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Yoga Vasistha in Poem

Chapter VI: Dealing with Liberation

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11. The Story of Sikhidhvaja and Chudala (...continued 2)

Returning to the Main Story

Many psychic powers came unsought
To queen Chudala—the enlightened
She felt best to continue ordinary existence
Never exhibiting or talking of attainments
Her husband the king remained ignorant
Though she made attempts to awaken him
Even enlightened beings with powers
Cannot awaken those choosing ignorance
The instruction of preceptor to disciple
Is but a tradition, words do not liberate
Enlightenment requires purity of mind
The disciple has to purify his consciousness

Story of the Precious Stone

A wealthy villager was walking home once
He had lost a copper so began to search
Being a miser he searched in bushes too
Thinking and calculating the copper’s value
For three days he searched the dense forest
Searching areas he’d never even walked
Unmindful of the taunt of spectators
Suddenly finding a most precious stone
The cause of finding the precious treasure
Was his miserliness and search for the coin
No instruction received, the taunting endured
Even so is the case in preceptor's teachings
The preceptor teaches without teaching
Words can never take one to truth's discovery
The disciple foolishly looks for appeasement
From words and techniques which increase vanity
Sometimes the preceptor uses teachings
To make a point of something beyond them
The disciple must be alert to understand
The medium used and what is indicated
It is not that instruction is unnecessary
But it does not bring about enlightenment
The sun of enlightenment is ever here
People face their own clouds of ignorance

Back to the Main Story

Sikhidhvaja the king dwelt in delusion
Devoid of self-knowledge he floundered
Sunk in grief by many errors and mistakes
One day he contemplated the need for solitude
He resolved to repair to the forest
As yogis had done to have self-knowledge
He announced his intention to queen Chudala
And asked her not to obstruct his intention
Chudala tried to help Sikhidhvaja see
That it was not the time for this change
The heart and mind must change first
Before one tries to change the environment
The king felt she was being possessive
And resolved to leave quietly at night
Then at midnight on some pretense
He rode away to a remote dense forest

Part II: Sikhidhvaja in the Forest

Far, far away from all habitation
He found a place deep in the forest
There he built a cottage for himself
And equipped it with all that was needed
Things he felt an ascetic should have
Plates of wood and utensils of bamboo
Earthen drinking cups, pots for flowers
Deer skins for the cooler months
He quickly drew up a plan for the day
First part was for meditation and japa
Second part he gathered flowers and food
Bathing and worship upon reaching the cottage
In the third part he ate a frugal meal
Consisting of gathered roots and fruits
Rest of the time was spent in japa
He spent most of his time in that cottage

Queen Chudala's Reaction

Chudala realized just what had happened
Seeing all directly within through meditation
She saw that her husband was caught up
In a routine and time was passing by
She ruled the kingdom respected by all
Spending her quiet hours in meditation
Eighteen years passed in this way
While her husband still followed his routine
She became aware of her husband's state
He had still not attained enlightenment
Though he had forgotten her and the kingdom
He lived as an ascetic but was still deluded
Merely living an ascetic life in the forest
Is not going to bring about an inward change
The ego that takes you there continues to thrive
In the newly created atmosphere

Chudala Thought

My husband is the same person inwardly
Though clad in skin and bark in the forest
Matted locks too, but so lonely within
Time hardened the skin and his heart
Those close to you can never be taught
They insist on preexisting relationships
My husband will spurn any help that I offer
As he will feel I am but an ignorant girl
I must disguise myself and try to help him
As his delusion increases day by day
Thus thinking she transformed herself
To appear as a young and radiant ascetic

Part III: Chudala and Sikhidhvaja

Instantly she appeared in her radiant form
Sikhidhvaja felt a celestial had come
Instantly he adored the radiant ascetic
Chudala as an ascetic accepted his worship
She praised Sikhidhvaja's rugged austere life
Praising all he had renounced for the forest
Giving up his kingdom for a cottage
It was indeed like treading the razor's edge
Sikhidhvaja praised the young ascetic
Thanking him for the blessing of a visit
He spoke of wife and kingdom
Noting there was some resemblance
He felt most blessed by the holy visit
And asked to know more about the ascetic
To what did he owe such grace and blessing
To be enlightened by insight into the truth

The Ascetic's (Chudala) Reply

A holy sage was once meditating
In a cave on the banks of a river
Upon ending his meditation and rising
He heard sounds of women nearby
Looking closer, he saw them bathing
The noise was from their playfulness
In their beauty he was overcome with lust
His mind momentarily lost its balance
Though he was a sage of great learning
A liberated one—free from desires
His limitless consciousness was shaken
In that moment lust invaded his mind

The Ascetic: On the Dual Forces

The body of all beings is subject to sway
By the dual forces of like and dislike
As long as one is embodied—ignorant or wise
The dual forces can dance and create havoc
Satisfying pleasure does not appease appetite
Pleasure's appeasement is an experience of pain
As when the self—reality—is forgotten
The object of experience attains expansion
If there is unbroken awareness or vigilance
There is light within—so this does not happen
Dual forces may rise, they fall the same way
One abides as awareness—free of its sway
Events and conditions may come and go
Impressions are not created in the mind
Older impressions cannot act out at all
As awareness is also pure subjectivity
Ideas of pleasure and pain may arise
They are just like winds rustling about
But if awareness is lost for even a moment
Passing winds will assume a sense of reality
Bondage is subjection to pleasure and pain
Without subjection there is enlightenment
Unbroken awareness is itself equilibrium
One realizes pleasure and pain do not exist
Pleasure and pain are one's reactions
They do not exist in things or the world
When ignorance gets no fuel for delusion
It is enlightened—reabsorbed in consciousness

The Ascetic: On Pleasure and Energy Loss

The individual agitates the life-force
Life-force extracts vital energy from the body
This energy descends as seminal energy
And discharged naturally during pleasure

The Ascetic: On Nature

Brahman alone existed as Brahman
Somehow some ripples appeared within
All accidental coincidence in Brahman
Different forms and nature—all called nature
From such nature of self the universe was born
Sustained by self-limitation due to conditioning
Alternating between order and disorder
Giving rise to periods of conflict and peace

The Ascetic: Back to the Sage

The sage quickly regained self-control
And gathered the seed which had been spilt
This he put in a pot to nurture in time
This seed grew into an enlightened one—myself
I have said a little about things and myself
Now, kindly tell me why you are here
Please speak truthfully—just as things are
Truth is the cornerstone of ascetic life

Sikhidhvaja Replied

O radiant and enlightened one
You know all but still ask of me
I shall speak truthfully just as asked
My story begins as king Sikhidhvaja
Dreading samsara I have abandoned
Kingdom, wife and all royal pleasures
Wandering and performing austerities
I have yet to find peace and tranquility
My mind has not known rest at all
Though I do not indulge in vain activity
Living unattached and alone in this forest
Still I am dry and devoid of fulfillment
I have practiced yogic methods ceaselessly
But go from sorrow to greater sorrow
Even simple joys that come naturally
Torment the soul and seem poison to me

... continued 3


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