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 LXIII - Unity of the universe with the universal soul

Argument:—The multifarious worlds of ignorant people, are viewed as one with the Supreme Spirit by the Wise.

Rama rejoined:—

O sage, how could you hold your conference with the incorporeal maid, and how could she utter the letters of the alphabet, without her organs of speech?

Vasishtha replied:—

2. The incorporeal or vacuous bodies, have of course no power or capability of pronouncing the articulate letters of the alphabet; just as dead bodies incapable of speech.

3. And should there even be an articulate sound, yet there can be no intelligible sense in it; and [it] must [be] unintelligible to others; just as a dream though perceived by the dreamer, is unknown to the sleepers in the same bed and side by side.

4. Therefore, there is nothing real in a dream; it is really an unreality and the ideal imagery of the Intellect in empty air, and concomitant with sleep of its own nature. (i.e. sleep and dream are twins by their nature).

5. The clear sky of the intellect, is darkened by its imageries (ideas), like the disk of the moon by its blackness, and as the body (face) of the sky by its clouds; but these are as false as the song of a stone, and the sound of a dead body.

6. The dreams and images (ideas), which appear in the sphere of the intellect, are no other than appearances of itself; as the visible sky is nothing else, than the invisible vacuum itself.

7. Like the appearance of dreams in a sleep, doth this world appear before us in our waking state; so the invisible vacuum appears as the visible (sky to our eye). So the form of the dame was a shape of the intellect (i.e. that is a creature of imagination only. Gloss).

8. It is the very clever intellect in us, which exhibits all these varieties of exquisite shapes in itself; and shows this world to be as real and permanent as itself (though in truth, they are as unreal and fleeting dreams).

Rama rejoined:—

9. Sir, if these be but dreams, how is it they appear to us in our waking state; and if they are unreal, why is it that they seem as solid realities unto us?

Vasishtha replied:—

10. Hear how the visionary dreams, appear as substantial worlds; though they are no other than dreams, and never real, and in no way solid or substantial.

11. The seeds of our notions are playing at random as dust, in the spacious sky of the intellect; some of them are of the same kind and others dissimilar to one another, and productive of like and unlike results.

12. Some of these are contained one under the other, like the cuticles of plantain trees; and there are many others that have no connection with another, and are quite insensible and unknown to others.

13. They do not see each other, nor know anything of one another; but as inert seeds they moulder and moisten in the same heap. (It means the ideas that haunt us in our sleep and waking).

14. These notions being as void and blank as vacuum, are not as shadows in the visible sky; nor are they known to one another, and though they are of sensible shapes, yet they are as ignorant of themselves, as it were under the influence of sleep.

15. Those that sleep in their ignorance, find the world appearing to them in the shape of a dream, by the daytime and act according as they think themselves to be. So the Asura demigods being situated in their dreaming (or visionary world), think themselves to be fighting with and worsted by the Gods.

16. They could not be liberated owing to their ignorance nor were they reduced to the insensibility of stones; but remained dull and inactive in the visionary world of their dream.

17. Men laid up in the sleep of their ignorance, and seeing the dream of the world before them; act according to their custom, and observe how one man is killed by another (i.e. the mutual enmity of mankind).

18. There are other intelligent spirits, which being fast bound to their desires, are never awakened nor liberated from their ignorance; but continue to dwell on the visionary world, which they see in their day dream.

19. The Rakshasas also, that lie asleep in the visionary world of their dream, are placed in the same state as they were used to be by the gods (i.e. the unemancipated souls of all beings, dream of their former state).

20. Say then, O Rama, what became of those Rakshasas, who were thus slain by Gods; they could neither obtain their liberation owing to their ignorance, nor could they be transformed to stones with their intelligent souls.

21. Thus this earth with its seas and mountains and peoples, that are seen to be situated in it; are thought to be as substantial as we think of ourselves by our prior notions of them. (This is the doctrine of Plato's reminiscence, that the sight of the present existence, is but a representation of our remembrance of the past).

22. Our imagination of the existence of the world, is as that of other beings regarding it; and they think of our existence in this world in the same light, as we think of theirs.

23. To them our waking state appears as a dream, and they think us to be dreaming men, as we also think them to be; and as those worlds are viewed as visionary by us, so is this of ours but one of them also.

24. As other people have the notion of their existence from their reminiscence alone, so have we of ourselves and theirs also, from the ubiquious nature or omnipresence of the intellectual soul.

25. As those dreaming men think of their reality, so do others think of themselves likewise; and so art thou as real as any one of them.

26. As thou beholdest the cities and citizens to be situated in thy dream, so do they continue to remain there in the same manner to this day; because God is omnipresent everywhere and at all times.

27. It is by your waking from the sleep of ignorance, and coming to the light of reason; that these objects of your dream will be shorn of their substantiality, and appear in their spiritual light as manifestation of God himself.

28. He is all and in all, and every where at all times; so as He is nothing and nowhere, nor is He the sky nor is ever anything that destroyed. (Or produced).

29. He abides in the endless sky, and is eternal without beginning and end; He abides in the endless worlds, and in the infinity of souls and minds.

30. He lives throughout the air and in every part of it, and in all orbs and systems of worlds; He resides in the bosom of every body, in every island and mountain and hill.

31. He extends all over the extent of districts, cities and villages; He dwells in every house, and in every living body. He extends over years and ages and all parts of time.

32. In him live all living beings, and those that are dead and gone, and have not obtained their liberation; and all the detached worlds are attached to him to no end and for ever.

33. Each world has its people, and all peoples have their minds. Again each mind has a world in it, and every world has its people also.

34. Thus the visibles having neither beginning nor end, are all but erroneous conceptions of the mind; they are no other than Brahma to the knower of God, who sees no reality in aught besides.

35. There is but one only intellect, which pervades this earth below and the heaven above; which extends over the land and water, and lies in woods and stones, and fills the whole and endless universe. Thus wherever there is anything, in any part of this boundless world; they all inspire the idea of the divinity in the divine, while they are looked upon as sensible objects by the ungodly.