Essence of Yoga Vashishtha

From Essence of Yoga, Swami Sivananda Saraswati

The four sentinels that wait at the gates of moksha, salvation, are shanti peace, vichara, spiritual enquiry, santosha, contentment, and satsang, association with the wise. If they are befriended, then there will be no obstacle in the attainment of the final emancipation. Even if one of them is befriended, he will introduce you to the rest of his companions.

If you attain knowledge of the Self or Brahmajnana, you will be freed from the trammels of births and deaths. All doubts will vanish. All karmas will perish. It is through one's own efforts alone that the immortal, all-blissful Brahmic seat can be attained.

About the mind

The slayer of atma, the soul, is the mind only. The form of the mind is sankalpas, will and ideas. The true nature of the mind consists in the vasanas, subtle desires. The actions of the mind alone are truly termed karmas or actions. The universe is nothing but the mind, manifesting as such only through the potency of Brahman. The mind contemplating on the body becomes the body itself and then enmeshed in it, is afflicted by it. The mind manifests itself as the external world in the shape of pains or pleasures. The mind subjectively is consciousness; objectively it is this universe. The mind attains, through its enemy of discrimination, the quiescent state of Para Brahman.

The real bliss is that one which arises when the mind, diverted of all desires through eternal jnana, wisdom, destroys its subtle form. The sankalpas and vasanas, which you generate, enmesh you as in a net. The self-light of Para Brahman alone is appearing as the mind or this universe.

The way to bliss and perfection

Persons without spiritual enquiry will see as real this world which is nothing but of the nature of sankalpa. The expansion of this mind alone is sankalpa. Sankalpa, through its power of differentiation, generates this universe. Extinction of sankalpas alone is moksha.

The enemy of atma is this impure mind only which is filled with excessive delusion and hosts of worldly thoughts. There is no other vessel of this earth to wade through the ocean of rebirth than the mastery of the antagonistic mind.

The original sprout of the painful ahamkara, egoism, with its tender stem of rebirths at length ramifies itself everywhere with its long branches of 'mine' and 'thine' and yields its unripe fruits of death, disease, old age, pains and sorrows. This tree can be destroyed at its root by the fire of jnana only.

All the heterogeneous visibles perceived through the organs of sense are only unreal but that which is real is Para Brahman or the Supreme Soul. If all objects which have an enchanting appearance become eyesores and present the very reverse of the former feelings, then the mind is destroyed. All your properties are useless. All wealth lands you in dangers. Desirelessness will take you to the eternal blissful abode.

Destroy vasanas and sankalpas.

Kill egoism.

Annihilate this mind.

Equip yourself with the four means.

Meditate on the pure, immortal, all-pervading Self or atma. Get knowledge of the Self and attain immortality, everlasting peace, eternal bliss, freedom and perfection.