Chapter 93 — Chudala Explains the Meaning of Complete Renunciation

Vasishta said:—

Sikhidhwaja then rose up and set fire to his hut of dry leaves and grass. As very often is the case with foolish men, that they demolish the structure of their own fancy and caprice. Whatever else was left of the hermit possessions, Sikhidhwaja took them all, one after the other, and set fire to them with his composed and unconcerned mind, observing a strict silence all the while. He burnt and broke down everything, throwing away his food and preserved condiments, his clothes and everything else with a quite content state of his mind. The hermitage was desolate, having been a human home awhile before. It resembled what was left of King Daksha’s sacrificial pavilion after its devastation by the all-devouring fire of Veerabhadra. 5 Frightened deer, afraid of the burning fire, left their beds where they had been laying and chewing cud at their ease and fled far away to distant deserts, just as townsmen flee from a burning quarter to distant places. Seeing all the vessels and utensils burning, fueled by dry wood on all sides, the king seemed to remain quite content and careless amid the scene, retaining possession only of his body.

Sikhidhwaja said, “Now I am an all-abandoning saint. I have abandoned all desire and every object. I wonder how I have lived for so long before being awakened to my right knowledge by the holy lectures of my heavenly child. I have now become a pure and perfect unit, quite conscious of the indescribable joy in myself. What use to me are all these attachments and objects of my ever varying desires?”

“As the knots of the rope that bind the soul to this world are cut and fall off one after the other, so the mind comes to feel its quiet composure until it attains its ultimate rest and inaction. 10 I am quite composed and at perfect ease with the extinction of my desires. I am joyous and rejoice in myself. My ties are all broken and fallen away from me. At last I have fully accomplished the abandonment of all things. 11 I have become as naked as the open sky and as roofless as the dome of the void. I see the wide world as an expanse of emptiness and myself as a nothingness within the whole emptiness.”

“Say, O divine boy, is there anything still lacking in my complete renunciation of everything?”

12 Kumbha replied:—

Yet you must be aware, O King Sikhidhwaja, that you are never released from all the bonds of this life by your renunciation of every physical thing that relates to the mortal and transitory state of your being. 13 By the abandonment of the innumerable seeds and sprouts of fond desires which constantly rise like thistles and thorns in the human breast, I see the gravity and purity of the nature of your soul is placed far above the reach and knowledge of the common people.

14 Vasishta said:—

On hearing these words of Kumbha, King Sikhidhwaja reflected on its meaning for a short while. He spoke these words in reply as you, O mighty armed Rama, shall now hear from me.

15 Sikhidhwaja said, “Tell me, O heaven born child! What else do you see remaining in me, other than the serpentine entrails within me and its supporting body composed of a heap of flesh, blood and bones? 16 If this body is reckoned as an extension of myself, then I will climb to the top of this mountain and let it fall to be dashed to pieces on the ground. Thus I will get rid of my mortal part forever.”

17 Saying so, as he was proceeding to sacrifice his body on the craggy hill before him, he was interrupted by his teacher Kumbha, who spoke to him as follows.

18 Kumbha said:—

What are you are going to, king? Why do you want to destroy your innocent body leaping from that hideous height like an enraged bull hurling its calf down a cliff? 19 What is this body but a lump of dull and gross matter, a dumb and poor painstaking thing. It never does you any harm, nor can you ever find any fault in it. Then why do you vainly wish to destroy something so harmless and faultless?

20 The body itself is a dull and dumb thing. It always remains in a torpid meditative mood. It is moved to and fro by other agencies, like a floating plank tossed up and down by the currents and waves of the sea. 21 He who hurts or annoys his inoffensive lady deserves to be punished with torture, like a cruel villain who robs and annoys a holy saint sitting in his solitary cell. 22 The body is quite guiltless of all the pain and pleasure that befall the living soul by turns, just as the tree is wholly unconcerned with the fall of its fruits and leaves dropped by the blowing winds. 23 You see wind gusts blowing down flowers, fruit and leaves from trees. Then tell me, O holy men! How you can charge an innocent tree with the fault of letting its best produce fall?

24 Know for certain, O lotus-eyed king, that even the sacrifice of your body is not enough to completely renounce all things. Renunciation of everything is not an easy matter. 25 You intend to destroy this inoffensive body of yours in vain. Getting rid of your body does not cause your renunciation or freedom.

26 Your body has an enemy which agitates it like an elephant shaking a huge tree. If you can only get rid of this mortal enemy of your body and soul, then you are then said to be free from all. 27 Now king, by avoiding this deep-rooted enemy of yours, you are freed from the bondage of your body and everything else in this world. Otherwise, no matter how you may kill your body, you can never put a stop to its rebirth.

28 Sikhidhwaja replied, “Then what is it that agitates the body? What is the root of our reincarnations and of the doings and sufferings of our future lives? What is it that by avoiding it, we avoid and forsake everything in the world?”

29 Kumbha replied:—

Know, holy king, that forsaking your kingdom or your body, burning your hut and possessions, or all these things taken together, cannot constitute your renunciation of everything. 30 That which is all and everywhere is the one and only cause of everything. One renounces all by resigning everything in that sole existent being.

31 Sikhidhwaja said, “You are saying that there is an all existent situated in everything, and to whom all things are to be resigned at all times. Now sage, you who know the all, what is this all or combination of everything?”

