Yoga Vashishta     262 posts


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This world-appearance is a confusion, even as the blueness of the sky is an optical illusion. Neither freedom from sorrow nor realization of one's real nature is possible, as long as the conviction does not arise in one that the world-appearance is unreal.

And this conviction arises when one studies this scripture with diligence. It is then that one arrives at the firm conviction that the objective world is a confusion of the real with the unreal. If one does not thus study this scripture, true knowledge does not arise in him, even in millions of years.

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The knowledge of the reality of all things in the minds of the unenlightened is dispersed in the minds of Enlightened upon conviction of their unreality.
It requires a habit of constant meditation in order to know your spiritual state and subdue your sense of materiality. As you abstain from your sense of materiality, so you attain the Spiritual state.
The view of the phenomenal world as distinct from the Unity is as false as seeing a delusion.

~ MahaRamayana III:57

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When one approaches darkness with light in hand, wishing to behold it, the darkness vanishes; when the light of enquiry is turned on ignorance, ignorance disappears. When one begins to enquire "What is 'I' in this body composed of blood, flesh, bone, etc.?" at once ignorance ceases to be.

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The Secret of Self-Knowledge .

RAMA: Lord, pray tell me: What is the nature of the self-knowledge in which all these great ones are established?

VASISTHA: Rama, you know this already, yet in order to make it abundantly clear you are asking about it again.

Whatever there is and whatever appears to be the world-jugglery, is but the pure Brahman or the absolute consciousness and nothing else. Consciousness is Brahman, the world is Brahman, all the elements are Brahman, I am Brahman, my enemy is Brahman, my friends and relatives are Brahman, Brahman is the three periods of time for all these are rooted in Brahman. Even as the ocean appears to be expanded on account of its waves, Brahman seems to be expanded on account of the infinite variety of substances. Brahman apprehends Brahman, Brahman experiences or enjoys Brahman, Brahman is made manifest in Brahman by the power of Brahman himself. Brahman is the form of my enemy who displeases me who am Brahman: when such is the case, who does what to another?

The modes of the mind, like attraction and repulsion and likes and dislikes, have been conjured up in imagination. They have been destroyed by the absence of thoughts. How then can they be magnified? When Brahman alone moves in all which is Brahman, and Brahman alone unfolds as Brahman in all, what is joy and what is sorrow? Brahman is satisfied with Brahman, Brahman is established in Brahman. There is neither 'I' or another!

All the objects in this world are Brahman. 'I' am Brahman. Such being the case, both passion and dispassion, craving and aversion are but notions. Body is Brahman, death is Brahman, too: when they come together, as the real rope and the unreal imaginary snake come together, where is the cause of rejoicing when body experiences pleasure? When, on the surface of the calm ocean, waves appear to be agitated, the waves do not cease to be water! Even when Brahman appears to be agitated (in the world-appearance), its essence is unchanged and there is neither 'I'-ness nor 'you'-ness. When the whirlpool dies in the water, nothing is dead! When the death-Brahman overtakes the body-Brahman, nothing is lost.

Water is capable of being calm and of being agitated: even so Brahman can be quiescent and restless. Such is its nature. It is ignorance or delusion that divides the one into 'This is sentient jiva'; and 'This is sentient matter'; the wise ones do not hold such erroneous views. Hence, to the ignorant the world is full of sorrow; to the wise the same world is full of bliss, even as to the blind man the world is dark and to the one who as good eyesight the world is full of light.

When the one Brahman alone pervades all, there is neither death nor a living person. The ripples play on the surface of the ocean; they are neither born nor do they die! Even so do the elements in this creation. 'This is' and 'This is not' – such deluded notions arise in the self. These notions are not really caused nor do they have a motivation, even as a crystal reflects different colored object without a motivation.

The self remains itself even when the energies of the world throw up endless diversities on the surface of the ocean of consciousness. There are no independent entities in this world known as 'body', etc. What is seen as the body and what are seen as notions, the objects of perception, the perishable and the imperishable, the thoughts and feelings are their meaning – all these are Brahman in Brahman, the infinite consciousness. There is duality only in the eyes of the deluded and ignorant. The mind, the intellect, the ego-sense, the cosmic root-elements, the senses and all such diverse phenomena are Brahman only; pleasure and pain are illusions (they are words without substance). Even as a single sound produced amongst hills echoes and re-echoes into diversity, the one cosmic consciousness experiences multiplicity within itself, with the notions 'This is I' and 'This is mine' etc. The one cosmic consciousness sees diversity within itself even as a dreamer of diverse objects within himself.

