The Yogavasistha of Valmiki: With the Commentary Vasisthamaharamayanatatparyaprakasa (Volume I & II): Sanskrit Only

Part I: Containing Vairagya, Mumuksu, Utpatti, Sthiti and Upasama Part II: Containing Nirvana – Purvardha and Uttarardha Back of the Book The Yoga-Vasistha is a popular text on AdvaitaVedanta, though it is more like the Puranas in form and style. It is greatly valued for the wisdom it contains and enjoys a popularity rivaled only by the Bhagavadgita and Srimadbhagavatam. The work is in the form of a dialogue between Sri Rama and the sage Vasistha and covers a variety of subjects including the philosophical problems of life, death, human suffering and final release. It is also known as Arsaramayana, Jnana Vasistha, Maharamayana, Vasistha Ramayana or merely Vasistha and is traditionally ascribed to the sage Valmiki. This extensive philosophical poem contains as many as 23, 734 verses characterized by exquisite poetic qualities. This work is divided into Six Prakaranas or Sections, Viz., Vairagya, Mumuksu, Utpatti, Sthiti, Upasama, and Nirvana dealing respectively with topics of philosophical importance like indifference to worldly things, longing for liberation, origin of the universe and jiva, preservative aspect of the mind and the universe, quiescence of the mind after its sport in the universe and the final merger into the Absolute. Introduction

This beautiful epic of Indian Philosophy with ‘almost every verse full of finest imagery expressed in words exceedingly pleasing to the ear” has been hailed as ‘one of the greatest books... ever written under the sun’,2 ‘the crest-jewel of all the works of Vedanta’3 and ‘a work of Siddhavastha4’. It has been widely read or heard either in original Sanskrit or 4in translations and sermons (Pravacanas) by thousands of men and women in different strata of the socially, for mental solace and/or spiritual advancement. We, in Maharashtra, have special regard for the YV, as it has strongly influenced the philosophy of our greatest philosopher saint Jnanadeva (A.D. 1275-1296) and other saints down the centuries.5 The importance of YV (Yoga-Vasistha) and its digest LYV (Laghu Yoga Vasistha by Abhinanda) was recognised by Moghul emperors Akbar, Jehangir & Prince Dara Shikoh. The following selected list of Persian renderings of the YV & LYV and the patrons for whom they were translated will be enough to show its historical importance. Patron Name of the Persian Translation Akbar (1) Basishtha-jug (An abridged translation of YV—A.D. 1597). (2) Jug-bashasht—by Farmali (?) (3) Shariq al-ma ‘rifat—Undated. Based on YV—Vedantic ideas explained with Quar’anic verses. Attributed to Faidi. Jehangir (1) LYV translated by Nizam al-Din Panipati; Mir Findiriskii wrote notes on it and composed its praise in verse. Later compilation on the above work of Panipati: (1) Muntakhab-i-jug. Selections from (1) The above translation compared with Sufi Parallel.

1983) THE TITLE (5) As stated in the colophon of every chapter or canto (sarga). Dara Shikok Jug-bashast at the instance of Dara Shikoh. The term ‘Arsa’ in the first title can be interpreted as ‘composed by a sage (rsi) ‘or ‘ancient’.(2) Tarjuma-i-Jug-basasht is also an abridgement of (1) above in A. YV is ipso facto ‘ancient’. New Delhi. Mujtabai—Hindu Muslim Cultural Relations. 8184. Vasistha told Rama that as seekers after Truth both Rama and Dara were brothers. written by Valmiki. The rote of Vasistha as a family priest of the solar dynasty of Ayodhya and as a spiritual preceptor of Rama in this work is so predominant that the association of Vasistha’s name to this poem is the most appropriate tide whether it is called ‘ Vasistha Ramayana’ as in the colophon or “Yoga Vasistha” as in common parlance. as its authorship is attributed to sage Vasistha or Valmiki. pp. (Abridged from F. A number of Persian and Hindi verses of the Hindu poet Wall Ram (Dara Shikoh’s Secretary) are incorporated in this translation (Edited by Tara Chand). The word ‘Yoga’ however is to be interpreted in the sense of ‘end’ or ‘means’2 as explained in YV iv (Sthiti).D. The semblance of Valmiki’s authorship is maintained throughout the text. in 1656 A. MahaRamayana. Traditionally it is believed that YV was written by Valmiki. . And as both these sages belong to hoary antiquities.1-2. In the introduction we are told that Dara Shikoh decided to get YV translated as Vasistha and Rama came in his vision. Vasistha Ramayana. National Book Bureau. Rama embraced Dara and shared with him some sweets given by Vasistha. 62. 1764.D.1 YV is variously called Arsa (Ramayana).

