10. Yoga Vashisht, The Long-Lived Yogi and His Longevity
Master Vashisht: "As there is no time, no place, the non-dual Brahma alone is radiating as Absolute Consciousness, without beginning or end; none else exists. With this in mind, you should not identify yourself with objects. Reaching the Jivanmukta (bodily emancipated) state, you may attain the non-dual latent silence and enjoy the final blessedness. So long as the ideas of ignorance remain with us, so long the Brahmic state will not be reached. As long as there is enjoyment of illusory sense, that long the false creation of mind will continue. In fact, neither illusion, nor mind, nor ego exist, but the Shining One, Brahma, alone, which is like a Great Ocean rising and falling.
As long as this "I" identifies itself with the body, etc., so long the illusions of the mind exist. So long as one has a love for possession of objects, so long the illusion of the mind will exist. If through the pure and eternal, the desire for the three worlds be sacrificed in the fire of Wisdom, then the illusion of mind will drop away. Those who are constantly meditating upon the All Pervading Self, which is the One Wisdom above material sense. looking with equal eye upon those who want to feed them and those who want to kill them, they may be said to have realized their Alma. Those who have meditated continually upon the Pure Wisdom and have put an end to the desires are like the sun which dispels darkness. Those who have known the real meaning of AUM (OM) as it should be known, will find. that their minds have become peaceful. Those who have dried to realize, but have not succeeded in seeing the Brahmic Principle, which is pure Wisdom, will be ever like a whirlwind in their mental attitude, or like a dry leaf in a storm.
"Though this Wisdom is imperishable, all beings do not try to attain it and are ever downcast. The egoist and the ignorant are attacking from all sides, like arrows on a battle field. These worthless ones will kill their time, but will not try to find the imperishable True Wisdom. To the ignorant, the significance of OM is like unto casting a treasure into the ocean. "Cast not your pearls before swine." All dangers are caused by the ignorant. No danger comes from the wise. This Maya (illusion) is that which appears as the only reality to the ignorant. This world is as a shallow pool to the wise, but as a great ocean of pain to the ignorant.
"Reality cannot be realized by the senses. Out of this Reality, which is the witness of all an Intelligence arose, and subject to change, produced three states, the Finer, the Middle, and the Grosser. By these three qualities, Sattva (goodness), Raja (passion for name and fame) and Tamas (darkness or doing evil), all beings are bound to rebirth. By rising above these three qualities, the Brahmic state is attained. This triune may be divided into nine classes each. Under the class of goodness are: Rishi, Munis, Nagas, Sidhas, Vidyadharas, Devas, and others. Nagas and Vidyadhara come under the Tamasic aspect of the Sattva. Sidhas and Munis come under the Rajasic aspect. All the others come under the Sattva aspect of Truth fulness. The Vidya (knowledge) arose out of Avidya (ignorance). This Vidya is no other than the Avidya itself. Again it is stated that Raja and Tamas each have their three divisions. The Tamasic intelligence has to live within the ignorant body."
Ram asked: "How came the Intelligence to be entangled in the ignorant body?"
Rishi Vashisht replied: "The Intelligence, when it is without meditation, will first be as in a wild savage state; then it reaches the middle state between truth and untruth, and finally Wisdom, which has been lying dormant within the finer body. It will be idle as an indolent person without pains, until awakened by the Absolute One."
Ram asked: "Why not consider the fixed state of objects in the universe as liberation, as long as the Intelligence is in harmony with One-ness?"
Master Vashisht answered: "The attainment of the One-ness belongs to all beings. When one knows what is real and what is not real, that is the Supreme Liberation. When all desires have been sacrificed on the fire of Wisdom, then,. one attains the state of One-ness and Freedom..
