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 CXCVII - Excellence of universal toleration

Argument:—Sama-darsana or equanimity agreeing with stoic fortitude under all the various shades of its meaning, elaborately treated here.

Vasishtha continued:—

Hear me Rama, to tell you again for the perfection of your understanding (after what I have said already in praise of the virtue of equanimity); because the repetition of a lesson, serves to impress it the more in the memory of inattentive persons.

2. Rama! I have told you before about the existence of the world, after I had related to you in length regarding its creation or production; whereby you have come to know, that both the appearance and subsistence of the world (i.e. its coming to and being in existence), are mere fallacies of our understanding.

3. I have next explained to you also, in the Upasama-Prakarana or my lecture on Insouciance, of the necessity of observing and maintaining a total indifference in regard to the whole creation (which is here repeated as leading to our nirvana or lukewarmness in this our living state).

4. In my discourse on indifference, I have described to you the different stages of nonchalance; the attainment of the highest pitch of which, will conduce ultimately to your obtaining the blissfulness of the nirvana numbness, which is treated of in this book on anaesthesia.

(From the stage of Upasama or allaying of all excitements to that of upasanti or absence of excitability, there are some intermediate states spoken of before).

5. You shall have here to hear (or learn) from me, regarding the manner in which the learned are to conduct themselves in this phenomenal world, after they have learnt and obtained, whatever there is to be known and obtainable herein (i.e. after their attainment of divine knowledge and wisdom).

6. A man having received his birth in this world, should habituate himself from his boyhood, to view the phenomenals as they are of themselves, and without any concern with himself; in order to have his security and happiness apart from all others. (i.e. Constrain yourself to yourself, and without any concern of yours with any).

7. Regard all in the one and same light with yourself, and observe a universal benevolence towards all beings, and then placing your reliance in your own equanimity, conduct yourself safely and securely every where.

8. Know the plan of your even-mindedness, to be productive of the fruits of purest and most delicious taste; and bearing the blossoms of unbounded prosperity, and the flowers of our unfading good fortune.

9. Meekness of disposition, yields the fruit of universal benevolence, and makes the prosperity of the whole world wait at its service. (Blessed are the meek; for they shall enjoy all the blessing &c.).

10. Neither the possession of a kingdom on earth, nor the enjoyment of the best beauties herein; can yield that undecaying and essential happiness, which is derived from the equanimity of the meek.

11. The utmost limit of a cool disposition, and the entire want of all anxious cares, are the two antidotes that set at naught the fervour and vapours of sorrow from the human mind.

12. It is very rare to meet a person, amidst the spheres of all these worlds; who is fraught with the ambrosia of cool insouciance, who is friendly to his enemies and whose enemies are his friends, and who looks on all alike as he does to himself.

13. The mind of the enlightened man, shines as brightly as the luminous moon; and dazzles with drops of ambrosial dews; the sages all lived to drink the cooling draught of immortality, as you learn from the lives of the royal sage Janaka and others of immortal fame.

14. The man practising his demureness, has his faults described as his qualities, his sorrows seem as his pleasure (i.e. he rejoices in his misery); and his death is eternal life unto him.

15. Samyam or stoicism is ever accompanied, with a good grace, good lot and placidness;all of which are constant attendants on the stoic sage, as faithful wives fondly cling to the sides of their beloved husbands.

16. Equanimity is the perpetual prosperity of the soul, and not the transitory hilarity of the mind; therefore there is no treasure (i.e. spiritual bliss) whatsoever, which is a stranger to the meekness of spirit.

17. He that is honest in all his dealings, and steady in his own profession; and liberal in his mind (i.e. taking no heed of the faults of others); is a man as valuable as richest gems, and is deemed and desired by all as gods upon earth. (Because men with godly virtues, are deemed and deified as gods).

18. The even minded man, that is righteous and upright in all his doings and dealings, who is magnanimous in his soul and benevolent in his mind;such a man is neither burnt by fire, nor ever soiled or sullied by water (i.e. nothing can alter the even tenor of his mind and the smoothness of his conduct).

19. Who can foil that man that does what is right, and observes things in their true light; who is not susceptible of joy or grief (but goes on in the even course of his life).

20. The righteous and unflinching man, is relied upon and esteemed by all his friends and enemies also; he is honoured by his king and master, and loved by all wise men with whom he has any dealing.

21. The wise and even sighted men are of indifferent minds, and do not try to flee from evil, nor rejoice to receive any good; they are content with whatever comes to pass upon them, as aught of good or bad, they care for naught.

