BOOK VI, Part 1 B – On Liberation (Nirvana Khanda Purvadha)1>
Chapter 61 — Description of the World as a Passing Dream
1 Rama said, “O sage, without doubt we are a dream-drawn house, the body of the lotus-born Brahma, the first progenitor. 2 If this world is a non-entity (asat), we must know our existence to be the same non-entity. Then how is it possible that we have acquired such a firm faith in the reality (sat) of this dream?”
3 Vasishta responded:— We are shining here as a created being by the previous birth of Brahma, but in fact, the reflection of soul shines forever as nothing else.
4 Owing to the omnipresence of consciousness, all beings exist as reality everywhere, and if consciousness rises from unreal knowledge, consciousness as real knowledge destroys the unreal one. 5 Therefore whatever comes from these five elements is only transitory, but owing to the firm belief of ego, we enjoy a firm faith that it is real.
6 In a dream, we see a good many things as reality, but as soon the dream is over, we do not find the things we had dreamed of. As long we remain in ignorance, we see the reality of the world in the same way. 7 O Rama, the dreaming man thinks his dream is reality because he has faith in it. In the same way, this world appears as reality to the supreme God who has no beginning or end. 8 That which is created by a dreaming man is said to be his own, just as we can say that what is in the seed is in the fruit. 9 Whatever comes from non-entity is to be called non-entity. Though the unreal can be workable, it is not reasonable to think that what is unreal is good.
10 As the thinking result of unreality is to be given up, so the firm faith which arises in the dreaming man that the dream is real must also be given up. 11 Whatever the soul creates in a dream is our firm belief, but that remains only for a short time. 12 Brahman’s long drawn dream is this world, hence we also think this world is long drawn, but in fact, this world is a moment to Brahman.
13 Consciousness is the creator of all elements. She creates everything according to her model, hence creator and creation are one and the same. 14 As the backward and forward whirling motion of water makes a deep swell, and as a fairy appears in a dream, so all these nothings are in reality. 15 This entity with its change is nothing. In whatever manner we look at an object, it will appear in the same manner. 16 The rule of the false dream is not to reproduce because the production is not in the world, but owing to ignorance, it appears so.
17 In the three worlds we see wonderful objects, such as undersea fire burning in the water. 18 A good many cities exist in emptiness, and birds and stars remain in the sky. We find a lotus in stone, like trees growing without earth. 19 One country gives every kind of object to the seeker, like a wish-fulfilling tree that gives all objects to the seeker. We see a stone or rows of jewels like fruit from a fruitful tree. 20 Life like frogs exists within a stone. A moonstone gives water. 21 In a dream, many things are made and unmade within a minute, all of which, in fact, are as unreal as one’s death in a dream. 22 The natural water of the elements is suspended in the sky (cloud) when the heavenly Mandakini River remains in emptiness.
23 A heavy stone or a winged mountain flies in the air. Everything can be obtained through a stone when everything can be secured from the philosopher’s stone. 24 In Indra’s garden of bliss, every desired object can be obtained, but when one is liberated, such kind of desire for objects is lacking. 25 Even dull matter acts like a machine, hence every object acts like wonderful false magic. 26 By magical art we see even impossible objects such as two moons, headless trunks (kavandhas), mantras, drugs, and pisacha ghosts. All these are the works of wonderful false magic and are, in fact, nothing.
27 We see the impossible as real and possible. Impossibility becomes real only because of our false ideas. 28 Though it appears as real, a false dream is in fact unreal. There is nothing which is unreal and there is nothing which is real. 29 So all worldly beings see this dream of creation as real, just as a dreamer takes his dream as a reality. 30 By passing from one error to another error, from one dream to another, a firm faith in the reality of the dream comes out. 31 As a stray deer repeatedly falls into a pit for green grass, so ignorant man repeatedly falls into the pit of this world owing to his ignorance.
• • •
Chapter 62 — The Mendicant’s Idle Thought: the Story of the Hundred Rudras
1 Vasishta resumed:— Rama, let me tell you the story of a certain mendicant who fostered some desire in his mind and wandered through many migrations of his soul.
2 At one time, there lived a great mendicant who devoted his life to holy meditation and passed his days observing the rules of his mendicancy. 3 In the intensity of his samadhi, his mind was cleansed of all its desires and became assimilated in the object of its meditation, just as seawater changes in the form of waves.
4 Once he was sitting on his seat after finishing his meditation, about to discharge some sacred function of his order, when a thought chanced to pass over his clear mind. 5 He looked into the reflection of the thought that arose in his mind of itself: that for his pleasure, he should reflect upon the various conditions of common people and the different modes of their life. 6 With this thought, his mind passed from reflecting upon himself and his God to that of another person.
He lost the calm composure of his mind, just like when the quiet sea is disturbed by a whirlpool.
7 He thought to become an ideal man and in an instant, he became the imagined person, Jivata by name. 8 Jivata, the ideal man, wandered about like a dreaming person through the walks of an imaginary city which he had raised in himself, just like a sleeping man dreams and builds houses in the sky. 9 Jivata drank his fill at pleasure, just like a giddy bee sips honey from lotus flowers. He became plump and hearty with his sports and enjoyed sound sleep from his lack of cares.
10 In his dream, Jivata saw himself in the form of a brahmin who was pleased with his studies and the discharge of his religious duties. As he thought of this within himself, he was transformed to that same state, just as in the space of a thought, a man transplants himself from one place to another. 11 One day the good brahmin, who was observant of his daily rituals, fell asleep into a deep trance. He dreamt he was doing the duties of the day, just as a seed hidden in a shell inwardly performs its act of vegetation. 12 In his dream, the same brahmin saw himself changed to a chieftain who ate and drank and slept as any other man in general.
13 The chief, in his own dream, thought himself to be a king who ruled over the earth extending to the horizon surrounded by all kinds of enjoyments, just as a vine is studded with flowers. 14 Once as this king felt himself at ease, he fell into a sound sleep free from all cares. He saw the future consequences of his actions, as effects are attached to a cause and as flowers issue from a tree. 15 He saw his soul assuming the form of a heavenly maid, just as a plant produces its flowers and fruit.
16 As this heavenly maid was lulled to sleep by her weariness and fatigue, she saw herself turn into a deer, as the calm ocean finds itself disturbed by whirling currents and waves. 17 This frightened fawn with unsteady eyes fell into a sound sleep and saw herself transformed into a creeping plant. 18 The crooked beasts of the field and the creeping plants of forest also have their sleep and dreams of their own nature. Their dreams are caused by what they saw and heard and felt in their waking states. 19 This vine came to be beautified with fruits, flowers and leaves forming a covered shelter for the seat of the floral goddess of the woods. 20 Hidden in the vine’s heart were its wishes, in the same manner as a seed conceals the would be tree. At last the vine, in its inner consciousness, saw itself full of frailty and failings. 21 It had remained long in its sleep and rest, but being disgusted with its drowsy dullness, the vine thought of being the fluttering bee that was its constant guest. Immediately it found itself changed to a fluttering bee.
22 The bee flew at pleasure over the tender and blossoming vines in the forest, landing on the petals of blooming lotuses like a fond lover courting his mistresses. 23 It wandered about the blossoms, blooming like brightening pearls in the air, and drank the flowers’ nectar-like juice like a lover sipping nectar from his beloved’s red lips. 24 The bee became captivated by the lotus of the lake and sat silent upon its thorny stalk on the water. For such is the fondness of fools, even for what is painful to them. 25 The lake was often infested by elephants who tore and trampled over the lotus beds, because the base take pleasure destroying God’s fair works. 26 The fond bee meets the fate of its fondled lotus and was crushed under the tusk of the elephant like rice is ground by teeth. 27 The little bee, seeing the big body and might of the elephant, took a fancy of being such. By imagining himself as so, he was instantly converted to the elephant of his imagination.
28 At last the elephant fell into a pit, deep and dry as the dried bed of a bay, just as a man falls into the profound and empty ocean of this world overcast by an impenetrable darkness. 29 The elephant became a favorite of the prince for defeating his enemies’ armies, and he routed about at random with his giddy might like lawless robbers wandering about at night. 30 Afterwards, the elephant fell under the sword of the enemy, his body pierced all over by their deadly arrows, as the haughty egoism of the living body drops down in the soul under the wound of right reason. 31 The dying elephant, having been accustomed to see swarms of bees fluttering over elephants’ trunks sipping the ichor exuding from them, long had cherished the desire of becoming a bee. So now he came to be a bee in reality.
32 The bee rambled at large among the flowery vines of the forest and again rested among the lotus beds of the lake, because it is hard for fools to get rid of their fond desires, though they are attended with danger and peril. 33 At last the playful bee was trampled down and crashed under the feet of an elephant, and, by its long association with one in the lake, become a goose. 34 The goose passed through many lives until it became gander sporting with the geese in the lake.
35 It came to pass that the gander fostered the idea of being the swan that serves as the vehicle of Brahma, just as the yolk of an egg fosters a feathered fowl. 36 As it was fostering this strong desire in itself, the gander grew old and diseased, like a piece of wood eaten by worms. Then as he died with his consciousness of being Brahma’s bird, in his next birth he was born as the great swan of that god. 37 The swan lived in the company of the wise and became enlightened from the views of worldly beings. He continued for ages in his disembodied liberation, caring for nothing in the future.
• • •
Chapter 63 — Dream of Jivata: the Hundred Rudras
1 Vasishta continued:— Once, this bird that played beside the lotus seat of Brahma went to the city of Rudra (Shiva) with his god on his back. There he saw the god Rudra face to face. 2 Seeing Rudra, the swan thought himself to be so. The figure of the god was immediately impressed upon his mind, like the reflection of an outer object in a mirror. 3Being full of Rudra in himself, he left his bird body, just as a flower’s fragrance leaves it petals, mixes with the breeze, and flies in the open air. 4 He passed his time happily at that place, in the company of his attendants and the various different classes of Rudra’s dependent divinities.
5 This Rudra, being full of the best knowledge of divinity and spirituality, looked back into his understanding and the past accounts of his prior lives that were almost countless.6 Having clear vision and clairvoyance, he was astonished to see the naked truth that appeared to him like sights in a dream, which he recounted to himself as follows.
Jivata, as Rudra, speaking:— 7 O, how wonderful is this illusion stretched all about us. Illusion’s magic wand fascinates the world. It exhibits the tangible untruth as positive truth, just as sunbeams spreading over the sterile sands of the dreary desert present the appearance of clear water.
8 I well remember my primary state of pure consciousness, its conversion into the state of the mind, and how it was changed from its supremacy and omniscience to the bondage of the limited body. 9 By its own desire the living soul assumed a material body to itself, formed and fashioned agreeably to its fancy, like a picture drawn in a painting. It became a mendicant in one of its prior births when it was unattached to the objects exposed to view all around. 10 The same mendicant sat in meditation by controlling the actions of his body and began to reflect on outer objects with great pleasure in his mind. 11 He buried all his former thoughts in oblivion and thought only of the object that he was employed to reflect upon. This thought so engrossed and worked upon his mind that it prevented the rise of any other thought. 12 The phenomenon that appears in the mind also offers itself to view. As the brown of fading autumn supersedes the spring green of leaves and plants, so the man coming to his maturity forgets the helpless state of his boyhood and is thoughtless of his approaching decay and decline.
13 Thus by his fallible and unsteady desire, the mendicant became the brahmin Jivata, making him wander from one body to another, like little ants entering the holes of houses and things. 14 Being reverential towards brahmins in his mind, he became the wished for person in his own body. Reality and unreality have the power of mutually displacing one another according to the greater influence of either.
15 The brahmin next became a chief because of his strong preference for that, just as a tree becomes fruitful by continuously absorbing moisture from the earth. 16 Being desirous of dispensing justice and discharging all legal affairs, the chief wished for royalty and had his wishes fulfilled by this becoming a king. But as the king was over fond of his courtesans, he was transformed into a heavenly nymph that he prized in his heart above all. 17 But because the celestial dame prized the trembling sight of a frightened deer above her own heavenly form and station, she soon changed into a deer in the woods, destined to graze as a miserable beast for her foolish choice.
18 The deer was very fond of browsing tender grass and leaves. At last it became the same creeping plant that had crept into the opening of her craving mind. 19 The creeper, being long accustomed to dote on the bee that used to be in its company, found in its consciousness to be that insect after the destruction of its own form. 20 Though well aware of being crushed under the elephant, together with the lotus flower in which it lived, yet the vine was foolish to take the form of the bee for its pleasure of wandering about the world. 21 Being thus led into a hundred different forms, I have at last become Rudra. It is all because of the capriciousness of my erratic mind in this changing world.
22 Thus have I wandered through the many different paths of life in this wilderness of the world. I have roamed in many aerial regions as if I were treading on solid, substantial ground. 23 In one of my many births I was named Jivata. In another I became a great and respectable brahmin. I became quite another person again, and then found myself as a ruler and lord of the earth. 24 I had been a drake living in lotus plants and an elephant in the valleys of the Vindhya Hills. Then I assumed the body of a stag, fleet in my limbs.
25 After I first deviated from my state of godliness, I was still settled in the state of a devotee with devotion to divine knowledge, practicing the rites befitting my position. 26 In this state I passed many years and ages. Many a day, night, season and century glided on imperceptibly. 27 But I deviated again and again from my habitual course, often subjected to new births and forms, until at last I was changed to Brahma’s vehicle of the swan by virtue of my former good conduct and company.
28 The firmly established habits of a living beings must come out unobstructed, though they may be held back in many intermediate births, even for a millennium. Yet they must come and lay hold of the person some time or another. 29 It is only by accident that one has the blessing of some good company in his life. Then his inborn habit may be restrained for a time, but in the end it is sure to break out with violence in utter defiance of every check and rule.
30 But he who keeps only good society and always strives for his edification in what is good and great is able to destroy the evil propensities that are inbred in him, because the desire to be good is what actually makes one so. 31 Whatever a man is accustomed to do or think upon constantly, in this life or in the next state of his being, the same appears as a reality to him in his waking state of daydream, just as unreality appears as real in the dream of a man in sleep. 32 Thoughts that employ our minds appoint our bodies to do their wished for works. These works have some temporary good and evil also. Therefore it is better to restrain and repress these tumultuous thoughts rather than cherish them for our pleasure or pain.
33 Only the thought in our minds makes us take our bodies for ourselves. Thoughts stretch wide this world of unrealities, like an enclosed seed sprouts forth and spreads itself into a bush. 34 The world is only the visible form of a visible thought and nothing more in reality, a fantasy and illusion of our sight. 35 The illusive appearance of the world presents itself to our sight like the many colors of the sky. Therefore, by ignoring of it, we may wipe those impressions off from our minds. 36 It is an unreal appearance displayed by the Supreme Essence as a real existence only for his pleasure. It cannot do any harm to anybody.
37 I rise and look into all these varieties in nature for the sake of my pleasure and curiosity. I have the true light of reason in me, whereby I discern the one unity quite apart from all varieties.
Vasishta speaking:— 38 After all this reasoning, the incarnate Rudra returned to his former state and reflected on the condition of the mendicant, whose body was now lying like a dead corpse on the barren ground. 39 He awakened the mendicant and raised his prostrate body by infusing his consciousness into it. Then the resuscitated monk came to understand that all his wanderings were only hallucinations of his mind.
40 The mendicant found himself to be the same with Rudra standing in his presence, as also with the bygone ones that he recollected in his memory. He was astonished to think how he could be one and so many, though it is no wonder to the intelligent who well know that one man acts many parts in life.
41 Afterwards both Rudra and the mendicant got up from their seats and proceeded to the home of Jivata situated in a corner of the intellectual sphere. 42 They passed over many continents, islands, provinces and districts until they arrived at Jivata’s home where they found him lying down with a sword in hand. 43 They saw Jivata lying asleep and unconscious as a dead body. Rudra put aside his bright celestial form in order to enter into the earthly abode of the deceased.
44 They brought him back to life and intelligence by imparting to him portion of their spirit and intellect. Thus this one soul exhibited the triple forms of Rudra, Jivata and the mendicant. 45 With all their intelligence, they remained ignorant of one another. They marveled to look on each other in mute astonishment, as if they were the figures in painting.
46 Then the three went together in their aerial course to the air-built home of the brahmin who had erected his baseless fabric in empty air and which resounded with empty sounds all around. 47 They passed through many aerial regions and barren and populous tracts of air until at last they found the brahmin’s heavenly residence. 48 They saw him sleeping in his house surrounded by the members of his family, his wife’s arms around his neck as if unwilling to part with her deceased husband. 49 They awakened his drowsy intelligence by means of their own intelligence, just as a waking man raises his own sleeping soul by means of his own awareness.
50 From there they went on in their pleasant journey to the kingdoms of the chief and the king mentioned before. These were situated in the bright regions of their intellectual sphere, illuminated by the brightness of their intellect. 51 Having arrived at that region and that very place, they observed the haughty chief lying on his lotus-like bed. 52 He lay with his gold colored body in the company of his golden colored bed-partners like a honey sucking bee lying inside the embrace of a lotus flower’s petals. 53 His mistresses hung about him like the tender stalks and tufts of flowers hanging on a tree, surrounded by a belt of lit lamps, as when a golden plate is studded by a circle of brilliant gems. 54 They awakened him by infusing their own spirit and intelligence into his body and mind, then they sat together marveling at each other, as an identical man with so many forms.
55 Next they went to the palace of the king. After awakening him with their intelligence, they all wandered about the different parts of the world. 56 At last they came to the swan of Brahma.
Being all transformed into that form in their minds, they all became the one Rudra personality in a hundred persons. 57 Thus the one consciousness is represented in different forms and shapes according to the various inclinations of their minds, like so many figures in a painting. Such is the divine unity represented as different personalities, according to the various tendencies of individual minds.
58 There were a hundred Rudras, a hundred forms of the uncovered consciousness. They are acquainted with the truths of all things in the world and the secrets of all hearts. 59There are a hundred and some hundreds of Rudras who are known as very great beings in the world. Among them, only eleven are situated in so many worlds. 60 All living beings who are not awakened to reason are ignorant of the identity of each another. They view them in different and not in the same light. They are not farsighted to see any world other than the one that is the closest to them. 61 Wise men see the minds of others and all things arising in their minds, like waves in the sea. Unenlightened minds remain dormant in themselves, like inert blocks of stone.
62 As the waves mix with themselves because of water’s fluidity, so the minds of wise unite with one another by the solubility of their understandings, like elastic fluids and liquids. 63 Among all the multitudes of living beings that are presented to our sight in this world, we find the one unchanging element of Consciousness to be diffused in all of them, making unreal appear as real. 64 This real but invisible Divine Consciousness remains forever. All the unreal but visible appearances disappear into nothing. An empty space remains after a thing is removed from its place, or a hole is dug in the ground.
65 You can conceive of the idea of existence and the five-fold elemental principles in nature. So you can also comprehend the notion of the omnipresence of Divine Consciousness which underlies the elemental principles. 66 You see various statues and images carved in stone and wood and set in the hollows of rocks and trees. So also you should be able to see all these figures in the hollow space of the universe, situated in the identical Consciousness of the Omnipresent Deity. 67 In the pure Consciousness of the unknown and invisible Deity, the knowledge of the known and visible world resembles the ever-changing, uncaused and unconscious shapes in the sky, the causeless substratum of everlasting and all pervading emptiness.
68 Knowledge of phenomena is the bondage of the soul. Ignoring phenomena leads to its liberation. Therefore do as you like; either towards this or that. 69 Knowledge and ignorance of the world are the causes of the bondage and liberation of the soul. These also produce the reincarnation and final emancipation of the animal spirit. By your indifference to them, you can avoid both. Therefore do as you may best choose for yourself.
70 What disappears is not worth seeking or being sorry for its loss. That which is gained of itself in our calm and quiet without any anxiety or diligence on our part is truly reckoned to be our best gain. 71 That which exists only in our perception is not true knowledge but mere fallacy. True knowledge is that of the subjective consciousness, to which one must always be aware. 72 As a wave is an agitation of water, so this creation is only a vibration of the Divine Consciousness.
The only difference between them is that one is the production of the elements in nature and the other is that of the Divine Will.
73 The surging of waves occurs in conjunction with existing elements at certain spots and times, but the production of the world is wholly without the junction of elemental bodies, which were not in existence at its creation. 74 The shining worlds shine with the light of Divine Consciousness in which they are situated.
They are thoughts in its consciousness. It transcends the power of speech to define what it is, and yet it is expressed in the Vedas in the words that, “It is the Supreme Soul and perfect joy” (Shiva Paramatma).
75 Thus the world is the form of consciousness in Divine Consciousness and they are not different from one another, just as words can never be separated from their meanings. It is said that the world is the vibration of the Divine Spirit. Only the ignorant say the wave and water are two different things.
• • •
Chapter 64 — The Attendants of God Rudra; How One Soul Becomes Many
1 Rama said, “Tell me sage. What became of the many forms that the mendicant saw in his dream? Did the different forms of Jivata, the brahmin, the swan and others return to themselves, or did they forever remain as Rudras?”
2 Vasishta replied:— They all remained with Rudra as parts and compositions of himself. Being enlightened by him, they wandered all about the world and rested content with themselves. 3 With Rudra, they all saw the magic scenes displayed before them until at last they were dismissed from his company to return to their own states and places.
4 Rudra said, “Go you now to your own places, and there enjoy your fill with your family. Return to me after some time having completed the course of your enjoyments and sufferings in the world.
5 Then you will become parts of me and remain as my attendants to grace my residence until at last we all return to the supreme at the end of time and be absorbed in the last ultimate state of all.”
6 Vasishta said:— So saying, Lord Rudra vanished from their sight and mixed with the Rudras who viewed all worlds in their enlightened intellects. 7 Jivata and the others returned to their respective homes where they had to share in their domestic joys in the company of their families for their allotted times. 8 Then, having wasted and shuffled off their mortal coils at the end of their limited periods, they will be promoted to the rank of Rudras in heaven and they will appear as shining stars in the firmament.
9 Rama replied, “All those forms of Jivata and others are only creations of the empty imagination of the mendicant. I cannot understand how they could be beings as there is no substance in imaginary things.”
10 Vasishta replied:— The truth of imagination lies partly in our consciousness and partly in our representation of the image. An image giving a false shape to anything is as untrue as any nothingness in nature. But what we are conscious of must be true, because our consciousness comprehends everything in it. 11 Thus, all that is seen in dream and shown to us by imagination is impressed in our consciousness at all times and forever.
12 A man traveling from one country to another, and again to some other place, has no knowledge of the distance of his journey unless he is conscious of its length and duration in space and time. So without our consciousness of it in our sleeping state, we are ignorant of the duration of our dream and our passing from one dream to another. 13Therefore our consciousness contains all things that are represented to it by the intellect.
It is from our reasoning that we have knowledge of everything, because the intellect is full of knowledge and pervades everywhere. 14 Imagination, desire and dream are one and same thing. One produces the other and all are lodged in the intellect. Their objects are obtained by our intense application to them. Desire produces imagination which is the cause of dream. They are phenomena of mind and their objects are the results of deep meditation.
15 Nothing is to be had without its practice and meditation of it. Men of enlightened minds gain the objects only through their yoga and meditation of them. 16 These adepts view the objects of their pursuit in all places, such as the god Shiva and other master yogis.
Such was my aim and attempt also, but it was not attended with success. 17 I was unsuccessful because of my lack of fixed resolve, failing in both because attending to both sides. [Vasishta may be referring to something Shivabalayogi often related, that even Vasishta, who sat in tapas for many centuries, was unsuccessful so long as he thought his individual ego was God (aham brahmasya). TLP.] Only the firm resolution in one point gives a person success in any undertaking. 18 One going in a southerly direction cannot arrive at his house in the north. Such is the case with pursuers and what they pursue, which they well know to be unattainable without their firm determination on it. 19 Whoever resolves to gain his desired object must fix his view on that object. The mind fixed on the object brings it into effect.
20 So the mendicant having Rudra as the sole object in his view became assimilated into the very form of his wish. Because whoever is intent on one object must remove all duality from himself. 21 The other imaginary forms of the mendicant were all different persons in their different spheres. They had obtained their different forms according to their respective desires from one state to another. 22 They did not know or look on one another, but they all had their thoughts fixed on Rudra alone. Because those who are awakened to their spiritual knowledge have their sight fixed on their final liberation, while unenlightened mortals are subjected to repeated births because of their repeated wishes.
23 It was according to the will of Rudra that he took this one form and many others upon himself, such as he wills to become a vidyadhara demigod in one place and a pundit scholar in another.
24 This story of Rudra serves as an example of the efficacy of intense thought and practice. All men may become one or another or many more, whether learned or ignorant, according to their thoughts and conduct. 25 One may have his manhood and his godhead by courageous and godlike actions at different times and places. Being both at the same time requires much greater ability and energy of the mind and the body.
26 The living soul, being one with the Divine, has all the powers of the Divine implanted in it. The Infinite being grafted in the finite, they are of the same innate nature. 27 The living soul expands and contracts in its life and death, just as the Divine Soul has its evolution and involution in its acts of creation and dissolution.
But the Divine Soul destroys no soul because it is the soul of souls and the collection of all souls. Therefore anyone who would be godly must refrain from slaughter.
28 Yogis and yoginis continue to discharge their sacred rites, as enjoined by law and usage, and either remain in this world or freely wander about in others at large. 29 A yogi may be seen in different forms at once, both in this world and in the next, according to the merit of his actions, just as the great yogi and warrior King Kartavirya Arjuna became the terror of the world as if he were everywhere while he remained quite at home. 30 So also does the god Vishnu appear in human forms on earth while he sleeps at ease in the Milky Ocean. The yoginis of heaven hover over animal sacrifices on earth while they reside in their groups in the ethereal sphere. 31 Indra also appears on earth to receive the offerings of men while he is sitting in his heavenly seat on high, and Narayana takes the forms of a thousand Ramas upon him in his conflict with multitudes of rakshasa demon legions. 32 So did one Krishna become a hundred to receive the obeisance of his reverential princes. He appears as a thousand in the company of many thousands of monarchs in the Kuru assembly. 33 God becomes incarnate in many forms, with parts and particles of his own spirit for the preservation of the world. The one Lord became many in a moment in the company of his mistresses.
34 In this manner did the forms of Jivata and others, which were the creatures of the mendicant’s imagination, retire at the command of Rudra to their own particular homes and respective desires. 35 There they enjoyed all their delights for a long time until they entered the home of Rudra where they became the demigod’s attendants and remained in his retinue for a great length of time. 36 They remained in the company of Rudra, dwelling in the Nandana gardens of evergreen and ever blossoming kalpa vines of paradise, blooming with clusters of shining small flowers, wandering at pleasure to different worlds and to the celestial city of Shiva on Mount Kailash, playing in the company of heavenly nymphs and bearing the crowns of immortality on their heads.
• • •
Chapter 65 — Rama’s Wonder at the Error of Men
1 Vasishta continued:— As the mendicant saw this transient scene of error in his mind, so is the case with all living beings. They look on their past lives and actions apart from themselves and in the persons of other men. 2 The past lives, actions and deaths of all reflective souls are as deeply imprinted in them as any thought is preserved in the retentive mind and empty intellect. 3 Distant and separate things are mingled together in the present sphere of one’s soul, and all persons appear as distinct figures in the dream. 4 The human soul, though it is a form of the divine, but being enclosed in its frail and mortal body, is doomed to misery until its final liberation from birth and body.
Thus I have related to you the fate of all living souls in the example and tale of the mendicant monk.
5 O Rama, know now that the souls of all of us are like that of the mendicant. They are vibrated and moved by the impulse of the Supreme Spirit, yet they are fallible in their nature, falling from error to error in every moment. 6 As a stone falling from a rock falls lower and lower to the ground, so the living soul, once fallen from its height of Supreme Spirit, descends lower and lower to the lowest pit. 7 Now it sees one dream and then passes from it to another, and thus rolling forever in its dreaming sleep, it never finds any substantiality whatsoever.
8 The soul, hidden under the illusion of errors, sometimes happens to come to the light of truth, either by the guidance of same good instructor or by the light of its own intuition. Then it is released from the wrong notion of its personality in the body and comes to the true knowledge of itself.
9 Rama said, “O! the impenetrable gloom of error that spreads over the human soul causes it to believe in the mist of its errors, just as a sleeping man enjoys the scenery of his dreams. 10 The gloom of error is shrouded by the thick darkness of the night of false knowledge and falls into the pit of illusion which spreads over the world. 11 O! the remarkable error of taking a thing as our own which in reality belongs to nobody but the lord and master of all.”
12 “It is necessary for you, sage, to explain to me, from where does this error arise? How could the mendicant, with his share of good and right understanding, fall into error? Tell me also, you who knows all, whether he is still living?”
13 Vasishta replied:— I will explore the regions of the three worlds in my samadhi meditation tonight and tell you tomorrow morning whether the mendicant is living or not, and where he may be at present.
14 Valmiki said:— As the sage was speaking in this manner, the royal garrison sounded the trumpet of the departing day with the beating of drums. The sound filled the sky with the loud roar of doomsday flood clouds. 15 Princes and citizens assembled in the court and threw handfuls of flowers at the sage’s feet, just like trees dropping their flowers in the ground, blown by a fragrant breeze. 16 They also honored the other great sages. All rose from their respective seats and the assembly broke afterwards with mutual salutations to one another.
17 All the residents of earth and air went to their respective homes with the setting sun and discharged their duties of the departing day in obedience to the ordinances of the scriptures. 18 They all performed their services as prescribed in their ceremonial observances, in which they placed their strong faith and veneration. 19 All the mortals and celestials who formed Vasishta’s audience now began to reflect on the sage’s lecture. The night passed as short as a moment with some, and as long as an age with others.
20 As the morning rose with the returning duties of men, and employed all beings of heaven and earth to discharge their morning services, the court reopened to receive the audience who assembled there with mutual greetings and salutations to their superiors.
• • •
Chapter 66 — The Mendicant’s Wanderings; Multiple Births with Similar Forms and Personalities
1 Valmiki related:— After the sages Vasishta and Vishwamitra had taken their seats in the court hall, groups of celestials and aerial spiritual masters entered, together with the monarch of earth and the chiefs of men. 2 Then Rama and Lakshman came into the court with their companions. They shone like a clear lake of lotus beds unshaken by the gentle breeze, glistening by the bright light of moonbeams.
3 The chief of sages opened his mouth without anyone asking him. He did not wait for anyone to ask because wise men are always kind hearted, ready to communicate their knowledge to others of their own accord.
4 Vasishta said:— O Rama who is the moon in the sphere of Raghu’s family, last night after a long time I came to see the mendicant with the all seeing eye of my intellectual vision. 5 I thought in my mind and wandered wide and afar to find out where that man was. I traversed all continents and islands, passing over all hills and mountains on earth. 6 I had my head running upon the search, but could not find anywhere a mendicant of that description. Because it is impossible to find in the outer world the fictions of our air-built castles.
7 Then at the last watch of the night, I ran in my mind and passed over the regions on the north like fleet winds fly over ocean waves. 8 There I saw the extensive and populous country of Jina, lying beyond the utmost boundaries of Valmika, where there is a beautiful city called Vihara by its inhabitants. 9 There a mendicant named Dirghadrusa (foresighted) lived whose hair was silver with age and who continues meditation confined in his lovely cottage. 10 He is used to sitting in meditation for three weeks at a time, keeping the door of his cell locked for fear of being disturbed by outsiders’ intrusion. 11 In this way, even his dependents are kept outside while he is absorbed in meditation. 12 He passed his three weeks sitting in deep, secluded meditation, which in his mind was a thousand years.
13 In olden times, there had been a mendicant of his kind, as I have already related to you. This is the second living instance of that sort. We know not where and when a third or another like this may be found to exist.
14 I was long in quest, like a bee in search of flowers, to find such another in the womb of this lotus-like earth, with all possible inquiry on my part. 15 I passed beyond the limit of the present world and pierced through the mist of future creations. There I met with what I sought, the resemblance of the present mendicant. 16 As I looked into the world lying in the womb of the future, deposited in the mental world of Brahma, I met with a third one resembling Brahma in his conduct.
17 Passing through many worlds, one after another, I saw many things in various futures which are not in the present world. 18 There I saw sages who are now sitting in this assembly, and many more brahmins who are of the nature of these who are present here, but also different from them. 19 There will be this Narada with his present course of life, but also differing from this Narada. Likewise there will be many others with their various modes of life. 20 This Vyasa and this Suka, and these Saunaka, Pulaha and Krutu, will reappear in future creations with the same natures and characters. 21 The same Agastya, Pulastya, Bhrigu and Angirasa, all of them and all others, will again come into existence with their very same forms and character traits. 22 They will be born and reborn sooner or later so long as they are subject to this delusion of regeneration and resuscitation. They will retain their similar births and modes of life, like all others to be reborn in this or in the future world.
23 The souls of men revolve repeatedly in the world, like waves rolling forever in the waters of the sea. Some souls retain their same forms, while others very nearly so in their reappearance. 24 Some are slightly altered in their figures, and others are entirely different in their forms, never regaining their original likeness. So does this prevailing error of regeneration delude even the wise to repeated births.
25 So what is the meaning of the mendicant’s long meditation of twenty days and nights when a moment’s thought and the results of bodily actions produce endless births and transformations? 26 And where is the reality of these forms that are mere conceptions of the mind? These ideas and reflections, growing ripe with repetition, appear as full blown flowers to sight. They resemble the water lily in the morning, beset by the busy murmur of humming bees. 27 Gross form is produced from pure thought, just as a large burning fire is lit by a minute spark or a sunbeam.
Such is the formation of the whole fabric of the world.
28 All things are manifest as particles of divine reflection, and each particle exhibits a variety of parts. These neither exist nor are nothing at all, but they all exist in the universal, which is the cause of all causes and the source of all sources.
• • •
Chapter 67 — The Unity of God; Religious Differences Are Divisive
1 Dasharata said, “O great sage, let my attendants go immediately to the mendicant’s cell and, having roused him from his meditation, bring him here in my presence.”
2 Vasishta replied:— Great king, the body of that mendicant is now lying lifeless on the ground. It is pale, cold, covered with dirt, and has not even a bit of its vitality left in it. 3His life has fled from his body, like odor from the lotus of the lake. He is now liberated from the bonds of this life and is no more subject to the cares of this world. 4 It has been a whole month that his servants have waited to open his door and they will see his emaciated frame. 5 Afterwards they will take out the body and bathe it in water, then having anointed it, they will place it for their adoration, as they do a defiled idol. 6 The mendicant being freed from his body cannot be brought back to his senses. They have entirely left their functions in his mortal frame.
7 As long as one labors under the darkness of his ignorance, it is hard to evade the enchanting delusion of the world, but it is easily avoided at all times by one’s knowledge of truth. 8 The fabrication of the world is untrue, just like making ornaments from gold.
Creation is caused by the error of taking form as substance.
9 This delusion (maya) of the world is situated in the Supreme Soul like rows of waves upon the surface of the calm waters of the sea. So it is said in the Vedas that the moving worlds are like the fluctuations of the Divine Soul. 10 The intelligent soul, taking the form of the individual human soul, sees the phenomenal world just like he sees dreams one after another. All these vanish upon waking to sense and right reason. 11 As every man of understanding recognizes the original in its image, so the man of reason recognizes the original idea of the Soul in its forms of creation. An ignorant man who sees the world as a thorny bush or a confused jungle can have no idea of the all-designing Framer and his frame work of the universe.
12 The world is shown to every living being, as it was shown to the dreaming mendicant, in the form of the vibrations of the Supreme Spirit, like the fluctuation of waves on the surface of the sea.
13 The world first appears in the universal, collective mind of the creator Brahma, and in the same way those shadowy forms appear in the minds of all individuals who lack enlightenment.
14 To the clear mind this world appears like a fleeting dream, as it first appeared to Brahma. The multitudes of worlds that are discovered one after the other are no more than the successive scenes of passing dreams in the continuous sleep of ignorance.
15 All living beings in their various forms are subject to the error of believing the unreal world to be a reality, though they well know in their being that the world is no better than a continuous dream or delusion. 16 The animal soul, though possessed of intelligence, is yet liable to transgress from its original nature, thereby becoming subject to decay, disease, death and all kinds of woe. 17 The godlike intellect, at its pleasure, frames the celestial and infernal regions in our dreams by the slight vibrations of the mind, then takes delight in rambling over and dwelling in them. 18 Divine Consciousness by its own impulse takes the form of living souls upon itself. It wanders from itself to ransack over the false objects of the deceptive senses.
19 The mind is also the Supreme Soul. If it is not so then it is nothing. The living embodied is also the Supreme Soul, an expression of the Supreme Soul like a shadow of the substance. 20 So the Supreme Brahman is said to reside in the universal Brahman according to how men conceive of the one Brahman in whom all attributes unite, like water with water and sky with air. 21 Men live in this apparent physical form of Brahman, yet they think it is other than a reflection of God. It is like a child seeing his own reflection in a mirror and being startled thinking that another person is standing there.
22 Wavering understanding causes these differences which disappear of themselves after the mind resumes its steadiness in the unity of God. In that steadiness, differences are lost like offerings of butter are consumed in sacred fire. 23 After the true knowledge of God is gained, there is no more vacillation or dogmatism, no unity or duality. All distinctions dissolve in an indistinct Consciousness, which is as it is and is all in all. 24 When from the sum and substance of all reasoning it is understood that there is only the one Consciousness, which is the subject of all the many names that are applied to it, then there remains no more differences of the various religious faiths in the world. 25 Differences of faith create differences in men. Eliminating distinctions in creeds destroys all differences and unites all in one common faith in the Supreme Being.
26 Rama, you see differences because of your lack of understanding. You will get rid of them as you come to your right understanding. Ask anyone and you will find the truth of what I am saying and you will be fearless of any sectarian feeling or hatred. 27 In that state of fearlessness, the knower of Brahman finds no difference in the states of waking, dreaming, sound sleep or the fourth stage of meditation. He sees no difference in his earthly bondage or his liberation from it. All is equal to him.
28 Tranquility is another name of the universe. God has given his peace to everything in the world, therefore all religious divisions are the false creations of ignorance. No religious advocate has ever seen the invisible God.
29 The action of the heart and the motion of vital air cannot move the contented mind to action when the mind is devoid of desire, indifferent to the vibrations of breath and the heart. 30 The intellect freed from ideas of unity or duality, rid of its anxious cares and desires, has approached a state that is next to that of God. 31 The pure desire that exists in consciousness, like a stain on the moon, is no impurity but the solidification of condensed consciousness.
32 Rama, remain always in the state of your collected intellect because it concentrates everything in itself, and leaves nothing beyond it. This is the most faultless, perfect form of faith. 33 The moon-like consciousness, having the mark of no desire on it, is a vessel of ambrosia. A drink of that ambrosia drowns the thoughts of all that is and all that is not into oblivion. 34 Refer your thoughts of whatever you have or want to the region of your intellect. Taste your inner delight as much as you like. 35 Rama, know that the words vibration and inaction, desire and no desire, and such other spiritual or theological terms, only serve to burden and misled the mind to error. Keep yourself from thinking on these. Remain in your peace and quiet, whether you attain your perfection or otherwise.
• • •
Chapter 68 — Four Types of Silence (Mouna), the State of Sleep-Silence
1 Vasishta said:— Rama, remain as inwardly quiet as in your silent sleep.Keep the thinking of your mind at a distance. Get rid of the wanderings of your imagination and remain firm in the state of Brahman.
2 Rama said, “I know what is meant by restraint of speech, quietness of the sense organs, and the muteness of a block of wood. But tell me. What is sleep-like silence, which you know well by your practice?”
3 Vasishta replied:— The sages of old (munis) describe two kinds of practices of silence (mouna).
The one silence is that of the rigid ascetic, like a wooden statue of a saint.
The other is the silence observed by those who are liberated in their lifetime.
4 The wood-like devotee is the austere ascetic who does not meditate in his mind, but is firmly employed in the discharge of the rigorous rites of religion. He practices painful restraints of his bodily organs and remains speechless like a wooden statue. 5 The other kind is the living, liberated yogi who looks at the world with unconcern, who delights in his meditation of the soul, and who passes as any ordinary man without any distinctive mark of religious order or secular rank. 6 The difference between these two kinds of saintly and holy men is in the fixedness of their minds and the calmness of their souls, and is what passes under the title of silence and saintliness.
7 Thus silent sages describe four kinds of silence (mouna): silence in speech, silence of the sense organs, wood-like speechlessness (violent restraint), and the silence that is like one’s sleep. 8 Silence in speech consists of keeping one’s mouth and lips closed. Silence of the senses implies keeping the organs of sense under strict control. Rigorous muteness means the abandonment of all actions, and sleepy silence is as silent as the grave. 9 There is a fifth kind of dead-like silence which occurs in the austere ascetic in his state of unconsciousness, in the profound meditation of the tranquil yogi in samadhi, and in the mental abstraction of the living liberated. 10 All the first three states of silence occur in the devotee who practices austerities.
The fourth, the sleep-like silence, is the only silence that is conducive to attaining living liberation.
11 Though speechlessness is called silence, yet it is not a complete restraint of speech. The mute tongue may brood evil thoughts in the mind which lead to the bondage of men. 12 An austere devotee practices restraint without being mindful of his own egoism, or seeing phenomena, or listening to others’ speech. Seeing nothing beside him, he sees all in himself, like living fire covered under ashes.
13 The mind being busy in these first three states of silence, but freely indulging in its fancies and reveries, makes silent sages (munis) in appearance only, but none like this understands the nature of God. 14 None of these has any of that blessed divine knowledge which is so very desirable to all mankind. I state freely that they do not know God, be they angry with me or not as they may.
15 The inactive, meditative silent sage who is liberated from all bonds and cares in his lifetime is never to be born in any shape in this world. It is interesting to know more about them, as I will tell you. 16 He does not need to restrain his breathing or vital airs, nor does he need the triple restraint of his speech. He does not rejoice at prosperity, nor is he depressed in adversity, but preserves his equanimity and the evenness of his senses at all times. 17 His mind is under the guidance of his reason, neither excited by nor restrained from its fancies. His mind is neither restless nor dormant. It exists as much as it does not exist. 18 His attention is neither divided nor dammed but fixed in the infinite and eternal one. His unconfined mind thinks and reasons about the nature of things. Such a one is said to be the sleeping silent sage.
19 The sleeping silent sage knows the world as it is. He is not led to error by its deluding varieties. He scans everything as it is without being led to skepticism. 20 The sleeping silent sage places his faith and trust on the one endless and ever blissful Shiva as the collection of all knowledge and the displayer of this universe. 21 The sleeping silent sage sees emptiness as fullness and views this all as nothing. His mind is even and tranquil. 22 The best state of silence is in he who views the universe as neither reality nor unreality, but as an empty vacuum without foundation, but full of peace and divine wisdom.
23 The mind that is unconscious of effects and is unconscious of the different states of prosperity and adversity is said to rest in its highest state of rest and quiet. 24 The source of unimpaired restraint is perfect equanimity of the mind and evenness of temper that is not liable to change or fluctuation, with a clear conscience and unflinching self-consciousness. 25 The real source of silence is the consciousness that “I am nothing, nor is there anything besides” and that the mind and its thoughts are not reality. 26 The state of sleepy silence means knowledge that the Ego pervades this universe and the Ego’s essence is displayed equally in all things, which is the meaning of the expression, “The one that is.”
27 Now, if Consciousness constitutes all and everything, how can you conceive your distinction from others who are moved by the same power that dwells alike in all? This knowledge is called everlasting sleep and forms the groundwork of every kind of silence. 28 This is the silence of profound sleep. Because it is an endless sleep in the ever wakeful God, this sleep is like being awake. Know this as the fourth stage of yoga, or rather, the stage that is above it. 29 This profound trance is called the fourth state of entranced meditation. The tranquility which is above this state may be had in one’s waking state. 30 He who is situated in his fourth stage of yoga has a clear conscience and quiet peace attending on him. The adept who is established in this state may or may not meditate, and may be embodied or without body.
31 Yes, O Rama, desire to be settled in this state! Know that neither I nor you nor any other person is any real being in this world. The world exists only as a reflection of our minds, and therefore the wise man should only rely upon the heart of empty consciousness which comprehends all things in it.
• • •
Chapter 69 — Samkhya & Jnana Yoga; Mind (Desires) and Vital Breath Linked
1 Rama said, “Tell me, O chief of sages, how was it that the Rudras came to be a hundred in number? Are the attendants of Rudra also Rudras?”
2 Vasishta replied:—
The mendicant saw himself in a hundred forms in a hundred dreams which he dreamt one after another. This I told you before, although not in detail. 3 All the forms that he saw in the dream became so many Rudras, and all these hundred Rudras remained as so many attendants on the principal Rudra.
4 Rama asked, “But how could the one mind of the mendicant be divided into a hundred in so many bodies of the Rudras? Was it undivided like a lamp that lights a hundred lamps without any diminution of its own light?”
5 Vasishta answered:—
Know Rama, that disembodied or spiritual beings of pure natures, because of the liquid-like nature of their souls, are capable of assuming any form they fancy. 6 The soul, being omnipresent and all pervading, takes any form whatever upon itself, whenever and wherever it likes, by virtue of its consciousness.
7 Rama replied, “But tell me sage, why does Lord Shiva wear a string of human skulls about his neck and smear his body with ashes, stark naked? Why does he dwell in funeral grounds, lustful in the greatest degree?”
8 Vasishta replied:—
Gods and perfect beings such as the spiritual masters are not tied down by laws which weak and ignorant men have devised for their own convenience. 9 The ignorant, on account of their uncontrollable minds, cannot go on without the guidance of law. Otherwise they are subject to every danger and fear, like poor fishes. 10 Intelligent people are not exposed to the evils in life that ignorant people of ungoverned minds and passions experience with their restless and vagrant habits. 11 Wise men discharge their business as it occurs to them at times. They never undertake to do anything of their own desire. Therefore they are exposed to no danger.
12 The god Vishnu engaged himself in action and incarnated because of an impulse of the occasion. So did the god Shiva with the three eyes, as well as the lotus-born god Brahma. 13 The acts of wise men are neither to be praised nor blamed because they are never done from private or public motives. 14 As light and heat are the natural properties of fire and sunshine, so the actions of Shiva and other gods are ordained from the beginning, like the caste customs of the twice born, three higher dvija castes.
15 Though the nature of all mankind is the same, as ordained in the beginning, yet the ignorant have created differences among themselves by instituting distinctions among castes and customs. Their institutions are of their own making, so they are subjected by them to the evils of future retribution and reincarnation.
16 Rama, so far I have told you about the four types of silence of embodied beings, but I have not spoken about the nature of the silence of disembodied souls. 17 Now hear how men obtain this chief good by knowledge of the intellectual souls in the clear sphere of their own consciousness, which is far clearer than the ethereal sphere of the sky.
18 Men became renowned as Samkhya yogis or categorical philosophers through their knowledge of all kinds of knowledge and by constant devotion to meditation, and by the study of the numerical philosophy of particulars in the Samkhya system. 19 Yogis pursuing the path of knowledge are those who meditate on the form of the eternal one without decay by suppressing their breath and union with that state which presents itself to their mind. 20 Some obtain the unpretentious and undisguised state of joy and tranquility, desired as the most desirable thing by all, through Samkhya yoga, others through jnana yoga. 21 The result of both forms of yoga is the same. This is known to anybody who has experienced it because the state arrived at by the one is the same as that of the other.
22 In this supreme state, the actions of the mental faculties and vital breath are altogether imperceptible, and the network of desires is entirely dispersed. 23 Desire constitutes the mind, which again is the cause of creation. Therefore by destroying desires and mind, one becomes motionless and inactive.
24 The mind forgets its inner soul, never bothering to look at it even for a moment. It is solely occupied with its body and looks at the phantom of the body like a child sees at a ghost. 25 The mind itself is a false apparition and an unsubstantial appearance of our mistake. The mind can show itself in dream as dying, which is found to be false upon waking.26 The world is the production of the mind. What am I and who is mine or my children? Custom and education have caused the imaginary demons of our bondage and liberation, which in reality are nothing.
27 There is one thing, however, on which both systems are based. That is the suppression of breath and the restriction of mind, which form the sum and substance of what they call their liberation.
28 Rama replied, “Now sage, if suppression constitutes the liberation of these men, then I may as well say that all dead men are liberated, and all dead animals also.”
29 Vasishta replied:—
Of the three practices of the restriction of the breath, body and mind, I believe the repression of the mind and its thoughts to be the best because it is easily practiced. I will tell you how it is to be done for our good.
30 When the vital breath of a soul quits its mortal frame, it perceives the same in itself and flies in the shape of a particle into the open sky, mixing at last with ethereal air. 31 The parting soul is accompanied by its elementary principles, which are the desires of its mind and which are closely united with breath, and nothing besides. 32 As the vital breath quits one body to enter into another, so it carries with it the desires of the heart, just as the winds of the air bear the fragrance of flowers. These reproduce in the future body to cause it only misery. 33 As a water pot thrown into the sea does not lose its water, so the vital breath mixing with the ethereal air does not lose the desires of the mind which it bears with it. They are as closely united as sunbeams with the sun. 34 The mind cannot be separated from the vital breath without the aid of the knowledge, just as a titteri bird cannot be removed from one nest without its mate.
35 Knowledge removes desires. Disappearance of desires destroys the mind. This produces the suppression of breath, and from that proceeds the tranquility of the soul. 36Knowledge shows us the unreality of things and the vanity of human desires.
O Rama, hence know that the extinction of desires brings on the destruction of both the mind and vital breath. 37 The mind without its desires, which form its soul and life, can no longer see the body in which it took so much delight. Then the tranquil soul attains its holiest state. 38 Mind is another name for desire. When desire is eradicated, the soul discriminates the truth which leads to knowledge of the supreme. 39 In this manner, O Rama, we came to the end of our false knowledge of the world, just like we use reason to detect the error of seeing a snake instead of a rope. 40 Learn this one lesson: that restraining the mind and suppression of breath mean the one and same thing. If you succeed in restraining one, you succeed in restraining the other. 41 When the waving of the palm-leaf fan is stopped, the movement of air in the room is stopped. In the same way, when breathing vital breath is stopped, thoughts are stopped.
42 When the body is destroyed, the vital breath passes into empty air where it sees everything according to the desires that have blown along with it from the cells of the heart and mind. 43 As living souls find the bodies in which they are embodied and act according to their different natures, so the departed and disembodied spirits see many forms presented before them according to their desires. They enter into those forms and act agreeably to the nature of that being. 44 As the fragrance of flowers ceases to be diffused in the air when the breezes have ceased to blow, so the vital breath ceases to breathe when the action of the mind is at a stop. 45 Hence the course of the thoughts and the respiration of all animals are known to be closely united with one another, just as fragrance is inseparable from the flower, and oil inseparable from oily seeds.
46 Breath is the vacillation of the mind, just as the mind is the fluctuation of the breath. These two go together forever, like the chariot and its driver. 47 Without any one, the two perish together, just as the container and the contained are both lost at the loss of either. Therefore it is better to lose them for the liberation of the soul than to lose the soul for the sake of the body. 48 Keeping only one object or unity in view will stop the course of the mind. The mind being stopped, then as a matter of course, an utter suppression of the breath follows.
49 Investigate well into the truth of the immortality of your soul. Try to assimilate yourself into the eternal spirit of God. Having absorbed your mind in the Divine Mind, be one with it. 50 Distinguish between your knowledge and ignorance. Lay hold of what is more suitable for you. Settle yourself on what remains after both mind and vital breath disappear. Live while you live relying on Consciousness alone. 51 Continue to meditate on the existence of all things in one firm and ever existent entity alone, until by your constant habit of thinking so, you find all outward existence disappear into nonexistence.
52 The minds of the abstinent, their bodies and their vitality, for lack of food and enjoyments, are unconscious to worldly pleasures. There remains only the consciousness of the transcendent One. 53 When the mind is of one even course and habituated to it by constant practice, then there is an end to the thoughts of endless varieties and particulars. They naturally disappear of themselves. 54 There is an end of our ignorance and delusion as we gain wisdom and reason. We gain our best knowledge by learning, but only by practice can we have the object of our knowledge.