As a tree is in the seed, so are the desires within the heart. This is the dreamless state from which arose all rebirths, the cause of all desires within the heart. After the different worldly thoughts are killed, then the mischief maker, (the cause of pains) goes to sleep—goes to the dreamless state—but arises again and again, like a tree from the seed, or dust from the earth. The unkilled desires will be hiding within the heart. This dreamless state, which is the mother of all desires, cannot be called liberation. The only one which is not the seed of that dreamless state is liberation or freedom. We should not be friendly to our enemy, namely impure desires, which like fire or poison, will ruin our life. The person who has done away with impure desires will never be affected by pain. The powers of mind are desires; its seed is ignorance. The wise stated that not to realize the eternal wisdom is the Avidya (ignorance). Do away with all ignorance and unreality and become nondual. Believe that this universe is the Brahma and not Avidya (ignorance). To understand and see this universe as Brahma, alone is the emancipation. May you be blessed with that certain understanding which is found within the pure mindsof Rishis and other great ones."
Ram asked: "Will you please enlighten me concerning the painless state of the Great One?"
The Master replied: "All varieties of things, whether large or small, are only Brahma. Wisdom is Brahma. We are Brahma. Our friends, kinsmen and our enemies are Brahma. To the blind this universe seems dark, but it is shining to those who have eyes to see; it is blissful to the wise, but painful to the ignorant. He, who sees and realizes this universe as Brahma, is Brahma himself; he will never miss immortality.
"The spotless is the self alone, which shines everywhere. That silent wisdom is Brahma, which will become a direct perception when a, person sees only one alone. The wisdom which exists then is called the all-pervading wisdom of Brahma, and that is what we are.
Let us call that, Atma, which gives us the fruits of all thoughts, which is the Light of Lights and which is neither with nor without qualities. Let us offer our solution to that Pure Wisdom which is devoid of all thoughts, pleasures or pains. Those who have conviction of the nothingness of thoughts and who act according to truth only, will enjoy the highest of the Brahmic state, which is filled with truth, quietness and equality. Those brave persons whose minds are filled with pure wisdom, and are looking with equal eyes over all, are free from desires, and will never become slaves of any thing."
Ram; said: "Please explain the two paths through which the Jivanmukta (body emancipated) has freed himself from all pains and desires.
Master Vashisht replied: "There are two methods of Yoga to overcome dire pains. The two are True Wisdom and the Control of Prana (vital force), which are given out by Parameshwara (Shiva). To the constitution of some, Yoga is the most desirable; also, to the constitution of others, knowledge is preferable. These two, as I have explained, are based upon True Wisdom. 154*
"Now I shall explain the meaning of Yoga. I shall tell you a beautiful story. Once upon a time I was in the company of other Rishis and heard from them the story of the long-lived Yogin. A little hut was built in the top of the Kalpa Tree (a tree that produces what one wishes). This was a lofty one, on the northeast, side of the top of a big mountain. In that hut lived Bhusunde, a Yogin. There was no one in Heaven nor on earth who could sit with this Yogin in his practice of Yoga. This Yogin was the longest lived Yogin in the world, and was without desire. He possessed the wealth of liberation, and could see clearly the three periods of time. When the story was finished by the Great One in the assembly of the great, I was very eager to go and see personally, the long-lived Yogin. So I did, and saw the tree, the mountain with its slopes and caves and flowers in full bloom. On the tree were sitting many colored birds (persons), some chanting Samaveda, others Mantras. Many parrots, kokilas, peacocks, and others. were developing in knowledge. Then I came before the long-lived Yogin, who was amid the-others. He was in perfect silence, without any motion of Prana (vital force) and was enjoying bliss within himself. He came to greet me, and was overcome with joy when he recognized me. He welcomed me with kind words, and beautiful bunches of flowers which he produced by the power of his thought. He asked me to be seated, and showed me much kindness and courtesy. He said to me: 'I am overjoyed by thy visit. Thou hast taken a long journey. By thy holy presence I have known all. All the learned ones think of me; therefore, thou hast come here, too. I wish to sip the nectar of thy words.'
"I said: 'It is true, as thou hast stated, O King of birds (men) . I came here to see thee, who hast been here a very long time. To what race dost thou trace thy family? How didst thou attain pure Wisdom? How long hast thou been in the present body? What hast thou learned about Nature's laws? By which Wisdom hast thou been here? Please answer.'
