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 LI - Admonition to arrive at the yoga of ultimate rest

Argument:—The world disappearing at the sight of God, its falsity at the sight of the self, and its voidness before true knowledge.

Rama said:—

Tell me sir, what is the cause of mere waking for nothing, and how does a living being proceed from the formless Brahma, which is tantamount to the growth of a tree in empty air.

Vasishtha replied:—

2. O highly intelligent Rama, there is no work to be found any where which is without its cause, therefore it is altogether impossible for any body to exist here, that is merely awake for nothing.

3. Like this, it is equally impossible also for all other kinds of living beings, to exist without a cause.

4. There is nothing that is produced here, nor anything which is destroyed also; it is only for the instruction and comprehension of pupils, that such words are coined and made use of.

5. Rama asked:—Who then is it that forms these bodies, together with their minds, understandings and senses; and who is it that deludes all beings into the snares of passions and affections, and into the net of ignorance.

Vasishtha replied:—

6. There is no body that forms these bodies at any time, nor is there any one who deludes the living beings in a manner at all.

7. There is alone the self-shining soul, residing in his conscious self; which evolves in various shapes, as the water glides on in the shapes of billows and waves. (Here water is expressed by the monosyllabic word ka—aqua, as it is done else where by udac undan and udra—hydra as also by ap—ab Persian).

8. There is nothing as an external phenomenon, it is the intellect which shows itself as the phenomenal; it rises from the mind (as perception does from the heart), like a large tree growing out of its seed.

9. It is in this faculty of the understanding, O thou support of Raghu's race, that this universe is situated, just as the images are carved in a stone.

10. There is but one spiritual soul, which spreads both internally as well as externally, throughout the whole extent of time and space; and know this world as the effluvia of the divine intellect scattered on all sides.

11. Know this as the next world, by suppressing your desire for a future one; rest calmly in your celestial soul even here, nor let your desires range from here to there.

12. All space and time, all the worlds and their motions with all our actions, being included under the province of the intellectual soul; the meanings of all these terms are never insignificant and nil.

13. O Raghava! It is they only who are well acquainted with the meanings of words (the vedas), and those keen observers who have ceased to look upon the visibles, that can comprehend the Supreme soul, and not others (who have no understanding).

14. Those who are of light minds, and are buried in the depth of egoism;it is impossible for them ever to come to the sight of that light (which is seen only by the holy).

15. The wise look upon the fourteen regions of this world, together with multitudes of their inhabitants, as the members of this embodied spirit.

16. There can be no creation or dissolution without its cause; and the work must be conformable with the skill of its maker.

17. If the work be accompanied with its cause, and the work alone be perceptible without its accompanying cause, it must be an unreality, owing to our imperception of its constituting cause.

18. And whereas the product must resemble its producer, as the whiteness of the sea water produces the white waves and froths, so the productions of the most perfect God, must bear resemblance to his nature in their perfection. But the imperfect world and the mind not being so, they cannot be said to have proceeded from the all perfect One.

19. (Therefore imperfect nature is no creation of the father of perfection). Wherefore all this is the pure spirit of God, and the whole is the great body of Brahma; in the same manner, as one clod of earth, is the cause of many a pot; and one bar of gold, becomes the cause of many a jewel.

20. As the waking state appears as a dream in dreaming (i.e. when one dreams), on account of the oblivion of the waking state; so the waking state seems as dreaming, even in the waking state of the wise. (So the pot appears as the clod in its unformed state, and the clod appears as the pot after it is formed. So the spirit appears as the world to the ignorant, while the world appears as soul to the wise).

21. If it is viewed in the light of the mind or a creation of the mind, it proves to be as false as water in the mirage (because the phantasies of the mind present only false appearances to view). It proves at last to be a waking dream by the right understanding of it.

22. By right knowledge all material objects, together with the bodies of wise men, dissolve like the bodies of clouds, in their proper season.

23. As the clouds disappear in the air, after pouring their water in the rains; so doth the world disappear from the sight of men, who have come to the light of truth and knowledge of the soul.

24. Like the empty clouds of autumn and the water of the mirage, the phenomenal world loses its appearance, no sooner it is viewed by the light of right reason.

25. As solid gold is melted down to fluidity by hot fire, so the phenomenals all melt away to an aerial nothing, when they are observed by the keen eye of philosophy.

