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The Chapter Relating to the Longing after Liberation

(see also Introduction)


Summary. Of the four-fold qualifications required of a neophyte on the Path, the last one, viz., the longing after emancipation is treated of, in this chapter.


Vasiṣṭha said: “Now, Oh Rāma, hearken to what I am going to say. Through right endeavors in this life (of the world), all the ends of human aspiration can be achieved by following strictly the Śāstraic (or scientific) injunctions. Such endeavors are two-fold, one in the direction of Ātma Jñāna Śāstras (or the sciences relating to divine wisdom) and the other in the direction of (ordinary) Śāstras (treating of terrestrial wisdom). The former is, on account of Mokṣa and the latter which is not the true Śāstraic path leads to bondage. Those virtuous persons only will gain Mokṣa who from their early boyhood, train themselves up in the Ātma Jñāna (or spiritual) lore, associate themselves with the unflinching great men and develop benevolence and other good qualities.”


At which Rāghava exclaimed: “Being under the control of Vāsanās generated by me in my former births, I have not been making efforts in the direction of the right path. Oh Guru, what then am I to do?


On Vāsanās pure and impure. To which Vasiṣṭha replied thus: “Oh Rāma of marvelous qualities, it is through one’s efforts alone and none else that the Brahmic state can be mastered. Now the hosts of Vāsanās may be divided under two heads, viz., the pure and the impure. Of these two, those alone which were generated by him in his many lives will cling to him (in his future births). Should the pure ones cling to him, he will easily attain the immaculate Brahmic state through them; but in the case of the impure Vāsanās, pains will be generated. Thou shouldst, Oh Rāma, even through dint of painful efforts, avoid these impure ones. Through the two ordained paths of good and evil, the current of Vāsanās swells enormously. Mayest thou, after straining all thy nerves in the cultivation of Brahmavidyā (Brahmic science), liberate thyself from the impure Vāsanās and rest firmly in the (pure) Vāsanās appertaining to the beneficent Reality. Thou shouldst, through thy equal vision over all and thy own efforts, play fully check the lad of mind from getting into the impure Vāsanās and make it associate with the pure ones. If after annihilating the many impure ones which are the products of the many previous births, thou shouldst make the pure ones dawn now, then they will conduce to thy (future) efforts. Even should any doubt arise in thy mind as to what the pure ones will lead thee, thou shouldst always be cultivating them only, as any excess therein is not, in any way, injurious. Till thy mind is illumined by the Reality of Brahman, thou shouldst always be following the path of initiation into Brahman by the Gurus through the sacred sentences of the Vedas.”


“Mayest thou, Oh Rāma, remain immutably fixed in that state of direct cognition, after purging thy mind of its impure Vāsanās and making it, through the pure ones, attain the Ātmic State, free of all stains and pains. Destroy all thy illusory thoughts, so that they may not resurrect again. Develop extreme quiescence of mind and bliss within thyself. And then through thy intelligence freed from the longing after objects, thou shouldst, Oh Rāma, commingle thyself with Brahman, engaged in the investigation of the significance of the holy sentence, Tat tvam asi (That art Thou) and meditate upon such identity. Now listen to the utterances of Brahmā seated on the honey-dropping lotus flower.”


