by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar | 1896 | 137,618 words | ISBN-10: 818514141X | ISBN-13: 9788185141411
This page relates “the conclusion of nirvana prakarana”, the 15th 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 15 - The Conclusion of Nirvāṇa Prakaraṇa
Summary. In this chapter is given a summary of all the foregoing fourteen stories leading to Brahman, the Turyātīta State.
“Is it not the certain conclusion of all Ātma-jñāna Śāstras that all the whole world should be seen but as a dream? Neither Avidyā exists nor the dire Māyā generating the pains of actions. But Brahman alone is, which has not the least iota of pains and is quiescence itself. Diverse religionists, super-imposing many attributes upon this Brahman which is the quiescent, Cidākāśa, the equal in all, the immaculate, the Ātma and having endless potencies in it, dub it with different appellations. Some call it a void. Some Parameśvara; and some others Mahā-vijñāna. Therefore having avoided all things, may you rest in that great silence. May you rest ever in the full Jñāna of the immaculate Ātma with true introvision which is the Mokṣa devoid of the painful Manas, Chitta, Buddhi, and Ahaṃkāra and be like a deaf, mute and blind person. Having reached the Jāgrat-Suṣupti stage and thrust all things within (or made the mind to contemplate internally), perform all things externally according to your free will. With the growth of the mind, the pains increase; with its extinction, there will be great bliss. Having lorded over your mind, may you free yourself from this world of perceptions, in order that you may be of the nature of Jñāna. Though surrounded by pleasurable or painful objects to disturb your equilibrium of mind, may you be immovable as a rock, receiving all things equally. So long as you free yourself from the delusions of the endless births, do not, Oh mountain-like Rāma, endeavor to attain pleasures or pains, bliss or non-bliss through thy efforts. One whose intelligence is filled with the cool ambrosia like the moon replete with nectar-like rays, will enjoy bliss. Having understood first the Be-ness (Principle) of all the worlds, he is in Mokṣa, performing actions though not really performing them.”
Here Rāma queried Vasiṣṭha thus: “What are the means by which the seven Jñāna states can be known? And what are the characteristics of those Jñānis who know them?” To which Vasiṣṭha replied: “There are two classes of Jīvas (or egos): those that get under the yoke of (material) enjoyments and those that do not. Now listen to the characteristics of these two aspirants for enjoyment and Mokṣa. Not caring for the glorious Mokṣa, the first class will estimate greatly the worldly path and will perform actions therein with great certitude of mind. Their tendencies will be towards the vast enjoyments of the world. Such a person incarnates in repeated rebirths, generating discrimination to all. Like a tortoise thrusting its neck into the hole of a yoke floating on the surface of an ocean, he incarnates in repeated rebirths associated with the dire organs and then through discrimination developed in them, begins to contemplate thus: ‘These dire rebirths have been utterly fruitless. Enough of the (worldly) delusion. Of what avail are these Karmas? All my days have been vainly spent in them. If there is a diminution in these excessive Karmas, then all pains will cease.’ He who has an indomitable heart to find out this state, will abandon quite (the world), and become a Nivṛtta (free personage). Engaged in ceaseless enquiry, overcoming all illusions and contriving means to cross this Saṃsāra, such a person will every moment of his life be engaged in the renunciation of all his desires.
Ever bent upon the higher spiritual pursuits, such a person will daily revel in the bliss of his own Self. He will be loath to participate in frivolous and stainful Karmas. He will perform, but slightly, virtuous actions and will never disclose them to others. He will be engaged secretly in those Karmas only which do not bring home fear in the hearts of the worldly. He will shrink from dire ones. Never will he long for enjoyments. He will utter appropriate words only according to proper time and place and with great love, due respects, much endearment and prodigious intelligence. Such a personage who conducts himself thus will have reached the first stage of Jñāna, viz., Śubecchā. Moreover, he will, with his three organs (of mind, speech, and body) at one with one another, long to associate with (and worship) the transcendently wise. Being an ardent searcher after knowledge, he will study all spiritual books wherever they are. Such a personage who enters upon this line of enquiry after resolving, within himself, upon the destruction of this Saṃsāra with which he is connected is indeed a knower of the first stage (or has reached the highest ladder of the first stage). A virtuous person who is thus, is great indeed.
