Essential Yoga Vasistha
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 practice—both in life and on the mat—these 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 feeling—a 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 life—these 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!
2 February 2013