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The Chapter relating to the mental despondency of Rāma

(see also Introduction)


SALUTATIONS TO THE NON-DUAL PRINCIPLE – through the three organs (of mind, speech and body) that is the eternal Jñāna (wisdom) Light illuminating (the three worlds) Bhū (earth), Antarikṣa (intervening space) and Svarga (heaven), as also our hearts and their exteriors and that has manifested itself everywhere as visible forms.


Persons qualified to read this work called Vāsiṣṭha (the work of Vāsiṣṭha) should neither be Ajñānis (the ignorant or the worldly wise), nor those Jīvanmuktas (liberated ones), who have reached their Jñāna-Ātma, freeing themselves from all pain, but only those who, conscious of being under bondage, long after freedom from it, and are in that vacillating position, from which they contemplate attaining Mokṣa.


Muni Baradvāja having prostrated before his omniscient Guru, Muni Vālmīki addressed him softly thus How did Śrī Rāma of rare Sattvaguṇa come to be in this terrestrial Saṁsāra (mundane existence) full of pains and generative of dire rebirths.


To which Vālmīki replied thus. “My son1 Baradvāja, thy question is fraught with incalculable happiness (to thee and all the world). Thou art in possession of the four-fold ((The four-fold means are (1) The discrimination of Ātman and Non-Ātman, (2) Indifference to the enjoyments of objects both in this world and the higher, (4) Śama, Dama, Uparati, Titikṣā, Samādhāna and Śraddhā, (4) Mumukṣatva or the longing after liberation.)) means of liberation which entitle thee to question me about Nirvāṇic bliss. Hence hearken to what I am going to say to thee. Thereby thou wilt be able to master Ajñāna which is the source of all pains. This illusion of the universe manifests itself, though it really is not, in Parabrahm (the one Reality)


Like the blue color which is unreal, though it appears in the sky overhead, the Supreme Nirvāṇic bliss is attained the moment when one, after having decided in himself, that it will be decidedly beneficial to, not in the least, bring to recollection and to forget this illusion of the universe, cognizes, through intuitive spiritual perception, the unreality of the universe which appears, as real, to the mind that is of the nature of Saṁskāras (self-reproductive thoughts). This Supreme Bliss is ever-shining, not created by any, self-existent and imperishable. But it will not be cognized and enjoyed by those ignorant persons who wallow in the mere pitfalls of the Śāstras (book-learning) inculcating the lower (terrestrial) wisdom, as contra-distinguished from the higher (Divine) wisdom, which sets its face against the recollection of things visible. The wise say that the best thing for a man to do in this world is to give up, without the least longing, Vāsanās, (all affinities for objects) which cause the mind to fluctuate, and that such abdication constitutes the Eternal Mokṣa (liberation) and the stainless path.”


“Vāsanās are of two kinds. The impure Vāsanās are those which, generating rebirths, are terrific in their results while the pure ones are those which liberate one from such rebirths. The great Ones say that the generation of the ever-recurrent cycle of rebirths when excessive Ahaṁkāra (egoism) is developed in the body which is nothing but a transformation of Ajñāna is termed the impure Vāsanās; while the pure Vāsanās which free one from rebirth, may be likened to a seed that will not sprout after being fried in (a pan of) red-hot fire. Those who having developed the pure Vāsanās support a body simply to wear out their Prārabdha 2karmas, and do not again subject themselves to the pangs of rebirth, may be said to have attained the Jīvanmukti state (embodied liberation) which enables one to perceive all spiritual things through subtle Jñāna experience, and to enjoy the bliss of Chidānanda (conscious bliss state.)”


Again Muni Vālmīki continued thus: “Mayest thou, Oh my son, liberate thyself from births and deaths after meditating truly, through thy intelligence upon the path pointed out by Vāsiṣṭha to Rāma who heard him intently, and reached the glorious and incomparable Jīvanmukti state. Becoming well versed in all the four Vedas and all the departments of knowledge, Rāma spent his youth sportively and hence fearlessly for some time. After his frolicsome days were over, there arose in him a desire to visit all places of pilgrimage able to confer spiritual benefits and the sacred Āśramas (hermitages) of the wise. For this purpose, Rāma of blue complexion and lotus eyes, approached his father like a Haṅsa (Swan), and having prostrated himself before his lotus feet addressed him thus: “Oh father, my mind longs after the visiting of ancient places of pilgrimage, sacred shrines, and the forest resorts where the Munis perform their Tapas (religious austerities). There is no boon, however great, which it is not in thy power to grant. Please therefore be kind enough to allow me to carry out my intentions. Thereupon Daśaratha (his father), in consultation with his world-famous Vāsiṣṭha, gave his assent to it with a request to his son to return soon.


Then Rāma of blue complexion, having paid due respects to his father, set out on his holy pilgrimage along with his brothers on an auspicious day. Having crossed their Kośala kingdom, they spent their days delightfully passing through and observing all kinds of rivers, forests in which Tapas was performed, the hermitage of ascetics, sandy deserts, seaport towns, slopes of hills, etc. Then Rāma, eulogized by Devas (celestials) and worshipped by men, returned like Īśa (lord) and Jayantha, son of Indra returning to Śivapura and Devaloka respectively and reached, amidst the thick showers of flowers and praise of men, Oude where his father abode. There he described, in detail, all the events of his trip and the diverse customs obtaining in different countries- Thereafter, he was in the habit of daily rising up from his bed before daybreak and performing his daily ceremonies.


