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 CLXXVII - Brahma-gita: description of divine nature

Argument:—The fallacy of assigning a cause to the causeless world; which is likened to a dream of the Divine Mind.

Rama rejoined:—

1. [Sanskrit available]
If the world is without a cause, and proceeds of itself from the essence of Brahma, as our dreams, thoughts and imaginations, proceed of themselves from the nature of our minds.

2. [Sanskrit available]
And if it be possible for anything to proceed from no cause, then tell me sir, why we can never have anything without its proper causes. (Such as the production of paddy without its cultivation).

Vasishtha replied:—

3. [Sanskrit available]
Rama, I am not speaking of common practice of men, for the production of anything by application of its proper causalities; but of the creation of the world, which is not in need of the atomic principle and material elements, as it is maintained by atomist. (Text). (Whatever invention is adopted by any one, in order to produce a certain end, is never effected without the application of its proper means and appliances).

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In whatever light this visible world is imagined by anybody, he views it in the same light; while another sees it in a different manner, according to his own imagination of it.

5. [Sanskrit available]
There are some who imagine it as the diffusion of the Divine soul, and think it as one with the nature of the Deity; while others think it as the living body of Virat, with the insensible parts of it, resembling the hairs and nails growing upon his body.

6. [Sanskrit available]
The meanings of the words causality and not causality do both of them belong to the deity; because the Lord being almighty, has the power to be either the one or other as he likes.

7. [Sanskrit available]
If there be anything whatever, which is supposed to be beside Brahma in its essence; it is then reasonable to suppose him as the cause of the same, which could not otherwise come to existence.

8. [Sanskrit available]
But when all things, that appear so different from one another, are all of them without their beginning or end or co-eternal with the Eternal One. Then say, which of these can be the cause of the other. (Hence the world is one with the lord and has no cause of it).

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Here nothing comes to exist or desist at any time; but are all eternally existent in the self-existent One; as one and the same with his vacuous self.

10. [Sanskrit available]
What is the cause of anything, and to what purpose should any be caused at any time; the Lord expects nothing from his creatures, and therefore their creation is equal to their not being created at all.

11. [Sanskrit available]
Here there is no vacuum or plenum, nor any entity nor non-entity either, nor any thing between them; as there is nothing predicable of the infinite vacuity of Brahma (as either this or that).

12. [Sanskrit available]
Whatever is is, and what not may not be; but all is Brahma only, whether what is or is not (i.e. what is past or gone or yet to be, i.e. all what is present, past or to be in future).

Rama rejoined:—

13. [Sanskrit available]
Tell me sir, how the Divine spirit is not the cause of all, when it is believed to be the sole cause, by all who are ignorant of its quiescent nature (as you maintain).

Vasishtha replied:—

14. [Sanskrit available]
There is no one ignorant of God, since every one has an innate conviction of the Divinity as the consciousness of himself; and whoso knows the vacuous entity of the Deity, knows also that this nature admits of no scrutiny or discussion.

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Those who have the knowledge of the unity of God, and his nature of quiescence and as full of intelligence; know also, his unknowable nature is beyond all scrutiny.

16. [Sanskrit available]
Ignorance of God, abides in the knowledge of God (because one acknowledges the existence of God, when he says he is ignorant of his nature); and this is as our dreaming is included under the state of sleeping (gloss. philosophers dream many false ungodly theories of causation, while they are sleeping in the quiescent spirit of God.)

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It is for the instruction of the ignorant, concerning the omnipresence of God, that I say, He is the soul of all or as all in all;while in reality his holy spirit is perfectly pure and undecaying.

18. [Sanskrit available]
All existences are thought either as caused or uncaused, according to the view that different understandings entertain respecting them. (But neither of these views, refutes the doctrine of the unity of the Deity. Gloss.)

19. [Sanskrit available]
Those that have the right conception of things (as manifestations of the unity in different forms); have no cause to assign any cause to them whatever (as the atomic principles or elements): therefore the creation is without any cause whatever.

20. [Sanskrit available]
Therefore the assigning of a cause to this creation, either as matter—prakriti or spirit—purusha, by undermining one's self-consciousness of Divine pervasion; is mere verbiage of sophists for their own confusion only.

21. [Sanskrit available]
In absence of any other cause of creation (save that of our consciousness of it), it is naught beside an appearance in our dream; and there is nothing as the gross material form or its visible appearance whatsoever.

22. [Sanskrit available]
Say what cause can the ignorant assign, to their sight of the land in their dream, than to the nature of the Intellect, which exhibits such phenomena to minds. Say if there can be any other meaning of dreams.

