Chapter 120 — Manu Teaches Ikshaku: Seven Stages of Yoga; Living Liberated

Manu continued:—

Yogis say that the first stage of yoga is enlightenment of understanding by the study of scriptures and attendance on holy and wise men. The second stage of yoga is discussion and reconsideration of what has been learnt before. The third is the reflection of the same in one’s self and is known under the name of self-inquiry or meditation. The fourth is silent meditation in which one loses his desires and darkness in his presence before the light of God. The fifth stage is one of pure consciousness and joy in which the living liberated devotee remains in a partly waking and partly sleeping state. The sixth stage is one’s consciousness of indescribable bliss, in which he is absorbed in a state of trance. 5 Resting in the fourth and succeeding stages is called liberation, then the seventh stage is the state of an even and transparent light in which the devotee loses his self consciousness.

The state above turiya or fourth stage is called nirvana or extinction in God. The seventh stage of perfection relates only to disembodied souls and not to those of living beings. The first three stages relate to the waking state of man, and the fourth stage concerns the sleeping state in which the world appears like a dream. The fifth stage is the stage of sound sleep in which the soul is drowned in deep joy. The unconsciousness of one’s self in the sixth stage is also called his turiya or fourth state.

The seventh stage is still above the turiya state of self-unconsciousness. It is full of divine effulgence whose excellence no words can express and no mind can conceive. 10 In this state the mind is withdrawn from its functions, freed from all thoughts of whatever can be thought, and all doubts and cares are drowned in the calm composure of its even temperament. 11 The mind that remains unmoved amidst its passions and enjoyments and is unchanged in prosperity and adversity, retaining full possession of itself under all circumstances, becomes of this nature both in its embodied and disembodied states of life and death.

12 The man who does not think himself to be alive or dead, or to be a reality or otherwise, but always remains joyous in himself, is one who is truly called to be liberated in his lifetime. 13 Whether engaged in business or retired from it, whether living with family or leading a single life, the man who thinks himself as nothing but consciousness and who has nothing to fear or care or to be sorry for in this world, is reckoned as liberated in this life.

14 The man who thinks himself to be unconnected with anyone, free from disease, desire and affections, who believes himself to be a pure aerial substance of Divine Consciousness, has no cause to be sorry for anything. 15 He who knows himself to be without beginning or end, decay or death, and to be of the nature of pure intelligence, remains always quiet and composed in himself and has no cause for sorrow at all. 16 He who considers himself to belong to that Intellect which dwells alike in the minute blade of grass and the infinite sky, in the luminous sun, moon and stars, and in the various races of beings such as men, naagas and immortals, such a man has no cause whatever for his sorrow.

17 Whoever knows the majesty of Divine Consciousness to fill all the regions both above and below and on all sides of him, and reflects himself as a display of his endless diversity, how can he be sorry at all for his decay and decline?

18 The man who is bound by his desire is delighted to have the objects he seeks, but the very things that tend to his pleasure by their gain prove to be painful to his heart at their loss. 19 The presence or absence of something is the cause of the pleasure or pain of men in general. The wise practice the curtailment and absence of desires. 20 If we act with unconcern and little desire or expectation of reward, no act or its result leads either to our joy or grief. 21 Whatever act is done with ardent physical effort and the whole hearted application of mind and soul tends to bind a man. An indifferent action, like a fried grain, does not germinate into any effect.

22 The thought that I am the doer and owner of a deed overpowers all bodily exertions and sprouts fourth with results that are forever binding on the doer. 23 As the moon is cool with her cooling beams and the sun is hot by his burning heat, so a man is either good or bad according to the work he does. 24 All acts done or left undone are as short lasting as the cotton flying from cottonwood trees. They are easily put to flight by the breath of understanding. All the acts of men are lost by cessation of their practice.

25 The germ of knowledge growing in the mind increases itself day by day, just as seed sown in good ground soon shoots forth into the paddy plant.

26 There is one Universal Soul that sparkles through all things in the world, just as the same translucent water glistens in lakes, large oceans and seas. 27 Withhold your notions of the varieties and multitudes of things and know these as parts of one undivided whole which stretches through them as their essence and soul.