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Essential Yoga Vasistha

VI. Dealing with Liberation, Part 1 (...continued)

The Supreme

Though one, it is conceived diversely
It is neither one, many, nor even it
The one immeasurably great cosmic being
Cosmic energy—the 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 vision—incapable 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
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
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
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
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 idea—all 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

Proper action

Proper action is that action
Which leads towards liberation
Beyond which there is nothing
The rest is not worth considering
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
Some things appear abundantly often
Others once seen are not again
Newer forms appear as if quite suddenly
Others appear after a long interval
This object is insentient and unreal
The self grooms itself with insentience
Having apparently abandoned
It's essential nature as consciousness
There is neither birth nor death
For this consciousness
It is not subject to destruction
It is of the nature of space

Seeing through the illusion

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


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 destroyed—not 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
It must be utterly abandoned without residue
To attain the supreme state free of sorrow
When one rests in total renunciation
Like the lamp without fuel
He shines with supreme brilliance
Like a lamp with fuel
Its abandonment or renunciation
Is easy and easily accomplished
More delightful than being a king
More beautiful than a fragrant flower
Delusion of world-appearance
When the cause is absent or unreal
The effect is non-existent
The experience of such an effect
Is delusion—responsible 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
Holding everything together
In total absence of duality
That supreme self alone shines here
As Siva—the supreme being
Hence questions concerning the world
And the ego-sense are inappropriate
If such destruction were to be comprehended
It would be seen as a trick of consciousness
Hence, consciousness alone exists
Neither one nor many—is beyond discussion
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
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
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
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?
Even as beings in day-dreams
Create and experience diverse objects
This world-appearance is the day-dream
Of Brahman the supreme being
Abandon doubts—resort 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 self—free 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
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
That Brahman appears as the world
Just as rope appears as snake
Is meant to entertain the ignorant
The enlightened see no difference
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
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
Just as fire thrown into fire
Becomes indistinguishably fire
This world when offered into consciousness
Becomes one with it instantly

Main Page / Introduction / Prayer / Ch I / Ch II / Ch III / Ch IV / Ch V / Ch VI-1 / Ch VI-2