1 Rama said, “Please sage, explain to me how this error of believing in an objective world arises without a cause for such error?”
2 Vasishta said:— Because the knowledge of all things is contained in our consciousness, it is plain that this eternal and uncreated self is the cause and container of them all at all times.
3 That which has an insight or intuitive knowledge of all things, which are expressed by words and their meanings, is Brahma the soul and no other. Nothing that is meant by any significant term has a different form of its own. 4 As the quality of a bracelet is not different from its substance of gold, nor that of a wave from the water, so the expansion of the world is not distinct from the spirit of God.
5 It is Brahma who is manifest in the form of the world, and not the world that appears as God. Similarly, gold displays itself in the form of a bracelet. It is not that the bracelet takes on the nature of gold. 6 As the whole is displayed in all its various parts, so the entire consciousness shows itself in all the various operations of the mind composing the world. 7 It is ignorance of the infinite and eternal spirit of God that exhibits itself as myself, yourself and the world itself in the mind.
8 As the shades of different colors in gems are not different from the gems, so the notions of one’s self and the world are the shades inherent in the same intellect. 9 Like waves appearing on the surface of the still waters of the deep, this so-called and meaningless creation is but a phase in Divine Consciousness.
10 The Spirit of God does not reside in creation. Creation does not exist in the Divine Spirit. There is no such relation of part and whole between God and creation.
11 One should meditate on his own consciousness as the form of Divine Consciousness. In his own consciousness of it, he will feel Divinity stirring within himself, as if stirred by the breath of a breeze. 12 The minute particle of the empty intellect will then appear in its wonderful form of an emptiness within the empty space of his conscious mind. 13 He then finds this empty form stirring in himself like an airy spirit with its property of feeling, like feeling the breath of air.
14 Then God assumes a luminous form as the state of His own substantiality, and this is placed as a spark of fire in the sheath of the intellect. 15The light then melts into water which is the same substance as itself. This fluid substance contains the property of taste. 16 The same is condensed in the form of a solid substance, which is the same with the Divine Mind. This becomes the earth bearing in its bosom the property of smell. 17 Again God represents Himself to our intellect as one infinite and uniform duration. Measures in seconds and other divisions are only manifestations of the succession of our thoughts.
18 The other ways in which God presents Himself to our intellects are that, He is holy, infinitely glorious, seen within us, and without beginning, middle or end. He has no rising or setting and exists of Himself without a substratum and as the substratum of all. 19 This knowledge of God is bliss itself, and His creation is identical with himself. Ignorance of God leads to knowledge of the objective world, and its extinction is the way to know the eternity of His existence.
20 Brahma is conceived in our souls as He is represented to us by our consciousness, just like in our all comprehensive minds we know all other things according to our ideas of them. 21 Of these, only those things are true which we derive from our well-directed understanding. All those are untrue which the mind paints to us from the impressions of senses and the meanings of words that are incapable of expressing the nature of the indefinable and indescribable God.
22 Know the unreal world which appears as real, and the reality of God which appears as unreality, to be of the manner of air in motion and at rest. The visible world is like moving air that appears true to those who have no knowledge of the invisible God, who is as calm as the still air underlying the ethereal air and its motions.
23 A thing may appear different from another, and yet be the same with it. The light in the fire is the same fire. So the visible world arising from invisible Brahma appears as another reality even though it is same as the reality of God. 24 All things whether being or not being exist in God as their invisible and unknown source and cause. Just like clay in the earth is the cause of the would-be doll, the growing tree of a future carving, and the black powder of an ink not yet made. 25 One thing is exhibited as another in the great desert of the Divine Mind that shows the phenomena of the world like figures in a mirage. 26 The wise soul thinks this world as one with its source, Divine Consciousness. In the same way he considers a tree no way different from its parent seed.
27 As the sweetness of milk, the pungency of pepper, the fluidity of water, and the motion of winds are the inseparable properties of their substances, 28 so this creation is inseparable from the spirit of Brahma. It is a mere form of the one Supreme Soul, beside which there is nothing in reality. 29 This world is the manifestation of the luster of the gem of the Divine Mind. It has no other cause except the essence of Brahma, which is nothing other than its material cause, the Supreme Soul itself. 30 The will, the mind, the individual soul, and its consciousness are all the offspring of Divine exercise of Consciousness. There is nothing that can be produced by exertion of any power without direction of Consciousness.
31 There is nothing that rises or sets anywhere, or appears or disappears at anytime. Everything is unborn at all times and lies quiet in Divine Consciousness which is as solid as a massive rock. 32 It is imagination to explain things as formations of multitudes of combinations of atoms and to suppose every particle to be composed of minute infinitesimals because none of them could combine of themselves except by direction of the eternal mind. 33 All force resides in some living principle, just as the waking, sleeping and dreaming states appertain to the individual soul, and as the undulation of waves exists in the water or the current of the stream that lies hidden in it.
34 When the individual soul feels renunciation towards worldly enjoyments, scriptures say it has reached its highest perfection. 35 As the mind is freed from its choice and dislike of things, so the soul is liberated by avoiding its egoism and personality. Then it no longer is conscious of the pain that attends future birth and reincarnation. 36 Whoever in his understanding comes to know this state of supreme and inexpressible joy, he is sure to overcome all his worldly appetites that bind him fast to this earth. 37 But whoever labors in his mind with affections to this world, he has to wander in it continually like in the whirlpool of a stream, and he destroys the supreme joy of his soul in his continuous turmoil.
38 It was the lotus-born Brahma who was first conscious of his egoism and who, by the will of his mind, spread out this universe.
1 Vasishta continued:— These myriads of worlds and millennia of kalpa ages are no more real in themselves than our false computation of the millionth part of an atom or the twinkling of an eye. 2 It is our error that represents them as true to us, though they are as false as our calculation of those infinitesimals.
3 These creations, whether past or future, follow one another in endless succession like overflowing currents of water with all the waves, eddies and whirlpools in them. 4 The idea of these created worlds is as false as a delusive mirage that presents a stream of water flowing with strings of flowers fallen from the plants on the shore. 5 Perceived creation is as baseless as a city in a dream or a magic show, or like a mountain in fiction or an imaginary castle in the air.
6 Rama said, “Sage, the drift of your reasoning leads to the establishment of the identity of the perceived creation with the creator, and that this unity of both is the belief of the learned and wise. 7 Now tell me, what do you have to say with regard to material bodies as they exist on earth? What causes the body to be subject to the causes unknown to inner spirits?”
8 Vasishta replied:— Divine Consciousness has an active, supernatural energy called the predominant Decree, Fate or Destiny which must come to pass and bear its command over all our actions and desires.
9 She is invested from the beginning with irresistible and multifarious powers. She destines the manner in which everything is to take place and continue forever. 10 She is the essential cause of all essence, and the chief mover of the intellect. She is called the great power of powers and remains as the great viewer of all things. 11 She is called the great agency and the great producer of all events. She is known as the chief mover of occurrences, and she is the soul and source of all accidents. (chit shakti, power of consciousness; Mahasatta, Great Existence; Mahachiti, Great Intelligence; Mahashakti, Great Power; Mahadrishti, Great Vision; Mahakriya, Great Doing; Mahodbhava, Great Becoming, and Mahaspanda, Great Vibration).
12 She whirls worlds like straw and bears her sway over gods and demons. She commands the naaga snakes and the mountain monsters to the end of time. 13 Sometimes she is thought of as an attribute of divine essence, remaining pictured in her ever varying colors in the hollow emptiness of Divine Consciousness.
14 For the understanding of those ignorant in spiritual knowledge, the learned have explained that Brahma the Creator is identical with the Spirit of Brahma, and by destiny they mean his creation. 15 The immovable spirit of Brahma appears to be full of moving creatures. The infinity of divine existence seems to teem with finite creation in the midst of it, like a grove of trees growing under the vault of the hollow sky. 16 The unawake spirit of God reflects various images in itself (as in a dream), like the reflection of a dense forest in the lens of a crystal stone. The creator Brahma, in the hollow sphere of the Divine Mind, understood these reflections as the prototype of the destined creation.
17 Consciousness naturally exhibits a variety of forms in itself, just as the body of an embodied person exhibits its various members. The lotus-born Brahma took these various forms in itself to be the several parts in the great body of the cosmos. 18 This foreknowledge of events imprinted in the Consciousness of God is called Destiny which extends over all things at all times.
19 Destiny comprises the knowledge of the causes that move, support and sustain all things in their proper order, and that such and such a cause must produce such and such effect forever. 20 This destiny is the force or mobile power that moves all men, animals, plants and inanimate creations. It is the beginning or primary source of time and the motion of all beings. 21 It is combined with Divine Power, and this combination of them into one is the cause of the production and existence of the world.
22 It is the union or conformity of human effort with the course of destiny or decree of God that is productive of certain ends which are respectively called their destiny and destined effects.
23 What more do you have to ask me, Rama, with regard to destiny and self-exertion when I tell you that it is destined that all beings take themselves to their proper actions, in the destined or prescribed manner, in order to bring about the desired result?
24 A person who relies on predestination, sitting idly and quietly under the belief that he is being fed by his fixed lot, is said to depend on his destiny alone (a fatalist). 25 By sitting idly and waiting on Providence for the whole of his life, he gains nothing and soon comes to lose his good sense and energy, and finally dies from the famine of his sole reliance upon destiny. 26 It is quite certain that whatever is destined must surely come to pass of its own accord, and that it is impossible to prevent it by the foresight of gods and men. 27 Yet the intelligent ought not cease to exert their activity and only rely on their fates. They must know that it is our effort that brings destiny into action.
28 Destiny is inactive and abortive, without an active power to enforce it to action. It is human activity that produces effect or production in nature by the help of destiny. 29 Depend on destiny and remain both deaf and dumb as a doll. Be inactive and become dull and torpid as a block. Say, what is the good of this vital breath, unless it has its vitality and activity?
30 It is good to sit quietly by restraining even the vital breath in yoga meditation. With such practice one can obtain his liberation. Otherwise, an inactive man is not to be called a yogi but an idler and a beggar. 31 Both activity and inactivity are good for our liberation from pain, but the high minded esteem that to be better which saves them from the greater pain of regeneration. 32 This inactive destiny, meditation, is a type of the latent Brahma, and who so leans towards it by laying aside his busy course is truly installed in the supremely holy state of highest joy. 33 Inert destiny resides everywhere in the manner of Brahma, the latent soul in all bodies, and evolves itself in various shapes by means of activity in all its productions.
1 Vasishta continued:— The essence of Brahma is all in all and ever remains in every manner in everything in all places. It is omnipotence, omniform and the lord God of all. 2 This essence is the Spirit or Soul whose omnipotence develops itself sometimes in the form of intellectual activity and sometimes in the tranquility of soul. Sometimes it shows itself in the movement of bodies, and at others in the force of the passions and emotions of the soul. Sometimes as something in the form of creation, and at another as nothing in the annihilation of the world.
3 Whenever it realizes itself anywhere in any form or state, it is then viewed in the same manner at the same place and time. 4 The absolute omnipotence manifests itself as it likes and appears to us. All its powers are exhibited in one form or another to our view and understandings.
5 These powers are of many kinds, and are primarily concentrated in the Divine Soul or Spirit. The potentialities are the Active and Passive powers, also the Rational and Irrational and all others. 6 These varieties of powers are the inventions of the learned for their own purpose and understanding. But there is no such distinction in Divine Consciousness. 7 There is no duality in reality. The difference consists in shape and not substance. Thus the waves in the waters of the sea and the bracelets formed of gold are no more than modifications of the same substances. 8The form of a thing is said to be so and so not because of its reality but because of its appearance. We affirm that a rope is a snake, but we have neither the outward perception nor inner thought of a snake in it. Hence all appearances are delusions of sense.
9 It is the Universal Soul that shows itself in some form or other to our deluded senses and understandings, and also according to our different apprehensions of the same thing. 10 Only the ignorant understand the omniform God to be all forms of things. The learned know the forms to be modifications of the various powers of the Almighty, and not the figures themselves.
11 Whether forms appear real or unreal is to be known to men according to their different apprehensions, which Brahma is pleased to exhibit in any particular form to their minds and senses.
1 Vasishta resumed:— The Supreme Deity is the all-pervading spirit and the great God and Lord of all. He is without beginning or end and is identical with the infinite bliss of his translucent self-reflection. 2 It is from this supreme joy and purely intellectual substance that the individual soul and mind have their rise before their production of the Universe.
3 Rama asked, “How could the self-reflection of Brahma, as the infinite spirit and one without a second, conceive in it a finite individual soul other than itself and which was not in being?”
4 Vasishta replied:— The immense and transparent spirit of Brahma remained in a state of non-existence (asat), a state of ineffable bliss as seen by the adept yogi, but of formidable vastness as conceived by the uninitiated novice. 5 This state of supreme bliss, ever tranquil and full with the pure essence of God, is altogether indefinable and incomprehensible, even by the most proficient in divine knowledge.
6 Thence springs a power (an aspect), like the germ of a seed, possessed of consciousness and energy which is called the living and conscious soul and which must last until its final liberation. 7 The vast empty sphere of this being’s clear mirror of the mind reflects images of innumerable worlds set above one another, like statues engraved upon it.
8 Rama, know that the individual soul is an extension of Divine Spirit, like the swelling of the sea and the burning of a candle when its flame is unshaken by the wind. 9 The individual soul is possessed of a finite awareness as distinguished from the clear and calm consciousness of the Divine Spirit. Its vitality is the nature of the living God, but it is only a flash of the empty consciousness of Brahma. 10 Vitality is the essential property of the soul, resembling the inseparable properties of motion in wind, warmth in fire and coldness in ice. 11 When we forget the nature of Divine Consciousness and Spirit, our self-consciousness leaves us with a knowledge of ourselves and this is called the individual soul. 12 It is by means of this positive consciousness that we know our egoism or self-existence. It strikes us more glaringly than a spark of fire, and enlightens us to the knowledge of ourselves more than any other light.
13 When we look up to heaven we see a blue vault beyond which our eyes have no the power to pierce. In the same way, when we inquire into the nature of soul, we cannot see beyond consciousness of ourselves. 14 Our knowledge of the soul is presented to us in the form of an ego that is known by its thoughts, like the empty sky appearing as a blue sphere because of the clouds. 15 Ego differentiates the soul from our ideas of space and time and stirs within it like the breath of winds by reason of its subjectivity of thoughts. 16 The subject of thoughts is known as ego. It is also called various other names like the intellect, the soul, the mind, illusion (maya) and nature (prakriti).
17 The mind (chetas) which is the subject of thoughts contemplates on the nature of elementary matter, and thus becomes of itself the quintessence of the five elements. 18 The quintessential mind next becomes like a spark of fire and remains like a dim star, a nebula in the emptiness of the yet unborn universe. 19 The mind takes the form of a spark of fire by thinking on its essence, which gradually develops itself like a seed in the form of the cosmic egg by its internal force. 20 The same fiery spark figuratively called the cosmic egg (brahmanda) became like a snowball in water and conceived the great Brahma within its hollow womb.
21 Then as sensuous spirits assume some bodily forms at pleasure, although they dissolve like a magic city in empty air, so this Brahma appeared to view in an embodied form. 22 Some of them appear in the form of immovable, and others in those of moving beings. Some assume the shapes of aerials or whatever their fondness leads them to choose for themselves.
23 Thus in the beginning of creation, the first born living being had a form for himself as he liked. Afterwards he created the world in his form of Brahma or Virinchi (“Creator”). 24 Whatever the self-born and self-willed soul wishes to produce, the same appears immediately to view as produced of its own accord. 25 Brahma, originating in Divine Consciousness, was by his nature the primary cause of all without any cause of his own. He appointed the acts of men to be the cause of their transition from one state to another in the course of the world.
26 Thoughts naturally rise in the mind to subside in itself, like water foaming, but acts done thereby bind us like passing froth or flying birds are caught by ropes and traps. 27 Thoughts are the seeds of action and action is the soul of life. Past acts produce future consequence, but inaction is attended with no result.
28 The individual soul bears its vitality like a seed bears the germ in its bosom. This sprouts forth in future acts, like the seed in various forms of leaves, fruits and flowers of trees. 29 All other individual souls that appeared in the various forms of their bodies had such forms given to them by Brahma according to their acts and desires in pre-material creations in former kalpa ages.
30 So people’s own personal acts are the causes of their repeated births and deaths in this or other worlds. They ascend higher or sink lower by virtue of good or bad deeds that proceed from their hearts and the nature of their souls. 31 Our actions are the efforts of our minds and they shape our good or bad destinies according to their merit or demerit. All fate and luck in the existing world are the fruits and flowers of past acts, even of those done in prior kalpa ages. This is called their destiny.
1 Vasishta continued:— At first Mind sprang from the supreme Cause of all. This mind is the active soul which resides in the Supreme Soul. 2The mind hangs in doubt between what is and what is not, and what is right and what is wrong. It forgets the past by its willful negligence like the scent of a fleeting odor. 3 Yet there is no difference between these seeming contraries. The dualities of Brahma and the soul, the mind and illusion (maya), the agent and act, and the world of phenomena and that of ideals, all blend together in the unity of God.
4 There is only one Universal Soul displaying its Consciousness like a vast ocean and extending its consciousness like an endless sea. 5What is true and real shines forth amidst all that is untrue and unreal. So the subjective essence of the mind exists amidst all its airy and fleeting dreams in sleep. Thus the world is both true and untrue as regards its existence in God and its external phenomena.
6 The false conception, either of the reality or unreality of the outer world, does not spring in the mind which is conscious only of its operations and not of outward phenomena. This conception is like the deception of a magic show and is attendant to all sensuous minds. 7 It is the long habit of thinking the unreal world to be real that makes it appear as such to the unthinking, like a protracted sleep makes its visionary scenes appear as true to the dreaming soul. It is the lack of reflection that causes us to mistake a man in a block of wood. 8 Lack of spiritual light misleads the mind from its rationality and makes it take its false imaginations for true, like children, through their fear and lack of true knowledge, are impressed with a belief of ghosts in shadows.
9 The mind is inclined of its own tendency to assign an individual soul to the Divine Spirit which is devoid of name, form or figure and is beyond comprehension. 10 Knowledge of the living state (personality) leads to that of egoism which is the cause of reasoning. This again introduces sensations and finally the conscious body. 11 This bondage of the soul in body necessitates a heaven and hell for lack of its liberation. Then the acts of the body become the seeds of our endless reincarnations in this world.
12 As there is no difference between the soul, consciousness and life, so there is no duality in the individual soul and consciousness, or in the body and its acts which are inseparable from each other. 13 Acts are the causes of bodies and the body is not the mind. The mind is one with egoism, and the ego is the individual soul. The individual soul is one with Divine Consciousness and this soul is all and the lord God of all.
1 Thus Rama, there is one true essence which appears as many by our mistake. This variety is caused by the production of one from the other, as one lamp is lighted from another. 2 By knowing one’s self as nothing, as it was before it came into being, and by considering the falsity of his notions, no one can have any cause for grief. 3 Man is only a being of his own conception. By getting rid of this concept, he is freed from his idea of the duality of the world, just as one wearing shoes perceives the whole earth he treads upon to be covered with skin. 4 As the plantain tree has no pith except its manifold coats, so there is no materiality to the world other than our false conceptions of it.
5 Our births are followed by childhood, youth, old age and death, one after the other, and then opens the prospect of a heaven or hell to our view, like passing phantoms before the flighty mind. 6 As the clear eye sees bubbles of light in the empty sky, so the thoughtless mind sees the sky full of luminous bodies (which are only phantoms of the brain). 7 As the one moon appears as two to the dim sighted eye, so the intellect, corrupted by influence of the senses, sees a duality in the unity of the Supreme Spirit. 8 As the giddiness of wine presents the pictures of trees before the drunken eye, so does the inebriation of sensation present the phantoms of the world before the excited intellect. 9 Know the revolution of the visible world to resemble the revolving wheel of a potter’s mill which they turn about in play like the rotating ball of a terrestrial globe.
10 When the consciousness thinks of another thing as something other than itself, it falls into the error of dualism. But when it concentrates its thoughts within, it loses the sense of objective duality.
11 There is nothing beside Consciousness except the thoughts on which it dwells. Its sensations are all at rest as it comes to know the non-existence of objects.
12 When the weak intellect is quiet by its union with the Supreme and by suppression of its functions, it is then called quiescent or indifferent (sansanta). 13 It is the weak intellect that thinks of external things, but sound understanding ceases all thoughts. It is a slight intoxication that makes one rave and revel about, while deep drinking is dead to all excitements. 14 When sound and consummate understanding runs in one course towards its main reservoir of the Supreme, it becomes divested of its knowledge of the external things and, in the presence of the one and no other, it also loses its self-consciousness. 15 Perfected understanding finds the errors to which it is exposed by its sensation of the external things and comes to know that birth and life and all acts and sights of the living state are as false as dreams.
16 The mind, being repressed from its natural flight, can have no thought of anything. It is lost in itself. When the natural heat of fire or motion of the wind become extinct, they are annihilated of themselves. 17 Without the suppression of mental operations, the mind must continue in its misconceptions, like that of mistaking a rope for a snake through ignorance.
18 It is not difficult to repress the action of the mind and rouse our consciousness in order to heal our souls of the malady of their mistaken notion of the world. 19 If you can succeed suppressing the desires of your restless mind at anytime, you are sure to obtain your liberation even instantly and without fail. 20 If you will only turn to the side of your subjective consciousness, you will get rid of the objective world in the same manner as one is freed from his fear of snake in a rope by his examination of the thing. 21 If it is possible to get rid of the restless mind, which is the source of all our desires, then it is possible for anyone to attain the chief end of liberation.
22 When high minded men are seen to give up their lives like straws (in an honorable cause), there is no reason why they should be reluctant to abandon their desires for the sake of their chief good of liberation. 23 Remain unfettered by forsaking the desires of your greedy mind. What is the good of getting sensible objects that we are sure to lose? 24 The liberated are already in sight of the immortality of their souls and of God, like one who has fruit in his hand or sees a mountain visible before him.
25 It is only the Spirit of God that abides in everything in these world appearances which rise to be seen like the waves of the waters of the great deluge. It is His knowledge that is attended with the supreme good of liberation. Ignorance of that Supreme Being binds the mind to the interminable bondage of the world.
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Chapter 67 — Lecture on Creation: Still Consciousness & Moving Thoughts
1 Rama said, “Leaving the mind, please tell me more about the nature of the individual soul. What relation does it have to the Supreme Soul? How did the individual soul spring from the Supreme Soul and what is its essence?”
2 Vasishta replied:—
Know that Brahma is omnipresent and is the Lord of all at all times. He manifests himself in whatever attribute he assumes to himself of his free will. 3 The attribute which the Universal Soul assumes to itself in the form of perception (chetana) is known by the term “individual soul”, which possesses the power of volition in itself.
4 There are two causal principles combined with the individual soul, namely its predestination resulting from its prior acts and volitions and its later free will. These branch forth severally into the various causes of birth, death and existence of beings.
5 Rama said, “Such being the case, tell me, O greatest of sages, what does this predestination mean? What are these acts and how do they become the causal agents of subsequent events?”
6 Vasishta replied:—
Consciousness (chit) has its own nature or properties of vibration and rest, like the movement and stillness of wind in the air. Its agitation is the cause of its action. Otherwise it is calm and quiet as a dead block of stone. 7 Its vibration appears in the fluctuations of the mind and its calmness in the lack of mental activity and exertions, as in the detachment of the stillness of yoga meditation.
8 The vibrations of consciousness, which are the movements of thoughts, lead to its continual rebirths; its quietness settles it in the state of the immovable Brahma. The movement of thought is known to be the cause of the living state and all its actions. 9 This vibrating intellect is the thinking Soul, and it is known as the living agent of actions, the primary seed of the universe. 10 This secondary soul then assumes a luminous form according to the light of its thoughts, and afterwards becomes many and diverse at its will and through the pulsations of the primary consciousness all over the creation. 11 The pulsating intellect or soul, having passed through many transformations, is at last freed from its motion and migration. Some souls pass through a thousand births and forms while others obtain their liberation in a single birth. 12 The human soul, being a pulsating intellect, is of its own nature prone to assume dualism. So it becomes its own cause of its reincarnations and sufferings, as also of its transient bliss or misery in heaven or hell.
13 As the same gold is changed into the forms of bracelets and other things, and as the same gross matter appears in the different forms of wood and stone, so the uniform soul of God appears as multiform according to his various modes and attributes. 14 An error of the human mind makes it view the forms as realities. It is a fallacy that causes one to think his soul, which is free from birth and form, is born, lives and dies, just like a man sees a city rise and fall in his delirium.
15 The moving, varying intellect, ignorant of its unity with the unchangeable reality of God, and also desiring its enjoyment peculiar to its varied state, falsely conceives its unreal ego-identity as reality. 16 As Lavana, the King of Mathura, falsely thought he was an outcaste tribal, so consciousness thinks on its own different states of existence and that of the world. 17 All this world is the phantom of an false imagination, O Rama! It is no more than the swelling of the waters of the deep. 18 Consciousness is always busy exercising the intellect of its own intelligences and the innate principles of its action. It is like the sea seen swelling with its waters moving of themselves in waves. 19 The intellect is like the water in the wide expanse of Brahma. Its movement raises the waving thoughts in the mind, resembling the bubbles of water, and produces the revolutions of individual souls like eddies in the sea of this world. 20 Know your soul, O gentle Rama, to be a phenomenon of the all pervading Brahma who is both the subject and object of his consciousness, and who has placed a particle of himself in you, like the breath of a mighty lion.
21 The intellect with its consciousness constitutes the individual soul, and the soul with the will forms the mind. Its knowing power is understanding and its retentiveness is called its memory. Its subjectivity of selfishness is called egoism, and its error is called illusion (maya).
22 The mind by its imagination stretches out this world which is as false as the phantom of paradise or a city drawn in air. 23 The objective knowledge of the world in the mind is as false as the appearance of chains of pearls in the sky, or like visionary scenes in a dream. 24 The soul, ever pure and self sufficient in its nature, remaining in its own state of tranquility, is not perceived by the misdirected mind dwelling on its delusive dreams.
25 The objective world is called waking (jagata) because it is perceived in the waking state of the soul. The subjective mind is allied to sleep (swapna) because the mind is active during sleeping and dreaming states. Ego is related to deep sleep (susupta) when we are unconscious of ourselves. The fourth state or pure Consciousness (turiya or turya) is the trance or hibernation of the soul.
26 That which is above these four conditions is the state of ultimate bliss: ecstasy. It is by reliance on that supremely pure essence of God that one is exempt from all his causes of grief and sorrow. 27 Everything is displayed in Him and all things are absorbed in Him. This world is neither a reality here nor there. It presents only the false appearance of strings of pearls in the sky.
28 And yet God is said to be the cause and substratum of all these unobstructed phantoms rising to view, just as empty air is said to be the receptacle for rising trees. Thus the non-causing God is said to be the cause of this uncaused world which only exists in our illusive conceptions and presents itself to our delusive sensations of it. 29 As a polished piece of iron reflects a grosser piece, so do our finer or inner sensations take the representations of the gross forms of their particular objects. 30 These sensations are conveyed to the mind, then to the individual soul and intellect in the same manner as the roots supply sap to the stem, then to the branches, and lastly to the fruits of trees. 31 As a seed produces fruit and the fruit contains the seed in itself, so the intellect producing the mind and its thoughts can not get rid of them, but is contained in and is reproduced by them in successive reincarnations.
32 There is some difference between the comparison of the unconscious seed and tree with the conscious intellect and mind, but the thoughts of the creator and creation, like the seed and tree, reproduce one another without end. 33 There is this difference between the unconscious seed and conscious intellect: the former continually reproduces itself, while the latter ceases its process upon attainment of liberation. Yet the ideas of creator and creation reproduce each other without end.
34 Yet our understanding shows it as clearly as sunlight reveals forms and colors of objects: that there is one eternal God of truth who is of the form of intellectual light and who shows the forms of all things that proceed from him.
35 As a hole dug in the ground presents a hollow, so the reasoning of every system of sound philosophy establishes the existence of the transcendental void as the cause of all. 36 As a prismatic crystal represents various colors in its prisms, without being tinged by them, so the transparent essence of Brahma shows the groups of worlds in its hollow bosom without its connection with them.
37 The Universal Soul is the source, and not the substance of all these vast masses of worlds, just as the seed is the embryo and not the matter of the trees and plants and their fruits and flowers that grow from them.
38 Rama said, “O how wonderful is this world which presents its unreality as a reality to us in all its endless forms! Though situated in the Divine Self, it appears to be quite apart from it. O how it makes its minuteness seem so very immense to us! 39 I see how this shadowy scene of the world appearing in the Divine Soul and becoming like an orb by virtue of the ideal particles (tanmatras) of the divine essence in it. I find it like a snow ball or icicle made of frozen frost.”
40 “Now tell me sage, how do the spiritual particles increase in bulk? How was the body of the self-born Brahma produced from Brahman? Tell me also how these objects in nature come into existence in their material forms?”
41 Vasishta replied:—
This form which sprang of itself from its own essence is too incredible and is without parallel. It is altogether inconceivable how something is produced of its own conception.
42 Just imagine, O Rama, how the unexpanded phantom of a vetala ghost swells huge in the sight of fearful children. Then in the same manner imagine the appearance of the living spirit from the entity of Brahma. 43 This living spirit is a development of Brahma, the Universal Soul. It is holy and a commensurable and finite being. Having a personality of its own, it remains as an impersonal unreality in the essence of the self-existent God. Afterwards, being separated from its source, it has a different name given to it.
44 As Brahma, the all extended and infinite soul, wills and becomes the definite individual soul, so the living spirit, by its volition, afterwards becomes the mind. 45 The mind, which is the principle of exercise of intellect, takes a form of its own. Likewise, life assumes an airy form in the midst of emptiness. 46 The wakeful living god, without anything whereby we measure time, is yet conscious of its course by means of his thoughts. He has the notion of a brilliant icicle of the form of the future cosmic egg in his mind. 47 Then the individual soul feels in itself the sense of its consciousness and by thinking “What am I?” is conscious of its egoism.
48 Next this god finds in his understanding knowledge of the word “taste” and gets the notion of it becoming the object of a particular organ of sense, to be hereafter called “the tongue.” 49 The individual soul then finds out in his mind the meaning of the word “light,” which was afterwards to sparkle in the eye, the particular organ of sight. 50 Next the god comes to know in his mind the property of smell and the organ of smelling, and also the substance of earth to which it appertains as its inseparable property. 51 In this manner the individual soul becomes acquainted with the other sensations and the organs to which they appertain as their inseparable properties and objects.
52 The unsubstantial living spirit which derives its being from the essence of the substantial Brahma, comes next to acquire the knowledge of sound, the object of the organ of hearing, and the property of air. 53a It then comes to understand the meaning of the word touch as the medium of feeling, and also to know the tongue as the only organ of taste. 53b It finds the property of color to be the peculiar object of the eye, the organ of sight, and that smell is an object peculiar to the nose, the organ of the sense of smelling. 54 The individual soul is thus the common receptacle of the sensations, and source of the senses, which it develops afterwards in the organs of sense in the body. It perceives the sensation of sensible objects through the perceptive holes that convey their perceptions into the sensorium of the mind.
55 Such, O Rama, is how it was with the first animated being. It remains like this with all living animals. All sensations are represented in the Soul of the world in its spiritual form (ativahika) called the subtle body or astral body (sukshma or lingadeha). 56 The nature of this abstruse essence is as indefinable as that of the spirit. It appears to be in motion when it really is at rest, as in our idea of the soul. 57 As measure and dimensions are foreign to our notion of Brahma, the all conscious Soul, so they are quite foreign to spirit also, which is no more than the motive power of the soul. 58 As the notion of the spiritual is distinct from material and corporeal, so the notion of Brahma is quite apart from everything, except that of his self-consciousness.
59 Rama said, “If consciousness is identical with Brahma, and our consciousness of ourselves as Brahma, make us identical with Brahma Himself, then what is the use of devising a duality of the soul, or of talking of the liberation and final absorption of the one in the other?”
60 Vasishta replied:—
Rama, your question is irrelevant at this time when I was going to prove another thing. Nothing can be appropriate out of its proper time and place, as the untimely offering of flowers is not acceptable to the gods. 61 A word full of meaning becomes meaningless out of its proper place, just like the offering of flowers to gods and guests out of their proper time. 62 There is a time to introduce a subject and another to hold silence over it. Everything becomes fruitful in its proper season. 63 But to resume our subject.
The individual soul afterwards appears from Him like the human soul appears in dreaming, and the individual soul thought in himself that he was the great father of created beings in time to come. 64 He uttered the syllable Om and was conscious of its meaning in his mind, which soon displayed all forms of beings to his mental vision. 65 All these were unrealities displayed in the empty sphere of the Divine Mind. The shadowy world seemed like a huge mountain floating in the air before him.
66 It was neither born of itself nor was it made by Brahma. It is not destroyed at anytime by any other power. It was Brahma himself, appearing like the phantom of city in the sky. 67 As the living Brahma and other spiritual beings are unreal in their nature, so also the essences of other beings, from the big giant to the little ant, are only mere unrealities in their substance. 68 It is our false understanding that represents these unrealities as real ones to us. Clear understanding will find all things, from the great Brahma down to the minutest insect, to vanish entirely from its sight.
69 The same cause that produces Brahma also produces insects. It is the greater depravity of the mind that causes its rebirth in the contemptible forms of worms. 70 The living being possessed of a rational soul and devoted to the cultivation of the mind attains to the state of man. He then acts righteously for attaining a better state in after life.
71 It is wrong to suppose that one’s elevation is the result of the merit of his acts, and his degradation to the condition of worms to result from his former acts of demerit, because there is the same particle of consciousness in both. This being known will destroy the mistaken difference between the great and small. 72 The notions of the measurer, measure and measurable are not separate from consciousness (or mind). Therefore the controversy between unity and duality is as futile as the horns of a rabbit or a lake of lotuses in the air.
73 It is our misconception of blissful Brahma that produces the wrong notion of solid substances in us. This imagination of our own making binds us like silk-worms are bound in cocoons formed by their own saliva fluid.
74 The knower perceives everything in his mind as revealed by Brahma. The knower meets with everything as allotted by God for his share. 75It is the immutable law of nature that nothing can be otherwise than what it is ordained to be. There is nothing in nature that can change its nature for a minute in a whole kalpa age. 76 And yet this creation is a false phantom, and so is the growth and dissolution of all created beings, as is also our enjoyment of them.
77 Brahma is pure, all pervading, infinite and absolute. It is only for our misery that we take him for impure matter and unreal substance, and as definite and limited pluralities. 78 It is the spoiled imagination of children that fancies water and its waves to be different things and makes a false distinction between those which really are the same thing. 79 It is His undivided self that expands itself in visible nature, and which appears like a duality, like waves and the sea, and bracelets and gold. Thus He of himself appears as other than himself.
80 We are led to imagine the visible and changing world as having sprung from the invisible and immutable spirit which manifests itself in the form of the mind that produced the ego. Thus we have the visible from the invisible, and the mind and the ego from the same source. 81 Mind joined with ego produces notions of elementary principles or elemental particles that the individual soul, combined with its intellect, derives from the main source of Brahma, and of which it formed the phenomenal world.
82 Thus the mind being realized from Brahma sees before it whatever it imagines. Whatever consciousness thinks upon, whether it is a reality or unreality, the same comes to take place. The reflection truly passes into reality.
1 Vasishta said:— Hear me relate to you, Rama, an old story bearing upon this subject and relating to a difficult question that was resolved by a rakshasi (female demon).
2 There lived on the north of Himalaya a heinous rakshasi named Karkati, a crooked crab, who was as dark as ink and as stalwart as a rock, with limbs strong enough to split the sturdy oak. 3 She was also known as Vishuchika or Choleric Pain, by which she was ever afflicted, and which had reduced her frame like that of Vindhya Hill which was pushed down (by the curse of Agastya). 4 Her eyeballs were blazing like fires. Her stature reaching half way to the sky. She was covered by a blue garment, like the shade of night wrapping the atmosphere. 5 A white cloak covered her head like a cloud fragment. The long erect hairs of her head stood like a dark cloud on her crest. 6 Her eyes flashed like lightning, and her sharp hooked nails glistened like sapphires. Her legs were as long as tamara trees, and her loud laughter was like a burst of frost. 7 A string of dried bones decorated her body like a wreath of flowers. Traces of dead bodies adorned every part of her body. 8 She frolicked in the company of vetala ghosts, with human skulls hanging down her ears like earrings. When she stretched out her arms she looked like she was going to pluck the sun from his sphere.
9 Her huge body lacked its necessary food, causing her stomach fire to blaze like an undersea flame that the waters of the deep are unable to quench. 10 Nothing could ever satisfy the insatiable hunger of this big bellied monster, or satisfy her licking tongue that was always stretched out like a flame of fire. 11 She thought to herself, “O, if just once I could to the land of Asia (Jambudwipa), I would devour all its men in one swoop and feast on them continually like an undersea fire upon the waters. 12 As clouds cool burning sands by their rain, so will I allay the burning fire of my hunger there. It is settled as the best plan to support my life at this critical moment.”
13 “All men are well guarded by their mantras, medicines, austerities, devotions and charities from all evils of the world. Therefore it is impossible for anybody to destroy the indestructible devotee. 14 I will perform the most rigorous austerities with an unflinching heart and mind, because it is by intensity of effort that we may gain what is otherwise hard to be had.”
15 Having thought so, she went to an inaccessible mountain for the purpose of destroying all animal beings. 16 She climbed to the top of the mountain, scrambling over it with her hands and feet, and stood on it with her body looking a cloud and her eyeballs flashing like lightning. 17Having reached the summit, she made her ablution and then sat in her tapas. Her steadfast eyeballs resembled the two orbs of the sun and moon fixed on one object. 18 She passed many a day and month there, and saw the course of many a season and year. She exposed her huge body to the rigor of heat and cold, like the hill itself (on which she sat). 19 She with her huge black body remained unmoved as a thick dark cloud on the mountain top. Her jet black hairs stood up as if to touch the sky.
20 Seeing her body beaten by the blasts and covered with nothing but her ragged skin, and her hairs standing up to their end, tossed to and fro by the raging winds, while the twinkling of her eyelids shed a whitish glare on her dark frame, God Brahma appeared before her.
1 Vasishta resumed:— After the passing of a thousand years, Brahma appeared to Karkati in order to put an end to the intensity of her austerities and crown her with success and the reward of her tapas. 2 She saluted him internally in her mind and remained fixed in her position thinking about the boon she should beg of him for allaying her keen appetite. 3 She soon recollected a certain request, which she should present to her complying god. It was to transform her soft and flexible form to the shape of an inflexible iron needle with which she could torment all living beings.
4 At Brahma’s bidding, she thought in herself, “I will become as thin as a minute pin in order to enter imperceptibly into the hearts of animals, like the fragrance of flowers enters the nostrils. 5 By this means will I suck blood from the heart of beings to my heart’s satisfaction. In this way my hunger will be satisfied and my appetite gratified to the greatest delight of my soul.”
6 As she was thinking in this manner, the god discovered her sinister motives, contrary to the character of a yogi, and approached her with a voice resembling the roaring of clouds.
7 Brahma said, “Daughter Karkati of the rakshasa race, who sits here like a cloud on the inaccessible top of this mountain, know that I am pleased with your tapas and bid you now to raise yourself and receive the boon that you desire of me.”
8 Karkati answered, “O Lord of the past and future! If you are inclined to grant my request, then please confer on me the boon of transforming my un-iron-like body to the form of an iron needle.”
9 Vasishta said:— The god pronounced “Be it so,” and added, “You will be like a pin (Suchi) and you shall be called choleric pain (Vishuchika) because you give pain to all bodies. 10 You shall be the cruel cause of acute pain to all living beings, particularly to the intemperate and hard-working fools and loose libertines who are destined to be your devoted victims. 11 Moreover shall you molest the dwellers of unhealthy districts, and the practitioners of malpractices by entering their hearts with your infectious breath, and by disturbing their sleep and deranging the liver and other intestinal parts of the body. 12 You shall be of the form of wind (in the bowels) and cause bile and flatulence under the different names of colic diseases, and attack the intemperate both among the wise and unwise. 13 The wise, when attacked by you, will be healed by repeating this magical mantra, which I will here propound for their benefit.”
14 The mantra runs thus: ‘There lives Karkati, the rakshasi, in the north of the snowy mountain. Her name is Vishuchika, and it is for repelling her power that I repeat this mantra.’ “Om, I bow to hring, hrang and ring, rang (the powers of Vishnu) and invoke the Vaishnavi powers to remove, destroy, root out, drive away this choleric pain far beyond the Himalayas, and afar to the orb of the moon. Om and swaha, be it so.” “Let these lines be tied as an amulet on the left arm. 15 Then rub the painful part with the palm of that hand, and think the colic Karkati to be crushed under the mallet of this amulet and driven back beyond the hills with loud wailing. 16 Let the patient think the medicinal moon is seated in his heart and believe himself to be freed from death and disease, and his faith will save his life and heal his pain. 17 When the attentive adept, who having purified himself with sprinkling water in his mouth, repeats this formula, he succeeds in a short time to remove the colic pain altogether.”
18 Then, after delivering this effective amulet to the spiritual masters (siddhas) attending upon him, the lord of the three worlds disappeared in the air. He went to his splendid seat in heaven where he was received by God Indra who advanced to hail him with his praises.
1 Vasishta continued:— Now this Karkati who had been as tall as a mountain-peak, and a rakshasi of the blackest kind, resembling a thick and dark cloud of the rainy season, gradually began to fade away and grow leaner and leaner day by day. 2 Her gigantic cloud-like form was soon reduced to the shape of a tree branch which afterwards became like the figure of a man, and then the measure of only a cubit. 3 It next became the length of a span in its height, and then of a finger’s length in all. Growing by degrees thinner and thinner like grain, it became at last as lean as a needle or a pin. 4 Thus she was reduced to the thinness of a needle, fit only to sew a silken robe. By her own desire that could change a hill to a grain of sand, she had become as lean as the filament of the lotus flower.
5 Thus the non-metallic Karkati was transformed into the form of Suchi, a black and slender iron needle that contained all her limbs and organs of her body and conducted her in the air anywhere she liked. 6 She saw herself as an iron pin, having neither substance nor length nor breadth of her body. 7 Her mind with its power of thought appeared as bright as a golden needle, like a streak of sapphire impregnated by sunshine. 8 Her rolling eyeballs were as dark as the spots of black clouds moved to and fro by the winds. Her sparkling pupils, piercing through their tenuous pores, gazed at the bright glory (of God). 9 She had observed the vow of silence in order to reduce the plumpness of her person, and her face radiated with joy at becoming as lean as the filament of a feather. 10 She saw a light descending on her from the air at a distance, and she was happy to find her inner spirit to be as subtle as air. 11 With her contracted eye brows, she saw the rays of light extending to her from afar, which caused the hairs on her body to stand up like those of babies at bathing.
12 Her grand energy channel called Brahma nadi or sushumna rose up to its cavity in the head called the Brahma randhra in order to greet the holy light, like the filaments of the lotus rise to receive sunlight and heat. 13 Having subdued the organs of her senses and their powers, she remained as one without an organic frame and identified with her individual soul. She resembled the intelligent principle of the Buddhists and logicians (tarkikas) which is unseen by others. 14 Her minuteness seemed to have produced the minutiae of minute philosophers called the Siddhantas. Her silence was like that of the wind confined in a cave. Her slender form of a puny pin resembled the breath of animal life which is imperceptible to the eye. 15 The little that remained of her body was as thin as the last hope of man. It was like the pencil of an extinguished flame of a lamp that has heat without light.
16 But alas! How pitiable was her folly, which a first she could not understand. She was wrong to choose the form of a slender pin for herself in order to gratify her insatiable appetite. 17 Her object was to have her food and not the contemptible form of a pin. Her heart desired one thing, and she found herself in another form that was of no use to her purpose. 18 Her silliness led her to make the unwise choice of a needle shape for herself. So it is with the short witted. They lack the sense of judging beforehand about their future good. 19 An arduous attempt to accomplish a desired object is often attended by a different result. Even success on one hand becomes a failure on another. In the same way a mirror is soiled by the breath while it shows the face to the looker.
20 How be it, having renounced her gigantic form, the rakshasi soon learnt to be content with her needle form, although she viewed her transformation as worse than her dissolution itself. 21 But see the contradictory desires of the infatuated who distaste in a trice what at one time they fondly wished. This fiend was disgusted at her needle form instead of her monstrous figure. 22 As one dish of food is easily replaced by another, suiting the taste of the gourmand, so this fiend did not hesitate to shun her gigantic body, which she took to taste the heart blood of animals in her pin form. 23 Even death is delightful to the giddy headed when they are over fond of something else. The minimum of a meager needle was desirable to the monstrous fiend to gratify her fiendish desire.