55 The mirage of the world will cease to exist after the mind has become calm and quiet in itself, just as the darkness of the sky is dispersed when rain clouds disappear. 56Know that only your mind causes your delusion. Therefore strive to weaken its force and action. But Rama, you must not weaken it so much as to lose the sight of the Supreme Spirit which shines as the soul of the mind.
57 Know that the mature state of your mind is when the mind is settled with the Supreme Soul, even for a moment. It will soon yield the sweets of its ripeness. 58 Whether you attain tranquility through Samkhya or Vedanta yoga, it is the same if you can reduce yourself to the Supreme Soul. By doing so even for a moment, you are to be reborn in this lower world no more.
59 The term “divine essence” means the mind devoid of its ignorance which, like a fried seed, is unable to reproduce the tree of the world and has no interruption in its meditation on God. 60 The mind without ignorance, freed from its desires and settled in its pure essence, in an instant comes to see a full blaze of light filling the sphere of the firmament in which it rests and which absorbs it completely. 61 Then the mind is in its pure essence, unconscious of itself, and settled in the Supreme Soul. It never relapses into the foulness of its nature, just as copper mixed with gold never becomes tarnished again.
• • •
Chapter 70 — A Vetala Ghost Questions a Prince
1 Vasishta resumed:— As soon as the cloud of ignorance is dispersed by the bright sunbeams of right reason, then life becomes no life and the mind turns to no mind immersed in the soul. This state is called liberation by the wise. 2 The mind and its sense of personal “I” and “you” appear as water in a mirage, but all these unrealities vanish when we come to our right reason.
3 Let me tell you about the questions of a vetala ghost which I happen to remember now. They concern our false and dreaming conceptions of the phenomenal world, and they will serve as examples for the subject of our previous lecture.
4 In the vast wilderness of the Vindhya Hills lived a gigantic vetala who happened to come out on an excursion to the adjoining districts in search of his prey of human beings. 5Previously he used to live in the neighborhood of a populous city where he lived quite happily and well satisfied with the victims that were offered to him daily by the good citizens. 6 Although he wandered through the city afflicted by hunger and thirst, he never killed a human being without some cause or harm. He walked in that place in the ways of honest and fair men.
7 It came to pass that he went out of the city to reside in his woody retreat where he never killed any man unless pressed by excessive hunger, and when he thought it was equitable for him to do so. 8 There he happened to meet a ruler of the land, strolling about in his nightly rounds.
The vetala cried out him in a loud and appalling voice. 9 The vetala exclaimed, “Where are you going, O prince? Now you are caught in the clutches of a hideous monster. Now you are a dead man, my ration for this day.”
10 The prince replied, “Beware, O night demon! If you attempt to unjustly kill me for your food, I will break your skull into a thousand pieces.”
11 The vetala replied, “I will not kill you unless you deserve it. You are a ruler. It is your duty to attend to everyone’s petitions. 12 I ask you, O prince, to answer the questions that I propose to you. I believe you are best able to give a full and satisfactory answer to each one of them.”
13 “Who is that glorious sun, the particles of whose rays are seen to glitter in the surrounding worlds? What is that wind which blows these dusts of stars in the infinite space of emptiness? 14 What is that identical thing which passes from one dream to another and assumes different forms by hundreds and thousands, yet does not forsake its original form? 15 Tell me what is that core particle in bodies that is covered under a hundred sheaths, laid over and under one another like the layers of a plantain tree?”
16 “What is that minute atom which is imperceptible to the eye, yet produces this immeasurable universe, with its stupendous worlds and skies, and prodigious planets on high and mountains below, and which are the minutest parts of that minute particle? 17 What is that shapeless and formless atom which remains as the core and foundation under the rocks of huge mountains, and which underlies the triple worlds of heaven, earth and infernal regions?”
18 If you, O sinful soul, fail to answer to these questions, then you will be the killer of yourself, becoming my food this moment. And at the end, I will devour all your people, just as the lord of death destroys everybody in the world.
• • •
Chapter 71 — Prince’s Answers to the Vetala’s First Question
1 Vasishta related:— The prince smiled at hearing these questions from the vetala. As he opened his mouth to reply, the luster of his pearly teeth shed a brightness on the white dome of the sky.
The prince speaking:— 2 This world was at first an undeveloped grain. Afterwards it was covered by a dozen elemental sheaths, like thin skin or bark. 3 The tree that bears thousands of such fruit is very tall with equally long, out stretched branches and similarly very long and broad leaves. 4 This great tree is of a huge size and very astounding to see. It has thousands of huge branches spreading wide on every side. 5 There are thousands of such trees, and a dense forest of many other large trees and plants in that person. 6Thousands of such forests stretch over it, abounding in thousands of mountains with their high peaks. 7 The wide extended lands that contain these mountains also have very large valleys. 8 These widespread lands also contain many countries with their adjacent islands, lakes and rivers. 9 These thousands of islands also contain many cities with varieties of buildings and works of art. 10 These thousands of tracts of land, which are sketched out like so many continents, are like so many earths and worlds in their extent.
11 That which contains thousands of such worlds as the cosmic egg is as unlimited as the spacious womb of the sky. 12 That which contains thousands of such eggs in its chest also bears many thousands of seas and oceans resting calmly in its large heart. 13 That which displays the loud noisy waves of seas is the lively and playful soul, heaving as the clear waters of the ocean. 14 That which contains thousands of such oceans, with all their waters in his unconscious womb, is the god Vishnu who filled the universal ocean with his all pervasive spirit. 15 That which bears thousands of such gods, like a string of pearls about the neck, is the great god Rudra. 16 That which bears thousands of such great gods like hairs on his body is the supreme Lord God of all.
17 He is that great sun that shines in a hundred of such gods, all of whom are only frictions of the rays of that great source of light and life. 18 All things in the universe are only particles of that uncreated Sun.
I have explained to you that it is the Intellectual Sun who fills the world with his rays and shows them light. 19 The all knowing soul is the supreme sun that enlightens the world and fills all things in it with particles of its rays. 20 The omniscient soul, that surpassing sun, produces the rays that show everything to light.
Without that soul, like without sunlight, nothing would grow or be visible in the outer world.
21 All living beings who have their souls enlightened by the light of philosophy see the sphere of the universe is a blaze of the shining sun of Consciousness. In that Consciousness, there is not the slightest stain of the false conceptions of the material world in it. Know this and hold your peace.
• • •
Chapter 72 — The Prince’s Answers to the Vetala’s Remaining Questions
1 The prince replied:— The essences of time, space and force are all of intellectual origin. Pure Consciousness is the source of all, just as air is the receptacle of odors and dust. 2The Supreme Soul is like the universal air that breathes out particles contained in consciousness, just as the ethereal air bears fragrance from flowers. 3 The great Brahman of the conscious soul passes through the dreaming world.
4 The trunk of a plantain tree is made up of thin layers of skin folded and intertwined over one another. Its central core is hidden inside. In the same way, everything in the world presents its exterior appearances to the view, while its substance of Brahman is hidden deep inside. 5 The words “entity,” “soul” and “Brahman” used to describe God do not signify his nature. God, like the empty void, is devoid of all designations and qualities, indescribable by any words. 6 Whatever essence one perceives is the product of another, like the outer layers of the trunk of a plantain tree produced by the inner ones. All such coatings are only developments of Divine Consciousness lying at the bottom.
7 The Supreme Soul is said to be a minute atom because of its subtlety and the imperceptibly of its nature. It is also said to be the base of mountains and all other bodies owing to its unlimited extent.
8 The endless being, though similar to a minute atom, is also large, containing all these worlds as its minutest particles. These worlds are as evident to us as the many aerial scenes appearing in our minds in dreams. 9 This being is similar to an atom owing to its imperceptibleness. But it is also described as being like a mountain because it fills all space. Though it is the foundation of all formal existence, yet it has no form or figure of its own.
10 The three worlds are like the fatty bulb of that concentrated consciousness. Know, you righteous soul, that it is that Consciousness which dwells in and acts in all the worlds.11 All these worlds are filled with the design of Intelligence which is quiet in its nature and exhibits endless kinds of beautiful forms of its own. Know, O young vetala, that irresistible power. Reflect on this and keep quiet.
• • •
Chapter 73 — Conclusion to the Story of the Vetala
1 Vasishta resumed:— After hearing these words from the prince, the vetala remained quiet, reflecting on what the prince had said, his mind capable of reasoning. 2 Being quite calm in his mind, he reflected on the pure doctrines of the prince. Being quite absorbed in his fixed meditation, he immediately forgot his hunger and thirst.
3 I have told you, Rama, about the vetala’s questions and the manner in which these worlds are situated in the atom of consciousness, and nowhere else. 4 The world resides in the cell of atomic Consciousness.
It ceases to exist by itself upon right reasoning, just like the body of a ghost exists only in the imagination of children. In the end, nothing remains except the everlasting one.
5 Curb and contract your thoughts and heart from everything. Enclose your inner soul within itself. Do what you have to do at anytime without desiring or attempting anything of your own will. Thus you will have peace of mind. 6 Employ your mind, O silent sage, to keep itself as clean as the clear sky. Remain in one even and peaceful even course of your soul. View all things in one and the same light.
7 A steady and brave mind, with its promptness in action, is successful in the most difficult undertakings, as was King Bhagiratha with his steady perseverance. 8 It was by his perfectly peaceful and contented mind, and by the lasting joy of the equanimity of his soul, that this king succeeded to bring down the heavenly Ganges on earth, and the kings of Sagar’s line were enabled to perform the difficult task of digging the Bay of Bengal.
• • •
Chapter 74 — King Bhagiratha Tires of the World, Seeks the Counsel of Sage Tritala
1 Rama said, “Please sage, tell me the wonderful story of King Bhagiratha and how he succeeded bringing down the heavenly Ganges River on the earth below.”
2 Vasishta replied:— King Bhagiratha was a person of outstanding virtues. He was distinguished as a crowning mark over all countries of this earth and its seas. 3 All his suitors received their desired boons, even without asking. Their hearts were as happy at the sight of his moon-bright face as if they were gazing upon a precious and brilliant gem. 4 His charities were always profusely lavished upon all good people for their maintenance and support. He carefully collected even things of small worth, prizing them as if they were gems. 5 He was bright in his person, like blazing fire without smoke, and never weak, even when he was tired from attending to his duties. He drove away poverty from the homes of men, just as the rising sun dispels the darkness of night from within their houses. 6 All around him he spread the brightness of his courage like burning fire scattering its sparks. He burned like the blazing midday sun to those who were hostile towards him.
7 Yet he was gentle and soft in the society of wise men, cooling their hearts with his cooling speech. He shone amidst the learned like the moonstone glistens under moonlight.8 He decorated the world with the triple strands of the sacred thread by stretching out the three streams of the Ganges along the three regions of heaven, earth and hell. 9 He filled the ocean, dried up by sage Agastya, with the waters of Ganges, just as a generous man satisfies a greedy beggar with unbounded generosity. 10 This benefactor of mankind took up his ancestors from the infernal region and led them to the heaven of Brahma by way of the sacred Ganges. 11 By his unfailing perseverance, he overcame numerous obstacles and troubles, alternating in his propitiations of the gods Brahma and Shiva and the sage Jahnu, in order to change the course of the heavenly river.
12 Even though he was still in the vigor of his youth, he seemed to feel the decay of age coming quickly upon him. He was constantly thinking about the miseries of human life.13 His mental reflections on the vanities of the world produced a philosophical apathy in him. This cold heartedness in the prime of his youth was like a tender sprout suddenly shooting forth in a barren desert. 14 In his private moments, the king thought about the impropriety of his worldly conduct. He reflected on the daily duties of life in the following silent monologue.
15 “I see days and nights returning in endless succession, one after the other. Repeating the same acts of giving and taking, and tasting the same enjoyments, have all grown tiresome and tasteless to me. 16 I think that the only thing worth seeking and doing is that which, being obtained and done, leaves nothing else to desire or do in this passing life of troubles and cares. 17 It is shameful for a conscious person to be employed in the same round of business every day. Is it not laughable to be doing and undoing the same thing day after day like silly children?”
18 Being troubled with the world and afraid of the consequences of his worldly course, Bhagiratha silently went to the solitary cell of his teacher Tritala. Bhagiratha spoke to him in the following manner. 19 “My Lord, I am completely tired and disgusted with the long course of my worldly career. I find it all to be hollow and empty within and a vast wilderness without. 20 Tell me, lord. How can I get over the miseries of this world? How can I free myself from my fear of death and disease and from the chains of errors and passions to which I am so tightly bound?”
21 Tritala replied, “It is through the continued evenness of one’s disposition, the uninterrupted joyfulness of his soul, knowledge of the knowable true one, and by self sufficiency in everything. 22 By these means a man is released from misery, his worldly bonds are relaxed, his doubts are dispelled, and all his actions tend to his wellbeing in both worlds.”
23 “That which is called the knowable is the pure soul of the nature of consciousness. It is always present in everything in all places and is eternal.”
24 Bhagiratha replied, “O great sage, I know that the pure conscious soul is perfectly calm and tranquil, incapable of decay and devoid of all attributes and qualities. The pure soul is not the embodied spirit, nor the animal soul, nor the indwelling principle that is the material body. 25 Sage, I cannot understand how I can be that consciousness when I am so full of errors. If I am the identical soul, why does it not manifest in me as the pure Divine Soul itself?”
26 Tritala replied, “Only through knowledge can the mind know the truly knowable one in the sphere of one’s own consciousness.
Then the animal soul finds itself to be the all-pervading spirit and is released from future birth and reincarnation. 27 Our lack of attachment to earthly relations, whether our wives, children or other domestic concerns, together with the self-control of our minds, regardless whether confronted with what is advantageous or disadvantageous to us, serve to widen the sphere of our souls and realize their universality.”
28 “What also widens the scope of the soul is the union of our souls with the Supreme Spirit and our continual communion with God, as well as our seclusion from society and remaining in retirement. 29 Our true knowledge is said to be the continued knowledge of spirituality and insight into the sense of the unity and identity of God. Everything else is mere ignorance and false knowledge. 30 The only remedy for our sickness of worldliness is the abatement of our love and hatred. The extinction of our egoistic feelings leads to the knowledge of truth.”
31 Bhagiratha responded, “Tell me, O
reverend sage, how is it possible for anybody to get rid of his egoism? It is deeply rooted in our nature and has grown as big with our bodies as the lofty trees on mountain tops.”
32 Tritala replied, “All egoistic feelings subside of themselves with the abandonment of worldly desires. This is accomplished with very great effort by exercising the virtues of self-denial and self-control, and by the expansion of our souls to universal benevolence. 33 We have been subject to the rule of our small egos for so long that we lack the courage to break down the painful prison house of shame at our poverty, and we fear being exposed to other’s ridicule. 34 Therefore, if you can renounce all your worldly possessions and remain unmoved in your mind, then you may get rid of your ego and attain the state of supreme bliss.”
35 “If you can remain deprived of all honors and titles, freed from the fear of falling into poverty, devoid of every effort to attain, poor and powerless among horrible enemies, living in contemptible beggary among them, without egoistic pride of mind or vanity of the body, in utter destitution of all, then you are greater than the greatest.”
• • •
Chapter 75 — Bhagiratha Renounces All and Lives as a Wandering Beggar
1 Vasishta related:— Having heard these admonitions from his religious teacher, Bhagiratha decided upon what he was about to do and set about the execution of his determination. 2 He passed a few days devising his plan, then commenced his sacred fire sacrifice (agnishtoma) to consecrate his all for the sake of obtaining his sole spiritual object. 3 He gave away his cattle and lands, his horses and jewels, and his money without number to the twice born classes of men and his relatives, without regard to their merit or demerit. 4 Over three days he gave away all what he had until at last he had nothing for himself, except his life and flesh and bones. 5 When his inexhaustible treasures were all exhausted, he gave up his great kingdom to his neighboring enemies as if it were a piece of straw, to the great mortification of his subjects. 6 As enemies overran his kingdom and seized his royal palace and properties, he clothed himself in a loincloth and went away beyond the limits of his kingdom.
7 He wandered far through distant villages and desert lands until at last he settled where he was quite unknown. Nobody knew his person or face or his name and title. 8 He remained there in seclusion for some time, becoming quite composed and blunt to all feelings within and outside himself. He obtained his rest in the serene tranquility of his soul.
9 Then he wandered about different countries and went to distant islands until at last he unknowingly returned to his native land and city, which was in the grasp of his enemies. 10 There, while he was wandering door to door begging for alms led about by the currents of time, he was seen by the citizens and his former ministers. 11 They all recognized their former king Bhagiratha, whom they honored with due homage. They were very sorry to see him in that miserable state. 12 His enemy came out to meet him and implored him to take back the kingdom and property he had abandoned, but he slighted all their offers as worthless straws, except taking a meager meal from their hands.
13 He passed a few days there, then bent his course another way. The people loudly lamented at his sad condition crying, “Ah, what has become of the unfortunate Bhagiratha!” 14 Then the king walked away with the calmness of his soul, his mind content and his face placid. He amused himself wandering and thinking until he chanced to encounter his teacher Tritala. 15 They welcomed one another, then joining together, they both began to wander about the lands of men, passing over hills and deserts in their holy wanderings.
16 Once when the dispassionate pupil and his teacher were sitting together in the cool calmness of their dispositions, their conversations turned on the interesting subject of human life. 17 “What good is there in bearing our frail bodies? What do we lose by our loss of the body? We neither gain or lose any real advantage, whether having or losing the body, yet we should bear with it as it is and discharge the duties that have come down unto us by custom of the country.”
18 They remained quiet with this conclusion and passed their time traveling from one forest to another without feeling any joy other than their inner bliss, and without knowing any sorrow or the intermediate states of joy and grief. 19 They spurned all riches and properties, the possession of horses and cattle, and even the eight kinds of supernatural powers as worthless straws before the contentedness of their minds. 20 This body, which is the result of our past acts, must be borne with fortitude as long as it lasts, whether we wish it or not, with continued conviction while discharging their ascetic duties. 21 Like silent sages, they welcomed with detachment whatever good or evil, or desirable or undesirable happened as their lot as the unavoidable results of their prior deeds. They had their repose in the heavenly joy to which they had assimilated themselves.
• • •
Chapter 76 — Bhagiratha’s Tapas Brings the Ganges River down to the Earth
1 Vasishta continued:— One time as Bhagiratha was passing through a large city, he saw the ruler of that land, who was childless, snatched away by the hand of death, like a fish seized by a shark for its prey. 2 The people were afraid of anarchy and lawlessness without a ruler, so they searched for a proper person with noble qualities and auspicious signs to be made their future king. 3 They encountered the silent and patient king in the act of begging alms, and knowing him to be the former King Bhagiratha himself, they took him escorted by regiments of soldiers and installed him on the throne as their king. 4 Bhagiratha instantly mounted an elephant and was led by a large body of soldiers who assembled about him as thick as drops of rainwater falling and filling a lake. 5 The people shouted “Here is Bhagiratha our lord! May he be victorious forever!” The noise of their shouts reached the farthest mountains and filled their hollow caves.
6 Bhagiratha remained to rule over that kingdom. Then the subjects of his own former kingdom reverently came to him and thus prayed to their king saying, 7 “Great king, the person you appointed to rule over us has recently died, eaten by death like a little fish by a large one. 8 Therefore consent to rule over your kingdom.
Please do not refuse to accept an offer which comes to you unasked.”
9 Vasishta said:— The king being asked in this way accepted their prayer, and thus became the sole ruler of the earth, bounded by the seven seas on all sides. 10 He continued to discharge his royal duties without the least dismay or disquietude. He was quite calm and serene in his mind, quiet in his speech, and devoid of passions and envy or selfishness.
11 Then he thought of the redemption of his ancestors who had excavated the coast of the sea and had been burned alive underground. He thought of redeeming them by washing their bones and dead bodies with the waters of the Ganges River, which he heard had the merit of purity and saving all souls and bodies. 12 Until that time, the heavenly stream of the Ganges did not run over the land. It was Bhagiratha who brought it down in order to wash the remains of his ancestors with its holy waters. It was after that that the stream was known by his name as Bhagiratha.
13 King Bhagiratha resolved to bring down the holy Ganges of heaven to the earth below. 14 The pious king resigned his kingdom to the charge of his ministers and went to a remote forest with the resolve of making his austere tapas for the success of his undertaking. 15 He remained there for many years and under many rains, worshipping the gods Brahma and Shiva and sage Jahnu in turns, until he succeeded in bringing the holy stream onto the earth below. 16 It was then that the crystal waves of the Ganges flowed out of the basin of Brahma, the lord of the world, and rushed onto the moon crest of Hara (Shiva). Falling on earth below, it took a triple course, like the meritorious acts of great men.
17 In this way, the three-pronged Ganges River came to flow over this earth, a channel to bear the glory of Bhagiratha to distant lands. Behold her running fast with her heaving waves, smiling all along with her foaming froths. She sprinkles purity all along with the drizzling drops of her breakers and scatters plenty over the land as the reward of the best deserts of men.
• • •
Chapter 77 — The Story of Chudala and Sikhidhwaja
1 Vasishta related:— Rama, keep your view fixed to one object, like Bhagiratha.
Pursue your calling with a calm and quiet understanding, as was done by that steady minded king in the accomplishment of his purpose! 2 Give up your thoughts of this and that and confine the flying bird of your mind within your bosom. Remain in full possession of yourself following the example of the resolute King Sikhidhwaja of old.
3 Rama asked, “Who was this Sikhidhwaja, sage? How did he maintain the firmness of his purpose? Please explain this to me fully in order to enlighten my understanding.”
4 Vasishta replied:— In a former Age of Bronze (dwapara yuga) there lived a loving pair of consorts who are again to be born in a future period, in the same manner and at the same place.
5 Rama replied, “Tell me, O great preacher! How can the past be the same as now? How can these again be the same in the future?”
6 Vasishta replied:— Such is the irreversible law of destiny and course of nature that the creation of the world must continue in the same manner by the unchanging will of the creator Brahma and others. 7 As those which had been plentiful before come to be at plentiful again, so the past appears at present and also in future. Many other things come to being that had not been before, and many others become extinct in course of time. 8 Some reappear in their former forms and some only resemble them. Others change their forms, and many more disappear altogether. 9 These and many other things are seen in the course of the world. The character who is the subject of this story bears an exact resemblance to the past king of the same name.
10 But let me also tell you that there is yet to be born another king as valiant as the one that had been in the former Dwapara Yuga of the past seventh Manvantara period. 11 It will be after the four yugas of the fourth creation, past and gone, that he will be born again of the Kuru family in the vicinity of the Vindhyan Hills in the continent of Asia.
12 There lived a king named Sikhidhwaja in the country of Malava who was handsome and endowed with firmness and
magnanimity in his nature and had the virtues of patience and self control in his character. 13 He was brave but silent and ever inclined to good acts with all his great virtues. He was engaged in the performance of the religious sacrifices and also defeating competitors on the field of archery. 14 He did many public acts and supported the poor people of the land. He was of a graceful appearance and self-satisfied in his countenance. He loved all men with his great learning in the scriptures. 15 He was handsome, quiet and fortunate, equally brave and virtuous. He was a preacher of morality and bestowed all benefits to his suitors. 16 He enjoyed all luxuries in the company of good people and listened to the lessons of the Sruti scriptures. He knew all knowledge without any boasting on his part, and he hated to touch women.
17 His father departed for the next world, leaving him a lad of sixteen years, yet at that tender age he was able to govern his kingdom and defeated his adversaries on all sides.18 He conquered all other regions of the country using the resources of his empire. He remained free from all fear by ruling his subjects with justice and keeping them in peace. 19He brightened all by his intelligence and the wisdom of his ministers, until with the course of years he came to his youth in the colorful spring of the year.
20 It was spring and he saw blooming flowers glistening brightly under bright moonbeams. He saw budding blossoms hanging down the trees in the inner apartments. 21 The doorways of the covered shelters were overhung with intertwined branches decorated with small flowers scattering their fragrant pollen like white camphor powder. Rows of guluncha flowers blew their scents all around. 22 There was the loud hum of bees buzzing with their mates upon flowery bushes. Gentle warm breezes blew the sweet scent upward amidst the cooling showers of moonbeams. 23 He saw banks decorated with kadali shrubs glistening with their shining blossoms under the dark shade of plantain leaves. All this excited his yearning after a dear one who was seated in his heart. 24 Giddy with the intoxication of the honey draughts of fragrant flowers, his mind was fixed on a beloved. He did not depart from his thoughts, just as spring is unwilling to quit the flowery garden.
25 “When shall I swing in the cradles of my pleasure garden, sport in this lake of lotuses, and play with my love-smitten maid with her budding breasts resembling two buds of golden lotuses? 26 When shall I embrace my beloved to my bosom on my bed daubed with the dust of powdered frankincense? When shall we on cradle among lotus stalks, like a pair of bees sucking honey from flowers? 27 When shall I see that maiden lying relaxed in my arms, her slender body like a tender stalk, fair as a string of milk-white kunda flowers, or a plant formed of moonbeams? 28 When will that moonlike beauty be inflamed with her love for me?”
With these and similar thoughts and ravings, King Sikhidhwaja wandered about the garden looking at the variety of flowers. 29 Then he rambled among flower gardens and outskirts of forests, straying from one forest to another by the sides of swirling lakes blooming with full blown lotuses. 30 He entered gardens formed by twining vines and walked over avenues of many garden grounds and forest lands, seeing and hearing the descriptions of woodland sceneries from his friends. 31 His mind was distracted and he took much delight in hearing discourses on erotic subjects. The only idol in his heart was the bright form of his garlanded and painted beloved. 32 He adored the maiden in his heart, her breasts resembling two golden pots on her bosom, and this purpose was soon discovered by the wise ministers of that state.
33 The business of ministers is to dive into matters by their signs and prognosis, so these officers met together to deliberate on his marriage. 34 They proposed the young daughter of the King of Saurastra for his marriage. She was coming to the full age of puberty, so they regarded her as a proper match for him. 35 The young king was married to a worthy image of himself, the fair Princess Chudala, known all over the land.
36 She was joyful in having him like a lotus bud opening with the rising sun. He made the black-eyed maid bloom like the moon opens the bud of the blue lotus. 37 He delighted her with his love as if making the white lotus bloom. Each inflamed the other’s passions by abiding in the other’s heart. 38 She flourished with her youthful enticements and dalliance, like a new grown vine blooming with flowers, and he was happy and careless in her company, leaving the affairs of state to the management of his ministers. 39 He played in the company of his lady love like a swan paling in a bed of lotuses in a large lake. He indulged his frolics in his swinging cradles and pleasure ponds in the inner apartments. 40 They delighted in the gardens and covered arbors of vines and flowering plants. They amused themselves in the woods walking under sandalwood and gulancha vine shades. 41 They played by rows of mandara trees and beside the lines of plantain and kadali plants. They regaled themselves wandering in the harem and by the sides of the woods and lakes on the outskirts of the town. 42 They wandered far in distant forests and deserts, and in jungles of jam and jambira trees, passing by paths bordered by jasmine plants. In short, they took delight in everything in each other’s company.
43 Their attachment to each another was as delightful to the people as the union of the raining sky with the cultivated ground. Both are productive for the general welfare of mankind. 44 Both were skilled in the arts of love and music. They were so united by their love for each other that one was the counterpart of the other. 45 Being seated in each other’s heart, they were like two bodies with one soul. They shared and taught each other his learning of the scriptures and her skill in painting and fine arts. 46 Since childhood, Chudala had been instructed in every branch of learning, and she taught Sikhidhwaja the arts of dancing and playing musical instruments. 47 They learned and became learned in the respective arts and parts of one another, just as when the sun and moon are in conjunction, they partake of each other’s qualities. 48 Each dwelling in the other’s heart, they became one and the same person sharing the same inclinations and pursuits and becoming more and more endeared to one another. 49 They were joined in one person, like the earthly equivalent of the androgynous body of Uma and Shiva. They were united in one soul, just like the different fragrances of flowers are mixed up in the same air. Their clarity of
understanding and their knowledge of the scriptures led them both in the one and same way.
50 They were born on earth to perform their roles as if they were the god Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi. They were equally frank and sweet in their affections for each other, and as eager to share their learning with others. 51 They followed the course of laws and customs and attended to the people’s affairs. They delighted in the arts and science, and also enjoyed their sweet pleasures. They were like two moons shining brightly. 52 They tasted all the sweet enjoyments of life in the quiet and solitary recesses of their private apartments like a couple of giddy swans playing merrily in the lake of the blue sky.
• • •
Chapter 78 — The Self Realization of Chudala
1 Vasishta continued:— For many years the happy pair enjoyed the pleasures of their youth, tasting with greater zest every new delight that day by day came their way. 2 Years repeated their revolutions over their protracted revelries until by and by their youth began to give way to the decay of age, just as a broken pitcher lets its waters leak out. 3 Then they began to think that their bodies were as frail as the waves on the sea, liable to fall like ripe fruit from trees, and that no one is able to avert death.
4 As arrow-sharp snow tears at lotus leaves, so old age is ready to batter and shatter our frames. The cup of our life is drizzling away day by day, like water held in the palm falls away drop by drop. 5 While our greed is increasing on one hand, like a gourd plant in rainy weather, on the other hand our youth glides away quickly like torrents of waters falling from mountain cliffs. 6 Our life is as false as a magic play. The body is like a heap of rotting things. Our pleasures are few and painful and as fleeting as arrows flying from the archer’s bow. 7 Afflictions pounce upon our hearts like vultures and kites swooping upon fish and flesh. These bodies are as impermanent as the bursting bubbles of raindrops. 8All reasoning and practice are as unsound as the weak stem of a plantain tree, and our youth is as fleeting as the fickle woman in love with many men.
9 The taste of youthful pleasure is soon succeeded by a distaste for it in old age. The freshness of plants in spring gives way to the dryness of autumn. Then where in this world is that permanent pleasure and lasting good which never grows stale and is ever sweet and lovely?
10 Therefore we should seek that which will support us in all conditions of life, and which will be a remedy of all the evils that surround us in this world.
11 Being thus determined, they both engaged in the investigation of spiritual philosophy. They thought that knowledge of the soul would be the only balm for healing the choleric pain of worldliness. 12 Thus resolved, they devoted themselves to their spiritual growth, employing their head and heart, their lives and souls in the inquiry, and placing all their hope and trust in the development of their spirituality.
13 For a long time they studied spiritual knowledge together, meditating upon and worshipping the Soul of souls in their own souls. 14 They both enjoyed their studies of divine knowledge, and she took a particular delight in constantly attending to the instructions and sermons of divine teachers. 15 She would listen to explanations of spiritual liberation from scholars who expounded upon the scriptures, and she continued to reflect on the soul day and night.
Queen Chudala’s reasoning:—
16 Whether I am engaged in action or not, I see nothing but the one soul in my enlightened and clear understanding. What then, am I that very Self, and is it my own self? 17Where does this error of my personality come from? Why does it grow up and where does it exist? It cannot be the gross body which has no knowledge of itself and is ignorant of everything. Surely I am not this body. My egoism lies beyond my physical body.
18 The error arises in the mind and grows from childhood to old age. One thinks that the self is lean or fat as if he were the body. It is usual to say “I act” and “I see” and the like as if one’s personality consists in his action, but the acts of the physical body are as unconscious and impersonal as the dull body itself. 19 The part is not different from the whole, nor can one thing produce something that is different. 20 The mind moves the body just like a bat drives a ball. Therefore the mind also must be dull matter, being a part of the material body, differing from it only in its power of will. 21 The determination of the mind impels the physical organs to their various actions, just like a sling sends a pebble in any direction. No doubt this firmness of resolution is a property of matter. 22 Ego leads the body forward in its action, like a channel carries the waters of a stream in its course. This ego has no essence of its own and therefore is as inert and inactive as a dead body.
23 The living principle (jiva) is a false idea, like the phantom of a ghost. The living soul is the one principle of consciousness and resides in the form of air in the heart. 24 Life or the living principle lives by another inner power, finer and more subtle than itself. By means of this internal witness, the soul, all things are known to us and not by means of this gross animal life. 25 The living soul lives in its form of vitality by the primordial power of consciousness. The vital soul, misunderstood as an intelligent principle, exists by means of this intellectual power. 26 The living soul carries with it power infused in it by consciousness, like wind blowing the fragrance of flowers and a channel carrying water to a great distance.
27 The heart, the seat of consciousness, is nothing essential by itself. It is called the center (chitta) for concentrating of the powers of the intellect (chayana) and also the heart (hrid) for its bearing these powers (harana) to the other parts of the body.
Therefore it is a dull material substance. 28 All these and the living soul also, and anything that appears real or unreal, disappear in the meditation of consciousness. They are lost in meditation like fire immersed in water. 29 Only our intelligence (chaitanya) awakens us to the knowledge of the unreality and emptiness of gross material bodies.
With such reflections as these, Queen Chudala only thought about how to gain a knowledge of the all-enlightening Intellect. 30 Long did she reflect and ponder in this manner, until at last she came to know what she sought and then exclaimed, “O! After so long I have come to know the imperishable one, the only one to be known.”
Queen Chudala’s thoughts:— 31 No one is disappointed in knowing the knowable or what is worth knowing. This is the knowledge of the intellectual soul and our contemplation of it. All other knowledge that the mind may have from understanding and the senses and all other things, are only steps that lead toward that ultimate end. 32 All other knowledge is mere nothing, just like a second moon in the sky. There is only one Consciousness in existence, and this is called the great entity, the sum total of all existence.
33 It is the one pure, stainless and holy, without equal or personality in the form of pure intelligence, the sole existence and joy and everlasting without decay. 34 This intellectual power is ever pure and bright, always on the summit without rise or fall. It is known among mankind under the names of Brahman, Supreme Soul, and other attributes.35 The triple names of the Intellect, Intelligence, and Intelligible do not exactly define his nature because He is the cause of these faculties and the witness of the functions of reasoning.
36 The unthinkable intellect within me is the exact and undecaying copy of Supreme Consciousness. It evolves itself into the different forms of the mind and the senses of perception. 37 The intellect evolves the various forms of things in the world, just as the sea rolls and unrolls the waves in its bosom. 38 This world is truly the appearance of that great Intellect which is like pure crystal stone and is manifest in this form. 39 The same Power is manifest in the form of the world, which has no separate existence except in the mind of the ignorant. It is impossible for any other thing to exist except the self-existing One.
40 Gold appears in the various forms of jewelry. In the same way Consciousness appears as everything in the world in the forms in which it sees itself. 41 As the thought of fluidity in the mind causes us to perceive waves in the water, whether it really exists or not, so thoughts in the Divine Mind show us the picture of the world, whether it is or is not in being. 42 As the Divine Soul appears like waves of the sea because of its thoughts fluidity, so am I the same intellect without any personality of myself.
43 This soul has no birth or death, nor does it have a good or bad future state. It is never destroyed because it is a form of consciousness which is indestructible in its nature. 44It neither burns nor breaks. It is the unclouded light of the intellect. By meditating on the soul in this manner, I am quite at rest and peace.
45 I live free from error and rest as calm as the untroubled ocean. I meditate on the invisible One who is quite clear to me as the unborn, undecaying and infinite soul of all. 46 It is the empty soul, unrestricted by time or place, stainless by any figure or form, eternal and transcending our thought and knowledge. It is the infinite void. All attempts to grasp it are as vain as trying to grasp empty air in the hand. 47 This soul equally pervades over all the sura demigods as well as the asura demon races of the earth. But it is none of those artificial forms which the people make with their images of clay, like children’s dolls. 48 The essences of both viewer and the view reside together in the unity of consciousness. Only through error do men make distinctions between unity and duality, and between ego and non-ego.
49 What error or delusion can remain, and how, when and from where can it overtake me, when I have attained my truly spiritual and immortal form, seated in my easy and quiet state? 50 I am absorbed and extinct in eternity. All my cares are extinct with my own extinction in eternity. My soul is in its entranced state between consciousness and unconsciousness. It feels what is reflected upon it. 51 The soul settled in the great intellect of God, shining with the light of the Supreme Soul just like the sky is illuminated by the light of the day. There is no thought of this or that or even of one’s self or that of any other being or non-being. All is calm and quiet and having no object in view, except the one transcendent spirit.
52 With these reflections, Chudala remained as calm and quiet as a white cloudy spot in the autumn sky. Her soul was awake to the inspiration of divine truth. Her mind was detached from the feelings of love and fear, of pride and pleasure, and quite insusceptible of delusion.
• • •
Chapter 79 — King Sikhidhwaja Notices the Change in Queen Chudala
1 Vasishta continued:— Thus did the queen live day by day in the bliss of her soul, her sight concentrated within herself, living in her own and proper element. 2 She had no passion or affection, nor any discord or desire in her heart. She neither coveted nor hated anything. She was indifferent to all, but persistent and vigilant in her course of spiritual pursuit. 3 She had passed over the wide gulf of the world and freed herself from the entangling snare of doubts. She had gained the great good of knowing the Supreme Soul that filled her inner soul. 4 After her weariness of the world, she found her rest in God, her state of perfect bliss and joy. Her name was sounded on the lips of all men as the model of incomparable perfection.
5 In this way, Queen Chudala became acquainted with the true God in a short time because of the earnestness of her inquiry. 6 In the same manner, the errors of the world subside under the knowledge of truth, just as they arise in the human mind by its addiction to worldliness. 7 She found her repose in that state of perfect blessedness in which the sight of all things is lost in its dazzling blaze. She appeared as bright as a fragment of an autumn cloud that stays steady in its place. 8 Apart from and not related with anything, she continued meditating on the Spirit in her own spirit, just as an aged bull remains careless on a mountain top where he happens to find a green meadow for his pasture. 9 By her constant habit of loneliness and the elevation of her soul in her solitude, she became as fresh as a new grown plant, her blooming face shining like a new blown flower.
10 One time it happened to pass that King Sikhidhwaja noticed her pure beauty. Being struck with wonder at seeing her unusual gracefulness, he addressed her.
King Sikhidhwaja talking to Queen Chudala:—
11 How is it, my dear, that you are again your youthful bloom like a flowery plant of spring? You appear more brilliant than the world illuminated under the bright beams of the full moon. 12 You shine more brightly, my beloved, than one drinking the ambrosia of life, or one obtaining the object of her desire, filled with perfect delight in herself. 13 You seem quite satisfied and lovely with your graceful appearance. The beauty of your body surpasses that of the bright moon. When you approach me it is like Rati, the goddess of love, approaching her favorite Kama.
14 I see your mind rejecting all enjoyments and it is stingy of its pleasures. It is tranquil and cool, elated with spiritual intensity, and deep as it is tranquil in its nature. 15 I see your mind spurning the three worlds as if they were bits of straw and as if you have tasted all their sweets to its full satisfaction. You are above the endless conflicts and confusions of the world, and quite charming. 16 O
fortunate queen, there is no enjoyment of earthly possessions that may equal the spiritual joy of your tranquil mind. The one is as dry as a sandy desert compared with the refreshing waters of the Milky Ocean.
17 Being born with tender limbs resembling the tendrils of young plantains and the soft shoots of lotus stalks, now you seem to have grown strong and stout in your body and mind. 18 Although your features and body are the same as before, you have become like another person, like a plant growing up to a tree under the influence of the revolving seasons.
19 Tell me, have you drunk the ambrosial nectar of the gods? Have you become the sovereign over an empire? Have you gained immorality by drinking the elixir of life or by the practice of hatha or raja yoga? 20 Have you gotten a kingdom or discovered the philosopher’s stone? Have you gained anything that is more precious than the three worlds? Or, O my blue eyed lady, have you obtained something that is not attainable to mankind?
21 Chudala responded:— I have not lost my former form nor have I changed to a new one. I am ever your fortunate lady and wife. 22 I have forsaken all that is untrue and unreal and I have laid hold of what is true and real. In this way I remain your fortunate consort as ever before. 23 I have come to know that which is something, and also everything that is nothing at all. I know how all these nothings come to appear and ultimately disappear into nothing. In this way I remain your fortunate lady as ever.
24 I am as content with my enjoyments as I am without them, whether long past and gone away. I am never delighted or irritated at anything whether good or bad, but preserve my composure in all circumstances. Thus I remain your fortunate consort forever. 25 I delight only in the one empty entity that has taken possession of my heart. I take no pleasure in royal gardens and sports. I remain your fortunate princess as ever. 26 I rely constantly upon myself only, whether sitting on my seat or walking about in the royal gardens or palaces. I am not fond of enjoyments nor ashamed at their absence, and in this manner I continue as your fortunate wife as always.
27 I think myself to be the sovereign of the world, having no form of my own. Thus I am delighted in myself and appear as your fortunate and beautiful lady. 28 I am equally this and not this. I am the reality yet nothing real of any kind. I am the ego and no ego myself. I am the all and nothing in particular, and thus I remain your charming lady. 29 I neither wish for pleasure nor fear any pain.
I desire no riches and do not praise poverty. I am composed with what I get and therefore I seem so very happy to you. 30 I play in the company of my friends who have governed their passions by the light of knowledge and the guidance of scriptures. That is why I seem so very pleasing to you.
31 I know, my lord, that everything that I see with my eyes, or perceive by my senses, or conceive in my mind is in realty nothing. Therefore I see something within myself that is beyond the perception of the sense organs and beyond anything the mind can conceive. This bright vision of the spirit has made me appear so very bright to your sight.
• • •
Chapter 80 — Sikhidhwaja Laughs at Chudala; Astral Flight; Kundalini to Attain Ends; — the Five-Fold Pattern of Elements
1 Vasishta related:— Her husband heard the beautiful lady’s words but he did not have the intelligence to dive into the meaning of what she said or to understand what she meant by her reliance upon the soul. Instead, Sikhidhwaja told her jokingly, 2 “How hard it is to understand is your speech. How unbecoming it is at your age to speak like a girl about great things, indulging your royal pleasures and sports as you do in your royal state.”
3 “Leaving all things you live in the meditation of the formless. If you have all that is real to sense, then how is it possible for you to be so graceful with an unreal nothing? 4Whoever abandons the enjoyments of life by saying he can do without them can never retain gracefulness. He is like an angry man who refrains from eating and resting, then weakens himself in his hunger and restlessness. 5 He who abstains from pleasures and enjoyments and subsists upon empty air is like a ghost without material form living a bodiless shadow in the sky. 6 He who abandons his food and clothing, his bedstead and sleep, and all other things, resting devoutly in only the one Soul, cannot possibly preserve his calmness.”
7 “That I am not the body or bodiless, that I am nothing yet everything, are words so contradictory that they have no sane meaning.
8 That I do not see what I see, but see something that is quite unseen, is so very inconsistent that it suggests no sanity of the mind. 9 From these I find that you are still an ignorant and unsteady young lady, my frolicsome playmate as before. I speak this way to you by way of jest in the same way as you have jokingly spoken to me.”
10 The king finished his speech with a good laugh. Realizing it was noon and time for his bath, he rose up and left his lady’s apartment. 11 The queen regretted the situation thinking, “O drat! The king has quite misunderstood my meaning. He did not understand what I meant to say about my rest in the spirit.” Then she returned to her usual daily duties. 12 After that, the happy queen continued her silent meditation in seclusion, but passed her time in the company of the king in the enjoyments of their royal sports and amusements.
13 One day it came to pass that the self-satisfied queen pondered about how to fly in the air. Although she had no desire in her heart, she wished to soar into the sky on an aerial journey. 14 She retired to a secluded spot where she continued to contemplate her aerial journey, abstaining from food and shunning the company of her companions. 15She sat alone, keeping her body steady on her seat and restraining her upward moving breath between her eyebrows (khechari Mudra).
16 Rama asked, “All movement of bodies in this world is through the action of bodies and the impulse of their breathing.
Then how is it possible to rise upwards by restraining body and breath? 17 Tell me, sage, how can one fly through the air by breath control and force of will? 18 How can an adept in spirituality or yoga philosophy accomplish this?”
19 Vasishta replied:— Rama, there are three types of attainable goals: effort to obtain the desired object, disdain for the thing sought, and indifference to the object of desire.20 The first, attainment of the desirable, is secured by employing the means for its success. The second, detestation, hates and slights the thing altogether. The third, detachment, is the intermediate way between the two. 21 All good people seek whatever is pleasant, and everyone avoids whatever is contrary to good. No one seeks or shuns the way in between.
22 As soon as the intelligent, learned devotee comes to the knowledge of his soul and becomes spiritualized in himself, then all these three states vanish from his sight. He feels that they are all the same to him. 23 As he comes to see these worlds full with the presence of God, and his intellect takes its delight in this thought, he remains in the intermediate state of detachment, or he loses sight of even that.
24 All wise men remain in the course of neutrality. The ignorant are eagerly and vainly pursuing their objects, but the dispassionate recluse shuns everything.
Now listen as I tell you how to attain something. 25 All success is obtained in the proper time and place and through action and its instruments. This makes a person’s heart as happy as when spring renovates the earth.
26 Among these four (time, place, action and instruments), preference is given to action because it is of highest importance to bring about a result. 27 There are many instruments for flight, such as the use of the gutika Ayurveda pills, application of black powder (collyrium), the wielding of sword and the like. But all of these are attended with many evils that are prejudicial to holiness. 28 There are some gems and drugs, and also some mantras, charms and formulas prescribed for this purpose. But when these are fully understood, they will be found harmful to the practice of yoga. 29 Mount Meru, the Himalayas, and some other holy places are mentioned as seats of divine inspiration, but a full description of them will tend to violate the aim of yoga meditation. 30 Therefore, listen to me tell you something regarding the practice of restraining the breath, which can be used to obtain powers and is related with the story of Sikhidhwaja, the general subject of the present discourse.
31 One should practice the yoga described in the scriptures by driving away all desires from the heart except the one object, and by contracting all the body openings and keeping the posture, head and neck erect. 32 Moreover, one should have the habit of taking pure food and sitting on clean seats. One should ponder the deep meaning of the scriptures, maintaining the virtues of good manners and right conduct in society and refraining from worldliness and all earthly connections. 33 By refraining from anger and greed, and abstaining from improper food and enjoyments, then over the course of a long time, one must become practiced restricting the breath. 34 The wise man who knows the truth and has control over his triple breathing of inspiration, expiration, and retention (puraka, rechaka, and kumbhaka) has all his actions under his control, just like a master has all his servants under his complete control.
35 Rama, know that anyone who has control of his vital breath is a sovereign on earth and has secured his future liberation.
36 Breath of vital energy circulates through the inner lung of the chest which encircles the intestines. Breath supplies all the arteries with life, and it is connected to all of the intestines as if they shared a common channel.
37 There is a curved artery (nadi, subtle channels in the astral body through which the vital energy or life force flows) that looks like the curved shape at the end of a lute’s neck, or the whirling currents of waters in the sea, or the curved half of the letter Om. It is situated in a small circle at the base of the spine (called the kula kundalini nadi). 38 This kundalini is deep seated at the base of the bodies of gods and demigods, men and beasts, fish and fowl, insects and worms, and all aquatic mollusks and animals at large. 39 It continues curved and curbed in the form of a coiled snake in winter until it unfolds its twisted form under the summer heat (intestinal heat), and lifts its hood like the disc of the moon (at the crown of the head). 40 The wind of the breath extends it from the lower base to pass through the heart cavity, touch the space between the eyebrows, and remain in continuous vibration. 41 A mighty power, like the central core within the soft trunk of the plantain tree, is continually vibrating, like the strings of a sitar, within the kundalini nadi. 42 This nadi is called kundalini because of its curved shape. Its power is the prime mobile force that sets the physical body into motion. 43 It is constantly breathing like the hissing of an infuriated snake. With its open mouths, it continually blows upwards to give force to all the organs.
44 The vital energy enters the heart drawn in by the curved kundalini. The kundalini is the seed for the consciousness of the mind and all its faculties. 45 As the kundalini thrills in the body, like a bee fluttering over a flower, so does our consciousness throb in the mind and has the perception of nice and delicate sensations. 46 The kundalini nadi stirs quickly to grasp its gross objects, just as our consciousness is roused at the perception of an object of the physical senses. These come in contact with one another like an instrument laying hold of some material. 47 All the nadis in the body are connected with this grand nadi and flow together like so many cellular vessels into the heart cavity where they rise and fall like rivers in the sea. 48 The continued rise and fall of this main nadi is the common source of all the sensations and perceptions of consciousness.
49 Rama regained, “Sage, how is it that our consciousness, which comes from the infinite intellect at all times and places, is confined like a minute particle of matter within the cellular vessel of the curved kundalini nadi where it rises and falls by turns.”
50 Vasishta replied:— It is true, O sinless Rama, that consciousness is the property of the infinite intellect, always present in all places and things with the all pervading intellect. Yet sometimes it is compressed in the form of a minute atom of matter in material and finite bodies. 51 The consciousness of the infinite intellect is, of course, as infinite as infinity itself. But being confined in physical bodies, it is like fluid diffused over a small space. The sunshine that lights up the universe appears to be flush against a wall or other confined place.
52 In some bodies, consciousness is completely lost, such as in mineral substances that are unconscious of their own existence. In others it is fully developed, as in gods and humans. In some consciousness is imperfectly developed, as in plants, and in others it appears in a perverted form, as in the inferior animals. So everything is found to have its consciousness in some form or other.
53 Moreover, listen as I explain how consciousness appears in various forms and degrees in the different bodies of animated beings. 54 As all cavities and empty spaces are grouped under the category of air, so all intelligent and unintelligent living beings are grouped under the general category of the one ever existent intellect which pervades all things like a vacuum. 55 The same un-decaying and unchanging intellect is situated in some places as pure consciousness, and in others in the subtle form of the five-fold elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth).
56 This five-fold element of consciousness is the template for many other five-folds, just as a great many lamps are lit from one lamp. There are the five vital airs, the mind and its five-fold faculties of the understanding, the five internal and the five external senses and their five-fold organs, together with the five elemental bodies. They all have ingrained in them the principles of growth, rise and decay, and the states of waking, dreaming and sleeping.
57 All these five-folds abide in the different bodies of the gods and mortals according to their respective natures and inclinations. 58 Some take the forms of places, and others of the things situated in them. Some take the forms of minerals, and others of the animals living on earth. 59 This world is produced through the action of the five-folds, the principle of intellectual consciousness presiding over the whole and every part of it. 60 The union of these five-folds in gross bodies gives them their intelligence. Therefore we see the mobility of some dull material bodies and the immobility of others. 61 As the waves of the sea are seen to roll in one place and to be still in another, so this intellectual power is in full force in some bodies and quite inactive in others. 62 As the sea is calm and still in one place and quite boisterous in another, so the five-fold body is either in motion or at rest in different places.
63 The five-fold body is mobile by means of the vital airs, and the vital life (jiva) is intelligent because of its intelligence. Rocks are devoid of both, but trees have the faculty of sense because they are moved by the breath of winds. Such are the varying natures of the triple creation of animals, minerals and plants. 64 Different words are used to denote the different natures of things. Fire is the general name for heat and frost is that of coldness in general. 65 Differences in the mind’s desires, which mature in time, dispose the five-fold elements to the forms of the mind’s liking.
66 The many different desires of the mind, running in their diverse directions, are capable of being collected by the wise and employed for their best advantage and well being.67 Men’s desires, whether for good or evil, can be roused or suppressed by turns and employed to their purposes. 68 Man must direct his desires in a way that promises him the objects of his desires. Otherwise, it will be as fruitless as throwing dust at the face of the sky.
69 The great mountains are only heaps of the five-fold elements hanging on the tender and slender blade of consciousness. These moving and unmoving bodies appear like worms on the tree of knowledge. 70 There are some beings with their desires lying dormant in them, such as the unmoving plants and minerals on this earth. Others have their desires ever active, such as gods, demigods and men. 71 Some are filled with their desires, such as worms and insects living in soil. Others are without desire and the heirs of salvation, such as liberated yogis.
