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 CCXIII - Narration of rama's prior pupilage under vasishtha

Argument:—Vasishtha's relation of a lecture delivered to Rama in a former birth.

Vasishtha continued:—

O Rama, the destroyer of thy enemies, this very question that you have asked me today, was put to me once before, when you had been a pupil under my discipline.

2. In a former age, there was once this spiritual discourse betwixt ourselves, when you had been a pupil of mine in a certain forest (according to Metempsychosis), the present is but a repetition of a past life. The wheel of life rolls and revolves incessantly from age to age.

3. As I sat there as your preceptor, and your sitting in my presence as my pupil; you then had put this very question to me, with the gravity of your understanding.

4. The Pupil said:—You sir that know all things, now deign to remove this doubt and difficulty of mine, regarding what things die and perish at the great deluge, and what things are not liable to destruction.

5. The Preceptor replied saying:—Know my son, that the relics of all things are utterly destroyed at the last deluge; as your thickening dreams disappear in your sound sleep.

6. The hills and rocks on all the ten sides of the earth, are all destroyed without any distinction, and of the actions of men and routine of their business, there remains nothing behind.

7. All beings are destroyed at the end, and the great void (that is the receptacle of all bodies), becomes a perfect void.

8. The gods Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, Rudra and others, that are the prime causes of the causal agencies of this world, do all become extinct at the end of the world, and there remains no vestige of them at last.

9. There remains only the great vacuity of the divine intellect, which is ever existent and undecaying; and this appears from the divine spirit remaining as the witness both of annihilations as also of the regeneration of the past and future worlds.

10. The entity never becomes a non-entity, nor the non-entity never comes to be an entity; tell me therefore where the past world disappears, and from whence the future world comes to existence.

11. The Preceptor replied:—This world, my boy, is not wholly destroyed nor does it become altogether extinct; and it is quite true that nothing ever goes to nothing, nor does anything, ever proceed from a nihility.

12. That which is an entity in reality, never becomes a non-entity in anywise, and how can that which is inexistent of itself, ever become a nil and null afterwards (Ex nihilo nihil fit &c.).

13. Where is water to be had in the mirage, and when are the two seeming moons to be seen in the sky; where are the delusive hairs found to be floating in the air, and when does a false conception prove to be true. (So the seeming world is a nullity, although it appears awhile as something to our deluded sight).

14. Know my son, all these phenomenals to be mere delusions, and without any reality in them; they appear as cities and towns in our dreams, and are ever obtrusive on us.

15. They are however liable to vanish away quite out of our sight at last, as our dreams disappear upon our waking, and as our waking scenes are lost and hid under the veil of our sleep.

16. As we know nothing where the city of our dreaming, vanishes away at last upon our waking; so we are quite ignorant about that chaotic void, wherein the universe submerges upon its exit.

17. The Pupil rejoined:—If the world is a nullity as you say, then sir, be pleased to tell what is it that thus appears to and disappears from us by turns; and what is that vacuous intellect which presents this extensive view before us; as also how does the void present its reflexion of the plenum and to what purpose.

18. The Preceptor replied:—It is the vacuous sphere of the intellect, my boy, that thus shines with its transparency; and it is this reflexion of it which is called the world, which is no other than this.

19. It is the reflexion of the widely extended substance of the great void of the intellect; and this apparently solid figure of it, is no other than the same transpicuous form of that intellect. (So says the sruti, Brahma reflects his twofold forms to us, the one opaque and seen with our naked eye, and the other translucent and viewed by our mental sight).

20. The incorporeal Brahma like all corporeal bodies, presents both a fair as well as a dark complexion (the one being his clear or intellectual form seen by the clear sighted, and the other his hazy figure viewed by gross understandings). He also discloses himself some times and closes at another, which cause the creation and annihilation of the world. (Manu calls it the waking and sleeping of God, and others the evolution and involution of the divine spirit).

21. The clearness of the divine spirit, ever remains the same and unaltered, both before and after the creation and its dissolution; as a fountain of limpid waters is always clear, whether it reflects the shadows of its bordering arbours or not. (No change in nature can affect the spirit of God).

22. As a man remains unchanged in his sleep, whether he be dreaming or enjoying his sound rest; so the spirit continues alike in its intellect, whether it is in the act of creation or annihilation.

23. As the ideal world appears to be calm and quiet, both in the dream of the dreamer, as well as in the sound sleep of the sleeper; so this visible world of ours is ever viewed in its calmness, in the tranquil spirit of the Lord and of the contemplative saint.

24. Hence I do not recognize the existence of a vacuum or sky, anywhere and independent of our soul; nor can we expect the same sphere appearing in the souls of others, as it does in ours according to our view of it.

25. If we can perceive the light of our intellect, even at the point of our death, and disappearance of the world from us; why should we not conceive the same to be the case with others, and that they do not perceive the same intellectual light also in their consciousness. (This

is an evidence of the immortality in our souls).

26. The Pupil rejoined:—If such is the case, that others who are awake, have the same view of the world, as the dreamer has in his dream; then I believe that all those that are living, have the same view of the world as those that are dying, (i.e. A mere faint idea of it and not a substantial one).

