The following is the conversation between Lord Rama and his Guru sage Vasishta. This is found in an ancient scripture ‘Yoga-Vasishta’.

Lord Rama asks sage Vasishta “How is it we do not find in Jivan-mukta’s (Self-realized person) body with such higher physical powers as walking in the sky, etc?” (The question is why they are not exhibiting their siddhis).

The great Vasishta replies “Those who do not have higher knowledge are afflicted by bondage. They use herbs, mantras and skills and develop such siddhis. But these siddhis do not legitimately belong to jnanis as they do not have time to concentrate on these siddhis. They are attuned to the Brahman and make efforts to further increase their spiritual knowledge. They have no desires at all. They are the one who have conquered maya. Siddhis are nothing but maya. Those who have conquered maya will never sink in it again. Siddhis that were obtained through medicines and mantras will not give liberation.”

Rama asks another question. “Why do yogis live for such a long period?”

Vasishta answers. “They move along with their prana. If they do not want to move their prana, they remain like a rock. They are able to control their prana and live as long as they like. By controlling the movement of prana, they are able to control their mind as well. Death can happen only if they will. They live on spiritual dhatu (substance) that is never expelled. Only they are Self-realized persons.”

Rama seeks another clarification. “If one is able to discriminate, his mind is absorbed in Reality. Then where the four qualities benevolence, contentment, compassion and disinclination abide?”

Vasishta answers again: “Destruction of mind happens in two stages, form and formless. The destruction of form-mind happens in ‘jivan-mukti’ stage. (‘Jivan-mukta’ is explained as ‘a man liberated in life is one whose ignorance has been destroyed by the realization of the Brahman in ‘nir-vikalpa samadhi’, but still a trace of ignorance (a-jnana) may remain up to the complete enjoyment of the consequences of actions done and producing results (this is known as prarabdha karma: the impressions of the past births that are bearing fruits in the present birth). With the complete enjoyment of the fruits of such actions, a man becomes liberated completely and ceases to be associated with anybody. When a man is liberated, he can discriminate between good deeds and bad deeds. However, he continues to perform good deeds only for the welfare of the people). The destruction of formless-mind happens in ‘videha-mukti’ stage. (Videha-mukti is explained as the final liberation when a soul, at the time of death of the physical body merges with the Brahman. The soul ceases to exist forever). The form-mind is the cause for pains. When form-mind is annihilated, bliss is realized. You should annihilate the mind so that it does not rear its head again. Identifying itself (mind) with the attributes of matter, it is not able to cognize Reality and hence groans with pain. The mind is jiva (soul). This mind, ever longing for pleasure and pain, is the seed of all maya. Jnanis say that the mind is destroyed only when a person learns to look all alike. His mind is in the state of equanimity and is not affected by pleasure or pain. Whoever remains unconcerned even in the midst of enormous wealth, extreme poverty, death, illusions and extreme intelligence, such men can be said to have their minds annihilated. The removal of avidya (ignorance), which is the mind itself, tends to its destruction and produces ripe spiritual intelligence (the highest level of knowledge that is required to realize the Brahman). Such a mind which does not subject itself to obnoxious rebirths through the pure impressions associated with the four qualities (benevolence, contentment, compassion and disinclination) pertains to jivan-mukatas. Thus, forms are destroyed in a hibernating mind. It is in this mind that the above mentioned four qualities will grow like a full blown lotus.”

“The destruction of formless mind is moulded by videka-muktas. Kaivalya (a term used in samkhya yoga. It means the existence of purusha (soul) in essence. In Samkhya philosophy, purusha (soul) and prakriti (Nature) are distinguished from one another. (This subject has been elaborately discussed earlier). The knowledge of this distinction is responsible for the attainment of kaivalya or liberation (death). Kaivalya means ‘moksha’ or ‘mukti’ which is the final liberation. Kaivalya in a disembodied state can be attained only when satva (one of the three gunas) which originates the above four qualities also perishes. There is no other way to destroy this formless-mind. The Brahmic state is that which is devoid of opposites (dualities such as light and darkness). It is the asylum for those who have mastery over the phenomena like, akash, air, etc. They have akash in their body and live in eternal bliss without pain. They are the true saints Rama and they have annihilated their mind forever.”

Further Readings:

Yoga Vasishtha Explains Jivanmukta

Yoga Vasishtha Explains Dissolution of the Mind

Yoga Vasishtha Concludes with Liberation