When gold is not recognized as such, it gets mixed up with the earth; when Brahman is not thus recognized the impurity of ignorance arises. The knower of Brahman declares that such a great one is himself the Lord and Brahman; in the case of the ignorant the non-recognition of the truth is known as ignorance. When gold is recognized as such it 'becomes' gold instantly; when Brahman is recognized as such it 'becomes' Brahman instantly.

Being omnipotent, Brahman becomes whatever it considers itself to be without any motivation for doing so. The knowers of Brahman declare that Brahman is the Lord, the great being which is devoid of action, the doer and the instrument, devoid of causal motivation of transformation or change.

When this truth is not realized, it arises as ignorance in the ignorant, but when it is realized, the ignorance is dispelled. When a relative is not recognized as such, he is known as a stranger; when the relative is recognized, the notion of stranger is instantly dispelled.

When one knows that duality is illusory appearance, there is realization of Brahman, the absolute. When one knows 'This is not I', the unreality of the ego-sense is realized. From this arises true dispassion. 'I am verily Brahman' – when this truth is realized the awareness of the truth arises in one, and all things are then merged in that awareness. When such notions as 'I' and 'you' are dispelled, the realization of the truth arises and one realizes that all this, whatever there is, is indeed Brahman.”

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“The entire universe appears in the one ocean of cosmic consciousness; in that universe dwell fourteen types of beings. This universe has already had Yama and others as its presiding deities. They have established the tenets of right conduct. However, when the people become predominately sinful, Yama, the god of death, sometimes engages himself in meditation for some years, during which the population increases and explodes.

The gods, frightened by this population explosion, resort to various devices to reduce it. All this has happened again countless times. The present ruler (Yama) is Vaivasvata. He, too, will have to perform meditation for some time. When, on account of that, the population of the earth will multiply very fast, all the gods will appear to lord Visnu to come to their aid. He will incarnate as lord Krsna, along with his alter ego named Arjuna. His elder brother will be Yudhisthira or the son of Dharma, who will be the embodiment of righteousness. His cousin Duryodhana will fight a duel with Bhima, Arjuna's brother. In this battle between cousins eighteen divisions of armed forces will be killed; and thus will Visnu dispose of the burden on the earth.

Krsna and Arjuna will play the roles of simple human beings. When Arjuna sees that the armies on both sides are composed of his own kinsmen, he will become despondent and will refuse to fight. At that time, lord Krsna will instruct him on the highest wisdom and bring about a spiritual awakening in him. He will tell Arjuna: “this (self) is neither born nor does it die; it is eternal and is not killed when this body is killed. He who thinks that it kills or that it is killed, he is ignorant. How, why and by whom is this infinite being, which is one without a second and which is subtler than space, destroyed? Arjuna, behold the self which is infinite, unmanifest, eternal and which is of the nature of pure consciousness and untainted. You are unborn and eternal!”

When the lord will thus instruct Arjuna, the latter will say: “Lord, my delusion is gone. I have attained an awakening of intelligence through your grace.” Arjuna will then engage himself in the conduct of the war, as if in a play.

Equip yourself with such an attitude. O Rama, and remain unattached, endowed with the spirit of renunciation and with the realization that whatever you do or you experience is an offering to the omnipresent being, Brahman. Then you will realize the truth, and that is the end of all doubts,

That is the supreme state, it is the guru of all guru,, it is the self, it is the light that illumines the world from within. It is the reality in all substances, that which endows the substances with their essential characteristic. The notion of 'world' arises only when the spirit of inquiry is absent. But, 'I' am before the world was. How then do the notions of world, etc., bind me? He who has thus realized the truth is free from all beginnings and all endings. He who is thus equipped with the spirit of non-duality (as if he is in deep sleep, though awake) is not disturbed though actively engaged in life. Such a person is liberated here and now.

What appears to be the world here is truly the magic (the work) of the infinite consciousness. There is no unity here, nor is there duality. My instructions, too, are of the same nature! The words, their meaning, the disciple, the wish (or the effort of the disciple) and the guru's ability in the use of the words – all these are also the play of energy of the infinite consciousness! In the peace of one's own inner being, consciousness vibrates and the world-vision arises. If that consciousness does not vibrate, there will be no world-vision.

The mind is but the movement in consciousness. The non-realization of this truth is world-vision! Non-realization of this truth intensifies and aggravates the movement of thought in consciousness. Thus a cycle is formed. Ignorance and mental activity are perpetuated by each other.

