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Seeker after Liberation (pt.#8)

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On Rational Inquiry

Reasoning serves to destroy the false apparitions of errors which present themselves to the minds of children like ghosts in the night sky. Men torment themselves with the false imaginations of their own minds. Only reason can drive away this deeply rooted apparition from the mind.

Know that the fruit of the high tree of reason is the even, unobstructed, interminable and independent happiness called perfect detachment (kaivalya). When a saint has reached his perfection by means of the elixir of judgment seated in his mind, he neither desires  for more nor leaves (what he has). A mind relying on that state of equanimity and perceiving the clear light has neither its fall nor elevation, but enjoys its inward expansion like that of vacuum forever.

One unconcerned with the world neither gives nor receives anything, nor feels himself elated or depressed at any event, but views everything as an indifferent spectator. He is neither numbingly cold nor does he dwell on anything internally or externally. He is not inactive or merged in activity. He slights the loss of anything and lives content with what he has. He is neither depressed nor elevated, but remains as full as the sea.

Men with their minds illuminated by the light of reason are like travelers acquainted with their way. They are not liable to pitfalls of constant danger and misery. It is by means of reason that one comes to the knowledge of truth, and by means of truth that he gets peace of mind, and it is tranquility of mind that dispels the misery of men.
Now Rama, take delight in such acts as may be productive of utility to the world, and whereby you may arrive to perfection. Weigh all things with the clear eye of reason, which will make you blessed forever.

On Contentment

Those who are happy with their prosperity of contentment and possess the calm repose of their souls are like holy saints. They think a kingdom no better than a bit of rotten straw.
Whoever retains a contented mind amidst all the affairs of the world is never disturbed or dejected in adverse circumstances, O Rama.
Abandonment of unfruitful desires, and calmness in those desires that are obtained, feeling no pain and having no sense of pleasure, constitute what is called contentment.
Until the mind can enjoy contentment rising of itself spontaneously in the soul, troubles will continue to grow like briars and brambles in a bog. The mind cooled by calm contentment and purified by the light of philosophy is always in its full bloom like a lotus under sunbeams.
An ungoverned mind, subject to desires and devoid of contentment, does not receive the light of knowledge, like a soiled mirror takes no reflection of the face.  A man whose mind is always bright with the sunshine of contentment does not shrivel like a lotus in the dark night of ignorance. A man devoid of diseases and anxieties, whose mind is content though he be thoroughly poor, enjoys the happiness of a supreme ruler.

On the Company of the Virtuous

It is the tree of virtuous company (satsanga) that produces the fresh blossom of discrimination which, being cherished by men with great souls, yields its fruit of  prosperity. The society of the learned makes solitude appear as company, and the evil of death as good as a festivity, and converts a difficulty to ease. Know that the society of the virtuous is the best way to improve understanding, destroy the tree of ignorance, and  remove all our mental diseases. Whoever has bathed in the cold, clear stream of good company does not need the merit derived from acts of charity, pilgrimage, austerity or sacrifice.

Contentment is reckoned to be the best gain, good company the right course, reasoning the true knowledge, and remaining undisturbed the highest bliss. These are the four surest means to break off the shackles of the world, and whoever is practiced in these has surely passed over the false waters of terrestrial sea. Learn, O best of the intelligent, that the practice of any one of these pure virtues leads to a habit of all four. Every one of these separately is a leader to the others. Therefore apply yourself diligently to one of these for your success in getting them all.

As soon as one of these virtues is strengthened and made fruitful in you, it will serve to weaken the force of the faults of your uncontrollable mind.  The cultivation of virtues leads to their full growth and the suppression of vice, but the fostering of vice will lead to the increase of vices and the suppression of good qualities.

Knowledge in Practice – Good Conduct

The mind is a wilderness of errors in which the stream of our desires flows with full force between its two banks of good and evil where we hold our stand. Know, O high-minded Rama, that one’s own disposition is like a rapid current that must not be permitted to bear him away (to the perilous coast).

