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 CXXXVII - Description of the states of waking, sleeping and dreaming

Argument:—The Hunter's Inquiry into the means of salvation and the sage's instruction about them.

The huntsman said:—

1. Instruct me now, O sage, the way to my salvation from misery; and teach me the best mode of conduct, which may neither be too difficult nor too facile to practice.

The sage replied:—

2. Now be submissive to me, and throw away your bow and arrows; and betaking yourself to taciturnity and conduct of sages, be free from trouble and remain herein.

Vasishtha related:—

3. Being thus advised by the sage, the huntsman threw away his bow and arrows; and betaking himself to the conduct of sages, remained still even without asking for food.

4. In course of a few days, his mind turned to the investigations of sastras; as a full blown flower enters into the minds of men, by means of its far smelling fragrance.

5. Once he asked his preceptor, O Rama, to tell him, how and in what manner, outward objects come to be seen within us in our dream.

The sage said:—

6. This very question, O my good fellow, had also arisen at first under my scrutiny; how these shadows of things beyond us, rise like the bodies of clouds in our sleeping hours in the sphere of our minds.

7. I then applied to my meditation, and practiced the closeness of my attention for my introspection into this matter; and steadily sat in my padmasana posture of folded legs, and intensely intent upon investigation of this incident.

8. Sitting in this manner, I stretched my thought all about and afar;and then retracted them, into the recess of my mind; as the rising sun stretches out his beams in the morning, and afterwards draws them back into its disc in the evening.

9. I sent forth my breathing in quest of knowledge, and then called to myself; and thus continued in exhaling and inhaling my breaths, as flowers let out and contract their fragrance by turns.

10. My breath being accompanied with my mind, was reposed in the air before me; and then it was with the air inhaled by the pupil sitting before me, and intromitted into his nostrils.

11. Thus my breath being mixed with his, was admitted into his heart; as a snake is drawn in by the breath of a bear, sitting with his wide open mouth at the entrance of his hole.

12. Thus I entered into his heart, by means of my vehicle of my breath;and was put into difficulty of being confined therein, by my folly of following my breath in its passage into his breast.

13. I passed there amidst the arteries and aorta, and was led through all the conduits and blood-vessels into all the nerves and veins, both large and small and inside and outside the body.

14. I was at last confined in the cage of the ribs on both sides of the body, and had the fleshy masses of the liver and spleen presented before me. This was the painful habitation of my living soul, and these were as potfuls of meat set before it.

15. My intestines kept coiling within me with a hissing sound, and were surrounded by a flood of red hot blood continually flowing and boiling, like the waves of the ocean heated under the hot sunshine.

16. I had fresh supplies of sweet scents, incessantly borne to my nostrils by the blowing breeze; and these tended to infuse both life to my body, and sensibility to my soul.

17. But then I was tormented as in hell-fire, by the boiling blood, bile and phlegm; in my dark and dismal dungeon. (Which was moreover infected by the stink of dirt within).

18. It is the free and slow passage of the vital airs through the lungs, that regulates the circulation of blood in all parts of the body; and this determines the state of the bodily humours, a derangement of which tends to generation of future diseases.

19. The vital airs pushing against each other, burst forth in explosion within their cavities; while the culinary fire is burning as the submarine blaze, through the tubular stomach, resembling the hollow pipe of a lotus stalk.

20. The external air carries the particles of things, through the outer organs of sense into the body; and these then enter into the mind, either in their gross or pure state, as thieves enter into a house at night.

21. The chyle is carried with a chyme by the internal winds, to all parts of the body by the passage of the intestines; as the outer air bears the low and loud sounds of songs in all direction.

22. I then entered into his heart, which is difficult of access, and I passed therein with as much jostling, as a strong man makes his way amidst a thickly crowded throng of men.

23. Soon afterwards I found the sight of some shining substance, at a distance from the heart (i.e. the culinary fire); as a man scorched by sun shine, finds the sight of cooling moon in the gloom of night.

24. It was the spiritual light, which reflected like a mirror all this triple worlds in itself, and threw its rays upon all things therein; it was the essence of whatever there is in existence; and the receptacle of all living souls.

25. The living soul or life, says the sruti pervades the whole body, as the fragrance of a flower runs through all parts of it. Yet it is the heat of the heart in which it chiefly resides, as the perfume of the flower dwells in the pistils, after the blossom is expanded by the solar heat.

26. I then crept unperceived into that heat, which was the cell of the living soul; and was there preserved by the vital airs from extinction, as a burning lamp in a lantern, is preserved by its interior airs from its being blown out or extinguished. (Because the light is put out in a receptacle).

27. I entered into that heat as fragrance passes into the air, or as the hot wind pushes into the cold air, or as water rushes into a pot (i.e. I pass through several sheaths, to the seat of bliss).

28. I passed into the second sheath, which is as bright as moon light and as clear as a spot of white cloud; and thence I ascend to the fair sheaths known by the names of the cells of butter, sweets and milk-white water.

29. Being tired with my arduous passage through these sheaths, I returned and rested in the genial warmth of my breast, where I saw the full view of the world, appearing as a dream before my sight.

30. It showed the images of the sun and moon, and the pictures of the seas and hills, with the shapes of gods and demigods and human forms; it presented also the sights of cities and countries, and the face of the sky on all sides around.

31. It exhibited also the oceans with their islands, and the course of time and seasons and all moving and unmoving objects to my view.

