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Yoga Vasistha in Poem

Chapter VI: Dealing with Liberation

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11. The Story of Sikhidhvaja and Chudala

(This story includes three smaller stories woven into it to highlight certain important points: Story of the Precious Stone, Story of the Philosophers' Stone and Story of the Wild Elephant.)


Part I: Sikhdhvaja and Chudala

Some things appear in abundance
Sometimes they are not seen for a while
Disappearing and reappearing again
In the same or in different forms
There once lived king Sikhidhvaja and queen Chudala
Both were noble, virtuous and dutiful
They shared interests of the spiritual way
Helping each other evolve in life's journey
One day the queen pondered life's meaning
She started direct inquiry into the truth
Reflecting and seeing within herself
Examining previously unconsidered notions

Queen Chudala's Direct Inquiry

Who am I and what is this ignorance
Just how did delusion arise within
The body and sense organs are not self
Both are dependent on the mind
This mind too I consider to be inert
For it is directed by the ego-sense
It thinks and entertains notions
Prompted by the intellect or buddhi
This intellect too is inert as well
It too is directed by the ego-sense
This ego-sense is inert as well
It is dependent on that which exists
That which exists is pure consciousness
Entangled somehow with these faculties
Though this is not possible as it is infinite
It is ignorance masquerading as reality
I am that self which is pure consciousness
Dwelling as the individual in this body
I am aware of all these faculties
They cannot be me—I am pure awareness
Yet somehow I've forgotten my essential nature
As pure consciousness—the only existence
Such is the power of the self—consciousness
It becomes whatever it conceives itself to be
It seems to abandon its own nature
Somehow taking on unreal limitations
Seeing itself as only objects in confusion
Experiencing itself as something else

Vasistha's Comments

Thus contemplating within herself
Queen Chudala became enlightened
Attaining what was to be known
Feeling great joy and peace within
She directly saw reality within herself
Supreme consciousness as the only truth
Untainted by any impurity or limitation
Consciousness became self-aware in her
Consciousness alone manifests as all
Body, mind, intellect and the senses
Apart from consciousness nothing is
World appearance is consciousness alone
All that is known by different names
All is consciousness—there is naught else
In it there is no division of subject-object
This arises in one's mind as delusion only

Chudala Continues Contemplation

I am pure consciousness, free of ego-sense
Birth and death do not exist in me
I have realized self—indestructible am I
I see now all forms are manmade only
What is seen and the seer are really one
All happens in the self or consciousness
I have attained to perfect quiescence
There is no this, no 'I', no you or other

Vasistha Continues

Chudala grew introverted day by day
Rejoicing more in the bliss within
Free from all craving and attachment
Neither rejecting nor running after things
In a short time she realized the truth
This world is only an appearance
She shone in the radiance of inner light
Abiding as the self—most effulgent
Seeing her in such a peaceful state
Her husband, king Sikhidhvaja, then inquired
What was it that made this difference
As he clearly felt she had some attainment

Chudala Answers Sikhidhvaja

I have abandoned the form assumed
It is an appearance, not the truth at all
I am radiant because I've attained truth
The joy of reality ever shines in the heart
I am the true ruler of the universe
Not the finite being earlier mistaken
All limitations have been abandoned
I seek nothing, want nothing—I am the all
I'm happy with whatever comes naturally
I see the self as truth—in all and everywhere
That which is myself is the only existence
There is naught else—self alone exists

Vasistha Continues

Unable and unwilling to understand
The king dismissed her words as delusion
Calling her experiences childish fancies
Though still conversing with her affectionately
The queen realized the king's mindset
Unwilling and thus unable to understand
She continued her role and her duties
Inwardly steady and abiding in self
Three ways one sees all things
First is pursuing what is desirable
Feeling that it will promote happiness
But realizing it is quite the opposite
Second is what is considered detestable
One feels avoiding it is happiness
Not realizing the avoidance itself
Is the greatest sorrow self-inflicted
Third is what one is indifferent to
This brings neither of the opposites
Indifference is not callous cold disregard
But one knows objects are appearances

