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Yoga Vasistha in Poem

Chapter III (... continued)

14. The Story of the Great Forest

There was a great forest—millions of miles
Just like the space within a single atom
In it lived one person with thousands of limbs
Forever restless was his nature
He beat himself with his own mace
And ran away in panic immediately
Afraid of the beating he gave himself
And jumped into a blind well in fear
He repeated this act again and again
Now beating himself with his own mace
Then running into a banana grove
Weeping and crying aloud in fear
Witnessing this I restrained him
With the power of my own will
Asking him about his identity
Sorely distressed was he in return
Calling me enemy he wept aloud
After crying he then laughed
Next he did the strangest thing
He abandoned his body limb by limb
Immediately I saw another like him
Doing the same thing in the forest
On inquiry I was abused by some
Others held me in great contempt
Some refused to talk to me at all
Some refused to come out of the well
Others went deeper into the forest
Few listened and were enlightened
This great forest is not far away
Nor is the strange man we talked about
The world itself is the great forest
Seen as a void in the light of inquiry
The light of inquiry in the story
Is the 'I' who attempted to reason
Those accepting attain enlightenment
Those rejecting continue to suffer
The thousand-limbed person is the mind
With all its countless manifestations
Punishing its own self constantly
By its very own latent tendencies
In the world it wanders restlessly
The blind well is the hell it endures
The banana grove is the heaven
The dense forest is its worldly life
Mind’s attachments are its thorns
Which hurt him all the time
Still it wanders experiencing
Hell and heaven within itself
When wisdom somehow shines on him
He rejects it considering it enemy
While still wailing and weeping for help
Drifting without proper understanding
Sometimes he does experience
An improper awakening of sorts
He renounces without understanding
Increasing the sorrow he already endures
Renunciation must be based on
Wisdom born of inquiry
And fullness of understanding
So it will lead to supreme bliss
The limbs he seemed to abandon
Were tendencies attempted to abandon
Which when there is no real understanding
Ever remain—never really getting abandoned
Great is the hurt in ignorance's play
Great panic darting from shore to sea
When wisdom dawns based on inquiry
Understanding calms the mind's passion
The absolute Brahman is omnipresent
His energy pervades and sustains all
Instruments of action, doer and deed
Birth, death, existence—all is Brahman
Duality and its resulting offspring
Such as delusion, craving and attachment
All these have no real existence
All notions the mind experiences
Listen attentively to this legend
It illustrates this point best
Don't get wrapped up in the story
Look at what it points to



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