Two histories the Sage Valmiki wrote, to teach the growing world he loved so well, the way of virtue and of happiness. The one, intended for the younger souls, depicts the outer life of Rama, prince and king of Avadha and tells of how he warred against, and slew the evil King, Ravana. This ancient book is known to all the world as Ramayana. The other, helpful at a later stage, is called the Maha Ramayana , Greater Book, and it describes the inner life of Rama, telling how he triumphed over foes within himself, and so prepared to fight and conquer, for the helping of the world, the outer evil forces rampant in that time.
The story of this Greater Book is here essayed in brief.
The Yoga-Vasishtha, a Samskrit work, in thirty-two thousand shlokas, or sixty-four thousand line, is highly honoured among Indian Vedantins, for its philosophy and its hints on practical mysticism, as also its literary beauty and poetry. The saying about it, among the Vedantins, is that it is a work of the siddh-avastha, i. e., for the philosopher-yogi, who, having mastered the theory, is passing on to the practice of it; while the other well-known works, even the Gita, the U panishats, and the Brahmsutras, are works of the sad han-avastha, i. e., for those who are yet trying to master the theory.
The very highly abbreviated version, of about a sixth of the work, which is here presented to the public, originally appeared in The Theosophical Review (of London, then edited by Mrs. Annie Besant and Mr. G. R. S. Mead), in 1899-1901. Mrs. Mrs. Besant very kindly added some valuable notes that greatly elucidate some very obscure portions of the story of Leela.
Friends have, from time to time, wished that the tales were rescued from the oblivion of the pages of a periodical. The present General Secretary of the Indian Section of the Theosophical society, Pandit Iqbal Narain Gurtu, kindly expressed the desire to fulfil that wish, through the Publishing Department of the Section. Thus the tales are re-appearing after having slept for nearly thirty years. I have revised them, but with scarcely and alterations. There has been no opportunity to submit her noted to Mrs. Besant, for revision. They have been printed exactly as they first appeared
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