Translated by John Henry Richards
Even he who, with a mind under the influence of strong dullness, has thought of himself as the body, will attain to full identification with God when that delusion is completely removed.
The treasure of the bliss of God is coiled round by the very powerful, terrible snake of doership which guards it with its three fierce heads consisting of the three qualities (dullness, passion and purity) but the wise man can enjoy this bliss-imparting treasure by cutting off the snake’s three heads with the great sword of understanding of the scriptures.
How can one be free from pain so long as there is there is any trace of poison in the body? The same applies to the pain of self-consciousness in an aspirant’s liberation.
In the total cessation of self-identification and the ending of the multifarious mental misrepresentations it causes, the truth of “This is what I am” is achieved through inner discernment.
Get rid forthwith of doership, your self-identification, that is, with the agent, a distorted vision of yourself which stops you from resting in your true nature, and by identification with which you, who are really pure consciousness and a manifestation of joy itself, experience samsara with all its birth, decay, death and suffering.
You are really unchanging, the eternally unvarying Lord, consciousness, bliss and indestructible glory. If it were not for the wrong identification with a false self you would not be subject to samsara.
So cut down your enemy, this sense of being the doer, with the great sword of knowledge, caught like a splinter in the throat of some-one having a meal, and enjoy to your heart’s content the joy of the possession of your true nature.
Stop the activity of the false self-identification and so on, get rid of desire by the attainment of the supreme Reality, and practice silence in the experience of the joy of your true self, free from fantasies, with your true nature fulfilled in God.
Even when thoroughly eradicated, a great sense of doership can revive again and create a hundred different distractions, if it is once dwelt on again for a moment in the mind, like monsoon rain-clouds driven on by the wind.
Overcoming the enemy of the false self, one should give it no opportunity by dwelling on the senses again, because that is the way it comes back to life, like water for a withered citrous tree.
He who is attached to the idea of himself as the body is desirous of physical pleasure, but how could some-one devoid of such an idea seek physical pleasure? Hence separation from one’s true good is the cause of bondage to samsara since one is stuck in seeing things as separate from oneself.
A seed is seen to grow with the development of the necessary conditions, while the failure of the conditions leads to the failure of the seed. So one must remove these conditions.
The increase of desires leads to activity, and from the increase of activity there is more desire. Thus a man prospers in every way, and samsara never comes to an end.
To break the bonds of samsara, the ascetic should burn away both of these (desire and activity), since thinking about these and external activity lead to the increase of desires.
The increase of these two is the cause of one’s samsara, and the means to the destruction of these three is to see everything as simply God everywhere, always and in all circumstances. By the increase of desire for becoming the Truth, these three come to an end.
Through the stopping of activity there comes the stopping of thinking, and then the cessation of desires. The cessation of desires is liberation, and is what is known as here-and-now liberation.
When the force of the desire for the Truth blossoms, selfish desires wither away, just like darkness vanishes before the radiance of the light of dawn.
Darkness and the mass of evils produced by darkness no longer exist when the sun has risen. Similarly, when one has tasted undifferentiated bliss, no bondage or trace of suffering remains.
Transcending everything to do with the senses, cultivating the blissful and only Truth, and at peace within and without — this is how one should pass one’s time so long as any bonds of karma remain.
One should never permit carelessness in one’s adherence to God. “Carelessness is death” (Mahabharata 5.42.43) says the Master (Sanatkumara) who was of Brahma’s son.
There is no greater evil than carelessness about his own true nature for a wise man. From this comes delusion, from this comes misconceptions about oneself, from this comes bondage, from this comes suffering.
Forgetfulness afflicts even a wise man with harmful mental states when it finds him well-disposed to the senses, like a woman does her infatuated lover.
Just as the algae cleared off water does not stay off even for a moment, so illusion obscures the sight of even a wise man whose mind is outward-directed.
When the mind loses its direction towards its goal and becomes outward-turned it runs from one thing to another, like a play-ball carelessly dropped on the steps of some stairs.
A mind directed towards the senses dwells with imagination on their qualities. From imagining finally comes desire, and from desire comes the way a man directs his activity.
As a result, there is no death like carelessness in meditation to the wise knower of God. The meditator achieves perfect fulfilment, so carefully practice peace of mind.
From carelessness one turns aside from one’s true nature, and he who turns aside from it slips downwards. He who has thus fallen invariably comes to disaster, but is not seen to rise again.
