Chapter 74 — Qualities of One Who Abides in the Truth

Vasishta continued:—

It is easy to take pleasure looking at the outer world, and difficult to turn the sight to the inner soul, just as it is pleasant to see delightful prospects abroad and be bitter in the heart to be without them. Fascinated with these delightful objects, we become subject to all our errors and blunders, just as the taste of alcohol fills the brain with giddiness. This intoxication drives the knowledge of sober truth from our minds and introduces the delirium of the phenomenal world instead, like the sun’s heat producing a false mirage in the desert. Then the deep ocean of the soul boils in its various aspects of the mind, understanding, egoism, sensation and volition like the sea, moved by hot winds, bursts into the forms of foaming froths, waves and surges.

The duality of the mind and its egoism is a verbal distinction without reality, for egoism is only a thought (chitta) and thought is only the mind (manas). It is in vain to think of snow apart from its whiteness, so it is false to suppose the mind as distinct from egoism. There is no difference between ego and mind. The destruction of one means the loss of the other, just as the removal of cloth is accompanied by the absence of its color.

Avoid both your desire of liberation and your eagerness for worldly bondage. Instead, strive to enfeeble your mind by lessening its egoism by the two means of your detachment and discrimination of worldly objects. The thought of getting liberation growing big in the mind disturbs its peace and rest, and it also injures the body (by austerities). 10 Whether we visualize the soul as apart from all things or intimately connected with all, it can neither have its liberation nor its bondage.

11 When the air circulates in the body by its natural property of motion, it gives movement to the members of the body and moves the rolling tongue like the flitting leaf of a tree. 12 As the restless wind gives motion to the leaves and twigs of trees, so the vital airs add their force to the movement of the body parts. 13 But the soul which pervades the whole never moves like the wind, nor is it moved as any part of the body. It does not move of itself but remains unshaken like a rock at the motion of the winds. Like the Lord of all, it is unmoved by the breeze. 14 The soul by its reflection shows all things hidden in it, just as a lamp by its light shows whatever lay concealed in the darkness of a room.

15 Why should you fall into the painful error of thinking like ignorant and senseless men that these members of your body and these things belong to you? 16 Infatuated by this ignorance, men think the frail body as lasting and attribute knowledge and agency of action to it. 17 Only gross error makes us believe the body is a self acting machine of its motions, actions and passion. Only our sanguine wishes present so many false views before us, like the sun’s heat raises mirages of water in a sandy desert. 18 The ignorance of truth makes the mind seek the pleasures of senses. Ignorance drags the mind along like a thirsty doe to perish in the watery mirage of the parching shore. 19 But when untruth is distinguished from truth, untruth flies from the mind like a tribal woman fleeing from the company of brahmins. 20 When error is found out, it can no more deceive the mind than the mirage, when discovered, fails to attract the thirsty.

21 Rama, as truth is known and rooted in the mind, the seeds of earthly desires are uprooted from it, just as thick darkness is dispelled by the light of a lamp. 22 The mind arrives at certain truths by the light of scriptures and reason, so its errors quickly fade away like icicles melting under the heat of the sun. 23 The certainty of the moral truth that “it is useless to foster and fatten this frail frame of the body” is as powerful to break down the net of worldly desires as the robust lion is capable of breaking down the iron bars of his prison.

24 The mind of man fee from the bonds of its desires becomes as brilliant as a moonlit night with pure beams of disinterested delight. 25 The contented mind gets a coolness like that of a heated rock after it is washed by a shower of rain. It finds a satisfaction equal to that of a pauper who obtains the riches of a king and his whole kingdom. 26 The face of a contented man shines as clear as the face of the autumn sky. His soul overflows with delight like the flood waters at the end of a kalpa age. 27 A contented man is silent like a mute cloud after rain. His soul remains composed with its consciousness, just as the profound sea is tranquil with its fullness. 28 He has patience and steadiness like a rock and glistens as quietly in himself as a fire glowing after its fuel is burnt out. 29 He is extinct in himself like a lamp that has been extinguished. His inner satisfaction is like one who has feasted on ambrosia. 30 He shines with his inner light like a lantern with its lighted lamp, and like fire with a brightness that can never be put out.

31 He sees his soul as identical with the universal and all pervading soul which is the lord and master of all and which abides in all forms in its formless state. 32 He smiles at everything by setting himself above and beyond all mortal and frail things. His days glide away sweetly and softly with him, and he laughs at those men whose unsteady minds are made the marks of the arrows of Kama, the god of desire.

