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Yoga Vasistha Maharamayana

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Shivabalayogi & Yoga Vasistha

English Translations

The Underlying Story

Timeless & Historical

The Organization of the Book

Similes & Metaphors

The Essence

Stories in Yoga Vasistha

Nirvana & Living Liberated

Personal Effort

Surplus Sections

Humor in Yoga Vasistha

Narrow Attitudes Fellow Feelings

Words & Terminology

Endless Possibilities

Yoga Vasistha Stories

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Nirvana & the Living Liberated

Mitra’s translation frequently refers to nirvana, extinction and liberation.  Today, the terms enlightenment or God realization are more commonly used, but perhaps the best term in today’s spiritual vocabulary is Self realization because, ultimately, God is Self.

Repeatedly Sage Vasistha insists that such words are interchangeable.  They only get in the way.  “Mind, understanding, egoism, intellect, consciousness, action and imagination, together with memory, desire, ignorance, and effort are all synonyms of the mind.  Sensation, nature, delusion and actions are also words applied to the mind to bewilder one’s understanding.  The simultaneous collision of many sensations diverts the mind from its clear sight of the object of its thought, and causes it to turn about in many ways.” (III.96.13-15)

Reality is constantly described as a void.  God is an emptiness.  Reincarnation is described as something terrible, as is the ignorance of believing in the material world.  The highest good is to extinguish one’s own mind, to be utterly indifferent to everything.  This is nirvana and the reader necessarily wonders, “What’s the point of nothing?”

It takes considerable effort to assimilate what Vasistha is trying to explain in words because nirvana is inexplicable.  It’s not being catatonic.  “I think no liberation is obtainable from stone-like, apathetic trance any more than one gains liberation from deep sleep. Only through consummate knowledge can reasoning men dispel their ignorance. . . .  [Liberation] is not the stone-like inertness of some philosophers or the trance or sound sleep of others. . . .  It is the knowledge of Brahman [God] as the prime source of all and the nothingness of visible creation. It is knowing God as all and yet nothing that exists.”  (VIB.174.12-13,17-18)

What motivates any person to seek this knowledge is the same thing that motivated Rama, a deep apathy towards everything the world has to offer.  Upon attaining the state of enlightenment, the living liberated abide in bliss and see all as Divine Consciousness.  “All intellectual conceptions cease upon the spiritual perception of God.  There ensues an utter and dumb silence.”  (III.84.25)  “Know that this state of transcendent bliss can only be attained through intense meditation.” (VIB.163.46)

Such a person does not identify with his or her body and has no sense of personal identity.  They engage in ordinary activities, as is the custom for the society in which they live, but they have an utter disregard for any personal benefit.  Such people are unrecognizable by the ignorant, yet they command the respect and affection of all.  The Self realized have a feeling of fellow-love towards all creation.  “Regard everything in the same light as yourself and observe a universal benevolence towards all beings. . . . Let your continued observance of toleration preserve you from acts of intolerance, which tend at best to oppress others.” (VIB.198.7, 35)

They see all things in a different light.  “In this state of emancipation we see past and present, and all our sights and doings in them, as present before us.”  (VIB.194.37)  “When this material world is viewed in its ethereal and intellectual light, the distresses of this delusive world take to flight and its miseries disappear.  As long as this intellectual view of the world does not reveal itself to the sight of a man, the miseries of the world trouble him stronger and closer on every side.”  (VIB.178.59-60)

Rama asks how to tell the genuinely Self realized from the pretended or hypocrites.  (VIB.102.20-21)  Vasistha answers that if they act as if perfect, that also is good.  “Only those who know the knowable and are equally pure in their minds can distinguish hypocrites from other people.”  (VIB.102.26)  He goes on to explain that the realized stay out of the public eye.  “They are the best of men who hide their good qualities from others.  For what man is there who will expose his most precious treasure in the market with the raw produce of his land?  The reason to conceal rare virtues is to keep them unnoticed by the public.  The wise who lack desire for reward or reputation have nothing to reap or expect from the public.”  (VIB.102.27-28)

 

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