Beyond Mind And Matter

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One of the greatest books ever written is the Buddhist scripture Lankavatara Sutra. Buddha says again and again to his disciple Mahamati, “Mahamati, this is only mind. Hell is mind. Heaven is mind. The world is mind. Enlightenment is mind.”

Mahamati asks again and again, “Just mind? Just mind? Even nirvana and enlightenment are just mind?”

And Buddha says, “Just mind, Mahamati.”

When you understand that everything is just mind, you are freed. Then there is no desire. In Lankavatara Sutra, Buddha says that the whole world is like a magical world, a city of Gandharva. As if a magician has created it. Everything appears to be there, but it is there only because of the thought form.

Prayers of a Divided Mind

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Once upon a time there lived in India a great devotee of Vishnu. He worshipped and prayed to Vishnu for many years. He went on praying and worshipping. Nothing happened.

One day Vishnu appeared to him and said, “I am pleased with your worship. In response to it, I am giving you three boons. Choose wisely.”

The man who had been worshipping for so many years forgot why he had started the worship. His mind was fleeting so constantly that worship became an obsession with him. He said to Vishnu, “Let me think and recollect what I actually wanted.”

He thought for some time. Suddenly he became aware that he was not in good terms with his wife. So he asked, “I am angry with my wife. Kill her!” Immediately his wife died.

The moment he came to know about her death, he became aware that he loved her very much. As such, he said to Vishnu, “I have loved her very much; please revive her again.” Thus the second boon was wasted.

Vishnu said to him, “Now you have got only one boon left. Think wisely before asking for it.”

The man replied, “Give me enough time to think, otherwise I will again commit a mistake as there is no fourth boon.”

Vishnu waited and waited. Years passed and he came again and again to the man and asked, “Now ask for the third boon. Have you decided?”

The man became puzzled. He could not sleep and almost became insane by thinking as to what to ask, as only one boon was left. He went to persons who were considered to be wise for guidance. They suggested many things but he found them unsatisfying.

Finally, he asked Vishnu, “Please tell me what I should ask. I am going insane by thinking what to ask for.”

Vishnu replied, “There is only one boon you can ask for, which is worthwhile. It is desirelessness. All else is worthless. If you remain obsessed with desires, whatever you may ask, the next moment you will want just the opposite of it. So remember, ask for desirelessness.”

Reflection on Mirror

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In ancient times there lived in India, a great Rishi whose name was Narada. He is well-known for his Bhakti and has written the famous Sutras known Bhakti Sutras.

He meditated on Vishnu for many years but nothing happened so he went on meditating and meditating. Finally, one day Vishnu appeared before him and said, “Narada, I am very pleased with your bhakti towards me. For this I grant you a boon. You may ask as you please.”

Hearing this, tears came to Narada’s eyes and he replied, “I am so fortunate to have your darshan. I also thank you for the boon. I wish to know the secret of the power of your creative magic by which this whole world appears to be a Gandharva city or a city of magic, where individuals seem to lose their original identity, thinking this world as a reality.”

Vishnu replied, “Do not ask or try to know about my creative magic. Forget about it. You choose something else as a boon.”

Narada went on insisting. Vishnu went on evading the grant of that boon. Finally Vishnu acceded to the demand of Narada and said, “If you are so persistent to know the creative magical force of mine, come along with me, I shall show it to you.” Saying so he took Narada along with him and both arrived at a small hill.

Vishnu said to Narada, “I am feeling tired and thirsty. I wish to rest under the shade of this tree. Do you see a small hut at the valley? Go there and bring some water for me.”

Narada said, “I will just go and bring water for you. Please refresh yourself under this tree.”

Soon he reached that hut and knocked at the door. A very beautiful woman opened the door and Narada said to her, “Can I have some water.”

The woman replied, “Come inside and take it by yourself.”

The moment Narada entered the hut, he forgot the purpose for which he had come there and was attracted towards her. He said to her old parents, “Your daughter is so beautiful and I wish to marry her. Please kindly grant us permission.”

The old parents of the woman gave their consent. So Narada went on staying with his wife and soon had children. He lived happily with them. He completely forgot that Vishnu is waiting for him.

One day it rained heavily and soon all the places were surrounded by water, destroying everything within its reach. Narada’s house was also destroyed. So he decided to take his wife and children to a safer place. While he was crossing the flood area, he lost both his children who were washed away by the stream of water. Narada and his wife wept for such a loss. But Narada consoled her and said, “Do not worry. At least we both are still alive and we can start all over again.”

But suddenly his wife also lost the grip of his hands and was washed away by the water. Narada now remained alone. He wept and wept and wailed, “I have lost everything. I have lost my wife and children. What is the point of living in this world now.”

As he was weeping, suddenly the entire scene changed. Vishnu stood before him and said, “What is the matter Narada? Why are you weeping? What have you lost? Please tell me.”

Narada was shocked, then he remembered how he had forgotten Vishnu. He fell on Vishnu’s feet and asked for forgiveness.

Vishnu said, “Now have you seen my creative magical force. This is my force, which creates this world as a reality.”

Narada asked, “Yes, I have seen it O Lord Vishnu. But please tell me what is the way out by which the individuals can overcome this creative magical force.”

