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...
Argument:—Nature of the unenlightened soul, to represent unnumbered worlds within itself.
1. I then asked [the] devotee sitting beneath the kadamba tree, to tell me how the seven large continents of the globe, could be contained within the narrow limits of the abodes of each of these brothers (which is next to an impossibility).
The kadamba devotee replied:—
2. The essence of the intellect though so very vacuous in itself, is notwithstanding the most capacious and ubiquious of any thing in existence; and is present in its own nature with every thing, wherever it is known to exist.
3. The soul sees itself in the form of the triple world, and every thing besides in its different nature and figure, without changing itself to any one of them. (i.e. The soul remains unchanged in all the changeful scenes of nature).
4. But how do you attribute the quality of variety or multiplicity, to the purely simple and immutable nature of the Supreme soul, as you see them appertaining to the intrinsic character of everything else in nature. (Or as Pope says:—That changed through all, yet in all the same; great in the earth, as in the etherial frame).
The kadamba devotee replied:—
5. The sphere of the intellectual vacuum, is all quiet and serene, and there is nothing as any variety or multiformity in it; the changes that are apparent in its face, are no more, than the waves and eddies, whirling on the surface of the changeless main.
6. It is in the immensity of intellectual vacuity, that infinite creations seem to be continually purling about, as the rising waves are seen to be whirling in the sea; and it is in its fathomless depth that they appear to sink, like the waters subsiding in the hollow of the deep.
7. The substantial forms of things, that rise in the unsubstantial essence of the intellect, are as the various forms of substances, seen in the dreaming state of the soul, and all which are utterly forgotten in its state of sound sleep—susupti.
8. As a Hill seen in dream is no hill at all, and as things appearing to be in motion in dreaming, are found afterwards to be perfectly motionless; so are all things in nature but mere unrealities, and though as real from the real nature of soul itself. (i.e. It is the intellect that fashions everything in its own manner, and its imagination gives a form to an airy nothing).
9. The intellect is an immaterial substance, and neither creates nor perceives any thing material by itself; but conceives everything as it is manifested to it in its idea in the beginning. (i.e. The ideas of things are inborn in the mind).
10. As the intellect sees a great variety of objects in [its] dream, which it takes for realities for the time; so its belief in the reality of its ideas, causes it to conceive them as real entities.
11. The vacuous intellect, which glitters of itself in its own state of transparence; comes to find the world shinning in the same light within itself. (i.e. The world is subjective with the intellect, and not a part from our intellectual light of the same).
12. As we have the consciousness of heat in the fire, even when it is seen in a dream; so we are conscious of the presence of everything in our minds, even in the absence of the thing itself from us. (It was thus that the Brahman brothers were conscious of their lordship, even in their want of the realms themselves).
13. And as we have the idea of the solidity of a pillar, from our dream of it in sleep; so have we the idea of the great variety of things in existence; although there is no diversity or difference in the nature of the One unvaried unity that pervades the whole. (And that shows its unchangeable self, as many and changed through all—Aham-bahusyam).
14. In the beginning all substances were as pure and simple, as the essence of their maker by and after which they were made; and they still continue to be in the same state of their ideal purity, as they were originally made out of that airy entity and unity.
15. As the tree is diversified in the various forms of its roots and fruits, and its leaves, flowers and the trunk; so is the Supreme unity varied in all and everywhere in his selfsame and undivided essence.
16. It is in the fathomless ocean of the Supreme essence, that the immensity of creation is subsisting like the waters of the deep; and it is in the boundless space of that transcendent vacuum, that the infinity of the worlds have been rolling on, in their original vacuous and apparently visible forms.
17. The transcendental and comprehensible i.e. the immaterial soul and the material world, are but commutual terms as the tree and arbour, and their difference lies in the intelligibleness of the one and unintelligibility of the other; but true intelligence leads us to the unconceivable One, while our ignorance of the same, deludes us to the knowledge of many, and tends to our distress only. (True happiness in our reliance on the unknown One only).
18. The mundane and supermundane is surely the One and same thing, according to the deduction of spiritual philosophy; and the knowledge of this sublime truth, is sure to lead one to his ultimate liberation.
19. The world is the product of the will of God, and the will is a power or faculty appertaining to the personality of the Deity; and the same being transmuted to the form of the world, it is proved that the world is the formal part of the Supreme soul. (Whose body nature is, and God the soul).
20. He whom no words can define, and yet who defines the senses of words; who is subject to no law or prohibition, or to any state or condition of being, but appoints them for all sorts of beings, is indeed the only Lord of all.
21. He that is ever silent but speaks through all, who is inactive as a rock but acts in all; who is always existent and appears as inexistent, is the Supreme Lord of all.
22. That subtile essence that constitutes the solidity of all gross bodies, and remains undecayed in all frail bodies, is the pure Brahma himself; He has no volition or nolition of creation or destruction, and there is no possession or want of the property of anything.
