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.
When we are born, we bring the mind with us. Mind and soul move on to the next birth, and within the mind are ideations, tendencies, unsatisfied – unfulfilled desires. We call these contents of the mind vasanas. Vasanas are an inherent mental tendency (conscious or unconscious), karmic seeds, impressions; the impressions of past experiences; desire for various objects and experiences. So the young Lord Rama asks the sage an important question: How do we rid ourselves of vasana?
The world comes at birth. Are we having sankalpa (ideations) at birth? The young Rama asks about sankalpa and how these can arise and vanish. The sage gives illumination, and among that illumination, tells that “The mind creates a vast panorama in an instant, and at times it becomes too subtle to be grasped.”
The young Rama is asking questions about different centres of creation of Brahma, such as lotus, akash, egg and water. He wants to know how this differentiation occurs and why. He is told, “The universe is created at times by Sada Shiva, or by Brahma or Vishnu.”
The young Rama is asking questions about ideations (thoughts that manifest as illusion, maya) The young Rama wants to know how that which is the Brahman state can manifest as Brahma, the Creator.