Chapter 44 — Vasishta Praises Rama’s Understanding; Warns Him to Maintain It

Vasishta said:—

Rama, whatever acts you do with your organs of action and without application of the mind to the work, know such work to be no doing of yours. Be like one who does not feel a pleasure upon achieving an action which he did not feel a moment before, and in the next moment, is unaware that he has done the work. Memory of an experience does not repeat the same delight, therefore it is childish and not manly to take any delight in a momentary pleasure. Whatever is pleasant during its desire has only that desire as the cause of pleasure. Hence the pleasure of a thing lasting until it becomes unpleasant is no real pleasure. Therefore the wise forsake this frail pleasure together with its temporary cause of desire.

5 If you have arrived to that high state, then be careful for the future. Merge yourself no more in the narrow pit of your personality. You who have found your rest and repose seated in the highest height of spiritual knowledge must not allow your soul to plunge into the deep and dark cave of your egoistic individuality. Thus seated on the peak of your knowledge, as on the top of Mount Meru, and remembering the glories all around, you cannot choose to fall down into the hell pit of this earth to be reborn in the dark cave of a mother’s womb.

It appears to me that you, O Rama, are of an even temperament. You have the quality of truth fully in your nature. I understand you have weakened your desires and have entirely gotten over your ignorance. You appear to be settled in your nature of purity. The temperament of your mind appears to be as calm and quiet as the sea when it is full and untroubled by the rude and rough winds of heaven. 10 May your expectations set at ease and your wants end in contentment. Let your madness turn to right-mindedness. Live unconnected with and aloof from all. 11 Whatever objects you see placed before you, know them to be full of Divine Consciousness which is consolidated and extended through all as their common essence.

12 One ignorant of the soul is tightly bound to his ignorance. One acquainted with the soul is liberated from his bondage. Hence, O Rama, learn to meditate constantly and intensely upon the Supreme Soul in your own soul. 13 Detachment wants to enjoy nothing and refuses the enjoyment of whatever presents itself. Know that being without desire is the cool calm of the mind, resembling the serenity of the sky. 14 Preserve the cold detachment of your mind. Discharge your duties with the cool application of your organs of action. This detachment of your mind will render you as steady as the sky throughout all the accidents of life.

15 If you can combine the knower, knowable and the knowledge in your soul, then you will feel the tranquility of your spirit and you will no longer feel the troubles of earthly life. 16 The expansion and contraction of the mind cause the display and dissolution of the world. Therefore try to stop the action of your mind by restraining the breaths of your desire. 17 The breath of life conducts and stops the business of the world by its movements and rest. Therefore restrain the breathing of the vital air by your practice of regulating your breathing.

18 Ignorance gives rise to ceremonious works. Knowledge represses them. Therefore boldly put ignorance down by your own forbearance, the instructions you derive from the scriptures, and your teachers. 19 As winds flying with dust darken the fair face of the sky, so consciousness sullied with phenomena obscures the clear face of the soul. 20 The relationship between vision and what can be seen causes the appearance of the world and its course, just as the relationship between sunlight and forms makes them appear in various colors to the eye. 21 But the lack of this relationship removes the phenomena from sight, just as the absence of light takes away the colors of things.

22 Fluctuations of the mind cause illusions, just as the heart throbbing raises emotions. They all stop when these organs are suspended. The waves raised by the motion of water and the action of winds subside in the deep where these actions cease. 23 The abandonment of every jot of desire, the suspension of breath, and the exercise of reasoning will contract the actions of the heart and mind, thereby preventing the rise of passions, affections and illusions.

24 The unconsciousness that follows the inaction of the heart and mind when vital breath is suspended is the highest perfection. 25 There is pleasure seeing phenomena which is common to all living being. But this being felt spiritually amounts to holy pleasure. The sight of God in one’s consciousness, which is beyond the province of the mind, transcends mental pleasure and gives a divine ecstasy called brahmananda (bliss of Brahman). 26 The true bliss of the soul is known when the mind is dormant and unconscious. Such bliss cannot be found even in heaven, just as it is not possible to have a cooling bath in a sandy desert. 27 The inertness of the heart and mind is attended with a delight felt in the innermost soul that cannot be described in words. It is an everlasting joy that neither rises nor falls, nor increases or decreases.

28 Right understanding weakens the sensuous mind, but wrong understanding only serves to increase its irrational sensuousness. Then it sees the thickening mists of error rising like ghosts and apparitions before children. 29 Though the sensational mind exists in us, yet it seems to be quite nonexistent and extinct before the light of our rationality, just as copper appears to disappear when melted with gold. 30 The mind of the wise is not sensuous because the wise mind is an essence of purity by itself. The mind of the senses is changed in name and nature to that of the understanding, just as copper is converted to the name and nature of gold.

31 But it is not possible for the mind to be absorbed in consciousness all at once. Its errors are removed only by right understanding. Its essence is never annihilated. 32 Things taken as symbols of the soul are all as unsubstantial as the mind and vital principle, all of which are as unreal as the horns of a rabbit. They are only reflections of the soul which vanish from view once the soul is known. 33 The mind exists only for a short time, during its continuance in the world. After it has passed its fourth stage of unconsciousness, it arrives to the state of mental inactivity (turiya) which is beyond the fourth stage.

34 Brahman is all even and one, though appearing as many amidst the errors that rule the world. He is the soul of all and has no partial or particular form of any kind. He is not the mind or anything else, nor is He situated in the heart (as a finite being).