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 LIX - Description of the network of the world

Argument:—Vasishtha's hearing a faint sound after his hybernation and his coming to the sight of endless worlds afterwards.

Rama rejoined:—

1. Relate to me, O sage, of your acts of a whole century, after you had risen from your trance, in the cell of your aerial abode.

Vasishtha replied:—

2. After I had awakened from my trance, I heard a soft and sweet sound, which [was] slow but distinctly audible, and was clearly intelligible both in sound and sense.

3. It was as soft and sweet, as if it proceeded from female voice; and musical to the ear; and as it was neither loud nor harsh owing to its effeminacy, I kept to watch whence the words were heard.

4. It was as sweet as the humming of the bees, and as pleasing as the tune of wired instruments; it was neither the chime of crying nor the rumble of reading, but as the buzzing of black bees, known to men as the visa-koshi strain in vocal music.

5. Hearing this strain for a long time, and seeking in vain whence it came, I thought within myself: "It is a wonder that I hear the sound, without knowing its author, and from which of the ten sides of heaven it proceeds."

6. This part of the heavens, said I, is the path of the siddhas (or spirits of sanctified saints), and on the other side I see an endless vacuity; I passed over millions of miles that way, and then I sat there awhile and pondered in my mind.

7. How could such feminine voice, proceed from such a remote and solitary quarter; where I see no vocalist with all my diligent search.

8. I see the infinite space of the clear and inane sky lying before me, where I find no visible being appearing to my sight notwithstanding all my diligent search.

9. As I was thinking in this manner, and looking repeatedly on all sides, without seeing the maker of the sonant sound; I thought on a plan in the following manner.

10. That I must transform myself to air, and be one with the inane vacuum; and then make some sound in the empty air, which is the receptacle of sound. (The air is said to be the vehicle and medium of sound, which is called the property of air).

11. I thought on leaving my body in its posture of meditation, as I was sitting before; and with the vacuous body of my intellect, mix with the inane vacuum, as a drop of water mixes with water.

12. Thinking so, I was about to forsake my material frame, by sitting in my posture of Padmasana, and betaking myself to my samadhi or intense meditation, and shut my eyes closely against all external sights.

13. Having then given up my sensations of all external objects of sense, I became as void as my intellectual vacuum, preserving only the feeling of my consciousness in myself.

14. By degrees I lost my consciousness also, I became a thinking principle only; and then I remained in my intellectual sphere as a mirror of the world (i.e. to reflect the reflections of all worldly things in their abstracted light).

15. Then with that vacuous nature of mine, I became one with the universal vacuum;and melted away as a drop of water with the common water, and mixed as an odour in the universal receptacle of empty air.

16. Being assimilated to the great vacuum, which is omnipresent and pervades over the infinite space; I became like the endless void, the reservoir and support of all, although I was formless and supportless myself.

17. In my formless (of endless space), [I] began to look into myriads of worlds and mundane eggs, that lay countless in my infinite and unconscious bosom.

18. These worlds were apart from, and unseen by and unknown to one another; and appeared with all their motions and manners, as mere spaces to each other (i.e. they are at such great distance that they could not be seen all at once).

19. As visions in a dream appearing thickly to a dreaming man, and as nothing to the sleeping person; so the empty space abounds with worlds to their observers, and as quite vacant to the unobservant spiritualist.

20. Here many things are born, to grow and decay and die away at last; and what is present is reckoned with the past, and what was in the womb of futurity, comes to existence in numbers.

21. Many magic scenes and many aerial castles and buildings, together with many a kingdom and palace, are built in this empty air, by the imaginations of men.

22. Here there were to be seen many edifices with several apartments counting from unit to the digit (and these are the various systems of philosophy, with one and many more number, of their respective categories).

23. There were some structures, constructed with ten or sixteen apartments; and others which had dozens and three dozens of doors, attached to them. (The predicaments of the Nyaya and Jaina systems of philosophy. But Buddhism or Jain Atheism is called Niravarana, having no category but vacuity).

24. The whole ethereal space is full of the five primary elements, which compose elementary bodies of single or double and triple natures.

25. Some of these bodies are composed of quadruple, quintuple and sextuple elements, and others of seven different elementary principles called sevenfold great elements—Sapta-maha-bhutas. (They are the five subtile elements of earth, water, fire, air and vacuum, and the two principles of time and space, all which subsist in vacuity).

26. So there are many super-natural natures, which are beyond the power of your conception (as the Gods, demons and other etherial beings), and so there are spaces of everlasting darkness, without the light of the sun and moon.

27. Some parts of the void were devoid of creation, and others were occupied by Brahma the creator—their master, some parts were under the dominion of the patriarchs or lords of creatures, and under influence of various customs.

28. Some parts were under the control of the vedas, and others were ungoverned by regulations of sastras; some parts were full of insects and worms, and others were peopled by gods and other living beings.

29. In some parts the burning fires of daily oblations were seen to rise, and at others the people were observant of the traditional usages of their respective tribes only (without knowing their reasons).

