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 CXXV - On the living liberation of the prince

Argument:—Mutual assistance of the four persons of the prince to one another, and their true meaning.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. Now of the quadripartite bodies of the prince, that which was transformed to a tree, in the valley called the vale of fearlessness in sacadwipa : supported itself by sucking the better water of the rock which it drew by its roots.

2. It was then that the western part of the royal person, came up to the relief of the former or eastern part, and released it from the curse of its vegetable state of full seventy years, by the power of its incantations.

3. Again the western person of the king, passing to the frigid clime, was there transformed to a stone by curse of the chief of the Pisacha tribe; but was released afterwards from that state by [a] southern personage, by his offering of meat food to the carnivorous Pisacha.

4. At another time as this western personage, was settled beyond the western horizon, it was changed to the form of a bull by a female fiend, that had assumed on her the form of a cow, and was freed at last from that state by the southern person.

5. Again the southern figure of the prince, was doomed to live as a demon on a mountain tree in the Kshemaka, and was liberated at last from it by the yaksha prince.

6. Then again, the eastern person of the prince, was metamorphosed to the shape of a lion, on a mountain in the province of Vrishaka, and was delivered for its metamorphoses by the western personality.

Rama rejoined:—

7. How is it sir, that the single individuality of the prince, which was confined in one spot as that of a yogi; could be ubiquious at one and the same time, could perform the various acts of different times and places at once, by the all comprehensive universality of the mind.

Vasishtha replied:—

8. O Rama! Let the unenlightened think whatever they may, respecting this world (i.e. let them take its unreality for positive reality); but do you attend to what I say, regarding the light in which it is viewed by the enlightened yogis (who view it in its spiritual light, and conduct all their operations in the mind only).

9. According to spiritualists, there is no other essence, except one universal Intellect; the phenomenal are an utter inexistence, and the creation or increate entity of the world, blends into nothing. (The intellect is a formless and all-pervading essence, and acts in many ways in all places).

10. This universal Intellect is the eternal residence of and one with the eternal and universal soul; and it is this that constitutes the essentiality and universality of the Supreme soul at all times.

11. Say, who can obstruct any where or by any force the course of the great mind, which is ubiquious and all comprehensive, and exhibits itself in various forms in the endless varieties of its thoughts. (Hence there is nothing in reality, except they be but representations of the inward thoughts of the mind;or manifestations of the omnipresent One in various shapes).

12. What is it to us and what can we call to be ours, when all these sights are exhibited in the supreme soul or Intellect in all places and times; and all that is present, past and future, are comprised [in] that all-comprehending mind.

13. So that the far and near, a moment and an age, are the same to it, which is never altered in its nature (so says the sruti:—It is both near and afar, the past and the present &c.).

14. All things are situated in the soul, and yet look at the act of Ignorance, that they appear to be placed without it, as we behold them with our naked eyes (as phantasms of the hidden soul).

15. The soul is the substantial omniscience of vacuous form, and exhibits the three worlds in its vacuity, without changing its vacuousness (but shows like the magic lantern, the phantasmagoria of these in itself).

16. The universal soul appears in the universe, as both its viewer and the view in itself, or as the subjective and objective in its selfsame nature; but how is it possible for the inherent soul of the apparent world, to admit of a visible form in any way, unless it be by the delusion of our understanding to think it so.

17. But tell me thou sage that knowest the truth, what thing is impossible to the active agency of the selfsame Deity, to whom all things are alike possible at all times and places; and so also to the wise king Vipaschit, who was alike conscious of his self identity in all his quadruple forms. (The Lord that spreads unspent, and acts alike in all. Pope).

18. The enlightened Intellect of the yogi, that has not yet arrived at its transcendent state of unity with the Deity; and retains the sense of its individuality; can yet readily unite itself with the souls of others in all places.

19. There is nothing impossible to the supreme soul; but the half enlightened soul, that lingers between its knowledge and ignorance, and has not attained to transcendent wisdom, is confounded in its intellect regarding the true knowledge of things.

20. The soul that is some what advanced in its knowledge, is said to have partly progressed towards its perfection (siddhi); hence the four parts of Vipaschit situated on the four sides, made up a perfect whole. (The whole number in common calculation, is usually divided into and made up of four quarters).

21. These four parts were as so many states or degrees of perfection, which lighted on Vipaschit like the rays of heavenly light; and these states mutually helped and healed each other, as the members of the body assist and supply to the defects of one another.

Rama said:—

22. Tell me, O venerable Brahman, why the quadruple king Vipaschit, ran on all sides like brutes, if he was so enlightened in every part, and why he did not sit collected in himself as he was.

Vasishtha replied:—

23. What I have related to you regarding enlightenment, applies only to the case of yogis, who though they are combined of many parts in their minds, do yet remain sedate in themselves in the same state.

24. But the Vipaschitas were not so wholly enlightened as the holy yogis, but being partly enlightened, they remained in the midmost state between the two, as if hanging betwixt both state of enlightenment and ignorance at the same time.

