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...

Summary: Paramartha gita or lecture on trancendentalism or the solity.

Argument:—The appearance of the world in our Ignorance, and its Disappearance before the light of true knowledge.

Vasishtha continued:—

1. The vacuity of the Intellect which presented the shadow of a dream at first, could not possibly assume the form of a causal and sensible body (as that of Brahma), in order to be visible and form the visible world. For how is it possible for the intellectual vacuum, to have a bodily form at all.

2. In the beginning of creation, O Rama, there was nothing except a shadow dream in the Intellect. And neither was there this creation nor the next world in visible existence.

3. The world appeared only in the form, of an unsubstantial notion of it; and the vacuous intellect remained as quiet with its ideal world, as the mind rests quietly with the nightmare in its dream.

4. Such is the essence of the Intellect, which is translucent and without its beginning and end; and though it is a clear void in itself, yet it bears the ideal model of the world in its mirror.

5. So long as this is unknown, the world appears as a gross substance; but being known as contained in the Divine spirit, it becomes a spiritual substance also; because how is it possible for any gross matter, to attach itself to the transcendent vacuum, of which there is no beginning and end?

6. This pure and abstract knowledge of the world, is as that of a city in dreaming; and such being the state of the world ere its creation, how can any earthly or other matter, be ever joined with the same?

7. The light of the Divine soul, shining amidst the vacuity of the Intellect, is termed cosmos or the universe; consisting as it is supposed, of matter, mind and faculties.

8. It is want of understanding only, which makes us suppose a thing, which is turning round like a whirlpool, and having the force of the wind in it as the stable earth, although it has no basis or stability of it.

9. Afterwards the same Divine spirit (jiva), wishing to display its own glory (thought in its personality of Brahma), of the ideal forms of the earth and other things (in its imagination).

10. Then the great minds of (Brahma), shone with a purer light of itself; and this is called his creation which is of an aerial form and no other. (Light being the first work of creation).

11. That pure light, was nothing substantial of itself; but the brightness of the Intellect only, shining with the effulgence of the Divine spirit. (This was the psychic light of the soul in itself).

12. This light is the body of the spirit, which shone as intellectual light in the void of the Intellect; and it presented the appearance of the world in it, in the manner of dreams floating before the empty mind.

13. There being no other inference to be derived, nor any other cause to be possibly assigned (to the production of the world), or of its being produced of itself; it is certain that the divine spirit, sees itself in the form of creation, within the vacuum of its Intellect in the beginning. (As anything cannot come by itself or from nothing; the world must therefore be either a nothing or a form of something that is ever existent of itself).

14. This body of the world (corpus mundi), having no property of a tangible body, is never fragile in its nature; but it is as void as the emptiness of the Intellect, and as inane as the empty air.

15. Its form is that of the supreme Being, which is without any form whatever; and identic with the Divine form, it comprehends all bodies in itself, and extends undivided as all in all in its own self.

16. This will be better understood in the instance of a dream, which rises of itself and shows itself in various forms; but as all these varieties are nothing but empty visions, so the diverse scenes and sights of the world, are no more than shows of the Divine spirit.

17. The Divine soul of Brahma, assumed to itself the state of the living spirit; and without forsaking its transparent form, became of the form of mind (in the person of the great Brahma—the creative Power).

18. This power extends the universe in its aerial form in air; which appears to be changed from its unchangeable state of transparency, to that of a gross nature (i.e. the visible and material world).

19. The Mind is Brahma himself, who gives an external and visible form to the world, that was seated invisible in his heart; and is continually employed in the process of repeated creation and destruction of all.

20. The immaterial mind of Brahma, evolved the world from its protoplasm, which was originally seated in his heart; and thence it appeared in a different form as a counterpart of the original, or as the formless representation of something in a dream.

21. The God Brahma though in himself dwelling with his formless mind, in his embodied form of the triple world, and of being diffused in endless forms of sensible and insensible beings therein.

22. But there was neither the earth, nor any material form, nor even anything of a visible appearance therein; it was only his mind which exhibited itself, in the form of the formless and vacuous world. (The Divine hypostasis of the personified mind of Brahma, was only a mental and aerial form, and not a material one).

23. Then the lord Brahma thought that, this mental form of his, was nothing in substance, as it did not appear to sight; it was the Intellect only, which shone in this manner within itself, and had no solidity or substantiality in it. (The Intellect is the omniscience of God, and the Mind is the intelligence of Brahma).

24. This mental conception or abstract contemplation of the world, is inexpressible by words, and makes the meditator remain in mute astonishment; and causes him to continue as dumb in this ordinary conduct in life. (This is the state of platonic supineness or insouciance).