Vishnu said, “Narada, illusions deceive, colours circumscribe, even divisibles seem to be indivisibles. Everything is in a flux. Only appearances look certain. If you go deeper everything becomes uncertain and indefinite. So see this world as a dream and if you think it so, then the entire focus of your consciousness will turn inwards only then you will realise that everything thing is illusory. But there is someone inside you who is observing all these illusions. Therefore, look at the world as illusory and nothing as it appears. It is just a rainbow. Go deep into this feeling then you will be yourself and by realising yourself, you can realise the Absolute also, that is, the observer, the watcher, the seer, the knower and the known are one and the same.

“Or think this universe as juggling, as a picture show. To be happy, look upon it as so.”

THE SECRET SERMON ON THE MOUNT

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Tat says to Hermes, “Father, during the General Sermons on the Divinity you spoke in riddles that were most unclear and said that man could never be saved before Rebirth. What do you mean by this?

“Further, when I became your Suppliant, climbing up the Mount and after you had conversed with me, I longed to learn the Sermon on Rebirth, then you said that you will tell me, when I shall have become a stranger to the world. Since I have become stranger to the world-illusion, please tell me about the tradition of Rebirth in speech or in a secret way, which you had promised for. I do not know O Thrice-greatest one, from what matter and what womb Man comes to birth, or of what seed.”

Hermes: “Wisdom that occurs in silence is the seed of the True Good.”

Tat: “Who is the sower, father? For I am at a loss to understand.”

Hermes: “It is the Will of God, my son”.

Tat: “What are the methods by which He is known, father, for I have no experience of that essence which transcends the senses. And you are the knower of that Truth as you have become the God’s son.”

Hermes: “God is All in all and is beyond all the powers that you see.”

Tat: “Please do not tell me in riddles for I am unable to comprehend.”

Hermes: “This Race, my son, is never taught; but when He (God) wills it then only experience or remembrance of the Divine origin occurs.”

Tat: “O father, tell me the impossible. Kindly explain to me about these things. Am I strange to my father’s race? Father, I am a true-born son; please explain to me the manner of Rebirth. Do not keep it a secret from me.”

Hermes: “What may I say my son? I can only tell you this – whenever I see within myself the Simple Vision brought to birth out of God’s mercy, I have myself become that Body which can never die. And now I am not as I was before but I am born in Mind. The way to achieve this state cannot be taught nor can it be seen by the compounded element by means of which you see.

“I have transcended all physical forms. I am no longer touched, but I have touch. I have dimension and yet I am a stranger to them. You see with eyes, my son, but what I am, you cannot understand even with full strain of physical sight.”

Tat: “O father, you have plunged my mind into eagerness and ecstasy that I have never known. I no longer see myself.”

Hermes: “I have indeed, my son. You have rightly transcended the physical forms and have become like one who dreams in sleep and yet remains the watcher.”

Tat: “O father, please tell me who is the author of Rebirth?”

Hermes: “The One Man by God’s will.”

Tat: “O father, your statement now really stupefies me. My senses are arrested and I am able to see your Greatness, identical with your distinctive form.”

Hermes: “Even in this you are untrue. The mortal form does change every day. It is turned by growth and waning in time; it is an untrue thing.”

Tat: “What then is true, Thrice-greatest One?”

Hermes: “Son, understand that which is never troubled nor can be defined. It has no colour, no figure, it is not turned nor does it have garment. It is an embodiment of light. It does not suffer change and has no body.”

Tat: “I have lost my reason, my father. Just when I thought to be made by you, I find the senses of this mind of mine blocked up.”

Hermes: “It is so, my son. That which is upward borne is like a fire yet is borne down like earth, that which is moist like water, yet blows like air, how shall you perceive it with your senses, That is not solid nor liquid; it cannot be bound or loosened. The only notion man can have about That is in the form of power and energy. Even then, however, it wants man to perceive the Way of Birth in God.”

Tat: “I am incapable of this, O father, what shall I have to do now?”

Hermes: “My son! Withdraw into yourself, and it will come. Transcend the body’s senses and your Divinity shall come to birth. Transcend from the brutish torments of matter.”

Tat: “Have I tormentors then in me, O father?”

Hermes: “Yes, not a few but manifold and fearful ones.”

Tat: “I am not aware of them, father.”

Hermes: “The first tormentor is Not-knowing, the second, is Grief, the third, Intemperance; the fourth, vehement Desire for things of the world; the fifth Unrighteousness, the sixth is Avarice; the seventh, Mistaken Belief; the eight is Envy; the ninth, Guile; the tenth, Anger; Eleventh, Rashness; the twelfth, Malice.

“These are twelve in number but under them there are many more, my son, and creeping through the prison of the body, they force the man to suffer in his senses. But they depart not all at once from him who has been blessed by God, and this constitutes the manner of Rebirth.

“And now my son, be full of awareness and solemn silence, then only the flow of His blessedness shall flow on you. So now rejoice, my son, you are being blessed and purified by the Powers of God. Gnosis of God has come to us, and when this comes, Not-knowing, Grief, Intemperance, vehement Desire, Unrighteousness, Avarice, Mistaken Belief, Envy, Guile, Anger, Rashness and Malice are cast out – Ignorance, their cause vanishes.

