|| VERSION 1 ||

There is a famous saying in the Yoga-Vasishtha * , which is an instruction given by the great sage Vasishtha to the student Rama : " Dvau krumuu chitta nasasya , yoga jnanam cha Raghav " .

The sage says :

" There are two ways of controlling the mind . Either sever its connection with all things , or establish a connection of it with everything " .

These are the two ways by which one can control the mind . It is easy to understand something about the benefits that would follow from the withdrawal of the mind from all things . But , it is not so easy to know the advantage of connecting the mind to everything .

The result , however is the same in either case .

There is an anecdote about Acharya Sankara which is relevant here .

It is said that Acharya Sankara was in the Kutir , and the door was bolted from within . One of the disciples came and knocked .

" Who is that ? " asked the Master .
" I " was the answer .

" Oh I ! Either reduce it to zero or expand it to infinity ! "

retorted the Master from within .

This " I " in every individual should either be reduced to zero or expanded to infinity . Either way it is good .

In the one method , the modifications of the mind are restrained by a negative withdrawal of its operations from everything that appears as external .

The other method involves the philosophical visualisation of the mind's basic identity with all things .

The earlier method , namely , the restraint of the mind-stuff is the main instruction according to Patanjali .

~ Swami Krishnananda

|| VERSION 2 ||

There is a humorous anecdote in this connection . It appears , one of the disciples of Acharya Sankara came after bathing , but Sankara was inside the room and the door was bolted .

The disciple knocked at the door , whereon Sankara asked from inside ,

" Who is there ? " " I " was the answer .

" Oh , either expand it to infinity or reduce it to zero " , was the retort of Sankara from inside .

This " I " , either expanded to infinity or reduced to zero , is good . But it should not be left midway . The essential trouble with all human beings , the trouble with every created being , is this mid-positioning of the ego .

~ Swami Krishnananda

|| VERSION 3 ||

What is egoism ? The egoism is of three kinds .

According to Yoga Vasishtha , the three kinds of ahamkara are as follows .

" I am this body . " This is one kind of ahamkara .
" I am nothing . " This is another kind of ahamkara .
" I am everything . " This is a third kind of ahamkara .

The teacher of the Yoga Vasishtha tells us there is no harm if we feel that we are nothing .

There is also no harm if we feel that we are everything .

But if we feel that we are only something , then we are caught .

Sankaracharya was inside , and the disciple came and knocked at the door . Sankaracharya said ,

" Who is that ? "
" I " , replied the disciple .

" Let it either expand to infinity or let it annihilate itself . "

This is what the Guru spoke from inside .

" I — Let it either expand itself to infinity , or let it annihilate itself . But let it not identify itself only with something . Either you are nothing or everything , but not something . "

These are the three kinds of ahamkara according to the Yoga Vasishtha .

~ Swami Krishnananda

The greater the force with which this separative sense is suppressed to Nothingness or expanded to Infinity , the more extensive and deeper is the light and the joy realised and experienced .

~ Swami Krishnananda


You may adopt one or the other of the two attitudes :

( 1 ) I am the omnipresent being that does nothing , and
( 2 ) I am the doer of all actions in this world .

In both cases you will arrive at the same state of perfect equanimity , which is immortality .

You will be free from likes and dislikes , attraction and aversion .

You will be rid of foolish feelings like :

" Someone served me " , or " Someone else hurt me " .

Hence , you may feel , " I am not the doer , I do not exist " , or " I am the doer and I am everything " .

Or enquire into the nature of the self — " Who am I ? " — and realise " I am not any of this that is attributed to me " .

Rest established in the self which is the highest state of consciousness , in which the best among the holy ones who know of this state ever dwell .


Even if you believe that this world and yourself are real , then be it so ; rest firmly in your own self .

If you think that this is both real and unreal , then adopt the appropriate attitude to this changing world .

If you believe that the world is unreal , then be firmly established in the infinite consciousness .


See that " all this is unreal , including myself " , and there will be no sorrow in you .

Or , see that " all this is real , including myself " , and sorrow will not touch you either .