33 His holy mind is isolated from the society of men and from all their amusements and rests secluded from all company and concern with the fullness of its spiritual bliss within itself. 34 His mind is clear of the muddy and turbulent ocean of this world and of the dirt of worldly desires. It is loosened from the chains of its error and set free from the fear of dualism.

35 A man being thus released attains the highest state of humanity and rests in that supreme joy which is desired by all and found by few, and from which nobody returns to revisit the earth. 36 This height of human ambition being arrived at, there is nothing else to wish for. This great gratification being once gained, there is no other joy which can delight us more.

37 The self contented man neither gives or receives anything from anybody. He does not praise or criticize anyone, he does not rejoice or grieve at anything, and he is never elated or depressed at any occurrence. 38 He is said to be liberated in his lifetime because he takes no title on himself, withholds from all business, and is free from desires. 39 Abstaining from wishing anything in his heart and holding his tongue in unspoken silence, he remains as dumb as a cloud after it has poured down all its waters.

40 Even the embrace of a fairy fails to afford such delight to the body as the cooling beams of contentment gladdens the mind. 41 Even though he may wear the disc of the moon dangling like a breast plate from his neck, a man does not derive such coolness as he feels in himself from the frigidity of contentment. 42 A flowery shrub decorated with blooming small flowers of the spring is not as refreshing a sight as the smiling face of one filled with the magnanimity of his soul and lacking strong desires in his mind. 43 Neither the frost of the snowy mountain nor the coldness of a string of pearls, not even the frigidness of the forest of the plantain trees or sandal paste or refreshing moonbeams can afford that internal coolness as the lack of desire produces in the mind. 44 Content with everything is more charming than the pleasure of royal dignity, heavenly joy, the pleasantness of moonlight, or the delights of spring. It is more charming than the enchanting graces of a beauty.

45 Renunciation of desire is the source of complete self-sufficiency to which the riches of the three worlds can make no addition. 46 Self-complacency strikes the axe at the root of the thorny difficulties of the world and decorates its possessor with blessings like the blossoms of a flowery tree. 47 A man decorated with a lack of desire has all in himself though possessed of nothing. He spurns the deep earth like a cave, and the big mountain as the trifling trunk of a tree. He looks on all the sides of air as mere caskets, and regards the worlds as straws. 48 The best of men who are devoid of desire laugh with scorn at the busy affairs of the world, and at men taking from one and giving to another, or storing or squandering their riches. 49 That man is beyond all comparison who allows no desire to take root in his heart and who does not care a fig or a straw for the world. 50 With what shall we compare a man whose mind is never employed in the thoughts of craving something and avoiding another, and who is ever master of himself?

51 O you wise and intelligent men, rely on the lack of cravings of your heart, which is your greatest good fortune, by setting yourself in the bliss of safety and security beyond the reach of the dangers and difficulties of the world. 52 Rama, you have nothing to desire in this world. You are not led away by worldly desires like one who is moving in a car, looks sideways, and thinks he is seeing things receding back from him. 53 O intelligent Rama, why do you fall into the error of ignorant men by taking this thing to be yours and that as another’s by the delusion of your mind?

54 All the world is the same identical spirit, and all its variety is in perfect uniformity with the Supreme Soul. The learned know that the world is eternally the same and unvaried in itself. They do not grieve at the apparent changes of things and changing fortunes of times. 55 Seeing all things in their true light, a manifestation of the divine essence, all intelligent men place their dependence in Him and do not desire anything else. 56 Rely therefore on that unchanging state of things which is free from the conditions of existence and nonexistence and of beginning and end.

57 This illusive enchantment of the world flies far away before the detachment of strong minded men, like a timid fawn running at the sight of a ferocious lion. 58 Men of subdued passions and calm minds regard the graces of fairy forms to be no more than the loveliness of wild vines, or the faded beauty of dilapidated statues of stone. 59 No pleasures gladden their hearts and no dangers depress their spirits. No outward good or bad can make any effect on their minds which are as inflexible as firm rocks against the violence of winds. 60 The mind of the magnanimous sage is as impregnable as a rock. His mind baffles the allurements of youthful damsels and breaks the arrows of love to pieces, falling down like pulverized atoms of dust and ashes.

