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ESSENTIAL YOGA VASISTHA

Swami Suryadevananda

An Ananda Kutir Publication 2013


suryadevananda.org

Creative Commons: This eBook can be downloaded for personal use. It can be shared publically as long as credited. No commercial
use. It may not be changed in any way.

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Dedicated to

Swami Venkatesananda

Essential Yoga Vasistha

INTRODUCTION
The Yoga Vasistha is a manual for the sincere spiritual seeker. Through the use of stories and illustrations, Vasistha brings out the
most subtle points, not for theorizing but for practice. The way of bringing out these points inspires the seeker towards their
actualization in practiceboth in life and on the matthese being one and the same. The opening story of the first chapter sets the
stage for life, which includes all activity and meditation or practice and leads to the goal like two wings of a bird.
Vasistha makes it very clear that the problem is confusion of the real with the unreal, or change, due to the seeming reality of its
appearance. Life is the field where this takes place and life must also be the field where this is corrected. Meditation or practice
sharpens the instrument which allows for a life where we deal with things as they are, without the interference of thought. This
thins the mind and the thinned mind is ready for deeper meditation so one's true nature can be seen.
Life or activity and meditation or practice feed on each other in a cycle of ridding the mind of its impurities so one's true nature can
be seen. This is the task on hand and this mighty scripture is a blazing light on the path.
Last year I completed 'Yoga Vasistha in Poem' based on portions I felt important for the spiritual seeker. This work, 'Essential Yoga
Vasistha' is a response to that feelinga fresh work that highlights Vasistha's teachings in a way that talks to the reader instead of
indirectly. The framework of stories, characters and situations have been dropped and the important teachings conveyed have been
brought out directly. I have tried to bring out those teachings that pertain to understanding, practice and lifethese three being
inseparable.
Poetry is not bound by the grammatical rules of prose and can cut through and bring out subtle points better. With using selected
portions, it is still a lengthy work and I felt another version, a fresh writing from the ground up highlighting the teachings directly
may be further useful. I have made some changes in this version to relate to the time we live in. Kings were the authority in the past,
today, we can bring authority down further to the employer.
I am most thankful to Sivananda-Usha for her masterful and tireless help with editing this work.
Life is practice and practice is life. Persevere relentlessly!
Swami Suryadevananda
2 February 2013

Essential Yoga Vasistha

CONTENTS
Introduction .............................................................................. 4
Prayer Before Reading .................................................. 7

Seven Planes of Wisdom ............................................. 21


The Infinite .................................................................. 22

I. Dealing with Dispassion ......................................................... 8

IV. Dealing With Existence ...................................................... 23

Life, a field to evolve ..................................................... 8


The seeker ..................................................................... 8
Signs of awakening........................................................ 8
Awakened observations................................................ 8

'I' is the problem ......................................................... 23


Lead an awakened life ................................................ 25
Parents' Duty............................................................... 27
Real and Unreal ........................................................... 27
The Sage's Song........................................................... 27
Closing Thoughts ......................................................... 28

II. The Behavior of the Seeker ................................................. 11


The problem and cure................................................. 11
Self-effort .................................................................... 11
Four gate-keepers to liberation .................................. 11
Wisdom's rise .............................................................. 12
III. Dealing with Creation ........................................................ 13
Appearance and reality ............................................... 13
Consciousness and creation........................................ 13
Resolving appearance and reality ............................... 14
Space ........................................................................... 14
Practice........................................................................ 15
Changing the flow of the mind ................................... 15
The nature of infinite consciousness .......................... 15
The relative and the unchanging ................................ 17
Light on the path ......................................................... 18
Raise the mind with the mind ..................................... 19
Essential Yoga Vasistha

V. Dealing with Dissolution ..................................................... 29


Consciousness and thought ........................................ 30
The abandonment of conditioning ............................. 31
Craving ........................................................................ 31
Living with purpose ..................................................... 31
A Seeker's Prayer ........................................................ 32
A Seeker's Realization ................................................. 33
Mastery of one's heart-mind ...................................... 34
Sages' view .................................................................. 38
Conditioning ................................................................ 39
Overcoming the mind ................................................. 39
VI. Dealing With Liberation, Part I .......................................... 40
Exhortation to practice ............................................... 41
Truth............................................................................ 41

The yoga way .............................................................. 41


Pranayama and mind control ..................................... 42
Living without conditioning ........................................ 43
Supreme meditation ................................................... 44
Supreme worship ........................................................ 44
The Supreme ............................................................... 45
Proper action .............................................................. 48
Seeing through the illusion ......................................... 48
Renunciation ............................................................... 49
Delusion of world-appearance.................................... 50
Mind itself is self-destruction ..................................... 50
Do what needs to be done.......................................... 51
Attain self-knowledge ................................................. 52
VI. Dealing With Liberation, Part II ......................................... 54
World exists in the meaning of 'ego-sense' ................ 55
Advice to the seeker ................................................... 55
How experience arises ................................................ 57

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Seeing through the illusion ......................................... 60


Stay free of notions ..................................................... 62
Avoid siddhis or psychic powers ................................. 63
Action is better than inaction ..................................... 63
Awakened realizations ................................................ 64
Earnest prayers are answered .................................... 66
Strange and wonderful is this maya ........................... 66
The only means to redemption .................................. 67
Be established in truth ................................................ 67
Repeated affirmation makes memory ........................ 69
Focus of main effort .................................................... 70
The greatness of freedom ........................................... 71
Yoga as life .................................................................. 71
The seeker's awakening .............................................. 72
Vasistha's final comments .......................................... 72

Prayer Before Reading


Salutations to that supreme reality
In which all shine as if independently
In which they exist for a short while
And into which they merge eventually
Salutations to that consciousness
Source of apparent threefold division
Of knower, knowledge and known
Seer, sight and seen; doer, doing and deed
Salutations to that bliss-absolute
Which is the life of all beings
Deriving happiness from the shower
Of its ocean of supreme bliss

I. DEALING WITH DISPASSION


Life, a field to evolve
Life, work and activity
Are not different from practice
Life is practice and practice is life
Together seamlessly they lead to the goal
All things are ever changing
They are not the problem at all
Our reactions to change or 'what is'
Is what must be seen and abandoned
Though awake, we are mostly asleep
Seeing, the mind assigns its own values
These have nothing to do with 'what is'
These springs of sorrow must be abandoned
The seeker
When one sees the problem lies within
And tries to go beyond habit's grip
Wishing to be free but not seeing the way
One becomes a seekerworthy of wisdom
There must be this inner change of heart
Outer change is strugglecosmetic at best

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Inner change reorganizes the outer naturally


It's not even change, just what's natural to it
The outer is the visible face of the inner
Just like water beginning to boil
Heat meeting water is not seen
What is seen is water bubbling away
All beings have different natures
Assigning good and bad doesn't matter
Linking present with past doesn't matter
Why not deal with each in the moment?
Signs of awakening
Hopes and desires arise from our values
So do desires, attachments and dependency
Seeing thisbe ready to go beyond
And stay on the path that is freedom itself
Awakened observations
Happiness cannot be had from things
People too are in the realm of change
When they change, joy turns to sorrow
The cycle of blind pursuit is samsara

Learning is a burden to the unwise


Wisdom a burden to one with desires
Mind is a burden to the restless
Life is a burden without self-knowledge
Mind is the cause of all objects
They are not seen when the mind is absent
Or when the mind is distracted elsewhere
Though objects be right in front of it
Craving increases fear, weakens courage
Increases misery and lack of clarity
Never allowing one to see 'what is'
Insisting on seeing what it wants to see
Preoccupation with the body is bondage
Bound to the body is bound to the world
The body is usefulit is not the problem
Self's identification with the body is
Childhood is a period of vulnerability
Helplessnessunable to be expressed
In this background of inner instability
Rises craving from latent tendencies
Youth is springtime for passion's harvest
Suppressing good qualities that do exist

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Generating climate for wrong perception


And wrong action with its consequences
Even those who have left world activity
Are still subject to delusion's power
Leaving things may not be letting go
The inner grip is indeed hard to loosen
Staying hidden, time overpowers all
Reversing the powerful and the weak
Juggling wealth, fame and status
Letting us believe we do these things
Even fools rise to power and affluence
These are not accomplishments at all
To rise above the mind and senses
Is indeed a worthy accomplishment
Leading a fully awakened life is necessary
To see the inherent defect in things
Not that they are good or bad
Our values make them appear as such
The mind is not capable of handling life
It just cannot bring happiness and peace
Awaken that which observes the mind
Empower the inner intelligence

The mind is a powerful bundle of habits


Not easy to extricate oneself from its grip
Struggle is partly caught, partly freed
It is here a reliable guide is most helpful

II. THE BEHAVIOR OF THE SEEKER


The problem and cure
Mental modifications is diversity
The dividing mind projecting on things
When the inner intelligence responds to life
The mind's foolishness exhausts itself
Neither easy nor difficult is this
Hopes, desires and craving must be unanswered
They are how modifications perpetuate
Appeasement solidifies ignorance's grip
Unless you are willing to lead an awakened life
Rising above hopes, desires and cravings
It is deception to indulge in high philosophy
Knowing you're tight in foolishness's grip
Habit can be overcome by self-effort
But first there must be change of heart
It is futile to foolishly grind oneself
While the heart still finds habit appeasing
Change of heart is wisdom's rise
This inner change must bring outer change
The old can never bring anything new
An awakened life brings change of heart

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Self-effort
Non-division is right understanding
This is the basis for self-effort
It manifests in heart when one is exposed
To the teachings and conduct of holy ones
To divert the mind to the pure
Towards that which is divisionless
Persistently, without letting-up
Is the essence of all teachings and scriptures
Action is non-different from latent tendencies
Latent tendencies are non-different from the mind
The mind is non-different from the person
Latent tendencies are the springs of action
Four gate-keepers to liberation
Self-control, spirit of inquiry
Contentment and good company
These are the four gate-keepers
Who guard the gates to liberation
When the mind's thought-waves subside
There is an unbroken flow of peace within

11

The heart leaps to the supreme truth


This very world becomes an abode of peace
Living amongst all and everything
Unaffected by things in any way
Free of likes and dislikes
One is said to be self-controlled
Self-inquiry is natural to the self-controlled
Self-knowledge arises from self-inquiry
One discovers great tranquility and peace
Understanding and freedom from sorrow

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Contentment is the supreme gain


Satsanga is the best journey's companion
Spirit of enquiry is the greatest wisdom
Self-control is supreme happiness
Wisdom's rise
Accept the words of a young boy
If he indeed speaks words of wisdom
Reject what is not of wisdom
Even if they be by the creator
Till wisdom arises directly in you
Take recourse in the knowledge
Transmitted by the great teachers
Who've trodden the path themselves

12

III. DEALING WITH CREATION


Appearance and reality
Objective perception happens naturally
Just as fragrance exists in flowers
Let it be, it is not the problem
Why act on it and make it real?
The liberated one's actions
Wisdom's responses to situations
Never rising from conditioning
Are ever free of karma's grasp
All these forms you see
Are non-different from that which sees
The formless itself freezes into forms
Self-forgetfulness makes the unreal seem real
Consciousness and creation

As ripples arise from the ocean's surface


Rising, subsiding and existing in him as him
In it rise the seer, sight and seen
Perfectly synthesized as 'seeing' only
Nothing but pure consciousness
Knowing this directly is self-realization
The infinite emerges from the infinite
Existing in it as the infinite only
What emerges is the same as its source
Creation is just a term, nothing else
Causeless is this creation
Therefore it has no beginning
How can it exist even now?
How can it ever be destroyed?

