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Summary. After having shown that the mind manifests itself as the external world in the shape of pains or pleasures, the author now illustrates the fact that the mind subjectively is consciousness while objectively it is this universe.


“The bliss enjoyed by the adulterous couple in the previous story was given out for the purpose of giving a faint idea of Brahmic bliss. All persons have two bodies, a subtle one suitable to the mind and a gross one. The mind performs all actions very speedily in this mental body and fluctuates thereby. But the gross body knows not anything and is inert.”


At these words of Vasiṣṭha, Rāma asked to be enlightened as to the nature of this inert and formless body of the mind. To which, Muni Vasiṣṭha of the nature of Jñāna replied thus, in the words of Brahmā: “The form which the endless Ātma of all potencies assumes through Saṁkalpa is Manas.


All conceptions associated with actions arising out of that (real)state which is intermediate between the powerful Sat and Asat are nothing but the forms of the mind. No matter whence that mind proceeds or what form it manifests itself with, if it is made to tread the path leading to Mokṣa or to merge into Ātma, then it will be conducive to its progress.


Now hearken to an archaic story related by Brahmā of old. There was a great forest of dire illusion, terrific to be hold and replete with dire pains. A fractional part of its utter most limit measured many myriads of Yojanas.1 In that forest lived a Puruṣa (personage) with eyes and hands untold. He had a Chitta (mind) which flitted everywhere. He had the all-distending form of Ākāśa. Armed with many carved sticks of great speed on his person, he scourged himself with them, and then smarting under those pains and setting up a vociferous yell, he would run in all directions without having any mastery over himself. Dashing himself against all objects in intense gloom, he would precipitate himself down the deep and desolate well of terrific sins and there would be eking out a life of misery. Then emerging out of that well, he would, as before, lash his body and scream out, whirling ever on his heels. In his impetuous haste, he would entangle himself in a forest of trees full of long brambles and being perforated all throughout the body, would flutter like the moth in a flame. Then running to a fine plantain garden, he would run to the other extreme of intense exultation. Again and again would he recur from this pleasurable garden to the previous thorny forest and thence into the well and back again, finding pleasure in none.


Seeing him reel thus giddily many times, we (Brahmā) caught him under our grip to free him from all fears and questioned him thus: ‘Who art thou that thus art groaning under pains? what art thou about here? and what is thy intention?’


To which that person replied thus ‘All persons having the concept of “I” (and other differences) are non-existent to me. I have not been able to find any actions for me to per form in this world. I am quite pained by the heterogeneous differentiations set up by thee. Thou art my enemy, though paltry. It is only through thee, that I have identified myself with the pains and pleasures, I have been suffering from.’ Having said so, he cast a survey over his body. His heart began to melt and he cried aloud with a thunder like sound. Desisting, in a moment, from his loud wails, he again cast his eyes over his beautiful form and laughed aloud for a long time, as if to burst open his belly. Then, in my very presence, he freed himself from the many fat bodies he had assumed (in the many births).


Though the force of dire destiny, another person was born in another spot. Like the former person, he appeared before us in a plight similar to the other and scourged him self, when I consoled him as previously. Then this wayfarer passed along his path and gave up that body. Again did he come in another guise and in this life of his, he fell into that deep unfrequented well. We did not see him emerge out of that well for a long time. Then there appeared on the stage of this ever perturbed forest (this person as) another who, though he was greatly checked in his path and shown the road to true knowledge by us, spurned our advice and still persisted in his obstinate course of lashing himself as he went along. Even now do such ferocious persons exist writhing under great pains and dwelling in such dire forests replete with sharp-pointed thorns and enveloped in such a thick gloom as to instill fear into all hearts. But wise men, even should they live in the midst of a fiery burnt-up forest, will regale and rejoice in it as in a cool flower garden wafting sweet odors.”


Here Rāma asked Ṛṣi Vasiṣṭha to give the underlying meaning of this story. At which the great Muni thus continued: “(i) The interminable forest referred to in the story is nothing but this Saṁsāra (mundane existence) which is devoid of beginning, middle or end, is associated with Māyā (or is illusory) and is lofty, dire and replete with excessive Vikalpas. (2) The Puruṣa (personage) residing in this forest of the universe filled with the vapor of fiery ire stands for the mind whirling with pains. (3) He who checked the impetuous passage of the mind represents the incomparable discrimination. (4) The mind attained through its enemy of discrimination the quiescent state of Parabrahm. (5) The mind at first turned its back upon discrimination and hence entan gled itself in the folds of Vāsanās of objects. (6) The well into which the egos sink after macerating their bodies is Naraka (hell); (7) but the plantain garden symbolises Svarga-loka (or Devachan) full of enjoyments. (8) The forest of trees abounding with thorns is this Bhūloka (earth) filled with the two sexes of beings of excessive passion. (9) Then the fact of that personage who, after toppling down into the well, was not able to rise from it for a long time and then (in another incarnation) entered the city, stands for the mind not yet freed from its sins. (10) The long-pointed thorns represent the males and females of this world full of passions. (11) The words ‘Thou art my enemy though paltry’ and ‘It is only through thee that I have identified myself with the pains and pleasures, I have been suffering from’ are the outbursts of the mind in its last gasp of death through discrimination. (12) The cry set up is when the desires are sought to be annihilated. (13) The bewailings and the invocation for aid are through the pains which the mind with half-developed Jñāna feels when it relinquishes all desires. (14) The final cool joy and the laugh consequent upon it, is the bliss arising from the mind merging into the stainless Jñāna. (15) And the real bliss is that one which arises when the mind, divested of all desires through the eternal Jina, destroys its subtle form. (16) The bridling of the mind through excessive power, refers to the concentration of the same through initiation into Jñāna. (17) The scourging of the body refers to the pains created through the excessive misconceptions of the mind. (18). The peregrination of the personage over a vast field is the roving over the world, unconscious of the Reality that can be attained only through the mastery of the perishable Vāsanās. Hence it is that all the Saṁkalpas and Vāsanās, which a man generates, enmesh him as in a net. All become subject to bondage through their own Saṁkalpas and Vāsanās like a silk-worm in its cocoon. Having delved into your mind through your stainless mind and thoroughly sifted it, may you destroy your stainful mind.” So said the illuminated Vasiṣṭha to Rāma of clear mind.


  1. Yojanas are reckoned by some to be 10 miles; by others, 7 or 8 miles. []