22. These meek minded men are unmindful of any good or desirable thing, which they may happen either to lose or leave from them; because they have to resort to the happy state of their equanimity (Samata or stoic sameness); of which no calamity or chance can deprive them.

23. Men enjoying the felicity of equanimity, laugh to scorn at the tribulations of the world; and live uninjured under all the varying circumstances of life; they are venerated by the gods also, for the invariable samata or sameness of their minds, (as those of the gods themselves).

24. If the (unfavourable) course of events, ever happened to ruffle the countenance of the forbearing man; yet the inward equanimity of his mind, serves to shed the ambrosial beams, of a placid moon light within himself.

25. Whatever the even minded man acts or does for himself, and whatsoever he says in opprobrium of the misdeeds of others; are all lauded with applause by the majority of men (who like to see the goodness of others, and to learn of and correct their own faults).

26. Whatever good or evil is known or seen to be done by the impartial observer, at any time whether past or present; are all approved of by the public (under the impression of their being done for common good).

27. The man that sees all things in the same light (of indifference), is never displeased or dejected in his countenance at any calamity or danger, that may betide him at any time.

28. The prince Sibi of old, is recorded in history to have passed pieces of flesh from his own body, and to have fed a hawk therewith, in order to save the life of a captive pigeon from his claws. (This is an instance of samadristi or fellow feeling even towards the brute creation).

29. Again mind the impassible prince, who did not sink into despondence seeing his beloved consort to be maltreated before his sight. (This is an instance of unimpressible fortitude).

30. Mind also how the king of Trigarta, offered his only son who was accomplished and successful in all his desires to the horrible Rakshasa; upon his being vanquished by the fiend, at a certain wager he had laid with him.

31. Look at the great king Janaka, how he remained undismayed and undejected, at the burning of his well decorated city of Mithila.

32. Look at the quiet and submissive prince of Salyadesa, how he calmly struck off his head from his body, as if it were the plucking off of a lotus leaf or flower from its stem, in order to satisfy the demand of a deity for the same.

33. The Sauvira sovereign, who had won the big Airavata elephant of the god Indra, in a combat with him; made at last a gift of him to the very god, with as much unconcern, as one offers a heap of white kundu flowers, or huge heaps of rotten straws upon the sacrificial fire.

34. You have heard how the elephant named kundapa, employed his trunk in sympathy to the Brahman's kine, in lifting them from being plunged in the mud; and afterwards devoted his body to the service of the Brahman;wherefore he was taken up to heaven in a celestial car.

35. Let your continued observance of toleration, preserve you from acts of intolerance, which tend at best to the oppression of others; and know that the spirit of intolerance, is as the goblin of the kadamba forest (whose business was the havoc and depredation of all living beings). (i.e. By want of forbearance, you make yourself an enemy to all, and make them as enemies to you).

36. Remember the young and gentle Jadabharata, who by the natural hebetude of his mind, devoured the firebrand that was thrown into his almspot, thinking as a piece of meat, and without any injury to himself (To the meek and tolerant, a furnace of fire, becomes a bed of roses and flowers).

37. Think of the soberminded kura, who notwithstanding his following the profession of a huntsman all his lifetime, was at last translated to heaven, and placed by the souls of the righteous men after his demise.

38. Think of the listlessness and want of concupiscence, in the person of the royal sage Kapardana, who being seated in the garden of paradise in his youth, and beset by celestial damsels all about, felt no desire for any of them.

39. Know how many princes and Lords of peoples have from the unperturbed apathy of their souls, resigned their realms and society of mankind, and betaken themselves to lonely forests and solitary caves of Vindhyan Mountains, and there spent their lives in motionless torpidity.

40. Think of the great sages and saints, and of divine and devoted adepts, who were adored by even the gods, for the steadiness of their holy devotion, that have passed away in the observance of their rigid and unruffled vows of an universal indifference.

41. Call to your mind the instances of many a monarch, of ordinary men and of base and mean huntsmen also, that have been honoured in all ages and countries, for their observance of an unimpressed equality in all states and circumstances of their lives.

42. All intelligent men strictly observed the rule, of preserving their equanimity in their course through life; whether it be for the achievement of their acts for this life or the next, as also for the success of their understandings of every kind.

43. They neither long for longevity nor desire their death in difficulties; but live as long as they have to live, and act as they are called to act, without any grudge or murmur.

44. It is the business of the wise man, to conduct himself in the career of his life, with a contented mind and placid countenance, both in his favourable and unfavourable circumstances, as well as in the happiness or misery of himself or others.