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Yoga Vasistham
My Notes

Ch 1-4

Sutikshna goes to Agastya and asks ‘Karma or Jnana – which one gives moksha?’
Agastya: Just as a bird needs both wings, we need both. Story:
Agnivesya had a son Karunya who’s like Dad I give up. Do I do stuff or not, what do I do.
Agnivesya Story:
Suruchi, an apsara saw a messenger of Indra. Where are you going, she asks.
Messenger Story:
Arishtanemi, a great king has now become a sage and is doing tapasya. Pleased with him, Indra offered him a place in heaven. But then Aristanemi was like, ‘Tell me the good things and the bad things about heaven. What is it exactly’
(Btw Arishtanemi is none other than the great sage Kashyapa!)
Indra’s messenger says honestly,’ In heaven too, There are categories. Best people stay there longer, then middle people and then least punyam people until all of it is exhausted and they come back here’
Arishtanemi – ‘No thanks, I’d rather stay here and I don’t want anything’
Indra impressed sent the messenger back again saying, ‘Talk to Valmiki, if you don’t even want heaven, he will tell you how to get what you want’.
(Messenger is going to take Arishta to Valmiki, when he told all this to Suruchi. All this story inside story highlights the guru shishya parampara that’s essential to this whole brahmavidya)
Arishtanemi meets Valmiki and asks,’ How do I get out of this birth death cycle’
Valmiki determines that Arishtanemi has adhikaram enough to ask this question.
Valmiki story:
(There are 2 parts to Ramayana. Part 1 Story of Rama. And Part 2 is Uttara Ramayana (Yoga Vasishtam) which gives moksha. Don’t confuse it with Uttara Khanda. )
Valmiki – I told Part 1 to my student Bharadwaja. I didn’t tell him Part 2 yet. Bharadwaja went to Mount Meru to meet Brahma and told him Part 1. Brahma was very happy with the tale and offered Bharadwaja a boon.
Bharadwaja – (Same question that Arishtanemi asked.) How do I get out of this cycle? Moksha how.
Brahma – Ok go back to Valmiki and ask him to tell the Ramayana in such a way that you get moksha.
But Brahma wasn’t sure that Bharadwaja got what he said? so Brahma accompanied him.
(I feel like Brahma is very hands on)
Brahma to Valmiki – Write the Ramayana in such a way that men can use it as a raft to cross this ocean of samsara
Valmiki after discussing with Bharadwaja what Brahma’s mysterious message meant, understood that he’s gotta write Part 2.
Story of Valmiki to Bharadwaja – Vashishta yoga (its very meta because Valmiki is telling Arishtanemi too)
Chapter 3&4:
Valmiki: Vasana (super important term, comes up repeatedly. Translates to desires) Vasanas bind us.
2 Types of Vasanas: Shuddha and Malina
Starts Rama’s Story:
Rama wanted to travel, and description of travels, and came back home
Curses Detail:
In order for Rama to come on earth, he needs to acquire some karma? So he accumulated a few curses (don’t know if it was knowingly or unknowingly)
First Curse:
Once upon a time Sri Hari wished to visit Brahma Loka. He went there. Everyone received him with honors and showered hospitality. Sage Sanat Kumara alone did not rise to receive Him to offer respect. Sanat Kumara was enlightened and did not see Sri Hari as separate from himself.
4 brothers, the mind-born sons of Brahma were there, who are forever youthful, Sanat is the prefix of all their names, indicating their perpetual youth. They are the first teachers of Vedanta. That is why they are offered special worship during the Vyasa puja on Guru Purnima. These are first knowers of Vedanta in the world.
Sri Hari was angry that out of arrogance Sanat Kumara did not rise when He entered as a show of respect. He acknowledged that Sage Sanat Kumara was a highly enlightened soul. Yet, He cursed him to be born amidst the shrubs of pampas grass, as Murugan, Lord Subrahmanya. He would be named Sarajanma. He was cursed to be born, as the eternal youth, Kumara, with a specific burning desire to protect the celestials (by killing the demon Tarakasura).
Sanat Kumara once had a dream in which he had participated in a war between the demons and the deities. This incident is narrated in the Chandogya Upanishat. He dreamt that he had participated in a battle between the celestials and the demons to help the celestials. He told his father Brahma about this dream. Brahma said that although he was not supposed to get such dreams, since he had dreamt it, the dream had to come true. He had to be born and remaining ever youthful would have to fight against the demons to give protection to the deities. Since because of this dream it was predestined that Sanat Kumara had to be reborn as Subrahmanya, Sri Hari found this to be the appropriate time for the dream to come true, and hence, He gave his curse. At once a transformation took place in Sanat Kumara. His Rajo Guna increased and he reciprocated with a return curse. He told Sri Hari that out of arrogance that He was all-knowing, Sri Hari had flung this curse at him and hence, he had to be born with minimal knowledge as a human being.
Sanat Kumara became furious and cursed Sri Hari that for a short duration He would have to suffer from ignorance.
Second Curse:
There is a second curse. This is from a woman. Such a curse is extremely powerful.
Once upon a time, Khyati, the wife of Sage Bhrigu performed severe penance with the wrong idea of causing harm to the celestials and hoarding all benefits for her own progeny. She wished that no one in the world should be superior to her.
This type of penance is demonic in nature. If she were to succeed in obtaining her wish, it would have been calamitous to the worlds. Hence, all the celestials strongly persuaded Sri Hari to kill Khyati since no one else was capable of killing her.
It became imperative that she be killed by Sri Hari. There was hesitation to kill her since she was a woman. But when an evil intention is behind her penance, her gender should not be a consideration. She was being a revolutionary towards a wicked cause. Therefore, Sri Hari killed her. Since his wife was killed without his knowledge while he was absent, Sage Bhrigu got angry and he cursed Sri Hari to be born as a human being on earth and suffer a separation from His wife.
The results of this curse were experienced by Sri Hari in His incarnation as Sri Venkateswara Swami also.
Third Curse:
Yet another curse was incurred by Sri Hari by Brinda.
She was the wife of Jalandhara. Once upon a time, when Sri Hari was with Mother Radha in Goloka, Sudama paid a visit and interrupted their privacy. With that Mother Radha became upset and cursed Sudama that he should be reborn as Jalandhara in the family of demons. He took birth accordingly. Brinda’s power of chastity was protecting the life of the evil Jalandhara. He could be killed only if his wife was forced to lose her chastity.
To protect the welfare of all the worlds and to safeguard the celestials, Sri Hari had to take upon Himself the task of spoiling Brinda’s vow of chastity. He appeared before Brinda in the guise of Jalandhara. Brinda was deceived into believing that her own husband had come home and her vow of chastity was broken. Since the timing was apt, Jalandhara was killed. Brinda got enraged that by deception her husband got killed, she cursed Sri Hari that He too should suffer separation from His wife. Since Sri Hari believed that He deserved the curse because of his act of deception, He willingly agreed to suffer the consequences of the curse.
Fourth curse:
Another incident occurred in the story of Lord Narasimha. Devadatta’s wife was performing penance. After killing the demon Hiranyakasipu, Lord Narasimha was wandering the earth still in His frightful form emanating flames of fury. Devadatta’s wife got frightened out of her wits seeing this scary form and ended her life by jumping into a river. Devadatta realized what had happened and cursed Lord Narasimha that He should be born on earth as a human being and suffer a separation from His wife.
Now, has your doubt been cleared? Sage Valmiki asked Rajarshi Arishtanemi.
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