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 CLXI - Explanation of nirvana

Argument:—Manifestations of the self-existent Intellect. Its light guiding to Divine knowledge, and ignorance thereof leading to darkness.

Rama said:—

1. Tell me sir, whether these various events incidental to the lives of the hermit and hunter, were owing to any cause, or of their own spontaneity (i.e. whether they were the effects of any cause, or of their spontaneous occurrence as mere dreams and phantasies).

Vasishtha replied:—

2. These occurrences are as the appearance of eddies, in the vast ocean of the unknown soul (or mind); and are known to be in their continual rotation in the vortex of the soul, of their own accord and in their airy forms.

3. As the oscillating particles of air, are ever in motion in the air; so the current of thoughts is continually in action, in the vast vacuity of intellect (or mind).

4. Whatever issues from its source in any shape, retains its original form unless it is converted to and restrained in any other form; so the aerial thoughts of the vacuous mind are always aerial, unless they are drawn in painting or exhibited in another form. (Just so a clod of earth is always the earth, till it is moulded to the form of a pot or any other thing).

5. It is the vacuous essence of the Divine Intellect, that inheres in every form that is exhibited by and derived from it; so it is the substance of the body, that permits through out all its members and limbs; as it is the woody substance of the tree, that is diffused through all the leaves and branches, that shoot forth from it. (Gloss. The difference consists in the permanence of the permeating principle, and the temporiety of the pervaded growth).

6. Brahma appears to remain permanent in some existences, as in the four elemental forms of earth etc.; while he seems to be transcient and evanescent in others, as in the frail bodies of mortal bodies, all of which abide in their aerial state in the vacuous spirit.

7. All these various objects therefore, being but reflections of the Intellect impressed upon the soul; it is impossible for us to determine which of these is substantial or unsubstantial or real or unreal.

8. All these are altogether unknowable except that we know them as reflections in the inanity of the Intellect; say ye therefore that are wholly ignorant of all what you think this visible world to be, whether a reality or unreality.

9. Whatever you behold anywhere in the universe, is but an exhibition in the vacuum of the Divine Intellect; and what avails it to you that know the truth, whether you believe it as such or not. Rely therefore in your belief of it as it is.

10. These forms of reflections rise of themselves in the Divine Mind, as the waves and billows exhibit themselves on the surface of the sea; they are the spontaneous offspring of the Divine Spirit, and are of themselves both their causes as well as effects (or self caused effects).

11. It is the display of the transcendent vacuum of the Divine Mind, that passed under the appellations of its will or volition, or its imagination and creation, or the creation of its imagination; hence this world is to be understood under any one of these senses, and not of its being composed of earth and water.

12. It is this appearance of the Divine Mind, that appears in this manner and nothing besides; it is the Divine itself that resides in the Divinity, and passes under the title of Avidya or Ignorance, from our ignorance of its nature.

13. There is no material grossness in the integrity of the Divine Intellect; which is purely vacuous and immaterial; and composes the whole universe, this is transcendental knowledge, and its perfection is liberation.

14. It is the reflection of the vacuous Intellect, which spreads over the whole universe; it is rare and uncompressed, and ever calm and quiet, and passes by the name of the world.

15. The meditative man whose eye-sight is fixed in his musing, whose body is emaciated in devotion, and whose mind is abstracted from the concrete, and is absorbed in intellection, is only capable of seeing the Intellectual world.

16. Whatever the vacuous essence of the intellect, exhibits in any form at any place; the same appears to be present there of its own nature.

17. The unthinking man and unreasonable soul, sees only erroneous sights in the midst of skies; as one who is dim-sighted and purblind by birth, does not cease from seeing the double moon in the sky.

18. Whatever is seen anywhere, is no other than the unpolluted Brahma himself; and the vacuous sphere of the Intellect being for ever clear and transparent, is never sullied by any foulness (of gross matter).

19. The intellect without forsaking its pure form of self-consciousness, exhibits varieties of gross objects in the form of dreams within itself. So also is our consciousness of the world, in the manner of our dreams.

20. By comparing the dicta of the sastras with one another, and weighing them well with acute judgement, one will find his rest in himself; but the man of shallow understanding will not find it so.

21. The ignorance which floats upon the sea of your understanding, does not contaminate my mind, in the manner of dirt polluting a pure and clear stream.

22. As there is neither the earth nor any earthly thing, to be meet with in our sleep, though we are conscious of them in our dream; so also the phenomenal world has no real existence, though we are conscious of it in our waking.

