Chapter 12 — Qualities of the Self-Realized

Vasishta said:—

Great minded men who are certain of these truths are purified from their sins. Finding their tranquility in reliance on truth, they enjoy the delight of the even balance of their souls, both in prosperity and adversity. So the wise men of perfect understanding, being evenly dispassionate in their minds, do not feel happiness or sadness in the enjoyment or deprivation of their lives. They remain as unseen and marvelously mighty as the arms of Vishnu, and as straight and firm and yet as low and fragile as the body and broken rocks of Mount Meru. They roam about at pleasure in woodlands and over islands and in cities also. Like the gods of paradise, they wander about the beautiful gardens and sceneries of nature. 5 They rove in flowery gardens shaken by playful breezes and in romantic forests on the foothills and tops of mountains.

They conquer their enemies and rule their kingdoms with the royal symbols of the chowry fly-whisk and umbrella. They enjoy the various produce and wealth of their kingdom and observe the various customs and usages of their country. They follow all the rules and rites established by the laws of their countries and inculcated as duties for the observance of all. They do not disdain to taste the pleasures that would make beauties smile, nor are they adverse to the enjoyment of luxuries that they can rightly use and enjoy. They smell the fragrance of mandara flowers and taste the sweet juice of mango fruit. They regale themselves with the sweet songs of apsara nymphs and revel in the trees of Nandana pleasure garden.

10 They never disregard the duties that bind all mankind to them, or neglect to perform the sacrifices and observe the ordinances that are imperative in domestic life. 11 But they are saved from falling into dangers and evils of all kinds, escape the danger of falling under the feet of murderous elephants, and avoid the uproar of trumpets and the imminent death in battlefields.

12 They live with those who are afflicted in their hearts and among the marauding plunderers of the country. They dwell among oppressed cowardly people and among their oppressors. Thus they are conversant with the practices of all opposing parties without mixing with any one of them.

13 But their minds are clear of doubts and free from errors. They are unaffected by passions and affections and unattached to any person or thing. They are quite discrete and disengaged, free and liberated, tranquil and serene, inclined to goodness reclining and resting in Supreme Spirit. 14 They are never immersed in great dangers, nor are they ever involved in very great difficulties. They remain like the boundary mountains that are not immersed in the water they surround.

15 They are never elated with joy at the fluctuating favors of fond and fascinating fortune, nor are they swollen, like the sea, with the increasing digits of the moon. 16 They do not fade away under sorrow or sickness, like plants under the scorching sun, nor are they refreshed by refreshments, like medicinal plants under the refreshing dews of night. 17 Calmly and without anxiety, they are employed in the discharge of their duties and in the acts of fruition. They neither long for nor relinquish the results that are attendant upon their acts.

18 They are neither elated with the success of their undertakings, nor are they depressed by the mishap of their efforts. They are not joyous at their joy and exultation, nor do they under danger and difficulty. 19 They do not droop down under despondence, nor are they dejected in despair. They are not merry in their prosperity, nor do they wail and weep in their adversity. 20 They discharge their customary duties as prescribed by law and usage, but their minds remain as firm and unmoved as a mountain against all the efforts of the body.

21 Now Rama, remove your sight from your own egoism and keep it fixed on the true Ego which is a destroyer of all sins. Then go on with your ordinary course of conduct as you may like. 22 Look at these creations and their various creatures as they have existed in their successive stages and phases, but remain as firm as rock and as deep as the sea, and get rid of your errors. 23 Know this grand hole as the reflection of one sole Consciousness beside which there is nothing as a reality or unreality, or as something or nothing.

24 Rama, have your greatness as the great Brahman and preserve the dignity of human nature about you. Reject all that is unworthy of you. With an unattached heart to everything, manage yourself with gentleness everywhere and thus pass the days here. 25 Why do you weep with your heart full of sorrow and grief? Why do you lament like the deluded? Why wander with your wandering mind like a bit of straw carried by whirling currents?

26 Rama replied, “Truly sage, my questions are now erased from my mind. My heart is awakened to its good senses by your kindness, just as the lotus is enlivened by rising sunlight. 27 My errors are dispersed like morning fog in autumn. My doubts are set down by your lectures, which I will always follow. 28 I am now set free from the follies of pride, vanity, envy and unconsciousness. I feel lasting spiritual joy rising within me after the subsidence of all my sorrows. And now if you are not tired, please deliver your lectures with your clear understanding, and I will follow and practice them without fear or hesitation.”