Prince Rama asked: The mind is able to think only on account of Prana, the life-force, and it has no existence in itself. Then, what is it in itself?
Sage Vasishta replied: Though the body is experienced to be real, it does not exist in truth. Mind is as real as the mountain seen in a dream. Since no ‘object’ has ever been created on account of the absence of any cause, Chitta, the mind, does not exist. All this is Brahmn, Pure Consciousness, and since Brahmn is everything, this world exists as it is. Even the body and mind are Brahmn only: but how the knowers of truth see this, is not for us to describe.
The one indivisible, infinite consciousness perceived itself as its own object and that is said to be the mind. When there arose the notion of motion, that notion manifested as Prana. Prana gives rise to experience through the senses, and thus arises the world.
Mind is the creator of the world with all that is real, unreal or mixed which is in it. Prana was brought into being by the mind, with the idea: ‘Prana is my movement and I shall not be without life-force. Hence it shall be my goal. Even if I am without Prana for some time, I shall immediately be with Prana again’. The moment this Prana gets united with the mind, it sees the illusory world. Because of the firm notion, ‘I shall never again be without the life-force and the body’, it does not regain its true nature as pure consciousness.
It experiences sorrow, since it swings from one extreme to the other on account of doubt. This sorrow cannot cease except when Self-knowledge arises. Nothing other than Self-knowledge can remove the wrong notion ‘I am this’. Self-knowledge does not arise except through the investigation of the means for liberation. Hence, by every means one should investigate the means for liberation.
The mind constantly entertains the notion that ‘Life-force is my own life’, and therefore the mind rests in Prana. When the body is in a state of well-being, the mind functions well, but when the body does not enjoy a state of well-being, the mind does not see anything other than the physical disturbance. When Prana is busily engaged in its own vigorous movement, then it is absorbed in its own movement and is unable to exert in Self-knowledge.
Thus, the relationship between mind and Prana is that of a rider and vehicle. Such was the notion entertained by the infinite consciousness right in the beginning, and therefore this relationship prevails even today. One who is not enlightened is unable to transcend it. The ignorant person continues to entertain unshakable notions concerning time, space, matter, mind, prana and body. When mind and prana function in harmony, the person engages himself in various activities. When there is disturbance, there is disharmony. When both are at rest, there is sleep.
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