BOOK VI – PART2A – CHAPTERS 1-60 – The Latter Treasury (Uttaradha Bhaga)
Sage Vasishta explains that true detachment is achieved only by the awakening of self knowledge (atman jnana). The result is an automatic cessation of all actions and their results. The person no longer identifies with the body or seeks enjoyment in worldly objects. It is only when this realization of ones identity with the Supreme Self (atman) remains firmly established that one attains supreme liberation (param nirvana).
Vasishta also narrates his own experiences of samadhi. The sense of separate identity is lost in this state. He knows himself as one with pure consciousness (chidakasa). With the attainment of this knowledge everything else becomes known to him. He sees himself as existing everywhere and in all places and therefore he feels no need for movement, as he has nowhere to go to. Though devoid of the sense organs, he can see everything with his eye of wisdom (jnana netra) and he thus perceives that the innumerable universes of myriad names and forms exist within the pure consciousness as his own body. As the discourse nears its end Rama’s doubts and mental agitations are all gone. When Vasishta begins to discuss the ultimate state of bliss (nirvana) Rama and the others in the assembly listening are all lifted to the blissful plane of consciousness. Rama, freed from the distressing thoughts that had been weighing upon his mind, is absorbed in samadhi and has no more questions to ask. As the great sage concludes his discourse, Rama exclaims in rapturous joy, “Ah! I have attained the most wonderful state of nirvana that is the end of the purpose of life! I am always in form (swarupa) but in the extremely peaceful myself there is nothing. There is nothing that is now covetable to me.” Vasishta then goes on to explain that having attained the state of nirvana, rishis are endowed with the highest state of samadhi (sahaj samadhi) that allows them to mix with people and to perform their allotted duties in life without coming down from their samadhi state. Then Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara appear and advise Shri Rama to remain firmly established in brahman always and to joyfully carry out his work and duties in the true spirit of one who is liberated while living (jivan mukta).
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Chapter 1 — Passively Act out Your Duties from Prior Lives
1 Rama asked, “Renouncing the idea of one’s personal ego results in the attendant evil of inertness and inactivity. This naturally brings on a premature decay and decline and the eventual falling off of the body. Then how is it possible, sage, for an indifferent person of this kind to practice his actions and discharge the active duties of life?”
2 Vasishta replied:— Rama, giving up false ideas is possible for a living person, but not for one who is dead and gone. Now listen as I expound this truth which will greatly please your ears.
3 The idea of one’s personal ego is said to be an idealism by idealists, but the meaning of the word emptiness is the repudiation of that false notion. 4 Idealists say the essence of all substances is a creation of the imagination and they describe the idea of pure emptiness as giving up this false conception. 5 The best and wisest of men say that the idea of anything in the world as something in reality is mere imagination, but the belief that all things are an empty nothing displaces the error of thought from the mind. Since all things are reduced to and return to nothing, this alone is the ever lasting something.
6 Know your memory of anything is only your imagination, and its forgetfulness alone is good for you. Therefore try to blot out all your former impressions from your mind as if they were never impressed on it. 7 Erase from your mind the memory of all you have felt or unfelt, and remain silent and secluded like a block after forgetting all things whatsoever. 8 Continue your practice of continuous action with an utter forgetfulness of the past, because your habit of activity is enough to conduct you through all the actions of your life, as it is the habit of a half-sleeping baby to move its limbs.
9 It requires no design or desire on the part of an actor to act the part to which he is led by the course of his prior propensities, just as a potter’s wheel is propelled by its original momentum without requiring the application of continued force for its whirling motion. So, O sinless Rama, consider our actions to be directed by our previous impressions and not our present efforts.
10 Hence renunciation has become the pleasant tendency of your mind, without its inclination to the gratification of its desires. The leanings of men to particular pursuits are directed by the current of their previous inclinations. The predisposition of the mind is said to be the cause of the formation of the character and fortune of a man in his present state, which runs like a stream in its habitual course and carries all men like straw floating along with its currents.
