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Yoga Vasistha Teachings

This is a collection of teachings from the Yoga Vasistha - a dialogue between Bhagavan Sri Ram and Sage Vasishta. 

The river falling into the ocean is no more the river but the ocean. Its waters mingling with sea waters become the salt sea. Just so, the mind cleaving to Shiva is united with him and finds rest therein, as the blade is sharpened by its reduction upon the stone.

The mind engrossed in its own nature forgets the Eternal Spirit and must return again to this world, never attaining spiritual felicity.

An honest man dwells amongst thieves only so long as he does not know them as such. No sooner does he come to know them than he is sure to shun their company and flee from the spot. So too the mind dwells amongst unreal dualities as long as it is ignorant of the transcendent One. But when it becomes aware of True Unity, it is sure to be united with it.

When the ignorant mind comes to know the Supreme Bliss attendant on the state of Nirvana, it is ready to resort to it, as the inland stream runs to join the boundless sea.

The mind roams bewildered in its repeated births in this tumultuous world so long as it does not find its ultimate felicity in the Supreme, unto which it may fly like a bee to its honeycomb.

Who is there that would abandon Divine Wisdom, once having tasted its bliss! Who would forsake the sweet, once having known its flavor.

Oneself is one’s own friend or enemy. If one does not save oneself, there is no other remedy. (Yoga Vasishta VI.b. 161.18)

What is not attained by oneself through one’s own persistent effort… cannot be attained through anything else in all the three worlds. (Yoga Vasishta IV. 43.18)

Devotion to Gods, like Vishnu, is invented only to put on the right track those fools who run away from study, effort and thinking. (Yoga Vasishta V. 43.20)

The artificial and showy ways of worshipping God are only for the ignorant and for those whose minds are not fully grown up and are fickle. (Yoga Vasishta VI.A. 30.5)

People swing like straws afloat on the waters of this ocean of a mutable world, so long as mind does not attain repose and stability on the shores of inquiry into Self.

Inquiry will lead the mind of a person to the thing to be known, by making it easy to move towards truth. It is like water which can move easily when the obstructing sand is removed (or parted).

It is like the clean knowledge of a goldsmith that 'this is gold, this is ash or not ash.' (On inquiry a seeker will get such a power of discrimination).

This Self never perishes; it is imperishable – when one realizes this within himself, where is the opportunity for any delusion about this world?

When one is not aware (of the truth), his mind wavers and falls under delusion.

When the Self is known without any doubt and vagueness, how can stupidity survive?

O folks, all sorrow is when Self is not known. When the Self is known (realized), there will be only endless joy, happiness and peace.

Just as a steady boat, O Rama, is obtained from a boatman, so also the method of crossing the ocean of samsara is learnt by associating with great souls.

The great remedy for the long-lasting disease of samsara is the enquiry, ‘Who am I? To whom does this samsara belong?,’ which entirely cures it.

The Lord cannot be seen with the help of the sacred texts or the Guru. The self is seen by the Self alone with the pure intellect.

Even the slightest thought immerses a man in sorrow; when devoid of all thoughts he enjoys imperishable bliss.

Just as we experience the delusion of hundreds of years in a dream lasting an hour, so also we experience the sport of maya in our waking state.

Life causes only pain because people get bitten by the poisonous snakes of desires. They do not have strong discriminating sense to save themselves from them.

We have limited understanding because of the identification with body.

That alone is life in which one attains the state of bliss wherein in one grieves not.

Calm the mind, slowly and not at once, by pacifying counseling as though you fondle the child.

Sorrows, desires, afflictions get destroyed like darkness before sun, in the case of persons with calm minds.

A person does not experience that kind of happiness either through drinking of elixir or embrace of Goddess of Wealth which he gets through a mind imbued with tranquility.

Thoughts on Control of Mind from Yoga Vasistha

The mind, tainted by desire and aversion, contributes to worldly life; the very mind, stripped of them, is said to bring it to an end.

It is mind that is creator of the world. Mind is the real person. That what is done by the mind is considered as really done and not that which is done by the body only.

Except through the extinction of the mind brought about by the renunciation of the desired object – which is within a person’s capacity to do – there is no way to attain the plane of beatitude.

Summoning up your will, by reducing the mind to nought, rise to the supreme state where there is none – neither you nor anyone else. (Source: Journey to the Sublime – compiled by K N Subramanian)

Yoga Vasishta Teachings on Fate

There is nothing called fate.

Fate does not exist.

Fate is ever unreal.

Fate does nothing. Only imagination is such.

Except the state of a corpse, motionless is not seen in this world. The acquisition of results arises out of movement or action. Therefore fate is nonsensical.

Fate has been fashioned by fools. Those having that as the highest object are destroyed. But the wise have arrived at this position of excellence by means of manly effort.

Among those with weak intellects, fate is only a consolation in their sorrow. This is a comforting word. Really, there is no fate.

The attainment of fortunate or unfortunate things of a result accomplished by fruitful human effort in this world is described by the word ‘fate.’

On obtaining the results of one’s own actions, those statements such as ‘this is so circumstanced,’ have attained fame by the name ‘fate.’

Under those very circumstances, the firm belief that there is fate is assumed by the foolish on account of wrong perception, just as a snake is assumed in a rope.

There is nothing called fate which has a form other than one’s own former action. That former human effort is indeed described by the word ‘fate.’

As much as there is effort, so would there be result quickly. Thus, there is only human effort. That alone could be ‘fate.’

Yoga Vasishtha – Chapter I, lines (169 – 176) (182 – 185)
(Source: The Vision and the Way of Vasishtha – published by Indian Heritage Trust, Madras)

Teachings from Yoga Vasistha on Brahman

The nature of the Absolute Reality (Brahman) cannot be satisfactorily talked about or discussed. It can only be experienced within the depth of one’s own being. (VI-b: 31-37)

It is neither a being nor a non-being nor anything between the two. It is nothing, yet everything. It cannot be grasped by the mind and expressed in words. It is empty of all possible contents, yet is the deepest of all enjoyments. (III 119-23)

Teachings of Bhusunda from Yoga Vasistha

Death does not wish to kill one who does not have attraction and aversion or false notions and mental habits.

Death does not wish to kill one who does not suffer from mental illness, who does not entertain desires and hopes which giver rise to anxieties and worry, who is not poisoned by greed, whose body and mind are not burnt by the fire of anger and hate, who is not churned and ground by the mill of lust, who is firmly established in the pure awareness of Brahman the absolute and whose mind is not distracted.

He whose mind and heart are established in Supreme Peace is not touched by the blinding evils born of lust and hate.

Bhusunda is the name of a crow in Yoga Vasishta – this is an immortal crow constantly meditating on the Supreme Brahman. Sage Vasishta asks the crow about the secret of its immortality. (Source - The supreme Yoga: Yoga Vasistha by Swami Venkatesananda)