Essence of Yoga Vasishtha


Sri Swami Sivananda

This article is a chapter from the book Stories From Yoga Vasishtha.

If the four sentinels that wait at the gates of Moksha–Shanti (peace), Vichara (Atmic enquiry), Santosh (contentment) and Satsanga (association with the wise)–be befriended, then there will be no obstacle to the attainment of the final emancipation. Even if one of them be befriended, he will introduce you to the rest of his companions.

If you attain knowledge of the Self or Brahma Jnana, you will be freed from the trammels of births and deaths. All your doubts will vanish and all Karmas will perish. It is through one’s own efforts alone that the immortal, all-blissful Brahmic seat can be obtained.

The slayer of the Atman is only the mind. The form of the mind is only Sankalpas. The true nature of the mind consists in the Vasanas. The actions of the mind alone are truly termed actions (Karmas). The universe is nothing but the mind manifesting as such through the power of Brahman. The mind contemplating on the body becomes the body itself and then, enmeshed in it, is afflicted by it.

The mind manifests itself as the external world in the shape of pains or pleasures. The mind subjectively is consciousness. Objectively, it is this universe. By its enemy, discrimination, the mind is rendered to the quiescent state of Para Brahman. The real bliss is that which arises when the mind, divested of all desires through the eternal Jnana, destroys its subtle form. The Sankalpas and Vasanas which you generate, enmesh you as in a net. The self-light of Para Brahman alone is appearing as the mind or this universe.

The persons without Atmic enquiry will see as real this world, which is nothing but of the nature of Sankalpas. The expansion of this mind alone is Sankalpa. Sankalpa, through its power of differentiation, generates this universe. Extinction of Sankalpas alone is Moksha.

The enemy of the Atman is this impure mind only which is filled with excessive delusion and hosts of worldly thoughts. There is no vessel on this earth to wade through the ocean of rebirths other than mastery of the antagonistic mind.

The original sprout of the painful Ahamkara, with its tender stem of rebirths, at length ramifies itself everywhere with its long branches of “mine” and “thine” and yields its unripe fruits of death, disease, old age and sorrows. This tree can be destroyed to its root only by the fire of Jnana.

All the heterogeneous visibles, perceived through the organs of sense, are only unreal; that which is real is Para Brahman or the Supreme Soul.

If all objects which have an enchanting appearance become eyesores and present the very reverse of their former feelings, then the mind is destroyed. All your properties are useless. All wealth lands you in dangers. Freedom from desires will take you to the eternal, blissful abode.

Destroy Vasanas and Sankalpas. Kill egoism. Annihilate this mind. Equip yourself with the “Four Means”. Meditate on the pure, immortal, all-pervading Self or Atman. Get knowledge of the Self and attain immortality, everlasting peace, eternal bliss, freedom and perfection.

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