BOOK 3 – On Creation (Utpatti Khanda)
This section deals with the origin and nature of the universe. According to Vasishta, this universe with its innumerable objects, its concepts of time and space, and its varied laws is only a creation of ones own mind. Just as the mind creates a world in the dream state, so it also creates an imaginary world in the waking state. The only difference between the dream and the waking states is that dreams are short and the waking state is relatively longer. Time and space are only ideas of the mind. Through the minds perception many thousands of years may pass as a moment, or a moment in time in the waking state may be experienced as years in the dream state. The same is true of the concept of space. All these facts are illustrated by a number of interesting and revealing stories.
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Chapter 1 — The Appearance of Creation Is from the Mind of Brahma
1 It is through both words and lights (i.e., the words of the scripture and the lights of nature and reason) that the knower of the great god perceives the spirit of Brahma appearing within himself, like in a dream. He also knows him as such who understands him according to the holy text, “What this is, that is the self.” 2 This passage shows, in short, the visible world at its creation residing in the empty bosom of Brahma. What this creation is, from where it arises, and how it becomes extinct in the end are now to be known in detail. 3 O intelligent Rama, now hear me expound to you all things according to my best knowledge and agreeably to their nature and substance in the order of creation.
4 One conscious of himself as a spiritual and intelligent being views the passing world as a dream. This dream simile of the passing world applies equally to our knowledge of ego and non-ego. 5 After the book describing the conduct of the seekers of liberation (mumukshu-vyavahara) follows the book of evolution (utpatti, creation), which I am now going to propound to you.
6 Bondage consists in our belief in the reality of the visible world. So our release depends on the negation of phenomena that are apparent to the senses. Now hear me tell you how to get rid of the visible.
7 Whoever is born in this world continues to progress until at last he obtains his final liberation (his ultimate perfection) or rises to heaven or falls into hell. 8 Therefore I shall expound for your understanding everything relating to the production and continuance of things, and their prior states as they were. 9 Now hear me, Rama, give you a brief abstract of this book. Later I will expand upon it so that you may know more of how creation is produced.
10 Know that all that appears either as living or inert in this world are like appearances in a dream in the state of sound sleep (susupti) which becomes extinct at the end of an epoch (kalpa). 11 Then there remains a nameless and undeveloped something in a state of deep, dark and dank abyss, without any light or thick-spread (nebulae) over it. 12 The wise give this great self-existence the titles of Reality (rita), Self (atma), Supreme (param), Immense (brahma), Truth (satyam) and so forth as common expressions to refer to the Great Spirit (mahatman).
13 Then this same spirit shows itself in another form called the individual soul (jivatma), and comes afterwards to be understood in the limited sense of life. 14 This inert living principle (jiva) becomes, just like the word suggests, the moving spirit, which afterwards with its power of thinking becomes the mind, and finally the embodied soul. 15Thus the mind is produced and changed from the quiescent nature of the Great Supreme Spirit to a state of restlessness, like that of a surge heaving itself in the ocean.
16 The mind soon evolves itself as a self-willing power that exercises its desires at all times and through which this extensive magic scene of the world is displayed for our view. This scene is figured as virajmurti, or the manifestation of desires from the will of Divine Mind. In the Indian genealogy of gods, it is represented as the offspring of Brahma.
17 As the word ‘golden bracelet’ signifies nothing other than a bracelet made of gold, so the meaning of the word ‘world’ is not different from its source, the Divine Will. 18 Again as the word ‘gold’ bears the idea of the substance of which the bracelet is made, so the word ‘Brahma’ conveys the meaning of the immensity which contains the world. But the word ‘world’ contains no idea of Brahma, and neither does ‘bracelet’ convey the idea of gold. The substance contains the form just as a stone does the statue, but the form does not contain the substance.
19 The unreality of the world appears as a reality, just as the heat of the sun presents an unreal mirage in the moving sands of the desert as real waves of the sea. 20 It is this fantasy which the learned in all things describe as ignorance (avidya), nature (sansriti), bondage (bandha), illusion (maya), error (moha), and darkness (tamas).
21 Now hear me relate to you, O moon-faced Rama, about the nature of this bondage, whereby you will be able to know the mode and manner of our liberation from it.
22 The intimate relation between spectator and spectacle is called his bondage because the spectator’s mind is tightly bound to the object of his sight. Therefore, the absence of visible objects from the mirror of the mind is the only way to his liberation. 23 Knowledge of the world, which is thinking that individual existence is different from others, is said to be a false view of the soul. There can be no liberation as long as one labors under this blunder of the knowledge of separation. 24 To say that the soul is not this and not that is an endless false dispute over words. Discrimination between alternatives only serves to increase the ardor for objects.
25 Truth is not to be obtained by philosophers chopping logic or by pilgrimage or ceremonial acts, any more than believing in the reality of the material world. 26 It is hard to avoid the sight of the phenomenal world and to repress one’s ardor for it. But it is certain that phenomena can not lead us to Reality, and that the Real cannot mislead us to unreality.
27 Wherever the invisible, inconceivable and intelligent spirit exists, there the beholder views the visible beauty of God shining even in the midst of atoms. 28 The phenomenal world has its rise from Him, yet ignorant people who depart from Him to the adoration of others resemble fools who forsake rice to feed upon gruel. 29 Although this visible world is apparent to sight, yet O Rama, it is only a shadow of that Being who resides alike in the smallest atom and in the mirror of the mind, who receives the image of the largest as well as the minutest things. 30 The spirit is reflected in everything like a figure in the mirror, and it shines equally in rocks and seas and in the land and water as it does in the mirror of the mind.
31 The visible world is the scene of constant sorrows, births, decay and death. By turns the states of waking, dreaming and sound sleep present the gross, subtle and impermanent forms of things for our delusion. 32 Here I sit in a meditative mood, having wiped the impressions of phenomena from my mind, but my meditation is disturbed by the recurrence of my memories of phenomena. This is the cause of the endless reincarnations of the soul.
33 It is hard to maintain meditation beyond form (nirvikalpa samadhi) when the sight of the visible world is present before our physical and mental vision. Even the fourth stage of turiya — samadhi without sense in the state of deep sleep — is soon succeeded by self-consciousness and external awareness. 34 On rising from this state of deep meditation, one finds himself as if roused from sound sleep and he again sees the world full of all its sorrows and imperfections opening wide before him.
35 Then, O Rama, what is the good of this transient bliss which one attains by temporary meditation, when he again becomes subject to his sense of the sufferings of the world, like a vale of tears? 36 But if one can attain a state of unalterable separation of his thoughts from all worldly objects, as he has in his state of deep sleep, then he is said to have reached the highest level of holiness on earth.
37 Nobody has ever gained anything from reality with its scenes of unreal vanities because whenever his thoughts come in contact with any outward thing, he finds ‘reality’ inseparable from imperfect existence. 38 Should anybody forcibly withdraw his attention from phenomena and, for a while, fix his sight on a stone, afterwards he is sure to be carried away again by phenomena pressing upon his sight. 39 It is well known to all that a yogi’s practice of unflinching meditation, even if it has the firmness of a rock, cannot last owing to his worldly propensities. 40 Even steady meditation that has attained the fixedness of a rock cannot advance one step towards the attainment of that tranquility which has no limit. 41 Thus the sight of phenomena being altogether unavoidable, it is a foolish to think that phenomena can be suppressed by practicing prayers and austerities and similar acts of tapas.
42 The idea of the phenomena is as inherent in the mind of the spectator of the visible world as the seeds of the lotus flower are contained in its inner cells. 43 The ideal of the phenomenal world lies hidden in the minds of the spectators of the outer world, just like flavor and moisture are in fruit, oil is in sesame seeds, and sweet scent is innate in flowers. 44 Just like the fragrance of camphor and the smells of other substances are inherent in their nature, so the reflection of the visible world resides in the bosom of the intellect.
45 As your dreams and desires rise and subside of themselves under the functioning of your intellect, so the idea of a thing always reoccurs to your mind from your original idea of that thing which has been impressed onto your mind, the seat of all that is visible. 46 The mental appearance of the visible world deludes its beholder in the same way a fantasy appearance of a ghost or hobgoblin misleads a child.
47 The notion of the visible world gradually expands itself, like a seed that germinates in time, sprouts and spreads itself afterwards in the form of a plant. 48 As seeds and other minute life forms contained within the bosoms of fruit and the embryos of animals expand themselves to become wonderfully beautiful forms, so does the seed of this world lying hidden in the Divine Mind unfold itself into the wonderful forms of visible phenomena in nature.
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Chapter 2 — Description of the First Cause: Yama Explains Air-born Brahma to Death; Will without Form or Action
1 Vasishta resumed:— Rama, now listen as I relate the story of Akasaja, the air-born brahmin, which will be precious to your ears and will enable you to better to understand the drift of this book of creation.
2 There lived a brahmin named Akasaja who always sat reclined in his meditation and was ever inclined to do good to all creatures. 3 Finding him long-lived, Death thought to himself, “Only I am imperishable, and I devour all things one by one. 4 How is it that I cannot stuff myself with this air-born? I find my teeth as blunt on him as the edge of a sword on solid rock.” 5 So thinking, he proceeded to the home of the brahmin intent upon making an end of him. For who is not so dull in nature that he is not alert in his practice?
6 But as Death was about to enter Akasaja’s house, he was opposed by a fire as powerful as that in the final destruction of the last day of the world’s dissolution. 7 He passed through the flames and entered the house where, seeing the holy man before him, he greedily stretched out his hand to grab him. 8 Even with his hundred hands, Death was unable to grasp the holy man, just as it is impossible for the strongest to withstand a determined man in his habitual course.
9 Death then went to his lord, Yama, the god of the underworld, to answer his question why he could not devour the air-born being. 10 Yama explained, “Death, do not overly trust your own strength that enables you to destroy the living. It is the act of the dying person that is the chief cause of his death and nothing else. 11 Therefore, be diligent and find out about the acts of the person you intend to kill, because it is only with their assistance that you are able seize your prey.”
12 Thereupon Death gladly wandered about in all the places under the horizon. He roved over inhabited lands as he did throughout empty and river lands. 13 He traversed forests and jungles, marshy and rocky grounds, and maritime coasts. He traveled to foreign lands and islands and pried through their wildernesses, cities and towns. 14 He searched through kingdoms and countries, villages and deserts. He surveyed the entire earth to find out some act of the brahmin or any part of it.
15 At last Death, despite all his search and efforts, came to find the acts of air-born brahmin to be as nothing as the offspring of a barren woman, and brahmin’s mind as fixed (in meditation) as if it were a rock.
16 Then Death returned from his reconnoitering explorations to his all-knowing master Yama and sought his advice, as servants do in matters of doubt and difficulty. 17 Death addressed Yama saying, “Tell me my lord, where are the acts of the air-born brahmin to be found?” After much thought, Yama replied as follows. 18 “Know, O Death, that this air-born seer has no act whatever because he is born of empty air. Therefore his doings are all null and void. 19 Whoever is born of air is as pure as air itself and has no combination of cause or actions such as all embodied beings. 20 He has no relationship with acts of his prior existence. He is as nothing as the child of a barren woman, like one unborn, uncreated and un-begotten. 21 Want of causes has made him a pure empty being, and the lack of prior acts has made him as nothing as an ethereal tree.”
22 “Deprived of former acts, his mind is not ruffled like those of others, nor is there any act in his present state whereby he may become a morsel to death. 23 Such is the soul seated in the sheath of void, and remaining forever as the simple form of its own causality, and not guided by any extraneous causation whatever. 24 It has no prior deed, nor does it do anything at present, but continues as something like an intelligence with the form of air.”
25 “Our inference that the soul causes the actions of breathing and motion is a mere supposition because the soul is devoid of every thought or tendency towards action. 26 It sits meditating on itself as inseparable from the Supreme Intelligence, just as images are inseparable from the mind of the painter and sculptor. 27 The self-born Brahma is as intimately connected with the objects of his thought as fluidity is associated with water and the void with the sky. 28 His soul is as immanent in the Supreme as motion is inherent in the wind. It has neither the accumulated acts of past lives nor those of its present state. 29 It is produced without the cooperation of accompanying causes and being free from prior motives, it is not subjected to the sufferings that attend human life. 30 It is found to be nothing other than its own cause, and having no other cause for itself, it is said to be self-produced.”
31 “Say, how can you lay hold of a being who has done no act and is not in the act of doing anything at present? It is only subject to you when it thinks itself mortal. 32 You are easily able to take anyone who believes his soul to be of this earth and thinks himself to be an earthly being. 33Because this brahmin disowns the material body, he is a formless being. Therefore it is as hard for you to enthrall him as it is to use a rope to tie the air.”
34 Death replied saying, “Tell me my lord, how may the unborn (aja) or the born (swayambhu) be produced out of vacuum, and how can an earthly or other elemental body both be and not be?”
35 Yama replied, “This Brahman is neither born nor is nothing at anytime but remains the same forever, like the light of intelligence of which there is no decay. 36 Upon the end of creation, there remains nothing except the tranquil, imperishable and infinite Brahman himself in his spiritual form. 37 This is the nature of the everlasting void, too subtle in its essence and devoid of all attributes, but viewing the present before its mind, the stupendous cosmos in the form of a huge mountain at the beginning of recreation.”
38 “Being of the nature of consciousness it is imperishable, but those who regard spirit to have any material body are liable to perish with it like all embodied beings. 39 Thus in the beginning this Brahman remained in his state of unalterable, empty consciousness in the womb of emptiness.40 It is purely of the nature of empty understanding, and of the form of a vast expanse of omniscience. It has neither body nor organism, no act or agency, nor desire of any kind in itself.”
41 “That which is simply emptiness and pure light, unlike an embodied being, is never beset by the traps of new desires. 42 It has nothing to know or see without itself. The only conception that we can have of it is that it resembles an extended intelligence. 43 Under these circumstances, how is it susceptible to any earthly or other external form? Therefore, O Death, give up your attempts to lay hold of Brahman.”
44 Hearing these words from Yama, Death thought upon the impracticability of anyone laying hold on empty void and he sorrowfully returned to his own abode.
45 Rama said, “Sage, you said that Brahma is your great father. I think you meant to say that your father is the unborn, self-born Universal Soul and consciousness.” Vasishta speaking:— 46 What I had described to you, Rama, is Brahma, and the previous story about the discussion between Death and Yama also regards Brahma.
47 Again when Death over the course of a manvantara of time had made an end to all living beings, he thought himself strong enough to make an attempt to bear down upon the lotus-born Brahma also. 48 It was then that he was rebuked by Yama, saying, “It is your habit that makes you go on your accustomed course of killing. 49 But the super-ethereal form of Brahma is beyond your reach because it simply has of the nature of the mind, connected only with its thoughts and having no concern with the actual forms of things.”
50 Brahma is wonderfully empty consciousness having the faculty of thought. Thus consciousness, being only emptiness, has neither any cause that created it nor any effect created by it. 51 As the insubstantial principle of will in men manifests itself without being connected with material forms, so the self-born Brahma manifests to all in his own immaterial nature.
52 Like strings of pearl appearing in a clear sky, and like the forms of cities seen in a dream, the self-born Brahma is manifest of himself without relation to external objects. 53 As there is no beholder or anything beholden of the solitary Supreme Spirit which is consciousness itself, so the mind manifests of itself. 54 It is the mind’s capacity to will that is called Brahma. Will being a spiritual faculty, it has no connection with any material substance.
55 As the mind of the painter is filled with images of various things, so the mind of Brahma is full of figures of all created beings. 56 The self-born Brahma is manifest in his own mind as Brahma is manifested in the empty sphere of his consciousness. He is without beginning, middle or end. He is described as having a male figure when, in reality and like the offspring of a barren woman, he has no body.
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Chapter 3 — Subtle & Gross Bodies; Formless Mind (Brahma) Wills the Appearance of Forms
1 Rama said, “It is even so as you have said, that the mind is a pure essence and has no connection with the earth and other material substances. Mind is truly Brahma itself. 2 Now tell me, O holy one, why the memory of his former states does not cause his birth, as it is in the case of mine, yours and of all other beings.”
3 Vasishta replied:— Whoever had a former body, accompanied with the acts of his prior existence, necessarily retains its memories, which are the cause of his being reborn. 4 But when Brahman is known to have no prior act, how is it possible for him to have memory of anything? 5Therefore he exists without any other cause except the causation of his own mind. It is by his own causality that the Divine Spirit is self-born, and is himself his own spirit. 6 He is everlasting. His body is born of itself from the self-existent Brahman. This unborn or self-born Brahma has no material body whatever, except his subtle spirit body (ativahika) or astral body (linga deha).
7 Rama said, “The everlasting body is one thing and the mortal body is another. Now tell me sage whether all created beings have a subtle body like that of Brahma?”
8 Vasishta replied:— All created beings produced of a cause have two bodies (subtle and gross). But the unborn being which is without a cause has only one body. 9 The uncreated Brahman is the cause of all created beings, but the uncreated spirit, having no cause for itself, has only one body. 10 The prime lord of creatures has no material body but manifests himself in the empty form of his spiritual body. 11 His body is composed of only mind and he has no connection with the earth or any other material substance. He is the first lord of creatures who stretched creation from his empty body.
12 All creation is only forms of images or ideas in his empty mind. They have no other pattern or originality in their nature. It is a truth well known to everyone that everything is of the same nature with its cause.
13 Brahma is a nonexistent being in the manner of perfect consciousness. He is purely a mind form. He is an intellectual entity, not material. 14He is the prime cause of all material productions in the physical world, and he is born of himself with his prime mobile force in the form of the mind.15 It was by the first impulse given by the prime moving power that this expanse of creation came to be spread in the same ratio as the currents of air and water are in proportion to the impetus given to them. 16 This creation shining so bright to our sight derives its light from the luminous mind of the formless Brahma, and it appears real to our conceptions.
17 What we experience in dreams is the best illustration, like the enjoyment of sexual bliss in a dream. In a dream an unreal object of desire presents itself as an actual gain to our fond and false imagination.
18 The empty, immaterial and formless spirit is described as the self-born and corporeal lord of creatures in the form of the first male. 19 He remains imperceptible in his state of pure consciousness, but becomes manifest to all by the evolution of his will. He cannot be discerned in his absolute state (of inaction), but becomes conspicuous to us in the display of his nature (in creation).
20 Brahma is the divine power of will. He is personified as the first male agent of creation, but he is devoid of any physical body. He has only the spiritual form of the mind, and he is the sole cause of the existence of the three worlds.
21 It is Brahma’s will that makes the self-born exert his energies, just as human desires impel all mankind to action, and as the empty mind manifests itself as a mountain of desires. 22 Then it forgets its everlasting and incorporeal nature and assumes to itself a solid material body and shows itself in the shape of a deceptive apparition. 23 But Brahma, who is of an unsullied understanding, is not involved in forgetting himself. That occurs through the transformation of his unknowable nature to the known state of will. 24 Being unborn of material substance, he sees no appearance like others who are exposed by their ignorance to the misleading errors of falsehood that appear before them like a mirage.
25 As Brahma is merely of the form of the mind, and not composed of any material substance, so the world being the product of the eternal mind is of the same nature as its original source. 26 Again, as the uncreated Brahma has no cause for himself, so his creation has no cause other than himself. 27 Therefore there is no difference between product and its producer, and it is certain that the work must be as perfect as its author.
28 There is nothing like cause and effect to be found in this creation because the three worlds are only prototypes of the archetype of the Divine Mind. 29 The world is stretched out in the model of the Divine Mind. It is not formed by any other holy spirit. Creation is as immanent in the mind of God as fluidity is inherent in water. 30 The mind spreads out this extended unreality of the world, like castles in the air, and builds paradise cities. 31 There is no such thing as materiality, which is as false a conception as mistaking a rope for a snake. Hence it is impossible for Brahma and other beings to exist as individual bodies.
32 Even spiritual bodies are nonexistent to enlightened understanding. As for the material body, it has no room in existence. 33 Man (manu), who derives his name from his mind (manas), is a form of the will-soul called Virinchi (the Creator, a name of Brahma). His dominion is the mental or intellectual world (mano-rajyam) where all things appear in the form of realities. 34 The mind is the creative Brahma (virinchitvas) through the exercise of its inherent will (sankalpa, intent, volition) for beginning or creation. It displays itself in the form of the visible universe by development of its own essence.
35 This Creator or creative power is of the form of the mind, just like the mind itself is of the form of the Creator. Neither has any connection with any material substance, which is a mere creation of the imagination. 36 All visible things are contained in the bosom of the mind, just as the lotus blossom resides in the seed of the lotus. Hence there is no difference between the mental and visible appearances of things, nor has anyone anywhere ever doubted this.
37 Whatever you see in a dream, whatever desires you have at heart, and all the ideals of your fancy, together with your ideas, notions and impressions of phenomena, know that it is your mind that is the receptacle for them all. 38 But the mind can choose to hold phenomena as desirable, making them as harmful to their beholder as an apparition is to a child. 39 The ideal of phenomena develops itself as the germ contained in the seed and, in its proper time and place, it becomes a large tree.
40 If there is no rest with what is real, there can be no peace with phenomena that are full of troubles and give no solace to the mind. It is impossible for the feeling of the perception of phenomena to ever be lost to their perceiver, yet only its subsidence is said to constitute liberation.
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Chapter 4 — Nightfall; Creation of Objects
1 Valmiki describes:—
While Vasishta, the leading sage, was speaking without interruption, the entire assembly was intent upon listening to him with a fixed tone and tenor of their minds. 2 The string of bells that warriors tie to their waists ceased to jingle. Everyone was motionless. Even the parrots in their cages ceased to warble or flutter. 3 The ladies forgot their dalliance and remained quietly attentive to the lecture. Everyone in the royal hall was fixed in attention as if they were paintings and statues.
4 Only an hour remained before the closing of the day and the sunbeams became agreeable to all. The busy bustle of the world was dwindling away with the glimmering light of the setting sun. 5 The beds of full-blown lotuses exhaled their fragrance all around, and soft breezes were playing about, as if to attend the audience. 6 The sun glided away from his daily course and advanced to the top of the solitary mountain where it set, as if he meant to reflect on all that he had heard. 7 The shades of night began to cover the landscape. Frost began to spread over forest lands as if they were cooled by the cooling lectures on philosophy.
8 Now people failed to gather in all directions, as if they had availed themselves of the sage’s instructions to abate the fervor of their exertions. 9All objects on earth cast their lengthened shadows, as if they were stretching their necks to hear Vasishta preaching. 10 Then the chamberlain humbly advanced to the monarch of the earth and begged to inform him that the time for the rituals of evening washing and service was about to expire.
11 Upon this, sage Vasishta stopped his sweet speech and said, “Let what has been said, mighty king, be all for this day. I will resume my lecture and speak of other things tomorrow.”
12 The sage held his silence, and the king responded, “Be it so as you will,” and rose from his seat. 13 For his own good he honored the godly sage and the other seers and brahmins with due respects and offerings of flowers, water, worthy honorary gift rewards, fees, gifts and homage. 14Then rose the entire assembly with the king and the sages. The gems and jewels that decked princes and people shed their luster on the faces of all. 15 There was a commingled tinkling of bracelets and armlets as the throng mingled in their exit, mixed with the flashes of the necklaces and brocades that decorated their bodies. 16 The jewels attached to the tufts and crests of hair on the tops of their heads emitted a jingling sound resembling the humming of bees amidst their flowery braids. 17 The face of the sky, shining on all sides with a purple color reflected by the golden ornaments on their persons, seemed as if it was pleased with the wise sayings and sense of the sage.
18 Celestial visitors vanished into the air and earthly guests retired to their homes on earth where they performed their evening rituals. 19 In the meantime, black night made her appearance on earth and, like a bashful young maiden, withdrew to the closet separate from the rest of mankind.20 The lord of the day passed to shine on other lands, for truly it is the avowed duty of every good person to give the benefit of equal light to all. 21The shade of evening veiled all sides and uplifted the canopy of the starry sphere on high which, like the spring atmosphere, was emblazoned with star-like kinsuka flowers.
22 The birds of air took to their rest in the hollows of mango trees or on the tops of kadamba trees, like honest people of fair dealing find their rest in the purity of their minds and the contriteness of their inner hearts.
23 The skirts of the clouds tinged with red by the slanting beams of the setting sun, and with a shade of yellow color upon them, decorated the western hills with vests of yellow garb while the sky crowned their heads with gemming wreaths of starry groups. 24 The goddess of evening, having departed after receiving her homage (evening prayers), was followed by her train of dark night shades appearing as black-bodied fiends, vetalas.
25 A gentle and cooling breeze was blowing softened by the dew drops of night and opening the petals of kumuda lotus flowers, bearing their fragrance all around. 26 A thick gloom covered the face of nature and the stars were hidden under the mists of night. All the quarters of the skies, with their overhanging loose and hairy mists, seemed like the faces of widows shrouded by the dark disheveled hair of mourning.
27 Now appeared the moist orb of the moon in her ambrosial form in the Milky Ocean of the sky to moisten the mundane heat with her milk-white beams. 28 On her rising, the thick mists of darkness fled from the eastern hemisphere and became invisible in the air, just like the darkness of ignorance is put to flight from the minds of monarchs when they attend to wise sayings.
29 Then the sages and seers, the rulers and priests of the people, took their rest in their respective beds, as the words of Vasishta, full of meaning, rested in the recesses of their hearts.
30 As the thick darkness of night, resembling the dark complexion of death, receded from the arena of the skies, the dewy dawn of day with her slow moving pace followed close on its footsteps. 31 Twinkling stars disappeared from the sky, just like flowers on trees are blown away by wind and strewn on the ground like the fallen stars of heaven. 32 The sun became visible to the eyes. His rays roused them from sleep, just as the new-rising faculty of reason becomes conspicuous in the minds of enlightened great souls. 33 Fragments of clouds shining with sunlight spread a yellow covering over the eastern hills which were still decorated with strings of stars, pendant on the crests of their lofty heads.
34 After the performance of their morning services, all the terrestrial and celestial congress assembled again at the royal hall, in the order and manner of the day before. 35 The full assembly took their seats and sat without moving, like a lake covered with lotus remains calm after a storm.
36 Then Rama addressed Vasishta, the most eloquent of sages, with honey-like words about the subject under investigation. 37 He said, “Tell me plainly, O venerable sir, about the form of the mind, which developed itself in all things of the universe as they were its offshoots.”
38 Vasishta replied:—
Rama, the mind has no form that anyone can see. Other than its name, it has nothing substantial, only the formless and irremovable void. 39The mind as an entity (sat) is not situated in any part of the outer body, nor is it within any cavity of the heart or brain. But know it, O Rama, to be situated everywhere as the all encompassing void. 40 This world is produced from it, and it is like the waters of the mirage. It manifests itself in the forms of its fleeting thoughts, which are as false as the appearance of secondary moons in mists.
41 The thinking principle is generally believed to be something between the positive and negative, or real and unreal. You must know it as such and no other. 42 That which represents of all objects is called the mind. There is nothing else to which the term mind is applicable. 43 Know that will (volition) is the same as the mind, and that the mind is no different from the will, just as fluidity is the same with water, and as there is no difference between air and its motion in wind. 44 For wherever there is any will, there also is that attribute of the mind. Nobody has ever taken will and mind to be different things.
45 The representation of any object, whether real or unreal, is mind, and that is to be known as Brahma the great father of all. 46 The incorporeal soul in the body is called the mind and it has in itself the knowledge of all senses and everlasting ideas of the physical world. (I.e., the sentient and thinking soul is the same as the mind.) 47 The learned have given different names like ignorance, intellect, mind, bondage, sin and darkness to the visible appearance of creation. 48 The mind has no form other than a receptacle and reflector of ideas about the visible world which, I repeat, is no new creation, but a reflection of the mind.
49 The visible world is situated in an atom of the great mind, just like the germ of the lotus plant is contained within its seed. 50 The visible world is as innate in the all-knowing mind as light is inherent in sunbeams, and velocity and fluidity are innate in winds and liquids. 51 But the visionary ideas of phenomena are as false and fleeting in the minds of their observers as the form of a jewel in gold, or water in a mirage, and they are as wrong as the foundation of a castle in the air, or seeing a city in a dream.
52 Because phenomena appear to be real to their observer, O Rama, I will cleanse them from your mind like dirt from a mirror. 53 Just like the disappearance of an appearance makes the observer no longer an observer, know that this is what happens when the mind is in a state of separation (detachment) from whatever is real or unreal in the world. 54 Having arrived at this state, all the passions of the soul and the desires of the mind will be at rest, like torrents of rivers at the calm that follows the stillness of the wind. 55 It is impossible that things having the forms of space, earth and air will appear the same in the clear light of reason as they do to our ordinary sight.
56 Thus when the observer comes to know the unreality of the phenomena of the three worlds, as well as of his own entity, then his pure soul attains knowledge of the solitude of divine existence (kaivalya). 57 Such a mind reflects the image of God in itself as in a mirror, while all others are like blocks of stone, incapable of receiving any reflection at all.
58 After suppression of the sense of “I” and “you” and the error of the reality of the outer world, the observer becomes withdrawn and remains in his sitting posture without seeing external things.
59 Rama replied, “If I cannot suppress my perception of entity, or an entity is unable to become a non-entity, or if I am unable to see phenomena as nonexistent, 60 then tell me, O holy one, how can I to uproot this disease of our eagerness for phenomena from the mind, a disease which bewilders understanding and afflicts us with a series of troubles?”
61 Vasishta replied:—
Now hear my advice, Rama, for the suppression of this illusion of phenomena, whereby it will surely die away and become utterly extinct.
62 Know Rama, that nothing that is can ever be destroyed or become extinct. Though you remove it, yet it will leave its seed or trace in the mind. 63 This seed is the memory of such things which reopens the ideas of the phenomena in the mind, expanding themselves in the fallacious notions of the forms of big worlds and skies, mountains and oceans. 64 These fallacious notions, called faults and defects of understanding, are obstacles in the way to liberation, but they do not affect the sages who are liberated.
65 Again, if the world and all other phenomena have real existence, they cannot confer liberation on anyone because phenomena, whether they are situated within or without us, are themselves perishable. 66 Learn therefore this solemn truth, which will be fully explained to you in the subsequent parts of this work, 67 that all things appearing in the forms of emptiness, elementary forms, the world, and “I” and “you” are non-entities. They have no meaning.
68 Whatever is seen as apparent is nothing other than the un-decaying and imperishable essence of the supreme Brahma himself. 69 The abundance of creation is an expansion of his fullness, and the quiet of the universe rests in his quietude. It is his quality of sky that is the substance of emptiness, and it is his immensity that underlies the immense cosmos.
70 Nothing visible is real, and there is neither spectator nor spectacle here. There is nothing like emptiness or solidity in nature. All this is only a piece of extended Intelligence.
71 Rama replied, “The proverbs about the son of a barren woman grinding stones, the horns of a rabbit, the dancing of a hill with its arms extended, 72 oil flowing from sand, marble dolls reading books, clouds in a painting roaring, and other similar adages apply to your words (on the reality of an unreal essence of God). 73 I see this world to be full of disease, death, trouble, mountains, emptiness and other things. How is it, sage, that you tell me that they do not exist? 74 So that I may be certain of this truth, tell me sage, why you describe this world as unsubstantial, unproduced and nonexistent?”
75 Vasishta replied:—
Know Rama, that I do not speak contradictions. Hear me explain how unreality appears as real, like the proverb of the son of a barren woman.
76 All this was unproduced before and did not exist in the beginning of creation. It comes to appearance from the mind like a city in a dream. 77The mind also was not produced in the beginning of creation and was an unreality itself. Therefore hear me tell you how we come to a notion of it.
78 This unreal mind by itself spreads the false and changing scenes of the visible world, just as in a dream we see ever changing unrealities as true. 79 Then the mind exerts its will in the fabrication of the body and spreads the magic scene of the phenomenal world far and wide. 80 The mind, by the potential of its fluctuations, has many actions of its own, such as expansion, jumping, motion, craving, wandering, diving and seizing, and many other voluntary efforts.
Chapter 5 — On the Original Cause (Mula-Karana)
1 Rama said, “O chief of the sages, what is the cause that leads to our misconception of the mind? How it is produced, and what is the source of its illusion? 2 Tell me sage, in brief, about the first production (of the mind), and then, O best of the eloquent, you may say what else there is to be said on the subject.”
3 Vasishta replied:— Incident to the universal dissolution, when all things are reduced to nothing, this infinity of visible objects remains in a state of calm and quiet before their creation. 4 There is only great God in existence, who is uncreated and without decay, who is the creator of all at all times, who is all in all and Supreme Soul of all, and who resembles the sun that never sets. 5 He whom language fails to describe, and who is known only to the liberated, who is termed the soul only by fiction and not by his real nature (which is unknowable). 6 He is the Cosmic Man (purusha) of the Samkhya philosophers, the Brahman of Vedanta followers, the Intelligence of Gnostics, wholly pure and apart from all. 7 He is known as Vacuum by vacuists, and the One who gives the sun its light. He is truth itself, the power of speech and thought and vision, and all action and passion forever.
8 He is who, though ever existent everywhere, appears as nonexistent to the world, and though situated in all bodies, seems to be far from them. He is the Enlightener of our understanding, like the light of the sun to the world. 9 It is He from whom the gods Vishnu and others are produced, like solar rays from the sun, and from whom infinite worlds have come into existence like bubbles of the sea.
10 It is He to whom these multitudes of visible creations return, like the waters of the earth to the sea, and who enlightens all souls and bodies like a lamp. 11 He is present alike in heaven, in earth, and in the nether worlds, who abides equally in all bodies whether of the mineral, vegetable or animal. He resides alike in each particle of dust as in the high and huge mountain ranges, and He rides as swiftly on the wings of winds as He sleeps in the depths of the earth. 12 He appoints the eight internal and external organs of sense and action to their several functions, and He has made dull and dumb creatures as inert as stones and mute as if they sitting in meditation. 13 He has filled the skies with emptiness and the rocks with solidity. He has dissolved waters to fluidity and has concentrated all light and heat in the sun. 14 He has spread these wonderful scenes of the world like clouds sprinkle charming showers of rain, both as endless and constant as they are charming and sweet to sight.
15 It is He who causes the appearance and disappearance of worlds in the sphere of His infinity, like waves in the ocean, and in whom these phenomena rise and set like the running sands of the desert. 16 His spirit is the indestructible soul that resides as the germ of decay and destruction inside animals. It is so minute as to lie hidden within the body, and so huge as to fill all existence.
17 His nature (prakriti) spreads Herself like a magic vine throughout the space of emptiness and produces the fair fruit in the form of the cosmic egg (brahmanda), while the outward organs of bodies, resembling the branches of this plant, keep dancing about the stem (the intelligent soul), shaken by the breeze of life which is ever fleeting. 18 It is He who shines as the gem of intelligence in the heart of the human body, and it is He from whom the luminous orbs constituting the universe continually derive their luster.
19 It is that colossus of intelligence which like a cloud sheds ambrosial draughts of delight to soothe our souls and showers forth innumerable beings everywhere like raindrops. It bursts into constant flashes showing the prospects of repeated creations which are as momentary as flashes of lightening. 20 It is His wonderful light that displays the worlds to our wondering sight, and it is from His being that both real and unreal derive their reality and unreality.
21 The unconscious and ungodly soul turns to the attractions of others against its own purpose, while the tranquil soul rests in itself.
22 It is He who transcends all existences, and by whom all existent beings are bound, in their proper times and places, to their destined actions, as they are also bound to their free actions, motions and efforts of all kinds. 23 It is He who from His personality of pure consciousness (cit, cosmic consciousness), became of the form of emptiness, then by means of His empty mind and empty thoughts filled it with substances, wherein His soul was to reside, and whereon His spirit had to preside.
24 Having thus made the infinite hosts of worlds in the immense sphere of the universe, He is yet neither the agent of any action nor the author of any act in it, but remains ever the same as the sole One alone, in His unchangeable and unimpaired state of self-consciousness, and without any fluctuation, evolution or adhesion of Himself, as He is quite unconcerned with the world.
• • •
Chapter 6 — Honest Effort Required to Attain Self Knowledge
1 Vasishta said:— It is by the knowledge of this transcendent Supreme Spirit and God of gods that one may become an adept, and not by the rigor of religious austerities and practices. 2 Here nothing else is needed than the culture and practice of divine knowledge, and thereby the truth being known, one views the errors of the world like a satisfied traveler looks at a mirage in a clear light.
3 God is not far from or too near us. He is not obtainable by what He is not (such as adoration of images and ritual acts). He is the image of light and joy and is perceivable in ourselves. 4 Here austerities and charities, religious vows and observances are of no good whatever. It is only the calm peacefulness of one’s own nature that is of value fort a person to serve God.
5 The best means to attain divine knowledge are fondness for the society of the righteous and devotion to the study of good books. Ritual services and practices serve only to strengthen the trap of our inborn delusions, which only true knowledge can sever. 6 As soon as one knows one’s own inner light to be God, one gets rid of his miseries and becomes liberated in his living state.
7 Rama said, “Having known the Self in himself, one is no more exposed to the evils of life or even of death itself. 8 But say, how is this great God of gods to be attained from such great distance (as we are placed from Him), and what rigorous austerities and amount of pains are necessary for it?”
9 Vasishta replied:— He is to be known through your courageous efforts (in knowledge and faith) and by the aid of clear understanding and right reasoning, and never by the practice of austerities or ablutions, or by acts attended with bodily pain of any kind. 10 For know, O Rama, that all your austerities and charities, your painstaking and mortification, are of no efficacy unless you wholly renounce your passions and enmity, your anger, pride and selfishness, and your envy and jealousy. 11 For whoever with a heart full of vile passions is liberal with money he has earned by defrauding others, the merit of such liberality accrues to the rightful owner of the property and not to its professed donor. 12 Whoever observes any vow or rite with a mind moved by passions, he passes for a hypocrite and reaps no benefit of his acts.
13 Therefore, for putting down the diseases and disturbances of the world, try your manly exertions in securing the best remedies of good precepts and good company. 14 No other course of action, except to exert one’s courage, is conducive to allaying all the miseries and troubles of this life.
15 Now learn what this courage is so that you may attain wisdom and annihilate the maladies of passions, affections and animosity in your nature. 16 True courage consists in remaining in an honest calling that conforms with the law and good customs of your country, and in a contented mind that shrinks from savoring the enjoyments of life. 17 It consists in the exertion of one’s energies to the utmost of his power, without bearing any murmur or grief in his soul, and in one’s devotion to the society of the good and perusal of good works and scriptures.
18 He is truly brave who is quite content with what he gets, and spurns at what is unlawful for him to take; who is attached to good company and eager to study faultless works. 19 They who are of great mind, and who have known their own natures and those of all others by their right reasoning, are honored by the gods Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and Shiva. 20 One should diligently turn towards he who is called righteous by a majority of good people as the best and most upright of men. 21 The best scriptures are considered to be those which deal primarily with spiritual knowledge. One who constantly meditates on them is surely liberated.
22 It is by means of right discrimination derived from keeping good company and studying holy works that our understanding is cleared of its ignorance, just like dirty water is purified by kata seeds, and as the minds of men are purified by the by philosophy of yoga.
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Chapter 7 — God Is Pure Consciousness; the Phenomenal World Is Non-Existent
1 Rama said, “Tell me, O holy one, about this God that you have spoken of, whose knowledge, you said, leads to our liberation. Where is He situated and how can I know Him?”
2 Vasishta replied:—
This God of whom I spoke is not at any distance from us. He is situated within these our bodies, and He is known to us as the form of pure Consciousness. 3 He is All in all, but all this world is not the omnipresent Himself. He is One alone, but is not all that is visible.
4 It is this Consciousness that is in Shiva who wears the crescent moon on his head. It is the same in Vishnu who rides on his garuda eagle, and in Brahma who is born of the lotus. The sun also is a particle of this Intelligence.
5 Rama replied, “So it is, and even children say that if the whole world is mere Consciousness, then why call it by another name? What is the use of teaching anyone about it (when everyone is full of Intelligence)?”
6 Vasishta replied:—
If you believe pure Consciousness is the same as the intelligent world, then you know nothing about how to get rid of this world. 7 The world is truly intelligent, O Rama, but the animal soul is called a brutish (pashu, animal) observer of things because it looks only after sensual gratifications, which gives rise to only fears of disease, decay and death. 8 The animal soul (jiva), though an incorporeal substance, is an ignorant thing and subject to pain and sorrow. The mind (manas) also, though capable of intelligence, has become the root of all evils. 9 Intellectual liberation from thoughts of the world is one state; unintelligent gazing at it is another. He who knows the better of these two states of the soul has no cause of sorrow.
10 He who has seen the all surpassing Supreme Being, has all of his heart strings cut asunder and all the questions of his mind driven away. The effects of his acts are washed away. 11 The longing after phenomena does not cease unless the perception of phenomena is effaced from the mind.
12 How then is this perception to be effaced? How is it possible to have a longing after the unintelligible Intelligence without suppressing our longing for phenomena? It is only possible by avoiding the external perceptions of the mind.
13 Rama said, “Sage, tell me about that empty animal soul, and how the knowledge of such soul does not enable one to get rid of his reincarnation. 14 Tell me also, who is that man who by company with the good and study of good works has crossed the ocean of the world and beholds the Supreme Soul in himself?”
15 Vasishta replied:—
Whatever animal souls, having been cast into the wilderness of this life, long after this intelligent soul, they are truly wise and know Him (in themselves). 16 Whoever believes the animal soul to be the life of the world and thinks Consciousness requires pain, he can never know Him anywhere. 17 If the Supreme Soul is known to us, O Rama, the succession of our sorrows is ended, like the fatal cholera after extraction of its poison.
18 Rama said, “Tell me, O holy one, about the true form of the Supreme Soul, by light of which the mind may escape from all its errors.”
19 Vasishta replied:—
The Supreme Soul is seen in ourselves and within our bodies in the same way as we are conscious that our minds are still be within us after its flight to distant countries. 20 Our notion of the Supreme Spirit is often lost in the depth of our minds in the same way as the existence of the outer world becomes extinct in our consciousness during yoga meditation. 21 We lose our sense of seeing and the seen in the knowledge of Him who is a non-empty vacuum or a substantive emptiness. 22 He whose substance appears as a vacuum and in whom exists the empty fullness of the universe, and who appears as emptiness itself, in spite of the multitude of His creation existing in Him, is truly the form of the Supreme Soul. 23The form of the Supreme Soul (that you want to know) is He who though full of intelligence, appears to stand before us like an unconscious huge rock, and who, though quite subtle in his nature, seems to be some gross body to our conception. 24 That which encompasses the inside and outside of everything, and assumes the name and nature of everything to itself, is truly the form of the Supreme.
25 As light is connected with sunshine, and emptiness with the sky, and as omnipresence is present with everything and everywhere, such is the form of the Supreme Spirit (that you want to know).
26 Rama asked, “But how are we to understand that He who bears the name and nature of absolute and infinite reality should yet be compressed within anything visible in the world? Such is quite impossible to believe.”
27 Vasishta replied:—
The false conception of the creation of the world resembles the false impression of colors in the clear sky. It is wrong, O Rama, to take something as real which does not exist in nature.
28 It is the knowledge of Brahman that constitutes His form, or else there is no act of His whereby He may be known to us. He is entirely devoid of any visible form, and therefore there is no better way for anyone other than to know Him as truth. 29 After all trace of phenomena is gone, there remains a pre-eminent object of conception, which is inborn and manifest of itself. 30 This concept of the Super-eminent, having no visible appearance, often has no reflection, and at other times it is reflected in the mirror of the mind.
31 Nobody has ever conceived this transcendent Truth in himself, who has not at the same time been convinced of the impossibility of the existence of the visible world.
32 Rama replied, “Tell me, O sage, how the existence of so many extensive worlds composing the visible universe can be thought of as unreal or comprised in the minutiae of the Divine Mind, like Mount Meru in a sesame seed?”
33 Vasishta replied:—
If you stay in the company of holy men a few days, and if you study sacred scriptures with a steady mind with me, 34 then I will purge this false view of phenomena from your understanding, like a delusive mirage from one’s sight. This absence of the view will extinguish your sense of being the viewer, and restore you to your intelligence alone.
35 When the viewer is united with the view, and the view with the viewer, then duality becomes unity; duality blends into an inseparable unity.36 Without union of the two there is no success of either. When viewer and the view have disappeared, only one unity remains.
37 I will cleanse the impurity of all your sense of “I” and “you,” the world and all other things from the mirror of your mind, by bringing you to your consciousness of self and the total negation of everything else. 38 From nothing never comes a something and from something never proceeds a nothing, so there is no difficulty whatever in removing what does not exist in nature.
39 In the beginning this world which appears so very vast and extensive was not in being. It resided in the pure spirit of Brahma. It has evolved from the mind of Brahma. 40 The thing called the world was never produced, it is not in being, and it does not actually appear. It is like gold in the form of a bracelet. It is not difficult to alter and reduce to its gross metallic state.
41 I will explain it fully by other examples whereby this truth may appear of itself and impress itself irresistibly in your mind. 42 How can something be said to exist that was never brought into existence? How can there be water in the mirage, or the ring of an eclipse in the moon? 43As a barren woman has no son and a mirage has no water, and as the sky has no plant growing in it, so there is no such thing as what we falsely call the world.
44 Whatever you see, O Rama, is the indestructible Brahma himself. I have shown you this many times with good reasoning and not just with mere words. 45 It is unreasonable, O intelligent Rama, to disregard something a learned man tells you with good reasoning. The dull-headed fellow who neglects to listen to the words of reason and wisdom is deemed as a fool and is subject to all sorts of difficulties.
Chapter 8 — Nature of Good Scriptures; Yoga Vasishta as the Treasury of All
1 Rama asked, “How can it be reasonably shown and established that there is nothing to be known and seen in this world, although we have obvious notions of it supported by sense and right reasoning?”
2 Vasishta answered:— This endemic of fallacious knowledge (of the reality of the world) has been prevalent for a long time. It is only by true knowledge that this wrong application of the word “world” can be removed from the mind.
3 I will tell you a story, Rama, for your success in this knowledge. If you pay attention to it, you will become both intelligent and liberated. 4 But if the impatience of a brutish creature makes you get up and leave after hearing only half of this story, then you shall reap no benefit from it. 5Whoever seeks some object and strives after it, he of course succeeds in getting it; but if he becomes tired of it he fails.
6 Rama, if you keep to the company of the good and to the study of good scriptures, then surely you will arrive at your state of perfection in course of a few days or mouths, according to the degree of your diligence.
7 Rama said, “O you, who are best acquainted with the scriptures, tell me which is the best scripture for the attainment of spiritual knowledge, such that its familiarity may release us from the sorrows of this life?”
8 Vasishta replied:— Know, O high minded Rama, that this work is the best of all others on spiritual knowledge. It is the auspicious (Yoga Vasishta) Great Ramayana, the scripture of scriptures. 9 This Ramayana is the best of histories, and it serves to enlighten understanding. It is known to contain the essence of all histories. 10 But by hearing these doctrines one easily finds his liberation coming of itself to him. This is why it is regarded as the most holy writing.
11 All the existing scenes of the world will vanish upon their mature consideration, just like thoughts in a dream are dispersed after waking and realizing one had been dreaming. 12 Whatever there is in this work can also be found in others, but what is not found here cannot be found elsewhere. Therefore the learned call this the treasury of philosophy. 13 Whoever attends to these lectures every day shall have his excellent understanding undoubtedly stored day by day with transcendent knowledge of divinity. 14 He who finds this scripture to be disagreeable to his polluted taste, may prefer to browse some other scripture that is more wordy and eloquent.
15 One feels himself liberated in this life by listening to these lectures, just as one finds himself healed of a disease by the potion of some effective medicine. 16 The attentive hearer of these lessons perceives their efficacy in himself in the same way as one feels the effects of curses or blessings that always have their full effects in time. 17 All worldly miseries are at an end with he who considers well these spiritual lectures within himself. A similar effect is hard to be produce through charity or austerities, or through performing rituals ordained in the ancient Vedic texts, or through the many hundreds of practices that scriptures describe.
• • •
Chapter 9 — Description of Living & Bodiless Liberation; God as the Supreme Cause of All (Parama Karana)
1 Vasishta continued:—
They are truly delighted and gratified who with all their hearts and minds are always devoted to holy conversation among themselves. 2 Those devoted to the acquisition of knowledge and investigation of spiritual science enjoy the same bliss of liberation in their living state as it is said to attend disembodied souls.
3 Rama said, “Tell me, O holy one, the difference between liberation with and without a body, that I may try to learn with an understanding enlightened by the light of scriptures.”
4 Vasishta said:—
Whoever remains as he is and continues intact as emptiness amidst society is called the liberated while in the body (jivan mukta). 5 Who remains employed only in his exercise of intellect and seems to be sleeping in his waking state, though he is conducting his worldly affairs, is called liberated while in the body. 6 One whose countenance is neither flushed nor dejected in pleasure or pain, and who remains content with what he gets, is called liberated while living. 7 One whose waking is like the state of sound sleep, who is not awake to the accidents of the waking state, and whose waking state does not sense the desires incident to it, is called liberated in his life.
8 Who, though moved by feelings of affection, enmity, fear and the like, is at rest, as clear and undisturbed as emptiness within himself, is called liberated while he is alive. 9 Who has not an air of pride in him, and is not conceited when he does or refrains to do anything, is called self-liberated in his lifetime. 10 Who with one glance or the wink of his eye has a full view of the whole of creation and the final destruction of the world, like the Supreme Self, is said to be liberated in his lifetime.
