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 CLXXIII - Brahma gita or a lecture on spirituality

Argument:—The attribution of all physical force to the Divine spirit, like the ascribing of all our bodily actions to the Mind.

Rama rejoined:—

If the nature of the Divine spirit is, as the notion which is Universally entertained of it; that it is common soul of all, and infinite in its pervasion, why then is it supposed to be the soul of the living body only, and called the Ego or a personal being?

2. How does the Intellect become inert, as a block of wood or stone in the state of our sleep, and why is it said to exist or become extinct in the state of its numbness (when it is said to be universal in its nature).

Vasishtha replied:—

3. It is by common usage and mode of speech, that the universal soul is said to reside as the ego or personal being in the body; as it is by common use of language only, to take the hands of the body as hands, and not to understand the feet as such. (So the embodied soul only is called the ego).

4. As the leaf of a tree is considered only as a leaf or part of the tree, so the universal soul residing in the tree (as vegetable life), passes under the designation of a tree only.

5. And as vacuity in the sky, is styled the sky also; so the universal soul dwelling in matter, is designated as that matter likewise. (And so the common vacuum indwelling a pot, passes under the name of the pot also).

6. And as an aerial castle in a dream, appears as a tangible castle to the dreamer for the time; so the universal soul living in our sleep, dream, and waking, is thought to be sleeping, dreaming or being awake at that time.

7. As stony trees or cliffs are seen to rise on mountains, and waves on the surface of waters; so the huge mountain also rises as a stony tree, from the bosom of the all pervading spirit.

8. As the living body gives growth, to dull and dead nails and hairs, so the living soul of the universe, grows the insensible stones and trees upon it. (So the spirit produces the matter, and the insensible rises from sensibles).

9. As the conscious soul becomes unconscious, as a stone or block of wood in its sleep; so the universal soul becomes inert, before creation and after its dissolution. And again as the sleeping soul, sees the train of dreams rising out of it, so the tranquil spirit of God, beholds the lustre of creation issuing out of it.

10. And as the sensible and insensible soul of man, produces both sensible offspring and insensible excrements from its body; so the universal soul, produces both living beings and inert bodies from itself.

11. The sensible as well as the insensible, are both embodied in the person of the universal soul; which is possessed of both the movables and immovables in itself, although it is formless in its substance.

12. All these contraries in nature, disappear before the sight of the truly learned; as the false sights in dream, disappear from view of the awakened man, who knows the falsity of dreams.

13. All this is the vacuity of the Intellect, where there is no sight, view nor its viewer; as a dreamer being awakened from his dreaming, neither sees his dream nor his dreaming sights any more.

14. Millions and millions of creations, are appearing in and disappearing from the vacuum of the Intellect, in the manner of recurring waves, and the revolving whirlpools in the sea.

15. As the waters of the ocean, show various shining forms in the rising waves; so the Intellect raises many creations, bearing different names in its own intellectuality.

16. The world as it is, appears as the very Brahma to the truly learned, while to the ignorant mass of men, it appears as many and changing, for want of the precise knowledge of it.

17. The wave that knows its nature, of calm and cool water only, thinks no more of its being a fluctuating wave (so the man that knows himself as Brahma, thinks no longer of his frail and mortal state).

18. The conception of the undulation of the divine spirit, from the fluctuating appearance of creation, is a mistaking of the calmness of the Divine nature; the fluctuation belongs to the powers residing in the Divinity.

19. The vacuous Intellect never forsakes its tranquillity; and the variety of knowledge that rises in it, like the varying train of dreams, is attributable to the mind, which they call Brahma or the great progenitor of all.

20. Thus the prime lord of creatures, was the formless and undecaying mind; it was of intellectual form like an imaginary being, and supposed as the cause of all.

21. Who says "thou art nothing," that saying is like the word gold, which has no form of itself, but whose purity is gold.

22. The increate Brahma, being of an intellectual and vacuous form, and an imaginary body endued with volition, appeared as the prime Ego or a personal being, and containing the world in his person.

23. It is the empty void of the Intellect, which displays these wonders that are known to constitute the continued bustle, of the alternate creation, sustentation, and destruction of the world.

24. The clear and increate light, to which the intellect evolves itself of its own accord; and which bears resemblance to the evolution of airy dreams from the mind; is termed the first father of all. (Light was the first work of God, or coeternal with the Eternal spirit. "Hail holy

light, ofspring of Heav'n first-born, Or of th' Eternal Coeternal beam". Milton).

25. As a wave assumes one form or other, and rolls on interminably over the vast expanse of the sea; so runs the heavenly mind, in the forms of the revolving creations and their dissolutions.

26. The light of the intellectual vacuum, which passes under the name of Virat; is of the same mind as Brahma, and stretches out the creation, like a castle or city of imagination.

27. Virat is the combined form of the triple states of waking, dreaming and sleep; the two first are analogous to the creation and supportance of the universe, and the last is similar to the utter darkness of dissolution.

28. From the chaotic state of his dissolution, there sprang light and darkness (in the forms of days and nights), like dark and white hairs growing on his head; and the rotations of time resembling the joints of his body.

29. His mouth represented the fire, his head the upper sky, and the air below his navel; his foot-stool was the earth, his eyes were the sun and moon, and the east and west were his two ears. In this manner did the Lord Virat manifest himself, in the imagination of his mind (Virat represents the concrete universe).

30. Thus did the expanded vacuous form of Virat, represent the whole visible world in his ideal person; which was a figure of his own imagination, as any of the unsubstantial forms of our dream or fancy.

31. Whatever is thought of in the vacuity of the Intellect, the same comes to be vividly exhibited therein; such is verily the form of this world, which we conceive in our self.

32. Virat is verily an aeriform being in himself, and appears to be as wide extended as the vast extent of the universe; and is in his own nature, like a city or mountain, that we see in our dreams.

33. Whatever one thinks himself to be, he conceives in him to have become the same, without his actually being as such, so an actor is seen to play his part in dream, from the concept of his acting on the stage.

34. Whatever be the tenets of the Vedanta, Buddhism, Sankhya and Saugata systems of the philosophy; and whatsoever may be the doctrine of Tryaksha, Pashupati and other propounders of Agama sastras; they all agree in acknowledging Brahma, as the giver of the boons that they respectively desire; and all of them obtain the particular object of bliss from the same. Such is the glory of the great God, whose soul fills all bodies, and whose bounty supports them all (lit., whose body comprehends the whole).*

* The founder of Vedanta was Vyasa, of Buddhism—Buddha, of Sankhya—Kapila, of Saugata—Patanjali. Tryaksha, Pashupati and Bhairana were professors of Agama tantras.