Chapter 49 — Vishnu Instructs Gadhi to Do Ten Years of Tapas; He Attains Self Realization

Vasishta continued:—

Vishnu being gone, Gadhi again began to wander about the Bhuta country like a cloud moving about in the air. Having collected a great deal of information about himself in his life as a tribal, he again worshipped Vishnu in the cave of a mountain. In course of a short time, Vishnu appeared to him again, as it is his nature to be pleased with a little devotion made with sincerity of heart.

The god spoke to Gadhi with as pleasing a disposition as a watery cloud addresses a peacock. He asked him what he wanted again by his repeated devotion. Gadhi replied, “Lord, for these past six months I have again wandered about the countries of the Bhutas and Kiras. I have found no discrepancy between what they told me recently and what they told me the first time. Lord, you told me that all this was mere delusion. I know the words of the great serve to dissipate and not increase the delusion.”

Lord Vishnu said:—

It often happens that many things occur simultaneously, like a crow landing on a coconut tree and a coconut falling. The idea of the tribal was a contemporary growth in the minds of all the Bhutas and Kiras as of yourself. This is why they corresponded with your thoughts and related your story as you did reflect it yourself. Because a reflection of something cannot be otherwise at the same time.

It is true that a tribal built a hut at the edge of the village which you saw reduced to ruins. But it was your false conception to think you were the same man who built that house. 10 Sometimes many perceive the same illusion. The multitude is led astray in many ways by simultaneous currents of the same opinions. 11 In this manner many men see the same dream at the same time, as the giddy heads of drunken men fall equally into the same kind of dizziness at the same time, seeing the earth and skies turning and rolling round them. 12 Many children are seen to join in the same sport at the same time, and a whole herd of male deer is observed to meet together in the same green field. 13 Many men are seen simultaneously pursuing the same employment for the purpose of gaining the same object of their pursuit.

14 It is commonly said that time is the giver and obstructer of the objects of human pursuits, as of all other events. But time is as quiescent as the Supreme Spirit. People’s desires and efforts cause their desired effects. 15 Time is a formless void. It is identical with the nature and form of the uncreated great Lord God himself. It neither gives or takes anything to or from anyone at anytime. 16 Time according to its common reckoning of years, kalpas and yuga ages is classed among the categories of substance. But time is far from being a substance. It is the source of all substances.

17 Men of deluded understanding are subject to the errors arising from the same cause of their fallacy. It was owing to this false conception that the Bhuta and Kira people fell into the very same error. 18 Therefore employ yourself to do your duty, and try to know your true self. Get rid of the error of your personality, and move about as freely as I do by myself.

Vasishta speaking:—

19 Saying this, Lord Vishnu disappeared from his sight and Gadhi remained in his cave with great perplexity of his mind. 20 He passed some months on the same hill, then resumed his tapas to Vishnu with redoubled fervency. 21 He saw his god appearing again to his view, when he bowed down before him, and addressed him.

22 Gadhi said, “O Lord, I am quite bewildered with the thoughts of having been a tribal and my reflection on the delusions of this world. 23 Please free me from my errors and employ me to the only act of adoring the holy one.”

24 Lord Vishnu said:—

O brahmin, this world is a delusion like the enchantment of the conjurer Sambara. All things here are the wonderful productions of imagination and proceed from forgetfulness of the self.

25 It was your error that made you see many things in your sleeping and waking dreams. 26 The Kiras were also led to see the same things as you, and to mistake those falsities as true owing to the same error laying hold of all of you at the same time. 27 Now hear me tell you the truth for your own good, whereby your error will fade away like a creeping plant in the chilly month of November.

28 The tribal Katanja, the one you thought you were, was a man who previously had really existed in that same locality. 29 He was bereaved of his family and left that place to wander about in foreign lands. Then he became king of the Kiras, and afterwards immersed himself in fire. 30 This life of Katanja entered your mind when you were standing in the water performing your devotion. The thoughts of the whole career of the tribal completely engrossed your mind.

31 Things which are seen or thought of even once cannot escape memory. Sometimes it happens that the mind comes to see many things in its imagination which it has never seen before with its eyes. 32 Like a man’s vision of a kingdom in his dream, and like the delirium caused by weakened humors of the body, the mind sees many daydreams and deliriums in its waking states also.

33 The past conduct of Katanja presented itself to your mind just as past and future world events are present before the mental vision of an oracle seer. 34 That this is ‘I’ and these things and those friends are ‘mine’ are the mistakes of those who are devoid of their self-knowledge. 35 But that ‘I am all in all’ is the belief of the truly wise, which prevents them from falling into such mistakes. The belief of the wise in the generality of all persons and things keeps them from wrong notions of individualities and particularities. 36 This general and universal view of all things preserves people from the mistaken notions of pleasure and pain, and makes a drowning wretch as buoyant as a floating gourd or bottle tied to a sinking net.

37 But you are entangled in the snare of your desires. You are lost to your good sense. You cannot be at your perfect ease as long as you suffer the symptoms of your sickness. 38 Because of your imperfect knowledge you are incapable of warding off the errors of your mind, just as it is impossible for a man to protect himself from rain without effort to build a shelter for himself. 39 You are easily susceptible of every impression of your untutored mind, just as a small tree is easily over-reached by a tall person.

40 The heart is the axis of the wheel of delusion (maya). If you can stop the motion of this central power, there is nothing to disturb you anymore. 41 Now rise and return to the sacred covered shelter on this mountain and there perform your austerities for a full ten years with a steady mind so that you may attain your perfect knowledge at the end of this period.

Vasishta speaking:—

42 So saying, the lotus-eyed god disappeared from that place, as a flimsy cloud or candle-light or the wave of Jamuna is put out by a slight gust of wind.

43 Gadhi gradually gained dispassion by means of his discrimination, like trees fading away for lack of moisture at the end of autumn. 44 Getting rid of his mind’s wanderings, Gadhi reflected upon and blamed himself for fostering the false thoughts of the tribal and the like. 45 Then with his heart melting in pity and sorrow for himself, he returned to the Rishya-mukha mount to undertake his tapas. He sat there like a rainy cloud stopping on the top of a mountain. 46 He gave up all his desires and performed his austere penance. After completing ten years of tapas, he attained Self realization.

47 Having obtained knowledge of his self like the great soul Brahma, and getting rid of his fears and sorrows in this world of retribution, he wandered about with the joy of a living liberated being with perfect tranquility of his mind, resembling the serene light of the full moon revolving in the sphere of the sky.