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 CCXI - Lecture on transcendent truth

Argument:—Relation of Brahma as the all-pervading spirit, and of the means of the presentation of spiritual being before one.

Vasishtha resumed:—

1. As I was sitting relating these things to the prince, he honoured me with his obeisance; and then thinking I had dispensed my task to him, rose up to proceed on my aerial journey (from the Ilavrita-Varsha of Kushadwipa).

2. Thus I have related unto you this day, O most intelligent Rama, regarding the omnipresence of the Divine spirit; keep this vacuous view of Brahma before your sight, and proceed everywhere with the peace of your mind (as you are ever living and moving in the Lord).

3. Know all this to be Brahma itself, and a nameless and unsubstantial void only; it is something unborn and increate, all calm and quiet, and with out its beginning, middle and end. (It is infinity in space and eternity in duration).

4. It is said to be the reflection of the intellect, and named as Brahma from its immensity, it is termed the most transcendent, and something without any designation at all.

Rama rejoined:—

5. Tell me sir, how can we have the sights of the celestial, and of the Siddha and Sadhya spirits, of Yama, Brahma and of the heavenly Vidyadharas and choristers; and tell me also sir, how the people of the other spheres can be visible to us.

Vasishtha replied:—

6. The celestial siddhas, Sadhyas, the gods Yama and Brahma, and the Vidyadhara demigods; these together with all other beings of great souls and wondrous might;—

7. Are all visible to you both by day and night, and above, below, behind and ever before you, if you will but look at them with the eyes of your mind; but if you shut your mental eye against spirituality, you can never have the sight of spirit presented before your view. (This passage is illustrated in the story of Chudaloka. gloss).

8. These beings being habituated to be viewed in our minds, are never afar from us, and as they are represented to be volitive or self willed beings, they are said to be ever roving everywhere. (The spirits are of two kinds; some stationary in their particular lokas or spheres; and others to be wandering about. Gloss).

9. These volitional beings are as fickle as the living creatures of this earth of ours; and as the volatile winds, which are blowing at random in every direction.

10. These resemble the airy creatures of your imagination and dream, which hover and gather about you by day and night; while the others are devoid of their volition and motion, and are settled stationary in their respective spheres.

11. If you can in the calm quietness of your mind and soul, secure the reflection of any of these spirits in your silent and steadfast meditation; you can without fail, have the visitation of the same in the inmost recess of your soul (and hold your secret communion with it also. gloss).

12. In this manner do men see the gods as they see the siddhas, arrayed with all their majesty and glory, as they are feigned to be in their intense meditations. (Dhyanenaivapara-devah).

13. Now as men of steady minds, find themselves to be soaring to heaven, in the company of the siddhas and clad in all their glory; those of fickle and unsubdued minds, have to take great pains, in order to confine the fleeting object of their contemplation under their control. (It is often dangerous to the unadept novice in meditation, to let slip the object of his contemplation from his grasp).

14. The world is altogether an unsubstantial and imperceptible thing;and is ever as silent and a serene void, as the vacuum of the intellect (or the Divine mind). It appears however as a solid and compact mass, according as the notion we have of it in our consciousness. (i.e. This nothing is thought of [as] something, according to our mistaken notion or conception of it).

15. It does not exist in our unconsciousness, nor does it appear to be in existence or otherwise it is not dull, insensible and unthinking beings; it is a vacuity and nullity, and utterly an intangible and imperceptible thing in our sensibility and unconsciousness of it.

16. It is the nature of the intellect to reflect in itself, and all that is seen about us, is the shadow of that reflection; the knowledge of substantiality in this shadowy reflection, proceeds from the vanity of the intellect, and not from its nature which [is] free from mistake.

17. There can be no talk of causation, production or vegetation, in the nature of the universe; which being an absolute void, is entirely devoid of the elements of cause and effect. (Ex nihilo nihil fit &c.).

18. That which appears to be produced, is only a void in the midst of primeval vacuum (teo et beo); nor can there be the attribution of unity or duality to the infinite vacuity.

19. Yet the world appears as something existent in your mind; and as visible before your eyes; and this happens in the same manner as you have the consciousness and sight of your dreams; in the unruffled calm of your hollow sleep.

20. As imagination causes the mountains and mountainous regions, to rise in the hollow sphere of our minds; but neither is the one nor the other found to be really existent therein; such is this creation an airy working of the divine mind (and leaving no trace of it left behind).

21. Hence it is the nature of the wise and sapient, to remain as quiet and mute as motionless blocks of wood or stone; and the character of great minds, to manage themselves as wooden puppets, moving wholly as they are moved by the prime mobile power of God alone (Without being actuated by their own desire, or deeming themselves as free agents).

22. As the waves are seen to roll about on the surface waters, and as the eddies are whirling round and hurling headlong into the deep; so the whole creation and all created things, turn about the pivot of the great Brahma alone. (Not an atom herein, has an excentric course of its own).

23. As vacuity is inborn in the firmament, and undulations are immanent in the air; so are these creations inherent and inseparably connected with the divine spirit, in their amorphous or formless and ideal shapes. (This passage maintains the idealistic theory of the ancients).

24. As an air drawn castle of our will or imagination, presents a substantial shape before us with all its unsubstantialness;so does this world appear as a compact frame exhibited before us, notwithstanding its situation in the formless mind of Brahma.

25. All these three worlds, that we are accustomed to believe as real ones, and as seats of our temporal as well as spiritual concerns; are all void and formless, and as unreal ones as the airy castles of our imagination.

26. As it is the thought of our minds, that creates full populous cities in them; so it is the thought of the mind of God, that creates these numerous worlds, and presents them to our minds and eyes.

27. Though ever and all along thought as a reality, this visible world bears no meaning at all; and resembles the sight of a man's own death in his dream.

28. As a man sees the funeral of his dead body, conducted by his son in his dream; so the unreal world is seen as a reality, in as much as it is reflected as such by its supreme contriver.

29. Both the entity and non-entity of the cosmos or world, constitute the corpus of the immaculate deity; just as a fictitious name applied to a person, makes no difference in his personage.

30. Whether what I have said is true or not (that the siddhas and others are mere imaginary or spiritual beings), you have nothing to lose or gain therefrom (because we have no concern whatever with them); and as it is useless for wise men to expect any reward by casting fruits into the Phalgu river, so it is of no good to the intelligent who have known the true God, to take the pains of invoking the aid of the minor gods instead of Him.