Rishyah uvācha, “Why did the great Agastya Maharshi come to meet Prabhu Shri Rama? How did he initiate Raghava into that blemishless Viraja vow? Kindly tell us what Prabhu Shri Rama received by observing that vow?”
Sūta Maharshi uvācha, “When Sita, the virtuous daughter of Janaka Rajarshi was abducted by Ravana, Raghava was overcome with grief and was deeply sorrowful of the separation from his chaste wife.
Raghunandana wished to put an end to his life along with his brother, pining in sleeplessness, oblivious of his own self, taking no food for days and nights.
When the revered Agastya Maharshi, husband of the pious Lopamudra came to know of the fragile condition of Prabhu Shri Rama, he arrived at his place. The sage revealed to him the emptiness and futility of the worldly life.”
Agastya Maharshi uvācha, “O king of kings! What makes you grieve like this? Let it be known. Whose is this beloved? Do you not know that this body is made up of five physical elements (pancha bhutas) and is inert?
The eternal Self is unsullied by blemish, is the very personification of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss and is the absolute and all perfection that is neither born nor dies nor experiences sorrow.
This sun is established as the foundation of vision by the beings of all the worlds and yet, is never tainted by any of the defects of one’s sight.
The Self too, is similarly like that sun and is the inner being in all and unaffected by sorrows. The body also is only a lump of impurity and abandoned by the liberated as inert and transient.
The body on death is burnt by firewood lit by the fire and is eaten by predators like the jackal and others. Even then, it does not know anything. What could be its pain of separation from its kith and kin?
It may be a youthful girl of attractive golden complexion or dark like the blade of sacred grass, with a slender waist bent by the large heavy breasts.
It may be a girl with a wide hip and heavy bottom, with red feet like a lotus, with a moonlike face and lips of crimson like the bimba fruit.
It may be a girl with a pair of beautiful eyes like the ethereal blue lotus, with a melodious voice like the amorous cuckoo and a gait like that of an elephant in rut.
One who thinks of a girl as, “She is looking at me with such favour that it appears that Kama has released his five flowery arrows”, is one overcome with delusion struck by Kamadeva in all the five sensory organs.
I will teach you about enquiry of discrimination regarding the girl. Listen carefully, O King! The indwelling Self is neither a woman nor a man, nor is It a eunuch; It is formless, complete, the seer, the unattached witness and sustainer of all life.
The girl who has graceful shapely limbs, is soft and young and yet, only a lump of impurity and is inert, unable to see or smell anything.
Her body is merely the skin, O Raghava! See with your intellect. Sita who is deemed dearer than life by you, alas, is only an object of repulsion.
If the bodies made of pancha bhutas originate from the physical elements and not from the indwelling Self who is perfect and eternal, then who is it that is the beloved wife there? Who is her husband? It means all are siblings.
The space divided by the houses constructed in a row does not suffer any damage when the houses are burnt by fire.
Similarly, the Self residing in the bodies and in Itself is eternal and perfect and is not destroyed when they are killed. The meaning is that when the mortal coil is shed, the Self that is untainted by birth and death continues to remain in its true state of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss.
If one thinks that he is the killer and if one thinks that he is killed, then both these do not understand. This Self neither kills or is killed.
Therefore, O King! what could be the cause for such grief and immense pain and depression? Knowing your true nature and giving up this grieving, be pleased.”
Prabhu Shri Rama uvācha, “O Sage! If neither the body nor the Supreme Self has sorrow, then how is it that the fire of the pangs of separation from Sita devours me?
O foremost of sages! It has been said by you that the objects which are constantly experienced do not exist. How can acceptance arise in me with regard to that?
Is there one who exists who experiences other than the body and the Supreme Self? If not, who is that who experiences pleasure or pain? Tell me, O most excellent among the sages.”
Agastya Maharshi uvācha, “Maya, the illusive and delusive power of Shambhu is difficult to discern. The world is deluded by that maya. That maya is to be known to be the primordial cause of the universe and Maheshwara, the wielder of that maya. All this world is indeed pervaded by that maya and its aspects.
The nature of Maheshwara is the Supreme Truth Infinitude, is all-pervasive and is the Self of all. He resides as the Self in the hearts of all living beings.
Just as the sparks of fire are created when joined with firewood, the aspect of the Supreme Lord that resides within each being joins together with its beginningless nature. Associated with this beginningless nature, these aspects are called as knowledgeable beings and knowers of the body or field (kshetrajna).
These knowers of the field say that the four faculties of mind, intellect, ego and memory are collectively called internal organs (antah karana). The Consciousness of these people gets reflected in those internal organs. So, these knowledgeable beings are neither the physical body alone nor pure consciousness alone but a curious mix of the two.
It is these knowledgeable beings or aspects who are reflections of Consciousness in the internal organs that attain a state wherein they experience the results of their actions. The experience of pain or pleasure arising from contact with the sensory objects are theirs only.
Such beings alone experience the fruits of their actions in this body which is the instrument of experience.
The body is said to be of two kinds namely the stationary and the dynamic. The stationary are bodies like those of creepers and bush that need a permanent support and cannot move.
The dynamic are those born from eggs, from perspiration, from cleaving the soil and from the womb.
Some beings enter the woman’s womb for embodiment. Others attain the state of the trees. All this happens as ordained and according to their bad or good deeds and according to their understanding of maya and the Supreme Truth. The level of discrimination here is reflected in the beings.
It is the being alone that thinks of itself as ‘I am happy; I am miserable’, deluded by the maya of Shambhu though its true nature is infinite light and unattached.
The six-fold internal enemies namely kāma, krodha, lobha, moha, mada and mātsarya are said to be located in ego.
The being is bound only in the states of waking and dream. Since it is the ego that is absent in deep sleep, the being attains its true nature that is of Lord Shankara. But it is important not to be taken in by waking, sleeping and dream state as that is not one’s true nature.
Only the being conditioned by the internal organs which is nothing more than an aspect or part of maya becomes subject to pleasure and pain. The world is perceived in Shiva through maya just as silver is seen in nacre. One experiences hunger, thirst, cold, heat, sorrow and happiness as per their level of discrimination. When one enquires who is That who sees, who is That who is seen and who or what is That that determines the aspect of seer and seen, then one will realise that once the maya is set aside, only the Supreme Self exists.
The one endowed with the knowledge of discrimination is not subject to pain. Hence, rid yourself of sorrow with the help of the knowledge of discrimination. Why do you grieve in vain?”
Prabhu Shri Rama uvācha, “O Sage! All that you have said to me is true. And yet, this prarabdha and unknown and unseen results of past actions do not leave me.
Just as liquor produces inebriation even to the devout twice-born (dvija) who has destroyed ignorance, similarly, the experiences arising out of one’s prarabdha do not leave a person of discriminative wisdom.
What is the purpose of this extensive talk? The love and attachment I feel is only because of prarabdha directed by Siva; it afflicts me day and night; similar, too is ego.
The being who is exceedingly tormented by the ego leaves the gross body on death. Hence, O Brahmana! teach me a way to safeguard myself.”
[Siva Gita – Chapter 2 – The Teaching of Dispassion – Slokas 1 – Slokas 43, Uttara Khanda, Padma Purana]