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LAGHU YOGA-VĀSIṢṬHA Chapter 6   NIRVĀṆA PRAKARAṆA

 6.13  THE STORY OF IKṢVĀKU

 

Summary. In this story, another means of meditation besides the three modes mentioned in the previous story is given to know that all is Brahman.

 

Rāma asked: “When the Ahaṁkāric mind is divested of its illusory form and maintains its real state, what is its distinguishing characteristic?”

 

Vasiṣṭha replied: “Now listen attentively to the characteristics of a mind which has perished, while yet its (spiritual) form survives. No amount of desires, illusions and other stains will unsettle a person who is firmly under the influence of his Ātma, like water on a lotus leaf. The good qualities of benevolence, etc., will ever sweetly beam in his face. All sins he will destroy; the bondage of Vāsanās will gradually loosen their hold on him. Anger will be slain; the tendency of the mind towards desires will be lost; all the bad impulses of Kāma (passions) will be dispelled. All illusions in him, will look about for some befitting quarters elsewhere. The five organs will not be active in the discharge of their functions. Neither pains will arise and afflict him, nor pleasures will increase. Through internal contentment and freedom from pains, there will arise in him an equanimity of mind over all and in all places. Even when pain and the rest attach themselves to his body, exhibit themselves on his face, his mind will never writhe under them. If the mind should only perish, then Devas even will court his friendship through sheer love and he will enjoy great felicity. He will then regard all beings equally. A perfect harmony and beauty will prevail in him, and he will be glorified everywhere. Saṁsāric illusions, Oh gracious Rāma of large eyes, will never affect those painless wise person ages, however much such illusions are productive of great surprises, or make them oscillate ever with their neverceasing changes of birth and destruction or generate many myriads of pleasures and pains. Fie on those low-minded persons of the world who do not long for and attain that Supreme Principle which can be known through Jñāna vision only and wherein accidents are unknown.

 

Now hear the means through which persons cross this ocean of existence which is bondage, replete with pain, arising through the conjunction of some periods of time. The enquiry: ‘Who am ?’ that has the potentiality of bringing quiescence of mind which will enable it to wade through this ocean of fleshy existence? ‘What is the nature of this universe?’ ‘Who is that supreme One sought after?’ ‘Of what avail are material enjoyments?’ Such a discriminative enquiry is, according to the Vedas, the best of means. Therefore, thou shall hear from me, how Ikṣvāku[1], the foremost and the first king of thy race, managed to attain Jñāna and Mokṣa. While the graceful king was ruling over the seeming earth through the path of the ancients, he held secret communion within himself thus: ‘What is the stainless cause of this world teeming with dotage and death, pleasures and pains, fancies and misconceptions, etc., beyond number?’ In spite of his deep thought over the same, he was unable to solve it.

 

Therefore having visited and paid due respects to the Lord, the first Mana[2] who came down from Satyaloka, he addressed him thus: ‘Oh mine of mercy who deigned to descend easily to this earth from Satyaloka, vouchsafe to enlighten me as to my real self through the attaining of the eternal and the giving up of pains. Whence the origin of this universe? What is its form? How long does it last? To whom does it owe its origin? At what period and through what cause did it arise into existence? Like a bird getting out of a snare, may I get out of this universe of different gradations.’

 

At these words Manu replied: ‘Very wonderful. Thy question arising through thy excessive discrimination and extending over long eons of period will (when answered) destroy all Māyā. All these paltry universes do not exist, appearing like a Gandharva city or the mirage in an oasis. It is only Ātmic Reality that ever is beyond the reach of the organs, more subtle than Ākāśa, unlimited by space, and indestructible. All the visible things of objects composed of the five elements are but reflections in this great mirror of Ātma. Some effulgent Śaktis (potencies), arising out of Brahman, mingled together and took the form of the mundane egg. Some were of the form of Īśvara’s hosts. Some assumed the Devalokic form. Thus is the truth about the manifesting Śaktis. There is no such thing as bondage or Mokṣa. Brahman alone is, that is without pains. It is the eternal Jñāna alone, that shines as the world of variegated objects, like waves differentiating the water into many kinds of foam, etc. Naught else is but the one Brahman.’