"The long-lived One replied: 'In the best company of Supreme Shiva (who is higher than the Hindu Trinity), who is elephant faced, sheep faced, camel faced, bear faced, etc.. Many of them have different heads, hands, etc.. These elementals (beings) will encircle around Shiva at Kailasa Hills (holiest mountain in the Himalayas). The Saktis (powers) will dance before Him, having their abode everywhere. These powers have different names, which are according to their degrees and forms (bodies). Once upon a lime, a crow by the name of Chanda (an element) went to a meeting ordered by Shiva, where all Saktis (powers and elements) get together to celebrate the great festival in the sky, where they dance and laugh with intoxication. The Chanda (elements) sported himself with the female swan (another Saktis or element), and by the joining of the two, the female swan became pregnant. When the dance was over, the pregnant swan of the power told the fact, of the incident of the conception, to their head one.
"'Thereupon, the Saktis power spoke: 'Thou art pregnated by destiny. Thou wilt not be able to hold our pace, hence thou must live according to thy free will.' Saying this, Devi (God) went to the highest Samadhi.
"'My mother and father lived on Manasa Lake, and I, and my twenty brothers and sisters were born there, lived with our parents, and worshipped the Brahma power for a long time. Devi (divine Mother) awoke from her Samadhi and blessed us with her love—with liberation. Great peace was established within our hearts thereafter. In order to live alone without mixed associates, we said farewell to our parents. We attained liberation through the grace of a Sakti (spiritual power). We asked for a place where divine bliss could be enjoyed. We were directed to this place, giving thanks for the liberation, or freedom. We came here to live free from pain. All the karma I had made up to that date was now bearing fruit.
"'What will not be blessed by the Brahmic bliss? All good things arise by the grace of the wise. I am a knower of Brahma, and will free myself soon of all material existence, by thy visit. This birth of mine is full of wonderful experience. You know, as thou art Iswara (God), himself. By saying this, he increased his respect to me.'
"I asked him how his brothers and sisters parted from him.
"'Here we lived for many yugas (a yuga is more than four million years. Relative to "yugas" see page 80, Great Master of the Himalayas). At last my brothers and sisters wearied of the body and gave it up for liberation. They were blessed with great power and longevity and disappeared at will."
"I asked him: 'How did you save yourself at the time of pralaya, when the twelve suns melted all the universe?'
"The long-lived Yogin answered: 'Do you think that action of nature will ever stop? At the time of pralaya, when the twelve suns melted the universe, I gave up this place of mine and by the Dharana I went up to the sky. When the mountains burst forth, red hot rocks were thrown high into the air. I changed to the Fire Dharana (one who practices Fire Dharana cannot be burned by the fire). When all the world was sunk under the water, I floated by the Air Dharana. When the time came for the destruction of the universe, I took the Brahmic state and remained there until the beginning of creation over again. After the new creation, I returned again to this place. As for living, by my power, I rose above the mountains and created this tree.
"I interrupted him and asked: 'By Dharana you preserved long life, while other Yogis perished?'
"The long-lived one answered: 'No, they did not perish, but they got tired of the burden of the human body and gave it up at will.'
"I asked him: 'You are master of all divine wisdom, and you see three worlds by the marvelous power of Yoga. I desire to know what you have seen.'
"The long lived one explained: 'For eleven thousand years of Devas there was one nebulous mass, devoid of anything. The next four yugas, over 11,000,000 years, there was a forest; the next four yugas over 11,000,000 years, this earth was a chain of mountains; the next four yugas, this earth was overspread. Then Brahma became crafty and created by his will. At that time, men and women were not chaste but did as they liked. O Vashisht, I was witness to all these; the origin of the sun, and such like. I saw Vishnu, one of the Trinity, who preserves, saving the earth and gathering together the Vedas (the holy book of knowledge) that was scattered in all directions. Many of these happenings, juniors may be able to tell thee, but you should know there have been countless Avatars (Christs), and it is difficult to count their number. O Great One, thou hast reincarnated eight times; this is our eighth meeting.