“Now you know my son, the manner of Rebirth. When the ten, that is, Knowledge of Truth, Joy, Temperance, Continence, Communion, calling of the Truth, access to Truth, the Good that follows Life and Light come, then the twelve tormentors vanish.

“One who abandons the body’s senses, and through the blessing of the God, knows himself to be the Life and Light, is filled with Bliss.”

Tat: “Through His blessings, I have become shorn of desire and filled with energy that the Mind gave me through the Powers.

“In Heaven I am, I am in earth, I am in water, I am in animals, I am in plants, I am in the womb, before the womb, after the womb, I am everywhere.

“But further tell me, how are the tormentor of Darkness, when they are twelve in number, driven out by ten Powers? What is the way to it, Thrice-greatest one?”

Hermes: “This body which we have just passed is constituted by the circle of the twelve-types of life and is composed of elements that are twelve in number but of one nature. Through man’s delusion there are disunion in them, while in their action they are one. We cannot part Rashness from Wrath; they cannot even be distinguished.

“Due to right reason, they withdraw once and for all, chased out by no less than ten powers. Ten is that which gives birth to souls and Life and Light are unified there. According to reason, the One contains the Ten, the Ten the One.”

Tat: “Father, I see the All, I see myself in Mind.”

Hermes: “This is Rebirth, my son. Do not look on things from body’s point of view. In order that we may not be the calumniators of the All unto the multitude, I have not commented upon this Sermon on Rebirth.”

Tat: “Tell me, O father, whether this Body, which is made up of the Power, dissolves at any time?”

Hermes: “Hush! Do not speak of things impossible, otherwise your Mind’s eye will miss the goal.

“The natural body which our sense perceives is inferior to this essential birth. The first must be dissolved and the last can never be; the first dies but the last cannot be touched by death. You should know that you are born God, Son of the One, even as I myself.”

Tat: “O father, I will hear the Praise-giving with hymn which you say you heard when you were at the Eight (Ogdoad) of Powers.”

Hermes: “Just as God foretold me, when I came to the Eight. Why don’t you free yourself from the attachments of physical body? You have now been made pure.

“The God, the Shepherd, Mind of all masterhood knows that I should myself be able to learn all and hear what I should wish, and see all things. He left me with the Powers within me that come out into a song.”

Tat: “Father, I wish to hear and know these things.”

Hermes: “Listen carefully, my son, hear the Praise-giving that keeps the soul in tune. Hymn of Rebirth – a hymn I would not have thought fit so readily to tell you, had you not reached the end of all. The secret of it is not taught but hidden in silence. Thus, my son, stand in a place uncovered to the sky, facing the southern wind, about the sinking of the setting sun, and make your worship, so in like manner too when the sun rises, with face to the east wind.

“ Listen carefully, my son, the Secret Hymnody.

“Let every nature of the World receive the utterance of my hymn!

“Open thou Earth! Let every bolt of the Abyss be drawn for me. Stir not, ye Trees!

“I am about to hymn creation’s Lord who is both All and One.

“Ye Heavens open and ye Winds stay still; let God’s deathless Sphere receive my word!

“For I will sing the praise of Him who founded all; who fixed the Earth, and hung up Heaven, and gave command that Ocean should afford sweet water to the Earth, to both those parts that are inhabited and those that are not, for the support and use of every man; who made the Fire to shine and men for every act.

“Let us together all give praise to Him, sublime above the Heavens, of every nature Lord!

“`Tis He who is the Eye of Mind, may He accept the praise of these my Powers!

“Ye powers that are within me, hymn the One and All; sing with my Will, Powers all that are within me!

“O blessed Gnosis, by thee illumined, hymning thee the Light that mind alone can see, I joy in Joy of Mind.

“Sing with me praises all ye Powers!

“Sing praise, my Self-control, sing thou through me, my Righteousness, the praises of the Righteousness; sing thou, my Sharing-all, the praises of the All; through me sing, Truth, Truth’s praises!

“Sing thou, O Good, the Good! O Life and Light, from us to you our praises flow!

“Father, I give Thee thanks, to Thee Thou Energy of all my Powers, I give Thee thanks, O God. Thou Power of all my Energies!

“Thy Reason (Logos) sings through me Thy praises. Take back through me the All into Thy Reason – my reasonable oblation!

“Thus cry the Powers in me. They sing Thy praise, Thou All; they do Thy Will.

From Thee Thy Will; to Thee the All. Receive from all their reasonable oblation. The All that is in us, O Life, preserve; O Light, illumine it; O God in-spirit it.

“It it Thy Mind which plays the shepherd to Thy Word, O Thou Creator, Bestower of the Spirit upon all.

“For Thou art God, Thy Man thus cries to Thee through Fire, through Air, through Earth, through Water, through Spirit, through Thy Creatures.

“Tis from Aeon I have found praise-giving; and in thy Will, the object of my search, have I found rest.”

Tat: “By your good pleasure, I have seen this praise-giving sung, O father. I have now set it in my Cosmos.”

Hermes: “Say in the cosmos that your mind alone can see, my son.”

