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Summary. In this story it is sought to show that spiritual experience arises after many births only and that with great difficulty.


“The non-dual Ātma-jñāna will, if developed, cause to perish Ajñāna which is the cause of the growth and increase of the poisonous plant called Moha (delusion) and identifies the ‘I’ with the body and others, the seat of the sovereign sway of the serpent of pains. Those who are acute enough to always discern the unreality of this universe will, like king Janaka, cognize through their subtle intelligence the non- dual Paramārtha (Reality) at the proper time. But such cognition will not take place through wealth, men, (religious) actions or celestials. Those who are afraid of being born over and over, should take refuge in their own efforts alone. If with every day the base conception of the differentiation of ‘he’, ‘I’, etc., be gradually destroyed, then the expansive Jñāna which is all this universe will arise stainlessly. With true discrimination arising more and more in the mind, it will be able to cognize its own Ātma-jñāna.


When attraction and repulsion (towards objects) become of the nature of the mind (and commingle with it), it alone is bondage and nothing else. Having avoided all desires and pains arising through the ripened love and hatred towards objects, may you be immovable, devoid of attraction or repulsion towards them.


The above-mentioned qualities will find their asylum, unaccompanied by any pains in those wise persons free from the longing after release or non-release who are without delusion, non-permanency, Ajñāna, pains, actions to be done or omitted, confusion, Vikalpa, fear, contraction (of mind), enmity, blemish, baseness, direness or deceptive words.


The great Vāsanās are the net composed of the string of powerful thoughts to catch the fishes of delusion in the ocean of existence. Having cut asunder, with the sword of Jñāna, the net of Vāsanās, may you be with your mind as still as the clouds unaffected by the winds. After having destroyed the impure mind through your pure mind like a tree felled by an axe, may you be firmly seated in the supreme Paramapada (supreme state).


Having firmly convinced yourself of the illusory character of the worldly actions, such as going and returning, waking and sleeping, standing and sitting, etc., abandon entirely all the desires of your heart. The ever-fluctuating mind goes after Jñāna through its natural Vāsanās, like a cat following a tiger through the flavor of its flesh. Again just as through the intrepidity of a lion a cat feeds itself on what it gets, so also the follower of the mind gets hold of the sensual objects through its intelligence. If the mind is thus engaged in the visible objects, it will never be destroyed. Hence there arises no freedom from bondage. But if the visible objects are removed, then destruction of the mind will ensue, and thereby Nirvāṇa.


May you rest as firm rooted as Mahāmeru without the conception of the difference of ‘I’ and these (objects). May you, after rendering your mind as immaculate as the stainless Ākāśa, unintermittingly be in the cognition of your Ātmic Reality, the Jñāna which shines above in the midst of the knower and the known that are, from the standpoint of the beneficent mind, respectively Ātma and the universe. May you be of the nature of the one Reality after having enquired fully into the one Bliss which shines in the midst of the blissful object and enjoyer, having rid yourself of both these.


May you without desires cling to and rest in ‘That,’ which ever is, in the midst of the enjoyer and the enjoyed.


It is indeed impossible, for persons beset with the corroding desires, to continue their life in this world; but not so persons bound by a mere cord. Therefore you should cut asunder the bond of desires through the destruction of Saṁkalpa. Having severed the idea of ‘I’ with the sword of ‘non-I’, may you, Oh Rāma, contemplate upon Ātma and reach Mokṣa devoid of the seven births and in a state of fearlessness.”


