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 CXLIV - Investigation into the nature & vicissitudes of things

Argument:—The Intellect manifested in the World, which is but a manifestation of the Divine—mind and its Omnipotence.

The sage continued:—

1. The visible world is being a something in nothing an entity based upon non-entity (i.e. a substance based upon the intellect), resembles our consciousness of things seen in our dream only. And as all things are eternally situated in the Divine Mind, there can be no meaning in our being bound to or liberated from them.

2. These worlds that appear to rove before us, are seen as the mites flying about in the solar rays (or as the bright circlets seeming to swim before our closed eyes); they are but evanescent phantoms in the air, and appearing as stable bodies in the minds of the ignorant.

3. Whatever is seen to be placed before us in any form or state, is soon found to change its mode and manner before us; so likewise is the changeful state of all things herein, that are continually rotating like the waters in a whirlpool.

4. The earth, air, water &c., are the materials that combine to form frail bodies, that are doomed to decay and dissolve in a short time; and yet they are computed by the ignorant to last for ages—as yugas & kalpas. (Everything is changing and nothing lasting).

5. The world is a dream, and the totality of existence a mere nihility; and yet the notion of entity that we [have] of this nullity, is no other than a reflection of the one Eternal Intellect.

6. Like this solar world of ours, there are hundreds and thousand others to be seen in the skies; nor is it incredible that others have the like notions of other peoples.

7. We see the seas and lakes, teeming with living beings of various kinds, and find the pools and bogs full of frogs everywhere; but none of them know anything about the other reservoirs, nor of their inhabitants neither beside those of their own.

8. As a hundred men sleeping in one and the same room; see as many air built castles differing from another in their dream; so there appear different worlds in the airy intellects of some, which are seen and unknown to others.

9. As many aerial cities are seen, in the dreams of many men, sleeping together in the same room; so do these aerial worlds appear in empty sphere of our minds, and are said to be in being and not being in the same time (i.e. being but a dream which is no-being or nothing).

10. The sky is a miracle of the mind, and a phenomenon of itself; it is visible without its form, and appears as limited without its limitation, and as created without its creation. (vacuity being increate).

11. The vacuum bearing the nature of the vacuous mind, is vainly styled the firm firmament; it presents to view the forms of fleeting objects in it, as the understanding represents its ideas and passing thoughts to our knowledge.

12. The remembrance of a thing, is the cause of its dream by night, as the desire of something causes its conception in the mind; and as the apprehension of one's death, proceeds from his seeing in the instances of others.

13. In the beginning of creation, the world appears as an image in the mind; which is no other than a flash or reflection of the Divine Intellect, and to which no other name than a rechauffe of the Divine Intellect, can be properly assigned.

14. The saying that Brahma shines as the very world means to say that, he did not shine anew in the form of the world, but has this form eternally subsisting in his omniscience.

15. It is said that the cause is (identic with) the effect, because the common cause of all, is specialized in its form of the effect (i.e. the one becomes as many). The action which was confined in the cause at first (as vegetation in the seed), becomes evolved in the germ of creation afterwards.

16. When such things (or conditions) occur in the mind in dreams, as have not been seen or known before, they are called sanskaras or pristine impressions in the mind (as our inward passions and feelings), and not the external objects of sense, which are not inbred in the mind.

17. These mental impressions or reminiscences, are perceptible to us in our dreaming and not in the waking state; and though they are unseen in our waking; yet they are not lost unto us so long as we retain those impressions in the mind. They naturally appear in the soul in dreaming, as the visibles appear to sight in the waking state.

18. Thus the vedantist comes to know the inexistence of the outer world, and by knowing the knowable One, they come to attain the consummation of their object (which is the attainment of their final emancipation or moksha).

19. The impressions of the waking state, which occur in the state of dreaming, are the newly made imprints of the waking hours on the memory; and these make the sleeping hours seem as waking to the dreaming soul.

20. These recent ideas fluctuate in the mind, as by the breath of the wind, and they occur and recur of themselves, without the agency of pristine impressions.

21. There is one sole Intellect only, possessed of its many multitudes of airy dreams; and being dispossessed of them at last, it remains solely by and in itself.

22. The consciousness that we have of the dreams, ranging at large in the empty sphere of our Intellect, is verily what is denominated the world by us; and the want of this consciousness in our sound sleep, is what is termed the extinction of world by ourselves. This analogy applies also to the nature of the self-existed One.

23. There exists only the infinite sphere of one eternal Intellect, and there appears an infinity of shapes, perpetually rising and setting in its open in the manner of dreams. These are born of its own nature and are called the world, and bear the same intellectual form with itself.

24. Thus the atomic particle of the Intellect, contains the form of the whole cosmos within its bosom; which is an exact ectype of its archetype, as the shadow under a mirror, is the true representation of the prototype.

25. The cavity of the Intellect contains the consciousness which is diffused in it like the dilution of an atom; and extends throughout without beginning and end, and this is called the cosmos.

26. Hence as far as the vacuity of the Intellect extends to all infinity, there is the appearance of the wide world connected with it, as immanent in and identic with itself at all times. (The intimate connection of the subjective mind and objective world together).

