The Young Rama sits, asking questions to Sage Vashishtha. He is asking how the world is manifest without any cause; how do you, I or the young Rama – and the Sage – experience this manifestation, encompassed, surrounded by the phenomenal world? There is a base, as the Sage explains.
The mind is the screen upon which it plays out its own dramas – for the dramas, the ideations, the vasanas or sankalpas (ideas, tendencies and willpower) are brought across with the soul into the new body. Rama asks what is real, unreal and why. Vashishtha explains that bad actions can be countenanced by good action, and that firm will, strong will always triumphs. We include a dialogue about name and form, mind and screen.
Consciousnes continues after death. It is a form of consciousness that does not receive input from the body. This is what Ramana Maharshi experienced as a young man when he lay down and entered into his death. Death had no power overhim, nor fear. Everyone’s mind is different. So the experience of death is different for everyone, as Sage Vasishtha explains herein.
Nearly every human has curiosity and questions about what happens after death. As far as we know, and what Sage Vaishtha illustrates in this Question-and-Answer, is that the experience is different for everyone, for the mind is different for everyone – for each and every mind is unique in its tendencies, desires and thoughts generated by same.
There is the waking life and the dream state. In the dream state, we can experience objects as absolutely real, and have emotions, our bodies respond and hearts beat fast during this REM stage of sleep. Yet, it all seems real, just as in the waking state, everything is real. We can feel softness, hardness, things that bend and things that do not bend. Our senses tell us this. What then, is the Atma, and are things real and distinct in the Atma?
This long story is about Queen Leela and King Padma, with a twist on the ending. They lead an idyllic life, but as they age Leela fears he might die first, in which case her own life would be intolerable. So she does tapas to Goddess Saraswati and obtains the boon to have her husband’s spirit always with her. She and the goddess astral travel and time travel to see the couple’s prior life as simple brahmins, and the origin of her husband’s desire to possess the wealth of an empire. That desire manifests after King Padma dies and the queen and goddess see another reality in the deceased king’s mind. He is now King Viduratha ruling a vast empire with a second Leela as his wife, then battling his enemy King Sindhu. In the end, King Sindhu wins, King Viduratha is killed, King Padma is brought back to life in front of the two Leelas, and both Padma and the first Leela attain nirvana.
There is evolution, there is sustenance afforded by the Paramatma, there is involution, the withdrawal of all things back to the Cosmic Egg, the Hiranyagarbha, which is verily the form of Brahman. The youthful Rama is beset with questions about what remains after the dissolution of the Universe.
The young Rama, seated before the sage, asks how to get rid of the illusion of the Universe. The answer, while long, is the foundation of self-knowledge and self-awareness: realise that all this the atma; it is two sides of the same coin, the reality and the illusion. It is a privilege to sit at the feet of a Loka guru such as Vasishtha; the story of Sage Vyasa illustrates same.
What is a god-realised person? What is their state, their awareness of life in the veil of the cosmic illusion? Do we have body-awareness when god-realisation comes? How is it achieved? Saga Vashishtha answers the questions of the youthful Lord Rama.
Much is made of knowing this world, and wending a path through the knots that lead to home and hearth, happiness and peace. Without awareness of the Divine Atma within, the journey through this illusion called human life is fruitless. The mind is the master instead of being the servant.