T.S. Eliot said,
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
Life is a journey from womb to tomb; how do we avoid coming through another womb in the present life? The sage offers young Rama a lecture about the seven states of ignorance, and the seven states of bliss. Awareness of Atma is fruit of long effort, determination, discrimination and detachment. Read the advice of the sage to young Rama.
Computer coders have to answer one question when they begin a project: What is the focus, whereupon they can start a digital activity. Our minds usually have no focus, until we are told or shown how to have a focus. For spiritual seekers, this is an interior focus, single pointed, single-minded, far from the external world. Read young Rama’s questions (and some hints from Lord Krishna).
When we look at a very young child, wandering (crawling) about its place, it reaches out to take whatever it sees (and usually puts it in the mouth). We are seeing – metaphorically – our own self and our own minds in action: it is outward-going in nature, and the young Rama asks the sage, “How does one stop this?”.
The youthful Rama asks – as everyone does at one time or another in their life – “Why is the sky blue?” The sage responds that the akash (the ether, the space, the void) has no shape, form, nor colour. It is a form of ignorance to say the sky is blue. Those who have wisdom know that the sky is a glamour of atma and ideation.
The youthful Rama recognises that ignorance creates the world and that focussing on the Atma or reciting “I am Brahman” or ayam atma brahma resolves such illusions. The sage gives the advice.
Young Rama asks Sri Vasishtha about tendencies and desires that arise in the mind – usually unbidden. There are also intentions that arise from desires generated by this world of illusion. The sage instructs young Rama on attaining desirelessness.
Young Rama asks Sri Vasishtha about the instability of the mind. The sage guides him to contemplation, which brings the mind to rest. When the mind is at rest, we have interior and exterior peace.
Sri Vasishtha narrated the story of King Lavan to young Rama. This story illustrates the strength of the mind to create illusion and separation from Brahman. Everything in this world, including the body, is an illusion. The Atma passes from body to body. Lord Krishna taught that the mind accompanies the Atma to the new body. This is the point Vasishtha is making to young Rama. The mind causes the illusions.
Rama asks about the nature and cause of reality that is experienced. The Sage replies, explaining the nature of the three types of akasha.