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 CXXVIII - The vacuum of brahma and the sight of the world therein

Argument:—Vipaschitas wanderings beyond the sphere of the world and the regions of darkness.

1. Rama! I have told you all these by my personal perception of them, and not by any guess-work of mine, because it is by means of their purely intelligent bodies, that yogis like ourselves have come to the clear sight of these things in nature, which are otherwise unknowable to the material body or mind.

2. Thus the world of which I have spoken, appears to us as in a dream, and not in any other aspect as it is viewed by others (As either an imaginary or solid material body).

3. Now whether the world is viewed in the light of a dream or any other thing, it is of no matter to us; since it is the business of the learned, to speak of its situation and what relates thereto (and not of its nature or essence).

4. There are the two poles (merus) situated at the utmost extremities of the north and south of the world; and it is the business of the learned, to enquire into the endless kinds of beings lying between them.

5. These varieties are well known to the people of those particular parts; and not to us here, where they do not appear in their native beauty.

6. The two poles (as said before), standing at the farthest extremities of the globe, limit the earth with its seven continents and seas, and stretch no farther beyond them.

7. Now hear, O Rama, that the whole body of water on earth, is ten times as much, as the extent of the two continents (lit., valves), which are surrounded by it.

8. The two continents attract the circumambient waters around them, as the magnet attracts the needles about it; and the water (in its turn), upholds the continents (and islands), as the Kalpa tree supports the fruits upon it.

9. All things on earth are supported by it, as the fruits of a tree are supported by its stem; wherefore every thing on earth falls down on it, as fruits fall upon the ground.

10. Far below the surface of the water, there is a latent heat underneath, which is ever burning without any fuel, which is as still as air, and clear as the flame of fire.

11. At the distance of ten times from it, there is the vast region of air; and as many times afar from that, there is the open space of transparent vacuum.

12. At a great distance from that, there is the infinite space of the vacuity of Divine spirit; which is neither dark nor bright, but is full of Divine Intelligence.

13. This endless void of the supreme spirit, is without its beginning, middle or end; and is named as the universal soul, the great Intellect and perfect bliss (nirvana or insouciance).

14. Again there are myriads of orbs, in the distant parts of these spheres; that appear to and disappear from view by turns.

15. But in reality, there nothing that either appears or disappears, in the uniformly bright soul of Brahma; where every thing continues in the same manner, throughout all eternity.

16. I have thus related to you, Rama, all about the phenomenal worlds, that are perceptible to us; hear me now to tell you, what became of Vipaschit in the polar region.

17. Being led by his former impressions and accustomed habit, he kept wandering about the top of the mountain (as he was wont to do before);but fell down afterwards in the dark and dismal pit therein.

18. He found himself lying as dead at that spot, when the birds of air, as big as mountain peaks, alighted upon his dead body, which they tore to pieces and devoured at last.

19. But as he died on the holy mount, and had a spiritual body of himself; he did not feel the pains and pangs which are inevitable upon the loss of the material body, but retained his clear consciousness all along.

20. Yet as his self-consciousness, did not attain the transcendent perceptivity of his soul; he remembered the grossness of his past acts and deeds, and was sensible of them, as any living body.

Rama asked said:—

21. How is it possible sir, for the unembodied mind, to perform the outward actions of the body; and how can our spiritual consciousness, have any kind of perception of any thing?

Vasishtha replied:—

22. As desire drives the home-keeping man from his house, and as imagination leads the mind to many places and objects, so the mind of this prince was led from place to place (as his reminiscence portrayed them before it).

23. As the mind is moved or led by delusion, dream, imagination and by error or misapprehension and recital of stories, (to the belief of things); so the mind of the prince was led to the credence (of whatever appeared before him).

24. It is the spiritual or intellectual body (or the mind), which is subject to these fallacies (and not the corporeal body); but the human mind, forgets in course of time, its spiritual nature; and thinks on its materiality (i.e. takes it for a material substance).

25. But upon disappearance of these fallacies, in the manner of the mistaken notion of the snake in a rope; there appears the spiritual body only, in lieu of the corporeal one.

26. Consider well, O Rama! that the spiritual body is the only real substantiality; because all that appears to exist here beside the intellect, is no existence at all (without the mind, which makes and unmakes them).

27. As the mind of a man going from one place to another, passes on quietly over the intermediate places, and is quite unconscious of them; such is the case with the intellect, which passes to endless objects, without ever moving from its fulcrum, or changing itself to any other form.

28. Say therefore, where is there a duality, and what object is there deserving your amity or enmity, when all this totality is but one infinite Deity, and known as the transcendent understanding.

29. The transcendental understanding is that calm and quiet state of the Intellect, which is without the workings of the mind; and though the prince Vipaschit was settled in his spiritual body, he had not yet attained to that state of transcendentalism. (This is Platonism or musing of the soul in itself).

30. He being in want of this percipience, found his mind on the stretch; and with his spiritual body, he saw a dark gloom, as it appears to a foetus confined in the embryo.

31. Amidst this gloom, he beheld mundane egg split in twain, and perceived the surface of the earth, situated in the lower valve thereof. It was a solid substance, as bright as gold, and extending to millions of yojanas.

32. At the end of this he saw the waters, eight times in extent to that of the land; and these in the form of crusts of the oceans, formed the two valves (continents) of the earth (i.e. the Eastern and Western hemispheres).

33. After passing over this, he reached to the region of light, blazing with the sun and stars; emitting flames of conflagration issuing from the vault of heaven.

34. Having passed that region of fire, without being burnt or hurt in his spiritual body; he was led by his mind to another region, where he thought and felt himself to be borne aloft by the winds to his former habitation.

35. As he was carried in this manner, he felt himself to be of a spiritual body; for what is it beside the mind, that can lead any body from one place to another.

36. With this conviction of himself, the patient prince passed over the region of the winds; and got at last to the sphere of vacuum, which was ten times in extent to that of the former.

37. Passing over this, he found the infinite space of the vacuum of Brahma; wherein all was situated, and whence all had proceeded, which is nothing and yet something, of which nothing can be known or predicated.

38. Moving along this empty air, he was carried far and farther onward in his aerial journey; until he thought in his mind, he could see from there, all the other spheres of the earth and water, and of fire and air, which he had passed over before.

39. There were again the formations of worlds, and repeated creations and dissolutions of them to be seen in it; and trains of gods and men, and those of hills and all other things; going on in endless succession therein.

40. There was a recurrence of the primary elements, and their assuming of substantial forms; and repetitions of creations, and reappearances of worlds and the sides of the compass.

41. Thus the prince is still going on in his journey through the infinite void of Brahman;and finds the succession of creations and their dissolutions in it to no end.

42. He has no cessation from his wanderings, owing to his conviction and assuetude of thinking the reality of the world; nor does he get rid of his ignorance, which is from God also. (Man is created in ignorance, and barred from tasting the forbidden fruit of knowledge).

43. Whatever you view in your waking, or see in your dream;is the perspicacity of the Divine soul, and ever displays these sights in itself.

44. This world is an apparition of our ignorance, like the spectres that are seen amidst deep darkness; but know that it is the transparent intellect of God which represents it so, and will ever do the same.

45. And as the dark sight of the gross world, as well as the clear light of its transparency, do both of then proceed alike from the selfsame mind of God; it is impossible to conceive, whether it is the one or the other, or both alike.

46. Hence, O Rama, this prince being uncertain of the transparency of the Divine spirit has been wandering for ever more, in the dark maze of his preconceived worlds; as a stray deer, roves amidst the tangled wilderness.