Chapter 94 — Kumbha Enlightens Sikhidhwaja Regarding the Mind and Ultimate Causation

Vasishta continued:—

As the disguised boy was admonishing Sikhidhwaja in this manner on the renunciation of mind, the king thought inwardly on its meaning, then spoke as follows.

Sikhidhwaja said, “I find my mind is always fluttering, like a bird in the open sky of my bosom. My mind is constantly lurking like an ape in the wilderness of my heart. I know how to restrain my mind, like they do fish in a net, but I do not know how to get rid of it when it is so engaged with the objects of sense. Please sage, first acquaint me with the nature of the mind, and then teach me the method of renouncing it forever.”

5 Kumbha replied:—

Great king, know that desire is the intrinsic nature of the mind. The word desire is a synonym for the mind. Abandonment of the mind is very easy, more easily accomplished than stirring it, and is attended with a greater delight than possessing a kingdom can afford, more pleasant than the scent of fragrant flowers.

But it is very difficult for the ignorant to forsake the desires of their minds. It is as hard for them as it is for a peasant to exercise the powers of a kingdom, or for a heap of grass to be as high as a mountain.

Sikhidhwaja said, “I understand that it is the nature of the mind to be full of desires. But I find trying to rid the mind to be as impossible as swallowing an iron bolt. I find the mind to be like a fragrant flower in the great garden of the world, and also like the fire pit of all our grief. It is the stalk of the lotus of the world, and it is the wind that blows the gusts of delusion all over the world. Now tell me how this thing may be removed easily? 10 The mind is the locomotive engine of the body. It is the bee that flutters about the lotus of the heart. Now tell me, how can I easily get rid of this mind?”

11 Kumbha answered:—

Total eradication of the mind consists in extinguishing the entire world from it. The learned and men of long foresight say that this is abandonment of the mind.

12 Sikhidhwaja replied, “I think extinction of the mind is better than our abandonment of it, on account of securing the success of our purposes. But how can we know the gradual removal of the mind from the hundreds of diseases to which it is subject?”

13 Kumbha replied:—

Egoism is the seed and root of the tree of the mind, with all its branches and leaves and fruit and flowers. Therefore root out the mind with its very seed of egoism and you have your breast as clear as the empty and clear sky.

14 Sikhidhwaja replied, “Tell me, O sage. What is the root of the mind? What are its sprouts and fruit? Tell me also how many stems and branches it has, and how it is possible to root it out all at once.”

15 Kumbha replied:—

Know, O king, that egoism and all the other words that express the self, such as “mind” or “I” or “me” and the like are the seeds of the tree of the mind.

16 The field of its growth is the Supreme Soul, which is the common source of all beings. But that field being filled with illusion, the mind is deluded to believe itself as a first born sprout springing out of this field. 17 Understanding is the certain knowledge of the mind in its discrete state. Pure understanding is when the germ or sprout of the mind has reached its state of maturity.

18 Understanding (buddhi), when subject to various desires, takes the name of wasteful mind (chitta). Such a mind makes the living being, which is as hollow as a carved stone image, a mere false conception. 19 The body is the stem of this tree of the mind, and it is composed of skin, bones and juicy tissues. 20 The branches of the tree of the mind extend over a great distance all around, and so the sense organs of the body protrude wide about it, perishing in the end trying to seek its enjoyment. 21 Now try to cut off the branches of the tree of your mind and root out the harmful tree all at once.

22 Sikhidhwaja said, “Perhaps I can cut off the branches of the tree of mind somehow or another. But tell me, O my sagely teacher, how can I pull out the entire tree all at once?”

23 Kumbha replied:—

All our desires are the various branches of this tree. They are hanging with loads of fruit and they are cut off with the axe of our reason. 24 He alone is able to cut out the tree of his mind who is unattached to the world, who holds his silence and inner tranquility, who is wise in all discussions, and who does whatever offers itself to him at anytime. 25 He who uses his manliness of reason and discretion to cut off the branches and brambles of the tree of his mind is also able to uproot this tree from his heart all at once.

26 The first thing to be done with the mind is to root it out from the heart all at once. The next process is to lop off its branches. Therefore employ yourself more to uprooting it entirely instead of severing of its branches. 27 You may also burn it as the first step instead of cutting the branches. When the great trunk of the tree of the mind is reduced to ashes, there remains an entire mindlessness at last.

28 Sikhidhwaja said, “Tell me, O my sagely guide, what fire can burn away the seed of the tree of the mind which is covered with the skin of egoism?”

29 Kumbha replied:—

King, the fire that is able to consume the seed of the harmful plant of the mind is the examination of the question, “What am I that bears this corporeal form upon me?”

30 Sikhidhwaja said, “O sage! I have repeatedly considered questions in my own understanding and found that my egoism does not consist in anything of this world, or of this earth, or of the woods that form its ornaments. 31 My ego resides nowhere in the hills and forests where I lived, or in the shaking of the leaves before me. It does not lie any part of my gross body or in its flesh, bones or blood. 32 It does not lie in any of the organs of action or in the organs of sensation. It does not lie in the mind or in understanding or in any part of the gross body.”

33 “As we see gold in the form of a bracelet, so do I conceive the intelligent soul in the form of my egoism because it is impossible for any material substance to have anything like intelligence. 34 All real existence depends on the Supreme Soul for its existence. All real entities exist in the supreme essence. It is impossible for anything to exist in a nothingness, just as there is no possibility for a forest to exist in an emptiness.”

35 “Thus sage, knowing full well that my egoism is an aspect or shadow of my eternal soul and worthy to be wiped off from it, yet I regret my ignorance of the intrinsic spirit which is to be wiped clean so that the internal soul can be seen in full light.”