Vasiṣṭha’s own history. At which Rāghava enquired of Vasiṣṭha the cause of such utterances when Vasiṣṭha went on thus: “Out of Chidākāśa ((There are three states of Ākāśa or planes of matter as mentioned in this work, of which Chidākāśa or jñānākāśa a is the third.)) which is the endless, the all-pervading, the state of all and the illuminator of all objects, there arose Viṣṇu. Brahmā arose out of the lotus of his heart and evolved, as so many creations of his mind, this earth and other diverse objects. Now the author of the universe, Lord Brahmā, (in the course of its progress), found the many noble souls in Bhārata-Varṣa (the portion of land India) writhing under extreme pains and was moved to pity, like a father towards his afflicted son. Contemplating upon the liberation of these afflicted ones, he came to the conclusion that the cycle of births and deaths cannot be arrested by either Japas (uttering of Mantras) or Tapas (religious austerities) macerating the body or the many kinds of gifts or bathing in such holy waters as the Gaṅgā and others or any other means except through Ātma Jñāna. Therefore, through his stainless mind, he created us all, like himself, with a bowl and, in the hand, a rosary of beads. So was I born and having saluted him, I was shown a state on a petal on the northern side of the lotus in which he was gloriously seated. There he pronounced a curse on my mind that it should be enveloped by Māyā for one Muhūrta (or 48 minutes). There at my mind became stupefied and I began to play the woman like an illiterate and ignorant person devoid of all spiritual wisdom. Observing me thus, Brahmā questioned me as to the cause of my dire sorrow. To which I asked him how this Saṁsāra arose and how Mokṣa can be attained after freedom from existence. Upon which he blessed me with a true cognition of the higher state. As its result, I was in a non-fluctuating state, owing to my cognition of Jñāna Ātma Reality. Upon which Brahmā remarked to me thus: “It was we that enveloped thy intelligence by the base Māyā and then cleansed it of Māyā after having annihilated the latter. We have ordained that all souls shall be initiated by thee and attain Mokṣa. After the dawning of full Jñāna, thou shalt soon go to Bhārata-Varṣa in Jambū-dvīpa which is the land of all perishable Karmas (religious works). There shalt thou initiate men, having the four qualifications (of attaining liberation), into Ātma Jñāna; but shalt initiate lovers of (ritualistic) Karmas, in whom the conception of egoism has not vanished, into the due performance of such Karmas.”


“According to his mandates, I go to Bhārata-Varṣa and live in it so long as humanity exist there. I have no longing for any objects in this world. I shall ever be in the Suṣupti (dreamless sleeping) state and thus be able to overstep the limits of the painful mind, though engaged in the daily actions of the world. No actions of mine identify themselves with my Self. Oh valorous Rāma, those intelligent disciples alone will be knowers of Ātma who, after thoroughly discriminating between a Guru of all-full Jñāna and another of Ajñāna, find an asylum in a supreme immaculate Guru (viz., the former). Those only who understand the teachings of their Gurus (from all aspects) by an instantaneous apprehension of what they (the Gurus) mean and at what they drive, will see them realized (afterwards) as in an objective vision. The stainless Guru will never initiate into Tattva-jñāna those who are weak-willed and addicted to sensual desires.


The four means of Mokṣa. “If the four sentinels that wait at the gates of Mokṣa (liberation) viz., Śānti (peace or quiescence of mind), Vichāra (Ātmic enquiry), Saṁtoṣa (contentment of mind) and Sādhu-Saṅga (association with the wise) be befriended, then will there be any obstacle to the attainment of liberation? (No). Like the waiters, posted at the gates of the palace of a king protecting the earth, who allow ingress to the visitors without to see the king within, the above four sentinels allow admittance within into Mokṣa. Even if one of them be befriended, then he will introduce him (the newcomer) to the rest of his fellows. Therefore thou shouldst ceaselessly endeavour to hold fast to one at least, throwing aside all obstacles that come in the way and associate with him intimately. In order to put an end to the ephemeral rebirths, we should, above all, develop our (spiritual) intelligence through association with the wise, enquiry into Ātma Jñāna books and deep Samādhi (deep meditation). The venom of the pains of Saṁsāra will be dispelled (and the man bitten will be cured of the poison) through the Garuḍa-Mantra ((It is the belief in India that a person bitten by a serpent will be cured by Garuḍa Mantra; Garuḍa or eagle being the enemy of the serpent.))


called Jñāna. Then (with the development of Jñāna), even showers of arrows discharged at him will be (to him) like those of soft lily flowers; a bed of flames will resemble to him a soft cushioned bed redolent of rosewater besprinkled in it; and the chopping off of his head will be like Suṣupti (the dreamless sleeping state) wherein happiness is enjoyed. The ripping open of his stomach will be like the application of sandal over his body and the piercing in his breast of straight- pointed innumerable lancets will be like cool water sprinkled from a pump in the long summer season. The poisonous disease of sensual objects unfit to be associated with, can be avoided only by those who have developed the discriminative (spiritual) wisdom and not by any others.


