SELECTIONS FROM YOGA VASISHTHAM SAPTA BHOOMIKAS – II

                                                  YOGA VAASISHTHAM
YOGA VAASISHTHAM 
is such a great, glorious and extraordinary text that anybody who comes
under its influence will undergo a metamorphosis which will make his life
supremely joyous and blissful.  It deals
essentially with Jnaana, spiritual knowledge.  Three paths to realisation of the Ultimate
Reality,  Karma Yoga ( path of selfless
action),  Bhakti Yoga (path of
devotion)  and  Jnana Yoga (path of knowldege) are generally
recognised.   The emphasis in Yoga
Vaishtha  is  on Jnaana 
aided by  selfless action without
the sense of doership as a means to purifying 
the mind, an essential pre-requisite on the spiritual path.   The word ‘Yoga’ in Yoga VasishYha  is used in the  generic sense of spiritual practices.  ‘Vaasishtham’ means orignating from sage
Vasishtha who imparts this knowledge to youthful Rama  who had developed extreme aversion to all
worldly duties and things after 
pondering over their futility and evanescence.   
The Authorship of this work is ascribed to Maharshi
Valmiki,  the Aadi Kavi (the very first
poet), who wrote Ramayana.  While the
Ramayana  has captured the heart of the
masses not many are familiar with Yoga Vaasishtha  except 
a few who are treading the spiritual path adopting the Path of
Knowledge.
The work consists of six Sections or
Prakaranas.  They are :
Vairagya Prakarna  on indifference to worldly things.
Mumukshu Prakarana on longing after
Realisation
Utpatti Prakarana on Origin
Sthiti Prakarana  on Sustenance
Upasama Prkarana on Quiescence
Nirvana on the ultimate divine merger
The following selection of verses is from
Nirvana Prakarana on   Sapta
Bhoomikas,  the seven stages which all
spiritual aspirants on the path of Self-Realisation have to pass through.  
               YOGA VAASISHTHAM
                   SAPTA BHOOMIKA
               Third STAGE
यथावच्छास्त्रवाक्यार्थे मतिमाधाय निश्चलाम्।
तापसाश्रमविश्रान्तैरध्यात्मकथनक्रमैः॥१९||
संसारनिन्दकैस्तद्वद्वैराग्यकथनक्रमैः।
शिलाशय्यासनासीनो जरयत्यायुराततम्
॥२०॥
The spiritual aspirant will fix his mind on the
ultimate purport of the Sastras and go to Asramas (hermitages) of realised
sages and have discussions with them on Vedanta and the techniques of self-realisation
.
The sages in the Ashram
will help him get rid of the negative aspects of Samsara and develop Vairagya,
dispassion.  Thus he will be just passing
his time without fear, care and concern, irrespective of whether he is on a
rock or in a nice bed. 
वनावनिविहारेण चित्तोपशमशोभिना।
असङ्गसुखसौख्येन कालं नयति
नीतिमान् ॥२१॥
The sadhaka,
aspirant on the spiritual path, with supreme peace and tranquility reigning in
his mind, will be peacefully spending his time with the unique joy of Asamsanga
whether he be in a city or a forest.
अभ्यासात्साधुशास्त्राणां करणात्पुण्यकर्मणाम्।
जन्तोर्यथावदेवेयं वस्तुदृष्टि
प्रसीदति ॥२२॥
By the study of jnaana
sastras
and by doing good deeds, this ‘animal’ called man, will have a
wonderful vision of the Reality, Atman, 
in an easy and natural way.
तृतीयां भूमिकां प्राप्य बुद्धोऽनुभवति
स्वयम्
द्विप्रकारमसंसङ्गं तस्य भेदमिमं
शृणु ॥२३॥
1.   
Having stepped into the
third bhumika, the aspirant becomes awakened and experiences flashes of
the Self.  Asamsanga is of two
types.  Hear from me the difference
between the two types of Asamsanga.