 

Having dispelled the thoughts of bondage and Mokṣa from arising (in thee) and mastered them, mayest thou be free from all fears and be as firm as a rock. But if thou shouldst associate thyself with thoughts of Saṁkalpa, then the Chinmātra-jñāna will reach the state of a Jīva (in thee), like water transformed into waves, etc. Then the Jīvas will ever be whirling in the cycle of rebirths, existing from a remote period. All the delusions of pains and pleasures are the attributes of the mind and not of Ātma. Like Rahu[3] which, though not visible at other times, is manifested in conjunction with the moon, Ātma, when it comes into direct experience, will be seen visibly. This Brahman which can not be known through Jñāna-śāstras and Āchāryas alone, can be directly perceived in its own state through oneself and one’s intelligence. Look upon thy enemy, the organs in the same listless manner in which a wayfarer regards objects in his way. It is not proper on thy part to love or hate the organs, since the body and other objects, being but the result of Karma, will inevitably come to take shape. Therefore having given them up mentally and made thy mind calm (without feverish thirst), mayest thou be Brahman itself.

 

The self-identification of ‘I’ with this body, produces the bondage of existence. But this idea is foreign to an aspirant after liberation free from all pains, who becomes of the nature of Chinmātra. An impartial intelligence of such a person, which is more subtle than the all-pervading Ākāśa, will destroy existence. Then Ātma which shines in all objects, will be like the sun’s rays, shining both in clear water, and out of it. It will enter the heart of all forms and shine everywhere, like gold appearing in all (golden) ornaments. It is only his ripened and partless form (or aspect) that manifests itself, as this world pervaded by the Ātmic Sattā (Be-ness). Know also Ātma to be like Kumbha-Muni, Agastya who sipped the whole of the waters in this ocean of terrific time, pervaded by the destructive Vāḍava-Agni, full the waves of the many rivers of the universes flowing into It.

 

May you be according to your free will and with great intelligence, having first dispelled, through your intelligence, the countless array of objects such as body, etc., which are non-Ātma and as such pertain to the world and being quite humble, through the development of Jñāna. Like a mother who, utterly unmindful of the child that rests on her lap, becomes afflicted of heart and searches everywhere for it, so people, without knowing Ātma within – which is without dotage or death – indulge in all sorts of grieves to the effect that they are utterly spoiled, imagining that they have no protector, or that they are destroyed with the destruction of their food-nourished body. Like water which, through agitation in it, generates waves and others, so also through the excess of Saṁkalpa, the delusions of Chit greatly increase; but should the stains of Saṁkalpa be removed and the expanded Chitta be concentrated firmly upon Ātma, thou wilt be able, Oh king, to rule thy realm long without any fluctuation, even in the tossing waves of (Saṁsāric) ocean and being immovable in thy Ātma, to be eternal and blissful. Then Ātma, which, remains after all, will through its Saṁkalpic (or voluntary; potencies create diverse sports like children in this world. Through its destructive potency, all things will be destroyed and will rest in It. The potency of bondage, also will arise of its own accord in this Ātma and will merge into that from which it arose. The destructive potency also will arise voluntarily in this Ātma.

 

Like rubies shining with luster in conjunction with the rays of the sun or the moon, or the fruits, leaves, etc., of a ripened tree or drops of water in mountain torrents, this illusory world of Buddhi, etc. producing motion, etc. arises out of Brahman. To those who have not cognized Ātma, this universe will be generative of pains and will appear as if it were real. Such is the miraculous working of the diversity of Māyā. Though Ātma is ordinarily partless and permeates all parts of the body, yet it, (through Māyā) deludes men from cognizing their own Ātma. After contemplating upon the worlds as the Paramākāśa and freeing thyself from all de sires, thou shalt be a Jīvanmukta of great bliss accoutered with the panoply of Brahman. After destroying the idea of “I”, may you contemplate upon all objects through the idea of Abhāva (non-existence) as formless, without attraction and as Chit and the quiescent. The mere conception of differentiation that this is good or that is bad, will be the seed of a series of pains. Should this seed be burnt up by the fire of equal vision, then where will be the room for generation of pains? Gently wear, through diverse human efforts, the sword of Abhāva (non-existence) in thee.

 

Oh king Ikṣvāku, wearing a garland in this dire forest of Karmas performed through thy mind, sever all (differentiated thoughts) through Abhāva, attain the supreme state and being filled with discrimination through the abandoning of Karmas, be immovably seated in that state. Only he who, having merged within himself all the variegated differences of the universe and having crossed all the variety of thoughts, is free from the desires of the ever-agitating women and wealth and from the gloom of Ajñāna generating the idea of “I” and thus has developed true discrimination, will illuminate Brahmic bliss in himself. He alone will be free from pains. May you meditate ever upon that Jñāna Reality which is quiescent, equal in all and immaculate.’

