Chapter 128 — Valmiki Summarizes the Yoga Vasishta for Bharadwaja; Vishwamitra Explains Who Is Rama; Rama Is Brought out of Samadhi

Valmiki continued:—

The yogi should be peaceful and tranquil, exempt from all forbidden acts and those proceeding from a desire of fruition. He must avoid all sensual gratifications and have his belief in God and his holy religion of the Vedas. He must rest quietly in his seat, his mind and body under his control, and continue repeating the syllable Om until his mind is cleared. Then he must restrain his breathing to purify his inner organs (heart and mind), then restrict his senses by degrees from their respective outward objects. He must think on the natures and causes of its body and its organs of sense, his mind and its understanding, and also his soul and its consciousness, and repeat the scriptures or the holy texts which relate to these subjects.

5 Let him sit reclined meditating on Viraj, initially as the god of visible nature, then as the internal soul of nature. Next he must meditate on the formless spirit as part and abstracted from all. At last he must fix his mind solely in the supreme cause.

Let him cast off in his mind and the earthly substance of his flesh and bones to the earth, and commit the liquid part of his blood to the water, and the heat of his body to fire. Then he is to give over the airy and empty parts of his body to air and vacuum. Having returned his elemental parts to the five elements, he shall deliver the organs of his sense to the particular divinities from whom they are derived.

The ears and other organs which serve to sense phenomena all around, having been cast aside, he is to give the skin of his body to electricity. Let him then resign his eyesight to the sun (Surya) and his tongue to water (Varuna). Next he must give up his breath to air (Vayu), his voice to fire (Agni), and his palms to the god Indra. 10 He must then offer his feet to the god Vishnu and his anus to Mithra. After giving up his penis to Kasyapa, he should dedicate his mind to the moon (Soma). 11 Afterwards he must lay down his understanding to Brahma, and the other inner faculties to special divinities, and at last also give up his outer senses to their presiding duties. 12 Having thus given his entire body to the gods, he should think himself as the all comprehending Viraja. This he must do pursuant to the statements of the Veda, and not of his own will or fabrication.

13 The Lord who embodies the whole universe in himself, in his androgynous form of half-male and half-female, is said to be the source and support of all sorts of beings. 14 He was born in the form of creation and it is he who is settled in everything in the universe. He caused this earth to appear from the two part cosmic egg, as also the water which is twice as much as the land. 15 He produced the heat twice as much as the water, and the air double in volume to that of heat, and lastly emptiness which is twice more in its extent than the air which it contains. Each latter one lies next above the former. 16 These form the world whether they are divided or undivided from their succeeding and surrounding ones. The earth is surrounded by the sea, and the sea surrounded by undersea fire.

17 Thus the yogi, by contracting his thought of the former one under the latter, will absorb his thought of heat under that of air, and this again under his idea of emptiness, which at last is swallowed up by his thought of the great cause of all. 18 In this manner the yogi must remain for a moment only in his spiritual form by contracting his physical body under the spiritual.

19 The wise describe the spiritual body composed of the ten senses of perception and conception, the mind or memory, and the understanding faculties, to be above and outside the physical half of the cosmic egg. The yogi must think himself to be this supernatural spiritual being (Hiranyagarbha). 20 The former, material half, composed of the five-fold subtle elements, is represented by the figure of the four-faced Brahma and differs from the former by being an evolution of un-evolved spirit. 21 The nameless and formless being in which the world exists is called matter (prakriti) by some, illusion (maya) by others, and atoms by philosophers. 22 Agnostics, whose minds are confused by false reasoning, call it ignorance. After all, it is that hidden and unknowable something in which all things dissolve at the ultimate dissolution of the world.

23 Again, everything that is quite unrelated to the Divine Spirit and intellect comes into existence at the recreation of the world and retains and remains in its primary form to the end of the world. 24 Think of creation in the direct method and of its destruction in the reverse order, then take yourself to the fourth stage of turiya after you have passed over the three preceding steps. 25 To attain the state of blissfulness, you must enter into the Supreme Spirit by removing all impressions of matter and sense from your mind, mind and understanding, and all desires and acts that lie unexpanded and hidden in it.

26 Bharadwaja responded:—

I am now quiet released from the chains of my impressions, as my intellectual part has found its entrance into the sea of transcendent blissfulness (turiya). 27 The nature of my soul, being indistinct from the Supreme Spirit, makes me identical to it. I find that I am devoid of all attributes, only an intellectual power like the Spirit.

