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Yoga Vasistha in Poem

Chapter VI: Dealing with Liberation

How to Rest in the Self from The Yoga Vasistha in Poem by Swami Suryadevananda

12. The Story of Kaca

Background

Kaca's story has a similar import
What is renunciation and liberation
Kaca was the son of Brihaspati
Who was preceptor to the gods
When still young Kaca inquired
Of Brihaspati, his father the wise sage
"How does one obtain freedom
From this cage called samsara"
Brihaspati's reply was quite curt
"Liberation from this prison house
Is possible by total renunciation
There is no other way out of this"

Kaca's First Attempt

Kaca renounced everything he had
And retired to the forest that moment
His father the sage was unaffected
The wise are unaffected by such changes
After eight years of seclusion and austerity
Kaca happened to meet his father again
"I've performed austerities for long years
But have still to attain supreme peace"

The Sage's Reply

His father the sage repeated again
His earlier commandment to Kaca
"Renounce everything" and went away
Leaving his son to do the needful

Kaca's Second Attempt

Considering what was left to renounce
Kaca discarded the clothes on his body
Continuing austerity for three more years
He again sought his father's counsel
"I've renounced all my personal things
Practiced austerity for three more years
But I've still to attain supreme peace
I've yet to gain self-knowledge"

The Sage's Reply

"By 'total' I mean only the mind
For it is the mind that is the all
Renunciation of the mind is requisite"
Saying this the sage instantly vanished

Kaca's Third Attempt

Kaca looked within to find the mind
In order that it too could be renounced
But he could not find the elusive mind
All his efforts were fruitless and in vain
He realized that punishing the body
Was the height of folly—it was innocent
And decided to return to the sage again
This time to learn what the mind is

Kaca to the Sage

"Please instruct me on the mind
I do not understand what the mind is
How does one renounce something
Of which he has no real knowledge"

The Sage and Kaca's Dialogue

The sage replied to the seeker his son
They who know, say 'I' is the mind
The ego-sense that arises within you
That is the mind—it is naught else
Kaca said it was difficult to impossible
The sage responded that it was possible
Easier than crushing a flower in the hand
Far easier than closing one's own eyes
That which appears to be is ignorance
It perishes on the dawn of knowledge
Know there is no ego-sense in truth
It appears due to ignorance and delusion
Just where is this thing called ego-sense
How did it arise and what is it really
Consciousness alone is all things
There is naught else but consciousness
Ego- sense is just a word that's inflated
Give it up and give up all self-limitation
It is also giving up all mental conditioning
In order to realize you're unconditionally free

Vasistha's Comments

Thus instructed in the highest wisdom
Kaca became enlightened and free
You too can attain the very same state
Of supreme peace and inner quiescence
The ego-sense is unreal—do not trust it
Do not abandon it either—as it is unreal
The unreal cannot be grasped in hand
It cannot be abandoned as something either
You must feel in every cell of your being
The utter unreality of the ego-sense
All conditioning must be abandoned
Mental conditioning is self-limitation
Then what is birth and what is death
You realize you're subtle consciousness
Indivisible and free from ideation
Encompassing all beings and everything
It is only in the state of ignorance
The world around appears so very real
The enlightened see all as Brahman
Having abandoned all concepts and notions
Do not behave like the foolish and suffer
What one has attained—you can too
There is no loss in forsaking the unreal
It is natural if real wisdom has dawned within


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