Insights from Yoga Vasishta on Reality, Dreams, and Afterlife

Explore how Yoga Vasishta reveals the illusory nature of reality, dreams, and the afterlife, emphasizing the role of the mind and vasanas in shaping our experiences.



Beautifully explained illusions and reality. 🌿 -Sandip Goyal

Mind and vasanas shaping our world. Profound! -Priyaranjan

Outstanding! 🌟🏆👏 -User_se91rp

Vedadhara's work is praiseworthy, thank you 🙏 -Riya Sen

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When you're in a stationary train and a train on the adjacent track starts moving, you might feel as though your train is moving in the opposite direction. Sometimes you might feel your phone vibrating in your pocket even when it isn't, haven't you experienced this? On a hot day, distant objects (like roads) may appear wavy or shimmering. You might experience an object seeming to disappear when you look for it, only to find it in plain sight later. These are all illusions.

Just like these, Yoga Vasishta says that everything we experience is an illusion.

न पृथ्व्यादिमहाभूतगणा न च जगत्क्रमाः ।

That's what Sage Vasishta says in the 3rd sarga of the Mumukshu Vyavahara Prakarana of Yoga Vasishta. The Panchabhutas are a creation of the mind—your mind, my mind, the collective mind. They are not here for real. These unreal experiences, some of these unreal experiences, leave their imprints on the mind—they are our vasanas. That's all that we have got. They decide our future.

Do you know this? All that we dream, all our dreams, are only derivatives of our experiences when we are awake. What we have seen, what we have watched, what we have read, what we have heard, what we have imagined, even from 10, 20, 30 years back. A jumble of whatever has gone into us through our own sensory organs. They may look strange because they are all mixed up, jumbled up.

In the same way, Yoga Vasishta says that your afterlife also, your paraloka, is based on your vasanas—your individual vasanas. If someone is experiencing the Swargaloka after he dies, with enjoyments, dance performances of apsaras, gardens, all comforts, this is because he has heard about or read about it when he was alive. If someone has only heard about tortures in Naraka for everyone after death, then that's what he is going to experience after he dies. His mind will project Naraka around him after he dies. He doesn't know anything else but Naraka. If someone has heard about both Swarga and Naraka and they have left impressions in his mind, then he might get either Swarga or Naraka after his death. But it won't be anything so far unknown to him.

मृतानां सन्ति तत्रापि तथाप्येषां जगद्भ्रमाः

So even paraloka is an illusion. That is also a creation of the mind. Just as the present experiences, the present world around us is unreal, the paraloka, afterlife, is also unreal. It's just a continuity of what you are experiencing presently. This doesn't invalidate or contradict the karma theory. Karma theory is all about continuity and consequences. If these illusions are not understood correctly, there can't be an end to this continuity—paraloka or rebirth or whatever.

A child is born and brought up inside a movie hall. Movies are all that he has seen in his life. That's all that he has seen; that's his world. He has never seen anything else. He believes those stories. He thinks Spider-Man exists for real. Then, when he becomes 30 years of age, he happens to come out. He sees the projector room. He realizes that it was all plays of light and sound. When he gets this knowledge, his trust in whatever he had experienced thus far goes. This is true realization.

Sage Vasishta says that all worldly experiences are like waves that come and go in the ocean called Paramatma. Some of them look exactly alike, some of them are half similar, some look completely different and unique, but ultimately they all rise up and fall back into the ocean.

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