25. They bore upon them the marks of both at once, namely of the one by their discretion and discernment, and of the other by the passions and affections of their minds, that led them to the two different ways of liberation as well as of bondage.

26. Those who are ever vigilant in the discharge of their pious acts, and are wavering between their temporal and eternal concerns, as the Vipaschitas continued in their course of action, such persons cannot be perfect and esoteric yogis in this life.

27. The devotees that are devoted to their devotion of a particular deity as the Vipaschitas were of the god of fire, are styled as the dharana yogis; and not transcendent or param yogis, unless they attain to transcendental knowledge (or jnana yoga, which removes the avidya—ignorance).

28. The learned yogi does not see any mist of ignorance, to obstruct his sight of the lights of truth; but the ignorant devotee is blind to truth, though he may be received into the favour of his favourite deity.

29. The Vipaschitas were all of them subject to ignorance, and they rejected the knowledge of the true soul, by their attachment to gross material bodies, which are at best but vain unrealities. Listen therefore to what I will now relate, regarding those that are liberated from their grossness even in their lifetime.

30. The yogis retain of course their knowledge of the concrete, in their conduct of the external affairs of life; but liberation is the virtue of the mind, consisting in its freedom from subjection to gross materials, and subsisting in the mind only, and not in the body or its sensibility.

31. But as the bodily properties are inseparably connected with the body, and its sensibility can in no way be separated from it; the liberated soul is therefore [in] no way attached to it, nor doth the yogi ever take any heed of it in his mind (his thoughts being solely fixed in the solity of the soul).

32. The mind of the liberated yogi, is never reunited with his body, any more than pollen is ever rejoined with its parent stalk; although the bodily properties of the living liberated yogi, ever remain the same as those of worldly persons. (Freedom consists in the minds and soul, and not in the bonded body).

33. The bodies of both are of course equally perceptible by all, but not the minds which are hidden in them; the liberated soul cannot be seen by others; but the incarcerate spirit is known to every body, by its addictedness to the discharge of its bounded duties.

34. Self-liberation is as well perceptible to oneself, as his perception of the sweetness of honey and the taste of other things, are well known to himself; and one is well acquainted with his liberation and bondage, from his consciousness of pleasure and pain from the one or other.

35. It is thus by one's inward perception of his liberation, that he is called the liberate; and it is also the inward coolness of his soul, as well as the indifference of his mind, that constitute his liberation even in his life time.

36. Neither the bondage, or liberation of the soul, nor the pleasure or painfulness of one's mind can be any how known to another; whether you divide the body into pieces or place it upon a royal throne. (Though the features of the face, are said to be indicators of the inward mind).

37. Whether laughing or crying, the liberated soul feels no pleasure or pain therein; because it is situated in both states in the unalterable spirit of God.

38. The minds of liberated persons, are settled in the divine spirit and no where else, even when they are in the act of receiving or doing any thing with their bodies: But the learned men of the different schools, are seen to be quite otherwise from their unacquaintance with liberation (and being moved by the circumstances of life).

39. The bodies of liberated persons, are not affected by external events, and though such a one may appear to be weeping, yet he never weeps in grief; nor does he die, with the death of his mortal body.

40. The great man that is liberated in his life time, does not smile though he has a smiling face; nor is he affected by nor angry at any thing, though he seems to be moved by affections and anger. (i.e. His feelings are never lasting).

41. Undeluded he sees the delusions of the world, and unseen by any he sees the failings of others; and all pleasure and pain seem as ideal unto him.

42. Every thing is as nil to the liberate, as flowers growing in the garden of the sky; and the existence of the world is non-existence unto him, who sees the unity alone in all existence. (The One being all and all being one; all others are lost in the only One).

43. The words pleasure and pain, are as aerial flowers to him, who are indifferent to them, who have become victorious over their feelings, by their liberation from all sensations in their life time.

44. They that have known the truth, are unaltered in their natures; as the mouths of Brahma, are unflinching in the recital of Vedas. (?)

45. And as Siva ripped the upper head of Brahma, as a bud of lotus, with the nail of his hand; and the god neither resented it, nor grew another head instead, which he was well able to do: so the meek yogi remains unresentful at any harm done to him.

46. Of what use is the upward or sky-looking face to him, whose inner or intellectual eye shows him the voidness of all things around; hence the possession of the external organ of sight, is useless to him, who sees everything within himself.

47. Every one gets as it is allotted to him by his fate, in retribution of his past actions; and his fatality (of retributive justice), does not betide mortals only; but binds the god Siva also to the sweet embraces of Gauri, as well as to his melancholy contemplation for ever; and so also doth the milky ocean, bear the ambrosial moon in his ample bosom. (An irrevocable binds even Jove himself, as Hara to his nakedness, and Hari to his serpent bed).

48. Good minded men are seldom seen to abandon their passions, though they are capable of doing so in their life time; but they become quite dispassionate upon their death, when the five elemental principles of their bodies, are burnt away upon the funeral pile. (All lie level with the dust in their silent graves).

