by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar | 1896 | 137,618 words | ISBN-10: 818514141X | ISBN-13: 9788185141411

This page relates “the story of bhushunda”, the 1st part of chapter 6 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 “nirvana-prakarana”.

Part 1 - The Story of Bhuśuṇḍa

Summary. Having traced in the previous Prakaraṇa all from Saṃsāra up to Turyatīta at the end of Sattā-sāmānya and having also given out the quiescence of the mind and thereby the whole universe, the author states the means of directly cognising that Turyatīta state in this, the Nirvāṇa Prakaraṇa. Therefore, in this story of Bhuśuṇḍa, the Yogic mysteries are given out to attain that end.

Vasiṣṭḥa again continued: “As the quarters and the time do not exist, the immutable and non-dual Brahman alone shines as Absolute Consciousness without any environment and without any fluctuation, destruction, beginning or end; but none else exists. With this thought in your mind, you should not identify yourself with objects; and having become a Jīvanmukta, may you reach the non-dual quiescent silence and enjoy the final beatitude. So long as the idea of Ajñāna exists, so long will the Brahmic state not be attained. So long as there is the sense of the illusory enjoyment in this legerdemain of the world, so long will the false creations of the mind, etc. will not wear off. In fact neither Chitta nor Māyā nor Manas nor Jīva exists; but the effulgent Brahman alone is, like one vast ocean ebbing and falling. So long as this ‘I’ which identifies itself with this body of nine avenues has the conception of reality in the visible things of this universe, so long will the illusions of Chitta, etc., exist. So long as there are desires in objects with the idea, ‘They are mine, etc.’, so long will the illusions of Chitta, etc., exist. If, Oh cloud-colored Rāma, through the stainless internal, ‘That’, the light straw of the three universes be sacrified in the fire of Jñāna, then the illusions of Chitta and others will never approach him. Those who, contemplating upon the all-pervading Self which is the one partless Jñāna without this or that limit and without Saṃkalpas, regard without any duplicity of mind as friends even those who are hired as assassins to kill them those only can be said to have truly worshipped their immaculate Ātma. Like a cataract which washes away the trees on its banks, those who have destroyed material desires and the injurious ill-will of the mind would have purged themselves of all stains with true glory of heart. Those who have contemplated internally upon the true meaning of Tattva-jñāna Śāstras and discriminating thereby have put an end to all desires, are like a sun that dispels darkness. Those who have known the (real) express meaning (of the Vedas) fit to be known, will find it to be clearly impinged in their mind like water in a burnt ground. Those who through incessant practice have not cognized the Brahmic Principle those who have not seen directly the eye of Jñāna will ever whirl with their mental modifications like a withered leaf. Even though this Jñāna is imperishable, all persons do not try to know it and are ever of a drooping heart. And all the egoisms and threats of the ignorant ring for their destruction in our ears, like arrows hissing in the battle fields from the bows. These worthless persons will but loiter their time and not cognize the imperishable Jñāna.

To the ignorant, the express significance (of the Vedas) is like a thing sunk in mire. It is like the howling of a dog with its eye cast up in the heavens. Ajñāna is the cause of all dangers; but no dangers will befall a knower of truth. This Māyā is the necessary attendant upon the ignorant. This universe is in the mind of a Jñāni, only like the footprints of a cow; but to the Ajñānins, it is an immutable ocean of pains.

Nought is but the one Sacidānanda Reality which is illimitable, unperceivable by the senses, quiescent, the all and above thought. Out of this Sacidānanda which is the witness of all, an intelligence arose and being subject to change created the three states subtle, middling, and gross through the three guṇas Sattva, Rājas and Tamas. These three kinds of Avidyā do generate rebirths to all Jīvas. It is the destruction of this Avidyā that is the Brahmic state. But the guṇas of this Avidyā are the forms themselves. All these three can be made nine through the triune divisions of each. Under the heading of Sattva in the originial Avidyā are classed Ṛṣis, Munis, Siddhas, Nāgas, Vidyādharas, Devas and the virtuous Jīvas. Vidyādharas and Nāgas come under the Tāmasic aspect of the above-mentioned Sattva. Munis and Siddhas under the Rājasic aspect of the same; the Devas, Jīvas and others under the Sāttvic aspect of Sattva. Out of this Avidyā, is Vidyā. This Vidyā is no other than the pure Sattva of Avidyā. Again, it is stated, that Rājas and Tamas have each their three divisions. The excessive Tāmasic intelligence has the Ajñāna body of trees, etc.”