YV ii. Valmiki narrates this dialogue between Vasistha and Rama.3.60.53.500 ii Mumusku Vyavahara 1.l7.e. vide for example. YV ii . ii. of Verses i Vairagya 1. Instances after Book iii need not be given as the title “Mokopaya” is incorporated in the colophon of every sarga (canto). CONTENTS: AN OUTLINE OF YV Though the colophon claims that the present text consists of 32. The adjective mocha ‘great’ in the title ‘Maha Ramayana’ can be explained as refer ring to the philosophical importance as well as the traditionally regarded larger bulk (32000 verses) of YV as compared with Valmiki Ramayana.’ Though the colophon to the end of canto 107 of Book iii of YV does not mention ‘Moksopaya’ as the title of the text. i.l8. ‘Means (to attain) Moka’. 10.2. It is also Valmiki who seems to conclude YV.4.King Aristanemi enquires of Valmiki about the spiritual knowledge leading to Moksa (Liberation) and to satisfy his query. In ii. 7. 17 gives the names of each book (Prakarana) and the number of verses in each of them as follows: Serial No. it actually contains 23734 verses.000 iii Utpatti 7. there is positive evidence in cantos 1-3 that it was called Mokopaya.000 iv Sthiti 3. The current title ‘Yoga Vasistha’ refers to both the author and its content and has been now accepted by all for its meaningfulness.000 verses1.No. ii. i.6. YV is called “A digest of the text called Mokopaya consisting of thirty two thousand verses”5.000 . of the Prakarana 4: The Title of the Prakarana.

Rama broke out in a long harangue on the defects of the body and its various stages from childhood to old age and the evanescent nature of the world and finally declares: “As I am unrelated to everyone and everything. Book ii. of verses 32.000 vi Nirvana 14.000 The epic starts with an obeisance to the Ultimate Reality as a Mangalacarana. all were wonderstruck to find him so overpowered with a complete sense of despondency and nonattachment. Moka). As in epics. After a great deal of persuasion. so one requires both jnana and karma to attain the highest end2 (i. Agasti assumes the position of a reporter of the dialogue on this point between two interlocutors Karunya and Agnivesya and the chain of interlocutors reaches to Valmiki’ who recounts the background of YV as follows: One day. Mumuksu. The story begins with a question by a Brahmin Sutiksna to sage Agasti as to whether the cause of liberation (from samsarara) is knowledge (Jnana) or work (karma) or both.Vyavahara: Visvamitra surmised that Rama had become eligible to understand spiritual knowledge like Suka and requested Vasistha to guide him spiritually: Vasistha explained the unreality of the phenomenal world and. for Rama who has recently returned from ‘pilgrimage’. the sage Visvamitra approached king Dasaratha and requested him to send his son Rama for the protection of hi proposed sacrifice.e. When asked about the cause of hi strange behaviour. the non-distinction between liberation while alive and ‘liberation after .v Upasama 5. Dasaratha sends. Abandoning everything I shall shuffle off this mortal coil”. Agasti replies that just as a bird necessarily requires two wings for flying up in the sky. I shall get extinguished like a lamp short of oil.500 Total no. When Rama came.

Though philosophic in content. equality of men and women in acquiring supernatural powers. Utpatti. This picture called the phenomenal world is caused by the mind and with the realization of Brahman. To illustrate this ultimate ideality of the universe.death. of 122 cantos repeatedly explains the absolute nonexistence of the phenomenal world which is a creation of Brahma’s mind. He then narrates the episode of demon Sambara to illustrate how failures in life are due to the identification of body with self. The Buddhist influence is felt in the story of Dasura (cantos 48-56) which describes the futility performance of 4/edic sacrifices and penance. the mind gets nullified and the world appears as Brahman. Vasistha narrates another story of demoness Karkati to emphasize that the knower of the Reality shall have no fear of Samsara. At the end of that . it reads like a beautiful classical poem. The book ends with the description of the seven stages of jiva’s spirituality. its various synonyms and the need to concentrate on the supreme soul.) Book iii. knowledge and avidya. the philosophy of death. He further states how fourteen categories of jivas are evolved from Brahman and are hence identical with him. In the course of this discussion. Then follows a discussion on the mind. Book iv. after-death experience and relativity of time and space. he tells a lengthy legend of Lila (cantos 14-60). Vasistha tells the story of Sukra to illustrate the marvellous effects of desires on one’s life and how even a passing wish necessitates a new birth for its fulfilment (cantos 5-16). It is not understood why the table of contents of YV should be inserted at the end of this book (cantos 1720. Sthiti. Vasistha tells the story of a magician to illustrate the ideality and relativity of all things. He strongly refuted fatalism and established the superiority of action (Karma) over Fate. Time and Space. consists of 62 cantos.

