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 LXVIII - The fallacy of the existence of the world

Argument:—Exposition of the Erroneous conception of the Material World.

The nymph continued:—

1. Now as it is the habit of long practice, combined with the understanding and cogitation of a subject, that makes one proficient in it; so these being applied to the meditation of the spiritual and pure soul, will cause the material world to vanish in the stone (we have been talking of).

Vasishtha said:—

2. After the celestial nymph had spoken in this manner, I retired to the cavern of a rock, where I sat in my posture of Padmasana (or legs folded upon one another); and became engaged in my samadhi-devotion (or abstract and abstruse meditation).

3. Having given up all thoughts of corporeal bodies, and continued to think only of the intellectual soul, according to the holy dictate of the nymph as said before.

4. I then had the sight of an intellectual void in me, which present a clear and fair prospect before me, resembling the clearness of the vacuous vault of heaven in autumnal season.

5. It was at last by my intense application, to the meditation of the true One (or the God in spirit), that my erroneous view of the phenomenals, entirely subsided within me (or disappeared from my mind).

6. The intellectual sphere of my mind, was filled by a transcendent light; which knew no rising or setting, but was always shining with an uniform radiance.

7. As I was looking into and through the light, that shone in me, I could find neither the sky nor that great stone, which I sought to find.

8. I then found the clear and thick blaze of my spiritual light, to ravish my outward sight; as it had enrapt my inward vision.

9. As a man sees in his dream a huge stone in his house, so I beheld the vast vacuum as a crystaline globe, situate in the clear atmosphere of the intellect. (The stone is the mundane egg or sphere of the universe).

10. A dreaming man, may think himself as another person; but after he is awakened from his sleep, he comes to know himself. (So we dream ourselves as this and that, but upon waking to reason, we find ourselves as none of these, but the pure spirit).

11. Those who dream themselves headless beings in their sleep, and remain so in this world; they can be of no good or use to themselves, though they have a little knowledge afterwards.

12. The man that is drowned in utter ignorance, comes to his right understanding in course of time; and comes to know at the end, that there is no real entity, except the essence of God.

13. This when I beheld the solid and transparent light, which appeared as crystal stone lying in the vacuity of Brahma; I could observe no material thing as the earth and water, or aught whatever in connection with it.

14. The pure and spiritual form, in which all things were presented at their first creation; they bear the same forms still, in our ideas of them.

15. All these bodies of created beings, are bed forms of Brahma;being considered in their primordial and spiritual and natural natures; and it is the mind which gives them the imaginary shapes of materiality, in its fabricated dominion of the visible world.

16. It is the spiritual form, which is the true essence of all things;and all that is visible to us or perceptible to the senses, is mere fabrication of the originally inventive mind.

17. The prime creation was in the abstract, or an abstract idea of it, and imperceptible to the senses (because the original prototype of the world, was co-eternal with the divine mind, and existent with it from before the formation of the perceptive senses of beings; but it was perceptible to the mind in the form of the noumenal, which was converted to the concrete and phenomenal by the ignorant.

18. The yogi like the knowing minds, sees all things in the abstract and in a general view; but the ignorant that are deprived of the power of abstraction and generalization, fall into the errors of concrete particulars and deceptive sensibles.

19. All sensation is but a temporary perception, and presents a wrong impression in the mind; know all sensible perceptions to be false and deluding, but their concepts in the mind of yogi are the true realities. (Falsity of perception and reality of noumena according to the Berkeley).

20. O, the wonder of taking the sensibles for the invisible verities! when it is ascertained that the concepts, which are beyond the senses, are the true realities that come under our cognizance.

21. It is the subtile form (or idea) of a thing, that appears at first before the mind; which is afterwards represented in various false shapes before us; and this is true of all material things in the world. (As the general and abstract idea of heat, which is at first imprinted in the mind, is manifested unto us at last in the concrete and particular forms of the sun and fire and all others hot bodies. (This passage supports the doctrine of the eternity of general ideas innate in us, against Locke's denial of inborn ideas).