24 Now this needle took the rarefied form of air and moved about after all living beings as the colic wind in quest of sucking animal gore. 25 Its body was like fiery heat and its life the vital breath of animals. Its seat was in the sensitive heart, and it was as swift as the particles of solar and lunar beams. 26 It was as destructive as the blade of a deadly sword, and as fleet as vapors flying in air. It penetrated bodies in the minute form of odor. 27 It was ever bent to do evil, like an evil spirit, as she was now known by that name. Her sole object was to kill the lives of others at her pleasure.
28 Her body divided into two halves; one was as fine as a silken thread and the other as soft as a thread of cotton. 29 Suchi ranged all about the ten sides of the world in her two forms and pierced and penetrated into the hearts of living beings with all her excruciating pains. 30 Karkati gave up her former big body, and took the form of the acute and small needle in order to accomplish all these purposes of hers, whether they be great or little. 31 To men of little understanding, a slight business becomes an arduous task. The foolish fiend had recourse to her austerities in order to do the mean work of a needle. 32 Again, however good and great, men can hardly get rid of their natural disposition. The great rakshasi performed her austere tapas in order to become a vile pin for molesting mankind.
33 Now as Suchi was wandering about in the sky, her aerial form which was big with her heinous ambition disappeared in air like vapor, or like a thick cloud in autumn. 34 Then entering in the body of some sensualist or weak or too fat a person, this inward colic flatulence of Suchi assumes the shape of cholera. 35 Sometimes she enters the body of a lean person, but also in those of healthier and wise people, first appearing as a choleric pain, then becoming real cholera at last. 36 She is often delighted to take her seat in the hearts of the ignorant. But afterwards she is driven back by good acts and prayers, andmantras and medicines of the wise.
37 In this manner she continued many years in her rambles. Sometimes her two-part body (pin and cholera) flies in the air, but most often she creeps low on the ground. 38 She lies concealed in the dust of the ground, and under the fisted fingers of hands. She hides herself in sunbeams, in air and in the threads of cloths. 39 She is hidden in the intestines, entrails and genitals. She resides in the bodies of pale and ash colored persons. She lives in the pores, lines and lineaments of the body, and also in dry grass and in the dried beds of rivers. 40 She has her seat among the indigent, and in the naked and uncovered bodies of men, and in those who are subject to hard breathing. She dwells in places infested by flies and of obstructed ventilation, and also in green verdures excepting only mango and wood-apple trees. 41 She lurks in places scattered with bones and joints of animal bodies, and such as are disturbed by violent winds and gusts of air. She lies in dirty places, and in cold and icy grounds, and likewise in polluted cloths and places polluted by them. 42 She sits in holes and hollow places, withered trees, and spots infested by crows, flies and peacocks; also in places of dry, humid and high winds and in benumbed fingers and toes. 43 She is in cloudy regions, in cavernous districts of the form of rotten bodies, in regions of melting and driving snows, and in marshy grounds abounding in anthills and hills of malura trees. 44 She exhibits herself in the mirage of desert sand and in wildernesses abounding with ravenous beasts and snakes. Sometimes she is seen in lands infested by venomous reptiles, disgusting leeches and worms. 45 She frequents stagnant pools soiled by dry leaves and those chewed by pisacha ghosts. She haunts hovels beside road crossings where passengers halt and take shelter from cold. 46 She rambles in all places, everywhere leeches suck the blood of men, and vile people tear them with their nails and hold them in their fists to feed upon them. 47 In this manner she is everywhere in the landscape of cities, until she is tired with her long journey through them.
48 Then she stops in her course like a tired bullock whose body is hot from travelling through towns with loads of cotton and utensils on its back. 49 She lays down to rest in some hidden place, like a needle tired with continued sewing. There she drops down like thread from the hand of the sewer. 50 A hard needle held in the hand of the sewer never hurts his finger, because a servant, however sharp he may be, is never faithless or injurious to his master. 51 An iron needle, grown old in its business of stitching, was at last lost by itself, like the rotten plank of a boat bearing the burdensome ballast of stones in it. 52 It wandered about on all sides of its own accord and was driven to and fro like chaff by the driving winds, according to the course of nature.
53 Someone takes it up and feeds the last end of a thread in its mouth. The malady of cholera is caught by those human parasites who glut themselves with food supplied by the sap of another. 54 The malady of colic, like the needle, is ever fond of feeding with its open mouth on the pith of others. It continually finds the thread-like heartstring of some body put into its hole. 55 Thus the strong bodies of greedy and heinous beings are nourished by the sap of the weak and innocent, just like colic disease preys on the lean bodies of the poor, and the sharp needle is supported by the thin thread of the needy (who cannot afford to buy new suits). 56 Though the heart of Suchi, like the hole of the needle, was to receive the thread-like sap of the patient’s heart, yet her power to pierce it was like that of the sewing needle, which is as potent as the piercing sunbeams to penetrate into the toughest substances.
57 Suddenly and at last, Suchi came to find the fault of her wrong choice for a puny body which was filled with her scanty fare of a bit of thread. She began to repent of her folly. 58 However, she continued with all her might to trudge on in her accustomed course of pricking and piercing the bodies of others. In spite of her great regret, she could not avoid the cruelty of her nature. 59 The sewing man cuts and sews the cloth agreeably to his own liking. But the weaver of destiny weaves the long loom of lengthened desires in all bodies and hides their reason under the garb of her own making.
60 The colic Suchi went on like the sewing needle in her business of piercing the hearts of people by hiding her head, just like it is the practice of robbers to carry on their rogueries by covering their faces. 61 She, like the needle with the sewing thread behind it, raises her head to make and look at the loop-hole that she should penetrate like burglars making and marking holes in the wall for their entry. 62 She entered the bodies of the weak and strong alike, like the needle stitching cloths of all textures, just as it is the custom of the wicked to spare neither the just nor unjust. 63Colic pain, like the piercing needle, being pressed under the fingers, lets off its griping like the thread of the needle in its act of sewing. 64 The acute and unfeeling colic, being as ignorant of the softness or dryness of the object as the stiff and heartless needle, pierces the hardiest breast without deriving any sweetness from it. 65 The needle is comparable to a rich widow. Both are equally stern and full of remorse. Both are equally veiled and speechless and, with their eye of the needle, are as empty in their joyless hearts.
66 The needle hurts nobody, yet she is dragged by the thread which is no other than the thread of her fate. 67 After her trudging, slipped from the finger of her master, the needle peacefully sleeps in company with her fellows of dirt and dregs. For who is there who, when he is out of work, does not deem himself blessed to be in the company of his equals? 68 The herd of common people is ever fond of mixing with the ignorant rabble because there is nobody who can avoid the company of his equals.
69 The lost needle, when found by a blacksmith and heated in the hearth, flies to heaven by the breath of the bellows, after which it disappears in the air. 70 In this manner the current of vital airs, by force of the acts of its prior states of existence, conducts the breath of life in to the heart, which becomes the living spirit. 71 The vital airs, being diminished in the body, cause the colic pains known by different names such as flatulence, bile and the like.
72 The colic caused by spoiling the vyana vital energy produces many diseases and affects all the members of the body with a watery fluid. When it affects the lung’s breathing, it causes the vaya sula or pulmonary colic and is attended by disfigurement of the body and an insanity or hysteria known as the hysteric colic. 73 Sometimes it comes from the hands of sheep-keepers, or by the smell of sheep’s wool in blankets. At other times it seizes the fingers of children and causes them to tear their bed cloths. 74 When it enters the body through the foot, it continues sucking blood and, with all its voracity, becomes satisfied with very little food. 75 It lies in the glandular vessel of the feces with its mouth placed downward and takes as its prerogative any form it likes to assume.
76 It is the nature of malicious people to show the perversion of their hearts by doing injury to others. It is characteristic of base people to raise a row for their pleasure, and not for any gain or good to themselves. 77 The miserly think much of their gain of even a single penny, so deeply rooted is the avaricious selfishness of human nature. 78 It was only for a particle of blood, or as much as could be picked out by the point of a pin, that the colic Suchi was bent on the destruction of men. So the wise are fools in their own interests.
79 “How great is my master-stroke,” says the needle, “that I have come from stitching the shreds of cloth to piercing the hearts of men. So be it and I am happy at my success.” 80 As the rust of the lazy needle passes off in sewing, without being rubbed with dust, so must it rust unless it is put into the action of piercing patient and passive shreds. 81 The unseen and airy darts of fate are as fatal as the acts of cruel advanced cholera, though both have their respite of their massacres at short intervals. 82 The needle is at rest after its act of sewing is done; but the wicked are not satisfied even after their acts of slaughter are over.
83 It dives in the dirt and rises in the air. It flies with the wind and lies down wherever it falls. It sleeps in the dust and hides itself at home and in the inside, and under the cloths and leaves. It dwells in the hand and ear-holes, in lotuses and heaps of woolen stuffs. It is lost in the holes of houses, in clefts of wood and underneath the ground.
84 Valmiki added:—
As the sage was speaking in this manner, the sun went down in the west, and the day departed to its evening service. The assembly broke after mutual salutations, to perform their sacred ablution, and joined again on the next morning, with the rising beams of the sun to the royal palace.
1 Vasishta continued:— After the carnivorous fiend Karkati had feasted for a long period on the flesh and blood of human kind, she found her insatiable appetite to know no bounds. She was never satisfied with anything. 2 She used to be satisfied with a drop of blood in her form of the needle. Now she became sorry at the loss of the insatiable thirst and appetite of her former state.
3 She thought in herself, “O pity it is that I came to be a vile needle. With so weak and slender a body, I can take nothing for my food. 4 How foolish I have been to forego my former gigantic form and change my dark cloudy figure for something like the dry leaf of a forest tree. 5 O wretch that I am to have foregone my dainty food of flesh flavored with fat. 6 I am doomed to dive in dirt and drop down on the ground to be trodden and trampled under the feet of people, soiled and sullied in filth. 7 O me miserable, helpless and hopeless thing, and without any support or status. From one sorrow I fall to another, and one danger is succeeded by another! 8 I have no mistress or maidservant, no father or mother. I have no son or brother, nor anyone to serve or befriend me. 9 I have nobody, no home, and no refuge or asylum anywhere. I have no fixed dwelling anywhere. Instead I am driven about like falling leaves by driving winds. 10 I am subject to all accidents and exposed to every kind of calamity. I wish for my extinction, but it wishes not to approach me.”
11 “What have I done? In the foolishness of my heart, I have given away my own big body, like a madman gives away a precious jewel for a paltry piece of glass. 12 One calamity is enough to turn the brain out of order, but what will be my case when it is followed by other disasters in endless succession? 13 I am hung up to be suffocated by smoke and dropped down in the streets to be trodden underfoot. I am cast away with dirt and hidden under grass to my great distress. 14 I serve at another’s will, and am guided by my guide. I am stark naked while I sew for others, and I am ever a dependent on another’s guidance. 15 Long do I work and walk for a small worthless gain, and stitching alone is all the work that I have to perform for life. O unlucky that I am, that even my bad luck is so very unlucky.”
16 “With my remorse today, I see the demon of despair rising before me and threatening to make an end of this body of which I have made an offering to him. 17 After my foolishness losing so big and bulky a body, what better fate can await me than to be annihilated into nothing, rather than be a thing which is good for nothing? 18 What man will pick me up, who is as lean as a thread worm, from the heap of ashes under which I lie buried by the wayside? 19 No keen sighted man will take such a wretched and forlorn being into his consideration, just like nobody living on a high hill ever stoops to take notice of the grass growing on the ground below. 20 I cannot expect to raise myself higher while I am lying in a sea of ignorance. What blind man guided by the flash of fireflies can perceive the glorious sunlight? 21 I find myself drowned in a sea of misery and I know not how long I shall have to labor under my difficulties.”
22 “When shall I be restored to the form of the daughter of Anjanagiri Mountain and stand like a pillar over the ruins of the nether and upper worlds? 23 When shall I have my arms reach the clouds and my eyes flashing like lightning, my clothes as white as snow and my hair touching the sky? 24 When will my big belly resemble a huge cloud and my long breasts hang below like pillows shaking with the motion of my body, dancing like the wings of a peacock? 25 When will the ash-white light emitted by my laughter cast shade onto the sun, and my former high stature threaten to devour the terrible god of death? 26 Some time ago my hollow sockets, deep as the holes of mortars, flashed with living fire like the rays of the sun, and my large legs moved in my rambling like two monumental pillars. 27 When shall I have my big belly with its huge pot-belly? When shall I again have my soft black nails that resemble the dark and humid clouds of autumn. 28 When will those tender smiles return to me with which I moved the great rakshasa demons to my favor? When shall I dance in my giddy circles at the music of the tabor in the forests? 29 When will that big belly of mine be filled with pots full of fattened liquor and be fed with heaps of flesh and bones from dead bodies? 30 When shall I get drunk drinking the blood of human gore and become merry and giddy until I fall fast asleep?”
31 “It was I, by my bad choice of austerities, who destroyed my former brilliant body and accepted this petty needle-like form, like one who takes the sulphate of gold instead of the precious metal. 32 Ah! Where is that huge body that filled all sides and shone like the dark hill of Anjanagiri? What is this puny and pin form in the shape of a spider’s leg, thin and lean like a tender blade of grass? 33 The ignorant, thinking it useless, throw a golden jewel on the ground like a piece of glass. So I have cast aside my shining body for a bit of this black needle.”
34 “O great Vindhya Mountains with your hollow and snow covered caves! Why do you not destroy your dull elephants with your native lions? It is I who is as silly as an elephant. 35 O my arms that used to break down mountain peaks, why do you fail to pluck the butter-like moon with your moony nails? 36 O my breast that was as fair as snowy mountain sides, even without my glassy ornaments. Why do you not show your hairs, which were as large as leeches that feed on lion’s flesh? 37 O my eyes that used to dispel the darkness of the darkest night and kindle dry fuel with your glaring fire. Why do you cease to lighten the air with your brightness? 38 O my shoulder blades! Are you broken down and leveled with the earth, or are you crushed and smashed or moldered and worn out by age? 39 O my moon-bright face! Why do you not shine over me with your bright beams that resemble the everlasting light of the orb of the moon? Are you now at an end forever? 40 O my hands! Where is your strength fled today? Do you not see how I am transformed into an ignoble needle that is moved by the touch of the foot of a fly? 41 Alas! The cavity of my navel was as deep as a well and beset by hair resembling rows of beautiful plants about it. My protuberant posteriors were like the bottom of the Vindya hills. 42 Where is that towering stature reaching to the sky, and what is this new earned contemptible form of the needle? Where is that mouth, hollow as the vault of the sky, and what is this hole of the needle? Where is my heap of flesh meat and what is this drop of watery food?”
“Ah, how lean have I grown. But who is to be blamed for an act of my own doing?”
1 Vasishta continued:— Afterwards Suchi became silent and motionless and thought of resuming her austerities for the sake of regaining her long lost body. 2 With this intention she returned to the Himalayas where, abstaining from her desire of human gore, she sat repeating her criticisms and rebukes. 3 In her mind she saw her needle form entering into her heart with her breathing. 4 Meditating on her mental form of the needle, she was blown upwards by her vital breath to the top of the hill and alighted on it like a vulture from high. 5 There she remained alone and apart from all living beings, sitting amidst burning fire with her form of an ash-colored stone. 6 She sat there like a sprout of grass springing in that dry and grassless spot. But soon she faded away into a blade of withered hay in the sandy desert. 7 She remained standing on the toe of one foot, and she continued criticizing and rebuking her own self. 8 In her tiptoe position, she lightly touched the ground and avoiding all sidelong looks. She gazed on the upper sky with her face upraised and her eyes uplifted. 9 The fine point of the black iron needle penetrated the ground and firmly preserved its standing posture. It fed itself upon the air which it inhaled by its uplifted mouth. 10 The scarcity of food in the forest made her look like she was in search of some prey coming from a distance. Her shadow shaking with the wind enticed the unwary to approach towards it.
11 The ray of light issuing like a pencil from the needle hole served as her attendant guard on the hinder part. 12 As men are kindly disposed towards the mean who are favorites to them, so the needle was attached to the thin pencil of light that became its constant attendant. 13 The needle had another constant companion: the devotion in its own shadow; but the blackness of its body made it always remain behind the back. 14Thus these three — the iron needle, the thin pencil of light passing through its eye, and the needle’s shadow — having firmly adhered themselves to the iron needle, become intimate friends, like all good people mutually assisting one another.
15 On seeing Suchi in this plight, the trees and plants of the mountain forest felt compassion for her. Who is there who bears no sympathy for a pious devotee or her penances and austerities? 16 The needle that was stuck to the ground by its foot and had sprung up like some faculty of the mind was fed with the fragrance of fruits blown and borne by the breeze to its uplifted mouth. 17 Woodland gods and demigods continued to fill its mouth with the dust of buds and full blown flowers of the woods. 18 But Suchi did not swallow the powdered meat dust that God Indra had caused to be thrown into her mouth for the purpose of frustrating the effect of her tapas. 19 Her fixity of purpose did not permit her to swallow the delicious powder because a person, however mean he may be, is sure of success by the firmness of his mind.
20 Vayu, the god of winds with his power of uprooting mountains, was astonished to find the needle adverse to swallowing the food. He ministered to it in the form of the pollen of flowers. 21 The resolute devotee is never shaken from his purpose, though he be plunged into mud or drowned in water or scattered by winds and thrown into burning fire; 22 or when he is shattered by showers of hailstones, or struck by lightning or battered by raindrops and intimidated by thunder claps. 23 The resolute mind is not changed in a thousand years and the feet of the firm, like those of the drowsy and dead drunk, never move from their place. 24 A holy hermit who is devoted to his purpose in time loses the motion of his external organs, but by the exercise of his reason, he obtains the light of true knowledge in his soul.
25 Thus did Suchi gain the light of knowledge and become a seer of the past and future. She became cleansed of the impurity of her sins, and her impurity (visuchi) turned to purity (suchi). 26 She came to know the truly knowable in her own understanding. After the removal of her sins by tapas, she felt true bliss in her soul. 27 She continued in her austere tapas for many thousands of years, to the great astonishment of seven times seven worlds that became frightened at her austerities. 28 The fervor of her tapas set great mountains on fire, and that flame spread to all the worlds like the blaze of an auspicious meteor.
29 This made Indra, the god of heaven, ask Narada about the cause of this intense tapas, saying, “Who is so immersed in tapas that she obtains the fruit of worlds by her austere tapas?”
Narada replied, 30 “It is Suchi, who by her continued tapas of thousands of years, has attained her highest state of enlightenment. She is that light which now enflames all the worlds. 31 It is Suchi’s tapas, O lord of gods, that makes naaga serpents sigh and hills tremble. It causes the celestials to fall down and the sea to overflow on earth. It dries up all things and casts a shade over bright orb of the sun itself.”
1 Vasishta related:— Indra, having learned about Karkati’s austere tapas, was curious to know more about her from Narada. 2 Indra asked, “I know Suchi acquired her fiendish practice of blood sucking by means of her tapas, but who is this apish Karkati that is so greedy to gain flesh and bones?”
3 Narada replied:— It is Karkati, the malevolent fiend, who became the individual soul Suchi, the colic pain of the living, and assumed the shape of an iron needle as its support. 4 Afterwards, having forsaken that prop, it entered the human body, then it flew up to the heart on the vehicle of vital breath, and is seated in the car of the current air in atmosphere. 5 This colic of life Suchi, having entered into the bodies of vicious lives, passes through the canals of their entrails and the pores of their flesh, fat and blood, then nestles in the interior part like a bird. 6 It enters the intestines with the breath of air and settles there in the form of flatulent colic. Afterwards, seated at the end of the nyagrodha artery, it becomes the various forms of colic with fullness of blood and inflammation. 7 It also enters the body through other parts and organs and receives different names according to its situation. Then it feeds upon their flesh and marrow. 8 Fastened to the knots of flower wreaths and stuck to leafy garlands decorating the breasts and cheeks of fond maidens, she sleeps enraptured with them on the bosoms of their loving spouses.
9 She flies to the bodies of birds in woodland retreats free from worldly sorrow and strife. She flutters on the tops of flowers of kalpa trees of Nandana paradise, or rolls on beds of lotuses in the lakes. 10 She flies in the forms of fluttering bees over the high hills of the gods, and she sips honey drops perfumed with the fragrance of mandara flower pollen. 11 In the form of vultures, she devours the entrails of the dead bodies of warriors through the wounds made by sword blades. 12 She flies up and down in the translucent and glassy paths of the sky and pierces into the human body through all pores, arteries, and orifices, just like expansive winds pass on all sides through every creek and corner.
13 Just like the universal vital air runs in the heart of every living being in the form of the pulsation of air, so Suchi oscillates in everybody as if they were her own home. 14 Just like intellectual powers are lodged in every person like blazing lamps, so she resides in her dwelling and blaze as the mistress of everybody. 15 She sparkles like the vital spark in blood particles, and she flows in bodies like liquid. She rolls and trolls in the bowels of living beings like whirlpools whirl about in the bosom of the sea. 16 She rests in the milk-white mass of flesh, just like Vishnu reclines on his bed of the serpent Sesha. She tastes the flavor of blood from all hearts, just like Goddess Kali drinks the liquor of her goblet of wine. 17 She sucks the circulating, red hot blood of hearts, just like the wind absorbs the internal and vivifying juice from the hearts of plants and trees.
18 Now this living Suchi, intending to become a devotee, remains as motionless as an immovable substance and as fixed and steady in her mind. 19 The iron-hearted needle, being now rarefied like invisible air, is traversing to all sides on the swift wings of winds resembling its riding horses. 20 It goes on feeding on the flesh and drinking the blood of all living beings, and carrying on its various acts of giving and receiving, and dancing and singing all along. 21 Though the incorporeal Suchi has become aeriform and invisible as vacuum, yet there is nothing which she is unable to accomplish by the powers of her mind, outstripping the swiftness of the winds. 22 But though she runs mad with her meat and turns giddy with her drink, yet she is curbed by fate from running at random, like an elephant in chains.
23 The living body, like a running stream, moves apace with billows in its course. The painful and destructive diseases under which it labors are like greedy sharks lying hidden underneath. 24 This frail body, like the formless Suchi, being disabled by its inability to gorge on its fleshy food, begins to lament its fate, like old and sickly rich folks for their lack of hunger and appetite.
25 The body with its members moves about like the beasts of the forest (for their prey). It plays its parts like an actress on stage dressed with good clothes and ornaments. 26 The body’s internal and external winds move the it back and forth. Its natural weakness (immobility) is always in need of being moved by the vital airs, just like the immovable fragrance requires to be blown by a breeze.
27 Men in vain rely on mantras and medicines, on austerities and charities, and on the adoration of idols for relief, while their bodies are subject to diseases like the sea to its surges. 28 The unseen force of mobility is soon lost in the solid body, just like the light of the lamp is lost in darkness. So the living Suchi came to be lost in the iron needle in which she had her rest.
29 Everyone aspires to a state according to his natural propensity. The rakshasi’s own inclination led her to choose being a needle. 30 A man tired from travelling far and wide returns at last to take his rest at home. So the big and living Karkati turned into the form of the thin iron Suchi in order to rest. But like ignorant people who prefer the grosser pleasures of the body to the nicer delights of the soul, she still wanted her grosser enjoyments that now are lost to her. 31 With the intention of satisfying her thirst, she travelled to all parts and quarters in her form of the poor needle. But she derived more mental pleasure from the experiences than the satisfaction of her physical appetites.
32 When the container is in existence, it is possible to fill it with its contents and not otherwise. So one having his body can seek and get every pleasurable object to give it delight. 33 Remembering now the past enjoyments of her former body, she became sad in her mind that before she had been so highly pleased and satisfied filling its belly. 34 Then she resolved to undertake austere tapas for the purpose of recovering her former body. With this object in view, she chose for herself the proper situation for her castigations.
35 The individual soul of Suchi thought of entering into the heart of a young vulture flying in the air. Thus by the help of her vital breath, she soared to it and rested herself in the air like that bird. 36 The vulture, filled with the malevolent spirit of the choleric Suchi in itself, began to think of executing the purposes that Suchi had in her mind. 37 Thus the vulture, bearing the unsatisfied Suchi within its body, flew to its intended spot on the mountain. It was driven there like a cloud by the wind and it was in this place that Suchi was to be released from her needle shape.
38 It sat there in its state of asceticism on a spot of the solitary forest, seeming to be freed from all desires of the world. 39 It stood there on one of its legs, supported on the tip of its toe. It looked like the statue of some god that had been consecrated on the top of the mountain by someone in the form of garuda. 40 There standing on one leg, supported on an atom of dust, she remained like the mountain peacock that stands on one leg with its head raised to the sky.
41 The vulture, seeing the living Suchi coming out of his body and standing on the mountain like a statue, fled and disappeared from that place.42 Suchi came out from the body of the bird like a spirit coming out of it, and the intellect aspiring to higher regions. She came out like particles of fragrance fly upon the wings of winds to be borne into a nose and meet the breath of the nostrils. 43 The vulture fled to his own place after leaving Suchi at that place, like a porter unburdening himself of his load, and on his return found himself relieved of his lecherous diseases.
44 Now the iron Suchi, being seated in her tapas in the form of the living Suchi, appeared as graceful as a good man engaged in the performance of his proper duty. 45 Because a formless spirit is unable to do anything without the support or instrument of form, so the living Suchi supported herself on the tip of her toe in order to perform her tapas. 46 The living Suchi sheathed the iron needle like an evil female pisacha spirit wraps itself around a sinsapa tree, and like the winds enfold particles of odor which they bear away in their bosom.
47 From then, O Indra, she has undertaken her protracted tapas and she has passed many years in the solitary wilderness in her steady position and posture of body. 48 It now behooves you, O Indra who is skilled in stratagems, to devise some plan to delude her from her object, or else her tapas will destroy the people you have so long preserved.
49 Vasishta said:— Indra, having heard these words of Narada, sent Maruta, the god of winds, to search for Suchi in all quarters of the globe.
50 Then God Maruta, in his spiritual form of intelligence, proceeded in quest of her. Having traversed the ethereal regions, he alighted upon the nether world. The winds and all other elemental and physical powers are also believed to be endued with intelligence. They are not mere brute forces. They could never regularly discharge their proper functions without intelligence.
51 He saw everything instantly at a glance of his intelligence which perceived all things at one view, just like the sight of the Supreme Spirit sees through all bodies without exception or hindrance. 52 His sight stretched to Lokaloka Mountain in the polar circle, far beyond the seven seas of the earth, where there is a large tract of land abounding with gems. 53 He viewed the circle of Pushkara continent, surrounded by a sea of sweet water and containing mountains with their dales and valleys. 54 He next saw Gomeda Islands surrounded by the liquid sea of liquor with its marine animals, and its land abounding with cities and towns. 55 He saw also the fertile and peaceful continent of Kraunchadwipa bounded by the sweet Saccharine Sea and beset by a range of mountains. 56 Further on was the Swetadvipa (white island) with its subsidiary isles surrounded by the Milky Ocean and having the temple of Vishnu in the midst of it. 57 After that appeared the sea of butter surrounding Kushadwipa Island and having chains of mountains and cities with buildings in them. 58 Then came the Sakadwipa in view amidst the ocean of curds, containing many countries and many large and populous cities in them. 59 Last appeared the Jambudwipa (Asia) girded by the sea of salt, having Meru and other boundary mountains and many countries in it.
60 Thus the intelligence of air (Marut), having alighted on earth upon the wings of winds, rapidly spread himself to its utmost ends. 61 The god of air then directed his course to Jambudwipa (Asia). Having arrived there, he made his way to the summit of the snowy mountain, the Himalayas where Suchi was performing her tapas. 62 On the highest top of the summit, he saw a great desert as extensive as the expanse of the sky and devoid both of living creatures and the vestiges of animal bodies. 63 It was unproductive of greens or grass owing to its nearness to the sun, and it was covered with dust like that which makes this earth. 64 There, like the lucid waters of a river, spread a wide ocean of mirage to excite the thirst and allure the longings of men by its various colors that resemble the variegated colors of a rainbow. 65 Its wide expanse, reaching almost to infinity, was not measurable even by the regents of the quarters of heaven, and the gusts of wind blowing upon it served to cover it with a canopy of dust. 66 It resembled a wanton woman smeared with red powder like sunbeams and sandalwood paste like the moonbeams, and attentive to the whistling of the breeze.
67 The god of the winds having travelled all over the seven continents and their seas, and being tired with his long journey on the surface of the earth, rested his gigantic body, which fills the infinite space in all directions, on the top of that mountain; like a butterfly resting on the twig of a tree after its wearied flight in the air.
1 The god of the winds saw Suchi standing erect, like a crest on the summit of the mountain, amidst that vast tract of desert all around. 2 She stood upon one leg fixed in her meditation and roasted by the burning sun over her head. She was dried up to a skeleton by her continued fasting, and her belly was contracted to shrunken skin. 3 Now and then she inhaled the hot air with her open mouth, then breathed it out as her heart could not contain the repeated influx of air. 4 She was withered under the scorching sunbeams, and battered in her frame by the hotter winds of the desert, yet she moved not from her stand-point as she was relieved every night by the cold bath of moonbeams. 5 She was content covering her head under particles of dust and did not like to change her state for a better fortune. 6 She gave up the possession of her forest to other living beings, and lived apart from all in the form of a crest of hair. Her breathings being withdrawn to the cranium, appeared out of it like a tuft of hairs or bushes clapped on her head.
7 The god of air was astonished to see Suchi in this state. He bowed down to her and was struck with terror as he saw her more carefully. 8 He was so overawed by the blaze of her body that he dared not ask her anything, such as, “O saintly Suchi, why do you undertake these austerities”?9 He only exclaimed, “O holy Suchi, how wonderful is the sight of your tapas!” Impressed with veneration for her holiness, the god made his departure to heaven from where he had come.
10 He passed the region of the clouds and reached the sphere of the still air (sthira vayu). Then leaving the realm of the spiritual masters behind him, he arrived at the ecliptic path of the sun. 11 Then rising higher in his airy car, he arrived at the city of Indra where he was cordially embraced by the lord of gods for the merit of his sight of Suchi. 12 Being asked what he saw, he related all that he had seen to the assembled gods in the court of Indra.
13 Pavana, the wind god, said, “There is a king of mountains in the high Himalayas situated in the midst of Jambudwipa (Asia). It has Lord Shiva, who bears the crescent of the moon on his forehead, for his son-in-law. 14 North of it is a great peak with a plain land above it. That is where the holy Suchi holds her hermitage and performs her rigorous tapas.”
15 “What more shall I relate other than that she has abstained even from air, and has made a mess of her entrails coiled up together? 16 She has contracted the opening of her mouth into a needle hole, and stopped even that with a particle of dust in order to restrain it from receiving even a cold dewdrop for food. 17 The fervor of her tapas has made the snowy mountain forsake its coldness and assume an igneous form which is difficult to approach. 18 Therefore let all of us rise and go to the great father of creatures for redress, or know that the result of her fervent tapas must prove to our disadvantage.”
19 Hearing Pavana’s words, Lord Indra in company with the other gods proceeded to the abode of Brahma and prayed to him for their safety. 20Brahma answered, “I am going even now to the summit of the snowy Himalaya to give Suchi her desired boon.” Upon this assurance of Brahma, the gods all returned to their celestial abodes.
21 During this time Suchi became perfect in her holiness. She began to glow with the fervor of her tapas on the mountain of the immortals. 22Suchi very clearly perceived the passage of time by fixing her open eyes on the sun and by counting days by the rays of solar light penetrating the opening of her mouth, the needle hole. 23 Suchi, though flexible as a bit of thread, had attained the firmness of Mount Meru by her erect posture. 24She saw, by the ray of sunlight that penetrated the eye of the needle, that her shadow was the only witness to her upright tapas. 25 Suchi’s shadow, the only attendant on her tapas, hid herself under her feet for fear of the midday heat. So do people find their best friends forsake their company in times of adversity.
26 The union of the three persons of the iron, the ascetic, and shadowy Suchi, like the meeting of the three rivers (Asi, Varana and Ganga), described a triangle in the form of the sacred city of Benares. 27 This union of the three, like the confluence of three rivers of Triveni (Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati), purifies the sins of men by the three different colors of their waters, namely the blue, black and white. 28 A person becomes acquainted with the unknown cause of all only by reasoning in his own mind and by means of his self-consciousness. Awareness of one’s own mind is the best guide in all things. O Rama, there is no better teacher for men.
1 Vasishta continued:— After a thousand years of long and painful tapas by Suchi, Brahma, the great father of creation, appeared to her under his pavilion of the sky and bade her accept the boon she preferred. 2 Suchi was absorbed in her tapas. Her vital principle of life, remaining dormant in her, wanted the external organs of sense to give utterance to her prayer. She remained only to think upon the choice she should make.
3 She thought to herself, “I am now a perfect being and I am delivered from my questions. Therefore, what blessing do I need to ask beyond this state of beatitude, bliss of contentment, and self-resignation which I already possess in my peace and tranquility? 4 I have the knowledge of all that is to be known. I am free from the web of errors. My rationality is developed. What more is necessary for a perfect and rational being? 5 Let me remain seated as I am in my present state. I am in the light of truth and quite removed from the darkness of untruth. What else is there for me to ask or accept?
6 “I have passed a long period in my ignorance. I was carried away like a child by the demon of the evil genius of earthly desires. 7 This desire is now brought under subjection by the power of my reasoning. So of what value are all the objects of my desire to my soul?”
8 The lord of creatures kept looking on Suchi sitting with her mind fixed in her silent meditation and resigned to her destiny. She was quite withdrawn from all external sensations and from the use of her bodily organs. 9 Brahma, with the kindness of his heart, again approached the indifferent woman and said, “Receive your desired blessing and live to enjoy for sometime longer on earth. 10 Then having enjoyed the joys of life, you shall attain the blissful state from which you shall have no more to return here. This is the fixed decree destined for all living beings on earth.11 By merit of your tapas, O best of womankind, let your desire be crowned with success! Resume your former physical form and remain as a rakshasi in this mountain forest.”
12 “Regain your cloud-like shape of which you are deprived at present, and revive like a sprout from your pin-like root to become like a big tree growing out of its small root and little seed. 13 You shall get an inward supply of serum from your muscle tendon, like a plant gets its sap from the seeded grain. The circulation of that juice will cause growth like that of a germ from the ingrained seed. 14 Your knowledge of truth has no fear of falling into the difficulties of the world. On the contrary, the righteousness of your soul will lead you like a huge, heavy cloud with its pure water high in the heaven, in spite of the blasting gusts of wind.”
15 “By your constant practice of yoga meditation, you have accustomed yourself to a state of death-like samadhi. For your intellectual delight, you have thereby become assimilated into the trance of your meditation. 16 But your meditation must be compatible with your worldly affairs, and the body like the breeze, is nourished best by its constant agitation. 17 Therefore, my daughter, you are acting contrary to nature by avoiding the action that your nature requires.”
“There can be no objection to your slaughter of animal life under proper bounds. 18 Therefore act within the bounds of justice and refrain from all acts of injustice in the world. Stick steadfastly to reason if you should like to live liberated in this life.”
19 Saying so far, the god disappeared from below to his heavenly sphere, when Suchi said to him, “Be it so. I have no objection to this.” Then, as she thought in her mind that she had no cause to be dissatisfied with the decree of the lotus-born Brahma, she found herself immediately in possession of her former body.
20 She came to be of the measure of a span at first, then of a cubit, and next a full fathom in length. She was quickly increasing in height. She grew up like a tree until she was in the form of a cloud. She had all the members of the body added to her instantly, in the manner of the growth of the tree of human desire. 21 From the fibrous form of Suchi, the needle which was without form or feature, body, blood, bones, flesh or strength, there grew up all the parts and limbs at once. Just so the fancied garden of our desire suddenly springs up with all its green foliage and fruits and flowers from their hidden state.
1 Vasishta continued:— Suchi the needle now became the demoness Karkati again. Her leanness turned to bulkiness in the manner of a flimsy cloud assuming a gigantic form in the rainy season. 2 Now returning to her native air and element, she felt some joy in herself. But she renounced her fiendish nature by the knowledge she had gained, like a snake throws off its old skin. 3 There seated in her lotus posture, she continued to reflect on her future course. Relying on the purity of her new life and faith, she remained fixed as a mountain peak.
4 After six months of continued meditation, she obtained the knowledge of what she sought, like the roaring of clouds rouses the peacock to the sense of an approaching rain. 5 Being roused to her sense, she felt the pains of her thirst and hunger, because the nature of the body never forsakes its appetites as long as it lasts in the same state.
6 She became sad not knowing what food she should take, because she thought the killing of animal life for food was unlawful and repugnant to her nature. 7 Food forbidden by the respectable and obtained by unjust means must be rejected even at the expense of one’s valuable life. 8 “If my body,” she thought, “should perish for lack of lawful food, I will not transgress the law for that. The guilt lies in sustaining my own life by taking unlawful food. 9 Whatever is not obtained according to the customary rules of society is not worth taking. If I should die without proper food, or live upon improper fare, it amounts to the same thing whether I live or die. 10 I was only the mind before, to which the body is added as a base appendage. It vanishes upon the knowledge of self. Hence its care and neglect are both alike.”
11 Vasishta resumed:— As she was uttering these words in silence to herself, she heard a voice in the air coming from the god of winds who was pleased at the renunciation of her fiendish disposition. 12 “Arise Karkati”, the voice said, “and go to the ignorant and enlighten them with the knowledge you have gained. For it is the nature of the good and great to deliver the ignorant from their error. 13 Whoever does not receive this knowledge of lawful food from you, make him truly the object of your derision, and take him as being a right meat and proper food for you.”
14 On hearing these words she responded, “I am much favored by you, kind god!” So saying, she got up and descended slowly from the height of the craggy mountain. 15 Having passed the heights, she came to the valley at the foot of the mountain. From there she proceeded to the homes of the Kirata people who inhabit the lands at the bottom of the hills. 16 She saw those places abounding in provisions of all sorts, such as humans and their cattle with their fodder and grass. There were vegetable as well as animal foods, with various kinds of roots and plants. There were eatables and drinkables also, with the flesh of deer and fowls, and even of reptiles and insects.
17 The nocturnal fiend then walked her way under the shade of the deep darkness of night. In her form of the dark mountain of Anjanagiri (unperceived by the inhabitants), she went towards the homes at the foot of Himalayas.
1 Vasishta resumed:— A deep dark night, black as ink and as thick as tangible pitch, covered the homes of the Kiratas. 2 The sky was moonless and overcast by a veil of dark clouds. The woodlands were hidden by tamara trees and thick masses of black clouds flew about in the air. 3 Thick shrubs and bushes covered the hilly villages, obstructing passage by their impervious darkness. The flitting light of fireflies gave the homesteads an appearance of a bridal night. 4 The thick darkness spread over the compounds of houses shut out the passage of the light of lamps, which made their way through chinks in the houses where they were burning.
5 Karkati saw a band of female pisacha ghosts dancing about her as her companions. She became motionless as a block of wood on seeing giddy vetala ghosts moving about with human skeletons in their hands. 6 She saw antelope sleeping by her and the ground matted over by thick snow fall. The breeze gently shook drizzling drops of dew and frost from the leaves of trees. 7 She heard frogs croaking in the bogs and night ravens cawing from the hollows of trees. The mingled noise of happy men and women came from the inside of the houses. 8 She sawphosphorescent light burning in swamps with the luster of portentous meteors. She found banks and streams thick with thorns and thistles growing by their sides and washed by the waters gliding below them. 9 She looked above and saw groups of stars shining in the firmament. She saw the forest about her, the breeze shaking their fruit and flowers. 10 She heard the alternate and constant cries of owls and crows in the hollows of trees. She listened also to the shouts of robbers in the outskirts and the wailings of villagers at a distance. 11 Foresters were silent in their native woods and citizens were fast asleep in the cities. Winds were howling in the forests and birds were at rest in their woodland nests. 12 Furious lions lay in their dens and deer were lying in their caves. The sky was full of frozen dew and the woodlands were all still and quiet. 13 Lightning flashing from dark inky clouds resembled the reflections of rays from the bosom of a crystal mountain. The clouds were as thick as solid clay and the darkness was as stiff as if it needed a sword to cut it. 14 Blown by the storm, dark clouds fled in the air like the dark Anjana Mountain, then deluged a flood of pitchy rain like a waterfall from the bosom of a mountain. 15 The night was as dark as the pit of a coal-mine, and as jet black as the wing of the black bee. The whole landscape, lulled to sleep, appeared like the world lying submerged under ignorance.
16 In this dreadful dead of night in the area inhabited by Kiratas, she saw a king and his minister wandering together in the forest. 17 The king was named Vikrama and he was as brave and valorous as his name and conduct implied him to be. He came out undaunted from within the city, after the citizens had fallen fast-asleep. 18 Karkati saw them wandering in the forest with the weapons of their valor and fortitude, looking for the vetala ghosts that infested the neighborhood.
19 Seeing them, she was glad to think that at last she had found a proper food. But she wanted to know beforehand whether they were ignorant folks or had any knowledge of their souls, or whether their weariness under the burden of their bodies had exposed them to the dangers of the dark night.
20 “The lives of the unlearned,” she thought to herself, “truly are damned in this world and the next. Therefore it is better to put an end to these rather than leave them to live to their peril in both worlds. 21 Without spiritual knowledge, the life of the ignorant is death. Physical death is preferable because it saves the dying soul from further accumulation of sin. 22 It is the primeval law ordained by our prime father, the lotus-born Brahma, that ignorant souls and those without knowledge of their selves should become the food of the heinous. 23 Therefore there is no harm in my feeding upon these two persons, who have offered themselves for my food. It is silliness to allow an easy prize or a proffered gift slip from the hand.”
24 “But if they prove to be men of good and great souls, then in that case I cannot feel disposed of my own nature to put an end to their valuable lives. 25 Therefore I must test them to see if they possess such intelligence. If so, I will decline to make them my food because I feel averse to molesting the intelligent. 26 For those who expect to have true glory and real happiness throughout their lives on earth must always honor the learned with gifts adequate to their parts and desires. 27 I should rather suffer my body to perish with hunger than destroy the intelligent for its support. The soul derives more satisfaction from the counsels of the wise than bare life without knowledge can possibly afford. 28 The learned are to be supported even at the expense of one’s own life because the society of the wise is a tonic for the soul, though death should deprive us of our bodies.”
29 “If I, a man-eating rakshasi, am so favorably disposed to the preservation of the wise, then what reasonable man is there who must not make a breast-plate of the wise for himself? 30 Of all embodied beings that move about on the surface of the earth, it is only the man of profound understanding who sheds his benign influence like cooling moonbeams all around him. 31 To be despised by the wise is death, and to be honored by the learned is true life. Only the company of the wise makes life bring forth its fruits of heavenly bliss and final beatitude.”
32 “I will now ask a few questions to test them, like copper by a chemical process, and know whether they are men of character or gilded on the surface with wise looks. 33 Upon examination and ascertainment of the qualifications, if they prove to be wiser than the examiner, then one should avail of their instruction. Otherwise there is no harm to make an end of them as they best deserve.”
1 Vasishta continued:— The rakshasi, who was an offshoot of the great garden of the rakshasa demon race, made a loud and tremendous yell like the deep roaring of a cloud. 2 After her deep roar she muttered in a clattering voice like the rattling of a thunder clap following the rumbling of clouds. 3 She said, “Ho, ho? What are you who venture abroad in this dread and dreary desert, dark as the great illusion of maya, which without the light of the sun or moon is as gloomy as the gloom of ignorance? Why are you crawling here like insects bred in stones? 4What men of great minds are you to have come here like weak minded deviants who have lost their way? You have become an easy prey for me and must meet your fate in my hands in a moment.”
5 The king replied, “O you demon, what are you and where do you stand? If you are an embodied being, show yourself unto us. Who is terrified by your bodiless form buzzing like a bee? 6 It is the business of the brave to immediately pounce like a lion upon his prey. Therefore leave off your bragging and show us your prowess at once. 7 Tell me what you want of us and whether you terrify us by your vain boasting or utter these words from your own fear of us. 8 Now measure your body according to your speech and confront us without delay. Slow gain serves no good save the loss of time.”
9 On hearing the king’s speech, she thought it was well said and immediately showed herself to them, uttering her loud shout with a grinning laughter. 10 The king heard her voice filling the air and resounding in the woods. He saw her huge and hideous person by the light of her open mouth and ivory teeth in the act of her loud laughter. 11 Her body was like a huge cliff hurled down by the thunder bolt of the last doomsday. The flashes of her eyeballs blazed in the sky like a pair of bangles or conch shells. 12 The darkness of her appearance would have cast shade on the deep dark waters at the universal deluge that hid the flame of the undersea fire. Her voice was as hoarse as the growling of clouds on the high heads of hills. 13 Her form was like that of a monumental pillar standing between the heaven and earth. The gnashing of her teeth struck the night-rovers with the fear at being ground to death under them.
