The Skanda Purana is one of the great epic poems in the Vedic tradition. It includes the following story about the asura (demon) Bhasma, and hints at how to lead the mind from limitations to eternal freedom. This version formed part of a presentation given by the Warden of Shanti Sadan.
The mind’s powers of action and knowledge derive from Atman, the essential and changeless Reality of our being, and the ‘inner ruler’ of the mind and of everything else. Our mental powers may therefore be viewed as gifts of the supreme Lord, totally dependent on the divine bounty and support.
But under the spell of delusion, the mind, as it were, forgets its indebtedness to its origin as the one source of all-good. It prefers to engage with the multiplicity of the phenomenal world, until, in the end, failing to realise abiding joy, it yearns for peace and depth, and is drawn to the wisdom of the enlightened teachings.
The life of the mind, its resistance and eventual surrender, is exemplified in the Puranic myth of Bhasma. The asura, Bhasma, was granted a boon by Shiva. He asked that on whomsoever he placed his hand, that person would be reduced to ashes.
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