Yoga Vasishtha - A Treasure House of Philosophy

Seven Stages on the path of Self Realization
Acquiring spiritual knowledge by an individual for his Self Realization is a gradual process extending even any number of births. Several stages can be observed on this progressive path of spiritual evolution of the individual consciousness into the Absolute. Sage Vasishtha categorizes them into seven phases. These are:
1. Subhechcha - When the individual having come to the consciousness of the evils of the earthly living aspires to transcend it.
2. Vicharana - When he thinks over and investigates into the nature of the Self and the world.
3. Tanumanasa - When on account of the knowledge of its ultimate unreality revealed by philosophical thinking and analysis the individuality mind becomes less and less assertive.
4. Sattvapatti - When the aspirant begins to feel the being of the Real Self within him.
5. Asamsakti - When clinging to the objects of the world is finally overcome through one’s rising above all desires.
6. Padartha abhavana - When all things are realized to be unreal to the Absolute or in other words when the individual imagines himself to be the ultimate Reality and
7. Turiya - When the mystic experience of being one with the Reality is realized in Consciousness. This stage leads one to Nirvana. Those who live on this stage are called Jivan Mukta - liberated while living.

Having heard this highest knowledge expounded by Vasishtha Rama was enlightened and became, as it were, an ocean of bliss-consciousness. A question arises here how Rama was brought back to perform his worldly duties for which he took that Avatar.

Vasishtha told Rama “You are Pure Consciousness! This is not the time for repose. Be one who delights the world. As long as one has not fulfilled one’s obligations to this world, so long the stainless state of deep Samadhi is not possible for the Yogi. Therefore, perform the duties of the kingdom and the like in due order. So also, having accomplished the work of God, renounce the kingdom etc. and be happy.”

Rama awoke from his Samadhi and placed the feet of his noble Guru, Vasishtha, on his head and spoke to the assembled gathering “Please hear all of you assembled here the auspicious conclusion arrived at by investigation. There is nothing superior to the knowledge of the Self and to the spiritual teacher who knows that Self.”

The gathering was already blessed by the Self-Knowledge who expressed their appreciation of Rama’s conclusion. The Devatas honored Rama with a floral shower. Thereafter Rama accompanied Visvamitra to the forest, killed the Rakshasas, enabled the sage to complete the Yajnas and the rest of the Great Epic Ramayana followed.

Sage Valmiki concluded these monumental teachings of the Yoga Vasishtha in the following words.
            “avidya jagaj jatam nasti satyam ihanvapi |
            nasti bhinnam citah kinchit svapna vrttam idam jagat ||”

The world has risen from ignorance. There is not even an iota of truth in it. There exists nothing different from consciousness. This world is like a dream.
            “akhinnam ksanam asinah pasya samsara natakam |
            chidananda ghanam svacham atmanam cha  vibhavaya |
            evam sthasyasi nityam chet tirnosi bhavasagarat ||”

Seated for a moment undejected, observe this drama of Samsara and contemplate on the pure Self, the mass of consciousness and bliss. If you always remain thus, you have crossed the ocean of Samsara..

Addressing the gathering, Valmiki wound up the narration by saying “Listening to the holy means of liberation leading to the direct experience of Truth, even a child can become a knower of that Self. What to say of a person like you?”

1. The Supreme Yoga - A New Translation Of The Yoga Vasishtha in two volumes by Swami Venkatesananda
2. Yoga Vasishtha Sara Sangarha - The Essence Of Yoga Vasishtha by Swami Tejomayananda
3. Yoga Vasishtha and its Philosophy - Lectures delivered by B.L.Atreya, Professor of Philosophy, Banaras Hindu University, first published in 1932
4. Yoga Vasishtha Sara -The Essence Of Yoga Vasishtha - An English Translation published by Sri Ramanasramam. Stories From Yoga Vasishtha By Swami Sivananda

Receive Site Updates