27. The intellect is selfsame with the world, and therefore all minds and intellectual beings as myself and thyself, are worlds or microcosm also; and it [is] for this reason that the great macrocosm of the world, is said to be comprised in the corpuscle of the mind.

28. Therefore I who am a minute soul, am of the form of the whole world also (being its container in the mind); hence I abide everywhere likewise, even in the midst of an atom also.

29. Being in the form of the minutiae of the intellect, I am also as great as the universal soul, and as expanded as the open air all around;I also see all the three worlds about one, wherever I abide or move. (All things are present in the mind, at all places and times).

30. I am an atom of the intellectual soul, and am joined with the intellectual soul of the universe; it is my sight of the supreme spirit in my meditation, that I am lost in it as a drop of water is lost in the ocean.

31. Having entered into the Divine spirit, and feeling its influence in me, I am filled with its cognition; and behold the three worlds within me, as the seed lies hid in the pericarp or in the seed vessel (to be developed in its future foliage).

32. I see the triple world expanding within myself (according to our reminiscence of the same which is engraven in the mind), beside which there is no outer world on the outside of of any body. (The world lies in the conception of mind only, and the exterior one is but a reflection of the same).

33. Whenever the world appears in any form, whether of a gross or subtile nature, as in the states of our waking or dreaming; both these forms of the interior or exterior worlds, are to be known as the reflection of the ideal one imprinted in the intellect.

34. When the living soul indulges itself in the sight of the world, in the state of its dreaming; it is to be known as a reflection of the expanded particle of the intellect, which the sleeping soul delights to dote upon.

The huntsman rejoined:—

35. If the visible world is causeless or without its maker, then how could it come into existence, and if it be a caused or created exterior world, how could we have any knowledge of it in the sleeping and dreaming of the soul.

The sage replied:—

36. All this is without a cause, and the world proceeded at first without any causality whatever. (The Muni means to say that there cannot be any independent or instrumental cause of creation save the emanation of One oneself).

37. It is verily impossible for gross and perishable bodies and transient beings, to come to being without a cause; but that which is a facsimile or shadow only of the antitype and original model of the eternal mind, cannot possibly have any cause at all.

38. It is Brahma himself that thus shines refulgent, by nature of his intellectual effulgence; hence the world's creation and destruction are utterly inapplicable to what is without its beginning and end.

39. Thus the uncaused creation, abides in the substance of the great God, and shines forth with divine glory to all infinity. It is to gross minds only, which are prepossessed with the grosser ideas of materiality, that it appears in the form of a gross material body.

40. What numberless varieties do there appear in the unvaried Brahma, and what un-numbered diversities of shapes and forms are seen in the formless One, that is ever unchanged and imperishable.

41. Brahma is formless in his person (which is of a spiritual form); yet he exhibits himself in many forms, in his being the mind (or mirror of all ideal forms);where he represents his spiritual self or soul, in all the various forms of moving and immovable bodies.

42. He makes the gods, sages and seers in his likeness, and directs them to their different degrees and duties also; he stablishes the laws and prohibitions of conduct, and appoints the acts and observances at all times and places.

43. All existences and privations, productions and destructions, of moving or unmoving bodies, whether great or small ones, are subject to his decree, and can never transgress any of his general laws.

44. Ever since the general decree, nothing takes place without its proper special cause; as you can never expect to exude oil from sand (save from oily seeds).

45. The destined decree of providence, is the leader of all events in the world; it is as one part of the body of Brahma, by which he represses the other part of himself (i.e. his will); as we restrain the action of one hand by the other. (One over-ruling fate governs even Jove himself).

46. This unavoidable destiny overtakes us, against our prudence and will, like the sudden fall of a fruit on a flying crow ([Sanskrit: kakataliya]) and drives us along with its course, as the tide or eddy bears down the waters with it.

47. The preordination of certain effects from certain causes, is what is called destiny; without which there result all disorder and disturbance, and in want of which the great Brahma even cannot abide. It is therefore the imperishable soul of all existence.

48. Thus then this destiny is the cause of all, and although it is unseen and unknown, yet it acts on all as it is destined for them ever since their very production. (This is no more than the unchangeable law of nature).

49. The uncausing Brahma that causes nothing, is believed by the ignorant as the causal agent of creation; which they mistake as the production of its maker by error of their judgment.

50. The wise man however, seeing the sudden appearance of world before him, like the rotation of a wheel, considers its causes as such and such or this and that, as they have been determined by their preordained destiny.

51. So all existent bodies have their special causes, in their primordial destiny, which determines their subsequent lots in endless succession. Hence the occurrences, of our waking state, resembling the visions in our dream, are never without their antecedent causes.

52. Thus when I dreamt the erroneous dream of the destruction of the world, caused by concussion of the elements and waters I had its cause inbred in me, in my reminiscence of the great deluge I had heard of in traditional narration.

53. In this manner we see the reflections of almighty power in all things that come under own reflection (or observation), just as we see the crystals and shell-fishes shining with their intrinsical brightness. May this Omnipotent power that is ever-living soul of souls, and known to us in our imperfect notion of him, be glorified for ever and ever.