23. [Sanskrit available]
Those who are unacquainted with the nature of dreams, are deluded to believe them as realities; but those that are acquainted with their falsehood, are not misled to believe them or this world as real ones.

24. [Sanskrit available]
It is the impudence of fools to broach any hypothesis of causality, either by their supposition, arrogance or in the heat of their debate (as it is the case with all the different schools of philosophy).

25. [Sanskrit available]
Is the heat of fire, the coldness of water, and the light of luminous bodies, and the natures of things their respective causes, as the ignorant suppose them to be? (Or is it the attribute of Brahma that is so manifested in these their several causes? The entity of Divine unity, is the prime sole cause of causes).

26. [Sanskrit available]
There be hundreds of speculative theorists, that assign as many causes to creation without agreeing in any; let them but tell the cause of the aerial castle of their imagination.

27. [Sanskrit available]
The virtues and vices of men are formless things, and are attended with their fruitions on the spiritual body in the next world; how can they be causes of our corporeal bodies in this world. (As it is maintained by Mimamsa philosophers).

28. [Sanskrit available]
How can our finite and shapeless knowledge of things, be the cause of the incessant rise and fall, of endless, and minute bodies in the world, as it is maintained by vijnana vada or gnostic school. (These assert [that] the existence of things depends upon our knowledge or perception of them as such).

29. [Sanskrit available]
It is nature says the naturalist, which is the cause of all events but as nothing result from the nature of anything, without its combination with another; it is too indeterminate in its sense.

30. [Sanskrit available]
Therefore all things appear as causeless illusions to the ignorant, and their true cause to be a mystery to them; while they are known to the intelligent as the wondrous display of the Divine Intellect, that shows everything in itself.

31. [Sanskrit available]
As one knowing the falsehood of dreams, is never sorry at his loss of anything in dream; so those that have the knowledge of truth in them, never feel any sorrow even at the possession or separation of their lives.

32. [Sanskrit available]
In the beginning there was no production of the visible world, nor is it anything more than the vacuum of the intellect; in its own and true form it appears as a dream, and is no other than that in its essence.

33. [Sanskrit available]
There is no other supposition, which is more apposite to it: than its resemblance to the dream; and our conception of the world, has the great Brahma only for its ground work.

34. [Sanskrit available]
As fluidity, waves and whirlpools, are the inherent properties of pure water; such are the revolutions of worlds, but appearances on the surface of the Divine Mind, and have the Divine spirit of Brahma at their bottom.

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As velocity and ventilation, are inborn in the nature of pure air; the creation and preservation of the world, are ingrained and intrinsical in the nature of God.

36. [Sanskrit available]
As infinity and vacuity are the inherent properties of the Great vacuum, so is the knowledge of all things existent and non-existent, and of creation and annihilation immanent in the Divine Mind.

37. [Sanskrit available]
All things in existence and lying dormant in the Divine Mind, are yet perceptible to us, because we participate of the very same mind.

38. [Sanskrit available]
This creation and its destruction also, both abide side by side in the dense intellect of the Divine Soul; as the thickening dreams and sound sleep, both reside together in the calm sleeping state of our soul.

39. [Sanskrit available]
As a man passes from one dream to another, in the same dormant state of his soul; so doth the supreme soul see the succession of creations, taking place alternately in its own essence.

40. [Sanskrit available]
The clear atmosphere of Divine Soul, which is devoid of earthy and other material substances; yet appears in their utter absence, to be possessed of them all, in the same manner as the human soul, sees many things in its dream, without having any of those things in itself.

41. [Sanskrit available]
As the human mind sees at a thought the forms of a pot, or painting rising before it; so the all seeing mind of God, sees at a glance of its thought, worlds upon worlds appearing at once in its presence.

42. [Sanskrit available]
The all seeing soul, sees all things as they are in itself; and finds them to be of the same intellectual nature with its own intellect; and as all things are equivalent to the words expressive of them. (As there is a mutual correspondence between the significant words and their significates).

43. [Sanskrit available]
Of what use then are sastras, and of what good is the reasoning upon their verbiage, when our inappetency is the best way to felicity; and there being no creation without its cause, we have nothing to do with what appears but seemingly so.

44. [Sanskrit available]
It being proved, that the want of want is our best bliss below; the sensation of want or desire, must be the source of perpetual misery to man; and though our desires are many, yet the feeling of it is one and the same, and betrays the prurient mind, as the various dreams by night, disclose the cupidinous nature of the soul.

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