14 Her figure, like those of the nocturnal demons, yakshas, rakshasas and pisachas, by its erect hairs, muscular limbs, dingy eyes and coal black color, inspired dread of dire disaster. 15 The air she breathed in the lungs snored like the horrible snorting of horses’ nostrils. The tip of her nose was as big as a mallet, and its sides as flat as a pair of bellows or winnowing fans. 16 She stood with her jet black body like a rock of dark agate. Her body joined with her loud laugh gave her the appearance of the all subduing night of dissolution. 17 Her bulky body, resembling a thick cloudy night, approached them like an autumn cloud moving in the forest of the sky.
18 The huge body appeared like a demon rising from underneath the ground and approaching to devour them like an eclipse engulfs the sun and moon. 19 Her ebony breasts were hanging down like two pendant clouds of somber sapphires, or more like two mortars or water pots, with her necklaces hanging on them. 20 Her two arms were suspended from her bulky body like a couple of stout branches from a sturdy oak, or like two logs of burnt wood from her coal-like body.
21 Seeing her thus, the two valiant men remained as steadfast as those standing on the firm ground of certainty who are never led away by doubts.
22 The minister said, “O great friend! What causes this rage and fury in your great soul? It is only the mean and base who are always violent even in trifling matters. 23 Lay aside this great ado for nothing, which does not become you. The wise pursue their business with coolness to crown it with success. 24 Know the soft and slow breath of our moderation has driven swarms of such flies like yourself, just like a slight breath of wind scatters dry leaves and straws. 25 Setting aside all haughtiness and passion of spirit, the wise man conducts his business with a calm coolness of the mind, assisted by reason and practical wisdom. 26 One must manage his affairs with slowness, whether it prove effectual or not, because overruling destiny disposes of everything, which human effort has no power to prevent. 27 Now let us know your desire and what is your object with us, because no suitor who has come to us has been refused of his prayer, or allowed to return in disappointment.”
28 Hearing these words, the rakshasi pondered in her mind, “O, the serene composure of these lion-like men and the affability of their conduct with others. 29 I do not think them to be men of the ordinary kind, and even more wonderful, their inner soul is expressed in the outward gestures of their faces and eyes and in the tone and tenor of their speech. 30 The words, face and eyes express the inner thoughts of the wise, and these go together like the salt and water of the sea. 31 My intention is already known to them, as is theirs also to me. I cannot destroy them when they are indestructible because of their moral excellence.”
32 “I understand them to be acquainted with spiritual knowledge, without which there cannot be a good understanding. Because knowledge of the indestructibility of the spirit takes away the fear of death, and these men lack that fear. 33 Therefore I shall ask them something about which I have doubts. They who fail to ask the wise what they know not must remain dunces throughout their lives.”
34 Having thought so, she opened her mouth, suppressing her roaring voice and loud laughter for a while, and asked her questions. 35 “Tell me, O you sinless men who are so brave and valiant, who are you and from where have you come? The very sight of you has raised my regard for you, like the good hearted become friends with one another, even at their first sight.”
36 The minister said, “This is the king of the Kiratas and I am his councilor. We have come out tonight in our nightly round to apprehend malicious beings like you. 37 It is the duty of princes to punish the wicked, both by day and night. Those who trespass the bounds of their duty must be made like fuel to the fire of destruction.”
38 The rakshashi said, “King, you have a good minister. A bad one is unbecoming of a king. All good kings have wise counselors, and they make the good king. 39 The wise minister is the king’s guide to justice, and it is he who elevates both king and his people. Justice is the first of the four cardinal virtues (justice, temperance, prudence and frugality), and it is the only virtue of a ruler who is called the incarnation of justice (dharma avatara).”
40 “But kings also must have spiritual knowledge because that is the greatest human knowledge. The king who has this knowledge becomes the best of kings. The minister who knows the soul can give the best counsel to guide other souls. 41 A man who feels for others makes a good ruler. Whoever is unacquainted with this rule is not fit to be either a ruler or his minister. 42 If you know this fundamental principle, it is good and you shall prosper. Otherwise you wrong yourselves and your subjects. In which case, you shall be my prey.”
43 “There is only one way for you two young men to escape from my clutches. You must answer my intricate questions according to your best wits and judgment. 44 Now you king and you his counselor give me the solution to the questions that I ask of you. If you fail to give the proper answers as you have agreed to do, then you must then fall under my hands, like anyone who fails to keep his words.”
1 Vasishta continued:— After saying so, the fiend began to ask her questions. You should be attentive to them Rama, like the king who told her to go on.
2 The rakshasi resumed:— What is that miniscule atomic particle that is one yet many, and is as vast as the ocean, and which contains innumerable worlds like the bubbles of the sea? 3 What is a void yet no void, which is something yet nothing? What makes me and you, and where do I or you abide and subside? 4 What moves unmoved and unmoving, and stands without stopping? What is intelligent yet is as dull as a stone? What presents its variety in the emptiness of understanding?
5 What has the nature of fire without its burning quality? What is that non-flammable substance that produces fire and its flame? 6 Who is not of the nature of the ever-changing solar, lunar and stellar lights, but is the never changing enlightener of the sun, moon and stars? Who, having no eyes, gives the eye its sight? 7 Who gives eyesight to the eyeless vegetables and the blind mineral creation?
8 Who is the maker of heavens and who is the author of the natures of things? Who is the source of this world of jewels and whose treasure are all the gems contained in it? 9 What is that monad which shines in darkness and is the point that is and is not? What is that iota which is imperceptible to all, and what is that jot that becomes an enormous mountain? 10 To whom is the twinkling of the eye as long as a kalpamillennium and a whole age only a moment? Whose omnipresence is equal to his absence, and whose omniscience is the same as his total ignorance? 11Who is called spirit but is no air in itself? Who is said to be sound or word but is none of them himself? He is called the All, but is nothing at all of all that exists. He is known as Ego, but no ego is he himself.
12 What is gained by the greatest effort over a great many births which, when gained at last, is hard to retain (owing to the spiritual carelessness of mankind)? 13 Who being in easy circumstances in life has not lost his soul in it? Who, being only an atom in creation, does not reckon the great Mount Meru as a particle? 14 What is no more than an atom and fills a space of many leagues? What atomic particle is measured in many miles? 15 Whose glance and nod makes all beings act their parts as players? What minute particle contains many mountain chains in its bosom? 16 Who is bigger than Mount Meru in his minuteness and who, being smaller than the point of a hair, is higher than the highest rock?
17 Whose light brought out the lamp of light from the bosom of darkness? What minute particle contains the minutiae of ideas without end? 18What has no flavor and gives savor to all things? Whose presence when withdrawn from all substances reduces them to infinitesimal atoms? 19Who is it that by his self-permeation connects the particles composing the world and, after their separation and dissolution, what imperceptible power rejoins the detached particles to recreate the new world?
20 Who, being formless, has a thousand hands and eyes, and in whose twinkling of an eye comprehends the period of many cycles together?21 In what microscopic particle does the world exist as a tree in its seed, and by what power do the unproductive seeds of atoms become productive of worlds? 22 Whose glance causes the production of the world, like from its seed? Who creates the world without any motive or material? 23 Who has no visual organs and enjoys the pleasure of seeing (drishti) and is the viewer (drashta) of himself, which he makes the object of his view? 24 Who has no object of vision before him, sees nothing without him, but looks upon himself as an infinity void of everything visible within it? 25 Who shows the subjective sight of the soul by itself as an objective view and represents the world like the shape of a bracelet in his own metal? 26 Who has nothing existent beside himself, and in whom all things exist, like the waves existing in the waters, and whose will makes them appear as different things?
27 Both time and space are equally infinite and indivisible, like the essence of God in which they exist. Then why do we try to differentiate and separate them like water from its fluidity? 28 What inner cause in us makes the soul believe the unreal world to be real, and why does this fallacy continue at all times? 29 The knowledge of the worlds, whether present, past or future, is all a great error. Yet what is that immutable being that contains the seed of this phenomenal wilderness? 30 What being, without changing itself and before it develops itself into creation, shows these phenomena such as the shape of the seed of the world that becomes the form of a developed forest of created beings?
31 Tell me, O king, on what solid foundation does the great Mount Meru stand like a tender filament of the lotus? What gigantic form contains thousands of Meru and Mandara mountains within its spacious womb? 32 Tell me, what immeasurable consciousness has spread myriads of intelligences in all these worlds? What supplies your strength for ruling and protecting your people, and in conducting yourself through life? In whose sight do you either lose yourself or think to exist Tell me all these, O clear sighted and fair faced king, for the satisfaction of my heart. 33 Let your answer melt down the doubt that has covered the face of my heart as with snow. If it fails to completely efface this dirt of doubt from the surface of my heart, I will never account it as the saying of the wise. 34 But if you fail to lighten my heart of its doubts and set it at ease, then know for certain that you shall immediately be made fuel to the fire of my bowels. 35 I shall fill this big belly of mine with all the people of your realm. But should you answer rightly, you shall reign in peace. Otherwise, you shall meet your end like the ignorant who are satisfied with the enjoyments of life.
Vasishta speaking:— 36 Saying so, the nocturnal fiend made a loud shout like a roaring cloud to express her joy. Then she sat silently with her fearful features, like a light hearted cloud in autumn.
1 Vasishta continued:— After the giant-like descendent of rakshasas had asked her occult questions in the deep gloom of night in that thick forest, the good and great minister began to give his replies.
2 The minister said:— Hear me, you dark and cloud-like form, unravel your riddling questions with as much ease as a lion foils the fury of gigantic elephants. 3 All your questions relate to the Supreme Spirit and are framed in enigmatic language to test the force of our penetration into their hidden meanings.
4 The soul is identical to consciousness which is more minute than a particle of air. That is the atomic principle that you asked about because it is a nameless atom imperceptible by the six organs of sense and unintelligible to the mind. 5 Underlying the atomic consciousness is the minute seed that contains this universe. Whether it is a substantial or unsubstantial reality, nobody can say.
6 It is called a reality from our notion of it being the soul of all by itself. It is from that soul that all other existences have come in to being. 7 It is a void from its outward emptiness, but it is no void as regards its consciousness (which is a reality). Because it cannot be perceived, it is said to be nothing, but because it is imperishable, it is a subtle something. 8 It is not a nothing because it permeates all things. All things are only reflections of the minute Consciousness, and its unity shines forth in the plurality, all which is as unreal as the form of a bracelet made of gold substance.
9 This atom is the transcendental vacuum. It is imperceptible owing to its minuteness. Though it is situated in all things, it is unperceived by the mind and external senses. 10 Its universal permeation cannot make it nothing, because all that exists is not That, which alone is known as the thinking principle that makes us speak, see and act. 11 No kind of reasoning can establish the non-entity of real existence because it is not capable of being seen by anybody. Yet the Universal Soul is known in its hidden form, like the unseen camphor by its smell.
12 The unlimited soul resides in all limited bodies, and the atomic consciousness pervades the vast universe in the same manner as the mind fills all bodies in its purely subtle state unknown to the senses. 13 It is one and all, unity as well as plurality, because it is the soul of each and all, both singly as well as collectively, and because it supports and contains each and all by and within itself. 14 All these worlds are like little billows in the vast ocean of Divine Consciousness whose intelligence, like a liquid body, shows itself in the form of eddies in the water. 15 This minute intellect, being imperceptible to the senses and the mind, is said to be of the form of emptiness. But being perceived by our consciousness, it is not a nothing, although of the nature of a void in itself.
16 I am That and so are you by our conviction of the unity. But if we only believe ourselves to be composed of our bodies, then I am not That, nor you are He. 17 If we rid our sense of “I” and “you” through our knowledge of truth, we cease to be the ego, and you and all other persons lose all their properties in the sole unity.
18 This particle of consciousness is immovable, though it moves over thousands of miles. We find that in our consciousness, this particle has many a mile composed in it. 19 The mind is firmly seated in the empty intellect from which it never stirs, though it goes to all places where it is never located. 20 That which has its seat in the body can never go out of it, just like a baby hanging on the breast of its mother cannot look to another place for its rest. 21 One who is free to range over large tracts will never leave his own home where he has the liberty and power to do all he likes. 22 Wherever the mind may wander, it is never affected by the climate of that place, just like a jar taken to a distant country with its lid shut does not yield any passage to the light and air of that region into it.
23 The thinking and non-thinking of consciousness, both being perceived in our minds, is said to be the exercise of intellect and the dullness of the intellect. 24 When our exercise of intellect is assimilated into the solid substance of Divine Consciousness, then our intellect is said to become solidified as a stone.
25 The consciousness of the Supreme Being has spread worlds in the infinite space that are most wonderful as they are his uncreated creations. 26 The Divine Soul is of the essence of fire, and never forsakes its form of fire. It inheres in all bodies without burning them, and it is the enlightener and purifier of all substances. 27 The blazing intelligence of the Divine Soul, purer than the ethereal sphere, produces the elemental fire by its presence. 28 The intellect, which is the light of the soul and enlightener of the lights of the luminous sun, moon and stars, is indestructible and never fades, although the light of the luminaries is lost on the last day of universal doom.
29 There is an inextinguishable light (glory), known as ineffably transcendental which the eye cannot behold, but it is perceptible to the mind as its inner illumination and presents all things to its view. 30 From there proceeds the intellectual light which transcends the conscious and mental lights and presents before it wonderful pictures of things invisible to visual light. 31 Although plant life has no eyes, it is conscious of an inner light within that causes their growth and gives the capability of bearing fruit and flowers.
32 With regard to time, space and action and existence of the world, all are only the perceptions of sense and have no master or maker, father or supporter except the Supreme Soul in whom they exist. They are mere modifications of Himself and are nothing of themselves. 33 The atomic spirit is the casket of the bright gem of the world, without changing its minuteness. The Divine Spirit is its measure and measurer, beside which there is no separate world of itself. 34 Spirit manifests itself in everything in all these worlds. It shines as the brightest gem when all the worlds are compressed in it (at the universal dissolution).
35 Because His nature is beyond understanding, He is said to be a speck of obscurity. Because of the brightness of His intellect, He is said to be a ray of light. Because we are conscious of Him, He is known to exist. Because our sight cannot see Him, He is said to be nonexistent. 36 He is said to be far away because He is invisible to our eyes, and to be near because His being is the nature of our consciousness. He is described as a mountain because He is the totality of our consciousness, although He is more minute than any perceptible particle. 37His consciousness manifests itself in the form of the universe. Mountains are not real existences. They exist like Meru in his atomic substratum.
38 A twinkling is what appears as a short instant, and a kalpa epoch is the long duration of an age. 39 Sometimes an instant, when it is filled with acts and thoughts of an age, represents a kalpa, just like an extensive country of many miles can be pictured in miniature or in a grain of the brain. 40 The course of a long kalpa is sometimes represented in the womb of an instant, just like the time to build a great city is present in the small space of a mind’s memory, as it is in the reflection of a mirror. 41 As little moments and kalpa ages, high mountains and extensive miles may abide in a single grain of the intellect, so do all dualities and pluralities unite and meet in the unity of God.
42 That “I have done this and that before” is an impression derived from the thought of our actual actions and activity. But the truth thereof becomes as untrue as our doings in a dream.43 It is calamity that prolongs the course of time, and our prosperity diminishes its duration, just like the short space of a single night appeared like twelve long years to King Harishchandra in his misery.
44 Anything that appears as a certain truth to the mind stamps the same impression in the soul. It is the same as the impression of a golden jewelry is deeper in the soul than the idea of its gold. 45 There is nothing like a moment or an age, or anything like near or far to the soul. It is the idea in the minute intellect that creates their length or brevity, and nearness or remoteness. 46 The opposites of light and darkness, nearness and distance, and a moment and an age, are only varied impressions on the unvaried percipient mind. There is no real difference.
47 All things or objects that are perceptible to the senses are called evident or apparent. That which lies beyond them is said to be imperceptible or unapparent. But visual sensation is not self-evident, only the vision of consciousness which is the real essence. 48 As long as there is the knowledge of the jewel, there is the knowledge of the gem also, that of the real gem being lost under the apparent form. 49 By restoring attention away from the visible form of the jewel to its real essence that one is led to the sight of the pure light of the only one Brahman.
50 Brahma is viewed as reality (sat) when He is thought of as pervading all things. He is said to be unreal (asat) because He is not the object of vision. Consciousness is said to be a reality from its faculty of exercise of intellect. Otherwise it is a stolid or dull matter. 51 Consciousness is the wonderful property of the Divine Spirit in which it is present as its object (chetya). But how can a man see Consciousness if his mind is fixed to the sight of a world that is a shadow of Consciousness and moves like a tree shaken by the wind?
52 As a mirage is the reflection of the dense light of the sun, so the world is a shadow of the solid light of Divine Consciousness. 53 That which is more refined than the rays of the sun and never decays is always as uniform as it was before creation and remains apart from it. Hence its existence is equivalent to its nonexistence.
54 Just like the accumulation of sunbeams exhibits the form of a gold mine in the sky, so the golden appearance of the world prevents the deluded from seeing the knowable object of the intellect. 55 Like the appearance of a visionary city in dream, the sight of this world is neither a reality nor altogether unreal. It is a reflection of consciousness, like the dream is a reflection of images in the memory. It is only a continued medley of errors. 56 Knowing it as such, men should consider everything by the light of reason and proceed to the knowledge of truth by their intellectual culture.
57 There is no difference between a house and a void other than that the one is the object of vision and the other of consciousness. Again, all nature teeming with life is said to live in God who is light and life of all for evermore. 58 But all these living beings have no room in the empty sphere of Divine Consciousness. They live and shine like solar rays proceeding imperceptibly from that luminous orb. 59 A difference appears in these rays, both from the original light and from one another, by a curious design of Providence. But it the same in all, like the forms of the trees growing out of the same kind of seed.
60 As the tree contained in the seed is of the same kind as the parent seed, so the innumerable worlds contained in the empty seed of Brahma are also as empty as Brahma himself. 61 As the tree which is yet undeveloped in the seed does not exist without development of its parts, so the world in the womb of Brahma was discernible only to Divine Consciousness.
62 There is only one God who is one and uncreated, calm and quiet, without beginning, middle or end, and without a body and its parts. He has no duality and is one in many. He is of the form of pure light, and shines for ever with everlasting and undiminished luster.
1 The Rakshasi said, “Well said, O councilor! Your explanations are sanctifying and filled with spiritual doctrines. Now let the king with lotus eyes answer the other questions.”
2 The king answered:— He whose belief consists in the renunciation of all reliance on this world, and whose attainment depends upon forsaking all the desires of the heart, 3 whose expansion and contraction causes the creation and extinction of the world, who is the object of the doctrines of Vedanta, and who is inexpressible by words or speech of humankind, 4 who is between the two extremes of doubt (whether he is or is not), and who is between both extremes (that he is and is not), and whose pleasure (will) displays the world with all its animate and inanimate beings, 5 whose universal permeation does not destroy His unity, who being the soul of all is still but one, He alone, O lady, is truly said to be the eternal Brahma.
6 This minute particle is falsely conceived as spirit (air) because it is invisible to the naked eye, but in truth, it is neither air nor any other thing except pure Consciousness. 7 This smallest of particles is said to be sound or words, but it is error to say so because it is far beyond the reach of sound or the sense of words. 8 That particle is all yet nothing. It is neither I, you or he. It is the Almighty Soul and its power is the cause of all. 9 It is the soul that is attainable with great pains, and which being gained adds nothing to our possession. But its attainment is attended with the gain of the Supreme Soul. There is no better gain.
10 Ignorance of the soul stretches the bonds of our worldliness and repeated reincarnations with their evils growing like the rankest weeds in spring, until they are rooted out by spiritual knowledge. 11 Those who are in easy circumstances in life lose their souls by viewing themselves only as solid bodies that rise quickly to view like a dense mirage by light of the sun.
12 This particle of self-consciousness contains Mount Meru and the three worlds in itself like bits of straw. They are distinguished from it in order to present their delusive appearances to us. 13 Whatever is imprinted in consciousness appears expressed without it. The fond embrace of passionate lovers in dream and imagination serves to exemplify this truth. 14 As Consciousness rose of itself with its omnipotent Will at the first creation of the world, so it exercises the same volition in its subsequent formations also, like sprigs growing from the joints of reeds and grass. 15The hobby that enters the heart also shows itself on the outside, as in the example of children’s whims.
16 The minute intellect, small as an atom and as subtle as the air, fills the whole universe on all sides. 18 As a cunning and conceited man deludes young girls by gestures, calls, winks and glances, 19 so the holy look of Divine Consciousness serves as a prelude to the endless rotating dance of worlds with all their hills and contents. 20 It is that atom of consciousness that envelops all things within its consciousness, and represents also their forms outside it, just like a picture on canvas shows the figures of the hills and trees drawn in it, standing out as in bas-relief.
21 The Divine Spirit is as minute as the hundredth part of the point of a hair, yet it is larger than the hills it hides in itself, and as vast as infinity, being unlimited by any measure of space or time. 22 The comparison of the vast emptiness of divine understanding with a particle of air is not an exact simile. It is like comparing a mountain with a mustard seed, which is absurd. 23 The minuteness attributed to the Divine Spirit (in the Vedas) is as false as attributing different colors to a peacock’s feathers, and of jewelry to gold, which can not be applicable to the spirit.
24 It is that bright lamp that has brought forth light from its thought without any loss of its own essential brightness. 25 If the sun and other luminous bodies in the world were dull and dark in the beginning, then what was the nature of the primeval light and where was it? 26 The pure essence of the mind situated in the soul saw the light displayed on the outside by its internal particle of the intellect. 27 There is no difference between the lights of the sun, moon and fire and the darkness, out of which these lights were produced. The only difference is that of the two colors, black and white. 28 As the difference between clouds and snows consists in the blackness of the one and whiteness of the other, such is the difference between light and darkness, only in their colors not in their substance. 29 Both of these being inanimate in their nature, there is no difference between them. They both disappear or join with one another before the light of consciousness. They disappear before the intellectual light of the yogi who, under the blaze of his consciousness, perceives no physical light or darkness in his abstract meditation. They join together as light and shade, the shadow inseparably following the light.
30 The sun of consciousness shines by day and night without setting or sleeping. It shines in the bosom of even hard stones without being clouded or having its rise or fall. 31 The light of this blazing soul has lighted the sun, which diffuses its light all over the three worlds. It has filled the capacious womb of earth with a variety of provisions, just they store large baskets of food in a warehouse. 32 It enlightens darkness without destroying itself, and the darkness that receives the light becomes as enlightened as light itself.
33 As the shinning sun brings the lotus buds to light, so the light of the Divine Spirit enlightens our intellects amidst the gloom of ignorance that envelopes them. 34 As the sun displays himself by making day and night by his rise and fall, so does the intellect show itself by its development and restraint by turns. 35 All our notions and ideas are contained in the particle of the intellect, just like a healthy seed contains in its breast the leaves, flowers and fruits of the future tree. 36 These and all the powers of the mind develop themselves in their proper times, like flowers and fruits make their appearance in spring and proper seasons.
37 The particle of Divine Spirit is altogether tasteless, being so very flavorless and devoid of qualities, yet it is always delicious as the giver of flavor to all things. 38 All tastes abide in the waters (water being the receptacle of taste), like a mirror is the recipient of a shadow, but savor, like the shadow, is not the substance. It is the essence of the spirit that gives it the flavor.
39 All bodies that exist in the world and are unconsciousness of Him are forsaken by the atomic spirit of the Supreme, but they remain dependant upon Him, by the consciousness of the divine particle shining in their souls.
In answer to “who are forsaken by and supported by the Divine Spirit,” 40 it is He who, being unable to wrap himself, wraps the world in Him by spreading out the clothing of his atomic consciousness over all existence. 41 The Supreme Spirit is of the form of infinite space. It cannot hide itself in anything within its sphere, which would be like hiding an elephant in grass. 42 Yet this all-knowing spirit encompasses the world, knowing it to be a trifle, just like a child holding a grain of rice in his hand. This is an act of illusion (maya).
43 The spirit of God exists even after the dissolution of the world by relying in his consciousness (chit), just like plants survive the spring by the sap they have derived from it. 44 It is the essence of Consciousness that gives rise to the world, just as the garden continues to flourish by the nourishment of the spring season. 45 Know the world is truly a transformation of consciousness, and all its productions are like plants in the great garden of the world, nourished by the spring juice of consciousness. 46 It is the sap supplied by the intellectual particle that makes all things grow up with myriads of arms and eyes. In the same manner the atom of a seed produces plants with a thousand branches and fruit.
47 Myriads of kalpas amount to an infinitesimal part of a twinkling of the atomic consciousness, as a momentary dream presents a man with all the periods of his life, from youth to age. In answer to, “What twinkling of the eye appears as many thousand kalpas,” 48 even this infinitesimal of a twinkling is too long for thousands of kalpas. The whole duration of existence is as short as a wink of His eye. 49 Only an idea makes a twinkling appear a kalpa or many kalpas, just as the idea of satiety in starvation is a mere delusion to the deluded soul.
50 Only lust makes the famished feed upon his thoughts of food. Despair of one’s life presents his death before him in his dream. 51 All worlds reside in the intellectual soul within the atom of its consciousness. Outer worlds are only reflections of the inner prototype. 52 Whatever object appears to be situated anywhere, it is only a representation of its model in some place or other, and resembles the appearance of figures in bas-relief on any part of a pillar. But the changes occurring in external phenomena are no results of the internal, which being the serene vacuum is subject to no change.
53 All existences present in Consciousness at this moment are the same as they have existed, and will ever exist inwardly, like trees in their seeds. 54 The atom of Consciousness contains the moments and ages of time, like grain within the husk. It contains these in the seed within the infinite soul of God.
55 The Soul remains quite aloof as if retired from the world, in spite of the existence and dependence of the world upon the Soul. The Divine Soul at all times remains unconcerned with its creation and its preservation. 56 The essence of the world springs from the atom of pure Consciousness. However, Consciousness itself remains apart from both the states of action and passion.
57 There is nothing created or dissolved in the world by anybody at anytime. All apparent changes are caused by the delusion of our vision. 58This world with all its contents is as empty as the vault of the empty atmosphere. We apply the word ‘world’ to phenomena, but it is an insignificant term signifying nothing. 59 It is the particle of consciousness that is led by the delusion of maya to view scenes situated in the Divine Soul in the outward appearance of the world of phenomena.
60 The words ‘external’ and ‘internal’ as applied to the world are meaningless and not positive terms. There is no inside or outside of the Divine Soul. These are contrived for the instruction of pupils to explain its different views by consciousness. 61 The viewer looking into the invisible being within himself comes to see the soul. He who looks on the outside with his open eyes comes to view the unreal as real. 62 Therefore whoever looks into the soul can never see false phenomena as realities as others do. 63 It is the internal sight of consciousness that looks into the inner soul which is without all desires. The external eyes are mere organs to look upon the false appearance of outer objects.
64 There can be no object of sight unless there is a looker, just like there can be no child without its parent. This duality arises from the lack of knowing their unity. 65 The viewer himself becomes the view as there can be no view without its viewer. Nobody prepares any food, unless there is somebody to feed upon it. 66 It is in the power of consciousness (imagination) to create the views of its vision, just like it lies in the capacity of gold to produce all the various forms of jewelry. 67 The inanimate view never has or can have the ability of producing its viewer, just like the golden bracelet has no power of bringing gold into being.
68 Consciousness, having the faculty of reasoning (chetana), forms thoughts of what can be perceived (chetyas) within itself, which however unreal are falsely viewed as real by its intellectual vision to its own deception, just like the deception caused by the appearance of jewelry in gold. 69 The viewer (Divine Consciousness), being transformed to the view (of the visible world), is no more perceptible in it than the jewelry of gold and not gold itself. 70 Thus the viewer becoming the view still views himself as the viewer, as gold transformed into jewelry is always looked upon as gold.
71 There being only one unity apparent in all nature, it is useless to talk of the duality of the viewer and view. A word with a masculine suffix cannot give the sense of a neuter noun. 72 The viewer who feasts his eyes seeing the outer visible world cannot have sight of the inner soul with the internal eyes of his consciousness. But when the viewer shuts out the outer view, all its realities appear as unreal. 73 When the viewer perceives the unreality of what can be seen by the light of his understanding, then he comes to see the true reality. So by withdrawing the mind from seeing the bracelet form, one comes to see only its nature of gold. 74 If what can be seen is present, there must also be their viewers to whose view they are apparent. It is the absence of both viewer and the seen, and the knowledge of their unreality, that produce the belief of unity.
75 The man who considers all things in the humility of his conscious soul comes at last to perceive something in him that is serenely clear and which no words can express. 76 The minute particle of consciousness shows us the sight of the soul as clearly as a lamp enlightens everything in the dark. (Answer to, “Who shows the soul as clearly as a visible thing?”) 77 The intelligent soul is without perception of the measure, measurer and measured, like liquid gold dissolved from its form of an ornament.
78 There is nothing that is not composed of the elements of earth, water and the like. Therefore, there is nothing in nature that is apart from the nature of the atomic consciousness. 79 The thinking soul penetrates into all things in the form of their notions. Because all thoughts concentrate in the intellect, there is nothing apart from it. 80 Our desires being the parents of our wished for objects, our desires are the same as our desired. Therefore there is no difference between our desires and the object of our desire, just like there is none between the sea and its waves.
81 The Supreme Soul exists alone unbounded by time or space. Being the Universal Soul, it is the soul of all. Being omniscient, it is no dull matter at all. 82 The self-existent, being only consciousness, is not perceptible to sight. There is unity and no duality in it, but all forms unite into one in the great self of the Supreme. 83 If there is a duality, it is the one and its unity. The unity and duality of the Universal Soul are both as true as the light and its shade joined together. 84 Where there is no duality or any number above it, unity can have no application to anything, and where there is no unity, there cannot be any two or more over it because they are only repetitions of the unity.
85 Anything is in itself such as it is. It cannot be more or less than itself, but is identical with itself like water and its fluidity. 86 The multiplicity of forms which it exhibits blends into a harmonic whole without conflict with one another. The varieties within creation are contained in Brahma, like a tree with all its several parts in the embryonic seed. 87 Its dualism is as inseparable from it as the bracelet from its gold. Although the many forms in nature are evident to comprehensive understanding, yet it is not true of the true Entity. 88 Like fluidity of water, the movement of air, and the emptiness of the sky, this variety of forms is an inseparable property of God. 89 A systematic inquiry into unity and duality is the cause of misery to the restless spirit. It is the lack of any such distinction that is the highest knowledge.
90 The measure, measurement and measurer of all things, and the viewer, view and vision of the visible world are all dependent on the atom of consciousness that contains them all. 91 The atom of Divine Consciousness spreads out and contracts in itself by an inflation of its spirit as it were by a breath of air. These mountainous orbs of the world are like its limbs. 92 O the wonder and great wonder of wonders that this atom of consciousness should contain in its embryo all the three regions of the worlds, above and below one another. 93 It is an incredible delusion that must always remain an inexplicable riddle, how the enormous universe is contained in the minute atom of Consciousness.
94 As a pot contains the seed with a huge tree within its cell, so the Divine Soul contains the atom of consciousness containing the chains of worlds outstretched within itself. 95 The all-seeing eye simultaneously sees all the worlds situated within the bosom of the intellect, as microscopic sight discovers the parts of the future tree concealed in the seed. 96 The expansion of the world in the atom of Consciousness is analogous to the enlargement of the hidden parts of the seed into leaves, branches, flowers and fruit. 97 As the many forms of the future tree is contained in the uniform substance within the seed, it is in like manner that the multiplicity of worlds is situated in the unity of the atomic Consciousness. Such can be is seen by anyone who will but look into it.
98 It is neither a unity nor a duality, neither seed or its sprout. It is not thin or thick, born or unborn. 99 He is neither an entity nor a nonentity, nor graceful nor ungraceful. And though it contains the three worlds with the ether and air, yet it is nothing and has no substance at all.
100 There is no world and no non-world other than consciousness which is all of itself and is said to be such and such in any place or time, as it appears so and so to us there and then. 101 It rises as if un-risen, and expands in its own knowledge. It is selfsame with the Supreme Soul, and as the totality of all selves, it spreads through the entire emptiness like air.
102 Like a tree springs from the ground according to its seed, so the world appears to sight in the form as contained in the seed of consciousness. 103 The plant does not quickly quit its seed, lest it would dry up and die for want of its sap. So the man who sticks to the soul and seed of his being is free from disease and death.
104 Mount Meru is like the filament of a flower compared to the vastness of that atom. Everything that can be sensed has its place in that invisible atom. 105 Meru is truly a filament of the atomic flower of the Divine Soul, and myriads of Merus resemble the cloudy spots rising in the sphere of Consciousness. 106 It is that one great atom that fills the world, after having made it out of itself and given it a visible, extended and material form in its own hollow sphere.
107 As long as the knowledge of duality is not driven out of the mind, it finds the charming form of the world, as in its dream upon waking. But the knowledge of unity liberates the soul from its stay in and return to the world, which it beholds as a mass of the divine essence.
1 Vasishta continued:— The silly Karkati of the forest, having heard the king’s speech, pondered well the sense of the words and forsook her levity and malice. 2 She found the coolness and tranquility of her heart after its fervor was over, just like a peacock when the rains set in, or a lotus bed at the rising of moonbeams. 3 The king’s words delighted her heart like the cries of cranes flying in the sky gladden the passing clouds in the air.
4 The rakshasi said, “O how brightly shines the pure light of your understanding. It glows as serenely by its inner brilliance as it is illuminated by the sun of intelligence. 5 Hearing the elements of your reasoning, my heart is as gladdened as when the earth is cooled by the serene beams of humid moonlight. 6 Reasonable men like you are honored and venerated in the world, and I am as delighted in your company as a lake of lotuses with full blown buds under moonbeams. 7 The company of the virtuous scatters its blessings just like a flower garden spreads its fragrance all around and, like the brightness of sunbeams, brings the lotus buds to bloom. 8 Company of the good and great dispels all our sorrows, just like a lamp in the hand disperses surrounding darkness. 9 I have been fortunate to have found you as two great lights in this forest. Both of you are entitled to my reverence. Please let me know what good intent has brought you here.”
10 The king answered, “O offspring of the savage race of rakshasas, the people of this province are always afflicted in their hearts by a certain evil. 11 It is the stubborn disease of choleric pain that troubles the people of this part. Therefore I have come out with my guards to find her out in my nightly rounds. 12 No medicine removes this choleric pain from the hearts of men, so I have come in search of the mantra revealed to her for its cure. 13 It is my business and professed duty to persecute such wicked beings as yourself who infest our ignorant subjects in this way. This is all I have to tell you and do in this place. 14 Therefore, good lady, promise in your own words that in future you will never injure any living being.”
15 The rakshasi replied, “Well! I tell you truly, my lord, that I shall hence forward never kill anybody.”
16 The king replied, “If that be so, you who lives on animal flesh, tell me how can you support your body if you abstain from animal food?”
17 The rakshasi replied, “It has been six months, O king, since I have risen from my samadhi meditation and fostered my desire for food, which I wholly renounce today. 18 I will return to the mountain top, resume my steadfast meditation, and sit there contented as long as I like in the posture of an unmoving statue. 19 I will restrain myself by unshaken meditation until my death, and then I shall quit this body in its time with gladness. This is my resolution.”
20 “I tell you now, O king, that until the end of this life and body of mine, I shall no more take the life of any living being, and you may rely assured upon my word. 21 There is Mount Himalaya by name, standing in the heart of the northern region and stretching in one sweep from the vast east to west. 22 At first I lived there in a cave by its golden peak. I was in the shape of an iron statue, and also like a cloud fragment, and I bore the name of Karkati the Rakshasi. 23 There by the austerity of my meditation I obtained the sight of Brahma and I expressed my desire to kill mankind in the shape of a destructive needle. 24 I obtained the boon accordingly and passed a great many years in the act of afflicting living brings and feeding on their entrails in the form of choleric pain.”
25 “Then Brahma prohibited me from killing the learned and he instructed me in the great mantra. 26 He gave me the power of piercing the hearts of men with some other diseases that infest all mankind. 27 I spread myself far and wide in my malice and sucked the heart blood of men, which dried up their veins and arteries and emaciated their bodies. 28 Those I left alive after devouring their flesh and blood begat a race as lean and without veins as they had become themselves.”
29 “You will be successful, O happy king, in getting the mantra for driving away cholera pain, because there is nothing impossible that the wise and strong cannot attain. 30 Receive immediately, O king, themantra that Brahma uttered to remove choleric pain from the cells of arteries weakened by cholera. 31 Come and let us go to the nearby river. After you are both prepared by washing and purification, then I will initiate you with the mantra.”
32 Vasishta said:— Then the rakshasi proceeded to the river side that very night accompanied by the king and his minister, all joined together as friends. 33 These two men, being sure of the rakshasi’s friendship by both affirmative and negative proofs, made their ablutions and stood on the river bank. 34 Then the rakshasi tenderly told them the mantra that Brahma had revealed to her to remove cholera pain, and which was always successful.
35 Afterwards as the nocturnal fiend was about to depart and leave her friendly companions behind, the king stopped her with his speech. 36The king said, “O you of gigantic stature! By teaching us the mantra, you have become our teacher. We affectionately invite you to take your meal with us tonight. 37 It does not become you to break off our friendship which has grown at our very first meeting like the acquaintance of good people. 38 Give your ill-favored form a little more graceful figure and walk with us to our home and stay there at your own pleasure.”
39 The rakshasi replied, “You can well provide a female of your own kind with her proper food, but what entertainment can you give to my satisfaction? I am a cannibal by nature! 40 It is only a rakshasa’s food that can satisfy me, not the little morsels of petty mortals. This is the innate nature of our being and it can not be done away with as long as we carry our present bodies.”
41 The king answered, “Ornamented with necklaces of gold, you shall be at liberty to remain with the ladies in my house for as many days as you may like to stay. 42 Then, for your food, I will produce the robbers and felons that I seize in my territories. You will have them supplied to you constantly by the hundreds and thousands. 43 Then you can then forsake your attractive form, resume your hideous rakshasi figure, and kill hundreds of those lawless men for your food. 44 Take them to the top of the snowy mountain and devour them at your pleasure. Great men always like to take their meals in privacy.”
45 “After your recreation with that food and a short nap, you can resume your meditation. When you are tired with your meditation, you can come back to this place. 46 You can then take other offenders for your slaughter. Killing culprits is not only justifiable by law, it amounts to an act of mercy to rid them of their punishment in the next world. 47 You must return to me when you are tired of your meditation because friendship, even that formed with the wicked, is not easily done away.”
48 The rakshasi replied, “You have spoken well, king, and I will do as you say. For who is there that will slight the words of the wise spoken to him in the way of friendship?”
49 Vasishta said:— Saying so, the rakshasi assumed a graceful form and wore necklaces and bracelets, and silken robes and laces. 50 She said, “Well king, let us go together,” then followed the footsteps of the king and his counselor who walked before her and led the way.
51 Having arrived at the royal residence, they passed that night with their agreeable meal and discourse together. 52 As it became morning, the rakshasi went inside the house and remained there with the women. Meanwhile the king and the minister attended to their business. 53 Over the course of six days, the king collected together all the offenders he had seized in his territory and from other parts. 54 These amounted to three thousand heads which he gave to her. She resumed her fierce dark form of the black fiend of the night. 55 She laid hold of thousands of men in her extended grasp, like a cloud fragment holds drops of rainwater in its wide bosom. 56 She took leave of the king and went with her prey to the mountain top, just like a poor man takes gold that he happened to find in some hidden place. 57 For three days and nights she refreshed herself with her food and rested. Then regaining the firmness of her understanding, she employed herself in meditation.
58 After four or five or sometimes seven years passed, she used to get up from her tapas and return to where men live and to the court of the king. 59 There they passed some time in confidential conversation, then she returned with her prey of the offenders to her mountain seat. 60 Thus freed from cares even in her lifetime, she continued to remain as a liberated being in that mountain.
1 Vasishta continued:— The rakshasi continued her meditation and remained on friendly terms with the successive rulers of the Kirata country who kept supplying her with her rations. 2 By the power of her perfection in the practice of yoga meditation, she continued to prevent all possibility of evils, to ward off all dread and danger from demons, and to remove diseases from the people. 3 Over the course of her many years in meditation, she used to come out of her cell at certain intervals and call at headquarters to take the living creatures collected and kept to be her victims. 4 The practice is still observed by the kings of that place who sacrifice animals to her departed ghost on the hill, because none can be negligent to repay the good services of his benefactor.
5 At last she ceased her meditation, and for a long time she stopped appearing where men lived to lend her aid in removing their diseases, dangers and difficulties. 6 Then the people dedicated a high temple to her memory, and installed a statue of her in it under the names of Kandara (Cave) and Mangala Devi (Auspicious Goddess). 7 Since then it is the custom of the chiefs of the tribe to consecrate a newly made statue in honor of the Kandara Devi, the goddess of the valley, after the previous one is disfigured and broken. 8 Any king of the place who out of his vileness fails to consecrate the new statue of Goddess Kandara brings great disasters on his people out of his own perverseness.
9 By worshipping her, man obtains the fruits of all his desires. By neglecting it, he exposes himself to all sorts of evils and disasters. These are the results of the Goddess’s pleasure or displeasure with her devotees.
10 Dying and ailing people still worship the goddess with offerings for remedy of their illness and to secure her blessings. In turn, she distributes her rewards among those who worship her in her statue or picture. 11 She bestows all blessings on young babies and weak calves and cows. She kills the hardy and proud who deserve death. She is the goddess of intelligence and favors the intelligent, and presides forever in the land of the Kirata people.
1 Vasishta said:— Rama, I have told you the worthy legend of Karkati, the rakshasi of Imaus, from beginning to end.
2 Rama replied, “But how could one born in a cave of the Himalayas become a black rakshasi, and why was she called Karkati? These I want clearly explained.”
3 Vasishta replied:— Rakshasa cannibals originally are of many races. Some are of dark and others of fair complexions, while many have a yellowish appearance and some of a greenish shade. 4 As for Karkati, you must know that there was a rakshasa named Karkata because of his exact resemblance to a crab. 5 I only told you the story of Karkati because of her questions which I remembered and thought would serve well to explain the omniform God in our discourse into spiritual knowledge.
6 It is evident that the pure and perfect unity is the source of the impure and imperfect duality of phenomena, and this finite world has sprung from its supreme cause who is without beginning or end. 7 These float like the waves upon waters, which apparently are of different forms, and yet essentially the same with the element on which they seem to move. So creations whether present, past or future, are all situated in the Supreme Spirit.
8 As wet wood when ignited serves to provide heat and invites the apes of the forest to warm themselves in cold weather, so the externally shining appearance of the world invites the ignorant to rely upon it. 9 Such is the temporary glow of the ever cool spirit of God in the works of creation which shows itself in many forms without changing its essence. 10 The absent world appeared and its unreality appears to consciousness as a reality, like figures carved in wood.
11 As the products of the seed, from its sprout to the fruit, are all of the same species, so the thoughts (chetyas) of the mind (chitta) are of the same nature as those originally implanted in it. 12 According to the law of the continuity of the same essence, there is no difference in the nature of the seed and its fruit. So consciousness (chit) and the thoughts (chetyas) differ in nothing except in their forms, like the waves and water differ in external appearance and not in their intrinsic substance (vastu). 13 No demonstration can show any difference between thoughts, mind and consciousness. Whatever distinction our judgment may make, it is easily refuted by right reasoning.
14 Let this error therefore vanish. It has come from nothing to nothing and like all causeless falsities, it fails of itself. You will know more of this, Rama, when you are awakened to divine knowledge. In the meantime, do away with the error of seeing duality that is different from the only existent unity. 15 After your attention to my lectures cuts the knot of your error, you yourself will come to know the significance and substance of what is called the true knowledge that is taken in different senses by various schools of philosophy. That which comes of itself in the mind is the intuitive knowledge of divine truth.
16 You have a mind like that of the common people, full of mistakes and blunders. All this will undoubtedly subside in your mind through your attention to my lectures. 17 You will be awakened by my sermons to know this certain truth, that all things proceed from Brahma into whom they ultimately return.
18 Rama replied, “Sage, you state the first cause in the ablative case indicating causation: ‘That all things proceed from Brahma.’ This contradicts the opposite passage in the Sruti scriptures in the same case, that ‘Nothing is distinct from Him.” It is inconsistent in itself.”