36 Kumbha replied:—

If you are none of these material objects, as you say, and if your egoism does not consist in materiality, then tell me prince, what you think yourself to be in reality?

37 Sikhidhwaja answered, “O most learned sage, I feel myself to be that intelligent and pure soul which is of the form of consciousness which acquaints me of all existence and which discriminates their different natures. 38 I perceive my egoism is attached to my body, but I am perfectly ignorant whether it is a caused or causeless principle. 39 I am unable, O sage, to rub out this sense of my egoism as an unreality, as something without essence. That is what I greatly regret in myself.

40 Kumbha said:—

Tell me O king. What is that great foulness which you feel is attached to you? What makes you act as a man of the world? Do you think it to be something or a mere delusion?

41 Sikhidhwaja replied, “The sense of my egoism, which is the root of the tree of my mind, is the great foulness that attaches to me. I do not know how to get rid of it. However I try to shun it, the more it clings to me.”

42 Kumbha said:—

Every effect is produced from some cause or other, and this is the general law of nature everywhere. Anything otherwise is as false as seeing a second moon in the sky, which is nothing but a reflection of the true moon. 43 The cause produces the effect, whether it is a big one or a small element of it. Therefore explore the cause of your egoism, and tell me what it is.

44 Sikhidhwaja replied, “My sagely guide, I know that mere illusion is the cause of the fallacy of my egoism. But tell me sage, how is this error of mine to subside and vanish? 45 My mind’s inclination towards phenomena makes me suffer all these pains and pangs within myself. Now tell me, O muni sage, how to suppress my thoughts of external objects.”

46 Kumbha said:—

Tell me whether your thinking and knowing are the cause of whatever you think or know, or whether whatever you think or know activates your thinking and knowing powers. If you can tell me this, then I shall be able to explain the process of cause and effect. 47 Now tell me which do you think is the cause and not the cause of knowing and knowable, and of thinking and the thinkable, which are the subjects of my question to you.

48 Sikhidhwaja answered, “I think, O sage, that what the body senses is the cause of thinking and thoughts, and of knowing and what is known. 49 Our knowledge of things appears only in forms of bodies that can be sensed. Otherwise, a mere abstract thought of a thing is as insubstantial as an airy nothing. 50 As I can not conceive the non-entity of a positive entity or the abstract nature of a concrete body, so I do not know how I can ignore my egoism which is the seed of my mind.”

51 Kumbha said:—

If you rely on your material body as a real existence, then tell me, when your soul is separated from the body, what does your knowledge depend upon?

52 Sikhidhwaja replied, “The body, evident to view and a real entity, cannot be taken as unreal by anybody, just as the tangible sunlight cannot be called darkness by any man with common sense. 53 Who can ignore the body? It is full with hands and feet and other parts. It is full of life and activity. Its actions are tangible to sight and evident to our perception.”

54 Kumbha said:—

Know O king, that nothing can be said to exist which is not produced by some cause. The knowledge or consciousness that we have of something cannot be produced only by mistake and error. 55 There can be no product without a similar cause, and no material form can come out from a formless and immaterial agent. How can anything come to existence without having its seed of a similar nature?

56 Whatever thing appears to anyone without a true cause is as false an appearance to its deluded observer as a mirage in a desert. 57 Know that you are no real existence, only a false shape of your error. Whatever earnestness you take to it, you will never get any water from this delusive mirage.

58 Sikhidhwaja said, “It is as useless to inquire into the cause of a nonentity, just as it is fruitless to look into the origin of the secondary moon which is only a false reflection of the true one. Believing in a nothingness is like decorating the body of a barren women’s son.

59 Kumbha replied:—

The body with its bones and ribs is the product of no assignable cause. Therefore know it to be a non-entity because it is impossible for the frail body to be the work of an everlasting Maker.

60 Sikhidhwaja said, “Now tell me sage, why we should not reckon our parents as the causes and producers of our bodies, with all theirs members and parts, since they are known as their immediate causes?”

61 Kumbha replied:—

The parents can be nothing and no cause without having another cause for them, because whatever is without a cause is nothing in itself. 62 The causes of all things and effects are called their seeds. When there is no seed in existence, it is impossible for a seedling to be produced. 63 Therefore, when you cannot trace out the cause of an event, account the event as no event at all. There can be nothing without its seed, and the knowledge of a causeless effect or event is an utter impossibility and fallacy of the understanding.

64 It is an extreme error to suppose the existence of a thing without its cause or seed, such as to suppose the existence of two moons in the sky, of water in a mirage, or the son of a barren woman.

65 Sikhidhwaja said, “Now tell me sage, why should not our parents be taken as the causes of our production, who had our grandfathers and grandmothers for the causes or seeds of their birth likewise. Why should we not reckon our first great grandfather (Brahma) as the first progenitor of the human race?”

66 Kumbha replied:—

The first great grandfather, O king, cannot be the original cause, since he also requires a cause for his birth or else he could not come into existence. 67 Even the great grandfather of creation, Brahma himself, must have a cause, a seed from the Supreme Spirit which produced him, or else the visible form in which he appears is no more than a mere delusion. 68 The form of the visible world is as great a fallacy as the appearance of water in a mirage. The creation of the great grandfather Brahma is no more than a false misconception.

69 I will now wipe off the dark cloud of your error, that our great grandfather Brahma was conceived in the womb of the Supreme Spirit. This will be the salvation of your soul.

70 Therefore know, O king, that the Lord God shines forever with his intelligent soul and mind in Himself. It is from him that the lotus-born Brahma and the entire universe are manifest to our view, and that there is nothing which exhibits itself without Him.