by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar | 1896 | 137,618 words | ISBN-10: 818514141X | ISBN-13: 9788185141411
This page relates “the story of the hundred rudras”, the 6th 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”.
Summary. Having shown that Jñāna will arise, even though a person is engaged in such actions as wars, etc., the author proceeds to state in this story that Jñāna vision will enable one to cognize Ātma personally.
“Again listen to another story.” So said Vasiṣṭha to the valiant Rāma and continued: “A Sannyāsi(n) (ascetic) living in a certain country was a great Jñāni, and able to go into Samādhi at his will. Through along course of Samādhi, he had reached such a stage as to objectivism all mental impressions into real images. The Vedas say that every thought has got its own reflected image. One day he returned from Samādhi. And then a thought arose in his mind that he should engage himself sportively in the ordinary actions of the work-a-day world. With the motion of the mind (that he shall become another person), he at once transformed himself into another. Then no thought arose in him of rebecoming the Sannyāsi (ascetic) he was before. Like the analogy of a crow and the Palmyra fruit, the Sannyāsi became through his desire another person named Jīvata. Now the mind functioning in the body of Jīvata roamed in the streets of a certain town produced by a similar fantasy and then dwelt in the same. There he quaffed in sport some alcohol, became quite excited thereby and went to sleep through its soporific effect, like a bee intoxicated with honey. In that sleep he dreamed of becoming another Brahmin, like a tree becoming a seed. The Brahmin in the dream now became a sovereign over earth. Then again this king be came an erudite Brahmin in his dream. Through the mental reflection, this Brahmin Pandit seemed as if to go to another country and live in it for some days. Then he slept one night and found himself transformed into a celestial lady in his dream. She, tired of her amorous sports, was locked in the embrace of deep sleep, when she metamorphosed herself into a hoofed hind. This hind, while asleep, saw itself as a creeper with which it is ever associated. Oh king, even beasts will have in their dream the reflections of objects which their minds have cognized in the waking state, through sight or hearing. This creeper which shone with diverse flowers, soft tendrils, fruits, etc., formed, as it were, the abode for the sylvan goddess to reside in, like sprouts latent in seed. This goddess through her power of intelligence presided over the whole forest and looking within, went into the Suṣupti state in which state her body of creepers was transformed into that of a beetle. Boring its way into the lotus stalk in a pond, it went within. Even the seeming inert worms and other creatures with life have got their own states of consciousness (at their own peculiar levels). While the beetle was disporting itself in the lotus leaves in the waters, a rutting elephant rushed into the waters and agitating them, began to squeeze the lotuses in the tank and the beetles on them. The beetle looked at the elephant into which it was transformed at once. This tusker with its long trunk fell into a pit. Thereupon the mahout of a certain king bound him fast and leading him to a war caused its death. Ere its death, it became a beetle through its association with an other beetle.
This beetle being again reduced to dust through another irate elephant which set up a tremendous tumult in the waters, was transformed into a Haṃsa (swan) through such an idea. This swan then underwent a series of incarnations in different wombs and at last was born as an incomparable swan in the lotus of a certain tank. This swan flew up at once in the Ākāśa and seeing Rudra in his world, contemplated upon him as itself. Thereupon it attained the form of Rudra who, roving according to his free will and pleasure along with his Gaṇas (hosts) in the world of Rudra, was full of Jñāna and became Īśvara itself.
It was in this stage that Rudra began to have a retrospect of all his past lives, through his pure mind. Having as Rudra an unobscured vision and a Jñāna body, he sat in solitude and began to contemplate over the marvels of all his past hundred dreams of lives, thus: ‘Truly wonderful is it to behold Māyā deluding all in this universe with the idea that it (the universe) is real while it is as unreal as a mirage in an oasis. Thus have I been whirling in diverse places of this great forest of Māyā. With the creation of my mind, I became in one creation a person by the name of Jīvaṭa. In another creation I incarnated as a Brahmin well versed in all departments of knowledge then a king in another creation then I underwent through a series of wombs amounting to a hundred in all. Now I am a Rudra. Long years and yugas and numberless actions have passed. Let me therefore dive into my past many births and see them face to face. Let me, after observing them fully, relate them to one another and render them a homogeneous whole.’
Meditating thus, Rudra traced his way to the former Sannyāsi and, having awakened him from his trance, concentrated his mind with true Jñāna. Thereupon the Sannyāsi woke up and looked about himself free from all the reminiscences of his illusory life. Again did Rudra contemplate upon the illusory form of Jīvata and reach along, with the ascetic, a certain part of Jñānākāśa. Through them, Jīvaṭa attained a conscious state and accompanied them both. Then all these three, Rudra, the ascetic and Jīvaṭa full of Jñāna, were without the least surprise, though there was every reason for it. They had three separate bodies, though they were the non-dual Īśvara itself. Then they visited the several localities in which the Brahmin and others incarnated. Being freed from all stains, they found that the divine Jñāna alone incarnated in so many bodies and as so many resplendent Rudras. Thus did all these Rudras attain Jñāna. Being asked by Rudra, the real one to go to their respective places, each departed to his own realm. Jīvata, Brahmin and others then lived in their respective seats along with their consorts, quitted their bodies at the appointed time and merged into Īśvara itself.
At these words of Vasiṣṭha, the valorous Rāma remarked upon the wondrous nature of the Muni’s words and wishing to know the cause of all these marvels said thus: “How came the Saṃkalpa of the Sannyāsi to generate the living forms of Jīvaṭa and others and become an actuality? Are not all forms created out of Saṃkalpa unreal? Please enlighten me about the same.”
Vasiṣṭha replied: All things are in Chit and out of Chit only. It being all, whatever it contemplates upon as being this or that, that it becomes. This is the real truth. That which is seen in dreams, that which arises through Saṃkalpa, such a thing will be always in that place, and will be of the form contemplated upon. Those objects which arise through Saṃkalpa or dream will not appear to be an actuality now, except through the practice of Yoga which makes one merge in Brahman. It is only through Yoga and Jñāna, that Īśvara and other Devas see all things as they are everywhere. Objects longed for, will be easily obtained by those who have practiced continued meditation. How can persons, going towards the southern direction, be able to reach the north pole? Those who long for objects through their Saṃkalpa will attain them; but those who wish to attain their own Ātma will never think of objects. The ignorant mind which is the state of all objects before it and which fondles with Saṃkalpa in great amity is impeded in its progress, if it should concentrate itself upon two objects at the same time and not upon one of them alone for its destruction. With the thought of one being a Vidyādhara or a Brahmin, he becomes so. This is an illustration of the Siddhi which flows out of an intense concentrated thought. Therefore through the powerful Samādhi, the Sannyāsi’s Jīva became Rudra in the non-dual Principle. Then through the Saṃkalpa of Rudra, it understood the real nature of all objects attained. Then Jīvaṭa and others, who arose through the Saṃkalpa of the illuminated Sannyāsi saw joyfully, each their respective universes, through Rudra’s form. Through true Saṃkalpa, they attained Tattva, the Reality; and through their Saṃkalpa, they reached their state of Rudra-Jñāna.
Footnotes and references:
The Jīvas or egos are called here by the name of Rudras. This corroborates the statement of H. P. Blavatsky that the Hindu sacred books term the egos by the different appellations of Rudras, Asuras etc.