They are called intelligent who know the cause and effect of things. Men of unfettered minds look upon the appearance and disappearance of every atomic world as the fluctuating wave of the sea. They neither grieve at unwished-for occurrences nor pine for their wished-for chances. Knowing well all accidents are the consequences of their actions, they remain as unconscious as trees.

Having finished its journey through the world and performed its duties here, the soul assumes a calmness like that of the unbreakably hard column of the sky reflecting the images of the tumultuous world (without changing itself). It rejoices exceedingly at being delivered from the innumerable snares of the world, and it becomes as light as air by being freed from its desire of looking after endless objects.  The soul that takes no notice of any cause or effect or doing, or what is to be avoided or accepted, is said to be disembodied though encumbered with a body, and to become unworldly in its worldly state.

We have by our reasoning well weighed the verbosity of our opinionative adversaries and never set aside the holy sayings of the Vedas, even when they are at variance with the opinions of our families. O Rama, we have stored in our minds the truths resulting from the unanimous voice of all the scriptures, whereby it will be evident that we have attained the object of our belief, apart from the fabricated systems of heretical scriptures.
Let the wise continue their inquiries until they obtain their internal peace and until they arrive at the fourth stage (turiya) of joy known by its name of indestructible tranquility. Whoever has attained this fourth state of tranquil joy, whether he is alive or not, or a house-holder or an ascetic, has really passed beyond the limits of the ocean of the world. Such a man remains steady at his place like the calm sea undisturbed by Mandara Mountain, whether he has performed his duties according to the scriptures and codes of ethics or not.

You can derive happiness from your own observations at any place and time, as you can from your association with the good whenever it is available. This is an optional rule.

As learning produces the qualities of quiet and the like, so do these qualities give rise to learning. Thus they serve to grow each other, just as lake and lotuses contribute to their mutual benefit. Learning is produced by right conduct as good conduct results from learning. Thus wisdom (learning, right knowledge) and morality (good conduct & attitudes) are natural helps to one another. Unless one practices wisdom and good conduct in an equal degree, he will never be successful in either of them.

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

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Seeker after Liberation (pt.#7)

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On Equanimity – The Characteristics of a Saint

Intelligent men who have seen the spirit fix their sight upon it and wander about in the world as persons of great and elevated souls. They do not grieve, nor do they wish or ask for anything of good or evil (in this world). They do their works with detachment. Those who rely on themselves remain quiet, unaffected by good or evil and acting their parts with a calm serenity. They take no concern for what is harmful or delectable to them. They are alike indifferent to coming or not coming, going or not going, doing or not doing, and speaking or not speaking. After having come to know their God (as the author of all good), whatever acts or sights may appear pleasant or disgusting to others cease to affect them in any way. He who ceases to act his magical parts (in this playground of the earth) and desists from following his inclinations and childish pranks, shines forth in his spiritual light. Such are the powers gained from spiritual knowledge, and by no other means whatever.

There is no disease or poison, no trouble or affliction so painful to one in this earth as the ignorance one breeds in himself. Lack of dignity, inextricable difficulties, and baseness and degeneracy are all the offspring of ignorance, just like thorns are the offshoots of the prickly ketaki plant.

Try, O Rama, to imitate those who are liberated in their lifetime, who are free to roam about like the gods Hari, Hara and others, and like the holy sages among brahmins. Here (on earth) our miseries are as endless as atoms, and our happiness is as small as a drop of water on a piece of straw. Therefore do not fix your sight upon that little happiness which is beset by misery. Let an intelligent man diligently apply himself to attain that state of endless happiness which is free from pain and constitutes his highest completion. They are reckoned the best of men and deserving of completion whose minds are free from the fever (of worldly cares) and attached to the transcendental state.