19 Vasishta answered:— Words are used in the scriptures to instruct others. Where any inconsistency appears, they are explained. 20 Hence, although not strictly true, we use a difference between visible phenomena and the invisible Brahma, just like we speak of ghosts appearing to children, though there are no such things in reality. 21 In reality there is no duality connected with the unity of Brahma, just as there is no dualism between a city and the sleep dream in which it appears. Again, God being immutable in his nature and eternal in decree, it is wrong to apply the mutations of nature and the mutability of will to Him. 22 The Lord is free from the states of causality and the caused, of instrumentality and instruments, of a whole and its part, and those of proprietorship and property. 23 He is beyond all affirmative and negative propositions, and their legitimate conclusions or false deductions and refutations. 24 So it is equally false to attribute the original will to God. Yet it is usual to say so for the instruction of the ignorant. There is no change in His nature from its nothing to slight wish.
25These conscious terms and figurative expressions are used to guide the ignorant. The knowing few are far from falling into the fallacy of dualism. All intellectual conceptions cease upon the spiritual perception of God. There ensues an utter and dumb silence. 26 When in time you come to know these things better, you shall arrive at the conclusion that all this is only one thing, an undivided whole without parts and having no beginning or end.
27 The unlearned dispute among themselves from their uncertainty of truth. Their differences and dualisms all end when they understand true unity by instructions of the wise. 28 Without knowledge of the agreement of significant words with their meanings, it is impossible to know the unity, for so long as a word is taken in different senses, there will be no end of disputes and difference of opinions. Dualisms being done away, all disputes are hushed up in the belief of unity.
29 O support of Raghu’s race, place your reliance upon the sense of the great sayings of the Vedas. Do not pay any regard to conflicting passages. Attend to what I will now tell you. 30 From whatever cause it may have sprung, the world resembles a city rising to view in a vision, just like thoughts and ideas appear before the mirror of the mind from some source of which we know nothing. 31 Listen Rama, and I will relate an example of visible evidence for you how the mind (chitta) spins out the magical world from itself. 32 Having known this, O Rama, you will be able to cast away all your false conceptions. Being certain of certainty, you will resign your attachments and desires in this enchanted and bewitching world.
33 All these prospective worlds are machinations and the workings of the mind. Having forsaken these false fabrications of fancy, you will have tranquility of your soul and abide in peace with yourself forever. 34 By paying your attention to the drift of my preaching, you from your own reasoning will be able to find a mite of the medicine that cures all the illnesses of your deluded mind.
35 If you sit in silent meditation, you will see the whole world in your mind. All outward bodies will disappear like drops of oil in sand. 36 The mind is the seat of the universe as long as it is not weakened by passions and affections and afflictions of life. When the mind is rid of the turmoil of its present state, it is set beyond the world (in heavenly bliss). 37 The mind is the means to accomplish anything. It is the store-keeper to preserve all things in the warehouse of its memory. It is the faculty of reasoning, and the power to act like a respectable person. Therefore the mind is to be treated with respect as it recalls, restrains and guides us in our pursuits and duties.
38 The mind contains within it the three worlds with all their contents and the surrounding air. It exhibits itself as the fullness of ego and the cornucopia of all in its microcosm. 39 The intellectual part of the mind contains the subjective self-consciousness of ego, which is the seed of all its powers. The other part, its objective part, bears in itself the false forms of the dull material world.
40 The self-born Brahma saw the yet uncreated and formless world as already present before his mind in its ideal state, like a dream at its first creation. He saw it (mentally) without seeing it (actually). 41 He saw the whole creation in the self-consciousness of his vast mind, and he saw all material objects, the hills and all, in the knowledge (samvid) of his gross personal consciousness. At last by his subtle sightedness (sukshma vid, subtle knowledge or clairvoyance) he perceived that all gross bodies were as empty as air and not solid substances. 42 The mind with its embodying thoughts is pervaded by the omnipresent soul that is spread out as transparently as sunbeams upon clear water.
43 Otherwise, the mind is like an infant who views the appearance of the world in its unconscious sleep of ignorance. But being awakened by consciousness (chit), it sees the transcendent form of the self or soul without the mist of delusion. The delusion is caused by the part of the mind that is aware of physical senses, and it is removed by the reasoning faculties of consciousness.
44 Hear now Rama, what I am going to say about how the soul is to be seen in this world of phenomena that is the cause of misleading the mind from its knowledge of the unity to the false notion of the duality. 45 What I will say, by opposite similes, right reasoning, graceful style, and good sense of the words in which they shall be conveyed to you, cannot fail to come to your heart. By listening, your heart will be filled with a delight that will pervade your senses like the oil upon the water.
46 Speech which is without suitable comparisons and graceful phraseology, which is inaudible or clamorous, or has inappropriate words and harsh sounding letters, cannot take possession of the heart. It is thrown away for nothing, like butter poured upon the burnt ashes of an offering that has no power to rekindle the flame. 47Whatever stories there are in any language on earth, and whatever compositions are adorned with measured sentences and graceful diction, all these are rendered acutely insightful through conspicuous comparisons, as the world is enlightened by cooling moonbeams. Therefore almost every verse in this work is embellished with a suitable comparison.
1 Vasishta continued:— I will relate to you Rama, agreeably to your request, the story that Brahma himself told me of old. The mind (manas) produced Manu, the progeny of the mind, who begat the Manujas otherwise called men (manavas or manushyas), the offspring of the mind. 2 Once before I had asked the lotus-born god to tell me how these hosts of creation had come to being. 3 Then Brahma, the great progenitor of men, granted my request and related the story of the ten Aindava (Moon-like) brothers in his loud voice.
4 Brahma said:— All this visible world is the manifestation of the Divine Mind, like circling whirlpools and rippling swirls of water on the surface of the sea. 5 Hear me tell you how I (the personified mind) first awoke on the day of creation in a former kalpa with my volition to create (expand) myself.
6 Previously I remained alone, quietly intent upon the creation at the end of the prior day (kalpa). I had compressed the whole creation in the focus of my mind and hid it under the gloom of the primeval night. 7 At the end of the chaotic night I awoke like from a deep sleep and performed my morning prayers as it is the general law (of all living beings).
I opened my eyes with a view to create and fixed my look on the emptiness all about me. 8 As far as I could see, it was empty space covered by darkness with no light of heaven. It was unlimitedly extensive, all void and without any boundary. 9 Being then determined to bring forth creation, and with the acuteness of my understanding, I began to discern the world in its simple (ideal) form within me. 10 Then I saw in my mind the great cosmos of creation, set unobstructed and apart from me in the wide extended field of emptiness. 11 Then the rays of my reflection stretched out over them from amidst the lotus-cell of my abode, and sat in the form of ten lotus-born Brahmas over the ten worlds of this creation, like so many swans brooding upon their eggs. 12 Then these separate orbs (cosmic eggs) brought forth multitudes of beings to light within their transparent aqueous atmospheres.
13 Thence sprang the great rivers and the roaring seas and oceans, and thence again rose the burning lights and blowing winds of the sky. 14The gods began to play in the ethereal air, men moved about on the earth, and demons and serpents were confined in their homes under the ground. 15 The wheel of time turned with the revolution of seasons and their produce, and adorned the earth with her various productions by change of the seasons. 16 Laws were fixed for all things on all sides, and human actions were regulated in the Smriti scriptures as right or wrong and producing the reward of heaven or the torments of hell as their fruits.
17 All beings pursue their enjoyments and liberty, and the more they strive for their desired objects, the better they thrive in them. 18 In this way the seven worlds and continents, the seven oceans and the seven boundary mountains were brought to existence, and they continue to exist until their final dissolution at the end of a kalpa period. 19 The primeval darkness from the face of open lands fled before the light and took its refuge in mountain caverns and hollow caves. It abides in some places allied with light, as in the shady and sunny forest lands and lawns.
20 The blue sky, like a lake of blue lotuses, is haunted by fragments of dark clouds resembling swarms of black bees on high. The stars that twinkle in it are like the yellow filaments of flowers shaken by the winds. 21 The huge heaps of snow setting in the valleys of high hills resemble the lofty cottonwood trees beset by their pods of cotton. 22 The earth is surrounded by the polar mountains serving as her girdles, and the circles of polar seas serve as her sounding anklets and trinkets. She is covered by the polar darkness as if by a blue garment, and studded all about with gems growing and glowing in the bosoms of her rich and ample mines and seas. 23 The earth, covered by the ornaments of her greenness of vegetation, resembles a lady sitting dressed in her robes, having the produce of rice for her food and the busy buzz of the world for her music.
24 The sky appears like a bride veiled under the black covering of night, with glittering chains of stars for her jewels. Seasonal fruits and flowers hanging in the air resemble wreaths of lotuses about her body. 25 The orbs of worlds appear like beautiful pomegranate fruits containing all their peoples in them, like the shining seeds in the cells of those fruit. 26 Bright moonbeams, stretching both above and below and all around the three sides, appear like the white sacred thread girding the world above and below and all about, or like the Ganges River running in three directions in the upper, lower and nether worlds. 27 The clouds dispersing on all sides with their glittering lightning appear like the leaves and flowers of air-borne forests, blown away by the breezes on all sides.
28 But all these worlds with their lands and seas, their skies and all their contents, are in reality as unreal as visionary dreams and as delusive as the enchanted city of a fairyland. 29 The gods, demons, men and serpents seen in multitudes in all worlds are like bodies of buzzing gnats fluttering about fig trees.
30 Here time is moving on with his train of moments and minutes, his ages, yugas and kalpas, in expectation of the unforeseen destruction of all things.
31 Having seen all these things in my pure and enlightened understanding, I was quite confounded to think from where all these could have come into being. 32 Why is it that I do not see all that I perceive with my visual organs, like a magic scene spread out in the sphere of my mind? 33Having looked into these for a long time with my steadfast attention, I called to me the brightest sun of these luminous spheres and addressed him saying, 34 “Approach me, O god of gods, luminous Sun! I welcome you to me!” Having approached, I said, 35 “Tell me what you are and how this world with all its bright orbs came to being. If you know anything of this, then please reveal it to me.”
36 Being thus addressed, he looked upon me, and then having recognized me, he made his salutation, and uttered in graceful words and speech.
37 The Sun replied, “O lord, you are the eternal cause of these false phenomena. How is it that you do not know it and ask me about its cause?38 But should you, all knowing as you are, take a delight in hearing my speech, I will tell you of my unasked and un-thought of production, which I beg you to listen to.”
39 “O great Spirit, this world is composed of reality and unreality in its twofold view. It beguiles understanding to take it sometimes for a real and at others for an unreal thing. It is the great mind of the Divine Soul that is employed in these constant and unceasingly endless creations for its diversion.
1 The Sun continued:— It was, my lord, only the other day of one of your previous kalpas, and at the foot of a mountain, beside the tableland of Mount Kailash that stands in a corner of the continent of Asia, 2 that there lived a man named Suvarnajata together with all his sons and their progeny, who had made that place a beautiful and pleasant home.
3 Among them lived a brahmin named Indu, a descendant of the patriarch Kasyapa, who was a saintly soul, virtuous and acquainted with divine knowledge. 4 He resided in his house with all his relatives and passed his time agreeably in company with his wife, who was as dear to his heart as if his second self. 5 But this virtuous couple had no children, as no grass grows in sterile soil, and the wife remained discontent at the unfruitfulness of her blossoming or seed. 6 With all the purity and simplicity of their hearts, and the beauty and gracefulness of their persons and manners, they were as useless to the earth as the fair and straight stem of the pure rice plant without its stalk of grains. The unhappy couple left for the mountain in order to make their tapas for the blessing of children.
7 They ascended Mount Kailash, which lacked any shade from shade trees and was uninhabited by living beings. There they stood fixed on one side, like a couple of trees in a barren desert. 8 They remained in their austere tapas, subsisting upon liquid food which also supported the trees. At the close of the day, and from the hollow of their palms they drank only a sip of water from a neighboring cascade. 9 They remained standing and unmoved as immovable trees, and continued long in that posture, in the manner of an erect wood in heat and cold.
10 In this manner they passed two ages before their meditation met with the approval of the god who bears the crescent of the moon on his forehead (Shiva). 11 The god with the cooling moonbeams on his forehead advanced towards the parched pair, like when the moon casts her dewy light on trees and lotuses dried and scorched under the burning sunbeams of a summer day. 12 The god appeared to them mounted on his milk-white bull, and clasping the fair Uma (Goddess Parvati) on his left, and holding the beaming moon on his head, like spring season approaches green shrubs strewing flowers upon them.
13 The couple’s faces and eyes brightened as they saw the god, just like lotuses hail the appearance of the beautiful moon. They bowed down to the god of the silvery crescent and snow-white face. 14 Then the god rising to their view like the full moon, and appearing in the midst of the heaven and earth, spoke smilingly to them in a gentle and audible voice. The breath of that voice refreshed them like the breath of spring revives the faded plants of a forest.
15 Shiva said, “I am pleased with your meditation, O brahmin! Offer your prayer to me and have your desired reward granted to you immediately.”
16 The brahmin replied, “O Lord of gods, please favor me with ten intelligent male children. Let these be born of me to dispel all my sorrows.”
17 The Sun continued:— The god said, “Be it so,” and then disappeared into the air. His great body passed through the ethereal path with a tremendous roar of thunder like the surge of the seas.
18 Then the brahmin couple returned to their home with gladness in their hearts. They appeared like the reflections of the two gods Shiva and Uma. 19 After returning, the brahmani became big with child from the blessing she received from her god Shiva. 20 In her pregnant state, she looked like a thick cloud heavy with rainwater. In proper time she and brought forth a boy as beautiful as the digit of the new moon. 21 In this way she bore ten sons in succession, each as handsome as the tender sprouts of plants. They grew up in strength and stature, and were invested with the sacramental thread.
22 In course of a short time, they attained their boyhood and became conversant in the language of the gods (Sanskrit), like the mute clouds become loud in the rainy season. 23 They shone in their circle with the luster of their bodies, as the resplendent orbs of the sky burn and turn about in their spheres. 24 In time these youths lost both parents who passed off their mortal coils to go to their last abode. 25 Losing both parents, the ten brahmin lads left their home in grief and went to the top of Mount Kailash to pass their helpless lives in mourning.
26 Here they discussed what would be best for them, and what would be the right course to take to avoid the troubles and miseries of life. 27They talked with one another on such topics as what was the best good of humanity in this world of mortality, and many other subjects, such as: 28What is true greatness, best riches and affluence, and the highest good of humankind? What is the good of great power, possessions, being chief, or even the gain of a kingdom? What forms the true dignity of kings and the high majesty of emperors? 29 What avails the rule of the great Indra, which is lost in one moment (of Brahma). What endures a whole kalpa and must be the best good as the most lasting?
30 As they were talking in this manner, they were interrupted by the eldest brother, with a voice as grave as that of the leader of a herd of deer to the attentive herd. 31 “Of all kinds of riches and dignities, there is one thing that endures for a whole kalpa and is never destroyed. This is the state of Brahma, which I prize above all others.”
32 Hearing this, all the good sons of Indu exclaimed in one voice, “Ah! Well said” Then they honored the eldest with kind speeches. 33 They said, “How, O brother, is it possible for us to attain to the state of Brahma, who is seated on his seat of lotuses, and is adored by all in this world?”
34 The eldest then replied to his younger brothers saying, “O you my worthy brothers, do as I say and you will be successful. 35 Sit in lotus posture and think yourselves to be the bright Brahma, full of his brilliance and possessing the powers of creation and annihilation in yourselves.”
36 Being instructed in this manner by the eldest brother, the younger brothers responded saying, “Amen.” With gladness in their hearts, they sat in meditation together with the eldest brother. 37 They remained in their meditative mood like the still images in a painting. Their minds were concentrated in the inmost Brahma, whom they adored and thought upon, thinking, 38 “Here I sit on the middle of a full blown lotus, and find myself as Brahma, the great god, the creator and sustainer of the universe. 39 I find in me the whole ritual of sacrificial rites, the Vedas with their branches and supplements and the rishis. I view in me the Saraswati and Gayatri mantras of the Vedas, and all the gods and men situated in me. 40 I see in me the spheres of the regents, of the world, and the circles of the spiritual masters revolving about me, with the spacious heaven bespangled with the stars. 41 I see this globe of land and water decorated with all its oceans and continents, its mountains and islands, hanging like an earring in the material system.”
42 Within myself I have the hollow of the infernal world, with its demons, and serpents. I have the cavity of the sky in myself, containing the homes and maidens of the immortals. 43 There is the strong armed Indra, the tormentor of the lords of peoples, the sole lord of the three worlds, who receives the sacrifices of men. 44 I see the bright net of the firmament spread over all sides of heaven, and the twelve suns of the twelve months dispensing their ceaseless beams amidst it. 45 I see the righteous rulers of the sky and the rulers of men protecting their respective regions and peoples with the same care as cowherds take to protect their cattle. 46 I find every day among all sorts of beings, some rising and falling, and others diving and floating, like the constant waves of the sea.
47 “It is I who create, preserve and destroy the worlds. I remain in myself and pervade over all existence as the lord of all. 48 I observe in myself the revolution of years and ages, and of all seasons and times, and I find the same time to be both the creator and destroyer of things. 49 I see akalpa passing away before me, and the night of Brahma (dissolution) stretched out in my presence, while I reside forever in the Supreme Soul, as full and perfect as the Divine Spirit itself.”
50 Thus these brahmins, the ten sons of Indu, remained in this sort of samadhi meditation in their motionless postures like fixed rocks, and like images hewn out of stones in a hill. 51 In this manner these brahmins, being fully acquainted with the nature of Brahma, and possessed of the spirit of that deity in themselves, continued in their meditation for a long period. They sat in their lotus posture on seats of kusa grass, freed from the snare of the fickle and frivolous desires of this false and frail world.
1 The Sun said:— O great father of creation, in this way these venerable brahmins remained at that spot for a long time, occupied in their minds with these various thoughts and their several actions. 2 They remained in this state until their bodies dried up by exposure to the sun and air, and dropped down in time like the withered leaves of trees. 3 Their dead bodies were devoured by the voracious beasts of the forest, or tossed about like some ripe fruit by monkeys on the hills.
4 These brahmins, their thoughts turned away from outward objects and concentrated on Brahma, continued enjoying divine joy in their spirits until the close of the kalpa cycle at the end of the four ages (yugas). 5 At the end of the kalpa, there is an utter extinction of sunlight by the constant rains poured down by the heavy pushkara and avartaka clouds at the great flood, 6 when the hurricane of desolation blew on all sides and buried all beings under the universal ocean. 7 It was then your (Brahma’s) dark night, and the previous creation slept as if in yogic sleep (yoga nidra) in your sleeping self. Thus, continuing in your spirit, you contained all things in their spiritual forms in yourself. 8 Upon your waking this day with your desire of creation, all these things are exhibited to your view, like a copy of everything that was already in your inmost mind or Spirit.
9 I have thus related to you O Brahma, how these ten brahmins were personified as so many Brahmas. These ten have become the ten bright orbs situated in the empty sphere of your mind. 10 I am the eldest among them, consecrated in this temple of the sky, and appointed by you, O lord of all, to regulate the portions of time on earthly beings.
11 Now I have given you a full account of the ten orbs of heaven, which are no other than the ten persons united in the mind of Brahma, and now appearing as detached from him. 12 This beautiful world that you behold, appearing to your view with all its wonderful structures, spread out in the skies, serves at best as a snare to entrap your senses and delude your understanding by taking the unrealities as realities in your mind.
1 Brahma said to Vasishta:— O brahmin who is the best of brahmins, the Sun God remained silent after telling me about the ten brahmins. 2 I thought upon this for sometime in my mind, then said, “O Sun, tell me what I am to create next? 3 Tell me O Sun, what need is there for me to make any more worlds after these ten globes have come into existence?”
4 Now, O great sage, the Sun having long considered in his mind about what I wanted him to say, replied to me in the following manner in appropriate words.
5 The Sun said:— My lord who is devoid of effort or desire, what need do you have to create? This work of creation is only for your pleasure. 6O lord who is free from desires and gives rise to worlds like sunbeams raise waters, and the sunshine is accompanied by the shadow, 7 you are indifferent to fostering or forsaking your body and need nothing to desire or renounce for your pleasure or pain. 8 You, O lord of creatures, create all these only for the sake of your pleasure, and so you retract them all in yourself, as the sun by turns gives and withdraws his light. 9 You who is unattached to the world make your creation as a work of love to you, and not of any effort or endeavor on your part.
10 If you desist from stretching creation out of the Supreme Spirit, what good can you derive from your inactivity? 11 Do your duty as it may present itself to you, rather than remain inactive doing nothing. A dull person, like a dirty mirror that does not reflect images, is of no use at all. 12The wise have no desire of doing anything that is beyond their reach, but they never like to leave out anything that presents itself before them and is useful. 13 Therefore do your work as it comes to you with a cheerful heart, a calm mind, and a tranquil soul, as if it were in your sleep, and devoid of desires that you can never reap.
14 You derive pleasure, O Lord of worlds, from forming the orbs of the sons of Indu, so the Lord of Gods will give you your reward for your works of creation. 15 Nobody with their external organs of vision can see the worlds as clearly as you, O lord, see with the eyes of your mind. For who, by seeing them with his eyes, can say whether you are created or uncreated? 16 Only He who has created these worlds from his mind, and no other person with his open eyes, can behold me face to face.
17 The ten worlds are not the work of so many Brahmas as it appeared to you before. Nobody has the power to destroy them when they are seated so firmly in the mind. 18 It is easy to destroy what is made by the hand, and to shut out the sensible objects from our perception, but who can annul or disregard what is ascertained by the mind? 19 It is impossible for anyone except the owner to remove whatever belief is deep-rooted in the minds of living beings. 20 No curse can remove from the mind whatever has become a habit of confirmed belief in the mind, even though it can kill the body.
21 Principle deeply rooted in the mind forms the man according to its stamp. It is impossible by any means to make him otherwise, as it is impossible to make a rock bear fruit by watering its root like a tree.
1 The Sun said:— The mind is the maker and master of the world. The mind is the first supreme being (purusha). Whatever is done by the mind is said to be done. The actions of the body are held as no acts. 2 Look at the capacity of the mind in the example of the sons of Indu. They were only ordinary brahmins, but by their meditation of Brahma in their minds, they became assimilated in Brahma.
3 One thinking himself as composed of the body becomes subject to all the incidents of physicality. But he who knows himself as bodiless is freed from all evils that attend the body. 4 Looking on the outside, we are subject to the feelings of pain and pleasure, but the inward-sighted yogi is unconscious of the pain or pleasure of his body. 5 Thus it is the mind that causes all our errors in this world. Evidence of this is the example of Indra and his consort Ahalya.
[The Yoga Vasishta’s story of two adulterous lovers, Indra and Ahalya, has many connections with another story that would have been well known to an India reader, that of Indra, king of the gods, seducing Ahalya, the wife of sage Gautama, one of the Seven Rishis. The sage cursed both Indra and his wife. The curse on Ahalya was removed by Rama. As the story became popular over time, the curse was that Ahalya was turned into a stone and came back to life when touched by Rama’s foot.]
6 Brahma said, “Tell me, my Lord Sun, who was this Indra and who that Ahalya, so that by hearing my understanding may have its clear-sightedness.”
7 The Sun said:— It is related my lord! In former times there reigned a king at Magadha, Indra-dyumna (Glorious Indra) by name and similar to his namesake (in prowess and fame). 8 He had a wife fair as the moon with eyes as beautiful as lotuses. Her name was Ahalya and she resembled Rohini, the moon’s favorite. 9 In that city lived a rascal at the head of all the libertines. He was the cheating son of a brahmin, and was known by the same name of Indra.
10 Now this Queen Ahalya came to hear the story of the former Ahalya, wife of Gautama, and her lust related to her at a certain time. [The story of God Indra seducing Ahalya, the wife of sage Gautama.] 11 Hearing the story, Queen Ahalya felt a passion for the other Indra, the libertine, and became impatient in the absence of his company. She was thinking only how he should come to her. 12 She was fading like a tender vine thrown adrift in the burning desert. She was burning with an inner flame on beds of cooling leaves of watery lotus and plantain trees. 13 She was pining amidst all the enjoyments of her royal state, like a poor fish lying exposed on the dry bed of a pool in summer heat. 14 She lost her modesty with her self possession. She repeated in her frenzy, “Here is Indra, and there he comes to me.”
15 Finding her in this pitiable plight, a lady of her palace took compassion on her, and said, “I will safely conduct Indra before your ladyship in a short time.” 16 No sooner did she hear her companion say, “I will bring your desired object to you,” than she opened her eyes with joy and fell prostrate at her feet, like one lotus flower falls before another. 17 Then as the day passed on, and the shade of night covered the face of nature, the lady made her haste to the house of Indra, the brahmin’s boy.
18 The clever lady used her persuasions as far as she could, and then succeeded to bring this Indra with her and present him before her royal mistress. 19 She then adorned herself with pastes and paints, and wreaths of fragrant flowers, and conducted her lover to a private apartment where they enjoyed their fill. 20 The youth, also decorated in his jewels and necklaces, delighted her with his sweet caresses, as spring season renovates the tree groves with his luscious juice. 21 Henceforward this ravished queen saw the world full with the figure of her beloved Indra, and she did not think much at all of the excellences of her royal lord, her husband.
22 After sometime, certain facial indications by the queen caused the great king to know of her love for the brahmin Indra. 23 For as long as she thought of her lover Indra, her face glowed like a full blown lotus, blooming with the beams of her moonlike lover. 24 The brahmin boy Indra also was inflamed with all his enraptured senses for love of her, and he could not remain for a moment in any place without her company. 25 The king heard the painful news of their affections for each other and of their unconcealed meetings. 26 He also observed many examples of their attachment, and at different times gave them his reprimands and punishments as they deserved.
27 They were both cast in the cold water of a tank in cold weather where, instead of betraying any sign of pain, they kept smiling together as in their merriment. 28 Then the king had them to be taken out of the tank and ordered them to repent for their crimes, but the infatuated pair was far from doing so, and replied to the king in the following manner.
29 “Great king! As long we continue to reflect on the unblemished beauty of each other’s face, so long are we lost in the meditation of one another and forget our own selves. 30 We are delighted in our persecutions, as no torment can separate us from each other. We are not afraid of separation, even though you can separate our souls from our bodies.”
31 They were thrown in a frying pan upon fire, where they remained unhurt and exclaimed, “We rejoice, O king, at the delight of our souls in thinking of one another.” 32 They were tied to the feet of elephants to be trampled, but they remained uninjured and said, “King, we feel our hearty joy at our memories of each other.” 33 They were lashed with rods and straps and many other sorts of scourges which the king devised from time to time. 34 But being brought back from the scourging ground and asked about their suffering, they returned the same answer as before. Moreover, said the brahmin Indra to the king, “This world is full with the form of my beloved one. 35 All your punishments inflict no pain on her because she views the whole world as full of myself. 36 Therefore all your punishments to torment the body can give no pain to the mind (soul) which is my true self and constitutes my personality (purusha) that resides in my person. 37 This body is only an ideal form and presents a shadowy appearance to view. You can pour out your punishments upon it for a while, but it amounts to no more than striking a shadow with a stick.38 Nobody can break down a brave (firm) mind. Then tell me great king, what do the powers of the mighty amount to?”
39 “The causes that conspire to disturb the nature of the resolute mind are the false conceptions of external appearances. Therefore it is better to chastise such bodies which mislead the mind to error. 40 The mind is forever firm that is steadfast to its fixed purpose. The mind identifies with the object which it has constantly in its thoughts. 41 Being and not being are words applicable to bodies. They do not apply to the mind because what is positive in thought cannot be negated of it in any way. 42 The mind is immovable and cannot be moved by any effort like one can move bodies. It is impregnable to all external actions, and neither your anger or favor can have any effect on it.”
43 “It is possible for men of strong resolutions to change the course of their actions. But where is such a strong minded man to be found who is able to withstand or change the currents of his thoughts? 44 It is impossible to move the mind from its fixed fulcrum, just as it is impracticable for tender stags to remove a mountain from its base.” “This black-eyed beauty is the fixed prop of my mind. 45 She is seated in the lofty temple of my mind like Goddess Bhavani on Mount Kailash. I fear nothing as long as I see this beloved preserver of my life and soul before me. 46 I sit amidst the conflagration of a burning mountain in summer’s heat, but wherever I stand or fall, I am cooled under the shadow of her showering cloud. 47 I think of nothing except the only object of my thought and wish. I cannot persuade myself to believe me as any other than Indra, the lover of Ahalya.”
48 “It is by constant association that I have come to this belief of myself. I cannot think of me otherwise than what is in my nature. Know, O king, that the wise have only one object in their thought and view. 49 The mind, like Mount Meru, is not moved by threat or pity. It is the body that you can tame by the one or the other means. The wise, O king, are masters of their minds. There is none and nothing to deter them from their purpose.”
50 “Know it for certain, O King, that neither these bodies about us nor these bodies and sensations of ours are realities. They are only shows of truth and not the movers of the mind. On the contrary, it is the mind that supplies the bodies and senses with their powers of action, just like water supplies trees and branches with their sap. 51 The mind is generally believed to be a sensuous and passive principle, wholly moved by the outward impressions of senses. But in truth the mind is the active and moving principle of the organs of action. Because all the senses become dormant in absence of the action of the mind, so the functions of the whole creation are at a stop without the activity of the Universal Mind.”
1 The Sun said:— The lotus-eyed king, thus defied by this perverse Indra, addressed sage Bharata who was sitting by him. 2 The king spoke, “Lord, you are acquainted with all morality. See this ravisher of my wife and hear the arrogant speech that he utters before our face. 3 Please, O great sage, pronounce your curse upon him without delay, because it is a breach of justice to spare the wicked, just as it is to hurt the innocent.”
4 Being thus asked by the great king, Bharata, the best of the wise munis, considered the crime of this wicked soul Indra. 5 Then he pronounced his curse by saying, “Do you, O reprobate sinner, soon meet with your perdition, together with this sinful woman who is so faithless to her husband.”
6 Then they both replied to the king and his venerable sage, saying, “What fools must you be to have wasted your curse, the great gain of your tapas, on our devoted heads. 7 The curse you have pronounced can do us very little harm. Though our bodies should fall, yet it cannot affect our inner minds and spirits. 8 The inner principle of the soul, owing to its inscrutable, subtle and intellectual nature, can never be destroyed by anybody anywhere.
9 The Sun added:— Then this fascinated pair, head over heels in love, fell down by effect of the curse, just like when branches cut from a tree fall upon the ground. 10 Being subjected to the torment of reincarnation, they were both born as a pair of deer in mutual attachment, and then as a couple of turtle doves in their inseparable alliance. 11 Afterwards, O lord of our creation, this loving pair came to be born as man and woman, who by their practice of austerities, came to be reborn at last as a brahmin and brahmani.
12 Thus the curse of Bharata was capable only of transforming their bodies. It never touched their minds or souls which continued in their unshaken attachment in every state of their reincarnation. 13 Therefore wherever and in whatever shape they come to be reborn, they always assumed the form of a male and female pair by virtue of their delusion and memories. 14 Seeing the true love that existed between this loving pair in the forest, the trees also become enamored of the other sex of their own kinds.
1 The Sun continued:— My lord, therefore I say that the mind, like time, is indestructible by its nature, and the unavoidable curse of the sage could not alter its tenor. 2 Therefore it is not right for you, O great Brahma, to destroy the ideal fabric of the air-drawn world of the sons of Indu. It is improper for great souls to put a check on others’ fancies.
3 O lord of lords, what are you lacking in this universe of so many worlds that should make your great soul pine for the air built worlds of Indu’s sons? 4 The mind is truly the maker of worlds. It is known as the Prime Male (Purusha). Hence the mind fixed to its purpose is not to be shaken from it by the power of any curse or by virtue of any drug or medicine, or even by any kind of chastisement. 5 The mind that is the image of everybody is not destructible like the body, but remains forever fixed to its purpose. Therefore let the ten Aindava brothers continue in their ideal act of creation.
6 O lord who has made these creatures, remain firm in your place. See the infinite space spread before you, commensurate with the ample scope of your understanding, in the triple spheres of your consciousness and mind and the vast emptiness of space. 7 These threefold infinities of ethereal, mental and intellectual spaces, are only reflections of the infinite emptiness of Divine Consciousness. They supply you, O Brahma, with ample space to create as many worlds as you wish. 8 You are at liberty at your pleasure to create whatever you like. When you have the power to create everything, do not think that the sons of Indu have robbed you of anything.
9 Brahma said:— After the Sun had spoken to me in this manner concerning men and other worlds, I reflected awhile and then answered him saying, 10 “Well have you said, O Sun, for I see the ample space of air lying open before me. I also see my spacious mind and the vast comprehension of my consciousness. Therefore I will go on with my work of creation forever. 11 I will immediately think about multitudes of material productions. O Sun, I ordain you as my first offspring (Manu) to produce all these for me. 12 Now produce all things as you will, and according to my command,” at which the brilliant sun readily complied to my request.
13 Then this great light stood with his two-part body of light and heat. With the first, he shone like the sun in the middle of heaven. 14 With the second, his body’s property of heat, he became my agent (Manu) in the nether worlds. 15 He produced all things in the course of the revolutions of his seasons as I had asked him do.
16 Thus have I related to you, O sagely Vasishta, all about the nature and acts of the mind, and omnipotence of the great soul that infuses its might in the mind through its acts of creation and production. 17 Whatever reflection is represented in the mind manifests in a visible form and becomes compact and stands confessed before it. 18 Look at the extraordinary power of the mind that raised ordinary brahmin men to the rank of Brahma through their conception of it in themselves. 19 As the individual souls of the Aindavas were incorporated with Brahma through their intense thought of him within, so also have we attained to the level of Brahma.
20 The mind is full of innate ideas, and the figure that lays a firm hold of the mind appears expressed outside in a visible shape. There is no material substance beside one’s own mind. 21 The mind is the wonderful attribute of the soul, and bears in itself many other properties like the inborn pungency of pepper. 22 These properties appear also as the mind and are called its hyperphysical or mental faculties. It is a downright mistake on the part of some (Samkhya materialists) to understand them as belonging to the body. 23 The same mind when combined with its purer desires is also called the living principle (jiva). After all is said, it is bodiless and unknown in its nature.
24 There is nobody like me or any other person in this world except this wonderful and self-existent mind which, like the sons of Indu, assumes the false conception of being real Brahmas themselves. 25 As the Aindavas were Brahmas in their minds, so my mind makes me a Brahma also. It is the mind that makes one such and such, according to the conception that he entertains of himself. 26 It is only by a conceit of my mind that I think myself situated as a Brahma in this place. Otherwise all these material bodies are known to be as unreal, like the emptiness of the soul in which they abide.
27 The unsullied mind approximates the Divine by its constant meditation of the Divine. But being spoiled by the variety of its desires, it becomes a living being which at last turns to animal life and the living body. 28 The intelligent body shines like any of the luminous orbs in the Aindava worlds. It is brilliant with the intelligent soul, like the appearance of a visionary creation of the mind. 29 All things are the productions of the mind and reflections of itself, like the two moons in the sky, one being only a reflection of the other, and as the concepts of man’s worlds.
30 There is nothing such as real or unreal, nor is there any personality such as I or you or any other. Real and unreal are both alike, unless it is the conception that makes something appear as a reality which has otherwise no reality of itself. 31 Know the mind is both active and inert. It is vast owing to the vastness of its desires. It is lively on account of its spiritual nature of the great God. The mind becomes inert by its incorporation with material objects.
32 The conception of phenomena as real cannot make them real, any more than the appearance of a golden bracelet can make it gold, or the phenomena appearing in Brahma can identify themselves with Brahma himself. 33 Brahma being all in all, the inert also are said to be intelligent, or else all beings from ourselves down to blocks are neither inert nor intelligent. 34 It is said that lifeless blocks are without intelligence and perception, but everything that bears a like relation to another has its perception also like the other. 35 Know that everything is sentient and has its perception or sensitivity. All things possess perception because of the relation between themselves and the Supreme Soul. 36 Therefore the terms inert and sensitive, in their application to things existing in the one Divine Spirit, are meaningless. It is like attributing fruit and flowers to the trees of a barren land. The barren waste refers to the vacuum of the Divine Mind, and its trees to its unsubstantial ideas which are neither inert nor sentient like the fruit or flowers of those trees.
37 Notion or thought formed by and an act of consciousness is called the mind. Of these, the intellect or intellectual part is the active principle, but the thought or mental part is quite inert. 38 The intellectual part consists of the operation of exercise of consciousness, but the thoughts or that which is thought (chetyas), which are the acts of consciousness (chit) are known to be inert. These are viewed by the individual soul in the false light of the world.
39 The nature of consciousness (chit) is pure unity, but the mind (chitta) situated within consciousness and therefore called established-in-the-intellect (chit-stha) is a dualism of itself, and this appears in the form of duality in the world. 40 Thus, by exercise of consciousness of itself as the other form, the ideal assumes the shape of the phenomenal world. Being indivisible in itself, it wanders through the labyrinth of errors with its other part of the mind.
41 There is no error in the unity of consciousness, nor is the soul liable to error unless it is deluded by its belief in pluralities. Consciousness is as full as the ocean, with all its thoughts rising and sitting in it like endless waves. 42 That which you call the mental part of consciousness is full of error and ignorance; and the ignorance of the intellectual part produces the errors of egoism and personality. 43 There is no error of egoism or personality in the transcendental category of the Divine Soul because it is the integrity of all consciousness, just as the sea is the collection of all its waves and waters.
44 The belief of egoism rises like any other thought of the mind, and is as inborn in it as water in the mirage, which does not exist really in it. 45The term ego is inapplicable to the pure and simple internal soul which, being weakened by the gross idea of its ardent desire, takes the name of ego, just as thickened coldness is called by the name of frost. 46 The pure substance of consciousness forms the ideas of gross bodies, just as one dreams of his death in his sleep. All-pervading consciousness, which is the all inherent and omnipotent soul, produces all forms in itself, of which there is no end until they are reduced to unity. 47 The mind manifests various appearances in the forms of things, and being of a pure ethereal form, it assumes various shapes by its intellectual or spiritual body.
48 Let the learned abstain from thoughts of the threefold forms of the pure intellectual, spiritual and physical bodies and reflect on them in his own mind as the reflections of Divine Consciousness. 49 The mind being cleansed of its darkness, like the mirror of its dirt, shows the golden color of spiritual light replete with real joy, and by far more blissful than what this earthly clod of body can ever yield. 50 We should cleanse the mind that exists forever, rather than the body which is transient and non-existent, and which is as unreal as the trees living in the air, of which no one takes any notice.
51 Those employed purifying their bodies under the impression that the body also is called the soul (atma) are the atheistic Carvakas who are like silly goats among men. 52 Whatever one thinks inwardly in himself, he is truly transformed to its likeness, as in the example of the ten Aindava brahmin sons, and like Indra and Ahalya cited before. 53 Whatever is represented in the mirror of the mind, the same also appears in the figure of the body. But because neither this body nor anyone’s ego lasts forever, it is right to forsake our desires.
54 It is natural for everybody to think himself as an embodied being subject to death. It is like a boy who thinks he is possessed by a demon of his own imagination, until he gets rid of his false belief by the aid of reasoning.
1 Vasishta added:— Now hear, O support of Raghu’s race, what I next asked of the lotus-born lord Brahma, after we had finished the preceding conversation.
2 I asked him saying, “Lord, you have spoken before of the irrevocable power of curses. Then how is it that their power is frustrated by men?”
3 “We have witnessed the efficacy of curses, pronounced with potent mantra anathemas, to overpower the understanding and senses of living animals and paralyze every member of the body. 4 The mind and body are as intimately connected with each other as motion with air and fluidity with a sesame seed. 5 There is nobody except a creation of the mind, like the fantasies of visions and dreams, and like the false sight of water in the mirage, or the appearance of two moons in the sky. 6 Or else why is it that the dissolution of the one brings on the extinction of the other, such as the quiet of the mind is followed by the loss of bodily sensations?”
7 “Tell me, my lord, how is the mind unaffected by the power of curses and menace that subdue the senses? Are mind and senses both overpowered by curses, being the one and same thing?”
8 Brahma replied:— Know there is nothing in the treasure-house of this world that man cannot attain by means of his efforts in the right way.
9 All species of animal beings, from the state of the highest Brahma down to minute insects, are bicorporal. They are endowed with two bodies: mental and physical. 10 The mental body is ever active and always fickle. The other is the worthless body of flesh, which is dull and inactive. 11 The fleshy part of the body that accompanies all animal beings is overpowered by the influence of curses and charms practiced by the art of incantation (abhichara vidya). 12 The influence of certain supernatural powers stupefies a man, making him dull and dumb. Sometimes one is about to droop down unconscious, as spell-bound persons are deprived of their external senses, and fall down like a drop of water from a lotus-leaf. 13 The mind, which is the other part of the body of embodied beings, is ever free and not subdued, though it is always under the subjection of all living beings in the three worlds.
14 He who can control his mind by continued patience on one hand and by constant vigilance on the other, is the man of an unimpeachable character and unapproachable by calamity. 15 The more a man employs the mental part of his body to its proper employment, the more successful he is in obtaining the object that he has in mind. 16 Mere physical energy is never successful in any undertaking. It is only intellectual activity that is sure of success in all attempts.
17 Focusing the mind in an effort to hurt objects unconnected with matter is as vain as trying to pierce a stone with an arrow. 18 Drown the body underwater or dip it in mud, burn it in fire or fling it aloft in the air, yet the mind turns not from its orientation. He who is true to his purpose is sure of success. 19 Intensity of physical efforts overcomes all impediments, but only mental effort leads to ultimate success in every undertaking.
20 Mark the example of the fictitious brahmin boy Indra, who employed all his thoughts to assimilate himself into the very image of his beloved, and drowned all his bodily pains in the pleasure of his thoughts of her. 21 Think of the manly fortitude of Mandavya who, when he was about to be beheaded, made his mind as detached as marble and was unconscious of his suffering. 22 Think of the sage who fell into a dark pit while his mind was employed in some sacrificial rite. He was taken up to heaven in reward of the merit of his mental sacrifice. 23 Remember also how the ten sons of Indu, by virtue of their persevering tapas, obtained their status as Brahma, which even I have not the power to withhold. 24 There have been many other such sages and master-minds among men and gods who never laid aside their mental energies, whereby they were crowned with success in their proper pursuits. 25 No pain or sickness, no fulmination or threat, no malicious beast or evil spirit can break down the resolute mind, anymore than a lean lotus leaf striking can split the breast of a hard stone.
26 Those who you say have been disturbed by tribulations and persecutions, I understand them as too infirm in their faiths and very weak both in their minds and courage. 27 Men with heedful minds have never been entrapped in the snare of errors in this perilous world. They have never been visited by the demon of despair in their sleeping or waking states.28 Therefore let a man employ himself exercising his own manly powers and engage his mind and mental energy to noble pursuits in the paths of truth and holiness.
29 The enlightened mind forgets its former darkness and sees its objects in their true light. The thought that grows big in the mind swallows it up at last, just as the imagination of a ghost lays hold of a child’s mind. 30 The new reflection effaces the prior impression from the tablet of the mind, just as an earthen pot turning on the potter’s wheel thinks no more of its nature of dirty clay. 31 The mind, O muni, is transformed in a moment to its new model, just like inflated water rises high into waves, spray and foam, glaring with reflections of sunlight.
32 The mind adverse to right investigation sees like the blind, everything in darkness even in broad daylight, and observes by deception two moons for one in the moonshine. 33 Whatever the mind has in view, it soon succeeds in accomplishing. Whether it does anything of good or evil, it reaps the reward accordingly in the gladness or bitterness of his soul. 34 A wrong reflector reflects a thing in a wrong light, just as a distracted lover sees a flame in moonbeams which makes him burn and consume in his state of distraction. 35 It is the conception of the mind that makes salt seem sweet to taste by its giving a flavor to the salted food for our zest and delight. 36 It is our conception that makes us see a forest in the fog, or a tower in the clouds appearing to the sight of the observer to be rising and falling by turns.
37 In this manner, whatever shape the imagination gives to a thing, it appears in the same form before the mind’s sight. Therefore knowing this world of your imagination to be neither a reality nor unreality, stop seeing it and its various shapes and colors as they appear to view.
1 Vasishta said:— Rama, I will now tell you what lord Brahma himself taught me long ago.
2 From the unspeakable Brahma, there sprang all things in their indefinable ideal state. Then the Spirit of God, being condensed by His Will, came to be produced of itself in the form of the Mind. 3 The Mind formed the notions of the subtle elementary principles in itself and became a personal agent. It became a luminous body and was known as Brahma the first Male (purusha). 4 Therefore Rama, know this same Brahma is situated in the Supreme (parameshthi) and, being a personification of the Will of God, is called the Mind.
5 Therefore, the Mind known as Lord Brahma is a form of Divine essence and, being full of desires in itself, sees all that it wills (in their indefinable, ideal forms) present before it. 6 The mind then framed or fell of itself into the delusion of seeing its ideal images as substantial. Therefore, it is said that the world of phenomena is the work of Brahma.
