Chapter 111 — Story of Kacha & His Enlightenment by Brihaspati

Vasishta related:—

Now I have told you the complete story of Sikhidhwaja. I hope you will imitate his example and set yourself free from all sorrow and misery. Shut out the visible world from your sight. Shut in your passions and affections in close confinement within your heart. Continue with the dispassion of your mind forever attached to the Supreme Spirit. Rule in your kingdom with the example of Sikhidhwaja and conduct yourself in a manner that may secure for you the fruition of both worlds (peace and liberation).

As Sikhidhwaja came by degrees to attain his enlightenment, so also did Kacha the son of Brihaspati receive the enlightenment of his reason, as I shall now relate to you.

5 Rama said, “Please tell me sage, in short, how this Kacha, the saintly son of sage Brihaspati, came to his enlightenment and right understanding, after he was deluded before by error, as was Sikhidhwaja.”

Vasishta began by saying:—

Hear Rama, another tale as interesting as that of Sikhidhwaja. It is about how Kacha, son of the godlike Brihaspati, was awakened to the light of truth.

He had passed the period of his youth and was about to enter the career of worldly life. He had acquired full knowledge of worlds and things when he asked the following question of his father. He said, “Tell me, O father who knows all righteousness, how is the animal spirit, bound to the body by means of the too thin thread of life, released from its bondage in this temporary world?”

Brihaspati replied, “The soul, my son, is well able to fly away easily and swiftly over the perilous ocean of the world, by means of its abandonment of concerns with it.”

10 Vasishta added:—

Kacha, hearing this holy statement of his father, abandoned all his earthly properties and expectations and left his house and went to forest where he took his shelter. 11 Brihaspati was filled with sorrow at his departure, because it is nature of good hearted men to feel equal anxiety both at the union as well as the separation of their friends. 12 After the sinless Kacha had passed eight years in solitude, he encountered his reverent father who had been looking for him in the woods. 13 The son rose and did homage to his venerable father, who embraced him in his arms and breast. Kacha then spoke to his father, the lord of speech, in words that flowed like honey from his lips.

14 Kacha said, “You see father, that for these full eight years I have forsaken everything and taken myself to this solitary retreat. Still, why is it that I do not enjoy the lovely and lasting peace of mind which I have been seeking so long?”

15 Vasishta related:—

Upon hearing Kacha’s sorrowful words, the lord of speech Brihaspati told him again to abandon his all, then left him and made his way to the upper sky. 16 After his father’s departure, Kacha cast off his clothing made of tree bark and leaves. His frail body appeared out of it like the clear autumn sky after the setting of the sun and the rise of the stars of heaven. 17 He then moved to another forest where he took shelter in the cave of a rock that protected him from rain and rainy clouds, just as the autumn sky protects the landscape from the floods of rain.

18 He lived all alone on one side of a wood with his naked body and tranquil and vacant mind, breathing only the breath of his life. As he was afflicted on one occasion in this state of his body and mind, he happened to see his father standing before him. 19 The pious son rose from his seat and did reverence to his father with all the marks of filial piety. Being then clasped in his close embrace, he asked him in his faltering words as follows. 20 Kacha said, “Behold my father how I have forsaken everything. I have even cast away my tree-bark dress and my shelter of reeds and weeds. Yet why do I not find my rest in my god? What must I yet do to attain to that state?”

21 Brihaspati said, “I told you my son, to forsake your all. This all means the mind which comprehends all things in it. By forsaking your mind you can gain perfect joy. The learned know the mind is all in all because it contains everything. There is nothing besides the ideas of them in our minds.

22 Vasishta related:—

Saying so, Brihaspati, the lord of speech, flew hastily into the sky. His son Kacha immediately strove to abandon the thoughts and operations of his mind. 23 But he found it impossible to subdue his mind or suppress its action and motion. Then he recalled his father to his mind, and thought in himself to be in his presence. 24 He considered in himself that the mind was no part of his body or anything among the known categories in nature. “It is quite aloof and apart from all, and therefore perfectly guiltless in itself. Why then should I abandon so innocent and constant a companion of mine? 25 Therefore I shall seek my father’s help to learn how and why the mind is accounted as the greatest enemy of men. Learning this fully from him, I will immediately forsake it from me and obtain my joy thereby.”

26 Vasishta related:—

Having thought so, Kacha went upward to the upper sky where he met the lord of speech. He bowed down to him and did his homage with filial respect and affection. 27 Kacha then asked his father to tell him the true nature and form of the mind so that he would be able to detect it and accordingly forsake it.

28 Brihaspati answered, “Men acquainted with the mental science know the mind as the egoism of a man. The inner feeling of one’s ego takes the name of his mind and no more.”

29 Kacha replied and said, “O father of unlimited understanding who is the teacher of all the multitude of gods, explain to me this intricate point of identity of the mind or intellect or egoism. 30 I see the difficulty of forsaking this mind and forgetting this egoism or self-personality. I also understand the impossibility of one’s perfection without abandoning both of these. Tell me now, O greatest of yogi thinkers, how is it possible to get rid of them in any way?”

31 Brihaspati answered:—

Why my son, the destruction of our egoism is as easy as the blinking of our eyelids and easier far than crushing flowers. There is not the least pain in rejecting this feeling. 32 Now my boy, listen as I tell you how this is to be done in a moment, and how it is to be removed like true knowledge of the nature of a thing removes a long standing bias of ignorance.

33 My son, in reality there is no such thing as what you call your egoism or personality. It is an unreality appearing as reality, a false mental fabrication like the ghost of little children. 34 Like the fallacy of water in the mirage and the mistake of a serpent in the rope and all other errors appearing as truths, the misconception of egoism is a mere delusion of understanding.

35 The delusion of vision shows a couple of moons in the sky and shows many things as their doubles. In the same way, the error of our understanding presents us with our false egoism instead of the one real and everlasting Atman (Soul). 36 There is only one real Atman, without beginning or end and quite transparent in itself. It is more transparent than the clear atmosphere and an Intelligence that knows all things. 37 It is always omnipresent as the light of all things and the life of all living beings. Only this essence spreads throughout all nature and shines in all her phenomena, as the same essence of water displays itself in all rolling surges and waves and moving bubbles in the sea.

38 Such being the case, tell me what is this special egoism of ours, and how and from where could a separate personality come to exist? Where can you find dust rising from water, or see water springing from fire? 39 My son, shun your false belief in the difference of this one and that other, and yourself as another person. Refrain from thinking that you are a mean and contemptible being confined within the limits of space and time. 40 Know yourself (soul) to be unbounded by space or time, ever extended all over in your essential transparency, always the same in all seeming varieties, the one unchanging, pure and simple Consciousness.

41 Your Self (soul) is situated in the fruit, flowers and leaves of all the trees on every side of you. You abide in everything like the core and foundation for its existence, and as moisture for its growth. The pure intellect eternally inheres in everything as its soul and essence. Tell me then, O Kacha, from where do you derive a belief in your egoism and personal existence?