Having paid due respects to his father Daśaratha, he would daily hear many kinds of stories pregnant with wisdom and justice from the lips of Vāsiṣṭha and other Munis of great Tapas. According to the directions of his father, he would be sometimes engaged in the chase along with his retinue.


Having supped with his distant relatives, friends and brothers, he would pass his night sweetly. Thus did he pass his fifteenth year, assisting and pleasing kings and others, like the cool moon or delicious nectar. At this period of his life, his once radiant body became all at once emaciated, like the river floods going down in summer; his red cool face of long eyes became wan like a white lotus; and he ever seated himself in the Padma posture, with his hands resting on his chin, and his young feet tinkling with bells. Then wholly absorbed in pensive thought, he forgot to perform his daily allotted duties of life, and his mind grew despondent. His followers noticing the ever statue-like position their master assumed, fell at his feet and asked him the cause of his moody temper. To which Rāma merely replied by performing his daily rites with such a depressed mind and dejected face, as affected all who saw it. Being apprised of this fact, his father Daśaratha sent for him one day, and having seated him on his lap, asked him to explain the cause of his grief. Rāma simply prostrated himself at his father’s feet and took leave of him, saying there was none.


At this juncture, the world-famed Muni Viśvāmitra appeared in the council hall of the king. Thereupon, the crowned King of Kings, Daśaratha having saluted the Muni and paid, according to rules, due respect to him, addressed him thus: “Thou wert pleased, through thy kind grace, to vouchsafe me a visit at a time when thy servant least anticipated it. Thy presence has removed all my sins. I am now like a lotus which has blossomed fully at the approach of the sun. Never did I before feel the bliss I do now. To me thy presence here resembles the rain cooling the plants suffering from long drought, or the eye miraculously recovered by a person blind. The bliss arising from the advent of thy venerable self has cooled my whole body like Gaṅgā water and removed all depression from my heart, as if this very body of mine had levitated and been moving in the Ākāśa, or as if the Jīva (ego) that once departed out of a body came in again to tenant it, or as if I had come by the nectar vase deposited within the fortress of Agni in Devaloka and containing ambrosia churned out of the roaring ocean of milk. Oh Muni of rare Tapas, free from love and hatred, the pains of sensual objects, instability, vain anger or the dire births or disease, thy arrival here has taken me by surprise. I consent to part with any object thou expectest to receive from me. Therefore please intimate to me thy wish.”


Thereupon the Supreme Muni, with the hairs of his body, standing on ends, said “Oh Māharāja, Daśaratha, who has many king’s under thy subjection, and contravenes not the words of thy Guru Vāsiṣṭha, thou hast delivered thyself of words, that are well befitting one descended from the noble Sūrya (Solar) family. Unable to bear the atrocities committed by the Rākṣasas who stand in the way of my attempt at the performance of one of the foremost of sacrifices (yajñas), I have come to thee for redress. I hope, therefore, thou wilt hand over to me thy eldest son Rāghava (Rāma), of great probity who is simply Yama (Death) to the delusion-producing Rākṣasas, being, as he is, a terrific lion in strength and Devendra in intrepidity. Rāghava will easily put an end to the invincible Rākṣasas. Therefore, Oh king, cast aside all fears about him on the score of his youth. Munis like me will never direct their minds to dubious matters which will involve persons in pain. It is only men like myself and Vāsiṣṭha that can really gauge the unfathomable greatness of Rāma, who is superior to all if thou carest for greatness, dharma (virtues) and fame, then thou shouldst hand over to me Rāma at once. There is nothing, which truly noble persons withhold from a suppliant. If thou dost give him over to me, I tell thee truly that Rāma will annihilate the brave Rākṣasas.”


