The Yog Vasishtha

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photo by adzla

As most readers know, I started my path through Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He’s had a strong influence on my perspective as he brought great clarity to ancient philosophy and enlightenment.

Maharishi spent a great deal of time translating the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutra in the 60s and early 70s (they have not published most of it). But it turns out much of Maharishi’s later programs came out of the Yog Vasishtha.

The Yog Vasishtha is an ancient text describing the teachings of the sage Vasishtha to prince Rama. It is the core text of the Ramayana, the story of Rama’s life. Astronomical events suggest this unfolded about 8,000 years ago. Physical evidence of some events remain, like the bridge from India to Sri Lanka, found underwater in satellite imagery.

Recently, I’ve been researching the full text of the Yog Vasishtha (over 3,000 pages) further. The abridged version that focuses on the main stories is reasonable reading, such as the book I mention on the Recommended tab. However, when the full text explores process details, the topics are barely recognizable in the translations I’ve seen.

I heard a talk recently by scholar Peter Freund who had gone back to the original Sanskrit and was exploring the text in light of what Maharishi taught.ย 

The text evidently describes the benefits of having 5% of the population meditating, the structure of the modern TM-sidhis program, the benefits of having groups of people practicing yogic flying together, explores the stages of flying and how to support them, and the establishment of Ram Raj, an ideal society.

Yet most of that is lost in translation. In my copy, the translator even objects to the possibility of yogic flying, concluding they were “flying” in their mind. That makes little sense of the text. For example, why would the queen express concern about flying in front of her dismissive husband if it was all in her head?

We’ve lost much of the understanding of this old science of consciousness. Maharishi did a major revival of its principles but most of those enacting it are unaware of this source. It will be fascinating to see how this evolves. There is so much wisdom yet to be revived.

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  1. Jim

    Yes, an excellent post, David!

    I have been researching (for about 43 years) the dynamics of how this global transition is made quickly to a more enlightened world. My conclusion is that just as the living mantras of the TM technique lead to individual purification, those living Brahman have an identical effect on the planet. First local, now global. As relentless, mechanical, and inevitable as any TM mantra, leading the world to its enlightened state, its natural state in union; Global Yoga.

    There are some hidden Celestial “mechanics” that come lovingly along for the ride in order to endlessly multiply the effects of Brahman. More importantly, the hallmarks or symptoms of Brahman, the absence of both fear and expectation, and the triumph over death, gives those living Brahman a momentum for purification that is as powerful on the global body, as the TM mantras are individually.

    In other words it is the living of Brahman which is the source of the power to directly and effortlessly change the world. Because perfect symmetry between a human being and the Divine Mother is lived in Brahman, none of the inertia which is a natural part of relative life applies to actions in Brahman. The result is that they are as powerful as humanly possible. Beyond comprehension, except for the known desire, Global Brahman, World Peace.

    So the relationships and formulae laid out in the Yog Vashistha become part and parcel of our new global reality, both supporting those journeying to Brahman, and incorporating such intelligence into society. A maintenance manual for an enlightened planet.

    Global Victory, as I like to call it, is completely inevitable these days! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Beautiful, Jim
      I’ve found that not everyone in Brahman has a full rendition of it. For example, is the refinement present to allow engaging those mechanics? But yes, in time, the integration and maturation unfold to allow supporting the global unfolding.

      I’ve also noted that everyone is a unique rendition. This becomes most distinctive post-Brahman. Then their gifts can truly shine.

      1. Jim

        Thank you, David!

        “Iโ€™ve found that not everyone in Brahman has a full rendition of it.”

        Thanks for mentioning this, as it appears to be a very curious statement from my perspective, worthy of deeper investigation. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Brahman, or Totality, is by definition a mastery of consciousness. it is where we live once the Self in UC is transcended (or the SELF as Lorne referred to it).

        The sacred geometry is such that we now dwell [in Brahman] spiritually beyond consciousness, both fixed and free, between the wholeness of consciousness, and the Divine Mother.

        To be ignorant of this means Brahman may be seen and felt somehow, but it is not yet a ripened Heart. So it cannot be Brahman.

        To be Brahman, the Celestial Host is both known and consciously engaged for the fulfillment of desires. Not like it is some big flowery deal when acting in this way, just that the dynamics and scope of action are radically different, compared to all the states of consciousness. Billions of times more powerful than UC.

        Without this conscious and established Celestial connection, Brahman might as well be a plaque on the wall. ๐Ÿ™‚ The full surrender, the triumph over death and relativity has not yet occurred, so it cannot be considered Brahman; Totality. It is not yet acting as a child of the Divine Mother.

        You also bring up a good point about the individual diversity of those living Brahman, that it is the state of Being, not the individual, that brings about such powerful changes in the world, even though how these are worked on and expressed are deeply personal, dependent on likes, dislikes, history, and dharma.

        So Brahman, fully expressed, is the one state of Being that becomes equivalent in terms of planetary purification, to a person meditating with a TM mantra for themselves. A one to one relationship, living Brahman to planetary purification.

        To call some unexpressed state as Brahman, is like equating TC, the first glimpse of light within, to CC, where it is stabilized in activity. We either fit the geometric definition, or we don’t.

        The reason I emphasize this is because this state of living Brahman, is distinct not only in terms of geometry, but also capability, and Brahman without the capability of the Celestial Host is what? Not Brahman, not Totality. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Thank you!

