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 CLXXXVI - Demonstration of all nature (and thing) as brahma himself

Argument:—Elucidation of the sacred text that "all is Brahma"; and the equality of curse.

Valmiki said:—

1. [Sanskrit available]
After Kunda-danta had finished his saying in the said manner, the venerable Vasishtha delivered his edifying speech on spiritual knowledge and said:

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Whereas the elevated soul of this person, has found his rest in the paradise of spiritual philosophy; he will see the world like a globe in his hand, and glowing with the glory of the great God.

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The phenomenal world is a false conception, it is verily the increate Brahma himself shining in this manner; this erroneous conception is the very Brahma, that is one and ever calm and undecaying.

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Whatever thing appears any where, in any state, form or dimension; it is the very Deity, showing himself in that condition of his being, form and mode of extension.

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This unborn or self-existent Deity, is ever auspicious, calm and quiet; he is undecaying, unperishing and immutable, and extends through all extent, as the extensive and endless space.

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Whatever state of things he proposes in his all-knowing intellect, the same is disposed by him in a thousand ways, like the branching out of a plant in the rains.

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The great mundane egg, is situated as a particle in the bosom of the great intellect of God; and this world of ours is a particle also, being comprised in a grain of our brains.

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Know therefore, my good friend, thy intellectual sphere to be boundless, and without its beginning or end; and being absorbed in the meditation of thy personal extinction, do thou remain as quiet as thou art sitting, relying in thy unperturbed and imperishable soul.

9. [Sanskrit available]
Wherever there is anything in any state or condition in any part of the world, there you will find the presence of the divine spirit in its form of vacuity; and this without changing its nature of calm serenity, assumes to itself whatever form or figure it likes (or rather evolves them from within itself at its free will).

10. [Sanskrit available]
The spirit is itself both the view and its viewer; it is equally the mind and the body, and the subjective and objective alike; It is something and yet nothing at all, being the great Brahma or universal soul, that includes and extends throughout the whole.

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The phenomenal is not to be supposed as a duality of, or any other than the selfsame Brahma; but it is to be known as one and the same with the divine self, as the visible sky and its vacuity.

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The visible is the invisible Brahma, and the transcendent One is manifest in this apparent whole (because the noumenon shows the phenomenon, as this exhibits the other): therefore it is neither quiescent nor in motion, and the formal is altogether formless.

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Like dreams appearing to the understanding, do these visions present themselves to the view; the forms are all formless conceptions of the mind, and more intangible ideas of the brain.

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As conscious beings come to be unconscious of themselves, in their dormant state of sleep; so have all these living and intelligent beings, become unconscious and ignorant of themselves and their souls, and turned to torpid trees that are lost to their sensibility.

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But the intellect is capable to return to its sensibility, from its state of vegetable torpidity in time; as the dormant soul turns to see its dreams in sleep, and then to behold the vivid outer world after its wakening.

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Until the living soul is liberated from its charm of self delusion, it is subjected to view its guileful reveries of elemental bodies, appearing as a chain of airy dreams, before the mind's eye in sleep.

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The mind gathers the dross of dullness about it, as the soul draws the sheath of sleep upon itself; this dullness or dimness of apprehension is not intrinsic in the mind, but an extraneous schesis contracted by it from without.

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The intellect moulds the form of one, who is conversant with material and insensible things, into a motionless and torpid body; and it is the same intellect, which shapes the forms of others, that are conscious of their intellectual natures, into the bodies of rational and moving being. (The dull soul is degraded to the state of immovable things and rooted trees, but intelligent souls, are elevated to the rank of moving men and other locomotive animals).

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But all these moving and unmoving beings, are but different modifications and aspects of the same intellect; as the nails and other parts of the human body, are but the multifarious modalities of the same person.

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The order and nature of things has invariably continued the same, as they have been ordained by the Divine will ever since its first formation of the world; and because the creation is a transcript of its original mould in the Divine mind; it is as ideal as any working of imagination or a vision in dreaming, both in its states of being and not being.

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But the intangible and quiescent Brahma, is ever calm and quiet in his nature; he is never permeated with the nature of things, nor is he assimilated with the order of nature.

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He appears as the beginning and end of creation, or as the cause of its production and dissolution; but these are the mere dreams of the Divine intellect, which is always in its state of profound sleep and rest.

