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LAGHU YOGA-VĀSIṢṬHA Chapter 5   UPAŚĀNTI PRAKARAṆA

5.9    THE STORY OF VĪTAHAVYA

 

Summary. In this story it is sought to show that mental abnegation and control of Prāṇa are the two requisites for the control of the mind, which control leads to its quiescence.

 

In course of time, as the above two personages were living together engaged in enquiries into their respective experiences within themselves, the true Jñāna which brings about Kaivalya happiness dawned directly in them. There is no other path to destroy the dire rebirth of the pain-giving mind bound by the cord of desires than Jñāna. A stainless mind without attractions, though engaged in the worldly acts, will never be bound thereby. A mind with attractions though engaged in innumerable Tapas will ever be in bondage. A Jīva which without internal craving (or attractions) is prone to good actions alone, will never have the characteristics of actor and enjoyer, whether it performs external actions or not.

 

At this, Śrī Rāma asked thus: “What is meant by attraction (or association)? What is that attraction which leads to Mokṣa? And what to bondage? How is this bondage to be annihilated?” To which Vasiṣṭha replied thus: “Belief in (the permanency of) the body without discriminating between the body and its presider and contemplating upon the body alone is what is meant by attraction. Such a course leads to bondage. The conception that all is Ātmic Reality and that there is nothing for one to love or hate (in this world) is non-attraction. Such a non-attraction arises in the body of those Jīvanmuktas who have been freed from all pains. That state of non-attraction of the mind when neither I nor any other self exists for it and when, at its will, it enjoys or does not enjoy the pleasures of the world, should be known as the path leading to Mokṣa. Such persons will court neither actions nor inactions; abdicating all fruits of actions, they do not care which of the above two courses they will adopt. The wise say that these are persons without attractions. Know also that there is no attraction in one, if he renounces all fruits of actions through the endeavors of the mind and not through the (abdication of the) Karmas themselves. Through it, all the stains of the ever-growing actions will cease and Mokṣa will be gained. It is through this attraction that the long chain of births as worms, bees, etc., has been undergone, disappearing at every stage like bubbles on the surface of the ocean.

 

Attraction is two-fold. One is called Vandhya (fruitless) and the other is called Avandhya (fruitful). The former pertains to the ignorant while the latter is the ornament of all those who have cognized the Ātma-tattva. It is this latter which generates Ātma-jñāna and discrimination and through them arrests rebirths which gradually arose in long eons of time. The former brings on the ever-recurrent cycles of existence in this world through the absence of Jñāna and the devotion to worldly objects. Know, my son, clearly the true nature of the two kinds of attractions. The red-eyed Viṣṇu, wearing discus and conch, protects through his grace all the universes without in the least being disconcerted by the manifold actions done by him through his Avandhya attraction. Similarly are Siddhas of true Jñāna, the protectors of this earth, by sporting on this earth through the above attraction. The mind, mistaking things bad for good and attracted by the glossy enjoyments, wallows in them, like a vulture preying upon a carrion. To those who are immersed in the evils of Vandhya attractions, all the hells are their dwelling places. With this fuel of Vandhya attractions, they feed the flames therein. But when the Jñāna-vision of one is diverted from the visible objects of Māyā and the mind is divested of all its attractions towards material desires, then the Jīvanmukti state is attained.

 

Now hear the true nature of the mind of a Jīvanmukta who will be always in different Avasthās (states), who will be in the minds of all creatures and who will perform all actions. Without in the least attaching themselves to actions, thoughts, objects, Ākāśa, ups and downs, quarters, external enjoyments, the five organs, the internal Prāṇas, head, face, tongue, eyes, nose, brow, Ahaṁkāra, Jīva, the Ākāśa of the heart, the waking state, the dreaming state, dreamless slumber, the five colors beginning with white, the diversified colors, fluctuation or steadiness, beginning, middle, or end, proximity or distance, the limbs of the body, the many substances, Ātman, the Tanmātras (rudimentary properties) beginning with sound, bliss, going and returning and the attributes of time, the mind of a Jīvanmukta will be quiescent in Jñāna and enjoy Brahmic bliss in a state of Vairāgya, though associating with the visible objects. Such Jīvanmuktas who, having no material attractions, do not associate themselves with the distorted consciousness of the world, should and ought to perform their actions in this world. The effects of actions whether performed or not by a Jīvanmukta, the enjoyer of bliss will never affect him, like dark clouds which never sully the Ākāśa. Such a Jīva will commingle with Ātma as pellucid as crystal, becoming replete with Jñāna and quiescence after attaining the end of all objects. They will be great men, full of Jñāna bliss and great intelligence and will float in their organs like peacocks feathers. Their minds will never falter, like the mountain Mahāmeru.

