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...
Argument:—The sage's visit to the stony-mansion and the nymph's relations of the force of habit.
The nymph continued:—
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If you, O sage, have any doubt in any part of my narration; then please to walk with me and see that mansion, and you will observe there many more wonders than what I have related.
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Upon this I said "well" and went on travelling with her in our aerial journey; as the fragrance of flowers flies with the winds, to aerial nothing in which they are both lost for ever.
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As I passed far and afar, in the regions of air; I met with multitudes of etherial beings, and came to the sight of their celestial abodes.
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Passing over the regions traversed by the celestials, in the upper and higher sphere of heaven; I arrived at blank and blanched sky, beyond the height and above the summit of the polar mountain.
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I then passed amidst this etiolated vault and came out at last of it, as the fair moon appears under the white canopy of heaven; and beheld above me the bright belt of zodiac, containing the seven-fold golden spheres of the seven planets. Note. the Hindu astronomy does not reckon the earth as one of the moving planets.
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As I was looking at that belt of the zodiac, I found it as a crystalline marble, and burning with fire. I could not discern any of the worlds that it encompassed (they being all put to shade by the zodiacal light).
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I then asked my lovely companion, to tell me where were the created worlds, together with the gods and planetary bodies and stars, and the seven spheres of heaven.
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Where were the oceans and the sky, with all its different sides (of the compass); where were the high and heavy bodies of clouds, the starry heaven, and the ascension and descension of the rolling planets.
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Where are now, said I, the rows of the lofty mountain peaks, and the marks of the seas upon the earth; where are the circles and clusters of the islands, and where are the sunny shores and dry and parched grounds of deserts.
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There is no reckoning of time here, nor any account of actions of men; nor is there any delusive appearance of a created world or anything whatever, in this endless and empty vacuum.
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There is no name of the different races of beings, as the Gods, demigods, Vidyadharas, Gandharvas and other races of mankind; there is no mention of a sage or prince, or of aught that is good or evil, or of a heaven or hell, or day and night and their divisions into watches, hours &c.
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There is no calculation of the divisions of time (in this extramundane space), nor any knowing of merit or demerit (in this uninhabited place); it is free from the hostility of the gods and demigods and the feelings of love and enmity (between man and man).
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Whilst I had been prating in this manner in my amazement, that excellent lady who was my cicerone in this maze, spake to me and said, with her eyeballs rolling as a couple of fluttering black bees.
The nymph said:—
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I neither see any thing here, in its former state; but find everything presenting a picturesque form in this crystal stone, as it does in its image appearing in a mirror.
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I see the figures of all things in this, by reason of my preconceived ideas eternally engraven herein, while the want of your preconceptions of them, is the cause of your oversight or blindness of the same.
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Moreover it is your habitual conversation, regarding the unity or duality of the sole entity; and forgetfulness of our pure spiritual and intellectual bodies, that you were blind to the sight of the reality, and I had a dim glimpse of it.
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I have by my long habit of thinking, learnt to look upon this world in the light of an etherial plant (which is nothing); I never view it as you do to be a reality, but as a dim reflection of the ideal reality.
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The world that appeared before so conspicuous to my sight, I find it now appearing as indistinct to me as a shadow of the same cast upon a glass.
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It is owing to our prejudice in favour of the false doctrine of old, regarding the personality of the body; that we have missed the ease of our reliance in the spiritual body, and thus fallen in the deep darkness of delusion.
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Whatever we are habituated to think in our internal minds, the same grows forth and takes a deep root in the heart, under the moistening influence of the intellectual soul; and mind becomes of the nature, as the force of early habit forms the youth.
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There is nothing which is likely to be effected, either by the precepts of the best sastras, or the dictates of right reason, unless they are made effectual by constant application and practice of them. (Theoretical knowledge is useless without practice).
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Your erroneous speech regarding the nihility of the world in this empty space, proceeded only from your constant habit of thinking the reality of the false world, which was about to mislead me also. Be now wise that you have overcome your previous prejudice, and known the present truth.
