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 LXXXIV - Relation of siva and sakti

Summary: Relation of siva and sakti or of the holy spirit and its power.

Argument:—The definition of the term Sakti and her elucidation.

Rama said:—

1. Tell me sir, why the goddess Kali is said to be dancing about, and why is she armed with axe and other weapons, and arrayed with her wreaths of flowers.

Vasishtha replied:—

2. It is the vacuum of the intellect, which is called both as Siva and Bhairava; and it is this intellectual power or force, which is identic with itself, that is called Kali and its consorting mind.

3. As the wind is one with its vacillation, and the fire is identic with its heat; so is the intellect identical with its oscillation. (The mind is ever fleeting and active as dull matter is inert and inactive).

4. As the wind is invisible even in its act of vacillations, and the heat is unseen even in its act of burning; so the intellect is imperceptible notwithstanding its acting, and is therefore called Siva—the calm and quiet.

5. It is because of the wondrous power of his vibration, that he is known to us, and without which we could have no knowledge of his existence; know therefore this Siva to be the all powerful Brahma, who is otherwise a quiescent being, and unknowable even by the learned and wise.

6. His oscillation is the power of his will, which has spread-out this visible appearance; as it is the will of an embodied and living man, that builds a city according to his thought (or just as it depends on the option of a living person, to erect a city according to the model in his thought or mind).

7. It is the will of Siva or Jove that creates all this world from its formless state, and it is this creative power which is the Intelligence of God, and the intellection of living being.

8. This power takes also the form of nature in her formation of the creation, and is called the creation itself, on account of her assuming on herself the representation of the phenomenal world.

9. She is represented with a crest of submarine fire on her head, and to be dry and withered in her body; she is said to be a fury on account of her furiousness, and called the lotiform from the blue-lotus-like complexion of her person.

10. She is called by the names jaya and siddha (victory and fortune), owing to her being accompanied by victory and prosperity at all times.

11. She is also designated as Aparajita or invincible, virya the mighty and Durga—the inaccessible, and is like wise renowned as uma, for her being composed of the powers of the three letters of the mystic syllable Om. (In the birth of uma, the subject of the first canto of Kumara Sambhaba, Kalidasa says, "Tapasa nibrita je umeti namna prakirtita," she was termed uma for prevention of austerities. The glossarists have all explained the passage in the sense of the mythic personification of uma, and nobody has ever known its mystic interpretation of sacred syllable Om itself, whose utterance precludes the necessity of all formal devotions: i.e. to say, uma-is-om the divine mantra itself).

12. She is called the gaytri (hymn) from its being chanted by every body, and Savitri also from her being the progenitrix of all beings; she is named sarasvati likewise, for her giving us an insight into whatever appears before our sight.

13. She bears the appelation of gauri from her gaura or fair complexion, and of Bhavani from her being the source of all beings, as also from her association with the body of Bhava—or Siva. She is also termed the letter [Sanskrit: a] (a) to signify her being the vital breath of all waking and sleeping bodies.

14. Uma means moreover the digit of the moon, which enlightens the worlds from the forehead of Siva; and the bodies of the God and Goddess are both painted as black and blue, from their representing the two hemispheres of heaven.

15. The sky appears as dark and bright from the two complexions of these divinities, who are situated in the vacuous forms in the bosom of the great vacuum itself.

16. Though they are formless as empty airs, yet they are conceived as the first-born of the void; and are figuratively attributed with more or less hands and feet, and holding as many weapons in them.

17. Now know the reason of attributing the Goddess with many weapons and instruments, to be no more, than of representing her, as the patron of all arts and their employments.

18. She was self-same with the supreme soul, as its power of self-meditation from all eternity; and assumed the shapes of the acts of sacred ablutions, religions, sacrifices, and holy gifts, as her primal forms in vedas. (i.e. The intellectual power (chit-sakti) evolves Itself to meditation and action—dhyna and Karma).

19. She is of the form of the azure sky, comely in appearance and is the beauty of the visibles; she is the motion of all objects, and the varieties of their movements are the various modes of the dancing of the goddess. (the divine power or force—sakti, is always personified as his female agent, as it is evident in the words potentia, energia, exergasia, qudrat, taquat &c).

20. She is the agent of Brahma in his laws of the birth, decay, and deaths of beings; and all cities and countries, mountains and islands, hang on her agency as a string of gems about her neck.

21. She holds together all parts of the world, as by her power of attraction; and infuses her force as momentum in them all, as it were into the different limbs and members of her body, she bears the various apellations of Kali, Kalika &c., according to her several functions denoted by those terms (in the glossary).

22. She as the one great body of the cosmos, links together all its parts like her limbs unto her heart; and moves them all about her; though this formless body of force, has never been seen or known by any body. (We always see the moving bodies about us, but never the moving force which moves them all about).

23. Know this ever oscillating power to be never different or unconnected, from the quiescent spirit of Siva the changeless god; nor think the fluctuating winds to be ever apart from the calm vacuum, in which they abide and vibrate for ever.

24. The world is a display of the glory of God, as the moonlight is a manifestation of the brightness of that luminary; which is otherwise dark and obscure; so the lord God is ever tranquil and quiet and without any change or decay without his works.

25. There is not the least shadow, of fluctuation in the supreme soul; it is the action of this agency, that appears to be moving us. (Gloss. The inactive spirit of God is the true reality, and the passing phenomena are all but vanity).