It is not through a mere enquiry into Ātma Jñāna (knowledge) that Nirvāṇic bliss is attained. If one should conduct himself in such a way as to assimilate (as one), within him self, the knowledge derived from the three sources of his self- experience, the true significance of the holy sentences in the spiritual Books and the instructions of a wise Guru, then the inseparable Ātmic wisdom will rise in him. The mere study of rare Jñāna books by persons of petty intelligence will but breed Ajñāna in their minds. Books treating of devotion and the performance of rituals will generate less Ajñāna than the study of Jñāna books (unaccompanied by the other two above mentioned). And it should be remembered that it is far better to lead a mendicant’s life by begging for food at the doors of even outcastes with a bowl in hand than to pass a life of Ajñāna. Immense wealth, friends, relatives, Benares and other sacred places, bathing in the Gaṅgā and other waters, the hermitage of Munis, religious austerities afflicting the body and other like things are not the sure means of ever reaching the higher state; but it is through the mind’s efforts that the immaculate and supreme state can be attained.”


Śānti. “Now listen, Oh Rāma, to the ineffaceable characteristics of the four sentinels placed at the gate of Mokṣa. If the supreme “patience sweet that naught can ruffle” be mastered, then all desires and sorrow will fly like gloom before the rising sun. Being confided in (and loved), like a mother, by the virtuous as well as the vicious, such persons of sweet patience will never be ruffled in mind, whether they get nectar to drink and enjoy the bliss of Lakṣmī residing in the luxuriant lotus flower, or are engaged in great wars, entailing excessive carnage, or whether they are born or dead. They never rejoice or grieve through the enjoyment of pleasures or pains arising from sensual objects. These pure men of sweet patience will shine aloft far higher than such persons as men of mere ripe intelligence, performers of sacrifices, men well versed in all departments of knowledge, puissant kings, virtuous men and others (not possessing this one attribute). Great men having quaffed this ambrosia of sweet patience which is rare for all intelligent men who long after it, have attained the glorious Mokṣa. Mayest thou too, Oh Rāma, act in this virtuous path.


Ātma Vichāraṇa. “If along with this, thou shouldst develop fully Ātmic enquiry through thy subtle pure intelligence after a study of the holy Śāstras, then such an incomparable intelligence will reach the Supreme state. It is this enquiry alone that enables one to differentiate causes from effects and constitutes the rare remedy for the cure of the disease of rebirths. Having cleared oneself of all doubts through this discriminative power which gets not blurred even in the midst of the intense darkness (of ignorance) shines with undiminished luster even in the midst of any light and through which all things are visible, one should always be engaged, even when threatened by dangers, in the enquiry of whence am I? Whence came this universe of Saṁsāra? And of whom is this universe an attribute? Such an enquiry averts the dangerous disease called the gloom of Ajñāna.


Saṁtoṣa. “Now to noble contentment. It is the bliss arising from the enjoyment of objects, good or bad, without any longing or aversion and the non-grief (or indifference) shown towards objects not obtained. Should this incomparable ambrosia of contentment become permanently settled in one, then all enjoyment of objects will become a poison to him. Then the mind which was immersed in sensual objects raises up its eyes towards Ātmic wisdom and sees not a distorted image as in a stained glass. Such a person of true contentment will be revered by the great Tapasvins and the chief of men.”


Sādhu Saṅgha. “To all those who wish to master this world of Māyā, the association with the wise is the unfailing means. Like the Gaṅgā which yields its fruits to those who bathe in its cool waters, the association with the wise expands the poor intellect of men, transmutes the accidents arising out of material objects into a real wealth (for progress) and converts a mind, which is miserable amidst any objects, into one which sees happiness everywhere. To such, neither sacrificial fires, nor Tapas, nor bounteous gifts nor holy waters are indispensable. One should, at any cost, long to approach those great personages replete with wisdom who are friendly to all, relieving them from bondage and form the ferry to cross the ocean of rebirths.


