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Essence of Yoga Vashistha

Vashistha

It is said that after embarking on a long and tiresome pilgrimage Prince ‪‎Rama‬ of Ayodhya found himself disillusioned with the world. He was overwhelmed by the pains of the people he met in travel and found world around him to be gruesome. He was not sure why the world and life was so unfair. He had so many questions which every time he tried to answer them himself landed him in an abyss of confusion. The ones close to him weren’t of any help. Eventually his enthusiasm in his duties fell steeply, causing great concern to his father and King of ‪Ayodhya‬‪Dasharatha‬. The concerned king sought help from his ‪Kulaguru‬ (clan mentor) Vashistha, who agreed to get the young prince (aged 15, then) out of his disillusionment. ‪Yoga‬ ‪‎Vashistha‬ is the name of very document which contains the complete record of dialogue between Rama and Vashistha. Originally in ‪Sanskrit‬ a great many translation available today, according to me, have failed miserably to bring out the perfectly rational ideas and views present in it. I’ve therefore translated some of the most appealing versus, myself, since they are truly timeless and eternal.

  1. Company of the sages converts emptiness into fullness, death into immortality and adversity into prosperity.
  2. If sages were concerned solely with their own happiness with whom could those tormented by the sorrows of world seek refuge.
  3. That which is imparted to a worthy person who has become dispassionate, is the real wisdom; it is the real purport of the sacred texts and is also the comprehensive wisdom.
  4. All the arts acquired by men are lost by patience, but this art of wisdom grows steadily once it arises.
  5. He is a happy man whose mind is inwardly cool and free from attachment and hatred and who looks upon this world like a mere spectator.
  6. He who has understood well how to abandon all ideas of acceptance and rejection and who has realized the consciousness which is within the innermost heart – his life is illustrious.
  7. When pots are broken the space within them becomes unlimited. So also when bodies cease to exist the Self remains eternal and unattached.
  8. Neither disease nor poison nor adversity nor any other thing in the world causes more suffering to men than such stupidity engendered in their bodies.
  9. Even though bondage does not really exist, it becomes strong through desire for worldly objects; when this desire subsides bondage becomes weak.
  10. The world is full of misery to an ignorant man and full of bliss to a wise man. The world is dark to a blind man and bright to one who has eyes.
  11. Just as the dream become unreal in the waking state and the waking state in the dream, so also death becomes unreal in birth and birth in death.
  12. All these are thus neither real nor unreal. They are the effect of delusion, mere impression arising out of some past experiences.
  13. Just as a crystal is not stained by what is reflected in it, so also the person who knows the truth is not really affected by the result of his acts.
  14. Even while he is intent on outward actions (the person who knows the truth) always remain introverted and extremely calm like one asleep.
  15. Firmly convinced of non-duality and enjoying perfect mental peace, Yogis go about their work seeing world as if it were a dream.
  16. Let death come to the person who knows the truth; today or at the end of aeons; he remains untarnished like gold buried in mine.
  17. He may cast off his body at Kashi or in the house of an outcast. The one who has known the eternal knowledge is liberated the very moment.
  18. To one who is bereft of desires the earth is hoof-print of a cow, Mount Meru a mound, space as much contained in a casket and the three worlds a blade of grass.
  19. The man with noble heart, whose desire has come to an end, is truly a liberated man; it does not matter whether or not he practices meditation or action.
  20. The idea of the self is bondage. Abandonment of it is liberation. There is neither bondage nor liberation for the ever-free self.
  21. O Rama, there is neither intellect nor mind, neither nescience nor mind, neither individual nor soul. These are the concepts born out of mind.
  22. O Rama, the mind has by its own activity bound itself – when it’s calm it’ll be free.
  23. Consciousness which is undivided imagines to itself desirable objects and runs after them. It is then known as the mind.
  24. Just as fire born out of wind is extinguished by the same wind, so also that which is born out of imagination is destroyed by imagination itself.
  25. The mind has come into existence through this imagination on account of forgetfulness. Like the experience of one’s own death in a dream it ceases to exist when scrutinized.
  26. The idea of the self in what is not the self is due to incorrect understanding. The idea of reality in what is unreal, O Rama, know that to be the mind (Chittam).
  27. “This is he”, “I am this”, “That is mine” such ideas constitute the mind; it disappears when one ponders over these false ideas.
  28. It’s the nature of the mind to accept certain things and to reject others; this is bondage – nothing else.
  29. The mind is the creator of the world; the mind is the individual (Purusha); only that which is done by the mind is regarded as done, not that which is done by the body. The arm with which one embraces the wife is the very arm which embraces the daughter.
  30. The mind is the cause for objects of perception. The three worlds depend on it. When it is dissolved the world is also dissolved. It is to be cured (i.e. purified) with effort.
  31. The mind is bound by latent impressions (Vasanas). When there are no impressions it is free. Therefore, O Rama, bring about quickly, through discrimination, the state in which there are no impressions.
  32. O Rama, he who, with inturned mind, offers all the three worlds, like dried grass, as an oblation in the fire of knowledge, becomes free from the illusions of the mind.
  33. When one knows the real truth about acceptance and rejection and does not think of anything but abides in himself, abandoning everything, his mind does not come into existence.
  34. The mind is Ghoram (terrible) in the waking state, Santam (gentle) in dream state, Mudham (dull) in deep sleep and dead when not in any of these three states.