72 Every man is aware that he has a mind and understanding. These and his hands, feet and other body parts are all made up of various combinations of the five-fold elements.73 Inferior animals have other senses and other types of body parts. In the same way, inert objects also have some kind of sense with other sorts of organs.
74 Thus my good Rama, these five-fold elements display themselves in different forms in the beginning, middle and end of all conscious and unconscious and moving and unmoving beings. 75 The slightest desire of any of these, be it as minute as an atom, becomes the seed of aerial trees producing the fruit of future births in the forms of the desired objects. 76 The organs of sense are the flowers of this tree, the body and the sensations of their objects are like the fragrance of the flowers. Our wishes are like the bees fluttering about the pistils and filaments of our unsteady efforts. 77 The clear heavens are the hairy tufts resting on the stalks of the lofty mountains. Its leaves are the blue clouds of the sky. The ten sides of the sky are like vines spreading all about it.
78 All beings now in being, and those coming into existence in future, are innumerable like the fruit of this tree, growing and blooming and falling off by turns. 79 The five seeds of these trees grow and perish of their own nature and spontaneity in their proper time. 80 They become many from their sameness, and come to exhaust their powers after long inertness, then subside to rest of their own accord like the heaving waves of the ocean. 81 On one side they are swelling like huge surges, and on the other they are sinking low into the deep, excited by the heat of dullness on the one hand and hushed by the coolness of reason on the other.
82 These multitudes of bodies, the playthings of the five-fold elements, are destined to remain and rove forever in this world unless they come under the control of reason and are freed from further reincarnation.
• • •
Chapter 81 — Kundalini, Balance of Vital Breath, Physical & Mental Disorders, Simultaneous & Disjunct Causation; The Sun (Knowledge) and Moon (Ignorance) within
1 Vasishta continued:—
The seeds of the five elements are contained inside the great kundalini nadi, expanding every moment from the vibration of vital breath in all beings. 2 The vibration of the kundalini rouses the intellect by its touch, and the rising of the intellect is attended with rising of the intellectual powers as follows.
3 From its vitality, this intellect is the living principle, and from its mental powers, it is the mind. From its volition, this intellect is the principle of will, and from its understanding of all things, it is called understanding. 4 It becomes egoism with its eight-fold properties called the eight subtle bodies (puryashtaka), and it remains the principle of vitality in the body in the form of the kundalini nadi.
5 The intellect abides in the kundalini in the form of triple winds. Being deposited in the bowels and constantly flowing downwards, it takes the name of the apana wind; moving about the abdomen it is called the samana wind; and when seated in the chest it rises upwards, it is known by the name of the udana wind. 6 The apana wind passing downward evacuates the bowels. The samana wind of the abdominal part serves to sustain the body. The udana rising upward and being let out, inflates and invigorates the body. (On account of these forces, there is balance in the system.)
7 If the force of the downward wind is excessive and after all your efforts, you are unable to balance that forcible and irrepressible exit of the apana wind, then the person is sure to meet his death. 8 When one with all his efforts is unable to balance his rising breath of life and it is forced out his mouth or nostrils (the force of the upward force is excessive), death surely follows. 9 If by continual attention one is able to balance the outward and inward flow of his vital breath and preserve calm quiet of his disposition, he is sure to have longevity accompanied with freedom from all diseases.
10 Know that the inaction of the smaller arteries is attended with diseases of the body, but the dysfunction of the greater arteries is followed by serious diseases.
11 Rama said, “Tell me, O holy sage! How are health and sickness connected with the organs and arteries of the body?”
12 Vasishta replied:—
Rama, know that both uneasiness and sickness cause pain to the body. Their remedy is healing by medicine, which is attended with our pleasure, but killing them outright by our liberation is what contributes to our true joy. 13 Sometimes the body is subject to both uneasiness and sickness, as one cause the other. Sometimes they are both alleviated to give us pleasure, and at other times they come upon us by turns only to cause our pain. 14 Sickness (vyadhis, illnesses) is the ailing of the body and what we call uneasiness (adhi, psychic disorder) is the trouble of the mind. Both arise because of our excessive desires and our ignorance of the nature of things.
15 Without knowledge of the natures and virtues of things and without control over our desires, the heart string loses its thinness and even course. It becomes swollen and hurried by the impulse of passions and inordinate desires. 16 Both the excitement of obtaining something and the desire for more boil the blood of the heart, shrouding the mind under a shadow of infatuation like an impenetrable cloud in rainy weather.
17 The ever increasing greed of the mind and the subjugation of the intellect to foolishness drive men to distant countries in search of a livelihood, 18 working at improper seasons, doing improper actions, the company of infamous men, and create an aptitude for wicked habits and practices. 19 The weakness and fullness of the intestines, caused by too little food on the one hand and too much on the other, cause the derangement of the humors and the disorder of the temperament.
20 When there is an excess or deficit of humors in the body, a great many diseases grow in it, just as a river becomes foul both when its level is low in the summer heat or swollen in the rains. 21 As the good or bad inclinations of men result from their prior actions in this and previous births, so the anxieties and diseases of the present state are the effects of the good and bad deeds both of this life as also those of the past.
22 I have told you, Rama, about how diseases and anxieties arise in most bodies of men. Now hear me tell you how to eradicate them from human temperament.
23 There are two sorts of diseases common to human nature, namely ordinary ones and the essential. Ordinary ones are the occurrences of daily life and the essential is what is inborn in our nature. 24 Ordinary anxieties are removed by balancing that which is lacking. Ordinary mental anxieties are removed by the removing the cares that make us anxious.25 But the essential infirmities of one’s disposition, being bred in the blood and bone, cannot be removed from the body without the knowledge of the soul, just as the error of the snake in the rope is removed only by examining the rope.
26 False affections of the mind are the source of all our mental anxieties and physical illnesses. If we dam this main spring, the stream breaks its banks in the rains and carries away the trees that grew by it.
27 Ordinary diseases derived from without can be removed by drugs, the spell of mantras, propitiating and preventative charms, and various treatments according to the prescriptions of medical science and the practice of medical men. 28 Rama, you know the efficacy of baths and bathing in holy rivers. You are acquainted with the expiatory mantras and prescriptions of experienced practitioners. As you have learnt the medical scriptures, I have nothing further to direct you in this matter.
29 Rama replied, “But tell me sage, how do intrinsic causes produce external diseases? How are they removed by remedies other than medicinal drugs, such as the muttering of mantra incantations and observance of pious acts and ceremonies?”
30 Vasishta replied:—
A man overtaken by anger, losing sight of whatever is present before his eyes, has his mind disturbed by anxieties and his body disordered in its functions. 31 He loses sight of the broad way before him and takes a devious course of own, like a stag pierced with arrows flying from the beaten path and running into a thicket. 32 The spirit being troubled, the vital airs are disturbed and breathe out in fits and short periods, just as the waters of a river, disturbed by a herd of elephants, rise above its channel and flow over their banks.
33 When the vital airs breathe irregularly, the lungs, nerves and all the veins and arteries of the body become deranged, just as misrule in government puts the laws of the kingdom into disorder. 34 Irregular breathing unsettles the whole body by making blood vessels empty and dry in some parts, and full and stout in others, resembling the empty and full flowing channels of rivers.
35 The lack of free breathing results in indigestion, the poor digestion of food, and loss of lymph and blood that food produces. These defects in digestion bring a great many sicknesses to the system. 36 Vital breaths carry the essence of the food we eat to the interior organs, just as the currents of a river carry floating wood down its stream. 37 The crude matter that remains in the intestines, for lack of assimilation into the blood and circulation in the body because of improper breathing, in the end becomes the sources of many sicknesses.
38 This is the way that troubled states of mind and spirit produce diseases of the body. They are avoided and removed by lack of mental anxiety. Now hear me tell you how mantra-exorcism serves to drive away the diseases of the body.
39 As haritaki fruit by its nature is a purgative purging impurities from the body, so mental effort into the mysterious meaning of mantras removes crude diseases from the body. 40 Rama, I have told you that pious acts, holy service, virtuous deeds and religious observances serve to drive diseases from the body by purifying the mind of its impurities, just as the gold is purified by the touch stone. 41 Purity of the mind produces a delight in the body, just as the rising of the full moon spreads gentle moonbeams over the earth. 42Vital airs breathe freely from the purity of the mind, and these tend to help the digestive process in the stomach, producing nutrition for the body and destroying the germ of its diseases.
43 I have told you, Rama, about the causes and cures of diseases and distempers in the living body in connection with the subject of the main nadi that is the kundalini. Now hear me tell you about the main point of one’s attainment of perfection (siddhi, mastery) through the practice of yoga.
44 The life of the eight-fold human body is confined in the kundalini nadi, just as the fragrance of a flower is contained in its inner filament. 45 When one fills the channel of this great nadi with his inhaling breath, then shuts it at its mouth and becomes as calm as a stone, he is then said to have attained his rock-like fixity and firmness, and his mastery (siddhi) of inflation (garima). 46 When the body is inflated with air this way, then the wind that is confined in the kundalini nadi is carried upwards by the vital breath (of respiration), from its base at the bottom to the crown of the head where it touches the consciousness seated in the brain and drives away the fatigue of the process. 47 From there the wind rises upward like smoke in the air, carrying with it the powers of all the nadis attached to it like vines clinging to a tree. Then it stands as erect as a stick, its head lifted upwards like the hood of a snake. 48 Then this uprising force carries the whole body, filled with wind from top to toe, into the upper sky, just as an aerosol floats upon the water or an air balloon rises in the air. 49 In this way yogis make their aerial excursions, by compressing air in the wind pipes of their bodies. They are as happy as poor people when they feel they have the dignity of the king of gods.
50 When the force of the exhaling breath (rechaka) compels the kundalini force to stand twelve inches above, outside of the head-gate (Brahma Nadi) between eye-brows, 51and as it is held there even for a moment by preventing its entry into any other passage, then at that instant, one comes to see the supernatural beings before his sight.
52 Rama said, “Tell me sage. How can we see the supernatural spiritual masters without seeing them with the light of our eyesight and without having any supernatural organ of our own with which to see?”
53 Vasishta replied:—
It is true, Rama, as you say, that the aerial bodies of the spiritual masters are invisible to earthly mortals with their imperfect physical organs and without the aid of supernatural organs. 54 The aerial and beneficent spiritual masters become visible to us, like appearances in our dreams, through clairvoyance obtained by the practice of yoga. 55 Seeing spiritual masters is like seeing people in our dream, with only this difference. Seeing a spiritual master is accompanied by many real benefits and blessings bestowed on the beholder. 56 By the practice of holding the exhaled breath twelve inches outside the mouth one may enter into the body of another person.
57 Rama said, “But tell me sage. How you maintain the immutability of nature? I know you will not be displeased at this interruption to your discourse because good teachers are kindly disposed to solve even the intricate doubts of their hearers.”
58 Vasishta replied:—
It is certain that the power known as nature is manifest in the will of the spirit in its acts of the creation and preservation of the world. 59 Nature is nothing in reality other than the states and powers of things. These are sometimes seen to differ from one another, just as autumn fruits are found growing in spring in Assam.
60 All this universe is one Brahman. The immensity of God and all its variety is the unity of God. When we talk of different existences and appearances, these are only verbal distinctions for ordinary purposes proceeding from our ignorance of the true nature of Brahman. We do not know why these words attempting to describe divine nature, which are irrelevant to the main subject, are introduced in this place.
61 Rama asked, “Tell me sage. How do bodies become thinned or thickened in order to enter into very narrow passages or occupy large spaces?”
62 Vasishta replied:—
As wood and a saw rubbed together causes the wood to split, and as the friction of two things produces a fire between them, so friction between the inhaling and exhaling breath divide the two prana and apana air currents, producing digestive fire in the stomach.
63 There is a muscle in the abdominal part of what is the ugly machine of the internal body. It extends like a pair of bellows above and below the navel, their mouths joined together and shaking to and fro like a willow moved by water and air. 64 Under this bladder the kundalini nadi rests in its quiet state, tied like a string of pearls in a casket. 65 Here the kundalini string turns and twirls around like a string of beads counted about the fingers. It is coiled and has a head like the hood of a snake, and it makes a hissing sound like a snake that has been stricken by a stick.
66 The kundalini thrills in the string of the lotus-like heart, just as a bee flutters over the honey of a lotus flower. It kindles our knowledge in the body like the bright sun over the earth and sky. 67 It is then that the action of the heart moves all the blood vessels in the body to their various different functions, just as a breeze shakes the leaves of trees.
68 As powerful winds rage in the sky and break down the weaker branches and leaves of trees, so the vital airs coil in the body and crush the soft food that has been taken in the stomach. 69 As the winds of air batter lotus leaves, at last dissolving them into its native elements, so the internal winds break down food like the leaves of trees and convert the food ingested in the stomach into chyle (lymph and fat fluids), blood, flesh, skin, fat, marrow and bones one after another. 70 The internal airs clash against one another to produce gastric fire, just as bamboo in the woods produces living fire by their friction. 71 The body is naturally cold and cold-blooded. It becomes heated in all its parts by this internal heat, just as every part of the world is warmed by the sun.
72 Ascetic yogis meditate upon this internal fire, pervading and fluttering throughout the body like golden bees or twinkling stars over the lotus-form heart. 73 Reflections of these lights are attended with the full blaze of intellectual light. A yogi meditating upon these lights sees objects in his heart which are millions of miles away from him. 74 This digestive fire, continually fed by the fuel of food, continues to burn in the lake of the lotus-like muscle of the heart, just like an undersea fire burns in the waters of the seas.
75 But the clear and cold light which is the soul of the body bears the name of the serene moon, somagni or the residence of the moon and fire. It is the product of the other fire of the body. 76 All hotter lights in the world are known by the names of suns or solar fire, and all colder lights are designated as moons or lunar fire. These two lights cherish the world. 77 Know that the world is a manifestation of the combination of intelligence and ignorance, and also a mixture of reality and unreality by the one who has manifest this form. 78 The learned use the terms knowledge, sun and fire to refer to the light of intelligence, and the names dullness, darkness, ignorance and the coldness of the moon to describe the unrealities of ignorance.
79 Rama said, “I well understand that the product of the air of breath and the like, and that the air proceeds from the moon. But tell me sage, from where does the moon come into existence?”
80 Vasishta replied:—
Fire and moon (in the body) are mutual causes and effects of each another, just as they produce and destroy each other by turns. 81 Their production alternates like the seed and its sprout. Their repetition is like the return of day and night. They last a while and are lost instantly, like the succession of light and shade. 82 When these opposites appear at the same time, you see them standing side by side like light and shade in daytime. When they occur at different times, you see only one without any trace of the other, just like daylight and nocturnal darkness follow each other.
83 I have told you about two kinds of causality, namely, one in which the cause is coexistent with its effect and the other in which the effect appears after its cause disappears.84 Synchronous causation is simultaneous with its effect, like the seed is coexistent with its germ and the tree is coexistent with the seed it produces. 85 The other, called the earlier cause, disappears before the appearance of its effect, such as the disappearance of the day causes its subsequent night, and the passing of night causes the following day. 86 The former kind of united cause and effect is exemplified in the example of the doer and the earthen pot, both of which are in existence. This being evident to sight requires no example to elucidate it. 87 The succession of day and night is sufficient proof of antecedent causality, the kind of disunited cause and effect in which the effect is unassociated with its cause.
88 Rationalists who deny the causality of an earlier cause are to be disregarded as fools for ignoring their own experience, and must be spurned with contempt. 89 Know Rama, that an unknown and absent cause is as evident as any present and tangible cause that is perceptible to the senses. Who can deny the fact that the absence of fire produces cold? It is quite evident to every living body.
90 Rama, see how fire ascends upward in the air in form of fumes which take the shape of clouds in the blue sky, which, being transformed afterwards into fire, becomes the immediate cause of the moon. 91 Again the fire, being extinguished by cold, sends its watery particles upwards. This moisture, as the absent or remote cause, produces the moon.92 Similarly, the undersea fire, falling and feeding on the foulness of the seven oceans, swallows their briny waters, disgorging their gases and fumes in the open air. These flying to the upper sky in the form of clouds, drop down their purified waters in the form of sweet milky fluids in the Milky Ocean.
93 The hot sun devours the frigid ball of the moon during the dark fortnight, then ejects her in the bright half of every month, just as the stork throws off the tender stalk of the lotus which it has taken. 94 Winds that suck up the heat and moisture of the earth in the spring and hot weather, drop them down as rainwater in the rainy season, which serves to renew the body of exhausted nature. 95 The earthly water, carried up by sunbeams which are called his hands, are converted into the solar rays which are the immediate cause of fire. 96 Here the water becomes fire by deprivation of its fluidity and frigidity, which deprivation is the remote cause of the formation of fire and its qualities of dryness and warmth.97 Fire being absent, there remains the presence of the moon. The absence of the moon presents the presence of fire. 98 Again, the fire being destroyed, the moon takes its place in the same way as the departure of the day introduces the night.
99 Now in the interval between day and night, between daylight and darkness, and in the middle of shade and light, there is a middle point and a certain truth which eludes even the learned. 100 That point is neither nothingness nor an empty emptiness. Nor is it a positive entity. It is the real pivot and connecting link between both sides. It never changes its central place between both extremes of this and that or the two states of being and not being. 101 All things exist in the universe because of the two opposite principles of the intelligent soul and inert matter, just like the two opposites of light and darkness bring on day and night in regular succession.
102 The world began with the union of mind and matter, or the mover and the moved, just like the body of the moon was formed by a mixture of water and nectar particles in the air. 103 Rama, know that sunbeams are made of fiery particles, sunlight is the brightness of the intellect, and the body of the moon is only a mass of dull darkness. 104 The sight of the outer sun in the sky destroys the spreading darkness of night, but the appearance of intellectual light dispels the spreading gloom of the world from the mind.
105 If you see your intellect in the form of the cooling moon, it becomes as dull and cold as that satellite itself. If you look at a lotus at night, you will not find it blooming as it does in the sunshine. 106 Fire in the form of sunlight brightens the moon in the same way as the light of the intellect illuminates the inner body. Our consciousness is like the moonlight of the inner soul. Our consciousness is the product of the sunbeams of our intellect.
107 Consciousness has no action. It is without attribute or name. It is like light on the lamp of the soul and it is known like any common light from the lantern. 108 The eagerness of this consciousness after the knowledge of phenomena makes it aware of the world of the senses. Its thirst after the unintelligible one brings the precious gain of its oneness (kaivalya) with the self same one.
109 The two powers of fire and moon (agni-soma) are united with one another in the form of the body and its soul. The scriptures describe their union as the contact of light with a lighted room, or the reflection of sunshine on a wall. 110 They are also known separately in different bodies and at different times. Bodies addicted to dullness are said to be moved by the lunar influence, and persons advancing in their spirituality are said to be led on by force of solar power.
111 The rising breath (prana), by its nature hot and warm, is said to be agni or fiery. The setting breath of apana, cold and slow, is termed the soma or lunar. They abide as light and shade in everybody, the one rising upward and passing through the mouth and the other going down by the anus. 112 The downward breath (apana) being cooled gives rise to the fiery hot breath of prana, which remains in the body like the reflection of something in a mirror.
113 The light of the intellect produces the brightness of consciousness, and sunbeams reflect themselves as lunar orbs in the dew drops on lotus leaves at early dawn. 114 In the beginning of creation, there was a certain consciousness. Its thought of the properties of heat and cold, agni and soma, came to be combined to form the human body and mind.
115 Rama, strive to settle yourself at that position twelve inches outside the mouth where the sun and moon of the body (prana and apana) meet in conjunction. 116 Remain in that place where the moon has merged with the sun in the heart-space. 117 The sun of pure consciousness is said to be of the form of agni or heat, and the moon has the form of cold. Stay firm in the realization that the moon is the reflection of the sun (prana and apana). 118 Know, O sinless one, that the transit and concurrence of agni and moon take place in the body. The other transits and combinations that occur outside in time are worthless.
119 O Rama, you shall shine among the wise if you can appreciate and know and feel that the external transits and combinations like “uttarayana” and “dakshinayana” occur inside the body (by the movements of vital energies). Otherwise, you cannot shine.
• • •
Chapter 82 — Instructions for Acquiring Powers
1 Vasishta, continued:— Now hear me now tell you how yogis are able to expand and contract their bodies at will, reducing to atomic proportions and expanding to gross dimensions.
2 Above the lotus-like partition of the heart, there is a blazing fire emitting its sparks, like gold colored butterflies flirting about it, flaring like flashes of lightning in the evening clouds. 3 The fire is aroused and fanned by the animal spirit that blows over it like a breath of wind. This fire pervades the entire body without burning it. It shines as brightly as the sun in the form of our consciousness. 4 It lights into a blaze in an instant, like the early rising of the sun gleams upon morning clouds. The fire melts down the whole body, like a burning furnace melts gold in a crucible. 5 Being inextinguishable by water, the fire burns the whole outer body down to the feet. Then it coils inside the body, remaining in the form of the mind in man’s spiritual body. 6 Having reduced the inner body, it becomes lifeless of itself, as extinct as frost when the winds blow.
7 The kundalini force, being reduced to the fundamental nadi at the base of the spine, remains in the emptiness of the spiritual body like a shadow of smoke from fire. 8 This shade of smoke parades over the heart like a dark colored maiden and encloses in her bosom the subtle body composed of its mind and understanding, the living principle and its egoism. 9 It has the power to enter into the porous fibers of lotuses, to penetrate rocks, to stretch over grass, to pop into houses and stones, to pry in the sky and ply in the ground, and to remain and move about everywhere in whatever manner it likes of its own will. 10 This power produces consciousness and the physical senses by the sap which it supplies to the whole body. It also is filled with juice, like a leather bag dipped in water. 11 This great kundalini artery, filled with gastric fire, forms the body in any shape it likes, just as an artist draws the lines of a picture in any form pictured in his mind. 12 It supplies the embryonic seed placed in the fetus of the mother with the power of its evolution into the fleshy and bony parts of its future body, just as the tender sprout of a plant seed grows in time into a hard woody tree.
13 Rama, know this certain truth acknowledged by the wise, that the living principle acquires whatever state and stature it desires, be that of a mountain or bit of straw. 14Rama, you have heard of certain powers attainable by the practice of yoga, such as the powers of diminishing and increasing the bulk and stature of the body. Now listen as I give you an interesting lecture on how to attain these powers through knowledge (jnana).
15 Know for certain that there is only one intelligent principle of Consciousness which is inscrutable, pure and most charming, more minute that the minutest, perfectly tranquil, and is nothing of the mundane world or any of its actions or properties. 16 The same Consciousness (chit), being collected in itself into an individuality from the undivided whole and assuming the power of will or volition itself, becomes the living soul by transformation of its pure nature to an impure one.
17 The will is a fallacy and the body is a mistake. Only the ignorant distinguish between the living soul and the Universal Spirit, just like an ignorant child sees a demon in a shadow. 18 When the lamp of knowledge brings the mind to the full light of truth, then the error of will is removed from the living soul, just as the clouds of rainy weather dissipate in autumn. 19 The body rests after wishes have subsided in the mind, just as the lamp is extinguished after its oil is exhausted. 20 The soul that sees the truth has no more knowledge of his body than the man awakened from his sleep has his dream appearing before him. 21 The mistake of the unreal for the real or, what is the same, ascribing reality to unreality is what gives the color of reality to false material bodies. The knowledge of truth removes the error of the physical body and restores the soul to its accustomed splendor and true joy.
22 The error of taking the material body for the immaterial soul is so deeply rooted in the mind that it is as difficult to remove as it is for the strongest sunbeams to penetrate the mental gloom of men. 23 This impenetrable darkness of the mind can only be seen through the sunshine of knowledge that our soul is the seat of the immaculate and all pervading spirit of God, and that I myself am no other than the pure consciousness which is in me.
24 Those who have known the Supreme Soul meditate on it in this manner in their own souls until they find themselves to be assimilated to Supreme Soul by their intense thought of it. 25 Therefore, O Rama, some men convert the deadly poison to sweet ambrosial food, and others change delicious nectar into bitter gall. 26 So whatever is thought upon with intensity in any manner and on any occasion, the same comes to take place.
We can see many examples of this. 27 The body seen in the light of a reality is found to be a real existence, but looked upon as an unreality, it vanishes into nothing.
28 O righteous Rama, you have heard talk about the theory of attaining the powers of magnifying and minimizing one’s body at will. Now I will tell you of another method of gaining these powers, to which you shall have now to attend.
29 You can practice exhaling your rechaka breath to extract your vital energy from the cell of your kundalini nadi and infuse it into another body, just as the winds of the air carry the fragrance of flowers into the nostrils. 30 The former body is left lifeless like a log of wood or a block of stone. Such is the relationship between the body and life, like that of a bucket and its water poured out to enliven plants. 31 Thus life is infused in all movable and immovable things in order to enjoy the pleasures of their particular states at its pleasure. 32 The living soul, having tasted the bliss of its complete state, returns to its former body if it is still in existence, or it goes and settles somewhere else, as it may best suit its taste.
33 In this way yogis pass into all bodies and lives with their conscious souls and fill the world by magnifying their spirits over all space. 34 The yogi who is lord of himself by his enlightened understanding, and through his knowledge of all things and their accompanying evils, in an instant obtains whatever he wants and which is present before the brightness of divine light.
• • •
Chapter 83 — Queen Chudala’s Powers, the King’s Ignorance, and the Story of the Miserly Kirata
1 Vasishta continued:— Thus Queen Chudala possessed the powers of contracting and expanding herself into any form, and she became expert in these by her continued practice. 2 She made aerial journeys and navigated at pleasure over the expanse of waters. She moved on the surface of the earth just as the River Ganges glides on her silent course. 3 She dwelt in the bosom of her lord like Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, abiding in the heart of Vishnu. With her mind she could travel in a moment over every city and country on the earth.
4 This fairy lady flew in the air and flashed like lightning with the flashes of her twinkling eyes. She passed like a shadow over the earth, just as a body of clouds passes over a range of mountains. 5 She passed without any hazard through grass and wood, stones and clods of earth, and through fire and water and air and vacuum like a thread passing through the hole of a heart. 6 She lightly skimmed over mountain peaks and pried through the regions of the rulers of all sides of heaven. She penetrated into the cavities of the empty womb of emptiness and had a pleasant trip wherever she directed her flight.
7 She conversed freely with all living beings, whether they move or lie on the ground as the beasts of earth or crawl upon it like snakes and insects. She talked with savage pisacha tribes and communicated with men, demigods and the immortal gods.
8 She tried much to communicate her knowledge to her ignorant husband, but he was in no way capable of receiving her spiritual instruction. 9 He understood her only as his young princess, the mistress of his house, skilled only in the arts of attraction and being a housewife. 10 All this time the king remained ignorant of the qualifications of Queen Chudala. He did not know that she had progressed in spiritual science like a young student proficient in the different branches of learning. 11 Also, she was reserved showing her complete learning to her unenlightened husband, just as a brahmin declines to show his secret rites to a vile, low caste shudra.
12 Rama asked, “Sage, if it was impossible for a seer of complete wisdom to communicate her knowledge to her husband Sikhidhwaja, with all her efforts to enlighten him on the subject, then how can it be possible for others to be conversant in spiritual knowledge by any other means?”
13 Vasishta answered:— Rama, the only way of gaining instruction is through obedience to the rule of attending to the precepts of the teacher, joined with the intelligence of the pupil. 14 Neither hearing a sermon nor observing any religious rite is of any value towards the knowledge of the soul unless one employs his own soul to have the light of the Supreme Soul shine upon it. Only spirit can know spirit, just as only a serpent can trace out the path of another serpent.
15 Rama replied, “If such is the course of the world, that we can learn nothing without the instruction of our teachers, then tell me, O sage! How can the precepts of the wise lead to our spiritual knowledge?”
16 Vasishta replied:— Rama, listen as I tell you a story to this effect. There lived an old Kirata of the past who was miserly in his conduct as he was rich in his possessions of wealth and grain. He dwelt with his family by the side of the Vindhya woods, like a poor brahmin living apart from his friends and relations.
17 One time, as he happened to pass by his native forest, he dropped a single chowry shell from his purse. It fell in a shrub and was lost under the grass. 18 He ran on every side, beating the bush for three days to find his lost chowry shell, impelled by his stinginess to leave no fallen leaf unturned. 19 As he searched and turned about, he turned thoughts in his mind, thinking, “Ah! this single chowry shell would make four by its commerce, and that would bring me eight in time, and this would make a hundred and a thousand, and more and more by repetition, so I have lost a treasure in this.” 20 Thus, over and over he counted the gains he would gain, sighing as often at the loss he had suffered and ignoring the rustic peasantry of his foolish cheapness.
21 At the end of the third day he came across a rich jewel, as brilliant as the bright moon, which by a thousand fold compensated for the loss of his worthless chowry shell. 22He happily returned home with his great gain, highly delighted with the thought of keeping poverty away from his door forever. 23 The Kirata was quite satisfied with his unexpected gain of great treasure while searching for his worthless chowry shell. He passed his days without any care or fear of the changeful world.
24 So the student, in search of worldly knowledge, comes to obtain spiritual knowledge from his teacher. The student’s quest of temporal learning is only a trifle compared to his eternal concern.
25 O sinless Rama, it is impossible to attain divine knowledge merely through a teacher’s lectures because the lord is beyond the perception of senses. God can not be expressed by or known from the words of the instructor’s mouth. 26 Yet it is also true that without the guidance of the spiritual guide, it is impossible to attain spiritual knowledge. No one can gain a rich gem without his search after a chowry shell, like the miserly Kirata. 27 As the search for a chowry shell resulted in the gain of a jewel, so our attendance on the secular instructions of the teacher becomes an indirect cause to our acquisition of the invaluable treasure of spiritual knowledge.
28 Rama, look at these wonderful events of nature that bring about results different from what we were pursuing. 29 It often comes to pass that our attempts are attended with another result from what should have happened. Therefore, it is better for us to remain indifferent with regard to the results of our acts.
• • •
Chapter 84 — King Sikhidhwaja Abandons His Kingdom for the Life of a Hermit
1 Vasishta related:— King Sikhidhwaja continued in utter darkness without sight of his spiritual knowledge, groping his way in the gloom of the world in utter despair of any glimpse of hope, like a childless man passes his sorrowful days.
2 His heart, without hope of salvation, burned inconsolably in the flame of his anxieties. His great wealth only served as fuel to feed the fire of his hopelessness. He lacked the cooling shower of spiritual knowledge. 3 He found some consolation in lonely retreats in mountain caves and beside waterfalls where he wandered freely, like a beasts of prey running from the arrows of hunters.
4 Rama, he became as distracted as you had been before, discharging his daily rituals only at the humble request and repeated solicitations of his attendant servants. 5 He was as unexcitable and cold blooded as a religious recluse. He avoided the enjoyments of princely pleasures and abstained from his usual food. 6 He gave his homage to the gods, brahmins and his relatives with large donations of lands and gifts of gold and cattle. 7 He went on performing the austerities of religious rites and the rigorous ceremonies of chandaryana and others. He travelled through wilds and deserts and inhabited lands to his pilgrimages far and near. 8 Yet nowhere did he find any consolation for his mind, which is what he was seeking like a miner digging in barren soil in quest of some mineral that is not to be found.
9 He was languishing under the intensity of his anxiety, as if suffering under the fiery heat of the sun. He sought some remedy for the worldly cares that haunted him constantly, day and night. 10 Being absorbed in his thoughts, he sought not for anything of the poisonous pleasures of his kingdom. With meekness of spirit and mind, he did not look at the grand estate that lay before him.
11 It happened one day, as he was sitting with his beloved princess reclining on his lap, that he spoke to her in his sweetly flowing speech as follows.
12 Sikhidhwaja said:— I have long tasted the pleasures of my kingdom and enjoyed the sweet and bitter of my large property and landed possessions. Now I am grown weary of them as they are both the same and stale to me. 13 Know my delighted lady, that a silent sage is exempt from pleasure and pain. No prosperity or adversity can ever befall a lonely hermit of the forest. 14 Neither the fear of loss of lives in battle nor the dread of losing territory in defeat can ever take a lonely hermit of the forest. Therefore I think the helpless state of a hermit is happier by far than the dignity of royalty.
15 The woodland grounds are as pleasing to me as you are, with clusters of blossoms in spring, ruddy leaves resembling your rosy palms, their twisted filaments like the curls of your hair, and the flimsy white clouds like clean garments. 16 Blooming flowers resemble ornaments and their pollen is the scented powder on their bodies. Seats of reddish stones resemble buttocks. 17 Surrounding, pearly streams flowing in the woods resemble hanging strings of pearls on their necks. Their foaming waves are like clusters of pearls tied like knots on their clothing. Tender vines are their playful daughters and the frisky deer are like their playful darlings. 18 Perfumed with the natural fragrance of flowers, having swarming bees for their eyelids and eyebrows and wearing flowers as their garments, the woods offer an abundance of fruit for food. 19 The pure waters of the falling cascades are sweet to taste. They cool the body as your company gratifies my senses. Therefore I foster an equal fondness for these woodland scenes as I bear for your company.
20 The calm composure which solitude seems to give to the soul, in my estimation, is far superior to the delight that I derive from cooling moonlight or the bliss that I might enjoy in the paradise of Indra and in the heaven of Brahma himself. 21 Now my dear one, you should not put any obstacle in the way of my plans, because no faithful wife ever presents any obstruction to the desires of her lord.
22 Chudala replied:— Work done in its proper time is commendable. It is as delightful to see flowers blossoming in spring as it is pleasant to find ripe fruit and grain in autumn.23 Retiring in the forest is for the old and decrepit and others broken down in body by age. It is not fitting for a young man like yourself to fly from the world. Therefore I do not approve your choice.
24 Let us remain at home, O young prince, so long as we have not passed our youth. We flourish here like flowers that do not abandon their parent tree until flowering time is over. 25 Like flowery vines, let us grow white with grey hairs on our heads, then leave our home together like a pair of fond herons fly away forever from a dried lake.
26 Mind also, my noble lord, the great sin that waits on a disgraceful king of royal race who abandons the welfare of his people during the time of his rule. 27 Moreover, keep in mind the opposition you will have to face from your subjects who are authorized to check your unseasonable and unworthy act as you are empowered to check theirs.
28 Sikhidhwaja replied:— Know my royal lady, that your appeal is in vain. I am determined to go away from here. Know me as already gone from you and your kingdom to a retreat in woods far away from here.
29 You are young and handsome. You should not accompany me to dreary deserts and forests which, in many respects, are dreadful and impassable by men. 30 Women, however hardy they may be, are never able to endure the hardships of forest life, just as it is impossible for a tender stem to withstand the stroke of an axe. 31 Remain here, O excellent lady, and rule over this kingdom in my absence. Take the burden of supporting your dependents, which is the highest and best duty of women.
32 Vasishta related:— Saying this to the moon-faced queen, the self-governed king rose from his seat to make his daily ablution and discharge his many duties of the day. 33Afterwards, the king took leave of his subjects, despite all their appeals to detain him. He departed like the setting sun towards his forest journey, which was unknown and impassable by everyone.
34 He set out like the setting sun deprived of his glory and disappeared like the sun from the sight of all. A veil of melancholy covered the face of the queen as she saw her lord leaving the recess of her chamber, just as the face of nature is hidden in the shadow of darkness when daylight disappears below the horizon. 35 Now the dark night advanced, veiling the world under her covering of ash-colored dusk, just as when the god Shiva forsakes the fair Ganga and takes the dark Yamuna into his embrace. 36 The sides of heaven seemed to smile all around with teeth-like clumps of evening clouds and the light of moonbeams glittering on the shoots of tamara trees. 37 As the lord of the day departed towards the setting mountain of Sumeru on the other side of the horizon in order to wander over the paradise of the gods on the north, so the brightness of the day began to fail as the shade of evening prevailed over the face of the forsaken world.
38 Now dark night accompanied by her lord, the night luminary, advanced on this side of the southern hemisphere to play like a loving couple with this cooling light and shade. 39 Clusters of stars were scattered in the ethereal sphere under the canopy of heaven, looking like handfuls of fried rice scattered by the hands of celestial maidens on some auspicious occasion. 40 The dark colored night gradually advanced to her puberty with the buds of lotuses as her budding breasts. Then she smiled with her moonlike face littered in the opening of the nightly flowers.
41 After performing his evening services, the king returned to his beloved queen who was drowned in deep sleep, as Mount Mainaka drowned in the depth of the sea. 42 It was around midnight, when all was still and quiet all about. People were all fast asleep, as if covered in stone. 43 He found her fast asleep in her soft and downy bed, resting in the lap of deep slumber like a female bee in a lotus.
44 The king started up from his sleep, parted from his cold embrace of the sleeping partner of his bed, all as the ascending point of Rahu slowly lets the eclipsed moon in the east from its mouth. 45 He got up from his half of the bed while the queen lay on the other half, as when the god Vishnu rises from his bed of the waters of the Milky Ocean, leaving the lonely Lakshmi rolling in the waves after him.
46 He walked out of the palace and ordered the guards to stand at their places. Full of confidence in himself, he told them that he was going to arrest a gang of robbers beyond the outskirts of the city. 47 “Farewell my royalty,” he thought, then passed onward out of his kingdom, passing through inhabited tracts and forest lands, as the course of a river runs to the sea.
48 With his firm fortitude in the gloom of night, he passed through thickets of forests beset by thorny bushes, full of heinous beasts and reptiles. 49 In the morning he arrived at some open land free of woods and jungles. That day he walked from sunrise to sunset when he took refuge under the shelter of a grove. 50 The sun departing from sight left him to the darkness of night, when he performed his bathing and the daily rite. Having eaten some root or fruit which he could find, he passed the night resting on barren ground. 51Again and again morning appeared and brought to light many new cities and districts and many hills and rivers which he passed over bravely for twelve days and nights.
52 He reached the foothills of Mandara Mountain, covered by a forest so dense and immense that no human foot could penetrate. It was far from the reach of man and the boundaries of human habitation. 53 There he found a place by running streams, set with rows of trees with aqueducts under them, where there were the traces of a dilapidated dwelling, apparently the deserted house of some holy hermit. 54 It was clear of all harmful reptiles and small insects and was planted with sacred plants and vines for the sacred purposes of holy spiritual adepts. It was also full of fruit trees that supplied its occupant with plenty of food. 55 There was a level and pure spot of ground with a water course and green vegetation and trees loaded with luxuriant fruit and stretching a cooling shade all over it.
56 It was here that the king built a covered shelter of green vines and leafy branches. Their blooming blossoms glistened like the blue dome of heaven under the lightning of the rainy season.
57 He made himself a staff of bamboo and some vessels for his food and drink, and also some plates to put his offerings of fruits and flowers, and a jar to present holy water. He strung some seeds together to make his saintly rosary. 58 He gathered the hides of dead animals to cover the cold, and a deerskin for his meditation seat, placing them carefully in his holy hermit’s cell. 59 He also collected all other things that were of use in the discharge of his priestly functions. He kept them in his sacred cell just like the Lord of Creatures has stored the earth with every provision required for living beings.
60 He performed his morning devotions, then later he turned his beads muttering his mantras. In the afternoon he performed his sacred ablution, offering flowers in the service of the gods. 61 Afterwards he took some wild fruit, ground root, and soft lotus stalks for his food in the evening, then passed the night with his lonely self-possession meditating upon his Maker. 62 Thus did the King of Malwa pass his days with perfect cheer of heart in the hermitage that he had constructed at the foot of Mandara Mountain.
He thought no more of his royal pleasures. They were utterly lost under the influence of his renunciation which had taken full possession of his entire soul and mind.
• • •
Chapter 85 — Chudala Appears as a Brahmin Boy to Sikhidhwaja; Narada’s Ejaculation; the Outline of Nature as Created by Brahma
1 Vasishta continued:—
In this manner, King Sikhidhwaja remained in his monastery in the forest in his state of perfect joy. The queen remained at home and did as you shall now hear from me.
2 After the king left the palace at midnight, Chudala woke up from her sleep like a frightened deer startled by fear. 3 She found the bed vacated by her husband and thought it as dreary as the sky without sun or moon. 4 She rose up with a sad face, her heart full of sorrow. Her limbs were as lank as the leaves of plants deprived of water in summer. 5Sorrow sat heavy in her heart and drove away the charm and cheerfulness of her face. She remained like a winter day, overcast by clouds or covered by a frost.
6 For a while she sat on the bedstead sorrowfully thinking, “Ah sorrow unto me that my lord has gone from here and abandoned a kingdom for a retreat in the woods. 7 What can I do now? I ought to go to my husband, wherever he is, because it is appointed both by the law of nature and God that the husband is the only resort and support of the wife.”
8 Having thought so, Chudala rose up to follow her husband. She fled through a window shutter into the open air. 9 She roamed in her aerial course by the force of her breath on the wings of air. To the aerial spirits, the spiritual masters, she looked like a second moon moving in the skies. 10 As she was passing at nighttime, she happened to see her lord wandering about with a sword in his hand, looking like the ghost of a vetala demon wandering in the lonely forest. 11 The queen, seeing her husband in this manner from her aerial seat, began to reflect on the future state which awaited her husband and which she foresaw by the power of her yoga.
12 It is certain, O Rama, that whatever is allotted in the book of fate as befalling on anybody at anytime or place or manner, the same is sure to take place at the very moment and place and in the same way.
13 The queen, plainly seeing whatever was to take place with her husband and knowing it could not be averted by any means, refrained from going and telling him what was to happen. 14 “Let my visit to him be postponed to a future occasion when it is destined for me to be in his company again.” 15 Thinking so, Chudala turned her course away from him and returned to her inner apartment where she reclined on her milk-white pillow like the crescent moon rests on the ancient forehead of Shiva.
16 The queen told her people that the king had gone on some important occasion. Relieved with the knowledge that he would return, she took command of the government in her own hands. 17 She managed the realm like her husband according to the established rules of toleration, and with the same care and vigilance as a woman guarding her ripening cornfields. 18 In this manner they passed their days without seeing one another. The married pair lived separately from each other, one in the royal palace and other in the lonely forest. 19 Days and nights passed into weeks and fortnights, then months and seasons in regular succession. One counted his days in the woods and the other in her princely palace. 20 What is the use of a lengthy description of all eighteen years that slowly passed over the separated couple, one living in her palatial dome and the other in his woodland retreat?
21 Many more years passed in this manner until the hermit King Sikhidhwaja, in his holy retreat in a hut by the great Mandara Mountain, was overtaken by hoary old age. 22 The queen knew that the passions of the king were declining with age and grey hairs. Finding herself not yet too old to overtake him in the distant forest, 23 and believing that it was the proper time for her to prevail on him and bring him back to the palace, she thought of joining her husband where he was.
24 With these thoughts, she made up her mind to go towards Mandara Mountain. She left her home that night, mounting on the wings of air into the upper sky. 25 As she flew onward on the wings of air, she saw in the upper sky some women who were spiritual masters wearing the thin bark of the kalpa tree and covered with clusters of jewels. 26 These were the inhabitants of the garden of paradise going out to meet their spiritual master husbands, sprinkled with perfumes and shedding their dew like bright moonbeams. 27 She breathed the air perfumed by the flowers of the Nandana garden of paradise and worn by the women masters of paradise. She wallowed in the moonbeams that spread like waves of the Milky Ocean. 28 She felt a purer moonlight as she ascended into the higher atmosphere. She passed through clouds like lightening.
29 She thought to herself, “This lightning, though situated in the bosom of her cloudy spouse, is yet looking at him repeatedly with the winkling of her eyes. In the same way I must look for my absent lord as I pass like the lightning through the midway sky.”
30 “It is true,” she thought to herself, “that it is impossible to avoid one’s nature during one’s lifetime. Hence it is impossible for my disturbed mind to be calm without the sight of my loving and lion-like lord. 31 My mind wanders and runs mad when I think, “I will see my lord” and “When will I see these vines turning round and clasping their supporting tree?” 32 My mind is impatient seeing the close contact of these senseless vines and the superior female masters in quest of their consorts. 33 How and when shall I, like them, come to meet the man who is in my heart?”
34 “These gentle breezes, these cooling moonbeams, and those plants of the forest all continue to disturb my heart and set it on fire. 35 O my simple heart, why do you throb in vain and thrill within every vein within me? O my faithful mind who is as pure as the air, why do you loose your reason and right discretion? 36 It is you, O faithless mind, that excites my heart to run after its spouse. Better remain with your yearnings in yourself than torment my quiet spirit with your longings.”
37 “Or why is it, O silly woman, that you long in vain after your husband who possibly has become too old? He is now an ascetic, too weak in his body and devoid of all earthly desires. 38 I think that any desire to enjoy his royal honors and pleasures have been utterly rooted out of his mind. The plant of his fondness for sensual gratifications is now as dry as a channel that has emptied its waters into a large river. 39 I think my husband, who was fond of me as to share the same soul, has become as indifferent to soft passions like a dried and withered tree.”
40 “Or I will try the power of my yoga to waken his mind to sense and infuse the eager longings and throbbing of my heart into his? 41 I will collect and focus the thoughts of the ascetic devotee towards the government of his kingdom where we may settle forever to our hearts’ content. 42 After such a long time I have discovered the way to my object by infusing my very thoughts into the mind of my husband. 43 The union of minds between a wedded pair and the pleasure of their constant union contribute to the highest happiness of human beings on earth.”
44 Revolving in this manner, Queen Chudala continued on her aerial journey, now over mountains and clouds, then passing the boundaries of lands and visible horizons. She reached the sight of Mandara and found the glen and cavern in it. 45 She entered the grove as an aerial spirit invisible to sight. She passed like air, revealed only by the shaking of the leaves on trees. 46 She saw a leafy hut in one corner of the wood and recognized her husband by the power of her yoga, though he appeared to be transformed into another person.
47 She found that his body, previously decorated with royal clothes and jewels glittering like Mount Meru with its gold, had grown lean and thin, dark and dry as a withered, dried leaf. 48 He wore a covering of coarse material and looked as if he had been dipped in a fountain of ink. He sat alone in one spot, looking like the god Shiva wholly devoid of all desire. 49 He was sitting on the barren ground, stringing flowers to his braided hairs, when the beautiful queen approached before him.
50 She was moved to sorrow at the sight of his miserable plight, thinking, “Alas, how painful it is to see this pitiful sight! 51 O, the great stupidity that rises from ignorance of spiritual knowledge and which has brought on this miserable condition on this self-deluded king.”
52 “I must not call him unfortunate as long as he is my husband, though the deep darkness of his mind (ignorance) has brought on this miserable plight. 53 I must try my best to bring him to the knowledge of truth. No doubt that will restore him to his sense of enjoyment here and of his liberation hereafter, and change his figure to another form altogether. 54 He always treats me like his young and silly wife, but I must get closer to him to instill understanding in his mind or else my words will have no effect on him. 55Therefore, I will assume the form of a devotee in order to admonish my husband. It is possible that if I admonish him in this manner, it will make its effect upon he who is now grown white haired with old age. 56 It is possible that good senses may dawn in a clear understanding that is not perverted from its nature.”
Thinking in this way, Queen Chudala took the shape of a brahmin boy. 57 She reflected a little on the agni-soma mantra and changed her form like water turning into a wave, then descended on the earth in the form of a brahmin’s lad. 58 She advanced toward her lord with a smiling face, and King Sikhidkwaja saw the brahmin boy advancing towards him.
59 The boy appeared to come from some other forest and stood before the ascetic king in the form of devotion itself. His body, bright as molten gold, was ornamented with a string of pearls. 60 The white sacrificial thread graced his neck and his body was covered with two pieces of milk-white vests. He held a sacred water pot on one hand, and with his pupil’s staff in the other, he made his approach to the king. 61 His wrist was entwined by a string of beads and a long, double chain of beads hung from his neck to the ground. 62His head was covered by long and flowing jet black hair, like strings of black bees fluttering about the tops of white lotuses. His radiance shed a brightness on the spot. 63 His face, ornamented with earrings, glowed like the rising sun with his luster of rosy rays. The knotted hair on top of his head, a mandara flower fastened on it, appeared like a mountain peak with the rising moon above it.
64 The husband, sitting quietly with his tall body, his limbs and senses under his subjection, ash rubbed all over his body, appeared like a mountain of ice. 65 He saw the brahmin boy appearing before him like the full moon rising on the golden mount of Meru. He rose before him respectfully. 66 Thinking his guest was the son of some god, Sikhidkwaja stood with his bare feet before him and addressed him saying, “Obeisance to you, O you son of a god! Take this seat and sit yourself here.” 67 With his hand, Sikhidkwaja pointed to the leafy bed that spread before him and offered a handful of flowers which he poured into the boy’s hands.
68 The brahmin boy responded saying, “I greet you in return, O son of a king! You look like a dew drop or beaming moonlight sparkling on a lotus leaf.” He then received the flowers from his hand and sat upon the leafy bed.
69 Sikhidhwaja said, “Tell me, O you heaven-born boy, from where did you come and where are you going? It is a lucky day for me that has brought you to my sight. 70 Please accept this pure water, fragrant flowers, and this offering also. Receive this garland of flowers that I have strung with my hands. May all be well with you.”
71 Vasishta related:—
So saying, Sikhidhwaja offered the flowers, the garland, and other offerings to the lady who was devoted to him, as is the custom of ceremonial law.
72 Chudala (as the brahmin boy) said:—
I have travelled far and wide over many countries on the surface of this earth. I have never met with such a hearty reception and such honors as I have now received from you.73 Your humility, courtesy and complacence reveal you to be highly favored of the gods and indicate that you will have a long life on earth.
74 Tell me, O devotee. You have abandoned all your earthly desires and practiced magnanimity and tranquility of your soul for a long time. Have you ever applied your mind to attain your final liberation and extinction? 75 You have vowed to undergo the hardship of this forest life and forsaken the care of your large kingdom. You have, my dear sage, chosen a very painful alternative for your final liberation.
76 Sikhidhwaja replied:—
Being a god yourself, I do not wonder how you know these things. You wear this form of a brahmin boy, yet the supernatural beauty of your body says that you are an all-knowing god. 77 I think that your body is designed and formed with the ambrosial beams of moonlight. Otherwise, how could your mere appearance shed such sweet peace even at first sight? 78 O handsome boy, I see in your person a great resemblance to the features of my beloved who is now ruling over my kingdom.
79 Please, now refresh your fair and fatigued body by wearing these flower garlands from head to foot, just as a white cloud is a garment covering a mountain from its top to bottom. 80 I see your face as beautiful as the stainless moon. Your limbs are as delicate as tender flower petals, and I see them now waning and fading under the bright sun. 81Pretty youth, know that I strung these flower garlands in service for the gods. Now I offer and give them to you who is no less a god to me. 82 My life is crowned today with its best luck by this opportunity to serve a guest like you. The wise say that hospitality to guests has merit equal to service to the gods.
83 Now please, O moon-faced god, reveal to me, which god are you? From which lineage of gods comes the god who consents to dignify me with this visit? Please tell me all this and remove the questions that disturb my breast.
84 The brahmin boy replied:—
Hear me, king, relate all that you want to know of me, for who is there so uncivil as to deceive and not comply with the request of a humble suppliant?
85 In this world there lives the well known holy saint, Narada by name. He is the snowy spot of pure camphor on the face of those who are famed for the purity of their lives. 86Once this godly saint sat in meditation in a cave of the golden mountain where the holy Ganges River flows fast with her running current and huge waves dashing against the shore. 87 The saint stepped onto a beach of the river to see how it glided on in its course like a necklace of gems torn down from the high mountain. 88 He heard the tinkling sound of trinkets and bracelets and a mixed murmur of voices. He was curious to know what it was and from where it came.
