BOOK IV – On Existence – (Sthiti Khanda)
This section discusses the place of the individual being (jiva) in the scheme of creation. Vasishta points out that the individual is none other than the ego sense or I known as ahamkara. This ego sense is the chief impediment to living with the knowledge of ones true self (atman sthiti). It is because of the ego sense that human beings fail to recognize themselves as they really are and suffer misery. It is only when the identification with the ego sense is extinguished that a seeker attains realization of the atman, the Supreme Soul.
The body and the senses are inert. It is the chidabhasa, the reflected light of the atman, that gives life to the body and makes the senses perform their functions. The objects perceived by the senses are not different from the atman. The perceiver and the objects perceived both originate from the atman and therefore are identical. When a person gains firm comprehension of this truth, he or she realizes that nothing exists apart from ones own atman or Self.
This atman is then realized as both the origin of this universe and its enjoyer as well. When this knowledge becomes firm a person is freed from the duality of happiness and sorrow. Chastity (bramacharya), constant practice (abhyas), and detachment (vairagya) are the means for attaining this knowledge, which in turn leads to a firm abidance in the Self (atman stithi).
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Chapter 1 — Immaterial Spirit Cannot Have a Material Seed to Produce any Material World
1 Vasishta said:— Attend now Rama, to the subject of existence which follows that of production. This knowledge produces nirvana or utter annihilation of the self or soul.
2 Know that the world of phenomena that exists before you, and your knowledge of ego or self-existence are only false conceptions of the formless nonexistence or emptiness. 3 You see tints of various colors painting the empty sky without any paint or their cause. This is only a conception of the mind without its visual perception, like the vision in a dream of one who is not in a state of sound sleep. 4 It is like a city in the sky built and present in your mind, or like shivering apes warming themselves by red clay thinking it to be red hot fire. It is pursuing an unreality.
5 The world of phenomena is only a different aspect of Brahma, like that of a whirlpool in water, and like the unsubstantial sunlight appears as a real substance in the sky. 6 It is like the baseless fabric of gold of the celestials on high, and like the air-built castle of gandharvas in the midway sky. 7 It is like a false sea in a mirage, appearing true at the time, and like the celestial utopian cities of imagination in empty air that are taken for truth. 8 It is like romantic realms with their picturesque scenes in poets’ imaginations which are nowhere in nature. It seems to be solid and thick within, but it is without any pith or solidity, like a thing in an empty dream.
9 It is like the ethereal sphere full of light all around but all hollow within. It is like the blue autumn sky with its light and flimsy clouds without any rainwater. 10 It is like an unsubstantial vacuum with the cerulean blue of solid sapphire, and like mansions and women appearing in dreams, fleeting as air and intangible to touch. 11 It is like a flower garden in a picture painted with blooming blossoms and appearing as fragrant but without any fragrance. It is luminous to sight without the inherent heat of light, and resembles the orb of the sun or a flaming fire represented in a picture. 12 It is like a domain of ideas, the language of the brain, an unreal reality, or a seeming something. It is like a painting of a bed of lotus lowers without essence or fragrance. 13 It is like the variegated sky painted with colors that it does not possess. It is as un-solid as empty air and as many colored as the rainbow without any color of its own.
14 All its various colorings of materiality fade away under the right discrimination of reason, and in the end it is found to be as un-solid a substance as the stem of a plantain tree. 15 It is like the rotation of black spots before the eyes of a blind man, and like the shape of a shadowy nonexistence presented as something existent before the naked eye.
16 Like a bubble of water, the world seems like something substantial to sight, but in reality all hollow within, and though appearing as juicy, it is without any moisture at all. 17 Bubbling worlds are as wide spread as the morning dews or frost, but take them up and you will find them to be nothing. Some think it is gross matter; others a vacuum. Some believe it is a fluctuation of thought or a false vision. Many believe it to be mere compounds of atoms.
18 I am partly of a material frame, my body and mind, but spiritually I am an empty immaterial substance. Although I can be felt by the touch of the hand, yet I am as intangible as a nocturnal fiend (an empty shadow only).
19 Rama said. “Sage, it is said that at the end of a great kalpa age, the visible world remains in its seed, after which it develops again in its present form. Please fully explain this to me. 20 Are they ignorant or knowing men who think in these ways? Please sage, tell me the truth to answer my questions and tell me about the process of development.”
21 Vasishta replied:— Those who say that the physical world existed in the form of a seed at the final sleep of Brahma are altogether ignorant of the truth and talk like children to children. 22 Hear me tell you how contrary it is to right reason and how far removed from truth. It is a false supposition leading both the preacher and hearer of such a doctrine to great error and an egregious mistake. 23 Those who attempt to show the existence of the world in the form of a germ in a physical seed maintain a very silly position, as I shall now explain unto you.
24 A seed is in itself a visible thing. It is more an object of sense than that of the mind, like seeds of rice and barley are seen to sprout forth in their germs and leaves. 25 The mind is beyond the six organs of sense and is a very minute particle. It cannot possibly be born of itself, nor become the seed of the universe. 26 The Supreme Spirit also, being more rarefied than the subtle ether and indefinable by words, cannot be of the form of a seed.
27 That which is as minute as a nothing is equivalent to nothing. It could never be a physical seed, without which there could be no germ nor sprout. 28 That which is more rare and transparent than the empty and clear sky cannot possibly contain the world with all its mountains and seas, and the heavens with all their hosts in its transcendent substratum.
29 There is nothing in any way like a substance in the substantiality of that Being. If there is anything there, why is it not visible to us? 30 There is nothing that comes of itself, and nothing material comes from immaterial spirit. Who can believe a hill proceeds from the hollowness of an earthen pot? 31 How can a thing remain with another which is opposed to it in its nature? How can there be any shadow where there is light, and how does darkness reside in the disc of the sun, or even coldness in fire? 32 How can an atom contain a hill, or anything exist in nothing? The union of a similar with its dissimilar is as impossible as that of shadow with the light of the sun.
33 It is reasonable to suppose that the material seeds of the fig and rice should bring forth their shoots in time, but it is unreasonable to believe that a large material world to be contained in an immaterial atom.
34 We see the same organs of sense and their sensations in all men in every country, but there is no uniformity in men’s understandings, nor can there be any reason assigned to this difference. 35 Those who assign a certain cause to some event betray their ignorance of the true cause. What produces the effect except the very thing by some of its accessory powers?
36 Throw far away the doctrine of cause and effect invented by the ignorant. Know the truth that there is no beginning or end and it appears as the world.
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Chapter 2 — There Is No Material Explanation for the World; It Exists only in Divine Consciousness
1 Vasishta said:— Now Rama who best knows the knowable, in order to dispel your belief in any separate existence of the world, all false fabrications of men, I will explain that there is only one pure and empty principle of Consciousness.
2 If we assume there was the germ of the world in the beginning, it still leaves the question, what were the accompanying causes of its development? 3 Without cooperation of the necessary causes, there can be no vegetation of the seed, as no barren woman is ever known to bring forth an offspring in spite of the seed contained in her womb. 4 If it was possible for the seed to grow without the aid of accompanying causes, then it is useless to believe in the primary cause when it is possessed of such power in its own nature.
5 It is Brahma himself who abides in his self in the form of creation at the beginning of the world. This creation is as formless as the creator himself, and there is no relation of cause and effect between them.
6 It is wrong to say that the earth and other elements are the accompanying causes of production because it is impossible for these elements to exist prior to their creation. 7 To say the world remained quiescent in its own nature, together with the accompanying causes, is like talk proceeding from the mouths of children and not of the wise.
8 Therefore Rama, there neither is or was or ever will be a separate world in existence. It is the one intelligence of the divinity that displays the creation in itself. 9 So Rama, there being an absolute absence of this visible world, it is certain that Brahma himself is All throughout endless space. 10 The knowledge of the visible world is destroyed by destruction of all its causalities, but the causes continuing in the mind will cause phenomena to appear to the view even after their outward extinction. 11 Elimination of phenomena can only result from the elimination of its causes, but if they are not suppressed in the mind, how can you eliminate the sight of phenomena? 12 There is no other means of destroying our false conception of the world except by a total elimination of phenomena from our view.
13 It is certain that the appearance of the visible world is no more than our inner conception in the emptiness of consciousness. The knowledge of “I,” “you,” and “he” are false impressions on our minds like figures in paintings. 14 Mountains and hills, lands and seas, revolutions of days and nights, and months and years, the knowledge that this is a kalpa age and this is a minute and moment, and this is life and this is death, are all mere conceptions of the mind. 15 Knowledge of the duration and termination of a kalpa and great kalpa, and that of creation and beginning and end, are mere misconceptions of our minds. 16 It is the mind that conceives millions of kalpas and billions of worlds, most of which are gone by and many are yet to come. 17 The fourteen regions of the planetary spheres and all the divisions of time and place are contained in the infinite space of Supreme Consciousness.
18 The universe continues and displays itself serenely in the Divine Mind, as it did from before and throughout all eternity. It shines with particles of light of that Consciousness as the sky is full with the radiance of sunlight. 19 The inexpressible light thrown into the mind by Divine Consciousness shows itself as creation, which in reality is a baseless fabric by itself. 20 It does not come into existence or dissolve into nothing. It neither appears nor sets at anytime but resembles a crystal glass with certain marks in it which can never be effaced. 21 Creations display of themselves in the clear Intellect of God, as the variegated skies form portions of the indivisible space of endless vacuum. 22 These are only properties of Divine Consciousness, as fluidity is that of water, motion of the wind, eddies of the sea, and the qualities of all things.
23 This creation is only a compact body of Divine wisdom, and it is contained in Divinity as its component part. Its rising and setting and continuance are exhibited alike in the tranquil soul. 24 The world is empty owing to its lack of any accompanying secondary cause. It is self-born, and to call it born or produced is to breathe the breath of a madman.
25 Rama, purify your mind from the impurity of false representations and rise from the bed of your doubts and desires. Drive away your protracted sleep of ignorance and be free from the fears of death and disease with every one of your friends in this court.
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Chapter 3 — The World Is Eternal; There Can Be No Creation or Dissolution
1 Rama said, “But it is said that Brahma, the lord of creation, springs up by his memory at the end of a kalpa and stretches out the world from his memory of it, in the beginning of creation.”
2 Vasishta answered:— So it is said, O support of Raghu’s race, that after the universal dissolution, the lord of creatures rises by his predestination and at the commencement of a new creation. 3 It is by his will that the world is stretched out from his recollection and is manifested like an ideal city in the presence of Brahma, the creative power.
4 The Supreme Being can have no memory of the past at the beginning of a new creation because he has no prior birth or death. Therefore this tree-in-the-sky of memory has no relation to Brahma.
5 Rama asked, “Doesn’t the memory of the past continue in Brahma at his recreation of the world, like the former memory of men upon being reborn? Or are all past memories effaced from the minds of men by the delirium of death in their past lives?”
6 Vasishta replied:— All intelligent beings, including Brahma and all others of the past age, who attain nirvana or extinction are, of course, absorbed in one Brahma. 7 Now tell me, my good Rama, where do these past memories and those-with-memories live when they are wholly lost at the final liberation of those-with-memories? 8 It is certain that all beings are liberated and become extinct in Brahma at the great dissolution. Therefore, without the persons who remember, there cannot be memories of anything.
9 The memory of itself that lives impressed in the empty space of individual intellects, is truly the reservoir of the perceptible and imperceptible worlds. This memory is eternally present before the sight of God as a reflection of his own Consciousness. 10 It shines with the brightness of his self-consciousness from time without beginning and end, and is identical with this world, which is therefore termed self-born.
11 The spiritual body that is the attribute of God from time without beginning is the same as the manifestation of himself (viraja) exhibited in the form of the world or the microcosm. 12 But the world is said to be composed of atoms, which compose the land and woods, the clouds and the firmament. But there are no atoms to form time and space, actions and motions, or revolutions of days and nights. 13 The atoms of matter that fill the world have other initial atoms (of spirit) which are inherent in them and cause them to appear in the forms of mountains and the like. 14 But these forms seeming to be conglomerations of atomic particles, and showing themselves to our vision as lighted objects, are in reality no substantial things.
15 Thus there is no end of the real and unreal sights of things. The real presents itself to the view of the learned, and the unreal to that of the unlearned. 16 The cosmos appears as the immutable Brahma only to the intelligent, and as the mutable visible world to the unintelligent.
17 As these bright worlds appear to roll about like eggs in their spheres, so there are multitudes of other orbs, shining in every atom in the universe. 18 We see pillars carved with figures upon figures upon figures. In the same way the grand pillar of the universe is composed of systems under systems to no end. 19 As sand on a rock, is attached but separable to it, and the grains are countless in number, so the orbs of the three worlds are like dust particles in mountainous body of Brahma. 20 It may be possible to count the particles of ray scattered in sunbeams, but it is impossible to number the atoms of light emanating from the great sun of Brahma.
21 As the sun scatters the his light particles on the sparkling waters and sands of the sea, so does the Intellect of God disperse the atoms of its light all over the emptiness of the universe. 22 As the notion of emptiness fills the mind with the idea of the visible sky, so the thought of creation, which is identical to Brahma, gives us the notion of his intellectual sphere.
23 To understand the creation as something different from Brahma separates man from him, but to take creation as synonymous with Brahma leads him to his joy. 24 The enlightened soul, free from its knowledge of the physical seed and knowing Brahma alone as the fullness filling the vacuum of intellect, knows the Knowable in his inward understanding as being that same as what has proceeded from Him.
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Chapter 4 — The World Exists in the Mind
1 Vasishta said:— The overthrow of the battery of the physical senses supplies us with a bridge over the ocean of the world. There is no other act whereby we may cross over it. 2 Acquaintance with the scriptures, association with the good and wise, and practice of the virtues are the means whereby a rational and self-controlled man may come to know the absolute negation of phenomena.
3 I have told you, O handsome Rama, about the causes of the appearance and disappearance of the creation, resembling the heaving and resting of the waves of the sea of the world. 4 There is no need for a long discourse to tell you that the mind is the germ of the forest of acts and this germ being nipped in the beginning prevents the growth of the tree and frustrates the doing of acts which are its fruits. 5 The mind is all. Therefore by the healing of your heart and mind, you can cure all troubles and diseases you may incur in the world.
6 The minds of men are always troubled with thoughts of the world and bodily actions. But these being deadened and defunct, we see neither the body nor the outer world. 7 The negation of the outer world and the suppression of the inner thoughts, by practice of self-denial for a long period of time, serve to curb the demon of the mind. 8 It is possible to heal the inner disease of the internal mind by administration of this best and only medicine of negation of the external world. 9 It is because of its thoughts that the mind is subject to the errors of its birth and death, and being bound to or liberated from the body and this world.
10 The mind deluded by its thoughts sees the worlds shining before it like a man in his delusion sees the imaginary city of the gandharvas drawn before him in empty air. 11 All these visible worlds exist in the mind where they seem to exist, like the fragrance in air consists in the cluster of flowers containing the essence. 12 The little particle of the mind contains the world, like a small grain of sesame contains the oil, like an attribute is contained in its subject, and a property abides in a substance. 13 The world abides in the mind in the same manner as sunbeams abide in the sun and brightness in light and heat in fire. 14 The mind is the reservoir of the worlds, as snow is the receptacle of coldness. It underlies all existence, as the sky is that of emptiness and as velocity is inherent in wind.
15 Therefore the mind is the same as the world and the world is the same as the mind, all owing to their intimate and inseparable connection with each another. The world is lost by the loss of the mind, but the mind is not lost by destruction of the world.
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Chapter 5 — The Story of Shukra (Bhargava): Shukra Falls in Love with a Fairy Nymph
1 Rama said, “Tell me sage, who knows all truths and is best acquainted with all that is past and is to come, how does the form of the world exist so vividly in the mind? 2 Please explain to me by some illustration how this world appears as a visible object to the inner mind.”
3 Vasishta replied:— The world truly is situated in the minds of men, just as it appeared in its firm and compact state to the ten bodiless sons of Indu. 4 It is situated in the same manner in the minds of men as the thought of King Lavana’s transformation of himself to a tribal (chandala) under the influence of sorcery. 5 It is in the same manner as Bhargava believed he possessed all worldly gratifications. Because true bliss has much more relation to the mind than to earthly possessions.
6 Rama said, “Sage, how did the son of Bhrigu came to enjoy earthly pleasures when he had been longing for heavenly joy?”
7 Vasishta replied:— Rama, listen to my narration of the history of Bhrigu and Kala, whereby you will know how he came to possess earthly enjoyments.
8 There is a tableland of Mandara Mountain that has rows of tamala trees with beautiful flowers under them. 9 Here sage Bhrigu conducted his arduous tapas (spiritual penance) in olden times and it was in this place that his high-minded and valiant son Shukra also came to perform his tapas.
10 Shukra was as handsome as the moon, radiant with his brilliant beams. He took his seat in that happy grove of Bhrigu for the purpose of his tapas. 11 Having long sat in that grove under the shade of a rock, Shukra removed himself to the flowery beds and fair plains below. 12 He wandered freely about the bowers of Mandara pleasure garden in his youthful sport, and became revered among the wise and ignorant men of the place. 13 He wandered there at random like Trisanku, between the earth and sky, sometimes playing about as a boy, and at others sitting in fixed meditation like his father. 14 He remained without any anxiety in his solitude, as a king who has subdued his enemy. Then he happened to see an apsara fairy traversing in her aerial journey.
15 He saw her with the eyes of Hari (Vishnu) fixed upon his Lakshmi as the fairy skimmed over the watery plain, decorated with wreaths of mandara flowers, her tresses waving loosely with the playful air. 16 Her trinkets jingled with her movements and her fragrance perfumed the winds of the air. Her fairy form was as beautiful as a vine, and her eyeballs rolled as in the state of intoxication. 17 The moonbeams of her body shed their ambrosial dews over the landscape and bewitched the hard heart of the young devotee as he stared at the fairy form before him.
18 She also, with her body shining like the fair full moon and shaking like a wave of the sea, became enamored of Shukra as she looked at his face. 19 Shukra then checked the impulse of his mind which the god of love had raised after her, but losing all power over himself, he became absorbed in the thought of his beloved object.
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Chapter 6 — Shukra Imagines Indra’s Paradise
1 Vasishta said:— Henceforth Shukra with his closed eyes continued to think of the nymph and indulge himself in his dreams of an imaginary kingdom. 2 He thought that the nymph was passing through the air to the paradise of Indra, the god with thousand eyes. He imagined he was following her closely to the happy regions of the celestial gods. 3 He thought he saw the gods decorated with garlands of beautiful mandara blossoms on their heads, hanging resplendent as liquid gold. 4 He seemed to see the heavenly maidens with their eyes like blue lotuses regaling the eyes of their spectators, and others with their eyes as beautiful as those of antelopes playing with their sweet smiles all about.
5 He saw also the Marutas (gods of the winds) bearing the fragrance of flowers, breathing their sweet scent on one another and resembling the omnipresent Vishwarupa by their heavenly journey. 6 He heard the sweet hum of bees, giddy with the perfume exuding from the trunk of Indra’s elephant. He listened to the sweet strains sung by a heavenly choir. 7 There were the swans and storks gabbling in lakes with lotuses of golden color in them.
There were celestial gods lying in the tree gardens beside the holy stream of the Milky Way (Mandakini), the heavenly Ganges. 8 These were the gods Yama and Indra, and the sun and moon, and the gods of fire and the winds. And there were the regents of the worlds, whose shining bodies shaded the luster of vivid fire. 9 On one side was Airavata, the warlike elephant of Indra, with the scratches of demonic weapons on his face and tusks gory with the blood of the defeated hosts of demons.
10 Those who were transported from earth to heaven in the form of luminous stars were wandering in their aerial vehicles, blazing with golden beams of the shining sun. 11 The gods were washed by showers falling from the peaks of Mount Meru below, and the waves of the Ganges rolled on with scattered mandara flowers floating on them. 12 The alleys of Indra’s groves were tinged with saffron from heaps of mandara flower dust, and they were trodden by groups of apsara ladies playing wantonly upon them.
13 There were gentle breezes blowing among parijata plants, bright as moonbeams in the sacred bowers and blowing fragrant honey from the cups of kunda and mandara blossoms. 14 The pleasure garden of Indra was crowded with heavenly maidens smeared with the frosty dust of kesara flowers covering them like vines of the grove in their yellow robes. 15 Here were heavenly nymphs dancing in their gaiety at the tune of their lovers’ songs. There were the heavenly musicians Narada and Tamburu joining their vocal music in unison with the melody of the stringed instruments, lute and lyre.
16 Holy men and the pious and virtuous were seen to soar high in their heavenly cars, sitting there with decorations of various kinds. 17 The amorous maidens of the gods were clinging around their god Indra, like the tender vines of the garden twine about the trees. 18 There were guluncha fruit trees studded with clusters of their ripening fruit resembling sapphires and rubies and set like rows of ivory teeth.
19 After all these sights, Shukra thought of making his obeisance to Indra, who was seated on his seat like another Brahma, the creator of the three worlds. 20 Having thought so, Shukra bowed down to Indra in his own mind, as Indra was the second Bhrigu in heaven (i.e., a second father).21 Indra received him with respect and having lifted him up with his hand, made him sit by himself.
22 Indra addressed him saying, “I am honored, Shukra, by your call. This heaven of mine is graced by your presence. May you live long to enjoy the pleasure of this place.” 23 Then Indra sat in his seat with a graceful face that shone with the light of the unspotted full moon.
24 Shukra, sitting by Indra’s side, was saluted by all the assembled gods of heaven. He continued to enjoy every joy there, having been received with paternal affection by the lord of gods and men.
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Chapter 7 — Shukra Imagines Embracing the Fairy Nymph
1 Vasishta said:— Thus Shukra, being among the gods in the celestial city, forgot his former nature without passing through the pangs of death.2 Having halted awhile by the side of Sachi’s consort (i.e., Indra), he rose up to roam about the paradise, charmed with all its various beauties.
3 He looked with rapture on the beauty of his own body and longed to see the lovely beauties of heavenly beings, just as a swan is eager to meet the lotuses of the lake. 4 He saw his beloved one among them in the garden of Indra’s paradise, her eyes like those of a young deer and with a stature as delicate as that of a tender amra vine. 5 She also saw the son of Bhrigu and lost her self control. Thus he observed all her indications of amorous feelings. 6 His whole body dissolved in affection for her, like a moonstone melting under moonbeams, and so did hers likewise in tenderness for him. 7 He, like the moonstone, was soothed by her cooling beauty, beaming like moonlight in the sky. She also, being seen by him, was entirely subdued by her love to him.
8 At night they bewailed like ruddy geese at their separation from one another, and at daybreak they were filled with delight on seeing each other. 9 They were both as beautiful to behold as the sun and the opening blossom of the lotus in morning. Their presence added a charm to the garden of paradise, which promised to confer their desired bliss.
10 She committed her subdued self to the mercy of Kama, the god of love, who in his turn darted his arrows relentlessly into her tender heart. 11Her body was covered with Kama’s arrows, like a lotus blossom hidden under a swarm of bees. She became as disordered as the leaves of a lotus disturbed under a shower of raindrops. 12 She fluttered at the gentle breath of playful winds, like the tender filaments of flowers. She moved as gracefully as a swan, her eyes as blue as the petals of blue lotuses. 13 She was deranged by the god of love like a bed of lotuses is disturbed by a mighty elephant. Her lover, Shukra, in his fancy, saw her in that plight.
14 At last the shade of night spread over the landscape of heavenly paradise, as if the god of destruction (Shiva) was advancing to bury the world under universal gloom. 15 A deep darkness spread over the face of the earth and covered it with thick gloom like the regions of the polar mountains where the hot, blazing sun is hidden by the dark shade of perpetual night, as if hiding his face in shame under the dark veil of gloom.
16 When the assembled crowds of the place retired in different directions to their respective homes, the loving pair met together in the midst of the grove. 17 Then the love smitten lady approached her lover with sidelong glances, like a bird of air alights from her aerial flight in the evening to meet with her mate on the earth below. 18 She advanced towards the son of Bhrigu, as a peahen comes out to meet the rising cloud. She saw a white washed building, a couch placed inside.
19 Bhargava (Shukra) entered the white hall like Vishnu entering the milk ocean accompanied by his beloved Lakshmi who held his hand with her down-cast countenance. 20 The apsara fairy graced Shukra like the lotus-stalk graces the bosom of the elephant. She spoke to him sweetly with words mixed with tender affection. 21 She told him in a sweet and delightful speech filled with expressions of endearment, “Behold, O my moon-faced lover! I see the curve of your bow is bent for my destruction. 22 Kama is shooting his arrows to destroy this lovelorn maid. Therefore protect me from him. I am so helpless from his rage that I have come under your protection.”
23 “Know, my good friend, that the duty of good people is to relieve the wretched from their distress. Those who do not look upon them with a compassionate eye are reckoned the basest of men. 24 Love is never abused by those who are acquainted with erotica, because the true love of faithful lovers endures to the end without any fear of separation. 25 Know my dear, that the delightful draught of love defies the dewy beams distilled by the moon, and the sovereignty of the three worlds is never as pleasing to the soul as the love of the beloved.”
26 “I derive the same bliss from the touch of your feet as lovers when they first love one another. 27 I live by the nectar of your touch, as the kumuda blooms imbibe ambrosial moonbeams at night. 28 As the fluttering chakora is delighted drinking moonbeams, so this suppliant at your feet is blessed by the touch of the leaf-like palm of your hand. 29 Embrace me now to your bosom filled with ambrosial bliss.”
Saying so, the maiden fell upon his bosom with her body soft as a flower and her eyes turning like a small leaf in a gentle breeze. 30 The loving pair fell into their trance of love in that happy grove, like a couple of playful bees creep into a lotus cup under the fair filaments of the flower shaking by the gentle breeze.
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Chapter 8 — Reincarnations of Shukra
1 Vasishta related:— Thus the son of Bhrigu, in his daydream, believed himself to be enjoying heavenly pleasures. 2 He thought of enjoying the company of his beloved, like the full moon accompanied by the evening star, bedecked with garlands of mandara flowers and inebriated with the drink of ambrosial draughts.
3 He roved about the ideal lake of heaven (Manasarovar) filled with golden lotuses and frequented by the giddy swans and gabbling geese of heaven. He roamed beside the bank of the celestial Mandakini River (the Milky Way) accompanied by celestial singers. 4 He drank sweet nectar juice beaming like moonbeams in company with the gods. He rested under trees in groves formed by the shaking branches of parijata plants. 5 He amused himself with his favorite air spirits (vidyadharas), swinging himself in hanging cradles formed by the shady vines of the arbor and screening him from the spring sunbeams.
6 The flower beds of the Nandana gardens were trodden down under the feet of Shiva’s followers, as when the ocean was churned by Mandara Mountain. 7 Tender weeds and willows growing like golden shrubs, and the tangled bushes by the beach of the river, were trampled under the legs of heated elephants, as when they infest the lotus lakes on Mount Meru.
8 Accompanied by his sweetheart, Shukra passed moonlit nights in the forest groves of Kailash, listening to the songs and music of heavenly singers. 9 Roaming on the tablelands of Gandhamadana Mountain, he decorated his beloved from head to foot with lotus garlands. 10 He wandered with her to the polar mountain which is full of wonders, having darkness on one side and light on the other. Here they played together with tender smiles and fond caresses and embraces.
11 He thought he remained in a celestial abode beside the marshy lands of Mandara for sixty years, and passed his time in the company of the young aspara of the place. 12 He believed he passed half a yuga with his companion on the border of the Milky Ocean, and they associated with the maritime people and islanders of that ocean. 13 Next he thought to live in a garden of the city of celestial singers (gandharvas), where he believed to have lived for an immeasurable period like the genius of Time himself, who is the producer of an infinity of worlds. 14 He again found himself by the celestial seat of Indra, where he believed to have resided with his mistress for many cycles of the four yuga ages.
15 It was at the end of the merit of their acts that they were doomed to return on earth, shorn of their heavenly beauty and fine features. 16 Being deprived of his heavenly seat and vehicle, and bereft of his godlike form and features, Shukra was overcome by deep sorrow, like a hero falling in the field of warfare. 17 His great grief at his fall from heaven to earth broke his frame as if into a hundred fragments, like a waterfall falling on stony ground and breaking into a hundred streams below.
18 With their emaciated bodies and sad minds, they wandered about in the air, like birds without their nest. 19 Afterwards their disembodied minds entered into the network of lunar beams. Then, in the form of molten frost or rainwater, they grew as vegetables on earth. 20 Some of these vegetables were prepared and eaten by a brahmin in the land of Dasarna, the confluence of ten streams. The substance of Shukra changed to the semen of the brahmin and then conceived as a son by his wife. 21 The boy was trained in the society of ancient sages (munis) to the practice of rigorous austerities, and he dwelt in the forests of Meru for a whole manvantara observing his holy rites.
22 There he gave birth to a male child of human figure in a doe (to which his mistress was transformed in her next birth), and became exceedingly fond of the boy, to the neglect of his sacred duties. 23 He constantly prayed for long life, wealth and learning of his darling, and thus forsook the constancy of his faith and reliance in Providence. 24 Thus his falling off from the thought of heaven, to those of the earthly success of his son, made his shortened life an easy prey to death, just as the inhaling of air by the serpent. 25 His worldly thoughts weakened his understanding and caused him to be reborn as the son and successor to the King of Madras.
26 Having long reigned in his Kingdom of Madras by eliminating all his enemies, he was overtaken at last by old age, as the lotus flower is stunted by frost. 27 The King of Madras was released of his royal body by his desire for asceticism, whereby he became the son of a hermit in the following birth in order to perform his austerities. 28 He retired to a bank of the meandering Ganges River and there, being devoid of all his worldly anxieties and cares, absorbed himself in tapas.
29 Thus the son of Bhrigu, having passed in various forms in his successive births according to the desires of his heart, remained at last like a fixed tree on the bank of a running stream.
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Chapter 9 — Description of Shukra’s Body during His Austerities
1 Vasishta related:— As Shukra was indulging his reveries in this manner, he passed insensibly under the flight of a series of years which glided over him in the presence of his father. 2 At last his body withered away with age under the inclement sun, winds and rain. It fell down on the ground like a tree torn from its roots. 3 In all his former births his mind thirsted after fresh pleasures and enjoyments, just like a deer hunts from forest to forest after fresh vegetation. 4 He underwent repeated births and deaths in his wanderings in the world in search of its enjoyments. He seemed like something whirled about in a mill or a turning wheel, until at last he found his rest in the cooling beach of the rivulet.
5 Now the disembodied spirit of Shukra remained to reflect on his past incarnations in all the real and ideal forms of his imagination. 6 It thought of its former body on Mandara Mountain and how it was reduced to a skeleton of mere bones and skin by the heat of the sun and his austerities. 7 It remembered how the wind instrument of its lungs breathed out the joyous music of its exemption from the pain of action. 8 Seeing how the mind is plunged in the pit of worldly cares, the body seems to laugh at it by showing the white teeth of the mouth in derision. 9 The cavity of the mouth, the sockets of the eyes, the nostrils and ear-holes in the open face, are all expressive of the hollowness of human and heavenly bodies. 10 The body sheds the tears of its eyes in sorrow for its past pains and austerities, just like the sky rains after excessive heat to cool the earth. 11 The body was refreshed by breeze and moonbeams, just as woodlands are renovated by cooling showers in the rainy season. 12 It remembered how its body was washed on the banks of mountain streams by waterfalls from above, and how it was daubed by the flying dust and the dirt of sin. 13 It was as naked as a withered tree, and rustled to the air with the breeze, yet it withstood the keen blasts of winter like unshaken devotion in a person. 14The faded face, the withered lungs and arteries, and the skinny belly resembled those of the goddess of famine who cried aloud in the forest in the howling of wild beasts.
15 Yet the holy person of the hermit, owing to its freedom from passions and feelings and its fervent tapas, was unhurt by envious animals and was not devoured by rapacious beasts and birds. 16 The body of Bhrigu’s son was weakened by his abstinence and self-denial, and his mind was employed in holy tapas, as his body lay prostrate on the bed of stones.
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Chapter 10 — Bhrigu’s Anger Evokes Yama Who Describes Shuka’s Many Lives
1 Vasishta continued:— After the lapse of a thousand years, the great Bhrigu suspended his holy meditation, disengaged his mind from its meditation of God, and rose from his holy trance. 2 He did not find his son lowly bending down his head before him, the son who was the leader of the army of virtues and who was the personified figure of all merits. 3 He saw only his son’s body lying like a skeleton before him, like wretchedness or poverty personified in that shape. 4 The skin of his body was dried by the sun and his nostrils snored like a hooping bird. The entrails of his belly sounded like dry leather-pipes with the croaking of frogs. 5 His eye sockets were filled with new-born worms, and his rib bones had become like bars of a cage with the thin skin over them resembling a spider’s web.
6 The dry and white skeleton of the body resembled the desire of fruition, which bends it to the earth to undergo all the favorable and unfavorable accidents of life. 7 The crown of the head had become as white and smooth as a Shivalinga anointed with camphor at an indu-varchaceremony in honor of the moon. 8 The withered head erected on a bony neck bone was like the soul supported by the body. 9 The nose had shriveled into a dry stalk for lack of flesh, and the nose bone stood like a post dividing the two halves of the face.
10 The face, standing erect over the shoulders on both sides, was looking forward towards the womb of the empty sky where its vital breath had fled from the body. 11 The two legs, thighs, knees and arms had doubled in length and lay slackened with the fatigue of a long journey. 12 The shriveled flesh and skin of the belly, lean like a thin strip of wood, showed the emptiness inside of the ignorant.
13 Seeing the withered skeleton of his son lying like a worn-out post, Bhrigu reflected and rose from his seat. 14 At the sight of the dead body, he began to question in his mind whether it could be the lifeless carcass of his son or any other. 15 Thinking it to be the dead body of his son, he became angry at the god of death. 16 He prepared to pronounce his curse on the god of fate as vengeance for snatching his son so prematurely from him.
17 At this Yama, the lord of death and devourer of living beings, assumed his figurative form of a material body and appeared in an instant before the enraged father. 18 He appeared in armor with six arms and as many faces, accompanied by an army of his adherents and holding noose, sword and other weapons in his hands. 19 The rays of light radiating from his body gave it the appearance of a hill filled with heaps of crimson kinsuka flowers growing in mountain forests. 20 Rays of living fire flashing from his trident gave it the glare of golden ringlets fastened to the ears of all sides of the sky. 21 The breath of his host hurled down mountain ridges hanging about them like swinging cradles. 22 His dark sword flashed with somber light and darkened the disc of the sun, as if by the smoke of the final conflagration of the earth.
23 Having appeared before the great sage, who was enraged as the raging sea, he soothed him to calmness, as after a storm, by the gentle breath of his speech.
Yama speaking:— 24 The sages are acquainted with the laws of nature and know the past and future as present before them. They are never moved with a motive for anything, and they are far from being moved without a cause. 25 You sages observe the many rules of religious austerities, and we observe the endless and immutable laws of destiny. We honor you for your holiness and not from any other desire.
26 Do not defame your righteousness by your rage, nor think to do us any harm. We are spared unhurt by the flames of final dissolution and we cannot be consumed by your curses. 27 We have destroyed the spheres of the universe and devoured legions of Shivas, millions of Brahmas, and multitudes of Vishnus. Therefore, what is there that we cannot do?
28 We are appointed as devourers of all beings and you are destined to be devoured by us. This is ordained by destiny herself, and not by any act of our own will. 29 It is the nature of flame to ascend upwards and that of fluids to flow downward. It is destined for food to be eaten by its eaters, and that creation must be destroyed by us.
30 Know this form of mine to be that of the Supreme Being, whose Universal Spirit acts in various forms all over the universe. 31 To the unstained sight, there is no other agent or object here except the Supreme, although the stained sight sees many agents and objects. 32 Agency and objectivity are terms coined only by the short sighted. They disappear before the expanded view of the wise. 33 As flowers grow on trees, so are animals born on earth. Their growth and birth, and also their fall and death, are of their own spontaneity and mistakenly called their causation. 34 As the motion of the moon is caused by no casual cause, though the unwise falsely attribute a causality to it, such also is the course of death in the world: its own spontaneous nature. 35 The mind is falsely said to be the agent of all its enjoyments in life, though it is no agent of itself. It is a mistaken belief like the false conception of a serpent in the rope where there is no serpent at all.
36 Therefore, O sage, do not allow yourself to be so angry for your sorrow, but consider the course of events that befall humankind in its true light. 37 We were not moved to any act by desire of fame or influenced by pride or passion. We ourselves are subject to destiny which predominates over all our actions. 38 Knowing that the course of our conduct is subject to destiny appointed by Divine Will, the wise never allow themselves to be subject to darkness of pride or passion at our doings.
39 That we must do only our duties at all times is the rule laid down by the wise Creator. You cannot attempt to remove it by subjecting yourself to ignorance and idleness. 40 Where is that enlightened sight, that gravity and that patience of yours, that you grovel in this manner in the dark like the blind, and slide from the broad and beaten path laid open for everybody? 41 Why don’t you consider your case as the sequence of your own acts? Why do you, who are a wise man, falsely accuse me like the ignorant?
42 You know that all living beings have two bodies here, of which one is known as the intellectual or spiritual body or mind. 43 The other is the inert or physical frame that is fragile and perishable. The minute thing of the mind lasts until its liberation and is what leads all to their good or evil desires. 44 As a skillful charioteer guides his chariot with care, so this body is conducted by the intelligent mind with equal attention and fondness.45 But an ignorant mind that is prone to evil destroys a good body, just like little children break their dolls of clay in sport.
46 The mind is called the ruler of the body (purusha), and the working of the mind is taken for the act of the man. It is bound to the earth by its desires and freed by its freedom from earthly attractions and expectations. 47 The mind is that which thinks in itself, “This is my body here, and these are the members of my body, and this my head.” 48 The mind is called life because it has the living principle in it. The mind is one and the same and identical with understanding. It becomes the individual ego by its consciousness, and so the same mind passes under various designations according to its different functions. 49 It called heart because of the body’s affections, and so it takes many other names at will. But all earthly bodies are perishable.
50 When the mind receives the light of truth it is called enlightened intellect which, being free from its thoughts relating to the body, is set to its supreme joy. 51 Thus, as you sat absorbed in meditation, the mind of your son wandered from your presence to regions far and wide in the ways of its various desires. 52 He having left this body behind him in the mountain cave of Mandara, he fled to the celestial region, like a bird flies from his nest to the open air.
53 This mind got into the city of the guardian gods and remained in a part of Nandana garden, in the happy groves of Mandara under a dwelling of parijata flowers. 54 There he thought he passed a revolution of eight cycles of the four yugas in company with Viswachi, a beautiful apsara maiden. He clung to her like a six-footed bee clings to a blooming lotus.
55 But as his strong desire led him to the happy regions of his imagination, so he had his fall from them at the end of what he had earned, like nightly dew falling from heaven. 56 He faded away in his body and all his limbs, like a flower attached to an ear or head ornament. He fell down together with his beloved one, like ripened fruit from trees. 57 Being deprived of his aerial and celestial body, he passed through the atmospheric air and was born again on earth in a human figure.
58 He became a brahmin in the land of Dasarna, then a king of the city of Kosala. He became a hunter in a great forest, then a swan on the banks of the Ganges. 59 He became a king of the solar race, then a king of the Pundras, and afterwards a missionary among the Sauras and Salwas. Next he became a demigod (vidyadhara), and finally the son of an ancient sage (muni). 60 He became a ruler in Madras, then the son of a devotee bearing the name of Vasudeva and living on the bank of Samanga.
61 Your son also has passed many other births to which he was led to by his desire. He also had to undergo some births in lower animals. 62He repeatedly has been a hunter (kirata) in the Vindhya Hills and at Kaikatav. He was a chieftain in Sauvira and became an ass at Trigarta. 63 He grew as a bamboo tree in the land of Keralas and as a deer in the outskirts of China. He became a serpent on a palm tree and a cock on a tamala tree. 64 This son of yours had been skilled in mantras and he practiced them in the land of vidyadharas. 65 Then he became a vidyadhara magician himself and worked his jugglery of taking ornaments from women. 66 He became a favorite of females, just as the sun is dear to lotus flowers. Being as handsome as Kama, the god of love, he became a favorite among vidyadhara ladies in the land of gandharvas.
67 At the end of the kalpa age (of universal destruction), he saw the twelve suns of the zodiac shining at once before him. He was reduced to ashes by their heat, just as a grasshopper is burnt by falling on fire. 68 Finding no other world or body where he could enter, his spirit roved about in empty air like a bird soars on high without its nest. 69 After the lapse of a long time, as Brahma again awoke from his long night of repose and again commenced his creation of the world in all its various forms, 70 the wandering spirit of your son was led by its desire, as if propelled by a gust of wind, to become a brahmin again and be reborn on this earth.
71 He was born under the name of Vasudeva as the son of a brahmin. He was taught all the Sruti scriptures among the intelligent and learned men of the place. 72 In this kalpa age he became a vidyadhara again and committed himself to the performance of his tapas on the bank of Samanga, where he is still sitting in his yoga meditation.
73 Thus his desire for the varieties of worldly appearances led him to various births in the woods and forests in the womb of this earth, covered with jungles of the thorny khadira, karanja and other bushes and brambles.
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Chapter 11 — Yama (Time) on the Mind as the Cause Producing the World
1 Yama (Time) continued:—
Your son is still engaged in his rigorous austerities on the bank of the Samanga River, rolling with its loud waves on the beach, and the winds blowing and howling from all sides. 2 He has been sitting still in his firm tapas with matted braids of hair on his head and beads of rudraksha seeds in his hand and controlling the members of his body from going astray.
3 O venerable sage, if you wish to know the dreams in his mind, you shall have to open your intellectual eye in order to pry into the thoughts of others.
4 Vasishta said:—
Saying so, Yama, the lord of world who sees all at one view, made the muni dive with his intellectual eye into the thoughts of his son. 5 By his perception, the sage immediately saw all the incidents in the sequence of births in his son’s mind as if they were reflected in the mirror of his own mind. 6 Having seen the mind of his son in his own mind, the muni returned from the bank of Samanga to his own body on Mount Mandara where it was left in its sitting posture in the presence of Yama.
7 Surprised at what he saw, the sage looked upon Yama with a smile. Dispassionate as he was, he spoke to the god in the following soft and dispassionate words.
