Following excerpt is from Yoga Vashishtha, wherein Sage Yogi Vashishtha discloses the way to the blessed liberation.
Master Vashisht says: “Now, O Ram, listen to me. Try to follow the Sastaric (right path). The goal of mankind (human) can he achieved in this life, which is reached by means of two paths. One is by the way of Atmic Wisdom; the other, by the ordinary path, which leads to liberation. Virtuous people will attain liberation by following the Atmic Wisdom and through the association with the Wise, thus developing high qualities.”
Ram: “I am under control of desires, which I have made in my past lives. My efforts have not been in the right direction. O Master, what am I to do?”
Master Vashisht: “O Ram, by one’s own efforts alone, can the Brahmic or Divine state be achieved, and by none else. Desires can be classed under two divisions: that of pure and impure. These desires will cling to future births. If the impure desires are upper-most in one’s life then misery is experienced by its future lives. In case that pure desires prevail, then liberation is easily acquired. O Ram, with all thy power, cultivate the Brahmic science. Free thyself of impure desires and retain the pure. See all things with equal vision and strive to bar that door of the mind from whence cometh the impure desires; but open all other doors through which cometh the pure desires. Cast out all impure desires and generate the pure ones. If doubt arises as to where these pure desires shall lead, thou shouldst continue to hold them, as no bad can come from them until thy mind has realized the Reality of Brahm. Always follow the path of Brahm by Veda (the Sacred Knowledge). Let Guru (spiritual teacher) initiate thee into Brahm. O Ram, may thou remain immovable in the study of Realization. Free thy mind of impure desires, and with pure desires attain the Atmic state which is free of all pain and suffering. Kill all thy illusory thoughts so that they may never be resurrected again. Develop peace or mind and bliss within thyself. Free thyself of worldly desires and become One with Brahm. Try to understand the significance of the Holy sentence, “Tat Twamasi” (thou art that), and meditate upon the Reality.”
Rishi Vashisht’s Own Story:
“Now listen to Brahm’s utterances. Out of the highest Chidakasa (highest Ether) or wisdom which is all pervading and is the seat or root of all objects, arose Brahm (Lord of Creation). Vishnu (The Preserver), the earth, and all other objects rose from his heart. Brahm (Lord of Universe) found that many worthy souls were suffering in Bharatavarsa (Land of India). He was moved by pity for the liberation of these souls. He concluded that the cycle of birth or death could not be controlled by Japa Chanting (of Mantras), Tapa (religious austerities), visiting Holy places, or by bathing in the Holy Ganges: only through the Atmic Wisdom. By the power of his will, he created all mankind like unto himself. So, I was born and have paid my respects to him. I was given a seat on the North side of him. There he cured me of my illusion which had enveloped me for some time. All my wisdom had deserted me. My mind became confused and my actions were foolish, as are the actions of the ignorant. When I came out of this state of mind, He asked me the cause of my misery. In turn I asked him these questions: “How did this universe arise? How may liberatio be attained?” In answer to these questions, he blessed me with true liberation of highest state, through which I realized the highest Atmic Wisdom. He said, ‘it was we, who put you under the influence of Maya (illusions) and released you again. We have ordained that all souls shall be initiated by thy wisdom in order to attain their liberation. Thou shalt soon go to India which is the Land of Religions. Thou shalt initiate those who are seeking wisdom into the Atmic Wisdom, but not those who are lovers of egoism.’
“Accordingly I came to India and will live here as long as humanity exists. I have no worldly desires, consequently, I will escape that dreamless sleep state of existence. I have overcome that mental pain and misery, which is experienced daily throughout the world. O Ram, only those who prefer the Atmic Wisdom to the material knowledge will know the Atma (self).