The second stage is called Vicāraṇā, and is free from ignorance. In order to know all about the Dharmas (virtuous actions) in the Vedas, the proper path, Dhāraṇā, Dhyānas and good actions, he will sweetly associate with the wisest of great love, that will throw light upon the real significance of the stainless holy Vedic sentences and will, after discriminating between the real and the unreal, know which actions ought to be done and which not, like the master of a house acquainting himself perfectly with a knowledge of his domestic affairs. Those arising through Avidyā (ignorance) such as all the perishable pride, envy, Ahaṃkāra, desires, delusion, etc., will be easily disposed of by him, like a serpent throwing off its slough. Such an intelligent person will realize truly the esoteric and mysterious significance of Jñāna-Śāstras and of the words of an Ācārya or a wise personage.
Then the third stage, quite free from all attractions, will be reached by him, where he will rest like one in a soft cushion of brand-new flowers. Such a person, after mastering all the observances inculcated by the Śāstras, will spend his life in the hearing of Tattva-jñāna stories in the abode of the noble Tapasvins and others. Broad slabs of stones will be his abode and resting place. By virtue of the control of his mind and the absence of attractions towards objects of bliss, he will live a nomadic life in the forest with an equal vision over all. Through a study of Jñāna-Śāstras and the performance of good Karmas, a true cognition of the Reality will arise.
Those who have reached the third stage and know it, can be divided under two heads in reference to their enjoyments without any attraction. Now mark well their divisions. They are termed the ordinary and the special. Again, Oh Rāma, born of the race of Manu, each of these has its two sub-divisions. The ordinary indifference is the idea of non-association with objects such as I am neither the actor, nor the enjoyer, nor the learning disciple nor the teaching Ācārya. All the pleasures and pains experienced arise through the law of Īsvara only, who is pleased to bless us all. How can agency be attributed to me? All the injurious excessive enjoyments are but fatal diseases. All our wealth is but a source of infinite dangers. Death is only for birth (again). The staggering pains of keen intelligence are but maladies and obstacles to progress. Yama (Death) will again and again endeavor to destroy the many universes. Therefore thought of objects will arise in their hearts without any desires. Those who thus are ever absorbed in trying to know the underlying significance of the sacred sentences are of the ordinary class.
Through the path of non-desires, association with the wise and not with the ignorant, by illumination within oneself of the Self-Caitanya, and one’s supreme efforts and a ceaseless study of Jñāna-śastras, the great shore beyond the vast waters of rebirth. Oh Rāma, wearing garlands of gems and honey-dropping fowers, be firmly and directly seen like a fruit in the palm of the hand. Oh thou like a cloud showering grace, the special (or second) indifference arises, when one is in the certitude of quiescent silence, dispelling, truly to a distance, all Saṃkalpas knowing that one is not the actor, agency being attributable to Īśvara or his own destiny. It also arises when there is no differentiation of thought of worldly objects or non-objects, Chit or non-Chit, internals or externals and height or lowness in the quarters or the Ākāśa and everything merges into the quiescent state free from thoughts or light or many rebirths or beginning or end. This third stage will bring in its train the matchless lotus bud of Jñāna which blossoms through the sun of Viveka (discrimination) arising in the heart and which is at the top of the stalk of the clear mind replete with the thorns of obstacles, arising in the mud of Vāsanās. The first stage of Śubecchā arises in the mind, like the analogy of a crow and the Palmyra fruit, through the association with the stainless wise and the performance of all virtuous actions without any desires for the fruits thereof. This will irrigate his mind with the waters of discrimination and protect it. This stage will be developed with non-attractions (or indifference). With the development of this indifference every day through proper efforts, it will be found that the first stage is the substratum of the other stages, like low-caste men cultivating lands for others’ sustenance. From it, the next two stages Vicāraṇā and Tanumānasī will be reached. With the cultivation of special indifference, the third stage is reached. A person who has reached this stage will be void of all Saṃkalpas.”
Here Rāma remarked: “How can liberation be obtained by those who are of degraded family, without intelligence, performing bondage-giving Karmas, of vicious tendencies and without Jñāna? Moreover if a person dies having reached the first, second or third stages, what will be his future fate? Please enlighten me on these points, Oh immaculate Lord.”
To which the wise Vasiṣṭha replied: “To the ignorant who are subject to many frailties, there will arise many rebirths of diverse kinds. These rebirths will not cease till the first Jñāna stage is reached. Besides, if the virtuous path be strode, there will arise the stainless indifference, like the analogy of a crow and the Palmyra fruit; or by the association with the wise, this indifference will arise; and when there is indifference, the Jñāna stage will not but be reached. Through it, all rebirths will cease. All the significance of the Śāstras point to this goal only. Again, listen to the fates of those who, being in one or other of these Jñāna states, breathe their last. Should one satisfy quite the qualifications required of him in the three Jñāna states, then all his former Karmas will cease to exist. Then Devas will conduct him on their divine vehicle to Devaloka and other places, where he will feast his eyes upon the pleasant sceneries of Meru, heavenly gardens, caves and beautiful damsels. With the expiry of their enjoyment, all the old twofold Karmas will perish completely, and then they will at once redescend upon earth as Jñānis. They will incarnate in a family of the wise replete with enormous wealth, good qualities and purity of mind and body and will unerringly follow the path of Jñāna, since they had already subjected themselves to a rigid course of discipline.
