by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar | 1896 | 137,618 words | ISBN-10: 818514141X | ISBN-13: 9788185141411
This page relates “the story of suraghu”, the 7th part of chapter 5 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 “upashanti-prakarana”.
Summary. This story is intended to prove that the results of quiescence of mind, etc., which were developed through Samādhi as in the previous story can also be obtained through Ātma-vicāra (Ātmic-enquiry).
“Mayest thou, Oh Rāma, attain quiescence in the endless all-full state by cognizing through thy mind the knower and treading this path and moving in the world. Oh lotus-eyed Rāma, so long as thou attainest that state through the incessant practice of the mastery over the visible objects, thou shalt ever be engaged in the enquiry through thy mind into that boundless Tattva-jñāna which is inculcated by thy virtuous Guru and the Jñāna-śāstras. The supreme state can be attained through Vairāgya (indifference to sensual objects) the means of averting visible things, the true signification of Jñāna- books, one’s own intelligence, the initiation by a Guru and the performance of Yama and Niyama; or it can be attained through one’s intelligence alone. Even should one be devoid of other means, he will get Mokṣa, provided he gets the initiation of a Guru and has a subtle and stainless intelligence.”
At these words of Muni Vasiṣṭha, Rāma interposed thus: “Of the personages named by you, one class frees itself from all pains and attains the non-dual Jñāna by going into Samādhi, while it is in the performance of worldly actions. Another disconnects itself altogether from all worldly actions and retires into Samādhi. Which of these two is the superior? Please enlighten me clearly on this point.”
Vasiṣṭha continued: “In Samādhi there arises that coolness which arises in the hearts of those wise persons who have cognized this world of three guṇas to be non-Ātma (or inert). Some will remain in Svarūpa-Samādhi without in the least concerning themselves with worldly actions and without any longings for objects. Other will go into Samādhi in the midst of the performance of worldly actions. Should both of these preserve a cool mind, then there is no difference between them. Such a coolness of the mind will generate all the in calculable fruits of a great Tapas. The mind of one who is in this state will never be affected with pains, though engaged in actions. In this illuminated state, the serenity of his mind towards externals can be compared to that of an idiot. But if the mind of the idiot be deprived of all its vagaries (or internal pains), then such a state might be termed Samādhi. In trying to find out the difference between Jñānis who retire into a forest and those who are amidst excessive worldly actions, there will be found none. Both are equal to one another and will undoubtedly reach Mokṣa.
With the extinction of Vāsanās, all actions performed will be as if not done, like the mind of a person who, when he is deeply engaged within, does not hear the sounds uttered by bystanders. But if the gross mind, though it has ceased to perform all actions, has yet its Vāsanās clinging to it, then it performs actions in Svapna (the dreaming state) when the whole body is paralyzed, like persons falling headlong from a precipice down below. Know that when the mind though performing all actions is yet free from them, that state is termed the blissful Samādhi, the non-fluctuating Nirvāṇa and the transcendent bliss. The fluctuation of the mind and its steadiness are the inseparable causes of the two kinds of vision, non-Dhyāna and Dhyāna (non-meditation and meditation). Therefore you should destroy all the attributes of the mind. It is stated that Dhyāna is the firm mind itself, devoid of Vāsanās which are of the nature of Chintana (thoughts). Quiescence and Kaivalya are (or pertain to) this mind only. On account of this Nirvāṇic state, all internal pains should wear away gradually. A mind which is never with its worries, will reach the Nirvāṇic state devoid of actions through the extinctions of Vāsanās. The Vāsanās generate never-ending pains arising from mental actions. Therefore they should be made to gradually wear away.
After destroying all conceptions of ‘I’ in the hosts of visible objects through the mind, it matters not where you live, whether in a house or hills or any other place. The abode of those householders who are of quiescent mind and not tainted with Ahaṃkāra can well be termed a forest with one of a solitary (or renunciatory) mind. Persons who stroll through a bazaar street without any longing for the things therein are like those who have sojourned therein. Similarly to persons in full spiritual beatitude, cities and wood will constitute no difference. Though successively performing the functions of sleeping, waking, reading, going, etc., those who consider as forest their permanent abode, city and country through their spiritual introvision, are the most intelligent ones. Through this stainless introvision, all will become (to them) Jñāna-Ākāśa itself. Oh thou equal unto Prāṇa itself, if thy mind becomes cool and thy heart full, then all the universe too will be calm.
Should the mind wax warm with the illusions (of the world), then the universe too will appear burnt by the blaze as of a forest fire. In all Jīvas, whatever arises internally will manifest itself externally. The ambrosial Svargaloka, earth, Vāyu, Ākāśa, mountains, rivers, quarters and objects surrounding us are so many external manifestations of the Antaḥkaraṇa (the lower mind) with its parts. He only will ever enjoy Samādhi who takes delight in Ātma-jñāna, performs actions on account of Indriyas (organs) only and is unaffected by pleasures or pains. He only is the seer (knower) of all who regards all lives as his own and who, spurning all wealth as mere tiles, sees the world in its real state and not through any fear of it.