each story teaching new truths. Janaka. is so bulky (14500 verses) that it is divided into parts—Purvardha and Uttarardha. The next episode called Sivapuja (cantosio-51) is powerfully influenced by Trika. king of Videha. . Vasistha concluded by stating that a person endowed with spiritual knowledge is unperturbable. He described his visit to Bhusunda. Nirvana. Vasistha blesses Rama to be stable in the seven stages of jivanmuktas (liberated during life time). Gadhi and others. They led to his realization of the self and he ruled wisely even after such realization. The next morning when the meeting was held after the prelimnaries. The influence of Trika Saivism (in addition to that of Buddhism) is predominant here. to illustrate the possibility of an infinitely long life through masterly breath control (cantos 1428). The story of Bali shows how nirvikalpa samadhi is attained by meditating that everything is consciousness. Vasistha advised breath control as the means to wipe out Vasanas. The vi and the last book. Some scholars think it to be a later compilation after the Moksopaya stage). The story of Punya and Pavana shows the absurdity of grief over the death of a relative as we have been having such relatives in every birth. The story of Prahlada emphasizes the need of self-effort instead of grace in realizing self. The story of Suraghu shows how equanimity even amidst the routine of daily duties is possible. Bali. It being evening.session. Book v (of 93 cantos) called Upasama consists of a number of interesting tales like that of Janaka. That the knowledge of the self is the best way of worshipping the self is also Vedantic. The interesting story of Gadhi demonstrates the wonderful power of Maya. the crow. as what he experienced in a dip of a few seconds had actually happened elsewhere in his time. happened to overhear some Gathas sung by Siddhas about the real nature of the self.

consists of 216 cantos. It opens with a description of the life of jivan-muktas? It tells how self-control is essential for the fruits of the study of Sastras (the story of Vidyadhara. the student-member of each of the pair of interlocutors expresses satisfaction. The story of corpse (a Vyadha) illustrates that every individual is a cosmic Deity of his universe. e. cantos 6-16). It is the renunciation of internal desires or cravings rather than the renunciation of externalities that is essential for self-realization. Nirvana. 214. the story winds up smoothly and systematically. It establishes the equality of men and women in spiritual life. At the end of the discussion. We find a repeated glorification of the power of thought or desire in many stories. 73 and confesses that his delusion has vanished and he would abide by Vasistha’s order. After discussing various philosophical problems. But more interesting is the story of a Block of stone (pasana) which illustrates the possibility of a whole universe within a point in space.g. Rama uses the words of Arjuna spoken at the end of BG xviii. Similarly important and interesting is the story of king Vipascit which illustrates the creative power of thought and the effect of desire on our transmigratory process. ii. After vi. The Uttarardha of Book vi. enjoyer and renouncer.Arjunopakhyana (cantos 52-61) is obviously under the influence of the Mbh or rather 8G. the story of an ascetic (Tapasa) illustrating the possibility of multiplication of worlds by thoughtpower. A detailed discussion of the seven stages of Yoga is given in the remaining cantos (115-126). the last being Brahmin Sutiksna who approached sage Agasti with his doubt. the final conclusion is that Brahman is the only Reality. The story of Bhrngisa teaches how to be a great doer. The most interesting and important episode is that of queen CU4aIa (cantos 77-110)-— really an independent work though incorporated in YV. .

Candrama manaso jatah/ YV concludes its teaching with the following verse: Yat sarvam khalvidam Brahma/ Tajjaln iti ca sphutam// . 14-1: Sarvam khalvidam Brahma Tajjalan iti santa upasita. But here the salutation is offered to sage Vasistha.90. About later Upanisads. Vedas and Upanisads As a Brahmanical work YV has imbibed the essentials of Vedic literature (including older Upanisads) in its fundamental philosophyobviously the echoes.YV vi. Ii (Uttarardha) 14.The epic concludes with the famous salutations to spiritual guides: Brahmanandam parama-sukhadam etc.ii (Uttarardha) 2.YV vi.13.L.25 It is nothing but a versified form of Chandogya Up.ii (Uttarardha) 216.9. Iii. Atreya has also noted some of the verses from . Thus: Manascandramaso jatam Manasascandra utthitah . Atreya has made a strong case to prove that the following minor Upanisads are either entirely or partially borrowed from YV. Dr. For example. Some of the verses are bodily incorporated from the Upanisads. the Maitrayani and other which have some textual portion common with YV. nay even the wordings of Vedic texts are found throughout the work. B. 16 is the same as YV vi. He has further named seven more minor Upanisads such as the Jabala Darsana. the S vetasvatara Up. Iii.9 Is an obvious echo of RV x.