As this universe is seen without anything special as in the waking state by a Jñāni in these three stages, they can well be termed as of the waking state. It is persons in these three stages that pass for Ācāryas to the work-a-day world. To the ignorant, they appear like those who have attained Mokṣa and are extolled. They instill spirit into the ignorant to tread the path of Jñāna. They will do only things fit to be done, and omit to do things which ought not to be done. They will act consistently with the working of nature. Such men alone are the greatest of men. Those only are the Supreme men who load their lives according to Ācāryas (the religious observances), the Śāstraic injunctions and the ignoble actions of the world with firmness.
In the first stage of matchless Jñāna, the nature (or qualities) of an Ācārya will germinate; in the second stage they will bloom; and in the third stage, they will fructify. Should a Jñāni die while in this (last) state, he will remain in Svarga (Devacan), for a long time; and after satiating himself with the enjoyments therein which perish on account of their Saṃkalpa, will reincarnate on earth again as a Jñāni. After Ajñāna (ignorance of Truth) perishes through the development of these three stages, the exalted Jñāna will dawn fully in his mind and settle itself firmly there as all-pervading and without beginning and end, like the light of a full moon. It is with this mind associated with Jñāna that Yogis shine.
Those who have reached the fourth stage will look steadfastly and calmly upon all things in the universe with an equal eye and like a dream. Oh Rāma, all the above three stages can be classified under the Jāgrat state, while the above mentioned fourth can be included under the Svapna state. In this last stage, the mind will perish like the array of clouds in the autumnal season. Then it will remain in the transcendent Sat-Bhāva alone, which survives all. With the destruction of the mind, all Vikalpas will notarize.
Then passing over to the fifth stage which will come under Suṣupti, he will remain in the absolute certitude of non-duality, when all the specialties of gurus will disappear. Such a person will be with full Jñāna shining in the heart and free from the gloom of duality. He will ever remain in the Suṣupti state. He will always rejoice in the possession of the matchless introvision. Though engaged in external actions, he will ever be tranquil. The sixth stage being reached, the Turya state ensues, in which he will be engaged in the practices appurtenant to that stage, being completely divested of all the regularly accrued Vāsanās. Then he spends his time mindless as the Kevalin free from all ideas of differences or non-differences, ‘I’ or ‘not-I’, being or non-being. A Jīva in this state unaffected by the knot of Ahaṃkāra and being neither with the idea (of attaining) Nirvāṇa nor without it, will be within, like the steady and unflickering light of a lamp. All the worldly creation, then having no externals or internals, shines fully both inside and outside through Brahmic vision, like a pot filled to the brim in the midst of the ocean seething with waves. This personage, though he, to all appearances, seems to have everything is really with nothing. Having solitarily passed this sixth stage, the Jīvanmukta reaches the seventh stage alone. It is in this seventh stage that disembodied liberation is attained. Thus is the extreme verge of the supreme Jñāna stages reached, of pure quiescence and beyond all power of speech.
With regard to this seventh stage of Videha-mukti, different names have been ascribed. Some say it is Paramaśiva, some hold it to be a void; some hold it to be Vijñāna; some say it is Kāla (time); and some Prakṛti. Others there are who find it impossible to cognize and describe this disembodied (or formless) state which, being homogeneous, is beyond the power of speech. If these seven Jñāna stages are crossed in a non-illusory manner, pains will not in the least come in contact with such a person.
There is a mad, rutting elephant with great tusks, showering water as it goes, which stalks the world with its long writhing trunk, spotted with white. If this animal which generates never-ceasing pains be slain, then mankind will cross with you all the various stages of the above-mentioned Jñāna. So long as this tremendous elephant spraying water be not slain through one’s might, who can become a great warrior in the field of battle which is this universe replete with pain?”
At these words of Vasiṣṭha, Rāma said: “What is this powerful elephant you speak of? Where is the field of battle? How can it be annihilated? What is its residence?”
