After one develops a desire to attain liberation and also follows the conduct as required, the next step is to analyze the world one is born in.
The beautiful world filled with Sun, Moon, stars, hills, rivers, birds, and animals etc, cannot be a random accident is what most will decide upon. Then where did this world arise from? Is there an intelligent being bigger than this Universe who created this? For what purpose did he create? Why did we all take birth? Why there is suffering in this world?
Is the Creator evil or good? Should we propitiate ‘him’ or ‘her’ or ‘it’ for getting its grace?
As one thought trend went like this and invented all sorts of rituals and worships to please the Great Creator, another section used their intellects and started analyzing more rationally. Various philosophical theories came into vogue. Many thinkers analyzed the process of perception and gave their own version of ‘Pramaanas- sources of Knowledge’, like experience, understanding etc.
If you know how you know, you can know the why and how of this world, they thought.
Some felt that this world is an effect entirely different from the Cause, namely Ishvara, the Supreme Ruler.
Some theorized that only the two principles, one the ‘conscious’, and the other ‘inert’ (पुरुष/प्रकृति) join together to make this world.
Some others explained the whole thing away saying that the Brahman alone appeared as this World and so the reality is neither ‘one’, nor ‘two’ but ‘non-dual’. (अद्वैतम्)
Some others said that we are all part of that Supremacy like sparks belonging to a fire.
Some others gave this Supremacy all characters that sounded good and made him a perfect superman filled with compassion, who loves and takes care of you if you develop devotion towards him.
Some other Scriptures gave instructions to do away with the world by analyzing one by one, all the things as ‘not this’ ‘not this’ and attain the remaining ‘That’ and be silent.
Some others proclaimed ‘Nirvikalpa Samadhi’ as the goal to be reached and gave detailed instructions about how to raise the subtle energy in one’s own body and reach the Samadhi state.
So many logical treatises, so many scriptures, so many theories, so many philosophies, all explaining in detail the creation of the world and the path of liberation in different ways (the liberation of course was defined as they deemed fit to suit their own theories) leave the sincere seeker of liberation slightly bewildered.
What does Vasishta say?
He collects all the methods, terminologies, logical methods, theories of all analytical and non-analytical brains, grinds them all into a very fine powder and blows it away like worthless dust.
According to Vasishta, there is no Supreme God who created all this.
This world is not produced at all; because it is non-existent.
There is no cause and effect phenomenon.
There is no ‘this’ or ‘not this’ to differentiate.
There is no ‘one’ or ‘not two’ numbering necessary.
There are no ‘inert’ and ‘conscious’ varieties.
There are no elements which make up the world.
There are no Jeevas; and no Karma that binds them.
He proves that there is nothing created and there is nobody who created the world because of the very fact that this world (with its perceivers and perceived) is non-existent.
‘How can any one create what is not at all there?’- is his question!
According to him, all the forms, all the names, everything wherever and whenever is Brahman (Emptiness of awareness) alone. Whatever exists is the Supreme state of Para Brahman (that which cannot be perceived). And this Para Brahman is not a person, not an individual, not a God using his intelligence, but just ‘a state’ - a ‘nameless something’ -which cannot be described.
Para Brahman has no mind; so it cannot have thoughts.
Para Brahman has no senses; so it cannot perceive.
Para Brahman has no intellect; so it is not intelligent.
Para Brahman cannot know anything; think anything; design anything.
No words exist in that state; or consciousness or inertness.
Some reality that is beyond the grasp of the intellect and the mind alone is there as the support of all the perceived. We can only surmise its existence by all this that is around us as the perceived.
That is this alone.
Rather that alone is; not this at all.
That (Reality) alone is the truth.
This (perceived) is false information; so not true.
What is unreal cannot exist. Real never ceases to exist.
How can a non-existent perceived be produced?
Who was the producer of the dream-world except the mind with its own whims and fancies; so argues Vasishta and proves this truth in the next four Prakaranas.