“There are four soldiers who guard the road to liberation. They are Patience (or peace of mind), Atmic Inquiry, Contentment, and Association with the Wise. If you can succeed in making one of the above a friend, then the others will be easy. That one will introduce you to the others. Without gaining their friendship, they will not. permit you to enter upon the road to liberation. So by all means, gain the friendship of one of the above and start on the road to liberation, for without liberation there is no end to rebirths. Association with the Wise will mean to you, what Garuda Mantra means to the persons who have been bitten by the Cobra. (In India people are cured of the cobra’s poisonous bite by chanting Garuda Mantra). Once that wisdom is attained then that person is safe—no harm can come to that person. No one can achieve that blissful state by merely inquiring about the Atmic Wisdom. It must come through self experience or through the help of a Guru. Merely reading books of wisdom breeds more ignorance. Keep in mind that it will be much better to live by begging food from the outcasts, than to live an ignorant life. O Ram, if only one of the four guards is made your friend—namely, Patience is mastered—then all your miseries and sorrows will fly from you as darkness flies from the light. Those who have mastered patience will never be upset by poverty or wealth. They will remain the same in peace or war. They will not make a distinction between birth and death. These noble people will be higher than the man of mere knowledge, and will surely attain liberation. May thou, O Ram, attain patience! If Atmic Inquiry along with patience should be developed, then surely the state of the highest wisdom will be acquired. This Atmic-inquiry enables one to understand cause and effect, which is the seed of rebirth. One must rid themselves of all doubt by the power of discrimination, which is always a shining light. One should always make inquiry of, ‘whence came I?’ ‘Whence came the universe?’ Such inquiries dispel that dark cloud of ignorance.
“Contentment is the Noble who will set us free of all grief, for such arises only from the sensual objects of desire. One who has mastered noble contentment will always be happy. His mind will ever seek the Atmic Wisdom. Persons of contentment will ever be worshipped by all mankind.
“Association with the Wise will help us to overcome the Maya (illusion). It is not the bathing in the waters of the Holy Ganges, that is so helpful to the thousands that throng there each year, but the associations with the wise are more helpful to self realization than making gifts, sacrifices, etc.. The Wise are like ships that help us safely across the ocean of rebirths. These four roads are the ways and means to bliss. O Ram, listen to these stories. They are light, which dispel the delusion of Maya (illusion). Understand the inner meaning and search deeply for the Atmic Wisdom. All delusion will perish, and the mind will become calm and peaceful like the waters of a lake. Such persons will not suffer the disappointments of life. They will not be affected by the storm of Maya (illusion). They will have balance of mind as steady as the Himalaya Mountains. The truth seeker who will follow this path of Atmic Wisdom will always find enjoyment in Samadhi (meditation). This is the way to Jivanmukta (emancipated embodiment). He is desireless, and nothing is supernatural to him. Words cannot describe this state of mind. He will move in this universe like all others, but his mind is free from the bondage of earthly desires. Good and bad cannot affect him. He will be recognized by others as the happiest. He will not interfere with the paths of others, but always follow the path of Atmic Wisdom. After he has reached this attainment, he will never be born again. He is worthy of all his accomplishments, while others may not be worthy even of their human birth. He should perform his duties of life earnestly, through earning and spending correctly. He should ever seek to reach this fourth state of existence through the Atmic inquiry, keeping his well balanced mind alert, for this state is obtained only through Atmic inquiry.
“He who attains the fourth state is above thought. If he is the Master of Quietness, he will surely gain liberation whether he lives with his family or alone; whether he is performing the daily duties of everyday life or not, he will be one with the Reality. Follow this path and many analogies will be given out in order that Brahmic wisdom may be realized within thee, as all have their purpose and aim in the One principle. The ignorant say that pure wisdom is not subject to analogies. Mixing of name and form should not be made subject of this inquiry. Such absurd argument is not worthy, for Wisdom is obtained by the Atmic inquiry. O Ram, thou shouldst not let thy mind accept thoughts of doubt. Always remember these four: Patience, Atmic Inquiry, Contentment and Association with the Wise. These four guard the gate of liberation. No one can secure liberation until his friendship with the four is developed. This is the road to the attainment of bliss. By attention to the following stories, thou wilt surely attain wealth of Atmic Wisdom and a happy life.