Chapter 61 — King Parigha’s Tapas; His Meeting with King Suraghu
1 Vasishta said:— O lotus-eyed Raghava, you also act in the manner as Suraghu and rely on the sole existence of the Supreme One to cleanse your iniquities and to get rid of all sorrow in this world.
2 The mind will no longer pant or sorrow when it has this universal sight in itself, just as a child is no longer afraid of dark when it gets the light of a lamp in the room. 3 The discriminating mind of Suraghu found its rest in perfect tranquility, just as a fool finds his security by laying hold of a big bundle of straw. 4 Having this holy sight in your view and by your preaching this light to others, continue to enjoy this uniform detachment of samadhi in yourself and shine forth as a bright-gem before the world.
5 Rama said, “Tell me, O chief of sages, what is this uniform detachment? Set my mind to rest, which is now fluttering like peacock plumes ruffled by winds.”
6 Vasishta replied:— O Rama, listen to the marvelous story of enlightened and sagely King Parigha, and how he conducted himself by subsisting on tree leaves.
7 I will also tell you about the conversation between two princes, both of whom were equally enlightened in their souls and situated in the same sort of uniform quietism.
8 There was a mighty king of the Persians known by the name of Parigha. He was a victor over his enemies and the support of his kingdom, just as the axle is the support of a carriage. 9 He was joined in true friendship with Suraghu and was as closely allied to him as the god of love is to spring.
10 It happened at one time that a great drought occurred in the land of Parigha. It caused a great famine that resembled the final desolation of the earth brought on by the sins of men. 11 It destroyed a great number of Parigha’s people who were exhausted by hunger and weakness like a fire destroys unnumbered living animals of the forest. 12 Seeing this great disaster of his people, Parigha was overwhelmed in grief. He left his capital in despair like a traveler leaving a city burned down to the ground.
13 He was so sorely soul-sick at his inability to remove this unavoidable calamity of his subjects that he went to a forest to devote himself to penance like Jiva, the chief of the devout. 14 He entered a deep wood unseen and unknown to his people, far away from mankind. There he passed his time in his disgust with the world. 15 He employed himself in austere penance in a mountain cave and remained sober-minded, living upon dry and withered tree leaves. 16 By subsisting on dry leaves for a long time, as fire devours them always, he earned the surname of Parnada (Leaf-Eater) among the devotees of that place. 17 From then on, the good and royal sage was known as Parnada to holy sages in all parts of Asia.
18 Having undergone the most rigid austerities for many years, he attained divine knowledge by his long practice of self-purification and by grace of the Supreme Soul. 19 He obtained his self-liberation by avoiding hatred and the passions and affections of anger, pity and other feelings and desires, and by his attainment of mental calmness and an enlightened understanding.
20 He wandered at his pleasure all around the temple of the triple world. He mixed with the company of spiritual masters and disciples like bees mixing with the company of swans in lotus beds. 21 At one time, his wanderings led him to visit the city of Hemajata, built with shining stones and shining as brightly as a peak of Mount Meru. 22 There he met his old friend, Suraghu, the king of that city. They saluted each other with mutual fondness. They were both delivered from the darkness of ignorance and perfect in their knowledge of the knowable. 23 They approached each other saying, “O! It is by virtue of our good fortune that we come to meet one another.” 24 They embraced each other with joyful faces and sat on the one and same seat, as when the sun and moon are in conjunction.
25 Parigha (Parnada) said:— My heart rejoices to see you with full satisfaction, and my mind receives a coolness as if it immersed in the cooling orb of the moon. 26 Sincere friendship, like true love, shoots forth in a hundred branches in our separation from each other, just as a tree growing by the side of a pool stretches its boughs all around until the currents wash it and its roots away. 27 O my good friend, the memories of our private talks, merry sports and idle plays of our early days awaken those innocent joys in me.
28 I know well, O sinless friend, that the divine knowledge which I have gained by my long and painful tapas and by the grace of God is already known to you from the preaching of the wise sage Mandavya.
29 But let me ask, are you placed beyond the reach of sorrow and set in your rest and tranquility? Are you situated in the supreme cause of all as firmly as if you were seated upon the unshaken rock of Meru? 30 Do you ever feel that auspicious self-gratifying grace in your soul which purifies the fountain of your mind, like the autumn sky clears the springs of water on earth?
31 Do you, O ruler of your people, perform all your acts with a complacent air and steady mind discharging your duties for the good of mankind? 32 Do the people in your kingdom live in safety to enjoy their prosperity and competence. Are they all free from disease, danger and anxieties of life? 33 Is this land plentiful in its harvests and are the trees here bending down with their fruits? Do the people here enjoy the fruit of their labor and the objects of their desire?
34 Is your good fame spread about in all quarters, like the clear and cooling beams of the full moon? Does your fame cover the face of this land like a sheet of snowfall on the ground? 35 Are all quarters of the sky filled with the renown of your virtues as to leave no gap in it, and as the roots and stalks of lotus bushes spread throughout a reservoir and choke the course of its waters? 36 Do the young minds and virgins of your villages walk about pleasantly over plains and fields loudly singing your praises in their merry songs?
37 Does all welfare attend you with respect to prosperity, wealth and possessions and the produce of your fields? Do your family, children and dependents fare well in this city?38 Do you enjoy your health free from all disease and complaint? Do you reap the reward of your meritorious acts done for this life and the next? 39 Are you indifferent in your mind with regard to temporary enjoyments, which appear pleasant for a moment but prove to be our deadly enemies at last?
40 It is after a very long separation that we come to meet again. It is my good fortune that rejoins me to you, as spring revisits valleys with verdure. 41 There are no joys or sorrows in this world which do not happen to the living in their union with and separation from one another. 42 During our long separation we have become quite altered in our circumstances, yet we happened to meet each other in the same unchanged state of our minds by a wonderful accident of destiny.
43 Suraghu replied:— Yes, sage, the course of destiny is as crooked as that of a serpent. There is no man who can penetrate the depth of the mysterious nature of destiny. 44There is nothing impossible for destiny, which has after the lapse of so long a time reunited us in one place from the vast distance between our two countries.
45 O great sage, we are all in good health and prosperity in this place. We have been supremely blessed by your graciousness to us. 46 Behold us purified and cleansed of our sins by your holy presence among us. The tree of our merits has borne the fruit of our peace and satisfaction at your sight. 47 O royal sage, we enjoy all prosperity in this our native city. Your presence here this day has made it shoot forth in a hundred branches of joy and happiness. 48 O noble minded sage, your appearance and speech have sprinkled this place with sweet nectar drops, joy and holiness. The company of the virtuous is reckoned to equal the supreme joy of man.
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Chapter 62 — King Suraghu Describes His Samadhi
1 Vasishta related:— King Parigha then resumed his personal speech, expressive of the affection he formerly bore to Suraghu. 2 Parigha said, “Whatever acts of goodness are done in this earth of strife by men of well governed minds, they all redound to their happiness. But not so the evil deeds of ungoverned minds. They lead to their misery.”
3 “Sage, do you rely on that state of perfect rest which is free from desire? Do you rest in that state of subtle samadhi that is described as transcendental coma or trance?”
4 Suraghu replied:— Tell me sage, what do you mean by the abandonment of all desires? What is meant by that perfect lethargy which they call transcendental coma or trance? 5 Tell me, O high minded sage, how can a man be called not entranced who is enrapt in his supreme intelligence and at the same time attends to his worldly concerns? 6Men of enlightened understandings, however they are employed observing their usual worldly affairs, are said to be in bliss with their knowledge of the unity of the Supreme Soul.7 Simply sitting in lotus posture with palms folded cannot endow supreme bliss if the mind is not subdued and one’s nature is unconquerable.
8 The knowledge of truth which burns away all worldly desires like straw is called samadhi, the true trance of the soul. Samadhi is not secluded devotees staying in one place and observing silence. 9 The wise describe samadhi as the repose of the soul, always gathered in knowledge attended with continued rest and self-content, which gives an insight into the nature of things. 10 The wise say samadhi or stillness is the mind unaffected by pride or hatred. The mind is as unmoved as a fixed rock against the howling winds of the passions. 11 The mind is also said to have its stillness in samadhi when it is devoid of anxious thoughts and cares, when it is acquainted with the natures of its wished for objects, and yet remains free from its choice of and aversion to the objects of its liking or dislike. This is also said to be the fullness or perfection of the mind.
12 The mind of the magnanimous, joined and acting with its understanding, is said to stand in its stillness of samadhi or quietism. 13 But this pause of samadhi, if stretched too far to become a standstill, is liable to break down by itself, just as a boy’s hand pulls the fiber of a lotus-stalk too long. Dead and dormant quiescence is the opposite extreme of conscious quietism.
14 As the sun does not cease giving his light to the other side of the world after he sets from this part, so our consciousness continues to glow even after it has run its course in this life. 15 As the course of a stream never stops in spite of its constant currents, so the course of our thoughts does not suspend from knowing further truths. 16 As the ever continuous time never loses the sight of fleeting moments, so the everlasting soul is never in abeyance to mark the fitting thoughts of its mind.
17 As the ever current time never forgets to run its habitual course, so intelligent understanding is never remiss to scan the nature of the mysterious Consciousness which guides its course.
18 When the mind wanders at random and is not settled in the sole object of its meditation, its thoughts run as quickly in succession as the continued rotation of the parts of time. 19 As the lifeless soul has no perception of any external object, so the soul unconscious of itself has no knowledge of the course of time, as in the state of sleep, delirium and unconsciousness. 20 As there is no skillful man without some skill or other in the world, so there is no intelligent being without the knowledge of his soul and self-consciousness.
21 I find myself to be enlightened and wakeful and pure and holy at all times. My mind is tranquil and my soul at its rest on all occasions. 22 I find nothing intercepts the sweet repose of my soul which has found its anchorage in my uninterrupted communion with the divine spirit. 23 Hence my mind is never without its quiescence at anytime, nor is it unquiet at any moment, it being solely resigned to spiritual meditation. 24 I see the all pervading and everlasting soul in everything and in every manner. I know not whether it be the rest or unrest in my soul which has found both its quiet and employment in its perpetual meditation of the Divine Spirit.
25 Great men of quiescent spirits always continue in an even and uniform tone and even course of their minds with themselves. Therefore the difference between the rest and restlessness of the soul is a mere verbal distinction and bears no shade of difference in their meanings.
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Chapter 63 — Conclusion of Parigha’s and Suraghu’s Conversation
1 Parigha said:— Sage, I find you to be truly wise and enlightened in your beatitude. You shine like the full moon with your inner coolness. 2 I see the fullness of sweet delight in you. The shadow of prosperity rests upon you and you appear as graceful as a water lily with your pleasing and cooling face.
3 The clarity, extent, fullness and depth of your understanding give you the appearance of the deep, clear and extensive ocean when it ceases to be disturbed by loud winds and waves. 4 The pure and full delight of your inner soul, free from the cloud of egotism, gives it the grace of the clear expanse of the autumn sky.
5 I see you composed in your mind in all places and find you content at all times. Moreover you are devoid of passions, and all these combine to add to you an unutterable grace. 6 You have overcome the bounds of knowing whatever is good and evil in this world. Your great understanding has acquainted you with everything in its entirety. 7 Your mind is cheered with the knowledge of all existence and non-existence and your body is free from the evil of repeated birth and death, the common lot of all beings.
8 You have gleaned the truth from whatever is untrue. You are as satisfied with your true knowledge as the gods were satisfied with drinking the water of immortality which they churned out of the brackish water of the ocean.
9 Suraghu replied:— There is nothing in this world, O royal sage, which we may consider valuable, for all that shines and glitters here is nothing in reality and has no intrinsic value. 10 There being nothing desirable here to us, there is also nothing disgusting to us, because the lack of a thing implies the lack of its opposite also. 11 The ideas are weakened and obliterated from my mind that most worldly things are mean and that on particular occasions some are great. 12 Time and place give importance to the object and lower the best ones in our estimation. Therefore it behooves the intelligent neither to be lavish in the praise or disapproval of the one or the other. 13 According to our evaluations we praise or disapprove of something. We esteem whatever is desirable to us. But they are the most intelligent who give their preference to what is the best and of the greatest good to us.
14 The world abounding in its woods, seas, mountains and living animals presents us nothing that is to be desired for our lasting and substantial good. 15 What is there that we should desire when there is nothing worth desiring in this world except bodies composed of flesh and bones, and wood and stones, all of which are worthless and frail? 16 As we cease to desire, so we get rid of our attachments and dislikes also, just as sunset is attended with the loss of both light and heat.
17 It is useless talk to elaborate on the subject. It is enough to know this truth for our happiness here. Have our desires under control and maintain an evenness of our minds under all conditions with inner serenity and universal regard for all.
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Chapter 64 — Ignorance, the Life of a Bullock; Samadhi
1 Vasishta resumed:— After Suraghu and Perigha ended their discussion on the errors of this world, they honored one another with due respect and retired gladly to their respective duties of the day. 2 Now Rama, you have heard the whole of this instructive dialogue between them. Try to profit by maturely considering its meaning.
3 By reasoning with the learned, wits are sharpened with intelligence and the egotism of men melts down in their minds, like rain from a thick black cloud in the sky. 4 It spreads a clear and calm composure over the mind, as the return of cloudless autumn over the spacious sky to the delight of mankind, and by its diffusion of bounteous plenty on earth. 5 After the region of the intellect is cleared of its darkness, the light of the Supreme Soul, which is the object of meditation and our sole refuge, becomes visible in it.
6 A man who is always spiritually minded with insight within himself and who is always delighted with his intellectual investigations always has his mind free from sorrow and regret. 7 Though a spiritual man is engaged in worldly affairs and is subject to passions and affections, yet he is unstained by them in his heart, like a lotus bud that is not stained by the water in which it is submerged. 8 A silent sage who is all-knowing, holy and calm and quiet in himself is never disturbed by his ungoverned mind. He remains as firm as the dauntless lion against the rage of an unruly elephant. 9 The heart of a wise man is never affected by the mean pleasures of the world. It stands like the lofty tree of paradise above the surrounding bushes of thorny brambles and poisonous plants.
10 A religious recluse who is disgusted with the world has no care for his life or fear of death. In the same way, a man whose mind is filled with full knowledge is never elated or depressed by his good or bad fortune. 11 A man who knows the falseness of the mind and the panorama of the world in the soul is never soiled by the stain of sin, just as the clear sky is nowhere smudged by any dirt or dust.
12 The knowledge of one’s ignorance is the best safeguard against falling into greater ignorance, and it is the only remedy for the disease of ignorance, just as the light of the lamp is the only remedy to cure the darkness of night. 13 The knowledge of our ignorance is the best healer of ignorance, just as the knowledge of one’s dreaming removes his trust in the objects of his dream. 14 A wise man engaged in business, his mind disengaged from it and fixed on one object, is not obstructed by his business in his view of spiritual light, just as the eyesight of fish is not hindered by surrounding water.
15 As the light of intellectual day appears over the horizon of the mind, the darkness of the night of ignorance is put to flight. Then the mind enjoys its supreme bliss of knowledge like the full blaze of day. 16 After the sleep of ignorance is over, the mind is awakened by its intelligence to the bright rising sunbeams of knowledge. Then the mind is ever awake to reason, which no dullness can overpower.
17 A man is said to live until he sees the moon of his soul and the moonbeams of his intellect shining in the sphere of his mind. He is said to have lived only for those few days when he has discharged his duties with joy. 18 A man passing over the pool of his ignorance and taking himself to contemplation of his soul enjoys a coolness within him, just as the cooling moon enjoys the cold nectar juice contained in her orb. 19 Our true friends are the best scriptures. Those days are best spent with the scriptures, in discourse on dispassion, and when we feel the rise of the intellect within us.
20 How lamentable are those born to perish like ferns in their native forests, who are immersed in their sinfulness by their neglect to look into their souls. 21 Our lives are interwoven with a hundred threads of hopes and fears. We are as greedy as bulls for their fodder of straw. At last we are overtaken by old age and decrepitude and carried away with sorrow and sighs. 22 Like heavy laden bullocks, the dull headed are made to bear great loads of distress on their backs in their native soil. 23 They are bitten and disturbed by the gnats of their passions. They are made to plough the ground under the halter of their greed. They are shut in the cages of their masters and bound by the bonds of their kindred. 24 Thus we are harassed to support our wives and children. We are weakened by age and infirmity. Like beasts of burden we must wade in dirt and mire, be dragged to long journeys, and be broken under heavy loads without pause from toil and fatigue. 25 Bending under our heavy loads, we are tired from long journeys across deserts and burned under scathing sunbeams, without cool shade to shelter our heads even for a little while.
26 We are like big bodied bulls with poor souls inside. We are oppressed at every limb and labor under our destiny tied around our necks like ringing bells on bullocks, the scourge of our sins lashing us on both sides. 27 We toil like bulls laboring under the poles of the carts they pull, crossing dreary deserts without a moment’s rest. 28 We are always prone to and plunged in our own evils. We move like heavily laden bullocks, trolling and groaning all the way long.
29 Rama, try your best to understand this bullock of your living soul and take your best measures to restore it to its pristine purity. 30 The animal soul released from the ocean of this world, purified in its mind by the light of truth, is no more liable to roll in the mud like some beasts.
31 In the society of high-minded men, the living soul receives instruction for its salvation in this ocean of the world, just as a passenger easily gets a boat from the ferryman to cross a river. 32 A country is a desert without learned good people who resemble the green trees of the land. The wise must not dwell in a land where trees do not yield fruit or afford cooling shade. 33 Good men are the flowering plumeria trees of the land. Their cooling words resemble the shady leaves of the tree, and their gentle smiles its blooming flowers. Let men resort to the shade of such plumeria covered shelters. 34 For want of such men, the world is a desert burning under the darkening heat of ignorance where no wise man should allow himself to rest in peace and quiet.
35 The self is one’s true friend. Therefore support yourself by only your self. Do not obscure the brightness of your soul under darkness of bodily pride or bury your life in the skin of ignorance. 36 Let the learned ponder in themselves, “What is this body and how did it come into existence? What is its origin and what is its essence?” Thus let the wise diligently consider the miseries to which this body is subject.
37 No riches, friends, learning or relative serves to save the drowning soul. It must be one’s own mind that buys its own redemption by resigning itself to its source and cause.38 The mind is the constant companion and true friend of the soul. Therefore one should inquire within by consultation with the mind. 39 By a constant habit of dispassion and deliberation one can cross the ocean of this world riding on the raft of true knowledge.
40 It is pitiful to see the inner torments of the evil minded who neglect to release their souls from all worldly vexations, 41 Release the elephant of your living soul (jiva) from the chains of its egoism, its bonds of greed, and the inebriation of its mind. Deliver the soul from the muddy pit of its birth place and retire to your solitude.
42 By these means, O Rama, the soul has its salvation. Therefore cast away your ignorance and wipe off your egoism. 43 This is the best way to leave the soul to its purity, making you disentangle yourself from the snare of your mind and disengaging your soul from the trap of egoism. 44 By this means we see the lord of gods, the Supreme Soul, and the physical body is regarded as no better than a clod of earth or a block of wood.
45 The sunlight of intellect comes to view after dispersion of the cloud of egoism by which it is hidden. After this you attain the state of supreme joy. 46 As the light of day is seen after the dark veil of night withdraws, so you come to see the light of the soul after removal of the curtain of your egoism. 47 That blissful state of the soul which remains after the darkness of egoism is dispersed is the state of divine fullness. It is to be adored with all diligence.
48 This state of the vast ocean-like and perfect fullness of soul, which no words can express and no eye can behold, is beyond all comparison and every color of human attribution. 49 It is only a particle of the pure intellectual light which gains its stability in the devout spirit. Then it is comparable with nothing but the light of divinity which shines before the internal sight of the holy. 50 Though it is beyond all comparison, yet we see it in our state of sound sleep (susupta). It is the state of immensity. It is as extended as the vast extent of the sky.
51After egoism and mental powers are extinguished and all feelings in oneself subside, a transcendent ecstasy arises in the soul called divine or perfect joy and bliss. 52 This bliss is attainable only by yoga meditation and in some ways can be compared to sound sleep. But it cannot be described with words, O Rama. It must be perceived in the heart. 53The totality of divinity is perceived only by the perception of the mind and not by any categorical distinction made about the divine essence. Without this intuitive perception, we can have no conception of the soul. 54 The knowledge of the soul comprehends in itself the whole totality and infinity together. It resides in the unchanging steadiness of the mind. By shutting out the internal and external from the senses and the mind, the lord of lords, the Divine Soul appears to our consciousness.
55 Therefore, after our desire of sensible objects is extinguished we derive the light of our supreme joy and we have an even minded composure in all circumstances which leads the souls of the great to revert to that indescribable identity.
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Chapter 65 — The Story of Bhasa and Vilasa
1 Vasishta continued:— As long as one does not come to perceive his soul by his effort to break down his own mind, lotus-eyed Rama, one does not get rid of his egoism and selfishness. 2 There is no end to his worldly misery just as there is no setting of a sun in a painting. His adversity becomes as extended as the vast ocean itself. 3 His misfortunes are as interminable as the succession of waves in the sea. The appearance of the world is as gloomy to him as the face of the sky covered by the dark clouds of rainy season.
4 Here will I recite an old story containing a discourse between two friends Bhasa and Vilasa in a region of Sahya Mountain.
5 Now Sahya is a mountain mightier than the three worlds in its superior strength. In its height it surmounted the sky, in its extent it got the better of the ground, and with its foot it reached the infernal region. 6 It was filled with various flowers and furnished with innumerable waterfalls. Its precious stones were watched ever by Guhya mountaineers. It was named Sahya or moderate being situated in the temperate zone, yet it was intolerable as a tropic mountain.
7 Its girdle of sun-stones seemed studded with pearls from the sloping sunbeams falling upon them. Its base with its pavement of gold looked like the golden Lanka island. 8Here a hill was full of flowers and there another filled with minerals. There were lakes with flowering water plants on one side and shining stones lying on another with nothing beside the light of the divinity, which shines before the internal sight of the holy. 9 Here cascades were hurling and gurgling in foaming froths. There old bamboos were blowing through their hollow pipes. On one side winds were howling in mountain caves, and on another bees were buzzing on clusters of flowers. 10 Apsara nymphs were singing in concert on mountain tops and wild beasts were growling in the forests. Birds were chirping in the gardens, clouds roared over mountain peaks, and birds of the air were crying and flying about the sky. 11 Vidyadharas rested in mountain caves and black bees hummed on the lotus beds. Foothills resounded with the chorus of keratas and woodlands were resonant with the melodies of singing birds.
12 The mountain appeared as if it was the home of the triple world. It had the seats of the gods on its top, the homes of men at its foot, and the holes of snakes under its bottom. 13 Spiritual masters lived in its caves and precious metals lay hidden in its bosom. Its sandalwoods were the home of snakes and its peaks were the haunts of lions. 14 It was crowned with wreaths of flowers hanging on high over its head. Its body was smeared with the dust and pollen of flowers. It was fanned by fragrant breeze of flowers and was all flowery with the fallen flowers. 15 It was daubed with the grey dust of its metallic ores and stood on its footstool of precious stones. It was often the playground of heavenly damsels who frequented its covered shelters to pick mandara flowers. 16 Its peaks were veiled by the blue covering of clouds and decorated with gems hidden under them. They appeared as beauties beaming with the golden sunbeams and rising to meet their loving gods in heaven.
17 On the northern edge of that mountain there was a tableland overhung by trees loaded with bunches of fruits, and also a shining lake formed by the waters of cataracts falling from high. 18 Small flowers from the waving stalks of amra trees lay scattered on the ground, and its sides were decorated with blossoming kolkara and punnaga plants, shining like blue lotuses around a lake. 19 Sunbeams were shut out by the cover of sheltering alcoves of vines, and the ground sparkled with its gems like the floor of heaven. Jambu fruits distilled their juice like cooling moonbeams, and all these made this spot as delightful as the moon light sky. 20 It was delightful as the heaven of Brahma and the celestial seat of Shiva. Here sage Atri held his hermitage which blotted away the austerities of spiritual masters. 21 In this hermitage there dwelt two hermits, both of whom were as wise and knowing as Brihaspati and Shukra, the teachers of gods and demigods. 22 The two were of one flesh and soul and in time brought forth two children, like two buds of lotuses growing in the same bed, their bodies as pure as the clear lake from which they sprang. 23 They were named Bhasa and Vilasa. They grew up in time like two orchids upon the branching arms of their parents. 24 They had one soul and mind in two bodies, united to one another as those of two loving brothers and intimate friends.
They remained inseparable like oil in sesame seeds and like a flower and its fragrance. 25 The fond parents became even more attached to each other in their hearts and minds from their affection and taking care of their sons who seemed to be one and the same person in two different bodies. 26 The two children of graceful forms also enjoyed each other in the same hermitage. They moved about like two bees over the same bed of lotuses in the same lake.
27 They passed their boyhood and attained their youth, shining forth in a short time as the two luminaries of the sun and moon rising together. 28 Then the aged parents left their infirm bodies and went to heaven like a pair of birds quitting their broken nest. 29 The death of the parents made the youths as dejected as a drooping lotus in a dried-up channel. The vigor of their bodies gave way to a lack of energy. 30 They discharged the funeral rites and remained long in their mourning. The sad accidents of life cannot be avoided even by the good and great. 31 After they completed the funeral rites, they were overpowered by grief and sorrow. They continued to wail over their memory with piteous cries and tears. They sat silently and inactive like pictures in a painting, their melancholy faces and hearts heavy with sobs and sighs.
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Chapter 66 — The Two Hermits Wander & Meet in Old Age
1 Vasishta continued:— The two sorrowful hermits continued observing their rigorous austerities until their bodies became emaciated like two withered trees in the forest. 2They passed their time in the solitary forest with cool apathy in their minds. They were as helpless as a stray, separated male deer. They wandered separately far away from their home and possessions. 3 They passed their days and nights, then months and years in this manner, until both were worn out by age, like two withered trees in a valley. 4 Not attaining true knowledge, their austerities served only to shatter their frames and reduce their strength. Finally at last they happened to meet one another, and took to their conversation in the following manner.
5 Vilasa said, “O Bhasa, who is the best fruit of the tree of my life, who has his seat in the recess of my heart and is a sea of ambrosia to me, I welcome you, O my best friend in this world. 6 Tell me my good friend, after you separated from me, how and where have you passed such long a time? Have your austerities been successful and rewarded with their fruit? 7 Tell me whether your mind is free from anxieties and whether you are in possession of your self. Say, have you obtained the reward of your learning and after all, have you gotten your peace and quiet?”
8 Being addressed and asked in this way by Vilasa, whose mind was troubled with the vexations of this world, Bhasa, who had attained complete knowledge, replied to him as respectfully as a friend does to his dearest friend.
9 Bhasa replied:— O good friend! You are fortunately and happily met here this day. But how can we expect to have our peace and rest as long as we have to remain in this world of strife and valley of misery? 10 How can I have my rest while turbulent passions are not subdued in my breast, until I know the knowable, and until I can get across this sea of the world? 11 How can we have our quiet while our desires and hopes and fears continue to infest our minds, and until we can weed them out like thorns and brambles with the spade of our reason? 12 Until we gain true knowledge and have even minds, and until we have a full knowledge of things, we can have no rest. 13 Without knowledge of the soul and acquisition of true knowledge, which is the greatest remedy against all diseases of the mind, it is impossible to escape from the pestilence of the world.
14 The poisonous plant of worldliness sprouts forth in our childhood. It shoots out in leaves in our youth, flowers in our old age, and never bears fruit before our death. 15 The body decays like a withered tree and our relatives flutter over it like bees. Old age overtakes us with blossoming grey hairs and produces the fruit of death. 16 We have to reap the bitter fruits of our actions of bygone times. They are laid up in store and bear fruit in their seasons. Thus years upon years glide upon us in the same monotonous rotation of business and in the sad course of thought of our minds. 17 The tall body, rising like a thief on the ground, has all its inner cells and cavities filled with the thorns of our cravings. It is the abode of the serpentine retinue of our actions, emitting the poison of continuous sorrow in our repeated reincarnations in new bodies.
