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 VI - The different stages of yoga

The constituent parts and progressive steps of Yoga, are composed of a series of bodily, mental and spiritual practices, the proper exercise of which conduces to the making of a perfect man, as a moral, intellectual and spiritual being, to be united to his Maker in the present and future worlds. These are called the eight stages of Yoga ( ~~), of which some are external ( ~~) and others internal ( ~~). The external ones are:

1st. Yama ( ~~); Forbearance or restraint of passions, feelings &c., including the best moral rules in all religions.

2nd. Niyama ( ~~); Particular rules and vows for the observance of the Yogi.

3rd. Asana ( ~~); sedate position of the body to help deep meditation.

4th. Pranayama ( ~~); Suppression and suspension of breath.

5th. Pratyahara ( ~~), Restraint or control of senses and organs.

Among the internal practices are reckoned the following; viz.;

6th. Dhyana ( ~~); Inward contemplation and meditation.

7th. Dharana ( ~~); Steadiness of the mind in study.

8th. Samadhi ( ~~), Trance, the last stage of Yoga.

These again comprise some other acts under each of them, such as:

I. Yama ( ~~) Restraint includes five acts under it;

1st. Ahimsa ( ~~); Universal innocence or hurting no animal creature.

2nd. Asteyam ( ~~); Avoidance of theft or stealth.

3rd. Satyam ( ~~); Observance of truth.

4th. Brahmacharyam ( ~~); consisting in purity and chastity.

5th. Aparigraha ( ~~); Disinterestedness.

II. Niyama ( ~~); Moral rules consisting of five-fold acts. Viz.:

1st. Saucham ( ~~); Personal cleanliness.

2nd. Santosha ( ~~); contentment.

3rd. Tapas ( ~~); Devotion including self denial and self mortification.

4th. Sadhyaya ( ~~); knowledge of all nature.

5th. Pranidhana ( ~~); Adoration of God.

III.  Asana ( ~~); Different modes of postures, tranquil posture ( ~~) &c.

IV. Pranayama ( ~~); Rules of Respiration, three sorts, viz.:

1st. Rechaka ( ~~); Expiration or Exhalation.

2nd. Puraka ( ~~); Inspiration or Inhalation.

3rd. Kumbhaka ( ~~); Suppression of breathing, eight ways.

V. Pratyahara ( ~~) Restraining the senses from their gratifications in many ways.

VI. Dhyana ( ~~); Abstract contemplation, apart from the testimonies of:—

1.  Pratyaxa ( ~~); Perceptions.

2.  Pramana ( ~~); Apprehensions.

3.  Anumana ( ~~); Inference.

4.  Sabda ( ~~); Verbal testimony.

VII. Dharana ( ~~); Retentiveness.

VIII.  Samadhi ( ~~); Absorption in meditation, in two ways;

1.  Savikalpa ( ~~); With retention of self volition.

2.  Nirvikalpa ( ~~); With loss of volition.

The Upayas ( ~~); Or the means spoken of before are:

1.  Uposhana ( ~~); Abstinence.

2.  Mitasana ( ~~); Temperance.

3.  Asrama ( ~~); Sheltered abodes.

4.  Visrama ( ~~) Rest and repose from labor.

5.  Avarodha ( ~~); Self confinement in closets.

6.  Asanam ( ~~); Subsistence on light food.

Beside these there are many vices called Apayas or dóshas ( ~~) which are obstacles to meditation, and which we omit on account of their prolixity.

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