by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar | 1896 | 137,618 words | ISBN-10: 818514141X | ISBN-13: 9788185141411
This page relates “the story of bhima, bhasa and dridha”, the 3rd 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”.
Not even an iota of benefit will accrue to those who dote upon their sons, lands and other worldly possessions as their own. Pains will not in the least affect those men of large hearts who regard, as a mere paltry bauble, all the imperishable (objects of the) world, like a stag that does not care for precious objects but contents itself with mere hay.
Those, who have cognized in their hearts Brahman full of all potencies, will ever be protected by the guardian angels of the eight quarters just as the vast universes are. Those only can truly be styled Men who are possessed of true love, bent upon a ceaseless enquiry and ever engaged with true efforts for the realization of “That” which enables one to discern Truth. The rest of mankind are brutes merely.
Though sore pressed by dire afflictions, one should never perform actions which ought not to be done. In drinking even nectar through ways forbidden, Rahu had to suffer greatly from it. But in the case of the wise who have reached a high state through their good qualities, all things impossible before of subjugation are now encompassed by them; all dangers flee from before them and they are in possession of all incomparable acquisitions. What is there that cannot be encompassed easily by those stainless men, through their ceaseless efforts, their intelligence and a study of the supreme spiritual books? If only the readers of Ātma-jñāna works who do take delight therein, will not be hasty in longing for the fruits at once but will meditate regularly and gradually upon them, then the mind will by degrees be ripened and at the end the endless Ātma will be reached.
May you, without pains or fear or sloth or egoism, walk in the path laid out by Ātma-jñāna books, without heeding to the illusory voices of any one. Do not court destruction (by treading a wrong path). All our properties are but futile. All our wealth land us but into dangers. But desirelessness take us to Bliss. Fame, longevity and acquisitions as well as the Brahmic state are involuntarily attained, like a soft tendril in spring, by those wise men who, walking in the right path, do not in the least long after material pleasures productive of the pains of Saṃsāra. Having prostrated at the beautiful feet of those great persons, one should free himself through their aid from the trammels of rebirths which cannot be avoided through mere Tapas or pilgrimage or study of spiritual books. The Great persons are those who have minimized greatly the bootless delusion of ‘I’ and anger and treading the virtuous path, live out their lives according to Ātma-jñāna books. Those who have not cognized Brahman, the true significance of ‘I’, cannot be said to have seen Cidākāśa; but those who have cognized Brahman, can be said to be Cidākāśa itself. If the cloud of Ahaṅkāra called ‘I’ do screen the sun of Jñāna-Ākāśa, then the lily of Brahman which is “Non-I,” will never bloom. The original sprout of the painful Ahaṃkāra with its tender stem of rebirths at length ramifies itself everywhere with its long branches of ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ and yields its unripe fruits of Naraka (hell). This tree can be destroyed to its root by Jñāna fire only.
Here Rāma queried the Ṛṣi thus: “What is the nature of this Ahaṃkāra (the ideation of ‘I’)? How can we master it? What are the results of such a mastery by a person, whether he is associated with the Vāsanās of the body or not?”
To which Muni Vasiṣṭha replied thus: “In the three worlds, there are three kinds of Ahaṃkāras. Of these, two kinds of Ahaṃkāras are always beneficial and one always condemnable. That Jñāna which after discrimination enables us to cognize that all the worlds and Paramātma are ourselves, that the self (or I) is eternal and that there is no other to be meditated upon than our self is the Supreme Ahaṃkāra. That Jñāna which makes us perceive our own Self to be more subtle than the tail-end of paddy and to be ever-existent, exterior to (or above) all the universe, is the second kind of Ahaṃkāra. These two kinds of Ahaṃkāras will certainly be found in Jīvanmuktas and will enable them to attain Mokṣa after crossing Saṃsāra; but will never subject them to bondage. That certain knowledge which identifies the ‘I’ with the body composed of the hands, feet, etc., is the third kind of Ahaṃkāra, This is common to all persons of the world and dire in its results. It is the cause of the growth of the poisonous tree of rebirths. It should be destroyed at all costs. Dire, very dire are its effects. Through this dire Ahaṃkāra, myriads of souls have been deluded and bereft of all intelligence. The more you soon annhilate this Ahaṃkāra through the above mentioned two kinds of Ahaṃkāra, the more will the Brahmic Principle dawn in you. Endeavour, through the higher two kinds of Ahaṃkāra, to attain Brahman: then if you are firmly seated in that state where even these two kinds of Ahaṃkāra are given up, one by one, then such a state is the ripe Brahmic state. The non-identification of ‘I’ with the visible body (or the visible things) is the Nirvāṇa proclaimed by the Vedas.
