Yoga Vasistha, Important Teachings
(16 Mar 2015 – 23 Oct 2016)
A series of informal talks on the Yoga Vasistha. Though we will follow the general flow of the text, we will focus on the teachings that can be put into practice in life and on the mat.
Focus: background / examining everything / awakening / at the crossroads
Focus: the liberated sage / self-effort / essence of all scriptures / the course of action
Focus: Four Gatekeepers to the Realm of Freedom or Moksha
Focus: the task / in the heart first / self-control next / then inquiry
Focus: the illusion / the cure / spiritual discipline / all these help
Focus: beyond conditioning / purification / staying undistracted / beyond restlessness
Focus: restlessness is ignorance / controlling the mind / understanding renunciation / renunciation
Focus: how bondage happens / mind is the doer / liberation and delusion / the unconditioned state
Focus: The Seven States or Planes of Wisdom
Focus: Yoga—the means of purification / appearances—reflections in consciousness / reality—the indivisible consciousness.
Focus: Simple Ways to Increase Satva or Natural Goodness
Focus: Simple ways to transform existing rajas and tamas into satva
Focus: The seeds of samsara and the mind and conclude with some practical ways to unmind the mind.
Focus: the state of quiescence; going beyond – the no-mind; and; reality – the seed for consciousness.
Focus: (1) The state of pure being, (2) Attain a quiet mind first, (3) Inner ascent, (4) Control of mind, (5) Cause and cure of samsara, (6) Avoid conceptualization, and, (7) Relentless self-inquiry.
Focus: The first of the seven states or planes of wisdom: śubhecchā or a noble wish. Towards this, we will cover: awakening; renuciate; renunciation; behavior of a renunciate, and, focus of the renunciate.
Focus: The second of the seven states or planes of wisdom: vicāraṇā or direct and steady observation of the mind. Towards this, we will cover: study, right conduct and meditation; company of the wise and the good; know what is good, harmful, right and wrong; and; resolutely giving up what is not good.
Focus: The third of the seven states or planes of wisdom: tanumānasa or the thinned and weakened mind. The characteristics of one in this state: (1) one assimilates the teaching of the scriptures, lives with masters and listens to their teachings; (2) being indifferent to this world, one leads a very disciplined life, away from society and completely free from all contacts; (3) practice of the teachings results in right perception of what is; (4) the spirit of non-attachment of both types increases.
Focus: the fourth of the seven states or planes of wisdom: satvāpatti or natural turning away from sense pleasure and dwelling in truth. We also talked about four simple ways towards this: (1) do what should be done because it needs to be done and not for any other purpose, (2) refrain from doing what should not be done, knowing intuitively that it should not be done, (3) live a simple and natural life, and, (4) live in accordance with the teachings, engage yourself in appropriate activity and accept whatever happens naturally.
Focus: the fifth of the seven states or planes of wisdom: asamśaktti or natural and total non-attachment or freedom. Towards this, we will discuss: (1) total non-attachment or freedom and conviction in the nature of truth happen together, (2) the state of non-attachment or freedom is asamśaktti, (3) perception of the world gives way to the feeling of being, and, (4) though engaged in ‘worldly activities’, one is established in an inner vision of non-duality.
Focus: the sixth and seventh states or planes of wisdom: padārthābhavanī or natural cessation of objectivity and turīya or liberated while living.
Focus: The Dreadful Elephant in The Forest of Saṁsāra.
Focus: We will conclude this series with focus on: (1) what liberated sages conclude, (2) attitudes conducive to liberation, (3) overcoming saṁsāra and some sorrow, (4) a noble person, and, (5) Vāsiṣṭha’s concluding instructions.