11 I say that lack of desire is our supreme bliss and supreme good. I am proclaiming this with a loud voice and lifted arms, and yet nobody will listen to me. Why is it that none would perceive it as such? 12 The wonderful power of illusion makes men neglect their reason and throw away the richest jewel of their mind from the chest of their breast in which it is deposited. 13 The best way to renunciation is to ignore and deny phenomena, which is what I want you to do. Know that your disavowal of all is of the greatest reward to you, as you will be able to experience for yourself.
14 Sitting silently with calm content will lead you to that blissful state before which your possession of an empire will seem insignificant and only serves to increase your desire for more. 15 As the feet of a traveler are in continuous motion until he reaches his destination, so the body and mind of the covetous are in continuous agitation until his renunciation gives him rest.
16 Forget and forsake your expectation of reward for the result of your actions. Allow yourself to be carried onward by the current of your fortune without taking anything to your mind, like a sleeping man unconsciously carried on by his dreams. 17 Stir yourself to action as it occurs to you without any purpose or desire and without feeling any pain or pleasure. Let the current of the business conduct you onward like the current of a stream carries a bit of straw in its course. 18 Take no pleasure or pain to your heart from the work in which you are employed, but remain unconscious of both, like a wooden machine working for others. 19 Remain insensitive to pleasure or pain in your body and mind and all the sense organs, like sapless trees and plants in winter when they bear their bare trunks without sensitivity in their limbs.
20 Let the sun of your good understanding suck up the consciousness of your six external senses, just as sunshine dries up the moisture of winter plants. Continue to work with the members of your body like an engine is set to work. 21 Restrain your intellectual pleasures from their inclination to sensual gratifications, and retain your spiritual joy in yourself to support your life, just as the ground carefully retains the roots of trees in winter for their growth in spring season.
22 It is the same whether or not you continually gratify the cravings of your senses. They will continue unsatisfied in spite of all your supplies. The vanities of the world will profit you nothing. 23 If you move about continually like a running stream, or like the continuous shaking of water in a hydraulic engine, free from every desire and craving of your mind, then you are said to advance towards your endless bliss. 24 Know this as a transcendent truth, capable of preventing all your future reincarnations in this world: that you become accustomed to the free agency of all your actions without being dragged to them by your desires. 25 Pursue your business as it occurs to you without any desire or purpose of your own towards its object. Continue to turn about your callings, just like a potter’s wheel revolves round its fulcrum. 26 Think neither of the object of your action nor its reward, but know them to be equally alike whether you refrain from action or do it without desire for its result.
27 But what is the use of many words when it can be expressed in brief? The desire for results is the bondage of your soul. Renouncing your desire for results is filled with perfect freedom.
28 There is no business whatever for us in this world that must be done or abandoned at anytime or place. Everything is good that comes from the good God. Therefore sit quietly with your cold detachment before the occurrence of any event. 29 Think of your works as no works and take your abstinence from action as your greatest work. Remain quiet in your mind during both action and inaction, just as Divine Consciousness is in ecstasy amidst the thick of its action.
30 Know that unconsciousness of all things is the true yoga-trance which requires the complete suppression of mental operations. Remain wholly intent on the Supreme Spirit until you are one and the same with it. 31 When you identify with the tranquil and subtle spirit, without any sense of dualism and the existence of anything else, absorbed in thought of the endless and pure essence of God, then nobody can sorrow for anything. 32 Let no desire rise in your detached mind, like a tender germ sprouting in the sterile desert soil. Do not allow a wish to grow in you like a slender blade shooting in the bosom of a barren rock. 33 The unconscious and insensible saint derives no good or evil by doing or not doing any deed or duty in his living state or in his next life. 34 There is no sense of duty or abandonment of duty in the minds of the saintly yogis who always view the equality of all things and acts. Never consider their deeds as their own doings. Do not think they are the agents of their own actions.
35 Consciousness of individual ego and the sense of selfishness will never release a man from the miseries of life. Only his unconsciousness of these can save him from all sorrow. Therefore everyone may choose which of these he may best like. 36 There is no other ego or “me” other than the one self-existent being and God having all forms. Besides the essence of this transcendent being, it is hard to account for any of the many things that appear to be otherwise than Himself.
