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 CLXXIV - Brahma gita: or a lecture on nirvana

Argument:—Subsistence of Brahma after evanescence of the world, likened to the continuance of Intellection after disappearance of dreams upon waking.

Vasishtha continued:—

The Intellect alone glistened in the beginning, with its thought of creation, appearing as the vision of a dream before it. This was the representation of the three worlds, and a reflexion of the light of Brahma Himself. (The Divine spirit was the archetype, of which the world was an ectype or réchauffé).

2. These creations were as the endless billows in the ocean of the Divine Mind, and rising from the fluidity of his omniscience; hence there is no difference between the creation and its absence, nor is there any woe in the one or bliss in the other.

3. As the dream and sound sleep of the soul, do both of them appertain to its sleeping state; when the mind remains as vacant as empty air; so the visible and invisible creation (i.e. its presence and absence)

are both of them alike in the vacuity of the Intellect (where they both resemble but an empty dream).

4. This world appearing like a city seen in our dream, in our waking state; is not worthy of reliance of the wise, who are well acquainted with its nature of a visionary appearance.

5. And as we find the falsity of the visionary city in the dream, upon our waking, so we come to find our mistake of the reality of the world at last.

6. As upon waking, we come to find the falsity of all our efforts and desires; in the visionary city of our dream;so do we find at last, all our aims and attempts in our waking state in this world, to be equally false and fleeting.

7. If any one assigns any other cause, then why that one does not admit, what he said, is mere fancy.

8. When guessing knowledge is no better than a dream of the world; so ocular authority is more strong than inocular one.

9. It is better to judge the soul and other attribute by near example, than by the far off; otherwise it is like a fall from the top of a hill in a dream.

10. Perfect insensibility is entire inertness, and a changeless state of body and mind; while the nature of the world, and the state of things herein, are incessantly restless and changeful; therefore it is incapable to conduct [to] samadhi or intense meditation in either of these two states.

11. Meditation in worldly life, must be too sensitive and variable;while its intensity or trance stupifies a man to a stone; but true liberation consists neither in the changeableness of mind, nor in its stonelike insensibility.

12. I think nothing is obtainable from the stonelike apathetic trance, as there is nothing to be [had] from the drowsy stupor [for] anybody. (Hence both fickleness as well as mental torpor are repugnant to meditation and self-liberation).

13. It is therefore by means of consummate knowledge only, that reasoning men can dispel their ignorance; and there is no chance of his being born again, who has secured his liberation in his life time.

14. Inflexible abstraction is said to have no bounds, and it consists in sitting steadfast in profound meditation, without distraction or diversion, such a posture is said to be all illuminating, or eternal sunshine to the Yogi.

15. It is called the endless hypnotism or absorption of the soul, and is the fourth or last state of contemplativeness. It is also styled as nirvana self-extinction, or losing one's self in his reveries; and this is what they designate moksha or liberation from all bonds and cares of the world. (This is the abstract Platonism of the ancients).

16. It is the density or depth of pansophy, and the intensity of excogitation; and there being an entire absence of the retrospect of the phenomenals in it, it is known as the state of perfect transcendentalism or glory.

17. It is not the stonelike inertness of some philosophers (Gautama and Kanada), nor the hypnotism or sound sleep of others (Hiranya garbas); it is neither the unoptativeness or want of option of the Patanjalas, nor is [it] the inexistence or utter annihilation of the Buddhist.

18. It is the knowledge of Brahma as the prime source of all, and nihility of the visible creation; it is knowing God as all and yet nothing that exists; and therefore it is to know Him as He is—in his all pervading spirit.

19. It is the consummate knowledge of all (as nothing), that gives us our positive rest of nirvana (in our nothingness); and in knowing that the world as it is, equal to its inexistence.

20. That all this variety is no variety at all, nor all these any entity in reality; all apparent realities are mere unrealities, and it is the end of all our conceptions and inductions, that is the only reality (i.e. God the first and last of all—the Alpha and Omega).

21. The entire nihility of the visible world, is the state of its nirvana or extinction; and the settled knowledge of this in any one, constitutes his supreme felicity.

22. This state is attainable by one's pure understanding, and his habit of constant reconsideration; joined with a knowledge of the sastras, and scrutiny into the right sense of significant words and their significates.

23. This work is the best guide to liberation, by means of its constant study; or else it is attainable by no other means, save by enlightenment of the understanding. [Sanskrit: jnanatimuktireba]

24. Neither pilgrimage nor charity, nor sacred ablutions or learning; nor meditation or Yoga contemplation, nor religious austerities nor sacrifice of any kind (is liberation ever attainable by mankind, except by means of divine knowledge).

25. The world is only a delusion, causing the unreal [to] appear as real; it is the empty vacuum only which presents the appearance of the world, which is as a dream in the vacancy of the Intellect.

26. No religious austerity nor pilgrimage, is ever able to remove our error of the world; they can at the best procure for us the reward of heaven, but never secure unto us our liberation or final beatitude.

27. Our error is extirpated only, by the light of the sastras and of our good understanding; but above all, it is spiritual knowledge alone, which is the best means to our liberation and final salvation.

28. But it is the vivid light of the scriptures, which is sure to destroy our error of the world; as the sunshine serves to dispel the gloom of night.

29. The light, clearness and shade, of creation, preservation and destruction respectively, appear by turns in the clear vacuous mirror of the Intellect; as the ventilation of breeze in air, and fluctuation of waves in water.

30. As the rudiment of the future form, is contained in the heart or embryo of every thing; and as the air contains in its incessant motion (sadagati) within itself; such is the existence of the world, inherent in the Divine Intellect, and so has it its evolution and dissolution therein, like the rise and fall of wind in empty air.