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Know, O sage, that it is your habitual thinking of a thing as such, that makes it appear so to you; just as a mechanic master's art is by his constant practice of the same under the direction of its professor.
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The erroneous conceptions of this thing and that, and of the existence of the material world, and the reality of one's egoism and personality; are all obviated by culture of spiritual knowledge, and by force of the constant habit of viewing all things in their spiritual light.
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I am but a weak and young disciple to thee, and yet see the stony world too well, which thou with thy all-knowingness dost not perceive; and this is because of my habit of thinking it otherwise than thou art practiced to do.
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See the effect of practice, which makes a learned man of a dunce (by his habitude to study); and reduces a stone to dust (by continued pounding). Look at the force of the inert arrow, to hit at the distant mark (by impulsion of the practiced archer).
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In this manner the gloom of our ignorance, and the malady of false knowledge, are both of them dispelled by right reasoning and deep thinking, both of which are the effect of habit.
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It is habit that produces a zest, in the tests of particular articles of food, as some have a relish for what is sour and pungent, while there are others that luxuriate in what is sweet and savoury. (Tastes differ).
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A stranger becomes friendly, by his continuance in one's company;and so is a friend alienated, by his living in an alien and distant land.
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Our spiritual body, which is perfectly pure, aerial and full of intelligence, is converted to and mistaken for the gross material body as soul, by our constantly thinking of our corporeality.
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The impression of your being a material body, will fly away as a bird flies off in the air, no sooner you come to know yourself to be a spiritual and intellectual soul. But it is the habit of thinking yourself as such, that makes you really so.
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All our meritorious acts are destroyed, by a slight act of demerit; and our prosperity flies away at the approach of adversity; but there is nothing which can remove our habit from us. (Habit being our second nature).
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All difficult matters are facilitated by practice, and enemies are conciliated into friendship, and even poison is made as delectable as honey by virtue of habit.
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He is reckoned as too mean and vile a person, who does not accustom himself to practice, whatever is good and proper for him; he never acquires his object, but becomes as useless as a barren woman in the family.
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Whatever is desirable and good for one, is to be gained with assiduity all along one's life time, just as one's life, which is his greatest good in the world, is to be preserved with care, until the approach of death.
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Whoso neglects to practice any act or art, which is conducive to his welfare, is prone to his ruin and to the torments of hell.
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They who are inclined to the meditation of the spiritual soul, cross over easily over the billowy rivulet of this world, although they may be attached to it in their outward and bodily practices. (The knowledge of the immortal soul, is the healing balm of the turmoils of mortal life).
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Practice is the light, that leads one in the path of his desired object; just as the light of the lamp shows the place, where the lost pot or cloth lies in the room. (So application to the esoteric, enlightens the mysterious truths of nature).
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The arbour of assuetude fructifies in its time, as the kalpa tree yields all the fruits of our desire; and as the hoarded capital of the rich, is attended with great profit and interest.
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Habitual inquiry into spiritual truth, serves as the sunlight to enlighten the nature of the soul (unto us); or it lies hid in our very body as any part of it in the darkness of the sunless night. (The inward soul is invisible to exoteric view).
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All animal beings are in need of certain provisions, for the supportance of their lives; and all these they have to obtain by their continued search, and never without it. Therefore the force of habit prevails in all places as the powerful sunshine.
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All the fourteen kinds of living beings, have to live by the habit of their respective activities; and it is impossible for any one to get its desired object, without its unfeigned activity.
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It is the repetition of same action, which takes the name of habit, and which [is] called one's personal effort or exertion; and it is not possible for any body to do anything without any effort.
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Constant habit of action, joined with bodily and mental energy, is the only means of accomplishing anything and not otherwise.
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There is nothing which is impossible to the power of habit, which is as powerful as the strong sun-beams which give growth to everything on earth. It is habitual energy only that gives prosperity and undauntedness to the brave, on earth and water and mountains, and in forests and deserts.