Hearing these words of Viśvāmitra, Daśaratha was bewildered and after a Muhūrta (48 minutes), breathed the following words in a plaintive tone: “My son is very young, being not yet turned sixteen. He has not fought up to now. Therefore he will not be able to cope with the Rākṣasas of terrible prowess. He is quite ignorant of the tactics of war in meeting his foes. Therefore thy poor servant, will himself go in his stead with the four-fold army and fight with them. Should Rāma, my eldest son, part from here, my other three sons will not find themselves alive afterwards. Nor is it likely, I shall outlive, one moment, his separation. Now I am not afraid of any enemy other than Rāvana, though before I was not afraid of him too. Will the courage of warriors who make their enemies retreat before them, be ever a fixed quantity? Time, in its revolution works miraculous changes in all things. The mighty become weaklings. As I am old, I am grieved as to what I should do hereafter.” Thereupon, Viśvāmitra said with great wrath. “Having promised me first, thou hast overstepped truth. A warlike leonine king like thee, to conduct thyself like a paltry beast ! Thou mayest live happily with thy wife, sons, and other relatives. I will repair to the place whence I came. Observing these events taking place, Vāsiṣṭha interposed and said to Daśaratha: “Born, as thou art, in the race of Manu, and dubbed with the title, Emperor Daśaratha, thou shouldst preserve thy word inviolate. If thy tongue should err, who else will maintain his word. If thy subjects on this earth will unfailingly act up to the strict justice enunciated by thee with a spirit of true reformation, then a fortiori, Oh king, thou shouldst not fail to act up to it. This Muni Viśvāmitra, will protect thy son Rāghava completely, like ambrosia guarded by fire (in Devaloka), and therefore the Rākṣasas, who have war only as their avocation will not be able to inflict the least injury on thy son.” At these words of Vāsiṣṭha, Daśaratha of puissant farms enquired of the followers of Rāma, as to what he, whom he obtained through the grace of the great Ones, was doing. Thereupon they began to describe in the following manner the grievous plight of their master, ever since his return from pilgrimage “It is only after entreating him by falling at his feet, that he performs some of our daily ceremonies. He says of what avail are the pleasures-giving-offspring, wealth, house, etc., being, as they, are, only unreal? Our master has no inclination towards valuable white clothes or dainties of six tastes or cool water or anything else. Like ascetics devoid of all egoism, he is free from all abhimāna (identification of self with objects), and has no inclination towards state affairs; neither does he rejoice at happiness, nor is he afflicted by pains. He grievously complains of his life being spent in vain in the many worldly actions that do not contribute to the Jīvanmukti state wherein all sorrows are unknown. Thinking that his great wealth is a source of infinite danger, he has given up all longing for it, and gives it away indiscriminately to all. We are not able to divine the underlying thought in his heart. Oh ! for one in this assembly who will be pleased to instill, into our young king all the noble qualities that will befit him to be a ruler of our kingdom. These are the characteristics which our prince evinces.”


At these submissive words of Rāma’s followers, Vāsiṣṭha told them the following “Go ye and fetch this greatly beloved Rāma (unknown to others,) like a deer that has strayed away from its herd.” Then addressing the assembly, he said “The great delusion that has now arisen in him, is unlike any that springs out of (disappointment as to) any desired object or out of a great accident; but is only (the stepping stone to) the acquisition of Divine wisdom through (Vairāgya) indifference to worldly objects, and (Viveka) true discrimination. Like us, he will attain the quiescent state of Brahman after removing from his mind all his delusion (of doubts) through the many-sided reasonings of the stainless Ātmic enquiry. Rāma’s mind will soon become full and then he will perform sweetly and nobly all actions on behalf of men.” While the Muni was saying this, Rāma appeared before the regal assembly and prostrated himself at the feet of his father, and then at the feet of Vāsiṣṭha, Viśvāmitra, Brahmins well versed in all departments of knowledge, and the teachers imparting learning. Then having received the prostrations of his inferiors, he recognized their salutations with words of respect, and gestures of the eye. On the king asking him to come over, and sit on his lap in the throne, he merely spread his folded cloth on the ground and sat on it without going up to him. At which the king addressed him thus “Oh my son of rare knowledge, why shouldst thou, whom all should look up to as the state of eternal bliss, pine away thus with this body of rare bloom emaciated, and thy mind despondent even for a moment, like the ignorant? Men like thee with a mind bereft of all desires have attained easily the Nirvāṇic state, as stated by our Guru Vāsiṣṭha, who is a revered sage and a Brahmaṛṣi. Then why art thou grieved thus in vain? All those accidents that bring on pains will never approach thee, should thy present delusion depart.”


After Daśaratha, the crowned king of kings had said this, Vāsiṣṭha began when Viśvāmitra interrupted him thus: “Oh, thou redoubted champion, that hast conquered easily thy enemies of sensual objects, which are invincible, except through supreme efforts, drown not thyself in the ocean of delusion full of Ajñāna which is befitting only the ever-fluctuating ignorant persons of the world. If thou wilt reveal to me the cause of the delusion, preying upon thee like a subterranean cat undermining a good house, then thou wilt be relieved of it, and be also able to attain thy longed-for object. Moreover thy mental grief will thereby vanish to appear no more. Please therefore speak out.” At these words of Viśvāmitra, Rāma relieved of all grief and quite jubilant like a peacock at hearing the thunder sound in the clouds, when the air becomes cool, addressed Viśvāmitra thus: “Oh Supreme Muni, the incarnation of grace and of great Tapas, as thou wert pleased to allow my ignorant self to relate the cause of my grief, I will do so. Now please hearken to the impediments in my way.”


