Chapter 116 — Melting Down of the Mind; Self Inquiry

Rama said, “O all-knowing sage, please tell me, what becomes of the essence of the soul after one’s egoism is lost in his mind and both of them are dissolved into nothing?”

Vasishta replied:—

However great and predominant is one’s egoism over himself, and however much its accompanying evils of pride and ignorance may overpower man, yet they can never touch the pure essence of the soul, just as the water of the lake cannot come in contact with the lotus-leaf. The purity of the soul appears vividly in the bright and serene countenance of a man after his egoism and its accompanying faults are all melted down in his deadened mind.

All the ties of our passions and affections are cut asunder and fall off upon breaking the string of our desires. Our anger becomes weakened and our ignorance wears out by degrees. 5 Our desire is weakened and wearied and our covetousness flies far away. Our limbs become weakened and our sorrows subside to rest. Then our afflictions fail to afflict us and our joys cease to excite us. Then we have a calm everywhere and a tranquility in our heart. Joy and grief now and then cloud his countenance, but they cannot over shadow his soul which is bright as eternal day.

The virtuous man becomes a favorite of the gods after his mind with its passions is melted down. Then there rises the calm evenness of his soul resembling the cooling beams of the moon. He bears a calm and quiet disposition, offending and opposed to none, and therefore loved and honored by everyone. He remains retired and constant to his task and enjoys the serenity of his soul at all times. 10 Neither wealth nor poverty and neither prosperity nor adversity, however opposite they are to one another, can ever affect or mislead or elate or depress the minds of the virtuous.

11 Unfortunate is the man who is drowned in his ignorance and who does not seek the salvation of his soul. Salvation is easily obtainable by the light of reason which serves to save him from all the difficulties of this world. 12 He who wants to obtain his longed for joy and cross over the waves of his miserable transmigrations in the vast ocean of this world must always inquire within, “What am I? What is this world? What am I to be afterwards? What is the meaning of these short lived enjoyments here? What are the fruits of my future state?” These inquiries are the best expedients towards the salvation of the soul.