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Yoga Vashisht

January 30, 2007

YOGAVASHISHT - PART I

CHAPTER 2
STORY OF LORD RAMA STARTS

(Dialogue between Rishi Valmiki and his disciple Rishi Bharadvaja)

Bharadvaja: Hey my Guru Valmiki! Kindly tell me in detail how
Rama lived on in totally detached manner?

Rishi Valmiki: This is a very important question which you have asked. What ever is seen in
this world, in fact is not there at all. Nothing is made. It is visible only because of our ignorance. Once we contemplate upon it and when we know the reality, the whole world disappears. We see that sky is blue. Even that is a deception. This blueness of the sky also vanishes once we look at it with detachment. Hey Bhardvaja! One cannot reach the ultimate state, till our body is not completely deprived of all sense objects and desires. When we view this universe without the aid of our sense objects, we will see that every thing is a huge vacuum. When we see this universe without the sense objects, we see the pure light where only the Atman exists.

Hey Bharadvaja! This universe is just an illusion, and considering it as an illusion is true liberation. The man keeps wandering from one birth to another, because of unlimited desires and wishes. The burden of this life is due to the desires only. Once the desires are given up, the ultimate state that is Moksha is achieved.

Desires may be considered as a statue, whose name is ‘Mind’. When the mind gets totally under control, and all the desires have vanished, the Atman gets liberated.

Desires are of two types, pure and impure, or dirty. The living being considers his ‘body’ as ‘himself’, and thus ego is developed. This ego gives rise to unlimited desires, and the desires so created are the cause of endless cycles of birth and death.

If you listen to this story of Shri Rama, with reverence and total concentration, and try to adopt its sayings in your day to day tasks and chores, your life will become totally detached and you will reach that state where only Pure Atman dwells.

This world is a figment of your imagination. It is better to assume this world as an illusion, and forget it. Forgetting the world is a sure path to deliverance.

The prime cause of bondage is the desires. When desires get destroyed, reaching the final destination is easy. Because of desires alone the man keeps wandering like a nomad, from one life to another.

This body that you see is manifestation of desires only. The body is made of five elements. Desires are the thread of a necklace. When the thread of necklace breaks, the body also does not remain. The beads also get scattered. Therefore root of all the sorrows are impure desires, and a person with pure and good desires, is able to forget this world, because his determination does not allow the senses to overpower him.

NOTE: In Indian philosophy it is believed that human body is made of five elements. 1. Earth (Prithvi) 2. Sky/Vacuum (Aakash) 3. Water (Jal) 4. Fire (Agni) 5. Soul or Spirit (Atman).

For an ignorant (Agyani) the desires are the cause of his birth. But the desires of knowledgeable person (Gyani) do not become the cause of his birth. A seed which is full of juices of life sprouts into a sapling. But a dry seed does not become a sapling. Similarly, an Agyani who is anxious about the fruits of his desires and karmas (action) is born again and again. But the desires of a Gyani are empty of expectations; therefore, he is not born again and again.

Gyani is living a normal life in this world. He eats and drinks, walks and sleeps, gives and takes, and performs all the other obligations and duties of his life. All this happens with due to functioning of his five sense organs, but his actions do not form bonds. (Five senses are Hearing, Seeing, Touch, Smell and Taste). He constantly dwells in the state of non-duality (Advait). But contrary to this an Agyani, whose desires are laced with his ego, takes birth again and again. The same Agyani, when he drops his sense of self, escapes the cycle of birth and death.

Hey Bharadvaja! What I am going to reveal to you, is the dialogue between Rama and his Guru (teacher) Rishi Vashisht, and it is worth contemplating upon, because it is the complete source of Gyan (knowledge).

One day Rama came back from his school. He was restless. He wanted to visit holly places and temples of renown. He went to his father Raja Dasrath. Rama sat down near feet of his father and said “Father! I wish to visit holy places and holy temples. Kindly allow me to go. This is the first time that I have made a request like this, which will take me away from you for some time, and deprive me of serving you. But kindly do not say no; and allow me to go.