8 O god who is lord of past and future, we are only ignorant children before you, whose brilliant insight sees at once the three times of past, present and future. 9 The knowledge of the existence of the world, by its varying forms and fluctuations, whether it is a real entity or not, is the source of all errors of the wisest of men. 10 It is you, O powerful god, who knows what is inside this world, while to us it presents its outward figure only in the shape of a magic scene.
11 I knew very well that my son is not subject to death. Therefore I was struck with wonder to see him lying like a dead body. 12 Thinking that the imperishable soul of my son was snatched by death, I was led to the brainless desire of cursing you on his untimely death. 13 For though we know the course of things in the world, yet we are subject to impulses of joy and grief owing to prosperity and adversity.
14 Moreover, to be angry with wrong doers, and to be pleased with those that act rightly, have become the general rule in the course of the world. 15 As we are subject to the error of the reality of the world, we labor under the sense of what is our duty, and what we must refrain from. But deliverance from this error removes all such responsibilities from us. 16 When we fret at death, without understanding its intention, we are to be blamed, of course.
17 You have made me acquainted with the thoughts of my son. I can see the whole scene on the bank of Samanga River.
18 Of the two bodies of men, the mind alone is omnipresent, the leader of the outer body of animated beings. The mind therefore is the true body that reflects and makes us conscious of the existence of ourselves, as also of the exterior world.
19 Yama replied:—
You have rightly said, O brahmin, that the mind is the true body of man. It is the mind that molds the body according to its will, just as the potter makes a pot at his pleasure. 20 The mind frames a form and gives a feature to the person that it did not have before, and it destroys one in existence in a moment. Imagination gives an image to an airy nothing, like children see ghosts before them in the dark. 21 It is well known to everybody that the mind’s power creates apparent realities out of absolute unreality, in dream and delirium, in misconceptions and fallacies and all kinds of error, like the sight of magic cities and talismans.
22 It is from their reliance on visual sight that men consider the material body to be the principal body, and they conceive the mind as a secondary or supplementary part.
23 It was the Divine Mind that formed the world from its thought. Therefore the world of phenomena is neither a substance by itself nor is it a nothing. 24 The mind is part of the body and spreads itself into many forms through its thoughts and desires, like the branch of a tree shoots forth in blossoms and leaves. As we see two moons by optical deception, so one mind appears as many in many individuals.
25 The variety of the mind’s desires makes it perceive and produce varieties of things, like pots and pictures and the like. 26 The same mind thinks itself as many by the diversity of its thoughts, such as “I am weak,” “I am poor,” “I am ignorant,” and the like. 27 The thought, “I am none of the fancied forms which I feign to myself, but of that form from where I am,” causes the mind to be one with the everlasting Brahman by divesting it of the thoughts of all other things.
28 All things springing from Brahma sink at last in him, like the huge waves of the wide and billowy ocean rise only to subside in its calm and undisturbed waters below. 29 They sink in the Supreme Spirit, resembling one vast body of pure, transparent, cold and sweet water, and like a vast mine of brilliant gems of unfailing brightness.
30 One thinking himself to be a little wave diminishes his soul to littleness. 31 But one believing himself to be a large wave enlarges his spirit to greatness. 32 He who thinks of himself as a little being, fallen from above to suffer in the nether world, is born upon earth in the form he took for his pattern. 33 But he who thinks himself to be born to greatness soon rises by his energy and becomes as big as a hill and shines with the luster of rich gems growing upon it.
34 He rests in peace who thinks himself to be in the cooling orb of the moon. Otherwise the body is consumed with cares, like a tree on the bank is burnt down by fire. 35 Others like forest trees are fixed and silent and shudder for fear of being burnt down by the wildfire of the world, though they are situated at ease, such as beside the running streams of limpid water, and as high as on mountain tops of inaccessible height.
36 Those who think they are surrounded by worldly affairs are like wide-stretching trees awaiting their fall by impending blasts of wind. 37Those who wail aloud for being broken to pieces under the pressure of their misery are like the noisy waves of the sea breaking against the shore and shedding their tears in the form of watery spray. 38 But the waves are not of one kind, nor are they altogether entities or nullities in nature. They are neither small or large nor high or low, nor do these qualities abide in them. 39 Waves do not abide in the sea, nor are they without the sea or the sea without them. They are of the nature of desires in the soul, rising and setting at their own accord.
40 The dead are undying and the living are not living. Thus is the law of their mutual succession which nothing can prevent or alter.
41 As water is universally the same and transparent in its nature, so the all pervading spirit of God is pure and holy in every place. 42 This one and the same spirit is the body of God and is called the transparent Brahman. It is omnipotent and everlasting and constitutes the whole world appearing as distinct from it. 43 The many wonderful powers that it contains are all active in their various ways. The different powers produce different ends and are all contained in that same body. All the natural and material forces have the Divine Spirit for their focus. 44 Brahma was produced in Brahman just as the wave is produced in water. Male and female are produced from the neuter Brahman, changed to and forming both of them.
45 That which is called the world is only an attribute of Brahma. There is not the slightest difference between Brahma and the world. 46 Truly this plenitude is Brahma, and the world is nothing other than Brahma himself. Think intently upon this truth and shun all other false beliefs.
47 There is one eternal law that presides over all things, and this one law branches forth into many, bringing forth a hundred varieties of effects. The world is a collection of laws that are only manifestations of the Almighty power and omniscience. 48 Both the inert and active proceed from the same, and the mind proceeds from the consciousness (chit) of God. Various desires evolve by the power of the mind from their exact prototypes in the Supreme Soul.
49 Therefore it is Brahma that manifests itself in the visible world and is full with various forms, like the sea with all its waves and surges. 50 It assumes to itself all varieties of forms by its volition of evolution or the will of becoming many. It is spirit that displays itself in itself and by itself, like seawater displays its waves in its own water and by itself. 51 As the various waves are nothing other than seawater, so all these phenomena are not different from the essence of the Lord of the world.
52 As the same seed develops itself in the various forms of branches and buds, twigs and leaves, and fruits and flowers, so the same almighty Seed evolves itself in the multitude of varieties of creation. 53 As strong sunlight displays itself in variegated colors in different bodies, so does Omnipotence display itself in various vivid colors, all of which are unreal shades. 54 As the bosom of a colorless cloud receives the variety of transient colors displayed in the rainbow, so the inscrutable spirit of the Almighty reflects and refracts the various colors displayed in creation.
55 Inert matter and inactivity proceed from the active agent without a secondary cause, like the active spider produces the passive thread, and the living man brings his dull torpor in sleep upon himself. 56 Again, the Lord makes the mind produce matter only for its own bondage, just like He makes the silkworm weave its own cocoon for its own confinement. 57 The mind of its own will forgets its spiritual nature and makes a strong prison house for itself, like the silkworm weaves its own coating. 58 But when the mind by its own free will inclines to think of its spiritual nature, it gets its release from the prison-house of the body and bondage in the world, just like a bird or beast is released from its cage, or a big elephant let loose from his chains and the tying post.
59 The mind gradually molds itself into the form which it constantly thinks upon in itself. The mind derives from within itself the power to be what it wishes to become. 60 The long sought power when acquired becomes as familiar to the soul as the dark clouds that attend the sky in the rainy season. 61 The newly obtained power is assimilated with its recipient, just like the virtue of every season is manifested in its effect upon the trees.
62 There is no bondage or liberation of human soul, or of the Divine Spirit. We cannot account for the use of these words among mankind. 63There is no liberation or bondage of the soul which is the same with the divine. It is this delusive world that shows the immortal soul under the veil of mortality, or as eclipsed by and under the shadow of temporary affairs. 64 The unsteady mind has wrapped the steady soul under the sheath of error, just like the silkworm’s cocoon covers the dormant worm.
65 All bondages that bind the embodied soul to earth are the works of the mind which is the root of all worldly ties and affections. 66 All human affections and attachments to the visible world are born in and remain in the mind, although they are as distinct from it as the waves of the sea or moonbeams are produced from and contained in their receptacles.
67 The Supreme Spirit is stretched out like one universal ocean agitated into myriads of waves and billows. Consciousness itself is spread out like the water of the universal ocean containing everything that is watery and earthly in its infinite bosom. 68 All those who appear as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and also they who have become gods and those who are called men and male creatures, 68-1 are all like the waves of the sea raised spontaneously by the underlying spirit. So are Yama, Indra, the sun, fire, Kubera and the other gods. 68-2 So too are the gandharvas and kinnaras, the vidyadharas and the other gods and demigods who rise and fall or remain for a while like the waves of the sea. 68-3 They rise and fall as waves on every side, though some continue for a longer duration, like the lotus-born Brahma and others. 68-4 Some are born to die in a moment, like petty gods and men. Others are dead almost as soon as they are born, such as insects and some worms.
69 Worms and insects, gnats and flies, and serpents and huge snakes rise in the great ocean of the Divine Spirit like drops of water scattered about by waves of the sea. 70 There are other moving animals like men and deer and vultures and jackals that are produced on land and mountains, in woods and forests, and in marshy grounds. 71 Some are long lived and others live for a short time. Some live with higher aims and ambitions, and others with no other care than self-preservation of their contemptible bodies.
72 Some think of their stability in this world of dreams, and others are betrayed by their false hope of the stability of worldly affairs, which are quite unstable. 73 Some subject to penury and poverty have little to effect in their lives. They always torment themselves with thoughts that they are poor, miserable, weak and ignorant.
74 Some are born as trees and others have become like gods and demigods. Some are furnished with moving bodies; others are dissolved like water in the sea. 75 Some are no less durable than many kalpas, and others return to the Supreme Spirit by the moonlike purity of their souls. All things have risen from the ocean-like Spirit of Brahman, like its moving undulations. The mind is everyone’s intellectual consciousness.
Chapter 12 — Yama on the Mistake of Individual Consciousness; Different Levels of Awareness
1 Yama said:— The consciousness of gods, demigods and men as distinct beings is quite wrong because they are in no way distinct from the infinite ocean of Divine Spirit of which they are all like undulations. 2 Our false conceptions make us distinguish between ourselves and the Supreme Soul. The thought of being separate and apart from the Supreme Spirit is the cause of our degradation from our pristine holiness and the image of God, in which man was made at first and was infused with his holy spirit.
3 Remaining within the depth of the Divine Spirit, yet thinking ourselves to live without it, is the cause of keeping us in darkness on the surface of the earth. 4 Our consciousness of ourselves as Brahma, being spoiled by the various thoughts in our minds, becomes the root of our activities; while the pure consciousness of “I am” is free from all actions and energies. 5 The inner desire of the heart and mind becomes the seed of earthly actions which sprouts forth in thorny plants like the karanja, a handful of which fills the ground with thick weeds. 6 Living bodies lie scattered like pebbles on earth, rolling about or lying down with their temporary joy and grief in continued succession, owing to their ignorance of themselves.
7 From the highest heaven of Brahma down to the lowest deep, there is a constant undulation of the Divine Spirit, like the vibration of the wind, which keeps all beings in their successive wailing and rejoicing, and in their constant births and deaths. 8 There are some of pure and enlightened souls, like the gods Hari (Vishnu), Hara (Shiva) and others. Some are of somewhat darkened understandings, such as men and the inferior demigods. 9 Some are placed in greater darkness, like worms and insects. Others are situated in utter darkness, like trees and vegetables. 10Some grow far away from the great ocean of the Divine Spirit, like the grass and weeds of the earth that are ever degraded owing to their being the emblems of sin. Others, like dull stones and heinous snakes, are barred from elevation. 11 Some have come to being only with their bodies and they do not know that death, like a mouse burrowing a house, has been undermining the fabric of their bodies.
12 Some have gone through the ocean of divine knowledge and become like gods in their living bodies, like Brahma, Hari, and Hara. 13 Some, having a little understanding, have gone down the depth of holy knowledge without ever reaching the bottom or finding its other shore. 14 Some beings, having undergone many births and having many more yet to pass through, remain abortive and unenlightened without the light of truth. 15Some are tossed up and down, like fruit flung from the hand. Those flying upward have gone higher still, and those going down have fallen still lower and lower.
16 It is forgetfulness of Supreme joy that causes one to wander in various births of happiness or sorrow. Knowledge of the Supreme causes the cessation of reincarnation, just like the memory of Garuda destroys the power of the most destructive poison.
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Chapter 13 — Yama Explains to Bhrigu How Thoughts Create; They Go to Shukra
1 Yama said:-— Among these various species of living creatures, which resemble the waves of the ocean and are as numerous as the plants and vines of spring, 2 there are some among the yakshas, gandharvas and kinnaras who have overcome the errors of their minds and have well considered everything before and after them, and who have become perfect in their lives, passing as the living liberated persons in this world. 3There are others among the moving and unmoving who are as unconscious of themselves as wood or stone. Many are worn out with error and are incapable of judging for themselves.
4 But those awakened to sense have the rich mine of the scriptures, framed by the enlightened to guide their souls. 5 Those awakened to sense and whose sins are washed off have their understanding purified by the light of the scriptures. 6 The study of good works destroys the errors of the mind, just as the course of the sun in the sky destroys the darkness of the night.
7 Those who have not succeeded to dispel the errors of their minds have darkened their understandings by a mist of ignorance, like the frosty sky of winter, and they find the phantoms of their error dancing like demons before their eyes.
8 All living bodies are subject to pain and pleasure, but it is the mind which constitutes the body, and not the flesh. 9 The body that is seen to be composed of the five elements to make flesh and bones is a creation of the imagination of the mind. It has no substantiality.
10 What your son had thought of in his mental body he found in that same body. He was not accountable to anybody for anything or whatever passed in his mind. 11 Whatever acts a man wills to do in his own mind, the same comes to take place in a short time. There is no other agency of anybody else required to bring them about. 12 Whatever the mind did in a moment and of its own accord, moved by its own will or desire, there is nobody in the world who has the power to do or undo at anytime.
13 The suffering of the torments of hell, the enjoyment of heavenly bliss, and the thoughts of birth and death are all fabrications of the mind that labors under these thoughts. 14 What need I to tell more in the manner of writers of many words on this subject, other than go to the place where your son is situated? 15 Shukra, having tasted the pleasure and pain of all these states at a moment’s thought of his mind, is now seated in penance (tapas) on the bank of the Samanga River under spreading moonbeams. 16 His vital breath, having fled from his heart, became like a moonbeam sparkling in a dew drop and entered the uterus in the form of virile semen.
Vasishta speaking:— 17 Saying so, the lord of death smiled to think of the course of nature, and taking hold of Bhrigu’s hand in his own, they departed together like the sun and moon. 18 “O wonderful is the law of nature!” said Bhrigu slowly to himself, and then rose higher and higher, as the sun ascends above his rising mountain.
19 With their luminous bodies, they arrived at the spot of Samanga River and shone on high above the tamala trees below. Their simultaneous rising in the clear sky made them appear like the sun rising with the full moon over a cloudy horizon.
20 Valmiki said:— As the muni Vasishta was describing these things, the sun went down his setting mountain, and the day departed to its evening service. The court broke with mutual salutations to perform their evening rites and observances, after which they joined the assembly at the dawn of the next day.
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Chapter 14 — Yama & Bhrigu Awaken Shukra from His Tapas; He Remembers
1 Vasishta said:—
Yama and Bhrigu departed from the cave of Mandara Mountain and traveled towards the bank of Samanga River. 2 As they descended from the mountain they saw a great light below proceeding from the bodies of the celestials sleeping in the tree groves of golden vines. 3 Birds were playing in sprays formed by cradling vines under the canopy of heaven. Lovely antelopes looked face to face, their eyes resembling blue lotuses. 4They saw spiritual masters sitting on their stony seats upon elevated rocks, their bodies full of vigor and their eyes looking on the spheres with defiance.
5 They saw the lords of the elephant herd, their big trunks as large as palm trees, plunging in lakes covered with flowers falling constantly from the branches of flowering trees on the shore. 6 They saw mountain bulls dozing in their giddiness and sitting as if intoxicated, while their bodies were reddened by the red dust of flowers and their tails flushed with the crimson dust blown by the breeze. 7 There were deer whose tails served as fans for the mountain king immersed in pools filled with falling flowers.
8 They saw kinnara lads sitting on the tops of straight and stately date trees, playing by pelting each other with date fruit that stuck to the reeds below. 9 They saw big monkeys jumping about with their hideous reddish cheeks and hiding themselves in wide spreading vines. 10 They saw spiritual adepts clad with vests of the tawny clouds that shrouded them and being hit with mandara flowers thrown by celestial ladies.
11 The uninhabited foothills of the mountain were like the solitary walks of Buddhist wanderers, and the streams at its foot were flowing as if they were running to meet the sea, covered under yellow vests of kunda and mandara flowers of the spring season. 12 Trees decorated with wreaths of flowers and shaken by the breeze seemed like bacchanals giddy with the honey of flowers, rolling their dizzy eyes formed of fluttering bees.
13 They walked about here and there and looked at and admired the grandeur of the mountain, until at last they descended on the nether earth decorated with its cities and human dwellings. 14 In a moment they arrived at the bank of the Samanga, flowing with the loosened flowers of all kinds as if it were a bed of flowers itself.
15 Bhrigu saw his son on one of its banks, his body changed to another form and his features quite altered from his former state. 16 His limbs were stiff and his sense at a standstill as he sat with his mind fixed on steady meditation.
He seemed to have been there a long time to rest from the turmoil of the world. 17 He thought upon the course of the currents of the world that continually flow with successive joy and sorrow to man, who gets rid of them after his long trial. 18 He became motionless as a wheel after its long winded motion. He found his rest after his prolonged whirling in the whirlpool of the ocean of the world. 19 He sat retired like a lover reclined solely on the thought of his beloved object. His mind was at rest after its long wanderings. 20 He sat in a state of uniform meditation without a shadow of division or differentiation, smiling with a cold apathy at all the pursuits of mankind. 21 Liberated from all concerns, released from the enjoyments of life, and free from the snare of desires and fancies, he rested in the supreme bliss of the soul. 22 His soul was at rest in the everlasting rest of God, just as a pure crystal catches the color of the gem that is next to it.
23 Bhrigu saw his son in the calmly composed and awakened state of mind, freed alike from his thoughts of what was desirable and from his hatred of what was disgusting.
24 Yama, seeing the son of Bhrigu, said to the father in a voice, hoarse as the sounding sea, “Lo there your son.” 25 “Awake,” he said to Bhargava (Shukra), which startled him from his meditation just like the roaring of a cloud rouses a slumbering peacock from his summer sleep.
26 Upon opening and lifting up his eyes, Shukra saw the god standing with his father on one side, both so pleased at the sight that their faces glowed like the discs of the sun and moon. 27 Shukra rose from his seat of kadamba leaves and made his obeisance to them who appeared to have come to him like the gods Hari and Hara in the disguise of a couple of brahmins. 28 After their mutual salutations, Yama and Bhrigu sat on a slab of stone and appeared like the venerable gods Vishnu and Shiva seated on the pinnacle of Meru.
29 The brahmin boy, having ended chanting his mantras on the bank of Samanga, approached them with a voice as sweet as nectarine juice of ambrosia. 30 “My lords, I am emancipated at your sight this day. You have blessed me by your sights, resembling those of the sun and moon appearing together. 31 The darkness that reigned in my mind, which no light of scriptures or spiritual or temporal knowledge or even my austerities could remove, is dispelled today by the light of your presence. 32 A kind look of the great gives as much joy to the mind as draughts of pure ambrosia satisfy the heart. 33 Tell me who are you, whose feet have sanctified this place like the glorious orbs of the day and night enlighten the sky?”
34 Being addressed in this manner, Bhrigu desired that Shukra remember his prior births, which he could well do by his enlightened understanding. 35 Bhrigu acquainted him with the state of his former birth, and he remembered it instantly by the clairvoyance of his inward sight.36 He was struck with wonder at the memory of his former state. He smiled with a joyful face and glad heart to think on what he had been. Then Shukra said as follows. 37 “Blessed is the law of the Supreme Being that is without beginning or end and is known here below as destiny, and by whose power the world revolves like a two-wheeled carriage. 38 I see my countless and unknown births from first to last, and the innumerable accidents to which they were subject, for an entire kalpa duration of the world. 39 I have undergone great hardships and known prosperity also with the toil of earning. In different lives I have wandered, and I remember having roamed for a long time over the mountainous regions of Meru.”
40 “I drank water reddened with the pollen of mandara flowers and wandered along the bank of the heavenly Mandakini (the Milky Way) filled with lotuses. 41 I wandered about mandara groves filled with flowering vines like gold. I wandered under the shade of the kalpa trees of Mount Meru, and in the flowery plains above and about it.”
42 “There is nothing of good or evil that I have not tasted or felt or done myself. There is nothing that I have not seen or felt or known in my past lives. 43 Now I know the knowable and I have seen the imperishable one in whom I have my repose. Now I have rested after my toils were over and I have passed beyond the domain of error and darkness.”
44 “Now rise, O father, and let us go see that body lying on Mandara Mountain which is now dried like a withered plant. 45 I have no desire to remain in this place, or go anywhere of my own will. It is only to see the works of fate that we wander all about. 46 I will follow you with my firm belief in the one adored deity of the learned. Let that be the desirable object of my mind, and I will act exactly in conformity with my belief.”
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Chapter 15 — Shukra Laments His Original Body; Behaving in the Physical Body
1 Vasishta said:— Thus contemplating on the course of nature, these lovers of learning (Brighu, Shukra and Yama) moved with their spiritual bodies from the bank of the Samanga. 2 They ascended into the sky and passed through the small openings in the clouds to the region of the spiritual masters, from where they descended to the lower world and arrived at the valley of Mandara. 3 There, on a cliff of that mountain, Shukra saw the dried body of his former birth lying covered under dark and dewy leaves of trees.
4 He said, “Here is that shriveled body, O father, which you had nourished with many a dainty food. 5 There is that body of mine that my wet-nurse had so fondly anointed with camphor, aromatic agalwood, and sandal paste. 6 This body of mine was used to repose on cooling beds made with heaps of mandara flowers in the airy spots of Meru. 7 This body of mine used to be so fondly caressed by heavenly ladies of time past. Now it is lying on the bare ground below to be bitten by creeping insects and worms. 8 This body of mine that was accustomed to ramble in the garden plots of sandalwood now lies like a dried skeleton on a naked place. 9 My body now lies impassive of the feelings of delight in the company of heavenly nymphs and withers away unconscious of the actions and passions of its mind. 10 Ah my pitiable body! How you rest here in peace, forgetful of your former delights in the different stages of life and unconscious of the thoughts of your past enjoyments and amusements. 11 O my body that has become a dead corpse dried by sunbeams. You have become so hideous in your skeleton frame as to frighten me. 12 I take fright to look upon this body in which I had taken so much pleasure before, now reduced to a skeleton. 13 I see ants creeping over that breast of mine which was formerly adorned with necklaces studded with starry gems. 14 Look at the remains of my body, now only a load of dry bones, but whose appearance of molten gold had attracted the hearts of beautiful women. 15 Behold the stags of the forest flying with fear at the sight of the wide open jaws and withered skin of my carcass, which with its horrid mouth frightens the timid fawns in the woods.”
16 “I see the cavity of the withered corpse’s belly is filled with sunshine, like the mind of man enlightened by knowledge. 17 My dried body, lying flat on a mountain stone, resembles the mind of the wise, abashed at the sense of its own unworthiness. 18 It seems to be emaciating itself like an ascetic sitting in a trance (samadhi) on the mountain, dead to the perceptions of color, sound, touch and taste, and free from all its desires and passions. 19 It is freed from the demon of the mind and is resting in its joy without any apprehension of the vicissitudes of fate and fortune, or fear of fall. 20 The joy that attends the body upon calming the demon mind is not to be had from possession of any vast dominion of the world.”
21 “See how happily this body is sleeping in this forest, free from all its doubts and desires in the world, liberated from the network of its fancies.22 The restlessness of the apish mind disturbs and troubles the body and is hurled down by its excitation like a tall tree uprooted from its bottom. 23This body, free from the impulses of the mischievous mind, is sleeping in its highest and perfect joy and is quite released from the jarring turmoil of the world clashing like the mingled roaring of lions and elephants fighting each other. 24 Every desire is a fever in the bosom, and the group of our errors is like the mist of autumn. Mankind has no release from these except by the dispassion of their minds.”
25 “They who have had the high-mindedness to lay hold on the tranquility of their minds have gone beyond the bounds of worldly enjoyments.26 It is by my good fortune that I came to find this body of mine, resting in these woods without its troublesome mind, and freed from all its tribulations and feverish anxieties.”
27 Rama said, “Venerable sage who is versed in all knowledge, you have already described Shukra’s passing through many births in different shapes and feeling all their casualties of good and evil. 28 Why did he have so much regret for his body begotten by Bhrigu, in disregard of all his other bodies and the pains and pleasures which attended upon them?”
29 Vasishta answered:— Rama, the other bodies of Shukra were merely the creations of his imagination, but that of Bhargava, the son of Bhrigu, was the actual one, produced by the merit of his earlier acts.
30 This was the first body with which he was born by the will of his maker, being first formed in the form of subtle air, then changed into the shape of wind. 31 This wind entered into the heart of Bhrigu in a flux for the vital and circulating breaths, and being joined in time with the semen, formed the germ of Shukra’s body. 32 The person Shukra received the brahmin sacraments and became his father’s associate until at last it was reduced to the form of a skeleton in course of a long time.
33 It was because this was the first body that Shukra obtained from Brahma the creator that he lamented so much for it. 34 Though dispassionate and devoid of desire as Shukra was, yet he sorrowed for his body, according to the nature of all being born of flesh.
35 This is the way of all flesh, whether it be the body of a wise or unwise man. This is the usual custom of the world, whether the person was mighty or not. 36 Those acquainted with the course of nature and those who are ignorant of it, like brutes and beasts, are equally subject to the course of the world, bound in the net of fate and liable to grief and sorrow. 37 The wise and the unwise are on an equal footing with respect to their nature and custom. Only the difference in desire distinguishes one from the other. The lack of desires or the bondage to desires is the cause of their liberation or bondage in this world. Lack of desires is the great aim that distinguishes the great from the mean-mindedness of the base.
38 As long as there is the body, there is the feeling of pleasure in pleasure and pain in pain. But the mind that is unattached to and unaffected by them makes itself show wisdom. 39 Even great souls are seen to feel happy in pleasure and become sorrowful in matters of pain, showing themselves as wise in their outward circumstances.
40 The shadow of the sun is seen to shake on water, but not so the fixed sun himself. So the wise are moved in worldly matters, though they are firm in their faith in God. 41 As the unmoved and fixed sun seems to move in his shadow on the wave, so the wise man who has rid himself of worldly concerns still behaves like the unwise in it. 42 He is free who has the freedom of his mind, although his body is held in bondage. But he labors in bondage whose mind is enslaved by error, though he is free in his body.
43 Feelings of the mind cause happiness, misery, liberty and bondage, just like the flames of fire cause light. 44 Therefore conform yourself with the custom of the society in your outward conduct, but remain indifferent to all worldly concerns in your inner mind. 45 Remain true to yourself by giving up your concerns in the world, but continue to discharge all your duties in this world by the acts of your body. 46 Take care of the inner sorrows, bodily diseases, and the dangerous whirlpools and pitfalls in the course of your life. Do not fall into the black hole of selfishness, which gives the soul its greatest anguish.
47 Mind, O lotus-eyed Rama, that you mix with nothing and let anything mix with you. Be of a purely enlightened nature and rest content in your inner soul. 48 Think in yourself the pure and holy spirit of Brahma, the Universal Soul and maker of all, the tranquil and uncreated All, and be happy forever.
49 If you can rescue yourself from the great gloom of the individual ego and arrive at the state of pure indifference to all objects, you will certainly become great in your mind and soul and be the object of universal veneration.
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Chapter 16 — Shukra’s Original Body Is Brought Back to Life
1 Vasishta continued:— The god Yama interrupted Shukra’s long lamentation and addressed him in words that sounded as deep as the roaring of a cloud.
2 Yama said, “Now, O Shukra, cast off your body of the devotee at the Samanga River and enter this dead body in the manner of a prince entering his palace. 3 You shall perform austere penance with this your first born body and by virtue of that you shall become the teacher of the daitya race of giants. 4 Then at the end of the great kalpa, you shall have to leave your mortal body forever, as one casts off a faded flower. 5Having attained the state of living liberation by merit of your prior acts, you shall continue as the teacher of the leader of the great asura demons forever.”
6 “Farewell. We shall now depart to our desired dwellings. Know for certain that there is nothing desirable to the mind that it cannot accomplish.”
7 Saying so, the god vanished from before the weeping father and son, moving in the burning sky like the dispenser of light, the sun. 8 After the god had gone and gained his destined state among the gods, the two Bhrigus remained to contemplate on the inexplicable and unalterable course of destiny. 9 Shukra entered his withered corpse, as spring enters into a faded plant, in order to adorn it again with its spring bloom and its springing blossoms. 10 His brahmin body immediately fell down on the ground, staggering as when a tree falls down with its uprooted trunk, and immediately became disfigured in its face and limbs. 11 The old sage Bhrigu, seeing the dead body of his son come back to life, sanctified it with propitiatory mantras and sprinkling of water from his sacred water pot (kamandalu).
12 The veins and arteries and all the cells and cavities of the dead body were again supplied with their circulating blood, just like dry river beds are filled with floods in rainy weather. 13 The body filled with blood made the limbs bloom like the growth of lotuses in rainy lakes and the bursting of new shoots and buds in spring plants. 14 Shukra then rose up from the ground breathing the breath of life, like a cloud ascending to the sky by force of winds.
15 He bowed down to his father standing in his holy figure before him, like a rising cloud clings and kisses the foot of the lofty mountain. 16Then the father embraced the revived body of his son and shed a flood of affectionate tears upon him, like a high risen cloud washes a mountain top with showers. 17 Bhrigu looked with affection on the newly risen old body of his son and smiled to see the resuscitation of the body that he had begotten. 18 He was pleased to know him as the son born of himself and to find his features impressed on him. 19 Thus son and father graced each other by their company, as the sun and lotus-lake rejoice to see one another after the shade of night. 20 They rejoiced at their reunion, like a loving pair of swans at the end of the night of separation, and like a joyous couple of peacocks at the approach of rainy clouds. 21 The worthy father and son sat awhile to pause after all their works and troubles were at an end, then they rose up to discharge the duties that were at hand.
22 They set fire to the body of the Samanga River brahmin and reduced it to ashes. For who is there among earth-born mortals who should ignore the customary usages of his country?
23 Afterwards the two devotees Bhrigu and Shukra continued to dwell in that forest, like the two luminaries of the sky, the sun and moon. 24They both continued as living liberated guides of men by their knowledge of all that was to be known, and by preserving the equanimity of their minds and the steadiness of their dispositions amidst all the changes of time and place. 25 In course of time Shukra became the teacher of the demons, and Bhrigu remained in his patriarchal rank and authority among the sons of men.
26 Thus the son of Bhrigu, who was first born as Shukra, gradually was led away from his holy state by his thought of the heavenly nymph, and subjected to various states of life to which he was prone.
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Chapter 17 — The Difference between Shukra’s Daydreams & Ordinary Daydreams
1 Rama said, “Tell me sage, why do others’ daydreams not have the same result as that of Bhrigu’s son?”
2 Vasishta replied:— The reason is that Shukra’s body at first issued from the will of Brahma. He was born of the pure family of Bhrigu without being corrupted by any other birth. 3 The purity of mind which follows upon decreasing desires, is called its coolness, and the same is known as the stainless state of the soul. 4 Whatever the man of a pure and contrite spirit thinks in his mind, the same comes to take place immediately, like the turning of seawater turns into an eddy. 5 As the errors of various wanderings occurred to the mind of Shukra, so it is with everybody, as Bhrigu’s son is an example.
6 As the serum contained in the seed develops itself into shoots and leaves, so the mind evolves in all the forms that are contained therein. 7Whatever forms of things are seen to exist in this world, they are all false appearances, as are their disappearances also. 8 Nothing appears or disappears to anyone in this world, only error and fantasies in the air that show themselves to those bewitched by this magic scene of the world. 9Our notions of this part of the world present their forms to our view, and the appearance of thousands of such worlds in the mind is mere idea, as false as the show of a magic lantern. 10 As the sights in our dream and the images of our imagination are never apart from our minds, and as they cannot show themselves to be seen by others, such is our false conception of the world.
11 So all places and things are only imaginary ideas. They show themselves as real objects only to the blind sight of the ignorant. 12 Ghosts, demons, and devils are also only imaginary figures of the mind, born in the shallow brain of men to terrify themselves with their hideous shapes. 13Thus have we all become like the dreaming son of Bhrigu, understanding the false creations of our imagination as sober realities.
14 So the creation of the world and all created things are pictured in the mind of Brahma and make their repeated appearances before him as the phantoms of a fantastic mental fabrication. 15 All things that appear to us are as false as these phantoms. They proceed from the mind of Brahma just like the varieties of trees and shrubs are produced from the same sap of spring season.
16 Considered from a philosophical viewpoint, it will be found that the will or desire of each person produces the objects of his desire. 17Everybody sees everything in the world according to the nature of the thoughts in his mind, then he dies with his wrong view of it. 18 In its idea, anything appears to exist which in reality is nonexistent, though it is apparent to sight. The existence of the world is like a lengthened dream. The visible world is a wide spread snare of the mind, like chains at the feet of an elephant.
19 The reality of the world depends upon the reality of mind which causes the world to appear as real. The loss of the one destroys them both because neither can exist without the other. 20 The pure mind has the true notions of things and reflects the true image of everything, as the gem polished from its impurities receives a perfect reflection of everything.
21 The mind is purified by its habit of fixed attention to one particular object. It is the mind undisturbed by desires that receives the true light and reflection of things. 22 As the gilding of gold or any brilliant color cannot stand on base metal or on a piece of dirty cloth, so it is impossible for the weakened mind to apply itself intensely to anyone particular object.
23 Rama asked, “Sage, how did the mind of Shukra receive the reflection of the shadowy world and its temporary movement? How did these fluctuations arise and remain in his mind?”
24 Vasishta said:— Shukra was impressed with the thoughts of the world from his father’s lectures. These impressions remained in his mind like the future peacock resides in the egg. 25 The world is naturally situated in the embryo of the mind of every species of living being. The world gradually evolves from the mind like shoots, sprouts, leaves and flowers from a seed. 26 Everybody sees in his mind what his heart desires to possess, as it is in the case of our prolonged dreams.
27 Know it this way, O Rama, that a partial view of the world arises in each person’s mind in the same manner as it appears in the mind in a dream at night.
28 Rama said, “But tell me sage, whether the thought and the things thought of simultaneously meet in the mind of the thinker, or is it only the mind that thinks of the object which it never meets?”
29 Vasishta replied:— The soiled mind cannot easily unite with the object of its thought, just as a dirty and cold piece of iron cannot join with a pure red-hot one, unless it is heated and purified from its impurity.
30 The pure mind and its pure thoughts are readily united with one another, as pure waters mix together into one body of the same kind, which muddied water cannot do. 31 Lack of desire constitutes the purity of the mind, which is readily united with immaterial things of the same nature like itself. The purity of the mind leads to its enlightenment, and these being united in one leads it to the Supreme.
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Chapter 18 — Incarnations of the Living Spirit
1 Vasishta continued:— Living souls (jivatman) residing in the seeds of material bodies in all parts of the world differ from one another according to the difference in their knowledge of themselves. 2 As long as there is no willingness or unwillingness connected with the identity of the living soul, it reposes in a state of rest, not unlike that of sound sleep (susupti). 3 But living souls addicted to their wishes identify with those wishes and find themselves born here below in their desired shapes.
4 The subtle particles of the living soul and its inclinations run in one channel to the reservoir of life and are thickened into one living being by their combinations. 5 Some are situated apart from one another and dissolve separately. Some are joined together and are born like two gunja fruit growing together. 6 The universe consists of thousands of orbs like gunja fruit and contains the combinations of atoms on atoms and those unconnected with one another. The totality forms the great garden of God, Brahman.
7 These particles of the living soul and its inclinations being joined with one another become dense and thick and remain in the same place where it has grown. 8 As ideas in the mind fall away, the mind changes and a different succession of births follow to suit those changes. 9 Thus every regeneration of the mind in a new life is accompanied by its particular desires and their results. The new life is attended with its proper body unless the mind has been cleared of those thoughts. 10 As pure spirit in the form of vital breath (prana) performs the functions of the body, so the mind being reborn in a new body is employed in all the functions of that body.
11 The souls of all living beings are subject to the three states of waking, dreaming and sound sleep. These states are caused by the mind and not by the body. 12 The soul in its state as an individual person does not give rise to the body and passes under the triple conditions like seawater gives rise to the waves. 13 The living soul that has attained its intellectual state, beyond the conditions of sound sleep (susupti), is awakened to the knowledge of itself and is released from its rebirth, while the ignorant soul is subject to be born again.
14 Though knowing and unknowing souls attain the state of deep sleep and resemble each other in kind, yet the unknowing deep sleep soul that is not awakened to the knowledge of its spirituality is doomed to be reborn in the mortal world. 15 Omnipresent consciousness makes it pass into the mind of its next birth and exhibit itself in different forms in all its succeeding and subordinate regenerations. 16 These repeated births and regenerations are as endless as the many layers in the trunk of a plantain tree. The spirit of Brahma is adjacent to and pervades the whole, like the lofty leaves of the same tree.
17 The influence of the Divine Spirit is as cool as the cooling shade of a plantain tree. It is of its own nature and it is as unchangeable as the core of the plantain tree, in spite of the changes in all its outer coats and coverings. 18 There is no difference or diversity in the nature of Brahma the Creator in his repeated and manifold creations of worlds. He being the seed of the world shoots forth by his moisture into the form of the expanded tree of the world and becomes the same seed again. 19 So Brahman taking the form of the mind becomes the same Brahma by the memories of his mind, just as the sap of the soil makes the seed bring forth fruit which reproduces the same seed. 20 So the productive seed proceeding from Brahma displays itself in the form of the world. But as nobody can say what is the cause of the sap in the seed, so no one can tell why the spirit of God teems with productive seed (of Brahma) in it.
21 So no one should inquire into the cause of Brahma because his nature is inscrutable and indefinable. It is improper to say he is this or the other. 22 One must not attribute causality to what is not the cause, or impute causation of material bodies to the immaterial spirit of God that is the prime and supreme cause of all. We must reason rightly regarding what is certain truth and not argue falsely about what transcends our knowledge.
23 The seed casts off its seedy form and assumes the shape of fruit, but Brahman (the seed of all) contains the fruit (of the universe) in his bosom without laying aside the seed. 24 The seed of the fruit bears a material form, but Brahman the universal seed has no form at all. Therefore it is improper to compare the visible seed with the invisible Brahman who is beyond all comparison. 25 Brahman evolves himself in his creation and does not produce the world like fruit from seed. Therefore know the world is the empty heart of Brahman and is neither born nor unborn of itself.
26 The viewer viewing the view is unable to see his inner self because his consciousness, engrossed by external objects, is disabled from looking into itself. 27 Of what use is wisdom to one whose mind labors under the error of water in a mirage? What power has a mirage over a mind that possesses wisdom? 28 As one who sees a clear sky does not see every part of it, and as the eye that looks on all others does not see itself, so we see everything about us outside ourselves. 29 As one who sees a clear sky does not see what is above the sky, so we see ourselves and others as material beings. But we cannot see the inner part of the immaterial soul, as wise men do.
30 Brahma, who is as clear as the sky, cannot be perceived despite all our efforts because the sight of the sky as a visible thing cannot be compared to the invisible Brahman. 31 Such a sight cannot present itself to us unless we can see the true form of God. But the sight of subtlest things is far from being visible to the beholder. 32 We see only the outward sight because we cannot see the beholder of the sight. The beholder (God) is the only being in existence and all that can be seen is nothing. 33 God, permeate in everything that is visible, cannot be seen as a personal God or anything visible as a distinct thing. Because whatever the almighty King proposes to do, he instantly forms their notions and becomes the same himself.
34 As the sweet saccharine juice of the sugarcane thickens itself into the form of the sugar candy, so the will of God becomes compact in the solid body of the universe. 35 As the moisture of the ground in spring becomes incorporated in plant life bringing forth flowers and fruit, so the energy of Divine Consciousness turns itself into the living spirit which soon appears in a physical form.
36 Everything we see cannot be separated from our idea of it in our mind, so the inner notion shows itself in the shape of the visible object, like a vision in a dream, which is only a representation of thoughts entertained in our minds.
37 The ideas of self and others are like granules in the mind, like grains of salt produced in salty ground from the earth’s moisture. So the multitudes of thoughts in the mind are exactly like the grains of salt on the seashore. 38 As the serum of the earth appears in various shapes, so the sap of consciousness produces an infinity of ideas and thoughts growing like trees in the wilderness of the mind. 39 These trees again shoot forth in branches and leaves, of which there is no end. So every other world is like a forest supplying its sap to innumerable plants, like thoughts in the mind.
40 Consciousness perceives in itself the existence of everything as distinctly as the inherent power of the living soul exhibits itself in creation.41 Every one’s intellect, by virtue of its former acts and their memories impressed upon the mind, perceives the existence of the world in the same manner as his living soul happens to meet with everything as present before it. 42 There are some living souls who meet and join with others and propagate their species, then cease to exist after having lived a long time together.
43 You must observe with keen sight and a well discerning mind in order to look into the different states and thoughts of others. 44 There are thousands of worlds contained in the mind, like atoms in earth, the ample space of the sky, and in water. Worlds reside in those atoms like oil in mustard seeds.
45 When the mind becomes perfect, it comes to be a living being. Consciousness being purified becomes all pervasive. Hence consciousness becomes one with the living spirit. 46 The individual selves from the lotus-born Brahma and all other living beings are only their own self-deception. The sense of the existence of the world is like a protracted dream rising and setting in the mind.
47 Some beings pass through successive states of existence, like a man passing from one dream to another, and they think they are firmly established in them, just as one supposes to be settled in some house appearing in his dream. 48 Whatever consciousness dwells upon at any time or place, it immediately sees the same appearing before it, just like anything seen in dream appears to be true to the dreamer at that time. 49The atom of consciousness contains the particles of all our notions, just like the seed contains the powdery particles of future leaves, branches, flowers and fruit.