Vasistha: On Gaining Psychic Powers

Psychic powers are also called siddhis
The deluded pursue these attainments
The sage of self-knowledge avoids them
As self-knowledge is the supreme attainment
All achievements depend on four factors
Time, place, action and means utilized
Action or effort is the supreme factor
Attainments are not possible without it
Immature people have faith in technique
They feel some act or trick to be most important
They exert, but from behind this limitation
And fail because being, not trick, must exert
The whole being must rise and exert
Doing what needs to be done as duty
When this inner need itself exerts
Things come with hard work but no struggle

Vasistha: On Awakening Kundalini

Abandon unrelated and opposing habits
Learn how to close the body's apertures
Master a good posture that can endure
Have pure diet and cleanliness
Contemplate the meaning of teachings
Found in the scriptures and holy ones
Good company is absolutely essential
As is right conduct in all aspects of life
Inwardly renounce things and attachments
Not as an act but in truth—you must feel this
Sit comfortably and practice pranayama
Without allowing rising thoughts to interfere
Thoughts and feelings will rise and fall
No need to interfere and suppress them
Gradually bring the life-force under control
This life-force sustains and animates all
Deep within there is a nerve passage or nadi
It is known as antravestika—source of other nadi
Existing in all beings, resting coiled at its source
It is in contact with all avenues of the body
Within the body dwells the supreme power
Known as kundalini—the prime power
When prana or life-force from the heart
Reaches kundalini awakening happens
Kundalini begins to move within oneself
Giving rise to awareness in many ways
It is the seed of consciousness and understanding
All other energies unleash when it flows
Kundalini's functions appear as diversity
It is the body, elements and life-force
It is mind, intellect, ego-sense as well
It is inhalation and exhalation sustaining life

Vasishta: On Physical and Mental Illnesses

If the downward or the upward pull
Of this inner energy is excessive
And is not arrested in some way
Death comes about as an effect
If the movement of energy is balanced
So it neither goes up nor comes down
There is unceasing harmony and balance
All diseases and ills are quickly overcome
Physical and mental ills are sources of pain
Appearing sometimes together, sometimes not
Both are rooted in ignorance and wickedness
Both end when self-knowledge is attained
Ignorance gives rise to likes and dislikes
Disrupting the inner balance and harmony
Causing the inner energy to move erratically
Leading to physical and mental ills as effects
Ignorance weakens will and mental restraint
Opening the door to poor, unhealthy habits
Useless company, indulgence and wicked thoughts
All weaken the pathways of energy's flow
Environments must be healthy in every way
Surroundings, clothes and one's company
Be ever vigilant as earlier impressions surge
Unhealthy ones can try to subvert aspiration
Minor physical ills are best corrected
By a healthy, proper mental attitude
Moderate physical ills are overcome
By treatment, prayers and right action
Serious physical ills come to end
Only when self-knowledge is attained
Mental ills are all rooted in ignorance
They cease on attaining self-knowledge
Physical ills often arise from mental ills
In confusion, the path is not clearly seen
Life-forces are agitated in confusion
Clogs result in nadis or energy pathways
By right understanding and right action
The mind becomes whole, pure and healthy
Life-forces then flow unobstructed
Diseases cease as the body heals itself

Vasistha: Consciousness as All This

Though infinite consciousness alone exists
It manifests differently as all that we see
Without undergoing any change at all
Ever unchanged while appearing to change
Just as space is space alone everywhere
A room and walls does not alter space
Consciousness ever stays consciousness
Light that animates and sustains all in itself
Slight movement of thought generates all
Elements, bodies and this world you see
Appearing one way here, another there
It alone is the substance of all these forms
Distinctions and divisions do not exist
They are all creations of the perceiver
Good, bad, latent, patent and such
All are notions only, not the reality
All forms that feel themselves separate
Distinct and not part of the one that exists
Feel so because of their conditioning
The individual is alone responsible for it
Thought is the seed of appearing diversity
From thought the trunk and branches come
Diversifying as leaves, flowers and fruit
All of it is the seed appearing diverse

... continued 2

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