2. ii. simple Upanisadic expressions into better. more poetic yet appropriate words.10) and Moksopayabhidhana-Samhita (11. 14. 1. Brahmasutra Brahma-sutra of Badarayana is another Brahmanical Prasthana.e. It shows that it borrowed from other tracts of philosophy.22. Mainkar comes to the opposite conclusion that YV is the borrower as it expresses the crude. Pall and Prakrits. It tries to synthesize the teachings of Upanisads to show the path of ‘non-return to samsara’ (i. 5558 missing from YV is found in LYV iv. I believe that both the minor Upanisads and YV have used the enormous traditional ascetic literature (mainly gathas and anustubh verses) current in ancient India in Sanskrit.1.Vasistha and Bhagavad-Gita The third Brahmanical Prasthana is BC (Bhagavad-Gita). For example. the Maha. as the whole text of YV is “permeated through and through with the BC.the minor Upanisads which are not traceable in YV but are found in its digest LYV (Laghu Yoga Vasistha).27) and did not regard the world as ‘mithya’ as he advocates its ‘birth’ (1. v. But YV accepted the extreme idealism of Buddhists. Dr. 10. But Badarayaoa preached Bhedabhedavada (ii.2. Up. But the influence is not limited to those 25 verses. some 25 verses are common to YV and BC. Yoga.6) is significant. 4-6. iii. We must give due credit to the last redactor of YV for presenting that valuable oral tradition of ascetic poetry in a refined form.17. ‘Moksopaya’ (iii. YV’s self-designation of being the ‘digest’ Sara-Samhita. 18. But on the basis of the same data Dr. Atreya has put in enormous labour to show that YV is the source of these minor Upanisads. As pointed out by Atreya2.4.” There are 163 borrowals from BC in YV4 and the BC text used by YV is a cross of the Kashmiri version and the vulgate of BC. .2). Moksa).

Ram.13-15) which Valmiki complied in this exposition of Brahma-tattva with illustrative episodes etc. Ram. Raghavan and T.Vasistha and Mahabharata Though the loan of YV from BO has been discussed and is enough to show that YV is the borrower from Mbh.Yogavasistha and Valmiki Ramayana Traditionally. Visvamitra’s surmise that Rama attained the requisite eligibility for learning the way to emancipation from Samsara and his (Visvamitra’s) request to Vasistha to convey to him the exposition of knowledge that both of them received from god Brahma on the peak of mount Naisadha (YV i. The systematic treatment of the topics of Daiva (Fate) .i. There is a specific reference to Valmiki’s composition of Ramayana (YV vi. In fact this episode should have formed a part of the Val.20.2.2. 2628).27 etc. Val. being the Purva Ramayana and YV.G.22. Ram. It refers to Vyasa’s Bharata all over the text (e.26. sage Visvamitra comes to Dasaratha and requests him to send Rama and Laksmana to protect his proposed sacrifice. But there is no reference to Rama’s pilgrimage to sacred places. YV ii. as one of its sources has been proved by Dr. Now the fact that YV used Val. As a matter of fact. Ram. Rama’s arrival in a dejected mood.17). Ram.2. i. Ram. but it is used as a background story for this epic on Vedanta.215. his consequent non-attachment to the world.6 God Brahma exhorted Valmiki to describe fully Rama’s nature (YV 1. (YV vi. V. With some reluctance Daarat1ja agrees and the boys gladly accompany Visvamitra.ii.7-12 and ii. 22. its loan is not limited to BG. Mainkar by quoting chapters and verses from both the works and have specifically pointed out that YV has used the North-Western edition of Val. the Uttara Ramayaa. the relation between YV and Val. vi. v. 3.). The author of YV is fully acquainted with important episodes in Valmiki such as the characters related to Rama (YV ii.g. 21. is tenuous. i (Balakada) canto 21-22. 13-17).26. Valmiki Ramayana and YV are regarded as one work. In Val. 22-25). Yoga.

the .: adavante ca yan nasti vartamane pi tat tatha —YV iv.i. (1) YV is earlier (Atreya). Yoga Vasistha and Mandukya Karika of Gaudapada A number of Mandukya Karikas are found in YV either wholly or in parts2. was probably contemporary (Mainkar). Dasgupta). P. YV’s non-recognition of Mayavada.39-43-44). Yogavasistha and Trika Saivism Prof. its acceptance of Abhasavada (iv.45. 4-10 are based on Mbh. e..61). YV and Sankara B.g. 182. The present text of YV appears to be later than that of Gai4apada’s Karikas.45 and Mandukya iii. Kalpanavada. 6. (2) YV is later (Vidhushekhar Bhattacharya). Mbh does not recognise Buddha as an Avatara of Visnu while YV clearly does so (vide i.48.N.l0. doctrine of Kriyasakti.D. There are three views about the relation between YV and Gaudapada. S. Divanji appears to be correct in presuming that YV should be earlier than the 9th cent. Atreya has traced a number of similar verses in YV and Sankara’s minor works.C. vi. This is obviously due to their being Vedantic with Buddhistic background.L. (4) YV in its earlier stage as ‘Mokopaya.and Paurusa (Effort) and the superiority of the latter in YV ii. Anusasana. We know little about the text of Mokopaya. as Sarvajiiatrnan3 hints at YV in Sahk1epafàrlraka ii. A. (3) Both are contemporaries or YV is later by a century (S. This goes to show its chronological priority to YV.15. Bhattacharya has discussed the relations of YV and the Trika system of Kashmir.93.