89 He lightly looked towards the sacred stream and saw a group of young ladies who equaled the celestial nymphs Rambha and Tilottama in their beauty. These damsels were playing and bathing in the clear waters of the holy river. 90 They plunged and played in the waters, hidden from the sight of men and all naked with uncovered breasts blooming like buds of golden lotuses in a lake. 91 They ran to and fro, dashing against each another like ripe fruit on trees, as if intoxicated with flavored liquor, making their observers giddy themselves. 92 Their swollen breasts formed the sanctuary of the god of love. They were washed by the pure waters of the sacred river. 93 Their fullness with delicious liquor put to blush the sweet waters of the sacred Ganges River. They were enclosed in the garden of paradise like the wheels of the car that the god Kama rides upon. 94 Their buttocks were like the pillars of a bridge in water, obstructing and dividing the free passage of the waters of the Ganges. Their upper bodies gave a luster of the world’s beauty. 95 The shadows of their bodies were clearly visible to the naked eye on the clear waters of the Ganges, like a kalpa tree in rainy season with all its branches.
96 The thick vegetation of spring gave shade from the light of day. The flying dust of flowers filled the forest air with fragrance. 97 Water fowls of various kinds were sporting on the banks, as they do by the seaside and watering places round the trees. These ladies’ budding breasts made the blooming lotus buds blush. 98 They held up their faces, beautiful as lotus buds, while their loosened hair hung like swarms of bees. The loose glances of their eyes played like fluttering black bees. 99 Their swollen breasts resembled golden lotuses used by the gods as golden cups to hide their ambrosial nectar for fear of it being seized by demons and demigods. 100 Now they were seen hiding in secret covered shelters and in mountain caves, like lotuses hidden under foliage, and then they were hastening to the cooling river beach to bathe their lovely limbs in its clear stream.
101 The saint saw the collection of young ladies looking as beautiful as the body of the full moon. His mind was ravished with their beauty. 102 He lost the balance of his reason and became elated with giddiness. The breath of his life throbbed in his heart from the impulse of delight that raged and boiled in his breast. 103 At last the excess of his bliss made his passion pour out, just as the fullness of a summer cloud breaks out in water in rainy weather.
104 The saint turned as pale as the waning moon, like pale moonlight on frost, like a fading plant torn from its supporting tree. 105 He faded like the stalk of a vine split in two and withered away like a sapling after it has lost its juicy sap.
106 Sikhidhwaja asked:—
Narada is a pure saint, liberated in his lifetime and acquainted with all knowledge. He is devoid of desires or passions, as pure as the clear air both inside and outside his body.107 How is it that even holy Narada himself, who always leads his life of celibacy, could lose his patience and composure?”
108 Chudala (as the brahmin boy) replied:—
Know, O kingly sage, that all living beings in the three worlds, not even the gods are exceptions, by their very nature have bodies composed of both good and evil ingredients.109 Some remain in ignorance and others in knowledge to the end of their lives. Some remain in happiness and others in misery to the end of their days. 110 Some thrive in happiness with their virtues of contentment and the like, enlightened in their minds like a room by the light of the lamps, and like the bosom of the sea brightened the light of the stars of heaven. 111 Some are tormented by their hunger and poverty, involved in misery like the nature under dark clouds. 112 The true and pure reality of the soul, once lost to sight, makes its appearance before him like a dark and thick cloud of rainy weather.
113 Though one may be employed in continuous investigation into spirituality, yet a moment’s neglect of his spiritualism is sure to darken his spiritual light, just as the apparition of the world appears to sight. 114 As the succession of light and dark makes the course of days and nights, so the return of pain and pleasure indicates the progress of life. 115 Thus the two states of pleasure and pain, the results of our prior acts, accompany our lives from birth to death. 116 This impression of past life completely dominates the lives of the ignorant, just as red dye forever colors a cloth, but it is not so with the intelligent. Their knowledge of truth wipes off the stigma of their prior acts.
117 The eternal color of a gem, whether it be good or bad, shows on the outside. A crystal stone, however clear it may be, takes the color of the other objects reflected in it. 118But it is not so with the intelligent knower of truth, whose soul is free from all inner and outer impressions in his lifetime, and whose mind is never tinged by the reflection of anything around him, as it is with the ignorant. 119 Not only the presence of things and pleasures stain the minds of the ignorant. Their absence and loss also cause great regret from the stain they leave in the memory, just as things are colored not only by new paint, but also various marks and signs.
120 Thus the minds of the ignorant are never cleansed from the stain of their favorite objects. They are never free from their bondage in this world, unlike the liberated sage who is free because of his lack of earthly attachment. Reducing our desires contributes to our liberation. Increasing our wishes leads us to continued bondage in this world.
121 Sikhidhwaja said:—
Tell me my lord, why do men feel sorry or happy at their pain or pleasure, and for things that are far away from them and to which they are bound by their birth in this world?122 I find your words to be as clear as they are pretty and full of meaning. The more I hear them, the more I thirst to listen to them, just as the peacock is not satisfied with the roaring of clouds.
123 Chudala (as the brahmin boy) answered:—
It is pleasant to inquire into the cause of our birth and how the soul with the body derives its knowledge through the senses, thereby feeling a delight which is obvious in babies. 124 But the living soul, contained in the heart and running through the kundalini nadi as the breath of life, is subject to pain and sorrow from its birth.
125 The living soul, which is the vital energy entering into the lungs breathing with the breath of life, becomes confined in the arterial chains of prison houses that are different bodies. 126 The breath of life circulates through the body, touching its different parts and the organs of sense, raising their sensations in the soul. As the moisture of the ground grows trees and shrubs, so does our vitality produce the sensations of pleasure and pain in the soul. 127 The living soul, confined in the arteries of different bodies, gives a degree of happiness and steadiness to some which the miserable can never enjoy.
128 Know that the living soul is liberated in the same proportion as it manifests its peaceful tranquil state. Know also that the soul is in bondage to the same degree that there is sorrow on the face and breathing is choked. 129 Alternating feelings of pain and pleasure also indicate bondage of the soul. The absence of these alternations constitutes its liberation. These are the two states of the living soul.
130 As long as the deceptive senses do not bring false sensations of pain and pleasure to the soul, it rests in its state of sweet composure and calm tranquility. 131 When the invisible soul comes in sight of some transient pleasure or want of pain, it becomes as happy as the cheerful sea reflecting bright moonbeams in its bosom. 132 The soul equally exults at the sight of pleasure as it grieves at the knowledge of its unsteadiness, just as a foolish cat rejoices to see a fish even though it does not have the power to catch it. 133When the soul has the pure knowledge of phenomena and awareness of itself, it comes to know that there is no such thing as actual pain or pleasure. With this knowledge, it remains calm and quietly composed forever and under every circumstance.
134 When the soul comes to know that it has no relationship with any pain or pleasure, and that its living has no purpose at all, then it is then said to be awakened in itself and to rest in its stillness of nirvana. 135 When the living soul comes to know by its internal intuition that pain and pleasure are unreal in their nature, it is no longer concerned about them but rests quietly within itself. 136 When the soul comes to believe that the visible world is nothing but the emptiness of Consciousness or Brahman himself, it gets its rest in its stillness and becomes as cool as a lamp that has gone out because it lacks oil.
137 What leads the soul to becoming unconsciousness of pain and pleasure is the belief that all nature is emptiness, that all existence is the one unity, and the thought of an infinite emptiness. 138 Thoughts of pleasure and pain are as false as the false appearance of the world. This error is inherited by the living soul from Brahma, the first of living beings in the world. 139 Whatever was thought and ordained by the first creative power in the beginning, the same has taken root in the living soul and is going on even to the present time as its nature.
140 Sikhidhwaja asked:
Only when one feels some pleasure in his mind does it run in the blood through his veins and arteries. But the holy Narada could not be affected by the sight, or drop his semen because of it.
141 Chudala (as the brahmin boy) replied:—
When the animal soul is excited, that excites the living breath of life force (prana) into motion. The entire body obeys the dictates of the mind, just as soldiers obey the orders of their commander. 142 The vital airs being put to motion, they move the internal sap and serum from their seats, just as blowing winds bear the fragrance and pollen of flowers and drop down flowers, fruit and leaves of trees. 143 When semen is put into motion, it falls downwards, just as clouds driven together burst into rainwater. 144 The semen then passes out of the body by the channels of the veins and arteries, just as running waters pass through the channels and canals of a river.
145 Sikhidhwaja said:—
O you divine boy! Your instructive words indicate that you know both the past and present states of things. Now please instruct me. What do you mean by the nature of things, the power of Brahma?
146 Chudala (as the brahmin boy) replied:—
Nature is the intrinsic character implanted in the constitution of things at the beginning of their creation. This nature continues to this day as the essential part of the pot or painting, as examples, and all other things. 147 It comes on through an accidental course of its own. The learned compare it with the rise and fall of waves and bubbles in water, or the marks of defects in wood or iron. 148 Through the power of this nature, all things in the world move about in their various forms with all their properties of change or inertia. Only the indifferent soul without desires is liberated from the influence of nature. Souls with cravings are fast bound with its own chains, wandering with their restless craving nature in repeated reincarnations.
• • •
Chapter 86 — Narada’s Sperm Gestates in a Pot and Is Born as Kumbha, Who Is the Brahmin Boy
1 Chudala continues:— It is the nature of everything in this extensive world to be born of its own kind. All persons and things continue to exist because of their own desires and tendencies, whether it be in the direction of virtue or vice. 2 When the desires in a man’s mind are either diminished or brought under his control, he is no longer subject to the acts of goodness or vice. Utterly indifferent, he becomes exempt from both merit and demerit and from their consequences of reiterated births and deaths.
3 Sikhidhwaja replied:— O eloquent speaker, your words are as full of sense as they are of great importance to me. They indicate your great penetration into the depths of wisdom. 4 Listening to the sweet exultance of your speech has given me a satisfaction equal to that of drinking a large dose of ambrosial water. 5 Now be pleased to give me a brief account of the story of your birth and pedigree. I will listen with all my attention to your words of sound sense and wisdom. 6 Please sage, tell me what the son of lotus-Brahma, the venerable sage Narada, did with the seminal strength which unconsciously fell from him to the ground.
7 Chudala related:— The muni sage curbed back the infuriated elephant of his beastly mind by the strong bridle of prudence and bound it fast with the iron chain of great intelligence. 8 His virile strength, hot as fire, resembled the moon melted down by the flame of the final conflagration. It was as liquefied as quicksilver or other metallic solution.
9 The sage had by his side a water-pot made of crystal stone. He took that pot and put the fluid semen in it, as if depositing liquid moonbeams into the disc of the moon. 10 On one side of Mount Meru, there was a projected rock with a deep cave inside. Passage into it was not obstructed by the heaps of stones which lay before it. 11 The muni sage placed the pot inside that cave as the embryo is situated in the belly. He filled the pot with milk which he produced by his will, just as the lord of creation filled the Milky Ocean with its watery milk. 12 The muni sage neglected his sacred offerings and brooded over the pot, like a bird broods over its egg.
Over the course of a month, the fetus grew up in the pot of milk, just as the reflection of the crescent moon increases in the bosom of the Milky Ocean. 13 At the end of the month the pot bore a fully formed fetus, just as the orb of the moon becomes full in the course of a month, and as spring season produces lotus buds with their blushing petals. 14The fetus came out in the fullness of time with its body fully developed, just as the full moon rises from the Milky Ocean without diminution of any of its digits. 15 The body had become fully developed over this time. It’s limbs were as beautiful as the horns of the moon shine brightly in the bright fortnight.
16 After performance of the initiatory ceremonies, the sage instructed him in whatever he knew, as one pours out the contents of one vessel into another. 17 In course of a short time the boy became acquainted with all his father’s oral instructions and became an exact copy of the venerable sage. 18 The old sage became as illustrious with his brilliant boy as the moon shining brightly with its retinue of resplendent stars.
19 Once on a time, sage Narada went to the heavenly abode of his father Brahma accompanied by his young boy and there made his obeisance to the first father of mankind.20 The boy also bowed down before his grandsire. Brahma, knowing the boy to be versed in the Vedas and sciences, took him up and set him on his lap. 21 Lord Brahma pronounced his blessings on the boy and knowing him to be born of the pot and acquainted with the Vedas, gave him the name of Kumbha (the pot).
22 O hermit, know that I am that son of the sage Narada and grandson of the great lotus-born Brahma himself. I am known by the name of Kumbha from my birth into the pot.23 I have the four Vedas for my companions and playmates. I always delight in their company and in the heavenly abode of my lotus-born grandfather, the divine Brahma. 24 Know that the goddess Saraswati is my mother and the Gayatri hymn is my maternal aunt. My home is in the heaven of Brahma where I dwell as the grandchild of the lord of creatures.
25 I wander at my pleasure throughout the wide extended world. I wander about with a soul full of joy, and not on any errand or business whatever. 26 I walk over the earth without touching it with my feet. Its flying dust does not approach my body, nor is my body ever fatigued from all its travels. 27 It happened this day that I came to see your hermitage in the course of my ethereal journey, so I directed my course this way in order to see you here. 28 Thus O forester, I have given you the whole story of my life as you have heard just now. It is a pleasure for good people to hold conversation with the good and wise.
29 Valmiki said:— As they were talking in this manner the day past away to its evening service and the sun set down below the horizon. The court broke and everyone left for his evening ceremonial washing, meeting again with the rising sun on the next morning.
• • •
Chapter 87 — Chudala, as the Brahmin boy, Criticizes Sikhidhwaja’s Withdrawal
1 Sikhidhwaja said:—
Sage, it appears to me that the hoarded merits of all my former lives have brought you to my presence here today, just as an unforeseen hurricane drives the waters of the sea on dry mountain tops. 2 I reckon myself as highly blessed among the blessed today to be this favored by your presence and cooled by your speech like ambrosial dew from your lips. 3 Never has more sensible speech touched and cooled my soul to such a degree as yours now. Therefore I consider your holy presence more precious to me than the gaining of a kingdom. 4 The unrestrained delight which is felt free from self-interest and selfish motives is far superior to the self-restricted pleasure of sovereignty, which is delightful only once in imagination.
5 Vasishta said:—
As the king was uttering these praises, the brahmin boy Kumbha passed over them in silence and interrupted.
6 Chudala (as the Brahmin boy, Kumbha) said:—
Sage, please put a stop to your words. Give me an account of yourself as I have given mine to you. Tell me who you are and what you are doing on this lonely mountain. 7 How long have you been living as a forester like this? What is your main object? Tell me the bare truth, because it is beyond the principles of an ascetic to utter anything but the plain truth.
8 Sikhidhwaja replied:—
Lord, as you are the offspring of a god, everything must be well known to you. The gods are fully acquainted with the secrets and circumstances of all people. I have very little to relate to you about me. 9 My fear of the world has made me abandon it and make a home in this forest. You know this well, but I will briefly tell you the story.
10 I am Sikhidhwaja, the ruler of a country which I renounced a long time ago for a seat in the forest. Know, O knower of all truths, that my fears of this world’s traps and future reincarnations in it have driven me to retire in this wilderness. 11 This accursed world is nothing but repeated pain and pleasure and repeated life and death. I have undertaken spiritual austerities in these solitary woods in order to evade all this.
12 I wander about and perform my rigorous austerities without any rest. I allow myself no rest, but keep my vigils like a miser over his few possessions. 13 I am without effort or attempt, and so without any fruit or result also. I am lonely and so helpless. I am poor and therefore friendless also. Divine personage, I am wearing out in this forest like a withered tree eaten by worms. 14 I strictly observe all my sacred rites without fail, yet I fall from one sorrow into a sea of sorrows. I have grown too pensive. Even ambrosial nectar is unpleasant to me.
15 Chudala (as the boy, Kumbha) said:—
Once I had my great proginitor, Brahma, tell me which is the more useful and preferable for mankind: the observance of duties or their nonobservance for the sake of knowledge.
16 Brahma replied, “No doubt knowledge is the supreme good because it leads a man to understand the unity of God and the oneness of himself. But action has been inculcated in man from creation as his duty in life, both for pleasure and for passing his lifetime. 17 Let those who have not acquired their intellectual light and the sight of the soul be employed in their duties to their offspring and fellow creatures. Who that lacks a silk robe will go about naked instead of wrapping himself with a blanket or coarse cloth?”
18 “The ignorant who are moved by their desires and live upon their hopes meet with their objects as the reward of their action. The knowing and speculative theorist, having no desire in his mind or action of his body, meets with no reward of either. 19 An action without its object goes to nothing and for nothing, just as fruit-bearing plants wither and die without being properly watered. 20 As the effect of one season on plants is displaced by that of the succeeding season, so the fruit of an action is frustrated by the lack of desire. 21 As it is the nature of kusa grass never to bear fruit, although they bear flowers, so my son, no action can produce any fruit without a desire for the object.”
22 “A boy’s mind, possessed with the idea of a ghost in his mind, sees a ghost before him. A sick man having hypochondria of his illness is soon attacked by it. 23 Kusa grass presents its fair flowers to view without ever bearing fruit. In the same way, a speculative theorist meditates on the beauty of his theory without producing its results by the practice.”
24 Sikhidhwaja said:—
But it is said that all human desire is vain, and its accompanying egoism is a fallacy, and that they are the creatures of our ignorance, like our error of seeing a sea in the burning sands of a desert. 25 So it is to the sage whose ignorance is completely removed by his knowledge of all things as the Divine Spirit. Of course, such a man has no desire rising in his mind, just as the eyes of the wise see no sea of water in the sands.
26 A person is freed from his bonds of his disease and death by forsaking his desires. When his internal soul becomes as perfect as a god, he is exempt from future birth. 27 But generally, the human mind is filled with desires and only the learned few are exempt. Transcendental knowledge of the knowable one exempts the divinely wise from their rebirth in this mortal world.
28 Chudala (as the boy, Kumbha) replied:—
It is true, O kingly sage, that Brahma and other gods, as well as all wise sages, say that knowledge is the chief good. In spite of your knowledge of this, why do you remain in this state of gross ignorance?
29 What is the meaning of these pots and staffs, these wooden stools and those seats of kusa grass? Why is it, O king, that you delight in these false playthings of fools? 30 Why do you not employ your mind to inquire into the questions of what you are, how this world came to be, and how and when it will cease to exist? Instead of inquiring in these solemn truths, you pass your time in foolishness like the ignorant.
31 Why don’t you discuss the nature of bondage and liberation in the company of the learned, and pay your homage at their venerable feet? 32 O king, do you want to pass your life in painful austerities, like some insects finish their days boring holes in the stones in which they live? 33 You can easily obtain the delight you seek if you will only take yourself to the service of holy men and keep company with the tolerant and wise souls, arguing with them on spiritual subjects. 34 Or you may continue to remain in your cave in this forest, living on the simple food of holy men, forsaking the evil propensities of your mind, and living like an insect in a hole under the ground.
35 Vasishta related:—
Being thus awakened to sense by his wife, the divine boy, Sikhidhwaja melted into tears. His face bathed in water, he spoke to the lad.
36 Sikhidhwaja said:—
O divine child, after such a long time you awake me to my senses. Now I perceive that it was my weak-headedness that drove me from the society of respectable to this lonely forest. 37 Ah! I find that my mind is today cleansed of its endless sins, which has brought you to me to criticize my past misconduct. 38 O beautiful boy, from now on I consider you to be my teacher, my father, and my best friend forever. I acknowledge myself as your pupil, therefore I bow down at your feet and pray you to take pity on me. 39 Please admonish me now on the subject of divine knowledge, as you are best acquainted with it, and whereby I may be freed from all my sorrows and settled with perfect peace and bliss of my mind.
40 Initially you said that knowledge is the supreme bliss or supreme good of mankind. Now tell me. What is that knowledge which saves us from misery? Is it the knowledge of particulars that leads us to know the specials, or that of the general which brings as to the transcendental?
41 Chudala (as the boy, Kumbha) replied:—
I will tell you prince as much as I know and what may be best acceptable to you. It is best to not throw away my words in vain, like crowing ravens about a headless trunk. 42Because words uttered in response to a person’s foolish questions are thrown in vain. Unheeded, they are as useless as eyesight in the dark.
43 Sikhidhwaja said:—
Sage, your words are as acceptable to me as the ordinances of the Vedas. Though you utter them without previous meditation, yet I have full faith in them.
44 Chudala (as the boy, Kumbha) replied:—
As a boy obeys the words of his father, knowing it to be pronounced for his certain good, so must you receive my words. 45 Believe that my advice is all only for your good. Hear them with proper attention. Listen to my words as you hear music, without inquiring into their reason or rhyme.
46 Let me tell you an interesting story of a certain person whose conduct and character in every way resembled yours, and who was brought back to his sense after long going astray. This is a tale to dispel the worldly cares and fears of the intelligent.
• • •
Chapter 88 — The Tale of the Rich Man Who Failed to Grasp the Real Philosopher’s Stone
1 Chudala (as Kumbha) related:— Once there lived a rich man who combined the opposite qualities of charity and poverty in his character, just as the sea contains water and undersea fires in its depth. 2 He was skilled in arts as he was practiced in arms. He was restrained in all dealings as he was expert in business. But his great worldly ambition to which he devoted all his pursuits kept him from the spiritual knowledge of the most high.
3 He employed all his endeavors to obtain the imaginary gem of the philosopher’s stone (chintamani), just as the undersea fire wants to devour the waters and dry up the sea bed. 4 After a lapse of a long time, his great enthusiasm and persevering patience succeeded in bringing him the precious gem at last, because there is nothing which may not be produced by man’s ardent zeal. 5 His attempts were successful because of his unwearied labor joined with firm resolution and a well directed plan. Using such means, even the meanest man is favored with fortune. 6 He saw the stone lying before him, ready to be grasped in his hand, like a hermit sitting on a mountain peak thinks he can easily grab the rising moon with his hand. 7 He saw the brilliant gem before him, but became mistrustful of his sight and the reality of the object, like a poor man, hearing of his sudden elevation to royalty, mistrusts the report and doubts that it was meant for him. 8 The rich man was immersed in his thoughts of amazement for a long time. Overlooking and neglecting to lay hold of his great gain, he kept questioning in his mind in the following manner.
The rich man’s thoughts:—
9 Whether this stone is a gem or not, and if so, whether it be the philosopher’s stone or any other, I fear that if I touch it, it will fly away or be soiled. 10 Until this time, no one has obtained the long sought philosopher’s stone. If ever anyone obtained it, the Shastra scriptures say it would be in his next life. 11 No doubt only my miserliness makes me wrongly see this brilliant gem before me with my eyes, like a short-sighted man seeing a flashing firebrand and deep-laid moon in the sky. 12 How could the tide of my fortune run so high at once that I should succeed so soon to obtain the precious stone that is the splendor and height of perfection and which produces all treasure?
13 There must be few, very few indeed, fortunate men who can expect their good fortune to court and wait on them at such little pain in such a short time. 14 I am only a poor and honest man possessed of very little qualification, worth or account among mankind. It is impossible that so miserable a wretch could ever be blessed with this masterpiece of perfection.
Chudala (as Kumbha) continues:— 15 For a long time the unbelieving rich man hung in a state of suspense between his certainty and uncertainty. He was so infatuated by his mental blindness that he did not even stretch out his hand to lay hold on the jewel lying openly before him. 16 Hence, whatever is obtainable by anyone at anytime is often missed and lost sight of because of either his ignorance or negligence of it, just as the precious gem in the parable, the sought after object that lay tangible in full view. 17 As the rich man was hanging undecided, frozen by his suspicion, the precious gem flew away and vanished from his sight, just as the deserving man avoids his critic, an arrow flies from its string, or a stone from its sling-shot.
18 When prosperity appears to a man, she confers on him her blessings of wisdom and prudence. But as prosperity forsakes her foolish devotee, she deprives him of all his discretion. 19 The man tried again to invoke and recall the precious gem to his presence, because the persevering spirit is never tired of trying again and again for his expected success. 20 He came to behold before him a brittle piece of glass, shining with its false glare like the former gem. This glass was placed before him by the invisible hands of a spiritual master who had come to tempt him and deride his folly. 21 The fool thought this brittle thing lying before him was the real gem, just as an ignorant fool believes sparkling sands to be pure gold dust.
22 Such is the case with the deluded mind.
It mistakes eight for six and foe for a friend. It sees a serpent in a rope and views desert land as a watery expanse. It drinks poison as if it was nectar and spies another moon in the sky in the reflection of the true one. 23 The rich man took up that fraudulent worthless imitation for a real gem. He thought it was the philosopher’s stone which would confer on him whatever he desired. With this belief he gave all he had to charity as they were no use to him anymore.
24 He thought his own country was devoid of everything that was delightful to him. He thought the society of its people were debasing to him. He thought his lost house was of no use of him and that his relatives and friends were averse to his happiness. 25 Thinking like this, he determined to remove himself to a distant country and enjoy his rest there. So taking his false gem with him, he went out and entered an uninhabited forest. 26 There his deceptive gem was of no use to him. It loaded him with all imaginable disasters, like the gloomy shadow of a black mountain and the horrid gloom of deep ignorance.
27 The afflictions brought on by one’s own ignorance are far greater than those caused by old age or the torments of death. The calamity of ignorance, like black hairs covering the crown of the head, supersedes all other earthly afflictions.
• • •
Chapter 89 — The Parable of an Elephant Twice Captured
1 Chudala (as Kumbha) said:— O holy hermit, let me tell you another very interesting story which well applies to your case, the ruler of a land, and which will serve to awaken your understandings.
2 There lived a large elephant in the Vindhya Hills. It was the leader of a great number of elephants, and in its big and elevated head, its understanding was as clear as the lofty summit of the mountain that was humbled down at the bidding of sage Agastya. 3 His two tusks were as strong as the thunderbolts of heaven, and as long and stunning as far reaching flashes of lightning. They were as destructive as the flames of the final destruction and so powerfully sharp that they could bore and uproot a mountain.
4 The elephant came to be caught in an iron trap laid by elephant catchers. He was fast held by it just like the Vindhya by sage Agastya’s charm, and just as the giant Bali was bound by the chains of Vamana. 5 The captive and patient elephant was tormented by an iron goad in his trunk. He suffered excruciating pains of his torture, like Tripurasura under the burning fire arrow of Shiva. 6 For three days the elephant lay in this sad plight, watched by his hunter from a distance. 7 The great suffering of the elephant made him open his mouth wide and utter a loud scream that growled like the loud noise of roaring clouds. 8 Then he exerted the force of both his tusks and thereby managed to break the iron bar, just as Bali of old broke open the bolts of the gate of heaven.
9 From a distance, the hunter saw the infuriated beast breaking his hard fetters, just as Lord Vishnu saw the demon Bali breaking out from his underground cell beneath the mountain in order to invade his heaven on high. 10 The elephant catcher climbed a tall palm tree, then jumped from its top in an attempt to land on the elephant’s head, but unfortunately he fell on the ground, just as the demon was hurled down to hell by the victorious Vishnu. 11 The hunter missed the head of the huge animal, instead falling headlong at his feet, just as a ripe fruit is dropped by hurrying winds.
12 Seeing the hunter falling and lying prostrate before him, the great elephant took pity, just as the noble mind is compassionate on others even in their own piteous state. 13The noble animal thought that it was no bravery on his part to trample over the self-fallen. Thus he had the magnanimity of sparing the life of his own enemy. 14 He broke only his chains and took his way leaving all obstacles and barriers, just as rushing waters bear down the strongest bridge. 15 His strength broke the strong net, but his piety spared the life of the weak man. He went off just like the setting sun after dispelling evening clouds.
16 After he saw the elephant had gone away, the hunter got up from the ground. He found that he was as safe and sound after his fall as he had been before it, just as the elephant had been relieved of his pains after breaking his chains. 17 In spite of the great impact of falling from the tall palm tree, the hunter felt no hurt in any part of his body, which is why I think that the bodies of scoundrels are fortified against every harm. 18 The wicked gain greater strength by execution of their repeated crimes, just as rainy clouds gather the more by their frequent showers. Thus the hunter renewed his hunt.
19 The elephant catcher felt very sorry at his failed attempt to catch the elephant, like the dejection of one who lost a treasure that had fallen into his grasp. 20 He sought about and beat the forest looking for the elephant hiding in the thickets, just as Rahu (the north node of the moon) rises in the sky to lay hold of the moon covered under clouds. 21 After a long search, he saw the elephant resting under a shady tree, like a warrior returned from the battlefield.
22 The cunning huntsmen collected a great many tools to trap the elephant at his resting place. 23 Near that place in the forest, he dug a round ditch, just as the great creator of the world stretched the ocean to encircle this earth. 24 Then he covered the great pit with green branches and leaves, just as autumn covers the face of the empty sky with fleecy and flimsy clouds.
25 One day the elephant was roaming at large in the forest and fell into the pit like a fragment of a rock on the coast falls headlong onto the sea shore. 26 The big elephant was caught in the round pit which was deep as the dreadful sea. He lay confined in it like some treasure is shut up in the hollow womb of a chest. 27 Trapped in the bottom of that far extending pit, the elephant passed his time in endless trouble and anxiety, like the demon Bali in his dark, underground cave.
28 This is the result of the silly elephant letting his cruel hunter go unhurt. Once before the hunter had caught him. If the elephant had made an end of him then, he would not have fallen into the pit to be caught a second time.
29 All foolish people, not having the foresight and precaution to prevent mishaps in the future, are greatly exposed to calamity like the Vindhyan elephant. 30 The elephant was happy with the thought of his freedom from the hunter’s chains. He did not think about any future mishap far away, and that was the only cause for his entrapment.
31 Know, O great soul, that there is no bondage of man except his own ignorance. Not even prisoners in jail are under such bondage as the intellectual servitude of freemen under their errors and prejudice. The greatest freedom of man is enlightenment of the soul and knowledge of the cosmos as one Universal Soul. Ignorance of this truth is the root of the slavery of mankind to the errors of this world.
• • •
Chapter 90 — Explanation of the Story of the Philosopher’s Stone
1 Sikhidhwaja said, “O divine boy, please explain the meaning of the parables of the true and false gems, and the unchained and tied up elephant, which you just told me.”
2 Chudala (as Kumbha) replied:— Listen as I expound on the meaning of my stories and their words. I have stored them in your heart and mind for the sake of enlightening your understanding.
3 That searcher after the philosopher’s stone undoubtedly was acquainted with science, but he had no knowledge of the truth. He searched for the gem but he did not know what it was. That man is you. 4 You are versed in the sciences like the rich man in the story, and you shine above others like the shining sun on mountain tops. But you do not have the rest and quiet derived from the knowledge of truth. You are immersed in your errors like a block of stone in water.
5 O holy man, know that the philosopher’s stone is to give up errors. O holy man, try to get that in your possession and with that set yourself above the reach of misery. 6 The renunciation of gross objects produces the pure joy of holiness. The abandonment of the world gives one sovereignty over his soul which is reckoned as the true philosopher’s stone. 7 Abandonment of all is the highest perfection, which you must soon practice, because indifference towards worldly grandeur shows the greatest magnanimity of the soul.
8 You, O king, have forsaken your kingdom together with your queen, riches, relatives and friends. You have rested in your renunciation like Brahma, the lord of creatures, rested at night after completing his act of creation. 9 You have gone too far from your country to this distant hermitage, like the bird of heaven, the great garuda, flew with his prey, the tortoise, to the farthest mountain of earth. 10 With your abandonment of all worldly goods, you have renounced your egotism and cleansed your nature from every stain, just as autumn winds disperse clouds from the sky. 11 Know that only by driving away the egoism of the mind and all desires from the heart does one get his perfection, the fullness of the world, and perfect bliss.
But you have been laboring under the ignorance of what is to be abandoned and what is to be retained, just as the sky labors under clouds. 12 It is not abandonment of the world which gives you that highest joy that you seek. You must seek something else.
13 When the mind is infested by its thoughts and the heart is corroded by the sores of its desire, all renunciation flies away like the stillness of a forest flies before a storm. 14 Of what use is the abandonment of the world to one whose mind is ever infested by his troublesome thoughts? It is impossible for a tree exposed to the storms of the sky to be at rest. 15 Thoughts constitute the mind, which is only another name for will or desire. So long as these are raging in a person, it is in vain to talk of controlling the mind.
16 The mind, occupied by its busy thoughts, in an instant finds the three worlds presenting themselves before it.
Therefore, what is the use of abandoning this world when the infinite worlds of the universe are present before the mind? 17 Renunciation flies on swift wings as soon as the mind entertains a desire, like a bird flying away as soon as it hears a noise. 18 Detachment is the main object for abandoning the world, but when you allow a care to rankle in your breast, you bid a farewell to your renunciation, just as one bids farewell to his honored and invited guest. 19 After you have let the precious gem of renunciation slip from your hand, you have chosen the false, glossy trifle of austerity for some fond wish that is desirable in your view.
20 I see your mind is fixed upon willful pains of your austerities, just as the sight of a deluded man is fixed upon on the moon’s reflection in water. 21 Forsaking the detachment of your mind, you have followed the cravings of your heart and chosen to live like a hermit, denying bodily passions, which is full of suffering from first to last. 22 He who forsakes the easy task of devotion to God, which is filled with infinite bliss, in order to undertake painful austerities is said to make a suicide of his own soul. 23 You took a vow of self-renunciation by renouncing all your earthly possessions. But instead of observing renunciation, you attached yourself to painful asceticism in this dreary wilderness.
24 You broke the bonds of your kingdom and moved away from its boundaries thinking they were too painful for you. But tell me, are you not constrained here to the far more unbearable and strong chains of rigid imprisonment and tiresome struggles of your asceticism? 25 I think you are much more involved in the care of defending yourself from heat and cold in this forest, and that you are bound more tightly to your rigors than you had any idea of before you left your kingdom. 26 Before you vainly thought to have obtained the philosopher’s stone, but at last you must find that your gain is not worth even a glass trinket.
27 Now sage, I have given you a full interpretation of the eagerness of a man to pocket the invaluable gem. No doubt you have comprehended its right meaning. Now store its meaning in the casket of your mind.
• • •
Chapter 91 — Explanation of the Parable of the Elephant
1 Chudala (as Kumbha) continued:— O great king, now hear me explain the meaning of the story of the Vindhyan elephant, which will be as useful to you as it will appear wonderful.
2 That elephant of the Vindhyan range is you in this forest. His two strong tusks are no other than the two virtues of reasoning and renunciation on which you lay your strength.3 The hunter who was the elephant’s enemy and trapped him is the personification of the great ignorance that has laid hold of you for your misery only. 4 Even the strong is foiled by the weak, led from one danger to another and from sorrow to sorrow just like the strong elephant was led by the weak hunter, and as you, O mighty king, are led by your imbecilic ignorance in this forest. 5 As the mighty elephant was caught in the strong iron chain, so you are held tightly in the trap of your desire which has brought all this calamity on you.
6 Man’s expectation is the iron chain. Expectations are stronger, harder and more durable than the metal. Iron rusts and wastes away in time, but our expectations rise high and hold us faster. 7 The hunter marked the elephant by remaining unseen in his hiding place. In the same way your ignorance lurks from a distance after you, marking you for his prey. 8 As the elephant broke the bonds of his enemy’s iron chains, so have you broken the ties of your peaceful rule and the bonds of your royalty and enjoyments. 9 O pious king, it is sometimes possible to break the bonds of iron chains, but it is impossible, O holy prince, to stop our growing desires and fond expectations.
10 The hunter who caught the elephant in the trap fell from on high to the ground. So was your ignorance also leveled to the ground, seeing you deprived of your royalty and all your former dignity. 11 When a man who is disgusted with the world wants to relinquish his desire of enjoyment, he makes his ignorance tremble, just as a demon who lives in a tree quakes with fear when the tree is felled. 12 When a self-resigned man remains devoid of desire for temporal enjoyments, he bids farewell to his ignorance, which quits him like the demon leaves his fallen tree. 13 A man getting rid of his animal gratifications demolishes the abode of his ignorance from the mind, just like a wood-cutter destroys the bird nests in the tree which he has cut down.
14 No doubt you have put down your ignorance by renouncing your royalty and resorting to this forest. Of course your mind is cast down, but it is not yet destroyed by the sword of your renunciation. 15 It rises again and gains renewed strength. Minding its former defeat, it has at last overpowered you by confining you in this wilderness and restraining you in the painful prison of your false asceticism.
16 If you can kill your fallen ignorance in any way, it will not be able to destroy you in your rigorous penance, though it has reduced you to this plight by your abdication of royalty. 17 The ditch that the hunter dug to encircle and trap the elephant is this painful pit of austerity which your ignorance has dug to capture you. 18 The many provisions and supplies the hunter placed over the ditch to entice the elephant are the very many expectations of future reward which your ignorance presents as reward for your penitence.
19 O king, though you are not the ignorant elephant, yet you are not unlike it, being cast in this forest by your incorrigible ignorance. 20 The ditch for the elephant truly was filled with tender plants and leaves for the elephant’s fodder, but your cave is full of rigorous austerities which no humanity can bear or tolerate. 21 You are still caged in this prison house of the ascetic’s cell, doomed to undergo all the imagined torments of your penance and martyrdom. You truly resemble fallen Bali confined in his underground cell. 22 No doubt you are the empty headed elephant, fast bound in the chain of false rigors and imprisoned in this cave of your ignorance.
Thus I have given a full exposition of the parable of the elephant of the Vindhya Hills. Now from this, pick out the best lesson for yourself.
• • •
Chapter 92 — The King Burns His Hermit Possessions
1 Chudala (as Kumbha) continued:—
Tell me king, what made you decline to accept the advice of Queen Chudala, who is equally skilled in morality as well as in divine knowledge? 2 She is an adept among those who know the truth. She actually practices all that she preaches to others. Her words are the dictates of truth. They deserve to be received with due deference. 3 You rejected her advice because of over confidence in your own judgment. Yet let me know, why did she not prevent you from parting with everything?
4 Sikhidhwaja replied, “But I ask you another question, and I hope you will answer. Why do you say that I have not renounced everything when I have resigned my kingdom, my home and my country, and when I have left my wife and all my wealth behind?”
5 Chudala (as Kumbha) replied:—
O king, you say truly that you have forsaken your kingdom and home, your lands and relatives, and even your wife and wealth, but that does not make your renunciation complete since none of these truly belong to you. They come of themselves and they go away from man. Only your egoism is yours, and that you have not yet gotten rid of. 6 You have not yet abandoned your egoism, which abandonment is the greatest delight of your soul. You cannot get rid of your sorrows until you are quite free from your egoistic feelings.
7 Sikhidhwaja said, “You say that my kingdom and possessions were not mine. Now all I have is this forest and these rocks and trees and shrubs. If I am willing to quit all these, would that be complete renunciation?”
8 Vasishta said:—
Hearing these words of the brahmin boy Kumbha, the conqueror of senses, King Sikhidhwaja held silence for a while, and returned no answer. 9 He wiped off his attachment to the forest from his heart. He made up his mind to move away, just as the current of a stream in rainy weather glides along and carries down the dust and dirt from its shores.
10 Sikhidhwaja said, “Now sage, I am resolved to leave this forest and bid farewell to all its caves and trees. Tell me, does this renunciation of everything form my absolute renunciation of all things?”
11 Kumbha replied:—
The foot of this mountain with all its woodlands, trees and caverns are not your property but are common to all. Then how can forsaking them be your absolute renunciation at all? 12 You still have not forsaken your egoism. You must get rid of your ego in order to be freed from the cares and sorrows of this earthly world. 13 If none of these things is mine, then how can total renunciation come from resigning my hermit’s cell and grove?
14 Vasishta said.:—
The self-governed Sikhidhwaja became awaked to his sense by Kumbha’s admonitions. For a moment the king remained silent with the light that shone within him. 15 His pure consciousness returned to his mind and the blaze of his right knowledge burnt away the impurities of his attachment to the hermitage, like a gust of wind driving dust from the ground.
16 Sikhidhwaja said, “Sage, I have taken this hermitage from my heart. I have forsaken my attachment to all its sacred, covered shelters and trees. Therefore consider me as having resigned my all and everything in world.”
17 Kumbha replied:—
How can I consider you as fully resigned by resigning these gardens and trees and everything else belonging to them? None of them belongs to you. You are not their owner and you do not deserve them in any way. 18 You have another thing that you must forsake, and that is the greatest and best thing that has fallen to your lot in this world. It must be by your renunciation of that thing that you can set yourself free from all.
19 Sikhidhwaja said, “If even this is not the all that I have and which you want me to resign, then take these earthen pots and basins, these hides and skins, and my cave also. Know that I will renounce all these forever and I will take myself elsewhere.”
20 Vasishta said:—
So saying the dispassionate king rose from his seat, his mind composed and quiet like an autumn cloud rising and dispersing on the top of a mountain. 21 Chudala, sitting on her seat as Kumbha, could not help smiling in amazement as she saw the king’s motions and movements, just as the sun laughs from above to see the foolish attempts of men on the earth below. 22 Kumbha looked steadily at Sikhidhwaja, sitting silently with the thought, “Ah! let him do whatever he likes. His sanctification and renunciation of the temporal articles of this world do not serve his spiritual edification at all.”
23 Sikhidhwaja then brought out all his sacred vessels and seats from his cave, collecting them all in one place like the great ocean yielding up all her submerged treasures after the great flood was over. 24 Having collecting them in a pile, the king set fire to them with dried fuel like the sunstone or glass igniting the combustible. 25 The sacred vessels and goods were set on fire and burnt down. The king left them behind and sat on a seat beside Kumbha, just as the sun sets on Mount Meru after he had burnt down in the world by the fire of dissolution.
26 The king said to his prayer beads, “You have been a trusted friend to me, your master, as long as I turn you on my fingers, counting beads. 27 And though I have turned you over and over with my sacred mantras in these forests, yet you have been of no service to me at all. 28 And though I have travelled with you, O my sacred casket, and I have seen many holy places in your company, still you have proved to be no good to me. I now resign you to the flames.”
29 The burning fire rose in flames and flashes in the sky appearing like glittering stars. Then he took his deerskin seat and threw it on the fire saying, “For so long I have carried you on my back like an ignorant stag. 30 My ignorance made me hold onto you for so long. Now you are at liberty to go your own way. May peace and bliss attend you forever. 31Ascend with the rising fire to heaven and twinkle there like the stars.” So saying he took off his hide garment from his body and committed it to the flames.
32 The king’s funeral pyre spread like a sea of fire driven about by winds blowing from the mountains. Then the king thought of also throwing his water pot into the fire. 33 He said to it, “You sage, who bore sacred water for all my sacred functions, O my good water pot, it is true that I do not have the power of properly compensating you for your past services. 34 You were the best model of true friendship, good nature, benevolence and constancy, and the best example of goodness and all good qualities in your great bounty.35 O you my water pot, who was the receptacle of all goodness to me, now depart your own way by your purification in the same sacred fire in which I first found you (the potter’s fire). May your ways all be blissful to you!” So saying he cast his water pot into the consecrated fire.
36 “All good things are to be given to the good or to the fire, but all bad things are cast off like the dust of the earth as foolish men fall to the ground by their secret craft. 37 It is well for you, my low mattress, to be put to fire and reduced to worthless ashes.” So saying, he took up his mattress and cast it into the flaming fire. 38 Soon the seat on which he used to sit in his pure meditation on God was committed to the flames, because it is better to give up something quickly if one has to get rid of it soon anyway.
39 “This, my alms-pot, which contained the best articles of food presented to me by good people, I now commit to this flame with whatever it has in it. 40 The fire burns a thing only once, until the burnt article ceases to burn anymore. Therefore I shun all the implements of my ceremonial rites in order to set me free from the bondage of all actions for ever more. 41 Be not sorry that I forsake you, for who is there that will bear things that are unworthy of himself?”
42 So saying, he threw all his cooking vessels, the plates and dishes of his kitchen, and everything else he needed or used in his hermitage into the fire. All these burned in a blaze like the world burning with all destructive fire of the final dissolution.
• • •
Chapter 93 — Chudala Explains the Meaning of Complete Renunciation
1 Vasishta said:—
Sikhidhwaja then rose up and set fire to his hut of dry leaves and grass. As very often is the case with foolish men, that they demolish the structure of their own fancy and caprice. 2 Whatever else was left of the hermit possessions, Sikhidhwaja took them all, one after the other, and set fire to them with his composed and unconcerned mind, observing a strict silence all the while. 3 He burnt and broke down everything, throwing away his food and preserved condiments, his clothes and everything else with a quite content state of his mind. 4 The hermitage was desolate, having been a human home awhile before. It resembled what was left of King Daksha’s sacrificial pavilion after its devastation by the all-devouring fire of Veerabhadra. 5 Frightened deer, afraid of the burning fire, left their beds where they had been laying and chewing cud at their ease and fled far away to distant deserts, just as townsmen flee from a burning quarter to distant places. 6 Seeing all the vessels and utensils burning, fueled by dry wood on all sides, the king seemed to remain quite content and careless amid the scene, retaining possession only of his body.
7 Sikhidhwaja said, “Now I am an all-abandoning saint. I have abandoned all desire and every object. I wonder how I have lived for so long before being awakened to my right knowledge by the holy lectures of my heavenly child. 8 I have now become a pure and perfect unit, quite conscious of the indescribable joy in myself. What use to me are all these attachments and objects of my ever varying desires?”
9 “As the knots of the rope that bind the soul to this world are cut and fall off one after the other, so the mind comes to feel its quiet composure until it attains its ultimate rest and inaction. 10 I am quite composed and at perfect ease with the extinction of my desires. I am joyous and rejoice in myself. My ties are all broken and fallen away from me. At last I have fully accomplished the abandonment of all things. 11 I have become as naked as the open sky and as roofless as the dome of the void. I see the wide world as an expanse of emptiness and myself as a nothingness within the whole emptiness.”
“Say, O divine boy, is there anything still lacking in my complete renunciation of everything?”
12 Kumbha replied:—
Yet you must be aware, O King Sikhidhwaja, that you are never released from all the bonds of this life by your renunciation of every physical thing that relates to the mortal and transitory state of your being. 13 By the abandonment of the innumerable seeds and sprouts of fond desires which constantly rise like thistles and thorns in the human breast, I see the gravity and purity of the nature of your soul is placed far above the reach and knowledge of the common people.
14 Vasishta said:—
On hearing these words of Kumbha, King Sikhidhwaja reflected on its meaning for a short while. He spoke these words in reply as you, O mighty armed Rama, shall now hear from me.
15 Sikhidhwaja said, “Tell me, O heaven born child! What else do you see remaining in me, other than the serpentine entrails within me and its supporting body composed of a heap of flesh, blood and bones? 16 If this body is reckoned as an extension of myself, then I will climb to the top of this mountain and let it fall to be dashed to pieces on the ground. Thus I will get rid of my mortal part forever.”
17 Saying so, as he was proceeding to sacrifice his body on the craggy hill before him, he was interrupted by his teacher Kumbha, who spoke to him as follows.
18 Kumbha said:—
What are you are going to, king? Why do you want to destroy your innocent body leaping from that hideous height like an enraged bull hurling its calf down a cliff? 19 What is this body but a lump of dull and gross matter, a dumb and poor painstaking thing. It never does you any harm, nor can you ever find any fault in it. Then why do you vainly wish to destroy something so harmless and faultless?
20 The body itself is a dull and dumb thing. It always remains in a torpid meditative mood. It is moved to and fro by other agencies, like a floating plank tossed up and down by the currents and waves of the sea. 21 He who hurts or annoys his inoffensive lady deserves to be punished with torture, like a cruel villain who robs and annoys a holy saint sitting in his solitary cell. 22 The body is quite guiltless of all the pain and pleasure that befall the living soul by turns, just as the tree is wholly unconcerned with the fall of its fruits and leaves dropped by the blowing winds. 23 You see wind gusts blowing down flowers, fruit and leaves from trees. Then tell me, O holy men! How you can charge an innocent tree with the fault of letting its best produce fall?
24 Know for certain, O lotus-eyed king, that even the sacrifice of your body is not enough to completely renounce all things. Renunciation of everything is not an easy matter.25 You intend to destroy this inoffensive body of yours in vain. Getting rid of your body does not cause your renunciation or freedom.
26 Your body has an enemy which agitates it like an elephant shaking a huge tree. If you can only get rid of this mortal enemy of your body and soul, then you are then said to be free from all. 27 Now king, by avoiding this deep-rooted enemy of yours, you are freed from the bondage of your body and everything else in this world. Otherwise, no matter how you may kill your body, you can never put a stop to its rebirth.
28 Sikhidhwaja replied, “Then what is it that agitates the body? What is the root of our reincarnations and of the doings and sufferings of our future lives? What is it that by avoiding it, we avoid and forsake everything in the world?”
29 Kumbha replied:—
Know, holy king, that forsaking your kingdom or your body, burning your hut and possessions, or all these things taken together, cannot constitute your renunciation of everything. 30 That which is all and everywhere is the one and only cause of everything. One renounces all by resigning everything in that sole existent being.
31 Sikhidhwaja said, “You are saying that there is an all existent situated in everything, and to whom all things are to be resigned at all times. Now sage, you who know the all, what is this all or combination of everything?”
32 Kumbha replied:—
Know, O holy man, this all-pervading being is known under various names like the living soul jiva, the life force prana, and many others. It is neither an active or inactive principle. It is called the mind which is ever liable to error.
33 Know that the mind is the seat of illusion that by itself makes the man. It is the essential constituent of every person and the mirror of all these worlds in itself. 34 Know the mind is the source of your body and properties. Know also that it is the root of your hermitage and everything else, just as one tree bears the seed of others. 35 Therefore, if you give up this seed of all events, then you really resign everything in the world which is contained in and depends on this primary seed and mainspring, the mind. All possible and impossible renunciation depends upon renunciation of the mind.
36 The man who is subject to his mind is always subject to cares, both when he is attentive to his duties or negligent of them, or whether he rules his kingdom or flies from it to a forest. But the man of a well governed mind is quite content in every condition of life. 37 The mind revolves constantly like the turning world. It evolves itself into the forms of the body and its limbs, just as a minute seed displays itself in the shape of a tree and its branches and leaves. 38 As trees are shaken by winds, as mountains are shaken by earthquakes, and as waves are blown by air, so the animated body is moved about by the mobile force of the mind.
39 These miserable mortals who are born to death and decay, those happy few who live to enjoy the pleasures of life, and the great sages with staunch hearts and souls are alike bound to their minds. 40 The mind acts its different roles in all the various forms and figures on the stage that is this world. It shows its gestures in the motions of the body. It lives and breathes in the shape of the living spirit. It thinks and reflects in the form of the mind. 41 It takes different names like the understanding buddhi, consciousness, egoism, life or prana, and the intellect according to its different internal functions in the body. It is called the silent soul when it is without any action assigned to it.
42 The mind is said to be the all in all. By getting released of the mind, we are released of all diseases and dangers. Then we are said to have avoided and abandoned everything. 43 O you who wants to know what renunciation is, you must know that renunciation of the mind is renunciation of all. If you succeed renouncing your mind, you come to know the truth and feel the true joy of your soul. 44 Rid your mind, you get rid of the unity and duality of creeds and come to perceive all diversities and pluralities blend in one universal whole which is transcendental tranquility, transparent purity, and undiminished joy. 45 The mind is the field for everyone’s career in this world. But if this field is overgrown with thorns and brambles, how can you expect to grow rice in it?
46 The mind shows its manifold aspects and plays its many parts at will. It turns and moves in the forms of things, just as waters roll in the shapes of waves. 47 Know, young king, that abandonment of all things by renouncing your mind will add to your joy, like gaining a kingdom for yourself. 48 In the matter of self-renunciation, you have been on the same footing as other men in that you resign whatever you dislike and want to have something for which you have a liking.
49 He who connects all the worlds with himself, like a thread connecting pearls in a necklace, is the man who possesses everything by renouncing all things from himself. 50The soul is unattached to all things, yet it connects and passes through them all like the thread of the Divine Soul connects the worlds like a string of pearls. 51 The soul with no attachment to the world is like lamp without oil that soon burns out into darkness. But the spirit that is warm with its affections is like lamp with oil that burns with universal love and enlightens all objects around it. 52 The Lord who lives aloof from all resembles a lamp without oil in darkness, but the same Lord manifesting himself in all things resembles the lamp with oil that lights every object.
53 After you have renounced all your possessions, you still remain by yourself. In the same way, after you have renounced your body, mind and all, you still have your consciousness, which you can never get rid of. 54 You have burned all your possessions but you have not burned any part of your body. In the same way, by your renunciation of all things, you cannot resign yourself or your soul. That would amount to nirvana or utter extinction.
