who remains in his own essential nature, finds his egoism or personality, together with the consciousness of his mind and the world besides, all dwindle into himself; it is difficult to describe the mind of wise man, which remains identified with the nature of the self-existent being.

16. The understanding is perplexed and confounded in itself, by observation of the swardy nature of things on all sides; and requires to be slowly and gradually brought to the knowledge of truth, by means of right reason and argument.

17. It is by abstracting the mind, from its dwelling or visible nature—the production of Virat; and leading it to the contemplation of the spiritual cause of these works (i.e. the sutratma), that the true knowledge of the author of the present, past and future worlds can be arrived at.

18. He is known as a wise sage, whose well discerning soul has perceived the truth in itself;and that has found his rest in the One unity, has no perception of the visible world, and all its endless varieties (which are attributed to Virat).

19. All the aforesaid sayings which are given here by way of advice, are perceived by the intuition of the wise man, as the wise sayings of good people, are self-evident of themselves.

20. The substance of all this is that, there is no bulk or magnitude of beings in general, nor its absence either as an entire vacuum; therefore there is neither a gross or airy mind also, but the One that exists after all, is the true and ever existent entity.

21. This entity is Intelligence, which is conversant with all the intelligibles in itself; its manifestation in the form of our senses is fraught with all our woe, while its disappearance leads to our felicity.

22. Being developed, it evolves itself in the shape of outward organs, and takes upon it the form of the gross body; as the liquid water, consolidates by degrees to the bulky forms of islands, and huge mountainous bodies.

23. This intelligence being engrossed by ignorance, assumes gross form of mind to itself; and with form it binds itself fastly with the corporeal body, as a man views his aerial dreams in their material substance. (So the intelligent mind is transformed to a material substance).

24. In these states of the conversion of intelligence into sensation, perception and other faculties, the Intellect remains the same and unchangeable though it is expressed by different words of human invention (and which are but synonyms of the same).

25. The soul remains the same both in its conception of mental thoughts and ideas, as well as in its perception of outward objects; and it is not changed in either case like the mind, in its vision of the dreams within it, and its sight of object, without itself.

26. The Intellect or understanding, resembling a vacuous substance, is as unchangeable in its nature as that of vacuity and eternity; and the objects which present their ideas in the soul, are as dreams which appear in the mind, and are nothing in reality.

27. The gross nature of external objects, bear no relation with the pure internal intellect; nor can their impurity touch or pollute the purity of the soul; therefore the intellect is not subject to the mutability of external nature.

28. The understanding never acquires the mutable state, of the objects it dwells upon (as the mind does); it remains always in its immutable nature, and is never otherwise in any state or condition.

29. The yogi having attained to his extreme purity of his understanding, in the seventh or the highest degree of his perfection; becomes identified with intelligence, and of the meaning of its presence or absence.

30. The minds of the passing or ordinary people, are impressed with idea of their materiality by reason of their understanding themselves as material bodies.

31. They falsely take their fleeting minds, which are as pure as the clear firmament for a material object; in the same manner as the players in a drama, take upon themselves the false guise of Pisachas demons. (Misrepresenting the fair as foul).

32. All error is corrected by the habit of an unerring wisdom, as the madness of a man is cured by his thinking himself as no mad man. (That is, the constant habit of your thinking yourself as so and so, is what will make you really appear as such).

33. The knowledge of one's erroneousness makes him get out of his error, as the error of dreaming is lost, upon one's coming to the knowledge, that all he beheld was but a mere dream.

34. It is the extenuation of our desires, that lessens our attachment to the world (and the vice versa); the desire is a great demon, which must be destroyed by the wise man.

35. As the madness of men, is increased by their habitual ravings; so it is by their constant practice of sobriety, that the giddy insanity of man comes to be abated.

36. As the passing human body, is taken in its corporeal sense in thought; so it is taken in a spiritual sense also by the learned, by virtue of its understanding or intellectual powers or faculties.

37. The passing or subtile body, having taken the form of the living soul; is capable of being converted into the state of Brahma;by the intense culture of its understanding. (But it is argued and objected that).

38. If anything is produced according to its substance, and if any body thinks himself according his own understanding; how is it then possible for a material being, to take itself in a spiritual sense.

39. Logomachy rather increases the doubts, but following one's advice, the error is removed off; as devil is removed off by chaunting the mantras only, rather than knowing the meaning of them.

40. The world being thought as identic with its thought (or conception in the mind), it is believed to be an immaterial and bodiless substance; until at last its substantivity is lost in the vacuity of the Intellect. (So says the sruti:—The world is the bodiless and unsullied spirit).

41. The mind being quite at rest from all its internal and external thoughts, the real spiritual nature of the soul then appears to light;and manifest itself in the form of the cool and clear firmament, which must be laid hold upon for one's rest and refuge.

42. The wise man will perform his sacrifice with knowledge, and plant the stakes of his meditation in it; and at the conclusion of his all-conquering sacrifice (Vishajit) offer his relinquishment of the

world (sarva tyaga) as his oblation to it. (Because whoso wishes to overcome the world, needs first to make an offering of it in his holy sacrifice).

43. The wise man is always the same and equally firm in himself, whether he stands under a shower of rain or falling rain or fire stones from above, or walks in a diluvian storm; or when he is travelling all over the earth or mounting or flying in the air.

44. No one can attain the station of the apathetic sage, whose mind is tranquil by its want of desire, and which has obtained its enclosure within itself; unless he is practiced to sit in his steadfast meditation.

45. The mind can never derive that perfect peace and tranquillity, either from the study of the sastras, or attending on holy lectures and sermons, or by the practice of austerities and self-controul; as it does by its distaste of all external objects and enjoyments.

46. The mind like a bundle of hay is burnt away by the fire of inappetency of all worldly objects; this fire is kindled by the breath of abandonment of all things, and fanned by the persuasion, that all prosperity is followed by adversity.

47. The perception of sensible objects, casts a mist of ignorance in and all about the mind; it is one's knowledge alone, which shines as a brilliant gem within himself.

48. It is the Intellect alone which shines amidst this gloom, like a luminary in the sky; and looks over all mankind, Nagas and Asuras, and over mountains and in their caves.

49. It is by the infusion of this Intellect, that all things are moving in the dull womb of the universe; they are whirling in the whirlpool of the Intellect, and are deriving their freshness from the enlivening power of that source.

50. All living beings whirling in the great whirlpool of the Intellect (chit Vivarte), are as weak little fishes encircled by the net of ignorance; they are swimming and skimming in the water of the vast vacuum, and are quite forgetful of their spiritual origin.

51. It is the Divine Intellect, that shows itself in various forms within the sphere of itself; as the air presents the variegated forms of thickening clouds, in the wide arena of the sky.

52. All living beings are of the same nature, with their spiritual source, when they are devoid of their desires; it is the difference of desire that makes their different states, and causes them to fly about like the dry leaves of trees, and rustling in the air as hollow reeds.

53. Therefore you must not remain as the ignorant, but rise above them by raising your mind to wisdom;and this is to be done, by calling the manly powers to your aid; and then by overcoming your dullness to suppress the whole band of your rising desires, and next by breaking the strong fetters and prison-house of this world, to devote your attention to your improvement in spiritual knowledge. (These steps are described very diffusely in the gloss for the practice of the devotee).