Chapter 216 — The Celestial Messenger’s Message of Liberation

Valmiki continued to say:—

Thus I have related to you, O King Arishtanemi, whatever the pot-born Vasishta taught and preached to the princes. It is certain that you will attain the same elevated state as they did by hearing these lectures on sacred knowledge.

King Arishtanemi replied:—

O venerable sage, your kind look is enough to free us from bondage in this world. Hence I am not only brought to light, but saved from the ocean of this world by your favor.”

The Heavenly Messenger said (to the apsara Suruchi):—

After saying this, King Arishtanemi seemed amazed. Then he began to speak these words to me with a graceful voice. The King said, “I bow down to you, O divine messenger, and wish all safety to attend on you. It is said that the friendship of the good is attended with seven benefits, all of which you have conferred upon me. Now return safely to your seat in the heaven of Indra. Know that I am both gladdened and grown unconcerned with worldly concerns by hearing this discourse from you. I shall continue to remain here for ever more without feeling any anxiety. I will think well and ponder deeply into the sense of all that I have heard from you.”

Now I tell you, O lady, that I was quite surprised to see so much courteous behavior on the part of a king. He said, “I have never heard before such words filled with so much knowledge as I have come to hear from you. It has filled my inner spirit with as much joy as if I have drunk my fill of ambrosial nectar.”

Then I came to you, O sinless apsara, at the asking of Valmiki, in order to relate to you all that you have asked of me. Now I shall turn my path towards the celestial city of Indra.

The apsara said:—

Now I must thank you, O very fortunate messenger of the gods, for all that you have related to me. My knowledge of this and its benign influence has entirely calmed my spirit. 10 I am quite satisfied in myself, and will remain always free from sorrow and all the sickening cares of life. You may now go to your destination at Indra’s world with all speed attending on your journey there.

Agnivesya speaking:—

11 So saying Suruchi, the best of the apsara nymphs, continued to keep her seat on the slope of the Himalayas, near the Gandhamadana Mount of fragrance, and reflect on the sense of what she had heard of divine knowledge. 12 Now my son, as you have fully heard all the teachings of Vasishta, you are at liberty to do as you like upon considering well their meaning.

13 Karanya said:—

The memory of the past, the sight of the present, and the talk of future events, together with the existence of the world are all as false as the sights in our dreams or of water in a mirage or the birth of a child to a barren woman. 14 I gain nothing from my deeds, nor lose anything by what is left undone. I live to do as it happens, or at the impulse of the occasion and without any effort on my part.

15 Agastya said:—

O Sutikshna, saying thus Karunya, the worthy son of Agnivesya, continued to pass his time in the discharge of his duties, as they occurred to him from time to time. 16 You, O Sutikshna, should never keep any doubts regarding the acts you must perform after you attain divine knowledge. Doubt destroys the virtue of the deed, just as selfishness takes away its merit.

Unnamed person speaking:—

17 Upon hearing the sage’s speech which reconciles the two incompatible fields of action and reflection into the unity of their combination, Sutikshna bowed to his teacher and uttered the following words with due submission to him.

18 Sutikshna said:—

Any action done in ignorance of the actor is reckoned as no act of his. It is one’s act only if done with full knowledge. But actions done with reason by reasonable men are invaluable in their nature. All our acts are best seen by the light of the intellect, just like the actions of actors on a stage lit by candle light. 19 The presence of the Supreme Soul in us, the action of our hearts, directs the motions of our bodies. It is like the malleability of gold that allows it to be molded into many forms of jewelry. 20 The great body of waters gives rise to roaring waves and little playful waves that heave and move in our sight. So the inherence of the great Soul fills great and small alike.

21 I submit and bear with all that happens to me because there is no escape from destiny and no neglecting the sound sayings of sages. O venerable sage, I acknowledge my knowledge of the knowable one only by your good grace. 22 I owe it to myself to be quite happy with your favor. I prostrate on the ground before you for lifting me up from the sorrowful pit of the world. There is no other way to repay my gratitude to my venerable teacher. 23 There is no other act whereby one may express one’s obligation to the teacher for his salvation in this world. I can only offer myself to your service with my whole body and mind and the words of my mouth.

24 By your good grace, O my good sage, I have passed over the ocean of this world. I am filled with infinite joy amidst all these worlds. I am set free from all my doubts. 25 I bow down to that Brahman who is sung of in the Sama Veda as filling all this universe, like the waters of the ocean fill the boundless deep, whose memory fills our souls with ecstasy. 26 I also bow down to sage Vasishta who is pure knowledge incarnate, who is immersed in the joyous ecstasy of divine bliss, who is beyond all duality and sees only the one in the unity of infinite emptiness, who is ever like the pure and stainless one, who witnesses the innermost of all minds, who is beyond all states and conditions, and who is quite devoid of the three qualities.

27 Here ends the Maharamayana of sage Vasishta with its continuation by his recorder Valmiki and the speech of the celestial messenger at the latter end of the Book on Nirvana, the ultimate extinction of the living soul.