61 One knowing his self is not carried away by his fondness or aversion of any person or thing. A heart without any vibration is unconscious of all feelings. 62 A dispassionate man who looks on all things with an equal eye is as unconscious as a stone to the charms of blooming maids and is adverse to destructive pleasures like a traveler is to a sandy desert.

63 All things necessary for life are obtained with little labor by those who are indifferently minded about their gain. The wise get free gifts of nature with as much ease as eyesight gets sunlight. 64 The gifts of nature, allotted by fortune to the share of every one, are tasted by the wise without rejoicing or murmur.

65 Neither rejoicing nor bewilderment can overtake the mind of the wayfarer who well knows his way. He stands firmly as Mandara Mountain amidst the turbulent waves of the sea. 66 He looks indifferently on the pains and pleasures of the world with his usual patience, silence and lack of anxiety. He places his trust in that spirit which resides inside everyone. 67 Though beset by anxious cares, he remains without anxiety in his mind and stands steadfast with confidence in the Supreme Soul, like Brahma in his rush to create the world. 68 Though overtaken by the accidents of the times, places and circumstances of life, yet he is not overpowered by the influence of their pain or pleasure but stands erect like a sturdy oak against the influence of the seasons. 69 The wise may fail in the action of their bodily organs and falter in their speech also, but their strong and unconcerned minds never fail in their operations or despond under the pressure of outward circumstances.

70 Gold becomes impure from its inner alloy and not by its outward soil. So a man becomes unholy by the impurity of heart and foulness of his mind, and not on account of the dust or dirt on his body. 71 The learned understand the wise man apart from his body because the mutilated body does not take anything away from the wisdom of a man. 72 Once the pure and luminous soul is known, it is never to be lost sight of, like a friend once known is never thought to be a foe. 73 The fallacy of the snake in the rope being removed, it is no more looked upon as a snake, just as a river receiving its torrents from the waterfall of a hill in rainy season does not retain its current after the rains have passed.

74 Gold purified by fire retains its purity forever even though it becomes dirty by being thrown into the mud and mire. 75 After the heart string has been broken, it can never be joined anymore, just as a flower fallen from its stalk cannot be stuck back to it again. 76 No analysis can distinguish the gem from the ore when they are both broken to pieces, so there is no reasoning to show the soul is lost with the body. 77 Who, having understood what error is, will be so great a fool as to fall to it again? No brahmin who has recognized another to be a tribal will ever like to mix in his company.

78 As the mistake of milk in water passes away upon examination of the liquid, so the error of worldly desires vanishes upon knowledge of their vanity. 79 Even learned brahmins may fall into the error of drinking some liquor for pure water, until they come to realize their mistake. 80 Those acquainted with truth look upon the outer forms of fairies like paintings or pictures. 81 The dark hair and crimson lips of a fairy are portrayed in black and red in a picture, so there is no difference between the figure in its living form or in a painting.

82 The idea of sweetness is inseparable from sugar. In the same manner, the idea of bliss is inseparable from the soul, which is indestructible by the destruction of the body. 83 Spiritual joy may be enjoyed in this physical body in the same manner as one enjoys the pleasure of imagination. 84 Thus a man who is steadfast in his spiritual meditation and intent upon the Supreme Soul is not to be turned away from it by the power of the gods or by the jealousy of Indra.

85 There is no lover of a woman who can turn her heart away from the dearest object of her love, so there is nothing in the world that can alienate the unsteady mind from its love of spiritual joy. 86 There is no joy in the whole world that is able to divert the mind of the magnanimous philosopher from its reliance on the delight of intellectual light.

87 A married woman who is subject to all domestic toils and privations and is constantly employed in her household drudgeries, subjected to maltreatment and subjugated by her husband and father-in-law, 88 still has the comfort of thinking upon her sweetheart and dissipates her sorrows with the thought of her favorite lover. Such is the mystic love of spiritualists. 89 A man bound to the cares of worldly affairs has the consolation of his soul and spiritual bliss by freeing his mind from ignorance and conducting himself in the right way by his comprehensive spiritual view of all things. 90 He does not break under bodily torture nor does he wail with bleeding heart and weeping eyes. He is not burnt by the flame of his martyrdom, nor does he die when perishing under the scourge of the stake and stock of persecution. 91 His mind is free from the pain and pleasures that are the lot of humanity. He is unmoved amidst all the mishaps of fortune.

The devotee rejoices in the region of his spiritual bliss whether he remains in his hermitage in the forest or wanders about in deserts or over mountains.