7 The world proceeds in this order from the Supreme Essence. This is why some suppose that its dull material particles came into being from another source. 8 It is from that Brahma, O Rama, that all things situated in this concave world are in being, like waves rising on the surface of the deep. 9 The self existent Brahma that exists in the form of consciousness (chit) before creation assumes the attribute of egoism (ahamkara) and becomes manifest in the person of Brahma. 10 All the other powers of Consciousness that are concentrated in the personality of Ego are equivalent to those of Omnipotence.
11 The world, being evolved from the eternal ideas in Divine Consciousness, manifests itself in the mind of the great father of all, Brahma. 12The Mind thus moving and modeling all things is called the individual soul (jiva). 13 These individual souls rise and move about in the empty sphere of infinite Consciousness (chidakasa). These unfold by the elementary particles of matter and pass into the open space surrounded by air. Then they reside in the fourteen kinds of animated nature according to the merit and demerit of their prior acts. They enter bodies through the passage of their vital breath, and become the seeds of moving and immovable beings. 14 They are then born of the generative organ, and are suddenly met with the desires of their previous births. Thus led on by the currents of their wishes, they live to reap the reward or retribution of their good or bad acts in the world. 15 Thus bound fast to action and fettered in the meshes of desire, individual souls enchained in their bodies continue to rove about or rise and fall by turns in this changeful world. 16 Scriptures say their wish is the cause of their happiness or sorrow, which is inseparable from the soul as will is from the mind.
17 Thousands of individual souls are falling off as quickly as the leaves of forest trees. Carried away by the force of their pursuits, they are rolling about like fallen leaves blown upward by the breeze in the valleys. 18 Many are brought down by their ignorance of Divine Consciousness (chit) and are bound to innumerable births on this earth, subject to unending reincarnations in various births. 19 There are some who, having passed many mean births in this earth, have risen high in the scale of beings by their tapas to better acts. 20 Same persons acquainted with spirituality have reached their state of perfection and have gone to heaven, like particles of seawater carried into the air by blowing winds.
21 The production of all beings is from the Supreme Brahma, but their appearance and disappearance in this frail world are caused by their own actions. Hence the yogi without actions is free from both these states.
22 Our desires are poisonous plants bearing the fruits of pain and disappointment. They lead us to actions filled with dangers and difficulties. 23These desires drive us to different countries and to distant hills and valleys in search of gain. 24 This world, O Rama, is a jungle of withered trees and brambles. It requires the axe of reason to clear away these trees and bushes. So our minds and bodies are only plants and trees of our sorrow which, when rooted out by the axe of reason, will grow no more as reincarnations on this earth.
1 Vasishta said:— Now hear me relate to you, Rama, the several classes of higher, lower and middling species of beings, and the various grades of their existence here and elsewhere in the scale of creation.
2 The first class in birth (idam-prathama) were the first to be produced. They are those whose long practice in a course of virtuous actions in prior states has secured to them the property of only goodness.
3 The second grade is called state of sound qualities (guna pivari). This is attained by the prosperous and leads them to meritorious deeds, to the acquisition of their desired objects, and their right dealing in the affairs of the world.
4 The third grade is termed substantiality (sasatwa) or the state of men of substance. It is attended with like results, proportioned to the righteous and unrighteous acts of men, who may obtain their liberation after a hundred reincarnations of their souls on earth.
5 The fourth grade (atyanta tamasi) comprises infatuated people who are addicted to their varying desires in this changeful world 6 and come to the knowledge of truth after passing a thousand lives in ignorance and sin, and suffering the effects proportionate to their good or evil deeds.
7 The fifth grade is composed of men of a baser nature, called adhama-satwa by the wise, and who may possibly have their liberation after a course of numberless births in different shapes and forms.
8 The sixth grade is composed of those men involved in extreme darkness (atyanta tamasi) who are doubtful of their liberation (sandigdha-moksha) and continue in the vicious course of their past lives.
9 Those who pass two or three previous births in other states and are then born with the quality of gentleness are in the seventh grade, called the gentry (rajashi). 10 The wise say that those who remain mindful of their duties and are employed in discharge of them in this state of life are entitled to their liberation soon after their death.
11 Those among the gentry (rajashi), whose acts are commensurate with those of gentlemen and the nobility, are included in the eighth class and are called nobility (raja satwiki) and are entitled to their liberation after a few births on earth.
12 The ninth class comprises the noble nobility (raja-rajashi) whose actions conform with their title, and who obtain their long longed-for liberation after a course of hundred births in the same state.
13 The next or tenth class is composed of the blinded gentry (rajatamasi) who act foolishly under their infatuation and who are uncertain of their liberation even after a thousand births. 14 The most giddy of this class are called the excessively infatuated gentry (atyanta-raja-tamashi). Their conduct in life corresponds with their name and their reincarnations do not cease at anytime. 15 Then the lower classes comprise the children of ignorant darkness (tamas) of whom the tamasas form the eleventh grade, and are said to be deprived of their liberation forever more. 16 However, there have been a few among them who have obtained their salvation by means of their divine knowledge, and their good acts during their lifetime.
17 Next follows the twelfth order who combine the qualities of darkness and enlightenment (tamasa-rajasa) and who are liberated after a thousand births in their former demonic state, and one hundred births in their progressive improvements.
18 Then comes the thirteenth order of those in darkest darkness (tamas-tamasi) who have to reincarnate for millions of years, both in their prior and later births, before they can have their liberation from the bondage of body.
19 Last comes the fourteenth order of beings, who continue in their state of gross ignorance (atyanta-tamasi) forever, and it is doubtful whether they can have their liberation at all.
20 All other masses of living beings also have proceeded from the body of the great Brahma, just as the moving waves rise from the great body of waters. 21 As the lamp flickering by its own heat scatters its light on all sides, so does Brahma glowing in himself radiate his beams in the shape of a glittering particle spread all over the universe. 22 As sparks are flung by the force of a burning fire, so these multitudes of produced beings rise from the substance of Brahma himself. 23 As the dust and filaments of mandara flowers fly and fill the air on all sides, and as moonbeams shoot out of its orb to fill the four quarters of heaven and earth, so the minutiae of divine essence emanate from the Deity and spread throughout the universe.
24 As the variegated tree produces its leaves and flowers of various colors from itself, so the varieties of created beings spring from one Brahma, the source of all. 25 As gold ornaments relate to the metal gold of which they are made and wherein they exist, so all things and persons are in relation to Brahma, out of whom they have sprung and in whom they abide. 26 As drops of water are related to the pure water of the waterfall, so Rama are all things related to the uncreated Brahma from which they issue as like drops. 27 As the air in a pot or about a basin is the same as the air that surrounds heaven, so all individual objects are the same with the undivided spirit of the all-pervading Brahma.
28 As raindrops and drops of water from water spouts, whirlpools and waves are identical with their parent waters, so are all these sights of phenomena the same as the great Brahma from where they spring and where they exist and subside. 29 As a mirage, by the fluctuation of sunbeams on sand, presents the appearance of a swelling sea wave, so all visible objects show themselves to the sight of the spectator, beside which they have no figure or form of themselves. 30 Like cooling moonbeams and burning sunlight, so all things shine with their different luster derived from Brahma. 31 It is He from whom all things have risen, and it is to Him that they return in their time; some after reincarnations of a thousand births, and others after longer periods of transmigrations in various bodies.
32 All these various forms of beings in the multiform world are moving in their respective spheres by the will of the Lord. They come and go, rise and fall, and shine in their transitory forms, like the sparks of fire, fluttering and sparkling for a moment, then falling and becoming extinct forever.
1 Vasishta said:— There is no difference between acts and agent. They have sprung together from the same source of their creator. They are the simultaneous growth of nature like flowers and their fragrance.
2 When human souls are freed from their desires, they are united with the Supreme Soul of Brahma, just like the blueness of the sky, which appears distinct to the eyes of the ignorant, is found to be joined with the clear firmament.
3 Know, O Rama, that it is for the understanding of the ignorant that we say that individual souls have sprung from Brahma. In reality, they are only shadows of the same. 4 Therefore it is not right for the enlightened to say that such and such things are produced from Brahma when there is nothing that exists apart or separate from him. 5 It is a mere fiction of speech to speak of the world as creation or production, but it is difficult to explain the subject and object of the lecture without the use of such fictitious language. 6 Hence the language of dualists and pluralists is adopted in monotheistic doctrines as figures of speech, just as they are in use in the popular language: this one is Brahma or Divine Soul, and those others are the individual souls.
7 It has been explained that the concrete world springs from the discrete Brahma because the production of something is the same as its material cause, though it seems different from it to common understanding. 8 Multitudes of living beings, rising like the rocks of Meru and Mandara Mountains, are joined with the main range from which they jut out. 9 Thousands and thousands of living beings are constantly produced from their common source, like the innumerable offshoots of forest trees filling the woodland sky with their variegated foliage. 10 An infinity of living beings will continue to spring from Brahma, like blades of grass sprouting from the earth below. They will likewise be reduced to Brahma, like the seasonal plants of spring that die in the hot weather of summer. 11 There is no counting the living creatures that exist at anytime, and what numbers are being born and are dying at any moment.
12 Men with their duties proceed from the same divine source, like flowers growing with their fragrance from the same stem. All these subside in the same receptacle from where they arise. 13 We see different tribes of demons, brutes, men and gods in this world coming into existence from non-existence, and this is repeated without end. 14 We see no other cause for their continuous revolution in this manner, except the forgetfulness of their reminiscence, which makes them oblivious of their original state and makes them conform with every mode of their reincarnation into new forms.
15 Rama said, “For lack of such memory, I think that obeying the dictates of the infallible scriptures promulgated by the sages, and based on the authority of the Vedas, is the surest way for the salvation of mankind. 16 And I reckon those men as holy and perfect who are possessed of the virtues of the great, have magnanimity and equanimity of their souls, and have received the light of the unknowable Brahma in them. 17 I reckon two things to be the two eyes of the ignorant that allow them to discern the path of salvation. One is their good conduct and the other their knowledge of the scriptures, which follows the former. 18 Because one who is righteous only in his conduct but is without knowledge is never taken into account and is slighted by all to be plunged into insignificance and misery.”
19 “Again sage, both men and the Vedas agree that acts and their actors come one after the other, and not as you said both arising simultaneously from their divine origin. 20 Act makes the actor, and the actor does the work. Thus they follow one another like the seed and tree which produce one another. This mutuality of both is seen in the practice of men and ordinances of the Vedas. 21 Acts are the causes of animal births, as the seed gives birth to the sprouts of plants. In turn, works proceed from living beings like the sprouts produce the seeds. 22 The desire that prompts a person to his particular pursuit in his prison house of this world, the same yields him like fruits and no other.”
23 “Such being the case, sage, why did you say that animals are produced from the seed of Brahma without causation from their prior acts? You also said that prior acts cause the birth of animal beings. 24 On one hand, by your position of their simultaneity, you ignored the law of antecedence and sequence of birth and action to one another. 25 Then to say that Brahma is not the origin of actions, and that Brahma and other living beings are subject to their several actions, are self contradictory propositions and opposed to common sense. This question upsets the doctrine of Free Will. 26 Also to say that living beings are born together with their actions (by predestination) and are bound to them to no purpose, is like saying that fish are caught by bait they cannot eat but cause their death.”
27 “Therefore sage, please tell me about the nature of acts, for you are best acquainted with the secrets of things and can well answer my questions on the subject.”
28 Vasishta replied:— My good Rama, you have asked well about this intricate subject. I will now explain to you in a manner that will enlighten your understanding.
29 It is the activity of the mind that forms its thoughts and intentions and which are the roots or seed of actions. It is its passivity that is the recipient of their results. 30 Therefore no sooner did the principle of the mind spring from the essence of Brahma than it was accompanied by its thoughts and actions in the bodies which the living beings assumed according to their prior deserts and inborn desires. 31 As there is no difference between the flower and its fragrance, there is no distinction between the mind and its actions, which are one and the same thing.
32 The exertion of bodily activity is called an action, but the wise well know that action is preceded by a mental action which is called its thought in the mind. 33 It is possible to deny the existence of material objects like air, water, hill and others, but it is impossible to deny the operations of our mental faculties, of which we have subjective evidence in ourselves. 34 No deliberate action of the present or past life goes for nothing. All human actions and efforts are attended with their just results, to which they are properly directed.
35 As ink ceases to be ink without its inky blackness, so the mind ceases to exist without the action of its mental operations. 36 Cessation of mental activity is attended with cessation of thought, and stillness of the mind is accompanied with a cessation of actions. The liberated are free from both of these, but those who are not liberated from neither. 37 The mind is ever united with its activity as fire with its heat, and the lack of either mind or action means the extinction of both. 38 The mind, ever restless in itself, becomes identified with the actions proceeding from its activity. In turn, the actions, whether good or bad, become identified with the mind which feels their just rewards and punishments.
Hence Rama, you see the inseparable connection between mind and acts. They reciprocate their actions and reactions upon each other.
The mind is mere thought, and thought is the mind in motion. Its actions are directed by the nature of the thoughts, and the result of the acts is felt by everybody in his mind.
2 Rama said, “Sage, please explain in more detail the immaterial mind as opposed to the material body, and its inseparable property of will or volition.”
3 Vasishta replied:—
The nature of the mind is known to be composed of the property of will, which is an attribute of the infinite and almighty power of the Supreme Soul. 4 The mind is known to be of the form of that self-moving principle which determines men’s doubt between the affirmative and negative sides (as whether it is so or not). 5 The mind is known to be of the form of ego, which is ignorant of the self-manifesting soul of God and believes itself to be the subject of its thoughts and actions. 6 The mind is of the nature of imagination (kalpana) which is always busy in its operations. Therefore the inactivity of the mind is as impossible in this world as it is for an intelligent man not to think.
7 As there is no difference in the essence of fire and heat, so there is no difference whatever between mind and its activity, and so between the mind and soul.
8 The mind is known by many names according to its various faculties and functions, its various thoughts and desires, and their manifold operations and consequences. 9 The Divine Mind is said to be distributed into all souls by mistake and without any reason, because the All is without any substance or substratum and is indivisible in its nature. It is a mere fabrication of our desires and fancies to diversify it in different persons. 10 Whoever has set his desire in anything as if it were a reality, finds the same to be attended with the like fruit as he had expected of it. 11It is the movement of the mind that is said and perceived by us to be the source of our actions, and the actions of the mind are as various as the branches, leaves and fruits of trees.
12 Whatever is determined by the mind is readily brought into performance by the external organs of action. Therefore, because the mind is the cause of action, it is identified with the effect.
13Mind, understanding, egoism, intellect, consciousness, action and imagination, together with memory, desire, ignorance, and effort are all synonyms of the mind. 14 Sensation, nature, delusion and actions are also words applied to the mind to bewilder one’s understanding. 15 The simultaneous collision of many sensations diverts the mind from its clear sight of the object of its thought, and causes it to turn about in many ways.
16 Rama asked, “How is it sage, that so many words with different meanings were invented to express the transcendent cause of our consciousness (the mind), and heap them on the same thing solely for our confusion?”
17 Vasishta replied:—
As man began to lose sight of his consciousness and labored under suppositions about his self, he found the mind to be the waking principle within him. 18 When man, after considering himself and other things, comes to understand them in their true light, he is then said to have his understanding (buddhi). 19 When man by false conception of himself assumes a personality by his pride, he is called an egoist, with the principle of ego or egoism causing his bondage on earth. Absolute egoism is doubting everything other than individual self-existence.
20 Thought passes from one object to another in quick succession and, like the whims of children, shifts from one thing to another without forming a right judgment of any. 21 The mind is identified with acts done by the exercise of a power immanent in itself as the agent. The result of the actions, whether physical or moral, good or bad, returns to the mind in their effects.
22 The mind is said to be fanciful because it holds onto fleeting fantasies and ignores its solid and certain truths. It is also called imagination because it presents various images of the objects of its desire (ihita kalpana). It is called kakataliya sanyoga or accidental assemblage of fancied objects. It is defined as the agglutinative and associative power that accumulates materials for imagination. 23 Memory or retention is the power of the mind to retain an image, whether known or unknown before, as if it were a certainty already known. When attended with the effort of recalling it to the mind, it is called recollection. 24 Cravings to possess objects of past enjoyment, and the mind’s efforts to attain other things, are called its desires.
25 When the mind’s clear sight of the light of the soul or self is hidden by the shadow of other gross things which appear to be real instead of the true spiritual, it is called ignorance. It is another name for deluded understanding. 26 The next is doubt, which entraps the dubious mind in the snare of skepticism and tends to destroy the soul by causing it to disbelieve and forget the Supreme Spirit.
27 The mind is called sensation because all its actions of hearing, feeling, seeing, smelling, thinking and enjoying serve to delight the senses which convey the impressions back to the mind. 28 The mind that views all phenomena of nature in the Supreme Spirit and takes outward nature as a copy of the eternal mind of God, is called nature itself.
29 The mind is called maya or magic because it converts the real into unreal, and the unreal into real. Showing realities as unrealities and thevice-versa by turns, the mind is called error or mistake of our judgment, giving assent to what is untrue and its contrary. The causes of error are said to be ignorance (avidya) and passions (tamas). 30 The actions of the physical organs of senses are seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling, but the mind is the cause of both actions and their acts.
31 The intellect (chit), bewildered in its view of the intellectual world (chetyas), manifests itself in the form of the mind and becomes the subject of the various functions that are attributed to it. 32 Being changed into the category of the mind, consciousness loses its original state of purity and becomes subject to a hundred desires of its own making. 33 Its abstract knowledge of general truths becomes shadowed by its preconceptions of concrete and discrete gross bodies, so it comes to the knowledge of numbers and parts and is overwhelmed by the multiplicity of its thoughts and its objects of desire.
34 Consciousness is variously named the living principle and the mind by most people on earth, but it is known as exercise of intellect and understanding (chitta and buddhi) by the wise.
35 The learned give the intellect, spoiled by falling away from the sole Supreme Soul, various names according to its successive phases and functions. The wise give intellect such different names because it spoiled by its various desires and the variety of their objects.
36 Rama said, “O sir, you are acquainted with all truths. Please tell me whether the mind is a material or immaterial thing. So far I have been unable to determine this.”
37 Vasishta replied:—
The mind, O Rama, is not completely a gross substance or completely an intelligent principle. Originally it is as intelligent as consciousness, but being sullied by the evils of the world and the passions and desires of the body, it takes the name of the mind. 38 Consciousness (chit), which is the cause of the world, is called heart (chitta) when it is situated in the bosom of sentient bodies with all its affections and feelings (avilam). Then it has a nature between goodness and badness.
39 When the heart lacks a uniform certainty to its purpose and a steadiness in itself, it feels inside and reflects all the changes and vicissitudes of the outer world. 40 Consciousness hanging between its own intelligence and a belief in gross objects takes the name of the mind. It is spoiled by contact with outward objects. 41 When the action of consciousness or the faculty of the intellect’s reasoning is weakened by sensations and becomes dull by its inward impurity, then it is called the mind which is neither a gross material thing nor an intelligent spiritual principle.
42 The intellectual principle is called by many names, such as mind, understanding, ego, and the individual soul or principle of animation. 43The mind bears its different names according to the variety of its functions, just like an actor in a theatre appears under different names and costumes depending on his dramatic parts on the stage. 44 As a man passes under many titles according to his various occupations and professions, so the mind takes different names according to the various operations of its nature.
45Besides the names that I have already mentioned for the mind, the disputants in mental philosophy have invented many others agreeably to their diverse theories. 46 They have attributed many names to the mind according to the views in which they want to exhibit its nature, such as calling it intellect, understanding or sensation and so forth. 47 One takes it as dull matter and another as the living principle. Someone calls it ego, while others apply the term understanding.
48 Rama, I have told you that individual ego, mind, the light of understanding, and the will to create are only different properties of the one and same internal principle. 49 Nyaya philosophy has taken the mind in different lights according to its own view of them. The Sankhya system explains perception and senses in a way peculiar to itself. 50 In this manner, all these terms are taken in very different meanings by the different systems of Mimamsa, Vaiseshika, Arhata and Buddhist philosophy. The Pancharatra and some other systems have given them particular meanings inconsistent with one another. 51 All these various doctrines, arising at different times and in distant countries, lead at last to the same Supreme Being, like the very many different ways leading their passengers to the same imperial city. 52 Ignorance of this supreme truth and misunderstanding among conflicting doctrines cause the adherents of different systems and sects to carry on endless and bitterly acrimonious disputes among themselves. 53 The disputants maintain their particular positions by their respective dogmatism, just like passengers persist in their accustomed paths as the best suited to them.
54 It is wrong to say that everything is the fruit of our acts, and therefore mankind should only be concerned about the performance of their actions. According to men’s various perspectives, they have come up with their explanations in their own ways.
55 The mind receives its various names from its different functions, just like a man is called an early bather (snataka) from his acts of sacred ablutions and a donor from his religious gifts. 56 As the actor gets many titles according to the different characters he performs, so the mind takes the name of a living being (jiva) from its animation of the body and its desires. 57 The mind is also said to be the heart that is perceived by everybody as residing within himself. A man without heart has no feeling or sensation. 58 It is the heart that feels the inner pleasure or pain derived from sight or touch, hearing or smelling, and eating and drinking of pleasurable or painful things. 59 As light shows the colors of things to sight, so the mind is the organ that reflects and shows the sensations of all sensible objects in the head.
60 Whoever thinks the mind is a dull material substance, or whose gross understanding cannot understand the nature of consciousness, is the dullest of beings. 61 The mind is neither intelligence (chetana) nor inert matter (jada). It is individual ego that has sprung amidst the various joys and grief in this world. 62 The mind that is one with Divine Consciousness perceives the world as absorbed into itself. But the mind polluted with matter falls into the error of taking the world for real.
63 Know Rama, that neither the pure immaterial intellect nor matter as gross as inert stone can be the cause of the material world. 64 Know then, O Raghava, that neither intelligence nor inertia is the cause of the world. The mind is the cause of visible objects, just as the mind is the light which unfolds them to view. 65 Where there is no mind, there is no perception of the outer world. Dull matter does not know of the existence of anything. Everything is extinct with the extinction of the mind.
66 The mind has many synonyms depending on its many activities, just like the one continuous duration of time undergoes a hundred different names depending on the variations of its times and seasons.
67 If ego is not recognized as a mental action, and if sensations are reckoned as actions of the body, then the name “living principle” still applies to all acts of the body and mind. 68 Whatever names or qualities of the mind are mentioned in the reasoning of different systems of philosophy, and sometimes by the advocates of an opinion, and at other times by their adversaries, 69 they are neither intelligible nor distinguishable from one another. They are all powers of the same mind which, like the flowing sea, pours its waters into innumerable outlets.
70 As soon as men begin to attribute materialistic powers and force to the nature of pure consciousness, they fall into the error of these varieties of their own making. 71 As a spider lets out its thread from itself, in the same manner the inert has sprung from consciousness and matter has come into existence from the ever active spirit of Brahma. 72 Ignorance has introduced various opinions concerning the essence of the mind. From this arose the various different expressions among opponents, all of which have the same meaning, Consciousness.
73 The same pure Consciousness is labeled the mind, understanding, living principle and egoism. The same is expressed by the words intelligence, heart, animation and many other synonyms which, being taken as meaning the same thing, should put an end to all dispute.
1 Rama said, “O venerable sage, from all you have explained, I come to understand that this grandeur of the universe, being the work of the Divine Mind, is all derived from the same.”
2 Vasishta answered:— As already said, the Mind having assumed a substantial form manifested itself like water in a mirage raised by the shining blaze of its own light. 3 The mind within the Spirit of Brahma became one with the contents of the world, now showing itself in the form of man, and now appearing as a god. 4 Somewhere he shows himself as a demon and at another place like a yaksha. Here he was as a gandharva, and there in the form of a kinnara. 5 The vast expanse of the Mind includes the many countries and pictures of many cities and habitable places. 6 Such being the capacity of the mind, there is no counting the millions of bodies contained within it, like the trees and plants in a forest. All those are not worth our consideration in our inquiry about the mind.
7 It was this mind that spread out the world with all its contents. Other than the mind, there exists nothing but the Supreme Spirit. 8 The soul is beyond every category. It is omnipresent and the substratum of all existence. It is by the power of this soul that the mind moves and manifests itself.
9 The mind is known as the cause of the body. The body is work of the mind. The mind is born and becomes extinct with the body, which the soul does not. The soul has no quality that belongs to the mind. 10 By right reasoning, the mind is found to be a perishable object. When the mind perishes, the individual soul attains final liberation. The desires of the mind are the bondage of its reincarnation, but the dissolution of the mind and its desires secures its liberation. 11 After mental desires cease there is no more exertion for acts. This state is called liberation of individual souls from trouble and care. The mind thus released, never comes to be born and die again.
12 Rama said, “Sage, you have said before that human nature is principally of three kinds: the good, the gentle and the base (satva, rajas andtamas), and it is owing to the good or bad nature of their minds that men differ from one another. 13 Now please tell me, how could the wonderful mind with its good or bad propensities that are lacking in Divine Consciousness originate from pure Consciousness?”
14 Vasishta replied:— Rama, know that there are three spheres of infinite emptiness that are at immense distances from one another. These are the intellectual, mental and physical spheres. 15 These environments are common to all mankind and they are spread out everywhere. They have all sprung and come to being from the essence of Divine Consciousness (chit).
16 Space is both inside and outside of everything, pervading throughout all nature. Space implies being occupied by something or its absence. Space is called the empty sphere of Consciousness. 17 Space is called the sphere of Consciousness which embraces all space and time and which has spread out the other spheres or environments. Consciousness is the highest and best of all.
18 The physical sphere (bhutakasha, element-space) contains all created beings and extends to all ten directions about, above and below us. It is a space filled with air that supports the clouds and waters above the sky. 19 Then the emptiness of the mental sphere (chittakasha, mind-space), which has also sprung from the sphere of consciousness (chidakasha, consciousness-space), likewise has consciousness for its cause like the others, as the day is the source of all works and animal activities. 20 What we call the mind is the spoiled intellect that views itself as a dull thing amidst the gross material objects of the physical sphere. It thinks of both spheres from where it is born and where it is placed.
21 I have made use of the metaphor of spheres for the understanding of the unenlightened. Figures are used to instruct the unenlightened and not to lighten the enlightened. 22 In the consciousness sphere, you will see one Supreme Brahma filling its whole space, without parts or attributes, and intelligible only to the enlightened. 23 The ignorant need to be instructed with appropriate words and precise language showing the distinction between monotheism and belief in two gods, which is unnecessary for the instruction of the enlightened. 24 I have contrived to explain to you the nature of divine knowledge, by the parable of the three spheres, which will enlighten you as long as you are in dark on the subject.
25 The consciousness sphere is hidden by ignorance, so we are led to look into the mental and physical spheres. They are as delusive as sunbeams in a mirage, and as destructive as the flames of fire.
26 Pure consciousness, being changed to the state of the changeful mind, takes a debased figure. Then being confounded in itself, the mind weaves the magic web of the world in which it becomes entangled. 27 The ignorant guided by the dictates of their perverted minds know nothing about the nature of consciousness, which is identical with the Supreme. So the witless who unwittingly mistake white shells for bright silver are seen to labor under their delusion, until they are freed from it by the clear light of their understanding.
1 Whatever may be the origin and nature of the human heart (which some take to be the mind), it should be always inquired into if seeking one’s own liberation.
2 The heart fixed in the Supreme becomes purified of its worldly desires and attachments. Then, O Rama, it perceives in itself that soul which transcends all imaginations of the mind. 3 The province of the heart is to secure the stillness of the world in itself. It lies in the power of the heart either to become trapped or get its freedom from the desires and troubles of the world.
4 On this subject there hangs a curious tale relating the legend of the heart. Brahma himself told me the story a long ago, which I will now share it with you, Rama, if you will listen with attention.
5 There is a long, open and dreary desert named Ramatavi that was quite still and solitary and without an inhabitant. It was so vast that a pace in it was equal to a league. 6 In it stood a man of a terrific and gigantic figure, with a sorrowful face and troubled mind, having a thousand arms and a thousand eyes. 7 He held many clubs and maces in his many arms, and he was using them to strike his own back and breast, then running away in this direction and that. 8 Having struck himself fast and hard with his own hands, he fled a hundred leagues for fear of someone laying a hold of him. 9 Thus striking and crying and fleeing, he became tired and spent and lank in his legs and arms.
10 He fell flat with his languid limbs in a large blind pit, amidst the deep gloom of a dark night and in the depth of a dire dark cave. 11 After a long time, he scrambled out of the pit with difficulty, and again continued as before, running away and striking himself with his own hands. 12 He ran a long way until at last he fell upon a thorny thicket of karanja plants that caught him tightly in its brambles, like a moth or grasshopper caught in a flame. 13 With much difficulty, he extricated himself from the prickles of the karanja thickets and began to beat himself as before, and run in his wonted course as usual.
14 Having gone a great way off from that place, he arrived at a grove of plantain trees under cooling moonbeams, where he sat for a while with a smiling face. 15 Then he left the plantain grove and went running and beating himself in his usual way. 16 Going again a great way in his hurry, and being exhausted in all his limbs and his whole body, he fell down again in a great and darksome ditch. 17 Rising from the ditch, he entered a plantain forest, and coming out from that spot, he fell into another ditch, then in another karanja thicket. 18 Thus he was falling into one ditch after rising from thorny bushes, and repeatedly beating himself and crying in secret.
19 I saw him going on in this way for a long time, then with all my force, I rushed forward and stopped him. 20 I asked, “Who are you, sage, and why do you act in this manner? What business have you in this place, and why do you wail and trouble yourself for nothing?”
21 O Rama, he answered me saying, “I am nobody, O sage! Nor am I doing any such thing as you are saying. 22 You have stricken me here and you are my greatest enemy. You have seen me here and you persecute me, both to my great sorrow and delight.” 23 Saying so, he looked sorrowfully at his bruised body and limbs, then cried aloud and wept a flood of tears that fell like a shower of rain on the forest ground. 24 After a short while he ceased weeping, then looking at his limbs, he laughed and cried aloud in his joy. 25 After his laughter and loud shouts were over, hear, O Rama, what the man next did before me.
He began to tear off and separate the members of his big body, and cast them away on all sides. 26 He first let his big head fall, then his arms, and afterwards his breast and his belly also. 27 Thus the man, having cut off the parts of his body one after another, was now ready to remove himself elsewhere with only his legs, by the decree of his destiny.
28 After he had gone, another man appeared to my sight. He had the same form and figure as the previous one, and striking his own body like the other. 29 He kept running with his big legs and outstretched stout arms until he fell into the pit, from where he rose again and resumed his flight as before. 30 He fell into a pond, then rose and ran with his body wringing with pain. He fell again in hidden caves, then moved to the cooling shade of forest trees. 31 For some time, and to my horror and surprise, I watched him now ailing, now regaling, and now torturing himself with his own hands. 32 I stopped him and asked what he was doing, to which he answered by returning to crying and laughter by turns. 33 Finding at last his body and limbs losing their strength, he thought upon the power of destiny and the state of human lot, and was prepared to depart.
34 I saw yet another following him on the same desert path. He also had been flying and torturing himself in the same way as the others before him. 35 He fell into the same dark pit in his flight. I stood there for some time watching his sad and fearful plight. 36 Finding after a long time that this wretched man was not climbing out of the pit, I advanced to help him up when I saw another man following his footsteps. 37 Seeing him to be of the same form and hastening to his impending fall in the doleful pit, I ran to stop him with the same question I had asked the others before. 38 But, O lotus-eyed Rama, the man paid no heed to my question and only said, “You must be a fool to know nothing of me. 39 You wicked brahmin!” he said to me, then went on in his course. I kept wandering in that dreadful desert in my own way.
40 I saw many such men coming one after the other to their unavoidable ruin. Though I addressed each and every one of them, yet they softly glided away by me, like phantoms in a dream. 41 Some of them gave no heed to what I said, like a man pays no attention to a dead body. Some among the pit-fallen had the good fortune of rising again. 42 Some were unable to get out of the plantain grove for a long while, and others were lost forever in the thorns and thistles of karanja thickets. 43 There were some pious persons among them who had no place for their homes, even though that great desert was so very extensive, as I have told you already.
44 This vast desert still exists, together with these sorts of men in it. That place is well known to you, Rama, as the common range of mankind. Do you remember it now, with all the culture of your mind from your early youth? 45 O that dreadful desert is this world, filled with thorns and dangers on all sides. It is a dark desert amid a thick spread darkness. Nobody who comes here finds peace and quiet in his heart except those who have acquired divine knowledge, which makes it a rose garden to them.
1 Rama said, “What is that great desert, sage? When did I see it and how did I come to know it? Who were those men and what were they doing?”
2 Vasishta replied:— Attend O great-armed Rama, and I will tell you all. That great desert is not distant or different from this wilderness of the world. 3 That which bears the name of the world is a deep and dark abyss in itself. Its hollowness is unfathomable and impassable. Its unreality appears as reality to the ignorant, and it is the great desert spoken of before.
4 True reality is obtainable only by the light of reason, and only by the knowledge of one object. This one is full without union with any other. It is one and only by itself.
5 The big bodied men you saw wandering, they are the minds of men bound to the miseries of the world. 6 Their observer was Reason personified as myself. Only I by my guiding reason and no other person could discern the folly of their minds. 7 It is my business to awaken drowsy minds to the light of reason, just as it is the work of the sun by his enlivening rays to open lotus buds to bloom. 8 My counsels have prevailed on some minds and hearts that have received them with attention, and they have turned away from earthly troubles to the way of true contentment and tranquility.
9 But there were others who paid no attention to my lectures because of their great ignorance. They fell down into the pit after I scolded them with reproofs and rebukes. 10 Those deep and dark pits were no other than the pits of hell. The plantain groves that I described were the Nandana gardens of paradise. 11 These gardens are the place of those minds that long for heavenly joys. The dark pits are the homes of hellish hearts that can never get their release from those dark dungeons. 12 Those who, having once entered the plantain grove and never come out, are the minds of the virtuous filled with all their virtues.
13 Those who fell into karanja thickets and were unable to extricate themselves from the thorns are the minds of men entangled in the snares of the world. 14 Some minds that were enlightened with the knowledge of truth got released from the snares, but the unenlightened are bound to repeated reincarnations. 15 Souls subject to rebirth have their repeated rises and falls, from higher to lower births, and likewise vice-versa.
16 The thick thicket of karanja brambles represents the bonds of conjugal and family relations. They are the source of various human desires that are springs of all other sorrows, difficulties and dangers. 17 Minds stuck in karanja bushes are those repeatedly born in human bodies and repeatedly entangled in domestic attachments from which all other animals are quite free.
18 O support of Raghu’s race, the plantain grove that I described was cooling with moonbeams. Know that it is the refreshing arbor of heaven that gives delight to the soul. 19 Those persons are placed here who have their bodies filled with virtuous deeds and edified by persevering tapas and austerities, and whose souls are elevated above others.
20 Those ignorant, thoughtless and unmindful men who slighted my advice were themselves slighted by their own minds which were deprived of the knowledge of their own souls and of their reason. 21 Those who told me, “We are undone at your sight, and you are our greatest enemy,” were demented fools, melting away with their lamentations. 22 Those who were loudly wailing, weeping a flood of tears, were men who were bitterly sad in their minds because they were snatched from the snare of pleasures to which they had been so fondly attached. 23 Those having a little sense and reason, but not arriving to the pure knowledge of God, bitterly complained in their hearts for being forced to give up their fond enjoyments of life. 24 Those who came to their understanding wept over the pains they had inflicted on their bodies for the support of their families, and were grieved in their minds to leave behind the objects of their care, for whom they had taken such pains.
25 The minds that had some light of reason, but had not yet arrived to divine knowledge, were still sorrowing for having to leave behind their own bodies where they had their previous life. 26 Those who smiled in the cheerfulness of their hearts were men who had come to the light of reason, and it was their reason that gave consolation to their hearts. 27 The reasonable soul, removed from its bondage of the world, exults with joy to find itself liberated from the cares of life. 28 Those men who laughed to scorn their battered and shattered bodies were happy to think about how they had rid themselves of the confines of their bodies and limbs, the accomplices of their actions. 29 Those who laughed with scorn to see their falling body parts were happy to think in their minds that they were no better than instruments to their various labors in the world.
30 Those who had come to the light of reason and had found their rest in the supreme state of joy, from a distance looked down with scorn upon the former homes of their meanness. 31 The man I stopped who asked with concern (about what he was going to do) was made to understand how the power of wisdom could endure the desperate. 32 The weakened limbs that gradually disappeared from sight meant the subjection of the members of the body to the control of the mind that is freed from its corruption by riches.
33 The man with a thousand arms and eyes is a symbol of the covetous mind which looks to and longs after everything, and wants to grasp all things, as with so many hands. 34 The man striking himself with his blows symbolized the torments that a man inflicts on his own mind by the strokes of his anxieties and cares. 35 The man running away striking hard blows upon his body signified how the mind runs all about, being lashed at every moment by the strokes of his unsatisfied desires. 36 The man who afflicts himself with his own desires, then flies this way and that, signifies his fool-heartedness to hunt after everything and be a runaway from himself.
37 Thus every man is harassed by his ceaseless desires and yearns in his mind to fly to his Maker and set his heart to yoga meditation. 38 All these ceaseless sorrows are the making of one’s own mind, which being worried at last by its constant anxieties, strives to retire from them and find its final repose in meditation. 39 The mind is trapped in the net of its own wishes, just like the silk worm is trapped in the cocoon by the thread of its own making. 40 The more a man’s mind is afflicted by troubles, the more busily is it employed in its moral weaknesses, just like a boy indulges himself in his playfulness, unmindful of the evils waiting upon it. 41 The mind of man is in the same plight as that of a foolish ape who straddles a half split timber, struggles to pull it out, and looses its life by smashing its own testicles.
42 No flight can release the mind unless it is practiced to resignation, restrained from its other pursuits, and constrained to the continued practice of pious meditation, which only can relieve its sorrows. 43 The mind’s misjudgments cause accumulated sorrows that increase in height like the peak of a mount. It is the government of the mind that melts our sorrows, like hoarfrost under sunbeams.
44 Throughout your lifetime, accustom your mind to the righteous ways pointed out by the scriptures. Restrain your appetites, govern your passions, and observe the silence of holy saints and sages. At last you will arrive at the holy state of holies and rest under the cooling shade of holiness. You shall no more have to grieve under the disasters that happen to all mankind.
1 Vasishta continued:— I have told you how the mind originates from the essence of the Supreme Being. It is of the same kind, and yet not the same with its source, but like the waves and waters of the sea. 2 The minds of the enlightened are not different from the Divine Mind because those who have knowledge of the community of waters do not regard the waves as different from the waters of the sea. 3 The minds of the unenlightened are the causes of their error, because those not knowing the common property of water find a difference between waves and the sea.
4 For the instruction of the unlearned, it is necessary to teach them about the relationship between significant words and their meanings.
5 The Supreme Brahman is omnipotent, full and perfect and without decay forever. The mind does not have these properties that belong to the omnipresent soul. 6 The Lord is almighty and omnipresent and distributes his all-diffusive power in proportion as he pleases to everyone he likes.7 Observe Rama, how intellectual powers are distributed in all animated bodies, and how His moving force is spread in the air, and His immobility rests in rocks and stones. 8 His power of fluidity is deposited in water, and His power of inflammation is exhibited in fire. His emptiness manifests in vacuum, and His substantiality is in all solid substances. 9 The omnipotence of Brahman is seen to stretch itself to all ten sides of the universe. His power of annihilation is seen in the extinction of beings. His punishment is evident in the sorrows of the miserable. 10 His joy is felt in the hearts of the holy, and His prowess is seen in the bodies of giants. His creative power is known in the works of His creation, and His power of destruction is displayed in the desolation of the world at the end of the great kalpa age.
11 Everything is situated in Brahman, just as the tree is contained in the seed of the same kind and afterwards develops in its roots, sprouts, leaves and branches, and finally its flowers and fruit. 12 The power called the living principle is a reflection of God. It has a nature between the thinking mind and dull matter, and it is derived from Brahman. 13 The nature of God is unchangeable, although it is usual to attribute many varieties to him, just like we call the same vegetable by different names at its different stages of growth, like a germ, a sprout, a shrub, a plant and a tree.
14 Rama, know that the entire world is Brahman who is otherwise called the Ego. He is the all pervading soul and the everlasting stupendous fabric of the cosmos. 15 That property in Him that has the power of thinking is called the mind. The mind appears to be something other than the Soul, thus we falsely see peacock’s feathers in the sky and froth in whirlpools of water. 16 The principles of thought, animation, mind and life are only partial reflections of the Divine Soul. The form of mind is the faculty of thought, just as that of life is the power of motion.
17 Thus the mind, being only the thinking power of Brahman, receives the name of Brahma. This power appearing as a part of the impersonal Brahman is identified with Ego (the personal Brahma). 18 It is our error to differ between the soul and mind, and Brahman and Brahma, because the properties that belong to the mind are the same as those of the self-existent Soul. 19 That which is variously named the principle of mind or thought is the same power of omnipotence that is settled in the mind. 20 So all the properties of the individual soul are contained in and derive from the Universal Soul of Brahma, just like all the properties of vegetation, blossoming and fructification of trees are contained in the season of spring and are dispensed among plants agreeably to their respective soil, climate and other environments.
21 As the earth yields its various fruits and flowers in their season, so the hearts and minds of men entertain their thoughts and passions in their proper times. Some appearing at one time and others at another. 22 As the earth produces its harvests according to their particular soil and season, so the heart and mind exhibit their thoughts and feelings of their own accord, and not caused by another.
23 The numbers and forms that convey ideas, as distinguished from others of the same kind (such as the figures in arithmetic and geometry), are all expressed in words coined by the mind from the mint of the mind of Brahma, the original source of ideas. 24 The mind adopts the same image as the reflections which it receives from without or the thoughts and imaginations it forms of itself. The example of the ten Aindava brothers serves to support this truth. 25 The animating principle (jiva) that is the cause of this creation resides in the Supreme Spirit, like the fluctuation seen over the still waters of the oceans.
26 The intelligent soul, as he beholds the innumerable waves, billows and surges of the sea rolling on the surface of the waters, sees these hosts of creation to be moving in the essence of Brahma. 27 There is no other reality that bears a name or form or figure or any action or motion except the Supreme Spirit in which all things move about like waves of sea water. 28 As the rising and falling and continuation and disappearance of waves occur on the surface of the sea by the fluctuation of its waters, so the creation, preservation and annihilation of the universe take place in Brahma by the agency of Brahma himself.
29 It is by the inner heat of his spirit that Brahma causes this world to appear like a mirage in himself. Whatever varieties it presents in its various scenes, they are all expansions and manifestations of the Divine Spirit. 30 All causality and instrumentality, and their effects as well as the production, continuation and destruction of all things, take place in Brahma himself, beside which there is no other cause whatever.
31 There is no craving or pleasure, or any desire or error in he who rests his dependence in the Supreme. How can one have any desire or error in himself who lives in the Supreme Self that is devoid of them? 32 Everything is a form of the Supreme Soul. All things are only forms of the Supreme Soul. The mind also is a form of it, just like a golden ornament is only a form of the gold.
33 The mind that is ignorant of its Supreme Origin is called the individual soul. Its ignorance of the Supreme Soul resembles a friend who has alienated himself from his true friend. 34 The mind misled by its ignorance of the all-intelligent God imagines its own personality to be a reality. It is like one who believes his individual soul to be produced from nothing. 35 The individual soul, although it is a particle of the Supreme Soul, shows itself in this world as no soul at all (but a form of mere physical vitality). So the weak in understanding see two moons in the sky and are unable to distinguish the true moon from the false one.
36 Because the soul is the only real entity, it is improper to speak of its bondage and liberation. The imputation of error to the soul is quite absurd in the sight of lexicographers, who define it as infallible. 37 It is a wrong impression to speak of the bondage of the soul which is ever free from bonds. It is untrue to seek the emancipation of the soul which is always emancipate.
38 Rama asked, “Sometimes the mind is certain, then it becomes uncertain. How then do you say that the mind is not under the bondage of error?”
39 Vasishta answered:— It is a false conceit of the ignorant to imagine its bondage. Emancipation is their imagination, an equally false conception.
40 Ignorance of the Smriti scripture causes one to believe in his bondage and emancipation. In reality there are no such things as bondage and liberation. 41 Imagination represents an unreality as reality, even to men of enlightened understandings, like a rope presents the appearance of a snake even to the wise. 42 The wise man knows no bondage or liberation or any error of any kind. All these three are only ideas of the ignorant.