That is said to be the tranquil spirit of siva said:—

26. the god, which reverts itself from action, and reposes in its understanding; and apart from the active energy which possesses the intellect as its goddess. (Hence the state of the soul in perfect rest and repose is called Siva—salvus or felicity).

27. The intellect reposing in its natural state of the understanding, is styled Siva—salvus or felix; but the active energy of the intellectual power, is what passes under the name of the great goddess of action.

28. That bodiless power, assumes the imaginary forms of these worlds, with all the peoples that are visible in them in the day light.

29. It is this power which supports the earth, with all its seas and islands, and its forests, deserts and mountains, it maintains the vedas with its angas, upangas, the sastras, sciences and the psalms. (The vedas are four in number, its angas or branches called the six vedangas namely, the siksha, kalpa, nirukta, vyakarana, chhanda and jyotisha. The upangas or subsidiary branches are the four arts, viz., ayurveda or medicine, dhanurveda—archery, gandharva—music &c. The vidyas are the sciences and philosophy, and the gitas are samagiti or the psalm of samaveda).

30. It ordains the injunctions and prohibitions (of law), and gives the rules of auspicious and inauspicious acts and rites; it directs the sacrifices and sacrificial fires, and the modes of offering cakes and oblations.

31. This goddess is adorned with the sacrificial implements, as the mortar and pestle, the post and ladle &c.; and is arrayed with the weapons of warfare also, as the spear, arrows and the lance.

32. She is arrayed with the mace and many missile weapons also; and accompanied by horse and elephants and valiant gods with her. In short she fills the fourteen worlds, and occupies the earth with all its seas and islands.

Rama said:—

33. I will ask you sir, to tell me now, whether the thoughts of creation in the divine mind, subsisted (in their ideal forms) in the Divine soul; or they were incorporated in the forms of Rudra and which are false and fictitious.

Vasishtha replied:—

34. Rama, she is verily the power of the Intellect (Divine mind), as you have rightly said; and all these that there are being thought of by her, they are all true as her thoughts (and not in their visible appearances).

35. The thoughts that are subjective and imprinted in the inner intellect (from preconceived desire or reminiscence), are never untrue; just as the reflection of our face cast in a mirror from without, cannot be a false shadow.

36. But those thoughts are false, which enter into the mind from without, as the whole body (lit. city of our desires and false imaginations); and the fallacies of these are removed upon our right reflection and by means of our sound judgment.

37. But in my opinion, the firm belief and persuasion of the human soul in anything whatever, is reckoned as true by every one; such as the picture of a thing in a mirror, and the representations of things seen in a dream or the forms of things seen in a picture or in dream, and the creatures of our imagination are all taken for true and real by every one for the time, and for their serviceableness to him.

38. But you may object and say that, things that are absent and at a distance from you, are no way serviceable to you, and yet they cannot be said to be inexistent or unreal; because they come to use when they are present before us.

39. As the productions of a distant country, become of use when they are presented before us; so the objects of our dreams and thoughts, are equally true and useful when they are present in view; so also every idea of a definite shape and signification, is a certain reality (as that of the goddess Kali).

40. As an object or its action passing under the sight of any one, is believed to be true by its observer; so whatever thought passes in his mind, is thought to be true by him. But nothing that is seen or thought of by another, is ever known to or taken into belief by any one else, or accounted as true to him.

41. It is therefore in the power of the Divine Intellect, that the embryo of the creation is contained for ever; and the whole universe is ever existent in the divine soul, it is wholly unknown to others.

42. All that is past, present, and ever to be in future, together with all the desires and thoughts of others; are for ever really existent in the divine spirit, else it would not be the universal soul. (The meaning of the universal soul is container of all and not that it is contained in them).

43. There are the adepts only in yoga practice, who acquire the power of prying into the hearts and minds of others; just as others come to see different countries, by passing over the barriers of hills and dales. (As the divine soul is the knower of the hearts of others, so is the pure soul of the holy divine also).

44. As the dream of a man fallen into fast sleep, is not disturbed by the shaking of his bedstead or sleeping couch; so the fixed thought of any body, are never lost by his removing from place to place (or by his departure from this life to the next, or by his transmigration from one into another).

45. So the movements of the dancing body of Kali (the creative energy of God) cause no fluctuation in the world which is contained within it;just as the shaking of a mirror, makes no alternation in the reflection which is cast upon it.

46. The great bustle and commotion of the world though seeming as real to all appearance, yet it being but a mere delusion in sober reality, it were as well whether it moveth all or not all (as it were the same whether we are hurried or kept sedate in a dream).

47. When is the dreaming scene or the city seen in our dream, said to be a true one, and when is it pronounced as a false one; and when is it said to be existent and when dilapidated? (supplied how for when to give it some sense).

48. Know the phenomenal world that is exposed before you, to be but mere illusion; and it is your sheer fallacy, to view the unreal visibles as sure realities.

49. Know your conception of the reality of the three worlds to be equally false, as the aerial castle of your imagination or the air drawn city of your fond desire; it is as the vision in your dream, or any conception of your error.

50. That this is I the subjective, and the other is the objective world, is the interminable error that binds fast the mind for ever; it is a gross mistake as that of the ignorant, who believe the endless sky to be bounded, and take it for black or blue; but the learned are released from this blunder (and rest in the only existent One).