A state reached without return, attained so there is no more cause for sorrow, undoubtedly is attainable only by divine knowledge, and that is a certain truth. Even if such a future state did not exist, there would be no harm to believe in it. But if such a state exists, belief in it will save you from the ocean of this world (samsara).
The undecaying, unerring and fearless state of tranquility is nowhere to be had in the three worlds without union (with the Supreme). Having gained that best of gains, no one is liable to the pain from which no wealth, friend or relation can save. Neither the actions of one’s hands and feet in his offerings and pilgrimage to distant lands, nor the bodily pains of asceticism, nor his refuge in a holy place can serve his salvation. It is only by means of one’s best exertions and the fixing of his mind to one object, and also by the subjection of his desires, that one may arrive at the ultimate state (of bliss). So it is that by means of discrimination, reasoning and ultimate ascertainment of truth, a man may avoid the snares of misery and attain his best state.

That ultimate joy is born of and obtainable from peace of mind. It is fruit from the blossom of peace of the high tree of reason. Those engaged in worldliness without mixing in it are like the all-illumining sun and are known as the best of men. The mind at peace and rest, clear and free from errors, and without any attempt or desire neither forsakes nor wishes for the world.

The man who lives content with his quiet and a calm clarity of his soul, with a mind filled with detachment, makes friends of his enemies. The virtuous man who is calm and quiet and friendly to all living beings feels the benign influence of highest truths appearing of themselves in his mind.

Those holy men who have the lotus-like flower of peacefulness growing in the lotus-shaped receptacle of their hearts are said to have a secondary heart like the two hearts of the god Hari (holding Brahma in one of them).

Whether afflicted by disease or disaster, or dragged by the rope of greed, bear yourself up, O Rama, by the composure of your mind. Whatever you do and eat with the calm coolness of your mind, all that is far sweeter to the soul than anything sweet to taste. The mind that is overpowered by the ambrosial flavor of peacefulness and desists from activity may have the body lacerated, but it will heal shortly.

There is nothing in life so delightful to see as the satisfaction one feels at the sight of a contented and peaceful man. Only he who lives a holy life with his gentle and peaceful conduct is said to be truly living in this world.

He is called the meek who neither feels pleasure nor pain at the sight, touch, sound or taste of anything good or bad. He who is indifferent to all objects and neither leaves nor longs for anything, but keeps his senses and appetites under control, is called a saint. He whose mind remains as calm as moonbeams at the approach of either feast or violence, and even at the moment of death, is said to be a saint. Who, though present, neither rejoices nor murmurs at anything but remains as if he were absent from it, and conducts himself as quietly as if he were fast asleep, such a person is called a saint.

He whose complaisant look casts a graceful nectar-like radiance on all around him is said to be a saint. Who feels a cool calmness within himself and is not disturbed or immersed in any state of life, and who though a layman is not worldly minded, such a man is termed a saint. He who does not take the difficulties of life to his mind, however long or great they may be, or who does not think his body to be himself, is known to be a saint. The man of the world who has a mind clear as the sky and is not tainted (by worldliness) is said to be a saint.

Peacefulness is the greatest of all the many virtues and the best decoration of courage. It shines resplendent among all dangers and difficulties. O Rama, seek your perfection in the way in which high-minded men have sought and attained their perfect states, by holding fast onto peacefulness as an imperishable virtue, preserved by the respectable, and never to be lost or stolen.

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

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Seeker after Liberation (pt.#6)

2017-09-03-19-44-17The Greatness of True Knowledge

It is by performance of ritual duties and observance of prescribed rules that the demerits of former births are expunged. Upon removing former demerits, understanding turns of itself to become aware of spiritual matters, like the simultaneous flight of a crow towards a falling coconut. But those devoted only to ritual acts are like people plunged in an eddy in which they whirl up and down until they come to perceive the state of supreme (joy). Seeing this (illusory) state of the world, a man must shake off the delusion of his worldly-mindedness, just as the elephant breaks loose from his chains.

This spiritual knowledge was first given to princes, but afterwards it came to be known under the title of royal science (raja vidhya, kingly science). This royal science is of a hidden, esoteric nature. It is also the best kind of spiritual knowledge. Many kings have been set beyond the reach of calamity by knowledge of this science.