18 See how our days and nights roll on in their circuit of continued misery and misfortune, misconstrued by men for transient joy and good fortune. 19 See how our lives are spent in useless pursuits after objects of our vain wishes, and how we misspend our time with trifles that are of no good to us.
20 The furious elephant of the ungoverned mind breaks loose from its chains of good sense, then joining with the elephants of wild desire, ranges at large without rest or sleep.21 The bawling tongue screams like a vulture in the hollow of the tree of the human body, fostering itself by feeding on the gems of thought lying hidden inside.
22 The slackened limbs of the old and withered body drop down like dry tree leaves. There is nothing to prop up the drooping spirit from its decay and decline day by day. 23The brightness of the body flies away in old age, and the mind dejected at others’ disregard becomes as pale and withered as a lotus flower fading away under frost. 24 As the channel of the body dries up in old age and the water of youth is drained out of it, so the swan of life flies far away and there is nothing to retard its flight. 25 The old, time worn tree of the aged body is overpowered by the force of the blasts of time, blowing its leaves and flowers below, then burying them in the ground.
26 The serpent of desire lying dormant in the heart is content, like a croaking frog, to hold its complaints in the mouth. The mind, like a monster, hides itself in a pool of dark despondence. 27 Our desires with their various wishes are like the multicolored flags of a temple, furling and fluttering in all directions until they are hurled down by the hurricane of old age. 28 The world is a long linked chain lying in the depth of eternity in which the rat of death is always busy gnawing the knot of life at the root.
29 The stream of life glides muddily on with the foam and froth of cares and anxieties. There are whirlpools of repeated reincarnations and waves of youthful frivolities that are as noisy as they are dangerous. 30 The stream of our actions on earth flows on interminably with the waves of our worldly duties and the various arts of life all leading to the abyss of destruction. 31 The current of our friends and relations and the concourse of people glide on constantly to the deep and boundless ocean of eternity from whose boundary nobody ever returns to life.
32 The body is a valuable instrument for the discharge of our worldly duties, but it is soon lost under the mud of this ocean of the world. Nobody knows where it is buried in its repeated births. 33 The mind is bound to the wheel of its anxieties and put to the rack for its deceptions. It turns about constantly like a piece of straw in the whirling currents of this ocean of the world. 34 The mind dances and floats over waves of endless duties of life. It does not have even a moment’s respite from its thoughts, but continues to oscillate with the action of the body, rising and falling according to the course of events. 35 The mind, like a bewildered bird, flutters between various thoughts of what it has done, what it is doing, and what it is about to do. Thus it is caught in the trap of its own fancies for evermore.
36 The thoughts that “this one is my friend” and “the other one is my foe” are our greatest enemies in this world. These tear my heart strings like the rough wind that tears tender lotus leaves and fibers. 37 The mind is overwhelmed in the whirlpool of its cares. Sometimes it is hurled down to the bottom, and at others floating and loosened from it like a living fish caught by angling hook. 38 The mistaken belief that the external body is the internal self is the cause of all our grief here. Taking others as our own is equally for our misery.
39 All mankind placed between their happiness and sorrow in life are swept away to age and death, just as the leaves of trees growing on high hills are scattered by the high winds of heaven.
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Chapter 67 — Soul & Mind Are Unrelated to Phenomena; Abandonment of Intrinsic Relations
1 Vasishta continued:— Having thus approached and welcomed each other, the two brothers applied themselves to the acquisition of divine knowledge and thereby gained their liberation in the living state.
2 O strong armed Rama, I will now tell you that without true knowledge of God, there is no salvation for the enslaved mind.
3 Know, O Rama of polished understanding, that this world of endless sorrows is as easily traversed by the intelligent as a wide ocean is crossed over by Vishnu’s garuda bird, though it be impossible for any other bird to do so.
4 The great soul is without and lies beyond the body. It is situated in its own intellect and it looks on the body from a distance, just as a spectator beholds a concourse of people. 5 The body pulled down by decay and disease does not affect us anymore, like a broken coach that causes no injury to the rider. 6 The mind’s depressions and dejections do not affect understanding, just as the moving waves that ruffle the surface of the sea do not disturb the waters of the deep.
7 What relation do swans bear to the waters of a lake? What is the relation between the pebbles and stones of the sea and its waters? The pieces of wood carried by currents are unrelated to the waters of the stream. In like manner, no object of sense has any relationship to the Supreme Soul. 8 Tell me, O fortunate Rama, what is the correlation between a rock and the sea? The rock truly is not an obstruction to the internal current of the sea, so none of these worlds can stop the course of the Divine Mind. 9 What relation do lotuses bear to the waters of a stream, other than their being contained in the bosom of their containing waters? So all solid bodies are related as contents with the all containing Divine Soul.
10 When a log hits a body of water there is spray all around. In the same way, when the body contacts the soul it produces the various affections of the mind. 11 As the association of a tree on a bank produces its shadow in the waters below, so the proximity of all objects to the soul reflects their images in the mind. 12 As the reflections of things in a mirror, still waters, or the swelling waves of the sea are neither real nor unreal, so the reflections in the soul are neither substantial nor unsubstantial. 13 As the breaking of a tree or rock by howling winds does not affect the wind at all, so the union or separation of the elemental component parts of a body makes no alteration in the soul.
14 As a tree falling in water produces a vibration and sound, so the contact of the body and soul produces a vibration in the intellectual organs. 15 But these impressions have no relation either with the pure and simple soul or with the gross body. All these are only delusions of our false knowledge. When these delusions are gone, we are left with only transparent consciousness. 16 As no one has any notion how wood and water are connected, so nobody has any knowledge of how the body is united with the soul.
17 The world appears a reality to the unintelligent and as a substantial entity to those ignorant of truth. 18 Those without an internal perception of moisture in wood and stone are like worldly minded materialists who have knowledge of only external objects. 19 Those without intuitive knowledge find no difference between wood and water, so they believe the body and the soul to be the same thing. They do not know their lack of relation or connection with one another. 20 As the relationship between wood and water is imperceptible without reasoning, so such people are unacquainted with the lack of any relationship between soul and body because they lack intuition.
21 The soul is purely conscious of itself in all places and without any objective knowledge of anything at all. It is not liable to the false knowledge of a duality. 22 The soul’s false apprehension of unrealities coverts its bliss to misery, just as one’s false imagination of a ghost makes him see an apparition. 23 Our internal conviction of relevancy makes things quite irrelevant become relevant, like seeing and catching thieves in our dreams or the appearance of a demonic apparition in a block of wood.
24 As the relationship between wood and water is altogether unreal, so the correlation between soul and body is wholly false and unsubstantial. 25 As the water is not troubled if a tree does not fall into it, so the soul is not disturbed without its thoughts of the body. The soul freed from its connection with the body is free from all the maladies and miseries which flesh is heir to.
26 The misconception of the body being the soul makes the soul subject to all the imperfections and infirmities of the body, just as the clear waters of the lake are soiled by the leaves and twigs that float upon it. 27 Absence of any intrinsic relationship between external and the internal soul liberates the soul from all the casualties in the course of things. But the presence of extraneous associations makes the internal soul like turbid water by reason of the mess of leaves, foul things, fruit and flowers continually falling upon it. 28The soul free of its innate knowledge of the objective is wholly absolved from misery, while the knowledge of its connection with the body, senses and mind is the mainspring of all it sorrows. 29 The internal connection of externals is the seed of all the evils of men in this world, bringing forth all of mankind’s pain, sorrow and errors.
30 A man who is internally connected with the externals sinks deep under the load of his connections in the depth of this earth, but he who is aloof from his internal relations floats above the surface of this sea and rises up in the air like an aerial being. 31 A mind with its internal bearings is like an tree with a hundred branches, but the mind lacking internal relation is said to have faded and grown extinct. 32 A mind unattached to the world is like a pure crystal without any shade of color in it. But a mind attached to the world is like a prismatic glass with all the colors of the rainbow. 33 An unattached and untainted mind is said to be set at liberty, even though it is working in the world. A mind is said to be unattached if it is thoughtless of the world through the practice of austerities.
34 A mind attached to the world is said to be bound to it, but that which is detached from the world is said to be set free from it. The internal attachment and detachment of the mind cause its bondage and liberation. 35 Unworldly minded persons are not tied to the earth by their worldly actions. They remain aloof from all their actions, like a floating vessel remains above the sweet or salty waters beneath it.
36 The tendency of the mind makes a man master of an action which he actually has not done, just as the delusion of the dreaming mind makes one feel the pleasure and pain of his pleasing and unpleasing dreams. 37 The activity of the mind also gives activity to the body, just as the action of the mind in dreaming gives motion to the inert body of the sleeping man. 38 Inactivity of the mind causes the inaction of the body, and though the body should act by its physical force, yet the detached mind is not enmeshed in the action.
39 Man gets the retribution of the actions he has done with his mind and not those that pass without his knowledge. The inert body is never the cause of an action. The mind is never joined with the living body like an automaton or self moving machine, or like a clock whose spring lies in itself. The body requires the action of the mind to put that animal force into motion.
40 The mind which does not pay attention to an action of the body is never considered to be the agent of that action. No reward of any action ever accrues to one who is not engaged in doing that action. 41 The man who is not intentionally employed in the sacrifice of a horse or the slaughter of a brahmin neither reaps the good of the one nor incurs the guilt of the other, just as the minds of distracted lovers are never aware of the results of their own deeds.
42 One free from any intrinsic relationship with anything is most agreeable to all by his elevated behavior. Whether he acts or neglects his part, he remains indifferent to both.43 No agency is attached to the man whose action is involuntary and whose mind is released from its internal attachment to anything. The unconcerned detachment of the mind is attended with composure. The mind’s careful concern for anything whatsoever is filled only with vexation. 44 Therefore, avoid your internal concern for anything that you know to be related to you only externally. Release yourself from the mortification of the loss to all external relations.
45 The mind cleared of the foulness of its internal relationship with external phenomena acquires the transparency of the cloudless sky. After all dirt and waste are cleared within, the mind becomes one with the soul like a bright gem shining with double brightness of a luminary, or like a blue streamlet receiving the blue color of the azure sky.
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Chapter 68 — The Pain of Attachment; the Liberation of Non-Attachment
1 Rama said, “Tell me, sage, what are the connections that become the bondages of men? How are they to be avoided? What is that connection that leads to their emancipation in this life?”
2 Vasishta answered:— The division of unity into the duality of the body and soul, and the rejection of the latter part, the soul, produce the mistaken belief in only the body. This is called the association of bondage. 3 Again, taking the infinite soul to be a finite being confined to the body leads to the bondage of the soul. 4 But the conviction that, “this whole cosmos is the identical soul, therefore we have nothing to choose or reject in it other than the soul” is termed the unrelated condition of the mind settled only in the Supreme Self. This state is known as living liberation.
5 The unattached and self-liberated man thinks, “Neither do I exist nor do these others exist. Let any good or evil, pleasure or pain befall me. I am not to be changed in any condition of life.” 6 He is undistracted and self-devoted who does not foster his desires, or hanker after things, or continues thinking he is doing actions. 7 The self-devoted man whose mind is not subject to feelings of joy or sorrow and who is indifferent to worldly matters is truly said to be liberated in his lifetime. 8 He whose mind is not concerned about the results of his actions, but takes them lightly as they come to pass upon him, such a man is said to be lacking vigor and is lukewarm in his mind. 9 All our efforts impelled by various motives are avoided by our indifference to those pursuits. This lack of concern about worldly matters produces our greatest good.
10 We load innumerable distresses upon ourselves because of our concerns with many things. All worldly cares serve only to multiply the growing ills of life, like branching thorny bushes in caves. 11 The effect of worldly attachment drives silly men to labor under their heavy burdens, just as the dastardly donkeys are dragged by their nose-strings to trudge and drudge under their loads in long and lonesome journeys. 12 One’s attachment to home and country makes him stand in one place like an immovable tree and endure all the rigors of heat, cold, winds and rains without shrinking.
13 See the reptiles confined in the caves of earth with their weak bodies and tortuous movements. They are examples of earthly attachment, passing their time in pain and agony and in continuous helplessness. 14 See the poor birds resting on the tops of trees, whining their while with cries of their empty stomachs and constant fear of predators, as examples of worldly attachment. 15 Observe the frightened fawn, grazing on tender blades of grass and dreading the darts of hunters, to serve as another example of earthly inclination. 16 The transformation of men into worms and insects in their repeated reincarnations, and the congregation of all these animals of all kinds in all places, are only examples of their earthly fondness. 17 The multitudes of animal beings that you see rising and falling like the waves of the sea are all the effects of their worldly attachment.
18 The self-moving man becomes immovable and turns into the state of fixed trees and plants growing and dying by turns because of his worldly propensities. 19 Grass, shrubs and vines that grow on earth from its moisture are all products of the cause of their addiction to the world. 20 These endless processions of beings carried away in this running stream of the world and buffeted by their ever-increasing difficulties are all the play of their earthly inclinations.
21 Worldly affections are of two kinds: the praiseworthy and the fruitless. Those of the wise and learned men belong to the former praiseworthy kind, but the tendencies of the ignorant are of the latter unfruitful kind. 22 Any tendency towards this world which springs from base bodily or mental affection, and which does not proceed from or bears any relation to spiritual motives and purposes, is said to be quite fruitless of any good result. 23 But that tendency which has its origin in spiritual knowledge and in true and right discrimination and bears no relation to anything that is of this world, but leads to one’s future and spiritual welfare, is the truly praiseworthy one.
24 The god Vishnu, holding the symbols of the conch shell, his discus and the club, had various inclinations of this better kind whereby he became the support of the three worlds. 25 By means of this good tendency, the glorious sun makes its daily course in the unsupported path of heaven for ever more. 26 The god Brahma, who now shines in his fiery form, had to foster his project of creation for an entire kalpa age. Owing to this praiseworthy purpose, be became the creator of the world. 27 It was because of this kind of praiseworthy purpose that the god Shiva acquired his half-man, half-woman body, graced by the female form of Uma linked with his as its other half.
28 The spiritual masters and other heavenly and aerial beings, and the rulers of the skies who move in their spiritual spheres of intelligence, have all attained their high positions by means of their praiseworthy tendencies. 29 They bear their bodies of heavenly growth and have set themselves beyond the reach of disease, decay and death by means of their praiseworthy inclinations.
30 Fruitless desire expects to derive pleasure from unworthy objects and causes the mind to pounce like a vulture on a bit of flesh. 31 Force of habit makes the winds to blow in their habitual course and causes the five elements to continue in their usual states in support of the order of nature. 32 This force of habit constitutes the constitution of the system of nature composed of the heavens, earth and infernal regions and peopled by gods, men, demons and other beings, all of whom are like gnats fluttering about the fruit of the mundane fig tree. 33 Numberless orders of beings are born, grow and fall and die away, like the ceaseless waves of the sea.
34 The results of worldly inclinations rise and fall by turns until they disappear all at once. They are as bitter to taste as the drops of waterfalls. 35 Mere worldliness makes these crowds of men devour one another like sharks and fishes. They are so infatuated by their ignorance that they have been flying about like stray tree leaves in the wind. 36 Worldly leanings make men wander about like revolving stars in their courses in the sky, or flutter about like flights of gnats on fig trees, or lie low like the swirling waters of whirling currents underneath the ground. 37 The hands of fate and death toss men around like a child’s play ball and wears men out like these toys by their constant rise and fall and rolling upon the ground. Yet these worrying wanderings do not abate the force of their habitual motions, like the repeated waxing and waning of the ever changing moon make no change in the blackish spot marked upon her disc.
38 The mind is hardened by seeing the miseries of repeated revolutions of ages resembling the rotations of fragments of wood in whirlpools. Yet the gods will not consent to heal the strong boiling of the mind by any operation in their power.
39 O Rama, this wonderful frame of the universe is only the product of the desire of the Divine Mind. 40 The pleasure of association presents this sight of the triple world in the empty sphere of the mind. Know this wonderful world is only a creation of the mind and nothing in reality.
41 The greed of worldly men eats up their bodies like fire feeding upon dry fuel. 42 Yet the bodies of worldly minded men are as countless as the sands of the sea, and these again are as unnumbered as the atoms of earth which nobody can count. 43 It may be possible to count the white foams of the Ganges River and the pearly froths of sea waves. It is likewise possible to measure the height of Mount Meru from its foot to the top and its peaks. But it is impossible to number the desires in the minds of worldly minded men. 44These rows of inner apartments, built for the home of the worldly minded, are like the lines of Kala Sutra and the spires of hellfire. 45 Know these worldly men are like dry fuel heaped up to light the piles of hellfire. 46 Know all things in this world are full of pain and misery, stored up not for enjoyment but to torment the worldly minded.
47 The minds of all worldly men are the receptacles of all sorrow and misery, just as the great sea is the recess of the outpourings of all rivers. 48 The mind attached to the world and the body bent down under its laborious loads are both fields for the exercise of ignorance which elevates and depresses them by turns.
49 Want of attachment to worldly enjoyments produces ease and prosperity. It expands the capacity of the mind like rain increases the extent of rivers. 50 Inner attachment of the mind to worldly objects is the burning flame of the outer body, but the absence of this internal attachment is the healing balm for the entire being. 51 Inner attachment burns the outer body like a hidden poisonous plant infects the vines that grow on it for support. 52 The mind unattached to everything in all places is like the lofty sky aloof from all things. By having no desire in the mind, it is always clear and bright and enjoys its joy forever. 53 As the light of knowledge rises before the sight of the mind, the darkness of ignorance which veiled all objects wastes away of itself and is put to flight. The man who is devoid of all sorts of worldly attachments and lives in communion with his own mind is truly liberated in his life.
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Chapter 69 — Living without Attachment
1 Vasishta continued:— Though remaining in all company and doing all the duties of life, and although employed in all the acts, yet a wise man watches the movements of his mind. 2 The mind is not to be engaged in cares of this world or employed in thoughts relating to this life. It is not to be fixed in the sky above or on the earth below or let to wander about over objects on all sides. 3 It must not roam over the extensive field of outward enjoyments or dwell on the objects and actions of the senses. It must not look internally or be fixed upon breathing, the palate or the crown of the head. 4 It must not be attached to the eyebrows, the tip of the nose, the mouth, or the pupil of the eye, nor should it look into the light or darkness or into the cavity of the heart. 5 It must not think of its waking or dreaming states, nor those of its sound sleep or internal clearness of sight, nor should it take any color as white, red, black or yellow for the object of its thought or sight. 6 It must not be fixed on any moving or unmoving substance or set in the beginning, middle or end of any object. It must not take a distant or adjacent object either before or inside itself. 7 It must not reflect on any tangible or audible object or on the states of joy and unconsciousness. It must not think of the fleetness or the measurement of time by the measure or number of its thoughts.
8 Let it rest in consciousness only with a slight intelligence of itself, tasting no joy except that of its self-delight. 9 Being in this state of mind and devoid at all attachment to anything, the living man becomes like a dead body. He is at liberty to pursue his worldly callings or not.
10 The living being who is attached to the thought of himself is said to be doing and acting though he refrains from doing anything. He is as free from the consequence of acts as the sky is free from the shade of the clouds that hang below it. 11 Or he may forsake his intelligential part and become one with the mass of Consciousness itself. The living soul thus becomes calm and quiet in itself and shines with a light as serene as a bright gem in a mine. 12 The soul being thus extinct in itself, is said to rise in the sphere of Consciousness. The animal soul continuing in its acts with an unwilling mind is not subject to results of the actions in its embodied state.
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Chapter 70 — Perfect Bliss of Living Liberation
1 Vasishta continued:— Men whose souls are expanded and content with the delight of their habitual un-attachment to worldliness have set themselves above the reach of internal sorrow and fear, even though they may be engaged in worldly affairs. 2 Though overtaken by inner sorrow, yet their countenances are unchanged owing to their uninterrupted meditation. The fullness of their hearts with holy delight is manifest in the moonlike brightness of their faces.
3 He whose mind relies on the intellect to be free of the feverishness of the world, and who remains apart from the objects of reasoning, throws a luster over those around him, just as the clearing kata fruit purifies water. 4 The wise man, though he may be moving about in busy affairs, is always quiet having withdrawn his soul from them. He may be attacked by outward sorrow, yet his inner soul shines like an image of the sun. 5 Men of great souls, awakened and enlightened by knowledge and raised high above the rest of mankind, waver on their outside like a peacock’s feather, but inwardly they are as firm as a mountain of rock. 6 The mind controlled by the soul is no longer susceptible to the feelings of pain and pleasure, any more than a piece of painted glass receives the shadow of any other color. 7 The man of elevated mind who has known the nature of superior and inferior souls is not affected by the sight of phenomena any more than a lotus leaf is affected by the color of its surrounding waters.
8 It is impossible to evade the impressions of the outer world until and unless the mind is strengthened in itself. The mind becomes strong by its knowledge of the Supreme Spirit, by removing the foulness of its fancied objects, and by meditation and enjoyment of the light of the soul, even when the mind is not in its meditative mood. 9 The mind loses its attachments through spiritual communion and internal bliss. Our worldly associations wear out of themselves only by knowledge of the soul. There is no other way. 10 The waking soul may consider itself to be in sound sleep by its unconsciousness of the outer world. Likewise it may consider itself to be ever awake and never asleep by its sight of the unfading light of the soul, by preservation of its equanimity and equality in all circumstances, and its lack of duality and differentiation of the objects of its love and hatred.
11 Being ripe in its practice of yoga meditation, the soul sees the pure light of the sun in itself until at last it finds its own and the Supreme Soul shining like the sun and moon in conjunction. 12 When the mind loses its mental powers and remains vacant, as if distracted or demented, and its faculty to imagine is at an utter stop, it is said to be in its deep sleep in wakefulness (susupta). 13 The man having attained this state may live to discharge the duties of his life, but he will be dragged to one side or the other by the rope of his happiness or sorrow. 14 Whatever actions are done in this world by a man in his state of deep sleep in wakefulness, they do not inflict him with their good or evil results, any more than a dancing puppet has any sense of pleasure or pain in its actions.
15 The mind possesses the power of giving us the perception of our pains and pleasures, and the sense of our want and bitter sorrow, but when the mind is assimilated with the soul, how can it have the power of annoying us anymore? 16 The man in the hypnotic state of his mind does his works as insensibly as he did them in his sleep, because he does them with no effort on his part and not because of his former habitual practice. The living soul that is unconscious of its actions is said to rest in its state of living liberation.
17 Rely upon this state of deep sleep while awake and either perform or refrain from your actions as you may like. Our actions are only what arise of our nature. They pass for the results of the deeds of our past lives and they are enacted by ordinances of eternal laws. 18 A wise man is not pleased with the acts of charity or penury. He is delighted with his knowledge of the soul and lives content with whatever may fall to his lot. 19 All that you do with your mind by remaining as still as in your sleep is reckoned as no doing of yours. Though doing nothing with your body, you are the doer if you do it with your mind. Therefore do your acts with your body or mind as you may like. 20 As a baby lying in the cradle moves its limbs to no other purpose than its mere pleasure, so Rama, do your duties for pleasure’s sake and not for reward.
21 Whoever has his mind fixed in his consciousness and not in any object of reasoning, and remains dormant in his waking state, is said to be master of his soul. All he does is reckoned as no deed of his doing.
22 The wise man who obtains the state of deep sleep while awake and has freed his mind from desires gets a calm coolness within himself which is equal to the cooling moisture of the humid moon. 23 The man of great valor remains coolly dormant in himself and is as full as the orb of the moon in the fullness of her digits. He has the evenness of his mind at all times and seasons like the steadiness of a hill. 24 The man with a calm soul is pliable in his outer conduct, though he is inflexible in his mind. He resembles a mountain whose trees wave with the breeze without being shaken.
25 Samadhi purifies the body of all its impurity. It is the same whether a person in samadhi perishes sooner or later, or lasts forever as a rock. 26 This state of samadhi, which is acquired by constant practice of yoga, becomes mature and perfect with time until it becomes what is called the fourth stage (turiya) by the spiritual masters and those learned in divine knowledge. 27 He becomes the most exalted yogi whose mind is cleared of all its impurity and whose inner soul is full of joy, its mental powers all quiet and at rest. 28 In this state, the yogi is in full bliss and quite giddy with inner delight. He looks upon the whole of creation as an exhibition of play and a cosmic dance.
29 Once a man has attained his fourth stage, when he is free from sorrow and fear and has passed beyond the errors and troubles of this world, he has no fear of falling from this state. 30 The man of calm understanding who has attained this holy state laughs to scorn and spurn at the whirling orb of the earth, just as one sitting on a high hill looks down upon objects lying below it. 31 After one has obtained his everlasting position in this firmly fixed fourth state of blissfulness, he becomes joyless for lack of a higher state of joy to desire.
32 The yogi, having past his fourth stage, reaches a state of indescribable joy which has no part or degree in it and is absolute liberation in itself. 33 The man of great soul is released from the snare of the reincarnation of his soul and of his repeated birth and death, and is freed from the darkness of his pride and egoism. He is transformed into an essence of supreme ecstasy and pure flavor and becomes like a mass of sea salt in the waters of the deep.
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Chapter 71 — Samadhi and Beyond; Body Unrelated to Soul; Various Names for Jiva
1 Vasishta continued:— The fourth stage (turiya) is attended with the knowledge of the oneness of all and, according to statements in the Vedas, this is the characteristic of the living liberated man. 2 Beyond this is a state in which one sees nothing but an empty void. This is the state of disembodied spirits who are lost in infinity and of whom the scriptures can say nothing. 3 This state of quiet rest lies far away from the farthest objects and is attained by those who are liberated of their bodies, just as the aerial path is found only by aerial beings. 4 After a man has been in his state of sound sleep for sometime, he forgets the existence of the world and gains the fourth state of turiya which is full of joy and bliss.
5 The manner in which yogis have come to know the non-dual state (turiya) should also be followed by you, O Rama, in order to understand that unparalleled state of joy which attends upon it. 6 Remain, O Rama, in your state of trance (susupta) and continue in your course of worldly duties even in that state. Your mind, like the moon in a painting, will not be subject to its waning phases or be seized by any alarm. 7 Do not think that the waste or stability of your body can affect the state of your consciousness. The body is not related to the mind. That is only a false conception of the brain.
8 Although the body is nothing, yet it must not be destroyed by any means. You gain nothing by destroying it and you lose nothing by its firmness. Continue with your duties and leave the body to go on in its own habitual course.
9 You have known the truth that God presides over the world. You have understood the divine nature in all its threefold states. You have attained your true state of spirituality. You are freed from your worldly sorrows. 10 You have rid yourself of your liking and disliking for what you desire or despise. You are graced with the cooling light of your reason. You have removed the dark cloud of prejudice. You have become as graceful as the autumn sky with the brightness of the full moon (of your intellect) shining over it.
11 Your mind has its self possession and does not lower itself to meaner things. It has become as perfect as those who are accomplished in their meditation, so that you would not want to stoop to earth from that higher sphere. 12 This is the region of the pure and uniform consciousness that has no bounds. There are no false landmarks of “I” and “you,” “this” and “that,” “mine” and “yours” and similar errors.
13 In common speech this Divine Consciousness is labeled with the imaginary title of Atma (Soul or self), but there is no occasion to distinguish any name or form in that being who is quite distinct from all. 14 The sea is a vast body of water with its waves of the same element and in no way different from the sea itself. In the same way all this fullness composed of pure soul and this earth and water are nothing other than itself. 15 As you see nothing in the ocean except the vast body of water, so you find nothing in the universe except the one Universal Soul.
16 Say O intelligent man, what do you want to call yourself, itself and the like? What do you call yourself and what belongs to you? What is not yourself or does not belongs to you? 17 There being no duality beside the only soul, there can be no material body at all. There is no relation between this and that, any more than there is between the light of the sun and the gloom of night.
