Chapter 201 — The Assembly Gathers again; Rama Describes His State; Vasishta Exhorts Him to Serve Vishwamitra and Dasharata

Valmiki related:—

When the assembly returned the next day, there was a profound silence and a cheerfulness in the faces of princes enlightened by the previous lecture. Having come to the light of truth, people seemed to be smiling from reflecting on their former errors and follies. The wise men in the assembly appeared to be sitting fixed in their steadfast meditation. The feelings and passions of their minds were curbed and subdued upon their access to the taste of true knowledge.

At this time, Rama with his brothers sat in lotus posture with legs crossed over each another, palms of their hands folded together, their eyes fixed steadfastly upon the face of their preacher. King Dasharata remained in a sort of entranced meditation, thinking himself liberated in his lifetime and placed in a state of infinite bliss. The sage remained silent while he was adored by his reverential audience, then spoke to them at last in distinct words. He wanted to know what they would like to hear about.

He said, “O lotus eyed Rama, who is like the cooling moon in the clear sphere of your race, tell me what you now wish to hear. What is the most desirable and delightful to your mind? Tell me the state in which you find yourself at present and in what way you view the appearance of the world now before you.” Being thus addressed by the sage, Rama looked at his face then spoke to him in his distinctly audible voice, with plain and unfaltering accents.

10 Rama said:—

It is all owing only to your favor, O venerable sage, that I have attained my state of perfect holiness and become as pure as the clear sky in autumn calm and serenity. 11 I am entirely freed from all the errors which are so harmful to the right course of our lives in this world. I am as pure as the clear sky in the true state of infinite emptiness. 12 I am set free from all bonds and released from all attributes and parts. I find myself situated in a crystal sphere, shining there as clear as crystal.

13 I am quite pacified in my mind. I am neither willing to hear nor do anything else. I am quite satisfied in myself and require nothing more for my satisfaction. I am quite at rest as in a state of trance. 14 My mind is quite calm in its thoughts and entirely pacified in its wishes. All my desires have fled from my mind and I find it resting in perfect peace and supreme bliss. 15 All my thoughts are settled and my desires subdued while I live in this waking world. I am enrapt and entranced while quite sane and sound and sleepless at all hours by day and night.

16 With my soul devoid of all wishes and expectations, I live while I am destined to live in this material body of mine. I remain rejoicing as long as I sit listening to your inspiring lessons. 17 Now I have no more need of reproof or instruction from the scriptures. I have no need to acquire riches or friends, nor do I have any need to get rid of them either. 18 I have found and I enjoy that pure happiness which attends on one in heaven or paradise, or in his attainment of the sovereignty of the whole world.

19 The world which I perceive within myself by my outward senses is conceived to be far brighter and more transparent than the outer atmosphere because I see it in the light of consciousness and consider it to be a part of its infinite empty sphere. 20 I think this world certainly is an emptiness. My belief in the nothingness of phenomena has awakened me to my immortality.

21 Let me remain content with all that is or comes to pass on me, whether they are desirable to me or occur themselves. Let me act without fail as the full extent of the law requires, but without any object or expectation of reward. 22 I am neither contented nor discontented with anything, nor do I rejoice or complain at any event. I do what is my duty in society without retaining any false conception of reaping their reward. 23 Let this creation be otherwise or go to utter destruction, let the winds of the last destruction blow with their fury also, or let the land smile in its plenty and beauty, yet I sit unmoved by them and remain in the divine self or spirit.

24 I rest in myself which is unseen or dimly seen by others and is untainted and without decay in itself. I am not chained to my wishes but am as free as the air which you cannot compress in your clutches. 25 As the fragrance of flowers upon trees is blown by the breeze and deposited in the air, so my soul is carried away from the confines of my body and placed in emptiness. 26 As these princes and rulers of people live and enjoy themselves in their realms at pleasure, whether they are enlightened or not, they are employed in their respective occupations. 27 So I enjoy myself with the steadiness and equanimity of my mind freed from all fear, grief or joy and desire.

28 I am happy above all happiness. My happiness is in the everlasting one. There is no other happiness which I may prefer. But because I live here as a human being, you are at liberty to appoint me to any duty, in common with all mankind and appropriate to humanity. 29 I cannot be averse to manage myself with the unimportant things of this world as long as I am destined to them. In the same manner children are never to be blamed for indulging themselves in the playthings of their childhood. Sage, as long as I have to live in this body, I must do my bodily acts, but with my mind fixed in only upon the sole One. 30 I must live to eat and drink and continue in the course of my business in life, but I am freed from all fear of my failings in them, by your kind counsels to me.

31 Vasishta replied:—

O bravo Rama! You have chosen the most meritorious course of life. You shall never have to repent from the beginning to the end of your career. 32 By this cold detachment in yourself and complete equanimity in every state, you have truly become established for the unbroken rest in your life, as the visible sky has found infinite emptiness. 33 By your good fortune, you have gotten rid of your sorrows. It is fortunate that you have become so well composed in yourself. It is your good luck to be freed from the fears of both worlds and it is happy for you to be at your heart’s ease and rest. 34 You are lucky, my lord, to have purified the lineage of Raghu to be so filled with holy knowledge and the knowledge of present, past and future.

35 Now prepare yourself to accomplish Vishwamitra’s request to complete his holy sacrifice and, at your father’s request, continue to enjoy sovereignty of the earth subject to your royal parent. 36 May the mighty king reign forever in prosperity over his prosperous realm in association with you and his other sons, relatives and nobles, and in possession of all his infantry, cavalry, chariots and elephants, and without any disease or fear of his enemies.