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The world is ever existent in his spiritual nature, and without any beginning or end of himself; the beginning and end of creation, bear no relation with his self-existent and eternal nature.

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There is no reality in the nature of the visible creation, or in its existence or dissolution; all these are no other than representations shown in the spirit of God, like figures described in a picture.

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As a legion drawn in painting, does not differ from its model in the mind of the painter; so these tangible objects of creation, with all other endless varieties, are not different from their prototype in the mind of God.

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Notwithstanding the want of any difference, between the noumenal and phenomenal worlds; yet the mind is prone to view the variance of its subjectivity and objectivity, as it is apt to differentiate its own doings and dreams, in the states of its sleep and ignorance. It is the profound sleep and insouciance of the soul, that cause its liberation from the view, as its sensibility serves to bind it the more to the bondage of the visibles.

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It is the reflection of the invisible soul, that exhibits the visible to view, just as the subtile sunbeam, displays a thousand solid bodies glaring in sight; and shows the different phases of creation and dissolution as in its visions in dreaming.

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The dreaming state of the sleeping intellect is called its ideality, and the waking state of the self-conscious soul is termed its vitality, as in the instances of men and gods and other intellectual beings.

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After passing from these, and knowing the unreality of both these imaginative and speculative states, the soul falls into its state of profound sleep or trance, which is believed as the state of liberation by those that are desirous of their emancipation.

Rama said:—

30. [Sanskrit available]
Tell me, O venerable sir, in what proportion doth the intellect abide in men, gods and demons respectively; how the soul reflects itself during the dormancy of the intellect in sleep, and in what manner does it contain the world within its bosom.

Vasishtha replied:—

31. [Sanskrit available]
Know the intellect to abide alike in gods and demons, as well as in all men and women; it dwells also in imps and goblins, and in all beasts and birds, reptiles and insects, including the vegetables and all immovable things (within its ample sphere).

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Its dimension is boundless and also as minute as an atom; and it stretches to the highest heaven, including thousands of worlds within itself.

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The capacity that we have of knowing the regions beyond the solar sphere, and even of penetrating into the darkness of polar circles; is all the quality of our intellect, which extends all over the boundless space, and is perfectly pellucid in its form and nature.

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So very great is the extent of the intellect, that it comprehends the whole universe in itself; and it is this act of his comprehension of the whole, that is called the mundane creation, which originates from it.

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The intellect spreads all around like the current of a river, which glides all along over the ground both high and low, leaving some parts of it quite dry, and filling others with its waters. So doth the intellect supply some bodies with intelligence, while it forsakes others and leaves them in ignorance.

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It is intelligence which constitutes the living soul of the body, which is otherwise said to be lifeless and insensible; it resides in all bodies like the air in empty pots, and becomes vivid in some and imperceptible in others as it likes.

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It is its knowledge of the soul (i.e. the intellectual belief in its spiritual), that removes the error of its corporeity; while the ignorance of its spiritual nature, tends the more to foster the sense of its corporeality, like one's erroneous conception of water in the mirage.

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The mind is as minute as the minutest ray of sunbeams; and this is verily the living soul, which contains the whole world within it.

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All this phenomenal world is the phenomenon of the mind, as it is displayed in its visionary dreams; and the same being the display of the living soul, there is no difference at all between the noumenal and the phenomenal.

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The intellect alone is assimilated into all these substances, which have substantiality of their own; whatever is seen without it, is like its visionary dream, or as the forms of jewelleries made of the substance of gold. (i.e. The intellect is the intrinsic essence of all external substances).

41. [Sanskrit available]
As the same water of the one universal ocean, appears different in different places; and in its multifarious forms of waves and billows; so doth the divine intellect exhibit the various forms of visibles in itself. (i.e. Nothing is without or different from the divine essence).

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As the fluid body of waters, rolls on incessantly in sundry shapes within the basin of the great deep; so do these multitudes of visible things, which are inherent in and identic with the divine intellect, glide on forever in its fathomless bosom.

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All these worlds are situated as statues, or they are engraved as sculptures in the aerial column of the divine intellect; and are alike immovable and without any motion of theirs through all eternity.

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We see the situation of the world, in the vacuous space of our consciousness; as we see the appearances of things in our airy dreams. We find moreover everything transfixed in its own sphere and place, and continuing in its own state, without any change of its position or any alteration in its nature. (The invariable course of nature, is not the fortuitous production of blind chance).

