Seeker after Liberation (pt.#2)

vanity-of-the-world

Repeated Creations & Incarnations

This world consists of brute, human and heavenly beings whose lives, when they are said to perish in any part of it, really exist in the same part.

The mind is described as ever-fluctuating. In itself, it gives rise to everything in the three worlds. It resides in a void in the form of the heart, and the Uncreated also resides in the empty space of the soul (giving the mind the power to realize the latent ideas of the soul).

The millions of beings who are dead, those who are dying and will die hereafter, are all to be reborn here according to the different desires in their minds. The external world appears as a reality, but in truth it is only a creation of our desires. It is an ideal castle in the air, and a magic view spread before us.

It is at the point of death and afterwards that the unreality of the world best appears. But this knowledge (of the unreality of the world) becomes darkened upon being reborn on earth, when the shadow of this world again falls on the mirror of his sentient soul. Thus there is a struggle for repeated births and deaths here, and a fancy for the next world after death. After he shuffles off his body, he assumes another and then another form, and thus the world is as unstable as a stool made of plantain leaves and its coatings.

Divinity like a sea shoots forth in various waves of creation that rise constantly and plentifully one after the other. All beings here are only the waves of this sea. Some are alike to one another in their minds and natures, while others are half alike, and some quite different from the rest.

There will be born again other Vyasas and Valmikis, and likewise some other Bhrigus and Angiras. Thus will there be other people like those who have gone by and, as I understand, another Rama and Vasishta like ourselves.

Those liberated in life may sometimes associate with relatives and estates, his acts and duties, his knowledge and wisdom, and all his exertions, like those of any other men, or he may forsake them all at once. These beings are either reborn a hundred times in some age or never at all (as in the case of divine incarnations), depending on the inscrutable will (maya, or illusion) of God. Souls undergo such changes by repetition, like a bushel of grain that is collected only to be repeatedly sown, then reaped again and again.

As the sea heaves its constant surges of different shapes, so all beings are born constantly in various forms in the vast ocean of time. The wise man who is liberated in his lifetime lives with his internal belief (of God) in a state of tranquility, without any doubt in his mind, and quite content with the ambrosia of equanimity.

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

Seeker after Liberation (pt.#1)

will-samadhi-lead-you-to-liberationVasishta states that peace of mind (shanti), contentment (santosha), keeping the company of realized sages (satsanga), and inquiry into the nature of the soul (vichara) are the four sentinels that guard the gates to moksha, or liberation. The belief that one is confined by fate is severely condemned and the person who seeks spiritual development is urged to rely on personal efforts for progress on the spiritual path.

That the world is a creation of will and loses itself with the absence of our desires, and that it is an accursed and unsubstantial world after all, are the conclusions arrived at by all sages.

There is but one undivided intelligent spirit known as the Universal Soul and nothing else. It becomes confined by its desires (mental conditioning) and becomes freed by its lack of them.

Rama knows that curtailing desires is what the wise call liberty, and the attachment of our desires to earthly objects is our confinement here. Spiritual knowledge is easily obtainable by most men, but a distaste for (pleasurable) objects is hard to be had. He who fully comprehends a thing is said to know it, and who so knows what is knowable is called a learned man. No earthly enjoyment can be delectable to such high minded men. The mind that has no zest for earthly pleasures, except the glory of disinterested deeds, is said to be liberated even in the present life.

It will not be difficult for you to teach the spotless Rama, whose mirror-like mind is quite clear to take the reflection. The wisdom of the holy, their learning of the scriptures, and the scholarship of the learned are only praiseworthy when they are communicated to a good student and those who are disgusted with the world. But instruction given to one who is neither student nor disgusted with the world becomes as polluted as milk stored in a hide vessel. Again, the instruction given by one devoid of passions and affections, fear and anger, pride and sin, serves to infuse tranquility into the mind.

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

On Detachment (pt.#7)

Rama’s Questions

on-detachment-pt-7Our minds are partly settled on worldly things and partly fixed on their Giver. This divided state of the mind is called its half-waking condition. My mind is in a state of suspense, being unable to ascertain the real nature of my soul. I am like one in the dark who sees a tree stump in the distance and is deceived to think it a human figure. Our minds are naturally fickle and wandering all about the earth. They cannot forsake their restlessness, as the vital airs cannot exist without being in motion.

How is it possible for someone engaged in worldly affairs to be untainted with its blemishes and remain as pure and intact as a drop of water on a lotus leaf? How can one attain excellence by dealing with others as with himself, and regarding others’ property to be like straw, and remaining aloof from love?

