Chapter 90 — Two Forms of Mind Extinction: with and without Form

Vasishta said:—

After sage Vitahavya had subdued his heart and mind by his self inquiry and reasoning, there arose in him the qualities of universal benevolence and generosity.

Rama asked, “How do you say, sage, that the quality of benevolence sprang in the mind of the sage after it had been wholly absorbed in itself by its rationality? Tell me sage who is the best of speakers, how can the feelings of universal love and friendliness arise in the heart which is wholly cold and quiet, or in the mind which is entranced in the Divine Spirit?”

Vasishta replied:—

There are two kinds of mental numbness. One is coma in the living body and the other its deadness after the material body is dead and gone. (One is where the form of the mind remains and the other is where even the form ceases to be.) Possession of the mind is the cause of grief and its extinction is the spring of happiness. Therefore one should practice grinding the essence of his mind (or personality) in order to arrive to its utter extinction.

The mind beset by the net of the vain desires of the world is subject to repeated births which are the sources of endless grief. He is considered a miserable being who thinks much of his person and esteems his body as the product of the good rewards of his past lives, and who accounts his foolish and blinded mind as a great gift to him. How can we expect the decrease of our distress as long as the mind is the mistress of the body? Upon setting down the mind the world appears to disappear before us. Know the mind is the root of all the miseries of life, and its desires are the sprouts of the forest of our disasters.

10 Rama asked, “Who is it, sage, whose mind is extinct? What is the manner of this extinction? How is its extinction brought on and what is the nature of its annihilation?

11 Vasishta replied:—

O support of Raghu’s race, I have told you before of the nature of the mind. Now you will hear, O best of inquirers, the manner of extinguishing its impulses.

12 When the mind is unmoved and remains steady in pleasure or pain, unshaken like a rock at the gentle breath of our breathing, then it is paralyzed and dead. 13 Know that the mind is also dull as dead when it is devoid of the sense of its separateness from others, and when it is not degraded from the loftiness of its universality to the meanness of its personality. 14 Know also that the mind is dead and cold when it is not moved by difficulties or dangers, or excited by pride or giddiness, or elated by festivity or depressed by poverty; in short, when it does not lose its serene temperament at any reverse of fortune. 15 Know, gentle Rama, that this is what is meant by the death of the mind and numbness of the heart. This is the inseparable property of living liberation.

16 Know mindfulness to be foolishness, and un-mindedness is true wisdom. Upon extinction of mental affections, the pure essence of the mind appears to light. 17 The true, intrinsic nature of the mind is revealed after its emotions are extinguished, and this temperament of the mind is what living liberated persons have. 18 The mind is filled with benevolent qualities has best wishes for all living beings. It is freed from the pains of repeated births in this world of grief. It is called the living liberated mind. 19 The nature of the living liberated mind is said to be its intrinsic essence, which is full with its holy wishes and exempt from the doom of reincarnation.

20 The personal mind (swarupa) has a notion of its personality as distinct from its body. This is the nature of the mind of those who are liberated in their lifetime. 21 When the living liberated person loses the individuality of his mind and becomes as pleasing as moonbeams by virtue of his universal benevolence, then the mind becomes expanded and extended, present everywhere at all times. 22 The living liberated person being mindless of himself becomes as cold hearted as a plant growing in a frigid climate, where it blooms with its mild virtues like blossoms of a winter plant. 23 The impersonal mind (arupa, without form) that I described earlier is the coolness of the disembodied soul that is altogether liberated from the consciousness of its personality.

24 All the excellent virtues and qualities that reside in the embodied soul are utterly lost and drowned in the disembodied soul upon its liberation from the knowledge of its personality. 25 In the case of disembodied liberation, the consciousness of self personality being lost, the mind also loses its formal existence in formlessness (virupa) when there remains nothing of it. 26 There remains no more merit or demerit, or any beauty or deformity. It neither shines nor sets anymore, nor is there any consciousness of pain or pleasure in it. 27 It has no sense of light or darkness, or the perception of day or night. It has no knowledge of space and sky, or of the sides, altitude or depth of the firmament. 28 Its desires and efforts are lost with its essence and there remains no trace of its entity or nothingness whatever. 29 It is neither dark nor light, nor transparent as the sky. It does not twinkle like a star or shine forth as solar and lunar lights. There is nothing to which it may resemble in its transparency. 30 Those minds that have freed themselves from all worldly cares and are rid of their thoughts are the minds that rove in this state of freedom, as the winds wander freely in the region of vacuum.

31 Intelligent souls that are numb and sleepy are set in perfect bliss beyond the trouble of activity (rajas) and lethargy (tamas). They have assumed the forms of empty bodies and find their rest in the supreme joy in which they are dissolved in the unity of the deity.