1 Bharadwaja asked Valmiki, “Tell me sage, what did Rama do after hearing the sage’s lecture? Did he with his enlightened understanding ask any other question? Or did he remain in ecstatic quietude with his full knowledge of yoga and the Supreme Soul?”
2 “What did that supremely blessed yogi (Vasishta) do next? He is adored by all and honored even by gods. He is a personification of pure understanding, free from the state of birth and death, filled with every good quality and always kindly disposed to the welfare and preservation of the peoples in all the three worlds.”
3 Valmiki replied:—
After hearing Vasishta’s lecture combining the essence of Vedanta philosophy, lotus-eyed Rama became perfectly acquainted with the full knowledge of yoga. 4 He felt his bodily strength failing and his body falling. He stared with glaring eyes, his clear intellect shrouded under a cloud. He awoke in a moment from his entranced state and felt a flood of rapturous joy within himself. 5 He forgot about asking questions and listening to their answers. His mind was full with the ambrosial nectar of delight. In his emotional state, the hairs of his body stood up like bristles.
6 An indescribable light with unusual brightness spread over his consciousness. That light put the auspicious prospects of the eight siddhi powers of yoga into utter shade. 7 In this way Rama attained the highest state of Shiva, in which he sat calmly without uttering a word.
8 Bharadwaja said, “O how much I wonder at such a high dignity which Rama had attained. How much I regret the impossibility of its attainment by a dull and ignorant sinner as myself.”
9 “Tell me, O great sage, how may it be possible for me to attain to that stage of perfection which is impossible even for the gods Brahma and others to attain? Tell me also, how can I get over the impassable ocean of earthly troubles?”
10 Valmiki replied:—
By reading of the history of Rama from first to last, by following the precepts of Vasishta as given in these lectures, and by consideration of their true sense and meaning in your understanding, you may be able to attain the state that you desire. This all that I can tell you at present.
11 The world is an exhibition of our ignorance. There is no truth in anything we see in the world. It is only a display of our error. For that reason it is entirely disregarded by the wise, and so much regarded by fools. 12 There is no entity or anything here other than Divine Consciousness. Why then are you deluded by phenomena? Learn their secrets and have a clear understanding.
13 The perception of the delusive phenomena resembles the waking dream of day dreamers. He alone is said to be awake who has the lamp of his intellect ever burning within himself. 14 The world is based on emptiness and it also ends in a vacuum. Its midmost part being likewise empty, there is no reliance placed upon it by the intelligent or the wise.
15 Our primeval ignorance accompanied by our primordial desires presents all that is nonexistent as existing, just as our fancy paints a paradise or fairy city to our view, and sleep shows its various dreams before us. 16 Being unpracticed to taste the sweet plantain of your beneficent intellect, you are deluded to greedily devour the delirious drug of your desires and make yourself giddy with drinks of its poisonous juice.
17 He who lays hold of true knowledge for his support never falls down in the pit of ignorance during his wakeful state. Those who depend only upon their subjective consciousness stand above all other states. 18 So long as the adepts in yoga do not plunge themselves into the fresh and sweet waters of the great fountain of their consciousness, they must be exposed to the loud waves of the dangerous ocean of this world. 19 That which has no existence before and which will remain not existing afterwards must be understood to be nonexistent in the interim also. Just as our night dreams and fleeting thoughts are never in being, so is this world and whatever is seen in it.
20 All things are born of our ignorance, just as bubbles are swollen air. They glisten and move about for a moment, then melt into the sea of our knowledge. 21 Find out the stream of the cooling waters of your consciousness and plunge yourself deep into it. Drive away all external things from you like they shut out hot and harmful sunbeams from houses. 22 The one ocean of ignorance surrounds and floods the world, just as a single salt sea surrounds and washes an island. The distinctions of “I” and “you” and the like are the waves of this salt sea of our falseness. 23 The emotions of the mind and its various feelings and passions are the many forms of the waves of this sea of ignorance. Our egoism and selfishness make the great whirlpool in which the self-willed man is hurled of his own accord. 24 His love and hatred are the two sharks that lay hold of him in their jaws and drag him at last into the depth, which nobody can prevent.
25 Go and plunge yourself in calm and cooling sea of your solitude and wash your soul in the nectar waters of your ambrosial singleness. Dive deep into the depth of unity and fly from the salt sea of duality and the distasteful waves of diversities.
26 Who is lasting in this world and who is passing from it? Who is related to anyone and what does one derive from another? Why are you drowned in your delusion? Rise and be wakeful. 27 Know yourself as that one and same soul which is said to be diffused all over the world. Say what other thing there is that should you regret or lament except that and you?
28 Brahman appears to ignorant children as spread out through all the worlds, but the learned always rely upon the concentrated blissful soul of God. 29 Unreasonable men grieve and are pleased suddenly and without cause. It is a sad thing to find them in error. But the learned are always joyful.