In this Prakarana named ‘उत्पत्ति - PRODUCTION’, Vasishta through many wonderful abstract, hitherto unheard of stories, proves that ‘There is no Utpatti’.
He also promises the sincere seeker, that anyone who understands the Truths depicted in all the stories related by him will be definitely a realized soul at the end of the discourse.
He takes a vow that he will make the non-existent perceived world vanish off by the end of the study.
The first story is that of आकाशज - the space-born.
MEANINGS OF SANSKRIT TERMS
Before entering the world of the amazing stories related by the Sage, we must learn some terminologies in Sanskrit so as to not confuse them with the ordinary English words used in their translations.
Try not to skip this part of the introduction.
Vaasishtam is a text swollen up with abstract ideas.
It is not meant for the ordinary religious minds that seek merit.
Vaasishtam is not a philosophical theory or a religious text like the Ramayana or MahaaBhaarata.
Vaasishtam is a thinking process.
It is a trek to ascend the
. Mountain of Knowledge
It does not start from the alphabets of spirituality.
Vaasishtam is a very tough book; needs very hard work on your part to understand its truths.
A student who is slightly familiar with all philosophical theories and who is already learned person alone can approach this book; and he must be ready to throw any theory or belief if it does not stand the test of Reason. Study of Vaasishtam is like the PHD course after the graduation is over and done with in flying colours; or even more than that.
Unless you understand the terms used in Vaasishtam as defined by Vasishta, you will never be able to grasp the true meaning of the verses.
Therefore, be patient and grasp the meanings of these terms, before you enter the main study of the text.
VISHVA- the ever changing variety seen around us –translated as the world, or Universe.
JAGAT- something which continuously is rises and subsides at every moment- translated as the world.
The word ‘world’ used in the translation does not mean the ‘solid mapped geographical universe’ around you. Anything one perceives as per his ‘brain-capacity’ is the JAGAT or VISHVA for that particular perceiving mind. The constant flux of patterns that flow around you creating the illusion of an infinite space and infinite time is termed JAGAT.
CHIT – translated as Pure Consciousness, Pure awareness, Pure Intelligence, actually means ‘something’ which knows, understands, perceives, etc; something which makes awareness of the world possible. Awareness also is definitely too ordinary a word for something which is ‘Knowledge Absolute’.
The Supreme state of undifferentiated Knowledge where nothing else exists is CHIT.
It is not the ‘Consciousness of the brain’, which is a favored topic of psychology and neuroscience.
The Self-awareness which is a bi-product of evolution is not meant by the word CHIT; but the most suitable word in English seems to be Awareness or Consciousness.
The ordinary word ‘consciousness’ used in neuroscience books is just the cognizing capacity of the brain and not the CHIT (of the Scriptures), the substratum of all existences.
Please do not take the word ‘Pure Consciousness’ to mean the ‘conscious part of the brain’ which is just another level in the ladder of evolution made for survival.
This homosapien brain is actually conscious in the physical level only as the uncontrolled actions of the brain chemicals. Body is an inert organism.
The bodies which move about in the world are not conscious as defined in the scriptures.
They are just bodies.
One in a million will suddenly look at the body also as an outside thing; and start wondering ‘who am I’.
That is the expression of Chit; like a sprout in the dried up land.
That is the sprout of the Aatman; the awareness of oneself as apart from the body.
‘CHIT’ is the Knowledge Absolute.
BRAHMAN – means the Greatest, the swollen up something. It means something very big; something which has expanded and keeps expanding as the perceived.
Brahman is a state of Absolute Bliss (not joy but quietness), Absolute Existence and Absolute Knowledge.
Whatever happiness we enjoy is just a tiny drop of that Infinite bliss; whatever we know is just a tiny drop of that Supreme Knowledge; whatever we are aware of is just a tiny drop of that Supreme awareness.
Wherever the word ‘Consciousness’ or ‘Pure Intelligence’ is mentioned please understand it with reference to CHIT and do not confuse it with the ‘Consciousness’ of Psychology.