Here on being questioned by Rāma as to how intelligence came to be embodied in trees and plants and so subject to the trammels of excessive Ajñāna, Vasiṣṭḥa replied: “The Intelligence in plants is in that state when it is not entirely without Manas (like stones) nor with Manas, thus occupying the intermediate state between Sat and Asat. Then Jñāna will be with the Puryaṣṭaka body dormant in the tree and will be inert like an idiot or the blind without pains through Sattā Matrā.”

Again Rāma, with an eager desire to know, questioned the Muni lovingly: “Why not consider the state of the fixed objects in the universe as Mokṣa itself, inasmuch as the intelligence in that state is in harmony with Sattā (Be-ness)?”

Vasiṣṭha replied: “The attainment of the state of Sattā common to all mankind after a discriminative enquiry between the real and the unreal constitutes the supreme Mokṣa. If after having clearly and completely experienced and renounced all Vāsanās of objects, one reaches the Sattā-sāmānya state, then it is Mokṣa. Like the sprout in the seed, the Vāsanās rest dull in the heart within. This is Suṣupti and this is it which generates all rebirths. It is only because all the Vāsanās are latent in the heart, after the heterogeneous worldly thoughts (of the waking state) are extinct, that the dire Saṃsāric pains arise. Trees and others are inert only. Though going into Suṣupti, they are again and again born. Like flowers latent in seeds and pots in earth, the unceasing Vāsanās will be potential in the tree. Therefore this Suṣupti which is the seed of the all-expansive Vāsanās can not be called Mokṣa; but the pure Vāsanās which are not the seed of that state are themselves Turya and hence it is Mokṣa. It is not necessary to have much to do with our enemy of impure Vāsanās, fire, debts, disease, poison, enemy, anger or love; but a slight association with any of them is enough to afflict us all our life.

Persons who have burnt up Ajñāna, the seed of impure Vāsanās and have reached the Sattā-Sāmānya state will never suffer from pains, whether embodied or disembodied. The Chit-Śakti is of the nature of Vāsanās and their seed Ajñāna, Sleep alone is (to us) the characteristic of the Chit-śakti. Persons, well-versed in all departments of knowledge, state that non-cognition of this eternal Jñāna is Avidyā. Having burnt up completely Rājas and Tamas through the primeval Sattva and Avidyā, may you become the non-dual one without any misgiving. The certitude of conviction that the Supreme Brahman is not the universe is itself Avidyā; hence the certitude that Brahman alone is this universe is emancipation, devoid of Avidyā. May you be blessed with that certitude of conviction which is to be found in the pure minds of Śiva and other Devas as well as of Nārada and other Ṛṣis.”

At this point of the narrative, Rāma asked thus: “Please describe to me the painless state of Śaṅkara (Śiva) and others.” To which the Muni replied: “All the manifold things of the cosmos, whether great or small are the stainless Brahman only; Jñāna is Brahman only; the world is Brahman only; the five elements are Brahman only; we are Brahman; our enemies are Brahman; our friends, kinsmen are Brahman only. Such is the doctrine of Śaṅkara and others. Just as this universe appears dark to the purblind, and shining to those having eyes to see, so it appears blissful to Jñānins and painful to the Ajñānins. Whoever contemplates upon all as the partless Brahman, he alone is Brahman; he alone is the drinker of ambrosia. He will never fail to attain immortality.

The Self-Light alone is immaculate. To all, their conciousness is everywhere. That the quiescent Jñāna is Brahman, will then become an object of direct perception. When a person sees an utter stranger without noticing him in his mind, the knowledge which exists then might be stated to be the all-pervading Jñāna of Brahman which is no other than ‘we’. Let us eulogize that non-dual Jñānātman which yields us the fruits of all Saṃkalpas, which is the light of lights and which is devoid of all guṇas. Let us offer our salutations to that Jñānātman which is devoid of all Saṃkalpas, pleasures or beginnings. Those who have this certainty of conviction with nothing of thoughts and who act according to truth only, will enjoy their final beatitude in the Brahmic state, replete with Satya (Truth), quiescence and equality. Those sturdy persons who, being filled with the Plenum of Jñāna, have their minds of equal vision over all and free from desires will never droop with the thirst of anything, whether living or dying.”

