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 CCIV - Identity of abstract intellectuality and vacuity

Argument:—The abstraction and intellection of all knowledge, merging in the infinite vacuum.

Vasishtha resumed and said:—

1. Hear me moreover, O Rama, to tell thee, a few words on transcendental knowledge, that the mirror of the mind shines more brightly, by expurgation of the external images that are reflected on it, than when it is eclipsed by those outward shadows. (i.e. Wipe off visibles from the mind).

2. Again the significant words that [are] the symbols of the objects of our knowledge, are as insignificant as the hissing murmurs of waters and waves, and the phenomenal is but a semblance of the noumenal, as a dream is the rechauffe or reflection of the mind, and the visible world, is but a recast of the visionary dream.

3. The waking state is that of dreaming, and its scenes are those of our dreams; and presenting themselves before us in both these states from our remembrance of them: they are the inward concept of our consciousness, and appearing to be situated without it. (i.e. They are the innate ideas of our minds, and not perceptions of our outward organs of sense).

4. As I am conscious of the clearness of my intellectual sphere, notwithstanding the view of the fairy lands in its state of dreaming;so I find my mind, to be equally clear in my waking also of all its imaginary forms of the three worlds and their contents, which in reality [are] a formless vacuity only.

Rama rejoined:—

5. If all things are formless amidst the formless void of the universe, as in empty vacuity of the intellect; then tell me sir, whence arise these endless shapes and forms, as those [of] earth, water, fire and those of these hills, rocks and pebbles?

6. Tell me why the elements are of different forms and qualities and why the empty air, space and time have no forms nor properties of theirs; what makes the wind so very fleet, and what is the cause of the motions and actions of waving bodies.

7. How came the sky to be a vacuum only, and why is the mind of the same nature also; these are all the various natures and properties of things, [that] require to be well explained from my knowledge therein.

Vasishtha replied:—

8. You have well asked these questions, Rama, as they naturally suggest themselves to every inquirer after truth; but tell me in one word, why do you see the varieties of earth and sky, as well as of all other things that you see in your dream.

9. Whence do you see the waters in your sleep, and how are the pebbles scattered about you in your dream; why do you see the flaming fires in your vision, and all sides of heaven appearing before your sight.

10. Say how you have the idea of time in your dreaming, and perceive the actions and motions of persons and things at that time; and tell me from where do all those accidents proceed, that you see to occur in your sleeping and dreaming moments.

11. What is it that creates, produces and gives the formless dream its fascinating form, and then dissolves it to nothing at last; you find it produced and presented to your view, but cannot say how it acts and of what stuff it is composed.

Rama replied:—

12. The dream of the dreaming world, has no form nor position of its own; its soul and substance is mere void, and the earth and rocks which it presents to sight, are nil and in nubibus (and leave not a rack behind).

13. The vacuous soul only, is its sole cause, which is likewise as formless and supportless like itself; The formless void is never in need of a support for it.

14. Nothing whatsoever of it is ever produced, nor bear any relation with our consciousness; they are the reflections of the intellect only, and are situated in the recess of the mind.

15. The mind is the evolution of the intellect, which reflects the images of things in the form of ideas upon the mind; hence the notions of time and space, and of air, water, hills and mountains, are all reflections of the intellect upon the mind.

16. Our consciousness is also a void, and receives the impressions of vacuum in the form of its vacuity; and those of the stone, air and water, in the forms of their solidity, fluidity and liquidity. (i.e. The vacuous mind receives and retains only the abstract ideas of all concrete bodies in the universe).

17. In reality there is nothing as the earth or any solid body or its form or sight in existence; but they all exist in their abstract states in the great void of the intellect, and are equally void in their natures with itself.

18. In fact there is nothing in reality, nor anything which is visible to sight, there is only the infinite vacuity of intellect, which represents all things in itself, and is identic with all of them.

19. The intellect has the notion of solidity, in the abstract in it; and thereby conceives itself in the forms of the earth, rocks and hills. (The idea or conception of solidity, gives rise to the perception of solid bodies, and not the perception of solids, that produces the abstract idea of their solidity; or that the innate ideas, give birth to appearances in the concrete).

20. So by its conception of oscillation and fluidity, it perceives the form of air and water in itself; and so also by its inward conception of heat, it feels the fire in itself without forsaking its intellectual form.

21. Such is the nature of this intellectual principle, in its airy and vacuous form of the spirit, soul or mind; that developes itself in all these various modalities and schemes, without any cause or incentive. (These modes or states of being, are here called nishkaranaguna, and Akarana gunotpannaguna in Nyaya philosophy, and same with the Vibhu-nishthaguna of Vedanta; all meaning them to be the increate and eternal qualities or attributes of the supreme soul or deity).

22. There is nothing any where in nature, beside these intellectual attributes of itself; as there is no sky or vacuum without its vacuity, nor the vast expanse of the ocean, devoid of the body of waters in it.

23. Know then there is nothing else anywhere, nay not even the sense of thyself or myself or any other, except in the recess of intellectual vacuity; so commit thyself to that all teeming void; and remain quite sedate in thyself.

24. As you see the earth and heaven and all their contents, in thy dream and creation of thy fancy, in the recess of thy mind and in the midst of this house of thine; so should you behold everything in their incorporeal forms to be contained in the ample space of the infinite vacuum of the divine intellect and its all-knowing intelligence.

25. The vacuum of the intellect shines forth as the substratum of all bodies, but without a body of its own in the beginning of creation; because nothing having any prior material cause for its corporeal existence, it is the intellect alone which must be understood, to exhibit all formal existence in its vacuous space and to our ignorance.

26. Know your immaterial mind, understanding and egoism, together with the material existences of the elemental bodies, these hills, skies and all others, to be situated as dull and dumb stones, in the quiet, calm and clear sphere of the infinite intellect.

27. Thus you see there is nothing produced nor destroyed, nor anything, that may be said to exist of itself; this world as it appears to exist, exists in this very form (of its immateriality); in the vacuity of the divine intellect.

28. It is the sunshine of the intellect, that manifests the world in its visible shape and form; as the sunlight shows the hidden objects of darkness to view, and as the fluidity of water, gives rise to the waves and bubbles.

29. This appearance of the world, is no real appearance; it is the representation of the intellectual vacuum only, in its true and proper senses and light, as it is viewed by the wise; though the ignorant may view it in any light as they please.