These Scriptures were composed long before they were translated into English. Someone began the trend by translating CHIT as Pure Intelligence or Pure Consciousness, and we have to use the same word as a tradition; but the word CHIT is not definitely the awareness of the brain which is just some neural level in the evolutionary cycle.
From the word CHIT, many words are coined in this scripture to mean the succeeding lower levels of the Supreme state.
CHID, CHETANAM, CHETYAM, CHITTAM, CHITTA, CHAITANYAM…
Each is just one degree less or more than the other but all refer to different layers of CHIT.
The meaning does not change; it is the same always as the basic essence of the word; like understanding, knowing, thinking etc. According to the context and based on the grammatical formation, we deduct the meaning as consciousness, intelligence, cognition, perception, mental faculty, mind, or mental state or whatever. The abstract sense cannot be given in translation.
The student has to grasp the correct sense by sheer intuition only.
Usually referred to as तत् (THAT), Brahman is denoted by the term ‘स:’ also meaning ‘He’.
If even any ordinary being that is conscious in the inert level is denoted by the term ‘He’, why can’t the sum-total of all the conscious entities - past, present and future be referred to by the term ‘He’?
Usually in all the Scriptures all embodied beings are referred to by the term ‘Purusha’, the conscious essence. SHE is usually the inert Prakrti. However, this ‘He’ (Brahman) is not a masculine being, but just a state of pure consciousness or knowledge.
A ‘she’ is a reproducing organism or an egg-bearing animal, or a sexual partner in our planet.
There is no chance of Brahman being a SHE (or a HE); but the term Chit is grammatically a feminine gender word. So when this term is used the pronouns will always have feminine gender.
There is no need to superimpose the meaning of ordinary words used in our limited world, on Brahman the highest point of knowledge and awareness, which is not a He, or She or It also.
Brahman is not a being; it is a sum-total of all the possible states of existence.
Brahman is the state of Reality; not an entity.
You cannot see it or attain it; because it exists as you also.
How can a wave attain the ocean or see it; it itself is the expression of the ocean.
AAKAASHA – translated as space; actually means ‘something’ which makes everything visible, which makes things perceivable; which reveals the objects.
VYOMA: KHAM – refer to the empty sky, empty space, emptiness where nothing is there.
Nothingness (शून्य /void) is the essence of the sky.
(Examples of words coined out of खं -
खग - खे गच्छति - one which moves in the sky – bird;
शाखा - खे शयति - one which sleeps in the sky – branch)
CHIDAAKAASHA – The whole ‘Para Brahman space’.
The moment the word ‘space’ is mentioned, the picture that usually comes before our mental eye is a vast stretch of empty space.
However CHIDAAKAASHA is not in ‘space’.
Para Brahman does not exist in space.
Time and space do not exist in Reality.
Brahman is more like a point from which space and time principles extend forth.
Try visualizing it; you will be able to imagine only a small point in a vast space.
Our brains are hard-wired to see an object bound by ‘space and time’ co-ordinates. A brain made of cells cannot ever think of space-less time-less Reality. That is why Shankara many a times describes the Brahman as something indescribable which the words, mind and intellect cannot reach.
CHIDAAKAASHA is the ‘state’ which contains in it the possible manifestation of all the myriad universes in its potential and also actual states. It is as if from Brahman all this world of appearances arose, as if different; but no such changes occur in truth.
Para Brahman is alone this world of appearances which is its very nature, like the wind does not differ from its movement. The perceived (including our limited selves) is its movement.
CHITTAAKAASHA -The whole mind-space.
Whatever happens inside our brain as thinking, imagining, conceiving, analyzing, perceiving, cognizing, even not thinking and remaining blank - all belong to the CHITTAAKAASHA - the mind-space.
JEEVAAKAASHA- the space experienced by a Jeeva.