25. The Intellect being infinite and unlimited, the mind is lost in infinity in its reflection; hence Brahma having long remained in his silence, became awakened to his knowledge at last. (Brahma the Demiurgic Mind having recovered itself from its wonder and bewilderment, becomes detached at last from the divine mind).

26. After the insensible mind of Brahma, had come to its sense, it revolved in itself with its thoughts; as the liquid waters of the sea, turns in whirlpools by agitation.

27. So the insensible air is put to ventilation by its internal motion, and so all living souls which are identic with the calm and quiet supreme soul, slide away like the gliding waters, from their main source.

28. And as the winds and waves, which are identical with the calm air and still water, blow and flow in all directions of themselves, so the minds of living beings which are same with supreme Intellect, run in several ways in their own accord.

29. Hence the vacuous intellect of all living beings, is the same with the Divine intellect; and this, O most intelligent Rama, is otherwise known as the supreme soul also.

30. The Divine soul appears unto us, to have its twinklings like the vacillation of air; its closing causes the close or end of the world, as its flashing exposes the creation to view.

31. Its glancing causes the visibility of creation, and its winking makes it invisible or extinct to view, while the want of both these acts (opening and closing of its sight), is tantamount to the formless void of the world.

32. But the view of the opening and shutting of its sight, or the visibility and disappearance of the world in one unvaried light, makes the equality of existence and non-existence in the mind, and bespeaks the perfection of the soul.

33. Seeing and not seeing, and their results of creation and extinction, make no difference in the Divine Intellect which is always the same. (The veda says Ikshati or glancing of God, and not his will or word is the cause of the world).

34. Know therefore this world, to be as calm and quiet as the Divine soul; and that it is of the nature of the uncreated vacuum, which is ever the same and no decay.

35. The sensuous and conscious intellect, exhibits itself as the insensible and unconscious vacuum; the very intellect shows itself in the form of the world, which is in a manner its body and residence.

36. The Intellect is neither born or made, nor does it ever grow or decay; it is never visible nor perceptible, nor have we any notion of it; it displays its wonders in itself, without any extraneous substance in it.

37. All that is called the phenomenal, is the brightness of the blazing gem of the great Intellect, and proceeding from the quarry of its vacuum; as the sunshine which illumines the world, issues from the orb of that luminary.

38. It is Brahma himself that shines forth as the creation, just as our sleep exhibits the visionary world in its dream; so is all this creation as quiet as sleep, and yet full with the bustle of the slumbering world.

39. Whatever is known in any manner in the mind, either as existent or inexistent in the world; the same is the reflection of the Intellect, whether it be an entity or non-entity.

40. Should the impossibility of existence, lead us to the supposition of some cause as of the primary atoms and the like; then what cause can there be assigned to the appearance of sights in our dream (and of fabrics without their foundation).

41. If the origin of the world is not ascribed to Brahma, as the origination of dreams to the Intellect; then neither is there any truth in the existence of the one, or in the appearance of [the] other, which is never true.

42. The minds of men are inclined towards the particular objects of their fancy; hence those that believe and delight in God, take him as the origin of all things that appear unto them.

43. Whatever is in the minds of men, and to whatever their hearts are constantly devoted; they know the same as the only objects of their lives, and the very gist of their souls.

44. He who delights in Brahma, becomes of the same mind in a moment; and so any one who is gratified in any thing, is incorporated with the same in his mind.

45. The man who has obtained his rest in God, has found the highest bliss in his mind; though he shows himself as otherwise in his outward conduct and social dealings.

46. There is no reason for the supposition of unity or duality herein, when the whole existence is as I have propounded, and it is in vain to look at anything else.

47. There [is] nothing as visible or invisible, or anything as formless or having a form herein; there is nothing as subject or object, nor aught of reality or unreality here, when the whole is the very Brahma himself.

48. This world is without a beginning and end, and is known to the world as soul; but in fact, one Brahma rules over all without any fixed rule, like a path without a name.

49. That which is conceived as the serene Brahma, is considered as the bright Brahma or Demiurgus also; just as what is known as the calm and clear firmament, the very same is said [to be] the empty void likewise.

50. As the nebulae which seem to bedim the face of the sky, are something in appearance and nothing in substance; just [so] do our mental faculties appear to flutter in and obscure the clear atmosphere of the Intellect, and seem to be as dualities or otherwise than the serene intellectual principle.

51. But the mental, bodily and all other perceptive and active powers of living beings, are the common properties of the intellectual soul; just as the very many gaps and hollows in various bodies, are in common with the vacuity of the one universal vacuum only. (i.e. All these are the aerial powers of psychic principle).

52. As the quiet soul passing from its sleeping to the dreaming state, retains its identity and invariableness; so the divine soul passing into creation after its quiescence, remains the very unchanged unity as ever.

53. Thus the supreme spirit reflects the shadow of its great Intellect, in the forms of creation and dream; hence neither is this creation nor the vision in dreaming, any thing in its substance than a mere shadow (of the picture in the Divine Mind).

