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 L - Description of the seven kinds of living beings

Argument:—The septuple orders of living creatures, according to the degrees of the tenacity and laxity of their desires. (As mentioned in the preceding Chapter).

Vasishtha added:—

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These bodies of living beings, that are seen to fill the ten sides of this world; and consisting of the different tribes of men, Nagas, Suras, Gandharvas, mountaineers and others.

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Of these some are sleeping wakers (waking sleepers), and others are waking in their imaginations only, and hence called imaginative wakers; some are only wakeful, while there be others who have been waking all along.

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Many are found to be strictly wakeful, and many also as waking sleepers both by day and night; there be some animals that are slightly wakeful, and these constitute the seven classes of living beings (inhabiting this world).

Rama said:—

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Tell me sir, the difference of the seven species of living beings for my satisfaction;which appear to me to be as different as the waters of the seven seas.

Vasishtha replied:—

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There have been some men in some former age and parts of the world, who are known to have been long sleepers with their living bodies. (Such were the seven sleepers of kehef mentioned in Sadi's Gulistan).

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The dream that they see, is the dream of the existence of the world; and those who dream this dream are living men, and denominated as waking sleepers or day dreamers.

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Sometimes a sleeping man, sees a dream rising of itself before him, by reason of some prior action or desire of the same kind arising in the mind; such is the uncalled for appearance of anything or property unto us; and it is therefore that we are denominated as dreaming men. (The story of Lila related before, will serve as an elucidation of this kind).

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They who come to wake after their prolonged sleep and dream, are called as awakened from their sleep and dream, and to have got rid of them (such are the enlightened men that have come out of their ignorance).

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I say we are also sleepers and dreamers, among those sleeping men;because we do not perceive the omniscient One, who by his omnipresence is present every where, as the All in all.

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Rama rejoined;—Tell me now where are those awakened and enlightened men now situated, when those kalpa ages wherein they lived and were born, are now past and gone along with their false imagination.

Vasishtha replied:—

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Those who have got rid of their erroneous dreams in this world, and are awakened from their sleep; resort to some other bodies which they meet with, agreeable to the fancies which they form in their imaginations. (Every one having a peculiar fancy of himself for anything, assumes that form in his next birth).

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Thus they meet with other forms in other ages of the world, according to their own peculiar fancies; because there is no end of the concatenation and fumes of fancy, in the empty air of the mind.

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Now know them that are said to be awakened from their sleep, to be those who have got out of this imaginary world; as the inborn insects, come out of an old and rotten fig tree.

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Hear now of those that are said to be waking in their fancies and desires, and they are those who are born in some former age, and in some part of the world; and were entirely restless and sleepless in their minds owing to some fanciful desire springing in them, and to which they were wholly devoted (so are they that live upon hope).

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And they also who are lost in their meditation, and are subjected to the realm of their greedy minds; who are strongly bound to their desires, by losing of the sacrifice of all their former virtues.

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So also are they whose desires have been partly awake from before, and have gradually engrossed all the other better endeavours of their possessors, are likewise said to be wakeful to their desires.

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They who after cessation of their former desires, resort to some fresh wishes again; are not only greedy people themselves, but think ourselves also to be of the same sort.

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I have told you already regarding the vigils of their desires, and now know them to be dormant over their desires, who bear their lives as they are life beings, and dead to their wishes like ourselves. But hear further of them that are ever awake.

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The first patriarchs that were produced from the self-evolving Brahma, are said to have been ever wakeful, as they had been immerged in profound sleep before their production.

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But being subjected to repeated births, these ever wakeful beings, became subject to alternate sleep and waking, owing to their subjection to reiterated work and repose.

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These again became degraded to the state of trees, on account of their unworthy deeds; and these are said to be duly waking, because of their want of sensibility even in waking state. (The nocturnal sleep of the vegetable creation was unknown to the ancients).

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Those who are enlightened by the light of the sastras, and the company of wise men;look upon the world as a dream in their waking state, and are therefore called as waking dreamers by day.

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Those enlightened men, who have found their rest in the divine state; and are neither wholly awake nor asleep, are said to have arrived at the fourth stage of their yoga.

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Thus have I related to you the difference, of the seven kinds of beings, as that of the waters of the seven seas from one another. Now be of that kind which you think to be the best.

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After all, O Rama, give up your error of reckoning the worlds as real entities of themselves; and as you have come to your firm belief in one absolute unity, get rid of the duality of vacuity and solidity, and be one with that primeval body, which is free from monism and dualism.

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