50 I consider the atoms of consciousness and the mind contained within the particles of the material body to be both empty and joined in one without causing a duality in their nature. 51 Consciousness conceives many other atomic germs within itself under the influence of particular times, places, actions and circumstances that cannot be extraneous from itself. 52 It is this particle of consciousness that displays creation like the vision of a dream before it. It is this conception that led the gods Brahma and others to the idea of their visible bodies, as it makes little insects think of their own bodies. 53 All that is displayed in this (outer) world is in reality nothing at all. Yet these living beings, though possessing the particles of consciousness in them, falsely conceive the duality of an extraneous existence.
54 Some intellects (of particular persons) display themselves in their bodies and derive pleasure from their consciousness through their eyes and external organs. 55 Others look on outer objects as receptacles of consciousness from the belief that the all pervasive, inseparable and imperishable Intellect (Soul) must abide in each and every one of them. 56 Some men view the entire physical world within the body instead of the all pervading consciousness of Brahma as Vishwarupa, the Universal Form. These being hardened by long habit of thinking so are plunged in the gulf of error. 57 They wander from one error to another just like a man sees one dream after another. They roll about in the pit of their delusion, like a stone hurled down from a hill.
58 Some persons rely on the union of the body and soul. Others who rely on the soul alone are placed beyond the reach of error. Many who rely only on their consciousness shine as rational beings. 59 They who think in terms of other people’s errors are to be considered as under the influence of false dreams in their sleep.
60 God being the all-pervading spirit of nature is truly seen in the spirit of everybody. Because He is everywhere, his omnipresence is present in everything in all places. 61 God, shining as everyone’s living soul, resides as the soul of each soul and mind whether directly or indirectly created. 62 One living being is born in another, and that again within another, like the layered bark of plantain trees that grow one under the other over the inmost core.
63 By changing from thinking about phenomena to recognizing their essence in the invisible fullness, we get rid of our error of the reality of the world of form, as we do of the ornament in the material gold.
64 He who does not inquire into the questions “Who am I?” and “What is the world?” is not liberated in his inner soul and suffers under the continuous fever of a false life. 65 He is successful in his inquiry who by his good understanding comes to know how to curb his worldly greed day by day. 66 As proper routine is the best medicine to secure the body’s health, so the habit of keeping the organs of sense under control is the only way to improve understanding. 67 He who rambles with his words and does not discern with his mind is like a blazing fire in a picture. No one can be wise until he gets rid of his false wit.
68 As the perception of air comes by feeling and not by word of the mouth, so wisdom proceeds from the curtailing of desires. 69 Ambrosia in a painting is no ambrosial food, fire in a picture is not burning flame, a beauty in a drawing is no beautiful maid, and wisdom in words only is lack of wisdom. 70 At first wisdom serves to weaken our passions and enmity, then to uproot them at once, and at last it lessens our desires and endeavors and gives the appearance of holiness to its possessor.
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Chapter 19 — Differences between Waking & Dreaming States
1 Vasishta continued:— Brahma is the seed of life and remains as empty air everywhere. Hence there are many kinds of living beings situated in the world within the womb of universal Life.
2 All living beings composed of dense consciousness and soul contain other living animals underneath, like the manifold layers of the plantain tree, and insects contained in the womb of earth. 3 Worms and insects that grow out of the dirt and scum of earth and water in the hot season and appear filthy to our sight nevertheless are living beings full of particles of consciousness. 4 However living beings strive for their progress, so they prosper in their lives according to the different scopes of their thoughts and actions.
5 Those who worship gods go to the region of gods. Those who worship yaksha nature spirits meet in the world of yakshas. Those who adore Brahma ascend to the world of Brahma, Brahmaloka. Therefore resort to what is the best and greatest refuge.
6 Shukra the son of Bhrigu obtained his liberation at last by the purity of his conscience, even though he was enslaved of his own nature to phenomena at his first sight of them (the apsara fairy). 7 A child born on earth first has purity of its soul, then it becomes of the same nature as the education he gets, and not otherwise.
8 Rama said, “Please sage, tell me the difference between the states of waking and dreaming. What are the states of waking watchfulness, waking dream and waking delusion?”
9 Vasishta answered:— The waking state is that in which we have a sure reliance. Dreaming is the state in which we place no certain reliance and we believe it to be untrue.
10 Dream is something that seems like the waking state but lasts only for a moment. If an object is seen over a length of time and distance, it is said to be a waking dream or dreaming wakefulness. 11 The state of waking dream can be of longer or shorter duration during which what we see appears the same at all places and times. 12 Dreaming, as long as it lasts, is also like waking, but waking seems like a dream when the objects of its vision are not lasting. 13 A dream that is understood as an occurrence of the waking state is believed to be waking, but the inner consciousness of dreaming makes it a dream. 14 As long as one knows anything to be lasting before him, he believes himself to be waking. But no sooner is it lost to him, than he thinks himself to have been dreaming it.
15 Now hear how it is. There is a principle of life in the body that causes it to live. This vital element is an electric force called life (jiva chetana). 16 When the body is active with the powers of the mind, speech and the other members of action, its vital element is put into motion by the vital breath that it breathes. 17 This breath circulating throughout the body gives it the powers of sense and consciousness which have their seats in the heart and mind where the false conception of the world is hidden. 18 The mind circulates about the outer world, through the passages of sight and other organs, and sees within itself the forms of many changing shapes and figures. 19 As long as these forms remain permanent in the mind, it is called the waking state. So far have I told you about the cause of waking, now hear me expound on the laws of sleep and dreaming.
20 When the body is weary with action of its limbs, mind or speech, the living element becomes still and remains at rest with the calm and quiet soul residing within the body. 21 The internal actions of the body and mind being quieted and the motion of the heart being at rest, the living principle becomes as still as the flame of a lamp unshaken by wind. 22 The vital power ceases to exert itself in the members of the body and ceases to keep consciousness awake. The senses of sight and others do not act upon their organs, nor do they receive sensations from without.
23 Life lies latent in the inner heart, like liquid oil residing in a sesame seed. It lies as dormant in the interior part as cold within frost and fluidity in clarified butter. 24 The particle of consciousness that has taken the form of life, after being purified from its earthly impurity, mixes with the internal soul and attains the state of sound sleep, as if lulled to unconsciousness by a cooling breeze.
25 One who feels that his mind to be incapable of passion, who deals unconcernedly with every one, and who has reached the fourth stage of consciousness beyond the three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping, is said to be deadened in life (turiya).
26 When the vital principle again comes to action after the enjoyment of its sound sleep, either in this or the other world, it takes the name of living element or mind or self-consciousness. 27 This principle of life and though, sees within itself the ebbs and flows of many worlds, just like a large tree and all its parts and productions are observed to be contained within the seed.
28 When the breeze of the vital breath puts a slight motion to the element of life, it becomes conscious of its self-existence as “I am.” The motion being accelerated, life finds itself flying in the air. 29 When the vital breath is immersed in the fluids (phlegm) of the body, life gets the feeling of humidity in itself, as a flower perceives its own fragrance. 30 When it is assailed by internal bile, then it has the feeling of its inner heat and sees all outward objects with its melancholy temperament. 31 When it is full of blood, it perceives a fiery redness in itself, like that of a red rock, or like the crimson red of the setting sun in the sky. 32 Whatever one desires to have, he sees the same in himself in his sleep, and this is by the force of his inner vital breath acting upon his mind as it does upon his outward organs.
33 When the organs are not besieged by external objects that disturb the inner senses of the mind, the mind indulges itself reflecting upon many things. This is called its dreaming state. 34 But when the organs are besieged by outward objects and the mind is moved by motion of vital breath (vayu) to their sight and perception, it is called the state of waking.
35 Now, O great-minded Rama,! you have learned the inner process of your mind. But there is no reality in it or in this existent world which is subject to the evils of death, desire and destruction.
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Chapter 20 — The Mind Is the Person, not the Body
1 Vasishta said:— Now Rama, I have told you all this in order to explain the nature of the mind to you, and for no other reason. 2 Whatever the mind often thinks upon with a strong conviction of its reality, it immediately assumes that form, like an iron ball igniting from contact with fire. 3Therefore the convictions of being or not being and of receiving or rejecting a thing depend upon the imagination of the mind. They are neither true nor untrue but merely fluctuations of the mind.
4 The mind is the cause of error, and it is the mind which is the framer of the world. The mind also stretches itself in the form of the universe (vishwarupa) in its gross state. 5 The mind is called the person (purusha, person, i.e., the ruler of the body) which, being brought under control and directed in the right course, produces all prosperity. 6 If the body were the person, how could the high-minded Shukra pass into various forms in his very many transmigrations? 7 Therefore the mind (chitta) is the ruler of the body (purusha) which is rendered conscious (chetya) by it. Whatever form the mind assumes to itself, it undoubtedly becomes the same.
8 So inquire into what is great, devoid of attributes and error, and which is easily attainable by everybody. Be diligent in your inquiry and you will surely succeed to obtain it.
9 Hence whatever is seated in the mind, the same comes to pass on the body. But what is done by the body never affects the mind. Therefore, O fortunate Rama, apply your mind to truth and shun whatever is untrue.
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Chapter 21 — Philosophy of the Mind Creating Its Own Reality; Different Schools of Thought
1 Rama said, “Venerable sage who is acquainted with the mysteries of all things, I have a great question swelling in my heart like a huge surge of the sea. 2 How is it, sage, that any foulness could attach to the mind when it is situated in the eternal purity of the infinite Spirit unbounded by time and space? 3 Again, as there is nothing, there never was anything, and there never will be anything other than the entity of the Holy One, how and from where could this foulness come in Him?”
4 Vasishta answered:— Well said Rama! I see that your understanding is approaching the way to your liberation and exhaling the sweetness of the blossoms of the Nandana garden of paradise. 5 I see your understanding is capable of judging both deductively (reason) and inductively (observation) and is likely to attain that acme which was gained by the gods Shankara (Shiva) and others. 6 However, it is not yet the proper time and place for you to ask this question. It should be asked when I come to the conclusion of the subject. 7 You should ask this question when I come to the conclusion, and it will be demonstrated to you as clearly as the location of a place on a map placed in the palm of your hand.
8 Your question will be most suitable at the end, just as the sounds of the peacock and swan are best suited to the rainy season and autumn. 9The blueness of the sky is pleasant to look upon at the end of the rainy weather, but it is odd to speak of it during rain.
10 It is best to investigate into the mind by the nature of its acts and operations that tend to be the causes of the repeated births of mankind. 11The mind by its nature has the power of thinking and, as determined by the seekers of salvation, the mind leads all the organs and body part to their several actions. 12 Men learned in scriptures and eloquent in speech have given various names to the mind in different systems of philosophy according to the mind’s various perceptive faculties and different functions and operations in the body. 13 Whatever nature the mind assumes by the fickleness of its thoughts, it receives the same name and nature for itself, just like the same fleeting air receives from blowing different smells.
14 The mind delights itself with thoughts of its desired objects and assimilating itself into their natures. 15 It receives the same form in which it delights and which it assumes to itself in its imagination. 16 The body, being subject to the mind, is molded in the same form as the mind, just as wind is perfumed by the fragrance of the flower bed through which it passes. 17 The inner senses being excited actuate the outward organs of sense in their own ways, just as the exciting motion of winds drives the dust of the earth before their course. 18 The mind exerts its powers to make the external organs perform their several functions, just as flying winds drive dust in different directions.
19 Such are the acts of the mind which is said to be the root of action, and these combine together as inseparably as the flower and its fragrance. 20 Whatever nature the mind adopts to itself by its accustomed habit, the same shoots forth in the form of the mind’s two kinds of movement: will and action. 21 The mind does its action and brings about the result by its diligent application. In the same way, the mind enjoys the results and enslaves itself to the enjoyment.
22 The mind understands what is its right course, which is whatever agrees with its temperament, and the mind knows for certain that there is no other way to its real good other than its accustomed course. 23 Minds of different casts follow different pursuits according to their particular inclinations. Minds employ themselves in the acquisition of wealth and virtues, desired objects and liberation according to whatever they think is their best choice.
24 Kapila (Samkhya) philosophers say the mind is a pure substance, like immaterial consciousness, and this view is adopted in their philosophy and scriptures. 25 These men, relying on the error of their own hypothesis, teach their supposed view of the mind to others as the only light to guide them in the way of their salvation.
26 But the teachers of Vedanta doctrines acknowledge the mind as Brahma himself and preach peace and self-control as the only means to attain liberation. 27 The authoritative assertion of Vedanta is that there is no other way to the salvation of the supposed mind, and it is an assumed dogma in other schools also. 28 The Vijnanavada philosophers also have ascertained and upheld peace and self-government as the leaders to liberation, but this too is an expression of their false understandings.
29 Thus all sects give out their own views in the false rules they have adopted for the salvation of their supposed minds. Each school asserts that there is no other way to salvation except what they lay down. 30 So Buddhists and the other sectarians propose a variety of fictitious methods for the liberation of the mind out of their arbitrary will in their respective scriptures. 31 The arbitrary rules of the learned, and those unsupported by the Sruti scriptures, are as numerous and varying from one another as bubbles in clear water.
32 Mighty Rama, know that the mind is the source of all these rules and methods, just as the sea is the source of every kind of gem. 33 There is no innate sweetness in sugarcane or bitterness in the neem leaf, both of which are sucked by insects. There no heat or cold inherent in the sun or moon. It is the intrinsic habit of the mind that makes the difference. 34 Thus those who want to enjoy the unadulterated happiness of their souls should habituate their minds to assimilate themselves to that happy state, and they are sure to have the same. 35 The mind having fled from the sphere of the phenomenal world becomes exempt from all its pleasure and pain, like a young bird with feathers flying in the air by casting off its eggshell and leaving its cage below.
36 O sinless Rama, cherish no fondness for the phenomenal world, which is an unreal illusion full of fear and un-holiness stretched out to catch the mind. 37 The wise describe our consciousness of the world as a magic scene (maya), an appearance of ignorance (avidya), a mere thought, and the cause and effect of our acts. 38 Know that the delusive mind stretches the visible world before you. Therefore rub it off from the mind like dirty mud.
39 This visible appearance that naturally appears before you in the form of the world is called a product of ignorance by the wise. 40 Men being deluded by it are at a loss to know their real good, like the blinded eye is incapable of seeing the brightness of the day. 41 Contemplation of objects presents phenomena to our view, like trees in the empty sky. Being without thought of objects removes their images from inner and outer sights.
42 The abstract meditation of the thoughtful yogi weakens the outward impressions, and by dissociating the soul from all external things, keeps it steady and calm in itself. 43 The mind, by removing its attention from unreal sights, is inclined to the right view of things and produces clarity of understanding and a detached tranquility of the soul. 44 The mind that regards neither realities nor unrealities and is unconscious to pleasure and plain feels in itself the delight of its singleness or unity.
45 Application of the mind to unworthy thoughts and to the internal or external sights of things blocks the soul from tasting the sweets of its unity.46 The mind that is subject to endless desires is like the clear sky hidden by clouds. Such a mind wanders in the maze of doubt between truth and untruth, such as supposing the rope to be the serpent.
47 Man, by the mist of his doubts, obstructs his own sight of the clear sky of his consciousness. But he is unaware of his error’s obstruction and indulges the fancies of his imagination that adds to his error. 48 He takes the true, incorruptible and supreme Brahma in a different light, as one mistakes one thing for another in the dark or in his error. 49 When man is rid of his false imagination, he comes to the knowledge of true God and his happiness, like one freed from his false apprehension of a tiger in a thicket is set at rest with himself. 50 The imaginary monster of one’s imprisonment in the emptiness of the body is dispersed by his insight into it, just as the fear of a lion lurking in the jungle is removed upon finding no such thing. 51 So when you look deeply, you will find no bondage in the world. The notions that this is the world and this is myself are only errors of the mind. 52 Flight of fancy fills the mind with illusions of good and evil, just as the shade of evening presents apparitions of vetala ghosts to little children.
53 Our fancies alight on us at one time and depart at another. They assume different forms at will, just like our consorts act the part of wives in our youth and nurses in our old age. 54 She acts the part of a housewife in her management of household affairs, and she is taken as a mistress when she embraces us in her bosom. 55 Like an actress, the mind forgets to display its parts when it plays another, so everybody is absorbed in the thoughts he has in his head and neglects other thoughts which are absent.
56 The ignorant do not perceive the selfsame unity in all the things he sees in the world. They see everything in the light of the ideas they have imprinted in their minds. 57 They also meet with results in the forms they have in mind, even though in reality they are not what they seem to be, nor are they entirely false. 58 Man sees everything in the same manner in which he thinks it in himself. If his fancy is an elephant in the sky, he sees elephants in clouds. 59 In his thought he believes these elephants are pursuing their mates, so it is the thought that gives the outward forms of things.
60 Rama, repel your drowsiness and behold the Supreme Soul in your soul. Be like a bright jewel by repelling the shadows of all external things. 61 It is impossible, O Rama, that one so enlightened as you will receive the reflection of the world as dull matter, like others do. 62 Being certain of its immateriality. Never taint your mind with its outward coloring or the knowledge of its reality, but know the reflection of the world is in no way distinct from the Supreme Spirit. 63 Keep in your mind that Being who is without beginning or end, and meditate on the spirit in Spirit. Do not let the reflections of your mind stain the pure crystal of your soul. 64 Be on your guard so you never allow the reflections of your mind to taint the clear crystal of your soul. Remain unmindful of phenomena and do not regard any worldly desire.
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Chapter 22 — Qualities of the Mind Resting in Supreme Joy
1 Vasishta continued:— Men of sound judgment are free from mental disturbance and are perfect in their mastery over themselves by restraining the flight of the mind and fastening it to its inner awareness. 2 They swerve from the sight of phenomena as unworthy of their notice. They seek knowledge of their chief good. They behold the all-seeing God in their mental and external sights and have no perception of unintelligent phenomena.
3 They are dormant amidst the thick gloom of error spreading over the confused paths of life. They are awake under the transcendent light of divine knowledge that requires the vigilance of the living. 4 They are utterly indifferent to the sweet pleasures of this life, as they are also indifferent to the cheerless prospects of future enjoyments. 5 They are mixed with the water of spiritual unity and in the boundless ocean of omnipresence. By their rigorous austerities, resembling the vigorous heat of the sun, they melt away like ice in a river. 6 At the disappearance of their ignorance, all their restless desires and passions are set to rest, like the turbulent waves of rivers subside of themselves in the absence of stormy clouds.
7 The net of desires that ensnares men like birds in traps is cut asunder by a spirit of dispassion, just like the meshes of a net are torn apart by a mouse’s teeth. 8 As the seeds of kata fruit serve to purify foul water, so philosophy tends to cleanse human nature of its errors. 9 The mind that is free from passions, from worldly connections and contentions, and from dependence on anyone or anything, is also liberated from the bonds of ignorance and error, like a bird set free from its cage.
10 When the disturbances of doubts are settled and the wandering of curiosity is over, then the full moon of internal fullness sheds its light over the mind. 11 As the mind’s true greatness appears after it sets from the height of its dignity and high-mindedness, so it begins to have its equanimity in a state resembling the calm sea after a storm. 12 As long as the shadow of concerns hangs over the mind, it is darkened and stupefied and broken in the heart, until the sun of renunciation rises to dispel its gloom. 13 The sunshine of consciousness makes the lotus-bed of intelligence shine in its pure luster and unfolds the foliage of its virtues before the dawning light above it. 14 Intelligence is charmer of hearts and delighter of all in the world. It is fostered by the quality of goodness, just as the moon becomes full by her increasing digits (phases).
15 What more shall I say on this subject, other than he who knows the knowable (God) has his mind expanded like the sphere of heaven which has no beginning nor end. 16 The mind enlightened by reasoning is as exalted in its nature as to take pity on even the gods Hari, Hara, Brahma and Indra. 17 The gods, continually seeking to quench their thirst from waters appearing in the mirage, like the thirsting deer (running to them by mistake), are far from tasting the happiness of egoistic yogis. 18 Desires in the hearts of all beings subjects them to repeated births and deaths causing the ignorant, but not the wise, to appear and disappear like waves of the sea.
19 The world presents no other show in its course except that of the appearance and disappearance of bodies. Now they are seen to move about as the sport of time, and then fall as a prey to it forever. 20 But the spiritual body is neither born nor dies in this world. It is not affected by the decoration or loss of the material body but remains unchanged as the emptiness of a pot, both when it exists and when it is broken to pieces.
21 As understanding rises with its cooling moonbeams within us, it dispels the mist of false desires rising before us like a mirage in a dreary desert. 22 The spectacle of the world presents its dusky appearance to our view only as long as we do not consider the questions, “What am I, and what are all these about me?”
23 He sees rightly who sees his body as an apparition of his error and the abode of all evils, and that his body does not serve the spiritual meditation of his soul and his maker. 24 He sees rightly who sees that his body is the source of all the pain and pleasure which afflict at different times and places, and that the body does not answer his purpose of spiritual edification.
25 He sees rightly who sees the One Ego pervading infinite space and time as the source of all accidents and events that constantly take place in them. 26 He knows rightly who knows the Ego to be as minute as a millionth or billionth part of the point of a hair, and pervading the entire infinity of space and eternity of time. 27 He perceives rightly who perceives the Universal Soul to permeate all the various objects of his sight and knows them as sparks of the Light of Consciousness. 28 He perceives rightly who perceives within himself the omnipotence of the infinite Spirit present in all states and conditions of beings, and the same Consciousness to abide in and preside over all. 29 He understands rightly who understands by his wisdom that he is not his body that is subject to diseases, dangers, fears and anxieties, and to the pain and pangs of old age and death.
30 He understands rightly who understands his soul as stretching above and below and all about him, whose magnitude has no bounds nor equal to it. 31 He knows full well who sees his soul as a string to which all things are strung like pearls on a necklace, and that it is not the mind or heart that is seated in the brain or bosom.
32 He thinks rightly who imagines neither himself nor anything else as existent except the imperishable-Brahman, and who knows himself as living between reality and unreality. 33 He is right who beholds what they call the three worlds to be only parts of his self, and that the three worlds have been rolling about him like the waves of the sea. 34 He is wise who looks with pity upon the frail world and who has compassion for the earth as his younger sister. 35 That great soul who has withdrawn his mind from the earth looks brightly upon the earth by repressing his reliance on the interests of his individual ego.
36 He sees the truth who finds his body and the whole world filled by the colossus figure of Consciousness without the opposition of any sensible object. 37 He who looks on the states of misery and happiness that attend worldly life as only the fluctuating conditions of ego has no cause to regret or rejoice at them. 38 He is the right-sighted man who sees himself situated in a world filled with Divine Spirit. He has nothing to desire or dislike in this state of existence.
39 He is the discerning man who has weakened his estimation and dislike of what is desirable and disgusting to him in the world, and who sees the world as full of the essence of that Being whose nature is beyond comprehension and conception. 40 That man of great soul is a great god whose soul, like the all-pervading sky, extends over all and penetrates through every state of existence without receiving the color dye of any.
41 I bow down to that great soul who has passed beyond the states of light, darkness and fancy. 42 I bow down to Shiva of transcendental understanding whose faculties are wholly engrossed in meditation of the Eternal Being who presides over the creation, destruction and preservation of the universe, and who is manifest in all the various wonderful and beautiful grandeurs of nature.
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Chapter 23 — The Wonders within the Realm of the Body
1 Vasishta continued:—
The man liberated in this life and settled in the Supreme state of joy is not tarnished by reigning over the realm of his body and turning about like a wheel. 2 The body of a wise man is like a princedom to him, calculated for his benefit and of no disadvantage. It is comparable to the dwelling of a holy hermit for the consummation of his efforts and liberation.
3 Rama said, “O great sage, how can you call the body to be the dominion of a man, and how can a yogi have his princely joy in it?”
4 Vasishta replied:—
Beautiful is this city of the body. Being enlightened by the light of the mind, it is filled with every good to mankind and it produces endless blessings in both worlds.
5 The eyes are the windows of this city, letting out the light for the sight of distant worlds. The two arms are like the two hinges of this city-gate, with hands like latches reaching to the knees. 6 The hairs on the body are like moss and grass on the walls, and the porous skin resembles the netted covering of the palace. Thighs and legs are like the columns of a building, and the feet with ankles and toes are like pedestals of the columns.
7 Lines marked under the soles of the feet are like inscriptions marked on the foundation stone and upon the base of column pedestals. The outer skin that covers flesh, marrow, veins and arteries, and the joints of the body are like the beautiful plaster of the building hiding the mortar and bricks inside. 8 The middle part of the body above the two thick thighs contains the aqueducts, beset by hairy bushes about them, and like rivers running amidst a city, between rows of trees on both sides of the banks.
9 The face is the royal garden beautified by eyebrows, forehead and lips. Glances of the eyes are like blooming lotuses, and the cheeks are like flat planes in it. 10 The broad bosom is like a lake with nipples like lotus buds. Streaks of hair on the breast are as its herbage, and the shoulders are the rocks projecting from it. 11 The belly is the store-house, eager to receive the delicious articles of food. The long lungs of the throat are blown loudly by internal winds. 12 The bosom is considered to be the treasury where jewels are kept. The nine openings of the body serve as so many windows for the citizens to breathe. 13 There is the open mouth like an open doorway, with its teeth slightly seen as its gratings. The tongue moving in the door way like a naked sword is like the tongue of goddess Kali, thrust out when she devours her food. 14 The ear-holes are covered by hair-like long grass, and the broad back resembles a large plain surrounded by rows of trees on its borders. 15 The two private passages serve as sewers and drains of the city to let out its dirt. The heart is the garden-ground where passions promenade like ladies. 16 Here understanding is bound in chains like a prisoner, and the organs of sense are let loose as monkeys to play about. The face is like a flower garden. Its smiles are its blooming blossoms.
17 The life of the man who knows the proper use of his body and mind is prosperous in everything. It is attended by happiness and advantages and no disadvantage whatever. 18 This body is the source of infinite trouble to the ignorant, but it is the fountain of infinite happiness to the wise man. 19 Its loss is no loss to the wise, but its continuance is the cause of continued happiness to the wise man. 20 The body serves as a chariot to the wise who can travel everywhere by riding in it. The body of a wise man can produce and procure everything conducive to his welfare and liberation.
21 Having a body is of no disadvantage to the wise man. He can use it to obtain everything: all the objects of his hearing and seeing, of his touch and smelling, and his friends and prosperity. 22 It is true that the body is subject to a great amount of pain and pleasure, but a wise man can well bear with them.
23 A wise man reigns over the dominion of his body without any pain or trouble in the same manner as one remains the lord of his house without any anxiety or disturbance. 24 He is not addicted to licentiousness like a high spirited horse. He is not subject to greed after some poisonous plant, so he does not part with the auspicious daughter of his prudence.
25 The ignorant can see the cities of others, but not see the gaps and breaks of their own. It is better to root out the fears of our worldly enemies (passions) from the heart, than live under their subjection.
26 Beware of diving into the perilous river that flows fast by the dreary forest of this world with its currents of desires, whirlpools of greed, and sharks of temporal enjoyment. 27 Men often bathe their outer bodies in holy streams without looking to the purification of their inner souls. They shave their hair where rivers meet the sea in hopes of obtaining their object.
28 All sensual people are adverse to the unseen happiness of the next world and dwell on the pleasure of their own imagination in the inner recesses of their minds.
29 This city of the body is pleasant to one acquainted with his spiritual nature because he deems it as the paradise of Indra filled with pleasurable fruit as well as the fruit of immortality. 30 All things depend on the existence of the city of the body, yet nothing is lost by its loss since the mind is the seat of everything. These bodily cities that fill the earth cannot be unpleasant to anybody. 31 The wise man loses nothing when he loses the citadel of his body, just as the emptiness in a vessel is never lost when the vessel breaks. 32 As the air in a pot is not felt by touch like the pot itself, so is the living soul that resides in the city of the body.
33 The omnipresent soul situated in this body enjoys all worldly enjoyments until at last it comes to partake of the joy of liberation which is its main object. 34 The soul does all actions, yet it is no doer of them but remains as witness of whatever is done by the body, and sometimes presides over the actions actually done by it.
35 The playful mind rides on the swift car of the body, like mounting on a carriage to get to one’s destination, and passes in its unimpeded course to distant journeys. 36 Seated there, the mind plays with its favorite and lovely objects of desire that are seated in the heart as its mistresses. 37 These two lovers, (mind and heart, will and desire) reside side by side in the same body, just as the moon and the star Vishakha happily remain gladly in the same lunar mansion.
38 The sage, like the sun, looks down from above the earth’s atmosphere on the hosts of mortals who have been cut down by misery, like heaps of brambles and branches scattered in the woods. 39 The sage has full satisfaction of his desires and full possession of his best riches. He shines like the full moon without fear of waning. 40 The worldly enjoyments of the wise do not tend to spoil their nature, just as the poisonous drink of Shiva was not capable of doing him any injury.
41 The food that is one’s habit is as gratifying to him as a thief who by long acquaintance forgets his thievishness and becomes friendly to his neighbors. 42 The wise man looks upon the separation of his friends and possessions in the light of the departures of the visiting men and women, or actors and actresses at the end of a play in a theatre. 43 As passengers chance to meet unexpectedly on their way to see a play, so the wise people look unconcernedly at their meeting and separation from the occurrences of life.
44 As our eyesight falls indifferently on all objects about us, so the wise man looks unconcernedly upon all of life’s things and transactions. 45The wise man is self sufficient in all conditions of life. He neither rejects the earthly blessings that are presented to him, nor does he long or strive hard for what is denied to him. 46 The regret of longing after what one does not possess, like the fear of losing what he possesses, does not trouble the mind of the wise, like the plumes of a dancing peacock do not shake the unshaken mountain.
47 The wise man reigns like a monarch free from all fears and doubts, devoid of all cares and curiosity, and with a mind free from false fancies.48 The soul that is immeasurable in itself is situated in the Supreme Soul, just like the boundless Milky Ocean is contained in the body of the one universal ocean.
49 Those who are sober in their minds and tranquil in their spirits laugh to scorn the vile beasts of sensuality as being madmen, as are those who have debased themselves to the state of mean reptiles by the meanness of their sensual appetites. 50 The sensualist eager to gratify his senses is as much ridiculed by the wise as a man who takes a woman deserted by another is derided by his tribe.
51 The unwise man becomes wise by renouncing all the pleasures of his body and subduing the emotions of his mind by his reason, just like a rider subdues an uncontrollable elephant by the goad in his hand. 52 He whose mind is bent on the enjoyment of bodily pleasures should first of all check that inclination, just like they pull poisonous plants from the ground. 53 The well governed mind, once let loose, returns to its former habits like a spoiled boy, like a tree withered in summer heat grows luxuriant at a slight rainfall. 54 That which is full out of its time does not become fuller in its season, like the river that is ever full receives no addition over its fullness in the rains. 55 The mind that is naturally greedy wishes for more with all its fullness, like the sea with enough water to flood the earth receives rain waters and the outpourings of innumerable rivers in its unsatisfied womb.
56 The mind that is restrained in its desires is gladdened with little gains, and these being increased are reckoned as blessings by the restrained mind. 57 A captive prince, who when he was free was unsatisfied with his realm, is content with his morsel of bread when freed.
58 You must chastise your reprobate members and mind with the writhing of your hands gnashing of your teeth and twisting of your limbs and body. 59 The brave and wise man who intends to overcome his enemies must first of all strive to subdue the internal enemies of his own heart and mind and the members of his body. 60 On this earth, those men are reckoned the most prosperous and best disposed in their minds who have the courage to govern their minds instead of being governed by them.
61 I revere those pure and holy men who have quelled the huge and crooked serpent of their minds, lying coiled in the cave of their hearts, and who rest in the inner tranquility and serenity of their souls.
Chapter 24 — The Non-Entity of the Mind
1 Vasishta continued:— The vast domain of death in the region of hell is full with the furious elephants of our sins and the uncontrollable enemies of the senses with the arrows of desires. 2 Our senses, being the sources of all misdeeds and wicked actions, are our invincible enemies. They are the ungrateful miscreants working against the body in which they have found their refuge.
3 Wandering senses, like flying birds, have found their nest in the body from where, with outstretched wings of right and wrong, they pounce on their prey like vultures. 4 He who can trap these greedy birds of the senses under the snare of right reason is never ensnared in the trap of sin, but breaks its bonds as an elephant does his chains.
5 He who indulges himself in sensual pleasures which at first are pleasant, will be disgusted with them in process of time. 6 He who possesses the treasure of knowledge in his frail body is not overcome by his inner enemies of sensual appetites. 7 The kings of earth are not as happy in their earthly citadels as the lords of the cities of the own bodies and the masters of their own minds. 8 He who has brought his senses under his slavery and reduced the enemy of his mind to subjugation has the blossoms of his understanding ever blooming within him as in the spring meadow. 9 He who has weakened the pride of his mind and subdued the enemies of his senses has his desires all shrunken like lotuses in cold weather.
10 So long as the demons of our desires infest the region of our hearts, we are unable to bring the mind under the subjugation of our knowledge of the true One.
11 He is the faithful servant who acts according to the will of his master. He is the true minister who does good services to his prince. He is the best general who has command over the forces of his own body, and the best understanding is guided by reason. 12 The wife is loved for her endearments and the father is revered for his protection of the child. A friend is valued by his confidence, and the mind for its wisdom.
13 The mind is called our father because it enlightens our understanding with the light of the scriptures, and for leading us to perfection by losing itself in the Supreme Spirit. 14 The mind that has well observed and considered all things, that is enlightened and firm in its belief and is employed in laudable pursuits, is truly a valuable gem within the body. 15 The mind as a counselor of our good teaches us how to cut down the tree of our transmigration and produce the tree of our future bliss.
16 Such is the gem of the mind, O Rama, unless it is soiled by the dirt and filth of sin and vice. Then it requires washing and cleaning with the water of reason in order to throw its light on you. 17 Be not dormant to cultivate reason as long as you abide in the dark abode of this world. Do not thrust yourself to every accident that awaits upon ignorant and unreasonable men. 18 Do not overlook the mist of error that spreads over this world of illusion, abounding with multitudes of mishaps and mischief.
19 Try to cross the wide ocean of the world by riding on the strong boat of your reason, using your discrimination to chart the right course against the currents of your sensual desires. 20 Know your body to be a frail flower and all its pleasure and pain to be unreal. So never take pleasure and pain for realities, as in the instance of the snare, snake and the matting, but remain above sorrow for anything as in the instance of Bhima and Bhasa.
21 O high minded Rama, give up your misjudgments of reality and of yourself, and of this and that thing. Direct your understanding to the knowledge of the Reality which is beyond all these. Then, by forsaking your belief and reliance in the mind, continue in your course of eating and drinking as before.
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Chapter 25 — Story of Dama, Byala & Kala Created by Demon King Sambara
1 Vasishta said:— O intelligent Rama, who shines as the delight of mankind in this world and endeavors to attain your chief good by the accomplishment of your best objects, 2 do not let the example of the demons Dama the snare and Byala the snake apply to your case. Try to extricate yourself from vain sorrowing by the lesson of fortitude as given in the story of Bhima and Bhasa.
3 Rama asked, “What is that parable of the snare and the snake which you say must not apply to my case? Please tell me in order to remove the sorrows of my mind and of all mankind. And what is that example of fortitude by Bhima and Bhasa that I should imitate in order to rid all earthly sorrow? 5 Please tell me and enlighten me with your purifying words, like the roaring of rainy clouds serves to alleviate the summer heat of peacocks.”
6 Vasishta replied:— Rama, hear me relate both of these stories so that you may derive the benefit of learning from their examples.
7 There lived one Sambara, the chief of demons and a profound sorcerer in an underground cavern filled with enchanting wonders like a sea of gems. 8 He constructed a magic city in the sky with gardens and temples of gods and artificial suns and moons emblazoning its ceiling. 9 It was decorated with rich stones resembling the gems of Sumeru Mountain. The demon’s palace was full with opulence and treasures of every kind.
10 The beauties in his harem vied with the celestial dames in their charming strains. The trees of his pleasure garden were shaded by an awning of bright moonbeams on high. 11 Blue lotuses blooming in his bedroom made the blue eyed maids of his court blush. Swans in the lakes cackled about the beds of golden lotuses in them. 12 The high branches of golden plants bore blossoms of artificial lotuses, and rows of karanga trees dropped down showers of mandara flowers on the ground.
13 His garden-house consisted of both cold and hot baths, and refrigerators and fireplaces for hot and cold seasons. The turku weapons of the demons had baffled the arms of Indra himself. 14 Flower gardens on all sides surpassed the mandara groves of paradise. Demon magic skill had planted rows of sandalwood trees with their encircling snakes all around.
15 The inner compound was strewn over with gold dust and vanquished the glory of heaven. The palace courtyard was covered with heaps of flowers up to the knee. 16 The earthen figure of Shiva that was exposed for show surpassed the image of Hari (Vishnu) holding his discus and the mace. Jewels sparkling like fireflies in the inside apartment resembled the twinkling stars in the arena of heaven. 17 The dark night of the subterranean dwelling was illuminated by a hundred moon-lights like the starry heaven, and he chanted his martial songs before his idol deity. 18His magical elephant drove away Indra’s Airavata, and his inner apartment contained a hoard of precious treasures from the three worlds.
19 All wealth, prosperity, grandeur and dignity paid their homage to him. The whole host of demons honored him as their commander. 20 The protection of his arms gave shelter to the whole body of demons. He was the receptacle of all sound judgment and the reservoir of every kind of treasure. 21 This destroyer of gods (devas and suras) had a gigantic and terrific appearance. He commanded a large army of demons (asuras) to defeat the deities.
22 Whenever this magician demigod went to sleep or left for somewhere out of his city, the gods sought every opportunity to harass the demonic force. 23 This enraged Sambara to such a degree that he broke trees in his rage and he ordered his generals to protect his legions. 24The gods, finding their opportunities, killed the demons one by one like hawks pounce and kill feeble and timid sparrows. 25 The king of the demons then appointed other generals over his army, and they were as swift-footed and hoarse sounding as the waves of the sea. 26 When the leader of the demon band pursued his enemies to their station above the heavens, the gods also destroyed them in a short time.
27 The gods fled from their heavenly abode for fear of them, like timid deer flying into the thick thickets at the sight of Shiva’s and Gauri’s bull. 28The gods were weakened with weeping, and the faces of apsara nymphs were covered in tears. The demon saw the heavenly abode abandoned by the celestials, as if the desolation of the world. 29 He wandered about in his rage, plundering and took away all the valuables of the place. He burnt down the cities of the rulers of heaven, and then returned to his own abode.
30 The enmity between the deities and demons was so intense on both sides that it forced the gods to quit their heavenly abodes and hide in distant parts of the world. 31 But the enraged gods succeeded at last by their perseverance to defeat and slay all the generals and combatants that Sambara set against them.
32 Then the defeated demon gave vent to his fury and began to breathe out living fire from his nostrils like a burning mountain. 33 After much searching in the three worlds, he found the hiding place of the gods, as a wicked man succeeds in his purpose by his best endeavors. 34 Then to protect his army, he produced by his sorcery three very strong and fearful demons with hideous appearances like that of death. 35 These horrible leaders of his army, being produced in his magic, flew upward with their enormous bodies resembling the flying mountains of old. 36 They had the names of Dama the snare, Byala the snake, and Kata the mat given them for their entrapping, enfolding and enwrapping the enemy, according to the demon’s wish.
37 They were beings without previous births and devoid of changing desires. The lack of their prior acts made them move about as freely as spiritual beings in one uniform tenor of their course. 38 These were not born like men from the seeds of their previous acts with solid and substantial bodies. They were mere artificial forces and airy forms, copies of images in the demon Sambara’s mind. 39 Being born in this way, they followed events as they happened like blind sheep. Just like a boy moves his limbs when he is not in sound sleep, these three demon generals performed actions devoid of subtle karmic impressions and self or egoism.
40 They did not know the sudden attack of the enemy on them or their attack on the enemy. 41 They did not know running away from battle. They did not know birth or death, victory or defeat, or war as a matter of fact. 42 But they attacked the enemy in front of them with blows that turn even mountains into dust.
43 Sambara was pleased with them. He was confident that with their help he would defeat the enemy. 44 Sambara was confident that his army, strong and stable under the shades of the shoulders of the three demons, could withstand the onslaught of the gods just as Mount Meru stands firm in spite of the blows of the teeth of the elephants carrying earth from the eight quarters.
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Chapter 26 — Description of Battle between Gods and Demons
1 Vasishta continued:— So thinking, the chief of the demons dispatched his generals Dama, Byala and Kata to lead his armies to destroy the gods upon earth. 2 The demonic army rose out of the foaming sea and infernal caverns in full armor and wielding fiendish arms. Then bursting forth with hideous noise, the demon soldiers soared aloft with their huge bodies like mountains flying on high. 3 Their monstrous and mountainous bodies hid the disc of the sun in the sky, and their stretching arms smote him of his rays. They increased in number and size under the leadership of Dama, Byala and Kata.
4 Then the dreadful hosts of the celestials issued out from the forests and caverns of heavenly Mount Meru like torrents of the great deluge. 5The forces under the flags of gods and demons fought together with such obstinacy that it seemed to be an untimely and deadly struggle between the gods and demons as during the prior world. 6 The heads of decapitated warriors decorated with shining earrings fell down on the ground like the orbs of the sun and moon which, being shorn of their beams as at the end of the world, were rolling in the great abyss of chaos. 7 Heroes hurled huge hills with the hoarse noise of roaring lions. Hills were blown up and down by the blast of an all destroying tornado.
8 Warriors’ broken weapons fell on mountain tops and were ground to granules. They fell like hailstones upon lions that had been resting on their sides below. 9 The sparks of fire that flew about from the clashing of the weapons were like the scattered stars of the sky flying at random on the last day of dissolution. 10 Vetala ghosts as big as tala palm trees were beating the tala time of their giddy dance with the tali clapping of their palms, dancing over heaps of carnage floating on floods of blood flowing like a bloody sea on the surface of earth. 11 Showers of flowing blood put down the flying dust of the battlefield. Numbers of crowned heads separated from their bodies glistened among the clouds like so many stars sparkling in the sky.
12 Demons filled all sides blazing like burning suns with their luminous bodies. They held tall kalpa branches in their hands to strike the enemy and used to break down the tops and peaks of mountains. 13 They ran about with their swinging swords in hand, breaking down buildings by the speed of their motion, like blasts of a gale. The rocks they hurled at the enemy were reduced to dust, like the ashes of a burning mountain.