 

With refrainment from sensual objects, the mind will be destroyed. Such a state can be called the Suṣupti of Jāgrat devoid of all actions. With the ceaseless practice in this state, the wise say that the partless and ripe state, is induced. Through firmness in this Turya State, that one above all bliss (Ānandātīta) is reached, which state of bliss is indescribable and pertains to one’s Self. The Ānandātīta is the great bliss of Jñānātīta. A person in this state is he who can be called the secondless Yogi. This, state is also called Turyatīta. Freed from the bondage-giving rebirth as well as from the diverse kinds of self-identification with objects arising out of Tamoguṇa, the supreme bliss (of Jīva) will merge itself into its imperishable Reality of Sat, like salt with water.

 

The Bṛhadāranyaka-upaniṣad and other Śrutis treating of the true path, deal, Oh Rāma, with the solitary Reality of Parātattva which occupies the neutral center between inertness and intelligence. When objects and Jñāna are absorbed into one another, then is the Paramārtha (real) state attained, wherein is the direct supreme experience of the happiness achieved. This itself may be stated to be the Brahmic essence itself. When the seen and the sight merge into one another (in: the seer), then is the experience of Ānanda (bliss). Bondage is so called because of the subjection to objects; otherwise Mokṣa ensues. That state of direct experience, when the seen and the sight merge into one another is unattended by pains. Therefore let the mind have always this state as its beacon-light This state is called Jāgrat-Suṣupti. It is also the Turya state. Then Ātman is neither gross nor subtle, neither perceptive nor non-perceptive, neither intelli gent nor inert, neither Sat nor Asat, neither I nor any other, neither one nor many nor the universe; but it is the state or source of mind, Indriyas – and others. As it is above all states, it is not conditioned but is the All.

 

That which is called Mokṣa is neither in Devaloka nor Pātāla nor earth. When all desire’s are destroyed, the extinction of the expansive alone is Mokṣa. If at any time there arises in the mind, within, any longing to attain Mokṣa, then it will begin to revive again. With the increase of the Manana (or the meditations) of the mind, births and deaths will not cease and bondage will firmly take its root. If Ātma-tattva is attained, which is above all and pervades all objects, where then, will be bondage? Therefore destroy at its the root the mind and its thoughts. Those who, through their immaculate and all-full mind, have attained quiescence and known their own Self will never in the least long for anything. This non-desire is the axe with which the forest-trees of accidents are felled, and is the state of Brahmic bliss and the flower-bunch in the tree of contentment and quiescence. With the development of non-desires, all weaknesses of the heart will fly away. In the eyes of those who have decorated themselves with the ornament of non-desires, the whole earth is nothing but a cow’s foot-print, even Mahāmeru is but a paltry seed, all the quarters are but a bird’s nest and the three worlds are but only trash.

 

Those who have worshiped their Ātmic Reality which is other than the body, will not be conscious of the existence of the body, though working in it. Like a sugar candy which, though exposed to heat or any cutting instrument, does not lose its taste, an illuminated Jñāni will never lose his center even amidst the many illusions of the world. Like a lady who performs her household duties, whilst her mind is engrossed with her paramour at a distance, a Jñānin will always center his mind upon the Brahmic state. Through the absence of desires for objects, the quiescence in the mind will produce Mokṣa. This Mokṣa will be of use to those great men only, who have bid farewell to their desires, whether they are associated with their body or not. Those who are happy in having relinquished their material desires (while in the body), are the blissful Jīvanmuktas; but those who are trammelled therein are bound: while Videhamuktas are far above these two classes of persons.

