The young Rama asks “What is flesh, what is body, what are bones?” The Sage responds with an insightful explanation of consciousness, chitta, what we would know to be the body, the senses, the mind – in any other word, our consciousness, our bodily awareness, our perception of maya, this world of illusion. The solution? Seek the atmic principle within and discard everything else, the Sage advises.
In answering a question to the young Rama, Vasishtha is reminded of his encounter with Muni Kag Bhusunda, who resides in the Sumeru Hills in a kalpa tree. Upon questioning, Kag Bhusunda explains how he has both form and immortality, through both creation and dissolution, again and again, and again. Kag Bhusunda explains the process of kumbhaka, stability in prana and apana, management of the breath process.
The young Rama continues to ply the sage with questions. What about the non-dual state? If those self-realised persons are here in the world, how do they maintain equanimity, that state of balance in this world of action, change, suffering? How do the realised walk across the stage called life?
The young Rama continues to ply the sage with questions. How do we reflect on truth and untruth? How do the realised experience this world of name and form, light and dark, all this duality – even as they are realised…
The Sage and the youthful Rama discuss the nature of the perceptible universe. If all is Atma, what is that we perceive? What is that phenomenon? Bala Rama also asks about the awareness in immoblie things, trees, stones, like this.
The young Rama – schooled in religion and worship – asks the sage about the forms of Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara. The sage takes the young Rama back to his true self.
The young Rama has many questions. With patience, Guru Vasishtha explains that perception of the Universe, the body, desires and illusions, pain and suffering are all due to ignorance. Ignorance is removed only by intense effort, contemplation of the Atma. Wisdom – jnana – is the removal of ignorance.
The human form is ubiquitous on Earth. So many forms. So many forms of life. So many forms of inanimate matter. So many lifeless forms. It is said over and over again, human life is very rare. What is the real form of the human, what is it we aspire to as we cross the ocean of life, bhavasagaratharanam?
The human condition we are born into – Brahman itself – clothed with illusion and our selected karmas has us see, feel and reacting to many phenomena. We are e-motion, energy set into motion when we tumble out of the womb. How is it that we see all this varigated universe with all its life-forms when there is only One? This is the question the young Rama presents.
It is said that we should spend up to 75% of our time in self-inquiry. Even those who take sanyas are encourage to mingle in society and observe their reactions. This is self inquiry. When you travel in a carriage, do you take the carriage as ‘I’? Look at the Sun. It gets reflected in a small pot filled with water, in a broad river, in a mirror, or a polished pot. For this reason does the Sun feel that all these things are ‘He’? Does it get sad when the pot breaks, or the river gets dry? This is exactly like that. If you take ‘I’ to be the body, then it is all bother! If you don’t take it so, you will shine like the sun, independent of anything else.