30 The truth of the fine subtlety of the Divine Soul is hidden from eyes of the ignorant. They are as doubtful about its nature as men are suspicious of foreign lands and waters. 31 See the great bodies of earth, air, water and sky composed of atomic particles, so durable as to last forever. Why then mourn at the loss of anything in the world? 32 From nothing comes nothing. Something cannot become nothing. Only the appearance of form takes place in the substance of things.
33 By virtue of prior acts in former births, men are reborn in different shapes to enjoy or suffer the results of those acts. Adore therefore the Lord God and author of the worlds who is always bountiful and bestows all blessings. 34 The worship of this God destroys all our sins and cuts off the knots of snares of this world. 35 You may worship Him in some form or other until your mind is cleared and your nature is purified. Then you can resort to the transcendent spirit of the formless deity.
36 Having overcome the impenetrable gloom of ignorance by force of the purity of your nature, you may pursue the course of the yoga with the humility of your inner soul and belief in the scriptures. 37 Then sit a moment in your fixed meditation (samadhi) and behold the transcendent spirit in your own spirit. In this state the dark night of your former ignorance will break forth into open and bright daylight. 38 It must be by one’s courageous efforts, or by virtue of meritorious acts in former births, and also by grace of the great God, that men may obtain the obtainable one.
39 Neither birth nor character, nor good manners or bravery of a man ensures him success in any undertaking. It is the merit of acts in former births. 40 Why do you sit so sadly to think of inscrutable and unavoidable fate? There is no power, not even that of God himself, to erase what has been already been destined. 41 Where is the expounder of spiritual science, and where is the pupil who can comprehend it fully? What is this creeping plant of ignorance, and what is this inscrutable destiny, that joins two things together? These are questions too difficult to be solved.
42 O Bharadwaja, let your reason help you overcome your illusion. Then no doubt you will gain an uncommon share of wisdom. 43 See how a high spirited hero overpowers all his imminent dangers and stretches his conquest far and wide. On the other hand, see how a mean spirited man is tried and grieves at the ordinary casualties of life. 44 A good understanding is the result of and attends upon the meritorious deeds of many lives, as it appears in the acts of wise men and in the lives of all living liberated persons.
45 Know my son that the same action is filled with your freedom or bondage according to whether it proves favorable or adverse to you. 46 The righteous acts of virtuous men serve to destroy the sins of their past lives, just as rain showers extinguish a fire in the forest. 47 But my friend, if you want to avoid falling into the deep whirling currents of this world, I would rather advise you to avoid religious acts and attach your mind to the meditation of Brahman. 48 So long as one is attached to the outer world, led by his desires that cannot be satisfied, he is exposed to the contrary wind and waves of the sea. He can find his rest only in the calm water of his solitude.
49 Why do you lean so much upon your sorrow only to blind your understanding? Rather support yourself on the strong staff of your good understanding and it will never break under you. 50 Those who are reckoned among great men never allow themselves to be altered or moved by their joy or grief to be carried away like straw by the currents of a river.
51 Friend, why do you sorrow for people who are swinging in the cradle of the circumstances of life in the dark night of this world, playing their several parts with giddy amusement? 52 Look at playful Time that sports joyously in this world with the slaughter and production of endless beings by turns. 53 His game is not particular of any age or gender. He chases all in general like an all-devouring serpent.
54 Why talk of mortal men or other animals that live to die in a moment? Even all the gods are under the clutches of the remorseless and relentless Death. 55 Why do you dance and make yourself merry in your amusement when you are in danger of losing by degrees the powers of your body and limbs? Sit but silently for a while and see the drama of the course of this world.
56 Seeing the ever varying scenes of this changeful theatre of the world, the wise spectator, O good Bharadwaja, never shrinks or trembles for a moment. 57 Shun your unwelcomed sorrow and seek the favorable amidst all that is unfavorable. Do not sadden the clear and cheerful countenance of your soul, which is of the nature of the perfectly blissful intellect of God. 58 Always bear reverence towards the gods, brahmins and your superiors. Be a friend even to irrational animals in order to meet with the grace of God, according to the saying of the Vedas.
59 Bharadwaja replied, “By your kindness, I have known all these and many more truths. I come to find that there is not a greater friend than our indifference to the world, or a greater enemy to us than this world itself. 60 I want to learn the substance of all the knowledge that sage Vasishta imparted in the great work of many words.”
61 Valmiki answered:—
Bharadwaja, hear now of the highest knowledge for the liberation of mankind, the hearing of which will save you from drowning in the injustice of the world.
62 First bow down to that Supreme Being who is of the nature of the solitary entity combined with intellect and joy, who is ever existent with his attributes of creation, preservation and destruction. 63 I will tell you, in short and upon the authority of the scripture, how you may come to know the first principle and the manner in which it exhibits itself in the acts of creation, preservation and destruction of the universe.
64 But tell me first, how have you forgotten what I have told you on this subject? If you consider from first to last what is already in your memory, it is possible to know everything, just like they survey the entire earth from a small globe held in the hand. 65 Now consider all this in your own mind and you will get the truth which will prevent all your sorrows. Moreover, associate with the learned and study the best books which with the help of your reasoning and renunciation, may lead you to endless joy.