18 Even supposing the existence of a duality, yet I will tell you, O Rama, that the existence of material bodies bears no relationship with the spiritual soul. 19 As light and shade and darkness and sunshine bear no relation to one another, so the embodied soul has no connection with the body. 20 As the two opposites of cold and hot can never combine, so the body and soul can never join with one another. 21 As two opposites can have no relation between them, so is it with the body and soul. One is dull matter and the other an intelligent principle. 22 A connection between the body and the pure intellect of the soul is as improbable as the existence of a sea in a fire.
23 The sight of truth removes every false appearance, just as understanding light in the sandy desert removes the mirage of water. 24 The intellectual soul is immortal and without decay, perfectly pure and shining by itself. The body is perishable and impure. Therefore the body cannot be related to the spirit. 25 The body is moved by vital breath and is fattened by solid food. Therefore it cannot be related with the self-moving soul which is without increase or decrease.
26 So even if we acknowledge the duality of the body, that does not prove its relation with the soul. The duality of material bodies being disproved, the theory of its relativity falls at once to the ground.
27 Knowing the essence of the soul, you must rely on its subjective being within yourself. Then you will be free from both your bondage and liberation in all places and at all times. 28 Believe all nature to be quiet and full of its quiescent soul. Let this be your firm belief whatever you see inside or outside yourself. 29 The thoughts that “I am happy or miserable” or “wise or ignorant” proceed from our false, comparative view of things. You will always remain miserable as long as you continue to believe in the substance of outward things.
30 As there is a huge difference between a rock and a heap of hay, and between a silk-pod and a stone, the same applies to the comparison of the pure soul with the gross body. 31 As light and darkness bear no relation or comparison between themselves, such also is the case, O Rama, between the body and soul, which are quite different from one another. 32 We never hear of the union of cold and hot, even in story, or of the union of light and darkness in any place. In the same way, there is no union between the soul and body. They are never joined together.
33 All bodies are moved by the air, and the human body moves to and fro by its breath. It makes sound by means of its breath and the machinery of its wind pipes. 34 The human body utters its sounds combined with the letters of the alphabet by means of its internal breathings. Its mechanism is the same as that of a hollow bamboo pipe.
35 The internal air moves the pupils and the eyelids. It is the same air that gives motion to the limbs of the body. But consciousness moves the soul and gives movement to its intellect.
36 The soul is present in all places, whether in heaven above or in the worlds beneath, and its image is seen in the mind as its mirror. 37 You will have some notion of the soul in your mind by thinking that it flies like a bird from the cage of its body and wanders about at random being led by its desires and fancies. 38 As knowledge of a flower is accompanied by its fragrance, so the knowledge of the soul is inseparable from that of the mind. 39 As the all pervading sky is partly seen in a mirror, so the omnipresent soul is partially seen in the mirror of the mind.
40 As water seeks the lowest level in a reservoir, so the soul makes the mind the receptacle of its knowledge. 41 The knowledge of the reality or unreality of the world reflected upon the internal organ of the mind is all the working of the conscious soul, just as light produces solar rays. 42 This internal organ of the mind is regarded as the actual cause of all, the cosmic egg. The soul, which is the prime cause of causes, is regarded as no cause at all owing to its transcendent nature.
43 Men of great minds have given the name of fallacy, misjudgment and ignorance to this internal or causal mind which is the source of the creation of worlds. 44 It is error and lack of full investigation that make us mistake the mind for a distinct entity. It is the seed of all our ignorance which casts us in darkness from the sunlight of reason.
45 Rama, the mind becomes a nothing through true knowledge of the soul, just as darkness becomes nothing before the light of the lamp. 46 Ignorance mistakes the mind for the cause of creation and recognizes it under its various names, whether jiva or the living soul, the internal organ, the mind, the thinking principle or thought.
47 Rama said, “Tell me sage, why are there so many different names heaped upon the only one thing of the mind? Deliver me from the confusion they cause in my mind.”
48 Vasishta answered:— All these are only various modes of the single substance of the soul whose intellect displays these modalities, just as the same substance of water displays itself in the variety of its waves. 49 The soul is a fluctuating principle which inheres in all its modifications, just as the fluidity of water is inherent in the moving waves of the sea.
50 The Supreme Soul is sometimes without its vibration and remains stationary in all immovable things, just as water which presents its fluidity in moving waves shows its inelasticity in liquids at rest. 51 Hence stones and other immovable substances remain at rest with their inherent spirit, but men and all animated nature are like the foaming froths of the distilled liquor of the Universal Soul.
52 The almighty power resides in all bodies with the inertia of his spirit, known as the unconsciousness, dullness or ignorance of inert bodies. 53 The infinite soul involved in that ignorance takes the name of the living or animal soul that is confined like an elephant in the prison house of the delusion of this world. 54 It is called jiva or living because of its animation, and also ego from its egoism. It is termed understanding from its power of discernment, and the mind from its will or volition. 55 It is called dull nature from its natural dullness, and also body from being embodied with many elementary principles. It is inert in its natural state, and conscious also from the essence of the soul inborn in it. 56 The spiritual substance that lies between the inert and active principles is called the mind. It passes under various names according to its different faculties and functions.
57 This is the essential nature of the animating soul (jiva), as given in the Brihadaranyaka and other Upanishads. There are many other definitions of it to be found in the other works of Vedanta. 58 But over and above these, fools using false logic have invented many other words to designate the animal soul, and thereby they have bewildered and misled the ignorant to false beliefs.
59 Know thus, O long armed Rama, that this animating soul is the cause of creation, and not the dull and dumb body which does not even have the power to move itself without being moved by some spiritual force.
60 Many times it happens that the destruction of either the container or contained causes the destruction of both. So it is with the receptacle of the body and its content the soul. The removal of the one leads to the dissolution of both. 61 The moisture of a leaf when dried is neither wasted nor lost in air, but extracted from it to reside in the rays of the all sucking sun. 62 So the body being wasted, there is no waste of the embodied soul. It is carried to live in banishment from its former abode and to reside in the region of empty air or in the reservoir of the Universal Spirit.
63 He who falls into the error of thinking himself as lost at the loss of his body is like a baby who is snatched away from the breast of its mother by a fairy. 64 He who is thought to have his utter extinction is said to rise again (by the reincarnation of his soul). Cessation of the mind is called utter extinction and liberation of the soul. 65 A dead person is said to be lost, but this is entirely false. Just as one who has been long absent from his country returns, so the dead man revisits the earth in his repeated reincarnations.
66 The current of death carries away men like sticks and straw to the vast ocean of eternity. Having disappeared, they appear in other scenes according to the fruits of their nature, soil and season.
67 Living beings bound to their desires are led from one body to another in endless succession, like monkeys quitting decayed trees to search for others elsewhere. 68 They leave them again when they are worn out and go to others at distant times and climates. 69 Each hour living beings are seen moving about and led away from place to place by their unsatisfied desires, just as restless infants are rocked and carried by their cunning wet-nurses.
70 Bound by the rope of desire to the decayed trees of their infirm bodies, men drag their lives of labor in search of their living in this valley of misery. 71 Even when men have grown old and decrepit and loaded with misery, shattered in their bodies at the last stage of their lives, they are still dragged about by the inborn desires of their hearts to be cast into hell pits.
72 Valmiki said:— As the sage had said thus far, the sun sank down and bade the day to observe its evening rites. The assembly broke with mutual salutations and all of them proceeded to their evening cleasning rituals until they met again after dispersion of the gloom of night by the rising rays of the eastern sun.
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Chapter 72 — A Lecture on the Nature of Liberation
1 Vasishta continued:— You are not born with the birth of your body and you are not dead with its death. You are the immaculate spirit in your soul and your body is nobody to you.
2 The metaphors of the plum on a plate and of vacuum in a pot which are offered to prove that the loss of the one means the loss of the other are false reasoning. Neither the plum nor the vacuum is lost by breaking the plate or the pot. 3 Whoever thinks that he will perish with his perishable body and is sorry for it is truly blinded in his mind. He is to be pitied for his mental blindness.
4 As there is no relationship between the reins of a horse and the chariot, so there is no relationship between the organs of the body and the intellect. 5 As there is no relationship between the mud and clear water of a reservoir, so O Raghava, there is no correlation between the body parts and the soul. 6 As the traveler retains no love or sorrow for the path he has passed and the journey he has already made, so the soul bears no affection or dislike towards the body with which it sojourned and which it has left behind.
7 As imaginary ghosts and fairies strike fear and love in some persons, so the ideal world inspires pleasure and pain in the mind of the idealist. 8 The assemblage of the five elements has framed all these different forms of beings in the world, just as various images are carved from the same wood. 9 You see nothing but woody substance in all timber, so you find nothing except a collection of the five elements in all tangible bodies.
10 Therefore, O Rama, why should you rejoice or regret at anything, seeing that the five elements have their own course, joining and disjoining themselves, in the formation and dissolution of bodies? 11 Why should one be so fond of female forms, or the forms of other beautiful things on earth? Men run after them like flies, falling in fire only to consume themselves. 12 Good features and good shapes are delightful to the ignorant, but to the wise they present their real figures of combinations of the five elements and no more.
13 Two statues cut from the same stone and two figures carved of the same wood bear no affection or relationship to one another, however close they may be placed to each other. It is the same with the body and mind. 14 Dolls made of clay and placed together in a basket do not form any friendship by their long association with one another, so understanding, the organs of sense, the soul and mind, though so closely united in the same body, bear no relation with one another. 15 Marble statues, though so fair and closely kept in the sculptor’s house, contract no acquaintance or friendship with one another. In the same way the organs of sense, life, the soul and the mind, though they reside in the same body, have no alliance with one another.
16 As things growing apart from one another come to be joined together for an instant by some accident, like reeds and rushes carried by the waves of the sea. So all beings, such as men and their bodily senses and mind and the soul, are brought to meet together only for a time in order to be separated forever. 17 As reeds and rushes are joined in heaps, and again separated from one another by the current of the river, so the course of time joins the elements, the mind and soul in gross bodies only for their separation. 18The soul in the form of the mind unites the component parts of the body like the whirling currents of the sea swirls reeds and rushes.
19 The soul, awakened to its knowledge of itself, relinquishes its knowledge of objects and becomes purely subjective in itself, like water by its own motion throws away its dirt and becomes as pure as crystal. 20 The soul, released of its objective knowledge of the world, looks upon its own body like the gods look upon this speck of earth below the region of air. 21 The soul, seeing itself quite unconnected to the elemental particles quite, becomes disembodied as a pure spirit, then shines forth in full brightness like the blazing sun at midday. 22 Then it comes to itself by itself, as it were without any check or bounds set to it. Then being set free from the giddiness of the objective, it sees itself subjectively in its own consciousness.
23 It is the soul which agitates the world rising of its own essence, just as the agitation of water particles raises the waves all over the wide extent of the sea. 24 Thus dispassionate and sinless men of great understanding who have obtained their self-liberation in this life move about as freely as the waves in the great ocean of the all-comprehending soul. 25 As the waves move freely in the sea and pour the gems and pearls which they bear over distant shores, so the best of men wander everywhere free of all desire, enriching mankind with the treasure of their knowledge.
26 As the sea is not soiled by the floating wood it carries from the shore, and the face of the sky is not soiled by the flying dust of the earth, so men of great minds and souls are not perverted by their conduct with the world. 27 Those who are masters of themselves are not moved to love or hatred in their behavior with others, or with those who are steady or unsteady in their friendship, or with those who are vicious and ignorant, 28 because they know that whatever passes in the mind relating to worldly matters are all its vagaries and reveries of thought, which are only airy nothings.
29 The knowledge of one’s self and of other things belonging to the past, present and future, and the relation of visible phenomena with the sense of vision, are all workings of the mind. 30 Phenomena depending only upon sight may be false from the deception of our vision, like an apparition in darkness. In vain we are glad or sorry at their sight or disappearance. 31 What is unreal is always unreal and what is real is ever the same. But that which is real and unreal at the same or different times must be a false appearance and does not merit our rejoicing or sorrow at their presence or absence. 32 Refrain from a partial view of things and employ yourself to the full knowledge of objects. Know that a learned man of vast knowledge never falls into the false conceptions of things.
33 I have fully expounded the relation of visible phenomena and their vision, and shown the spiritual pleasure which is derivable from contemplation of the abstract relation existing between them. 34 The abstract meditation of things is said to be a divine attribute, and our consciousness of the relations of vision and visible phenomena afford the highest delight to the soul. 35 The consideration of the relationship between visible phenomena and vision affords the physical delight of knowing the material world to the ignorant. It gives the spiritual joy of liberation to the wise.
36 Hence the attachment of our mind to visible phenomena is called its bondage. Its detachment from them is said to be its freedom. The former is pleasant to the sensuous body and the latter is delightful to the conscious soul. 37 The mind understanding the relationships among things before it and freed from thoughts of its loss or gain in this world is said to enjoy its freedom. 38 Abstaining from the sight of visible phenomena constitutes the trance (deep sleep perception) vision of the soul, which is enlarged and illuminated by its inner vision within itself. 39 Release from the bondage of phenomena and restraining the mind to its inner workings constitute fourth stage of perfection (turiya) which is also called its liberation.
40 Knowledge in the conscious soul of the relationships of phenomena does not make it stout or lean, or more manifest or obscure in its nature. 41 The soul is not intelligent or inert, not a being or a not being. It is not the ego or non-ego, not a unit or many in one. 42 It is not near or far away from us, nor is it an entity or nonentity either. It is not within or beyond our reach. It is in all yet not the all and nothing at all. 43 It is none of the categories or no category. It is not the fivefold elements or composed of any of them. It is not the well known mind which is reckoned as the sixth organ of sense. 44 That which is beyond all things is nothing at all of this world, but it is something known and seen in the hearts of the wise.
45 All the world is full of the soul and there is nothing beyond it. It is in all that is solid or soft or liquid, and in all motions that proceed from it. 46 The soul is all in all things composed of the five elements of earth, water, air, fire and ether. There is nothing, O Rama, that has its existence without the essence of the soul. 47 This single soul is diffused in all the worlds and throughout all space and time. There is no fragment of anything without the soul. Therefore, if you will have a great soul in you, keep your mind fixed in the Universal Soul.
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Chapter 73 — Visualizations of the Soul; Its Experience More Manifest in Living Beings; — Knowledge, not Liberation
1 Vasishta continued:— By reasoning in this manner and by renouncing the knowledge of duality, the yogi comes to know the nature of his soul, just as the gods know the divine nature which is the gem of their meditation.
2 Now hear about this unsurpassed sight which is the soul or in-being of all visible beings. By this attitude, you will have the keen clear vision of the gods and get sight of God.
3 Think of yourself as the light of sun and the endless sky with all its ten sides and the upper and lower regions of space, and that your soul is the soul of gods and demigods and the light of all luminous bodies. 4 Know yourself as darkness, the clouds, the earth and seas, the air and fire and dust of the earth, and that the entire world is combined in you.5 Know that you are everywhere in all the three worlds together with the soul abiding in them, and that you are nothing other than the unity itself. There is no duality of anybody, only the unity which pervades the whole. 6 Being certain of this truth, you will see innumerable worlds situated in your internal soul. By adopting this attitude, you will escape from being subjected to or overcome by the joys and sorrows of life.
7 Tell me, O lotus-eyed Rama. How can you call one as connected or separate from you when you know that the entire creation including yourself is contained in the all-containing Universal Soul? 8 Tell me, do the wise live outside that Being that they should give way to joy or grief, which are the two phases of the Universal Soul?
9 There are two kinds of individual egos growing out of the knowledge of truth. Both of these are good and pure in their natures and produce spirituality and liberation of men.10 One ego is the form of a minute particle, transcending all things in its minuteness. The other is the ego of one’s self. The first is that the one ego is all. (“I am the extremely subtle and transcendental self.”) The second is the knowledge that my or your ego is the same one. (“I am all and everything.”) 11 There is a third sort of ego amounting to the non-ego which takes the body for the ego and thus becomes subject to misery and finds no rest in this life or in the next. 12 Now leaving all these three kinds of subjective, objective and non-egos, he who holds fast to the fourth sort of non-ego sees the sole intellect beyond these three. 13 This Essence, being above all and beyond the reach of all existence, is the manifesting soul of the unreal world. 14 Look into your notion of it and you shall find yourself assimilated with it. Then get rid of all your desires and ties of your heart and become full of divine knowledge.
15 The soul is not known by any logical inference or from the light the revelations of the Vedas. It is always best and most fully known to be present with us by our direct experience of it. 16 All the sensations and vibrations that we have in our bodies, and all the thoughts of which we are conscious in our minds, are all attributes of the sovereign Soul which is beyond our vision and visible phenomena. 17 This Lord is no real substance, nor an unreal non-entity. He is not a minutiae or a vast massiveness either. He is not in the midst of these dimensions, nor is he this or that, but is always as he is. 18 It is improper to describe him as such and such, or that he is otherwise than this or that. Know him therefore as the inexpressible and indefinable one.
19 To say that this is the soul and that is not the soul are only verbal differences of something that words cannot express or differentiate. The soul is an attribute of the omnipresent Power. 20 It is present in all places and comprehends the three times of the past, present and future in itself. Yet it is invisible and incomprehensible to us, owing to its extreme rarity and immensity.
21 The soul resides in the infinity of substances. It reflects itself as the living soul in animated bodies, just as sunlight reflects its rays through a glass prism. 22 Owing to the animating power of the soul, we have some experience of the soul. Although the soul pervades all things, it is most manifest in living bodies, as the air which surrounds all bodies everywhere circulates only in the open ethereal space. 23 The intellectual soul is all pervading and everywhere and never stationary in any place. The spirit of the Lord has the same boundaries as the vast range of his creation. 24 But the animating soul of living beings does not breathe in minerals but only in animals, just as the light enlightens the eye only and the dust flies with the winds.
25 When the animating principle resides in the soul, it bursts forth with all its desires, just as people pursue their callings when the sun has risen above the horizon. 26 But just as the sun is unaffected if people should cease their activities when he is shining above their heads, so it is nothing to consciousness whether men be without their desires and actions while it resides in the soul. 27 If the soul exists by the inherence of the Lord (Consciousness) in it, it suffers no loss by the absence of the frail body.
28 The soul is not born nor does it die. It does not receive or desire anything. It is not restrained or liberated, but it is the soul of all at all times. 29 The soul is awakened by its enlightenment, or else the soul is supposed to be what is no soul only for our misery, just as the snake is supposed to be in a rope only for our error and fear. 30 The soul being without its beginning, it is never born. Being unborn, it is never destroyed. It seeks nothing except itself for lack of anything beside. 31 The soul is unbounded by time or space. It is never confined in any place. Being always unconfined, it requires no liberation.
32 Such, O Rama! are the qualities of the souls of all persons. Yet the ignorant deplore its loss from their want of reason. 33 Look thoroughly, O Rama! into the course of all things in the world and do not lament for anything like senseless men. 34 Abandon thoughts of both your imaginary confinement and liberation. Behave like wise men: like a dumb self-moving machine.
35 Liberation is not something confined in this earth or in heaven above or the seven lower regions (Patala), but resides in the hearts of the wise, in their pure souls and enlightened understandings. 36 The minute subtlety of the mind, by extinguishing its gross desires, is said to be its liberation by those who know the truth and look into the workings of their souls. 37 As long as the pure light of consciousness does not shine forth in the sphere of the mind, it longs for liberation as its chief good. Liberation, or freedom from all feelings, is less meritorious than the knowledge of all things. The sage gives preference to knowledge above liberation. 38 After the mind has the fullness of its intellectual powers and consciousness has been fully enlightened, it would not care for all the tenfold blessings of liberation, much less desire its salvation.
39 O Rama, stop thinking about the distinctions of the bondage and liberation of the soul. Believe its essence to be exempted from both. 40 Be free of your thoughts of the duality and remain steadfast in your duty of ruling the earth to its utmost limits of the sea dug by the sons of Sagara.
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Chapter 74 — Qualities of One Who Abides in the Truth
1 Vasishta continued:— It is easy to take pleasure looking at the outer world, and difficult to turn the sight to the inner soul, just as it is pleasant to see delightful prospects abroad and be bitter in the heart to be without them. 2 Fascinated with these delightful objects, we become subject to all our errors and blunders, just as the taste of alcohol fills the brain with giddiness. 3 This intoxication drives the knowledge of sober truth from our minds and introduces the delirium of the phenomenal world instead, like the sun’s heat producing a false mirage in the desert. 4 Then the deep ocean of the soul boils in its various aspects of the mind, understanding, egoism, sensation and volition like the sea, moved by hot winds, bursts into the forms of foaming froths, waves and surges.
5 The duality of the mind and its egoism is a verbal distinction without reality, for egoism is only a thought (chitta) and thought is only the mind (manas). 6 It is in vain to think of snow apart from its whiteness, so it is false to suppose the mind as distinct from egoism. 7 There is no difference between ego and mind. The destruction of one means the loss of the other, just as the removal of cloth is accompanied by the absence of its color.
8 Avoid both your desire of liberation and your eagerness for worldly bondage. Instead, strive to enfeeble your mind by lessening its egoism by the two means of your detachment and discrimination of worldly objects. 9 The thought of getting liberation growing big in the mind disturbs its peace and rest, and it also injures the body (by austerities). 10 Whether we visualize the soul as apart from all things or intimately connected with all, it can neither have its liberation nor its bondage.
11 When the air circulates in the body by its natural property of motion, it gives movement to the members of the body and moves the rolling tongue like the flitting leaf of a tree. 12 As the restless wind gives motion to the leaves and twigs of trees, so the vital airs add their force to the movement of the body parts. 13 But the soul which pervades the whole never moves like the wind, nor is it moved as any part of the body. It does not move of itself but remains unshaken like a rock at the motion of the winds. Like the Lord of all, it is unmoved by the breeze. 14 The soul by its reflection shows all things hidden in it, just as a lamp by its light shows whatever lay concealed in the darkness of a room.
15 Why should you fall into the painful error of thinking like ignorant and senseless men that these members of your body and these things belong to you? 16 Infatuated by this ignorance, men think the frail body as lasting and attribute knowledge and agency of action to it. 17 Only gross error makes us believe the body is a self acting machine of its motions, actions and passion. Only our sanguine wishes present so many false views before us, like the sun’s heat raises mirages of water in a sandy desert. 18 The ignorance of truth makes the mind seek the pleasures of senses. Ignorance drags the mind along like a thirsty doe to perish in the watery mirage of the parching shore. 19 But when untruth is distinguished from truth, untruth flies from the mind like a tribal woman fleeing from the company of brahmins. 20 When error is found out, it can no more deceive the mind than the mirage, when discovered, fails to attract the thirsty.
21 Rama, as truth is known and rooted in the mind, the seeds of earthly desires are uprooted from it, just as thick darkness is dispelled by the light of a lamp. 22 The mind arrives at certain truths by the light of scriptures and reason, so its errors quickly fade away like icicles melting under the heat of the sun. 23 The certainty of the moral truth that “it is useless to foster and fatten this frail frame of the body” is as powerful to break down the net of worldly desires as the robust lion is capable of breaking down the iron bars of his prison.
24 The mind of man fee from the bonds of its desires becomes as brilliant as a moonlit night with pure beams of disinterested delight. 25 The contented mind gets a coolness like that of a heated rock after it is washed by a shower of rain. It finds a satisfaction equal to that of a pauper who obtains the riches of a king and his whole kingdom. 26 The face of a contented man shines as clear as the face of the autumn sky. His soul overflows with delight like the flood waters at the end of a kalpa age. 27 A contented man is silent like a mute cloud after rain. His soul remains composed with its consciousness, just as the profound sea is tranquil with its fullness. 28 He has patience and steadiness like a rock and glistens as quietly in himself as a fire glowing after its fuel is burnt out. 29 He is extinct in himself like a lamp that has been extinguished. His inner satisfaction is like one who has feasted on ambrosia. 30 He shines with his inner light like a lantern with its lighted lamp, and like fire with a brightness that can never be put out.
31 He sees his soul as identical with the universal and all pervading soul which is the lord and master of all and which abides in all forms in its formless state. 32 He smiles at everything by setting himself above and beyond all mortal and frail things. His days glide away sweetly and softly with him, and he laughs at those men whose unsteady minds are made the marks of the arrows of Kama, the god of desire.
33 His holy mind is isolated from the society of men and from all their amusements and rests secluded from all company and concern with the fullness of its spiritual bliss within itself. 34 His mind is clear of the muddy and turbulent ocean of this world and of the dirt of worldly desires. It is loosened from the chains of its error and set free from the fear of dualism.
35 A man being thus released attains the highest state of humanity and rests in that supreme joy which is desired by all and found by few, and from which nobody returns to revisit the earth. 36 This height of human ambition being arrived at, there is nothing else to wish for. This great gratification being once gained, there is no other joy which can delight us more.
37 The self contented man neither gives or receives anything from anybody. He does not praise or criticize anyone, he does not rejoice or grieve at anything, and he is never elated or depressed at any occurrence. 38 He is said to be liberated in his lifetime because he takes no title on himself, withholds from all business, and is free from desires. 39Abstaining from wishing anything in his heart and holding his tongue in unspoken silence, he remains as dumb as a cloud after it has poured down all its waters.
40 Even the embrace of a fairy fails to afford such delight to the body as the cooling beams of contentment gladdens the mind.
41 Even though he may wear the disc of the moon dangling like a breast plate from his neck, a man does not derive such coolness as he feels in himself from the frigidity of contentment. 42 A flowery shrub decorated with blooming small flowers of the spring is not as refreshing a sight as the smiling face of one filled with the magnanimity of his soul and lacking strong desires in his mind. 43 Neither the frost of the snowy mountain nor the coldness of a string of pearls, not even the frigidness of the forest of the plantain trees or sandal paste or refreshing moonbeams can afford that internal coolness as the lack of desire produces in the mind. 44 Content with everything is more charming than the pleasure of royal dignity, heavenly joy, the pleasantness of moonlight, or the delights of spring. It is more charming than the enchanting graces of a beauty.
45 Renunciation of desire is the source of complete self-sufficiency to which the riches of the three worlds can make no addition. 46 Self-complacency strikes the axe at the root of the thorny difficulties of the world and decorates its possessor with blessings like the blossoms of a flowery tree. 47 A man decorated with a lack of desire has all in himself though possessed of nothing. He spurns the deep earth like a cave, and the big mountain as the trifling trunk of a tree. He looks on all the sides of air as mere caskets, and regards the worlds as straws. 48 The best of men who are devoid of desire laugh with scorn at the busy affairs of the world, and at men taking from one and giving to another, or storing or squandering their riches. 49 That man is beyond all comparison who allows no desire to take root in his heart and who does not care a fig or a straw for the world. 50 With what shall we compare a man whose mind is never employed in the thoughts of craving something and avoiding another, and who is ever master of himself?
51 O you wise and intelligent men, rely on the lack of cravings of your heart, which is your greatest good fortune, by setting yourself in the bliss of safety and security beyond the reach of the dangers and difficulties of the world. 52 Rama, you have nothing to desire in this world. You are not led away by worldly desires like one who is moving in a car, looks sideways, and thinks he is seeing things receding back from him. 53 O intelligent Rama, why do you fall into the error of ignorant men by taking this thing to be yours and that as another’s by the delusion of your mind?
54 All the world is the same identical spirit, and all its variety is in perfect uniformity with the Supreme Soul. The learned know that the world is eternally the same and unvaried in itself. They do not grieve at the apparent changes of things and changing fortunes of times.
55 Seeing all things in their true light, a manifestation of the divine essence, all intelligent men place their dependence in Him and do not desire anything else. 56 Rely therefore on that unchanging state of things which is free from the conditions of existence and nonexistence and of beginning and end.
57 This illusive enchantment of the world flies far away before the detachment of strong minded men, like a timid fawn running at the sight of a ferocious lion. 58 Men of subdued passions and calm minds regard the graces of fairy forms to be no more than the loveliness of wild vines, or the faded beauty of dilapidated statues of stone. 59 No pleasures gladden their hearts and no dangers depress their spirits. No outward good or bad can make any effect on their minds which are as inflexible as firm rocks against the violence of winds. 60 The mind of the magnanimous sage is as impregnable as a rock. His mind baffles the allurements of youthful damsels and breaks the arrows of love to pieces, falling down like pulverized atoms of dust and ashes.