Tat: “Yes, father, in the Cosmos that the mind alone can see; for my mind has been illumined by your Hymn, and by your Praise-giving. But I as well as myself would like to send praise-giving to God.”

Hermes: “But not in unawareness, my son.”

Tat: “Yes, what I behold in mind, I say.

“To thee, thou Parent of my Bringing into Birth, as unto God, I, Tat, send reasonable offerings. O God and Father, thou art the Lord, thou art the Mind. Receive from me oblations reasonable as thou would’st wish; for by Thy Will all things have been perfected.”

Hermes: “Send your oblation, my son, acceptable to God, but add to it `through the Word’.”

Tat: “I thank you father for showing me how to sing such hymns.”

Hermes: “I am happy that you have attained the Ultimate Truth that cannot die. And now you have learnt this lesson from me, make a promise to keep silence and to no soul, you will make known the secret of Rebirth, for we should not be thought as calumniators.

“Now we both heed sufficiently, both I the speaker and you the hearer.

“In Mind, you have become a Knower of yourself and God.”

IN SEARCH OF IMMORTALITY

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Once upon a time, in those distant days, when the earth was fresh as dew – covered with dense forests, rivers, lakes, and streams, there lived in Uruk, a city situated on the banks of rivers Tigiris and Euphrates in northern Iraq, a great warrior King. His name was Gilgamesh. He was the son of King Lugalbanda and goddess Ninsun. As such, he was two-thirds god and one-third human. He was the strongest superhuman that ever existed. In his youth, he was wild like an ox, arrogant and oppressive of his people.

Oppressed by him, the nobles and the people prayed to the sky-god Anu -- the chief god of the city, to help them. In response, Anu told Aruru to create a wild brute to serve as the subhuman rival to the superhuman Gilgamesh. So she created a wild-man, Enkidu. This brute had the strength of dozens of wild animals. He lived in the dense forests near Gilgamesh’s kingdom and terrorised the countryside.

A hunter’s son discovered Enkidu running naked with wild animals. He told his father about that strange being. His father advised him to take the help of Shamhat, the temple harlot in trapping Enkidu. With the help of the temple harlot, Enkidu was tamed and introduced to civilisation. He was then brought to Uruk, where he wrestled with Gilgamesh. The wrestling match ended in a draw and the two became inseparable friends.

One day, as was his nature, Gilgamesh, looking for adventure proposed to Enkidu and said, “It has been a long time since I have had any adventure. Why not we go to the Cedar Forest and kill Humbaba, the Monster Guardian of that forest? It will be fun.”

Enkidu protested and said, “I know Humbaba since my days in the forest. He is very fierce and strong and as such it will be very difficult to defeat him. It is better you drop this idea.” Gilgamesh, however, remained determined. Enkidu, therefore, had to give in.

When the elders of the city and his mother Ninsun came to know of his endeavour, they tried to dissuade him. His mother lamented at her son’s fate and prayed to Shamash, the Sun god, “O Shamash! Why have you put such a restless mind in my son’s heart? He is ever on the lookout for perilous games. Please help him and protect him from any harm in this endeavour of his.”

The Sun god promised and assured her of the safety of his son Gilgamesh.

Finally, Gilgamesh and Enkidu reached the Cedar Forest and started cutting down the trees. Hearing the sound, Humbaba came to them roaring. Gilgamesh ran for his life and took refuge behind a rock. Enkidu shouted at him and said, “Have courage Gilgamesh, you are no ordinary human being but a superhuman. What has happened to you? Where have your courage and bravery vanished? Come out. Defeat this beast.”

Inspired by his friend, Gilgamesh battled with Humbaba and defeated him. On his knees, with Gilgamesh’s sword on his throat, he begged, “Gilgamesh, please spare my life, I will give all the trees of this forest to you as well as my eternal servitude”

Enkidu intervened and said, “Gilgamesh kill him, before any of the gods arrive to save him. They will definitely stop you from killing him. If you kill him now, you will achieve widespread fame for all the times to come. Don’t waste time in thinking. Kill him!”

Gilgamesh with a great sweep beheaded Humbaba. But before dying, he screamed out a curse and said, “Of you two, Enkidu will not live longer. He will also not find peace in this world.”

Gilgamesh and Enkidu cut down the tallest of the Cedar trees to make a great Cedar gate for the city of Uruk.

After this event, Gilgamesh’s fame spread. Attracted by this, Ishtar, daughter of Sky god, Anu, approached him and said, “Why don’t you become my lover and husband. If you do that, I shall give you many gifts. All earthly rulers will pay you homage and their kingdoms shall be yours.”

Gilgamesh rejected and insulted her. He said, “I know your godly nature and also what fate did your earlier mortal lovers were subjected to. List of your misdeeds is endless. Go somewhere else. Leave me alone.”

Deeply insulted, Ishtar returned to heaven and begged her father to let her have the Bull of Heaven to wreck vengeance on Gilgamesh and his city. She said to him, “Father, let me have the Bull of Heaven to kill Gilgamesh and his city. If you don’t grant me the Bull, I will let the dead leave and roam on the earth. They will eat all the living beings.”

Reluctantly Anu gave in. The Bull of Heaven was sent down to kill Gilgamesh and to destroy Uruk. But he and Enkidu, working together kill the Bull. When Ishtar came to know of the fate of the Bull, she got enraged.