43 At first the mind, then its bondage and liberation, and afterwards its creation of the unsubstantial material world, are all only fabulous inventions that have come into vogue among men, as the story of the boy of old.
1 Rama said, “Tell me, O chief of sages, the story of the boy that illustrates the Mind.”
2 Vasishta replied:— Hear me Rama, tell you the tale of a silly and stupid boy who once asked his nurse to recite some pretty story for his amusement. 3 With a pleased face and with an accent sweet as honey, the nurse began to relate her fine wrought story for the pleasure of the boy.
4 Once upon a time in a desolate country, there were three high minded and fortunate young princes noted for their virtues and valor. 5 They shone in that vast desolate land resembling the spacious sky, like stars reflected in the expanse of waters below. Two of them were un-begotten and uncreated, and the third was not born of a mother’s womb.
6 Once it happened that these three went out together from their dreary abode to find a better place to live. They had no other companion with them, and they were sad in their minds and long faces as if they were exiled from their native country. 7 Having left that desert land, they set out with their faces looking forward and proceeded onward like the three planets Mercury, Venus and Jupiter in their conjunction.
8 Their bodies, delicate as sirisha flowers, were scorched by the powerful sun shining on their backs. On their way they were dried by the heat of the summer day, like wilted leaves on trees. 9 Their lotus-like feet were singed by the burning sands of their desert path, and they cried aloud like some tender fawns straying from their herd crying, “O Father save us.” 10 The soles of their feet were bruised by the blades of grass, and the joints of their bodies were weakened by the heat of the sun. Their fair forms were covered with dust flying from the ground on their lonely journey.
11 They saw a clump of three trees by the wayside, braided with tufts of spikes upon them and loaded with fruit and flowers hanging down. They were a refuge for birds and desert animals resting above and around them. 12 The first two of these trees did not grow wild, and the third, which was easy to climb, bore no seeds to produce other plants in future. 13 Under the shade of these trees, the three princes were refreshed from the fatigue of their journey. They halted there like the three gods Indra, Vayu and Yama under the thick shady branches of the parijata tree of Paradise. 14 They ate the ambrosial fruits of these trees. They drank their nectar juice to their fill and, after decorating themselves with gulunchagarlands, they resumed their journey.
15 Having gone a long way, around midday they came to a confluence of three rivers flowing with rapid currents and swelling waves. 16 One of these was a dry channel and the other two were shallow with little water in them. They looked like the blinded eyeballs of blind men. 17 The princes, wet with perspiration, bathed joyfully in the almost dried up channel, just like the three gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva wash their sweating limbs in the clear stream of the Ganges. 18 They played a long while in the water and drank it, which was as sweet as milk and cheered their spirits with full satisfaction of their hearts.
19 They resumed their journey and at the end of the day, about sunset, they arrived at their future home, a newly built city standing far away on the height of a hill. 20 There were rows of flags fluttering like lotuses in the clear lake of the blue sky. The loud noise of the songs of the citizens was heard at a distance. 21 Here they saw three beautiful and good looking houses with turrets of gold and gems shining afar, like the peaks of Mount Meru under the blazing sun. 22 Two of these were not the works of art, and the third was without foundation. At last the three princes entered the last of these.
23 They entered this house and sat and walked about with happy faces. Inside, they chanced upon three pots as bright as gold. 24 The first two broke into pieces upon their lifting, and the third was reduced to dust at its touch. The far sighted princes, however, took up the dust and made a new pot with it. It means that though these sheaths are as volatile as air, yet it is possible to employ the vital principle to action. 25 Then these gluttonous princes used the pot to cook a large quantity of rice for their food, amounting to a hundred bushels minus one, enough to live on for their whole lifetime.
26 The princes then invited three brahmins (childhood, youth and age) to the food prepared by them, two of whom (childhood and youth) were bodiless and the third (old age) had no mouth with which to eat. 27 The mouth-less brahmin took a hundred bushels of the rice and ate it up because he had devoured the child and the youth. The princes took the remainder of the brahmin’s food for their meal (which was nothing). 28 The three princes having refreshed themselves with the traces of the brahmin’s food, took their rest in the same house of their next home, then went out on their journey to hunt for new homes (or repeated reincarnations).
29 Thus I have related to you, O Rama, the entire story of the boy and princes. Now consider its significance well in your mind and you will become wise thereby. 30 After the nurse finished telling her pretty parable, the boy seemed happy with what he had heard. 31 I have told you this story, O Rama, in connection with my lecture on the subject of the mind. The story serves to explain how the mind fabricates this imaginary being of the world.
32 This air-built castle of the world which has come to be taken for a reality is like the story of the body, only a false fabrication from the old nurse’s imagination. 33 It is the representation of the various thoughts and ideas of our minds that exhibit themselves to view according to our notions of them in our states of bondage and liberation. 34 Nothing really exists except the creations of our imagination. It is our fancy that fashions all the objects in their peculiar fantastic forms. 35 The heavens, earth, sky and air, and also the rivers, mountains and the sides and quarters of the sky, are all creations of our fancy, like the visions in our dreams that join and disjoin and fashion scenes in their fantastic forms.
36 Like the princes, the rivers and the future city were mere creations of the nurse’s imagination. In the same way, the existence of the visible world is only the product of man’s imaginative power. 37 Imaginative power manifests all things all around, like moving waters show the rise and fall of waves in the sea. “It gives a shape of airy nothing.” “It is the power of apprehending ideas and combining them into new forms and combinations.”
38 The imaginative power of God raised the ideas of things in his omniscient and all comprehensive soul. These ideals afterwards manifested as real by his omnipotence, just like things lying in the dark are brought to view by daylight.
39 Know from here on, O Rama, that the whole universe is the network of imagination, and your imagination is the most active power of the mind. Therefore repress the thickening phantoms of your fleeting fancy and obtain your tranquility by relying solely upon the certainty of the immutable Soul of souls.
1 Vasishta continued:— The ignorant are subject to errors caused by their false fancies, from which the wise are entirely free. By imagining and attributing perishable properties to the imperishable soul, the ignorant beguile themselves like children who take their dolls to be men.
2 Rama replied, “What is this imagined perishable property that is imputed to the imperishable soul? Tell me also, O greatest of theologians, what misrepresentation misleads the mind to the false conception of the unreal world for a reality?”
3 Vasishta replied:— The soul, by its continued association with unreal and perishable things, thinks itself to be one of them and takes the title of an unreal and perishable ego, just like a boy by association of his thoughts imagines a false apparition to be a real ghost.
4 All things being situated in one absolute reality, it is hard to account for one’s personal ego and to say how and from where this conception became established. 5 In fact, there is no ego except that of the Supreme Soul. Yet is the nature of the unwise to make a difference between a finite ego and infinite Ego, and between a mortal and immortal soul, as if we see two streams of water in the sunbeams of a hot, sandy desert.
6 The mind is a spacious mind (of richest gems) in this extensive creation and depends on the Supreme Soul for its support, just like waves depend upon the waters of the sea for their rise and existence. 7 Therefore, O Rama, give up your false view of the reality of the world and your reliance upon the baseless fabric of the universe. Rely with delight upon your judicious view of the true foundation and support of all. 8 Inquire now into the nature of Truth with a rational understanding. Being freed from all error and bias, discard all that is false and untrue.
9 Why do you think that the unconfined soul is confined in the body? It is vain to suppose the infinite soul is confined in any place. 10 To suppose one to be many is to make a division and create a variety in the nature of the Supreme Spirit. Again, the Divine Essence being diffused alike in all, it cannot be said to be confined in one thing and absent in another.
11 The body being hurt, the soul is supposed to be hurt likewise, but no pain or hurt or sickness of any kind can affect the unchanging soul. 12The body being hurt or weakened or destroyed, there is no injury done to the soul, just like a blacksmith’s bellows being burned, the wind with which it was filled escapes unconsumed. 13 Whether the body lasts or falls is of no matter to us, like a flower being destroyed deposits its fragrance in the air. 14 Let any pain or pleasure befall on the body, like dewdrops falling on lotus leaves. It cannot affect us any more than a fading lotus affects or afflicts a flying bee in any manner. 15 Let the body rise or fall or fly in smoke and mix with the air. These changing forms can have no effect whatsoever on the soul.
16 The connection of the body with the soul is like that between the cloud and the wind, and between the lotus and the bee. 17 If the mind that forms a part of all living bodies is not affected by physical pain, then how is it possible that the primary power of consciousness that resides in the soul can be subject to death? 18 If you know, O wise Rama, that the soul is indestructible and inseparable, then what is the need to have sorrow for the supposed separation or disappearance of the all pervading spirit?
19 After the body is destroyed, the soul flies from it to live in the infinite space of empty air, like wind mixing with air after dispersing clouds, and a bee flying away after the lotus has faded away. 20 The mind is not relaxed with all its enjoyments of life unless it is burnt down by the knowledge of truth. Then why speak of the annihilation of the soul? 21 The connection between perishable body and imperishable soul is analogous to that of a vessel and the fruit it holds, and of a pot and the air in it. 22 As a plum is held in the hand or it falls into a pit, so the empty soul is reposed in or deposed from the body. 23 As a pot being broken, its empty part mixes with the air. So the body being dissolved, the soul remains unhurt in empty space.
24 The minds and bodies of living beings are apt to disappear at times from where they live and hide under the shroud of death. Why should we sorrow for such renegades? 25 Seeing the death and disappearance of others, no fool learns to think for himself but fears to die like all ignorant fools. 26 Therefore renounce, O Rama, your selfish desires and know the falsity of ego. Give up the bond of the body and fly upward, like a new fledged bird leaves its nest and flies above.
27 It is an act of the mind to lead us to good or evil. It is another function of the mind to fabricate the false fabric of the world, like appearances in a dream. 28 Our incorrigible ignorance stretches out these imageries only for our misery. Our imperfect knowledge shows these falsehoods as realities to us. 29 The mind gives us a dim sight of things, as we view the sky hidden by a mist. It is the nature of the mind to have a false view of objects. 30 The dull and unreal world appears as a reality to us. The imaginary duration of the universe is like a protracted dream in our sleep. 31The thought or idea of the world is the cause of its physical existence, just as the blinking of the eye shows a thousand discs of the sun and moon in the clear sky.
32 Now Rama, employ your reason to annihilate the physical world from your mind, just as the sun dissolves snow by the heat of his beams. 33As one wishing to overcome cold gets his object at sunrise, so he who wishes to demolish his mind succeeds at the rise of his reason.
34 As ignorance increases, so it introduces a train of deep seated errors and evils. It spreads a magic spell around it, just as Samvara the sorcerer showered a flux of gold dust about him. 35 The mind by its worldliness makes the way to its own destruction, and acts the part of its own self-destructive catastrophe by all its acts. 36The mind wants only to preserve itself from destruction, but it is a fool who does not know its imminent death.
37 The mind by its restless desires hastens itself to a painful death. The reasonable try to avoid restlessness by their government of the mind. 38The mind that is purified by reason is cleansed from its willingness and unwillingness and resigns itself to the will of the Divine Soul, which is ever present before it. 39 The curbing of the mind is the magnanimity of soul and gives rise to liberation from pain. Therefore try to restrain your mind and do not give it a loose rein.
40 The world is a vast wilderness full of the forests of our well being and sorrow and beset on all sides by the serpents of disease and death. The irrational mind is as the rampant lord of the desert land and quickly drives us into all sorts of dangers and difficulties.
Valmiki speaking:— 41 As the sage ended his sermon, the day departed to its end and the sun declined to the west to his evening service. The assembly broke after mutual salutations and met again and greeted each other with the parting night and rising sun.
1 Some minds are seen to break forth in passion like the torrents of oceans, and to heave and overflow on earth on every side. 2 They reduce the great to lowness and exalt the low to greatness. They make strangers of their friends and friends of strangers.
3 The mind by its thought makes a mountain of a particle, then thinks itself a lord with its little trifle. 4 The mind, elated by prosperity received by the will of God, spreads a large establishment for a while, then in a moment is reduced to poverty at its loss. 5 Whatever things are seen in this world as stationary or changing are all only accidents according to the perspective in which they are seen, just as a passing vessel is thought stationary by its passenger, but as moving by spectators on the shore.
6 The mind is so changing by the influence of time, place, power and nature of acts and things that it continually shuffles from one feeling to another, like an actor impersonating his many roles on the stage. 7 The mind takes the truth for untruth and its reverse for certainty, so it takes one thing for another and its joy and grief are all of its own making. 8 The fickle mind gets everything according to its own doing, and it regulates all the actions of our hands, feet and other members of the body. 9 Hence it is the mind that reaps the rewards of good or evil according to its past acts, just like the tree bears its fruit according to how it is pruned and watered.
10 As a child makes a variety of toy dolls from clay, so the mind is the maker of all its good and bad according to the merit or demerit of its past actions. 11 Therefore the mind that is situated in the earthen dolls of human bodies can do nothing of its own will unless it is so destined by virtue of its former acts.
12 As the seasons cause changes in trees, so the mind makes differences in the dispositions of living beings. 13 The mind indulges in its sport of deeming an inch a mile, and vice-versa of thinking something long as short, like the operations of our dreams and fancy. 14 A kalpa age is shortened to a moment and a moment is stretched into a kalpa by the different modes of the mind that regulate both the duration of time and the distance between places. 15 The perceptions of the quickness and slowness of motion, and of much or little in quantity, and also of swiftness or slowness of time, belong to the mind and not to the dull material body. 16 The feelings of sickness and error, sorrow and danger, and the passing of time and distance of place all rise in the mind like the leaves and branches of trees.
17 The mind is the cause of all its feelings, just as water is the cause of the sea and heat of fire. Hence the mind is the source of all things. It is intimately connected with whatever exists in the world. 18 The thoughts that we have of agent, effect and instrument of things, and also of the viewer, view and the instrumentality of sight, all belong to the mind. 19 The mind alone is perceived to be in existence in the world, and its representations of forests and all other things are but variations of itself! So the thinking man sees only the substance of gold, and all its various forms of bangles and bracelets are taken for nothing.
1 Vasishta said:— Rama, hear me relate a very pretty story about the world as an enchanted city stretched out by magic of the magician Mind.
2 There lies on the surface of this earth a large and populous tract of land by name of Northern Pandava, a country full of forests of various kinds. 3 The forests were deep and dense, and a number of holy hermits live in the fastness of these woods. Vidyadhara maidens had constructed many dwellings of swinging vines. 4 The breeze blew up heaps of red dust from full blown lotuses, rising as high as crimson hills on the ground decorated with wreaths and garlands from loads of flowers fallen from surrounding trees. 5 Groves of karanja plants were decorated with bundles of blossoms to the farthest boundaries of the jungle, and the sky resounded with the rustling noise of leafy date trees in the surrounding villages. 6There was a range of tawny rocks on one side, and fields brown with ripened grain on another; while the warbling of cerulean doves echoed in the resonant groves.
7 The shrill cry of the stork sounded in the forest, and the branches of spice and patali flowers hang down like earrings on the hills. 8 Flocks of various birds made a chorus with their cries, and blooming crimson blossoms of paribhadra trees hung over the banks all along the length of running streams. 9 Maidens in the cornfields were exciting the passion of love with their singing. Breezes blowing amidst forests of fruits and flowers dropped down the blossoms in copious showers. 10 Birds, spiritual masters and seers were sitting and singing outside their homes made in mountain caves, making the valley symphonious with their celestial strains of holy hymns. 11 Kinnara and gandharva choruses were singing under their bowers of plantain trees, and the grayish and gay groves of flowers were filled with the hum of the whistling breeze.
12 The lord of this romantic country was the virtuous Lavana, a descendant of King Harish Chandra, and as glorious as his sire the sun upon earth. 13 His fair fame formed a white diadem to crown his head and adorn his shoulders with its brightness. It whitened the hills in the form of so many Shivas smeared with white ash upon his tufted head and person. 14 His sword had made an end of all his enemies who trembled as in a fit of fever on hearing his noble name. 15 His greatest effort was devoted to support respectable men, and his name was uttered like that of Hari (Vishnu) by all his people. 16 The apsara fairies sitting in the celestial seats of the gods on the tops of the Himalayan mountains gleefully sang songs of his praise. 17 The lord of the skies heard the songs of the heavenly maids, and the aerial swans and cranes of Brahma responded to the praises with their gabbling cries.
18 His uncommonly magnanimous and wonderful acts, free from the fault of being stingy, were unlike anything that was ever heard or seen by anybody. 19 His nature knew no guile and he was a perfect stranger to pride and arrogance. He kept himself steadfast to his magnanimity, as Brahma held himself fast to his rudraksha beads.
20 He used to take his seat in the royal throne amidst his courtiers, as the lord of the day occupies his seat in the sky for the eight watches of the day. 21 After he was seated there as happily as the moon in the sky, his chieftains and legions appeared before the throne with their salutations. 22Then, as the royal party was seated in the court hall, beautiful singers began to sing and ravish the hearts of listeners with the music of lutes. 23Then a set of handsome maids waved the beautiful fans that they held in their hands over the body of the king. Ministers and counselors, as wise as the teachers of the gods and demons (Brihaspati and Shukra), took their seats beside him. 24 Ministers engaged in the public affairs pending before them, and capable officers reported to the king on the conditions of the county. 25 There were learned pundits reciting holy legends from their books, and courteous eulogists chanting their sacred praises on one side.
26 At this time a magician appeared before the court in his fantastic attire. He boasted and blustered like a roaring cloud threatening to flood the earth with showers of rain. 27 He bowed down to the ruler of the earth, and lowly bent his capped head and neck before the court, like a tree hangs down its loads of fruit at the foot of a mountain. 28 He approached the king like a monkey advances to a shady and lofty tree loaded with fruit and flowers.
29 Then the cunning trickster conveyed the fragrance of his sense with the breath of his mouth. He addressed the lofty headed king with his sweet voice, as the humble bee hums to the lotus. 30 “Allow, O lord who sits on the earthly throne like the moon enthroned on high, to mark one wonderful feat of my art, known as the trick of Kharolikika.” 31 Saying so, he began to twirl his magic staff set with peacock feathers, which began to display many wonders like the wonderful works of creation. 32 The king saw it describing a bright circle emitting particles of its rays around. He saw it like God Indra sees his variegated rainbow sparkling afar in the sky.
33 As this time a chieftain of Sindh entered the court, like a cloud appears in the starry heaven. 34 He was followed by his swift and beautiful war-horse, just like Uchchaihshravas, the seven-headed horse of Indra, follows his master in the celestial regions. 35 The chieftain brought the horse before the king and said, “My lord, this horse is a match for Uchchaihshravas who was produced from the Milky Ocean and flies with the swiftness of the mind. 36 This horse of mine, O king of the earth, is the best of his kind and an equal of Uchchaihshravas. He is a personification of the wind in the swiftness of his flight. 37 My master has made a present of this horse to you, my lord, because the best of things is a suitable present to the best of men.”
38 After the chief ended his speech, the magician spoke in a voice as sweet as that of the swallow after the roaring of clouds is hushed to silence. 39 “My lord, ride upon this horse and wander at your pleasure with full luster on earth, as the sun shines forth in splendor by revolving round the heavens.”
40 Hearing this, the king looked at the horse and, in a voice like that of a peacock answering a roaring cloud, ordered the horse to be brought before him. 41 The king saw the horse like a figure drawn in painting, and gazed upon him with fixed eyes and without closing his eyelids, as if the king himself had been turned into a painting.
42 Having looked upon the horse for a long time, he mounted on his back and sat still with his closed eyelids, as sage Agastya was confounded at the sight of the sea and its rocks. 43 He continued for a couple of hours as if he was drowned in his meditation, and as unconscious saints remain in the enjoyment of their internal and spiritual samadhi. 44 He remained spellbound and overpowered by his own might. None could rouse the king roused from his stupefaction. He remained absorbed in some thoughts of his own mind. 45 Flapping fans ceased to wave about his body and the holders of the fans remained as still as moonbeams at night. 46 Courtiers remained motionless at seeing his stillness, as when the filaments of the lotus remain unmoved when smeared in the mud. 47 The noise of people in the courtyard became hushed and quiet, like the roaring of the clouds stops at the end of the rains.
48 Ministers were drowned in their thoughtfulness and questions at the state of their king, just like the host of gods were filled with anxiety on seeing the club-bearing Vishnu fighting with the demons. 49 People were struck with terror and dismay at seeing this paralysis of their king who remained with his eyes closed, like closed lotuses shorn of their beauty.
1 Vasishta continued:— After a couple of hours the king returned to his senses, like the lotus flower resuming its beauty after the mists of the rainy weather are over. 2 He shook his body decorated with ornaments upon his saddle, like a mountain shakes with its peaks and woods at an earthquake. 3 His seat also shook under him as he came to his senses and moved his body, just like the seat of Shiva on Kailash Mountain is shaken by the movement of the world-supporting elephant.
4 As he was about to fall down from the horse, he was held up by the arms of his attendants, like Mount Meru is kept from falling by the hills at its feet and sides. 5 Attendants bore the king in the deranged state of his mind, like the still waters of the sea bear the figure of the moon that is disturbed by the waves.
6 The king softly asked them, “Where am I and whose court is this?” He was like a bee shut up in the flower cup of the lotus and about to sink in the water saying, “Ah! Where am I, and where am I going?” 7 The courtiers, with a voice as sweet as the lotus uttering to the sun when he is eclipsed by Rahu, respectfully asked the king what was the matter with him. 8 The attendants and all the ministerial officers asked him what had happened, like the gods, terrified at the great flood, asked sage Markandeya about what had happened.
9 “Lord, we were greatly dismayed,” said they, “upon seeing you in that plight, because the stoutest hearts are broken by accidents proceeding from unknown causes. 10 What were those pleasant objects of your desire that had so bewitched your mind? You know that all objects that appear pleasant for the present prove to be bitter at the end. 11 How could your clear understanding, which has been pacified by the grand doctrines and precepts of the wise, fall in to the false fascinations of the foolish? 12 The minds of fools are fascinated by the trivial and cheap trifles of common people, but they are of no value to the high minded as one like yourself.”
13 “Those who are elated by the pride of their bodies have their minds always excited by uncontrollable passions that take their lead through life. 14 Your mind is elevated above common things. It is calm and quiet, enlightened by truth, and filled with excellent qualities. Yet it is strange to find it out of its wits. 15 The mind unpracticed to reasoning is led away by the currents of time and place, but the noble-minded are not subject to the influence of incantations and enchanting spells. 16 It is impossible for the reasoning mind to be weakened or deranged. A high mind, like towering Mount Meru, is not to be shaken by the boisterous winds.”
17 Thus consoled by his companions, the king’s face resumed its color, as the face of the full moon collects its brightness in the bright fortnight of the month. 18 The moonlike face of the king was brightened by his full open eyes, as the spring season is beautified by blooming blossoms after the winter frost has passed away. 19 The king’s face shone forth with astonishment, and it was mixed with fear, upon remembering the charm of the magician, just like the moon shines pale in the sky after her deliverance from the shadow of an eclipse.
20 He saw the magician and said to him with a smile, as the serpent Takshaka addresses his enemy, the weasel. 21 “You trickster,” said the king. “What was this snare that you used to trap me? How did you disturb my tranquil soul by your wily trick, like a gale disturbs the calm of the sea?”
22 “How wonderful are the captivating powers of spells derived from the Lord, whose influence had overpowered the strongest sense of my mind. 23 What are these bodies of men that are subject to death and disease, and what are our minds that are so susceptible of errors and lead us to continued dangers? 24 The mind residing in the body may be filled with the highest knowledge, yet the minds of the wisest of men are liable to errors and illusion.”
25 “Hear ye courtiers the wonderful tale of the adventures that I experienced under this sorcery from the moment I first met this magician. 26 I have seen as many passing scenes in one single moment under this wizard, as had been shown of old by Brahma in his destruction of the divine sorcery of Indra.” 27 Having said so, the king smiled and began to relate to his courtiers the strange wonders that he had seen in his state of hallucination.
28 The king said:— I saw a region full of objects of various kinds, such as rivers, lakes, cities and mountains, with many boundary hills, and the ocean surrounding the earth.
1 The king related:— My own land abounding in forests and rivulets appeared like a miniature of this planet earth. 2 This land of which I am king and where I am now sitting in my royal assembly hall, amidst my courtiers and all these citizens, appeared like the paradise of Indra.
3 That sorcerer appeared here from a distant country, like a demon rising from the infernal region to the surface of the ground. 4 He whirled his magic wand emitting its radiance around, like the tempest rends and scatters the rainbow of Indra in fragments in the air. 5 I was looking intently at the whirling wand and the horse standing before me, then mounted on the back of the steed in the dizziness of my mind.
6 I sat on the back of this unmoving horse and seemed to ride on a fleet horse with the swiftness of pushkara and avartaka clouds riding over the tops of immovable rocks. 7 Then I went on a chase at full speed, passing over an ownerless desert, howling like the surges of the boundless ocean. 8 The horse bore me through the air as if we were blown by the winds. We dashed onward like common people who are carried afar by the currents of the unsatisfied desires of their minds.
9 Then being fatigued with my journey, and moving slowly on my wearied horse, I reached the edge of a desert which was as vacant as the mind of a pauper, and as empty as the heart of a woman. 10 It was like the wilderness of the world burned down by a conflagration, without even a bird flying over it. It was like a waste of sandy frost without a tree or any water in it. 11 In its extent, it appeared like another sky or like the eighth ocean of the world. It was like a sea on earth with its bed entirely dried up. 12 It was as expanded as the mind of a wise man, and as furious as the rage of the ignorant. There was no trace of human feet and no track with any grass or herb in it.
13 My mind was bewildered in this boundless desert, like that of a woman fallen into adversity and having no friend, food or fruit for her support.14 The face of the sky was washed by waters appearing in the mirage of the sandy desert. I traveled panting in that dreary spot until it was sunset.
15 It was with great pain and sorrow that I crossed that vast desert, like a wise man who crosses this world, all hollow and void within. 16 After passing this desert and as the sun was setting, I reached a thick forest, tired with traversing through the hollow sphere of heaven. 17 Here birds were warbling amidst jamb and kadamba trees. They were the only friends that weary travelers could meet in their weary and lonely journey. 18Here detached plots of long grass were seen waving their tops, like covetous men nodding their heads on finding some riches to their heart’s content. 19 This shady forest afforded me a little joy after my pains in the dry and dreary desert, just like a lingering disease seems more desirable to men than the pains attending death.
20 I got under the shade of a jambira tree and felt myself as pleased, as when sage Markandeya got to the top of the mountain during the great deluge. 21 I took shelter under the vines descending from its branches, just as the scorching top of a mountain finds temporary shade under a dark cloud. 22 As I was holding the hanging roots in my hand, the horse slid away from underneath me, like the sins of a man glide under him who puts his trust in the sacred Ganges River. 23 Fatigued with my travel that long day through the dreary waste, I took refuge under this tree like a traveler rests under the shelter of a kalpa tree at the setting of the sun. 24 All this business of the world was stopped as the sun went down to rest in the western hills
25 As the shade of night spread over the bosom of the universe, the entire forest below took itself to its nightly rest and silence. 26 I rested in the grassy hollow of a branch of that tree, my head on a mossy bed like a bird in its nest. 27 I remained there as unconscious as one bitten by a snake, and like a dead body that has lost its past memories. I was as impotent as a sold slave and as helpless as one fallen in a dark pit. 28 That one night I passed in my senselessness seemed like a long kalpa aeon. I thought I was buffeting in waves like sage Markandeya at the great deluge.29 I passed the night under a train of dangers and difficulties that invaded me as in the state of dreaming. I had no thought about bathing or eating or worshipping my Maker. 30 I passed the night in restlessness and disquiet, shaking like the branch of a tree. This single night of trouble was as long as it was tedious to me.
31 A melancholy spread over my face, as darkness veils the face of the night. My waking eyes kept watching for the day, like the watchful eyes of blue lotuses expect the rising moon. 32 The demonic noise of wild beasts hushed in the forest at the end of the night. I began to shiver from the cold, my teeth clattering. 33 Then I saw the east red with the flush of intoxication, as if it was laughing at seeing me drown in my difficulties. 34 I saw the sun advancing towards the earth, mounted on his Airavata, the regent elephant of that quarter. He seemed as full of glee as an ignorant man has in his folly, and as a poor man in obtaining a treasure.
35 I got up from my mossy bed and shook off my bed cloth, like Shiva tossing off his elephant hide during his giddy evening dance. 36 Then I began to wander in the wide forest, just as God Rudra (Shiva) roves about the wide world after its desolation by his demons at the end of kalpas.37 There was no animal of any kind to be seen in the desolate desert, just as the good qualities of good breeding are never found in the illiterate. 38I saw only lively birds, perched and chirping all about the woods without intermission.
39 It was midday, when the sun had run his eighth hour and plants had dried up the dew of their morning baths, 40 when I saw a maiden carrying some food and a drinking bowl of water, just as Hari (Vishnu) in his disguise in the shape of Madhavi bore the poisonous liquor to the demons. 41 She was of a swarthy complexion and dressed in dark black clothing. When I advanced towards her like the bright moon appears towards the black and dark night, she looked at me suspiciously.
42 I asked her to give me some of her food in my great distress, because, I told her, one is enriched by relieving the distress of the needy. 43 “O good maid,” I said, “increasing hunger is consuming my stomach and I would take any food, even as the female serpent in extreme hunger devours her own young.” 44 I begged of her and yet she gave me nothing, but remained as unmoved as the goddess of fortune who declines to favor the wretched however much they implore her aid. 45 For a long time I kept following her closely from one wood to another, moving behind her in the afternoon and clinging to her like her own shadow.
46 Then she turned to me and said, “Know me to be a tribal (chandala, an outcaste) girl bearing the name of Harakeyuri. We are as cruel as rakshasa demons. We feed on human flesh and the meat of horses and elephants. 47 O king, you cannot get your food simply by begging me for it, as it is hard to have the favor of men without first meeting their own desires.”
48 Saying so, she continued moving with quick light steps at every move, then entered a grove of trees on the wayside. Then she spoke merrily to me saying, 49 “Well, I will give you some of this food if you will agree to be my husband, because base and common people do not do good to others before securing their own good. 50 My tribal father is here plowing in the field with his sturdy yoke of bulls. With his haggard, hungry and dusky stature, he looks like a demon standing in the cemetery. 51 This food is for him. I may give it to you if you agree to marry me, because the husband deserves to be served even at the peril of one’s life.”
52 To this I replied, “I agree to take you to my wife, for what fool would adhere to his family customs when his life is in danger?” 53 Then she then gave me half of the food she had with her, as Madhavi parted with half of her ambrosia to the hungry Indra of old. 54 I ate the tribal’s food and drank the beverage of jambu fruits that she gave me. Then I rested at that place and fell into a sleep caused by my fatigue and long walking.
55 Then she approached me like a black cloud approaches the sun. She held me in her arms and led me onward with her guiding hand as fondly as her second self. 56 She took me to her father, a fat and ugly fellow of repulsive appearance, like the tormenting agony of death leads a person to the hideous cell of the devil. 57 My companion whispered the news of our situation to his ears, like a black bee hums her tale softly to the ear of an elephant. 58 “This man,” she said, “is to be my husband, if you, my father, will give your consent.”
To this he expressed his approval by saying, “Vadham. Be it so by the end of this day.” 59 He loosened the bulls from their yoke, as the lord of death releases his hell hounds. It was dusk when the sky was hidden by evening mist and the dust rising as the herds return, and we were dismissed from the demons’ presence to make our own way.
60 We passed the great jungle in a short time and reached the tribal’s house in the evening, just like demons pass through a cemetery to rest in their funeral vaults at night. 61 One side of the house had slaughtered monkeys, cocks and crows, swarms of flies flying over them and sucking the blood sprinkled over the ground. 62 Moist entrails and arteries of slaughtered beasts were hung up to be dried in the sun and chased by ravenous birds hovering over them. Flocks of birds fluttered over jambira trees. 63 Heaps of fat were laid up to be dried in the portico, ravenous birds flying over them. The skins of slain animals smeared with blood lay in piles. 64 Little children had bits of flesh in their hands beset by buzzing flies, and older tribals sat and rebuked the children.
65 Then we entered the house scattered with disgusting entrails and intestines. I thought I was like the ghost of a dead man standing beside the lord of death. 66 I was offered a seat of a big plantain leaf, given with due respect so that I might be seated as a welcome guest in the abominable abode of my newly earned father-in-law. 67 My squint eyed mother-in-law then eyed me with her blood-red eyeballs, and muttered with gladness in her look, “Is this our would be son-in-law?”
68 Afterwards we sat on some seats made of skin and I partook of the meal served to me as reward for my sins. 69 I heard many of those endearing words that are the seeds of endless misery, and many speeches that were unpleasant to my mind because they were of no benefit to me.
70 One day afterwards, when the sky was cloudless and the stars were shining, it came to pass that they presented a dowry of cloths and other articles before me. 71 With these they gave that frightful maiden to me and we were joined together as black and white, and as sin and its torment together. 72 The flesh-eating tribals celebrated the marriage ceremony with a profusion of wine and loud shouts of joy. They beat their noisy drums with merriment, as wicked men delight in carrying on the acts of their vileness.
1 The king continued:— What more shall I say of those festivities that had quite subdued my soul? From then on, my fellows called me Pushta-Pukkusha or cherished tribal. 2 After a week long celebration, and after I had spent a full eight months at that place, my wife discharged blood and then her child also. 3 She delivered a daughter which is the cause of sorrow as danger is the spring of disasters. This daughter grew up as quickly as the cares and sorrows of the ignorant. 4 In another three years she again brought forth, this time a black boy, just like the fruit of folly raises false expectations of fruition. 5 She gave birth to another daughter, then another boy, and thus I became an old tribal with a large family in that forest land.
6 In this manner many years passed in that place with these shoots of my sorrow, like one who murders a brahmin has to pass long years of torment in hellfire. 7 I had to undergo all the pains of heat and cold and chill winds and frost without any help in that dreary forest, like an old tortoise is constrained to move about in the mud of a pool forever. 8 Being burdened with the cares of my family and troubled by anxieties of my mind, I saw my increasing afflictions like a fire burning all around me.
9 Clad in bark and wrapped in old and ragged cloths, with a covering of grass and a straw hat on my head, I bore loads of logs from the woods, like we bear the burden of sins on our backs and heads. 10 I had to pass many a long year under the shade of dhavali trees with no other cloth or covering on me than an old tattered, dirty and stinking kaupina loincloth beset by flees and leeches. 11 I was exposed to chill cold winds during all my toils to support my family. I lay like a frog in some cave in the woods under the sharp blasts of winter.
12 The many quarrels, bickering, sorrows and wailings to which I was often exposed at home and abroad made my blood gush out in tears from my weeping eyes. 13 We passed nights on marshy grounds in the jungle, and being drenched by raining clouds, we took shelter in mountain caves with no food other than the roasted flesh of bears.
14 After the rainy season of sowing was over and the dark drizzling clouds dispersed, I was driven from my house by the unkindness of my relations and continued quarrelling with others. 15 Being thus in dread of everybody in the neighborhood, I moved to the house of another man where I lived with my wife and prattling children for some years. 16 Then vexed by the scolding of the quarrelsome tribal woman and the threats of the villainous tribals, my face became as pale as the waning moon under the shadow of Rahu. 17 My wife bit and scratched me as if a tigress had torn and gnawed upon my flesh and muscles. I was like a slave caught and sold to a hellish fiend. I thought that I had become changed into an infernal being.
18 I suffered under the torrents of snow thrown out of the caves of the Himalayas. I was exposed to showers of frost that fell continually in the dewy season. 19 I felt the iron shafts of rain on my naked body, like arrows fired from the bow of death. In my sickly and decrepit old age, I had to live upon the roots of withered vegetables. 20 I dug them out plentifully from the woodland grounds and ate them with a zest, like a fortunate man has tasting his dainty dishes of well cooked meat. 21 I took my food apart and untouched by anybody for fear of being polluted by the touch of a vile and base born family, and because the pungency of my unsavory diet made my mouth scowl at every morsel.
22 While I was famishing in this manner, I saw others eating animal flesh and sheep’s flesh bought from other places, and who pampered their bodies with the flesh they cut out from other living animals and devoured raw with great zest. 23 They bought animal flesh sold in iron pots and stuck in spits, earning rebirths into as many thousand bodies as they have killed and fed upon. 24 I often went with my spade and basket in the cool of the evening to the tribals’ gardens in order to collect the raw flesh that had been cast in the dirt for my food of them.
25 But when I was about to be cast into hell, time seemed to turn favorable by leading me to take refuge in mountain caves to seek my food there from the roots and plants growing there. 26 In this state and by my good luck, I met some tribals driving away village dogs with their clubs. 27They gave my wife and children some bad rice like the villagers used to take, and we passed the night under the shade of a palm tree whose withered leaves rattled with the raindrops that fell in showers upon them. 28 We passed the night in company with these woodland apes, our teeth clattering with cold and the hairs of our bodies standing on their ends from the cold like a thousand thorns. 29 Raindrops decorated our bodies like granules of vivid pearls. From our hunger and lack of food, our bellies were as lean and lank as an empty cloud.
30 Then my wife and I began to quarrel in this dreadful forest. We kept shouting at each another with our clattering teeth and eyes ruddy from the cold. 31 My foul and dirty body resembled that of a dark black demon, and we roved about the borders of rivers and brooks to fish with a rod and hook in my hand. 32 I also wandered with a trap in my hand, like Yama with his noose at the desolation of the earth, and caught, killed and drank the heart blood of deer in my hunger and thirst. 33 I sucked the warm heart blood like milk from my mother’s breast. Smeared in blood, I stood like a blood sucking demon in the cemetery. 34 The vetala ghosts of the woods fled before me, as they do from the furies of the forests.
I set my snares and nets in the woods for catching deer and birds of the air. 35 As people spread the nets of their wives and children, only to be entangled in them in the false hope of happiness, so did I spread my net of thread to beguile the birds to their destruction. 36 Though worried and worn out in the nets of worldly cares and surrounded on every side by the miseries of our vicious lives, yet our minds still take delight in cruel and foul acts (to the injury of others).
37 Our wishes are stretched as far and wide as a running river overflows its banks in the rainy season. But the objects of our desires fly far away from us, like snakes through their own wisdom hide themselves from the snake-eating weasel. 38 We have cast kindness off from our hearts, like the snake leaves off his skin, and take delight letting the hissing arrows of our malice fly, just as a thunderstorm falls on all animals. 39 Men delight at the sight of cooling clouds at the end of the hot season, but they avoid at a distance the rough briny shore spreading wide before them.
40 I underwent many difficulties that multiplied as thickly upon me as weeds growing in valleys. During my destined time, I moved about all corners of that hellish spot. 41 I have sown the seeds of sin under the rainwater of my ignorance to grow speedily as thorns on my way. I have laid hidden snares for the unwary innocent to bind myself in the mountain caves. 42 I have caught and killed innocent deer in traps to feed upon its flesh. I have killed the fly-whisk cow to lay my head on the hair hanging down their necks. 43 I slept unconscious of myself in my ignorance, as Vishnu lay on his huge hydra. I laid with my outstretched legs and limbs in the brown cell, resounding to the yell of wild beasts outside. 44 I also laid my body on the frost of a cave in the marshy ground of Vindhya, and wrapped my swarthy form in a tattered quilt full of fleas and hanging down my neck. 45 I bore it on my back, as a bear carries the long bristles upon him even in the hot season. I suffered the heat of wildfires that burned many wild animals that perished in groups like in the last conflagration of the world.
46 My wife bore her young ones, both for our pleasure as well as pain, like a glutton’s food serves both his gratification and sickness, and like the influence of planets is for both our good and evil. 47 Thus I, the only son of a king, had to pass sixty painful years of my life as so many kalpa ages of long duration.
48 I raved sometimes in my rage, and wept at others in my bitter grief. I lived on coarse meals and dwelt, alas, in the houses of vulgar tribals. Thus I passed so many years of my misery at that place, as one fastened to the chains of his insatiable desires is doomed to toil and moil for nothing until his death.
1 The king continued to say:— Time passed away. Old age overtook me and turned my beard to blades of grass covered with white frost. 2 My days passed away in alternate joy and grief brought on by my fate and acts, just like a river flows with green and dried leaves scattered on it by the wind. 3 Every moment I suffered quarrels and arguments, misfortunes and bad luck. They beset me as thick and as fast as the arrows of sorrow flying in battle. 4 My foolish mind kept fluttering like a bird in the maze of my wishes and fancies. My heart was disturbed by passions, like the sea by its raging waves. 5 My soul was revolving on the vehicle of my wandering thoughts. I was carried away by them like floating straw to the whirlpool of the eventful ocean of time. 6 I, who moved about like a worm in the woodlands of Vindhya for my simple support, felt in the passing of years to be weakened and pulled down in my frame like a two-legged beast of burden. 7 In that state of my wretchedness, I forgot my royalty like a dead man and became convinced that I was a tribal bound to that hilly spot like a wingless bird.
8 The world appeared to me like the final desolation, a forest consumed by fire. It seemed like the seashore lashed by huge waves, or a withered tree struck by lightning. 9 The marshy ground at the foot of Vindhya was all dried up and left no grain, vegetable or water for food or drink. The whole group of tribals was about to die in dearth and dryness. 10 Clouds ceased to rain and disappeared from sight. Winds blew with sparks of fire in them. 11 Forest trees were bare and leafless and withered leaves were strewn over the ground. Wildfires were raging here and there, and the woodlands became as desolate as the homes of austere ascetics. 12 There followed a severe famine and a furious wildfire spread all around. It burnt down the whole forest and reduced grass and gravel to ashes.
13 People had ash all over their bodies and were starving for want of food and drink. The land was without any article of food or even grass or water. It had turned into a dreary desert. 14 The mirage of the desert glistened like water and deluded dry buffaloes to roll in it. There was no current of breeze to cool the desert air. 15 Only calls and cries for water came to the ears of men who were parched under the burning rays of the torrid sun. 16 The hungry mob, hurrying to browse upon branches and herbs, yielded their lives in those acts, while others sharpened their teeth tearing and devouring one another. 17 Some ran to bite the gum of catechu, thinking it to be a bit of flesh. Others swallowed stones as if they were cakes lying on the ground before them. 18 The ground was sprinkled with blood from men biting and tearing each other, like blood profusely spilled when a lion kills a big and starving elephant. 19 Every one was as ferocious as a lion in his attempt to devour another as his prey. Men fought each another like wrestlers in a contest.
20 Trees were leafless and hot winds blew like firebrands on all sides. Wild cats licked human blood spilled on the rocky ground. 21 The wildfires’ flames rose high in the air with clouds of smoke whirling with the howling winds of the forest. It growled aloud everywhere and filled the forestland with heaps of brown cinders and burning firebrands. 22 Huge serpents were burnt in their caves, and the fumes rising from these burning bodies served to grow poisonous plants while the flame stretching aloft with the winds gave the sky an appearance of the glory of the setting sun.
23 Strong, howling winds raised heaps of ashes like dust that stood like domes in the sky unsupported by pillars. Little children stood by their weeping parents, crying for fear of them. 24 There were some men who tore a dead body with their teeth and, in their great haste to devour the flesh, bit their own hands and fingers that were covered with their own blood. 25 Vultures flying in the air darted upon the smoke, thinking it a turret of trees, and pounced upon the firebrands, taking them for bits of raw flesh. 26 Men biting and tearing one another were flying in all directions when the splitting of burning wood hit their breasts and bellies and made them gory with blood gushing out of them. 27 Winds were howling in hollow caves and the flames of the wildfire flashed with fury. Snakes were hissing for fear of these, and the burned woods were falling down with hideous noise.
28 Thus beset by dangers and horrors, with no shelter other than the rugged hollows of rocks, this place presented a picture of this world with its encompassing flames burning like the twelve zodiacal suns on high. 29 Winds blowing hot in the burning woods and rocks dried up everything. The heat of the fire below and the sun above, together with the domestic disasters caused by influence of the planet Saturn, made this place a counterpart of this sorrowful world.
1 The king continued:— As the displeasure of destiny continued these disasters to rage in this place, prematurely overtaking the forest and people with the disasters of the last dissolution, 2 some of these men with their wives and children went out from that place in search of some new places to live in foreign lands; like clouds disperse and disappear from the sky after the rainy season is over. 3 Wives, children and close relatives accompanied them, clinging like the members of their bodies, but the lean and infirm were left behind like branches broken from trees.
4 Some of these emigrants were devoured by tigers as they went out of their houses, like hatchling birds are caught by falcons as they come out of their nests. 5 Some entered into the fire like moths to put an end to their miserable lives. Others fell into pits, like fragments of rocks falling from the hills.