11 Whoever is neither feared nor is afraid, and who is free from the emotions of joy, anger and fear, such a person is liberated in life. 12 Who is quiet and quietly disposes his business of this world, and who though he stands as an individual in the sight of men but attaches no individuality to himself, and who though a sentient being is unconscious to all impressions, such a person is the living liberated soul. 13 Who being full of all possessions, and having everything present before him, remains cold and apathetic to them as if they were useless to him, such a man is liberated in his life.
14 Now leaving the subject of liberated while in the body, I will describe what they call liberation without body (videhamukta) which enters the soul like a breath of wind after it has fled from the mortal body. 15 The disembodied free spirit neither rises nor sets, nor is it subject to wane. It is neither manifest nor hidden. It is not at a distance, nor is it in me, you or in any other person.
16 It shines forth in the form of the sun and preserves the world like Vishnu. It creates the world in the shape of the lotus-born Brahma, and destroys all as Rudra or Shiva. 17 It takes the form of the sky supported on the shoulders of air that supports all living beings, gods, sages and demigods in the three worlds. It takes the form of boundary mountains that separate earth from sky.
18 It becomes the earth and supports these numerous types of beings. It takes the forms of trees, plants and grass, and yields fruits and grains for nourishment. 19 It takes the forms of fire and water and burns and melts in them by itself. It sheds ambrosia in the form of the moon, and causes death in the shape of poison. 20 It becomes light with which it fills the sky, and it spreads darkness in the form of dullness (tamas). It becomes vacuum to leave empty space for all, while in the form of hills it obstructs their free passage on earth. 21 In the form of the fleet mind it moves the self-moving animals, and in the form of dull matter it fixes that which is incapable of motion. It girds the earth by its form of the ocean, just like a bracelet encircles the arm.
22 The bodiless spirit takes upon it the great body of the sun and illuminates all the worlds with their minute particles while it remains quiet in itself. 23 Whatever is shining in this universe or ever was or is to be so, in any of the three — past, present and future times — know them all, O Rama, as forms of the Divine Spirit.
24 Rama said, “Tell me, O holy one, why this view of liberation appears so very difficult to me. It makes me believe that liberation is altogether incomprehensible and unattainable by anybody.”
25 Vasishta replied:—
This liberation is called nirvana and it is also called Brahman. Attend now to the means of its attainment.
26 All such visible objects known as “I”, “you”, “this” and the like, because they are unproduced from the eternal being (sat) of God, it is impossible to have any conception of them in our minds.
27 Rama said, “I think, O best of them who know the knowable, that the bodiless souls of the liberated, when they pass through the bounds of the three worlds, have to be born again according to the course of nature.”
28 Vasishta replied:—
Those who retain a memory of the three worlds have to move about in them, but those who have lost the idea of their existence are absorbed in infinity. 29 For how can one derive knowledge of the unity of God from his belief in duality, the separate existence of the world? Therefore the figurative sense of the cosmos as God (Vishwa) can not give the spiritual and infinite idea of Brahma.
30 He is no other but himself, of the nature of pure intellect, and of the form of the clear and tranquil emptiness. Brahma is said to be the world in order to signify his manifestation of its unreality as a reality to us. 31 I have well considered a golden bracelet and found nothing as a bracelet in it except its gold. 32 I observed the billows and found nothing in them but water. Where there was no water I saw no wave to rise. 33 I see no vibration anywhere except in wind, which is the only force in motion moving all things in the world.
34 As emptiness abides in air and water appears in the burning deserts, and as there is light spread over all creation, so the spirit of Brahma manifests in the three worlds in the forms of the very worlds themselves.
35 Rama said, “Tell me, O sage, what makes this world, with its nature of absolute non-existence, exhibit such distinct appearances in its phenomena? 36 Tell me also, if the viewer and the view both become extinct, how can their nirvana or absorption in the deity remain without their personalities? 37 Again, as it is impossible to conceive the existence of phenomena, say how is it possible to conceive the existence of the invisible Brahma in his own nature? 38 By what mode of reasoning can this truth be known and ascertained and, this being accomplished, there remains nothing else to be inquired into?”
39 Vasishta replied:—
This false knowledge or predisposition towards the reality of the world has been long prevalent, like a chronic disease, and must be removed only by the specific mantra of reasoning. 40 However, it can not be expelled quickly or in a minute. That requires some time, like the ascent and descent of an even sided precipice. 41 Therefore listen to what I say in order to dispel your fallacy of the world through arguments, logical inferences, and habitual meditation.
42 Rama, listen to a tale that I am to tell for your attainment of this knowledge. By hearing it you will become intelligent, wise and liberated. 43 I will now talk about the subject of the production of the world in order to show you that all that is produced serves to bind our souls to the earth, and so that you may live quite free from such bondage. 44 I will tell you about creation and how the false conception of the world is as unsubstantial as emptiness itself.
45 This world appears to contain moving and unmoving beings and abounds in various races of gods, spirits, kinnaras (body of man and head of horse), 46 storm gods and other demigods. All these become invisible and lose themselves in nothing at the ultimate dissolution of the world. 47Then there remains a moist and hollow deep without light and spread with a thick mist, everything undefined and undeveloped, except something that which is Real and lasts forever.
48 There was no air or form of anything, no sight or anything to be seen. There were no multitudes of created and material beings that appear to be endless and everlasting to view. 49 There was a nameless Self, the fullest of the full in its form. It was neither entity nor non-entity, neither reality nor unreality. 50 It was mere Intellect without its exercise of intellect, Infinite without decay, auspicious and full of bliss. It was without beginning, middle or end, eternal and imperishable.
51 In Him this world is manifest like a pearly goose in a painting. He is and yet is not this creation. He is the soul of both what is real and unreal.52 He is without ears, tongue, nose, eyes or touch, yet He hears, tastes, smells, sees and feels everything in all places and at all times.
53 He is also that (intellectual) light whereby we discern the form of that real and unreal Being in his perspective of creation, as the One without beginning or end, and as presenting an image without color or shade. 54 He is that empty Soul who views the worlds as clearly as the yogi with his half closed eyes who fixes his sight between his eyebrows and beholds Him in the form of indescribable light. 55 He is the cause of all, He whose cause is as nothing as the horns of a rabbit, and whose works, like so many waves of the sea, are all these worlds.
56 His light is ever shining everywhere, and He has his seat in the human heart. It is from the candle light of His Consciousness that all the worlds derive their light. 57 It is He without whose light the sun would dwindle into darkness, and whose existence alone gives the world its appearance of a mirage. 58 It is His pulsation that vibrates throughout the universe and it is His inertia that stops the course of the whole. It is on that pivot that the world has its revolution, just like a whirling firebrand describes a circle.
59 His nature is pure and unchangeable. The works of creation and destruction are mere acts of His will in the persons of Brahma and Hara. 60It is His inertia and force that gives rest and motion to all things, like the ubiquitous course of the winds. But this is only a common belief that He moves. In reality His nature is free from any and all change.
61 He is always awake in His ever sleeping state, and therefore cannot be said to be waking or sleeping anywhere at anytime. He is both awake and asleep everywhere and at all times. 62 His quiescence is attended with bliss and tranquility, and His agitation puts the world in motion and in its course of action, yet He is said to remain unaltered in both states which unite in Him.
63 He is inherent in all things as fragrance is innate in the flower, and He is indestructible like the fragrance remains after the flower is destroyed. He pervades all things, yet is as intangible as the whiteness of linen.
64 He, though speechless, is the author of all speech and sound. Though He appears to be as unthinking as a stone, He is full of thought. He, though fully satisfied with His bliss, enjoys all things, although He requires nothing for Himself. 65 He, though without body, moves all the members of the body and is described (in the Vedas) as having a thousand arms and eyes. He, having no support for Himself, is yet the support of all, and pervades the whole without being seated anywhere. 66 He, having no organs or organic power, is the Organ of organs and performs the functions of innumerable organs. Having no mind that senses, He exhibits endless designs of His Divine Mind in the infinity of creation.
67 It is because of our lack of knowledge of Him that we are in constant dread of this delusive world, just as we are afraid of snakes. It is at His sight that all our fears and desires fly far away from us. 68 It is in the presence of the clear light of that God of truth that all the wishes of our minds have a better play, just like actors dance best when they have light.
69 It is by Him that a hundred types of visible objects arise every moment to our view, like the ceaseless series of waves, billows and surges rising on the surface of the waters. 70 It is He who exhibits Himself other than what He is, in hundreds of different shapes to our mistaken minds, just like gold is made to appear in the various forms of bracelets, armlets and a hundred other sorts of trinkets.
71 He who manifests Himself as the soul abiding in me, you and in every other person, yet is not me, you, he or it, is the Supreme Soul or Self that is the same with and apart from all. 72 It is He and the same being, whether you view Him in one or more objects, as it is the same water that heaves itself in this or the other wave. Thus all visible phenomena have their rise from Him. 73 He from whom time has its counting and that which can be seen has its appearance, by whom the mind exercises its thinking powers, and by whose light the world is enlightened, is the Supreme. 74Whatever forms, figures and their actions, whatsoever flavors and odors, and what sounds, touch, feelings and perceptions there are or that you can sense, know them all and their cause also to be the Supreme.
75 You will be able to know your own soul, O good Rama, if you can see with the vision that lies between the looker and the object looked upon. 76 Know it as uncreated and indestructible, without beginning or end. It is the eternal and everlasting Brahma and bliss itself. It is immaculate and infallible, highly adorable and without fault in its nature. It is beyond all description and a mere void in its form. It is the cause of causes and a notion of something that is unknowable. It is understanding and the inner faculty of the intellect or the mind.
Chapter 10 — The Emptiness upon Universal Dissolution Is Not Empty; Description of God
1 Rama said, “That which remains after the universal dissolution is commonly designated by the term ‘formless void.’ 2 Then how can you say that there was no void, light or darkness? 3 How could it be without the intellect and the living principle? How could the entities of the mind and understanding be lacking in it? 4 How could there be nothing and not all things? You have used other similar paradoxical expressions that have created much confusion in me.”
5 Vasishta said:— You have raised a difficult additional question, Rama, but I shall have no difficulty to solve it, just like the sun is at no pains to dispel the darkness of night. 6 At the end of a great kalpa age when there remains that entity of God, it cannot be said to be a void, as I will now explain to you. Attend Rama and hear.
7 Like images carved in bas-relief upon a pillar, this world was made in relief upon that Entity. It cannot be said to have been a void. 8 Again, when there was the appearance of abundance under the name of the world, and be it real or unreal, it could not have been a void and empty.
9 As a pillar with carved or painted figures cannot be said to be devoid of them, so Brahma exhibiting the worlds contained in him can not become a void. 10 But the world contained in Brahma becomes both something and nothing, just like billows in calm waters may either exist or not exist. 11 Again it happens that the hand of time marks certain figures in some places on some unconscious trees, and these marks are mistaken by people for images. So it comes to pass that certain figures of impermanent matter occur in the eternal mind which men mistake for the real world.
12 This comparison of the carved pillar, the tree and the world, is a partial and not complete simile. The similarity refers only to the impression of the transient world on the substance of the permanent Brahma. 13 But this appearance of the world is not caused by another. It rises, lasts and sets spontaneously and of itself in the same essence of Brahma. It is the nature of the Divine Soul and the mind to raise and set such images in them, like the creations of our imagination.
14 The meaning of the word void (shunya) instead of no void (ashunya) or existence is a fiction. It is as false as emptiness is a none-existence in nature. Something must come out of something, and never from a void nothing. How can nothing be reduced to nothing in the end?
15 In answer to your second question, it has been said “and there was no darkness.” Because the divine light of Brahma (which existed before creation) is not like the light of a material luminary (which is followed by darkness). The everlasting light cannot be hidden by darkness, like sunshine or moonlight or the blazing of fire or the twinkling of stars or our eyes. 16 What we call darkness is the absence of light from the great celestial suns. God having no material property in his immaterial essence, there could be no such light or darkness with Him before creation.
17 The light of the empty Brahma is an internal perception of the soul and is only felt and perceived within one’s self, and never externally by anybody. This spiritual light is never clouded by any mist or darkness of temporal objects. 18 The indestructible Brahma is beyond and free from external and visible light and darkness. He is above the region of emptiness that is contained, as it were, within his bosom, and contains the universe sheathed within His hollow womb.
19 As there is no difference between the outside and inside of a fruit, so there is no shade of difference between Brahma and the universe. 20As a wave is contained in and composed of water, and a clay pot of the earth, so the world being contained in Brahma, it can not be said to be null and void but is full of the spirit of God. 21 The comparison of earth and water does not agree physically with the spiritual essence of God, whose empty spirit contains and comprises the whole (vishwa, universe) within itself, as those elements have their component parts and productions. 22 Now, as the sphere of the intellect is far clearer and brighter than the spheres of air and empty space, so the sense and idea of the word “world” in the Divine Mind is clearer in a far greater degree than this visible world appears to us.
23 (In answer to the third question with regard to the lack of intellect), it is said that like the pungency of pepper is perceived by one who tastes it and not by him who has never tasted it, so the minutiae of the Intellect are known in the intellectual sphere by a cultivated intelligence, and not by one who is without it.
24 Thus the Intellect appears as no intellect to one who is devoid of Intelligence in himself. So this world is seen in the spirit of God or otherwise according to whether one has cultivated or neglected his spiritual knowledge. 25 The world can be seen either in its outward form as other than Brahma or in a spiritual light as the same with Brahma. The yogi views it in its fourth (turiya) state of utter extinction (susupta, deep sleep) in his unconscious soul. 26 Therefore the yogi, though leading a secular life, remains in deep sleep in his soul, and tranquil (shanta) in his mind. He lives like Brahma unknown to and unnoticed by others, and though knowing all and full of thoughts in himself, he is like a treasury of Knowledge, unknown to the rest of mankind.
27 (In answer to the question how corporeal beings could proceed from incorporeal Brahma,) as waves of various shapes rise and fall in the still and shapeless breast of the sea, so innumerable worlds of various forms float about in the unaltered and formless emptiness of Brahma’s bosom. 28 From the fullness of the Divine Soul (Brahmatma) proceeds the fullness of the individual soul (jivatma) that also is formless (nirakriti). This aspect of Brahma is said to be owing to the purpose of manifesting himself (as living in all living beings). 29 So the totality of worlds proceed from the fullness of Brahma, yet the same totality remains as Brahma himself.
30 Considering the world in our minds as synonymous with Brahma, we find their identity like one finds by taste that pepper and its pungency are the same thing. 31 Such being the state of the unreality of the mind and what it can perceive, their reflections upon each other are as untrue as the shadow of a shadow.
32 Know Brahma is smaller than the smallest atom and the minutest of minutest particles. He is purer than air and more tranquil than the subtle ether that is enclosed in him. 33 Unbounded by space or time, his form is the most extensive of all. He is without beginning or end, an indescribable light without brightness. 34 He is of the form of cosmic consciousness (chit) and eternal life, without the conditions and accidents of life. The Divine Mind has its will eternal and it is devoid of the desires of finite minds.
35 Without consciousness there is no life or understanding, no exercise of intellect, no organic action or sensation, and no mental desire or feeling whatever. 36 Hence the Being that is full of these powers, and who is without decline or decay, is seen by us to be seated in His state of tranquil emptiness, and is more subtle than the rarefied vacuum of the ethereal regions.
37 Rama said, “Tell me again and more precisely about the form of this transcendental Being who is of the nature of infinite intelligence so that I may have more light in my understanding.”
38 Vasishta said:— I have told you repeatedly that there is one supreme Brahma, the cause of causes, who remains alone by Himself when the universe is finally dissolved or absorbed in Him. Listen to me describe Him fully to you.
39 That which the yogi sees within himself in his samadhi meditation, after forgetting his personality and repressing the faculties and functions of his mind, is truly the form of the unspeakable Being. 40 The yogi absorbed in meditation without awareness of the visible world or any sense of the viewer or the viewed, and who sees the light shining in himself, is the form of that Being. 41 He who has forgotten the nature of the individual soul (jiva) and his tendencies towards phenomena remains in the pure light and tranquil state of his consciousness and is the form of the Supreme Spirit. 42 He who does not feel wind or the touch of anything upon his body, but lives as a mass of intelligence in this life, is truly the form of the Supreme.
43 Again, that state of the mind which a man of sense enjoys in his long and deep sleep, undisturbed by dreams or gnats, is truly the form of the Supreme. 44 That which abides in the hearts of emptiness, air and stone, and is the intellect of all inanimate beings, is the form of the Supreme. 45Again, whatever irrational and unconscious beings live by nature without soul or mind, the tranquil state of their existence is the nature of the Supreme Lord. 46 That which is seated in the midst of the intellectual light of the soul, and what is situated in the midst of the ethereal light of the sun, and that which is in the midst of light that we can see is truly the form of the Supreme.
47 The soul that is the witness to our knowledge of solar and visual lights and darkness, and is without beginning or end, is the form of the Supreme. 48 He who manifests this world to us and keeps Himself hidden from view, be He the same or distinct from the world, is the form of the Supreme. 49 He, though full of activity, is as sedate as a rock and who though not emptiness appears to be empty, such is the form of the Supreme.
50 He who is the source and end of our triple consciousness of the knower, known and knowledge, is most difficult of attainment. 51 He who shines forth with the luster of the triple conditions of the knowable, knower and their knowledge, and shows them to us as a large unconscious mirror, is truly the form of the Supreme who is not the cause but the source of the triple category.
52 The mind liberated from bodily activities and its dreaming, remaining concentrated in the consciousness abiding alike in all living as well as inert bodies, is said to remain in the end of our being. 53 The intelligent mind that is as fixed as an immovable body and is freed from the exercise of its faculties can be compared to the Divine Mind.
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Chapter 11 — There Can Be No Creation or Dissolution of Something that Never Existed
1 Rama said, “Tell me, O holy one, where does this world go after its dissolution when it does not retain its present form or its magnificent appearance?”
2 Vasishta answered:— Tell me, Rama, what is the form of the barren woman’s son? Where does he come from and where does he go? Tell me also, where does a castle in the sky come from and where does it go?
3 Rama replied, “There never was, nor is there, nor will there ever be a son of a barren woman, or a castle in the sky. Why do you ask me about the form and figure of something that is nothing?”
4 Vasishta said:— As there never was a barren woman’s son or a city in the air, so there never existed any scene such as that of the world. 5That which has no existence could not have come from anywhere, nor can it have its dissolution afterwards. So what can I tell you about its origin or demise?
6 Rama replied, “The son of a barren woman and a city in the sky are mere fictions, but the visible world is not so and it has both beginning and end.”
7 Vasishta replied:— It is hard to have a comparison where the subject and object of the comparison agree in all respects. The world and its objects allow no comparison other than with themselves. 8 The appearance of the world is compared with that of a bracelet because the one is as false as the other. Neither is real. 9 And because there is nothing in the sky except negative emptiness, so the existence of the world in Brahma is only a negative idea. 10 As the black eye-liner collyrium is nothing other than blackness, and as there is no difference between frost and its coldness, so the world is not other than the great Brahma himself.
11 As the property of coldness cannot be denied of the moon and frost, so one cannot describe creation as not being of God. (Literally, creation is not a negative property of Brahma, but essential to His nature.) 12 As there is no water in a sea of the mirage, or light in the new moon, so this world, as it is (in its gross state) does not abide in the pure spirit of God.
13 That which did not exist owing to the lack of any cause has no present existence and cannot be destroyed. 14 How is it possible for a dull material object to have any cause other than a material one? In the same way it is not the light (but some solid substance) that is the cause of a shadow. 15 But as none of these works has come into existence without some cause, that cause, whatever it is, is displayed in what it produced. 16Whatever appears as ignorance or illusion has some appearance of intelligence or truth, just like the illusion of the world seen in a dream displays the effect of consciousness within us. 17 Just like the illusion of the world in a dream is not without our inner consciousness of it, in the same way Brahma was not unconscious of the expansion of the world at the beginning of creation.
18 All that we see about us is situated in the Divine Soul. There is no other world that rises and sets (except what is imprinted in our minds).
19 As fluidity is another name for water and fluctuation the same with wind, and as sunshine is nothing other than light, so the world is nothing but Brahma (displayed in nature). 20 As the appearance of a city resides in the inner consciousness of a person who is conscious of his dreaming, in the same manner this world is displayed in the Supreme Soul.
21 Rama said, “If it is so, then tell me, O holy one, from where do we get our belief of its materiality? How is it that this unreal and visionary impression presents its baneful visible aspect to us? 22 If the view is in existence, there must be its viewer also, and when there is the viewer there is the view likewise. As long as either of these is in existence, there is our bondage. Our liberation chiefly depends on the disappearance of both (which can hardly take place). 23 It is entirely impossible to be liberated as long as our notion of the view is not lost in our minds. Unless the view is vanished both from the vision of the eyes and mind, no one can even form an idea in his mind of liberation.”
24 “Again the representation of the view at first and its obliteration afterwards are not enough for our liberation because the memory of the view is sufficient to bind the soul. 25 Moreover, when the picture of the view is impressed on the soul and reflected in the mirror of the mind, there is no need for its recollection (for what is deeply rooted in the soul comes out of itself). 26 The intellect, which at first was without the notion of phenomena, would be entitled to liberation, but once it has seen, it has taken on the impression of what it has seen.”
27 “Now sage, please use your reasoning to remove my hopelessness of liberation which, I imagine, is unattainable by any.”
28 Vasishta said:— Hear me, Rama, explain to you at length how the unreal world with all its contents appears to us as real. 29 For unless it is explained to you by my reasoning, stories and examples, this doubt will not subside in your breast like mud settles in a lake. 30 Then Rama, you will be able to conduct yourself on earth as one assured that the creation and existence of the world are false concepts. 31 You will then remain like a rock against the impressions of wealth and poverty and of gain and loss, and whether your relation with anything is fleeting or lasting.
32 Know that there is that only one spirit which is self-existent. All else is mere fiction. I will now tell you how the three worlds were produced and formed. 33 It was from Him that all these beings have come to existence, while He of himself is all and everything in it. He likewise appears to us and disappears also, both as forms and their appearances, and as the mind and its faculties, and as figures and their shapes, and as modes and motions of all things.
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Chapter 12 — Detailed Description of Original Creation, Elements in Their Subtle Forms
1 Vasishta said:— From the state of perfect stillness and tranquility of the supremely holy Spirit, the universe rose to being in the manner that you must hear with your best understanding and attention.
2 As sound sleep displays itself in visionary dreams, so Brahma manifests Himself in the works of creation, of which He is the soul and receptacle. 3 The world, which of its nature is continually progressive in its course, is identical with the essence of that Being, whose form is selfsame with the indescribable glory of His eternally brilliant Intellect (chintamani, the wish-fulfilling jewel). 4 This Intellect (chit, cosmic consciousness), before assuming to itself consciousness or the knowledge of self, gets of itself and in itself an exercise of intellection (a thought). (This is the first stage in perception by the soul).
5 Then this thinking Intellect (chetya-chit) gets the notions (bodha, knowledge or truth) of some faint images (uhita-rupas) which are purer and lighter than air, and which receive their names and forms only later. (The innate ideas are born before the embryonic mind or soul). 6 Afterwards this transcendent essence (Intellect, Consciousness) becomes an intelligent principle (sacheta) eager for intelligence (chetana). It is now worthy of its name as Intellect or chit on account of its having attained what is called intelligence.
7 Lastly it takes the form of gross consciousness (ghana-samvedana) and receives the name of the individual soul (jiva as the living cosmic soul or Hiranyagarbha). It now loses its divine nature by reflecting on itself. 8 Then this living principle is involved in thoughts relating only to the world, but its nature depends on the divine essence (as the fallacy of the snake depends on the substance of the rope).
9 Afterwards an empty space rises into being called kham (vacuum) which is the seed or source of the property of sound and which later becomes expressive of meaning. 10 Next in order, the elements of egoism and duration are produced in the individual soul. These two terms are the roots of the existence of future worlds.
11 This ideal knowledge in Divine Spirit of the unreal forms of the network of world was made to appear as a reality by omnipotent power. 12Thus the ideal self-consciousness became the seed (or root) of the tree of desires that ego fluctuates in the form of air. 13 The intellect in the form of airy ego thinks on the element of sounds (shabda tanmatram, the element of sound in its subtle form) and it becomes by degrees denser than the rarified air and produces the element of mind.
14 Sound is the seed (or root) of words that later became diverse in the forms of names or nouns and significant terms. Words evolved and became as numerous as shoots on trees, and as varied as inflected speech, sentences, and the collections of Vedas and other scriptures. 15 It is from this Supreme Spirit that all these worlds derived their beauty and the multitude of words (which sprang from the sounds), full of meaning, became widespread. 16 Consciousness expressed as this family of its offspring is described as the living individual soul (jiva) which afterwards became the source of all forms of beings known under a variety of expressions. 17 From this individual soul sprang the fourteen kinds of living beings that fill the cells in the bowels of all worlds.
18 It was then that Consciousness, by a motion and inflation of itself and as instantaneously as a thought, became the subtle-form element (tanmatra) of touch and feeling (the air), which was yet without name or action. This breath caused air, which expanded itself and filled all bodies that are objects of touch and feeling. 19 The air, which is the seed (root) of the tree of tangibles, then developed itself into branches composed of the various kinds of winds that cause breath and motion in all beings.
20 Then, at its pleasure and from its idea of light, Consciousness produced the elemental essence of luster, which later received its different names (sunlight, moonlight, starlight, firelight, lightening). 21 Then the sun, fire, lightning and others that are the seeds (or roots) of the tree of light, caused the various colors that filled the world.
22 Consciousness reflected on the lack of fluidity and produced the liquid body of waters whose taste constitutes the element (tanmatra) of flavor in its subtle form. 23 The desire of the soul for different flavors (rasa, bliss) is the seed of the tree of taste, and it is by the relish of a variety of tastes that the world is to go on in its course.
24 Then the self-willed Brahma, wishing to produce the visible earth, caused the property of smell to appertain to it from his own subtle element of it. 25 He made his elemental solidity the seed or source of the tree of forms, as he made his own element of roundness underlie the spherical world.
26 These elements are all evolved from Consciousness and remain within Consciousness, just like bubbles of water rise and subside in itself.27 In this manner, all beings remain in their combined states until their final dissolution into simple and separate forms. 28 All things, which are only forms and formations of pure Intellect, remain within the sphere of Divine Intelligence, as the subtle form of a big banyan tree resides in the forms of pollen and seed. 29 These sprouted forth in time and burst out into a hundred branches. Having been concealed in an atom, they became as big as if they were to last forever.
30 Such is the growth and multiplication of things within Consciousness until development is stopped by its contraction, then weakened in their bodies by its desertion, until they droop down in the end. 31 In this way the elements in their subtle forms (tanmatras) are produced in Consciousness out of its own volition and are manifested to sight in the form of formless minutiae. 32 These five-fold elements are only the seeds of all things in the world. They are seeds of the primary momentum that was given to them (in the beginning). To our way of thinking, they are the seeds of elementary bodies, but in their real nature, they are the uncreated ideal shapes of Consciousness replenishing the world.
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Chapter 13 — On the Production of the Self-Born
1 Vasishta said:— Rama, when the Supreme Brahman remains in his resplendent and tranquil state (before creation), there is no essence of ethereal light or heat or even darkness produced in the intellectual spirit. (But they lie hidden there as if buried in oblivion).
2 The Being (sat) that is God begins with the attribute of intellectuality (chetya). It is from the exercise of intellect (chetana, intuitive consciousness) of his intellectual part (chetyansa) that the name of mind (chitta, the memory aspect of mind) is attributed to Him. The faculties (shakti, power) of his intellect (chit, universal consciousness) are called its intelligence (chetana, life, spirit, visible, conscious).
3 Cosmic Consciousness (chit) or Intellect, from its intelligence (chetana), then has the attribute of the individual, the individual soul (jiva) and connection with the intelligible objects in nature. Then when it is subject to intelligible objects, having a subtle, elemental form of the sense of individual self (aham matra), it can be named maya or illusion. 4 Then from the excess of its egoism (ahanta) that is full with the purposes of its mind and of the elements of sound and other sense objects, it has the attribute of understanding (buddhi, individual intelligence, the intuitive, faculty of direct intelligence controlling the sense organs, the organ of mind responsible for discrimination and judgment).
5 This (living, deluded and self reflecting) ego is puffed up with thoughts of all things and looks upon the great tree of the visible world (as the great garden for its pleasure and gain). 6 Living souls, like so many impermanent objects seen in a dream, are made to rise and fall one after the other in this great forest of the world surrounded by skies and space.
7 But the world is as continuous as a grove of karajna plants that grow from unsown seeds, and its elements of water, fire, earth and air have no regard for anybody (living or dead). 8 The Consciousness that is the soul of the universe creates the earth and all other things, like one remembers his dreams. 9 Wherever there is the germ of the world, it develops itself in that place. The live elements are the five-fold seed of the world, but the un-decaying Consciousness is the seed of the five-fold elements (pancha bhoota, i.e., earth, water, fire, air and space).
10 As the seed so is its fruit. Therefore know the world is a form and full of God. Know the spacious sky is the reservoir of the five elements in the beginning of creation.
11 The soul, like the body, is composed of the powers of Consciousness and does not exist of itself, but being inflated by Consciousness, it extends its bulk. 12 But the empty form of Consciousness, seated in the spiritual body of the soul, cannot be composed of solid reality. This is not possible. Therefore nothing can come from an impossibility.
13 Again, that which is changeable in its form cannot have its sameness at all times. Therefore, if the substance of the five elements is attributed to Brahma, from an idea within the essence of His spirit, there can be no immaterial and unchanging Brahma. (I.e., Brahma would also have to be material and subject to change.) 14 Therefore know these five elements are the developed Brahma himself as he evolved them in the beginning, and he is their producer for the creation of the world. 15 He being the prime cause of their production, there is nothing that exists without him and the world is no product of itself.
16 The unreal appears as real just like a city is seen in a dream, and like a castle built in the air by our hopes. In the same way we place the individual soul in ourselves, which has its foundation in the empty spirit of God. 17 Thus the brilliant spirit, situated in the Divine Intellect, being no earthly or any other material substance, is called the individual soul and remains in emptiness like a luminous body rising in the sky.
18 Hear now how this empty individual soul, after its detachment as a spark from the totality of vital spirits, comes to be embodied in the human body within the empty sphere of Divine Consciousness.
19 At first the soul thinks it is like a minute particle of light, then it considers itself to be growing in the sphere of its consciousness. 20 The unreal appearing real in the end proves to be unreal, just like an imaginary moon becomes nothing. So the soul continues to see itself subjectively and objectively both as the viewer and the view. 21 Thus the single self becomes double, just as one sees his own death in a dream. Thus it waxes into bigness and thinks its vital spark is a star. (This is the form of the linga deha within the body, the sentient soul, the subtle or astral body.) 22 As the soul continues to think of itself as a microcosm of the universe (vishwarupa), it falsely thinks itself to be within such reality, a thought expressed by “soham” (so am I). 23 By thinking of himself this way, a man comes to believe it to be true, just like one believes himself to be a traveler in his dream. So by thinking the soul as a star (light body), he views it so within himself.
24 By continually thinking about his soul this way, he loses his external sensations and views this star in his head. 25 He sees the soul within himself as though it exists without him, just like a mirror reflects the distant hill in itself. He sees the soul confined within him like a body stuck in a well, and like a sound is confined in the hollow of a cave. 26 Consciousness of our dreams and desires is an attribute of the individual soul whose real form is that of a star keeping watch within us.
27 Now this empty life composed of the essences of the mind — understanding and knowledge — resides in the hollow sheath of the star. 28 It appears to me to take flight to the sky in order to see what is passing there. Then it enters the body by two holes which later are named the external organs (of sight). 29 The organs by which the embodied individual soul is to see are called the eyes. That by which it feels is called the skin. Those whereby it hears are ears. 30 The organ of smell is the nose, and that which conducts flavor to the spirit, the sense of taste, is the tongue. 31 Then there is breathing air — the breath of life — which moves the energies of the organs of action. It is this air which is the cause of vision and the mover of the internal organs of mind and thought. 32 Vital breath supports the body and the all supporting soul in the emptiness of the body, and fills and kindles it like air kindles a spark of fire.
33 The word jiva or the individual soul has a figurative meaning: “something real in the unreal body.” Hence Brahma is said to be the life and soul of the unreal world. 34 The gross embodied soul is in the form of emptiness, like the mind, yet it imagines itself to reside in an egg-shaped space inside the body, as Brahma is supposed to be seated in the cosmic egg. 35 Some view the spirit of God as floating on the surface of the waters (in the form of Narayana). Others view it in the person of the Lord of creatures (Pashupati, Shiva). There are others who look at the spirit of God as infused throughout the creation in the figure of Viraj (the primordial man). These are called the subtle and gross bodies of the soul (sukshma and sthula sharira ).
36 The soul or spirit is the spacious womb of production. It is the means of executing its own purposes and of knowing the proper time and place. It is the article and the manner of action. 37 The mind is the inventor of words, expressive of ideas (in the soul), and subjects itself to the arbitrary sounds of its own invention. Hence, in this world of errors, God is falsely said to be embodied in the words (shabda Brahma, the Brahma of speech, of Mimansa philosophy).
38 The unproduced and self-born Brahma that has risen of himself (and represents the mind) is as unreal as a man dreaming he is flying in the sky. 39 This all supporting and embodied soul is the creator Lord of Creatures who is said to have formed this illusory frame of the world. 40 But in reality, nothing was formed or born, nor is there any substance to be found in the world. It is still the same empty form of Brahma whose essence is known to extend as the infinite space itself.
41 Things that appear to be real are as unreal as an imaginary city. They present a variety of forms and colors to the fancy, but have not been built or painted by anybody. 42 Nothing that is unmade or un-thought of can be real, and the gods Brahma and others, being freed from their business at the universal dissolution of existence, could neither resume their functions to make or have materials with which to make. 43 The self-born Brahma, having neither memory of the past nor any material with which to work, would not be able either to form an ideal or to make anything material. Therefore, Brahma producing anything and any formation of the universe are both impossible.
44 The earth and all other existence are the eternal ideas of the Divine Mind. They appear to us to be objects in a dream that is our waking state. 45 The Divine Spirit is known only as an emptiness, therefore the world must also be emptiness because like produces like. So all waters are liquid, though they are made to pass under different names.
46 This creation is everywhere the same in the Supreme Spirit. It is only an evolution of the same and the Creator is always and everywhere unchanging in His nature. 47 The empty universe, under the name of the cosmic egg, shines as clearly as the Divine Spirit. It is calm in its appearance and becomes disturbed by causes born in itself. 48 It is supported by the unsupported Supporter of all who is one and without a second, but devoid of unity in creation. All this is born in His consciousness and therefore there is nothing new that is produced.
49 He who is of the form of unlimited space without any emptiness in it, who is transparent yet teeming with abundance, and who is the whole world without any worldliness in him, truly underlies everything. 50 He who is neither the container nor the contained, nor the appearance of the world, who is neither the world nor its creator, and about whom there can be no dispute or disputant, is truly the unknown God. 51 He who is neither the passing world nor any of its passing things, who is quite at rest yet situated in all things (whether moving or quiescent), is the only Brahma that shines of himself in himself.
52 The idea of the fluidity of water allows our minds to form an image of a whirlpool. In the same way, the sight of the world produces the false notion of its reality in the mind. 53 All unrealities become extinct at the end, as we see the death of our frail bodies in dreams. The essential part of our soul remains unscathed because of its own nature of indestructibility in the form of everlasting consciousness in the atmosphere of our intellects.
54 Brahma, the prime Lord of creatures, is ever manifest by himself in the form of emptiness in the Supreme Spirit. He being of a spiritual form, like the mind, has no material body formed of earth or any other material. Therefore He is both real and unborn.
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Chapter 14 — No Individual Souls, only One Brahma; Each Is Brahma; Brahma Creates the Rules and Delegates
1 Vasishta added:—
In this manner the visible world, I, you, and all other things are nothing. Being unmade and unborn, they are nonexistent. It is only the Supreme Spirit that exists of itself.
2 The primeval empty soul first is awakened of itself by its own energy from its quietness, then begins to have a motion in itself like the troubled waters of the deep. 3 Then it begins to reflect in itself, like in a dream or imagination, without changing its empty form, like a rock with an inner faculty of thought.
4 The body of the great god Viraj (“Untainted”) is also devoid of any material form, whether earthly or any other elemental shape. It is purely a spiritual, intellectual and ethereal form, as transparent as the ether itself. 5 It is without decay, steady like a rock, and as airy as a city seen in a dream. It is inert as the line of a regiment painted in a picture. 6 All other souls are like pictures of dolls and puppets painted, and not engraved, on the body of Viraj like on a huge pillar. He, standing as an uncarved column in the empty sphere of Brahma, represents all souls (and not bodies) as they are mere pictures on it.
7 The prime lord of creatures is said to be self-born. He is known as the uncreated (Brahma) for want of his prior acts to cause his birth. 8 The primeval patriarchs (progenitors) who obtain their ultimate liberation at the final dissolution of the world have no antecedent cause to be reborn as unliberated mortals. 9 Brahma, who is the reflector of all souls, is himself invisible in the inward mirror of other souls. He is neither the view nor the viewer, and neither the creation nor the creator himself.
10 Therefore, although Brahma has nothing that can be described, and has nothing that may be affirmed or denied about Him, yet He is the soul of everything that can be described. He is the source of these chains of living beings, just as light is the cause of a line of lighted lamps in illuminations.
11 The will of the gods (Brahma and Viraj), proceeding from the volition of Brahma, is of the same spiritual nature as the other; just as one dream rising in another is equally as insubstantial as the first. 12 Hence all individual souls evolved from the breathing of the Supreme Spirit are of the same nature as their origin because there is nothing else that could cause or contribute towards cause. 13 Lack of a secondary agency produces the equality of effects and their cause. Hence the uniformity of created things proves wholly false any conception of their creation by a secondary cause.
14 Brahma himself is the prime soul of Viraj and is identical with him, and Viraj is the soul of creation and identical with it. He is the empty vitality of all, and it is from Him that the unreal earth and other things have their rise. (Viraj is the spirit of God diffused in nature.)
15 Rama said, “Tell me whether the individual soul is a limited thing or an unlimited mass of life? Or does the unbounded spirit of God exist in the shape of a mountainous heap of individual souls? 16 Are these individual souls like showers of rain falling from above, or like the drizzling drops of waves in the vast ocean of creation, or like the sparks of fire struck out of a red-hot iron? From where do they flow, and by whom are they emitted? 17 Sage, tell me the truth concerning the profusion of individual souls. Though I have a partial knowledge of it, I require your more complete and clear explanation.”
18 Vasishta replied:—
There is only one individual soul of the universe so you can not call it a multitude. Therefore your question is quite out of place, like a question about the horns of rabbits.
19 There are no detached individual souls, O Rama, nor are they to be found in multitudes anywhere, nor was there a mountainous heap of souls known to have existed at anytime. 20 “Jiva“, the individual soul, is only a fictitious word with many more fictions heaped upon it, all of which, as you must know for certain, does not apply to the soul.
21 There is only one pure and immaculate Brahma who is mere Consciousness (chinmatram) and all pervasive. He assumes to himself all attributes by His almighty power. (Here Brahma is represented not only as omniscient and omnipotent, but also as saguna, with attributes, by his assumption of all attributes.)
22 Many regard the individual soul as evolving itself from Consciousness into the many visible and invisible forms (murta-mutam), just like a plant is seen to develop itself into its fruits and flowers. 23 They add the attributes of the living principle — understanding, action, motion, mind and unity and duality — to the soul as if these appertain to its nature. 24 But all this is caused by ignorance, while right understanding assigns them to Brahma. The ignorant are bewildered by these different views of the soul, and they will not be awakened to sense. 25 These different believers are lost in their various views like light is lost under darkness. They will never come to the knowledge of truth.
26 Know that Brahma himself is the individual soul without any divisibility or distinction. He is without beginning or end. He is omnipotent and is of the form of the great Consciousness which forms his essence. 27 His lack of minuteness (his fullness) in all places precludes the ability to give him any distinctive name. Whatever attributes are given to him are all to be understood to mean Brahma himself.
28 Rama asked, “How is it, O holy one, that the totality of the individual souls in the world is guided by the will of one Universal Soul that governs the whole and to which all others are subject?”
29 Vasishta replied:—
Brahma, the great individual soul and omnipotent power, remained from eternity with his will to create without partition or alteration of himself.30 Whatever is wished by that great soul comes to take place immediately. The wish it first formed in its unity became a positive duality at last. Then its wish “to be many” became separate existences afterwards. 31 All these dualities of His self-divided powers (the different individual souls) had their several routines of action allotted to them, such as “this is for that,” meaning “this being is for that duty, and such action is for such end.”32 Thus though there can be no act without effort (by the general rule as in the case of mortals), yet the predominant will of Brahma is always prevailing without effort to action.
33 Though living beings effect their purposes by exertion of their energies, yet they can effect nothing without acting according to the law appointed by the predominant power. 34 If the law of the predominant power is effective to attain an end, then the exertions of the subordinate powers (the individual souls) to that end must also be successful. 35 Thus Brahma alone is the great individual soul that exists forever and without end, and these millions of living beings in the world are nothing other than agents of the divine energies.
36 It is with a consciousness of the intellectual soul (the inner knowledge of God within themselves) that all individual souls are born in this world. But losing that consciousness (their knowledge of God) afterwards, they became alienated from him. 37 Hence men of inferior souls should pursue the course of conduct led by superior souls in order to regain their spiritual life (atmajivatwam), just like copper becomes transformed into gold (by chemical process). 38 Thus the whole body of living beings that had been as nonexistent as air before comes into existence and rises resplendent with wonderful intellect. 39 Whoever perceives this wonderful intellect in his mind, then gets a body and the consciousness of his egoism, is said to be an embodied individual soul.
40 The mind gratified with intellectual delights becomes as expanded as the intellect itself and thinks those pleasures constitute the sum total of worldly enjoyments. 41 Consciousness is said to remain unchanged in all its succeeding stages, and although it never changes from that state, yet it awakes (develops) by a power intrinsic in itself. 42 The uninterrupted activity of Consciousness indulges itself in the amusement of manifesting phenomena in the form of the world.
43 The extent of the intellectual faculty is wider and more rarefied than the surrounding air, yet it perceives its distinct egoism by itself and of its own nature. 44 Its knowledge of self springs of itself in itself like water in a fountain. It perceives itself (its ego) to be only an atom amidst endless worlds. 45 It also perceives in itself the beautiful and wonderful world which is amazing to understanding and which thereafter is named the universe.
46 Now Rama, our egoism, being only a conception of the intellect, is a mere fiction (kalpana). The elementary principles being only creatures of egoism, they are also fictions of the intellect. 47 Again the individual soul being only a result of our acts and desires, you have to renounce these causes in order to get rid of your knowledge of “I” and “you” and then, after discarding the fictions of the real and unreal, you attain to the knowledge of the true One.
48 As the sky looks as clear as before after the shadows of clouds are dispersed from it, so the soul, after its overshadowing fictions have been removed, looks as bright as it existed at first in Consciousness.
49 The universe is a vacuum and the world is a name for the field of our exertions. This emptiness is the abode of the gods (Vishwa and Viraj, both of whom are formless). The wonderful frame of plastic nature is only a form of the formless consciousness and nothing else.
50 One’s nature never leaves him at anytime. How then can a form or figure be given to the formless Divinity? 51 Divine Intellect is exempt from all the names and forms given to unintelligent worldly things, it pervading and enlivening all that shines in the world. (Intellect or consciousness is the power of understanding.) 52 The mind, understanding and egoism, with the five elements, hills, skies and all other things that compose and support the world, are made of essences proceeding from consciousness. (The intellect gathering information contains all things.)
53 Know that the world is the mind (chitta) of the consciousness (chit) of God because mind does not exist without the world. If the world did not exist, that would prove that the mind and consciousness, which consist of the world, do not exist. (Therefore, the intelligent world is identical to the mind and intellect of God.)
54 The intellect, like the pepper seed, possesses an exquisite property within itself. Like the flavor of pepper, the intellect has the element of the individual soul, which is the element of animated nature.
55 As the mind exerts its power and assumes its sense of egoism, it derives the principle of the individual soul from the Intellect, which with its breath of life and action is afterwards called a living being. (The mind is what thinks, moves and acts.) 56 Consciousness (chit), exhibiting itself as the mind (chitta), bears the name of the purpose it has to accomplish which, being temporary and changeable, is different from Consciousness and a nonexistence. 57 The distinction of actor and act does not consist in Consciousness, it being eternal. Neither is Consciousness the author or the work itself. But the individual soul, which is active and productive of acts, is called purusha — the embodied soul residing in the body. It is action which makes a man purusha, from which is derived his manhood (paurusha).
58 Life with the action of the mind constitutes the mind of man. The mind taking a sensitive form employs the organs of sense to their different functions. 59 He, the Consciousness whose radiant light is the cause of infinite blessings to the world, is both its author and the workmanship from all eternity. There is none beside Him. 60 Hence the ego or individual soul in its essence is indivisible, uninflammable, and incapable of being soiled or dried. It is everlasting and infinite, and as immovable as a mountain.
61 There are many that dispute this point, as they in their error dispute other matters and mislead others into the same errors. But we are set free from all mistake. 62 The dualist (who makes a distinction between eternal and created souls), relying on phenomena, is deceived by their varying appearances. But the believer in the formless unity relies on the everlasting blessed Spirit.
63 Fondness for intellectual culture is attended with the spring blossoms of intellect that are as white as the clear sky and as numberless as the parts of time.
64 Consciousness exhibits itself in the form of the boundless and wonderful universal egg, and it breathes out the breath of its own spirit in the same egg. 65 Then it shows itself in the wonderful form of the primordial waters, not as they rise from springs or fall into reservoirs, but like those substances that constitute the bodies of the best of beings. 66 It next shines forth with its own intellectual light, which shines as bright as the humid beams of the full moon. 67 Then as Consciousness rises in full light with its internal knowledge, phenomena disappear from sight. In the same way, Consciousness is transformed to dullness by dwelling upon gross objects, when it is said to be lying dormant. In this state of Consciousness, it is lowered and confined to the earth.
68 The world is in motion by the force of Consciousness in whose great emptiness it is settled. The world is lighted by the light of that Consciousness, and is therefore said to both exist and not exist by itself. 69 Like the emptiness of that Intellect, the world is said now to exist and now to be nonexistent. Like the light of that Intellect, the world now appears and now disappears from view. 70 Like the fleeting wind breathed by that Intellect, the world is now in existence and now nonexistent. Like the cloudy and unclouded sphere of that Intellect, the world is now in being and now not in being. 71 Like the broad daylight of that Intellect, the world is now in existence, and like the disappearance of that light, it now becomes nothing. It is formed of the active (rajas) quality of the Intellect, like black collyrium eyeliner made from particles of oil.
72 It is Intellectual fire that gives warmth to the world. It is the alabaster of the Intellect that causes its whiteness. The rock of Intellect gives it hardness, and its water causes its fluidity. 73 The sweetness of the world is derived from the sugar of the Intellect, and its juiciness from the milk in the Divine Mind. Its coldness is from the ice, and its heat from the fire contained in the same. 74 The world is oily by the mustard seeds contained in Consciousness and billowy in the sea of the Divine Mind. It is sweet by the honey and golden by the gold contained in the same. 75 The world is a fruit of the tree of Consciousness and its fragrance is derived from the flowers growing in the tree of the mind. It is the existence of Consciousness that gives the world its being, and it is the mold of the Eternal Mind that gives its form.
76 The difference is that this world is changing while the clear atmosphere of Consciousness has no change in it. The unreal world becomes real when it is seen as full of the Divine Spirit. 77 The unchanging sameness of the Divine Spirit makes the existence and nonexistence of the world the same. The words ‘part’ and ‘whole’ are wholly meaningless because both are full with the Divine Spirit.
78 Shame on those who deride ideas as false talk because the world — with its hills, and seas, earth and rivers — is all untrue without the idea of God’s presence in it. 79 Consciousness being an unity cannot be mistaken for a part of anything. Though it may become as solid as a stone, yet it shines brightly in the sphere of its emptiness. 80 It has a clear empty space in its inside, like a transparent crystal, that reflects the images of all objects, though it is as clear as the sky. 81 As the lines on the leaves of trees are neither parts of the leaves nor distinct from them, so the world situated in Consciousness is not part of it or separate from it.
82 No detached soul is a varied growth, but retains in its nature the nature of consciousness, and Brahma is the primary cause of causes. 83The mind is of its own nature a causal principle, by reason of its idea of the Intellect, but its existence is hard to prove when it is insensible and unconscious of the Intellect. 84 Whatever is in the root comes out in the tree, just as we see seeds shoot forth in plants of its own species.
85 All the worlds are as empty as emptiness, yet they appear otherwise because they are situated in the Great Consciousness. All this is the seat of the Supreme, and you must know it by your exercise of intellect.
86 As the sage spoke these words, the day declined to its evening twilight. The assembly broke with mutual salutations, to perform their evening rituals, and, after dispersion of the nocturnal gloom, met again at the court hall with the rising sunbeams.
Chapter 15 — Story of Leela and Saraswati (Padma’s Body on the Shrine)
1 Vasishta said:— The world is a void and as null as the pearls in the sky (seen by optical delusion). It is as unreal as the soul in the emptiness of consciousness. 2 All its objects appear like un-engraved images on the column of the mind that is without any engraving or engraver.
3 As the motion of waters in the sea causes waves to rise of themselves, so phenomena as they appear to us are like waves in the calm spirit of the Supreme. 4 Like sunbeams seen underwater, and like water appearing in the sands of the desert (mirage), so it is fancy that paints the world as true to us. The world’s bulk is like that of an atom appearing like a hill. 5 The fancied world is no more than a facsimile of the mind of its maker, just as sunbeams underwater are only reflections of the light above, a false idea.