Enkidu confronted her and said, “You are our next victim. Gilgamesh and I will kill you.” Saying so, he hurled one of the thighs of the Bull on her face.

Soon after this incident, Enkidu fell ill. He saw a set of ominous dreams. To know what exactly they meant, he went to a priest for interpretation.

The Priest told him, “Enkidu, the chief gods have singled you out for vengeance and have decided that someone should be punished for killing Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven. Hence they have decided that you pay the penalty.”

Enkidu was enraged at the injustice and cursed the Cedar Gate, the temple harlot and the trapper for introducing him to civilisation. Then the Sun god reminded him, “Enkidu, even though your life has been short, you have enjoyed the fruits of civilisation and known happiness. Why are you cursing others for your own faults.”

Realising this, he forgave the Cedar Gate, the temple harlot and the trapper.

After suffering terribly for twelve days, he died.

Gilgamesh was torn apart by the death of his friend Enkidu. He did not shave, did not eat properly, he did not even bathe. He went on mourning his friend’s death.

For the first time he came to face the fact of death. It bewildered and terrified him. So he decided, “When I die, I shall not die like Enkidu. Though death terrifies me, there has to be some way to become immortal. I will meet Utnapishtim and his wife, the only mortals on whom the gods had granted immortality. They will be able to reveal the secret of immortality.”

He, therefore, undertook the most difficult journey to meet Utnapishtim, the Far Away and his wife who lived at the mouth of all rivers at the ends of the world.

He soon arrived at Mount Mashu, which kept watch over the sunrise and the sunset and was guarded by awesome Scorpio-men. Gilgamesh approached them with reverence.

A Scorpio-man, seeing him, asked his wife, “This man who comes to us has the body of the gods.”

His wife replied, “You are right, he is two-thirds god and one-third human.”

Then he asked Gilgamesh, “Why have you come on this far off journey, traversing seas whose crossings are difficult. What is your purpose? Tell me.”

Gilgamesh told him about the death of his friend and further said, “I have come in search of immortality. Only Utnapishtim can reveal the secrets. I am looking for him.”

The Scorpio-man replied, “You are embarking on a difficult and futile journey. No mortal can achieve what you desire. None has travelled this far. Forget about immortality, journey to it, is perilous. Its trail extends twelve leagues covered with dense darkness; no light ever shines there. ”

Gilgamesh was firm on his quest. Seeing this, the Scorpio-men allowed him to enter the gate. Gilgamesh travelled for eight leagues in total darkness. Journeying eleven leagues, he saw the glimmer of light. After twelve leagues, he emerged into light and entered into a brilliant garden. Soon he arrived at a tavern, which was kept by Siduri, the heavenly barmaid. Frightened by his rugged appearance, she locked the tavern’s door and refused to let him in.

Gilgamesh requested her, “I have faced all kinds of hardships for my friend Enkidu. His death has made me fear death and I want to know the way to immortality. Please tell me where can I find Utnapishtim and his wife.”

Siduri, the heavenly barmaid replied, “Gilgamesh, life and death is the fate of mankind. When the gods created the world, they set aside death for the mankind. Why do you want to know the secrets of immortality? Leave this idea, just enjoy your life with your wife and sons and be happy.”

Siduri then directed him to Urshanabi the ferryman, who worked for Utnapishtim, the Far Away. This ferryman warned him not to touch the water of death. If one does so, he warned, he would die. So they crossed the river of death and finally reached Utnapishtim’s island.

Gilgamesh repeated his story and entreated him, “I roamed and wandered over all the lands, traversed difficult mountains and seas in search of you. I have not slept since then. I want to know the secret of eternal life, which you have achieved. That is why I have come here.”

Utnapishtim said to him, “Nothing is permanent in this world. The houses we build are not to last for ever, our contracts and relationships are not permanent. Do not compose a picture of death, the commoner and the noble are alike to death. For it spares none. None can know the day when Death will come. It is not revealed, only the gods, who decided, know it.”

Gilgamesh asked, “Then tell me how did you join the Assembly of the gods in your quest for life? What is the secret of your becoming immortal? How did you achieve it?”

Utnapishtim then revealed to him how in ancient times, the gods decided to destroy the world in a great flood and how he was saved by one of the gods, who informed him about the decision of the gods. Thereafter, he managed to save his wife, pair of all animals and himself. When the gods came to know that the entire world had not been destroyed and that a few had managed to survive, they came to him and his wife and blessed them with immortality.

At the end of his narration, he offered Gilgamesh a chance to immortality and said, “I will reveal to you a hidden matter and a secret of the gods. If you manage to stay awake, full of awareness for six days and seven nights, you will achieve immortality. You will be free from the fear of death”.

Gilgamesh accepted the conditions and sat down on the shore. Soon sleep surrounded him instantly like a mist. He lost his awareness.

Utnapishtim’s wife told him, “He has fallen asleep, please wake him up so that he may return safe on way back from where he has come.”

