There are those who posit the Universe is real and God is not, viz.; “there is no such thing as a soul”, blah, blah, blah. Such persons are firmly centred on their experience, that is, the experience delivered by the senses, the karmendriyas. See, hear, touch, taste, smell, like this. They are ignorant of the other senses, the jnanendriyas, the internal senses of knowledge. There is much to be known, by which, all else is known, as Vasishtha hints.
When the mind is at rest – quiescence – we have the capacity to experience who we truly are. When the mind is at rest, we might say ‘neti, neti‘(not this, not this) to all that phenomena that threatens to impinge upon us from the exterior. When the mind is at rest, and the time is ripe, that which is may emerge and reveal our true selves.
It is true to say there are as many forms of spirituality as there are people; each and every person’s spiritual practice and interior discipline is different. Here, the Sage advises Rama to make friends with four elements of interior discipline and exterior associations. All spiritual progress is the fruit of concentration.
We are asked about our journey through life and how we might become wise. While we may feel that some things last forever (they do), some things change, and some things remain eternal, everlasting. We look to the difference and human transformation.
Many declare that the new-born child is tabula rasa, a blank slate, conditioned and shaped by family, friends and culture. The environment that newborn grows up in is purported to have significant influence in shaping the person and character. Here, Sage Vasishtha clarifies that good and bad tendencies are carried over with the mind from a previous birth.
When we are born, we bring our destiny with us. Some in the sciences say we are born a blank slate tabula rasa in the mind, the intellect, the skills and capacity. The enquiries, the discoveries of the sages and saints teach otherwise, as Sage Vasishtha teaches the young Rama. There is much to reflect upon, and belief must be unshaken if we are to have victory.
Sankalpa (Sanskrit) is commonly thought of as willpower, determinations, and desires to take certain actions. These are in fact modifications of consciousness which continue to accompany the body until all desire ceases.
Ramji asks ‘What is purushartha?”. Vasishtha replies that purushartha is the wealth obtained from personal self discipline and practice. Purushartha refers to the great goals of life. One of which is realisation of the Atma (soul) within. This is explored in commentary on these questions.