6 The ideal world is only a castle in the air, and this earth is as unreal as a dream and as false as the objects of our desire. 7 In the light of philosophy, the earth that appears solid is no better than the water in the mirage of a sandy desert. It is never in existence. 8 In this supposed substantial form of the world, the illusive forms of phenomena resemble only castles in the sky and rivers in a mirage. 9 If the visible scenes of the world were to be weighed on scales, they would be found to be as light as air and as hollow as a vacuum.
10 The ignorant taken away by the sound of words in disregard of their meanings, when they come to their senses, will find that there is no difference between the world and Brahma. 11 The dull world is the issue of Consciousness, like sky is of sunbeams. The light of Consciousness is like the light of the rarified rays of the sun that, like water from huge clouds, causes seeds to shoot into plants.
12 As a city in a dream is finer than one seen in the waking state, so this world that can be seen is as subtle as an imaginary one. 13 Therefore know the dream world to be the inverse of the conscious soul, and the substantive world to be the reverse of the insubstantial vacuum. The words fullness and vacuum are both as empty as airy breath because these opposites are only different views of the same Consciousness. 14 Therefore know that this visible world is no production at all. It is as nameless as it is undeveloped, and as nonexistent as its seeming existence.
15 The universe is the sphere of the spirit of God in infinite space. It has no foundation elsewhere except in that Spirit of which it is only a particle filling a space equal to a bit of infinity. 16 It is as transparent as the sky and without any solidity at all. It is as empty as empty air and like a city pictured in imagination.
17 Attend now to the story of the Temple which is pleasant to hear and which will impress this truth deeply in your mind.
18 Rama said, “Tell me at once, O holy one, the long and short of the story of the temple, which will help my understanding of these things.”
19 Vasishta said:— In the past, on the surface of the earth, there lived a king named Padma (Lotus) because he was like the blooming and fragrant lotus of his race. Padma was equally blessed with wisdom, prosperity and good children. 20 He observed the bounds of his duties, just as the sea preserves the boundaries of countries. He destroyed the mist of his adversaries, like the sun dispels the darkness of night. He was like the moon to his lotus-like queen, and like burning fire to the hay of evils and crimes.
21 He was the asylum of the learned, like Mount Meru is the residence of the gods. He was the moon of fair fame risen from the ocean of the earth. He was like a lake to the geese of good qualities, and like the sun to the lotuses of purity. 22 In warfare, he was like a blast to the vines of his antagonists. He was like a lion to the elephants (desires) of his mind. He was the favorite of all learning, a patron of the learned, and a mine of all admirable qualities. 23 He stood fixed like Mount Mandara after it had churned the ocean of the demons. He was like spring season to the blossoms of joy, and like the god of the floral bow to the flowers of blooming prosperity. 24 He was the gentle breeze to the shimmering of playful vines, and like the god Vishnu in his valor and energy. He shone like the moon on the florets of good manners, and like wildfire to the brambles of licentiousness.
25 His consort was the happy Queen Leela (Play), playful as her name implied and filled with every grace, as if Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, had appeared in person upon earth. 26 She was gentle with her submission to her lord, and was sweet in her speech without art. She was always happy and slow in her movements, and ever smiling as the moon. 27 Her lovely lotus-white face was decorated with painted spots, and her fair form, fresh as a new blown bud, appeared like a moving bed of lotuses.
28 She was buxom as a playful plant and bright as a branch of kunda jasmine flowers, full of glee and good humor. With her palms red like coral and her fingers white as lilies, she was in her person a collection of spring beauties. 29 Her pure form was sacred to touch and conferred joy to the heart, like the holy stream of the Ganges exhilarates a flock of swans floating upon it.
30 Leela was like a second Rati born to serve her lord. Padma was Kama in person on earth to give joy to all souls. 31 She was sorry at his sorrow and delighted to see him delightful. She was thoughtful to see him pensive. Thus she was an exact picture of her lord, except that she was afraid to find him angry.
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Chapter 16 — The Lives of Queen Leela & King Padma; Leela Performs Tapas to Saraswati; Padma’s Death
1 This husband with a single wife enjoyed the pleasure of an undivided and sincere love in the company of his only consort, just as with a heavenly nymph (apsara) on earth. 2 The seats of their youthful play were gardens and groves, tree gardens of shrubs, and forests of tamara trees. They also played in pleasant tree gardens of vines and delightful alcoves of flowers. 3 They delighted themselves in the inner apartments on beds decked with fragrant flowers, and on walks strewn with fresh blossoms. In spring they amused themselves in the swinging cradles of their pleasure gardens, and in summer heat they rowed in their boats.
4 Their favorite summer resorts were hills overgrown with sandalwood and the shade of forests, the groves of nipa and kadamba trees, and canopies of paribhadra and devadaru cedars. 5 They sat beside beds of kunda and mandara plants, fragrant with the smell of full-blown flowers, and they strayed about the spring-green woods resounding with the melody of nightingales’ notes. 6 They enjoyed the glossy beds of grassy tufts, the mossy seats of woods and lawns, and water-falls flooding the level lands with showers of rain. 7 They often visited mountain ledges overlaid with gems, minerals and richest stones, as wells as the shrines of gods and saints, holy hermitages and other places of pilgrimage. 8 They frequently haunted lakes of full-blown lotuses and lilies, smiling kumudas of various colors, and woodlands darkened by green foliage and overhung with flowers and fruit.
9 They passed their time in the amorous dalliances of god-like youths. Their personal beauty was graced by their generous pastimes of their mutual fondness and affection. 10 They amused each other with clever remarks and witticisms and solution of riddles, with story telling and playing tricks of hold-fists, and with various games of chess and dice. 11 They diverted themselves by reading dramas and stories, and by interpreting stanzas difficult even for the learned. And sometimes they roamed about cities, towns and villages.
12 They decorated their bodies with wreaths of flowers and ornaments of various kinds. They feasted on a variety of flavors, and moved about with playful negligence. 13 They chewed betel leaves mixed with moistened mace, camphor and saffron. They hid the love marks on their bodies under the wreaths of flowers and coral that adorned them. 14 They frolicked playing hide and seek, tossing wreaths and garlands, and swinging one another in cradles decorated with flowers. 15 They went on trips in pleasure-boats, and on yokes of elephants and tame camels. They played in their pleasure-ponds by splashing water on one another.
16 They had their manly and feminine dances: the sprightly tandava and the merry lasya. They sang songs with masculine and feminine voices, the kala and giti. They had enjoyed harmonious and pleasing music, playing stringed and percussion instruments. 17 In their flowery conveyances they passed through gardens and pathways, by rivers and on highways, and into the inner apartments of their royal palaces.
18 The loving and beloved Queen Leela, being thus brought up in pleasure and indulgence, at one time thought within herself with a wistful heart, 19 “How will my lord and ruler of earth, who is in the bloom of youth and prosperity and who is dearer to me than my life, be free from old age and death? 20 And how will I enjoy his company on beds of flowers in the palace, possessed of my youth and free-will, for long, long hundreds of years? 21 Therefore I will endeavor with all my vigilance, prayers, austerities and efforts to know how this moon-faced prince may become free from death and decline. 22 I will ask the most knowing, the most austere, and the very learned brahmins how men may evade death.”
23 She accordingly invited the brahmins and honored them with presents, and humbly asked them to tell her how men might become immortal on earth. 24 The brahmins replied, “Great queen, holy men may obtain success in everything by their austerities, prayers and observance of religious rites, but nobody can ever attain to immortality here below.”
25 Hearing this from the mouths of the brahmins, she thought again in her own mind, and with fear for the death of her loving lord. 26 “Should it happen that I come to die before my lord, then I shall be released from all pain of separation from him, and be quite at rest in myself. 27 But if my husband should happen to die before me, even after a thousand years of our lives, I shall so manage it that his soul may not depart from the confines of this house. 28 The spirit of my lord will rove about the holy vault in this inner apartment and I shall feel the satisfaction of his presence at all times.”
29 “For this purpose, I will start this very day to worship Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom, and offer my prayers to her, and observe fasts and other rites to my heart’s content.” 30 Having so determined, she began to observe the strict rituals of the scriptures without her lord’s knowledge.
31 She kept her fasts and broke them at the end of every third night. She entertained the gods, brahmins, priests and holy people with feasts and due honors. 32 She performed her daily ablutions, she distributed alms, and she practiced austerities and meditation. In all of these she was painstakingly observant of the rules of pious devotion. 33 She also attended to her unaware husband at the stated times. To the utmost, she took care of him and performed her duties as required by law and custom. 34 Thus observant of her vows, with resolute and persevering painstaking and unfailing austerity, the young queen passed a hundred of her three-night ceremonies.
35 Saraswati, the fair goddess of speech, was pleased at the completion of Leela’s hundredth three-night ritual in the goddess’ honor, performed with all outward and spiritual courtesy. The goddess spoke to her saying, 36 “I am pleased, my child, with your continued devotion to me, and your constant devotion to your husband. Now ask the boon that you would have of me.”
37 Queen Leela replied, “Be victorious, O moon-bright goddess, to end all the pains of our birth and death, and the troubles, afflictions and evils of this world. Like the sun, put to flight the darkness of our affections and afflictions in this life. 38 Save me, O goddess and parent of the world. Have pity on this wretched devotee and grant her these two boons that she begs of you.”
39 “The one is that after my husband is dead, his soul may not go beyond the precincts of this shrine in the inner apartment. 40 The second is that whenever I call you, you shall hear my prayer, appear before me, and give me your sight and blessing.”
41 Hearing this, the goddess Saraswati said, “Be it so,” and immediately disappeared in the air, just like a wave subsides in the sea from where it had come into view.
42 The queen being blessed by the presence and good grace of the goddess, was as delighted as a doe at hearing sweet music. 43 The wheel of time rolled on its two semicircles of fortnights, the spikes of months, the arcs of the seasons, the loops of days and nights, and the orbits of years. The axle, composed of fleeting moments, gave constant momentum to the wheel.
44 The perceptions of King Padma entered into his subtle body and in a short time, he looked as dry as a withered leaf without its juicy gloss. 45The dead body of the warlike king was laid over a tomb inside the palace. Queen Leela began to fade away at its sight, like a lotus flower without the waters of its birth.
46 Her lips grew pale from the hot and poisoned breath of her sorrow. She was in the agony of death, like a doe mortally wounded by an arrow.47 At the death of her lord, her eyes were covered in darkness like a house becomes dark when its light is extinguished. 48 In her sad melancholy, she became leaner every moment. She became like a dried channel covered with dirt instead of water. 49 She moved one moment and was then mute as a statue. She was about to die of grief, like the ruddy goose at the separation of her mate. 50 Then the ethereal goddess Saraswati took pity on the excess of her grief, and showed as much compassion for Leela’s relief as the first shower of rain does to dying fishes in a drying pond.
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Chapter 17 — Leela Sees Padma and His Court in the Spirit World, Checks Her Own Court to Make Sure It Still Exists
1 Saraswati said, “My child, move the dead body of your husband over to that shrine, strew those flowers over it, and you shall have your husband again. 2 Never will this body rot or fade as long as the flowers are fresh over it. Know that your husband will shortly return to life again. 3His individual soul, pure as air, will never leave this cemetery of your inner apartment.”
4 The black-eyed queen, her eyebrows resembling a cluster of black-bees, heard the goddess’ consolatory speech and was cheered in spirit, like a lotus-bed upon return of the rains. 5 She placed the corpse of her husband on the shrine, hid it under flowers, and remained in expectation of its rising, like a poor man fosters hope of finding a treasure.
6 It was at midnight of the very day, when all the members of the family had fallen fast asleep, that Leela went to the shrine in the inner apartment. 7 There, in the recess of her understanding, she meditated on the Goddess of Knowledge and called her in earnest from the sorrow of her heart, when she heard the divine voice addressing her, 8 “Why do you call me, child? Why are you so sorrowful in your face? The world is full of errors, glaring as false water in a mirage.”
9 Leela answered, “Tell me goddess, where does my husband reside at present? What has he been doing? Take me to his presence, as I am unable to bear the load of my life without him.”
10 Saraswati replied, “His spirit is now wandering in the sky, of which there are three kinds: the physical, the firmament or region of worlds that can be sensed; the other is mental, the region of the mind, the seat of will and creation; and the third is the spiritual region of Consciousness which contains the two others [bhutakasha, element-space; chittakasha, mind-space; and chidakasha, consciousness-space]. 11 Your husband’s soul is now in the sheath of the region of Consciousness. Things can be found in consciousness-space which do not exist here.”
12 “As in passing from one place to another you are conscious of standing in between, so you will instantly arrive at the intermediate region of the mental world (lying between the physical and spiritual worlds). 13 If, after forsaking all your mental desires, you abide in the spiritual world you will certainly come to the knowledge of that spiritual Being who comprehends all in Himself. 14 It is only by your knowledge of the non-existence of the world that you can come to know the positive existence of that Being, as you will now be able to do by my grace, and by no other means whatever.”
15 Vasishta said:— So saying, the goddess repaired to her heavenly seat and Leela sat gladly in her mood of steadfast meditation. 16 Within a moment, she left the prison house of her body. Her soul broke out of its inner bound of the mind to fly freely in the air, like a bird freed from its cage.17 She ascended to the airy region of Consciousness and saw her husband sitting there amidst a group of princes and rulers of the earth.
18 He (as King Viduratha) was sitting on a throne, hailed with the loud shouts of “Long live the king!” and “Be he victorious!” His officers were prompt in the discharge of their different duties. 19 The royal palace and hall were decorated with rows of flags, and there was an assembly of innumerable sages, saints, brahmins and rishis at the eastern entrance of the hall. 20 At the southern porch stood a throng of princes and chiefs of men without number, and standing at the western doorway, a bevy of young ladies. 21 The northern gateway was blocked by lines of horses, carriages and elephants. A guard advanced and informed the king of a war in the Deccan. 22 He said that the Karnatic chief had attacked the eastern frontier, and that the chieftain of Surat had subjugated the barbarous tribes on the north, and that the ruler of Malwa had besieged the city of Tonkan on the west.
23 Then there was the reception of the ambassador from Lanka, coming from the coast of the southern sea. 24 Next appeared the spiritual masters (siddhas) coming from the Mahendra mountains bordering the eastern main, having traversed the many rivers of their river districts. Next appeared the ambassador of the Guhyaka or yaksha tribes that inhabited the shores of the northern sea. 25 Likewise there were envoys visiting from the shores of the western ocean and relating the state of affairs of that territory to the king. The assembly of innumerable chieftains from all quarters filled the entire courtyard with luster.
26 The sounds of brahmins chanting on sacrificial altars were drowned under the sound of tambourines, shouted announcements, and the loud praises of speakers, all re-echoed by the uproar of elephants. 27 The vault of heaven resounded to the sounds of vocal and instrumental music, and the dust raised by the procession of elephants and chariots, and the trotting of horses’ hoofs, hid the face of the sky like a cloud. 28 The fragrance of flowers, camphor and heaps of frankincense perfumed the air, and the royal hall was filled with presents sent from different provinces.29 His fair fame shone forth like a burning hill of white camphor raising a column of splendor reaching to the sky and casting sunlight into shade. 30There were district rulers busily employed in their grave and momentous duties, and great architects who conducted the building of many cities.
31 Then the ardent Leela entered the royal assembly hall of the ruler of men. She was unseen by any, just as one void mixes with another void, and as air is lost in the air. 32 She wandered about without anyone there seeing her, just like a fair figure formed by false imagination of our fond desires is not to be perceived by anyone outside ourselves. 33 In this manner she continued to walk about the palace unperceived by all, just like a castle in the air built in one’s mind is not perceived by another.
34 She saw them all assembled in the royal court in their former forms, and saw all the cities of the princes concentrated in that single city of her lord. 35 She viewed the same places, the same dealings, the same concourse of children, the same sorts of men and women, and the same ministers as before. 36 She saw the same rulers of earth and the very same pundits as before; the identical courtiers and the same servants as ever. 37 There was the same assembly of learned men and friends as before, and the like throng of citizens pursuing their former course of business.
38 She suddenly saw the flames of wildfire spreading on all sides, even in broad midday light, and the sun and moon appearing both at once in the sky, and the clouds roaring with a tremendous noise, with the whistling of the winds. 39 She saw trees, hills, rivers and cities flourishing with population, and the many towns and villages and forests all about. 40 She saw her royal consort as a boy of ten years of age after shaking off his former frame of old age, sitting amidst the hall with all his former retinue, and all the inhabitants of his village.
41 Leela, having seen all these, began to reflect within herself whether the inhabitants of this place were living beings or the ghosts of their former individual souls. 42 Then having recovered her (ordinary) sense at the removal of her trance, she entered her inner apartment at midnight and found the residents fast bound in sleep. 43 She woke her sleeping companions one by one and said she was anxious to visit the royal hall. 44She wanted to sit beside the throne of her lord and to clear her doubt by seeing the courtiers all alive.
45 The royal servants rose up at her call and obedient to her command they said, “Be it so” and attended to their respective duties. 46 A group of staff-bearers ran to all sides to call the courtiers from the city, and sweepers came and swept the ground as clean as if the sun had shed his rays upon it. 47 A better set of servants cleaned the courtyard as clean as autumn days clear the sky of its rainy clouds. 48 Rows of lights were placed about the courtyard, which looked as beautiful as clusters of stars in the clear sky. 49 Throngs of people filled the courtyard, like the ancient earth had been covered by the floods of the great deluge.
50 Dignified ministers and chiefs attended first and took their respective seats, appearing as if they were a set of newly created rulers of the various peoples of the world, or the regents of the quarters of the sky. 51 The cooling and fragrant odor of thickly pasted camphor filled the palace, and the sweet-scented breezes profusely breathed the fragrance of the lotus flowers, which they bore from all sides. 52 The chamberlains stood all around in their white garbs, appearing like an assembly of silvery clouds hanging over the burning hills under the equator. 53 The morning breeze had strewn heaps of flowers over the ground, bright as the beaming dawn dispelling the gloom of night, and bleached as clusters of stars fallen upon the ground. 54 The retinue of the chiefs of the land crowded the palace which seemed like a lake full of full-blown lotuses with fair swimming swans rambling about.
55 There Leela took her seat on a golden seat by the side of the throne. She appeared as beautiful as Rati seated in the joyous heart of Kama.56 She saw all the princes seated in their order as before, and the elders of the people and the nobles of men and all her friends and relatives seated in their proper places. 57 She was highly delighted to see them all in their former states. Her face shone brightly like the moon to find them all alive again.
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Chapter 18 — Leela Wonders which World Is Real; Saraswati Explains
1 Leela said, “I have much consolation in you, and now will I console my sorrowing heart.” So saying, she made a sign for the assembly to break and rose from her royal seat. 2 She entered the inner apartment and sat by the side of the dead body of her lord, hidden under the heap of flowers, and began to reflect within herself.
3 She thought, “O the wonderful magic that presents these people of my palace situated in the same manner outside myself as I saw them seated within me in my meditation. 4 O how great is the extent of this delusion that contains the same high hills and the same spacious forests of palm and hintala trees situated both outside and within me. 5 Like a mirror shows the reflection of hills within itself as they are without it, so the reflector of the intellect presents the whole creation inwardly as it has outside of itself. 6 I must now invoke the goddess of wisdom to determine which of these is illusion and which the sober and certain reality.”
7 So thinking, she worshipped and invoked the goddess, and immediately saw Saraswati in the form of a virgin. 8 She made the goddess sit on an elevated seat and, having seated herself low upon the ground before her, asked that divine power to tell her the truth. 9 Leela said, “Be gracious, O goddess, and clear this doubt of your suppliant, for it is your wisdom that first framed this beautiful system of the universe and knows the truth. 10 Tell me, O great goddess, about what I am now going to relate you, for it is by your favor alone that I may be successful to know it.”
11 “I saw the pattern of this world in the intellect, which is more transparent than the ethereal sphere and so extensive that it contains millions and millions of miles in its small space. 12 No definite words can express what is known as the calm, cool and indescribable light. This is called unintelligible intelligence and is without any cover or support (niravarana nirbhitti). 13 It exhibits the reflections of space and the course of time, and those of the sky and its light, and the course of events concentrating in itself. 14 Thus the images of the worlds are to be seen both within and outside the intellect, and it is hard to distinguish the real and unreal ones between them.”
15 The goddess asked, “Tell me fair maiden, what is the nature of the real world, and what you mean by its unreality?”
16 Leela replied, “I know the real is where I find myself sitting here and looking upon you as seated in this place. 17 What I mean by unreal is the state in which I saw my husband in the ethereal region some time ago, because emptiness has no limit of time or place in it.”
18 The goddess replied, “Real creation cannot produce an unreal figure. A similar cause cannot produce a dissimilar effect.”
19 Leela replied, “But O goddess, we often see dissimilar effects produced from similar causes. The earth and an earthen pot are similar in substance, yet one melts in water and the other holds water.”
20 The goddess said, “Yes, when an act is done by the aid of auxiliary means, there the effect is found to be somewhat different from the primary cause.” (Thus the earthen pot being produced by the auxiliary appliances of fire, the potter’s wheel and the like, differs in its quality from the original clay.)
21 “Say, O beautiful maiden, what were the causes of your husband being born in this earth? The same led to his birth in the other world also.22 When the soul has fled from here, how can the material earth follow him and what auxiliary causes can there be in connection with this cause?23 Whenever there is a contributing cause in addition to the apparent cause, everyone usually attributes the result to some unknown prior cause or motive.”
24 Leela said, “I think, O goddess, that the expansion of my husband’s memory caused of his regenerations, because it is certain that memory is the cause of the reproduction of objects before us.” 25 The goddess replied that memory is an aerial substance and its productions are as unsubstantial as itself.
26 Leela said, “Yes I find memory to be an airy thing, and its reproduction of my husband and all other things within me are only empty shadows in the mind.”
27 The goddess replied, “Therefore your husband and all those other things that appeared to your sight in your reverie truly were such reproductions, my daughter. And so is the appearance of all things I see in this world.”
28 Leela said, “Tell me goddess, in order to remove my conception of the reality of the world, how the false appearance of my formless lord was produced before me by the unreal world.”
29 The goddess replied, “As this illusionary world appeared a reality to you before you had memories of it, so you must know that all this is unreal from what I am going to relate to you.”
Saraswati speaking:— 30 In some part of the sphere of Consciousness there is the great fabric of the world, with the glassy vault of the firmament for its roof on all sides. 31 Mount Meru (the polar axle or mountain) is its pillar, surrounded by the regents of the ten sides, like statues carved upon it. The fourteen regions are like so many apartments of it, and the hollow vault containing the three worlds is lighted by the lamp of the luminous sun. 32 Its corners are inhabited by living creatures resembling ants. They are surrounded by mountains appearing as anthills in the sight of Brahma, the prime lord of creatures and the primeval patriarch of many races of men. 33 All animal beings are like worms confined in cocoons of their own making.
The blue skies above and below are like the soot of this house, beset by bodies of departed spirits resembling groups of gnats buzzing in the air. 34 The fleeting clouds are the smoke of this house or like spider webs in its corners, and the hollow air is full of aerial spirits, like holes of bamboos filled with flies. 35 There are also the playful spirits of gods and demigods hovering over human houses like swarms of busy, buzzing bees about vessels of honey. 36 Here and there, amidst the cavity of heaven, earth and the infernal regions, lay tracts of land well watered by rivers, lakes and the sea on all sides.
37 In a corner of this land was a secluded piece of ground sheltered by hills and crags about it. 38 In this secluded spot sheltered by hills, rivers and forests, there lived a holy brahmin man with his wife and children, free from disease and care of gain and fear of a ruler. He passed his days in his fire-worship and hospitality with the produce of his cattle and lands.
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Chapter 19 — Story of a Former Vasishta & Arundhati
Vasishta relating the story of Leela, Saraswati speaking to Leela:— 1 In his age and attire, in his learning and wealth, and in all his actions and pursuits, this holy man was equal to his namesake, except in his profession. (The one being a secular man, and the other the priest of the royal family). 2 His name was Vasishta.
His wife was Arundhati, fair as the moon and like the star of the same name visible from earth. 3 She resembled her namesake, the priestess of the solar race, in her virtues and parts and in all things, except in her soul and body. 4 She passed her time in true love and affection in the company of her husband, and she was his all in the world, with her sweet smiling face resembling a kumuda flower.
5 Once this holy man had been sitting under the shady sarala trees, on the tableland of his native hill, when he saw the ruler of the land passing below with his gaudy train. 6 He was accompanied by all the members of the royal family and his troops and soldiers. They were going to a hunt with a clamor that resounded in the hills and forests. 7 The white flapper fans shed a stream of moonlight, the lifted banners appeared like a moving forest, and the white umbrellas made a canopy of the sky. 8 The air was filled with dust raised by the horses’ hoofs, and the lines of elephants with their high pavilion saddles seemed like moving towers that protect them from the heat of the sun and the hot winds. 9 The loud uproar of the party, resembling the roaring of a whirlpool, made wild animals run on all sides. Shining gems and jewels were flashing all about on the bodies in the party.
10 The holy man saw this procession and thought to himself, “O how charming is royalty, filled with such splendor and prosperity! 11 Ah, how shall I become the monarch of all the ten sides, and have such a retinue of horse, elephants and foot soldiers, with a similar train of flags, flappers and blazing umbrellas? 12 When will the breeze gently blow the fragrance of kunda flowers and the powdered dust of lotuses to my bed-chamber to lull me and my consorts to sleep? 13 When shall I adorn the faces of my chamber maids with camphor and sandal paste, and enlighten the faces of the four quarters with my fair fame, like the moonbeams decorate the night?”
14 With these thoughts, the holy man determined that for the rest of his life, he would apply himself vigilantly to the rigid austerities of his religion. 15 At last, he was overtaken by infirmities which shattered his body, like the sleets of snowfall batter the blooming lotuses in the lake. 16Seeing his approaching death, his faithful wife was fading away with fear, like a vine withers at the departure of spring for fear of the summer heat.17 Arundhati then began to worship me, as you yourself have, in order to obtain the boon of immortality which is hard to be had.
18 She prayed, “Ordain, O goddess, that the spirit of my lord may not depart from this tomb after his death.” I granted her request.
19 After some time Vasishta the holy man died and his empty spirit remained in the emptiness of that home. 20 By virtue of the excessive desire and merit of acts in his former state of existence, this aerial spirit of the holy man assumed the shape of a mighty man on earth. 21 He became the victorious monarch of the three realms. By his might he subjugated the surface of the earth. By his valor he conquered the high mountains (of the gods). By his kind protection, the nether lands were under his sway. 22 He was like a raging fire to the forest of his enemies, and like the steadfast Mount Meru amidst the rushing winds of business on all sides. He was like the sun expanding the lotus-like hearts of the virtuous. To the eyes of women he was like the god Kama. 23 He was the model of all learning, and the all giving wish-fulfilling tree to his suitors. He was the footstool of great scholars. He was like the full moon shedding ambrosial beams of enlightened rule all around.
24 But after the holy brahmin had died, and his dead body had disappeared into the forms of elementary particles in air, and his airy spirit had rested in the aerial intellectual soul within the empty space of his house, 25 his holy brahmin widow, Arundhati, was pining away in her sorrow, and her heart was rent in twain like a dried pea pod. 26 She became a dead body like her husband. Her spirit, by shuffling off its mortal coil, resumed its subtle and immortal form in which it met the departed ghost of her husband. 27 She advanced to her lord as rapidly as a river runs to meet the sea below its level. She was as cheerful to join him as a cluster of flowers inhale the spring air.
28 The houses, lands and all the immovable properties and movable riches of this holy brahmin Vasishta still exist in that rocky village, and it has been only eight days since the souls of this loving pair were reunited in the hollow vault of their house.
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Chapter 20 — Saraswati Explains Leela’s Former Life as Arundhati
1 Saraswati said to Leela, “That brahmin whom I described before, the one who become a monarch on earth, is the same as your husband. His wife Arundhati is no other than yourself, the best of women. 2 You two are the same pair now reigning over this realm, resembling a pair of doves in your nuptial love, and the gods Shiva and Parvati in your might.”
3 “I have related your past lives to you so that you may know the individual soul to be only air, and that knowledge of its reality is an error. 4False knowledge casts its reflection on consciousness and causes its error also. (Errors in the senses breed errors in the mind.) This makes you doubtful of the truth and untruth of the two states (of the material and intellectual worlds). 5 Therefore the question, ‘Which is true and which is untrue?’ has no better answer than that all creations are equally false and unsubstantial.”
6 Vasishta said:—
Hearing these words of the goddess, Leela was confused in her mind, and with her eyes staring with wonder, she addressed her softly.
7 Leela said, “How is it, O goddess, that your words are so incoherent with truth. You make us the same as the brahmin couple who are in their own house. We are sitting here in our palace. 8 How is it possible that the small space of the room in which my husband’s body is lying could contain those spacious lands and hills and the ten sides of the sky? 9 It is as impossible as confining an elephant in a mustard seed, or a gnat fighting with a body of lions in a nutshell. 10 It is as incredible as to believe a lotus seed contains a hill, or to be devoured by a little bee, or that peacocks are dancing hearing the roaring of clouds in a dream. 11 O great goddess of gods, it is equally improbably to say that this earth, with all its mountains and other things, is contained within the small space of a sleeping room. 12 Therefore, O goddess, please explain this mystery clearly to me, because it is by your favor only that the learned are cleared of their questions.”
13 The goddess Saraswati said:— Hear me, fair maiden! I did not tell you a lie. Transgression of the law is a thing unknown to us. (The law isnanritam vadeta — never tell an untruth.) 14 It is I who established the law when others are about to break it. If I should slight the law, who else is there who would observe it?
15 The individual soul of the village brahmin saw within itself and in his own house the image of this great kingdom, just as his departed spirit now sees the same in its empty void. (Therefore both these states are equally ideal.) 16 After death you lost the memories of your former lives, just like one loses memories of waking events when in the dream state. 17 All are like the appearance of the three worlds in dream, or their formation in the imagination, or like the description of warfare in an epic poem, or like water in the mirage of a sandy desert. 18 The hills and houses seen in the empty space of the brahmin’s house were nothing but the capacity of his own mind to form the images of its fancy and receive the external impressions like a reflecting mirror. 19 All these, though unreal, appear as real substances on account of the reality of consciousness which is seated in the cavity of the innermost sheath of the body and reflects the images. 20 But these images derived from the memories of unreal objects of the world are as unreal as those objects which cast their reflections upon consciousness. Waves rising in the river of a mirage are as unreal as the mirage itself.
21 Know that this chair sitting in this room of your house, as well as myself and yourself and everything else about us, are only the reflections of our consciousness, without which nothing would be perceptible. 22 Our dreams and fallacies, our desires and fancies, and also our notions and ideas serve as the best evidence to understand this truth (that nothing is true beside the subjective mind, which creates and forms, produces and presents all objects to our view).
23 The spirit of the brahmin resided in the emptiness of his house (the body), with the seas, forests and the earth within itself, like a bee lives in the lotus. 24 Thus the habitable earth with everything it contains is situated in a small cell in one corner of consciousness, like a spot of flimsy cloud in the sky. 25 The house of the holy brahmin was situated in the same locality of consciousness which contains all the worlds in one of its atomic particles. 26 Every atom of the intelligent soul contains unnumbered worlds within worlds, enough to remove your doubt of the brahmin being able to see an entire kingdom within the space of his intellect.
27 Leela asked, “How can we be the brahmin couple when they died only eight days before and we have been reigning here for so many years?”
28 The goddess replied:— In reality, there is neither any limit of space or time, nor any distance of place or length of time. Hear me now tell you the reason why.
29 As the universe is the reflection of the Divine Mind, so are infinity and eternity but representations of Himself. 30 Listen to what I tell you about how we form the idea of time and its subdivisions, whether a moment or an age. It is the same way that we make distinctions among the individuals that are me, you and this or that person.
31 As soon as one feels the lack of senses after his death, he forgets his former nature and thinks himself to be another being. 32 Then, in the twinkling of an eye, he assumes an empty form in the womb of emptiness and in that container he thinks within himself, 33 “This is my body with its hands and feet.” Thinking about body, he finds it presented before him. 34 Then he thinks in himself, “I am the son of this father and am so many years old. These are my dear friends and this is my pleasant home. 35 I was born and became a boy, and then grew up to this age. There are all my friends and in the same course of their lives.” 36 Thus the compact density of the sphere of his soul presents him with many other images that appear to arise in it as in some part of the world. 37 But they neither rise nor remain in the soul itself, which is as transparent as empty air. They appear to consciousness like a vision seen in a dream.
38 A person dreaming remains in one place but sees all manners of things in different places. Everything in the other world appears equally real, just like in his dream. 39 Again, whatever is seen in the other world, the same occurs to men in their present states also. The unreality of the world of dreaming and the reality of this physical world are alike. 40 Just like there is no difference among the waves of the same seawater, so the produced visible creation is the same as the unproduced intellectual world, both of which are equally indestructible.
41 But in reality, the appearance is nothing but a reflection of consciousness which, apart from the intelligible spirit, is merely an empty void. 42Although presided over by the intelligible spirit, creation itself is a mere void, its only substance being the intelligible soul, like water is to waves.
43 Waves though formed of water are themselves as unreal as the horns of hares. Their appearance as natural objects is altogether false (because they are the effects of the auxiliary cause of the winds that have raised them). 44 Therefore, there being no visible object in reality, how can the observer have any idea of materiality which loses its delusion at the moment of his death?
45 After the visible outer world has disappeared from sight, the soul, in its inner world of the mind, reflects on its memories of creation according to the proper time and place of everything. 46 It remembers its birth, its parents, its age and its residence, with its learning and all other pursuits in their exact manner and order. 47 It thinks of its friends and servants, and of the success and failure of its attempts. The uncreated and incorporeal soul, in its intellectual form, reflects on the events of its created and corporeal state.
48 However, it does not remain in this state for long. Soon after death it enters a new body to which the properties of the mind and senses are added afterwards in their proper times. 49 It then becomes a baby, finds a new father and mother, and begins to grow. Thus whether one may perceive it or not, it is all the product of his former memories. 50 Then upon waking from this state of trance, like a fruit from the cell of a flower, it comes to find that a single moment appeared to it as the period of an age.
51 It was in this way that in times past, King Harish Chandra thought one night to be twelve years. One day seems like a year to those who are separated from their beloved objects. 52 Again, it is all false, whether the birth or death of someone in his dream, or being born and recognizing a father in infancy, or a hungry man imagining he is dining on dainty food. 53 So who would believe a satisfied man after eating who says he is starving, or one who declares that he is an eyewitness of something he had not seen, or an empty space full of people, or that someone found lost treasure in his dream?
54 But this visible world rests in the invisible spirit of God, like the property of pungency resides in the particles of the pepper seed, and like the painted pictures on a column. But where are the open and clear sighted eyes to perceive this?
55 The vision of Leela, called samadhi in yoga and clairvoyance of spiritualism, was the abstract meditation of her lord in her memory that presented her with a full view of everything imprinted on it. Memory is taken for the whole consciousness (chit), which is identified with God in whose essence the images of all things are said to be eternally present.
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Chapter 21 — Saraswati Explains the Practice of Meditation, Astral Travel
Saraswati continues speaking to Leela:—
1 Soon after death occasions the lack of physical senses, the sight of the world appears to the soul as if he were seeing it with open eyes when he was living. 2 Before him is presented the circle of the sky and its sides with the cycle of its seasons and times. He is shown the deeds of his pious and mundane acts, as if they were to continue to eternity. 3 Objects never before seen or thought of also offer themselves to his view, like the sight of his own death in a dream, as if they were the prints in his memory. 4 But the infinity of objects appearing in the empty sphere of the non-physical intellect is mere illusion, and the baseless city of the world, like a castle in the sky, is only the creation of imagination.
5 Memory of the past world makes it known to us. Therefore, the length of a kalpa age and the shortness of a moment are only false impressions proceeding from the speed and slowness of our thoughts.
6 Therefore knowledge based upon previous memories or otherwise is of two kinds, and things known without their cause are attributed to Divine Intelligence. 7 We are also conscious of thoughts that we have not thought of before in our minds, such as we often have in our dreams. Another may remind us of our deceased parents, so we think of them. 8 Sometimes genius supersedes the province of memory, as in the first creation or discovery of a thing, which afterwards is continued by its memory.
9 According to some, those visible worlds are said to have remained in their ideal state in the Divine Mind. According to others, there were no pre-existent notions of these in the mind of God. 10 According to some others, the world manifested itself not from memory but by the power and will of God. Still others maintain it to be the production of a sudden, fortuitous combination of intelligence and atomic principles (kakataliya sanyoga).
11 Completely forgetting the world is called liberation. That cannot be had if consciousness is attached to what is desirable or is averse to the undesirable. 12 It is difficult to effect an entire negation of both one’s subjective and objective knowledge of his self and the existence of the outer world. Yet nobody can be freed without the obliteration of both.
13 As the fallacy of taking a rope for a snake is not removed until the meaning of the word snake is known to be inapplicable to the rope, so no one can have rest and peace of mind unless he is convinced of the illusory nature of the world. 14 Even with that, a person who is at peace with himself cannot be wholly at rest without divine knowledge because, even though he has rid himself of the devil of worldliness, the ghost of his inner ignorance may overtake him. 15 The world is certainly a monster in itself without the knowledge of its Author, but the difficulty of knowing the First Cause has rendered it an impassable wilderness.
16 Leela said, “If memories are the cause of one’s reincarnation, then, O goddess, tell me what were the causes of the birth of the brahmin couple, without the vestiges of their past memories?
17 The goddess replied:— Know that Brahma the first progenitor of mankind, who was absolute in himself, did not retain any vestige of his past memories in him. 18 The first born, who had nothing to remember of a prior birth, was born in the lotus with his own intelligence (chaitanya) and not because of his memory.19 The Lord of Creatures being thus born by chance of his own genius or creative power, and without any assignable cause or design on his part, reflected within himself, “Now I am become another and the source of creation.”
20 Whatever is born of itself is like a nothing that was never produced at all, but remains as the absolute intellect itself in the clouds (chinnabhas). 21 The Supreme Being is the sole cause of both types of memories (those caused by vestiges of prior impressions, and those produced by prior desires). Both conditions of cause and effect are combined in Him in the sphere of his consciousness. 22 Therefore our tranquility can only come from knowing that cause and effect are the same and that the auxiliary cause is in Him.
23 Cause and effect are mere empty words of no significance because it is the recognition of the Universal Consciousness that constitutes true wisdom. 24 Nothing seen in the physical world or known in the mental or spiritual worlds is ever produced. Everything exists within the consciousness of one’s own soul.
25 Leela said, “What a wonderful sight you have shown me, O goddess. It is as auspicious as morning light and as brilliant as lightning. 26 Now goddess, please satisfy my curiosity until I become thoroughly familiar with this knowledge through my intense application and study. 27 Kindly take me to that that mountainous place where the brahmin couple, Vasishta and Arundhati, lived and show me their house.”
28 The goddess replied:—
If you want to see that sight, you have to be immaculate. You must give up your personality and your ego-sense and attain awareness of the unintelligible Consciousness within the soul. 29 Then you will find yourself in an empty atmosphere situated in the sky that resembles the prospects of earthly men and the apartments of the firmament (i.e., nothing). 30 In this state we shall be able to see them (the field of another’s imagination) with all their possessions and without any obstruction. Otherwise this body is a great barrier in the way of spiritual vision.
31 Leela said, “Tell me kindly, O goddess, the reason why do we not see the other world with these eyes, or go there with these our bodies.”
32 The goddess replied:—
The reason is that you take the true future as false, and you believe the untrue present as true. These worlds that are formless appear to your eyes as having forms, just like you see the form of a ring when its substance is gold. 33 Gold, though fashioned into a circle, has no curve in it. The spirit of God appearing in the form of the world is not the world itself. 34 The world is an emptiness full with the spirit of God. Whatever is visible is like dust appearing to fly over the sea.
35 The ultimate substance of the world is all a false illusion. The true reality is the subjective Brahma alone. Our guides in Vedanta philosophy and the conviction of our consciousness are evidence of this truth.
36 The believer in Brahma sees Brahma alone and no other anywhere. He looks to Brahma through Brahma himself, as the creator and preserver of all, and whose nature includes all other attributes in itself. 37 Brahma is known not only as the author of His work of the creation of worlds, but as existent of himself without any causation or auxiliary causation.
38 The practice of meditation trains you to disregard all duality and variety and to rely only on one unity. Until you are trained through your practice of meditation, you are barred from viewing Brahma in his true light. 39 By constant practice of meditation, we become settled in this belief of unity, and we rest in the Supreme Spirit. 40 Then we find our bodies to be an aerial substance that mixes with the air, and at last, with these our mortal frames, we are able to come to the sight of Brahma. 41 Being endowed with pure, enlightened and spiritual frames (astral or subtle bodies), like those of Brahma and the gods, the holy saints are placed in some part of the divine essence.
42 Without the practice of meditation, you cannot approach God with your mortal frame. A soul sullied by physical sensation can never see the image of God. 43 It is impossible for one to arrive at another’s castle in the sky, when he is unable to see the castle in the sky that he himself imagined.
44 Therefore, give up your gross body and assume your light intellectual frame. Immerse yourself in the practice of yoga so that you may see God face to face. 45 It is possible to labor and build castles in the air. In the same way, it is possible through the practice of yoga, and in no other way, to behold God, either with this body or without it.
46 Ever since the creation of this world (by the will of Brahma), there have been false conceptions of its existence. It has been attributed to an eternal fate, niyati (by fatalists), and to an illusory power, maya shakti (of Maya vadis).
47 Leela asked, “O goddess, you said that we both shall go to the abode of the brahmin couple, but I ask you, how is that possible? 48 I am able to go there with the pure essence of my sentient soul. But tell me, how will you who are pure intellect (chetas) go to that place?”
49 The goddess replied:—
I tell you lady, Divine Will is an aerial tree and its fruits are as unsubstantial as air, having no figure or form or substance to them. 50 Whatever is formed by the will of God from the pure essence of His intelligent nature is only a likeness of Himself and bears little difference from its original. 51My body is the same and I need not lay it aside. I find that place with my body like a breeze finds odors. 52 As water mixes with water, fire with fire, and air with air, so does this spiritual body easily join with any material form that it likes. 53 But a physical body cannot mix with an non-physical substance, nor can a solid rock become the same as the idea of a hill.
54 Your body has its mental and spiritual parts. It has become physical because of its habitual tendency towards the physical. 55 Your physical body becomes spiritual (ativahika) by leaning towards spirituality, as in your sleep, your protracted meditation, and your unconsciousness to fancies and reveries. 56 Your spiritual nature will return to your body when your earthly desires are lessened and curbed within the mind.
57 Leela said, “Say goddess, what happens to the spiritual body after it has attained its compactness by constant practice of yoga? Does it becomes indestructible or does it perish like all other finite bodies?”
58 The goddess replied:—
Anything that exists is perishable and, of course, liable to death. But how can something die that is nothing and is imperishable in its nature? 59Again, once we realize the mistake of thinking a rope to be a snake, the snake disappears of itself and no one mistakes the rope anymore. 60Thus, as the true knowledge of the rope removes the false conception of the snake in it, so the recognition of the spiritual body dispels the misconception of its materiality. 61 All imagery is at an end when there is no image at all, just like the art of carving statues must cease if there is no more stone.
62 We clearly see our bodies as full of the spirit of God. Your gross understanding keeps you from seeing this. 63 In the beginning, when consciousness (chit) is engrossed with the imagination of the mind, it loses sight of the One.
64 Leela asked, “But how can imagination trace out anything in that unity in which the divisions of time and space and all things are lost in an undistinguishable mass?”
65 The goddess replied:—
Like the bracelet in gold, waves in water, the show of truth in dreams, and the appearance of castles in the sky 66 all vanish upon an accurate perception, so the imaginary attributes of the unpredictable God are all nothing whatever. 67 Just like there is no dust in the sky, no attribute or partial property can be ascribed to God whose nature is indivisible and unimaginable, who is an unborn unity, tranquil and all-pervading. 68Whatever shines about us is the pure light of that Being who scatters His luster all around like a transcendental gem.
69 Leela said, “If it is so at all times, then tell me, O goddess, how did we happen to fall into the error of attributing duality and diversity to His nature?”
70 The goddess replied:—
It was your ignorance that for so long has led you to error. The natural bane of mankind is the absence of reasoning, and it requires remedying by your attending to reason. 71 When reason takes the place of ignorance, in a moment it introduces the light of knowledge in the soul instead of its former darkness. 72 As reason advances, your ignorance and your bondage to prejudice are put to flight. Then you have an unobstructed liberation and pure understanding in this world. 73 As long as you remained without reasoning on this subject, you were either sleeping or wandering in error.
74 Now your reason and liberation are awakened and the seeds for the suppression of your desires are sown in your heart. 75 At first, the nature of this physical world was neither apparent to you nor you to it. How long will you reside in it and what other desires have you here? 76 Withdraw your mind from its thoughts of the viewer, the visible, and the vision of this world. Settle your mind on the idea of the entire negation of all existence. Fix your meditation solely upon the Supreme Being and sit in a state of unalterable unconsciousness. 77 When the seed of renunciation has taken root and germinated in your heart, the sprouts of your likes and dislikes will be destroyed of themselves. 78 Then the impression of the world will be utterly effaced from the mind and an unshaken anesthesia will overtake you all at once.
79 Remaining entranced in your abstract meditation, in process of time you will have a soul as luminous as a star in the clear sky of heaven, free from the links of all causes and their effects for evermore.
Chapter 22 — Practice of Wisdom (Vijnana-Bhyasa)
1 The goddess continued:— Objects seen in a dream prove to be false on being awaken. Similarly, belief in the reality of the body becomes unfounded upon dissolution of our desires. 2 As a thing dreamt of disappears upon waking, so does the waking body disappear in sleep, when desires lie dormant in the soul.
3 As our physical bodies awake after dreaming and desiring, so our spiritual bodies awake after we cease to think of our physical states. 4 In deep sleep we are devoid of desires. Similarly, in the state of renunciation, even though we are awake in our physical bodies, we have the tranquility of liberation. 5 The desire of men liberated while living (jivan mukta) is not properly any desire at all. It is a pure desire relating to universal wellbeing and happiness.
6 The sleep in which the will and wish are dormant is called deep sleep, but the dormancy of desires in the waking state is known as unconsciousness to delusion (moha) or unconsciousness (murchha). 7 Again the deep sleep that is wholly devoid of desire is called the turiya or the fourth stage of yoga. In the waking state it is called samadhi or union with Supreme.
8 The embodied man whose life is freed from all desires in this world is called the liberated while living (jivan mukta), a state unknown to those who are not liberated. 9 When the mind becomes a pure essence (as in samadhi) and its desires are weakened, it becomes spiritualized (ativahika) and it glows and flows, like snow melts to water by application of heat. 10 The spiritualized mind, being awakened, mixes with the holy spirits of departed souls in the other world.
11 When your sense of individual ego is moderated by your practice of meditation, then the perception of invisible will rise of itself clearly before your mind. 12 When spiritual knowledge gains a firm footing in your mind, you will perceive more other worlds than you expect. 13 Therefore, O blameless lady, try your utmost to deaden your desires. When you have gained sufficient strength in that practice, know yourself to be liberated in this life.
14 When the moon of your intellectual knowledge shines fully with its cooling beams, you shall have to leave your physical body here in order to see the other worlds. 15 Your fleshy body has no tangible connection with one that is without flesh, nor can the intellectual body (lingadeha, astral body) perform any action of the physical system.
16 I have told you all this according to my best knowledge and the state of things as they are. Even children know that what I say is as effective as the curse or blessing of a god.
17 The habitual reliance of men upon their gross bodies and their fond attachment to them bind their souls down to the earth. The weakening of earthly desires serves to clothe them with spiritual bodies. 18 Nobody believes that he has a spiritual body, even at his death bed, but everyone thinks a dying man is dead with his body forever. 19 This body however, neither dies nor is it alive at anytime. Both life and death, in all respects, are mere appearances of aerial dreams and desires. 20 The life and death of beings here below are as false as the appearances and disappearance of people in imagination, or dolls in play or puppet shows.
21 Leela said, “O goddess, the pure knowledge that you have given me has fallen on my ears acts like a healing balm to the pain caused by phenomena. 22 Now tell me the name and nature of the practice for spiritualization. How it is to be perfected and what is the end of such perfection?”
23 The goddess replied:— Whatever a man attempts to do here at anytime, he can hardly ever complete it without painful practice to the utmost of his power. 24 The wise say that practice consists in the association of one thing with another, in understanding it thoroughly, and in devoting oneself solely to his object.
25 Great souls become successful in this world who are disgusted with the world and are moderate in their enjoyments and desires. They do not think about seeking what they lack. 26 Those great minds are said to be best trained who are graced with liberal views, are delighted with the relish of unconcern with the world, and are enraptured with streams of heavenly joy. 27 Again, they are called the best practiced in divine knowledge who, by the light of reasoning and scripture, are employed preaching the absolute nonexistence of any distinction between the knower and what is known in this world. 28 What some call practical knowledge is knowing that nothing was produced in the beginning and nothing that is visible, such as this world or one’s self, is true at anytime.
29 The effect of practicing meditation is a strong tendency of the soul towards the spirit of God, which results from an understanding of the nonexistence of the visible world and the subsidence of passions. 30 But mere knowledge of the nonexistence of the world, without subduing passions, is known as knowledge without practice, and is of no value to its possessor. 31 Consciousness of the nonexistence of the visible world is the true knowledge of the knowable. The practice of meditation makes this knowledge a habit in the mind and leads one to his final extinction (nirvana). 32 The practice of meditation prepares the mind and awakens the intelligence which lay dormant in the dark night of this world. Consciousness then sheds its cooling showers of reason, like dew drops in the frosty night of autumn.