Utnapishtim replied, “I know he has fallen asleep. He is not aware that he is asleep. When he wakes up he will say that he remained full of awareness for six days and seven nights. Remember all humans are liars, they have the tendency to deceive others. So bake a loaf of bread every day and lay it at his feet as a proof. ”

Gilgamesh slept without ever waking up for six days and seven nights. Finally on the night of the seventh day, Utnapishtim waked him. Startled Gilgamesh said, “Scarcely has sleep touched me and I remained fully awake. I only dozed off for half a second.”

But Utnapishtim pointed out to him, “Look at the loaves of bread that are lying near you. See them carefully, then you will become aware of how many days you have slept. Look at the first day’s loaf, it is dry and stale. Had you been awake, you would have eaten it. See also the loaf, which was placed today. It is fresh. So you have been lying that you remained awake all the days. Now you have missed the chance of attaining immortality.”

Gilgamesh was taken aback and was in distraught condition. He said, “What do I do now? Where do I go now? Death has devoured my body. It dwells in my body. Wherever I go, wherever I look, Death stands there. What am I to do now? Please give me one more chance to know.”

Utnapishtim’s wife requested her husband to have mercy on Gilgamesh and to give him another chance. So he offered him in place of immortality a secret plant, which would make him young again.

He said to Gilgamesh, “At the bottom of this sea, lies a plant. It is like the buckthorn and will prick your hands just like the rose plant. If you eat it, you will once again become young.”

Gilgamesh dived into the sea, reached the bottom and plucked the plant. After returning to the surface, a doubt arose in his mind and he thought, “How to trust the words of the Far Away? I will take this plant to my kingdom and test its efficacy on the oldest man to see if he becomes young again. Only then I shall eat the remaining plant.”

He along with the ferryman crossed the River of Death. After several leagues inland, Gilgamesh and Urshanabi -- the ferryman stopped to eat and sleep. While they were sleeping, attracted by the fragrance of the plant, a snake slithered up and ate it. Gilgamesh awoke to find the plant gone. He fell on his knees and wept and said to Urshanabi, “For whom, have my hands toiled? For whom I faced many difficulties? For whom I journeyed? For whom I have suffered? I have gained nothing for myself. I have only profited the snake, the ground lion.”

Dejected, Gilgamesh returned to his city Uruk. When he reached there, he showed to the ferryman the beauty and greatness of the city, its mason, work and the famous Cedar Gate and said, “Though I have failed to achieve immortality and also perpetual youth, but one’s name can become immortal if one performs great deeds.”

INNER AND OUTER ALCHEMY

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Once there ruled a king in ancient India, whose name was Janashrut. He had a grandson who came to be known as Janashruti Pautrayana. This grandson was known for his philanthropy and charities. He planted a large number of trees along the roadside, built rest houses and maintained numerous free feeding houses.

This philanthropic work made him egoistic. He thought, “This is the best way to accumulate merits and to get peace of mind. No one is so great a patron as I, nor will there be a greater philanthropist than I.” Thus he felt proud of his achievements.

One day, when he was strolling at night on the terrace of his palace, he saw swans speeding fast to their nests. While flying, two of them were chattering and gossiping. The King, who incidentally knew the language of the birds, overheard their conversation.

One swan said to the other, “Look at the lustrous beam of light of Janashruti Pautrayana’s merits spreading all around like the light of the heaven. How beautiful is this band of light proceeding from him? Don’t try to cross it or else you will be burnt to ashes.”

The other swan laughed and said, “Don’t threaten me by this light of his. Have you forgotten that we wander everywhere and know more of the world than others? Moreover, this King is filled with the pride of his philanthropy.

“On the other hand, look at Raikwa, the cart puller, who is ever in harmony with the inner and the outer space. His lustre spreads all over the cosmos. If one knows what Raikwa knows, he will also become one like him. In fact he has become what is known as becoming – he has realised the Ultimate Reality.”

The King who overheard the conversation of the two swans, could not sleep that night. The name of Raikwa began to haunt him. He thought, “I must find out who this Raikwa is. What is this inner and outer harmony? How can the inner and the outer be one? How has he achieved this harmony? What is the key to it?”

At dawn when his minstrels came to awaken him with eulogistic words, the King Janashruti Pautrayana said to them, “Stop all this eulogy. There is one who is more praiseworthy than I. His name is Raikwa. Go and find out who this man is; only then shall I find peace of mind. I want to meet him.”

All his men went around his kingdom in search of Raikwa but could not find any such person. They, therefore, returned and said to the King, “Venerable Sir, we have searched your entire kingdom but we have failed to find such a man.”

The King replied, “You have searched in the wrong direction. That is why you were unable to find him. I am sure if you search for him where ascetics and saints reside you will find him. Go once again and search for him there.”

Finally, his soldiers saw Raikwa sitting beside his cart, scratching leisurely his back with his cart. His face was calm and there was compassion in his eyes.

One of the soldiers approached him and said, “Venerable Sir, I beg your pardon for disturbing you when you are enjoying the peace of yours. I want to know whether you are Raikwa, the cart puller.”

Raikwa replied with indifference, “Oh! I am so.”

The soldiers then returned to the king and told him, “We have been able to find Raikwa as he resides exactly at the place suggested by you.”

Janashruti Pautrayana was delighted to hear this and said, “We should make preparations to leave tomorrow at dawn.”