“Born in the house of Daśaratha, my father, I became well versed in all departments of knowledge and conducted myself strictly according to the dictates of religion. Then I circumambulated this earth girt by ocean, bathing as I went in the many sacred waters. With my return from the pilgrimage, all my desires for this delusion of the universe have ceased. There is not even an iota of bliss in this world. Destruction (death) exists only for birth, and birth is for death again. Therefore all are illusory in this world. All worldly things are generative of pains only, fraught with all dangers, unrelated to one another, related to one another only through the Saṁkalpa of the mind, obdurate like an iron rod, and fruitful of great (material) wealth. Therefore of what avail are the enjoyments of objects and kingdoms? If we set about enquiring, whence came the ‘I’ or the body we have, we find that all those which are foreign to Ātma, are nothing but unreal. All things being unreal, when I began to further enquire as to which generates which, among these things, I ceased to have any love for them, like a traveler, who, when he is convinced of the undulatory mirage in a desert not being water, never after craves for it. In trying to find out the path which will relieve me from the pains of the unconquerable sensual objects, I am burning within like an old tree which is consumed within, through the heat generated by it self through its old age. This unbearable dire delusion of mine is like a stone sticking in my gullets. Being afraid lest my relatives should condemn me for this grief of mine, (I tried in all manner of ways and yet) I am not able to get out of it though I cried aloud.”


Wealth. Like one’s family with children, etc., that will not make happy him who is beset with the highest of dangers, wealth which only makes hosts of thoughts to whirl in the brains of men will not confer bliss. Just as a king allies himself with any person who owns his supremacy, no matter whether that person be noble-minded or base, so wealth which is attained by any person who flies to it for refuge tends, however serviceable it may be, to the condemnation of the spiritually wise, and hence is base. Who is there in this world whose mind does not thaw like ice at the sight of wealth or whirl in the maelstrom of wealth which embitters the happiness arising from the quintessence of the sweet discourse of the spiritually wise through the venom of love, hatred, etc., created in such worldly men by the manifold evil effects of wealth. Like a ruby that gets blurred with a coating of dust, all persons whether they are beneficial to their relatives or not, whether they are intelligent or poor or warlike succumb to this desire and are degraded. It is rare to find blameless opulent men, word-keeping warriors or kings who look equally upon all their subjects. This wealth which the mind covets and is very ephemeral in its nature is utterly useless like a flower bud in a creeper growing in a well and encircled by a serpent.”


Life. Then Prāṇa (Life) which is like a drop of rain water dripping from the end of a leaf turned over-head, flits out of the body, like an idiot at unseasonable times. It is only by being bitten by the serpent of the ever-waxing (desires of the five senses) that persons without true Jñāna begin to droop in their minds and thus shorten their lives. I do not rejoice in this life of mine which darts like a flash of lightning in the cloud of delusion, regarding this my limited body as real. It is possible to cleave the all-pervading Ākāśa or restrain the stormy winds or still the waves that ever and anon arise on the surface of the water hut to disappear; but by no means is it possible to resist this desire of life which should not be considered as permanent. This life is ephemeral like autumnal clouds or a ghee-less lamp or ocean waves; though appearing as real, it has not the least of quiescence, is steeped in boundless ignorance and is devoid of the true purpose of human life; if we enquire into its fruits, we find pains only are generated like unto the pangs of delivery. That is the noblest life in which persons, after attaining the highest Ātmic wisdom replete with bliss and free from all pains, spend their lives in ceaseless Ātmic enquiry, without wasting their time like such base things as trees, beasts or birds. The lives of those who have freed themselves from rebirths are the true ones and the noblest; but others lives are like those of old asses. In the case of persons without discrimination, learning is a burden to them; in the case of persons without quiescence (of mind), their mind is a burden to them; but in the case of persons having passion and other stains, Ātma Jñāna is a burden to them. In the case of persons who have not enjoyed the bliss in their own Self, the beautiful body, life, Manas, Buddhi, Ahaṁkāra, actions, etc., are intolerable burdens to them like those of a carrier. Life after associating itself with this body departs out of it even while young, like the wise who shun the association with the wicked. There is nothing so baneful as this life which is perishable in its nature and fleeting in the bestowal of pleasures.”


Ahaṁkāra. “I am much terrified by the enemy of the illusory and harmful Ahaṁkāra (I-am-ness or egoism) which is generated through delusion and permeates me all throughout. It is only through Ahaṁkāra that all the mental cares, dangers and the ever-increasing actions of life arise. There is no enemy greater than he. Having associated with this enemy of mine for a long time, I am now in an agitated state of mind I do not taste food with water. Why need I speak about (other) enjoyments? All our daily ceremonies, Yajñas (sacrifices), the enjoyables and others associated, as they are, with Ahaṁkāra are merely unreal. Therefore the real secret lies only in the renunciation of this Ahaṁkāra. So long this Ahaṁkāra beclouds us, so long will the flowers of desires bloom and increase in us. Though I have given up all Karmas (actions) in order to free myself from Ahaṁkāra, yet my pains have not ceased, not having cognized my own Self. Mayest thou, Oh Ṛṣi, be pleased to bless me in order that I may liberate myself from this cursed Ahaṁkāra which is the source of all dangers in this world, is evanescent, has its state in the mind, and is idiotic in its nature and without due discrimination and intelligence.”


