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Book details
  • Genre:RELIGION
  • SubGenre:Spirituality
  • Language:English
  • Pages:570
  • eBook ISBN:9780985098803

Sri Yoga Vasishtha

The Spiritual Dialogue Between Sri Ramchandra And Sri Vasishtha

by Dr R. M. Hari

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SRI YOGA VASISHTHA, a comprehensive spiritual dialogue between Sri Ramchandra and Sri Vasishtha, is a unique work of Indian Philosophy and a well-known text of Vedanta. It offers practical guidance to true seekers of all types. The original text in Sanskrit by Sri Valmiki and its subsequent translations are very voluminous. Realising its importance Dr R.M. Hari prepared an abridged version of Sri Yoga Vasishtha in question and answer form. It follows the order of the original Sanskrit text. Referring to Sri Yoga Vasishtha in a lecture delivered in the U.S.A. in 1904, the great Indian saint Swami Rama Tirtha had said. "One of the greatest books, the most wonderful according to Rama ever written under the Sun is 'Yoga Vasishtha' which nobody on the earth can read without escaping God consciousness." Dr R.M. HARI (1912-80) was a great Sufi saint. His own life bore a testimony to what is contained in the text and it symbolised equanimity. desirelessness, contentment and egolessness. He was thus competent to prepare a simplified and abridged version.
Sri Yoga Vasishtha is a very well known book in India, especially among those who are keen to acquire salvation. No other book can help an aspirant better in his progress towards spirituality. It teaches explicitly the oneness (non-duality) of Atma and establishes firmly that there is no difference between man and God — jiva and Brahm. Studying this book earnestly and following the path it suggests, an aspirant who is physically active and has sharp understanding can attain salvation. The book offers practical guidance to true seekers of all types. But mere reading and glancing through the pages will be of no avail. Only those aspirants, who are true seekers of the Truth and have an urge for liberation and practise yoga, can understand the subtle points described in the book and derive benefit. The ignorant can also benefit provided they are honest and keen to realise the Truth. Diligent study of the book will help them to build up their lives under the guidance of able masters. Rishi Valmiki, one of the greatest sages of India, has highly esteemed this book and called it Maha Ramayana since it contains all the secrets and subtle knowledge about Atma. He who studies this book intently and tries to understand it either by himself or through a master and practises yoga with full faith, will surely attain the true knowledge and become liberated from the bondages of the material world. Sri Yoga Vasishtha presents a detailed dialogue on Atmagyan, between Sri Ramchandra, the disciple, and Sri Vasishtha Muni, the master, wherein the master explains all the methods to attain salvation. Sri Ramchandra, though he was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and a perfect being, acted like an ignorant being for the benefit of the worldly people and sought guidance of his master on true knowledge of Atma. The methods described are practical, and only diligent seekers can take advantage of them. How Lord Vishnu was reincarnated as Sri Ramchandra is a long story narrated in the scriptures. It will suffice here to say that Lord Vishnu, accepting the curses of some sages, took upon himself the role of Sri Ramchandra and acting like an ordinary ignorant person attained true knowledge through his perfect master. The dialogue was first recorded by Rishi Valmiki in Sanskrit. It gives a thorough explanation and guidance for Self-realisation, but in a complicated manner. It is very difficult to comprehend and assimilate these subtle ideas with our present limited understanding. Hence all efforts have been made in the present book to simplify it so as to enable persons of ordinary understanding treading the spiritual path to attain salvation. The fundamental point about the Truth and the untruth, or what is Brahm (God Infinite) and what is manifestation, has been very well explained. The original text in Sanskrit is divided into six sections, one each on dispassion (vairagya*), liberation (moksha), creation (utpatti), phenomenal or illusory aspect of all manifestations (sthiti), quiescence of mind (upashanti) and nirvana (Atmagyan). It comprises thirty-two thousand verses, each helpful to the seeker of the Truth. There is a considerable repetition in the content, the reason being that without repetition the divine and subtle things are not clearly established in the mind. In the present book, however, repetitions have been avoided as far as possible, yet at places repetitions have been felt necessary for a clear comprehension. It has been proved by practical examples that all manifestations perceived physically or mentally are illusory, except Atma — God Infinite — which is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. Those who merely talk about Atma and only theoretically preach the illusory aspects of the material world are deceiving themselves because it takes hard practices for ages to realise the Truth.