49. But the living liberated man, gains nothing by his doing anything, nor loses aught by his doing of naught; nor has he any concern with any person, nor interest whatever with anything here on earth.

50. What avails one's passionateness or dispassionateness in this world; since what is fated in this life, cannot be averted by any means.

51. The god Hari, who is liberated in his life, does not yet cease from his work of slaying the Asuras, or to have them slain by the hands of Indra &c.; he becomes incarnate, to die himself or by hands of demons; and is repeatedly born and grown up, to be extinct at last. (Such is the general doom of all).

52. No one can give up his alternate activity and rest at once, nor is there any good to be reaped by his attachment to the one, or relinquishment of the other.

53. Therefore let a man remain in whatever state he may be, without having any desire of his own; because the god Hari is without any desire in himself, being the form of pure Intellect or Intelligence only. (Desire subsists in the mind, and not in the intellectual soul).

54. The changing time changes and moves the steady soul, like a ball on every side; as it turns about the fixed sun round the world in appearance (and not in reality).

55. The lord of the day, is not able to restrain his body, from its apparent course; though he is seated in his nirvana as he is, without any desire of changing his place.

56. The moon also appears to be waning under her wasting disease, though she remains ever the same in all kalpa ages of the world; so the soul of the liberated person continues the same, though his body is subject to decay by age.

57. The fire too is ever free and liberated in itself, because nothing can extinguish its latent heat at any time;and though it was suppressed by the sacrificial butter of marutta, and the seminal liquid of Siva for a while, yet it revived again as it was before. (Light and heat are coeternal elements).

58. Brihaspati and Sukra the preceptors of the gods and demigods, were liberated in their life time, and with all their ambitious views of predominance, they [appeared] as dull and miserable persons.

59. The sagely prince Janaka is perfectly liberated in his mind, and yet he is not loathe to rule over his princedom, and to quell his enemies in battle. (Liberation consists in the mind, and not in cessation from action).

60. The great kings Nala, Mandhata, Sagara, Dilipa, Nahusa and others, were all liberated in their lives; and yet they reigned and ruled over their realms, with all the vigilance of sovereigns.

61. A man acting either wisely or foolishly in life, is neither bound to or liberated in this world; but it is his ardent desire of or apathy to worldliness, that constitutes his bondage to or liberation from it.

62. The demoniac princes Vali, Namuchi, Vritra, Andhaka, Mura and others, lived quite liberated in their lives; though they acted as unwisely, as if they were elated by their ambition and passions.

63. Therefore the existence or disappearance of the passions, in the conduct of any body, makes no difference in his spiritual character; but it is the pure vacancy of the human soul and mind, that constitutes his liberation in this world.

64. Being possest of the knowledge of God as pure vacuum, the living liberated person is assimilated to the likeness of vacuity itself; and is freed from the duality of thinking himself otherwise than the divine spirit. (The sense of self personality, is lost in the knowledge of the universality of the divine soul).

65. He is conscious of the fallacy of phenomenal appearances, which he knows to be no more than as the variegated rainbow reflected in empty air (by the ineffable light of the glory of God).

66. As the various colours are seen to shine in the rainbow, in the field of empty air; so these myriads of brilliant worldly bodies, are but vacuous particles appearing in infinite space. (The great worlds are as minute atoms in the sight of great God).

67. This world is an unreality, appearing as a reality in view; it is unborn and increate, and yet it is irresistibly conspicuous to our sight, like the appearance of the sky in the empty firmament.

68. It is without its beginning or end, and yet appearing to have both of these; it is a mere void, and seeming as a real substantiality; it is increate, and yet thought to be a created something; it is indestructible, though thought to be subject to destruction.

69. Its creation and destruction are phenomena occurring in the vacuous essence of God, as the structure of a wooden post and statue, takes place in the substance of the wood. (Here the Divine essence is considered as the material cause of the world, and the one being void the other is considered equally void also).

70. The mind being freed from its imagination, and drowned in deep meditation (samadhi), as in the state of a sleepless sleeper; it comes to the sight of an even intellectual vacuity, engrossing the sights of all the worlds, as if absorbed in it.

71. As a man passing from one place to another, is unmindful of the intermediate scenes; so the attention being directed solely to the sight of the intellectual void, the thought of all the world and other existences is wholly lost in the same. (Such sight of the single point in view is called the sakha chandra darsana. Nyaya).

72. In this state of intense meditation, the thought of a duality is lost in that of the unity; and this idea of oneness disappears in that of a vast void, which terminates to a state of conscious bliss (which is the summum bonum of yoga philosophy).

73. In this state of insouciance, the duality of the world is lost in the nullity of vacuity; the knowledge of self personality is dwindled to spirituality, and all futurity presents itself clearly to the view of the clairvoyance of the enrapt yogi. (This forms the purnata or perfectibility of yoga practice).

74. The perfect yogi remains with his mind, as clear as the vacuous sky, enveloping the phenomenals in its ample sphere; he sits silent and as still and cold as a stone; he views the world in himself, and remains quiet in rapturous amazement at the view.