From the Jacket
Yogvasistha or Yogavasistha Maharamayana is reputed to consist of 32,000 slokas. According to the late Sri Bhagavan Das, Pandit Vrndavana Sarasvata of Banaras who passed away in the year 1905 had read through this great work 165 times and the work consists of 64,000 lines i.e. 32,000 slokas. However, the printed editions consist of nearly 28,000 slokas. The complete edition is perhaps available in private collections.
It is not easy to condense such a great book of Vedanta, often referred to in appreviative terms, by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and other sages and scholars. There is an abridgement known as Laghu Yogavasistha consisting of 6000 slokas. Sri Vasistha Sangraha which forms the text of this publication is a condensation of the original in 1698 slokas. Sri swami Janananda Bharathi who made this compilation, maintaining the continuity and retaining the flow of the teaching, should have read the Yogavasistha several times and mastered it, as a perusal of the work will show.
THE ESSENCE OF YOGAVASISTHA the fifth book in the Samata Series of Spiritual Classics, meets the felt need of many seekers of knowledge in India and abroad. The language of the text as of other scriptural texts in Sanskrit is as simple as the thought is subtle and inspiring.
Yogavasishtha or Yogavasishtha Maharamayana is reputed to consist of 32,000 slokas. According to the late Sri Bhagavan Das, Pandit Vrndavana Sarasvata of Benares who passed away in the year 1905 had read through this great work 165 times "and the work consists of 64,000 lines" i.e. 32,000 slokas. However, the printed editions consist of nearly 28,000 slokas. The complete edition is perhaps available in private collec- tions. We request readers of this book to help us obtain a copy of the complete edition, if available, to enable us to publish it for the benefit of the reading public.
It is not easy to condense such a great book of Vedanta, often referred to in appreciative terms, by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and other sages and scholars. There is an abridgement known as Laghu Yogavasishtha consisting of 6,000 slokas. Sri Vasishthasangraha which forms the text of this publication is a condensation of the original in 1,698 slokas. Sri Swami Jnanananda Bharati who made this compilation, maintaining the continuity and retaining the flow of the teaching, should have read the Yogavasishtha several times and mastered it, as a perusal of the work will show. We wish to thank the Jagadgurus of Sri Sringeri Jagadguru Samsthanam for their gracious permission to utilise their publication Vasishthasangraha in this new publication of ours. We are grateful to Sri Samvid for making available to us his English translation of Vasishthasangraha.
Here is a faithful and close English translation of Sri Gnanananda Bharati's condensation of the Yoga Vasishta. It is redolent with the vibrations of sincerity in the Quest, passion for communication with fellow-seekers tempered by the rectitude and austerity of the subject and a deep, overmastering concern to reflect and point to the original always. And the original is a cluster of the rays from the source (Gnana Vasishtha) trailing clouds of the glory of the Vast and Deathless Sun of Atma Vidya inducing inevitably contempla- tion upon, consecration to and communion with That. "Knowledge waits seated beyond mind and intellectual reasoning, throned in the luminous vast of illimitable self-vision." The call is to pass beyond knowings and be the Light, beyond enjoyings and be the Bliss. The discerning reader has the necessary spring-board and launching-pad in the translation which helps him enter into the luminous Rocket of' Bharati's Sangraha which in its turn lofts him to land in Sun-belts of Knowledge and Moon-belts of Delight. Let the Sadhaka join in the greatest adventure of Consciousness and Joy.
The Yogavaasishtha also known as the jnaanavaasishtha, IS a well-known text of Vedaanta. Though narrated in the style of the Puraana-s, it is deeply philosophical in content and rational in its approach to Truth and Reality. The original Samskrta work which is ascribed to sage Vaalmeeki himself consists of nearly 30,000 verses. A smaller version of the original called the "Laghu Yogavaasish tha", was compiled by one Abhinandana of Kashmir and contains about 6,000 verses. In this abridgement, the verses are reproduced ver- batim from the bigger one, deleting lengthy descriptive portions and digressions not immediately relevant to the subjects discussed. Both the bigger and smaller works have been translated into English and other languages.
The name of the work derives from the fact that it is in the form of replies given by Vasishtha to the queries of Sree Raama, the Avataara and the hero of the famous epic Raamaayana. Raama's questions relate to problems of human existence-life and death, human suffering, the way to abiding happiness, etc. The work has been universally acclaimed as a treatise par excellence on the eternal truths of Vedaanta presented in a manner at once rational, homely and easy of grasp. In this book, there are no dogmas or assertions on which we are called upon to place our blind faith. Though clothed in the garb of a Puraanic narration with fabulous stories for elucidating deep philosophical truths, one could sense the spirit running throughout this grand work, viz., relentless pursuit of Truth and a rational exposition of Reality. The whole work is written in soulful poetry with great Iiterary excellence. It abounds in descrip- tions of Nature and other narratives in a diction which is at once poetic and elevating.
The work might be considered by some, to be intended for the chosen few who have the intellectual and spiritual development capable of discerning the grand truths expounded by its different narratives. But, in the words of the book itself, it is neither intended for those worldly-minded who wallow in this phenomenal world of sorrow and ignorance indifferent to spiritual truths, nor for those highly evolved souls who. have realised the Truth or have well advanced towards discovering the Ultimate Reality. It is written for the benefit of those who have become indifferent to the lure. of this evanescent worldly life and aspire for the realisation of Truth or Reality, here and now.
The original work is divided into six sections titled:- 1. Dispassion 2. Aspiration 3. Origin 4. Existence 5. Quiescence and 6. Liberation. Each section elucidates the timeless Truth of Vedaanta, through a number of stories. Abstruse philosophical ideas and the deep truths of Vedaanta are presented in a manner easy of grasp by the aspirer after Truth without dogmatic assertions and without offending his rational instincts.
But the lay-out and the narrative way of presenting the Truths have still remained factors preventing the intense study and appre- ciation which the work rightly deserves. A very learned Sannyaasin, by name Sree Jnaanaananda Bhaaratee Svaamin, who was a disciple of Jagadguru Sree Sankaraachaarya of Srngagiri Matha, condensed the work into about 1,700 verses and recast the six sections of the original work into 32 chapters, each containing a few sub-sections. In fact, this work is a marvel of condensation. All the essential teachings of the original have been condensed almost in the words of the original work itself presenting a logical and excellent exposi- tion of the Truths without sacrificing clarity. An English translation of this work is not available. It was thought by the author that a lucid English translation containing the sense and spirit of the original would be welcomed by the large number of spiritual seekers in India and abroad. An attempt has been made to present the import and spirit of the original verses through a literal translation as far as it was possible to do so in a foreign tongue whose idiom differs considerably from that of Samskrta. In the translation, implied words are given within brackets. Alternative meanings are also given within brackets, preceded by the word "or". This may be con- sidered irksome, but was found necessary to present the import of the original as faithfully as possible. A Samskrta word has different shades of meaning and oftentimes, a single English word may not do justice to the full significance of the Samskrta word concerned.
It is hoped that this presentation of this immortal classic titled "The Essence of Yogavaasishtha" will serve as a guiding light to the many seekers after Truth, especially those who wish to comprehend, meditate on and realise the Timeless Truth enshrined in the Vedaanta.
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