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 CLXXVIII - Brahma-gita: narrative of aindava

Argument:—The formlessness of the world, for its formation from the formless mind.

Rama rejoined:—

The world is known to consist of two sorts of beings, namely the corporeal or solid substances and the incorporeal or subtile essences.

2. They are styled the subtile ones, which do not strike against one another; and those again are said to be solid things, which push and dash against each other.

3. Here we see always the dashing of one solid body against another; but know nothing of the movement of subtile bodies, or of their coming in contact with another.

4. We know yet something, about the quick motion of our subtile senses to their respective objects, and without coming in contact with them, as we find in our perception of the distant orb of the moon (without touching it).

5. I repudiate the theory of the half-enlightened, who maintain the material world to be the production of the will or imagination; nor can I believe that the immaterial intellect, can either produce or guide the material body.

6. It is the will I ween, that the material breath of life, moves the living body to and fro; but tell me sir, what is that power which propels, the living breath both in and out of the beings.

7. Tell me sir, how the intangible intellect moveth the tangible body; and carries it about, as a porter bears a load all about.

8. Should the subtile intellect, be capable of moving the solid body at its will; then tell me sir, why cannot a man move a mountain also by his own will?

Vasishtha replied:—

9. It is the opening and closing of the mouth of the aorta in the breast, that lets in and out the vital breath, through the passage of its hole and the lungs.

10. As you see the bellows of ironsmiths about you, having a hollow inside them, so it is the hollow of the aorta, which lets in and out the vital air, by the breathing of the heart.

Rama rejoined:—

11. It is true that the ironsmith closes and expands the valves of the bellows; and but tell me sir, what power blows the wind pipe of the heart, and lets the air in and out of the inner lungs.

12. How the single breath of inhalation becomes a centuple (in order to pass into a hundred channels of the arteries), and how these hundreds combine again into one (in their exhalation); and why are some as sensible beings, and others as insensible as woods and stones.

13. Tell me sir, why the immovables have no oscillation at all; and why the moving bodies alone are possessed of their pulsation and mutation (and why [is] the vegetable creation deprived of motion, when it is possessed of sensibility in common with the animal creation).

Vasishtha replied:—

14. There is an internal percipience (inner man), which moves the interior cords of the body; just as the ironsmith plies his bellows in the sight of men.

Rama rejoined:—

15. Say sir, how is it possible for the subtile and intactile soul, to move the vital airs and tangible entrails in the animal body.

16. If it be possible for the imperceptible perceptive soul, to put in motion the intestinal and tactual entrails of the body; then it may be equally possible for the thirsty soul, to draw the distant water to it. (In order to quench its thirst, instead of going to the watery pool).

17. If it be possible for the tangible and intangible, to come together in mutual contact at their will; then what is the use of the active and passive organs of action (if the will alone be effective of any purpose).

18. As the intangible powers of the soul or spirit, bear no connection whatever with the outward objects of the world; some think they can have no effect on the internal organs of the body (in putting them to action). So please explain it more fully to me.

19. Tell me, how you yogis perceive the outward corporeal things in your inner incorporeal souls; and how your formless souls, can have any command over or any contact with solid bodies.

Vasishtha replied:—

20. Hear me tell you for rooting out all your doubts, and these words will not only be pleasing to your ears, but give you a conception of the unity of all things.

21. There is nothing here, at any time, what you call as a solid substance or tangible body, but all is a wide and extended vacuum of the rare and subtile spirit.

22. This spirit is of the nature of the pure Intelligence, quite calm and intangible; and all material things as the earth, are as visionary as our dreams, and the creatures of imagination.

23. There was nothing in the beginning, nor shall there be anything at the end; for want of a cause for its creation or dissolution; the present existence is an illusion, as any fleeting shape and shadow appearing before the dreaming mind.

24. The earth and sky, the air and water, and the hills and rivers that appear to sight; are lost sight of by the abstracted yogi; who by means of his abstraction, sees them in their ideal and intangible forms.

25. The outer elements and their inner perceptions, the earth, the wood and stones; are all but empty ideas of the intellect, which is the only real substratum of the ideas, and there is no reality besides.

26. Attend now to the narrative of Aindava, in elucidation of this doctrine; this will not fail to gratify your ears, though I have once before related this to you. (In the former narration the world was identified with the mind, and here it is represented as identical with the Intellect itself).

27. Attend yet to the present narration, which I am going to relate in answer to your question; and whereby you will come to know these hills and others, to be identic with your intellect.

28. There lived once in days of yore, a certain Brahman in some part of the world, who was known under the name of Indu, and was famed for his religious austerities and observance of vedic ceremonies.

29. He had ten sons by whom he was surrounded like the world by its ten sides (of the compass); who were men of great souls, of magnanimous spirits, and were revered by all good and great men.

30. In course of time the old father met with his demise, and departed from his ten sons as the eleventh Rudra, at the time of the dissolution of the world.

31. His chaste wife followed his funeral (by concremation), for fear of the miseries of widowhood; just as the evening twilight follows like a faithful bride, the departing daylight with the evening star shining upon her forehead (in token of the vermeil spot on women's forehead).

32. The sons then performed the funeral ceremonies, and in sorrow for their deceased sire, they left their home and domestic duties and retired to the woods for holy devotion.

33. They practiced the best method for the intensity of their attention, and which is best calculated to secure the consummation of their devotion; and was the constant reflection of their identity with Brahma (in the formula we are the lords of all, about us).

34. Thinking so in themselves, they sat in lotus like posture; and wishing to gain the knowledge of the unity of all things, they did what you shall be glad to learn from me.