61 One knowing his self is not carried away by his fondness or aversion of any person or thing. A heart without any vibration is unconscious of all feelings. 62 A dispassionate man who looks on all things with an equal eye is as unconscious as a stone to the charms of blooming maids and is adverse to destructive pleasures like a traveler is to a sandy desert.
63 All things necessary for life are obtained with little labor by those who are indifferently minded about their gain. The wise get free gifts of nature with as much ease as eyesight gets sunlight.
64 The gifts of nature, allotted by fortune to the share of every one, are tasted by the wise without rejoicing or murmur.
65 Neither rejoicing nor bewilderment can overtake the mind of the wayfarer who well knows his way. He stands firmly as Mandara Mountain amidst the turbulent waves of the sea. 66 He looks indifferently on the pains and pleasures of the world with his usual patience, silence and lack of anxiety. He places his trust in that spirit which resides inside everyone. 67 Though beset by anxious cares, he remains without anxiety in his mind and stands steadfast with confidence in the Supreme Soul, like Brahma in his rush to create the world. 68 Though overtaken by the accidents of the times, places and circumstances of life, yet he is not overpowered by the influence of their pain or pleasure but stands erect like a sturdy oak against the influence of the seasons. 69 The wise may fail in the action of their bodily organs and falter in their speech also, but their strong and unconcerned minds never fail in their operations or despond under the pressure of outward circumstances.
70 Gold becomes impure from its inner alloy and not by its outward soil. So a man becomes unholy by the impurity of heart and foulness of his mind, and not on account of the dust or dirt on his body. 71 The learned understand the wise man apart from his body because the mutilated body does not take anything away from the wisdom of a man. 72 Once the pure and luminous soul is known, it is never to be lost sight of, like a friend once known is never thought to be a foe. 73 The fallacy of the snake in the rope being removed, it is no more looked upon as a snake, just as a river receiving its torrents from the waterfall of a hill in rainy season does not retain its current after the rains have passed.
74 Gold purified by fire retains its purity forever even though it becomes dirty by being thrown into the mud and mire. 75 After the heart string has been broken, it can never be joined anymore, just as a flower fallen from its stalk cannot be stuck back to it again. 76 No analysis can distinguish the gem from the ore when they are both broken to pieces, so there is no reasoning to show the soul is lost with the body. 77 Who, having understood what error is, will be so great a fool as to fall to it again? No brahmin who has recognized another to be a tribal will ever like to mix in his company.
78 As the mistake of milk in water passes away upon examination of the liquid, so the error of worldly desires vanishes upon knowledge of their vanity. 79 Even learned brahmins may fall into the error of drinking some liquor for pure water, until they come to realize their mistake. 80 Those acquainted with truth look upon the outer forms of fairies like paintings or pictures. 81 The dark hair and crimson lips of a fairy are portrayed in black and red in a picture, so there is no difference between the figure in its living form or in a painting.
82 The idea of sweetness is inseparable from sugar. In the same manner, the idea of bliss is inseparable from the soul, which is indestructible by the destruction of the body. 83Spiritual joy may be enjoyed in this physical body in the same manner as one enjoys the pleasure of imagination. 84 Thus a man who is steadfast in his spiritual meditation and intent upon the Supreme Soul is not to be turned away from it by the power of the gods or by the jealousy of Indra.
85 There is no lover of a woman who can turn her heart away from the dearest object of her love, so there is nothing in the world that can alienate the unsteady mind from its love of spiritual joy. 86 There is no joy in the whole world that is able to divert the mind of the magnanimous philosopher from its reliance on the delight of intellectual light.
87 A married woman who is subject to all domestic toils and privations and is constantly employed in her household drudgeries, subjected to maltreatment and subjugated by her husband and father-in-law, 88 still has the comfort of thinking upon her sweetheart and dissipates her sorrows with the thought of her favorite lover. Such is the mystic love of spiritualists. 89 A man bound to the cares of worldly affairs has the consolation of his soul and spiritual bliss by freeing his mind from ignorance and conducting himself in the right way by his comprehensive spiritual view of all things. 90 He does not break under bodily torture nor does he wail with bleeding heart and weeping eyes. He is not burnt by the flame of his martyrdom, nor does he die when perishing under the scourge of the stake and stock of persecution. 91 His mind is free from the pain and pleasures that are the lot of humanity. He is unmoved amidst all the mishaps of fortune. The devotee rejoices in the region of his spiritual bliss whether he remains in his hermitage in the forest or wanders about in deserts or over mountains.
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Chapter 75 — Examples of the Living Liberated
1 Vasishta continued:— See Janaka, the king employed in the government of his kingdom, yet liberated in his lifetime from his bondage in the world because of his mental release from all its cares and anxieties. 2 Remember your grandfather Dilipa who, though deeply engaged in his state affairs, yet enjoyed his long and peaceful rule owing to the dispassion of his disposition. 3 Think of Buddha who ruled over his people free of all passions and affections. Bring to your mind how Manu ruled his kingdom in peace and who was an example of liberation in his lifetime. 4 Remember how the monarch Mandhata obtained the blessed state of liberation even though he was constantly engaged in various wars and state affairs.
5 Think of Bali who, while he was confined in the infernal region, conducted himself with virtue and became liberated in his lifetime by his unbounded generosity and lack of attachment to the world. 6 Namuchi, the lord of Danava demons, waged continuous wars against the gods yet was of cool and quiet in his mind. 7 Vritra, the asura demon who fell in battle with the god Indra, was of a great, calm and quiet mind as long as he fought with him. 8 Prahlada, the prince of the Daitya demons, dwelling in the demon world underneath the ground, dispensed his administration with an unruffled and glad mind. 9 Sambara, the demon who was a sorcerer in warfare, was cool blooded like water in his heart, whereby he was delivered from the sorcery of the world, like a fleet deer flying from an arrow.
10 The demon Kusala also, whose mind was not bound to the world, waged an unprofitable war against Vishnu from whom he obtained his spiritual knowledge and his deliverance from this temporary scene.
11 Look at fire, how free and uncompressed it is as it serves as the mouth of gods, permitting the offerings to reach the gods and perform endless works of melting for them. 12See the gods drinking the juice of soma plants and presiding over the endless functions of the world. They are ever as free as air.
13 Brihaspati (Jupiter) the guru of the gods, and Moon, the pursuer of his wife Rohini, have been continually performing their revolutions without changing their places in heaven. So have the other planets also. 14 Shukra (Venus), the learned teacher of the asura demons, shines in the same manner in the heavenly sphere and runs in his unvaried course while protecting the interests of the asuras. 15 See also the winds, flying freely at all times throughout all the worlds with their charge of enlivening and giving motion to all bodies.
16 See Brahma continuing in the same unchangeable state of his mind, giving life and velocity to all beings which thereby have been continually moving about in the world. 17Lord Vishnu, though ever liberated from every bond, has been continually employed in his contests and combats with the asura demons as if in sport. 18 The three-eyed god Shiva, though ever free from all concerns, is joined in one body with his dearer half, the beautiful Gauri, in the manner of a lover enamored of his beloved one. 19 The fair Hara (Shiva), though ever free, is bound in the embrace of his fair Gauri and wears a crescent of the fair moon and Gauri as a lace of pure pearls about her neck.
20 The heroic Skanda, vast in understanding and like a sea with all the gems of his learning and perfectly free, made war with Taraka of his free will. 21 Mark how Bhringi, Shiva’s attendant, was absorbed in his meditation and, thinking himself to be freed from the burden of his body, made a free offering of his blood and flesh to his goddess Gauri.
22 Sage Narada, who was of a liberated nature from his very birth and resigned the world and all its concerns altogether, was still engaged in many affairs with his cool understanding. 23 The honorable Vishwamitra, who is now present here, is liberated in his lifetime and yet he does not neglect to preside at sacrifices, solemnized according to the ritual of the sacred Veda.
24 The infernal snake bears the earth on its head and the sun makes the day by turns. The god of death is ever employed in his act of destruction, and still they are all free agents of their acts. 25 There are many others among the yakshas, suras and asuras of the world who are all liberated in their lifetime and still are employed in their respective duties.
26 There are many employed in worldly affairs and many more engaged in different courses of life who remain cold blooded and cool headed within themselves, and as still and quiet as cold stones without. 27 Some attain the acme of their understanding and retire to solitude to pass their lives in abstract meditation. Among these are the venerable Bhrigu, Bharadvaja, Shukra and Vishwamitra. 28 Many among mankind were rulers of their kingdoms and held the exalted canopy and flapper-fans and other emblems of royalty on their heads, and were not less distinguished for the piety and spirituality at the same time. Among these, the conduct of the royal Janaka, Saryali and Mandhatri stand preeminent above the rest.
29 Some among the living liberated are situated in the planetary spheres and therefore are adored by their devotees for their blessings on the world. Of these Brihaspati (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Surya (Sun) and Chandra (Moon) are the deities for gods, demons and humans. 30 Some among the gods are seated in their heavenly vehicles and continually minister to the needs of all created beings, as the rulers of fire, air, water and death, and Tumbura and Narada. 31 Some situated in the secluded regions of Patala (the netherworld) are equally distinguished for their holiness and piety, such as Bali, Subotra, Andha, Prahlada and others.
32 Among beasts of the field, fowls of the air, and inferior animals you will find many intelligent beings, such as the bird Garuda, the monkey Hanuman, the bear Jambavan, and others. Among the demigods there are some who are wise and others who are as muddle headed as beasts.
33 Thus it is possible for the Universal Soul, residing everywhere and at all times the same, to show itself in any form in any being according to its will. 34 It is the multiform law of His eternal decree and the manifold display of His infinite power that invest all things with multiple shapes and diverse capacities, as they appear to us. 35 This law of divine decree is the lord of all and embodies in itself the creative, preservative and destructive powers under the titles of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. These names are indicative of the intelligent faculties of the Universal Soul.
36 It is possible for the Supreme Soul to reside in all bodies in any manner it likes. It presides sometimes in the manner of grains of pure gold amidst worthless sands and dust, and at others as the mixture of some base metal in pure gold. 37 Seeing some good connected or resulting from evil, our inclinations would lead us to the evil were we not deterred by fear of the sinfulness of the act and its consequent punishment.
38 Sometimes we see something substantial arising from the unsubstantial, such as when we attain the substantial good of divine presence through the unsubstantial meditation on his negative attributes. 39 What never existed before comes to existence at sometime or place unknown to us, just as the horns of a rabbit, never before seen in nature, are shown to us in magic play by the black art of sorcery. 40 Those seen to exist as firm and solid as a diamond become null and void and disperse in air, like the sun, moon, earth, mountains, and the godlike people of the world before the great flood.
41 Seeing these changes in the state of things, you, O mighty armed Rama, must give up your joy and grief on any occasion and preserve the equanimity of your mind at all times. 42 The unreal (material existence) seems as real and the sober reality (of spiritual essence) appears as a nonentity in nature. Therefore give up your reliance upon this deceitful world and preserve the equanimity of your mind under all circumstances. 43 It is true that you gain nothing by your resignation of the world. On the other hand, it is equally true that you lose nothing by your getting rid of its unrealities. 44 But it is true, O Rama, that you gain a certain good by getting rid of this world, and that is your riddance from the manifold evils and misfortunes which are the unavoidable accompaniments with this life. 45 You obtain the certain gain of your salvation by your resignation of the world, which you can never earn by your attachment to it. Therefore strive for your liberation by purging your mind from its attachments to the world.
46 He who wishes for his liberation must take the pains to have an insight of his soul. A single glimpse of the soul is sure to cut off all the pains and pangs of the world at their roots. 47 There are many dispassionate and disconnected men, even in the present age, who are liberated in their lifetimes, like King Janaka and others. 48 So you too are liberated in this life to the extent you have a dispassionate and unprejudiced mind, and may manage to conduct yourself with your tolerant spirit, like the patient earth, stone and motionless metals.
49 There are two kinds of liberation for living beings. One is in their present life and body and the other after separation of life from the body, both of which admit of some varieties as you will hear afterwards. 50 First of all, the peace of mind that comes from its unconcern with everything is termed its liberation. This peace is possible for the sinless man either in this life or in the next. 51 Lessening of affections is filled with the bliss of singleness, and it is possible both in the embodied as well as disembodied states of life. 52 He who lives in perfect apathy and without his affection for anybody is called the living liberated man, but the life which is bound by its affections is said to be in bondage, or else it is free as air.
53 It is possible to obtain liberation by means of diligent inquiry and reasoning. Otherwise, it is as difficult to attain as it is hard for a lame man to leap over a hole, though as small as the footprint of a cow. 54 For know, O Rama of great soul, that the soul should not be cast into misery by your neglect of it, or by subjecting it through ignorance to its affection for others. 55 He who relies on his patience, employs his mind, and meditates upon the Supreme Soul in his own soul to attain his consummation finds the deep abyss of the world like a small chink in his vast comprehension.
56 The high station to which Buddha had attained by his patience, and from which the Arhata prince fell to skepticism by his impatience, and that supreme good which great minds reach, is the fruit of the tree of diligent inquiry, which like the wish-fulfilling kalpa tree, yields all what is desired of it.
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Chapter 76 — The World Compared with the Ocean
1 Vasishta continued:— These worlds sprung from Brahma the creator are upheld by ignorance and become extinct before right reason. 2 The worlds are like revolving circles of water, whirlpools in the ocean of Brahman. They are as numerous as particles of light and as innumerable as the small particles that fly in sunbeams. 3 Imperfect knowledge of the world causes its existence. Full knowledge makes it vanish into nothing.
4 The world is a dreadful, unbounded ocean that cannot be forded. There is no way to cross it except by the raft of right investigation and diligent scrutiny. 5 This ocean is full with the water of ignorance. Its vast basin is filled with fatal whirlpools and overwhelming waves of discord and dangers. 6 Here goodness and good actions float on the surface as its froth and foams. But they hide the deadly latent heat of hellfire underneath. Here roll the constant waves of greed, and there snores the huge whale, the great leviathan of the mind. 7 It is the reservoir of the endless channels and streams of life running as its streams and currents. It is the depository of innumerable treasures of brilliant gems hidden under its depth. It is infested with the serpents of diseases and the horrid sharks of the senses.
8 See Rama! Playful women, resembling the shaking waves of this ocean, are able to attract and pierce the hearts of the wise with the hooks and horns of their looks. 9 Their lips are as red as rubies and their eyes are as black as blue lotuses. Their teeth are like blossoms of fruits and flowers and their sweet smiles are like the white froth of the sea. 10 The curled locks of their hairs are like the curled vines of blue lotuses and their twisted eyebrows are like the slanting of little waves. Their backsides are like protruded little islands and their throats and necks are lined like conch shells. 11 Their foreheads are like plates of gold and their graces are like the sharks of the sea. Their loose glances are like splashing waves and their complexions are gold colored like the sands on the seashore.
12 Such is this ocean-like world with its tremendous surges and rolling waves. The role of a mahatma is to cross it by heroic exertions in order to save one’s self from sinking under them. 13 Shame on that man who having good sense for his vessel and reason for his helmsman does not conduct himself across the wide expanse of this worldly ocean. 14He is reckoned the most valiant man who measures the immeasurable expanse of this ocean (by his knowledge of the infinite soul). 15 He who well considers this world with the learned, who looks into all its hazards with the eye of the mind, and who places his trust in the Lord becomes blessed forever.
16 You are truly blessed, O Rama, having been employed from your early youth to scrutinize this world. 17 Men who consider the world and take it as you do in the same light of a dangerous ocean, are not likely to be drowned in it when they steer their ship in it after due consideration. 18 The enjoyments of the world are to be duly considered by self inquiry before one dares to enjoy them, like ambrosia, before they feed on any other fare like Garuda enjoying snakes as food. 19 He who considers beforehand the employment in which he should be engaged and the enjoyments he ought to share in this world fares well in his present and future life. Otherwise, he falls in danger like an inconsiderate man. 20The judicious and forewarned man prospers in his fame and fortune and rises in his power and understanding in his life, like trees flowering and bearing fruit in spring.
21 Rama, you will shine with the elegance of bright and cooling moonbeams and with the beauty of perpetual prosperity if you will only begin your worldly career with full knowledge of all that is to be known respecting the world.
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Chapter 77 — Description of Living Liberation
1 Rama replied, “O sage! nobody is fully satisfied with all that you say, but must learn more and more from you. Therefore, tell me in short the substance of the present subject, which is as grand as it is wonderful to hear.”
2 Vasishta replied:— I have already given you many interpretations of living liberation. Here are some more for your satisfaction and close attention.
3 The living liberated see this world with their visual organs and their state of sound sleep as a hazy maze. In their spiritual light, their minds fixed solely on the Supreme Soul, they consider the world to be an unreality. 4 He who is disengaged has his mind as still as in sleep. He who sees the soul is seized with joy at the sight. 5 He takes nothing that is within his reach and does not retain what is within his grasp, but keeps his mind looking within himself as having everything there.
6 He sees the bustle of the tumultuous crowd with the eye of his mind, and smiles in himself at the hurry and commotion of the world. 7 He does not live in future expectation, nor does he rely on his present possessions. He does not live on the pleasure of his past memory, but lives without any inclination.
8 Sleeping, he is awake in his vision of heavenly light. Waking, he is plunged into the deep sleep of his mental reveries. He does all his works with his external body, but he does nothing with his inner mind (which is fixed in his God). 9 In his mind he has renounced the thoughts of all things and his care for anything. He does his outward actions and remains as even as if he is doing nothing. 10 He pursues the course of duties of his caste and family as they have descended to him from the custom of his forefathers. 11 He does all that is required and expected of him with a willing mind and without the error of believing himself as their actor. 12 He remains indifferent and unconcerned of all that he does by routine and habit. He does not long for or dislike or rejoice or grieve at anything.
13 He takes no notice of others’ friendship or hatred towards him. He is devoted to those who are devoted to him, but cunning with those who deal in craftiness with him. 14 He deals as a boy with children and as a veteran with old people. He is youthful in the society of young men and is grave in the company of the aged and wise. He is not without sympathy with the sorrows of others. 15 He opens his mouth in uplifting speeches and never betrays his privation in any way. He is always calm in his mind and ever of a cheerful complexion.
16 He is wise and deep, yet open and sweet. He is ever free from pain and misery. 17 He is magnanimous in his disposition and as sweet as a sea of delight. He is cool and cools the pains of others and is as refreshing to mankind as the beams of the full moon. 18 His objects are praiseworthy deeds. No action or worldly good is of any purpose to him, nor does he gain anything by his abandonment of pleasures or riches or friends.
19 No action or inaction, no labor or ease, no bondage or release, and no heaven or hell can add or take away anything from his inner contentment. 20 He sees everything everywhere in the same uniform light. His mind is neither afraid of bondage nor eager for its release. 21 His doubts are wholly removed by the light of his knowledge. His mind towers upwards like the fearless eagle of the sky. 22 His mind, free from error and settled in its equanimity, does not rise or fall like any heavenly body, but remains unaltered as the high heaven itself.
23 The living liberated does his outward actions by the mere movements of the outer members of his body and without applying his mind to them, just as a baby sleeping in a cradle spontaneously moves his limbs without any purpose of his mind. 24 A drunk or delirious man does many acts in his state of unsound mind. He never does them with the attention of his mind, so he retains no trace of them in his memory. 25 Children grab or throw away everything without knowing whether it is good or bad for them. So do men act or refrain without deliberate choice or aversion. 26 A man doing his duty by habit or compulsion is not aware of any pain or pleasure derived from it. 27 An act done by the outer body without the person’s intention in the inner mind is reckoned as no act of the actor. It does not confer any good or bad result on the person.
28 He does not shrink from misery or rejoice at his good fortune. He is not elated at his success or depressed by his failure. 29 He is not dismayed at seeing the sun growing cool and the moon shining warmly over his head. He is not disconcerted by the flame of fire bending downwards or at the course of waters rising upwards. 30 He is neither frightened nor astonished at any wonderful occurrence in nature because he knows all phenomena of nature are the wonderful appearances of the omnipotent and all-intelligent soul.
31 He expresses no need or want and he has no need of others’ favor or kindness. He has no need to recourse to wiliness or cunning. He undertakes no shameful act like begging or the like, nor does he betray his shamelessness by doing an unworthy action. 32 He is never mean-spirited or arrogant in his spirit. He is not elated or depressed in his mind, nor is he sad or sorry or joyful at anytime. 33 No passions arise in his pure heart, which is as clear as the autumn sky and like the clear sky which gives no growth to thorns or thistles.
34 Seeing constant births and deaths of living beings in the course of this world, who would you say is always happy or unhappy? 35 Froth and foaming bubbles burst in the water, so our lives flash and fly out into eternity. Therefore, who can be called happy anywhere? What is that state of permanent pleasure or pain? 36 In this world of endless entrances and exits, what being lasts or is lost forever? Our sight produces the view, just as our failing sight takes it out of view.
37 The sights of these worlds are no more than the passing scenes in our nightly dreams, unforeseen of momentary duration and sudden disappearance. 38 What cause for joy or sorrow can there be in this wretched world which is the scene of constant advents and departures? 39 The loss of some good brings sorrow to the sufferer, but what sorrow can assail the self-liberated man who sees nothing as positive good in the ever-changing state of things in this world? 40 Of what use is prosperity or the enjoyment of any pleasure when in the next moment it is succeeded by adversity and pain, embittering life by its harmful effects.
41 Deliverance from pleasure and pain, choice and dislike, desirable and displeasing, and prosperity and adversity contributes to the true joy of man. 42 After you abandon pleasing and unpleasing objects and renounce your desire for enjoyments, you get a cold renunciation which will melt your mind like frost. 43 The mind being weakened, its desires also will be wasted, just as burnt sesame seeds leave no oil behind.
44 By thinking existence as non-existent, the man of great soul gets rid of all his desires and sets himself aloof as in the air. With joyful spirits that know no change, the wise man sits and sleeps and lives always content with himself.
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Chapter 78 — Techniques of Meditation, Pranayama and Inquiry
1 Vasishta continued:— Like a swirling firebrand describing a circle of sparkling fires, so the revolving mind depicts the apparent circumference to the sky as the real circle of the universe. 2 Similarly, rolling waters make curves in the sea that appear to be something other than water. The turning of the mind forms many ideal worlds seeming to be bodies other than itself. 3 As you see strings of pearls in the sky by the twinkling of your eyes fixed upon it, so these false worlds present themselves to view by the pulsation of your mind.
4 Rama said, “Tell me sage, how does the mind have its vibration and how it is repressed, so that I may learn how to control it?”
5 Vasishta answered:— Know Rama, as snow is accompanied by whiteness, sesame seeds are associated with oil, fragrance is attendant upon flowers, and flame is inherent with fire, 6 so the mind is accompanied by its fluctuations hand in hand. They are virtually the one and same thing, though passing under different names by fiction. 7 Of the two categories of mind and its pulsation, if either is extinct, the other is also extinguished. The properties of a thing being lost, their subject likewise ceases to exist. There is no doubt of this.
8 There are two ways of extinguishing the mind: yoga and spiritual knowledge. Yoga is the suppression of mental powers. Knowledge is the thorough investigation of all things.
9 Rama asked, “How is it possible, sage, to suppress the vital airs and thereby attain that state of tranquility which is filled with endless joy?”
10 Vasishta replied:— There is an energy circulating and breathing through the lungs and arteries of the body called the vital breath (prana) or life, just as water flows through the veins and pores of the earth. 11 The fluctuation of this energy impels and gives force to the internal organs of the body. This energy has various names such as prana and apana depending on its position and motion. 12 As fragrance resides in flowers and whiteness in frost, so motion is inherent in the mind. Mind and motion are one and the same.
13 Now the vibration of this vital breath excites the perception of certain desires and feelings in the heart. The cognitive principle of these perceptions is called the mind. 14 The vibration of vital air gives pulsation to the heart strings which causes their awareness in the mind. It is similar to the motion of waters giving rise to the waves rolling and beating on the shore. 15 In the Vedas, the learned say that the mind (chitta) is the movement of the vital breath (prana), and this prana being suppressed or controlled quiets the mind. 16The action of the mind being stopped, the perception of the existence of the world becomes extinct. It is like the extinction of worldly affairs at sunset.
17 Rama asked, “How is it possible to stop the course of the energy (prana) perpetually circulating through the cells of the body, like the unnumbered birds flying in the air to their nests?”
18 Vasishta replied:— It is possible by study of the scriptures and association with the good and wise, by habitual dispassion, by the practice of yoga, and by removal of reliance in every transaction of the world.
19 The best way to suppress the vital energy is meditation on the desired object, keeping that single object in view, and firm reliance on that one particular object. 20 Next is by suppression of breath in the acts of inspiration and respiration in such a way as to not cause pain. This together with fixed meditation makes it possible to suppress the vital energy. 21 Uttering the syllable Om, reflecting upon its meaning, and dormancy of the perceptive senses, are also ways to suppress the breath.
22 The practice of breathing out (rechaka) serves to purge the body of impurities. By leaving the nostrils untouched, the vital energy is suppressed altogether. 23 The practice of breathing in (puraka) tends to fill the insides like clouds fill the sky. Then when breathing is stopped, its vibrations are also stopped. 24 With the practice of holding of the breath (kumbhaka), the vital air is shut up in a closed vessel and this serves to stop the course of breathing.
25 The tongue carried to the opening of the roof of the mouth, and the tip of the tongue attached to the guttural bulb at the beginning of the throat, prevents the vibration of the breathing. 26 Again, the mind rid of its flights of fancy and becoming as vacant as empty air prevents the course of breathing by its fixed meditation of itself, samadhi. 27 Again, as the vital energy ranges within twelve inches from the tip of the nose, this region should be closely watched by the eyesight in order to prevent the going out and coming in of breath. 28 Moreover, the practice of stretching the tongue twelve inches above the roof of the mouth and sticking the tip of the tongue to the cavity called brahmarandhra serves to make one unconscious of himself and stop his breathing.
29 The eyesight being lifted upwards and fixed in the cavity between the eyebrows exhibits the light of the intellect and stops the vibrations of breath. 30 As soon as the spiritual light dawns over the soul and the mind is steadfastly fixed to it, without any mixture of dualism, there is an utter stop of breathing.
31 The lifelong practice of seeing a simple emptiness within one’s self and freeing the mind from all its thoughts and desired objects, serves to stop the fluctuation of breath.
32 Rama asked, “Sage, what is this thing called the human heart which receives the reflections of all things like a large mirror?”
33 Vasishta replied:— Listen, my good Rama. The hearts of all animals in this world are of two kinds: the superior and inferior. Learn their difference.
34 The inferior heart forms a part of the body. It has a certain dimension and is a piece of flesh inside the breast. 35 The other is of the nature of consciousness. It is called the superior mind because it is both inside and outside the body, yet it is situated in no part of it. 36 The superior part is where all this world is situated. It is the great reflector of all things and the receptacle of all good.
37 The consciousness of all living creatures is also called their heart, though it is not any part of the animal body, nor is it a dull inert substance such as a pebble or stone. 38Now the vibrations of vital energy of this conscious or sensitive heart, which necessarily is the same as the thinking mind (chitta), cease when it is purified of its internal desires.
39 These methods, as well as many others adopted by others and taught by many sages, equally serve to suppress the breathing. 40 These methods of yoga meditation are to be slowly adopted by continued practice for the redemption of the good from this world. Otherwise, their hasty adoption may prove detrimental to life. 41 Long practice perfects a man to the rank of a monastic and hermit, so the gradual suppression of breath is attended with equal success, and the repression of desires is accompanied by many happy results.
42 By continued practice the vital breath is compressed within the confines of twelve inches about the cavities of the brows, nostrils and palate, like a floodgate confining a body of water. 43 Through repeated practice, the tip of the tongue should be brought to contact the gullet of the throat, through which the breath passes both in and out.
44 These are the various modes which, by constant practice, lead to samadhi when the mind has its fullest tranquility and its union with the Supreme Soul. 45 By practice of these methods a man is freed from sorrow and filled with internal bliss becoming enrapt in the Supreme Soul. 46 The vibration of vital energy, being suppressed by continued practice, brings a tranquility to the mind which is like its extinction.