14 The gods also pursued them like sacrificial horses, driving the weaponless demons like clouds before the storm. 15 They fell upon and laid hold of them like cats pouncing upon rats, seizing them for their prey. Meanwhile demons also seized gods like bears lay hold of men climbing tall trees with fear. 16 Thus gods and demigods dashed against one another, like forest trees in a storm strike each other with their branching arms, and scattered the flowers of bloodshed on both sides. 17 Their broken weapons lay scattered on all sides, like heaps of flowers lying on the sides of a hill after a strong gale has passed.
18 There was a close fight between both armies, a confused noise filling the vault of the sky which, like the hollow of an udumbara tree, resounded to the combined hum of gnats rumbling within. 19 The elephants that rule the different quarters of the skies sent their loud roars, answering the tremendous noise of the world-destroying cloud. 20 The thickened air grew as hard as the solid earth with gathering clouds, and thickened clouds, so dense a fist could grab them, were heavy and slow in their motion. 21 Broken weapons repelled by war-chariots hit against the hills and emitted a rattling noise from their inner hollowness, like the discordant sounds of a chorus. 22 Mountain forests were set on fire by fiery weapons, and burning rocks melted down their lava with a noise as dreadful as that of volcanic Mount Meru with its melting gold and blazing with the brightness of the twelve suns of the zodiac.
23 The clamor of battle was like that of the beating waves of a boisterous ocean filling the vast deep of the earth, resounding hoarsely by their impact. 24 Demons hurled huge rocks that flew like birds in the air with their flapping wings sounding like thunder claps, while the hoarse noise of rocky caverns sounded like the deep sounding ocean. 25 The clamor of warfare resembled the rumbling of the ocean when it was churned by Mandara Mountain, and the clashing of weapons sounded like the gods clapping their hands in their revelry for the ambrosial nectar.
26 In this war between the two armies, the haughty demons gained the day and laid waste to the cities and villages of the gods, together with their lands of hills and forests. 27 The mountainous bodies of demons were also pierced by the gods’ great weapons, and the roof of heaven was filled with flying weapons flung by the hands of both parties. 28 Bursting rockets broke the peaks and pinnacles of rocks by the hundreds, and flying arrows pierced the faces of both gods and demigods. 29 Whirling discs lopped off the heads of the warriors like blades of grass, and the clamor of the armies rolled with an uproar in the midway sky. 30 Struck by flying weapons, heavenly charioteers fell upon the ground and their celestial cities were deluged by the hydraulic engines of the demons. 31 Flights of swords, spears and lances flew in the air like rivers running down mountain sides. The vault of heaven was filled with war-whoops and shouts of the combatants.
32 The palaces of the ruling gods were falling under the blows of demons from behind, and their female apartments echoed with the lamentations and jingling bells of the goddesses. 33 The stream of flying weapons from the demons washed the bodies of fighting men with blood, making them fly off from the battlefield with hideous cries. 34 Death was now lurking behind, now hovering over the heads of the gods and leaders of armies, like a black bee now skulking in, and then flitting over the lotuses. Armies on both sides were defeated by the blows of the gods and demigods on the battlefield. 35 Demons flew in the air like winged mountains moving around the sky, making a whizzing rustle that was dreadful to hear.
36 The mountainous bodies of the demons, pierced by the gods’ weapons, were gushing out with streams of blood that converted the earth below to a crimson sea and tinged the air with purple clouds over the mountain heights. 37 Many countries and cities, villages, forests, vales and dales were laid waste, and innumerable demons, elephants, horses and human beings were put to death. 38 Also numbers of elephants were pierced with long and pointed shafts of steel and iron, and the bodies of huge Airavatas were bruised by the blows of steeled fists. 39 Flights of arrows falling in showers like flood rains crushed the tops of mountains. The friction of thunderbolts broke down the bodies of mountainous giants.
40 Furious flames of heavenly fire burned the bodies of the infernal hosts who, in their turn, quenched the flames with water-spouts drawn out of an underground deep. 41 Enraged demons flung up and hurled huge hills against the gods’ falling fires which, like a wild conflagration, melted the hard stones to liquid water. 42 The shadow of the demons’ weapons spread a dark night in the sky which the gods destroyed by the artificial flame of lightning, blazing like so many suns in heaven. 43 The fire of the lightning dried up the waters of the raining clouds, and the clashing of arms emitted a shower of fire on all sides. 44 The shower of thunder-arms broke down the battery of mountain ramparts, and the sleep-weapon of slumber dispelled by that of its counteraction. 45 Some bore the sawing weapon, while others held the Brahmastra, the invincible weapon of warfare that dispels the darkness of the field by its flashing.
46 The air was filled with shells and shots fired by firearms. Machines for hurling stones crushed the missile weapons of fire. 47 War chariots, with their uplifted flags and moonlike discs, moved like clouds about the horizon, while their wheels rolled with loud roaring under the roof of heaven. 48 The constant thunders of heaven were killing demons in numbers, who were again restored to life by the great art of Shukra that gave immortality to demonic spirits.
49 Now the gods were victorious, and now flying away defeated. Now they were looking to their good stars, and now to the inauspicious ones in vain. 50 They looked upon heaven with uplifted heads and eyes for signs of good and evil, but from the heaven above the world on the earth below appeared like a sea of blood. 51 The rage of stubborn enmity made the world seem like a forest of full blown red kinsuka flowers, and like a sea of blood filled with mountains of dead bodies. 52 Dead bodies hanging on tree branches appeared as their fruit moving to and fro by the breath of winds.
53 The roof of the sky was filled with forests of long and large arrows, and with mountains of headless trunks with their hundred arms. 54 As these torsos leaped and jumped in the air, they plucked the clouds and stars and the heavenly cars of the celestials with their numerous arms and hurled their mountain-like missile arms and clubs and arrows to the heavens. 55 The sky was filled with the broken fragments of buildings falling from the seven spheres of heaven. Their constant fall raised a noise like the roaring of flood clouds. 56 These sounds were resounded by the elephants of the deep (Patala), while the bird of heaven, Garuda, was snatching gigantic demons as his prey.
57 The dread of the demons drove the celestial deities, the siddhas and sadhyas (deities who guard sacred rites), and the gods of the winds, together with the kinnaras, gandharvas and charanas from all their different quarters to one indistinct side. 58 Then there blew a tremendous tornado like the all-destroying north wind of universal desolation, laying waste the trees of the garden of paradise and threatening to destroy the gods. The thunders of heaven were splitting and breaking down mountains flung to the face of the sky.
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Chapter 27 — Brahma Advises the Defeated Gods to Foster the Demons’ Ego
1 Vasishta related:— As the war of the gods and titans raged violently on both sides, and their bodies were cut by the others’ weapons, 2streams of blood gushed out from their wounds like waterfalls in the Ganges basin. Gods caught into the snares of demigods groaned and roared aloud like lions.
3 Byala with his stretching arms was crushing the bodies of the gods. Kata was harassing them in their unequal challenge with them. 4 The demons waged their battle with the rage of the midday sun, and put to flight the Airavata elephant of Indra, the leader of the gods. 5 Gods dropped down with their bodies gored with wounds and spouting with blood. Their armies fled on all sides like the currents of a river overflowing and breaking down its bank.
6 Dama, Byala and Kata pursued the flying and fleeing gods in the same manner as a raging fire runs after wood for its fuel. 7 The demons sought and searched long after the gods in vain, for they had disappeared like deer and lions among the thickets after breaking loose from their traps. 8 Failing to find the gods, the generals Dama, Byala and Kata returned with cheerful hearts to their chief in his home in the infernal region.
9 The defeated gods halted awhile, then prayed to almighty Brahma in order to consult him on the means of gaining victory over the demons. 10Brahma then appeared to the blood smeared gods with his purple countenance, like the bright and cooling moonbeams appear in the evening on the surface of the sea, colored with the crimson colors of the setting sun.
11 The gods bowed down before Brahma and complained of the danger that was brought upon them by Sambara through his generals Dama, Byala and Kata, whose doings they fully described to him. 12 The judging Brahma, having heard and considered all this, delivered the following encouraging words to the host of gods before him.
13 Brahma said:— “You will have to wait another hundred thousand years before you can destroy Sambara under the arms of Hari (Vishnu) in an open engagement. 14 Today you have been forced to flee by the demonic Dama, Byala and Kata who have been fighting with their magical arts. 15 They are elated with pride at their great skill in warfare, but it will soon vanish like the shadow of a man in a mirror.
16 These demons, led by their ambition to annoy you, will soon be reduced under your might like birds caught in a snare. 17 The gods, being devoid of ambition, are free from the vicissitudes of pain and pleasure. They have become invincible by destroying the enemy through their patience. 18 Those who are caught and bound fast in the net of their ambition, and led away by the thread of their expectation, are surely defeated in their aims, just like birds are caught with a string.
19 The learned who are devoid of desire and are unattached to anything in their minds are truly great and invincible, as nothing can elate or depress them at anytime. 20 A man, however great and experienced he may be, is easily overcome by a boy when he is enticed by his greed to pursue after everything. 21 The knowledge that “this is I” and “these are mine” is the bane of human life. One with such knowledge of his self and egoism becomes the receptacle of evils like the sea of briny waters.
22 He who confines his mind within a narrow limit for lack of his great and extended views is called dastardly and narrow-minded man in spite of all his learning and wisdom. 23 He who puts a limit on his soul (atma), which is both unbounded and infinite, surely reduces his divine grace to minuteness by his own making.
24 If there is anything in the world beside the one Self that may be yours or worth your desire, you may long to have it. But all things being only parts of the universe, there is nothing particular for anyone to have or seek. 25 Reliance on earthly things is the source of unhappiness, while our disinterest with all things is the fountain of everlasting joy.
26 As long as the gods are independent of worldly things, they must remain invincible. But if they are dependent on them, they will perish like a swarm of gnats in the flame of a wildfire. 27 It is man’s inner desire that makes him miserable in himself and allows him to become subdued by others. Otherwise, worm-like man is as firm as a rock. 28 Where there is any desire in the heart, it is thickened and hardened in time, just like everything in nature increases in its bulk in time. But not so things that are not in existence, such as the lack of desires.
29 O Indra, if you want to cause their destruction, try to foster both ego selfishness and the ambition of Dama and others for their universal dominion. 30 Know that it is greed that causes poverty and all dangers to mankind, just like the karanja tree is the source of its bitter and pernicious fruit. 31 All those men who rove about under the bondage of greed have bid farewell to their happiness by subjecting themselves to misery. 32 One may be very learned and well-informed in everything, and he also may be a noble and great man, but he is sure to be tied down by his greed, just like a lion is tied by his chain.
33 Greed is known as the trap of the mind, which is situated like a bird in its nest of the heart, as it is within the hollow of the tree of the body. 34A miserable man by his greed becomes an easy prey of the clutches of death, just like a bird is caught in a boy’s net and lies panting on the ground owing to its greed.
35 You gods need not bear the burden of your weapons anymore, nor toil and moil in the field of war any longer, but try your best to inflame the pernicious greed of your enemies to the utmost. 36 Know, O chief of the gods, that no arm or weapon or any program or policy is able to defeat the enemy until they defeat themselves by their lack of patience and excess of their greed.
37 Dama, Byala and Kata have become elated with their success in warfare. Now they must cherish their ambition and foster their greed to their ruin. 38 No sooner have these ignorant creatures of Sambara gained their high desires, than you are sure to foil their vain attempts. 39 Now you gods, excite your enemies to the war by your policy of creating in them an ambition and intense desire for conquest. By this you will gain your object. 40 They, being subject to their desires, will be easily subdued by you, for nobody that is led blindfold by his desires in this world is ever master of himself.
41 The path of this world is either even or rugged according to the good or restless desires of our hearts. The heart is like the sea in its calm after storm, when its waves are still as our subsided desires, or as boisterous as the stormy sea with our increasing greediness.
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Chapter 28 — Description of Renewed Battle between Gods & Demons
1 Vasishta continued:— Saying so, the god Brahma vanished from the sight of the gods, just as the wave of the sea retires and mixes with its waters after having dashed and crashed against the shore.
2 The gods, having heard Brahma’s words, returned to their respective homes as the breeze bearing the lotus fragrance blows it to the forests on all sides. 3 They stayed in their delightful houses for some days, like bees resting themselves in the cells of flowers after their wanderings. 4Having refreshed and invigorated themselves over the course of time, they gave the alarm of their rising with the beating of their drums, sounding like the peals of the last day.
5 Immediately the demons rose from the infernal regions and met the gods midway in the air, and commenced their dreadful attack upon them.6 There was a clashing of armor, clattering of swords and arrows, the flashing of lances and spears, and the crackling of mallets and various other weapons such as battle axes and discuses, thunderbolts, and hurling of rocks and huge trees and the like. 7 There were many magical weapons that ran on all sides like the torrents of rivers, while rocks and hills, high mountains and huge trees were flung and hurled from both sides, filling the earth with confused noise and rumbling.
8 The encampment of the gods was beset by a magical flood of demons resembling the Ganges River, while showers of firearms and missiles of all sorts were hurled upon their heads from above. 9 Many big bodies of gods and demons rose and fought and fell by turns, like the elemental bodies of earth and other elements rise and disappear from view by the act of illusion (maya). 10 Big bombs broke the heads of mountains, and the earth became a vast sheet of blood like a red sea. Heaps of dead bodies on both sides rose like forests to the face of heaven. 11 Living lions with iron bodies, rows of saw-like teeth, and nails white as kasa flowers were let loose by the magic art to roam rampant in the airy field. They devoured the stone flung by the gods and demons, and burst out into shells and shots and many other weapons.
12 Serpentine weapons flew with their mountainous shapes in the ocean of the sky. Their eyes flashed with their venomous heat, burning with the fire of the twelve suns on the last day of desolation. 13 A hydraulic engine sent forth floods of weapons, whirling like whirlpools and sounding loud as the rattling thunder, sweeping hills and rocks in their currents. 14 Stone missiles thrown by the garuda engine to the gods’ aerial battlefield emitted at intervals water and fire, sometimes shining as the sun, and at others becoming altogether dark. 15 Garuda weapons flew and roared in the sky, and firearms spread a conflict of burning hills above. The gods’ towers burned and fell upon the earth, and the world became as unendurable as in its conflagration on the last day.
16 Demons jumped up to the sky from the surface of the earth, as birds fly to heaven from mountain tops. Gods fell violently on the earth like pieces of rock plummeting to the ground. 17 Long weapons sticking in the bodies of gods and demons were like bushes with their burning pain. Their big statures appeared like rocks decorated with trees growing on them. 18 Gods and demons wandering with their mountainous bodies, all streaming in blood, appeared like the evening clouds of heaven pouring the purple floods of the celestial Mandakini River (the Milky Way).
19 Showers of weapons fell like waterfalls or rain showers, and the tide of thunders flowed as fast as the fall of meteoric fire in haphazard confusion. 20 Those skilled in the arts were pouring floods of purple fluids mixed with the red clay of mountains from the pipes of elephant’s trunks, just like they sprinkle the festive water of Holi mixed with red powder through a syringe. 21 Gods and demons, though worried by one another, did not yet give up their hope of victory, but hurled weapons from their hands to harass each other. Riding on the broad backs of big elephants, they wandered in the air spreading their brightness all around. 22 Then they wandered in the sky like flights of inauspicious locusts, their bodies pierced in the heads, hands, arms and breasts. They filled the vault of the world like flying clouds obscuring the sun and the sides of heaven, and the surface and heights of the earth.
23 The earth was battered and rent to pieces by fragments of broken weapons falling from the waists of combatants who assailed one another with their loud shouts. 24 The sky echoed to the thunderclaps of weapons striking each other, the clattering of the stones and trees, and the blows of the warriors on one another, as if it was the commotion of the day of universal destruction. 25 The disordered world seemed to approach its untimely end from the blowing of furious winds mixed with fire and water, and the many suns of the gods and demons shining above and below. 26All quarters of heaven seemed to be crying aloud with the sounds of hurling weapons rolling as mountain peaks, roaring as lions, and borne by the blowing winds on all sides.
27 The sky appeared as an ocean of illusion burning with the bodies of warriors like flaming trees, and rolling in surges of gods’ and demons’ dead bodies floating on it like mountains. The edges of the earth seemed like forest made by the clubs, lances, spears and many other weapons constantly falling upon them. 28 The horizon was surrounded by the big and impenetrable line of demonic bodies resembling the chain of Mount Sumeru encircling the earth. The earth itself resembled an ocean filled with the mountainous bodies of fallen warriors and towers of celestial cities blown down by the winds.
29 The sky was filled with violent sounds, and the earth and its mountains were washed by torrents of blood. Bloodsucking demons danced on all sides and filled the cavity of the world with confusion. 30 The dreadful warfare between gods and demons resembled the tumults that rage through the endless space of the world that rise and fall with the alternations of pleasure and pain to which it is constantly subject.
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Chapter 29 — Defeat of the Demons
1 Vasishta continued:— In this manner, the energetic and murderous demons repeated their attacks and waged many wars with the gods. 2They carried on their warfare sometimes by fraud and often by their aggressiveness, and frequently after a truce of open war was made with the gods. They sometimes fled, renewed their strength, then attacked again in the open field. Other times they lay in ambush, concealed in their underground caves. 3 Thus they waged their battle against the celestials for five and thirty years, by repeatedly flying and withdrawing from the field, then reappearing with their arms. 4 They fought again for five years, eight months and ten days, shooting their firearms, trees and stones and thunders upon the gods.
5 Being used to warfare for such a long a period, at last they grew proud of their superior strength and repeated successes and entertained the desire of their final victory. 6 Their constant practice in arms made them sure of their success, just as the nearness of objects casts their reflection in the mirror. 7 But as distant objects are never reflected in the glass, so the desire for anything is never successful without intense application to it.8 So when the desires of the demons Dama and others became identified with their selves, their souls degraded from their greatness and became confined to their belief of the desired objects.
9 All worldly desires lead to false expectations, and those entangled in the snares of their expectations are thereby reduced to meanness in their spirits. 10 Falling into the errors of egotism and selfishness, the demons were led into the blunder of me-ism, thinking these things as “mine,” just as a man mistakes a rope for a snake. 11 Being reduced to the depravity of selfishness, they began to think their personalities consisted in their bodies. They began to reflect how their bodies could be safe and secure from harm from head to foot. 12 They lost their patience by continually thinking about protecting their bodies, their properties and their pleasures of life.
13 Desire of their enjoyments diminished their strength and valor. Their former acts of gallantry now became a dead letter to them. 14 They thought only how to become lords of the earth, and thus became lazy and weak like lotus flowers without water. 15 Their pride and egoism led their inclination towards the pleasures of good eating and drinking and to the possession of every worldly good. 16 They began to hesitate to join in warfare and became as timid as timid deer afraid to encounter furious elephants ravaging the forest.
17 They moved slowly in despair of their victory and for fear of losing their lives in their encounters with the gods’ furious elephants in the field.18 These cowards, wishing to preserve their bodies from the hands of death, became so powerless that they rested satisfied with their enemies’ feet on their heads. 19 Thus these unnerved demons were as unable to kill the enemy standing before them as a fire without enough fuel is unable to consume the sacred ghee offering. 20 They became like gnats before the aggressive gods, standing with their bruised bodies like beaten soldiers.
21 What more needs to be said? The demons were overpowered by the gods and fled from the battlefield in fear of their lives. 22 When the demons Dama, Byala, Kata and others were repulsed by the prowess of the gods and fled cowardly in different ways, 23 the remaining demons fell down before the gods and fled from the air on all sides, like the falling stars of heaven at the end of a kalpa age.
24 They fell upon the summits of mountains, and in the trees of the Sumeru Range. Some were wrapped in the folds of the clouds above, and others fell on the banks of distant seas below. 25 Many fell in the cavities of the eddies of seas, and in the abyss of the ocean, and in the running streams. Some fell into far distant forests, and other dropped down amidst the burning woods of wild fire.
26 Some being pierced by the arrows of the celestials, fell in distant countries, villages and cities on earth. Others were hurled into thick jungles of wild beasts and in sandy deserts and in wild fires. 27 Many fell in the polar regions, some landing on the mountain tops and others sinking in the lakes below. Several were tossed over the countries of Andhra, Dravida, Kashmir and Persia. 28 Some sank in billowy seas and in the watery maze of the Ganges, and others fell on distant islands, in different parts of Asia, and in the nets of fishermen.
29 Thus the enemies of the gods lay everywhere with their mountainous bodies, all full of scars from head to foot and mutilated in hands and arms. 30 Some were hanging by their outstretched entrails on tree branches, gushing out with blood. Others with cropped off crowns and heads were lying on the ground with open and fiery eyes. 31 Many were lying with their broken armor and weapons, slashed by the superior power of the enemy, their robes and garments all dismantled and torn by their fall. 32 Their helmets which were terrific by their blaze were hanging down their necks. The braids of their hair, woven with stones, hung loosely about their bodies. 33 Their heads covered with hard brazen and pointed crowns were broken by stone slabs hurled upon them from the hands of the gods.
34 In this manner, at the end of the battle, the demons together with all their weapons were destroyed on all sides. They were devoured like seawater dissolves dust.
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Chapter 30 — The Subsequent Lives of Dama, Byala & Kata
1 Vasishta continued:— Upon destruction of the demons, the gods were exceedingly joyous, but Dama and the other demon leaders became immersed in sorrow and grief. 2 Sambara was full of wrath, and his anger was ignited like an all-destroying fire against his generals, whom he called aloud by their names and said, “Where are they?” 3 But they had fled from their abodes for fear of his anger.
Dama, Byala, and Kata hid themselves in the seventh sphere of the infernal regions. 4 There dwelt the horrid instruments of death, formidable as their lord Yama himself, and who were glad with their duty of guarding the abyss of hell. 5 The fearless guards of hell received them into their favor, and having given them shelter in the hell-pit, gave them their three maiden daughters in marriage. 6 In their company, they passed a period of ten thousand years and gave a free vent to their evil desires up to the end of their lives. 7 Their time passed away in such thoughts as these, that, “This is my consort and this my daughter, and I am their lord.” They were bound together with ties of mutual affection as strong as the chain of death.
8 It happened on one occasion that Yama, the god of retributive justice, came by to survey the state of affairs in that sad mournful pit of hell. 9The three demons, being unaware of Yama’s rank and dignity, failed to make their obeisance to the lord of hell, and at their peril took him to be one of Yama’s servants. 10 Then a nod of Yama’s eyebrows assigned to them a place in the burning furnace of hell, where they were immediately cast by the stern porters of hell’s gate. 11 There they lay burning with their wives and children until they were consumed to death, like a straw hut and withered trees.
12 The evil desires and wicked propensities that they contracted in the company of the hellish crowd caused their reincarnation in the forms of Kiratis to carrying on their slaughters and atrocities like Yama’s thralls. 13 Getting rid of that birth, they were next born as ravens, and then as vultures and falcons of mountain caves. 14 Then they were transformed into the forms of hogs in the land of Trigarta, and then as mountain rams in Magadha, and afterwards as heinous reptiles in caves and holes. 15 Thus, after passing successively into a variety of other forms, they are now lying as fish in the woodland lakes of Kashmir. 16 Being burnt in hellfire at first, they now have their temporary rest in the waters of the lake and drink its filthy water, whereby they neither die nor live to their hearts content. 17 Having thus passed over and over into various births, and having been transformed again and again to be reborn on earth, they are rolling like waves of the sea to all eternity.
18 Thus like their endless desires, they have been eternally rolling like weeds in the ocean of the earth. There is no end to their pains until the end of their desires.
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Chapter 31 — Reality is within God; There Is no Reality without
1 Vasishta continued:— It was for your enlightenment, O high minded Rama, that I have told you the story of Dama, Byala, and Kata so that you may derive instruction thereby, and not let it go for nothing as a mere idle story.
2 Slighting the truth and following untruth incur endless miseries of which the careless pursuer of untruth is scarcely aware. 3 See how great was the leadership of Sambara’s army and how they defeated the hosts of the immortal gods. Reflect on the change of their state to contemptible fish in a dry and dirty quagmire. 4 See their former strength which put legions of immortals to flight, and think on their later base servitude as hunters under the chief of Kiratis. 5 See at first their unselfishness of mind and great patience, then at last their vain desires and assumption of the vanity of egotism.
6 In the forest of the world, selfish ego is the root of the extended branches of misery that produces and bears the poisonous blossoms of desire. 7 Therefore, O Rama, be diligent to wipe the sense of your ego from your heart. Try to be happy by always thinking, “This I is nothing.” 8The error of egoism hides the bright moon of truth like a dark cloud and causes the cooling moonbeams to disappear from sight.
9 The three demons Dama, Byala and Kata, being under the demonic influence of ego and by the excess of their illusion, believed their non-entity to be a positive entity. 10 They are now living as fish in the muddy pool of a lake among the forest lands of Kashmir. Presently they are content feeding with zest upon the moss and weeds growing in it.
11 Rama said, “Tell me sage, how did they come to existence when they were non-existent before? For neither can a nothing be an existent being nor an entity become a non-entity at anytime.”
12 Vasishta replied:— So it is, O strong armed Rama, that nothing can ever be something and anything can never be nothing. But it is possible for a little thing to be great, and for a great one to be reduced to minuteness. 13 Tell me, what non-entity has come to being or what entity has been lasting forever? All these I will explain to you by the best proofs and examples.
14 Rama answered, “Why sage, all that is existent is ever present before us as our own bodies, and all things beside ourselves. But you said Dama and the other demons were unreal, produced by the magic of Sambara. How could they become real?”
15 Yes Rama, the non-existent and unreal Dama and others seemed to exist by mere illusion, like a mirage appears to be full of water by optical illusion. 16 It is in the same manner that we, these gods and demigods, and everything else are unrealities in fact, and yet we seem to turn about and speak and act like real persons.
17 My existence is as unreal as yours, yet it appears as real as our dream of death in sleep. 18 As the sight of a dead friend in a dream is not real, so the notion of the reality of the world ceases upon the conviction of its unreality, just as that of the death of the person seen in a dream. 19But such assertions of our non-existence are unacceptable to those deluded into the belief of the reality of the objects of the senses. It is the habit of thinking its reality that will not listen to its contradiction. 20 This mistaken impression of the reality of the world cannot be effaced without the knowledge of its unreality derived from the scriptures and the certainty of thinking it so. 21 He who preaches the unreality of the world and the reality of Brahman is derided by the ignorant as a mad man.
22 The learned and the ignorant cannot agree on this subject, just as drunken and sober men cannot reach an understanding. One who has the distinct knowledge of light and darkness knows the difference between shade and sunlight. 23 It is impossible to turn the ignorant from their belief in the reality of unrealities to truth, just as it is impossible to make a corpse stand on it legs and walk. 24 It is in vain to preach the doctrine of that “Brahman is all” to the vulgar who do not know pure meditation and remain devoted to their ideas that things which can be sensed are real. 25 The learned who know themselves to be Brahman know that it is useless to lecture the ignorant on this subject.
26 The intelligent man, who believes that the supremely quiet spirit of Brahman pervades the whole universe, cannot be distracted by anyone from his firm belief. 27 Nothing can shake the faith of the man who knows himself as nothing but the Supreme Being who is all in all, and who thinks himself to be dependant on the substantiality of God, just as the form of a ring depends on its substance of gold.
28 The ignorant have no notion of the spirit, only matter which they believe to be the cause and effect of its own production. A learned man sees the substantive spirit in all forms of creation, just like he sees the substance of gold in all the ornaments made of that metal. 29 An ignorant man is composed of only his ego and a sage is filled with only his spirituality. Neither is ever thwarted from his own belief. 30 What is one’s nature or habit of thinking can hardly be altered, for it would be foolish for one habituated to think himself as a man to take himself for a pot or otherwise.
31 Therefore, though we and others, and that Dama and the other demons, are nothing in reality, yet who can believe that we or these or those are not ourselves? 32 There is but One Being that is really existent, who is truth and consciousness himself and of the nature of emptiness and pure understanding. He is immaculate, all pervading, quiescent and without rise or fall. 33 Being perfect silence and void, he seems as nothing existent, yet all these creations exist in that emptiness as particles of his own splendor. 34 As the stars are seen to shine resplendent in the darkness of night, and as worms and waves are seen to float on the surface of waters, so do all these phenomena appear to occur in his reality.
35 Whatever that Being purposes himself to be, he immediately conceives himself to be the same. It is only that empty Consciousness which is the true reality. All others are also real when viewed in It and rising and setting in It out of Its own will. 36 Therefore there is nothing real or unreal in the three worlds. It is all of or in the same form as it is viewed by Consciousness. It all arises before Consciousness of its own spontaneity.
37 We also have sprung from that Divine Will, like Dama and others. Therefore there is no reality or unreality in any of us, except at the time when we exist or cease to do so. 38 This infinite and formless void of Consciousness is omnipresent and all pervading. In whatever form this Consciousness manifests itself in any place, it appears there in the same figure and manner.
39 As divine Consciousness expanded itself with the images of Dama and others, it immediately assumed those shapes by its notions of the same. 40 So it is with every one of us, that all things are produced to our view according to our notions presented to our consciousness. 41 What we call the world is the representation of things to us as in our dream. It is a hollow body like a bubble rising in the empty ocean of Consciousness and appearing as the water in a mirage.
42 The waking state of the empty intellect is called the phenomenal world, and its state of sleep and rest is what we call liberation, emancipation or salvation from pain. 43 But Consciousness which never sleeps, nor has to be awakened at anytime, is the emptiness of the Divine Mind, in which the world is ever present in its visible form. 44 There the work of creation is united with the rest of nirvana, and the cessation of the act of creation is joined with uninterrupted quiet. Yet no difference whatever exists in God between alternating work and rest at anytime. 45 The Divine Intellect views its own form in the world, and it views the world in itself in its true sense; like a blinded eye sees the inner light in its orbit. 46 The Divine Intellect, like the blinded eye, sees nothing outside, but views every form within itself. This is because there is no visible or phenomenal world other that what is within the empty sphere of the Intellect.
47 There are all these things everywhere, as we have ideas of them in our minds, but there is never anything anywhere if we have no previous idea of it in the mind. It is the one quiet spirit of God which lies extended in all these forms coming to our knowledge. Therefore knowing him as all in all, give up all your fears and sorrows and duality, rest in peace in his unity.
48 The great intellect of God is as solid and clear as a block of crystal, which is both dense and transparent in the inside. They appear to be all hollow within, but replete with the images of all things from without.
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Chapter 32 — Dama, Byala & Kata Obtain Liberation; On Good Conduct
1 Rama said, “Tell me sage, how did Dama, Byala and Kata finally obtain their liberation, like all other virtuous souls, and become released from the torments of hell, like children getting rid of the fear of yaksha demons and pisacha ghosts?”
2 Vasishta replied:— Hear, O support of Raghu’s race, what Yama said about Dama, Byala and their companions when they asked for their liberation through his attendants in hell. 3 Yama said that Dama and others would obtain their liberation upon death releasing them from their demonic bodies, and upon hearing the account of their lives and actions.
4 Rama said, “Tell me sage, how, when and from what source did Dama and others come to learn the accounts of their lives, and how they obtained their release from hell.”
5 Vasishta replied:— These demons, transformed into fish in a pool by the bank of the great lotus lake in Kashmir, underwent many miserable births in their fish-like forms in that same pond. 6 In that marshy ground, they were crushed to death under the feet of buffaloes. Then they were transformed into the shapes of cranes frequenting that lake of lotuses. 7 They fed upon moss and mushrooms and tender petals of lotuses. They had to live upon the leaves of aquatic plants and vines that floated on the surface of the waves. 8 They swung in cradles of flowers, rested on beds of blue lotuses, dived in vortices of the waters, and flew under the cooling showers of rainy clouds. 9 At last, these charming cranes and herons were cleansed of their brutish foulness by their vegetable food of sweet fruits and flowers and by their pure beverage of the crystal lake, the food of holy saints.
10 Having by these means obtained a clear understanding, they were prepared for their release from their brutish states, like men who become able to distinguish and get hold of the good and virtuous qualities of sattva (purity, balance) and rajas (activity) from the evil of tamas (passivity) are entitled to their liberation.
11 Now in the happy valley of Kashmir there is a city by name of Adhisthana which is surrounded on all sides by mountains and trees. It is very romantic in appearance. 12 In the middle of that city there is a hill known as Pradyumna Sekhara. It resembles a pistil rising from the center of a lotus flower. 13 On the top of that hill there is an building towering above all other buildings, and piercing the sky with its high turrets that appear like pinnacles above its summit. 14 On the northeast corner of that building, there is a hollow at the top of its towering turret. It is overgrown with moss and continually resounds to the blowing winds. 15 There the demon Byala, in the form of a sparrow, built his nest and chirped his meaningless notes, like one who repeats Vedic hymns without knowing their meaning.
16 At that time there was a king in that city named Yasaskara or the renowned who reigned there like Indra over the gods in heaven. 17 The demon Dama became a gnat and dwelt in that building and continued to buzz his low tune in the crevice of a lofty column.
18 It came to pass that the citizens of Adhishthana prepared a playground named Ratnavati-vehara in that city. 19 There resided the king’s minister, Narasimha by name. He understood the fates of human kind, just as the astronomer knows the stars of heaven on a small celestial globe which he holds in his hand. 20 It also happened at that time that the deceitful demon Kata was as reborn as a parrot and became the minister’s favorite, kept in a silver cage in his house.
21 It then turned out that the minister recited the poetic story of the war between demons and gods to the residents of his palace. 22 The parrot Kata happened to hear it. He remembered his past life, whereby he was absolved of his sins and attained his final liberation. 23 The sparrow living on top of Pradyumna Hill also chanced to hear the story of his life in that palace, and he obtained his liberation thereby. 24 Dama, who lived in the palace in the form of a gnat, also happened to hear the minister’s recital of his tale, and thereby obtained his peace and release.
25 In this manner, O Rama, the sparrow on Pradyumna Hill, the gnat in the palace, and the parrot in the playground all had their liberation.
26 Thus I have told you the whole story of the demon Dama and the others, which should fully convince you of the vanity of the world. 27 Only the ignorant are tempted to vanity by their error, just like those led to the delusion of water in a mirage. Even the great are liable, like these demons, to fall low by their error. 28 Think how one of these demons who had reduced the high Meru and Mandara Mountains with a nod of his eyebrows was constrained to remain as a contemptible gnat in the crack of a pillar in the palace. 29 Look at the other who threatened to destroy the sun and moon with a slap, living at last as a poor sparrow in a hole of the peak of Pradyumna Hill. 30 Look at the third who balanced Mount Meru like a flower bouquet in his hand, lying imprisoned as a parrot in the cage at the house of Narasimha.
31 When the sphere of pure consciousness is colored with ego, it is debased into another form and another birth without changing its nature. 32A man’s wrong desires make him take the untruth for truth, just like a person’s excessive thirst makes him mistake a mirage for water, and thereby he loses both his way and his life.
33 Only those men can cross the ocean of the world who by the natural bent of their good understanding are inclined to study scriptures and look forward to their liberation by rejecting whatever is vicious and untrue. 34 Those prone to false reasoning and heresy by rejecting revelations are subject to various changes and miseries. They lose the best of life and fall like running water into a pit. 35 But those who walk by the dictates of conscience and follow the path pointed by the Vedas are saved from destruction and attain their best state.
36 O high-minded Rama, he whose greed makes his mind always long after having this thing and that thing loses the highest goal of his being (parama purushartha), leaving not even ashes or any other trace behind. 37 The high-minded man regards the world like straw and shuns all its concerns like a snake casting off its skin. 38 He whose mind is illumined by the wonderful light of truth is always taken under the protection of the gods, just as the cosmic egg is protected by Brahma.
39 Nobody should walk in paths that are long and wearisome, crooked and winding, and surrounded by dangers and difficulties. Rahu, the ascending node of the moon, lost its life by its curved course to drink the nectarine beams of the moon. 40 He who abides by the dictates of the true scriptures and associates with the best of men is never subject to the darkness of error. 41 Those renowned for their virtues have the power to bring their destiny under their command, convert all their evils to good, and render their prosperity perpetual.
42 Those who are unsatisfied with their qualifications, and those who thirst after knowledge and are seekers of truth, are truly called human beings. All others are only brutes. 43 Those whose hearts are like lakes brightened by the moonbeams of fame have the form of Vishnu seated in their hearts, just as in the sea of milk.
44 Repeatedly desiring enjoyments of what has been enjoyed and seeing what has often been seen is not the way to get rid of the world. It is the cause of repeated birth for the same enjoyments and sights.
45 Continue to abide by the established rule of conduct, act according to the scriptures and good customs, and break off the bonds of worldly enjoyments, which are all only vanities. 46 Let the world resound with the renown of your virtues reaching to the skies, because your fame and not the enjoyments you have enjoyed will immortalize your name. 47 Those whose good deeds shine like moonbeams and are sung by the maidens of heaven are said to be truly living. All others unknown to fame are really dead.
48 They who aspire to their utmost perfection by their unfailing effort and acting according to the precepts of the scriptures are surely successful in their attempt. 49 Patiently adhering to the scriptures without hastening for success and perfecting one’s self by long practice produce the ripe fruits of consummation.
50 Now Rama, renounce all your sorrow and fear, your anxieties, pride and hastiness. Conduct yourself according to the law and scriptures and immortalize your name. 51 Take care that your sensuous soul does not perish like prey in the snare of your sensual appetites, or like a blind old man falling into the hidden pits of this world. 52 Do not allow yourself to be degraded below the vulgar, but consider well the scriptures as the best weapons to defeat the dangers and difficulties of the world.
53 Why endanger your life in the muddy pit of this world, like an elephant falling in a pit under the keen arrows of the enemy? Avoid and only taste its enjoyments and you are free from all danger. 54 Of what use is wealth without knowledge? Therefore devote yourself to learning and consider your riches to be only trash and bubbles. 55 Knowledge of heretical scriptures has made beasts of men, making them miserable and unhappy by their unprofitable arguments. 56 Now wake and shake off the dullness of your long, deep and death-like sleep, like the torpor of an old tortoise lying in a bog. 57 Rise and accept an antidote to ward off your old age and death. This prescription is knowledge that all wealth and property are for our evil and all pleasures and enjoyments tend only to sicken and weaken our bodies.
58 Know difficulty to be your prosperity and your detachment from the world to be your great gain. Conduct yourself according to the meaning of the scriptures, as they are supported by good custom. 59 Acts done according to the scriptures and good customs produce the best fruits, that of immortality. 60 He who acts well according to good customs, who considers everything by good reason, and who is indifferent to the pains and pleasures of the world flourishes like an tree in spring with the flowers and fruits of long life and fame, virtues and good qualities and prosperity.
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Chapter 33 — Effort Attains; Ego & Its Three Forms
1 Vasishta continued:—
Knowing that the complete success of every undertaking depends on your own effort at all times and places, you should never be slack in your efforts. 2 See how Nandi gratified the wishes of all his friends and relations by his own exertions, and how he became victorious over death itself by his adoration of Mahadeva Shiva by the side of a lake. 3 See also, how the danava demigods by their greater wealth and prowess got the better of the gods who were filled with every perfection, just like elephants destroy a lake of lotuses. 4 See how Marutta, the king of demons, by means of his sacrifice through the great sage Samvarta (the law giver), created another world like that of Brahma.
5 See, how Vishwamitra the general obtained the dignity of being one with Brahman by his great energy and continued efforts. By his austerities, he obtained what is impossible for another. 6 See how in days of yore the poor and unfortunate Upamanyu obtained his nectar-like food of cake and curdled milk from the Milky Ocean by worshipping Shiva. 7 See how the god Vishnu devoured the demons of the triple world like a wildfire destroys the tender filaments of lotuses, and how the sage Sweta became victorious over death by means of his firm faith in Shiva. 8Remember, how the chaste Savitri brought back her spouse Satyavana from the realm of death by prevailing on stern Yama with the sweet politeness of her discourse.
9 There is no great effort of any kind that goes unrewarded in this world. All impossibility is possible by ardent pursuit. 10 So men having full knowledge of the spirit and exerting their utmost devotion are able to root out their destiny of reincarnation that is filled with so much pain and pleasure. 11 All visible things are full of danger in the sight of the intelligent. There is no pleasure to be had from anything without its accompanying pain.
12 Though it is difficult to know the Supreme Brahman and easy to attain supreme joy, yet Brahman should be sought at first as the giver of all joy. 13 Forsake your pride and rely on your unalterable peace of mind. Consider well your worthiness in your understanding and remain attentive to the wise and good. 14 In this ocean of the world, there is no way for your salvation except by your attendance on the wise. All your pilgrimages, austerities and learning of the scriptures are of no avail to your liberation.
15 He is called wise whose greediness, anger and false conceptions decline day by day and who walks in the path of righteousness, as taught in the scriptures. 16 The company of spiritual guides serves to dispel phenomena from the sight of the devout, like invisibles hidden from sight. 17In the absence of the objects of perception, only the Supreme Spirit remains in view and the human soul, having nothing else to rest upon, rests at last only in the Supreme Soul. 18 Phenomena did not exist before nor are they produced from nothing. They are not in existence though we see them in our presence, nor will they exist in the future. The Supreme alone exists forever without change or decay.
19 I have already shown you by various examples the falsehood of phenomena. Now I will show you the falsity of existence, as it is known to the learned.
20 Now that we have our passive consciousness of the three worlds, this being the sober truth of the wise, there can be no room for the unrealities of matter and illusion to enter into our belief. 21 The world is whatever wonders are displayed by the active consciousness to the inactive soul. 22 The notion of the world is derived from the rays of the central intellect stretching to the circumference of understanding. There being no difference between the radiating point and the radiated circle, we acknowledge the identity of the radiator, the radius and the circle.
23 The opening and shutting of intellectual eye causes the notions of the appearance and disappearance of the world in continued succession.24 One unacquainted with the true sense of ego is blind within the luminous sphere of consciousness, but he who knows its true meaning finds himself within the sphere of spiritual light and loses himself in the divine light.
25 He who understands Divine Ego no longer retains any notion of his own ego but mixes with the Supreme Soul like a drop of water lost in the waters of the ocean. 26 In reality there exists no “I” or “you” or any visible world or anything else. Upon right reasoning, all these blend in the one Ego which remains and exists after all other existences.