Now hearken well to the characteristics of these Ahaṃkāras. After the utter annihilation of the above mentioned Asuras, Dāma and others, Śambarāsura who was well versed in Māyāvidyā became greatly incensed with the haughty Devas and having reflected in diverse ways upon devising means for their destruction soliloquized thus: “The three Asuras, Dāma and others, whom I created before were devoid of Ātma-jñāna; and hence seized with the unreal conception of ‘I’ and ‘mine,’ succumbed to the Devas in fight. There fore I will again create, through my Māyāvic power, Asuras of Jñāna, well read in Ātma-jñāna Śāstras. Possessed of the true Jñāna, they will not be destroyed through the illusory Ahaṃkāra.”
With this determination to overpower the Devas, Śambara willed into existence, through his stainless mind, three Asuras who arose through Māyā like bubbles on the surface of the ocean encircling the earth. They were omniscient and through their own wisdom, knew themselves to be of the nature of Jñāna. They had not the taint of Saṅcita Karmas or love or hatred. They were able to firmly be in whatever state they wished to be. They were so illuminated as not to have any doubts. These pure personages cared not a straw for the whole Universe; their names being Bhīma, Bhāsa and Dṛḍha. Being asked by their maker to wage war with the Devas, they marched straight against them and fought terribly with them for countless years: whenever the idea of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ flitted across the minds of these Asuras, they would probe unto their hearts for the origin of ‘I’ through their subtle Jñāna enquiry. And then this manifestation of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ vanished at once like the wealth of non-charitably disposed persons. Those who have divested themselves of this ever-waxing Ahaṃkāra through Ātmic enquiry in diverse ways will never be touched by the fear of births and deaths, will be stainless and content with whatever objects they can easily get and will look equally upon all through their present Jñāna-vision existing from a remote period.
Therefore in the war with Bhīma and others, the whole host of Devas chose rather to fly away from the field like the wealth dissipated by a rake in a short time and to hide themselves in different quarters. They then went to Viṣṇu for asylum and prostrated themselves before Him who strode the Earth with three strides. Having assured them of his aid and told them not to be afraid, Viṣṇu marched to the battlefield in great anger and waged a rare war by flinging at the three Asuras the discus (chakra) weapon. The three Asuras were burnt by the flames issuing out of the said weapon and were carried at once to the Loka called Vaikuṇṭha wherein resides Viṣṇu wearing on his neck the Tulasī garland.
Thus through Vāsanās, bondage is caused; with the disappearance of the former, the latter also vanishes. Therefore, Oh Rāma, you should know well all things through your discriminative Jñāna. Through such a knowledge of Tattvas, there will be an extinction of all Vāsanās which form the medium of enjoyments. With the extinction of all Vāsanās, the undaunted mind will get quiescence like a gheeless lamp.
Footnotes and references:
Rāhu, the serpent and one of the two nodes had to suffer in the churning of the ocean by having his head cut off.
The three Ahaṃkāras rise in reference to the three bodies of man. In the second kind of Ahaṃkāra, their direct experience is they are like the tail end of paddy or the thumb and not this body.
The three strides are in Vāmana (Dwarf) Avatāra.