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The ancient yoga book Yoga Vasistha of 29,000 slokas, or verses, is formed as a dialogue between Rama and the sage Vasistha.

Illustrations, such as of fables and parables and paintings, often help beginners in field after field. It is wise not to take analogies, similes and metaphors literally; they are more like indications, and "the comparison halts" by necessity. Hence, one does well not to stretch the significance of illustrations beyond the intention, says the Yoga Vasistha. It is the longest text in Sanskrit after the epic poems Mahabharata and Ramayana. It teaches Advaita (Non-dualist) Vedanta.

As for the topic whether the world is real or unreal, Vasistha says: "It is better to think of something else" and direct the attention towards the source, in essence.

Assorted teachings from the ancient yoga classic Yoga Vasistha (Venkatesananda 1984) follow.

Vasistha Points

Vasistha, "You have indeed reached the door to emancipation (for) ordinary life itself is the supreme state – Movement (vibration) and limited consciousness (thought) are one and the same. (etc)."

The Self is realised in the body only with effort.

1. Decent practice runs towards non-efforts

What shall I do in this loka of world-appearances? (132)

To practice [toward eventual or possible non-practice] . . . be earnest, careful and meticulous - have the right view.

What is so extraordinary and wonderful about . . . psychic powers? (359)

2. Enlightened, or better aware

The enlightened one is not characterised by characteristics. (359)

The supreme can be attained without effort. (cf. 255)

The enlightened person could be the back of your mind.

Unbroken awareness in the garb of pure consciousness is the supreme contemplation [i.e. meditation]. (cf. 255)

It may well be that what is well designed to be at the background and fit in at that place, hardly thrives in some foreground or limelight.

The supreme . . . is unmodified consciousness. (255)

3. The unconditioned others deserve non-motivational friends - they could even be the very best of friends to be found

Various fruits of ignorance are in part transcendental, and yet . . . (cf. 234)

"They who know the mind say the mind is the "I". . . . This ego-sense is but a word. Give it up . . . [give up that verbal] conditioning. (355)

Attain to the unconditioned self-knowledge - some call it atma-jnana. (cf. 355) ✪ 

The difference between contemplation and its absence is having no thought in the mind. The unconditioned mind is firm, and that in itself is meditation. One should work to remove all mental conditioning. That is known as contemplation, by which the self rests in itself. (222 abbr.)

To keep some of the good old friends: "The skilled analytical approach helps one in being and remaining authentic, and is especially favourable in the face of the hitherto mystical. A very intellectual procedure is often slow too, yet it can be the first step upwards - at times towards higher attainments." (cf. Chang 1970, 61)

On the voyage toward enlightenment there could be many skerries.

RAMA: Please tell me how Vitahavya revived his body.

VASISTHA: The sage saw in his heart how his own body was lying covered in mud. It had been lying there for some hundred years. Seeing it thus, he reflected, "Surely, with the help of the solar power I shall enter that body. Or, shall I abandon it?"

He entered the body. The body was at once revived, and the sage went to a lake for a bath and cleansing. In the evening he went into a forest to meditate. He sat in the lotus posture and knowledge rose in him. He meditated for six days. After that he lived for a long time. (240-46, abr.)

The actions of one who has attained self-knowledge may be non-volitional . . . not agitated by others; not agitating others. (cf. 359)

Perfection gives world-pleasures too.

This mind is like a cloud of ignorance. It had better abstain from all concepts and precepts to improve. [Advanced TM is for that.] (cf. 183)

Omnipresent guru mind is without beginning and end. That is also known as existence or reality. (cf. 274)

This can be an awful thing to tell your friends: "There are many who pretend to despise that which is beyond their reach. (American proverb)" (Ak 500)

Seek just helpful notions.

4. Various truths are different from the end state 'truth'

They say Truthland is everywhere [or beyond space] and can be referred to in various ways. (cf. 234)


To be lazy might show solid worth and good luck for it too. The very best friends need no motivations to be your best friends. They just are friends to be reckoned with.

The states of sitting in deep meditation may be spoken of in different ways.

Yoga Vasishtha Teachings, Vasistha sayings as Valmiki is accredited with them, Literature  

Mieder, Wolfgang (main editor), Stewart A. Kingsbury, and Kelsie E. Harder. 1996. A Dictionary of American Proverbs. Paperback ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Chang, Garma C. C. 1970. The Practice of Zen. Perennial/Harper. New York.

Valmiki. 2013. Yoga Vasistha by Valmiki.. Tr. Vihari Lala Mitra. Ed. Thomas T. Palotas. Tucson, AZ: Handloom Publishing.

Venkatesananda, Swami. tr. 1984. The Supreme Yoga. Yoga Vasistha. 3rd ed. Freemantle, AU: Chiltern Yoga Trust.

Venkatesananda, Swami, tr. 1990. The Concise Yoga Vasistha. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

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