47 Human life is wrapped in desires. Release of the mind from these is liberation. Breathing is the operation of life and its suppression is the path to its extinction or nirvana. 48The vibration of breath is the action of the mind that produces the error of the existence of the world. The breath and mind being brought under control dispels this error.
49 Removing the knowledge of duality shows the existence of only unity, an experience that no words can describe except by attributes that are ascribed to it. 50 In whom and from whom is all, and who is all in every place. Yet who is not this world, nor does such a world as this abide in him, nor has the world come out from him. 51 Owing to its perishable nature, its situation in time and space, and its limitation by them, this material world cannot be a part of or identical with that immaterial spirit which has no attribute or likeness. 52 It is the moisture of all vegetables and the flavor of everything that can be eaten. It is the light of lights and the source of all desires rising in the heart, like moonbeams coming from the lunar disc. 53 It is the wish-fulfilling kalpa tree yielding all earthly delights as its fruits which are constantly carried aloft only to fall down with their juicy flavors of various tastes.
54 The high minded man who depends on that boundless spirit and rests secure in its bosom is truly called wise and liberated in his lifetime. 55 He is the best of men whose mind is free from all desires and cravings and who has found his rest from the thoughts of his fancied good and evil. He remains without any inclination amidst all the cares and concerns of this life.
Chapter 79 — Spiritual Knowledge: All Is Subjective
1 Rama said, “Sage, you have described the methods of suspending the mind by means of yoga practices. Now I hope you will kindly tell me how it is brought to stand still by means of perfect knowledge.
2 Vasishta replied:— Perfect knowledge means a man’s firm belief in the existence of one self manifest or Supreme Soul that is without beginning or end. This is what the wise mean by full or perfect knowledge. 3 Its fullness consists in viewing all visible forms, such as these pots, those pictures, and all these hundreds of types of beings, to be manifest in the fullness of that Spirit and not distinct from it. 4 Imperfect knowledge causes our birth and pain. Perfect knowledge liberates us from these. Our defective sight shows us the snake in the rope. Our complete view of it removes the error.
5 Only knowledge free from imagination and free from any belief in the objective and complete reliance on conscious subjectivity lead to the liberation of men. Nothing else can do. 6 Knowledge of the purely subjective is identical with that of the Supreme Spirit. This purity intermingled with the impure objective matter is termed ignorance (avidya). 7Consciousness itself is the thing which it is conscious of. Knowledge is identical with the known. There is no difference between them. The soul knows only itself as there is no other beside itself.
8 “Seeing the soul alone in its true light in all the three worlds,” is equivalent to the expression “all this world is the soul itself” in the Sruti scriptures. Knowledge of this truth constitutes the perfection of man. 9 The whole being the soul, why talk of an entity or a non-being? What meaning can there be in bondage or liberation? 10 The mind is nothing other than its perceptions which are manifested by God himself. The whole is an infinite vacuum. There is no bondage or liberation of anyone. 11 All this is the immense Brahman extending in the form of this vast immensity. Therefore, you may enlarge your invisible soul by yourself and by means of your knowledge of yourself.
12 By this comprehensive view of Brahman, as all in all, you can find no difference between a piece of wood or a rock and your cloth. Why then are you so fond of making these distinctions? 13 Know the soul as the only indestructible substance. It remains quiescent from first to the last, and know this also to be the nature of your soul. 14 Know that this boundless universe, with all the fixed and moving bodies it contains, is a transcendent void where there is no room for your joy or sorrow whatever.
15 The shapes of death, disease, unity and duality arise constantly in the soul like endless waves in the sea. 16 He who remains in the close embrace of his soul with his inner understanding is never tempted to fall a prey to the trap of worldly enjoyments. 17 He who has a clear head for right judgment is never moved by the force of earthly delights, but remains as unshaken as a rock against the gentle winds of the air. 18 Ignorant, unreasonable and stupid men, guided only by their desires, are preyed upon by continued misery like fish in a dried pond are eaten mercilessly by cranes. 19 Knowing the world to be full of spirit and without the matter of ignorance, close your eyes against its visible phenomena and remain firm with your spiritual essence.
20 Plurality of things is the creation of imagination. They have no existence in reality. It is like the many forms of waves in the sea, which in reality are only its water. Therefore, the man who relies on his firm faith in unity is said to be truly liberated and perfect in his knowledge.
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Chapter 80 — Investigation of Visible Phenomena; Ode to the Death of the Mind
1 Vasishta continued:— I will now describe to you the thoughtful mental examination that keeps the reasoning mind from attending to objects placed in its presence.
2 The eyes are only for seeing and the living soul is only for bearing the burden of pain and pleasure. They are like the eyes and bodies of beasts of burden which see and carry loads of food without being able to taste it. 3 The eyes, being confined to visible phenomena, can do no harm to the soul residing in the body, just as an ass that has fallen in a pit is but a slight loss to its owner.
4 Do not, O base man, entertain your eyes with the dirty sight of visible phenomena that perish of themselves in the twinkling of an eye and put you to peril. 5 An acutely intelligent man thinks he is living and counts the duration of his lifetime by the acts judged as one’s own deeds and beings. At last, these very acts turn against him and make him accountable for them. 6 Do not have your eyes rely upon visible objects that are unreal in their nature and are produced to perish soon after. They please your sight only for a moment. Know visible phenomena to be destroyers of your otherwise indestructible soul.
7 O my eyes that are only witnesses of forms situated in the soul! It is in vain that sights flash only to consume yourselves after a short while, like burning lamps. 8 What our eyes see is like the fluctuation of waters. Its objects are like the small particles that fill sunbeams in the sky. Whether these sights be good or bad, they are of no matter to our minds. 9Again there is that little bit of egoism beating in our minds, like a small shrimp stirring in the waters. Let it stir as it may, but why should we give it titles of “I” or “you” or “he” or “this” or “that”?
10 All inert bodies and their light appear together to the eye. One is the container of the other. But they do not affect the mind and therefore do not deserve our notice. 11 The sight of objects and the thoughts of the mind have no connection with one another. And yet they seem to be related to each other, as our faces and their reflections in mirrors. 12Such is their inseparably reciprocal relation in the minds of the ignorant. But the wise who are freed from their ignorance remain aloof from the visible with their mental meditations alone. 13 The minds of the vulgar are as closely connected with the visible as sacrificial wood is with the flammable lac.
14 Through diligent study, the chain of mental thoughts is severed from the visible in the same way as right reasoning removes our wrong notions. 15 After ignorance and the connection between visible and the mind are dispersed, there is no more blending of forms and figures and the reflections and thoughts of them. 16 The sense impressions that have taken possession of the inner mind are to be rooted out, just as they drive a demon out from the house.
17 “O my mind!” says the intelligent man. “It is in vain that you delude me. I have known your first and last as nothing.
If you are so mean in your nature, you must be so and a nothing even now.”
18 “Why do you display yourself to me in your five-fold form of the five senses? Go make your display before him who acknowledges and owns you as his. 19 Your grand display of the universe yields me no satisfaction because I am convinced, O vile mind, that all this is no better than a magic play. 20 Whether you abide in me or not is of no matter to me because I consider you as dead to me as you are dead to reason. 21 You are a dull unessential thing, false and deceitful and always reckoned as dead. You mislead only the ignorant, not the reasonable.”
22 “For so long our ignorance made us ignorant of you, but now by the light of reason we find you as dead as the darkness under the light of a lamp. There is always an impenetrable darkness under the lighted lamp. 23 You have long taken possession of this house of my body and prevented me, O tricky mind, from associating with the good and wise. 24 You lie as dull as a dead body at the door of this bodily house, blocking the entrance of my worshipped guests (of good virtues).”
25 “O my mind, gigantic monster of the world which has its existence in no time, are you not ashamed to assume this deceitful form of the world and appear before me in this hideous shape? 26 Leave my body, O demonic mind, and take your retinue of female fiends of greed and her companions, and the whole host of your devilish comrades of rage, wrath and the like. 27 Seeing the advance of reason in the temple of the body, the demon mind flies from it like a savage wolf leaving its den at the approach of a hunter.”
28 “O pity those foolish folks who are so subdued by this dull and deceitful mind like unwary people are spellbound by a magic wand. 29 What is your boast and might in subduing the ignorant rabble? Try your power upon me who defies your power to prevail over the unity of my belief! 30 I have already frustrated your attempts against me and laid you to dust. I need not try to defeat the power of my foolish mind.”
31 “Long before I had taken you for a living thing and passed many a whole life and day and night with your company in this dreary world. 32 Now I have come to know the nothingness of the mind and that it is put to death by my power. Hence I have given up my concern with you and rely only upon my ever existent soul. 33 By good luck, living liberated men come to know the death of their minds and cease to spend their lives under the illusion of its existence. 34 Having driven away the deceitful demon of the mind from the house of my body, I am situated at rest without any troublesome thought or turbulent passion in me. 35 I smile to think of the many follies to which I was led for so long under the influence of my demonic mind. 36 By my good fortune the gigantic demon of my mind is at last defeated by the sword of my reason and driven out of the house of my body. 37 It is also my good fortune that my heart is purified of its evil inclinations by suppression of my demonic mind. Now my soul rests alone in peace in the abode of my body.38 With the death of my mind there is an end to my egoism and all my troublesome thoughts and cares. Through breath or mantra of reason, the expulsion of the monsters of evil passions from my heart has made it a place of rest for my soul. 39 What is this mind with its egoism and eager expectations to me? It is only a family of intractable inmates of whom I fortunately have rid by their wholesale deaths.”
40 “I hail that pure and ever prosperous soul which is identical to my inner soul and identical with the immutable intellect. 41 I hail that Ego in me which is yet not myself nor I nor any other person, nor is it subject to sorrow or error. 42 I hail that Ego in me which has no action nor agency and no desire or worldly affair of its own. It has nobody and it does not eat or sleep. 43 This Ego is not myself or any other, and there is nothing as I or anybody else. The Ego is all in all and I bow down to that being.”
44 “The Ego is the first cause and support of all. It is the intellect and the soul of all worlds. It is the whole without parts. I therefore bow down to that Ego. 45 I prostrate to the identical Ego of all, which is eternal and immutable and which is the sole immense Soul without any parts. It is all, in all and abides at all times. 46 It is without any form or name and is manifest as the immense spirit. It abides in itself and I bow down to that Ego. 47 It is the same in all things in its extremely minute form or as the manifestation of the universe. It is the essence of my existence and abides in me, and it is in that state to which I bow down.”
48 “It is the earth and ocean with all their hills and rivers, which are not the ego, nor are they the Ego itself. I bow to the same Ego which comprises the world with all its contents. 49 I bow to that indestructible Lord without decay which is beyond thought and is ever charming and ever the same, who manifests the endless universe with all its worlds and many more yet invisible and unformed bodies. He is unborn and without decay, and his body is beyond all attributes and dimensions.”
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Chapter 81 — The Mind Is Unknowable, Only the Soul
1 Vasishta resumed:— Having thus considered and known the mind in this way, O mighty Rama, it is the business of the wise who know the truth to inquire into the nature of the soul to the extent it is knowable. 2 Knowing the world to be purely the soul, it is to be asked, from where did the phantom of mind arise? It is nothing in reality.
3 It is ignorance, error and illusion which exhibit the vacant and visionary mind to view, just as it is our false imagination which forms an illusionary tree in the sky. 4 As the objects standing on the shore seem to be moving to ignorant children passing in a boat, so the calm soul appears to be in motion (like the mind) to the unintelligent. 5 After our ignorance and error are removed, we have no perception of the fluctuation of our minds, just as we do not think mountains to be in motion after a speedy air car is stopped.
6 I have given up thoughts of all internal and external things, knowing them to be only the creation of my airy mind. Thus the mind and its actions being null and void, I see all things exist in the spirit of Brahman alone. 7 I am free from my doubts and sit quietly devoid of all care. I sit as Shiva without a desire stirring in me. 8 The mind lacking, there is an end of its youthful desires and other properties also. My soul being in the light of the Supreme Spirit, it has lost its sight of all other colors and forms the present themselves to the eyes. 9 The mind being dead, its desires also die with it, and its cage of the body is broken down without it. The enlightened man is no longer subject to his mind so he is also liberated from the bondage of his egoism. Such is the state of the soul after it is separated from the body and mind, when it remains in its spiritual state in this and the next world.
10 The world is one calm and quiescent unity of Brahman. Its diversity is as false as a dream. What then shall we think or talk about the world when in reality it is nothing? 11 My soul has advanced to the state of divine holiness, so it has become as rarefied and all-pervasive as the eternal spirit of God in which it is situated forever.
12 That which is the soul and the mind, the substantial and the unsubstantial, and what is not, are all the counterpart of the something which is rarer than air, calm and quiet, eternal and intangible, and yet all pervading and extended through all. 13 Let there be a mind in us or let it remain or perish forever. I have nothing to discuss about it when I see everything is situated in the soul.
14 I considered myself to be a limited and embodied being as long as I was unable to reason about these abstruse subjects. Now I have come to know my unlimited form of spirit. But what is “myself” is something I have not yet been able to know because the whole is full with the one Supreme Spirit.
15 But the mind being granted as dead, it is useless to doubt about it. We gain nothing by bringing the demon of the mind to life again. 16 I immediately repudiate the mind, the source of false desires and fancies. I meditate on the mystic syllable “Om” with the quietness of my soul resting in the stillness of the Divine Spirit. 17 With my best intelligence, I always inquire of my God when I am eating or sleeping or sitting or walking about.
18 Saints conduct their temporal affairs with a calm and careless mind, meditating all along on the Divine Soul in their calmed spirits. 19 So do all great minded men gladly pass their lives discharging their respective duties without being elated by pride or the giddiness of vanity. They manage themselves with a cheerfulness resembling the gentle beams of the autumn moon.
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Chapter 82 — Sage Vitahavya’s Self Inquiry into the Nature of His Mind
1 Vasishta continued:— It was in this manner that the learned Samvarta, who had knowledge of the soul, reasoned with himself. He communicated this to me in the Vindhya Mountains. 2 He said, “Shut out the world from your sight and employ your understanding to abstract reasoning in order to cross the vast ocean of this world.”
3 Rama, hear me tell you of another view of things, whereby the great sage Vitahavya gave up the practice of making offerings to fire and remained firmly established in his spiritualistic faith.
4 The illustrious Vitahavya wandered about the forests in former times, then resided in a cave of the Vindhya Mountains which was spacious as a cave of Meru under the sun’s passage. 5 In course of time, he grew dissatisfied with the ritual acts which serve only to bewilder men and cause diseases and difficulties to man. 6 He fixed his aim on the highest object of unalterable ecstasy and abandoned his cares for the rotten world in the course of his conduct in life. 7 He built a hut of leaves with the branches of plantain trees. The floor was strewn with black stones, and he perfumed it with fragrant earth. 8 He spread a seat of deer’s skin, which serves as a pure mattress for holy saints. He sat still upon it as a rainless cloud in the clear sky. 9 He sat there in the lotus posture, his legs crossed upon one another. He held his heels with the fingers of both his hands and remained with his head uplifted, like the fast and fixed peak of a mountain summit. 10 He closed his eyes from looking upon surrounding objects, and confined his mind to his heart, as the descending sun confines his beams in the hollow caves of Meru. 11 Then, having stopped the course of his internal and external senses, he reasoned in his mind which was free from sin and deceit. Vitahavya reasoning:— 12 How is it that although I have restrained my outer organs, I cannot stop the course of my mind, even with all my force. It is always as unsteady as a leaflet floating and dancing over the waves. 13 My mind impels my external organs and in turn is propelled by them to their different objects, like a juggler tosses about and flings his play balls up and down. 14 Though I refrain from exercising my external faculties, yet my mind pursues them eagerly and runs towards the objects from which I try to stop its course. 15 It turns from this object to that, as they say from the pot to the picture and from that to the chariot. And in this manner my mind wanders about the objects of sense like a monkey leaping from branch to branch.
16 Let me now consider the courses of the five external senses and their organs, which serve as so many passages for the mind. 17 My senses are wicked and wretched. How shall I bring you to your good senses when you are so senseless as to roll on restlessly like the waves of waters in the sea? 18 Do not disturb me anymore with your unsteadiness, for I well remember to what parades of difficulties I have suffered because of your inconstancy. 19 What are my organs but passages to the inner mind? My organs are dull and base of themselves, no better than the waves of the sea and water in a mirage. 20 My senses are unsubstantial in their forms and without any spiritual light. Senses, your efforts are like those of blind men only to fall into the pit.
21 It is only the intellectual soul that witnesses the objects of sense. It is in vain that mind and senses are busy without the soul. 22 It is in vain for the organs of sense to display themselves. It is like the twirling of a firebrand or the appearance of a snake in the rope. They have no essence of their own and are of no use without the soul. 23 The all knowing soul knows the eyes and ears well, though none of these organs knows the internal soul. They are as far from the soul as hell is from heaven.
24 As a traveler is afraid of snakes and twice born brahmins dread demonic savages, so consciousness fears for its safety and avoids the company of the senses. 25 Yet from a distance, unseen consciousness directs the organs of sense to their various duties like the distant sun, from his situation in heaven, directs the daily duties of men on earth.
26 My mind is wandering all about like a beggar in search of food to fill his belly. My mind acts like a Charvaka materialist making a god of my body to enslave itself to its service. Do not wander about the world like this in vain search of your harmony. 27 My mind falsely alleges that it is intelligent, an intelligence, or as consciousness itself. You two are too different in your natures and cannot agree together. 28 It is my mind’s vain boast to think itself to be living and to be life or ego. All these things belong to the soul, and my mind is entirely devoid of them.
29 Egoism produces the knowledge of “I am the Ego” which you are not. Neither are you anything except a creature of false imagination. It would be good for you to give up this imagination at once. 30 Conscious intellect exists without beginning or end. Nothing else exists. So then, what are you in this body that takes the name of the mind? 31 The impression of the activity and passivity of the mind is as wrong as the belief that poison and nectar are the one and same thing, because two opposites can never meet together.32 Therefore, my fool mind, do not expose yourself to ridicule by thinking you are both active and passive agent, which you are not. You are only a mere dull thing, as everyone knows. 33 What is your relationship with enjoyments, or theirs with you, that you wish to have them come to you? You are a dull thing. Without your soul you can have no friend or enemy. 34 The unreal has no existence. The existence of the mind is as unreal as the redness of a crystal. Knowledge, action and passion belong only to the soul. They are not attributable to the mind.
35 If you are the Eternal Mind, then you are identical with the Eternal Soul. But the painful mutability of my mind’s nature tells me that it is not the same as the imperishable soul. 36 Now that you, my mind, have become acquainted with the falsity of your actions and passions, listen to how I am cleansed of these impressions by my own reasoning, as follows.
37 You, my mind, are an inert unreality. This is a truth beyond all doubt. The activity of an inactive nothing is as false as the dancing of imaginary demons or inert stones. 38 Therefore, you are dependent on the Supreme Spirit for your movement. You only vainly think of yourself as living or doing anything by yourself. 39 Whatever is done by the power of another is ascribed to that other, just as the harvest reaped by a farmer’s sickle is said to be the act of the farmer and not his instrument. 40 He who kills with an instrument is considered the slayer, and not the intermediate instrument of slaughter. Nobody censures the passive sword with guilt or pardons the perpetrator. 41 He who eats and drinks is said to be the eater and drinker and not the plate or cup which holds the food and drink. 42 My mind, you are entirely inactive in your nature. You are moved by the all wise Consciousness. Therefore only the soul perceives everything by itself, and not you, my ignorant mind.
43 The Supreme Soul awakens and informs the mind without intermission, just as ignorant people require to be constantly guided and admonished by their superiors. 44 The essence of the soul in its form of consciousness is obvious to everyone. It is from this consciousness that the mind derives its power, its name, and its existence. 45 Thus the ignorant mind is produced by some power of the soul and remains all along with its ignorance until it comes to melt away like snow under the sunshine of its spiritual knowledge.46 Therefore, my ignorant mind, you are now dead under the influence of my knowledge of the soul. Do not boast anymore of being a particle of spiritual origin. Such is only for your sorrow.
47 The concept that the unreal mind is an entity is as false as the production of a plant by the light of a magic lantern. There is only that true knowledge which proceeds directly from the Great God. 48 Rama, these worlds are not manifestations of divine power. They are only illusive representations of His consciousness, like the glittering waves of waters in the sea.
49 My ignorant mind, if you are full of consciousness as Consciousness, then there would be no difference between you and the Supreme One, nor would you have any cause of sorrow. 50 The Divine Mind is all knowing, omnipresent and all forms at all times. By attaining the Divine Mind, one obtains everything. 51 There is no such thing as “you” or “he” except the great Brahman who is always manifest everywhere. we have conceptions of ourselves without any exertion on our part.
52 My ignorant mind, if you are the soul, then it is the soul that is everywhere here and nothing beside. If you are anything other than the soul, then you are nothing. All nature is the body of the Universal Soul. 53 The triple world is composed of the Divine Soul, beside which there is no existence. Therefore, if you are anything you must be the soul. Otherwise, you are nothing.
54 I am now this (as a boy) and then another (as an old man). These things are mine and those belong to someone else. These are all your vain thoughts, my mind, for you are nothing positive. Positivism is as false a theory as the horns of a rabbit. 55 We have no idea of a third thing between consciousness and body which we can refer to as the mind, just as we have no idea of an intermediate state between sunlight and shade.
56 We get something by our sight of truth after the veil of darkness has been removed from our eyes. It is our consciousness which we call the mind. 57 Hence, my foolish mind, you are no active or passive agent of action, only the calm self-consciousness of Brahman. Now therefore cast off your ignorance and know yourself to be a condition of the very soul.
58 The mind is described as an organ of the sense of perception and action, the internal instrument of knowing the soul, and not the soul itself. But this is only by way of explaining the knowable by something familiar and better known to us. It is a metaphor. 59 The mind is an unreal instrumentality. It can have no existence without support, nor can it have any action of its own without the agency of an actor. Hence it is false to attribute activity or consciousness to the mind. 60 Without the agency of an actor, the instrument of the mind has no power or activity of its own, just as the passive sickle has no power to cut the harvest without the agency of the reaper. 61 The sword has the power to slay men, but only with the agency of a swordsman. Otherwise, the dull instrument has no power in any part of its body to inflict a wound on another.
62 So my friend the mind, you have no power or agency of your own to do your actions. You trouble yourself in vain. It is unworthy of you to toil for your worldliness like the base, unless it were for your spiritual welfare.
63 The Lord is not to be pitied like you who is subject to labor, because His works are all as unaccountable as those he has not yet done. 64 Your boast that you serve the soul proceeds only from your ignorance and your friendship with the unconscious organs of sense. It is all quite unworthy of you. 65 You are wrong to pursue the objects of sense for the sake of your maker and master. The Lord is independent of all desire, being full and satisfied in himself forever.
66 It is by His self-manifestation, and not by his effort to create, that the omnipresent and omniscient God fills the whole with his unity, which admits of no duality even in imagination. 67 The one God manifests himself as many, and that is all by himself. He comprises the whole within himself. He has nothing to want or seek apart from himself.
68 All this is the magnificence of God, and yet the foolish mind craves after them in vain, just as a miserable man longs to have another’s princely pomp that is displayed before him. 69 You may try to obtain divine blessings by being intimate with the Divine Soul, but there can be no more intimacy between soul and mind than there is between a flower and its fruit. 70 An intimate relation between two things is when one agrees in all its properties with the other. This identity is lacking between soul and mind. The first is immortal, calm and quiet. The second is a mortal and restless thing.
71 My mind, you are not the same as the soul because of your changing appearances, ever changing occupations, and your promptness for various inventions. Moreover, your alternating states of happiness and misery speak plainly to be of a different nature. 72 The relationships of the homogeneous (as of the liquid and curdled milk) and the heterogeneous (as between the milk and water) are quite apparent to sight. But there is no relationship between opposites. 73 It is true that many things have the qualities of other things or a collection of properties common to others. Yet everything has a special identity of its own. Therefore I ask you, my mind, not to lose consciousness of your identity with that of the soul or you expose yourself to misery. 74 Therefore, employ yourself with intense application to the meditation of the soul. Otherwise you are doomed to misery ruminating in your internal recesses on the objects of the visible world. 75 Sliding from consciousness of yourself and running after the imaginary objects of your desire are calculated only for your misery. Therefore man must forget associating with the mind and the bodily organs in order to find rest in the soul or samadhi.
76 From where does the mind’s activity come from? It is proved to be a nothing, like a sky-flower. The extinction of its thoughts and desires extinguishes the mind. 77 The soul also is as void of activity as the sky is devoid of its parts. It is only the Divine Spirit that exhibits itself in various shapes within itself. 78 It bursts forth in the form of oceans with its own waters and foams in froths by the waves of its own breathing. It shines in the brightness at all things by its own light in itself. 79 There is no other active principle anywhere else, just as there is no burning firebrand to be found in the sea. None of the inert body, mind and soul has any active force.
80 There is nothing essential or more obvious than what we are aware of in our consciousness. There is no such thing as “this is another” or “this no other” or “this is good or bad” besides the self-evident One. 81 The One is no unreal ideal, such as that of the Nandana pleasure gardens in the sky. It is the subjective, true consciousness (samvid) and not an objective object of consciousness (samvedya) that extends all around us. 82 Then why entertain the suppositions of “this is I and that is another” in this existence? There can be no distinction whatever of this or that in one unlimited, all extending and indefinable expanse of the soul. The ascription of any attribute to it is like the assumption of water in a mirage or a writing in the sky.
83 My honest mind, if by the purity of your nature you can free yourself from the unrealities of the world and become enlightened with the light of the soul that fills the whole with its essence and is the inbeing of all beings, then you shall truly set me at rest from the uneasiness of my ignorance and the miseries of this world and this miserable life.
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Chapter 83 — Sage Vitahavya Continues His Self Inquiry, Admonishes Mind, Arrives at Soul
1 Vasishta continued:— Hear now, Rama, how Vitahavya, that great sage of enlightened understanding, silently reasoned with his unmanageable senses. 2 I will tell you openly what he secretly admonished to his senses. By hearing his exhortations, you will be set above the reach of misery.
Vitahavya reasoning:— 3 O my senses, I know your inherent qualities work only to create our misery. Therefore I pray, give up your intrinsic natures for the sake of my happiness. 4 My admonitions will annihilate your false actualities which are no more than creatures of ignorance.
5 The mind’s amusement with the springing up of its senses causes its fury and fever heat, just as lighting a fire burns one’s self or others in its flame. 6 The mind being disturbed and bewildered makes restless feelings and sensations flow and fall to it with the fierceness of turbulent rivers falling into the sea, which it breaks out and runs in the form of foam and froth onto the shore. 7 Sensing minds burst forth in passions of their pride and egoism, clashing against one another like conflicting clouds and falling in showers of hailstorms on others’ heads.
8 The anxieties of prosperity and adversity are the tormenting sores in the minds’ breasts. They pierce and perforate hearts to such a degree as if intent upon uprooting hearts from their innermost recesses. 9 They are attended with hiccups and labored breathing in the chest, with groaning and sobbing in the lungs, like hooting owls in the hollow of withered trees, whether covered with tufts of moss on their tops or resembling white haired heads on the dried trunks of old and decayed bodies. 10 The cavities of the heart inside the body are perplexed with crooked cares resembling the folds of snakes, white hairs like hoar frost hanging over the head, and apish wishes lurk about in the caves within the heart.
11 Greed is like a dancing stork clattering her pair of sharp bills (to entice men towards her), then pulling off their eyes from their decayed frames, as also the intestinal cords of the body. 12 Impure lust and lawless desire, symbolized as the filthy cock, scratches the heart as his dunghill and sounds shrill on this side and that. 13 During the long and gloomy nights of our ignorance we are disturbed by fits of frenzy bursting like a hooting owl from the hollow of our hearts. We are infested by passions barking in our bosoms like vetala demons in charnel domes and funeral grounds. 14 These and many other anxieties and sensual desires disturb our rest at nights, like horrible pisacha monsters appearing in the dark.