28 As the emptiness inside a pot becomes one with the universal and all pervading vacuum after the pot is broken, so the human soul vanishes into the Supreme Spirit after it flies from the confines of the body after its destruction. 29 As a fire brand cast into a burning furnace becomes the one and the same as the fire, so the kind mixing with its kind becomes indistinctly known under common name. 30 Again, as straw swimming in a salt sea become transformed to the sea salt, so all animal and inanimate souls mixing with the Divine Soul become animated also. 31 As salt thrown into the sea looses its name and nature and becomes sea salt, so everything is swallowed in the Universal Soul and assimilated to it. 32 As water mixing with water, salt with salt, and butter with butter lose their distinctions and not their substances, so myself and all other substances mixing with the Divine Spirit lose our distinct names without loosing our true substance. 33 All bodies, absorbed in the all-knowing and ever blissful consciousness of the great Creator of all, become equally all pervading and tranquil and everlasting and blessed forever.

34 So I think I am like the supreme transcendent being without any part or partner, without action or passion, without the organs of sense, and neither loving nor hating anyone. 35 I think myself as that sole entity which is the form of truth and immutable in its nature and desires, devoid of virtue and vice, perfectly pure and the supreme cause of all worlds. 36 I am that blissful Brahman who is without a second and without decay, the form of pure light who is described by negative properties, and who is beyond the three qualities of active, passive and superlative (rajas, tamas and sattva) which do not relate to him as they do to others.

37 Thus one should meditate on himself as Brahman, even when he is employed discharging the duties destined to his station in life. His continued practice of this kind of meditation will gradually wear out all other impressions from his mind. 38 The mind being thus set down, the soul will appear of itself within the man. The appearance of the inner spirit serves to destroy all his internal grief and fill its place with heart felt joy. 39 He also perceives the height of the truth shining in himself, that there is no other blissful god beside his own consciousness and this is what he calls his ego and the supreme Brahman.

40 Valmiki said:—

Friend, if you want to stop the revolution of the wheel of this world upon you, give up your observance of religious acts and devote yourself to meditation on Brahman.

41 Bharadwaja replied, “I have understood well the meaning of the knowledge you have imparted to me. I have acquired clarity of understanding and I no longer have any reliance upon the world. 42 I desire to know about the duties of those who have gained the spiritual knowledge of God. Are they subject to or freed from the performance of meritorious acts?”

43 Valmiki said:—

Those who seek liberation are not liberated from doing that which if avoided involves the guilt of omission of duty. But he must refrain from doing the acts of his desire, and those which he is prohibited from doing.

44 When the living soul comes to feel spiritual bliss in itself, when his sensuous desires disappear from his mind and he perceives his organs of sense lying quite calm and quiet under him, then he may consider himself as one with the all pervading spirit of the Lord. 45 When the sentient soul conceives in itself the sense of its conversion to the essence of God beyond the bounds of the body and its senses and beyond the reach of his mind and understanding, then it is freed from its obligation of worldly duties. 46 When the soul is free from all its action and passions and remains aloof from all titles and attributes, when it gets rid of the feelings of pain and pleasure, then he is freed from the burden of his duties. 47 When one sees the Supreme Soul pervading all beings and sees all creation existing in the Universal Spirit, when he finds no difference between the mundane soul and the Supreme Spirit, then he is released from the bonds of his action. 48 When the living soul has passed over the three states of waking, dreaming and sound sleep and enters into the fourth turiya state of perfect bliss, then he is freed from the obligations of earthly duties.

49 The fourth state of turiya means residing in the living Universal Soul of God. It is the state of the soul’s liberation from its condition of sleeping in ignorance. It is full of spiritual bliss. 50 This turiya state, the consciousness of one’s joy, derives from the fixedness of the soul in the supreme. It is the great end of yoga meditation. 51 After the mental operations of a man have ceased, he perceives nothing within himself except the turiya state which is a calm quiescence of the soul in the sea of ambrosial waters of the one sole unity.

52 Why do you plunge yourself under the waves of the salty waters of the sea of duality? Fly to the Lord of worlds and adore the great god who is full of all blessings.

53 Thus I have related to you, my son, all the doctrines of Vasishta. It is the best means to your knowledge and practice of yoga meditation. 54 You truly will be able, O wise Bharadwaja, to learn everything by digesting the substance of this scripture and considering the meaning of the precepts of this great teacher. 55 According to the statements of the Vedas, we attain the perfection of anything by continued practice. Therefore, you must avoid attending to all other things and concentrate your mind on the object of your practice.