 

Such Jīvanmuktas will always transact their present duties. They will neither long for things in the future nor ruminate upon (and be affected by) things of the past. They will be performing all Karmas. Their minds will neither be attracted towards men bound (by the worldly pleasures) nor will be affected by grief. They will appear as devotees amongst devotees; will conduct themselves disguisedly amongst men of duplicity; as children amongst children; as old men amongst the old; as the puissant amongst the puissant; as youths amongst the young, and grief stricken and in sympathy with the grieved. They enjoy bliss with their intelligence.

 

 

 

 

Those who have worshiped their Atmic Reality which is other than the body, will not be conscious of the existence of the body, though working in it. Like a sugar-candy which, though exposed to heat, or cut, does not lose its taste, an illumined Jñānin never loses his center even amidst the many illusions of the world. Like a woman who performs her household duties, whilst her mind is engrossed in her distant paramour, a Jñānin always centers his mind upon the Brahmic state. Through the absence of desire for objects, quiescence of the mind will produce Mokṣa, in association with the body or not. Those who are happy in the relinquishment of material desires (while in the body) are the blissful Jīvanmuktas; but those who are entrammelled therein are bound; the Videha-muktas are far above these two classes of persons

Such Jīvanmuktas always transact their present duties. They neither long for things in the future nor ruminate upon things of the past. Their minds are neither attracted towards men bound by the worldly pleasures nor affected by grief. They appear as devotees amongst devotees; conduct themselves tact­fully amongst men of duplicity; as children amongst children; as old men amongst the old; as the puissant amongst the puissant; as youths among the young; and as grief stricken while in sympathy with the grieved. They enjoy bliss with their intelligence, virtuous acts are their glory, they have Jñāna unsullied by Ajñāna, are illumined and of indomitable heart. Such immaculate Jīvanmuktas would never be disconcerted, even should the sun grow cold or the moon turn dark or the fire begin to burn with its flames downwards.

 

All things visible are Jñāna only. Knowing all things truly as they are, such Jīvan-muktas never marvel at out-of-the-way occurrences. This world appears diversified because of the fluctuations of the mind, like a row of pearls appearing on a bunch of peacock feathers when waved in the atmosphere above, or like innumerable eddies arising in water through undulations in it.

 

At this Rāma questioned Vasiṣṭha: Through what does the mind fluctuate? Through what will it not fluctuate? What is the path (or means) to control it?

 

Vasiṣṭha replied: The fluctuation of the mind is associated with the mind itself (or is an attribute of it), like oil in sesame seed or whiteness in snow. There are two paths to destroy this fluctuation, namely Yoga and Jñāna. Yoga is that which makes the actions of the mind integrated (or makes the mind concentrate itself upon one object only). But Jñāna is that which enables one to enjoy happiness in all (objects). Persons who have as their ornament the supreme Vedas hold that the mind is nothing but the fluctuation of Prāṇa. With the control of Prāṇa, the mind is also controlled. With the control of the mind’s fluctuation, rebirth will cease, like the daily actions that cease to be per­formed at sunset.

 

