Chapter 24 — The Non-Entity of the Mind

Vasishta continued:—

The vast domain of death in the region of hell is full with the furious elephants of our sins and the uncontrollable enemies of the senses with the arrows of desires. Our senses, being the sources of all misdeeds and wicked actions, are our invincible enemies. They are the ungrateful miscreants working against the body in which they have found their refuge.

Wandering senses, like flying birds, have found their nest in the body from where, with outstretched wings of right and wrong, they pounce on their prey like vultures. He who can trap these greedy birds of the senses under the snare of right reason is never ensnared in the trap of sin, but breaks its bonds as an elephant does his chains.

He who indulges himself in sensual pleasures which at first are pleasant, will be disgusted with them in process of time. He who possesses the treasure of knowledge in his frail body is not overcome by his inner enemies of sensual appetites. The kings of earth are not as happy in their earthly citadels as the lords of the cities of the own bodies and the masters of their own minds. He who has brought his senses under his slavery and reduced the enemy of his mind to subjugation has the blossoms of his understanding ever blooming within him as in the spring meadow. He who has weakened the pride of his mind and subdued the enemies of his senses has his desires all shrunken like lotuses in cold weather.

10 So long as the demons of our desires infest the region of our hearts, we are unable to bring the mind under the subjugation of our knowledge of the true One.

11 He is the faithful servant who acts according to the will of his master. He is the true minister who does good services to his prince. He is the best general who has command over the forces of his own body, and the best understanding is guided by reason. 12 The wife is loved for her endearments and the father is revered for his protection of the child. A friend is valued by his confidence, and the mind for its wisdom.

13 The mind is called our father because it enlightens our understanding with the light of the scriptures, and for leading us to perfection by losing itself in the Supreme Spirit. 14 The mind that has well observed and considered all things, that is enlightened and firm in its belief and is employed in laudable pursuits, is truly a valuable gem within the body. 15 The mind as a counselor of our good teaches us how to cut down the tree of our transmigration and produce the tree of our future bliss.

16 Such is the gem of the mind, O Rama, unless it is soiled by the dirt and filth of sin and vice. Then it requires washing and cleaning with the water of reason in order to throw its light on you. 17 Be not dormant to cultivate reason as long as you abide in the dark abode of this world. Do not thrust yourself to every accident that awaits upon ignorant and unreasonable men. 18 Do not overlook the mist of error that spreads over this world of illusion, abounding with multitudes of mishaps and mischief.

19 Try to cross the wide ocean of the world by riding on the strong boat of your reason, using your discrimination to chart the right course against the currents of your sensual desires. 20 Know your body to be a frail flower and all its pleasure and pain to be unreal. So never take pleasure and pain for realities, as in the instance of the snare, snake and the matting, but remain above sorrow for anything as in the instance of Bhima and Bhasa.

21 O high minded Rama, give up your misjudgments of reality and of yourself, and of this and that thing. Direct your understanding to the knowledge of the Reality which is beyond all these. Then, by forsaking your belief and reliance in the mind, continue in your course of eating and drinking as before.