30. Some parts were filled with water, and others were the regions of storms; some bodies were fixed in the remote sky, and others were roving and revolving in it continually.

31. The growing trees were blossoming in some parts, and others were fructifying and ripening at others. There were the grazing animals moving pronely in some place, and others were teeming with living beings.

32. The Lord alone is the whole creation, and He only is the totality of mankind; He is the whole multitude of demons, and He too is the whole shoal of worms every where.

33. He is not afar from anything, but is present in every atom that is contained in his bosom. All things are growing and grown up in the cell of vacuity, like the coatings of the plantain tree.

34. Many things are growing unseen and unknown to each other, and never thought of together, such are the dreams of soldiers which are unseen by others.

35. There are endless varieties of creations, in the unbounded womb of vacuum, all of different natures and manners;and there are no two things of the same character and feature.

36. All men are of different sastras, faiths and persuasions from one another, and these are of endless varieties; they are as different in their habits and customs, as they are separated from each other in their habitations and localities.

37. So there are worlds above worlds, and the spheres of the spirits over one another; so there are a great many big elemental bodies, like the hills and mountains that come to our sight.

38. It will be impossible for understandings like yours, to comprehend the incoherent (unusual) things, which are spoken by men like ourselves (i.e. inspired sages, who talk of wonders beyond the common comprehension).

39. We must derive the atoms of spiritual light, which proceeds from the sphere of vacuum;as we feel the particles of mental light which issues from the orb of sun of our intellect. (Here the author speaks of the lights of the sun, intellect and spirit).

40. Some are born to remain just as they are, and become of no use to any one at all; and others become some what like themselves as the leaves of forest trees.

41. Some are equal to others, and many that are unlike to them; for sometime as alike to one another, and at others they differ in their shapes and nature (it is difficult to make out the meaning of these passages, not given in the gloss).

42. Hence there are various results of the great tree of spirituality, among which some are of the same kinds and others, of different sorts.

43. Some of these are of short duration, and others endure for longer periods; there are some of temporary existence, and others endure for ever.

44. Some have no determinate time (for want of the sun and moon), to regulate its course; and others are spontaneous in their growth and continuance.

45. The different regions of the sky, which lie in the concavity of boundless vacuum, are in existence from unknown periods of time, and in a state beyond the reach of our knowledge.

46. These regions of the sky, this sun and these seas and mountains, which are seen to rise by hundreds to our sights, are the wonderful display of our Intellect in the sky, like the chain of dreams in our sleep.

47. It is from our erroneous notions, and the false idea of a creative cause, that we take the unreal earth and all other appearances as they are really existent ones.

48. Like the appearance of water in the mirage, and the sight of two moons in the sky; do these unreal phenomena present themselves to our view, although they are altogether false.

49. It is the imaginative power of the Intellect, which create these images as clouds in the empty air; they are raised high by the wind of our desire, and roll about with our exertions and pursuits.

50. We see the gods, demigods and men, flying about like flies and gnats about a fig tree; and its luscious fruits are seen to hang about it, and shake with the winds of heaven.

51. It is only from the naturally creative imagination of the Intellect, likening the sportive disposition of boys, that the toys of fairy shapes are shown in the empty air.

52. The false impressions of I, thou, he and this, are as firmly affixed in the mind, as the clay dolls of boys are hardened in the sunlight and heat.

53. It is the playful and ever active destiny, that works all these changes in nature; as the genial vernal season, fructifies the forest with its moisture.

54. Those that are called the great causes of creation, are no causes of it; nor are those that are said to be created, created all, but all is a perfect void. They have sprung of themselves in the vacuity of the Intellect.

55. They all exist in their intellectual form, though they appear to be manifest as otherwise; the perceptibles are all imperceptible, and the existent is altogether inexistent.

56. The fourteen worlds, and the eleven kinds of created beings; are all the same in the inner intellect, as they appear to the outward sight.

57. The heaven and earth, and the infernal regions, and the whole host of our friends and foes, are all nullities in their true sense though they seem to be very busy in appearance.

58. All things are as inelastic fluid, as the fluidity of the sea waters; they are as fragile as the waves of the sea in their inside, though they appear as solid substances on the outside.

59. They are the reflections of the supreme soul, as the day light is that of the sun; they all proceed from and melt away into the vacuous air as the gusts of winds.

60. The egoistic understanding, is the tree bearing the foliage of our thoughts.

61. The rituals and their rewards, which are prescribed in the vedas and puranas, are as the fanciful dreams occurring in light sleep; but they are buried into oblivion by them and are led up in the sound sleep like the dead.

62. The Intellect like a Gandharva architect, is in the act of building many fairy cities in the forest of intellectuality, and lighted with the light of its reason, blazing as the bright sun-beams.

63. In this manner, O Rama, I beheld in my meditative revelry, many worlds to be created and scattered without any cause, as a blind man sees many false sights in the open air.