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Yoga Vasistha in Poem

Chapter III (...continued)

17. Steps of Ignorance and States of Wisdom

Seven Descending Steps of Ignorance

Abidance in self-knowledge is liberation
In self-knowledge there is no agitation
Self-knowledge disturbed raises egotism
Distraction, dullness, bondage and suffering
The delusion that veils is sevenfold
First is when mind and jiva exist in name only
Second, when notion of 'I' and 'this' appear as real
Third, when strengthened, they are experienced
Fourth is when the mind is filled with desires
Fifth is when the unreal appears as real
Sixth is living in the past as though the present
Seventh is when one is trapped in dullness

Seven Ascending States of Wisdom

Hear now the seven states of wisdom
First is when pure wish or intention arise
Second is the spirit of inquiry into truth
Third is when the mind becomes subtle
Fourth is the mind established in truth
Fifth is total freedom from bondage
Sixth is cessation from objectivity
Seventh is beyond these—liberation
First is when one begins self-inquiry
"Why do I continue to live unwisely?"
One seeks holy men and teaching
Having cultivated dispassion and wisdom
Second is when direct observation begins
To see the mixture of the real with unreal
Looking within oneself thins the unreal
One discovers abidance in the substratum
Third is when non-attachment arises
Based on one's own direct observation
Of what is unreal and what is real
The mind becomes subtle and transparent
Fourth comes about on practicing these three
The seeker turns from pursuit of sense-pleasure
This happens naturally—without suppression
As one has seen pursuit of pleasure to be pain
Fifth is when non-attachment arises
As does conviction in the nature of truth
One rejoices in one's own self
One's direct experience is light on the path
Sixth is when there is rootedness
In experience of unity as the truth
Ideas of objectivity that lingered earlier
Have been abandoned completely
Seventh is when self-knowledge
Is spontaneous and unbroken
One is liberated while living here
This is the transcendental state
There is another state beyond these
The abandonment of body-consciousness
Rare indeed is this most high state
Holy are all who ascend these seven
Those attaining to the states of wisdom
Go beyond the grip of sorrow
They may lead an active or passive life
Rejoicing in the self—fully satisfied
All can attain to these states, O Rama
Unlearned people and animals too
For it involves the rise of wisdom
Great are they who have attained to them
In ignorance does the self imagine
Separate existence as the ego
But gold remains gold in a bracelet too
So too the self can never be non-self

The Rise of Ignorance in the Self

Best to ask questions about reality
Not unreality as it hath no existence
As gold remains gold—regardless of form
So infinite consciousness remains unchanged
Existence of unreality arises in consciousness
And vanishes when inquired into
As long as the truth is not directly seen
One suffers in bondage of ignorance
This world appearance is a delusion
Based on egotism’s utter ignorance
Egotism has no existence in the self
The infinite self is the only existence
Whatever is seen, all that is known
All is that supreme pure consciousness
No beginning, no middle and no end
Divisionless, self-luminous—Brahman only
Space and diversity are notions in the mind
Just as distance between objects in a mirror
The king visited the places he dreamt earlier
Saw them to exist and the people too
I explained the mystery to the king
Delusion created by power of nescience
Confusion between the real and unreal
Based on ignorance and resulting notions
When a notion arises in the mind
Delusion will very soon follow
As notions are not based on reality
Experience of the notion comes quickly
If one thinks repeatedly in some way
Division is made firm in the mind
The thinker and what is thought of
What was thought is soon experienced
If you see a crow alight on a coconut tree
And see a coconut fall at the same time
You feel and affirm these events are linked
You experience one event—not two separate ones
Just this way by pure coincidence
Ignorance arose and was affirmed
A feeling about it gave it reality
This reality of ignorance is bondage
The king experienced within himself
What was reflected in his consciousness
Though events happened in earlier births
The energy invested led to experience again
Nescience is unreal—unconnected with self
Like connects with like—a common fact
Is how everything becomes knowable finally
Since everything exists in infinite consciousness
Since consciousness alone is all this
Everything appears ever so real
Not only the link between all things
But the substance of things as well
Different things just do not exist
Or it would be impossible to know anything
If they were not vitally connected somehow
Then how can you call them different?
Relationship is realization of existing unity
Called relationship in ignorance
Based upon false notions and delusion
Of division between subject and object
In between the seer and the seen
Is the relationship known as the seer
When the division between these three
Is abolished—that alone is supreme
Be that pure undivided consciousness
Do not let imagination create a future
Do not get tangled in moods of the mind
Stay established in truth peacefully
I have investigated the truth concerning
The mind—does it exist or does it not?
Have found only pure consciousness exists
Be established in this realization, O Rama
When all mental conditioning is overcome
The mind is made perfectly tranquil
Delusion and ignorance come to an end
The illusion or maya is clearly understood
As long as the illusion is not understood
By one's direct observation
Most inevitable is great delusion
The source of endless sorrow and grief
Do not get wrapped up in the words
Theory or descriptions used to instruct
One alone is—all pure consciousness
Know this by your direct experience
The self is ever untouched by sorrow
Self is the self of all—therefore desireless
My precepts have dispelled your ignorance
Your consciousness is pure now, O Rama

End of Chapter III

 


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