At these words of Vasiṣṭha, Rāma remarked thus: “Thou wert pleased to say that I should destroy the desires arising from the ideation of ‘I’ in actions pursued. These words, when I ponder over them, are too deep for me. I can rather destroy this body, the causer than the Ahankaric con ception. With the annihilation of ‘I’, the body will perish like a tree felled to its root.” Vasiṣṭha thereupon replied “Men versed in the sacred lore state that there are two paths by which the Ahaṁkāric Vāsanās can be destroyed. Instead of thinking with certainty as we do now we live for objects or the objects live for us; or in the absence of these invaluable objects, the ‘I’ does not exist or these objects do not exist in the absence of ‘I’, one should, through pure enquiry, differentiate himself (as separate) from the objects, with the idea the ‘I’ does not belong to the objects or the objects do not belong to the ‘I’; and his mind should give up all Vāsanās with no faltering certitude and should perform all things, as if in sport. This is what is called jñeya-Tyāga (or the renunciation of the known), Oh Rāma showering grace like clouds. Then having destroyed the Vāsanās and looking with an equal vision over all, if one should abandon this burden of the body, then such an extinction of Vāsanās constitutes the stainless jñeya-tyāga (or the renunciation of the known). Those only are the wise who have given up all the Vāsanās which have concreted themselves into the tangible shape of the body of Ahaṁkāra.


Those sturdy persons who come under the first category are called Jīvanmuktas; while those who come, under the second heading, after destroying to the root all Vāsanās and actions and rendering their mind completely quiescent, are called Videhamuktas. Oh victorious Rāma, these two kinds of renunciation resemble one another. They pertain to Jīvanmuktas and Videhamuktas respectively. They lead one to Brahman, free him from the trammels of pains and enable him to attain Mokṣa.


Those only whose minds do neither sink nor float amidst the pleasures or pains by which they are surrounded are Jīvanmuktas. Those whose minds have not experienced (or are not affected in this life by) exultation, fear, anger, poverty, stains or pains which arise in them through their previous destiny, are Jīvanmuktas. Those who are ever in a dreamy state of abstraction with a mind rendered, while performing actions, as quiescent as in Suṣupti and whose company is ever courted after by the wise, are fit to be termed Jīvanmuktas.


When the attraction towards external objects ceases, then there yet remains the internal craving which is called tṛṣṇa (thirst).


But when the attraction towards objects external as well as internal ceases without any veil, then it is termed Mukta (freed) tṛṣṇa. The mere thought of longing that such and such a thing should arise to oneself is Tṛṣṇa. It is this strong golden chain of Tṛṣṇa that you should unshackle yourself from, without the least hindrance. May you be in that immaculate and transcendent Ātma-jñāna Reality, after allowing all conceptions of yea or nay not to transcend their limits, becoming of full mind freed from all desires and giving up completely all desires for liberation or bondage as well as pleasures and pains.


May you, Oh Rāma, be immovable like an ocean without foams or waves. Listen attentively to what I am now going to give out to you. In the case of the stainless enquirers after Ātma, there are four kinds of certitudes. The first kind is that where the ‘I’ identifies itself with this body from head to foot and thinks itself to be no other than the one generated by the parent. As this idea is not real, this certitude leads to dire bondage. The second kind of certitude arises when the ‘I’ finds itself to be above and other than all (gross) objects and to be more subtle than the tail end of paddy. This certitude when attained leads to Mokṣa and arises in the case of the wise. The direct cognition within, without doubt, that all the universes are no other than the modes or aspects of ‘I’ and that the ‘I’ is indestructible is the third kind of certitude. This is the Mokṣa lacking nothing. The fourth kind of certitude arises when the perishable universe and the knower are cognized to be unreal and all the ‘I’s ever are, like the Ākāśa pervading everywhere. This is the incomparable and supreme Mokṣa. Of these, the first kind of certitude is ever associated with bondage generating Tṛṣṇa. But the other three being associated with the emancipated and pure Tṛṣṇa, is to be found in Jīvanmuktas only. Of these, if one is impressed with the incomparable certitude that all things are no other than the ‘I’ then the mind will never be affected by pleasures or pains. (All being one), the Void, Prakṛti, Māyā, Brahmā, the Light of Chit, Intelligence, the stainless Puruṣa, Ātma, Īśa (Lord) and Īśvara, all these can be termed Parabrahm it self. It is Brahmic Śakti (potency) that sporting in the creation of this universe brings about the differentiations of the numberless divisions in it. This incomparable Śakti residing in the non-dual Brahman exists through the impartite nature in it and then flourishes (manifold). Therefore, Oh Rāma, banish from your mind all thoughts of differentiations of ‘I’ or ‘thou,’ birth or death, or pleasures or pains in objects or actions. Those persons who, being above all, concentrate their attention upon the supreme state with a cool mind unaffected by pleasures or pains will never subject them selves to the trammels of rebirths. Those persons following the footsteps of the ancients who show the same leniency and mercy towards both their friends of virtuous deeds and their enemies of vicious deeds will never render themselves liable to the trammels of rebirths. Such persons will never think of nobility or lowness; will never have love or hatred; will not have actions to do or not to do; will not associate themselves with rebirth. Shining with divine effulgence, they will speak lovingly to all. Having known the true properties of all objects, they will be ignorant of rebirth.