द्विविधोऽयमसंसङ्गः सामान्यः
श्रेष्ठ एव च।
नाहं भोक्ता न कर्ता च न बाध्यो
न च बाधकः ॥२४॥
प्राक्कर्मनिर्मितं सर्वमीश्वराधीनमेव
वा।
सुखं वा यदि दुःखं कैवात्र
मम कर्तृता ॥२५॥
भोगाभोगा महारोगाः संपदः परमापदः।
वियोगायैव संयोगा आधयो व्याधयो धियः ॥२६॥
कालः कवलनोद्युक्तः सर्वभावान्विनाशयन्।
तिष्ठतीति विचारो यः सामान्योऽसावसङ्गमः
॥२७॥
Asamsanga (detachment) is of two types.  One is ordinary and the other extra-ordinary,
far superior.  The ordinary type of
detachment consists in the cultivation of ideas such as ‘I am not the enjoyer,
I am not the doer; I am not conditioned, nor do I condition others’.
My joys and sufferings are because of my past Karma.  Everything is done by
Sarveshwara. 
Whether I am having sukha (joy, happiness) or dukkha
(sorrow, misery), how can their agency be attributed to me?
All excessive enjoyments
are but fatal diseases.  In reality they
are not enjoyments,  All wealth is but a
source of infinite danger.  All unions
are for separations.  Everything
ultimately brings about mental agony, physical pain and anxieties. 
Kaala, the factor called
“time” is projecting things like a magician. 
Whatever is there in the world as an entity will be destroyed by it,
absorbed back by it.  Those who thus
reflect and develop detachment towards samsara are of the ordinary  type.
अनेन क्रमयोगेन संयोगेन महात्मनाम्।
वियोगेनासतामन्तः प्रयोगेनात्मसंविदाम्
॥२८॥
पौरुषेण प्रयत्नेन संतताभ्यासयोगतः।
करामलकवद्वस्तुन्यागते स्फुटतां
दृढम् ॥२९॥
नाहं कर्तेश्वरः कर्ता कर्म
वा प्राक्तनं मम।
कृत्वा दूरतरे नूनमिति शब्दार्थभावनाम्
॥३०॥
संसाराम्बुनिधेः पारे सारे
परमकारणे।
यन्मौनमासनं शान्तं तच्छ्रेष्ठासङ्ग
उच्यते ॥३१॥
By gradual and systematic
practice of this asamsanga and by association with Mahaatmaas  (great and noble souls), all the bad traits
within the mind will vanish    
And, by practising the saadhana
 of the Mahaatmaas one gets
into the closing part of the third bhoomika.
By constant practice of Asamsanga,
using one’s own will power and effort, the
Realisation of Self will
be had as clearly and vividly as an aamalaka(gooseberry), kept in the
palm.
“I am not the doer, God
is doing everything.  All happens because
of my past Karma.” Thoughts about the meaning of these phrases will then
definitely be thrown away.
This is then called the
supreme Asamsanga  when one gets
established,  with utter quiet and
peace, in the ultimate cause of the universe which is beyond the ocean of samsaara.
यन्नान्तर्न बहिर्नाधो नोर्ध्वं
नाशासु नाम्बरे।
न पदार्थे नापदार्थे न जडे
न च चेतने ॥३२॥
It is neither within nor
without, neither below nor above, neither in the eight directions nor in the
sky; it is neither in the material objects nor again in Soonya
(emptiness), neither is it in the inert things nor in the conscious mind.
आश्रितं भासनं शान्तमभासनमभावनम्।
अनाद्यन्तमजं कान्तं तच्छ्रेष्ठासङ्ग
उच्यते॥३३॥
That splendorous state is
called the supreme unattached state, which is the ultimate refuge of all
things, by whose power all things are revealed, but which itself cannot be
revealed by anything, which cannot be thought of, which has neither an origin
nor an end and which is supremely peaceful.
संतोषामोदमधुरः सत्कार्यामलपल्लवः।
चित्तनालाग्रसंलग्नो विघ्नकण्टकसंकटः॥३४॥
That state is so sweet,
blissful and satisfying, it is the off-shoot of all virtues and good acts.  It is hiding on the top of the flame called
Chitta.  Realising this state will bring
an end to all troubles, tribulations and obstacles to peace and bliss in life.
