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 CLXVI - On the attributes of the divine spirit

Summary: On the attributes of the divine spirit: in the form of a dialogue.

Argument:—Definition of supreme soul and its synonyms and its simile to a blue stone.

Vasishtha continued:—

The true sense of the word soul or self, is to be understood from the title which is applied to it; and this title of the soul is borne out by the simile, of the solid and transparent blue stone.

2. It is from the beginning of creation, that the vacuous soul is thus diffused in itself; and the reflexion which it casts in its own vacuity, the same passes under the name of this world or creation.

3. There runs no river in it, nor there rises nor sinks any rock in the same; it is the mere vacuum subsisting in its infinite void, wherein the intellect reflects itself without any action or bidding or fiat of it.

4. This reflexion of the Divine Intellect, was without its utterance of "word" and quite without its "will" or "thought". It was also without the appliance of any subsequent material (as matter), and this is the true sense of the word soul or self.

5. The soul itself is the whole world, which has no other expression for it; and being devoid of a name, it is expressible by no other name though they give many names to it.

6. Its name being nameless, whatever appellation they put to it, is not opposite but inappropriate to it; what is the good therefore of giving it a name or no name at all.

7. Its namelessness or giving it a misnomer or improper expression, is all the same; since all what is visible, is no other than a display of the wondrous fabric of the Divine Mind.

8. Whatever shines in any manner, in the empty space of the Divine mind at any time; the same shines forth even then and in that manner, as the rays of that Intellect (emanating therefrom, and concentrating into all other minds).

9. It is denominated by one as soul, by another as asat, and by some as nothing; all these are the mystery of intellect only, but in fact, all are the attributes of soul.

10. The word itself conveys the meaning of self—soul. It is without beginning and end, and no language can express it; in fact, it is an undivided whole.

11. Now listen to a long narrative which hangs on this subject, and which will serve to gladden your hearts and ears, by removing the duality from your sight, and by enlightening your understanding (with knowledge of the unity).

12. Know that there is a very large crystal stone, extending itself to thousands of leagues in space; and stretching like the solid cerulean fabric of the firmament, or as the blue sky all around us.

13. It is all of a piece without any joining of parts in it, and is as dense and compact as the hard adamant; it is thick, big and bulky in its size, but at the same time as clear and far as the face of the sky.

14. It continues from countless times, and endures to endless duration; and with its comely and pellucid body, it appears as the clear firmament, or the blank vacuum on high.

15. No one ever knows its nature or genus, from his having never seen anything of the same kind, nor does any body know from when and where, it hath come to existence. (All know it is, but none knows how and whence it is).

16. It does not contain anything substantial, as the material elements within itself; and yet it is as dense and solidified in itself as a crystalline, and indissoluble as an adamant.

17. Yet it is composed of innumerable streaks and strokes, which are embodied in itself; and these resemble the veins and fibres on lotus leaves, and the marks of conches etc. in Hari's feet.

18. These marks are named as air, water, earth, fire and vacuum, though there are no such things to be found therein; except that the stone was possest [by a] living soul, which it imparted to its marks.

Rama rejoined:—

19. Tell me sir, how that stone of yours, could have life or sensibility in it; the stone is an insensible thing, and could

not give names to the marks on its body.

Vasishtha replied:—

20. That immense and luminous stone, is neither a sentient nor inert body; no body knows its nature and state, and there is no other like it.

Rama said:—

21. Tell me sir, who ever saw those marks, which are imprinted in the bosom of that stone; and how could any one ever break that stone, in order to see its contents and its marks.

Vasishtha replied:—

22. It is hard to break this hard stone, nor has anybody been ever able to break it; by cause of its extending over infinite space, and encompassing all bodies within its bosom. (So says the sruti:—There is nothing but is encompassed by it—the all pervading soul).

23. It is full of numberless spots in its spacious cavity; and these consist of the marks of mountains and trees, and of countries, towns and cities.

24. There are also small and large dots in it, with any form or figure of them; but serve to represent the forms of men, and gods and demigods in them, as an outline shows the images of things.

25. There is a long line drawn in it in the form of a circle, which represents the great circle of the visible sky or horizon; and this contains the two central points, signifying the sun and moon.

Rama said:—

26. Tell me sir, who ever saw those marks of such forms; and how it is possible for any body, to look into the cell of a solid or

hollow ball.

Vasishtha replied:—

27. It is I, O Rama, that beheld those marks of different forms in that impenetrable block; and it is possible for you to look into it, if you will but like to do so.

Rama said:—

28. How could you sir, look into those marks inside that solid stone, which you say, is as stiff as adamant, and incapable of being broken or perforated by any means.

Vasishtha replied:—

29. It was by means of my being seated, in the very heart of that stone; that I came to see those marks, as also to penetrate into their meanings.

30. Who else is able to penetrate into that rigid stone besides myself, who have been able by my penetration, to pry and pierce into the mysteries of those hidden marks.

31. Tell me sir, what is that stone and what are you yourself; explain to me where you are and what you are speaking, and what are those things that you have seen and known to mean.

Vasishtha replied:—

32. It is the supreme soul, which is the sole entity and sober reality; and this is represented by figure of speech, as the great stone, of which I have been speaking to you.

33. We are all situated in the cavity of this supreme spirit, and the three worlds form the flesh of this Great being, who is devoid of all substantiality.

34. Know the spacious firmament to be a part of this solid rock, and the ever flying winds as fragment of its body; the fleeting time and evanescent sounds together with all our varying actions and desires, and the imaginations of our minds, to be but the fugacious particles of its substance.

35. The earth, air, water and fire, and the vacuum and understanding also, together with our egoism and sensibilities, are the portions and sections of its totality.

36. We are all but bits and parcels of the great rock of the supreme soul, and every thing whatever there is in existence, proceeds from that source, and we know of no other cause or causality whatsoever.

37. This large stone is the great rock of Divine Intellect, and there is nothing whatever, which is beside and beyond its intelligence. Say then if there be any such thing and what it bears.

38. All things are but mere notions of them, as those of a pot or cot, a picture and all others; they appear in us as our dreams, and rise before us as the waves of water (which are no other but water).

39. It is all the substance of Brahma and the essence of the great Intellect, which fills and pervades the whole; know therefore all these as one, with the substantiality of the Supreme spirit, and all as quiet and calm as itself.

40. Thus all this plenum is situated, in the bosom of the great rock of the intellect; which is without its beginning, middle and end, and without any hole therein, or doorway thereto. Therefore it is the Supreme soul only which contemplates in itself, and produces (as the object of its thought), this ideal creation of the universe (or the one converted into many), and which passes under the title of the visible or phenomenal world.