Yoga Vashisht or Heaven Found, by Rishi Singh Gherwal, , at sacred-texts.com
"Even though thou pursue thy appointed path through the world, O Ram, there is beneficent quietude in the throne of the All-Wise, if thou but recognize the Knower with thy mind. So long, Ram, as you attain the Atmic state by thy constant mastery of externals, your mind will ever be engaged in enquiry into the unlimited pure wisdom (inculcated by your wise Guru and the Holy precepts). The supreme state may be reached through Atmic enquiry; by turning aside from worldly objects., discernment of the true significance of the Books of Wisdom; one's own intelligence; initiation by a Guru; refraining from taking the life of any living thing; purity; or it can be attained by one's intelligence alone. Lacking all else, liberation will be his who is possessed of subtle and stainless intelligence, and is initiated by a Guru.
Upon hearing Muni Vashisht, Ram enquired:
[paragraph continues] "The persons named by you divide into two classes. One class frees itself of pain and attains the unity of wisdom by going into Samadhi while still doing the work of the world; the other retires from action in the world and goes into Samadhi. Of these two which is superior? Please enlighten me clearly on this point."
To which Vashisht answered: "In Samadhi there is recognition of the inactivity of this world. The mind becomes completely passionless, with no concern for the world or its objects. Whether one enters Samadhi from amid the turmoil of the world, or the quiet depths of a forest, there is no difference. Both have attained complete equipoise of mind, and the incalculable fruits of the great meditation are theirs. In this state of illumination, the serenity of mind is absolute. Therefore, O Ram, it matters not by what door one enter:, the sublime state of Samadhi—within lies liberation.
"When the desires are extinct, the performance of actions will be as if not done, like one, who, deep in mental concentration does not hear the voices of by-standers. But if the gross mind still has desire, though one has withdrawn
from worldly action, then one's actions are performed in the dreaming state when the body is as if paralyzed. Know, O Ram, when the mind performs action, but is yet free from it, that state is called the blissful Samadhi; the unchanging Nirvana and transcendent bliss.
"The two kinds of vision, meditation and non-meditation, are the results of the steady mind and the oscillating mind. Therefore, all the attributes of the mind must be controlled. It is said, that meditation is the firm mind itself, devoid of desire or vexatious thoughts. Pain, internal or external, wears away in this Nirvanic state. A mind which is above its worries will reach Nirvana. Desires breed endless pain and misery in mental worry, and should therefore be reliquished.
"When all conception of "I" among the multitude of visibles is vanquished, it does not matter where you live, O Ram, whether in a house, on a hillside or in the great forest. The blessed of quiescent mind, who have let go egoism find in the busiest household, the solitude of the forest. They who stroll in a street. desiring nothing therein, really possess the street. Similarly, to
those in full spiritual beatitude, the city and the wood are the same. The forest retreat and the city abode become alike to him of introspective mind, and the functions of sleeping, waking or walking do not disturb this tranquillity of mind.
"O quiescent mind, thou twin of Prana, thy cooling dew will chill the hot flowers of desire, and over all the universe shall be sweet peace. But should the mind become heated with the illusion of the world, then the hot breath of desire will sweep over the universe, like a great raging forest fire, leaving but ashes in its wake.
"The inner processes of mind are revealed in external actions. The earth, sky and air are all manifestations of the lower mind. He who loses himself in earthly joys will never enjoy the surpassing delight of Samadhi. But he who recognizes that the function of the lower mind must operate, but yet is aloof from mundane enjoyment, finds pure delight in Atma (wisdom). He who lives in the life of others, spurning wealth, and seeing the world as it really is, is the real Knower.
"Whether death comes now or at the end of a
cycle, these wise ones will never be corrupted in mind. The Vedas proclaim them as the blessed conquerors of the illusory conceptions of duality and belief in endings and beginnings, true enjoyers of bliss. By these characteristics, may we recognize those who have attained wisdom. But the recognition will not aid, O Ram, in the conception of the universal soul, for in words alone wisdom does not lie. Only in the divine word OM is Brahma hidden.
"O, benignant Ram, I shall relate to thee a story which illustrates the attainment of Atmic wisdom. Hear thou this history of Suragho, which is indeed wonderful.
"Suragho was a mighty hunter and ruler of the Kiratas *. He lived with his people, who were adepts in archery, in the Kailasa hills on the summit of the Himalayas.
"Whilst he administered royal justice with strict impartiality, rewarding the righteous and punishing the wrongdoers, he soliloquized: 'If in the exercise of my royal power I afflict my people, are not their pains mine? Yet, if I do not punish them according to prescribed law, they shall have lived in vain. It is indeed a difficult
task to rule over a kingdom.'
"The tender king was sorely troubled in mind.
"Muni Mandavya made a timely appearance. To him Suragho paid honor, and addressed him: 'O virtuous Muni, thy coming fills me with happiness. It is indeed a blessing to know that I am in thy notice. Thou, righteous Lord, hast long been free from melancholy of spirit. Help me to clear my mind of the misgivings that assail me. What else torments the mind of man more than doubt? My head is awhirl, O Muni, with the miseries and joys my subjects experience in obeying my will. Let the sun of wisdom light the darkness of my mind, and equality of vision comfort me.'
"Muni Mandavya replied: 'Atmic enquiry will clear away the fog of illusion, Suragho. Ask thyself ceaselessly, Who am I? Whence came the universe? Whence came birth and death? If you do this faithfully the reward of the Brahmic Seat shall be yours. When you make Atmic enquiry habitual, your mind will obey your will and you will cease your agonizing. To a poised mind the ups and downs of life appear trivial.
