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 CCV - Refutation of the doctrine of the causality of creation

Argument:—The existence of the world in its spiritual sense, and nullity of its creation, destruction and material existence.

Rama rejoined:—

1. If it is so, sir, that the whole plenum is vacuum, as the phenomenon in our dreams; it must follow therefrom, that the world we see in our wakings is vacuity also, and there can be no doubt in it.

2. But tell me sir, in answer to this important question of mine; how the formless and bodiless intellect appears to become embodied in all these various forms of bodies, that we see in the state of our waking dream. (i.e. The vanishing visions of our sleeping dreams, prove them to be quite vacuous and nil; but not so the lasting scenes of our waking state which appear to be substantially positive; and how does the negative intellect assume this positive form).

Vasishtha replied:—

3. Rama, the visibles that appear to view in our waking dream by day light, are all vacuous bodies; owing to their being born, resting and supportance in empty vacuity; hence you cannot on any reason doubt about their vacuousness (whose or when their production, sustentation, substance and supportance, do all depend on the infinite and all comprehending vacuum, which is the very attribute of the unity of the formless deity. Gloss).*

* Note.—According to Vasishtha, Byam, Beom or vacuum, is possest of all the attributes of Brahm Godhead, in its unity, infinity, eternity, incorporeality and formlessness, as also in its omnipresence, omnipotence in its supporting the worlds and in the omniscience of the vacuous intellect.

4. This infinite and eternal void, being entirely devoid of all the material causes (i.e. earth, air, water and fire, which are necessary for the production of anything); it is impossible that creation could come out from this nothing in the beginning. (Ex nihilo nihil fit).

5. And as the formless intellect could not bring forth the earth &c., for the formation of solid bodies; it is impossible to believe this phenomenal appearance, to have its real existence in nature. (The subtile mind cannot make or become any solid body).

6. Therefore the airy intellect sees the visibles in the day time, in the manner that it sees the visions in its dreams by night. It sees them all rising, in their intellectual light within itself; but appearing as real and formal objects, set without it by its delusion. (Maya or Illusion).

7. It is the reflection of the workings of the intellectual soul, that appears as real within the hollow sphere of the intellect; it resembles the representations of the memory in the mind in our sleep, and takes the name of the visible world.

8. It is the clear perception of these intellectual representations, in the vacuum of the mind only, that is styled by us as a vision or dream, while it is the gross conception of them in the mind, that is called the gross or material world.

9. It is thus the different views, of the same internal thought and ideas, have different names and appellations, given to them by the very intellect itself; the finer and purer ones being called as thoughts, and the grosser ones, as sensible and material objects.

10. Thus it is the same reflection of the intellectual, which takes the names both of the dream as also of the world; the working of the mind and its reflection in itself are natural to intellect, and though the visions subside with the disappearance of the dream upon waking, yet the working and reflecting of the mind are never at rest, either in waking or dreaming.

11. Many such visions of creation rise and set alternately, in the vacuity of Brahma's mind, and are never apart from it; just as the empty air is either in motion or at rest in the hollow of the great void, and always inseparable from it. (Hence the air, vision, dream &c., are all void, and the world is but a phantom in it).

Rama said:—

12. Sir, you have spoken of millions of worlds to me before;tell me now which of them are situated within the sphere of the mundane egg, and which of them are beyond this egg (or supermundane ones).

13. Which of them are the terrestrial globes and which the vacuous spheres; which of them are igneous bodies in the sphere of fire, and what are the airy bodies in the regions of air.

14. Which are the superfices of the earth, situated in the midst of vacuity; of which the hills and forests set at the antipodes, are opposed to one another on both sides, and hang up and down perpendicular in empty air.

15. Which are the aerial bodies with their living souls, and which the inhabitants of darkness with their darksome shapes; what are they that are formed of vacuum only, and what can they be, whose bodies are full of worms and insects.

16. What sorts of beings settle the etherial sphere, and what are they that live in the midst of rocks and stones; what are they that dwell in the vessels and basins of water, and what be they that people the air like the aerial fowls of air.