27 Even clear understandings are sometimes clouded by false appearances, like children seized with false fear of demons or ogres. 28 As long as the moonlight of consciousness remains hidden by the darkness of individual ego, the lotus lake of spirituality will not bloom. 29 The feeling of ego being wiped from the mind, the sense of self and selfish passions will vanish of themselves from the heart and there will be an utter end to fears of death and hell, as also to desires of heaven and liberation. 30 As long as ego feelings float like clouds over the mind, there will be no end of desires growing in the heart like weeds in the plains. 31 As long as the cloud of ego continues to overcast the mind and obscure its consciousness, the humidity of dullness will fill its sphere and prevent the light of consciousness from piercing through it.
32 Ego pride is unmannerly in men. It is taken in the light of vanity. It is the cause of sorrow and not delight. It is like imaginary ghosts to children. 33 The vain assumption of egoism produces a great many errors. It leads to the ambition of gaining an infinity of worlds, as it was in the case of the foolish demons. 34 There is no error greater than the conceit that “I am such and such a great man.” There will never be a greater error to lead us to utter darkness.
35 Whatever joy or grief falls upon us at anytime in this changing world, it is all the effect of the rotating wheels of ego turning up and down at every moment. 36 He who weeds and roots out the germs of ego from his heart truly prevents the tree of worldliness from growing out in a hundred branches. 37 Belief in the individual ego is the sprout of the trees of our lives in their endless cycles through the world. The sense that “this is mine” is the cause that makes ego expand into a thousand branches.
38 Our desires and the objects of our desires disappear as swiftly as birds in flight. Upon mature consideration, they prove to be only bubbles bursting on the fleeting, impermanent waves of our lives.
39 It is because we have no knowledge of the one Ego that we think ourselves as “I”, “you”, “this” or the other. It is by shutting out our view of the only Soul that we see the constant revolutions of this world and that. 40 As long as the darkness of egoism reigns over the wilderness of human life, the goblin of selfishness infest it with its wanton revelry. 41 The vile man seized by the avaricious demon of selfishness is at an utter loss to satisfy his needs with any moral precept or spiritual mantra.
42 Rama said, “Tell me, O venerable brahmin, how can we suppress our egoism or selfishness and evade the dangers and difficulties in our course through the world?”
43 Vasishta replied:—
It is by seeking to settle the mind in the resplendent soul that shines in the transparent mirror of consciousness. In this way it is possible for anybody to suppress his sense of personal existence.
44 A close investigation into human life proves it to be a maze full with the false shows of magic. It is not worth loving or hating and it is not capable of causing our ego pride. 45 He whose soul is free from selfishness, who is devoid of the impressions of phenomena, whose course of life runs in an even course, is the man who can have no sense of ego in him.
46 He who knows his inner self to be beyond the external world and who neither desires nor dislikes anything in the world, and who preserves the serenity of his temper at all times, is not susceptible of egoism. 47 Whoever thinks himself to be the inner ideal, distinct from outward phenomena, and keeps the calm equanimity of his mind, is not ruffled by the feeling of his egoism.
48 Rama said, “Tell me, sage, what is the form of ego? Does it exist in the body or mind or both? Is it eliminated when the body dies?”
49 Vasishta replied:—
Rama, in this triple world there are three sorts of egoism. Two are of superior nature, but the third is of a vile kind and is to be abandoned by all.
50 The first is the supreme and undivided Ego that is diffused throughout the world. It is the Supreme Soul (paramatma) beside which there is nothing in nature. 51 The feeling of this kind of Egoism leads to the liberation of men, as in the state of the living-liberated.
The next form of self-consciousness is the knowledge of ego as distinct and apart from all, and as minute as the hundredth part of a hair. This ego is good also. 52 This second form of ego also leads to the liberation of human souls, even in the state known as living-liberation.
53 The last and worst kind of ego is identification with the body and all its parts. This ego takes the body to be the soul or self. 54 This third and last kind is the popular belief of mankind who take their bodies as parts of themselves. It is the basest form of ego and must be forsaken in the same manner as we shun our inveterate enemies. 55 The man debased by this kind of ego can never come to his right sense. Under the thrall of this powerful enemy, a man remains subject to all the evils of life. 56 Possessed with this wrong notion of himself, every man is constantly troubled by various desires in his mind, and these expose him to all the evils of life.
57 By means of the better senses of ego, men transform themselves into gods, but the common form of ego debases a man to the state of a beast and its attendant evils. 58 That “I am not the body” is the certainty arrived at by the great and good who, believing themselves to be of the first two kinds of ego, are superior to the vulgar. 59 Belief in the first two kinds raises men above the common level, but the ego of lower kind brings every misery on mankind.
60 It was owing to their baser sense of ego that the demons Dama, Byala and others were reduced to that deplorable state, as was related in their story.
61 Rama said, “Sage, describe to me the state of a man who has discarded the third or popular kind of ego from his mind, a man who attains the well being of his soul in both the present and future worlds.”
62 Vasishta replied:—
Having cast off this poisonous ego, a man rests in the Supreme Spirit in the same manner as the believers in the two other sorts of ego.
63 The first two views of ego place the egotist in the Ego of Divine Unity. 64 But all these views of ego, in reality, are only different forms of dualism. When lost in the Unity, all consciousness of distinct personality is absorbed in the Supreme One. 65 Good understanding should always strive to its utmost to get rid of its common and gross sense of ego, identity with the body, in order to feel in itself the indescribable joy of the Unity.66 The greatest good that one can attain for his highest state of joy (parama padam) is to renounce the unholy belief in one’s separate personality in his material body.
67 The man who gives up his identity as a personal ego in his body is not debased or lost, either by his indifference to or by his management of worldly affairs. 68 The man who has rid his mind of ego by reducing his selfishness is indifferent to pain and pleasure, just as the satisfied are to the taste of sweet or sour. 69 The man detesting the pleasures of life has his full bliss presented before himself. The mind is cleared of its doubts and darkness has nothing hidden from its sight. 70 By investigation into the nature of the ego and forsaking this gross selfishness, a man crosses over the ocean of the world of his own accord.
71 The man who has nothing of his own, who knows himself as nothing, and yet who has all and thinks himself as all in all, and who though possessed of wealth and properties has the generosity of his soul to disown them to himself, he truly is situated in the Supreme Soul and finds his rest in the state of Supreme bliss.
Chapter 34 — End of the Story of Dama, Byala & Kata: Bhima, Bhasa & Dridha
1 Vasishta continued:— Now, hear me describe what Samvara did after the flight of Dama and his army, and how he remained in his rocky stronghold in the region of hell.
2 After the complete overthrow of Samvara’s entire army and their downfall from heaven like innumerable raindrops falling from a great cloud, and after dispersing itself and disappearing in autumn, 3 Samvara remained motionless for many years in his strong citadel, numbed by the loss of his forces defeated by the gods. He wondered about the best means of overcoming the gods.
4 He thought, “The demons Dama and others that I produced by my black arts are all defeated in battle by their foolishness and vanity of pride and ego. 5 Now I will produce some other demons by the power of my charm, and endue them both with the power of reason and acquaintance with spiritual science so that they may know and judge for themselves. 6 These, being acquainted with the true nature of things and devoid of false views, will not be subject to pride or vanity, but will be able to defeat the gods in combat.”
7 Thinking in this way to himself, the arch-fiend produced a host of good demons by his skill in sorcery. These creatures of his spell filled the space of the sky, like bubbles foam and float on the surface of the sea. 8 They were all knowing and acquainted with what could be known. They were all dispassionate and sinless and solely intent on their allotted duties, with composed minds and good dispositions. 9 They were known under the names of Bhima, Bhasa and Dridha, and by the holiness of their hearts, they looked upon all earthly things as mere straw.
10 These infernal spirits burst out of the ether and sprang up to the upper world, then spread over the face of the sky like a swarm of locusts. They cracked like guns and roared and rolled about like the clouds of the rainy season. 11 They fought with the gods for many cycles of years, yet they were not elated with pride owing to their being under the guidance of reason and judgment.
12 No one could defeat them because they had no desire of having anything and no thought that “this is my own.” They had no identity as a personal existence, such as, “This is me, and that one is another.” 13 They were fearless fighting the gods because they knew that they were as mortal as themselves, and because they lacked any knowledge of any difference between one another. 14 They attacked with a firm conviction that the unsubstantial body is nothing, the intellect is lodged in the pure soul, and that there is nothing which we call “I” or “another.” 15 These demons were devoid of the sense of themselves or their fears. They necessarily had no fear of death. They were employed in their present duties without thoughts of past or future. 16 Their minds were attached to nothing. They slew their enemies without thinking themselves as their slayers. They did their duties and thought themselves as no doers of them. They were utterly free from all desires. 17 They waged war under the sense of doing their duty to their master, while their own nature was entirely free from all passion and affection, always remaining at even tenor.
18 The infernal force under the command of Bhima, Bhasa and Dridha bruised and burned and slew and devoured the celestial phalanx, as men knead and fry and boil rice and afterward eat it up as their food. 19 The celestial army, harassed on all sides by Bhima, Bhasa and Dridha, fled precipitately from the height of heaven, as the Ganges runs down from the Himalayan heights. 20 The defeated legion of the gods then resorted to the god Vishnu, sleeping on the surface of the ocean of milk, just as the clouds of heaven are driven by winds to the tops of mountains.
21 The god Vishnu, lying as Narayana folded in the coils of the serpent like a consort in the arms of his mistress, gave the gods their hope of future final success. 22 The gods hid themselves in that ocean, until it pleased Lord Vishnu to proceed out to destroy the demons.
23 Then there was a dreadful war between Vishnu and Samvara which broke and bore away the mountains as in an untimely great deluge of the earth. 24 The mighty demon, finally overthrown by the might of Narayana, was sent to and settled in the city of Vishnu after his death. 25 The demons Bhima, Bhasa and Dridha were also killed in their unequal struggle with Vishnu and were extinguished like lamps by the wind. 26 They became extinct like flames of fire, and it was not known where their vital flame fled. It is the desire of a person that leads him to another state, but these having no wish in them had no other place to go. 27 Hence the soul without wish is liberated, but not the mind full of yearning desires. Therefore, O Rama, use your reason to have a mind and soul without wishes. 28 A full investigation into truth will immediately put down your desires, and the extinction of desires will restore your mind to rest like an extinguished candle. 29 Complete wisdom consists in the knowledge of there being nothing real in this world, that our knowledge of reality is utterly false, and that nothingness is the true reality.
30 The whole world is full with the spirit of God, whatever otherwise one may think of it at anytime. There can be no other thought of it except that it is a nothingness, and this forms our perfect knowledge of it. 31 The two significant words “will” and “mind” are mere insignificant fictions, like the head and trunk of the ascending and descending nodes of a planet which, upon their right understanding, are lost in the Supreme Spirit.
32 The mind accompanied by its desires is confined in this world, but when the mind is released from desires it is said to have its liberation. 33The mind gains its existence in the belief of men because of the many ideas of pots and pictures and other things that are imprinted in it. But when these thoughts are repressed, the mind also vanishes of itself, like the phantoms of yaksha demons. 34 The demons Dama, Byala and Kata were destroyed because they relied on their minds, but Bhima, Bhasa and Dridha were saved by their belief in the Supreme Soul as pervading all things. Therefore, O Rama, reject the examples of the former and imitate those of the latter.
35 “Be not guided by the example of Dama, Byala and Kata,” is the lesson that was first delivered to me by Brahma the lotus-born and my progenitor himself. 36 This lesson I repeat to you, O Rama, as my intelligent pupil, that you may never follow the example of the wicked demons Dama and others, but imitate the conduct of the good spirits Bhima and others in your conduct.
37 It is constant pain and pleasure that forms the fearful feature of this world. There is no other way of evading all its pangs and pains except by your apathetic behavior, which must be your crowning glory in this life.
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Chapter 35 — Description of Detachment & Bliss
1 Vasishta continued:— Blessed are the virtuous who have cleansed their hearts from the dirt of ignorance. Victorious are those heroes who have conquered their insatiable and uncontrollable minds. 2 It is self-control, the management of one’s own mind, that is the only means of wading through all troubles and distress amid all the dangers and difficulties of this world.
3 Hear the summary of all knowledge and retain and cultivate it constantly in your mind. The desire of enjoyment is our bondage in the world and its abandonment is our release from it. 4 What need is there of many teachings? Learn this one truth as the sum and substance of all. All pleasures are poisonous and destructive. You must fly from them as from venomous snakes and a raging fire.
5 Consider well and repeatedly that all that can be perceived by the senses are like hydras and dragons, and their enjoyment is gall and poison. Keep them at a distance and pursue your lasting good. 6 The mind of desires produces destructive evils, like sterile ground is fertile only for thorns and brambles. 7 The mind devoid of desire lacks its expansion, as the heart lacking its passions and affections is curbed and contracted in itself. 8 The well disposed mind always teems with virtues that are opposed to wrong acts and vice, just like fertile ground grows good and useful trees in spite of weeds and bushes.
9 When the mind gains its serenity by culture of good qualities, the mist of its errors and ignorance gradually fade and fly away like clouds before the rising sun. 10 Good qualities shining in the mind, like stars in a moonlight sky, give rise to the light of reason, like the bright sun of the day. 11 As the practice of patience grows familiar in the mind, like medicinal vamsa-lochana within bamboo, it gives rise to the quality of firmness in a man, like the moon brightens the spring sky.
12 Company of the good is a tree that gives its cooling shade of peace and yields the fruit of salvation. Its effect on righteous men is like that of the stately sarala tree distilling the juice of spiritual joy from the fruit of samadhi. 13 Thus prepared, the mind becomes devoid of its desires and enmity and is free from all troubles and anxieties. It becomes dull to the feelings of grief and joy, and also of pain and pleasure, and all its restlessness dies in itself. 14 Its doubts about the truth of scriptures die away, just as the table of values and all its curiosities for novelties are put to a stop. Its veil of myths and fictions is unveiled, and its ointment of error is rubbed out of it.
15 The mind’s attempts, efforts, malice, disdain, distress and disease are all removed. The mist of its grief and sorrow and the chain of its affections are all blown and torn away. 16 It discards the children of its doubts, repudiates the consorts of its greed, and breaks loose from the prison-house of its body. It then seeks the welfare of the soul and attains its godly state of holiness. 17 It abandons the causes of its stoutness and relinquishes its choice of this thing and that. Then remembering the dignity of the soul, it casts off the covering of its body like straw.
18 The elevation of the mind in worldly affairs tends to its destruction, and its depression in these leads to its spiritual elevation. The wise always lower their minds (pride) but fools are for elevating them. 19 The mind makes the world its own and ranges all about it. The mind raises mountains and climbs over them. The mind is like an infinite vacuum. It comprehends all emptiness in itself and it makes gods of friends and foes of others.
20 When understanding is soiled by doubts and forgets the true nature of consciousness, and when it is full of all its worldly desires, then it takes upon the name “mind.” 21 Consciousness perverted by its various desires is called the living soul or the animal soul, which is distinct from the rational soul. 22 Understanding which forgets its intellect and falls into the error of its own personality is what we call the internal principle of the mind which is all hollow within.
23 The soul is not the man of the world nor is it the body or its blood. All material bodies are only gross and dull matter, but the soul in the body is empty air and intangible. 24 The body being dissected into atoms and analyzed in all its particles presents nothing but blood and entrails, just like the plantain tree, when cut into pieces, presents nothing but its folded rinds.
25 Know that the mind and living soul make a man assume his mortal form. The mind takes its form by itself according to his own choice. 26Man stretches his own sphere of action by his own choice only to entrap himself in it, just as the silkworm weaves its cocoon for its own imprisonment. 27 The soul lays down its error of being the body when it has to leave the body at some time or other, then the soul assumes another form as the germ sprouts forth into leaves.
28 As the desire or thought is in the mind, so is it born in its next state of transmigration. Hence the new born babe is given to sleeping because it thinks itself to be still dead, lying in the nighttime of his death. It is also given to the dreaming of those things which had been the objects of its desire or thought in its previous state or birth.
29 So sour becomes sweet by mixture with sugar, and bitter seed produces sweet fruit by being sown with honey. So on the contrary, sweet becomes bitter by mixing in gall and wormwood. 30 Aiming after goodness and greatness makes a man good and great. One wishing to be an Indra, a lord of gods, dreams of his lordliness in his sleep. 31 An inclination to meanness demeans a man and a tendency to vileness maligns his conduct in life, just like one deluded by his imagination of devils comes to see their apparitions in his nightly visions.
32 But what is naturally foul or fair can hardly turn otherwise at anytime, as a still lake never becomes muddy and a dirty pool never becomes glassy. 33 The perverted mind produces the fruits of its perversion in all its actions, while pure-mindedness is filled with the effects of its purity everywhere. 34 Good and great men never forsake their goodness and greatness, even in their fall and decline, so the glorious sun fills the vault of heaven with his glory even when he is sinking below the horizon.
35 There is no restriction or freedom of the human soul to or from any action or thing in this world. The soul is a mere passive and neutral consciousness of all that passes before it like a magic scene. 36 The world is a magical city, like a mirage appearing to sight. It is of the nature of a delusive panorama that shows many moons of the one whose unity admits of no duality. So the one Brahman is represented as many by delusion.37 All this truly is the essence of Brahman and this is the sober reality. The material world is insubstantial and when seen truly appears as a hollow phantom.
38 The ignorant person’s misjudgment is that “I am not the infinite but an infinitesimal,” but the certainty of my infinity and supremacy is the means for my absorption into the Infinite and Supreme. 39 The belief of one’s individuality as “I am this” in his undivided, all pervasive and transparent soul is the cause of bondage to his personality. It is a web spun by his false dualism. 40 The supreme truths of true philosophy are the lack of knowledge of one’s bondage or freedom, the knowledge of his unity or duality, and his belief in the totality of Brahman.
41 The conditions for beholding Brahman in the soul are its perfect transparency amounting to its emptiness, and its lack of attachment to visible appearances, and also its indifference to all that is. There is no other way. 42 The condition for receiving the sight of Brahman is the purity of the mind produced by acts of holiness, just like the whiteness of a cloth can receive any color upon it.
43 O Rama, think that your soul is same with the souls of all other persons and abstain from all other thoughts, whether what is desirable or undesirable, what invigorates or enfeebles the body, or what brings liberation after bondage, or salvation after sinfulness. 44 The mirror of the mind, cleansed by the knowledge of the scriptures and made dispassionate through understanding, receives the reflection of Brahman like a clear crystal reflecting the images of things.
45 Sight which is familiar with visible objects, and not with images and ideas in the mind, is called false vision of what is soon lost from view. 46When the mind is fixed upon God by abstracting its sight from all mental visions and what the eye sees, it has then the view of the Supreme before it. 47 Visible sights which are obvious to view are all only unreal phantoms. It is the absorption of the mind in the Divine that makes it identical with the Divine and no other. 48 We see something with our attention now, but it was not in our sight before or after we turn away. Therefore it must be considered absent in between before and after. Therefore one unacquainted with his mind is as ignorant as the man who is unaware of what he holds in his own hand.
49 One having no knowledge that the world is the same with the Supreme Spirit is always subject to misery, but the negation of any distinction between what can be perceived and God gives us both the pleasure of our enjoyments here and our liberation in future. 50 It is ignorance to say that water is one thing and its wave is another, but it shows intelligence to say they are the one and the same thing.
51 The vanities of the world are associated with sorrow. Therefore discard all aspects of vanity. The abandonment of extravagance ultimately will lead to your attainment of wisdom. 52 The mind composed of vain desires is an unreality in itself. Therefore, O Rama, why should you sorrow for something which in reality is nothing? 53 O Rama, look upon all things as traps set to ensnare the soul and regard them with an eye of apathy and unconcern, as an unkind kinsman looks upon his relatives. 54 As the unkind relative is unconcerned with the joys and grief of his relations, so should you remain aloof from all things by knowing the falsehood of their nature. 55 Rely on that eternal Spirit which is infinite knowledge and joy, and which is between the viewer and the view. After the swiftness of the mind’s flight is at an end, it will be fixed to the truth and adhere to it like clay. 56 The airy flight of the mind being restrained, the sluggish body must cease to run about and the dust cloud of ignorance will no more spread over the city of the world.
57 When the rains of our desires are over and the calmness of the mind is restored, when the shuddering cold of dullness has fled, when the mud of worldliness is dried up, 58 when the channel of our thirst is dried up, when drinking pots are sucked up and emptied, when the forest of the heart is cleared and its brambles are rooted out, and when the frost of false knowledge has disappeared, 59 then the mist of error vanishes from view, like the shadow of night on the approach of dawn, and the cold of dullness is put to flight, like the poison of snake-bite by the potent charm of mantras. 60 Then the streams of our desires do not run down the rock of the body, nor do the peacocks of our fleeting wishes fly and sport on its top. 61 The sphere of our consciousness becomes as the clear sky and the light of the living soul shines as brightly over the body like the midday sun. 62 The cloud of error is dispelled and succeeded by the light of reason. The longings of the soul, purified of their impurities, make it shine brilliantly amidst its sphere.
63 Then raptures of serene delight shoot forth in the soul like blooming blossoms in the open air, and a cool light is shed upon it, like the cooling beams of the autumn moon. 64 This ecstasy of the soul unfolds all prosperity before it and fructifies with abundance the well cultivated ground of the reasoning mind. 65 It sheds its clear light all over the world and shows the depths of the hills and forests and everything on earth in their clearest light.
66 This bliss expands the mind and makes it translucent. It makes the heart like a clear lake, blooming with blossoms of the lotus of truth (sattva) without the dust of ego activity (rajas). It is never infested by the swarming passions of pride or idleness (tamas). 67 The mind, cleansed of its selfishness, turns to universal benevolence and philanthropy. Being quite calm in itself without any desire of its own, the mind reigns as lord over the city of its body.
68 The man whose investigation has made him acquainted with all things, whose soul is enlightened with truth, whose mind is melted down from his pride, who is calm and quiet in his understanding, and who looks with pity at the unpleasant course of men’s births and deaths, he truly lives happily in the realm of his body without feverish anxiety about anything.
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Chapter 36 — Description of the Intellect’s Creation
1 Rama said, “Tell me O brahmin, for the sake of my advancement in knowledge, how does the mundane system exists in the extra mundane immaterial soul?”
2 Vasishta replied:— Worlds have no separate existence except in the Supreme Mind. They are all situated in Divine Consciousness like future waves exist in a calm sea.
3 As the all-pervading sky cannot be seen owing to its extreme lack of substance, so the undivided nature of the all-pervasive Consciousness cannot be perceived on account of its subtlety. 4 As a gem has its own brilliancy whether or not someone moves it, so the unreal world has its potential existence in the Divine Spirit, both in its states of action and inactivity.
5 As clouds in the sky do not touch the sky or have a tangible feeling of the sky’s emptiness, so the worlds existing in the receptacle of the intellectual soul have no contact with the extraneous intellect, which is unconnected with its contents. 6 As the light residing in the waters of the sea or a pot of water is not connected either with the water or the pot, nor is it felt by us but by its reflection, so the intangible soul abides unconnected in its receptacle of the body and reflects itself only to our knowledge.
7 Consciousness is devoid of every desire and designation. It is nameless and formless, but our intelligence gives names and forms to its reflections from some one of our intelligible ideas, such as the living soul and the like. 8 Consciousness is clearer than translucent air and finer than it by a hundred times. It is known as an undivided whole by the learned who view it as identical with the whole undivided world, which consciousness comprehends within itself.
9 As seawater shows itself in various forms in all its waves, so consciousness does not differ from various representations of its own motion that it shows to us. 10 The diversities of our subjective and objective knowledge of “myself” and “yourself” and “these” are like the varieties of surging waves in the ocean of consciousness. These are false notions because they are only representations of the same element, the very same consciousness.
11 The various states of consciousness (chit), exercise of consciousness (chinta), intelligence (chittam) and that which is intelligible (chetyas), all belong to the main principle of the soul. They are differently conceived by the learned and ignorant, but the difference is a mere conceit.
12 Consciousness presents two different aspects to wise and unwise people. To the ignorant, it shows its unreal nature in the realistic conception of the world. To the learned, it exhibits its luminous form in the identity of all things with God.
13 Consciousness by its internal (intellectual) light enlightens the luminous bodies of the sun and stars. It gives a relish to things by its internal taste and it gives birth to all beings from its inborn ideas of them. 14 It neither rises nor sets, nor gets up or sits. It neither proceeds nor recedes back and forth. It is not here nor is it nowhere. 15 The pure and transparent consciousness, which is situated in the soul, displays in itself the phantasmagoria which is called the world.
16 As a heap of fire emits its flame, a luminous body blazes with its rays, and as the sea swells in surges and breaks in with its inlets, so consciousness bursts out in its creations. 17 Thus consciousness which is self-manifest and omnipresent of its own nature, develops and envelops the world by its own manifestation and sight, and by its acts of integration and segregation, and its acts of accretion and secretion. 18 By its own error and of its own accord, it is led to forget and forsake its state of infinity. By assuming its individual personality of ego, it is converted to an ignoramus. 19 By its act of specialization, it falls from its knowledge of generals to that of particulars and comes to make differences between positive and negative, and inclusion and exclusion. 20 It strives and struggles within the confines of the sensuous body and it multiplies in these bodies like weeds sprouting out of the bosom of the earth.
21 It is consciousness that stretches the spacious vacuum to make room for the subsistence and growth of everything. Consciousness makes the all and ever moving air and the liquid water for the vitality and nourishment of all. 22 It makes the earth firm and the fire bright and the fixed worlds all around. It employs time by its injunctions and prohibitions. 23 It gives fragrance to flowers, growing by degrees their filaments and pistils. It makes the moisture in porous ground to grow vegetables on earth. 24 The rooted trees bear fruit from their juicy saps beneath, displaying their leaves with outlines in them like their veins and arteries. 25 It renovates the forest with its gifts of various colors, and dies them with the variety of colors from the rainbow of Indra.
26 Consciousness bids the thin layers of rocks, fruits and flowers to wait upon the flowery season of spring, then brings their fruits to perfection under the heat of the summer sun. 27 It makes the dark blue clouds of heaven wait for the approach of rainy weather, and causes the harvest of fields to follow in the train of autumn. 28 The cold season is decorated with its smiling frost, in its faces of the ten sides of the sky. Dewy weather is made to blow its icicles of dew drops on the wings of winter’s chilling winds. 29 It makes ever-moving time revolve in its rotation of years and cycles and yuga ages, and it causes the tide of creation to roll on in its waves of worlds on its bosom of the ocean of eternity.
30 The decrees of Consciousness remain fixed with a wonderful stability, and the earth continues firm with its quality of containing all things. 31It made the universe abound with fourteen kinds of beings in as many worlds, the fourteen planes of creation (chaturdasa-bhuvana). These are as different in their modes of life as in their forms and figures. 32 These are repeatedly produced from and reduced to nothing, and move in their accustomed courses forever, like bubbles in the waterless ocean of eternity.
33 Here the miserable multitudes move madly in vain struggles after their desired objects, and in their imbecility under the subjection of disease and death. They are constantly coming to life and going away in their exits, remaining in their living states and acquiring their ends, and forever running back and forth in their repeated births and deaths in this world.
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Chapter 37 — Upasama: Stillness of the Soul; Apparent Activity of the Mind
1 Vasishta added:— In this manner, these series of worlds are revolving in their unchanging course, repeatedly appearing and disappearing in the substantiality of Brahman. 2 All this is derived from the one self-existence. All this has become the reciprocal causes of one another by their mutual transformations, and again they are destroyed of themselves by their mutual destructiveness of one another.
3 But as the motion of the waters on the surface does not affect the waters in the depth of the sea, so the fluctuations of the changing scenes of nature make no alteration in the ever tranquil spirit of Brahman. 4 As the desert in summer heat presents the waters of mirage to the clear sky, so the false world shows its delusive appearances to the mind. 5 As the calm soul seems to be giddy in the state of one’s drunkenness, so the essence of consciousness, which is always the same, appears as otherwise in its ignorance.
6 The world is neither a reality nor unreality. It is situated in Consciousness but appears to be placed outside it. It is not separate from the soul, although it seems to be different from it, as the ornament appears to differ from its gold.
7 Rama, that soul of yours whereby you perceive form and figures and sound and smell is the Supreme Brahman pervading all things. 8 The pure soul, being one in many and inherent in all external objects, cannot be thought of as being different from those that appear other than itself. 9Rama, it is the difference of human thoughts that judges differently of the existence and non-existence of things, and of their good and bad natures also. It judges the world to exist either within or outside the Divine Spirit. 10 Because it is impossible for anything to exist outside the Spirit of God, it was the Spirit that willed to become many. As there was nothing beside itself which it could think of or find for itself, it was necessarily that it became so of itself without the aid of any extraneous matter. 11 Therefore the will to do this or that or try for one thing or other does not relate to the soul but to the mind.
Thus the soul without choice, having no will of its own, does nothing except think on what is in itself. It is not an active agent owing to the union of all agency, instrumentality and objectivity in itself. It abides nowhere, being both the recipient and content, the container and the contained of everything in itself. Neither is the will-less soul action-less when the acts of creation are perceptible in itself. Nor is it possible that there is any other cause of them.
12 Rama, you must know the nature of Brahman to be no other than this. Knowing him as no agent and without a second, be free from all anxiety.
13 I will tell you more. Though you may continue to do a great many acts here, yet tell me in a word, what do you do that is worth doing? Rely on the lack of your own agency and be quiet as the wise sage. Remain as calm and still as the clear ocean when unshaken by breeze. 14 Know well that it is not possible for the swiftest runners to reach their goal of perfection no matter how far they may run. You must desist in your mind from pursuing worldly objects and persist to meditate on the spirituality of your inner intellectual soul.
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Chapter 38 — The Same Stillness of Spirit; the Mind as the Agent
1 Vasishta resumed:— Such being the state of the wise, the actions they are seen to do, whether of goodness or otherwise or pleasurable or painful, and regardless of what they are engaged in, are false and as nothing and do not affect them as they do other worldly mortals. 2 For what is a person’s action other than the exertion of mental and voluntary energies, with a fixed determination and desire of performing some physical acts?
3 The action of a man is defined to be the production of an act by appliance of the proper means, the exertion and action of the body in conformity with one’s ability, and the completion of the effect compatible with one’s intention, together with the enjoyment of the result of such agency. 4 Moreover, whether a man is agent or no agent of an action and whether he goes to heaven or dwells in hell, his mind is subject to the same feelings as the desires he has in his heart. 5 Hence the agency of the ignorant arises from their wishing to do a thing, whether they do it or not. But not so of the wise, who having no will, are not culpable even for their involuntary actions. Untutored minds are full with the weeds of vice, but well cultivated souls are quite devoid of them.
6 He who has the knowledge of truth becomes relaxed in his earthly desires. Though he acts his part well, he does not long eagerly for its result like others do. He acts with his body but with a quiet unconcerned mind. When successful, he attributes the gain to the will of God, but the worldly minded arrogate the result to themselves, though they could not bring it about.
7 Whatever the mind intends truly comes to pass, and nothing is achieved without the application of the mind. Therefore, agency belongs to the mind and not to the body. 8 The world proceeds from the Divine Mind. The world is a development of the mind and it is situated in the (infinite and eternal) mind. Knowing all things to be manifestations of the powers of consciousness, the wise man remains cool to his desires.
9 The minds of those who know the soul come to the state of perfect detachment from their desires, just as when a false mirage of water is set down by raining clouds, and particles of morning dews are dried up by the raging sun. It is then that the soul is said to rest in its perfect bliss (turiya). 10 This is not the joy of the gusto of pleasure or the pain of sorrow or discontent. It does not consist of the liveliness of living beings or the inertness of stones. It is not situated in the midst of these opposites but in the knowing mind which is all rapture and ecstasy, infinite bliss (bhumananda).
11 But the thirst of an ignorant mind leads it to the moving waters of earthly pleasures, just like an elephant is misled to a foul pool where he is plunged in its mud and mire without finding anything that is really good.
12 Here is another example based upon a stanza in the scriptures which says, “A man dreaming himself to be falling into a pit, feels the fear of his fall in his imagination even when he has been sleeping in his bed; but another who actually falls in a pit when he is fast asleep, is quite unconscious of his fall. Thus it is the mind which paints its own pleasure and pains, and not the bodily action or its inactivity.”
13 Hence whether a man is the doer of an action or not, he perceives nothing of it when his mind is engrossed in some other thought or action. But he sees everything within himself who beholds everything in the abstract meditation of his mind. The thinking mind sees outward objects as reflections that are cast out from his pure consciousness.
14 Thus the man knowing the knowable soul, knows himself to be inaccessible to the feelings of pleasure and pain. Knowing this as a certainty, he finds that nothing exists apart from what is within the container of his soul, which is as minute as a thousandth part of a hair. This being ascertained, he views everything in himself. With this certainty of knowledge, he comes to know his self as a reflection of all things, present in all of them. After these determinations, he comes to the conclusion that he is not subject to pain or pleasure. Thus freed from anxieties, the mind freely exercises its powers over all customary duties without being concerned about them.
15 He who knows the self remains joyous even in his calamity and shines like the moonlight which enlightens the world. He knows that it is his mind and not his self that is the agent of his actions, although he is the doer of them. Knowing that the mind is the agent in all his actions, he does not assume to himself the merit of the exercise of his limbs, hands and feet, nor does he expect to reap the rewards of all his constant labors and acts.
16 Unrestrained minds become unrestrained agents, their mental actions (thoughts) become habits, and their endurance brings about the consequences. Thus the mind is the root of all efforts and exertions, of all acts and actions, of all their results and productions, and the source of suffering the consequences of actions. By doing away with your mind, you make a clean sweep of all your actions and thereby avoid all your miseries resulting from your acts. All these are at an end with the trance of the mind is at an end. It is a practice in yoga to relieve the excitement of the mind from its ever varying purposes.
17 See how a boy is led by the fancy of his mind to build his toy or hobby-horse, which he dresses and paints in his willful play without showing any concern or feeling of pleasure or pain in its making or its breaking, however he pleases. So does man build his aerial castle and level it without any sense of gain or loss. It is by his acting in this manner in all worldly matters that no man is spiritually entangled to them.
18 Amidst the dangers and delights of this world, what cause can there be for your sorrow other than you have the one and not the other? But what is there so delectable and delightful to be desired in this world that at the same time is not impermanent and perishable? Only your self, your soul which is neither the active nor the passive agent of your actions and enjoyments, although people attribute actions and their fruitions to it by their error.
19 The importance of actions and emotions to living beings is a mistake and not veritable truth. If we consider things correctly, we find no action or emotion having any relationship to the soul. Only the sensualist feels attachment or aversion to the senses and conscious actions and enjoyments, and not those who are detached from sensuous affections. 20 There is no liberation in this world for the worldly minded, while liberation is fully realized by the yogi whose mind, in its state of living liberation (jivan-mukta), is free from attachments to the world.
21 Though the sage is established in the light of his self-consciousness, yet he is aware of the distinctions between unity and duality, the true entity from the non-entities, and he sees the omnipotence in all powers that are displayed in nature. 22 To him there is no bond or freedom, no liberation or bondage whatever, and the miseries of ignorance are all lost in the light of his enlightenment.
23 It is in vain to wish for liberation when the mind is tied down to the earth. So it is redundant to talk of bondage when the mind is already fastened to it. Shun them both by ignoring your individual ego and remain fixed to the true Ego. Continue in this way to manage yourself with an unruffled mind on this earth.
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Chapter 39 — Vasishta Postpones the Question of Impurity from Purity; the Unity of All Things
1 Rama replied, “Tell me, O high-minded sage, how could creation proceed from the Supreme Brahma, whom you describe as remaining as still as a painting in the canvas of emptiness?”
2 Vasishta replied:—
O prince, such is the nature of Brahman that all power constantly flows from him, therefore every power is said to reside in him. 3 In him resides entity and non-entity. In him there is unity, duality and plurality, and the beginning and end of all things. 4 This is one and nothing else. It is like the sea whose waters have endless varieties of shapes. It represents the images of myriads of stars in its bosom, rising spontaneously of themselves.
5 As Consciousness becomes dense, it makes the mind and the mind brings forth all the powers of thinking, willing and acting. These it produces, accumulates, contains, shows and then absorbs in itself.
6 Brahman is the source of all living beings, and of all things seen all around us. His power is the cause that exhibits all things in their constant course or quiescence. 7 All things spring from the Supreme Spirit and they reside in his all comprehensive mind. They are of the same nature as that of their source, like the water of the sweet and salt lakes.
8 Rama interrupted and said, “Sage, your discourse is very dark, and I cannot understand the meaning of what you are saying. 9 There is the nature of Brahman, which you said to be beyond the perception of the mind and senses. Then what are these perishable things which you say have proceeded from him? If your reasoning comes to this conclusion, then I cannot rely upon it.”
10 “It is the law of production that anything produced from something is invariably of the same nature with that of its producer. 11 As light is produced from light, grain comes from grain, and man is born of man, and all kinds come out of their own kind. 12 Therefore the productions of the immutable Spirit must also be unchangeable and spiritual in their nature.”
13 “Beside all this, the Intellectual Spirit of God is pure and immaculate. This creation is all impure and gross matter.”
14 Upon hearing these words, the great sage said:—
Brahman is all purity and there is no impurity in him. The waves moving on the surface of the sea may be foul, but they do not soil the waters of the deep. 15 Rama, you cannot conceive of there being a second person or thing beside the one Brahman, just as you can have no conception of fire beside its heat.”
16 Rama replied, “Sage, Brahman is devoid of sorrow, while the world is full of sorrows. Therefore I cannot clearly understand your words when you say this to be the offspring of that.”
17 Valmiki said to Bharadwaja:—
At these words of Rama, the great sage Vasishta remained silent. He stopped his lecture and contemplated. 18 His mind lost its accustomed clarity, then recovering its clear vision, he pondered within himself in the following manner.
19 The educated and intelligent mind that has known the knowable One has reached the end of the subject of liberation by its own reasoning and intuition, as that of Rama. 20 It is no fault of the educated to have questions until it is explained to them to their full satisfaction, as in the case of Rama.
21 The half-educated are not fit to receive spiritual instruction because their view of phenomena, which dwells on obvious objects, proves to be the cause of their ruin. 22 But he who has come to understand in a transcendental light, and who has a clear insight of spiritual truths, feels no desire for sensual enjoyments and instead advances in course of time to the conclusion that Brahman is all in all things. (If the mind is pure, it instantly comprehends the truth.)
23 First the disciple has to be prepared and purified with the teachings and practice of stillness and self-control. Then he is to be initiated in the creed that “All this is Brahman and you are that pure Spirit.” 24 But who so teaches the faith of “all is Brahman” to the half taught and ignorant truly entangles him in the strong snare of hell.
25 The well discerning sage should tell only those who are enlightened in their understanding, whose desire of sensual gratifications has abated, who are free from their worldly desires, who are cleansed of the dirt of their ignorance, and who are prepared to receive religious and spiritual instruction. 26 The spiritual guide who instructs his student without weighing well his habits and conduct is a silly teacher and sinks into hell and has to dwell there until the last day of judgment.
27 The venerable Vasishta, who was the chief of sages and like the bright sun on earth, having considered these things, spoke to Rama as follows.
28 Vasishta said:—
I will tell you Rama, at the conclusion of this lecture, whether the attribution of the impurity of gross bodies is applicable to Brahman or not.
29 For now, know that Brahma is almighty, all pervading, omnipresent and is all himself. Because of his omnipotence, he can do and become all and everything of itself. 30 You see various practices of magicians and tricks of jugglers in producing, presenting, and hiding many things in the sight of men. These are all only unreal shows. In the same way Brahman produces, presents and removes all things from and into himself.
31 The world is filled with gardens like those in fairylands, and the sky is full with the airy castles of gandharvas and the abodes of gods. Men are seen to descend from the cloudless sky to the surface of the earth, and rise upwards to heaven (in vimanas, flying chariots). 32 Fairy cities, like the palaces of the gandharvas of the ethereal regions, are shown on earth and filled with the fairies of fairyland. 33 Whatever there is or has been or is to be in this world are all like reflections of the revolving sky and heavenly bodies, or of a brass ball affixed to the top of a tower and darting its golden light below. 34 All these are only exhibitions of the various forms of manifestations of the selfsame God.
35 Whatever takes place at anytime or in any place and in any form is only a variety of the One Self-existent reality. Therefore why, O Rama, should you give vent to your sorrow or joy, or wonder at any change of time or place or nature and form of things? They are all full of the spirit of God and exhibit the endless aspects of the Infinite Mood.
36 Let the intelligent preserve the sameness of their minds and dispositions amidst all changes, knowing them to be the varying conditions of the same unvarying Mind. 37 He who sees his God in all and is filled with equanimity has no cause for surprise, grief or delight or any other fluctuation of his mind in response to any change in nature or the ups and downs of his fortune. 38 In all the variations of time and place, and in all external circumstances, the unaltered mind continues to see the varieties of the power of his Maker.
39 The Lord proposes these plans in the formation of his creation and exhibits as the sea does its waves in endless varieties and successions from the fullness of his mind. 40 So the Lord manifests the powers situated in himself, as the sea does its waves in itself, as milk forms butter, as earth produces earthenware, or thread is woven into cloth. The fig tree brings forth its fruit and all other varied forms are contained in their sources. But these changes in form are phenomena and not real. They are mere appearances of the spectrum, like those of apparitions and phantoms.
41 There is no agent or object, no actor or act, or anything which is acted upon, nor is there anything that becomes nothing except by the variety of the one unity. 42 The mind that witnesses spiritual truths and retains its calmness unimpaired and unaffected by external accidents comes to see the light of truth by itself. 43 If there is a lamp, there is light also. The sun shining brings the day with him. Where there is a flower, there is its fragrance. So where there is a living soul, there is the knowledge of the world.
44 The world appearing all around is like the light of the soul. It appears like the motion of the wind of which we have no notion of its reality or unreality.
45 The immaculate Soul is the prime power of the appearance and disappearance of the myriads of gross bodies which, like the revolving stars of the sky and the seasonal flowers of spring, appear and reappear to us by turns, like the ups and downs of wheels in motion. 46 All things die away when our souls are without us, but how can anything be nothing when we are in possession of our souls?
47 All things appear before us in the presence of our souls and they vanish from before us in their absence from the body. 48 Everything is born with us with our souls and is lost with loss of them. The living have all, but the dead are lost to view. (The human soul, when joined with the Divine, has a clear view of everything.)
