RAMA: Lord, how does the mind ever get tainted?

VASISTHA: It is a beautiful question, Rama, but this is not the proper time to ask: when you have listened to what I have to say, you will surely find the answer to this question with the utmost clarity. That the mind is impure is the experience of everyone who strives for liberation. Depending upon one’s particular point of view, everyone describes it differently.

Just as air coming into contact with different flowers takes on their scent, so mind entertaining different notions takes on those moods, creates bodies suitable to them and, as the energy activating the senses, enjoys the fruition of is own notions. It is the mind, again, that provides the fuel for the functioning of the organs of action. Mind is action and action is mind— the two are like the flower and its scent. The conviction of the mind determines the action and the action strengthens the conviction.

Mind is everywhere devoted to dharma, wealth, pleasure and freedom; but everyone has a different definition of these and is convinced that that definition is the truth.

Rama, bondage is none other than the notion of an object. This notion is Maya, ignorance, etc. It is the cataract that blinds one to the sun of truth. Ignorance raises a doubt; doubt perceives —- that perception is perverted. In darkness when one approaches even a lion’s empty cage, he is afraid. Even so, one ignorantly believes he is imprisoned in this empty body. The notions of ’I’ and ’the world’ are but shadows, not truth. Such notions alone create ’objects’: these objects are neither true nor false. Therefore Rama, abandon the notions of ’I’ and ’this’ and remain established in the truth.

It is only when the mind has become devoid of all attachment, when it is not swayed by the pairs of opposites, when it is not attracted by objects and when it is totally independent of all supports, that it is freed from the cage of delusion. When all doubt comes to rest and when there is neither elation nor depression, then the mind shines like the full moon.

When the impurities of the mind have ceased to be, there arise in the heart all the auspicious qualities, and there is equal vision everywhere. Even as darkness is dispelled by the rising sun, the world-illusion is dispelled when the sun of infinite consciousness arises in the heart. Such wisdom as is capable of gladdening the hearts of all beings in the universe, manifests and expands. In short, he who has known that which alone is worth knowing transcends all coming and going, birth and death. When there is absence of egoism there is no confusion in the mind, and that mind functions naturally. just as waves rise and fall in the ocean, the worlds arise and vanish: this deludes the ignorant but not the wise.

O Rama, he sees the truth who sees the body as a product of deluded understanding and as the fountain source of misfortune, and who knows that the body is not the self.

He sees the truth who sees that in this body pleasure and pain are experienced on account of the passage of time and the circumstances in which one is placed, and that they do not pertain to him.

He sees the truth who sees that he is the omnipresent infinite consciousness which encompasses within itself all that takes place everywhere at all times.

He sees the truth who knows that the self, which is as subtle as the millionth part of the tip of a hair divided a million times, pervades everything.

He sees the truth who sees that there is no division at all between the self and the other, and that the one infinite light of consciousness exists as the sole reality.

He sees the truth who sees that the non-dual consciousness which indwells all beings is omnipotent and omnipresent. He sees the truth who is not deluded into thinking that he is the body which is subject to illness, fear, agitation, old age and death.

He sees the truth who sees all things are strung in the self as beads are strung on a thread, and who knows 'I am not the mind’.

He sees the truth who sees all this is Brahman, neither 'I' nor ’the other".

He sees the truth who sees all beings in the three worlds as his own family, deserving of his sympathy and protection.

He sees the truth who knows that the self alone exists and that there is no substance in objectivity.

He is unaffected who knows that pleasure, pain, birth, death, etc., are all the self only.

He is firmly established in the truth who feels: "What should I acquire, what should I renounce, when all this is the one self?”

Salutations to the abode of auspiciousness who is filled with the supreme realization that the entire universe is truly Brahman alone, which remains unchanged during all the apparent creation, existence and dissolution of the universe.

Rama, he who treads the superior path, though he dwells in this body which functions as the potter's wheel does by past momentum, is untainted by the actions that might be performed. In his case, the body exists for his pleasure and for the liberation of his soul; he does not experience unhappiness in it.

To the ignorant, this body is the source of suffering, but to the enlightened man, this body is the source of infinite delight, and when its life-span comes to an end, he does not regard it as a loss at all. Since it transports him in this world in which he roams freely and delightfully, the body is regarded as a vehicle of wisdom. The body does not subject the wise man to the temptations of lust and greed, nor does it allow ignorance or fear to invade him. The embodied being comes lightly into contact with the body while it lasts but is untouched by .it once it is gone, even as air touches a pot which exists, but not one that does not exist.

The wise man who is rid of all doubts, in whom there is no image of self, reigns supreme in the body. Therefore one should abandon all cravings for pleasure and attain wisdom. Only the mind that has been well disciplined really experiences happiness. The captive king, when freed, is delighted with a piece of bread; the king who has not been subjected to captivity does not enjoy as much, even should it be the annexation of another kingdom. Hence, the wise man grinds his teeth and strives to conquer his mind and senses: such conquest is far greater than conquest of external foes.

O Rama, in the great empire known as dreadful hell, evil actions roam like mighty elephants in rut. The senses which are responsible for these actions are equipped with a formidable magazine of cravings. Hence, these senses are hard to conquer. These ungrateful senses destroy the body — their abode and support.

However, one who is equipped with wisdom is able to restrain craving without injuring the being, even as a noose restrains the elephant without harming its being. The bliss enjoyed by the wise man who has his senses under control is incomparably superior to the enjoyment of a king who rules over a city built with brick and mortar. The former's intelligence grows in clarity as his craving for sense-pleasure is worn out. However, the craving disappears completely only after the supreme truth has been seen.

To the wise, the mind is an obedient servant, good counselor, able commander of the senses, pleasing wife, protecting father and trustworthy friend. It impels him in good actions.