37 The visible world appearing so vividly to our sight is nothing more than the manifestation of the one Divine Essence in many, like the transformation of gold into the many shapes of ornaments. Seeing the continual decay and disappearance of phenomena, we ignore their separate existence. We acknowledge the sole existence of the one being who lasts after all and forever.
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Chapter 2 — Lack of Choice Means No Responsibility for Actions
1 Vasishta continued:— Do not think of unity or duality but remain quite calm and quiet in your spirit and as cold hearted as damp mud. The worlds are still with the unmoving spirit of the divinity working in them. 2 The mind with its understanding, egoism and all its thoughts is full of the Divine Spirit in its diverse forms. Time and its motion and all sound, force and action, together with all modes of existence are only manifestations of Divine Essence.
3 Divine Spirit has the form of jelly-like mud (i.e., it is plastic in nature) showing all things, forms and colors, and the mind and all its functions also, upon its own mold of endless shapes and types beyond the comprehension of men. 4 Divine Essence forms the patterns, forms and shapes of all things, together with the measurements of space and time and the position of all the quarters and regions of the earth and heavens, all formed out of its own substance like on a mold of clay. So all things existent or nonexistent are the products and derivations of the formative mud and mold of the Divine Spirit.
5 Remain indifferent about the essence of your egoism and selfishness, which is nothing other than that of the Supreme Spirit. Live unconcerned with everything, like a dumb insect inside a stone.
6 Rama asked, “Sage, if a wise and God knowing man lacks the false knowledge of egoism and selfishness, then how is it that the abandonment and renunciation of his duties will impose any guilt or evil upon him, and his full observance of them is attended with any degree of merit or reward?”
7 Vasishta replied:— I also will ask you one question, O sinless Rama, and you should answer it soon if you understand well what is rightly meant by the term duty and that of activity. 8 Tell me, what is the root of action and how far does it extend? Is action destructible at last or not, and how is it totally destroyed at the end?
9 Rama asked:— Why sage, whatever is destructible must be destroyed by rooting it out all together, and not by chopping off branches. 10 The acts of merit and demerit are both to be destroyed together with their results of good and evil. This is done by eradicating and eliminating them altogether.
11 Hear me tell you, sage, about the roots of our deeds. By the rooting them out, our actions are wholly eradicated, never to grow forth anymore. 12 I think, O sage, that this body of ours is the tree of our action that has grown in the great garden of this worlds surrounded with twining vines of various kinds. 13 Our past acts are the seeds of this tree, and our happiness and sorrow are the fruit that cover it. It is green with the vegetation of youth for a while, and it smiles with its white blossoms of grey hairs and the pale complexion of old age. 14 Destructive death lurks about this tree of the body every moment, just as the light-legged monkey climbs over trees to break them down. It is overwhelmed in the womb of sleep, just as a tree is overwhelmed under the mists of winter. Its flitting dreams are like the falling leaves of trees. 15 Old age is the autumn of life and decaying wishes are like the withered leaves. Wife and family are as thick as grass in the wilderness of the world.
16 The reddish palms and soles of the hands and feet, and the other reddish parts of the body, resemble the reddening leaves of this tree which are continually moving in the air with the marks of slender lines upon them. 17 Little reddish fingers with their flesh and bones, covered by thin skin and moving in the air, are like the tender shoots of the tree of the human body. 18 Soft and shining nails, set in rows with their rounded forms and sharpened ends, are like the moon-bright buds of flowers with their painted heads.
19 This tree of the body is the growth of the ripened seed of the past acts of men. The organs of action are the knotty and crooked roots of this tree. 20 These organs of action are supported by the bony members of the body and nourished by the sap of human food. They are fostered by our desires, resembling the core and blood of the body. 21 Again, the organs of sense supply those of action with their power of movement, or else the body with the lightness of all its members from head to foot would not be moved to action without the sensation of their motion. 22 Though the five organs of sense grow apart at great distances from one another, like so many branches of this tree of the body, yet they are moved by the desire of the heart which supplies them with their sap.
