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 XCIV - Description of a pisacha

Summary: Description of a pisacha, and the unity of the world with Brahma.

Argument:—Advent of Vasishtha and the saint to the region of Siddha and description of the people thereof.

Vasishtha continued:—

Now as we were at a spot of great extent (beyond the limit of the terraqueous); and as bright as the golden sphere of heaven, I spoke to the Siddha by way of friendship.

2. I said, it is true sir, what you said, that it is the want of due attention, which prevents our comprehensive knowledge of the present, past and future; but it is a defect not only of yours and mine, but of the minds of all mankind in general.

3. I say so from my right knowledge of the defects and fallibility of human nature, or else sir, you would not have to fall from your aerial seat. But pardon me, I am equally fallible also.

4. Rise therefore from this place, and let us repair to aerial abode of the Siddhas, where we were seated before; because one's own seat is the most genial to man, and self-perfection is the best of all perfections.

5. So saying they both got up, and rose as high as the stars of heaven; and both directed their course in the same way, as an aeronaut, or a stone flung into the air.

6. We then took leave of each other with mutual salutations; and each went to the respective place which was desirable to either of us.

7. I have now related to you fully the whole of this story, whereby you may know, O Rama, the wonderful occurrences that betide us in this ever changeful world.

Rama said:—

8. Tell me sir, how and with what form of body, thou didst rove about the regions of the Siddhas, when thy mortal frame was reduced to dust.

Vasishtha replied:—

9. Ah! I remember it, and will tell you the particulars, how I wandered throughout these worldly abodes, until I arrived at the city of the Loka-pala deities, and joined with the hosts of Siddhas, traversing in the regions of midway sky.

10. I travelled in the regions of Indra or open firmament, without being seen by any body there; because I was then passing in my spiritual body, ever since I had lost my material frame-work.

11. I had then become, O Rama, of an aerial form, in which there was neither a receptacle nor recipient, beside the nature of vacuous and intellectual soul.

12. I was then neither the subject or object of perception of persons like yourself, who dwell on sensible objects alone; nor did I make any reckoning of the distance of space or succession of time. (The spiritual yogi has no cognizance of gross material things, nor of the divisions of space and time, which are objects of sensation only).

13. The soul is busy with the thinking principle of the mind, apart from all material objects composed of earth &c.; and is as the meditative mind or ideal man, that meddles with no material substance.

14. It is not pressed nor confined by material things, but is always busy with its cognitions; and it deals with beings in the same manner, as men in sleep do with the objects of their dream (and others with their air-built cities).

15. Know Rama, this doctrine of intellection by the simile of dreaming, to be quite irrefutable, although it is confuted by others (i.e. the Nyaya philosophers who deny the mental conceptions without previous perceptions); but they are not to be regarded as right. (Since the Veda says, the spirit of God created all from his mind, and not from its past perceptions).

16. As the sleeping man thinks himself to be walking and acting in his dream, without such actions of his being perceived by others (in the same room); so methought I walked before and beheld the aerials without their seeing me.

17. I beheld all other terrestrial bodies lying manifest before me, but nobody could observe me that was hid from their sight in my spiritual form.

18. Rama asked:—Sir, if you were invisible to the Gods, owing to your bodiless or vacuous form; how then could you be seen by the Siddha in the Kanaka land, or see others without having eyes of your own?

Vasishtha replied:—

19. We spiritual beings view all things by means of our inner knowledge of them; as other people behold the things they are desirous to see, and naught what they had not any desire for. (This desire is said to be satya-sankalpa, or a firm prepossession of any idea in the mind).

20. All men though possest of pure souls, do yet forget their spiritual nature, by their being too deeply engaged in worldly affairs and unspiritual matters.

21. As I had then wished that this person the Siddha, could have a sight of me; so it was according to the wish of mine, that I was observed by him; because every man obtains what he earnestly desires.

22. Men being slack in their purposes, become unsuccessful in their desires; but this person being stanch to his purpose, and never swerving from his pursuit, succeeded in gaining his desired object.

23. But when two persons are engaged in the same pursuit, or one of them is opposed to the views of the other; the attempt of the more arduous is crowned with success, and that of the weaker meets with its failure.

24. Then I travelled through aerial regions of the Lokapala regents of the sky, and passing by the celestial city of the Siddhas in my spiritual body; I beheld these people with manners quite different from my former habits.

25. I then began to observe their strange manners in the etherial space, and being unseen myself by any one there, I saw distinctly every body there, and their mode of life and dealings with amazement.

26. I called them aloud, but they neither heard nor gave heed to my voice; and they appeared to me as empty phantoms as the images of our dreams and visions.

27. I tried to lay hold on some of them, but no one could be grasped by my hands; and they evaded my touch, as the ideal images of the human mind.