15 But the virtuous man who has rid himself of the gloom of ignorance beholds everything in its clear light. He exults like a blooming lotus at the dawning light of the day. 16His heart is cleared of the cloud of ignorance and glows as the clear sky unclogged by fogs or mists. A pure light envelops the heart after the flying dust of doubts has been driven from it. 17 When doubts cease to disturb the mind with gusts of uncertainty, it becomes as calm and still as the dome of the sky and the face of a city after swirling winds have stopped blowing.
18 Mutual friendship and brotherly love purify and cheer the heart of everybody. They grow the graceful trees of concord and cordiality, just as plants bring forth their beautiful blossoms and stamens in spring. 19 The minds of ignorant and unskillful men are as insubstantial as a barren waste. They are shriveled with cares and anxieties, just as a lotus bed is withered under shivering cold and ice.
20 After the fog and frost of ignorance are dissipated from the atmosphere of the mind, it gains its glaring luster, as the sky gets sunshine after the clouds disperse in autumn.21 The soul having its calmness is as clear and cheerful and as deep and undisturbed as the deep and wide ocean which regains its calm and serenity after the fury of a storm has passed over it. 22 The mind is full with the ambrosial nectar of everlasting happiness, just as the roof of heaven is filled with the nectarous moonbeams at night. 23 After the dispersion of its ignorance, the mind becomes conscious of the soul. Then it views the whole world in its consciousness as if it were situated in itself.
24 The contented mind finds its body to be full of heavenly delight, which is never perceived by those living souls who are ensnared by their desires of worldly enjoyments. 25As trees burnt by a wildfire regain their green foliage with the return of spring, so people tormented by the troubles of the world and wasted by age and burden of life find their freshness in holy asceticism. 26 Hermits resorting to the woods are freed from their fear of reincarnation and have many joys which are beyond all description.
27 Think, O man who cannot be satisfied! Either your soul is dead to your carnal desires or your desires are dead in your soul. In both cases, you are happy, whether in possession or extinction of your mind.
28 Do not delay choosing whatever you think is more blissful for yourself, but it is better to possess your mind and kill your cares and desires than to kill your mind with troublesome desires and anxieties. 29 Know that what is painful to you is really nothingness, because it is foolish to part with something pleasant to yourself. If you have your inner understanding at all, remain true to yourself by avoiding the false cares of the world.
30 Life is a precious treasure and its loss is liked by nobody, but I tell you in truth that this life is a dream and you are nothing in reality. 31 Yet be not sorry that you live in vain, because you have lived such a nothingness before and your existence is only a delusion. 32 It is unreasonable to think yourself as being so and so because the delusion of individual self-existence is now exploded by right reason. 33 Reason points towards the uniform entity of the identical Being at all times. It is sheer irrationality that tells you of your existence, at it is the lack of true light that exhibits this darkness to you.
34 Reason will disprove your entity as light removes darkness. It was in your irrationality, my friend, that you have passed all this time with the vain idea of your separate existence. 35 It is only because of this irrationality of yours that your gross ignorance has grown so great as to be sad because of your disasters. Your delusive desires have subjected you to the devil, like children caught by their imagined demons and ghosts. 36 After one rids himself of his former states of pain and pleasure and his transitory desires in this temporary world, he comes to feel the delight of his soul under the province of his right reason. 37 Your reason has wakened you from your dullness and enlightened your soul and mind with the light of truth. Therefore we should bow down to reason above all others as the only enlightener of our hearts and souls.
38 After desires are cleared from your heart, you shall find yourself as the great lord of all. You shall rejoice in yourself under the pure and pristine light of your soul. 39 Being freed from your desires, you are set on the footing of the sovereign lord of all. The unreasonableness of desires growing in your ignorance will go away under the domain of reason. 40 Whether you like it or not, your desires will fly from your mind under the dominion of your reason, just as the deep darkness of night flies at the advance of daylight.
41 The thorough extinction of your desires is attended with your perfect bliss. Therefore rely on the conclusion of your nothingness by every mode of reasoning. 42 When you have lorded over your mind and your organs and think yourself extinct at all times, you have secured every joy to your spirit forever. 43 If your mind is freed from its disquiet and is set at rest and becomes extinct in your present state, it will not come back to life in the future when you shall have your spiritual trance forever. 44 When I remain in my spiritual state, I seem to be in the fourth (turiya) or highest heaven in myself. Hence I forever discard my mind with its creation of the mental world.
45 Only the soul is the self-existent being, beside which there is nothing else in existence. I feel myself to be this very soul and that there is nothing else beside myself. 46 I find myself to be ever present everywhere with my intelligent soul and beaming forth with its light of consciousness. This we regard as the Supreme Soul which is situated in the translucent sphere of our inner hearts. 47 This soul which is without its counterpart is beyond our imagination and description. Therefore I think of myself as this soul, not in the form of an image of it, but as a wave of the water of that profound and unlimited ocean of the Divine Soul.
48 When I rest in silence in that soul within myself, which is beyond what can be known and is identical with my consciousness itself, I find all my desires and passions, together with my vitality and consciousness, to be quite defunct in me.
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Chapter 84 — Vitahavya’s Tapas; His Mental or Imaginary Worlds
1 Vasishta continued:— Sage Vitahavya, having thus reflected in his mind, renounced all his worldly desires and sat in his hypnotic trance in a cave of the Vindhya Mountains. 2His body became motionless and devoid of its pulsations. His soul shot forth with its intellectual delight. Then with his calm and quiet mind, he sat in his penance (tapas) like the still ocean in its calmness.
3 His heart was cold and his breathings were stopped. He remained like a fire that has gone out after consuming its fuel. 4 His mind withdrew from all objects of the physical senses and intensely fixed upon the object of his meditation. His eyes were almost closed under the slight pulsations of his eyelids. 5 His slight and acute eyesight was fixed upon the top of his nose. His eyelids had the appearance of half opened lotus buds. 6 The erect head and neck and body of the meditating sage gave him the appearance of a bas relief carved upon rock.
7 Sitting in this posture in the Vindhya cave with his close attention on the Supreme Soul, he passed a period of three hundred years as if only half a moment. 8 The sage did not perceive the flight of this length of time owing to the fixedness of his mind in his soul. Having obtained his liberation in his listless state, he did not lose his life in his extreme tapas. 9 All that time, nothing could rouse him from his profound samadhi trance. Not even the loud roar of rainy clouds could break his entranced yogic sleep (yoga nidra) meditation. 10 Loud shouts and shots of soldiers and hunters, the cries and shrieks of beasts and birds, and the growling and snarling of tigers and elephants on the hills could not break his profound samadhi. 11 The loud roars of lions, the tremendous roars of waterfalls, the dreadful noise of thunder, and the swelling clamor of the people about him could not shake his firmness. 12 The deep howling of furious fantastic sarabha animals, the violent crackling of earthquakes, the harsh cracking of the woods on fire, and the dashing of waves and splashing of torrents upon the shore could not move him from his seat. 13 The rush of waters falling on rocky shores, the clashing off the torrents dashing on each other, and the noise and heat of wild fires did not disturb his samadhi.
14 He continued only to breathe at his will to no purpose, just as the course of time flows forever to no good to itself. All sides of his cave were washed over by currents of rainwater resembling ocean waves. 15 Soon he was submerged under mud carried by floods of rainwater in the mountain cave of his tapas penance. 16 Yet he continued to keep his seat in that dreary cell, buried as he was by mud up to his shoulders.
17 The long period of three hundred years had passed over him in this way when his soul was awakened to light under the pain of the rains of his mountain cell. 18 His oppressed body then assumed its intellectual or spiritual form, the astral body (linga deha), which is a living, subtle body like air or light, but without its acts of breathing vital energy.
19 This subtle body grew by degrees to its rarefied form by its imagination. It became of the form of the inner mind which was felt to reside within the heart. 20 It thought in itself of having become a pure and living liberated sage, in which state it seemed to pass a hundred years under the shade of a kadamba tree in a romantic grove of Kailash Mountain. 21 It seemed to take the form of a vidyadhara spirit for a century of years, in which state it was quite free from the diseases of humanity. It next thought of becoming the great Indra who is served by the celestials, and its passed full five yuga ages in that form.
22 Rama said, “Let me ask you, sage. How could the mind of the sage conceive itself as Indra or a vidyadhara, whom it had never seen? How could it have any idea of extensive Mount Kailash or pass many ages in its small space in the cave? This is impossible in nature.”
23 Vasishta replied:— Consciousness is all comprehending and all pervading. Wherever it exerts its power in any form, it immediately assumes that form by its own nature. Thus undivided consciousness exhibits itself in various forms throughout the whole creation. 24 It is the nature of consciousness to exhibit itself in any form as it represents itself in understanding. Its nature is to become whatever it pleases at any place or time.
25 So the impersonal sage saw himself in various forms and personalities in all the worlds in the ample sphere of his consciousness within the narrow space of his heart. 26 The man of perfect understanding has transformed his desires to detachment. The desires of men, like seeds of trees burned by the fire of intelligence, produce no germ of acts. 27 He thought to be an attendant on the god Shiva who bears the crescent moon on his forehead. He became acquainted with all sciences and the knowledge of all things past, present and future. 28 Everyone sees everything in the same manner on his outside as it is firmly impressed in his inner mind. But this sage, being freed from the impression of his personality in his lifetime, was at liberty to take upon himself whatever personality he chose.
29 Rama said, “I believe, O chief of sages, that the living liberated man who sits in this manner obtains the emancipation of his soul, even though he is confined in the prison house of his body. Such was the case of the self-liberated sage Vitahavya.”
30 Vasishta answered:— Ram, how can living liberated souls be confined to the body? They remain in the form of Brahma in the outward temple of his creation, which is pure and tranquil as air. 31 Wherever the empty and airy consciousness represents itself in any form, it finds itself to be spread out there in that form. 32 So many ideal worlds appear to be present before us. They are full with the presence of the all pervading spirit of God.
33 Thus Vitahavya, confined in the cave and submerged under mud, saw multitudes of worlds and countless unformed and ideal creations in the intellect of his great soul. 34First he thought of himself as celestial Indra. Then he conceived himself to be an earthly ruler preparing to go hunting in some forest. 35 At one time this sage supposed himself to be the swan of Brahma. At another he became a chief among the Dasa hunters in the forests of Kailash. 36 He who once thought himself to be a prince in the land of Surastra became as a forester in a village of the Andhras in Madras.
37 Rama said, “If the sage enjoyed heavenly bliss in his mind, what need did he have of assuming these ideal forms?”
38 Vasishta replied:— Why do you ask this question, Rama, when you have been repeatedly told that this world is a false creation of the Divine Mind? The creations of the sage’s mind were also false creations.
39 The universe is the creation of Divine Consciousness. It is as unsubstantial as empty air. The ideal world of the human mind, being only a delusion, is the same. 40 In truth, O Rama, neither is that world nor is this other anything in reality. Neither you nor I have any essentiality in this nonessential world which is filled only with the essence of God. 41 The one is as the other at all times, whether past, present or future. All this visible world is the fabric of the mind which is only a copy of Consciousness. 42 Such is the whole creation, although it appears otherwise. Creation is only a transcendental vacuum, although it seems to be as firm as a diamond.
43 It is its ignorance that the mind exhibits itself in the forms of the production, growth and extinction of things, all of which are like the rise and swinging and sinking of waves in the ocean of eternal emptiness. 44 All things are situated in the empty sphere of consciousness and are perceived by its representative of the mind in the form of the firm and extended cosmos, though it has no extension in reality.
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Chapter 85 — Vitahavya’s Samadhi; the Sun God Restores His Body
1 Rama said, “Now tell me sage. What became of this sage in his house in the cave? How did he lift his body from it? What did he accomplish by his austere and intense tapas?”
2 Vasishta said:— At last the mind of the sage was extended as the Divine Mind and he saw the Divine Soul in its full glory in his own soul. 3 He saw the primeval, dawning light of consciousness in his meditation, which displayed to his memory the scenes of his former states of existence. 4 He saw the various forms of the bodies through which he had passed in his former lives, and also those things which had passed and gone and those living with his present body in the cave.
5 He found his living body lying in the cave like an insect, and he had a mind to raise it above the surrounding mud and mire. 6 This body of Vitahavya confined in the cave was covered with the mud carried by the rain waters. 7 He saw his body pent up in the prison house of the cave with loads of clay on its back and fettered in its limbs by the shrubs carried in by the torrents of rain. 8 In his clear understanding, he thought of raising his incarcerated body out of the cave and he made repeated efforts by force of his breathing to extricate it from its confinement. 9 With all his efforts, be found it impossible for his bodily powers to extricate himself and walk upon the ground. So he exerted his spiritual power to raise his spirit to the orb of the sun.
10 He thought either of being raised upward by the golden rays of the sun, or of obtaining his disembodied liberation by the disengaging his soul from the bondage of his body. 11 He thought in his elevated mind, “I lose nothing by the loss of my bodily exertions and exercise, but rather I would loosen myself from my bonds and return to my state of blessedness.” 12 Remaining for some time in his thoughtful mood on earth, he thought, “Neither leaving nor having this body is of any good or loss to me. 13 For as we forsake one body, so we take another. The difference is the size and bulk of the one and the minuteness and lightness of the other. 14 So let me mount this golden ray (pingala) of the sun and fly in the open air. Carried by the vehicle of light, I will enter into the body of the sun. 15 I will enter in the form of my shadow in the ethereal mirror of the sun. My aerial breath will conduct me to that orb.”
16 He ascended with his subtle, spiritual body upon the air, just as the heat of fire passes out through the hollow of a pair of bellows. The mindful sun god saw the great sage in this state within his heart. 17 On seeing the sage in this state, the high minded sun god called to his mind the former acts of his tapas penance, and remembered his body lying in the cell of the Vindhya region. 18 The sun god, traversing amidst the ethereal regions, came to know the actions of the sage and saw his body lying unconscious in the cave covered under the grass and stones. 19 He ordered his chief attendant to lift up the body of the sage, whose soul had now assumed its spiritual form.
20 The aerial form of the sage now saluted the adorable sun god with his reverent mind and was then recognized and received by the sun god with due honor. 21 He entered into the body of the solar attendant, Pingala, who proceeded from heaven to the cave amidst the delightful gardens of the Vindhya range. 22 Pingala entered the Vindhya grove in the form of a cloud, which assuming the shape of a big elephant, removed the earth from the surface of the cave with the long nails of his toes. 23 Then with his trunk, he brought out the body of the sage, just as a stork pulls up a lotus stalk from amidst the mud. Then the spiritual body of the sage fled from the form of Pingala to his own.
24 After his long wanderings in the regions of ether, like a bird in the sky, the sage at last found his own body, into which it entered as its nest. He took leave of Pingala with mutual salutations, 25 and each hurried to their respective callings with their brilliantly shining forms. One fled into the air, and the other went to a lake to cleanse his body. 26 It shone like a star in the clear lake and like sunbeams under the water. Then it appeared above it like a full blown lotus on the surface of waters. 27 He rose out of the water like a young elephant after its sport in some dirty pool. Then he offered his adoration to the sun god who had restored his body and mind to their luminous states.
28 Afterwards the sage passed sometime on the bank of the Vindhya lake, filled with the virtues of universal benevolence, fellow feeling and kindness, joined with the qualities of his peace and tranquility, his wisdom and internal bliss, and above all his seclusion and retirement from society, and unconcern with the concerns of the world.
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Chapter 86 — Vitahavya Bids Farewell to His Mind, Bodily Organs
1 Vasishta resumed:— The muni thought to resume his accustomed meditation again, and at the end of the day he entered a spacious cave in the Vindhya. 2 He continued his investigation of the soul with his command over the sensible organs. He reflected on the reality and unreality of things in his mind.
3 “I find,” thought he, “these organs of sense which before were under my control are now set at liberty in the exercise of their various functions. 4 I will now cease to think concerning the existence and nonexistence of substances. I will recline solely with my steady posture on that Being. 5 I will remain wakeful inwardly, appearing outwardly as if I were dead or asleep. Yet I am conscious in my unconsciousness as the quiet and living soul. Thus I will continue both with the vigilance and inactiveness of my spirit in the state of my quietism.”
6 “Waking as if asleep and sleeping as if awake, I will remain in my mental inactivity state of turiya, which is neither dead nor living. 7 I will remain retired like a rock from all things, even apart from my mind, and dwell in the embrace of the all pervading soul. I will abide with the Universal Spirit in my tranquility, having ease from all disease.”
8 Having mused in this manner, he sat in meditation for six days and nights, after which he was roused like a passenger wakes after his short nap on the way. 9 Then this great tapas yogi, having obtained the consummation of his tapas, passed his long life in the state of his living liberation. 10 He took delight in nothing and hated nothing. He felt no sorrow for anything and no pleasure in anything.
11 Whether walking or sitting, he was thoughtless of everything. His heart was void of cares and he conversed with his mind alone at pleasure.
12 He said to his mind, “O lord of my senses, see the unstained joy without decay that you enjoy in tranquility! Tell me if there is any greater joy than this to be found on earth.13 Therefore O my mind who is the fleetest of all things, repress your flight and excitability. Rely on your cool composure for your lasting happiness. 14 O my mischievous senses and O you my perverted organs, you have nothing to do with me. 15 The stiffness of the outer organs is the cause of their failure. The will of the mind is the cause of its disappointment. Neither of these has the power to protect me from evil.”
16 “Those who believe the senses are the same as the soul are as deluded as mistaking the rope for a snake. 17 To take what is not the self for the self is the same as taking an unreality for reality. Lack of reason produces this mistake, but right reason removes the fallacy. 18 You my senses and you my mind, and my living soul are different things quite separate from the unity of Brahma. The mind is the active principle and consciousness is passive, so neither is related to the other. 19 Their union serves to produce the same effect, just as the wood that grows in the forest, the rope made of flax or hide, the axe made of iron, and the carpenter who works for wages all combine to build a house. 20 Such is the accidental conjunction of different things that becomes the efficient cause of producing certain effects, which could never result alone, as in the case of house building just mentioned. 21 So also the various acts of the body, such as speech and all other works, are affected by the accidental and simultaneous union of the different organs of the body and mind, without the waste or impairing of any of them. 22 Thus when the forgetfulness of death and sleep are buried in oblivion, and memory is awakened upon renewal and waking, that which is not in actuality is again brought to the position of actuality.”
23 In this manner that great devotee continued his reflections for many years in that solitary cave of the Vindhya Hills.
24 Freed from ignorance and far from temptation, he remained there in perfect joy, ever contemplating on the means to prevent the transmigration of his soul. 25 Seeing the natures of things in their true light, he avoided all that presented a false appearance. For fear of being misled by appearances, he resorted to the shelter of meditation. 26 Having his option of choosing what he liked from whatever he disliked, he was indifferent to both. His impassive mind was elevated from all that is desirable or detestable in life. 27 Having renounced the world and all its connections and the society of mankind, and setting himself beyond the bonds of repeated births and actions of life, he became one with the incorporeal unity and drank the ambrosial nectar of spiritual delight. 28 In his lonely abstraction, he seemed to be sitting in the golden cave of Sahya Mountain. He looked upon the entangled paths of the world below without any desire of walking in it or mixing in its treacherous society.
29 Then sitting in his erect posture, he thought to himself.
Vitahavya thinking:— Be passionless, O my impassioned heart, and rest at peace my intolerant spirit. 30 I bid you farewell, O you enjoyments of the world that have tempted me to taste your bitter pleasures in innumerable births and transmigrations. 31 Your pleasures have deluded me so long, like the indulgences of children. Now I see them placed above your reach by the absence of desire in my state of holy and heaven-born nirvana trance.
32 I hail you, O spiritual delight that made me forget my past pleasures. I thank you pains that have led me to the inquiry of the soul with so much intense enthusiasm! 33 It is by you, O sour misery, that this blissful state is revealed to me. You are to be thanked for bringing me under the cooling shade of heavenly delight. 34 I thank you, O adversity, for you have revealed the joy of my soul to me. I bless you, my friend, for your making the vanity of worldly life known to me. 35 O my body that is so intimately united with me, I see your union to be only a temporary one, like the short lived amity of interested men who forsake their beneficent friends in a moment. 36 Thus am I forsaken by all my bodies in my various bygone births. So my soul has forsaken them all in its repeated transmigrations in different forms of living bodies.
37 Even in my present state, my body brings its own ruin on itself by being slighted by the soul’s advancement in spiritual knowledge. 38 It is not my fault that the body is discontented at my contentment, or that it should be impaired by my abstinence and broken down by my poverty. 39 Grieve not, my mean greed, that I have grown adverse to gain. You must pardon me, O my fond desires, that I have become so devoid of wishes and adopted the virtue of renunciation (vairagya). 40 I have now taken myself to my detachment and want to thrive therein. I pray of you, O you restless desire, to have no more any concern with me. 41 And I bid my last farewell to you, O you god of piety and pious deeds, that I may no more engage myself in the performance of acts.
42 I am lifted from the pit of hell and placed in heaven. I bid farewell to the tree of pleasures growing in the soil of wicked acts and bearing the torments of hell as its fruits. 43 I bid farewell to the tree of sin that bears the flowers of our punishment, whereby I was doomed to repeated reincarnations in lower births. 44 I bow down to that unseen form of delusion which uttered the sweet voice of a sounding bamboo and covered itself with a garment of leaves.
45 I bow to you, my holy cave that is my associate in this devout tapas. You are the only refuge for this weak body of mine after its weary journey in the rugged paths of the world. 46 You were my kind companion and the remover of all my desires. You have been my only shelter after I fled from all the dangers and difficulties of the world. 47 You are my pilgrim’s staff that was the support of my aged body and arm. I have found my best friend in you for relieving my fatigue and guiding my footsteps in this dangerous and cavernous retreat.
48 I also thank you, O my aged body that is the support of my life, even in this old age of yours when you are reduced to your ribs covering your bloodless entrails and shriveled veins and arteries. 49 Depart now, my dilapidated body, with the core and foundation that there yet remain in you. Away with your excrements that required my repeated ablutions and purifications.
50 I bid farewell to all my acts and dealings in the world that have been the destined causes and my connate companions in all my reincarnations in this world.
51 I next bid you farewell, O my vital airs, who kept company with me through all my various births and from whom my soul will soon fly away. 52 How often have I passed with you to foreign parts and rested in the valleys and gardens of mountain meadows. How long have we played about in cities and dwelt in mountain retreats. 53 How many times we have run in different directions, engaged in various works of life. In fact there was no time or place in the universe when and where we did not live together. 54 In truth I have never done or seen or given or taken anything apart from you. Now I bid you farewell my friend, as soon I must part from you.
55 All things in the world have their growth and decay and are destined to rise and fall by turns. So also are the union and separation of things, the unavoidable course of nature. 56 Let this light which is visible to sight reenter the sun from where it proceeds. Let these sweet scents which come to my smell mix with the flowers from which they are breathed and blown. 57 Let my vital breath and vibration join with the ethereal air. Let all the sounds I hear return from my ears to the empty sphere. 58 Let my taste revert to the orb of the moon from where it has sprung. Let me be as quiet as the sea after its churning by Mount Mandara, and like the cool hour of the evening after the sun has set. 59 Let me be as silent as the dumb cloud in autumn and as still as creation after the great deluge at the end of a kalpa age. Let me remain thoughtless, as when the mind is concentrated on the syllable of Om, and when my soul rests in the Supreme Soul. Let me be as cold as when fire is reduced to ashes and as extinct as the extinguished lamp without oil.
60 Here I sit devoid of all actions and removed from the sight of all living beings. I am freed from the thoughts of worldly things. I am resting in the peace of my soul which is seated in my crown (brahmarandhra hole at the top of the head).
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Chapter 87 — Vitahavya’s Samadhi, Union with All
1 Vasishta continued:— Then repeating aloud the sacred syllable Om and reflecting on the Universe contained in it, having rid himself of thoughts and free from his desires, Sage Vitahavya obtained his internal peace. 2 He meditated on the several parts that compose the utterance of that mystic Om syllable. Then leaving aside all its attributes, he meditated only on the reality of the pure and imperishable one.
3 He withdrew his mind from his internal and external organs, and also from the grosser and finer feelings and sensibilities of his heart and body. He dismissed whatever there is in the three worlds and converted all his desires to detachment. 4 He remained unmoved in his body, and like the thoughtful touchstone, rapt in his abstraction. He was full in himself like the full moon and as still as Mount Mandara after its churning was over. 5 He was the motionless wheel of the potter’s mill, like the calm ocean undisturbed by waves and winds.
6 His mind was the clear sky without sunshine or darkness. His heart was bright without the light of the sun, moon or stars. His consciousness was unclouded by the fumes, dust and cloud of ignorance. His soul was clear as the autumn sky.
7 Then raising his voice from the heart center (anahata) to the topmost crown (brahmarandhra) of his head, his mind transcended the region of the sensations, like the wind blowing a fragrance over an area. 8 His mental darkness fled from his mind, like the gloom of night dispelled by the light of the dawning morning, and like the perception of wisdom puts down and extinguishes the sparks of anger in the heart. 9 Then he saw the reflection of a flood of light within himself, which he found to be ceaseless in its brightness and unlike the light of the luminaries which is repeatedly succeeded by darkness. 10 Having attained that state of indescribable light and inextinguishable brightness, he found his mental powers to be quickly burnt down by its glare, like straw consumed by fire.
11 In a short time he lost his consciousness of that light, just as in no time, a new born child loses its knowledge of whatever it perceives through any of its sense organs. 12 It was in a twinkling or half of that time that this calm sage stopped the course of his thought, just as the wind stops its motion in a moment. 13 Then he remained as fixed as a rock, his inattentive and mute gaze on what passed before him. He retained his vitality like a motionless dreamer in his sleep.
14 He was next lost in his deep sleep (susupta) trance, like in the unconsciousness of his profound sleep, and thereby he attained his ultimate joy of turiya, the retention of only absolute joy. 15 He was joyful in his joylessness. He was alive without his liveliness. He remained as something in his nothingness and was blazing amidst obscurity. 16 He was conscious in his spirit without consciousness of the senses. He was the Sruti scriptures say, neither this nor that nor the one or the other. He therefore became that which no words can express. 17 He became that transparent substance which is transcendentally pure and purifying. He was that all pervasive something which is corporate with nothing.
18 He was the vacuum of vacuists, and the Brahman of the brahmists. He was the Knowledge of gnostics, and omniscience of scientists. 19 He became like the Purusha spirit of the Sankhya materialists, and the Ishwara of yoga philosophers. He was the Shiva of the Saivites, bearing the mark of the crescent moon on their foreheads. He was the Time of Timeists. 20 He was the same with the soul of souls of the psychologists, and as the no soul of physicists. He was similar to the Middle Way of the Madhyamikas, and the All of the even-minded pantheists. 21 He was identified with the main truth of every religion and the essence of all creeds. He was identical with the all essential and Universal Reality.
22 He was identical with the supreme and unimpaired light which is seen in all luminous bodies. He was one with the inner light which he perceived to be glowing within himself. 23 He became the very thing which is one and many, which is all and yet nothing, which is simple and combined with all, and which is that which is (tat sat).
24 In short he remained as the one without decay or beginning, which is one and many, simple without parts, purer than the pure ether, the Lord God of all.
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Chapter 88 — Lessons to Be Drawn from Vitahavya’s Tapas
1 Vasishta continued:— After Vitahavya had passed beyond the bounds of nature and crossed this ocean of misery, he also pacified the fluctuations of his mind. 2 Being thus calmed and brought to the state of perfect inertness, he was absorbed in his ultimate mental impassiveness, like a drop of rainwater and the particles of waves mix in the ocean. 3Sitting continually in his mentally inactive state, his body became thin and lean, without food or its functions. Without water or nourishment, it quickly decayed like a fading lotus in winter. 4 His vital breaths fled from the tree of his body and entered into the cavity of the heart, like birds let loose from the net fly to their nests. 5 His physical body composed of flesh, bones and the organs of sense remained beneath the shady branches of the woodland retreat, but his spirit roved beyond the bounds of the elemental worlds above.