  35. The only element to be conquered is the mind. Its conquest leads to the attainment of everything. Without its conquest all other efforts are fruitless.
  36. To be unperturbed is the foundation of bliss. One attains liberation by it. To human beings even the conquest of the three worlds, without the conquest of the mind, is as insignificant as blade of grass.
  37. Association with the wise, abandonment of the latent impressions, self-enquiry, control of breathing – these are the means of conquering the mind.
  38. The one who is shod with leather the earth is as good as covered with leather. Even so to the mind which is full; the world overflows with nectar.
  39. When the mind is abandoned, everything that is dual or single is dissolved. What remains after that is the Supreme Brahman, peaceful, eternal and free from misery.
  40. There is nothing to equal the supreme joy felt by a person of pure mind who has attained the state of pure consciousness and overcome death.
  41. To one who has realized the self by enquiry, Brahma, Vishunu & Shiva are objects of compassion.
  42. By abandonment of the latent impressions or by the control of breathing mind ceases to be the mind – practice whichever you like.
  43. O pure soul, cherish the association of sages and the true scriptures; you will attain the state of Supreme Consciousness not in the course of months but days.
  44. Latent impressions cease to exist when one associates with sages, discards all thoughts of Samsara and remembers that the body has to die.
  45. O Rama, even ignorant with the firmness of their conviction convert poison into potion and potion into poison.
  46. If one realizes the unity of things everywhere, one always remains tranquil, inwardly cool and pure like space without the idea of the self.
  47. If one is cool inwardly the whole world will be cool, but when one is hot the whole world will be a burning mass.
  48. Unmoved by adversity, a friend of all world in prosperity, without ideas of existence and non-existence, I live free from misery.
  49. Inactive, desire-less, clear as the sky, free from hankering, tranquil, formless, everlasting and unmoving – this is me.
  50. I am above everything, I am present everywhere, I am like space, I am that which really exist, I am unable to say anything beyond this.
  51. Let imaginary waves of universe rise or fall in me, the ocean infinite consciousness, there’ll no increase or decrease in me.
  52. How wonderful that in me, the infinite ocean of consciousness, waves of Jivas (individual soul) arises, sport for a while and disappear according to their nature.
  53. The world which has come into existence on account of my ignorance has dissolved likewise in me. I now directly experience the world as supreme bliss of Consciousness.
  54. I prostrate to myself who am within all being, the ever free Self abiding as inner consciousness.
  55. O Raghava, be outwardly active but inwardly inactive, outwardly a doer but inwardly a non-doer and thus play your part in this world.
  56. O Rama, abandon all desires inwardly, be free from attachments and latent impressions do everything outwardly and thus play your part in the world.
  57. O Rama, adopt a comprehensive view, characterized by the abandonment of all objects of contemplation, live in your innate self, liberated even while alive and thus play your part in this world.
  58. Burn the forest of duality with the fire of the conviction, ‘I am the one Pure Consciousness’ and remain happy.
  59. You are bound firmly on all sides by the idea that “I am body”. Cut that bound by the sword of knowledge. Know that you are Consciousness and be happy.
  60. Do not be that which is understood, nor the one who understands. Abandon all concepts and remain what you are.
  61. Eliminate one concept by another and the mind by the mind and abide in the Self. Is this so difficult?
  62. Sever the mind, which has on account of its cares become red hot, with the mind which is like Iron sharpened by the study of Vedic scriptures.
  63. The mere knowledge that this body is like a piece of wood or a clod of earth, enables one to realize the supreme self.
  64. If you separate yourself from the body and abide at ease in Consciousness you will become one, with everything else appearing insignificant like a grass.
  65. Knowledge is not separate from you and that which is known is not separate from knowledge. Hence there is nothing other than the self, nothing separate from it.
  66. Know for once that you are the whole universe, the undecaying Supreme self, there is neither past nor future apart from you.
  67. The sense of perceiver and perceived is common to all embodied beings, but the Yogi worships the oneself (not ones ego).
  68. The self, is realized in the body only with effort; like sugar from the sugarcane, oil from sesame seeds, fire from wood, flutter from cow and iron from stones.
  69. The self with without beginning or end.
  70. The self is absolute consciousness. It is pure awareness, undecaying, free from all ideas of acceptance or rejection and not limited by space, time or genus.
  71. There is neither bondage nor liberation, neither duality nor non-duality. There is only Brahman always shining as Consciousness.
  72. Awareness is Brahman, the world is Brahman, the various elements are Brahman; I am Brahman; my enemy is Brahman, my friends and relatives are Brahman. 
  73. There is only consciousness here; this universe is nothing but consciousness, you are consciousness, I am consciousness, the worlds are consciousness – this is the conclusion.
  74. Consciousness alone shines by itself. Ideas of knower and the known are idle postulates.
  75. Supreme Bliss cannot be experienced thought contact of the senses with their objects. The supreme state is that in which the mind is annihilated through one-pointed inquiry.
  76. The bliss arising from the contact of the senses with their objects is inferior. Contact with the sense objects is bondage. Freedom from them alone is liberation.
  77. Attain the pure state between existence and non-existence and hold on to it; do not accept or reject the inner or the outer world.
  78. The belief in a knower and the known is called bondage. The knower is bound by the known; he is liberated when there is nothing to know.
  79. One who realizes that everything is Brahman truly becomes a Brahman.

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