Again Rāma interposed: In this tabernacle of the body, what is the means of arresting the motion of Prāṇa and other Vāyus which vibrate ceaselessly and with great velocity in the Akasa of the heart? To which Vasiṣṭha replied: Having, obtained, through a study of Atma-jñāna books, the grace of a Guru, after ceaseless practice of Vairagya and liberation from the trammels of Samsara, if one is filled with non-desire and is in Brahmic meditation, then through the means adopted for the control of Prāṇa, the mind will be controlled. The fluctuation of Prāṇa can be arrested, Oh Rāma of the color of clouds, by the steady practice of Prāṇayama;[1] such as Pūraka, etc. done in a solitary place and with a cheerful heart and by meditation on the Jñāna within. If the Vrtti-jñāna of the mind is destroyed and the Suṣupti stage is reached through much meditation upon the true nature of the sound uttered at the end of Praṇava, then will Prāṇa be arrested. If the tip of the tongue be reversed and raised up to the uvula, thereby making the air go up the gullet, then will Prana be checked. If Vrtti-jñāna ends by making the Prāṇa flow twelve inches from the tongue on the upward path, then will Prana be controlled. If in the middle of the two eyebrows, the vision of the pupils be destroyed through the mind’s quiescence and Vikalpa-jñāna ends, then will Prāṇa be controlled. Through these paths as well as through the grace and diverse words and initiations of the Guru and through the destruction of the many Saṁkalpas and illusory differences, the fluctuation of Prāṇa will be controlled. Through the practice, with­out effort, of these Yoga means, freedom from rebirth will gradually follow. Having arrested the fluctuation of Prāṇa, the mind also will become quiescent. With the quiescence of the mind, the Supreme State alone will remain, the state of ‘ That’ from which all Vikalpas return divested of heterogeneities.

 

Here the victorious Rama interposed: Now that you have described the path of Yoga whereby the mind reaches that state of equilibrium in which it does not travel in the direction of the senses, please enlighten me hereafter about Tattva-jñāna. To which the Muni replied: The firm conviction that Brahman alone is the self-shining one everywhere, without beginning, middle or end is true Jñāna. The certitude that the potencies (Saktis) of all the differentiated illusory objects are no other than Atman is the worship of Atman. The clear cognition that all worlds are only the form of Parabrahman which is the only true Principle in the three worlds is Piirna (the Plenum). All worlds are of the nature of Atman alone. How then can there be existence or non­existence? How can there exist the illusory dif­ferences of bondage or Mokṣa? In fact there are no visible things or mind. Truly does Brahman pervade all. All these are the non-dual Jñānākaśa alone. Bondage and Mokṣa do not truly exist (but are relative only). The attributeless, great Brahman alone pervades everywhere as the shining Atman. The mind being extinguished, discern the unity of all through thy intelligence. If Ātmic Reality is fully cognized then differences between trees, mountains, clothes, etc. will vanish. With them, Saṁkalpas will also be swept away. If Cidābhāsa (the distorted consciousness) as well as objects in this world are scrutinized from the beginning to the end, it will be found that they reach the defectless quiescent state.

 

May you ever be in that quiescent state. Through the mind associating itself with dualities as well as the illusions of birth and death, the incomparable Reality manifests itself as names and forms, like water appearing as waves, foam, bubbles, etc. What enjoyment can bring under its clutches those who are, through their introvision, following the path of Brahman? Delicious enjoyments and other enemies of spiritual progress never agitate minds engaged in intense inquiry into spiritual truths. Will a rock be ever moved by soft zephyrs? All names and forms are in Saṁkalpa, like waves in an agitated pond; but they are not in the heart which is still as a lagoon. Hearts that never give way even under the most trying circumstances are those of persons who have gained Mokṣa, who cognize directly the stainless Principle with true bliss.

 

Now I shall describe another path leading to Mokṣa. Listen to it attentively, Oh valiant Rama, A great Tapasvin, named Vītahavya, lived in the Vindhya hills. Through excessive desire, he was for long engaged in the performance of Karmans and became afflicted with mental and bodily maladies as well as action in dire Saṁsara. In order to escape from this pain, he gave up all Karmans and wanted to practise Nirvikalpa Samadhi. For this purpose, he erected a hermitage of leaves in which he seated himself in the lotus posture on a deerskin with his hands resting on his heels. In this posture of Samādhi, little by little, he made his mind return to itself and at last controlled it firmly within his heart. All external objects having been gradually severed from contact with his mind, his mind was rendered steady. With this stainless mind, he thought:

 

