Chapter 2 — Vishwamitra’s Speech

Vishwamitra said:—

Rama, now it is appropriate that you have your mind properly purified from its doubts, as it was done with Shuka, the son of Vyasa.

You see, O great sages, how perfectly the knowable is known to Rama, whose good understanding has learnt to feel a distaste for worldly enjoyments as if they were diseases to him. You well know that the fixed principle in the mind of one knowing the knowable is to have an aversion to all the enjoyments of life. The desire of results chains a man to the earth. Knowledge of the frailties here serves to dispel his darkness.

Rama knows that curtailing desires is what the wise call liberty, and the attachment of our desires to earthly objects is our confinement here. Spiritual knowledge is easily obtainable by most men, but a distaste for (pleasurable) objects is hard to be had. He who fully comprehends a thing is said to know it, and who so knows what is knowable is called a learned man. No earthly enjoyment can be delectable to such high minded men. The mind that has no zest for earthly pleasures, except the glory of disinterested deeds, is said to be liberated even in the present life.

As no vegetable grows in a sterile soil, no disinclination to worldliness grows until one comes to know the knowable reality. 10 Hence know that this supporter of Raghu’s race has truly known the knowable, which has made him disgusted with his princely enjoyments. 11 I tell you great sages that whatever Rama has come to know by his intuition requires confirmation by Vasishta for the tranquility of his mind. 12 For his repose, Rama requires only a reliance upon the Unity, just as the beauty of autumn depends upon clear skies.

13 Let the venerable Vasishta reason with the high minded Rama and restore the peace of his mind, 14 for he is the master and family teacher for the whole race of the Raghus. Besides, he is all knowing and all seeing with a clear insight of the three times.

15 Then addressing himself to Vasishta, Vishwamitra said:—

Sage, you well remember the instruction given us of old for pacifying our mutual enmity and promoting the welfare of the high minded sages, 16 when our lord the lotus-born Brahma, seated on the tableland of Nishadha Mountain and shaded by sarala trees, delivered his wise lectures to us and the sages. 17 Through that knowledge of liberation, our worldly desires are dispelled like the darkness of night by sunbeams. 18 Now please, O brahmin, communicate that rational knowledge of the knowable to your student Rama, whereby he may gain the peace of his mind.

19 It will not be difficult for you to teach the spotless Rama, whose mirror-like mind is quite clear to take the reflection. 20 The wisdom of the holy, their learning of the scriptures, and the scholarship of the learned are only praiseworthy when they are communicated to a good student and those who are disgusted with the world. 21 But instruction given to one who is neither student nor disgusted with the world becomes as polluted as milk stored in a hide vessel. 22 Again, the instruction given by one devoid of passions and affections, fear and anger, pride and sin, serves to infuse tranquility into the mind.

23 At these words of Vishwamitra, the son of Gadhi, the assembled sages Vyasa, Narada and others honored his speech with exclamations of “bravo”, “well said”, and the like.

24 Then the venerable Vasishta, brilliant like Brahma his father and sitting by the side of the king, spoke in reply. 25 “O sage, I will perform what you have commanded me to do without fail, for who, though mighty, can refuse to perform the requests of the good and wise? 26 I will destroy the mental darkness of Prince Rama and others by the light of knowledge, just like we dispel the gloom of night by the light of a lamp. 27 I well remember the instructions for dispelling the errors of the world that we were given of yore by the lotus-born Brahma on Nishadha Mountain.”

28 Having said so, the high-minded Vasishta made up his mind, as one girds up his loins, to deliver his lecture to Rama in order to dispel his ignorance and show him the state of supreme joy.