35. They thought they sustained in them the whole world, which is presided over by the lotus-born Brahma; and believed themselves to be transformed, to the form of the mundane God in an instant.

36. Believing themselves as Brahma, they sat long with the thought of supporting the world; and remained all along with their closed eyes, as if they were mere figures in painting.

37. With this belief they remained fixed and steady at the same spot, and many a month and year glided over their heads and motionless bodies.

38. They were reduced to dry skeletons, parts of which were beaten and devoured by rapacious beasts; and some of their [limbs] were at once severed and disappeared from their main bodies, like parts of a shadow by the rising sun.

39. Yet they continued to reflect that they were the God Brahma and his creation also, and the world with all its parts, were contained in themselves (i.e. They considered themselves as Virat the form of macrocosm).

40. At last their ten bodiless minds, were thought to be converted to so many different worlds, in their abstract meditation of them. (i.e. Each of them viewed himself as a cosmos).

41. Thus it was by the will of their intellects, that each of them became a whole world in himself;and remained so in a clear or abstract view of it, without being accompanied by its grosser part.

42. It was in their own consciousness, that they saw the solid earth with all its hills &c. in themselves; because all things have reference to the intellect, and are viewed intellectually only (or else they are nothing).

43. What is this triple world, but its knowledge in our consciousness, without which we have no perception of it, and with which we have a clear conception of every thing. So all things are of the vacuous nature of our consciousness, and not otherwise.

44. As the wave is no other than the water of the sea, so there is nothing movable or immovable whatever, without our conscious knowledge of it.

45. As the Aindavas remained in their vacuous forms of intellectual worlds in the open air; so are these blocks of wood and stone also, pure intellectual beings or concept in the sphere of our minds.

46. As the volitions of the Aindavas, assumed the forms of the world, so did the will of lotus-born Brahma take the form of this universe. (So says the veda: The divine will produced the world, just as the adage goes, the will is the mother of the act).

47. Therefore this world together with all these hills and trees; as also these great elements and all other bodies, appertain to the intellect only, which is thus spread out to infinity.

48. The earth is the intellect, and so are its trees and mountains, and heaven and sky also the intellect only; there is nothing beside the intellect, which includes all things in itself, like the intellectual worlds of the Aindavas.

49. The intellect like a potter, forms every thing upon its own wheel; and produces this pottery of the world, from the mud of its own body (out of its own intellectual substance).

50. The sensible will being the cause of creation, and framer of the universe, could not have made any thing, which is either insensible or imperfect in its nature, and neither the mineral mountains nor the vegetable production, are devoid of their sensations.

51. Should the world be said to be the work of design, or of the reminiscence or former impression or of the Divine will; yet as these are but different powers of the Intellect, and are included under it; the world then proves to be the production of the intellect, under some one of its attributes as it is said before. (Hence there is no gross

body as the product of intelligent Intellect).

52. Therefore there cannot be any gross substance in the Divine Intellect which blazes as a mine of bright gems, with the gemming light of consciousness in universal soul of God.

53. Anything however mean or useless, is never apart from the Divine soul; and as it is the nature of solar light to shine on all objects, so doth the light of intellect, take everything in the light of the Great Brahma, which pervades alike on all.

54. As the water flows indiscriminately upon the ground, and as the sea laves all its shores, with its boisterous waves; so doth the intellect ever delight, to shed its lustre over all objects of its own accord, and without any regard to its near or distant relation.

55. As the great creator evolves the world, like the petals of his lotiform navel, in the first formative period of creation; so doth the divine intellect, unfold all the parts of the mundane system from its own penetralia, which are therefore not distinct from itself.

56. The Lord is unborn and increate, and unconfined in his nature and purely vacuous in his essence; he is calm and quiescent, and is immanent in the interim of ens and nil (i.e. of existence and

non-existence). This world therefore is no more than a reflexion of the intellectual or its ideal pattern in Divine Mind.

57. Therefore the ignorant man, who declares the insensibility of inanimate objects, is laughed at by the wise, who are sensible of their sensibility in their own kinds. Hence the rocks and trees which are situated in this ideal world, are not wholly devoid of their sensations and feelings.

58. The learned know these ideal worlds in the air, to be full with the Divine soul; and so they know this creation of Brahma's will, to be but an airy utopia only, and without any substantiality in them.

59. No sooner is this material world, viewed in its aerial and intellectual light, than the distresses of this delusive world betake themselves to flight, and its miseries disappear from sight.

60. As long as this intellectual view of the world, does not light to the sight of a man, so long do the miseries of the world, beset him thicker and thicker and closer on every side.

61. Men besotted by their continued folly, and remaining blind to their intellectual view of the world, can never have its respite from the troubles of the world, nor find their rest from the hardness of the times.

62. There is no creation, nor the existence or inexistence of the world, or the birth or destruction of any one here; there is no entity nor nonentity of any thing (beside the essence of the One). There is the Divine soul only, that glows serenely bright with its own light in this manner; or there is no light whatever except the manifestation of the divine spirit.

63. The cosmos resembles a creeper, with the multitude of its budding worlds; it has no beginning nor end, nor is it possible to find its root or top at any time, or to discover the boundless extent of its circumference. Like a crystal pillar, it bears innumerable statues in its bosoms, which are thickly studded together without having their initium or end.

64. There is but one endless being, stretching his innumerable arms to the infinity of space; I am that vacuous soul embracing every thing ad infinitum, and I find myself as that stupendous pillar, in my uncreated and all comprehensive soul, which is ever as quiescent and transparent and without any change in itself.