7. Yoga Vashisht, Bali, The Great Egoist

Shiva and Parvati

by Vashista and Singh Grewal

Chapter 6 | Chapter 8

The Master Vashisht continued:

"The illumination of wisdom came like the dawn to the heart of Pavana, who had been initiated by his brother, the Muni Punya. Both of these brothers having attained Atmic wisdom, lived in the forest. For many years they enjoyed the quiet pleasures of solitude and at last reached the calm of bodiless bliss113—like lights which have consumed both wick and oil. For this is the fate of all beings.

"If one, in his many incarnations is related to all, where then, is the necessity of love or hate? The most reasonable course is to forego extreme and excessive desires, not to enlarge upon them. If desire is allowed to flourish lit becomes food for contemplation. When desire passes, so does the structure of thought built about it, collapse and perish. This is indeed. truth.

"O Ram, mount the great edifice of renunciation and behold in spiritual vision this insignificant universe palpitating with unruly desires—then you will indeed know that you lack nothing. This exalted state contains the truth of Brahma without. impurity, delusion or the plague of ignorance. If this state be attained by faith even though the intelligence is meager, its devotees will not be subject to delusion. Therefore, O Ram, lead thus your life.

"With the progressive development of intelligence and the exercise of a fine discrimination all pain will cease. Even though one may find a close ally in a Guru,114 it is only through individual energy and will, that all pains arising from association with kinsmen and heterogeneity can be destroyed. Having labored diligently through Atmic enquiry, books of wisdom, and noble benevolence, your mind is forced to follow the Atmic life—then pain will cease. The collective wealth of all worlds will not compare with the happiness arising from the blissful mind which has found emancipation.

"Like a sandal protects the foot, however stony the path, so also, does the mind fill the whole of creation with purest joy. A mind filled to the fullest with neutrality of vision will never entertain mundane desire; nor a mind confused by conflicting desires ever have its grievances completely redressed. A mind free from desire yields pure thoughts, as readily as Muni Agastya sipped the waters of the ocean in the space of a moment; the radiance of the full moon has not such refulgence, nor does Lakshmi115 reposing on fragrant Lotus grant such a boon.

"The ghosts of desire will dim the lustre of the stainless mind just as clouds hide the moon, or black stains deface polished stone. Liberation means only the destruction of the impurities of the mind and this mind is developed only when desire and fears of rebirth are destroyed. If this is not possible, O Ram, thou shalt arrive at wisdom by the path followed by the great Bali. Such a course is beneficial."

Thereupon Ram asked him to relate the story of Bali. Rishi Vashisht replied: "There once lived a great king who was also a great egoist. He reigned over Patala116 as an emperor. The whole world trembled beneath his autocratic rule; even the gods were overpowered and humbled before him. He was the son of the noble Virochana, and reigned mightily for ten million years.

"One day he mounted to the parapet atop his palace—his palace which was studded with gems brought from the Manhameru***116 Heights. There in solitude he spoke the travail of his mind. He was satiated with the material pleasure of his world and his speech was replete with bitterness.

"'Of what avail is this undisputed sovereignty which has enable me to enjoy the wealth of these three worlds, when I reflect that the pleasures of wealth are but fleeting, and that I repeat to-day's actions again tomorrow with only a gain of momentary happiness? Enjoyed incidents do recur again; ornaments worn proudly yesterday are put on again to-day. We observe that even the intelligent do not become appeased by these recurrences and are not ashamed to enjoy them again, like children who feast repeatedly on sweets.

"'Thy cycle of days, months, years and yugas roll on, and the old is ever old, though decked in the changing garments of the mode.

"'Has the faithful performance of my duties improved my life in the slightest degree? What will bring me possession of THAT and free me of action and its results? Where is the path which will lead me to THAT which is peace, free from illusion?'

"Deep in reflection he sought the Principle which is eternal and at last was rewarded by the solution. With eyes flashing with joy he burst into speech.

"'It was in this very place that I enquired about this Principle from my omniscient father, Virochana. He explained then the manner in which I might remove my doubts when I asked (him, what is that incomparable state in which the illusions of pain and pleasure are lost, wherein the mind's delusions find oblivion, and where desires are uprooted?' I begged that he would describe to me the attainment of that goal which knows not the 'restraint of desires and the gloomy despondences of the mind.

"'Tell me, O Father, I beseech thee what is the state which is wholly permeated with Absolute bliss? O thou Knower of the Supreme, enlighten me and release me from the torment of doubts which arise!'

"And thus Virochana replied:

"'Harken to my words. There is a beautiful country which is illimitable and all pervading. In it the worlds arise and into it the worlds are absorbed. In this country there are not the five grand elements, nor are there hills, forest, temples, Devas or even the ancient souls. Illumination is the name of the King who exists there, alone. He is omnipotent, omniscient, the cause of all, perfectly quiescent and refulgent. He is Silence itself. He will unfailingly cause all acts to be performed by a minister appointed by him. The instant that a thought arises in the minister, the idea, though previously non-existent, immediately crystallizes into actuality and as mysteriously disappears. The minister enjoys nothing by his own right nor does he know anything. Acting always in concert with the King he is able to do all things. Though the minister stands always in the presence of the King, the King remains invisible and solitary.'

"So saith the father to his son.

"The son had listened appreciatively to the words of his father. Now he questioned.

"'What is the character of this enlightened country which is without disease and misery,. which though apart, yet pervades all? How can it be reached? By what means can it be attained? Who is the immortal King of that strange country? Who is his minister? Who is the mighty King, who, as if in sport, will make me ruler of this universe?'

