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 LXXIX - Maintenance of inappetency or want of desire

Argument:—Nirvana-Extinction Compared with Waking from the Dream of Existence.

Vasishtha resumed:—

1. Seeing the end of all I still retained my seat in infinite vacuity; and my eyes were detained by the sight of a glorious light, shining as the morning rays of the rising luminary of the day.

2. While I was looking at that light, I beheld the great Brahma sitting as a statue carved in stone, intent upon his meditation of supreme One, and beset by his transcendent glory all about him.

3. I saw there a multitude of gods, sages and holy personages, with Brihaspati and Sukra—the preceptors of gods and demigods, together with the regent deities of wealth and death.

4. There were likewise the regent divinities of water, fire and the other deities also; so were there companies of rishis and siddhas and sadhyas, gandharvas and others.

5. All these were as figures in painting, and all sitting in their meditative mood; they all sat in their lotiform posture, and appeared as lifeless and immovable bodies.

6. Then the twelve adityas or suns (of the twelve signs), met at the same centre (with the same object in their view); and they sat in the same lotiform posture (of devotion, as the other deities).

7. Then a while after, I beheld the lotus born Brahma; as if I came to see the object of my dream before me after my waking.

8. I then lost the sight of the deities, assembled in the Brahma-loka or in the world of Brahma, as when great minded men, lose the sight of the most prominent objects of their desire from their minds. Nor did I perceive the aerial city of my dream before me, upon my waking (from the trance of my illusion).

9. Then the whole creation, which is but the ectype of the mind of Brahma; appeared as void as an empty desert to me; and as the earth turning to a barren waste upon the ruin of its cities.

10. The gods and sages, the angels and all other beings, were no where to be seen any more; but were all blended in and with the same void every where.

11. I then seated in my etherial seat, came to know by my percipience, that all of them have become extinct (lit. obtained their nirvana extinction, like Brahma in Brahma himself).

12. It is with the extinction of their desires, that they have become extinct also; as the sleeping dreamers come to themselves after they are awakened from their illusive vision. (Coming to one's self swasiarupa one's own nature or essence, means in vedanta, the holy and pure nature of the human soul, as an emanation or image of the divine).

13. The body is an aerial nothing, appearing as a substantial something, from our desire (or imagination of it only), and disappearing with the privation of our fancy for it, like a dream vanishing from the sight of a waking man.

14. The aerial body appears as real as any other image in our dream; and there remains nothing of it, upon our coming to their knowledge of its unreal nature, and the vanity of our desires.

15. We have no consciousness also, of either our spiritual or corporeal bodies, when we are fixed in our samadhi or intense meditation in the state of our waking (from sleep).

16. The notion of a thing seen in our dream, is given here as an instance (to prove the unreality of our idea of the body); because it is well known to boys and every body, and adduced to us both in the srutis and smritis tradition (that the objects of sight, are as false as those of dreams).

17. Whoever denies the falsity of the notions he has in his dream, and goes on to support the reality of these as well as other visible sights;must be a great impostor; and such a one deserves to be shunned, for who can wake the waking sleeper.

18. What is the cause of the corporeal body? Not the dream; since the bodies seen in a dream, are invisible (to the naked eye); and this being true it follows, that there is no solid body in the next world (as it is expected by means of sacrifices and pious acts).

19. Should there be other bodies after the loss of the present ones (by death); then there would be no need of repeated creation (of corporeal bodies by Brahma); if the pristine bodies were to continue for ever.

20. Anything having a form and figure and its parts and members, is of course perishable in its nature; and the position (of Jaimini), that there was another kind of world before, is likewise untenable (since there could be nothing at any time, without its definite form and parts).

21. If you say (in the manner of the charvakas), that the world was never destroyed; and that the understanding is produced of itself in the body, in the same manner as the spirit is generated in the fermented liquor.

22. This position of yours is inconsistent with the doctrines, of the puranas and histories as well as those of the vedas, smritis and other sastras, which invariably maintain destructibility of material things.

23. Should you, O intelligent Rama, deny with the charvakas the indefeasibility of these sastras; say what faith can be relied on those heretical teachings, which are as false as the offspring of a barren woman.

24. These heretical doctrines are not favoured by the wise, owing to their pernicious tendencies; there are many discrepancies in them, as you shall have it, from the few that I am going to point out to you.

25. If you say the human spirit to liken the spirit of liquors, (which is generated in and destroyed with the liquor); then tell me what makes the destroyed or departed spirit of [a] deceased person, who is dead in a foreign country, revisit his friends at home in the shape and form of a fiend (pisacha)?

26. To this it is answered, that the apparition which thus appears to view is a false appearance only; granting it as such, why not own our appearances to be equally false also?

27. It being so, how can you believe the bodies, that the departed souls of men are said in the sastras, to assume in the next world, to be true also? (Any more than their being mere apparitions only).

28. There is no truth in the proof of a ghost (pisacha), as there is in that of the spirit in liquor; hence if the supposition of the former is untrue, what faith is there in future body in the next world?

29. If the existence of spirits be granted, from the common belief of mankind in them; then why should not the doctrine of a future state of the dead, be received as true upon the testimony of the sastras?

30. If the prepossession of a person being possessed on a sudden by an evil spirit, be any ground of his reliance in it, why then should he not rest his belief in his future state, wherein he is confirmed by the dogmas of the sastras?

31. Whatever a man thinks or knows in himself, he supposes the same as true at all times; and whether his persuasion be right or wrong, he knows it [to be] correct to the best of his belief.

32. A man knowing well, that the dead are to live again in another world, relies himself fully upon that hope; and does not care to know, whether he shall have a real body there or not.

33. Therefore it is the nature of men, to be prepossessed with the idea of their future existence; and next their growing desire for having certain forms of bodies for themselves, leads them to the error of seeing several shapes before them.

34. It is then the abstaining from this desire, that removes the maladies of our errors of the looker, looking and the look (i.e. of the subjective and the objective); while the retaining of this desire leads us, to the viewing of this apparition of the world ever before us.

35. So it was the feeling of desire at first, which led the supreme spirit of Brahma to the creation of the world; but its abandonment causes our nirvana-release, while its retention leads us to the error of the world.

36. This desire sprang at first in the Divine mind of Brahma, and not in the immutable spirit of Brahma; and I feel this desire rising now in me, for seeing the true and supreme Brahma in all and every where.

37. All this knowledge that you derive here from, is said to form what is called the nirvana-extinction by the wise; and that which is not learnt herein, is said to constitute the bondage of the world.

38. This is the true knowledge to see God every where, it is self-evident in our inmost soul, and does not shine without it; (for all without is error and ignorance—avidya).

39. The self-consciousness of our liberation—muktasmi, is what really makes us so; but the knowledge that we are bound to this earth—baddhasmi, is the source of all our woe, which require great pains to be removed.

40. The awakening of our consciousness of the world, is the cause of our being enslaved to it; and its hybernation in the trance of samadhi, is our highest felicity. By being awake to the concerns of the world, you only find the unreal appearing as real to you (for every thing here, is but deception and delusion).

41. Lying dormant in holy trance, without the torpidity of insensibility, is termed our moksha or spiritual liberation; while our wakefulness to the outer world, is said to be the state of our bondage to it.

42. Now let your nirvana be devoid of all desire, and from trouble, care and fear; let it be a clear and continuous revery without any gap or cessation, without the scruples of unity and duality; and be of the form of spacious firmament, ever calm and clear and undisturbed in itself.