About the author
A Brief Life Sketch DR R.M. HARI was born at Rohri, Sind, Pakistan on 30 April, 1912. His father Sai (Dr) Rochaldas Sahib was a saint of a very high realisation. The atmosphere at home was pious and holy. Sadhus and fakirs were frequent visitors at home and they were always treated and served with respect. Dr Hari, therefore, had the privilege of being in holy environments since his birth. He had his schooling at Municipal High School, Rohri. He then passed the examinations in Homoeopathy and became a qualified homoeopath physician. Following in the footsteps of his father and preceptor, Sai (Dr) Rochaldas Sahib, Dr Hari also decided to do free charitable homoeopathic service. He never invited donations or subscriptions for his living or the dispensary. He fully surrendered himself to the Lord, and the Lord took care of him throughout his life. He always helped the needy. Out of love and respect, he was also addressed as Dada Sai. The life of Dada Sai is a unique example. His basic approach was 'evolution, progress and enlightenment within and secrecy and anonymity outside'. He always concealed himself and avoided display and ostentation. He would not hesitate in inviting criticism to safeguard spiritual secrecy and anonymity. He never sat down as a head of a congregation to deliver a sermon. At times Dada Sai chose to live in an aristocratic manner and had the experience of everything in the world. He had a very fine taste and liked everything in a gracious and exquisite manner. He visited many countries in the world. Those who saw him were astonished. On the other hand he also lived such a simple and austere life totally devoid of material comforts and in great anonymity that those around him were dumbfounded. For him all states were alike, he was even-minded in all conditions. For him, joy and sorrow, and acceptance and rejection, were all alike. He never approached anybody for help, and yet he was always helpful and generous to others. He was humble and free from ego. He never spoke ill of anybody. Dada Sai lived a full life as a householder. He was very meticulous in everything he did. He was always engrossed in activities of one kind or another — medical practice, reading and writing books, housekeeping, attending to family members and guests, extensive tours at home and abroad, visiting saints and places of pilgrimage, innovation and experimentation in herbal medicines, magnetic therapy, and gems therapy. He took personal interest in raising and care of birds and bushes. Every action was done with a keen sense of beauty, etiquette, orderliness and discipline, and yet devoid of any attachment. All his children received proper university education and were fixed in different vocations in life in India and outside India. Dada Sai was specially interested in extensive tours. Since his childhood he had accompanied his father to various places of pilgrimage, shrines and abodes of saints and holy persons. He was always fearless. He toured the jungles of Himalayas alone on foot. One day while he was resting under a tree in a jungle in the Himalayas, a huge wild bear came up to him and was about to attack him. Dada Sai remained calm and unmoved. He just fixed his gaze in the eyes of the wild bear. The bear too kept gazing at him, at a distance of only a few feet. Dada Sai showed no signs of fear. After about 15 minutes when the bear got tired and Dada Sai made no movement of eyes, it turned its back and went away. Once Dada Sai went unarmed into a habitation of aggressive tribals in the mountains in Baluchistan. At first, the tribals attacked him and were about to kill him. But Dada Sai attracted and befriended them so well that he was made to live as their guest for many a day. Dada Sai was always cheerful, smiling and contended. There was a special attraction on his face. He was tall, fair and well-built. He always dressed as a simple ordinary man and did not put on a saintly garb, or dressed himself as a priest or a monk. His dwelling place was very simple and had no semblance of a shrine or a temple. He was a man of few words and spoke very little. He was a very good listener. When engaged informally in a discussion, he would become very lively and the whole room would echo with fun and laughter. When anybody approached him with a personal problem, Dada Sai would engage him in fun and laughter and discuss matters so indirectly by quoting other examples, etc that the person would feel lighter and get necessary advice without Dada Sai making it explicit. Dada Sai would help others without allowing his ego to arise in any manner. Dada Sai was a voracious reader. He had a very good collection of holy books of all religions including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Sufism, and also biographies of saints and fakirs etc. He was also familiar with various branches of knowledge. If