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 CCXII - On ascertainment of truth

Argument:—Thinking God as the Ego, Brahma and the creation, and the description of God.

Vasishtha resumed:—

1. The man that considers himself as the Ego, from his possession of the intellect and intellectual powers in him; elevates him to the rank of Brahma and contains the whole world in himself.

2. As the Lord Brahma or Hiranyagarbha remained in this state (of the totality of souls) he was not then the creator of the world; but was alike the increate Brahma—the everlasting God, as he continued from all eternity. (Brahma assimilating himself to the impersonal God, had no personality of himself, so the holy trinity was all One, before the Lord caused his coeternal son to create the world; as nothing was created but by the son).

3. It is in our consciousness, that the world appears in this manner, and is like the mirage in a desert, where its very unreality shows itself as a reality. (Hence our consciousness, is not always the test of truth).

4. It is since the creation, that the primeval vacuum began to present, the blunder or falsity of the world in itself; but how and whence arose this blunder, unless it were the presentation of Brahma himself. (Delusion is God also).

5. The world is a whirlpool (a revolving sphere), in the vast ocean of Brahma (i.e. in the great expanse of vacuum). Where then is the question of unity or duality in this, or the talk of the dualism of the eddy from the waters of the deep, or how can there be the topic of unity in want of a duality. (The world is therefore Brahma-dharma or an hypostasis of God. gloss).

6. The great Brahma is profoundly quiet, and having his intellect inherent in himself, he is conscious of his being the great or sole Ego (or the totality of beings) in his mind, and sees himself as the midst of the vast expanse of vacuity.

7. As fluctuation is inherent in air, and heat is inbred in fire; and as the moon contains its coolness in itself, so does the Great Brahma brood over the eternal ideas of things, contained in the cavity of his fathomless mind.

Rama rejoined:—

8. Tell me sir, how does the divine mind come to think of and brood upon his creation; when the eternal intellect is ever employed in its process of intellection. The course of Divine thought being unobstructed from eternity to eternity, its even tenor cannot be supposed to be now and then turned to the act of creation, or even said to be brought in its action and motion, since the time that this creation first began to exist (There can be no talk of the beginning or end of the world before eternity).

Vasishtha replied:—

9. It is even so, O Rama! the great Ego of God always thinks of everything in itself; and the increate and ever existent spirit of God, has never anything unknown to his knowledge. (The evolution and involution of the world, are known by the terms of its creation and annihilation).

10. The vacuous is ever and every where present both in creation and non-creation (i.e. both before as well as after it); and there is nothing that is known to him as existent or nonexistent at any time (since the ignorant know the world as existent, and the learned consider it a nihility; but the Lord knows them all in himself).

11. As the mind is conscious of its fluctuation, and the moon of her coldness; and as the air knows its voidness, so doth Brahma know himself as the Ego, and never thinks himself without the other. (They are Misra or combined together).

12. Such is the entity of God, and never unlike to or otherwise than this; and whereas the world is without its beginning and end, it must be as imperishable as Brahma himself. (The world is without end).

13. It is only from your want of sufficient intelligence, and hearing of or prejudice in the word non-ego; that you are led to the belief of a duality, in the undualistic unity of the Deity.

14. Never does any body nor anything here, think of itself of anything whatever; there is none and naught whatsoever, that can think unless it is the same with the Divine Ego.

15. The apparent threefold world, ever appears in this manner; as one with and inseparable from God that dwells alike and evenly in all, which composes one uniform whole, without admixture of any diversity or duality (all which blend together in harmony in one universal unity).

16. Know O Rama, that is nothing like a rock or tree, is produced in empty vacuity; so these seeming solid worlds, can never be produced in the vacuous spirit of Brahma (but are all mere phantoms of what they appear to be) know this, and go on freely in your own way.

17. Precepts to men of little intelligence and doubtful minds, fail to persuade them to the knowledge of truth; and so long as they can not comprehend the unity, they are ever apt to believe in the multiplicity of objects.

18. Neither precepts nor sastras, can lead the ignorant to the knowledge of truth, unless they can get rid of their prejudice of diversity, which the creator Brahma, has spread over the minds of men.

Rama rejoined:—

19. I understand sir, what you say (regarding the ego as the agent); but I beseech you to explain it by some illustration, for my clear knowledge of it.

20. What does the supreme Brahma do, by his assuming the title of ego or thinking agent to himself; you know all this (by your vast knowledge), though it is not quite satisfactory to your audience.

Vasishtha replied:—

21. The supreme One that was quite indistinct before (as the undistinguishable chaos); becomes after his assumption of the title ego to himself, divided and distinguished into the distinct essences of vacuum, space and its directions and time with all its divisions. (The ego itself is diversified into these various forms).

22. The ego then assuming its personality, finds many such distinctions appearing before itself; which are quite imperceptible in its state of impersonality. (The personal soul only, is conscious of these).

23. The knowledge of these vacuous principles, their qualities and attributes, which is preserved in the soul in the forms of their abstract ideas; is expressed afterwards by certain symbolical sounds or words, which are also as void as air. (A word is a breath, and the breath is air).

24. It is thus the formless and vacuous principle of the ego, entertains in itself or its soul, the notions or knowledge of times and space in their ideal forms.

25. This universe which appears as the rechauffe or reflex of the ideal of the ego, and seems as the visible and substantial world, is in reality but the intangible Brahma, and appearing as the tangible non Brahma to view.

26. The world is verily the quiet spirit of Brahma, it is one with Him, and without its beginning, middle or end; it is verily the void of Brahma, who assumes to himself the titles of Ego and the living soul, vacuous himself in his own vacuous self, as this vast and extensive phenomenon, and as something otherwise than what He is. (The world is the mirror of the divine Mind and its thoughts).