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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 4)

Sikhidhvaja Asks

Holy sage, kindly do instruct me
As I have taken refuge in you
What is the nature of this mind
How to abandon it once and for all

The Ascetic: On the Mind

For the wise, renunciation is easier
Than renouncing rule over a kingdom
For fools, renouncing is as difficult
As it is for simpletons to be king
Subtle impressions are conditioning
These form the nature of the mind
The utter destruction of the mind
Is the extinction of all conditioning
The 'I-idea' is the mind-tree's seed
It arises in the absence of self-knowledge
Uproot this tree—root and branch
And rest in the space of the heart
'I' is the seed of the mind-tree
It grows in the field of ignorance
Creating division where none exists
A trick, an illusion—it is called maya
Only after the 'I-idea' takes root
Does intellect or buddhi arise within
From then it expands most vigorously
Notions and concepts are its substance
The trunk of this tree is the body
More conditioning the food that sustains
Its branches reach great distances
Its fruits are joys and sorrows
This is a vicious mean-spirited tree
Endeavor to uproot and fell it
Beware of its branches and fruit at all times
By the spirit of detachment and renunciation
The spirit of detachment and renunciation
Stops nourishment and weakens the tree
You must then uproot this tree completely
This is the primary task before you
Uproot the tree by relentless self-inquiry
Directly discover the nature of self
The fire of inquiry will fry the seed
Ongoing inquiry will set the tree afire
Ignorance arises in pure consciousness
As an effect of the non-existent ego-sense
It is most shameless, vile and persistent
It keeps returning even when thrown out
It returns only because we deal with effects
Go after the cause and see what happens
Every experience is the effect of some cause
Destroy the cause of returning experience
Experience does not rest on objective reality
As objects come and go as effects you see
Pursue the cause and you may discover
There is none—the effect vanishes too
If the parent is unreal the child is unreal
The creator too is non-different from truth
All that seems to have proceeded from him
Has truth as its substance, form as appearance
The creator is non-different from reality
Hence, creation is non-different from reality
This has to be realized directly for oneself
To get rid of ignorance and the ego-sense
The delusion of the world-appearance
Has attained expansion by reaffirmation
When water freezes into a block of ice
It serves as a seat or something similar
Only when ignorance is finally dispelled
Does the original state manifest itself
All notions have to be seen to be unreal
The deception ceases when inquired into
Brahman is one without a second
Without cause, effect or purpose
Being the all—what purpose can there be
World-appearance is but a delusion
The objectivity we feel of this world
Has to be seen and known as unreal
The experiencer of ego-sense does not exist
Realize this and recognize you are the all

Sikhidhvaja's Realization

Lord, eternally grateful I am to thee
For this awakening and realization
Neither mind nor ego-sense exists
I am pure, awakened—there is naught else

Vasistha's Comments

Sikhidhvaja entered deep meditation
Having awoken—fully enlightened
You are instantly free from modifications
Once the light of self is directly seen
Coming out of meditation he then inquired
For further understanding of the truth
"When reality is indeed indivisible
How does any division arise in it"