Therefore, Oh Rāma, ever sport in this world attaining the Ātmic Reality in a state of Jīvanmukti when the Dhyeya Vāsanās are given up and the illuminated vision takes place. Dally, Oh Rāma, in this world as you wish, acting up to the external observances of life while internally you are Chidākāśa itself, devoid of these false desires, attractions of life and Vāsanās. Amuse yourself, Oh Rāma, in this world creating commencement (or end) only in the external actions of the , but not in the solitary mind, thus seeming to perform actions in the world while they are not performed within. Amuse yourself, Oh Rāma, in this world according to your free will, after having differentiated ‘I’ from the body and destroyed thereby all Ahaṁkāric ideas, and rendered the mind as immaculate as Ākāśa without stains and the diverse characteristics. Amuse yourself freely Oh Rāma, in this world with perfect liberality of spirit without undergoing the difficult observances of life, but yet trying to understand the rationale of all things by following the easy ones. Oh Rāma, amuse yourself ever in this world with acute intelligence and non-desires, full within, but seeming to be hot and impetuous without, as if prompted by Karma in the performance of actions while you are cool within.


Do not in the least contemplate, Oh Rāma, upon such un-realities of distinctions as friend or foe, thou or I. Such is the case with those only who, having the paltry impure mind, are engaged in fruitless endeavors. But to the wise, this whole world is their inseparable kindred. It is only through the delusions of birth that persons consider one as their friend and another as their enemy. Thus is man’s delusion which rejoices every moment (with this or that). But through true vision, all the universes become, at the same time, his friend and enemy.


To illustrate this experience, I shall relate an ancient story which thou shalt hear. In days of old, there lived on the banks of the Gaṅgā two persons, sons of a Ṛṣi named Dīrghatapas (of long continued Tapas). These two sons who went by the names, Puṇya (Virtue) and Pāvana (Purity), abode by the side of the incomparable Mahendra mountains and were well versed in the four vedas, performing great Tapas. Whilst they were performing Tapas on the banks of the Gaṅgā along with their father, the virtuous personage Puṇya attained Jñāna in course of time through the performance of actions, not being actuated by the fruits thereof. But his brother Pāvana having attained but partial Jñāna was fluctuating in his mind like a rocking cradle, without true Jñāna and with excessive ignorance, his mind rolling everywhere. The father of great Tapas after giving up all desires for sensual objects, became indifferent to the love of mundane existence and abandoned, on the hills by the side of the Gaṅgā, his body which formed a nest for the birds of Ahaṁkāric actions to nestle in. Like a carrier who, bearing a burden, takes it to a certain destination, he (the father), being free to unshackle himself from his body on account of the absence of desires, reached Brahmic bliss which is like the fragrance of flowers permeating the whole atmosphere above.


As soon as the body of this Sāttvic Muni who had reached his Ātmic Reality which is actionless, without the pains of the universe and state of the dawning of the ancient Jñāna, expired, his consort at once breathed her last like a beetle deserting a lotus flower. The eldest son Puṇya, finding dead both parents who were like eyes unto him, began to devise measures for the performance of obsequies in accordance with the established usage, while his brother Pāvana began to reel in the ocean of sorrow, exclaiming: ‘Oh my dear mother, Oh my dear father, how shall I bear this burden of grief? where shall I go?’ Having grown quite fidgetty and unsettled like a person treading the flames, he roved about all throughout the forest. He was not able to control his grief even in the presence of his calm brother and became quite enfeebled in mind. But the eldest brother who was not even a little dispirited, being quite convinced that it is but natural for even lightning-like (subtle) bodies to fade away, performed all the funeral rites without the least flurry.