        1. Hi Jim
          I agree but what you describe is a fully realized expression of it. For some, Brahman is very clear and builds on a bed of clear consciousness and deep refinement. But it’s not this way for others right away.

          This is somewhat akin to CC/ Self Realization. For some, the shift is clear and they are soon living Sat Chit Ananda. But for others, this is much quieter, there is uncertainty, and the flowering is more gradual. The shift has taken place but it takes them longer to settle in.

          It is very possible to transcend consciousness into Brahman without a lot of refined perception yet developed. I’ve seen people have their GC process post-Brahman, for example.

          At some point, I suspect they get get to what you describe. But the pace is very different for some than others, for various reasons.

          Certainly, they’re not living Totality if it’s not yet fully established. But that doesn’t mean the shift hasn’t happened.

          If someone enters an arena but is still in the change rooms, they’re in the arena but may not be on the playing field yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

              1. Jim

                Hi David, Thank you for following this thought of mine to its conclusion with me. ๐Ÿ™‚

                Early on in my investigation into Brahman, I made an assumption about the net purifying ability of one living Brahman, to be even at its zenith, less than global, practically speaking.

                Oopie. ๐Ÿ™‚ Then I forgot such a limitation had been quietly transcended through ongoing experience, and continued to work it into all sorts of future scenarios. Snared by Tamas! Haha

                As I discovered through this dialog with you, and confirmed through reflection, Brahman truly does have the power of billions of UCs. Easily seen mathematically too. This has allowed me to adjust my scale, and consequently favorably re-calibrate any desires for World Peace, unencumbered! Funny how that works. ๐Ÿ™‚

                Thank you again, and All Blessings to you!

                1. You’re welcome, Jim. I find the same from some of the questions here and other discussions. They can trigger insights in all sorts of directions.

                  I’d have to say Unity has the biggest range of potency though. Early Unity is an expansion from Self Realization. But higher layers of Unity command a much larger field such as into the cosmic body, etc. And then, as you mention, Brahman goes beyond even the cosmic…

    1. Well – the ideal way would be reading the original Sanskrit. ๐Ÿ™‚

      There is no reasonable English translation of the full text I’m aware of. The copy I have seems to even confuse Self Realization with sleep. (laughs)

      It is worth reading the stories from the text though. I’ve written several articles on sections of the book I mention on the recommended tab.

  2. Herwig

    Very interesting topic. There is quite a discrepancy between what exists and what has been published. I was lucky to to see Maharishi live on quite a few occasions in the seventies.

    As far as I could see, from 1972 on, when he recorded the โ€œScience of Creative Intelligenceโ€ course on video tape, virtually everything he said, even in smaller meetings, was videotaped. And before that everything was always audio taped.

    Where is all the stuff? And who has got his hands on it?

    1. Hi Herwig
      I’m not really the person to ask. From what I understand, there is an effort underway in the TM org to digitize those old tapes. Some are in rough shape. But I think it’s largely being done by volunteers. Dr Freund discovered the above references from a brief remark when doing just that.

      The audio tapes are a somewhat different story as many had copies. Several people digitized their collections, then an effort was made to consolidate them. And then to distribute copies of the master archive.

      The old course tapes are with International. Have no idea on that front.

  3. Carl Smuda

    Do you have any recommendations on how one can be initiated into the Sidhis? ( LOL ) it’s been 42 years since I was initiated into TM, but getting the Sidhis is still on my bucket list. Should I be planning on going through the TM movement or are there people out there who could initiate me?

    1. Hi Carl
      Most orgs avoid the siddhis and few were trained to teach them. As mentioned, this understanding was lost.

      One option I’m aware of – they’re easier and cheaper to get if you’re a MUM student. Alas, they don’t have the first year overview program anymore. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Carl Smuda

    ๐Ÿ™‚ I remember Tom S. running off “to get the siddhis.” Forever enshrined in my high school year book is my life goals: yogic flying, manifestation of physical objects, and invisibility. LOL. Not a MUM student, do not know what the first year overview is. I do seriously respect most orgs avoid them. Are they to be avoided because we’ve lost understanding?

    1. (laughs) Invisibility has been dropped from the current practice. But not to worry. They have a tendency to show up as required and when it’s suitable.

      When they first launched the university, the first year was dedicated to an overview of the major fields of knowledge. They use the block system, so there was short courses on physics, art history, chemistry, literature, and so on. They don’t do that now.

      The sidhhis have been thought to be distractions. Yet most orgs don’t have techniques that lead to reliable samadhi. Thats required for Samyama, the technique used with the siddhis. I wrote about the topic last year.

    1. Ah, interesting Lori. Sounds like he’s gone back to the original Sanskrit and early commentaries to draw out the stages and ways to help develop them. We’ll see if it bears fruit.

      Once someone is awake, there is refinement in the technique possible as we can much more precisely place the sutra where it’s most potent.

      You’re welcome. Thanks for mentioning this.

    2. I got feedback from another reader who knows Heinz. This is apparently a self-styled guru scenario where he’s experimenting on his students without the support of the tradition of Masters.

      Such things tend to amplify personality issues and indicate a lack of refinement. His translations might be interesting but I’d be careful about his techniques.

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