VASISTHA: A long time ago the sage Bhrgu was performing intense penance on the peak of a mountain. His son Sukra was a young man at that time. While the father sat motionless in meditation, the young son attended to the father's needs. One day this young man beheld in the sky a beautiful flying nymph. His mind was disturbed with desire for her; so was her mind disturbed when she saw the radiant young Sukra.
Intensely overcome by desire for the nymph, Sukra closed his eyes and (mentally) pursued her. He reached heaven. There he saw the radiant celestial beings, gods and their consorts, the celestial elephants and horses. He saw the creator Brahma himself, and the other deities who govern this universe. He saw the siddha (perfected beings). He listened to celestial music. He visited the celestial gardens in heaven. Finally, he saw the king of heaven, Indra himself, seated in all his majesty, waited upon by incomparably beautiful nymphs. He saluted Indra. Indra got up from his throne and greeted the young sage Sukra and begged him to stay in heaven for a long time.
Sukra also consented to do so. Sukra had completely forgotten his previous identity. After spending some time in the court of Indra, Sukra roamed the heaven and soon discovered the whereabouts of the nymph he had seen. When they looked at each other, they were overcome by desire for each other, for wish-fulfillment is the characteristic of heaven.
Sukra wished for the darkness of night to envelop the pleasure garden where he met the nymph. So it was dark. Sukra then entered the beautiful rest house in that garden: the nymph followed. She pleaded, "Great one, I am tormented by desire for you. Only the dull-witted deride love, not the wise ones. Even the lordship of the three worlds is nothing compared to the delight of the company of the loved one. Hence, pray, give me shelter in your heart." So saying, she collapsed on his chest.
Sukra spent a very long time with that nymph, roaming at will in heaven. He lived with that nymph for a period equal to eight world-cycles.
After this length of time, as if his merit had been exhausted, Sukra fell from heaven, along with that nymph. When their subtle bodies fell on earth, they became dew-drops which entered food-grains which were eaten by a holy brahmana, from whom his wife received their essence. Sukra became their son. He grew up there. The nymph had become a female deer, and Sukra begot through her a human child. He became greatly attached to this son. Worries and anxieties caused by this child soon aged Sukra, and he died longing for pleasures.
On account of this Sukra became the ruler of a kingdom in the next birth, and he died to that embodiment longing for a life of austerity and holiness. In the next birth he became a holy man. Thus, after passing from one embodiment to another and enduring all manner of destinies, Sukra practiced intense austerity, standing firm on the bank of a river.
Thus contemplating while seated in front of his father, Sukra spent a long time. His body had become extremely emaciated. In the meantime the restless mind created scene after scene of successive life-spans, birth and death, ascent to heaven and descent to earth and the peaceful life of a hermit. He was so immersed in these that he regarded them as the truth. The body had been reduced to skin and bone, for it had been assailed by the inclemency of every type of weather. It appeared terribly frightening even to look at. Yet, it was not consumed by carnivorous beasts, as it stood right in front of the sage Bhrgu who was engaged in deep meditation, and as Sukra himself had endowed it with psychic strength through the practice of yoga discipline.
After a hundred celestial years of contemplation the sage Bhrgu got up from his seat. He did not see his son, Sukra, in front of him, but saw the dried up body. The body appeared hideous, an abode of worms which, dwelling in the eye-sockets, had multiplied very fast indeed. Deeply concerned with what he saw and without really reflecting over the natural course of events, Bhrgu was filled with rage and resolved to curse Time for causing the untimely death of his son.
Time (or Death) instantly approached the sage in physical form. Time had a sword in one hand and a noose in the other. He had impenetrable armor. He had six arms and six faces. He was surrounded by a host of his servants and messengers. He was radiant with the flames of destruction that emanated from his body and from the weapons he held in his hands.
TIME: Calmly and in an unfaltering voice, Time thus addressed Bhrgu: O sage, how is it that such a wise sage as you are contemplates such unworthy conduct? Wise men are not upset even when they are offended, yet you have lost your balance of mind even though no one has offended you! You are indeed an adorable person, and I am one of those who strictly adhere to the appropriate mode of behavior; hence I salute you — not with any other motive.
Do not waste your merit in useless exhibition of your power to curse! Know that I am unaffected even by the fires of cosmic dissolution; how childish of you to hope to destroy me with your curse!
I am Time: I have destroyed countless beings, even the gods who preside over this universe. Holy one, I am the consumer and you are our food: this indeed is ordained by nature. This relationship is not based on mutual likes or dislikes. Fire by its very nature flames upward and water naturally flows down: food seeks the consumer and created objects seek their end. This is how it has been ordained by the Lord: in the self of all, the self dwells as itself. To the purified vision there is neither a deor nor an enjoyer; to the unpurified vision which sees division, such a division seems to exist.
You are indeed a knower of truth and you know that there is neither doership nor non-doership here. Creatures come and go like flowers on trees, their causation is nothing else than conjecture. All these are attributed to time. This can be considered real or unreal. For when the surface of the lake is agitated, the reflection of the moon seems to be agitated. This can be considered both true and false.
