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 CLXIII - Means and manner of governing the senses

Summary: Means and manner of governing the senses and sensible organs.

Argument:—Government of the senses and fixedness of the Mind, and the study of yoga sastra.

Rama rejoined:—

I know sir, all knowledge to be in vain and useless, without proper government of ourselves and senses;tell me therefore how these may be kept under control, in order to give us the true knowledge of things unbiased by the senses.

Vasishtha replied:—

2. Addictedness to enjoyments and display of manhood, and devotedness to the acquisition of the means of life or wealth; are preventives of self-controul and liberation of one's self, as blindness is an obstruction to one's sight of a light.

3. Then listen to this least advice of mine as the shortest and best means, for the government of yourself and your senses; and this is sure to lead one to his successfulness, by his own endeavour and with no toil or trouble.

4. Know the intellect as the man that mans you, and its power of intellection which makes you a living man; and whatever the living soul thinks of within itself, it verily becomes the very same (but the ignorant man becomes effeminate).

5. Let the strength of your consciousness, ply the pointed goad of your acute good sense; and you will doubtless subdue your ungovernable elephantine mind, and come off victorious shortly at last.

6. The mind is the captain of the army of your bodily and mental senses; subdue therefore this leading mind, and you will conquer the whole host of your senses. Just so does a man walking on boots, tread over the thorns lying by his way.

7. In order therefore to subdue your mind], you must settle your self-consciousness in your consciousness of the omnipresent vacuum of the Divine soul, and rest yourself quiet in the recess of your heart; and then your mind will sit quiet of itself, as the snows of winter settle down of themselves in autumn.

8. Thus by stopping the action of your consciousness, you will also shut up your mind, and put a stop to the operation of all its faculties; as you can never been able to do by means of all your devotion and austerities, your pilgrimages, your knowledge and sacrifice, and all other ceremonies and acts and duties.

9. Whatever comes to occur in the consciousness, the same must be forgot or buried in the consciousness of the great God alone; and so the forgetfulness of all enjoyments and their objects, amounts to our victory over them. (The way to overcome the pleasures of life, is to bury their remembrance in oblivion).

10. We must try by all means, to shut out the objects of sense from our consciousness; and this state of our unconsciousness of them, is tantamount to the state of godliness or heavenly bliss.

11. Again the contentment which arises, from our acting in conformity with the rules of our order, is another cause of preserving the steadiness of the mind; therefore remain firm in the practice of your particular duties, and seek no happiness besides.

12. He who relinquishes his inclination, towards the attainment of what is unlawful for him; and remains content with earning his lawful gains, is verily said to be a man of subdued appetites, and one who has governed.

13. He who is pleased with his inward and conscious gratification, and is not grieved at the unpleasant things all about him, is said to have well governed and benumbed his mind.

14. By suspension of the action of consciousness, the mind too comes to forget and forsake its activity, and the sensations also being relaxed from their restlessness, pursue their discrimination and judgement.

15. The discriminative and judging soul, becomes ennobled and magnanimous, and keeps its command over the feelings and senses; and is not impelled by the waves of its desires, to be tossed about on the surface of the wide ocean of this world.

16. The man of well governed senses comes, by his association with the wise, and his constant study of religious works, to know all things in the world in their true light.

17. All worldly errors are dispelled by the light of truth; or else one must fall into the pit of misery, by his mistake of falsehood for truth; as the ignorant traveller is ingulfed in the dreary sands, by his mistake of the mirage for water.

18. Knowing this world as the unknowable intellect itself, that is the knowledge of the material world as the immaterial mind of God; is the true light in which the cosmos is viewed by the wise, who have neither the fear of their falling into the snare of error, nor require their release from it.

19. As the dried up waters of a river, are seen no more to glide even slightly in their course; so the formless phenomenals of the world, never appear in the sight of the wise, nor leave their slightest vestiges behind in their mind.

20. The knowledge of the world as an infinite void, and freed from the erroneous individualities of myself and thyself; leads to the knowledge of a supreme-self, which is apart from all, and the only ego that fills the whole.

21. All this conception of our subjective egoism and the objective world, are but errors of our brain proceeding from ignorance; they are all situated in the void of Intellect, and are void of themselves; and all bodies are but empty shadows in air, and as quiet as quietus or nullity itself.

22. This world appears as a shadow of the Intellect, in the vacuity of the very Intellect; it is a void amidst the void of the Intellect, which is certainly a void itself.

23. No body can deny its similitude, to the shadowy sight in a dream; it is an unreal notion, and as unsubstantial as all notions can be, and as the notion of a void is void itself.

24. This dream is no other than our consciousness of it, and the airy realms that it presents to our view for the time; so doth the Intellect show us the sight of the world, without any action or passion or instrumentality of itself.

25. So I am of the substance of the very Intellect, which is without its activity, passivity and instrumentality; and the world being unassignable to any causality or instrumentality, subsists only in our simple conception of it.

26. As the conception of one's death in a dream, is no reality at all; and the sight of water in the mirage, is a visual deception only (so the sight of the world appearing to view, is no real existence or entity at all).

27. The vacuous intellect reflects its thoughts at first, in the clear mirror of its vacuity (or concavity); which is a mere hap-hazard of chance, and has no firm base or support (nor any form or figure of itself).

28. The world appears as fixed and firm, without its foundation anywhere; and seems to be shining brightly, with its darksome opacity;know then this fixity and this brightness of it, to be the diuturnity and glory of the eternal and glorious God.