23. As the clearness of the Intellect, like sunlight or flaming fire, shows us many things in our sleeping dreams, so doth its light exhibit the visibles to our view in our waking dreams also by day.

24. There is no difference between the two states of dreaming and waking, they are both of the same nature, and the difference lies in the modes of our apprehension of them.

25. The waking man never apprehends his waking state to be a dream; but the dead man that rises again to life in the next world, thinks his past life to have been but a state of dreaming.

26. The shortness and length of time, occupied by the two states of dreaming and waking, is generally considered to constitute the difference between them; but during the time of their presence, they are both considered alike the other (i.e. the dreaming man thinks himself as waking).

27. The sleeping and waking dreams, bearing alike the same quality of presenting false objects to view, are necessarily of the same nature;and there is no difference whatever in their outward features, as there is neither elder and younger of two twin brothers. (Dreaming and waking are twin brothers, like sleep and death neither of which is more or less).

28. Whatever is the waking dream, just so is the waking in dream also;neither of which leaves anything—being, behind the two states of waking and dreaming. (They present many things when present, but leave nothing lasting in their absence or when they are past and gone).

29. As we know the inconstancy of hundreds of dreams, all along the length of our life time; so the unredeemed and unenlightened soul, sees hundreds of waking states (in its repeated transmigrations in life, i.e. in this living world).

30. As the living mortals may well recollect the very many sleeping dreams, they have seen throughout their lives; so the immortalized souls of siddhas well remember, the number of waking dreams which they had seen, in their past transmigrations in different bodies.

31. Thus our waking is equipollent with our dreaming, and our dreams are equivalent with waking, in their correlation with one another in like quality, and our perception of both alike.

32. As the word worlds and phenomenal, are significant of the one and same meaning; so the terms dreaming and waking are homonymous, and interchangeable to one another—mutatis mutandis.

33. As the fairy-land in a dream, is as clear as the open space of the Intellect; so is this world an inane void and blank, and without the grossness of avidya which ignorance imputes to it. (Ignorance views the fair ideal world as a foul material one).

34. The world is a vacuous substance, and represented as a gross stuff by ignorance; so I am as free as air and any airy thing in the world, and it is my imagination only, that binds me to my grossness.

35. Therefore do not confine your free and unconfined nature, in the bondage of gross matter; and never change the pure vacuum of your person to a material stuff, nor disfigure your formless and intellectual self in a gross and finite form.

36. There can be no bondage nor liberation, of aught whatever in this visible world of our ignorance or avidya; because all things herein are mere reflections of the formless void of the Divine Intellect.

37. Here there is no display of ignorance, nor any misconceptions of ours of any thing; there is neither any bondage nor release of aught whatever, and nothing that is either existent or inexistent (since all are but reflections of Divine Intellect).

38. There is nescience, nor knowing of anything here by us; because it is the uncreated Intellect alone, that manifests itself in this manner; it reflects all forms in itself, as if they are all its dreams or creations.

39. As a man passing from one place to another, has his mind kept in abeyance in the interim; so should we keep our minds quiet and still betwixt our sight of the visibles and our dreams. (In action of the mind is reckoned as nirvana).

40. As one has his body and mind, quite quiet and calm in his sleep at night; and in the respite of his sights and thoughts, in the states of his waking and dreaming; this very state of insensibility is called nirvana of the yogi.

41. Know our knowledge of the difference of objects (as the one is immaterial and the other material), is equally untrue as that of our waking and dreaming states; because it is impossible for us to conceive any other thing as matter, to consist in the immaterial Intellect.

42. Our knowledge of identity and diversity, proceed however from the same vacuous intellect; which combines the unity and duality also, in unbroken union or harmony in itself.

43. Knowing all as parts of undivided whole, all these are the same whatever they appear to be; hence the visible however diversified they may appear, are all one and the same principle.

44. Hence the etherial sphere of Brahma, contains all in itself; and who as an aerial point concentrates all in it; and the creation is the unity of Brahma, together with all its varieties.

45. Knowing all things as full of God, you must however reject them all (as mere reflections of the Deity); and rest yourself at last in the vacuous Intellect, as the great rock of your refuge.

46. Now, O fortunate Rama, remain to act in conformity with the rules of your order, and laws of society and the statues of your position and dignity; continue to go on, eat and drink and rest in your usual course, rely in your desired object, and ever recline in the glorious and holy lord of your intellect, and the supreme God of all.