Chapter 40 — Vishnu Further Explains Living Liberation to Prahlada

The Lord continued:—

Soundness of the body is what men call life, and quitting the present body for a future one is what they call death. You are released from both these states, O high minded youth, and you have nothing to do with your life or death anymore. I will tell you about the components of life and death. If you know this, you will not have to live or die like other living beings on earth.

Though situated in the body, yet you are as un-embodied as a disembodied spirit. Though embosomed in emptiness, yet are you as free and fleet as the wind because you are unattached to emptiness. Your ability to perceive the touch of objects proves that you are an embodied being. Your soul is said to be the cause of that perception, as open air is said to be the cause of the growth of trees by putting no hindrance to their height. But neither is the soul the cause of perception nor is air the cause of trees’ growth.

To the monistic immaterialist, the perception of outward things is no proof of their materiality or of the corporeality of the soul that perceives, just as the sight of things in a dream is no proof of their substantiality. All things are comprehended in yourself by the light of your consciousness. Your knowledge of the one in all comprehends everything in it. Then how can you have a body either to take as yourself or to reject it from you?

Whether the season of spring appears or not, or a hurricane happens to blow or subside, it is nothing to the pure soul which is clear of all connection whatever. Whether the hills fall headlong to the ground, or the flames of destruction devour all things, or rapid gales rend the skies, it is no matter to the soul which rests secure in itself. 10 Whether creation exists or not, or whether all things perish or grow, it is nothing to the soul which exists of itself. 11 The Lord of this body does not waste by the waste of its frame, nor is he strengthened by strength of the body. He does not move by any bodily movement or sleep when the body and its senses are absorbed in sleep.

12 From where do you get this false thought in your mind that you belong to the body, that you are an embodied being, and that you come to take, retain and quit this mortal frame at different times? 13 Forsake the thought that you will do so and so after doing this and that. They who know the truth have given up such desires and vain expectations.

14 All waking and living persons have something to do in this world, and thereby they have to reap the results of their actions. But he who does nothing does not take the name of an active agent and has nothing to expect. 15 He who is not the agent of an action has nothing to do with its consequence, for he who does not sow the grains does not reap the harvest. 16 Ending of action and its fruition brings on a quiescence which, when it has become habitual and firm, receives the name of liberation.

17 All intellectual beings and enlightened men and those who lead pure and holy lives have all things under their comprehension. Therefore there is nothing left for them to learn anew or reject what they have learnt. 18 It is for limited understandings and limited powers of the body and mind to grasp or leave out some thing. But to men of unbounded capacities, there is nothing to be received or left out.

19 When a man is set at ease after he ceases having any relationship to being a possessor or possessing any external object, and when this sense of his not having any relationship becomes a permanent feeling in him, then he is said to be liberated in his lifetime. 20 Great men like you, being placed in this state of perpetual unconcern and rest, discharge their duties with as much ease as if sleeping. 21 When one’s desires are drowned in his reliance on God, he views the existing world shining in his spiritual light. 22 He takes no delight in the pleasing objects about him, nor does he regret others’ afflictions. All his pleasures are within his own soul. 23 With his wakeful mind, he meets all his affairs with his spiritual unconcern, like a mirror receiving the reflections of objects without being tainted by them. 24 In his waking he rests in himself, and in his sleep he reclines amidst the drowsy world. In his actions he turns about like frolicking children and his desires lie dormant in his soul.

25 O you, great soul, continue to enjoy your supreme bliss for the period of a kalpa by placing your mind’s reliance upon victorious Vishnu. Enjoy the prosperity of your dominions by exercising your virtues and good qualities.