Valmiki speaking:— 33 As the sage was lecturing in this manner, the day departed for its evening service and led the assembled train to their evening prayers. After the rising beams of the sun dispelled the darkness of night, they met again with mutual greetings.
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Chapter 23 — Saraswati & Leela Meditate & Begin Astral Travel
1 Vasishta said:— After this conversation between Goddess Saraswati and the excellent Leela on that night, the two of them found Leela’s family and attendants fast asleep in the inner apartment. 2 Saraswati and Leela entered the shrine that was closely shut on all sides by latches fastened to the doors and windows, and which was perfumed with the fragrance of heaps of flowers. 3 They sat beside the corpse decorated with fresh flowers and garments. Their faces shone like the fair full moon and brightened the place. 4 They stood motionless on the spot, as if they were sculptures engraved on marble columns, or pictures drawn upon the wall.
5 They shook off all their thoughts and cares, and became as withdrawn as the faded blossoms of the lotus at the end of the day when their fragrance has fled. 6 They remained still, calm and quiet and without any motion of their limbs, like a sheet of clouds hanging on the mountain top in the calm of autumn. 7 They continued in fixed attention without any external sensation, like some lonely vines shriveled for lack of moisture (in samadhi meditation). 8 They were fully impressed with the disbelief of their own existence, and that of all other things in the world. They were completely absorbed in the thought of an absolute privation of everything at large. 9 They lost memory of the phantom of the phenomenal world, which is as unreal as the horn of a hare. 10 What had no existence in the beginning is still non-existent at present, and what appears existent is as non-existent as water in a mirage. 11 The two ladies became as quiet as inert nature herself, and as still as the sky before the stars rolled about in its ample sphere.
12 Then they began to move with their own bodies, the goddess of wisdom in her form of intelligence and the queen in her intellectual and meditative mood. 13 With their new bodies they rose as high as the width of a hand above the ground, then taking the forms of empty consciousness, they began to rise in the sky. 14 Then the two ladies, their playful open eyes and by their nature of intellectual knowledge, ascended to the higher region of the sky.
15 They flew higher and higher by force of their intellect and arrived at a region stretching millions of miles in length. 16 The pair in their ethereal forms looked around according to their nature in search of some visible objects, but finding no other figure except their own, they became much more attached to each other by their mutual affection.
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Chapter 24 — Description of the Astral Journey
1 Vasishta continued:— Thus ascending higher and higher, and by degrees reaching the highest station, they continued viewing the heavens with their hands clasped together.
2 They saw a vast expanse like a wide extended universal ocean, deep and translucent within, but soft with ethereal mildness. A cooling breeze infused heavenly delight. 3 They dived into the vast ocean of emptiness, all delightful and pleasant. It gave them a delight far greater in its purity than what is derived from the company of the virtuous. 4 They wandered about all sides of heaven under the beams of the full moon shining above them. They lingered under the clear vault of clouds covering the mountain tops of Meru, as if under the dome of a huge white washed building.
5 They roved by the regions of spiritual masters (siddhas, adepts) and male nature spirits (gandharvas). They breathed the charming fragrance of mandara garlands and, passing the lunar sphere, they inhaled the sweet scent exhaled by the breeze from that nectar-like lunar orb.
6 Tired and perspiring profusely, they bathed in the lakes of showering clouds filled with the blushing lotuses of lurid lightning flashing within them. 7 They freely strolled at random on all sides, and alighted on the tops of high mountains like fluttering bees, appearing like filaments of the lotus-like earth below. 8 They also roved under the vaults of some cloud fragments scattered by the winds, and raining like the cascade of the Ganges River, thinking them as shower bath-houses in the air. 9 Then failing in their strength, they paused in many places with slow and slackened steps. They saw emptiness full of great and wonderful works. 10 They saw what they had never seen before, the tremendous depth of the void that was not filled up by the myriads of worlds which kept revolving in it. 11 Over and over and higher and higher, they saw the celestial spheres filled with luminous orbs adorned with their ornamental stars wandering one above and around the other. 12 Huge mountainous bodies like Mount Meru moved about in empty space and emitted a reddish glare on all sides, like a flame of fire from within their bowels. 13 There were beautiful tablelands, like those of the Himalayas, with their pearly peaks of snow. There were mountains of gold spreading a golden color over the land. 14In one place they saw mountains of emerald tinting the landscape with a lush green like a field of fresh grass. In other places they saw some dark cloud dimming the sight of the spectator and hiding the spectacle in dark blackness. 15 They saw also tracts of blue sapphire with vines of parijata flowers blooming like banners in the blue skies.
16 They saw the minds of spiritual masters (siddhas) in flight faster than the swift winds. They heard the vocal music of the songs of heavenly nymphs in their aerial abodes. 17 All the great bodies in the universe (the planetary system) were in continual motion. Spirits of the gods and demigods moved about unseen by one another. 18 Groups of spiritual beings, the kushmandas, rakshasas and pisachas, were seated in aerial circles at the borders. Winds and gales blew with full force in their ethereal course. 19 In some places they heard clouds roaring loudly, like the rumbling wheels of heavenly cars, and the noise of rapid stars resembled the blowing of pneumatic engines.
20 Half burnt masters, having flown too close to the sun, were flying from their burning cars under the solar rays. Solar embers were flung afar by the breath of the nostrils of their horses. 21 In some places they saw the rulers of men and lines of female nature spirits (apsaras) hurrying up and down the air. In others, they saw goddesses wandering amidst the smoky and fiery clouds in the firmament. 22 Here they saw some sparks of light falling like the jewels of celestial nymphs in their hurried flight to their respective spheres. There they saw the light spirits of lesser masters dwindling into darkness.
23 Flakes of mists were falling off from the clouds, as if by friction from the bodies of turbulent spirits rushing up and down the skies, and shrouded mountain sides like sheets of cloth. 24 Groups of cloud fragments were flying about in the air in the shapes of crows, owls and vultures. They saw some monsters also, such as dakinis heaving their heads in the forms of huge surges in the cloudy ocean of the sky. 25 There were bodies of yoginis too, their faces resembling those of dogs, ravens, asses and camels, who were traversing the wide expanse of the heavens to no purpose. 26 There were masters and nature spirits sporting in pairs in the dark, smoky and ash colored clouds that spread the four quarters of the skies.
27 They saw the path of the planets (the zodiac) resounding loudly with the heavenly music of the spheres. They also saw the path of the lunar mansions that constantly marked the course of the two fortnights. 28 They saw the sons of gods moving about in the air and they viewed with wonder the celestial Ganges (the milky way) studded with stars and rolling with the speed of winds. 29 They saw gods wielding their thunderbolts, discuses, tridents, swords and missiles. They heard Narada and Tumburu singing in their aerial abodes on high.
30 They saw the region of the clouds, where there were huge bodies of clouds mute as paintings and pouring forth floods of rain as in the great deluge. 31 In one place they saw a dark cloud, as high as the mountain-king Himalaya, slowly moving in the air, and at others, clouds of a golden color like the setting sun. 32 In one place there were flimsy sheets of clouds, as are said to hover on the peaks of Rishya range; and at another a cloud like the calm blue bed of the sea.
33 Tufts of grass were seen in some places, as if blown up by winds and floating in the stream of air. In other places, swarms of butterflies with glossy coats and wings were seen. 34 In some place, there was a cloud of dust raised by wind appearing like a lake on the top of a mountain.
35 The matris were seen in one place, dancing naked in giddy circles, and in another, great yoginis sat as if forever giddy with intoxication. 36 In one place there were circles of holy men sitting in their calm meditation, and in others, pious saints who had cast away their worldly cares. 37There was a conclave of celestial singers composed of heavenly nymphs, kinnaras and gandharvas in one place, and some quiet towns and cities situated at others. 38 There were the cities of Brahma and Rudra full with their people, and the city of illusion (maya) with its increasing population.
39 There were crystal lakes in some places and stagnant pools at others; and lakes with masters seated by them, and others hugged by the rising moon. 40 They saw the sun rising in one part and the darkness of night veiling the others; the evening casting its shadow on one, and the dusky mists of dusk obscuring the other. 41 There were hoary clouds of winter in some places, and those of rain in others; somewhere they appeared as tracts of land and at another as a sheet of water.
42 Bodies of gods and demigods wandered from one side to the other; some from east to west, and others from north to south. 43 There were mountains heaving their heads thousands of miles high, and there were valleys and caves covered in eternal darkness. 44 In one place there was a vast inextinguishable fire, like that of the blazing sun, and in another, a thick frost covering the moonlight.
45 Somewhere there was a great city flourishing with groves and trees, and at another big temples of gods leveled to the ground by the might of demons.
46 In some place there was a streak of light from a falling meteor in the sky; in another the blaze of a comet with its thousand fiery tails in the air.47 In one place there was a lucky planet, rising in view with its full orb; in another there spread the gloom of night, and full sunshine in another. 48Here the clouds were roaring, and there they were dumb and mute. Here were the high blasts driving the clouds in air, and there the gentle breeze dropping clusters of flowers on the ground. 49 Sometimes the sky was clear and fair without a cloud in it, as transparent as the soul of a wise man delighted with the knowledge of truth.
50 The empty region of the celestial gods was so full with the dewy beams of the silvery moon that it appeared like a shower of rain and raised the loud croaking of the frogs below. 51 Flocks of peacocks and goldfinches fluttering about in one place, and vehicles of the goddesses and celestial girls (vidyadharis) thronged in another.
52 A number of peacocks of Kartikeya (Subramanyan) were seen dancing amidst the clouds, and a flight of greenish parrots was seen in the sky appearing as a green plain. 53 Dwarfish clouds were moving like the stout buffaloes of Yama, and others in the form of horses were grazing on the grassy meadows of clouds. 54 Cities of the gods and demons appeared with their towers on high. Distinct towns and hills were seen separated by distances as if detached from one another by driving winds.
55 In some place, gigantic bhairavas were dancing with their mountainous bodies; and at another, great garudas were flying like winged mountains in the air. 56 Huge mountains were tossed about by the blowing of winds; and the castles of the nature spirits (gandharvas) were rising and falling with the celestial nymphs in them.
57 There were some clouds rising on high, and some appearing like rolling mountains in the sky that were crushing forests below. In one place the sky appeared like a clear lake abounding in lotuses. 58 Moonbeams shone brightly in one spot, and sweet cooling breezes blew softly in another. Hot sultry winds were blowing in some place, singeing the forest on mountainous clouds.
59 There was a dead silence in one spot caused by perfect calmness of the breeze; while another spot presented a scene of a hundred peaks rising on a mountain-like cloud. 60 In one place raining clouds roared loudly in their fury; and in another a furious battle was waging in the clouds between the gods and demons.
61 In some place geese were seen gabbling in the lotus lake of the sky, inviting the ganders by their loud cackling cries. 62 Forms of fishes, crocodiles and alligators were seen flying in the air as if they had been transformed into aerial beings by the holy waters of the Ganges of their birth. 63 Somewhere, as the sun went down the horizon, they saw the dark shadow of the earth eclipse the moon; then they saw the shadow of the moon eclipse the sun. 64 They saw a magical flower garden, exhaling its fragrance in the air and strewing the floor of heaven with a profusion of flowers, scattered by showers of morning dews.
65 They saw all beings contained in the three worlds flying in the air, like a swarm of gnats in the hollow of a fig tree. Then the two excellent ladies stopped their astral journey, intent upon revisiting the earth.
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Chapter 25 — Description of Astral Travel over the Earth
Vasishta speaking:— 1 Then these ladies in their forms of intelligence alighted from the sky and, passing over the mountainous regions, saw the houses of men on the surface of the earth. 2 They saw the world appearing like a lotus in the heart of Nara (the primeval Man or eternal Spirit pervading the universe). Its eight sides form the flower petals, the hills its pistils, and the center contains its sweet flavor. 3 The rivers are the tubes of its filaments, covered with drops of snow resembling their pollen. Days and nights roll over it like swarms of black-bees and butterflies, and all its living beings appear like gnats fluttering about. 4 Its long stalks, white as bright daylight, are composed of fibers serving for food, and of tubes conducting the drink to living beings. 5 It is wet with moisture, sucked by the sun, resembling a swan swimming about in the air. In the darkness of night and absence of the sun, it folds itself in sleep.
6 The earth, like a lotus, is situated on the surface of the waters of the ocean. At times the motion of the ocean makes the earth shake causing earthquakes. The earth rests upon the serpent Sesha as its support, and is girt about by demons as its thorns and prickles. 7 Mount Meru and other mountains are its large seeds. There are great hives of human population where the fair daughters of the giant race embraced with the sons of gods and created the race of men.
8 It has the extensive continent of Jambudvipa (Asia) situated in one petal, it veins forming its divisions and the tubular filaments its rivers. 9The seven elevated mountains, forming the boundary lines of this continent, are its seeds, and in its middle, the great Mount Sumeru reaches the sky. 10 Its lakes are like dewdrops on a lotus leaf, and its forests are like the flower’s pollen. The people inhabiting the land all around are like a swarm of bees.
11 Its extent is a thousand leagues (yojanas) square, and it is surrounded on all sides by the dark sea like a belt of black bees. 12 It contains nine divisions (varshas) ruled by nine brother kings, resembling the regents of its eight petal sides, with the Bharata varsha (India) in the midst. 13 It stretches a million miles with more land than water. Its habitable parts are as thick as frozen ice in winter. 14 The continent is surrounded by the briny ocean twice as large, like a bracelet encircles the wrist. 15 Beyond it lies the circular form of Saka continent, twice the size of Jambudvipa and also encircled by a sea. 16 This is called the Milky Ocean because of the sweetness of its water, and it is double the size of the former salt sea.
17 Beyond that and double its size is Kusadwipa continent, full of population. It is also circular and surrounded by another sea, 18 the belt of the sea of curds, delectable to the gods and double the size of the continent it encircles. 19 After that lies the circle of Krauncha continent, also twice the size of the former one and surrounded by a sea like a canal surrounds a city. 20 This sea is called the sea of butter and is twice as large as the continent it surrounds. Beyond it lies Salmali continent surrounded by the foul sea of wine. 21 The fair belt of this sea resembles a wreath of white flowers, like the girdle of the Sesha serpent forming the necklace hanging on the breast of Vishnu. 22 Thereafter stretches Plaxa continent, double the size of the former and surrounded by the belt of the sea of sugar that appears like the snowy plains of Himalaya. 23 After that lies the belt of Pushkara continent, twice as large as the preceding one and encircled by a sea of sweet water double its circumference.
24 There, at the distance of ten degrees, they saw the belt of the south polar circle with its hideous cave below, the descent to the infernal regions. 25 The way to the infernal cave is full of danger and fear and ten times in length from the circle of the continents. 26 This cave is surrounded on all sides by a dreadful emptiness, and below it is half covered by a thick gloom, as if a blue lotus were attached to it. 27 There stood Lokaloka Sumeru or South Polar mountain, which is bright with sunshine on one side and covered by darkness on the other, studded with various gems on its peaks, and decked with flowers growing upon it. 28 It reflected the glory of the three worlds situated on its peak, like a cap of hairs.
29 At a great distance from it is a great forest that is not trodden by the feet of any living being. Then proceeding upward, they saw the great northern ocean encompassing the pole on all sides. 30 Further on they saw the flaming light of the aurora borealis which threatened to melt the snowy mountain to water. 31 Proceeding onward they met with the fierce north winds, blowing with all their fury and force. 32 They threatened to uproot the mountains as if they were dust or grass. They traversed the empty vacuum with their noiseless motion. 33 Far away they saw the empty space of vacuum stretching wide all about them. 34 It spreads unlimited and encompasses the worlds like a golden bracelet encircles the wrist.
35 Thus Leela, having seen the seas and mountains, the rulers of the worlds, the city of the gods, the sky above and the earth below in the unlimited vault of the universe, suddenly returned to her own land and found herself in her room again.
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Chapter 26 — Return to the Holy Brahmin’s House; Description of Gloom; Vasishta Explains Astral Appearance
1 Vasishta said:— After the excellent ladies had returned from their visit of physical sphere, they entered the house where the holy brahmin used to live.
2 There the holy ladies, unseen by anyone, saw the tomb of the brahmin. 3 The maid servants were dejected with sorrow, and the faces of the women were soiled with tears, faded like lotuses with their withered leaves. 4 All joy had fled from the house, leaving it like the dry bed of the dead sea after its waters were sucked. It was like a garden parched in summer, or a tree struck by lightening. 5 It was as joyless as a dried lotus torn by a blast or withering under frost; and as faint as the light of a lamp without its wick or oil; and as dim as the eyeball without its light. 6 The house without its master was as sad as the face of a dying person, or like a forest with its falling and withered leaves, or like dry and dusty ground for lack of rain.
7-8 Then Leela, with her gracefulness of divine knowledge, the elegance of her perfections, and her devotion for truth, thought within herself that the residents of the house might see her and the goddess in their ordinary forms as human beings. 9 Then the people of the house saw the two ladies as Lakshmi and Gauri, brightening the house with the light of their being.
10 Wreaths of unfading flowers of various kinds adorned the two women from head to foot. They seemed like the personifications of spring season, perfuming the house with the fragrance of a flower garden. 11 They appeared to rise like a pair of moons with their cooling and pleasant beams infusing a freshness to the family, like moonlight does to medicinal plants in forests and villages. 12 The soft glances of their eyes under the long, loose and pendant curls of hair were like a shower of white malati flowers from the dark cloudy spots of their black lined eyes. 13 Their bodies were as bright as melted gold and as vibrant as a flowing stream. Their brilliance cast a golden color on the spot where they stood, as it did over the forest all around. 14 The natural beauty of Lakshmi’s body and the trembling glare of Leela’s body spread as it were, a sea of radiance about them in which their bodies seemed to move like undulating waves. 15 Their relaxed arms resembling loose vines, their palms like red leaflets shook like the fresh kalpa vines in the forest. 16 They touched the ground with their feet that resembled the fresh and tender petals of a flower, or like lotuses growing upon the ground. 17 Their appearance seemed to sprinkle ambrosial dews all around and made the dry withered and brown branches of tamara trees sprout new tender leaflets.
18 On seeing them, the whole family with Jyeshtha Sarma, the eldest son of the deceased brahmin, cried aloud and said, “Hail to the woodland goddesses,” and threw handfuls of flowers on their feet. 19 The flower offerings that fell on their feet resembled showers of dewdrops falling on lotus leaves in a lake of lotuses. 20 Jyeshtha Sarma said, “Hail, you goddesses who have come here to dispel our sorrow. It is inborn in the nature of good people to deliver others from their distress.”
21 The goddesses addressed him gently, “Tell us the cause of your sorrow which has made you all so sad.”
22 Then, one by one, Jyeshtha Sarma and others described their sorrows owing to the death of the brahmin couple. 23 They said, “Know, O goddess pair, there lived here a brahmin and his wife who had been the support of guests and a model for brahmins. 24 They were our parents who recently died. They have abandoned us, leaving all their friends and domestic animals here. They have departed to heaven and left us quite helpless in this world.”
25 “The birds sitting on the top of the house have been continually pouring their pious and mournful sounds over the bodies of the deceased. 26Mountains on all sides have been lamenting their loss with the hoarse noise of winds howling in their caverns, shedding showers of tears in the courses of the streams issuing from their sides. 27 Clouds have poured their tears in floods of rainwater, then fled from the skies. The heavenly quarters have been sending their sighs in sultry winds all around.”
28 “The poor village people are wailing in piteous notes, their bodies disheveled from rolling upon the ground. They are trying to yield up their lives with continued fasting. 29 The trees are shedding their tears every day in drops of melting snow exuding from the cells of their leaves and flowers, resembling the sockets of their eyes. 30 The streets are deserted for lack of passers-by and have become dusty without being watered. They have become as empty as the hearts of men forsaken by their joys of life. 31 Among the sad notes of cuckoos and the humming of bees, fading plants are wailing and withering from the sultry sighs of their inner grief. 32 Snows are melting from the heat of their grief, their waters falling in cataracts that break into to a hundred channels as they fall upon stony basins.”
33 “Our prosperity has fled from us, and we sit here in dumb despair of hope. Our houses have become dark and gloomy as a desert. 34 Here the humble bees are humming in grief upon the scattered flowers in our garden that now sends forth a putrid smell instead of their former fragrance. 35 The vines that twined so gaily round the spring trees are dwindling and dying away with their closing and fading flowers. 36 The rivulets, with their loose and low rippling murmur and the light wavelike motion of their liquid bodies on the ground, are running hurriedly in their sorrow to cast themselves into the sea. 37 Despite the disturbance of the gnats flying constantly upon them, ponds are as still in their sorrow as men sitting in meditation. 38 Truly this day, the presence of our parents is adorning that part of the heaven where heavenly singers, the kinnaras, gandharvas and vidyadharas, welcome them with their music.”
39 “Therefore, O Devis! reduce our excessive grief, because the visit of the great never goes for nothing.”
40 Hearing these words, Leela gently touched the head of her son with her hand, as the lotus bed leans to touch its offshoot by the stalk. 41 At her touch the boy was relieved of all his sorrow and misfortune, just like the summer heat of the mountain is reduced by the showers of rainy season. 42 All others in the house were as highly gratified at the sight of the goddesses as when a pauper is relieved of his poverty, or the sick are healed by a draught of nectar.
43 Rama said, “Remove my doubt, sage. Why didn’t Leela appear in her own form of Arundhati before her eldest son, Jyeshta Sarma?”
44 Vasishta answered:— You forget, O Rama, and think that Leela had a material body or could assume one at pleasure. She was in an astral form, her form of pure intellect, and it was with her spiritual hand that she touched the inner spirit of the boy and not his material body.
45 Belief in materialism leads one to think that his unreal earthly frame is real, just like a boy’s belief in ghosts makes him take a shadow for a spirit. 46 But this belief in one’s materiality is soon over upon conviction of one’s spirituality, just like the traces of our visions in a dream are removed on the knowledge of their unreality upon waking. 47 Belief that matter is an empty nothing leads to the knowledge of the spirit. A glass door appears as open space to someone of an irritable temperament. In the same way matter appears as nothing to the wise.
48 A dream presents the sights of cities, lands, air and water where there are no such things in actuality. A dream causes the movements of our limbs and bodies for no purpose. 49 As air appears as earth in dreaming, so the nonexistent world appears to exist in waking. It is thus that men see and talk of things unseen and unknown in their fits of delirium. 50 Children see ghosts in the air and a dying man sees a forest in it. Others see elephants in clouds, and some see pearls in sunbeams. 51 Those who are panic-struck and deranged in their minds, the half-waking and passengers in vessels, see many appearances like such ghosts and forests and betray what they see (in dreams) by the movements of their bodies.
52 In this manner, everyone is of the form of whatever he thinks himself to be. It is only habit that makes him to believe himself as such. He is not so in reality. 53 But Leela, who had known the truth of the nonexistence of the world, was conscious of its nothingness and viewed all things as false conceptions of the mind. 54 Thus he who sees only Brahma filling the sphere of his consciousness has no room for a son or friend or wife. 55He who views the whole as filled with the spirit of Brahma, with nothing produced in it, has no room for affection or hatred for anybody in it.
56 The hand that Leela laid on the head of Jyeshtha Sarma, her eldest son, was not lain from her maternal affection for him, but for his edification in intellectual knowledge. 57 Consciousness being awakened, there is all joy attendant upon it. It is more subtle than ether and far purer than vacuum, and leads the intellectual being above the region of air. All other things are like images in a dream.
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Chapter 27 — Leela Remembers Her Past Lives
Vasishta speaking:— 1 Then the two ladies disappeared from that place, leaving the brahmin family in their house in the mountainous village. 2The family exclaimed “We are highly favored by the woodland goddesses.” Then forgetting their grief, they returned to their domestic employments.
3 Then the ethereal goddess spoke to the aerial Leela, who stood fixed in the air over the brahmin’s house in a state of mute astonishment. 4They conversed with each other as familiarly as persons having the same thoughts and desires agree with each another in their views and acts, and as the dreamers of the same dream hold their mutual correspondence, like Usha and Anniruddha. 5 Their conversation in their immaterial forms was of the same intellectual kind as we are conscious of in our dreams and imaginations.
6 Saraswati said, “Now you have fully known the knowable and you have become acquainted with whatever is visible and invisible. Such is the essence of Brahma. Say now, what more do you want to know?”
7 Leela said, “Tell me the reason why I was seen by my son, but wasn’t seen where the spirit of my departed lord is reigning over his realm.”
8 Saraswati replied, “Because then you were not perfect by your practice of meditation to have your wish fulfilled, nor had you lost your sense of duality which prevents perfection. 9 He who has not known unity is not entitled to the acts and benefits of faith in the true God, as no one sitting in the sun can enjoy the coolness of shade.”
10 “You were not practiced to forget your identity as Leela. Nor had you learned that it is not your will, but the will of God that is always fulfilled.11 Later you become pure desire and wished that your son might see you, whereby he was able to see you. 12 If you should return now to your husband and do the same, you will undoubtedly be successful in your desire.”
13 Leela said, “I see within the sphere of this dome (of my mind) that the holy brahmin has been my husband before. I also see that after he died, he became a ruler of the earth. 14 In my mind I see that spot of the earth, that city and his palace where I sat as his queen. 15 Within myself I see my lord reigning in that place, and I can even see how he died afterwards. 16 I see the glory of the ruler of so many countries on earth, and I also see the perfect frankness of his conduct throughout his life.”
17 “In the inner sky of my mind I see the worlds as they were placed in a casket, just like oil is contained within a mustard seed. 18 I see the bright orb of my husband ever wandering before me, and now I pray you to contrive some way to place me by his side.”
19 The goddess replied, “Tell me Leela, to which husband should you go? You have had and will have hundreds of them in your past and future lives, and now there are three of them confined in this earth. 20 The nearest of the three is the brahmin here who is reduced to ashes. The next is the king lying in state and covered with flowers in the inner apartment.”
21 “The third is now a reigning king on this earth and has been buffeting in the waves of error in the vast ocean of the world. 22 His intellect is darkened and disordered by the splashing waves of worldliness. His intelligence is perverted to stupidity. He is converted to a tortoise in the ocean of the world. 23 The management of his very many disordered state affairs has stultified him into a clumsy lout, and he is now fast asleep amidst the turmoil of business. 24 The strong chain of his thoughts has bound him to think that he is a lord, mighty and accomplished, and that he is happy and can enjoy his estates forever.”
25 “Now say, O excellent lady, to what husband do you wish to be led like the fragrance of one forest carried by the breeze to another?”
26 “Here you are in one place and they are in others in this vast universe. The states of their lives and manners differ widely from one another.27 These orbs of light in the heaven, though they appear to be placed so near to us, are situated millions of leagues apart from one another and they carry the departed souls. 28 All these bodies are as empty as air, though they contain the great mountains Meru and Mandara in themselves.”
29 “All bodies are formed by a combination of atoms constantly proceeding from the Great Intellect, like particles of sunbeams over the universe. 30 The great and stupendous fabric of the world is no more than a quantity of paddy rice weighed in a balance. 31 As the spangled heavens appear like a forest full of brilliant gems, so the world appears to the contemplative mind as full of the glory of God and not composed of earth or other material bodies. 32 In the intelligent soul, it is Consciousness alone that shines in the form of world and not any material body that was never brought into being. 33 Like waves in a lake rise and set and rise again, so the rising and falling days and nights present these various scenes to our knowledge.”
34 Leela said, “So it is, O mother of mankind. I come to remember now that my present birth is of a royal kind, neither too pure nor gross in nature. 35 I, having descended from Brahma, have undergone a hundred and eight births and, after passing various states, I find myself still in existence.”
36 “I recollect, O goddess, that I was born before in another world, that I was the bride of a demigod (vidyadhara) and used to wander about as freely as a bee over flowers. 37 Being debased by my lack of moral restraint, I was born in this mortal world and became the mate of the king of the eagle-feathered tribe. 38 Having lived in the woods, then I was turned to a woodman’s mate, wearing a garment of leaves on my loins. 39 Growing fond of my life, I played wantonly about the forest and was changed into a guluncha plant, delighting the woods with my leafy palms and flowering eyes. 40 This small tree in a holy hermitage was held sacred by a group of saintly sages.”
“Then, after the woods were burnt down by a wildfire, I was regenerated into the form of an hermit’s child. 41 Here I was taught the formulas for removing the curse of womanhood, and I became a male in the person of the handsome prince of the land of Surashtra (Surat) where I reigned for a hundred years. 42 “Then, on account of my misconduct in the government, I was denounced to become a weasel covered with leprosy, living in the lowlands of Tali.”
43 “I remember, O goddess, how I became a bullock in Surat and how for full eight years I was goaded by thoughtless cowherd children in their merry sport. 44 I have in mind that when I was transformed into a bird, with what difficulty I broke the net that was laid by bird-catchers for my destruction. It was in the same manner as we release ourselves from the snares of sinful desires. 45 I remember with pleasure when as a bee I landed lightly on the leaflets of blossoms, sipped the honey of the blooming buds, dined on the pistils, and slept in the cups of lotus flowers. 46 In the form of an antelope I wandered about in pleasant woodlands and lawns with my exalted and branching horns and beautiful eyes, until I was killed by a hunter’s arrow. 47 I have been in the form of a fish, and I was lifted up by the waves of the sea above the surface of the water. I saw how a tortoise was killed by the blow of a club on the neck.”
48 “I was a tribal (chandala, outcaste) hunter once, wandering by the side of the Charmanvati (Chenab River). When tired of roaming, I used to quench my thirst with coconut water. 49 I also became a stork, delighting in lakes with my mate, filling the air with our sweet cries. 50 In another birth, I rambled about in groves of palm and tamara trees and fixed my eyes with amorous looks and glances upon my lover.”
51 “Next I was a fairy apsara with a form as bright as melted gold and features as beautiful as those of the lotus and lily in which the celestials used to take delight like bees and butterflies. 52 I remember being on earth, having decked myself in gold, pearls, rubies and other gems, and playing with my youthful consorts in pleasure gardens and groves, and on hills and mountains.”
53 “I also remember living long as a tortoise on the borders of a river, and to have been carried away by the waves, sometimes under a tree of vines over-hung with clusters of beautiful flowers, sometimes washed by waves into some wild cave. 54 I see how I acted the part of a goose covered by feathers, swimming on the high heaving waves on the surface of a lake. 55 Then, seeing a poor gnat hanging on the moving leaf of a cotton tree (salmali) branch, I became its associate and as contemptible a thing as itself. 56 I became an aquatic crane also, skimming playfully over waters gushing from hills, slightly kissing the crests of waves rising over the rapid torrent.”
57 “I remember also how I slighted the loves of amorous youths and spurned the lesser demigod (vidyadhara) children on the Gandha Madana and Mandara hills. 58 I remember likewise the pangs of a lovelorn lass as I lay pining in my bed strewn with the fragrance of camphor, and how I was decaying like the disc of the waning moon.”
59 “Thus I passed through many births in the wombs of higher and lower animals and found them all to be full of pain. My soul has run over the waves of the irresistible current of life, like a fleet antelope pacing its speed with the swiftness of the wind.”
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Chapter 28 — Leela’s Vision in Meditation; Description of the Mountain Hamlet
1 Rama said, “Tell me sage, how did the goddesses break out of the strongholds of their bodies and the prison-house of this world and pass through infinite space and survey the scenes beyond its confines?”
2 Vasishta replied:— Where is the world and where is its support or solidity? They were all situated in the region within the minds of the goddesses. 3 In their minds they saw the hilly tract where the brahmin Vasishta lived and had his desire for royalty. 4 They saw his deserted house and in their minds they saw the surface of the earth stretching to the seas.
5 In that imaginary spot of earth they saw the city of the king and the royal palace which he had enjoyed with Arundhati, his wife. 6 They saw how she was born under the name of Leela and how she worshipped the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati, by whom she was miraculously conveyed to the delightful region of the sky. 7 It was in the house situated in that hilly village that she saw the world placed within the space of her mind.
8 Having come out of her vision of the world, she found herself sitting in her house, just like one finds himself lying in his own bed after rambling from one dream to another. 9 All that she saw was mere vision and void. There was no world, no earth, no house, and no distance. 10 It was the mind that showed them these images, just like the mind presents the objects of our desire to our view. Otherwise, there is neither world nor earth in actuality.
11 The sphere of consciousness is infinite and without any covering. If agitated by the powers of one’s intellect, it presents all the objects of nature to his view, like the sky when agitated by heat produces the winds. 12 The sphere of consciousness is uncreated. It is ever calm everywhere. Deluded minds suppose the world to exist. 13 He who understands rightly sees the world is as unsubstantial as air. But whoever is misled by wrong judgment takes it to be like a solid mountain.
14 As a house and city are manifested to us in our dream, so this unreal world is presented as a reality to our understanding. 15 It is like the misconception of water in the mirage and the mistake of gold in a bracelet. All this unreality appears as a reality to the mistaken mind.
16 Discoursing in this manner between themselves, the two charming ladies, walked out of the house with their graceful steps.
17 Being unseen by the village people, they viewed the mountain standing before them, kissing the vault of heaven and touching the orb of the sun with its lofty peaks. 18 It was decorated with flowers of various colors and covered with a variety of trees of various colors. There were waterfalls gushing with their tremendous roaring on one side, and groves resounding with the warbling of birds in another. 19 The clouds were variegated by many colored clusters of flowers sweeping over them, and cranes and storks sat screeching on the cloud-capped tops of guluncha trees. 20 There were robust reeds lining the banks of rivers with their wide stretching stems and roots. Strong winds tossed the tender vines growing out of the rocky caves.
21 Clouds from the vault of heaven hung over the tops of trees covered with flowers and shed their pearly drops of rainwater profusely upon them, forming streams below. 22 The banks of the streamlets were continually lapped by waves raised by winds playing upon the shaking trees. Branches spread a cooling shade all around.
23 Standing on that spot, the ladies saw the hilly hamlet in the grass, like a fragment of heaven had fallen on the ground. 24 There the rippling streams softly glided by, and here the brimming brooks wobbled in the ground. The birds of the air chirped on the sprays, and aquatic fowls flew about the holes of the seashore. 25 There they saw herds of cattle slowly moving and grazing in the plains, filling the echoing woods with their loud lowing. They saw an open space broken with shady groves and trees and green meadows all about. 26 The cliffs were white with snow, impenetrable by sunbeams. Hill tops were covered with bushy brambles, forming like braids of hair upon their craggy heads.
27 Cascades falling in torrents in the cavities of rocks, scattering their pearly particles afar like the churning of the Milky Ocean by Mandara Mountain. 28 The trees in the glens, loaded as they were with their fruit and flowers, appeared like waiters upon the goddesses, standing to welcome their approach with their rich presents. 29 Shaken by gusts of roaring winds, the forest trees were shedding showers of their honey sweetened flowers as offerings to the woodland gods and people.
30 The birds that approached fearlessly to drink the water dropping from the hill now fled for fear because the water seemed like sleet, or the shells and shots of archers. 31 Birds, parched by thirst and wishing to drink the water dashed by the waves of the rivulet, hovered upon it like stars in the sky. 32 There were rows of crows sitting on the tops of tall palm trees from whose sight children were hiding the remains of their sweetmeat.
33 They saw country lads with garlands of flowers on their heads and garments roaming in the cooling shades of the date, jam and neem trees.34 They saw a lean and hungry beggar woman passing by slowly, clad in cloth of flax with garlands of blossoms over her ears. 35 They saw lazy rustics lying in their lonely retreats, talking away from the noisy brooks where they could hardly hear one another. 36 They saw naked beggar children crowding in a compound, curd smeared on their faces and hands, cow dung on their bodies, and holding flowery branches of plants in their hands.
37 On the green river banks, waves shook bushes as if they were a swing, leaving their marks on the sandy shore as the waters receded to their bed. 38 There was a house full of flies attracted by sweet milk and curds, but children were crying for lack of food. 39 Herdswomen were fretting at seeing their bracelets daubed by the cow dung they were spreading to dry. Men were smiling at seeing the eagerness of women tying the loosened knots of their hair. 40 Crows from the hilltops were alighting to pick up the offerings of the holy sages, and the paths around their houses were strewn with sacred kuru and kurunta leaves.
41 Every morning flowering plants growing in the caves of the hills and around the house covered the ground heel-deep with heaps of flowers.42 There were whisk-tailed cattle and antelope grazing in one part of the forest, and tender young deer sleeping on beds of grass under gunja groves. 43 There were young calves lying on their sides shaking their ears to drive away the flies that fluttered around their faces, milk dripping from the sides of their mouths.
44 Rooms stored honey collected by driving bees from their hives. Gardens were full of flowering asokas. Rooms were painted with red dye. 45Winds moistened by rain showers had brought the garden of trees to bloom, and yellow kadamba buds hung like a canopy over the beds of green grass below. 46 The ketaka tree grove was blooming white from having its weeds removed, and the water-course glided along with its soft murmuring tune. 47 Winds whistled in the windows of caves and clouds rested on mountain tops. Ponds were brimful of water covered with lotuses like so many moons.
48 A grove of green trees cast its cooling and undivided shade upon the ground where dewdrops trembled on blades of grass and glistened like twinkling stars in the blue sky. 49 Trees constantly dropped their ripened fruit, dried flowers and leaves of various sorts, like showers of snow on whitened ground. 50 Some clouds were seen to hang continually over the household compound, like aristocratic girls who never forsake their parents’ home. Other clouds hovered over the roof of the house flashing lightening to supply the light.
51 The altar here reverberated to the loud roaring of winds confined in the caves of mountains. The temple there was graced by twittering swallows and parrots that perched upon it from their numerous flights. 52 Soft breezes moved slowly as they passed along the lawn loaded with fragrance exhaled by sleepy flowers and gently shaking the leaves of trees.
53 There the ladies listened to prattling and playful parrots and partridges, and here they heard the melodious notes of the kokila nightingale calling back to the jarring crows on the branches. 54 Palm and tamara trees were loaded with fruit, and the forest trees were entwined with vines that waved their leafy palms around them. 55 There were tender ivy vines clasping the branches on one side, and the fragrance of efflorescent kandala and silindhra plants exhaled on the other. Tapering palm and tamara trees rose as high as spires, and a cooling breeze was blowing amidst the flower plants in the gardens.
56 There were cattle hastening to drink water in troughs, and garden trees hung with loads of green unripe fruit and beautiful flowers. Running streams were hidden under rows of trees by their banks. Stalks of plants were studded with flowers. 57 Gardens were perfumed with the nectar fragrance of kunda flowers, and lakes were redolent with the odor of lotuses hiding humble bees giddy with liquor in their honey cells. The air was reddened with rose-colored pollen flying from crimson lotuses, as if mocking the redness of Indra’s palace in the sky.
58 The scene was enchanted with the gurgling noise of small rivers running precipitately down from the hills, kundu flowers as white as clouds hanging over them, the beauty of the flower gardens around the house, and the musical warbling of songbirds singing joyfully in the air. 59 Boys were sporting on beds of flowers, and playful maidens were decked with flowery wreaths hanging down to their feet. Everywhere the ground was adorned with sprouting and prickly shrubs and blades of grass. There was a beauty displayed in the clasping of vines about the clumps of reeds.60 New shooting buds and blossoms covered the trees and fragments of clouds shrouded the houses below. The ground was decorated by wreaths of icicles, and the flashes of lightning in the clouds over the houses terrified the women within.
61 There was a sweet fragrance of blue lotuses, and the hoarse lowing of the cattle hurrying to their green grazing ground. Confident deer and does were lying tamely in the yard, and peacocks danced merrily before waterfalls as if they were showers of rainwater. 62 Fragrant breezes were blowing giddily with the flavors of the fragrances they bore. Medicinal plants were lending their lights like lamps at night. Bird nests resounded with ceaseless warbling, and the noise of waterfalls deafened the ears of men on the bank.
63 Pearly dewdrops continually falling on the ground from the leaves of trees and blades of grass, the gleaming beauty of the ever blooming blossoms above, and the other everlasting charms of mountain hamlets baffle the description of poets.
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Chapter 29 — Description of Leela’s Life as Arundhati; Description of Astral Travel in Space
1 Then the two goddesses sat on a cooling village seat, much like the two states of joy and liberation meet in the tranquil spirit of the man knowing the Divine Spirit. 2 By this time Leela had become personified to the form of pure consciousness through her knowledge of meditation. She had become a seer of the three times presenting themselves before her. 3 She remembered the whole course of her past life and derived pleasure relating the events of her former life and death.
4 Leela said, “By your favor, O goddess, and by sight of this place, I recollect all that I did and thought of in my past life. 5 Here I grew up to old age, and here I withered and become lean and thin as a skeleton.”
“I was a brahmani here and had my body scratched by dried sacrificial grass (kusa). 6 I was the legal wife of my lord and producer of his race. I was employed milking cattle and churning curd. I had been mother of many sons and a kind hostess to my guests. 7 I was devoted to the service of the gods, brahmins and good people, and rubbed my body with cow milk and ghee.”
“I cleaned the frying pans and boiling kettles of the house. 8 I boiled food daily with a single bracelet of glass and one of conch-shell on my wrists. I served my father, mother, brother, daughters and sons-in-law with their daily meals. 9 Working all day and night, my body was emaciated like that of a domestic servant. ‘Haste and hasten’ were the words I used to repeat to myself.”
10 “Being so busy, I was silly and ignorant. Although I was the wife of a brahmin, I never wondered, not even in a dream, about what I was and what was this world. 11 Fully engaged in the collection of fuel, cow-dung, and sacrificial wood and vegetables, I became emaciated in my body, which was wrapped in a worn out blanket.”
12 “I used to pick out worms from the ears of the milk cow, and was prompt to water the garden of greens with watering pots in hand. 13 Every day I used to go to the lake and get fresh green grass to feed my tender calves. I used to wash and clean the house every morning, and paint the doorway with the white tints of pasted and powdered rice (gundi). 14 I had to correct my servants with gentle rebukes and tell them to keep within their bounds like the waves in the rivers.”
15 “With my infirm body and ears shaking like dried tree leaves, and supporting myself on a stick, I lived here under the dread of old age.”
16 As she was speaking in this manner and walking with Saraswati about the village in the valley of the mountain, she was astonished to see her former seats of pleasure, and she showed them to the goddess. 17 “This was my flowery tree garden, decorated by these torn patala plants, and this was my garden alcove of flowering asokas. 18 This is the bank of the pond where the calves were loosely tied to the trees. This is my pet calf Karnika, which in my absence has refrained from eating the leaves. 19 This is my watering woman, now so weak and dirty in her appearance, her eyes daubed in tears from weeping these eight days in my absence.”
20 “This, O goddess, is the place where I used to eat and sit, and where I slept and walked. These are the places where I gave and received the things from my attendants. 21 This is my eldest son, Jyeshtha Sarma, weeping in the house. That is my milk cow, now grazing on the grassy plain in the forest.”
22 “I see this portico and these windows, once as dear to me as my own self, smeared with the dry powder of the spring Holi festival. 23 I see these pulpy gourds, planted with my own hands and dear to me as myself, now spreading themselves over the oven area. 24 I see my relatives wearing rudraksha beads, who before had been the bonds of my life, carrying fuel for fire, eyes tearing from the smoke. 25 I see that stony shore pelting its pebbles against force of the waves that baffle the beach, now covered by bushes. 26 The green meadows were full of leafy plants, dew drops on their tips. The plains were whitened from hailstones falling on them in showers. 27 The midday was covered by sunbeams, like a white mist of frost. The tree groves resounded with humming of bees fluttering about clustering flowers.”
28 “The blooming palasa, glowing like reddish coral, covered trees and land with heaps of crimson flowers. 29 Fruit was flowing in the village stream, carried from shore to shore, and rustic lads loudly jumbled together, eager to lay hold on them. 30 The cool shady beach of the stream was strewn with pebbles, washed and carried away by the current and covered by leaves falling from the trees.”
31 “There I see the altar of my house, so beautifully decorated with flowering vines, clusters of fruits and flowers hanging over its windows. 32Here lived my husband, whose life in its aerial form has fled to the sky and became lord of the earth reaching the surrounding seas. 33 I remember how he had fostered the fond wish of obtaining royal dignity, and how ardently he looked forward to its attainment. 34 I see, O goddess, his royal dignity of eight days, which had seemed to be so long in duration.”
35 “I see the soul of my husband in the same form as his kingly state residing in the empty space of this house, invisible to all like the air in the sky, and like the odors borne by the winds. 36 It is in this empty space that his soul is contained within the form of a thumb that contains in its bosom the whole extent of my lord’s realm stretching thousands of leagues in its circumference. 37 I also see the spacious kingdom of my lord in the space of my consciousness which, by the miraculous power of God called illusion (maya), makes room for thousands of mountains.”
38 “O Goddess, now I wish to see the earthly city of my lord again. Let us therefore turn our course that way, as no place is distant to the resolute.”
39 Vasishta said:—
Having said so, Leela bowed down to Saraswati and entered the shrine. Then, like a bird, she flew into the air with the goddess. 40 It was a region devoid of darkness and as fair as a sea of moonlight. Then it became as blue as the body of Narayana and as bright as the back of a locust.41 They passed above the regions of the clouds and winds, then beyond the spheres of the orbits of the sun and moon. 42 They passed beyond the path of the north star and the limits of the circuits of the sadhya deities, spiritual masters, and other celestial beings. 43 From there they ascended to the higher heavens of Brahma and the Tushita divinities, then upward to the sphere of Golaka (the zodiac), and from there to the world of Shiva and to the sphere of the departed souls of the dead.
44 Passing beyond the spheres of embodied living beings and of the bodiless souls of the dead, they proceeded far and farther to the unknown regions of empty space. 45 Having passed the ethereal sphere, they saw nothing there except the sun, moon and the stars shining below them. 46There was only a deep darkness to be seen, filling the whole void of space and appearing like the basin of the waters of universal deluge, and as compact as the impenetrable cavity of a rock.
47 Leela said, “Tell me, O goddess! What happened to the light of the sun and other stars? Where did this darkness, dense like a fist, come from?”
48 The goddess replied, “You have arrived at a place so remote from the spheres of heaven that the light of the stars can never reach it. 49 Just like one at the bottom of a deep dark pit is unable to see the light of a firefly flitting over it, so sunlight is invisible to one behind the great belt of heaven.”
50 Leela said, “Such a great distance we have come! The great luminary of the sun appears as small as an atom below. 51 Tell me mother, what sort of a place lies beyond this region, and how can we get there after traversing this gloomy expanse?”
52 Saraswati said, “Behind this is the great pole of the universe that is scattered with innumerable nebular stars like particles of dust.”
53 Vasishta said:—
As they were talking in this manner, they glided imperceptibly to that pole, like a bee saunters over a solitary hut on the height of a mountain. 54They were at no pains to come down from that precipice, as there is no pain to effect what must certainly come to pass, even though it appears difficult at first.
55 They saw the system of the universe laid naked to their sight, just as a bold navigator beholds a world exposed to his view beyond the wide expanse of waters. 56 They saw the watery expanse to be ten times greater than the earth and enveloping like the crust of a walnut. 57 Then there is a latent heat that is ten times as great as the water, and the surrounding air is as much greater than the water, and then the all encompassing space of which there is no end.
58 There is no beginning, middle or end to that infinite space. It produces nothing, like a barren woman of her offspring. 59 It is only an extended expanse, infinite, calm and without beginning, middle or end, situated in the Supreme Spirit. 60 Its immensity is as immeasurable as a stone flung with full force from its top. It is impossible for a garuda bird, flying with all his might at full speed over the course of an entire kalpa age, to reach from one end to the other .
Chapter 30 — Vasishta Describes the Universe, the Cosmic Egg (Brahmanda)
Vasishta speaking:— 1 Within a moment they passed beyond the regions of the earth, air, fire, water and space and the tracks of the ten planetary spheres. 2 They reached boundless space from where the universe appears like an egg. 3 Under its vault they saw millions of luminous particles floating in the air, 4 like innumerable bubbles floating on the waters of the unlimited ocean of the sphere of Consciousness. 5 Some particles were going downward, and others rising upward; some turning round, and others appeared to their understanding to remain fixed and immovable. 6 These different motions were only apparent as they saw them from different sides. 7 Here there were no ups or downs, no upside or below, and no going forward or backward. Here there are no directions as men know. 8 There is only one indefinite space in nature, as there is only one consciousness in all beings. Yet everything moves in its own way, just like wayward children take their own course.
9 Rama said, “Tell me sage, why do we refer to up and down, forward and backward, if there is no such thing in space and nature?”
10 Vasishta said:— There is only one space enveloping all things. The worlds seen in the infinite and indiscernible womb of emptiness are like worms moving on the surface of water. 11 All these bodies that move about in the world by their lack of freedom are thought to be up and down relative to our position on earth. 12 So when there are ants on an earthen ball, all its sides are reckoned below that are under their feet, and those as above which are over their backs. 13 Such is this ball of earth in one of these worlds, covered by vegetables and animals moving on it, and by gods, demons and men walking upon it. 14 It is also covered by cities, towns and mountains and their inhabitants and productions, like a walnut by its shell.
15 Like elephants appearing as pigmies in the Vindhyan Mountains, these worlds appear as particles in the vast expanse of space. 16Everything anywhere is produced from and exists in space. It is always all in all things, which are contained like particles in it. 17 Such is the pure empty space of Divine Consciousness which, like an ocean of light, contains these innumerable worlds which are forever revolving in it like the countless waves of the sea.
18 Some of these are hollow within, and others are as dark as the darkness in the end of a kalpa age. They are all moving about in the ocean of emptiness like the waves of the sea. 19 Some are forever whirling about with a jarring noise that is neither heard or known to anybody. It is like the motion of men addicted by their nature to earthly pursuits.