32. This vision of my dream, continued steadfast and quite alike even after I was awake, wherefore I remained in the same state after my sleep as I had been when sleeping, because the view recurred to me in my waking state, as it had occurred to me in my sleep. (i.e. The world is but a waking dream).

33. Now listen to me, O huntsman, what then I did. I said to myself, "what, is this a waking dream I see before me?" and as I was thinking in this manner, I had this knowledge of it awakened in me.

34. Verily it is the representation of the Divine Intellect, and it is the manifestation of the Deity himself; and all these objects under the different names, are but manifestations of the Divine spirit in various shapes in the world.

35. Wherever there is the substance of Intellect, there is the cosmical image of the Deity impressed upon it; in its empty vacuous form, which it never forsakes (for aught of a gross nature).

36. Ah! it is now I perceive, said I to myself, that all these appearances passing under the names of the world; are mere representations of the intellect, in the form of a passing dream.

37. It is a little expansion of the essence of the intellect, which is termed a dream (or an imperfect view of things); and it is also a greater expansion and extension of the same, which is said to [be] waking; both being the display of the selfsame intellectual essence.

38. A dream is said to be dream in the waking state, and not while one continues in his dreaming state, when it appears as waking; so our waking is but a dream, whence the two states of our waking and sleeping dream.

39. Even our death is a dream, which continues with our intellect even after our death; because the intellect which resides in the body, does not die even in a hundred deaths of the body; for who has ever heard of the death of the soul (which is same with intellect) of any body.

40. This Intellect is a void and vacuous substance, dwelling in and expanding with the body; it is infinite and undivided, and remains indivisible and indestructible, both with as well as without the destructible body.

41. The vacuous particle of the intellect, which is indestructible by its nature, and shines forth eternally and ad infinitum by itself; has the so called world for its pith and sap and ever attached to itself.

42. The vacuum of the intellect, contains within its bosom, the minute particles of ideas; each of which represents a part of the great variety of objects, that compose its totality ("as parts of an undivided whole").

43. The soul breaking off from its view of the visibles, rests in its receptacle of heart; and sees the various sights in its dream, which are unfolded by the intellect before it.

44. Again the soul being inclined to the outer mind of sights, exposed before it by its own intellect; it comes to see the visions of the external objects, which pass under the phenomenal world.

45. The soul sees in itself and in the same state, the sights of all things both within and without it; such as, this earth and sky, the winds and waters, the hills and cities, and all things spread on all sides.

46. As the solar disc which is situated in the heaven above, appears also in the waters below in full blaze; so the soul is situated both in the inside and outside, in the form of the world, (or with the form of imprest ideas in it).

47. Therefore knowing that it is the intellectual soul, that sees the internal dream and the external world in itself; whoso abstains from craving anything is surely blest (because he has every thing in himself. Every soul or mind being full of the thoughts and sights of all things in itself, can be no more in want of anything).

48. The soul is both inseverable and uninflammable (i.e. it can neither be cut asunder nor burnt away); and whoso says otherwise, he must be betrayed by the delusion of duality, as a boy is decoyed by the deceitful yaksha (hocus-pocus).

49. He who sees his inward soul, to view the world internally in itself, is said to be dreaming in himself; and whoso finds his soul looking outwardly on the external world, is known to be waking.

50. Thinking so for regarding the dreaming and waking states, I was inquisitive to know the state of sound sleep, and went on making my inquiries therein.

51. But I thought of what good is the sight of the visible to me? Better remain quiet in myself, because it is the thoughtless oblivion, and consciousness of self, [that] is true insouciance or the stupor or susupti—somnum or hypnotism.

52. As the hair and nails of the body, are never thought of, though they are well known to belong to and to be attached to it; so the mind is quite unconscious of all material and immaterial objects in nature, in its state of sound sleep when it rests in its self-consciousness alone.

53. Tired with the rambles and sights of my waking and dreaming states, I sought my quiet rest in the state of my thoughtless self-consciousness; and this being the sole aim and end of sound sleep, there is no other meaning of the susupti hypnotism.

54. It is possible even in the waking state, to have this sound sleep of susupta hypnotism; by our determination of thinking of naught, save that of sitting quiet in one and same state (of abstractedness).

55. The state of abstraction being arrived at, is termed susupti—sound sleep; but when the sleep is light (Vikshepa), it is called swapnam—somnum or dream.

56. Having ascertained my torpor to the hypnotic susupti, I was resolved to seek after the turiya or fourth state of supreme bliss; and with this resolution, I set out in search of it with my best introspection and diligence.

57. I tried my utmost, but could get no indication of its true form and feature: and found out at last, that it was not to be had without our clear-sightedness, as the sunlight is imperceptible to the dimsighted eye.

58. That is called clear-sightedness, wherein our view of the world, as it appears unto us is utterly lost; and whereby we see in that light in which it exists in the Divine Mind.

59. Therefore the three states of waking, dreaming and sound sleep, are all included under this fourth state; wherein the world is seen as it exists, in the light of a nihility.

60. This then is the turya or ultimate view of the world, that it is produced by no cause and from nothing; but it is Brahma himself that exists in this state of tranquillity, from all eternity.

61. The impossibility of the pre-existent and primordial causes, precludes the possibility of the production of anything and of the creation itself; it is the Intellection of the intellect only, that gives rise to the conception of creation; as it is the nature of water to assume its fluidity and exhibit its dilation.