1 Vasishta continued:—
Hear now, Rama, how Vitahavya, that great sage of enlightened understanding, silently reasoned with his unmanageable senses. 2 I will tell you openly what he secretly admonished to his senses. By hearing his exhortations, you will be set above the reach of misery.
3 O my senses, I know your inherent qualities work only to create our misery. Therefore I pray, give up your intrinsic natures for the sake of my happiness. 4 My admonitions will annihilate your false actualities which are no more than creatures of ignorance.
5 The mind’s amusement with the springing up of its senses causes its fury and fever heat, just as lighting a fire burns one’s self or others in its flame. 6 The mind being disturbed and bewildered makes restless feelings and sensations flow and fall to it with the fierceness of turbulent rivers falling into the sea, which it breaks out and runs in the form of foam and froth onto the shore. 7 Sensing minds burst forth in passions of their pride and egoism, clashing against one another like conflicting clouds and falling in showers of hailstorms on others’ heads.
8 The anxieties of prosperity and adversity are the tormenting sores in the minds’ breasts. They pierce and perforate hearts to such a degree as if intent upon uprooting hearts from their innermost recesses. 9 They are attended with hiccups and labored breathing in the chest, with groaning and sobbing in the lungs, like hooting owls in the hollow of withered trees, whether covered with tufts of moss on their tops or resembling white haired heads on the dried trunks of old and decayed bodies. 10 The cavities of the heart inside the body are perplexed with crooked cares resembling the folds of snakes, white hairs like hoar frost hanging over the head, and apish wishes lurk about in the caves within the heart.
11 Greed is like a dancing stork clattering her pair of sharp bills (to entice men towards her), then pulling off their eyes from their decayed frames, as also the intestinal cords of the body. 12 Impure lust and lawless desire, symbolized as the filthy cock, scratches the heart as his dunghill and sounds shrill on this side and that. 13 During the long and gloomy nights of our ignorance we are disturbed by fits of frenzy bursting like a hooting owl from the hollow of our hearts. We are infested by passions barking in our bosoms like vetala demons in charnel domes and funeral grounds. 14 These and many other anxieties and sensual desires disturb our rest at nights, like horrible pisacha monsters appearing in the dark.
15 But the virtuous man who has rid himself of the gloom of ignorance beholds everything in its clear light. He exults like a blooming lotus at the dawning light of the day. 16 His heart is cleared of the cloud of ignorance and glows as the clear sky unclogged by fogs or mists. A pure light envelops the heart after the flying dust of doubts has been driven from it. 17 When doubts cease to disturb the mind with gusts of uncertainty, it becomes as calm and still as the dome of the sky and the face of a city after swirling winds have stopped blowing.
18 Mutual friendship and brotherly love purify and cheer the heart of everybody. They grow the graceful trees of concord and cordiality, just as plants bring forth their beautiful blossoms and stamens in spring. 19 The minds of ignorant and unskillful men are as insubstantial as a barren waste. They are shriveled with cares and anxieties, just as a lotus bed is withered under shivering cold and ice.
20 After the fog and frost of ignorance are dissipated from the atmosphere of the mind, it gains its glaring luster, as the sky gets sunshine after the clouds disperse in autumn. 21 The soul having its calmness is as clear and cheerful and as deep and undisturbed as the deep and wide ocean which regains its calm and serenity after the fury of a storm has passed over it. 22 The mind is full with the ambrosial nectar of everlasting happiness, just as the roof of heaven is filled with the nectarous moonbeams at night. 23 After the dispersion of its ignorance, the mind becomes conscious of the soul. Then it views the whole world in its consciousness as if it were situated in itself.
24 The contented mind finds its body to be full of heavenly delight, which is never perceived by those living souls who are ensnared by their desires of worldly enjoyments. 25 As trees burnt by a wildfire regain their green foliage with the return of spring, so people tormented by the troubles of the world and wasted by age and burden of life find their freshness in holy asceticism. 26 Hermits resorting to the woods are freed from their fear of reincarnation and have many joys which are beyond all description.
27 Think, O man who cannot be satisfied! Either your soul is dead to your carnal desires or your desires are dead in your soul. In both cases, you are happy, whether in possession or extinction of your mind. 28 Do not delay choosing whatever you think is more blissful for yourself, but it is better to possess your mind and kill your cares and desires than to kill your mind with troublesome desires and anxieties. 29 Know that what is painful to you is really nothingness, because it is foolish to part with something pleasant to yourself. If you have your inner understanding at all, remain true to yourself by avoiding the false cares of the world.
30 Life is a precious treasure and its loss is liked by nobody, but I tell you in truth that this life is a dream and you are nothing in reality. 31 Yet be not sorry that you live in vain, because you have lived such a nothingness before and your existence is only a delusion. 32 It is unreasonable to think yourself as being so and so because the delusion of individual self-existence is now exploded by right reason. 33 Reason points towards the uniform entity of the identical Being at all times. It is sheer irrationality that tells you of your existence, at it is the lack of true light that exhibits this darkness to you.
34 Reason will disprove your entity as light removes darkness. It was in your irrationality, my friend, that you have passed all this time with the vain idea of your separate existence. 35 It is only because of this irrationality of yours that your gross ignorance has grown so great as to be sad because of your disasters. Your delusive desires have subjected you to the devil, like children caught by their imagined demons and ghosts. 36 After one rids himself of his former states of pain and pleasure and his transitory desires in this temporary world, he comes to feel the delight of his soul under the province of his right reason. 37 Your reason has wakened you from your dullness and enlightened your soul and mind with the light of truth. Therefore we should bow down to reason above all others as the only enlightener of our hearts and souls.
38 After desires are cleared from your heart, you shall find yourself as the great lord of all. You shall rejoice in yourself under the pure and pristine light of your soul. 39 Being freed from your desires, you are set on the footing of the sovereign lord of all. The unreasonableness of desires growing in your ignorance will go away under the domain of reason. 40 Whether you like it or not, your desires will fly from your mind under the dominion of your reason, just as the deep darkness of night flies at the advance of daylight.
41 The thorough extinction of your desires is attended with your perfect bliss. Therefore rely on the conclusion of your nothingness by every mode of reasoning. 42 When you have lorded over your mind and your organs and think yourself extinct at all times, you have secured every joy to your spirit forever. 43 If your mind is freed from its disquiet and is set at rest and becomes extinct in your present state, it will not come back to life in the future when you shall have your spiritual trance forever. 44 When I remain in my spiritual state, I seem to be in the fourth (turiya) or highest heaven in myself. Hence I forever discard my mind with its creation of the mental world.
45 Only the soul is the self-existent being, beside which there is nothing else in existence. I feel myself to be this very soul and that there is nothing else beside myself. 46 I find myself to be ever present everywhere with my intelligent soul and beaming forth with its light of consciousness. This we regard as the Supreme Soul which is situated in the translucent sphere of our inner hearts. 47 This soul which is without its counterpart is beyond our imagination and description. Therefore I think of myself as this soul, not in the form of an image of it, but as a wave of the water of that profound and unlimited ocean of the Divine Soul.
48 When I rest in silence in that soul within myself, which is beyond what can be known and is identical with my consciousness itself, I find all my desires and passions, together with my vitality and consciousness, to be quite defunct in me.