20 Some worlds are growing in form, as if they were newly created. In their development, they are like sprouts from seeds newly sown in the ground. 21 Some are melting away like icicles in heat, or like the mountains that melt at the dissolution of the world from burning sun and heavenly fire. 22 Others have been continually falling downward without reaching any ground, until at last they dwindle and melt into Divine Intellect. 23Others are fixed in the air like miniscule animals in water that are moved to and fro by currents but without any sign of motion or sensation in them.24 Again, nothing is stable in nature. Everything is as changing as people alter and add to the acts and customs enjoined in the Vedas and scriptures.
25 There are other Brahmas and other patriarchs, and many Vishnus and many Indras, one after the other. We have different kings of men, and sometimes no ruler of them.
26 Some in this multiform creation are like men or lords of others, and some are creeping and crooked living beings on earth. Some kinds are as plenty as the waters of the ocean, and others have become extinct. 27 Some are as hard as solid stones, and others are as soft as poor insects and worms. Some are of godly figures, such as the giants, while others are of puny human forms. 28 Some are quite blind and are suited to darkness. Others are suited to light. Some to both. 29 Some are born as gnats sucking the juice figs. Others are empty within and fly about and feed upon the air.
30 The world is filled with creatures beyond the conception of even yogis. Even we cannot form even a guess of all the beings that fill infinite space. 31 This world is the sphere for these living beings, but the great emptiness that spreads beyond is so extensive that the gods Vishnu and others are unable to measure it even if they were to traverse it for the whole of their lives. 32 Every one of these ethereal globes is encircled by a belt resembling a golden bracelet, and each has an attractive power like the earth to attract other objects.
33 I have told you all about the grandeur of the universe to my best knowledge. I have no knowledge or power to describe anything beyond this.34 There are many other large worlds, unseen by others, rolling through the immense space of vacuum, like giddy yaksha demons revel in the dark and dismal deserts and forests.
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Chapter 31 — Leela & Saraswati Arrive on Earth; Fate of Good & Bad Fallen in War
1 Vasishta said:— After having seen the worlds in their aerial journey, the ladies arrived on earth and quickly entered King Padma’s inner apartment. 2 There they saw the king’s dead body lying in state under heaps of flowers, Leela’s spiritual body sitting beside the corpse. 3 It was the dead of night and the residents had fallen into sound sleep one by one. The room was perfumed with the incense of resin, camphor, sandalwood and saffron.
4 Leela, seeing the house of her late husband and wishing to enter it, came to his tomb in her assumed body. 5 Then she passed through the fictitious spacious palace of her lord by breaking out of the confines of her body and head that in yoga terminology are called earthly and worldly environs. 6 Then with the goddess she went again to the bright and spacious temple of the world and quickly entered. 7 She saw her husband’s imaginary world (that of King Viduratha) like a dirty and mossy pool, just like a lioness beholds a mountain cave covered by darkness and clouds.8 Then the two goddesses entered that empty world with their airy bodies, like weak ants make their passage through the hard crust of the wood-apple. 9 There they passed through regions of cloudy hills and skies, and reached the surface of the earth, consisting of tracts of land and basins of water. 10 They came to the continent of Jambu (Asia) situated amid the nine-fold petals of the other continents, and from there proceeded to the territories of Leela’s husband in the land of Bharata (India).
11 During this time they saw a certain prince (the ruler of Sindh), strengthened by other chiefs, making an attack on this land which was the beauty of the world. 12 They saw the air crowded by people of the three worlds who had assembled to see the conflict. 13 They remained undaunted, and saw the air crowded by aerial beings in groups like clouds.
14 There were the spiritual masters (siddhas), charana and sura demigods, celestial gandharvas, supernatural vidyadharas, and other celestials and apsara nature spirits in large bodies. 15 There were also bhuta and pisacha demons, and rakshasa demon cannibals; while female vidyadhara were flinging handfuls of flowers on the combatants like showers of rain. 16 The evil-spirit vetalas, yakshas and kushmands were looking at the battle with pleasure, taking the shelter of hills to avoid flying arrows and weapons. 17 The imps were flying from the air to keep out of the path of flying weapons. The spectators were excited by sound of the combatants’ war cries.
18 Leela, who was standing by with a fan in her hand, was frightened at the imminent, dreadful conflict. She smiled in scorn at the boasting on each side. 19 Virtuous people unable to endure the horrid sight took to praying with the chief priests to avert the calamity.
20 Indra’s messengers were ready with their decorated elephants to bear the souls of mighty heroes to grace the seats of heaven. 21 The demigod charanas and gandharvas sang praises of the advancing heroes. Those heavenly apsara nymphs who liked heroism were glancing at the best combatants. 22 Voluptuous women wished to embrace the arms of the brave. The fair fame of the heroes had turned the hot sunshine to cool moonlight.
23 Rama asked, “Tell me, sage, what sort of a warrior is called a hero and becomes a jewel in heaven, and who is an insurgent?”
24 Vasishta answered:— He who engages in a lawful warfare and fights for his king, whether he dies or becomes victorious in the field, is called a hero and goes to heaven. 25 Whoever otherwise kills men in war for an unjust cause and dies is called an insurgent and goes to hell. 26Whoever fights for unlawful property and dies in battle becomes subject to everlasting hellfire. 27 Whoever wages a war justified by law and custom, that warrior is called both loyal and heroic in deed. 28 Whoever dies in war with a willing mind to protect cattle, brahmins and friends, and whoever protects his guest and refugee with all diligence, after his death he truly becomes an ornament in heaven.
29 The king who is steadfast protecting his subjects and his own country is called just, and those who die in his cause are called brave. 30 They who die fighting on the side of riotous subjects, or in the cause of rebellious princes or chiefs, are doomed to fire. 31 They who die fighting unjustly against their kings, law-givers and rulers are subjected to the torments of hell.
32 A war that is just serves to establish order, but the unsteady who are mindless of the future destroy all order. 33 ‘The hero dying goes to heaven’ is the common saying. Scriptures call the lawful warrior a hero, and not otherwise. 34 They who suffer wounds while protecting the righteous and good are said to be heroes. Otherwise, they are insurgents.
35 It was in expectation of seeing such heroes that the maidens of the gods were standing in the air and talking among themselves about becoming the wives of such warriors. 36 The air was decorated by an illumination on high, and by rows of beautiful heavenly cars of gods and masters, and by the presence of celestial maidens who sang in sweet notes and decorated their hair with mandara flowers.
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Chapter 32 — Onset of the War
1 Vasishta said:— Leela, standing in air with the goddess of wisdom, saw the apsara nymphs dancing with eagerness for the war between combatants below. 2 She saw the armies assemble in her own territory once governed by her lord. She saw the field of the air no less formidable because of the assembled ghosts.
3 The meeting of the two armies made the ground appear like a billowy sea, or like two clouds meeting in the sky with the appearance of two hostile forces. 4 The battle array of armored warriors, flashing like the fire of heaven, was followed by their commingled blows resembling the rattling of thunder above, deafening the ears and dazzling the sight. 5 Then darts and javelins, spears and lances, and many other missiles began to fall on both sides, like showers of raindrops, hailstones and meteorites from the skies. 6 Showers of shafts fell with a force that would pierce the wings of garuda. As they hit the warriors, they covered the glare of the sun off their armor.
7 Combatants stood face to face with their arms lifted, steadily staring at each other as if they were pictures in a painting. 8 Armies arranged in long regiments, standing in lines opposite each other, repeatedly shouted and answered each another. 9 The battle array of both armies, and the drums on each side, were stopped by their leaders warnings against striking the first blow. 10 The space that separated the hostile forces was the breadth of two bows, like a bridge from one another. It looked like a gap caused by winds in the middle of the ocean at the universal deluge.
11 Leaders were drowned in thoughts of fear of bloodshed and massacre. Cowardly soldiers groaned in their hearts with the hoarse noise of croaking frogs. 12 There were many brave ones eager to yield their precious lives in a trice. Archers stood with bowstrings drawn to the ear, ready to let their pointed arrows loose at the foe. 13 Others stood dreadfully fixed to strike their arms upon the enemy. Many with frowning looks stared sternly at their adversaries.
14 Armor was clashing, the faces of killers were burning with rage, and the faces of cowards turned towards sheltered retreats, ready for flight.15 All stood in doubt of their lives until the end of the war, and the bodies of old men, like big elephants, were covered with goose bumps.
16 The silence in anticipation of the first blow resembled the calm of the stormy main or the deep sleep of a city at the dead of night. 17 Musical instruments, drum and conch-shell were all silent, and a thick cloud of dust covered the face of the earth and sky. 18 The retreaters were flying from their stronger assailants, who kept running after them like sharks after shoals of fish in the sea. 19 The glittering fringes of flags put the ethereal stars to blush, and the lifted goads in the hands of the elephant-drivers made a forest of tapering trees in the sky. 20 Arrows flew in the air like flocks of the winged tribe, and the loud beating of drums and blowing of pipes resounded in the air.
21 A round phalanx attacked a host of wicked demons, and a squadron in garuda formation of right and left wings attacked a body of elephants.22 Somewhere a great howling arose from the vanguard of a body of troops thrown into disorder by a cohort in the form of eagles. In another place, many were seen shouting and attacking each another. 23 Warriors of many legions raised a tremendous noise, and the hands of combatants raised a host of large clubs. 24 The glare of dark steel shaded sunbeams like a cloud. Darts hissing in the air resembled the rustling of breeze amidst the dry leaves of trees.
25 Now began the main battle, like the dashing of clouds upon clouds at the end of a kalpa age. War raged like sea whipped by a hurricane. 26Big elephants fell in the field like coal-black rocks hurled down by gusts of wind. 27 It seemed like infernal spirits had been let loose from their caves of hell to rage in the battlefield with their horrid and dismal figures. 28 The dark cloud of swords hid daylight and warriors raised their black spears, seemingly bent upon converting the earth into an ocean of bloodshed.
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Chapter 33 — The Battle: the Armies Engage
[The whole of this chapter abounds in onomatopoeian alliterations, and is more a play upon words than display of sense. However, it is interesting for these jingling words and for the names of the weapons in use among the ancients. — V. L. Mitra]
1 Rama said, “Sage, describe this warfare to me, as I love stories of this kind.”
2 Vasishta said:— The ladies, in order to have a better view of the battle below, ascended in their imaginary aerial cars to a more retired spot in the higher regions of the sky.
3 At this time, the two armies clashed and mingled, fighting each other with shouts, like waves dashing against one another in a raging sea. 4Viduratha, the lord of the realm (formerly Padma, the husband of Leela), impatient seeing a bold warrior from the other army attack one of his soldiers, used his huge mallet to strike him on the breast. 5 Then the battle raged with the impetuosity of rolling waves in a stormy ocean. Arms on both sides flamed with living fire and flashes of fiery lightning.
6 Now the edges of waving swords glittered in the sky. Cracking and clashing noises filled the air with a hideous crackling. 7 Then flew winged arrows overshadowing sunbeams and emitting a booming noise that hushed the rattling clamor of summer clouds. 8 Armor clashed against armor with a clanking noise, shooting sparks of glistening fire. Arms, hacking and slashing against arms, filled the air with their fragments flying like birds in the air.
9 The shaking arms and legs of the two armies appeared like a forest moving on the land. The twang of their bows and the rumbling of discs, crackling like the rattling drive of wheels in heaven, drove away the birds of the air. 10 The hissing of their loosened strings resembled the bee-like buzzing heard in samadhi. 11 Iron shafts pierced the heads of the soldiers like sleets of hailstones, and the crashing of armor broke arms of the mail-clad warriors. 12 Weapons struck brazen armor with a howling noise and clanking sound. Strokes flying like drifts of rainwater dented the face of the air on all sides.
13 Steel striking steel made hands ring with a jingling sound, and the continued rapping on arms and clapping of hands raised chat-chat and pat-pat sounds. 14 The whizzing noise as swords were unsheathed was like the hissing of sparks from fire. The sounds of arrows and darts flying in all directions were like the rustling of falling leaves in autumn.
15 The field was filled with blood spouting from throats separated from bodies, mangled limbs and heads, and broken swords. 16 The flame of fire flaring from armor emblazoned the hairs of the warriors. The sound of weapons as swordsmen fought and fell raised a giddy and loud jingling.17 Tall elephants, pierced by spears, poured out torrents of red-hot blood; while their kin gored bodies with shrill cries. 18 Others, crushed by the ponderous maces of their antagonists, creaked grievously under the blows while heads of slain soldiers swam in rivers of blood over the plain.
19 Here hungry vultures were pouncing from above, and there the sky was covered by a cloud of dust. Weaponless soldiers fought with their hands, pulling each other down by the hair.
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Chapter 34 — The Battle as Seen by Onlookers
1 The generals and ministers of the warring sides, and the aerial spectators of the battles, were talking among themselves this way.
2 See, here the ground has become a lake of blood, with heads of slaughtered hosts floating like lotuses upon it. And there the air has become like the starry heaven, glittering with broken weapons flying like birds in the sky. 3 Behold the air is red with the particles of bright red blood borne above by the winds. It is midday, but the sky presents evening clouds with the glow of the setting sun.
4 What are these, says one, that are flying like straws in the sky? They are, says the other, no straws but the flight of arrows that have filled the air. 5 Another cries that as long as the dust of the earth is wet with the blood of the brave, heroes are entitled to glory and have their home in heaven for myriads of years. 6 A scripture says to fear not these dark swords whose blades are worn by the brave like petals of blue lotuses about their breasts, and the brave are favorites in the eyes of the goddess of fortune.
7 The heavenly apsara nymphs that saw the fighting and felt a desire to embrace the brave. The god of the flowery bow (Kama, the God of Love) was busy loosening their waist bands. 8 They beckoned their welcome by waving their reddened palms, by shaking red leaves on trees, by the round glances of their eyes, in the blooming blossoms of plants, and by the perfume of their breath in the honey fragrance of flowers. 9 The guardian spirits of the pleasure gardens of paradise sang sweet notes with the woodland choir and danced in the wagging tails of peacocks. 10 As a brave warrior broke the enemy line with his hardy axe, his beloved was breaking his hard heart and spirit with the soft glances of her eyes.
11 It is by my lance, says the lancer, that I have severed the head of my enemy with rings in his ears, like the head of the ascending node of Rahu approaching the disc of the sun. 12 Look, there is a champion hurling blocks of stones attached to the end of a chain reaching his feet! There is another, whirling his wonderful log of wood held in his uplifted arm. 13 There comes that warrior in the form of Yama, the God of the underworld, appearing from the region of the dead spirits and spreading a horrid devastation all around. Come let us go back the way we came. 14 Look at these ravenous birds greedily plunging their long necks into the flesh of bodies just separated from their heads, and glutting themselves with the gushing blood. See there the headless trunk of the slain moving to and fro in the field of battle.
15 The eloquent among the spectators were talking to one another about the frailty of human life and the uncertainty of the time of their meeting in the next world. 16 O, the stern cannibal of death, says one, that devours entire bodies of armies in one swoop, now weltering in blood, and levels the leveling hosts to the ground.
17 The showers of arrows falling on the elephants resemble the showers of raindrops on mountain tops. The darts sticking to their front bones are like bolts of lightening piercing the cliff tops. 18 While a headless body was groveling on the ground for lack of its head, its head was flying on high like a bird of air, proclaiming its immortality in heaven. 19 The army harassed by stones slung at their heads cried to entrap the enemy in the snares set at their feet.
20 Wives that had become apsaras (heavenly nymphs) after death, were now eager to claim their husbands, restored to their youth by virtue of falling in the field of battle. 21 The glaring light of the line of lances that had reached the skies seemed like a flight of stairs or golden vistas for the ascent of the brave to the gates of heaven. 22 The wife of the slain soldier, now a heavenly goddess, taking possession of her husband’s fair gold-like breast, was looking about in search of another.
23 Generals, arms waving, wailed loudly over their fallen armies in the field. They appeared like cliffs of rocks resounding to the clamorous surges of the sea below. 24 They shouted at warriors to fight their best. They cried out to remove the wounded to the rear and not trample the bodies of their own soldiers, now lying low on the ground.
25 Look! There apsaras are eagerly tying their loosened hair and advancing with sobbing bosoms to receive the departed warriors joining their company in their celestial forms. 26 Ah, receive our guests from afar, says one, on the banks of the rivers of paradise, decorated with golden lotus blossoms, and entertain them with fresh water and cooling breeze. 27 Look! There are groups of weapons broken into pieces like bones by their impact, huddled in the air with a jingling sound and shining like stars in the sky. 28 See the stream of deceased souls flowing in arrow-like currents and rolling in whirlpools of flying discs, rapidly gliding with the pebbles and stones flung in the air from the slings. 29 The sky has become like a lake of lotuses with lotus-form heads of warriors flung aloft in the air, while flying weapons are floating like their stalks with the broken swords all around like their thorns. 30 Flying fragments of flags form the skins of the plants, and the darts sticking to them appear like big black bees fluttering about the flowers moving with the breeze. 31 Arrows sticking to the dead bodies of elephants are like ants on mountain tops, and like timid girls clinging to men’s bosoms.
32 Winds unfurling the curling locks of supernatural vidyadhara females indicate their approaching nuptials, like in an augury the unfolding plumage of fowls predict success. 33 Lifted umbrellas shine like so many moons on high, and the moon itself, shining above in the form of fair fame, spreads her light like a white canopy over the earth. 34 The brave warrior, soon after his death, assumes a celestial form framed by his own merit, just like a man in his sleep attains the state he imagined to himself in his waking.
35 Flying spears, lances, clubs and discs are hurtling in the air like shoals of restless fish and sharks moving about constantly in the troubled waters of the sea. 36 Milk-white rags of umbrellas, tattered and shattered by arrow shafts, fly like cranes in the crowded air, appearing like the disc of the moon broken into a thousand pieces. 37 Fans flying in the air with a hoarse gurgling seem like waves of the sea lifted in the air, undulating with a babbling noise in the ocean of the sky. 38 Those scraps of fans and umbrellas, ripped by slashing weapons, appear like the laurels of glory flung aloft and flying in the regions of air.
39 Look, O friends, how these flying arrows and showering spears are approaching us with the hits of their spoil, like bodies of locusts bearing away their green booty in the air. 40 Listen to the clanking sound of steel striking by the uplifted arm of an armored soldier, resounding like the loud alarm of the king of death. 41 Hear the tremendous blows of weapons, like the fury of an all destroying tornado, throwing down mountain-like elephants, their great ivory tusks lying on the ground like waterfalls. 42 Look, there the chariot drivers are stopped in their course struggling to make their way through puddles of blood in which wheels and horses are stuck together like in a bog of quagmire. 43 The jingling of arms and armor and the jangling of swords and steel resound like a lute playing for the dancing of the dire and dreaded dame of death.
44 See the skirts of the sky are reddened by the red particles borne by the winds from streams of blood flowing out of the wounds in the bodies of men, horses and elephants lying dead in the field. 45 Look at the array of arrows in the air in the shape of a wreath of blossoms, falling like lightning from dark black clouds of weapons hanging on high. 46 See the surface of the earth filled with blood-red weapons appearing like faggots of fire strewn over the ground in a universal conflagration. 47 A multitude of weapons mingle together clashing and breaking one another into pieces, falling down in showers like the innumerable rays of the sun.
48 The fighting of one man among the motionless many is like the play of a magician acting his parts for a bewitched audience. See, there indifferent spectators are viewing the battle as a dream (by their prajna or inner vision of the mind).
49 The field of battle, where all other sounds are hushed under the clashing of arms, resembles the stage of the martial god Bhairava chanting his pitiless war song in jarring cacophony. 50 The battlefield is turned into a sea of blood filled with the sands of pounded weapons and rolling with the waves of broken discuses. 51 The sky is filled with martial music loudly sounding on all sides. Echoes off the hills seem to challenge one another in their aerial flight and fighting. 52 Alas, for shame, says one, that these arrows flung with such force from bowstrings, flying with such loud hissing, glittering like red hot lightning, are foiled in their aim of piercing impenetrable armor and glance off hitting stony hills. 53 Hear me friend. You are tired of the sight. It is time for us to leave this place before our bodies are pierced by these sharp arrows flashing like fire, and before the day runs its course into the evening.
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Chapter 35 — The Battle: Description of the Battlefield
[First the battleground is compared with the sky, then with the sea, next with a forest, and last with the final doomsday. — V.L. Mitra.]
1 Vasishta said:— Then waves of cavalry mounting to the sky made the battlefield appear like a raging sea. 2 Moving umbrellas floated as its foam and froth, and feathered silvery arrows glided like finny pearly fish, while cavalry charges and flights heaved and dashed like surges of the sea. 3 Rushing of weapons resembled the running of its currents, and circles of soldiers were its whirlpools. The elephants were like its islets and their motions resembled the rocks moving in it. 4 Whirling discs were its eddies, and long hair flying on heads its floating weeds. Sparkling sands were its shining waters, and the flash of swords its glassy spray. 5 Gigantic warriors were its whales and alligators, and the resounding caves like its gurgling whirlpools. 6 Flying arrows were its swimming fishes, and floating flags resembled its uprising waves and bores. 7 Shining weapons formed the waters of this ocean and their whirlpools also, while the long lines of forces appeared like the huge and horrible bodies of its whales. 8Soldiers clad in black iron armor were like the dark blue waters of the deep, and headless bodies groveling in dust were like the whirling currents of the sea, with scattered weapons like sea weeds.
9 Showers of arrows hid the skies with a mist, and the confused rattling of the battlefield was like the roaring of clouds. 10 Flying and falling heads of slain soldiers resembled large drops of rain, and their bodies were like pieces of wood whirling in the eddies of the discs. 11 The bold archer, bending his strong bow in the form of a curve and leaping above the ground, resembled the spouting sea rising from under the ground with heaving waves. 12 The unnumbered umbrellas and flags that were moving up and down the field were like the foaming and frothing of the sea, rolling in waves of blood and carrying away the beams and timbers of broken chariots in its current. 13 The army’s march resembled the flow of seawater, and the blood spouting from the wounds of elephants were like its bubbles, while the moving horses and elephants represented the sea animals in their motion.
14 The battlefield had become like a wonderful field of the air in which the furious war, like a tremendous earthquake, shook hills like moving clouds in the sky. 15 Here the waves were undulating like flights of birds in the air, and groups of elephants falling aground like rocks, and the cowardly ranks murmured like herds of frightened deer. 16 The field has become a forest of arrows. Wounded soldiers are standing fixed on the ground like trees, arrows flying like locusts, and horses moving like antelopes.
17 Here a loud drum sounded like the humming of bees in the hollows of trees. The army appears like a mist with a bold warrior sprawling like a lion in it. 18 Dust was rising in clouds and forces falling like rocks. Huge, broken chariots looked like hills, and flaming swords shined on all sides. 19 The rise and fall of soldiers’ feet flitted like falling flowers on the ground, and flags and umbrellas rose above it like clouds. All was covered with streams of blood, and high-sounding elephants fell like thundering showers of rain.
20 The war was like the last doom of death ready to devour the world, destroying flags, banners, umbrellas and chariots in a confused chaos. 21Shining weapons fell like fragments of the bight sun, burning all things like a burning pain inflames the soul and mind. 22 The stretched bows were like rainbows, and falling arrows like showers of rain. Flying sabers resembled forked lightning, and their falling fragments like sparkling hailstones.
23 The dire massacre made a sea of blood with hurling stones as its shoals and rocks. Flying arms resembled stars falling from heaven. 24 The sky was like a sea full of whirlpools of discs hurled through the air. There were burning fires performing funerals of the slain. 25 Missiles were like bolts of thunder that struck rock-like elephants dead in the field to block the passage of men. 26 Earth and sky were hidden by a thick cloud of showering arrows, and the army below was a sea of tempestuous warfare and bloodshed. 27 Destructive weapons were flying on all sides, like huge dragons of the sea carried aloft by gusts of wind from the stormy main. 28 The flying arms of bolts, swords, discs, pikes and lances were blazing and breaking one another in the air with such hideous noise that it seemed to be a second deluge, when the last tornado blew up everything on high, scattering them in all directions, crushing and smashing them with a tremendous peal.
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Chapter 36 — The Battle: Duels between Equals; Catalogue of Forces
1 Heaps of arrows rising in spires above the ground drove the cowards and the wounded far away from the battlefield. 2 Hills of dead bodies of men, horses and elephants, heaving in promiscuous heaps and appearing like clouds fallen upon earth, invited the demon yakshas, rakshasas and carnivorous pisachas to come and play in the wide ocean of blood.
3 Now there commenced a contest between men of equal rank and virtue among those of good character, valor and strength on both sides. All took part in the combat, even holy householders. 4 They fought duels like one cloud clashing with another, and like the confluence of two streams discharging their fury against each other. 5 As a rib is joined to another, and one side with the other, so met horse against the horse and elephant against elephant in mutual conflict. 6 As one forest clasps and clings to another, and as one hill is linked with another in a range, so the duelists struggled with each other like one wave dashing against the other. 7 Footmen fought with footmen like reeds crush reeds and bamboo strikes each another in swirling winds. 8 Chariots fell upon chariots and broke each another to pieces. Citizens beat rustics, like the gods smote the demons of old.
9 The sky which had been clouded by flights of arrows was now emblazoned by the archer’s banner resembling a rainbow of various colors. 10 At last the warriors who were overpowered in their conflict fled from the field, as people do from a fire.
11 Now armor-bearers with discuses met in contest with those who shielded against discs, archers opposed archers, and swordsmen challenged the other side’s sword fighters. So hookers and crookers challenged their co-rivals with crowbars in hand. 12 Maces were opposed to maces, and lancers were set against the lance bearers in fighting. Spearmen braved spearmen, and the throwers of missiles were crossed with missiles in hand. 13 Mallets fought against mallets, and clubs were opposed by clubmen in the conflict. Combatants with pikes encountered pike men face to face, and iron rods were crossed in strife against pointed tridents. 14 Fighters with missile weapons counteracted the missiles of their enemies, and those fighting with battleaxes resisted the poleaxes and pickaxes of their foes. 15 Trappers with their traps and snares attacked the darters of nooses and lassos. Those who threw javelins withstood the javelins of the throwers on the other side. Daggers opposed daggers and cudgels fought cudgels. 16 Combatants with iron gloves opposed boxers with iron fisticuffs, and those with iron cranes in hand pursued fighters with crooked goads. Warriors with ploughshares attacked ploughmen, and those with tridents fell upon the opposing trident holders. 17 Champions with chained armor set upon soldiers attired in mail. They poured on the field like flights of locusts or like the waves in the troubled sea.
18 The air also appeared like a sea, with flying discs whirling like whirlpools and the flight of reeds whistling like gusts of wind. Various flying weapons seemed like sharks and dolphins moving about it. 19 The sky of the heavens became the great deep of the sea, impassable by celestials owing to the waves of weapons moving like sea monsters in the air. 20 Thus the armies of the two belligerent rulers, each composed of eight divisions as described below, furiously engaged one another.
21 Now hear me relate to you, the forces on the side of Padma, now named King Viduratha, and the allied powers that came to his side from the Central and Eastern districts. 22 There came the hardy warriors of Kosala and Benares; those of Magadha and Utkala, situated in the east; and the Mekhalas (of Vindhya range), the Karkars (of Karnatic), and the Madras in the south. 23 The chiefs of Hema and Rudras and the Tamils from the south; the Pragjyotishas, and the horse faced Osmuks and Ambashtha cannibals. 24 Then there joined the Varna-koshthas and Viswotras, and the eaters of raw food and flesh and the fish eaters; and those with faces like tigers, the Kiratas, with the Sauviras and one legged people. 25 Next came the mountaineers of Malyavana, Sibira and Anjanagiri; and others having the ensigns of bulls and lotuses, and the people of the sun rising mountain in the east. 26 Those that joined from the south east, are the following, namely: the Vindhyaris, the Chedis, the Vatsas, the Dasarnas (near the confluence of the ten streams); and the Angas, Bangas and Upabangas (of Upper and Lower Bengal). 27 They that met from the south were, Kalingas and Pundras, the Jatharas, Vidarbhas and the hill people; the Sabaras, the outcaste tribals, the Karnas and the Tripura people. 28Those named Kantakas from their thorny district, the unenlightened Komalas; the Canarese, the Andhras, the Cholas and the people on the borders of the Charmanvati river. 29 The Kakos or bald-headed and bearded people, and those of the Hemakuta Hills; the frizzled and long necked people, and the inhabitants of Kishkindha and cocoa forests. 30 The princes that joined with Leela’s husband from the south, were as follows: the Vindhyans, the Kusumians (of Patna), the Mahendras and the Darduras. 31 The Malays and the solar race, and the Prince of the thirty-three united states and the rich and united cities of Avanti and Sambavati. 32 And those of Dasapura of Katha, Chakra, Reshika Cutch and others, and the foresters of Upagiri and Bhadragiri Hills. 33 The prince of Nagore and the chiefs of Dandaka Forest, and the joint states of the people; the Sahas, Saivas, and the hill people of the Rishyamuka and Karkota and the Vimbila foresters.
34 Then came the inhabitants from the banks of Pampa, the Kerakas and Karkaviras; with the Kherikas, Asikas and the people of Dhrumapattana. 35 Next came the Kasikas and Khallukas, the Yadas and Tamraparnikas; the Gonardas, the Kanakas and the people of Dinapattam. 36 The Tamils, Kadambharas, Sahakaras and Deer Hunters, the Vaitundas, Tumbavanalas, and those attired in deer and elephant skins. 37 Then came the lotus-like Sibis and Konkans and the inhabitants of Chitrakuta mountains; with the people of Karnata, the Mantas, Batakas and those of Cattak. 38 The Andhras and Kola hill people, the Avantis and Chedis; with the Chandas and Devanakas and Krauncha-vahas. 39 At last came the people from the three peaks of Chitrakuta mountains, called the Silakhara, Nanda mardana and Malaya, which were the seats of the guardian Bakshasas of Lanka. 40 Then those of the southwest where there is the great realm of Surat, with the kingdoms of the Sind, Sauvira, Abhira, and Dravidas (in Deccan). 41 Also those of the districts of Kikata, Siddha Khanda, and Kaliruha, and Mount Hemagiri or golden hills and the Raivataka range. 42 Then the warriors of Jaya Kachchha, and Mewar; as also the Yavanas, the Bahlikas, the Marganas (nomads), and the grey colored Tumbas (on the north). 43 Then there came Lahsa races and many hill peoples, inhabiting the borders of the sea, forming the limit of the dominion of Leela’s husband on the north.
44 Now know the names of the countries belonging to the enemy in the west, and of those composed of the following mountain ranges, namely,45 Mount Maniman and the Kurarpana Hills, with the hillocks of Vanorka, Meghabhava, and Chakravana Mountain. 46 There is the country of the five peoples limiting the territory of the Kasa brahmins, and after that the Bharaksha, the Paraka and Santika countries. 47 Thence stretch the countries of the Saivyas, Amarakas, the Paschatyas and Guhutwas; and then the Haihaya country, and those of the Suhyas, Gayas and Tajikas and Hunas. 48 Then along the side of some other countries, there is the range of Karka Hills, inhabited by barbarous people, devoid of caste,customs and limits of moral duties. 49 Thence stretches a country hundreds of leagues in length, to the boundary mountain of Mahendra, abounding in rich stones and gems. 50 After that stands the Aswa Range with hundreds of hills about it; and extending to the dread ocean on the north of the Pariyatra Range. 51 On the north western side, there are countries beyond the boundary mountains (of Asia), where Venupati was the king of the land. 52 Then there are the countries of the Phalgunakas and Mandavayas and many other peoples; and those of Purukundas and Paras as bright as the orb of the sun. 53 Then the races of Vanmilas and Nalinas and the Dirghas; who are so called, from their tall statures and long arms and hairs. Then there are the Rangas, Stanikas with protuberant breasts, and the Guruhas and Chaluhas. 54 After that is the kingdom of women, where they feed upon bullocks and heifers. Now about the Himalayas and its hills in the north (of India): 55 these are the Krauncha and Madhuman hills; and the Kailasa, Vasuman and the Sumeru peaks; at the foot of which are the people, known under many names. 56 Beside these there met the warlike tribes of India consisting of the Madrawars, Malavas and Sura-senas. The Rajputs of the race of Arjuna, the Trigartas and the one legged people and Khudras. 57 There were the Abalas, Prakhalas, and Sakas. The Khemadhurtas, the Dasadhanas, the Gavasanas and Club Fighters. 58 The Dhanadas and Sarakas and Batadhanas also, with the islanders and Gandharas and Avanti warriors of Malwa. 59 The warlike Taxilas, the Bilavas, Godhanas and the renowned warriors of Pushkara. 60 Then there were the Tikshas and Kalavaras, and the inhabitants of the cities of Kahaka and Surabhuti likewise. 61 There were the people of the Ratikadarsa and Antaradarsa also; and the Pingalas, the Pandyas, Yamanas and Yatudhanas demons too. 62 There were also the races of men, known as Hematalas and Osmuks, together with the hilly tribes, inhabiting the Himalaya, Vasuman, Krauncha and Kailasa Mountains. 63 Hear me now relate to you the peoples that came from the north east quarter, which extends a hundred and eighty leagues in its circumference. 64 There came also the Kalutas and Brahmaputras, the Kunidas and Khudinas, with the warlike Malavas and the champions of the Randhra and forest states. 65 Then there were the Kedavas and Sinhaputras of dwarfish statures; the Sabas, the Kaccæs, the Pahlavis, the Kamiras and the Daradas. 66 There were also the people of Abhisa, the Jarvakas, the Pulolas and Kuves; the Kiratas and Yamupatas, together with the poor and rich people of desert lands and tracts of gold.
67 Thus Leela in one vision saw the homes of the gods and the forest lands and the earth in all their beauty. She saw all the seats of opulence and the buildings with which they were adorned. She saw the summit of Kailash and the delightful groves at its foot, and the level lands traversed by the aerial cars of vidyadhara and other celestial beings.
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Chapter 37 — The Battle: Catalogue of Forces Continued
[It is not easy to say whether this lengthy description of the battle is Vasishta’s or Valmiki’s own making. Both of them were well acquainted with military tactics. Vasishta was the general of King Sudasa against the Persians. Valmiki was the epic poet of Rama’s wars with Ravana in the celebrated Ramayana. These descriptions are left out in the translations of this work as entirely useless in yoga philosophy without regard that they formed the preliminary step to Rama’s military education, which he was soon after called to complete under the guidance of Vishwamitra in his hermitage. — V. L. Mitra]
1 Vasishta said:—
Thus the ravaging war was making a rapid end of men, horse, elephants and all. The brave coming foremost in the combat fell in equal numbers on both sides. 2 These and many others were reduced to dust and ashes. The bravery of the brave served only to send them like poor moths to the fire and flame of destruction.
3 Know now the names of the central districts, not yet mentioned by me, that sent their warriors to the field, in favor of the consort prince of Leela. 4 These were the inland forces of Sursena, the Gudas, and the Asganas; the Madhymikas and they that dwell in the tropics. 5 The Salukas and Kodmals, and Pippalayanas; the Mandavyas, Pandyans, Sugrivas and Gurjars. 6 The Pariyatras, Kurashtras, Yamunas and Udumvaras; the Raj-waras, the Ujjainas, the Kalkotas and the Mathuras (of Muttra). 7 The Panchalas, the Northern and Southern Dharmakshetras; the Kurukshetriyas, Panchalakas and Saraswatas.
8 The line of war chariots from Avanti, being opposed by the arms of the warriors of the Kunta and Panchanada districts, fell in fighting by the sides of the hills. 9 Those arrayed in silk clothes, being defeated by the enemy, fell upon the ground and were trodden down by elephants. 10 The brave of Daspura, being hacked in their breasts and shoulders by enemy weapons, were pursued by the Banabhuma warriors and driven to a distant pool. 11 The Santikas, being ripped in their bellies, lay dead and motionless in naked field, wrapped in their mangled entrails that were torn and devoured by the voracious pisachas at night. 12 Veteran and outspoken warriors of Bhadrasiri, well skilled in the battlefield, drove the Amargas into a ditch like tortoises to their pits. 13 The Haihayas were driving the Dandakas, who fled like fleet stags flying with the swiftness of winds, gushing blood drawn by pointed, piercing enemy arrows. 14 The Daradas, gored by the tusks of enemy elephants, were carried away like broken tree branches in the floods of their blood. 15 The Chinas, bodies mangled by darts and arrows, cast themselves in the water, their bodies a burden they could no longer bear. 16 The demons, pierced in their necks by Karnatic lancers, fled in all directions like faggots of fire, or like the flying meteors of heaven. 17 The Sakas and Dasakas fought each other by pulling the other’s hair, as if whales and elephants were struggling mutually with their respective elements. 18 Fleeing cowards were trapped in snares cast by the Dasarna warriors, like dolphins hiding under reeds are dragged out by nets on a blood-red shore. 19 The Tongas’ swords and pikes destroyed the Gurjara force by the hundreds, and like razors shaved the heads of hundreds of Gurjara women.
20 The luster of the warriors’ weapons illuminated the land like flashes of lighting, and clouds of arrows rained like showers in the forest. 21 A flight of the crowbars obscured the sun and frightened the Abhira warriors with the dread of an eclipse. They were as surprised as if ambushed by a gang of plunderers after their cattle. 22 Handsome gold collared, tawny colored Tamras soldiers were dragged by the Gauda warriors, as captors snatch their fair captives by the hair. 23 Like cranes by vultures, Tongons were beset by Kanasas with their blazing weapons, destroying elephants and breaking discuses. 24 The rumbling noise raised by Gauda warriors whirling their cudgels frightened the Gandharas so much that they were driven from the field like a herd of beasts, or like the fearful Dravidas. 25 A host of Saka warriors, dressed in black like the mist of night, poured like a blue torrent from the blue sky before their white-robed foes, the Persians.
26 The crowded array of arms lifted in the clear and bright sky appeared like a thick forest under a milk white ocean of frost that shrouds the mountainous region of Mandara. 27 From below, the flights of arrows appeared like cloud fragments in the air, and when viewed from above by the celestials, appeared like waves of the sea. 28 The air was a forest thickly beset by trees of spears and lances, with arrows flying like birds and bees, and innumerable umbrellas, with their gold and silver mountings, appearing as so many moons and stars in the sky.
29 Kekayas made loud shouts, like the war hoops of drunken soldiers. Kankas covered the field like a flight of cranes, and the sky was filled with dust over their heads. 30 The Kirata army made a murmuring sound like the effeminate voices of women, causing the lusty Angas to rush upon them with a furious roar. 31 Khasias, bodies covered with kusa grass, appeared like birds with feathers, and raised clouds of dust by flapping their feathered arms. 32 The whirling warriors of Narmada’s coasts came rushing unarmed into the field and began to mock, deride, flout and move about in their merry mood. 33 Low statured Salwas came with bells jingling on their waist bands, flinging their arrows in the air, and throwing showers of their darts. 34 The soldiers of Sibi were pierced by spears hurled by the Kuntas. They fell as dead bodies in the field, but their spirits fled to heaven in the form of vidyadharas. 35 A mighty, light footed army took possession of the field and in its quick march, laid the Pandunagaras groveling on the ground. 36 Big Punjabis and furious warriors from Benares crushed the bodies of stalwart warriors with their lances and cudgels, like elephants crush mighty trees under their feet and tusks. 37 Burmese and Vatsenis were cut down by the discs of the Nepalese. Saws cut down Sahyas like withered trees. 38 Heads of white Kaka, were lopped off with sharp axes. Their neighboring prince of the Bhadras was burnt down by the fiery arrows. 39Matangajas fell under the hands of Kashthayodhas like old, unchained elephants fall into a miry pit. Others who came to fight fell like dry fuel in a blazing fire. 40 Mitragartas fell into the hands of Trigartas and were scattered about the field like straws, and having their heads struck off as they fled, they entered the infernal regions of death. 41 The weak Vanila force, falling into the hands of a Magadha army that resembled a sea gently shaken by the breeze, went down in the sands like thin, aged elephants. 42 Chedis lost their lines fighting the Tongans and lay withered on the battlefield, like scattered flowers fading under the shining sun. 43 Kosalas were unable to withstand the war cry of the deadly Pauravas, routed by showers of clubs, arrows and darts. 44 Those pierced by pikes and spears looked like coral plants, red with blood all over their bodies, and fled to the sheltering hills like red hot suns to the setting mountains. 45 Flights of arrows and weapons, carried away by strong winds, moved in the air like cloud fragments with a swarm of black bees hovering under them. 46 Flying arrows wandering with the roar of elephants appeared to be showering clouds, their feathers appeared as the woolly breed, their reedy shafts seemed like trees. 47 Wild elephants and people of the plains were all torn to pieces like bits of torn linen. 48 War chariots with broken wheels fell into pits like the broken crags of mountains. The enemy stood upon their tops like a thick mist or cloud. 49 The hosts of stalwart warriors meeting on the battlefield gave it the appearance of a forest of palm and tamara trees, but when weapons chopped off their arms, they made it appear like a mountainous wood with clumps of stunted pine trees.
50 The youthful maidens of paradise were filled with joy and glee to find the groves of their native hill (Meru) full of brave champions (fallen in the field).
51 The forest of the army howled in a tremendous roar until it was burnt down by the all devouring fire of the enemy. 52 Hacked by the Assamese, their weapons snatched by the Bhutas, the Dasarnas threw away their staffs and fled like a herd of cows. 53 The Kasias by their valor were eager to despoil the tinsels from the dead bodies of the chiefs, like summer heat robs the beauty from lotuses in a drying pool. 54 Tushakas were beset by Mesalas with darts, spears and mallets. The sly Katakas were defeated and driven away by the Narakas.55 Kauntas were surrounded by Prastha warriors and were defeated like good people by the treachery of the wily. 56 The elephant drivers who had struck off the heads of their hosts in a trice, were pursued by harpooners and fled with their severed heads like the lotus flowers plucked by their hands. 57 The Saraswatas fought on both sides with one another until it was evening, and yet no party was the looser or gainer, just like a learned discussion among pundits or lawyers. 58 The puny and short statured Deccans, driven back by the demons of Lanka, redoubled their attack against them, like smoldering fire is rekindled by fresh fuel.
59 Rama, what more shall I say about this war which baffles even Sesha, with his hundred tongues and mouths, to attempt a full description?
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Chapter 38 — The Battle: End of the Day, the Battlefield after Cessation of Fighting
1 Vasishta continued:— Now as the war waged fiercely, with mingled shouts on both sides, the sun shrouded his polished armor under the mist of darkness and was about to set.
2 The waters of limpid streams glided over the showers of stones flung by the forces that fell on the fading clusters of lotuses growing in them. 3The clashing of shafts and darts glittered like flashes of fire in the sky, and waves of arrows were seen, now approaching close and then receding at a distance. 4 Below, severed heads floated in whirlpools of blood like loose lotuses, while above, the sea of heaven was filled with flying weapons moving like marine animals. 5 The rustling of the breeze and the whistling of clouds of weapons frightened the aerial masters and woodland apes with fear of an approaching rain.
6 The day declined after it had run its course of eight watches and assumed the graceful countenance of a hero returning in glory after he has fought his battle. 7 The army, like the day, declined in splendor, being battered in its cavalry and shattered in its force of elephants. 8 Army commanders, in concert with the ministers of war, sent envoys to the hostile parties for a truce to the fighting. 9 Both parties, seeing how much they lost in the engagement, agreed to a truce and the soldiers gave their assent with one voice.
10 They hoisted their soaring banners of truce on the tops of the highest chariots, and a mounted crier on each side proclaimed the truce to the armies below. 11 They unfurled white flags on all sides, which like so many moons in the gloom of night, proclaimed peace on earth by cessation from fighting. 12 Then the drums delivered their loud peals, resounded by the roaring of clouds above and all about. 13 The flights of arrows and weapons that had been raging like fire in the sky now began to fall in torrents on the ground below, like the currents of Lake Manasarovar. 14Hands and arms of warriors rested like their feet, like the shaking of trees and the surges of the sea end after an earthquake. 15 The two armies went their own ways from the field of battle, like inlets of the sea run into the land in different directions.
16 The armies being at rest, there was an end of all agitation in the field, like ocean waves are lulled to rest with the calm after being churned by Mandara Mountain. 17 In an instant the battlefield became as dreadful as the dismal womb of death, and as deep and dark as the hollow pit of the sea after Agastya sucked up its waters. 18 It was covered with the dead bodies of men and beasts and flowed with the floods of purpling blood. It resounded with the sounds of insects, like a heath with the humming of beetles. 19 Gory bodies gushed with blood and gurgled like sea waves. The cries of the wounded wanting to live pierced the ears and throbbed the heart strings of the living. 20 The dead and wounded rolling around side by side in streams of blood made the living think the dead were still alive like themselves. 21 Big elephants lying dead in piles on the field appeared like cloud fragments, and the heaps of broken chariots looked like a forest blown over by a storm. 22 Streams of blood flowed with the dead bodies of horses and elephants, and heaps of arrows, spears, mattocks and mallets flowed together with broken swords and missiles. 23Horses were lying in their halters and harnesses. Dead soldiers were wrapped in their mail and armor. Flags, fans, turbans and helmets lay scattered in the field.
24 The winds rustled by the openings of quivers like the hissing of snakes or the whistling of the breeze in the holes of bamboo trees. Flesh eating pisacha demons were rolling on beds of dead bodies as if they were beddings of straws. 25 The gold chains from the helmets and head ornaments of fallen soldiers glittered with rainbow colors, and greedy dogs and jackals tore at the entrails of the dead like long ropes or strings.
26 The wounded were gnashing their teeth in the field of blood, like the croaking of frogs in a miry pool of blood. 27 Those dressed in party-colored coats with a hundred spots now had their arms and thighs gushing in a hundred streams of blood. 28 Friends wailed bitterly over the bodies of their dead and wounded lying amidst heaps of arrows and weapons, broken cars and scattered trappings of horses and elephants that covered the land. 29 Headless trunks of demons danced about with uplifted arms touching the sky. The stink of carrion, fat and blood filled nostrils with nausea. 30 Elephants and horses of noble breed lay dead or gasping with their mouths gaping upwards, streams of blood dashing against their rock-like bodies beat as loudly as drums. 31 Blood gushing out of wounded horses and elephants ran like that of a wounded whale into a hundred streams. Blood spouting from the mouths of dying soldiers flowed into a hundred channels.
32 Those pierced with arrows in their eyes and mouths uttered an inaudible voice with their last gasp of death. Those pierced in their bellies had their bowels gushing out with a horrible stench. The ground was reddened with thickened blood issuing out of the wounds. 33 Half-dead elephants grasped headless trunks with their trunks, while the loose horses and elephants that had lost their riders were trampling over dead bodies at random. 34 The weeping, crying and tottering wives of fallen soldiers fell upon their dead bodies weltering in blood, embracing them closely by their necks, then made an end of themselves with the same weapons.
35 Groups of soldiers were sent with guides to fetch dead bodies from the field. The hands of their living companions were busily employed dragging the dead. 36 The field had become a wide river running with waves of blood breaking into a hundred whirling streams and carrying severed heads like lotuses, and the torn braids of hair floating like bushes. 37 Men were busy taking weapons from the bodies of the wounded who lamented loudly on account of their dying in a foreign land and losing their arms, armor, horses and elephants.
38 Dying souls remembered their sons and parents, their dear ones and their adored deities. They called out their names and sighed and sobbed with heart-rending sounds. 39 The brave who died cursed their fates, and those who fell fighting elephants blamed the unkind gods they had adored in vain. 40 Cowards fearing to be killed resorted to base flight, but the dauntless brave stepped forward into the whirlpools of blood. 41Some, suffering under the agony of arrows stuck in their mortal parts, thought upon the sins of their past lives that had brought such pain upon them. Blood sucking vetala ghosts advanced with their horrid mouths to drink blood from headless torsos.
42 Below, the floating flags, umbrellas and fans looked like white lotuses in a lake of blood, while from above, the evening stretched her train of stars like red lotuses in an ethereal sea. 43 The battlefield looked like an eighth sea of blood. The war chariots were its rocks and their wheels its whirlpools. The flags were its foam and froth, and the white fans its bubbles. 44 The field of blood with scattered chariots plunged in mud and mire and covered with broken pieces of woods looked like a tract of land devastated by a hurricane. 45 It was as desolate as a country burned by a fire, or like the dry bed of the sea sucked up by the sage Agastya. It was like a district devastated by a sweeping flood.
46 The battlefield was filled with heaps of weapons as high as the bodies of big elephants lying dead about the ground. 47 The lances carried down by streams of blood were as big as the palm trees growing on the summits of mountains. 48 Weapons sticking in elephant bodies seemed like shining flowers growing on green trees. Their entrails, torn and carried away by vultures, spread a fretted network in the sky. 49 Lances stuck in the ground by streams of blood made a woody forest on the banks of a red river, and the flags floating on the surface were like a bush of lotuses in the liquid blood. 50 Friends pulled dead bodies from the bloody pool in which they drowned, and men marked the bodies of big elephants by the jutting weapons sticking in them.
51 Trunks of trees that had their branches lopped off by the weapons looked like the headless bodies of slain soldiers, and the floating carcasses of elephants seemed like so many boats swimming in a sea of blood. 52 White garments swept down by the current looked like froth on the pool of blood. They were picked up by servants sent to search them out.
53 The demonic bodies of headless soldiers were rising and falling in the field, hurling large wheels and discs upon the flying army on all sides.54 Dying warriors were frothing forth floods of blood from their throats, and stones stained with blood were inviting greedy vultures to devour them.55 Then there were groups of sutala, vetala and uttala demons and ghosts dancing about the field with their war dances, whirling the broken bits of war-chariots upon the flying soldiers on all sides. 56 The stir and last gasp of the dying were fearful to behold, and the faces of the dying and the dead covered in dust and blood were pitiful to the beholder. 57 Devouring dogs and ravenous ravens had pity as they saw the last gasp of the dying. Carrion feeders were howling and fighting over carcasses until many of them became dead bodies from fighting each other.
