|Chapter XXXI - 109||Home | Index | Previous | Next|
With an affectionate smile, the sage said, "Rise up, O, king! If you pile up these many questions all in a heap, how can you understand the answers? Moreover, you have not slaked your thirst or eaten any food, since long. Come, eat some fruits and drink a little milk, at least. They are the privileges, the rights of the physical body. With a famished body, you may pass away in the middle, with your doubts unresolved. So, take some food", he ordered.
The king replied, "Master! Those whose last days have come, should not prefer the food that nourishes falsehood, to the food that grants immortality, isn't it? How can I pass away in the middle, though the body may be famished, when I am imbibing the nectar of immortality and when you are filling me with the exhilaration of tasting sweet panacea for the illness of death? No! It will not happen. Even if the angry Sringi had not cursed me, even if the snake Thakshaka had not been deputed to kill me after seven days, I would not pass away in the middle while listening to the stories of the Lord. I listen to them, without thought of food and drink. My food, my drink, are the nectarine stories of Krishna. So, do not think of my food and drink; make me fit for the highest bliss, the supreme stage of realisation. Save me from downfall. I am prostrating at your feet".
The king shed tears of contrition and sat praying to the preceptor. The sage said, "Listen, then. In the beginning, Brahma shed light on the world manifested by Maya, or delusion. Brahma willed that creation might proliferate. But, a voice from the void above (the Akasa) warned, 'Thapas is the essential base for everything'. Through Thapas, delusion will disappear!" At this, Parikshith intervened. He asked, "What is the meaning and value of Thapas? Please enlighten me."
Suka took this interruption kindly. He said, "Son! Thapas means Sadhana, discipline, spiritual exercise. It is through Thapas that the great processes of creation, preservation and destruction are happening. Thapas is the cause for the realisation of the self. That is to say, when the mind, the intellect and the senses are subjected to Thapas or the crucible of disciplinary exercise, the self will stand revealed. I shall tell you about this technique of Thapas, listen. The mind, the intellect and the senses are ever bent towards external objects; they are perpetually turned outward. When some sound from the external world strikes it, the ear hears it. As soon as the ear hears it, the eye attempts to see it. When the eye sees it, the mind desires it. Immediately, the intellect approves the idea and sets about to acquire it, as quickly as possible."
"Thus, every sense runs after external objects one after the other, one supporting the other, restless and miserable. One must bring under control the mind, the reasoning faculty and the senses which roam aimlessly behind objective pleasures; one must train them to take on the task of concentrating all attention on the glory and majesty of God to follow one systematic course of one-pointed discipline. Bring them all and lead them towards the higher path. Their unlicensed behaviour has to be curbed; they must be educated by means of Japa, Dhyana or good work, or some other dedicatory and elevating activity that purifies."
"This process of purifying the inner equipments of man in the crucible of single-pointed speech, feeling and activity, directed towards God is called Thapas. The inner consciousness will be rid of all blemishes, and defects. When the inner consciousness has been rendered pure and unsullied, God will reside therein. Finally the seeker will experience the vision of the Lord within himself."