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 CXLII - Ascertainment of karma or acts of men

Argument:—Here God is ascertained as the Cause of the visionary world; and Refutation of the Theory of Karma or Human Deeds and Destiny.

The sage resumed and said:—

1. Continuing thus in the vagaries of my false imagination, I was led to many such painful sights, until they raised in me feelings of woe and sorrow, and my curiosity gave way to weariness.

2. I then thought in my mind that it is a mere dream in the mind of another person, which I have come to see from my seat within his breast;therefore I must refrain from such sights, and restrain my sorrow for them in vain.

The huntsman asked said:—

3. It was for the investigation of the nature of dream, that you had entered into the bosom of another person; say then what have you come to know about it, and how are your doubts removed (with respect to its false phantasms).

4. How came you to see the ocean in the breast, which never exists therein, and how did you see the conflagration in the heart and the tornado in the bowels, which are never to be found in any of those places.

5. You said you saw the earth and sky, and the rivers and mountains and many other things in the mind; but how can these and the world itself, be in any manner situated therein.

The sage replied:—

6. All these things and the world also are mere non-entities, as there was no pre-existent material cause for the production of the world, before its coming to existence; therefore neither the term creation nor its sense, is in any way applicable to this world or [as] it is seen by us. (It is therefore but the mere phantasm of an everlasting dream).

7. Hence the world creation and its meaning, proceed from ignorance of the supreme soul, which is immutable in its nature; and it is ignorance of this truth (lit. true knowledge), that produces the fallacy (lit. the false knowledge) of creation. (Therefore the world (i.e. the idea of the world), is ever present in the Divine mind).

8. Therefore I say, O thou fortunate one, that after you come to your knowledge in this respect (i.e. of the nature of God), and your ignorance of His supremely pure nature is removed:—

9. You will no more believe like myself, the false impression of your consciousness (of the existence of the world); but must come to know that, this causeless and uncreated world, is only the expanded reflection of your own mind.

10. Where is the body and the heart, and where are these elements of water &c.; what is this dream and what are these conceptions and perceptions, and what is life or death or anything else? (All which are nothing in reality).

11. There is but one transpicuous Intellect everywhere, before which the subtile ether is opalescent, and the biggest mountain is but a mite.

12. It is of its own nature that this intellectual vacuity, reflects on something in its thought; and sees the same as its aeriform body; and this it is what is called the world.

13. As it is our intellect alone, which reflects itself in various forms in our dream; and as there is nothing besides it that then presents itself to our view, so this world is no other than the aerial form of the intellect only.

14. This universe is a quiet vacuity without any stir or shadow of anything in it; and it is the dimness of the purblind eye of the intellect, that presents these false shapes to sight, as blind men see black spots in the clear sky.

15. To my sight the world is neither an entity nor a non-entity, nor is it a mere void or the shadow or reflection of anything; but the formless infinity of the vacuous intellect only: (or the infinite vacuity of the formless intellect only).

16. As it is in the state of our sleep, that the pure intellect sees itself in the various forms of its dream, without any cause whatsoever; so doth it view every thing in its own vacuum in waking also; without the external objects of sight or its act of seeing them.

17. It is something that is unspeakable and without its beginning and end; it is apparent with its own conceptions which are one with it and make no duality in its nature (Lit., whose nature is free from unity or duality, or as Sadi says:—azchunin O chunan, from this & that and so

& such).

18. As there is but one endless duration, embracing the periods both of creation as well as annihilation; and as the tree comprehends all its parts, blossoms and fruit under it; so is Brahma the Soul of all. (All are but parts of one stupendous whole. Pope).

19. As the great edifice of one, appears as an empty space to another; so as one's sight of a castle in a mirage, appears as nothing to another; so this visible world of waking people, is the dream of sleeping persons, and rising on the ground of their imagination.

20. It is as the transpicuous vacuity of the intellect, exhibits itself from time to time in itself; that we see the things in our dream, as we behold them when we are awake; and so also we see the sights in our waking state, as we behold them in our dreams in sleep.

21. As the fragrance of flowers, lies hid in the invisible air; so the world lies concealed in the invisible intellect, which sees through every pore of it.

22. It is by shutting out your thoughts of all and everything from your mind, that thou mayst [be] quite pure in thyself; and it is then only that thy infinite soul has its everlasting peace and rest, when it is freed from all cares, both within and without itself.

The huntsman said:—

23. Tell me sir, how can men get rid of their thoughts and cares of life, when they [are] invariably accompanied by the acts and reminiscences of their past lives. Tell me also what kind of men are subject to the tendencies of their past conduct, and who are they that are released from them.

The sage replied:—

24. Those souls that are full of intelligence and have their spiritual bodies, are never subject to renewed births nor to the consequences of their past actions; and such were the bodies of Brahma, and Kapila and others, that became manifest of themselves (suam-bhavah), and such were the supernatural bodies of the gods and divine incarnations.