23. It is the one and invariable soul, that rests always in its state of rest and sleep, and perceives the succession of creation and destruction of the world, in its alternate states of dream and sound sleep, which present themselves as two pictures before its sight.
24. It is also in the substratum of the intellect, that unnumbered worlds seem to rise and set in succession;they appear as passing pictures before the mind, without being rooted or painted therein.
25. As the mixing of one thing with another, produces a different effect in the mixture; so doth the union of the mind with the organs of sense, cause a variety of impressions to be imprinted in the intellect. (So the commixture of curd and sugar creates a different flavour in the condiment, gloss).
26. All things have their existence in the essence of the intellect only, without which nothing is knowable to any body; hence there is nothing anew in nature, except its being but a representation of the original idea in the mind (and this is evident from the identity and similarity of the ectypes with its antitypes, gloss).
27. Hence our consciousness of the identity of things with the essence of our intellect, proves them to be as immaterial and immovable as their fixed ideas in the mind.
28. Thus the world which is so visible and perceptible to us, is nothing but a mere nullity in reality; and whatever appears as existing herein, together with the great gods and angels, are no more than the false visions in our dream and fancy.
29. We see the various fluctuations and phenomena, rising in the waters of the vast ocean of the intellect; and appearing in the forms of our joy and grief, and those of moving and unmoving bodies in creation.
30. O that the nature and course of the world, should so obscure the bright mirror of the intellect; as to hide it under the dirt of our passions, and cover it under the clouds and snows of our ignorance.
31. As spectres and dissolving views appear in the air, before the sight of the dimsighted; so doth this shadow of the world appear as substance, to the view of the unspiritual myopist.
32. Whatever we imagine, the same we find, and seem to enjoy for the time; and as we are delighted with the view of our imaginary city, so do we indulge ourselves in the sight of this air-drawn utopia of the world.
33. As we seem to enjoy our ecstasy, in the fairy land of our fancy; so we are betaken by the delusion of this unreal world, under the belief of its reality.
34. There is one eternal destiny, which ever runs apace in its wonted course; and destines all beings to continue in their allotted careers as ever before.
35. It is destiny that produces the moving bodies from living beings, and the motionless ones from the unmoving; it is that predestination which has destined the downward course of water and fluids, and the upward motion of the flames of fire.
36. It is that blind impulse, that impels the members of the body to their respective actions; and makes the luminous bodies to emit their light; it causes the winds to wind about in their continuous course, and makes the mountains to stand unmoved in their proper places.
37. It makes the luminaries of heaven, to roll on in their regular revolutions, and causes the rains and dews of the sky, to pour down in their stated seasons; and it is this eternal destiny that directs the courses of years, ages and cycles, and the whole curricle of time to run its wonted course.
38. It is the divine ordinance, that has ordained the limits of the earth and the distant ocean and seas, and has fixed the position of the hills and rocks in them; it has allotted the natures and powers of all things, and prescribed the laws of rights and duties for all and every one.
39. The reminiscence of the scenes of past life, occurs in the present state of existence, in the forms of our imagination and of desire for the same; and these inward thoughts become the gist and marrow to frame our lives in their fashion; but tell me sir, how could the first created beings in the beginning of creation could have any reminiscence, whereupon their lives and natures were moulded.
The devotee replied:—
40. All these that offer themselves to our view, are quite unprecedented and without their original patterns in the mind, and resemble the sight of our own death that we happen to see in a dream. It is the omniscience of Brahma, that caused the first creation, and not his memory of the past as it is with us and other created beings.
41. It is the nature of our intellect, to represent the imaginary city of the world in its empty vacuity; it is neither a positive reality, nor a negative unreality either; being now apparent and now lost to sight by itself.
42. It is the clearness of the intellect, which represents the imaginary world in the manner of a dream; but the pure vacuous intellect, neither sees nor bears the remembrance of the world in itself. (It is the sight of a thing, that leaves its traces in the mind afterwards; but when there is no sight of a thing, there can be no remembrance of it).
43. The wise that are devoid of joy and grief, and remain unchanged in prosperity and adversity; are men of right integrity and equanimity in their nature, and move on as equably as the wheel of fortune leads them onward.
44. As the intellect retains in it, the remembrance of what it has seen in its dream;so does it bear in itself the false impression of this triple world to its end.
45. It is only the reflection of our consciousness, which passes under the name of the world; now knowing the nature of your consciousness as mere vacuousness, you will blot out the impression of the world also.
46. That which is all and everything, and from which all have issued and in which they exist; know that All as all which fills all space, wherein all things are situated.
47. I have thus fully explained to you, how you may come to know this creation as its creator—the Great Brahma Himself; and have also expounded to you the means, whereby you may get rid of your impression of the phenomenal world.
48. Now rise ye Brahmans and repair to your abodes, as the bees resort to their cells and calyxes of lotuses at the dusk of the day; go and perform your evening services, while I remain here in my pensive meditation, and absorbed in my spiritual ecstasy forever.