51 The minds of men are endowed with their knowledge at their very birth. Then growing bigger by degrees in course of time, they expand themselves into the form of this spacious forest of the world. 52 The woods of the world are the fastening post of the soul where our blooming desires are filled with fruits of poignant grief. It branches out with gratifications, blossoms with old age, and is breaking its good post and wandering at large of its free will. Therefore Rama, cut off the tree of worldly existence (samsara) with the sword of discrimination.
Chapter 40 — Identity of the World with Brahman; Using Words
1 Rama said, “Tell me, sage, about the production of animal beings from Brahman, and let me know their different names and natures in full length.”
2 Vasishta replied:— I will tell you in brief the manner in which different species of beings are produced from Brahman, and how they are destroyed afterwards, and also how they obtain their liberation in the end, 3 also the manner of their growth and sustenance and fitness in the world.
4 The omnipotent energy (chit-shakti) of the consciousness of Brahman becomes whatever is thought of (chetya) in Divine Consciousness. 5The exercise of consciousness becomes condensed to a certain subtle form which, having the powers of thought, becomes the principle called the mind. 6 Then the mind, by an effort of its conception (called the will), expands itself to an unreal (ideal) scenery like that of the fairyland, by falling off from the nature of thoughtlessness that is Brahman.
7 Consciousness, when remaining in its original state, appears as a vacuum or space, but upon manifesting itself in the form of the mind, men see it as the visible sky. 8 Taking the conception of the lotus-born, it finds itself in its conceived form of the lotus, god Brahma the Creator, and then it thinks of creation in the form of Prajapati or lord of creatures.
9 He then formed this creation from his thought (chitta). It contains the fourteen worlds with all the multitudes and varieties of living beings in them. 10 The mind itself is an emptiness with an empty body. Thought is the mind’s field of its action, and its sphere is full with the false workings of the mind. 11 In the mind of Brahma there are many kinds of beings, some laboring under great ignorance like beasts and brute creatures. There are some with enlightened minds such as the sages. Others stagger in the intermediate class, like the majority of mankind.
12 Among all living beings confined in this earth, only the human race living in this part (India) are capable of receiving instruction and civilization. 13 But most of these are subject to diseases and distress, suffering under the thrall of their ignorance, enmity and fear. Therefore it is for their benefit that I will deliver my lecture on social and saintly conduct. 14 I will also talk about the everlasting, imperishable and omnipresent Brahman who is without beginning or end, whose mind is without error, and who is of the form of Intellectual light. 15 I will explain how endless beings are put to motion by the momentum of a particle of his motionless body, resembling the rolling of boisterous waves on the surface of a clear and tranquil ocean.
16 Rama asked, “Sage, how can there be a part of the infinite Spirit, or a momentum of the motionless God, or a change or effort from one who is altogether without them?”
17 Vasishta replied:— It is the usual and current mode of expression, both in scriptures and language, for people to talk in terms of, “All this is made by or come from Him.” But it is not so in its real and spiritual sense.
18 No change or partition, and no relation of space or time, bears any reference to the Supreme, who is unchangeable, infinite and eternal. There is no appearance or disappearance of Him at anytime or place, who is ever invisible everywhere. 19 There never was nor can there ever be any way of representing the incomprehensible, except by symbolical expressions. Therefore, I have made use of words that are used in common speech.
20 Whatever words or expressions are used as symbolic of some sense, whether they express “produced from it” (tajja) or “change of the same” (tanmaya), the same should be used in that sense all along. 21 It is tajja when we say “fire proceeds from fire” (meaning, the “mundane Brahma comes out of the spiritual Brahma.” Here fire is symbolical of Brahma and the world). It is tanmaya in the expression “Brahma is the producer and produced” (meaning the identity and transformation of the Creator to the creation). 22 The first expression is applied to the world as proceeding from Brahma, but the other expression, that of the producer and produced, also means the creative power which made the world.
23 The expression, “This is one thing and that another” (idam-anyat) is false. The difference is verbal and not real because there is no proof of it in the nature of God, which is one and all.
24 The mind, by reason of its birth (tajja) from Brahma, possesses both the power and intelligence of his Consciousness, and is enabled to accomplish its intended purpose by means of its intense application. 25 To say that one flame of fire produces the other is mere word dispute. There is no truth in this assertion. 26 That one produces the other is also false reasoning because the one Brahma, being infinite, could produce no other thing beside reproducing himself.
27 It is the nature of argument to contradict each another by replies and rejoinders, but it is not right to defeat an adversary by false reasoning.
28 The learned know Brahman as the ocean rolling in its endless waves, and significant words and their meanings go together like Brahman and his creation. 29 Brahman is consciousness, Brahman is the mind, Brahman is intelligence, and Brahman is substance (vastu). He is sound, he is understanding, and he is in the principles of things. 30 The whole universe is Brahman and yet he is beyond all this. In reality the world is a nothing for all is Brahman alone.
31 This is one thing and that is another, and this is a part of the great soul, are all contradictory assertions of ignorance. No words can express the true nature of the unknown.
32 The spirit rises as the flame of fire and this flame signifies the mind. Its tremor signifies the fluctuation of the mind, which in reality is not the case, there being no rise or fall of the Divine Mind. 33 It is untruth that wavers and equivocates in double meanings. It deviates from the truth, as the defective eye sees a double moon in the sky.
34 Brahman being all of himself and all pervading and infinite of his own nature, there can be no other thing beside himself and anything that is produced of him is likewise himself. 35 Beside the truth of the existence of Brahman, there is nothing which can be proved as absolutely certain. It is a scriptural truth that says, “Truly, all this is Brahman.”
36 This also must be the conclusion, which you will arrive at by your reasoning, and which I will propose with many examples and teachings in the Book of Nirvana (Liberation).
37 This single question raises many things of which you are ignorant. You will come to know fully in the future, and your questions on this subject will be dispelled. 38 Unreality having disappeared, reality appears to view, just as the darkness of night being dispelled, the visible world comes to sight. 39 The spacious world which appears to your false sight will vanish, O Rama, on your attainment of the state of calm stillness. False appearances must disappear from your vision as soon as the light of truth comes to dawn upon your soul.
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Chapter 41 — Use of Words; Description of Ignorance
1 Rama said, “Sage, I feel your speech to be as cooling and shining as the water of the milky sea. It is as deep and full as the vast ocean. 2Sometimes I am puzzled, other times I am enlightened by the variety of your discourses, as a rainy day is now hidden by a cloud, and again shines forth brightly with sunshine. 3 I understand Brahman as infinite and inconceivable and the life and light of all that exists. I know that light never sets. But tell me, how do people attribute many qualities that are foreign to his nature?”
4 Vasishta replied:— The wording and meaning of my lectures to you are all used in their right and ordinary sense. They are neither insignificant nor meaningless, equivocal or ambiguous, or contradictory of one another. 5 You will understand the proper significance of my phraseology when the eyesight of your understanding becomes clearer and when the light of reason rises in your mind. 6 Do not make the mistake of relying upon your ordinary understanding to interpret the meanings of my words or the phraseology I have used to explain the subject of my lectures and the intention of the scriptures. 7 When you come to know the clear truth of Brahman, you will know more regarding the distinctions of significant words.
8 Distinctive verbal signs are invented to communicate our thoughts, to convey our instructions to others, and for our knowledge of the intention of the scriptures. 9 Words and their meanings and phrases and their constructions are used for the instruction of others. They are applied for the use of the ignorant. They never apply to those who are acquainted with truth.
10 There is no attribute or imputation that bears any relation with the free and unsullied soul. It is the dispassionate spirit of the supreme Brahman, and the same is the soul of the existent world. 11 This subject will again be fully discussed and expanded upon with various arguments when we arrive at the conclusion of this subject (in the Book of Nirvana).
12 I have said this much about words and terminology because it is impossible to penetrate the deep darkness of ignorance without the means of much talk. 13 As conscious ignorance offers herself a willing sacrifice on the shrine of knowledge, she bids her adversary, the destroyer of error, to take possession of her seat in the bosom of man. 14 One weapon is foiled by another, one dart is removed by the other, one poison is destroyed by another, and one foe is driven out by another enemy.
15 So Rama, the mutual destruction of errors brings joy to the soul. It is hard to detect the error, but no sooner it is found out than it is destroyed. It means the refutation of false doctrines by one another.
16 Ignorance obscures the keenness of our insights and presents the false and gross world before us. We all view this wonderful universe, but we do not know what or how it is. 17 Unobserved, it rushes to our view, but being examined with attention and keen observation, it flies away. We know it is a phantasm, and yet find it appearing with dimensions and forms before us. 18 O the wonderful enchantment that has spread out this world and made unreality appear as a sober reality to the knowledge of every one of us.
19 This earth is a distinct, widely extended superstructure resting on the indistinct surface of an unknown foundation. He is the best of beings who has stretched this enchantment. 20 When you are enlightened with the thought that all this is non-existent in reality, you will become the knower of the knowable (God) and understand the meaning of my lectures. 21 So long as you are not awakened to true knowledge, trust my words and know this immensity to be the creature of the incorrigible and immovable ignorance. 22 All this immensity that appears to sight is only the picture of your mistaken thought. It is all unsubstantial, only a mere manifestation of your deluded mind.
23 He is entitled to liberation whose mind is certain of the reality of Brahman, and who knows the moving and unmoving figures outside to be the thoughts of the mind presented to the sight. 24 The whole immensity of the earth is like a net set to catch the birds that are the fleeting mind. It is as false as a landscape in a dream, an unreality that appears as real to the mind.
25 He who looks upon the world without attachment to it is never subject to grief or sorrow on any account. He who thinks all these forms are formless sees the formless spirit. 26 The forms of the formless spirit are the formation of ignorance. When the blemishes of passions and change do not belong even to great souls, how can these attributes relate to the greatest God?
27 Attributes given to the Supreme Spirit are like dust thrown upon the surface of clear water. Only our thoughts attribute qualities to the inconceivable one, just as we attribute certain meanings to words that have no corresponding substance in reality. 28 Custom establishes the meanings of words that continue to be inseparably joined with them. It is custom that determines the use of words in scriptures.
29 As cloth cannot be thought of without its thread, so the soul is unintelligible without the medium of words giving its true definition. 30 It is possible to gain knowledge of the soul from scriptures without one being self-conscious of it, just as it is possible to cross the sea of ignorance by means of spiritual knowledge.
31 Rama, when the soul is in any way polluted by the blemishes of ignorance, it is impossible to arrive at the state of what is called imperishable life and bliss. 32 The existence of the world truly depends on the existence of the Supreme. Know this and do not question how or where it came to exist. 33 Let your thoughts be focused only on how to get rid of this unreality, for it is upon the disappearance of the unreality that you can know the real truth. 34 Leave off thinking from where all this came, how it is, and how it is destroyed at last. Believe that it is really nothing, only appearing without being actually seen.
35 How can one know how his mistake makes unreality appear as reality when the mistake has taken a firm footing in his mind? 36 Try your best to destroy your mistaken prejudice and then you will know the truth. Truly men who are freed from prejudice are the greatest heroes and the most learned in the world. 37 Strive to destroy your harmful ignorance, or it is sure to overpower you as it does the rest of mankind. 38 Take care lest your ignorance should enthrall you to the pain of repeated reincarnations. Know ignorance to be the root of all evil and companion of every vice. It creates a man’s interest in what proves to be his peril. 39 Quickly abandon this false view, the harmful cause of your fears and sorrows, and of your diseases and dangers, and the germ of errors in the mind, and thereby cross this perilous ocean of the world.
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Chapter 42 — From Brahman to Ordinary Mind: Producing Individual Souls
1 Vasishta continued:— Rama, now hear what is the antidote against the widespread disease of ignorance and the raging epidemic of unreality, which vanish from view upon your close inspection of it. 2 I am going to expand upon something I was going to mention earlier (in Chapter 40) concerning the qualities of sattva (purity) and rajas (activity) in order to investigate the powers of the mind.
3 The same Brahman who is all-pervading, undecaying and immortal, without beginning or end and free from error, is known as intellectual light. 4 The Intellect, which is the body of Brahma and has its vibration in itself, becomes agitated and condensed at intervals, like the translucent water of the ocean has its motion of itself and becomes dense and thickened by its disturbance. 5 As seawater is agitated in itself without any motion or excitation from without, so the almighty Power exerts its force in itself throughout all eternity and infinity.
6 As the air stirs in its own bosom of emptiness forever, so the power of the Divine Spirit exerts itself spontaneously and freely in its own sphere of the spirit. 7 As a flame rises high of its own accord, so the power of the Spirit extends in itself in all directions. 8 As the sea seems to move with its sparkling waters, reflecting the sun and moonbeams upon its surface, so the almighty Spirit appears to shake with the fleeting reflections of creation in its bosom. 9 As the sea sparkles with the golden beams of the starry sky, so the vast translucent soul of God shines with the light of its own intellectual sphere.
10 As chains of pearly rays glitter to our sight in the empty sky, so diverse forms of things fly about in the vast emptiness of Consciousness. 11These intellectual images, being pushed forward by the force of Consciousness, begin to roll in its empty sphere like waves in the sea. 12 These images, although inseparable from the Consciousness of the Divine Spirit, yet seem to be apart from it, like light shining through the holes of needles and other openings. 13 The universal Omnipotence exhibits itself in those particular forms, as the moon shows her various crescent shapes in her different phases. 14 Thus the intellectual power of the Supreme Spirit, coming to shine forth as light, refracts itself in various forms as the very many appearances of that great light.
15 The Supreme Spirit, though conscious of its nature of infinity and indivisibility, yet assumes to itself the state of its individuality in every separate and limited form of created beings. 16 When the Supreme Entity takes these several forms upon itself, it is immediately joined by a train of qualities and properties, with quantity, modality and the like as followers in its train. 17 Unsubstantial Consciousness, deeming itself as a substance by being separated from the Supreme Soul, becomes divided into infinity like the waves of the seawater.
18 As there is no material difference of the armlet and bracelet from the same gold with which they are made, so Consciouness and the Soul are one and same thing. The thought makes the difference in their different modes. 19 As there is no difference between one lamp and the others that are lighted from the same light, so it is of all souls and intellects: they are alike in their nature, but differ only in their particular attributes.
20 Consciousness, being put to action by the force of the soul on particular occasions, pursues its desires and the objects of its fancy. 21 The same consciousness also, taking its forms of will and action at different times and places, is called the embodied soul or spirit, and also known askshetrajna, the knower of the field. 22 The witness consciousness is so named from its familiarity with the body (kshetra) and its knowledge of its inner and outward actions. 23 This being filled with its desires, is designated as ego or selfishness, and this again being soiled by its fancies, takes the name of understanding. 24 Understanding leaning towards its wishes is called the mind, which when it is compacted for action, takes the name of the senses or sensation. 25 Next the senses are furnished with their organs called the organs of sense, which being joined with the organs of action, the hands and feet, are together called the body. 26 Thus the living soul being tied to its thoughts and desires, and being trapped in the net of pain and sorrow, is called the heart (chitta, the memory aspect of the mind). 27 Thus the gradual development of consciousness produces its successive results. These are the different states or conditions of the living soul, and not so many forms of it, but all these are the impurities of the soul.
28 The living soul becomes associated with egoism in its embodied state, and this being polluted by its egoistic understanding becomes entangled in the net of selfish desires, which becomes the mind. 29 The lustful mind becomes eager to graft itself in its consorts and offspring, and to secure the false possessions of the world to itself and without a rival. 30 The tendencies of the mind pursue their desired objects, as the cow follows the lusty bull. The mind runs after its objects only to be polluted by them, as the sweet stream of the river meets the sea to become bitter and briny. 31 Thus the mind, being polluted by its selfishness, loses the freedom of its will and becomes bound to its desires, like silkworms in their cocoons.
32 The mind exposes the body to confinement by its pursuit of its desires, until it comes to feel the bitterness of its own bondage and the bitter regret of the conscious soul. 33 Knowing itself to be enslaved, it bids farewell to the freedom of its thought and knowledge and begets gross ignorance within itself, which rages and ranges free in the forest of this world with its horribly monstrous appearance.
34 The mind, containing within it the flame of its own desires, is consumed to death like a chained lion in a fire. 35 It assumes to itself the agency of all its various acts under its subjection to a variety of desires. Thus it exposes itself to the changes of its state in this life and all its future births. 36 It labors continually under all of its eight-fold states of understanding; namely knowledge, intelligence and activity or active agency, and its egoism or selfishness, all of which are causes of all of its sorrows. 37 It is sometimes called nature (prakriti or character) or the seat of self delusion (maya). The mind is often converted to foulness (malas) and very often to activity. 38 It is sometimes called bondage and is often synonymous with the heart-mind. It is also called ignorance (avidya, literally, not-knowledge) and also frequently identified with the will or volition.
39 Know Rama that the heart-mind is tied to the earth by a chain of sorrow and misery. It is full to the brim with greed and grief and it is the abode of passions. 40 It is living dead with the cares of age and the fear of death to which the world is subject. It is troubled with desires and disgust and stained by its ignorance and passions. 41 It is infested with the prickly thorns of its wishes and the brambles of its acts. It is quite forgetful of its origin and it is beset by the evils of its own making. 42 It is confined like a silkworm in its own cocoon where it is doomed to dwell with its sorrow and pain. Although it is only a minute particle in its shape, it is the seat of endless hellfire. 43 It is as minute as the soul, and yet appears as huge as the highest hill. This world is a forest of wild poisonous trees branching out with their fruits of decay and death. 44 The snare of desire is stretched over the whole world. Its fruits are like those of Indian fig trees which have no core or flavor within.
45 The mind being burnt by the flame of its sorrow and bitten by the serpent of its anger, and being drowned in the boisterous sea of its desires, has entirely forgotten its great Father (Brahma). 46 It is like a lost male deer straying out of its herd, and like one deprived of reason by his sorrows, or more like a moth burned by the flame of world affairs. 47 It is torn away like a limb from its place in the Spirit and thrown in an unsuitable spot. It is withering away like a lotus plant plucked from its root. 48 Being cast amidst the bustle of business among men who are inimical or like dumb pictures to him, every man is groveling in this earth amidst dangers and difficulties. 49 Man is exposed to the difficulties of this dark and dismal world like a bird that has fallen into the waters of the sea. He is entangled in the snare of the world like one snatched to a fairyland in the sky.
50 The mind is carried away by the current of business like a man borne by the waves of the sea. Lift it, O brave Rama, from this pit, as they do an elephant sinking in the mud. 51 Lift up your mind by force, O Rama, like a bullock from this delusive puddle of the world where it is shorn of its brightness and is weakened in its frame.
52 Rama, the man whose mind is troubled in this world by successions of joy and grief, or by the vicissitudes of weakness from old age, disease and death, is no human being. He resembles a monstrous rakshasa demon, although he may have the figure of a man on him.
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Chapter 43 — Varieties of Living Souls
1 Vasishta continued:— Thus the living soul, being derived from Brahman, assumes to itself the form of the mind and is tossed about with the thoughts and cares of the world. Then it is changed into thousands and millions of forms that it creates to itself in its imagination.
2 It has undergone many prior births and is in the course of migrating into many more. It will reincarnate into many more as multitudinous as the flitting particles of a waterfall. 3 These atomic souls of living beings, being subjected to their desires by the great variety of their wishes, are made to wander under many forms to which they are bound by their desires.
4 They wander constantly in different directions and in distant countries, both by land and water. They live or die in those places, like bubbles blow out only to float and burst and then sink in the water below. 5 Some are produced for the first time in a new kalpa age and others are born a hundred times in it. Some have had only two or three births while the births of others are beyond number. 6 Some are yet unborn and are to be born yet on earth and many others have passed their births by attainment of their liberation at last. Some are alive at present and others are no more to be born. 7 Some are born again and again for myriads of kalpas. Some remain in one state all along and many in various states repeatedly changing their forms and natures. 8 Some are subjected to the great misery of hell and some are destined to a little joy on earth. Some enjoy the great delights of the gods in heaven and others are raised to the glory of the heavenly bodies above.
9 Some are born as kinnaras (half-human, half-horse celestials) and gandharvas (male nature spirits), and others as vidyadharas (supernatural spirits) and huge serpents. Some appear in the forms of the Sun god, Indra and Varuna, and others in those of the three-eyed Shiva and the lotus-born Brahma. 10 Some become the kushmanda demons and vetala demon-ghosts, and others as yaksha (nature-spirit) and raksha demon cannibals. Some again become the brahmins and the ruling class, and others become vaisyas (merchant castes) and shudras (worker castes). 11 Some become swapacha (low caste) and chandala (outcaste), and others as Kiratis and Pukkasa tribals. Some become the grass and greens on earth, and others as the seeds of fruits and roots of vegetables, or as moths and butterflies in the air. 12Some are formed into varieties of herbs and creeping plants, and others into stones and rocks; some into jama and kadamba trees, and others into sala, palm and tamala forests.
13 There are some placed in prosperous circumstances, becoming ministers and generals and rulers of states, while others are clad in rags and remain as religious recluses, munis and silent hermits in the woods.
14 Some are born as snakes, serpents, worms, insects and ants. There are others in the forms of great lions, big buffaloes, deer and goats, and fleet antelopes in forests. 15 Some are begotten as storks and cranes, ruddy geese and cuckoos. Others become their pastures in the shapes of lotuses, water lilies, and other aquatic shrubs and flowers. 16 Some are brought forth as elephants and their cubs, and as wild boars, bulls and asses. Others come into being as bees and beetles, flies and gadflies, gnats and mosquitoes.
17 Many are born to difficulties and dangers, and many to prosperity and adversity. Some are placed in hell pits and others in their heavenly abodes. 18 Some are situated in the stars and some in the hollows of trees. Some move upon the wings of the winds and others rest in the still air above or fly freely in the sky. 19 Many dwell in the sunlight of the day and many subsist under the moonbeams at night. There are others subsisting upon the beverage they draw from herb-like plants.
20 Some are liberated in their lifetime and wander about freely in this earth. Others live in blissful states. Some are altogether free in their reliance in the Supreme Spirit. 21 There are some that require long periods for their blessed and ultimate liberation. Others disbelieve the intellectuality and spirituality of mankind and dislike being reduced to the singleness of the One Soul, or to be reduced to their oneness or unity with the Supreme Soul.
22 Some become regents of the skies above and others roll down in the form of mighty streams. Some become females of beautiful appearances and others as ugly hermaphrodites and freaks. 23 Some are of enlightened understandings and some are darkened in their minds. Some are preachers and lecturers of knowledge and others are in ecstatic consciousness of samadhi.
24 The living souls who are dominated by their desires are so powerless of themselves that they have forgotten their freedom and are fast chained to their wishes. 25 They rove about the world, now flying up and then falling down in their hopes and fears. They are constantly tossed up and down, like play balls flung on all sides by the relentless hands of playful Death. 26 Trapped in the hundred fold snare of desire and converted to the various forms of their wishes, they pass from one body to another, as birds fly from one tree to alight on another. 27 The endless desires of the living soul, bred and led by the false imaginations of the mind, have spread this enchanted snare of illusion (maya) known by the name of the great world.
28 Stupefied souls are doomed to wander about in the world, like waters in a whirlpool, as long as they do not come to understand the true nature of their selves as selfsame with the Supreme-Self. 29 Having known and seen the true Self by forsaking their false knowledge of their individual egos, they come to their consciousness of themselves as identical with the divine Self. Having attained this in process of time, they are released from their doom of revisiting this world of pain and sorrow.
30 However, there are some unconscious beings who, in spite of their attainment of this knowledge, after passing into a hundred lives in it in various shapes, are so perverted in their natures that they have to return again to this earth. 31 Some, after having attained higher states, fall down again by the lowness of their spirits and appear in the shapes of brute creatures, and at last have to fall into hell.
32 There are some great minded souls who, having proceeded from the state of Brahman, have to pass here a single life, after which they are absorbed in the Supreme Soul. 33 There are multitudes of living beings in other worlds also, some of whom have become like the lotus-born Brahma and others as Shiva. 34 There are others who have become like the gods or brute creatures in them, and there are snakes and other reptiles also in them, as well as in this earth.
35 There are other worlds as obvious to view as this earth, and there are many such worlds that have gone by, and others are yet to appear. 36In the other worlds there are various other creatures of different shapes produced by various unknown causes and which have their growths and deaths like those of this earth. 37 Some are produced as gandharvas and others as yakshas. Some are generated as sura demigods and some others as asura and daitya gods.
38 The manners and modes of life of the peoples in other parts of the globe are like those of men living in this part of the earth. 39 All creatures move according to their own natures and mutual relations for ever more, like the waves and currents of a river move forward, following and followed by others in regular succession. 40 The entire creation moves onward in eternal progression in its course of evolution and involution, and in its motions of ascent and descent like the waves of the ocean.
41 In this manner, multitudes of living beings with consciousness of their self-existence proceed from the Supreme Spirit, rising from and at last falling into it. 42 All created beings are detached from their source, like light from the lamp and solar rays from the sun. They are like sparks of red hot iron and the flashing sparks of fire. 43 They are like the minute moments of time and the flying odors of flowers, or the cold icicles and particles of rainwater carried by breeze and cooling the air all around. 44 The flitting particles of life, flying from one spot to another and filling different bodies with animation, are at last absorbed in the mainspring of vitality from where they had risen.
45 Particles of vital air, being thus spread out and scattered over the universe, come to assume the various forms of animated beings in all the worlds. But they are all mere creations of our ignorance. In reality they are like the rolling waves of water in the vast ocean of eternity.
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Chapter 44 — Description of Brahma’s Self-Birth
1 Rama asked, “Now I understand how particles of the Divine Spirit take the forms of living souls, but I cannot conceive how it assumes the physical body composed of bones and ribs.”
2 Vasishta replied:— Why don’t you know it, Rama, when I have explained it to you before? Where have you lost your deductive reasoning of arriving to the conclusion from those premises?
3 All these physical bodies in the world and all these moving and unmoving persons and things, are only false representations rising before us like the visions in our dreams. 4 The phenomenal world differs from dreams only in it being a longer and more delusive. It is like the optical illusion of seeing a double moon or seeing a mountain in the delusion of darkness.
5 The enlightened mind, cleared of its drowsiness of ignorance and freed from the chains of its desire, views the world to be no more than a dream. 6 The world is a creation naturally conceived in the imagination of all living souls. The world remains impressed upon the soul until the soul attains its final liberation. 7 The fleeting essence of the soul is like the whirling current of waters, or like the germ of a seed, or more like the leaflet of a sprout. 8 As the flower is contained in the branch and the fruit within its flowers, so this creation of the imagination is contained in the receptacle of the mind.
9 As the ever-changing form of the chameleon exhibits only a particular color at a time, so the ever-varying mind shows only the form that is prominent in its thought for the time being. 10 The same thought assumes a visible form, like clay taking the form of a pot. Good thoughts and actions of the prior state of life serve to give the soul a good form in its next birth on earth.
11 We see the mighty lotus-born Brahma situated in the bud of that flower and find it to be the effect of the good thoughts he had in his mind. 12This unlimited creation is the false fabrication of imagination from which the living soul in conjunction with the mind obtains the state of Virinchi, Brahma the Creator.
13 Rama said, “Sage, I need to be fully informed whether all other beings sprang from the same cause as Brahma, the lotus-born.”
14 Vasishta answered:— Let me tell you again, O long-armed Rama, how Brahma has a body. From his example, you will learn about the existence of the world.
15 The Supreme Soul, which is unlimited by time or space, of his own will and by the power of his omnipotence takes the limited forms of time and space upon himself. 16 The same becomes the living soul and is filled with various desires in itself of becoming many.
17 When this limited power which is Brahma thinks on the state of his having been the Cosmic Egg (hiranyagarbha) in his former state of existence in the prior kalpa, he is immediately transformed to that state which is in his mind, and which is ever busy with its thoughts and imaginations.
18 First it thinks of the clear sky, the receptacle of sound, which is perceptible by the auditory organs. This thought being condensed in the mind makes it vibrate like the wind does the air. 19 Then it thinks about the vibrations of air, which are the objects of feeling, through the porous skin and the mind. It is moved by the thoughts of air and wind to assume that form which is invisible to the naked eye. 20 The condensation of the elements of air and wind together produce the idea of light which is the cause of sight and which has colors and forms for its objects. Thus the mind, moved by its triple thoughts of air, wind and light, produces the property of fire. 21 These immediately join to produce the idea of coldness, the property of water. Then the mind forms the ideas of the four elements of air, wind, fire and water. 22 These united together produce the gross form of earth, the receptacle of scent. Then the mind, filled with its thoughts of these minute elementary particles, forsook its fine form of the spirit for its gross body of the five elements (the fifth being ether, akasha).
23 The mind saw this body shining like a spark of fire in the sky, which joined with its sense of self, ego, and understanding, formed its personality. 24 This is called the spiritual body within the eight-fold embodiment (earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intellect and identity). The spiritual body is situated like a bee in the middle of the lotus-like heart and it gives growth to the outer body by its inner working.
25 It is thickened by the action and internal heating process of the heart, like the bel fruit or woodapple. The outer body receives the qualities of the inner mind, just as a jewel shines with the luster of the little particle of gold, melted and infused within. 26 The quality of the inner soul or mind manifests itself in the outer body in the same way as the quality of a seed appears in the form and taste of its fruit.
Then the mind dwells upon the thoughts of its actions, which are expressed in the different organs and actions of the body, all produced by the motions of inner thoughts and acts, just like tree leaves and branches are projected by the inner process and operations of the seed. 27 Its thoughts of up and down lift and lower its head and feet upward and downward. Its thoughts of both sides extend its two arms to the right and left. 28 Its thoughts of backward and forward place its back behind and its breast and belly before. The hairs on the head and fingers of the hands are like the filaments and twigs of trees.
29 In this manner did Brahma, who is called a muni and a mental being because his body sprung from his mind, produced the different parts of his body according to his thoughts of their usefulness to him. 30 He brought the body and its limbs to compactness, just as the seasons bring their fruits and grains to perfection. Thus everything is perfected in time, and all beings have their beautiful bodies and figures.
31 He, Lord Brahma, was the progenitor of all beings filled with the qualities of strength and understanding, activity, dignity and knowledge. 32Being begotten by the empty Brahman, he resides in the lap of emptiness. He is of the form of melted gold, like every other luminous body in the heavens. 33 Though situated in the Supreme, yet the mind of Brahma is liable to the mistakes of his own making, and at times it quite forgets having no beginning, middle or end, like his Source.
34 Sometimes the lord thinks he is identical with the waters that existed in his mind before creation; at another as the cosmic egg which was as bright as the fire of universal destruction. 35 Sometimes the lord thinks he is the dark forest that covered the earth before creation of living animals, and then as a lotus bed. Afterwards he became many forms at each phase and epoch of creation.
36 Thus Brahma became the preserver of many kinds of beings which he created of his own will from his mind at each stage or kalpa-period. Of these beings, Brahma was the first that issued from Brahman himself. 37 When Brahma was first begotten, he remained in his happy state of unconsciousness and forgetfulness, but being delivered from his mental inactivity in the womb, he came to see the light. 38 He took a physical body with its breathings and respirations. It was covered with pores of hair and furnished with gums and thirty-two teeth. 39 It had the three pots of shin bones, thighs, and backbone standing on feet below, with the five airs, five partitions, nine cavities, and a smooth skin covering all the limbs.40 It is accompanied by twice ten fingers and their nails, and with a couple of arms and palms and two or more hands and eyes.
41 The body is the nest of the bird of the mind and it is the hole of the snake of lust. It is the cave of the goblin of greediness and the den of the lion of life. 42 It is a chain at the feet of the elephant of pride and it is a lake of the lotuses of our desire.
The lord Brahma looked upon his handsome body and saw that it was good. 43 Then the lord thought in himself, from his view of the three times of the past, present and future, and from his sight of the vault of heaven with a dark mist like a swarm of flying locusts, 44 “What is this boundless space? What had it been before? How did I come into being?” Thus pondering in himself, he was enlightened in his soul.
45 He saw in his mind the different past creations and recollected the various religions and their various sects which had grown upon earth one after the other. 46 He produced the holy Vedas as spring does its flowers. He formed with ease all varieties of creatures from their archetypes in his mind. 47 He set them in their various laws and customs for their temporal and spiritual welfare, as he saw them in the city of his mind. 48 From their prototypes in his eternal mind, Brahma thought upon the innumerable varieties of scriptures which had existed before and all of which came to exist on earth in their visible forms, like flowers springing from the womb of spring season.
49 Thus, O Rama, did Brahma take upon himself the form of the lotus-born and create by his activity all the different creatures form the models of them that existed in his mind, and which took their various forms in the visible world at his will.
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Chapter 45 — Dependence of All on God; Nothing Is Lost Which Doesn’t Exist
1 Vasishta continued:— The world appears as substantial but has nothing substantive in it. It is all a emptiness, a mere representation of images and aimless digressions of the mind. 2 Neither time nor space is filled by any world at all, but by the great Spirit who has no form except that of vacuum.
3 This is all imaginary and as visionary as a city seen in a dream. Whatever is seen anywhere is fallacy existing in infinite emptiness. 4 It is a painting without its base, a vision of unrealities. It is an uncreated creation and a multi-colored picture without its canvas. 5 The imagination of the mind has stretched the three worlds and made the many bodies contained in them. Memory is the cause of these creations, as the eyesight is the cause of vision. 6 The spectacle and display of the world is like a false representation, like the elevations and depressions in a painting. They are not distinct from the Supreme Spirit in which they are situated as buildings stand on their foundation.
7 The mind has made the body for its own home, as some silkworms build their cocoons. The soul also has its sheaths. 8 There is nothing which the mind can not get or build in its empty imagination, however difficult or unattainable it may appear to be. 9 What impossibility is there when the mind in its secluded cell possesses the same powers that reside in omnipotence?
10 It is not impossible, O Rama, for anything to be or not to be at anytime or always, when there is the omnipotent Lord who can create or annihilate all things at his will. 11 Remember that if the mind is empowered to make its own body and to form others in its imagination, how much more is the power of the Almighty to make and unmake all things at his will. 12 It is Divine Will that has brought the gods, demigods and all mankind into existence. It is by the cessation of the Will that they cease to exist as a lamp is extinguished for lack of oil.
13 See the sky and all things under it to be displayed by Divine Will and understand the universe as the visionary scene of your dream laid open to your sight. 14 There is nothing that is born or dies here at anytime, because everything is a nothing in its true sense. 15 There is nothing that becomes more or less in any way when there is nothing in existence. How can soul have a body when it is bodiless? How can the soul be divided when it is an undivided whole?
16 Rama, by your keen sightedness you see that all these bodies are bodiless. As the mirage is made to appear by the heat of the sun, 17 so do these false appearances seem as true to you from the certainty of your individual mind. So also Brahma and others are only creatures of your fancy. 18 They are as false as the sight of two moons in the sky by your false imagination. It is the great fallacy of your mind that represents these false forms of the world before you.
19 As the passenger in a boat sees the fixed objects on earth to be moving about him, so these varieties of visible objects offer themselves to your view. 20 Know the world is an enchanted scene presented by the magic of your error (maya). It is a fabrication of the working of your mind. It is a nothing though appearing as a reality. 21 All this world is Brahman. What else is there beside him? What other adjunct can he have? What is that? From where did it come and where is it located?
22 That this is a mountain and that is a tree are appendages affixed by our error and mistake. It is the prejudgment of the mind that makes unreality appear as a reality. 23 The world is the creation of error and the idol of fools. Shun your fond desire and thoughts of it, Rama, and think of your unworldly soul. 24 The world is as false as the visionary scene of a prolonged dream, or a building in the sky of the fancies of the mind. 25Shun this grand display of the world which is so substantial to sight and so insubstantial when felt. It is the den of the serpents of desire foaming with the poison of their passions. 26 Knowing the world as unreal, try to regard it as nothing, because the wise will never go after a mirage knowing it as such.
27 The foolish man who runs after some imaginary object of his heart’s desire is surely exposed to trouble and disappointment for his folly. 28Whoever desires to have anything in this world, after knowing it as an unreality, surely perishes with his soul for his forsaking the reality. 29 Only an error of the mind makes it mistake a rope for a snake. It is the variety of the thoughts and pursuits of men that makes them roll about in the world.
30 When some vain thought labors in the mind, like the moon appearing to move under water, it deceives only little children and not the wise like yourself. 31 He who pursues virtues for his future happiness surely kindles the fire of his intelligence to destroy the frost of his ignorance.
32 All gross bodies seen here in this world are creatures of the workings of the mind, like building castles in the sky in our thoughts. 33 It is the heart’s desire that produces these things, as it is lack of desire that destroys them all. The unrealities appear as true like fairylands appearing to view.
34 Know Rama, that nothing that exists is lost upon the dissolution of the world, and nothing which is non-existent of its nature can ever come into existence. 35 Tell me Rama, what things are entire or broken, or are growing or decaying, when these ideas are only the formations of your sound or unsound mind or the working of your fancy? 36 Children make and break their toy dolls of clay at will. In the same way the mind raises and erases its thoughts of all things in the world.
37 As nothing is lost or drowned in the magical trick of a conjuror, so nothing is dead or dissolved in the magical sea of this world. 38 The unrealities being all untrue, it is true that nothing is lost by their loss. Hence there is no cause for our joy or sorrow in this unreal world. 39 If the world is altogether an unreality, I do not know what there is that could be lost in it. And if nothing whatever is really lost in it, what reason can there be for the wise to sorrow for it? 40 If God is the only absolute existence, what else is there for us to lose? The whole universe being full with Brahman, there can be no cause for our joy or sorrow for anything whatever. 41 If the unreality can never come into existence, it cannot have its growth. What cause is there of our sorrow for their lack of growth or existence?
42 Thus everything is only unreal and merely a cause of our delusion. What can a wise man have to desire that may be reckoned as the best boon for us? 43 But when all this is taken in the sense of being full with the Divine Spirit, what thing is there so trifling for a wise man to dispose or refuse to take? 44 But he who considers the world as an unreality is never subject to joy or sorrow at his gain or loss of anything. Only the ignorant are elated or depressed at the one or the other. 45 That which was not before nor will remain afterwards is likewise the same nothingness at present. Therefore who desires the non-existent is said in the scriptures to be nothing himself.
46 What was before and what will be in the end, the same is in being even now. Therefore, what is always in being is that entity alone that is seen everywhere and at all times.
47 There are the unreal sky and moon and stars seen underneath the water. It is only a deluded child who likes to look at them, but never the wise. 48 Children take a liking for light, empty and flashy trinkets which are of no good or use to them or anybody else. Children prefer to be sad at their loss rather than derive any good from their gain whatever. 49 Therefore, O lotus-eyed Rama, do act like a child but conduct yourself like the wise by looking at these fleeting trinkets as ever impermanent. Rely on the Everlasting alone.
50 Rama, do be not sad or sorry to learn that all these, together with yourself and myself, are nothing in reality. Do not be glad or joyful to know that all these and ourselves are real entities. But consider alike whether these be or not be. Because it is the one Being that becomes and un-becomes anything. It is the only Being that becomes all things.
51 Valmiki said:— As the sage was explaining in this manner, the day glided away to its dusk. The sun departed to his even tide and evening service, and with him the assembly parted to their evening ablutions and rest. After, with the rising sun, they assembled again in the court.
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Chapter 46 — Description of Living-Liberation
1 Vasishta said:— No man knows sorrow as long as he is in possession of his pleasant home, family and wealth. But knowing them to be a short-lived enchantment and accompaniment, why should he be sorrowful when they disappear? 2 What pleasure or pain can one derive either from the grandeur or destruction of his castle in the sky? What cause for joy can he have in his ignorant children, or of sorrow upon their death? 3What joy is there in the increase of our wealth or family, seeing them as the increasing mirage of water which can never satisfy the thirsty. 4 There is increase of care with the increase of wealth and family. There is no happiness in the increase of worldly possessions and affections.
5 The abundance of carnal enjoyments which are delightful to the ignorant sensualist is quite distasteful and disgusting to the abstentious, wise and learned. 6 The wise seek their lasting welfare. What joy do the wise have in the possession of temporary wealth and family to which they are quite indifferent?
7 Therefore, O Rama, be truly wise in your conduct in this world. Shun the transient as they are transitory and lay hold of whatever offers itself to you. 8 Renunciation of what is not had and enjoyment of what one has are the true characteristics of the wise and learned. 9 Take care of this bewildering world where your enemies lurk in many deceitful shapes. Conduct yourself as a wise man evading the dangers that wait upon the unwise. 10 They are great fools who do not look deeply into things and who think the world is without any fraud or guile. 11 Fools are led by the deceitful speech of cheats to fall into the temptations of the world. Men of right understanding place no reliance in them, nor do they plunge themselves into the pit of errors.
12 He who knows the unrealities and who places no reliance in anything is said to have mastered all knowledge and is never liable to error. 13He who knows himself to be as frail as anything in this frail world, who has his faith in neither, is never liable to fall into the error of taking either of them for real. 14 Placed between the unreality and reality of this and the next life, you must have the good sense to stick to the Truth and neither wholly reject nor stick to this or the next. 15 Though engaged in business, yet O Rama, you must remain quite indifferent to all things because the indifferent without desires are truly happy in this world.
16 He who has nothing to desire or leave, but lives as he is obliged to live, has his intellect unstained like the lotus leaf to which dripping waters never stick. 17 Let your accessory organs manage your outward affairs or not, but keep your impassive soul quite unconcerned with all. 18 Do not let your mind be plunged and deeply engaged with the objects of sense by vainly thinking they are your properties and possessions, but manage them or not with utter detachment of your mind.
19 Rama, when you come to feel that the objects of the senses have ceased to give any relish to your soul, then you shall know that you have reached the acme of your spiritual knowledge and passed over the boisterous sea of the world. 20 The embodied or disembodied soul, whether living or dead, that has ceased to have any taste for sensuous enjoyments has attained its liberation without its wishing for it.
21 Rama, try by your superior intelligence to separate your mind from its desires, just like they extract perfume from flowers. 22 They who have not been swept away by the waves of their desires into the middle of this world ocean are said to have got over it; but others are no doubt drowned and lost in it. 23 Sharpen your understanding like the edge of a razor, use it to erase the weeds of doubt, and after scanning the nature of the soul, enter into your spiritual state of blessedness.