45. [Sanskrit available]
The exact conformity of everything in this world, with its conception in the mind of man, with respect to their invariable equality in form and property, proves their identity with one another, or the relation of one being the container of the other. (i.e. The mind is either same with or container of the world).

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There is no difference between the phenomenal and noumenal worlds, as there [is] none between those in our dream and imagination. They are in fact, the one and same thing, as the identity of the waters, contained in tanks, rivers and seas, and between the curse and blessing of gods.

Rama said:—

47. [Sanskrit available]
Tell me sir, whether a curse or blessing, is the effect of any prior cause or the causation of subsequent consequences;and whether it [is] possible for any effect to take place without its adequate causality. (Here is a long legend of the transformation of Nundi and Nahusha given in illustration of this passage in the commentary).

Vasishtha replied:—

48. [Sanskrit available]
It is the manifestation of the clear firmament of the divine intellect in itself, that is styled as the world; just as the appearance and motion of waters in the great deep, is termed the ocean and its current.

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The revolution of the eternal thoughts of the divine mind, resembles the rolling waves of the deep; and these are termed by sages, as the will or volitions of the ever wilful mind of God.

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The clear minded soul comes in course of time, to regard this manifestation of the divine will, in its true spiritual light; by means of its habitual meditation and reasoning, as well as by cause of its natural good disposition and evenness of mind.

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The wise man possest of consummate wisdom and learning, becomes acquainted with the true knowledge of things; his understanding becomes wholly intellectual, and sees all things in their abstract and spiritual light; and is freed from the false view of duality (or materiality).

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The philosophic intellect, which is unclouded by prejudice, is the true form of the Great Brahma himself; who shines perspicuous in our consciousness, and has no other body besides.

53. [Sanskrit available]
The enlightened soul sees this whole plenitude of creation, as the display of the Divine Will alone; and as the exhibition of the tranquil and transparent soul of the Divinity, and naught otherwise.

54. [Sanskrit available]
This manifestation of the Divine Will, in the boundless space of the universe; likens to the aerial castle of our imagination, or the city of palaces seen in our dream.

55. [Sanskrit available]
This all productive will, is selfsame with the Divine Soul; and produces whatever it likes to do any place or time. (Lit. Whatever it wills, the same takes place even then and there).

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As a boy thinks of his flinging stones, at the aerial castle of his imagination; so the Divine will is at liberty to scatter, myriads of globular balls, in the open and empty space of boundless vacuity.

57. [Sanskrit available]
Thus everything being the manifestation of the Divine will, in all these three worlds;there is nothing as a blessing or curse (i.e. good or evil) herein, which is distinct from the Divine Soul.

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As we can see in our fancy, the gushing out of oil from a sandy desert; so can we imagine the coming out of the creation, from the simple will of the Divine Soul.

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The unenlightened understanding, being never freed from its knowledge of particulars and their mutual differences: It is impossible for it to generalize good and evil, under the head of universal good. ("All partial evil is but universal good". Pope).

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Whatever is willed in the beginning, by the omniscience of God; the same remains unaltered at all times, unless it is altered by the same omniscient will.

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The contraries of unity and duality, dwell together in the same manner in the formless person of Brahma; as the different members of an embodied being, remain side by side in the same person. (The knowledge of all contrarieties, blends together in omniscience. Gloss).

Rama said:—

62. [Sanskrit available]
Why some ascetics of limited knowledge, are so very apt to confer their blessings, as also to pour their imprecations on others; and whether they are attended with their good or bad results or not.

Vasishtha replied:—

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Whatever is disposed in the beginning, by the Divine will which subsists in Brahma; the very same comes to pass afterwards, and nothing otherwise. (Lit. there is no other principle besides).

64. [Sanskrit available]
Brahma the Lord of creation, knew the Supreme Soul in himself, and thereby he became the agent of the Divine will; therefore there is no difference between them (i.e. betwixt Brahma and Brahma); as there is none between the water and its fluidity.

65. [Sanskrit available]
Whatsoever the lord of creatures—Brahma, proposes to do at first as inspired in him by the Divine will; the same takes place immediately, and the very same is styled this world.

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It has no support nor receptacle for itself, but appears as vacuous bubble in the great vacuity itself; and resembles the chain of pearls, fleeting before the eyes of purblind men in the open sky.