someone talked to him on a topic on engineering, science, trade, commerce, music, art, etc he could discuss these with ease and great understanding. Though he was familiar with various branches of knowledge, Dada Sai maintained a different faith. This he expressed in a letter to one of his children saying, "One has to forget everything and only remember God. Only remembrance is the worship. The mind must be directed to the Lord. All else is perishable and transitory. Only that which helps in attainment of the goal is useful. The cycle of the universe keeps moving. One has to seek liberation by one's endeavour or purushartha. Let the body be with the world, but the mind must be directed to the Lord." His life was a practical demonstration of his faith. Living in the world, he was inwardly different from the world. Once one of his children complained to him that on account of excessive preoccupation with family obligations and official duties, he did not get time for the spiritual pursuits. In reply, Dada Sai said, "Neither office nor family are the obstacles on the spiritual path. Forgetfulness is the only obstacle." He used to advise that a seeker must cooperate and be one with nature. Once a person left his home and put on ochre clothes. Dada Sai did not approve of it and advised that person to return home. The person obeyed Dada Sai and returned to his family. Dada Sai apparently led a quiet life. Nevertheless he felt greatly concerned with the conditions in the world and how the people were dragged away from spiritual pursuits. After the passing away of Sai (Dr) Rochaldas Sahib, Dada Sai devoted himself largely to writing. He first collected from the disciples the notes of the dialogues of his father and Master, Sai (Dr) Rochaldas Sahib, edited them and got them published in six volumes in Sindhi. Thereafter, he wrote in Sindhi a commentary on Shrimad Bhagwad Gita. Then, he prepared in Sindhi a simplified abridged version of Sri Yoga Vasishtha in the form of questions and answers. Dada Sai had a special purpose in preparing the commentary on Shrimad Bhagwad Gita. He believed that Gita Gyan (Atmagyan) was the remedy to the problems of the man. He wanted to establish that there is no distinction between Vedanta and Sufism and said, "Truth is one and the same everywhere, at all times and in all religions, because Truth is that which has no changeableness. The apparent differences between various religions are because of semantic reasons." While explaining the various shlokas in the Gita, he has cited couplets of Sindhi Sufi saints with identical purport. The commentary is based on the personal experiences and realisations of Dada Sai. Because he had himself traversed the various paths, and attained the highest realisation, he was competent to guide others. He believed that Self-realisation is the true goal of human life and no efforts should be spared in this regard. It is a great folly and a misfortune to be oblivious of the true goal. The methods for attaining the goal are given in the Gita and a sincere and earnest seeker endeavouring honestly under the guidance of a preceptor will attain the goal. It requires a constant devoted endeavour for spiritual progress. The goal is to attain the state of 'oneness'. It signifies absorption in Atma, Haq or Allah. He believed that unless a seeker goes beyond the realm of duality and attains to non-duality or oneness, his claims to Self-realisation or realisation of Atma or Haq are in vain. Once a seeker approached Dada Sai and requested him for grace. With great love, Dada Sai replied in a sweet tone, "It is not at all necessary for a seeker to request a fakir for grace, because a fakir is a fountain of grace out of which grace spouts without a break. All that is needed is that the seeker becomes fit to receive grace and benefit by that. If the seeker is fit, the fakir will force his grace upon him, because that is the nature of a fakir. A seeker must have full faith in his satguru and be obedient to him." He prepared an English translation of his commentary on Shrimad Bhagwad Gita, the work which he completed in January, 1980. Then he initiated work on translation of the abridged edition of Sri Yoga Vasishtha from Sindhi to English. By this time, his health received a severe set-back. Dada Sai developed heart trouble in February 1980. He had treatment for some time but that did not help. He left his mortal frame on 21 March, 1980. Thereafter, his eldest son, Sri H. M. Damodar was consecrated to the spiritual seat. The ceremony was performed by Syed Hazrat Noor Hussain Shah, sajjadah-nashin, Dargah Sahib Sai Qutab Ali Shah, Tando Jahanya, Hyderabad, Sind, Pakistan. A simple samadhi of Dada Sai has been set up at the place where he lived, along with the samadhi of Sai Rochaldas Sahib at Barrack No. 1194, Shanti Nagar, Ulhas Nagar-3, Dist. Thane (near Bombay), Maharashtra State.