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On Detachment (pt.#3)

On the Mind

yoga-vasisthaThe mind can never get rid of its wavering state owing to its nature of habitual fickleness, resembling the restlessness of the sea. The mind with its natural fickleness and restless thoughts finds no repose at any place, like a lion in his cage.

It is more difficult to subdue the mind than to drink the ocean or upset Sumeru Mountain. It is harder than the hardest thing. The mind is the cause of all exertions, and the source of all that senses the three worlds — the physical world of desire (kama loka), the mental world of form (rupa loka), and the spiritual world without form (arupa loka). Alternatively, bhutakasha, element-space; chittakasha, mind-space; and chidakasha, consciousness-space.

Our pains and pleasures arise by the hundreds from the mind, like woods growing in groups upon a hill, but no sooner is the scythe of reason applied to them, than they fall off one by one. I am ready to subdue my mind, my greatest enemy in this world, for the purpose of mastering all the virtues, which the learned say depend upon it. My lack of desires has made me adverse to wealth and the gross pleasures it yields, which are like the tints of clouds tainting the moon.

On Greed

My mind is like a vast and lonesome wilderness, covered under the mist of errors, and infested by the terrible fiend of desire that is continually floundering about it.

Greed like a dark night terrifies even the wise, blindfolds the keen-sighted, and depresses the spirit of the happiest of men.

Our fleeting thoughts are as fickle as peacocks soaring over inaccessible heights under the clouds (of ignorance), but ceasing to fly in the daylight (of reason). Greed is like a river during the rains, rising for a time with its rolling waves, and afterwards lying low in its empty bed.

Our desires like great waves toss us about in the ocean of our earthly cares. They bind us fast to delusion like chains bind an elephant.

All our bodily troubles are avoided by abstaining from greed, just as we are freed from fear of night demons at the dispersion of darkness.

Greed is like the flame of a lamp which is bright but blackening and acutely burning at its end. Fed by the oily wicks, it is vivid but never handled by anybody.

Penury has the power of demeaning, in a moment, the best of men to the baseness of straw in spite of their wisdom, heroism and gravity in other respects. One single greed has everything in the world for its object, and though seated in the breast, it is imperceptible to all. It is like the undulating Milky Ocean in this fluctuating world, sweeping all things yet regaling mankind with its odorous waves.

Excerpts from “Yoga Vasishta” by Sage Valmiki, translated by Vihari Lala Mitra

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