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 LV - The spiritual sense of the world

Argument:—The ignorance of self shows the world, but the knowledge of self disperses it to nothing.

Vasishtha continued:—

It is the thought and its absence, that produce the gross and subtile ideas of the world; which in reality was never created in the beginning for want of a creator of it (i.e. The identity of the world with Brahma himself, precludes the supposition of its creation).

2. The essence of the intellect being of an incorporeal nature, cannot be the cause of a corporeal thing. The soul cannot produce an embodied being, as the seed brings forth the plants on earth.

3. It is the nature of man to think of things, by his own nature, and hence the intelligent of mankind view the world in an intellectual light, while the ignorant take [it] in a gross material sense. The intellect being capable of conceiving everything in itself (whether the concrete or discrete).

4. The etherial soul relishes things according to its taste, and the intellect entertains the idea of whatever it thinks upon; the ignorant soul begets the idea of creation, as a giddy man sees many shapes in his intoxication.

5. Whenever the shape of a thing, which is neither produced nor existent, presents itself to our sight; it is to be known as a picture of the ideal figure, which lies quietly in the divine mind.

6. The vacuous Intellect dwelling in the vacuity of the intellect, as fluidity resides in water; shows itself in the form of the world, as the fluid water displays itself in the form of waves upon its surface. So the world is the self-same Brahma, as the wave is the very water. (But the world is intellectual display and not material as the wave).

7. The worlds shining in the empty air, are as the clear visions of things in a dream, or like the false appearances appearing to a dim-sighted man in the open sky.

8. The mirror of the intellect perceives the pageant of the world, in the same manner, as the mind sees the sights of things in dream. Hence what is termed the world, is but void and vacuity. (A something of nothing).

9. The dormant Intellect (or the sleeping soul of God), is said to be awakened in its first acts of creation; and then follows the inaction of the intellect, which is the sleep and night of the soul. (And so it is with all beings, the time of their action being their waking, and that of rest their sleep).

10. As a river continues to run in the same course, in which its current first began to flow; so the whole creation moves in the same unvaried course as at first, like the continuous current and rippling waves of rivers.

11. As the waves of river are concomitant with the course of its waters, so the source of creation lying in the vacuous seed of the airy Intellect, gives rise to its incessant course, along with its ceaseless train of thoughts.

12. The destruction of a man in his death, is no more than the felicity of his repose in sleep; so the resurrection of his soul (in a renovated body) in this world, is likewise a renewal of his felicity. (Hence there is neither pain nor fear, either in living or dying but both is bliss).

13. If there is any fear for or pain in sin, it is equally so both in this life as well as in the next; therefore the life and death of the righteous are equally as blissful (as they are painful to the unrighteous).

14. Those who look on and hail their life and death, with equal indifference; are men that have an unbroken tranquillity of their minds, and are known as the cold-hearted (or meek stoical and platonic).

15. As the conscience becomes clear and bright, after the dross of its consciousness (of the subjective and objective), is cleansed and wiped from it; so shines the pure soul which they term the liberated and free (mukta).

16. It is upon the utter absence of our consciousness, that there ensues a total disappearance of our knowledge of the phenomenals also; and then our intellect rises without a vestige of the intelligibles in it, as also without its intelligence of the existence of the world. (This state of the mind constitutes likewise its liberation or mukti).

17. He that knows God, becomes unified with the divine nature, which is neither thinkable nor of the nature of the thinking principle or intellect, or any which is thought of by the intellect; and being so absorbed in meditation, remains quite indifferent to all worldly pursuits.

18. The world is a reflexion of the mirror of the intellect, and as it is exhibited in the transparent vacuity of the divine spirit, it is in vain to talk of its bondage or liberty.

19. It is the oscillation of the airy intellect, and an act of its imagination, which produces this imaginary world; it is entirely of the nature of the airy spirit whence it has its rise, and never of the form of the earth or anything else as it appears to be.

20. There is no space or time, nor any action or substance here, except an only entity, which is neither a nothing nor any thing that we know of.

21. It is only a spiritual substance, appearing as a thick mist to our sight; it is neither a void nor a substantiality either: but something purer and more pellucid, than the transparent vacuum about us.

22. It is formless with its apparent form, and an unreality with its seeming reality; it is entirely a pure intellectual entity, and appearing as manifest to sight, as an aerial castle in a dream.

23. It is termed the nirvana-extinction of a man, when his view of this outstretched gross and impure world, becomes extinct in its pure spiritual form in the vacuity of his mind. The vast and extensive world presenting all its endless varieties to view, has no diversity in it in reality; but forms an infinite unity, like the vacuous space of the sky, and the fluidity of waters of the one universal ocean on the globe.