6 His individual consciousness was absorbed in the ocean of Universal Consciousness, just as particles of metallic substances are fused together in the same metal. So the soul of the sage found its rest in its intrinsic nature of the Supreme Soul.
7 Thus have I told you, O Rama, about the rest of the sage in his torpid quietism. All this is full of instruction, and you must consider well its hidden meaning. 8 O Rama, know that by your good gifts of these things and perfections, you will be able to attain that state of beatitude. 9 O Rama, consider well all that I have already told you and what I will expound to you now and in future. 10 As I myself have known and well considered all these things in my long life, and by my experience of the past and my knowledge of present and future events, so will you be also. 11 Therefore have the clear sight and clairvoyance of the sage, as I have shown you, and know that only through your transcendental knowledge can you have your emancipation in both worlds.
12 The light of knowledge dispels the darkness of ignorance and destroys the mist of false fears and sorrows. Knowledge alone is the cause of that result which nothing else can bring about. 13 See how sage Vitahavya destroyed all his desires by means of his knowledge, and how he cleared the mountain of his mind from all its poisonous plants of worldliness. 14 His conscious, clairvoyant knowledge of other spheres led the sage to penetrate the solar orb of his desire on the wings of his rays, and from there return (by his memory) to restore his buried body from the cave of earth. 15 This sage was the personification of the mind, and it is the mind which is personified in the conscious or visible forms of “I”, “you”, “he” and this other. The mind is also this world which consists in it, and without which it is not known to exist.
16 By knowing this transcendent truth, and being freed from the faults of passions and feelings, and far removed from the faults and frailties of the world, the silent sage followed the dictates of his mind and thereby attained the endless bliss of his soul, the supreme good of human life.
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Chapter 89 — Acquiring Powers; How Yogis’ Bodies Survive During Tapas;
Yogis’ Thoughts Actualize
1 Vasishta said:— Rama, you must imitate this sage in order to know the nature of the soul and all that is knowable and worth knowing. In order to know these things, you must be without passion and without the emotions of fear and disturbance of your spirit at all times. 2 As this sage seemed to pass the course of many millions of years in cheerful meditation, so you shall have to habituate yourself to silent contemplation without any discontent in your mind.
3 There have been many more sages of great minds in their times and places who have had their perfection in the same way and who are worthy of your imitation to attain your object. 4 Knowing that pain or pleasure never affects the soul and that it is everlasting and everywhere in all places, no one, O mighty prince, has any cause to be sorry for it.
5 There are many persons living in this world who are well acquainted with the nature of the soul. But nobody is so sorry for the misery of human souls as yourself. 6 Remain quiet and in good cheer, with the magnanimity and composure of your mind. Know yourself to be imperishable, without any change or regeneration. 7 No living liberated man like yourself is ever subject to sorrow or joy at the changing fortunes of life, just as the brave lion is never moved from his calmness like the changeful peacock.
8 Rama said, “Sage, your discourse raises a question in me, which I want you to disperse like an autumn cloud. 9 Tell me sage, who is best acquainted with spiritual knowledge, why are the bodies of living liberated persons not seen mounting the skies?”
10 Vasishta replied:— Rama, know the powers of mounting the sky and flying in the air naturally belong to winged creatures. 11 All the various motions seen to act in different directions are according to the natural tendencies of bodies. They are never desired by the spiritually minded person. 12 The ability to fly is not desirable for the living liberated soul. The power to fly is easily acquired by unspiritual and ignorant people, by many physical and artificial powers derived by application of proper means, mantras and other practices.
13 The power of flying is no business for the knower of the Self who is only concerned with his knowledge of the soul. He is content with spiritual knowledge and union with the Supreme Soul and does not meddle with the practices of the ignorant practitioners of false yoga. 14 Know all earthly contrivances to be the offspring of worldliness and the progeny of spiritual ignorance. Say then, what wise knower of the Self is there who would be so foolish as to plunge himself in this gross ignorance? 15 He who pursues the path of spiritual ignorance by his meditation and contrivances for his temporal welfare must be blind to the future welfare of his soul and lives against the course of the holy sage and saint. 16 By the continued practice of yoga, or some other arts and expedients of mantras and the like, it is possible for the wise as well as the unwise to acquire the power of flying in the air. 17 But the spiritual man remains quite aloof and afar from these. He has no desire for any such thing. He is content with himself and finds his rest in the Supreme Soul, beside which he has nothing in view.
18 He has neither aerial journey nor any supernatural power or worldly enjoyment for his object. His view is neither earthly glory nor honor, nor does he desire to live or fear to die. 19 He is ever content and quiet in his soul, devoid of desires and affections in his mind. He is of the form of empty air and remains with his spiritual knowledge as the idol of his soul. 20 He is not apprehensive of adversity or calamity. He is unaffected by feelings of pleasure and pain. He is fully satisfied in his privation of everything, and is unconcerned about his life and death by remaining like the living dead. 21 He remains unmoved at all evens and odds, just as the ocean is at a standstill with all the outpourings of the rivers. He continues to meditate on and adore the Divine Spirit in his own spirit. 22 He has no need of acquiring or amassing any wealth for himself, nor is he in need of asking anything of anybody for his support.
23 The unspiritual man who aims at the acquisition of supernatural powers must sacrifice the means of his perfection in order to acquire such powers. 24 All things are accomplished by application of their proper means, and what is thus ordained to take place cannot be undone even by the three-eyed god Shiva himself. 25 The power of flying depends on the application of proper means, and not on one’s act of willing only. Nothing can alter the nature of things, as that of the coolness of moonbeams. 26 Whether one is all-knowing or much-knowing, or all-powerful or much powerful as a Vishnu or Shiva, yet there is nobody who has the power to set aside the destined law of nature.
27 Thus it depends on the nature of things, Rama, the combination of times and circumstances, and the application at proper means and mantras that cause a mortal to fly in the air and an immortal to descend on earth. 28 Similarly, it is the property of some drugs, gems and mantras to destroy the destructive power of poison, and of wine to intoxicate the wine-drinker, and of vomiting agents to cause vomiting. 29 All things naturally have the power of producing some effect according to its proper application and the mode and manner of it. 30 Hence no one who is unacquainted with these things is able to fly in the air, and he who is filled with spiritual knowledge has no need of such practices.
31 All knowledge relating to the properties of things and their application in proper mode and manner to bring about certain ends is of no good to the knower of the Self for his attainment of spiritual wisdom. 32 He who wishes to have supernatural powers may gain them by long practice. But what need has a yogi of these practices or powers for himself? 33 After his freedom from the net of his desires the yogi attains his spiritual state. Then how can he entertain any desire which is opposed to it?
34 Everyone endeavors to remain in the course to which he is led by the desires rising in his heart. Whether he is learned or not, in due time he reaps the reward of his endeavors. 35 Vitahavya never endeavored to acquire any supernatural power. All his endeavors were directed towards gaining spiritual perfection, which he obtained by his tapas in the forest.
36 Should one persist practicing and applying the proper means, it is not impossible or hard to acquire supernatural powers. 37 One’s success attaining perfection in any object depends entirely on his personal efforts, and may be called the fruit of the tree of his own labor. 38 But these successes and perfections are of no use to those great minded men who have known the Knowable One in himself, and who have made an end of their worldly desires.
39 Rama said, “Sage I have yet another question for your explanation and it is this. Why didn’t the hungry beasts of the desert devour the dead-like body of the devoted sage, and why did it not spoil under the earth that covered it? 40 How was it that the bodiless and liberated soul of the sage, which was absorbed in the sunlight, returned to resume its dilapidated body buried in the mountain cave?”
41 Vasishta replied:— The conscious soul that believes itself to be embodied with its mortal body and bound by the ropes of its desires and the bonds of its affections is subject to both the feeling of pleasure and the pangs of pain. 42 But the intelligent soul which relies on its pure consciousness and is freed from the net of its desires remains only with its subtle spiritual body.
43 Hear now, Rama, the reason why the body of the yogi is not subject to the accidents of disjunction or corruption for many hundreds of years.
44 Whenever the mind is occupied with the thought of anything, it is immediately assimilated into the nature of that object and assumes the same form on itself. 45 Thus, upon seeing or thinking of an enemy, the mind turns to hatred at the very sight or thought of its foe. The mind assumes the nature of friendliness upon the visit and memory of a friend.46 So on seeing a hill or tree or passenger that bears no hatred or friendship to it, the mind remains equally indifferent, without any change in its disposition as it is perceived by us.47 Again the mind is sweetened tasting sweets, and embittered by tasting the bitter. It becomes fond of the sweet and averse to whatever is sour and bitter and unpalatable.
48 So when a hungry beast comes in the sight of a calm yogi, its envious nature is changed to dispassion and it desists from doing him any injury. 49 The malicious, being freed from his malice in the company of an even minded sage, desists from the doing any harm to anyone, just as the indifferent traveler has no business breaking straggling branches and trees growing on the wayside, which the rude rustics are likely to chop off and cut down (for fuel). 50 But the savage beast, removed from the side of the yogi, resumes its hungry nature again in the company of devouring and wild beasts of the forest. 51 Hence it was that the envious beasts of the forest, the tigers, lions and bears, and also the reptiles and creeping insects of earth, did not molest the calm body of the sage so long as they lurked and crept about it.
52 The reason why the body was not reduced to the dust of the earth is because the silent conscience that dwells in common in all bodies of animals, vegetables and minerals and abides in them as in the person of a dumb creature would not allow them to injure the innocent body of the sage lying flat on the ground. 53 The spiritualized body of the yogi is seen to move about on earth, like the shadow of something floating on the water. 54 Therefore the spiritual body of the sage, which was rarefied above the elemental bodies by virtue of his spiritual knowledge, became quite incorruptible in its nature.
55 Hear me tell you another reason, Rama! It is the lack of vibration which causes destruction, as it is vibration or breathing of the heart that is the cause of life. 56 The breathing of vital breaths causes the vibration of the arteries, and this being stopped, the body becomes as still as a stone. 57 He who has lost the pulsations of his heart and vital breaths, has also lost both his vitality and mortality, and becomes like a stone. 58 When the internal and external pulsations of the body are at a stop, know, O well-informed Rama, the intestinal parts are not liable to any change. 59 The motion of the body being stopped, and the action of the heart having ceased, the humors of the body become as stiff and inert as the solid mountain of Meru.
60 So the lack of fluctuation causes the steadiness of all things in the world. Hence the bodies of sages are known to be as quiet as the blocks wood or stone.
61 Therefore, the bodies of yogis remain entire for thousands of years. Like clouds in the sky and stones underneath the water, they are neither soiled nor rotten at anytime. 62It was in this manner that this sage who knew the truth and was best acquainted with the knowledge of the knowable left his earthly body in order to find the rest of his soul in the Supreme Spirit.
63 Those men of great minds who are dispassionate and know what is chiefly to be known above all others pass beyond the bounds of this earth and even of their bodies to assume an independent form of their own. 64 They are perfect masters of themselves whose minds are well governed by their right understanding. They are not affected by the influence of their destiny or the acts of their past lives, nor moved by their desires of any kind. 65 The minds of complete yogis are of the nature of destiny because they can easily effect whatever they think upon, as if they were the acts of chance as in Kakataliya Sanyoga. 66 So it was with sage Vitahavya, who no sooner thought of the renovation of his body than he found it presented before his sight, as if it were an act of chance.
67 When the soul forsakes its earthly frame after the fruition of the fruits of its past actions is over, it assumes a spiritual form which is the state of its disembodied liberation and when it enjoys its perfect liberty in its independent state. 68 The mind free from its desires is released from all its bonds and assumes the spiritual form of the pure soul. Then it effects instantly all that it wishes to do and becomes all powerful as the great Lord of all.
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Chapter 90 — Two Forms of Mind Extinction: with and without Form
1 Vasishta said:— After sage Vitahavya had subdued his heart and mind by his self inquiry and reasoning, there arose in him the qualities of universal benevolence and generosity.
2 Rama asked, “How do you say, sage, that the quality of benevolence sprang in the mind of the sage after it had been wholly absorbed in itself by its rationality? 3 Tell me sage who is the best of speakers, how can the feelings of universal love and friendliness arise in the heart which is wholly cold and quiet, or in the mind which is entranced in the Divine Spirit?”
4 Vasishta replied:— There are two kinds of mental numbness. One is coma in the living body and the other its deadness after the material body is dead and gone. (One is where the form of the mind remains and the other is where even the form ceases to be.) 5 Possession of the mind is the cause of grief and its extinction is the spring of happiness. Therefore one should practice grinding the essence of his mind (or personality) in order to arrive to its utter extinction.
6 The mind beset by the net of the vain desires of the world is subject to repeated births which are the sources of endless grief. 7 He is considered a miserable being who thinks much of his person and esteems his body as the product of the good rewards of his past lives, and who accounts his foolish and blinded mind as a great gift to him. 8 How can we expect the decrease of our distress as long as the mind is the mistress of the body? Upon setting down the mind the world appears to disappear before us. 9 Know the mind is the root of all the miseries of life, and its desires are the sprouts of the forest of our disasters.
10 Rama asked, “Who is it, sage, whose mind is extinct? What is the manner of this extinction? How is its extinction brought on and what is the nature of its annihilation?
11 Vasishta replied:— O support of Raghu’s race, I have told you before of the nature of the mind. Now you will hear, O best of inquirers, the manner of extinguishing its impulses.
12 When the mind is unmoved and remains steady in pleasure or pain, unshaken like a rock at the gentle breath of our breathing, then it is paralyzed and dead. 13 Know that the mind is also dull as dead when it is devoid of the sense of its separateness from others, and when it is not degraded from the loftiness of its universality to the meanness of its personality. 14 Know also that the mind is dead and cold when it is not moved by difficulties or dangers, or excited by pride or giddiness, or elated by festivity or depressed by poverty; in short, when it does not lose its serene temperament at any reverse of fortune. 15 Know, gentle Rama, that this is what is meant by the death of the mind and numbness of the heart. This is the inseparable property of living liberation.
16 Know mindfulness to be foolishness, and un-mindedness is true wisdom. Upon extinction of mental affections, the pure essence of the mind appears to light. 17 The true, intrinsic nature of the mind is revealed after its emotions are extinguished, and this temperament of the mind is what living liberated persons have. 18 The mind is filled with benevolent qualities has best wishes for all living beings. It is freed from the pains of repeated births in this world of grief. It is called the living liberated mind. 19 The nature of the living liberated mind is said to be its intrinsic essence, which is full with its holy wishes and exempt from the doom of reincarnation.
20 The personal mind (swarupa) has a notion of its personality as distinct from its body. This is the nature of the mind of those who are liberated in their lifetime. 21 When the living liberated person loses the individuality of his mind and becomes as pleasing as moonbeams by virtue of his universal benevolence, then the mind becomes expanded and extended, present everywhere at all times. 22 The living liberated person being mindless of himself becomes as cold hearted as a plant growing in a frigid climate, where it blooms with its mild virtues like blossoms of a winter plant. 23 The impersonal mind (arupa, without form) that I described earlier is the coolness of the disembodied soul that is altogether liberated from the consciousness of its personality.
24 All the excellent virtues and qualities that reside in the embodied soul are utterly lost and drowned in the disembodied soul upon its liberation from the knowledge of its personality. 25 In the case of disembodied liberation, the consciousness of self personality being lost, the mind also loses its formal existence in formlessness (virupa) when there remains nothing of it. 26 There remains no more merit or demerit, or any beauty or deformity. It neither shines nor sets anymore, nor is there any consciousness of pain or pleasure in it. 27 It has no sense of light or darkness, or the perception of day or night. It has no knowledge of space and sky, or of the sides, altitude or depth of the firmament. 28 Its desires and efforts are lost with its essence and there remains no trace of its entity or nothingness whatever. 29 It is neither dark nor light, nor transparent as the sky. It does not twinkle like a star or shine forth as solar and lunar lights. There is nothing to which it may resemble in its transparency. 30 Those minds that have freed themselves from all worldly cares and are rid of their thoughts are the minds that rove in this state of freedom, as the winds wander freely in the region of vacuum.
31 Intelligent souls that are numb and sleepy are set in perfect bliss beyond the trouble of activity (rajas) and lethargy (tamas). They have assumed the forms of empty bodies and find their rest in the supreme joy in which they are dissolved in the unity of the deity.
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Chapter 91 — Seeds for the Mind: Breathing Vital Breath, Thinking Thoughts, Desires; Thoughts Create Form
1 Rama said, “I see the stupendous rock (Brahma) filling the infinite dome of vacuum and bearing countless worlds as its vast forests, with the starry frame for its flowers and the gods and demigods for its birds and fowls. 2 Flashes of lightning are its blooming blossoms and blue clouds are the leaves of the forest trees. The seasons and the sun and moon fructify these trees with good looking fruits. 3 The seven seas are the aqueducts at the foot of this forest, and flowing rivers are its channels. Fourteen worlds are so many regions of it, peopled with various kinds of beings.”
4 “This wilderness of the world is beset by the wide spreading net of desire which has spread over the minds of people like a creeping vine filling a vineyard. 5 Disease and death form the two branches of the tree of the world yielding plentifully the fruits of our happiness and grief. Our ignorance serves to water and nourish this tree to its full growth.”
6 “Now tell me, sage, what is the seed that produced this tree and what is the seed of that seed? Tell me what is the original seed of the production of the mundane tree of the world (samsara)? 7 Briefly explain this to me for the edification of my understanding, and so I may acquire the true knowledge with which you are best acquainted.”
8 Vasishta answered:— Know Rama that the physical body is the seed or cause of this tree of the world (samsara). This seed is the desire concealed in the heart of the body. It shoots forth luxuriantly in the sprouts of good and bad acts and deeds. 9 It is full of boughs and branches and luxuriant with the growth of its fruits and flowers. It thrives as thickly and quickly as the paddy fields flourish in autumn.
10 The mind is the seed of the body and is subject to and the slave of all its desires. Its treasure house consists of alternate plenty and poverty, and its casket contains the gems of pleasure and pain. 11 The mind spreads this network of reality and unreality as it projects the ornaments of truth and falsehood in dreams and visions.
12 As a dying man imagines he sees the messengers of death appearing before him, so the mind presents the figure of the unreal body as a reality. 13 All these forms and figures that appear to our view in these worlds are the creatures of the mind, just like pots and toys are the works of clay.
14 There are two kinds of seeds that give rise to the tree of the mind entwined by the creepers of its faculties. One kind of seed is the breathing of the vital breath. The other is thinking thoughts.
15 When the vital energy vibrates through the lungs and arteries, then the mind has consciousness of its existence. 16 When the vital energy ceases to circulate through the lungs and wind pipes, there ensues the unconsciousness of the mind and the circulation of the heart-blood is put to a stop. 17 It is by means of the vibrations of breath and the action of the heart that the mind perceives the existence of the world which is as false as the appearance of the blue sky in the empty space of vacuum. 18 But when these vibrations and actions fail to rouse the sleeping mind, then it is said to enjoy its peace and quiet. Otherwise they move the body and mind, just like wires move dolls in a puppet show. 19 When the body has its consciousness caused by the breathing of the vital energy, it begins to move about like a doll dancing in its giddy circle in the courtyard by the puppet player’s skill. 20 The vibrations of breath awaken our self-consciousness, which is more minute than the minutest atom and yet all pervasive in its nature, just as the fragrance of flowers is blown afar in the air by the breath of the wind.
21 It is of great good, O Rama, to confine one’s consciousness in one’s self. This is accomplished by stopping the breath by means of the practice of pranayama (breath control).22 By restraining our self-consciousness we refrain from our consciousness of other things because the knowledge of endless objects is attended with infinite trouble to the mind.23 When the mind comes to understand itself after it is roused from its dormancy of self-forgetfulness (addiction to thoughts of external objects), it gains what is known to be the best of gains and the purest and the holiest state of life. 24 If with the vacillation of your vital breaths and the fluctuation of your wishes you do not disturb the even course your consciousness, like the giddy part of mankind, then you are like the great Brahma himself.
25 The mind without its self-consciousness is a barren waste, and the life of man without knowledge of truth is like a maze troubled with traps and snares of errors and dangers.
26 Meditation and yoga are practiced to suppress the breath for the peace of mind. Practice breath control (pranayama) and single-pointed meditation (dhyana) according to the directions of the spiritual guide and the precepts of the scriptures. 27 Restraint of breath is accompanied by peace of mind and causes the evenness of its temperament. It is attended with health and prosperity and gives its practitioner the capacity of reflection.
28 Rama, learn another cause of the activity of the mind which the wise consider to be the source of its perpetual restlessness. This is its restless desires which cannot be satisfied.
29 Now this desire is defined as the fixed desire of the mind to possess something without consideration of its prior and ultimate conditions. 30 The intensity of one’s thought of getting something produces it before him in utter disregard of the other objects of its memory. 31 The man infatuated by his present desire believes himself as his desire depicts him to be. He takes his present form for real by forgetting the past and absent reality. 32 The current of our desires carries us away from reality, just as the drunkard sees everything whirling about him in his intoxication. 33 Men of imperfect knowledge are led to errors by their desires like a man driven to madness by the impulse of passions.
34 Such is the nature of the mind that leads to the imperfect knowledge of things, seeing the unreal as real and the unspiritual as spiritual. 35 The eager expectation of getting a thing, fixed and rooted in the heart, impels the restless mind to seek its desired object in repeated births and transmigrations.
36 When the mind has nothing desirable or disgusting to seek or shun and remains apart from both, it is no more bound to reincarnation in any form of existence. 37 When the mind is thoughtless about anything, owing to its lack of desire, it enjoys its perfect composure owing to it being unmindful of desires and all other things. 38 When there is no shadow of anything covering the clear face of consciousness, like a cloud obscuring the face of the sky, the mind is said to be extinct in a person. It is lost like a lotus flower which is never seen to grow in the expanse of the sky. 39 The mind can have no field for its action when the sphere of consciousness is drained and emptied of all its notions of worldly objects.
40 Thus far have I related to you, Rama, about the form and features of the mind that entertains thoughts of something with the fond desires of the heart. 41 There can be no action of the mind when the sphere of consciousness is as clear as the empty sky, without the thought of any imaginary or visible object moving before it like the speck of a cloud.
42 It is also called unmindedness when the mind is practiced in the yoga of thoughtlessness of all external objects and remains transfixed in its vision of the sole essence of God. 43 When the mind has renounced the thought of everything within itself and remains in the perfect coolness of cold-heartedness of yogis, such a mind, though exercising its powers and faculties, it is said to be nil and extinct. 44 He whose lack of desires has chilled his intense desire for anything and made him impassionate is said to have become extinct and reduced like a rag to ashes. 45 He who has no desire of gain to cause his repeated birth and death is called the living liberated, though he may move about in his busy career like an unconscious potter’s wheel.
46 They are called the living liberated who do not taste the pleasure of desire but remain like fried seeds, without germinating into the sprouts of new and repeated births. 47Men who attain spiritual knowledge in their earthly lives are said to have become mindless in this world and to be reduced to emptiness in the next.
48 There are, O Rama, two seeds or sources of the mind, namely, vital breath and desire. Though they are of different natures, yet the death of either occasions the extinction of both. 49 Both of these are causes of the regeneration of the mind, just as a pond and a pot are the joint causes of water supply. 50 Men’s gross desires cause their repeated births like seeds causing the repeated growth of trees. The germ of regeneration is contained in the desire like a future plant is contained in the seed and oil is innate in the sesame seed.51 The conscious mind is the cause of all things in the course of time and the source of all its pleasure and pain which rise and fall in itself and never grow without it.
52 As the union of the breath of life with the organs produces sensations, so these being united with desire are productive of the mind. 53 As the flower and its fragrance and the sesame seed and its oil are united together, so is animal life inseparably connected with its desire. 54 Desire, being the active principle of man and subversive of his passive consciousness, tends to unfold the seed of the mind as moisture serves to expand the sprouts of vegetable seeds.
55 The pulsation of vital energy awakens the senses to their action and the vibrations of sensation touching the heart strings move the mind to its perception of them. 56 The infant mind, being produced by fluctuating desires and the fluctuations of vital breaths, becomes conscious of itself as separate and independent of its causes. 57 But the extinction of either of these two sources of the mind dissolves the mind and its pains and pleasures, which resemble the two fruits of the tree of the mind.
58 The body resembles a branching tree attacked by the creepers of its acts. Our greed is like a huge serpent coiling about it, and our passions and diseases are like birds nestling in it. 59 It is beset by our false senses, resembling ignorant birds setting upon it. Our desires are the sores that continually corrode our hearts and minds. 60 The shafts of death cut down the trees of our minds and bodies, just as the blasts of wind toss the fruits of trees upon the ground. The flying dusts of our desires have filled all sides and hidden the sights of things from our view. 61 Loose and thick clouds of ignorance hang over our heads. The pillars of our bodies are covered by the flying straws of our loose desires. 62The small ship of our body, gliding slowly along in quest of pleasure, falls into the whirling current of despair. So everybody falls into utter gloom without looking to the bright light that shines within himself.
63 Just as flying dust settles when the winds die down, so does the dust of the mind settle by extinguishing the force of our vital airs and desires. 64 Again, intelligence is the seed or root of both of these, and there being this intelligence within us, we have both our vitality and our desires also. 65 This intelligence, by forsaking its universality and retaining its individuality, springs from consciousness. Then it becomes the seed both of vitality and slight wish.
66 Know that your intelligence is the same as your consciousness. It resembles the seed of the mind and its desires, both of which quickly die with their root, like an uprooted tree. 67 Intelligence never exists without consciousness. It is always accompanied with it, like mustard seed and its oil. 68 Wakeful consciousness gets its intelligence from its desire, just as the waking consciousness of men views their death or departure to distant lands in dreams from their thoughts of the same. 69 Only our curiosity makes our consciousness have its intelligence of what can be understood only by the intellect (God), just as the desire of knowing anything leads the conscious soul to its knowledge.
70 This world is no more than a network of our imagination, as children imagine a demon hidden in the dark. 71 It is like a tree stump that looks like a man in the dark. The world is like the streaks and particles of sunbeams and moonlight beaming through a chink in a wall that look like fire. So is everything that can be known by our thinking. 72 The objects of our knowledge are as deceptive as the appearance of a moving mountain to a passenger in a boat. All appearances are the presentations of our error or ignorance and disappear at the sight of right knowledge. 73 As the fallacy of a snake in a rope and the appearance of two moons in the sky vanish before the keen clear vision of the observer, so the representation of the triple world disappears before penetrating understanding.
74 The inner certainty that the world is an illusion is called the perfection of knowledge by the wise. The knowledge of all things, whether seen before or not, is equally a delusion of the mind. 75 Therefore it is right to rub out the impressions of consciousness with diligence, because the preservation of those visible signs is the cause of our bondage in the world. 76 The erasure of these marks from the mind is equivalent to our liberation because the consciousness of these impressions is the painful cause of repeated reincarnations in this world of grief.
77 Consciousness which is unconscious of the outward world but preserves consciousness of the self is attended both with present joy and the lack of future regeneration. Therefore be unconscious of the externals and conscious of the internal bliss of your soul. The wakeful soul that is unconscious of the externals is blessed with the consciousness of its inward blissfulness.
78 Rama asked, “Sage, how is it possible to be both unconscious and yet active? How can unconsciousness be freed from its unavoidable mental inactivity?”
79 Vasishta replied:— Sensible unconsciousness, having its existence, dwells on nothing beside itself. Though it is living, it is unconscious of everything else. 80 He is both unconscious and yet not inactive who has no visible object in his consciousness, and who discharges his duties and all the affairs of his life without attaching his mind to them. 81He is not sleeping and yet unconscious whose mind is unconscious of the sensible objects of perception, but yet clear with the impressions of the knowable objects of intellectuality. Such a person is said to be the living liberated.