1100-1250 A.N. the reference to thirty six Tattvas (YV vi. 39. If the verses said to be quoted by YV from these authors be not from a common independent source. T.N. 925-975+A.G.D. 1000-1200 A. Narayanswami1. Dasgupta3 3. Raghavan mentions authors like Kumarila. we find the following divergent Views’ among modern scholars: 1. 500-650 (After Kalidasa but before Gaudapada and Bhartrhari).D. and Muktivada (theory of deliverance). Bhattacharya5 5.C. . and a number of points where YV differs from Sankara. S. Atreya2 2. Ignoring the orthodox view actributing prophetic vision to ancient sages as is done by old writers like K.Spanda doctrine. V.D. There is a very strong probability that the last redactor of YV was strongly under the influence of Trika Saivism. Divanji4 4. we shall have to regard those authors as the sources of YV.P.15). i. B. 700-800 A.L. In the discussion about the date of YV Dr. Farquhar8 AD.D. But as Trika system is based on Saiva Agamas. The date of YV The date of YV is still an open question as no critical edition of YV is available. P. S. Rajasekhara etc. the pre-YV Mokopaya might have absorbed these views from the Agamas and hence we find parallels in post-Vasugupta Saiva authors like Abhinavagupta and YV. Raghavan6 6. Mainkar7 7. show the influence of the Trika system. J.

e. Bhatta Narayana. of YV) was written by Gauda Abhinanda of the ninth century A. But the evidence is too meagre to justify the existence of the present YV before Sankara. A. YV ridicules Sankara’s view expressed in Vivekacudamai 29. iii.D.N. Atreya’s argument based on non.) and opines that YV is the borrower.). Atreya bases his argument on the silence or non-mention of the name of Gaudapada and Sankara in the YV. Raghavan and by Mainkar clearly shows that the present YV is later than Sankara. if a summary of it (i. as can be seen from his works Amrtanubhava and Jnanesvari.D.”1 P.mention of authorship is not tenable. “For. . Anandavardhana (884 AD.1200 A.L.8. Divanji presumes that in case of parallelisms of ideas or expressions between YV and an earlier work like an Upanishad or BC. Dasgupta is apparently right when he says. S. Sankara however. 1300-1400 AD. S. Mandana (all of the 7th Cent. V. the Yoga Vasistha must have been written at least in the eighth century. B. B. Sanatsujatiya 1-15 & 31 and quotes two verses from ‘Vasi4he Yogasastre’ indicating the existence of some philosophic work of Vasistha before him. Banta. We should disregard the view of J. V. Jnanadeva (A. 4. indicating that YV is later than Sankara.50. mentions philosophic works of Vasistha in his commentary on Br. But they too do not mention YV or its author.D. YV is the borrower. Raghavan shows a number of parallel passages between YV.L. Farquhar as he was not aware that the great philosopher-saint of Maharashtra. He shows that apart from differences from Sankara in philosophical problems. owes a great deal to YV.D.) and Rajasekhara (920 AD. 1275-1296).N. Svetasvatara 1.C. In fact the evidence produced by Dr.

Divanji’s layer theory based on the pairs of interlocutors in YV is unproved.D.). Divanji however points out the confusion between two Abhinandas.D. We know that though the so called founder of Trika system.D. but his view regarding the home of fl’. Kumarila (A. Bhattacharya goes the credit of pointing out the Buddhistic and Trika (Kashmira Saiva) elements in YV. Abhinanda (900 A.But ‘post-Sankara’ may mean pre-Abhinanda as Sankara is now located in the early part of 8th century if not in the last quarter of the 7th cent. “the middle of the 13th century” needs modification in view of the existence of YV tradition in Maharashtra before Jnanadeva (1275-1296 A.D. and Rajasekhara (A. the 64 Agamas on which Trika was based are much older and the Kashmir is worshipped Siva even before the days of Moka.D. Raghavan goes the credit for showing the textual influence of the Kashmiri version of BC and the NW version of Ramayana on YV. To S. belonged to the first quarter of the 9th century. viz. And as pointed out by A.).C. Mainkar accepts Dr. 920). as can be seen from jiva’s shrine on the so called Sankaracarya hill near Srinagar. Raghavan’s conclusions. V. Stein in the Introduction to Rajatarangini. 1023) confirms this. viz. .2 P. Vasugupta.D.D. 651). T.). but accepts the nucleus of YV to be earlier than Sanksepa-Sariraka of Sarvajnatman (850-900 A.G.P. AD. He tries to show that YV is the borrower from authors like Bhartrhari (A.D. To Dr. 1258). Raghavan in a way accepts this by locating a quotation from YV in Suktimuktavali (A. 660). Kashmir based on various references to the history and topography of Kashmir is convincing.’ But Raghavan’s conclusion regarding the later limit of the present text of YV. Kashmir is had evolved a sort of Bauddha Saiva creed by their tolerance.3 But to locate the YV on that account in 10th to 12th century is unwarranted. That means the final form was given to YV in the 11th century and the mention of the invasion of Karnata kings on East India (A. Dr.

