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Yoga Vasistha in Poem

Chapter IV: Dealing With Existence (...continued)

4. The Story of Dashura

From Orphan to Sage

Dashura was the son of a great sage
Both parents died when he was young
The forest he lived in nurtured him well
Teaching him wisdom—he became a sage
His earlier rigorous austerities were physical
Hemmed in by rules—do's and don'ts
Immersed in rituals, injunctions and prohibitions
Hoping to realize the truth he was taught
In a huge tree he took up abode
Which seemed to bridge earth to sky
He felt creation to be the Lord’s cosmic form
Sun and moon as eyes—nature sounds as hymns
He sat on the topmost branch of this tree
His vision traversing far and wide
Immersed in this—cosmic being appeared
On that very spot he commenced his austerities
His later austerities were performed through the mind
The mind is a magazine of tremendous power
Heart and mind were thoroughly purified
He shone as a sage with the highest wisdom
A most beautiful lady came by one day
As deity of forest she greeted him
Expressing her sadness at being childless
Asking the sage's blessing for a son
The sage handed her a nearby creeper
And assured her she would soon have a son
Just as the creeper would have flowers
The grateful forest deity departed gracefully
She came again after twelve years had passed
With a young lad about that age—sage's son
She had instructed the boy in branches of learning
And asked the sage to teach him self-knowledge
Without self-knowledge one is only a fool
No matter what might be his accomplishments
So she implored the sage to care for him
The sage consented—she departed gracefully

Story in a Story

Listen attentively to this inspiring story
It gives great insight concerning this world
Once lived a mighty king called Khotta
Capable of conquering all the worlds
His every command was honored by all
His deeds—too innumerous to list
Productive of both—happiness and sorrow
He reigned supreme—challenged by none
His three bodies engulfed the worlds
Best, middling and least they were
Established in space—a city he built
With fourteen roads and three sectors
High peaks, gardens and seven lakes he built
Adorning all with beautiful things
Two lights—one hot and the other one cold
Undiminished were they in their brilliance
Several types of beings he created too
Arranged with different appearances
Different life-spans to each he assigned
Each had nine gates and were well ventilated
Five lamps and three pillars had each
Whitish wood-like poles supported them
Soft outer coverings offered protection
Creations of maya—the king's illusory power
Here the king besports himself
In the company of ghosts and goblins
Fearful of inquiry or investigation
Protectors of the mansions—different bodies
Thinking to move to another land
And envisioning this place he migrated
With his entourage of ghosts and goblins
Occupying the new but similar mansion
Just like this does the cycle repeat
Construction, destruction and migration
Wailing aloud—helpless and ignorant
Sometimes in joy but mostly sunk in misery

Vasistha's Insight

Thus does he live—comes, goes and flourishes
Tossed in the ocean of world-appearance
This illustration is creation, universe and man
The king in the story is but a notion or wish
Arising in the great void of its own accord
'Twill dissolve in the great void of its own accord too
All that you see and know are similar notions
The intention alone is responsible for creation
The city built by the king is the entity
The ghosts guarding the city are ego-principle
The king roams this world in waking and dream
From one city, body and realm to another
After tireless walking about here and there
Exhausting desires—wisdom develops within
He reaches the end of his wandering
By the cessation of notions and experiences
He still drifts between wisdom and pleasure-seeking
As all notions have not yet been abandoned
This causes even more suffering and torment
Till he renounces all notions for liberation
No amount of religious activity
Even the best of teachers will not do
Unless all notions are completely abandoned
For only then can the mind go beyond itself
When infinite consciousness is somehow aware
Of consciousness itself as an object
This consciousness now perceived as an object
Becomes gross and seemingly fills much space
Engrossed in ideation about this object
It imagines itself distinct from itself
Then ideation grows and multiplies rapidly
This becoming is the cause of all sorrow
Hold on to existence—abandon all ideas
By ideas does future come into being
Abandon thought—'tis the seed of ideas
Without thought-seed—ideas and notions cease
Abandoning thought and ideas is easier
Than dealing with the sorrow they bring about
Far easier than crumbling a flower in your palm
As this takes effort—abandoning thought does not
As notions weaken—great joy is experienced
One feels freer from earlier turmoil
The ropes that bind are thought constructions
Abandoning thought is abandoning bondage
This story illustrates the nature of world-appearance
Therefore it is as true as the world itself
Whether you believe creation to be real or not
Rest firmly in your own self—existence is truth
Infinite consciousness is itself pure existence
Do not let ideas or thought cloud your vision
Rest established in the self—in consciousness
'Tis what the best of holy men ever dwell in
When one's house is on fire is not the time
To inquire about the world's existence
All in its own time—what is important now
Is abandoning thoughts and notions as poison
Gird up your loins for this task on hand
With the self—seek the self of all
Fuel for the journey is self-effort
Clarity will be had as you tread along
Bondage is bondage to thoughts and notions
Freedom is freedom from both of these
Cultivate the good in every way
Abandon all that results from notions
All notions including that of ego-sense
Must be ruthlessly abandoned—let go
The heart will be flooded by infinite space
'Tis verily the presence of the supreme Lord
Live then an active life or a quieter one
There is no detriment in either choice
But renunciation of notions is requisite
'Tis the seed of all sorrow and suffering
These forms you consider so desirable
All these things that seem worth striving for
Are all formations of the very same substance
That you yourself are also composed of
Pursuit of these forms is self-destruction
Trying to preserve the ever-changing too
Shame on those who still pursue them
They themselves relinquish their real heritage
The wise are not enamored by these forms
They ever abide in the truth—substance of all
Hear now the most inspiring song of Kaca
Son of the preceptor of the gods

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