Whether death visits them now or at the end of a Kalpa, such wise persons will never be stained in their minds, like (a lump of) gold stuck in the mud. Having reached the quiescent state of the All and the Divine vision, such person ages are predicated by the Vedas with the characteristics of non-duality, mere bliss, light and non-universe without destruction, beginning or end. All the characteristics given out before are for the purpose of cognizing Jñāna. Of what use are well-expressed words in the conception of Parabrahm?. Therefore all names might well be simplified into the one Praṇava (Oṃ) to describe Brahman.
Oh beneficent Rāma, to illustrate this kind of experience, I shall relate to thee, a story of old, the history of Suraghu who belonged to the low class of Kirāṭas and lived by the slope of a hill is indeed marvelous. A class of hunters surnamed Hemajaṭa lived in the Kailasa hills on the summit of the Himalayas who were adepts in archery. Over them reigned the hero of the present story who was an undaunted warrior. Whilst he was administering regal justice in his kingdom with strict impartiality, protecting the virtuous and chastising the vicious, a train of ideas ran in his mind to the following effect: ‘If through my legal powers, I afflict my people, are not their pains mine? But if I fail to mete out to them the punishments according to the Dharma Śāstras, then all my subjects will die in vain without a protector. Oh, this ruling over a kingdom is indeed a difficult task.’ With these thoughts rocking in his mind, he became afflicted at heart. At this juncture, Muni Māṇḍavya appeared upon the scene. Thereupon Suraghu having paid him due respects and eulogized him, addressed him thus: ‘Oh virtuous Muni, with thy advent my heart has been filled with complete happiness. I am glad to see that I have found a place in a corner of the heart of good men like thyself. As thou, Oh Lord, the cognizer of all Dharmas, hast long been free from all despondencies of heart, I hope thou wilt clear the doubts of myself who am involved in manifold Karmas. There is nothing in this world so tormenting to the mind of an indivi dual as doubt. My mind grows dizzy with the pains or pleasures my subjects undergo in this spacious earth of mine through my favour or disfavour like an elephant before a he-lion. Please bless me in such a manner, so that equality of vision over all may set in upon my mind, like the sun shin ing everywhere.’
To which Muni Māṇḍavya replied thus: ‘The stains of the mind will be washed away by Ātmic enquiry, like fogs disappearing with the rays of the sun. If you will unceasingly be engaged in the cogitation of the questions “who am I?” “whence came the universe?” “How came birth and death?” you will be able to gain the higher state. If you will render Ātmic enquiry habitual in you, then your mind will be made subservient to your will and will quit its state devoid of pains. In the eyes of a cool mind free from its ups and downs, all worldly actions appear (as trivial) to it, as the footprints of a cow to a huge elephant. Though trivial in the eyes of the wise, these actions are insurmountable (in the case of others). For is not the water enclosed in the cow’s footprint an ocean of incalculable area to an old musquito? The farther and farther you are removed from the universe (in thought), the more and more will the divine Light of Paramātman radiate in you. So long as you are not freed from (all objects), so long will the true Principle not be cognized by you. All visible things vanishing, the residue will be itself. Paramātmic Light will not shine when the dualities of the mind are not destroyed. How can Ātmic Reality be cognized when the homogeneity of gold and other objects is not perceived? Therefore in order to attain Ātman, all longings for objects should cease. If all should be given up free from all pains, then what remains is the indestructible Mokṣa the supreme Brahmic state. Oh famous king of hunters, if after destroying your mind ever surging through the Vāsanās of Ajñāna in this world of objects replete with its cause and effect and co-eternal with it, you then give up even the Vāsanās of body, then will the stainless beneficent Principle be attained.’ So saying Muni Māṇḍavya of great Tapas returned to his own abode.
Thereafter the king of hunters withdrew into his solitary crypt and there began through his subtle intelligence to ever enquire into the origin of ‘I.’ It is rather ludicrous to apply the epithet ‘I’ to this body from head to foot. Let me see what this body is. It is composed of flesh, bones, etc., and as such is inert. Hence ‘I’ is not this body. Again the ten Indriyas are other than ‘I’ (from the epithet of my Indriyas) and are inert. Hence I am not the ten indryas. If ‘I’ is not this body with Indriyas, etc., then what remains is Jīva. Even this Jīva is known by Pratyagātma. Therefore Jīva which is known by Pratyagātma Caitanya, cannot be termed the Ātma-Tattva. Hence I shall free myself from the Jīva state. Shall I become ‘That’ fit to be known? That full Jñāna which is immaculate and remains without any Vikalpas is my Reality alone. This supreme Jñāna pervades, like a thread running through round pearls in beads, through Viṣṇu, Brahmā, Rudra, Devendra, Yama and others. This supreme Jñāna-potency of Ātma-Tattva is without the disease of worldly acts, has a terrific incomparable form, pervades all quarters, is full in all objects, subtle and without existence or non- existence and permeates all up to Satyaloka where Brahmā lives. This Chit-Śakti is the abode of all other Śaktis (or potencies). It is only owing to a motion (or fluctuation ) in this Jñāna that all the diversified objects in this world are due and to nothing else.’