Buddhistic and Trika influences and emphasis on Jnana-Karma-Samuccaya as the way to Moksa may be tentatively located in the 1100-1200 centuries A. while YV advocates it and denies the reality. nay the very existence of the phenomenal world. while YV emphasizes synthesis of jnana and karma (jnana-karma-samuccaya) and Vrtti-sannyasa. Sankara insists on Nivrtti and Sannyasa.D. the philosophical concepts of YV should be understood in their proper context. Sankara does not admit the extreme idealism of Buddhist Vijnanavada. It is difficult to reconstruct that text on the basis of Abhinanda’s work. The second stage which included the Buddha in the Brahmanical Pantheon and absorbed the Buddhist Idealism is also very difficult to separate. There must have been a treatise called Yogavasistha before the 9th century as Abhinanda of Cashmir had composed its digest (Laghu Yoga Vasistha) in the 9th century AD. For Trika Saivism dominated Kashmir at least from the 9th century when Vasugupta ‘discovered’ Sivasutras and gave an impetus to Agamic Saivism that was current in Kashmir. As these are differences of a fundamental nature. of the 80 Type. The present form of this epic with Upanisadic basis. But we shall be off the mark if we brand the whole of YV as having been composed in a particular century. . But that stage must be much earlier than the 9th century. The original Vedantic work teaching Upanisadic Absolutism is now unreconstructable. while YV holds that the manifold appearances come into being due to Spanda and Brahman and Spanda are more really and directly connected (an obvious influence of Trika Saivism). The Philosophy of Yoga-Vasistha The popular belief that the Advaita in YV and in Sankara is the same is not correct. Sankara regards the relation between Brahman and Maya as indescribable (anirvacaniya).“We know that Agamas and epics are ‘revised’ as we find it from the critical editions of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

i. He creates nothing. the essence of everything.Brahman YV uses the Upanisadic term Brahman to denote the ultimate Reality (para. YV advocates Ajativada like Gaudapada and hence the unreality of the phenomenal world is explained by the Vedantic similes such as Gandharva-Nagara (a city-like formation of clouds). 11.ii. 33) and oneness of Brahman and the world—a creation of Maya which vanishes on the dawning of knowledge (YV vi. as it is the cause of the mind. The Trika concept of cit whose spanda is responsible for the appearance and disappearance of the universe is expounded in YV iii. Again (vi.5 tie Atman with its various synonyms e.67. the root-cause of this illusory universe. but the universe is an illusion created and perceived by the ignorant. All over the text it is repeatedly emphasized that the world is an illusion and Brahman alone is the Reality and its knowledge liberates one from samsara (YV vi. satya).g. 207). Maya The story of Gadhi (v. cantos 44-50) and later that of the ascetic Kundadanta (vi.206.3. eternal Brahman. Vijnana (of Vijnanavadins) and Sunya (of the Sunyavadins) is regarded as the real original cause (Mula Karana) of the universe. Brahman (of Vedantins). beginningless.20). It is peace.1 Being the essence of eternal sa6wid. This primary cause is the unborn. In YV vi. Purusa (of Sankhyas). In YV iii. Hema-Kataka (relation between gold and its ornaments) which are repeatedly used.52 Brahman is said to be a matter of experience. It is beyond the ken of thought and words.180-185) show that Maya is nothing but the work .67) Maya is regarded as the cause of the appearance of the world. endless and beginningless. Jala-Taranga (the apparent distinction but essential oneness of water and its waves).ii. 1. YV advocates the identity of Brahman and Atman (v.

67). Flickering like lightning. mahajagrat. But on closer examination.ii.i. One can go beyond these seven stages by correct philosophical thinking. dry like a mirage. seductive like a picture of a beautiful woman (which is not a real woman). svapna.41. svapna-jagrat and susyuptaka. ‘nescience’. it obscures our thinking. 113). Though unreal. 19). jagrat. Though unreal. The entire universe lies in the mind as the big tree with its leaves and flowers lies in its seed.117 Avidya is equated with Ajnana (ignorance). In another highly poetic description of Avidya (YV iii.8) is nothing but citta-camatkara. The universe created by Maya (YV vi. Each one of these stages has about one hundred sub-stages. it is identified with Vasana which deludes the mind. It vanishes when closely examined. Without digressing into its connotation in Buddhism and in Yoga-sutras. wonderful working of citta (ibid v. it creates several worlds in a pure mind (cetas) like waves in a sea. jagrat-svapna. we find it equated with Maya in YV iv.of the mind or Cilia and the world has no real external existence.. ‘non-knowledge’. Citta is the main centre of Maya. it has come into being from somewhere. creates the universe full of multiplicity. 1n YV iii. Maya consists of gunas and is very difficult to comprehend (durbodha). Closely allied with Maya is the concept of Avidya.’ The whole doctrine shows strong influence of the idealism of Gauapada (and Nagarjuna) rather than that of BG. But YV offers an interesting analysis of Avidya by stating how a soul has to go through seven stages or bhumikas viz. it disappears as waves after close watching are found to be nothing but water (YV vi. It is wrong knowledge. bija-jagrat.15-17. It is both existent and non-existent. though in itself it is unreal. Though non-existent it causes the appearance (pratibhasa) and distortion (viparyasa) in this phenomenal world. .

