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Yoga Vasistha in Poem

Chapter V: Dealing with Dissolution

5. The Story of King Bali

Background

Bali was a powerful demon king
He ruled for a long time unchallenged
Dispassion arose in him in due time
He began to inquire within as such

King Bali's Inquiry

How long will I continue to rule this way
What shall I gain in continuing to rule
Everything is subject to destruction after all
How can all this give me real happiness?
Again and again the same pleasures
They seem disgusting after a while
The same shameless acts are repeated
How is it that I am not ashamed of this?
Doing the same thing day-in and day-out
How can one ever reach the exalted state
Cessation of the cycle of birth and death
What is the use in revolving like this?
I remember well now my father's advice
When I asked him about ending samsara
The tyranny caused by the deluded mind
And the means for gaining total satisfaction

Bali's Father's Advice in a Story

There's a vast realm of endless expanse
In it are no lakes, oceans or mountains
No forests, sky, winds or moon
No high, no low, not even you or I
Only One is there—the supreme Light
Omnipotent, omnipresent—he is the all
Remaining silent as if inactive is he
Prompted by him, his minister does all
This minister is incapable of enjoying anything
Ignorant—he knows nothing at all
He does everything for his master's sake
The king remains alone established in peace
All the gods and demons are no match
They can never challenge this minister
Love and anger too derive power from him
His wish is the reason for all conflicts here
The king alone can defeat this minister
Quite easily whenever he wishes to
All creation is this ministers handiwork
You are a true hero if you can conquer him
When the minister arises—worlds arise
When he retires—worlds subside as well
You must be free of all delusion and ignorance
Have an utterly one-pointed mind—to conquer him
If he is not conquered—nothing can be attained
If he is conquered—everything is had at once
Hence strive with all your might in every way
Overcome any obstacle and conquer him
Most invincible is he—but, hear, there’s a means
He can be overcome by intelligent action
The absence of which is indeed travesty
As he burns everything if one is not vigilant
One has to approach him most intelligently
And subdue him as one plays with a child
When the king is seen—the minister is controlled
When the minister is controlled—the king is seen
Great havoc he creates if the king is not seen
Till you conquer the minister—the king is unseen
It requires intense effort—steady intelligent practice
To subdue the minister and to behold the king
Intense effort and steady intelligent practice
Both are needed to go beyond all sorrow
To the region inhabited by holy ones
Those who are forever established in peace
This region is the state of liberation
Sorrow and grief never enter here
The supreme king is the absolute Self
The minister to conquer is the mind
All that you see is fashioned by the mind
Mind conquered—everything is conquered
Almost invincible is this powerful mind
But it can be overcome by intelligent practice
Now listen to the most intelligent means
Of conquering this mind of great power
Free yourself of hope, desires and expectations
In regards to all and everything at all times
Very easy yet most difficult is conquest
Difficult for those who are not serious
But easy for the one who is most earnest
Ready and eager to renounce all impediments
Until you turn away from every sense pleasure
You will continue to roam in this world in grief
Total dispassion takes persistent practice
It can be attained by relentless right exertion
No other means exists to conquer the mind
Talks about fate and destiny are mere talk
What brings equanimity is also called grace
Right exertion is the way to equanimity
What the mind conceives of through right exertion
Mind conceives, creates and brings to fruition
Either counter to or with the natural order
You can call it the prompter of natural order
Though certain actions appear to be selfish
Each act in accordance with their own nature
But as long as there is mind—God is not known
When the mind ceases—let be whatever is!
Self-knowledge alone can yield the fruit
Of cessation of all cravings permanently
Dispassion is natural when the self is seen
Intelligent self-inquiry ends all craving
When the intelligence is still unawakened
Spend half your time in your normal duties
Quarter in self-study through scriptures
Quarter in service of the teacher
When the intelligence is partially awakened
Spend half your time in service of the teacher
Quarter in self-study through scriptures
Quarter in tending to normal duties
When the intelligence is fully awakened
Spend half your time in service of the teacher
The other half in self-study through scriptures
All with dispassion as your constant companion
Only when one is filled with natural goodness
Is one qualified to listen to the highest wisdom
Hence educate, purify and nourish the mind
Transforming it by your sincere study
The transformed mind will see clearly
Hence strive to see the self sincerely
Self-realization and cessation of craving
Go hand in hand simultaneously
True dispassion does not come
By austerities, charity or pilgrimage
Right self-exertion is the only way
Hence exert rightly to rid all craving
When dispassion matures within one
The spirit of inquiry arises as well
Dispassion and the spirit of inquiry
Are interdependent—best friends to have
Abandon dependency on external factors
Grind your teeth, gird up your loins
Set your whole being to exert relentlessly
Inquiring and studying till you reach the Truth
Support yourself financially by your work
Work to support your basic needs
Utilize wealth to have the company
Of the good and holy with noble qualities
Company of the holy generates dispassion
Their company helps the spirit of self-inquiry
Company of the worldly increases passion
They help destroy all higher aspirations
When you turn away resolutely
From the pursuit of all pleasures
You can then attain to the highest state
Through the means of self-inquiry
When the self has been thoroughly purified
It is then that you have the foundation
To begin ongoing relentless self-inquiry
And be established in the supreme peace
The purified self is your only best friend
It will keep you from falling into delusion again
It will keep you from sorrow and suffering
It will give you a life of joy and auspiciousness
Acquire a little wealth while you are young
Utilize this wealth to have holy company
Adore and serve the holy ones sincerely
Tremendous will be your gain in their company