Rāma at this stage interrupted the Muni thus: “Please explain, in extenso, the two paths of true Jñāna-sport and control of Prāṇa through which Jīvanmuktas are able to give up all Vāsanās and pains.”

To which the Vedic Muni replied: “There are two means of Yoga to avert the dire melting pains of existence. The two means, viz., true Jñāna and control of Prāṇa should, rightly speaking, be classed under Yoga; yet in ordinary usage, the control of Prāṇa alone is called Yoga. Both these paths have been given out by Parameśvāra. To the temperament of some, Yoga is most desirable; to the temperament of others, Jñāna is most desirable. Of these two, I have already expatiated upon the true Jñāna. Now I shall deal with Yoga. To illustrate it, I shall recite to you a nectar-like sweet story: “Once upon a time, I was in the august synod of Devendra along with Deva Ṛṣis and others. Thus I heard, from the lips of Nārada and other Munis, the stories of Ciraṃjīvins (the long-lived). Please lend your ears to one of them. A big nest like a mountain was built on the southern branch of a Kalpa tree which reared its head aloft on the north-eastern side of the summit of Mahāmeru dazzling like a diamond. In that nest, lived a crow named Bhuśuṇḍa, a Yogi. Who could, either before or after this Yogi, vie with him in all the worlds, the heavenly world (Svarga) even in the length of time a Yogi can sit in Yoga? This Bhuśuṇḍa was the longest lived and was desireless; had the wealth of Mokṣa, the greatest intelligence, extreme quiescence and the faculty of a seer to cognize clearly all the three periods of time.

When all in the celestial assembly had heard this story of Bhuśuṇḍa as related by Śātātapa Muni, I was filled with an intense desire to go and witness him in person. Accordingly, I went and observed, like a Kalpa tree, Bhuśuṇḍa in a fragrant Kalpa tree on the tops of Meru. In its slopes and caves and on plants filled with flowers as well as on the branches of trees were seated large birds. The young ones of the moon-colored swans, the vehicle of Brahmā, chanted the Sāmaveda and other Mantras with the sound ‘Svāhā’. I saw there Kokilas (cuckoos), parrots and other birds as well as many peacocks which develop Īśvara-jñāna[1]) taught by Subrahmanya (= Skanda). Then the moment I appeared before Bhuśuṇḍa, amidst a crowd of crows and Atlantean in form, of tall stature, of full mind, observing silence, without the fluctuation of Prāṇa and enjoying bliss in his own self, he came to meet me half way and being frantic with joy at recognizing me to be Vasiṣṭha, poured forth kind words. Then welcoming me with the flowers generated through his Saṃkalpa, he pointed me to a seat nearby. After I was seated, he kindly treated me with arghya[2], etc., and gave expression to the following sweet words: “I and my suite are exhilarated in heart at the nectar-like shower of thy visit. Thou hast afflicted thy body with thy long travel. By the touch of thy reverend feet, I have known all. All the great ones have thought of the longest-lived and hence of me too. Thou hast come here on that errand only. I wish to drink the nectar of thy words.”

Thereupon I addressed him thus: “king of birds, true it is as thou hast stated. I came here to visit thy gracious self who has been deathless here from a very long time. To what race dost thou trace thy lineage? How didst thou attain Tattva-jñāna? What is the duration of thy present life? What hast thou learned of nature’s laws? Through whose unlimited wisdom hast thou been here? Please answer them all in such a manner, so that I may understand them little by little.”