Neither the objective universe


Nor self, perception or void
Nor inertness exists
Cosmic consciousness alone is

Ever changing material appearances


Animated by an unchanging reality
Linked by infinite consciousness
Unchanged and unchangeable it is

From him emerges all and everything


As countless rays emerge from the sun

The elements are creation's seed


Consciousness is the element's seed

Essential Yoga Vasistha

13

As is the seed, so is the fruit


All is Brahman the absolute
When the real rests in the unreal
Which has the real as its substratum
It becomes confused so to say
The absolute believes it's an individual
But all this only appears to be
The one, believing itself to be many
All happening within its own bosom
The absolute is the only reality
When the knowable is apprehended
The knower arises as the individual
Instantly it is involved in samsara
Till it abandons standing apart completely
The false notion of the external knowable
Has to be removed, root and branch
These notions are the ignorance that binds
The infinite only acts as finite individuals
Resolving appearance and reality
Let the subject-object tangle
Be perfectly resolved in you
This universe and creation you see
Only appears to exist in truth
Essential Yoga Vasistha

Free yourself of all conditioning


Free yourself of latent tendencies
Be awake, but not to this world
And ever abide in the eternal
Self-knowledge arises within naturally
When the self shines unhampered within
Let this world beit's not the problem
Knowing 'world' is a wordself alone is
Spiritual practice and disciplined life
Can bestow what is possible in the world
Physical immortality cannot be attained
Strive for the immortal beyond this realm
Space
Three types of space there are
Psychologicalwhen self is conscious of 'I'
Physicalwhen self sees the elements
Consciousnesswhen self rests in the self
A mountain is seen inside the mirror
The mountain is seen outside too
Creation too is seen within consciousness
And outside too in the same way
Memory of the past stays hidden
Death wakes you up to new conditions
14

Once again the world and wheel of time


Appear very real though imaginary

Understanding that is the mind itself


Great effort is needed to change its flow

All thought-forms or experience


Are infinite consciousness alone
Cause and effect are but words
The absolute is the only reality

He is my father, this is my wealth


Here I have done good, there I have sinned
I have become a small child, and now a youth
All these one sees within one's heart

Practice

One who has realized the truth


That Brahman, the self and everything
Is all one infinite consciousness
Distinguishes not between family, friend or foe

Thinking and speaking of that alone


Never forgetting 'that' in midst of all
Utter dedication to that one alone
This is called practice by the wise

The nature of infinite consciousness

Let things appear as they do


Oceans, mountains and skies above
Different appearances are not the truth
See no division, as none exists

In every atom of infinite consciousness


Universes come and go endlessly
Like particles of dust in a beam of light
Shining through a hole in the roof

Changing the flow of the mind

In a space the size of a thumb


We imagine worlds and galaxies
Stretching million of miles endlessly
All in a space the size of a thumb

They who serve an unrighteous one


Whoever takes advantage of others
Comes to ruin sooner or later
Even if they did not exploit others themselves
Understanding is what responds to life
As is one's understanding so is one's mind

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Due to the nature of infinite consciousness


All these arise again and again
Then return to tranquility once more
Like the spontaneous play of a child
15

Though one sees all of this


One does not see anything at all
When infinite consciousness alone is
Being no otherwho sees what?
This universe is but a long dream
The ego-sense and all we see
The fancy that there are others too
All as real as dream-objects
Death and life contradict each other
While living, death is notin death, life is not
That which holds together either experience
Is absent in the other's condition
We consider fruits a reward for prayer or worship
But consciousness alone bestows everything
It may appear fruit falls from the sky
But, in reality, fruit falls from the tree
Just as cities exist within the dreamer
Three worlds exist in a small atom
There are atoms in those worlds too
Each atom also contains the three worlds
Infinite consciousness is the substratum
There is conviction in the order of creation

Essential Yoga Vasistha

These two factors make things appear real


The underlying reality recognizes itself
All that was ever conceived
By consciousness during the first creation
Has remained there in the same manner
With the same characteristics even now
Who dies, when and in what way?
To whom does consciousness belong and how?
Even when millions of bodies die
Consciousness exists undiminished
That atomic ethereal particle
Possessed of memories and tendencies
Is what is known as the jiva
It remains where the dead body lies
The self of all exists in all bodies
With motion in moving bodies
Immovable as immovable bodies
The self alone exists as all
The sentient and the insentient
The inert and the intelligent
No difference between them at all
As the essence of all substance is one

16

Faith turns poison into nectar


Fancy or the unreal to real substance
The subject itself becomes the object
If there is intense faith in things
Just as one assumes different bodies in dream
One can assume different bodies awake
Moving from the ethereal in the other body
Without abandoning the previous one
The relative and the unchanging
When the intelligence is well established
In the conviction of its ethereal nature
The body is forgotten then and there
As in youth one forgets life as a fetus
A night is an epoch when suffering
A night is a moment in revelry
In the experience of the dream state
A moment and epoch are non-different
If one's intelligence is established
In the truth concerning consciousness
There is no doubt one reaches
The supreme state of liberation
All things are equally indwelt
By the infinite intelligence
Essential Yoga Vasistha

At all times in every way


The uncreated is all, the self of all
Nothing's created, nothing ends
Anywhere, in any way or at any time
The absolute Brahman is allsupreme peace
Unborn, pure consciousness and permanent
There exists the power of consciousness
Which is in motion all of the time
The reality of all inevitable events
For it penetrates all epochs in time
The individual is just a little agitation
On the surface of the ocean of Brahman
Or just like the little movement of flame
Of a candle in a windless room
When one is firmly established
In the oneness of the infinite consciousness
Whether quiet or actively engaged in work
He is considered to be at peace with himself
Just as the creator was willed into being
A worm is brought into being the same way
Because the latter is caught up in impurity
Its action is trivial and has consequences

17

A selfish person's violent efforts


To gain selfish ends often leads to other results
Just as a person can't see his face
When his own breath mists the mirror

If you wish for unalloyed happiness


Fame, prosperity and long life
By all means honor and worship good men
Giving them all they might wish to have

The mind that is heading towards calamity


First creates delusion and wickedness
These themselves later expand
Into misfortune and sorrow experienced

Even selfish ends are gained by the wise


Using appropriate means, conduct or action
After they give up anger and mental agitation
And resort to equanimity and a clear mind

Only something that does exist


Can undergo experiences
How can a non-existent body
Ever experience satisfaction?

It is one and yet it is many at once


In it millions of universes merge
It is not a void or nothingness
For it is the self of all and everything

Light on the path

As long as one sees the bracelet as bracelet


It is not seen as goldwhat it really is
When the world is assumed to be real
The self is not seen and stays hidden away

You can gain direct knowledge


Of the supreme causeless cause
By your own examination
Of the intelligence within
The direct enquiry of thought's movement
Within one's own consciousness
Is the supreme guru or preceptor
None else can throw such light on your path

Essential Yoga Vasistha

The self can be attained in many ways


Yet, when attained, nothing's been attained
For it is the supreme self
Yet it is nothing as it alone is
Within the atomic space of consciousness
All the experiences do exist

18

Even as within a drop of honey


Subtle essences of flowers do exist
Because of consciousness in the bracelet
Gold realizes its goldness
The subject manifesting as the object
Realizes subjectivitypure consciousness
Having the company of the enlightened
One does not suffer in this world
Even as one holding a lighted candle
Does not see darkness anywhere
All this discussion and argumentation
Take place only in and because of ignorance
When there is knowledge there is no duality
When the truth is knownsilence alone remains
The mind alone that appears as all this
Ceaseless and endless creative activity
On account of nescience it deludes one
Into thinking that it is real or unreal
Wise men do not desire action
Seeking to do for some purpose
At the same time they do not desire
To either avoid or abandon action

Essential Yoga Vasistha

The mind alone is the world's creator


The mind alone is the supreme person
What is done by the mind is action
What is done by the body is not action
Whatever appears in one's consciousness
Seems to come into being at once
It gets establishedappearing as reality
And bears fruits too in due course
When potentialities are most subtle
It is individualized consciousness or soul
When all potentialities within cease
That itself shines as the supreme being
Raise the mind with the mind
Strive wholeheartedly with the mind
To make the mind take to the pure path
With the self make the self
Tread the path of purity
This forest known as world-appearance
Should be cut down at its very root
With the sharp axe of enquiry
To be free of it eternally
All beings have arisen in the absolute
When there was the slightest disturbance
19

Withinin its equilibrium


Just as waves rise on the ocean's surface
When all selfish action has ended
The individual mind ceases to be
This is seen in the liberated sage
His action becomes no action
Concepts have arisen somehow
It is accidental coincidence
In a moment of self-forgetfulness
Consciousness viewed itself as the object
When the mind is deeply observed
It gets absorbed into its substratum
When it is thus absorbed
There is supreme felicity
Whatever be the mind's origin
It matters not really at all
Instead direct it towards liberation
Through untiring, relentless self-effort
Behold the play of ignorance
It makes one hurt oneself by oneself
Making one run hither and thither
In meaningless panic of no importance

Essential Yoga Vasistha

The instruments of action, action and doer


Birth, death, existence and phenomena
All this and everything is Brahman
Nothing else existseven in imagination
This world is nothing more than an idea
All the objects seen are ideas too
Reject all errors of ideation and be free
Remain rooted in truth and attain peace
You are ever freeeven right now
Why call yourself bound and grieve?
The self is infinite and absolute
Why, how and by whom is it bound?
Depending upon its intensity
The size of the object influenced
The mind does the needful in time
It can do anything and everything
Only those who've not cultivated wisdom
Are adversely affected by bad luck and fate
But those in whom wisdom has blossomed
Are unaffected by adversity and don't panic
When evil tendencies bind one tight
It shows in one's conduct and words

20

Weeping silently and remorsefully later


Does not help till one is ready to change
World-appearance is the play of the mind
The mind a play of the supreme being
Mind is the atmosphere, sky, earth and wind
Mind is the whole worldmind is great
As one bound to a pillar does not move
One bound to reality is fixed in it
He alone is a human being
Others fall short of the mark
When one severs the root of the mind
With the weapon of non-conceptualization
One reaches the absolute Brahman
Omnipresent and supreme peace
When the mind is deprived of its restlessness
It is referred to as the 'dead' mind
That itself is penance or tapas
Verification of the scriptures and liberation
Do not become inactive
What is gained by doing nothing?
What has to be done has to be done
Rest in the self while being active