Bali Continues to Recollect

Luckily I remember my father's teachings
Now that craving for pleasure has ceased in me
I shall renounce all—withdraw from pleasures' pursuits
And stay happily established in the self
This universe is a creation of the mind
Nothing is lost by abandoning it
Bali thus sat and remembered his teacher
Sukra materialized before him instantly

Bali Asks his Teacher Sukra

No desire for pleasure have I
I wish to learn the truth is all
Who am I and who are you
What is this world?—kindly instruct me

Sukra's Reply

Consciousness alone exists—it is all
You, I, the world—all of this
If you are humble and sincere—see directly
There is no need for any further explanation

Bali Reflects Again

My teacher’s instructions were most correct
All this is indeed consciousness—naught else
If consciousness did not recognize the mountain
Would this exist as a mountain at all?
Contact is possible due to consciousness
Bodies and objects always stay apart
Who is my friend and who is my enemy
Since consciousness alone exists as all
Hate and attachment are modifications
Of consciousness only—apparently modified
Consciousness being infinite in nature
How can perversions arise in it?
Consciousness is just a word—it has no name
I am that pure infinite consciousness
All craving has ceased in me completely
I shall continue till I reach absolute quiescence

Bali Enters Deep Meditation

Thus contemplating he uttered OM
And became quiet and contemplated
Its meaning and real significance
And entered into the supreme state
All divisions melted in king Bali
Thinker, thought and thinking too
Meditator, meditation and the object
He existed in stillness for a very long time
All his subjects were greatly perturbed
As their king sat showing no let up
They finally cried out to his teacher
Who once again appeared instantly
Sukra told them about Bali's condition
He had entered the perfect state
He asked to let him remain undisturbed
He would emerge from meditation on his own

Bali Emerges from Meditation

It was indeed a most wondrous state
Though it seems to be just one moment
I am pure consciousness without perversion
What to acquire, what to abandon?
I long for liberation but who has bound me
What shall I gain by continuing meditation
Salutations to myself—the infinite being
I will do what is needed as king
There is absolutely nothing to be done
By that entity which is known as 'me'
Let me do what seems natural to me now
And rule this kingdom spontaneously

Vasistha's Insight

Bali ruled the kingdom without premeditation
Worshipping gods and the holy ones
Treating his relatives with deference
Rewarding servants and giving in charity
Gain the wisdom that king Bali had
You are the light of consciousness
In you are all the worlds rooted
Who is your friend and who is enemy?
Know this by your direct realization
All worlds are strung in you as a rosary
Unborn art thou, deathless thou art
The self is real—all else is imagination
Inquire into the nature of craving
The root virus of all illnesses
See directly that it is wrong notion
Give up all notions and be free
In whatever the mind tends to sink
Retrieve and reorientate it to truth
This will tame the wild elephant mind
Now listen to another illustration

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