The virtuous Bhuśuṇḍa said: “In the beautiful presence of the supreme Īśvara (Śiva), are myriads of Gaṇas (hosts) who are elephant-faced, sheep-faced, camel-faced, bear-faced, etc. Some of them have hoofs in their heads or hands; some of them have their faces in their abdomen. Similarly many are the vagaries of nature that could be witnessed therein. These Bhūta-Gaṇas (or elementals) will encircle Śiva in the Kailasa hills while the Śaktis[3] will dance before him, having their abode on the tops of mountains, Ākāśa, earth, forests, cremation grounds and bodies. These Śaktis are, according to their different degrees, named Jayā, Vijayā, Jayantī, Aparājitā, Siddhā, Raktā, Alambuṣā and Utpalā. Of these, Alambuṣā has a Vāhana (vehicle) by the name of Caṇḍa, a crow. Once upon a time according to the mandates of Śiva, their chief, all the Śaktis who had developed the wealth of the major eight Siddhis, congregated together and celebrated a grand festival in the Ākāśa in which they danced and carolled, laughed and reeled under excessive intoxication. Meanwhile in another part of the sky in the same tipsy state was Caṇḍa disporting himself with the female Swans, the vehicles of the other Śaktis, who joining with the above said beautiful crow, became pregnant thereby. While the swans were thus jubilant, all the Śaktis of Parameśvara (Śiva) put an end to their dance and song and retired to their respective places. Then these pregnant swans of the Śaktis narrated truly the fact of, and the incidents connected with their conception to their respective heads who were without Saṃkalpa.”

Thereupon the Śaktis gave vent to the following words: “Thou have conceived through sheer destiny. Thou wilt no longer be able to drag our Ratha (car or body). Therefore live according to thy free will and pleasure.” With these words, the Devīs went into Nirvikalpa Samādhi.

The swans were far advanced in pregnancy, when they, at the allotted time, laid eggs on the shores of the Manasa[4] tank. These eggs being hatched, there issued out 21 young ones, the progeny of Caṇḍa. I and twenty others along with our parents were engaged for a long time in the worship of Brahma-Śakti (viz. , Alambuṣā). She arose from her Samādhi and graced us, through her love, with Mokṣa. Extreme quiescence reigned in our heart thereafter. In order to pitch upon a place where we can live alone and without association, we reached our parents by the side of Alambuṣā and having saluted them both, we reached Mokṣa through the grace of that Śakti. On enquiring for a state where Nirvāṇic bliss can be enjoyed, we were pointed out to this Kalpa tree. Having poured forth thanks, we came to abide here without any pains. All the Karmas I have been performing from that date have now concreted themselves in thy shape and have fructified to-day. Whoever will not be blessed with the nectar of Brahmic bliss through the moonlight of the association of the Jñānis? Will the certitude of the beneficial nature of a thing arise otherwise than through the grace of the wise? Even though I am a knower of Brahman, still as I have rid myself soon of all existences through thy visit, this birth of mine is fraught with the most wonderful of results. Therefore thou art Īśvara himself.” So saying he increased his respects towards me.

Then I enquired of him as to how he separated himself from his brothers. To which Bhuśuṇḍa replied “In this spot, we lived for many Yugas, nay for many Kalpas. At last my brothers disregarded this body as a mere trifle, gave it up for Mokṣa. Though blessed with longevity, glory and power, they perished (or disappeared) through their own Saṃkalpa.”

I asked him: “How will you survive the terrible Pralaya when fierce gales play their havoc and the twelve Ādityas (suns) burn up the whole universe?”

Bhuśuṇḍa answered: “Do you think nature’s action will ever cease to be? At the time of Pralaya, I will quit this nest of mine. When the 12 Adityas scorch the world with their burning rays, I shall, through the Ap (water) Dhāranā[5], reach up the Ākāśa. When the fierce gales arise splintering up rocks to pieces, I shall be in the Ākāśa through the Dhāranā of Agni. When the world together with its Mahāmeru is under waters, I shall float on them without any fluctuation through Vāyu-Dhāranā. When the time of universal destruction arrives, I shall be, as in Suṣupti, in the Brah- mic state, the end of all the mundane eggs, till the beginning of another creation of Brahmā. After his creation, I shall again, resort to this nest for my abode. Through my Saṃkalpa, the Kalpa tree at the summit of this mountain will arise every Kalpa in a manner similar to this.” Here I in terrupted him thus: “Thou wert able to preserve a long life through the performance of Dhāranā. But why did all the other Yogis die (or disappear)?.”

Bhuśuṇḍa replied: “Who will be able to overstep the strict ordinances of Parameśvara? His will is that I should thus act and the other Yogis should act in the way they did. As every pre-ordained event should act out its results, they will inevitably come to pass. Such is the unerring nature of this Law.”

I questioned him thus: “As thou who art well versed in the Jñāna of Brahman and Śāstras, art also acquainted with all the marvels of the three worlds through thy Yoga power, please inform me without fail of all that fell under thy vision.”