55 Total renunciation means emptying the soul of all its worldly attachments. Then the soul becomes the seat of all knowledge, the ethereal paradise of hosts of celestial beings. 56 Total renunciation is like the fountain of youth that drives away all fear of disease and death with a single drink. The soul remains untouched by the cares of the world, just as the clear sky is not colored by spots of clouds. 57 Again, total renunciation is the complete abandonment of all affections. It gives a man his true greatness and glory. As you get rid of your temporary affections, so you get the stability of your understanding and the firmness of your determination.
58 Total renunciation, the abandonment of all, is filled with perfect delight. Its contrary is attended with extreme misery. This is a certain truth. Knowing this, choose what you think is best for you. 59 He who gives away his belongings in this life comes to possess them again in his future state, just as rivers that pour their waters into the sea are again filled by flood tide. 60 After complete renunciation in the mind, its emptiness is filled with full knowledge of them, like an empty box that holds rich gems and jewels, which is highly gratifying to the soul.
61 It was by virtue of his renunciation of all things (in the mind) that Sakyamuni, the Lord Buddha, became brave and fearless amidst the troubles of the Kali Age and sat as firm as a rock. 62 Total renunciation of all things is equivalent to acquiring all prosperity because the Lord gives everything to he who dedicates and devotes his all to Him.
63 O king, after your abandonment of all things you have become as quiet as the calm atmosphere. Now try to be as graceful as the graceful moon by the pleasantness of your manners. 64 Now, O high minded king, forget your past abdication of crown and kingdom. Forget your renunciation of all things in this hermitage. Drive away the pride of your total abandonment of all that you had, and be of a clear and pleasing countenance.
• • •
Chapter 94 — Kumbha Enlightens Sikhidhwaja Regarding the Mind and Ultimate Causation
1 Vasishta continued:—
As the disguised boy was admonishing Sikhidhwaja in this manner on the renunciation of mind, the king thought inwardly on its meaning, then spoke as follows.
2 Sikhidhwaja said, “I find my mind is always fluttering, like a bird in the open sky of my bosom. My mind is constantly lurking like an ape in the wilderness of my heart. 3 I know how to restrain my mind, like they do fish in a net, but I do not know how to get rid of it when it is so engaged with the objects of sense. 4 Please sage, first acquaint me with the nature of the mind, and then teach me the method of renouncing it forever.”
5 Kumbha replied:—
Great king, know that desire is the intrinsic nature of the mind. The word desire is a synonym for the mind. 6 Abandonment of the mind is very easy, more easily accomplished than stirring it, and is attended with a greater delight than possessing a kingdom can afford, more pleasant than the scent of fragrant flowers.
7 But it is very difficult for the ignorant to forsake the desires of their minds. It is as hard for them as it is for a peasant to exercise the powers of a kingdom, or for a heap of grass to be as high as a mountain.
8 Sikhidhwaja said, “I understand that it is the nature of the mind to be full of desires. But I find trying to rid the mind to be as impossible as swallowing an iron bolt. 9 I find the mind to be like a fragrant flower in the great garden of the world, and also like the fire pit of all our grief. It is the stalk of the lotus of the world, and it is the wind that blows the gusts of delusion all over the world. Now tell me how this thing may be removed easily? 10 The mind is the locomotive engine of the body. It is the bee that flutters about the lotus of the heart. Now tell me, how can I easily get rid of this mind?”
11 Kumbha answered:—
Total eradication of the mind consists in extinguishing the entire world from it. The learned and men of long foresight say that this is abandonment of the mind.
12 Sikhidhwaja replied, “I think extinction of the mind is better than our abandonment of it, on account of securing the success of our purposes. But how can we know the gradual removal of the mind from the hundreds of diseases to which it is subject?”
13 Kumbha replied:—
Egoism is the seed and root of the tree of the mind, with all its branches and leaves and fruit and flowers. Therefore root out the mind with its very seed of egoism and you have your breast as clear as the empty and clear sky.
14 Sikhidhwaja replied, “Tell me, O sage. What is the root of the mind? What are its sprouts and fruit? Tell me also how many stems and branches it has, and how it is possible to root it out all at once.”
15 Kumbha replied:—
Know, O king, that egoism and all the other words that express the self, such as “mind” or “I” or “me” and the like are the seeds of the tree of the mind.
16 The field of its growth is the Supreme Soul, which is the common source of all beings. But that field being filled with illusion, the mind is deluded to believe itself as a first born sprout springing out of this field. 17 Understanding is the certain knowledge of the mind in its discrete state. Pure understanding is when the germ or sprout of the mind has reached its state of maturity.
18 Understanding (buddhi), when subject to various desires, takes the name of wasteful mind (chitta). Such a mind makes the living being, which is as hollow as a carved stone image, a mere false conception. 19 The body is the stem of this tree of the mind, and it is composed of skin, bones and juicy tissues. 20 The branches of the tree of the mind extend over a great distance all around, and so the sense organs of the body protrude wide about it, perishing in the end trying to seek its enjoyment. 21 Now try to cut off the branches of the tree of your mind and root out the harmful tree all at once.
22 Sikhidhwaja said, “Perhaps I can cut off the branches of the tree of mind somehow or another. But tell me, O my sagely teacher, how can I pull out the entire tree all at once?”
23 Kumbha replied:—
All our desires are the various branches of this tree. They are hanging with loads of fruit and they are cut off with the axe of our reason. 24 He alone is able to cut out the tree of his mind who is unattached to the world, who holds his silence and inner tranquility, who is wise in all discussions, and who does whatever offers itself to him at anytime. 25 He who uses his manliness of reason and discretion to cut off the branches and brambles of the tree of his mind is also able to uproot this tree from his heart all at once.
26 The first thing to be done with the mind is to root it out from the heart all at once. The next process is to lop off its branches. Therefore employ yourself more to uprooting it entirely instead of severing of its branches. 27 You may also burn it as the first step instead of cutting the branches. When the great trunk of the tree of the mind is reduced to ashes, there remains an entire mindlessness at last.
28 Sikhidhwaja said, “Tell me, O my sagely guide, what fire can burn away the seed of the tree of the mind which is covered with the skin of egoism?”
29 Kumbha replied:—
King, the fire that is able to consume the seed of the harmful plant of the mind is the examination of the question, “What am I that bears this corporeal form upon me?”
30 Sikhidhwaja said, “O sage! I have repeatedly considered questions in my own understanding and found that my egoism does not consist in anything of this world, or of this earth, or of the woods that form its ornaments. 31 My ego resides nowhere in the hills and forests where I lived, or in the shaking of the leaves before me. It does not lie any part of my gross body or in its flesh, bones or blood. 32 It does not lie in any of the organs of action or in the organs of sensation. It does not lie in the mind or in understanding or in any part of the gross body.”
33 “As we see gold in the form of a bracelet, so do I conceive the intelligent soul in the form of my egoism because it is impossible for any material substance to have anything like intelligence. 34 All real existence depends on the Supreme Soul for its existence. All real entities exist in the supreme essence. It is impossible for anything to exist in a nothingness, just as there is no possibility for a forest to exist in an emptiness.”
35 “Thus sage, knowing full well that my egoism is an aspect or shadow of my eternal soul and worthy to be wiped off from it, yet I regret my ignorance of the intrinsic spirit which is to be wiped clean so that the internal soul can be seen in full light.”
36 Kumbha replied:—
If you are none of these material objects, as you say, and if your egoism does not consist in materiality, then tell me prince, what you think yourself to be in reality?
37 Sikhidhwaja answered, “O most learned sage, I feel myself to be that intelligent and pure soul which is of the form of consciousness which acquaints me of all existence and which discriminates their different natures. 38 I perceive my egoism is attached to my body, but I am perfectly ignorant whether it is a caused or causeless principle. 39 I am unable, O sage, to rub out this sense of my egoism as an unreality, as something without essence. That is what I greatly regret in myself.
40 Kumbha said:—
Tell me O king. What is that great foulness which you feel is attached to you? What makes you act as a man of the world? Do you think it to be something or a mere delusion?
41 Sikhidhwaja replied, “The sense of my egoism, which is the root of the tree of my mind, is the great foulness that attaches to me. I do not know how to get rid of it. However I try to shun it, the more it clings to me.”
42 Kumbha said:—
Every effect is produced from some cause or other, and this is the general law of nature everywhere. Anything otherwise is as false as seeing a second moon in the sky, which is nothing but a reflection of the true moon. 43 The cause produces the effect, whether it is a big one or a small element of it. Therefore explore the cause of your egoism, and tell me what it is.
44 Sikhidhwaja replied, “My sagely guide, I know that mere illusion is the cause of the fallacy of my egoism. But tell me sage, how is this error of mine to subside and vanish? 45My mind’s inclination towards phenomena makes me suffer all these pains and pangs within myself. Now tell me, O muni sage, how to suppress my thoughts of external objects.”
46 Kumbha said:—
Tell me whether your thinking and knowing are the cause of whatever you think or know, or whether whatever you think or know activates your thinking and knowing powers. If you can tell me this, then I shall be able to explain the process of cause and effect. 47 Now tell me which do you think is the cause and not the cause of knowing and knowable, and of thinking and the thinkable, which are the subjects of my question to you.
48 Sikhidhwaja answered, “I think, O sage, that what the body senses is the cause of thinking and thoughts, and of knowing and what is known. 49 Our knowledge of things appears only in forms of bodies that can be sensed. Otherwise, a mere abstract thought of a thing is as insubstantial as an airy nothing. 50 As I can not conceive the nonentity of a positive entity or the abstract nature of a concrete body, so I do not know how I can ignore my egoism which is the seed of my mind.”
51 Kumbha said:—
If you rely on your material body as a real existence, then tell me, when your soul is separated from the body, what does your knowledge depend upon?
52 Sikhidhwaja replied, “The body, evident to view and a real entity, cannot be taken as unreal by anybody, just as the tangible sunlight cannot be called darkness by any man with common sense. 53 Who can ignore the body? It is full with hands and feet and other parts. It is full of life and activity. Its actions are tangible to sight and evident to our perception.”
54 Kumbha said:—
Know O king, that nothing can be said to exist which is not produced by some cause. The knowledge or consciousness that we have of something cannot be produced only by mistake and error. 55 There can be no product without a similar cause, and no material form can come out from a formless and immaterial agent. How can anything come to existence without having its seed of a similar nature?
56 Whatever thing appears to anyone without a true cause is as false an appearance to its deluded observer as a mirage in a desert. 57 Know that you are no real existence, only a false shape of your error. Whatever earnestness you take to it, you will never get any water from this delusive mirage.
58 Sikhidhwaja said, “It is as useless to inquire into the cause of a nonentity, just as it is fruitless to look into the origin of the secondary moon which is only a false reflection of the true one. Believing in a nothingness is like decorating the body of a barren women’s son.
59 Kumbha replied:—
The body with its bones and ribs is the product of no assignable cause. Therefore know it to be a nonentity because it is impossible for the frail body to be the work of an everlasting Maker.
60 Sikhidhwaja said, “Now tell me sage, why we should not reckon our parents as the causes and producers of our bodies, with all theirs members and parts, since they are known as their immediate causes?”
61 Kumbha replied:—
The parents can be nothing and no cause without having another cause for them, because whatever is without a cause is nothing in itself. 62 The causes of all things and effects are called their seeds. When there is no seed in existence, it is impossible for a seedling to be produced. 63 Therefore, when you cannot trace out the cause of an event, account the event as no event at all. There can be nothing without its seed, and the knowledge of a causeless effect or event is an utter impossibility and fallacy of the understanding.
64 It is an extreme error to suppose the existence of a thing without its cause or seed, such as to suppose the existence of two moons in the sky, of water in a mirage, or the son of a barren woman.
65 Sikhidhwaja said, “Now tell me sage, why should not our parents be taken as the causes of our production, who had our grandfathers and grandmothers for the causes or seeds of their birth likewise. Why should we not reckon our first great grandfather (Brahma) as the first progenitor of the human race?”
66 Kumbha replied:—
The first great grandfather, O king, cannot be the original cause, since he also requires a cause for his birth or else he could not come into existence. 67 Even the great grandfather of creation, Brahma himself, must have a cause, a seed from the Supreme Spirit which produced him, or else the visible form in which he appears is no more than a mere delusion. 68 The form of the visible world is as great a fallacy as the appearance of water in a mirage. The creation of the great grandfather Brahma is no more than a false misconception.
69 I will now wipe off the dark cloud of your error, that our great grandfather Brahma was conceived in the womb of the Supreme Spirit. This will be the salvation of your soul.
70 Therefore know, O king, that the Lord God shines forever with his intelligent soul and mind in Himself. It is from him that the lotus-born Brahma and the entire universe are manifest to our view, and that there is nothing which exhibits itself without Him.
• • •
Chapter 95 — Sikhidhwaja Understands that God Is No Cause of Anything Separate
1 Sikhidhwaja said, “If the sight of the entire universe is only a phantom, and our knowledge of me, you, and of this and that is only an error of our minds, then why should be concerned or sorry about anything?”
2 Kumbha replied:— The false impression of the world’s existence has firmly laid hold of men’s minds, just as people believe frozen water is dry land. 3 The learned say that knowledge of gross matter is lost with the dispersion of ignorance, and there is no way to get rid of this long contracted prejudice without getting rid of ignorance. 4 Only acute understanding is the means to know the truth: that the creation and dissolution of the world depend upon the will and causality of the Supreme Being. 5 He who understands this is sure to lose his rooted prejudice by degrees and come to the knowledge that the material world is a nothing.
6 By refining your mind away from its predisposition to assume the existence of gross forms, you will come to realize how the idea of the creator, such as Brahma or the Prime Male, is as false as water in a mirage. 7 If the great grandfather of the world is a nothingness, then his creation of all creatures (Prajapati, Lord of Creatures) is similarly false and void, as it is absurd for all impossibility to come into being. 8 The perception of a thing in actual existence is as false as the perception of water in a mirage. A little analysis is enough to remove this error, like the mistake of seeing silver in sea shells.
9 Any object that appears to exist without a cause is only a phantom of error and has no essential form whatever in reality.
10 Whatever is done by one’s false knowledge or mistake is of no use, just as the attempt to fill a pot with the water from a mirage proves to be utterly vain.
11 Sikhidhwaja said, “Why cannot we call the Supreme Brahman to be the cause of Brahma, the first creator of the world who is called the son of God, the one unborn and without end, inexpressible and everlasting?”
12 Kumbha replied:— God Brahman, being neither the cause nor the effect of any action, is only an unchanging unity and transcendent spirit. He is never the cause or effect of anything. 13 How can the incomprehensible and unknowable Brahman be designated the creator when he has no property of creator or created or the instrument or cause of anything?
14 The world has no separate cause. It is not the separate product of any causality whatever. It is no duality but one with unity, without beginning or end, coeternal with the eternal one. 15 He that is inconceivable and unknowable is perfect joy, tranquility and ever without decay. The One can never be the active or passive agent of anything because immutability is his nature. 16 Therefore there is nothing like a creation and the visible world is only a nothing. The Lord God is neither an active nor a passive agent, but quite still and full of bliss.
17 There being no causal power, the world is not the production of anybody. It is only our error that this world is a production without any assignable cause. 18 The uncaused world is the product of nothing and therefore nothing in itself. For if it be the production of nobody, it is a nothingness like its cause also.
19 The nonexistence of anything or the nonexistence of everything is proved as a certain truth. We can have no conception of anything. In the absence of such conception, it is vain to suppose the existence of an egoism or you.
20 Sikhidhwaja said, “Sage, now I perceive the truth. I find all that you have said to be reasonable. Now I see that I am the pure and free soul, quite aloof of any bondage or its liberation from bonds. 21 I understand Brahman is no cause of anything because he is entirely without any causation. The world is a nothingness for lack of its cause, and therefore there is no being whatever which we reckon as differentiated.
22 Therefore there is no such category as the mind or its seed, or growth or decay. Therefore I bow down to myself of which alone I have consciousness in me.
23 I am only conscious of myself. I only know existence in myself. I have no real knowledge of anything except me. All else appears like fleeting clouds in the womb of the sky.
24 The distinct knowledge of the different categories of time, place, and action in the world is now entirely blended with the knowledge of the unity of the tranquil spirit of Brahman. 25 I am tranquil, calm and quiet and settled in the spirit of God. I neither rise nor fall from or move about any of these props on this stage. I remain as you do, in the immovable spirit of God, which is all quiet, holiness, and joy in itself.
• • •
Chapter 96 — Kumbha Explains God and Creation Are the Same; Consciousness
Depicts Creation (God) According to Its Thoughts
1 Vasishta said:— Sikhidhwaja, having found his rest in the spirit of Brahman, remained quiet for some moments, like a steady and tireless candle flame in a calm, windless place. 2 As he was about to be absorbed in unwavering meditation, he was suddenly roused from his trance by the distraction of Kumbha’s voice.
3 Kumbha said:—
O king, I see you are not waking from the sleep of your entranced meditation in which you are situated in perfect bliss. You must neither be absorbed in your contemplation nor be a complete stranger to your abstract meditation either. 4 The mind undivided in its attention is cleansed from all deceit. Freed from its knowledge of parts and particulars, the mind becomes emancipate in its living state.
5 Being thus enlightened by Kumbha, the king became full of enlightenment. Roused from his trance, he shone as brightly as a rich gem when taken out of its cover. 6 The king saw the unreality of visible things in his state of quietism. He now perceived them spread all about him, and he spoke about them to Kumbha.
7 Sikhidhwaja said, “Though I know full well about all these things, yet I want to propose some questions regarding them. I hope you will give answers for my correct and perfect knowledge of them. 8 Tell me, how can we reconcile the impure conception of the Universal Soul representing the universe with the pure idea of the Supreme Soul which is ever calm, quiet and transparent?”
9 Kumbha replied:— You have asked well, O king. This shows the clarity of your understanding. If this is all that you want to know, then hear me explain it fully to you.
10 Whatever is seen here and everywhere, together with all moving and inert creation, are all perishable and become extinct at the end of every kalpa age. 11 At the end of the kalpa age, the true and essential reality remains in an obscure chaotic state, deprived of both light and darkness. 12 This essential reality is Divine Consciousness, pure and quiet and as clear as the transparent air. It is free from all attributes and full of transcendental intelligence. 13 The one that remains at the end of a kalpa is the Supreme Soul. It extends over all space and is purely bright, transparent and quiet. It is enveloped in light and is pure intelligence. 14 It is inscrutable and unknowable, even and quiet, and full of bliss. It is called Brahman the great, the final extinction of all bodies, full of all knowledge.
15 It is the smallest of the small and the largest of whatever is large in the universe. It is the greatest of anything that is great and heavy and it is the best of whatever is good and excellent. 16 It is so very small that if you place this sky beside it, the sky will appear as big as the great Mount Meru by the side of a small atom. 17 It is also so very big and bulky that if this stupendous world were placed side by side to it, the world must appear like an atom before it, or vanish into nothing. 18 Brahman is attributed with the name of Universal Soul because it pervades the entire universe and is its intrinsic soul. Its exterior appearance is called by the title of Viraj (All Radiant).
19 There is no difference between the description and what it describes, just as there is none between the air and the wind, air in motion, and as sky and emptiness are synonyms. The universal Consciousness is the phenomenal world, and the same consciousness is manifested in the forms of “I” and “you.” 20 As wind makes water become a wave at a certain time and place, so the world rises and falls at times in the Supreme Soul without any external cause. 21 As gold is transformed into bracelets at certain times and place, by some means or another, so the spirit of God is transformed into the visible world at certain times, without any assignable cause whatever.
22 The most glorious God is lord of his kingdom of the world. He is one with his creation, ever pure, quiet, and without decay. He pervades over all these worlds scattered like tufts of grass all around us. 23 This transcendentally good and great God is the only real existence. God comprises all temporary and finite existences within himself. Through our own reasoning, we know that this glorious creation of the universe is all derived from him.
24 Know him, O king, to be the essence of the extended universe, extending his form of complete consciousness over everything, a unity that never admits of a duality. 25Therefore there is no reason to conceive a duality beside his unity because God’s unity is the sole principle of the Supreme Soul, fully manifest in everything in its ever undiminished and everlasting state. 26 The Lord always remains as the all in all, manifest in all various forms, neither visible nor perceptible by us. He cannot be said to be the cause or effect of anything.
27 The Lord, being neither perceptible nor conceivable by us, is something super-eminently good and super-fine. He is all and the soul of all, too fine and transparent and known only by our conceptions of him because he has no conscious perception whatever. 28 Being inexpressible by words and manifest in all without manifestation or appearance of himself, he cannot be the cause of whatever is real or unreal.
29 That which has no name of itself cannot be the seed of another. No nameless nothing can grow anything, nor can a corresponding world spring out of a non-corresponding spirit. 30 Indeed, the inexhaustible mass of Divine Consciousness is no cause or casual instrument or effect of anything. The product of the Divine Soul must be something of the form of the invisible soul, which is everlasting consciousness or intelligence.
31 So, O sage, nothing is produced by the Supreme Brahman, nor does anything arise from Him, like waves from water that have wind for their cause. 32 All distinctions of time and place are absent in the uniform and unchanging spirit of Brahman. There can be no creation or destruction of the world from him, and hence the world is uncreated and without any cause.
33 Sikhidhwaja said, “I know that the waves of water are caused by winds of the air, and so I understand this world and our egoism and the like have their causality in the Supreme Spirit.”
34 Kumbha replied:— O king, now know the positive truth. As I am telling you after all, there is nothing like a separate world or our separate ego existing in Supreme Spirit. The world and the ego exist as one with the Divine Spirit, without bearing any distinct name or personality at all.
35 As subtle ether contains the subtle element of vacuum in its bosom, so the Divine Soul entertains in itself the fine spun idea of the mundane system without its substance. 36Whether you behold this world in its true form of Divine Consciousness, or in any other form of gross matter, it is to be correctly understood as nothing but a representation of Divine Consciousness. 37 The full knowledge of something makes it sweet to the understanding, even though it may be as bitter as gall to taste. Imperfect knowledge of something, such as that of the world, makes it appear as if full of grief, even though there is no such thing in reality.
38 Ambrosia, the water of life, being taken as a poison will act as poison in the patient’s constitution. So the Lord of intellect appears in a favorable or unfavorable light according to how knowledge or ignorance represents him to our understanding. 39 The blessed Lord God appears to us in a benevolent or non-benevolent aspect, just as our true and false knowledge paints him in our minds, and just as the blinded eye sees many a false sight in the light of the sun. 40 The essence of Brahman always remains the same in his essential form of consciousness, but because of the depravity of our understanding, he is represented in one form now, then in another at a different time and under different
circumstances. 41 In fact, the body and the embodied soul appear as any other sensible object in the world, but when viewed in the abstract light of reality, they blend in the spiritual form of God.
42 Therefore it is vain to make any inquiry concerning the nature of the world and our egoism and the like. What is really exists is to be inquired into, and not that which is a nothingness in itself. 43 It is vain to ask about an appearance, which being looked into vanishes into nothing. It is equally vain to speak of the essence of gold when it presents us with no form. 44 Without the existence of God, there is no entity called the world or our egoism. Having no cause, these things are identical with the one self-existent God.
45 The world does not appear of itself. It rests like a carving in the spirit of God. It shows itself as separate to us only by illusion. 46 These existences composed of the five elements produce many other beings, just as males and females mate and produce their offspring in infinity. So Divine Consciousness, being joined with the illusory intelligence, presents endless forms to our view. 47 Through God’s inherent knowledge, the Divine Soul represents itself in the shapes of the many things that are comprised in his omniscience. He is full in himself and manifests his fullness in himself. He is never wanting in his fullness which always exists in Him. 48 The fullness of the world is derived from the fullness of God. Yet the Divine fullness remains complete, just as when you deduct from the infinite, the remainder is still infinite.
49 Divine Consciousness, though forever the same and serene, appears to shine forth in creation because of our knowledge of creation, which dissolves with our imperceptibility of it. So our egoism, being the same with the Divine Ego, appears to be different from it, just as our fluctuating minds depict it in various lights. 50 The Divine Self never becomes many and never forsakes its state without decay. It is of a luminous form and its essence has no beginning or end. It assumes as many forms as the ever changing mind imposes upon it. 51 At one time, the identical soul believes itself to be Viraj, lord of the world, and at another, to be a contemptible being. Sometimes it sees itself in its true form of divinity and at another time its thought makes it think it is some other thing.
52 The world appears as a vast and extended space, perfectly quiet in its nature, inexpressible by words or their meanings.
All its objects are of wonderful shape to view and appear to us according to our conceptions without showing their real nature to us.
• • •
Chapter 97 — Kumbha: How Variety Appears in Unity
1 Kumbha continued:— Nothing is ever produced or destroyed by the ever tranquil spirit of God. Everything appears as the panorama of the one all God, just like the various kinds of ornaments are made of the same metal of gold. 2 Brahman remains forever in his own essence. He never becomes the seed or cause of any other thing. He is ever of the form of our innate conception of him, and therefore never becomes anything other than our simple idea of him.
3 Sikhidhwaja said, “O sagely guide, I grant that there exists no separate world or any other individual ego in the one pure Shiva, except his own essence of omniscience. But please tell me, what is this world and what are these individual egos that seem to be infinite in number and appear as distinct creations of God?”
4 Kumbha replied:— The essence of God is without beginning or end and extends to infinite space and time. 5 The same is also true of this transparent cosmos, and that is the body of this world which is simply a form of Divine Consciousness and not any void or any separate thing. 6 The essential property of God is his consciousness, therefore he is said to be of essence of consciousness.
Just as fluidity is the property of water, so consciousness is the essential property of everything. There is no reason to suppose that the prime cause of all is an unintelligent principle. 7 The Lord is infinite in himself. He is situated in his infinitude forever without the grossness of even infinitesimals ever attaching to pure intelligence in the subjective soul.
8 We cannot attribute the creation of the impure world to the pure essence of the Divine Spirit. The purity of the Divine Soul cannot admit the impurity of creation, which would amount to a duality of purity and impurity in the Supreme Soul. 9 The Lord can never be supposed as the seed or cause of the universe. His nature is inscrutable and beyond our conception. He cannot be thought of as the root of anything whatever. 10 There is no creation or production of an effect without its cause or seed, and reason does not suggest any other source of creation. 11 Therefore there is no gross creation whatsoever, only the form of the intellect itself. All that is visible to us is nothing other than the solid intellect itself.
12 The feeling of egoism and the term “world” are meaningless words and mere inventions of men because nothing can be called an effect or product which has no cause assigned to it. 13 The duality of the world appears in the unity of God in the same manner as sky flowers appear in the hollow vacuum of the sky. All things, being perishable in their nature, can exist only in the intellect in which they live and die.
14 Destruction is not the giver of life to destruction, nor is it a giver of life to perishable things. Therefore consciousness is the giver of light to all, but you may call it by whatever name you like the best. 15 What difficulty is there, provided all things are to called one, when all have come from the intellect? What you call duality is only a mystery of consciousness (chit). 16 The intellect is the only true entity, and it admits no unity or duality in it. Therefore, O king, you must know that all other entities are nothing beside it.
17 The feeling of your individual ego is as false as your conception of any other thing. If the idea of individual ego is proved false, what else can there be except the only entity of the intellect? 18 Thus ego being nothing other than a form of the intellect, there is no difference whatever between them. Hence the words “I” and “you” and the like are mere human inventions to distinguish one form from another.
19 Whether you remain in your embodied or disembodied state, continue to remain always as firm as a rock by knowing yourself only as the pure intellect, and the nothingness of all other things. 20 By always thinking of yourself as the intellect, you will lose the sense of your individual ego and personality. By reflecting on the meaning of the Vedas, you will be lead to the same conclusion.
21 From all these know yourself as the pure essence, which is uncaused and unmade and the same with the first and original principle. You are the same with the free and everlasting Brahman, and multiform in your unity. You are as void as emptiness, having no beginning, middle or end. This world is the intellect and that intellect is the very Brahman himself.
• • •
Chapter 98 — Kumbha: Immaterial Cannot Produce Material
1 Sikhidhwaja said, “I understand that there is no such thing as the mind. But as I have no clear and correct knowledge of this subject, I beg of you to tell me, whether it is as I understand or not.”
2 Kumbha replied:— O king, you have truly said that there is no such real entity as the mind at anytime and in any space whatever. That which appears as the mind is nothing other than a faculty of the only one everlasting Brahman. 3 Everything else which is fallible or unconscious of itself, such as the mind or anything of this world, can never be a positive or self-existence substance. Therefore the words “I” and “you” and “this” or “that” are only fabrications of our imagination with no existence in reality. 4 There is no reality of the cosmos or any of its contents. All things that seem to be in existence are no more than various representations of the one self-existent Brahman himself.
5 It is said that there was no mind or its personification of Brahma, or any final dissolution of the world, and this proves their unreality. Again it is said that the mind took the form of Brahma and created the world in the beginning, which also proves the mind to be the Divine Mind, represented by the metaphor of Brahma.
6 There can be no material object without the prior existence of a material cause. So without a material cause, it is impossible to believe the existence of the many material objects of the senses and of the mind that experiences sensations. 7 Hence there is no such thing as a dull and unconscious world. All that appears to exist as such is nothing other than a representation of the Divine Spirit, just as gold exhibits itself in the shapes of many ornaments.
8 It is completely false to believe that the nameless and formless God does all this. Although the world is visible, yet our subjective knowledge of it offers no proof of its reality.9 That the nameless and formless spirit of God, without shelter or support for itself, should make this world as a home others, is a laughable assumption of only the ignorant.
10 From these reasons it is plain that there is no world in existence, not even the mind which is only a part of it. The world being a non-entity, there can be no mind which is only familiar with the world. 11 The mind means nothing more than a wish. We say that someone has a wish only if there is an object to be wished for. This world which appears to be so very desirable is a nothingness. So how can there be the mind to desire it? 12 That which manifests to us under the name of the mind is nothing other than a manifestation of the spirit of God in itself, although it may be called by various names. 13 These visible phenomena which are so desirable to everyone are no productions of anyone. They are an uncaused entity ever existent in the Divine Mind, from before its production by the mind of Brahma the creator.
14 Therefore the Divine Soul has the form of an intellectual vacuum. It is as empty as the transcendent air. It is full with the light of its intelligence and has no shadow of the gross world in it. 15 The slight light which shines in the Divine Soul is like the twilight that fills the ethereal sphere. It is the reflection of the mirror of Supreme Consciousness.
It is neither the dim light of the mind nor any reflection of the phenomenal world. 16 Our knowledge of “I” and “them” and this world is never real or reliable. It is like the appearance of our dreams that serve only to delude us into mistakes.
17 The absence of the desirable world removes our desire of it, so the privation of our desire displaces the mind which is the seat of our desires.
18 The ignorant believe that this visible world is the mind, but the unreal and formless mind did not have this visible form before it developed itself into the form of creation. 19This world is said to be contemporary with the eternal mind, which is altogether impossible because we read nowhere in the scriptures, nor do we find in the ordinary course of nature, that a visible object has ever come into existence without some cause or other, either in the beginning of creation or at anytime afterwards. 20 How can eternity, un-created-ness and everlastingness be affirmed of this visible world which is a gross material substance subject to decay and dissolution? 21 There is no testimony of the scriptures and no visual evidence or any reasonable deduction to show any material thing to be uncaused by some agent or other and which survives the final dissolution of the world. 22There is no written testimony of the Vedas, any other scriptures, or the Siddhantas to show that any material thing is ever exempt from its three conditions of birth, growth, and decay, and which is not perishable at the last dissolution. 23 He who is not guided by the evidence and dictates of the scriptures and Vedas is the most foolish among fools, and is never to be relied upon by good and sensible men.
24 It is never possible for anyone to prevent the accidents that are incidental to perishable things, nor can there be any cause to render a material object an immaterial one. 25However, if we recognize the world as immaterial we identify it with the unchangeable Brahman, exempt from the accidents of action and passion, and of growth and decay. 26Therefore know this world is contained in the undivided and unutterable emptiness of Divine Consciousness which is infinite and formless emptiness and is forever more in its undivided and indivisible state.
27 Brahman who is having every form and ever tranquil in himself, manifests his own self in this manner in the forms of creation and dissolution all in himself. 28 The Lord now shows himself to our understanding as embodied in his body of the world, and now He manifests himself to us as the one Brahman in his spiritual form. 29 Know after all that this world is only the essence of the one Brahman, beside which there is no separate world or anything else in existence. Only our imagination represents Brahman sometimes in one form and then in another.
30 All this is one, eternal and ever tranquil soul, which is unborn and without any support and situated as it is. It shows itself as various without any variation in its nature. So learn to remain yourself with yourself as motionless as a block of wood, and with your dumb silence in utter amazement at all this.
• • •
Chapter 99 — Kumbha Lectures Sikhidhwaja: All Is Brahman
1 Sikhidhwaja said, “O sage, by your good grace I am freed from my ignorance and brought under the light of truth. My doubts are removed and I am situated with my tranquility of my spirit. 2 I have become as one knowing the knowable and who sits silently after crossing over the sea of delusion. I am quiet by quitting my egoism. I am separated of all disquiet by my knowledge of true self.”
3 “O, how I have wandered amidst the confusing depths of the world! After such a long time I have now arrived to the safe harbor of my peace and security. 4 Being so situated, O sage, I perceive neither my individual ego nor the existence of the three worlds. It is ignorance to believe in their existence, but I am taught to believe in Brahman alone.”
5 Kumbha replied:— How is it possible for your individual ego or that of anyone else to exist anywhere when this universe and this air and sky do not exist anywhere? 6 Sit quietly as usual and be as calm and silent as a sage. Remain as still as the calm ocean without the disturbances of the waves and whirl pools within its bosom. 7 Such is the quiet and tranquil state of Brahman who is always one and the same as he is.
The words “I”, “you”, “this” and “that” and the world are as devoid of meaning as the universal emptiness is devoid of anything. 8 What you call the world is a thing having no beginning or end. It is the wonder of the Intellect to shine as the clear light which fills the ethereal firmament. 9 The changes that appear to take place in the spirit of God are as extraneous as the different colors that paint the dome of heaven and the various pieces of jewelry which are wrought upon gold. These have no intrinsic essentiality and never affect the tranquility of the Divine Spirit, the uniform serenity of the empty sky, or the nature of the pure metal of gold.
10 As the Lord is self-born, so his eternal will is inherent in and born with himself. What we call free will or fate depends upon the nature of our knowledge of them. 11 Think yourself as something and you become a slave to your desires, but believe yourself as nothing and you are as free and liberated as free air itself. 12 Your personality, whether you are subject either to bondage or freedom, is the certain knowledge or conviction of yourself as a reality. 13 The deprivation of your knowledge of yourself or your egoistic personality leads to your ultimate end. Your knowledge of your personality exposes you to danger. Therefore think yourself as Himself and not yourself, and you are safe from all calamity.
14 No sooner do you get rid of the conviction of yourself than your soul is enlightened by the light of true knowledge. You lose the sense of your personality and become complete in your knowledge of yourself as one with the Supreme Spirit.
15 The inscrutable nature of God admits of no cause because causality refers only to what is caused. Causality cannot come to existence without a cause. Causality cannot apply to the uncaused cause of all.
16 As we have no knowledge of an object which is not in existence, so we cease to have any knowledge of our personality if we cease to consider ourselves as caused and created beings.
17 What is this world to us if we are unconscious of ourselves and if we are free from our knowledge of the objective world? We see only the Supreme Soul remaining. 18Whatever is manifest here before us is all situated in the spirit of the Lord. All these are transcendent and are situated as such and same with the full and transcendental spirit of God. 19 Therefore all these that are prominent to view are like figures carved on a rock. The light that pervades the whole is the glory of the great God. 20 If the world disappears from view, God’s light which is more transparent than that of the transparent sky will vanish away into nothing.
21 The unconscious world seems to move about like a shadow or a phantom in the air. Therefore it is called the moving world (jagrat). But he alone sees it
in its true light who sees it as motionless, without its sense of mobility, perfectly calm and stationary in the spirit of God. 22 When the sight of that which can be seen, together with the sense of that which can be sensed and the feelings of the mind, become tasteless to the dormant soul absorbed in divine meditation, then the wise call it nirvana absorption or the full light and knowledge of God.
23 As the breezeless winds sink in the air and jewelry melts in its gold, so the protruding form of the world subsides in the even spirit of God. 24 The sight of the world and the perceptions of the mind which testify the existence of the world to us, are only the representations of Brahman, just as the false mirage represents water in the desert sands. 25Like a vast body of water exists without a wave to disturb its surface, so the spirit of God remains in its state of calmness when it is free from its operation of creation.
26 Creation is identical with Brahman. The Lord is the same with his creation. This is true from the statement of the Veda which says, “All this is Brahman and Brahman is this all.” 27 The meaning of the word Brahman, immensity, equally establishes the existence of the world, just as the meaning of the word world or cosmos establishes the entity of Brahman. 28 The meaning of all words taken collectively expresses a multitude, which is synonymous with Brahman, the great and immense collection of the whole. 29 And if we reject the sense of the greatness of God and of the world, as they are usually meant to express, yet the little or minuteness of God that remains is so very minute that words cannot express it.
30 The Lord that remains as the inherent and silent soul of all bodies is only one soul in the collection. He remains as a huge mountain of his intelligence in the form of the whole of this universal cosmos.
• • •
Chapter 100 — Kumbha Lectures Sikhidhwaja: More on All Is Brahman
1 Sikhidhwaja said, “If is it so, O most intelligent sage, that the world is like the nature of its maker, then the world must resemble Brahman in every respect.”
2 Kumbha replied:—
Where there exists a cause, there is also an effect associated with it. Where there is no cause whatever, there can be no resulting effect. 3 Therefore there is no possibility of any cause or its effect in this world which is manifest before us. It is the identical essence of the ever tranquil and unborn spirit of God.
4 The effect of a cause necessarily has the same nature as the cause, but what similarity can exist between one which is neither the cause or effect of the other? 5 Tell me, how can a tree grow which has no seed for its growth? How can God have a seed whose nature is inscrutable in thought and inexpressible in words? 6 All things that have their causality at anytime or any place have the nature of their cause, but how can there be a similarity of anything with God who is never the cause of an effect?
7 Brahman the uncausing uncaused cause of all has no causality in him. Therefore the meaning of the word “world” is something that has no cause whatever. 8 Therefore think of yourself as Brahman, according to the view of the intelligent. The world appears as something created in the sight of men of imperfect understandings. 9 When the world is taken as one and the same with the tranquil intellect of God, it must be viewed in the light of the transparent spirit of Brahman. 10 O
king, the intelligent say that any other notion which the mind may entertain about the nature of God is a destruction of the right concept of God. 11 The destruction of the mind is equivalent to the destruction of the soul, and slight forgetfulness of the spirit is hard to regain in a whole kalpa age.
12 As soon as you are freed from your personality, you find yourself to be full of divine knowledge. Your false personality flies away from your perfection in spirituality.
13 If you think the world exists from the meaning of the word vishwa (all),
then tell me how and from where could all this come into existence? 14 How can you call one a brahmin who lifts up his arms and proclaims himself about to be a shudra? 15 If someone cries out that he is dead because his pulse is weakening, take both his death and his life to be mistaken. 16 All these false appearances that present themselves before us are as false as a circle described by the whirling flame of a torch, and as delusive as water in a mirage, a secondary moon in mist, and ghosts appearing to children.
17 The mind is the common, true name of this false substance which misleads us to error. It is wrapped in ignorance and error. 18 The mind is another name for ignorance, an unreality appearing as a real entity. Here ignorance takes the name of the mind and unreality passes under the title of reality. Ignorance is the lack of true knowledge and knowledge is the absence of ignorance. 19 Ignorance or false knowledge is driven away by our knowledge of truth, just as the error of water in the desert is dispelled by knowledge of mirages. 20 As the knowledge of mirages removes the error of water in a sandy desert, so the knowledge of the mind as gross ignorance removes the false mind from the inner seat of the heart.
21 Knowledge that the mind is an unreality immediately roots out its projections, just as knowing that a rope is not a snake removes the fear of the snake in the rope. 22 As the knowledge of the falsehood of the snake in the rope removes the mind’s projection of the snake, so the knowledge of unreality of the mind removes its offspring of error and ignorance from within us.
23 The knowledge that there is no such thing as the mind removes its false impressions from the heart, because mind and our individual ego are only the young offspring of our ignorance. 24 There is no mind or ego in us as we commonly believe. There is only one pure consciousness both within and without us, something we can hardly perceive.
25 You have had the sense of your desire, your mind and your personality for such a long time. They are only from your ignorance. Now you are quite set free from all of them by being awakened to the light of knowledge. 26 All the troubles that you have suffered are due to fostering the inborn desires of your heart. They are all driven away by your lack of desire, just as the wind disperses a forest fire.
27 The dense essence of God pervades the whole universe, just as the ocean surrounds all the continents of the earth. 28 Nothing exists such as I, you, this, or that or anything else. There is no mind or senses and no earth or sky. They are all manifestations of Divine Spirit. 29 As visible objects appear in the forms of a frail pot and other fragile bodies on earth, so the many false invisible things appear to us in the forms of the mind, egoism and the like.
30 There is nothing that is born or dies in all these three worlds. Only the display of Divine Consciousness gives rise to the ideas of existence and nonexistence. 31 All these are only representations of the Supreme Soul, now evolved and now spread out from it. There is no room for unity or duality or any error or fallibility in its nature.
32 Mind, O friend, that you are the true one in the shape of your senses. These will never be burnt at your cremation, nor will you be utterly destroyed by your death. 33 No part of you is ever increased or annihilated at anytime. The entirety of your pure self is immortal and must remain entire forever. 34 The powers of your will and unwillingness and the other faculties of your body and mind are attributes of yourself, just as moonbeams are the significant properties of the moon. 35 Always remember the nature of your soul to be unborn and uncreated, without beginning or end, never decaying and ever remaining the same. It is indivisible and without parts. It is the true essence existing from the beginning without end.
• • •
Chapter 101 — The Mind of the Living Liberated Is Called Goodness; — Kumbha Advises Sikhidwaja to Abandon His Austerities
1 Vasishta said:—
The king had listened to the lectures of Kumbha. For some time he remained in silent and deep meditation of his soul as if in a state of trance. 2 He continued with his mind intent and eyes fixed, quite speechless all the while. He resembled the figure of a silent sage, or a carved statue without motion or sensation.
3 After a while he awoke with eyes twinkling. Chudala, still in her disguised form of Kumbha the brahmin youth, approached him.
4 Kumbha said:—
Say king, how did you enjoy yourself in your short lived trance? Did you feel that sweet composure of your soul which the yogis experience in their steadfast meditation and unshaken samadhi trance? 5 Tell me, were you awakened in your innermost soul and set free beyond the region of error and darkness? Have you known the knowable one and seen what is to be seen?
6 Sikhidhwaja replied, “O sage, by your good grace I have seen a great glory in the most high heaven of heavens. 7 I have seen a state of bliss which is full of ambrosial delight never known to mortals and whose sight is the most ultimate reward of the wishes of the best and most intelligent men, and of saints and mahatmas. 8 In your company today I have felt a delight which I have never experienced before. 9 O lotus-eyed sage, never have I enjoyed such a degree of spiritual bliss which knows no bounds and is a sea of ambrosial delight!”
10 Kumbha said:—
The mind becomes composed and tranquil after its desire of enjoyments is subordinated, when it becomes indifferent to the taste of sweet and bitter, and when it has full control over the organs of sense. 11 There arises a peace in the mind which is purer than any earthborn delight. It is as delightful as dew drops falling from flowers under bright, cooling moonbeams at night.
12 It is today, O king, that your bad desires, like bitter tastes, are improved by your advancement in knowledge. 13 By your holiness, O lotus-eyed king, the filth of your person is cleansed out like ripe fruit falling from trees. 14 Only as the desires of the impure heart become purified by reason does it become capable of receiving the instructions of the wise, just like a straw drawing water inside.
15 After the bitterness of your disposition was softened by my lectures, you have been awakened by me to your spiritual knowledge. 16 Just now you have been cleansed from your impurity and immediately purified by your pure knowledge. Even now you have received my admonition and have been instantly awakened to your knowledge. 17 Today you are cleansed from the merits and demerits of your good and bad conduct. You have a new life in you through the influence of good society. 18 It was before midday today that I have come to know the enlightenment and regeneration of your soul to spiritual light. 19 I find you now, O king, to be weakened in your mind from taking my words to your heart. Having rid feelings from your mind, you are awakened to your spiritual knowledge.
20 As long as the mind has its seat and operations in the heart of man, it retains its companion of ignorance by its side. As soon as the mind forsakes its residence in the heart, pure knowledge comes to shine forth in it like midday light. 21 The mind suspended between unity and duality is called ignorance. Reducing these is known as knowledge and the way to the salvation of the soul.
22 You are now awakened and emancipated. Your mind is driven away from your heart. You are now the reality and rescued from your unreality. You are set beyond this world of unreality. 23 Rest in the pure state of your soul by being devoid of cares and anxieties. Forsake all society and do not place the reliance of your soul upon anyone or anything here. Become like a devout, divine and silent sage, saint or muni.
24 Sikhidhwaja said, “So I see, sage, that all ignorant people rely mostly on their minds, but the few who are awakened to the knowledge of God do not pay attention their minds. 25 Now sage, please tell me. How do living liberated men conduct themselves in this world? How do these unmindful men, like you, manage yourselves here? 26 Tell me fully and by the brightness of your glowing words, dispel the deep darkness that is seated in my heart.”
27 Kumbha replied:—
All that you say, O king, is exact and indisputable truth. The minds of living liberated men are dead in themselves. Like blocks of stone, their minds never grow or sprout forth in desires. 28 Gross desires that grow from wishes become the causes of men’s reincarnations in some form or other. This is known by the name of mind. When that becomes altogether extinct in men, they know the truly knowable one.
29 The desire which guides those who know the truth in this life of action in this world is known by the name of goodness. This is unproductive of future birth. 30 Great souls and living liberated men, being placed in their quality of goodness and having their organs under control, do not place any reliance upon their minds. 31 The darkened mind is called the mind, but the enlightened mind is known as the principle of goodness. The unenlightened rely upon their minds, but enlightened men of great understanding rely only upon their goodness. 32 The mind is repeatedly born with the body, but the nature of goodness is never reborn anymore. The unawakened mind is under perpetual bondage, but the enlightened soul is under no restraint.
33 Now sage, you have become of the nature of goodness and you deserve the title of he who has forsaken all things. I understand that you have completely gotten rid of the inclinations of your mind. 34 I find you today as brilliant as the full moon freed from the shadows of an eclipse. Your mind has become as lucid as the clear sky without any stain in it. 35 You have that equanimity which is characteristic of the complete yogi. This which you exhibit in yourself is called total renunciation of all.
36 Enlightened understanding is free from the restraints of any desire for heaven or future rewards. By means of superior divine knowledge, it is free from the restraints of observing austerities and charity. 37 All austerities and mortifications serve only to obtain a short lived cessation of pain. The happiness that is wholly free from decay is only found in one’s equanimity and detachment under all circumstances of life. 38 That thing must be truly good if it is different from the temporary enjoyment of bliss of heaven, and altogether different from a transitory pleasure that is preceded and followed by pain.
39 We are all doubtful of the happiness that awaits us hereafter in heaven. Our religious acts serve to procure some happiness for those who are unacquainted with the complete joy of their souls derived from their spiritual knowledge. 40 Let them use their ornaments of brass who have no gold ornaments for their decorations. Let the ignorant adhere to their rituals and not the wise who are quite happy in their knowledge.
But you, O king, have happily come both to your knowledge and happiness in the company of your Queen Chudala and others. 41 Therefore, why are you vainly devoted to the observance of your austerities? Mortifications and penance of asceticism are prescribed for the atonement of men’s prior misdeeds. 42 Both the beginning and end of asceticism are attended with pain. Only the middle promises a short and temporary happiness. Mortifications are mere preparations for the purification of the soul.
43 Remain steady in that pure knowledge which is said to be the result of penitence. When the soul is pure with the clarity of the intellectual sphere, all things and thoughts will be as transparent to view as in the clear light of the sky. 44 All things are seen to rise and disappear in the empty sphere of Divine Consciousness. Thoughts of our good and bad actions are like drops of rain that mix with the waters of the immeasurable ocean of the Divine Soul.
45 Therefore, O Sikhidhwaja, abandon the barren soil (of rituals) and resort to the abundant field (of divine knowledge). As you would ask a good friend, ask me to know your best good. 46 As a wife who wants to be close to her husband should refrain from asking him for petty things, so you should refrain from asking your God for trifling blessings if you want to be in communion with him. Know that the objects of your desire are not always for your good.
47 No wise man runs to grasp the sun’s reflection in water. You should never pursue the pleasures of heaven or the joy of liberation after you have found Him in your own spirit.48 Forsake what is unstable, though it may appear stable to you. You are always stable by leaving the unstable to perish by itself. 49 Knowing the instability of things, preserve the stability of your mind, because the motionless mind perceives no fluctuation of its thoughts and no change or motion of things.
50 All our evils proceed from the actions of our bodies and the thoughts of our minds. These two are the mainsprings of men’s miseries in all places and times. 51 If you desire to enjoy the happiness of quiet and rest, curb the unsteadiness of your mind and be ever calm and quiet. 52 Know that all motions and their lack dwindle into perfect rest in the mind of a truly wise man. Therefore hold them in equal light and be happy forever.
53 Sikhidhwaja said, “Tell me sage, how can the motion and force of a thing be one and the same with its immobility and rest? I dare say that you, who is the remover of my doubts, will quickly clear this point for me.
54 Kumbha replied:—
Only one thing is the all and whole of this universe. It is like the water of the sea and it is agitated by its intelligence, just as the sea is agitated into waves. 55 The immensity of Brahman, which is called the only essence and has the form of pure consciousness, is seen in the shape of the world of forms by the ignorant.
56 The agitation of consciousness is all in all in the world and constitutes the moving principle of the universe. 57 The agitation of consciousness, being the Divine Spirit, is the same as its stillness. The unity of these two forms, agitation and stillness, is the spirit of God called Shiva. 58 The agitation of the Divine Spirit in the work of creation vanishes before the sight of perfect understanding. To the ignorant, it appears to be in active operation, like seeing a false snake in a rope.
59 Conscious intellect is ever busy and active, from which it derives its name (chit, consciousness). But the inactive spirit which is all pervasive is both inexpressible as well as inconceivable because it is devoid of all attributes (turiyatita). 60 By long study of the scriptures and association with the wise, and also by continued practice of yoga, the light of the Supreme Spirit dawns in the inner soul like the rising moon with her benign beams. 61 The Supreme Spirit is only perceived from the benign rays it radiates, which the wise call the light of the Supreme Spirit. We perceive it by our understanding.
62 Now you have known the essence of your soul which is without beginning, middle or end and which must continue forever as your real and true state. There is no other distinct form of the great intellectual soul. Know this as yourself, and remain free from all sorrow and pain.
• • •
Chapter 102 — Kumbha Departs; Sikhidhwaja in Samadhi
1 Kumbha continued:— I have already told you, O king, how all the phenomena of the world sprung from Brahman and how they all also disappear in him. 2 Having heard all this from me and having understood and reflected upon all that I have said, you are at liberty, O sagely king, to repose in the supreme bliss which you have well known and felt within yourself.
3 I am now returning to my heavenly abode at this time of the conjunction of the moon, when it is very likely that sage Narada may have come before the assembly of the gods from his seat in the high heaven of Brahma. 4 He may be angry at not finding me there, and it is not showing good manners in a youth to tease his superiors at anytime.
5 May you ever abide at your ease by your utter abandonment of every tint of desire, and by your firm reliance in these holy precepts which the wise have always in their view.
6 Vasishta said:— Upon hearing these words, Sikhidhwaja was about to throw a handful of flowers and make his obeisance to his departing teacher, Kumbha vanished immediately from his sight and mixed in the ethereal air. 7 As one absorbed in meditation does not see the things present before him even in his waking state, so the king lost sight of Kumbha from before his presence.