Manas. “Then my Manas (mind) is tossed about in objects of love and hatred, etc., like a light feather in a stormy wind. It ever whirls far and wide in vain in sensual objects away from the association with the wise like a strolling city dog; but no results accrue therefrom. Like a flower (bamboo) case which is not able to hold the water in it, this baneful mind does not hold the joy (or enjoy the happiness) within, but whirls at the sight of its much-coveted immense wealth. This ferocious dog of mind following its mate of desires ever preys upon poor ignorant me like a carcass. Just as a straw is tossed to and fro in the air by a whirlwind, this mind of mine subjects me to all kinds of delusions and pains and tempts me far into the great void. This terrible mind which appears to be of the nature of the causeless Māyā, but which is otherwise through right enquiry, leads me into the many worldly actions like a lad obsessed. It will flit in a moment from earth to Pātāla ((The lower world.)) and thence back again to earth. This deceptive mind in seeming to lift me up to higher states hurls me to still lower ones, like a decay ed rope that is used in lifting wood out of a well. This monster of a venomous mind is more terrible than fire itself, more insurmountable than mountains and more obdurate than a huge diamond.


It is possible to drink up the contents of the ocean, eradicate (the mountain) Mahāmeru to its root or swallow the flaming fire; but it is impossible to control this mind of ours. It is the one cause of the generation of all objects. This perishable universe exists only when the mind exists, but disappears with the absence of the latter. Therefore the mind should be annihilated. All the host of pains and pleasures which are like mountain fastnesses arise through the mind only. Hence I conclude they will perish, should the mind perish through stainless discrimination.”


Desires. “The pack of owls called passion and anger play in the Ākāśa of Ātma during the night of restless desires enveloped with the intense gloom of dire delusion. All my much longed-for, virtuous actions are entirely gnawed away by my desires like a fiddle string by a rat. Being without a mind of Ātma Jñāna, I am enmeshed by them, like a bird caught in a trap and droop thereby. The fire of desires has scalded me quite. In my present state, I do not think that even a bath in ambrosia will cool me. Like the sable darkness on the New Moon day, they make the most undaunted of persons to quail with fear, daze the eye of good intelligence and create tremors even in the hearts of the wise of sweet patience. This old harlot of desires of the nature of the ominous owl, ever follows persons in the hope of inciting them to earn wealth but in vain. Like a dancing woman who, though enfeebled by age, dances in vain without true joy, all my desires (play in me in a similar manner and) afflict me. They will try to encompass things beyond their reach; but even if such things are within their grasp, they will pass over and again long for happiness (in other things). Like monkeys, they roam about without any fixed state. Like bees that rejoice, flying from one flower to another in a garden, they traverse in a moment, Pātāla, Ākāśa and all the eight quarters of the world. It is these ever-waxing desires that bring on the pains of rebirth, the heaviest of all pains. The Devas (celestials) extol disinclination of the mind (towards desires) as the greatest panacea for the remedy of the disease of desires which afflict even those living in palatial mansions guarded by forts. It is desires that make the deep inner man manifest itself externally, like radiant damsels wearing golden bracelets or diseases or the rays of the sun which make the lotus bud blossom forth (and appear externally). These desires of the mind which are like a diamond point or a sharp-pointed sword or like the sparks of iron emitted out of fire will, in one moment, reduce to nothing those men great as Mahāmeru or the handsome wise men or the courageous or warriors or any others.


This body which is composed of the cool intestines, muscles, etc., and is subject to changes, being at one time fat and at another time lean, shines in this mundane existence simply to undergo pains. What more palpably fruitless, pain giving and degraded thing could be conceived of than this body which oscillates with pains or pleasures through the increase or decrease of the experiences of objects? Of what avail is this body whether eternal or otherwise, liable to pains and pleasures which house is tenanted by Ahaṁkāra, the householder having the ten mischievous cows of Indriyas (or the organs), the servant of Manas (mind) producing Saṁkalpa, and his partner of desires with the portals of the mouth wherein are adorned the festoons of many teeth and the monkey of the tongue? If this body which is the medium of the enjoyment of wealth, kingdom, actions, etc., exist always, then no doubt it is one that should be longed after; but all these will vanish with the advent of Yama (Death) at his appointed time. What beauty is there to be enjoyed in this body which is composed of blood and flesh, has the tendency to rot, is the same for the rich as well as the poor and, being without discrimination, is subject to growth and decay. Only he who relies with certainty upon a lightning flash or an autumnal cloud or a vast Gandharva (illusory) city will cling to this body as true.”


Infancy. “Whatever (person) you are born as in this ocean of Saṁsāra (Mundane existence) rolling with many waves of diversified actions in a restless and fluctuating state, the period of infancy is ever the cause of intense pains. This period is ever attended by unavoidable dangers, weaknesses, inability to convey ideas, ignorance, desires and instability of thought. And in this body it is that the mind functions and outdoes, in its fluctuation, the ocean waves or a damsel’s eyes or the flames of fire or a lightning flash. It (the infant) feeds itself on offal like a roving dog and rejoices or weeps at trifles. Sometimes it eats the dust and invites the moon in the sky to come near it. Will all this ignorance constitute bliss? This mischievous period of infancy which creates terror in the hearts of one’s master, parents, relatives, elders and others is the source of perpetual fear and a nest replete with many stains. The bawd of non-discrimination will find a safe asylum in it. During this period none enjoys happiness.”