Next morning, Janashruti Pautrayana left for Raikwa’s village along with his men. He took with himself six hundred heads of cattle, a necklace and a chariot drawn by she-mules.

On arrival, Janashruti Pautrayana introduced himself to Raikwa and said, “Venerable Sir, I have heard that you have great merits and also know that by knowing which everything is known. O wise one, please tell me about this inner and outer alchemy -- on attaining which one realises the Ultimate Truth. Kindly accept as gift these six hundred heads of cattle, a necklace, a chariot drawn by she-mules in lieu of your teachings.”

Raikwa looked at Janashruti Pautrayana and said, “Janashruti Pautrayana, do you think that the Ultimate Truth can be purchased by these trinkets that you have brought for me? They are worthless to me. Remember this knowledge cannot be purchased or bartered. Moreover you are still victim of the egoistic sense that you are doing so much for the people. So go back to your kingdom, you do not deserve to be imparted this teaching.”

Feeling dejected, Janashruti Pautrayana returned to his kingdom. He could not eat nor could he sleep properly. He was always thinking of Raikwa. The more he stayed away from him the acuter was the thirst in him for the Ultimate Truth. Finally, he, therefore, decided to make one more attempt to meet Raikwa. This time, he approached Raikwa in a humble manner and said, “O wise one, I once again have come to you. Kindly teach me the alchemy of the inner and outer harmony.”

Raikwa looked at him and saw that the King was now ready for the spiritual lesson and imparted to him the alchemy of the inner and outer harmony. He said to Janashruti Pautrayana, “O King! Everybody lives in duality and thinks that the inner is different from the outer and the outer from the inner. He goes on making this distinction. This duality exists on account of the nature of his mind. In reality there is no duality between the inner and the outer world. Both are one and the same.

“The universe that you see is pulsating with the consciousness of the Unmanifest. This consciousness is the merger-point which, if attained to, merges with the Unmanifest. The Sun rises and sets and rises again. This movement is due to the power of the cosmic consciousness. When the fire goes out, it merges with the consciousness. The waters of dried up rivers enter into that cosmic consciousness. Indeed everything ultimately merges into this consciousness and as also emerges out of it again. This consciousness has always been here and is eternal and timeless.

“The Unmanifest manifesting itself in the universe is the knower and the known both. It is bodiless and yet it is embodied in bodies. There is nothing that it is not. For this reason all names are names of it, because all things come from it. All things along with the times they exist in derive their existence from this Unmanifest. Even eternity is a derivative of it. It has turned itself into many mirrors wherein it is reflected but it remains itself as one as before and is in all things forming their root.

“Don’t think that it is confined to anything nor should you think of it as lying outside of anything, since it is limitless itself and is the limit of all things. It is encompassed by nothing and yet it encompasses everything.

“On the individual plane, this consciousness is the merger point to reach the Ultimate Reality. All speech, organs of the body, sensory organs, and mind merge into this consciousness. When this consciousness unfolds itself, you become aware that objects lose their objectivity and subjects lose their subjectivity. Once this happens, your awareness transforms into a state of transcendental consciousness – known as witnessing state where there is no “I” and “thou” but a crystal clear mirror, which reflects that which is.

“If you open yourself to this Reality, this universe including yourself does not remain a mere physical phenomenon but the manifestation of the Unmanifest. Once this truth dawns upon you, everything enters into harmony with one another. Then the trees, stars, rivers and indeed all that are there, get in communion with this multidimensional expression of the Reality. Only when you attain this state of witnessing, you realise the meaning of sarvam khalvidam brahma – all this definitely is Brahman. So this world is just like a rainbow. Enjoy witnessing the rainbows.

“There are many individuals who hold the wrong view that this universe and the individuals are mass of energy, which is the driving force and is governed by certain physical laws. They forget that behind all this, the real driving force is the cosmic ocean of consciousness, otherwise how can energy and life function without being conscious?

“So Janashruti Paturayana, on individual plane, we are waves of the cosmic ocean of consciousness. Waves come and go but the ocean continues. Life that you see around you is neither born nor dies but if you look deep down into the wave, you will find an ocean with eternal depth and unfathomable mystery.

“One day, when this witnessing of yours enters into the source of existence, it disappears into the Unmanifest. Only this witness is important since it opens its wings and flies into another realm where all separations disappear. This witness and harmony can only happen if you enter into deep state of meditation. Look at that tree meditatively. Do not try to analyse it, but try to be one with it. When its identity as well as yours is lost, then that tree no longer will be a tree with green leaves but the glimmering consciousness of the Unmanifest.

“Therefore, Janashruti Pautrayana there is nothing to choose, nothing to discard; live choicelessly both sides of your being – the inner as well as the outer. Only then you will attain the peace that passeth understanding.”

On hearing the alchemy of unification of the inner and the outer, the king got enlightened. While departing, he gave a thousand heads of cattle, numerous gold coins, chariots and even his own daughter in marriage to Raikwa.

Supreme Understanding

3:15 AM Posted In Edit This 2 Comments »

In very ancient times, when it was the childhood of mankind, the Upanishads were being written. During those days there lived in India two beautiful people. One was the enlightened sage Yajnavalkya and the other, a woman named Gargi, the daughter of sage Vachaknu.