26. All solid substances in the three worlds, become rarefied air when they [are] put to the test of a rational analysis; just as the stalwart spectre of a demon, vanishes from the sight of the awakened child into nothing.

27. Conceptions of endless images, rise and fall of themselves in the mind; so the image of the world being but a concept of the mind, there is no reality in it, nor is there anything which has any density or massiveness in it (a mass being but the conception of an aggregate of minute particles and no more).

28. The knowledge and ignorance of the world, consist only in its conception and nescience in the mind; when the knowledge of its existence disappears from the understanding, where is there the idea of its massiveness any more in the mind. (So as in the insensibility of our sound sleep and swooning, we have no consciousness of it).

29. The world loses its bulk and solidity, in our knowledge of the state of our waking dream; when its ponderousness turns to rarity, as the gold melts to liquidity when it is put upon fire.

30. The understanding as it is (i.e. being left uncultivated), becomes dull and dense by degrees; as the liquid gold when left to itself, is

solidified in a short time.

31. Thus one who in his waking state considers himself to be dreaming, and sees the world in its rarified state; comes to extenuate himself with all his desires and appetites, as a ponderous cloud is sublimated in autumn.

32. The wise man seeing all the visible beauties of nature which are set before his face, as extremely rare and of the appearance of dreams, takes no notice of nor relish in them.

33. Where is this rest of the soul, and where this turmoil of the spirit for wealth; their abiding in the one and same man, is as the meeting of sleep and wakefulness together, and the union of error and truth in the same person, and at the same time (which is impossible).

34. He who remains asleep to (or insensible of) the erroneous imaginations of his mind, acts freed from his false persuasion of the reality of the world.

35. Who is it, O high minded Rama, that takes a pleasure in an unreality, or satisfies himself with drinking the false water of the mirage appearing before him.

36. The saintly sage, who rests in his knowledge of truth; looks upon the world [as] an infinite vacuum, beset with luminaries, which shines forth like the light of lamps set behind the windows.

37. The waking man who knows everything as void and blank, and as the vagary of his vagrant mind ceases to long for the enjoyment of it. (For nobody craves for anything, which he knows to be nothing).

38. There is nothing desirable in that, which is known to be nothing at all; for who runs after the gold, which he has seen in his dream at night?

39. Every body desists from desiring that, which he knows to be seen in his dream only; and he is released from the bondage, which binds the beholder to the object of this sight. (Lit. the knot of the viewer and view is broken).

40. He is the most accomplished man, who is not addicted to pleasure, and is of a composed mind and without pride; and he is a man of understanding, who is dispassionate and remains quiet without any care or toil. (Perfect composure is the character of the Stoic and Platonic philosophers).

41. Distaste to pleasure, produces the want of desire; just as the flame of fire being gone, there is an end of its light. (The fire gives heat but the flame produces the light).

42. The light of knowledge, shows sky as a cloudless and lighted sphere; but the darkness of error, gives the world an appearance of the hazy fairy land.

43. The wise man neither sees himself, nor the heavens nor anything besides; but his ultimate view is at last fixed upon the glory of God (which shines all about him).

44. The holy seer (being seated in the seventh stage of his yoga), sees neither himself nor the sky nor the imaginary worlds about him;he does not see the phantasms of his fancy, but sits quite insensible of all.

45. The earth and other existences, which are dwelt and gazed upon by the ignorant, are lost in the sight of the sage, who sees the whole as a void, and is insensible of himself. (The earth recedes, and heaven opens to his sight. Pope).

46. Then there comes on a calm composure and grace in the soul, resembling the brightness of the clear firmament; and the yogi sits detached from all, as a nullity in himself.

47. Unmindful of all, the yogi sits silent in his state of self-seclusion and exclusion from all: he is set beyond the ocean of the world, and the bounds of all its duties and action. (The yogi gets exempt from all social and religious obligation).

48. That great ignorance (or delusion), which is the cause of the mind's apprehension of the earth and sky, and the hills and seas and their contents, is utterly dissolved by true knowledge, though these things appear to exist before the ignorant eye.

49. The sapient sage stands unveiled before his light of naked truth, with his tranquil mind freed from all sceptical doubts; and being nourished with the ambrosia of truth, he is as firm and fixed in himself, as the pithy and sturdy oak.