The very mind which by its repeated conceptions imagines itself to be a person living and experiencing the world is the JEEVA. All the network of experiences that befall Jeevas as the life, the space and time limitations, the visible universe, differs from person to person.
‘All Jeevas live in the same solid world experiencing everything simultaneously in time’ is another illusion.
As many Jeevas, so many universes!
Time also differs; space also differs.
There is no absolute time; or absolute solid space.
Each Jeeva lives in its own space and time bound world of its own like in a dream.
All the minds are intertwined together as one single mind of Brahmaa the Creator.
AAKAASHA - the ordinary material space around us, one of the five elements that make the world.
This Aakaasha is the first element out of which sound arose.
You can also refer to it as the space-time idea implanted in our brains.
It contains all the gross objects and gives us a secure feeling that our world is a solid BRAHMAANDA (Cosmic egg), created by some benevolent God who has no other business except to watch over all of us day and night and listen to our prayers.
JEEVA- one who lives; one who experiences a life; one who grossifies his own desires; and experiences them through the mind like in a dream.
Jeeva is not a soul or a spirit or apparition as usually translated in some books.
When the gross body is destroyed, the Jeeva principle which is a bundle of thoughts and desires known as आतिवाहिक form, experiences another world at the same point of its previous death experience.
Heaven, or hell or another copy of its own previous life rises in its own mind as a real experience.
Those who see the dead body in his previous world may refer to that Jeeva as प्रेत; not a ghost but PRA+ITA – one, who has gone off from here.
Jeeva is something which goes on experiencing a life around it incessantly life after life, death after death, birth after birth, as any individual of any species the mind produces as per its latent tendencies.
Jeeva is just an imagined individuality living in an imagined world.
No one can see it as a ghost or spirit because it is just some box of emptiness made of desires and ideas.
DEHAM – usually translated as the body means in Sanskrit something which is like a pasting, covering, anointing, smearing, blocking like a wall etc.
SHAREERAM – also means the body; but in Sanskrit it means something which keeps deteriorating, perishing.
AatiVaahika (Jeeva-emptiness) can sense a world with an AadhiBhautika (body made of elements) only.
AATIVAAHIKA body - it is not again a ghostly apparition but just a collection of thoughts or desires.
‘Carried beyond’- is the meaning of the term ‘AatiVaahika’
AADHIBHOUTIKA body is the gross body made of elements, which is again the imagination of a Jeeva, a mental projection.
All of us are supposed to have only AatiVaahika bodies.
AadhiBhautika bodies are merely conceived forms in the mind.
WHAT IS A JEEVA?
A Jeeva is mainly made up of ‘AatiVaahika’ body. That means he is a collection of thought processes.
A Jeeva projects a shape made of solid elements as it were through his mental faculty and identifies himself with the imagined physical body.
A Jeeva means the Kshetrajna (Bhagavad-Gita), ‘knower of the field’; all that he perceives, thinks, owns, likes, dislikes, all his ideas of the enveloping world, his belief systems, his gods, theories, Gurus; whatever he perceives or understands as the world is his ‘Kshetra’, the ‘field of experiences’.
Jeeva is a twosome unit of Kshetrajna and Kshetra, he and his field of experiences as one unit.
Physical body is one tiny ‘belonging’ of his, which he labels as ‘I’.
Jeeva is not the body; and after death does not roam about as the image of that body also.
Since his identity itself is an imagined projected shape from the mind, Jeeva has no particular identity as such. He is just a channel for any random Vaasanaa or brain signal he accidentally comes into contact with. He is just a pipeline for any water transportation of desire.
Whether he chooses to transport drainage water or
water, is his choice.
Jeeva is a ‘nobody’ actually.
When his physical body dies, the AatiVaahika body or the ‘collection of thought processes’( if any proper thought process is there apart from the gene-functions) just projects another imagined body; and he continues his pipeline work for some randomly contacted Vaasanaas.
‘I’ is just a word which refers to the dense collection of mental agitations.
These mental agitations do not belong to any Jeeva in particular but are just random subtle vibrations floating around.