विवेकपद्मं रूढोन्तर्विचारार्कविकासितः।
फलं फलत्यसंसङ्गां तृतीयां
भूमिकामिमाम्॥३५॥
The third Bhoomika
or state wil bear the fruit of supreme unattachment when the lotus bud of
Viveka, discrimination, blossoms forth with the sunrise of Vichara, reflection
on life.
समवायाद्विशुद्धानां संचयात्पुण्यकर्मणाम्।
काकतालीययोगेन प्रथमोदेति भूमिका
॥३६॥
The first  Bhoomika dawns in the heart through the
conact of pure souls, combined with the accumulated effect of noble deeds , as
happens in the case of a ripe palm fruit which falls down when a crow casually
rests on it. 
भूमिः प्रोदितमात्रान्तरमृताङ्कुरिकेव
सा।
विवेकेनाम्बुसेकेन रक्ष्या
पाल्या प्रयत्नतः ॥३७॥
The small offshoot
bearing traces of pure bliss, shooting up by coming in contact with souls, has
to be protected, nourished with effort, using the water of Viveka,
discrimination.
येनांशेनोल्लसत्येषा विचारेणोदयं
नयेत्।
तमेवानुदितं यत्नात्कृषीवल
इवाङ्कुरम् ॥३८॥
By nurturing, with
systematic Vichara, this joy, 
which is an infinitesimal fraction of the bliss of the Self, has to be
developed, just like the farmer taking care of the young offshoots every day.
एषा हि परिमृषृन्तरन्यासां
प्रसवैकभूः।
द्वितीयां भूमिकां यत्नात्तृतीयां
प्राप्नुयात्ततः ॥३९॥
If given a healthy
growth, it (subhechchaa) proves to be the source for the birth of the
other Bhoomikas.  By effort, then,
Sadhaka will reach the second and the third Bhoomikas.   
 
श्रेष्ठासंसङ्गता ह्येषातृतीया
भूमिकात्र हि।
भवति प्रोज्झिताशेषसंकल्पकलनः
पुमान् ॥४०॥
The third Bhoomikaa will
bring forth the supreme Asamsanga, wherein the sadhaka relinquishes
the mind itself absolutely, so full of thoughts, feelings and imaginations.  
  
मूढस्यासत्कुलोत्थस्य प्रवृत्तस्याधमस्य
च।
अप्राप्तयोगसङ्गस्य कथमुत्तरणं
भवेत् ॥४१॥
एकामथ द्वितीयां वा तृतीयां
वैतरां च वा।
आरुढस्य मृतस्याथ कीदृशी भगवन्
गतिः ॥४२॥
At this point Rama raises
some doubts for clarification by Vasishtha:
How can Mukti be attained
by those who are unintelligent in nature, born in bad families, who do binding
worldly Karma,  who are of low
character and who have never come across saints and yogis? Moreover, O
Bhavavan!, if a person dies having reached the first, second or third Bhoomikas,
what will be his future fate?
Vasishtha replies:
 
मूढस्यारूढदोषस्य तावत्संसृतिरातता।
यावज्जन्मान्तरशतैर्नोदिता
प्रथमात्र भूः ॥४३॥
The ignorant person, who
has all the evils in him, will have to struggle through hundreds of births
until the time as he does not reach the first jnaana state (bhoomika) 
अथ वा साधुसंगत्या काकतालीय
योगतः।
संसारस्य परामर्शाद्वैराग्यं
समुदेति हि ॥४५॥
By contact with the wise
and saintly persons, a critical study of life in the world will start in him
and as a result, Vairaagya will develop in him.  This will occur as easily and naturally as
the palm fruit falling down due to the crow’s perching on it.
वैराग्येऽभ्युदिते जन्तोरवश्यं
भूमिकोदयः।
ततो नश्यति संसारः इति शास्त्रार्थसंग्रहः
॥४६॥
When this animal called
man starts having Vairaagya, then definitely he has come to the first
Bhoomika. Then alone samsara, worldly life, perishes for him.  This is the quintessence of the purport of
all the sastras.
