Chapter 19 — Interpretation of Comparisons in the Yoga Vasishta

It is the similarity of some particular property that constitutes a simile. A complete similarity between the comparison and the compared object destroys their difference. From the knowledge of parables follows an awareness of the one soul that is discussed in the scriptures (Vedanta). The peace that attends reflection on the holy word is called extinction (nirvana).

Therefore it is useless to talk of either complete or partial agreement between example and the exemplar. It is enough for the purpose of the comparison to comprehend the meaning of the holy word in some way or other. Know your peace to be the chief good and be diligent to secure it. When you have food to eat, it is useless to talk about how you came by it. A cause is compared with something that has no cause at all, and a comparison is given to express its partial agreement in some respect with the compared object.

We must not be so absorbed in the pleasures of the world as to be devoid of all sense, like some blind frogs that generate and grow fat amidst rocks. Be attentive to these parables and learn your best state from them. For their internal peace, all reasonable men should abide by the lessons of religious works, by the teachings of the scriptures, by the rules of humanity, prudence and spiritual knowledge, and by the continued practice of acts of religious merit. Let the wise continue their inquiries until they obtain their internal peace and until they arrive at the fourth stage (turiya) of joy known by its name of indestructible tranquility. 10 Whoever has attained this fourth state of tranquil joy, whether he is alive or not, or a house-holder or an ascetic, has really passed beyond the limits of the ocean of the world. 11 Such a man remains steady at his place like the calm sea undisturbed by Mandara Mountain, whether he has performed his duties according to the scriptures and codes of ethics or not.

12 When there is a partial agreement of the comparison with the nature of the compared object, it is to be considered maturely for the well understanding of the point in question and not to be made a matter of controversy. 13 From every form of argument you are to understand the intelligible. The confused disputant is blind both to right and false reasoning.

14 The notion of self (soul or God) is self-evident within the consciousness of the mind. Anyone who prattles meaninglessly about this truth is said to be defective in his understanding. 15 It is partly by pride and partly by their doubts that the ignorant are led to argue about their perceptions, and thereby they obscure the region of their inner understanding, just like clouds obscure the clear sky.

16 The evidence of perception forms the fountain-head of all sorts of proofs, just like the sea is the mainspring of all its waters. It is this alone which is used in this place, as you shall learn below. 17 The wise say that substance of all sensations is super-conscious apprehension, and it is truly their right concept which is meant by their perception. 18 Thus the notion, knowledge and certainty of things as derived from words are called the triple perception of the living soul.

19 This soul is consciousness. The ego with its cognition of the objects as manifested to us is called a category (i.e., dualist; viz. samvid, samvitti and padartha) 20 Consciousness manifests in the form of the passing world by the multiplicity of acts and the shifts of its volition and choices, just like water exhibits itself in the shapes of waves and bubbles. 21 It was not caused before, then it developed itself as the cause of everything in its act of creation at the beginning of creation, and it became perceptible by itself. 22 Causation is a product of the discrimination of the living soul, previously in a state of non-existence, until it became manifest as existent in the form of the material world.

23 Reason says that the same being that destroys the body also produced it of itself and manifests itself in its transcendental magnitude (of intelligence). 24 When a man, through the exercise of his reason, comes to know the soul, he finds before him the presence of the indescribable being. 25 The mind being free from desire, the organs of sense are relieved from their action and the soul becomes devoid of the results of its past actions. 26 The mind being set at ease and freed from its desires, the organs of action are restrained from their acts, like an engine stopped in its motion.

27 Sensuousness is reckoned as the cause that puts the machinery of the mind to work, just as a rope tied to a log and fastened about the neck of a ram propels him to fight. 28 The sight of external objects and the purposes of the internal mind set all men at play, just like the inner force of air puts wind in motion.

29 All spiritual knowledge is holy wherever it is found in anyone. It adds a luster to the body and mind like that of the expanded region of the sky. 30 He sees the appearances of all visible objects and maintains his own position among them. He views the spirit in the same light in which it presents itself in any place. 31 Wherever the Universal Soul appears itself in any light, it remains there and then in the same form in which it exhibits itself to us. 32 The Universal Soul being alike in all, the looker and the object seen are both the same being. The looker and the looked being one, their appearance as otherwise is all unreal.

33 Hence the world is without a cause. All existence is evidently Brahma himself, the perceptible cause of all. Hence perception is the basis of evidence, and inference and others as analogy and verbal testimony are only parts of it.

34 Now let the worshippers of fate who apply the term “destiny” to all their efforts cast off their false faith and let the brave exert their courage to attain their highest state. 35 Continue, O Rama, to consider the true and lucid doctrines of successive teachers until you can arrive at a clear conception of the infinitely Supreme Being in your own mind.