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The Chapter on Quiescence


From: Introduction:

This is the section which deals with the quiescence of the mind after its sport in the universe. This Prakaraṇa rejoices in nine stories wherein it is stated that the quiescence of mind can be obtained only after many births. To develop this state, many means are given out, such as the Lord’s grace through Bhakti or devotion, the direct knowledge of Māyā, Yoga, Ātma-vichāra or Ātmic enquiry, and Chitta- Nirodha or the control of mind, Prāṇayāma, etc. King Janaka sees all as Chidānanda and reaches a higher state. Puṇya and Pāvana reach the goal after the lapse of many births. Bali of the Trivikrama Avatāra did his actions in a Niṣkāma manner without reference to their fruits. Prahlāda was ever worshipping the lotus feet of Īśvara. Gādhi, the father of Viśvāmitra had a direct perception of Māyā and thence of God, since the Absolute cannot be seen without overcoming Māyā. Ātma-vichāra or Ātmic enquiry was the ceaseless means adopted by Uddālaka and Suraghu. Bhāsa and Vilāsa put an end to all their pains through the same course. Vīthahavya resorted to Prāṇayāma or the control of breath for the subjugation of his mind.


The story of Gādhi is worthy of being reproduced here. Having been daily engaged in meditation in water, he one day wished to know the nature of Māyā and was blessed by Viṣṇu, the Higher Self, here represented as a dark blue cloud with the boon of seeing Māyā directly and of overcoming it. Some days after, as he was passing to the waters of a tank, his mind recurred to the boon of Viṣṇu; and when he stepped into the tank, he was entranced and vividly remembered, in his normal state, all the lives he had led during his Samādhi, as a Brahmin and as a Chaṇḍāla (out-caste). Not knowing the reason why these visions arose, he returned home where he met with a guest who uttered some words which went to prove that his dream in the tank was a reality. So in order to verify the same, he went to the many places pointed out by the guest and found all the events of his dream realized as an actuality in the waking state. This story illustrates the fact that the many lives we are going through in our present state of Ajñāna are like so many dream lives which, though they may appear as true like our waking states, are yet not so, when a high stage of spiritual development arises. In the story of Vīthahavya with which this Prakaraṇa winds up, the different stages of his development on the uttering of the sacred word, Prāṇava, are described. To produce a control of the mind, two things are essential, Prāṇa-Nirodha and Saṅga-Tyāga, viz., the control of Prāṇa and renunciation of Saṅga or association. By the latter is meant not disassociation with the world, but only with the longing after, or the attraction towards, the objects of the world. By Prāṇa-Nirodha, the author expressly states that he does not mean it in the Haṭha-Yogic form but only in the Rāja-Yogic way.