Moved by the Spirit




Swamiji’s Devotees


Quotes from the Source


His Samadhi, Successors






About this Site | Links


For more information,
contact info@shiva.org



Yoga Vasishta Pages


Yoga Vasishta Home

Shivabalayogi & Yoga Vasishta

English Translations

The Underlying Story

Timeless & Historical

The Historical Vasishta

Organization of the Book

Similes & Metaphors

The Essence

Stories in Yoga Vasishta

Nirvana & Living Liberated

Personal Effort

Surplus Sections

Humor in Yoga Vasishta

Narrow Universal Feelings

Words & Terminology

Endless Possibilities

Some Stories from Yoga Vasishta

The Essence of
Yoga Vasishta

Everything exists only in consciousness.  God is consciousness.  There is nothing "material" or "physical" except our ideas of them.  We are so addicted to those ideas that we take them for granted.  That belief in the existence of a physical universe is what the sages call ignorance.

God created nothing tangible or material.  All that seems to exist is only an idea in consciousness.

There are at least three ways to know this truth — logic, ordinary experience (dreams), and God-realization.


Logic involves the implausibility of any other explanation.  Reason and inquiry must conclude that all is God.  If God is all powerful, all knowing, and all present, how can anything exist that is not God?

The process of self-inquiry or discrimination is the path of jnana yoga.  What Vasishta is doing to Rama over twenty-two days is hammering away with self-inquiry.  In modern times, the best known exponent of self-inquiry is Ramana Maharshi.  Shivabalayogi taught meditation and Ramana taught self-inquiry.  They are the same thing.  “Each teaches what his guru taught him.  Ramana Maharshi taught self-inquiry, which is the same thing that Swamiji is teaching.”

Most people would agree that, at least ultimately, "God" is not a physical being.  Therefore, "God" must be spirit.  In the same way, we are spirit.  Spirit is another word for consciousness.  As a matter of ordinary life, we think of ourselves in terms of our physical bodies, but if we explore our own consciousness, we realize that it is not located in the body or even confined to it.  Consciousness is not material and it is implausible to think that God is material.  God is spirit.

The reasoning boils down to this: like can only create like.  If there is a physical reality, something physical must have created it.  But God is spirit.  How can spirit create something physical?  It is simpler and more logical to assume that everything exists only in consciousness.  “The essence of consciousness is not material so it cannot be the cause of a material thing.”  (VIB.55.2)  It is impossible for spirit to create material.  Therefore material creation is an illusion.  The physical exists only as an idea in consciousness.


Dreams are the ordinary experiences that confirm the truth that only consciousness exists.  “The example of the dream is the best illustration of creation.  You can judge creation well by the nature of the dreams you have every night.”  (VIB.168.20)

“Know, O son of Raghu’s race, that this world is a display of the vast kingdom of your imagination.  It will vanish into nothing when you come to good understanding by the grace of your God.  Then you will see the whole as clearly as the light of the rising sun, and you will know this world is like a creation of your dream.”  (VIA.28.29-31)

“To the clear mind this world appears like an fleeting dream . . ..”  (VIA.67.13-14)

While we dream, the dream appears real and we feel as if we are in some sort of physical reality — albeit one that is very fluid and disorganized.  But when we wake up, we realize that the dream — no matter how real while dreaming — was an illusion, a fanciful creation of the mind and its consciousness.

The only differences between sleep-dreams and awake-dreams are duration and consistency, which relate to the level of consciousness that is doing the dreaming.  Our "awake dream" is lived within a reality that exists in the "mind" of a point of consciousness much closer to "God" than we.  Such consciousness thought up time, duality, atoms, and physical universes.  Our own levels of consciousness are not quite to that degree of focus and creativity.

Like the stories within stories within stories that permeate Yoga Vasishta, we live in a dream within a dream within a dream, ad infinitum.

When we die, we wake up from our life-dream and, at least for a moment, realize it was all a dream.  But then our minds start thinking and we create another life-dream for ourselves.  And, because there is no time or space, all this is all going on simultaneously.

“My Heart wants you awake.  I see you suffer in your dream and I know that you must wake up to end your woes.  When you see your dream as dream, you wake up.  But in your dream itself I am not interested.  Enough for me to know that you must wake up.  You need not bring your dream to a definite conclusion, or make it noble, or happy, or beautiful; all you need is to realise that you are dreaming.  Stop imagining, stop believing.  See the contradictions, the incongruities, the falsehood and the sorrow of the human state, the need to go beyond.  Within the immensity of space floats a tiny atom of Consciousness, and in it the entire Universe is contained.

— Nisargadatta

Direct Experience

Those who have attained Self-realization experience the truth that everything is a reflection of God, like the appearance of waves is only a reflection of the substance of ocean.  The Self-realized are the spiritual masters beyond all desires and the ordinary limitations of the mind.  Their personal experience, indescribable in words, is that only Divine Consciousness-Bliss exists.

“After egoism and mental powers are extinguished and all feelings in oneself subside, a transcendent ecstasy arises in the soul called divine or perfect joy and bliss.  This bliss is attainable only by yoga meditation and in some ways can be compared to sound sleep.  But it cannot be described with words, O Rama.  It must be perceived in the heart.”  (V.64.51-52)

The personal experiences of yogis confirm that creation is only consciousness, like a dream.  “Rama, I have told you all this from my own personal perception and not by any guesswork.  Through their purely intelligent bodies, yogis like ourselves have come to the clear sight of these things in nature which are otherwise unknowable to the material body or mind.  Thus the world of which I have spoken appears to us as in a dream, and not in any other aspect as it is viewed by others.”  (VIB.128.1-2)

“There is truly only consciousness in reality.  All other existence is truly consciousness and full of consciousness.  The mind is consciousness, and I, you, and these people are collectively the same consciousness.”  (V.26.11-12)

Most of Yoga Vasishta consists of stories and stories within stories, and these stories illustrate the power of consciousness to travel, experience and create everywhere and everything.  “By the application of a bit of their intelligence, yogis convert the world to empty air or fill the hollow air with the three worlds.”  (IVB.37.73)

“Rama, know that this world is like a dream that is common to all living beings.”  (VIA.52.1)

Yoga Vasishta HOME page │ PREVIOUS page │ NEXT page