82 When the indifferent soul thinks of nothing in itself, but remains with its calm and quiet composure in possession of his internal consciousness, like a young child or a deaf and dumb person, 83 it becomes possessed of its wisdom and rests in full knowledge of itself without its dullness. Such a soul is no more liable to the troubles of this life or to the doom of future births. 84 When the yogi rests in his state of calm mental tranquility by forsaking all his desires, he perceives a calm delight pervading his innermost soul like blue spreading over the sky. 85 The unconscious yogi remains with the consciousness of his unity with that Spirit which has no beginning or end and in which he finds himself to be utterly absorbed and lost. 86 Whether moving or sitting or feeling or smelling, he always seems to abide and do everything in the Holy Spirit. With his self-consciousness and unconsciousness of anything beside, he is dissolved in his internal delight.
87 Shut out these worldly sights from your mind with your utmost, painstaking endeavors. Cross this world of grief, resembling a perilous ocean, on the firm bark of your virtues. 88 As a small seed produces a large tree stretching wide in the sky, so does the minute mind produce these ideal worlds which fill the empty space of the universe and appear to sight as real. 89 When the conscious soul entertains the idea of some figure in its imagination, memory or hope, that becomes the seed of its production in the very form which the soul had in its view. 90 So the soul brings forth itself and falls into its deception by its own choice. Thus it loses the consciousness of its freedom and is subjected to the bondage of life.
91 Whatever form it dotes upon with affection, the same form it assumes to itself. The soul cannot get rid of it as long it cherishes its affection for it. The soul cannot return to its original purity until it is freed from its impure passions. 92 The soul is no god or demigod or any yaksha or raksha, and not even any man or kinnara. It is by reason of its original illusion (maya) that it plays the part of a player on the stage of the world. 93 An actor represents himself in various shapes, then resumes and returns to his original form. A silkworm binds itself in the cocoon of its own making, then breaks out of it by itself. Similarly, the soul resumes its primal purity by virtue of its self-consciousness.
94 Our consciousness is like the water in the great deep of the universe, encompassing all the four quarters of the world and the huge mountains within it. 95 The universal ocean of consciousness teems with heaven and earth, air, sky, hills, mountains, seas and rivers and everything else as its surges, waves and whirling currents. 96 Our consciousness comprises the world. There is nothing other than consciousness because the all comprehensive consciousness comprehends all things in itself. 97 When our consciousness has its slight pulsation and not its quick vibration, then it is said to rest in itself and is not moved by the action of outward objects upon it.
98 The seed or source of our consciousness is the Divine Spirit, which is the essence of all beings and which produces our consciousness like the solar heat produces light and like fire emits sparks. 99 This Essence (Pure Existence) in us exhibits itself in two forms within ourselves. One is our self-consciousness and the other is our consciousness of many things lying without us. The former is uniform and the latter is of mutable form. 100 This twofold division of the one and same soul is like the difference between a pot and its painting, and like that of I and you, which are essentially the same thing and have no difference in their in-being.
101 Now do away with this difference and know the true entity to be a pure unity, which is the positive reality in common with all objects. 102 Forsake the particulars and seek the universal which is the same and in common with all existence. Know this unity as the totality of beings and the only adorable One. 103 The variety of external forms does not indicate any variation in the internal substance. Change in outer form makes a thing unknowable to us as to its former state, but outer differences of form make no difference in the real essence. 104 Whatever preserves its uniform and unchanging appearance at all times, know that to be the true and everlasting inner essence of the thing.
105 Rama, renounce the doctrines that maintain the eternal existence of time and space, of atoms and generalities and the like categories. Rely on the universal category of the one Being into which all others are reduced. 106 Though the endless duration of time approximates the nature of the Infinite Existence, yet its divisions into present, past and future make it not uniform and an unreal entity. 107 That which admits of divisibility and presents its various divisions and what is seen to diverge into many cannot be the uniform cause of all.
108 Think all bodies as belonging to one common essence and enjoy your full bliss by thinking yourself as the same, filling all space. 109 Know, O wise Rama, that the Being who is the ultimate end of all existence in common is the source and seed of the whole universe. 110 He who is the utmost limit of all things in common and who is beyond description and imagination is the first and beginning of all, without any beginning of his own and having no source or seed of himself. 111 No man is subject to trouble, but enjoys his full bliss in He in whom all finite existences are dissolved and who remains without any change in himself. 112 He is the cause of all without any cause of his own. He is the best of all without having anything better than himself.
113 All things are seen in the mirror of his Intellect, just as the shadow of trees by a river reflects in the clear stream below. 114 All beings taste their delight in Him like in a reservoir of sweet water. Anything delicious the tongue tastes is supplied from that pure fountain. 115 The intellectual sphere of the mind, which is clearer than the mundane sphere, has its existence from His essence which abounds with more pure delight than all sweet things in the world can offer. 116 All creatures in the world rise and live in Him. They are nourished and supported by Him and they die and are dissolved in Him.
117 He is the heaviest of the heavy and the lightest of all light bodies. He is the most ponderous of all bulky things and the minutest of the very minute. 118 He is the remotest of the most remote and the nearest of whatever is near to us. He is the eldest of the oldest and the youngest of the very young. 119 He is far brighter than the brightest and more obscure than the darkest. He is the substratum of all substances and the farthest from all the sides of the compass.
120 That Being is some as nothing, and exists as if He were non-existent. He is manifest in all, yet invisible to view. That is what I am and yet I am not the same.
121 Rama, try your best to rest in that supreme state of joy which is the highest state for man to desire. 122 Knowledge of that holy and unchangeable Spirit brings rest and peace to the mind. Know that all-pervasive Soul and identify with the pure Consciousness for your liberation from all restraint.
• • •
Chapter 92 — Means to Obtain Divine Presence: Knowledge of Truth, Subjection of the Mind, and Abandonment of Desires
1 Rama said, “Of all of the seeds that you have described, tell me sage, which is the most essential to lead us to the attainment of the supreme Brahman?”
2 Vasishta replied:— One can attain his consummation in a short time by the gradual demolition of the seeds and sources of grief, which I have described one after the other. 3By your courageous fortitude, you can renounce your desire for temporal objects. Seek that which is the first and best of beings. 4 If you remain in your exclusive and intense meditation on the Supreme Being, then in that very moment you are sure to see the divine light shining in full blaze in and before you. 5 If it is possible for you to think of all things in general in your well developed understanding, then you can have no difficulty elevating your mind a little higher and think of the Universal Soul of all. 6 O sinless Rama, if you can remain quietly meditating on your conscious soul, then by a little more exertion of your intellect, you can find no difficulty contemplating the Supreme Soul.
7 It is not possible, O Rama, to know the knowable Spirit at once in your understanding unless you think of it continually in your consciousness. 8 Whatever you think and wherever you go and do are all known to you in your consciousness. So the conscious soul is the seat of God where He is to be sought and seen.
9 Rama, if you will only strive to renounce your earthly desires, you will loosen yourself from all its bonds and diseases and dangers. 10 Of everything I have said before, the most difficult task is to rid oneself earthly desires. It is as impossible to root them out of the mind as it is to uproot Mount Meru. 11 As long as you do not subdue the mind, you cannot get rid of your desires. Unless you suppress your desires, you can not control your restless mind. 12 Until you know the truth, you cannot have peace of mind. As long as you are a stranger to your mental tranquility, you are barred from knowing the truth. 13 As long as you do not shun your desires, you cannot come to the light of truth. You cannot know the truth unless you disown your earthly desires.
14 Hence the knowledge of truth, subjection of the mind, and abandonment of desires are the joint causes of spiritual bliss, which is otherwise unattainable by the practice of any one of them singly. 15 Therefore, O Rama, the wise man practices of all these triple virtues at once and abandons his desire of worldly enjoyments with the utmost of his courageous efforts. 16 Unless you become a complete yogi in the practice of this triple morality, it is impossible for you to attain the state of divine perfection, even if you were to practice tapas for a whole century.
17 Know you, O high-minded muni, that simultaneous attainment of divine knowledge and the subjection of the mind and its desires brings about realization of the divine presence. 18 The practice of anyone of these separately from the others is as fruitless as curses of one’s death or derangement of understanding. 19 Though a yogi may be long accustomed in the practice of these virtues, yet none of them by itself will help him approach the Supreme, just as no single soldier or regiment can dare advance before an enemy host. 20 These virtues practiced by the undivided attention and vigilance of a wise man will break down every obstacle in his way, like the current of a confluence of three streams carrying away a rock from the banks.
21 Accustom yourself with diligence to destroy the force of your mind and its desires and feelings. Habituate your intellect to the acquisition of knowledge with equal ardor, and you will escape from every evil and error of the world. 22 Having mastered these triple virtues, you will cut asunder your heartstrings of worldly affections, just as the breaking of the lotus-stalk severs its interior fibers.
23 Even with the constant practice of these triple virtues, it is hard to remove the memories of worldliness inherited and strengthened over the long course of hundreds of lives.24 Continue to practice these at all times, whether sitting quietly or moving about, talking or listening, or awake or asleep, and it will contribute to your greatest good.
25 Also, controlling breathing is equivalent to controlling desires. You must practice this likewise, according to the directions of the wise. 26 By renunciation of desire, the mind is reduced to an unconscious and dead block. By restraining your breathing, you can do whatever you like. By the practice of breath control (pranayama), the yogi identifies himself with the Supreme, and can do all things as God. 27 By the protracted practice of restraining the breathing, according to the directions given by the guru, and by keeping an erect posture, and observing the rules of diet and the like, one restrains his respiration.
28 By right observation of the nature of things, we can have no desires for anything. There is nothing which is the same or remains unchanged from first to last except the unchangeable nature of God, which must be the only desirable object. 29 The sight and knowledge of God serve to weaken our worldly desires. So will our avoidance of society and worldly thoughts. 30 Seeing the dissolution of human bodies, we cease to desire our worldly goods. Seeing the loss of desired objects puts a check to our desiring them anymore. 31 As flying dust sets on the ground after a gust of wind passes, so the flying thoughts of the mind are stopped when our breathings are put to a stop, they being the one and the same thing. 32 From this correspondence of the motion of thoughts with the vibrations of breath, there is thrown up a large mass of worldly thoughts resembling heaps of dust on earth. Therefore let intelligent men try their utmost to suppress their breath.
33 Or do away with this process of hatha yoga (if it be hard for you) and sit quietly to suppress your fleeting thoughts at all times. 34 If you want to keep control over the mind, you will be able to do so in the course of a long time, because it is not possible to subdue the mind without the discipline of strict reason. 35 As it is impossible to restrain an infuriated elephant without goading it, so it is not possible for you to curb your unmanageable mind without the help of spiritual knowledge and association with the wise and good.
36 The abandonment of desires and the suppression of breathing, in the manner as will later be taught, are the most efficient means to subdue the mind. 37 There are milder means of pacifying the mind, as the cooling rain showers can also settle the dust of the earth, yet hatha yoga (pranayama) attempts to restrain the mind by stopping the breath, as it were to prevent the rising of dust by means of a breathless calm.
38 Ignorant men who want to subdue the mind by hatha yoga (physical exercises) or bodily restraints are like those silly folks who want to dispel darkness by black ink instead of a lighted lamp. 39 Those who attempt to subdue the mind by bodily contortions strive as vainly as those who wish to bind a mad elephant with a rope of grass or straw. 40 Those rules which prescribe bodily practices instead of mental reasoning and precepts are known as the methods of hatha yoga. They mislead men to dangers and difficulties.
41 Wretched men like beasts have no rest from their labor, but wander in valleys and woods in quest of herbs and fruits for their food. 42 Ignorant men, infatuated in their understandings, are timid cowards like frightened male deer. They are both dull-headed and weak-bodied and weak in their limbs. 43 They have no place of confidence anywhere, but stagger like a distrustful deer in the village. Their minds are ever wavering between hopes and fears, like seawater rising and falling in waves. 44 They are carried away like leaves falling from a tree and like the current of the cascade gliding below a waterfall. They pass their time in the errors of sacrificial rites and religious gifts and austerities and in pilgrimages and adoration of idols. 45 They are subject to continued fears, like timid deer in the forest, and there are few among them who happen by chance to come to the knowledge of the soul. 46 Being scorched by outward misery and internal passions, they are rarely conscious of their real state. They are subjected to repeated births and deaths and their temporary lives in heaven or hell. 47 They are tossed up and down in this world like play balls, some rising up to heaven and others falling to hellish torments even while they are here. 48 These men roll on like the constant waves of the sea. Therefore leave off the exterior view of the exoteric and sink deep into the spiritual knowledge for your everlasting rest. 49 Remain quiet and calm with your firm faith in your inward consciousness and know that knowledge is power. The knowing man is the strongest being on earth. Therefore be wise in all respects.
50 Rama, renounce the perception of the knowable objects and depend upon the abstract knowledge of all things in your subjective consciousness. Remain firm in full possession of your inner soul and think yourself as no actor of your acts. Then forsaking all inventions of men as falsehoods (kalana and kalpana), shine with the brightness of your spiritual light.
• • •
Chapter 93 — Universal Detachment
1 Vasishta continued:— Rama! He who is possessed of little reason and tries to subdue his mind as well as he can succeeds to reap the fruit (object) of his life (salvation). 2 The small particle of reason implanted in the mind, by culture and in time, becomes a big tree projecting into a hundred branches in all departments of knowledge. 3 A little development of reason serves to destroy the unruly passions of the human breast, then fill it with good and pure virtues, just as the roes of a fish fill a tank with fishes.
4 A rational man who becomes wise by his vast observation of past and present is never tempted by the influence of the ignorant who value their wealth above their knowledge. 5 Of what good are great possessions and worldly honors to him, and of what evil are the diseases and difficulties onto the man who looks upon them with an indifferent eye?
6 It is impossible to stop an impetuous hurricane, or to grasp flashing lightning, or to hold rolling clouds in the hand. 7 It is impossible to put the moon in a jewelry box like a brilliant moonstone. It is not possible for a beautiful lady to wear the crescent moon like a flower on her forehead. 8 It is impossible for buzzing gnats to put an angry elephant to flight with a swarm of bees sucking his frontal ichor and lotus bushes gracing his forehead. 9 It is impossible for a herd of timid male deer to withstand fighting a brave lion, bloodstained with the slaughtered elephant’s head in his bloody chase. 10 It is impossible for a young frog to devour a huge and hungry snake which, like a poisonous tree, attracts other animals by its poison and then swallows them whole. 11 So it is impossible for the robbers of outward senses to overpower the man of reason who is acquainted with the grounds of knowledge and knows the knowable Brahman.
12 But the objects and organs of sense destroy imperfect reason, just as the violence of wind breaks off the stalks of tender plants. 13 Yet wicked passions and desires have no power to destroy perfected understanding, just the lesser gales of minor deluges are not strong enough to move a mountain. 14 Unless the flowery tree of reason takes deep root in the ground of the human mind, it is liable to be shaken at every blast of conflicting thoughts. An unstable soul can have no stability. An uncertain mind can have no certainty. 15He whose mind does not stick to strict reasoning, either when he is sitting or walking or waking or sleeping, is said to be dead to reason.
16 Therefore always contemplate, in a spiritual light and in the society of good people, what is all this, what is this world, and what is this body. 17 Reason displays the darkness of ignorance and shows the state of the Supreme as clearly as when the light of a lamp shows everything clearly in the room. 18 The light of knowledge dispels the gloom of sorrow like sunlight putting the shadow of night to flight. 19 Upon appearance of the light of knowledge, the knowable comes to appear of itself, just as the appearance of sunlight in the sky shows every object on earth below.
20 The science that brings the knowledge of Divine Truth is identical with the knowable truth itself. 21 Spiritual knowledge is the result of reason and is reckoned as the only true knowledge by the wise. It includes the knowledge of the knowable soul, just as water contains its sweetness within itself. 22 The man knowing all knowledge becomes full of knowledge, just as a heavy drinker is constantly intoxicated.
23 The wise come to know the knowable Supreme Spirit as immaculate as their own souls. Only through the knowledge of the Supreme Spirit does this bliss impart its grace to the soul. 24 The man filled with perfect knowledge is full of unfailing bliss within himself. He is liberated in his life. Being freed from all connections, he rules supreme in the empire of his mind.
25 The wise man remains indifferent to the sweet sound of songs and to the music of the lute and flute. He is not humored by songstresses or the allure of their bodies or the enticement of their foul association. 26 He sits unaffected amidst the hum of buzzing bees fluttering joyfully over spring flowers, and amidst blooming blossoms of rainy weather under the growling noise of roaring clouds. 27 He remains unexcited by the loud screams of peacocks, the joyous shrill of storks at the sight of fragments of dark clouds, or the rolling and rumbling of gloomy clouds in humid sky. 28 He is not elated by the sound of musical instruments such as the jarring cymbal or ringing hand bells. No deep bellowing drums beaten by sticks or any wind, string or skinned instruments can act upon his mind.
29 He turns his mind to nothing that is sweet or bitter to taste, but delights in his own thoughts, just as the moon sheds her light upon the spreading lotus bud in the lake. 30The wise man is indifferent to the attractions of beauties and celestial nymphs who are as graceful in their stature and attire as the young shoot of a plantain tree with its spreading foliage. 31 His mind is attached to nothing that is his own, but remains indifferent to everything, like a swan exposed to a barren spot.
32 The wise have no taste for delicious fruits nor do they hunger after dainty food of any kind. 33 He does not thirst after delicious drinks such as milk, curd, butter, ghee and honey. He does not like to taste sweet liquors at all. He is not fond of wines or liquors of any kind, or of beverages and drinks of any sort for his sensual delight. 34 He is not fond of the four kinds of food that are either chewed or licked or sucked or drunk, nor is he fond of the six flavors of sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and the like to sharpen his appetite. He longs for no sort of vegetable or meat food.
35 Quite content in his countenance and unattached to everything in his mind, the wise brahmin does not bind his heart either to the pleasures of taste or tending to the gracefulness of his body. 36 The wise man does not observe the adoration paid to Yama, Sun, Moon, Indra, and the Rudras and Marutas (in the Vedas), nor does he observe the sanctity of Meru, Mandara and Kailasa Mountains, or of the table lands of the Sahya and Dardura hills. 37 He takes no delight in bright moonbeams that cover the earth like a silken garment. He does not like to wander about the gardens of wish-fulfilling kalpa trees to refresh his body and mind. 38 He does not resort to houses rich with jewels and gold, and with the splendor of gems and pearls, nor does he show fondness upon apsara beauties with their fairy forms of celestials nymphs, as an Urvasi, Menaka, Rambha or a Tilottama. 39His graceful body and mind that is not enticed do not yearn for whatever is pleasant to sight, but remain indifferent about everything with his satisfaction and fullness of mind and with his stern silence and inflexibility even among his enemies.
40 His cold mind is not attracted by the beauty and fragrance of the fine flowers such as lotuses, lilies, roses and jasmine.
41 He is not tempted by the taste of luscious fruits such as apples, mango, jamb and the like, nor by the sight of asoka or kinsuka flowers.
42 He is not drawn over by the fragrance of the sweet scenting sandalwood, agulochum, camphor, clove or cardamom trees.
43 Preserving an even course of action in his mind, he does not incline his heart to anything. He holds the perfumes in loathing like a brahmin holds wine in abhorrence. His even mindedness is neither moved by pleasure nor shaken by any fear or pain. 44 His mind is not agitated by fear at hearing the hoarse sound of the ocean, a tremendous thunderclap in the sky, or roaring clouds on mountain tops. The roaring lions below does not intimidate his dauntless soul. 45 He is not terrified at the loud trumpet of warfare or the deep drum of the battlefield. Clattering arms of warriors and cracking clubs of combatants bring no terror to his mind. The most terrific of all (God) that is terrible is familiar to his soul.
46 He does not tremble at the stride of an infuriated elephant or at the loud uproar of vetala demons. His heart does not thrill at the color and cry of pisacha cannibals or at the alarm of yaksha and raksha demons. 47 The meditative mind is not moved by loud thunder or cracking rocks and mountains. The loud clanging sound of Indra and Airavana cannot stir the yogi from his intense reverie. 48 The rigid sage does not slide from his self-possession at the harsh sound of a crashing saw and or the clanking of a burnished sword striking another. He is not shaken by the twanging of a bow or deadly arrows flying and falling around him.
49 He does not rejoice in pleasant gardens or suffer in parched deserts because the fleeting joys and sorrows of life find no place in his inevitable mind. 50 He is neither intolerant of a desert’s burning sands, resembling the cinders of living fire, or charmed in shady woodlands filled with flowery and cooling trees. 51 His mind is unchanged whether when he is exposed on a bed of thorns or lying on a bed of flowers, whether he is lifted on the height of a mountain or flung to the bottom of a fountain. His mind is always meek.
52 It is all the same with him whether he wanders on rough and rugged rocks, moves under the hot sunbeams of the south, or walks in a temperate climate. He remains unchanged in prosperity and adversity and is alike under the favor or frown of fortune. 53 He is not sad in his wanderings over the world or joyous and of good cheer in his rest and quiet. He enjoys doing his duty with the lightness of his heart, like a porter bearing his light burden with an unburdened mind.
54 Whether his body is cut upon a guillotine or broken under the wheel, whether impaled in a charnel ground or exiled in a desert land, whether pierced by a spear or battered by a cudgel, the believer in the true God remain inflexible. 55 He is not afraid at any fright and does not humiliate himself or lose his usual composure in any way, but remains with his even temper and well composed mind as firm as a fixed rock.
56 He has no aversion to impure food, but takes the unpalatable, dirty and rotten food with zest. He digests poisonous substances at they were his pure and clean diet. 57 A deadly poisonous herb is tasted with as good a zest by the impassive yogi as any milky and sweet food. Hemlock juice is as harmless to him as the juice of the sugarcane. 58Whether you give him a sparkling cup of liquor or a red hot bowl of blood, or whether you serve him a dish of flesh or dry bones, he is neither pleased with the one nor annoyed at the other.
59 He is equally complacent at the sight of his deadly enemy as his benevolent benefactor. 60 He is neither gladdened nor saddened at the sight of any lasting or perishable thing. He is neither pleased or displeased at any pleasant or unpleasant thing that is offered to his impassive nature. 61 By his knowledge of the knowable, by the dispassion of his mind, by the unconcerned nature of his soul, and by his knowledge of the unreliability of mortal things, he does not have faith in the stability of the world. 62 The wise man never fixes his eye on any object of his sight, seeing them to be momentary sights and perishable in their nature.
63 But restless people who are blind to truth and ignorant of their souls are constantly pressed upon by their sensual desires, like leaves of trees eaten by deer. 64 They are tossed about in the ocean of the world by the dashing waves of their desires. They are swallowed by the sharks of their sense, with the loss of their lives and souls.
65 The growing desires and fleeting fancies of the mind cannot overpower the reasonable soul or the orderly and mannerly man who has found his security in peace and tranquility, just as a great torrent of water has no power to flow over a mountain. 66 Those who have passed the circuit of their longings and found their rest in the Supreme Being have really come to the knowledge of their true selves. They look upon a mountain as it were a speck. 67 The vast world seems like a bit of straw to the wise. Deadly poison is taken for ambrosia and a millennium passes a moment for the man of even and expanded mind.
68 Knowing the world to consist in consciousness, the mind of the wise is enraptured with the thought of his universality. The wise man wanders freely everywhere with the consciousness of the great cosmos in himself. 69 The whole world appears in its full light in the cosmic consciousness within one’s self. There is nothing which a man may choose for or reject from his all including mind.
70 Know your consciousness to be all in all. Reject everything as false which appears to be otherwise. As everything is embodied in your consciousness, there is nothing for you to own or disown; no “us”, “yours” or “not yours”.
71 Just as the ground grows the shoots of plants and their leaves and branches, so our consciousness brings forth the shoots of all things that can be affirmed (tatwas) which are inherent in it. 72 That which is a nonentity at first and last is so even at present. By an error of our consciousness, we become conscious of existence at anytime. 73 Knowing this for certain, abandon your knowledge of reality and unreality. Transcend the knowledge of existence and transform yourself to the nature of your consciousness. Remain unconcerned with everything beside.
74 The man employed in his business with body and mind or sitting idle with himself and his limbs is not stained by anything if his soul is unattached to any object. 75 He is not stained by the action which he does with an unconcerned mind, nor is he who is neither elated nor dejected at the changing fortunes of his fortune or the success or failure of his undertakings. 76 He whose mind is heedless of the actions of his body is never stained with the taint of joy or grief at the changes of his fortune, or the speed or defeat of his attempts.
77 The heedless mind takes no notice of a thing that is set before it, but being intent on some other object within itself, is absent from the object present before its sight. This case of the absence of mind is known even to children. 78 The absent minded man does not see the objects he actually sees or hear what he hears or feel what he touches. 79 His soul and mind are quite aloof from whatever he watches as if he winks at it whatever he smells as if he has no smell of it, and while his senses are engaged with their respective objects. 80 This absence of mind is well known to persons sitting at their homes and thinking of living in another land. Such wandering attention is known even to children and ignorant people.
81 Attention causes the perception of sensible objects. Attachment of the mind causes human society. Mental concern causes our desires. This concern of ours about other things causes all our grief. 82 Abandonment of connections, which is called liberation, and forsaking earthly attachments release us from being reborn in it, but it is freedom from worldly thoughts that makes us emancipate in this life.
83 Rama said, “My lord, who like a gale blows away the mist of my doubts, tell me briefly, what are these connections that we are to get rid of in order to be freed both in this life and in the next?”
84 Vasishta answered:— Impure desire of the pure soul for the presence or absence of something which tends to our pleasure or pain is called our attachment. 85 Those who are liberated in their lifetime foster pure desire unattended by joy or grief which is not followed by future regeneration. 86 Thus the pure desire, unconnected with any worldly object, is called unworldly and is apart from the world. It continues through life, and whatever actions it does do not tend to the bondage of the soul or lead to its future reincarnations.
87 Ignorant men who are not liberated in their present state of existence in this world entertain impure desires causing their pleasure and pain in this life, leading to their bondage to repeated reincarnations in future. 88 Impure desire is also expressed by the word attachment, which leads its captive soul to repeated births, and whatsoever actions are done by it, they tend to the faster bondage of the miserable soul.
89 Therefore abandon your desire and attachment for anything of this kind, which at best serve only to trouble the soul. Your freedom will keep your mind pure, although you may continue to discharge your duties of life with a willing mind and un-enslaved soul. 90 If you can remain unaffected by joy, grief, pleasure, pain, or passions, and not subdued by fear or anger, you become impassible and indifferent. 91 If you do not suffer in your pain or exult in your joy, and if you are not elated by hope or depressed by despair, you are truly unconcerned about them. 92 If you conduct your affairs with equanimity, both in your prosperity and adversity, and do not lose your temper in any circumstance of life, you are truly unconscious and regardless of them. 93 When you can know the soul, and by knowing it you can see it in yourself, and if you manage yourself with evenness under any circumstance that may happen, then you are unconscious of them.
94 Rama, rely on your easily obtainable detachment and stick firmly to your liberation in this life. Be passionless and even tempered and rest in your peace forever.
95 The honorable man is free from the feverish passions of pride, giddiness and envy in his mind. Possessing his liberation, he has silence and full mastery over his organs of sense. 96 So is he who retains his equanimity and meekness of mind regardless of what is presented before him. He never deviates from the duties of his caste to deal with others who bear no relation to him. 97 One who attends to his hereditary duties which are natural with him, and discharges them with a mind free from all concern and expectation, is truly happy in himself.
98 Whether under the trial of troubles and tribulations or under the temptations of rank and prosperity, the great minded man does not transgress his intrinsic nature, just as the Milky Ocean does not tarnish its whiteness though perturbed under charming Mandara Mountain. 99 Whether gaining sovereignty over the earth, elevated to the dignity of the lord of gods, degraded to grovel upon the earth, or lowered to the state of a creeping worm under the ground, the great minded man remains unchanged at his rise and fall, as the bright sun remains the same in his elevation and setting.
100 Freed from turmoil and differences of faith and exempted from pursuits for different results, employ your great mind, O Rama, to the highest duty of investigation into the nature of the soul. Secure your ultimate liberation by it. 101 Live by the clear stream of your investigation and you will come to rely on the undecaying and unstained state of the pure soul. Then by coming to the knowledge and sight of the Supreme Spirit by the light of your understanding, you will no longer be bound to future births on this earth.
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