These are the four-fold means for getting rid of this oppressive Saṁsāra. Those who have intimately befriended these four have crossed the ocean of Saṁsāra. O Rāma of sweet patience and other qualities, please hearken to the stories (narrated in this book) which will relieve thy pining mind of its delusion. Ātma Jñāna, the end of all Vedas, will dawn of itself in one who probes into their underlying meaning without caring for their (surface) attributes or meaning. All delusions, such as love and hatred, etc., will vanish; the mind will become as pellucid as the waters of a pool in the autumnal season. Such persons of adamantine armor will never be pierced by the arrows of pains, such as poverty and others.


The fruits of an enquiry without desires.-” A mind engaged in (Ātmic) enquiry will never be afflicted by the awe-inspiring Māyā and will maintain the equilibrium of a waveless ocean. All persons of excessive enquiry will acquire the depth of the unfathomable ocean, the stability of Mahāmeru and the coolness of the noble moon. The virtuous who tread the path of Ātma Jñāna will take delight only in Samādhi and other Karmas congenial to their pursuits, like a spotless and chaste dame contemplating, in her harem, upon her lord as God and rejoicing in such thought.


The characteristics of a Jīvanmukta. Then the above- said rare Jīvanmukti state will gradually ripen in him who is desireless and in whose eyes there is nothing supernatural. His state is indescribable and yet he will move in the world like anybody else. His mind will not be bound by any longings after Karmas. He will be indifferent to joy or pains arising from good or bad results. He will preserve a pleasant position in the happy enjoyment of whatever he obtains. He will not in the least concern himself with the enjoyments foreign to the path of the wise. He will ever be engaged in the ceaseless enquiry into the path of liberation which arises through interrogating the wise without transgressing their words in order to enjoy bliss uninterruptedly and be oblivious of this body. Having attained Ātma Jñāna, he will not be re born and subject himself to the pangs of delivery from his mother’s womb. Those sinful men whose minds are reeling amidst sensual pleasures, being led away by them, can truly be said to be the mere vermin generated out of the offal in their mother’s womb. In the absence of the company of those great men of supreme intelligence, one should be per forming those actions which fetch him food gotten through right-earned and well-spent wealth. So long as he gets quiescence in his stainless Ātma and the certain (mental) quiescence of the Turya (4th) state dawns in him, he should ever be engaged in Ātmic enquiry through a study of Ātma Jñāna books, quiescence of mind, right conduct, acuteness of intellect and association with the wise. How can this certain and stainless Turya state, arising through Ātmic enquiry, be described in words?


Turya State. “A person who gets quiescence in this Turya state devoid of all (thoughts) and thus crosses the ocean of Saṁsāra, will attain the state of Mokṣa. Such a one will never be affected by anything, whether he is in a state of Jīva or Śiva, devoid of the Jīva state, whether he moves in a family or is a solitary recluse, whether he is bound by the delusions of Śrutis and Smṛtis or not, or whether he per forms all actions or not. He will then be in the one Reality of Ātma as in one vast ocean without (any intercepting object as) the Himālayas.


The proper path of enquiry. “Thou mayest place thy credence in the words of even a child, if they are consistent with the Śrutis, Guru’s words and thy self-experience. Otherwise thou shouldst reject as straw the utterances of even Brahmā himself. Know also that the many analogies given out, in order that Brahmā Jñāna may arise in thee, are for the purpose of exemplifying the One Principle. The ignorant assert that the formless and real Jñāna is subject to no analogy involving form and name (and hence should not be made the subject of enquiry); but such a mischievous argument will only be subversive of the good results of the intellectual acumen arising from Jñāna enquiry. Therefore, Oh Rāma, thou shouldst not let thy mind take that groove of thought.”


On the development of Jñāna. “The sound of Ātma Jñāna will vibrate only on the strings of Śānti and other qualities. Jñāna and the above four good qualities shine mutually in best relief only in juxtaposition. Both these flourish well like a tank and the lotuses growing in it. Should both these be developed pari-passu, then the result will be the attainment of Brahman; but if separately, no results will accrue. A hearing of the (following) real stories (and an acting up to them), will confer, on one, the virtues of true renunciation, imperishable wealth, eternal bliss, the glorification by the wise and a happy life. Moreover a mind illumined thereby, will attain Mokṣa of immutable bliss.”