1 Rama replied, “O sage! nobody is fully satisfied with all that you say, but must learn more and more from you. Therefore, tell me in short the substance of the present subject, which is as grand as it is wonderful to hear.”
2 Vasishta replied:—
I have already given you many interpretations of living liberation. Here are some more for your satisfaction and close attention.
3 The living liberated see this world with their visual organs and their state of sound sleep as a hazy maze. In their spiritual light, their minds fixed solely on the Supreme Soul, they consider the world to be an unreality. 4 He who is disengaged has his mind as still as in sleep. He who sees the soul is seized with joy at the sight. 5 He takes nothing that is within his reach and does not retain what is within his grasp, but keeps his mind looking within himself as having everything there.
6 He sees the bustle of the tumultuous crowd with the eye of his mind, and smiles in himself at the hurry and commotion of the world. 7 He does not live in future expectation, nor does he rely on his present possessions. He does not live on the pleasure of his past memory, but lives without any inclination.
8 Sleeping, he is awake in his vision of heavenly light. Waking, he is plunged into the deep sleep of his mental reveries. He does all his works with his external body, but he does nothing with his inner mind (which is fixed in his God). 9 In his mind he has renounced the thoughts of all things and his care for anything. He does his outward actions and remains as even as if he is doing nothing. 10 He pursues the course of duties of his caste and family as they have descended to him from the custom of his forefathers. 11 He does all that is required and expected of him with a willing mind and without the error of believing himself as their actor. 12 He remains indifferent and unconcerned of all that he does by routine and habit. He does not long for or dislike or rejoice or grieve at anything.
13 He takes no notice of others’ friendship or hatred towards him. He is devoted to those who are devoted to him, but cunning with those who deal in craftiness with him. 14 He deals as a boy with children and as a veteran with old people. He is youthful in the society of young men and is grave in the company of the aged and wise. He is not without sympathy with the sorrows of others. 15 He opens his mouth in uplifting speeches and never betrays his privation in any way. He is always calm in his mind and ever of a cheerful complexion.
16 He is wise and deep, yet open and sweet. He is ever free from pain and misery. 17 He is magnanimous in his disposition and as sweet as a sea of delight. He is cool and cools the pains of others and is as refreshing to mankind as the beams of the full moon. 18 His objects are praiseworthy deeds. No action or worldly good is of any purpose to him, nor does he gain anything by his abandonment of pleasures or riches or friends.
19 No action or inaction, no labor or ease, no bondage or release, and no heaven or hell can add or take away anything from his inner contentment. 20 He sees everything everywhere in the same uniform light. His mind is neither afraid of bondage nor eager for its release. 21 His doubts are wholly removed by the light of his knowledge. His mind towers upwards like the fearless eagle of the sky. 22 His mind, free from error and settled in its equanimity, does not rise or fall like any heavenly body, but remains unaltered as the high heaven itself.
23 The living liberated does his outward actions by the mere movements of the outer members of his body and without applying his mind to them, just as a baby sleeping in a cradle spontaneously moves his limbs without any purpose of his mind. 24 A drunk or delirious man does many acts in his state of unsound mind. He never does them with the attention of his mind, so he retains no trace of them in his memory. 25 Children grab or throw away everything without knowing whether it is good or bad for them. So do men act or refrain without deliberate choice or aversion. 26 A man doing his duty by habit or compulsion is not aware of any pain or pleasure derived from it. 27 An act done by the outer body without the person’s intention in the inner mind is reckoned as no act of the actor. It does not confer any good or bad result on the person.
28 He does not shrink from misery or rejoice at his good fortune. He is not elated at his success or depressed by his failure. 29 He is not dismayed at seeing the sun growing cool and the moon shining warmly over his head. He is not disconcerted by the flame of fire bending downwards or at the course of waters rising upwards. 30 He is neither frightened nor astonished at any wonderful occurrence in nature because he knows all phenomena of nature are the wonderful appearances of the omnipotent and all-intelligent soul.
31 He expresses no need or want and he has no need of others’ favor or kindness. He has no need to recourse to wiliness or cunning. He undertakes no shameful act like begging or the like, nor does he betray his shamelessness by doing an unworthy action. 32 He is never mean-spirited or arrogant in his spirit. He is not elated or depressed in his mind, nor is he sad or sorry or joyful at anytime. 33 No passions arise in his pure heart, which is as clear as the autumn sky and like the clear sky which gives no growth to thorns or thistles.
34 Seeing constant births and deaths of living beings in the course of this world, who would you say is always happy or unhappy? 35 Froth and foaming bubbles burst in the water, so our lives flash and fly out into eternity. Therefore, who can be called happy anywhere? What is that state of permanent pleasure or pain? 36 In this world of endless entrances and exits, what being lasts or is lost forever? Our sight produces the view, just as our failing sight takes it out of view.
37 The sights of these worlds are no more than the passing scenes in our nightly dreams, unforeseen of momentary duration and sudden disappearance. 38 What cause for joy or sorrow can there be in this wretched world which is the scene of constant advents and departures? 39 The loss of some good brings sorrow to the sufferer, but what sorrow can assail the self-liberated man who sees nothing as positive good in the ever-changing state of things in this world? 40 Of what use is prosperity or the enjoyment of any pleasure when in the next moment it is succeeded by adversity and pain, embittering life by its harmful effects.
41 Deliverance from pleasure and pain, choice and dislike, desirable and displeasing, and prosperity and adversity contributes to the true joy of man. 42 After you abandon pleasing and unpleasing objects and renounce your desire for enjoyments, you get a cold renunciation which will melt your mind like frost. 43 The mind being weakened, its desires also will be wasted, just as burnt sesame seeds leave no oil behind.
44 By thinking existence as non-existent, the man of great soul gets rid of all his desires and sets himself aloof as in the air. With joyful spirits that know no change, the wise man sits and sleeps and lives always content with himself.