Chapter 44 — Growing the Tree of Samadhi; the Deer-Like Mind

Rama said, “O holy sage, describe the tree of samadhi in detail, together with all its vines, flowers and fruit which supply holy men with good refreshment throughout their lives.”

Vasishta replied:—

Hear me describe the tree of samadhi, which always grows in the forest of holy people and is ever filled with luxuriant foliage and flowers and luscious fruit.

The learned say that somehow or the other, whether by culture or its own spontaneity, a dissatisfaction with the wilderness of this world grows in the heart of a reasonable man. Its field is the heart of the wise man, furrowed by the plough of prosperity, watered with delight day and night, whose channel is now flowing with sighs. The heart’s regret of the world is the seed of samadhi. It grows of itself in the ground of the humble heart of the wise in the forest land of reasonable men.

When the seed of humble reflection falls in the minds of magnanimous men, it must be diligently and untiringly watered with the following articles, namely: the society of pure, holy and detached men, who speak sweetly and kindly for the good of all others, and whose speech serves like the sprinkling of fresh water, milk or dewdrops on the seedling’s ground; and by irrigating with the sacred waters of the sayings of the holy scriptures, which serve to grow the seed through their cool and ambrosial moisture.

When the magnanimous soul perceives the seed of humble reflection has fallen in the mind, he must try to preserve and cultivate that seed with all diligence. 10 This seed is to be grown by the fertilizer of austerities, by the power of using other means, by visiting and resting in places of pilgrimage and holy shrines, and by stretching perseverance as his fence around the garden of the seed.

11 After the seed has sprouted, the duty of well taught man is to always protect it with the help of his consort, having contentment and cheerfulness. 12 Then he should keep birds off his expectations, protect the seedling from the vultures of his desire and cupidity, and chase away the fowls of his affection for others so they do not dart upon and pick up the seed. 13 Then desire-promoted activity is to be swept away by gentle acts of piety serving as sweepers of vice and unrighteousness. Then the shades of ignorance are to be dispelled from this ground by the indescribable light of the sun of reason.

14 Wealth, women and all sorts of frail and fleeting enjoyments overtake this rising seedling of discrimination, just as darts of lightning issue from the clouds of unrighteousness. 15 Such thunderbolts are prevented by the iron rod of patience and gravity, by the repetition of mantras, by holy ablutions and austerities, and by the trident of the three letter Om. 16 In this manner the seed of meditation, being carefully preserved from neglect, sprouts forth in the seedling of discrimination with its handsome and prospering appearance.

17 The ground of the mind shines brightly with this brilliant seedling of discrimination. It gladdens the hearts of men in veneration of it, just as smiling moonbeams illuminate the sky. 18 This seedling of discrimination shoots forth a couple of leaves that grow out of themselves. One of them is the knowledge of scriptures and the other is the society of the good and wise.

19 Let your fixedness support the stem and height of this tree and make your patience its covering bark. Through your detachment from the world, supply it with the moisture of detachment. 20 The tree of godliness, nourished with the moisture of un-worldliness and watered by the rainwater of scriptures, attains its full height in course of short time. 21 Being thickened by the core of divine knowledge, the foundation of good society, and the moisture of detachment, this tree attains a fixity which is not to be shaken by the apes of passions and affections.

22 Then this tree shoots forth in luxuriant branches of wisdom which stretch far and wide with their fresh vegetation and green leaves, distilling their juicy sweets all around. 23 These are the branches of frankness and truth, of constancy and firmness, of equanimity and unchangeableness, of calmness and friendship, and of kindness, self-respect and renown. 24 These branches are adorned with the leaves of peace and tranquility and studded with flowers of good repute and fame. This tree of godliness becomes the parijata tree of paradise to the hermits of the forests.

