Vasistha Samhita (Yoga Kanda)

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This English-edition of the Vasistha Samhita is quite different from the previously published works by Sage Vasistha Rishi, namely Yogavasiṣṭha Rāmāyaṇam, Vasiṣṭha-dharma-sūtra, and Vasiṣṭha-smr̥ti. In this text, the original Sanskrit verses are included, followed by the transliteration, and finally the English translation of each verse. While this version also describes Yoga with eight parts, the method of approach differs, and six manuscripts are consulted for this edition.

The text begins with a dialogue between Sage Vasiṣṭha Rishi and his son Śakti, who enquires about the method of attaining knowledge, which can liberate one from worldly miseries and fears of birth, old age, and death. Sage Vasistha Rishi, inspired by the inquiries of his son, begins to narrate those secret methods that he has received from Lord Brahma for his own salvation.

In these verses, one is introduced to detailed descriptions of the body, Nadi, Vayu, and Marmasthana, as well as purification of the Nāḍī and the signs of Nadisuddhi. Sage Vasistha presents an approach that combines knowledge and action in the path to salvation. Yogic knowledge in inferred herein, which consists of the eight limbs of Yoga. Sage Vasistha discusses yama and niyama, enumerates and describes ten asanam practices, and expounds upon pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyanam and samadhi. He delves into the four states of jiva, fivefold universe, as well as auspicious and inauspicious signs. Finally, the means of conquering kāla or death are discussed. Avail innumerable yogic secrets and techniques in this magical discourse from father-sage to son. 

Indic ethos holds liberation (kaivalya) as the highest ideal of human endeavour (puruṣārtha). It also holds that Yoga is the only way of attaining the same as is seen in the following passages. It can be definitely said that a traditional system of Yoga existed in times of Vedic antiquity, which was accepted by the Vedic sages. Work on Yoga with a pronounced emphasis on Vedic living is available to us through the two works, the Br̥had-yogi-yajn͂avalkya-smr̥ti and the Yoga Kanda of the Vasistha Samhita. The present English-Edition of this particular work, namely the Vasiṣṭha Saṃhitā, is quite different from the works already published, viz., Yogavasistha Ramayanam, Vasistha-dharma-sutra, and Vasistha-smrti. The specialty of the work will be evident as we examine the contents.

Title: Vasiṣṭha Saṃhitā (Yoga Kāṅḍa)
Author: Swami Digambar, Dr. Pitambar Jha, Shri Gyan Shankar Sahay
Publisher: Kaivalyadhama, Swami Kuvalayananda Marg, Maharashtra, India
Publication Date: August 1984, revised March 2005, reprinted January 2017 and September 2020
Total Pages: 243
Language: English and Sanskrit
Binding: Paperback
ISBN: 89-9788189485-375

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