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...
Argument:—The conduct of men that are firm in the resolution and the behaviour of Vasishtha in the etherial regions.
1. [Sanskrit available]
I then having my inane intellectual body, which was quite free from the composition of the five elements; roved about in the air in the manner of a pisacha ghost (seeing all and seen by none).
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I was astonished to think as any honest person, who is a stranger at the house of another; why the residents of the place did not perceive me, though I advanced towards them and called them to me.
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I then thought in myself that, as these etherial beings are seekers of truth like ourselves; it is right they should observe me among them in their etherial abode.
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They then began to look upon me standing before them, and felt astonished at my unthought appearance, as the spectators are startled at the sudden sight of a juggler's trick or some magic show.
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Then I managed myself as I ought in the house of the gods, I sat quiet in their presence, and addressed and accosted them without any fear.
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Those who beheld me standing at the compound at first, and were unacquainted with the particulars (of my sagely character), thought me a mere earthly being, and known as Vasishtha by name.
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When I was in sun light by the celestials in heaven, they took me for the enlightened Vasishtha, who is well known in the world.
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As I was seen afloat in the air by the aerial siddhas, they called me by the name of the aerial Vasishtha.
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And as I was observed by the holy sages to rise from amidst the waters of the deep; they called me the watery Vasishtha, from my birth in the water.
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Henceforth I came to be renowned under different appellations, by all these sets of beings; some calling me the earthly Vasishtha, and others naming me the luminous, the aerial and so forth according to their own kind.
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Then in course of time, my spiritual body assumed a material form, which sprang from within me and of my own will.
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That spiritual body and this material form of mine, were equally aerial and invisible; because it was in my intellectual mind only, that I perceived the one as well as the other.
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Thus is my soul the pure intellect, appearing sometimes as vacuum, and at others shining as the clear sky; it is transcendent spirit and without any form, and takes this form for your admonition. (The incorporeal soul enters into the corporeal body for its dealing with others).
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The liberated living soul is as free as vacuous spirit of Brahma, although it may deal with others in its corporeal body; so also the liberated bodiless soul, remains as free as the great Brahma himself.
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As for myself I could not attain to Brahmahood, though I practiced the rules for obtaining my liberation; and being unable to attain a better state, I have become the sage Vasishtha as you see before you.
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Yet I look upon this world in the same light of immateriality, as the sage sees the figure of [a] person in his dream, when it appears to him to have a material form, though it is a formless non-entity in reality.
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In this manner do the self born god Brahma and others, and the whole creation at large, present themselves as visions to my view, without their having any entity in reality.
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Here I am the self same vacuous and aerial Vasishtha, and appearing as a visionary shape before you, I am though habituated to believe myself over grown, as you are accustomed to think of the density of the world.
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All these are but vacuous essences of the self-born Brahma, and as that deity is no other than the Divine Mind, so is this world no more than a production of that Mind.
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The appearance of myself, thyself and others, together with that of the whole world, proceeding from our ignorance; is like the apparitions of empty ghosts before deluded boys, and appearing as solid realities to your sight.
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Being aware of this truth, it is possible for you to grow wise in course of time; and then this delusion of yours is sure to disappear, as our worldly bonds are cut off with the relinquishment of our desires and affections.
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Our knowledge of the density and intensity of the world, is dissipated by true wisdom; in the same manner as our desire of a dream of gem, is dispelled upon our waking.
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The sight of the phenomenals vanishes at once from our view, as we arrive to the knowledge of noumenal in time; as our desire of deriving water from a river in the mirage, subsides in our knowledge of the falsity of the view.
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The man whose mind is addicted to worldly desires, and who thinks its vanities as his real good, leads a life to misery only like those of insects and worms, and is unfit to be born as a human being, notwithstanding all his knowledge of this world and all his holy devotion.
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The liberated man while he lives, deems the enjoyments of his life, to be no enjoyment at all; but the ignorant person values his temporary enjoyments only, in lieu of his everlasting felicity.
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By perusal of this Maharamayana, there arises in the mind a coldness, resembling a frost falling on spiritual knowledge.
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Liberation is the cold indifference of the mind, and our confinement consists in the passionateness of our minds and hearts; yet the human race is quite averse to the former, and sedulously employed in the acquisition of their temporal welfare only in their foolishness, and to the astonishment of the wise.
30. [Sanskrit available]
Here all men are subject to their sense, and addicted to the increase of wealth and family (lit.—wives), to the injury of one another; yet it is possible for them to be happy and wise, if they will but ponder well into the true sense of spiritual sastras.
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After the sage had said these words, the assembly broke with the setting sun and mutual salutations, to perform their evening devotion. They made their ablutions as the sun sank down into the deep, and again repaired to the court with the rising sun at the end of the night.