25 In this manner the tree of divine knowledge, filled with its branches, leaves and flowers, brings forth day by day the best and richest fruits of knowledge. 26 It blossoms in clusters of the flowers of fame and is covered with leaves of bright qualities all over. It flows with the sweets of dispassion and its filaments are full of the dust of intelligence. 27 It cools all sides like clouds in rainy weather and the heat of worldly anxieties, just as moonbeams assuage the heat of sunshine. 28 It spreads the awning shade of harmony, just as clouds cast a cooling shadow below. It stretches a quiet composure over the mind, just as an extensive cloud spreads a still calm in the air. 29 It builds a sound and sure basis for itself like rocks standing on their solid bases. It lays the foundation of future rewards on high and causes all blessings to attend upon it. 30 As the tree of discrimination grows higher and higher, day by day, so it stretches a continuity of cooling shade over the forest of the hearts of men. 31 It diffuses a coldness that pacifies the heat below and makes the plant of the understanding shoot forth like a tender creeper sticking out of snow.

32 The deer-like mind, tired of its wandering about the deserts of this world, takes its rest and refuge under this cool shade, just as a weary traveler, worn out since birth in his journeys among men, comes to take his rest at last. 33 This deer of the mind irritates its mouth by browsing on thorny brambles of the forest for food. It is hunted by its enemies the passions, which lay waiting like hunters to kill the soul, just as they slay the body of the deer for its skin. 34 The deer-like mind, ever impelled by its vain desires, wanders all about the desert lands of this world seeking the poisonous water of the mirage of its egoism. 35 It sees an large green valley at distance, and batters and shatters its body running after its vegetation. Harassed in search of the food and forage for its offspring, it falls headlong into the pit for its destruction. 36 Being robbed of his fortune, put to bodily troubles, led by thirst of gain to the ever running stream of desires, man is at last swallowed up and carried away by the currents of waves

 37 Man flies far away for fear of being overtaken by a disease, just as the deer does for fear of a hunter, but man is not afraid of the hunter who is the fate that falls upon him unawares at every place. 38 The timid mind is afraid of the shafts of bad fortune flying from every known quarter, of being hit by stones flung from the hands of enemies on every side. 39 The mind is ever hurled up and down with the ups and downs of fortune. It is continually crushed under the millstone of his rising and setting passions.

40 One who follows after thirst without placing reliance upon the laws taught by the great falls headlong into the delusion of the world, just as one who suffers a scratch may as well be wounded over his body passing through beautiful, thorny vines.

41 Having entered into man’s physical body, the mind is eager to fly away from it, but there is the uncontrollable elephant of sensuous desire who stuns it with its loud shrieks. 42 There is also the huge snake of worldly affairs which numbs the mind with its poisonous breath. Women on the face of the earth serve to enslave the mind in love to them. 43 There is also the wildfire of anger, burning like stinging bile in the human breast, inflaming the mind with endless pain by its repeated recurrence in the breast. 44 Desires clinging to the mind are like gnats and fleas biting and stinging it constantly. Its carnal enjoyments, desires and revelries are like jackals shrieking loudly. 45 The mind is led by its actions to wander all about without any rest or profit, driven from place to place by tiger-like poverty staring grimly at its face. The mind is blinded by its affections for children and others, and at last it is lost in the hidden pitfall of death.

46 Again, the mind trembles with the sense of honor and its fear of losing it, which like a lion strikes fear in its heart while struck with terror at the glaring of the wolf of death at its face. 47 The mind is afraid of pride, just as a forester dreads dragons coming to devour him, fearing their appetites, open mouths and bloody teeth that threaten to engulf the mind in ruin. 48 The mind should have no less fear of its female companions in youth, whose amorous embraces, like gusts of wind, threaten to hurl it headlong to repeated hell-pits.

49 It seldom happens, O prince, that the deer-like mind finds its rests in the tree of godliness, just as the living beings do when they come from darkness to daylight. 50 O you hearers, let your deer-like minds find that delight in the tree of the peace of samadhi, whose name is not even known to the ignorant who are deluded by their fickle and smiling fortunes that resemble the quivering smiles of flowers.