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...
Argument:—Conversation of the two sages, and relation of Human Miseries.
The huntsman said:—
The sage replied:—
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Hear me then tell thee, O honest fellow, what then passed in the heart of the person wherein I had entered, and listen to the wondrous tale with proper attention.
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As I remained there in that forgetful state of my transformation, I saw the course of time gliding upon me, with its train of months, seasons and years, passing imperceptibly by me.
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I passed there full fifteen years in my domestic life, and happy with enjoyment of my conjugal bliss.
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It happened there once upon a time, that a learned sage, came as a guest to my house, and I received the venerable and austere devotee with honour within my doors.
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Being pleased with my honourable reception of him, he took his meal and he rested himself at ease, when I made him the following inquiry regarding the weal and woe of mankind.
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Sir, said I, you are possest of vast understanding, and know well the course of the world; and are therefore known neither to fret at adversity, nor delight in prosperity.
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All weal and woe proceed from the acts of men, engaged in busy life in the world; so as the husbandman reaps good or bad crops in autumn, according to the manner of his cultivation of the field (such is the common belief of men).
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But then tell me, whether all the inhabitants of a place, are equally faulty in their actions at the one and same time; that they are brought to suffer and fall under some severe calamity or general doom all at once.
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We see alternate famine and drought, portents and catastrophes repeatedly overtaking a large portion of mankind at the same time; say then is it owing to the wickedness of the people at the one and very time.
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Hearing the words of mine, he stared at me, and looked as if he was taken by surprise, and seemed to be confounded in his mind; and then he uttered these words of equal reverence and ambrosial sweetness.
The sagely guest said:—
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O well spoken! these words of yours bespeak thy highly enlightened mind; and that you have well understood the cause of the phenomenal, be it a real or unreal one, tell me; how you came to know it.
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(Then seeing me sitting silent before him, he added); Remember the universal soul only, and think naught what thou art and where thou sittest; ponder well in thyself, what am I and from whence, and what is the phenomenals, whether it is anything substantial or ideal of the mind only.
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All this is the display of dream and how is it that you do not know it as yet? I am a visionary being to you, as you are the phantom of a dream before me.
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The world you see, is a formless and a nameless nothing, and mere formation of your imagination;it glares with the glare of the glassy Intellect, and is a glaring falsehood in itself.
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The true and unfictitious forms of the Intellect is, as you must know; that it is omnipresent, and therefore of any form whatsoever, you think or take it to be any where.
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Now in assigning a causality to things, you will find that the Intellect is the cause of all; and in ascribing one cause to anything, you have the uncaused and uncausing Intellect for everything.
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It is the universal soul that spreads through all, and in whom all living beings reside, that is known as virajatma or common soul of all; and the same viewed as residing in us, is known as sutratma or individual souls linked together in a series (composed of all souls).
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There will be other living beings in future, with the virajan soul pervading in all of them, and causing their weal or woe according to their desires. (Lit. causing the affluence and want of men according to their respective acts).
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The soul is disturbed by derangement of the humours of the body and then the limbs and members of the bodies of men, become perturbed likewise.
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Drought, famine and destruction, may come upon mankind or subside of themselves; because:—
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It is possible, O good soul! that there are many persons living together, [who] are equally guilty of some crime at the same time; who wait on their simultaneous punishment, falling as the fire of heaven on a forest at the same time.
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The mind that relies on the efficacy of acts, comes to feel the effects of its actions; but the soul that is free from such expectation, is never involved in its acts, nor exposed to its result.
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Whatever one imagines to himself, in any form at any place or time; the same occurs to him in the same proportion as he expected it; whether that object be with or without its cause (i.e. actual or not).
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The visionary appearances in dreams, are in no way accompanied with their immediate or accessory causes, as all actual existences are; therefore this visionary world is the appearance of the everlasting Intellect of Intelligence, which is Brahma itself.
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The world appearing as an erroneous dream, is a causeless unreality only; but considering it as the appearance of Brahma, it has both its cause and reality (Hence it is called sadasadatmaka i.e. both a reality and unreality also).
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The casual occurrence of dreams, deludes our consciousness of them; and so the fortuitous appearance of the world, is equally delusive of our apprehension of it. Its extension is a delusion, as the expansion of a dream.
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Everything appears to be caused or uncaused, or as casual or causal as we take it to be (hence while we deem our dreams as causeless delusions, we are apt to believe the equally visionary world, as a caused and sober reality).
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It is a deception of the understanding to take the visionary world, as the product of a real causality. It is natural to the waking state to [take] it for a reality, what appears as quite calm and unreal in our sleep and dreams.
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Now hear me tell you, O great minded sage, that the one satya—Ens or Brahma is the sole cause of existences; or else what other thing is it that is the cause of all nature and this all pervading vacuum.
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Say what can be the cause of the solidity of the earth, and the rarity of air; what is the cause of our universal ignorance, and what is the cause of the self born Brahma.
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What may be the cause of creation, and what is the origin of the winds, and fire and water; and what is the source of our apprehensions of things than mere vacuum or the vacuous intellect.
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Tell me what can be the cause, of the regeneration of departed souls, into the mass of material bodies? It is in this manner that the course of creation is going on in this manner from the beginning (without any assignable cause).
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Thus are all things seen to be going on, and recurring in this world, like the rotations of wheels and spheres in air; from our constant habit of thinking and seeing them as such.
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Thus it is the great Brahma himself, who in the form of Brahma or creator, spreads and moves throughout the world; and receives afterwards as many different names, as the different phases and forms of that he displays in nature, such as the earth, air &c.
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All creations move about like the fluctuations of winds, in the spacious firmament of the Divine Mind; which conceives of itself various forms of things in its own imagination.
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Whatever it imagines in any form or shape, the same receives the very form as a decree of fate; and because these forms are the very images or ideas of the Divine Mind, they are deemed to form the very body of the Deity.
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In whatever likeness anything was designed at first by the Divine Intellect; it bears the same form and figure of it to this day (and so will it continue to bear for evermore).
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But as the Divine Mind is all powerful and omniscient, it is able to alter them and make others anew, by its great efforts again (i.e. God can unmake what he has made, and make others again).
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Whenever anything is supposed to have a cause, it is thought also to be subject to the will of that cause; and wherever there is no supposition of a cause, there is no apprehension nor capability of its alteration also. (i.e. The world is both as changeable as well as unchangeable, according as it is believed to be made by or selfsame with its Maker).
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Like vibration in air, the world existed as first in the ideal of the Divine Mind; and as it was an unsubstantiality before, so it continues ever still.
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They who amass for themselves, the merits or demerits of their pious or impious deeds; reap accordingly the good or bad rewards or results thereof in this life. There are others who are crushed under a thousand calamities, falling upon them like showers of hailstones or the thunderbolts of heaven.