Chapter 22 — Qualities of the Mind Resting in Supreme Joy

Vasishta continued:—

Men of sound judgment are free from mental disturbance and are perfect in their mastery over themselves by restraining the flight of the mind and fastening it to its inner awareness. They swerve from the sight of phenomena as unworthy of their notice. They seek knowledge of their chief good. They behold the all-seeing God in their mental and external sights and have no perception of unintelligent phenomena.

They are dormant amidst the thick gloom of error spreading over the confused paths of life. They are awake under the transcendent light of divine knowledge that requires the vigilance of the living. They are utterly indifferent to the sweet pleasures of this life, as they are also indifferent to the cheerless prospects of future enjoyments. They are mixed with the water of spiritual unity and in the boundless ocean of omnipresence. By their rigorous austerities, resembling the vigorous heat of the sun, they melt away like ice in a river. At the disappearance of their ignorance, all their restless desires and passions are set to rest, like the turbulent waves of rivers subside of themselves in the absence of stormy clouds.

The net of desires that ensnares men like birds in traps is cut asunder by a spirit of dispassion, just like the meshes of a net are torn apart by a mouse’s teeth. As the seeds of kata fruit serve to purify foul water, so philosophy tends to cleanse human nature of its errors. The mind that is free from passions, from worldly connections and contentions, and from dependence on anyone or anything, is also liberated from the bonds of ignorance and error, like a bird set free from its cage.

10 When the disturbances of doubts are settled and the wandering of curiosity is over, then the full moon of internal fullness sheds its light over the mind. 11 As the mind’s true greatness appears after it sets from the height of its dignity and high-mindedness, so it begins to have its equanimity in a state resembling the calm sea after a storm. 12 As long as the shadow of concerns hangs over the mind, it is darkened and stupefied and broken in the heart, until the sun of renunciation rises to dispel its gloom. 13 The sunshine of consciousness makes the lotus-bed of intelligence shine in its pure luster and unfolds the foliage of its virtues before the dawning light above it. 14 Intelligence is charmer of hearts and delighter of all in the world. It is fostered by the quality of goodness, just as the moon becomes full by her increasing digits (phases).

15 What more shall I say on this subject, other than he who knows the knowable (God) has his mind expanded like the sphere of heaven which has no beginning nor end. 16 The mind enlightened by reasoning is as exalted in its nature as to take pity on even the gods Hari, Hara, Brahma and Indra. 17 The gods, continually seeking to quench their thirst from waters appearing in the mirage, like the thirsting deer (running to them by mistake), are far from tasting the happiness of egoistic yogis. 18 Desires in the hearts of all beings subjects them to repeated births and deaths causing the ignorant, but not the wise, to appear and disappear like waves of the sea.

19 The world presents no other show in its course except that of the appearance and disappearance of bodies. Now they are seen to move about as the sport of time, and then fall as a prey to it forever. 20 But the spiritual body is neither born nor dies in this world. It is not affected by the decoration or loss of the material body but remains unchanged as the emptiness of a pot, both when it exists and when it is broken to pieces.

21 As understanding rises with its cooling moonbeams within us, it dispels the mist of false desires rising before us like a mirage in a dreary desert. 22 The spectacle of the world presents its dusky appearance to our view only as long as we do not consider the questions, “What am I, and what are all these about me?”

23 He sees rightly who sees his body as an apparition of his error and the abode of all evils, and that his body does not serve the spiritual meditation of his soul and his maker. 24 He sees rightly who sees that his body is the source of all the pain and pleasure which afflict at different times and places, and that the body does not answer his purpose of spiritual edification.

25 He sees rightly who sees the One Ego pervading infinite space and time as the source of all accidents and events that constantly take place in them. 26 He knows rightly who knows the Ego to be as minute as a millionth or billionth part of the point of a hair, and pervading the entire infinity of space and eternity of time. 27 He perceives rightly who perceives the Universal Soul to permeate all the various objects of his sight and knows them as sparks of the Light of Consciousness. 28 He perceives rightly who perceives within himself the omnipotence of the infinite Spirit present in all states and conditions of beings, and the same Consciousness to abide in and preside over all. 29 He understands rightly who understands by his wisdom that he is not his body that is subject to diseases, dangers, fears and anxieties, and to the pain and pangs of old age and death.

30 He understands rightly who understands his soul as stretching above and below and all about him, whose magnitude has no bounds nor equal to it. 31 He knows full well who sees his soul as a string to which all things are strung like pearls on a necklace, and that it is not the mind or heart that is seated in the brain or bosom.

32 He thinks rightly who imagines neither himself nor anything else as existent except the imperishable-Brahman, and who knows himself as living between reality and unreality. 33 He is right who beholds what they call the three worlds to be only parts of his self, and that the three worlds have been rolling about him like the waves of the sea. 34 He is wise who looks with pity upon the frail world and who has compassion for the earth as his younger sister. 35 That great soul who has withdrawn his mind from the earth looks brightly upon the earth by repressing his reliance on the interests of his individual ego.

36 He sees the truth who finds his body and the whole world filled by the colossus figure of Consciousness without the opposition of any sensible object. 37 He who looks on the states of misery and happiness that attend worldly life as only the fluctuating conditions of ego has no cause to regret or rejoice at them. 38 He is the right-sighted man who sees himself situated in a world filled with Divine Spirit. He has nothing to desire or dislike in this state of existence.

39 He is the discerning man who has weakened his estimation and dislike of what is desirable and disgusting to him in the world, and who sees the world as full of the essence of that Being whose nature is beyond comprehension and conception. 40 That man of great soul is a great god whose soul, like the all-pervading sky, extends over all and penetrates through every state of existence without receiving the color dye of any.

41 I bow down to that great soul who has passed beyond the states of light, darkness and fancy. 42 I bow down to Shiva of transcendental understanding whose faculties are wholly engrossed in meditation of the Eternal Being who presides over the creation, destruction and preservation of the universe, and who is manifest in all the various wonderful and beautiful grandeurs of nature.