The Yogin replied: “There was a time where for 11,000 years this earth was one (nebulous) mass of dust filled with stones, but without mountains, trees or grass even appearing in it for a long time. In one Catur-Yuga (four yugas), this earth was one vast forest. In another Catur-Yuga, it was one chain of mountains without any earth to separate it. In another Catur-Yuga, the whole earth was overspread with Vindhya hills without Ṛṣi Agastya. In one creation, Brahmins became crafty and replete with desires, while Śūdras slighted them. Women who were chaste acted as they liked. Oh Muni Vasiṣṭha, I saw these and some other things too which I shall presently relate. I have observed, with my own eyes, the origin of the sun, etc., the state of Indra and Upendra, the Varāha (boar) Avatāra of Viṣṇu who recovered back the earth which Hiraṇyākṣa[6] stole, the consolidation into one of the Vedas which were scattered in pieces in different directions and the churning of nectar in the milky ocean with the Mandara hills as rod. Even these, some of my juniors may be able to relate to thee. But thou shouldst know that endless have been the Avatāras, Nāradas, Baradvājas, Māricis, Pulastyas, the elephant headed VināyakasVināyaka is Ganeṣa, the son of Śiva, as is Kārttikeya. These show that these names of Ṛṣis are titular only.)), Subbrahmanyas, (= Kārtiikeyas) and others. Therefore it is impossible to give out the number of those who came into existence in creation up to now. Oh Vasiṣṭha of great veracity, this is the eighth of thy births (as Vasiṣṭha). This is the eighth time we have met together thus. Thou wert born once in the Ākāśa; another time in water; another time in a mountain sorrounded by groves; another time out of the red flames. In five creations has the earth disappeared and been got back by Viṣṇu in his Kurma (tortoise) Avatāra. Twelve times has the Ocean of milk been churned. All these I was a direct witness of. Thrice has Hiranyākṣa[7] taken away the earth to Pātāla. Six times has Viṣṇu incarnated as Paraśurāma, the son of Renuka. Buddha has incarnated again and again in 100 Kaliyugas. The Tripura[8] and its denizens have been thirty times consumed by the flames. Dakṣa, the Prājapati lost his Yajña (sacrifice) twice.[9] Ten times has been the defeat of Śakra (Indra) by the wearer of moon on his head (i.e. Śiva). Eight times have I seen the dire conflicts that raged between Īśvara and Arjuna[10] on account of a hog. The eternal Vedas will arise suited to the intelligence of every age. They will be understood more and more with the increase of intelligence. So also are worldly actions marvelous. Though the several Purāṇas are read in different ways, yet they convey one significance only. Every Yuga, Jñāna-Śāstras will be embodied in the shape of the stainless Rāmāyaṇa. Like Ṛṣi Vālmīki who recited the Rāmāyaṇa now, there have been twelve Vālmīkis who brought out the same before. Bhārata, the second of the Itihāsas [historical works], though composed by the noble Vyāsa, is considered by some as a Khila (supplement to the Vedas). In this creation, Śrī Rāma incarnated for the eleventh time on this earth. He will incarnate again in the wealthy house of Vāsudeva. All these illusions of the world will at one time manifest themselves and at another time not. All these illusory visible things will be latent in the one Jñāna-Ātma, like foams in an ocean and will again revive and again perish. All the eight quarters, mountains, the sun, the moon, the stars, the state of Meru and others differ with every fresh creation. All these have fallen under my direct ken. Each of these four yugas have got their respective peculiarities of Dharmas (duties), etc.”

Here Vasiṣṭha interposed: “How didst thou manage to get out of the clutches of Yama (Death), engaged as thou wert in worldly actions?”

