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 CLXX - On the conduct of the sapient man

Argument:—Our acts are our best friends and relatives; their virtues and the enjoyments of their fellowship.

Rama said:—

Tell me sir, who is that friend with whom he lives, and what is the nature of this enjoyments, whether it is subjective or objective, that is whether derived from within oneself, or from external objects.

Vasishtha replied:—

2. Our own conduct alone is our only true friend, whether it is ingenite in our nature, or derived by our extrinsic training and education from others. (The two words svaprabaha and swapraya in the text, are explained in the gloss as sahaja—innate and abhyasta or learnt.)

3. Our inborn good conduct is as infallibly and friendly to us, as the natural beneficence of our parents; and our extraneous good behaviour, is as overruling upon us, as the controul and restraints by a faithful wife in the intricate maze of life.

4. A fearless course of life, and a well earned livelihood, and a well regulated mode of living; together with a dispassionate temper and coolness of mind, are replete with unrestricted and ambrosial sweets.

5. An unblemished life acquired from early youth, is able to save a person from all dangers and difficulties in the world, and render him confidential for every trust, and a repository of all wealth and treasures.

6. It is able to preserve men from all evils, as a father prevents his boys from daubing their bodies with dust and dirt; and hinder them from all acts of wickedness.

7. Such a life gives a man the fervour of fire, and the sweet of flowers; it adds a clearness to his mind and countenance, as the sunlight brightens the face of the day.

8. It supports a man as the father feeds and fondles his child, and protects him from every accident, as the father is ever ready to shield his children from all harm.

9. As fire purifies the body of gold from alloy, and separates the gross that is to be rejected; so does it show the good qualities, from whatever is to be shunned and avoided.

10. It gladdens the hearts of men with polite speech, which is policed from rusticity; and is a repository of all laudable pursuits, as a treasury is full of moneybags and precious gems.

11. As the sun never shows darkness to view, so the good man never exposes his dark side to sight; as the loving wife shows only her affection to her beloved, so does he show his tenderness only to people.

12. He speaks and behaves kindly with all men, and doth them good only;and his words are always sweet and cooling, and without interested or selfish view.

13. He is the well-wisher of men, and is therefore revered by them all;he speaks smilingly to all without any craving of his own, and bears the form of goodness only to all beings.

14. Should he happen to meet an enemy in a contest, who is ready to strike the first blow on him; he tries to evade it by eluding his opponent by some artifice or slight of art or skill.

15. He is the patron of gentle and polite men, and protector of women and his family; and is as the nectarious physic to the souls, of all those that [are] ailing under sickness and sick-heartedness.

16. He is particularly a patron of learning, and patronizer of the learned; he is a servitor of venerable men, and a favourer of the eloquent and argumentative. He is a compeer and alter ego to his equals in births and breeding.

17. He conciliates the favour of princes, noblemen and the liberal towards him; and in conducting all sacrifices, acts of charities, austerities of devotion and pilgrimages, by contribution of his honest means.

18. He partakes of his good food and drink, in company with his friends and Brahmans; and joining with his wife and children, and all the dependants and inmates of his family (i.e., he never eats alone), and

he never keeps company save with the good and great.

19. He abstains from all enjoyments, deeming them as straws and causes of disease; and indulging himself in conversing upon good subjects, with his view to the edification and beatification of mankind.

20. In this manner he passes his time, in company with his friends and family; he is content with his own state, and glad at what fortune has provided for him (i.e., his own lot and profession).

Rama rejoined:—

21. Tell me Sir, in short, who are his wives and children and his friends also; what are their different forms, and what are the qualities and virtues they are respectively possessed of.

Vasishtha replied:—

22. Sacred ablutions and charities, religious austerities and meditation are his so many sons; that are all of great souls, and entirely devoted to him.

23. His wife is named Chandra-lekha, who is like a digit of the moon in her appearance, and whose very sight delights the eyes; she is his constant companion, always loving to him and content in herself.

24. She is the ravisher of his heart, and dispeller of the gloom of his mind, by reason of her loving kindness to him; she is the delight and delighter of his soul, and is ever a faithful helpmate unto him.

25. He has another consort by name of Samata (i.e. of the same mind)

with herself; who is dear to his heart, and keeps at the door to his house, and pleases him by her very appearance.

26. She fixes her mind always, at the mansions of virtue and patience; and runs before and guides the steps of her emburdened lord, to the abode of the blessed and felicitous.

27. That strong man has another wife named Maitri or friendship, whom he bears along with Samata on his either shoulder; and who advises him how to quell the enemies of his king's states (in royal service).

28. She is his clever counsellor in all honourable acts, and gave proof of the veracity of her advices; by augmenting his wealth and rendering him honourable before all.

29. Being thus employed in the discharge of his duties, in the circle of his friends, family and advisers, the sapient man [is] always pleased in himself, and never frets nor grumbles at any person or anything whatever.

30. The wise man ever remains as he is, silent and sedate in his mind; he remains always as unmoved as a picture in painting; though he may be moving about in the ordinary affairs of life.

31. He remains as dumb as a stone in fruitless discussions; and feigns himself as a deaf man in useless conversation.

32. He continues as a dead body, in acts which are against the social usage; but in conversations regarding polity and good manners, he is as eloquent as the wise Brihaspati, and as fluent as the snake Vasuki (with its hundred tongues).

33. When engaged in some righteous discourse, he exposes the fallacy of sophistical reasoners; and clears all doubts in a moment, by the versatility of his conversation on various subjects all at once.

34. He is tolerant and magnanimous, bounteous and charitable; he is pliant and gentle, sweet in his speech and handsome in his look, and famed for his pious acts.

35. Such is the character of enlightened men of their own nature, and no practice nor education can ever make any one as such; as the sun and moon and fire are bright by themselves, and there is none and nothing else, that can ever make them shine.