24 Move about as those who have attained true knowledge and who have elevated their minds with true wisdom. Do not act as the ignorant worldling who is mindful of the present state and unmindful of the future. 25 In conducting yourself in this world, you should imitate those who are liberated in their lifetime who are great in their souls and understandings, and who are ever satisfied with themselves. Do not follow the examples of the greedy and wicked.
26 Those who have knowledge of both worlds neither slight nor adhere to the customs of their country, but follow them like other people during their lifetime. 27 Great men knowing the truth are never proud of their power or good qualities, nor of their honor or prosperity like vulgar people. 28Great men are not depressed by adversity or elated by prosperity, but remain fixed like the sun in the sky without anything to support it. 29 Great minds, like warriors, ride in the chariots of their bodies, clad in the armor of their knowledge. They have no desire of their own but conduct themselves according to the course of the time.
30 You too Rama have gained your extensive learning in philosophy. It is by virtue of your prudence that you can manage yourself with ease. 31Suppress the sight of what can be seen and avoid your pride and enmity. Then roam wherever you will and you will meet with success. 32 Be sedate in all circumstances, unattached to the present and wishing to know all other things in future. Have the calm composure of your mind, and go where you will.
33 Valmiki said:— Being advised in this manner by the pure doctrines of the sage, Rama’s face brightened. Full within himself with the ambrosia of his knowledge, he shone forth like the ambrosial moon with her cooling beams.
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Chapter 47 — Description of Innumerable Different Worlds, their Gods & Time
1 Rama said, “O venerable sage who is acquainted with all religious doctrines and is versed in all branches of the Vedas, I am set at perfect ease by your holy preaching. 2 I never tire of hearing your speech, which is equally abundant, clear and elegant.”
3 “Sage, you have spoken of the birth of Brahma during your lecture on the productions of sattva and rajas qualities. I want you to tell me more about that subject.”
4 Vasishta answered:— There have been many millions of Brahmas and many hundreds of Shivas and Indras together with thousands of Narayanas that have gone by. 5 There have also been various kinds of beings in many other worlds, having manners and customs widely differing from one another. 6 There also will be many other productions in the worlds, simultaneous with others, and many to be born at times remotely distant from one another. 7 Among these, the births of Brahma and the other gods in the different worlds are as wonderful as the productions of many things in a magic show.
8 Some creations were made with Brahma as the first born, others with Vishnu and some with Shiva as the next created beings. There were some other (minor productions) having the munis for the patriarchs.
9 One Brahma was lotus-born, another was produced from the water, a third was born of an egg, and the fourth was produced in the air. 10 In one egg the sun was born with all his eyes, and in another Indra as Vasava lord of the Vasus (his attendant gods). In some, one was born the lotus-eyed Vishnu, and in another he with his three eyes as Shiva.
11 In one age a solid earth was born having no holes for the growth of vegetables. In another, it was overgrown with vegetation. In some it was filled with mountains and finally covered by living creatures. 12 The earth was full of gold in some place and it was hard ground at others. It was mere mud in many places and covered with copper and other metals in some. 13 There are some wonderful worlds in the universe, and others more wonderful still than they. Some are luminous and bright and others whose light has never reached us. 14 There are innumerable worlds scattered in the vacuum of Brahma’s essence, and they are all rolling up and down like waves in the ocean.
15 The splendors of worlds are seen in the Supreme like waves in the sea, and as a mirage in the sandy desert. They abide in Him as flowers on a mango tree. 16 It may be possible to count the particles of the solar rays, but not the number of worlds abounding in the Supreme Spirit. 17These multitudes of worlds rise and fall in the Universal Spirit, like gnats flying and following others in swarms during the rainy season. 18 It is not known how long they have been in existence, what numbers have gone by, or how many remain at the present time. 19 They have been rolling without beginning like the waves of the sea. Those that are past and gone had their previous ones, and they their prior ones also. 20 They rise over and over to sink lower and lower again, just like the waves of the sea rise aloft and fall low by turns.
21 There are many series of mundane worlds like the egg of Brahma which pass away in the thousands, like the hours in course of the year. 22There are many such bodies beside the world system of Brahma (brahmanda) revolving at present in the spacious mind of Brahma. 23 Many more physical worlds will grow in the infinity of the Divine Mind, and they will also vanish away in course of time, like the fleeting sounds in the air. 24 Other worlds will come into existence in the course of other creations, just as pots come to be formed of clay and leaves grow from germs in endless succession. 25 The glory of the three worlds appears to sight in consciousness just like it exists in the Divine Mind.
26 The rising and falling of worlds are neither true nor wholly false. They are like the bragging of fools and the orchids of the air. 27 All things are like sea waves which vanish no sooner than they appear to view. They are all like paintings impressed on the mind. 28 The world is a perspective, and all things are only paintings in it. Without the canvas of the mind, they are not. They are represented in it like figures on a canvas.
29 Those learned in divine knowledge consider creations proceeding from the Spirit of God like showers of rain falling from water contained in the clouds. 30 Visible creation is no more distinct from God than seawater exuding from the earth and the earth itself, or the leaves and seeds of the simul tree from the tree itself. 31 All created things that you see in their gross or subtle forms have proceeded from the emptiness of the Divine Mind. They are strung together, like a rosary of large and small gems and beads.
32 Sometimes the subtle air is solidified in the form of atmosphere, and from that is produced the great Brahma, thence called the air-born lord of creatures. 33 Sometimes the atmospheric air is condensed into a solid form, and that gives birth to a Brahma under the title of the atmospheric lord of creation. 34 At another time light is thickened into a luminous body, and thence is born another Brahma bearing the name of the luminous lord of all creatures. 35 Again, water condensed at another time produces another Brahma designated the watery lord of creation. 36 Sometimes the particles of earth take a denser form and produce a Brahma known as the earthly Brahma. 37 By extraction of the essences of these four Brahmas a fifth is formed under the name of the fivefold Brahma who is the creation of the present world.
38 Sometimes by the condensation of water, air or heat, a being is produced in the form of male or female. 39 Sometimes from the speaking mouth of this being, and from his feet and back and the eyes, different men are produced under the names of brahmins, kshatriyas, vaisyas and shudras (the four castes of priests, rulers and warriors, those engaged in business, and workers). 40 Sometimes the great Being causes a lotus to grow out of his navel in which is born the great Brahma known as the lotus-born.
41 All these theories of creation are idle dreams, false as the dreams in our sleeping state. They are the reveries of fancy like the whirling currents of water. 42 Tell me, what do you think of these theories in your own judgment? Do they not appear like stories told to children?
43 Sometimes they imagine a being produced in the pure emptiness of the Divine Mind. This they call the golden and mundane egg which gave birth to the egg-born Brahma. 44 It is also said that the first and Divine Male casts his seed in the waters which grows up into a lotus-flower which they call the great world. 45 This lotus is the great womb of the birth of Brahma, and at another time of the sun also. Sometimes the gods Varuna and Vayu are born of it, and therefore they are called egg-born.
46 Thus Rama are the different accounts of the production of Brahma the Creator. Equally various are the descriptions of this un-solid and unsubstantial creation. 47 I have already told you about the creation of one of these Brahmas, and mentioned the production of others without specifying their several works. 48 It is agreed by all that creation is only the development of Divine Mind, although I have described various processes of its production for your acquaintance. 49 The pure (satwiki) and other productions, of which I told you before, have all come to existence in the manner I have described for you.
50 Now know the endless succession of all things in the world. Creation is followed by destruction like pleasure is followed by pain, and ignorance is followed by knowledge, and bondage by liberation.
51 Past creations and objects of affection being gone, others come to rise in future, as lamps at home are lit and extinguished by turns. 52 The production and destruction of all bodies are like those of Brahma and the lamps. They assume their forms in their time, but become an undistinguishable mass after death.
53 The four ages of the world, namely the Satya, Treta, Dwapara, and Kali Yugas (golden, solver, brass and iron ages) revolve in endless rotation, like the wheel of the potter or of any other engine. 54 The manvantaras (ages of Manu, fourteen to a day of Brahma) and kalpa cycles succeed one another like day and night, morning and evening, and the times of work follow those of rest. 55 All worlds and things are under the subjection of time. They are subject to repeated successions, and there is nothing without its rotation. 56 They all proceed of their nature from the vacuum of Divine Consciousness, like sparks of fire flash from a red-hot iron.
57 All things once manifest, are next concealed in the Divine Mind, just as a season’s fruits and flowers disappear after their appearance in season. 58 All productions are only fluctuations of the mind of the Supreme Spirit. Their appearances to our view are like the sight of two moons to weak eyes. 59 It is the consciousness alone that exhibits these appearances to our view. They are always situated in consciousness, though they appear outside it like beams from an inner disc.
60 Rama, know that the world is never in existence. It is a motionless show of the power that resides in the Supreme Spirit. 61 It is never as it appears to you, but quite a different thing from what it seems to be. It is a show that depends on the power of the Omnipotent. 62 The conclusion of the learned holds good to the present time: What world exists since the great will of God (mahakalpa). There is no more any other world to come into existence in future. 63 All this is Brahman to the intelligent, and there is no such thing as the world, which is a mere theory of the unintelligent.
64 The unwise consider the world as eternal from the continued uniformity of its course. But the effect of the everlasting error raises the false supposition of the world. 65 It is their theory of repeated reincarnations. They cannot say anything otherwise, but must conclude the world as such in order to keep pace with their doctrine. 66 But it is to be wondered, if they see the constant perishable nature of all things all around, why do they not consider the world to be destructible? 67 So others (the Samkhyas), seeing the continuous course of the sun and moon and the stability of mountains and seas all about, conclude from these false analogies that the world is indestructible.
68 There can be nothing whatever which does not reside in the wide expanse of the Divine Mind. But as these are only the conceptions of the mind, they can never have any visible or separate form of existence. 69 All these appear in repetition, and also repeated is the course of our births and deaths, as those of pain and pleasure follow one another, and our rest and actions following each other for evermore. 70 This same vacuum and these quarters of the sky, with all these seas and mountains, appear in the recurrent course of creation with their various colors, like sunshine seen through the chink of a wall. 71 Gods and demigods appear again and again and all people come and depart by turns. Bondage and liberation are ever recurrent, and Indras and Somas ever reappear to view.
72 The god Narayana and the demigods appear by turns, and the sky is always revolving with the regents of all its sides, the sun and moon, clouds and winds. 73 Heaven and earth appear again like a lotus flower full open to view, having Mount Meru for its seed core and Sahya Peak for its filament. 74 The sun resumes his course in the maze of the sky like a lion and destroys the thick darkness with his rays, just as the lion kills a huge elephant with his beaming nails. 75 See again the moving moon shining with her bright beams resembling the white filaments of flowers and anointing the faces of the ethereal goddesses with sweet ambrosial light borne by the air and breezes of heaven.
76 Again the holy tree of heaven sheds its heaps of flowers on the deserts of meritorious men as rewards of their virtuous acts. 77 Behold again the flight of time, riding like an eagle on its two wings of acts and actions, and passing with the noise of pat-pat over the vast maze of creation. 78See another Indra appearing, after the bygone lords of gods have passed away, and taking his seat on the lotus-like throne of heaven like a contemptible bee. 79 Again the wicked age of Kali appears to soil the holy Satya Yuga, like the black body of Narayana fills the clear waters of the deep, or like a blast of wind sweeps the dust of the earth on its transparent surface.
80 Time forms the plate of the earth like a potter, turning his wheel constantly to bring on the revolutions of his creations in successive kalpas.81 Veteran time, skilled in the work of renovation, withers away the freshness of creation, just like the autumn winds blast the foliage of a forest in order to produce them again. 82 The dozen zodiacal suns, rising at once and burning creation, leaves dead bodies all around like white bones scattered in a country. 83 Again, pushkara and avartaka clouds pour down their rainwater, deluging the tops of the boundary mountains and filling the face of the earth with foaming bubbles swimming on the surface of one sheet of water. 84 After the waters have subsided and the winds have ceased to blow, the world appears as a vast vacuum void of all beings.
85 Again we see living beings filling the earth and feeding for some years upon the moisture of its vegetation, leaving their decayed bodies and being mixed up with their souls in the Universal Spirit. 86 Again at other times, the Divine Mind stretches out other creations, and these are drawn like pictures of fairylands on the canvas of vacuum. 87 Again creation appears to view, and again it is submerged in the waters of the flood, both of which follow one another like the axles of a wheel.
88 Now Rama, consider whether there is any stability of anything in this revolutionary world, other than it being a maze of continuous delusion.89 The revolution of the world resembles the hallucination of Dasura’s mind. It is a fantasy without any solidity in it. 90 The world appearing so extensive and thickly peopled is only a fancied unreality, like the false appearance of two moons in the sky. Though appearing as real by our ignorance of its nature, it is made of unreality and is not worth reliance.
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Chapter 48 — Story of Dasura; He Receives Agni’s Boon to Live Treetop
1 Vasishta continued:— All worldly men who are engaged in various activities and who are perverted in their understanding with desires of wealth and enjoyments, can never learn the truth until they get rid of their worldliness. 2 Only he who has cultivated his understanding and subdued his sensual organs can perceive the errors of the world, as one knows a bel fruit held in his hand.
3 Any rational being who properly sees the errors of the world will forsake his delusion of egoism, like a snake casts off his skin. 4 Thus, being unaware of his selfishness, he has no more to be born. He is like a fried grain that can never germinate, though it be sown in the field and lie there forever.
5 It is pitiful that ignorant men take so much pains for the preservation of their bodies, which are ever subject to diseases and dangers and are liable to perish today or tomorrow, all at the expense of their souls. 6 Therefore, O Rama, do not take so much care for the dull body like the ignorant, but regard only for the welfare of your soul.
7 Rama said, “Tell me sage, the story of Dasura which illustrates the visionary and air-drawn form of this rotating universe, all hollow within.”
8 Vasishta replied:— Hear me repeat for you, O Rama, the story of Dasura. It is an illustration of the delusive form of the world, which is no more than the built-in-the-air utopia of our brains.
9 On the surface of this land there is the great and wealthy province of Magadha which is full of flower trees of all kinds. 10 There is a forest of wide extending kadamba groves, which was the pleasant playground of charming birds of various sorts and colors. 11 Here the wide fields were full of corns and grains, the edges of the land were filled with groves and trees, and stream banks were filled with blooming lotuses and water lilies. 12 The groves resounded with the melodious strains of country girls, and the plains were filled with blades of blossoms bedewed by the nightly frost and appearing as arrows of the god of love.
13 Here at the foot of a mountain, decked with karnikara flowers and beset by rows of plantain plants and kadamba trees, was a secluded spot overgrown with moss and shrubs. 14 It was sprinkled over with the reddish dust of crimson flowers carried by the winds, and was resonant to the warbling of water fowls singing in unison with the melodious strains of aquatic cranes. 15 On a sacred hill overhanging that spot, there rose a kadamba tree crowded by birds of various kinds. There on it dwelt a holy sage of great austerity.
16 He was known by the name of Dasura. He was engaged in austere penance, sitting on a branch of his kadamba tree with his exalted soul, devoid of passions.
17 Rama said, “I want to know, O sage, from where and how did that hermit come to dwell in that forest, and why was he sitting on that tall kadamba tree?”
18 Vasishta replied:— His father was the renowned sage Sharaloma, who lived on the same mountain and resembled the great Brahma in his abstract meditation. 19 Like Kacha, the only child of Brihaspati, the preceptor of the gods, Dasura was the only son of Sahraloma. From his boyhood, he and his father came to dwell in the forest. 20 Sharaloma lived many years in this way until he left his mortal frame for his heavenly abode, as a bird quits its nest to fly into the air.
21 Dasura, being left alone in that lonely forest, wept bitterly and lamented over the loss of his father with wailing as loud as the shrieks of a heron upon separation from its mate. 22 Being deprived of both his parents, he was full of sorrow and grief in his mind. He began to fade away like the lotus blossom in winter. 23 He was seen in this sad plight by the woodland god of that forest who, taking compassion on the forlorn youth, approached him unseen and said in an audible voice, 24 “O sagely son of the sage! Why do you weep like the ignorant? Why are you so dejected, knowing the instability of worldly things?”
25 “In this frail world everything is unstable. The course of nature is for all things to be born, live, then perish into nothingness. 26 Whatever is seen here, from the great Brahma down to the meanest object, is all doomed to perish beyond a doubt. 27 Therefore do not wail at the death of your father, but know that like the rising and falling sun, everything is destined to its rise and fall.”
28 Hearing this audible voice, the youth wiped his eyes red hot with weeping and held his silence like the screaming peacock at the loud sound of the clouds. 29 He got up and devoutly performed the funeral ceremonies for his father, then set his mind to the success of his steady devotion.
30 He engaged in austerities according to brahmin law and discharged his ceremonial rites according to the old Vedic Srauta ritual to accomplish his sundry vows. 31 But not knowing the knowable (Brahman), his mind could not find rest in his ceremonial acts or find purity on the surface of the stainless earth. 32 Not knowing that the world was full with Divine Spirit and the holiness of the earth is in every place, he thought the ground polluted and did not find his rest anywhere. 33 Therefore, of his own accord, he made a vow to sit on the branch of a tree, which he believed was untainted with the pollution of the earth.
34 He thought, “I will perform my austerities on these branching trees and repose myself like birds and woodland spirits on the branches and leaves of trees.” 35 Thus sitting on high, he lit a burning fire underneath him and he was going to offer oblations of living flesh on it by paring bits of his shoulder blade (mixed with blood).
36 Agni, the god of fire, thought in himself that because fire is the mouth through which the gods receive their food, the offering of a brahmin’s flesh would completely burn down their faces. 37 Thinking so, the god of fire appeared before him in his full blaze, like the bright sun appears before the lord of speech, Brihaspati (Jupiter). 38 Agni uttered gently saying, “Young brahmin, accept your desired boon from me, as a shopkeeper takes out his treasure from the safe in which it is deposited.”
39 Being thus approached by the god, the brahmin boy saluted him with a laudatory hymn. After adoring him with suitable offerings of flowers, the boy addressed him in the following manner. 40 “Lord, I find no holy place upon earth. It is full of inequity and sinful beings. Therefore I pray that you make the tops of trees the only places where I live.”
41 Being so asked by the brahmin boy, the god pronounced, “Be it so,” from his flaming mouth, and vanished from sight. 42 As the god disappeared from before him, like daylight from the face of the lotus flower, the son of the sage was fully satisfied with his desired boon. His face shone like the full moon. 43 Conscious of the success of his desire, his gladdened countenance brightened with his blooming smiles, just as the white lotus, as soon as it perceives the smiling moonbeams falling upon it, blushes with its smiling petals.
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Chapter 49 — Description of Dasura’s Kadamba Forest
1 Vasishta continued:— Thus Dasura remained in the forest that reached to the region of the clouds and formed a stage for the halting of the tired horses of the meridian sun at midday. 2 Its far stretching boughs spread a canopy on all sides under the roof of heaven, and it looked to the skies all around with its full blown blossoming eyes. 3 Gentle winds shed fragrant dust from the tufts of its hanging hairs, which, studded with swarms of fluttering bees and its leaves waving like palms of its hands, brushed over the face of its fairy sky.
4 The banks with their long shrubbery and the crimson filaments of their milk-white blossoms smiled like the fair faces of beauties with their teeth colored reddish from betel leaves. 5 Creeping plants danced with delight and shed dust from the pistils of their flowers clustered in bunches and beaming with the luster of the bright full moon. 6 The earth with its thickening thickets, warbling chakoras among them, appeared like the milky path of heaven studded with stars singing heavenly tunes. 7 Groups of peacocks sitting on the tops of branching trees appeared with multi-colored trains, like rainbows among the green foliage, seeming as bluish clouds in the blue sky.
8 White fantail deer, half of their bodies hidden under the cover of the woods and their fore parts appearing outside, looked like so many moons with their dark and bright sides in the sky. 9 The warbling of chataks, joined with the trill of cuckoos and the whistling of chakoras, filled the groves with a continuous harmony. 10 Flocks of white herons sitting on their nestling boughs seemed like bodies of siddha-master aerial beings sitting quietly in their refuge places in heaven.
11 Waving vines with ruddy leaflets shaking with the breeze, their blooming blossoms beset by bees, resembled the apsara nymphs of heaven flapping their rosy palms and looking at the skies. 12 Clusters of kumuda blue lotuses moving on the sky-blue waters with their yellow filaments, shedding their golden dust around, appeared like rainbows and lightning darting their radiance in the blue sky.
13 The forest’s thousands of uplifted branches seemed like the god Vishwarupa lifting his thousand arms on high, dancing with the breeze, the sun and moon hanging like earrings on either side. 14 Elephant herds lying under the branches and clusters of stars shining above gave the woodlands an appearance of the sky, with its dark clouds moving below the blazing stars above. 15 The forest was like a warehouse of all sorts of fruits and flowers, just as the god Brahma is the reservoir of all sorts of productions. 16 The ground glistened with falling small flowers and the powdery dust of the flowers, just as the sky glitters with the luster of solar and stellar light.
17 Flights of birds flying on tree branches fluttering about their nests and flocks of fowls feeding on the ground made the forest appear like a city with its people above, below and all about it. 18 Its bowers resembled the inner apartments of houses, with blossoms waving like flags over them, and strewn over with the white powdery dust of flowers, as they decorate floors with flowers and powders, and flowers hanging over them like over house windows.
19 There was the joint harmony of humming bees and buzzing beetles, twittering of chakoras and parrots, and cooing of kokilas in the thick canopy of the woods and issuing out of their holes like the music of songstresses coming out in unison from the hollows of windows.
20 Birds of various kinds hovered about the coverings of woodland goddesses, as they were the only guests of their lonely retreats. 21 Bees were continually hummed over the powdery pistils of flowers. The sound of waterfalls constantly diffused from nearby high hills. 22 Here gentle soft warm breezes continually played with waving flowers and white clouds covered lofty trees, as they do the tops of mountains. 23 The sturdy woods that resembled high hills were rubbed by the scabby cheeks of elephants and stood unmoved, though they were constantly dashed by their huge legs and feet.
24 Birds of multi-colored feathers that dwelt in the hollows of the trees were like the various races of beings dwelling in the person of Vishnu. 25With the movements of their painted leaves, resembling the fingers of their palms, trees seemed to keep time with the dancing vines and point out the modes of their vibration. 26 They danced in delight with their branching arms and clasping armlets of vines to think on the nourishment that every part of their bodies affords to all kinds of living beings. 27 Thinking how they are the support of thousands of creeping plants which entwine round them as their consorts, the trees sang their joyous chime with the buzzing of bees about them. 28 Kind aerial masters who dropped flowers from the trees were hailed by the bees and cuckoos with their joyous notes and tunes.
29 The blooming blossoms of the kadamba tree made it seem to be laughing in derision at the five woody trees on the forest edge which were not bearing their flowers. 30 With its uplifted head reaching to the sky and flights of birds flying over it like hairs on its head, the kadamba tree seemed to defy the parijata tree of Indra’s heaven. 31 A swarm of bees thronging all about the kadamba tree gave it the appearance of thousand eyed Indra, with whom it competed with its greater number of eyes. 32 The tree had a tuft of flowers on some part of its head, appearing like the hood of a snake decorated with gems, as if the infernal serpent had mounted its top with his crowned head in order to survey the wonders of heaven. 33 Smeared with the pollen of its flowers, the tree appeared like the god Shiva anointed with his powdered ashes, while its shady dwelling overhung with luscious fruits refreshing passing travelers with rest and repast.
34 The kadamba tree was like the Nandana garden of paradise, having alcoves under its thickening branches and caves formed by the flowery vines below it, while the birds of heaven hovered about it like its perpetual inhabitants.
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Chapter 50 — Dasura’s Survey of the Heavens
1 Vasishta continued:— Dasura remained in this flowery tree as if he lived on a hill of flowers. In his mind he felt the delight which flowery spring and its fruit could infuse in the heart. 2 He mounted and sat over the high and airy treetop and looked on all sides like the god Vishnu surveying the worlds. 3 There, sitting on a branch that reached to the sky, he engaged in his tapas (penance), devoid of fear and desire.
4 From this his leafy and easy couch of repose, he cast his curious eyes to see the wonders of nature on all sides. 5 He saw a river at a distance, glittering like a necklace of gold. He saw the summits of distant hills rising like nipples on the breast of the earth. The fair face of the sky appeared like the face of a fairy covered under the blue veil of a cloud. 6 The green leaves of trees were like the green garb of this fairy, and clusters of flowers were like garlands on her head. Distant lakes appearing like water-pots were decorated by their aquatic plants and flowers. 7 The fragrance of blooming lotuses seemed like the fairy’s sweet breathing, and the gurgling of the waterfalls sounded like trinkets fastened to her feet. 8 The trees touching the skies were like the hairs on her body, the thick forests resembled her thighs, and the orbs of the sun and moon were like earrings hanging from her ears. 9 Fields of grain seemed like the dots of her sandal paste, and the rising hills were like her breasts covered by a cloudy cloak on their tops. 10 The seas with their shining waters were her mirrors that reflected the rays from the jewels on her starry frame. 11 The season’s fruits and flowers were like embroidery on her bodice, and the rays of the sun and moon were like powders or sandalwood paste over her body. 12 Clouds covering the landscape were her garment, and trees and plants on the forest edges were as the fringes or the skirts of her dress. In this manner he saw all ten sides of heaven full with the form of a fairy queen.
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Chapter 51 — Dasura Begets a Son
1 Vasishta continued:— Dasura remained as an ascetic in his hermitage in that forest. He was known as Kadamba Dasura and he was a giant of austere penance. 2 Sitting on the leaves of the vine growing on the branch of that tree, he looked up to heaven. Then sitting himself in the lotus posture, he called his mind back to himself.
3 Unacquainted with spiritual adoration and unpracticed as to the ceremonial ritual, he started to perform his mental sacrifice with a desire of gaining its reward. 4 Sitting on the leaves of the vines in his aerial seat, he employed his inner spirit and mind to discharge his sacrificial rites of the sacred fire and horse sacrifice. 5 For the space of full ten years he continued there in his acts of satisfying the gods with his mental sacrifices of the bull, horse and human immolations; their rewards in his mind.
6 In process of time, his mind was purified and expanded and he gained the knowledge of the beatification of his soul. 7 His ignorance being dispelled, his heart became purified of the dirt of worldly desires. He came to behold a woodland goddess standing beside his leafy and mossy seat.
8 She was a body of light and dressed in a robe of flowers. Her form and face were beautiful to behold, and her large bright eyes turned wistfully towards him. 9 Her body breathed the fragrance of the blue lotus and her figure charmed his inner most soul. Then he spoke to the goddess standing before him, her eyes demurely looking down. 10 “What are you, O tender lady who looks like a vine covered with flowers? You defy Kama, the god of love, with your beautiful form and eyes resembling lotus petals. 11 Why do you stand like a forest nymph, a goddess befriending flowering vines?” Thus approached, the dame with deer-like eyes and protruding bosom replied to him.
12 She said to the hermit with a sweet and charming voice, “May you prosper in obtaining the objects of your wishes. 13 Anything which is desirable and difficult to attain in this world is surely obtainable when sought after with proper effort by the great. 14 I am, O brahmin, a woodland goddess of this forest, which is so full of creeping plants and decorated by beautiful kadamba trees.”
15 “I strayed here to see the festive joy of the woodland goddesses, which always takes place in this forest on this thirteenth day of the lunar month of Chaitra. 16 Here I saw my companions enjoying their festival of love and felt myself sorry among them to think of my childlessness. 17Finding you accomplished in all qualifications, I have come here with my intent of begetting a son by you. 18 Please sage, do procreate a son in me or else I will burn my body to get rid of my sorrow of childlessness.”
19 Hearing the woodland lady speaking in this manner, the hermit smiled at her, gave her a flower with his own hand, and spoke kindly to her.20 “Leave, O lady! Commit yourself to the worship of Shiva for a whole month and then, like a tender vine, you shall give birth to a boy as beautiful as a bud by this time of the year. 21 But that son, who you desired of me at the sacrifice of your life, will give himself over to austerities like mine and will become a seer like myself.”
22 So saying the sage dismissed the suppliant lady now gladdened in her face, and she promised to perform the necessary for her blessing’s sake. 23 Then the lotus-eyed lady left and went to her home. The hermit passed his months, seasons and years in his holy meditation.
24 After a long time the lotus-eyed lady returned to the sage with her boy, now grown up to the twelfth year of his age. 25 She made her obeisance and sat before him with her boy of the moon-bright face. She uttered her words, sweet as the murmur of a humble bee to a stately amra tree. 26 “This, sage, is the would be son (Bhavya) of both of us, whom I have trained in all the branches of learning. 27 He is only untaught in the best knowledge, that which releases the soul from its return to this world of troubles. 28 My lord, please instruct him in that knowledge, for who is there that should like to keep his own son in ignorance?”
29 Being so asked by her, Dasura spoke to the tender mother and asked her to leave the child and leave. 30 She being gone, the boy remained submissive to his father and dwelt by his side as his student, like Aruna waiting upon the Sun. 31 Accustomed in austerity, the boy continued to receive his best knowledge from his father’s various lectures. He passed a long time with his father in that place as the sage’s son.
32 The boy was taught with various narratives and tales, with many examples and visible illustrations, and also with historical accounts and the evidence of the Vedas and the Vedanta. 33 The boy remained attendant on his father’s lessons without feeling any anxiety. He formed his right notions of things by means of their instruction. 34 Thus the magnanimous father instilled true knowledge into the mind of his son through the fourfold process of right reasoning and correct diction, rather than the elegance of expression, as the cloud by its hoarse sounds indicates approaching rain to the peacock.
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Chapter 52 — The Allegory of Air-Born King Khottha (Mind) and His Grand City
1 Vasishta continued:— Once I passed by that way in my invisible body to bathe in the heavenly stream of Mandakini (Milky Way) in the ethereal regions. 2 After my departure from that region by the way of the Seven Rishis (variously the Pleiades or the Big Dipper), I arrived at the place where Dasura lived on his high kadamba tree. 3 I heard a voice from the hollow of the tree in the forest, which was as charming as the buzzing of a bee fluttering about the bud of a lotus.
4 “Attend my intelligent son!” said Dasura, “to a story that I will tell you by way of a simile of worldly things. It is pleasant to hear.”
5 There is a very powerful king renowned in all the three worlds for his great prosperity. His name is Khottha or air-produced, and he is able to grasp the whole world. 6 All the lords of the earth bend their heads lowly under his rule and bear the badge of their submission to him as a great honor, as poor men are proud to carry a bright gem on the head. 7 He exulted in his valor and possession of all kinds of rarities. There was no one in the three worlds was able to conquer him.
8 His unnumbered acts and exploits are filled with successive pains and pleasures. They are as interminable as the continuous waves of the sea. 9 No one has been able to check the prowess of that mighty brave king by force of fire or sword, as none has ever been able to press the wind in his hand. 10 Even the gods Indra, Vishnu and Shiva have fallen short of following his steps in his ambitious pursuits and in the splendid inventions of his imagination.
11 With his triple form of satwika, rajasika and tamasika qualities (pure, active and passive), he encompasses the world and is able to accomplish all sorts of actions. 12 He is born in the extensive emptiness of the spirit of Brahman with his triple body like that of a bird (flesh, bones and feathers) and he remains in vacuum like air and sound.
13 He built a city in that unlimited space of the universe, having fourteen provinces (the planetary spheres) in its triple divisions of the earth and regions above and below it. 14 It is beautified with forests and groves and pleasure-lawns and hills, and bounded by seven lakes of pearly waters on all sides. 15 It is lit by two lamps of hot and cooling light (the sun and moon) which revolve above and below the city in their daily and nightly courses, as those of righteous and nefarious people.
16 The king peopled this great city of his with many self-moving bodies that move in their spheres quite ignorant of themselves. 17 Some of these are appointed in higher and some in lower spheres, and others move in their middle course. Some are destined to live a longer time and others doomed to die in a day. 18 Their bodies are covered with black skins and hairs and furnished with nine holes which are continually receiving air and carrying it out to keep them alive. 19 They are supplied with five lights of sensation and perception. They are supported by three posts, two legs and a back bone, and a framework of white bones for the beams and bamboo rafters. It is plastered over with flesh like moistened clay and defended by two arms like latches on door way.
20 The great king placed his yaksha of egoism as sentinel to guard this house. This guard is as ferocious as a fierce bhairava manifestation of Shiva in the dark (ignorance), and as timid as a bhairava by day. 21 The masters of these moving bodies play many pranks in them, like a bird plays and frolics in its own nest.
22 This triple-formed king is always fickle and never steady. He resides in many bodies and plays his games there guarded by his egoism sentinel. He leaves one body for another at will, like a bird alights from one branch to another. 23 This fickle minded prince is ever changeful in his will. He lives in one city and builds another for his future home. 24 Like one under the influence of a ghost, he stirs up from one place and runs to another, like a man builds, breaks and rebuilds his aerial castle as a hobby. 25 The mind sometimes wishes to destroy its former frame and move to another, and it effects its purpose at will.
26 After it had subsided to rest, the mind is produced again as the wave of the sea. Slowly and gradually it pursues a different course in its renewed course of life. 27 In his new life, this king sometimes repents of his own conduct and acts, and then laments for his ignorance and miseries and knows not what to do. 28 Sometimes he is dejected by sorrow, and at other times elated by success, like the current of a river, now going down in the hot season, then overflowing its banks in the rains.
29 This king is led by his hobbies like the waters of the sea by the winds. It puffs and swells, falls and rises, runs fast and ceases to flow at once as in a calm sea.
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Chapter 53 — Explanation of the City
1 Vasishta continued:— Then the boy asked his holy father, who was sitting reclined on his sacred kadamba tree in the midst of the forest of great Asia in the gloom of night. 2 The son said, “Tell me sage, who is this air-born king of supernatural form who you described just now? I do not fully comprehend its meaning, and I want it to be explained to me clearly. 3 Sage, you said that this king constructs a new home for himself while residing in his present body, and leaves for it after he leaves the old frame. This seems impossible to me, as the joining of one tense with another, the present with the future.”
4 Dasura replied:— My son, hear me tell you the meaning of this parable, which will explain to you the nature of this revolving world in its true light.
5 First I told you that in the beginning, a non-entity sprang from the entity of God, and this non-entity being stretched out afterwards gave rise to this illusory world called the cosmos. 6 The empty spirit of the Supreme Deity gives rise to his formless will, which therefore is called air-born (or mind-born). It is born of itself in its formless state from the formless Spirit, and dissolves itself into the same, just like a wave rising from and falling in the bosom of the sea. 7 Will produces everything, and there is nothing produced except by the Will. The Will is the same as its object, which constitutes and exists in it, and it lives and dies along with its object.
8 Know the gods Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, Shiva and the Rudras are offspring of the willful Mind, just like branches are the offshoots of the main tree and summits are projections of the principal mountain. 9 This Mind, in its form of Virinchi, the first manifestation as Brahma, builds the city of the three worlds in the vacuum of Brahman by reason of it being endowed with intelligence from Omniscience. 10 This city is composed of fourteen worlds (planetary spheres) containing all their peoples, together with chains of their hills and forests and those of gardens and groves. 11 It is furnished with the two lights of the sun and moon, and adorned with many mountains for human sport.
12 Here pearly rivers flow in their winding courses and bear their swelling waves and rippling waves, shining like chains of pearls under sunbeams and moonlight. 13 The seven oceans appear like so many lakes of bright waters and, shining with their undersea fires, they resemble the lotus beds and mines of gems beneath the blue sky.
14 It is a distinguished place where gods, men and savages make their commerce with commodities leading either to heaven above or to hell below. 15 The self-willed king (the mind) has employed many persons to act their several parts before him for his pleasure. 16 Some are placed high above this stage to act as gods and deities. Others are set in lower pits of this earth and infernal regions to act their miserable parts as men and naaga serpents. 17 Their bodies are made of clay and their frame work is of white bones. Their plastering is the flesh under the skin like an air-powered machine. 18 Some of these bodies have to act their parts for a long while, while others make their exits in a short time. Some are covered with caps of black hair, and others with white and grey on their heads.
19 All these bodies are furnished with nine crevices, consisting of the two ear holes, two sockets of the eyes, and two nostrils with the opening of the mouth, which are continually employed in inhaling and exhaling cold and hot air by their breathing. 20 The ear holes, nostrils and palate serve as windows to the abode of the body. The hands and feet are the gate ways, and the five inner organs are like the lights of these homes.
21 Then the mind creates of its own will the delusion of egoism, which like a yaksha demon takes possession of the whole body, but flies before the light of knowledge. 22 The mind, accompanied by this delusive demon, takes great pleasure in diverting itself with unrealities. 23 Egoism resides in the body like a rat in a barn or a snake in hollow ground. Upon advance of the sunlight of reason, ego falls down like a dew drop from the blade of grass. 24 It rises and falls like the flame of a lamp in the home of the body. With all its desires, it is as noisy as the sea with its ceaseless waves.
25 The mind constructs a new house for its future home by virtue of its interminable desires in its present house, and which are expected to be realized and enjoyed in its future state. 26 But no sooner does it cease to foster its desires than it ceases to exist and loses itself in that state of supreme bliss of which there can be no end. 27 But it is born and reborn by its repeated desires, just as a child sees a ghost by its constant fear of it. 28 Ego spreads the view of this miserable world before him. Absence of self knowledge blocks the sight of all objects from view, like a veil of thick darkness that hides all things from sight. 29 In this way, one’s own attempt exposes himself to the miseries of the world, then he wails at his fate like a foolish monkey that brought on its own destruction by pulling out the peg from the chink in the timber.
30 The mind remains in eager expectation of the enjoyment of its desired objects, like a stag standing with its mouth lifted waiting for a drop of honey to fall from a honeycomb hanging on high. 31 The wistful mind now pursues its desired objects, then forsakes them in disgust. Now it longs for joy, then it grows sulky at its failure like a fretful child.
32 Now try diligently, my boy, to extricate your mind from all outward objects and fix your attention to the inner object of this meditation. 33 The willful mind takes at its pleasure its good, bad and moderate or sober forms, known under the names of sattva, rajas and tamas. 34 The bad or weakened form of the mind delights in worldliness and by debasing itself with all its greedy desires, reduces itself to the state of worms and insects in future births.
35 The good disposition of the mind is inclined towards virtuous deeds and the acquisition of knowledge. By these means the mind advances both to its solitude and self enjoyment. 36 In its form of moderation, the mind observes the rules and laws of society and conducts itself in the world in the company of friends and members of the family. 37 After renunciation of all these three forms, sattva, rajas and tamas (purity, action and laziness) and abdication of egoism and desires, it reaches to the state of the absolute Supreme Being.
38 Therefore shun the sight of what can be seen and repress your fleeting mind by your sober intellect. Diminish your desires for all internal as well as external goods. 39 For though you may practice your austerities for a thousand years and crush your body by falling from a precipice upon stones, 40 and although you burn your body alive on a flaming pyre or plunge yourself into the undersea fire, or if you fall in a deep and dark pit or well or rush upon the edge of a drawn and sharp sword, 41 or if you have Brahma himself or even Shiva for your teacher, or get a very kind and tender hearted ascetic for your religious guide, 42 or whether you are situated in heaven or on earth or in the hell regions of Patala below, you have no way of liberation except by keeping your desires under control.
43 Therefore, exert your courage and dominate your irresistible, violent desires and passions, which will secure your pure and transcendent joy of peace and holiness.
44 All things are linked together under the bondage of desire. This bond being broken asunder makes desired objects vanish into nothing. 45The real is unreal and the unreal is real, just as the mind may make it appear to be. All reality and unreality consists in our conception of them, and in nothing else. 46 As the mind conceives a thing to be, so it perceives the same in actuality. Therefore, if you want to know the truth of it have no conception of anything.
47 Act as the world goes, without liking or disliking anything. Thus, desires being at an end, consciousness will rise to the unfathomable beyond the knowledge of the mind. 48 The mind, having sprung from the Supreme Soul in the form of goodness, afterwards is inclined towards the unrealities of the world and surely alienates itself from the Supreme and exposes itself to all sorts of misery.
49 We are born to the doom of death, but let us not die to be reborn to the miseries of life and death again. It is for the wise and learned to take themselves to that state which is free from these pains. 50 First learn the truth and attain the true knowledge of your soul. Then abandon all your desires and dislikes of the world. Being thus prepared with a dead-like unconsciousness of your internal feelings, you will be able to come to the knowledge of that transcendental state which is full of perfect bliss and blessedness.
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Chapter 54 — Dasura Explains: Desires Vanish when You Give Them No Thought
1 The son asked, “What is this desire, father? How is it produced and grown? How is it destroyed at last?”
2 Dasura replied:— Desire or will is situated in the mind, which is the mental part of the one eternal, universal and spiritual substance of God. 3Desire gets the form of a monad from a formless unit, then by its gradual expansion extends over the whole mind and fills it like a flimsy cloud soon covers the sky.
4 Remaining in Divine Consciousness, the mind thinks of what can be thought as if they were distinct from itself. Its longing after them is called its desire, which springs from it like a germ from its seed. 5 Desire is produced by desiring something, and it increases itself both in size and quantity only for our trouble, and not for any good or happiness at all.
6 The accumulation of our desires forms the world, just as the accumulation of waters makes the ocean. You have no trouble without your desire. Being free of desire, you are free from the miseries of the world. 7 It is by mere chance that we meet the objects of our desire, and an act of unavoidable chance makes us liable to lose them. They appear before us as secondary lights in the sky, then fly away like a mirage vanishes from view. 8 As a man who has jaundice from eating a certain fruit sees everything as yellow with his jaundiced eye, so the desire in the heart of man pictures the unreal as a reality before him.
9 Know this truth that you are an unreality yourself and you must become an unreality afterwards. 10 He who has learnt to disbelieve his own existence and that of all others, and who knows the vanity of his joy and grief, is not troubled by the gain or loss of anything. 11 Knowing yourself as nothing, why do you think of your birth and your pleasures here? You are deluded in vain by the vanity of your desires. 12 Do not entertain your desires or think of anything that is nothing. By living in this manner you may be wise and happy.
13 Try to relinquish your desire and you will evade all difficulties. Cease to think of anything and your desire for it will disappear of itself. 14Even the crushing of a flower requires some effort, but it requires no effort to destroy your desire. It vanishes of itself when you lack it thought. 15You have to open the palm of your hand to get a hold of a flower, but you have nothing to do to destroy your frail and false desire. 16 He who wants to destroy his desire can do it in a instant by forgetting the thought of his desired object.