Essential Yoga Vasistha

A life-size painting of a person


Is unable to perform his duties
Ignorance or mental conditioning
Is incapable of intelligent function
The firm conviction 'I am this individual'
Is the chain that binds the mind
The mind is liberated by the firm conviction
Everything is Brahmanthe absolute
Do not let your mind wander about
Dwelling on thoughts and ideas
Strive to be conscious of the self
If you wish to enjoy lasting peace
In all experiences of joy and sorrow
In all hallucinations and imaginations
It is the mind that does everything
The mind experiences allmind is man
Sevenfold is the delusion that veils
Seed state of wakefulness, wakefulness
Great wakefulness, wakeful dream
Dream, dream wakefulness and sleep
Seven Planes of Wisdom
Knowing these seven states of wisdom
Not intellectually but in the deepest way
21

You will not be caught in delusion


And cross the shores to freedom's banks

No notion of diversity, no contemplation


And there is no enjoyment either

Pure wish or intention is the first


The spirit of inquiry is the second
When the mind becomes subtle is the third
Establishment in truth is the fourth

The power of nescience is capable


Of creating a total confusion
Between the real and the unreal
Life has to be lived most carefully

Total freedom from attachment is the fifth


Cessation of objectivity is the sixth
A state beyond all these is the seventh
Try hard to climb to the uppermost rung

Nescience and the self are unrelated


Only the similar can be related
This is obvious in everyone's experience
We know this from our daily lives

The Infinite

In the middle between sight and seen


Is a relationship known as seer
Abolish the division between seer, sight and seen
That is supreme, the absoluteBrahman

In the infinite self there is no creator


No creation, no worlds, no heaven
No humans, no demons, no bodies
No elements, no time, no existence, no destruction
No 'you', no 'I', no self, no that, no this
No truth, no falsehoodnone of these

Essential Yoga Vasistha

As long as this illusion is grasped


It generates this great delusion
But once it is clearly understood
It is seen as the infinite, and source of joy

22

IV. DEALING WITH EXISTENCE


It can be said a tree exists in the seed
Because both have appropriate forms
But, infinite consciousness is formless
How can it be said the cosmic form exists?

Earthly events are not the problem


Our reactions to events surely are
We are moved to joy and sorrow by these
What we consider good fortune and misfortune

In the eyes of the enlightened and ignorant


The vision does not vanish as such
The enlightened see Brahman at all times
The ignorant always see the world

There is neither bondage nor liberation


Only that infinite being is seen
Yet the eternal is veiled by the transient
This is a great illusion indeed

The mind alone is all this, you see


Let it be there, it's not the problem
Heal the mind of its sickness
The world-appearance will also heal

All beings obtain only those actions


Which spring from their own potentialities
No one else is responsible for those actions
No superhuman being or divinity

Fire flames upward by its nature


Water naturally flows down
Food seeks the consumer
Created objects seek their end

The very presence of holy ones


Destroys delusion of the mind
Not destroyed by study or practice
By wisdom or even by knowledge

'I' is the problem

Whether one is wise or ignorant


The body's functions continue while it lasts
So do what is good in each condition
Neither attached or unattached

What has to be done has to be done


This is the view of the wise
Remain egoless and unselfish as in sleep
Never let this be violated

Essential Yoga Vasistha

23

The feeling of filial affection


Rises even in those with wisdom
Natural when there is body-consciousness
But it does not have to eclipse wisdom
This world is in appearance or imagination
Material substances do not change a thing
It is like a long dream or juggler's trick
A post to which the mind-elephant is tied
Inquire into the uncaused cause of all
Which is yet beyond all such causation
This alone is worth enquiring into
Why inquire into the non-essential?
When the self is seen as an object
The seer is not seen or realized
Till the objective universe is perceived
One does not realize the self
Just as a painted flame is not fire
Mere wise words are ignorance, not wisdom
Unless they are substantiated
By the absence of desire and anger
Those devoted to the gods, reach the gods
Those who adore other forms, attain to them

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Those who meditate on the absolute, become Brahman


Hence, strive to reach the unlimited, infinite
Approaching a lion's empty cage at dark
Prompts fear, even though it is empty
Even so, one ignorantly believes he is bound
Imprisoned in this empty body
He sees the truth who sees all things
Strung in the self as beads on a thread
And knows full well 'I am not the mind'
Demonstrating this naturally in his life
The ignorant see the body as suffering's source
They see it susceptible to a host of ills
The enlightened man see it as delight's source
As it is the perfect vehicle for liberation
In the great empire known as dreadful hell
Evil actions roam like mighty elephants in rut
The senses responsible are hard to conquer
Equipped with a formidable magazine of cravings
He who is bound by the ego-sense
And by the conditioning of the mind
Even if regarded as very learned
Can be defeated even by a child

24

As a mirror reflects objects held close


The ego-sense reflects in one's consciousness
Abandon this ego-sense with all strength within
Be established in: "'I' is nothing," and be happy
Pure consciousness entertains the impure notion
Of 'I am', playfully as it were
Without renouncing its essential nature
Experiencing the image of itself within itself
Noble qualities blossom and attain fruition
In one with good and pleasant conduct
Devoted to seclusion and free of craving
As craving leads to many ills and suffering
Every zealous effort meets success
And is always crowned with fruition
Hence, do not abandon right effort
Right effort itself blossoms to the goal
When it is not rightly understood
The 'I' appears to be an impure notion
But, when the 'I' is rightly understood
Its meaning is seen as infinite consciousness
The conditioning of the mind drops away
When the truth is clearly seen and realized

Essential Yoga Vasistha

And when the conditioning has finally ceased


One's consciousness is made supremely peaceful
Lead an awakened life
Listen to the quintessence of all wisdom
Let it perfume your whole life
Bondage is the craving for pleasure
Its abandonment is liberation
Render the intelligence within pure
By the destruction of all inner impurities
Illumine the heart by the light of self
Through relentless self-inquiry
You must lead an awakened life
To see the worthlessness of birth and death
Dwells then without fear or anxiety
In the city which is the body
Consciousness reflecting in consciousness
Shines as consciousness existing in itself
The ignorant, considering themselves learned
Still see other and not infinite consciousness
This self, the supreme Brahman
Permeates all and everything
It enables you to experience
Sound, taste, form and fragrance
25

The mind of the enlightened is neither


In a state of bliss nor devoid of bliss
In motion, nor static, real nor unreal
But between these two propositions
Knowledge of Brahmanthe absolute
Is never given to the ignorant
Or to those who are half-awakened
They must awaken and be qualified first
Consciousness is Brahman
The mind and intellect are Brahman
Brahman alone is the substance
Brahman is the substratum of all
Do not waste your time inquiring
'How has this ignorance arisen?'
Inquire instead relentlessly
'How shall I get rid of it?'
One not distressed by the impure state of mind
Caused by alternating good and evil thoughts
Still subjected to old age, death and despair
Has not even risen to the human level
These deluded ones roam this universe
Doing things they consider important

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Sometimes uplifted, sometimes degraded


Death plays with them as with a ball
This world-appearance is natural
The individual conceives it at all times
This duality ceases completely
When the individual attains liberation
See all as unreal including me
And you will be free of sorrow
Or see all as real including me
And you will be free of sorrow too
Do not desire those experiences
Which do not come to you effortlessly
Experience those which have arrived
Such is the nature of the wise
All that has been described so far
Is only an illustration of the truth
However in this creation
There is no order or resemblance
Those busy with affairs of this world
In pursuit of pleasure and power
Do not desire to know the truth
Which they obviously do not see

26

Parents' Duty
It is the parents' foremost duty to insure
Children are instructed in self-knowledge
Else, though their children make it in the world
Their ignorance and bondage increases
Understanding is the start of action
And if this constantly misses the mark
Though affluence may be attained and lauded
The whole life would be lived in vain
Real and Unreal
The real, unreal and their mixture
Are all but notions, nothing else
Notions are neither real nor unreal
What is then real in this universe?
Do not entertain any ideas
Including the notion of your existence
It is only by holding on to notions
That the future comes into being
You may feel, 'I am not the doer, I do not exist'
Or 'I am the doer, and I am everything'
Or inquire into the nature of the self
And realize none of this is attributed to me

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Rest established in the self


The highest state of consciousness
In which the best among the holy men
Who know of this state ever dwell
If you seek your self with the self
By the dint of your own self-effort
Then you will clearly find the answer
To the main point of living and existence
The Sage's Song
What to do, where to go?
What to hold, what to renounce?
This universe is permeated by the self
All is verily my own self
Unhappiness or sorrow is the self
Happiness is the self as well
All desires are but empty void
Knowing that all this is the self
I am freed from all travail
In this body, within and without
Above and below and everywhere
There is only the self and self alone
Nothing and no one is non-self
The self alone is everywhere
27

Everything exists as the self


All this is truly the self
I exist in the self as the self
I exist as all this, in all this, everywhere
I am the fullness and self-bliss
I fill the entire universe

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Closing Thoughts
This unreal world seems so very real
Because of dwelling on it endlessly
Consciousness alone shines in the sun
And dwells as the little worm on the ground
Only a truly intelligent person
One with good nature and equal vision
Is entitled to the words of wisdom
That have been described here

28

V. DEALING WITH DISSOLUTION


The wise differentiate between
Enjoyment and pursuit of pleasure
Pursuit is sorrow that brings more sorrow
One can enjoy what comes unsought

Those devoted to inaction


Those who've suppressed all action
Get caught up in themselves
And experience sorrow and fear

Time spent in the company of sages


Is most fruitful and should be cherished
On other days resort to scriptural teachings
And your own diligent practice to ascend

To feel bound without a chord


To feel tainted without impurity
To feel fallen though always on top
Is indeed a great mystery!

