Chapter 80 — Investigation of Visible Phenomena; Ode to the Death of the Mind

Vasishta continued:—

I will now describe to you the thoughtful mental examination that keeps the reasoning mind from attending to objects placed in its presence.

The eyes are only for seeing and the living soul is only for bearing the burden of pain and pleasure. They are like the eyes and bodies of beasts of burden which see and carry loads of food without being able to taste it. The eyes, being confined to visible phenomena, can do no harm to the soul residing in the body, just as an ass that has fallen in a pit is but a slight loss to its owner.

Do not, O base man, entertain your eyes with the dirty sight of visible phenomena that perish of themselves in the twinkling of an eye and put you to peril. An acutely intelligent man thinks he is living and counts the duration of his lifetime by the acts judged as one’s own deeds and beings. At last, these very acts turn against him and make him accountable for them. Do not have your eyes rely upon visible objects that are unreal in their nature and are produced to perish soon after. They please your sight only for a moment. Know visible phenomena to be destroyers of your otherwise indestructible soul.

O my eyes that are only witnesses of forms situated in the soul! It is in vain that sights flash only to consume yourselves after a short while, like burning lamps. What our eyes see is like the fluctuation of waters. Its objects are like the small particles that fill sunbeams in the sky. Whether these sights be good or bad, they are of no matter to our minds. Again there is that little bit of egoism beating in our minds, like a small shrimp stirring in the waters. Let it stir as it may, but why should we give it titles of “I” or “you” or “he” or “this” or “that”?

10 All inert bodies and their light appear together to the eye. One is the container of the other. But they do not affect the mind and therefore do not deserve our notice. 11 The sight of objects and the thoughts of the mind have no connection with one another. And yet they seem to be related to each other, as our faces and their reflections in mirrors. 12 Such is their inseparably reciprocal relation in the minds of the ignorant. But the wise who are freed from their ignorance remain aloof from the visible with their mental meditations alone. 13 The minds of the vulgar are as closely connected with the visible as sacrificial wood is with the flammable lac.

14 Through diligent study, the chain of mental thoughts is severed from the visible in the same way as right reasoning removes our wrong notions. 15 After ignorance and the connection between visible and the mind are dispersed, there is no more blending of forms and figures and the reflections and thoughts of them. 16 The sense impressions that have taken possession of the inner mind are to be rooted out, just as they drive a demon out from the house.

17 “O my mind!” says the intelligent man. “It is in vain that you delude me. I have known your first and last as nothing. If you are so mean in your nature, you must be so and a nothing even now.”

18 “Why do you display yourself to me in your five-fold form of the five senses? Go make your display before him who acknowledges and owns you as his. 19 Your grand display of the universe yields me no satisfaction because I am convinced, O vile mind, that all this is no better than a magic play. 20 Whether you abide in me or not is of no matter to me because I consider you as dead to me as you are dead to reason. 21 You are a dull unessential thing, false and deceitful and always reckoned as dead. You mislead only the ignorant, not the reasonable.”

22 “For so long our ignorance made us ignorant of you, but now by the light of reason we find you as dead as the darkness under the light of a lamp. There is always an impenetrable darkness under the lighted lamp. 23 You have long taken possession of this house of my body and prevented me, O tricky mind, from associating with the good and wise. 24 You lie as dull as a dead body at the door of this bodily house, blocking the entrance of my worshipped guests (of good virtues).”

25 “O my mind, gigantic monster of the world which has its existence in no time, are you not ashamed to assume this deceitful form of the world and appear before me in this hideous shape? 26 Leave my body, O demonic mind, and take your retinue of female fiends of greed and her companions, and the whole host of your devilish comrades of rage, wrath and the like. 27 Seeing the advance of reason in the temple of the body, the demon mind flies from it like a savage wolf leaving its den at the approach of a hunter.”

28 “O pity those foolish folks who are so subdued by this dull and deceitful mind like unwary people are spellbound by a magic wand. 29 What is your boast and might in subduing the ignorant rabble? Try your power upon me who defies your power to prevail over the unity of my belief! 30 I have already frustrated your attempts against me and laid you to dust. I need not try to defeat the power of my foolish mind.”

31 “Long before I had taken you for a living thing and passed many a whole life and day and night with your company in this dreary world. 32 Now I have come to know the nothingness of the mind and that it is put to death by my power. Hence I have given up my concern with you and rely only upon my ever existent soul. 33 By good luck, living liberated men come to know the death of their minds and cease to spend their lives under the illusion of its existence. 34 Having driven away the deceitful demon of the mind from the house of my body, I am situated at rest without any troublesome thought or turbulent passion in me. 35 I smile to think of the many follies to which I was led for so long under the influence of my demonic mind. 36 By my good fortune the gigantic demon of my mind is at last defeated by the sword of my reason and driven out of the house of my body. 37 It is also my good fortune that my heart is purified of its evil inclinations by suppression of my demonic mind. Now my soul rests alone in peace in the abode of my body. 38 With the death of my mind there is an end to my egoism and all my troublesome thoughts and cares. Through breath or mantra of reason, the expulsion of the monsters of evil passions from my heart has made it a place of rest for my soul. 39 What is this mind with its egoism and eager expectations to me? It is only a family of intractable inmates of whom I fortunately have rid by their wholesale deaths.”

40 “I hail that pure and ever prosperous soul which is identical to my inner soul and identical with the immutable intellect. 41 I hail that Ego in me which is yet not myself nor I nor any other person, nor is it subject to sorrow or error. 42 I hail that Ego in me which has no action nor agency and no desire or worldly affair of its own. It has nobody and it does not eat or sleep. 43 This Ego is not myself or any other, and there is nothing as I or anybody else. The Ego is all in all and I bow down to that being.”

44 “The Ego is the first cause and support of all. It is the intellect and the soul of all worlds. It is the whole without parts. I therefore bow down to that Ego. 45 I prostrate to the identical Ego of all, which is eternal and immutable and which is the sole immense Soul without any parts. It is all, in all and abides at all times. 46 It is without any form or name and is manifest as the immense spirit. It abides in itself and I bow down to that Ego. 47 It is the same in all things in its extremely minute form or as the manifestation of the universe. It is the essence of my existence and abides in me, and it is in that state to which I bow down.”

48 “It is the earth and ocean with all their hills and rivers, which are not the ego, nor are they the Ego itself. I bow to the same Ego which comprises the world with all its contents. 49 I bow to that indestructible Lord without decay which is beyond thought and is ever charming and ever the same, who manifests the endless universe with all its worlds and many more yet invisible and unformed bodies. He is unborn and without decay, and his body is beyond all attributes and dimensions.”