56 Bharadawja replied, “Tell me O sage, the course of conduct which Rama followed after he received knowledge of yoga and united his soul with the Supreme Spirit. 57 By knowing this I also will try to practice upon the same model so that I may succeed to attain the same state of spiritual elevation and bliss like him.”

58 Valmiki said:—

When the virtuous and high minded Rama was absorbed and sat entranced in Divine Essence, Vishwamitra addressed the venerable Vasishta.

59 Vishwamitra said:—

O highly endowed son of Brahma, wise Vasishta, even now you have shown the effectiveness of your teaching by awakening the dormant power of Rama. 60 He is truly the best in yoga who transforms the body of his pupil by his kind look, touch and sound and causes his inspiration by infusing the holy spirit of Shiva in him. 61 So it was with Rama, whose pure soul was dispassionate by its own nature and whose earnest desire of mental cessation and detachment led him to that happy state through conversing with his spiritual guide.

62 The intelligence of the student causes his understanding through the guidance of his spiritual teacher. But when these three roots or principles are imperfect, how can understanding arrive at its perfection? 63 It is evident that knowledge is in need of both pupil and teacher for its communication. When both pupil and teacher are competent and worthy of one another, it is certain that the result will be likewise.

64 Now be pleased to rouse Rama from the samadhi of mental inactivity, which you alone can do by your bliss in detachment, while we who are employed in worldly affairs are too far from it. 65 Please sage, remember the cause that calls us here and the business to which we are invited at the earnest request of King Dasharata himself. 66 Therefore O sage, do not frustrate our object by the purity of your mind. We have a service to perform to the gods and which is the cause of Rama’s incarnation on earth.

67 I am to conduct Rama to the home of the spiritual masters, then he shall be called to destroy the rakshasas, after which he will be led to the salvation of Ahalya and his marriage to Sita. 68 He will break the great bow of Shiva in a valiant deed for that marriage, then he shall encounter the furious Parashurama and restrain his pride and way to heaven. 69 Then fearless Rama will forsake his paternal and ancestral kingdoms to which is he unattached and, under pretext of his banishment, he will take himself to Dandaka Forest and its foresters. 70 He will restore the sanctity of many pilgrimage places and thereby save the lives and souls of beings from sin and death.

He will show the world the sorrows of men at the loss of their wives from his own example of Sita’s abduction by Ravana. 71 He will set the example of husbands’ duty of recovering wives from the hands of their kidnappers by his recovery of Sita and his slaughter of Ravana, and by assembling the monkeys of the forest in his favor. 72 He will prove the purity of Sita to please his plea and he will be employed in the observance of all religious acts for the entire liberation in this world, and lack any desire of reward in the next.

73 But in order to secure the future welfare of men, he will encourage the practice of spiritual devotion and ritual acts according to the instruction of those who are best acquainted with those subjects. 74 He will liberally bestow his liberation to every living being of every kind. These and many others are the duties of Rama to this world and to me also. 75 Such are the acts that Rama shall perform, wherefore he is to be thanked by everyone here for all his conquests which no one else can make. So fare you well.

76 Valmiki resumed:—

After these words of the sage were heard by the princes in the court and the assembled spiritual masters and great yogis such as Vasishta and others, they thanked the hero and remained to think of his lotus-like feet with respect and esteem.

77 But the sages Vasishta and others were not to be satisfied until they could hear more about the lord of Sita whose virtues they all eagerly expected to hear fully and recite in their songs of praise. 78 Vasishta then said to Vishwamitra, “Tell me sage, who was this lotus-eyed Rama in his past life? Had he been a god or sage or an ordinary man?”

79 Vishwamitra replied:—

Believe what I say. This Rama is that primary Supreme Being who churned the sea for the good of the world. He is known only by the deepest learning of the Vedas. 80 He is full of spiritual joy, meek and gentle. He has the auspicious Srivatsa mark upon his body. He is bountiful to all living beings and quickly appeased by all. 81 He destroys everyone in his rage and abandons all the frail trifles of this world. He is the first male and creator of all and supports, nourishes and is kind friend of all. 82 He has passed over the unsubstantial and illusory things of this world. He is the sea of joy and is dived in by the dispassionate.

83 Sometimes he is known as a liberated soul, relying in himself. At others he is seen to be settled in his turiya state of samadhi trance, and sometimes as a male or female agent of creation. 84 He is the god of the triple Vedas and beyond the reach of the three qualities of things. He is the soul of the Vedas and the wonderful Soul (Purusha Viraj) that is displayed in the six branches of the Vedas.