At that time, Rishi Valmiki, the chief priest of the king also happened to be there. Rishi Vashisht said “Hey Raja Dasrath! It seems Shri Rama has developed a very strong desire to go to pilgrimage. I suggest that you may give him some ministers, some priests, soldiers and some retinue, so that Shri Rama can perform his rituals at the pilgrimage, with complete devotion. Raja dasrath accepted the advice of the chief priest, and called the astrologers to find out some appropriate time for Rama to depart for the pilgrimage.

Rama, after taking blessings from his father and mother, left for pilgrimage, along with his brothers, ministers, knowledgeable priests, soldiers and lot of wealth, horses, elephants etc. Shri Rama went round the whole world, bathed in all the holy rivers, distributed alms to the poor, performed rituals at holy places like Kedarnath, Badrinath, visited holy mountains like Himalaya and Sumer, and came back home after a year.

END OF CHAPTER TWO
TO BE CONTINUED

January 25, 2007

YOGAVASHISHT - PART I

CHAPTER 1
Agastya Rishi had one disciple named Setekshan. One day Setekshan got a doubt in his mind. He went to Agastya Rishi, his Guru, to clarify the doubt. With all the humility Setekshan asked “My Guru! My teacher! You know every thing about Vedas and you are the ultimate authority on the matters concerning this world and the world beyond. Kindly tell me, how to achieve Moksha (Liberation). Whether actions (Karmas) are important or knowledge (Gyana) is important, or both are necessary to achieve Moksha?” Agastya Rishi replied “Hey Brahmana! Moksha cannot be achieved by Karma alone, nor it can be achieved by Gyana alone. Both are required to reach the state of Moksha. Just as a bird needs both the wings to fly, similarly Gyana and Karma, both are required to attain Moksha.” Agastya Rishi continued. He said “I will enlighten you, by narrating to you an ancient story. In olden times there was a Brahmana named Karna. His fathers name was Agna-Vishaya. Karana went to his Guru and studied all the four Vedas and acquired other related knowledge. When Karana came back home, he stopped doing all the Karmas (actions), in other words he stopped doing any thing, including, eating and bathing. The father Agna-Vishaya got worried and asked his son the reason for stopping all the actions. Karana replied “Father! In Vedas, at one place I read that a man should continue doing all the actions like worship, eating, bathing etc till he is alive. But at another place it is said that Liberation cannot be had neither with money, nor by having sons, nor by doing any actions(Karmas). Now! I am in doubt. You are my father, and you are a very knowledgeable man. So, kindly enlighten me. Tell me what is correct and what is not correct”. Father replied “Son! I will tell you a story, of ancient times. After you hear this story, you may decide the course of action that you may take. Agna-Vishaya, the father, started telling the story of ancient times to his son Karna. In olden times, on peaks of Himalayas, there was abode of gods. Among the gods, there was an Apsara (a fairy) named Suruchi. Once, Suruchi saw a guard of Indira, the king of gods, passing by. Name of the guard was Devadatta.
Suruchi: Devadatta! Kindly tell me from where you are coming, and to which place you are going?

Devadatta: Hey Apsara Suruchi! I am had been to King Arshtam, who has renounced his kingdom, and has become an ascetic after handing over control of his country to his son. He has given up all the desires and pleasures of this world. Now he is sitting in a cave at Gandhamaadhan Mountain, and meditating. After visiting King Arshtam, now I am going back to my master Indira, to tell him what I have seen

Suruchi: But Why had you gone to King Arshtam?

Devadatta: When my master Indira came to know about austerities of King Arshtam, he ordered me to go to King Arshtan with Apsaras, musicians, horses, elephants Vimanas (Vehicles to fly in, may be airplanes), and bring him to abode of gods, with all the respect and reverence. I went to King Arshtam, as ordered, and requested to accompany me in the Vimana and come to Heaven, the abode of gods. When the king heard my request, he said “first tell me about the heaven, its good and bad things (Guna and Dosha), after knowing the Gunas and Doshas of heaven, I will decide, whether I should accompany you or not”

NOTE: Here we see fererence to "Travel by Air". What sort of airplanes were there, what was the technology, what was their shape, what fuel was used, is any body's guess. In ancient sculptures some carvings are seen. Please go to the following link for pictures and further information on Vimana. http://www.hinduwisdom.info/Vimanas.htm