When the inner intelligence is awakened, the craving for pleasure ceases: this is the nature of the wise. In him this cessation of craving for pleasure is therefore natural and effortless. He knows that it is the energy of the self that experiences the experiences. He who, in order to please the public, refuses to experience what is to be experienced, he indeed beats the air with a stick! One attains self-knowledge by sometimes using appropriate means.

Desire for liberation interferes with the fullness of the self; absence of such desire promotes bondage! Hence, constant awareness is to be preferred. The sole cause for bondage and liberation is the movement in consciousness. Awareness of this ends this movement. The ego-sense ceases the very moment one observes it, for it has no support any longer. Then who is bound by whom, or who is liberated by whom?

Such is the nature of the supreme being, which is infinite consciousness. They who are endowed with macrocomsic forms like Brahma the creator, Visnu and Siva, are established in that supreme being; and they function here as the lords or the kings of the world. Established in it, the perfected ones roam the heavens, Having attained it, one does not die nor does one grieve, The sage who dwells even for the twinkling of an eye in that one being, which is of the nature of illimitable and infinite consciousness and which is also known as the supreme self, is not again afflicted, even though he continues to engage himself in the activities of the world.”

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Vasistha continued:
This cosmic illusion (Maya) creates great delusion and is of the nature of disequilibrium.

It is extremely difficult to understand it. What comparison is there between a hallucination which lasts for the brief duration of an hour's dream, and a whole life-time as a tribesman with all the varied experiences?

Again, how can we relate what is seen in that hallucination and what is seen 'in front of our eyes'? Or, what is truly unreal and what has really undergone a factual transformation?

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The pure mind is free from latent tendencies, and therefore it attains self-knowledge. Since the entire universe is within the mind, the notions of bondage and liberation are also within it.

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When the self, self-forgetfully, identifies itself with the objects seen and experienced and is thus impurified, there arises the poison of craving. This craving intensifies delusion.

Gods like Siva, etc., may be able to cope with the fires of cosmic dissolution; but it is impossible for anyone to deal with the consuming fire of craving.

Whatever terrible suffering and calamities there are in the world are all the fruits of craving, O Rama.

Remaining unseen and subtle, this craving is yet able to consume the very flesh, bone and blood of the body. In a moment it seems to subside, the next moment it is in an expanded state.

Afflicted by it, man becomes pitiable, weak, lustreless, mean, deluded, miserable and fallen. When this craving has ceased, one's life-force is pure and all divine qualities and virtues enter one's heart.

The river of craving flows only in the heart of the unwise person.
Even as an animal falls into a trap (a blind well) on account of its craving for food (the bait), a man following the trail of his craving falls into hell.

Even the worst blindness of senility is mild in comparison to the blinding delusion which craving brings about in one's heart in the twinkling of an eye.

Craving makes one cringe and become 'small': even lord Visnu becarne a dwarf when he decided to beg. Hence, this craving which is the source of all sorrows and which destroys the lives of all beings should be renounced from a great distance.

Yet, it is on account of craving that the sun shines on earth, the wind blows, the mountains stand and the earth upholds living beings; all the three worlds exist only on account of craving.

All the beings in the three worlds are bound by the rope of craving.
It is possible to break even the strongest rope in this world, but the rope of craving is hard to break.

Therefore, O Rama, give up craving by giving up thinking or conceptualisation. The mind cannot exist without thinking or conceptualisation.

First, let the images of 'I', 'you' and 'this' not arise in the mind, for it is because of these images that hopes and expectations come into being.

If you can thus refrain from building these images, you will also be counted as a man of wisdom.

Craving is non-different from the ego-sense. Ego-sense is the source of all sins.

Cut at the very root of this ego-sense with the sword of wisdom of the non-ego. Be free from fear.

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The tree of meditation casts a cool shade in which all desires and cravings come to an end. Meditation expands the shade of self-control, which promotes steadiness of the mind

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Rama, this inquiry, 'Who am I?' is the quest of the self and is said to be the fire that burns up the seed of the poisonous weed of conceptual thought.

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Rest in your heart in the unchanging and indivisible consciousness. Live an active life, free from the false notion that 'I am the doer'.

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The mind which is tied to the ego-sense and notions of pleasure and pain, is the seed for this samsara or world-illusion.