After all the Vedic rites were duly conducted, Puṇya of full Jñāna addressed his brother who was yet yelling aloud with his mouth wide open, in the following manner: ‘How is it, my boy, you have not as yet overcome your grief which harrows you quite. Now hearken to my description of the transcendent state, which our father and mother have secured for themselves. It can be called that stainless Mokṣa which is incapable of either repletion or depletion, which is its own place and which is its own Self, It is the goal to which all tend. It is the Tāttvic Reality of all Jñānis. Is it wise, my brother, for you to wail at your parents attaining their own state? Is there any limit to the number of fathers and mothers or of wives and sons that you had in the many incarnations you underwent previously like the countless pitfals in a river-bed. One may rather count the number of fruits yielded by the trees of a vast forest in the fruit-bearing season than the many relatives which one had during his previous innumerable births. And if we begin to bewail on their behalf, do you think, brother, a Kalpa will suffice for exhausting our grief on that score? The torrent of mirage-waters (undulatory waves) meandering in the season called Vāsanās over the valley of mirage which is the formless Ajñāna, sweeps along its current the hills of pleasures and pains and dashes without limit or differences. This universe which has arisen in the form of wife and other relatives, foes and kindred love and hatred, nobleness and lowness as well as other pairs, exists and expands by virtue of its name (and form) only and none else. Think of one as a good friend of yours and there the thing is created as a reality. Think of him as your foe and then also the mind perfects the thought into an actuality. Like the properties of the murderous poison or the rejuvenating nectar which accomplish their desired ends, so also if once the bondage-giving thoughts are completely destroyed by one, then they will never resurrect from their grave. How can we attribute enmity or friendship to the intelligence in diverse forms arising from the one Ātma? If we begin to enquire, as to who are in the tabernacle (of body) which is nothing but a network of bones filled with flesh, blood and skin and which, though non-existent, deludes us with its existence as real, then what remains is this ‘I’. Then contemplating still further with the mind, we find through the stainless Brahmic Vision gradually developed, that neither you nor I nor Puṇya nor Pāvana nor anyone else exists, but the one Jñāna which then shines alone. In the many dvīpas (islands) long passed out of existence, the births you under went are incalculable. In the great dvīpa called Jambū, you were born as a cuckoo, as beasts, clouds, hills, trees, reptiles and birds; the series of births you had in them and in each of those sub-divisions are indeed indescribable. Such being the case, why do you not now grieve over the deaths of those who were related to you in those many incarnations? Nay this is not all. Listen again to the repeated births you had in other countries. In the countries of Kosala, Dāśarṇa, Pauṅdra, Gurjara, Tuṣāra, Koṅkaṇas, Bosala, Kekaya and Sālva, you were born as king, monkey, vermin, stag, water-crow, birds, serpent, ass and others. Now then why do you not bewail over the death of those departed relatives also whom you created then through your Vāsanās? Instead of counting the parents of many individuals born on this earth, we may rather reckon the number of dried leaves withering from a large forest tree which rears its head aloft in the skies. Therefore there are no grounds for you, my boy, to grieve. Without a faltering heart may you, my boy, attain without any obstacles your Ātmic Reality which is without existence or non-existence, birth or death and cognize it firmly through your mind. Having freed yourself from all pains and ajñāna, may you cognize, through your intelligence, your Ātmic Reality perse. In that spiritual introvision, many kinds of desires will spring to retard your progress. Free yourself from their trammels, make the lotus of your heart as pure as possible and cognise through your (higher) mind your own Reality. Then all illusions will vanish completely and you, my brother, will attain Nirvāṇic Bliss.” So said Vasiṣṭha to Śrī Rāma.