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 LXXX - The world proved to be a delusion

Argument:—Description of ultimate Dissolution according to Rational and Materialistic Philosophy.

Vasishtha continued:—

Afterwards the celestials that were present in the heaven of Brahma, vanished away and became invisible, as a lamp with its weakened (i.e. burnt out), wick or thread.

2. Now the twelve suns, having disappeared in the body of Brahma; their burning beams burnt away the heaven of Brahma, as they had burnt down the earth and other bodies.

3. Having consumed the seat and abode of Brahma, they fell into the meditation of the supreme Brahma, and became extinct in him like Brahma, as when a lamp is extinguished for the want of its oil.

4. Then the waters of the universal ocean, invaded the celestial city of Brahma, and over flooded its surface, as the shade of night fills the face of the earth darkness.

5. Now the whole world was filled by water, from the highest seat of Brahma, to the lowest pit of hell; and became as full with that liquid, as a grape is swollen with its juice, when it is perfectly ripe (i.e. cold and darkness filled the place, where there was no heat or light).

6. The waving waters rising as mountain tops, plied with the flying birds of air; and washed the seats and feet of the gods hovering over them. They touched the kalpa or diluvian clouds, which deluged over them.

7. In the meantime I beheld from my aerial seat, something of a dreadful appearance in the midst of the skies, which horrified me altogether.

8. It was of the form of deep and dark chaos, and embraced the whole space of the sky in its grasp and appeared as the accumulation of the gloom of night, from the beginning to the end of creation.

9. This dark form radiated the bright beams; of millions of morning suns, and was as resplendent as three suns together; and as the flashing of many steady lightnings at once.

10. Its eyes were dazzling and its countenance flashed with the blaze of a burning furnace, it had five faces and three eyes; its hands were ten in number, and each of them held a trident of immense size.

11. It appeared manifest before me, with its outstretched body in the air; and stood transfixed in the sky, as a huge black cloud extending all over the atmosphere.

12. It remained in the visible horizon, below and out of the universal ocean of waters; and yet the position and features of the hands and feet and other members of its body, were but indistinctly marked in the sky.

13. The breath of its nostrils, agitated the waters of the universal ocean; as the arms of Govinda or Hari churned of yore the milky ocean (after the great deluge).

14. Then there arose from the diluvian waters, a male being called afterwards the first male (Ádipurusha). He was the personification of the collective ego, and the causeless cause of all.

15. He rose out of the ocean, as a huge mountainous rock; and then flew into the air with his big flapping wings, extending over and enclosing the whole space of infinite vacuity.

16. I knew him from a distance, and by the indications of his triple eyes and trident, to be the Lord Rudra himself; and then bowed down to him, as the great God of all.

17. Rama asked:—Why sir, was the Lord Rudra of that form, why was he of such gigantic form and of so dark a complexion? Why had He ten arms and hands, and why had He the five faces and mouths upon his body?

18. Why had he his three eyes, and so fierce a form; was he absolute in himself or delegated by any other? What was his errand and his act; and was it a mere shadow or having a shadow (helpmate) of its substance (i.e. maya or Illusion)?

Vasishtha replied:—

19. This being is named Rudra or fierce, for his being the aggregate of Egoism. He is full of his self-pride, and the form in which I beheld him, was that of a clear vacuity.

20. This lord was of the form of vacuum, and of the hue and resplendence of vacuity; and it is on account of his being the essence of the vacuous intellect, that he is represented as the cerulean sky.

21. Being the soul of all beings, and being present in all places, he is represented in his gigantic form;as his five faces, serve as representations of his five internal organs of sense.

22. The external organs of sense (together with their objects and faculties), and the five members of his body, are represented by his ten arms on both sides of his body.

23. This Lord of creation together with all living bodies and mankind, are resorbed in the supreme One at the final dissolution of the world; and when he is let out to pass from the unity, he then appears in this form.

24. He is but a part of the eternal soul, and has no visible body or form of his own; but is thought of in the said form by the erroneous conception of men.

25. Having proceeded from the vacuum of the Intellect, the lord Rudra is posited in the material vacuum or firmament;and has his residence also in the bodies of living beings in the form of air (or vital breath).

26. The aeriform Rudra comes to be exhausted in course of time, and then by forsaking the animated bodies, he returns to resort to the reservoir of eternal rest and peace.

27. The three qualities, the three times, the three intellectual faculties of the mind, understanding and egoism; the three vedas, and the three letters of the sacred syllable of om, are the three eyes of Rudra.

28. The trident of Rudra is the symbol of his sceptre, and it is held in his hand, to imply his having the dominion of the three worlds under his hold.

29. He is represented as having a living body and soul, to indicate his being the personality and personification of the egoism of all living beings, and that there is no living body apart from himself.

30. It is his nature and business, to provide to all living creatures, according to their wants and desert; and is therefore manifested in the form of Siva, which is the divine Intellect in the form of air.

31. This Lord having at last destroyed and devoured the whole creation, rests himself in perfect peace, and becomes of the form of pure air and of the blue firmament.

32. After affecting the destruction of the world, he drinks down and drenches up the universal ocean; and then being quite satiate, he rests himself in perfect peace and inaction.

33. Afterwards as I beheld him drawing the waters of the ocean into his nostrils, by the force of his breath.

34. I saw a flame of fire flashing out from his mouth, and thought it to be the flash of the latent fire of the water, which was drawn in him, by the breath of his nostrils.