28. Thus Rama, I remained as a demoniac pisacha, in the abode of the holy Gods; and thought myself to be transformed to a pisacha spirit in the open air.

Rama said:—

29. Tell me sir, what kind of beings are pisachas in this world, and what are their natures and forms, and what are their states and occupations also.

Vasishtha replied:—

30. I will tell you, Rama, what sort of beings the pisachas are in this world; because it is unmannerly on the part of a preacher, not to answer to the interlocutory queries of the audience (though it be a digress from subject).

31. The Pisachas are a sort of aerial beings, with subtile bodies of theirs (as we see the empty forms of persons in our dreams); they have their hands and feet and other members of the body as thine, and see all things as thou dost.

32. They sometimes assume the form of a shadow to terrify people, and at others enter into their minds in an aerial form, in order to mislead them to error and wicked purposes. (They like devils waylay unwary men, and tempt them to evil).

33. They kill persons, eat their marrow, and suck up the blood of weak bodied people; they lay a siege about the mind, and destroy the vitals and viscera and the strength and lives of men.

34. Some of them are of aerial forms, and some of the form of frost, others as visionary men, as seen in our dreams with airy forms of their bodies. (And they are at liberty to take upon themselves whatever forms they please).

35. Some of them are of the forms of clouds, and others of the nature of winds, some bear illusory bodies, but all of them are possessed of the mind and understanding.

36. They are not of tangible forms to be laid hold by us, or to lay hold on any one else; they are mere empty airy bodies, yet conscious of their own existence.

37. They are susceptible of feeling the pain and pleasure, occasioned by heat and cold; but they are incapable of the actions of eating, drinking, holding and supporting anything with their spiritual bodies.

38. They are possessed of desire, envy, fear, anger and avarice, and are liable to delusion and illusion also; and are capable of subjection by means of the spell of mantras, charm of drugs and of other rites and practices.

39. It is likewise possible for one at some time or other, to see and secure some one of them by means of incantations, captivating exorcisms and amulets and spirit in chanting invocations.

40. They are all the progeny of the fallen gods, and therefore some of them bear the forms of gods also; while some are of human forms, and others are as serpents and snakes in their appearance.

41. Some are likened to the forms of dogs and jackals, and some are found to inhabit in villages and woods; and there are many that reside in rivers, mud and mire and hell pits.

42. I have thus told you, all about the forms and residences and doings of pisachas; hear me now relate to you concerning the origin and birth of these beings.

43. Know that there exists forever, an omnipotent power of its own nature; which is the unintelligible Intelligence itself, and known as Brahma the great.

44. Know this as the living soul, which being condensed becomes ego, and it is the condensation of egoism which makes the mind.

45. This divine Mind is styled Brahma, which [is] the vacuous form of the divine will; which is [an] unsubstantial origin of this unreal world, which is as formless as the hollow mind.

46. So the mind exists as Brahma, whose form is that of the formless vacuum; it is the form of a person seen in our dream, which is an entity without its reality or formal body.

47. It was devoid of any earthly material or elemental form, and existed in an immaterial and spiritual form only; for how is it possible for the volitive principle, to have a material body subsisting in empty air?

48. Rama, as you see the aerial city of your imagination in your mind, so doth the mind of Brahma imagine itself as the Virinchi (vir incipience) or creator of the world.

49. Whatever one sees in his imagination, he considers it as true for the time; and whatever is the nature and capacity of any being, he knows all others to be of the same sort with himself?

50. Whatever the vacuous soul sees in its empty sphere, the same it knows as true, as the spirit of Brahma and the mind of Brahma, exhibit this ideal world for reality.

51. Thus the contemplation of the present pageant of the world, as ever existent of itself at all times; strengthens the belief of its reality, as that protracted and romantic dream.

52. So the long meditation of Brahma, in his spiritual form of the creative power; presented to him the notions of multitudes of worlds, and varieties of creations, of which he became the creator. (So the original thought occurring in the mind of any one, confers on him the title of the originator of the same. So says Manu: "Brahma after long meditation, produced the world from his intellect").

53. The ideal then being perfected grew compact, and took a tangible form; which was afterwards called the world, with all the many varieties of which it is composed.

54. This Brahma—the creative mind, was self-same with Brahma the supreme soul; and these two are ever identic with the uncreated soul and body of the universe.

55. These two (i.e. the great Brahma and Brahma or the Divine spirit and mind), are always one and the same being, as the sky and its vacuity; and they ever abide together in unity, as the wind and its vacillation.

56. The Divine spirit views the phenomenal world, as a phantom and nothing real; just as you see the unreality of a figure of your imagination as real and substantial.

57. This Brahma then displayed himself (under the name of Virat), in the form of a material body, consisting of the quintuple elements of earth, water &c., as the five solid and liquid parts of his person. (This is the Hindu Trinity, composed of the soul, mind and material frame, as Pope the poet has expressed it in the words: "Whose body nature is, and God the soul").