29. The vivacity of living beings, displays the spirit of the ever living God; the air is his vacuity, and the running waters, show the vortiginous current of the eternal soul.

30. As every member of the body is constituent part of the whole frame;so all the various parts of animated and inanimate nature, constitute the entirety of the one cosmical deity. (These are but parts of one undivided whole, whose body nature is and God the soul. Pope).

31. As the crystal mirror shows the shade of everything in itself, so doth the transparency of Divine soul, exhibit the reflexions of all things in it; the silent soul is as quiet as the mute crystal, but shows the varying scenes of nature, as interminably as a clear mirror reflects everything.

32. There is no beginning or end of the supreme being (nor of his acts and attributes, which are displayed in nature); it is the intermediate of the two that is dimly seen by us, the rest is all enveloped in ignorance, though there is no ignorance in the Omniscient.

33. The living soul wakes from its sleeping dream, to fall back to its waking dream again; and thus it continues for ever in its dreaming whether waking or sleeping which are both alike to it.

34. The soul finds its rest only, while it remains in the fourth state of its sound sleep; or else it passes all along from dreaming to dreaming, in both its state of sleeping and waking, which continually haunt after it, unless it is drowned in its susupti or sound sleep of hynotism, the only resort of the wise.

35. But waking and sleeping and dreaming and sound sleep, are all alike to the enlightened soul; which is equally indifferent in all states, and whether it is asleep or awake, is never infested by dreams nor set beside itself.

36. The knowledge of unity or duality, and that of Ego and tu or the subjective and objective; never disturbs the enlightened; who views the whole as an empty void, and is alike insensible of all as well as null.

37. The distinction of unity and duality, made in the meaningless speech of the unwise, is laughed at by the enlightened and wise, as the aged and intelligent men laugh to scorn, at the pranks and prattlings of young lads.

38. The controversy of unity and duality, is of spontaneous growth in the heart like an indigenious plant; which without its pruning will not put forth its blossoms, to perfume the atmosphere of the understanding.

39. The discussion of unity and duality, is as benificial to man as his best friend; in sweeping away the dirt and dross of ignorance from their minds, as they drive away the dust from within the doors of their houses.

40. Then the minds of men are settled in the Divine Mind, when there ensues a mutual communion between themselves, and a communication and participation of their reciprocal joys and felicity with one another.

41. These men being always joined together in their fellowship, and serving one another with the mutual delight and obligingness of their hearts; attain to that state of the enlightenment of their understandings, whereby they are admitted into their communion with the Most High.

42. It is possible for a man to be benefited, even by his careful preservation of a trifle (at some time or other); but it is never possible for any body, to attain the most recondite knowledge of God, without his diligent inquiry into the same.

43. Whatever highest position one may enjoy in this material world, is to be recognised by all as nothing, provided that one does not remain aloof from all kind of vices.

44. What is that happiness which is gained by the possession of a kingdom, which at last is no better than mere botheration of the mind;while the mind that has gained its peace and tranquillity in truth and Divine knowledge, spurns at the state of gods and kings as mere straws to him.

45. The sleepy as well as the wakeful, are alike apt to see the visibles, and are rapt with the sight; but the saints that are calm and quiet and at rest with themselves, are averse to sight-seeing, and see the only one in themselves.

46. Without painstaking, and your continued practice of contemplation, you can not succeed to attain this state of infinite felicity; for know this state of transcendent bliss, is the fruit of intense devotion only.

47. Thus have I said at length, to impress in you the necessity of intense devotion; but to what good is all this say the evil-minded to me, and thus slight and take no heed of all that I have been so long delivering unto you.

48. It must be by means of steady attention to these lectures, and by long and repeated practice of devotion; as also by hearing these sermons and discoursing upon them that the ignorant can come to the right light of truth.

49. He who having once read this spiritual work, slights it afterwards as already perused by him; and turns to the study of unspiritual books, is a vile wretch that collects the burnt ashes after the fire is extinguished. (Irreligious works are the ashes of the fiery religious ones).

50. This excellent work is to be read always, like the recital of the vedas, which are embodied herein; and this is is calculated to reward the labor of the student, by its being constantly read with reverence, and rightly explained with diligence.

51. The student will learn from this sastra all that he expects to find in the vedas; because it embodies both the practical as well as spiritual doctrines of the sacred scriptures, and a knowledge of both of them, is available by proper perusal of this work.

52. By learning this book, one may have a knowledge of the doctrines of the vedanta, tarka and siddhanta sastras, because this is the only work, that treats of the tenets of all schools. (Here the word drishti is homonymous with darsana, which is rendered as a school of philosophy by Colebrooke).

53. It is from my sympathy for you all, that I propound these doctrines to you; and by way of imposture, that I impose these lessons on your credulity. You are best judges of my discourse and can well detect, whether there is anything as deception in my prolusions.

54. The knowledge that you may derive, by weighing well the instructions given in this great work; will serve you as salt, in order to season and relish the teachings of other sastras, that are at best but sundry dishes before it.

55. The materialist who is conversant with the visibles, disparages this book for its occult teachings of spiritualism; but don't you be the killer of your souls as to neglect your eternal salvation, in order to revisit this material world, and to be busied with your temporal affairs.

56. Biased minds cling to the dogmas of exploded systems, and ignoble men drink the foul water of tanks, dug by their ancestors; you are reasoning men yourselves, therefore do not remain for ever fast bound to your ignorance.