8 The king was plunged in deep sorrow after Kumbha departed. He remained like a painted picture, his thoughts dwelling on his vanished friend. 9 He thought how marvelous it was and how very inscrutable are the ways of providence that it should bring him to the light of the self-manifest Lord through the means of a stranger, Kumbha.
10 “Where is this sage Narada,” thought he, “and who is his son, this Kumbha, to me? How did it happen that after so long I should come to be awakened by him?”
11 “O! how very fully has that son of the divine sage explained everything to me with his good reasoning. I am now awakened from my long slumber in ignorance. 12 How I had been plunged in the mud of my acts for such a long time! I was rolling on the wheels of distinguishing between doing what was right or wrong.”
13 “How very pure and cold, tranquil and quiet is my present state. I find my essence to be cooling to me as I am washed in the cold bath of Self realization. 14 I am quite calm and lost in my trance. I sit alone as one with Unity. I have no desire for even a straw, but remain solely by myself.”
15 Thinking thus in himself and relieved of all impressions (vasanas), the king entered into the state of samadhi and sat as quiet as a statue carved in wood. 16 He became silent and had no desire or refuge for his reliance. He remained in his immovable posture, like the peak of mountain. 17 Being freed from fear in an instant, he remained a long time with the tranquility of his soul and mind. Being united with the Supreme Spirit in his samadhi, he continued long in his dreamless trance, his soul shining like the rising sun.
• • •
Chapter 103 — Kumbha Returns and Awakens the Trace of Life in Sikhidhwaja
1 Vasishta said:— Now hear me tell you about Sikhidhwaja, sitting like a block of wood on one side, and the reappearance of Chudala to him from the other.
2 After Chudala had given enlightening instruction to her husband Sikhidhwaja, in her disguise of the sagely Kumbha, she disappeared and traversed into the regions of air. 3In the empty sky she dropped the from of the divine sage’s son which she had taken by her magic spell. The enchanted form melted away in the air and she appeared in her female form of beautiful appearance. 4 She directed her airy course to her palace in the city where she showed herself as their queen before her assembled attendants and courtiers and discharged the royal duties of her absent lord.
5 After three days she again took to her aerial journey, assumed her enchanted form of Kumbha, and advanced to the hermitage of Sikhidhwaja in the forest. 6 There she saw the king in his woodland retreat, sitting in his posture of deep meditation resembling a figure carved in wood. 7 Seeing him this way, she exclaimed repeatedly in herself, “O what a fortune that he is reposing here in his own soul, sitting quiet and tranquil in himself.”
8 “I must now awaken him from his trance in the Supreme Being or else his soul will soon forsake its mortal frame owing to his disregard of it. He will end his worldly bondage by excessive meditation. 9 It is desirable that he should live some time longer, either with his royalty in the palace or with devotion in this forest.
Then we both will depart together, throwing off our mortal bodies.”
10 “It would be difficult to instruct him in all stages of meditation. There is no end of these things. I will try to train him only in the practical aspects of yoga.”
11 Thus reflecting in herself she made a loud shout which startled the wild beasts but did not rouse the entranced king, though she repeated her loud shouts before him. 12When neither her shouts nor shrieks could rouse he who remained unshaken as a stone in rock, she shook him with her hands in an effort to bring him back to his sense. 13Though shaken and moved and thrown down on the ground, yet the king neither awoke nor came to his senses. Then Chudala thought on another means in the disguise of Kumbha.
14 She thought, “Ah! I see my lord is absorbed in his prophetic trance and I must find some means to rouse him to his sense. 15 Or, why should I try to rouse his deified spirit back to its sensation when he is so well absorbed in his state of disembodied meditation?
16 I also wish to get rid of my female form and reach that state of supreme bliss like him, which is free from further births and transmigrations.”
17 Thus thinking to herself, Chudala was about to abandon her own body when her better understanding stopped her from undertaking that attempt. 18 “First let me feel the king’s body,” she thought, “whether there is an end of his life or there is any feeling or pulse in his heart. 19 Should he be alive, he must come back to his sense, just as the juicy root of trees recalls flowers in spring. 20 If he is alive he will walk about like me in his state of a living liberated soul.
If he be found to be no longer living, then I shall follow him to the next world.”
21 With this in mind Chudala felt his body and examined it with her eyes. Perceiving him to be living, she rejoiced and said to herself, 22 “He has still a trace of life pulsating in his heart. The beating and throbbing of his heart show his life is not yet extinct.”
23 Rama asked, “How can a little spark of vital flame be residing in the body of the self distracted yogi, whose mind is as cold as stone and whose body becomes as hardened as a clod of earth or a block of wood?”
24 Vasishta replied:— The trace of life remains in the heart as an imperceptible atom and in the manner of consciousness, just as future flowers and fruit are contained in their seeds. 25 The calm and cold yogi who is devoid of his knowledge of unity and duality and sees all things in the same light, who remains as quiet as a rock and without the pulsation of his heart, still has the vibration of his consciousness within him.
26 The body of a temperate and tranquil minded man never wastes or swells in bulk. It never decays or grows but ever remains in the same state. 27 The body of a man whose mind vibrates with thoughts of unity and duality changes and decays. This is never the case with a yogi of unchanging mind.
28 The action of the heart is the spring of life for everybody in this world, just as the honey in the flower cup is the cause of its future fruit. 29 The frail bodies of mortals are subject to fits of joy and anger, quickness and dullness, every moment. These, O Rama, are the seeds of repeated births and they are hard to be checked or subdued.
30 When the mind is still and quiet, the body becomes as dull as if it were lifeless. The body is subject to no passion or change whatever. It remains as even as the still and clear sky which nothing can disturb. 31 The man of even and dispassionate mind is never disturbed or tainted by any fault. He remains as calm as the waters of the ocean without breeze or waves.
32 The body is never lifeless and life is always perceptible unless the mind is defunct in its action. The mind becomes unexcitable and numb in itself only after long practice. 33The body without the action of its mind and vitality quickly rots and melts away, just as snow melts away under the heat of the sun.
34 The body of Sikhidhwaja was felt to be hot, though it was without its active mind. Therefore it was known to possess its vitality, which prevented it from wasting and rotting away. 35 The noble lady, having perceived the body of her husband to be in that plight, held it tightly with her hands and began to consider what to do with it.
36 She thought, “I will try to raise him by infusion of my reasoning into his mind. This will no doubt bring him back to his senses. 37 If I do not raise him now, he must rise himself after sometime. But why must I remain alone waiting until then?” 38 Having thought so, Chudala left her body, the framework of the senses, and entered the body of the king and joined with his intellectual essence. 39 She gave a vibration to the reasoning of her living lord. After putting it into action and motion, she returned to her own body, just as a bird quickly moves from the twig of a tree, which is shaken thereby, and comes back to its own nest again.
40 She rose in her form of the brahmin boy Kumbha and sat upon a flowery bed, where she began to chant her hymns of the Sama Veda, her soft tunes resembling the melodious chime of buzzing bees. 41 The king, on hearing the tuneful chime of the hymns, felt an intellectual exhilaration. His dormant life was awakened to its consciousness, just as the lotus bud comes to bloom by the breath of spring season. 42 His eyelids opened to light like a lotus bud blooms with sunlight, and the king’s whole body became vivid with renewed life.
43 Before him, he saw the brahmin boy Kumbha in his divinely fair form singing Sama hymns as if the god of music was present in person. 44 “O fortunate am I,” thought he, “to have found my friendly Kumbha again before me.” So thinking, he picked up some flowers and offered them to him.
45 “O how great is my good fortune,” he said to his guest, “to be thus recalled to your gracious memory. What else could cause a divine person like yourself to be so favorably disposed towards me? 46 The cause of my salvation has caused you to come and call on me. What else would bring a son of a god down to visit me again?”
47 Kumbha spoke. “O sinless prince, my mind was ever intent on you ever since I left you. Now it has come back to me as I find you well in this place. 48 I do not reap so much delight in the ever delightful region of heaven as I do here in your presence. It is because I have the great work of your redemption no longer pending before me. 49 I have no friend or companion that is dearer to my soul than you. I have no faithful pupil or confidential disciple like you in this world.”
50 Sikhidhwaja replied, “Ah! Now I see that the trees of this mountain are about to yield the fruit of my meritorious acts. They have made a retired recluse like you condescend to desire my company. 51 If these woods and trees and I, who is so devoted to you, should find more favor in your sight than the bliss of your heavenly abode, then please may you live with me in this lonely forest. 52 As for me, I am so blessed with the gift of your samadhi that I always have my perfect rest in God, even in this place. I have no desire for heavenly delights. 53 Resting in that state of pure effulgence, I enjoy my fill of heavenly bliss even in this earth below.”
54 Kumbha questioned, “Have you ever had your repose in the state of supreme joy? Were you ever freed from the misery which always attends the knowledge of duality? 55Have you ever felt a disgust with all temporary enjoyments? Have you rooted out your taste for the tasteless pleasures of this earth? 56 Has your mind ever rested in that state of even detachment which has no liking for the desirable or dislike for the undesirable, but is always content with whatever awaits upon it at anytime?”
57 Sikhidhwaja replied, “It is by your favor sage, that I have seen all that transcends human sight. I have reached beyond the limits of the universe and obtained the best obtainable and most certain bliss. 58 After long I am freed from decay and disease and gained all which is to be gained, and wherewith I am quite content. 59 I require no further advice from anyone for my upliftment.”
“I feel fully gratified with everything in all places. I am quite at ease and freed of disease everywhere. 60 I have nothing to know that I don’t know; nothing to obtain that has not been obtained. I have forsaken whatever is not worth having, and my soul has its reliance in the supreme essence. 61 I rest quite aloof from everything. I am devoid of any fear or error or apathy of anything. I am always situated in the even and calm course of my mind and in the equality of my soul with all others. I am free from all imagination, as the clear sky is free from all tint and cloud.”
• • •
Chapter 104 — Sikhidwaja & Kumbha Enjoy Each Other’s Company; — Kumbha on the Needs (Fate) Incident to the Body
1 Vasishta related:— In this manner these two who knew the knowable God continued their conversation on spiritual matters until the third watch of the day in that forest. 2Then rising together they wandered in the delightful valleys about cooling lakes and pleasant streams. 3 In this way they wandered in that forest for full eight days, passing their time in conversation on various subjects.
4 Then said Kumbha to the king, “Let us walk to some other forest.” He gave his consent uttering the word Om, and then they walked forward in each other’s company. 5 In this manner they walked over many forest lands and passed by many jungles and shores. They saw many lakes, thick woods, and rising hills and their thickets of dense woods and plants. 6 They traversed many woodland tracts and rivers, and saw many villages, towns, and woods on their way. They passed by many sweet sounding rivers and gardens, and many holy places and the abodes of men.
7 They were united together in equal love and friendship, being of equal age and the same even course of mind. They were of equal liveliness, and both walked or stayed together with their unanimity. 8 They worshipped the gods and the spirits of their ancestors in holy places and ate what they got at any place. They lived together both in marshy and dry lands in concord and peace. 9 The loving pair, bearing equal affection for one another in their hearts, dwelt together in friendship amidst woods of tamara trees and in the forests of the Mandara hills.
10 To them no place was their home or own, but they were alike in all. Nothing occurred to disturb their minds which were always as undisturbed as a mountain amidst the winds. 11 Sometimes they walked amidst the flying dust and at other times amidst the far stretching fragrance of sandalwood forests. They were now covered with ashes and then besmeared with sandal paste. 12 They were sometimes clad in good garments and sometimes in multicolored clothes. Now they were covered with tree leaves and at another they were decorated with flowers.
13 Remaining in each other’s company for some days, and having the unanimity of their hearts and minds, the king was as perfected in his nature as another Kumbha himself.
14 The holy and faithful Chudala, seeing the divine form of her husband Sikhidhwaja, began to reflect within herself in the following manner. 15 “How divinely fair has my husband become, and how very charming are these woodland scenes. By living long in this place, we must be an easy prey for the god of love. 16 I see that although one is liberated in his lifetime, yet the sense of his liberation cannot give him freedom from his obligation of testing the pleasures that are presented before him. I think it is ignorance to refuse offered enjoyments for the king. 17 Seeing my husband to be noble minded and free from all bodily disease and debility, and having a flowery grove before, it must be a wretched woman who refuses to advance to her lord at such a time.”
18 “That wretched woman is truly undone who, seated in her covered shelter of flowers, has her husband presented before her and yet fails to approach to him for her satisfaction. 19 Accursed is the woman who being wedded to a handsome husband, and having him alone in her company, fails to associate with him. 20 To one acquainted with true knowledge, of what good is it to reject a lawful pleasure that presents itself before that person? 21 So I must contrive some means in this forest whereby I may be successful to make my husband join with me.”
22 Having thought so in her mind, Chudala, disguised in the form of Kumbha, spoke to the king like a female nightingale mutters to her mate from her flowery covered shelter in the forest. 23 “This is the first day of the new moon of the lunar month of Chaitra, and this is a day of great festivity in the court of Indra in heaven. 24 So I must return to the assembly of the gods and present myself before my father in that assembly. So my departure is ordained by destiny and cannot be averted by any means. 25 You shall have to expect my return to this forest this evening. In the meantime, divert yourself in these flowery trees, which will lull your anxiety for me to rest. 26 I shall positively return here from the blue sky by the evening of this day. I shall soon join your company, which is ever delightful to me.”
27 So saying, she gave a stalk of flowers of the Nandana forest to her beloved to serve as a token of her affection for him. 28 The king said, “You must return to me soon.” She instantly disappeared from his sight and mixed with the air like a light autumn cloud vanishing in the empty sky. 29 He flung flowers after her as she mounted in the sky, and these floated in the air like icicles in the cold season. 30 Sikhidhwaja first saw her flight, then her disappearance from him like a peacock looking at the flight of a cloud with uplifted eyes.31 At last the body of Kumbha vanished from Sikhidhwaja’s sight and mixed in the open air, as the waves of the sea subside in still and smooth waters.
32 Chudala reached her celestial city, resembling the garden of paradise with its kalpa trees in full bloom, its shining towers waving with flags hoisted on both sides of its charming paths. 33 She secretly entered her private apartment and met the company of the maids waiting for her, just as the graceful beauty of spring meets the long expectant trees of the forest. 34 She attended to her state affairs and discharged them quickly. Then she flew aloft in the air and dropped at Sikhidhwaja’s abode like flowers and fruit of autumn dropping on the ground.
35 She appeared there with a sad face and deeply dejected in her mind, like the fair moon darkened under mist or a beautiful lotus hidden under a fog. 36 Believing her to be his Kumbha, Sikhidhwaja rose up and stood in his presence. But he was troubled in his mind to see him so sad and sorry. He asked the cause and addressed him saying, 37 “I greet you, O Kumbha, but why do you appear so sad today? You are the son of a god and must not be sorry at anything. Please take your seat here. 38 Holy saints and those who know the knowable one, like you, are never moved by joy or grief, but remain untouched by them, as the lotuses remain intact in the water.”
39 Vasishta said:— Being thus approached by the prince, Kumbha sat on his seat and then said in reply, with a voice as thin and soft as the sound of a bamboo flute.
40 I know that those who know the truth, but remain impatient under bodily accidents and mental anxieties, are not truthful men but cheats who cheat people by their pretended truthfulness. 41 Know prince that the most learned, if they foolishly expect to evade the condition to which they are exposed by their nature, are the most ignorant.
42 The sesame seed naturally has oil inherent in it, and the body also has its inherent incidents. He who is not subject to his bodily accidents is like one who can separate wind from air with his sword. 43 Of course, it is best to evade the evils that are incidental to the body, but it is necessary to undergo patiently what is unavoidable by our bodily powers.44 Again, as long as we have our bodies we must exert our bodily organs to their proper actions and never attempt to suppress them by our understanding, as it is done by many a wise man.
45 Even the great Brahma and the gods are subject to the conditions of their bodily frames. Even they with their great understandings do not have the power to avoid what is determined by irrevocable destiny. 46 It is beyond the power of both the wise and the unwise to deter the power of destiny. Destiny makes all things run in their destined course, just as the waters of rivers run into the sea. 47 The same irrevocable destiny equally determines the fates of the wise and unwise. She guides them with her fingers to the same goal until they get their release from the body.
48 However, the ignorant, whether exposed to prosperity or adversity, are always destined to undergo their effects upon their bodies.
49 Therefore, it must be known by both the wise and unwise that all beings are destined to roll in their repeated rotations of pleasure and pain, and that there is no power to change the ever chanceful ordinances of unchanging destiny.
• • •
Chapter 105 — Kumbha’s Story of Being Cursed by Durvasa, Nightly Changing into a Female
1 Sikhidhwaja said, “If such is the case, sage, that destiny overrules all events, why should you be sorry for anything that has happened to you? You know you are a son of a god and you know the knowable.”
2 Kumbha replied:—
Hear, O prince, the wonderful accident that has occurred to me. I will relate to you all that has happened to me in this body. 3 The heart becomes light when its grief is shared with a friend, just as the thickened gloom of clouds dissipate after they discharge their waters in rain. 4 The troubled mind is restored to its serenity by its communication with a sincere friend, just as the muddy waters of a jar are cleared by filtering with kata seeds.
5 After I left here, by handing over the stalk of flowers to you, I traversed though the regions of air until I reached the heavenly abode of the god. 6 There I met my father and accompanied him to the court of the great Indra, where having sat a while, I got up with my father and then departed from him at his abode. 7 Leaving the seat of the gods in order to come down on earth, I entered the region of air. I kept my pace with the fleet steeds of the chariot of the sun in the airy paths of the skies. 8 Thus sailing together with the sun, I reached the point of my separation from him and there took my path through the midway sky, as if I were sailing in the sea.
9 I saw there, in a track before me, a path stretching amidst the watery clouds of air, and marked the angry sage Durvasa gliding swiftly by it. 10 He was wrapped in the covering of clouds and encircled with girdles of flashing lightning. The sandal taints on his body were washed off by showering rains and he seemed like a maiden making her way in haste to meet her lover at the appointed place. 11 Like a devotee he hastened to discharge his fond devotions on the beach of the River Ganges, flowing under the shade of the boughs of the rows of trees on the shore.
12 I saluted the sage from my aerial seat, and said, “You, wrapped as you are in your blue vest of the cloud, seem to advance in haste, like an amorous woman going to meet her lover.”
13 Hearing this, the reverend sage was angered and pronounced his curse upon me saying, “Be you transformed to the amorous woman you think me to be. 14 Go your way and bear my curse, that every night you shall become a woman with protuberant breasts and long braids of hairs on your head, filled with all feminine grace and dalliance.” 15 I was thunderstruck and deeply dejected at this curse. I found the old muni had already disappeared from before me, then I turned my course this way from the upper sky, being quite sick in my heart.
16 Thus I have related to you everything about my being changed to a lady at the approach of night. My constant thoughts are how I shall manage myself under my womanhood. 17 How shall I divulge to my father the shame of becoming a swollen breasted maid at night? How can I reconcile myself to my terrible fate throughout the course of my life? O how wonderful is the decree of fate that we are fated to bear in this world in the course of time!
18 Now I am unlucky to become a prey for young men and the subject of fighting among them, like a piece of flesh among hungry vultures. 19 O what fun have I become to the ludicrous children of the gods in heaven! Ah, how shameful have I been before the sages who must be quite ashamed of me. How shall I remain anywhere and before anybody in my female form at night?
20 Vasishta said:—
After saying this much, Chudala became as mute as a silent muni. She remained as quiet as if she were in a swoon. 21 Then the pretended Kumbha, seeming to recover his senses and his patience also, spoke out to himself, “Ah! why do I wail like the ignorant when my soul suffers no change by this?”
22 Sikhidhwaja spoke:—
Sage, why do you sorrow for the body? You are the son of a god. Whatever may happen to the body, it can never affect the intangible soul. 23 Whatever pain or pleasure befalls us in this life, it all affects the changing body and can never touch the unchanging soul.
24 If you are acquainted with the Vedas and fortified against all events, you should not allow yourself to be so much moved by these accidents. You are not like others who are constantly subject to all the casualties of life. 25 To be sorry in sorrow is very sorrowful in the wise. Therefore you who have spoken these precepts before should not now be overwhelmed in sorrow. Remain as unmoved as you are wont to be unshaken all along.
26 Vasishta related:—
In this did the two hearty friends continue to grieve with one another, consoling each other by turns under the cooling shade of the grove where they sat together. 27 At last the bright sun, who is the light of the world, set down in darkness like lamp without oil. Kumbha was despondent at the prospect of her female form.
28 The full blown lotuses closed their leaves like the closing eyelids of the busy dwellers of the world. Footpaths became as deserted by their passengers as the hearts of loving wives are lonely in the absence of their husbands who are devoted to travelling and staying in distant countries. 29 The upper sky borrowed the appearance of the lower earth by spreading the curtain of darkness over groups of its twinkling stars, like the outstretched nets of fishermen enfolding fish. 30 The black dome of the sky was smiling above with its retinue of shining stars, just like the blue beds of lakes rejoiced with their chains of blooming lilies below. The land resounded with the noise of black bees and beetles and the cries of reddish geese on the water.
31 The two friends rose and offered their evening prayers at the rising of the moon, chanted their hymns and muttered their mantras, and took their shelter under the forest retreat. 32 Afterwards Kumbha, changed as he was to a female form, and sitting before Sikhidhwaja, spoke his faltering speech to him in the following manner.
33 “Sage, I seem to fall down, cry out and melt away in my tears to see myself even now changed to my feminine figure in your presence. 34 See sage, how quickly the hairs on my head lengthen into curling locks, and how they sparkle with strings of pearls fastened to them, like the brilliant clusters of stars in the azure sky. 35 Look here at two snowy balls bulging out of my bosom, like two white lotus buds rising on the surface of waters in the spring season.”
36 “Look how my long robe is stretched down to the heels and how it covers my whole body, like that of a female. 37 Look at these shining ornaments and wreathes of flowers decorating my body, like the blooming blossoms of spring ornamenting the forest tree. 38 Lo! the moon-bright vest covering the crown of my head and the necklaces hanging about my body. 39 Look at my features, how they are converted to their feminine attractiveness, and see how my whole body is graced all over with feminine loveliness.”
40 “O! how very great is my sorrow at my sudden change into a woman. Tell me friend, what am I to do and where to go with this my female form? 41 I perceive also the change in my inner parts and in my thighs and posterior.” Kumbha said this much to her friend, then remained quite mute and silent.
42 The king also, seeing him thus, remained in mute gaze and silence. Then after a while, he opened his mouth and spoke as follows, 43 “Of course it is very sorrowful and pitiable to see you transformed this way into a female. But you, sage who knows the truth, also know that there is no contending with fate. 44 Whatever is destined must come to pass. Wise men must not be startled or feel sorry because all events affect only the body and cannot affect the inner soul.”
45 Kumbha replied, “So it is, and I must bear my feminine form with an unfeminine soul. 46 I will no more sorrow for what is never to be averted, but must endure with patience what I cannot reject.”
Relying on this principle, they alleviated their sorrow for what was impossible to avoid. 47 They passed their nights in peace and slept in the same bed without touching one another.
Kumbha rose in the morning in his masculine form again, without any trace of his female features, feminine beauty or grace. 48 Kumbha was Kumbha again by being divested of his female form. Thus he passed as bisexual and having two forms being of the brahmin boy Kumbha by day and of Chudala the princess by night. 49 In his male form, Kumbha continued as a friend to the king in the daytime. In the female form of Chudala, he lived as a virgin maid with him at night. 50 Thus did Chudala cling to her husband like a necklace hangs upon a person’s neck and breast.
They continued to wander in each other’s company to different countries and over distant hills to satisfy their curiosity.
• • •
Chapter 106 — Chudala Weds Sikhidhwaja
1 Vasishta resumed:— After several days passed this way, Chudala, in her disguise as the pretended brahmin boy Kumbha, spoke to her husband.
2 “Hear me, O lotus-eyed prince,” she said, “to what I tell you in good earnest, because I am obliged to become a woman every night and continue to be so for ever more. 3 I wish to fulfill the part of my womanhood by joining myself to a husband by legal marriage for all that time. 4 I want to taste the pleasure of conjugal union with my dear friend, who is of his own accord so very friendly to me without any endeavor on my part. So I hope you will place no difficulty in my way.”
5 “I choose you sage, as my husband, of all others in the three worlds. Therefore be pleased to accept me for your wife every night. 6 The delightful pleasure of conjugal union has come down to us ever since the commencement of creation. Therefore our obedience to the ordinance of nature can cause no guilt on our part. 7 I desire that we may do as we like without desiring or disliking anything, and that we be far from expecting the consequence of what we like or dislike.”
8 Sikhidhwaja answered, “Friend, I see neither good nor evil in accepting your proposal. You are at liberty to do as you like. 9 Being indifferent my mind to everything in the world, I see everything in the same and in an equal light. So I let you have your choice as you may like.”
10 Kumbha replied, “If so, then I say that this day is very favorable for celebrating the wedding ceremony. It is the full moon of Sravana and an all lucky constellation according to my best calculation. 11 On this day of the full moon, our marriage may take place both during the day as well as at night in the gandharva form (by mutual consent). 12 It will be celebrated either on the summit of Mahendra Mountain or on the delightful tableland there about, or in the cave of some mineral mine, and in the light of the shining gems and mineral ores in the mountain.”
13 “Rows of stately trees all around will shed their flowers at the nuptial ceremony. The twining vines on them will represent the dance of dancing girls by their twisting and shaking. 14 Let the bright luminary of the night, accompanied by his consort retinue of shining stars, witness our marriage from the high sky with their wide open and glaring eyes.”
15 “Rise, O king, for your wedding. Let us both hasten to select the forest flowers and prepare the sandal paste and collect the scattered gems with which to decorate our wedding seats.”
16 Saying so, they both rose together and picked the flowers and collected the gems. 17 Then in a short time, they went to the shining land and heaped it with flowers of various kinds.
18 They had their wedding clothing and necklaces ready on the spot, and the god of love helped with supplying everything required on the occasion. 19 Having thus prepared the items of their wedding ceremony and stored them in a golden cave of the mountain, they both went to sacred stream of the heavenly Ganges Mandakini for making their holy ablutions therein.
20 Here Kumbha served as the priest, pouring the holy water profusely on the lofty head and elevated shoulders of the king, just as the elephantine clouds of Indra pour rainwater in plentiful showers on the towering tops and height of hills. 21 Similarly, the king acted the part of the ministering prince, washing the body of his beloved princess now in the form of Kumbha. Thus the two friends anointed and wiped clean the bodies of their former and future consorts. 22 Bathed and purified, they adored the gods, the munis and the spirits of their ancestors for the sake of their honor and without any desire of getting any good or gain from them, for they well knew that there was nothing to benefit themselves from their service to the gods, deified spirits and divine sages.
23 They took their frugal food as their nature and the course of the world required, seasoned with the nectarine juice of their good and refined intelligence. 24 They wore the whitish bark of kalpa trees as their clean wedding clothes and ate its fruit as their wedding cakes. Then they went to the altar for their wedding ceremony. 25 At this time the sun descended below his setting mountain, as if to complete their conjugal union in secret. 26 It now became dark and twilight. They discharged their evening service and offered their prayers. Groups of stars appeared in the sky to witness their union in marriage. 27 Then came the dark night as the only friend of the happy pair, spreading the veil of darkness over the face of nature and smiling with the blushing of snow white lotuses and lilies of the valley.
28 Kumbha collected rich stones and placed those shining on the tableland of the mountain, while Brahma lighted his two lamps of the sun and moon together in the heavens.29 Being then changed to the female form, Kumbha anointed the king with fragrant sandalwood paste, agallochum, camphor powder and pulverized musk. 30 She adorned his body with strings, bracelets and wristlets of flowers, and dressed it in a robe of thin kalpa tree bark. 31 His body was also decorated head to foot with the filaments of kalpa plant, clusters of parijata flowers, and many other flowers and gems. 32 She appeared in her bridle garb and maiden-like figure, with her big and swollen breasts and all her youthful grace and allurements.
33 She thought that as she was now attired and appeared as a marriage bride, she must now offer herself to a husband worthy to her. 34 “Here I am as a lovely bride,” she thought to herself, “and there is my husband in my presence. I must ask him to accept my hand. This is not the time to withdraw the hand.” 35 So saying, she approached her husband sitting apart from her in the wood. She appeared like Rati, the goddess of love, advancing towards her loving Kama.
36 She went to him and said, “I am Madanika by name and your loving wife. Therefore I bow down at your feet with the regard due to a husband.” 37 So saying, the beautiful lady bent down her head with female bashfulness and made her obeisance to her lord with the pendant locks on her head. 38 Then she said to him, “O my lord, adorn me with ornaments then light the marriage fire to affirm your acceptance of my hand. 39 You appear exceedingly fair to my eyes. You make me quite fond of you. You seem to surpass the god of love in your beauty, even when he wedded his Rati at first in his youthful bloom. 40 O
prince, these flower wreathes on your body look like the bright beams in the body of the moon. To me, those strings of flowers hanging on your chest look like the stream of Ganges gliding on the breast of Sumeru Mountain. 41 With the flowing braided hairs on your head, you look like Mandara Mountain with clusters of vines hanging down from its top. Your head appears like a golden lotus with its hanging hairs resembling the filaments of the flower and covered with strings of blackening bees. 42 The shining ornaments and flowery decorations of your body add a light and gracefulness of Mount Meru, with its mineral ores on one side and its floral beauty on the other.”
43 After her flattering speech was over, the new bride and bridegroom and future husband and wife sat contented together, unmindful and forgetful of their past conjugal relation. 44 The brave princess, now Madanika by name, and the noble prince Sikhidhwaja the saint both sat together on a golden seat, which added fresh luster to the beauty and decoration of their bodies. 45 They were bedecked with their headdresses, garlands of flowers and ornaments of gems and pearls, and were furnished with flowers and ointments and clad in fine cloths all over their bodies. 46 The young lady Madanika blazed like Rati with her maddening beauty. She appeared like the goddess Gauri, the excellent model of beauty, at her wedding festivity.
47 The noble lord having adorned his noble lady with his own hands, spoke to her. “O deer-eyed lady, you are as graceful as the goddess Lakshmi of grace and prosperity. 48 I pray that all prosperity attend on you as it does with Sachi, the queen of heaven, in the company of her lord Indra, and as it existed between Hara and Gauri, and between Hari and his consort Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune. 49 You look like a clear lake of lotuses, your breasts blooming like lotus buds and your black-blue eyes resembling blue lotuses. The sweet fragrance of your lotus-like body invites buzzing bees fluttering all about you. 50 You also appear like the tender shoot of the kalpa plant of Kama, your red palms resembling its reddish leaves and your swollen breasts like its blooming buds, and every part of your body is as delicate as its delicious fruits. 51 With your cooling body and your moonlike face and its smiles like moonbeams, you are as beautiful as the full moon and equally delightful to sight. 52 Rise therefore my beautiful lady and ascend on the matrimonial altar and there perform the wedding ceremony standing on the slab of stone marked with creeping plants and their fruits.”
53 Vasishta said:— The altar was studded with strings of pearls, bunches of flowers suspended on all sides. It had four large coconuts hung over the four sides of its square. 54Pots filled with holy water from the Ganges were set about it, and the sacred matrimonial fire was lighted amidst it, fed with sandalwood and other fragrances. 55 They walked around the flaming fire clockwise, then sat on seats of leaves with their faces turned towards the east. 56 After sitting on the altar, the matrimonial couple lighted the nuptial fire and made offerings of sesame seeds and fried rice upon its flames.
57 Having lifted the wife with his own hands, the husband and wife appeared like Shiva and Parvati in the forest. The married pair turned again about the sacred fire, and offered to each other their own selves and loves as their marriage dowries. 58 They showed their shining faces to one another as their nuptial presents, and completed the ceremony by going round the fire and scattering the fried rice upon it. 59 The husband and wife now parted other hands from their hold of the palms of one another. Their smiling faces appeared like the lunar disc on the new moon.
60 After this, when the moon had already run her course of the first watch of the night, they went to sleep on a flowery bedstead which they had newly prepared. 61 The moon cast her beams to fall aslant on the bedstead, as when attendant women cast their glances askance on the bridal bed. 62 She next spread her bright beams all about the couple’s leafy covered shelter, as if to listen to the pleasant conversation of the new married couple. 63 The pair, having sat awhile in the light of mineral lamps, retired to their sleeping bed which they had prepared in a secluded spot.
64 It was a bedding of flowers covered with heaps of flowers of various kinds. 65 There were heaps of lotuses of golden color, as also mandara and other sorts of flowers, to drive away fatigue by their fragrance. 66 The flat of the flowery bed of the bridal pair resembled the plane of the broad and bright moon, and a level surface covered by cooling ice.67 It also resembled the wide sea whose waters are permeated by the bright moon and whose surface supplies a bed to Ananta, the sleeping serpent of the infinite god Vishnu.
68 The loving pair then lay themselves down and rolled upon their snow white bed of flowers, as when Mandara Mountain rolled about and churned the Milky Ocean. 69 They passed their bridal night caressing each other and conversing on topics of love. The entire night glided before them as if only a few moments.
• • •
Chapter 107 — Chudala Makes a False Indra Appear to Test Sikhidwaja
1 Now as the eastern sun gilded the world with his golden rays, the queen consort of Sikhidhwaja changed her form of Madanika to that of the brahmin boy Kumbha. 2 She stood openly as such before her friend, sitting in the cavern of Mandara where at night they lived in conjugal union together like a pair of forest deities.
3 During the days they wandered in the forests and among trees and plants loaded with fruit and flowers of various colors. 4 They passed the day together as two loving friends and spent the night as a wedded couple. They were never separated from each other either by day or night. 5 They rambled about the caverns and trees of the mountain and played under the covered shelters of spice and mandara trees. 6 They wandered about the outskirts of Dardura, Kailash, Mahendra, Malaya, Gandhamadana, Vindhadri, and Lokaloka.
7 On every third day or night, when Chudala found the king to be fast asleep, she used to assume her former form of the queen and return to her royal palace and discharge her state affairs as before, then return to her husband in the forest. 8 Thus the loving pair lived as two friends by day and as husband and wife at night, both decorated with flowers and sleeping on their flowery bed.
9 They remained for a month in a shining cave of Mahendra under the shade of delightful sarala trees where they were greatly endeared by forest deities and kinnara foresters.10 They lived a fortnight in a tree on Suktimat Mountain surrounded by mandara trees and kalpa plants, feasting upon the fruit which they could reach with their hands. 11 They passed two months on the southern ridge of the winged mountain of Mainaka, its covered shelters over hung by the fruits and flowers of the celestial parijata trees. 12 They dwelt a month in the valley of Jammu at the foot of Himalayan range and beside the Jambu River.
They fed on the jam fruit that give its name to the whole country. 13 They travelled through the northern Kuru country for ten days, and for seven and twenty days they stayed in the districts lying north of Kosala. 14 In this manner they passed over many countries and hilly districts, living together as two friends by day and as a married pair at night.
15 Thus many months rolled away in their travels through many places, until a thought arose in the mind of Chudala to test her associate. She thought, 16 “I will test the heart of my partner and see whether it is liable to have any attraction toward beauty and pleasurable objects.” 17 Thinking so, Chudala by her magic skill showed the god Indra playing in the company of celestial apsara nymphs in that forest.
18 Sikhidhwaja saw the god Indra with his companion there. He advanced before him and worshipped him as he deserved, saying, 19 “O lord of gods, will you consent to reveal to me the cause of your arrival in this forest from your seat in the high and far distant heaven?”
20 Indra replied, “Virtue has attracted us down to these woods, as the flying kites of the air are drawn to earth by the string fastened to their breasts. 21 Now rise from here and proceed with us to heaven where the celestial apsara nymphs are eagerly expecting to see you since they have heard of your wonderful virtues. 22 Wear these sandals, hold this sword, anoint your body with this ointment, and ascend to the upper sky and thence to heaven in the manner of the masters and perfect yogis.”
23 “On reaching the region of the gods, you will enjoy all sorts of delights which await the living liberated souls in this world and the next, and to which I now come to invite you. 24 No holy man like yourself ever neglects the offered occasion to their prosperity, nor should you scorn to take your heavenward course with ourselves at this moment. 25 Let there be no impediment to your ascent to the enjoyment of heaven where you will enjoy your full bliss and which will be blessed by your presence as the three worlds are by the presence of Vishnu.”
26 Sikhidhwaja said, “I know, O lord of gods, the delights that abound in heaven, but I have my heaven everywhere and there is no particular place which I consider as heaven.27 I am content everywhere and I am pleased with every place. My soul being desirous of nothing from its fullness in itself, I am fully satisfied everywhere. 28 O
god, if remaining forever in the same place and in the same state is what you call heaven, then pardon me for I decline to go it.”
29 Indra answered, “I know, O holy saint, that those who have known the knowable and who are perfect in their understandings are indifferent to sensual gratification. However, it is not the part of the wise to reject an enjoyment which offers itself by the gracious allotment of his destiny.” 30 After the god had said so, the king remained silent and returned no answer. Then the god said, “If you are resolved not to leave this place, then I must leave you here and make my way to heaven.”
31 Sikhidhwaja said, “I must not go there now, though I may do so on some future occasion.” Upon this the god made farewell. 32 All the other gods who were in Indra’s retinue also vanished upon the disappearance of their chief, just as the huge surges of the sea subside in the deep together with their foaming froths.
• • •
Chapter 108 — Chudala again Tests Sikhidwaja by Taking a Lover; then Manifests in Her Own Form
1 Vasishta related:— The queen retracted the enchantment by which she had presented the god Indra before the king. She was glad to find that he had subdued his desire of enjoyment. 2 He remained with perfect tranquility and equanimity of his mind at the appearance and in the presence of the god Indra, fearless, indifferent and unmoved by the god’s persuasion.
3 “I will again try to know by some means or other whether this prince is subject to the passions of anger or annoyance or any other feeling, which serve at best but to blindfold the understanding.” 4 With this intention she assumed the form of the chaste Madanika at the approach of night, when the moon had already appeared above that forest land. 5The wind was blowing gently, bearing the sweet fragrance of flowers. Sikhidhwaja was sitting by the side of a river performing his evening prayers.
6 She entered her covered shelter formed by twining vines and decorated with flower garlands that made it look like the shelter of a forest goddesses. 7 She slept there on a bed of flowers she had made herself, adorned with flower wreaths on her body. She had her beloved one seated in her heart and laid herself on a pillow.
8 Sikhidhwaja sought her in the gardens and at last found her sleeping in the covered shelter, with a pretty paramour holding her neck in his arms. 9 Her lover’s hair hung on his neck and shoulders and his beautiful body was daubed with sandalwood paste. He had a wreath of flowers on his head, distorted from his crown which lay loose on the pillow over which it rolled. 10 The flowing tresses of the mistress fell in two fold braids on her shoulder blades of golden color, hanging over her ears and eyebrows and her cheeks and face.
11 He saw the amorous pair with their smiling faces kissing and embracing each another, as when ivy twists around a large tree. 12 They lay with wreathed flowers hanging loosely on their bodies. Both were fascinated with love of one another by the contact of their bodies, which infused their reciprocal passions in the heart for each other. 13 They were both infatuated and ravished by their mutual love, bruising breasts on the other’s bosoms.
14 Seeing this, Sikhidhwaja felt no change in his disposition. He was rather pleased to find them sleeping so very happily in each another’s embrace. 15 “Remain you lovers,” he said, “as you are to your hearts’ content. I will put no obstacle in your way, nor make you afraid of me by my presence in this place.” Saying so, he withdrew from there.
16 Immediately at this time, she also withdrew her charm and assumed herself as the beautiful goddess of love and loving spouse of the prince. 17 She came out and saw the king sitting in a cave of the mountain, in the posture of intense meditation with both eyes open. 18 The lady Madanika advanced towards him with a bashful face, then sat silently by his side with her downcast look and sad appearance, as if abashed and ashamed of her past misconduct.
19 After a moment, as Sikhidhwaja was released from his meditation, he cast his eyes upon her and spoke to her with an exceedingly sweet voice, which spoke the frankness of his mind. 20 “Lady,”
he said, “why do you come so soon to me and leave off the enjoyment of your happiness? Happiness is the end and aim of all beings on earth. 21 Go, return to your lover and gratify him with all your passionate embraces. Mutual love, so much desired by all, is hard to be had by any in this world. 22 Think not, lady, that I am at all angry or sorry for this affair as I am always contented in myself, knowing the true One that is only to be known. 23 My companion Kumbha and I are always dispassionate in our temperaments. But you arise as a woman from the curse of Durvasa, so you are always at liberty to do whatever you like without incurring any displeasure from me.”
24 Madanika replied, “So it is, O highly favored one of heaven. You know that women by their nature are eight times more passionate than men and therefore should not be criticized on account of their gratification of their natural passions. 25 I am only a frail woman. I found you absorbed in deep meditation. I could not choose other than to take a partner as you saw in the depth of the forest and in the night.”
26 “The weak sex in general, and maidens in particular, are ever fond of illicit love by their very nature for the gratification of their lust, which they can never have the power to check. 27 A woman becomes graceful in the company of man and no curse, prohibition, men’s menaces or regard of chastity is of any use to stop them from it. 28 I am a woman and a weaker vessel, an ignorant and independent lady. Therefore sage, it becomes you to forgive my unsteadiness, because forgiveness is the most prominent feature of holiness.”
29 Sikhidhwaja replied, “My young lady, know that anger has no seat in my heart, as there grows no plant in the sky. It is only for fear of incurring the disgrace of good people that I must decline to take you as my spouse. 30 But I can associate with you as before in mutual friendship for ever more, without bearing any yearning or grudge in my heart, either for or against one another.”
31 Vasishta replied:— After Sikhidhwaja had consented to continue in his detachment and disinterested friendship with his only companion in the forest, Chudala was highly pleased to know the nobleness of his mind. She thought to herself, 32 “O, the transcendent tranquility which this lord of mine has gained, whose dispassion has set him above anger and who has attained his living liberation. 33 No delight attracts his heart, nor any excellence ever attracts his soul whose mind is not elated by pleasure or prosperity, or depressed by pain or calamity.
34 I think that all the imaginable perfections have jointly met in his person, as the goddess Lakshmi of prosperity is united with the lord Narayana. 35 It is now the proper time for me to bring to his memory all and everything relating to me by abandoning my form of Kumbha and disclosing myself to him in my form of Chudala.”
36 With this thought, she threw off her form of Madanika and took the appearance of Chudala upon herself. 37 She issued out of the body of Madanika in the form of Chudala and stood openly before him, like a jewel taken out of a chest and exposed to view. 38 The king saw her unblemished and lovely figure, and found his beloved Madanika transformed into his wedded spouse Chudala. 39 He saw his own wife present before him, like a lotus flower blooming in the spring, and like the goddess Lakshmi of prosperity rising out of the earth, or like a brilliant gem displayed openly from its casket.
• • •
Chapter 109 — Sikhidwaja & Chudala Reunited
1 Vasishta related:— Sikhidhwaja was surprised to see his queen appearing so suddenly before him. He looked upon her with eyes staring with mute astonishment. Then he broke his silence, uttering the following words in a faltering speech. 2 “What are you, O lotus eyed maid, and from where do you come to this place? Why do you come here and how long have you been here? Say for what purpose do you abide in this forest? 3 Your gait and figure, your features and your form, your sweet smiles, manners and courtesy, speak you plainly to be a copy of the image of my wedded wife.”
4 Chudala replied, “So it is my lord, as you think me to be your lawful consort. As you see, I am no doubt your Queen Chudala who has met you today in her natural and undisguised form. 5 I assumed the counterfeit forms of Kumbha and others only to show your mistaken course. I have used every means and stratagem to recall you to the right path.”
6 “Ever since your foolishly renounced your kingdom to perform ascetic austerities in the forest, I have had recourse to employ every means to reclaim you to the right path of religion. 7 I awakened to the light of truth. My form of Kumbha and all the other forms which I took upon myself were chiefly intended for your instruction. 8 The forms of Kumbha and others were not real but magical appearances before you. You who knows the knowable can very well discern the whole affair in your meditation. 9 You will be convinced of all this if you will only look into it by the light of your meditation and not otherwise.”
After Chudala said this much, the king sat in yoga asana posture and meditated. 10 He saw the whole affair, rising and exhibiting itself plainly before his mental vision, from the renunciation of his royalty until his meeting with Chudala at the end. 11 All these he saw rising in his soul in one moment of meditation. The successive events appeared from the renunciation of his kingdom to the present instant. 12 The king, seeing all these in his meditation, felt glad in himself and greatly rejoiced when he came to the end of the scenes, ended his meditation and opened his eyes. 13 He extended both arms, the hairs standing on end from joy, his face shining and expressing the gladness of his heart, tears trickling from his eyes, his limbs weakened by his want of self-control. 14 Then he embraced her to his bosom for a long time, as a weasel does its mate. This continued embrace indicated the permanency of their passion for one another.
15 Nobody, not even the hundred-hooded Sesha serpent with its hundred tongues, can express the height of happiness which the happy pair felt on this occasion of their reunion as their two bodies met together, like the two orbs of the sun and moon in their union, or as their two discs were joined in one, as if stuck together with some paste or clay. 16 The two constant lovers continued in their close contact like two adjacent rocks sticking to one another, until at last they parted, their bodies profusely perspiring. 17 Then they gradually relaxed their arms from their embraces. Their hearts, which had before long overflowed with delight, became as light as two empty pots of water. 18 They loosened their arms and stared at each another with a fixed and mute gaze of amazement.
After the intensity of their delight was over, they sat silently with their deep felt love.
19 Then the king laid his hand under the chin of his legal and royal consort and spoke to her in soft and sweet words distilled with honey. 20 “Matrimonial love is righteous and far sweeter than celestial ambrosia itself. O my moon-faced love, then how was it that you could continue so long without tasting its sweets? 21 You have doubtless undergone much deprivation and suffered great pains in the absence of your husband. The struggle that you have taken on yourself to release me from the prison of the world was exceedingly great.”
22 “I know not with whom to compare you, for the great wisdom that you have displayed in your act of my redemption. Even the pious ladies Sachi and Arundhati and the great goddesses Gauri, Gayatri, Lakshmi and Saraswati fall short of your admirable qualities. 23 My love, I see that even the personified powers of understanding and prosperity, the persons of the graces and clemency, and the virtues of forgiveness, sympathy and universal love are unequal to your virtues and beauty. 24 I know no adequate recompense for your labor, or how to repay my gratitude to you who has spared no patience and persevered through all pains for the sake of my instruction and redemption.”
25 “O say, what payment will reward your pains and gladden your mind in exchange for releasing me from the dark pit of ignorance and reclaiming me from the boundless wilderness of errors? 26 The true virtue of faithful wives is to raise their fallen husbands. This virtue can serve to save a man from his degradation much greater than scriptures or learning, riches, or the spiritual guide and his teaching. 27 Faithful and affectionate wives are of greater service by far to their husbands than a brother or relation or any friend or servant, or even a guru or one’s riches can ever be. 28 The faithful wife is a man’s best guide. She serves as his best abode and attendant more than anything else in this world. Therefore the wife deserves always to be regarded above all others, with utmost diligence and attention. 29 The happiness of both worlds depends entirely on the disinterested and virtuous wife who serves as a raft to her husband for his going across the wide ocean of the perilous world.”
30 “How shall I, O virtuous lady, possibly repay what you have done for me? I now regard you as the wisest and best of all the virtuous ladies in the whole world. 31 Your name must ever after remain foremost among all virtuous woman in the world in all future stories of female virtues and respectable character among the women. 32 I think the virtuous lady Arundhati and others, whose names are immortalized in the record of sacred history because of their virtues, will feel jealous of you as they came to learn about your chastity and other admirable qualities. So my dear, let me embrace you again to my bosom.”
33 Vasishta related:— Saying so, Sikhidhwaja again held Chudala to his close embrace, as the weasel does his mate in their mutual fondness.
34 Chudala said, “My lord, I was sorry to find you entirely devoted to your dry ceremonial duties. It was for that reason that I took so much pain to dissuade you from them and lead you to the knowledge of the intelligent soul. 35 Now tell me, my lord, what shall we do in this place and what is the use of your extolling my virtues so far?”
36 Sikhidhwaja replied, “O most excellent among women, you are here at your liberty to do whatever you think is best. It is the prerogative of respectable ladies to manage everything in their own way.”
37 Chudala answered, “Now my lord, as you have come to know that you are released from the network of this world and are set free on the shore from all its conflicts and confusions, you must have perceived by now that your past austerities were all in vain and gone for nothing. 38 You must have known that it is all in vain when you say ‘I do this or that, and will get its reward, and will thus be settled in life,’ and the like. Say do you smile to think of these and other wanderings of your simple understanding? 39 Do you know that these wanderings are the creatures of your greed and mere creations of your fancy? 40 Do you perceive that these false creations of your imagination are as unreal as the appearance of mountains in the empty air?”
41 “Say what have you learnt after all? What do you depend upon? What object do you seek at present? How do you see all your bodily acts, either of your past or future life?”
42 Sikhidhwaja replied, “O dear lady, with your blooming eyes resembling the leaves of a full blown blue lotus, I am likewise situated in and at the same place where you are also located. 43 I am tranquil and like the object of my meditation. I am situated in the true ego long after leaving the sense of my personality. I have arrived at that state which is known and felt only by the heart.”
44 “There is no power anywhere, not even that of Hari and Hara, that is able to obstruct my heartfelt joy which makes me think myself as nothing else or less than the consciousness itself. 45 I am now free from errors and liberated from the chains of the world. I am neither this nor that, nor am I glad or sorry at anything or at any event in the world. 46 I am neither any gross or subtle matter, nor am I like a ray of sunlight that emanates from the body of the sun and falls below by traversing through the midway sky.”
47 “I am of the essence of that glorious light which is ever without increase or decrease. I am always tranquil and even in my nature. I am quite at ease, having no desire of my own or anything to expect from anyone. 48 O you, most chaste lady, know me to be of that essence which exists as nirvana everywhere. I am what I am and what I cannot describe, and no other than this.”
49 “O beautiful lady, with your eyes glancing like the flitting waves of rivulets, I bow down to you as my instructor because it is by your good grace that I have come across the turbulent ocean of the world. 50 No longer shall I be soiled with the dirt of the earth. I am cleansed of it like a bit of gold purified from its alloy by repeated burnings. 51 I am quite calm and easy, quiet and free from passions, and never divided in my attention or distracted in my mind. I am beyond all things. I am everywhere and all pervading. I am situated as I am.”
52 Chudala said, “If you remain in this manner, O lord of my life and dearly beloved of my heart, then tell me, my lord. What is now most agreeable to your most noble disposition?”
53 Sikhidhwaja answered, “I know of nothing, O good lady, that is either delectable or detestable to me. I do the same as you do. I am exactly of the same mind as you in everything. 54 O
you who is as fair as the sky, know that I have nothing to choose for myself beyond what I am possessed of. I leave it to you to choose and do whatever you think proper for us.55 I will act as you will, like your shadow or reflection in the mirror, because my mind is devoid of desire and effort. I will patiently bear with whatever comes to pass on me. 56 I will neither excite nor prevent, neither praise nor blame you for anything you do, but leave you at full liberty to do whatever you best choose for yourself.”
57 Chudala replied, “If it is as you say, then hear me tell you what is best to be done by you at present. You are to imitate the conduct of living-liberated persons, released from ignorance and knowing the unity of the deity pervading all things in every place. 58 We are both as devoid of desires as the emptiness of the sky is without population.
But that which I wish to do is what you do not wish at all.”
59 “Say what man is there who neglects his life and livelihood and remains only in his intellect? There are three stages of human life, namely, its beginning or boyhood, its middle or youth, and its end or old age. Being situated in the middle stage, we must do the duties belonging to this state before we proceed to the last stage of our being. 60 We are by birth the king and queen of a kingdom, therefore it is most important for us to rule our state and pass our days discharging the duties of our royalty until our end.”