17. Tell me, O thou greatest of philosophers, how this mundane egg of ours is situated among them. (These are questions of cosmogony, and bear no relation to theology).

Vasishtha replied:—

18. These wondrous unknown, unseen and unheard of worlds, are mentioned and described in the sastras with their exemplifications also; and they have been received and believed as true by their students.

19. Rama, the cosmology of the world, has been described—given by gods and sages, in hundreds of their sastras called the Agamas; all of which you are well acquainted with.

20. Now as you are well acquainted with the descriptions, that are given of them in the sastras; it is not necessary to relate them again in this place. (The cosmology of the world has been given before in the narrative of Lila).

Rama rejoined:—

21. Tell me yet, O Venerable sir, how the great void of the intellect came to be produced from divine spirit; tell moreover its extent and duration in time and space.

Vasishtha replied:—

22. The great God Brahma, is without beginning and ever existent and without decay; there is no beginning, midst nor end of him, nor are there any shapes of figures in his transcendent vacuum.

23. The vacuum of Brahma is without its beginning and end, and is spread unspent and unbounded to all eternity; it is this which makes the universe, which is ever without its beginning and end.

24. The reflection of the intellectual vacuum in its own vacuity, is called the universe by itself to no purpose (by itself or the human mind, which views the world in the wrong light of creation, and not as the Divine Mind itself. gloss).

25. As a man sees a fair city in his dream by night, so is the sight of this world to him, in his dream by day light. (The Sanskrit word Bhano in the text meaning reflection, corresponds with the Greek Phano to see, and hence phantom or false sights).

26. Think not the solid rock to have any solidity in it, nor the fluid waters any fluidity in them; do not think the empty firmament to be a vacuity, nor the passing time to have any flight or counting of it. (All these are seemingly so, but they are nothing in reality).

27. All things are fixed in their formless, invariable and ideal states in the divine intellect; but it is the fallacious and fickle nature of the human mind, to give and view them in different forms, according to its own fancy.

28. The mind views the non-created eternal ideas of the intellect, as created objects before its sight, just as it sees rocks where there are no rocks, and the sky in a skyless place in its dream.

29. As the formless and insensible mind, sees the formal world in its sleep, as if it were in its waking state; so does it see the invisible and formless world in its visible form, during its waking hours of the day also.

30. As the motion of air always takes place amidst the air at rest (i.e. as the winds fluctuate amidst the still air); so also doth the spirit of Brahma, oscillate in his own spirit incessantly, and without its rise or fall.

31. This world resides in the same manner in the divine spirit of Brahma as the property of fluidity is inherent in water; and vacuity appertains to vacuum; and as substantiality is essential to all substances in the abstract.

32. The world is neither adventitious nor extraneous to the soul, and does not occur to or transpire from it, in the life or deaths of any body; it is causeless and comes from no cause, and is neither joined with nor set separate from the divine spirit.

33. The One that has no beginning nor end; nor has any indication of itself; that is formless and is of the manner of the intellectual vacuum only, can never become the cause of the visible and material creation. (Therefore the world is to be supposed to exist in its ideal and immaterial form, in the vacuity of the divine intellect).

34. Thus as the forms and features of a whole body, are but parts and properties of its entirety tout ensemble; so is this vacuous world situated, in the undivided and formless vacuity of Brahma ("as parts of one undivided whole", Pope).

35. All this is a hiatus and quietus, without its support and substratum, it is but pure intelligence, without any grossness or foulness herein; there is no entity nor nonentity here, nor can anything be said to exist or not exist (independent of the Divine Mind).

36. All this is but an air drawn city, of our imagination and dream; and everything here, appears to be stretched out in a fairy dance all about us; but in reality it is only a calm and quiet vacuity, full with the unchanging and undecaying spirit of God.

37. The whole is the hollowness of the divine heart, and the vacuous sphere of the Omniscient Intellect; it is its intellection, that reflects many a transparent image in its own sphere and to no end. This it is which is called the world or the image of the divine soul, which continues forever and ever (as is said—the world without end. Amen).