The mind of a jivanmukta is not swayed in the least from its utter equanimity by any kind of pleasure or pain, anymore than a mountain is blown away by someone blowing it with his breath. Such a mind is totally unaffected in great honor and festivity and in great calamity.

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Abandon the identification of the self with the body and behold the consciousness that knits together all the beings that exist in the universe.

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Ignorance and mental activity are perpetuated by each other. When the inner intelligence is awakened, the craving for pleasure ceases. For the wise, cessation of craving for pleasure is therefore natural and effortless.

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The total abandonment of desire alone is nirvana; clinging to desires is sorrow. By the abandonment of desire, Brahman is realized in a twinkling of an eye.

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Though the infinite consciousness is indivisible, it experiences within itself the two states of bondage and liberation.

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|| SEC IV | VERSE 34-35 | NATURE OF BONDAGE ||

On rising from this state of deep meditation , one finds oneself as roused from one's sound sleep , in order to view the world full of all its woes and imperfections opening wide before one .

What then , is the good of this transient bliss which one attains by one's temporary abstraction ( dhyana ) , when one has to fall again to one's sense of the sufferings to which the world is subject as a vale of tears .


| MITRA | VOL 1 | BOOK III | CHAP I

|| SEC IV | VERSE 36 | NATURE OF BONDAGE ||

But if one can attain to a state of unalterable abstraction of one's thoughts from all worldly objects , as one has in one's state of sound sleep ( susupti ) , one is then said to have reached the highest pitch of one's holiness

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| MITRA | VOL 1 | BOOK III | CHAP I

|| SEC IV | VERSE 26 | NATURE OF BONDAGE ||

It is difficult to avoid the sight of the phenomenal world , and to repress one's ardour for the same .

But it is certain that , the visibles can not lead us to the Reality , nor the Real mislead us to unreality .

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VASISTHA'S YOGA DAILY READING | SECTION V | CHAPTER 75

tiryagyonisvapi sada vidyante krtabuddhayah
devayonisvapi prajna vidyante murkhabuddhayah ( 32 )

sarvam sarvena sarvatra sarvatha sarvadaiva hi
sambhavatyeva sarvatmanyatmanyatatarupini ( 33 )

Vasistha continued :

Very many such liberated beings exist in the universe , O Rama .

I shall give you a few instances .

Janaka the sovereign , your own ancestor the sovereign Dilipa , the first ruler of the world Manu , sovereign Mandhata that engaged in wars , the demon-kings Bali , Namuci , Vrtra ( that even fought with the sovereign of gods Indra ) , Prahlada and Sambara , the preceptors of the gods and demons , as also the trinity ( that are involved in the creation , preservation and dissolution of the universe ) , sages like Visvamitra and Narada , as well as the deities presiding over natural elements like fire and air .

There are thousands of others , O Rama , that exist in the universe and that are liberated .

Some of them are sages , others are sovereigns , others shine its stars and planets , others are divinities and others are demons .

O Rama , there are liberated beings even among worms and insects ; and there are stupid fools among the gods .

The self is in all — it exists as the all everywhere at all times and in all ways .

The self alone is the Lord and all the divinities .

There is void ( space ) in substances and substantiality in the void or space .

What is inappropriate appears to be appropriate on enquiry .

People are righteous because they are afraid of the consequences of sin .

Even what is not leads to what is ! — the contemplation of the space or void leads to the attainment of the supreme truth !

What is not comes into being , guided by time and space .

On the other hand , what appears to be strong and powerful reaches its own destruction .

Thus perceiving the truth , O Rama , abandon joy and sorrow , grief and attachment .

The unreal appears to be real and the real appears to be unreal : hence give up hope and hopelessness and attain equanimity .

In this world , O Rama , liberation is at hand at all times everywhere .

By their own self-effort millions of beings have attained liberation .

Liberation is either easy or difficult depending upon one's wisdom or unwisdom ; hence , O Rama , kindle the lamp of wisdom in yourself .

By the vision of the self is sorrow beheaded .

There have been countless beings in this world that have attained self-knowledge and liberation while yet living : like the sovereign Janaka .

Therefore , do thou become liberated here and now .

The attainment of inner peace by utter non-attachment to anything here is known as liberation ; this is possible whether the body exists or not .

One that is freed from all attachment is liberated .

One should wisely and intelligently exert oneself to attain this liberation ; one that does not exert cannot even jump over the footprint of a rule .

Hence , O Rama , resort to spiritual heroism , to right exertion , and by the right self-enquiry strive to reach the perfection of self-knowledge .