The Yogi said: “What good results will accrue to those who will not act up to the injunctions of the Great ones? Though thou knowest this, I shall explain it to thee, inasmuch as thou hast asked of me. Yama will not in the least approach those whose minds have cast off the beads of the pearls of stains strung in the string of pains. Yama will not approach those whose minds are never subject to the agonies which are like a saw to the tree of certitude or vermin to the body. Yama will not approach those wise persons who do not nourish in themselves the hissing serpent of desire which rests its head in the mind and twines itself round this tree of the perishible body. Yama will not approach those Jñānins who are not bitten by the serpent of greed in the hole of their mind and emitting the venom of love and hatred. Yama will not approach those persons who have eradicated the root of anger in the ocean of the body without making the Vāḍava fire to spread itself without making the waters of discrimination to dry up. Yama will not approach those whose minds are not inflamed by Kāma (passion) but are crushed like sesamum seeds in an oil-press. Yama will not approach those who attain quiescence in the imperishable and immaculate Nirvāṇic state without any pains through excessive meditation. It is the above mentioned stains that form the germs of existence. But they will not affect those great minds that have become non-dual and without any differences (of conception). Those pains which arise through mental disease and produce all illusions will not even go near that non-dual mind divested of all differences. They will not come in contact with that non-dual mind devoid of all differences, wherein the heart-Ākāśa is not obscured, and attachment and hatred are destroyed. They will not in the least enter that non-dual mind which is free from bad thoughts, words, qualities or actions and whichever looks equally upon all.

The mind should be rendered fit for liberation to reach the state of ‘That’ without delusion, vehicle or stains. It should be made to reach the state of ‘That’ wherein the ghosts of the impure differentiations do not reside, having previously been stripped of fear, its long standing associate. When Ātma is known through it, all pains will be annihilated; and then there will be no friend to it in all the realms. It is difficult of attainment (even) to those like myself. Such a subjugation of the mind will enable one to reach a goal far above all actions. How can such a state be attained by an intelligence steeped in ignorance? Oh Sage, I have been enganged in Prāṇa, which destroys all pleasure and pain and conduces to bliss, and which is among the different forms of meditation on the self. It is the control of Prāṇa which paves the way for all the non- cognition of all the externals and is the cause of the arrest of death.”

Here Vasiṣṭha, though familiar with the control of Prāṇa, asked him what he meant by it. To which the Yogi replied: “In the cool lotus of the heart within this visible tenement of flesh composed of the five elements, there are two Vāyus, Prāṇa and Apāna commingled in it. Those, who tread smoothly and without any the slightest effort the path of these two Vāyus, will become the sun and the moon themselves in the heart-Ākāśa and will rove in the Ākāśa and yet be animating and carrying their fleshy tabernacle. These Vāyus will go up and down to higher and lower states. They are of the same nature in the waking, dreaming and dreamless sleeping states, and permeate all throughout. I am moving in the direction of these two Vāyus and have destroyed all my Vāsanās (in the waking state), like unto those of the dreamless sleeping state. Divide a filament of the lotus stalk a thousand times and you will find these Vāyus more subtle than that. Hence it is, it is difficult for me to treat about the nature of these Vāyus (and their vibrations). Of these, Prāṇa does ceaselessly vibrate in this body with an upward motion both externally and internally; while Apāna, having the same fluctuating tendency, vibrates both external and internal to the body, having a downward motion. It will be beneficial if the Prāṇa exhaled (to the extent of sixteen digits) is inhaled to the same extent.[11] Those who have brought to experience this (viz., the equalisation of Prāṇa in exhalation and inhalation) will enjoy infinite bliss.”

“Now hear about the characteristics of Prāṇas. The inhalation, to the length of twelve digits, of the Prāṇa which has been exhaled is called (the internal) pūraka (inhalation.) It is also called the (internal) pūraka, when Apāna Vāyu re-enters the body from outside without any effort. When Apāna ceases to manifest itself and Prāṇa is absorbed in the heart, then the time occupied in such a state is (the internal) Kumbhaka (cessation of the breath). Oh Rāma versed in all Vedas, Yogis are able to experience all these. When the Prāṇa in the Ākāśa of the heart manifests itself externally (to the heart within) in diverse aspects without any affliction to the mind, then it is called (the internal) Rechaka (exhalation). When the externally fluctuating Prāṇa enters the nose and stops there at its tip, then it is called the external Pūraka; but if passing from the tip of the full-blown nose, it goes (down twelve digits, then it is also called the external Pūraka. When Prāṇa goes arrested without and Apāna within, then it is called the external Kumbhaka. When the shining Apāna-Vāyu takes an upward bent within, then it is styled the external Rechaka. All these practices lead to Mokṣa. Therefore they should ever be meditated upon. Those who have understood and practised well all the external and internal Kumbhākāśa and others will never after be re-born.

