RAMA: O Lord, the mind is so unsteady. How can one reach the state of perfect equanimity?
VASISTHA: O Rama, a dialogue which is relevant to this problem took place between that very king Suraghu and the sage Parigha. Listen to it.
There was a king in Persia named Parigha who was a close friend of the king Suraghu. Once there was a great famine in the kingdom of Parigha. Sore distressed at heart at the very sight of his people’s suffering, and seeing that all his attempts at bringing relief to them proved fruitless, Parigha, unbeknown to his people, went away to the forest to perform austerities. He lived on dried leaves, and earned the name Parnada. After a thousand years of penance and contemplation he attained self-knowledge. Thereafter he roamed the three worlds freely.
One day he met the king Suraghu, whom he had known before. The two enlightened kings duly worshipped each other. After that, Parigha asked Suraghu: "Even as you attained self-knowledge through the instructions of the sage Mandavya, I reached it through the grace of the Lord earned by penance. Pray tell me: is your mind at perfect rest now? Are your subjects living in peace and prosperity? Are you firmly established in dispassion?"
SURAGHU: Who can truly understand the course of the divine will? You and I had been separated by a great distance so far; but now we have been brought together. What is impossible for the divine? We have been truly blessed by your holy visit. By your very presence in our midst we have all been rid of all sins and defects and I feel all prosperity stands in front of us in your form. Company of good and holy men is indeed equal to the supreme state of liberation.
PARIGHA: O king, all actions that are performed by one who is firmly established in equanimity are productive of joy, not those done by others. Are you established in that state of supreme peace in which. no thoughts or notions arise in your mind, and which is known as samadhi?
SURAGHU: Holy sir, please tell me why only that state of mind which is free from thoughts and notions is called samadhi? If one is a knower of truth, whether he be engaged in constant action or in contemplation, does his mind ever lose the state of samadhi? No. The enlightened ones are forever in samadhi, even though they engage themselves in the affairs of the world. On the other hand, one whose mind is not at peace does not enjoy samadhi by merely sitting in the lotus posture.
Knowledge of truth, Lord, is the fire that burns up all hopes and desires as if they are dried blades of grass. That is what is known by the word samadhi—not simply remaining silent! That is known as the state of samadhi in which there is eternal satisfaction, clear perception of what is, egolessness, not being subject to the pairs of opposites, freedom from anxiety and from the wish to acquire or to reject. From the very moment of the dawn of self-knowledge, the state of samadhi becomes permanent in the sage. He neither loses it nor is it interrupted, even for a moment. Even as time does not forget to move on, the man of self-knowledge does not forget the self. Even as a material object is forever material, the sage of self-knowledge is forever a sage of self-knowledge.
Hence, I am always awakened, pure, at peace within myself and in a state of samadhi. How can it be otherwise? How can there be anything other than the self? When at all times and in all ways the self alone is all in all, how can there be a state other than samadhi? And what can be termed samadhi?
PARIGHA: Surely, O king, you have attained total enlightenment. You shine, radiant with bliss, with peace, with sweetness and with purity. In you there is no ego-sense, desire or aversion.
SURAGHU: O sage, there is indeed nothing which is worth desiring or renouncing. For as long as these things are seen as objects, they are nothing but concepts, percepts and notions. When nothing is worth acquiring, it follows that nothing is worth renouncing. Good and evil, great and small, worthy or unworthy, are all based on the notion of desirability. When desirability has no meaning, the others do not arise at all. There is truly no essence in all that is seen in this world — the mountains, the oceans, the forests, the men and women and all the objects—hence there is no desire for them. When there is no desire, there is supreme peace at heart.
VASISTHA: After thus considering the illusory nature of the world-appearance and after mutually worshipping each other, Suraghu and Parigha continued to engage themselves in their respective duties. O Rama, be firmly established in this wisdom and discard the impure notion of ego-sense from your heart. Thereafter, even if you engage yourself in activity you are unattached to it and therefore not tainted by it, even as the eyes of fish are not affected by sea-water. They alone are friends, scriptures and conversations that generate in one’s heart true dispassion and also self-knowledge.