1 Vasishta continued:—
Rama, know this delusion is as extensive in its form as it is inexplicable in its nature. It is filled with ignorance. It is a spiritual illusion and not any conscious deception. 2 Consider the brahmin’s false dream that lasted a couple of hours and his transformation into a tribal which lasted for many years. 3 Observe how the brahmin’s false conception appeared as real to his physical senses, and see how the false thought appeared true to him, his true knowledge of himself vanishing at last into untruth.
4 Therefore I say that this illusion is utterly inexplicable in its nature. How it leads the unguarded mind to a great many errors and difficulties and dangers!
5 Rama asked, “How sage, can we put a stop to the wheel of delusion? Its rapid rotation constantly grinds every part of our body.”
6 Vasishta said:—
Know Rama, this revolving world is the wheel of delusion and the human heart is the axis of this great wheel which, by its continuous rotation, produces all this delusion within its circle. 7 If by your courageous efforts you can put a stop to the motion of your heart, as it were by fixing a peg to the loop-hole of the wheel, you immediately stop the rotation of the circle of delusion. 8 The mind is the center of the wheel of ignorance. If you can stop its motion by tying it tightly with the rope of your good sense, you escape the danger of falling into the dizzying rotation of errors.
9 Rama, you are well skilled in the martial art of hurling the discus. You cannot be ignorant of preventing its motion by stopping it at the central hole. 10 Therefore, O Rama, be diligent and stop the center of your mind. Thereby you will be able to preserve yourself, both from the revolution of the world and changeable difficulties of time. 11 The soul who rejects this counsel is exposed to interminable misery. By keeping this counsel always before the sight of the mind, you avoid all difficulties in this world.
12 There is no other medicine for anybody to heal the disease of his worldliness, except by restraining the mind at its own pivot. 13 Therefore, O Rama, give up your acts of holy pilgrimage and observances of austerity and charity. Keep the mind under your control to attain your supreme joy.
14 The world is situated in the mind, just as air is confined in a pot. But the mind being restricted to itself, the world is lost to it, just as when the pot just broken, the air inside escapes and mixes in endless emptiness. 15 You who are forever confined in the imaginary world of your mind, like a gnat trapped in the hollow of a pot, will get your release only by breaking out of this confinement, like the gnat flying into open air.
16 The way to rid the delusions of the mind is to fix your attention only to the present moment, and not employ your thoughts about past or future events. 17 Then you will arrive to the state of that spiritual detachment called indifference when you immediately cease to pursue any of the objects of your desires or imagination.
18 The mind is hidden as long as it has the mist of its desires and fancies flying over it, just as the sky is overcast as long as watery clouds spread over it. 19 As long as the intelligent soul is joined with the faculty of the mind, it is subject to its gross desires and thickening retinue of its fancies, just as the sky is filled with bright moonbeams as long as the moon shines in it. 20 When the intelligent soul is known without the medium of the mind, then the existence of the world is rooted out from the mind, like trees burnt down to their roots.
21 The intelligence that does not belong to the mind is called discernment. It has a nature unconnected with thoughts or desires and is free from the foulness of the fumes of fancy. 22 Discernment is truly the state of truth and of true joy. It is the true state of spirituality. It is an omniscience having all-clear vision of its own and seeing all things in itself. It is quite unconnected with any mental operation and it is enlightened by the light of the spirit.
23 Whenever the mind is active it invariably is accompanied by desires and the senses of pleasure and pain. Feelings and passions accompany the mind just as the ravens accompany a cremation ground. 24 The minds of the intelligent are not without action, but they are aloof from feelings of desire by their knowledge of the vanity of earthly things. Though these feelings are contained like plants in the seed vessel of their mind, yet they are not allowed to germinate in its sterile soil.
25 The wise have come to know the insubstantiality and uncertainty of all worldly things and events by their knowledge of the natures of things, by their acquaintance with the scriptures, by their association with holy men, and by their habitual observance of the practices of a pious and saintly life. 26 They have forcibly withdrawn their minds from ignorance by their determined efforts to gain the true knowledge of things. They have strenuously applied them to the study of scriptures and the good conduct of righteous people.
27 Only the pure soul has sight of the Supreme Spirit, just as a gem’s brilliance makes it discernable in the waters of the deep and allows it to be distinguished from darkness. 28 As the soul naturally desires to get rid of things which it comes to know is attended with pain, so the soul is the sole cause of knowing the Supreme. 29 Therefore be free of your thoughts of all other things, both in your waking and sleeping states, and when you talk or think of anybody, give or receive nothing. Rely and reflect only on your consciousness. Constantly watch the secret admonitions and intuitions of your consciousness. 30 Whether when you are born or going to die, or do anything or live in this world, be steadily attentive to your conscious self and you will perceive the clear light of the soul.
31 Leave off thinking that this is “I” and that is another because all are alike before the Lord of all. Give up wishing this for yourself and that for others, for all things belong to God. Rely solely on the one, and that is your internal consciousness alone.
