About the Book:
The yoga or contemplative philosophy of the Hindus is rich, exuberant, grand and sublime, in as much as it comprehends within its ample sphere and deep recesses of mediation, all that is of the greatest value, best interest and highest importance to mankind as physical, moral, intellectual and spiritual beings a knowledge of the cosmos of the physical and intellectual worlds.
The principal Gods Brahma and Siva are represented as Yogis the chief sages Vyasa. Valmiki, Vasistha and Yajnavalkya were propounders of Yoga system; the saints one and all were adepts in yoga. Yogavasistha is the greatest work of the Yoga-philosophy by Valmiki known by several names. This work has six chapter known as prakaranas as 1. Vairagava prakarana, 2. Mumuksu vyahara prakarana, 3. Utpatti prakarana, 4. Sthiti prakarana, 5. Upasama prakarana 6. Nirvana prakarana.
The present Edition of the translator Vihari Lal Mitra comes from a Bengali Background, his dicta is sometimes found impressed with Bengali accent. This is why he has written sattva as sottva, arghya as orghya, asattva as asuttva, etc. at all such places, a correct rendering of spellings has been made by the present editor without having leaned to Bengali accent. The translator has mistaken Samadhi for hypnotism, hence to avoid confusion Samadhi has been rendered as Samadhi for lack on any synonym thereof. Since this and other Yogic terms are peculiar to Sanskrit and they don't have their exact equivalences in other languages of the world. The old English usage sometimes takes its course I the translation in land so the present editor has replaced all such usages by the modest terms available in English languages. Some stanzas were also not translated there according to Sanskrit text of Nirvana Sagar edition. So, for the benefit of the readers those have been translated by editor.
The most conspicuous feature of the present edition is that it contains the Sanskrit text in original along with the English translation complete in all respects. Hope the present edition would by capable of fulfilling the long felt and most ardent need of the readers and researchers.
Yogavasistha is known by several names e.g. Maharamayana, Arsaramayana, Vasistaramayana, Jnanavasistha or Vasistha. This work has six chapters known as prakaranas as under-
1. Vairagya prakarana
2. Mumuksu vyahara prakarana
3. Utpatti prakarana
4. Sithiti prakarana
5. Upasama prakarana
6. Nirvana prakarana
Nirvana prakarana is further divided into two part paravardha (first half) Uttararha (second half) As per description of Yogavasistha this work contains 32,000 slokas
Mosksopayabhidhaneyam Samhita sarasammita
Trimsat deva ca saharani Jnata nirvanadayini.
But the available editions do not contain the prescribed number of verses.
The manuscript of Yogavasistha preserved in the India office literary of London contains: 28660 slokas. The Yogavasistha published from Nirnaya sagar press Bombay contains 27687 slokas. Thought several other manuscript are available but all of them are incomplete and fragmentary. From time to time scholars have been producing the Yogavasistha in fragments as per their interests and objectives. Today Yogavasishta is available in the market in the following pocket size edition e.g.
Jnavasistha samuccaya etc.
We come across several commentaries on Yogavasistha. Advayaranya son of Narahari attempted his commentary on the Yogavasistha in the name of Vasistha Ramayana-candrika. In nineteenth century Ananda Bodhendra Sarasvati the disciple of Ganga Dharenddra wrote in Tatparya Tika on yogavasistha. Gangadharendra wrote two bhasya on it. Madhava sarasvati Pada Candrika commentary on this work.
Yogavasistha is a vast and bulk size work. in fact it is composed of several upalkhyanas which mainly contributed to its vast size. There are 53 important Upakhyanas in this work. they are as under.