With the rise of the concept of aham in it. gods. The body moves due to the influence of cit. All this drsya (phenomenal world) is the projection of Avidya. The process of creation begins with Brahman which is pure existence (sattamatraka). Its treatment here is akin to that of Sankara and Gauapada. Time (Kala). Ahanta. five Mahabhartas (gross elements) and the world. It consists of three gunas. The influence of Gaudapada is seen in the Ajativada in YV vi. as desire is the seed (bija) of samsara. Vedas.ii. But as there is no causal (“seed-sprout”) relation between Brahman and the world. in fact everything that is visible (drsya). Sastras. Moka or the destruction of Avidya’s nothing but the realization of Sattasamanya and complete eradication of Vasanas. as there is none between water and its waves. All the world is in cit and it comes out like luster from the sun. It assumes infinite forms like worlds. The doctrine of Avidya is traceable to Upanisads and BO. In the night of Maya old age. the Veda.i. 162). the world is illusory and non-existent like a dream (YV iv. Avidya with its roots of pleasure. cupidity.i). the world being unreal like a mirage or a barren woman’s son (34-43). cantos 7 and 8.ii.107.7 states its views about the universe. The only reality is Brahman. the serial evolutes from cit being kha with its quality of sound (sabda). knowledge. There is no difference between Vidya and Avidya. ignorance flourishes on the ridge of the mountain called cit. The inclusion of gods and Vedas under Avidya is strange (and non Sankara-like). desires become terrible demons. The Realization of cit destroys Avidya (YV vi. A . Brahman and the Individual soul (jiva) and their relations. Avidya is identified with the Prak7ti of Sankhyas (YV vi. as do the iron filings due to magnet. Jagat YV iii.cantos 9 and 10). is evolved cit. each guna divided into three makes it nine-fold. pain. five Tanmatras (subtle elements). Avidya or Ajnana is described poetically.Later in YV vi.i.

but only Brahman exists. cantos 59.10 jagat (the world) is said to evolve out of sankalpa.i. (2) sankalpa-jagrat. The jaw is the principle called cit and is not different from Brahman. the problem of its cause does not arise (YV vi. There is only one pure Brahman without any duality. The jiva is nothing but illusion created by the cit due to vasanas. as follows: (I) svapna-Jagrat. YV attributes idealistic views to BG in this Upakhyana.106). those who have gone to sleep in some former existence and see the creation as a dream are .ii.61.5O classifies jivas into seven grades according to the intensity of vasanas. Sankara says the same by implication. In vi. YV in its staunch Advaitism denies the existence of everything else than Brahman. vasana and jiva. (4) cira-jagrat. By the negation of causation. Jiva (individual soul) YV (iii.i. a sahkalpa-nagara (vi. The classification is a bit artificial. Thus. YV viii.i. YV repeatedly declares the non-existence of the world (YV vi.ii. the examples such as mirage.65) holds that in the ocean of cit Atman appears as jiva. dream-perception etc.detailed comparison and similarity between dream and the world is found in vi. The spanda of cit may give rise to a dream-like perception. the three unreal evolutes from cit. Causation (Karya-karana-bhava) As the phenomenal world (drsya) has no existence. But in vi. Liberation from vasanas is Moka. (5) Ghana-jagrat (6) jagrat-svapna and (7) ksina-jagrat.55 Lord Kna explains to Arjuna that the furs are a maya-purusa loaded with illusions and pulled by the bonds of vasanas. canto 205). being common to them.ii. YV presents the Ajativada of Gauapada with identical arguments using the same drstantas as those of Gaudapada. It (jiva) is nothing but a spanda of Atman or cit (iii.42). 60 and 61). (3) kevala-jagrat.