Youth. “Having crossed this period beset with many dangers, one reaches the period of youth liable to another kind of pains and then reels and droops under the heavy blows dealt by the devil called Manmatha (the god of love) who lives (latent) in the hollows of his mind. His noble intelligence though broadened in its views through a study of all departments of knowledge, though illumined in mind through the service of the guru and though purified through good Karmas will yet be defiled then like a muddy stream. Out of the heated desert which is the body arises the mirage which is youth, seeking which the deer of mind falls giddily into the pit of sensual objects in it. The pains increase so long as there are the pleasures of youth to be enjoyed. Similarly too, the desires increase mightily till the youth is over and work manifold mischief. He only is a man who has acquired the power to easily attain (while young) liberation, overcoming all the obstacles of youth. Such a person is it that is fit to be worshipped by all, is truly wise and is one that has known his true state. Is there to be found in this universe, the period of youth (in the lives of any) fraught with such inestimable qualities as grace, humility, etc. and fit to be the safe asylum (of persons)? We may as well look for a spacious forest in the sky above.”


Lust. “What happiness is there to be derived from the string-tossed puppets of female bodies composed of joints, muscles, bones and flesh? Oh, there will arise very fine desires no doubt, for women having soft tendrils of hair, if we once dissect (or analyze), with our minds, their eyes and other parts of the body into their components of skin, flesh and blood as well as tears, etc. The breasts of females adorned with pearl garlands and other ornaments, like unto the waters of the Gaṅgā with its long waves flowing down from the great Meru heights are preyed upon (or enjoyed) by bipeds like packs of dogs, licking balls of cooked rice strewn in the crematoriums in the suburbs of a town. Which person is there in this world who will not be burnt like straw when exposed to the flames of females proceeding from Agni (fire), the sin and having darkness in the shape of sable locks and scalding men with their eyes? The cool body of females (which one enjoys) serves as the dry fuel with which to burn him in hell. Dames with dark eyes are so many traps set by Kāma (god of desire) to ensnare the ignorant minds of men. They resemble also the bait of flesh strung in the angling noose of excruciating torments in order to lure the fish of men in the pool of rebirths replete with the mud of the dire mind. Oh, I will never long for the pleasures of women who are like caskets locking up within them infinite miseries and having, within them the gems of the endless desires, hatred, etc. If we begin to analyze this body into flesh, blood, bones, muscles, etc., then all our desires towards females, said to shine with the moon’s resplendence, will become inimical to us in a short time. Only he who has a spouse (and tastes the conjugal pleasures) lusts after such an enjoyment; otherwise how can he feel the pleasures of conjugal life? If the lust of women which is the source of all enjoyments ceases, then all the worldly bondage which has its substratum in the mind will cease. With the cessation of the (conception of this) universe which exists only in name, there dawns the eternal heavenly bliss. This lust of women which, being without discrimination, is enchanting at a distance, craves always, even if gratified, and flutters like the wings of a honey-drinking bee and is hard to be given up. Being afraid of the terrible consequences it works, such as diseases, death, dotage and the mental and other pains, I do not long after it now. How without its renunciation, can I expect to attain the rare Brahmic seat?”


Dotage. “The never-ending stage of infancy is devoured (or succeeded) by the stage of youth; the latter is, in its turn, devoured by that of old age with its great changes. If dotage sets in, accompanied as it is by delusion, diseases, pains, etc., then one’s ripe intelligence bids adieu to him, like the affection of a husband: – towards his first wife after marrying a second one. With dotage, there ensue manifold pains, such as decline in this body of nine gates, forgetfulness, inability to gratify the desires or perform the requisite actions, dire diseases, complete helplessness in getting at things required and the scorn heaped upon him by his sons and others. Friends, issues, relatives, servants and others will laugh at the poor man who is quivering with old age. Like owls resting in the hollows of a tree, his desires will abide in this uncouth form of his, full of pains and grayness and devoid of strength and good qualities In this old age beset with frailties and imbecility when all dangers having, as their hand maids, desires burn one’s hearts, all imaginary fears arise in him as he is unable to cope with the desires which arise in voluntarily in him and to contemplate upon the beneficial nature of the existence in the higher world. Thirst of joy in material objects will increase with old age; but the person will be powerless to gratify that thirst. Being unable to enjoy them, all his thoughts will droop and wither. Death lays its hand on grey heads which are like ripe pumpkins of the genus that become grey at their proper time. It is before the king called Death that the armies of mental and physical diseases march in procession in this world, having the insignia of the Chāmara ((Chāmara – Chowries or the Yak tails used as signs of regality.)) called greyness. In the tabernacle of this body white-washed by greyness, there live the dames called dangers, imbecile mind and diseases that make one droop. What bliss can we expect to derive from association with this the old grey hag of dire dotage? It is very difficult to do away with the desires of old age by getting rid of the three kinds of desire (for son, wife and wealth).”