23 The mind is the great trunk of this tree which comprehends the three worlds in it. It is swollen with the sap that it draws through its five-fold organs of sense, just as the stem of a tree grows with the juice it draws by the cellular fibers of its roots. 24 The living soul is the root of the mind, and having intellect ingrained, it is always busy with its thoughts which have the same intellect for their root. But the root of all these is the one great cause of all. 25 The intellect is the great Brahman which has no cause of itself. Having no designation or termination, it is truth from the purity of its essence.
26 The consciousness of ourselves as personal ego is the root of all our actions. The internal thought of our personal entity is the root of our energy and gives impulse to all our actions.
27 It is our perception, O sage, which is said to be the source and root of our actions and whenever there is this principle in the mind, it causes the body to grow in the form of the big salmali tree. 28 When this perception, otherwise called consciousness, is accompanied with thoughts of ego and personality, it becomes the seed of action. Otherwise, mere consciousness of the Self is the state of the Supreme Soul.
29 So also when consciousness is accompanied with its power of intellectual reasoning, it becomes the source and seed of action. Otherwise, it is calm and quiet because that is the nature of the Supreme Soul. 30 Therefore the knowledge of one’s personality is the cause of his action, and this causality of action, as I have said, is quite in conformity with your teachings to me.
31 Vasishta said:— Thus Rama, action with discernment is based on the knowledge of one’s personality. Therefore it is impossible to avoid activity as long as the mind is situated in the body and has the knowledge of its personality. 32 Whoever thinks of anything sees the same both within as well as outside of himself. Whether it is in reality or not, still the mind is possessed with a mental fabrication of it.
33 Again whoever thinks of nothing truly escapes from the error of mistaking a mental fabrication for reality. But at present we are not going to discuss whether the reality is a falsity, or the falsity of anything is a sober reality.
34 This thinking principle presents the shadow of something within us and passes under various names like will, desire, mind and its purpose. 35 The mind resides in the bodies of both rational and irrational beings, and in their waking and sleeping states. Therefore, it is impossible to get rid of the mind by anybody at anytime. 36 So long as the mind is busy with its thoughts, neither silence nor inactivity of a living body amounts to refraining from action. Only the unawareness of the meaning of the word action amounts to one’s postponement from acts. 37 Freedom to choose either to do or not to do anything is meant to make one’s action. Therefore, by avoiding your choice in the doing of an act you avoid it altogether. Otherwise there is no other means to avoid an agent’s responsibility for his own acts.
38 Nobody is deemed to be the doer of an act who does not do it by his deliberate choice. Knowledge of the unreality of the world also leads to ignoring all action. 39 Ignoring the existence of the world is renunciation of it. Renunciation of all associations and connections is the same as one’s liberation from them. Knowledge of the knowable One necessarily includes knowledge of all that is to be known. 40 There being no such thing as production, there is no knowledge of anything whatever that is produced. Therefore abandon your eagerness to know the knowable forms and seek knowledge of the only invisible One.
41 There is no knowing whatever of the nature and actions of the quiescent spirit of Brahman. Its action is only the reasoning of its consciousness which evolves itself in the form of an infinite emptiness.
42 The learned well know the teaching of the Vedanta, that “utter unconsciousness is liberation.” Hence no one is exempt from action as long as he lives with his conscious body. 43 Those who regard action as their duty are never released from their subjection to the root of action. This root is the desire mind’s consciousness of its own actions.
44 It is impossible, O Rama, to destroy this bodiless consciousness without the weapon of good understanding. It lies so very deep in the mind that it continually nourishes the roots of action. 45 When we can nourish the seed of bodiless consciousness by our great efforts, then we should be able to destroy bodiless consciousness using the same weapon, effort.
46 In the same manner, we also can destroy the tree of the world with its roots and branches.
47 Only one exists which has no sensation and has the form of endless emptiness. That unintelligible empty form and pure intelligence is the core and substance of all existence.
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Chapter 3 — Disappearance of Phenomena
1 Rama said, “Tell me, O sage, how is it possible to convert our knowledge to ignorance? It is impossible to make a nothing of something or make anything out of a nothing.”
2 Vasishta replied:— Truly a nothing or unreality cannot be something in reality, and a real something cannot become an unreal nothing. In any case, where both of these are possible, there perception and lack of perception of something are equally tangible of themselves.
