Chapter 115 — Shiva Describes the Triple Virtues of Men to the King of the Bhringis

Vasishta said:—

Take my advice, Rama, and strive to be an example of the greatest man in your deeds, enjoyments and bounty. Rely on your unshaken endurance by driving away all your cares and fears.

Rama asked, “Tell me sage. What is the deed that makes the greatest actor, and what is that thing which constitutes the highest enjoyments? Tell me also, what is the great virtue which you advise me to practice?”

Vashishta speaking:—

Long ago, Lord Shiva who bears the crescent moon on his forehead explained these three virtues to the lord of the Bhringis, who was thereby released from all disease and disquiet. Long ago, on a northern peak of the north Lokaloka Mountain, the god who wears the crescent moon as a crown on his head used to hold his residence together with all his family and attendants.

5 It happened that the mighty but little knowing lord of the Bhringis asked him one day, his palms pressed together and his body lowly bowing down before the god who is the lord of Uma, “My lord, please explain to me what I ask you to explain for my knowledge, for you know all things and you are the god of gods. Lord! I am overwhelmed with sorrow to see the loud noisy waves of this deep and dark world in which we have been constantly struck back and forth forever, without finding the calm and quiet tree of truth. Tell me, my Lord, what is that certain truth and inner assurance on which we may rely with confidence, and whereby we may find our rest and repose in this our shattered house of this world?”

The Lord replied, “Always place your reliance on your unshaken patience and neither care nor fear for anything else. Always strive to be foremost in your action and passion and in your renunciation of everything.”

10 Bhringi replied, “Explain to me fully, my lord. What is meant by being the greatest in action and passion? What are we to understand from the greatest liberality or abandonment of everything here?”

11 Lord Shiva replied:—

He is said to be the greatest actor who does his deeds as they occur to him, whether of goodness or of evil, without any fear or desire of fruition. 12 He who does his acts of goodness or otherwise, who gives no expression to his hatred and affection and feels both pleasure and pain equally without reference to any person or thing and without the expectation of their consequences, is said to be the greatest actor in the theatre of this world. 13 He is said to act his part well who does his business without any ado or anxiety and maintains his silence and purity of heart without any taint of egoism or envy. 14 He is said to act his part well who does not trouble his mind with the thoughts of actions that are accounted as auspicious or inauspicious, or considered as righteous or unrighteous according to common opinion.

15 He is said to perform his part well who is unaffected by any person or thing, but witnesses all objects as a mere witness and goes on doing his business without his desiring or deep engagement in it. 16 He is the best actor who is devoid of care and delight and continues in the same way and even course of his mind, retaining the clarity of his understanding at all times and without feeling any joy or sorrow at anything. 17 He does his duties best who is ready in his mind when it is the time for action and sits unconcerned with it at other times, like a retired and silent sage or saint.

18 He who does his works with unconcern and without assuming the vanity of being the doer is accounted as the best actor. He acts his part with his body but keeps his mind quite unattached to it. 19 He is reckoned as the best actor who is naturally quiet in his disposition and never loses the evenness of his temper, and who does good to his friends and evil to his enemies without taking them to his heart. 20 He is the greatest actor who looks at his birth, life, death and his rising and falling in the same light. He does not lose the equanimity of his mind under any circumstance whatsoever.

21 Again, he is said to enjoy himself and his life the best who does not envy anybody and does not pine for anything, but enjoys and acquiesces to whatever is allotted to his lot with cool composure and submission of his mind. 22 He also is said to enjoy everything well who receives with his hands what his mind does not perceive, acts with his body without being conscious of it, and enjoys everything without taking it to his heart. 23 He is said to enjoy himself best who looks at the conduct and behavior of mankind like an unconcerned and indifferent spectator. He looks upon everything without craving anything for himself.

24 He whose mind is not moved with pleasure or pain and is not elated with success and gain or dejected by his failure and loss, and who remains firm in all his terrible tribulations, is the man who is said to be in the perfect enjoyment of himself.

25 He is said to be in the best enjoyment of himself who meets with an equal eye of detachment his decay and death, his danger and difficulty, his wealth and poverty, and looks on their ups and downs with an eye of delight and cheerfulness. 26 He is called the man of greatest gratification who sustains all the ups and downs of fortune with equal firmness of mind, just as the deep sea contains its loud noisy waves in its fathomless depth. 27 He is said to have the highest gratification who is possessed of the virtues of contentment, equanimity and benevolence which always accompany his presence, just as cooling beams cling to the disc of the moon.

28 He too is greatly gratified in himself who tastes the sour and sweet and the bitter and pungent with equal pleasure, and tastes a savory and an unsavory dish with the same taste. 29 He who tastes the tasty and juicy and the distasteful and dry food with equal pleasure, and beholds the pleasant as well as unpleasant things with equal delight, is the man that is ever gratified in himself. 30 He to whom salt and sugar are alike and to whom salty and sweet food are equally edible, and who remains unchanged both in his happy and adverse circumstances, is the man who enjoys the best bliss of his life in this world. 31 He is in the enjoyment of his highest bliss who makes no distinction of one kind of food from another and who yearns for nothing that he can hardly earn.

32 He enjoys his life best who braves his misfortune with calmness and bears his good fortune, his joyous days, and better circumstances with moderation and coolness. 33 He is said to have abandoned his all who has given up the thoughts of his life and death of his pleasure and pain, and those of his merits and demerits from his mind. 34 He who has abandoned all his desires and exertions and forsaken all his hopes and fears and erased all his determinations from the tablet of his mind is said to have renounced everything in this world and to have freed himself from all. 35 He who does not take the pains that invade his body, mind and senses to his mind is said to have cast all the troubles of his mortal state away from himself.

36 He is considered the greatest giver of his all who gives up the cares of his body and life and has abandoned the thoughts of acts judged to be proper or improper for himself. 37 He is said to have made his greatest sacrifice who has sacrificed his mind and all his mental functions and endeavors before the shrine of his self-denial. 38 He who has given up the sight of what is visible from his view and does not allow what can be sensed to intrude upon his senses is said to have renounced all and everything from himself.

Vasishta speaking:—

39 It was in this manner that the lord of gods Mahadeva gave his instructions to the lord of the Bhringis. By acting according to these precepts, O Rama, you must attain the perfection of your self-denial. 40 Meditate always on the everlasting and pure spirit that is without beginning or end, which is wholly this entire immensity and has no part or partner, and no representative or representation of itself. By thinking in this way you become stainless yourself and come to be absorbed in the same Brahman where there is all peace and tranquility.

41 Know the one Brahman without decay is the soul and seed of all various works or productions that proceed from him. His immensity spreads unopened throughout the whole of existence, just as endless space comprehends and manifests all things in itself. 42 It is not possible for anything at all, whether of positive or potential existence, to exist without and apart from this universal essence of all. Rely secure with this firm belief in your mind and be free from all fears in the world.

43 O most righteous Rama, look always to the inner soul within yourself and perform all your outer actions with the outer members of your body by forsaking the sense of your egoism and personality. Thereby be freed from all care and sorrow and you shall attain your supreme joy.