Yoga Vasistha [English], Volume 1-4

by Vihari-Lala Mitra | 1891 | 1,121,132 words | ISBN-10: 8171101519

The English translation of the Yoga-vasistha: a Hindu philosophical and spiritual text written by sage Valmiki from an Advaita-vedanta perspective. The book contains epic narratives similar to puranas and chronologically precedes the Ramayana. The Yoga-vasistha is believed by some Hindus to answer all the questions that arise in the human mind, an...

Chapter I - Introduction

The Yoga or contemplative philosophy of the Hindus, is rich, exuberant, grand and sublime, in as much as it comprehends within its ample sphere and deep recesses of meditation, all that is of the greatest value, best interest and highest importance to mankind, as physical, moral, intellectual and spiritual beings—a knowledge of the cosmos—of the physical and intellectual worlds.

It is rich in the almost exhaustless treasure of works existing on the subject in the sacred and vernacular languages of the country both of ancient and modern times. It is exuberant in the profusion of erudition and prolixity of ingenuity displayed in the Yoga philosophy of Patanjali, commensurate with the extraordinary calibre of the author in his commentary of the Mahabhashya on Panini (Müller's A. S. Lit. p. 235). Its grandeur is exhibited in the abstract and abstruse reflections and investigations of philosophers in the intellectual and spiritual worlds as far as human penetration has been able to reach. And its sublimity is manifested in its aspiring disquisition into the nature of the human and divine souls, which it aims to unite with the one self-same and all pervading spirit.

It has employed the minds of gods, sages, and saints, and even those of heroes and monarchs, to the exaltation of their natures above the rest of mankind, and elevation of their dignities to the rank of gods, as nothing less than a godly nature can approach and approximate that of the All-perfect Divinity. So says Plato in his Phaedras: "To contemplate these things is the privilege of the gods, and to do so is also the aspiration of the immortal soul of man generally; though only in a few cases is such aspiration realized."

The principal gods Brahma and Siva are represented as Yogis, the chief sages Vyasa, Valmiki, Vasishtha and Yajnavalkya were propounders of Yoga systems; the saints one and all were adepts in Yoga; the heroes Rama and Krishna were initiated in it, and the kings Dasaratha and Janaka and their fellow prince Buddha were both practitioners and preceptors of Yoga. Mohammed held his nightly communions with God and his angels, and Jesus often went over the hills—there to pray and contemplate. Socrates had his demon to communicate with, and in fact every man has his genius with whom he communes on all matters. All this is Yoga, and so is all knowledge derived by intuition, inspiration and revelation, said to be the result of Yoga.