Chapter 21 — Suppression of Desires by Suppression of Thoughts

Vasishta continued:—

Pavana, having been lectured by Punya in this manner, became as enlightened in his intellect as the landscape at daybreak. After, they continued living in that forest with the perfection of their spiritual knowledge. They wandered about in the woods to their hearts content. After a long time, they both attained nirvana and rested in their disembodied state of nirvana, like a lamp without oil wasting away of itself.

Thus is the end of men’s great boasts of having large crowds of followers and numberless friends in their embodied states of lifetime. Alas, they carry nothing with them to their afterlife, nor do they leave anything behind which they can properly call theirs.

The best means of release from the many objects of our desires is the utter suppression of our desires, rather than fostering them. Yearning after objects increases our desire, just as our thinking of something increases our thoughts about it. Fire that burns bright from its fuel soon dies out without it.

Now rise, O Rama, and remain aloft as in your aerial car by losing your worldly desires. Look from above with pity upon the miseries of groveling mortals. This is the divine state known as the position of Brahma, which looks from above with unconcerned serenity upon all. By gaining this state, the ignorant are also freed from misery.

One walking with reason as his companion, and having good understanding for his consort, is not liable to fall into the dangerous traps that lie hidden in his way throughout life. 10 Being deprived of all properties and destitute of friends, one has no other help to lift him up in his adversity except his own patience and reliance upon God. 11 Let men elevate their minds with learning, dispassion, and the virtues of self-dignity and valor in order to rise above the difficulties of the world.

12 There is no greater good to be derived by any means than by the greatness of mind. It gives security which no wealth or earthly treasure can confer on men. 13 It is only men of weak and crazy minds who are made to swing to and fro, rising and sinking in the tempestuous ocean of the world. 14 The mind filled with knowledge and full with the light of truth finds the world filled with ambrosial water, and moves over it as easily as a man walking on dry shoes, or on a ground covered with leather.

15 Lack of desire fills the mind much more than the fulfillment of its desires. Dry up the channels of desires like autumn heat parches a pool. 16 Otherwise, desires empty the heart and lay open its gaps to be filled by air. The hearts of the greedy are as dry as the bed of the dead sea that was drained by Agasti (son of Agastya).

17 The spacious garden of the human heart flourishes with the fruit of humanity and greatness only as long as the restless ape of greed does not infest its fair trees. 18 The mind devoid of greed views the triple world with the twinkling of an eye. The comprehensive mind sees all space and time as infinitesimally small compared to its conception of the infinite Brahman with itself.

19 The coolness in the mind of a man who is not greedy is not found in the watery luminary of the moon, or in the icy caverns of the snow-capped Himalayas. Neither the coldness of plantain juice nor sandalwood paste is comparable with the cool headedness of one without desire. 20 The mind that does not desire shines more brightly than the full moon and more brilliantly than the bright face of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity.

21 The urchin of appetite darkens the mind like a cloud obscures the moon, and like black ink obliterates a fair picture. 22 The tree of desire stretches its branches far and wide on every side, darkening the mind with their gloomy shadows. 23 When the branching tree of desire is cut down at its roots, the plant of patience which was stunted under it shoots forth in a hundred branches. 24 When the unfading tree of patience takes the place of the uprooted desires, it produces the tree of paradise that yields the fruit of immortality.

25 O well-intentioned Rama, if you do not allow the sprouts of mental desires to germinate in your bosom, then you have nothing to fear in this world. 26 When you become sober-minded after moderating your heart’s desires, you will have the plant of liberation growing in its full luxuriance in your heart. 27 When the grasping owl of desire nestles in your mind, it is sure you will be invaded by every evil which the foreboding bird brings on its home.

28 Thinking is the power of the mind and thoughts dwell upon the objects of desire. Therefore abandon your thoughts and their objects and be happy with your thoughtlessness of everything. 29 Anything that depends on any faculty is lost upon inaction of that faculty. Therefore by suppression of your thoughts you can put down your desires and thereby have rest and peace of mind.

30 Be free minded, O Rama, by tearing off all your mind’s worldly ties. Become a great soul by suppressing your mean desires of earthly frailties. For who is not set free by being loosened from the chains of desire that bind his mind to this earth?