58 Now I have described the sea of blood that flowed fast with the gore of unnumbered hosts of horses, elephants and camels, and of warriors and their leaders, and the multitudes of cars and war chariots. But it became a pleasure garden to the god of death, delighting in his bed of bloodshed and grove of weapons strewn all around.
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Chapter 39 — The Battlefield Infested by Nocturnal Fiends
1 Now the blood-red sun set down in the west like a hero red with blood. The sun hid his luster, which was dimmed by the brightness of the weapons of war in the western main. 2 The sky which had reflected the blood-red flush of the field of blood was now dimmed by the setting of the glorious sun and darkened by the veil of evening. 3 Thick darkness spread over the face of heaven and earth like the waters of the great deluge, and there appeared a body of vetala ghosts, dancing in a ring and clapping their hands.
4 The face of day, smeared with the blackness of nightfall, was painted by the light of evening with stars like pearly spots painted on the cheeks of an elephant. 5 The busy buzz of creation became silent in the dead darkness of night, like the humming of bees over the surface of the waters, the hearts of men were closed in sleep as in death, like the petals of the lotus at night. 6 Birds lay in their nests with folded wings and crests, like dead bodies were lying in the field covered with their wounds and weapons.
7 Then fair moonbeams shone above and white lotuses were blown below. The hearts of men were gladdened and the victors felt joyous in themselves. 8 The ruddy evening assumed the shape of the blood-red sea of battle, and the fluttering bees now hid themselves like the faces of fallen soldiers. 9 There was an ethereal lake above dotted on high with stars like white lotuses, and here was the earthly lake below, beset by lotuses resembling the stars of heaven.
10 Bodies thought to be lost in darkness were now recovered in moonlight like gems hidden under water are found scattered about. 11 The battlefield was filled with vetala ghosts howling with their hideous cries, while bodies of vultures, crows and owls tore at carcasses and sported with skeletons.
12 Funeral pyres blazed as brightly as the starry frame on high, and the fires consumed dead bodies with their bones and clothing. 13 The fire burnt bodies and bones to ashes, after which it extinguished itself as if sated with plenty. The female fiends now began to sport in the water. 14There arose a mingled cry of dogs, crows, and yaksha demons and vetalas clapping their hands. Bodies of ghosts, thick as woods and forests, were moving about. 15 Dakinis were eager to steal away the flesh and fat from the piles of bodies gathered for funeral, and pisachas delighted in sucking the blood, flesh and bones of the dead. 16 The demons were now looking and now lurking about the funeral piles, and the rakshasa demons that rushed in carried away carcasses on their shoulders.
17 There came also bodies of ferocious kumbhandas and big damaras uttering their barbarous cries and hovering in the shapes of clouds over the fumes of fat and flesh. 18 Bodies of vetalas stood in the streams of blood like earthly beings and snatched the skeletons with hideous cries. 19Vetala younglings slept in the bellies and chests of the elephants, and rakshasas were drinking their fill in the bloody field. 20 Giddy vetalas fought one another with the lighted faggots from the pyres, and the winds blew the stench of the putrid carcasses on all sides.
21 Female fiends (rupikas) filled the baskets of their bellies with carrion with a rat-a-tat noise. Yaksha cannibals were snatching half-burnt carcasses from the funeral pyres as their roasted meat and dainty food. 22 Aerial imps (khagas) attacked the dead bodies of the big Bangas and black Kalingas, and flouted about with their open mouths, emitting the blaze of falling meteors. 23 Vetala ghosts fell down in the dark and discolored blood-pits, lying hidden in the midst of heaps of dead bodies, while pisacha ogres and the leaders of yogini sprites laughed at them for their false step.
24 Entrails being pulled vibrated like the strings of musical instruments. The ghosts of men that had become fiends from their fiendish desires fell to fighting one another. 25 Valiant soldiers were frightened at the sight of female fiends (rupikas), and funeral rites were disturbed by the vetala and rakshasa demons. 26 The demons of the night (nisacharas) were frightened at the fall of carcasses from the shoulders of elves (rupikas) who were carrying them aloft in the air where they were waylaid by a throng of ghostly demons (bhuta-sankata). 27 Many dying bodies were lifted with difficulty by demons who, when they found the bodies unfit for their food, let them fall down dead on the ground. 28 Pieces of blood-red flesh that fell from the fiery jaws of jackals looked like clusters of asoka flowers strewn all around the funeral ground. 29 Vetala urchins were busy putting scattered heads over the headless bodies of Kabandhas, and bodies of yaksha, raksha, and pisacha ogres flashed like firebrands in the sky.
30 At last a thick cloud of darkness covered the face of the sky, and the hills, valleys, gardens and groves became hidden under an impenetrable gloom. Infernal spirits were loosened from their dismal abodes and ravaged at large over the battlefield like a hurricane under the vault of heaven.
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Chapter 40 — Subtle Body & Astral Travel; Intellectual Body; Details on the Process of Death, Conception & Birth
1 Vasishta related:—
The nocturnal fiends infested the gloomy field, and the attendants of Yama, the Lord of Death, roamed about it like marauders in the daytime. 2Under the canopy of thick darkness, naked and fleeting ghosts in their nightly abode reveled on their provisions of carrion that was likely to be taken by the clutches of one’s hand.
3 It was in the still hour of this gloomy night, when the host of heaven seemed to be fast asleep, that a sadness stole in upon the mind of Leela’s magnanimous husband, the warring King Viduratha. 4 He thought about what was to be done the next morning in council with his counselors, and then he went to his bed which was as white as moonlight and as cold as frost. 5 For a while his lotus-eyes were closed in sleep in his royal camp, which was as white as moonbeams and covered by the cold dews of night.
6 Then the two ladies issued forth from their empty abode and entered the tent through a crevice, like air penetrates into the heart of an untouched flower bud.
7 Rama asked, “How is it possible sage, that the gross bodies of the goddesses, with their limited dimensions, could enter the tent through one of its holes, as small as the pore of a piece of cloth?”
8 Vasishta answered saying that:—
It is impossible for someone who mistakes himself to be a material body to enter a small hole with that gross body. 9 But it is possible to go anywhere one pleases if he understands that he is only pent up in his physical body like in a cage and obstructed by it in his flight, and if he does not believe that he is confined by his material body but has the true notion of his inner subtle spirit. 10 He who perceives his original spiritual state to be the better half of his body may pass as a spirit through a chink. But whoever relies on the lesser half of the material body cannot go beyond it in the form of his intellect.
11 As air rises upward and the flame of fire never goes downward, so the nature of spirit is to rise upward, and that of the body to go down, but the intellect is made to turn in the way in which it is trained. 12 A man sitting in the shade has no notion of feeling heat or warmth, so one man has no idea of another man’s knowledge or thoughts. 13 As is one’s knowledge, so is his thought. Such is the mode of his life. It is only by means of ardent practice (of meditation and learning) that the mind is turned to the right course.
14 One’s belief of a snake in a rope is removed by knowledge of his error. The habits of the mind and conduct in life are changed from wrong to right by the knowledge of truth. 15 It is one’s knowledge that gives rise to his thoughts, and thoughts direct his pursuits in life. This is a truth known to every man of sense, even to the young.
16 Now then, the soul resembles something seen in a dream or formed in fancy. The soul is of the nature of air and emptiness and is never obstructed anywhere in its course. 17 There is an intellectual and astral body which all living beings possess in every place. It is known as consciousness as well as the feelings of our hearts. 18 It is by Divine Will that consciousness rises and sets by turns. At first it was produced in its natural, simple and intellectual form and then, being invested with a material body, they together make the unity of the person out of the duality of material and immaterial essences.
19 Now you must know that the triple emptiness composed of the three airy substances — spirit, mind and space — are one and the same thing, but not so their receptacle the material body which has no ability to flow or extend.
20 Know this intellectual, consciousness body of beings is like the air, present with everything everywhere, just like your desire to know extends over all things in all places and presents them all to your knowledge. 21 It abides in the smallest particles, and reaches to the spheres of heavens. It reposes in the cells of flowers, and delights in the leaves of trees. 22 It delights in hills and dales, and dances over the waves of the oceans. It rides over the clouds, and falls down in the showers of rain and hailstones of heaven. 23 It moves at pleasure in vast space and penetrates through the solid mountains. Its body bears no break in it, and it is as minute as an atom.
24 Yet it becomes as big as a mountain lifting its head to heaven, and as large as the earth which is the fixed and firm support of all things. It views the inside and outside of everything, and bears the forests like hairs on its body. 25 It extends in the form of the sky and contains millions of worlds in itself. It identifies itself with the ocean, and transforms its whirlpools to spots upon its person.
26 This intellectual, consciousness body of beings is of the nature of an uninterrupted understanding, ever calm and serene in its aspect. It is possessed of its intellectual form from before the creation of the visible world, and being all comprehensive as emptiness itself, it understands the natures of all beings. 27 It is as unreal as water in a mirage, but by its intelligence, it manifests itself as a reality to the understanding. Without this exercise of the intellect, the intellectual man is as nothing as the son of a barren woman, and as blank as the figure of a body seen in a dream.
28 Rama asked, “What is that mind to which you attribute so many powers? What is that which you say to be nothing? Why is it no reality and something distinct from all that we see?”
29 Vasishta replied:—
All individual minds are provided with these faculties, except those whose minds are engrossed with the error of the outer world. 30 All worlds are either of a longer or shorter duration, and they appear and disappear at times. Some of these vanish in a moment and others endure to the end of a kalpa age. But it is not so with the mind, whose progress I will now relate to you.
31 There is an unconsciousness which overtakes every man before his death. This is the darkness of his dissolution (maha-pralaya-yamini). 32After the shocks of delirium and death are over, the spiritual part of every man is regenerated anew in a different form, as if it was roused from a state of trance, reverie or swoon. 33 Just like the spirit of God, for its re-creation after the dissolution of the world, assumes his triune form with the persons of Brahma and Virat (the Universal Form), so every person after his death receives the triplicate form of his spiritual, intellectual and corporeal being.
34 Rama said, “As we believe ourselves to be reproduced after death by reason of our memories, so must we understand the re-creation of all bodies in the world by the same cause. Hence there is nothing uncaused in it.”
35 Vasishta replied:—
The gods Hari (Vishnu), Hara (Shiva) and others, having obtained their disembodied liberation (videha-mukti) at the universal dissolution, could not retain their memory to cause their regeneration.
36 But human beings, having both spiritual and intellectual bodies entire at their death, do not lose their memory of the past, nor can they have final liberation like Brahma unless they obtain their disembodied state, which is possible to all in this life or hereafter only by the edification of their souls through yoga meditation. 37 Birth and death of all other beings like yourself are caused by their memory and because they lack disembodied liberation and eternal salvation. 38 The individual soul, after its pangs of death are over, retains its consciousness within itself, but remains in its state of unconsciousness by virtue of its own nature.
39 The universal emptiness is called nature (prakriti). It is the reflection of the invisible Divine Consciousness (chit prativimbam) and it is the parent of all that is dull or moving (jada-jada) which are produced by their reminiscence or its absence (sansmriti and asmriti); the former causing the regeneration of living beings, and the latter its cessation as in inert matter. 40 As the living principle or animal life begins to have its understanding (bodha), it is called an intelligent being (mahat) which is possessed of its consciousness (ahankara). It has added to it the organs of perception and conception, all from their elements (tanmatras) residing in the empty ether.
41 Next this minutely intelligent substance is joined with the five internal senses that form its body and which is otherwise called its spiritual or ethereal body (ativahika or lingadeha; the astral or subtle body). 42 This spiritual being, by its long association with the external senses, comes to believe it has ordinary senses, so it finds itself invested with a material body (adhibhautika deha) as beautiful as that of a lotus. 43 Then seated in the embryo, it rests in a certain position for sometime, and then inflates itself like the air until it is fully expanded.
44 Then it thinks itself to be fully developed in the womb, like a man dreams of a fairy form in his sleep and believes this illusion as a reality. 45Then he views the outer world where he is born to die, just like one visits a land where he is destined to meet his death, and there he remains to relish its enjoyments, as prepared for him.
46 But the spiritual man soon perceives everything as pure emptiness, and that his own body and this world are only illusions and vain nothings. 47 He perceives the gods, human dwellings, the hills, and the heavens resplendent with sun and stars to be nothing more than homes of disease, debility, decay and ultimate death and destruction. 48 He sees nothing but a sad change in the natures of things, and that all that is living or inert, great or small, together with the seas, hills, rivers and peoples of this earth, and the days and nights, are all subject to decay sooner or later.
49 The knowledge that I am born here of this father and that this is my mother, these are my treasures and such are my hopes and expectations, is as false as empty air. 50 That these are my merits and these my demerits, and these the desires that I had at heart, that I was a boy and am now young, are the airy thoughts of the hollow mind.
51 This world resembles a forest where every being is like a detached tree. The dark clouds are its leaves and the stars its full blown flowers. 52Walking men are its restless deer and the aerial gods and demons its birds of the air. Broad daylight is the flying dust of its flowers and the dark night the deep hiding place of its grove. 53 The seas are like its streams and fountains and the eight boundary mountains are its artificial hills. The mind is its great water reservoir containing the weeds and shrubs of human thoughts in abundance.
54 Wherever a man dies, he is instantly changed to this state, and he views the same things everywhere. Thus everyone rises and falls constantly, like the leaves of trees in this forest of the world. 55 Millions of Brahmas, Rudras, Indras, Maruts, Vishnus and suns, together with unnumbered mountains, seas, continents and islands have appeared and disappeared in the eternal course of the world. 56 No one can count the numbers of beings that have passed away, are passing, and shall have to pass hereafter, or those who are in existence and have to become extinct in the unfathomable eternity of Brahman.
57 Therefore it is impossible to comprehend the stupendous fabric of the universe in any way except in the mind, which is as spacious as infinite space itself, and is as variable as the course of events in the world. 58 The mind is the empty sphere of consciousness, and the infinite sphere of consciousness is the seat of the Supreme.
59 Now, know the whirlpools and waves of the sea are of the same element as the sea in which they rise and fall even though, in their impermanence, they are not of the same durable nature as seawater. So the phenomenon is the same as its conception, though none is a reality.60 The ethereal sphere of heaven is only a reflection of the intellectual sphere of the Divine Mind, and the bright orbs of the sky are like gems in the bosom of Brahman. Its vault is the cave of the mind of the Eternal One.
61 The world according to the sense in which I take it, as the seat of God, is highly interesting, but not so in your sense of it being a sober reality. So the meaning of the words “I” and “you” according to me refers to the intellectual spirit, and according to you to the individual soul and body.
62 Hence Leela and Saraswati, being in their empty astral bodies, were led by the pure desire of their souls to every place without any obstruction or interruption. 63 The spirit of consciousness has the power to present itself wherever it likes, on earth or in the sky, and before objects known or unknown and wished to be known by it. It was by this power that they could enter into the tent of the prince.
64 Consciousness has its way to all places and things, and over which it exercises its powers of observation, reflection and reasoning to their full extent. This is known as the spiritual and unconfined body (ativahika, the subtle body, astral body, mind body) whose course cannot be obstructed by any restriction whatever.
Chapter 41 — Leela & Saraswati enter King Viduratha’s Tent; He Remembers His Past Lives; Everything Is within the Temple of the Mountain Brahmin; Discrimination of Error
1 Vasishta said:— When the ladies entered the tent, it appeared like a bed of lotuses. Its white ceiling seemed as graceful as the vault of heaven with two moons rising at once under it. 2 A pure and cooling fragrance spread about it, as if blown by the breeze from mandara flowers, and lulled the prince to sleep. Everyone was lying in their camps. 3 It made the place as pleasant as the celestial pleasure garden of Nandana and healed all the pains and cares of the people there. It seemed like a spring garden filled with the fragrance of the fresh blown lotuses in the morning.
4 The cooling and moon-bright radiance of the ladies roused the king from his sleep as if he had been sprinkled with the juice of ambrosia. 5 He saw the forms of two apsaras sitting on two stools, appearing like two moons risen on two peaks of Mount Meru. 6 The king saw them with wonder and after composing his mind, he rose up from his bed like God Vishnu rises from his bed of the serpent. 7 Then advancing respectfully to them, with long strings of flowers in his hands, he made offerings of them to the ladies with handfuls of flowers flung at their feet.
8 Leaving his pillowed sofa in the midst of the hall, he sat with folded legs on the ground. Lowly bending his head, he addressed them saying, 9“Be victorious, O moon-bright goddesses who by your radiance drive away all the miseries and evils and pains and pangs of life, and who by your sun-like beams dispel all my inward and outward darkness.” 10 Saying so he poured handfuls of flowers on their feet, as trees on the banks of a lake drop down their flowers on the lotuses growing in it.
11 Then the goddess, desiring to reveal the ancestry of the king, inspired his minister, who was lying nearby, to relate it to Leela. 12 Upon waking, the minister saw the nymphs manifested before him, and advancing humbly before them, threw handfuls of flowers upon their feet. 13 The goddess said, “Let us know, O king, who you are and when and of whom you are born.”
Hearing these words of the goddess, the minister spoke saying, 14 “It is by your favor, O gracious goddesses, that I am empowered to relate of my king’s ancestry to your kind graces.”
15 “There was a sovereign born of the imperial line of Ikshvaku named Mukundaratha, who had subjugated the earth under his arms. 16 He had a moon-faced son by name of Bhadraratha, whose son Viswaratha was father to the renowned prince Brihadratha. 17 His son Sindhuratha was the father of Sailaratha, and his son Kamaratha was father of Maharatha. 18 His son Vishnuratha was father of Nabhoratha, who gave birth to this my lord of handsome appearance.”
19 “He is renowned as Viduratha and is born with the great virtues of his sire, as the moon was produced of the Milky Ocean to shed his ambrosial beams over his people. 20 He was begotten by his mother Sumitra like the god Guha of Gauri. He was installed king of the realm in the tenth year of his age, owing to his father taking himself to asceticism. 21 He has been ruling the realm with justice since that time, and your appearance here tonight indicates the blossoming of his good fortune.”
22 “O goddesses, whose presence is hard to be had, even by the merit of long devotion and a hundred austerities, you see here present before you the lord of the earth, famed Viduratha. 23 He is highly blessed today by your favor.” After saying these words, the minister remained silent with the lord of the earth.
24 They were sitting on the ground with folded legs, clasped hands and downcast looks when the goddess of wisdom, by her inspiration, told the king to remember his former births. 25 So saying, she touched his head with her hand and immediately the dark veil of illusion and oblivion was dispersed from over the lotus of his mind. 26 It opened like a blossom by the touch of the genius of consciousness and it became bright as the clear sky with the rays of his former memories. 27 By his intelligence, he remembered his former kingdom, of which he had been the sole lord, and recollected all his past play with Leela. 28 He was carried away by the thoughts of the events of his past lives, as one is carried away by the current of waves, and reflected in himself that this world is a magic sea of illusion.
29 He said, “I have come to know this by the favor of the goddesses, but how is it that so many events have occurred to me in course of one day after my death? 30 Here I have passed a lifetime full of seventy years and remember having done many works and having seen my grandson. 31 I recollect the bygone days of my boyhood and youth, and I remember well all the friends and relatives and all the clothes and attendants that I had before.”
32 The goddess replied:— Know O king that after the fit of unconsciousness attending your death was over, your soul continued to remain in the emptiness of the same place where you still reside. 33 This royal pavilion, where you think yourself living, is situated in the empty space within the house of the brahmin in that hilly district. 34 It is inside that house that you see the appearances of your other homes present before you, and it was in that brahmin’s house that you devoted your life to my worship. 35 It is the shrine within that same house and on the same spot that contains the whole world which you are now seeing all about you. 36 This abode of yours is situated in that same place and within the clear firmament of your mind.
37 It is a false notion of your mind, which you have gained by your habitual mode of thinking, that you are born in your present state of the race of Ikshvaku. 38 Mere imagination has made you suppose yourself to be named so and so, and that such and such persons were your ancestors; that you had been a boy of ten years; 39 that your father became an ascetic in the woods and left you governing the realm; that you have subjugated many countries under your dominion and are now reigning as the lord paramount over them; 40 and that you are ruling on earth with these ministers and officers of yours, observing sacrificial rites and justly ruling your subjects.
41 You think that you have passed seventy years of your life and that you are now beset by very formidable enemies, 42 and that having waged a furious battle, you have returned to this tent of yours where you are now seated and intend to adore the goddesses who have become your guests here. 43 You are thinking that these goddesses will bless you with your desired object, because one of them has given you the power of recollecting the events of your former births; 44 that these goddesses have opened your understanding like the blossom of a lotus, and that you have the prospect of getting rid of all questions; 45 that you are now at peace and rest, and enjoy the solace of your solitude; and that your long continued error (of this world) is now removed forever.
46 You remember the many acts and pleasures of your past life in the body of King Padma before you were snatched away by the hand of death. 47 You now perceive in your mind that your present life is only a shadow of the former, as it is the same wave that by its rise and fall carries one onward. 48 The constant current of the mind flows like a river and leads a man, like a weed, from one whirlpool to another. 49 The course of life now runs alone as in dreaming, and then accompanied by the body as in the waking state, both of which leave their traces in the mind at the hour of death.
50 The sun of consciousness being hidden under the mist of ignorance, there arises a network of a false world which makes a moment appear like a hundred years. 51 Our lives and deaths are mere phantoms of imagination, just like we imagine houses and towers in aerial castles and icebergs. 52 The world is an illusion, like the delusion of moving banks and trees to a passenger in a vessel on water, or a rapid vehicle on land, or like the trembling of a mountain or quaking of the earth to one affected by a convulsive disease. 53 As one sees extraordinary things in his dream, such as the decapitation of his own head, so he views the illusions of the world that can hardly be true.
54 In reality you were neither born nor dead at anytime or any place, but ever remain as pure consciousness in the tranquility of your own soul.55 You seem to see all things about you, but you are seeing nothing real in them. Your all-seeing soul sees everything in itself. 56 The soul shines by its own light like a brilliant gem. Nothing that appears beside it, whether this earth or yourself or anything else, is a reality.
57 These hills and cities, these people and things, and ourselves also, are all unreal and mere phantoms, appearing in the hollow vault of the brahmin of the hilly district. 58 The kingdom of Leela’s husband was only a picture of this earth, and his palace with all its grandeur is contained within the sphere of the same hollow shrine. 59 The known world is contained within the empty sphere of that shrine, and it is in one corner of this mundane house that all of us here are situated.
60 The sphere of this vaulted shrine is as clear as emptiness itself, which has no earth or house in it. 61 It is without any forest, hill, sea or river, and yet all beings are found to rove about in this empty and homeless abode. 62 Here there are no kings, no royal retinue, and nothing else that kings have on earth.
Viduratha asked, “If it is so, then tell me goddess, how did I happen to have these dependants here? 63 A man is rich in his own mind and spirit. Is it not so ordained by Divine Mind and spirit? If not, then the world must appear as a mere dream, and all these men and things are only creatures of our dreams. 64 Tell me goddess, what things are spiritually true and false? How are we to distinguish the one from the other?”
65 Saraswati answered:— Know prince that those who have known the only knowable One and are assimilated in the nature of pure understanding view nothing as real in the world except the empty consciousness within themselves. 66 The misconception of the serpent in a rope being removed, the fallacy of the rope is removed also. The unreality of the world being known, the error of its existence also ceases to exist. 67Knowing the falsity of water in a mirage, no one thirsts after it anymore. Knowing the falsehood of dreams, no one thinks himself dead as he had dreamt. The fear of dreaming death may overtake the dying, but it can never assail the living in his dream.
68 He whose soul is enlightened with the clear light of his pure consciousness is never misled into believing his own existence, or that of others, by the false application of the terms “I”, “you”, “this” or the like.
69 As the sage was lecturing in this manner, the day departed to its evening service with the setting sun. The assembly broke with mutual greetings to perform their evening rituals, and it met again with the rising sun, after dispersion of the gloom of night.
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Chapter 42 — Philosophy of Dreaming (Swapnam); Creation Is a Dream; Viduratha Asks a Boon to Be Reunited with His (Second) Queen Leela
Vasishta speaking:— 1 The man who is devoid of understanding, ignorant and unacquainted with the all-pervading principle, thinks the unreal world as real, dense and concrete. 2 Just like a child is not freed from his fear of ghosts until his death, so the ignorant man never gets rid of his fallacy of the reality of the unreal world as long as he lives. 3 Just like solar heat causes the error of water in the mirage to both deer and unwary people, so the unreal world appears as real to the ignorant part of mankind. 4 As the false dream of one’s death appears to be true within the dreaming state, so the false world seems to be a field of action and gain to the deluded man. 5 Just like one, not knowing what is gold, sees a golden bracelet to be a mere bracelet and not gold, so the ignorant, without a knowledge of the causal substance, are ever misled by the appearances of form.
6 The ignorant see a city, a house, a hill and an elephant as they are presented before them, so appearances are all taken only as they are seen, and not what they really are. 7 As strings of pearls are seen in the sunny sky, and various paints and taints in the plumage of the peacock, so the phenomenal world presents its false appearances as sober realities. 8 Know life to be a long sleep, and the world with myself and yourself are the visions of its dream. We see many other persons in this sleepy dream. None is real, as you will now learn from me.
9 There is only one all-pervading, quiet, and spiritually substantial reality. It is of the form of unintelligible consciousness and an immense outspreading emptiness. 10 It is omnipotent, and all in all by itself. It is of the form manifesting itself everywhere. 11 Hence the citizens that you see in this visionary city are only transient forms of men presented in your dream by that Omnipotent Being.
12 The mind of the viewer remains the same in the sphere of his dreams and represents images thought of by itself in that visionary sphere of mankind. 13 The knowing mind has the same knowledge of things, both in its waking and dreaming states, and it is by an act of the perceiving mind that this knowledge is imprinted as true in the conscious souls of men.
14 Rama said, “If persons seen in the dream are unreal, then tell me sage, what is the fault in the embodied soul that makes them appear as realities?”
15 Vasishta replied:— The cities and houses seen in dreams are nothing in reality. The illusion (maya) of the embodied soul makes them appear as true like those seen in the waking state in this ordinary world. 16 I will give you proof of this. In the beginning of creation and by the will of the creator, the self-born Brahma himself had notions of all created things in the form of visionary appearances, like in a dream, and their subsequent development. Therefore, their creator is as unreal as the notions and appearances in the dream.
17 Learn this truth from me, that this world is a dream and that you and all other men have your sleeping dreams contained in your waking dreams of this ordinary world. 18 If the scenes in your sleeping dream have no reality in them, how can you expect those in your daydreams to be real at all?
19 As you take me for a reality, so do I also take you and all other things for realities likewise, and such is the case with everybody in this world of dreams. 20 As I appear an entity to you in this ordinary world of lengthened dreams, so you too appear an actual entity to me. So it is with all in their protracted dreaming.
21 Rama asked, “If both these states of dreaming are alike, then tell me. When the dreamer awakens, why doesn’t he think the visions in his dream were as real as those of his daydreaming state?”
22 Vasishta replied:— Yes, night dreaming is of the same nature as daydreams in that dream objects appear to be real in both. Upon a man’s awakening from sleep, the night dreams vanish in empty air. Upon a man’s death, his daydreams vanish in empty air. 23 As the objects of your night dreams do not exist in time or place upon your waking, so also those of your daydream can have no existence upon death. 24 Thus everything that appears real for the present is unreal, and though it might appear as charming as a fairy form in a dream, at last it all disappears into an airy nothing.
25 There is one Consciousness that fills all space. It appears as everything both within and without everybody. It is only by our illusive conception of it that we take it in different lights. 26 As one picks up a jewel he happens to see in a treasure house, so according to our own liking, we lay hold on anything with which the vast Consciousness is filled.
27 The goddess of intelligence, having caused the germ of true knowledge to sprout forth in the mind of the king by sprinkling the ambrosial drops of her wisdom over it, spoke to the king in this way at the end, 28 “I have told you all this for the sake of Leela, and now, good king, we shall take leave of you and these illusory scenes of the world.”
29 Vasishta said:— The intelligent king, being gently addressed by the goddess of wisdom, asked her in a humble tone. 30 Viduratha said, “Your visit, O most bounteous goddess, cannot go for nothing, if when we poor mortals cannot withhold our bounty from those who petition us for help. 31 I will quit this body to go to another world, as one passes from one chain of dreams into another. 32 Look upon me, your petitioner, with kindness and grant me the favor I ask of you, because the great never refuse to grant the prayers of their suppliants. 33 Grant that this virgin daughter of my minister may accompany me to the region where I shall be led so that we may have spiritual joy in each other’s company hereafter.”
34 Saraswati said, “Go now, king, to the former palace of your past life and there reign without fear in the enjoyment of true pleasure. Know king that our visits never fail to fulfill the best wishes of our supplicants.”
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Chapter 43 — The City Burning
1 The goddess added, “Know further, O king, that you are destined to fall in this great battle and that will have your former realm presented to you in the same manner as before. 2 Your minister and his maiden daughter will accompany you to your former city and you shall enter your lifeless corpse lying in state in the palace. 3 We shall fly there like the wind before you, and you will follow us accompanied by the minister and his virgin daughter like one returning to his native country. 4 Your way there will be as slow or swift as those of horses, elephants, asses, or camels, but our course is quite different from any of these.”
5 As the king and the goddess were going on with this sweet conversation, a man on horseback arrived before them in great hurry and confusion. 6 He said, “Lord! I come to tell that the enemy is showering darts and discs, swords and clubs upon us like rain, and they have been pressing upon us like a flood on all sides. 7 They have been raining their heavy weapons upon us at pleasure, like the impetuous gusts of a hurricane hurls down fragments of rocks from the heads of high hills. 8 There they have set fire to our fortress-like city and fires are burning on all sides like a wildfire. It is burning and engulfing houses with a hideous noise. 9 The smoke, rising like heaving hills, have covered the skies like a flood of clouds, and the flames of the fire leaping high resemble a garuda bird flying in the sky.”
10 Vasishta said:— As the royal marshal was delivering this unpleasant intelligence with trepidation, there arose a loud cry from outside that filled the sky with its uproar: 11 the twanging of bow strings drawn to the ears, the rustling of flying arrows flung with full force; the loud roaring of furious elephants, and the shrieks of frightened ones; 12 gorgeous elephants bursting into the city with a clattering sound; and the high loud shouts of citizens, whose houses have burnt to the ground; 13 the falling and flying of burnt embers with a crackling noise; and the burning of raging fire with a hoarse sound. 14 All these were heard and seen by the goddesses and the king and his minister from an opening of the tent. The city was ablaze in the darkness of the night.
15 It was as like the conflagration or fiery ocean of the last day. The city was covered by clouds of the enemy army, with their flashing weapons waving on all sides. 16 The flames rose as high as the sky, and the all dissolving fire of destruction melted buildings as big as hills. 17 Bodies of thick clouds roared on high and threatened the people, like the clamor of stout robber gangs gathered for plunder and booty. 18 The heavens were hidden under clouds of smoke rolling like the shades of Pushkara and Avarta coulds at the end of the world, and the flames of fire flashed like the golden peaks of Meru. 19 Burning cinders and sparks of fire glittered in the sky like meteors and stars, and the blazing houses and towers glared like burning mountains.
20 Groups of soldiers were attacked by the spreading flames that trapped half-burnt citizens (with their bitter cries) between clouds of fire and their fear of the enemy outside. 21 Sleets of arrow-like sparks flew in the air on all sides, and showers of burning missiles fell everywhere, burning and piercing people in large numbers.
22 The greatest and most expert champions fought but were crushed under the feet of elephants. Streets were heaped with treasures wrested from looters in their retreat. 23 Men and women wailed at the falling of fire-brands upon them, and the splitting of splinters and the slitting of timbers emitted a crack-crack noise all around. 24 Big blocks of burning wood were blown up, blazing in the air like burning suns, and heaps of embers filled the face of the earth with living fire. 25 The air echoed with the cracking of combustible wood and the bursting of burning bamboo, the cries of parched animals and the howling of soldiers.
26 The flaming fire was quenched after consuming the royal city to ashes, and the devouring flames ceased after they had reduced everything to cinders. 27 The sudden outbreak of fire was like burglars breaking in to a house and upon its sleeping inhabitants. It made prey of everything that fell in its way.
28 At this moment King Viduratha heard a voice from his soldiers who saw wives fleeing from the scorching flames. 29 “O, the high winds that have blown flames to the tops of our houses with their rustling sound and that have hindered our taking shelter under cooling protection. 30 Sorrow for the burning of our wives, who (by pacifying the smart of every pain) were as cold as frost to our bodies before, and whose ashes now rest in our breasts like the lime from burnt shells. 31 O! the mighty power of fire that has burned the hair of our fair maidens like blades of grass or straw. 32 Curling smoke is ascending on high, like a whirling and long meandering river in the air, and black and white fumes of fire resemble the dark stream of Yamuna in one place, and the milky path of the ethereal Ganga in another. 33 Streams of smoke bearing the sparks on high dazzle the sight of heavenly charioteers with their bubbling sparks. 34 Our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, relations and suckling babes are all burnt alive in the black and blue flames. Here are we burning with grief for them in these houses that have been spared by the devouring fire. 35 See, there the howling fire is fast advancing to those houses, and here the cinders are falling as thick as the frost of Mount Meru. 36 Behold the dire darts and missiles dropping down like driving rain, breaking windows like bodies of gnats in the shade of evening.”
37 “Flashing spears and fire flaring above the watery ocean of the sky resemble an undersea fire ascending to heaven. 38 Smoke is rising in clouds, and flames are tapering in the form of towers, and all that was humid and green is sucked and dried up like the hearts of the dispassionate.39 Trees are broken down by the raging fire, like posts by enraged elephants. They are falling with a cracking noise as if they were screaming at their own fall. 40 Trees in the orchards, now flourishing in their luxury of fruits and flowers, are left bare by the burning fire, like householders bereft of their properties. 41 Children abandoned by their parents in the darkness of the night, fleeing through the streets, are either being pierced by flying arrows or crushed under falling houses. 42 Elephants posted at the front of the army were frightened by the flying embers driven by the winds, and fled with loud screaming at the fall of the burning houses upon them. 43 O, the pain of being put to the sword is no more terrible than being burned by fire, or smashed under the stones of a thundering engine. 44 Streets are filled with domestic animals and cattle of all kinds, let loose from their folds and stalls to raise their commingled cries in the blocked streets like the confused noise of battle.”
45 “Weeping women passed like lotus flowers on land, with their lotus-like faces, feet and palms. Drops of tears fell upon the ground like fluttering bees from their lotus-shaped eyes and wet apparel. 46 The red taints and spots of the hair-clusters upon their foreheads and cheeks burned like Asoka flowers. 47 Alas, for pity that the furious flame of fire, like a ruthless victor who delights in acts of inhumanity, should singe the black lined, bee-like eyelids of our deer-eyed fairies. 48 O, the bond of marriage love that the faithful wife never fails to follow her burning lord, and cremates herself in the same flame with him.”
49 “The elephant, burned on his trunk from breaking the burning post to which he was tied by the leg, ran violently to a lake of lotuses, in which he fell dead. 50 The flames of fire, flashing like flitting lightning amidst clouds of smoke, darted burning coals like bolts of thunder in showers. 51Lord! The sparks of fire against the dusky clouds appeared like glittering gems in the bosom of the airy ocean, and seem by their twirling to gird the crown of heaven with the girdle of the Pleiades. 52 The sky was reddened by the light of flaming fires and appeared like the courtyard of Death dyed with purple colors in joy for reception of the souls of the dead.”
53 “Alas the day and want of manners that royal dames are forcibly carried away by these armed ruffians. 54 See them dragged from their stately building and in the streets, strewing their paths with wreaths of flowers torn from their necks while their half burnt locks are hanging loosely upon their bare breasts; 55 their loose clothing uncovering their backs and loins, and jewelry dropped from their wrists are strewn on the ground. 56Their necklaces are torn and their pearls scattered about. Their bodies are bared of their bodices, and their golden colored breasts appear to view.57 Their shrill cries and groans, rising above the war cry, choke their breath and split their sides. They fall unconscious, eyes dimmed by ceaseless floods of tears. 58 They fell in a body with their arms twisted about each other’s necks, the ends of their cloths tied to each other’s. In this way they are forcibly dragged ruffians, their bodies mangled in blood. 59 ‘Ah! who will save them from this state?’ cried the royal soldiers with piteous looks on the sad plight of the women and shedding big drops of tears like lotuses.”
60 The bright face of the sky turned black at the horrible sight, and it looked with its blue lotus-like eyes of clouds on the fair lotus-like maidens thus scattered on the ground. 61 Thus, like these ladies, the goddess of royal prosperity, decorated as she was with her waving and pendant locks, her flowing garments, flowery garlands and ornamental jewelry, was brought to her end after her enjoyment of the pleasures of royalty and gratification of all her desires.
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Chapter 44 — Enlightened Leela Sees Viduratha’s Queen Leela; Habits of the Mind Reproduce the Same Images
1 Vasishta said:— At this instant the great queen, who was in the bloom of youthful beauty, entered Viduratha’s camp like the goddess of grace pops upon the lotus flower. 2 She was decorated with hanging wreaths of flowers and necklaces, and accompanied by a train of her youthful companions and handmaids, all terrified with fear. 3 With her face as bright as the moon and her form as fair as the lily, she appeared like a star of heaven, her teeth shining like sets of stars and her bosom throbbing with fear.
4 Then one of her companions informed the king about the fate of the warfare, which resembled the onset of demons upon the apsara tribe. 5“Lord!” she said, “This lady has fled with us from her harem to take refuge under your arms, like a tender vine seeks the shelter of a tree from a rude gust of wind. 6 See the ravishers ravishing the wives of citizens with their uplifted arms, like the swelling waves of the sea in their rapid current carrying away the tree groves from the bank. 7 The guards of the royal harem are all crushed to death by the haughty marauders, as the sturdy trees of the forest are broken down by the furious tornado. 8 Our armies, frightened by the enemy from afar, dare not approach the falling city, as nobody ventures to rescue lotus beds from a flood under the threatening thunders of a rainy night. 9 Hostile forces have poured into the city in terrible numbers and, having set it on fire, are shouting loudly under the clouds of smoke, their weapons brandished on all sides. 10 Handsome ladies are dragged by the hair from their families like screaming cranes caught and carried away by cruel fowlers and fishermen. 11 Now we have brought this luxurious tender creeper to you so that your might may save her from similar fate.”
12 Hearing this, he looked at the goddesses and said, “Now, I will go from here to war and leave this my lady as a humble bee at your lotus feet.” 13 Saying so, the king rose in a rage from his seat and sprang like an enraged lion when pierced and pressed by the tusk of a furious elephant.
14 The widowed Leela saw the queen Leela to be exactly of her form and features, and took her for a true reflection of herself in a mirror. 15Then the enlightened Leela said to Saraswati, “Tell me, O goddess, how can this lady be exactly like myself? She is what I have been before. How did she come to be like me?”
16 “I see this prime minister with all these soldiers and citizens, these forces and vehicles, all to be the same as mine, and situated in the same place and manner as before. 17 How is it then, O goddess, that they came to be placed in this place? I see them as images placed within and outside the mirror of my mind, and know not whether these are living beings (or my imagination).”
18 Saraswati replied:— All our external perceptions of things are the immediate effects of our internal conceptions of them. The intellect has the knowledge of all that can be perceived in it, just like the mind has the impressions of mental objects in itself. 19 The external world appears in an instant in the same form and manner to one who has its notion and impression in his intellect and mind, and no distance of time or place or any intermediate cause can create any difference in them. 20 The inner world is seen on the outside, like the internal impressions of our minds appear to be seen outside us in our dreams. Whatever is within, the same appears without, as with our dreams and desires and in all our imaginations and fancies of objects.
21 It is the constant habit of your mind that presents these things as realities to your sight. You saw your husband in the same state in which you thought he was when he died in that city of yours. 22 It is the same place where he now exists. Even now he is presented with the same objects of his thought as he had at that moment. Anything that appears to be different in this state comes from the turn of his mind of thinking it so before. 23All that appears real to him is the creation of his fancy and is as unreal as his dream or desire; for everything appears to be the same as it is thought of in the mind.
24 Say therefore, what truth can there be in these envisioned objects which are unsubstantial as dreams and in the end vanish into airy nothing? 25 Then know that everything is no better than nothing and, like a dream, proves to be nothing upon waking. Waking is also a dream and equally nothing at death. 26 Death in lifetime is a nonexistence and life in death becomes null and extinct. These extinctions of life and death proceed from the fluctuating nature of our notions of them.
27 So there is neither any entity nor a non-entity either. Both appear to us by turns as fallacies. For what after an kalpa aeon neither was nor will be cannot exist today or in any epoch (yuga), whether gone before or coming afterwards. 28 That which is never nonexistent is the ever existent Brahman, and That is the world. It is in Him that we see everything rise and fall by our fallacy, and what we falsely term as the creation or the created.
29 As phantoms appear in the emptiness, are all vacant and void, and as the waves of the sea are nothing but its water so do these created things exist and appear in Brahman only. 30 As the minutiae appearing in the air vanish in the air, and as the dust driven by the winds is lost in the winds, so the false notions of yourself and myself are lost in that Supreme Self in which all things rise and fall like waves of the ocean.
31 What reliance can there be in this dust of creation which is no more than the water of the mirage? When everything is united in that sole Unity, the knowledge of individualities is mere fallacy. 32 We see apparitions in the dark, though the darkness itself is no apparition. Our lives and deaths are the false notions of our error, and the entirety of existence is equally the production of gross error (maya). 33 All this is Himself, for He is the great kalpa or will that produces everything. It is He who exists when all things are extinct in Him. Therefore these appearances are neither real nor unreal of themselves.
34 But to say both real and unreal are Brahman is a contradiction. Therefore it is He who fills the infinity of space and abides equally in all things and their minutest particles. 35 Wherever the spirit of Brahman abides, and even in the most minute living particle, It views the whole world in Itself, like one thinking on heat and cold of fire and frost has the same sensation within himself at that moment. 36 So does the pure Consciousness perceive the Holy Spirit of God within itself, just like one sees particles of light flying in his closet at sunrise. 37 So these multitudes of worlds move about like particles in the infinite space of the Divine Mind, as the particles of odorous substances oscillate in empty air. 38 In this way this world abides in its incorporeal state in the mind of God, with all its modifications of existence and nonexistence, emanation and absorption, its condensation into dense and diffusion into subtle, and its movement and rest.
39 But you must know all these modes and conditions of being belong only to material and not to the spirit, which is unconditioned and indivisible. 40 There is no change or division of one’s own soul, so there is no partition or variation of the Supreme Spirit. It is according to ideas in our minds that we see things in their different aspects before us.
41 Yet the word “world” (vishva) is not a meaningless term. It means the all as contained in Brahman. Therefore it is both real and unreal at the same time, like the fallacy of a snake in a rope. 42 It is the false notion (of the snake) that makes the true (rope) appear like the untrue snake to us, which we are apt to take for the true snake itself. So in the same way we make the mistake of taking Divine Consciousness, which is the prime cause of all, to be an individual soul. 43 It is this notion (of the individual soul) that makes us think of ourselves as living beings which, whether it be false or true, is like the appearance of the world in empty air.
44 Thus these little animals delight themselves with their own misconceived idea of being living beings, while there are others who think themselves so by their preconceived notions as such. 45 There are some who have no preconceived notions, and others who retain the same as or a somewhat different notion of themselves than before. Somewhere inborn notions predominate, and sometimes they are entirely lost. 46 Our preconceived notions of ourselves represent unrealities as realities to our minds, and present the thoughts of our former family and birth and the same occupations and professions before us.
47 Such are the representations of your former ministers and citizens, imprinted as realities in your soul, together with the exact time and place and manner of their functions, as before. 48 Because the consciousness of all things is present in the omniscient spirit of God, so the idea of royalty is inherent in the soul of the king. 49 This notion of his goes before him like his shadow in the air, with the same stature and features and the same acts and movements as he had before.
50 In this manner, Leela, know this world is only a shadowy reflection of the eternal ideas of God, and that this reflection is caught by or refracted in the consciousness of all animal souls like in a prismatic mirror. 51 Everything shows itself in every place in the form in which it is. So whatever is in the individual soul casts out a reflection of itself, and a shadow of it is caught by the intellect that is situated outside it.
52 Here is the sky containing the world in which you and I and this prince are situated like reflections of the One Ego only. Know all these are contained within the empty womb of Consciousness and remain as tranquil and transparent as emptiness itself.
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Chapter 45 — The Second Leela Gets a Boon the First Didn’t: How We Seek Is How We Obtain
1 Saraswati continued:— Know Leela, that this Viduratha, your husband, will lose his life in this battlefield and his soul will return to the tomb in the inner apartment where it will resume its former state.
Vasishta:— 2 Upon hearing these words of the goddess, the second Leela, who was standing by, bent herself lowly before the goddess and addressed her with her folded palms. 3 The second Leela said, “Goddess! the genius of intelligence is ever adored by me and she gives me her visits in my nightly dreams. 4 I find you here exactly of her likeness. Therefore give me your blessing, O goddess with the beautiful face.”
5 Vasishta said:— The goddess, being addressed by the lady in this way, remembered her faith and reliance in her, then politely spoke to the lady standing as a suppliant before her. 6 The goddess said, “I am pleased, my child, with your unfailing and undiminished adoration of me all your lifetime. Now say what you want of me.”
7 The second Leela said, “Ordain O goddess, that with this body of mine I may accompany my husband to whatever place he is destined to go after his death in the war.”
8 The goddess replied, “Be it so my child who has worshipped me with flowers, incense and offerings with all diligence and without fail.”
9 Vasishta said:— The second Leela was cheered by this blessing of the goddess. The first Leela was much puzzled in her mind at the difference between their states. 10 The first Leela said, “Those who desire truth and they whose desires lean towards godliness have all their wishes fulfilled without delay and fail. 11 Then tell me, goddess, why could I not keep company with my brahmin husband with my body of the brahmani, but had to be taken to him in the mountain home after my death.”
12 The goddess answered saying:— Know, O excellent lady, that I have no power to do anything. Everything happens according to the desire of the living being. 13 Know me only as the presiding divinity of wisdom, and I reveal everything according to my knowledge of it. It is by virtue of the intellectual powers exhibited in every being that it attains its particular end. 14 A living being has a certain development of mental powers and state when he desires an object. He attains that object according to the same development of mental powers and state.
15 You had attained the powers of your understanding by your devotion to my service. You have always desired from me that you be liberated from flesh. 16 Accordingly, I have awakened your understanding in that way, whereby you have been able to arrive at your present state of purity.17 It was because of your constant desire for liberation that you have gained the same state by enlargement (of the powers) of your consciousness.
18 Whoever exerts his bodily powers according to the dictates of his understanding is sure to succeed in gaining his object sooner or later. 19Without cultivation of the intellect, performance of austerities and adoration of gods are as vain as to expect fruit to fall from the sky. 20 Without cultivation of the intellect and exertion of manly powers, there is no way to success. Therefore if you do, you may choose for yourself.
21 Truly the state of one’s mind leads his internal soul to that state upon which it thinks, and to that prosperity which it attempts to obtain. 22 Now distinguish between what is desirable or disagreeable for you, and choose that which is holy and perfect, and you will certainly arrive at it.
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Chapter 46 — Viduratha Counter-Attacks
1 Rama said, “Tell me what Viduratha did after he got angry an left the ladies and the goddess having said what he did, and went out from the camp.”
2 Vasishta said:— Viduratha, accompanied by a large group of his companions, left his camp like the bright moon beset by a host of stars. 3 He was in armor and girt by laces and girdles. Dressed in his military clothing, he went forth amidst the loud war cry sorrow to the vanquished like God Indra going to battle. 4 He gave orders to the soldiers and was informed of the battle array. Having given directions to his captains, he mounted his chariot. 5 It was adorned with equipment resembling the pinnacles of mountains and beset by five flags fringed with strings of pearls and gems, resembling a celestial car. 6 The iron hoops of its wheels flashed with their golden pegs, and the long and beautiful shaft of the car, rang with the tinkling of pearls which were suspended to it. 7 It was drawn by long necked, swift and slender horses of the best breed and auspicious marks. Their swiftness and bearing made them seem like they were flying in the air pulling a heavenly car with some god in it. 8 Impatient of the wind’s swiftness, they spurred them with their back heels and left them behind, and sped the forepart of their bodies as if to devour the air, impeding their course. 9 The car was drawn by eight war horses with their manes hanging down their necks like fans, and white spots or circlets resembling the discs of moon on their foreheads, and filling the eight sides around with their hoarse neighing.
10 At this time there rose a loud noise of the elephants, resounding like drums from the hollows of the distant hills. 11 Angry soldiers raised a loud clamor, and the tinkling of their belted trinkets, and clashing of their weapons, rang afar in the open air. 12 The crackling of bows, and the wheezing of arrows, joined with the jangle of armor clashing against one another, raised a confused hubbub all around. 13 Seen and heard on all sides were the sparks of blazing fires, champions challenging each other, painful shrieks of the wounded, and the piteous cry of captives. 14 The mingled sounds thickened in the air and filled its cavity and sides like with solid stones, as if one could clutch the noise in the hands.
15 Clouds of dust flew so fast and thick into the air that they seemed to be the earth’s crust rising upward to block the path of the sun in the sky.16 The great city was hidden in the dark womb of the spreading dust, just like an ignorant state of man is covered in darkness by the rising passion of youth. 17 Burning lights became as dim as the fading stars of heaven by day light, and the darkness of night became as thick as the devils of darkness gather their strength at night.
