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Essential Yoga Vasistha

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
The mind continues to exist
As long as the body continues to live
Whether the embodied person
Is enlightened or ignorant
When false abandonment
Is mistaken for abandonment
The deluded are possessed
By this goblin of false abandonment
Whatever notion arises in you
Even as movement arises in wind
Realize that 'I am not this'
And thus deprive it of support
No remedy for sense-craving
Other than firm abandonment of desire
No medicines, pilgrimage or ritual
And no mantras are of any use
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
Brahman has infinite potencies
Inertia too manifests in consciousness
Existing as a potentiality in Brahman
As future waves in the calm ocean
There is neither good nor evil
Anywhere to anyone at any time
Neither adversity nor prosperity
No doer, no enjoyer of anything
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
One's dream is experienced
Only by the dreamer
This creation too is experienced
By the one in whose mind it arises
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'

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
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
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
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

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
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
There is really no difference
Between the ignorant and a knower of truth
Except that the latter
Is free from the conditioned mind
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
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
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
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
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 God—uncreated 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
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 truth—but 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
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
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
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
The supreme truth or consciousness
Is indestructible—it 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
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
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
Inseparable and non-different from him
Is his dynamic energy—true 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
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 disappeared—as 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
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 consciousness—unchanging

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
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
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
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

...continued here

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