[paragraph continues] Does the elephant flee at sight of oxen tracks? What is of no consequence to the wise is appalling to others. For does not the rain, gathered in the footprint of a cow, seem an ocean of incalculable area to a mosquito? Know thou, Suragho, that the farther removed thou art from worldly distractions, the brighter the light of God illumines thee. Just so long as you are engrossed in the affairs of the world, the true principle of God will not be recognized by you. Deific light will not shine when dualities still exist in the mind. It is as difficult to realize Atmic Reality, as to know that the alchemy of gold is not more to nature, than that of the baser metals. Therefore, longing for the things of the world must cease. The reward is the attainment of liberation—the supreme Brahmic state. O illustrious hunter, control your mind, and keep it free from bodily and unwise desires; so shall you then attain the stainless and beneficent Principle.'
"So saying Muni Mandavya returned to his own abode.
"The mighty hunter withdrew into his cave and in solitude began enquiry into origin of
the "I". His meditations took the following form.—How absurd, he thought, to call my body "I", for my body is composed of flesh and bone, which in its separate arts is passive. Hence my body is not 'I'. The ten organs of sense are other than the 'I'. I am not, then, the organs of my body. What remains is ego. What actuates my ego? Consciousness. But the universal consciousness cannot be termed the Reality. Therefore, I shall free myself from the Jiva * state and become "THAT" ** which above all else, I desire to know. The fullness of wisdom, changeless and stainless, alone is my Reality. This transcendent Wisdom pervades all like the strand upon which pearls are strung,—Vishnu, Brahma, Devendra, Yama and all other states. This supreme and powerful Wisdom or Realization is not tainted by worldliness, is of divine aspect, and finds completion in all objects; has neither existence nor non-existence; is subtle and permeates all, even the abode of Truth where lives Brahma. This consciousness is the residual of all other potencies. It is due to motion or fluctuation of this consciousness, and to nothing else, that the diversified objects of this world are due.
"Having relinquished the objective world and freed himself from the shackles of desire and delusion—delusion which follows one even in his seventh rebirth—Suragho maintained equality of vision, as one stationary in the Sushupti * state. Free at last, though living in Atmic reality, he reached the Brahmic state and attained the status of a Brahman, like unto Raja Rishi Viswamitra, of extraordinary meditation.
"Thus did Suragho reach the Sushupti or dreamless state, wherein action is stilled, like a picture of a candle alight. In that state he was, and the opposites of love and hate, blessing or curse, association or separation, intelligence or ignorance, assailed him not.
"Vashisht continued, O Ram, pillar of strength hear also what took place between Suragho who attained, and a Raja Rishi named Parnada. Suragho had a friend, Parigha by name, of the race of Paraseeka, who was also a king. When Parigha's kingdom suffered a ten year drought, and famine and his people perished in great numbers, his heart gave way . He left his native country and went into a forest to meditate, denying himself food and subsisting
upon dry leaves. Because of this he was called Parnada *. Through the renunciation he practiced and his holy meditations, he attained Atmic wisdom, for none could compete with the strenuosities of this kingly recluse. This Muni, who traveled the three worlds as though he walked thru the room of a dwelling, appeared before King Suragho. Each responded to the other's affectionate greeting and found pleasure in reciting their respective experiences.
"In welcome Suragho said, 'My heart overflows with joy and exquisite bliss. I hail thee, O, honorable One.'
"Parnada answered; 'The sight of thee lifts me into that Jnana ** state into which Muni Mandavya initiated you. O, King, art thou able to direct thy worldly affairs with equality and clarity of vision? Hast thy body, changed by the passing years, remained free from diseases, either physical or mental? Canst thou preserve thy equilibrium of mind amid the inordinate luxuries of wealth? Hast thou been able to merge into Samadhi *** without thought, by following the paths of extreme serenity and solitude and
forms actions or not, he who has Realized will always be poised in the Samadhic state. O Brother in Attainment, they who have not equanimity of mind will never be able to go into Samadhi, even though they sit in the Padme posture and offer salutations to Brahma. It is the fullness of Atmic wisdom which constitutes the noble Samadhi. If the mind controlled by concentration knows Reality, such a wise one may be said to enjoy Samadhi. The intelligence of the wise, free from illusion, yet mindful of worldly action, will not forget for a moment the eternity of Atmic Reality. As air flows freely in any direction, the wise intelligence will always follow the path of unchanging Atmic wisdom. The wise, who are in rapport with the indivisible Intelligence, having abandoned the illusion of the opposites except as worldly recognition is necessary, can be said to have attained the Brahmic Seat. Therefore, those blessed in wisdom, who refrain from too much consideration for bodily action, and who have enlivened the intelligence by the acquisition of holy knowledge, may penetrate everywhere. Thou hast recognized the Intelligence which is wondrous and
changeless. Thou hast attained the Brahmic state. Thy mind has been purged from worldliness, and thy heart is liberated from egoism. Having known the certainty of Atma, thou art complete and full in thy Self.
"Suragho made answer: 'Of what avail are circuitous expressions? To say it briefly, it is this, when all longing for the fruits of action cease, and the mind looks upon all equally, being directed within itself, then Brahmic bliss arises, the incomparable Wise-Vision is developed, and the resolute Atmic Reality alone illumines.'"
145:* Parna—leaves; ad—to eat.
145:*** Blissful state.