‘After I bring into control my mind, it is again agitated by Prana and floats about like a dried leaf tossed by wind. It then flits from one object to another. Like a monkey jumping from tree to tree, it hops about from one object to another. Having known the five Jñānendriyas, the eyes, etc. as the mere avenues of the mind and the generators of Abhimāna (identification with objects), I am the one who sees through them all. Oh perishable Indriyas why do you perturb yourselves in vain? I am the one Lord of Consciousness and the witness of all. I who am truly of supreme intelligence was, when associ­ated with these Indriyas, degraded as if descending from Svarga to Pātāla, Jñāna never comes in close contact with the organs, like serpents and wayfarers, Brahmins and Caṇḍālas (outcastes). Oh mind which sets itself against the spiritual world and goes begging in all the spacious four quarters, of what avail are thine vain efforts? Thou alone shalt dally in this world, preserving thine equilibrium. It is wrong to mistake thee for Jñāna. True Jñāna is never found to be in company with a vagrant mind. Oh perverse intelligence which, through Ahaṁkara, con­founds “I” with objects, it is really absurd to apply the epithet “bliss” to thee. Destroy the sense of separateness arising from the delusion of Ahaṁkara. Thy real nature is above all inquiry. Like darkness disappearing before the sun, thou art destroyed through spiritual inquiry. As thou wert invisible and art now without form, thou wilt also disappear in the future (invisibly). Oh mind, the end to which thou aspirest now is a grand one indeed. With divine grace, thou wilt be suffused with bliss, and reaching a quiescent state, will revel in the blissful Turya state of my Atmic Reality.’

 

With this inquiry, Vītahavya firmly controlled his mind, without being in the least agitated by the senses. Like flames which have consumed the fuel and are absorbed in themselves, Prana gradually merged into itself. With his subtle vision at the tip of his nose, his eyes began to bloom partially, lotus-­like. He then passed 300 years in Samadhi as in a moment, with his head, neck, body and limbs motion­less and erect. Then his body was buried in a hillock of sand formed by floods of water. Awaking from his Samadhi, the Muni found his body fixed in the earth. All the avenues of his body being blocked up by the earth around, the Pranas were unable to circulate freely. But when he began to concentrate his mind and pervade the heart within, as in a dream, he began to perceive the following things: He spent 100 years as a Tapasvin on the slopes of the Kailāsa[2] hills; then as a Vidyādhara for another 100 years; as Devendra worshiped by the Devas in Devaloka for five Yugas; then as Gaṇeśa,[3] the beloved of Parameśvara, wearing the moon on his matted locks.

 

Thus did the Muni see his former lives pass in review in his divine vision, which was able to know the three periods, past, present and future, and was developed through submissive service rendered unto Lord Parameśvara. Then with the destruction of those bodies, he saw his present body springing into existence. In order to lift this body out of the earth in which it was deeply buried, he went to the sun with concentrated mind and Puryaṣṭaka (subtle) body to fetch Piṅgala[4] from there. No sooner did the Muni reach the sun, than the latter divined the object of the Muni and sent Piṅgala with him in order that the Muni’s subtle body might enter and animate the gross one lying on the Vindhya hills. Arriving at the spot, Piṅgala cleared off the earth accumulated round the body of the Muni and thus paved the way for the subtle body to enter and animate the gross one. Having fulfilled his mission Piṅgala departed.

 

Vītahavya then bathed and made the necessary ablutions and worshiped the sun. Now that his gross body was animated by his intelligent mind, it began to shine with all its attributes and actions. Being full of mental restraint, benevolence, quiescence, spiritual wealth, fine intelligence, tenderness and contentment, his mind was not in the least attracted towards objects. He spent his days on the banks of the river which flows on the rocks of the Vindhyas, meditating with a pure mind upon the supreme as follows: ‘Till now, I have been controlling all my organs. Now I shall merge into Cinmātra (the absolute Consciousness), the one remaining after all else is destroyed, and there remain immovable as a rock. Though dawning (or living) in this world, I shall be like the sun that has set; though set, I shall be like the sun that is ever dawning. Though engaged in the actions of the lower mind, I shall be like one who is in Suṣupti ; though in Suṣupti, I shall be like one awake in this world (in the Jāgrat state). Being in the Turya state where no difference exists, I shall be the motion­less light, though moving in this body.’ Having thus contemplated, he was in Samādhi for six days like a sleeping wayfarer and cognized Reality. Thus did Vītahavya enjoy perfect bliss in the state of a Jīvan-mukta.