"'First, thou wert born of Akasa (ether or air), then of fire, and then of water. I have witnessed this and seen great ones like Buddha reincarnated, and many others. The eternal Vedas (the Wisdom) will arise again and again in every age, as suited to human beings. They will understand it more and more.
"'As they advance, pure wisdom will be embodied in every yuga in the shape of Ramayana, like this one recited by Rishi Valmik. Twelve Valmiks had been before this one. They wrought the same wisdom in the form of Ramayana. Notable Vyasa composed Mahabhart. The Ram has been on this earth eleven times. He will incarnate again in the wealthy house. The illusion of this world sometimes will manifest, and other times not. All this illusion will be hidden within the Atma (self), as the foam in the ocean some times arises and again disappears. So I have seen the universe come and go.'
"I interrupted him by asking: 'When acting in a worldly way, how did you save yourself from the hands of death?'
"The long-lived one answered: 'What good will they gain if they will not act as the great ones have advised? You know all, but I will explain to thee. Yama (death) will not come to those whose minds are above pain. Death will not come to those who have mastered the serpent of desire. Yama (death) will not come to those whose minds have attained peace; death will not come to those who have overcome the serpent of greed; yama (death) will not come to those who have control of anger and passion; death will not tome to those who have reached the highest divine state by daily meditation; death will not come to those who have attained the non-dual state. Mental diseases and pain will not reach those who are non-dual, but have equal vision upon all.
"The mind should be kept under control. It should not become abstract on the way to reaching the highest state which is the Atma, or God, where no differentiation of this or that exists, having overcome all fear. Reaching this state is a difficult work, as it is all Bliss, without pain, and cannot be attained by the ignorant, who are roaming in the darkness. Wisdom is the way which leads to the state of highest bliss, the control of Prana, which is the way to control old age and death.'
"I then asked him, 'will you please explain what it means to control Prana.'
"The long-lived one answered: 'Within this body, composed of the five elements, there are two vital forces, Prana and Apana. These two forces run smoothly, one upward and the other downward. Both are very fine forces and produce vibration. When these forces are arrested, then the Yogi can do most wonderful things, and he knows all. One should always practice to control the Prana and Apana, as that leads to liberation and sets one free from rebirth.'
"'How can pain arise when one has mixed Apana in the Prana or Prana in the Apana? When Prana and Apana become as one, there will be no more pain or death. I followed this course. After controlling Prana, I attained the Supreme State. I do not care for the past nor the future, but only the present. I do not recognize that, by one course or another, I have succeeded in living a long life. I am all things to all men,—with the married I am married, with the suffering I suffer, with the happy I rejoice, as I am one with the whole universe.
"'My own life has been a happy one, free from pain, riches or poverty which do not affect me. My long life is due to the absence of egoism, and to thy grace. With pure Wisdom I am blessed.'
"Thus did the long-lived one end his story. I said to him: 'I am enchanted with all that you have related. It is indeed marvelous. May your glory shine as the sun. May I start on my way.'
"So I started by air. He accompanied me many miles; then I forced him back to his palace. It was heart-rending to part with such a wise one.
"O Ram, this is the path of the Long-Lived Yogin. O Ram."
Suggestions for Further Reading
- Title Page and Front Matter
- Sri Ram, the Truth Seeker
- How the Wise Ought to Live
- How Suka Attained Highest State of Bliss
- The Way to Blessed Liberation
- Creation of the Universe
- Queen Chundalai, The Great Yogin
- The Great Egoist—Bali'
- King Janak
- How Suragho, the King of Hunters, attained realization of self'
- The Long-Lived Yogi and the Secret of His Longevity
- The Goal of the Yogi and Levitation'
- How to Live
- India's message to other Countries
154:* See Chapter on "The Goal of the Yogi. And Levitation" also" Creation of Universe."
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