Ignorance of the self


Is the cause of all sorrow
Knowledge of the self
Leads to delight and tranquility

This world which appears created


Is accidental coincidence only
Sheer ignorance generates feelings
Of wanting and rejecting anything

Just as the sky is not affected


By dust-particles floating in it
The self is never affected
By the body it journeys in

Establish the mind in desirelessness


Avoid all seeking and rejecting
The body will perform its functions naturally
Action and inaction will have the same value

Enjoy the delight that flows from peace


The self-controlled abide in it
When the heart is established in peace
Bliss of the self rises without delay

The unsteady mind has to see


Worldly ways do not bring happiness
A state of equanimity must be reached
To experience peace, bliss and the truth

Essential Yoga Vasistha

29

When the light of self-knowledge


Arises and shines in the heart
It burns all impurity and sorrow
Just as the sun rises on the horizon
Through the inner light of wisdom
The entire world is clearly seen as it is
Neither good fortune nor misfortune
Approach one with such clear vision
When the limited, conditioned feeling
'I am so-and-so' ceases
There arises consciousness
Of the all-pervading infinite
One should restrain the mind
From its downward flow
As the flow of a river is blocked
By the construction of a dam
Consciousness and thought
Consciousness minus conceptualization
Is the eternal Brahman the absolute
Consciousness plus conceptualization
Is what is known as thought
Thought only appears to be intelligent
It is unable to comprehend anything really
Essential Yoga Vasistha

Even as the granite figure of a dancer


Cannot dance when requested to do so
By the control of the life-force
The mind is also restrained
As the shadow ceases without the object
The mind ceases with life-force contained
This mind is inert and is not a real entity
It is lifelessforever dead
Yet, beings are killed by this dead, deadly thing
How mysterious is this stupidity!
What foolish man will endeavor
To show a colorful forest
To one who refuses to see
Hiding foolishness behind curiosity
In the middle between the self
As the seer and the world as seen
You are the seeingyou are the sight
Always remain in this realization
Remaining unseen and subtle
Craving is yet able to consume
The very flesh, bone and blood
Of the body that houses it

30

The abandonment of conditioning


The abandonment of conditioning
Is said to be of two kinds
Based on knowledge or direct realization
The other is based on contemplation
Resort to non-duality
For the truth is non-dual
Action functions in apparent duality
Let your nature partake of both
Do not try to understand the way
Of fools with uncontrolled minds
Those who are immersed in the mire
Of sense-pleasure and gratification
Who is a relation to whom?
Who is an enemy to whom?
By the wish of the Lord of all beings
All are all to all at all times
Why bring sorrow upon yourself?
Ignorance is the only cause
Of all the sorrow in your life
That has plagued you for so long
The sages perceive the middle path
They see what is at the moment
Essential Yoga Vasistha

They are at peace and contented


Established in witness consciousness
Craving
Craving is the root of all sorrow
The only intelligent way out
Is to renounce all cravings completely
And never to indulge them again
The same disgusting pleasures
Are experienced day after day
How is it that even a wise man
Is not ashamed of this?
Only one is there
And that is the supreme light
Omnipotent, omnipresenthe is all
Remaining silent, as if inactive
The very best intelligent means
By which the mind can be subdued
Is complete freedom from all desires
In regard to everything at all times
Living with purpose
When people speak of God
They imply what is the inevitable

31

What is beyond their control


And the events of natural order
Acquire a little wealth by honest means
Seek the company of saints and adore them
Dispassion should rise in their company
Then begin inquiry for self-knowledge
If you are humble and sincere
You will gain everything from what is said
If not, an attempt at further explanation
Will be like pouring oblations on ashes
Without notions and any division at all
Meditation, meditator and meditated upon
Enter the supreme state free of thought
Like a lamp in a windless place
Nothing needs to be done
By what is known as 'me'
Then why should I not do
Action which is natural to me?
Watch the mind's movement
See what it tends to sink into
Retrieve it by redirection
Guiding it towards the truth

Essential Yoga Vasistha

A timid deer taken to a strange place


Is frightened at the sound of a falling leaf
Even so one feels anxiety in meditation
Perseverethis has to be gone beyond
You have to feel one
With the deity you adore
Or you will not derive any benefit
From even the most elaborate ritual
It is meaningless and painful to hear
A good person has turned bad
It is excellent and good to hear
One who's erred has turned to good
A Seeker's Prayer
I take refuge in the Lord
Who alone is worth seeking
Who is the supreme light
Which destroys all darkness
Destroyer of ignorance and impurity
Refuge of the helpless destitute
The unborn, the surest security
I take refuge in that Supreme Lord
May I be blessed by enquiry's spirit
Till I rest in thy infinite Self
32

So all delusions might come to end


On attaining to Theethe highest blessing
A Seeker's Realization
I now recollect the truth
That I am the self of all
Omnipresent, omnipotent
Free of conceptualization
As butter exists in milk
Liquidity exists in water
Energy of consciousness
I exist in all that exists
I salute my own self
The indweller in all beings
Consciousness without objectivity
The intelligence in all beings
When the apparently transformed
Resorts to or rests on that being
Which has not undergone any modification
The former is freed from sorrow
When what is, is seen by what is not
Or by the mind free of thought's movement
That which is abandons its wickedness
And itself shines as the supreme
Essential Yoga Vasistha

In this creation it exists as if


It is an individual entity
Appearing to enjoy pleasures
Itself expanding as the enjoyed
What relationship can exist
Between the self and cravings?
Cravings spring from notions and sense reports
The self is unbound and witness to these
The Lord who is the self
Has been seen by me
By sincere practice and prayer
And unwavering disciplined living
The distinction between self and me
Is like between the word and substance
The distinction is unreal and imaginary
Like wave and the water in the wave
The self destroys and protects
Gives, roars and functions here
Although completely free from ego-sense
All this is indeed a great wonder
Expressions as 'This is you' and 'this is I'
Are used when you adore yourself

33

Or describe yourself for your own delight


They have no corresponding reality
They appear in the light of awareness
Disappear when they are perceived
Non-different from that awareness
Who is the perceiver of all this mystery?
Though you find yourself in the body
You are essentially bodiless
You are the observerpure intelligence
Unattachedfree from spatial limitation
'This is pleasure', 'this is pain'
Or 'this is' and 'this is not'
The mind of the ignorant swings like this
But never the mind of the wise
By the attainment of self-knowledge
The deity you adore is also realized
By real adoration of the deity
Self-realization is also attained
Adore the self by the self
Worship the self by the self
Behold the self by the self
Be established by the self in the self

Essential Yoga Vasistha

This fruition of worship mentioned


Is derived from the self alone
The worship of the deity
Is but an excuse for it
Mastery of one's heart-mind
This cycle of birth and death
Is an interminable one
This maya will only cease when
There is mastery of one's heart-mind
Men of highly evolved consciousness
Can attain by appropriate self-effort
Whatever they mentally visualize
Such is the power of the mind
The mental illusions we see sometimes
Are also the self onlynaught else
But when perceived by the unpurified mind
It appears as a sort of illusion
At times many people dream the same dream
Others experience the same hallucination
Oftentimes drunkards commonly experience
That the world is spinning round them
Live completely in the present
With consciousness slightly externalized
34

But without any effort or struggle


It must come naturally
When the mind stops linking itself
To the past and to the future
It becomes what is 'no-mind'
Soaring through space-time
Consciousness free from mind's limitations
Is known as the inner intelligence
It is the essential nature of no-mind
Not tainted by conceptual impurities
Abandon craving for pleasures
Anything that has been experienced
Or those that have not been experienced
As disuse gradually weakens the mind
A weapon is neutralized by another
Tranquilize the mind by itself
Abandon every form of mental agitation
Remain at peace within, amidst outer noise
The quiet mind is tranquility
Like a rockit is immovable
Wide awake and fully aware of all
But free of conditioning's icy grip

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Beings with just one sense-craving


Are pulled to ruin and destruction
The mind is victim to five temptations
How can it ever deliver happiness?
Investigate very carefully yourself
From the toes to the top of the head
See if you find anything that can say
'This I am'so just who is this 'I'?
The delusion known as ego-sense
Is like the blueness of the sky
Better not to think about it
Best to abandon it ruthlessly
When thought and conditioning cease
The mind and body cease as well
Kill the mind beyond resurrection
Or it will continue when the body dies
When the inner kundalini awakens
You'll go beyond the realm of bliss
Gradually attaining perfect quiescence
Till you rise above birth and death
When all desires and hopes have ceased
Concerning any aspect of the world

35

One is free from all fear and sorrow


Supreme peace is had when the self rests in itself
The sky, the earth, air and space
Mountains and the rivers
Are all parts of the inner instrument
They only appear to be outside
The crystal of infinite consciousness
Reflects its own light of consciousness
Which is present in every atomic particle
Being self-consciousness and thinking 'I am'
Not till one renounces everything
Is self-knowledge gained
When all points of view are abandoned
What remains is the self
What remains is the sentient jiva
Involved in subject-object relationship
The object of knowledge of comprehension
Is not and can never be the self
A wise person lives his life masterfully
He is compassionate, and not contemptuous
Free of the play of opposites and jealousy
Without personal motivation but motivated

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Knowledge of truth is the fire


That burns up hopes and desires
A desireless mind is samadhi
Not simply remaining silent
They alone are good company
And moments very well spent
That generate in one's heart
True dispassion and self-knowledge
Until all hopes and desires
Born of and in the mind
Have been destroyed completely
Happiness and peace cannot be had
The conditioned mind is itself bondage
Liberation is freedom from conditioning
This inner contact alone is the cause
For both bondage and liberation
Conditioning is of two kinds
Enslaving and useful
Enslaving conditioning is seen in fools
Useful among those seeking the truth
Mental conditioning is burning pain
It is attachment to the finite and perishable

36

But infinite expansion is the magic cure


It is devotion to the infinite
The self is consciousness pure and eternal
Self-luminous and free from change
The body is impermanent and impure
How can these two be related?
The supreme self which is the truth
Is in between the inert and intelligent
That alone creates diversity
And is known by all these names
All that is, is but the expansion
Of pure experiencing and its experience
Self-bliss is pure experiencing itself
It is known as Brahman the absolute
Adopt either of these two attitudes
Both are conducive to liberation
'I am the extremely subtle and transcendent self'
The other is 'I am all and everything'
If it is realized as an illusion
It does not attract the mind
Even as mirage does not delude
One who knows it to be mirage

Essential Yoga Vasistha

One who is completely free of desires


Treats the world as a calf's footprint
This wide space as a small box
The three worlds as a blade of grass
There are the liberated among worms and insects
Stupid fools among the gods and divinities
The self is in all, it exists as the all
Everywhere, at all times and in all ways
Knowing the self directly
As infinite consciousness
Can bring all these about
Taking one beyond all wonder
Movement of thought in the mind
Arises from pranic movement
Pranic movement arises
Because of thought's movement
They form a cycle of mutual dependence
Like waves and ocean currents
Pranic control tames the mind
The mind can still itself too
The heart-mind of the self-realized
Is of the nature of pure consciousness

37

It is both inside and outside


And neither inside nor outside as well
When the mind diesworries die as well
Ego-sense dies at the same moment
All this is possible in a simple way
By direct inquiry into the mantra
Inquiry and practice are essential
To bring an end to the finite mind
On reaching the other shore
The boat can be left behind
Having been nourished by the senses
The mind grasps objects once given up
Running like a demented person
After the abandoned and restrained
What is done with another's intelligence or energy
Is considered to be done by the latter
The sickle harvests with the farmer's energy
Hence the farmer is said to be the harvester
Your existence is identical with the self
Non-difference promotes happiness
Abide in the realization of your non-existence
Because it is foolish to neglect happiness

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Sages' view
This world for liberated sages
Exists in all its purity and peace
They see neither bondage nor liberation
Only perfectionBrahman the infinite
The body is not worth reviving
Nor is it worth abandoning
It is the same to the sages
Whether abandoned or revived
Truth knownerror remains error
Knowledge becomes clear knowledge
The real and unreal stay as they are
Dry impressions stay as such too
You've identified with the body long
It has helped in understanding transiency
Now snap the identification, knowing full well
From your experience of self-realization
Truth is full and overflowing
Consciousness and non-consciousness
Can be indicated only by negation
He became what is beyond description

