Rama asks ‘What is identification?’ The sage explains identification and body awareness, and the innumerable sufferings for those in bondage to the body, and to the desires for bodily pleasures. The sage recommends obtaining the nectar of detachment, so that you may attain bliss … …
Rama asks ‘How to destroy ignorance?’ The sage replies that knowledge, self-enquiry, enquiry into the nature and purpose of this world is the needful. Wisdom exposes the attraction to material gratification. When this is lost, and body-ego is gone, then knowledge of the Atma arises. This is how the sage explains.
Rama asks how is it that some of the wise, ensconsed in samadhi, realisation of the Absolute, can remain in society. The Sage tells the story of King Suraghu of Kranti Desh, and how he eliminated the problem of punishing criminals. The outward going mind has to be managed, the impulses or desires that disturb the mind have to be eliminated. How? 75% of our time ought be spent in self-inquiry, and inquiry into the vagaries of the mind.
The young Rama seeks elimination of doubt from the Sage, Vasishtha. How does one obtain boons from the Lord? The sage explains that boons are won by dint of spiritual effort and endeavour toward this end. Higher knowledge and spiritual wisdom are only bestown upon those who make effort, and struggle to realise the Atma, the Self.
The young Rama asks the sage about King Bali and how he attained knowledge. His father King Virochan replies speaking about the “king” and the “minister”, the Atma and the mind. King Bali asks his preceptor, Lord Sukra. Sukra replies that everthing is an aspect of the one consciousness. Thereafter, we learn about Prahlad, his devotion from birth to Lord Vishnu, and the story of the Narasimha avatara. Of course, Prahlad was lost in atmananda for 5000 years. He had to be called out of atmananda with the conch sound of Vishnu to rule.
The world, the Earth, the Universe – are all creations of the modifications of consciousness – which we bring with us when we are born. No one is born with a blank slate, tabula rasa as the philosophers claim. The world is experienced because of forgetfulness of Atma.
An interesting question is raised: What must be the attitude or faith of a seeker interested in self-development? In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Only one person in many thousands seeks full God-knowledge. And of these, only one in many thousands truly gains it. Despite these odds, it is the intent of God that all beings are, in the fullness of time, destined to reach this degree of perfection. What, then is the attitude that leads to self development and realisation of innate divinity?
The young Rama asks what is prana, what is mind, and what is the difference? The sage replies that quiescence – stillness – of mind is needful in order to obtain direct witness of the Atma. It is the only thing in existence, and all else is ideation and willpower, resolve; that which is powered and driven by the energy of Atma itself. Truly, it is an enquiry into the real; as the prayer Asatoma begins: From the Unreal, lead us to the real.
The young Rama begins by asking what are the different types of karma (actions). The sage narrates the story of King Janaka of Videha, and the strategies he took up to manage the outgoing mind. Pain and pleasure, want and desire, unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the world are all caused by ideations in the mind. The sage gently takes the young Rama through the steps of being firmly established in the Atma. Sage Vasishtha tells Rama, ‘You must destroy mind with mind.’
The young Rama asks about attaining liberation (moksha) – freedom from the cycle of birth – death – and birth again. The sage reminds Rama that the universe is neither real nor unreal; it is experienced because of the ideation of the mind. With the company of the goodly and godly and the saints (satsang) even the dumb and blind can journey to moksha.