27. The preceptor replied:—So it is, O my intelligent lad, the world then does not appear in its real form (of a solid body to the dreamer and the dying), as it appears as a reality to the intellects of others (that are waking and living). Idealism presents the true picture of the world.

28. The world does not appear and is not anything, and nothing that is real or has any reality in it; it is a mere reflexion of the intellect, and there can be no reality in our false sight of it.

29. It is apparent everywhere, and seems to be in every way at all times; but it does not exist [in reality] in anyway, anywhere or at anytime.

30. And because it is both the real and unreal form of Brahma, it is both a reality as well as unreality likewise; and being of the intellectual void, is never destructible nor ever destroyed.

31. The vacuous entity of the supreme intellect, which exhibits the phenomena of creation and its destruction (in repeated rotation), abounds with our misery only, if we attend to its occurrences with any degree of concern; but it does not affect us at all, if we can but remain altogether unconcerned with its casualties.

32. All these appearances exist every where at all times, in the same manner as they appear to the ignorant; but in truth, they appear in no where, in any manner or at any time to the wise and learned (who know the nature of worldly delusions).

33. It is the one selfsame Being that appears as a god in one place, and as a pot or clod in another. Here he is seen as a hill and there as a rill or dale; He is an arbour here, of furze or bush there, and the spreading grass in another. He is the moving and movable some where and the unmoving and unmovably else where; and He is the fire and all other elements also everywhere.

34. He is entity and nonentity, and both vacuity and solidity also; He is action and duration, and the earth and sky likewise. He is the being and not being, and their growth and their destruction likewise, and He is good as well as the evil, that attends on one and forefends another.

35. There is nothing that is not He, who though one is always all things in all places; He is in and out of everything, and extends along the beginning, middle and end of all things. He is eternity and duration and the three divisions of time also; (i.e. the present, past and future, called the triple time).

36. He is all, and existent in all things, in all places and times; and yet He is not the All, and neither existing with anything at any time or place (but is but dimly seen in these His lowest works. Milton).

37. Know now, Rama, that Brahma being the universal soul, He is all in all places and times;and because Brahma is the conscious soul, He exhibits all things to our consciousness, as if they were images in our dreams or the creatures of our imagination. (i.e. A corporeal God only can form a formal and plastic world; but the intellectual soul of God, can make only a formless and immaterial creation, as we see in our dream and phantasies).

38. The maker of the terrene world, must have an earthly body; and the framer of the woody arbours must have a wooden frame, but the Lord God of all, has neither a corporeal body nor a material shape. (Thus they frame a fire, air and water God, but the true God is none of these elements).

39. Others make a mountain God as the Lord of all; and some even make and worship a human figure as the supreme God (and so are all the heathen gods represented in human figures).

40. Some make a picture the Lord and maker of all; and others make some image as such, and worship it as the great God of all.

41. But there is only one supreme Being, who is the maker, supporter and the Lord God of all others; He is without beginning and end, and the Lord Brahma, whose spirit upholds and supports all others.

42. A straw made image or an earthen not, is attributed with divine powers, and represented as the Most high; and so the formless God is shown in frail images, which are made and destroyed by human hands.

43. An outward object is made the actor and enjoyer of acts; but the wise know intelligence only, as the active and passive agent of all actions.

44. But the truly wise (i.e. the vacuist) acknowledges no active nor passive agent of creation; although many among the wise (i.e. the Pashupatas) recognize one God alone, as the only actor, and enjoyer of all.

45. All these views may be probable, and well apply to the most high, who is the sole object of all these theories; and as there is nothing, which can be positively affirmed or denied of Him. (Here the vacuist Vasishtha is a tolerator of all faiths, as suited to the capacities of the different understanding of men).

46. All these believers look to their desired objects, as manifest to their view in the vacuous space of their intellects, and by viewing the whole world in themselves, they remain undecayed at all times.

47. All visibles and all laws and prohibitions, together with all desires and designs of men; are confined with their knowledge of them in themselves. Hence those that are true to their faiths, and firm in the observance of their duties and performance of their acts, are verily of the nature of the divine soul, by their viewing all nature in themselves.

48. This very doctrine was inculcated to before, when you had been a pupil under my preceptorship; but as you could not fully comprehend it then, you are doomed to another birth, to learn it again from me. (Vasishtha means to say that he is immortal, though Rama may have his transmigration in many incarnations).

49. The world representing the longsome dark and dreary winter night, presents the pure light of knowledge, shining with the serene and cooling beams of the autumnal lunar disk; now O Rama! as you [are] edified by your pure intelligence, shake off the dross of dull ignorance from you, and continue in the discharge of your duties, as they have lineally descended to you and to your royal race.

50. Do you remain released from your attachment, to all things of this temporal world; and relying solely in the One supreme and universal soul, whose pure nature is perceptible throughout all nature; then be as lucid as the pellucid sky, with the peace of your mind and transport of your soul, and learn to rule your realm with justice and equity.