Aatman as referred to in scriptures is the essence of a person; but if the person is only a pipeline for dirty waters of desire; he does not have any essence or Aatmaa as a perceiver.
Such a Jeeva just moves from moment to moment reacting to the outside world without any thinking ability and is termed ‘JANTU’ (moving animal) or a ‘PASHU’ (brainless animal goaded by others).
Every Jeeva cannot realize.
The world will not disappear with all Jeevas at once realizing the truth.
World is a field of Vaasanaa fulfillments only.
Jeeva is also a part of the Vaasanaa fulfillment only.
Jeeva is a co-existing part of a Vaasanaa.
The ‘realization Vaasanaa’ has to be get a counter part of its fulfillment; and that Jeeva is known as Mumukshu.
The realization Vaasanaa is caught by someone who really gets fed up of being a channel for random Vaasanaas. The ‘Jeeva with Realization Vaasanaa’ will have a field of scriptures, Knowers, good qualities, dispassion etc; and the realization Vaasanaa kills all other Vaasanaas; and kills itself in the end; like a suicide bomb.
What happens after realization? What is Mukti or Moksha?
The ghost imagined by you vanishes; that is all. You are free!
The snake you saw in the rope vanishes revealing the rope.
‘Kshetra with Kshetrajna’ is gone once for all.
What was not there is understood as not there.
What is left back is a blissful state of the Chit.
That is termed as liberation.
Liberation is not a state of ‘your’ annihilation but a state where the real identity shines forth.
Instead of acting like a worthless pipeline for any water to pass through, you will become the ocean which does not have any pipelines inside it.
YOGA OF YOGAVAASISHTA
The word Yoga actually means
Here in this scripture Yoga means the oneness of the individual Self with the Supreme Self; which are two names for the same thing.
Unless specifically mentioned as Hatha Yoga, the term Yoga does not denote the commonly knownYoga postures and Praanaayaama techniques.
Existence of Gods (Devas as residents of a heaven) is not denied in this scripture.
However both immortal gods and mortal humans are equally the tiny bubbles rising and vanishing in the immense
to Vasishta. ocean
of Para Brahman
Though the word refers to Brahmaa, the Creator, Vasishta’s Brahmaa is not the DevaLoka resident (Sarasvati’s Lord), who is one of the myriads of Brahmaas who rise in the
. ocean of Brahman
(Brahmaa is different from Brahman, his source).
The Brahmaa mentioned in this scripture is the first (or main) स्पन्दन or vibration of the Para Brahman from which rise up these multifarious varieties of beings and their experiences.
DRASHTUHU, DRASHTAA - translated as Seer, one who sees.
DRSHYAM – translated as Seen.
DARSHANAM – translated as ‘Seeing process’.
Here the words do not refer to seeing with physical eyes.
‘Seeing’ here refers to the perception of the world through senses, mind, intellect etc.
‘Seen’ here refers to all that you cognize through senses, think through the mind, and understand through the intellect. ‘Seeing process’ is the pure awareness connecting the inert faculties to the inert world.
SARGA (सृज्) - means the created world; but the word does not refer to all that is manifested from Brahman, but just to the one world created by one Brahmaa.
SMRITI - Usually this word means memory, recollection, remembrance etc.
In this scripture it is used as residual thought vibrations, or floating brain waves, or potential fields of action, or probable states waiting to become experiences.
Smriti means unmanifest Vaasanaas or potential states.
In the equilibrium state of Chit, randomly a ‘Creation-Vaasanaa’ appears collecting around it random ‘Smritis’ of the previous Sarga or creation. These thought vibrations get channelized through the creative Vaasanaa named Brahmaa and instantly appear as fields of action or the perceived worlds.
Vikalpa means a disturbance, or some vague state which can become anything.
Perceived is a ‘Vikalpa’- perturbation, an agitation, a disturbance.
Brahman is Nirvikalpa - bereft of all perturbations.