To which Vasiṣṭha replied: “This grand elephant showering rutting water is no other than the pain-generating desires that ever try to appropriate to ‘I’ all the things of the universe and disports itself with great mirth and joy in the spacious forest of the body. It has as its young ones, the dire Indriyas (or organs) full of anger and greed. It will articulate through its sweet tongue and perform its actions by being merged into the forest of the mind. The terrific and dire twin Karmas (good and bad) are its two tusks. The Vāsanās are the waters shed by it. It has a body which ranges everywhere and at all times. All the visible objects of Saṃsāra are the battle field wherein the carnage takes place; the powerful desires being no other, as said be fore, than the elephant. This rutting elephant of desires which again and again invests persons with victory or defeat, puts an end to the myriads of poor Jīvas. All the firm Vāsanās having their own modifications, existence, Manas, Buddhi, Saṃkalpa, desires and the rest, pertain to Antaḥkaraṇa, the lower mind only. It is most conducive to the progress of a Jñāni to conquer fearlessly by all means and as if in sport, this elephant of desires which is but a combination of all, through sheer might and the arrows of dauntless bravery. If through the imbecility of thy mind, it longs after things of the world, please hear from me the means of arresting it. So long as these desires exist in thee, so long will the poisonous disease of Saṃsāra creep upon and affect thee. The mind which expands itself everywhere, thus enmeshing itself in bondage can be called the despicable Saṃsāra itself. Its destruction alone is Mokṣa. Such is the truth.
If only a disciple whose mind is cleansed of all its illusions which make it real is initiated into the sacred mysteries by a Guru, then it will get quiescence like a drop of oil over a glass surface. Through the illumination of Jñāna, this mind, which was originally of the form of the seed of desires, gives up all the delusion of rebirths; and there arises in it nothing (of the worldly desires) through its Asaṃvedana (non-receptivity). If the desires which bring in their train manifold mischief arise at any time in you, you should destroy them at once through Asaṃvedana. Though a host of desires manifest themselves in you in diverse ways, yet the Vāsanās which are inseparably associated with body will never fail to be removed by Asaṃvedana. Do not fall in love with your desires, but regard them in the light of a carcass to be loathed. When the mind, through the powerful Pratyāhāra, does not hankers after desires which should be thought of as nothing but Vāsanās, then the mind will remain still. This effort is called Asaṃvedana.
The wise say that the ideas of ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ are only the foul creations of the mind. If all objects vanish through the contemplation of Jñāna, the wise, Oh stainless Prince, say that all the unreal illusions will disappear. The existence of Manas is itself Saṃkalpa; but its non-existence is Īśvara itself (auspiciousness or bliss). The contemplation of feeling and non-feeling after crossing all objects is the true one. May you, after abandoning all ideas of intelligence and non-intelligence and becoming oblivious of all things, remain steadfast and firm, like a decayed tree, with great Jñāna and in a state unchanged.”
Now addressing the assembly, Vasiṣṭha said thus: “In order that all persons in this hall may without exception understand what we say, we shall now, with our hands raised on high, proclaim to all: ‘It is only Saṃkalpa destroyed beyond resurrection that constitutes the immaculate Brahmic state. Why should not men then contemplate silently and secretly in their hearts upon the destruction of this Saṃkalpa? Then it will so betide that even the throne of an Emperor, who sways his scepter over the whole earth will be regarded by them as but a paltry bauble. This Brahmic state is obtained by those only who observe Mauna (silence towards material pleasures). Like a person who journeys on to a great city in complete reverie within himself, unconscious of the pains which his feet underwent in the exertion of walking, so an Ātma-jñāni performs all Karma, without his being conscious of the performance of them. There is no use gained in dilating farther on the subjects. Now hear from me in brief, the substance of what I said before. Saṃkalpa only is Saṃsāra; its destruction is Mokṣa. Mayest thou be in a state of heavenly bliss, perceiving all worlds to be of the nature of Jñāna which is the one quiescence without parts or end or destruction or fluctuation or Saṃsāra. That which is described as the imperishable state of quiescent Jñāna is Asaṃvedana. Perform all thy allotted works, being at the same time in the Jñāna state and without the attracting desires. That Jñāna which tends to the destruction of the mind a great up-hill work truly is Asaṃvedana. Mayest thou be, through this path, in that state of beatitude, which is the quiescent Jñāna. All ideas of identification of all things with one’s Self, will not free him from pains. Asaṃvedana will confer upon one Mokṣa as its result. Whatever is dear to thee (or proper in thy eyes), that thou shalt enact. The non-dawning self-light of Īśvara (the auspicious) is the all-pervading Sat. It alone is the quiescent, auspicious and surpriseless bliss, shorn of all objects. It alone is Jñāna of ever-dawning Sat. It is this firm direct cognizance of non-duality that constitutes, Oh Rāma, Karma-tyāga or the renunciation of all actions.
Footnotes and references:
One of the 8 parts of Yoga for restraining the organs.