Tripura Rahasya‘, is a text on Advaita Vedanta which personifies the supreme consciousness as Tripura (three cities or the ruler of three cities), a feminine form who is also known as Tripura Sundari. The states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep are the three cities ruled by Tripura.
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What is Misery? – Tripura Rahasya 2:19 and Hedonic Treadmill
The following is an excerpt from the 19th chapter of Tripura Rahasya:
80-83. Those are the best who are free from all of the vasanas, and particularly from the least trace of that of action. If free from the fault of mistrust of the teachings of the
Master, the vasana due to desire, which is not a very serious obstruction to realisation, is destroyed by the practice of contemplation. Dispassion need not be very marked in this
case. Such people need not repeatedly engage in the study of scriptures or the receiving of instructions from the Master, but straightaway pass into meditation and fall into samadhi, the consummation of the highest good. They live evermore as Jivanmuktas (emancipated even while alive).
84-86. Sages with subtle and clear intellect have not considered it worthwhile to eradicate their desire, etc., by forcing other thoughts to take their place, because desires do not obstruct realisation. Therefore their desires continue to manifest even after realisation, as before. Neither are they tainted by such vasanas. They are said to be emancipated and diverse-minded. They are also reputed to be the best class of Jnanis.
87-90. Rama, he whose mind clings to the ignorance of the necessity of work cannot hope for realisation even if Siva offers to instruct him. Similarly also the person who has the fault of marked indifference to or misunderstanding of the teachings. On the other hand, a man only slightly affected by these two vasanas, and much more so by desires or
ambitions, will by repeated hearing of the holy truth, discussion of the same, and contemplation on it, surely reach the goal, though only with considerable difficulty and after a long lapse of time. Such a Sage’s activities will be small because he is entirely engrossed in his efforts for realisation.
[Note: His activities will be confined to the indispensable necessities of life.]
91. A Sage of this class has, by his long practice and rigorous discipline, controlled his mind so well that predispositions are totally eradicated and the mind is as if dead. He belongs to the middle class in the scheme of classification of Sages and is said to be a Sage without mind.
92-94. The last class and the least among the Sages are those whose practice and discipline are not perfect enough to destroy mental predispositions. Their minds are still active and the Sages are said to be associated with their minds. They are barely Jnanis and not Jivanmuktas as are the other two classes. They appear to share the pleasures and pains of life like any other man and will continue to do so till the end of their lives. They will be emancipated after death.
95-96. Prarabdha (past karma) is totally powerless with the middle class, who have destroyed their minds by continued practice. The mind is the soil in which the seed, namely prarabdha, sprouts (into pleasures and pains of life). If the soil is barren, the seed loses its sprouting power by long storage, and becomes useless.
97-103. There are men in the world who can carefully attend to different functions at the same time and are famous and extraordinarily skilful; again some people attend to work as they are walking and conversing, while a teacher has an eye upon each student in the classroom and exercises control over them all; or you yourself knew Kartaviryarjuna, who wielded different weapons in his thousand hands and fought with you using all of them skilfully and simultaneously. In all these cases, a single mind assumes different shapes to suit the different functions at the same time. Similarly the mind of the best
among Jnanis is only the Self and yet manifests as all without suffering any change in its eternal blissful nature as the Self. They are therefore many-minded.
[Note: Kartaviryarjuna was the chief of the Haihayas who were the sworn enemies of Parasurama. He was himself a devotee of Sri Dattatreya and had received the most wonderful boon from his Master, namely, that his name should be transmitted to posterity as that of an ideal king unparalleled in legend or history. His reign was
indeed remarkable and his prowess was unequalled, much less excelled. Still, as destiny would have it, he was challenged by Parasurama and killed in battle.]
104-05. The prarabdha of Jnanis is still active and sprouts in the mind but only to be burnt up by the steady flame of jnana. Pleasure or pain is due to the dwelling of the
mind on occurrences. But if these are scorched at their source, how can there be pain or pleasure?
106-08. Jnanis of the highest order, however, are seen to be active because they voluntarily bring out the vasanas from the depth of the mind and allow them to run out.
Their action is similar to that of a father sporting with his child, moving its dolls, laughing at the imagined victory of one doll over another, and appearing to grieve over the injury to another, and so on; so the many-minded Sages have pleasure or pain from work.
109-12. The vasanas not inimical to realisation are not weeded out by the best class of Jnanis because they cannot seek new ones to crowd the old out. Therefore the old ones continue until they are exhausted and thus you find among them some highly irritable, some lustful and others pious and dutiful, and so on.