Quotes from the Yoga Vasistha

Introduction

Below you will find a few quotes from the Yoga Vasistha,1 a Hindu scripture with the philosophical view that all is one, as well as notes written during its reading. This text presents a dialogue between the sage Vasistha and the prince Rama. Vasistha discourses on the nature of reality, consciousness, and enlightenment. For Vasistha, reality is the supreme consciousness. One is enlightened once one realizes such and lives accordingly.

Think of an individual with body, consciousness, and inner life. Expand this thinking to a universe that encompasses all that exists, without beginning and end. Think of space, as being the body of this universe, and all that exists as its inner life, the product of its supreme consciousness. Such is what is called Brahman, God, the Self, Creation, Universe, etc. These teachings are similar to the ones expounded by Advaita Vedanta,2 a nondualism school of thought originally based on the end, or final philosophical instructions, called the Upanishads, of each Veda.

Vasistha's Yoga presents the above concepts in a variety of ways, and "the text abounds in repetitions." [136]3 Swami Venkatesananda reminds us in his introduction to the book that, if one does not like (or need) repetition, to read just this one verse: "This world-appearance is a confusion, even as the blueness of the sky is an optical illusion. I think it is better not to let the mind dwell on it, but to ignore it." [214] He also points out that the expression of "a crow landing on a palm tree" recurs in the book. It alludes to an Indian fable where a crow lands on a palm tree at the same moment that coincidentally a palm fruit falls. The human mind tends to create a causal relationship where there is none.

The following selected quotes are an attempt to bring some of the many other instances of wisdom found in the text with minimal repetition.

Instruction

"Words are used in order to facilitate the imparting of instruction. All discussion and argumentation take place because of ignorance; when there is knowledge there is no duality. When the truth is known, all descriptions cease, and silence alone remains." [2377]

"It is only for the sake of scriptural instruction that one speaks of the self, Brahman, etc., but in truth one alone is." [3139]

"Illustrations have been used in this scripture with a definite purpose and limited intention. They are not to be taken literally, nor is their significance to be stretched beyond the intention." [839]

"A remark is to be accepted only if it is in accordance with reason. [121] If, however, one thinks it is not authoritative because it is of human origin, one can resort to the study of any other scripture dealing with self-knowledge and final liberation. But one should not waste one's lifetime." [14696]


1The work being cited is the Amazon Kindle Edition Ebook, published on March 17, 2010, and sourced from: Venkatesananda, Swami, translator. Vasistha's Yoga. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993. ISBN-10: 0-7914-1363-2.
2From Sanskrit, Advaita: a, 'not' + dvaita, 'dual' from dve, 'two' and Vedanta: Veda '(sacred) knowledge' + anta 'end'
3As reference to direct quotations, Kindle location numbers are annotated inline, inside brackets.


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