This part is taken from Yoga Vasishtam in “Spiritual Stories” as Told by Ramana Maharshi

A Swiss lady: Does Self-realisation imply occult powers also?

M: The Self is the most intimate and eternal Being whereas the siddhis are foreign. The latter requires effort to acquire while the former does not.

The powers are sought by the mind which must be kept alert, whereas the Self is realised when the mind is destroyed. These powers may be sought and gained even after Self-realisation. But then they are used for a definite purpose, i.e. the benefit of others as in the case of Chudala.

King Sikidvaja and Queen Chudala ruled the kingdom of Malava. Chudala regularly practised meditation in the silent hours. In due course she realised the Absolute Truth and her face shone brightly and became much more beautiful than before. The king observing this asked her the reason. The queen replied that it was due to her realisation of Truth. The king laughed at her, thinking that realisation was possible only through severe austerities and could never be gained while living in a palace. He wanted to leave the kingdom and practise tapas in the forest so that he could gain Realisation. The queen tried to dissuade him and suggested that he could carry on the tapas in the palace itself and rule the kingdom as well. Refusing to act on her advice, he went to the forest and performed hard penance. The queen was ruling the kingdom in the king’s absence.

The queen taking pity on her husband and anxious to rescue him from the mire of delusion, practised siddhis and took the guise of one Kumbha Muni and stood in front of him, but a few feet above the ground! The king, thinking that some celestial being had descended from the heavens to bless him, fell at his feet, told him his woes and sought guidance. The Muni taught the king as follows: “Karmas can give fruit as ordained by the Lord but karmas in themselves cannot grant you salvation. By doing disinterested actions, one’s mind can become pure. With a pure mind one should contemplate on the Self. This would destroy the vasanas. Then one should approach a master and through his grace learn how to enquire into the nature of the Self. Liberation is possible only through enquiry and not by performing any amount of karma. By renouncing everything one would realise the Truth.”

The king said that he had renounced everything, including his kingdom and family. Kumbha Muni told him that his renunciation was only external and the seeds of attachment were still in him. The king then took out his walking staff, kamandalu, rudrakshas and clothes and threw them all into the fire and stood without any possession. Still, on being told that he had not renounced completely, the king was ready to drop his last possession, the body, by jumping from the top of the mountain. The Muni asked him, “What harm has the body done to deserve the punishment?” Thereby the Muni taught him that he would not realise the Truth by destroying the body, but only by destroying the mind which was the source of all attachment. The mind identifies itself as ‘I’ and this was bondage. The snapping of this identity was renunciation of everything. Then the Muni described in detail the sadhana of discrimination.

Thus the king’s doubts were dispelled and his mind became pure. The king enquired into the source of Self and soon became one with it and remained in blissful samadhi. Kumbha Muni disappeared and returned after some time. The king was still in samadhi. Chudala roared like a lion to wake him up, but could not. Then taking a subtle form she entered into the king’s heart and found it pure and devoid of any latent tendencies. Then in a melodious voice she chanted the Sama Veda and like the blossoming of a lotus, the king became aware of the world. The king filled with joy, remained silent not knowing how to express his gratitude. Then as advised by the queen, he returned with her to the kingdom. Thus established in Truth he ruled the kingdom and lived happily with the queen for a long time.