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Thread: Vasișțha's Yoga

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    Vasișțha's Yoga

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté

    The work Yogavasișțharāmāyaṇa, is also known as the Yoga Vasișțha, or Vasișțha's Yoga. My great interest with this knowledge is it nicely compliments and parallels the views of Reality held by kaśmir śaivism.
    In a word or two , this creation is the play and display of consciousness or caitanya. Its appeal (at least to me) is its thoroughness in offering the vedāntic-genius in a sequential format that is comprehensive. Most of all the wisdom that it imparts is IMHO knowledge that changes/stretches one's view-point of the world.

    Vasișțha's Yoga is the conversation of Vasișțha-ji (and other saints) with Śrī Rāmaḥ ; a great work for the sādhu and sadhvī¹ to advance one's sādhana by knowledge and insight; offering a spiritual view of the world around you.

    This work is not considered beginner material, nor is it appropriate for the window shopper (light reading). It is for the person with an eye and motivation to spiritual enquiry (vicāra).

    Vasișțha-ji says it this way - the eye of spiritual enquiry (vicāra) does not lose its sight even in the midst of all activities.
    Yet what is this enquiry? He says, one ponders and is compelled by questions of Who am I? How has this saṃsāra (repetition of birth and rebirth) come into being? It is the light of enquiry that there is realization of the eternal and unchanging Reality, this is the Supreme..
    Is this the only thing? No, as vasișțha-ji also mentions self-control ( which I always can use more of ), contentment and satsaṅg as the other 'gatekeepers' that stand at the door of mokṣa. We can review these at a later date.

    It is my good fortune to have encountered this book some years ago that has been translated by svāmī veṅkaṭeśānanda¹ whose writing/translation ability IMHO is superb.

    So, I thought I would offer some ideas and insights from this book. It is divided into 6 sections or prakaraa¹ . Why 6 sections, why not 5 ( higher knowledge) or 8 ( esoteric knowledge and moka) or 10 ( fullness, the 10 directions)? We can address this at a later time, or if someone wishes to offer their POV on this matter it will be warmly welcomed.

    The 6 prakaraa
    • Vairāgya prakaraṇaṃ - vairāgya is dispassion, non-attachment
    • Mumukṣu prakaraṇaṃ - mumukṣu is a seeker with the burning desire for kaivala or mokṣa (liberation)
    • Utpatti prakaraṇaṃ - utpatti is creation, origination, generation, ~creation ~
    • Sthiti prakaraṇaṃ (sthā - to stand) sthiti a state or condition, ~ existence ~
    • Upaśānti prakaraṇaṃ - upāsana is the act of throwing off; upaśānti is cessation , intermission , remission ~dissolution ~
    • Nirvāṇa prakaraṇaṃ - nirvāṇa = 'nir' meaning out + 'vā' ( as in vāyu) is to blow. What is one blowing out? The cycle of birth and death, ignorance. The extinction ( blowing out) of all impressions. If we were talking
      the yoga sutras of Patañjali, samādhi-pāda, 2nd sutra¹, this would be called citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ or the cessation/stilling of all mental activities.
    A one line description for each prapāṭhaka¹
    • Vairāgya prakaraṇaṃ - the true nature of life in this world- 5% of this book
    • Mumukṣu prakaraṇaṃ - the qualifications of a seeker - 3% of the book
    • Utpatti prakaraṇaṃ - many short stories that bring to light the nature of this creation - what is, and what 'seems' to be - 22% of the book
    • Sthiti prakaraṇaṃ - in story format, it offers a view of this existence of this world and the foundation that supports it - 9% of the book
    • Upaśānti prakaraṇaṃ - knowledge that is offered to dissolve false impressions - 16% of the book
    • Nirvāṇa prakaraṇaṃ - knowledge to support the destruction ( blowing out) of ignorance - 45% of the book
    Rama , said vasișțha-ji, do you remember what I have so far said to you, the words which are capable of awakening a knowledge of truth or Self-knowledge? By resorting to dispassion (vairāgya) and a clear understanding of the truth this ocean of saṃsāra ( birth-after-birth) can be crossed - hence engage yourself in such endeavor … Chapter 6, nirvāṇa prakaraṇaṃ

