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 LXI - On the identity of the world with infinite vacuity

Argument:—Want of Divine knowledge, produces the knowledge of the reality of the unreal world; but the knowledge of God, proves the nothingness of the World at all times.

Vasishtha continued:—

It is from the face of the firmament of Divine Intellect, that the atmosphere of our understandings, catch the reflexion of this universe; just as the waters of the deep, receive the images of the clouds in the upper sky. It is this Intellect which gives us life, and guides our minds.

2. These living souls and minds of ours, are of the form of the clear sky; and these countless worlds, are productions of empty vacuity.

Rama rejoined:—

3. Tell me sir, that after all kinds of beings were entirely liberated, from the bonds of their bodies and their souls also, at the universal annihilation of things; what is it that comes to be created again, and whence it gets it undone also.

Vasishtha replied:—

4. Hear me tell you, how at the great destruction or deluge, all things together with the earth, water, air, fire and the sky, and the spheres of heaven vanish away, and are liberated from their respective forms; and how this universe comes to appear again to our imagination.

5. There remains alone the undefinable spirit of God after this, which is styled the great Brahma and Supreme Intellect by the sages; and this world remains in the heart of that being, from which it [is] altogether inseparable and indifferent.

6. He is the Lord, and all this is contained in the nature of this heart, which passeth under the name of the world, it is by his pleasure that he exhibits to us the notion that we have of the world, which is not his real form.

7. Considering this well, we find nothing either as created or destroyed by him; but as we know the supreme cause of all to be imperishable by his nature, so do we know his heart to be indestructible also; and the great kalpa ages are only parts of Himself (as the divisions of time

are only parts of eternity).

8. It is only our circumscribed knowledge, that shows us the differences and dualities of things; but these upon examination are not to be found and vanish into nothing.

9. Therefore there is nothing of anything, that is ever destroyed to nothing, nor is there anything which is ever produced from Brahma; who is unborn and invisible, and rests always in his tranquillity.

10. He remains as the pure essence of intellect, in atoms of a thousandth part of the particles of simple vacuity.

11. This world is verily the body of that great Intellect, how then can this mundane body (corpus mundi) come to be destroyed, without destruction of the other also (which is indestructible of its nature)?

12. As the intellect awakes in our hearts, even in our sleep and dream; so the world is present in our minds at all times, and presents unto us its airy or ideal form ever since its first creation.

13. The creation is a component part of the vacuous intellect and its rising and setting being but the airy and ideal operations of the intellect, there is no part of it that is ever created or destroyed of it at any time.

14. This spiritual substance of the intellect, is never susceptible of being burnt or broken or torn at any time;it is not soiled or dried or weakened at all nor is it knowable or capable to be seen by them that are ignorant of it.

15. It becomes, whatever it has in its heart; and as it never perishes, so the notion of the world and all things which inhere in its heart (mind), is neither begotten nor destroyed in any wise.

16. It subsides and revives only, by cause of its forgetfulness and remembrance only at different times, and rising and setting of the notion, gives rise to the ideas of the creation and destruction of the world.

17. Whatever notion you have of the world, you become the same yourself; think it perishable, and you perish also with it; but know it as imperishable, and you become unperishing also.

18. Know then the creation and great destruction of the world, to be but recurrences of its notion and oblivion, and the two phases of the intellect only.

19. How can the production or destruction of anything, take place in the vacuity of the airy intellect; and how can any condition or change be attributed to the formless intellect at all?

20. The great kalpa ages and all periods of time, and parts of creation, are mere attributes of the intellect and the intellect but a predicate of Brahma, they all merge into the great Brahma alone.

21. The intellect is a formless and purely transparent substance, and the phenomenals are subject to its will alone; and it is according to the will or wish that one has in his heart (or mind), that he sees the object appear before him, like the fairy lands of imagination.

22. As the body of a tree is composed of its several parts, of the roots, trunk, branches, leaves, flowers, fruits and other things.

23. So the solid substance of the divine spirit, which is more translucent than the clear firmament, and which nothing can be predicated in reality, has the creation and great destructions &c. as the several conditions of its own essence.

24. So the various states of pleasure and pain, of happiness and misery, of birth, life and death, and of form and want of form, are but the different states of the same spirit.

25. And as the whole body of this spirit, is imperishable and unchangeable in its nature, so are all the states and conditions of its being also.

26. There is no difference in the nature and essence of the whole and its part, except that the one is more palpable to sight by its greater bulk than the other.

27. As our consciousness, is the root of existence of a tree; so is our consciousness the root of our belief in the existence of God.

28. This consciousness shows us the varieties of things, as something in one place and another else where; it shows us the creation as a great trunk, and all the worlds as so many trees.

29. It shows some where the great continents, as the branches of these trees and their contents of hills &c., as their twigs and leaves;somewhere it shows the sunshine as its flowers, and darkness as the black bark of these trees.

30. Somewhere it shows the concavity of the sky as the hollow of the tree, and elsewhere the dissolution of creation as a vast desolation; it shows in one place the synod of gods as cluster of flowers, and other beings in another as bushes and brambles and cuticles of trees.

31. So are all these situated in the formless and vacuous consciousness, which is the great Brahma itself, and no other than the same nature with Brahma (in its clearness and transparency).

32. There was a past world, here is the present one, and in another a would be creation in futuro; are all but notions of our minds, and known to us by our consciousness of them, which is as unchangeable in its nature as Brahma himself.

33. Thus the supreme and self conscious soul of Brahma, being as transparent as clear firmament, there is no colour or cloud (or the changeful shadows of creation and destruction), which are attributed to it (by way of simile), with the shades of light and darkness in the orb of the moon.

34. How can there be the taint of anything in the transcendent, and transparent firmament, and can the imputation of the first, midst and last, and of far and near attach to infinity and eternity.

35. Want of a comprehensive and abstract knowledge, is the cause of attributing such and other qualities to the divine nature; and it is removed by right knowledge of the most perfect One. (These two are distinguished by the terms, the knowledge of the paragatma and pralayatma?).

36. Ignorance known as such, by cognoscence of truth, is removed by itself; as a lamp is extinguished by the air which kindles the light (i.e. The knowledge of ignorance drives away ignorance).

37. As it is certain that the knowledge of one's ignorance, is the cause of its removal; so the knowledge of the unlimited Brahma, makes him to be known as all in all.

38. Thus Rama, have I expounded to you the meaning of liberation, consult it attentively with your conscience, and you will undoubtedly attain to it (in a short time).

39. This network of worlds, is uncreated and without its beginning; yet it is apparent to sight by means of the spirit of Brahma, manifest in that form. Whoso contemplates with the eye of his reason, the eight qualities of the lord, becomes full with the divine spirit, although he is as mean as a straw in his living soul.