Before we proceed with the text which actually starts with the Utpatti Prakarana only, let us first understand the Vikalpa state of the mind which is also referred to as the ‘perceiver/perceived/ perceiving’ phenomenon, the tri-fold state called the Jeeva.
In this planet we perceive objects through our senses only.
What are these sense perceptions here as understood in this earth planet where we live?
Some disturbance is there in the reality which our senses define as image, sound, smell, taste, and touch.
Senses produce some disturbances in our minds; and that alone we understand as objects existing outside.
Five elements are the main disturbances which when moving in different combinations, disturb our minds and appear as objects.
Actually the disturbance is the mind only; but it appears as the object outside.
Sound, smell etc are all the mind-produced disturbances residing in the mind.
Objects that we perceive are the disturbances in our minds; are not outside.
This disturbance alone we understand through the process of differentiating things.
We categorize the common features, different features in objects; and understand that a world is there outside of us.
NO ONE CREATED A WORLD AND US WITHIN IT.
We are the disturbances which produce disturbances, understand disturbances and live with disturbances.
Object that is perceived is the disturbance (Vikalpa); perceiving mind is a disturbing mechanism; and world is just a continuous process of disturbances. It is SAVIKALPA.
Brahman is NIRVIKALPA.
Brahman-state is a state without the disturbances of the perceived.
Brahman-state is a state without the disturbances of the perceived.
A JeevanMukta lives as the ‘Brahman state which is intelligent and knows itself as Nirvikalpa’.
Mukti is a state that you can achieve where your mind acts just as a tool of seeing the disturbances (objects); but stays quiet and silent, freed of all disturbances.
Mukti is not the silent state of sounds but the silent state without disturbances.
Vasishta Siddhartha also holds on to the view - दृष्टिरेव सृष्टिः ‘perception alone is the creation’.
When you perceive; the world instantly is there for you as per the desire-level, the brain ability, and the body and mind illnesses, or any other factor that affects your mind.
Even the objects do not exist if you do not contact them with your senses.
Only when you see they get images; only when you smell they have their fragrance; only when you hear they get sounds; only when you touch they produce hardness or softness.
Sound, hardness, shapes etc are not the qualities of the object but the differentiation method used by your brain to produce objects as sense perceptions.
We are bound by these sense perceptions like buried inside a coffin where the sense-perceptions smother us with false information of Reality.
We do not ever know of anything outside of these sense perceptions that always reside in our minds.
We are buried alive inside these sense perceptions.
We do not know what is there across the boundary of sense perceptions.
Reality is blocked by these sense perceptions.
This is the bondage; that we cannot know anything beyond what the senses inform us.
To see beyond these sense perceptions with the eye of Knowledge like Shiva is Mukti.
Vasishta promises to give us the third eye which will turn all of us into Three-eyed Knowers.
RAMA AS A STUDENT OF VASISHTA
Rama here is a prince on the threshold of youth, for the first time getting exposed to such abstract truths. So he will not act like the God with an all knowing smile, but will ask questions befitting his age.
When he first meets Vasishta he is in a deep depression state. All his questions will be reflecting his negative attitude towards life.
He also sees the same solid world around him like us. Just like it is not easy to convince us of the non-existence of the world around us, it is not easy for Vasishta to convince Rama too. That is why he has to slowly drag Rama’s mind from the negative state to a positive state and interest him with stories and teach him the Self-knowledge.
Sage Vasishta handles Rama very delicately, once scolding, once praising, once joking, but always carefully raising his self-confidence and guiding him towards the Supreme goal.
The conversation which took place for eighteen days finishes off with leaving Rama in an equal level with many a great Sage. Anyhow, Rama might have craved for the forest life so much at this stage of his life, that he spent all his years of youth in the forest only.
In this section first Vasishta removes the entire philosophical luggage that Rama might have gathered in the course of his Teertha Yaata the holy tour and leads him towards the state of Supreme Knowledge with correct instructions about Brahman.