    praṇām

    words
    • caitanya - from cétana meaning consciousness
    • prakaraṇa प्रकरण production , creation ; treatment , discussion , explanation ; this is equal to prapāṭhaka
      prapāṭhaka प्रपाठक- chapter or subdivision of a book; a lecture.
    • sādhu and sadhvī - male and female person practicing sādhana
    • samādhi-pāda ( 1st chapter, 2nd sutra):
      • yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodha
      • yogaś - process of yoking; union from yuj reviewed in a previous post
      • citta - as a noun it is thinking , reflecting , imagining , thought; some put this as active mind
      • vtti - ' rolling , or rolling down' i.e. patterning, turnings, movements.
      • nirodhaḥ - suppression , destruction ; some prefer stilling, cessation, restriction
    • svāmī veṅkaṭeśānanda - was sisya of svāmi śivānanda. veṅkaṭeśa = 'lord of veṅkaṭa' or another name for viṣṇu or kṛṣṇa + ananda = bliss or happiness. Note veṅkaṭa is of a very sacred hill in the drāviḍa country.
    Last edited by yajvan; 19 December 2009 at 09:00 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  2. #2

    Re: Vasișțha's Yoga

    Namaste Yajvanji
    There is a vedmantra about the birth of Vashishtha rishi and this has been explained in Ramcharitmanas, also the conversation bet. Rama and the rishi is there .

    Vidyato jyotih..janmotaikam Vashishtha..aajbhar. rig 7/33/10
    Ramcharitmanas says
    One day the sage Vashishtha called at the palace where the charming and all-blissful
    Rama was. The Lord of the Raghus received him with great reverence, laved his feet
    and sipped the water into which they had been washed. .Listen, Rama :. said the sage
    with joined palms, .I make my humble submission, O Ocean of mercy. Even as I watch
    Your doings infinite bewilderment possesses my soul. Your immeasurable greatness is
    beyond the knowledge of the Vedas; how can I describe it, O Almighty Lord? The
    vocation of a familypriest is very low : the Vedas, Puranas and the Smriti texts equally
    denounce it. When I would not accept it, Bramha. (my father) said to me, .It will redound
    to your benefit hereafter, my son : Brahma[n] Itself, the Supreme Spirit, will appear in human
    semblance as a king, the ornament of Raghu.s raceand conversation continues .

  3. #3
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    Re: Vasișțha's Yoga

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namast kd gupta

    Quote Originally Posted by kd gupta View Post
    When I would not accept it, Bramha. (my father) said to me, .It will redound
    to your benefit hereafter, my son : Brahma[n] Itself, the Supreme Spirit, will appear in human
    semblance as a king, the ornament of Raghu.s raceand conversation continues .
    Many miss this point on Śrī Rāmaḥ as the Supreme. I am happy you have brought it up, thank you. It makes Vasișțha's Yoga even more profound. I will continue the conversations and insights as it is a delight to re-read and ponder this great book.

    praṇām
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  4. #4

    Re: Vasișțha's Yoga

    Namaste

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post

    Vasișțha-ji says it this way - the eye of spiritual enquiry (vicāra) does not lose its sight even in the midst of all activities.
    Yet what is this enquiry? He says, one ponders and is compelled by questions of Who am I? How has this saṃsāra (repetition of birth and rebirth) come into being? It is the light of enquiry that there is realization of the eternal and unchanging Reality, this is the Supreme..
    Is this the only thing? No, as vasișțha-ji also mentions self-control , contentment and satsaṅg as the other 'gatekeepers' that stand at the door of mokṣa. We can review these at a later date.
    This is wonderful. This answers the qn : Is realizing Who am I enough ?

    It looks like the bottomline is vAsanA (desires). Unless they go away , transmigration continues.

    Till then, jnana , knowledge that "I am not this body , mind, intellect" , and its application , probably makes the world a better place.

    Hypothetically, is it possible that one has realized the Self and the Oneness of Brahman, there is Vairagya , but the mind contemplates food and hunger, warmth or other bodily comforts ?

    Do self control and realization really go hand in hand ?
    i.e. the doorkeepers are essential for the realization to take place, and realization also brings self control and contentment .
    || Shri KRshNArpaNamastu ||

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    Re: Vasișțha's Yoga

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté smaranam

    Quote Originally Posted by smaranam View Post
    Do self control and realization really go hand in hand ?
    i.e. the doorkeepers are essential for the realization to take place, and realization also brings self control and contentment .
    From mumukṣu prakaraṇaṃ ( 2nd chapter regarding the qualities of the seeker)

    Vasișțha says to Śrī Rāmaḥ " there are 4 gatekeepers at the entrance to the realm of mokṣa (liberation or enlightenment), they are self-control, spirit of enquiry, contentment, and good company ( satsaṅga)"

    " He who wears the armor of self control is not harmed by sorrows." Enquiry, the study of the srūti and smṛ
    ti he says " the intelligence becomes keen and is able to realize the Supreme";