Pictures of Flying Macines of Ancient Times

(Now Devadatta tells King Arshtam about Gunas and Doshas of Heaven)

Devadatta: Hey King Arshtam! In heaven there are all the luxuries. Mortal human beings can achieve these luxuries of heaven only after doing good Karmas. People of very good Karmas enjoy all the luxuries of heaven, those with a few good Karmas enjoy some luxuries, and people with less good Karmas enjoy little luxuries of heaven. These are Gunas of heaven. Now listen to Doshas of heaven. When a person sees some others who are enjoying better luxuries, they feel envy. When a persons sees other persons having similar luxuries, he feels anger. When a person sees other persons having less luxuries than him, he feels arrogance. All these are negative qualities. These all the persons in heaven are having some or the other negative quality. There one more Dosha in heaven. When the Karmas of a persons are exhausted after enjoying luxuries of heaven, he is sent back to this world of birth and death. They are not allowed to stay a moment more than the period allotted based on the amount of good karmas.

King Arshtam: Hey Devadatta! I do not want your heaven. I am not fit for heaven as yet. I will go for a still more austerities, and I will give up my body, as a snake gives up his old skin. Kindly go back with your Vimanas and Apsaras and other objects of luxury. Kindly convey my respects to your master Indira.

Devadatta: Hey Apsara Suruchi! When king Arshtan told me this, I went back to heaven and narrated the whole episode to my master Indira. Indira became very happy, and said that King Arshtam has developed firm desire to attain Moksha. My master ordered me take King Arshtam to Rishi Valmiki , and request Rishi Valmiki on behalf of Indira to initiate Arshtam as his disciple, and grant him the ultimate knowledge to help him to attain Moksha. Then I went back to to King Arshtam, and took him to Rishi Valmiki. Rishi Valmiki welcomed us, and after asking our wellbeing, asked King arshtam to ask for any thing that he desired.

(Following is dialogue between King Arshtam and Rishi Valmiki)

King Arshtam: Hey Rishi! I am indeed lucky have your Darshan (sight). I just want to know, how to set myself free from bondage of this world, and desires.

Rishi Valmiki: To across the ocean of this world and its bondage, there is no means other than Ramayana. By listening to Ramayana, and contemplating upon it, you can achieve the state of detachment. In Ramayana there is dialogue between Lord Rama and Rishi Vashishta. This dialogue has a definite solution to achieve detachment and finally Moksha.

King Arshtam: Revered Rishi! Kindly tell me who was Lord Rama, and how he achieved detachment.

Rishi Valmiki: Lord Vishnu is the ultimate knower of knowledge of Advaita (non-duality). Loerd Vishnu was cursed, and due to that curse he had to take birth on this earth as an ignorant.

King Arshtam: Kindly tell me who cursed Lord Vishnu, and why? Kindly tell me in detail.

Rishi Valmiki: Once in Brahmapuri, city of Brahma, Sanatkumar was sitting in the court of Brahma, the creator. At that time Lord Vishnu, the sustainer of the universe, entered the court of Brahma. Every body present stood up, and paid due respects, and worshiped Lord Vishnu. But Sanatkumar kept sitting. Lord Vishnu observed this, and said to sanatkumar “Sanatkumar, you are proud of being passionless, but that very passion will bring misery to you. You will be known as Swami Kartik”. Sanatkumar replied to Lord Vishnu “Vishnu! You also are very proud of being knowledgeable about every thing. For some time you will continue to be all-knowing, but after some time you will become ignorant and live life of an ordinary ignorant person”. King Arshtam! This was the first curse to Vishnu from Sanatkumar. Now listen about the second curse. Once, wife of Rishi Bhrigu went missing. This caused lot of unhappiness and sadness to Rishi Bhrigu. Seeing this condition of Rishi Bhrigu, Lord Vishnu laughed at Bhrigu. Rishi Bhrigu got angry and cursed Vishnu. Bhrigu said “ Vishnu! You have made fun of me, hence I curse you, that you will also suffer due to separation from your wife”. Now I will tell you about the third curse. While Vishnu was in the ferocious incarnation of Narasimha, half man and half lion, he saw wife of Brahmana Devasharma taking bath on the banks of River Ganga. Form of Narasinha was very frightening, and as jest Narasimha tried to frighten wife of Devasharma. Due this the lady died. Angered by this Brahmna Devasharma cursed Narasimha, the incarnation of Vishnu and Said “Hey Vishnu! You have separated my loving wife from me. You will also suffer due to separation from your wife”.