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He willed the productions of creatures, and institution of the qualities of justice, charity and religious austerities; He stablished the Vedas and sastras, and the five system of philosophical doctrines. (Namely; the four Vedas and the Smritis, forming the five branches of sacred knowledge, and the five branches of profane learning—consisting of the sankaya yoga, Patanjala, Pasupata, and Vaishnava systems. gloss).

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It is also ordained by the same Brahma, that whatever the devotees-learned in the Vedas, pronounce in their calmness or dispute, the same takes place immediately (from their knowledge of the Divine will).

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It is he that has formed the chasm of vacuum in the inactive intellect of Brahma, and filled it with the fleeting winds and heating fire; together with the liquid water and solid earth.

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It is the nature of this intellectual principle, to think of everything in itself; and to conceive the presence of the same within it, whether it be a thought of thee or me or of anything beside (either in general or particular).

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Whatever the vacuous intellect thinks in itself, the same it sees present before it; as our actual selves come to see, the unreal sights of things in our dreams.

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As we see the unreal flight of stones, as realities in our imagination; so we see the false appearance of the world, as true by the will of God, and the contrivance of Brahma.

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Whatever is thought of by the pure intellect, must be likewise of a purely intellectual nature also; and there is nothing that can do it otherwise (or convert it to grossness), as they defile the pure metal with some base alloy.

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We are apt to have the same conceptions of things in our consciousness, as we are accustomed to consider them, and not of what we are little practiced to think upon; hence we conceive all that we see in our dreams to be true, from our like conceptions of them in our waking state. (It is thus that we conceive this purely ideal world as a gross body, from our habit of thinking so at all times).

75. [Sanskrit available]
It is by uniting one's intellectuality, with the universal and divine intellect, and by the union of the subjective and objective and their perceptibility in one's self, by means of the triputi yoga, that we can see the world in its true light.

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One universal and vacuous intellect, being all pervading and omnipresent, is the all seeing subject and all seen objects by itself;hence whatever is seen or known to be anywhere, is the very verity of the intellect and no other.

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As oscillation is inherent in air, and fluidity is immanent in water; so is amplitude intrinsical in Brahma, and the plentitude is innate in the Divine mind.

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Even I am Brahma also in his self manifest form of Virat, which embodies the whole world as its body; hence there is no difference of the world from Brahma, as there is none between air and vacuity.

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As the drops of water as a cataract, assume many forms and run their several ways; so the endless works of nature take their various forms and courses, at different places and times.

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All beings devoid of their senses and understanding, issue as waters of the waterfall, from the cascade of the divine mind; and remain forever in their uniform courses, with the consciousness of their existence in Brahma.

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But such as come forth from it, with the possession of their senses and intellects in their bodies, deviate in different ways like the liquid waters, in pursuit of their many worldly enjoyments.

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They are then insensibly led, by their want of good sense, to regard this world as theirs (i.e. the sphere of their actions, [Sanskrit: karmabhatdit]); being ignorant of its identity with the uncreated spirit of God.

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As we see the existence and distribution of other bodies in us, and the inertness of stones in our bodies; so the Lord perceives the creation and annihilation of the world, and its inertia in himself.

84. [Sanskrit available]
As in our state of sleep we have both our sound sleep and our dreams also; so doth the divine soul perceive the creation as well as its annihilation, in its state of perfect rest and tranquillity.

85. [Sanskrit available]
The divine soul perceives in its state of tranquillity, the two phases of creation and destruction, succeeding one another as its day and night; just as we see our sleep and dreams recurring unto us like darkness and light.

86. [Sanskrit available]
As a man sees in his mind, both the dream of moving bodies as well as immovable rocks in his sleep; so does the Lord perceive the ideas, both of the stable and unstable in his intellectual tranquillity. (i.e. It is possible for the intellect to conceive the ideas of gross bodies also).

87. [Sanskrit available]
As a man of absent mind, has no heed of the dust flying on any part of his body; so the divine spirit is not polluted, by his entertaining the ideas of gross bodies within itself.

88. [Sanskrit available]
As the air and water and stones, are possessed of the consciousness of their airy, watery and solid bodies, so are we conscious of our material, intellectual and spiritual bodies likewise.

89. As the mind that is freed from seeing the objects of sight, and liberated from entertaining all their thoughts and desires also, flows along like a stream of limpid waters; so doth the current of the divine spirit glide on eternally, with the waves and eddies of creation and dissolution, perpetually rolling on and whirling therein.

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