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 LII - Description of the form and attributes of brahma

Argument:—Refutation of the Theories of Logicians, and Explanation of Brahma as Immanent in all nature.

Rama said:—

Tell me, O sage, whence comes our knowledge of the world (as a distinct entity from God); and then tell me, how this difference is removed and refuted.

Vasishtha replied:—

2. The ignorant man takes to his mind all that he sees with his eyes, and not at all what he does not see. Thus he sees a tree in its outward branches and leaves, but knows not the root, which lies hid from his sight.

3. The wise man sees a thing by the light of the sastra, and uses it accordingly; but the ignorant fool, takes and grasps anything as he sees it; without considering its hidden quality.

4. Be attentive to the dictates of the sastras, and intent upon acting according to their purport; and by remaining as a silent sage, attend to my sermon, which will be an ornament to your ears.

5. All this visible phenomenon is erroneous, it hath no real existence, and appears as the flash of light in the water and is known by the name of ignoramus.

6. Attend for a moment and for my sake, to the purport of the instruction which I am now going to give you; and knowing this as certain truth, rely upon it (and you will gain your object hereby).

7. Whence are all these and what are they, is a doubt (inquiry) which naturally rises of itself in the mind;and you will come to know by your own cogitation, that all this is nothing and is not in existence.

8. Whatever appears before you in the form of this world, and all its fixed and moveable objects; as also all things of every shape and kind, is altogether evanescent and vanishes in time into nothing.

9. The continual wasting and partition of the particles of things, bespeak their unavoidable extinction at last, as the water exuding by drops from a pot, make it entirely empty in a short time.

10. Thus all things being perishable, and all of them being, but parts of Brahma, it is agreed (by Logicians), that Brahma is neither endless nor imperishable, nor even existent at this time (since by loss of parts by infinitesimal, the whole is lost in toto at last).

11. This conceit (of a theists) likening the intoxication of wine, cannot over power on our theistical belief; because our knowledge of bodies, is as that of things in a dream, and not at all of their real substantiality.

12. The phenomenals are of course all perishable, but not the other (the spirit), which is neither matter nor destructible, and this is conformable with the doctrines of the sastras, which mean no other.

13. Whether what is destroyed come to revive again or not, is utterly unknowable to us; all that we can say by our inferences, [is] that the renovations are very like the former ones.

14. That matter existed in the form of vacuum upon its dissolution, is not possible to believe (from the impossibility of plastic nature to be converted to a formless void). Again if there was the vacuum as before, then there could not be a total dissolution (if this was left undestroyed).

15. If the theory of the identity of creation and dissolution be maintained (owing to the existence of the world in the spirit of God); then the absence of causality and effect, supports our tenet of their being the one and the same thing.

16. Vacuity being conceivable by us, we say everything to be annihilated, that is transformed to or hid in the womb of vacuum;if then there is anything else which is meant by dissolution, let us know what may it be otherwise.

17. Whoever believes that, the things which are destroyed, comes to restore again (as the Pratyabhijna vadis do); is either wrong to call them annihilated, or must own, that others are produced to supply their place.

18. Where is there any causality or consequence in a tree, which is but a transformation of the seed; notwithstanding the difference of its parts, as the trunk and branches, and leaves and fruits.

19. The seed is not inactive as a pot or picture, but exhibits its actions in the production of its flower and fruits in their proper seasons. (So doth the divine spirit show its evolution and involution, as the proper times of creation and dissolution of the world).

20. That there is no difference in the substance of things (of different form and natures), is a truth maintained by every system of philosophy;and this truth is upheld in spirituality also; therefore there is no dispute about it.

21. And this substance being considered to be of an eternally inert form, and of a plastic nature; it is understood to be of the essence of vacuum, both by right inference and evidence of sastras.

22. Why the essential principle is unknown to us, and why we have still some notion of it, and how we realize that idea, is what I am now going to relate to you step by step.

23. All these visible spheres, being annihilated at the final dissolution of the world; and the great gods also being extinct, together with our minds and understandings, and all the activities of nature.

24. The sky also being undefined and time dwindling into a divisible duration; the winds also disappearing and fire blinding into the chaotic confusion.

25. Darkness also disappearing and water vanishing into nothing; and all things which are expressed by words quite growing nil and null in

the end.