योगभूमिकयात्क्रान्तजीवितस्य
शरीरिणः।
भूमिकांशानुसारेण क्षीयते पूर्वदुष्कृतम्
॥४७॥
A person who dies when he
is established in the first, second or third bhoomika,  will get the effect of his evil deeds
exhausted in proportion to the stage he is in.
ततः सुरविमानेषु लोकपालपुरेषु
च।
मेरुपर्वतकुञ्जेषु रमते रमणीसखः
॥४८॥
Then he will get into the
celestial aeroplane and go on to the cities of Devendra, the king of Devas and
also to the caves of the divine mountain Meru. 
He will have a happy life there with his consort.
ततः सुकृतसंभारे दुष्कृते च
पुरा कृते।
भोगक्षयात्परिक्षीणे जायन्ते
योगिनो भुवि ॥४९॥
With the expiry of their
enjoyment (when the sankalpa life gets exhausted) they will again be
born in the Earth in much better circumstances and become yogis with
most of their sins and merits exhausted through their experiences.
शुचीनां श्रीमतां गेहे गुप्ते
गुणवतां सताम्।
जनित्वा योगमेवैते सेवन्ते
योगभाविताः ॥५०॥
They will be reborn in
the families of persons who are wise, wealthy, good and pure and who will
cherish virtues as precious possession. 
They will then continue the pursuit of the path of jnaana, since
they had already been following this path (in their previous life)
तत्र प्राग्भावनाभ्यस्तं योगभूमिक्रमं
बुधाः।
दृष्ट्वोपरि पतन्त्युच्चैरुत्तरं
भूमिकाक्रमम् ॥५१॥
Then, visualizing the Bhoomika
he left off at the time of death, he will continue his Jnaana nishtha
again, rising to the subsequent higher stages.
भूमिकात्रितयं त्वेतद्राम जाग्रदिति
स्मृतम्।
जाग्रतीवात्र विस्पष्टं भेदबुध्यनुवर्तनात्
॥५२॥
Rishis say that the first
three bhoomikas belong to the jagrat or wakeful state, as the
sense of difference between oneself and the things of the world prevails in
them then.
उदेति योगयुक्तानामत्र केवलमार्यता।
यां दृष्ट्वा मूढबुद्धीनामप्युदेति
मुमुक्षुता ॥५३॥
For those practising Jnaana
nishtha
, the maximum attainment in the first three stages will be Aaryataa.
  Aaryataa  is so great, sublime and noble a state that
even idiots, seeing an Arya, would aspire to attain Mukti through his
inspiration.  They would be greatly
inspired by his personality.
कर्तव्यमाचरन्काममकर्तव्यमनाचरन्।
तिष्ठति प्रकृताचारो यः स आर्य
इति स्मृतः ॥५४॥
They will do only things
fit to be done and would leave things that ought not to be done.  They will be established always in a natural
and normal state.  Such men alone are
called Aryas.
यथाचारं यथाचित्तं यथाशास्त्रं
यथास्थितम्।
व्यवहारमुपादत्ते यः स आर्य
इति स्मृतः ॥५५॥
The vyavahaara (worldly duties and actions ) of an Arya
will be according to Aacharas
(codes of
conduct), according to the sastras, according to the changing circumstances and
also as inspired from within.
प्रथमायामङ्कुरितं भूमौ विकसितं ततः।
द्वितीयायां तृतीयायां फलत्यार्यत्वमुत्तमम् ॥५६॥
Aryatwa
manifests in the first bhoomika, (
शुभेच्छा), it
grows and blossoms in the second bhoomika Vichaarana (
विचारणा)  and takes the sadhaka to the level of
self-realisation in Asamsanga (
असंसङ्ग)  in the third stage.
आर्यतायां मृतो योगी शुद्धसंकल्पसंभृतान्।
भोगान्भुक्त्वा चिरं कालं योगवाञ्जायते पुनः ॥६७॥
If a jnaana yogi  dies when he is an Arya in the first,
second or third bhoomika, he will be going to and enjoying long, in the realms
which are generally attained by people who practise intently different systems
of religious disciplines and will reincarnate on earth again as a jnaana yogi.     
  

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