by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar | 1896 | 137,618 words | ISBN-10: 818514141X | ISBN-13: 9788185141411
This page relates “the story of dama, vyala and kata”, the 2nd part of chapter 4 of Laghu-yoga-vasistha (English translation). This ancient Sanskrit book contains epic legendry (similair to puranas and itihasa) and deals with the Advaita-vedanta (non-dual) branch of Indian philosophy. It is authored by sage (rishi) Valmiki and condensed (laghu) from an even larger work, forming a discourse between Vasistha (Vasishtha) and Rama. This part is included in the chapter “sthiti-prakarana”.
Summary. Having shown that the universe shines as Ātma Saṃkalpa, the author illustrates in this story that the conception of the reality of the universe will increase with contemplation upon Non-Ātma,
“The true nature of ‘That’ will truly dawn with surpriseless bliss in the hearts of those only who are engaged in ceaseless enquiry (after Ātma); who are freed from the base thoughts of the mind or Saṃkalpa; who are ever in the enjoyment of (spiritual) bliss; who have known the true nature of Sacidānanda which destroys the unreality, inert ness and pains of the visible objects, that are the result of Saṃkalpa; who have cognized their Ātmic Reality, the seer after giving up all conceptions of non-Ātma, the non-seer; who, though alive, do enjoy the Jāgrat (waking) state in the supreme Tattva of Jñāna; who are quite dormant, so far as the paths leading to rebirths are concerned; who have cut themselves asunder from all Vāsanās of good or evil, through their fully developed non-desires and who after destroying the snares of Vāsanās, relieve their minds from their bondage. In such minds only, will there be the illumination of the true Jñāna, like an adulterated water cleared of its sedimentations through clearing-nuts (katakabīja). It is only when the mind, being divested of all its desires, is indifferent to pleasures or pains and is not attracted by any objects that it will be rendered pure, free from the grip of the great delusion like a bird freed from its cage, and roaming freely the Ākāśa; and then without any doubts, will ever be without any particle of desire. Then it will be Plenum itself and will shine like a full moon. Persons in this state will even bless (and aid) the Trimūrtis (Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra), the highest of deities,
The Supreme principle should be attained through firm enquiry. The tumultuous delusions of rebirths will be enveloping us like a mist, so long as there is no firm enquiry about the nature of the universe and of the ‘I’ in man. Those only are the cognizers of Tattva (or Reality) who do perceive objectively, through their non-fluctuating Jñāna-Vision, that all the countless universes and egos of men are none else but the light of the imperishable Jñāna. Those only are the cognizers of Tattva who perceive objectively that it is the immeasurable Ātma Jñāna alone which manifests itself as all potencies and yet is non-dual (in its innate condition) and which is the latency of all possible ideations. Those only are the cognizers of Tattva who perceive objectively that Brahman alone is, as being the laya centre between being and non-being and that in it there is nothing, as apart from It, such as the knower of ‘I’ or the known of the universe.
Like a wayfarer who, as he travels along, sees things in the different quarters without any longing for them, the stainless knowers of Brahman, even though their minds are immersed in sensual enjoyments in the performance of actions, will never be affected by them. Even thieves will become their friends, since they will derive Brahmic bliss from material enjoyments. The wise will regard the worldly enjoyments in the same light as a traveller meets unconcernedly, in his way, a host of men bound on a marriage. Those who have mastered their minds will look upon even a scintilla of desires in their hearts as a great evil and therefore will not long after them. A king released from prison after great difficulties will estimate greatly his kingdom; but an emperor who has won much laurels and wears the great sword, will care not two straws for the whole earth over which he reigns. The conquerors of mind should previously have mastered it through their mind like the hand with hand, the legs with legs, the teeth with teeth, and so on with reference to the other parts of the whole body. There is no other vessel on this earth to wade the ocean of rebirth than the mastery of the antagonistic mind. Those only will reach the world of Mokṣa who have controlled the serpent of mind replete with the venom of its actions in the hole of their heart. Even pure and virtuous men as well as the famous and the greatly intelligent will wear, on the crown of their head, the lotus-like feet of those Great Ones who have, under their control, their minds. Therefore, Oh Rāma, may you quell your tremendous foes of the organs, accoutred in this world of many cities with the weapon of excessive desires and riding upon the elephant of sins generated through your former enjoyments, which elephant is ever rutting with the three, passion, anger and delusion. If you will only destroy the painful Ahaṃkāra of the mind and conquer the foes of organs, then will the ever-waking Vāsanās subside like a forest of lotuses enveloped by snow. So long as one through the mastery of his mind is not convinced of the reality of the non-dual Principle, so long will the anguish of his mind not cease like the (conception of) ghosts inseparable from intense gloom. This mind whirling through pains is sometimes stated to be a clever statesman, as it enables Jñānis to cognize their own Self through the discrimination of Tattvas. It is also dubbed with the appellations of ‘crafty general,’ or a ‘menial,’ through the different functions it fulfills, of annihilating its enemy of organs or itself performing any actions it chooses through its own volition. In the case of true Jñānis, their pure mind for which there is no choice of discrimination (between the two paths of virtue and vice) constitutes their better half, as it enables them to enjoy unalloyed bliss. It can, at the same time, be stated to be their father or true friend father on account of its protect ing nature; a rare friend through the true counsels it imparts in the way of obtaining the higher goal.