It is too intricate, O Rama, to understand the course of this boundless world. Not even the greatest of embodied beings can know it without true knowledge. Know, O support of Raghu’s race, that men of great understanding have passed over the unfordable ocean of the world by means of the raft of their knowledge and reason. Without the remedy of right reason, the unceasing excitement of the senses and the fears and miseries of the world will continually disturb the mind. There is nothing other than rational knowledge that can enable holy men to endure the afflictions of the opposite extremes of heat and cold and wind and rain. The constant cares and miseries which befall to men at every step sometimes serve to torment the ignorant mind like a flame of fire burns straw. But the troubles of this world cannot afflict a wise man who knows the knowable and discerns all things; just as it is impossible for the flame of fire to burn wood drenched by rain.

O best of the eloquent, you must not receive instruction from one unacquainted with truth. Whoever asks such a person anything is the greatest of fools. He is the basest of men who does not carefully attend to the words of the truth-telling teacher who is asked about anything. He is the best inquirer who seeks answers from a person who demonstrates by his actions whether he knows the knowable or not. A person who asks boyish questions without determining the teacher’s qualifications is reckoned a vile inquirer incapable of knowing great things.

When asked, a wise man will reply to him who is able to comprehend the former and later propositions, and who is possessed of a good understanding, but he should make no answer to a vile brutish being. The teacher who gives his lecture without examining the capacity of the inquirer to grasp his meaning is pronounced unwise by the learned.

It is said there are four guards who keep watch at the gate of liberation (moksha), namely: peace (equanimity, self-control), judgment (spirit of inquiry), contentment, and company of the good. At least one of them is to be sought with diligence, even at the expense of one’s life. Because by securing one of these a man can reconcile and gain all four.
The wise man is a receptacle of all scriptures, of all knowledge and austerity, and is a gem on earth, just like the sun is the receptacle of light. The dull understanding of a senseless man becomes as stiff as a block, and like water freezing as hard as stone.

The true light of things dawns only in the minds of the wise, just as the gentle moon appears only in a clear and cloudless sky. He is truly called a man who can judge (the truth) by the major and minor propositions, whose mind is expanded and filled with brilliant ingenuity.

Whatever business or investigation someone undertakes, it must be brought to a happy conclusion that tends towards his peace and tranquility. If men of good understanding did not have the solace of philosophy, what rational being could dare bear the misery that ignorance brings in this world? All the faculties of the mind are absorbed in contemplation of the Supreme, like solar heat dissolves the rocks of boundary mountains at the end of the world. The Supreme Soul of infinite manifestations exists by itself. It passes through and supports the whole in the form of void and understanding and as light to all living beings.

Rama, the intolerable stomach cramping pain caused by this venomous world is healed only by yoga meditation, just like the poison of a snakebite is removed by garda incantations. One obtains the capacity for yoga by discussing the scriptures in the company of good people, which alone can provide us with the great charm of spiritual knowledge.
It must be recognized that we lessen our sorrows by acting with reason. A reasoning man gets released from his worldly sickness. He quits his frame which is full of diseases just like a snake casts off his time-worn skin. He looks with a placid mind and calm composure upon the magic scenes of the world. Hence a fully wise man is not subject to the misery of the imperfectly wise.

Rama, look upon this assembly of great sages, rishis, brahmins and princes who have fortified themselves by the armor of wisdom and are liable to no pain or grief, yet they are engaged in the arduous affairs of this world with minds as placid as yours. Moreover, there are many of the best of men who with their spiritual light and pure understanding reside in this world like the gods Hari (Vishnu), Hara (Shiva) and Brahma above all concerns and fluctuating desires of life.

When serenity of the mind and calm repose of the heart are secured, all the senses are subjected to peace and everything is viewed in an equal light, and this knowledge of the truth gives delight to our journey in this world.

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

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Seeker after Liberation (pt.#5)

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The Necessity of Activity

Having obtained a body free from disease and a mind free from trouble, one should try to know the knowable to prevent further births. Whoever wants to avert his destiny through action obtains the acme of his wishes both in this world as well as the next. But whoever is averse to diligence and relies on his luck is an enemy to his own soul and sacrifices all his virtues, riches and hopes.
This is the long and short of all the scriptures (shastras), that diligence preserves our minds from all evils by employing them to whatever is good and right. To apply with diligence to whatever is excellent, not low or mean and not liable to loss or decay, is the lesson of parents and teachers to their sons and pupils.

