by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar | 1896 | 137,618 words | ISBN-10: 818514141X | ISBN-13: 9788185141411
This page relates “the story of the vetala (goblin)”, the 7th 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 the series of births which appear as so many illusory dreams will be of the nature of Brahman itself through the true (divine) vision, the author gives out this story, to furnish one more illustration.
“May you be in the partless Brahmic state, having destroyed all the stainful Saṃkalpas to prevent even the dawn of the lower mind and thus to be in the (mauna) silence of Suṣupti.” So said Vasishtha when Śrī Rāma asked him: “What is meant by the mauna (silence) of Speech(Vāc), organs and (Kaṣṭa) body as well as that of Suṣupti?”
To which the Muni answered: “There are two kinds of Munis, ordinary and Supreme; the former is called the (Kāṣṭha) bodily Tapasvin and the latter is called a Jīvanmukta. Oh protector of the earth, the wise say that under the former head come those persons, who, developing a firm will through the process of Prāṇayāma, control their organs through the Hatḥayogic method. But those, who, having known the true nature of the universe, contemplate upon Ātma within themselves, and are quiescent within though moving with the world in their actions are the pure Jīvanmuktas. Therefore the true mauna (silence) is that exalted state in which the mind of a Muni rests. The control of speech is vāk-mauna, the subjugation of the organs is karaṇa-mauna; the cessation of one’s physical actions is kaṣṭha-mauna; these are the three kinds of silence, wherein the mind’s functions are not paralyzed. These three pertain to the first class of Tapasvins. But the wise say that Brahmic bliss without beginning or end and without the differentiated pains, whether enjoyed by one with direct cognition of such a bliss or not, is suṣupti-mauna in Jīvanmuktas. The expurgation from the mind of all doubts, after realizing firmly the illusory character of this world with all its guṇas is suṣupti-mauna. The settled conclusion that the universe is no other than the all-full, auspicious Jñāna is termed by the wise to be suṣupti-mauna. Equality of vision over all, and quiescence of mind with the idea that all which are Sat, Asat, or Sat-Asat are no other than the eternal Cidākāśa, is stated to be suṣupti-mauna.
Suṣūpti-mauna has two sub-divisions: Saṃkhya and Yoga. Those who cognize everything to be Brahman itself, through extensive erudition, daily unfailing meditation (Niṣṭhā) and enquiry through the sacred books, are the Saṃkhya-yogis. Those who easily attain the supreme eternal state through such means as the control of Prāṇa etc., are called the Yoga Yogis. The eternal quiescent state is the asylum of all. This self-same state is the goal of destruction for both. Should both Prāṇa and mind caught in the trap of Vāsanās be annihilated, that alone is the Brahmic state.
Without enquiry, the mind appears to be real; but with enquiry, it will vanish into thin air. Can that death be real which one dreams of in his dreams, as occurring to himself? Firmness of practice in the stainless non-dual Principle, control of Prāṇa, and the subjugation of the mind are the paths to cognize the meaning of Mokṣa. Out of these three, should one of them be mastered completely, then the good effects of all the three will be obtained, as all the three are inseparably related to one another. If mind and Prāṇa cease to exist, then thoughts will not arise. Both are one only like the flower and its fragrance, or a sesamum seed and its oil. Prāṇa and mind stand to one another in the relationship of the supporter and the supported. If either of them is slain, then the other also will cease to exist. The destruction of both will confer, on all, Mokṣa. So long as the thoughts of one are not thoroughly destroyed through persistent practice, he should ever be concentrating his mind on one truth at a time. Through such an unintermittent practice, onepointedness will accrue to the mind and instantly all the hosts of thoughts will vanish.
Now listen, Oh Rāma, to the queries of the powerful Vetāla waking up in the Turya state, after its long dream of births and deaths.” So saying, Vasiṣṭha continued thus: “Sore pressed by hunger, a Vetāla living in the great Vindhya forest went to a foreign country for prey. It was ever in the habit of feasting itself upon the enormous meals of the wise. In spite of its suffering from the effects of gastric fire within, it would never make as its prey any human being without sufficient reasons. Will ever the great deviate from the path of rectitude? This Vetāla left its forest for the country to find out its prey of a human being, after discriminating between a spiritual minded one and his reverse. The ruler of that country was one night patrolling his kingdom, when the Vetāla, observing him, thundered aloud to him in the following words ‘Oh king, thou art now under my clutches. Thou art going to lose thy life at the hands of myself who am like a terrible he-lion. Thou wilt presently fall a victim to my stomach.’
The king said. ‘If thou wilt approach me without true Jñāna, thy head will be splintered into pieces.
The Vetāla replied: ‘I never slay a person without good reasons. I deal with all in perfect justice. As thou, O king, art able to redress the grievances of all seekers unto thyself, I hope thou shalt be extending thy helping hand to me too. That which harrows me is the doubt I have in my mind. Mayest thou relieve me from my perplexities with the bounty of thy replies. (The questions are the following): To which sun are all the mundane eggs like so many scattered units? Through what Vāyu does all the endless Ākāśa or Atom shine? What is that light which is clear and unchanging, even though dream upon dream arises in it? What is that Atom which, though penetrated within, preserves the same nature like a plantain stalk which, when bored into, preserves the same form? What is that non-differentiated primal atom which expands itself into infinite small atoms of the mundane egg, Ākāśa, the numberless egos, the resplendent sun, Meru and other objects? To what great mountain of the original formless atom, these universes resemble a stone?’
At these queries of the Vetāla, the resplendent crowned king simply laughed. Listen, Rāma, to the replies made by the king.
The king answered: ‘It is in the ever-dawning Jñāna-sun, that all the universes shine. Compared to the rays of this sun, all the universes are so many atoms only. Through this much eulogized Sun’s light the universes shine. It is the whirlwind of Brahman that reduces to dust, Kāla (Time), Akāla, fluctuation, Jñāna and other existences, and makes them shine in their true state. The all-pervading Brahman shines in its own nature, impartite and with true quiescence, though dreams upon dreams arise in this prolonged dream of the universe. Like a plantain tree which, when probed into, yields layer after layer till at last there is the plantain stalk, so Brahman alone shines within the infinite series of universes after universes arising deeper and deeper in the recesses of space. It is the Brahman spoken of above, that, being subtle and above all intelligence is the supreme atom. As it is endless, it is the cause of Meru and other objects. The vast expanse of Meru, etc, will appear but as infinite small atoms, when compared to this. Being unreachable, this supreme Atom of Brahman being the Plenum is yet a great mountain. This Ātma, though having diverse forms, is yet without forms and of the nature of the true Jñāna, being the substratum of all. To this unknowable Ātma, all the universes are the Vijñāna essence or marrow. In the midst of that which is Vijñāna alone, the universe is.”
Having heard these words of the king, the Vetāla cognized his reality through his mind, and became of a quiescent mind through stainless enquiry. Then retiring to a solitary place, he entirely lost sight of all his hunger and remained in pure Samādhi without any fluctuation of mind.