58. As this triple nature of the Deity, is no more than the variation of his will, so it represented itself as the one or other, in its thought only, and not in reality (the substance being but a conception of the mind).

59. Brahma himself is vacuous intellect, and his will consists in the vacuity of the same;therefore the production and destruction of the world, resemble the rise and fall of figures in the dreaming state of the human mind.

60. As the divine mind of Brahma is a reality, so its parts or contents are real also; and its acts or productions of the sun, moon and stars, as well as their rays—the Marichis are real also.

61. Thus the existence of the world and all its contents, is called the dominion of the mind; which is only an unsupported vacuum, like the vacuity of the supportless sky on high.

62. As a city seen in dream is inane, and a hill formed in imagination a mere void; so both Brahma and his world are as the transparent firmament, and having no shape or substance of them.

63. So the world is, but a reflexion of the divine intellect; it is ever existent and undecaying, and the belief of the beginning, middle and end of creation, is as false, as the sight of the ends and midspot of skies.

64. Say Rama, whether you find any gross substance, to grow in the inane space of the mind of yours or mine or any other person; and if you find no such thing there, how can you suppose it to exist in the inanity of the Divine Intellect, and in the vacuity of the universe?

65. Then tell me why and whence the feelings and passions, such as anger and affection, hate and fear, take their rise; all which are of no good to any body, but rather pernicious to many.

66. In truth I tell thee that these are not created things, and yet they seem to rise and fall of themselves, like our wrong notions of the production and destruction of the world. These are but eternal ideas,

and coeternal with the eternal mind of God.

67. The vast extent of infinite void, is full with the translucent water of Divine Intellect; but this being soiled by our imaginary conceits, produces the dirt of false realities.

68. The boundless space of the Divine Intellect, is replete with the vacuous spirit of God; which being the primary productive seed of all, hath produced these multitudes of worlds, scattered about and rolling as stones in the air.

69. There is really no field nor any seed, which is sown there in reality; nor is there any thing which is ever grown or produced therein, but whatever there is, is existent for ever the same; (and the rest is but fiction).

70. Now among the scattered seeds of souls, there were some that grew mature, and put forth in the forms of gods; and those that were of a bright appearance, became as intelligences and saints.

71. Those that were half mature, became as human beings and Naga races; and such as were put forth themselves in the forms of insects, worms and vegetables.

72. Those seeds which are bloated and choked, and become fruitless at the end; these produce the wicked Pisachas, which are bodiless bodies of empty and aerial forms.

73. It is not that Virinchi (vir incipiens) or Brahma, made them so of his own accord or will; but they became so according to the desire which they fostered in themselves in their prior existence (which caused their transformations or metamorphoses in the latter ones). (Because the lord is impartial, and makes [not] one more or less than another).

74. All existent beings are as inane, as the inanity of the Intellect in which they exist; and they have all their spiritual bodies, which are quite apart from the material forms in which you behold them.

75. It is by your long habit, that you have contracted the knowledge of their materiality; as it has become habitual with us to think ourselves as waking in our dreaming state.

76. It is in the same manner that all living bodies, are accustomed to think of their corporeality; and to live content with their frail and base earthly forms, as the Pisachas are habituated to pass gladly in their ugly forms.

77. Some men look upon others and know them, as the village people know and deal with their fellow villagers as with themselves; but they resemble the people abiding together as seen in a dream.

78. Again some meet with many men, as in a city constructed in dream (or imagination); but are quite unacquainted with one another, owing to their distant abodes and different nationalities. (So are we unacquainted with the Pisacha race, in this crowded city of the world).

79. In this manner, there are many races of object beings of whom we are utterly ignorant; and such are the Pisachas, Kumbhandas, Pretas, Yakshas and others.

80. As the waters upon earth, are collected in lowlands only; so do the Pisachas and goblins dwell in dark places alone.

81. Should a dark Pisacha dwell at bright midday light, upon a sunny shore or open space; it darkens that spot with the gloominess of its appearance.

82. The sun even is not able, to dispel that darkness, nor can any one find out the place, where the dark demon makes his abode; on account of its delusiveness to evade human sight.

83. As the orbs of the sun and moon, and the furnace of burning fire, appear bright before our eyes; so on the contrary the abode of the Pisachas, is ever obscured by impenetrable darkness, which no light can pierce.

84. The Pisachas are naturally of a wonderful nature, that vanish like sparks of fire in daylight; and become enkindled in the dark. (The Pisachas bear analogy to the sons of darkness or fallen angels in the black Tartarian regions).

85. Now Rama, I have fully related to you about the origin and nature of the Pisacha race in the course of this discourse; and then as I had become as one of them, in the regions of the regents of the celestials.