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 CLXVIII - Story of the hewn statue or carved image

Argument:—The false and ignorant Attribution of creation, to the increate and self-manifest world.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. As the unconscious tree, displays various forms in its branches; so doth the unconcerned spirit of God, exhibit the airy semblance of creation in air.

2. And as the ocean describes the whirlpools, insensibly upon its surface; so doth the spirit of God, exhibit this rotatory worlds unconcernedly, on the surface of its own vacuum, and as they are seen by all.

3. The Lord gives also to the sensible part of his creation, their internal faculties of the mind, understanding and egoism, as also many other powers under different appellations.

4. The phenomenal world is the production of the insensible Intellect, whose volitive faculties are as loose as the rolling eddies of rivers and seas.

5. The mind and understanding and all mental faculties, proceed from the Divine Intellect; in the same manner as the whirlpools and eddies, and waves and surges rise on the surface of the sea.

6. As a picture is nothing except its canvas, so the world which is no more than a painting, is drawn on the substratum of the intellect; and this is a vacuous substance, with the lustre of the world in it.

7. What I have said before of the insensibility of the tree and sea, in the production of the branches and whirlpools by them; the same instance applies to Intellect also, which shows the creation rising in its vacuity, not by an act of its intention or will, but by ordinance of fate, which governs all things, (and rules over Jove himself). This is the doctrine of fatalism.

8. And as a tree exhibits its various forms, receiving the several names of a plant, a shrub, a creeper &c.; so doth the intellect display its many features, like its flowers &c., and called by the different appellations of earth, air, water &c.

9. And as the branches and leaves of a tree, are not different from the tree itself; so the productions of the great Intellect, are no other than its very substance (or are essentially the same with itself).

10. And as there are many things, made of the substance of a tree, bearing different names to themselves; so the productions of the Intellect, and the offspring of a living being, pass under several forms and appellations (of boy, girl, infant, adult and the like).

11. The offshoots of the Intellect are all these creatures, which grow in and rise from the mind (of their own spontaniety); they appear to be the works of the mind as their cause, but are no better than the dreams (arising of themselves in the mind).

12. Should you say, why these conceptions of creation rise in vain in the mind (if the creation is nothing in substance); I answer that they rise in the manner of dreams in the state of sleeping, which you cannot deny to enjoy. (The thoughts of creation like those of imagination and the conception in our dreaming, are not unattended by a certain degree of delight, during the time of our enjoyment of them. Gloss).

13. As the tree displays various forms in the productions, and the imagination presents different shapes to our mental sights; so the intellect is employed in realizing many such creations in empty air.

14. As the odours of flowers fly about invisible in the open air, and as pulsation abides inherent in the wind; so the intellectual powers, are intrinsic in the very nature of the soul.

15. These creations likewise are ingrained in the Divine spirit, as fragrance is inborn in flowers and vacuity is ingenite in the air; and as vacillation and velocity are innate in the winds.

16. As the air, wind and the flower, are receptacle of inanity, oscillation and odours respectively; so the Intellect is container of creation, although it is literally but an empty vacuity.

17. Vacuity is no other than vacuum itself, as fluidity is not separate from liquids; fragrance is as inseparable from flowers, as pulsation is never to be the disjoined from the wind.

18. Heat is not disparate from fire, nor is coldness apart from snow;know thus the world to be no way different nor disengaged from the transparence of the vacuous Intellect.

19. In the beginning, the Divine Intellect sees the creation appear in itself, as a dream rising in the mind; thus the world having no extraneous cause, and being subjective to the Intellect (as derived from within itself); is no way a heterogeneous mass or different from the Divine mind.

20. The instance of the dream is the best illustration of creation, and you can judge it well by the nature of the dream you dream every night; say what is there substantial in it, beside its being essential to the universal soul.

21. The dream is not the effect of any impression in the mind, nor the result of remembrances stored in the memory; because it shows us many sights, unseen and unthought of before; say therefore how these come to pass.

22. If what is seen in a dream, comes to present itself at the time of our remembrance of the dream?

23. Therefore these revolving worlds; are as the rotatory whirlpools (in the wide ocean of the infinite mind); they are the fortuitous appearances of chance, and whatever occurs in the mind, passes afterwards for its dreams.

24. The creations being insensibly produced from the Divine Mind, like the waves and whirlpools in the ocean; receives its stability and continuity afterwards, in the manner of the continuation of the whirling waters and ever rolling billows.

25. Whatever is born without its cause, is equal to the unborn; because the unborn are forever similar to those, which have no cause for their birth.

26. As the precious gems growing insensibly of themselves, have their lustre inherent in them; and as this brilliance is no substance or anything real at all, so the appearance of the world has no substantiality of itself.

27. Some how or other, the world has its rise, like the wave or eddy in a river; and then it continues to go on as the continuous course of the stream.

28. There are numberless worlds of intellectual forms, gliding in the vast vacuity of the Intellect; and passing as aerial dreams without any cause whatsoever.

29. All these again become causes and productive of others, and they [are] all of vacuous forms including even the great Brahma and the gods and angels (all of whom are aerial beings, and others of the same kind).

30. All that is born in and produced from void, are null and void also;they grow in the void or air, and return also into vacuity.