61 Sikhidhwaja said, “Tell me, O steady minded lady, what do you mean by the three stages? How do we stand at the midmost one without having a bit to care for the final one?”
62 Chudala replied, “Know king that we are royal persons by birth. We must continue as such from the first to the last stage of our lives. 63 Why then do you allow the incapacity of old age to overtake you in the prime of your youth when it is your duty to remain in your city and palace and govern your princely state? 64 I will rule there as your consort queen and crown the ladies in the royal apartment. All young maidens of the city will dance with joy to see their king and queen again in the royal palace. 65 Then the city glittering with its uplifted flags, resounding with loud beating drums and decorated with wreaths of flowers hanging all about, will resemble a spring garden smiling with its green plants, blooming buds and blushing flowers all around.”
66 Vasishta related:— Hearing these words of the queen, the king smilingly spoke to her with sweet words spoken from the simplicity and frankness of his soul. 67 “If such is your pleasure, my dear broad-eyed beloved, to incite me to earthly pleasures, then tell me what cause had I to disregard the heavenly happiness which was offered to me by the god Indra?”
68 Chudala replied, “Know prince, that I also have no taste for earthly enjoyments or any great pleasure for its grandeur or greatness. I depend upon the bounty of nature and live as I receive from her hand. 69 Hence I have no taste for heavenly joys or earthly royalty, nor do I derive any pleasure from the performance of virtuous and courageous acts. My delight is in the undisturbed equanimity of my mind and the positive rest of my position. 70 Only after I have lost my feeling of pleasure in something and that of pain in another do I gain my equanimity and indifference to both and am settled in my perfect rest and tranquility.”
71 Sikhidhwaja responded, “You have rightly said, O large eyed lady with your calm and cool understanding, that it is all alike, whether we get or lose a kingdom, since we derive no lasting good nor suffer great evil from either its gain or loss. 72 Let us remain in perfect peace by avoiding all thoughts of pleasure or pain, freed from envy, imitation and jealousy. Let us continue in the same state of thoughtlessness as we are at present.”
73 In this manner the married couple passed the day in their sweet endearments and mutual conversation. The day glided on swiftly and sweetly over their feast of reason and flow of the soul. 74 They rose on the departure of the day to discharge their duties on the parting days.
Though they were ill provided for the emergencies of night, yet they well knew how to suit themselves to every occasion in every place. 75 Despising heavenly bliss, the loving pair lived together in perfect contentment with their conjugal bliss. They both slept in the same bed, loving and loved by one another.
76 The entire night passed swiftly in their heaven-like happiness of conjugal enjoyment, their expressions of love and affection for each other, and in their excited anxiety for each other’s embrace.
• • •
Chapter 110 — Sikhidhwaja Returns to Rule His Kingdom; His Nirvana
1 Vasishta related:— The eastern sun rose above the horizon like a brilliant gem appearing out of its containing casket, and dispelled the darkness of the sky, just as the blazing gem enlightens the room with its rays. 2 His dawning rays pierced the eyes of sleeping men and opened their eyelids, just as they open the petals of the closed lotuses. They roused the lazy world to activity, as if the sunbeams gave the sound of the morning bell.
3 The loving pair rose from their bed of flowers in the cave of the mountain brightened by its mineral gold. They sat on their soft and cool leafy seats to make their morning prayers and discharge their religious functions. 4 Then Chudala stood before a golden vessel of water where she made him take his solemn oath by the names of seven oceans of the earth. 5 Then she made him sit by the sacred water pot, facing towards the rising sun in the east. In this sequestered retreat, she performed the rite installing him to rule his kingdom.
6 After the ceremony was over, they both sat on the same bedding when the godlike Chudala spoke to her husband in the following manner. 7 “Now my lord, leave off your quiet character of a hermit muni and assume the strength of the eight rulers of the upper skies and world below.” 8 After Chudala had spoken in this manner, the king assented to what she said and told her that he will do as she asked him and return to his kingdom with her.
9 Then he said to the queen who was standing at the post of the custodian on her inaugurated lord, “Now, my dear, I will install you to the rank of the queen regent in my turn and in return for yours.” 10 Saying so, he caused holy bathing in an adjacent pool and anointed her as the consort queen of his royalty and kingdom.
11 Then the king asked her to exert the powers of her perfection in yoga meditation to produce in their presence a large force and retinue, as they wanted and thought suitable to their royal dignity. 12 Hearing these words of king, the praiseworthy queen, by the power of her yoga, produced a body of forces as large and as vast as the outstretched clouds in rainy season. 13 They saw their cloud-like forces composed of lines of horses and elephants, flags flying in the air in the form of scattered clouds, the forest land covered by the feet of foot-soldiers. 14 The sound of music resounded in the hollow caves of mountains and woods. The flash of the helmets on the soldiers’ heads drove away the darkness of the sky.
15 Then the royal pair mounted upon a royal elephant, oozing with the perfume of its ichor, escorted by the army on both sides of their procession. 16 King Sikhidhwaja sat with the queen on the same seat accompanied by a mighty force composed of foot-soldiers and chariots that plowed the ground as they drove on forward. 17 The mighty force poured out like a rolling mountain, seemingly blowing off and breaking down the rock and highlands like a cyclone carrying off everything in its way.
18 The king then proceeded with his great procession from Mahendra Mountain past the mountains and flatlands, rivers, forests and homes of men. 19 He pointed out to his royal consort the places where he had stayed before on his way from out of his city, which he now saw in his heavenly brightness as being near.
20 All his chiefs and chieftains advanced to meet their king. They welcomed him with shouts of his victory from their heartfelt joy, or from the revival of their hopes on the occasion of his happy return. 21 The king entered the city accompanied by his two regiments on both sides and attended by bands of musicians playing in concert with the singing and dancing party. 22 He passed through the marketplace and saw the beauty of the shops one after the other. He was hailed by groups of city women who threw handfuls of flowers and fried rice at him as he passed by. 23 He saw numerous flags and banners raised up on every side. He saw strings of pearls hung over the doorways of houses. The women of city were singing and dancing in merriment all around, giving it the appearance of Kailash, the abode of the gods.
24 He entered his royal palace with all his retinue and was welcomed by the congratulations of his courtiers and attendants. He gave due honors to all his servants, then dismissed the retinue as he entered the inner apartment. 25 He ordered a festivity to be observed for a week, then engaged himself in the management of state affairs and in meditation in the inner apartment.
26 He ruled over his kingdom for ten thousand years. He and his queen gave up the burden of their bodies and expired together about the same time. 27 Having left his mortal frame, he obtained his nirvana like a lamp that has gone out for lack of oil. He attained the state in which the high minded soul has no more to return and be reborn on earth.
28 It was by his observance of equanimity that he enjoyed the peaceful rule of ten thousand years. He had the good fortune to live and die together with the queen with whom he attained nirvana. 29 It was by his view of all persons and things with an even sight and in the same light, and his avoidance of fear and sorrow, together with his lack of pride, envy and hatred, and the dispassion of his disposition, also his observance of the duties to which he was bound by his birth, that made him put off his death for more than a thousand years and enjoy a peaceful rule for all time with the partner of his joy.
30 Now Rama, try to imitate this king and be like him in everything. King Sikhidwaja’s virtues made him the crown of all other kings on earth. He enjoyed all the enjoyments of life and lived a long life until he attended his final state of immortality. O Rama, follow your own callings and never be sorry at any accident in life. Be ever prompt and vigilant in your duties and enjoy the prosperity of temporal enjoyments and spiritual liberations both together.
• • •
Chapter 111 — Story of Kacha & His Enlightenment by Brihaspati
1 Vasishta related:—
Now I have told you the complete story of Sikhidhwaja. I hope you will imitate his example and set yourself free from all sorrow and misery. 2 Shut out the visible world from your sight. Shut in your passions and affections in close confinement within your heart. Continue with the dispassion of your mind forever attached to the Supreme Spirit. 3 Rule in your kingdom with the example of Sikhidhwaja and conduct yourself in a manner that may secure for you the fruition of both worlds (peace and liberation).
4 As Sikhidhwaja came by degrees to attain his enlightenment, so also did Kacha the son of Brihaspati receive the enlightenment of his reason, as I shall now relate to you.
5 Rama said, “Please tell me sage, in short, how this Kacha, the saintly son of sage Brihaspati, came to his enlightenment and right understanding, after he was deluded before by error, as was Sikhidhwaja.”
6 Vasishta began by saying:—
Hear Rama, another tale as interesting as that of Sikhidhwaja. It is about how Kacha, son of the godlike Brihaspati, was awakened to the light of truth.
7 He had passed the period of his youth and was about to enter the career of worldly life. He had acquired full knowledge of worlds and things when he asked the following question of his father. 8 He said, “Tell me, O father who knows all righteousness, how is the animal spirit, bound to the body by means of the too thin thread of life, released from its bondage in this temporary world?”
9 Brihaspati replied, “The soul, my son, is well able to fly away easily and swiftly over the perilous ocean of the world, by means of its abandonment of concerns with it.”
10 Vasishta added:—
Kacha, hearing this holy statement of his father, abandoned all his earthly properties and expectations and left his house and went to forest where he took his shelter. 11Brihaspati was filled with sorrow at his departure, because it is nature of good hearted men to feel equal anxiety both at the union as well as the separation of their friends. 12 After the sinless Kacha had passed eight years in solitude, he encountered his reverent father who had been looking for him in the woods. 13 The son rose and did homage to his venerable father, who embraced him in his arms and breast. Kacha then spoke to his father, the lord of speech, in words that flowed like honey from his lips.
14 Kacha said, “You see father, that for these full eight years I have forsaken everything and taken myself to this solitary retreat. Still, why is it that I do not enjoy the lovely and lasting peace of mind which I have been seeking so long?”
15 Vasishta related:—
Upon hearing Kacha’s sorrowful words, the lord of speech Brihaspati told him again to abandon his all, then left him and made his way to the upper sky. 16 After his father’s departure, Kacha cast off his clothing made of tree bark and leaves. His frail body appeared out of it like the clear autumn sky after the setting of the sun and the rise of the stars of heaven. 17 He then moved to another forest where he took shelter in the cave of a rock that protected him from rain and rainy clouds, just as the autumn sky protects the landscape from the floods of rain.
18 He lived all alone on one side of a wood with his naked body and tranquil and vacant mind, breathing only the breath of his life. As he was afflicted on one occasion in this state of his body and mind, he happened to see his father standing before him. 19 The pious son rose from his seat and did reverence to his father with all the marks of filial piety. Being then clasped in his close embrace, he asked him in his faltering words as follows. 20 Kacha said, “Behold my father how I have forsaken everything. I have even cast away my tree-bark dress and my shelter of reeds and weeds. Yet why do I not find my rest in my god? What must I yet do to attain to that state?”
21 Brihaspati said, “I told you my son, to forsake your all. This all means the mind which comprehends all things in it. By forsaking your mind you can gain perfect joy. The learned know the mind is all in all because it contains everything. There is nothing besides the ideas of them in our minds.
22 Vasishta related:—
Saying so, Brihaspati, the lord of speech, flew hastily into the sky. His son Kacha immediately strove to abandon the thoughts and operations of his mind. 23 But he found it impossible to subdue his mind or suppress its action and motion. Then he recalled his father to his mind, and thought in himself to be in his presence. 24 He considered in himself that the mind was no part of his body or anything among the known categories in nature. “It is quite aloof and apart from all, and therefore perfectly guiltless in itself. Why then should I abandon so innocent and constant a companion of mine? 25 Therefore I shall seek my father’s help to learn how and why the mind is accounted as the greatest enemy of men. Learning this fully from him, I will immediately forsake it from me and obtain my joy thereby.”
26 Vasishta related:—
Having thought so, Kacha went upward to the upper sky where he met the lord of speech. He bowed down to him and did his homage with filial respect and affection. 27Kacha then asked his father to tell him the true nature and form of the mind so that he would be able to detect it and accordingly forsake it.
28 Brihaspati answered, “Men acquainted with the mental science know the mind as the egoism of a man. The inner feeling of one’s ego takes the name of his mind and no more.”
29 Kacha replied and said, “O father of unlimited understanding who is the teacher of all the multitude of gods, explain to me this intricate point of identity of the mind or intellect or egoism. 30 I see the difficulty of forsaking this mind and forgetting this egoism or self-personality. I also understand the impossibility of one’s perfection without abandoning both of these. Tell me now, O greatest of yogi thinkers, how is it possible to get rid of them in any way?”
31 Brihaspati answered:—
Why my son, the destruction of our egoism is as easy as the blinking of our eyelids and easier far than crushing flowers. There is not the least pain in rejecting this feeling. 32Now my boy, listen as I tell you how this is to be done in a moment, and how it is to be removed like true knowledge of the nature of a thing removes a long standing bias of ignorance.
33 My son, in reality there is no such thing as what you call your egoism or personality. It is an unreality appearing as reality, a false mental fabrication like the ghost of little children. 34 Like the fallacy of water in the mirage and the mistake of a serpent in the rope and all other errors appearing as truths, the misconception of egoism is a mere delusion of understanding.
35 The delusion of vision shows a couple of moons in the sky and shows many things as their doubles. In the same way, the error of our understanding presents us with our false egoism instead of the one real and everlasting Atman (Soul). 36 There is only one real Atman, without beginning or end and quite transparent in itself. It is more transparent than the clear atmosphere and an Intelligence that knows all things. 37 It is always omnipresent as the light of all things and the life of all living beings. Only this essence spreads throughout all nature and shines in all her phenomena, as the same essence of water displays itself in all rolling surges and waves and moving bubbles in the sea.
38 Such being the case, tell me what is this special egoism of ours, and how and from where could a separate personality come to exist? Where can you find dust rising from water, or see water springing from fire? 39 My son, shun your false belief in the difference of this one and that other, and yourself as another person. Refrain from thinking that you are a mean and contemptible being confined within the limits of space and time. 40 Know yourself (soul) to be unbounded by space or time, ever extended all over in your essential transparency, always the same in all seeming varieties, the one unchanging, pure and simple Consciousness.
41 Your Self (soul) is situated in the fruit, flowers and leaves of all the trees on every side of you. You abide in everything like the core and foundation for its existence, and as moisture for its growth. The pure intellect eternally inheres in everything as its soul and essence. Tell me then, O Kacha, from where do you derive a belief in your egoism and personal existence?
• • •
Chapter 112 — Parable of the Aerial Man Building Aerial Homes
1 Vasishta related:— Kacha, son of the divine teacher Brihaspati, being thus advised by his respected father in the best kind of yoga meditation, began to meditate as one liberated from his personal ego entity, lost and absorbed in essence of the only one and self-existent deity. 2 Kacha remained quite free from his I-ness and me-ness with the tranquility of his mind, cut off from all the ties of nature, all apart from the bonds of worldly life.
So I advise you, Rama, to remain unchanged and unmoved amidst all the changes and movements of earthly bodies and changing fortunes of a mortal life. 3 Know all egoistic personality to be nonexistent. Never hesitate to remove yourself from this asylum of unreality whose essence is like nothing at all, like the horns of a rabbit, whether you grab it or lose it. 4 If it is impossible for your egoism to be a reality, then why talk of your birth and death or your existence and nonexistence?
That is like planting a tree in the sky. You can reap neither fruit nor flower.
5 After your egoism is annihilated, pure consciousness remains. It has the form of pure intellect and not that of the unsteady mind. It is tranquil without any desire and extends through all existence. It is more minute and more subtle than the smallest atom. It is the pure power of reasoning and understanding.
6 As the waves are raised upon water and ornaments are made of gold, so our egoism springs from the original pure consciousness and appears to be something different from it. 7 Only our ignorance and imperfect knowledge represent the visible world as a magic show. But the light of right knowledge brings us to see the one and identical Brahman in all forms of things.
8 Shun your questions of unity and duality.
Remain firm in your belief of that state which lasts after the loss of both. Be happy with this belief and never trouble yourself with thinking anything else, like the false man in the tale. 9 There is an inexplicable magic enveloping the whole. This world is an impenetrable mass of magic and sorcery which enwraps as thickly as the autumn mists obscure the sky. This is all scattered by the light of good understanding.
10 Rama said, “Sage, your learned lectures, like drinks of nectar, have given me entire satisfaction. I am as refreshed by your cooling speeches as the parching swallow is cooled by a shower of rainwater. 11 I feel as cold within myself as if I were anointed with heavenly ambrosia. I think myself raised above all beings in my possession of unequalled riches and greatness, by the grace of God. 12 I am never tired, even with the fullness of my heart, to listen to the discourses that issue from your mouth. I am like a chakora bird that is never satisfied with swallowing dewy moonbeams by night. 13 I confess to you that I am never satisfied drinking the sweet nectar of your speech. The more I listen to you, the more am I disposed to learn and listen to you. For who is there so satisfied with ambrosial honey that he declines to taste the nectarine juice again?”
14 “Tell me father, what do you mean by the false men of the tale who thought the real entity as a nonentity and looked on the unreal world as a solar and solid reality?”
15 Vasishta related:— Now, Rama, listen as I tell you the story of the false and fanciful man. It is pleasant to hear and quite ludicrous and laughable from first to last.
16 Once, somewhere, there lived a man like a magical machine who lived like an idiot with the imbecility of his infantile simplicity, full of gross ignorance like a fool or blockhead. 17 He was born somewhere in some remote region of the sky and was doomed to wander in the ethereal sphere like a false apparition in the air or a mirage in the sandy desert. 18 There was no other person other than himself. Whatever else there was in that place, it was only his self or an exact likeness of his self.
He saw nothing but himself and anything that he saw he thought to be only his self.
19 As he grew up to manhood in this lonely retreat, he reflected in himself thinking, “I am airy and belong to the aerial sphere. The air is my province. Therefore I will rule over this region as mine.
20 The air is my ownership right and therefore I must preserve it with all diligence.” Then with this thought he built an aerial house for his home in order to protect and rule his aerial dominion.
21 He placed his reliance upon that aerial castle from where he could manage to rule his aerial domain. He lived quite content amidst the sphere of his airy habitation for a long time. 22 But in course of time his air-built castle became dilapidated and at last utterly destroyed, just as the clouds of heaven are driven and blown away in autumn, and the waves of the sea are dispersed by a breeze and sink down in the calm after storms. 23 Then he cried out in sorrow, saying, “O my air-built house! Why are you broken down and blown away so soon? O my air-drawn habitation, where have you withdrawn from me?” In this manner, he wailed in his excessive grief and said, “Ah, now I see that an aerial something must be reduced to an aerial nothing.”
24 After lamenting in this manner for a long time, this simpleton dug a cave in the vacuum of the atmosphere. He continued to dwell in that hollow cavity in order to look up to his aerial kingdom from below. Thus he remained quite content in the closed air of the cave for a long period of time. 25 In process of time his cell wasted and washed away. He became immersed in deep sorrow upon the dispersion of his empty cave.
26 Then he constructed a hollow pot and took up residence deep inside it, adapting his living to its narrow limits. 27 Know that his brittle earthen pot also broke down in short time. He came to know the frailty of all his dwellings, just as an unfortunate man finds the unsteadiness of all hopes and help which he fondly lays hold upon.
28 After his pot broke, he got a tub for his residence. From there he surveyed the heavenly sphere, just as anyone beholds it from his own particular house. 29 In course of time, his tub was also broken down, this time by some wild animal. Thus he lost all his temporary residences, just as the darkness and dews of night are dispelled and sucked up by sunlight and heat.
30 After he had sorrowed in vain for the loss of his tub, he took refuge in an enclosed cottage with an open space in the middle in order to view the upper skies. 31 All devouring time also destroyed that dwelling of his, scattering it all about like the winds of heaven disperse the dried leaves of trees, leaving him to bewail the loss of his latest retreat and shelter.
32 Then he built a hut in the form of a barn house in the field. From that place he watched over his house of the air, as farmers keep watch and take care of their granaries. 33But the driving winds of the air drove away and dispersed his shelter, just as they do the gathering clouds of heaven. The roofless man had once more to deplore the loss of his last refuge.
34 Having thus lost all his homes in the pool and pot, in the cottage and the hut, the aerial man was left to moan over his losses in his empty abode of the air. 35 Being thus situated in his helpless state, the aerial man reflected upon the narrow confines of the homes which he had chosen for himself of his own accord. He thought of the many pains and troubles that he had repeatedly undergone in the erection and destruction of all his aerial castles by his own ignorance only.
• • •
Chapter 113 — Explanation of the Parable of the Aerial Man Building Aerial Homes
1 Rama said, “Please sage, please interpret your parable of the false man. Tell me the allusion it bears to the fanciful man whose business it was to watch the air.”
2 Vasishta replied:— Rama, listen as I expound to you the meaning of my parable of the false man and the allusion which it bears to every fanciful man in this world.
3 The man that I have described as a magical engine means the egoistic man who is led by the magic of his egoism to look upon the empty air of his personality as a real entity.4 The dome of the sky, which contains all these orbs of worlds, is only an infinite space of empty void, just as it was before this creation came into existence, before it became manifest to view.
5 The spirit of the inscrutable and impersonal Brahman is immanent in this emptiness and becomes apparent in the personality of Brahman, like an audible sound issuing out of the empty air which is its receptacle and support. 6 From this arises the subtle individual soul with the sense of its egoism, just as the vibration of winds springs from motionless air. Then, as the subtle individual soul grows up in time in the same element, it comes to believe it has an individual soul and a personality of its own.
7 Thus the impersonal soul, assimilated with the idea of its personality, tries to preserve its egoism forever. It enters into many bodies of different kinds and creates new ones for its home upon the loss of the former ones. 8 This egoistic soul is called the false and magical man because it is a false creation of unreality, a production of vain ignorance and imagination. 9 The pit and the pot, the cottage and the hut, represent the different bodies, their empty void supplying the egoistic soul with a temporary home.
10 Now listen as I tell you the different names under which our ignorant spirit passes in this world, and begins itself under one or other of these names. 11 It takes the various names of the living soul, understanding, mind, heart, and ignorance and nature also. It is known among men by the words imagination, fancy and time, which are also applied to it. 12 In these and a thousand other names and forms, this vain egoism appears to us in this world. But all these powers and faculties are mere attributes of the true Self which is imperceptible to us.
13 The world is truly known to rest without basis in the extended and empty womb of the visible sky. The imaginary soul of the egoist is supposed to dwell in it and feel all its pain and pleasure in vain. 14 Therefore O Rama, do not be like the imaginary man in the fable. Do not place any reliance upon your false personality or subject yourself, like the egoistic man, to the fancied pleasure and misery of this world. 15 Do not trouble yourself, like the false man, with the vain care of preserving your empty soul or suffer like him from the pain of your confinement in the hollow of a pit, pot or other forms.
16 How is it possible for anybody to preserve or confine empty spirit within the narrow limit of a pot or the like when it is more extended than the boundless sky and more subtle and more pure than the all pervading air? 17 The soul is supposed to dwell in the cavity of the human heart. It is thought to perish with the decay and destruction of the body. Hence people are seen to lament the loss of their frail bodies as if it caused the destruction of their indestructible soul. 18 As the destruction of the pot or any other hollow vessel does not destroy the subtle air which is contained within, so the dissolution of the body does not dissolve the embodied and intangible soul.
19 Know Rama, that the nature of the soul is that of the pure conscious intellect. It is more subtle than the encompassing air and far more minute than the smallest atom. It is only a particle of our consciousness, as indestructible as the all pervasive air which is never to be nullified. 20 The soul is never born nor does it die as any other thing at any place or time. It extends over the whole universe as the Universal Soul of Brahman which encompasses and comprehends all space and manifests itself in all things.
21 Know this spirit as one entire unit, the only real entity. It is always calm and quiet without beginning, middle or end. Know it as beyond positive and negative and be happy with your knowledge of its transcendental nature. 22 Now free your mind from the false thoughts of your egoism which is the home of all evils and dangers and is an unstable thing depending on the life of a man. It is full of ignorance and vanity and its own destruction and final destruction. Therefore get rid of your egoistic feeling and rely only upon the ultimate and supreme state of the one everlasting God.
• • •
Chapter 114 — Supreme Spirit, Thought, Creation
1 Vasishta said:— The mind first sprang from the Supreme Spirit of Brahman.
Being possessed of the power of thinking, it was situated in the Divine Soul and was called the Divine Mind or Intellect. 2 The unsteady mind resides in the spirit of God as the feeling of fragrance abides in the cup of a flower and as fluctuating waves roll about in a river. Know, Rama, that the mind radiates from its central point in Brahman, just as the rays of the sun extend to the circumference of creation.
3 Men forget the reality of the invisible spirit of God and view the unreal world as a reality, just as deluded people are inclined to believe a serpent in a rope. 4 He who sees sunlight without seeing the sun from where they proceed sees it in a different light than the light of the sun. 5 He who looks at an ornament without looking into the gold of which it is made is deluded by the finery of the ornament without knowing the value of the precious metal of which it is made. 6 He who looks at the sun together with his glory and sees the sunbeams knowing the sun from where they proceed, truly beholds the unity of the sun with his light and not his duality by viewing them separately.
7 He who looks at waves without seeing the sea in which they rise and fall has only the knowledge of the turbulent waves disturbing his mind. He has no idea of the calm waters underlying them. 8 But who looks on the waves as the water of which they are composed, he sees the same water to be in common in all its swellings and has the knowledge of its unity and common essence in all its varieties. 9 In this manner, seeing the same gold in its transformation into various sorts of ornaments, we have the knowledge of the common essence of gold in all of them in spite of their distinctions in form to sight.
10 He who sees only the flames and is unmindful of the fire which emits them is said to be ignorant of the material element, knowing only its transient and fleeting flares. 11The phenomenal world presents its aspect in various forms and colors, such as the many forms and variations of clouds in the sky. Whoever places his faith and reliance upon their reality and stability has his mind always busied with those changeful appearances. 12 He who views the flame as the same as the fire has only the knowledge of fire in his mind and does not know the duality of the flame as a thing distinct from its unity.
13 He who is freed from his knowledge of dualities has his mind restricted to the one and only unity. He has a great soul that has obtained the obtainable one and is released from the trouble of diving into the depth of the duality and plurality of all visible objects. 14 Get rid of your thoughts of the endless multiplicities and varieties of things. Keep your mind fixed steadily within the cavity of your pure intellect and employ it to meditate upon Supreme Consciousness without thought of any object of the senses.
15 When the silent soul forms an effort of will in itself, then there arises the power of its versatile desires, like the force of the fluctuating winds rising from the bosom of quiet air. 16 Then from the silent soul arises the willful mind as a distinct and independent thing of itself. It thinks in itself as the undivided and Universal Mind of the mundane world. 17Whatever the mind wills to do in this world, the same comes to take place immediately, agreeably to the type formed in its will.
18 This mind passes under various names such as the living principle, understanding, egoism, and the heart. It becomes as minute as a microscopic organism and an aquatic mollusk, and as big as a mountain and fleeter than the swiftest winds. 19 It forms and sustains the world at its own will. It becomes unity and plurality at its own option. It extends itself to infinity and shows itself in the endless diversity of objects which fill its ample space. 20 The whole scenery of the universe is nothing other than a display of the eternal and Infinite Mind. It is neither a positive reality nor a negative unreality of itself, but appears to our view like the visionary appearance in a dream. 21 The phenomenal world is a display of the kingdom of the Divine Mind just like paradise is a display of imagination formed in the minds of men, and like every man builds the airy castle of his mind.
22 Only our knowledge of the existence of the world in the Divine Mind serves to remove our fallacy of the entity of the visible world. If we look into the phenomenal in its true light, it speedily vanishes into nothing. 23 When we do not consider visible things in their true color, but take them in their false colors as they present themselves to view. We find them expressed in a thousand shapes, just as we see the same seawater in its diverse and various forms of foam, froth, bubbles, waves, surges, tides and whirlpools. 24 As the sea bears its body of waters, so the mind shows itself in the shape of its various faculties.
Mental powers are always busy with their many functions under the influence of Supreme Consciousness, all without affecting its tranquility.
25 Yet the mind, whether in its state of sleeping or waking or in its bodily or mental actions, does nothing of itself apart from the dictates of consciousness.
26 Know that there is nothing new in whatever you do or see or think upon. Everything proceeds from the inherent intellect which is displayed in all things and in all the actions and thoughts of men. 27 Know all these to be contained in the immensity of Brahman, besides whom there is nothing in existence. He abides in all things and categories. He remains as the essence of the inner consciousness of all. 28 Divine Consciousness exhibits the entirety of the imaginary world. The evolution of consciousness takes the name of universe with all its immense numbers of worlds.
29 How does your false idea of the difference of things from one another arise? When you know that it is the one Consciousness alone that assumes these various forms, then you have nothing to fear about the bondage or liberation of your soul. 30 O Rama, give up your egotism, pride, and self-esteem. Give up your thoughts of bondage and liberation. Remain quiet and self subdued in the continued discharge of your duties, like the holy mahatmas of elevated souls and minds.
• • •
Chapter 115 — Shiva Describes the Triple Virtues of Men to the King of the Bhringis
1 Vasishta said:— Take my advice, Rama, and strive to be an example of the greatest man in your deeds, enjoyments and bounty. Rely on your unshaken endurance by driving away all your cares and fears.
2 Rama asked, “Tell me sage. What is the deed that makes the greatest actor, and what is that thing which constitutes the highest enjoyments? Tell me also, what is the great virtue which you advise me to practice?”
Vashishta speaking:— 3 Long ago, Lord Shiva who bears the crescent moon on his forehead explained these three virtues to the lord of the Bhringis, who was thereby released from all disease and disquiet. 4 Long ago, on a northern peak of the north Lokaloka Mountain, the god who wears the crescent moon as a crown on his head used to hold his residence together with all his family and attendants.
5 It happened that the mighty but little knowing lord of the Bhringis asked him one day, his palms pressed together and his body lowly bowing down before the god who is the lord of Uma, 6 “My lord, please explain to me what I ask you to explain for my knowledge, for you know all things and you are the god of gods. 7 Lord! I am overwhelmed with sorrow to see the loud noisy waves of this deep and dark world in which we have been constantly struck back and forth forever, without finding the calm and quiet tree of truth. 8Tell me, my Lord, what is that certain truth and inner assurance on which we may rely with confidence, and whereby we may find our rest and repose in this our shattered house of this world?”
9 The Lord replied, “Always place your reliance on your unshaken patience and neither care nor fear for anything else. Always strive to be foremost in your action and passion and in your renunciation of everything.”
10 Bhringi replied, “Explain to me fully, my lord. What is meant by being the greatest in action and passion? What are we to understand from the greatest liberality or abandonment of everything here?”
11 Lord Shiva replied:— He is said to be the greatest actor who does his deeds as they occur to him, whether of goodness or of evil, without any fear or desire of fruition. 12 He who does his acts of goodness or otherwise, who gives no expression to his hatred and affection and feels both pleasure and pain equally without reference to any person or thing and without the expectation of their consequences, is said to be the greatest actor in the theatre of this world. 13 He is said to act his part well who does his business without any ado or anxiety and maintains his silence and purity of heart without any taint of egoism or envy. 14 He is said to act his part well who does not trouble his mind with the thoughts of actions that are accounted as auspicious or inauspicious, or considered as righteous or unrighteous according to common opinion.
15 He is said to perform his part well who is unaffected by any person or thing, but witnesses all objects as a mere witness and goes on doing his business without his desiring or deep engagement in it. 16 He is the best actor who is devoid of care and delight and continues in the same way and even course of his mind, retaining the clarity of his understanding at all times and without feeling any joy or sorrow at anything. 17 He does his duties best who is ready in his mind when it is the time for action and sits unconcerned with it at other times, like a retired and silent sage or saint.
18 He who does his works with unconcern and without assuming the vanity of being the doer is accounted as the best actor. He acts his part with his body but keeps his mind quite unattached to it. 19 He is reckoned as the best actor who is naturally quiet in his disposition and never loses the evenness of his temper, and who does good to his friends and evil to his enemies without taking them to his heart. 20 He is the greatest actor who looks at his birth, life, death and his rising and falling in the same light. He does not lose the equanimity of his mind under any circumstance whatsoever.
21 Again, he is said to enjoy himself and his life the best who does not envy anybody and does not pine for anything, but enjoys and acquiesces to whatever is allotted to his lot with cool composure and submission of his mind. 22 He also is said to enjoy everything well who receives with his hands what his mind does not perceive, acts with his body without being conscious of it, and enjoys everything without taking it to his heart. 23 He is said to enjoy himself best who looks at the conduct and behavior of mankind like an unconcerned and indifferent spectator. He looks upon everything without craving anything for himself.
24 He whose mind is not moved with pleasure or pain and is not elated with success and gain or dejected by his failure and loss, and who remains firm in all his terrible tribulations, is the man who is said to be in the perfect enjoyment of himself.
25 He is said to be in the best enjoyment of himself who meets with an equal eye of detachment his decay and death, his danger and difficulty, his wealth and poverty, and looks on their ups and downs with an eye of delight and cheerfulness. 26 He is called the man of greatest gratification who sustains all the ups and downs of fortune with equal firmness of mind, just as the deep sea contains its loud noisy waves in its fathomless depth. 27 He is said to have the highest gratification who is possessed of the virtues of contentment, equanimity and benevolence which always accompany his presence, just as cooling beams cling to the disc of the moon.
28 He too is greatly gratified in himself who tastes the sour and sweet and the bitter and pungent with equal pleasure, and tastes a savory and an unsavory dish with the same taste. 29 He who tastes the tasty and juicy and the distasteful and dry food with equal pleasure, and beholds the pleasant as well as unpleasant things with equal delight, is the man that is ever gratified in himself. 30 He to whom salt and sugar are alike and to whom salty and sweet food are equally edible, and who remains unchanged both in his happy and adverse circumstances, is the man who enjoys the best bliss of his life in this world. 31 He is in the enjoyment of his highest bliss who makes no distinction of one kind of food from another and who yearns for nothing that he can hardly earn.
32 He enjoys his life best who braves his misfortune with calmness and bears his good fortune, his joyous days, and better circumstances with moderation and coolness. 33 He is said to have abandoned his all who has given up the thoughts of his life and death of his pleasure and pain, and those of his merits and demerits from his mind. 34 He who has abandoned all his desires and exertions and forsaken all his hopes and fears and erased all his determinations from the tablet of his mind is said to have renounced everything in this world and to have freed himself from all. 35 He who does not take the pains that invade his body, mind and senses to his mind is said to have cast all the troubles of his mortal state away from himself.
36 He is considered the greatest giver of his all who gives up the cares of his body and life and has abandoned the thoughts of acts judged to be proper or improper for himself.37 He is said to have made his greatest sacrifice who has sacrificed his mind and all his mental functions and endeavors before the shrine of his self-denial. 38 He who has given up the sight of what is visible from his view and does not allow what can be sensed to intrude upon his senses is said to have renounced all and everything from himself.
Vasishta speaking:— 39 It was in this manner that the lord of gods Mahadeva gave his instructions to the lord of the Bhringis. By acting according to these precepts, O Rama, you must attain the perfection of your self-denial. 40 Meditate always on the everlasting and pure spirit that is without beginning or end, which is wholly this entire immensity and has no part or partner, and no representative or representation of itself. By thinking in this way you become stainless yourself and come to be absorbed in the same Brahman where there is all peace and tranquility.
41 Know the one Brahman without decay is the soul and seed of all various works or productions that proceed from him. His immensity spreads unopened throughout the whole of existence, just as endless space comprehends and manifests all things in itself. 42 It is not possible for anything at all, whether of positive or potential existence, to exist without and apart from this universal essence of all. Rely secure with this firm belief in your mind and be free from all fears in the world.
43 O most righteous Rama, look always to the inner soul within yourself and perform all your outer actions with the outer members of your body by forsaking the sense of your egoism and personality. Thereby be freed from all care and sorrow and you shall attain your supreme joy.
• • •
Chapter 116 — Melting Down of the Mind; Self Inquiry
1 Rama said, “O all-knowing sage, please tell me, what becomes of the essence of the soul after one’s egoism is lost in his mind and both of them are dissolved into nothing?”
2 Vasishta replied:— However great and predominant is one’s egoism over himself, and however much its accompanying evils of pride and ignorance may overpower man, yet they can never touch the pure essence of the soul, just as the water of the lake cannot come in contact with the lotus-leaf. 3 The purity of the soul appears vividly in the bright and serene countenance of a man after his egoism and its accompanying faults are all melted down in his deadened mind.
4 All the ties of our passions and affections are cut asunder and fall off upon breaking the string of our desires.
Our anger becomes weakened and our ignorance wears out by degrees. 5 Our desire is weakened and wearied and our covetousness flies far away. Our limbs become weakened and our sorrows subside to rest. 6 Then our afflictions fail to afflict us and our joys cease to excite us. Then we have a calm everywhere and a tranquility in our heart. 7Joy and grief now and then cloud his countenance, but they cannot over shadow his soul which is bright as eternal day.
8 The virtuous man becomes a favorite of the gods after his mind with its passions is melted down. Then there rises the calm evenness of his soul resembling the cooling beams of the moon. 9 He bears a calm and quiet disposition, offending and opposed to none, and therefore loved and honored by everyone. He remains retired and constant to his task and enjoys the serenity of his soul at all times. 10 Neither wealth nor poverty and neither prosperity nor adversity, however opposite they are to one another, can ever affect or mislead or elate or depress the minds of the virtuous.
11 Unfortunate is the man who is drowned in his ignorance and who does not seek the salvation of his soul. Salvation is easily obtainable by the light of reason which serves to save him from all the difficulties of this world. 12 He who wants to obtain his longed for joy and cross over the waves of his miserable transmigrations in the vast ocean of this world must always inquire within, “What am I? What is this world? What am I to be afterwards? What is the meaning of these short lived enjoyments here? What are the fruits of my future state?” These inquiries are the best expedients towards the salvation of the soul.
• • •
Chapter 117 — Sage Manu Teaches King Ikshaku: Creation Is an Appearance
1 Vasishta said:— Rama, know that the renowned King Ikshaku was the founder of your race. Learn, O descendant of that monarch, the manner in which he obtained his liberation.
2 Once upon a time when this monarch was ruling over his kingdom, he came to think upon the state of humanity in one of his solitary hours. 3 He wondered what might be the cause of the decay, disease and death, and also of the sorrow, pleasure and pain, and likewise of the errors to which all living beings are subject in this mortal world. 4 He reflected long upon these thoughts, but was unable to find out the cause he so earnestly sought. He happened to meet sage Manu one day, coming to him from Brahmaloka. King Ikshaku proposed the same questions to him. 5 Having honored the lord of creatures as he took his seat in his court, Ikshaku asked be excused for asking him some questions to which he was impelled by his impatience.
6 “By your favor, sage, I take the liberty of asking you a question regarding the origin of this creation and the original state in which it was made. 7 Tell me, what is the number of these worlds and who is their master and owner? When and by whom is it said to be created in the Vedas? 8 Tell me, how may I be freed from my doubts and false beliefs regarding this creation, and how I may be released from them like a bird from its net?”
9 Manu replied:— I see, O king, that after a long time you have come to exercise your reasoning, as shown by your asking me a question as important as this.
10 All this that you see, nothing is real. They resemble fairy castles in the air and water in a mirage in sandy deserts. Anything which is not seen in reality is considered nothing in existence. 11 Even the mind which lies beyond the six senses is reckoned as nothing in reality. But that which is indestructible is the only thing that is said to exist, and that which is (tat sat) is the only being in reality.
12 All these visible worlds and successive creations are only unsubstantial appearances in the mirror of that real substance. 13 The inherent powers of Brahman evolve themselves like shining sparks from fire. Some of these assume the forms of luminous worlds while others appear in the shapes of living soul. 14 Others take many other forms which compose this universe. There is nothing like bondage or liberation here, except that the undecaying Brahman is all in all. There is no unity or duality in nature, except the diversity displayed by the Divine Mind from the essence of his own consciousness.
15 As the same water of the sea shows the various forms of its waves, so does Divine Consciousness display itself in everything. There is nothing else besides this. Therefore leave aside your thoughts of bondage and liberation and rest secure in this belief from the fears of the world.
• • •
Chapter 118 — Manu Teaches Ikshaku: Divine Will Creates & Dissolves
1 Manu continued:— By Divine Will, the living souls of beings evolve from the original Consciousness, just as waves arise in the ocean. 2 These living souls retain the tendencies of their prior states in former births and thereby are led to move in their course of light or ignorance in this world, accordingly subject either to happiness or misery, which is felt by the mind and never affects the soul itself.
3 The invisible soul is known in the knowable mind, which is moved to action by it (the soul) just as the invisible point of Rahu becomes visible to us during the eclipse of the moon. 4 Neither the teacher of scriptures nor the lectures of our spiritual teachers can show the Supreme Spirit before our sight, but our spirit shows us the holy spirit when our understanding rests in its own true essence.
5 As travelers journey abroad with their minds, free from all attainment and aversion to any particular object or spot, so self-liberated souls are found to stay in this world quite unconcerned even with their bodies and the objects of their senses. 6 It is not for good and godly men to pamper or famish their bodies, or quicken or weaken their senses, but to allow them to be employed with their objects at their own option. 7 Be of an indifferent mind with regard to your bodies and all external objects. Enjoy the cool calmness of your soul by taking yourself entirely to your spirituality.
8 The knowledge that “I am an embodied being” is the cause of our bondage in this world. Therefore it is never to be entertained by those who seek their liberation. 9 But the firm conviction that “I am no other than an intellectual being, as rarefied as the pure air” is the only belief that is able to free our souls from their bondage in this world.
10 As the light of the sun pierces and shines both within and without the surface of a clear sheet of water, so does the light of the holy spirit penetrate and shine both inside and outside the pure souls of men, as well as in everything else. 11 The variety of forms makes the various kinds of ornaments out of the same substance of gold. So it is that the various acts and ways of the one soul make the differences of things in the world.
12 The world resembles a vast ocean, and all its created are like the waves upon its surface. They rise for a moment only to be yield to the latent flame of their desires that cannot be satisfied.
13 Know all the worlds are absorbed in the vast ocean of the Universal Soul of God, just as all things are eaten by death and time and lie buried, like the ocean itself, in the stomach of Agastya that cannot be satisfied.
14 Cease thinking that the bodies of men are their souls. See all that is visible in a spiritual light. Rely solely on your spiritual self and sit retired from all except alone with yourself. 15 Men are seen foolishly to wail for the loss of their souls, though it is lying within themselves, just as a fond mother moans on missing her child, forgetful of it sleeping upon her lap. 16 Men bewail the loss of their bodies crying, “O I am dead and gone” and so on, not knowing that their souls are ever without decay and imperishable. 17 As the fluctuation of water shows many forms upon its surface, so the will of God exhibits the forms of all things in Divine Consciousness.
18 Now king, keep the steadiness of your mind and repress your imagination and the flights of your fancy. Call your thoughts home and confine them to yourself. Remain calm and cool and undisturbed amidst all disturbances and go and rule your kingdom with your mind settled in the Self.
• • •
Chapter 119 — Manu Teaches Ikshaku: Living in the Spirit
1 Manu resumed:— The Lord with his creative power exerts his active energy and plays the part of a restless boy (in his formation of the worlds). Again, by his power of re-absorption, he absorbs all into himself and remains in his lonesome singleness. 2 His volition gives rise to his active energy, so his non-use of will causes the cessation of his exertion and the absorption of the whole creation in himself.
3 As the light of the luminous sun, moon and fire, and as the luster of brilliant gems spread themselves on all sides, and as the leaves of trees grow of themselves, and as the waters of a waterfall scatter their particles all about, 4 so the light of divine glory displays itself in the works of creation that appear intolerable to the ignorant who know not that it is the same God appearing to be otherwise. 5 It is a wonderful illusion that has deluded the whole world which does not perceive the Divine Spirit that pervades every part of the universe.
6 He who looks on the world as a scenery painted in the tablet of Divine Consciousness, remaining unimpressed and without desire of everything, quite content in his soul, has put on an invulnerable armor upon himself. 7 How happy is he who having nothing, no wealth or support, yet has his all by thinking himself as the all intelligent soul. 8 The idea that something is pleasurable and something else is painful is the sole cause of all pains and anxiety. The destruction of these feelings by the fire of our indifference to them prevents the access of pain and affliction to us.
9 O king, use the weapon of samadhi and cut in half the feeling of the agreeable and disagreeable. Tear apart your sensations of love and hatred by the sword of your courageous equanimity. 10 Clear the entangled jungle of ceremonious rites by the tool of your disregard of the merit or demerit of acts. Relying upon the rarified nonmaterial state of your soul, shake off all sorrow and grief from you. 11 Know your soul to be full of all worldly possessions. Drive all differences from your mind. Bind yourself solely to reason and be free from all fabrications of mankind. Know the supreme bliss of the soul and be as perfect and unfailing as the soul itself. Being embodied in the intellectual mind, remain quite calm and transparent, aloof from all the tears and cares of the world.
• • •
Chapter 120 — Manu Teaches Ikshaku: Seven Stages of Yoga; Living Liberated
1 Manu continued:—
Yogis say that the first stage of yoga is enlightenment of understanding by the study of scriptures and attendance on holy and wise men. 2 The second stage of yoga is discussion and reconsideration of what has been learnt before. The third is the reflection of the same in one’s self and is known under the name of self-inquiry or meditation. The fourth is silent meditation in which one loses his desires and darkness in his presence before the light of God. 3 The fifth stage is one of pure consciousness and joy in which the living liberated devotee remains in a partly waking and partly sleeping state. 4 The sixth stage is one’s consciousness of indescribable bliss, in which he is absorbed in a state of trance. 5 Resting in the fourth and succeeding stages is called liberation, then the seventh stage is the state of an even and transparent light in which the devotee loses his self consciousness.
6 The state above turiya or fourth stage is called nirvana or extinction in God. The seventh stage of perfection relates only to disembodied souls and not to those of living beings. 7 The first three stages relate to the waking state of man, and the fourth stage concerns the sleeping state in which the world appears like a dream. 8 The fifth stage is the stage of sound sleep in which the soul is drowned in deep joy. The unconsciousness of one’s self in the sixth stage is also called his turiya or fourth state.
9 The seventh stage is still above the turiya state of self-unconsciousness. It is full of divine effulgence whose excellence no words can express and no mind can conceive. 10 In this state the mind is withdrawn from its functions, freed from all thoughts of whatever can be thought, and all doubts and cares are drowned in the calm composure of its even temperament. 11 The mind that remains unmoved amidst its passions and enjoyments and is unchanged in prosperity and adversity, retaining full possession of itself under all circumstances, becomes of this nature both in its embodied and disembodied states of life and death.
12 The man who does not think himself to be alive or dead, or to be a reality or otherwise, but always remains joyous in himself, is one who is truly called to be liberated in his lifetime. 13 Whether engaged in business or retired from it, whether living with family or leading a single life, the man who thinks himself as nothing but consciousness and who has nothing to fear or care or to be sorry for in this world, is reckoned as liberated in this life.
14 The man who thinks himself to be unconnected with anyone, free from disease, desire and affections, who believes himself to be a pure aerial substance of Divine Consciousness, has no cause to be sorry for anything. 15 He who knows himself to be without beginning or end, decay or death, and to be of the nature of pure intelligence, remains always quiet and composed in himself and has no cause for sorrow at all. 16 He who considers himself to belong to that Intellect which dwells alike in the minute blade of grass and the infinite sky, in the luminous sun, moon and stars, and in the various races of beings such as men, naagas and immortals, such a man has no cause whatever for his sorrow.
17 Whoever knows the majesty of Divine Consciousness to fill all the regions both above and below and on all sides of him, and reflects himself as a display of his endless diversity, how can he be sorry at all for his decay and decline?
18 The man who is bound by his desire is delighted to have the objects he seeks, but the very things that tend to his pleasure by their gain prove to be painful to his heart at their loss. 19 The presence or absence of something is the cause of the pleasure or pain of men in general. The wise practice the curtailment and absence of desires. 20 If we act with unconcern and little desire or expectation of reward, no act or its result leads either to our joy or grief. 21 Whatever act is done with ardent physical effort and the whole hearted application of mind and soul tends to bind a man. An indifferent action, like a fried grain, does not germinate into any effect.
22 The thought that I am the doer and owner of a deed overpowers all bodily exertions and sprouts fourth with results that are forever binding on the doer. 23 As the moon is cool with her cooling beams and the sun is hot by his burning heat, so a man is either good or bad according to the work he does. 24 All acts done or left undone are as short lasting as the cotton flying from cottonwood trees. They are easily put to flight by the breath of understanding. All the acts of men are lost by cessation of their practice.
25 The germ of knowledge growing in the mind increases itself day by day, just as seed sown in good ground soon shoots forth into the paddy plant.
26 There is one Universal Soul that sparkles through all things in the world, just as the same translucent water glistens in lakes, large oceans and seas. 27 Withhold your notions of the varieties and multitudes of things and know these as parts of one undivided whole which stretches through them as their essence and soul.
• • •
Chapter 121 — Manu Teaches Ikshaku: Avoiding the Sense of Ego and Possession
1 Manu continued:— The soul originally is full of bliss by its nature, but being subject to ignorance, it fosters its vain desire for temporal enjoyment, from which it has the name of living soul. 2 But when the desire of pleasure is lessened by the discriminative knowledge of man, he forsakes his nature of a living and mortal being and his soul becomes one with the Supreme Spirit. 3 Therefore do not allow your desire of earthly enjoyment to draw your soul up and down to heaven and hell, like a bucket whose handle is tied with a rope and cast down and pulled up from a well.
4 Selfish people who claim something as theirs from that of another are grossly mistaken and led into error. They are destined, like the bucket in a well, to descend lower and lower. 5 He who gets rid of his knowledge that “this is I” and “that is another” and “that this is mine” and “that is the others” gradually rises higher and higher according to his greater disinterest.
6 Do not delay depending upon your enlightened and elevated soul extending over and filling the whole space of the sky and comprehending all the worlds in it. 7 When the human mind is thus elevated and expanded beyond all limits, then it approaches the Divine Mind and is assimilated to it. 8 Anyone who has arrived at this state may well think he is able to effect whatever was done by the gods Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, Varuna, and others who were of such elevated souls and minds. 9 Whatever acts are attributed to any of the gods or other persons are no more than the display of divine pleasure in that form. 10 Whoever is assimilated into Divine Consciousness and has become deathless and unmindful of his mortal state has a share of incomparable supreme joy for his enjoyment.
11 Continue to think this world as neither a vacuum nor a fullness, neither a material nor a spiritual substance. It is neither an intellectual being nor a quite unconscious thing.12 By thinking in this way, you will have composure of your disposition, or else there is no separate place or time or condition for your liberation. 13 Without egoism and ignorance, we get rid of our personal existence. Our contemplation of the nature of God and his presence before us in meditation constitutes our liberation. 14 The even delight and perpetual tranquility of the soul constitute our bliss and liberation. These are to be obtained through calm and cool reasoning in the meaning of scriptures, avoiding all impatience, unsteadiness of mind and temper, and the pleasures derived from our taste in poetry, light studies and trifling amusements.
• • •
Chapter 122 — Manu Teaches Ikshaku: Manu’s Admonition to Ikshaku
1 Manu continued:— Now the living liberated yogi, in whatever manner he is clad, however well or ill fed he may be, and wherever he may sleep or lay down his humble head, rests with joy in his mind in a state of perfect ease and blissfulness as if he were the greatest emperor of the world. 2 He breaks down all the bonds of caste and creed, and the rites and restraints of his order by the battery of the scriptures. He wanders free from the snare of society like a lion having broken loose from his cage roaming rampant everywhere. 3He has his mind abstracted from all objects of the senses and fixed on an object which no words can express. He shines forth with a grace in his face that resembles the clear autumn sky.
4 He is always as deep and clear as a large lake in a valley. Being rapt in heavenly joy, he is always cheerful in himself without care or want of anything else. 5 He is ever content in his mind without having anything for his dependence or any expectation of reward for his actions. He is neither addicted to any meritorious or unworthy acts nor subject to joy or grief for anything of pleasure or pain.
