Question 141-142: Bound, unbound: Who is bound, who is not bound?

Yin and Yang

The young Rama asks – in the light of the Sukra story – what is the difference between the wise one, and the ignorant? Sage Vasishtha reminds the young Rama of vasana, will and how the ignorant is bound within and without. The principle of the Shukra story is given.

vasana: inclination, will, internal tendency to outward-going action;


akash: San. m., n. (ambara) sky, space, an expanse; the element of ether, the subtlest form of matter. Space gives things form and keeps them discrete. Its quality is sound. ‘It is through space that sounds are transmitted and heard. Love and play are products of akasha and seeds sprout on account of akasha.’ ‘Akasha pervades the cosmos but remains unstained.’ (BG: 23:32)

sankalpa: ideation; modification of chitta or consciousness; idea, resolve, volition (will);

Brahm-tattva: the principle that is Brahman;

kalanka: contamination; contaminated with faults;

purushartha: the repository of spiritual knowledge acquired by endeavour in pursuance of the precepts obtained from sages and scriptures

yuga: cycle of time period; an age


Question 141: Sir, What is the distinction between the behaviour of the ignorant and the behaviour of the wise?

Answer: Ramji, the observable behaviour of the two is alike, but there is the difference of attitude between the two. A wise one acts without an attitude of love and hate for the illusory (unreal) objects, whereas an ignorant one is bound by his or her actions. He who has a tendency (vasana) for actions is in bondage and he who acts without vasana (inclination, tendency to action) is free from bondage. The difference between the functioning of the two is merely attitudinal (vasana-matra). As long as there is a body, there is joy and sorrow also. A wise one bears all these with patience, knowing them as the result of karma, but an ignorant one is always agitated. An ignorant person abandons actions only overtly and is active within and is bound with actions but a wise person is liberated even while functioning, because he is not bound with actions. Ramji, be engaged in virtuous actions, but live within like akash that is a void, and becoming free from ideations of the world, be established in pure Atma.

Ramji, having described the ugly form of his body, Shukra decided to abandon it; but seeing his inclination, The Death God Yama advised him to abandon the body of the ascetic and to accept the body of the son of Rishi Bhirgu. Citing to him the analogy of a king who after a trip to various countries rectums to his own, the god advised Shukra to return to the original body, because with that body he had to function as the guru of the demons and it had a life of a great cycle. Saying so, the Death God Yama disappeared.

Accepting it as a part of destiny, the ascetic abandoned his body and entered the other. The body of the ascetic became inert and the other body showed signs of activity. Seeing so, Rishi Bhirgu performed certain rites after which that body became more active and started breathing properly. When Sukra became fully conscious, he rose up and paid proper obeisance to his father. Thereafter the body of the ascetic was cremated with proper rites.

Sukra was an enlightened soul and in due course he became the guru of demons.

Question 142: Sir, when the ideation (sankalpa) of Sukra turned towards maya, it materialised. Why doesn’t the ideation of others
materialise like that ?

Answer: Ramji, the ideation (sankalpa) of Sukra materialised because it was his first birth and he had arisen from Brahm-tattva.

He had not been tarnished by repeated births and was free from faults (kalanka). As is the ideation in a pure mind so is the achievement, but the ideation in an impure mind does not materialise quickly. Just as Sukra wandered in the repeated births due to forgetfulness of the true self, so the other jiva’s wander due to their oblivion of the true self. An individual jiva does not attain peace until he has realised his or her true self.


The purport of the story of Sukra is that with the arousal of strong willpower or attitude in the mind, a jiva experiences a multifarious universe. Just as a seed grows into a tree with branches, flowers, etc so does the ideation in the mind attain to diverse modes. The vast universe that is perceived is an aspect of the ideation in the mind, it is experienced due to an illusion; in fact nothing has been created. On contemplation, nothing but Brahman is realised. If one accepts the universe as real, one’s entire purushartha remains in vain. When the non-dual cognition is attained, the illusions of the jiva vanish. The waking state is a great dream and is cognised as real due to ignorance. When the spirit of the being of the universe vanishes, the chitta ceases to be; and when the chitta is quiet, the universe ceases to exist. When either of the two vanishes, the other too vanishes naturally. Paramatma is the support for all the jivas, and when one stabilises oneself in That, then knowledge of everything is attained.


Mohini and the asuras
The captivating Mohini holds the nectar of immortality. On her left, the asuras – the demons, seek the nectar. The gods are on her right. Shukra, son of Rishi Bhirgu, became the guru of the demons.


Hamsa Gayatri
Om Hamsaaya Vidmahe
Paramahamsaya Dheemahi
Tanno Hamsa Prachodayat

“May we realise Hamsa that is our own Self as the Swan. Let us meditate on that Paramahamsa, the Supreme Self. May Hamsa illumine us.”