 

All pleasure and pain, attachment and hatred, etc. having been destroyed, the Muni freed himself from the trammels of rebirth and Karmans and then contemplated reaching Kaivalya in a disembodied

 

state. For this purpose, this Siddha, Vītahavya, entered one day a mountain cave and there seating himself in the lotus posture, reflected thus: ‘Oh soft Desire, thou shalt become non-desire; Oh Anger, thou shalt be transformed into quiescence of mind; I have long amused myself with various tricks; Oh Enjoyments, I bid adieu to you; enough, enough of all the frolics I had with thee; Oh Material Joy that made me oblivious of the pain-free Mokṣa, I give thee also my parting farewell. Oh Pain, is it not due to thy scorching effects upon my body that I have been able to attain Ātma-tattva? Thou hast been the cause of my merging into the state of Mokṣa. Shall I not be an ungrateful wretch if I do not pay thanks to thee, my savior? Oh Body, my longstanding friend, I abandon thee; thou hast wrought thy own destruction through the full development of true Jñāna. Oh dazzling Passion, please hearken to my words. Do not hereafter-r stumble or be disheartened, since I have become balanced in mind and have severed my connection with thee. Oh Virtuous Actions, as you have rescued me from falling into terrible and murderous hell and made me reach Mokṣa soon,  I salute you with true love. May you live long. Oh brothers and friends of all Jīvas, I  part from you all. May ‘thou prosper.’

 

So saying, he took farewell of them all and gave up completely his mind and the three kinds of Īṣaṇās (desire for wealth, son and wife). Reaching the Jñāna Bhūmi (Jñāna state), he uttered softly Praṇava and gave up all the objects which arose through Saṁkalpa, external and internal, gross and subtle, in all the three worlds. Through the thread-like elongated sound at the end of Praṇava, he dispelled all sensual. objects, like wind blowing away odor. Darkness appeared before him and then disappeared with light, as if darkness was inseparable from Ākāśa. Light arose only to share the same fate and disappear in a moment. Then at last, both darkness and light vanished. Re­maining steadily in this state, he renounced the mind as if it were a piece of straw. Being filled with Juana, his consciousness was like that of a child and he anni­hilated thought for about a quarter of a minute or half a minute. He was in the Juana state, like Vayu that is free from movement. He was the absolute Cit. He was the absolute Sat. First, he was immov­able like Mahameru in the Jagrat-suṣupti state. Being established in it, he easily reached the Turya state. Then the incomparable Muni was that matchless Principle which, being beyond all words, is with and without bliss and which is Sat and Asat. This is that Principle which is denominated Void by atheists, Parabrahman by Brahmavādins, Vijñāna by Vijñāna doctrinists, Puruṣa by Saṁkhyas, Īśa by Yogins, Śiva by persons upholding Śivāgamas, Kāla (Time) by Kāla doctrinists, the Madhyama by Mādhyamikas and the all-pervading Principle by those who look equally upon all.

 

This Muni became ‘That’ which is the final conclusion of all Śāstras, which is seen by all, which is known by all, which is the All, which permeates through all spheres, which is the beneficent one without motion, which illuminates all lights, which is found to be one through one’s own experience, which is at the same time both one and many and which is both stained and unstained, and yet is not all these. He[5] lived for twenty thousand years in this state of Iśa, the Lord, that is without birth and death, without beginning and yet with beginning, non-dual and yet many, stainless and yet stained, and more immaculate than Ākāśa, and he roamed through the world as he willed with true exultation of heart. Having destroyed his mind past all resurrection, this supreme Jñānin, Vītahavya, was soon absorbed in the non-dual state.

  1. Prāṇayama is the control of Prāṇa or breath by Pūraka (inhalation), Recaka (exhalation) and Kumbhaka (cessation). [<<]
  2. Kailāsa, name of the mountain upon which Śiva is said to reside. [<<]
  3. The son of Śiva. [<<]
  4. Piṅgala is the Solar Nāḍī in man, one of the three, Iḍā, Pingalā and Susumnā. [<<]
  5. He refers here to the soul as an entity. [<<]