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 CCVIII - Solution of the great question

Argument:—Answer to the question of future rewards and punishment of departed souls in another world.

Vasishtha continued:—

Hear me now to tell you, why men happen to meet with their (unexpected) good or fortune at home; and in the same manner how rewards and retributions, come to attend on departed souls from unforeseen causes in the far distant (or next) world.

2. You know the whole world to be the volitional city (or fabric) of Divine will, and appearing as phenomenal to our outward sight, and as noumenal in the light of our inward insight of it, and as Brahma himself in its spiritual light. (i.e. God has so willed the world, as to be

viewed in the triple light of the physical, intellectual and spiritual also).

3. In this volitional city, everything appears in the same light, as one would behold it in any of its different aspects.

4. As in your own house, you are master of the direction of your offspring, and of the disposal of your things and affairs as please;so is the Lord the sole disposer and dispensator of all things in this world of his will, as he likes of his own accord.

5. As in the desired dwelling of your liking, you find everything to be as well disposed as you wish it to be; so doth he direct and dispose all things in this world of his.

6. The disorder that there appears to take place in the order of nature, is to be attributed to the Divine Will as the sovran law of all.

7. The good or evil which waits on men, owing to the obedience to or transgression of law; is both attributable to the Divine Will (which has originated the laws and ordained their results).

8. It is the dispensation of the Divine will also, whereby all living bodies have their perceptions of worldly things; just as they have the conception of the existence of the world, which in reality has no entity of it.

9. It is by will of the divine intellect, that everything appears to be existent before us; as it is the oscitation and occlusion or the gaping and closing of the intellect, which causes the appearance and disappearance of the world to our view.

10. The king said:—Tell me sir, if the world was the production of the divine will, why was it not known to exist before with the eternity of

the Will divine, and why and when it come to be manifested and known to others afterwards; tell me also, whether the world is an unstable and vanishing appearance in the air, or it has any fixity in the divine mind

or stability in nature.

Vasishtha replied:—

11. Such is the nature of the vacuous and volitional city of divine intellect; that it comes to being and not being in succession, in the states of repeated waking dreams of creation, and in the sleeping oblivion of its desolation.

12. Like the mud built house of playful boys, and the air drawn castles of fanciful men, do the appearances of creation, appear both as real and unreal in the divine intellect as well as to our minds.

13. As you build and break your imaginary city in the air, and make and unmake a fabric of your will elsewhere; whether it be of your own or choice or for any other reason, so it is with the Divine will, to construct and protract or retract or annul any of its works ad libitum.

14. Thus are all beings, continually rising and falling, in this vacuous city of the divine will; which is ever shining in its nature, with the pure light of the divine mind. (God throws his own light on the work of his will).

15. The whole plenum of the world is a vacuum, and full with the dense intelligence of omniscience; therefore it is this omniscient intelligence, which doth still whatever it thinks upon and wills. (This passage shows that the Vedanta Brahma, is not inactive or Nishkriya as many believe; but the living God, and sole agent of all things and director of all accidents in this world).

16. Therefore it is not the hidden but self manifest God, that does all things even at the distance of Millions of miles, and myriads of ages, as if they lay before him at the present time.

17. So there is nothing in any country or in any world, which is not known nor thought of by the sole and unhidden soul of all. (The gloss applies it to every individual soul, which is conscious of its merits and demerits everywhere).

18. As a brilliant gem reflects its light and shade within itself, so doth the gem of the intellect reflect by its own light the various vicissitudes of the world in itself. (i.e. The human mind is sensible of its deserts).

19. Laws and prohibitions, which are necessary for the preservation of people, are implanted in the human soul. (As they are the eternal varieties of the divine mind), and accompany it every where with their just rewards.

20. The soul never sets nor rises (i.e. It neither dies nor revives, but supposes itself as such by its error only); It is Brahma himself and his reflexion in others, and emanating always from the divine soul its source and origin.

21. As from being the viewer, it supposes itself to be the view, and thinks its imaginary world as a visible phenomenon; (i.e. believes itself both as the subjective as well as objective); so it thinks itself to be born, living and dying (by the like error of its own).

22. When the soul of its own nature ceases to cast its reflexion, or suppresses it within itself, and remains quietly in the vacuous sphere of divine intellect, by assimilating itself with the universal soul of Brahma, it is then said to be quietus of quiet in death. (The word for death in the text is Santa-Samita or extinct, or instinct in the divine soul).

23. The emission and intromission of its reflexion, are as natural to the ignorant and imperfect living soul of animal beings; as oscillation and calm are congenital with air (or as respiration and inspiration with breath).

24. Now as you see in the city of your imagination, the growth, decay and death of people, at different times and places;—

25. So it is the nature of this imaginary city of God, to exhibit these changes everywhere, as in the cases of animals, vegetables and all things in all the three worlds.

26. But God neither wills nor does everything himself, in this creation of his will, but he acts by general laws and secondary causes, as in the cricket play of boys, and growth of grass from grass, and production of trees and their fruits &c. from seeds.

27. It is the nature of the almighty intellect of God, to bring forth forthwith to being whatever it wills to be and appear. (The almighty thought, will or word, is variously said to be the prime cause of all).

28. All things being originally of intellectual form, appear afterwards in various forms, and with different natures; as the almighty intellect invests them with.

29. Hence everything here, is verily of an intellectual form, by their originating from the divine intellect; and as the intellect includes all things in itself, it is omniform and shows itself in any form it likes.

30. This very intellect is the omniscient and universal soul, without having its beginning, middle or end; it is omnipotent and something which is nothing, and an entity appearing as non-entity; It appears such as it remains anywhere, and shows itself as anything; it is the origin of all things and beings, and the source of all vegetables and grass.