Having given up all objects without shackles of Vāsanās and freed himself from delusions which follow a person even in his seventh rebirth, Suraghu maintained equality of vision over all, like one fixed immovably in his Suṣupti state. Being freed from all through living firmly in his Ātma-Tattva, he reached the Brahmic state through certain true discrimination, like Muni Viśvāmitra of rare Tapas attaining the status of a Brahmin. Thus did Suraghu reach that Suṣupti state wherein all actions cease to function, and was immovable like a light represented with its flames in a picture. In that state he was, without the dualities of blessing or curse, love or hatred, association or non-association, intelligence or non-intelligence. Vasiṣṭha continued Oh Rāma of mountain-like arms, hear also what took place between Suraghu of non-dual cognition and a Rāja Ṛṣi by the name of Parṇādha. Suraghu had a friend by the name of Parigha of the race of Pārasīka who was also a king. Finding that his subjects suffered greatly on account of drought in his realm for 10 years and died in great numbers, the latter’s heart gave way. Therefore quitting his country for the forest, he gave up all desires for food and performed Tapas, feeding himself upon dry leaves. Thereby he was surnamed Parṇādha. Through such a Tapas he attained Ātma-jñāna, since none could vie with the Tapas of this king-recluse. This Muni who could, at his will, roam throughout the three worlds as if in his house, went and appeared before king Suraghu. Both reciprocated their affections with true love and began to discourse upon their respective experiences.
Suraghu began thus: ‘My heart has been filled to the brim with exquisite bliss at the approach of thy venerable self.’
Parṇādha said: ‘I have also been elevated (through thy sight) to that Jñāna state into which thou wert initiated by Muni Māṇḍavya. Oh king, art thou able to transact thy worldly business with a clear mind and a noble and equal vision over all? Has thy body, affected by the changes of times, been free from the trammels of diseases, mental or physical? Art thou able to preserve thy equilibrium of mind amidst the excessive pleasures of wealth? Hast thou been able to merge into Samādhi without any Saṃkalpas, by following the path of extreme serenity and Kaivalya (aloneness), without any the least fluctuation of mind? Whether one performs actions or not, an Ātma-Jñānin will never be free from Samādhi state. Persons of Jñāna mind will always be in the Samādhi of true Niṣṭhā (meditation), albeit engaged in worldly actions. Oh liberal-minded brother, persons without full evenmindedness will never be able to go into Samādhi, even though they may comply with the formalities of sitting in Padma posture and offering salutations to Parabrahm. It is Ātma-jñāna alone which forming the Agni (or fire) to the fuel of desires constitutes the noble Samādhi. If the mind, being destroyed through concentration, cognizes Tattva-jñāna, such a Jñāna is stated by the wise to be Samādhi. The intelligence of the wise not bound by illusion, though mindful of the worldly actions, will not forget even for a moment their Ātmic Reality (eternal) like time. Like Vāyu blowing freely in every direction it wills to take, a Jñānin’s intelligence will always follow the path of the differenceless Ātma-jñāna. The wise of equal vision who are en rapport with the partless intelligence, having abandoned all conceptions of duality which exist but for worldly purposes, can be said to have attained the Brahmic state. Therefore those intelligent men who do not waste their time over the bodily actions, whether one or many, but who have sharpened their intelligence through the holy sentences (of the Vedas), will be everywhere. Thou hast cognized that Intelligence which is differenceless and wondrous. Thou hast attained the Brahmic state. Thy mind has been reduced cool like a full-moon. Thy heart has been liberated from the pains of Ahaṃkāra and from all stains and therefore is all full. Having the firm certitude of Ātma, thou shinest everywhere as thy Self.’ So said Parṇāda to Suraghu. Suraghu then said ‘Of what avail are circuitous expressions?’ To express it in short, it is this. When all longing for the fruits of actions ceases and the mind looks upon all equally, being directed within itself, then Brahmic bliss arises and the matchless Jñāna-Vision is developed and the firm Ātma-jñāna alone shines.”
Footnotes and references:
Svarūpa Samādhi: Meditation of the Ātmic Reality.
A low class of people who live by chase.
Parṇadha, from Parṇa, leaves.