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 CLXII - Annihilation of ignorance

Argument:—Here Duality is reduced to the unity of Brahma; and good counsels given for subversion of ignorance.

Vasishtha continued:—

All objects being convertible to the conceptions of the vacuous intellect, the whole universe is supposed to have its seat in the hollow mind; and therefore both the outward sights of things, as also the inward thoughts of their forms, are all but ideal images in the empty mind.

2. The world being but a dream, and of the form of an ideal city in the mind, has nothing substantial in it; and is therefore a quiet vacuity in itself, without having anything of any kind, or any diversity whatsoever contained therein.

3. It is the uniform display of the Intellect, appearing as multiform unto us; and this variety though unsubjective to the soul, is looked upon by it within itself, as we view the fairyland of our dream, rising from ourselves. (Query:—whether our dreams are subjective or objective to us?)

4. In the beginning this world appeared, as the aerial castle of a dream in the vacuum of the Intellect; it was a mere reflexion of the Divine Mind, and though it was of the form of a false shadow, remained as substantive to the supreme spirit.

5. The knowing theosophist well knows this mystery, which is mysterious to the unknowing ignorant; because the word creation bears the sense of both the reality as well as unreality in it.

6. The knowing spiritualist as well as the unknowing agnostic, both acknowledge the reality of creation; but they can neither understand how it exists, nor communicate to one another their right conception of it.

7. They both know the meaning, of the word creation in their minds; the one having the sense of its sedateness ever wakeful in their minds (from their spiritual view of it); and the other having the sense of its unsteadiness always waking in them (from their sight of the changeful scenes of the outer world); so they resemble the sober and drunken men, that view the world in its steady and shaking states.

8. As the liquid waters in a river, rise incessantly in restless waves; so the rolling worlds, push forward into being, in the vast expanse of the Divine Mind.

9. These creations which are not of the nature of the intellect, have yet their sites in the Intellect, like the thoughts that rise and fall in it; and these though they are invisible in their nature, appear as visible things, like the fair objects and fairy cities in our dream.

10. It is spreading shadow of the divine Intellect, which pass under the name of the world; and this formless in itself, appears as having a form, like the shadow of anything else.

11. It is a gross error, to take the unsubstantial shadow for a substantial body; as it is a gross error to suppose the empty shadow of a ghost as an embodied being.

12. The world is as unreal as an imaginary city, and as false as a string of rain drops;why then do you rely in an unreality, which is palpable from the testimonies; of both the ignorant and knowing men.

13. The words then that are used to express this thing and that, are mere empty sounds, as those emitted by a splitting block of wood or a bamboo; or those heard in the dashing of waves or blowing of winds; it is the current air which conveys the empty sound into the open vacuum of the sky, but they are all unreal and meaningless, and bear but a conventional sense, with which it has no connection whatsoever.

14. It is light of the lord that reflects itself in his creation, and the reflexion of his fiat that reverberates through the whole; while in reality there is neither any sound nor substance, that is to be heard or seen in the universe (except the voice and the sight of the Lord).

15. Whatever shines or exists herein, is the transcendent reality of the Lord; otherwise there is nothing that could appear at first without its cause (all being but parts of the one undivided whole—to pan).

16. Therefore from (thy knowledge of) the distinctions of words and things; know the one as all in all, and remain as quiet and calm as the indefinite and infinite void itself.

17. Forsake the fickleness of thy mind, by means of the calm repose of thy soul; the purity of thy understanding, and by an even tenor of thy disposition; because an inconstant soul is troublesome in life.

18. It is one's self that is a friend or enemy to himself, and if one will not try to guard and save himself by his own self, there is no other to do so for him. (He who is no friend to himself, is his own enemy himself).

19. Get over the ocean of the world while you are young, and make your good understanding the ferry boat, to bear your body safely to the other shore.

20. Do what is good for you today, and why defer till tomorrow; you can do nothing in old age, when your body becomes a burden to yourself.

21. Know your[self] as old age (if it is fraught with learning); and account decrepitude as death itself in your lifetime. Youth is verily the life of the living, provided it is fraught with learning.

22. Having obtained thy life in this living world, which is as transient as the fleeting lightning; you must try to derive the essence from this dirty earth, by availing yourself of the benefit of good sastras and the company of the wise.

23. Woe to the ignorant! that will not seek their salvation in life; that are sinking in the pits of mud and mire; and never striving to lift themselves above them.

24. As the ignorant rustic is afraid at the sight of the earthen images of ghosts, and bends down to them; which those that are acquainted with the meaning of the word ghost never do.

25. So those that see God in an idol or in his visible creation, are misled to think it their god and adore it as such; but those that know the true meaning of the term, never pay their adoration to any visible object.

26. As things in motion come to rest afterwards, and the visible disappear from the sight of the learned, who are acquainted with their true meaning. (The world recedes, and the light of God opens to their view).

27. As the sights in a dream, seeming to be true in the state of dreaming, disperse at last upon waking, and upon the knowledge of their unreal nature.

28. So doth this world, which is conceived as something existing in the vacuum of the understanding; melts at last into empty air and nothing, upon our knowledge of its intellectual nature.

29. This living world is as a wilderness, burning with the conflagration of various evils attendant on life; and here we are exposed as weak antelopes, living upon our precarious sustenances; and here we are governed by our ungovernable minds and restless passions and senses of our bodies; all these require to be subdued in order to obtain our liberation from repeated births and deaths.