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 CI - A sermon on spirituality

Argument:—That self-consciousness is same with the pure soul, whose presence is preventive of the causes of all human woes and fears. Here consciousness is synonymous with conscientiousness).

Vasishtha continued:—

Thus it is the Intellect only which is the soul of the body also, and which is situated every where in the manner as said before; and there is nothing which is so self-evident as the Intellect (or self-consciousness).

2. This is the clear expanse of the sky and, it is the medium of the vision of the viewer and visibles; it composes and encompasses the whole world, and therefore there is nothing to be had or lost without it.

3. The doctrinaires of the atheistic school of Brihaspati, that disbelieve the future state because of their ignorance of it; are believers of the present from their knowledge hereof. Thus knowledge or consciousness being the basis of their belief, we bear no favour nor disfavour to their doctrine. (We neither favour nor hate).

4. The world being but a name for the dream, which is produced in the vacuum of our hidden knowledge; say what cause is there for the debate of disputants, in their one sided view of the question.

5. Our consciousness knows well in itself, what is good or bad, and therefore acceptable or not. The pure soul is manifest in the clear vacuity of air, where there is neither this nor that view of it, exhibited to anyone.

6. The conscious soul is immortal, O Rama, and is not of the form of a rock or tree or any animal; consciousness is a mere vacuum, and all being and not being (i.e. our birth and deaths are as the waves and curling waters, in its ocean of eternity).

7. We are all floating in the vacuum of consciousness, both I and thou and he as well as any other; and none of us is ever liable to die, because consciousness is never susceptible of death.

8. Consciousness has nothing to be conscious but of itself only; and therefore, O big eyed Rama, where can you get a duality, except the single subjectivity of the Intellect? (To Make the Intellect both as subjective as well as objective, is something like the supposition of its riding on itself).

9. Tell me, O Rama! what is the product or offspring of the vacuous Intellect, and tell me also if that Intellect would die away, whence could we and all others proceed any more. (This proves the immortality of the Intellect, whence as all things are incessantly proceeding from).

10. Tell me what sort of beings are these atheistic disputants, the saugatas, Lokayatikas and others; if they are devoid of their consciousness, which they so strenuously deny and disallow.

11. It is this vacuous consciousness which some name as Brahma, and which some style as knowledge and others as the empty vacuum.

12. Some call it the spirit (of bodies), like that of spirituous liquors; and others (as the sankhyas), use the term purusha or embodied spirit for it. Others (as the yogis), call [it] the vacuous Intellect,

while others as the saivas, give it the names of Siva and the soul (and so it is called by various other names by others).

13. It is sometimes styled the Intellect only, which makes no difference of it from the other attributes. The supreme soul is ever the same in itself, by whatever name it is expressed by the ignorance of men.

14. Be my body as big as a hill, or crushed to atoms as dust;it is no gain or loss to me in any wise either, since I am the same intellectual body or being for ever and ever.

15. Our sires and grand sires, are all dead and gone; but their intellects and intellectual parts, are not dead and lost with their bodies; for in the case of their demise, we would not have their regeneration in us. (Because the sruti says, "atma vai jayate putra," the soul is regenerated in the son).

16. The vacuous Intellect is neither generated nor destroyed at any time, but is increate and imperishable at all times; say how and when could the eternal void come to or disappear from existence.

17. The infinite and indestructible sphere of the Intellect, displays the scene of the universe in its ample space of vacuity, it is without its vicissitudes of rising or setting, and is ever existent in the supreme soul.

18. The Intellect represents the reflexion of the world in its clear sphere, as a crystal mountain reflects a wild fire in its translucent bosom;and rests for ever in the vacuum of the supreme soul, which is devoid of its beginning, middle and end.

19. As the shades of night obscure the visibles from sight, so the clouds of ignorance darken the bright aspect of the universe, as it is represented in the soul divine.

20. As the waters of the ocean, roll of themselves in the forms of waves and eddies; so doth the Intellect exhibit the pageant of the universe, of itself and in itself from all eternity.

21. The Intellect itself is the soul of the body, and like air is never extinct or wanting any where; therefore it is all in vain, to be in fear of one's death at any time. (Life and death are indifferent to the yogi).

22. It is a great joy to pass from one into another body (as there is in quitting a decayed house for a new one); therefore say ye fools, why do ye fear and grieve to die, when there [is] every cause to rejoice at it.

23. If after death there be no regeneration of the dead, then it is a consummation devoutly to be wished; because it eases and releases at once, from the heart burning disease and dread, of being and not being, and their repeated woes and miseries by turns. (To be and not be; that is the question &c.).

24. Therefore life and death, are neither for our weal or woe;because they are neither of them any thing in reality, except the representations of the intellect. (The mind paints them in different colours).

25. If the dead are to be reborn in new bodies, it is a cause of rejoicing and sorrowing; and the death or destruction of the decayed body for a sound one, is accounted as a change for better.

26. If death convey the meaning of the ultimate dissolution of a person, it is desirable even in that sense, for the cessation of our pains altogether; or it is used to mean one's resuscitation in a new body and life, it must be a cause of great rejoicing.

27. If death be dreaded for fear of the punishment, awaiting on the vicious deeds of the dead; it is even so in this life also for the penalties waiting on our quilt even here: refrain therefore from doing evil, for your safety and happiness in both worlds.

28. You all are ever crying lest ye die; but none of you is ever heard to say, that you are going to live again.

29. What is the meaning of life and death, and where are the lands where these are seen to take place? Do they not occur in our consciousness alone, and turn about in the vacuum of the mind?

30. Remain firm with your conscious souls, and eat and drink and act your part with indifference; for being situated in the midst of vacuity, you can have nothing to ask or wish for.

31. Being carried away in the reverie of your dream, and enjoying the gifts of time and changing circumstances; live content with what is got without fear, and know this as the holiest state.

32. Regardless of the intervening evils, which over take us in every place and time; the holy sage conducts himself with equanimity, as a sleeping man over the tumults of life.

33. The holy sage is neither sorry at his death, nor glad of his life and longevity; he neither likes nor hates any thing, nor does he desire aught whatever.

34. The wise man that knows all what is knowable, manages to live in this world as an ignorant simpleton; he is as firm and fearless as a rock, and reckons his life and death as rotten and worthless straws.