26. There remains the pure entity of a conscious soul, which is altogether unbounded by time and space, and is something without its beginning or end; is decrease or waste, and entirely pure and perfect in its nature.

27. This one is unspeakable and undiscernible, imperceptible and inconceivable and without any appellation or attribute whatever; This is an utter void itself and yet the principle and receptacle of all beings and the source of all entity and non-entity.

28. It is not the air nor the wind, nor is it the understanding nor any of its faculties nor a void or nullity also; it is nothing and yet the source of everything, and what can it be but the transcendent vacuum (vyom-beom Hebrew, and the bom-bom of sivaites when Siva is called vyom-Kesa).

29. It is only a notion in the conception of wise and beside which no one can conceive or know anything of it, whatever definition or description of it is given by others, is only a repetition of the words of the vedas.

30. It is neither the time or space, nor the mind nor soul nor any being or nothing that it may said to be; it is not in the midst or end of any space or side, nor is it that we know or know altogether. (The Lord is unspeakable yet faintly seen in these his meanest works. Milton).

31. This something [is] too translucent for common apprehension, and is conceivable only by the greatest understandings; and such as have retired from the world and attained to the highest stage of their yoga.

32. I have left out the popular doctrines, which are avoided by the Srutis; and the expressions of the latter are displayed herein, like the playful waves in the limpid ocean.

33. It is said there, that all beings are situated in their common receptacle of the great Brahma; as the unprojected figures are exhibited in relief, upon a massive stony pillar.

34. Thus all beings are situated and yet unsituated in Brahma, who is the soul of and not the same with all; and who is in and without all existence (These contraries are according to the texts of different Srutis, giving the discordant ideas of God in the spiritualistic and materialistic points of view).

35. Whatever be the nature of the universal soul, it is devoid of all attributes; and in whatever manner it is viewed, it comes at last to mean the self-same unity. (The different paths leading to the one and same goal).

36. It is all and the soul of all, and being devoid of attributes, it is full of all attributes; and in this manner it is viewed by all.

37. So long, O intelligent Rama, as you do not feel the entire suspension of all your objects (in the torpid state of your samadhi); you cannot be said to have reached to the fullness of your knowledge, as it is indicated by your doubts till then.

38. The enlightened man who has come to (know) the unapparent great glory of God, has the clear sightedness of his mind, and remains quiet with viewing the inbeing of his being.

39. His fallacies of I, thou and he, and his error of the world and the three times (viz. the present, past, and future); are lost in his sight of that great glory, as many a silver coin is merged in a lump of gold.

40. But as a gold coin, produces (yields) various kinds of coins (different from itself); it is not in that manner that these worlds and their contents, are produced as things of a different kind from the nature of God.

41. The detached soul looks always upon the different bodies, as contained within itself; and remains in relation to this dualism of the world, as the gold is related to the various kinds of jewels, which are produced from it.

42. It is inexpressible by the words, implying space and time or any other thing; though it is the source and seat of them all; it comprehends everything, though it is nothing of itself.

43. All things are situated in Brahma, as the waves are contained in the sea; and they are exhibited by him, like pictures drawn by the painter; he is the substratum and substance of all, as the clay of the pots which are made of it.

44. All things are contained in it, as they are and are not there at the same time, and as neither distinct nor indistinct from the same; they are ever of the same nature, and equally pure and quiet as their origin.

45. The three worlds are contained in it, as the uncarved images are concealed in a stone or wood; and as they are seen with gladness even there, by the future sculptor or carver.

46. The images come to be seen, when they are carved and appear manifest on the stone pillar; otherwise the worlds remain in that soul, as the unperturbed waves lie calmly in the bosom of the sea.

47. The sight of the worlds appears to the Divine intellect, as divided and distinct when they are yet undivided and indistinct before their creation; they appear to be shining and moving there; when they are dark and motionless on the outside.

48. It is the combination of atoms, that composes these worlds; and makes them shine so bright, when no particle has any light in it. (Dull matter is dark, and it is the light of God that makes it shine).

49. The sky, air, time and all other objects, which are said to be produced from the formless God; are likewise formless of themselves; the Lord God is the soul of all, devoid of all qualities and change, undecaying and everlasting, and termed the most transcendent truth.