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 CII - Exposition of buddhism and disproving of death

Argument:—Showing the utility of Buddhistic doctrines in strengthening the Mind To cool apathy.

Rama rejoined:—

Tell me sir, the perfection which a holy man attains to, after he is acquainted with the supreme essence, which is without its beginning and end.

Vasishtha replied:—

2. Hear the high state to which the holy man arrives, after he has known the knowable; and the mode of his life and conduct, throughout the whole course of his existence.

3. He lives apart from human society, in his solitary retreat in the woods, and there has the stones of the dales, the trees of the forest, and the young antelopes, for his friends, kindred and associates.

4. The most populous city, is deemed as a lonely desert by him;his calamities are his blessings, and all his dangers are festivities to him.

5. His pains are his pleasure, and his meditations are as musings to him; he is silent in all his dealings, and quiet in all his conduct through life.

6. He is somnolent in his waking hours, and remains as dead to himself while he is living; he manages all his affairs with a coolness, as if he was engaged in nothing.

7. He is pleasant without tasting any pleasure, and is friendly to his fellow beings without any selfish interest of his own; he is strict to himself but ever kind to others, and is undesirous of everything, with his full desire for common weal.

8. He is pleased with the conduct of others, without having any course of action for himself; and devoid of sorrow, fear and care, yet he is seen always to wear a melancholy appearance. (A heavily pensive melancholy).

9. He afflicts nobody, nor is afflicted by any body; and though full with his private afflictions and privations, he is ever pleasant in company. (Pleased with himself, he pleases all).

10. He is neither delighted with his gain, nor depressed at his loss, nor desirous to get any thing; and though there may be causes, for his feeling joy as well as sorrow, yet they are never visible in his face.

11. He sympathises with the unhappy, and congratulates with happy people; but his collected mind is always invincible, in every circumstance of life.

12. His mind is not inclined to acts, beside those of righteousness; as it is the wont of noble-minded men by their nature, and not any effort on their part.

13. He is not fond of pleasantry, nor is he addicted to dulness either;he does not hanker after wealth, but is inappetent and impossible with all his appetites and sensibleness.

14. He abides by law and acts accordingly, whether he is pinched by poverty, or rolling in riches; nor is he ever dejected or elated, at the unforeseen good or bad events of life.

15. They are seen to be joyous and sorrowful also at times, without changing the sedateness and serenity of their nature at any time. They act the part of players on the stage of the earth (that display many figures in their outward mein).

16. Those that know the truth, bear no more affection for their mercenary relatives and false friends, than they look upon the bubbles of water (that swell and swim, only to burst in a moment).

17. Without the affection of the soul, they bear full affection for others in their hearts; and the wise man remains quite possessed of himself, with showing his paternal affection to all. (Universal benevolence).

18. The ignorant are as the winds passing over running streams; they slightly touch the poisonous pleasures of their bodies, as the winds touch the rising waves, and are at last drowned in the depth of their sensuality.

19. But the wise man deals outwardly alike with all, with perfect coolness and stillness of his soul within himself; he seems outwardly to be engaged in business, but his inward mind is wholly disengaged from all worldly concerns whatsoever.

Rama rejoined:—

20. But how can a true sage of such nature, be distinguished from the many pretended ones and the ignorant also, who assume such a character falsely only to beguile others.

21. Many hypocrites rove about as horses, in the false garb of devotees, for the assurance of mankind in their devout devotedness to religion.

Vasishtha replied:—

22. I say Rama, that such a nature (or disposition), whether it is real or feigned, is the best and highest perfection of

man; and know that, the learned in Vedic lore, have always this state as the model of perfection in their view.

23. Those who are dispassionate and unconcerned with acts, manage still to conduct their secular affairs and actions, like those that are actuated by their passions; and though they are averse to derision, yet they cannot help to deride at the ignorant from their kind-heartedness towards them.

24. The visibles are all imprest in the mirror of their minds, as the shades of edifices are reflected in a reflector; they look upon them with full knowledge of their shadowiness, as they perceive the fallacy of their laying hold on a lump of gold in dream.

25. There is a coolness pervading their minds, which is altogether unknown to others; just as the sweet fragrance of the sandal wood, is unperceived by brutes at a distance.

26. They that know the knowable, and are equally pure in their minds, can only distinguish them from other people, as a snake only can trace the course of another snake.

27. They are the best of men, that hide their good qualities from others; for what man is there that will expose his most precious treasure in the market, along with the raw produce of his land? (i.e. The hidden virtues of a man, unlike the aroma of flowers, aught not to be laid open before the public).

28. The reason of concealing the rare virtues, is to keep them unnoticed by the public; because the wise who are undesirous of reward or reputation, have nothing to reap or expect from the public.

29. Know Rama, that solitude, poverty and disrespect and disregard of men, are more pleasing to the peaceful sage; than the most valuable gifts and honors from mankind.

30. The ineffable delight which attends on the wise man, from his conscious knowledge of the knowable; inexpressible in words, and invisible to others as to its knower also. (The secret joy of divine knowledge and grace, is felt unseen by the holy sage).

31. Let men know this qualification of mine, and honour me for it, is the wish of the egotist, and not of that are from their egoistic feelings.

32. It is possible even to the ignorant, to succeed to reap the results of their practices, such as their rising and moving about in the air (and upon the surface of water); by means of mantras, and the power of certain drugs, that are adapted to those ends.