 

Again Manu continued: ‘First, Jñāna should be developed through a deep study of Jñāna Śāstras and association with the wise. This Śubechchhā (or good desire) forms the first Bhūmikā (or stage) of Jñāna. It applies to Karma[4]-yogis (who do not indulge in rituals alone). Ceaseless Ātma-vichāra (Ātmic enquiry) constitutes the second stage. Asaṅga-bhāvanā is the third. In the fourth stage, Sattvāpatti will destroy to the root all Vāsanās. Ānanda-svarūpa (the blissful reality) replete with the non-illusory and immaculate Jñāna is the fifth stage (of Asaṁsakti). This stage in which there is no Upādhi, (basis) of waking or sleeping is the Jīvanmukti stage. In the sixth stage, it is like the Suṣupti state of replete bliss, wherein there is nothing but the nature of non-perception. The exalted stage of the seventh is the isolation of Mokṣa which is partless, equal in all, immaculate, beneficent, quiescent and the pure Turya. This seventh state, free from all objects and replete with bliss, is stated by some to be the Turyātīta state of Mokṣa which is Chit itself.

 

Of these seven stages, the first three may be included under Jāgrad-avasthā (or the waking state). The fourth stage, in which all the universes do appear like a dream, will fall under Svapna (the dreaming state). The fifth stage which is filled with one uniform bliss alone comes under the category of Suṣupti. That which is of the nature of bliss with intelligence is the sixth stage coming under the head of Turya. Then comes the Turyātīta, the seventh stage which is above the reach of the fluctuating mind and speech, self-shining and of the nature of Sat. If through the control of Chitta (mind) within the heart, all the visible things are destroyed by one past all resurrection, then there is no doubt that he will become a Jīvanmukta through the great Be-ness. If one without suffering from the pleasures or pains of enjoyments becomes of a high intelligence and merges into Ātma and enjoys the beatitude there, then to the certitude of such a being, the supreme Mokṣa will ensue. Such a person is a Jīvanmukta, no matter whether he involves himself in many actions or not, or whether he is a householder or an ascetic, or whether he is disembodied or embodied. Such a sturdy person will never droop in spirit, since he is convinced that he neither dies nor lives, neither exists nor non-exists, neither is one nor another. Such a sturdy person, will never be afflicted in mind, being without grayness or desires or mind or egoism or any such and never clinging to any. Such a person being without the three guṇas, birth and death and being a pure person and a Jñāni of eternal quiescence and equal vision, will not in the least be afflicted. Such a person, shining as the Jñāna which pervades all things such as straw, Ākāśa, Sun, Devas, Nāgas or men, will never give way to despondency of heart. Those who have cognized through rare extensive enquiry that Chit (consciousness) pervades everywhere in the world, warp-wise and woof-wise, up and down, are the indestructible ones.

 

An object enjoyed firmly through one’s Vāsanās brings immediately in its train pleasures; but when it perishes soon with its terrific results, it will of itself be productive of pains. It is indeed a notorious fact that the majority of mankind does not seek to relieve themselves from pleasures or pains. But when Vāsanās are either destroyed completely or do decay little by little, no joy will be experienced in sensual objects. Pleasures and pains are so inseparably interblended that they both manifest themselves together when they originate or disappear together when they perish. When the Vāsanās of the mind decay, then the Karmas done by it will never generate pleasures or pains, like a burnt seed. Diverse Karmas have arisen through the separate appearance of the body and its organs. Whoever will like to come forward as the cook and the enjoyer therein? One who through his great intelligence, is not attracted by the created objects will be of a heart as cool as the moon and of the lustre of the rays of the sun. Then by the whirlwind of wisdom, the cotton pods of Karmas, Saṁchita and Āgāmin[5], will be broken and scattered away from the cotton plant of this body with its nine gates. All the thoughts of Jīvas will flit away from them, they not having had practice in the direction of concentrating their minds; but knowledge in those having the eye of Jñāna, will be firmly imprinted in their minds, though arising only once and will ever be on its increase through ardent love for it, like seeds sown in a fruitful soil. Like waters in a full river or ocean, Ātma, which is of all forms and non-dual will shine in all potencies. Know thyself as that essence which merges all the worlds into the non-dual Sat without the hosts of ceaseless thoughts.’

 

Again the Muni continued ‘So long as Ātma rests in the desire for sensual enjoyments, so long is it termed Jīva. These material desires arise through Aviveka (non-discrimination) and will not arise voluntarily. Desires will become extinct with the rise of discrimination. When desires cease, Jīva’s state becomes extinct and Ātma attains the state of the stainless Brahman. This (Jīva) Ātma has been going from heaven to hell and vice versa. Oh king, do not become the water-pot swinging in the cord of thought in the picottah of existence. What sensible man will approach the illusions of actions which confirm him in the conception that such and such an object is his or that he is the agent therein? Such deluded persons, deserve to go to still lower depths. But persons who have eliminated from themselves, through their higher intelligence, the diverse delusions of agency and ownership of objects or the differentiation of that person, or this person, I or others are able to journey on to Mokṣa, the Highest of the highest.

