Chapter 48 — The Nature of a Yogi; the Worship of the Lord God

Vasishta continued:—

After a man comes to renounce the world, associates with holy men, has well digested the precepts of the scriptures, and has abandoned his carnal desires and enjoyments, then, having a distaste for worldly objects, he gains the reputation of being a man of integrity, being outwardly an inquirer after truth and inwardly full of enlightenment. He does not long for wealth, but shuns it like one flies from darkness. He gives away whatever he has in hand, just as a man throws away dry, rotten leaves from his house.

Everyone is seen worn out with toil and care for the support of his family and friends throughout his life. Yet like a weary traveler laboring under his load, he is rarely found to cast off his burden as long he has strength to bear it. A man in full possession of his senses and sensible objects all about him is yet quite unconscious of them if he is possesses a calm, quiet mind. Wherever he remains, whether in retired solitude remote from his country or in a forest or sea or distant deserts or gardens, he is perfectly at home in every place. He is not in love with any place, nor dwells secure in any state whether it be the company of friends in a pleasure garden or in learned discussions in the assembly of scholars. Wherever he goes or stays, he is always calm and self-governed, silent and communing with the Self. Though well informed himself, yet he is always in search of knowledge in his inquiry after truth.

Thus by his constant practice, a holy sage sits on low ground or in water and rests himself in the Supreme One in the state of transcendent bliss. 10 This is the state of perfect stillness, both of inner soul and of outward senses. A yogi remains quite unaware of himself with his consciousness of indisputable truth. 11 This transcendent state consists in the unconsciousness of sensible objects and the consciousness of an emptiness full with the presence of omniscience spirit. 12 The state of highest bliss is first one’s concern with the knowledge of unity, and lastly his unconsciousness of himself and everything besides, whether of a void or substance.

13 A saint, mindless of everything and resting in his consciousness, has no desire for anything, but remains like a block of stone amidst the encircling water. 14 The self-conscious person, having attained that state of perfection which shuts out all objective thoughts, remains silent and slow, quite unmindful of everything beside itself. He reposes in his own being like a human figure in a painting. 15 He who has known the one that is to be known sees in his heart all things as nothing. All magnitudes shrink into minuteness and the whole fullness appears like an emptiness to him. 16 The knower of God no longer has knowledge of himself or the world. All space and time and existence appear as nonexistent before him. 17 The seer who has seen the glory of God is situated in the region of light. Like a lighted lamp, he dispels his inner darkness and all his outward fears, hatreds and affections.

18 I bow down before that sun-like sage who is set beyond darkness on every side and is raised above all created things, whose great glory is never liable to be darkened. 19 I cannot describe in words the most eminent state of a divine seer whose soul is filled with divine knowledge, whose mind is quite at rest, and whose knowledge of duality is wholly extinct. 20 Know, O most intelligent Rama, that the great Lord God is pleased to bless him with the bliss of his final nirvana as reward for his serving him day and night with sincere devotion.

21 Rama asked, “Tell me, O chief of sages, who is this Lord God? How is he propitiated by our prayers and faith in him? Explain this mystery to me, for you are acquainted with all truth.”

22 Vasishta replied:—

Know, O highly intelligent Rama, that the Lord God is neither at a distance nor unattainable. The Lord is the all knowing soul, and the soul is the great God. 23 In Him are all things and from him have come all these. He is all and everywhere with all. He is immanent in and the same with all. He is everlasting and I bow down to him. 24 From him comes out this creation, as well as all its change and dissolution. He is the uncaused cause of all which rise like winds in the hollow vault of heaven.

25 All these creatures, the moving as well as inert, worship Him always, as well as they can and present Him the best offerings that they can find. 26 So men by adoring Him in their repeated births, with all their hearts and minds and in the best manner that they can, at last propitiate the supreme object of their adoration. 27 The great Lord God and Supreme Soul, being thus propitiated by their firm faith, at last sends his messenger to them, with his good will for their enlightenment.

28 Rama asked, “Tell me, great sage, how does the Lord God and Supreme Soul send his messenger to man? Who is this messenger, and in what manner does he teach?”

29 Vasishta replied:—

The messenger sent by the Divine Spirit is known by the name of wise discrimination (viveka, wisdom). It shines as coolly in the cave of the human heart as moonlight does in a clear sky. 30 Wise discrimination awakens and instructs the brutish and lustful soul to wisdom and saves the unwise soul from the turbulent ocean of this world. 31 The Vedas and Vedic scriptures call this enlightening and intellectual spirit residing in the human heart the adorable cosmic sound of Om. 32 This Holy Spirit is propitiated daily by men and the naaga tribe, and by gods and demigods, by their prayers and oblations, by their austerities and almsgivings, and by their sacrificial rites and recitals of the scriptures.

33 This Lord has the highest heaven for his crown and the earth and infernal regions for his footstools. The stars glisten like hairs on his body. His heart is the open space of the sky and all material bodies are like the bones of his body. 34 He being the intellectual soul of all, spreads undivided everywhere. He is ever wakeful, seeing and moving everything as if they were his hands and feet, his eyes and ears, and the other organs of his body.

35 The living or sentient soul, being awakened to wisdom by destroying the demon of the sensualistic mind, takes upon a bright spiritual form and becomes a spiritual being. 36 Now shun the various wishes of your heart, which are ever changeful and full of evils, and exert your efforts to exult your soul to the state of meeting with divine grace.

37 The rambling mind resembles a demon buffeted by the waves of the furious ocean that is the world. Only an enlightened soul shines brightly over the dark, dreary and dismal waste of the earth. 38 See your mind is blown away by the gale of its greed to the vast waves of the ocean of the world, hurled to the deep cavity of its whirlpools from whose depth no man can rise again. 39 You have only the strong ship of your divine wisdom to bear you above the waves of your carnal desires and passions and get you across the sea of your ignorance.

40 In this manner the Lord, being propitiated by his worship, sends discrimination as his messenger to sanctify the human soul, and thus leads the living being to his best and most blessed state through the gradual steps of holy society, religious learning, and right understanding of their esoteric and spiritual sense.