At that time, Emperor Janaka ruled over the kingdom of Videh. He was philosophically-minded. One day he called Vedic scholars from Kuru and Panchala for a contest to decide who was the wisest of all. He declared, “I will give one thousand cows with their horns covered with pure gold and studded with diamonds to the person who is the wisest of all.”

Yajnavalkya, the most famous, learned and enlightened person of those days was present in the assembly where the debate was being held. He was so confident of his victory that he said to his disciples, “You take these cows to our ashram.”

His disciples replied, “How can we? First you have to win the contest.”

Yajnavalkya replied, “That I will take care of.”

One by one, scholars debated with Yajnavalkya but could not defeat him and it was almost the moment he was going to be declared the winner when Gargi intervened.

She asked him, “We observe that the earth is pervaded by water, by what is water pervaded?”

“Gargi, it is pervaded by air.”

“By what is air pervaded?”

“By the world of Gandharvas, that is, the powers of the vital force, O Gargi.”

“By what is the world of the powers of vital force pervaded?”

“By the sun, O Gargi.”

“By what is the sun pervaded?”

“By the moon.”

“By what is the moon pervaded?”

“Gargi, it is pervaded by the stars.”

“By what are the stars pervaded?”

“Gargi, they are pervaded by the world of Devas, -- the cosmic powers at the level of mind and overmind.”

“By what is the world of Devas pervaded?”

“By the world of Indra -- the illumined intelligence, which is symbolically described as the intelligence that can perceive through thousand eyes.”

“By what is the world of Indra pervaded?”

“By the world of Viraj – the space-time consciousness.”

“By what is the world of Viraj pervaded?”

“By the world of Hiranyagarbha – the origin point of space and time, O Gargi.”

“By what is the world of Hiranyagarbha pervaded?”

Yajnavalkya replied, “Gargi, you are too much ruled by intellection. Do not try to know through inferences what the Hiranyagarbha is pervaded by as it is beyond logic and inference. In order to know it, you have to transcend logic and inference.”

Gargi was taken aback and could not reply at the moment. After some time, however, she asked Yajnavalkya again, “I agree with you, but could you please tell me what the universe is pervaded by regarding which the ancients say it was in the past, is in the present and will continue to remain in the future. I want to know about this thread which binds the universe. Please quench my thirst for knowledge in this respect.”

Yajnavalkya said, “Gargi, I understand your curiosity to know what pervades the universe. The Universal Consciousness pervades this universe. It is infinite, immeasurable; it exceeds all our powers, and is beyond logical scrutiny. It is not made of anything; it is clear, vacuous, without duality, timeless, not realisable as a separate thing but as the unity of all things, yet it is not composed of any elements but rather transcends all differentiations.

“This universe appears manifold because of the differentiation of experients and the objects of experience. This happens because the Universal Consciousness itself becomes individual consciousness by limitation in all living and non-living beings. Individuals are only parts of the Universal consciousness in contracted forms.

“Due to the limitation of the contracted consciousness, the omnipotence becomes the limited agency while the omniscience a limited knowledge; his absolute fulfilment assumes the form of desire, eternity the form of limitation of time, omnipresence the form of space and causality. Individual consciousness is nothing but consciousness contracted. When this consciousness is unfolded, it becomes Universal Consciousness.

“There is no point in performing sacrifices, rituals or any oblations to the fire as they all are perishable. Performers of sacrifices live in ignorance and are caught in the web of birth and rebirth. To know this Consciousness, one has to develop his or her contracted consciousness, so that it blossoms into Universal Consciousness. Once you know it, you become immortal.

“Just as a variety of objects appear in a mirror, even so the entire universe is reflected in this Universal Consciousness, but due to its power of Self-consciousness it knows only the world.”

“Gargi, remember, this Universal Consciousness is the witness and the witnessed both, the knower as well as the known. There is no Knower other than this. It is the essence of all the sayings of the ancient seers and will remain so eternally.”

Gargi asked, “But what is the way to achieve this; O sage Yajnavalkya. Please tell me.”

Yajnavalkya replied, “You are the watcher. Just remain watching. First step in awareness is to be very watchful of your body. Whether you are eating, drinking, chewing, reposing, bathing, be a watcher of all the acts of your body. Slowly and slowly, by and by, you will become aware of each gesture of your body. As you become aware, you will know that your senses are only the powers of that Universal Consciousness. You will become relaxed.

“Then start becoming aware of your thoughts. Observe each thought construct; do not suppress them. Be just an observer. Whatever thought may occur, just be an observer of it. The moment you watch your thoughts, you will be surprised to find that your mind is like a madhouse. The very act of watching it, however, will change it.

“The third is the subtlest layer and the most difficult layer. It concerns awareness of your feelings, emotions and moods. Suddenly if an impulse of anger or any other type of impulse occurs in you, just watch it. Intense awareness is needed for this, but once you are aware of all these three, the fourth will happen.

“The fourth is the ultimate awareness that makes one aware of one’s awareness.”

Hearing this, Gargi bowed to Yajnavalkya in veneration and declared to the assembly of scholars, “We all should consider ourselves fortunate to have the enlightened Yajnavalkya with us. No one can defeat him in the knowledge of the Universal Consciousness.”

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