The mind of the wise will but tread the virtuous paths through the study of the beneficient Ātma-jñāna Śāstras, will contemplate upon Ātma and having attained the true cognition, will destroy its own form. Like a true father, such a mind will confer, upon one, Jñāna Siddhi. If one should see, unimpeded within himself with true illumination, immobility and stainlessness and be also initiated into the All-full Jñāna, then will his stainless mind shine with the lustre of a gem through its being of the nature of his own Self in the Ākāśa of the heart. This pure jewel of the mind gets stuck in the mire of the weak Vāsanās of heterogeneity and hence is invisible to all. But if it be bathed in the waters of Jñāna and thus cleansed of all its impurities, then the shining Mokṣa will disclose itself to all. Now, Oh Rāma, you should through dint of discrimination understand the true Jñāna and having worshiped it, should master the organs along with Ahaṃkāra and thus liberate yourself from all trammels of rebirths. Through such a course all the certain ideas of differentiation existing in man, such as ‘he,’ ‘I’, etc., will cease to be. Having given up all these differentiations of thoughts, may you find asylum in the one Reality which is other than these things and resting in your Ātma, the state of “That,” perform all actions as you wish. Then the objects being enjoyed by you with a false mind will no longer be a bondage to you.
Now, Rāma, do not follow the path trodden by the three Asuras Dāma, Vyāla and Kaṭa but free yourself from all pains of existence by going in the footsteps of the other three Asuras, viz., Bhīma, Bhāsa and Dṛḍha.”
Here Rāma of great Jñāna interrupted the Ṛṣi with the question as to who these three Asuras were. To which the great Ṛṣi replied thus, blessing the king with Nirvāṇa into the secrets of which the Ṛṣi wished to initiate him: “An Asura by the name of Śambara roamed throughout the regions of Pātāla, living therein. He was an adept in the manifold wily arts of Māyā (illusion) and rested in Māyā itself. Once this Daitya subjected to ignominy Devendra, through his powerful ocean of an army. Thereupon the Devas became infuriated and began to harass and destroy in all manner of ways the Asuras, whether asleep or travelling in different directions. Observing this dastardly attack of the Devas, the chief of the Asuras despatched, against them, a large army headed by Muṇḍika, Aṅka, Druma and others. The Devas availed themselves of an opportune occasion to foil their enemies and so did away with all of them. Hearing all these, the furious Śambara marched to Devaloka. The Devas having heard him approach who was well-skilled in Māyā-vidyā (the science of illusion), were struck with terror and hid themselves in the caves of the great Meru mountains. Thereupon Śambara shed flames everywhere in Devaloka like the Tripuras (three cities) set on flames by Parameśvara (Rudra) and returned from there to his own place, rendering it a regular void and leaving the Deva ladies wailing in the streets. Finding the coast clear, the Devas returned in numbers to their place. Hearing which, the Asura despatched through Māyā-vidyā armies after armies without any intermission. But these were repulsed and killed completely by the Devas. Śambara became greatly infuriated at these disastrous results and so created through his Māyāvic power Dāma, Vyāla and Kaṭa. These had Atlantean shoulders fit to bear the weight of Mahāmeru on them. They were not subject to the bond of Vāsanās and were devoid of desires or egoism. They knew neither death nor life, neither pleasures nor pains, neither victory nor defeat, neither waging war nor retreating. They were therefore incapable of defeat and were able to put an end to their antagonists through the discharge of arrows. Fully convinced of their invulnerability, Śambara living in Pātāla, gathered together all his hosts living over hills, ocean and earth and sent them along to reinforce these three Māyāvic personages. The countless hosts sent by Śambara sallied forth like so many hills walking on their legs or as if the ocean full of fishes overflowed the land or the Kalpa came to an end. Similarly did the Devas march out in great numbers. Both the armies came into direct rencontre like wind facing fire. Thus it seemed as though the next Kalpa had already come. Weapons breathing flames came into contact with human bodies which at once dropped down dead and began to accumulate like a mountain. Even mountains began to be tossed to and fro in the scarlet ocean of blood oozing out of the lifeless bodies. The angry and deceptive Asuras approached close their enemy and drove them away. All the Devas fled the field with a despondent heart. But the three Māyāvic personages mentioned above went in quest of them in all quarters. Not being able to trace them to their places of concealment, the victorious three returned from Devaloka to where their leader was.