38

Those in pursuit of pleasures


Acquire powers tainted by ignorance
Surely they are full of ignorance too
Sages do not adopt such a course
Conditioning
The very nature of the mind is stupidity
When the mind dies, there is no loss
Everything is gained as one sees
Purity and noble qualities abound
The tree known as the mind has two seeds
Which carries within it innumerable notions
First seed is the movement of prana
Second is blind clinging or obstinate fancy
When clinging to something obstinately
One abandons inquiry into the truth of things
Set completely on apprehending the object
Such apprehension is known as conditioning
Ideas and notions one has about the object
Are seeds for pranic movement and obstinacy

Essential Yoga Vasistha

It is only when desire for experience arises within


That pranic movement and conditioning take place
This is how one binds oneself
Subjecting oneself to great sorrow
Attaining liberation in due course
Because of the nature of consciousness
Overcoming the mind
Knowledge of the self and holy company
The abandonment of conditioning
The restraint of prana or life force
These are the means to overcome the mind
When inquiry is preceded by dispassion
It attains stability by sincere practice
All noble qualities arise in one naturally
Like a well-fueled fire that burns high
Attachment increases one's conditioning
Making the mind more and more dense
By repeatedly experiencing pleasure and pain
In relation to people, objects and conditions

39

VI. DEALING WITH LIBERATION


PART I
Though engaged in diverse activities
Saturate your intelligence with this truth
You will find a way to live unbound
Or risk being caught in samsara's wheel

Let's assume the existence of diversity


Your consciousness must expand
The truth that shall be expounded here
Will save even those not fully awakened

As long as one considers the body as 'I'


As long as the self is related to what is seen
As long as there is hope in objects and longing
There will be delusion concerning the mind

Infinite consciousness dwells in all


But, due to absence of self-knowledge
It appears to be ignorant of itself
And therefore is limited and finite

The state of mind of sages


Liberated while still living
Is known as transparency
They see truth and appearance

Birth and childhood lead to youth


Youth to old age and to death
All these are repeatedly experienced
By those who choose to stay ignorant

The real 'I' is infinite consciousness


In which universes rise and fall
Remaining in a state of total equanimity
You are like the infinite space

Time is the wheel on which these turn


Ignorance leads to death and rebirth
One's appetite consumes one's own self
Like hunger that feeds on itself

When you are established in the self


You will be saturated in bliss-absolute
Knowing worlds find refuge in you
You alone are all, in all and as all

This world-appearance is like a little fish


Which comes into being in this finite space
Soon swallowed by the invincible old vulture
Known as the end or conclusion of action

Essential Yoga Vasistha

40

Prosperity, adversity and youth


Old age, death and suffering
Immersion in happiness and unhappiness
Are the extensions of dense ignorance
Ignorance expands by ignorance
Yielding greater ignorance
When it sincerely seeks wisdom
Wisdom expands into the truth
Ignorance rises and falls in the mind
Just like ripples in the ocean
If awake, wisdom can absorb
Ignorance when it rises and falls in it
Kaivalya or total freedom
Is the attainment of pure being
After all conditioning is transcended
Consciously after thorough investigation
Where the seed of conditioning exists
Is like deep sleepnot perfection
When all conditioning's springs are destroyed
One reaches the fourth state of perfection
Exhortation to practice
I exhort you again and again
For the sake of your spiritual awakening
Essential Yoga Vasistha

Realization of the self does not happen


Without unrelenting spiritual practice
Truth
The mind, intellect and phenomena
Are all Brahman only
Pleasure and pain are illusions
Words without any substance
Those who have realized the truth
Know that Brahman alone is
Their life is proof of their realization
Not knowing directly is ignorance
The truth which is omnipresent
Pure consciousness, devoid of objectivity
Is referred to by many terms
And also as pure knowledge
All this is 'I' and all this is 'mine'
But I am not and I am not 'other than I'
Realizing thislet the illusion be
Remain free from the fever of distress
The yoga way
Yoga is itself freedom
A way out of samsara's grip too

41

Utter transcendence of mind


Towards self-realization

These spike mental fluctuations


Restrain them by yogic kumbhaka practice

A way of living without hurt or hurting


While still engaged in diverse activities
Not getting drowned in mental modifications
And never losing contact with reality

When the external darkness dims


One is able to see things as they are
Darkness of ignorance must drop away
For the natural rise of self-knowledge

Returning to your original nature


Not changing things but changing within
A wide view with room for everything
That has no problem with things as they are

Where the prana goes the mind follows


Just as the rider goes where the vehicle does
Follow the prana throughout its movement
Look where the same prana seems to change

All and everything is subject to change


Why react when this happens?
Those established in peace in the heart
Are not moved by inner and outer change

See where inhalation is consumed


By exhalation as breathing changes course
And see where exhalation's course changes
By inhalation as breathing changes course yet again

Inner fatigue and tiredness


Come from inner conflict only
The ego's clash with change's dance
Happens when there is inner division

When you turn prana or life-force


On its source within the heart
It makes the mind unimportant
Because naturally it is its own object

Pranayama and mind control

When the prana is busily engaged


In its own vigorous movement
It stays absorbed in its own movement
And is unable to exert in self-knowledge

Whether standing, awake or asleep


The vital airs are naturally restless

Essential Yoga Vasistha

42

Living without conditioning


Do not contemplate the past
Do not think of the future either
Constantly direct attention to the present
Abandon all unnecessary turmoil
We are our own replica, as it were
Moving through various experiences
You can awaken any time you resolve
And return into your essential self
This world, this life and this journey
Is a long dream, a longstanding hallucination
Just like daydreaming or wishful thinking
Step out of this illusion courageously
The twin forces of attraction and aversion
Are the bars of samsara's prison
Totally abandon and destroy them
By taking refuge in the immovable
The hub of the wheel so to say
Are thoughts and notions entertained
Abandon them ruthlessly by self-effort
And resort to wisdom and common sense
The inert body is desireless
The self is infinite and desireless too
Essential Yoga Vasistha

So, just who is the doer of these actions?


There is only the witnessing intelligence
Neither friends nor relations
Nor scriptures or even preceptors
Can protect one utterly overpowered
By the ghost known as the mind
God is formless and undivided
Majestic splendor which is uncreated
Beginningless and endless too
Known as Sivapure consciousness
That God is not distant from anyone
Nor is he difficult to attain
He is forever seated within
And everywhere too just like space
In the body, which is like a lotus
The same consciousness does both
Imbibe experience like honey gathered
By the restless mind buzzing like the bee
The omnipresent consciousness is all in all
It exists in this body as the changing
And as the unchanging and unmodified
None other exists save consciousness

43

As one not dead cries aloud, 'I am dead'


As one not lost cries aloud, 'I am lost'
On account of perverse understanding
Consciousness falsely imagines itself miserable
If only pure tendencies fill one's heart
Then all conflicts cease
You will experience harmony
Liberation and longevity
Feeding these thoughts and beliefs
Has brought about this sorrow
It ends by starving them to death
Where is the difficulty in this?
The natural order is free from excitement
But is not purified of its limitation
It is what dances a dance-drama
Known as the world-appearance
Supreme meditation
This is the supreme meditation
This is the supreme worship
Continuous and unbroken awareness
Of the indwelling presence of consciousness
It is allsupreme blessedness
Peacebeyond expression
Essential Yoga Vasistha

Purest OMtranscendent
It is Sivathe supreme
Supreme worship
Consciousness alone is fit to be worshipped
It is all and needs no invitation
It is immediateneeding no intermediary
It is the omnipresent self of all
I shall now declare to you
The internal worship
Of selfgreatest among purifiers
Which destroys darkness completely
Worship the Lord with everything
Obtained without effort
Without making the least effort
To attain what is not possessed
That alone is regarded as worship
Performed in a state of equanimity
When quiescentfree of thought
An effortless absence of perversity
Those who are still caught-up
In mundane ways of living
Are enmeshed in time and space
And not able to rise beyond
44

The instructions of a preceptor


And all forms of instruction
Are not really the means for self-knowledge
But have come to be regarded as such
Conditioning is itself sorrow
Based on thoughts and notions
Truth is beyond such experience
World is an appearance like a mirage
All that comes into being
Including deities and divinities
The worm too the very same way
All within the blink of an eye
To come into relationship
Is common to all embodied beings
But the yogis are forever vigilant
Such vigilance is the worship of the self
If in the course of time
One attains to self-experience
Do not store it as a memory
To be revived as desire once again
The Supreme
Though one, it is conceived diversely
It is neither one, many, nor even it
Essential Yoga Vasistha

The one immeasurably great cosmic being


Cosmic energythe nature of consciousness
The seed contains only seed
Flowers and fruits are seed only
Substance of the seed and fruit is one
So too with self-effort and self-realization
Though non-dual it is apparently diverse
Like the notions of ocean and waves
The notion of Brahman and the world
Is therefore both dual and non-dual
Such a state of purity of the self
The true nature of consciousness
Not a visionincapable of being taught
It is attained by direct experience alone
Both in the beginning and at the end
It is unmodified consciousness
The momentary and apparent modification
Is but a mild disturbance of consciousness
This fullness is filled with fullness
Fullness effulges from fullness
Fullness fills fullness
In fullness, fullness abides

45

A gold bracelet has appearance and reality


Bracelet the appearance, gold the reality
Even so, there is notion of substantiality
And the self or pure consciousness
The dream of the jiva or individual
Is not like the one we're familiar with
Which is experienced as the wakeful state
That wakeful state is considered a dream
The performance of action natural to you
Even if it may not be socially laudable
Is the best action to do wholeheartedly
As a means of self-discovery and transformation
In Brahman the formless absolute
There is a little manifestation, also Brahman
Known as 'I-am-ness' and the 'world'
On account of ignorance and delusion
There is no such thing as body
There is no such thing as pain
Existing independent of the self
Then what is experienced by whom?
Wherever the individual roams
It is of the nature of prana or life-force

Essential Yoga Vasistha

It sees the forms conjured up


By its previous vasanas or impressions
The mind makes a moment seem like an age
It makes a little look like a lot
It makes the unreal appear real instantly
This is how delusion has arisen
All exists in Brahman
As an image exists in a mirror
Seamlessly without division
Ever non-different from Brahman
What appears to be the world here
Is the work of the infinite consciousness
Here there is no unity or duality
My instructions are of the same nature
The words used and preceptor's ability
The disciple's effort to grasp the conveyed
All these are also the play of the energy
Of the infinite consciousness
That which is omnipresent
Without beginning and end
Pure, unmodified and undifferentiated being
That is known as existence or reality

