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 XCVII - On the rarity and retiredness of religious recluses

Argument:—The truth of catholicity, carnality of Worldly people, and the retirement and Resignation of the godly.

Vasishtha continued:—

The world which is but a vision of the supreme soul, and situated in the vacuity of the Divine mind, appears in our consciousness, as the ectype of Brahma himself.

2. The delusion of the visionary world, being too palpable to our view, has kept the supreme spirit quite out of our sight; as the spirit of the wine is kept hid in the liquor, though it can never be lost.

3. The unreal phenomenal being discarded as delusion, and the real noumenal being incomprehensible; and the absence of any positive subsistence of existence, has necessitated our belief in the endless void and vacuity.

4. That the embodied Intellect, called the purusha or soul, is the supreme cause (in the sankhya system); and the world proceeds from the unknown principle, known as the pradhana or its principal source. The truth of this view of the creation, rests wholly on the opinion of the philosopher (Kapila).

5. That the visible world is the form of the all pervasive spirit of God, is the thesis of the Vedantists; and this opinion of theirs regarding the formal world and its plasmic principle, depends solely on the conception of these philosophers.

6. That the world is a conglomeration of particles, is the position of the positive and atomic philosophers of the Nyaya system;and all these doctrines are relied upon and maintained, by the best belief of every party.

7. Both the present and future worlds, are as they are seen and thought to be is the tenet of some; while the spiritualist looks upon it neither in the light of an entity nor non-entity either.

8. Others acknowledge the outer world only, and nothing besides which is beyond their eye sight; and these charvaka atheists, do not avouch even for the intelligent soul, which is within their bodies.

9. There are others, who seeing the incessant changes and fluctuations of things with the flight of time, attribute omnipotence to it, and have become timists, with a persuasion of the evanescence of the world.

10. The belief of the barbarians, regarding the resurrection of the soul from the grave, which is built on the analogy of the sparrow flying away from under its covering lid; has gained a firm ground in the minds of men in these countries, and is never doubted by any.

11. The tolerant sage looks alike and takes in equal light all apparent differences; since they know that all these varieties in the world, are but manifestations of the One all pervading and invariable soul.

12. As it is the nature of the world, to go on in its course; so it is natural with the wise, to entertain these various opinions regarding the same. The truth however is quite mysterious, and hard to be found by inquiry; but it is certain that there is an all creative power, that is guided by intelligence and design in all its works.

13. That there is one creator of all, is the truth arrived at by all godly men and truthful minds; whoso is certain of this truth, is sure to arrive at it without any obstruction.

14. That this world exists and the future one also, is the firm belief of the faithful; and that their sacred ablutions and oblations to that end and never go for nothing; such assurance on their part, is sure to lead them to the success of their object.

15. An infinite vacuity is reality, is the conclusion arrived at by the Buddhist; but there is nothing to be gained by this inquiry, nor any good to be derived from a void nullity.

16. It is the Divine Intelligence which is sought by all, as they seek an inestimable gem or the Kalpa tree of life; and this fills our inward soul, with the fulness of the Divine spirit.

17. The Lord is neither vacuity nor non-vacuity, nor a non-entity either as it is maintained by others; He is omnipotent, and this omnipotence does not abide in Him, nor is it without Him, but is the selfsame Himself.

18. Therefore let every one rely in his own belief, until he arrives to the true and spiritual knowledge of God. By doing so he will obtain the reward of his faith, and therefore he must refrain from his fickleness (of forsaking his own faith).

19. Therefore consult with the learned, and judge with them about the right course; and then accept and follow what is best and correct, and reject all what proves to be otherwise.

20. A man becomes wise by knowledge of sastras, as also by practicing the conduct of the good; as also by associating with the wise and good, wherever such persons may be found upon inquiry.

21. He who serves and attends upon the preachers of sacred sastras, and on practicers of good and moral conduct; is also deemed a wise man, and his company also is to be resorted to by the wise.

22. All living beings, are naturally impelled towards whatever tends to their real good; as it is the nature of water to seek its own level. Therefore men should choose the company of the good for their best good.

23. Men are carried away as straws, by the waves in the eventful ocean of the world; and their days are passing away as insensibly (rapidly), as the dew drops are falling off from the blades of grass.

Rama rejoined:—

24. Tell me Sir, who are those far seeing persons, who sensing at first this world to be full of weeds and thorns, come at last by their right judgment, to rest in the state of ineffable felicity.