18 The two Leelas saw the great battle from the tent with the minister’s virgin daughter. By favor of the goddess, they had their eyes enlightened with farsightedness.
19 Now there was an end to the flashing and clashing of the hostile arms in the city, just like the flash and crash of undersea fires are put to an end by the all-submerging floods of the universal deluge. 20 Viduratha collected his forces and, without considering the enemy’s superiority, pressed himself forward into them, as the great Mount Meru rushed into the waters of the great deluge. 21 Now the twanging of the bow strings emitted a clattering sound, and the enemy forces advanced in battle array like bodies of clouds with rainbows amidst them. 22 Many kinds of missiles flew like falcons in the air. Black steel waved with a dark glare owing to the massacres they made. 23 Clashing swords striking against each another flashed with living flames of fire, and showers of arrows whistled like hissing rainfalls in the air. 24 Two edged saws pierced the bodies of the warriors, and the flinging weapons hurtled in the air, clashing and crashing each other. 25 The darkness of the night was put to flight by the blaze of the weapons. The entire army was pierced by arrows sticking like hairs on their bodies. 26 Headless trunks moved about like players in a horrid, solemn ritual of the god of death (Yama). Furies fled about at the violence of war, like raving girls at drunken revelries. 27Elephants fighting with their tusks sent a clattering noise into the air. Stones flung from the slings flew like a flowing stream in the sky. 28 Bodies of men were falling dead on the ground like the dried leaves of forests blown away by wind. Streams of blood were running in the field of battle, as if the heights of war were pouring down the floods of death below. 29 The dust of the earth was set down by the floods of blood, and the darkness was dispelled by the blaze of weapons. All clamor ceased in intense fighting, and the fear for life was lost under the stern resolution of death. 30 The fighting was stern without a cry or noise, like the pouring of rain in a breezeless sky. The glitter of swords in the darkened air was like the flashes of forked lightning in murky clouds.31 Darts were flying about with a hissing noise. Crowbars hit one another with a harsh sound. Large weapons struck each another with a jarring noise. The dreadful war raged direfully in the dim darkness of the night.
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Chapter 47 — Saraswati Explains Why Sindhu Will Win; the Encounter of Sindhu & Viduratha
1 Vasishta said:— As the war was waging furiously between the two armies, the two Leelas addressed the goddess of knowledge and said, 2“Tell us, O goddess, what unknown cause keeps our husband from gaining victory in this war, in spite of your good grace to him and his repelling enemy elephants in the fighting.”
3 Saraswati replied:— Know daughters that I was asked by Viduratha’s enemy to give him victory in battle, which your husband never craved of me. 4 He lives and enjoys his life as it was desired by him, while his antagonist gains the conquest according to his aim and object. 5 Knowledge is contained in the consciousness of every living being, and rewards every one according to the desire to which it is directed.
6 My nature, like that of all things, is as unchangeable as the heat of fire. So the nature of Viduratha’s knowledge of truth and his desire for liberation lead him to the like result. 7 The intelligent Leela will also be liberated with him, but not the unintelligent one who by her nature is still unprepared for that highest state of bliss.
8 Viduratha’s enemy, the King of Sindhu, has long worshipped me for his victory in war. Therefore the bodies of Viduratha and his wife must fall into his hands. 9 O girl, you will also have liberation like hers in course of time. But before that, this enemy of yours, the King of Sindhu, will reign victorious in this earth.
10 Vasishta said:— As the goddess was speaking in this manner, the sun appeared on his rising hill to behold the wonderful sight of the forces fighting. 11 The thick mists of night disappeared like the enemy Sindhu hosts and left Viduratha’s forces to glitter like stars at the approach of night.12 The hills and dales and the land and water gradually appeared to sight, and the world seemed to reappear to view from amidst the dark ocean of the deluge. 13 The bright rays of the rising sun radiated on all sides like streams of liquid gold and made the hills appear as they did the bodies of warriors besmeared with blood.
14 The sky seemed like an immense field of battle, stretched over by the radiant rays of the sun that made the warriors’ shining arms shake in a snake-like manner. 15 The helmets on their heads raised their lotus-like tops, and the rings about their ears blazed with their jeweled glare. 16 The pointed weapons were as fixed as the snouts of unicorns, and the flying darts fled about like butterflies in the air. The bloody field presented a picture of a ruddy dawn and dusk, and the dead bodies on the ground represented the figures of motionless saints in their yoga. 17 Necklaces hung on their necks like snakes, and armor covered their bodies like the skins of serpents. Flags were flying like crests of vines on high, and the legs of warriors stood like pillars in the field. 18 Their long arms were like tree branches, and the arrows formed a bush of reeds. The flash of weapons spread like a green meadow all around, while their blades blazed with the luster of the long-leaved ketaka flowers. 19 The long lines of weapons formed like rows of bamboo and bramble bushes. Their mutual clashing emitted sparks of fire like clusters of the red asoka flowers.
20 Bands of spiritual masters (siddhas) were flying with their leaders away in the air to avoid the weapons that were blazing with the radiance of the rising sun, forming as it were, a city of gold on high. 21 The sky re-echoed to the clashing of darts and discuses, of swords and spears, and of mallets and clubs in the field, and the ground overflowed with streams of blood bearing away the bodies of the slain. 22 The land was strewn with crowbars, lances and spears, and with tridents and stones on all sides. Headless bodies were falling hideously, pierced by poles and pikes and other instruments of death.
23 Above, the ghosts and demons of death were making horrible noise, and below, the shining chariots of Sindhu and Viduratha moved with a loud rumbling. 24 They looked like the two luminaries of the sun and moon in heaven, and they were equipped with various weapons of discs and rods, of crowbars and spears, and other missiles besides. 25 Each was surrounded by thousands of soldiers who shouted loudly as their king turned towards them.
26 Crushed under heavy discs, many fell dead and wounded with loud cries. Big elephants were floating lightly on the currents of blood. 27Hairs on the heads of dead bodies floated like weeds in the stream of blood, and the floating discuses glided like the discs of the moon, reflected in the purple streamlet. 28 The air of the battlefield was filled the confused noise of the jingling of jeweled ornaments, the tinkling bells of war carriages, and the flapping of flags in the wind. 29 Numbers of valiant as well as dastardly soldiers followed their respective kings, some bleeding under the spears of Kuntas and others pierced by the arrows of archers.
30 Then the two kings turned their chariots in circling rings amidst phalanxes armed with all sorts of destructive weapons. 31 Each confronted the other with his arms, and having met one another face to face, commenced showering forth his arrows with the pattering sound of hailstones. 32They both threatened one another with the roaring of loud surges and clouds. In their rage, the two lions among men fired their arrows at each another. 33 They flung their missiles in the air in the form of stones and malls, and some faced like swords, and others headed as mallets. 34 Some were sharp edged discs, and some curved as battle axes. Some were pointed like pikes and spears, and others had forms like bars and rods. Some were shaped like tridents, and others as bulky as blocks of stones.
35 These missiles were falling as fully and as fast as rocks hurled down from high by gusts of blustering hurricanes. The meeting of the two warring powers was as the confluence of the Indus and the sea, with tremendous roaring, collision and clashing.
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Chapter 48 — Supernatural Weapons
1 Vasishta said:— King Viduratha, finding the high shouldered king of Sindhu before him, was enraged like the raging sun, in his midday fury. 2The twanging of his bow resounded in the air on all sides, and growled as loudly as the howling of winds in the caverns of mountains. 3 He drew his arrows from his dark quiver and shot them like the rays of the sun rising from the womb of night. 4 Each arrow flung from the bowstring flew like thousands in the air, and fell like millions on the ground. 5 The King of Sindhu was equally expert in his archery, as both of these archers owed their skill with bows to the favor of Vishnu.
6 Some of these darts were called bolts which blocked the aerial passages, like door bolts do their doors, the fell down on the ground with the loud roar of thunderbolts. 7 Others decorated with gold flew hissing as if blown by the winds, and after shining like stars in the sky, fell like blazing meteors on the ground. 8 Showers of shafts poured forth constantly from the hands of Viduratha, like the ceaseless torrents of rivers, or billows of the sea, or the endless radiation of solar rays. 9 Shells and bullets were flying about like sparks of fire struck out of the balls of red-hot iron, and falling like flowers of forests blown away by gusts of wind. 10 They fell like showers of rainwater, and like the rush of water-falls, and as plentifully as the sparks of fire that flew from Viduratha’s burning city. 11 The jarring sound of their bowstrings hushed the clamor of the two armies, like a calm quiets the roaring of the raging sea. 12 The course of arrows, was as the stream of Ganges (the milky path) in heaven, running towards the King of Sindhu, as the river runs to meet the sea (Sindhu). 13 The shower of arrows flying from the golden bow of the king was like a flood of rain falling under the variegated rainbow in the sky.
14 Then from the window, the Leela who was the native of that city saw the darts of her husband rushing like the currents of the Ganges against the Sindhu forces resembling a sea. 15 She understood the flight of those darts to promise victory to her lord, and then spoke gladly to Saraswati, with her lotus-like mouth. 16 “Be victorious O goddess, and behold victory waiting on the side of my lord whose darts are piercing the rocks and breaking them to pieces.” 17 As she was uttering these words full of affection, the goddesses eyed her sideways and smiled at her womanish tenderness of heart.
18 The flaming fire of Sindhu swallowed the raging sea of Viduratha’s arrows like an undersea fire consumes water, and like Jahnu drank the stream of Ganges. 19 The Sindhu missile weapons thwarted the thickening arrows of his adversary, and drove them back broken and flying as dust in the empty air. 20 As an extinguished lamp loses its light in the air, so the flashes of the fire arms disappeared in the sky, and nobody knew where they fled.
21 Having thus dispelled the shower of arrows, the Sindhu king sent a thick cloud of his weapons, appearing as hundreds of dead bodies flying in the air. 22 Viduratha repelled them quickly by means of his better bolts, as a hurricane disperses the frightening clouds in the air. 23 Both kings, baffled in their aims by opposing arms let indiscriminately loose against each another, laid hold on more powerful missiles.
24 Sindhu let fly his magic missile that was gift from a gandharva. It kept the army of his enemy all spellbound except Viduratha himself. 25Struck with this weapon, the soldiers became as mute as moonstruck, staring in their looks, and appearing as dead bodies or as pictures in a painting. 26 As the soldiers of Viduratha remained spellbound within their files, King Viduratha employed his instruments of a counter-charm to remove the spell. 27 This awakened the senses of his men like morning twilight reveals a bed of lotuses, and the rising sun opens their closed petals to light. The Sindhu king fired his rage at them like the raging. 28 He flung his serpentine weapons upon them, which bound like a band around all their bodies, encircling the battle ground and air like snakes wrapped round crags and rocks. 29 The ground was filled with snakes like a lake with the spreading stalks of lotuses, and the bodies of gigantic warriors were bound by them like hills by huge and horrible hydras. 30 Everything was overpowered by the sharp power of the poison, and the inhabitants of the hills and forests were benumbed by the venomous infection. 31 The smart poison spread a fiery heat all around, and the frozen snows like fire-brands sent forth their burning particles which were blown by the hot winds in the air.
32 The fully armed Viduratha, equally skilled in arms, then had recourse to his garuda (divine eagle) anti-serpent weapons. They fired like mountain eagles to all sides. 33 Their golden wings spread in the sky on all sides, and embroidered the air with purple gold. The flapping of their wings wheezed like a breeze that blew the poisonous vapor far away into the air. 34 It made the snakes breathe out of their nostrils with a hissing, resembling the gurgling of waters in a whirlpool in the sea. 35 The flying garuda weapons devoured the land-creeping serpents with a whistling noise, like that of the waters being sucked up by Agastya. 36 The face of the ground, delivered from its covering of these reptiles, again appeared to view like the surface of the earth reappears to light after its deliverance from the waters of the deluge. 37 Afterwards the army of garudas disappeared from sight like a line of lamps put out by the wind, and like an assembly of clouds vanishes in autumn. 38 They fled like flying mountains fearing the bolts of thundering Indra, and vanished like the impermanent world seen in a dream, or as like a castle in the sky built by fancy.
39 Then King Sindhu shot his shots of dark smoke that darkened the scene like the dark cave under the ground. 40 It hid the face of the earth and sky like flood waters reaching to the sky’s face. It made the army appear like a shoal of fishes, and the stars like gems shining in the deep. 41 The spreading darkness appeared like a sea of ink or dark mud, or like the particles of Anjana Hill blown by the breeze over the face of nature. 42 All beings seemed to be immersed in the sea or darkness, and to lose their energies as in the deep gloom of midnight.
43 Viduratha the best of the most skilful in ballistics, fired his sun-bright shot which like the sun illumined the vault of the sky. 44 It rose high amidst the spreading darkness like the sun with his effulgent beams, and dispelled the shades of darkness, as autumn does the rainy clouds. 45The sky being cleared of its veil of darkness, manifested itself with its reddish clouds that resembled the ruddy bodices of maidens before the king.
46 Now the landscape appeared in full view, like the understanding of men coming in full play after the extinction of their greed. 47 The enraged Sindhu then laid hold on his dreadful demon rakshasa weapon, which he instantly flung on his enemy with its bedeviled darts. 48 These horrid and destructive darts flew on all sides in the air, and roared like the sea and the gigantic dark clouds of heaven. 49 They were like the flames of bright fire, with their long licking tongues and ash-colored and smoky curls rising like white hairs on the head, and making a chat-chat sound like that of moist fuel burning. 50 They wheeled round in circles in the air with a horrible tang-tang noise, now flaming as fire and now fuming as smoke, and then flying about as sparks of fire. 51 With mouths beset by rows of sprouting teeth like lotus stalks, and faces defaced by dirty and moldy eyes, their hairy bodies were like stagnate pools full of moss and weeds. 52 They flew about and flashed and roared aloud like dark clouds, while the locks of hairs on their heads glared like lightning in the midway sky.
53 At this instant Viduratha, Leela’s husband, sent forth his Narayana weapon that had the power to suppress wicked spirits and demons. 54The appearance of this magic weapon made the bodies of the rakshasa demons disappear like darkness at sunrise. 55 This entire army of fiends was lost in the air, like the dark clouds of the rainy season vanish into nothing at the approach of autumn.
56 Then Sindhu discharged his fire arms which set fire to the sky, and began to burn down everything like the all destroying conflagration of the last day. 57 They filled all the sides of air with clouds of smoke that seemed to hide the face of heaven under the darkness of hell. 58 They set fire to the woods in the hills which burned like mountains of gold, while the trees appeared to bloom with yellow plumeria flowers all around. 59 All the sides of the sky above, and the hills, woods and groves below, were enveloped in the flames, as if they were covered under the red powder of Holi with which Yama, the God of the underworld, was playing over the plain. 60 The heaven-spreading flame burnt legions into a heap of ashes like an undersea fire consumes entire ships and fleets in the sea.
61 As Sindhu continued to dart his fire arms against his defeated adversary, Viduratha let off his watery arms with reverential regard. 62 Filled with water, these flew forward likes the shades of darkness from their hidden cells. They spread up and down and on all sides like a melted mountain gushing in a hundred cataracts. 63 They stretched like mountainous clouds or like a sea in the air, and fell in showers of watery arrows and stones on the ground. 64 They flew up like large tamara trees, and gathered in groups like the shades of night, appeared as the thick gloom beyond the polar mountains. 65 They gave the sky the appearance of subterraneous caves, emitting a gurgling sound like the loud roaring of elephants. 66 These waters soon drank the spreading furious fire, like the shades of the dark night swallow the surrounding red tints of the evening. 67 Having swallowed the fires above, the waters flooded the ground and filled it with a humidity which served to weaken all bodies, as the power of sleep numbs everybody in death-like torpidity.
68 In this manner both the kings were throwing their enchanted weapons against each other, and found them equally quelling and repelling one another. 69 The heavy armed soldiers of Sindhu and the captains of his regiments were swept away by the flood, together with the war-cars that floated upon it.
70 At this moment, Sindhu thought upon his thermal weapons which possessed the miraculous power of preserving his people from the water. He hurled them in the air. 71 These absorbed the waters like the sun sucks up the moisture of the night, and dried up the land and revived the soldiers, except those that were already dead and gone. 72 Their heat chased the coldness like the rage of the illiterate against the learned, and made the moist ground as dry as when sultry winds strew the forest land with dried leaves. 73 It decorated the face of the ground with a golden color, like when the royal dames adorn themselves with yellow paint. 74 It put the soldiers on the opposite side in a state of feverish fainting, like when the tender leaves of trees are scorched by the warmth of a wild fire in summer heat.
75 Viduratha, in his war-like rage, took up his bow, bent it to a curve, and let fly his cloudy arms on his enemy. 76 They sent forth columns of clouds as thick as the dark shades of night, which flying upward like a forest of dark tamara trees, spread a shelter heavy with water on high. 77They lowered under the weight of their water, stood still by their massive thickness, and roared aloud in their circles all over the sky. 78 Then blew the winds dropping the dewdrops from the icy store they bore on their wings. Showers of rain fell quickly from the clouds collected on high. 79 Then fiery lightning flashed from the clouds like golden serpents, or rather like side glances from the eyes of heavenly apsara nymphs. 80 The roaring of the clouds rebounded in the mountainous caverns of the sky, and the quarters of heaven echoed with the sound like the hoarse noise of elephants, the roaring of lions, and the growling of tigers and bears. 81 Showers of rain fell in floods with drops as big as mallets and with flashes of lightning that threatened like stern glances from the god of death. 82 Huge mists rose up in the form of vapors of the earth and were carried aloft into the sky by the heated air. They seemed like demons rising from the infernal regions.
83 The mirage of the warfare ceased after a while, like worldly desires subside to rest upon tasting the sweet joys attending on divine knowledge. 84 The ground became full of mud and mire and was impassable everywhere. The forces of Sindhu were flooded by the watery deluge, like the Sindhu River (Indus) or the sea.
85 He then hurled his airy weapon that filled the vault of heaven with winds, and raged in all their fury like the bhairava spirits on the last day of resurrection. 86 The winds blew on all sides of the sky, with darts falling like thunder bolts, and hailstones now piercing and then crushing all bodies as if by the last blast of nature on the dooms-day.
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Chapter 49 — More Supernatural Weapons
1 Then blew the icy winds of winter, blasting the beauty of the forest tree foliage, shaking and breaking the beautiful trees, and covering them with gusts of dust. 2 Then rose a gale whirling the trees like birds flying in the air, dashing and smashing soldiers on the ground, and hurling and breaking buildings to dust. 3 This dreadful squall blew away Viduratha and his force, like a rapid current carries away broken and rotten fragments of wood.
4 Then Viduratha, skilled in ballistics, hurled his huge and heavy arrows that stretched themselves to the sky and withstood the force of wind and rain. 5 Opposed by these rock-like barriers, the airy weapons were at a stand still, just like animal spirits are checked by the firm detachment of the soul. 6 Trees that had been blown up by the winds and were floating in the breezy air, now came down and fell upon dead bodies, like flocks of crows upon putrid carcasses. 7 The shouting from the city, the distant hum of the village, the howling of forests, and the rustling of the trees ceased on all sides like the vain words of men.
8 Sindhu saw burning rocks falling from above like leaves of trees, and flying about like the winged menakas (mind-born from apsaras) or moving rocks of the sea or Sindhu. 9 He then hurled his thundering weapons, falling like flaming thunderbolts from heaven, which burnt the rocks away like flaming fire destroys darkness. 10 These falling bolts broke the stones with their pointed ends, and hewed down hilltops like a hurricane scattering fruit from trees on the ground. 11 Viduratha then darted his Brahma weapon to quell the thunderbolts, which jostling against one another, disappeared in their mutual conflict.
12 Sindhu then cast his demonic weapons as black as darkness, which fled as lines of horrid pisacha demons on all sides. 13 They filled the sky with the darkness of their bodies, and made the daylight turn to the shade of night, as if it were for fear of them. 14 They were as strong in their figures as huge columns of smoke, and as dark in their complexion as the blackest pitch, and tangible to the hand. 15 They were like lean skeletons with erect hair on their heads and bearded faces, with looks as pale as those of beggars, and bodies as black as those of the aerial and nocturnal fiends. 16 They were terrific and like idiots in their looks, and moved about with bones and skulls in their hands. They were as meager as churls, but more cruel than either the sword or thunderbolt. 17 The pisacha demon-ghosts lurk about woods, bogs and highways and pry into empty and open door houses. They hunt about like ghosts in their dark forms, and fly away as fast as fleeting lightning. 18 With fury they ran and attacked the remaining enemy forces that stood weaponless in the field with their broken and sorrowful hearts. 19 Frightened to death they stood motionless, and dropped down their arms and armor, and stood petrified as if they were demon-struck, with staring eyes, open mouths, and unmoving hands and feet. 20 They let fall both their lower and upper garments, loosened their bowels and slackened their bodies through fear, and kept shaking like trees by the wind.
21 The line of the pisachas then advanced to frighten Viduratha out of his wits, but he had the good sense to understand them as the mere magic mumbo-jumbo. 22 He knew the counter charm to force the pisachas from the field, and employed his charmed weapons against the enemy pisacha army. 23 He fired his rupika weapon with anger, which gave comfort to his own army and deluded the enemy pisacha force. 24 These rupikas flew in the air with erect hairs on their heads, their terrific eyes sunk in their sockets. Their waists and breasts moved like trees with bunches of fruit. 25 They had past their youth and become old. Their bodies were bulky and worn out with age. They had deformed backs and hips, and protuberant navels and naves. 26 They had dark dusky bodies and held human skulls in their hands all besmeared with blood. They had bits of half devoured flesh in their mouths, and pouring out fresh blood from their sides. 27 They had a variety of gestures, motions and contortions of their bodies, which were as hard as stone, with wry faces, crooked backs and twisted legs and limbs. 28Some had their faces like dogs, crows, and owls, with broad mouths and flat cheek-bones and bellies, and held human skulls and entrails in their hands. 29 They laid hold of the pisachas like men catch little children, and joined with them in one body as their consorts. 30 They joined together in dancing and singing with outstretched arms and mouths and eyes, now joining hand in hand and now pursuing one another in their merry sport. 31 They stretched their long tongues from their horrid mouths, and licked away the blood exuding from the wounds of the dead bodies. 32They plunged in the pool of blood with as much delight as if they had dived into a pond of ghee. They scrabbled in the bloody puddle with outstretched arms and feet, and uplifted ears and nose. 33 They rolled and jostled with one another in the puddle of carrion and blood, and made it swell like the Milky Ocean when churned by Mandara Mountain.
34 As Viduratha employed his magic weapon against the magic of Sindhu, so he had recourse to others from a sense of his inferiority. 35 He fired his vetala weapon, which made dead bodies, whether with or without their heads, rise up in a body in their ghastly shapes. 36 The joint forces of the vetalas, pisachas and rupikas presented a dreadful appearance like that of the Kavandhas, and they seemed as if ready to destroy the earth.
37 The other monarch was not slow to show his magic skill by hurling his demon rakshasa weapon, which threatened to grasp and devour the three worlds. 38 Their gigantic bodies rose as high as mountains, and with their ghostly forms, they seemed like hellish fiends appearing from the infernal regions. 39 The ferocious body of the roaring rakshasas terrified both gods and demigods with their loud martial music and war dance of their headless trunks. 40 The giddy vetalas, yakshas and kushmandas devoured the fat and flesh of dead bodies as their toast, and drank the gory blood as their lurid wine in the course of their war dance. 41 The hopping and jumping of the kushmandas in their war dance in streams of blood, scattered its crimson particles in the air, which assembled in the form of a bridge of red evening clouds over the sparkling sea.
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Chapter 50 — The Death of Viduratha
1 Vasishta said:—
As the tide of war was rolling violently with a general massacre on both sides, the belligerent monarchs thought on the means of saving their own forces from the impending ruin. 2 The magnanimous King of Sindhu, who was armed with patience, called to his mind the Vaishnava weapon, which was the greatest of arms and as powerful as Shiva himself. 3 He hurled the Vaishnava weapon using his best judgment (mantra). Immediately it emitted a thousand sparks of fire from its flaming blade on all sides. 4 These sparks became large balls as big and bright as to shine like hundreds of suns in the sky, and others flew like the lengthy shafts of cudgels in the air. 5 Some of them filled the wide field of the sky with thunderbolts as thick as the blades of grass, and others spread over the lake of heaven with battle axes like a bed of lotuses. 6 These poured forth showers of pointed arrows spreading like a net in the sky, and fired dark sword blades scattered like tree leaves in the air.
7 At this time, the rival king Viduratha sent forth another Vaishnava weapon for repelling the former, and removing the reliance of his foe in his weakness. 8 It sent forth a stream of weapons counteracting those of the other, and overflowing in currents of arrows and pikes, clubs and axes and missiles of various kinds. 9 These weapons struggled with and jostled against one another. They split the vault of heaven with their clattering, and cracked like loud thunder claps cleaving mountain cliffs. 10 The arrows pierced rods and swords, and the swords hewed down axes and lances to pieces. The malls and mallets drove the missiles, and the pikes broke the spears. 11 The mallets like Mandara rocks, broke and drove away the rushing arrows as waves of the sea, and the resistless swords broke to pieces by striking at the maces. 12 The lances revolved like the halo of the moon, repelling the black sword blades as darkness, and the swift missiles flashed as the destructive fires of Yama. 13 The whirling discs were destroying all other weapons. They stunned the world by their noise, and broke mountains by their strokes. 14 The clashing weapons were breaking one another in numbers, and Viduratha defeated the arms of Sindhu, like a steadfast mountain defies the thunders of Indra. 15 The truncheons were blowing away the curved swords, and the pikes were warding off the stones fired by slings. The crowbars broke down the pointed heads of the pikes. 16 The iron rods of the enemy were broken by tridents of Shiva, and the enemy arms were falling down and crushing one another to pieces. 17 The clattering shots stopped the course of the heavenly stream, and the combustion of powder filled the air with smoke. 18 The clashing of dashing weapons lit the sky like lightning, their clattering cracked the worlds like thunderclaps, and their shock split and broke the mountains like thunderbolts. 19 Thus the warring weapons were breaking one another by their impacts, and protracting the engagement by their mutual overthrow.
20 As Sindhu was standing still in defiance of the prowess of his adversary, Viduratha lifted his own fire-arm, and fired it with a thundering sound. 21 It set Sindhu’s war chariot on fire like a heap of hay on the plain, while the Vaishnava weapons filled the ethereal sphere with their meteoric blaze. 22 The two kings were thus engaged in fierce fighting with each other, the one firing his weapons like drops of raging rain, and the other hurling his arms like currents of a deluging river. 23 The two kings were thus harassing each other like two brave champions in their contest, when the chariot of Sindhu was reduced to ashes by its flame. 24 He then fled to the woods like a lion from its cavern in the mountain, and repelled the fire that pursued him by his aqueous weapons. 25 After losing his car and alighting on the ground, he brandished his sword and cut off the hoofs and heels of the horses of his enemy’s chariot in the twinkling of an eye. 26 He hacked everything that came before him like the lean stalks of lotuses. Then Viduratha also left his chariot with his sword in hand.
27 Both were equally brave and matched to one another in their skill in warfare. They turned about in their rounds, and scraped their swords into saws by striking against the other. 28 With their jagged weapons, they tore the bodies of their enemies like fish crushed under teeth, when Viduratha dropped down his broken sword, and threw his javelin against his enemy. 29 It fell with a rattling noise on the bosom of Sindhu like a flaming meteor falls rumbling in the breast of the sea. 30 But the weapon fell back having hit his breast plate, like a maiden flies back from the embrace of a lover deemed an unfit match for her. 31 Its shock made Sindhu throw out a flood of blood from his lungs, resembling the water spout an elephant let outs from its trunk.
32 Seeing this, the second Leela cried with joy to her sister Leela, “See here the demon Sindhu killed by our lion-like husband. 33 Sindhu is slain by the javelin of our lion-like lord, like the wicked demon by the nails of the lion-god Narasimha, and he is spouting forth his blood like the stream of water, thrown out by the trunk of an elephant from a pool. 34 But alas! This Sindhu is trying to mount on another car, although bleeding so profusely from his mouth and nostrils, as to raise a wheezing sound.”
35 “Look there! Our lord Viduratha is breaking down the golden mountings of his car with the blows of his mallet, like the thundering clouds Pushkara and Avarta break down the gold peaks of Sumeru. 36 See this Sindhu now mounting on another carriage, which is now brought before him, and decorated like the splendid seat of a gandharva. 37 Alas! Our lord is now made the mark of Sindhu’s mallet hurled like a thunder bolt against him. But lo! How he flies off and avoids the deadly blow of Sindhu. 38 Hurrah! How nimbly he has got up upon his own car. But sorrow is to me that Sindhu has overtaken him in his flight. 39 He mounts on his car like a hunter climbs on a tree, and pierces my husband, like a bird-catcher with his pointed arrow does a parrot hidden in its hollow. 40 Behold his car is broken down and its flags flung aside. His horses are hurt and the driver is driven away. His bow is broken and his armor is shattered, and his whole body is full of wounds. 41 His strong breast-plate is broken by slabs of stone and his big head is pierced by pointed arrows. Behold him thrown down on earth, all mangled in blood.”
42 “Look with what difficulty he is restored to his senses, and seated in his seat with his arm cut off and bleeding under Sindhu’s sword. 43 See him weltering in blood gushing out profusely from his body, like a red stream issuing from a hill of rubies. Sorrow is me, and cursed be the sword of Sindhu that has brought this misery on us. 44 It has severed his thighs like they cut a tree with a saw, and has lopped off his legs like the stalks of trees. 45 Ah! It is I who am so struck and wounded and killed by the enemy. I am dead and gone and burnt away with my husband’s body.”
46 Saying so, the second Leela began to shudder with fear at the sorrowful sight of her husband, and fell unconscious on the ground like a vine cut off by an axe.
47 Viduratha though thus mutilated and disabled, was rising to smite the enemy in his rage, when he fell down from his car like an uprooted tree, and was replaced there by his charioteer ready to make his retreat. 48 At this instant, the tribal Sindhu struck a saber on his neck, and pursued the car in which the dying monarch was borne back to his tent.
49 The body of Padma (alias Viduratha) was placed like a lotus in the presence of Saraswati, shining with the splendor of the sun. But the elated Sindhu was kept from entering that place, like a giddy fly from a flame. 50 The enemy returned to his camp and the charioteer entered the apartment and placed the body on its death-bed in the presence of the goddess. The body was all mangled and besmeared with blood seeping from the pores of the severed neck.
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Chapter 51 — Sindhu’s Rule
1 Vasishta said:— The loud cry that the king was killed in battle by the rival monarch, struck the people with awe, and filled the realm with dismay. 2 Carts loaded with utensils and household articles were driving through the streets. Women with their loud wailing were running away amidst the impassable paths of the city. 3 Weeping maidens fleeing for fear were ravished on the way by their captors. Inhabitants were in danger of being plundered of their properties by one another. 4 The joyful shouts of soldiers in the enemy camp resounded with the roaring of loose elephants and neighing of horses trampling men to death on their way. 5 The doors of the royal treasury were broken open by brave brigands, the hinges flew off and the ceilings re-echoed to the strokes. The warders were overpowered by numbers, and countless treasures were plundered and carried away. 6 Bandits ripped off the bellies of the royal dames in the palace, and the chandala freebooters hunted about the royal apartments. 7 The hungry rabble robbed provisions from the royal stores, and soldiers were snatching jewels from weeping children trodden down under their feet. 8 Young and beautiful maidens were dragged by their hair from the seraglio, and the rich gems that fell from the hands of the robbers glistened all along the way.
9 Chiefs assembled with ardor with their troops of horses, elephants and war-chariots, and announced the installation of Sindhu by his minister.10 Chief engineers were employed in decorating the city and its halls, and the balconies were filled by the royal party attending the inauguration. 11It was then that the coronation of Sindhu’s son took place amidst the loud acclamations of victory. Titles and dignities were conferred upon the noblemen on the victor’s side.
12 The royal party were fleeing for their lives into the villages, where they were pursued by the victorious soldiers. A general pillage spread in every town and village throughout the realm. 13 Gangs of robbers thronged about and blocked the passages for pillage and plunder. A thick mist darkened the light of the day for want of the magnanimous Viduratha. 14 The loud lamentations of the friends of the dead, and the bitter cries of the dying, mixed with the clamor raised by the driving cars, elephants and horses, thickened in the air like a solid body of sound.
15 Loud trumpets proclaimed the victory of Sindhu in every city and announced his sole sovereignty all over the earth. 16 The high-shouldered Sindhu entered the capital like a second Manu for repopulating it after the all-devastating flood of war was over. 17 Then the tribute of the country poured into the city of Sindhu from all sides. These loaded on horses and elephants resembled the rich cargoes borne by ships to the sea. 18 The new king issued forthwith his circulars and royal edicts to all sides, struck coins in his own name, and placed his ministers as commissioners in all provinces. 19 His iron-rod was felt in all districts and cities like the inflexible rod of Yama, and it awed the living with fear of instant death. 20 All insurrections and tumults in the realm soon subsided to rest under his reign, like the flying dust of the earth and the falling leaves of trees fall to the ground upon subsidence of a tempest.
21 The whole country on all sides was pacified to rest, like the perturbed sea of milk after it had been churned by Mandara Mountain. 22 Then there blew the gentle breeze of Malaya, unfurling the locks of the lotus-faced maidens of Sindhu’s realm, and blowing the liquid fragrance of their bodies around, and driving away the unwholesome air of the carnage.
[The entire vision of Leela shows the state of human life, with its various incidents and phases to its last termination by death. The discontented brahmin longs for royal dignity, imagines all its enjoyments in the person of Padma, and at last in the character of Viduratha sees all its evils. The lesson is for aspirants to avoid aiming at high worldly honors which end in their destruction. In her silent meditation, Leela by her wisdom sees the whole course and vicissitudes of the world, and the rise and fall of human glory in the aspirations of her husband. — V. L. Mitra]
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Chapter 52 — The Second Leela Reflects upon the First Leela’s Own Self-Concept: Life after Death
1 Vasishta said:— In the meanwhile, O Rama, the first Leela saw her husband lying unconscious before her and about to breathe his last. She spoke to Saraswati, 2 “Behold, O mother, my husband is about to shuffle his mortal coil in this perilous war that has laid waste his whole kingdom.”
3 Saraswati replied:— This combat that you saw, fought with such fury and lasting so long in the field, was neither fought in your kingdom nor in any part of this earth. 4 It occurred nowhere except in the vacant space of the shrine containing the dead body of the brahmin where it appeared only as the phantom of a dream. 5 This land that appeared as the kingdom of your living lord Viduratha was situated with all its territories in the inner apartment of Padma. 6 Again it was the tomb of the brahmin Vasishta, situated in the hilly village of Vindya, that showed these varying scenes of the mortal world within itself. 7 As the departed soul views the vision of the past world within its narrow tomb, so is the appearance of all worldly accidents unreal in their nature.
8 These objects that we see here as realities, including these bodies of mine and yours and this of Leela, together with this earth and these waters, are just the same as phantoms rising in the tomb of the deceased brahmin of the hilly region. 9 It is the soul that presents the images of things, and nothing external which is wholly unreal can cast its reflection on the soul. Therefore know your soul to be the true essence which is uncreated and immortal, and the source of all its creations within itself.
10 The soul reflects on its inborn images without changing itself in any way. Therefore it was the nature of the brahmin’s soul that displayed these images in itself within the sphere of his tomb. 11 But the illusion of the world with all its commotion was viewed in the vacant space of the souls of the brahmin and Padma, and not displayed in the empty space of their tombs, where there was no such false reflection of the world.
12 There is no error or illusion anywhere except in the misconception of the observer. Therefore the removal of the fallacy from the mind of the viewer leads him to the perception of the light of truth. 13 Error consists in taking the unreal for the real and in thinking the viewer and the view, or the subjective and objective, is different from each other. It is the removal of the distinction of the subjective and objective that leads us to the knowledge of unity (the one or Aum). 14 Know that the Supreme Soul is free from the acts of production and destruction, and it is His light that displays all things of which He is the source. Learn that the entire outer nature has no existence nor change in itself.
15 The souls of other beings exhibit their own natures in themselves, just like those in the burial tomb of the brahmin displayed the various dispositions to which his mind was accustomed. 16 The soul has no notion of the outer world or any created thing in it. Its consciousness of itself is like an uncreated emptiness. It comprehends its knowledge of the world in itself.
17 The knowledge of the mountain ranges of Meru and others is included within the knowledge in the emptiness of the soul. There is no substance or solidity in them, just like a great city seen in a dream. 18 The soul sees hundreds of mountain ranges and thousands of solid worlds all drawn in the small compass of the mind, like in its state of dreaming. 19 Multitudes of worlds are contained in a grain of the brain of the mind, just like the long leaves of the plantain tree are contained in one of its minute seeds. 20 All three worlds are contained in an atom of consciousness in the same manner as great cities are seen in a dream. Each of all the particles of consciousness within the mind has the representation of a world in it.
21 Now this Leela, your stepmother (i.e., Arundhati, the wife of the hill-brahmin Vasishta), has already gone to the world that contains the tomb of Padma before the spirit of Viduratha could get there. 22 The moment when Leela fell in a swoon in your presence, know her spirit was immediately conveyed to him and placed by his side.
23 Leela asked, “Tell me, O goddess, how was this lady endowed with my form? How did she come to placed as my stepmother beside my deceased husband (Prince Padma)? 24 Tell me in short, in what form do the people in Padma’s house see her, and how are they now talking to her?”
25 The goddess replied:— Leela, hear what I will tell you in brief answer to your question regarding the life and death of this Leela as an image of yourself.
26 It is your husband Padma, in the person of Viduratha, who beholds these illusions of the world spread before him in the same tomb. 27 He fought this battle which you saw in his imagination, and this Leela who resembles you (Viduratha’s wife) was also a delusion. These his men and enemies were only illusions, and his ultimate death was as illusory as a phantom of the imagination, like all other things in this world. 28 It was his self delusion that showed him this Leela as his wife, and it is the same deceit of a dream that deludes you to believe that you are his wife. 29 It is merely a dream that makes both of you Leelas think yourselves as his wives. In the same way he dreams that he is your husband, and I also rely on my own existence.
30 The world with all its beauty is said to be the image of a vision. When we know it to be merely a visionary scene, we must refrain from having any faith in the sights of this magic projection lantern. 31 Thus this Leela, you, and this King Viduratha are only phantoms of your fancy. So am I, unless I believe to exist in the self-existent spirit. 32 The belief of the existence of this king and his people, and of ourselves as united in this place, proceeds from the fullness of that Consciousness which fills everything.
33 So this Queen Leela, also situated in this place with her youthful beauty and smiling so charmingly with her blooming face, is only an image of divine beauty. 34 See how gentle and graceful are her manners and how very sweet is her speech. Her voice is as sweet as the notes of the kokila nightingale, and her motions as slow as those of a lovelorn maiden. 35 Behold her eyelids are like the leaves of the blue lotus and her swollen breasts are rounded like a pair of snowballs. Her form is as bright as liquid gold and her lips are as red as a brace of ripe bimba fruit. 36This is only a form of you as you desired to be to please your husband. It is the very figure of your own self that you now behold with wonder.
37 After the death of your husband (Padma), his soul caught the same reflection of your image as you did desire to be hereafter, and which you now see in the person of the young Leela before you.
38 Whenever the mind has a notion or sensation or fancy of some material object, the abstract idea of its image is surely imprinted in the intellect. 39 As the mind comes to perceive the unreality of material objects, it begins to entertain the ideas of their abstract entities within itself.
40 It was Padma’s thought of his sure death, his false conception of the transmigration of his soul in the body of Viduratha, and your desired form of a youthful Leela, the idol of his soul, that represented the youthful Leela to Padma. 41 He saw you and you saw him according to your desires. Thus both of you, although possessed of the same unvaried soul that pervades all space, are made to see one another according to your desires.
42 The spirit of Brahma is all pervasive. It manifests itself in various ways in all places. It is seen in different light according to the varying fancies or tendencies of men like ever-changing scenes appearing in visions and dreams. 43 The omnipotent Spirit displays its various powers in all places. These powers exert themselves everywhere according to the strong force and capability it has infused in them.
44 When this pair remained in their state of death-like lack of physical senses, they saw all these phantoms in their inner souls by virtue of their memories and desires. 45 That such and such persons were their fathers and such their mothers before, that they lived in such places, had such properties, and did such acts some time ago are all memories of the soul. 46 That they were joined together in marriage, and the multitudes they saw in their minds, appeared to them as realities for the time in their imagination.
47 This is an example that shows our physical-sense perceptions to be no better than our dreams. It was in this deluded state of Leela’s mind that she worshipped and prayed to me. 48 In order to confer the boon on her that she might not become a widow, and by virtue of my blessing, this girl died before her husband’s death. 49 I am the progeny of Brahma, and the totality of that intelligence in which all beings participate. It is for this reason that she adored me as the guardian divinity of all living beings.
50 In the end her soul left her body through the orifice of her mouth and fled with her mind in the form of her vital breath. 51 Then, after the unconsciousness attendant upon her death was over, she understood in her consciousness that her individual soul was placed in the same empty space as the departed spirit of Padma. 52 In her memory she pictured herself in her youthful form and she saw herself as in a dream, situated in the same tomb. She was like a blooming lotus with her beautiful countenance, and her face was as bright as the orb of the moon. Her eyes were as large as those of an antelope, and she was attended by her graceful speech for the pleasure of her husband.
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Chapter 53 — The Second Leela Visits the Temple of Dead King Padma; Representations of Memory Are Not the Creations of Brahma
1 Vasishta said:— The second Leela having obtained the blessing of the goddess, proceeded with her imagined body to meet her royal spouse in heaven beyond the skies. 2 Having assumed her spiritual form which was as light as air, she fled merrily like a bird and was blown aloft by the fond desire of joining her beloved lord. 3 She met a maiden sent by the goddess of wisdom issuing out of the best model of her heart’s desire. 4The maiden said, “I am the daughter of your friend Saraswati. I welcome you, O beautiful lady, to this place. I have been waiting and expecting you here on your way through the sky.”
5 Leela said, “Lead me, O lotus-eyed maid, to the side of my husband, as the visit of the good and great never goes for nothing.”
6 Vasishta said:— The maiden replied, “Come let us go there.” So saying, she stood before her looking forward on her way. 7 Then both proceeding together onward, they came to the doorway of heaven which was as broad as the open palm of the hand and marked with lines like those read in palmistry. 8 They passed the region of the clouds and stepped over the currents of winds, then passing beyond the orbit of the sun, they reached the stations of the constellations. 9 From there they passed through regions of air and water to the worlds where gods and saints live, then they crossed over the worlds of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to the great circle of the universe. 10 Their spiritual bodies pierced through its opening like the humidity of ice water passes out of the pores of a tight water-jar. 11 Leela’s body was of the form of her mind, which was of the nature of its own bent and tenor, and conceived these wanderings within itself.
12 Having traversed the worlds of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and having crossed the limit of the manifest spheres and the environs of atmospheric water and air, 13 they found an empty space as spacious as the scope of the great Consciousness and impassable by the swift garuda even in millions of kalpa ages. 14 There they saw an infinity of shapeless and nameless worlds scattered about like countless fruit in a great forest. 15 They pierced through the circumference of one of these orbs before them and passed inside like a worm creeps inside a fruit that it has nibbled.
16 This brought them back by the same worlds of Brahma, Indra and others to the orb of the globe below the starry skies. 17 Here they saw the same country, the same city and the same tomb as before. After entering the tomb, they sat beside the corpse of Padma covered under a heap of flowers.
18 At this time Leela lost sight of the heavenly maiden (sent to accompany her) who had been her companion all this while, and who had now disappeared like a phantom of her illusion. 19 Then she looked at the face of her husband, lying as a dead body in his bed, and recognized him as such by her right discretion. 20 “This must be my husband,” she thought. “Ah my very husband who fell fighting with Sindhu. Now he has attained this seat of departed heroes where he rests in peace. 21 By the grace of the goddess I have arrived here in person and reckon myself truly blessed to find my husband also as such.” 22 Then she took a beautiful fan in her hand and began to wave it over his body like the moon moves in the sky over the earth.
23 The waking, first Leela asked, “Tell me, O goddess, in what manner did the king and his servants and handmaids speak to this lady, and what did they think her to be?”
24 The goddess replied:— It was by our gift of wisdom to them that this lady, that king and those servants found themselves to share in the one and same intellectual soul in which they all existed. 25 Every soul is a reflection of Divine Consciousness and is destined by his own fixed decree to represent individual souls to one another like refractions of the same, or like shadows in a magic show. 26 Thus the king received his wife as his companion and queen, and his servants as related with himself. 27 He saw the unity of his soul with hers and theirs, and no distinction existing between anyone of them. He was astonished to find that there was nothing distinct in them from what he had in himself.
28 The waking, first Leela said, “Why did not that Leela meet her husband in her own body according to her request and the boon that was granted to her?”
29 The goddess replied:— It is not possible for unenlightened souls (such as that of the young Leela) to approach holy spirits in person. They are visible and accessible only to the deserving. They are unapproachable by gross bodies as sunlight is inaccessible by a shadow. 30 So the established law from the beginning of creation is that intelligent souls can never join with dull beings and gross matter, as truth can never be mixed with falsehood. 31 And so is that as long as a boy is prepossessed of his notion of a ghost, it is vain to try to convince him of the falsehood of demons as mere shadows of his imagination. 32 And as long as the feverish heat of ignorance rages within the soul, it is impossible for the coolness of the moon of intelligence to spread over it. 33 So long also as one believes himself composed of a physical body incapable of travel in the higher atmosphere, it is impossible to make him believe otherwise.
34 By virtue of one’s knowledge and discrimination, and by his own merit and divine blessing, one acquires a saintly form with which he ascends to the higher regions, as you have done with this body of yours. 35 As dry leaves of trees are burnt in no time by burning fire, so this physical body is quickly lost by one’s assumption of his spiritual frame. 36 The effect of a blessing or curse on anyone is nothing else than his obtaining the state he desired or feared to have.
37 As the false appearance of a snake in a rope is attended with no motion or action of the serpent, so the unreal views of Leela’s husband and others were only the motionless images of her own imagination. 38 Whoever views the false apparitions of the dead as present before the vision of his mind, he must know them as reflections of his past and constant memories of them. 39 So our notions of all these worlds are mere products of our memories. They are not any creation of Brahma or from any other cause but the simple productions of our desire.
40 They who are ignorant of the knowable spirit of God have in them only the notions of the outer world as they view the distant orb of the moon within themselves.
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Chapter 54 — Divine Laws underlie Creation; Death as Reward; Life Durations
1 The goddess continued:— Therefore, those who know the knowable God and rely upon virtue can go to spiritual worlds — not others. 2 All material bodies are false, the false conceptions of the mind. They can have no place in Truth, just like no shadow can have any room in sunshine. (So gross matter has no room in the subtle spirit.) 3 Young Leela, being ignorant of the knowable (God) and unacquainted with the highest virtue (the practice of yoga meditation), could go no further than the city of her lord which she had in her heart.
4 The waking Leela said, “Let her be where she is, but I will ask you about other things. You see here that my husband is about to die. Tell me, what must I now do? 5 Tell me the law of being and not being of beings, and about that destiny which destines living beings to death. 6 What determines the natures of things and gives existence to the categories of objects? What causes the warmth of fire and sun and gives stability to the earth? 7 Why is coldness confined to frost and the like, and what forms the essence of time and space? What are the causes of the different states of things and their various changes, and the causes of the solidity of some and minuteness of others? 8 What causes trees and men to be taller than grass and brambles, and why do many things dwindle and decay in the course and capability of growth?”
9 The goddess said:— At the universal dissolution of the world, when all things are dissolved in the formless void, only the essence of Brahman remains in the form of infinite sky stretching on all sides beyond the limits of creation. 10 Then it reflects in its consciousness in the form of a spark of fire, as you are conscious of your aerial journey in a dream. 11 Then this atomic spark in the Divine Spirit increased in size, and having no substance of itself, appeared as what is commonly called the ideal world.
12 The spirit of God thought itself as Brahma, the soul of the world, who reigned over it in his form of the mind, as if it was identical with the real world itself. 13 Whatever primary laws he appointed to all things at their first creation, they invariably continue in force with them to the present time.14 The minds of all turn as willed by the Divine Mind. There is nothing which of itself can go beyond the law assigned to it by the Divine Will.
15 It is improper to say that all formal existences are nothing because they remain in their substance (of the Divine Spirit) after their forms disappear, just like the substance of gold remains the same after its shape and form are altered. 16 The elementary bodies of fire and frost continue in the same state as when their elements were first formed in the Divine Mind in the beginning of creation. 17 Therefore, as long as Divine Consciousness continues to direct his eternal laws and decrees appointed to all, nothing has the power to forsake its own nature. 18 It is impossible for anything to alter its nature from the eternal stamp that Divine Will has set upon all the substantial and ideal forms of creation. 19 As Divine Consciousness knows no opposition, it never turns from the tenor of its own wonted intelligence that directs the destinies of all.
20 But know that in the first place, the world is not a created thing. All that appears to exist is only a display of the notions in our consciousness, like appearances in our dreams. 21 The unreal appears as real, just like the shadow seems to be of substance. Our notions of things are the properties of our nature. 22 The manner in which Consciousness exhibited itself in its different manifestations at the beginning, the same continues in its course to this time and is known as the manifestations of consciousness (samvid-kachana) or the course or system of the universe which constitute the niyati.
23 The sky is the manifestation of the intellectual idea of emptiness in the Divine Mind. The idea of duration in Consciousness appeared in the form of the parts of time. 24 The idea of liquidity evolved itself in the form of water in the Divine Mind. In the same way one dreams of water and seas in his own mind.
