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...
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.
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.