Do not give way to anger, O sage: that is surely the path to disaster. For what will be, will be. Realize this truth. We are not swayed by vanity; we are naturally inclined to the fulfillment of our natural functions. Such indeed is the nature of wise ones. What has to be done has to be done by wise men here, remaining egoless and unselfish as if in deep sleep: do not let this be violated.
Where is your wisdom, your greatness and your moral courage? O sage, though you know the path to blessedness, why do you act like a fool? Surely you know that the ripe fruit falls to the ground; ignoring this, why do you think of cursing me?
Surely, you know that everyone has two bodies, the one physical and the other mental. The physical body is insentient and seeks its own destruction; the mind is finite but orderly—but that mind is disturbed in you! The mind makes the body dance to its tunes, bringing about successive changes in it, like the child playing with mud. Mental actions alone are actions; its thoughts cause bondage and its own pure state is liberation. It is the mind that creates the body with all its limbs. Mind itself is both the sentient and the insentient beings; all this endless diversity is nothing but mind. Mind itself in its function as determination is known as the intellect and in its function as identification is known as the ego-sense. The physical body is only physical matter, yet the mind deems it as its own. Yet if the mind turns towards the truth, it abandons its identification with the body and attains the supreme.
O sage, while you were engaged in contemplation your son went far, far away in his own fancy. He left here the body which was 'the son of Bhrgu' and rose up to heaven. There in heaven he enjoyed the celestial nymphs. In course of time, when his merit has been exhausted by such enjoyment, he fell down on the earth like a ripe fruit, along with the nymph. He had to leave his celestial body in heaven. He fell on earth to be born with a physical body. Here on earth he had to undergo a series of births. He was, successively, a brahmana boy, a king, a fisherman, a swan, again a king, a great yogi with psychic powers, a celestial demi-god, the son of a sage, a king again, and again the son of a sage. On account of evil deeds he became a hunter, a king, and then worms and plants, a donkey, a bamboo, a deer in China, a snake, a bird, and once again a demi-god. Now once again he has become the son of a brahmana known as Vasudeva. He is well read in the scriptures and is at present engaged in penance on the bank of the holy river Samar'tga.
VASISTHA: Encouraged by Time, the sage Bhrgu thereupon entered into the eye of wisdom in order to behold the life of his son. In an instant he saw in his own intelligence the entire story of his son's transmigration. Wonderstruck at what he saw, he reentered his own body. Completely devoid of all attachment to his son,
BHRGU: Bhrgu said: Lord, you are indeed the knower of the past, present and future, whereas we are of little understanding. This world-appearance which though unreal appears to be real, deludes even the heroic man of wisdom. Surely, all this is within you, and only you know the true form of this phantom created by the imaginations of the mind.
This son of mine is not dead: yet taking him to be dead, I became agitated. I thought that my son had been taken away from me before his time arrived. Lord, though we understand the course of earthly events, we are moved to joy and sorrow by what we consider as good fortune and misfortune.
In this world anger impels man to do what should not be done, but tranquility enables one to do what should be done. As long as there exists the delusion of world-existence, so long the distinction between appropriate and inappropriate action is valid. It is inappropriate that we should be agitated by your natural function, which is to cause the apparent death of beings here.
By your grace I have seen my son again, and I realize that mind alone is the body. It is the mind that conjures up this world-vision.
TIME: Well said, O sage, truly, mind is the body; it is the mind that 'creates’ the body by mere thoughts, just as the potter makes a pot. It creates new bodies and brings about the destruction of what exists, and all this by mere wish. It is surely obvious that within mind exist the faculties of delusion (or hallucination), dreaming and irrational thought, which create a pie in the sky. Even so it creates the appearance of the body within itself, but the ignorant man with a gross physical vision :sees the physical body as different from and independent of the mind.
The three worlds (of waking, dream and sleep) are nothing but the ex
The mind is like the vast ocean with infinite variety of creatures within it, on the surface of which ripples and waves of different sizes rise and fall. The small wave thinks it is small, the big one that it is big. The one that is broken by the wind thinks it has been destroyed. One thinks it is cold, another that it is warm. But all the waves are but the water of the ocean. It is indeed true to say that there are no waves in the ocean; the ocean alone exists. Yet it is also true that there are waves!
Even so, the absolute Brahman alone exists. Since it is omnipotent, the natural ex
Even as the silk-worm weaves its cocoon and thus binds itself, the infinite being fancies this universe and gets caught in it. Even as an elephant effortlessly breaks loose from the post to which it is tied, the self liberates itself from its bondage. For, the self is what it considers itself to be. In fact, there is neither bondage nor liberation for the Lord. I do not know how these notions of bondage and liberation have come into being! There is neither bondage nor liberation, only the infinite being is seen: yet the eternal is veiled by the transient, and this is indeed a great wonder (or a great illusion).
Though revolving thus in the wheel of ignorance and delusion, when one steps on to the wisdom concerning the supreme truth he is instantly redeemed.