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Yoga Vasistha in Poem

Chapter VI: Dealing with Liberation

How to Rest in the Self from Yoga Vasistha in Poem

15. The Story of the Hunter and the Sage

Background

Vipaschit from the earlier story
Took birth once again as Bhasa
Must luminous and radiant was his form
He had a boon to experience everything
For eons he took birth in different forms
Remembering knowledge and experiences
Seeing worlds most distant and different
Endless were experiences like flowing streams
In a certain universe lived a fierce demon
Who had destroyed the abode of a sage
He was cursed to be born as a mosquito
Somehow suddenly he had self-awareness
He became a mosquito with self-awareness
That of Brahma down to a blade of grass
All beings are subject to two forms of birth
Those of Brahma's and illusory creation also

Meeting the Ascetic

In time he took birth as a hunter
One day meeting a ascetic who asked
"Why do you live this cruel life
Why not seek liberation instead?"
The hunter took these words to heart
And entered the wisdom of scriptures
Just as the flower's deep fragrance
Enters one's body when it is inhaled
One day the hunter asked the ascetic
Just how is it that though this dream
Takes place within oneself only
It appears to be outside as real

The Ascetic Replied

To find the answer to this question
I once practiced long contemplation
Exhaling prana and mind outside
The prana entered another being
I followed it into that being
And into his heart I did enter
Beholding the principle of light
There I saw the entire universe
It was just like seeing with my eyes
I saw the sun, mountains and oceans
Different human beings and gods too
And realized the truth about consciousness

On the Play of Consciousness

Whatever consciousness manifests in itself
That is what is known as the world
This world is indeed the dream object
The perception of infinite consciousness
The expansion of this perception
Is what is known as the waking state
Dream is dream in relation to
The waking state preceding it
Dream is a waking state in itself
The waking state having two aspects
When one wishes to rest in himself
And when one attains perfect illumination
Resting in himself the illusion continues
One responds to the world in the mind
But when one attains perfect illumination
The world-appearance ceases completely
I ventured further into the being
Entering his individual consciousness
I experienced his world of confusion
His vital energy was heavily congested
Years of poor habits, fatigue and drink
Made his vital energy dense and inefficient
The self is its own object, you see
Congestion within is experienced without
Mind is creator of the world
It fancies prana to be its movement
Thus mind brings prana into being
And on prana mind becomes dependent
Prana busied in its own movement
Is unable to exert in self-knowledge
When prana and mind are in harmony
One engages himself in various activities
When prana and mind have disharmony
Both resting—is called the sleep state
Clogs in the nadis due to unhealthy habits
Is experienced as fatigue and need for sleep
All this I saw within that being
Into whose consciousness I entered
I saw a world within his consciousness
And realized it was all consciousness' play

On the Power of Assertion

After this I asserted that I was sixteen
I experienced that I was sixteen years old
Living in a hermitage in a small village
All this instantly became real to me
Previous experiences began to fade
The body seemed to be my only hope
Social customs and wealth became important
It felt wisdom had completely abandoned me
One day a guest came by to visit
He described the truth of this universe
One infinite consciousness alone is
I awakened fully on hearing his words
I recollected I was in another's body
One with his prana but in samadhi
I exited his body and came to know
Just one hour had passed in samadhi
Curiously I entered another's heart
In it, cosmic dissolution had just concluded
Where is the body, creation and death
There is only pure consciousness
In the presence of this consciousness
The tiniest particle appears macrocosmic
When world-appearance's notion is rooted
The karma notion takes root—creation seems real
The cycle of life, experience and death
Continues till one attains liberation
Creation is in the heart of consciousness
Just as dream is in the dreamer's heart
Virtue, vice, tendency and personality
All are but notions, words with no reality
One infinite consciousness alone is
In which diversity appears as a dream
Creation is an appearance in consciousness
'Tis very much like dream-experience
Just as cloud formations appear in the sky
Seeming quite stable but ever changing
Countless worlds appear in consciousness
Some in the same space, some seem separate
Appearances exist in consciousness only
There is not else—this must be known directly
Impressions created in the waking state
Appear in the dream state as well
Strengthened again in the waking state
But the waking state too is an appearance
Just as movement is natural in air
Notions arise in consciousness
Impressions are not needed to create them
They appear and dissolve on their own
Consciousness's faculty to hold onto something
Is what is known as impression or samskara
When it is realized it is a reflection within
Impressions are not seen or experienced
Creation is non-different from consciousness
Consciousness alone shines as all this
The cause was there before the effect
This cause continues to shine unchanged
Things appear to exist independently
All because the substratum is reality
Just as dream objects appear so very real
Because of the dreamer dreaming them
Simultaneous multiple reflections
Appear as this grand creation we see
All of it rises and exists in consciousness
Infinite consciousness is the only reality
Diversity appears to be just as in dream
Creation exists in infinite consciousness
As dream is non-different from the dreamer
Creation is non-different from consciousness
Everywhere I look, I see myself only
As I am a particle in consciousness
The part cannot be divided from the whole
This truth has to be realized by you directly