For one that thus strives , the entire universe is like the footprint of a calf .

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The Yoga-Vasistha is the greatest help to the spiritual awakening , and the direct experience of the Truth . This is certain . If this is what you want , you are welcome to Yoga-Vasistha .

~ Swami Venkatesananda

It is the crest-jewel of all the works on Vedanta . It is a masterpiece . A study of the book raises one to the lofty heights of divine splendour and bliss .

It is really a vast store of wisdom . Those who practise Atma Chintana or Brahma Abhyasa or Vedantic meditation will find a priceless treasure in this marvellous book .

One who studies the book with great interest and one-pointedness of mind cannot go without attaining Self-realisation .

~ Swami Sivananda

One of the greatest books, the most wonderful according to me, ever written under the Sun, is Yoga-Vasistha, which nobody on the Earth can read without escaping God–Consciousness, and which nobody can read through without becoming one with The All.

~ Swami Rama Tirtha

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VASISTHA'S YOGA DAILY READING | SECTION V | CHAPTER 74

gospadam prthivi meruh sthanurasah samudgikah
trnamn tribhuvanam rama nairasyalankrtakrteh ( 47 )

Vasistha continued :

One that is endowed with desirelessness ( hope-lessness ) treats the whole world as if it were the footprint of a calf , the highest mountain as the stump of a felled tree , space as a small box and the three worlds as a blade of grass .

One laughs at the activities of the worldly-minded persons .

How can we compare such a person , and to what ?

How can anyone disturb one's equanimity when one is totally free from thoughts like " I wish this had happened to me " ?

O Rama , it is desire or hope that makes one revolve , bound to the wheel of world-illusion .

When you perceive the truth that the self alone is all this and that diversity is just a word without substance , you will become totally free from desire or hope .

Such a hero that is endowed with supreme dispassion drives away the goblin of illusion by the very presence .

One is not pleased by pleasure , one is not troubled by troubles .

Attractions do not distract one any more than wind can uproot a mountain .

The twin-forces of attraction and aversion do not even touch one .

One looks upon all with equal vision .

Free from the least attachment one enjoys whatever comes to one unsought , even as the eyes perceive their objects without desire or hate .

Such experiences do not therefore produce either joy or sorrow in one .

Even though one appears to be engaged in the performance of appropriate actions in this world , one's consciousness is not distracted in the least .

Whatever may befall one in accordance with the laws of time , space and causation , whether it is pleasant or unpleasant , one remains inwardly undisturbed .

Even as a rope which had been mistaken for a snake does not frighten one who has seen that it is a rope and not a snake ; illusion once dispelled does not return and self-knowledge once attained is never lost .

Can one restore to the tree the fruit that has fallen from it ?

The knower of truth regards even the most beautiful person as a painted image ; that is the truth , for both of them are made of the same substance ( earth , water , etc )

When thus the truth is seen , desire to possess does not arise in the heart .

Even as a person who has a lover goes about doing work with heart absorbed in contemplation of that lover , the enlightened sage functions in this world with consciousness firmly established in the truth .

In both these cases it is impossible for anyone to prevent such behavior , ie , make the person forget the lover , or make the sage forget the truth .

The enlightened sage knows that one's self is not cut when the body is cut , does not weep when the eyes shed tears , is not burnt when the body is burnt , and is not lost when everything is lost .

Whatever may befall one , whether one is destitute or affluent , whether one lives in a palace or in a forest — one is inwardly undisturbed

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| SECTION V | CHAPTER 91

When notions of the desirable and undesirable do not arise , then the mind does not arise and there is supreme peace .

These alone constitute the form of the mind — conception , imagination , thought and memory .

When these are absent , how does a mind exist ?

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| SECTION V | CHAPTER 91

When one , established in non-becoming , contemplates that which has not changed into becoming and when one thus perceives what is as it is , then the mind becomes no-mind .

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| SECTION V | CHAPTER 91

When , obstinately clinging to a fancy , and therefore abandoning a thorough enquiry into the nature of truth , one apprehends an object with that fancy — such apprehension is described as conditioning or limitation .

When such fancy is persistently and intensely indulged in , this world-appearance arises in consciousness .

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| SECTION V | CHAPTER 91

Caught up in one's own conditioning , whatever the person sees one thinks that to be real and gets deluded .

And on account of the intensity of the conditioning and the fancy , one discards one's own nature and perceives only the world-illusion .

All this happens only to the unwise .

That , whose perception is thus perverted , is known as mind .

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