54. It is the bright picture of the Divine Mind, that exhibits its form in the vacuity of the Great Intellect; and so the ideal appearance as the visible creation, like the fairy land in dream (and the airy castle of imagination). (The word chhaya—shadow means both the glory of God, as also the darkness of illusion. Gloss).

55. From the impossibility of the appearance of the world, by any means as it is conjectured by different schools, and from its want of a prior cause; it must be that the intellect saw itself thus exhibited in its own vacuity.

56. In the beginning of creation, the formless void of the Intellect, showed itself in this visible and intangible form; and represented itself as a picture of its mind or dream or its imagination.

57. Like the dream it was a blank and without any attribute; it is changeable but not frangible, and although it was the substance of intellectual voidness, yet it was vitiated with the stain of our misapprehension of it, called avidya. (The world is purely of an intellectual form, and it is our ignorance which imputes a gross form to it).

58. Like the dream, it seems to possess some properties in its appearance; but is wholly devoid of any in its substance; it is never different from the spiritual nature of the Lord, though it appears otherwise to our misconception of it.

59. The phenomenal world likens a mountain seen in dream, and is inseparable from the soul wherein it resides; therefore the visibles appearing in the vacuity of the Intellect, are more vacuous than the vacuum of the firmament.

60. That which is the supreme soul; and devoid of all form; the very same and of the same nature is all this, that we call the visible world.

61. Whatever conception we have in our dream, the same is the display of our intellect; so the cities and castles that we see in the dreams, are no real existences; but appearances presented unto us by the intellect.

62. As the recognizance of our acquaintances in dream, and the remembrance of the impressions in our memory, are altogether unsubstantial (owing to the absence of their prototypes in us); so [are] the sight of the visibles and the perception of perceptibles quite unreal also (because none of those things are present in us).

63. Therefore leaving [these] unrealities of our recognitions, perceptions and remembrances, which are so much relied upon by the ignorant; we should take them in the light of the direct manifestations of the Deity in those forms.

64. As the waves of the sea, continue to roll incessantly on the surface of the waters; so innumerable worlds that are continually revolving, on the surface of the supreme soul, are of the same nature with itself.

65. All laws and their anomalies, as well as all varieties and complexities unite in harmony in the Divine nature. (There all discord is concord, and all partial evil is universal good).

66. Therefore that Brahma is all in all, and there is none and nothing besides; He alone is the soul of all, as all these live in Him.

67. The roving mind thinks the world to be roving about with all its contents; but the steady minded take it to be quite sedate and quiet; hence it is impossible for the learned also, to settle their minds without the habitual sedateness of their attention.

68. There is no other means, for suppressing the mind from the sight of the visibles; without the constant habit of attending to the lectures (of the preceptor) on this sacred sastra.

69. Though it is difficult to repress the mind from its thoughts of this world, either in its states of living or death, (i.e. either in its waking or sleeping states); yet it is possible to do so by effacing its impressions at once, from the study of this spiritual sastra.

70. The knowledge of the nihility of the visible body, and that of the mind also in want of the body; both in this world as well as in the next world, will always serve to preserve our peace and quietism (and this is attainable by means of studying this sastra).

71. The mind, body and the visibles, are all three of them suppressed under the sense of their nothingness; as the mind, its force and the moving clouds, do all disappear in absence of their cause (i.e. motion).

72. The cause of restlessness is ignorance only, which is altogether dispelled by the study of this sastra; and those whose minds are a little enlightened, have their composure from attending to the recital and preaching.

73. The unintelligent will be able to understand the teachings of the former part from the latter; and he that understands the words and purports of these lectures, will never return disappointed (in his expectation of nirvana or ultimate rest).

74. Then know this sastra as the best means, to the dispersion of the error; and to the production of an universal indifference or insouciance everywhere.

75. Therefore try your best, to weigh well the precepts of this sastra; and whether you study one or both parts of this work, you will doubtless be freed from your misery thereby.

76. Should this sastra prove unpalatable, owing to its being the composition of a holy sage; in that case the student may consult the sacred srutis, for the perfection of his spiritual knowledge.

77. Do not spend your time in false reasoning, nor offer your precious life to fame and ashes; but let your sapient understanding commit the visibles to the invisible soul (i.e. view them in their spiritual light, and bury the gross phenomenal in utter oblivion and appear in the noumenal soul only).

78. No one can buy a jot or moment of his lifetime, at the cost of all the gems in the world; and yet how many are there, who foolishly misspent their time in their worldly dream?

79. Though we have a clear conception of the world, yet it is a false sight together with that of its beholder—the living soul; it is as false as the dream of one's own death in his sleep, and his hearing the wailing of his friend at his demise.