25. Their bodies were not of this world, nor were they subject to its dualistic illusory imaginations; but they were forms of pure intelligence and of a subtile and spiritual nature.

26. In the beginning of creation, there was no primordial act of any body, to fashion his form or frame of mind; but there existed the sole and self-existent Brahma only, who manifested himself in the form of the world (which is therefore a manifestation of the Deity himself, and is thence called tanmaya or full of the Divine essence).

27. As the great Brahma and others, were the manifestations of the supreme Brahma in the beginning, so there have been many thousands more that were manifested from the same divine essence, which are known as pure intelligences, and superior orders of beings. (Such are the gods and angels and spirits of different denominations).

28. But those persons who are deluded by their ignorance of truth, to think themselves other than or apart from Brahma, and as dull and unintellectual beings, and as a distinct duality from the nature of God:—

29. They are seen to be born again the next time, in consequence of their past actions, and accompanied with the results of those acts, whereby they are confined in their unintellectual bodies, in order to lead their unspiritual lives, quite forgetful of their divine nature, and subjected to the false belief of their materiality.

30. But such as preserve the purity of their divine character, by thinking themselves as inseparable from the Divine soul, are known here as uncontaminated by their former acts, as the persons of the divine Brahma, Vishnu and Siva or the holy trinity.

31. All those that know the true nature of the soul, remain with its purity in the spirit of God; but such as understand it in the light of the living spirit, live in themselves as detached from the Divine soul.

32. Whenever one knows himself as a mere living being, he is then certainly accompanied by his ignorance or avidya; and the soul takes the name of the animal spirit or life, which is conversant only with the world wherein it is situated.

33. But as he comes to know in course of time, the true and divine nature of his soul, he is then reinstated in his real state and becomes one with the supreme soul of all.

34. As the fluidity of water exhibits itself in the form of whirlpools in some waters; so the divine intellect shows the inexistent world as existent, to those understandings which are ignorant of the nature of the supreme soul. (It is the nature of the omniscient mind, to picture in itself, the appearances of things that are not in actual existence).

35. The world is the reflection of omniscience, and not the representation of our dreaming or waking states; therefore it can have no action or property of itself, when it is nothing in reality.

36. In fact neither the knowledge of the world nor ignorance of it, or its action or motion or any of its properties, is anything in reality; all these are the results of our thought, that represents the unreal as real one unto us.

37. In truth Brahma being the very creation or the great cosmos itself, is verily the soul of all beings; it is in vain therefore to suppose our prior acts as cause of our births. That God is the creator of the universe, is a mere assumption made from his omnipotence (which is supposed to make everything out of nothing; but as ex nihilo nihil fit, God is himself diffused throughout all nature).

38. It is impossible for any body to have the bindings of his prior acts upon him, at his first creation in the world; it was only afterwards through his ignorance that he fabricated to himself a fate or causality of his actions for his fruitions in afterlives (i.e. in his subsequent and succeeding births or transmigrations in the world).

39. Say whether the vortex of sea has any body or action of its own; it is but the whirling water, as Brahma himself is apparent in the form of this seeming world.

40. As the persons appearing in our dream have no prior acts for their appearance; so were the living beings in their first formation, endued with pure understanding only (for want of their prior acts to actuate them at first).

41. It is a mere supposition, that they had their causal acts at first creation; and that all living beings have been roving ever since (in repeated births), being fast bound by the chain of their prior acts. (Man was pure in his creation, but since his first act of transgression or original sin, and then his actual sins, have subjected him to the miserable doom of undergoing repeated births).

42. But this creation is no act of creation, but verily the manifestations of Brahma himself; and such being the case (that the world is the selfsame Brahma), say what can acts mean, whence they proceed and where they lie.

43. It is only the ignorance of the supreme soul, which binds us to the bondage of acts; but its fetters fall off from the believer of Brahma by his knowledge of truth. (Those who rely on their acts of faith, are subjected to them; but the believer in One is released from their bonds).

44. Know the outward acts of faith, to proceed from ignorance of the universe; but as the wise man advances in his knowledge, he extricates himself from the bondage of all religions and ceremonial acts and observances.

45. Whereas the external acts of faith [are] entirely devoid of any substantiality or meritoriousness in them, it is no way difficult to get [rid] of them at once; it is solely our spiritual bond which is our chief concern, beside which there is no bond whatsoever.

46. So long there is the dread of the dreadful illusion of this world, as long as you do not attain to your wisdom; and so long do you exhibit your wisdom, that you do not fall into the vertiginous eddy of worldly affairs. Therefore try always, ye men of pure hearts and soul, to acquire your wisdom and learning; because there is no other way of your flying from the fears of the world, save by means of your right understanding.