6 As a piece of crystal does not receive or emit any other color in its reflection except that of its pure whiteness, so the spiritually minded person is not imbued with the tinge of the effects of his actions. 7 He remains indifferent in human society and is not affected either by the torture or the pleasures of his body. He considers his pain and pleasure as passing over his shadow. He never takes them to his heart as they do not touch his intangible soul.
8 Whether honored or dishonored by men, he neither praises nor is displeased with them. He remains either connected or unconnected with the customs and rules of society.9 He hurts nobody, nor is he hurt by any. He remains free from the feelings of anger or affection, fear and joy. 10 No one can have the greatness of mind from his own nature, but it is possible for the Author of nature to raise the greatness of mind even in a child.
11 Whether a man leaves his body in a holy place or in the house of a low savage, or whether one dies at this moment or many years afterwards, 12 he is released from his bondage to life as soon as he knows the soul and gets rid of his desires. The error of egoism is the cause of his bondage and its eradication through knowledge is the means of his liberation.
13 The living liberated man is to be honored and praised and to be bowed down to with veneration, regarded with every attention by everyone who desires his prosperity and elevation. 14 No religious sacrifice or willful austerity, no charity or pilgrimage can lead us to that supremely holy state of human dignity which is attainable only by our respectful attendance upon the godly who have gotten rid of the troubles of the world.
15 Vasishta said:— The venerable sage Manu, having spoken in this manner, departed to the celestial abode of his father Brahma. Ikshaku continued to act according to the precepts delivered to him by the sacred seer.
• • •
Chapter 123 — Spiritual Powers
1 Rama said, “Tell me sage who is the most learned in spiritual knowledge, can a living liberated man of this kind obtain any kind of extraordinary power?”
2 Vasishta replied:— The all-knowing sage sometimes has a greater knowledge of one thing than another, and has his mind directed in one particular way as opposed to another, but the learned seer of a contented mind has his soul quite at rest in itself.
3 There are many who by their complete knowledge of particular mantras, tantras, and the virtues of certain minerals have attained the power of aerial flight and other powers, but what is extraordinary in these? 4 The powers of self-expansion and contraction and other powers have been acquired by others through their constant practice. These are disregarded by seers in spiritual knowledge.
5 This is this difference between knowing seers and the bulk of idle practitioners in yoga. The knowing seers are content with their dispassionate mind without placing any reliance on practice. 6 This is truly the sign of the inconspicuous seer in yoga, that he is always cool and calm in his mind and freed from all the errors of the world, and in whom the traces of the passions of love and anger, sorrow and illusion and the mishaps of life are scarcely visible.
• • •
Chapter 124 — Three Bodies; Turiya – The Story of the Hunter and the Sage;
1 Vasishta said:— Know now that the Lord stops to take upon Himself the nature of the living or animal soul, just as a brahmin, by disregarding the purity of its original nature, assumes the character of a vile shudra for some mean purpose. 2 There are two kinds of living beings that come into existence in the beginning of the repeated creations. One comes into existence without any causality and therefore is called the causeless or uncaused. 3 Then the soul emanating from the Divine is subject to various reincarnations and becomes many kinds of beings according to its previous acts and propensities. 4 All beings originally emanate without any cause from the source of the Divine Essence. Then their actions become the secondary cause of continuous reincarnations.
5 The personal acts of men cause their happiness and misery. The will produced by the conscious knowledge of one’s self becomes the cause of the action. 6 Will or desire of any action or its result is likewise the cause of one’s bondage to this world. What they call liberation is no more than our release from the bonds of our desires.
7 Therefore be careful to choose what is right and proper from whatever is wrong and improper, and try to reduce your wishes as much as possible. 8 Do not let yourself possess or be possessed of anything or any person, but give up thinking on anything besides what remains after the thoughts of all other things.
9 Anything to which the senses are addicted serves to bind the soul the more it takes pleasure in it, and also to unbind and release the mind in proportion to the distaste which it bears to it.
10 If there is anything which is pleasing to your soul, know that is your binding string to the earth. If, on the contrary, you find nothing to your liking here, then you are free from the traps of all the valueless things on earth. 11 Therefore let nothing whatever tempt or deceive your mind to anything that exists whether living or inanimate. Regard everything from a mean bit of straw to a great idol as unworthy of your regard.
12 Think not that you are a doer or giver of anything, or a person offering anything or eating what you have offered to the gods. Be quite aloof from all your bodily actions owing to the immaterial nature of yourself or soul. 13 Do not concern yourself with past acts or cares for the future over which you have no command, but discharge well your present duties as they are and come to your hand.
14 All men’s feelings and passions, their desires and all the rest, are strung together with their hearts. Therefore it is necessary to cut these heart strings with the weapon of a brave and strong heart. 15 Now break your sensuous mind by the power of your reasoning mind and restrain its rage of running into errors as they break iron pegs using iron hammers. 16 Intelligent men rub out one dirt using another and remove one poison by another poison. Soldiers oppose a steel weapon with a weapon of the same metal.
17 All living beings have a triple form of the subtle, solid and the imperceptible spiritual bodies. Now lay hold and rely upon the last in utter disregard of the two former. 18 The solid or gross body is composed of hands, feet and other members and limbs. It exists upon its food in this lower world. 19 The living being also has an intrinsic body which is derived from within and is composed of all its wishes in the world. This body is known as the mental or intellectual part of the body. 20 The third form is the transcendental or spiritual body. It assumes all forms and is the simple intellectual soul which is without beginning or end and without any alteration in its nature. 21 This is the pure turiya state in which you must remain steadfast as your living liberation. Reject the two others in which you must place no reliance.
22 Rama said, “I have understood the three definite states of waking, dreaming, and sound sleep as they have been defined to me. But the fourth state of turiya is yet left undefined. I beg you to explain it clearly to me.”
23 Vasishta answered:— “Turiya” is that state of the mind in which the feelings of one’s egoism and non-egoism, and those of existence and inexistence are utterly drowned under a total aloofness, a state in which the mind is settled in one unchangeable and uniform even course of tranquility and clearness. 24 In that state the selfish feelings of mine and yours are altogether wanting, and one remains as a mere witness of the affairs of life. This is the turiya state of living liberation.
25 This is neither the state of waking, owing to its lack of any wish or concern, nor the state of sound sleep, which is one of perfect unconsciousness. 26 It is that calmness in which the wise man sees everything going on in the world. It is like the state of unconsciousness of the ignorant in which they perceive no stir in the course of the world. 27 The evenness of the mind after the falling down of every bit of egotism, like the settling of turbulent waters underneath, is the turiya state of the detachment of the soul.
28 Hear me give you an example on this subject which will grant as clear a light to your enlightened mind as that of all seeing gods.
29 It happened once that a hunter, roaming for his prey in some part of a forest, chanced to see a sage sitting silently in his solitude. Thinking it something strange, the hunter approached him saying, 30 “O sage, have you seen a wounded stag fleeing this way with an arrow in its back?”
31 The sage replied, “You ask me where your stag has fled, but my friend, know that sages like us who live in the forest are as cool as blocks of stone. 32 We lack that egoism which enables one to conduct the transactions of the world. Know, my friend, that the mind conducts all the actions of the senses. 33 Know that long ago the feeling of my egoism has dissolved in my mind. I have no perception whatever of the three states of waking, dreaming, and sound sleep. I rest quietly in my fourth state of aloofness in which there is no vision of what can be seen.”
34 The hunter heard the sage’s words but being quite at a loss to comprehend its meaning, he departed on his own way without saying a word.
35 Therefore, O Rama, I tell you there is no other state beyond the fourth or turiya quietism. It is that unalterable aloofness of the mind which is not to be found in any other. 36Waking, dreaming and sound sleep are the three tangible conditions of the mind. These are respectively the dark, quiet and unconscious states in which the mind situated in this world. 37 The waking state presents us the dark complexion of the mind and its susceptibility to all the passions and evils of life. The sleeping state shows us its quiet aspect, its lack of cares and anxieties. 38 The state of sound sleep is one of unconsciousness. The state beyond these three bears the feature of death in it. Yet this dead-like figure possesses the principle of life which is experienced by yogis by diligent attention and preserved from harm and decay.
39 Now Rama, the sages say that the soul which remains in its quiet rest after its renunciation of all desire is in the cool calmness of itself, the liberated state of the holy and devout yogi on earth.
• • •
Chapter 125 — Means of Attaining Steadiness of Turiya State
1 Vasishta resumed:— Know Rama, that the conclusion which is arrived at in all works on spiritual philosophy is the negation of everything except the entity of the Supreme Soul. There is no principle of ignorance or delusion which is a secondary agent under one quiescent Brahman, who is ever without a second.
2 The spirit of the Lord is always calm with the serene brightness of Divine Consciousness in itself. It is full of its omnipotence and is attributed with the name of Brahman. 3Some determine that the Divine Spirit is formless vacuum. Others call it omniscience.
Most people in the world call it the Lord God.
4 O sinless Rama, avoid all these and remain quite silent in yourself. Be extinct in the Divine Essence by restraining the actions of your heart and mind and by the tranquility of your soul. 5 Have a quiet soul in yourself and remain like a deaf and dumb man in your outward appearance. Look always within yourself and be full with the Divine Spirit. 6Discharge the duties of your waking state as if you are doing them in your sound sleep. Forsake everything in your inner mind and do whatever comes to you outwardly without taking any into your heart.
7 The essence of the mind is only for one’s misery, as the absence of mind is his highest joy. Therefore the mind must be drowned in the intelligent soul by completely destroying the action of mental powers. 8 Remain as cold as a stone at the sight of anything that is delightful or disgusting to you. Like this, learn to subdue everything in the world under your control. 9 The objective is neither for our pleasure or pain, nor is it the intermediate state of the two.
Therefore it is by diligent attention to the subjective that we can attain the end of all our misery.
10 He who has known the Supreme Soul has found within himself a delight that resembles the cooling beams of the full bright moon. Being possessed of the full knowledge of the essence of all things in the three worlds, he performs his parts as if he were not paying attention to them.
• • •
Chapter 126 — The Seven Stages of Yoga; Each Leads to the Next through Incarnations
1 Rama said, “Sage, tell me about the practices of the seven stages of yoga and the characteristics of yogis in every stage.”
2 Vasishta related:—
Rama, know that mankind is divided into two classes, the zealous and the resigned. One expects heavenly reward and the other is inclined to supreme joy. Know their different characters as follows.
3 Those who are addicted to enjoyments think the quietude of nirvana as nothing to their purpose. They prefer worldliness above final bliss. He who acts his part in this sense is called an active and energetic man. 4 Such a man of the world is like a tortoise which, though it has its neck well hidden in its shell, still stretches it out to drink the salt water of the sea that it inhabits until after many births, he gets a better life for his salvation.
5 But he who reflects on the nothingness of the world and the uselessness of his situation in it, such a man does not allow himself to be carried on by the current of his old and recurring course of duties here in day after day. 6 He who, after being released from the burden of his business, reflects on the delight of his rest after labor, is the man who is said to repose in his quiescence. 7 When a man comes to investigate in himself how he shall become dispassionate and get over the loud noisy ocean of the world, such a man is said to have come to his good and right sense and to stand on the way to his tolerance. 8 He who has an insensitivity in his heart to the very many thoughts that daily rise in his mind, and who manages his gravest and greatest concerns without being much concerned about them in his mind, such a man is said to taste the delight of his steadiness day by day.
9 He who condemns the rustic amusements and mean employments of men, and instead of taking up the faults and failings of others for his merry talk, employs himself to meritorious acts, 10 whose mind is engaged in agreeable tasks and painless acts, who is afraid of sin and rejects all pleasures and bodily enjoyments, 11 whose conversation is full of love and tenderness, appropriate without any harshness, and whose speeches are suitable to the time and place in which they are delivered, 12 such a man is said to stand on the first step of yoga when he makes it his duty to attend the society of the good and great, whom he learns to imitate in his thoughts, words, and actions.
13 He also collects books on spiritual learning from everywhere and reads with attention and diligence. He then considers their contexts and lays hold on the tenets which serve to save him from this sinful world. 14 Such a man is said to have come upon the (first) stage of yoga, or else he is a hypocrite who assumes the disguise of a yogi for his own interest only.
The yogi then comes to the next step of yoga, which is called the stage of investigation. 15 From the mouths of the best scholars, he hears explanations of the scriptures and the Puranas, the rules of good conduct, and the manner of meditation and conduct of yoga practice. 16 Then he learns the divisions of categories and distinction of things, together with the difference between actions that are to be done or avoided. All this heard from the mouth of an adept in yoga will facilitate his course through the other stages. It is like the master of a house who easily enters every apartment of his house. 17 He takes off his outer habit of pride and vanity, his jealousy and greed, and the other passions which formed, as it were, an outer garment of his body just like a snake casting off his old skin. 18 Having thus purified his mind, he attends to the service of his spiritual teachers and holy persons and acquaints himself with the mysteries of religion.
19 Then he enters the third stage which is to avoid all company, which he finds as agreeable as a bed of flowers. 20 He learns to steady his mind according to the dictates of scriptures. He passes his time talking on spiritual subjects in the society of hermits and devotees. 21 He sits with dispassionate renunciants and religious recluses who are disgusted with the world. Relying upon the firm rock of his faith, he wears out his long life with ease. 22 He passes his mortal life with cheerful delight of his loneliness and the pleasing tranquility of his mind in his woodland retreat and wanderings. 23 By study of holy books and performance of religious acts, he gets a clear view of things, as it generally attends upon the virtuous lives of men.
24 The conscious man who has arrived at the third stage of yoga practice perceives in himself two kinds of disconnection with the world, as you will now hear from me. 25 This disconnection of a person with all others is of two sorts, one which is his ordinary disassociation with all persons and things, and the other is his absolute disconnection with everything, including himself.
26 Ordinary disconnection is the sense of one being neither the subject or object of his action, nor being the slayer of or slain by anybody, but that all accidents are incidental to his prior acts and all are dependent on the orderings dispensed of Providence. 27 It is the conviction that I have no control over my happiness, misery, pain or pleasure, and that all prosperity and adversity, employment, privation, health and disease happen to me of their own accord. 28 All union is for its separation and all gain is for its loss. So health, disease, pain and pleasure come by turns, and there is nothing which is not succeeded by its reverse, because time with its open jaws is ever ready to devour all things.
29 The negative idea of nonexistence, which is produced in the mind from our lack of reliance on the reality of things, is the sense conveyed by the expression, our ordinary disconnection with all things. 30 With this sort of the disunion of everything in the mind, and our union with the society of high minded men and disassociation with the vile and unrighteous, and association with spiritual knowledge, 31 these joined with continuous exertion of manliness in habitual practice of these virtues, one assuredly arrives at the certain knowledge of what he seeks as clearly as he sees a globe set in his hands.
32 Knowing that the supreme author of creation sits beyond the ocean of the universe and watches over its concerns impresses us with the belief that it is not I but God that does everything in the world. There is nothing that is done here by me, but by the great God himself. 33 Having left aside the thought of one’s agency on any act, whoever sits quiet silent and tranquil in himself, such a one is said to be absolutely unconnected with everything in the world.
34 The Lord of all is he who does not reside within or without anything, or dwells above or beneath any object, who is not situated in the sky or in any side or part of the all surrounding air and space, who is not in anything or in nothing, and neither in gross matter nor in the conscious spirit, 35 who is present and manifest in everything without being expressed in any, who pervades all things like the clear sky, and who is without beginning or end or birth or death. Whoever seeks this Lord of all is said to be set in the best part of this third stage of yoga. 36 Contentment is a sweet fragrance in the mind, and virtuous acts are as handsome as the leaves of a flower. The heartstring is like a stalk troubled by the thorns of cares, anxieties and suffering with the gusts of dangers and difficulties. 37 The flower of inner discrimination is expanded, like the lotus-bud, by the sunbeams of reason and produces the fruit of renunciation in the garden of the third stage of yoga practice.
38 Association with holy men and doing virtuous acts, one suddenly arrives at the first stage of yoga. 39 So this first step is to be preserved with care and nurtured like a tender sprout, watering its roots with reason. 40 The yoga practitioner, like a good gardener, must foster the rising plant of spiritual knowledge by the daily application of reasoning to every part of it. 41 This stage being well managed and all its parts being properly performed, introduces the succeeding stages.
42 Now the better part of the third stage, as already described, is one of all desires removed from the mind of the yogi.
43 Rama said, “Now sage, tell me. How is salvation attained by an ignorant man, one of base birth addicted to baseness himself who has never associated with yogis or received any spiritual instruction, 44 who has never ascended any of the first, second or succeeding stages of yoga, and who is dead in the same state of ignorance in which he was born?”
45 Vasishta replied:—
An ignorant man who has never attained any of the states of yoga in his whole life is carried by the current of his reincarnation to wander in a hundred births until he happens, by some chance or other, to get some glimpse of spiritual light in any of his births. 46 Or it may be that he happens to associate with holy men and becomes dissatisfied with the world. The renunciation which springs thereby becomes the ground for one of the stages of his yoga. 47 By this means, the man is saved from this miserable world, because it is the united voice of all the scriptures that an embodied being is released from death as soon as he has passed through any one stage of yoga.
48 The performance of even a portion of some of the stages of yoga is enough for the remission of past sins and for conducting the purified person to the celestial abode in a heavenly car. 49 He enjoys the celestial gardens of Sumeru in company with his beloved when the weight of his righteous acts outweighs those of unrighteousness.
50 The yogi, released from the trap of his temporal enjoyments and having passed his allotted period, dies in due time to be reborn in the houses of yogis and rich men or in the private houses of learned, good and virtuous people. 51 Being thus born, he undertakes the habitual practice of the yoga of his former birth and has the wisdom to immediately begin at the stage he practiced which he had left unfinished before.
52 These three stages, Rama, are called the waking states because the yogi retains his perception of the differences of things, just as a waking man perceives the visible to differ from one another.
53 Men employed in yoga acquire a venerable dignity which cause the ignorant to also wish for their liberation. 54 He is reckoned venerable who is employed in all honorable deeds and refrains from what is dishonorable, and who is steadfast in the discharge of all his social duties, whether they are of the ordinary or occasional kind. 55 He who acts according to customary usage and the ordinances of scriptures, who acts conscientiously and according to his position and thus dispenses all his affairs in the world, is truly called a venerable man.
56 The venerable nature of yogis germinates in the first stage, blossoms in the second, and becomes fruitful in the third stage of yoga. 57 The venerable yogi who dies in the state of yoga enjoys the fruits of good desires for a long time, then becomes a yogi again. 58 The practice of the parts enjoyed in the three first stages of yoga first serves to destroy the ignorance of the yogi, then sheds the light of true knowledge in his mind as brightly as the beams of full moon illuminate the sky at night.
59 He who devotes his mind to yoga with undivided attention from first to last, and who sees all things in one even and same light, is said to have arrived at the fourth stage of yoga. 60 As the mistake of duality disappears from sight and the knowledge of unity shines supremely bright, the yogi in this state is said to have reached the fourth stage of yoga when he sees the world like a vision in his dream.
61 The first three stages are called the waking state of the yogi, but the fourth is said to be a state of dreaming. That which can be seen disappears from his sight, just as the dispersed clouds of autumn gradually vanish from sight, and as the scenes in a dream recede to nothingness.
62 They who have their minds lying dormant in them and who are unconscious of their bodily sensations are said to be in the fifth stage. This is called the sleeping state or the trance of yoga meditation. 63 In this state, there is an utter cessation of awareness in the mind of the yogi of the endless varieties of things and species. The yogi relies on his awareness of only an undivided unity. His sense of duality is entirely melted down and lost in the cheerfulness of his awakened mind. 64 The fifth stage is also a state of sound sleep. The yogi loses all external perceptions and sits quietly with his internal vision. 65 The continued calmness of his posture gives him the appearance of sleep. The yogi continues in this position practicing the denial of all his desires.
66 This step leads gradually to the sixth stage, which is a state of unconsciousness both to the existence and nonexistence of things, as also of one’s egoism and non-egoism. 67The yogi remains unmindful of everything, quite unconscious of unity or duality. By being freed from every scruple and suspicion in his mind, he arrives at the dignity of living liberation. 68 The yogi of this sort, though still living, is said to be extinct or dead to his consciousness. He sits like a lamp in a picture that emits no flame. He remains with a vacant heart and mind like an empty cloud hanging in the empty air. 69 Within and without he is full of divine ecstasy, like a full pot in a sea. He is possessed of higher power, yet he appears as worthless on the outside.
70 After passing his sixth grade, the yogi is led to the seventh stage which is called a state of disembodied liberation because of its pure spiritual nature. 71 It is a state of quietude which cannot be described in words. It extends beyond the limits of this earth. It is said to resemble the state of Shiva by some, and that of Brahman by others. 72 By some it is said to be the state of the androgynous deity, or the indistinct state of male and female powers. Others have given many other names to it according to their fancies. 73The seventh is the state of the eternal and incomprehensible God which no words can express or explain in any way.
Thus Rama, have I described the seven stages of yoga. 74 By practice of these perfections, one evades the miseries of this world. By subjection of the unruly elephantine senses, one can arrive at these perfections.
75 Rama, hear me tell you about a furious elephant which with its protruded tusks was ever ready to attack others. 76 As this elephant was about to kill many men unless it could be killed by one of them, so are men’s senses like ferocious elephants of destruction to them. 77 Hence every man who has the valor of destroying this elephant of his sensuality as his very first step becomes victorious in all the stages of yoga.
78 Rama said, “Tell me sage, who is this victorious hero in the field of battle? What is the nature of this elephant that is his enemy? What are these grounds of combat where he encounters him, and how does he defeat and kill this great foe?”
79 Vasishta replied:—
Rama, our desire has the gigantic figure of this elephant which roams at random in the forest of our bodies and sports demonstrating all our passions and feelings. 80 It hides in the hidden place of our hearts and has our acts for its great tusks. Its fury is our ardent desire for anything, and our great ambition is its huge body. 81 All the scenes (desire objects) on earth are the fields for its battle, where men are often defeated in their pursuit of any such desire. 82 The elephant of desire kills miserly and covetous men in the state of their wish or desire, or exertions and effort, or longing and yearning after anything.
83 In this way fierce greed lurks in the sheath of human breast under different names. Only refraining from those desires serves as the great weapon of their destruction. 84 This constant desire to possess everything in the world is conquered by reflection on the omnipresence of the soul in all of them, and that the unity of my soul stretches over and grasps all things that I desire.
85 He who continues in this world like the rest of mankind is doomed to suffer under the colic pain of this venomous greed. 86 Our highest liberation is the diminution of the stinging poison of greed. Our liberation is when the calm and cooling countenance of the absence of desire appears to our sight. 87 Words of advice stick to the wise mind like drops of oil adhere to a glass mirror. Our indifference to the world is the only prevention of its thorns, and it is the best advice to the wise. 88 It is advisable to destroy a desire by the weapon of detachment as soon as it arises in the breast. It is proper to root out the sprout of a poisonous plant before it spreads itself on the ground.
89 The lustful soul is never free from its miserliness, while the mere effort of detachment makes it set quiet in itself. 90 Having no care for anything, by lying down as inactive as a dead carcass, you can kill your desire by the weapon of your detachment, just like they catch and kill fishes with hooks. 91 The wise say that desire is that attitude of “let this be mine” or “I may have it” and the lack of every desire is called renunciation.
92 Know that the memory of something is also the desire to have it again. Memory includes both what was enjoyed before and in the future. 93 O high minded Rama, you must learn to remain like a senseless block in your mind by forgetting whatever you think of or otherwise. For your detachment from the world, all must be buried in forgetfulness.
94 Who will not lift up his arms and have his hairs standing on end to hear and reflect that lack of desire is the supreme good of everyone’s desire. 95 By sitting quite silently and quietly one attains the state of supreme joy, a state before which the sovereignty of the world seems like a bit of straw. 96 As a traveler traverses on foot through many regions to reach to his destination, so the yogi passes through all his ordinary acts in order to reach his goal of final bliss.
97 What is the good of using many words when it can be expressed in a few? Our desire is our strongest bondage and its lack our complete liberation.
98 Now Rama, rest quietly in your joy knowing that all this creation is full of the uncreated, everlasting, un-decaying and tranquil spirit of God. Sit quietly delighted in yourself seeing all that is visible in its spiritual sense. 99 Know to ignore everything and the quiet posture of the yogi, which the spiritually minded call the state of yoga. Continue to discharge your duties even in your yoga state until you get rid of them by deprivation of your desires.
100 The wise also describe yoga as unconsciousness of one’s self. It consists of the entire absorption of one’s self in the supreme by wasting away the mind and all its operations. 101 Again, this self absorption is conceiving of one’s self to be the all pervasive spirit of Shiva, uncreated, self-conscious and ever benevolent to all. This conception of one’s self is equivalent to renunciation of everything besides oneself.
102 He who has the sense of egoism and selfishness is never released from the miseries of life. The negation of this sensation produces our liberation. Therefore each person may choose to do either this or that for his bondage or liberation.
• • •
Chapter 127 — Valmiki Admonishes Bharadwaja
1 Bharadwaja asked Valmiki, “Tell me sage, what did Rama do after hearing the sage’s lecture? Did he with his enlightened understanding ask any other question? Or did he remain in ecstatic quietude with his full knowledge of yoga and the Supreme Soul?”
2 “What did that supremely blessed yogi (Vasishta) do next? He is adored by all and honored even by gods. He is a personification of pure understanding, free from the state of birth and death, filled with every good quality and always kindly disposed to the welfare and preservation of the peoples in all the three worlds.”
3 Valmiki replied:—
After hearing Vasishta’s lecture combining the essence of Vedanta philosophy, lotus-eyed Rama became perfectly acquainted with the full knowledge of yoga. 4 He felt his bodily strength failing and his body falling. He stared with glaring eyes, his clear intellect shrouded under a cloud. He awoke in a moment from his entranced state and felt a flood of rapturous joy within himself. 5 He forgot about asking questions and listening to their answers. His mind was full with the ambrosial nectar of delight. In his emotional state, the hairs of his body stood up like bristles.
6 An indescribable light with unusual brightness spread over his consciousness. That light put the auspicious prospects of the eight siddhi powers of yoga into utter shade. 7 In this way Rama attained the highest state of Shiva, in which he sat calmly without uttering a word.
8 Bharadwaja said, “O how much I wonder at such a high dignity which Rama had attained. How much I regret the impossibility of its attainment by a dull and ignorant sinner as myself.”
9 “Tell me, O great sage, how may it be possible for me to attain to that stage of perfection which is impossible even for the gods Brahma and others to attain? Tell me also, how can I get over the impassable ocean of earthly troubles?”
10 Valmiki replied:—
By reading of the history of Rama from first to last, by following the precepts of Vasishta as given in these lectures, and by consideration of their true sense and meaning in your understanding, you may be able to attain the state that you desire. This all that I can tell you at present.
11 The world is an exhibition of our ignorance. There is no truth in anything we see in the world. It is only a display of our error. For that reason it is entirely disregarded by the wise, and so much regarded by fools. 12 There is no entity or anything here other than Divine Consciousness. Why then are you deluded by phenomena? Learn their secrets and have a clear understanding.
13 The perception of the delusive phenomena resembles the waking dream of day dreamers. He alone is said to be awake who has the lamp of his intellect ever burning within himself. 14 The world is based on emptiness and it also ends in a vacuum. Its midmost part being likewise empty, there is no reliance placed upon it by the intelligent or the wise.
15 Our primeval ignorance accompanied by our primordial desires presents all that is nonexistent as existing, just as our fancy paints a paradise or fairy city to our view, and sleep shows its various dreams before us. 16 Being unpracticed to taste the sweet plantain of your beneficent intellect, you are deluded to greedily devour the delirious drug of your desires and make yourself giddy with drinks of its poisonous juice.
17 He who lays hold of true knowledge for his support never falls down in the pit of ignorance during his wakeful state. Those who depend only upon their subjective consciousness stand above all other states. 18 So long as the adepts in yoga do not plunge themselves into the fresh and sweet waters of the great fountain of their consciousness, they must be exposed to the loud waves of the dangerous ocean of this world. 19 That which has no existence before and which will remain not existing afterwards must be understood to be nonexistent in the interim also. Just as our night dreams and fleeting thoughts are never in being, so is this world and whatever is seen in it.
20 All things are born of our ignorance, just as bubbles are swollen air. They glisten and move about for a moment, then melt into the sea of our knowledge. 21 Find out the stream of the cooling waters of your consciousness and plunge yourself deep into it. Drive away all external things from you like they shut out hot and harmful sunbeams from houses. 22 The one ocean of ignorance surrounds and floods the world, just as a single salt sea surrounds and washes an island. The distinctions of “I” and “you” and the like are the waves of this salt sea of our falseness. 23 The emotions of the mind and its various feelings and passions are the many forms of the waves of this sea of ignorance. Our egoism and selfishness make the great whirlpool in which the self-willed man is hurled of his own accord. 24 His love and hatred are the two sharks that lay hold of him in their jaws and drag him at last into the depth, which nobody can prevent.
25 Go and plunge yourself in calm and cooling sea of your solitude and wash your soul in the nectar waters of your ambrosial singleness. Dive deep into the depth of unity and fly from the salt sea of duality and the distasteful waves of diversities.
26 Who is lasting in this world and who is passing from it? Who is related to anyone and what does one derive from another? Why are you drowned in your delusion? Rise and be wakeful. 27 Know yourself as that one and same soul which is said to be diffused all over the world. Say what other thing there is that should you regret or lament except that and you?
28 Brahman appears to ignorant children as spread out through all the worlds, but the learned always rely upon the concentrated blissful soul of God. 29 Unreasonable men grieve and are pleased suddenly and without cause. It is a sad thing to find them in error. But the learned are always joyful.
30 The truth of the fine subtlety of the Divine Soul is hidden from eyes of the ignorant. They are as doubtful about its nature as men are suspicious of foreign lands and waters.31 See the great bodies of earth, air, water and sky composed of atomic particles, so durable as to last forever. Why then mourn at the loss of anything in the world? 32 From nothing comes nothing. Something cannot become nothing. Only the appearance of form takes place in the substance of things.
33 By virtue of prior acts in former births, men are reborn in different shapes to enjoy or suffer the results of those acts. Adore therefore the Lord God and author of the worlds who is always bountiful and bestows all blessings. 34 The worship of this God destroys all our sins and cuts off the knots of snares of this world. 35 You may worship Him in some form or other until your mind is cleared and your nature is purified. Then you can resort to the transcendent spirit of the formless deity.
36 Having overcome the impenetrable gloom of ignorance by force of the purity of your nature, you may pursue the course of the yoga with the humility of your inner soul and belief in the scriptures. 37 Then sit a moment in your fixed meditation (samadhi) and behold the transcendent spirit in your own spirit. In this state the dark night of your former ignorance will break forth into open and bright daylight. 38 It must be by one’s courageous efforts, or by virtue of meritorious acts in former births, and also by grace of the great God, that men may obtain the obtainable one.
39 Neither birth nor character, nor good manners or bravery of a man ensures him success in any undertaking. It is the merit of acts in former births. 40 Why do you sit so sadly to think of inscrutable and unavoidable fate? There is no power, not even that of God himself, to erase what has been already been destined. 41 Where is the expounder of spiritual science, and where is the pupil who can comprehend it fully? What is this creeping plant of ignorance, and what is this inscrutable destiny, that joins two things together? These are questions too difficult to be solved.
42 O Bharadwaja, let your reason help you overcome your illusion. Then no doubt you will gain an uncommon share of wisdom. 43 See how a high spirited hero overpowers all his imminent dangers and stretches his conquest far and wide. On the other hand, see how a mean spirited man is tried and grieves at the ordinary casualties of life. 44 A good understanding is the result of and attends upon the meritorious deeds of many lives, as it appears in the acts of wise men and in the lives of all living liberated persons.
45 Know my son that the same action is filled with your freedom or bondage according to whether it proves favorable or adverse to you. 46 The righteous acts of virtuous men serve to destroy the sins of their past lives, just as rain showers extinguish a fire in the forest. 47 But my friend, if you want to avoid falling into the deep whirling currents of this world, I would rather advise you to avoid religious acts and attach your mind to the meditation of Brahman. 48 So long as one is attached to the outer world, led by his desires that cannot be satisfied, he is exposed to the contrary wind and waves of the sea. He can find his rest only in the calm water of his solitude.
49 Why do you lean so much upon your sorrow only to blind your understanding? Rather support yourself on the strong staff of your good understanding and it will never break under you. 50 Those who are reckoned among great men never allow themselves to be altered or moved by their joy or grief to be carried away like straw by the currents of a river.
51 Friend, why do you sorrow for people who are swinging in the cradle of the circumstances of life in the dark night of this world, playing their several parts with giddy amusement? 52 Look at playful Time that sports joyously in this world with the slaughter and production of endless beings by turns. 53 His game is not particular of any age or gender. He chases all in general like an all-devouring serpent.
54 Why talk of mortal men or other animals that live to die in a moment? Even all the gods are under the clutches of the remorseless and relentless Death. 55 Why do you dance and make yourself merry in your amusement when you are in danger of losing by degrees the powers of your body and limbs? Sit but silently for a while and see the drama of the course of this world.
56 Seeing the ever varying scenes of this changeful theatre of the world, the wise spectator, O good Bharadwaja, never shrinks or trembles for a moment. 57 Shun your unwelcomed sorrow and seek the favorable amidst all that is unfavorable. Do not sadden the clear and cheerful countenance of your soul, which is of the nature of the perfectly blissful intellect of God. 58 Always bear reverence towards the gods, brahmins and your superiors. Be a friend even to irrational animals in order to meet with the grace of God, according to the saying of the Vedas.
59 Bharadwaja replied, “By your kindness, I have known all these and many more truths. I come to find that there is not a greater friend than our indifference to the world, or a greater enemy to us than this world itself. 60 I want to learn the substance of all the knowledge that sage Vasishta imparted in the great work of many words.”
61 Valmiki answered:—
Bharadwaja, hear now of the highest knowledge for the liberation of mankind, the hearing of which will save you from drowning in the injustice of the world.
62 First bow down to that Supreme Being who is of the nature of the solitary entity combined with intellect and joy, who is ever existent with his attributes of creation, preservation and destruction. 63 I will tell you, in short and upon the authority of the scripture, how you may come to know the first principle and the manner in which it exhibits itself in the acts of creation, preservation and destruction of the universe.
64 But tell me first, how have you forgotten what I have told you on this subject? If you consider from first to last what is already in your memory, it is possible to know everything, just like they survey the entire earth from a small globe held in the hand. 65 Now consider all this in your own mind and you will get the truth which will prevent all your sorrows. Moreover, associate with the learned and study the best books which with the help of your reasoning and renunciation, may lead you to endless joy.
• • •
Chapter 128 — Valmiki Summarizes the Yoga Vasishta for Bharadwaja; Vishwamitra Explains Who Is Rama; Rama Is Brought out of Samadhi
1 Valmiki continued:—
The yogi should be peaceful and tranquil, exempt from all forbidden acts and those proceeding from a desire of fruition. He must avoid all sensual gratifications and have his belief in God and his holy religion of the Vedas. 2 He must rest quietly in his seat, his mind and body under his control, and continue repeating the syllable Om until his mind is cleared. 3 Then he must restrain his breathing to purify his inner organs (heart and mind), then restrict his senses by degrees from their respective outward objects. 4 He must think on the natures and causes of its body and its organs of sense, his mind and its understanding, and also his soul and its consciousness, and repeat the scriptures or the holy texts which relate to these subjects.
5 Let him sit reclined meditating on Viraj, initially as the god of visible nature, then as the internal soul of nature. Next he must meditate on the formless spirit as part and abstracted from all. At last he must fix his mind solely in the supreme cause.
6 Let him cast off in his mind and the earthly substance of his flesh and bones to the earth, and commit the liquid part of his blood to the water, and the heat of his body to fire.7 Then he is to give over the airy and empty parts of his body to air and vacuum. Having returned his elemental parts to the five elements, he shall deliver the organs of his sense to the particular divinities from whom they are derived.
8 The ears and other organs which serve to sense phenomena all around, having been cast aside, he is to give the skin of his body to electricity. 9 Let him then resign his eyesight to the sun (Surya) and his tongue to water (Varuna). Next he must give up his breath to air (Vayu), his voice to fire (Agni), and his palms to the god Indra. 10 He must then offer his feet to the god Vishnu and his anus to Mithra. After giving up his penis to Kasyapa, he should dedicate his mind to the moon (Soma). 11 Afterwards he must lay down his understanding to Brahma, and the other inner faculties to special divinities, and at last also give up his outer senses to their presiding duties. 12 Having thus given his entire body to the gods, he should think himself as the all comprehending Viraja. This he must do pursuant to the statements of the Veda, and not of his own will or fabrication.
13 The Lord who embodies the whole universe in himself, in his androgynous form of half-male and half-female, is said to be the source and support of all sorts of beings. 14 He was born in the form of creation and it is he who is settled in everything in the universe. He caused this earth to appear from the two part cosmic egg, as also the water which is twice as much as the land. 15 He produced the heat twice as much as the water, and the air double in volume to that of heat, and lastly emptiness which is twice more in its extent than the air which it contains. Each latter one lies next above the former. 16 These form the world whether they are divided or undivided from their succeeding and surrounding ones. The earth is surrounded by the sea, and the sea surrounded by undersea fire.
17 Thus the yogi, by contracting his thought of the former one under the latter, will absorb his thought of heat under that of air, and this again under his idea of emptiness, which at last is swallowed up by his thought of the great cause of all. 18 In this manner the yogi must remain for a moment only in his spiritual form by contracting his physical body under the spiritual.
19 The wise describe the spiritual body composed of the ten senses of perception and conception, the mind or memory, and the understanding faculties, to be above and outside the physical half of the cosmic egg. The yogi must think himself to be this supernatural spiritual being (Hiranyagarbha). 20 The former, material half, composed of the five-fold subtle elements, is represented by the figure of the four-faced Brahma and differs from the former by being an evolution of un-evolved spirit. 21 The nameless and formless being in which the world exists is called matter (prakriti) by some, illusion (maya) by others, and atoms by philosophers. 22 Agnostics, whose minds are confused by false reasoning, call it ignorance. After all, it is that hidden and unknowable something in which all things dissolve at the ultimate dissolution of the world.
23 Again, everything that is quite unrelated to the Divine Spirit and intellect comes into existence at the recreation of the world and retains and remains in its primary form to the end of the world. 24 Think of creation in the direct method and of its destruction in the reverse order, then take yourself to the fourth stage of turiya after you have passed over the three preceding steps. 25 To attain the state of blissfulness, you must enter into the Supreme Spirit by removing all impressions of matter and sense from your mind, mind and understanding, and all desires and acts that lie unexpanded and hidden in it.
26 Bharadwaja responded:—
I am now quiet released from the chains of my impressions, as my intellectual part has found its entrance into the sea of transcendent blissfulness (turiya). 27 The nature of my soul, being indistinct from the Supreme Spirit, makes me identical to it. I find that I am devoid of all attributes, only an intellectual power like the Spirit.
28 As the emptiness inside a pot becomes one with the universal and all pervading vacuum after the pot is broken, so the human soul vanishes into the Supreme Spirit after it flies from the confines of the body after its destruction. 29 As a fire brand cast into a burning furnace becomes the one and the same as the fire, so the kind mixing with its kind becomes indistinctly known under common name. 30 Again, as straw swimming in a salt sea become transformed to the sea salt, so all animal and inanimate souls mixing with the Divine Soul become animated also. 31 As salt thrown into the sea looses its name and nature and becomes sea salt, so everything is swallowed in the Universal Soul and assimilated to it. 32 As water mixing with water, salt with salt, and butter with butter lose their distinctions and not their substances, so myself and all other substances mixing with the Divine Spirit lose our distinct names without loosing our true substance. 33 All bodies, absorbed in the all-knowing and ever blissful consciousness of the great Creator of all, become equally all pervading and tranquil and everlasting and blessed forever.
34 So I think I am like the supreme transcendent being without any part or partner, without action or passion, without the organs of sense, and neither loving nor hating anyone. 35 I think myself as that sole entity which is the form of truth and immutable in its nature and desires, devoid of virtue and vice, perfectly pure and the supreme cause of all worlds. 36 I am that blissful Brahman who is without a second and without decay, the form of pure light who is described by negative properties, and who is beyond the three qualities of active, passive and superlative (rajas, tamas and sattva) which do not relate to him as they do to others.
37 Thus one should meditate on himself as Brahman, even when he is employed discharging the duties destined to his station in life. His continued practice of this kind of meditation will gradually wear out all other impressions from his mind. 38 The mind being thus set down, the soul will appear of itself within the man. The appearance of the inner spirit serves to destroy all his internal grief and fill its place with heart felt joy. 39 He also perceives the height of the truth shining in himself, that there is no other blissful god beside his own consciousness and this is what he calls his ego and the supreme Brahman.
40 Valmiki said:—
Friend, if you want to stop the revolution of the wheel of this world upon you, give up your observance of religious acts and devote yourself to meditation on Brahman.
41 Bharadwaja replied, “I have understood well the meaning of the knowledge you have imparted to me. I have acquired clarity of understanding and I no longer have any reliance upon the world. 42 I desire to know about the duties of those who have gained the spiritual knowledge of God. Are they subject to or freed from the performance of meritorious acts?”
43 Valmiki said:—
Those who seek liberation are not liberated from doing that which if avoided involves the guilt of omission of duty. But he must refrain from doing the acts of his desire, and those which he is prohibited from doing.
44 When the living soul comes to feel spiritual bliss in itself, when his sensuous desires disappear from his mind and he perceives his organs of sense lying quite calm and quiet under him, then he may consider himself as one with the all pervading spirit of the Lord. 45 When the sentient soul conceives in itself the sense of its conversion to the essence of God beyond the bounds of the body and its senses and beyond the reach of his mind and understanding, then it is freed from its obligation of worldly duties. 46 When the soul is free from all its action and passions and remains aloof from all titles and attributes, when it gets rid of the feelings of pain and pleasure, then he is freed from the burden of his duties. 47 When one sees the Supreme Soul pervading all beings and sees all creation existing in the Universal Spirit, when he finds no difference between the mundane soul and the Supreme Spirit, then he is released from the bonds of his action. 48 When the living soul has passed over the three states of waking, dreaming and sound sleep and enters into the fourth turiya state of perfect bliss, then he is freed from the obligations of earthly duties.
49 The fourth state of turiya means residing in the living Universal Soul of God. It is the state of the soul’s liberation from its condition of sleeping in ignorance. It is full of spiritual bliss. 50 This turiya state, the consciousness of one’s joy, derives from the fixedness of the soul in the supreme. It is the great end of yoga meditation. 51 After the mental operations of a man have ceased, he perceives nothing within himself except the turiya state which is a calm quiescence of the soul in the sea of ambrosial waters of the one sole unity.
52 Why do you plunge yourself under the waves of the salty waters of the sea of duality? Fly to the Lord of worlds and adore the great god who is full of all blessings.
53 Thus I have related to you, my son, all the doctrines of Vasishta. It is the best means to your knowledge and practice of yoga meditation. 54 You truly will be able, O wise Bharadwaja, to learn everything by digesting the substance of this scripture and considering the meaning of the precepts of this great teacher. 55 According to the statements of the Vedas, we attain the perfection of anything by continued practice. Therefore, you must avoid attending to all other things and concentrate your mind on the object of your practice.
56 Bharadawja replied, “Tell me O sage, the course of conduct which Rama followed after he received knowledge of yoga and united his soul with the Supreme Spirit. 57 By knowing this I also will try to practice upon the same model so that I may succeed to attain the same state of spiritual elevation and bliss like him.”
58 Valmiki said:—
When the virtuous and high minded Rama was absorbed and sat entranced in Divine Essence, Vishwamitra addressed the venerable Vasishta.
59 Vishwamitra said:—
O highly endowed son of Brahma, wise Vasishta, even now you have shown the effectiveness of your teaching by awakening the dormant power of Rama. 60 He is truly the best in yoga who transforms the body of his pupil by his kind look, touch and sound and causes his inspiration by infusing the holy spirit of Shiva in him. 61 So it was with Rama, whose pure soul was dispassionate by its own nature and whose earnest desire of mental cessation and detachment led him to that happy state through conversing with his spiritual guide.
62 The intelligence of the student causes his understanding through the guidance of his spiritual teacher. But when these three roots or principles are imperfect, how can understanding arrive at its perfection? 63 It is evident that knowledge is in need of both pupil and teacher for its communication. When both pupil and teacher are competent and worthy of one another, it is certain that the result will be likewise.
64 Now be pleased to rouse Rama from the samadhi of mental inactivity, which you alone can do by your bliss in detachment, while we who are employed in worldly affairs are too far from it. 65 Please sage, remember the cause that calls us here and the business to which we are invited at the earnest request of King Dasharata himself. 66 Therefore O sage, do not frustrate our object by the purity of your mind. We have a service to perform to the gods and which is the cause of Rama’s incarnation on earth.
67 I am to conduct Rama to the home of the spiritual masters, then he shall be called to destroy the rakshasas, after which he will be led to the salvation of Ahalya and his marriage to Sita. 68 He will break the great bow of Shiva in a valiant deed for that marriage, then he shall encounter the furious Parashurama and restrain his pride and way to heaven. 69 Then fearless Rama will forsake his paternal and ancestral kingdoms to which is he unattached and, under pretext of his banishment, he will take himself to Dandaka Forest and its foresters. 70 He will restore the sanctity of many pilgrimage places and thereby save the lives and souls of beings from sin and death.
He will show the world the sorrows of men at the loss of their wives from his own example of Sita’s abduction by Ravana. 71 He will set the example of husbands’ duty of recovering wives from the hands of their kidnappers by his recovery of Sita and his slaughter of Ravana, and by assembling the monkeys of the forest in his favor. 72 He will prove the purity of Sita to please his plea and he will be employed in the observance of all religious acts for the entire liberation in this world, and lack any desire of reward in the next.
73 But in order to secure the future welfare of men, he will encourage the practice of spiritual devotion and ritual acts according to the instruction of those who are best acquainted with those subjects. 74 He will liberally bestow his liberation to every living being of every kind. These and many others are the duties of Rama to this world and to me also. 75 Such are the acts that Rama shall perform, wherefore he is to be thanked by everyone here for all his conquests which no one else can make. So fare you well.
76 Valmiki resumed:—
After these words of the sage were heard by the princes in the court and the assembled spiritual masters and great yogis such as Vasishta and others, they thanked the hero and remained to think of his lotus-like feet with respect and esteem.
77 But the sages Vasishta and others were not to be satisfied until they could hear more about the lord of Sita whose virtues they all eagerly expected to hear fully and recite in their songs of praise. 78 Vasishta then said to Vishwamitra, “Tell me sage, who was this lotus-eyed Rama in his past life? Had he been a god or sage or an ordinary man?”
79 Vishwamitra replied:—
Believe what I say. This Rama is that primary Supreme Being who churned the sea for the good of the world. He is known only by the deepest learning of the Vedas. 80 He is full of spiritual joy, meek and gentle. He has the auspicious Srivatsa mark upon his body. He is bountiful to all living beings and quickly appeased by all. 81 He destroys everyone in his rage and abandons all the frail trifles of this world. He is the first male and creator of all and supports, nourishes and is kind friend of all. 82 He has passed over the unsubstantial and illusory things of this world. He is the sea of joy and is dived in by the dispassionate.
83 Sometimes he is known as a liberated soul, relying in himself. At others he is seen to be settled in his turiya state of samadhi trance, and sometimes as a male or female agent of creation. 84 He is the god of the triple Vedas and beyond the reach of the three qualities of things. He is the soul of the Vedas and the wonderful Soul (Purusha Viraj) that is displayed in the six branches of the Vedas.
85 He is the four-armed Vishnu and the four-faced Brahma, the creator of the world. He is also the great Mahadeva with his three eyes who is the destroyer of the world. 86 He is the uncreated creator born by his yoga or union with the power of delusion. He is the ever wakeful and the ever great spirit of God which, though it is formless, yet forms and supports this frame of this universe by transforming himself into the form of a man-lion. 87 As victory is carried upon the wings of bravery, and as light is carried upon the flame of fire, and as learning bears and conveys the fruit of good understanding, so is this godlike Rama carried upon the wings of the garuda bird of heaven.
88 Blessed is this King Dasharata who has the Supreme Being for his son. Fortunate is the ten-headed Ravana for finding a place in the mind of Rama as his enemy. 89 How lamentable is the state of heaven by Rama’s absence from it. How pitiable is the infernal region from its loss of Lakshman (Ananta serpent) who is present here. Happy is this earth, the middle land, from the presence of the two gods from those two regions in this place. 90 This Rama is an incarnation of the god Vishnu who sleeps in the midst of the sea. He is the incarnate Supreme Soul without decay. He is a consolidation of Divine Consciousness and joy in his person.
91 The yogis of subdued organs discern Rama in spirit, but we of ordinary understanding can see him only in his outward figure. 92 We hear that he has come down to blot out the iniquities of the race of Raghu, and hope that the venerable Vasishta will kindly guide him to the affairs of the world.
93 Valmiki said:—
Saying this much, the great sage Vishwamitra held his silence. Then the intense Vasishta opened his mouth and addressed Rama.
94 Vasishta said:—
O great armed Rama! O highly intellectual prince! It is not the time for you to be absorbed in yoga. Rise and rejoice the hearts of your people. 95 Until you satisfy the wants of men and their expectations of you, you are not allowed to attain the perfection of your pure samadhi meditation. 96 Therefore attend to the temporal affairs of your state for some time and discharge the burden of your duties to the gods. Then take yourself to the state of your spiritual advancement and be happy forever.
97 Despite being addressed in this manner, Rama remained absorbed in his trance and uttered not a word in reply. Then the spirit of Vasishta entered the heart of Rama through the restful passage of the sushumna nadi. 98 It infused its force to the respiration, mental faculties, organs and the vital spirit of Rama. It ran through the veins and arteries and inflated the organs of sense. Then Rama slowly opened his eyes and saw before him sage Vasishta with learned men about him. He remained gazing upon all without any wish or effort of his own, and without considering anything of his duties, or what he was to avoid.
99 He heard the voice which his teacher Vasishta had uttered to him. He respectfully replied. 100 Rama said, “By your kindness sage, I am taught to have no concern with anything of the injunctions or prohibitions of the law. Yet it is my duty to abide by all that my teacher bids me to do. 101 I think, O great sage, that of all the sayings of the Vedas, Agamas, Puranas, and other scriptures, the word of the teacher is the highest law. His bidding is a command and its opposite a positive prohibition.”
102 So saying, the virtuous Rama bowed down his head at the feet of venerable Vasishta, then spoke of his indifference to the world to all present in the assembly. 103 Rama said, “May you all prosper and know the most certain truth to which I have arrived. There is nothing better than the knowledge of the Self, and none superior to the teacher from whom it is derived.”
104 The spiritual masters and others responded saying, “Such is the impression of Rama in our minds also. It is by your favor and acceptance that this belief is confirmed in us.105 We thank you, Rama Chandra, and wish all happiness to attend on our great prince. We beg leave of sage Vasishta for our departure as we are called here.”
106 Valmiki said:—
So saying they rose giving praises to Rama, blessing him with showers of flowers falling upon his head from their hands.
107 Thus have I related to you the whole story of Rama. O Bharadwaja, follow the same course of yoga and be happy forever. 108 Now my relating the perfection to which Rama had arrived, together with my telling you the varied sayings of the sage which are like so many strings of gems to be worn on the chests of yogis and poets, will serve by the grace of the sage to give you liberation.
109 Whoever hears and attends to these discourses of Rama and Vasishta is sure to be relieved in every state of life and be united with Brahman after his release.
110 Thus ends the Maharamayna of sage Vasishta and spoken by Valmiki relating to the boyhood of Rama and consisting of thirty-two thousand sloka stanzas.
THUS HERE ENDS
YOGA VASISHTA MAHA RAMAYANA
ON LIBERATION – NIRVANA KHANDA – PURVADHA