Man is proud of his possessions and runs day and night after pleasures. Often power and positions posit problems, and possessions and pleasures turn into pain. Observing the nature of the world one wonders- What is life all about? What is the purpose of human existence? If everything is feeling, what is real and true? Such and many more questions come to the mind of the mind of most of us who think. Thus begins our search for a Guru.
Now imagine the Lord in the role of a questioning disciple and a Saga (Vasistha) as His Guru and you have the Yogavasistha, a great treasure of the highest knowledge and greatest stories, which answers multifold questions of life. This text covers almost the entire philosophical thought of Sanatana Dharma.
Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda is an outstanding teacher of Vedanta, with a profound depth beneath his simplicity and humility. He has a simple conviction- to fortify, strengthen and actualise the vision of his Guru, Pujya Swami Chinmayananda.
Swamiji has written commentaries on many text of Vedanta and authored many original compositions on Vedanta and Bhakti.
He is the current head of the Chinmaya Mission a global spiritual organisation with more than 300 centres worldwide.
A book on Yogavasistha was long overdue. There has always been a demand for such a book from various seekers. The Yogavasistha is considered as one of the classics of the Vedanta philosophy. Sincere students of Vedanta study this text deeply. The present book, A Glimpse Into Yogavasistha is condensed from of the original Yogavasistha running into 32,000 verses by Sage Valmiki, the author of Ramayana. In only 86 verses spreading over seven chapters, Swami Tejomayananda has thoughtfully brought out the essence of the teachings of Sage Vasistha to Sri Rama.
Though Yogavasistha is primarily meant for highly advanced seekers with a high degree of dispassion, the commentary of Swamiji is so clear and to the point that even novices on the path of spirituality can go through it on their own.
We are happy that the sankalpa of so many seekers has finally materialised into this great book of wisdom. May all derive benefit from it.
The original Yogavasistha is a voluminous book that contains 32,000 verses. It is called Brhat Yogavasistha or Jnana Vasistha. This was later condensed to 6000 verses and is known as Laghu Yogavasistha. A further edited version (laghutara) is available in 1000 verses. The present work is a further abridged version (laghutama) of the original, in 86 verses. One of the purposes of A Glimpse into Yogavasistha is to create an interest for the study of the original text. An attempt has been made here to bring out the essence of the entire text.
One may wonder how 32,000 verses can be abridged into 86 verses. Does it mean that the rest of the verses are unimportant? That is not so. It is the style of the text that makes this editing possible. The Yogavasistha is written in the Pauranika - storytelling - style; It gives elaborate descriptions of nature and the meeting of the students with the Teacher. Stories are woven into stories and various examples are used to explain the main principles being expounded. Such parts can be edited for those wanting to know only the Truth. Further, Yogaoaeistha elaborates upon two ways of reaching the Truth, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga. For anyone interested in following either of the paths, we could edit the description of one or the other.
The composition of this text is popularly attributed to Sage Valmiki who also composed the famous Ramayana.
The word yoga means uniting. Here it means to unite the individual with the Reality. This is the teaching of yoga, as expounded by Sage Vasistha to Sri Rama, and hence it is named 'Yogauasistha'.
In the Ramayanas (story of Sri Rama) written by Saint Tulasidasa, Sage Valmiki, Sage Vyasa and others, neither the details about the teachings of Sage Vasistha to Sri Rama nor the circumstances that led to the dialogue are elaborated upon. Both of these are expounded in Yogavasistha.
Upon graduation from the gurukula (residential school where both the spiritual and secular knowledge were taught), Sri Rama along with his brothers Laksmana, Bharata and Satrughna, some friends and a Brahmana, visited various holy places all over India. On His return, Sri Rama became very withdrawn. He did not participate in any sports, nor entertainment like music, dance or drama, nor in merrymaking with friends. He preferred to be alone and did not even speak much. His brothers too became affected by His mood. His father, King Dasaratha was worried. He wondered, 'What has come over my cheerful and enthusiastic son?' He tried his best to bring Sri Rama out of this mood but did not succeed.
At around the same time, Sage Visvamitra was staying in Siddhasrama, near present-day Patna. He was unsuccessfully trying to perform a yajna (sacrificial rite). Demons disturbed the proceedings by throwing unholy materials over the sacrificial site. Having heard that the Lord had incarnated in Ayodhya as the son of King Dasaratha, he went towards Ayodhya to seek His help in completing the yajna.
Upon reaching Ayodhya, he was worshipfully received by King Dasaratha. Dasaratha said, ''I am overjoyed to see you. I feel blessed by your presence. Please tell me what brings you here. I shall immediately fulfil your wish.'' Sage Visvamitra explained his predicament and requested the king to permit Sri Rama and Laksmana to go along with him and protect the yajna. King Dasaratha being very attached to Sri Rama, was shocked and said, ''Please ask for anything other than Sri Rama. After all, He is too young and delicate to fight those terrible monsters.'' Sage Visvamitra was angry that Dasaratha was now hesitating in fulfilling his promise and was about to leave in a huff. Sage Vasistha advised Dasaratha not to anger Sage Visvamitra and assured him that no harm would come to Sri Rama in the care of Sage Visvamitra. Sri Rama was called to the court and instructed to go with Sage Visvamitra.
Sri Rama, otherwise a very obedient son, refused to comply on this occasion. Describing his own state of mind, Sri Rama refused to act when He was in such confusion. He said, ''During my travels I saw that everyone is suffering - the rich, the poor, young and old. Everything in the world is perishing. There is nothing permanent. All pleasures are pith less and pain ridden. Man is proud of his possessions and runs day and night after fleeting objects. I see no purpose to life. Who am I? What is the nature of the world? What is the purpose of human existence?