6 I separated from the connections of my father-in-law and others and depending upon myself, I escaped narrowly from that distressed country with my wife and children. 7 We passed pitfalls, storms, wild beasts and snakes without any harm. We came out of that forest safe from all the deadly perils along the way. 8 Arriving at the edge of that forest, we got under the shade of some palm trees where I let my children down from my shoulders as burdens of my sin and sorrows. 9 I halted here after my tiring journey and lengthened troubles, like one who had fled from the confines of hell. I took my rest like the withering lotus from the scorching sunbeams and heat of summer. 10 My tribal wife also slept under the same tree, and my two children lay fast asleep in each other’s embrace under the cooling shade.
11 Afterwards my younger son, Prach’chhaka, who was as dear to us as he was the less intelligent, rose up and stood before me. 12 He said with a depressed spirit and tears gushing out of his eyes, “Father give me soon some meat-food and drink or else I die.” 13 The little boy repeatedly made the same request, saying with tears in his eyes that he was dying of hunger. 14 I told him that I had no meat and the more I said so, the more he repeated his foolish craving, which could neither be supplied with nor put down to silence.
15 I was then moved by paternal affection and affliction of my heart to tell him, “Child, cut off a slice of my flesh, and roast and eat it.”
16 He agreed to it, and said, “Give it then.” His hunger was so pressing and his vitality was so exhausted that he could not decline to crave my flesh for his food. 17 Being then overpowered by affection and compassion, I thought of putting an end to all my grief with my life which had become so intolerable to me at his extreme distress. 18 Being unable to endure the pain of my affection, I despaired of my own life and resolved to resort to death as my only friend at this last extreme.
19 I collected some wood and heaped them together for my funeral pile. Having put it on fire, I saw it blazing as I wished. 20 As I was hurrying to throw myself on this burning pile, I suddenly was roused from my reverie by the sound of music proceeding from this palace, hailing me as king and shouting “jaya!” for my victory.
21 I understood this conjurer had wrought this enchantment on me and put me to all these imaginable troubles for so long a period. 22 Like the ignorant, I was subject to a hundred changes of fortune.
Vasishta speaking:— As the great and mighty King Lavana was describing his fluctuations of fortune, 23 the sorcerer suddenly disappeared from sight. The courtiers looked around with staring eyes, then addressed the king saying, 24 “Our loyal lord, this man was no sorcerer with his own mercenary views. It was divine magic shown to our lord to demonstrate the lot of humanity and the state of the world.”
25 “Evidently this world is a creation of the mind and the imaginary world is only a display of the infinite power of the Almighty. 26 These hundreds of worldly systems display the various powers of omnipotence that delude even the minds of the most wise to believe in the reality of unrealities, as it were by the spell of magic. 27 This delusion being so powerful on the minds of wise, it is no wonder that our king would be overpowered when all common minds are laboring under the same error.”
28 “This delusive magic was not spread over the mind by any trick or art of a conjurer who wanted nothing more than his own gain. 29 They who love money never go away by themselves without getting something. Therefore we are tossed on the waves of doubt to take him for a sorcerer.”
30 Vasishta said:— Rama, though I am sitting here at this moment before you and others of this assembly, yet I am quite aware of the truth of this story. It is no fiction like the tale for the boy that I told you before, nor is it any invention or hearsay of mine.
31 Thus the mind is enlarged by the various inventions of its imagination, just as a tree is extended by the expansion of its boughs and branches. The extended mind encompasses all things, like an outstretched tree spreads over the ground. The mind’s comprehension of everything and its familiarity with the nature of all things serve to lead it to its state of perfection.
1 Vasishta said:— In the beginning, the subjective Consciousness (chit) derived the power of knowing objective phenomena (chetyas) from the Supreme Cause. Then it went on to multiply and diversify the objects of its intelligence and thus fell from the knowledge of the one intelligent Universal Ego to the delusion of particular non-egos without end. 2 Thus Rama, the faculties of the mind, being deluded by the unrealities of particulars and to their utter error, continue to attribute specialty and differences to the general ones.
3 Mental powers are ever busy multiplying unrealities to infinity, just as ignorant children are prone to create false demons of their fancy only for their terror and trouble. 4 But reality soon disperses troublesome unrealities, and unsullied understanding drives off the errors of imagination, as sunshine dispels the darkness.
5 The mind brings distant objects near it and throws the nearer ones at a distance. It trots and flutters in living beings, like children leaping and jumping in bushes after little birds. 6 The wistful mind is fearful when there is nothing to fear, like a frightened traveler takes the stump of a tree for a demon standing on his way. 7 The suspicious mind suspects a friend for a foe, like a drunken sot thinks himself lying on the ground while he is walking along. 8 The distracted mind sees fiery Saturn in the cooling moon, and nectar being swallowed as poison acts as poison itself. 9 The building of a castle in the air, however untrue, is taken for truth for the time being. The mind dwelling on hopes is a dreamer in its waking state.
10 The disease of desire is the delusion of the mind. Therefore it is to be rooted out from the mind at once and with all diligence. 11 The minds of men are entangled in the net of greed like poor stags. They are rendered as helpless as beasts of prey in the forest of the world. 12 He who by his reasoning has removed the vain anxieties of his mind has displayed the light of his soul, like that of the unclouded sun to sight. 13 Therefore know that the mind makes the man, and not his body as some think. The body is dull matter, but the mind is neither a material nor immaterial substance.
14 Whatever is done with the mind by any man, know Rama, that act is actually done by him. Whatsoever is shunned by the mind, know that is kept out in actuality. 15 The mind alone makes the whole world to the utmost end of the spheres. The mind is the emptiness and the air and earth in its greatness.16 If the mind does not join a thing with its known properties and qualities, then the sun, planets and stars would appear to be without their light. 17The mind assumes the properties of knowledge and ignorance, from which it is called a knowing or unknowing thing. But these properties are not to be attributed to the body, for a living body is never known to be wise, or a dead carcass an ignorant person.
18 The mind becomes sight in its act of seeing and hearing when it hears anything. It is feeling when the skin touches anything and smelling when something touches the nose. 19 It becomes taste connected with the tongue and palate, and takes many other names besides according to its other faculties. Thus the mind is the chief actor on the stage of the living animal body. 20 It magnifies the minute and makes the true appear as untrue. It sweetens the bitter and sours the sweet, and turns a foe to a friend and vice-versa. 21 In whatever manner the mind represents itself in its various aspects, the same becomes evident to us both in our perceptions and conceptions of them.
22 It was by virtue of such a representation that the dreaming mind of King Harish Chandra took the course of one night for the long period of a dozen years. 23 It was owing to a similar idea of the mind that the whole creation of Brahma appeared to be situated within himself. 24 The presentation of a fair prospect before the imagination turns the present pain to pleasure, like a man bound in chains forgets his painful state in the hopes of his release the next morning.
25 The mind, being well fortified and brought under the subjection of reason, brings all the parts of the body and internal passions of the heart under our control. But a loose and ungoverned mind gives a loose rein to go astray, like the loosened thread of a string of pearls scatters the precious grains at random over the ground. 26 The mind that preserves its clear sightedness, equanimity and stability in all places and under all conditions retains its even temper and good discernment at all times under the testimony of its consciousness and approbation of its good conscience. 27 Oh Rama, you must retain your self-possession at all times, and remain like a unmoved, dumb and dull body, with your mind acquainted with the states of all things, but undisturbed by the fluctuations of the objects that come into your awareness.
28 The mind by its own nature is restless with all its vain thoughts and desires within itself. Man is carried abroad by its currents over hills and deserts and across rivers and seas to far and remote cities and countries. 29 The waking mind deems the objects of its desire to be as sweet as honey, and whatever it does not like to be as bitter as gall, even though they may be sweet to taste. 30 Some minds with too much self reliance upon themselves and without considering the true nature of things give them different forms and colors according to their own conceptions and opinions, though they are far from truth.
31 The mind is a pulsation of the power of Divine Consciousness. It ventilates in breeze and glares in luminous bodies, melts in liquids and hardens in solid substances. 32 It vanishes in emptiness and extends in space. It dwells in everything at its pleasure and flies from everywhere at its will. 33 It whitens black and blackens white, and is confined to no place or time but extends through all. 34 The mind being absent or settled elsewhere, we do not taste the sweet that we are sucking, swallowing or grinding under our teeth or licking with the tongue. 35 What is seen by the mind is seen with the eyes, and what it does not see is never seen by the visual organs, just like things lying in the dark are not perceptible to the sight.
36 The mind is embodied in the physical body accompanied by the organs of sense. But it is the mind that actuates the senses and receives the sensations. The senses are the products of the mind, but the mind is not a production of sensations. 37 Those great souls (philosophers) who have investigated the connection between the two quite different substances of body and mind, and those learned men who show us how boy and mind are mutually related, are truly worthy of our veneration.
38 A beautiful woman decorated with flowers in the braids of her hair and looking loosely with her amorous glances is like a log of wood in contact with the body of one whose mind is absent from himself. 39 The dispassionate yogi who sits reclined in his abstract meditation in the forest, owing to the absence of his mind, has no sense of his hands being bitten off by a voracious beast. 40 The mind of a sage practiced in mental abstraction may with ease be inclined to convert his pleasures to pain and his pains to pleasure.
41 The mind employed in some other thought and inattentive to the present discourse finds it like a piece of wood cut off by an axe. 42 A man sitting at home and thinking of standing on the precipice of a mountain, or falling into the hollow cave, shudders at the idea of his imminent danger. So also, one is startled at the prospect of a dreary desert even in his dream and is bewildered to imagine the vast deep under the clouds. 43 The mind feels a delight at the sight of a lovely spot in its dream, and at seeing the hills, cities and houses stretching or the clusters of stars shining in the extended plain of the sky. 44 The restless mind is busy stretching many a hill, valley, cities and houses in our dreams, like waves in the vast ocean of the soul. 45 As the waters of the sea display themselves in huge surges, billows and waves, so the mind that is in the body displays itself in the various sights exhibited in our dreams.
46 As the leaves and branches, flowers and fruits are the products of the shooting seed, so everything that is seen in our waking dreams is the creation of our minds. 47 As a golden image is no other than gold, so the creatures of our living dreams are nothing but the creations of our fanciful mind. 48 As a drop or shower of rain, and a foam or froth of the wave, are only different forms of water, so the varieties of phenomena that are sensed are only transformations of the same mind. 49 These are only the thoughts of our minds seen in our waking dreams, like the various costumes that an actor wears to represent different characters in a play. 50 As King Lavana believed himself to be a tribal for some time, so we believe ourselves to be so-and-so by the thoughts of our minds. 51 Whatever we think ourselves to be in our consciousness, the same soon comes to pass upon us. Therefore mold the thoughts of your mind in any way you like.
52 An embodied being sees many cities, towns, hills and rivers before him, all of which are only visions of waking dreams stretched out by the inner mind. 53 One sees a demon in a god and a snake where there is no snake. It is the idea that fosters the thought, as King Lavana fostered the thoughts of his ideal forms. 54 As the idea of man includes that of a woman, and the idea of father implies that of the son, so the mind includes the wish, and with every person the wish is accompanied by its action.
55 It is by its wish that the mind is subject to death to be born again in other bodies. Though the mind is a formless thing of its nature, yet by its constant habit of thinking, it contracts the notion of it being a living substance (jiva). 56 The mind is busy with thoughts of long drawn wishes that cause its repeated births and deaths, and their accompaniments of hopes and fears, and pleasure and pain.
57 Pleasure and pain are situated in the mind like oil in sesame seed. These are thickened or thinned like oil under the particular circumstances of life. Prosperity thickens our pleasure and adversity our pain; these are thinned by their reverses again. 58 Like the greater or lighter pressure of the oil-mill that thickens or thins the oil, so the deeper or lighter attention of the mind aggravates or lightens its sense of pleasure or pain. 59 As our wishes are directed by the particular circumstances of time and place, so the measurements of time and place are made according to the intensity or laxity of our thoughts.
60 It is the mind that is satisfied and delighted at the fulfillment of our wishes, and not the body which is unconscious of its enjoyments. 61 The mind is delighted with its imaginary desires within the body, like a secluded woman takes delight in the harem. 62 He who does not give indulgence to levities and fickleness in his heart is sure to subdue his mind, as one binds an elephant by its chain to the post. 63 He whose mind does not wave back and forth like a brandished sword, but remains fixed as a pillar to its best intent and object, is the best of men on earth. All others are like insects continually moving in the mind.
64 He whose mind is free from fickleness and is sedate in itself is united with his best object in his meditation of the same. 65 Steadiness of mind is attended with stillness of worldly commotions, just as the suspension of churning Mandara Mountain was attended with the calmness of the ocean of milk. 66 The thoughts of the mind embroiled in worldly cares become the sources of those turbulent passions in the heart which, like poisonous plants, fill this harmful world.
67 Foolish men, infatuated by their giddiness and ignorance, revolve round the center of their hearts like giddy bees flutter about the lotus flowers of the lake until at last, weary from their giddy circles, they fall down in the whirlpools that hurl them in irreparable ruin.
1 Vasishta continued:— Now listen to what I will tell you is the best remedy to heal the disease of the heart. It is within one’s own power and harmless and a sweet potion to taste.
2 It is by your own exertion of your own consciousness and by diligent renunciation of the best objects of your desire that you can bring back your unmanageable mind under your control. 3 He who remains at rest by giving up the objects of his desire is truly the conqueror of his mind which is reduced under his subjection like an elephant lacking its tusks. 4 The mind is to be carefully treated like a patient with prescriptions of reason and by discriminating truth from untruth, just as we distinguish a good diet from what is injurious. 5 Mold your heated imagination by cool reasoning, by precepts of the scriptures, and by association with the dispassionate, as they do heated iron with a cold hammer.
6 Like a boy who suffers no pain turning himself this way and that in his play, so it is not difficult to turn the mind from one thing to another at pleasure. 7 Employ your mind to acts of goodness by the light of your understanding and join your soul to the meditation of God by light of your spirit.
8 The renunciation of a highly desirable object is within the power of one who resigns himself to the Divine Will. Therefore, it is a shame to that worm of human being who finds this teaching difficult to practice. 9 He who in his understanding can take the unpleasant for the pleasurable may with ease subdue his mind, like a giant by his might overcomes a boy. 10 It is possible to govern the mind by one’s attention and effort, like controlling a horse. When the mind is brought still, it is easy to enter into divine knowledge.
11 Shame on that jackass man who does not have the power to subdue his restless mind. It is entirely under his own control and he can easily govern it. 12 No one can reach the best course of his life without tranquility of his mind. This is to be acquired by means of his own effort to get rid of the fond objects of his desire. 13 By destroying the mind’s appetites and through reason and knowledge of truth, one can have his absolute dominion over the mind without any change or rival in it.
14 The precepts of a teacher, the instructions of the scriptures, the efficacy of mantras, and the force of arguments are all trifles like bits of straw if the mind is not calm. Calmness can be gained by renouncing our desires and knowledge of truth. 15 Only when all the desires of the mind are cut off by the weapon of indifference to all worldly things can the one all-pervading quiescent Brahman be known. 16 All men’s bodily pains are quite at an end as soon as the mind is at rest, after the removal of mental anxieties by means of true knowledge.
17 Many persons turn their minds away from mindfulness by too much trust in their efforts and imagined expectations, and disregarding the power of destiny that rules over all human efforts.
18 The mind when is becomes long practiced in its highest duty, the cultivation of divine knowledge, becomes extinct in consciousness and is elevated to its higher state of intellectual form. 19 Join yourself first to your intellectual or abstract thoughts, and then to your spiritual speculations. Then, being the master of your mind, contemplate on the nature of the Supreme Soul. 20 Thus relying on your own efforts and converting the conscious mind to its state of detached unconsciousness, you can attain that highest state of stability that knows no decay or destruction.
21 It is by your efforts and fixed attention, O Rama, that you can correct the errors of your mind, just like one gets over his wrong perceptions of mistaking one thing for another. 22 Calmness of mind dispels anxiety. A man who is able to subdue his mind doesn’t care a fig for his subjection of the world under him. 23 Worldly possessions are attended with strife and warfare. The enjoyments of heaven also have their rise and fall. But in the improvement of one’s own mind and nature, there is no contention with anyone or any obstruction of any kind.
24 Those who cannot manage to keep their minds under proper control find it hard to manage their affairs well. 25 The thought of being dead and being born again as a man continually occupy the minds of the ignorant with the idea of their ego. 26 Nobody is born here or dies at anytime. The mind conceives its birth and death and migration in other bodies and worlds. 27 It goes from here to another world, and there it appears in another form, or it is relieved from the encumbrance of flesh, which is called its liberation. Then where is this death and why fear to die?
28 Whether the mind wanders here or goes to another world with its earthly thoughts, it continues in the same state as before unless it is changed to another form by its attainment of liberation. 29 It is in vain that we are overwhelmed in sorrow upon the death of our brethren and dependents. We know it is the nature of the mind to be deluded from its state of pure consciousness to that of error. 30 It is repeatedly stated, both before and afterwards and in many other places (of this work), that there is no other means of obtaining true knowledge without subduing the mind.31 I repeat the same lesson, that there is no way except by government of the unruly mind to come to the light of the truly real, clear and universal knowledge of the Supreme.
32 The mind destroyed, the soul attains its tranquility and the light of the intellect shines forth in the cavity of the heart. 33 Hold fast the discus of reason, and cut off the bias of your mind. Be sure that no disease will have the power to molest you if you can have the good sense to despise objects of pleasure that are attended by pain. 34 By lopping the members of the mind, you cut it off altogether. These members, the essence of the mind, are ego and selfishness. Shun your sense that “It is I” and “These are mine.” 35 Without these feelings, the mind is cast down like a tree felled by the axe. It is dispersed like a scattered cloud from the autumn sky. 36 The mind is blown away by its lack of ego and selfishness, like a cloud by the winds.
37 It is dangerous to wage a war against winds, weapons, fire or water in order to obtain the objects of worldly desire, but there is no danger whatever in destroying the growing soft and tender desires of the mind. 38 What is good and what is not are well known for certain, even to children. Therefore employ your mind to what is good, as they train children in the paths of goodness.
39 Our minds are as stubborn and indomitable as ferocious lions of the forest. They are true victors who have conquered these and are thereby entitled to salvation. 40 Our desires, with their unsatisfied thirst after monetary gain, are like fierce lions. Desires lead us to dangers and are as delusive as the mirage of the desert.
41 The man without desires cares for nothing: whether the winds howl with the fury of storms, or the seas break their bounds, or the twelve suns (of the Zodiac) rise at once to burn the universe. 42 The mind is the root that grows the plants of our good and evil and all our happiness and sorrow. The mind is the tree of the world, and all peoples are like its branches and leaves. 43 One who has freed his mind from its desires prospers everywhere. He who lives in the dominion of detachment rests in his heavenly joy. 44 The more we curb the desires of our minds, the greater we feel our inward happiness. Like the fire being extinguished, we find ourselves cooled from its heat.
45 Should the mind long for millions of worldly mansions in its highest ambition, it is sure to have them spread out to view within the minute particle of its own essence. 46 Opulence in expectancy is full of anxiety to the mind. When gained, the expected wealth is no less troublesome to the mind. But the treasure of contentment is filled with lasting peace of mind. Therefore, be victorious over your greedy mind by abandonment of all your desires.
47 With the highly holy virtue of your un-mindfulness, and with the even-mindedness of those who have known the Divine Spirit, and also with the subdued, moderated and defeated yearnings of your heart, make the state of the uncreated One as your own.
1 Vasishta continued:— Whatever the nature of the object of any man’s desire, his mind does not fail to run after it with great eagerness in every place. 2 This eagerness of the mind rises and sets by turns with the view of the desired object, like clear bubbles of water foaming and bursting of themselves with the breath of winds. 3 As coldness is the nature of frost and blackness is that of ink, so is swiftness or momentum the nature of the mind, as stillness is that of the soul.
4 Rama said, “Tell me sage, why is the mind identified with motion, and what is the cause of its velocity? Tell me also if there is any other force that can impede the mind’s motion?”
5 Vasishta replied:— We have never seen the motionless quiet of the mind. Speed is the nature of the mind, like heat is that of fire. 6 This vacillating power of motion which is implanted in the mind is known to be of the same nature as that of the self-motive force of the Divine Mind that is the cause of the momentum and motion of those worlds. 7 As the essence of air is imperceptible without its movement, so we can have no notion of the momentum of our minds apart from the idea of their vibration.
8 The mind which has no motion is said to be dead and defunct. The suspension of mental agitation is the condition of yoga stillness and leads to our ultimate liberation.
9 The mortification of the mind is attended with the subsidence of our sorrows, but agitated thoughts in the mind are causes of all our sorrows.10 The monster of the mind, being roused from its rest, raises all our dangers and disasters, but its falling into rest and inaction causes our happiness and perfect joy. 11 The restlessness of the mind is the effect of its ignorance. Therefore Rama, exert your reason to destroy all its desires. 12 Destroy the internal desires of your mind that are raised by ignorance alone and attain your supreme joy by your resignation to the Divine Will.
13 The mind is a thing that stands between the real and unreal, and between intelligence and dull matter. The mind is moved to and fro by the contending powers on either side. 14 Impelled by dull material force, the mind is lost in the investigation of material objects until at last, by its habitual thought of materiality, it is converted to a material object, resembling dull matter itself. 15 But the mind being guided by its intellectual powers to investigate abstract truths becomes an intelligent and intellectual principle by its continued practice of thinking itself as such.
16 By virtue of the exertion of your manly powers and activities, and by force of constant habit and continued practice, you can succeed in attaining anything to which you employ your mind with diligence. 17 You also can be free from fears and find your rest in your reliance upon the Being without sorrow, provided you exercise your manly activities and use your intelligence to curb the tendencies of your mind. 18 By the force of your intelligent mind, you must lift up your deluded mind that is drowned in the cares of this world. There is no other way. 19 Only the mind is capable of subduing the mind, for who can subdue a king unless he is a king himself?
20 Our minds are the boats to lift us from the ocean of this world where we are carried too far by its beating waves and thrown into the whirlpools of despair, and where we are caught by the sharks of our greediness. 21 Let your own mind cut the mind’s net that is ensnared in this world and extricate your soul by this wise policy, which is the only means of your liberation. 22 Let the wise destroy the desires of their minds and this will set them free from the bonds of ignorance. 23 Shun your desire for earthly enjoyments and forsake your knowledge of dualism. Then get rid of your impressions of entity and non-entity and be happy with the knowledge of one unity.
24 Thought of the unknowable will remove the thoughts of known phenomena. This is equivalent to the destruction of desires, and also of the mind and ignorance. 25 The unknown One of which we are unconscious by our knowledge of phenomena transcends anything and everything known by our consciousness. Our unconsciousness is our nirvana and final extinction, while our consciousness is the cause of our sorrow. 26 By their own attention, men soon come to the knowledge of phenomena, but it is the unknowing or unconsciousness of these that is our nirvana. Our consciousness is the cause of our sorrow.
27 Destroy, O Rama, whatever is desirable to your mind and is the object of your affection. Then knowing them as reduced to nothing, forsake your desires as seedless sprouts and live content without the feelings of joy and grief.
1 Vasishta continued:— False desires that continually rise in the heart are like the appearances of false moons in the sky and should be shunned by the wise. 2 They rise in the minds of the unwise amidst their ignorance. Everything that is known only by its name and not in actuality cannot reside in the minds of wise people.
3 Be wise, O Rama, and do not think like the ignorant. Consider well all that I tell you. There is no second moon in the sky, but it appears so only by deception of our optical visions. 4 There exists nothing real or unreal anywhere except the only true essence of God, just like there is no substantiality in the continuity of the waves other than the body of waters. 5 There is no reality in anything, whether existent or nonexistent, all which are mere creations of your shadowy ideality. Therefore do not impute any shape or figure to the eternal, boundless and pure spirit of God.
6 You are no maker or master of anything. Then why consider any act or thing as your own? You do not know what these existences are, or by whom and from what they are made. 7 Do not think you are an actor because no actor can attempt to do anything. Discharge whatever is your duty and remain at your ease with having done your part. 8 Though you are the actor of an action, do not think of yourself as such. Mind your inability to do or undo anything. How can you boast of being the actor when you know your inability for action?
9 If truth is delectable and untruth is odious, then remain firm to what is good and be employed in your duties. 10 But as the whole world is a gallery, a magic, and an unreality, then say what reliance is there in it and what signifies pleasure or displeasure to anybody?
11 Know Rama, this egg of the world is a delusion and being nonexistent in itself, it appears as a real existence to others. 12 Know this busy sphere of the world, so full with its nonexistence, to be an ideal fantasy presented for the delusion of our minds. 13 It is like a beautiful bamboo plant, all hollow within and without pith or marrow inside, or like the curling waves of the sea, both of which are born to perish without being uprooted from the bottom.
14 This world is as evaporated as the air and water flying in the air, incapable of being touched or held in the hand, and as precipitous as a waterfall in its course. 15 It appears as a flowery garden, but never comes to any good use at all. The billowy sea in the mirage presents the form of water without quenching our thirst. 16 Sometimes it seems to be straight, and at others a curve. Now it is long and now short, and now it is moving and quiet again. Everything in it, though originally for our good, conspires to our evil only. 17 Though hollow inside, the world appears to be full with its apparent contents. Though all the worlds are continually in motion, yet they seem to be standing still.
18 Whether they be dull matter or intelligences, their existence depends upon their motion. And these, without stopping anywhere for a moment, present the sight of their being quite at rest. 19 Though they are as bright as light to sight, they are as opaque in their bowels as the dark coal. Though they are moved by a superior power, they appear to be moving of themselves. 20 They fade away before the brighter light of the sun, but brighten in the darkness of the night. Their light is like that of the mirage created by the reflection of sunbeams.
21 Human greed is like a black serpent, crooked and venomous, thin and soft in its form, but rough and dangerous in its nature, and ever unsteady as a woman. 22 Without the objects of our affection, our love of the world soon ceases, like the lamp is extinguished without its oil and as the vermilion mark is soon worn off. 23 Our false hopes are as transient as the impermanent flashes of lightning. Hopes glare and flare for a moment, then disappear in the air like these transitory flashes of light.
24 The objects of our desire are often had without our seeking, but they are as frail as the fire of heaven. They appear to vanish like twinkling lightning, and being held carefully in the hand, they burn it like an electric fire. 25 Many things come to us unasked and though appearing delightful at first, they prove troublesome to us at last. Hopes delayed are like flowers growing out of season which neither bear their fruit or answer our purposes. 26 Every accident tends to our misery, as unpleasant dreams annoy our sleep and disturb our rest.
27 It is our delusion (avidya) that presents these many and big worlds before us, just like our dreams produce, sustain and destroy all appearances of vision in one minute. 28 It was delusion that made one minute appear as many years to King Lavana, and the space of one night seem like the long period of a dozen of years to Harish Chandra. 29 Such also is the case with separated lovers among rich people: that in the absence of their beloved, a single night seems like an entire year to them. 30 It is this delusive avidya that shortens the flight of time to the rich and happy and prolongs its course with the poor and miserable, all of whom are subject to the power of delusion (vipary’asa).
31 The power of this delusion is essentially spread over all the works of creation, like the light of a lamp spreads over things in its brightness and not in substance. 32 As a female form represented in a picture is no woman and has no power to do anything, so this delusion that presents us the shapes of our desired objects in the picture of the mind can produce nothing in reality.
33 The delusion consists in building aerial castles without substance in the mind. Though these appear in hundreds and thousands of shapes, they have no substance to them. 34 It deludes the ignorant, like a mirage misleads deer in a desert, but false appearances cannot deceive the knowing man. 35 These appearances, like foaming waters, are as continuous as they are impermanent. They are as fleeting as the driving frost that cannot be held in the hand. 36 This delusion holds the world in its grasp and flies aloft with it in the air. It blinds us like flying dust raised by its furious blasts. 37 Covered with dust and with heat and sweat of its body, it grasps the earth and flies all about the world. The deluded man ever works with persistence and runs everywhere after his greed.
38 As drops of rainwater falling from the clouds form the great rivers and seas, and as scattered straw tied together make a strong rope to bind beasts, so the combination of all the delusive objects in the world makes the great delusion of reality and lust.
39 Poets describe the fluctuations of the world as a series of waves and the world itself as a bed of lotuses, pleasant to sight but floating on an unstable element. But I compare it to the porous stalk of the lotus, full of perforations and openings inside, and to a pool of mud and mire with the filth of our sins.
40 Men think much of their improvement and of many other things on earth, but there is no improvement in this decaying world that is like a tempting cake with a coating of sweets, but full of deadly gall within. 41 It is like a lamp whose flame is lost and fled we know not where. It is visible as a mist, but try to lay hold on it and it proves to be nothing. 42 This earth is a handful of ashes which being flung aloft flies in particles of dust. It is like the upper sky which appears to be blue but has no blueness in it.
43 This delusion on earth as like the appearance of two moons in the sky, or in the vision of things in a dream, or in the motion of immovable things on the land to the passenger in a boat. 44 Men being long deluded by this error which has tightly laid hold of their minds, imagine a long duration of the world, as they do of the scenes in their dreams. 45 The mind being thus deluded by this error sees the wonderful productions of world to rise and fall within itself like the waves of the sea.
46 Things which are real and good appear otherwise in our error, while those that are unreal and harmful appear real and good to our deluded understandings. 47 Our strong greed, riding on the vehicle of the desired object, chases the fleeting mind as bird-catchers chase flying birds with nets. 48 Delusion, like a mother and wife, often offers us fresh delights with her tender looks and breasts distilling sweet milk. 49 But these delights serve only to poison us, while they seem to cool the worlds with their distillation, just like the crescent orb of the moon injures us with too much of her moistening influence, while it appears to refresh us with her full bright beams.
50 Blind delusion turns meek, mild and mute men into giddy and clamorous fools, like silent vetala ghosts in their dancing revelry in the silent woods at night. 51 It is under the influence of delusion that we see shapes of snakes and serpents in our brick-built and stone-made houses at nightfall. 52 It makes a single thing appear as double, like the sight of two moons in the sky, and brings near to us what is far away, like in our dreams. Delusion even causes us to dream that we are dead. 53 It causes long to appear as short, as our nightly sleep shortens the duration of time and makes a moment appear as a year, as in the case of separated lovers.
54 Look at the power of this unsubstantial ignorance, a negative thing, and still there is nothing which it cannot alter to something else. 55Therefore be diligent to stop the course of this delusion by your right knowledge, just as they dry up a channel by stopping the current of the stream.
56 Rama said, “It is wonderful that a false conception that has no real existence and is so delicate as almost a nothing (but a name) should thus blind the understanding. 57 It is strange that something without form or figure, without sense or understanding, and which is unreal and vanishing, should so blindfold the world. 58 It is strange that a thing sparkling in darkness and vanishing in daylight, and shortsighted as the brooding owl, should keep the world in darkness. 59 It is strange that something prone to doing evil and unable to come to light and flying from sight, and having no bodily form whatever, should thus darken the world. 60 It is a wonder that one acting so miserly and consorting with the mean and vile, and ever hiding herself in darkness, should thus dominate the world. 61 It is wonderful that fallacy attended with constant sorrow and peril, and which is devoid of sense and knowledge, should keep the world in darkness. 62 It is to be wondered that error arising from anger and greed, creeping crookedly in darkness and liable to instant death, should yet keep the world in blindness. 63 It is surprising that error which is a blind, dull and stupid thing itself, and which is falsely talkative at all times, should yet mislead others in the world. 64 It is astonishing that falsehood should betray a man after attaching as closely to him as his consort, and showing all her endearments to him, but flying at the approach of his reason. 65 It is strange that man should be blinded by the womanish attire of error which beguiles the man but dares not to look at him face to face. 66 It is strange that man is blinded by his faithless consort of error which has no sense or intelligence and which dies away without being killed.”
67 “Tell me sage, how this error — which has its seat in the desires and is deeply rooted in the recesses of the heart and mind, and leads us to the channels of endless misery by subjecting us to repeated births and deaths and to the pains and pleasures of life — is to be dispelled?”
1 Rama repeated, “Tell me sage, how to remove this stony blindness of man caused by the trick of ignorance (avidya)?”
2 Vasishta replied:—
As the particles of snow melt at the sight of the sun, so this ignorance is dispelled immediately by a glance of the Supreme Spirit. 3 Until then, ignorance continues to hurl down the soul and spirit, as from a precipice to the depths of the world, and expose them to sorrows as thick as thorny brambles. 4 As long as the desire of seeing spirit does not rise of itself in the human soul, there is no end of this ignorance (avidya) and unconsciousness. 5 The sight of the Supreme Spirit destroys the knowledge of our self-existence that is caused by our ignorance, just like the light of the sun destroys the shadows of things. 6 The sight of the all-pervading God dispels our ignorance in the same manner as the light of the twelve zodiacal suns (all shining at once) puts the shadows of night to flight from all sides of the horizon.
7 Our desires are the offspring of our ignorance, and the annihilation of these constitutes what we call our liberation. A man who is devoid of desires is reckoned the perfect and consummate master (siddha). 8 As the night-shade of desires is dissipated from the region of the mind, the darkness of ignorance is put to flight by the rise of the intellectual sun. 9 As the dark night flies away before the advance of sunlight, so ignorance disappears before the advance of true knowledge (viveka or discrimination).
10 The stiffness of our desires tends to bind the mind fast in its worldly chains, like the advance of night serves to increase the fear of demons in children.
11 Rama asked, “The knowledge of phenomena as true makes what we call avidya or ignorance, and it is said to be dispersed by spiritual knowledge. Now tell me sage, what is the nature of the Spirit?”
12 Vasishta replied:—
That which is not the subject of thought, which is all-pervasive, and the thought of which is beyond expression and comprehension is the Universal Spirit. 13 That which reaches to the highest heaven of God and stretches over the lowest plots of grass on earth is the all-pervading spirit at all times, and is unknown to the ignorant soul. 14 All this is truly Brahman, eternal and imperishable Consciousness. To Him no imagination of the mind can reach at anytime.
15 That which is never born or dead and which is ever existent in all worlds, and in which the conditions of being and change are altogether wanting, 16 which is one and one alone, all and all-pervading, and imperishable Unity, which is incomprehensible in thought, and is only of the form of Intellect is the Universal Spirit. 17 It is accompanied with the ever-existent, all-extending, pure and undisturbed Conscioiusness and is that calm, quiet, even and unchanging state of the soul which is called the Divine Spirit.
18 There resides also the impure mind, which is by nature beyond all physical objects and runs after its own desire. It is conceivable by Consciousness as sullied by its own activity. 19 This ubiquitous, all-potent, great and godlike mind, in its imagination, separates itself from the Supreme Spirit and rises from it like a wave on the surface of the sea. 20 There is no fluctuation or projection in the all-extending tranquil soul of God, but these take place in the mind owing to its desires which cause the production of all things in the world. 21 Therefore the world, being the production of desire or will, has its extinction with the privation of desires, for that which is the growth of a thing causes its extinction also, like the wind that kindles the fire also extinguishes it.
22 The exertion of human effort gives rise to the expectation of results, but lack of desire causes the cessation of exertions and consequently puts a stop to the desire of activity and our ignorance that causes desire. 23 The thought that “I am distinct from Brahman” binds the mind to the world, but the belief that “Brahman is all” releases the mind from its bondage. 24 Every thought about one’s self fastens his bondage in this world, but release from selfish thoughts leads him to his liberation. Cease from your selfish cares and you shall cease to work with persistence for nothing.
25 There is no lake of lotuses in the sky, nor is there a lotus growing in the gold mine whose fragrance fills the air and attracts the blue bees to suck its honey. 26 The goddess of ignorance, with her uplifted arms resembling the long stalks of lotus plants, laughs over her conquests in exultation with the glaring light of shining moonbeams. 27 Such is the net of our wishes that our minds spread before us, which represent unrealities as real and take a delight to dwell upon them, like children in their toys. 28 So also is the trap spread out by our own ignorance all over this world. It ensnares busy people to their misery in all places, just as it tightly binds ignorant men and children in its chains.
29 Men are busy with worldly affairs with such thoughts as, “I am poor and bound in this earth for my life; but I have my hands and feet with which I must work for myself.” 30 But they are freed from all affairs of this life who know themselves as spiritual beings, and that their spiritual part is neither subject to bondage nor labor. 31 The thought that “I am neither flesh or bones but some thing other than my body” releases one from his bondage. One having such assurance within is said to have weakened his avidya or ignorance.
32 The imagination of earthly men paint ignorance as dark as the darkness that surrounds the highest pinnacle of Mount Meru, blazing with the blue light of sapphire, or at the primeval darkness impenetrable by sunlight. 33 Earth-born mortals also represent ignorance as the blackness which naturally covers the face of heaven by its own nature, like the blue vault of the sky. 34 Thus, in the imagination of the unenlightened, ignorance is pictured with a visible form. But the enlightened never attribute qualities of physical sensation to inanimate and imaginary objects.
35 Rama said, “Tell me sage, what is the cause of the blueness of the sky if it is not the reflection of the blue gems on the Meru’s peak? Is it a collection of darkness (at night) by itself?”
36 Vasishta replied:—
Rama, the sky being only an empty vacuum cannot have the quality of blueness which is commonly attributed to it. Nor is it the bluish luster of the blue gems that are supposed to abound on the top of Meru. 37 Nor is there any possibility of a body of darkness abiding in the sky when the cosmic egg is full of light (which has displaced the primeval darkness) and when the nature of light is the brightness that stretches over the extraterrestrial regions.
38 O fortunate Rama, the sky which is a vast vacuum is open to a sister of ignorance with regard to its inner hollowness. 39 As one after losing his eyesight sees only darkness all about him, so the lack of the objects of sight in the womb of emptiness gives the sky the appearance of a dark scene. 40 By understanding this, as you come to the knowledge that the apparent blackness of the sky is no black color of its own, so you come to learn the seeming darkness of ignorance to be no darkness in reality.
41 Want of desire or its detachment is the destroyer of ignorance. It is as easy to effect it as to annihilate a lake of lotuses growing in the sky.
42 It is better, O good Rama, to distrust the delusions of this world and disbelieve the blueness of the sky than to labor under the error of their reality. 43 The thought that “I am dead” makes one as sad as when he dreams of his death in sleep. Similarly, the thought that “I am living” makes one as cheerful as when he wakes from the deadly dream of his death-like sleep. 44 Foolish imaginations make the mind as dull as that of a fool, but reasonable reflections lead it to wisdom and clear sightedness.
45 A moment’s reflection of the reality of the world and of his own essence casts a man into the gloom of everlasting ignorance, while his forgetfulness of these removes all mortal thoughts from his mind. 46 Ignorance produces passions and temptations for all transient objects. Ignorance is busy destroying the knowledge of the soul. It is destroyed only by knowledge of the soul.
47 Whatever the mind seeks is instantly supplied by the organs of action which serve as ministers subservient to the orders of their king. 48Therefore, he who, by his diligent application to spirituality, does not attend to the dictates of his mind in the pursuit of phenomena entertains the tranquility of his inmost soul.
49 What did not exist at first has no existence even now. That which appears as existent is nothing other than the quiescent and immaculate essence, Brahma himself. 50 Let no other thought of any person, thing, place or object employ your mind at anytime, except that of the immutable, everlasting and unlimited spirit of Brahma. 51 Rely upon the superior powers of your understanding, exert your sovereign intellect, and root out all worldly desires by enjoyment of the pleasures of your mind.
52 The great ignorance that rises in the mind and raises the desires of your heart has spread the net of your false hopes for your ruin, causing your death and decrepitude under them. 53 Your wishes burst out in expressions such as, “These are my sons and these are my treasures. I am such a one and these things are mine.” All this is the effect of a magic spell of ignorance that binds you tightly. 54 Your body is a void in which your desires have produced all your selfish thoughts, like empty winds raising waves on the surface of the sea.
55 Learn, you who are seekers of truth, that the words “I” and “mine” and “this” and “that” are all meaningless in their true sense. There is nothing that may be called real at anytime except knowledge of the true self and essence of Brahman.
56 The heavens above and the earth below, with all the ranges of hills and mountains on earth and all the lines of its rivers and lakes, are only the dissolving sights seen in the same or different lights as they are represented by our ignorance. 57 Phenomena rise to view from our ignorance and disappear before the light of knowledge. They appear in various forms in the substratum of the soul, just as the fallacy of a snake appears in the substance of a rope.
58 Rama, know that only the ignorant are liable to the error of taking the earth, sun and stars for realities; not so the learned to whom the great Brahman is present in all his majesty and full glory in all places and things. 59 While the ignorant labor under the doubt of two ideas, a rope and a snake in the rope, the learned are firm in their belief and sight of one true God in all things.
60 Therefore do not think like the ignorant, but well consider all things like the wise and the learned. Forsake your earthly wishes and do not grope like the vulgar by believing the not-self to be the self. 61 Of what good is this dull and dumb body to you, Rama, (in your future state) that you are so overcome by alternating joy and grief at its pleasure and pain? 62 Like the wood of a tree, its gum resin, and its fruit and seed are not one and the same thing, though they are so closely related to one another, so this body and the embodied being are quite separate from one another, though they are so closely united with each other.
63 As the burning of a pair of bellows does not blow out the fire or stop the air blown by another pair, so the vital air is not destroyed by destruction of the body but finds its way into another form and frame elsewhere. 64 The thought that “I am happy or miserable” is as false as the idea of water in a mirage. Knowing it as such, give up your misconceptions of pleasure and pain and place your reliance upon the sole truth. 65 O how wonderful it is that men have so utterly forgotten the true Brahman and have placed their reliance on false ignorance, the sole cause of errors.
66 Do not, O Rama, give way to ignorance in your mind, which being overspread by its darkness will render it difficult for you to pass over the errors of the world. 67 Know ignorance to be a false fiend and deluder of the strongest minds. It is the baneful cause of endless sorrows and produces the poisonous fruits of illusion. 68 It imagines hellfire in the cooling beams of the watery orb of the moon. Ignorance conceives the torments of infernal fires proceeding from the refreshing beams of that celestial light. 69 It views a dry desert in wide waters rolling with waves and undulating with the fragrance of the aqueous kalpa flowers. It imagines a dry mirage in the empty clouds of autumn. 70 Ignorance builds imaginary castles in empty air and causes the error of rising and falling towers in clouds. It is the delusion of our fancy that makes us feel the emotions of pleasure and pain in our dreams.
71 If the mind is not filled and led away by worldly desires, then there is no fear of falling into the dangers that the daydreams of our earthly affairs constantly present before us. 72 The more our false knowledge lays hold of our minds, the more we feel the torments of hell and its punishments in us, like nightmares in sleep. 73 The mind pierced by error, as if by the thorny stalk of a lotus, sees the whole world revolving before it like the sea rolling with its waves. 74 Ignorance takes possession of the mind, converts enthroned princes to peasants, and reduces them to a condition worse than that of beastly hunters.
75 Therefore, Rama, give up the earthly desires that serve, at best, to bind down the soul to this mortal earth and its mortifying cares. Remain like the pure white crystal, reflecting the colors of all things around in your stainless mind. 76 Employ your mind to your duties without being tarnished by your attachment to any. Remain like the unsullied crystal, receiving the reflections of outward objects without being stained by any.
77 Knowing everything with eagerness in your watchful mind and performing all your duties with due submission, and staying away from the common track with your exalted mind, you will raise yourself above comparison with any other person.
1 Valmiki relates:— Being thus encouraged by the high minded Vasishta, Rama’s lotus eyes became opened like new blown flowers. 2 He shone forth with a pure grace, his heart expanded and his face blooming like the fresh lotus reviving at the end of night under the vivifying beams of the rising sun. 3 His smiling face shone like the moon with inward enlightenment and wonder. Then, with the nectar beams of his bright and white pearly teeth, Rama spoke out these words.
4 Rama said, “What a wonder that the lack of ignorance should subdue all things, as if it could tie down huge hills with the thin threads of lotus stalks. 5 O, that this straw of the earth, which shows itself to be so dense a body in the world, is no more than the production of our ignorance which shows the unreal as a reality. 6 Tell me more for my enlightenment regarding the true nature of this magical earth which rolls like a ceaseless stream running amidst the ethereal worlds.”
7 “There is another great question that worries my heart. What happened to the fortunate Lavana in the end? 8 Also, tell me more about the embodied soul and the animated body, whether they are in concord or discord with one another, and which of them is the active agent and recipient of the rewards of acts in this earth. 9 Tell me also who was that sorcerer and where he fled after putting the good King Lavana to all his tribulation, and then restoring him to his former exalted position.”
10 Vasishta said:— The body is like a frame of woodwork that contains nothing. It receives the reflection of an intelligence as in a dream, and this is called the mind. 11 This mind becomes the living principle (life) and also has the power of thinking. It is as unstable as a boat on the current of world of affairs, and it plays the part of a fickle monkey amidst the busy castle of the world.