"His father answered. 'Who is able to over-step the rigorous law of the powerful minister? Even though the hosts of the world beleaguer him, they can never overpower him. Though spears be hurled against him they will be as futile as flowers flung at a stone wall. Only the King can command obeisance from his minister, for it were easier to move the great Himalayas than to bring Him into subjection. It takes a very superior intelligence to subdue the minister, for he is like an angry serpent who when trod upon will hiss and strike.

"'All this, my son, is symbolic. The country in my story is liberation, incomparable and eternal; the King is Atmic Reality, inseparable from 'liberation and refulgent with eternal light; the -minister of the King typifies the mind or intelligence. The symbol and realization of supreme authority is the subjection, control and eradication of sensual pleasures and the building-up of an indifference to them. When the mind has overcome desire, then it resembles a mischievous elephant safely caged.

"'Those unacquainted with the true books of wisdom maintain that of the four parts into which they divide time, one-half should be devoted to a study of sensual objects, one-quarter to study of the Books of Wisdom, and the remaining quarter to the worship of a blessed Guru (spiritual teacher); that if this be done, wisdom will replace ignorance.

"'The partially knowing assert that of the four divisions one should devote half the time to contemplation and worship of a Guru, a quarter to meditation upon the spiritual truths contained in the Books of Wisdom, and the remaining quarter to the study of the actions of the sensual organs. The wisdom will prevail in him, and he will know the supreme truth.

"'The third class, who are of the wise elect;. affirm that liberation will be attained by those, who, dividing the concentration of the mind into four parts devote them to the four purposes of a study of the Books of Wisdom, which outline the pursuit of the path of Atmic Reality. Self-knowledge, desirelessness, worship, and worship of a Guru.

"May you, my son, through diligent enquiry and intelligent effort, understand Atmic worship and the subjugation of desire simultaneously. By a determined master of your desires, Atmic enquiry naturally follows, and in turn Atmic enquiry induces a relinquishment of desire. They are mutually dependent one upon the other, like' the clouds which fill the ocean.

"'Having earned, in proper ways, wealth for. relieving one's kindred and dependents. one should, by the help of that wealth, promote the qualities of truthful conduct and gradually assume indifference to the world of objects and futile pleasures. This is the state those reach who live in Jnana (wisdom). This is the glory of peace.'

"Soliloquizing thus, he asked himself, 'Who am I and what is my real nature?' After a moment's reflection he concluded that if he invoked his Guru, who had attained Realization, and should enquire of him the truth, then ignorance would forsake him. Therefore, with closed eyes he meditated affectionately upon his Guru. Thereupon his Guru took form before him, a form constituted of the blessed air. With an enraptured heart the King saluted him and spread fragrant flowers before the resplendent Guru.

"Beloved Guru, deign to hear my words and bless me accordingly. What is the NOW? What is there BEYOND? What is THAT which is limited? Who am I who speaks? And YOU who hear? What is this material universe? Favor me, Divinity, with answers to quiet all my doubts.'

"'The Guru pondered for a moment and then replied: 'I am on my way to Heaven where dwell the immortals. Why should I take unnecessary time or waste words? Briefly, I tell you this, all the manifestations before us here are wrought of wisdom, the unmanifested is also wisdom; I, who speak, am wisdom, and pure wisdom are you, who hear. The entire universe is naught but all-full wisdom. Take these conclusions, impress them upon your mind and meditate upon the Reality of Wisdom. If you can accept Reality, you will attain the Supreme state. The Sapta-Rishi123* has just now entered a new state; therefore, I shall pass.' So saying the Guru of Bali retired.

"Contemplating the truth of his Guru's words, he became convinced that ALL IS WISDOM. This earth is none other than the manifestation of Wisdom; the three worlds are Jnana; my real nature is Jnana. The fates are Jnana. I have become the shining Brahmic One, who scintillates undimmed by the visual or the sensual. I have become the One principle, which unbound by objectives, pervades all at one and the same time—intelligence itself.

"Mentally vibrating to Om, which is the true significator of Absolute Wisdom, Bali entered a trance-like state, which was free from thought, desire or doubts, and there he remained statue-like in Samadhi for a long period.

"Thus did the Emperor Bali remain motionless, as the flame of a lighted lamp in a sheltered, windless place. And since he was illumined by the Truth, unstained by love or hate, his mind merged into Divine Peace. Such a condition can best be compared to clear, autumnal sky.

"Seeking their Emperor, his courtiers found him deep in Samadhi.

"After a long time, Bali awoke and went about his regal duties, his mind free from desire and egotism. His pure mind was never again flurried in adversity or prosperity, neither did he lose himself in either pleasure or pain. Thus his equable gaze viewed all impartially, however numerous were the hosts of good and had thoughts that arose in his mind. As the procession of countless objects passed before him, the controlled them all.

"So shall you, O Ram, pillion your mind, roving amid the pleasures of this and higher worlds, in the centre of your heart. Wherever your mind stumbles like an awkward child and falls into

sensuality, you must lift it to the indivisible Jnana and there let your mind become one with wisdom. By daily and consistent practice you may chain the terrible elephant of mind, so that untrammeled by pain, you will enable it to reach liberation through control."

So saith the great Master, Rishi Vashisht.

Suggestions for Further Reading


113:* Death.

114:** Spiritual Teacher.

115:* Goddess of wealth.

116:** America.

116:*** Himalaya Mountains.

123:* One of the seven Rishis.

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