All the eight courses I have given out before are capable of yielding Mokṣa. They should be sought after by day and by night. Those who are associated with these practices smoothly and control their minds by not letting them run in other directions will, in course of time, reach Nirvāṇa. Such practitioners will never thirst after material pleasures, like Brahmins who will not defile their hands by the touch of a dog’s skin. They will ever be in this uniform practice, whether walking or standing, whether waking, dreaming or soundly sleeping. They will never be afflicted with bondage or pains. They will encompass all legitimate longed-for results. Prāṇa having flown out, will again be absorbed in the heart having run back twelve digits. Similarly will Apāna be absorbed in the heart, having issued out of the heart and running back twelve digits to it. Apāna, being the moon, will cool the whole body in its passage. But Prāṇa, being the sun, will generate heat in the system and cook (or digest) everything in it. Will pains arise in one who has reached that supreme state when the Kalās (rays) of Apāna, the moon, are drowned by Prāṇa, the sun? Will rebirth arise in one who has reached that powerful state when the Kālas of Prāṇa, the sun are devoured by Apāna, the moon? Those will arrest at once the seven births who reach that neutral state when they find Apāna Vāyu consumed by Prāṇa and vice versa. I eulogies that Cidātma who is in that intermediate state when Prāṇa and Apāna are absorbed in one another. I meditate ceaselessly upon that Cidātma who is in the Ākāśa directly in front of the end of my nose, when Prāṇa and Apāna become both extinct. Thus I attained the Supreme state worshipped by Devas through my faultless vision and surrounded by rays. Thus it is, through this path of Prāṇa’s control, that I attained the Supreme and immaculate Tattva devoid of pains. Through this vision palpably in me, I never look back (with any remorse) upon the past or forward to the future. I concern myself with the present only. And the result has been that I have reached this state. Never will I contemplate upon this or that, as my goal. Through such a course have I been able to prolong my life from age to age without any cares at all. In the company of merry persons, I would be merry; in the company of the afflicted, I would also be afflicted. As I am the friend of the whole universe, I have been able to live long and happy without any pains. I would never droop amidst excessive prosperity or dire adversity. I would be an universal benefactor. My longevity is due to the absence of Ahaṃkāra in me, Oh Lord of Munis. Moreover it is due to thy grace that I have been blessed with much of Tattva-jñāna and long life.”

Thus did Bhuśuṇḍa end, when Vasiṣṭha addressed him thus: “That which you have deigned to relate to me is equally marvelous. It has enchanted my ears and captivated my heart. Who, on lending his ears to it will not be in raptures? May you prosper gloriously. As the sun is about to reach the meridian now, I shall go my way to Devaloka. May prosperity be with you.”

So saying I rose and steered my way in the Ākāśa, where in spite of all my entreaties to stay where he was, he accompanied me many Yojanas. Then by sheer force, I compelled him to stay and return.

Is it not, Oh Rāma, heart-rending to part from pure Jñānis? I parted from Bhuśuṇḍa, the great Yogi once in Kṛta-Yuga. Then I visited him again in this Tretā-Yuga, when, Rāma, thou, didst incarnate.

Therefore thou shouldst know that this is the path of Bhuśuṇḍa, the great Yogi.”

Footnotes and references:


Śiva-jñāna is the knowledge of Śiva taught here by one of his sons, Subrahmanya (=Skanda


Arghya, etc. Water offered while receiving someone.


These Śaktis or potencies are said to be the feminine or passive powers of the universe.


That this is allegorical is clear from the Manasa tank or the seat of Manas, wherein the egg was laid to generate the universe.


In Yoga, there are stated to exist different kinds of Dhāranas in water, fire, etc., through which the Yogis render themselves proof against the respective elements they wish to master.


Hiranyākṣa is the Asura who stole the earth to Pātāla which was recovered by Viṣṇu in his Varāha (boar) Avatar.


Hiranyākṣa is the Asura who stole the earth to Pātāla which was recovered by Viṣṇu in his Varāha (boar) Avatar.


This refers to the burning of Tripura or the three worlds, golden, silver and iron governed by Tāraka, Vidhyunmālin and Kamalakṣa.


This refers to Dakṣa’s Yajña when his son-in-law (Śiva) wroth at the treatment accorded to his wife, sent Vīrabadra who decapitated Dakṣa and put a ram’s head instead.


The fight between Arjuna and Īśvara as a hunter as recorded in the Mahābhārata.


Only twelve digits are inhaled.

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