32 Be of one mind in your present and future states of life and continue to investigate into its various phases in your own consciousness. 33 In all the changes of your life from boyhood to youth and old age, and amidst all its changing scenes of prosperity and adversity, and also in the states of your waking, dreaming and sound sleep, remain faithful to your consciousness.
34 Melt down your mind like a metal and purify it of its impurity of the impressions of external things. Break off the traps of your desires and depend on your awareness of yourself. 35 Get rid of the disease of your desire, of whatever is marked as good or bad for you, and turn your sight away from everything that may appear as favorable or unfavorable to you. Rely on your consciousness of pure intelligence.
36 Leave untouched whatever is tangible to touch and obtainable by your agency or instrumentality. Remain unchanged and unsupported by anything in the world and depend only upon your own consciousness. 37 Think yourself as sleeping when you are awake. Remain as calm and quiet as if you are unconscious of anything. Think yourself as all and alone and as instinctively identical with the Supreme Spirit. 38 Think yourself to be free from the changing and unchanging states of life. Though engaged in business, think of yourself as disengaged from all concerns.
39 Forsake the feelings of your egoism (mine) and non-egoism (others). Be undivided from the rest of the world by thinking yourself to be the macrocosm of the cosmos. Support yourself on the diamond hard rock of your consciousness by remaining unshaken at all events. 40 Continue to cut off the meshes of the net of your internal desires by the agency of your intellect and its helpmate patience. Be of the profession of belonging to no profession.
41 The sweet taste of trusting in the true faith of consciousness converts even the poison of false faiths to ambrosia. 42 The great error of taking the false world for true prevails only when the mind forgets to remember the pure and undivided self-consciousness. 43 Again, the great error of the substantiality of the world is put to an end when the mind places its trust in the immaculate and undivided consciousness.
44 One who has passed over the great gulf of his desires and known the true nature of his soul has his consciousness shining within himself with the full blaze of the bright sun. 45 One who knows the nature of his soul and is settled in the transcendental bliss of knowing the peerless one finds the most nectar-like food as a poison to him. 46 We revere those men who have known the nature of the soul, have reached their spiritual state, and know the rest bearing the name of men are no better than asses in human shape.
47 Behold devotees going from hill to hill and wandering like big bodied elephants to perform their devotions. They are far below the spiritual being who sits as high above them like on the top of the mountain. 48 The sight of consciousness reaching heavenward, beyond the limits of all regions to the unseen and invisible God, derives no help from the light of the sun or the moon. 49 The lights of the luminaries fade away like candlelight before the sight of consciousness which sees the great lights of the sun and moon and all within the compass of its knowledge.
50 He who has known the truth of God by means of his practice of yoga and self-sacrifice stands highest above the rest of men in the greatness of his soul. He is distinguished from others by the brightness of his body. 51 Like Him whose brightness shines on us in the light of the sun, moon, stars, gems and fire, the best of men shine among mankind in their knowledge of what is knowable and to be known.
52 Those who are ignorant of truth are viler than asses and other brute creatures that live on the land. They are meaner than the mean insects that dwell in holes in the ground. 53 As long as an embodied being is ignorant of spiritual knowledge, he is said to be a devil of darkness. But as soon as is he acquainted with his soul and united with his self in his reasoning, he is recognized as a spiritual being.
54 The unspiritual man is tossed about on earth like a carcass and is consumed with the fuel of his cares, like a dead body burned away by the flames of its funeral fire. But the spiritual being who knows the nature of his soul is aware of only his immortality. 55 Spiritual wisdom flies far away from a man whose heart is hardened in this world, just as the glory of sunshine is lost under the shadow of thickening clouds. 56 Therefore the mind is to be gradually curbed and contracted in itself by a dislike of all earthly enjoyments. The knower of his self, by long practice of abstinence, should try to deprive his spirit of its moisture to the dryness of a faded leaf.
57 The mind is thickened and fattened by consolidating itself with those of others and staining it with affections of wife, children, relations and friends. 58 Passions and feelings are often the causes of the denseness and impassivity of the mind: its egotism and selfishness, gaiety and impurity of thoughts, and its changing tempers and affections. But what feeds its gross density the most is the sense of me-ism and that “this is mine.” 59 The mind is swollen by coming to prosperity, by the deadly pains of old age and infirmity, and by the poisonous pangs of penury and miserliness. 60 The mind grows lusty in its expectation of some good and under the afflictions of disease and danger. It grows stronger with enduring what is intolerable and doing what ought not to be done.
61 The heart, too, becomes stronger with its affection for others and with its desire to gain riches and jewels. It becomes lusty with its craving for women and in having whatever is pleasant to it for the moment. 62 The heart, like a snake, is swollen huge by feeding on false hopes like air, and by breathing the empty air of passing delights and pleasures. It is pampered by drinking the liquor of fleeting hope, and moves about in the course of its endless expectations. 63 The heart is staunch in its enjoyment of pleasures, however injurious they are in their nature. Though situated inside the body, yet the heart is subject to brooding in disease and uneasiness and under a variety of pains and changes. 64 A multitude of thoughts grows in the heart of the body, like a clump of orchids in the hollow of a tree. These bear the budding blossoms of hope and desire and hang down with the flowers and fruit of death and disease.
