Chapter 22 — Practice of Wisdom (Vijnana-Bhyasa)

The goddess continued:—

Objects seen in a dream prove to be false on being awaken. Similarly, belief in the reality of the body becomes unfounded upon dissolution of our desires. As a thing dreamt of disappears upon waking, so does the waking body disappear in sleep, when desires lie dormant in the soul.

As our physical bodies awake after dreaming and desiring, so our spiritual bodies awake after we cease to think of our physical states. In deep sleep we are devoid of desires. Similarly, in the state of renunciation, even though we are awake in our physical bodies, we have the tranquility of liberation. The desire of men liberated while living (jivan mukta) is not properly any desire at all. It is a pure desire relating to universal wellbeing and happiness.

The sleep in which the will and wish are dormant is called deep sleep, but the dormancy of desires in the waking state is known as unconsciousness to delusion (moha) or unconsciousness (murchha). Again the deep sleep that is wholly devoid of desire is called the turiya or the fourth stage of yoga. In the waking state it is called samadhi or union with Supreme.

The embodied man whose life is freed from all desires in this world is called the liberated while living (jivan mukta), a state unknown to those who are not liberated. When the mind becomes a pure essence (as in samadhi) and its desires are weakened, it becomes spiritualized (ativahika) and it glows and flows, like snow melts to water by application of heat. 10 The spiritualized mind, being awakened, mixes with the holy spirits of departed souls in the other world.

11 When your sense of individual ego is moderated by your practice of meditation, then the perception of invisible will rise of itself clearly before your mind. 12 When spiritual knowledge gains a firm footing in your mind, you will perceive more other worlds than you expect. 13 Therefore, O blameless lady, try your utmost to deaden your desires. When you have gained sufficient strength in that practice, know yourself to be liberated in this life.

14 When the moon of your intellectual knowledge shines fully with its cooling beams, you shall have to leave your physical body here in order to see the other worlds. 15 Your fleshy body has no tangible connection with one that is without flesh, nor can the intellectual body (lingadeha, astral body) perform any action of the physical system.

16 I have told you all this according to my best knowledge and the state of things as they are. Even children know that what I say is as effective as the curse or blessing of a god.

17 The habitual reliance of men upon their gross bodies and their fond attachment to them bind their souls down to the earth. The weakening of earthly desires serves to clothe them with spiritual bodies. 18 Nobody believes that he has a spiritual body, even at his death bed, but everyone thinks a dying man is dead with his body forever. 19 This body however, neither dies nor is it alive at anytime. Both life and death, in all respects, are mere appearances of aerial dreams and desires. 20 The life and death of beings here below are as false as the appearances and disappearance of people in imagination, or dolls in play or puppet shows.

21 Leela said, “O goddess, the pure knowledge that you have given me has fallen on my ears acts like a healing balm to the pain caused by phenomena. 22 Now tell me the name and nature of the practice for spiritualization. How it is to be perfected and what is the end of such perfection?”

23 The goddess replied:—

Whatever a man attempts to do here at anytime, he can hardly ever complete it without painful practice to the utmost of his power. 24 The wise say that practice consists in the association of one thing with another, in understanding it thoroughly, and in devoting oneself solely to his object.

25 Great souls become successful in this world who are disgusted with the world and are moderate in their enjoyments and desires. They do not think about seeking what they lack. 26 Those great minds are said to be best trained who are graced with liberal views, are delighted with the relish of unconcern with the world, and are enraptured with streams of heavenly joy. 27 Again, they are called the best practiced in divine knowledge who, by the light of reasoning and scripture, are employed preaching the absolute non-existence of any distinction between the knower and what is known in this world. 28 What some call practical knowledge is knowing that nothing was produced in the beginning and nothing that is visible, such as this world or one’s self, is true at anytime.

29 The effect of practicing meditation is a strong tendency of the soul towards the spirit of God, which results from an understanding of the non-existence of the visible world and the subsidence of passions. 30 But mere knowledge of the nonexistence of the world, without subduing passions, is known as knowledge without practice, and is of no value to its possessor. 31 Consciousness of the non-existence of the visible world is the true knowledge of the knowable. The practice of meditation makes this knowledge a habit in the mind and leads one to his final extinction (nirvana). 32 The practice of meditation prepares the mind and awakens the intelligence which lay dormant in the dark night of this world. Consciousness then sheds its cooling showers of reason, like dew drops in the frosty night of autumn.

Valmiki speaking:—

33 As the sage was lecturing in this manner, the day departed for its evening service and led the assembled train to their evening prayers. After the rising beams of the sun dispelled the darkness of night, they met again with mutual greetings.