Chapter 92 — A Strong Mind Is Unaffected by Curses

Vasishta added:—

Now hear, O support of Raghu’s race, what I next asked of the lotus-born lord Brahma, after we had finished the preceding conversation.

I asked him saying, “Lord, you have spoken before of the irrevocable power of curses. Then how is it that their power is frustrated by men?”

“We have witnessed the efficacy of curses, pronounced with potent mantra anathemas, to overpower the understanding and senses of living animals and paralyze every member of the body. The mind and body are as intimately connected with each other as motion with air and fluidity with a sesame seed. There is nobody except a creation of the mind, like the fantasies of visions and dreams, and like the false sight of water in the mirage, or the appearance of two moons in the sky. Or else why is it that the dissolution of the one brings on the extinction of the other, such as the quiet of the mind is followed by the loss of bodily sensations?”

“Tell me, my lord, how is the mind unaffected by the power of curses and menace that subdue the senses? Are mind and senses both overpowered by curses, being the one and same thing?”

Brahma replied:—

Know there is nothing in the treasure-house of this world that man cannot attain by means of his efforts in the right way.

All species of animal beings, from the state of the highest Brahma down to minute insects, are bicorporal. They are endowed with two bodies: mental and physical. 10 The mental body is ever active and always fickle. The other is the worthless body of flesh, which is dull and inactive. 11 The fleshy part of the body that accompanies all animal beings is overpowered by the influence of curses and charms practiced by the art of incantation (abhichara vidya). 12 The influence of certain supernatural powers stupefies a man, making him dull and dumb. Sometimes one is about to droop down unconscious, as spell-bound persons are deprived of their external senses, and fall down like a drop of water from a lotus-leaf. 13 The mind, which is the other part of the body of embodied beings, is ever free and not subdued, though it is always under the subjection of all living beings in the three worlds.

14 He who can control his mind by continued patience on one hand and by constant vigilance on the other, is the man of an unimpeachable character and unapproachable by calamity. 15 The more a man employs the mental part of his body to its proper employment, the more successful he is in obtaining the object that he has in mind. 16 Mere physical energy is never successful in any undertaking. It is only intellectual activity that is sure of success in all attempts.

17 Focusing the mind in an effort to hurt objects unconnected with matter is as vain as trying to pierce a stone with an arrow. 18 Drown the body underwater or dip it in mud, burn it in fire or fling it aloft in the air, yet the mind turns not from its orientation. He who is true to his purpose is sure of success. 19 Intensity of physical efforts overcomes all impediments, but only mental effort leads to ultimate success in every undertaking.

20 Mark the example of the fictitious brahmin boy Indra, who employed all his thoughts to assimilate himself into the very image of his beloved, and drowned all his bodily pains in the pleasure of his thoughts of her. 21 Think of the manly fortitude of Mandavya who, when he was about to be beheaded, made his mind as detached as marble and was unconscious of his suffering. 22 Think of the sage who fell into a dark pit while his mind was employed in some sacrificial rite. He was taken up to heaven in reward of the merit of his mental sacrifice. 23 Remember also how the ten sons of Indu, by virtue of their persevering tapas, obtained their status as Brahma, which even I have not the power to withhold. 24 There have been many other such sages and master-minds among men and gods who never laid aside their mental energies, whereby they were crowned with success in their proper pursuits. 25 No pain or sickness, no fulmination or threat, no malicious beast or evil spirit can break down the resolute mind, anymore than a lean lotus leaf striking can split the breast of a hard stone.

26 Those who you say have been disturbed by tribulations and persecutions, I understand them as too infirm in their faiths and very weak both in their minds and courage. 27 Men with heedful minds have never been entrapped in the snare of errors in this perilous world. They have never been visited by the demon of despair in their sleeping or waking states.28 Therefore let a man employ himself exercising his own manly powers and engage his mind and mental energy to noble pursuits in the paths of truth and holiness.

29 The enlightened mind forgets its former darkness and sees its objects in their true light. The thought that grows big in the mind swallows it up at last, just as the imagination of a ghost lays hold of a child’s mind. 30 The new reflection effaces the prior impression from the tablet of the mind, just as an earthen pot turning on the potter’s wheel thinks no more of its nature of dirty clay. 31 The mind, O muni, is transformed in a moment to its new model, just like inflated water rises high into waves, spray and foam, glaring with reflections of sunlight.

32 The mind adverse to right investigation sees like the blind, everything in darkness even in broad daylight, and observes by deception two moons for one in the moonshine. 33 Whatever the mind has in view, it soon succeeds in accomplishing. Whether it does anything of good or evil, it reaps the reward accordingly in the gladness or bitterness of his soul. 34 A wrong reflector reflects a thing in a wrong light, just as a distracted lover sees a flame in moonbeams which makes him burn and consume in his state of distraction. 35 It is the conception of the mind that makes salt seem sweet to taste by its giving a flavor to the salted food for our zest and delight. 36 It is our conception that makes us see a forest in the fog, or a tower in the clouds appearing to the sight of the observer to be rising and falling by turns.

37 In this manner, whatever shape the imagination gives to a thing, it appears in the same form before the mind’s sight. Therefore knowing this world of your imagination to be neither a reality nor unreality, stop seeing it and its various shapes and colors as they appear to view.