17 Thoughts repressed from other objects and fixed in the Supreme Spirit will enable one to do what is impossible for others to effect. 18 Kill your desire by desiring nothing. Turn your mind from all things by fixing it in the Supreme, which you can easily do yourself. 19 Our desires being quieted, all worldly cares come to a standstill and all our troubles are put to a dead stop.
20 Our wishes constitute our minds, hearts, lives, understandings and all our other faculties of desire. These are all only different names for the same thing without any difference in meaning. 21 There is no other business of our lives than to desire and to be doing, and when done to be desiring again. As this restless craving is rooted out of the mind, it sets it free from all anxiety.
22 The world below is as empty as the hollow sky above us. Both are empty nothings, except that our minds make something or other of them agreeably to its desire or fancy. 23 All things are unsubstantial and unsubstantiated by the unsubstantial mind. The world being only a creation of our fancy, something essential desired, there is nothing substantial for you to think about.
24 Our reliance on unrealities proving to be unreal leaves no room for our thinking about them. The suppression of their thoughts produces a perfection of detachment. There is nothing more desirable on earth. Therefore forget all that is unreal. 25 The proper discernment of things will preserve you from the excess of joy and grief. The knowledge of the vanity of things will keep out your affection or reliance on any person or thing.26 The removal of reliance on the world removes our attachment to it and consequently prevents our joy or sorrow at the gain or loss of anything.
27 The mind that becomes the living principle stretches out his city of the world by an act of its imagination, then turns it about as the present, past, and future worlds. 28 The mind that is subject to the sensational, emotional and willful feelings loses the purity of its intellectual nature and plays many parts by its sensuousness. 29 The living soul also forgets the nature of the Universal Soul from which it is derived and is transformed to a puny animalcule in the heart of man, where it plays its pranks like an ape in the woods.
30 Its desires are as irrepressible like the waves of the ocean, rising and falling in expectation of having every object of the senses. 31 Our desire is like every piece of straw that is lit by fire, and it burns and blows out in its invisible form within the mind. 32 Our desires are as fickle as flashes of lightning. They proceed from the minds of the ignorant like lightning bolts from watery clouds. They are equally fleeting and misguided, and must be speedily avoided by the wise.
33 Desire is undoubtedly a curable disease as long as it is a transient disease of the mind. But it becomes incurable when it takes a deep root in it. 34 The knowledge of the unreality of the world quickly cures the disease of desire, but the certainty of worldly knowledge makes it as incurable as the impossibility of removing the blackness of coal. 35 What fool will attempt to wash a coal white, or convert a materialist to a spiritualist, or turn a raven or black man to whiteness?
36 The mind of a man is like a grain of rice covered under its husk, which is soon husked upon the threshing-floor. 37 The worldliness of the wise is as soon removed like the husk of rice, and the blackness of a cooking kettle. 38 The blemishes of a man are blotted out by his own efforts. Therefore you must try to exert yourself to action at all times.
39 He who has not been able to master his vain desires and hobby whims in this world will find them vanish of themselves in course of time. Nothing false can last forever. 40 The light of reason removes the false conception of the world, just like the light of a lamp dispels darkness from a room at sight and night vision removes the secondary moon.
41 The world is not yours, nor are you of this world. There is nobody or anything here related to you, nor are you related to any. Never think otherwise or take the false for true. 42 Never foster the false idea in your mind that you are master of large possessions and pleasant things. Know yourself and all pleasant things are for the delight of the Supreme Maker and Master of all.
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Chapter 55 — Vasishta and Dasura Meet; Further Description of the Kadamba Forest
1 Vasishta said:— Hear me, Rama, who is the delight of Raghu’s race and shines like the moon in the firmament of Raghu’s family. After I heard the conversation between Dasura and his son, 2 I descended from the sky to the top of the kadamba tree, which was decorated with its green leaves and beautiful fruits and flowers. Then with my spiritual body, I sat myself slowly and silently on top of the tree, as a light cloud descends on the summit of a mountain.
3 I saw Dasura there, sitting like a giant by subduing the organs of his body and shining with the luster of his penance, like fire blazing with its flame. 4 The light issuing from his body reflected purple gold on his seat and lit that spot like sunbeams emblazon the world. 5 Seeing me present myself before him, Dasura spread a leafy seat for me to sit down and then honored me according to the rules of ceremonial law. 6 Then I joined with the luminous Dasura to continue his discourse, which was meant for the edification of his son and salvation of mankind from the miseries of life.
7 With Dasura’s permission, I looked into the hollow of the tree and saw herds of stags grazing fearlessly about it. 8 It was as delightful as a dwelling overhung with vines where smiling flowers shed their light and breathed their fragrance to the winds. 9 Fantail deer flapped their long, hairy and moon-bright tails against the herb-like tree, like flimsy white clouds sweep over the sky. 10 The tree was adorned with fringes of pearly dewdrops and arrayed all over with the flowery garb of its blossoms. 11 Smeared with the dust of its flowers, it appeared to be anointed with sandal paste, while its reddish bark cloaked it in roseate red. 12 Decorated with flowers, the tree seemed to be standing in its bridal attire. It resembled a bridegroom embracing his twining brides.
13 The dwellings of shrubberies all around resembled the leafy huts of hermits which, covered with their blossoms, looked like a city flying flags in festivity. 14 Shaken by the stags in the act of rubbing their bodies, the trees darted their flowers abundantly upon the ground. Outlying lands were as shattered as if they were broken by the horns of fighting bulls. 15 Peacocks daubed with flower dust flying on the top of a nearby hill looked evening clouds gliding over it.
16 Here a goddess seemed to be playing on the lawns, red flowers in her hands and smiling sweetly with blooming blossoms. She reveled with the nectarine honey of flowers and shed her beauty on all sides. 17 The closing buds, resembling her eyelids, were lulled to sleep by the forest breeze breathing constantly with the fragrance of the flowers. Clusters of flowers forming her breasts were hidden under the bodice of leaves. 18 She sat at the window of her alcove, formed by twining creepers and vines, dressed in the purple garb of the flying powdery dust of flowers. 19 She swung in her swinging cradle of bluish blossoms adorned with various floral ornaments from head to foot. 20 She moved about the flowers in the garb of a woodland goddess, looking on all sides with her azure eyes of fluttering blue-bees, and singing to them with the sweet notes of the black kokila nightingales in the trees.
21 The bees, tired with their labor of love, refreshed themselves by sipping the dewdrops trickling on the tops of flowers. Then taking their repast on the starch-like meal, they slept together with their mates in the cells of flower cups. 22 The bee couples living in the flower cells, giddy from sipping the honey of the flower cups, were humming their love tunes to each other.
23 For a moment the sage remained attentive to the murmur proceeding from the village beyond the forest. Now he listened with pricked up ears to the busy buzz of blue bees and flies at a distance. 24 Then the sages looked down and saw moonbeams spread like a sheet of fine linen over the blades of grass on the ground below. 25 They saw beautiful antelopes sleeping in their leafy beds on the ground below the stretching branches of shady trees, as if they were the progeny of their native forest. 26 They saw fearless birds chirping on the branches and others sleeping confidently in their nests. They saw the ground covered with living creatures feasting on the ripe fruits that had fallen. 27 They saw long lines of black bees lying mute on the ground like strings of beads, blackening it with their dark bodies. 28 The forest was smelling with fragrance and the sky was covered by a cloud of flowers. The dust of kadamba blossoms colored the ground with a perfumed grey, and kadamba fruit covered the face of the land.
29 What more need be said other than there was no part of the tree which was not useful to living beings. 30 Here deer were sleeping on fallen leaves and there others were resting on the bare ground. Birds sat on the banks and beaches of the streams all about that lofty tree.
31 As they were looking at the beauties of the forest in this manner, the night passed away as quickly as a night of festivity. 32 The son of the hermit kept talking with me on many subjects and derived many useful instructions from my teaching. 33 As we conversed with each other on different subjects, the night passed away as quickly as that of a conjugal pair. 34 Now it began to dawn and blushing flowers began to open their petals while the host of stars on high disappeared from their arena of the sky.
35 I then took my leave and was followed by the hermit and his son for some distance from their kadamba tree, where I left them for my aerial course to the heavenly stream. 36 There, having performed my holy ablution, I came down under the roof of heaven and then entered the celestial region of the sages, which is situated in the midway sky.
37 Now I have related to you, Rama, this story of Dasura that you may learn from his example the unreality of the apparent world which is only a shadow of the ideal one. 38 It was for this reason that I told you what Dasura had said by way of explanation of the phenomenal world as a shadow of the ideal world. 39 Therefore, know the Spirit like Dasura, and imitate his example in the magnanimity of your soul. Forsake the unreal and pursue reality for your permanent delight.
40 Rub out the dirt of desire from your mind and see the image of truth in it as in a mirror. Thus you will attain the highest state of knowledge and be honored in all worlds as a perfect being.
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Chapter 56 — The Paradox of the Soul as Passive Cause; Spirit & Corporeality Do Not Mix
1 Vasishta continued:— Knowing the world to be a nothingness, you must cease to take any delight in it. For what reasonable being is there who would delight in its unreality? 2 If you take the phenomenal world for a reality, you may continue to enslave yourself to the unreal material and lose the spiritual nature of your soul. 3 If you know it to be a temporary existence, why should you take any interest in what is so frail and unstable, rather than care for your immortal soul?
4 The world is no substantial existence, nor are you a being of its emptiness. The world is only a clear reflection of the Divine Mind extending over all infinity. 5 The world is neither an agent nor is it the act of any agent. It simply is the reflection of the ideal without any agency of its own.
6 Whether the world is with or without an agent, or has a maker or not, still you cannot determine whether it is a real substance except that it appears so to your mind. 7 The soul is devoid of all organs of action and with all its activity, it remains motionless and without action, as anything that is inactive and immovable. 8 The world is the production of a fortuitous chance, and none but children place any reliance on it. 9 The world is neither stable nor fragile, but it is mutable from one state to another. It is known to us by its repeated reproductions and visibility. 10 It is neither everlasting nor a momentous thing. Its constant mutability contradicts its firmness, and its nothingness is opposed to its temporariness.
11 If the soul is the active power without its organs of action, it must be unfailing and entire because the continuance of its inorganic operations cannot weaken its powers. 12 Therefore there is an irresistible destiny which is absolutely overruling. The soul is existence and nonexistence itself. It is sedate and continuous, and all visible disturbances are only false appearances.
13 The limit of a hundred years for human life is only a very small portion of unlimited duration. Therefore it is very astonishing that anyone should be concerned with this small portion of his existence (in disregard of his eternal life).
14 If we grant that worldly affairs are durable, yet still they are not deserving of your reliance, because what faith can you rely on the union of two opposites such as the mind and matter? 15 And if the state of worldly things is unsteady and uncertain, it can not be deserving of your confidence. Say, can you be sorry at the dissolving of the foam and froth on milk or water? Then why should you lament at the loss of the perishable?
16 Know, O strong armed Rama, that reliance on the world is the fetter of the soul to it. It does not behoove anybody to join the perishable and imperishable together like water and its froth.
17 Although the soul is the agent (or source) of all actions, yet it remains as no agent at all. It is unconnected with its actions, as the lamp with its light. 18 Doing all it does nothing, like the sun directing the business of the day without doing anything by itself. It moves like the sun without moving from its place, but retains its station in its own orbit.
19 There is some hidden cause guiding the course of the world other than the soul and body, just as there is an unknown cause of the course of the Aruna River in spite of its being blocked by stones.
20 When you have known this for certain by your own proficiency, O Rama, and when you have well ascertained this truth by its clearest evidence, 21 you ought no more place any reliance on material things, which are as false as an ambient flame, or a vision in dream, or as any falsehood whatever. 22 As a stranger is not to be taken into your friendship on his first appearance, so you must never trust or rely on anything of this world through your ignorance. 23 Never place your reliance on anything of this world with the fond desire of an over-heated man looking towards the moon, or a cold-stricken man towards the sun, or a parched man does towards water in a mirage.
24 Look upon this ideal world (which is born of your brain) as you look upon a creature of your conception, a vision in your dream, an apparition, or the appearance of two moons in the sky by your visual deception. 25 Shun your reliance on the fair creation of your imagination and without minding what you are, conduct yourself cheerfully in your sphere. 26 Shun your desires and the thoughts of your agency, even when you are doing anything at all.
27 It is a general law that the proximity of the cause causes the act, even without the will of the actor, just as the presence of a lamp enlightens the room without the will of the lamp. 28 Look at the kurchi tree blooming and blossoming under the influence of heavy clouds, and not of its own accord. So it is destined for the three worlds to appear to sight under the influence of the Supreme Being. 29 As the appearance of the sun in the sky employs all beings to their daily duties without his will or command, so the omnipresence of God causes the actions of all beings of their own spontaneity and without his will, act or fiat. 30 And as a bright gem reflects its light without any will on its part, so the mere existence of God causes the existence of all worlds.
31 Thus are causality and its lack both situated in your soul, which therefore is called the cause of your actions because of its presence in the body, but in no way its cause owing to its lack of will. 32 The entity of the soul being beyond the perception of sense, it is neither the agent nor recipient of any action. But being confined in the conscious body, it is thought to be both an active and passive agent. 33 Thus the properties of both causality and its lack reside in the soul. You may take it in any light you want for your purpose and rest content with your belief. 34 But firmly believing yourself to be situated in the body doing actions without thinking of yourself as their author will save you from the guilt of all your acts.
35 The man who does not employ his mind to his actions becomes indifferent (vairagya) to the world. He is free from the world who is certain that he is no agent of his actions. 36 Whether a man is fond of his enjoyments or forsakes them in disgust, it is all the same to he who thinks himself to be no actor of them.
37 But if you wish to remain Rama with your high ambition of doing everything in the world, that is also good, and you may try to do that. 38 But if I do not fall into such a great error as to have this high aspiration of yours, then I am never liable to the passions of anger, enmity, and other violent emotions in this world.
39 The bodies that we bear are nourished by some and burned by others. Such being the state of our own being, we have no cause for our joy or sorrow in it. 40 Knowing ourselves to be the authors of our own happiness and misery, and knowing that we are the causes for the rise and dissolution of the world in our view, we have no reason to be joyful or sorry about it. 41 When we have that sweet composure which is a balm to all the diseases in our soul, then there is an end of the joys and sorrows of our own making. 42 Fellow feeling for all living beings makes the best state of the mind. The soul that is so disposed is not subject to reincarnation.
43 Rama, make this the best lesson for your conduct in life, that with all your activities you continue to think yourself as no actor at all. 44Remain quiet and steady as you are by resigning all things to themselves. Never think that it is you who does or undoes anything. 45 But if you look to the different ways in which you do one thing or the other, then you can have no rest or quiet but must run in the way that leads to the trap of perpetual struggle and misery.
46 The belief of a man’s corporeality, that he is a destructible body and not a spiritual being, is only a bed of thorns to him. Therefore it must be avoided by all means in order to evade the danger of his imminent destruction. 47 Corporeality is to be shunned as a hell-hound feeding on dog meat. After the cloud of corporeality disappears from view, the light of spirituality will appear. 48 After the clouds of corporeal desires disperse, the pure light of spirituality presents the appearance of bright moonbeams of holiness. It is by the help of this light that the spiritual person is able to steer across the ocean of this world.
49 Rama, remain in that best and blessed state in which the wisest, best and holiest of men have found their rest. It is the constant habit of thinking yourself as nothing and not doing anything, or that you are all things and are doing everything as the Supreme Soul knows itself to be, or that you are some person having a personality of your own, and yet nobody.
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Chapter 57 — The Question of Duality again Deferred; First Avoid Desire
1 Rama said, “Your words, O brahmin, are true and well spoken. I find the soul to be the inactive agent of actions, the impassive recipient of their effects, and the spiritual cause of the corporeal. 2 I find the soul to be the sole lord of all and omnipresent in its course. It has the nature of consciousness and the form of transparency. It resides in all bodies, as the five elements compose the bodies of land and sea. 3 Now I come to understand the nature of Brahman. I am as pacified by your speech as the heated mountain is cooled by rainwater.”
4 “From its seclusion and unwillingness, the soul neither does nor receives anything, but its universal action of pervading makes it both the actor and sufferer. 5 But sage, there is a question too vivid and irritating in my mind. I pray you remove it by your enlightened speech, as moonbeams dispel the darkness of the night. 6 Tell me sage, where do these dualities come from? There is the reality of one and the unreality of the other, and that this is “I” and that is not me. If the soul is one and indivisible, how is this one thing and that another? 7 There being but one self-existent and self-evident soul from the beginning, how does it become subject to these opposites, like the bright disc of sun comes to be hidden under clouds?”
8 Vasishta answered:— Rama, I will give the correct answer to this question of yours when I come to my conclusion. Then you will learn the cause of these dualities. 9 Rama, you will not be able to comprehend my answers to these questions until you become acquainted with my solution to the question of liberation.
10 Only an adult youth can appreciate the beauty of a love song. So it is that only a holy man can grasp the sense of what I say about these abstruse subjects. 11 Sayings of such great importance are as fruitless with ignorant people as a work on erotic subjects is useless to children. 12There is a time and a season for every subject for men, just as autumn produces the harvest and not spring. 13 The preaching of a sermon is selectable for old men like fine colorings are suitable for clean canvas. So a spiritual discourse of deep sense suits one who has known the Spirit.
14 A little earlier I mentioned something which may serve to answer your question, although you have not fully comprehended its meaning. 15When you come to know the Spirit in your own spirit, you will doubtlessly come to find the answer to your question by yourself. 16 I will fully expound on the subject of your question at the conclusion of my argument when you have arrived at a better knowledge of these things. 17 The spiritual man knows the spirit in his own spirit, and it is the good grace of the Supreme Spirit to manifest itself to the spirit of the spiritual man.
18 Rama, I have already described the argument concerning the agency and inertness of the soul, yet it is your ignorance of this doctrine that makes you foster doubts. 19 The man bound to his desires is a bondsman, and one freed from them is said to be set free from his slavery. Cast away your desires and you will have no cause to seek freedom. 20 First forsake your foul desires, then be free from your desire of worldly possessions. Then foster your better wishes, and at last incline to your pure and holy leanings. 21 After having conducted yourself with pure desires, get rid of even these at the end. Then being freed from all desires, be inclined towards and united with your intellect. 22 Then renounce your intellectual propensity, together with your mental and conscious inclinations, and finally having reached the state of settled tranquility, get rid of your mind also in order to set yourself free from all other desires.
23 Be an intellectual being and continue to breathe your vital breath. But keep your imagination under control and take no account of the course of time or the revolution of days and nights. 24 Forsake your desire for the objects of sense and root out your sense of individual ego which is the root of desire. Let your understanding be calm and quiet and you will be honored by all. 25 Drive away all feelings and thoughts from your heart and mind, for he who is free from anxieties is superior to all.
26 Let a man practice his samadhi trance or other sorts of intense meditation or not, he is reckoned to have obtained his liberation whose elevated mind has lost its reliance on worldly things. 27 The man devoid of desires has no need to observe or avoid pious acts. The freedom of his mind from dependence on anything is sufficient for his liberation.
28 A man may have well studied the scriptures, and discussed about them in conversation, yet he is far from perfection without perfect renunciation and silence. 29 There are men who have examined everything and wandered in all parts of the world, but there are few who have known the truth. 30 Of all things observed in the world, there is nothing that may be truly desirable and is sought after by the wise. 31 All this excitement of the world and all the pursuits of men tend only towards the support of the animal body. There is nothing in the world that leads to the edification of the rational soul.
32 Search all over this earth, in heaven above and in the infernal regions below, and you will find only few people who have known what is worth knowing. 33 It is rare to find a wise man whose mind is devoid of its firm reliance on the vanities of the world, whose mind is freed from its desire or disgust of something or another as agreeable or disagreeable.
34 A man may be lord of the world or he may pierce through the clouds and search heaven (by yoga), yet he cannot enjoy the solace of his soul without his knowledge of it. 35 I admire those high minded men who have bravely subdued their senses. It is from them that we have the remedy to remove the curse of our repeated births. 36 I see every place filled by the five elements, and a sixth is not to be seen anywhere in the world. Such being the case everywhere, what else can I expect to find in earth or heaven or in the regions below?
37 A wise man, relying on his own reason and judgment, steps out from the abyss of this world as easily as he leaps over a ditch. But he who has cast aside his reason finds the world as wide as the broad ocean. 38 The man of enlightened understanding looks upon this globe of the earth like the bulb of a kadamba flower, round as an apple or a ball. He neither gives nor receives nor wants anything in this world. 39 Shame on the foolish who fight for this tiny piece of earth and wage warfare destroying millions of their fellow creatures.
40 How can anyone live and enjoy the blessings of this world for a whole kalpa when he can not escape the sorrow consequent on the loss of all his friends during that period? 41 He who has known the self has no craving for heavenly bliss within himself because he knows his gain of all the three worlds can never lead to the strengthening of his soul. 42 But the avaricious are not content with all they have and like the body of this earth, is not full with all its hills and mountains and surrounding seas. 43 There is nothing in this earth or in the upper and lower worlds which is of any use to the sage acquainted with spiritual knowledge.
44 The mind of the self-knowing sage is one vast expanse like the spacious sky. It is tranquil and sedate and unconscious of itself. 45 It views the body as a network of veins and arteries, pale and white as frost and all cellular within. 46 It sees the mountains floating like foam on the surface of the transparent ocean of Brahman. It looks upon consciousness as blazing brightly like the sun over the mirage of existence. 47 It finds the nature of the soul to be as extensive as the ocean containing creation as its waves. It considers the all-pervasive soul to be like a big cloud raining down in showers of scriptures and knowledge. 48 Fire, moon and sun, as every opaque atom in nature, appear as fuel in a furnace that needs to be lit by the blaze of the intellect.
49 All embodied souls of men, gods and demigods rove in the wilderness of the world, feeding upon their fodder of food like deer grazing in their pasture. 50 The world is a prison house in which everyone is a prisoner with his wearisome body. The bones are the latches of this dungeon, the head its roof, the skin its leather, and the blood and flesh of the body are like the drink and food of the imprisoned. 51 Men are like dolls covered with skin for the amusement of children. They are continually wandering in quest of food, like cattle running towards their pasture grounds.
52 But the high-minded man is not of this kind. He is not moved by worldly temptations, just as a mountain is not shaken by a gentle breeze. 53The truly great and wise man rests in that highest state of eminence in which the stations of the sun and moon are seen as the lower regions. 54 It is by the light of the Supreme Spirit that all the worlds are lit and the minds of all are enlightened. But the ignorant are immersed in the ocean of ignorance and nourish only their bodies in disregard of their souls.
55 No worldly good can allure the heart of the wise who have tested the vanity of temporal things. No earthly evil can obscure their souls which are as bright as the clear sky which no cloud can darken. 56 No worldly pleasure can gladden the soul of the wise man, just as the dance of monkeys can give no joy to the heart of Shiva which delights in the dancing of Parvati. 57 No earthly delight can have its seat in the heart of the wise, as sunlight is never reflected in a gem hidden under a bushel.
58 The material world appears to be a solid rock to the unmoved ignorant, but it seems like a fleeting wave to the wise. The ignorant take great pleasure in the transitory enjoyments of the world, but the wise take them to no account, as a swan despises to look upon the moss of a lake.
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Chapter 58 — The Song of Kacha
1 Vasishta said:— Regarding this subject, Rama, I will tell you the holy song sung of old by Kacha, the son of Brihaspati, the teacher of the gods.
2 This son of the divine tutor lived in a grove in some part of Mount Meru where by means of his holy meditation he found the tranquility of his spirit in the Supreme Soul. 3 His mind being filled with the ambrosial nectar of divine knowledge, he derived no satisfaction at the sight of the visible world composed of the five elements. 4 Being rapt in his mind with the vision of the Holy Spirit, he saw nothing else beside him. Then he fervently uttered to himself the following joyful song.
5 “What is there for me to do, refuse, receive or reject, and what place is there for me to go or refrain from going when this whole is filled by Divine Spirit like the water of the great deluge? 6 I find pleasure and pain inherent in the soul and the sky and all its sides contained in the magnitude of the soul. Thus knowing all things to be full of the Holy Spirit, I forget and sink all my pains in my spirit. 7 The Spirit is inside and outside of all bodies. It is above and below and on all sides of all. Here, there and everywhere is the same Spirit. There is no place where it is not.8 The Spirit abides everywhere and all things abide in the Spirit. All things are the same with the Spirit and I am situated in the same Spirit. 9 There is nothing intelligent or unconscious which is not the Spirit. All is Spirit and so am I also. Spirit fills the whole space and is situated in every place.10 I am as full of that Spirit and its indescribable bliss as the all encompassing water of the great deluge.”
This was how Kacha was thinking in the dwelling of the golden mountain. 11 He uttered the sound Om, and it rang on all sides like the ringing of a bell. First he first uttered the vowel “O” and then the nasal “m” which tops it like a tuft of hair. He remained meditating on the spirit in his mind, not as situated in or without it.
12 Rama, thus did Kacha continue to think in himself and chant his holy hymn, being freed from the foulness of flesh and rarefied in his spirit like the breath of the wind. His soul was as clear as the sky in autumn after the dark clouds of the rainy season are dispersed.
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Chapter 59 — How Brahma Creates and Sustains
1 Vasishta continued:— There is nothing in this world except the gratification of carnal desires and the pleasure of eating, drinking and lust with the vulgar. But the good and great desire the lasting good of men.
2 Crooked and creeping beings and things, beasts and wicked men, and ignorant people are gratified only with carnal pleasures. They are all fond of everything that is conducive to their bodily enjoyments. 3 They are human asses who dote on the beauty of female bodies which are no better than lumps of flesh, blood and bones. 4 This may be desirable to dogs and devouring animals, but not to man. All animals have fleshy bodies, just as trees have trunks of wood and minerals their forms of earth.
5 There is the earth below and the sky above and nothing that is extraordinary before us. The senses pursue sensible objects, but human reason finds no delight in them. 6 Men’s consciousness only leads them to error. True happiness, which is desired by all, is situated beyond all sensible objects and gratifications. 7 The result of worldly pleasure is sorrow and misery, just as the product of a flame is soot and blackness. The functions of the mind and senses are all fleeting and have their rise and fall by turns. All enjoyments are short lived owing to the fleeting nature of objects and the decay of our powers of enjoyment. 8 Prosperity fades away like a plant encircled by a poisonous snake. Our consorts die away as soon as anything born of blood and flesh. 9 The delusion of love and lust makes one body embrace another, both of which are composed of impure flesh and blood. Such are the acts, O Rama, that delight the ignorant.
10 Wise men take no delight in this unreal and unstable world which is more poisonous than poison itself and is able to infect even those who have not tasted the bitter affliction of grief. 11 Because the thought of your materiality has taken possession of your mind, forsake your desire of enjoyment and seek to be united with your spiritual essence.
12 Whenever the thought of making the unreal world arises in the mind of Brahma the Creator, he takes an unreal body upon himself of his own will. 13 It becomes as bright as gold by his own light, then he is called Virinchi on account of his will, and he is also called Brahma because he is born of Brahma.
14 Rama asked, “How does the world become a solid substance from having been a visionary form in the spirit or mind of God?”
15 Vasishta replied:— When the lotus-born Brahma rose from his cradle of the embryo of Brahma, he uttered the name of Brahman, which is why he was called Brahma. 16 He then had the conception of the world in his own imagination, and that conception assumed a visible and solid form by the power of his will. It is called the conceptional or ideal world.
17 At first he conceived a luminous idea of light which, having assumed a visible form, spread on all sides like a creeping plant in autumn is stretched all about. 18 The rays of this light pierced all sides like threads of gold. They shone and spread themselves both above and below. 19Concealed in this light, the lotus-born cosmic egg (hiranyagarbha) conceived in his mind a figure like his luminous form and produced it as the four-faced Brahma. 20 Then the sun sprung forth from that light and shone like a globe of gold amidst his world-encircling beams. 21 He held the locks of his flaming hair on his head, which flashed like fire all around him and filled the sphere of heaven with heat and light.
22 Afterwards the most intelligent Brahma produced some other luminous forms (marichis) from portions of that light which proceeded from it like waves of the ocean. 23 These most potent and competent beings were possessed of their own concepts and will, and in a moment they produced figures as they thought of and willed. 24 They conceived the forms of various other beings which they produced one after the other as they desired and willed.
25 Then Brahma remembered the eternal Vedas and the many ceremonial rites which he established as laws in his house of this world. 26Having taken the gigantic body of Brahma and the extensive form of the mind, he produced the visible world as his own offspring. 27 He stretched seas and mountains, and made trees and upper worlds. He raised Mount Meru on the surface of the earth and all the forests and groves upon it. 28 It was he who ordained happiness and misery, birth and death, and disease and decay. He created the passions and feelings of living beings under their threefold divisions of sattva, rajas and tamas.
29 Whatever has been created by the hands (faculties) of the mind of Brahma, the same continues to be perceived by our deluded vision. 30 He gave the mind and laws to all beings and he makes the worlds again as they are situated in his mind.
31 Therefore it is error that has given rise to the false conception of the eternity of the world. It is the conception of the mind alone that creates the ideal forms. 32 The acts of all things in the world are produced by their conception and wishes. It is the concept or thought that binds even the gods to their destiny.
33 The great Brahma that was the source of the creation of the world sits in a meditative mood contemplating on everything that he has made.34 It was by a motion of the mind that the wonderful form of the living principle was formed, and it was this that gave rise to the whole world with all its changing phenomena. 35 A motion of the mind made the gods Indra, Upendra and Mahendra and others, as it did the hills and seas in all the worlds above and below us, and in the ten sides of the heaven above.
36 Then Brahma thought in himself, “I have thus stretched out at large the network of my desire. I will now cease from extending the objects of my desire any further.” 37 Being so determined, he ceased from the toil of his creation and reflected on the eternal Spirit within his own spirit. 38 By knowing the Spirit, his mind was melted down by its brightness and reclined on it with the same ease as one finds in his soft sleep after long labor.39 Being freed from his selfishness and egoism, he felt that perfect tranquility which the soul receives by resting in itself and which is like the calm sea after it subsides in itself.
40 The Lord sometimes leaves off his meditation, like the reservoirs of water sometimes overflow their banks and boundaries. 41 He beholds the world as a valley of misery with very little of happiness in it and where the soul is tightly bound to its alternating passions and is led by its changing hopes and fears. 42 He takes pity on the miserable condition of man, and with a view towards their welfare and for their guidance, he promulgates sacred scriptures and rites which are full of meaning. 43 He propounds the Vedas and their branches, the Vedangas, which are filled with spiritual knowledge and the teachings of wisdom. He revealed the Puranas and other scriptures for the salvation of mankind.
44 Again the spirit of Brahma reclined on the Supreme Spirit and was relieved from its toil. He remained as tranquil as the calmed ocean after it was churned by Mandara Mountain. 45 Brahma having observed the efforts of mankind on earth, and having prescribed to them the rules of their conduct, returned to himself where he sat reclined on his lotus seat.
46 Sometimes he remains entirely devoid of all his desires. At other times, from his great kindness, he takes his cares for mankind upon himself.
47 He is neither simple in his nature nor does he assume or reject his form in the states of his creation and cessation. He is nothing other than consciousness which is neither present nor absent in any place. 48 He is conversant with all states and properties of things, and is as full as the ocean without intermixture of any crude matter in him. 49 Sometimes he is quite devoid of all attributes and desires and is only awakened from his inertness by his own desire of doing good to his creatures.
50 I have thus expounded to you about the existence of Brahma and his real states of sattwika, madhyanika and suranika creation. 51 The intellectual sattwika creation is what rises of itself in the Spirit of Brahma, and the mental is the result of his mind and will. The first is the direct inspiration of Brahma into the Spirit of Brahma.
52 After creation of the material world by the rajas (active) nature of Brahma, there rises the visible madhyanika creation in the air by the will of the creator. 53 In the next step of animal creation, some were born as gods and others as yaksha demigods, and this is called suranika because the suras or gods were created in it.
54 Every creature is born in the shape of its inherent nature, then it is either elevated or degraded according to the nature of its associations. It also lays the foundation of its future state of bondage to birth or liberation by its acts commenced in the present life.
55 In this manner, O Rama, the world has come to existence. Its creation is evidently a work of labor, as it is brought into being by various acts of motion and exertion of the body and mind. All these products of the god’s will are sustained by continuous force and effort on his part.
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Chapter 60 — Production of Sattvic and Rajas-Sattvic Beings
1 Vasishta continued:— O strong armed Rama, after the great father of creation took himself to his activity, he formed and supported the worlds by his energy and might. 2 All living and departed souls are tied like buckets to the rope of their desire and made to rise and fall in this old well of the world by the law of their predetermined destiny.
3 All beings proceeding from Brahma and entering the prison house of the world have to be concentrated into the body of the air-born Brahma, just as all the waters of the sea have to be whirled into the whirlpool in the sea. 4 Others are continually springing from the mind of Brahma, like sparks of fire struck out of a red-hot iron, while many are flying into it as their common center.
5 Rama, all lives are like waves in the ocean of the everlasting spirit of Brahma. They rise and fall in him according to his will. 6 They enter into the atmospheric air like smoke rising and entering the clouds, at last mixed together by the wind in the spirit of Brahma. 7 Then they are overtaken by the elementary atoms flying in the air which lay hold on them in a few days just as demons seize the host of gods with violence. 8 Then the air breathes the vital breath in these bodies which infuses life and vigor in them. 9 Thus living beings manifest themselves on earth, while others are flying as living spirits in the form of ethereal smoke.
10 Some appear in their subtle elemental forms in their airy cells in the sky and shine as bright as the beams of the luminous moon. 11 Then they fall upon the earth like pale moonbeams falling on the Milky Ocean. 12 They land like birds in the groves and forests and become stiffened by sipping the juice of fruits and flowers. 13 Then losing their aerial and bright forms of moonbeams, they settle on those fruits and flowers and suck their juice like infants hanging upon their mothers’ breasts. 14 The protozoa are strengthened by drinking the juice of fruit ripened by the light and heat of the sun, then they remain in a state of unconsciousness until they enter the animal body.
15 The animated microscopic organisms remain in the womb with their undeveloped desires in the same manner as unopened leaves are contained in the seed of a fig tree. 16 All lives are situated in the Great God like fire is inherent in wood and a clay pot resides in the earth. After many processes they have their full development.
17 One that has received no bodily form and moves without manifesting itself is said to be a satya (truth) or spiritual being and has a large scope of action. 18 He who gets his liberation in or after his lifetime is said to have a pure (sattvika) birth, but whoever is obliged to be reborn by his acts is said to belong to the active-pure (rajas-sattvika) class. 19 Anyone of this class who is born to rule over others becomes giddy with pride (tamas, passive) is said to be of the nature of ignorance (tamasika). I will now speak of this class of beings.
20 Those originally born with pure (sattvika) nature are pure in their conduct and have never to be born again. 21 Men of active-pure (rajas-sattvika) temperament have to be reborn on earth, but being elevated by their reasoning powers, they have no more to be born in this lower world.22 Those who have directly proceeded from the Supreme Spirit (without any mixture of these natures) are men filled with every quality and are very rare on earth.
23 The various classes of tamasic (idle, lazy) creatures of ignorance are both unconscious and speechless. They are of the nature of immovable plants and minerals and need no description.
24 How many among gods and men have been reborn to the cares of the world owing to the demerit of their past action! I myself, though filled with knowledge and reason, am obliged to lead a life of the rajas-sattvika kind (owing to my interference in society).
25 It is by your ignorance of the Supreme that you behold the vast extent of the world, but by considering it rightly, you will soon find all this to be only the one unity.
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Chapter 61 — Rajas and Sattva Qualities to Be Desired
1 Vasishta continued:— Those who are born with the nature of rajas-sattva remain highly pleased in the world and are as happy on their faces as the face of the sky with the serene light of moonbeams. 2 Their faces are not darkened by melancholy but are as bright as the face of heaven. They are never exposed to troubles, like lotus flowers are exposed to night frost. 3 They never deviate from their even nature, but remain unmoved like immovable bodies. They persist in their course of beneficence, like trees yielding their fruit to all.
4 Rama, the rajas and sattva natured man gets his liberation in the same manner as the disc of the moon receives its ambrosial beams. 5 He never forsakes his mildness, even when he is in trouble. He remains as cool as the moon even in her eclipse. He shines with the lovely virtue of fellow-feeling to all.
6 Blessed are the righteous who are always even tempered, gentle and as handsome as forest trees beset by vines with clusters of blossoms. 7They keep in their bounds, just as the sea remains within its boundaries, and they are meek with their even tempers, like yourself. Hence they never desire or wish for anything in the world.
8 You must always walk in the way of the godly and not run to the sea of dangers. You should go in life this way without pain or sorrow. 9 Your soul will be as elevated in the rajasic and sattvic states by avoiding the ways of the ungodly and considering well the teachings of the scriptures.10 Consider well in your mind the frail acts that are attended with various evils. Do those acts which are good for the three worlds, both in their beginning and end and forever to eternity.
11 The intelligent, because they are free from narrow views, think that false mental images, the offspring of ignorance, are dangerous to them and not otherwise. 12 For the enlightenment of your understanding, you should always remember and say, “O Lord! What am I, and where does this multiplicity of worlds come from?” 13 By diligently considering these subjects in the society of the wise and righteous, you must neither be engaged in your ceremonial acts nor continue in your unnecessary practices of rituals. 14 You must look at the disconnectedness of all things in the world from you and seek to associate with the righteous, like peacock yearning for rainy clouds.
15 Our inner egoism, outer body, and the external world are the three seas surrounding us one after the other. Only right reasoning provides the raft to cross over them and bring us under the light of truth. 16 By refraining to think of the beauty and firmness of your exterior form, you will come to perceive the internal light of your consciousness hidden under your egoism, like the thin, connecting thread concealed under a string of pearls.17 That eternally existent and infinitely extended blessed thread connects and stretches through all beings. Like pearls strung with a thread, all things are linked together by the latent spirit of God.
18 The empty space of Divine Consciousness contains the whole universe just like the emptiness of air contains the glorious sun, and like the hollow of the earth contains an ant. 19 The same air fills the cavity of every pot on earth, so it is the one and the same consciousness and spirit of God which fills, enlivens and sustains all bodies in every place. 20 As the ideas of sweet and sour are the same in all men, so the consciousness of the Intellect is alike in all mankind. 21 There being only one real substance in existence, it is a tangible error for ignorant folks to say, “This one exists and the other perishes or vanishes away.”
22 There is no such thing at anytime, Rama, which being once produced is resolved into nothing. All these are neither realities nor unrealities, only representations or reflections of the Real One. 23 Whatever is visible and of temporary existence is without any perceptible substantiality of its own. It is only an object of our fallacy, beyond which it has no existence.
24 Why, O Rama! should anybody suffer himself to be deluded by these unrealities? All these accompaniments here are no better than causes of our delusion. 25 The accompaniment of unrealities tends only to our delusion here. If they are taken for realities, to what good do they tend other than to delude us the more?
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Chapter 62 — Vasishta Exhorts Rama How to Conduct Himself
Vasishta speaking:— 1 The diligent and rational inquirer after truth has a natural tendency to rely on the company of the wise and the well matured guru, and discusses matters of the scriptures by the rules of the scriptures he has learned before, and not talk randomly. 2 In this way, by discussing the abstract science of yoga with the good and great and un-avaricious learned, he can attain true wisdom.
3 The man who is so acquainted with the true sense of the scriptures and qualified by his habit of dispassion in the society of holy men shines as the model of intelligence, like yourself. 4 Your liberal mindedness and self-reliance, combined with your cool headedness and all other virtues, have set you above the reach of misery and all mental affliction, and also has freed you from future reincarnation by your attainment of liberation in this life. 5 Truly have you become like the autumn sky cleared of its gloomy clouds. You are freed from worldly cares and you are filled with the best and highest wisdom.
6 He is truly liberated whose mind is freed from the fluctuations of its thoughts and from the flights and fumes of its thickening fancies and ever crowding particulars. 7 Henceforward all men on earth will try to imitate the noble disposition of the equanimity of your mind, which is devoid of its passions of love and hatred, as also of affection and enmity.
8 Those who conform to the customs of their country and conduct themselves in the ordinary course of men in their outward demeanor, and cherish their inner sentiments in the close recesses of their bosoms, are reckoned as truly wise and are sure to get over the ocean of the world on the floating raft of their wisdom. 9 The meek man who has a spirit of universal toleration like yours is worthy of receiving the light of knowledge and of understanding the significance of what I say.
10 Live as long as you have to live in this frail body of yours and keep your passions and feelings under the sway of your reason. Act according to the rules of society and keep your desires under subjection. 11 Enjoy the perfect peace and tranquility of the righteous and wise, and avoid both the cunning of fox-like deceivers of others and the silly foolishness of children.
12 Men who imitate the purity of manners and conduct of those who are born with the property of goodness also acquire the purity of their lives in process of time. 13 The man who is habituated in the practice of manners and the modes of life of another person is soon changed to that mode of life, though he be of a different nature or of another species of being.
14 The practices of past lives accompany all mankind in their succeeding births as their preordained destiny. Only by our vigorous efforts are we able to avert our fates, like kings using their greater might to overcome a hostile force. 15 Only through patience does one redeem his good sense. Only by patient effort may one advance to a higher birth from his low and mean condition. 16 The good have attained better births in life because of their good understanding. Therefore, O Rama, employ yourself polishing your understanding. 17 A God-fearing man is possessed of every good and exerts his efforts to attain Godliness. Only by manly efforts do men obtain the most precious blessings.
18 Those of the best kind on earth long for their liberation in future, which also requires the exertion of tapas and meditation for its attainment. 19There is nothing in this earth or below or in the heaven of the celestials above which is unattainable to a concerned man through his self-efforts. 20It is impossible for you to obtain the object of your desire without the exercise of your patience and dispassion, and through the exertion of your prowess and austerities of celibacy (brahmacharya, a chaste student). Nor is it possible to succeed in anything without the right use of reason. 21Try to know yourself and do good to all creatures by your courage. Employ your good understanding to drive away all your cares and sorrows. In this way you will be liberated from all pain and sorrow.
22 O Rama who is filled with all admirable qualities and endued with the high power of reason, keep yourself steady in acts of goodness and never may the false cares of this world overtake you in your future life.
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YOGA VASISHTA MAHA RAMAYANA