So one should abandon the imagination which is the cause of all ills. He has reached fulfilment who is completely dead while still alive. The Yajur Veda (Taittiriya Upanishad 2.7) declares there is still something to fear for anyone who still sees distinctions in things.
Whenever a wise man sees the least distinction in the infinite God, whatever he has carelessly perceived as a distinction then becomes a source of fear for him.
When, in spite of hundreds of testimonies to the contrary in the Vedas and other scriptures, one identifies oneself with anything to do with the senses, one experiences countless sorrows, doing something prohibited like a thief.
He who is devoted to meditating on the Truth attains the eternal glory of his true nature, while he who delights in dwelling on the unreal perishes. This can be seen even in the case of whether someone is a thief or not.
An ascetic should abandon dwelling on the unreal which is the cause of bondage, and should fix his attention on himself in his knowledge that “This is what I am”. Establishment in God through self-awareness leads to joy and finally removes the suffering caused by ignorance.
Dwelling on externals increases the fruit of superfluous evil desires for all sorts of things, so wisely recognising this fact, one should abandon externals and cultivate attention to one’s true nature within.
When externals are abandoned there comes peace of mind. When the mind is at peace there comes awareness of one’s supreme self. When that is fully experienced there comes the destruction of the bonds of samsara, so abandonment of externals is the road to liberation.
What man, being learned, and aware of the distinction between real and unreal, relying on the scriptures and seeking the supreme goal of life, would knowingly, like a child, hanker after resting in the unreal, the cause of his own downfall.
There is no liberation for him who is deliberately attached to the body and such things, while there is no self-identification with such things as the body for a liberated man. There is no being awake for some-one asleep, nor sleep for some-one awake, for these two states are by their very nature distinct.
He who knows himself within and without, and recognises himself as the underlying support in all things moving and unmoving, remaining indivisible, fulfilled in himself by abandoning all that is not himself — he is liberated.
The means of liberation from bondage is through the one self in everything, and there is nothing higher than this one self in everything. When one does not cling to anything to do with the senses, one achieves these things, and being the one self in everything depends on resting in one’s true self.
How is not clinging to the senses possible when one’s basis is self-identification with the body, and one’s mind is attached to enjoying external pleasures, and on doing whatever is necessary to do so? But it can be achieved within themselves by those who have abandoned all objects of rules and observances, who are always resting in self-awareness, who know the Truth and energetically seek the bliss of Reality.
Scripture prescribes meditation for realisation of the self in everything to the ascetic who has fulfilled the requirement of listening to scripture, saying “At peace and self-controlled” and so on (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.23).
Even wise men cannot get rid of the sense of doership all of a sudden when it has grown strong, but those who are unwavering in so-called imageless samadhi can, whose desire for this has been developed over countless lives.
The outward-turning power of the mind binds a man to the sense of doership by its veiling effect, and confuses him by the attributes of that power.
To overcome the outward-turning power of the mind is hard to accomplish without completely eliminating the veiling effect, but the covering over one’s inner self can be removed by discriminating between seer and objects, like between milk and water. Absence of an barrier is finally unquestionable when there is no longer any distraction caused by illusory objects.
Perfect discrimination, born of direct experience establishing the truth of the distinction between seer and objects, severs the bonds of delusion produced by Maya (the creative power, which makes things appear to exist), and as a result the liberated person is no longer subject to samsara.
The fire of the knowledge of the oneness of above and below burns up completely the tangled forest of ignorance. What seed of samsara could there still be for such a person who has achieved non-duality?
The veiling effect only disappears with full experience of Reality, and the elimination of false knowledge leads to the end of the suffering caused by that distraction.
These three (the removal of veiling effect, false knowlege and suffering) are clearly apparent in the case of recognising the true nature of the rope, so a wise man should get to know the truth about the underlying reality if he wants to be liberated from his bonds.
Like fire in conjunction with iron, the mind manifests itself as knower and objects by dependence on something real, but as the duality that causes is seen to be unreal in the case of delusions, dreams and fantasies, so the products of natural causation, from the idea of doership down to the body itself and all its senses, are also unreal in view of the way they are changing every moment, while one’s true nature itself never changes.
John Henry Richards was an Anglican clergyman who worked at several churches on the Castlemartin Peninsula in Wales. He died in 2017. For more information, see our main page about him.
This page was published on May 16, 2000 and last revised on May 27, 2017.