We have visible evidence (of the efficacy) of activity every day, in the examples of men travelling in distant countries (for the sake of gain). He who eats becomes satisfied and who does not starves. So he who walks is said to proceed and not one who rests. In like manner, whoever speaks is called a speaker and not the silent man. Thus action makes the man.

Men of acute understandings raise themselves to elevation by their association with the virtuous, study of good works, and active employment in duties tending to their own good. The boundless joy arising from equanimity is said to constitute one’s supreme good. This blessing also results from a man’s diligent application to the scriptures. Understanding leads to the knowledge of the scriptures, and the scriptures tend towards our right understanding of things. Just so does the lotus serve to beautify a lake, and the lake lends its grace to the lotus. It is also by virtue of one’s deep study and good company in youth that a man later attains his desirable objects.

Now, O lord of Raghu’s race, employ your efforts to the exertion of your manly activities in such a way that you may live unafraid of being bitten by the snake-like people in this tree of the world (crush the malice of your enemies).

Invalidation of Destiny

Vasishta continued saying that:—
What does “destiny” mean? It has no form, no act, no motion or might. It is only a false notion rooted in the (minds) of the ignorant. “Destiny” is a word that has come into fashion from the idea of karma, the idea of future retribution for one’s past actions and the like. From this, ignorant are led to believe that there is such a thing as destiny, something incapable of explanation, which has led them to a fallacy much like mistaking a rope for a snake.

See Rama, how people use their own industry to make wicker vessels so handsome that they hold water, all without the aid of any destiny. In all our works of giving and receiving, walking, resting and the like, we see no causation by destiny in their completion, just as we see medicines causing healing. Therefore, O Rama, give up this destiny of your mistaken fancy, which in reality is devoid of its cause or effect and is a false and ideal nothing. Give yourself to your best efforts.

Investigation of Acts

It is a man’s activity and nothing else, O Raghava, that is the cause of all his actions and the recipient of their consequences. Destiny has nothing to do with it. Destiny refers to the good or bad results that proceed from action. Truly, O Raghava, destiny, though empty as a void, appears to be real to somebody who thinks it to be an active agent, while others know it to be inactive. The mind is the soul and cause of all acts which they call the doings of destiny. Certainly, without the mind there is no destiny. This mind is truly the living soul that acts as it desires and accordingly enjoys the fruit. The same is destiny.

Rama, you are wise, perfectly intelligent, and composed of more than just a dull body. Now if you need another’s guidance to waken your intellect, then when is your own intelligence? If you would have someone else enlighten your understanding, then who was the other who illuminated him, and who is the other to illuminate that person also? Therefore, because no one is wholly devoid of understanding, let him improve it himself.

The currents of our desires flow between two channels of good and evil. It requires the exertion of our actions to turn them to the right course. You who is the mightiest of the mighty must exert the force of your activity to turn your mind away from a direction to the profitless and towards a profitable course. By directing the mind from the wrong to the right way, it will take the right course; and the opposite is true also.

But because the human mind is like a child, it must not be forced. The training of a child is like that of the mind. It is done slowly by gentleness and indulgence, and not by force or hurry.

O sinless Rama, at present your desires are lying dormant in your mind. They require some practice to be employed only to the doing of good. If you will not exert yourself now to improve your dormant desires by constant practice, you can never expect to be happy. When doubtful, incline towards what is good, and as you thrive on this you shall have no evil to fear.

Whatever one practices, with time he will become perfect, just like studying from childhood makes the learned free from error. When you have good will inside, you must accomplish your purpose by means of your activity and your subjection of the organs of your body. So long as your mind is imperfect and unacquainted with the state of divine truth, you must attend to your teacher, books and reasoning and act according to their directions.
Having first finished your acts and known the truth, you must abandon even your meritorious deeds, and all your desires with them.