Meanwhile all the Deva hosts, ignorant what to do, resorted for aid to Brahmā seated on his lotus state. Having, with true love, paid the homage of due respects to him, they related to him the atrocities committed by Śambara flaming like fire and their utter rout at the hands of the three persons created by the Asura. Thereupon Brahmā meditated and pacifying them, gave vent to the following words: ‘After the lapse of a thousand years, Devendra will kill the Asuras in the war between himself and Śambara who is now overpowering his enemies. Till then, we shall advise you thus. From to-day forward, you go to Dāma and others and apprise them of your intention to war with them. Having made a pretence of fighting with them, withdraw when they make onslaughts on you. If you conduct yourselves thus, repeating it over and over (for 1,000 years), then the Vāsanā of Ahaṃkāra, will begin to reflect itself in the minds of the three Asuras like a shadow in a glass. Then if this idea of ‘I’ gets firmly rooted in their minds, then they will be in bondage, like birds caught in a trap and can be easily disposed of. It is desires that, like Yama (death), bring on manifold pains to persons in this world; devoid of them, there is bliss unsullied with pains. All creatures in this world being bound by the cord of pains are greatly afflicted thereby. With tight bonds, pains are generated; freed from them, pains also cease. It is only through desires that persons, whether they be stainless or omniscient or all-puissant, do get trammelled in this world. Even persons, who are in a high state, fall low through their desires, like a lion in a cage. Therefore do not be disheartened.’ With these words, Brahmā instantaneously disappeared at the very spot where he was.
The Devas having heard these words of Brahmā, while in the full possessions of their five faculties of organs, departed for Devaloka and there caused large kettle-drums to be sounded for war so as to reverberate through earth and the rest of the whole universe. Having heard these sounds, the Asuras rushed with great fury from Pātāla to Devaloka and hurled at their enemies all kinds of destructive weapons. The latter, who were bent upon merely eking out the time according to Brahmā’s injunctions, made the pretence fighting and retreating again and again. Thus did a long period of time elapse, the war being waged in divers ways, when the insidious desire of ‘I’ stole into the hearts of the three Asuras through such a process of warfare, and their minds got trammelled. Then fear was generated in their hearts and all kinds of delusions took firm hold of them. Being drowned in the pain-giving Māyā and emaciated through pains, they were at a loss what to do. Then in order to preserve their body from deterioration, they began to deliberate upon the many means of enjoying happiness through the illusory worldly things. Being ever engaged in this thought, their minds got enthralled and unsteady. On the battlefield, consternation and depression of mind arose in them and they were appalled at the idea of death. Hence they were greatly agitated in their hearts and looked about for a safe asylum. Being completely denuded of all powers, they were not able to face even an antagonist, should he face them. Were there is no fuel, will Agni (fire) be able to consume anything and offer oblations to the Devas? To cut the story short without many words, the three Asuras fled away panic-struck and died.
Now Rāma, we have related the story of the Asuras, Dāma and others in order that you may attain Jñāna thereby (through not falling into their wrong path). If the minds of persons should sportively associate themselves with Ajñāna (or worldly things) without any impediment, then the pains of existence arising through such Ajñāna, will never affect them. Therefore you should not follow the path pursued by the above three Asuras.”
Here Rāma asked Vasiṣṭha: “How did the three Asuras arise from Parabrahm?”
To which Vasiṣṭha replied: “The fearful Dāma and others had their bodies as only the manifestations of the Supreme. Like Dāma and others who had their bodies as mere appearances, we who are here are no other than Cidākāśa itself. Therefore, thou redoubtable warrior, the conceptions of ‘I’ or ‘Thou’ or Dāma and others are no other than untrue. The Brahmic light manifesting itself visibly as the All-pervading Ātmic (Śakti) potency became agitated through the potent thought of the Asura, Śambara. It then assumed the three forms of Dāma and others and began its sportive pilgrimage in such forms. Therefore neither these persons having the above attributes nor we are really existent anywhere (as such). That which really is, is Parabrahm which is the knower of all as the witness, the knowledge itself, the immaculate, the all and the quiescent without heterogeneity or dawning or setting. The Chit (Śakti) potency of that All-full Principle is this universe. All the heterogeneous visible things, perceived through the organs of sense, are only unreal; but that which is real is the one Brahmic Principle. May you rest happy in it.”
Footnotes and references:
False in its higher sense.