22. Whatever there has not been before, has never been in being afterwards; as the variety of the jewelery of gold, is naught but gold itself; so the pristine subtile ideas, cannot have any gross material form. (All which is but shadow and fallacy).

23. O, the great ignorance of men! that takes the error for truth, and considers the falsehood as true; and there is no way for the living soul to discern the true and false, except by right reasoning.

24. The material body cannot be maintained by correct reason, but the immaterial essence of it is indestructible, both in this world as also in the next.

25. The error of materiality in the incorporeal or spiritual body, which is presided over by the intellect—chit; is as the fallacy of a vast sea, in the shining sands of a sandy desert.

26. The consciousness of materiality, which one has in his spiritual and intellectual form; is as his supposition of a human body in the peak of a mountain, when it is viewed by his naked eye sight.

27. The erroneous supposition of materiality, in the spiritual entity of our being; is as the error of our taking the shells on the sea shore for silver, the sunshines on sands for water, and another moon in the mist.

28. O the wondrous efficacy or error! that represents the unreal as real and the vice-versa; and O the great power of delusion! which springs from the unreasonableness of living beings.

29. The yogi finds the spiritual force and mental activity, to be the two immaterial causes of all action and motion, that actuate everything in both the physical and intellectual worlds.

30. Therefore the yogi relies in his internal perception only, by rejecting those of his external senses; while the common sort are seen to run giddy, with drinking the vapours of the mirage of senses.

31. That which is commonly called pleasure or pain, is but a fleeting feeling in the mind of men, and is of a short duration; it is that unfeigned and lasting peace of mind, which has neither its rise or fall, that is called true happiness (and is felt by yogis only).

32. Infer the hyper-sensible from the sensibles, and see the true source of thy sensations manifest in thy presence. (Know the Lord as the pattern of thy perceptions).

33. Reject the sight of this triple world (composed of the upper, lower and midway spheres), which thy perception presents to thy imagination; because there can be nothing more foolish than taking a delusion for truth.

34. All these bodies and beings bear only, their immaterial forms of mere ideas; and it is the goblin of delusion alone, that causes us to suppose their materiality.

35. Whatever is not produced or thought of in the mind, can not present its figure to our sight also; and that which is no reality of itself, can not be the cause of any else. (Nothing comes from a nullity).

36. When the sensibles are null and unreal, what other thing is there that may be real; and how can anything be said as real, whose reality is by the unreal and delusive senses.

37. The sensibles being proved as unreal, there can be no reality in their perceptions and thoughts also; it is impossible for a spider to maintain its web before a storm, which blows away an elephant.

38. So likewise the ocular evidence being proved as false, there is no proof of there being any object of vision anywhere. There is but One invariable entity in all nature, whose solidity depends upon the consolidation of the divine intellect, as of the sea salt on the solidified sea water.

39. As a dreamer dreams of a high hill in his house, and in its ideal form, which is unknown to and unseen to others sleeping with him in the same house; so we thought two of that stone we have been talking of erewhile, and which is no other than the intellect.

40. It is this intellectual soul, which exhibits a great many ideal phenomena within itself, and all of which are as unsubstantial as empty air; such as:—this is a hill, and this is the sky; this is the world, and these are myself and thyself.

41. Men of enlightened souls only, can perceive these phenomena of the intellect in themselves and not the unenlightened soul; just as the hearer of a lecture understands its purport, and not one who dozes upon the reading of a sermon.

42. All these erroneous sights of the world, appear to be true to the unenlightened person; just as the unmoving trees and mountains, seem to be dancing to inebriated man.

43. The yogi beholds one irrepressible form of God (Siva) in all places, and manifest before him in the form of his intellect; but the ignorant are biguiled by their false guides, to place their reliance in the objects of senses, notwithstanding their frail nature.