1 Vasishta replied:—
I then besought the chief of the crows, sitting on one end of a branch of the kalpa tree, to tell me how he avoided falling into the hands of death when all other animals moving about the expanse of the world are doomed to be crushed under its all-devouring jaws.
2 Bhushunda replied:—
Sage, you know all things. Yet you would ask me to say what you know full well. Such bidding of my master emboldens your servant to speak out where he should otherwise hold his tongue. 3 Yet when you desire me to tell, I must do it as well as I can because it is considered the duty of a dependant to carry out the commands of their kind masters.
4 Death will not demolish the man who does not wear the pearl necklace of vicious desires on his chest, just as a robber does not kill a traveler who does not have the destructive chain of gold hanging on his breast. 5 Death will not destroy the man whose heart is not broken down by sorrows, whose breast is not sawed like timber by the friction of his sighs, and whose body is not ruined by toil like a tree by worms. 6 Death will not overtake the man whose body is not beset by cares, like a tree with poisonous snakes lifting their hoods above its head, and whose heart is not burnt by its anxieties, like wood by fire. 7 Death will not prey upon the person who is not weakened by the poison of anger and hatred, whose heart cave does not foster the serpent of greed in its darkness, and whose heart is not corroded by the sores of cares.
8 He is not carried away by the cruel hand of death whose body is not already fried by the fire of his resentment, which like the hidden heat of an undersea fire, sucks up the waters of reason in the reservoir of the mind. 9 Death will not kill the person whose body is not inflamed by the fiery passion of love, which like a wildfire consumes the hoarded grain of good sense, and like a pair of sharp scissors snips the heart strings of reason. 10 Death does not approach the man who puts his trust in the one pure and purifying spirit of God, and who has the rest of his soul in the refuge of the Supreme Soul. 11 Death does not lay hold of the person who is firm and calm in the same posture, who does not wander like a monkey from one tree to another, and whose mind is a foreign to unsteadiness.
12 Thus, when the mind is settled in the unalterable state of calm repose in its Maker, it is impossible for the evils and diseases of this world to overtake it at anytime. 13 The fixed and tranquil mind is never overtaken by the sorrows and diseases of the world, nor is it liable to fall into the errors and dangers that befall the restless mob here below. 14 The well composed mind has neither its rising nor setting, nor its recollection or forgetfulness at anytime or other. It has no sleeping or waking state, but has its heavenly revelry which is quite different from dreaming. 15 Distressing thoughts that take their rise from weakened desire and feelings of resentment and other passions, darkening the region of the heart and mind, can never disturb the serenity of those souls who have their repose in the Supreme Spirit. 16 He whose mind is absorbed in holy meditation neither gives away nor receives anything from others, nor does he seek or forsake whatever he has or has not at anytime. He does his duties always by rote as he ought without expectation of reward or merit. 17 He whose mind has found its repose in holy meditation has no cause to repent of any misdeed for his gain or pleasure at anytime. 18 He whose mind has met with the grace of God has enough gain, an excess of delight, and a good deal of every good.
19 Therefore employ your mind to what brings your ultimate good and lasting welfare, in which there is nothing of doubt or difficulty and which is exempt from false expectation. 20 Exalt your mind above the multiplicity of worldly possessions which the impure and unseen demon of evil presents to allure your heart. Settle your mind in the unity of God. 21 Set your heart to that supreme joy which is pleasant both in the beginning and end, delectable to taste, pleasant to sight, sweet to taste, and wholesome in its effect. 22 Fix your mind to what is sought by all good and godly people, which is the eternal truth and the best diet of the soul, from its beginning and during its course in the middle and end and throughout its immortality. 23 Apply your mind to what is beyond your comprehension, the holy light that is the root and source of all in which is all our best fortune and the ambrosial food for our souls.
24 There is nothing more permanent or auspicious among immortals or mortals, or among the gods, demigods, asuras, gandharvas, kinnaras and vidyadharas, or among the heavenly apsara nymphs, than the spiritual bliss of the soul. 25 There is nothing so very graceful or lasting to be found in cities and mountains, in the vegetable creation, among mankind and their kings, or anywhere in earth or heaven as this spiritual joy. 26 There is nothing steady or graceful among the naaga snake or asura demon races and their females, or in the entire infernal region. 27 There is nothing so lovely and lasting in the regions above, below, all around us, and in the spheres of all other worlds as lasting peace of mind. 28 There is nothing blissful or persistent in this world amidst all its sorrows, sicknesses and troubles which encompass all about.
All our actions are for trivial matters and all our gains are only trifles at best. 29 There is nothing of any lasting good in all those thoughts that occupy the minds of men and gladden their hearts, and which serve at best to delude the wise to become unsteady in their spirits. 30 No permanent good is derived from the ever busy thoughts and desires of mankind, which at best tend to trouble their minds, as when the gods and demons used Mandara Mountain to disturb the waters of the deep. 31 No lasting good results to anybody from his continuous, various efforts to bring his gain and loss at the edge of the sword. 32 Sovereignty over the whole earth is not so great a boon, nor is one’s elevation to the rank of a god in heaven so great a blessing, nor even the exaltation of one to the position of the world supporting serpent is as great a gain as the sweet peace of mind of the good.
33 It is of no good to trouble the mind with its attention to all the branches of learning, nor is it of any advantage to employ one’s wits and enslave his mind to the service of another. It is of no use to anybody to learn the histories of other people when he is ignorant of himself and his own welfare. 34 It is of no good to live long under the trouble of disease and the sorrow of life. Life and death, learning and ignorance, heaven and hell give no advantage or disadvantage to anybody until there is an end of his desires within himself.
35 Thus these various states of the world and all worldly things may freely appear to the ignorant vulgar, but they afford no pleasure to the learned who knows their instability.