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 CCVII - Replies to the aforesaid queries (of the buddhist)

Argument:—Desultory replies of the sage to the foregoing questions in the three following chapters.

Vasishtha replied:—

Hear me prince, and I will clearly expound to you the doctrine, which will root out your doubts all at once.

2. All these entities in the world, are inexistent nullities for ever; though they appear as realities in our consciousness.

3. Whatever appears in any manner in our consciousness, (either as existing or non-existent, or as so and so); the same is thought as real as it seems to be, without our consideration of its true nature of a reality or otherwise.

4. Such is the nature of this consciousness, that it is thought to be one and same with the bodiless soul, by every one who knows what it is (by his acquaintance with the science of psychology).

5. It is this knowledge (or the idea) of a thing in the mind, either in waking or dreaming, that they call to be its body; hence it is this erroneous consciousness of anything, that is believed as its body, and there is nothing else beside this that they call a solid body.

6. The world shines (or shows itself) before us, like the sights seen in a dream; and the privation of all causes towards the production of the (material) world, prove it to be not otherwise than the phantom of a dream.

7. Thus this pure and immaculate knowledge of the universe, is termed the very Brahma himself (because God is said to be infinite knowledge only. [Sanskrit: sataram jnanamananam brahma]). The very same shines as the world, which is not otherwise than that.

8. Thus doth the world remain quite pure and unchanged, from ever before and forever more; and so it is thought and said to be, by the Vedas and all good and great sastras, as also by the joint assent of all thinking men, in all ages and countries.

9. They are the most ignorant fools, and resemble the croaking frogs dwelling in the recess of dark caves and pits; who deny the sole existence of the beings which is impressed in the consciousness of all beings, which is full and perfect every where, and is acknowledged by all great souls.

10. There are many at present, who are deluded by their notions of the appearances of things, and the evidence of their senses, and have fallen into the error of understanding the gross body, as the cause of consciousness and inward impressions (i.e. they maintain the objectivity of their knowledge as derived from without, and deny the subjective consciousness derived from within).

11. They are giddy with their wrong notions, and are not worthy of our discourse; because no conversation can be held with them that are intoxicated without intoxication, and are learned with their ignorance or learned fools.

12. When the discourse of the learned, is not capable of removing the doubts of men in all places; such discourse is to be understood as the foolish talk of the universe.

13. He who relies in his belief in the sensibles only, and regards the believer of the invisible as a fool; such a man (i.e. the Buddhist or Charvaka), is considered for his unreasonable reasoning, as a block of stone or stony block head.

14. The fool that maintains this (materialistic) doctrine, in opposition to all rational philosophy, is said to be a frog of the dark cave (or as a blind mole of the hole); because he is blind both to the past which is out of his sight, as also to the invisible future and is concerned only what is present before him.

15. It is the veda and the sayings of wise men, and the inferences of their right reasoning (in support of the invisible), as I have maintained in these lectures, that can remove the doubts in these matters.

16. If the sensible body (i.e. its sensation) be consciousness (according to the Buddhist); then why is the dead body unconscious of anything? (To this the Buddhist retorts by saying:) Should the conscious and all pervading soul be the body, then why doth not the dull corpse think as the living body? In reply to this foolish question, it is thus said in the veda:

17. This world is an imaginary city of the divine mind, in its form of Brahma—the creator; and it is hence that the phenomenon of the world, appears to our minds as a phantom in our dream (or as a reflex of the same).

18. Therefore all this that you see, is but the creation of the divine intellect, and an intellectual entity in itself; and you are not amiss in your judgement, if you consider them as phantoms in your dream, and appearing in the vacuity of your mind.

19. Hence this earth and the skies, these hills and cities, are all but appearances in the void of the intellect, and conception of your mind, as those appearing in the reveries of dream, or as air built castles.

20. It is the dense vacuum of self-consciousness, which is called the great Brahma or the personal god of creation; and it is the display of his will in the concrete, which is known as Virat or the visible universe; thus is the pure and discrete consciousness of Brahma, condensed into the form of the world.

21. Whatever is imagined in the imaginary city of Brahma, the same is conceived as existent in reality; as you conceive the objects of your desire or fancy, to be present before you in actuality (i.e. The thought of a thing appears as the thing itself).

22. So whatever is thought of in the fancied city, or fairy land of one's imagination at any time; the same seems to be present before him for the time being, as you see in the air-drawn castle of your fancy.

23. Hence as Brahma in his form of the mind, thinks of the action of living and quietus of death bodies; so are they thought of by all mankind.

24. After the great dissolution of the world (and dissolution of all things), it is said to be reproduced and renovated anew from nothing; but as the want of any material cause, cannot produce the material world, it is certain there is no material being in existence.

Brahma said:—

25. the lord of creatures, having got rid of the world upon its dissolution, was freed also from all his remembrance and ideas of creation for ever; therefore it is the reflexion of divine light only which appears as the world before us.

26. Thus the supreme soul of Brahma, reflected itself in itself in the beginning, in the manner of an imaginary castle of his will, which was air-drawn as the visible sky in the invisible vacuum, and known as the cosmos or world subsisting in empty space.

27. As an imaginary castle is the creation of the brain or intellect, and presents to our minds only its intellectual form alone; so does the world appear to us in its intellectual form, and only as an evolution of the intellect, and without having any other cause for its appearance.

28. Whether there be any body or not any where, there is the vacuous intellect which is every where (i.e. the hollow space of the mind comprehends both the plenum as well as the vacuum of the world). And know the divine spirit to pervade all over this totality, whether it be the embodied duality or vacuous unity.

29. Hence the vacuous mind of a dead body, beholds the figure of the whole world within its vacuity; the empty mind of a living being, sees the shapes both of solid and subtile bodies, in its imagination or dream. (It means to say that, the death of the body does not involve the death of the mind).

30. As the living man thinks this immaterial world, to be a solid mass of dull matter; so doth the dead person think this vacuous universe, as a solid and substantial existence lying exposed before him in its mind.

31. But as the enlightened or awakened soul of a living body, sees no trace of scenes of its dream upon its waking; so the redeemed soul of a dead being sees no trace of the objects-sight in this world, upon its redemption and beatification in the next world.

32. The very same is the case with the enlightened soul, of every body in this world; that it bears only the inward conception of it within itself; but no outward perception thereof without. Therefore there is no material reality in existence, as there is no substantial causality in vacuity.

33. As the sleeping man sees the visionary world of his dream, in the light of a real existence; so the unenlightened person views the phenomenal world, as a sober reality before him; and so do the souls of the dead, deem the empty void of air as the world of their departed spirits. (Thus there are three different worlds, for the sleeping, waking and departed souls of men).

34. The unpeopled or open air, appears as the earth and heaven, and full of mountains &c. as before to the souls of the departed (from their bearing those impressions with them even to the next world, and so on throughout all their future transmigration).

35. The departed soul perceives its separation from a dead body, and thinks of its regeneration in another frame on earth; where it will have its enjoyments and suffering again as before.

36. The soul never gets rid of this delusion of its regeneration, (and of its desire of renovation also), so long as it neglects to resort to the means, of obtaining its salvation and final liberation; it is by means of its knowledge of truth and absence of desire, that is freed from its error of reproduction.

37. Hence it is the consciousness of the soul, of its righteous or unrighteous desire; that represents the picture of this airy world, in the hollow sphere of the mind. (Thus the world is only the picture and production of one's own desire).

38. The world is therefore neither of a substantial nor vacuous form, but the display of divine intelligence; the want of this knowledge is the source of all misery to man, but its true knowledge as representation of divine wisdom, is fraught with all bliss and joy.