On Creation

In the beginning there was no creation
Infinite consciousness alone was
Creation took place as a coincidence
As a coconut falls from the tree when a bird alights
The individual experiences creation
As the world outside due to the senses
When attention is externalized and scattered
There is confusion and lack of inner clarity
When the senses don't rush out to objects
The rays of the mind return to fullness
Once again there is great clarity within
No contradiction between appearance and reality
Senses extroverted is world-appearance
As if it were outside infinite consciousness
The individual is an aggregate of the senses
Consciousness endowed with life force
This individual exists as everything everywhere
Or he could never experience anything at all
The nature of the individual has impact
On the experiences and pull to respond
As one's natural tendencies surge within
One feels a certain way towards things
This does not mean that he must respond
In the way the feeling within urges

Back to the Story

When I asserted I was sixteen years old
I momentarily forgot that a notion had gripped
I lived with others for sixteen years
Until one day an ascetic re-awakened me
All are in the heart of the infinite being
We somehow regard others as so and so
The infinite is the cause for all experiences
All opposites and diversity are in him alone
When the energy in the infinite is agitated
The effect is experienced by us in his heart
We experience things as natural calamities
And calm is restored on energy's balance
The infinite being is creations' reality
Everything happens because of its will
We attribute things to some local cause
It is mere coincidence for this to so appear
Instructed by the ascetic—I was enlightened
And felt not to leave him just yet
I lived with him for a number of years
That very ascetic is sitting right next to you
I wanted to see within myself as well
Just as I saw in the body I was in
But I could not return to my body
And sought help from the ascetic

The Ascetic's Instructions

You can know all and everything
If you see it with your inner vision
You are not this little personality
You are the infinite being himself
You desired to enter another's heart
To have a certain experience
You've now entered this creation
Your old body and his have decayed
You've continued to vibrate as consciousness
Not finding exit as both bodies are gone
Your experience has materialized as dream
All of us now here are our own dream objects
All of this happens in pure consciousness
It exists everywhere, in every moment
Knowers of truth know no sorrow
They teach and enlighten others as well

How to Rest in the Self?

Embarking on self-knowledge's quest
Must be a whole-hearted effort
First, find a foothold in sound wisdom
Stay steady in practice till the goal is reached
Every moment of time and every thing
Has the potential to raise inner clarity
All that you seek is here and now
Face the truth in all things without break
Experiences will come naturally on their own
No need to run after anything at all
The inevitable cannot be averted by any
It cannot be altered by any effort
Let come what comes—what is the problem
Be concerned with facing the truth
Ceaselessly watch the mind's movement
Unbroken must be the meditative mood
The world-appearance is a grand illusion
It gives rise to delusion in the mind
Opposites and contradictions appear
But the substratum of them is unchanging
Every inch of space if filled with creations
Countless worlds exist though unseen
All existing together though most varied
Without any contradiction or conflict
This universe appears in Brahman only
In Brahman the universe does dissolve
Brahman is the only reality there is
Appearances are its creative play
From Brahman did the mind arise
Faculties of thinking and imagination
All that you see exists in that mind
Fondness of notions are illusion's chains
Light rays are non-different from the sun
Bracelet is non-different from gold
Waves are non-different from the ocean
Sparks are non-different from flame
When the truth behind appearance is seen
Direct understanding breaks illusion's chains
One attains what is worth attaining
And never gets enmeshed in objects again
Abandon your notions and conditioning
Ideas of diversity that invite preference
Refute objectification and externality
Remain steadily establishes in consciousness
Whatever the self contemplates
Materializes instantly, here and now
This materialization shines as if independent
Know this directly to be the origin of diversity
World-appearance is neither real nor unreal
All appearances have reality as their substratum
When this truth is realized by you directly
You will know absolute reality as the self
From one point of view things appear real
From an absolute view they are appearances
Brahman remains Brahman—ever unchanged
Though this world appears to exist as well
Abide in truth no matter what you do
All this is nothing but pure consciousness
Brahman alone is the absolute reality
This, that or the other just do not exist
Abandon all concepts—even of bondage
Liberation too is a notion only
Remain pure, egoless and indivisible
Engage yourself in natural activity
Light in darkness and darkness in light
Good in evil and evil in good as well
All opposites synthesize in the absolute
Renounce all limitation and realize freedom
I left the heart I had entered into
Realizing Brahman as the only reality
Everything exists everywhere all the time
All this is pure undivided consciousness
In the infinite play of the infinite being
Worlds and universes rise and fall
Each full with different forms and beings
Some are enlightened, others are not
The world exists in the mind only
World-appearance is indeed beginningless
Endless too is consciousness's infinite play
All this is pure consciousness—naught else

 


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