Having known by your good understanding that the virtuous course led by honorable men is truly good, give particular attention to know the nature of God, then forsake even that and remain as silent as an ancient sage (muni).

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

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Seeker after Liberation (pt.#2)

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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

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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

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On Detachment (pt.#2)

 

yoga-vasisthaRama’s Discourse

What are worldly pleasures good for, and why do men multiply on earth? Men are born to die, and they die to be born again. There is no stability in the tendencies of beings whether movable or immovable. They all tend to vice, decay and danger, and all our possessions become the grounds of our poverty.

On Wealth

A rich man without blemish, a brave man devoid of vanity, and a master lacking partiality are the three rarities on earth.

Riches, like the shadow of night, overcast the good qualities of men, and like moonlight, bring to bloom the buds of their misery. Like a hurricane, they blow away the brightness of a fair prospect.

Fortune is a frost to those who are bound to asceticism, and is like the night to the owls of libertinism. She is an eclipse to the moonlight of reason, and like moonbeams to the bloom of the lilies of folly. She is as transitory as the rainbow, and as pleasant to see by the play of her colors. She is as fickle as lightening which vanishes as quickly as it appears. Hence none but the ignorant have reliance on her.

It is pity that prosperity is like a shameless wench who will again lay hold of a man who has abandoned her for her rival poverty.

On Human Life

It is as impossible to confine the winds or tear the sky to pieces or wreathe waves into a garland as it is to place any reliance upon our lives. Fast as the fleeting clouds in autumn, and short as the light of lamp without oil, our lives appear to pass away as impermanent as rolling waves in the sea. Men of restless minds, desiring to prolong their useless and toilsome lives, resemble the barren she-mule conceived by a horse.

This world (samsara) is as a whirlpool in the ocean of creation, and every individual body is as impermanent as foam, froth or a bubble, which can give me no relish in this life. True living is gain which is worth gaining, which has no cause of sorrow or remorse, and which is a state of transcendental tranquility. There is a vegetable life in plants, and an animal life in beasts and birds. Man leads a thinking life, but true life is above thoughts. All those living beings who being born here once do not return are said to have lived well in this earth. The rest are no better than old asses.

Knowledge is a burden to the unthinking, and wisdom is burdensome to the passionate. Intellect is a heavy load to the restless, and the body is a ponderous burden to one ignorant of his soul. A good person possessed of life, mind, intellect and self-consciousness and its occupations, is of no benefit to the unwise, but seem to weigh down on the unwise as if he were a porter. The discontented mind is the great arena of all evils, and the nesting place of diseases which alight upon it like birds of the air. Such a life is the abode of toil and misery.

As a house is slowly dilapidated by the mice continually burrowing under it, so is the body of the living gradually corroded by the teeth of time boring within it.

Death, the lover of destruction and friend of old age and ruin, likes the sensual man, as a lecher likes a beauty.

On Ego

Egoism springs from false conceit fostered by vanity. I am much afraid of this enemy, baneful egotism. All men in this diversified world, even the very poorest of them, fall into the dungeon of evils and misdeeds under the influence of ego. All accidents, anxieties, troubles and wicked exertions proceed from ego and self-confidence. Hence I deem ego to be like a disease.

This world resembles a long continuous night in which our ego, like a hunter, spreads the snare of affections. All our great and intolerable miseries, growing as rank as thorny acacia plants, are only the results of our ego. It overcasts the equanimity of mind like an eclipse shadows the moon. It destroys our virtues like frost destroys lotus flowers. It dispels the peace of men as autumn drives away the clouds. Therefore, I must get rid of this egoistic feeling.

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

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Hanuman

hanuman
Oh Rama, when I identify myself with my body, I am Your servant. When I identify myself with the individual jiva (soul), I am a part of You. But when shall I be exempt from all these identifications, I realize that I am You.

“When I know who I am, I am you,” he says, kneeling before Rama, “when I don’t know who I am, I serve you.”

Valmiki Ramayana