35. Rudra the personified Ego, remains in the form of latent heat in the submarine fire; and continues to suck up the waters of the ocean, until the end of a kalpa epoch.

36. The waters then enter into the infernal regions, as snakes enter in the holes beneath the ground; and the diluvian winds entered into his mouth, in the form of the five vital airs; just as the winds of heaven have their recess in hollow sky.

37. The lord Rudra then goes on to swallow and suck up the marine waters, as the bright sunlight swallows the gloom of the dark fortnight.

38. There appears at last a calm and quiet vacuity as the azure sky, and resembling the wide ocean filled with flying dust and smoke; and devoid of any being or created thing, and stretching from the Empyrean of God to the lowest abyss or infernum.

39. I described amidst it four different spheres of empty void, bearing no vestige of anything moving or stirring in them. Listen to me, O son of Raghu, and you will hear what they were.

40. One of these lay in the midst of the air, and was sustained in it without any prop or support like the particles of fragrance floating in the air. This was Rudra of the form of the azure sky.

41. The second was lying afar, and appeared as the concavity of the sky over this earth; it was a part of the mundane system and below the seven spheres of the infernal regions.

42. The third was a region above the mundane sphere, and was invisible to the naked eye, owing to its great distance beyond the azure sky.

43. Then there was the surface of the earth, with its lower hemisphere of the watery regions; it was traversed by the great mountain which was the seat of gods—the Himalayas; and beset by islands, and sea-girt sands and shores.

44. There is another sphere, lying at the furthest distance from the other circles of the world; and comprises the infinite space of vacuum, which extends unlimited like the unbounded and transparent spirit of God.

45. This was the remotest sphere of heavens, that could be observed by me; and there was nothing else observable on any side, beside and beyond the limits of these four spheres or circles.

46. Rama interrogated, saying:—I ask you to tell me, O venerable sir;whether there is any sphere or space, beyond what is contained in the mind of Brahma; then tell me what and how many of them are there, what are their boundaries, and how are they situated, and to what end and purpose.

Vasishtha replied:—

47. Know Rama, that there are ten other spheres beyond this world (and each of them ten times greater that the preceding one). Of these the first is the sphere of water, lying beyond the two parts (or continents) of the earth. It is ten times greater than the land which it covers, as the shadow of evening overspreads the sky.

48. Beyond that is the sphere of heat, which is ten times greater in its extent than that of water; and afar from this is the region of the winds, whose circle is ten times larger than that of solar heat and light.

49. Next to these is the sphere of air, which is ten times as wide as the circuits of the winds; It is the highest sphere of transparent air, and is said to comprise the infinite vacuity of the divine spirit.

50. Afar and aloft from these, there are some other spheres also, whose circles extend to the distance of ten times above one another in the vast infinity of space.*

*note. said:—

These are named as the spheres of ahamkara or egoism, mahatattwa or the great principle, and the ananta-prakriti or the hyperphysical Infinity; in the saiva and sankhya sastras.]

Rama said:—

51. Tell me, O chief of sages, who is it that upholds the water of the deep below, and supports the air of the firmament above the world; and in what manner they are held aloof.

Vasishtha replied:—

52. All earthly things are upheld by the earth, as the waters support the leaves of lotuses upon them; and every part depends upon the whole, as a babe depends upon its mother (or as the young of an ape, clings to the breast of its dam, and never falls off from it).

53. Hence everything runs to, and is attracted by whatever is larger than it, and situated nearer to it than others; just as the thirsty man runs to, and is attracted by the adjacent water. (Here we find the discovery of the theory of attraction, some thousands of years before it was discovered by Newton, and known to moderns).

54. So all metallic and other bodies, depend upon the close union of their parts, which being joined together, are as inseparable from one another, as the limbs and members of a person are attached to the main body.

Rama rejoined:—

55. Tell me sir, how do the parts of the world subsist together; in what manner they are joined with one another, and how are they disjoined from one another, and destroyed at last.

Vasishtha replied:—

56. Whether the world is supported by some one or not, and whether it remains fixed (by attraction) or falls off (by its gravity); it is in reality an unsubstantial form, like that of a city in a dream.

57. What is it falls away or remains fixed on some support, it is viewed in the same manner, as our consciousness represents it unto us.

58. The world is contained in and represented by the intellect, in the same manner, as the wind is contained in and let out of air; and as the sky presents the blueness of the firmament, and other airy appearances.

59. These habitable worlds forming the universe, are but imaginary cities and creations of the Intellect; they are but airy representations of the airy mind, as the formless sky is represented in empty vacuity, and appearing in various forms unto us.

60. As it is the nature of our Intellect, to give many things to our consciousness, so it is its nature also, to make us unconscious of their disappearance by day and night.

61. An innumerable train of thoughts, are incessantly employing our minds when we are sitting and at rest; and so they are flying off and returning to us by day and night.

62. All things appear to approach to their dissolution, to one who knows their destructibility and their ultimate extinction at the end of a kalpa period or millennium; and they seem as ever growing to one, who is conversant with their growth only in the vacuity of the mind.

63. All our thoughts appear in the vacuum of our minds, as the vaporous chains of pearls are seen in the autumn sky; they are both as erroneous and fleeting as the other, and yet they press so very thick and quick on our sight and minds, that there is no reckoning of them.