"The very first step in understanding what this is all about is giving up the concept of an active, volitional 'I' as a separate entity and accepting the passive role of perceiving and functioning as a process." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Story of Vitahavya - 9

Sage Vasishtha 

RAMA asked: Lord why do we not see many of these liberated sages traversing the sky now?

VASISHTHA replied: Flying in the sky and other powers are natural to some beings, O Rama. The extraordinary qualities and faculties which are observed in this world are natural to those beings - not to the sage of self-knowledge. Supernatural faculties are developed by even those who are devoid of self-knowledge or liberation, by the utilization of certain substances or by certain practices. All this does not interest the man of self-knowledge who is utterly content in himself. They who, in pursuit of pleasures, acquire these powers tainted by ignorance, are surely full of ignorance; the sages of self-knowledge do not adopt such a course.

Whether one is a knower of truth or ignorant of it, powers like flying in the air accrue to one who engages himself in some practices. But the sage of self-knowledge has no desire to acquire these. These practices bestow their fruit on anyone, for such is their nature. Poison kills all, wine intoxicates all, even so these practices bring about the ability to fly etc. but they who have attained supreme self-knowledge are not interested in these,  O Rama. They are gained only by those who are full of desires; but the sage is free from the least desire for anything. self-knowledge is the greatest gain; how does the sage of self-knowledge entertain any desire for anything else? In the case of Vitahavya, however, he did not desire these powers; they sought him unsought.

RAMA asked: How is it that worms and vermin did not destroy Vitahavya's body when it lay abandoned in the cave? And, how was it that Vitahavya did not attain disembodied liberation in the first place?

VASISHTHA replied: O Rama, the ignorant man's body is composed and decomposed on account of the states of his mental conditioning; in the case of one who has no such conditioning, there is no momentum for decomposition. Again, the mind of all beings responds to the qualities of the object with which it comes into contact. When a violent creature comes into contact with one who has reached tranquil, though it may return to its violence when this contact is lost. Hence, too, Vitahavya's body remained unharmed. This applies even to material substances like earth, wood etc. for consciousnesses pervades all. Since Vitahavya's consciousnesses did not undergo any change, no change happened to his body. Since there was no movement of prana in it, even decomposition could not take place. The sage is independent and free to live or to abandon the body. That he did not abandon the body at one time and did so later is purely coincidental; it may be related to his karma etc., but in truth he is beyond karma, beyond fate, and devoid of mental conditioning. Again, it is like crow dislodging the ripe cocoanut - purely coincidental.

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सर्वभूताधिवासं यद्भूतेषु च वसत्यपि।
सर्वानुग्राहकत्वेन तद्स्म्यहं वासुदेवः॥

That in whom reside all beings and who resides in all beings,
who is the giver of grace to all, the Supreme Soul of the universe, the limitless being:
I AM THAT. -- Amritabindu Upanishad