44. YV vi. Out of these the last two are on their way to Moka.1.. YV firmly regards the world as purely mental and holds that mind is unreal. The same condition applies to the jagrat The analogy stage. mind is the cause of bandha. Svapna YV repeatedly emphasizes the similarity between the dream-state and the waking.i.4. have a deep attachment to it. Later in vi. while the first five being bound down by vasanas.84. Atman is declared as the only reality and Citta and its products illusory. It is the immediate step in the process of creation after Brahman. YV declares perfect identity between mind and body. Bandha (Bondage) The topic is discussed at various places in YV. The entire world is the creation of Citta and is hence imaginary ‘(YV 111. iv. The physical body can be destroyed. but YV’s acceptance of this analogy shows its nearness to Gaudapada. though ankara has a different view.92).84). Their relation is like that of wind and its movements (iii. Hence Citta should be properly trained and awakened to the reality (iii. . due to their long contact with jagrat. Samvit is the only reality. are c3lled ghana-jagrat.38. All objects in dreams are unreal (mithya).3. iii. slates that the Citta-spanda creates the world.state (vi. Everybody has two bodies—physical and mental. 137. Souls who. iii. The cit element of citta is the seed of all creation.31-43). Citta This is an important concept in YV. This uncompromising idealism of YV shows Buddhist influence.g. between svapna and jagrat is not acceptable to Sankara. Bandha is the existence of drsya for the seer (drasta).ii. YV takes the idealistic position that all creation is mental and therefore false. e.. suffer.svapna-jagrat. But the mental body is always busy and is capable of seeing anything. Bondage in nothing but the functioning of mind. The drsya is jagat.i.38). which is mithya.

72). In YV vi. The concept of jivan-mukti is a natural corollary of this concept. 72. Gauapada and Sankara as well. The term Nirvana. (3) Tanumanasa. (2) Vicarana (association with the wise. acceptance of ajativada and denial of both bandha and moksa shows the firm idealistic stand taken by YV. 13 Jnana and Yoga are identified (a canto echoing even the wording of DO). The discussion shows the influence of Nagarjuna. (4) Sattvapatti (a state of pure Self). YV describes this stage in detail at many places. Jnana (spiritual knowledge) God Brahma imparted spiritual knowledge to Vasistha for propagating it in men (YV ii.22). Jivan-muktas in YV and sthitaprajnas in 80 continue to carry on their karmas. After correct knowledge (samyag-jnana). Jnana means the knowledge of the unreality of the phenomenal world (YV 3. as total .i. and (7) the Turyaga state. but YV regards jnana-niscaya as easier than (Patanjala) Yoga. Sastras and Vairagya). Karma YV and 80 adopt the same attitude to karma.38. is discussed in vi.118). (Padartha-bhavani (non-perception of external objects).ii. Brahman is beyond this stage. The whole episode of CU4ãla shows a strong influence of the idealistic views of Gauapada and Sankara. This stage is that of a jivan-mukta (YV iii. denial of causation. To regard world-experience as unreal as a dream. 42.Moksa Freedom from the ‘sight-seer-relation’ (drsya-drastr-sambandha) is Moka. The influence of 80 (the characteristics of a sthitaprajna). There are seven stages (bhumikas) of jnana: (1) Subheccha (desire to acquire knowledge). (5) Asamsakti (non-attachment).10). a synonym for Moksa. samsara ceases to exist (YV v. Sankara Vedanta and Buddhist Vijnanavada is discernible. 143 etc.

ii. Strenuous effort on scientific lines leads to spiritual development and Moksa. Its metaphysics is the uncompromising idealism of Patanjala type. Sastra The Sastra deals with Dharma. 130 admits the limitations of human efforts. Not so in YV. Artha.renunciation of karma is impossible (YV vi.7-l5).2).8.ii. Anusasana. while Daiva is imaginary. The Yoga described in YV is Patanjala Yoga (YV v.18-31). YV vi. . Yoga YV v. 6 and YV ii. This is an advance over BG. Arjuna is only a tool (Nimitta).g. It will thus be found that YV advocates jnana-karma-samuccaya. Kama directly and attainment of Brahman (Brahmaprapti) impliedly. The result of the Bharata war was predestined. Thus the message of YV is more dynamic and encouraging than that of 130. Niyati depends upon effort. It declares that Paurusa is superior to Daiva and it can lead to liberation irrespective of Daiva. the study of Sastras is recommended (vi. cantos 6 and 7 Daiva is shown to be the Karma done previously (Prdk-Pauru1a).52-58 is a renarration of BG. As the Sastra gives right spiritual insight and freedom from ignorance (YV iii. as it admits the possibility of achieving success irrespective of the favour or frown of Niyati (Destiny).196-97). ft can counter-act Daiva (compare Mbh.i. The ideal is jivan-mukti (Liberation-in-this-life). This type of Yoga is advocated in Upanisads (e. but the concept of Daiva or Niyati (Fate or Destiny). Paurusa is a vigorous effort on right lines. In YV i. 10). Daiva and Paurusa The problem of Daiva (Destiny) and Paurusa (Effort) has been thrashed thoroughly in YV. It does not denigrate action. in the Katha) and BG.78 discusses Yoga as the method of controlling Citta-spanda. Paurusa gives direct fruit.

G. Mainkar’s conclusion that YV is a Brahmanical work on Vedanta.I agree with Dr. not of Sankara type but teaching Upanisadic absolutism and Buddhistic idealism as its metaphysics and jnanakarma-samuccyua as its ethics and that YV was produced in Kashmir. . T.

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