1. The story of yogavasistha 2. The conversation between Rama and vasistha 3. The story of suka 4. Vasistha story of Origin and acquisition of knowledge. 5. The story of Akasaja 6. The story of Lila. 7. The story of Karkati Raksasi. 8. The story of the sons of Indu Brahmana. 9. The story of Ahilya and Indra. 10. The story of citta. 11. The story of Bala. 12. The story of Indrajala. 13. The story of Sukra. 14. The story of Dama, Vyala and Kata. 15. The story of Bhima Bhasa and Drdha. 16. The story of Dasura. 17. Kacagita. 18. The story of Janaka achieving Jivanmukti. 19. The story of Puny and Pavana. 20. The stories of Bali. 21 Prahalada. 22. Gadhi, 23. Uddalaka, 24. Suraghu 25. Vitahavya, 26. Kak Bhusunda. 27. Queen Cudala and Sikhidhvaja, 28. Isvara, 29. Arjuna, 30. Satarudra. 31. Vetala, 32. Bhagiratha, 33. Rani cudala 34. Kirata, 35. Manikaca, 36. Hastika, 37. Kaca, 38. Iksvaku, 39. A Muni settled in Tuiyavastha 40. Vidyadhara, 41. Indara, 42. Manki 43. Manoharina, 44. Pasana, 45. Vipacit, 46. Vatadhana princes, 47. Sava 48. Sila, 49. Brahmanda, 50. Aindava 51. Bilva, 52. Tapasa, 53. Kasthavaivadhika.
Yogavasistha imfact is the compilation of discourses delivered by the great sage Vasistha to Ram at the time of his assuming the kingship of Ayodhay. Taking the opportunity of that historic occasion Vasistha as per tradition delivered his lecturers on varied topics dealing with spiritually origin of cosmos and human beings attainment of moska through yoga and Samadhi. The present treatise is bulkier in size and shape than Ramayana. It sheds an ample good light on the time period of Rama social customs and Vedic rituals prevalent by then. It also helps unravel the mysteries of creation decreation ad Avataras. It help in ascertaining the geographical limits i.e. longitudes and latitudes of various places during that period. Valmiki is the author of this earliest great work on yoga.
Monier Williams in the his work on India wisdom took notice of this work as under:
“There is a remarkable work called Vasistha Ramayana or yoga vasistha or vasistha Maharamayana in the form of an exhortation with illustrative narratives addressed by Vasistha to his pupil the youthful Rama on the best means of attaining true happiness and considered to have been composed as an appendage to the Ramayana by Valmiki himself. There is another work of the same nature called the Adhyatam Ramayana which is attributed to Vyasa and treat of the moral and theological subjects connected with the life and acts of the great hero of Indian history. Many other works are extant in the vernacular dialects having the same theme for their subject which is needless to notice in this place.”
Vasistha known as the wisest of sages puts forth in the first part the great question of the vanity of the world which is shown synthetically to a great length form the state of all living existences the instinct inclinations and passions of men the nature of their aims and objects with some discussions about destiny necessity activity and the state of the soul and spirit. The second part embraces various directions for the union of the individual with the universal consciousness the subjective the objective truth and the common topics of yoga philosophy.
While narrating the stories of creation and decreation Kaka Bhusunda has repeatedly been quoted as the previous authority whose tradition been described as the witness off all the change and alteration in the natural course.
Clarification regarding Kaka Bhusunda: it is often considered in the Puranaika circles that Kaka Busunda was a bird crow but this was not the case. Kaka Bhusunda was the name of person. Keeping in view the same notion regarding Kaka Bhusunda the present translator has unnecessarily applied the terms like and bird crow etc. to this name while the actual author of the verses had no such mention thereof. Moreover wherever the words like vayasa or khaga have been used by the author they only denote the bhudunda as a man styled and addressed as with attributive epithets khaga or vayasa due to similarity of his name to the bird crow.
In fact there has been the tendency of the interpreters of Sanskrit texts to put literal translation of each and every word whether it is a proper name too. I have come across good deal of examples of this type of tendency. The interpreter of Rgveda have also translated literally the name of the seers into their translated version e.g. sata vaikhanas has been translated as Hundred Vaikhanas. Some other translators of panctantra have translated the proper name puspdanta as flower truth. Actually these are the examples of sheer folly on the part of translators. How can one translator hazara singh as thousand lion. Similarly in present context it is necessary to observe that Kaka is the name and it should not be translated as crow.
To acquaint the readers with the type of knowledge disseminated by Yogavasistha. We render her under a few of the contents.
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