In due course of time Vishnu was born as Rama, as son to King Dasrath. This Ramayana that I talked about earlier is story of Rama, the incarnation of sustainer of this universe, Vishnu. This story of Rama, which is Ramayana, can set one free from bondage of this world, and leads one to Moksha. Ramayana helps one to get rid of arrogance of this body that is this human form, and acquaints one to the Atman (Soul) and thus leads one to the state of ultimate bliss. Ramayana makes one pure and sinless. Just listening to the narration of Ramayana can make one escape the cycle of birth and death. All Karmas get exhausted and thus a person achieves Moksha.

I narrated this story of Ramayana, for the first time to my disciple Rishi Bharadvaja.

King Arshtam: Hey Rishi Valmiki! I am indeed very fortunate to meet you. Kindly tell me the story of Ramayana in detail as you told to your disciple Bharadvaja.

END OF CHAPTER ONE
Chapter two, is dialogue between Rishi Valmiki and his disciple Bharadvaja
TO BE CONTINUED

January 22, 2007

YOGAVASHISHT - PART I

YOGA VASHISHT
Introduction

This great book called Yoga Vashisht is a dialogue between Vashisht Rishi and Lord Rama, the most revered deity of Hindus. In this Yoga Vashisht, Vashisht Rishi is the teacher, and Lord Rama is the seeker or the student. Yoga Vashisht is based upon 36,000 questios that Rama asks Rishi Vashisht after returning from pilgrimage that fills him with Vairagya. On the other hand, Geeta, the most sacred book of Hindus, is also a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, one of the Pandavsa of Mahabharat fame. In Geeta Lord Krishna is the teacher, and Arjuna is the seeker. Here the question arises, why Lord Rama, who is incarnation of Vishnu, the sustainer, is a seeker. In fact Lord Rama being God Himself should be all knowing. Then where is the need for Lord Rama to sit at the feet of Rishi Vashisht, and seek knowledge? The reason is that Vishnu got incarnated as Lord Rama, with a curse of being ignorant. This is very interesting story which will come in due course of time, as we proceed with the translation of Yoga Vashisht.

A line, about Rishi Vashisht. Rishi Vashisht is one of the Sapta Rishis (Seven Sages) Vasishta, Agasthya, Kaushika, Sukara, Narada and others. Rishi Vashisht is son of Brahma, the creator. By virtue of being the son of Brahama, he becomes the teacher of Rama. Also Rishi Vashisht is the Kings Guru, in the court of King Dasrath, father of Lord Rama.

Yoga Vashisht is the ultimate book of philosophy. Now a day the science is talking about “The Unified Theory”. ‘What are we and everything around us made of?’ This is the question of The Unified Theory and this question has troubled our ancestors since ages. Till date, scientists have not managed to get a proper understanding of what actually are the fundamental constituents of matter. In my understanding this Yoga Vashisht is THE UNIFIED THEORY. According to Yoga Vashisht “Nothing is made, therefore nothing can be destroyed”. This sentence is repeated hundreds or may be thousands of times in Yoga Vashisht. There is tremendous amount of repetition in the book. The reason for repetition is to hammer down the real truth in the minds of ignorant. An attempt is made to present a free translation of this great book. Also an attempt is made to avoid the repetition as far as possible. But I do not know how far will it be possible?

One more thing needs to be mentioned. In Hindu literature, it will be seen that every thing is fully argued with pure logic. Just because a master says something, therefore it has to be accepted. This is not correct. The seeker has to apply his mind and accept, what he feels is correct. At several places, in this book also Rishi Vashisht tells Lord Rama to think and act accordingly. In Geeta also Lord Krishna tells Arjuna as follows.
Thus the “Wisdom” which is greater secret than all secrets,
Has been declared to you by Me; having reflected upon it fully,
You now act as you choose. (Geeta XVIII.63)