46

In the self which is infinite consciousness


This creation appears but momentarily
In that illusory moment a long duration arises
The creation then appears to be solidly real
The individual is surrounded
By the world that arises from it
The unawakened do not see or hear
That others are in the same predicament
It is by one-pointed contemplation
Of 'may I be this or that'
That fruition is brought about
And one then becomes 'this' or 'that'
Infinite consciousness is true self
Endowed with omnipotence
The individual is essentially non-different
But it chooses to face self-limitation
Each thing appears as if fragmented
Relatively real but not totally unreal
Everything manifests in the All
The cause remains in the cause
This world-appearance or delusion
Is of the nature of limited attributes

Essential Yoga Vasistha

It is impossible to cross it by ignorance


It is crossed over by the knowledge of truth
That state in which one knows no 'I'
Or any other, mind or derivative
'I' but an ideaall really pure existence
Is known as the silence of deep sleep
The mind of the ignorant is heavily conditioned
Best governed by rules of conduct
Else chaos and disorder will arise
In which the powerful swallow the weak
Mind is sum of tendencies and conditioning
Free of these it is the supreme state
Knowledge is the knowledge of the reality
Vichara or enquiry is itself knowledge
Moksha or liberation happens
When ignorance ceases on self-enquiry
When the ego is absorbed in the all
And when the mind becomes no-mind
Dust-particles in the supreme self
Known as time, space, and motion
Are movements in and of consciousness
And pure infinite intelligence

47

Proper action

Seeing through the illusion

Proper action is that action


Which leads towards liberation
Beyond which there is nothing
The rest is not worth considering

You behold with your consciousness


The same consciousness in the elements
As if seeing another within yourself
As with one lamp you see a hundred lamps

Remain at peace within yourself


With a silent mind, free of desires and jealousy
Engage yourself in proper action
In circumstances just as they arise

Physical ailments and diseases


Psychological problems and stress
Are rooted in ignorance and wickedness
Both end when self-knowledge is attained

Some things appear abundantly often


Others once seen are not again
Newer forms appear as if quite suddenly
Others appear after a long interval

Psychological problems are psychic disturbances


They cease when self-knowledge is attained
The snake seen in the rope must die
When the rope is again seen as rope

This object is insentient and unreal


The self grooms itself with insentience
Having apparently abandoned
It's essential nature as consciousness

Consider the self as the moon


The prana within as fire
The body is made-up of moon and fire
Prana fills the entire body's space

There is neither birth nor death


For this consciousness
It is not subject to destruction
It is of the nature of space

When the body is considered real


It becomes a real physical body
When perceived unreal by direct knowledge
It is merged into infinite space
The instruction of a disciple by a preceptor
Is but a tradition that has come to be

Essential Yoga Vasistha

48

But the cause of enlightenment


Is the disciple's purity of consciousness
That action alone is appropriate
Which is done at the appropriate time
Flowers are appropriate to spring
As are fruits appropriate to winter
One's life attains its fruition
By the worship of the unsolicited guests
The worship of such a guest
Is superior to worship of gods
If the self which is the reality
Which is pure and undivided
Is forgotten even for a moment
The object of experience attains expansion
Just relentless yogic practice
If done without the spirit of yoga
Will not show progress or improvement
Will only increase one's sorrow and grief
This is why one should not instruct
Those asking out of curiosity
For if one does not intend to assimilate
The teaching becomes instantly fruitless

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Sufferings calamities, old age and death


Are nothing compared to suffering by foolishness
In fact foolishness adorns the head
Of all sufferings and even calamities
Foolishness is bondage and suffering
The bound see themselves as somehow free
Though all that exists is but the self
The foolish experience even more foolishness
Renunciation
One who has truly renounced
Is never agitated by worry
If wind can sway the tree's branches
It cannot be called immovable
Renouncing things is not renunciation
Ignorance must be destroyednot wounded
By abandonment of the mind
Or movement of energy in consciousness
Wealth, family, and property
All that you own and feel connected to
These are not yours to begin with
Renouncing them is not renunciation
You have something not renounced
That is the best part of renunciation
49

It must be utterly abandoned without residue


To attain the supreme state free of sorrow

Holding everything together


In total absence of duality

When one rests in total renunciation


Like the lamp without fuel
He shines with supreme brilliance
Like a lamp with fuel

That supreme self alone shines here


As Sivathe supreme being
Hence questions concerning the world
And the ego-sense are inappropriate

Its abandonment or renunciation


Is easy and easily accomplished
More delightful than being a king
More beautiful than a fragrant flower

If such destruction were to be comprehended


It would be seen as a trick of consciousness
Hence, consciousness alone exists
Neither one nor manyis beyond discussion

Delusion of world-appearance

In this dimension of consciousness


Whatever slight appearance appears to be
Is the reflection of consciousness in itself
There is neither a mind nor the world

When the cause is absent or unreal


The effect is non-existent
The experience of such an effect
Is delusionresponsible for all sorrow
This delusion of the world-existence
Attains expansion by repeated affirmation
When water is frozen into a block
It serves as a solid seat
Consciousness alone is the essence
Pervading all and everything

Essential Yoga Vasistha

The notion 'I am' gives rise


To bondage and self-destruction
The realization "'I' is not"
Leads to freedom and purity
Mind itself is self-destruction
The mind itself is self-destruction
Its very nature veils self-knowledge

50

Even if such self-destruction is momentary


Damage done can last for a world-cycle
When one abandons all conditioning
When impurities have been made pure
Guru's words can be heard in one's depths
Like the arrow entering the stalk of the lotus
Brahman is pure consciousness
Is itself known as sattva
Or indivisible purity
The ignorant see it as the world
Unseen in one's heart is sattva's trace
The cause for revival of body-consciousness
It is like the flower and the fruit
Both potentially present in the seed
When there is neither mind nor sattva
Nor even a trace in the body
Then, like snow melting in the heat
The body dissolves in the elements
As long as there is sesame there is oil
As long as there is the body there are moods
He who rebels against the body's states
Will remain in conflict continually

Essential Yoga Vasistha

If one confides his unhappiness to a friend


It can sometimes be ameliorated
Even as the heavy and dark cloud
Becomes light by shedding rain
Do not desire pleasure or fame
Nor wealth or affluence
Remain where you are
Placed by your very nature
Do what needs to be done
Engage yourself in natural activity
Wholeheartedly and without grief
Enjoy pleasures that come naturally
Relentlessly strive for final liberation
They who know the mind
Say that the mind is the 'I'
The ego-sense that arises
Within you is called the mind
The ego-sense is unreal
Do not trust or abandon it
How can what is unreal
Be grasped or renounced?

51

Even as beings in day-dreams


Create and experience diverse objects
This world-appearance is the day-dream
Of Brahman the supreme being
Abandon doubtsresort to courage
Enjoy fully what comes naturally
Do everything wholeheartedly
And renounce all perfectly
Prosperity and adversity
Follow each other continually
Creating great contradictions
But never affecting the holy ones
Abandon all impure thoughts and notions
Rest in the selffree from it all
Though engaged in diverse activities
Remain established in perfect peace
Attain self-knowledge
One who has attained self-knowledge
Transcends social customs and traditions
Scriptural injunctions and prohibitions too
Just as the lion breaks out of its cage
The enlightened one is not characterized
He is devoid of confusion and delusion
Essential Yoga Vasistha

Samsara has come to an end


Lust, greed, anger, are greatly weakened in him
Rest in nirvana without movement of thought
With the mind's grip greatly reduced
And the intelligence at peace
Rest in the self as if deaf, dumb and blind
He gathers scriptures whenever
Wherever; and earnestly does he study them
His constant quest is the crossing
Of this dire ocean of samsara
If one thinks this scripture not authoritative
Because it is of human origin
Resort to studying other scriptures
Dealing with self-knowledge and final liberation
When one realizes the supreme
Is the only truth beyond samsara
He realizes that 'I am not the doer'
God alone does everything
This alone is samsara
The feeling 'this is'
Its cessation is liberation
This is the essence of wisdom

52

That Brahman appears as the world


Just as rope appears as snake
Is meant to entertain the ignorant
The enlightened see no difference

That in which this universe rests


Is devoid of name and form
It is known as prakriti or nature
And also as maya or illusion

They who are devoted to the gods


To the holy sages and to the guru
Who adhere to the scriptural tenets
Earn the grace of the supreme Lord

Just as fire thrown into fire


Becomes indistinguishably fire
This world when offered into consciousness
Becomes one with it instantly

Essential Yoga Vasistha

53

VI. DEALING WITH LIBERATION


PART II
When one has made up his mind
To go to a certain place
The feet function without mental activity
Function like those feet and perform action here

It is hard indeed to determine


Truth about world-appearance
Does it arise from ignorance or the other way?
They are two aspects of the same thing

The mind continues to exist


As long as the body continues to live
Whether the embodied person
Is enlightened or ignorant

Brahman has infinite potencies


Inertia too manifests in consciousness
Existing as a potentiality in Brahman
As future waves in the calm ocean

When false abandonment


Is mistaken for abandonment
The deluded are possessed
By this goblin of false abandonment

There is neither good nor evil


Anywhere to anyone at any time
Neither adversity nor prosperity
No doer, no enjoyer of anything

Whatever notion arises in you


Even as movement arises in wind
Realize that 'I am not this'
And thus deprive it of support

In the company of holy ones


Half the ignorance ceases
One-quarter by the study of scripture
And one-quarter by one's self-effort

No remedy for sense-craving


Other than firm abandonment of desire
No medicines, pilgrimage or ritual
And no mantras are of any use

One's dream is experienced


Only by the dreamer
This creation too is experienced
By the one in whose mind it arises

Essential Yoga Vasistha

54

This world-appearance will continue


To flow with ever-changing scenes
Until the truth is realized
Maya will continue to operate
World exists in the meaning of 'ego-sense'

Advice to the seeker


Work to earn an honest living
Eat to sustain the life-force
Sustain life-force for self-knowledge
And inquire into that which frees

The world exists in the meaning of 'ego-sense'


And the ego-sense in turn exists
In the very meaning of the word 'world'
Both are thus interdependent

Do not try to find a reason


For the appearance of optical illusions
It is like riding on the shoulders
Of the son of the barren woman

The air in the entire space


Is filled with the departed ones pranas
Mind exists in those pranas
And the world exists within the mind

There is really no difference


Between the ignorant and a knower of truth
Except that the latter
Is free from the conditioned mind

Just as a sentient object can visualize within itself


The individual experiences many things
Including the three worlds within himself
Like a delusion or false perception

It is better to be a snake in a dark cave


It is better to be a worm in a rock
It is better to be a lame deer in a mirage
Than to remain in the company of fools

When in the infinite consciousness


The individual becomes aware of itself
As the object on account of notions entertained
It is known as pure consciousness

All the pleasures of the world


Inevitably end in sorrow
Therefore sorrow is preferable
To pleasure which leads to sorrow
That there is something known as experiencer
Other than this pure consciousness