Kāla. All the pleasurable objects of enjoyment in this world arising through Ajñāna in the series of rebirths take leave with the arrival of Yama (Death or Time), like a thread nibbled by a rat. There is nothing in this world which is not devoured by Kāla (time) like Vāḍava-Agni (the deluge fire) quenching the ocean waters abounding in crocodiles, fishes, etc. Even in the case of the ineffable great Ones, he will not wait a minute beyond the allotted time. Having swallowed up everything, he would be all himself. Even glorious Divine Kings, the beneficent Brahmā, Asura Vritta ((Asura Vṛtta, the enemy of Indra.)) of the might of Mahāmeru and others come under his clutches like a serpent under an eagle’s grip. He will easily destroy all things, whether they be tendrils or leaves, a straw or Mahāmeru, the ocean waters or the lofty Mahendra mountains and wield them according to his will. He now creates in the morning this forest of the universe with the Asvatta (fig) tree, wherein grow the fruits of the mundane eggs buzzing with myriads of the flies of egos and having seen them ripe in the noon through his eyes of the sun, plucks them now grown as the guardians of the quarters and eats them up (in the night). Also he strings in a rope of three ((The three colors of Prakṛti or matter.)) guṇas, even the gems of the highest men of the universe, and makes them his prey. In this dilapidated dwelling of the small universe, he collects, in the casket of Death, all the worldly men scattered everywhere in it like rubies. Having hunted all the egos of beasts, birds, etc., in the great forest of this essenceless universe, he, at last, during the Māhakalpa, sports in the tank of the great ocean filled with lotus of the shining Vāḍava fire. This personage of time has, in the repast of the diverse created worlds, all the living ones as his dainties of the six tastes such as bitterness, etc., and the incomparable seven seas of milk, clarified butter, etc., as his beverage; and cycles round and round in the objects created at every Māhakalpa.”


Destructive Śakti. “This invulnerable and destructive Śakti (potency of Brahman) does away with the universe with all its moving and fixed objects and reigns triumphant like a tigress in the forest of delusion along with her attendants the goddess Durgā and others. Having put an end to all living beings and the universe, she holds up in her hand a honeyed vessel (viz. this earth) and wears on her breast the three Lokas (worlds), as a garland composed of the three lotuses, blue, red, and white. In her arm, she carries, like a sportive parrot in a cage, a man-lion thundering with the sound of a thunder-cloud. On her stainless body, still as the autumnal sky, she has sportively, like the young cuckoo, the great Time with his sweet voice like that of the melodious flute. Her victorious bow is the non-existence of all, and her arrows are the created pains. Thus (at the time of Pralaya or deluge), does she dance and reel everywhere at her sweet will and pleasure with great radiance. Besides, she wears on her head Svarga as her head ornament and on her feet, Pātāla, the many hells strung as her leg ornaments. The sun and the moon are her ear ornaments, the Himalayas, her bones and Mahāmeru, her golden ornament and the Chakravāla Mountain, her girdle. Sometimes she will ride on the pea cock-vehicle of Subramaṇya (the son of Īśvara) inclining backwards and moving to and fro. Sometimes she will assume the head of the Rudras, having three eyes and the terrible moon on their head. Sometimes she will wear (on her person) as a Chowri the beautiful locks of the Goddess Parameśvarī or the writhing headless living trunks of the mighty and terrific Bairavas3; or she will carry as an alms-bowl the body of Devendra shining with a thousand eyes. Wearing (on her neck) the garland of skulls strung together by the bodily muscles, she will annihilate all the worlds in a manner terrific even unto herself and stay in the one shining Ākāśa. It is this terrific woman that at the time of the great Pralaya dances with joy with the garlands in her breast composed of the lotuses, namely the round heads of the all-pervading Viṣṇu.


All the objects hereto before described by me are not real. This dire mind arises only through Ahaṁkāra. All the visible objects are dead to me. I am not able to know the end (and aim) of these births. Therefore my mind falters and is afflicted through mental cares. The diseases of desires preponderate in all. It is rare to find those high-souled men who are free from the intense mist of desires. This my youth which is well-fitted for the acquisition of the higher spiritual ends is now vainly spent in fruitless endeavors.”


Association with the wise. “True love for great personages is at a great discount and hence the path of Mokṣa (liberation) is not known. So it is that it is rare to attain Ātma-Tattva. As the stainful mind (of man) has not the goodheartedness (or benevolence) to consider other’s happiness as its own, it is ever reeling. Again as this mind has not the complacency to rejoice at another’s virtue, there is no internal contentment. Then as it does not consider others pains as its own, there arises not compassion in it. Again if it is not indifferent to the vicious actions of others, baseness (of mind) however distant, will overtake it. And then cowardice will take the place of courage; else persons degraded into hell will again return to Svarga. It is very easy to contract association with the ignorant, but it is very hard to do so with the truly illuminated.


