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 knowledge) are generally recognised. The
emphasis in Yoga Vaishtha is on Jnaana
aided by selfless action without
the sense of doer-ship as a means to purifying the mind, an essential pre-requisite on the
spiritual path. The word ‘Yoga’ in Yoga
Vasishtha is used in the generic sense of spiritual practices. ‘Vaasishtham’ means originating 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
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
Prakaranas. They are :
Prakarana on Sapta Bhoomikas, the seven stages which all spiritual aspirants
on the path of Self-Realisation have to pass through.
knowledge) stages can be practised? What are the characteristics of the Jnaana
Yoga when they reach the different
material enjoyments, Pravrtta; and those who are after the spiritual
goal, Nivrtta. Hear (from me) the characteristics of those two types of aspirants
(those desiring sense-enjoyments and those desiring Moksha).
better for me; a person who acts with this conviction is termed a Pravrtta by the sages.
in a rock in the ocean, a Pravrtta, after several rebirths, develops
the activities of this mundane world, samsara. Enough of this for
me. Of what avail are these routine
actions which occupy one’s time day in and day out?
इति स्मृतः ॥६॥
supreme peace relieved of these multifarious activities?” . When a person comes to this inner conviction,
he is said to be a Nivrtta.
unattached attitude and cross this ocean of Samsara?”
the Nivrtta becomes pure in heart.
more and more Vairagya, dispassion within, towards the Vasanas
(ingrained tendencies). Every day he
starts doing more and more good and noble deeds and derives joy from them.
participate in obscene and sensuous activities. He will not criticize and speak ill of others. He will engage
himself in virtuous and meritorious deeds.
such gentle actions as will not cause mental agitation or physical hurt to others. He will always be
fearful of doing sinful deeds. He will no longer long for sensuous enjoyments.
भवति भूमिकाम् ॥११॥
of love and compassion, will have a soft and healing touch, and will be appropriate
for the time and place in which it is spoken.. Such a person, when he conducts
himself thus, is said to have reached the first stage of the Jnaana path.
and deeds he will have the association of good and noble people. He will also read precious spiritual books,
somehow getting them from somewhere.
इति स्मृतः ॥१३॥
to the path of vichara (reflection and contemplation), for crossing the
ocean of Samsara, is called a Bhoomikaavaan, one who has stepped into the first stage
leading to Mukti which is known as subhechcha (शुभेच्छा), which can be roughly translated
as noble thoughts or auspicious aspirations. Thereafter he is called an Aarya.
stage in the path of Jnaana, called Vichara (discrimination), he
will approach self-realised souls who have also mastered the Sastras to get the real and essential interpretation
of the Shruti (Vedas), smruti , sadachara ( right conduct),
dharana (concentration), dhyaana (meditation) etc.
the Real and the Unreal, he will know what actions are to be done and what
not, like the master of a house
acquainting himself perfectly with the knowledge of his domestic affairs.
बहिरप्यर्थितामीषत्त्यजत्यहिरिव त्वचम् ॥१६॥
its worn out skin, he will easily cast away arrogance, vanity, quarrelsome
disposition, religious hypocrisy, sensuality with its different expressions,
and dependence on external things for his happiness.
awakening by service to the spiritual guru and association with saintly souls,
he will acquire a perfect and complete grasp of the true significance of all
third stage called Asamsanga, unattached state, even as a newly wed
husband falls on the soft bridal bed.