25 We are conscious of our dreams in some particular state of our consciousness, and it is the wonderfully cunning nature of consciousness that makes us think the unreal to be real. 26 The ideas of the reality of earth, air, fire and water are all false. Consciousness perceives them within itself as its false dreams and desires and daydreams.
27 Now hear me tell you about death in order to remove your questions with regard to this future state. Death is destined for our good in that it leads us to the enjoyment of the fruits of acts in this life.
28 Our lives are destined in the beginning to extend to one, two, three and four centuries in the different Kali, Dwapara, Treta and Satya ages (yugas) of the world. 29 However by virtue of place and time, of climate and food, and our good or bad actions and habits, human life extends above or descends below these limits. 30 Falling short of one’s duties shortens life, as excelling in them lengthens its duration. Mediocre conduct keeps it within its proper bound.
31 Children die by acts causing infant diseases and untimely deaths. The young and old die of acts that bring on juvenile and senile weakness, sickness and ultimate death. 32 He who goes on doing his duties as prescribed by scriptures becomes prosperous and enjoys the long life allotted by the rule of scriptures. 33 Likewise men meet their last state and future reward according to the nature of their acts in lifetime; or else their old age is subject to regret and remorse and all kinds of bodily and mental maladies and anxieties.
34 Leela said, “Tell me in short, O moon-faced goddess, something more with regard to death. Is it a pleasure or pain to die? What becomes of us after we are dead and gone from here?”
35 The goddess replied:— Dying men are of three kinds, and they have different ends upon their death. There are the ignorant, those practiced in yoga, and those who are reasonable and religious. 36 Those practicing dharana yoga (fixed concentration in meditation) may go wherever they like after leaving their bodies, and so the yogi of reason is at liberty to range everywhere. 37 He who has not practiced dharana yoga, or has not applied himself to reasoning, or entertains certain hopes for the future is called an ignorant sot and meets with the pain and pangs of death.
38 He whose mind is not subdued and is full of desires, temporal cares and anxieties becomes as distressed as a lotus torn from its stalk. 39The mind that is not guided by the precepts of the scriptures or purified by holiness but is addicted to the society of the wicked is subjected to the burning sensation of fire within itself at the moment of death. 40 At the moment when the last gurgling of the throat chokes the breath, eyesight is dimmed and the countenance fades away, then the rational soul also becomes hazy in its consciousness. 41 A deep darkness spreads over the dimming sight and stars twinkle before it in daylight. The sky appears to be hidden by clouds and presents a gloomy aspect on every side. 42 An acute pain seizes his entire body, and a mirage caused by witchcraft dances before his vision. The earth is turned into air and the dying person seems to be moving in midair. 43 The sphere of heaven revolves before him and the tide of the sea seems to bear him away. He is lifted up in the air, then hurled down as in his state of dizziness or dream. 44 Now he thinks he is falling into a dark pit, and then he is lying in the cave of a hill. He wants to talk out loud about his torments, but his speech fails to utter his thoughts.
45 Now he finds himself as if falling down from the sky, and now as whirled in the air like a bundle of straw blown aloft by a gust of wind. He is now riding swiftly as in a car, and now finds himself melting like snow. 46 He desires to tell his friends about the evils of life and this world, but he is carried away from them as rapidly as if by an air-engine. 47 He whirls about like a turning wheel and he is dragged along like a beast by its halter. He wallows about like in an eddy, or turns around as the machine of some engine. 48 He is borne like straw in the air and is carried about like a cloud in the wind. He rises high like vapor, then falls down like a heavy watery cloud pouring out into the sea. 49 He passes through endless space and revolves in all of its vortices of emptiness to find, as it were, a place free from the ups and downs to which earth and ocean are subject. 50 Thus the rising and falling spirit wanders ceaselessly, and the soul breathing hard and sighing without break sets the whole body in sore pain and agony. 51 By degrees the objects of his senses become as faint to his failing organs as the landscape fades to view with the setting of the sun.
52 At this moment, his memory fails and he loses memories of the past and present, like one is at a loss to know the sides of the compass after the evening twilight has passed away. 53 In his fainting fit, his mind loses its power of thinking. He is lost in a state of ignorance, the loss of all his thoughts and consciousness. 54 In this fainting state, the vital breath ceases to circulate through the body. When its circulation stops completely, a swoon into unconsciousness (murcha) follows. 55 When this state of unconscious paralysis combined with delirium has reached its climax, then by the law of inertia, ordained for living beings from the beginning, the body becomes as stiff as stone.
56 Leela said, “But tell me, O goddess, why do these pains and agonies, this fainting and delirium, and disease and unconsciousness overtake the body, when it is possessed of all of its eight organs intact?”
57 The goddess replied:— It is the law appointed by the Author of life from the first, that such and such pains are to fall as the lot of living beings at such and such times. 58 The primeval sin springs of itself like a plant in the conscious heart of man and subjects him to his doomed miseries which have no other intelligible cause. 59 When disease and its pain overpower the body and prevent lungs and arteries from expanding and contracting to inhale and exhale air, the body loses its equilibrium (samana) and becomes restless. 60 When inhaled air does not come out and exhaled breath does not re-enter the lungs, all pulsation is at a stop. Organic sensations are lost, remaining only in memory. 61 When vital air doe not enter or exit, the pulse sinks and becomes motionless. The body is said to become senseless, and life to be extinct.
62 I also shall die in my destined time, but all my consciousness of former knowledge will be awake at the hour of death. 63 Though I am dead and gone from here in this manner, yet I must mind that the seed of my innate consciousness (the soul) is never destroyed with my life and body. 64Consciousness is inner knowledge and is imperishable in its nature. Therefore the nature of consciousness is free from birth and death. 65 In some persons this consciousness is as clear as a fresh fountain; in others as foul as tide water. In some it is bright in its form of the pure intellect (chit); but in many in its nature of the sentient or individual soul (chetana), it is polluted with the passions of animal life.
66 As a blade of grass has joints in the middle, so the nature of the sentient or individual soul is combined with the two states of birth and death amidst it. 67 The sentient soul is neither born nor dead at anytime, but witnesses these two states as the passing shadows and apparitions in a dream and vision. 68 The soul is nothing other than consciousness which is never destroyed anywhere by anything.
Say, what other thing is this soul called purusha besides consciouness itself? 69 Tell me then, who and what are you calling dead today? Is consciousness subject to disease or death at anytime and in any form? Truly millions of living bodies are dying every day, but consciousness always remains imperishable. 70 Consciousness never dies at the death of any living being because the entire individual soul continues the same upon the death of everybody here.
71 Therefore, the individual soul is nothing more than the principle which is conscious of its various desires, affections and passions. It is not that principle to which men attribute the phases of life and death. 72 So there is none that dies and no one is born at anytime. It is this only living principle that continually revolves in the deep eddy of its desires. 73 Considering the unreality of visible phenomena, there can be no desire for them in anyone. But the inner soul that is led by its egoism and believes them to be true is subject to death at the disappearance of phenomena.
74 The recluse ascetic flying from the fears of the world as foreign to his soul, and having none of its false desires rising in his breast, becomes liberated in his life and assimilated with the true One.
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Chapter 55 — Categories of Death Experiences; Origin of Illusion
1 Leela said, “Tell me, goddess, for edification of my knowledge, how does a living come to die and is reborn in another form?”
2 The goddess replied:—
As the action of the heart ceases and the lungs blow and breathe no more, the current of vital airs is utterly stopped and the living being loses its consciousness. 3 But the intellectual soul, which has no rise or fall, remains ever the same as it abides in all moving and unmoving bodies, and in air, water, fire and vacuum. 4 When the breathing, pulse and motion of the body stop, it is said to be dead and is then called an inert corpse. 5The body being a dead carcass and the vital breath having mixed with the air, the soul is freed from the bonds of its desires. It flies to and remains in the mode of the discrete and self-existent soul.
6 The individual soul, called the animal spirit (jiva), has its desires and is other than the atman (soul). It remains in its burial tomb under the same atmosphere as the soul of Padma, which you saw hovering about his tomb. 7 Hence such departed spirits are called ghosts of the dead (pretas). They have their desires and earthly propensities attached to them, just like the fragrance of the flower is concentrated in its pollen and thence diffused through the air.
8 As animal souls are removed to other spheres, after their departure from this visible world, they view the very many scenes and sights that their desires present before them like visions in a dream. 9 The soul continues to remember all its past adventures, even in its next state, and finds itself in a new body soon after the unconsciousness of death is over.
10 What appears an empty vacuum to others seems as a dusky cloud to the departed soul, enveloping the earth, sky, moon and all other orbs within its bosom.
11 Departed spirits are classed in six orders, as you shall now hear from me. These are the great, greater and greatest sinners, and likewise the three degrees of the virtuous. 12 These are again subdivided into three kinds, some belonging to one state and others composed of two or three states in the same individual soul.
13 Some of the most sinful souls lose the memory of their past states for a period of a whole year. They remain quite unconscious within themselves, like blocks of wood or stone. 14 Rising after this time, they are doomed to suffer the endless torments of hell which the hardness of their earthly mindedness has brought upon them. 15 Then they pass into hundreds of births leading from misery to misery, or have a moment’s respite from the pains in their short lived prosperity, amidst their dreaming journey through life.
16 There are others who, after their numbness of death is over, come to suffer the unutterable torments of sluggishness in the state of unmoving trees. 17 And others again who having undergone the torments of hell, according to their inordinate desires in life, are brought to be reborn on earth in a variety of births in different forms.
18 Those of lesser crimes, are made to feel the inertness of stones for sometime, after the unconsciousness attending upon their death. 19These awakened to consciousness after some time, whether long or short, are made to return on earth to feel the evils of brutish and beastly lives.
20 But the souls of the least sinful, soon after their death, come to assume some perfect human form in order to enjoy the fruits of their desire and reward on earth. 21 These desires appear before the soul as dreams and awaken its reminiscence of the past as present at that moment.
22 Again the best and most virtuous souls, soon after their death, come to find themselves in heavenly abodes by reason of their continued thoughts and speculations of them. 23 Some among them are brought to enjoy the rewards of their actions in other spheres, from which they are sent back to the mortal world, at the homes of the auspicious and best part of mankind.
24 Those of moderate virtues are blown away by the atmospheric air upon the tops of trees and medicinal plants where they rove about as protozoa after the unconsciousness of death is over. 25 Being nourished here by the juice of fruits, they descend in the form of serum and enter into the hearts of men, from where they fall into the uterus in the form of virile semen, which is the cause of the body and life of other living beings.
26 Thus the dead, after they recover from the collapse attending upon their death, make themselves into one of these states of living bodies according to their natural tendency. 27 At first they think themselves extinct, then they come to feel resuscitated upon receiving offerings of the food made to their departed spirits. 28 Then they fancy seeing the messengers of death, with nooses in their hands, come to fetch them to the realm ofYama, and they depart with them.
29 There the righteous are carried in heavenly cars to the Nandana gardens of paradise which they gain by their meritorious acts in life. 30 But the sinful soul meets with icebergs and pitfalls, is tangled with thorns and iron pikes and bushes and brambles in its passage as punishment for its sins. 31 Those of the middling class have a clear and paved passage, with soft grassy pathways shaded by cooling trees, and supplied with spring waters on both sides of them. 32 On its arrival there, the soul reflects within itself that, “Here am I, and yonder is Yama, the lord of the dead. The other is the judge of our actions, Chitragupta, and this is his judgment given on my behalf.” 33 In this manner also, the great world appears to every one as in a dream. And so the nature and manner of all things present themselves before every soul.
34 But all these appearances are as empty as air. The soul alone is the sentient principle, and vast space and time and the modes and motions of things, though they appear as real, are in reality nothing. 35 Here in Yama’s court, the soul is pronounced to reap the reward of its acts, whereby it ascends either to the blissful heaven above or descends to the painful hell below. 36 After having enjoyed the bliss of heaven or suffered the torment of hell, the soul is doomed to wander in this earth again to reap the reward of its acts in repeated reincarnations.
37 The soul springs up like a paddy plant and brings forth the grains of intelligence. Then, being assembled by the senses, it becomes an animal, and lastly an intelligent being. 38 The soul contains in itself the germs of all its senses which lie dormant in it for lack of its bodily organs. It is contained in man’s virile semen which, passing into the uterus, produces the fetus in the womb of the female. 39 The fetus then becomes either well-formed or deformed, according to the good or evil deeds of the person in its past state, and brings forth the infant of a good or ill shaped appearance. 40 It then perceives the moonlike beauty of youthful bloom, and its amorous disposition comes upon itself. Afterwards it feels the effects of hoary old age, defacing its lotus-like face like the sleets of snow shatter and shrivel the lotus leaflets. 41 At last it undergoes the pains of disease and death and feels the same lack of physical senses at of death as before, and finds itself again as in a dream taking on a new form. 42 It again believes itself to be carried to the region of Yama, and subjected to the former kinds of revolution. Thus it continues to conceive its reincarnation in endless births and various forms.
43 Thus forever in its own ethereal sphere, the aerial spirit goes on thinking about all its ceaseless reincarnations until its final liberation from this ever changing state.
44 Leela said, “Tell me kindly, O good goddess, for the enlightenment of my understanding, how did this misconception of its changeableness first come upon the soul in the beginning?”
45 The goddess replied:—
The dense appearance of the abstract causes us to assume the discrete spirit in the concrete forms of the earth and sky and rocks and trees. 46As Divine Consciousness manifests itself as the soul and model of all forms, so we see these manifestations in the transcendental sphere of its pure consciousness.
47 In the beginning, God conceived himself as the lord of creation (Brahma). Then, as it were in a dream, he saw in himself all the forms as they continue to this time. 48 These forms were manifested in the Divine Spirit, at first as his will, and then reflected and exhibited in the phenomenal world in all their present forms. 49 Among these some are called living beings which are able to move their bodies and limbs and live by means of the air they breathe and circulate in their bodies through lungs and arteries.
50 Such also is the creation of plant life. They have their inner sensitivity, although devoid of outward motion, and they receive their sustenance from their roots. 51 The hollow sphere of the Divine Intellect, beaming with intelligence, sends forth its particles of perception which form the consciousness of some beings and sensitivity in others.
52 But man uses his eyes to view the outer and the reflected world, although the eyes do not form his individual soul, nor did they exist at his creation or before his birth.
53 It is according to one’s estimation of himself that he has his proper and peculiar desires, and also the particular form of his body. Such also is the case of the elemental bodies, from their inner conception of their peculiar natures. 54 Thus all moving and unmoving things have their movable and immovable bodies according to their intrinsic disposition or idiosyncrasy as such and such. 55 Hence all self-moving beings have their movable bodies conforming to the conception of their natures as so and so. And in this state of their belief, they continue to this time with their same inborn or congenital bodies.
56 The vegetable world still continues in the same state of fixedness from its sense of immobility. And so rocks and minerals continue in their inert state from the inborn sense of their inertness. 57 There is no distinction whatever between inertness and intelligence, nor any difference between production, continuance and extinction of things. All occurs in one common essence of the Supreme. 58 The varying characteristics existing in plants and minerals make them feel themselves as such and cause their various natures and forms as they have to this time. 59 The inner constitution of all immovable objects makes them remain in their stationary states; likewise for all other substances, according to their different names and natures. 60 Thus the inner constitution or quality of worms and insects makes them conceive themselves according to their different kinds and gives them their particular natures forever.
61 So the people under the north pole know nothing about those in the south other than what they know of themselves. 62 So also all kinds of moving and unmoving beings are prepossessed with their own notions of things and regard all others according to their own peculiar self-concepts. 63 Again, as the inhabitants of caves know nothing of their outsiders, and as frogs in dirty pools are unacquainted with the pure water of streams, so is one sort of being ignorant of the nature of another.
64 But empty consciousness, residing in the form of the all pervasive mind and all sustaining air, knows the natures of all things in all places. 65The moving principle is the vital air that enters all bodies through their pores and which gives life and motion to all living beings. 66 Truly the mind is situated in all things, whether they are moving or immovable. And so is the air, which causes motion in some and stillness in others. 67 Thus all things in this world of illusion are only the rays of the conscious soul, continuing in the same state as they have from the beginning.
68 I have told you everything about the nature of things in the world and how unrealities come to appear as real unto us.
69 Look, here this King Viduratha is about to breathe his last, and the garlands of flowers heaped on the corpse of your husband Padma are now being hung upon the breast of Viduratha.
70 Leela said, “Tell me goddess, how did Viduratha enter Padma’s tomb? How can we also enter to see what he is doing there?”
71 The goddess said:—
Man goes to all places by the way of his desires, even thinking that he goes to a distant future, in the spiritual form of pure consciousness. 72We shall go the same way, as you like, because the bond of our friendship makes no difference in our choice and desires.
73 Vasishta said:—
Princess Leela was relieved of her pain by what Goddess Saraswati had explained. Her intellectual sight was brightened by the blazing sun of spiritual light. She saw the unconscious and unmoving Viduratha breathe out his final breath.
Chapter 56 — State of the Soul after Death; Ancestor Worship & Benefits to the Dead
1 Vasishta continued:—
In the meantime the king’s eyeballs became convoluted, and his lips and cheeks and entire face grew pale and dry. There remained only the slender breath of life in him. 2 His body became as lean as a dry leaf, and his face turned as ghastly as the figure of death. His throat gurgled like the hoarsest beetles and his lungs breathed with a bated breath. 3 His sight was darkened upon the unconsciousness of death and his hopes were buried in the pit of despair. The sensations of his external organs were hidden within the cavity of his heart. 4 His figure was as senseless as a picture in painting and all his limbs were as motionless as those of a statue carved from a block of marble. 5 What need is there of a lengthier description when it may be said in short that his life quitted his body, like a bird flies far away from a falling tree?
6 The two ladies, with their divine eyesight, saw his animal spirit in its aerial form flying upwards in the sky and his consciousness disappearing like the odor of a flower blown by the wind. 7 His individual soul being joined with its spiritual body began to fly higher and higher in the air as it was led by its inner desire or expectation of ascending to heaven.
8 The two ladies kept following that conscious soul, like a couple of female bees pursuing a particle of perfume borne afar in the air on the wings of the wind. 9 Then, in a moment after the fainting fit of death was over, the conscious soul was roused from its unconsciousness like some fragrance expanding itself with the breeze. 10 It saw the porters of death carrying away the souls of the dead that had resumed their grosser forms from the food offered by their kinsmen during ancestor-worship rituals. 11 After a long year’s journey on the way, it reached the distant abode ofYama with the hope of reaping the reward of its acts, but found the gate guarded by beasts of prey.
12 Yama, on seeing the departed spirit of everybody brought before him, demanded to know all its foul acts committed during its lifetime. 13 On finding the prince’s spirit spotless, ever inclined to virtuous acts and nourished by the grace of the goddess of wisdom, 14 he ordered it to be released. The spirit re-entered its former dead body that lay buried under the flowers in the tomb. 15 It was then allowed to fly in the ethereal path with the swiftness of a stone shot from a sling. The living Leela and the goddess followed in the air.
16 The individual soul of the king sailing through the sky did not see the forms of the two ladies who followed it, though they saw it all along its course. 17 They passed through many worlds and soon passed beyond the bounds of the extra-mundane systems until they arrived at the solar world from where they descended to this earth.
18 The two self-willed forms of Leela and the goddess followed the individual soul of King Padma and arrived at his royal city where they entered Leela’s apartment. 19 In a trice and of their own free will, they entered the palace of King Padma like air passes in flowers and the sunbeams penetrate water and odors mix with air.
20 Rama asked, “How was it sage, that they entered into the abode adjoining to the tomb, and how could they find the way to it? One had been dead a long time, and all three were bodiless emptiness.”
21 Vasishta replied:—
The tomb of the king’s dead body, being impressed on his soul and the object of its desire, led his spirit insensibly to it, as if by its inborn instinct.
22 Who does not know that the endless desires in the human breast, like countless fig seeds, grow up in time to become big trees? 23 Just as the living body bears its seed, the subtle body (linga deha) in the heart that germinates and in the end grows into a tree, so every particle of the intellect bears the material seed in itself. 24 As a man placed in a far distant land sees his own house within himself, so the soul sees the objects of his distant desires ever present before it. 25 The individual soul always longs after the best objects of its desire, even though it may undergo a hundred births and become subject to the errors and delusions of his senses and of this illusory world.
26 Rama replied, “There are many persons who are free from desire to receive funeral cakes. Now tell me, sage, what becomes of those souls who get no cake offering at their ancestor worship (shradh)?”
27 Vasishta replied:—
A man having the desire settled in his heart to receive food offerings, and thinking it to be offered to him, is surely benefitted by its offering. 28Whatever is in the heart and mind, the same notions form the nature of living beings. Whether these are in their corporeal or incorporeal states, they think themselves as such beings and no other. 29 The thought of having received the pinda cake (cake offered at a shradh ancestor worship ritual) makes a man sapinda (ancestors to the sixth degree), though it is not actually offered to him. On the other hand, the thought of not being served with the cake makes a sapinda become a nispinda.
30 It is truly the desire of all living beings to be whatever they have in their hearts, and that is the cause of their becoming so in reality. 31 It is a man’s thought that makes poison taste like nectar, and it is his very thought that makes an untruth seem as truth to him. 32 Know this for certain, that no thought ever rises in anyone without some cause or other. Therefore, the desire or thought that is inherent in the spirit is the sole cause of its regeneration on earth. 33 Nobody has ever seen or heard of any event occurring without its proper cause; except the being of the Supreme Being which is the causeless cause of all beings from their state of not-being into being.
34 Desire is inherent in consciousness, like a dream in the soul. Desire appears in the form of acts, as the Will of God is manifested in his works of creation.
35 Rama said, “How can a spirit that is conscious of its faults foster any desire for its future good? How can it benefit from others’ pious works for its salvation? 36 Tell me also whether the pious acts of others, offered to ancestors, go for nothing. Do the good wishes of others have any effect on the future prospects of an undeserving ghost?”
37 Vasishta said:—
A desire naturally arises in its proper time and place and by application of appropriate acts and means. The rising of the desire necessarily overcomes its absence. 38 Pious gifts made for the sake of departed souls accrue to them as their own acts. It gives them a sense of worthiness and fills them with better hopes and desires for their future state.
39 Just like the stronger man gains the better of his adversary, so the later acts of piety drive away the former impiety from the spirit. Therefore the constant practice of pious acts is strictly encouraged in the scriptures.
40 Rama said, “If the desire arises in its proper time and place, then how could it arise in the beginning when there was no time or place? 41You say that there are accessory causes that give rise to desires, but how could the will arise in the first place without any accessory cause whatever?”
42 Vasishta replied:—
It is true, O long-armed Rama, that there was neither time nor place in the beginning when the Spirit of God was without its will. 43 And there being no accessory cause, there was not even the idea of the visible world, nor was it created or brought into existence. It is so even now.
44 The phenomenal world has no existence. All that is visible is the manifestation of Divine Consciousness which is everlasting and imperishable. 45 Later I will explain this to you in a hundred different ways, and it is my main purpose to do so, but now hear now tell you what relates to the matter under consideration.
46 Having arrived in that house, they saw its inside beautifully decorated with garlands of flowers as fresh as those of the spring season. 47 The palace residents were quietly employed in their duties, and the king’s corpse was placed upon a bed of mandara and kunda flowers. 48 Wreaths of the same flowers were strewn over the sheet that covered the body and there were the auspicious pots of water placed bedside. 49 The doors of the room were closed and the windows were shut fast with their latches. Lamps cast a dim light on the white washed walls and the corpse was lying as a man in sleep with the suppressed breathing of his mouth and nostrils.
50 There was the bright full moon shining with her delightful luster, and the beauty of the palace would make Indra’s paradise blush. It was as charming as the center of the lotus of Brahma’s birthplace, and it was as silent as dumbness or a dummy itself, and as beautiful as the fair moon in her fullness.
Chapter 57 — Yogis’ Astral Bodies; Phenomena of Dreaming
1 Vasishta continued:—
There they saw the younger Leela of Viduratha who had arrived there after her death and before the death of that king. 2 She was in her former habit and mode with the same body, and the same tone and tenor of her mind. She was also as beautiful in all her features as in her former graceful form and figure when living. 3 She was the same in every part of her body and wore the same clothes as before. She had the same ornaments on her body, with the difference that it was sitting quietly in the same place, and not moving about as before.
4 She kept waving her pretty fan over the king’s corpse, gracing the ground below like the rising moon brightening the skies above. 5 She sat quietly, reclining her moonlike face on the palm of her left hand. Decorated with shining gems, she appeared like a bed of flowers blooming with new blossoms. 6 With glances from her beautiful eyes, she shed showers of flowers on all sides. The brightness of her body shone with the beams of the ethereal moon. 7 She approached her lord of men like Goddess Lakshmi appears before God Vishnu, and with the heaps of flowers around her, she looked like Vasanta Lakshmi (Lakshmi in the aspect of the blissful Goddess of Spring). 8 Her eyes were fixed on her husband’s face as if she was pondering his future well-being. Thoughts of his present sorrowful state spread a melancholy over her face like that of the waning moon.
9 They saw the maiden who was unable to see them. Their trust was in truth, so they saw everything clearly, while her views being otherwise, she could not discern their spiritual forms.
10 Rama said, “You have said, O sage, that the first Leela had returned there in her fancy and spiritual form, by the favor of the goddess of wisdom. 11 Why do you now describe her as having a body? I want to know how it came to her.”
12 Vasishta replied:—
Rama, what is this body of Leela? It is no more true than a false imagination of her gross spirit, like that of water in the mirage. 13 It is spirit alone that fills the world, and all bodies are creations of fancy. This spirit is the Intellect of God, and full of joy in itself.
14 The same understanding which Leela had of herself at her end accompanied her to her future state. The same notion of her body followed her there, even though the body itself was reduced to dust, like ice melted in water. 15 Spiritual bodies are also sometimes liable to fall into error and think themselves to be material bodies, just like we mistake a rope for the serpent.
16 The belief in anyone’s materiality, composed of earth and other elements, is as false as believing rabbits have horns on their heads. 17Whoever thinks he has become a stag in his dream has no need to seek another stag so that he can compare himself with it. 18 An untruth appears as truth at one time and disappears at another, just like the error of a snake in a rope vanishes upon the knowledge of its falsehood. 19 So the knowledge of the reality of all things in the minds of the unenlightened is dispersed in the minds of the enlightened upon conviction of their unreality. 20 But the ignorant who have a belief in the reality of this world of dreams also believe in the reincarnation of the animal soul, like the revolution of the world on its own axis.
21 Rama asked, “If the bodies of yogis are of a spiritual nature, how is it that they are seen walking about in the sight of men?”
22 Vasishta replied:—
A yogi may take various forms upon himself without the destruction of his former body, like the human soul in a dream may deem itself transformed into a stag or any other being without undergoing any change in its spiritual essence. 23 A yogi’s spiritual body is invisible to all, although he may make it appear as visible to their sight. It is like particles of frost seen in sunbeams, and like the appearance of a white spot in autumn sky.
24 Nobody can easily discern the features of a yogi’s body, nor are they discernible by other yogis. They are as imperceptible as the features of a bird flying in the air. 25 It is from the error of judgment that men think some yogis are dead and others living, but their spiritual bodies are never subject to death or common sight. 26 The embodied soul is subject to errors from which the souls of yogis are free because their knowledge of truth has cleansed the mistake of a snake in the rope from their souls.
27 What is this body and from where does it come? What is its existence or destruction? What is lasting remains forever and is freed from the ignorance it had before.
28 Rama said, “Does the embodied soul takes a spiritual form or is it something else? Tell me this and remove my doubt.”
29 Vasishta said:—
I have told you this repeatedly, my good Rama! How is it that you do not understand it yet? There exists only the spiritual body and the material form is nothing.
30 It requires a habit of constant meditation in order to know your spiritual state and subdue your sense of materiality. As you abstain from your sense of materiality, so you attain the spiritual state. 31 Then there will be an end of your sense of gravity and solidity of objects, like the visions of a dreaming man disappear when he awakens.
32 The body of a yogi becomes as light and subtle as the impermanent appearances in a dream. 33 In his dreaming rambles, a man feels the lightness of his body. Similarly, a yogi finds his solid body is able to fly in all places like air. 34 The expectation of the long life of a master in his material body is realized in the spiritual one, after the corpse has been burnt away. 35 Everyone must assume his spiritual frame afterwards, but the yogi finds it in his lifetime by the enlightenment of his consciousness. 36 As a man upon waking from sleep remembers having an intellectual form in his dream state, so the yogi is conscious of his spiritual body in his own intellect.
37 The notion of the physical body is a mere fallacy, like that of the snake in a rope. Therefore nothing is lost by the loss of this body, nor is anything gained by its production and regeneration.
38 Rama said, “Now tell me sage, what did the palace residents think the second Leela to be? Did they see her as an embodied being or a bodiless apparition appearing before them?”
39 Vasishta answered:—
They took the sorrowful queen to be some friend of the king, having come from some place they knew not what or where. 40 They did not like to examine the matter because it is the nature of the ignorant, like that of brutes, to believe what they see without investigation or consideration of its nature.
41 As a stone flung at random flies off from its mark, so brutish and ignorant folks go astray from hitting the true mark of a thing placed before them. 42 We know not what becomes of the objects of our dream, or where they go when we awaken. Such is the case with our material bodies that are as false and fleeting as our delusive dreams.
43 Rama said, “Tell me sage, where does a hill that we dream of hide upon our waking? Kindly remove my doubt like the wind disperses the clouds of autumn.”
44 Vasishta said:—
All things that appear in dream or reside in our desires, such as a hill or the like, are absorbed in the consciousness from where they sprang, just like the motion of bodies subsides in the air that gives them vibration. 45 As the motion of the air mixes with the fixed ether, so dreams and desires set in the unchanging soul from where they arose.
46 Our dreams, like our knowledge of all other things, are made known to us by our consciousness, the nature of which is as unknown to us as that of the inner soul. 47 We do not find our dreams or desires to be distinct from our awareness of them. They appertain to it in the same way as fluidity to water and motion to air. 48 Whatever difference may appear to exist between dreams and our awareness of them is the effect of sheer ignorance. This gross ignorance is the characteristic of this world known as the phantom of fancy. 49 It is impossible to conceive of two co-eternal and co-existent causes together, so it is wrong to suppose the dream as a distinct existence or anything other than an act of our consciousness.
50 There is no difference whatever between the dreaming and waking states. In dream we see a false city appearing to view. In waking you behold the unreal world standing as a reality before you. 51 Nothing can be truly existent that appears as true in a dream. This being always true of what is seen in a dream, it is likewise so of external phenomena that we see in our daydreams. 52 As a hill in a dream immediately disappears into airy nothing, so the material world sooner or later disappears into nothing by thinking on its nothingness.
53 Some see a yogi arising in the air; others as a dead body lying on the ground. This is according to one’s belief in his spiritual or material body. Every one sees him in his own way.
54 The view of the phenomenal world as distinct from the Unity is as false as a seeing a delusion or a magic show, or a dream or delirium of the great illusion. 55 Others who are blinded by similar errors, after being awakened from cessation of physical senses at death, entertain the notion of their reproduction as in a dream. But the spiritual body of the yogi shines and soars upward, after passing over the mirage of the false appearances of the world.
Chapter 58 — The Two Leelas See Padma Revived
1 Vasishta continued:— Meantime, the goddess of wisdom stopped the course of Viduratha’s life, like we stop the flight of our minds at will.
2 Leela said, “Tell me, goddess, how much time has lapsed since the corpse of the king was laid in this tomb, and I was absorbed in my deep meditation?”
3 The goddess replied:— A month has passed since these your maid servants have been waiting here watching your body, which they thought lay asleep in the room. 4 Hear, excellent lady, what has become of your body after a fortnight when it became rotten and evaporated in the air. 5Seeing your lifeless corpse, as cold as frost lying on the ground and turning as dry as a log of wood, or rather as a withered leaf on the floor, 6 the royal ministers thought you had committed suicide and removed your putrid carcass out of the room. 7 What more shall I say than they laid your corpse on a heap of sandalwood and, having set fire to the pile with a sprinkling of ghee, they quickly reduced it to ashes.
8 Then the family raised a loud cry that their queen was dead. They wept bitterly for sometime, after which they performed your funeral ceremonies. 9 Now when they will see you coming here in your same body, they must be astonished and think that you have returned from the next world of the dead. 10 Now my daughter, when you appear before them in this your purer and spiritual form, they must look upon you with astonishment. 11 For you have not your former form at present, but it is changed to a purer one, agreeably to the desire and temperament of your mind. 12 For everyone sees everything outside himself according to his inner feelings as, for example, the sight of shadowy ghosts is frequent to children who have a fear of devils at heart.
13 Now, O beautiful lady! You are an adept in spiritualism and you have a spiritual body on you. You have forgotten and forsaken your former body and all the desires coexisting with it. 14 Those who see spirit do not see material bodies. Their intelligent view is to see material bodies in the light of autumn clouds which are void of substance. 15 Upon attainment of the spiritual state, the material body becomes like an empty cloud, or like a flower without its fragrance. 16 When a man of pure desire is conscious of his attainment of the spiritual state, he loses the memory of his material body, like a youth forgets his embryonic state.
17 It is now the thirty-first day that we have arrived at this place, and I have caused these maid servants to fall into a deep sleep this morning. 18Now Leela, let us go before the willful Leela and use our will to let her discover the form of the truthful Leela and see how she behaves towards you.
19 Vasishta said:— So saying, they wished themselves to be perceived by the willful Leela, and stood before her in their ethereal forms of goddess and her inspired dame. 20 At this instant, the Leela of Viduratha looked at them with staring eyes and found the room lighted up by the full luster of their bodies. 21 The apartment seemed to be lighted by the bright orb of the moon, and its wall seemed washed with liquid gold. The ground floor shone as if paved with ice, and all was full of splendor.
22 After seeing the brightness of the bed chamber, Leela looked up at the goddess and the other Leela and rising respectfully before them, she fell at their feet. 23 “Be victorious, O ye goddesses!” she said. “You have blessed me with your visit. You who know all, know that I have come here first to prepare your way.” 24 As she was speaking this way, they received her with good grace, and then all three in their youthful bloom sat together on bedding, like luxuriant vines on the snow capped peak of Mount Meru.
25 The goddess said, “Daughter, tell us how you came here before us. How you have been, and what you have seen on your way here?”
26 The younger Leela answered, “As I lay unconscious on that spot, upon the shock of my death, I was enveloped in darkness like the new moon and I felt myself burned away by the flame of the funeral fire. 27 I had no sense or thought of anything good or bad, but remained with my eyes closed under my eyelids. 28 Then immediately after I had recovered from my trance of death, O great goddess, I found myself assuming (by mistake a new body agreeably to my former impression) and moving into the midst of the sky.”
29 “I mounted on the vehicle of winds and was borne like fragrance to this mansion through the ethereal space. 30 I found this house guarded by its warders and lighted with lamps, having a costly bedstead placed in midst of it. 31 I am looking upon this corpse, my husband Viduratha, who has been sleeping here with his body covered under flowers like the spring god in a flower garden. 32 I thought he was taking his rest after the fatigue of the warfare and I did not want to disturb his repose in this place. 33 I have now related to you, my gracious goddesses, all that I have seen and thought of since I have been restored to my new life.”
34 The goddess spoke, “Now I tell you Leela, who has such beautiful eyes and moves like a swan, that I will raise the corpse of the king to life from his bed.” 35 Saying so, she breathed the breath of life like the lotus lets off its fragrance. It fled into the nostrils of the carcass like a creeping plant crawls into a hole. 36 It entered into the heart through the vital sheath, as wind penetrates into the hole of bamboo. The breath of life was filled with desires, like the waves of the sea sparkle with pearls.
37 The infusion of life added color of the face and body of King Padma like rainwater refreshes the fading lotus in a drought. 38 By degrees the members of the body became renovated, like a garden with its returning flowering season, and like the sides of a hill become green with fresh grown bushes and vines. 39 The body of the king shone like the queen of the stars with all her digits of the full moon when she enlightens the whole world with the beams of her radiant face. 40 All his limbs became as tender and dewy as the branches of trees in spring. They regained their bright and golden color like the flowers of the spring season. 41 He opened his eyes which were as clear as the sky, their two pupils rolling like two orbs of light enlightening the world with their charming and auspicious beams. 42 He raised his body, as if Vindhya Mountain was uplifting its head, and cried with a grave and hoarse voice, “Who waits there?”
43 The two Leelas responded saying, “Your commands.” He saw the two Leelas in attendance upon him, humbly bending themselves at his feet. 44 Both were of the same form and features and of like demeanor and deportment towards him. They were alike to one another in their voice and action, as in their joy and gladness at his rising.
45 Then looking at them he asked, “What are you and who is she?”
At this the elder Leela responded, “Please hear what I have to say. 46 I am Leela, your former consort. I was joined with you as two in one, as sounds and their senses are combined together. 47 The other Leela is only a reflection of me, cast by my free will for your service.”
48 “The lady sitting here beside the bed is the goddess of wisdom, the blessed Saraswati and mother of the three worlds. Set her on the golden seat before you. 49 It is by virtue of our great merit that she has presented herself to our sight and brought us back from other worlds to your presence in this place.”
50 Hearing this, the lotus-eyed king rose from his seat and with wreaths of flowers and a strap of cloth hung about his neck, he prostrated himself at her feet. 51 He exclaimed, “I hail you, O divine Saraswati who does confer all blessings on mankind. Please confer on me the blessings of understanding and riches with a long life.”
52 As he was saying so, the goddess touched him with her hand and said, “My son, be possessed of your desired blessings and gain your blessed abode in future. 53 Let all evils and evil thoughts be far from you, and all your discomforts be dispersed from this place. Let an everlasting joy descend in your hearts and a great population fill your happy realm. May all prosperity attend on you forever.”
• • •
Chapter 59 — Padma & Two Leelas Live Out Their Liberated Lives
1 Vasishta said:— “Be it so,” said Saraswati and disappeared into the air, and people awoke that morning with their king restored to life. 2Padma embraced the reborn Leela, who embraced him in her turn. They were exceedingly glad in their coming to life again.
3 The palace was filled with loud shouts of joy like those of giddy revelry. Citizens were full of mirth and merry, song and music. 4 Shouts of victory and sounds of cheers and joys resounded in the air. People elated with joy thronged at the royal courtyard to see their king. 5 The spirits of the masters and demigod vidyadharas dropped flowers from above, and the sound of drums, kettles, trumpets and conches resounded on all sides. 6 Outside, elephants roared aloud with uplifted trunks. Crowds of women filled the inner courtyard with loud rejoicing. 7 Men bearing presents for the king fell upon one another at their mutual clashing. Others wearing flowery garlands on their heads and hairs moved gracefully all about. 8 Red turbans of joy on the heads of chiefs and a host of citizens, and the waving of the reddish palms of dancing girls, filled the sky with a bed of red lotuses. 9 The ground also was strewn with rosy flowers, by foot-falls of dancers with their reddish soles. The hanging earrings of ballet girls that flourished with the movement of their heads and shoulders waved in the air like flowers of gold. 10 Silken veils, like autumn clouds, covered the faces of fairy maidens in their dancing. They glittered like so many moons shining in the courtyard. 11 Then people retired to their respective homes with loud applause for the queen’s return with her husband from the other world.
12 King Padma heard of his adventures from the reports of his subjects, and made his purificatory ablution with the waters of the four seas of the earth. 13 Then royal ministers and ministerial brahmins joined together in the act of his installation, like a synod of immortals meeting at the inauguration of Indra.
14 The two Leelas continued in company with the king, describing with delight their respective adventures and the wisdom they had gathered thereby. 15 It was in this way that by grace of the genius of wisdom and their own experience, this King Padma and his two queens obtained prosperity equal to that of the three worlds. 16 The king, filled with the wisdom given to him by the goddess, in company with his consorts, continued to rule over his kingdom for thousands of years. 17 In their state of living liberation they reigned on earth for myriads of years. Then, receiving the perfect knowledge of the holy masters, they became wholly liberated after their deaths.
18 The happy pair having jointly reigned over their delightful realm of ever increasing population, and which was graced by learned men and righteous people, knowing their own rights and duties of doing good to all mankind, became freed from the burden of their state affairs forever.
• • •
Chapter 60 — Time & Reality Are Relative
1 Vasishta said:—
Prince, I have told you this story in order to remove your error of the phenomenal world. Remember this tale of Leela and renounce your misconception of the gross material world.
2 The substantiality of phenomena is a nothing by itself. No pains are required to invalidate it. It is hard to disprove a reality, but there is no difficulty to efface a falsehood from the mind. 3 True knowledge consists in seeing phenomena as void and knowing the one emptiness to the sole unity and real entity. In the end, one loses himself in this infinite emptiness.
4 When the self-born Brahma created the world from nothing, without the aid of any material or elemental body, it is obvious that there was an eternal void and that all these are only manifestations of the empty soul. 5 The same creative soul spread the seeds of its consciousness into the stream of creation, and these produce the images as they constantly appear to us, unless we take the pains to repress them. 6 The appearance of the world is only a perspective of the environment that is Divine Consciousness. It is contained in the small space of human consciousness within the soul, like in a transparent particle of sand.
7 This being the case, then what is the essence of this false conception, and what are our desires to rely on it, and what can be the meaning of either destiny or necessity? 8 This entire whole that is visible to the eye is only false appearance, like magic. There is no truth or substance in a magic show.
9 Rama said, “What a wonderful explanation of the world that you have given me! It refreshes my soul, like moonbeams revive the blades of grass that have been burnt down by a fire. 10 After so long, I have come to know the truly knowable: such as what and how it is, and the manner how, from where, and when it is to be known. 11 I have my peace and rest in pondering on this wonderful theory, and your elucidation of the doctrines of the Sruti scriptures.”
12 “But tell me this one thing to remove my doubt, as my ears are never satisfied drinking the nectar-like juice of your sweet speech. 13 How much time elapsed during the three births of Leela’s husband? Was it the duration of a day and night in one case, and of a month in another, and the period of a whole year in the case of Viduratha? 14 Or did any one of them live for many years, and whether they were of short or longer durations according to the measure of men, gods or Brahma.”
15 “Please sage, kindly tell me this, because little hearing is not sufficient for me, like a drop of water is not enough to moisten the parched ground of summer heat.”
16 Vasishta said:—
Know sinless Rama, that whoever thinks of anything in any manner at any place or time, he comes to feel the same in the same manner, and in the same place and time.
17 Take for instance a destructive poison that becomes like ambrosia to venomous insects that take it for their dainty nourishment. Similarly, an enemy turns to a friend by your friendly behavior to him. 18 The manner in which any being considers itself and all others for a length of time becomes the same they appear by its mode and habit of thinking, as if it were by an act of destiny.19 The manner in which the active intellect represents a thing in the soul is imprinted in its consciousness of its own nature.
20 When our consciousness represents a twinkling of the eye to extend over a kalpa age, we are led to believe a single moment is an age of long duration. 21 When we are conscious of or think a kalpa age to be only a twinkling, the kalpa age is thought to pass as quickly as a moment. A long night in our unconscious sleep appears as a moment upon waking. 22 The night appears to be a long age to the long suffering sick, while it seems like a moment in the nightly revels of the merry. So a moment appears as an age in the dream, and an age passes off as a moment in the state of unconsciousness.
23 The notions of the resurrection of the dead and of one’s reincarnation and being reborn in a new body, of his being a boy, youth or old man, and of his migrations to different places at the distance of hundreds of leagues are all only the phenomena of sleep and retrospective views in a dream.
24 King Harish Chandra is said to have thought a single night to be a dozen years. The prince Lavana passed his long life of a hundred years over the space of a single night. 25 What was a moment to Brahma was the entire age of the lifetime of Manu. What is a day to Vishnu constitutes the long period of the lifetime of Brahma. 26 The entire lifetime of Vishnu is only one day of sedate Shiva. One whose mind is motionless in fixed meditation is unconscious of the change of days and nights and of seasons and years.
27 There is no substance and no substantive world in the mind of the meditative yogi to whom the sweet pleasures of the world appear bitter, as they are thought to be the bane of his true joy. 28 The bitter seems to be sweet by being thought to be so. What is unfavorable becomes favorable as that which is friendly comes to be unfriendly by being taken in their opposite senses.
29 Thus Rama, it is by habitual meditation that we gain the abstract knowledge of things. We forget what we learned if we do not repeat and practice. 30 By their habit of thinking, some find everything in a state of positive rest, while the unthinking fall into the errors of the ever-moving world, like a boat passenger thinks the land and objects on the shore are moving around him. 31 The unthinking part of mankind, and those wandering in their error, think the world to be moving about them. But the thinking mind sees the whole as an empty void and full of phantoms, like one sees in his dream.
32 It is false thought that shows white as black and blue. It is mistaken judgment that makes one rejoice or sorrow at the events of life. 33 The unthinking are led to imagine a house where there is none. The ignorant are infatuated with a belief in ghosts, as they are the killers of their lives.34 It is reminiscence or memory that raises the dream as its consort and that represents things as they are presented to it by the thoughts of the waking state. 35 The dream is as unreal as the empty void abiding in the hollow receptacle of the intellectual soul. It spreads over the mind like the shadow of a cloud and fills it with images like those of a puppet-show under a magic lantern.
36 Know the phenomena of the revolving worlds to be no more in reality than mere effects of the vibrations of the mind in the empty space of the soul, like the motions and gestures of imagined hobgoblins to the sight of children. 37 All this is only a magical illusion without any substance or basis of itself. All these imposing scenes of vision are only the empty and aerial sights of dreams.
38 Just as a waking man beholds the wonderful world before him, so does a sleeping man see the same. Both of them resemble the unconscious pillar that finds images of statues engraved upon it. 39 The Divine Spirit’s great monument is the figure of the created world carved in itself, as if I see a troop of soldiers passing before me in my dream. 40 This waking world sleeps in the soul of Brahma and rises in his mind like the plant world springs from sap lying hidden in the earth that gives it its growth and spring bloom. 41 Likewise, creation lies hidden in and springs from the Supreme Spirit, like the brightness of gold ornaments is contained in and comes out of the material metal.
42 Every atom of creation is settled in the fullness of Divine Spirit, just like all the members of the body are set in the person of their possessor.43 The visible world has the same relation to the bodiless and undivided spirit of God as one fighting in a dream bears to his enemy (both believe in their reality, while both are unreal in their bodies). 44 Thus the real and unreal, the spirit and the world, all dwindles into emptiness at the greatfantasy annihilation of creation, except the consciousness of God which comprises the world in itself.
45 The causality of the One and the unreality of the world cannot both be true (since nothing unreal can come out of the real). Except Brahman, there is no other cause, whether Brahma the Creator or any other. The Divine Consciousness is the only cause and substance of its productions.
46 Rama asked, “But what caused the citizens, counselors and ministers of Viduratha’s royal house to appear in Leela’s vision in the same manner as that of her lord the king?”
47 Vasishta said:—
All other thoughts are associated with the principal one in the intellect, in the same manner as high winds accompany a storm.
48 The association of thoughts follows one another in a long and perpetual train and, one after the other, caused the succession of the sights of the ministers, citizens and subjects of the king in Leela’s vision. 49 In this way the thought that the king was born of such and such a family naturally introduced the thoughts of his palace and city and of those that dwelt in them. 50 It is vain to inquire into the cause and manner of consciousness and each combination of its thoughts. This is why it is called the gem of thoughts (chintamani, the wish-fulfilling jewel). It is always accompanied with its radiating thoughts like a brilliant gem with its rays.
51 Padma thought to become a king like Viduratha, properly discharging the duties of his royal family. This constant thought of himself as such cast the mold of the mind and manner of Viduratha upon him.
52 All animate beings of every kind are only models of their own thoughts, like looking-glasses showing their inner reflections to sight. 53 The mind fixed in meditation on God remains unshaken amidst the turmoil of the world and is filled with perfect rest and preserves the composure of the soul until its final liberation from the bondage of the body.
54 But thoughts of fluctuating enjoyments of this world alternately represented in the mirror of the mind are like the shadows of passing scenes upon a looking glass. 55 Therefore it requires a great force of mind to overcome its worldly thoughts and turn them to the channel of truth, just like the greater force of a river’s main current leads its tributaries to the ocean. 56 But when worldly and spiritual thoughts press upon the mind with equal force, the mind is greatly disturbed. Then the greater force leads it onward in one way or the other. 57 Such is the case with all the myriads of beings, whether they are living, dead or to come to life. The same accidents take place in the particles of all human minds.
58 All this is the empty sphere of Consciousness, all quiet and without any basis or substratum. It is neither peopled nor filled by anything except its own native thoughts. 59 All these appear as dreams, even in our unsleeping states, and have no form or figure in the sight of the wise. The perception of their positive existence is only a misconception of their negative nonexistence. 60 There really exists only one omnipotent and all pervasive Spirit which shows itself in diverse forms like flowers, fruits and tree leaves all appearing from the same woody trunk. 61 He who knows the uncreated Brahman to be the measurer, measure and the thing measured to be all one and himself can never forget this certain truth of unity, nor ever fall into the dualism error of cause and effect.
62 There is only one Being (sat) who is holy and without beginning and who, though he appears to have forms of light and darkness, and of space and time, never rises or sets anywhere. He is without beginning, middle or end. He remains like a vast expanse of water exhibiting itself in its waves and currents. 63 The notion of myself, yourself and the objective world are only expressions of our perverted understandings. It is only ignorance within the sheath of the mind, according as it imagines it to be, that shows the One as many.
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YOGA VASISHTA MAHA RAMAYANA
BOOK III-A CHAPTERS 1-60 – CREATION – UTPATTI KHANDA