65 Do not delay. Use the sharp saw of your reason to cut off the huge trunk of the poisonous tree of greed which has risen as high as a hill in the cavity of your heart. Do not to put off pruning the big branch of your hope and its leaves of desires. 66 The elephant-like heart sits with its infuriated eyes in the solitary recess of the body. It is equally fond of its ease and its carnal gratification. It longs to look at the lotus bed of the learned as it does to meet a field of sugarcanes composed of fools and dunces.
67 Rama, like a lion, the monarch of the forest, you should destroy your elephant-like heart seated in the wilderness of your body with the sharp saws of your understanding. Break the protruding tusks of its passions in the same manner as they break down all big bodies. 68 Drive away the crow-like hungry heart, from within the nest of your bosom. It is fond of frequenting filthy places, like ravens hovering over funeral grounds and crows squatting in dirty spots, fattening their bodies by feeding on the flesh of rotten carcasses. The heart is cunning in its craft and too cruel in its acts. It uses its lips like the bills of the crow, only to hurt others, and is as one-eyed as the crow, looking only to its own selfish interest. The mind is black all over its body for its black purposes and deeds. 69 Drive your raven-like heart far away. It sits heavy on the tree of your soul, intent on its wicked purposes and grating the ear with its jarring sound. It flutters everywhere at the scent of putrid bodies, to pollute its nest with foul putrescence of evil intents.
70 There is a destructive, hideous greed wandering at large like a demon, lurking in ambush in the dark cavity of the heart as in a dreary desert. It assumes a hundred forms and appears in a hundred shapes pursuing its habitual courses in darkness 71 unless and until you drive away this wicked demon of your heart from the abode of your intelligent soul. Unless you drive it away with your discrimination, dispassion, and power of mantras and tantras, you cannot expect to be successful in your endeavors.
72 Moreover there is the serpent-like mind hidden under the skin of the body. With its poisonous thoughts, frothing at the mouth like the destructive venom of mankind, it is continually breathing in and out like a pair of bellows, like a snake for the destruction of all other persons. 73 O Rama, you must subdue this great serpent of the mind that lies hidden in a cell of the cellular simal tree of your body. Use some mantra formula pronounced by the garuda of your intelligence, and thus be free from all fear and danger forever.
74 O Rama, repress your vulture-like heart that bears a greed for dead bodies that cannot be satisfied. It flies about everywhere annoyed by hungry crows and kites. It rests in desolate cemeteries. 75 It ransacks all quarters in quest of its meat of living and dead bodies, and lifts its neck to watch for its prey when it is sitting silently with patience. The vulture-like heart flies far away from its resting tree of the body and must be diligently restrained from its flight.
76 The monkey mind wanders through forests everywhere, and passing quickly beyond the area of its birth in search of fruit, it outruns the bounds of its native land and country. Thus being bound to nowhere, he derides the multitudes that are bound to the toils of their homes, confined to their native climate and soil. 77 The big monkey mind that plays on the tree of the body, its eyes and nose like the flowers of the tree and having arms for its branches and fingers for its leaves, ought to be checked for one’s success in anything.
78 The illusion of the mind rises like a cloud with the mists of error. It lays waste to the good harvest of spiritual knowledge. It flashes forth lightning from its mouth to burn down everything and not to give light on the way. Its showers damage upon ripened crops and it opens the door of desire. 79 Give up seeking the objects of your desire which are situated in the airy region of your mind. Exert your energy to drive off the cloud of your mind in order to obtain the great object of your aim.
80 The mind is as a long rope that binds mankind to their constant acts. It is impossible to break or burn its knots in any way except by one’s self knowledge. Its bond of reincarnation is painful to all until they obtain their final emancipation. 81 O Rama, use your lack of desire to boldly break the bondage of your mind that is bound fast in an infinite number of bodies to the chain of their reincarnation. Enjoy your freedom without any fear for evermore.
82 Know greed is like a venomous snake that destroys its devotees by the poison of its breath and never yields to the good counsel of anybody. This serpent has ruined mankind by its deceit and laying in wait for its prey. It emaciates the body to a stick. 83 Greed hidden in the body lurks unseen in its cells. It is like a dark cobra in form. It must be burnt to death by the fire of detachment for your safety and security from all evil.
84 Now put your heart to rest by the intelligence of your mind and gird yourself with the armor of purity for your defense. Forsake your unsteady mind forever and remain like a tree that is not infested by the apes of passion. 85 Purify both your body and mind with the sanctity of your soul. Be fearless and quiet by the aid of your intelligence and clam composure of your consciousness. Think yourself as lighter and meaner than a straw and thus enjoy the sweets of this world by going across it to the state of transcendent bliss in this life.