32 Kumbha replied:—

Know, O holy man, this all-pervading being is known under various names like the living soul jiva, the life force prana, and many others. It is neither an active or inactive principle. It is called the mind which is ever liable to error.

33 Know that the mind is the seat of illusion that by itself makes the man. It is the essential constituent of every person and the mirror of all these worlds in itself. 34 Know the mind is the source of your body and properties. Know also that it is the root of your hermitage and everything else, just as one tree bears the seed of others. 35 Therefore, if you give up this seed of all events, then you really resign everything in the world which is contained in and depends on this primary seed and mainspring, the mind. All possible and impossible renunciation depends upon renunciation of the mind.

36 The man who is subject to his mind is always subject to cares, both when he is attentive to his duties or negligent of them, or whether he rules his kingdom or flies from it to a forest. But the man of a well governed mind is quite content in every condition of life. 37 The mind revolves constantly like the turning world. It evolves itself into the forms of the body and its limbs, just as a minute seed displays itself in the shape of a tree and its branches and leaves. 38 As trees are shaken by winds, as mountains are shaken by earthquakes, and as waves are blown by air, so the animated body is moved about by the mobile force of the mind.

39 These miserable mortals who are born to death and decay, those happy few who live to enjoy the pleasures of life, and the great sages with staunch hearts and souls are alike bound to their minds. 40 The mind acts its different roles in all the various forms and figures on the stage that is this world. It shows its gestures in the motions of the body. It lives and breathes in the shape of the living spirit. It thinks and reflects in the form of the mind. 41 It takes different names like the understanding buddhi, consciousness, egoism, life or prana, and the intellect according to its different internal functions in the body. It is called the silent soul when it is without any action assigned to it.

42 The mind is said to be the all in all. By getting released of the mind, we are released of all diseases and dangers. Then we are said to have avoided and abandoned everything. 43 O you who wants to know what renunciation is, you must know that renunciation of the mind is renunciation of all. If you succeed renouncing your mind, you come to know the truth and feel the true joy of your soul. 44 Rid your mind, you get rid of the unity and duality of creeds and come to perceive all diversities and pluralities blend in one universal whole which is transcendental tranquility, transparent purity, and undiminished joy. 45 The mind is the field for everyone’s career in this world. But if this field is overgrown with thorns and brambles, how can you expect to grow rice in it?

46 The mind shows its manifold aspects and plays its many parts at will. It turns and moves in the forms of things, just as waters roll in the shapes of waves. 47 Know, young king, that abandonment of all things by renouncing your mind will add to your joy, like gaining a kingdom for yourself. 48 In the matter of self-renunciation, you have been on the same footing as other men in that you resign whatever you dislike and want to have something for which you have a liking.

49 He who connects all the worlds with himself, like a thread connecting pearls in a necklace, is the man who possesses everything by renouncing all things from himself. 50 The soul is unattached to all things, yet it connects and passes through them all like the thread of the Divine Soul connects the worlds like a string of pearls. 51 The soul with no attachment to the world is like lamp without oil that soon burns out into darkness. But the spirit that is warm with its affections is like lamp with oil that burns with universal love and enlightens all objects around it. 52 The Lord who lives aloof from all resembles a lamp without oil in darkness, but the same Lord manifesting himself in all things resembles the lamp with oil that lights every object.

53 After you have renounced all your possessions, you still remain by yourself. In the same way, after you have renounced your body, mind and all, you still have your consciousness, which you can never get rid of. 54 You have burned all your possessions but you have not burned any part of your body. In the same way, by your renunciation of all things, you cannot resign yourself or your soul. That would amount to nirvana or utter extinction.

55 Total renunciation means emptying the soul of all its worldly attachments. Then the soul becomes the seat of all knowledge, the ethereal paradise of hosts of celestial beings. 56 Total renunciation is like the fountain of youth that drives away all fear of disease and death with a single drink. The soul remains untouched by the cares of the world, just as the clear sky is not colored by spots of clouds. 57 Again, total renunciation is the complete abandonment of all affections. It gives a man his true greatness and glory. As you get rid of your temporary affections, so you get the stability of your understanding and the firmness of your determination.

58 Total renunciation, the abandonment of all, is filled with perfect delight. Its contrary is attended with extreme misery. This is a certain truth. Knowing this, choose what you think is best for you. 59 He who gives away his belongings in this life comes to possess them again in his future state, just as rivers that pour their waters into the sea are again filled by flood tide. 60 After complete renunciation in the mind, its emptiness is filled with full knowledge of them, like an empty box that holds rich gems and jewels, which is highly gratifying to the soul.

61 It was by virtue of his renunciation of all things (in the mind) that Sakyamuni, the Lord Buddha, became brave and fearless amidst the troubles of the Kali Age and sat as firm as a rock. 62 Total renunciation of all things is equivalent to acquiring all prosperity because the Lord gives everything to he who dedicates and devotes his all to Him.

63 O king, after your abandonment of all things you have become as quiet as the calm atmosphere. Now try to be as graceful as the graceful moon by the pleasantness of your manners. 64 Now, O high minded king, forget your past abdication of crown and kingdom. Forget your renunciation of all things in this hermitage. Drive away the pride of your total abandonment of all that you had, and be of a clear and pleasing countenance.