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Yoga Vasistha – Important Teachings by Swami Suryadevananda

 

Download eBook contents below:
pdf Yoga Vasistha – Important Teachings by Swami Suryadevananda
pdf Yoga Vasishta by Valmiki The original Sanskrit attributed to Sage Valmiki translated to English by Vihari Lala Mitra (1891) edited by Thomas L. Palotas (2013)

 

Yoga Vasistha – Important Teachings by Swami Suryadevananda

Preface

This offering was not intended to be a book as such. I kept some notes on the main points covered in the video and expanded them a little so there could be a take-home in the form of a pdf handout to be released along with each video. I have received some feedback on culling these handouts into an eBook so with a little tweaking—here it is. I humbly offer this unto all who may feel it useful.

The Yoga Vāsiṣṭha is a very important scripture for sincere seekers of the truth but perhaps not as well-known as some others. This scripture has many stories that are used to point to subtle truths which are generally hard to absorb theoretically—especially today, when political correctness imposes itself on direct communication. Swami Venkatesananda’s translations on the Yoga Vāsiṣṭha are the very best as only excessive descriptions in the story or redundancy is left out but the essentials are brought to light in very simple language.

Here, I have chosen to focus on the important teachings communicated through the stories, without the stories or illustrations. This has its advantages and disadvantages. The reader may not get the background based on which or through which the teachings were communicated and it may also seem repetitive as some stories bring out teachings covered earlier so some overlap and redundancy was unavoidable. The advantage however falls to seekers who have been on the path for a while and are able to grasp the subtle but lofty truths without concern of redundancy. Chapter six is the largest part of the scripture and broken in two parts. I have gone light in the contents of this chapter and instead, chosen to focus on topics useful to the seeker which is mostly in the earlier chapters. I recommend a study of either version of Swami Venkatesananda’s work, the fuller version or the concise version to benefit from this focused attempt to highlight the main teachings of the Yoga Vāsiṣṭha. Let us begin.

S w a m i S u r y a d e v a n a n d a
October 2016
Website: Suryadevananda.org

Chapter 1 – Introduction

The Yoga Vāsiṣṭha is a very important scripture for sincere seekers of the truth but perhaps not as well-known as some others. Here, we have a dialogue between the great sage Vāsiṣṭha and Rāma who amongst other wonderful qualities, was also a prince. The core of the scripture is a dialogue between Rāma and Vāsiṣṭha in the royal court of his father and in the presence of other great ones and sages.

After finishing his education with others, Rāma returned to his home and resumed his normal way of princely living. Very soon, he had an urge to go out and see the country before he would get into the thick of his duties and responsibilities. With his father’s permission, he set out to see the world—the land his duties were tied to. He toured the length and width of the land and eventually, returned to the palace and princely way of life.

Soon, a wave of thought overtook him and he became indrawn and pensive. Others noticed this but did not know quite what to make of it. One day, the great sage Viśvāmitra came to the royal court and asked the king, Rāma’s father for a favor. He asked that Rāma’s company him for some time as he was involved in a sacred rite which required his full involvement and there were others bent on disturbing the rite. With Rāma, the rite would be secure and this would benefit others including Rāma in many ways. Rāma was sent for but to the surprise of his father, he appeared very indrawn and pensive. When asked about the cause of his present state, Rāma spoke about his observations on life and the inability to reconcile what was observed during his journey, what he had very intelligently pondered upon and what was expected of him in terms of his duties and responsibilities. He was not dejected but at the threshold of awakening and sage Viśvāmitra requested the sage Vāsiṣṭha to resolve any doubts Rāma may have.

1. Background: The Yoga Vāsiṣṭha unfolds as the dialogue between the sage Vāsiṣṭha and Rāma, in the presence of others in the royal court and other great ones who assembled to hear what would unfold.

2. Examining everything: Rāma came to the crossroads of life and understanding by his own careful examination of things. This crossroad is not of finding fault in things as they are but in finding one’s understanding of things not adequate to a deeper scrutiny of them. Inner wisdom is intuitive and not something learned in a classroom or from others. It comes about by one’s direct observation of things as they are, as things unfold and while desiring a good understanding of them. This intelligent way of observing is fluid and sees things as they are as it is not based on memory but on one’s direct observation in the present.

3. Awakening: When one lives intelligently, which is examining things as they are and as they unfold—one sees that one’s existing notions and understanding of things as they are is not adequate. This bucket of existing notions about things is conditioning as it conditions one’s observation based on many things which we will not get into further here. When one discovers that existing notions or the known is not adequate to really know things as they are—one awakens and stays awake.

4. At the crossroads: To awaken and stay awake is to not rely on any existing notion—however elevated the notion be. One learns to see things as they are and as they unfold. While walking the awakened path, one comes to a crossroads where what is seen cannot quite be reconciled with what is expected of oneself and the way through the maze is not quite clear. It is here, the guru or teacher’s light on the path becomes very important as just as you light one candle with another, one’s own inner wisdom is also brought to a steady flame with the help of the teacher.

Download eBook on contents above:
pdf Yoga Vasistha – Important Teachings by Swami Suryadevananda
pdf Yoga Vasishta by Valmiki The original Sanskrit attributed to Sage Valmiki translated to English by Vihari Lala Mitra (1891) edited by Thomas L. Palotas (2013)

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