The Ascetic: On Appearance and Reality

Well asked, O enlightened one
This is all that remains to be known
All this will cease at world-cycle's end
Remaining only as a trace essence
That itself is pure consciousness
Also known as Brahman or nirvana
Most minute, yet infinitely large
Creation is sub-atomic in its expanse
The universal self exists as this universe
As the ocean with waves appearing in it
World-appearance is a but a mere ripple
In the infinite ocean of pure consciousness
Infinite consciousness pervades all
Holding all together from within
A total absence of division or duality
Everywhere, at all times, in all forms
Extremely subtle is this—pure experiencing
Neither experiencer nor experience
One cannot say anything about it at all
Words necessarily omit some things
Causeless and hence the cause of none
Neither doer, action nor instrument
Eternal, absolute consciousness it is
Pure self-knowledge—supreme existence
'World' and 'ego-sense' are words only
They have no corresponding reality
Empty notions, non-different from space
This has to be realized as the supreme self
Whatever consciousness realizes itself to be
That it becomes instantly—here and now
Due to confusion consciousness sees itself
As embodied and as the world outside
The supreme self alone shines here as all
'World' and 'ego-sense' are only notions
Having no existence independent of self
Consciousness shines as consciousness
Neither seed nor cause for this world
All you see is an experience only
Apart from experience nothing exists
What exists is infinite consciousness
The infinite exists as pure experiencing
That alone is this universe expanded
There is no substance or outsideness
Pure experiencing is consciousness
Indestructible—it cannot be modified
The changes you see are experiences
A trick of consciousness within itself
Consciousness alone exists—naught else
Matter and thought have no existence
There is neither world nor ego-sense
Remain in peace free of conditioning
All questions cease on self-realization
The mind does not have any existence
That which shines is infinite consciousness
Giving rise to notions like mind and world
All are reflections within infinite consciousness
The absolute is formless pure consciousness
Forms cannot come from the formless
A notion about something felt to be real
The mind is a bundle of such limiting notions
Just how can the mind be real at all
Can a divider exist in the indivisible
Appearances are reflections in consciousness
The mind and world are but notions
The reality that is seen as the world
Is beginningless, uncreated, indivisible
Illimitable, formless and unchanging
Reflections of Brahman within itself
If there is no world, where is 'you' and 'I'
Know these directly to be but notions
Giving rise to bondage and self-destruction
Realization of I's non-existence is freedom
Bondage and liberation are notions too
Consciousness is aware of both of them
You must realize you are not the ego-sense
To be free and rest in pure awareness
When pure awareness rises, notions subside
Perfection ensues without agitation
This universe exists as carvings exist
Within an uncarved block of granite
To see the universe without conditioning
Without intervention of the mind
Without notions and perversions
This is called nirvana or perfection
When this truth is clearly realized
When duality is completely discarded
Peace that passeth understanding remains
Your indescribable and true nature
Without cause, there can be no effect
Without seed, trees cannot come forth
How then from the formless Brahman
Comes this universe as something real
Brahman comprehended by ignorance
Is called universe—real and compelling
When consciousness knows itself to be
Something other—it takes on ignorance
This ignorance or veiling is self-destructive
Be it momentary or through birth cycles
Such delusion can only be rent asunder
When self-knowledge is directly experienced
The unreal appearing as the real
Is called ignorance and confusion
Non-comprehension of the truth
Is comprehension of untruth—ignorance
When the mind's non-existence is realized
One sees that ego-sense does not exist
What exists is infinite consciousness
All notions based on ignorance cease
There is neither unity nor diversity
Neither confusion nor delusion
Nothing comes and nothing goes
Everything is consciousness—that you are
When all desires have been abandoned
The mind becomes utterly quiet
Earlier existing coloring washes away
These teachings are then comprehended
Earlier efforts are not wasted though
Effort in conditioning takes you so far
All conditioning must be abandoned
For clarity to find its way home
When one is freed from all conditioning
When all impurities have been removed
The teachers words enter the heart
And resonate, awakening the self
Earlier you dwelt in ignorance
Varied notions of 'I' and 'mine'
Now on abandoning them completely
The truth is directly seen in your heart
As long as the heart sees the mind
Ignorance lasts and creates havoc
When the heart sees itself or light
You are enlightened and liberated
Mind and conditioning are synonymous
As long as these are felt near and dear
One must suffer ignorance's consequence
This is by choice and never an imposition
There is no mind in liberated ones
Consciousness functions unobstructed
They live in pure light of consciousness
While the ignorant function in the mind
When there is destruction of the mind
There is also destruction of all sorrow
One attains unending happiness and joy
One abides in utter equanimity
All joys of this world and even heaven
Are worth nothing more than a copper
One who clings to its fleeting pleasures
Himself forsakes his highest welfare
The direct method of self-knowledge
Is the best and safest way back home
Indirect methods are full of dead-ends
Where one only thinks there is attainment
Whatever sorrow there is anywhere
Know it to be a result of mental craving
If you establish yourself in equanimity
You'll rest in the non-different eternal
There is only infinite consciousness
Brahman is the only existence
All else is in the mind of spectators
Mental limitation experiencing itself

Vasistha's Comments

Sikhidhvaja engaged in deep meditation
Free from all modifications in consciousness
Chudala abandoned her ascetic disguise
And returned to her palace to resume her duties
After some time she felt to visit him
To see if he was still inwardly awake
Sikhidhvaja was still in deep meditation
And did not hear her calling to him
Using her psychic powers she deduced
A trace of individuality still existed in him
She fanned that spark till it grew into a flame
Sikhidhvaja awakened from his meditation
The most latent desires are disguised as sattva
They are still seeds, no matter the guise
Like sparks, they can be fanned into flame
So one has to be alert and eternally vigilant
These latent desires in sattvic guise
Are so because of an inner imbalance
When sattva is in total equilibrium
Agitation in body or mind do not happen
Sikhidhvaja opened his eyes to find
The ascetic just there, looking at him
He prostrated, expressing his gratitude
For the instructions and guidance received
He expressed his experiences in detail
Most thankful for the showering of grace
He now understood total renunciation
As renunciation of all mental modification
After spending some time in the forest
Discussing many things of interest
Chudala felt that he was now ready
To know the truth of her identity
She also felt that he should return
To the palace and resume his duties
There was no point in continuing to dwell
In the forest now that clarity was achieved
As long as there is oil in the lamp
It continues to burn ever bright
So also when there is conditioning
Ignorance's darkness keeps one bound
The lamp of Sikhidhvaja was now dry
The oil of ignorance had been purged
His whole being was in utter equanimity
She felt he should do his natural functions
She explained the truth of her identity
Why she had to assume the disguise
We cannot learn from those closest to us
As the mind insists on how it relates
Learning takes a disciple's heart
One who is awake and stays alert
One who has the requisite discipline
To find out the truth for himself now
Till an awakening has happened within
Anything said will not be of much use
As the cup of one's inner receptivity
Is turned upside down and will not hold
It is pointless to instruct the unawakened
They are sleeping—best to let them lie
Awakening—they will themselves seek
Ways to end the tyranny of the mind
This story has many subtle teachings
Contemplate them carefully—gain wisdom
Know what it is that really binds
And what must be done to overcome it


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