(i.e. Who are they that are resigned to God after their troublesome journey in the thorny paths of the world).

Vasishtha replied:—

25. It is the wording of the sruti, that there [are] some such persons among all classes of beings, whose presence sheds a lustre, as bright as that of the broad and shining day light. (These are gods, men).

26. Beside them there are others, who are quite ignorant of truth, and are tossed about and whirled up and down like straws, by the whirling waters of the dangerous eddies of ignorance, in the dark and dismal ocean of this world.

27. These are drowned in their enjoyments, and lost to the bliss of their souls; and are ever burning in the flames of worldly cares; such are some among the gods, who are burning on high, like as the mountain trees are inflamed by the wild fire.

28. The proud demigods were vanquished by their inimical gods, and were cast down into the abyss by Narayana; as big elephants into the pit, with the ichor of their giddiness.

29. The Gandharva songsters (that are skilled in music only), show no sign of right reason in them; but being giddy with the wine of melody, they fall into the hands of death, as the silly stags are caught in the snare (by their fondness for the sweet sound of the hunter's horn).

30. The Vidyadharas are mad with their knowledge (of arts, of sciences);and do not hold in esteem the esoteric and grand science of divinity for their salvation.

31. The yakshas who are impregnable themselves, are ever apt to injure all others on earth; and they exercise their noxious powers, chiefly upon the helpless infants, old men and weak and infirm persons.

32. There are again the gigantic and elephant like Rakshasas, who have been repeatedly destroyed by Hari, and will be utterly extirpated by you, as a herd of sheep by a powerful lion.

33. The Pisacha cannibals are always in quest of human prey, and devour their bodies as the burning fire consumes the oblations. They are therefore in utter darkness of spiritual knowledge.

34. The Naga race that dwell underneath the ground, resemble the stalks of lotuses drowned under the water, or as the roots of trees buried under the earth (and therefore they are quite insensible of truth).

35. The Asura race dwelling in subterranean cells, are as worms and insects, grovelling in dark under the ground, and are utterly ignorant of any knowledge or discrimination.

36. And what must we say of foolish mankind, who like the poor ants, are moving busily by night and day, in search of a morsel (lit.—particle)

of bread (and have not a whit of understanding in them).

37. All living bodies are running up and down for ever, in their vain expectations; and the days and nights are insensibly gliding over them, as upon drunken men (unconscious of themselves).

38. The knowledge of pure truth, never enters into the mind of men;as the dust flying over the surface of water never sink in its depth.

39. The holy vows of men are blown away, by the blasts of their pride and vanity; as the husks of rice are blown off, by the wind of the threshing mill.

40. Other people that are without true knowledge, are like the yoginis and Pamaras—pariahs, are addicted to the carnalities of their eating and drinking; and to roll in stink and stench and mud and mire.

41. Among the gods, only Yama, the sun and moon, Indra and Rudras, and Varuna and Vayu, are said to live liberated for ever; and so are Brahma, Hari and Brihaspati and Sukra, (the preceptors of the gods and demigods).

42. Among the patriarchs Daxa, Kasyapa and others, are said to be living liberated; and among the seven sages, Narada, Sanaka and goddess born Kumara are liberated for ever.

43. Among the Danava demons, there were some that had their emancipation also; and these were Hiranyaksha, Vali, Prahlada and Sambara, together with Maya, Vritra, Andha, Namuchi, Kesi, Mura and others. (Some of whom were foes and others as friends of the god).

44. Among Rakshasas Vibhisana, Prahasta and Indrajit are held as liberated; and so are Sesha, Taxaka, Karkota and some others among the Nagas or serpent race.

45. The liberated are entitled to dwell in the abodes of Brahma and Vishnu, and in the heaven of Indra; and there are some the manes of the Pitris, siddhas and Saddhyas, that are reckoned as liberated also.

46. Among the human race also, there are some that are liberated in their life time; as the few princes, saints and Brahmanas, whose names are preserved to us in the sacred records.

47. There are living beings in multitudes, on all sides of us in this earth, but there are very few among them that are enlightened with true knowledge in them; there are unnumbered trees and forests growing all around us, and bearing their fruits and flowers and foliage to no end; but there is scarcely a kalpa tree to be found among them (which may yield to us the fruit that we ardently desire).