33. He who can afford to take the pains to any particular end; succeeds to accomplish the same, whether he is a clever or ignorant man. (Success depends on action, and not on knowledge alone).

34. Tendencies to good or evil, are implanted in the bosom of man, as results of the acts of their past lives; and these come to display themselves into action at their proper time, as the sandal wood emits its latent fragrance in its season all around.

35. He who is prepossessed with the knowledge of his egoism, coupled with his desire for enjoyment of the visibles; he betakes himself to the practice of khechariyoga, whereby he ascends in the air, and reaps the reward of his action.

36. The wise man that has nothing to desire, knows such practices to be as false as empty air; and refrains from displaying his actions, which he knows at best but cast to the winds.

37. He derives no good from his observance of practical yoga, nor does he lose aught of his holiness by his non-observance of them; and neither has he any thing to gain from any body, nor lose a mite at the loss of any thing.

38. There is nothing in earth or heaven, nor among the gods nor any where else: which may be desirable to the magnanimous, and to one who has known the supreme soul.

39. What is this world to him, who knows it to be but a heap of dust, and deems it no better than a straw; What then is that thing in it, which may be desirable to him?

40. The silent sage whose soul is full of knowledge, and whose mind is quite at rest from its fondness for human society; remains content in the state as he is, and quite satisfied with whatever occurs to him.

41. He is always cool within himself and taciturn in his speech, and eternal truths form the ground work of his mind; which is as full and deep as the ocean, and whose thoughts are as bright as day light.

42. He is as full of cool composure in himself, as a gladsome lake reposing with its limpid waters; and he gladdens also all others about him, as the fair face of the full moon, cheers the spirits of all around.

43. The Mandara groves of Paradise, with their woodlands strewn over with the dust of their blossoms, do not delight the soul so much, as the wise sayings of pandits cheer the spirit.

44. The disc of the moon diffuses its cooling beams, and the vernal season scatters its fragrance around; but the pithy sayings of the wise and great, scatter their sound wisdom all about, which serve to ennoble and enrich all mankind.

45. The substance of their sayings, proves the erroneous conception of the world to be as false as a magic show; and inculcates the prudence of wearing out the worldly cares day by day.

46. The wise saint is as indifferent, to the suffering of heat and cold in his own person; as if they are disturbances in the bodies of other men. (Or that he feels the pain of others as his own).

47. In his virtues of compassion and charity, he resembles the fruitful tree, which yields its fruits, flowers, shed and all to common use, and subsists itself only upon the water, it sucks from the ground or receives from heaven.

48. It deals out to every body, whatever it is possest of in its own body; and it is by virtue of its unsparing munificence to all creatures, that it lifts its lofty head above them all (or stretches its roots in air).

49. One seated in the edifice of knowledge, has thought of sorrow for himself; but pities the sorrows of others, as a man seated on a rock, takes pity for the miserable men, grovelling in the earth below.

50. The wise man is tossed about like a flower, by the rolling waves in the eventful ocean of this world; and is set at rest, no sooner he gets over it, and reaches the beach on the other side (i.e. his way to bliss).

51. He laughs with the calmness of his soul, at the same unvaried course of the world and its people; and smiles to think on the persistence of men, in their habitual error and folly. (The laughing philosopher).

52. I am amazed to see these aberrant men, wandering in the mazes of error; and fascinated by the false appearances of the phenomenal world, as if they are spell-bound to the visibles.

53. Seeing the eight kinds of prosperity to be of no real good, but rather as causes of evil to mankind, I have learnt to spurn them as straws; and though I am inclined to laugh at them, yet I forbear to do so from my habitual disposition of tolerance and forbearance.

54. I see some men abiding in mountain caves, and other resorting to holy places; some living at home amidst their families, and others travelling as pilgrims to distant shrines and countries.

55. Some roving about as vagrants and mendicants, and others remaining in their solitary hermitage; some continuing as silent sages, and observant of their vow of taciturnity; and others sitting absorbed in their meditation.

56. Some are famed for their learning, and others as students of law and divinity; some are as princes and others their priests, while there are some as ignorant as blocks and stones.

57. Some are adepts in their exorcism of amulets and collyrium, and others skilled in their sorcery with the sword, rod and magic wand; some are practiced in their aerial journey, and others in other arts and some in nothing as the ignorant pariahs.

58. There are many that are employed in their ceremonial observances, and others that have abandoned their rituals altogether; some are as fanatics in their conduct, and others that indulge themselves in their peregrinations and vagrancy.

59. The soul (that you wanted to know), is not the body nor its senses or powers; it is neither the mind nor the mental faculties, nor the feelings and passions of the heart. The soul is the Intellect which is ever awake, and never sleeps nor dies.

60. It is never broken nor consumed, nor soiled nor dried up (by the death or burning of the body); it is immortal and omnipresent, ever steady and immovable, infinite and eternal.

61. The man who has his soul, thus awakened and enlightened in himself; is never contaminated by anything (pure or impure), in whatever state or wherever he may happen to remain.

62. Whether a man goes down to hell or ascends to heaven, or traverses through all the regions of air, or is crushed to death or pounded to dust; the immortal and undecaying Intellect which abides in him, never dies with his body, nor suffers any change with its change; but remains quite as quiet as the still air, which is the increate Deity itself.