 

Having a firm grip of your Reality, the self-shining Ātma, may you look upon this universe as your all-full form. Only when Jñāna dawns thus in your heart as non-dual, without any heterogeneities, only then can you free yourself from rebirths and become Parameśvara (the supreme lord) himself. Know also the fact that I am also working my way up to merge into this Jñāna which Brahmā, Viṣṇu, the victorious Rudra and others with their five Kṛtyas[6] (actions) attain, after merging into the one Tattva. Whatever appearances take place at stated times and whatever truths are said to occur therein, all these are no other than the sweet sport of Jñāna. Those who are of a stainless mind and have conquered time (death), having the attribute of Chinmātra, will have none to compare with them in the all-full bliss they enjoy.

 

Know that this universe neither exists nor non-exists; is neither of the nature of Ātma nor non-Ātma. When the Reality is reached, Māyā, existing from archaic times, will perish. But Mokṣa has neither space nor time in itself; nor is there (in it) any state, external (or internal). If the illusory idea of “I” or Ahaṁkāra perishes, then the end of Bhāvanā (thoughts) which is Māyā, is Mokṣa. He alone will earn liberation who does not undergo the diverse pains arising from the study of Śāstras which do entail ever-fluctuating pleasures in trying to understand their meaning. Such a person will ever be in his indestructible and equal Ātma and enjoy bliss. He alone will shine as an emperor over all the world, who is indifferent as to what he wears or eats or where he sleeps. Like a lion escaping from its iron cage, free thyself from the castes, orders of life and the Dharmas of the world, and having lightened thyself of the load of worldly concerns, reach that state which is indestructible and free thyself from rebirths, with an incomparable quiescence of mind, like a clear sky. Then thou wilt be like a deep and crystal water in a mountain lake. Then thou wilt enjoy within thyself the essence of Brahmic bliss without any the least disturbance of the equilibrium of thy mind.

 

Such a person will be indifferent to all fruits of actions. He will be all-full without any deterioration. He will be proof against the attacks of the Vikalpas of actions, virtuous and sinful. His mind will not cling to any. Like a crystal which, though reflecting the five colors, is yet not discolored by it, so though in his mind are reflected the fruits of actions, yet it will not be tinged with them. In common with other men, he will be worshipping with true devotion; and though his body is cut asunder through malice, he will be unaffected by pleasures or pains, they being merely like reflections in his mind. Though engaged in worldly actions such as eulogies (to God) and the celestial sacrifices, whether worshipped by others or not, he will ever be conforming to the dictates of the Vedas and be utterly disconnected in mind with worldly concerns. He will neither be the object of fear to those with whom he comes in contact nor will be terrified by any in the world, Such a full-minded person will rest in the Supreme state, whether he associates or not with desires, anger, fear and contentment, whether he refrains from being in the state mentioned before or is in a childlike state or whether he dies in Benares or in a Chandala’s (the lowest caste’s) house.

 

Persons should worship this lofty soul, seeing that with the reaching of the Absolute Consciousness in Mokṣa, he has destroyed his mind and that inasmuch as bondage is caused by the gloom of Ajñāna, he has destroyed this gloom. Therefore it is the duty of those who wish to destroy rebirths, to venerate such an exalted personage by ever praising, saluting, worshipping, glorifying and visiting him with entreaties. Not even Yajñas or ablutions, Tapas or gifts will confer the same effects as those derivable from the services rendered with true love to those who have glorified themselves in a state of never-fluctuating Jñāna, free from Saṁsāric-existence.’

 

Having thus taught him with true love, Lord Brahmā now passing under the pseudonym of Manu, departed to effulgent mansion in Satyaloka. Oh Rāma, with feet tinkling with bells, thus did the famous king Ikṣvāku cling fast to this kind of vision and rest in the certitude of Ātma.” So said Vasiṣṭha.

 


  1. He was the first of the Solar kings and Son of the present Manu Vaivasvata. [<<]
  2. Svāyaṁbhuva Manu. [<<]
  3. One of the nodes of the moon producing eclipses. [<<]
  4. Here ‘karma’ in the vedic sense, being ‘ritual action’ is meant, not ‘action’ in the general sense, as in later literature, e.g. the Bhagavad-Gītā, where karma-yogis are those who reach liberation through action without attachment to the results off it. – Editor Daily Theosophy. [<<]
  5. Āgāmi Karmas are the Karmas now enacted. [<<]
  6. The five Kṛtyas are creation, preservation, destruction, disappearance and grace. [<<]