31. It is the vacuum that appears as the plenum, as in the instance of an empty dream seeming as something;the man that denies his own percipience of it, is no better than a boor or brute.

32. The unreal appearing as real, is the fabrication of error and ignorance; but the spiritualist who knows the truth, views the world as the wondrous display of the Divine Mind and falsification.

33. It is the longstanding and deep rooted prejudice, that produces the erroneous conceptions of the creation and destruction of the world; it is wisdom to know it in its true light, and foolishness to take the wrong view of it.

34. The light of the Divine spirit, being once seen in this causeless void of the visible world, it continues for ever before our sight; as the dream that we see in our vacant minds in sleep, remains ever afterwards in our remembrance.

35. It happens that the intellect comes to present, the adventitious appearance of the world to our minds; in the same manner, as the sea shows its whirls and waves to our sight, of its own nature.

36. Such is the nature of the Intellect also, that it shows itself in this manner (as the sea); and exhibits the revolving worlds, in its own etherial essence only (of its own accord).

37. Then the aerial Intellect, by a retrospective view in itself, invented certain worlds afterwards, significant of the mental and intellectual powers as well as of material elements and their properties.

Rama said:—

38. If it is so sir, that all these powers are the spontaneous growth of chance, how can the mental power of memory be produced on a sudden, when it is well known to be the product of remembrance or former impressions in the mind. Please explain me this.

Vasishtha replied:—

39. Hear me Rama, and I will destroy your doubt, as the lion kills an elephant; and will establish the one invariable unity as the broad day light of the sun.

40. There is an only universal soul, that is invisible amidst the vacuum of his Intellect; as the uncarved doll remains unseen, in the wood of every forest tree. (All things are contained in the Divine soul, as the future images in blocks of wood and stone. Aristotle, Addison).

41. We see the carpenter that carves out the puppet, from the wood of the tree (and the mason who hues out the statue from the block of stone); but we know not the soul, which chisels out the figure of the world from the great bulk of Instinct.

42. The statue does not appear in the rugged block, unless and until it [is] hewn out by the skill of carver, so the hidden world does not make its appearance in the Intellect, till it is brought to view by the ingenuity of the Mind (the universal architect).

43. The uncarved body of the world (Corpus-mundi), does yet appear [in] its aeriform state; which is original and genuine form in the Divine Intellect (until [it] is moulded in this its fictitious shape by creative mind).

44. In the beginning of creation, the inventive Intellect forms of its natural originality, the concept of the future world; appearing as an airy dream in the sight of the soul (and then the imaginative mind frames it according to its conceit in various forms).

45. The vacuous Intellect conceives in its empty bosom, the airy ideal of the world; as if it were a toy or doll gliding of itself in itself.

46. It conceives itself as the essential part of the great Brahma, and the seed of the mundane system; and then imagines itself as the source of life and the living soul, and the receptacle of egoism.

47. It imagines itself as the understanding and the mind also; and to be the reservoir of space and time. It deems itself as the root of the knowledge of I, thou, he, and others, and as the quintessence of the quintuple elements.

48. It sees in itself the congeries of the inward and outward senses, as also of the eight faculties of the mind;and both the spiritual as well as the elemental bodies contained in itself.

49. It thinks itself as the great trinity, consisting of the three persons of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva; and sees the sun, moon and stars all in itself. It considers itself as the whole creation and the interior and exterior part of everything.

50. All these being the imaginary creations of the Intellect; there is nothing whatever beside itself; but it is quite transparent in its essence, there is no concrete matter in it; and neither remembrance of gross materials is ever attached to it, nor any duality whatsoever subsisting in the unity of its nature.

51. The world is a causeless, uncaused and increate thing; and a nothing at all in reality; its creation is a dream, and its appearance, is as that of a delusive shadow in empty air.

52. It appears as a phantom in vacuum, and as an intelligence in the Intellect; it is intelligible as it is, and that is in the sense of a nihility.

53. What is the remembrance of a thing, any more than the dream of something, which is nothing in reality; and what is time of which we have no conception, except it be an imagination or devise of the mind in empty air.

54. What is contained in the inside of the compact intellect, the very same appears on the outside of it; but in reality there is no substantiality in the exterior object of sight, as there is naught in the interior object of thought; all which are but the glitterings of the Intellect.

55. Whatever issues out of the bodiless and nameless something, which is forever quiescent and calm in its nature; are deemed as causeless and uncaused productions, appearing before the blinded sight.

56. Know therefore that this world, is to be viewed in the same intellectual light; as you see the supreme Brahma himself; and know it to be the very aerial castle of your dream, as it is represented in the vacuous space of your mind in your sleeping state.

57. There is no such thing, as the visible or phenomenal world at any time; where can you find any dust on the watery surface of the sea; and how can you see anything visible, in the invisible spirit of Brahma.

58. If the world should appear as anything at all to your sight, you must view it as the manifestation of God himself, in his unthinkable and incomprehensible nature. (Nature is the body of God).

59. The world is full of the glory of God, from the fullness of Divine glory; nor is the one derived from the other; but a full representation of Divine splendour on the face of nature.

60. Though I have been repeatedly giving these lectures, yet the deluded minds of men are far from receiving them; they believe the world of their dream as if it were in waking, and knowing even its unreality they will never get rid of their rooted prejudice.