When Lord Rama realizes the futility of existence and the misery it brings with itself, he is struck with sorrow. When he seeks refuge in Rishi Vasistha, the enlightened rishi takes him to the pinnacle of truth through a dialogue between the two that later was captured in the scripture, Yoga Vasistha. The timeless dialogue interspersed with deep stories brings out astounding truths about this existence and destroys Lord Rama’s sorrow. Here are some of the truths unveiled in this ancient scripture:
According to the text, the world is as real as a mirage. In other words, it does not exist!
Modern physics seems to agree. A 2017 CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) study observes a complete symmetry between matter and anti-matter in the universe. So, all the anti-matter in the universe should have cancelled the matter in the universe, which further suggests that the universe should not exist in the first place.
So, how are you and I breathing and functioning in the world?
Maybe it is all a dream! If we look closely, the world in the past does not exist at this moment and the world today will not exist in the future. Considering that, the world is nothing but a fleeting appearance. It is unreal to its core.
Rishi Vasistha explains this mind-boggling truth when Lord Rama asks him where does the world go during dissolution.
He is quoted in Yoga Vasistha: “Water in the mirage does not come into being and go out of existence; even so, this world does not come out of the absolute nor does it go anywhere. The creation of the world has no cause, and therefore it has no beginning. It does not exist even now; how can it reach destruction?”
Our minds yield the power to create our world.
Yoga Vasistha reveals the power of the mind when it states, “The mind alone is the creator of the world; and the mind alone is the supreme person. What is done by the mind is action, what is done by the body is not action.”
In other words, welcome karma! Karma (impression of an action) is created through thoughts, not the actions of the body.
The text further, propounds, “Whatever appears in one’s consciousness, that seems to come into being, gets established and even bear fruits.”
Think of your life right now. Your work, relationships and other life events are a product of the thoughts that could have appeared in your mind five years ago or even five days ago. The direct connection between your life and mind would be apparent in some cases and less apparent in others. But, the truth remains. You create your life. You have been doing this with thoughts of several lifetimes – one lifetime impacting the another.
“Yoga Vasistha is a very big thing. Yoga Vasistha needs to be read again and again, reading it once won’t work. If you read it every two to three years, something altogether different will come up. Read and ponder on it. You will gain new understandings.”
3. Time is not absolute
According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, time is relative to the observer. So, events that occur at a particular time for an observer could occur at different time for another observer. For instance, to an observer on earth, time might run slow on another planet.
Rishi Vasistha explained this astonishing theory through a story where a queen is led through her previous lifetimes by Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge.
When the queen is told by the Goddess that it has been just eight days since her husband in his previous life died, the queen is puzzled. She asks how is it possible considering she and her husband have lived for a long time.
Goddess Saraswati explains, “Just as the world and its creation are mere appearances, a moment and an epoch are also imaginary, not real. Even as in a dream there is birth, death, and relationship all in a very short time, and even as a lover feels that a single night without his beloved is an epoch, the jiva (soul) thinks experienced and non-experienced objects in the twinkling of an eye.”
While speculations around the existence of extraterrestrial life continue to baffle humankind, it seems Rishi Vasistha knew it quite clear: that life outside our blue dot called earth does exist.
Rishi Vasistha tells the uncanny truth while explaining the variety of existence. He says, “Rama, just as in this universe there are countless beings of various species, in other universes, too, there are similar beings, with different bodies suited to those universes.”
Rishi Vasistha calls the mind an entity which is forever dead. Yet, in this mind, thoughts, and emotions which disturb us, give us sleepless nights are created. So, he expresses his wonder at the amount of influence this unreal entity has on everyone. He says, “The mind has no self, nobody, no support and no form; yet by this mind everything is consumed in this world. This is indeed a great mystery. To say that one can be hurt by the mind which is inert, dumb and blind is like saying that one is roasted by the heat of the full moon!”
Only with the life force within the mind perceives the world and thinks. Yet, its functions come to a stop when the life force within is gone. With no form, no permanent and independent support for its existence, the mind is as good as dead!
Our miseries are the making of our minds. Very few realize the mind’s incapability to see the world in its true picture. Instead, we trust our mind’s short-sighted assumptions too soon. This further, batters our soul with fear. This fear does not let us trust our family members and friends.
Rishi Vasistha explains the reason for our baseless fears, “He who is unable to understand the true nature of mind is unfit for being instructed in the truth expounded in the scriptures. Such a mind is full of fear. It is afraid of the melodious sound of the veena and it is even afraid of a sleeping relative. It is frightened by hearing someone shout aloud and flees that spot. The ignorant man is completely overcome by his own deluded mind.”
Many of us attribute our life’s happenings to fate. Rishi Vasistha fiercely rejects the idea of fatalism.
He explains, “Fate is merely a convention which has come to be regarded as truth by being repeatedly declared to be true. If this god or fate is truly the ordainer of everything in the world, of what meaning is any action? In this world except for a corpse, everything is active and such activity yields its appropriate result.”
He goes on to declare the fatalist as brainless. “One who says, ‘Fate is directing me to do this’ is brainless and the goddess of fortune abandons him.”
Lord Rama found Rishi Vasistha at the time when he was drowned in misery. However, the two have left a scripture that can help anyone struggling with profound questions like the reason for existence and the cause of suffering. While most of us have been tormented with such questions at some point of time, we have shoved them aside for the fear of never finding the answers. With Yoga Vasistha, you can find the answers albeit the answers promise to batter your mind with confusion and disprove all that you thought was true!
(The quotes have been taken by the book, Yoga Vasistha, The Supreme Yoga by Swami Venkatesanand)
Written by Vanditaa Kothari
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