I occasionally write an article on the discourse between Rama and the sage Vasistha* in the Yog Vasistha. This is the core teaching from the Ramayana during which Rama awakens. The following are from various parts of the Story of Ishvaku (Sec VI, Ch. 2). They are organized out of the original sequence.
It is as if this consciousness wished to see itself and thus became its own mirror in which it reflected itself without any such intention. Thus the pure being becomes its own inert reflection – the universe. The infinite consciousness is itself known as the world.
This is the process of awareness becoming aware of itself I’ve talked about before. I have observed that self-recognition does create an intention or notion.
This next part talks about the “cosmic being” or Virat. This is the one person from which all persons are derived. (sound a little like Adam?) Some describe this as God but God is actually still higher. Experiencing oneself as the Cosmic Being is the 3rd of 4 stages mentioned in Mahavakyas (lower section). I also review its process here.
The cosmic person is himself of the nature of a notion [concept or intention]. Whatever notion is entertained by him appears to be embodied in the five elements in the cosmic space. Hence…whatever appears to have been created is regarded by the wise as the expansion of notions. The cosmic person is the original cause for all this world-appearance… just as a mighty tree grows out of a small seed.
A sentient being experiences the existence of his own limbs within himself by means of his own inner intelligence; even so, the jiva [of the cosmic being] perceives the existence of the world of diversity within itself.
That is quite literal. All of creation, including all universes, are found to be within oneself.
…when the notion of an object arises and when that notion is confirmed by repetition, this consciousness manifests as the object.
Most of creation arises and is sustained in notions of the cosmic being (hence is shared) but we are none other than that same consciousness so the same mechanics arise in our own life. I recently wrote about Dharma as the sustainer.
The words divine [fate](daiva), action (karma) and person (nara) are but expressions which denote movement in consciousness.
In other words, action, fate and our sense of being a person are all the same thing; a movement or intention within consciousness. We are defined by what we do in thought and deed.
The individual personality is vasana or mental conditioning.
Another perspective. I’ve written before about how our resistance or conditioning is what keeps the wheel of karma (repeating incomplete experiences) rolling.
It is absurd for the ego-sense to seek this emancipation, for it can never comprehend the truth. The infinite consciousness stands in no need of realizing the infinite consciousness!
Part of the apparent paradox of the spiritual path. The ego cannot transcend itself and there is nothing to awaken. And while there is nothing we can “do” to awaken (it’s about being), there are suitable practices.
The ignorance vanishes through self-effort. Half of this ignorance is dispelled by the company of holy ones [darshan, satsang], one fourth is destroyed by the study of scriptures and the other one fourth by self-effort [practices].
There’s your priorities. As this becomes more advanced, he observes a process…
Investigate the method by which you know the source of the body, the senses, the mind, the [intellect] and let them return to their source. First rest in the cosmic manifest being (virat). After this rest in the unmanifest and then in the supreme cause of all. (This quote is Valmiki instructing the soon-to-be-great sage Bharadvaja to whom he has been relaying the Ramayana above. (the stories are very layered))
On the subject of going off and becoming a monk or hermit…
The mind continues to exist as long as the body continues to live, whether the embodied person is enlightened or ignorant. How can one abandon what is known as jivahood (individuality)? …abandonment of action is inappropriate as long as the body lives. Such abandonment gives action a value; that which is valued cannot be abandoned.
Instead he instructs us to act without attachment, a feature of Self Realization or Cosmic Consciousness.
What does such action look like?
Do what appeals to you. As Joseph Campbell put it, Follow your bliss.
One should work in this world as much as is needed to earn an honest living.
I enjoyed his description of Manki after he was realized. He lived performing spontaneous and appropriate actions that were “inevitable”, giving the example of the action of one fallen into a stream.
Of course with the admonition from Hitchhikers Guide: Don’t panic!
*More correctly transliterated as Vasishtha