1 Vasishta continued:—
Having thus approached and welcomed each other, the two brothers applied themselves to the acquisition of divine knowledge and thereby gained their liberation in the living state.
2 O strong armed Rama, I will now tell you that without true knowledge of God, there is no salvation for the enslaved mind. 3 Know, O Rama of polished understanding, that this world of endless sorrows is as easily traversed by the intelligent as a wide ocean is crossed over by Vishnu’s garuda bird, though it be impossible for any other bird to do so.
4 The great soul is without and lies beyond the body. It is situated in its own intellect and it looks on the body from a distance, just as a spectator beholds a concourse of people. 5 The body pulled down by decay and disease does not affect us anymore, like a broken coach that causes no injury to the rider. 6 The mind’s depressions and dejections do not affect understanding, just as the moving waves that ruffle the surface of the sea do not disturb the waters of the deep.
7 What relation do swans bear to the waters of a lake? What is the relation between the pebbles and stones of the sea and its waters? The pieces of wood carried by currents are unrelated to the waters of the stream. In like manner, no object of sense has any relationship to the Supreme Soul. 8 Tell me, O fortunate Rama, what is the correlation between a rock and the sea? The rock truly is not an obstruction to the internal current of the sea, so none of these worlds can stop the course of the Divine Mind. 9 What relation do lotuses bear to the waters of a stream, other than their being contained in the bosom of their containing waters? So all solid bodies are related as contents with the all containing Divine Soul.
10 When a log hits a body of water there is spray all around. In the same way, when the body contacts the soul it produces the various affections of the mind. 11 As the association of a tree on a bank produces its shadow in the waters below, so the proximity of all objects to the soul reflects their images in the mind. 12 As the reflections of things in a mirror, still waters, or the swelling waves of the sea are neither real nor unreal, so the reflections in the soul are neither substantial nor unsubstantial. 13 As the breaking of a tree or rock by howling winds does not affect the wind at all, so the union or separation of the elemental component parts of a body makes no alteration in the soul.
14 As a tree falling in water produces a vibration and sound, so the contact of the body and soul produces a vibration in the intellectual organs. 15 But these impressions have no relation either with the pure and simple soul or with the gross body. All these are only delusions of our false knowledge. When these delusions are gone, we are left with only transparent consciousness. 16 As no one has any notion how wood and water are connected, so nobody has any knowledge of how the body is united with the soul.
17 The world appears a reality to the unintelligent and as a substantial entity to those ignorant of truth. 18 Those without an internal perception of moisture in wood and stone are like worldly minded materialists who have knowledge of only external objects. 19 Those without intuitive knowledge find no difference between wood and water, so they believe the body and the soul to be the same thing. They do not know their lack of relation or connection with one another. 20 As the relationship between wood and water is imperceptible without reasoning, so such people are unacquainted with the lack of any relationship between soul and body because they lack intuition.
21 The soul is purely conscious of itself in all places and without any objective knowledge of anything at all. It is not liable to the false knowledge of a duality. 22 The soul’s false apprehension of unrealities coverts its bliss to misery, just as one’s false imagination of a ghost makes him see an apparition. 23 Our internal conviction of relevancy makes things quite irrelevant become relevant, like seeing and catching thieves in our dreams or the appearance of a demonic apparition in a block of wood.
24 As the relationship between wood and water is altogether unreal, so the correlation between soul and body is wholly false and unsubstantial. 25 As the water is not troubled if a tree does not fall into it, so the soul is not disturbed without its thoughts of the body. The soul freed from its connection with the body is free from all the maladies and miseries which flesh is heir to.
26 The misconception of the body being the soul makes the soul subject to all the imperfections and infirmities of the body, just as the clear waters of the lake are soiled by the leaves and twigs that float upon it. 27 Absence of any intrinsic relationship between external and the internal soul liberates the soul from all the casualties in the course of things. But the presence of extraneous associations makes the internal soul like turbid water by reason of the mess of leaves, foul things, fruit and flowers continually falling upon it. 28 The soul free of its innate knowledge of the objective is wholly absolved from misery, while the knowledge of its connection with the body, senses and mind is the mainspring of all it sorrows. 29 The internal connection of externals is the seed of all the evils of men in this world, bringing forth all of mankind’s pain, sorrow and errors.
30 A man who is internally connected with the externals sinks deep under the load of his connections in the depth of this earth, but he who is aloof from his internal relations floats above the surface of this sea and rises up in the air like an aerial being. 31 A mind with its internal bearings is like an tree with a hundred branches, but the mind lacking internal relation is said to have faded and grown extinct. 32 A mind unattached to the world is like a pure crystal without any shade of color in it. But a mind attached to the world is like a prismatic glass with all the colors of the rainbow. 33 An unattached and untainted mind is said to be set at liberty, even though it is working in the world. A mind is said to be unattached if it is thoughtless of the world through the practice of austerities.
34 A mind attached to the world is said to be bound to it, but that which is detached from the world is said to be set free from it. The internal attachment and detachment of the mind cause its bondage and liberation. 35 Unworldly minded persons are not tied to the earth by their worldly actions. They remain aloof from all their actions, like a floating vessel remains above the sweet or salty waters beneath it.
36 The tendency of the mind makes a man master of an action which he actually has not done, just as the delusion of the dreaming mind makes one feel the pleasure and pain of his pleasing and unpleasing dreams. 37 The activity of the mind also gives activity to the body, just as the action of the mind in dreaming gives motion to the inert body of the sleeping man. 38 Inactivity of the mind causes the inaction of the body, and though the body should act by its physical force, yet the detached mind is not enmeshed in the action.
39 Man gets the retribution of the actions he has done with his mind and not those that pass without his knowledge. The inert body is never the cause of an action. The mind is never joined with the living body like an automaton or self moving machine, or like a clock whose spring lies in itself. The body requires the action of the mind to put that animal force into motion.
40 The mind which does not pay attention to an action of the body is never considered to be the agent of that action. No reward of any action ever accrues to one who is not engaged in doing that action. 41 The man who is not intentionally employed in the sacrifice of a horse or the slaughter of a brahmin neither reaps the good of the one nor incurs the guilt of the other, just as the minds of distracted lovers are never aware of the results of their own deeds.
42 One free from any intrinsic relationship with anything is most agreeable to all by his elevated behavior. Whether he acts or neglects his part, he remains indifferent to both. 43 No agency is attached to the man whose action is involuntary and whose mind is released from its internal attachment to anything. The unconcerned detachment of the mind is attended with composure. The mind’s careful concern for anything whatsoever is filled only with vexation. 44 Therefore, avoid your internal concern for anything that you know to be related to you only externally. Release yourself from the mortification of the loss to all external relations.
45 The mind cleared of the foulness of its internal relationship with external phenomena acquires the transparency of the cloudless sky. After all dirt and waste are cleared within, the mind becomes one with the soul like a bright gem shining with double brightness of a luminary, or like a blue streamlet receiving the blue color of the azure sky.