    With Contentment - "one does not crave" and one that is not content in the SELF will be subjected to sorrow. Satsaṅga or the company of the wise and enlightened "enlarges ones intelligence" and "is superior to all other forms of religious practice like charity, austerity, pilgrimage, rites, etc". He concludes by saying " if you cannot practice all 4 , practice one."


    praṇām
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  6. #6

    Re: Vasișțha's Yoga

    Thank You

    PraNAm
    || Shri KRshNArpaNamastu ||

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    Re: Vasișțha's Yoga

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namast


    As I have mentioned this work is not considered entry level knowledge, yet one cannot look away from the richness of this wisdom... If some wish to begin their understanding of this work please consider the following HDF post from 2007: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=629&page=3&highlight=valmiki

    It would good to mention this book's author, vālmīki-ji; we know too him also as the author of the rāmāyaṇa.

    It seems to me talking of the information/wisdom that appears in chapter 2 (mumukṣu prakaraṇaṃ - the qualifications of a seeker ) is a reasonable place to begin a viable discussion on this great work Yogavasișțharāmāyaṇa (Yoga-vasișțha-rāmāyaṇa).
    Let me start with self-effort.

    Self-effort
    This is the notion of one's own intention, will and action to expand their sādhana to support & nurture the the condition of mokṣa to unfold.

    Vasișțha-ji inform is ( via his dialog wth śrī rāmaḥ ) that self-effort is based upon 3 limbs: knowledge of the śāstra-s, instructions of the preceptor and one's own self effort. He mentions an important point - fate or daivaṃ does not enter-in here. This I find useful guidance.

    To appreciate this position, the definition of daivaṃ is warranted; daiva is defined as belonging to or coming from the gods , divine , celestial. It is also defined as a noun as destiny , fate , chance. Hence vasișțha-ji
    is telling us that the fruit of one's action is the reason for one's advancement or decline. The notion that 'it was fate' that caused this or that to occur is delusion.
    Vasișțha-ji informs us that fate is no less then past actions that come to fruition in this life. Since many roots to past actions cannot be seen ( connecting the dots ) it has become convention that it must then be daiva or destiny. He gives us some words of wisdom:

    • One's actions and intent in this life is infinitely more potent then those of the past.
    • At times, and without effort, we see others advance or gain with little to no effort.
    • This is neither a divine act or accident, but the fruition of some actions coming to play in this life.

    • One must keep a balanced eye to what is attainable by self-effort and what is not.
    • One who says 'fate' is directing me to do this' is brainless.
    • Self-effort that bears fruit is that mental, verbal and physical action
    • Fate is nothing but the culmination of one's own actions.
    praṇām

    references
    1. Yoga Vasișțha ; 70 pages in PDF format : http://homepage.mac.com/dbhill/.Public/Yoga%20Vasistha.pdf


    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  8. #8

    Re: Vasișțha's Yoga

    One's actions and intent in this life is infinitely more potent then those of the past.

    Refering to Satayji,s message also....what Yajvan ji you mean , if instant decision by Dashratha to send Rama in forest was...potent or dependent on past act ?

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    Re: Vasișțha's Yoga

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté kd gupta



    Quote Originally Posted by kd gupta View Post
    One's actions and intent in this life is infinitely more potent then those of the past.

    Refering to Satayji,s message also....what Yajvan ji you mean , if instant decision by Dashratha to send Rama in forest was...potent or dependent on past act ?
    Would it not be conjecture on my side to suggest I know the answer?
    Yet isn't the plight of srī rāmaḥ at the hands of the King's wife, kaikeyī¹ ? ; she is the one causing the mischief?

    praṇām


    references
    • kaikeyī , one of 3 wives of daśa-ratha and mother of bharata the daughter of a prince of the kekayas
    • King daśaratha offered her two boons for her help she provided in battle; Kaikeyī chose to ask for those boons at a later date.
    • Those requests which the King had to honur was to install her son as the next in line for the thrown; The other was to exile srī rāmaḥ. Hearing these requestsfrom his wife the King fell to the ground as if hit by a thunderbolt.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  10. #10

    Re: Vasișțha's Yoga

    http://groups.google.com/group/yoga-...a/topics?pli=1

    An online translation of the Yoga Vasishtha
    There is a full translation available by Vihari Lal Mitra, but be warned it is a massive Granth.

    Also Yajvan when you mention self-effort the sanskrit word it is translated from is Paurusha which is derived from Purusha. It is an interesting word. Purusha is personality or more anciently Pur-usha a city dweller.

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