Who is that great man that has crossed the great ocean of the world, whose exemplary conduct exempts one from misery? What is the best of things that ought to be pursued, and what fruit is worth obtaining? Which is the best course of life in this inconsistent world?

What can we do under the misty cloud of errors that raise our tempestuous desires flashing forth in lightning bolts of ambition and bursting out in the thunder claps of selfishness? How shall we save ourselves from the temptations of our desires that dance around us like peacocks? How shall we save ourselves from the bustle of the world that breaks in on us as thickly as the blossoms of the kurchi plant?

How the mist of our desires, which darkens the moon of our intellects, is to be dispelled from our minds to make it shine forth in its full brightness. How are we to deal with this wilderness of the world, knowing well that it is destructive both of our present and future interests? Who is there who moves about in this ocean of the earth and who is not buffeted by the waves of his passions and diseases, and by the currents of his enjoyments and prosperity?

How can one be rid of the world when it is impossible for him to avoid dealing with it, in the same manner as it is impossible for aquatic animals to live without their native element? Even our good deeds are not without affection and hatred, pleasure and pain, just like no flame is unaccompanied by its power of burning.

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

On Detachment (pt. #6)

vanity-of-the-worldThe Vanity of the World

O sage! This seemingly pleasing but actually unpleasant world has nothing in it that produces anything that can afford tranquility to the soul.

Those who do not yield to grief during troubles, who are not elated with prosperity or smitten at heart by women, are rare in this world. Those who fight boldly in battlefields and withstand war elephants are not so very brave, in my opinion, as those who withstand the surges of the mind amidst the streams of carnal appetites. I see no deeds in the world that endure to the final liberation of men. Actions proceeding from a fool’s desire for results serve only for their restlessness on earth.

Men who have filled the corners of the world with their fame and valor, who have filled their houses with true riches acquired by honest means and an unwavering patience, are rare in the world.

Our sons and riches are mere objects of delight to us. To expect them to be of any good to us in the end is as false as to expect any benefit from distilling poison.

To the worldly minded, all wealth — whether forthcoming or unattainable, whether gotten by labor or given by fortune — is as deceitful as the flooding of a river, swelling only to subside.

Whatever we see in the world, living or inert, are all as impermanent as things seen in a dream. What today is a mountain reaching the sky covered with extensive forests is in course of time leveled to the ground, and afterwards is dug into a pit. The man who is very powerful today and presides over principalities, in a few days is reduced to a heap of ashes. Water becomes land and land becomes water. Thus the world with all its contents composed of wood, grass and water becomes something else in course of time.

Our lives in this world are as unsteady as the flame of a lamp placed by the draft of an open window. The splendor of all objects in the three worlds is as flickering as the flash of lightning.

As a granary stored with heaps of grains is exhausted by its continued waste, so is the stock of life spent away by its repeated respirations.

The minds of man are as fluctuating as a flag waving in the air. They are filled with the dust of sin, indicating their wavering between the paths of heaven and hell.

Many things are decaying and renewing day by day. In this ever changing world there is no end to this accursed course of events. Men degenerate into lower animals, and those again rise to humanity. Gods become no-gods. There is nothing that remains the same.

We have prosperity at one moment, succeeded by adversity at another. We have health at one time, followed by sickness soon after. What intelligent being is there who is not misled by these delusions of the world which show things other than what they are and serve to bewilder the mind?

Who is there so sedate and firm that he is not terrified at these sudden appearances and disappearances, at the momentary durations and final dissolution of worldly things? What is the nature of this world in which we are overtaken by adversity at one moment and elated by prosperity at another, where one is born at one time and dies at another?

A pot is made of clay, and cloth is made of cotton, and they are still the same dull materials of which they are composed. Thus there is nothing new in this world that was not seen or known before. There is nothing that does not change its form. The acts of creation and destruction, of diffusion, production and preservation follow one another like the revolutions of day and night appear to man.Sometimes it happens that a weak man slays a hero, or one individual kills hundreds. So also a commoner becomes a noble man. Thus everything is changeful in this varying world. These bodies of men are always changing their states and are like bodies of waters rising and falling in waves whipped by the motion of winds.

The actions of producing and harvesting, of feeding and destroying, come by turns to mankind like the rotation of day and night. Neither adversity nor prosperity is of long duration with worldly people. They are ever subject to appearance and disappearance by turns.

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