All thoughts of objects which appear but to perish produce bondage only. All the hosts of egos which are the result of their Vāsanās separate themselves (from their bodies) and go to heaven or hell. All the quarters will cease to exist in the absence of the sun which differentiates them. All countries visited get new appellations and change with times. The grandest mountains are scattered to dust. When Sat (the Reality) alone prevails (at the time of deluge), the three worlds of Bhū, Antarikṣa and Deva (or Svarga) perish, the oceans become parched up, stars are pulverized and scattered in space and the hosts of Devas and the Asuras disappear. Then Siddhas4 will be annihilated; Dhruva (polar star) will die; the Trinity (Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra) will be absorbed in the Supreme Reality; Time, the power of Īśvara, who through his Saṁkalpa produces creation, etc-, along with its law of ordination comes to an end; the all-full Ākāśa perishes; and even the ancient visible macrocosm becomes merged in the non-dual Parameśvara (the Supreme Lord) who is the liberator from the delusion of Māyā, the one Reality above the reach of speech and mind and the one Jñāna completely devoid of any stains.


People in this world die, ever being engaged in such frivolous thoughts as the following “This time is an auspicious one, this is the spring season (for doing work), what is the best time favorable for pilgrimage, relatives only grace an occasion, I cannot hereafter attain the like of the enjoyment I had at such and such a time and such like.” If after resolving within themselves to act out the lives of the Great Wise Ones, they do not utilize the day for this purpose, how can they expect to have sound sleep at nights? Having centered all their affections upon wife, children and wealth as if they were nectar and having identified them selves with them, they ever accumulate wealth for them. But if those much longed-for things disappear through some mishap, their sorrow knows no bounds. Having vanquished all enemies, some men come into the safe possession of immense wealth without any rivals; but lo ! Yama glides in from some covert place and puts an end to all their fond cherished hopes. All the illusions called wife, sons, etc., are like so many wayfarers who meet together in the course of a journey. Even Brahmās die in a Kalpa which is but a moment of time (compared to eternity). It is absurd on the part of our mind with its very limited perception of time to attempt to know anything about the extreme smallness or greatness of time. All men are subject to diverse pains only. The really learned are very few in number. All the manifold Karmas of the different castes or orders of life generate pains and are illusory. How then am I to live (amidst such pains)? Let me walk in that path in which I shall be freed from all actions, involving me in auspicious days, great wealth, etc., and become of the nature of thought itself. All things generating pains in this world such as dangers, wealth, birth, death and others perish in the instant of time stated in our books of computation. A brave warrior dies at the hands of a coward and a hundred persons die through one man’s hand. How men of cringing spirit exalt themselves to the status of lords ! Thus is the wheel of time gyrating without any limit.


Therefore in my mind severely scalded by the forest fire of these earthly stains, there will not arise the ever-increasing desire of wealth like the misconception of mirage in a desert. I do not long for a life of the pleasures of regality or for death which is inevitable to it. Therefore I shall rather be as I am now, without any pains to suffer from. But then, there is the despondency in my mind harrowing me which I have to free myself from. And if you through your well-trained mind cannot remove it now, when else will it be done? Even the most virulent of poisons, is no poison to me; but the sensual objects are truly so. The former defiles one body only, whereas the latter adulterates many bodies in successive rebirths.


Pleasures, pains, relatives, friends, life, death and others will in no way enthrall the mind of the (emancipated) Wise. To them, this passing life is like water drops sprinkled by the wind and the sensual enjoyments are like a lightning flash. Also the period of youth which is conducive to men’s liberation (if properly utilized) is only ephemeral. Having reflected well upon these things, quiescent sages like yourselves are ever engaged in deep Samādhi (deep meditation). The proclivities of my discriminative mind are also towards the identification of myself with; Kūṭastha (Brahman); but like a lady separated from her deaf lord, my mind will neither attain the certainty of Brahman nor incline towards material desires. Therefore in this dilemma of mine, please point out to me that ever resplendent and eternal state devoid of pains, frailties, Upādhis (or vehicles of matter), doubt or delusion. What is that eternal state unapproachable by pains wherein I shall I remain unscathed by the fire of sensual objects, though moving in them, like a ball of mercury exposed to fire? Like the ocean which is nothing else but its waters all over, Saṁsāra (mundane existence) rests; on words only, proceeding from the power of speech. How did the righteous Great Ones manage to avoid the pains of this world? Please; be gracious enough to import, to me that certainty of yours. Does not this supreme state exist? Is, there not this state (sthiti) of quiescence? If so, will not any one unlock to me the real mysteries? Even if they do, I shall not, through my efforts alone, be able to attain the quiescent state. For being devoid of doubt and Ahaṁkāra, I shall not perform any duties. Neither food nor sweet water nor fine clothes will I long for. I shall not perform the daily ceremonies of bathing, giving and others. My. mind will not incline towards wielding the regal scepter or towards pleasures or pains. Without love or hatred, I shall only preserve taciturnity and be desireless, statue-like.”


Thus did Rāma, with a face like the stainless cool full moon, a sweet accent and a mind now full blown through Ātmic discrimination, deliver himself before the assembly of the joyful Munis and then remained silent like a peacock ceasing its cry at the sight of the dark thunder clouds.



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  1. Son here refers to a disciple. []
  2. Prārabdha Karmas are those past actions, the results of which are being enjoyed by one during his present birth. []
  3. One of the terrific manifestations of Śiva. []
  4. Those persons who have developed psychical powers such as Anima, etc. []