12 The active principle in the body is known under different names — the mind, life and ego — and having a body for its home, it is employed in a variety of actions. 13 This active principle is subject to endless pains and pleasures in its unenlightened or un-awakened state, and the body has no relation with them. 14 Unenlightened understanding also has received many fictitious names according to the various faculties that it exhibits in its acts. 15 As long as an un-awakened mind is in its sleeping state, it perceives the busy bustle of the world as in a dream, which is unknown to the waking or enlightened mind.
16 As long as a living being is not awakened from its sleep, it has to labor under the inseparable mist of worldly errors. 17 But the darkness hanging over the minds of the enlightened is put to flight as quickly as the shade of night spreading over the bed of lotuses is dispersed at sunrise.
18 That which the learned call the heart, the mind, the individual soul, ignorance, desire, and the principle of action is the embodied being that is subject to the feelings of both pleasure and pain. 19 The body is dull matter unconscious of pain and pleasure. Men of right reason say that the embodied being is subject to pain and pleasure because of its stubborn ignorance and irrationality. The embodied being is the cause of its own misery. 20 The individual soul is the subject of its good and bad actions. It becomes confined in its body because of its irrationality and remains trapped there like a silkworm in its cocoon.
21 The mind being tied to its ignorance exerts its faculties in various ways, and turns round like a wheel in its various pursuits and employments. 22 The mind dwelling in the body makes it rise and sit, eat and drink, walk and go, and hurt and kill, all of which are acts of the mind and not of the body. 23 As the master of the house does his many acts in it, and not the house itself, so the mind acts its different parts in the body, and not the body by itself. 24 The mind is the active and passive agent of all actions and passions, and of the pains and pleasures of the body. It is only the mind that makes the man.
25 Now hear me tell you the useful moral of the story of Lavana, and how he was transformed to a tribal (chandala, outcaste) by derangement of his mind. 26 The mind has to feel the effects of its actions whether good or evil. In order that you may understand it well, listen attentively to what I will now tell you.
27 Lavana was born of the line of King Harish Chandra. One day, as he was sitting apart from all others of his court, he was thinking to himself,28 “My grandfather was a great king and performed the rajasuya sacrifice. I, being born of his line, must perform the same in my mind.”
29 Having determined so, and getting the things ready for the sacrifice, he entered the sacrificial hall for his initiation in the sacred rites. 30 He called the sacrificial priests and honored the holy saints. He invited the gods to it and lighted the sacrificial fire. 31 Having performed the sacrifice to his heart’s content, and having honored the gods, sages and brahmins, he went to a forest to live there for a year (all in his own mind).
32 Then, having made presents of all his wealth to brahmins and other men, he awoke from his slumber in the same forest by the evening of that day. 33 Thus King Lavana attained the merit of the sacrifice, in his internal satisfaction of having attained the merit of the sacrifice.
34 Hence learn to know that the mind is the recipient of pleasure and pain. Therefore employ your attention, Rama, to the purification of your mind. 35 Every man becomes perfect in his mind in its full time and proper place, but he is utterly lost who believes himself to be composed only of his body. 36 The mind being roused to transcendental reason, all miseries are removed from rational understanding, just like the beams of the rising sun falling upon the lotus bud dispel the darkness that had closely contracted its folded petals.
1 Rama asked, “Sage, what is the evidence that Lavana obtained the reward of his mental rajasuya sacrifice through his transformation into the state of a tribal, as it was wrought upon him by the enchantment of the magician?”
2 Vasishta answered:— I was myself present at King Lavana’s court when the magician made his appearance and I saw everything that took place with my own eyes. 3 After the magician finished his work and left, King Lavana respectfully asked me with the other courtiers to explain to him what had happened. 4 After I pondered the matter and had clearly seen its cause, I explained the meaning of the magician’s spell. This is the way I will now explain it to you, my Rama!
5 I remembered that all those who performed rajasuya sacrifice were subjected to various painful difficulties and dangers which they had to suffer for a full dozen of years. 6 It was then that Indra, the lord of heaven, had compassion for Lavana and sent his heavenly messenger in the form of the magician to avert his calamity. 7 He taxed the king who would make the rajasuya sacrifice with the infliction of the very many hardships in his dream, then departed on his aerial journey to the abode of the gods and spiritual masters.
8 Thus Rama, it is quite evident and there is no doubt in it. The mind is the active and passive agent of all kinds of actions and their sequences.(a) Therefore rub out the dirt of your heart, and polish the gem of your mind. Using the fire of your reason to melt the mind down like a particle of ice, attain your chief supreme good at last. (b) Know the mind is identical to ignorance, which by its magical power presents these multitudes and endless varieties of beings and things before you. (c) There is no difference in the meanings of the words “ignorance,” “mind,” “understanding” and “individual soul,” as in the word “tree” and all its synonyms. (d) Knowing this truth, keep a steady mind free from all its desires. As the orb of the clear sun of your intellect has its rise, so the darkness of your willing and unwilling flies away from you. (e) Know also this truth: there is nothing in the world that you cannot see or which you cannot make your own or which can be taken away from you. There is nothing that does not die or what is not yours or some else’s. All things become all at all times.
9 The multitudes of existent bodies and their known properties meet together in the substantiality of Brahman, just like the various kinds of un-fired clay vessels are melted down in the same watery substance.
10 Rama said:— “Sage, you said that by weakening the desires of our mind, we can put an end to our pleasures and pains. But tell me now, how is it possible to stop the course of our naturally fickle minds?”
11 Vasishta replied:— Hear, O bright moon of Raghu’s race! I will tell you the proper course for quieting the restless mind. By knowing this you shall obtain peace of mind and be freed from the actions of your organs of sense.
12 I have told you before about the triple nature of the production of beings here below which, I believe, you well remember. 13 Of these the first is that power (Brahma) who assumed to himself the shape of the Divine Will and saw in his presence in whatever he wished to produce, through which he brought the physical system into existence. 14 He thought of many changes in his mind, like those of birth and death, pleasure and pain, the course of nature and the effect of ignorance, and the like. Then having ordained them as he willed, he disappeared of himself like snow before sunlight.
15 Thus this god, the personification of Will, rises and sets repeatedly as he is prompted from time to time by his inner wish. 16 So there are millions of Brahmas born in this cosmic egg. Many have gone by and are yet to come, whose number is innumerable. 17 All living beings are in the same predicament as Brahma, proceeding continually from the entity of God. Now I will tell you how they live and how they are liberated from the bonds of life.
18 The mental power issuing from Brahma rests on the wide expanse of emptiness spread before it. Then being joined with the essence of ether, it becomes solidified in the shape of desire. 19 Then finding the miniature of matter spread out before it, it becomes the quintessence of the five elements. Having assumed afterwards the inner senses, it becomes a suitable elementary body composed of the finest particles of the five elements. It enters into grains and vegetables, which reenter into the bowels of animals in the form of food. 20 The essence of this food in the form of semen, gives birth to living beings to infinity. 21 The male child grows into boyhood, to his tutor for the acquisition of knowledge. 22 The boy next assumes his wonderful form of youth, which next arrives to the state of manhood. 23 The man afterwards learns to choose something for himself, and reject others by the clear sightedness of his internal faculties.
24 A man possessed of the right discrimination of good and evil, and of right and wrong, and who is confident of the purity of his own nature and of his belonging to the best caste (brahmin) by degrees attains supernatural powers for his own good, as also for the enlightenment of his mind, by means of his knowledge of the seven essential grounds of yoga meditation.
1 Rama said, “Please sage, tell me briefly, what are the grounds of yoga meditation that produce the seven kinds of consummation that are the aims of yogi adepts. You are best acquainted with all esoteric truths. You, sage, must know better than all others.
2 Vasishta replied:— They consist of the seven descending states of ignorance and the seven ascending states of knowledge. These again diverge into many others by their mixtures together. 3 All these states of ignorance and knowledge, being deep rooted in the nature of man either by his habit or training, produce their respective results. 4 Attend now to the nature of the seven states or grounds of ignorance, and you will also come to know the nature of the seven grounds of knowledge.
5 This will be the shortest lesson that I will give you about the definitions of true knowledge and ignorance. One’s own true nature is his highest knowledge and liberation. Whatever distracts one from this knowledge to the false sense of individual ago is the cause of his ignorance that leads him to the error and bondage of this world. 6 Those who do not deviate from their awareness of the self as composed of only pure consciousness are not liable to ignorance because they lack passions, affections, and the feelings of envy and enmity. 7 The greatest ignorance and error of mankind is forgetting self awareness and diving into consciousness (chit) after thoughts of cognizable objects.
8 The space that takes place in the mind between a past and future thought of one object to another, that respite of the mind from thinking is the resting of the soul in the consciousness of its true form (swarupa).
9 That state of the soul when it is calm after the setting of the thoughts and desires of the mind, and which is as cold and quiet as the bosom of a stone, and yet without the dullness of slumber or dull drowsiness, is called the repose of the soul in its recognition of itself. 10 The soul is said to be at rest in itself and shines forth with its unsleeping intelligence when it is devoid of its sense of ego, destitute of its knowledge of dualism, and lacking in any distinction between it and the state of the one Universal Soul.
11 This state of the pure and self-intelligent soul is hidden by the various states of ignorance which I will now describe to you. These are three states of wakefulness known as embryonic waking, ordinary waking, and intense waking. 12 Again, the different states of dreaming are also said to be the grounds of its ignorance and these are waking dream, sleeping dream, sleepy waking and sound sleep (susupti). These are the seven grounds of ignorance. 13 These are the seven grounds that produce sheer ignorance. When joined with one another they become many more mixed sattes known under different names, as you will hear by and by.
14 At first there was the intelligent Consciousness which gave rise to the nameless and pure intelligence which became the source of the would-be mind and individual soul. 15 This intellect remained as the ever waking embryonic seed of all, which is why it is called the waking seed. It is the first condition of cognition, so it is said to be the primal waking state.
16 The waking state is next to the primal waking intelligence of God, and it is the belief in the individual personality of the ego. 17 The great waking (mahajagrat) is the firm belief that I am such a one, and this thing is mine, by virtue of my merits in this or bygone times (karma). 18 The cognition of the reality of anything, either by bias or mistake, is called the waking dream. Examples are the sight of two moons in the halo, of silver in shells, water in the mirage, and the imaginary castle building of day dreamers.
19 Dreaming in sleep is of many kinds, as is known by one upon awaking who doubts their truth owing to their short-lived duration. 20 The reliance placed on things seen in a dream, after one wakes from his sleep, is called his waking dream, and lasts only in the mind as a memory. 21A thing long unseen and appearing dimly with a strong figure in the dream, if taken for a real thing of the waking state, is also called a waking dream. 22 A dream dreamt either in the whole body or the dead body of the dreamer appears as a phantom of the waking state.
23 Besides these six states, there is a sluggish state of the individual soul which is called his sound sleep (susupta) and is capable of feeling its future pleasures and pains. 24 In this last state of the soul or mind, all outward objects from a straw up to a mountain appear as mere atoms of dust in its presence, just as the mind sees a miniature of the world in profound meditation.
25 I have thus told you Rama, the features of true knowledge and error in brief, but each of these states branches out into a hundred forms with various traits of their own.
26 A long continuous waking dream is described as the waking state (jagrat) and it becomes diversified according to the diversity of its objects.27 The waking state contains under it the conditions of the wakeful soul of God. Also, there are many things under these conditions that mislead men from one error to another, like a storm casts boats into whirlpools and eddies. 28 Some of the lengthened dreams in sleep appear like the waking sight of daylight, while others, though seen in the broad daylight of the waking state, are no better than night-dreams seen in the daytime, and therefore are called our daydreams.
29 I have thus far related to you the seven grades of the grounds of ignorance which with all their varieties are to be carefully avoided by the right use of our reason and by the sight of the Supreme Soul in ourselves.
1 Vasishta continued:— O sinless Rama, now listen about the seven stages of awareness. This knowledge will keep you from plunging into the mire of ignorance. 2 Disputants are apt to describe many more stages of yoga meditation but in my opinion, these seven are sufficient to attain the chief good of ultimate liberation. 3 Knowledge is understanding. It is enough for understanding to know only these seven stages. However, liberation, which is the object of knowledge, transcends knowing these seven stages. 4Knowledge of truth is liberation. Knowledge, truth and liberation are synonymous because the living being who has known the truth is freed from reincarnation by his liberation.
5 The grounds of knowledge comprise the desire of becoming good, and this good will is the first step. Then comes discretion or reasoning the second, followed by purity of mind, which is the third grade to gaining knowledge. 6 The fourth is self reliance as the true refuge, then worldly apathy as the fifth. The sixth is the power of abstraction, and the seventh or the last stage of knowledge is generalization of all in one (turya-gati). 7Liberation is placed at the end of these and is attained without difficulty after them.
Attend now to the definitions of these steps as I shall explain them to you.
8 First of all is the desire of goodness springing from dispassion from worldly matters and consisting in the thought, “Why do I sit idle? I must know the scriptures in the company of good men.”
9 The second is discretion, which arises from association with wise and good men, study of the scriptures, habitual aversion to worldliness, and consists in an inclination towards good conduct and doing all sorts of good acts.
10 The third is the subduing of the mind and restraining it from sensual enjoyments. These are produced by the two former qualities of good will and discretion.
11 The fourth is self-reliance and dependence on the Divine Spirit as the true refuge of this soul. This is attainable by means of the three qualities described above.
12 The fifth is worldly apathy, as shown by one’s detachment from all earthly concerns and society of men, by means of the first four grounds of internal delight. 13 By practice of these five virtues and by the feeling of self-satisfaction and inner delight, man is freed from his thoughts and cares about all internal and external objects.
14 Then comes the powers of analytic thought into the abstract meanings of things. This is the sixth step to attain true knowledge. It is fostered either by one’s own effort or guidance of others in search of truth.
15 Continued practice of these six qualities, ignorance of differences in religion, and reducing all to the knowledge of the one true God of nature is called generalization. 16 This universal generalization is like a living liberated man who sees all things in the same light. Above this is the state of that glorious light which is arrived by the disembodied soul.
17 Those fortunate men, O Rama, who have arrived at the seventh stage of knowledge are those great minds who delight in the light of their souls and have reached their highest state of humanity. 18 The living liberated are not plunged in the waters of pleasure and sorrow, but remain sedate and unmoved in both states. They are at liberty either to do or to slight the discharge of the duties of their conditions and positions in society. 19 These men, being roused from their deep meditation by intruders, may assume their secular duties like men awakened from their slumber. 20 Being ravished by the inner delight of their souls, they feel no pleasure in the delights of the world, just as men immersed in sound sleep can feel no delight at the dalliance of beauties about them.
21 These seven stages of knowledge are known only to wise and thinking men and not to beasts, brutes or inert things all around us. They are unknown to barbarians and those who are barbarous in their minds and dispositions. 22 But anyone who has attained these states of knowledge, whether it be a beast or barbarian, an embodied being or disembodied spirit, has undoubtedly obtained its liberation.
23 Knowledge severs the bonds of ignorance and, by loosening them, produces the liberation of our souls. Knowledge is the sole cause of removing the fallacy of the appearance of water in the mirage and similar errors. 24 Those who are freed from ignorance, but not yet arrived at their ultimate perfection of disembodied liberation, have secured the salvation of their souls by being placed in these stages of knowledge in their embodied state during their lifetime.
25 Some have passed all these stages and others two or three of them. Some have passed six grades, while a few have attained the seventh state all at once. 26 Some have gone over three stages, and others have attained the last. Some have passed four stages, and some no more than one or two of them. 27 There are some who have advanced only a quarter or half or three-quarters of a stage. Some have passed over four quarters and a half, and some six and a half.
28 Common people walking upon this earth know nothing regarding these passengers in the paths of knowledge. They remain as blind as if their eyes were dazzled by some planetary light or eclipsed by its shadow. 29 Wise men who stand victorious on these seven grounds of knowledge are comparable to victorious kings. Celestial elephants are nothing before them, and mighty warriors must bend their heads before them. 30 Those great minds who are victors on these grounds of knowledge are worthy of veneration as conquerors of the enemies of their hearts and senses. They are entitled to a station above that of an emperor and an autocrat (samrat and virat) both in this world and in the next in their embodied and disembodied liberations.
The human soul reflecting on its sense of ego forgets its essence of the Supreme Soul, just as a gold ring thinking on its round form loses its thought of the gold substance of which it is made.
2 Rama said, “Please tell me sage, how can gold have consciousness of its form of a ring, like a soul is conscious of its sense of ego?”
3 Vasishta said:—
The consciousness of men relates only to their substance and not the production and dissolution of their forms. So you should ask about the substance of the soul and gold, and not of ego and the ring, which are unsubstantial nothings in nature. 4 When the jeweler sells his gold ring for the price of gold, he undoubtedly delivers the gold which is the substance of the ring and not the ring without its substance.
5 Rama asked, “If such is the case, that you take the gold for the ring, then what becomes of the ring as we commonly take it to be? Explain this to me so that thereby I may know the substance of Brahman.”
6 Vasishta said:—
All form, O Rama, is formless and accidental quality without any essential property. So, if you would ascertain the nature of a nonexistence, then tell me the shape and qualities of a barren woman’s son. 7 Do not fall into the error of taking the roundness of a ring as an essential property of it. The form of a thing is only apparent and not prominent to sight. 8 Water in a mirage, two moons in the sky, men’s sense of ego, and the forms of things, though appearing as real to sight and thought, cannot be proved as separate existences apart from their subjects. 9 Again, the likeness of silver appears in oyster shells but you cannot find even a particle of silver in the shell. 10 An imprudent view of a thing makes a nothing appear as real, like the appearance of silver in a shell or water in a mirage. 11 The invalidity of a nothing appears falsely as an existent entity to sight, the fallacy of a thing as something where there is nothing of the kind. 12 Sometimes an unreal shadow acts the part of a real substance, such as the false apprehension of a ghost kills a lad from fear of being killed by it.
13 After its form of jewelry is destroyed, there remains nothing in gold jewelry except gold. Therefore, the forms of the ring and bracelet are no more than drops of oil or water on a heap of sand. The forms are absorbed in the substance, just as the fluids in the sand.
14 There is nothing real or unreal on earth other than the false creations of our brain, and these whether known as real or unreal are equally productive of their consequences, like the sights and fears of ghosts in children. 15 A thing, whether it is so or not, proves itself as it is believed to be by different kinds and minds of men. Poison becomes as effective as an elixir to the sick, and ambrosia proves as heinous as hemlock with the immoderate.
16 Belief in only the essence of the soul constitutes true knowledge. Belief in individual ego and mind, as these are generally believed in this world, is ignorance. Therefore abandon the thought of your false and unfounded sense of ego as individual existence. 17 As there is no roundness of the ring inherent in gold, so there are no individual egos in the all-pervading Universal Soul.
18 There is nothing everlasting beside Brahman and no personality of Him as a Brahma, Vishnu or any other. There is no substantive existence such as the world, only Brahma’s offspring called the patriarchs. 19 There are no other worlds beside Brahma, nor is there any heaven without Him. Hills, demons, mind and body all rest in that spirit which is not any of these. 20 He is no elementary principle, nor is he any material cause. He is none of the three times of past, present and future but all. He is not anything in being or not-being. 21 He is beyond your concepts of individualego, selfhood and selfishness, and all your entities and non-entities. There is no attribution or particularity in He who is above all your ideas. He is none of the ideal personifications of your notions.
22 He is the fullness of the world, supporting and moving all, being unmoved and unsupported by any. He is everlasting bliss without decay, having no name or symbol or cause of his own. 23 He is no being (sat) that is born and existent, nor is He nonexistent. He is neither the beginning, middle or end of anything, but is all in all. He is unthinkable in the mind, and unutterable by speech. He is vacuum about the emptiness, and a bliss above all joy.
24 Rama said, “Now I understand that Brahman is the same in all things, yet I want to know what is this creation that we see all about us?”
25 Vasishta replied:—
The Supreme Spirit being perfectly tranquil and all things being situated in Him, it is wrong to speak of this creation or that when there is no such thing as a creation at anytime.
26 All things exist in the all containing spirit of God, just as the whole body of water is contained in the universal ocean. But there is fluctuation in the waters owing to their fluidity, whereas there is no motion in the quiet and motionless spirit of God.
27 The light of the luminaries shines of itself, but not so the Divine light. It is the nature of all lights to shine of themselves, but the light of Brahma is not visible to sight. 28 As the waves of the ocean rise and fall in the body of its waters, so these phenomena appear as concepts in the mind of God (as his ever-varying thoughts). 29 To men of little understanding, these thoughts of the Divine Mind appear as realities. They think this sort of ideal creation will last for ages.
30 Creation is determined to be a thought of the Divine Mind. Creation is not anything different from the mind of God, just as the visible sky is nothing other than a part of Infinity. 31 The production and extinction of the world are mere thoughts of the Divine Mind, just as the formation and dissolution of ornaments take place in the same substance of gold.
32 The mind that has obtained its calm composure views creation as full of the presence of God. Those who are led by their own convictions take the nonexistent for reality, like children believing ghosts are real existences. 33 The consciousness of individual ego causes the error of the objective knowledge of creation. The tranquil unconsciousness of ourselves brings us to the knowledge of the Supreme, who is above the objective and inert creation.
34 These different created things appear in a different light to the wise who view them all in the unity of God, just as the intelligent well know that toy puppets of play soldiers are composed of mud and clay. 35 This plenitude of the world is without beginning or end and appears like a faultless or perfect piece of workmanship. It is full with the fullness of the Supreme Being and remains full in the fullness of God. 36 This fullness which appears as the created world is essentially the Great Brahma and is situated in his greatness, just as the sky is situated in the sky, tranquility in tranquility, and joy in joy.
37 Look at the reflection of a very long landscape in a mirror or the picture of a far stretching city in a miniature and you will find distances lost in their closeness. So the distances of worlds are lost in their proximity to one another in the spirit of God.
38 Some think of the world as a non-entity and others as an entity by taking the world in different lights of being a thing beside God or a reflection of Brahman. 39 After all, it can have no real entity, being like the picture of a city and not the city itself. It is as false as the appearance of clear water in a desert mirage, and that of a double moon in the sky.
40 Magicians show magic cities in the air by sprinkling handfuls of dust before our eyes. In the same way our false consciousness represents the unreal world as a reality. 41 Unless our inborn ignorance, like an arbor of harmful plants, is burnt down to the very root by the flame of right reasoning, it will not cease to spread out its branches and grow the rankest weeds of our imaginary pleasures and sorrows.
1 Vasishta continued:— Now Rama, listen to the wonderful power of error displayed in changing phenomena, like the changing forms of ornaments in the substance of the same gold.
2 King Lavana, having perceived the falsehood of his vision at the end of his dream, resolved the following day to visit that great forest himself.3 He thought to himself, “Ah! When shall I revisit the Vindhyan region? It is inscribed in my mind and I remember having undergone a great many hardships in my life there as a forester.”
4 So saying, he traveled south accompanied by his ministers and attendants, as if he was going to make a conquest of that quarter. In a few days he arrived at the foot of the mountain. 5 There he wandered about the southern, eastern and western shores of the sea. He was as delighted with his round course as the luminary of the day in his daily journey from east to west. 6 In a certain region, he saw a deep and sorrowful forest stretching wide along his path, like the dark and dismal realms of death. 7 Wandering in this region he saw everything he had seen in his dream. He inquired into former circumstances, and wandered to learn whether they were that same as what he saw in his vision.
8 He recognized the tribal (chandala) hunters of his dream, and being curious to know the rest of the events, he continued in his wandering about the forest. 9 Then he saw a hamlet at the edge of the wilderness, foggy with smoke, and appearing like the place where he bore the name of Pushta-Pukkusha or cherished tribal. 10 There he saw the same huts and hovels and the various kinds of human houses, fields and plains, with the same men and women that dwelt there before. 11 He saw the same landscapes and leafless branches of trees, shorn of their foliage by the all devouring famine. He saw the same hunters pursuing their chase and the same helpless orphans lying around.
12 He saw the old lady (his mother-in-law) wailing at the misfortunes of other women who were lamenting like her with their eyes drowned in tears at the untimely deaths and innumerable miseries of their fellow brethren. 13 The old matrons with their eyes flowing with brilliant drops of tears, their bodies and bosoms emaciated under the pressure of their afflictions, were mourning with loud cries of sorrow in that dreary district, stricken by drought and dearth.
14 They cried, “O you sons and daughters who lie dead with your emaciated bodies for want of food for these three days, say where have your lives fled, stricken as they were by the steel of famine from the armor of your bodies. 15 We remember your sweet smiles showing your coral teeth resembling red gunjaphalas to our lords as they descended from towering palm trees with red-ripe fruit held in their teeth, and growing on the cloud-capped mountains. 16 When shall we again see the fierce leap of our children springing on wolves crouching in groves of kadamba, jamb, lavanga and gunja trees? 17 Even in the face of Kama, the god of love, we do not see those graces that we used to see in the blue and black faces, the dark color of spice leaves, of our children when they feasted on their dainty food of fish and flesh.”
18 “My blackish daughter,” says one (the mother-in-law), “has been snatched away from me with my dear husband like the dark Yamuna by the fierce Yama. O they have been carried away from me like a tremendous gale blows a tamara tree branch with its clustering flowers from this woodland scene. 19 O my daughter, with your necklace of the strings of red gunja seeds gracing the firm breast of your youthful person, and with your swarthy complexion like the sea of ink gently shaken by the breeze. Ah! Where have you fled with your clothing of woven withered leaves and your teeth as black as the jet-jambu fruits?”
20 “O young prince, who was as fair as the full moon and did forsake the fairies of your harem, and who took so much delight in my daughter, where have you fled from us? Ah my daughter! She too is dead in your absence and fled from my presence. 21 Being cast on the waves of this earthly ocean and joined to the daughter of a tribal, you were, O prince, subjected to mean and vile employment that disgraced your princely character. 22 Ah! that daughter of mine with her trembling eyes, like those of the timid fawn, and O, that husband valiant as the royal tiger, you are both gone together, just as the high hopes and great efforts of men flee with the loss of their wealth.”
23 “Now without a husband and lately having also lost my daughter, and being thrown in a distant and barren land, I have become the most miserable and wretched of beings. Born of a low caste, I am cast out of all prospects in life. I have become a personification of terror to myself and a sight of horror to others. 24 O, that the Lord has made me a widowed woman and subjected me to the insult of the vulgar and the snobbery of the affluent. Prostrated by hunger and mourning at the loss of husband and child, I rove constantly from door to door begging for alms for my support.”
25 “It is better that one who is unfortunate and friendless, or subject to passion and diseases, should die sooner than live in misery. Dead and inanimate beings are far better than the living miserable. 26 Those who are without friends and who have to toil and moil in unfriendly places are like the grass of the earth, trampled under feet and overwhelmed under a flood of disasters.”
27 The king seeing his aged mother-in-law mourning in this manner, offered her some consolation through the medium of her female companions. Then he asked that lady to tell him, “Who are you? What do you do here? Who was your daughter and who is your son?”
28 She answered him with tears in her eyes. “This village is called Pukkasa-Ghosha. Here I had a Pukkasa for my husband who had a daughter as gentle as the moon. 29 She happened to have a husband, beautiful as the moon, who was a king and chanced to pass by this way. By this accident they were matched together, like an ass finding by chance a pot of honey lying on her way in the forest. 30 She lived long with him in married bliss and produced to him both sons and daughters who grew up in this forest like a gourd plant grows on a tree serving as its support.”
1 The tribal continued, “O lord of men! After lapse of some time, there occurred a famine in this place owing to the drought of rain, which broke down all men under its dire pressure. 2 Pressed by extreme scarcity, all our village people scattered far abroad and they perished in famine and never returned. 3 From then on, O lord, we are exposed to utmost misery. We sit here lamenting in our helpless poverty. Behold us lord, all bathed in tears falling profusely from our never drying eyelids.”
Vasishta speaking:— 4 At hearing these words from the mouth of the elderly lady, the king was lost in wonder. Looking at the face of his follower the faithful minister, he remained in dumb amazement like a figure in a picture. 5 He reflected repeatedly on this strange occurrence and its curious concurrence with his adventures in the dream. He made repeated queries relating to other circumstances. The more he heard and learned, the more he found their coincidence with the occurrences of his vision. 6 He sympathized with their sorrows and saw them in the same state as he had seen them before in his dream. Then he gave suitable gifts and presents to relieve their wants and sorrows. 7 He stayed there a long while and pondered on the decrees of destiny. Then the wheel of fortune brought him back to his house, where he entered amidst the loud cheers and low salutations of the citizens. 8 In the morning the king appeared in his court hall and sitting there amidst his courtiers, he asked me, “How is it, O sage, that my dream has come to be verified in my presence to each item and to my great surprise? 9 They answered me exactly and to the very point all that I asked of them. They have removed the doubt in my mind of their truth, like winds disperse the clouds of heaven.”
10 Know this, O Rama, it is the illusion of ignorance (avidya) that is the cause of a great many errors. It makes the untruth appear as truth, and represents sober reality as unreality.
11 Rama said, “Tell me sage, how could the dream be verified? It is a mysterious account that cannot find a place in my understanding.”
12 Vasishta replied:— O Rama, everything is possible to the illusion of ignorance which shows the fallacy of a picture in a pot. Illusion represents the actual occurrences of life as dreams and dreams as realities. 13 Distance appears to be near, as a distant mountain seen in the mirror. A long time seems a short interval, as in a night of undisturbed repose. 14 What is untrue seems to be a truth as in dreaming one’s own death in sleep. That which is impossible appears possible, as in flying in a dream. 15 The stable seems unsteady, as in the false notion of the motion of fixed objects to one passing in a vehicle. The unmoving seem to be moving to one under the influence of his inebriation. 16 The mind infatuated by its interest sees all that it thinks upon within itself as exposed to its view. It sees things in the same light as they are painted in his fancy, whether they exist or not, real or unreal.
17 As soon as the mind contracts its ignorance by its false notions of “I” and “you”, it becomes subject to endless errors without beginning, middle or end. 18 It is notion that gives shape to all things. It makes a kalpa age appear as a moment and it prolongs a moment of time to a whole kalpa. 19 A man deprived of understanding believes himself to have become a sheep, and a fighting ram thinks himself to be a lion in his ideal bravery. 20 Ignorance causes the blunder of taking things for what they are not and falling into the errors of “I” and “you.” All errors in the mind produce errors in actions also. 21 It is by mere accident that men come into possession of the objects of their desire, and it is custom that determines the mode of mutual dealings.
22 Lavana’s memory of his dream living in with the tribals of Pukkasa was the internal cause that represented to him the external picture of that place as if it were a reality. 23 As the human mind is liable to forget many things that it had actually done, so it is susceptible to remember those acts as true which were never done but merely had been thought upon in the mind. 24 In this manner, as long as I am thinking of having eaten something, it appears true to me even though I am really fasting. The thought that I have been in a distant country in a dream appears true to me while I think the thought.
25 This is how the king came to find the same conduct where the tribals lived by the Vindhya Mountains. He had been impressed with its notion in his dream as said before. 26 Again, Lavana’s false dream of the tribals took possession of their minds also. 27 The notion of Lavana settled in the minds of the tribals just like the thoughts of these people arose in the mind of the king.
28 The same sentiments and figures of speech occur to different poets of distant ages and countries, so it should not be unexpected that the same thoughts and ideas should rise simultaneously in the minds of different men. 29 In common experience, we find notions and ideas stand for the things themselves, otherwise nothing is known to exist at all without our mind’s notion or idea of it. 30 One idea embraces many others under it, like those of waves and currents are contained under that of water. So one thought is associated by others relating its past, present and future conditions of being, just as the thought of a seed accompanies the thoughts of its past and future states and its fruits and flowers of the tree.
31 Nothing is an entity or a non-entity and nothing can be said to exist or not exist unless we have a positive idea of its existence or a negative notion of its non-existence. 32 All that we see in our error is as non-existent as oil in sand. In reality, the bracelet is nothing but a form of the substance of gold. 33 A fallacy can have no connection with the reality, just as the fallacy of the world with the reality of God, the fallacy of the ring with the substance of gold, and of the serpent with the rope. The connection or mutual relation of things of the same kind is quite evident in our minds.
34 The relationship between gum resin and the tree is one of dissimilar union and affords no distinct ideas except that the tree contains the gum. 35 As all things are full of the Spirit, so we have distinct ideas of them in our minds. Minds are also spiritual substances. They are not like dull material stones which have no feelings. 36 All things in the world are intellectually true and real. Therefore we have their ideas impressed in our minds. 37 There cannot be a relationship or connection between two dissimilar things which may be lasting but are never united together. Without such mutual relation of things, no idea of both can be formed together. 38 Similar things being joined together form the wholes of the same kind, presenting one form and differing in nothing. 39 Consciousness being joined with an abstract idea produces an invisible, inner and uniform thought. Dull matter joined to another dull object forms a denser material object to view. But consciousness and material can never unite together owing to their different natures.
40 The intellectual and material parts of a person can never be drawn together in any picture. The material picture lacks the intellectual part which has consciousness and the power of knowledge. 41 Intellectual beings do not take into account the different material things like wood and stone which combine for some useful purpose, such building a house. 42 The relationship between the tongue and taste is also homogeneous. Taste and the instrument of tasting are both watery substances and there is no heterogeneous relation between them. 43 But there is no relation between consciousness and matter, like there is between stone and wood. Consciousness cannot combine with wood and stone to form anything.
44 Spiritually considered, all things are alike because they are full of the same spirit. Otherwise the error of distinction between the viewer and the view creates endless differences, like those between wood and stones and other things. 45 The combination of unseen spirits is easily conceived because spirits can assume any form at one’s pleasure and having no end.
46 Know, you who seek truth, that all things are identical with the entity of God. Renounce your knowledge of non-entities and the various kinds of errors and fallacies and know the one as all. 47 Consciousness is full with its knowledge, so there is nothing lacking in us. Consciousness presents us everything in its circumference, just like imagination in its wide range shows us the sights of its air-built castles and everything beside.48 To Him there is no limit of time or place, but his presence extends over all his creation. Ignorance separates the creator from creation and raises the errors of “I” and “you.”
49 Forgetting the knowledge of the substance of gold, man contracts the error of taking it for the form of ornament. The mistake of jewelry for gold is like taking one thing for another, and mistaking the production for the producer. 50 The error of phenomenon vanishes upon loss of its sight, and the differences among pieces of jewelry is lost in the substance of gold. 51 The knowledge of unity removes that of a distinct creation, just as the knowledge of clay takes away the sense of toy soldiers made from it.
52 The same Brahma causes the error of the reality of the exterior worlds, just as the underlying sea causes the error of waves on its surface. The same wood is mistaken for the carved figure, and common clay is mistaken for the pot made of it.
53 Between sight and its object lies the eye of the beholder which is beyond the sight of its viewer and is neither the view nor the viewer. 54 The mind traversing from one place to another leaves the body in between, which is neither moving nor quite unmoved because only its mental part is in its moving state.
55 Remain always in that quiet state which is not waking, dreaming or sleeping, and which is not the state of consciousness or unconsciousness, but one of everlasting tranquility and rest. 56 Drive away your dullness and remain always in the company of your sound intellect like a solid rock. Whether in joy or grief, commit your soul to your maker. 57 There is nothing to lose or earn in this world. Therefore remain in uniform joy and bliss whether you think yourself to be blessed or unblessed in life. 58 The soul residing in your body neither loves nor hates anything at anytime. Therefore rest in quiet and fear nothing for what happens to your body. Do not engage your mind with the actions of your body. 59 Remain free from anxiety about the present, just as you are unconcerned about the future. Never be impelled by the impulses of your mind but remain steadfast in your trust in the true God. 60 Be unconcerned with all and remain as an absent man. Let your heart remain detached from everything like a block of stone or a toy made of wood. Look with the spiritual light of your soul and see your mind as an inanimate thing.
61 As there is no water in stone or fire in water, so the spiritual man has no mental action, nor does the Divine Spirit have any. 62 If something unseen should ever come to do any action, that action is not attributed to the unseen agent but to something else in the mind. 63 The uncontrolled selfish (unspiritual) man who follows the dictates of his fickle and willful mind resembles a man of the border land following the customs of outcastes or barbarians.
64 Having disregarded the dictates of your vile mind, you may remain at ease and as fearless as an unconscious statue made of clay. 65 He who understands that there is no such thing as the mind, or that he had one before but it is dead in him today, becomes as immovable as a marble statue with this assurance in himself. 66 There being no appearance of the mind in any case, and you having no such thing in you in reality except your soul, then say, why do you vainly infer its existence for your own error and harm? 67 Those who vainly subject themselves to the false apparition of the mind are mostly men of unsound understandings who bring destruction on themselves instead of the full moon of the pure soul.
68 Remain firm as you are with yourself (soul) by casting your fancied and fanciful mind far away from you. Be free from the thoughts of the world by being settled in the thought of the Supreme Soul. 69 They who follow a non-existence such as the unreal mind are like fools who shoot at the empty air and are cast into the shade. 70 He who has cleansed off his mind is indeed a man of great understanding. He has gone across the error of the existence of the world and has become purified in his soul.
We have considered long and we have never found anything like the impure mind in the pure soul.
1 Vasishta said:— After the birth of a man and a slight development of his understanding, he should associate with the company of good and wise men. 2 Except by the light of scriptures and association with the good and wise, there is no way to cross the river of ignorance that runs in its constant course flowing in a thousand streams.
3 By reasoning man is able to discern what is good for him and what he must avoid. 4 Then he arrives to that ground of reason which is known as good will, or a desire to do what is good and keep from what is bad and evil. 5 Then he is led by his reason to the power of reasoning, discerning truth from untruth and right from wrong. 6 As he improves in knowledge, he gets rid of his improper desires and purifies his mind from all worldly cares. 7 Then he is said to have gained that stage of knowledge which is called the purity of his soul and mind, and of his heart and conduct.
8 When a yogi or adept attains full knowledge, he is said to have arrived at his state of goodness. 9 By this means and the curtailing of his desires, he arrives at the state called detachment or indifference to all worldly matters and he is no more subjected to the consequence of his actions. 10 From the curtailment of desires, a yogi learns to withdraw his mind from the unrealities of the world.
11 Whether sitting inactive in samadhi meditation, or doing anything for himself or others, he must fix his mind to whatever produces real good to the world. His soul being cool by the faintness of his desires is habituated to do its duties without the knowledge of what it is doing. 12 Truly, he who has subdued his mind has reached the contemplative stage of yoga meditation.
13 Thus one who has his mind dead in himself learns by practice of years to perform his duties by refraining from his thoughts of external objects. Such a one is said to have attained turiya or the fourth stage of spiritual elevation and has become liberated in his lifetime. 14 He is not glad to get anything or sorry to miss it. He lives without fear of accidents and is content with whatever he gets.
15 O Rama, you have known whatever is to be known by man. You certainly have extinguished your desire in all your actions through life. 16Your thoughts are all spiritual and transcend the actions of the physical body, though you are in your embodied state. Do not give yourself to joy or grief but know you are free from decay and defect. 17 Spiritually you are a pure and bright substance that is omnipresent, ubiquitous and ever in its ascendancy, devoid of pleasure and pain, and of death and disease. 18 Why do you lament at or loss of a friend when you are so friendless in yourself? Being thrown alone in this world, whom do you claim as a friend of your soul?
19 We see only the particles of matter of which this body is composed. It exists and passes away from its place in its time. But there is no rising or falling of the soul. 20 Being imperishable in yourself, why do you fear to fall into nothing? Why think of the destruction of your soul, which is never subject to death?
21 When a jar is broken in two, its emptiness is not lost but mixes with the air. The body being destroyed, the indestructible soul is not lost with it. 22 As the sunlight that causes the appearance of a river in a mirage is not lost at the disappearance of the apparent river, so the immortal soul does not perish upon dissolution of the frail body.
23 There is a certain illusion which raises false appetites within us. Otherwise, the unity of the soul requires the help of no duality or secondary substance in order to be united with the sole unity. 24 There is no object of sense — whether visible, tangible, audible or of taste or smelling — that can affect the unconnected soul. 25 All things and their powers are contained in the all-powerful and all-comprehensive soul. These powers are displayed throughout the world, but the soul is as void as the empty air.
26 O Raghava, mental deception presents the phenomena of the three worlds representing diverse forms according to the threefold nature (gunas) of man. 27 There are three methods of dispelling this delusion of the mind, namely, by the tranquility of the mind, by destroying its desires, and by abandonment of acts.
28 The world is a crushing mill with its lower and upper stones of the earth and heaven. Our desires are the cords that constantly drag us under it. Therefore Rama, break off these ropes. 29 Our ignorance of spiritual knowledge is the cause of all our errors, but our acquaintance with it leads us to endless joy and ultimately to Brahman himself. 30 A living being, having proceeded from Brahman and travelled over the earth at pleasure, in the end turns to Brahman through his knowledge of Him.
31 Rama, all things have sprung from one being who is perfect joy itself, inconceivable and without decay in its nature. All these things are like the rays of that light, or like the light of that everlasting fire. 32 These are like lines on the leaves of trees, and like the curls and waves on the surface of waters. They are like ornaments made of that gold, and like the heat and cold of fire and water. 33 Thus the three worlds exist in the thought of the Divine Mind. It has sprung from the mind of God and it rests in its same state with the all-comprehending Mind.
34 This Mind is called Brahma, who is the soul of all existence. He being known, the world is known also. As he is the knower of all, he gives us the knowledge of all things. 35 This all pervasive Being is explained to us by the learned with labels like soul, intellect and Brahma, used both in scriptures and popular language. 36 The pure notion that we have of an everlasting being, apart from all ideas from physical senses and impressions, is called Consciousness and soul. 37 This Consciousness or Intelligent Soul is much more transparent than the ethereal sky. It is the fullness that contains the plenitude of the world as a disjoined and distinct reflection of itself.
38 The knowledge that the unreal reflection of world is a separate existence is the cause of all our ignorance and error. But the view of their existence in the mirror of the Supreme Soul blends them all to myself also.
39 Now Rama, you have a bodiless soul of the form of pure consciousness. You can have no cause to fall into the error of being sorry for or afraid of the vanities of the world. 40 How can the un-embodied soul be affected by the passions and feelings of the body? It is only the ignorant and unintelligent who are subject to vain suspicions about unrealities. 41 Even the indestructible consciousness of the unintelligent is not destroyed by the destruction of their bodies. How then should the intelligent be afraid of their dissolution?
42 Consciousness is irresistible in its course and roves about the solar path. It is the intellectual part that makes the man, and not the outer body. 43 The soul called the inner person (purusha), whether it abides in the body or not, and whether it is intelligent or otherwise, never dies upon the death of the body.
44 Whatever miseries you meet with in this transient world, they all appertain to the body and not to the intangible soul or consciousness. 45The intellectual soul is removed from the region of the mind. It is not approached by the pleasures and pains affecting the body and mind.
46 The soul that has curbed its earthly desires after the dissolution of its prison house of the body flies to its seat in the spirit of Brahman in the same manner as a bee lying hidden under the cover of lotus petals in the darkness of the night takes to its heavenward flight by the dawning light of the day.
47 If life is known to be frail and the living state to be a transient scene, then say, O Rama, what is lost by the loss of this prison-house of the body, and what is it that you mourn for? 48 Think therefore, O Rama, on the nature of truth and mind and not about the errors of ignorance. Be free from your earthly desires and know the sinless soul to be void of all desires.
49 The intellectual soul being tranquil and transparent, a mere witness of our doings without any doing or desire of its own, receives the reflection of the God without desire, just as a mirror reflects the images of things. 50 The soul being, as said before, a translucent particle, reflects the images of all worlds in itself like a polished gem reflects the rays of light in its bosom. 51 The relation between the detached soul and the world is like that of the mirror and its reflections. The difference and identity of the soul and the world are of the same kind.
52 As the activities of living beings have a free play with the rising sun, so the duties of the world are fully discharged by the rising of consciousness. 53 As soon as you get rid of your error of the substantiality of the world, you come to the consciousness of it being a vacuum resting in the spirit of God. 54 As the nature of a lighted lamp is to spread its light all around, so the nature of mental philosophy is to enlighten us with the real state of the soul.
55 The essence of the Supreme Soul at first gave rise to the mind (will) which spreads out the universe with its network of endless varieties. It was like the sky issuing out of the infinite emptiness and assuming the shape of blue atmosphere which is also a nothing. 56 Removal of desires melts down the mind and dissolves the mist of ignorance from the face of consciousness. Then appears the bright light of the one infinite and uncreated God, like the clear sky of autumn after the clouds disperse.
57 At first the mind grows out from the Supreme Soul with all its activities and takes the nature of the lotus-born Brahma by its desire of creation. It stretches out a variety of worlds by its creative will, like fancied apparitions appearing before the imaginations of deluded children. 58 Nonentity appears like an entity before us. It dies away at death and reappears with our new birth. The mind itself takes its rise from Divine Consciousness and displays itself in the substance of the Divine Soul, like waves playing on the surface of the waters of the deep.