Essential Yoga Vasistha

55

Is ignorance whose expansion


Is this samsara or world-appearance
Dependence alone is bondage
Non-dependence is emancipation
He who rests in the 'fullness'
Does not desire anything
The uprooting of all conditioning
Is known as non-attachment or freedom
Attain this freedom by any means
For in doing so all sorrows cease
In sorrow and in calamity
Remain free from sorrow within
Still behave with local etiquette
Seemingly experiencing pleasure and pain
There are two types of questioners
The enlightened and the ignorant
Answer the ignorant from ignorance
And the wise from the view of wisdom
Just as there is no fear of destruction
In the battle painted on canvas
The knower of truth is never affected
As he is established in inner equanimity

Essential Yoga Vasistha

The individual personality is conditioning


Which disappears upon investigation
However, this world-appearance arises
In ignorance when not observed
Inquire relentlessly till life's end
'Who am I?', 'How did this world arise?'
'What is jiva or the individual personality and life?'
As instructed by the knowers of truth
Notions and ideas gradually cease
If words are not associated with meaning
Whether uttered by others in any context
Or if they arise in one's own mind
I am Brahman, the world is Brahman
There is neither beginning nor ceasing
Hence, where is the reason to rejoice?
And where is the reason to grieve?
Worlds appear to rise in consciousness
It remains at peace without intention to create
Even as a mirror remains unaffected
By the many reflections seen in it
Vainly studying the scriptures
Hearing the preceptors instructions

56

Will not help one bit without


Cessation of all desires
Examine if there is a distinction
Between gain and its possessor
How is an unreal substance gained?
Who has obtained a black moon?
Injunctions and prohibitions
Do not apply to one of self-knowledge
Who will wish to give what instruction
To one in whom all desires have ceased?
Time sets the worlds in motion
And in them the fictitious 'I' and the rest arise
All in Goduncreated pure consciousness
How and in whom does desire arise?
How experience arises
Since the subject and object
Of experience are consciousness
The object merges in the subject
Like water with water
This is how experience arises
If this were not to be as such
There could be no experience
As between two pieces of wood
Essential Yoga Vasistha

When one is spiritually awakened


His wakeful state resembles deep sleep
The state in which he is as self-nature
Leads one to liberation
The self which is the Lord
Confers moksha or final liberation
When worshipped by self-inquiry
With self-control and company of the wise
The ignorant regard samsara as real
In reality it does not exist at all
What exists after this appearance is rejected
Is the truthbut it has no name
Since the mind of the knower of truth
Is freed from attraction and repulsion
In equilibrium even when not meditating
As pond waters without any outlets
On this field known as the mind
The seed of turning away from the world
Falls of its own accord
In the solitude of wisdom's forest
At some stage, the deer turns away
And seeks the refuge of shade

57

Under the tree of meditation


And there it shines radiantly
Thus having obtained rest
The deer which is the mind
Delights in being right there
Not seeking to go elsewhere
When all divisions are given up
The indivisible alone remains
Pure, indivisible, beginningless
This is known as Brahman
The yogi is then seen to be
In a state of unbroken meditation
Firmly established in steady meditation
Samadhi just like a mountain
Wealth is the source of endless misfortune
Prosperity is perpetual adversity
Enjoyment of pleasure is enduring disease
All misunderstood by the deluded
Sincere worship of the Lord
Bestows viveka or wisdom
Holy company and insight to scriptural truth
Brings one closer to the state of oneness

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Lead even the subtle body


By persistent right contemplation
To its real natural state
And then to Brahman
The omnipresent is omniscient consciousness
Existing everywhere as everything
Therefore, we exist as the dream-objects
Of the dreams of original dreamers
Contrary to popular belief
No one creates these bodies at any time
And no one deludes beings at any time
So why run here and there for help?
This illusory apprehension of the objective world
Which goes by the name avidya or ignorance
Does not in fact exist
Without substance are these words
The ocean, mountains and clouds
Are all the unborn and uncreated
This universe exists in Brahman
As the Great Silence
In the original creation
The dream of undivided consciousness

58

Is known as the wakeful state


The world which is experienced in it
The dream that rises in consciousness
Of the individual beings
Arising in that ignorance
Is what's known as the dream state
When one's mind is perfectly concentrated
The passage of time is unnoticed
Hundreds of years can pass silently
As if in the twinkling of an eye
It is not difficult to understand
The body cannot exist without ego-sense
That which needs to be sustained
Cannot exist without a support
Behold the entire universe
As you would behold a dream
Composed of endless variety
Yet empty though appearing to have form
These diverse worlds are unaware
Of the notions or creations of others
Even as people sleeping in the same room
Are unaware of each other's dreams

Essential Yoga Vasistha

The supreme truth or consciousness


Is indestructibleit cannot be destroyed
It is not realized by those who do not know it
It is realized by those with awakened intelligence
The universe is the very heart of this truth
It is neither born nor does it die
Experience of its existence and non-existence
Arises only with the rise and fall of notions
Witness all this within the self
See it assuming all forms that are seen
People within whom are minds
In those minds are worlds and people
If you are burnt by the fire of desire
Even lovely flowers and snowflakes
Appear as useless ashes
Their beauty never experienced
I consider child-widowhood
Even death, disease or calamity
Preferable to a spouse
Whose nature is not after one's own heart
This is the only path to salvation
Total devotion to realize the self

59

Seek guidance in right effort needed


For its attainment without remission
In due course of time
Those afflicted by extreme delusion
Are enlightened or awakened too
Because there is nothing but the eternal
Seeing through the illusion
When you know the seen is an illusion
What else can be accepted as real?
How can anything be accepted as real
Which is established by what is unreal?
What is seen here as you and I
And this dialogue between us
Are like two waves colliding
In the ocean and making a splash
Time, space, matter, and mind
Are parts of consciousness like parts of a rock
As the notions in the mind fall away
Mountains and oceans too disintegrate
When the water got very agitated
It exceeded its own natural bounds
The oceans transgressed their bounds
Overflowing in all directions
Essential Yoga Vasistha

Compared to the great mountains


A subatomic particle is minute
Even so with the universe
And eternal infinite consciousness
The world and the creator
Are all figures of speech
Mere notions that arise
In the pure infinite consciousness
While people weep and wail
Yogis strive for immortality
Let things be as they are
Be concerned with pursuing the good
Self-nature knows itself as consciousness
On account of its own inherent movement
On account of conditioning and tendencies
It experiences deluded perception
A bracelet of gold will always be gold
So also with infinite consciousness
Because of this creation made manifest
Consciousness can never be other than itself
There is a plane which was supreme peace
The plane of consciousness itself, known as Siva

60

Inseparable and non-different from him


Is his dynamic energytrue nature of the mind
Whatever exists and functions here
Is real to the self who perceives it
Not to another who does not perceive
Or who is unaware of it
A holy man may live in bad company
Until he discovers the truth for himself
Once he has directly known by himself
He does not relish such company
A rock is seen with physical eyes
As if it lies at a distance
Only the rock is seen
But never what's called creation
When you enter consciousness of your self
Whether in sleep or in the waking state
You know that the rock is equally
A mass of consciousness
When one contemplates notions and experiences
That state of being is known as I-ness or ego-sense
One becomes what one contemplates deeply
While consciousness ever remains unchanged

Essential Yoga Vasistha

The earth-plane exists everywhere


In truth it is pure consciousness
Like a dream-city it has never been created
Still we see everything as if very real
When one's thoughts or notions cease
That which thoughts brought ceases as well
When my wish for a hermitage ceased
It disappearedas if in thin air
With advancing age the hairs turn grey
Teeth fall and faculties decrease
Only craving does not decrease
This is indeed a great travesty
If ideas of division are deep-rooted
You will lack the power to realize your wish
The sage has weakened division's perception
It is possible for him to realize his wish
Sattva or non-division can be increased
By sincere practice on the mat and in life
Meditation on the mantra is a sure way
As is regular worship as adoration
Liberation confers lasting peace of mind
Bondage promotes psychological distress

61

Knowing this, one does not strive for liberation


Most foolish are people who choose bondage!
Consciousness has never died
Nor has this creation ever been a void
It is clear that the innermost being of everyone
Is pure consciousnessunchanging
Stay free of notions
Whatever be one's conviction
If one adheres to that conviction
One surely reaches the same goal
As long as he stays free of notions
Ever do people seek their own good
As if compelled to, as water flows downwards
Understand this now and resort
To the company of those wise and enlightened
Notions like 'I am this', 'this is mine'
Are common to humans and worms
With all the implications of such notions
Why not rise higher than the lowest rung?
Whether consciousness is regarded as real or unreal
The person is that which he considers real
Since consciousness, the basis for consideration
Is real and lends reality to what is considered
Essential Yoga Vasistha

If one knows self is pure consciousness


There is no samsara when death arrives
If one's understanding is still not purified
It remains with samsara's unreal support
May my limbs be pulverized
Or become most powerful
What is lost and what is increased
When it is realized "'I' am consciousness"
To such a one even the rocks become friends
Trees in the forest are dear relations
Even while living in the middle of a forest
The very animals become kith and kin
Creation is not the action of ignorance
But, if it is the action of intelligence
Why would an intelligent being
Indulge in such futile action?
A pot is but clay
Without clay there's no pot
All objects are pure consciousness
If consciousness is not, nothing is seen
That nature which exists in plants
Growing in their proper seasons

62

Without the feeling of mine-ness


Is pure consciousness
Hence, though alive
Everything is as if dead
Even so you and I
Are as if dead though alive
Space is bright during day
Crimson at dawn and dusk
Dark at nighttime
While devoid of materiality
Free of this burden of substance
Hence, regarded as maya
Not even the learned and the wise
Understand space or its function
Space remembers that clouds and rain
Fall from it and derive satisfaction
When one's heart is fixed in devotion to holy ones
Even unpleasant experiences become pleasant
Avoid siddhis or psychic powers
The inner power is known as kundalini
Because it is coiled in appearance
It is the supreme power in all beings
And the prime mover of all power
Essential Yoga Vasistha

Yogis can perform actions everywhere


Experience all things in all periods of time
Though apparently remaining in one place
As their consciousness is not localized
The deluded pursue psychic powers
Towards which the yogi is indifferent
As he is intent on self-knowledge
For which siddhis are a premature exit
The yogis who practice contemplation
To attain various psychic powers or boons
Are subject to ignorance which is apparent in them
They contemplate something quite unreal
Action is better than inaction
The wise see nothing to gain from action
Nothing to gain from refraining
They do what is natural wisely
Without worrying about results
This universe which is a cosmic circle
Illumined by the sun and stars
What is it that is 'above'
And what is 'below' in all this?
Why waste energy investigating
The nature of the world and things
63

All is an effect of a long dream


The wise do not waste time or effort in these
On one hand are time, place and habit
On the other mental conditioning itself
Circumstances and conditioning act on each other
Whichever is the stronger wins instantly
You have to know truth directly
Just as you know you have hands
That you ever exist in Brahman
And Brahman is your own self
The way out of this misfortune
Is that which was its original cause
Any other path is not the right one
It will not be productive of happiness
The reality or substance of the notion
Is the supreme Brahman as well
They are both divisionless consciousness
Just as between space and emptiness
Realizing what's real and what's not
After intense inquiry
Still the feeling 'this is' persists
So abide in your realization

