An Introduction to the Yoga Vasistha
Yoga Vasishtha, an ancient and beloved scripture, details a lesser known period of Sri Ram's youth not discussed in the traditional Ramayana. We meet a young Ramachandra struggling to awaken from the veil of maya, to pierce through the shrouded domain of intellectual knowledge. He has seen the nature of Reality; he recognizes the false perceptions and paltry attractions of conventional life, yet is unable to abide in peace and freedom. Sobered and stultified, Ramachandra turns to the great sage, Vasishtha, preceptor of his royal father's court, who then plunges him and all present into a spell-binding transmission of stories that continues for days, intent on exorcising the subtle layers of illusion and confusion that inhabit the mind. In A Quintessential Yoga Vasishtha, Babaji Bob Kindler offers a concentrated and representative selection of these astonishing and esoteric stories, retold in a rich, contemporary style. The abstruse nature of Vasishtha's teachings are clarified and explored, not only via expanded dialog, but also through detailed charts, or storyboards. Brace yourself. Amidst these lucid tales, your consciousness is receiving repeatedly the acidic injections of nondual Truth. The result, if one be seeking such, is a revolution of core perceptions: no longer will the unreal appear as real. Please visit the bookstore at www.srv.org to obtain a copy of this remarkable book.--
An Introduction to the Concepts of the Yoga Vasistha
There is nothing except Brahman and its energy --
The Yoga Vasistha uses many names for Brahman -- Infinite Consciousness, the Self, the inner reality, witness consciousness, the homogeneity, the absolute, the eternal, the indivisible, CID (Sanskrit).
Brahman's energy (CIT in Sanskrit) has infinite manifestations including these three:
1) The movement which is the initial vibration of the 'creations' (the Big Bang and/or collision of branes)
2) Movement which is the atomic structure of the natural world (the string theory)
3) Movement in consciousness which is in a limited format (the Mind)
Movement (vibration) and limited consciousness (thought) are the same thing and are used interchangeably.
The Mind, in its creative aspect, is called Brahma. It is also the Ego. The Mind serves as a veil which prevents us from recognizing ourselves as Brahman, prevents us from recognizing everyone else as Brahman, and prevents us from recognizing Brahman as the underlying reality of every thing we see, hear, sense, etc. This veiling by the Mind is the root cause of sorrow.
The Mind seeks the Self (Brahman consciousness) only in order to dissolve itself in the Self. . .this is the supreme goal. p. 124 Yoga Vasistha
The following may help your initial reading of the book --
1) Distinguish Brahman (the infinite) from Brahma (the creator/mind)
2) Recognize that the development of dispassion is to take relationships, events, etc. beyond the limitations of the Mind/Senses to the unlimited Witness Consciousness.
You (Self) dwell in 'me' in a state of equilibrium, as pure witness consciousness, without form and without the divisions of space and time. p. 248 Yoga Vasistha
3) Recognize that happiness/unhappiness are trivial compared to the bliss of the Self.
4) Understand that the word 'exist' is used in its classic sense -- which is to have separate reality -- hence, the Yoga Vasistha states: "The world does not exist".
5) Realize that the word 'awareness' refers to that state of mind wherein the Mind identifies some aspect of Brahman as being apart (that is, individual) and thereby creates a subject/object split.
6) About Stories. From the scripture --
. . . when a truth that has not been personally experienced is expounded, one does not grasp it except with the help of an illustration. Such illustrations have been used in this scripture with a definite purpose and a limited intention. They are not to be taken literally, nor is their significance to be stretched beyond the intention. When the scripture is thus studied, the world appears to be a dream-vision. These indeed are the purpose and the purport of the illustrations.
7) A personal observation:
As a way to integrate the Yoga Vasistha into one's daily life, it may be beneficial to distinguish between "Witness Consciousness" and the "Knower of the Field". While the scripture at page 181 of Vasistha's Yoga would appear to equate these two terms, many other passages clearly attribute only "witnessing" to the absolute, indwelling self.
The recognition of the absolute "Witness Consciousness" by reference to this scripture --
"You (Self) dwell in me in a state of equilibrium as pure witness consciousness, without form and without the divisions of time and space."
gives one a touchstone for experiencing the Absolute. The recognition of the manifesting, self-experiencing, relativity-based "Knower of the Field" as
". . .the knower of the knowable and the doer of all actions, the experiencer of all experiences, the thinker of all thoughts. . ."
gives a reminder that one's ignorant identification with "individuality" is the basis of sorrow, so. . .
". . .live as the sages of self-knowledge live. They know infinite consciousness and the world-appearance: hence they do not relish nor renounce activity in this world."
Also of interest are the. . .
Play of Infinite Consciousness, An Index,
and thoughts on Seekers.