85 He is the four-armed Vishnu and the four-faced Brahma, the creator of the world. He is also the great Mahadeva with his three eyes who is the destroyer of the world. 86 He is the uncreated creator born by his yoga or union with the power of delusion. He is the ever wakeful and the ever great spirit of God which, though it is formless, yet forms and supports this frame of this universe by transforming himself into the form of a man-lion. 87 As victory is carried upon the wings of bravery, and as light is carried upon the flame of fire, and as learning bears and conveys the fruit of good understanding, so is this godlike Rama carried upon the wings of the garuda bird of heaven.

88 Blessed is this King Dasharata who has the Supreme Being for his son. Fortunate is the ten-headed Ravana for finding a place in the mind of Rama as his enemy. 89 How lamentable is the state of heaven by Rama’s absence from it. How pitiable is the infernal region from its loss of Lakshman (Ananta serpent) who is present here. Happy is this earth, the middle land, from the presence of the two gods from those two regions in this place. 90 This Rama is an incarnation of the god Vishnu who sleeps in the midst of the sea. He is the incarnate Supreme Soul without decay. He is a consolidation of Divine Consciousness and joy in his person.

91 The yogis of subdued organs discern Rama in spirit, but we of ordinary understanding can see him only in his outward figure. 92 We hear that he has come down to blot out the iniquities of the race of Raghu, and hope that the venerable Vasishta will kindly guide him to the affairs of the world.

93 Valmiki said:—

Saying this much, the great sage Vishwamitra held his silence. Then the intense Vasishta opened his mouth and addressed Rama.

94 Vasishta said:—

O great armed Rama! O highly intellectual prince! It is not the time for you to be absorbed in yoga. Rise and rejoice the hearts of your people. 95 Until you satisfy the wants of men and their expectations of you, you are not allowed to attain the perfection of your pure samadhi meditation. 96 Therefore attend to the temporal affairs of your state for some time and discharge the burden of your duties to the gods. Then take yourself to the state of your spiritual advancement and be happy forever.

Valmiki speaking:—

97 Despite being addressed in this manner, Rama remained absorbed in his trance and uttered not a word in reply. Then the spirit of Vasishta entered the heart of Rama through the restful passage of the sushumna nadi. 98 It infused its force to the respiration, mental faculties, organs and the vital spirit of Rama. It ran through the veins and arteries and inflated the organs of sense. Then Rama slowly opened his eyes and saw before him sage Vasishta with learned men about him. He remained gazing upon all without any wish or effort of his own, and without considering anything of his duties, or what he was to avoid.

99 He heard the voice which his teacher Vasishta had uttered to him. He respectfully replied. 100 Rama said, “By your kindness sage, I am taught to have no concern with anything of the injunctions or prohibitions of the law. Yet it is my duty to abide by all that my teacher bids me to do. 101 I think, O great sage, that of all the sayings of the Vedas, Agamas, Puranas, and other scriptures, the word of the teacher is the highest law. His bidding is a command and its opposite a positive prohibition.”

102 So saying, the virtuous Rama bowed down his head at the feet of venerable Vasishta, then spoke of his indifference to the world to all present in the assembly. 103 Rama said, “May you all prosper and know the most certain truth to which I have arrived. There is nothing better than the knowledge of the Self, and none superior to the teacher from whom it is derived.”

104 The spiritual masters and others responded saying, “Such is the impression of Rama in our minds also. It is by your favor and acceptance that this belief is confirmed in us. 105 We thank you, Rama Chandra, and wish all happiness to attend on our great prince. We beg leave of sage Vasishta for our departure as we are called here.”

106 Valmiki said:—

So saying they rose giving praises to Rama, blessing him with showers of flowers falling upon his head from their hands.

107 Thus have I related to you the whole story of Rama. O Bharadwaja, follow the same course of yoga and be happy forever. 108 Now my relating the perfection to which Rama had arrived, together with my telling you the varied sayings of the sage which are like so many strings of gems to be worn on the chests of yogis and poets, will serve by the grace of the sage to give you liberation.

109 Whoever hears and attends to these discourses of Rama and Vasishta is sure to be relieved in every state of life and be united with Brahman after his release.

110 Thus ends the Maharamayna of sage Vasishta and spoken by Valmiki relating to the boyhood of Rama and consisting of thirty-two thousand sloka stanzas.