Essential Yoga Vasistha

From Brahma to a blade of grass


All are subject to two forms of birth
The first is Brahma's creation
The other is illusory creation
Waking state itself is twofold
The dream of the waking state
The waking state of the dream
Both non-different from each other
When one's slumber has been weakened
The world, its suns and moons are seen
Within just here, right where one is
As if arising suddenly within the heart
A shift in the balance of things
In adversity, strength and intelligence
Adversely affects all somehow, sometime
The wise get shaken-up as well
Awakened realizations
Though surrounded by adversity
One would not be unhappy at all
To know while dreaming it is dream
You are freed from even raging fire
Just as persons seen in a dream
Have no past karma at all
64

Those that arose in creation's beginning


Are karmalesspure consciousness
The awareness in the beginning of creation
And at the end of one's life-span
Continues to exist till liberation is attained
And that is known as creation
The dead one is not born again
But he experiences the notion
'I am here in this manner' and the like
Due to conditioning in his consciousness
The one pure consciousness
Appears as diverse dream-objects
All objects appearing in dream
Become one again in deep sleep
The impressions that arise in dream
Were created in the waking state
Those that rise in the waking state
Were created anew, is the feeling
But those who know the truth
Declare: this is not the case
They were created in a state
That appeared to be awake, but wasn't

Essential Yoga Vasistha

The ignorant think that Brahman shines


Appearing as creation without a cause
They are caught up in cause-and-effect
Deluded notions that causality is very real
When the senses are engaged
In the experience of the external world
Then the field of internal notions
Is vague and unclear
To those who know the supreme state
The states of waking, dream and sleep
Do not exist at all
Whatever isis as it is
One who has realized that everything
Is pure infinite consciousness
Is not affected by the apparent duality
He remains free, alone and unaffected
In the eyes of the ignorant
Dreams appear to be true at times
But in the eyes of the enlightened
They are neither real nor unreal
Consciousness bestows reward on one
When actions arise from personal notion

65

When freed from such a notion


Action is freed of its fruits
Let this illusion or ignorance remain
It is a vain appearance only
What can it possibly do?
Once you have given up delusion
One's dream becomes fulfilled
In the waking state reality
All and everything that one sees
Are one's own dream objects finally
One does not desire death
Or cling on to life either
When one knows what one is
And is free from mental agitation

Earnest prayers are answered


Whatever is earnestly prayed for
Is bestowed at once on all
For God is the self of all
One experiences fruition of one's prayers
Yesterday's evil action is transformed
Into good action by today's noble deed
Therefore strive to be good
And do as much good as you can now
The flesh of that corpse
Became the earth-element
In course of time the world
Acquired its present nature
Strange and wonderful is this maya

The wisdom that I imparted to you


Has remained weak in your heart
Like a dormant fire in an old tree-trunk
Not able to burn and destroy ignorance

Strange and wonderful is this maya


Which gives rise to delusion in the mind
In which thesis and antithesis coexist
Without conflict or contradiction

Do not avoid the inevitable


It cannot be averted by anyone at any time
It is not altered by any amount of effort
It is foolishness and desperation to try

Every inch of space is filled


With the creations of departed ones
Countless worlds though unseen
Exist without contradiction or conflict

Essential Yoga Vasistha

66

Holding on to awareness of ignorance


This ignorance seems to be real
On account of this delusion
The unreal appears to be real
Why bind one who is ever free?
'Another' just does not exist
Except the one pure and formless
Radiant infinite consciousness
The only means to redemption
If one cannot redeem oneself
There are no other means
For one is one's own friend
And one is one's own enemy
The mind is commander-in-chief
The senses are the armed forces
Control of the mind is control of senses
Sense victory is the worst slavery
To the enlightened one
The waking, dreaming and sleep states
Are turiya onlyfree of ignorance
Free of diversity and non-dual
The many abandons its diversity
When it attains enlightenment
Essential Yoga Vasistha

When the many is described as the one


It has not become something else
Knowledge of self and of all things too
Are the play of infinite consciousness
They are the manifestations
Expansions of self-knowledge
'This is the self' and 'this is knowledge'
Both false notions that arise within
Abandon the words but remain established
In the experience of the truth indicated
Just as a tree brings forth diverse branches
Without mental activity or intention
Consciousness gives rise to diverse creation
It is like space giving rise to space
In the inert and insentient wood
The figure emerges when carved
Since consciousness is full of consciousness
The world-appearance shines within itself
Be established in truth
He is truly established in truth
Who does not see 'the world'
Even though his eyes are wide open
He enjoys the bliss of deep sleep
67

The wise man by his very nature


Enjoys the company of a bosom-friend
Along with the latter's consort
That friend is known as one's good action
This world is the indivisible Brahman
To those who are enlightened
Though we are highly intelligent
We do not know what ignorance is
Where shall I go for that which is not Brahman
The world is a strange place indeed
People regard objects of perception as real
Failing to know the omnipresent
Experiences arise in consciousness
Of their own accord
As the very limbs of consciousness
Without any causal connection
Just as the body identifies itself
With teeth and nails and hair
The omnipresent self identifies itself
With seeming materiality
Brahman is like the ocean
Creations are like the waves

Essential Yoga Vasistha

Experiencing is the water


Though all are pure unconditioned bliss
At the end of the investigation
Utter silence alone remains
Though engaged in all activities
It remains unaffected like space
Ignorance thinks of all this
As ignorance and limitless creation
When it is realized as Brahman
It itself becomes the pure Brahman
All this is natural to nature
Even if a cause may be assumed
Even the word 'nature' used here
Is only a figure of speech
Just as the blacksmith makes the bellows
To expand and contract in this world
Consciousness makes all bodies function
Everyone lives and functions by it
There are no forms, birth or death
No reality or unreality either
The supreme perceives all this within itself
Why create a false notion of creation?

68

Rivers are many, ocean is one


Time is one and seasons are few
Years may be called by different names
The substance stays ever unchanged
The content of notions and thoughts
Is Brahman, the infinite consciousness
Itselfthe content of world-appearance
Brahman exists in all and as all
Repeated affirmation makes memory
Everything is seen and experienced anew
As if not seen or experienced before
Even as one may dream of one's own death
Repeated affirmation makes it memory
It is only through delusion
That Brahman is seen as the world
But that delusion also is Brahman
Which is supreme and infinite peace
If the infinite consciousness
Is compared to the deep sleep state
What is comparable to a dream is known as mind
It is this mind that binds and liberates all
When one indulges in daydreaming
One sees images dance as if real
Essential Yoga Vasistha

Even so this world-appearance


Appears in Brahmanthought to be real
A momentary movement in consciousness
Is understood by it as creation
Slight movement of energy within
It knows it as epoch or age
Just as in one who has limbs and organs
There is a constant renewal of cells
Even so there's no end to the universes
That exist in the supreme being
Though all these diverse entities
Seem to beit is but an illusion
Nothing has really been created
All is omnipresent consciousness
When there is the notion of reality
In unreal phenomenathere is bondage
When many such notions arise
Then diversity is brought into being
Knowledge does not have an object to know
Knowledge is independent and eternal
Beyond description and definition
This direct realization is perfect knowledge

69

This being so, then all of creation


Is nothing but pure consciousness
If the body is of pure consciousness
There can be neither birth nor death
Focus of main effort
Be not concerned with causes
Be concerned instead with awakening
By awakening, awakening is attained
Attaining awakening dissolves doubts
Realizing all objects and substances
Exist in consciousness as notions
Brings to a close the hold on objects
Samsara's wheel stops by and by
Consciousness becoming aware of itself
As an object is what's known as mind
Inquire instead without objectivity
By this, does mental conditioning end
One consciousness shines as three
Subject, object and experience
In the beginning appearing as creation
Such is its very natureit shines as it shines
Why inquire into the unreal
Futile it isas it has no being
Essential Yoga Vasistha

Inquire instead into the real


The truth that underlies all
Enlightenment is not had by the intellect
Nor is it attained by its suppression
Enlightenment is not aware of itself
For it is not an object of awareness
The hall-mark of enlightenment
Is cessation of all craving
When the latter is absent
It is just mental gymnastics
That state in which the enlightened one exists
As if he lives in the very bowels of a rock
Whether alone or engaged in activities
That is the state of purity and liberation
In very much the same way
This world exists in Brahman
It is Brahman alone and not world
Brahman undergoes no change
Going to the forest for firewood
Getting the philosopher's stone instead
Resorting to scriptures to fulfill desires
Often results in attaining the truth

70

Among those who study scriptures


Some attain pleasure, wealth and guidance
These three are expounded in the scriptures
Not the realization of Brahman

What I have said to you


What you have studied in the scripture
Now bring into harmony
With your own direct experience

The greatness of freedom

Teaching what has not been experienced


Neither seen nor heard of before
The teacher resorts to illustrations
The aid by which the truth is grasped

Who can measure the greatness


Of one free from exultation and depression
Who does what has to be done perfectly
And who sees what is to be seen as it is
When you abandon all notions
Of what is desirable and what is not
Engaging in activity or refraining
Are both of the same value
From this epoch's very beginning
We have given and heard numerous talks
Those on the means to liberation
But never have any been quite like this
Yoga as life
As long as this body lasts
Do what needs to be done naturally
Endowed with pure vision
Freed from all doubts and delusion

Essential Yoga Vasistha

People base their understanding


On the experience of the moment
On account of their perverse understanding
They are deluded into materiality's lure
Injunctions and prohibitions
Preserve the social structure here
As these are established in consciousness
They are incapable of helping towards freedom
The three worlds are illusory products
Of delusion's shadow on consciousness
But in it there are no divisions or contradictions
What is impossible in an illusion?
Indivisible consciousness alone exists
All that is also this creation

71

All this is the ever peaceful Brahman


Consciousness also known as creation
Let it all be the way it appears
Or let it be quite different from this
Confusion cannot reach your heart
Once you no longer pursue action's fruit
When you are not enlightened
And experience awakening by these words
You experience apparent duality or diversity
In what is in fact non-dual Brahman
This does not perish
Hence it is said that 'It is not seen'
It is said that the unreal has no being
And the real has no non-being
In each of all these things
The Lord himself does and experiences
For, everything is verily Brahman
Beginningless, endless and the ordainer
The seeker's awakening
By your grace, O lord among sages

My delusion has gone


I have attained the supreme state
My intelligence is now perfectly clear
I am freed of doubts
I rest in my natural state as Brahman
Or in the knowledge of nirvana
I shall do as you have said
Even the ignorant ones
In whose hearts bondage exists
Caused by cravings strong and persistent
Can rise beyond the state of division
Vasistha's final comments
By a study of this scripture
Which deals with liberation
Even the young become mature
And rise to their true heritage
Except through this mighty scripture
One cannot ever gain what is good
For perfect realization of the supreme truth
Fervently investigate this scripture alone

Om Tat Sat
Essential Yoga Vasistha

72

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Essential Yoga Vasistha

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