3 Two senses of the word knowledge are apparent in the example of “a rope appearing as a snake.” Here the knowledge of the rope is certain, but that of the snake is a mistake or error. It is the same with a mirage presenting the appearance of water. 4 Therefore it is better to have no knowledge of these false appearances, whose knowledge tends to our misery only. Know the true reality alone and never think of the unreal appearance.
5 Thought confirming perceptions of the senses is the cause of sorrow for all living beings. Therefore it is better to root out the sense of what can be perceived from the mind and rely only upon knowledge of the underlying Universal Soul. 6 Leave aside the knowledge of parts and the sense of perceiving objects of the senses. Know the whole as one Infinite Soul in which you have your rest and nirvana.
7 Destroy all your acts of merit and demerit by the force of your discrimination. Your knowledge of the impermanency of your deeds, aided by your knowledge of truth, will result in your mastery (siddhi) of yoga. 8 By rooting out the memories of your acts, you put a stop to their results and your course in the world. If you succeed to gain the object of your search by means of your reason, you no longer have any need for your action.
9 Divine Consciousness, like the bael fruit, forms its core and seeds (of future worlds) within itself, lying hidden inside and never bursting out of its bosom. 10 As a thing contained in its container is not separate from the containing receptacle, so all things that lie in the womb of space are included in the infinite space of the Divine Mind which encompasses endless emptiness in it.
11 As the property of fluidity is never separated from the nature of liquids, so thoughts are never separated from the thinking principle of the Divine Mind. 12 Again, as fluidity is the inseparable property of water and light is that of fire, so thoughts and thinking intrinsically inhere in the nature of Divine Consciousness and not as its separable qualities.
13 Thoughts are the action of consciousness’ process of reasoning. Their deprivation gives rise to the imaginary fabrications of error in the mind. There is no other cause of error, nor does it last unless it rises in the absence of reason. 14 Thoughts are the action of the intellect’s process of reasoning, just as movement is that of the wind. By means of their respective actions we have our perceptions of them. But when the soul ceases action, then both of these are at a utter stop within and without us. 15 The body is the field and scope of our actions and our egoism spreads itself over the world, but our unconsciousness and lack of ego tend to put away the world from us just as lack of force puts down a breeze. 16 Unconsciousness of body and mind renders the intelligent soul as dull as a stone. Therefore root out the world from your mind like a boar uproots a plant with its tusk. 17 Only in this way, O Rama, can you get rid of the seed vessel of action in your mind. There is no other way to enjoy the lasting peace of your soul.
18 After the germinating seed of action is removed from the mind, the wise man loses sight of all temporal objects in his full view of the holy light of God. 19 Holy saints never seek to have, or dare to avoid, or leave any employment of their own choice or will. Therefore they are said to be truly saintly souls and minds who are strangers to the preference or rejection of anything. 20 Wise men sit silently wherever they sit and live, their hearts and minds as vacant as the empty sky. They take what they get and do what is destined to them as they are unconscious of doing them. 21 As sediments are swept away by the current of a stream, so saintly and meek minded men are moved to action by a power that is not their own. They act with their organs of action with as much unconcern as babies move their bodies in their half-sleep state.
22 As the sweetest things appear unsavory to those who are satisfied with them, so the delights of the world seem disgusting to those who are delighted with divine joy in themselves. They are so absorbed in their rapture that, like insane people, they are unconscious of what is passing in and about them. 23 Unconsciousness of one’s acts makes abandonment of action, and this is perfected when a person is in full possession of his understanding. It matters not whether a man does anything or nothing with his insubstantial or unconscious organs of action.
24 An action done without desire is an act of unconsciousness. They are not recognized as our actions and leave no trace in our minds. 25 An act which is not remembered, forgotten as if it buried in oblivion, is an act without a doer. This forgetfulness is equal to the abandonment of action. 26 He who pretends to have abandoned all action without abandoning them from his mind is said to be a hypocrite and is devoured by the monster of his hypocrisy. 27 They who have rooted out the prejudice of actions from their lives and taken themselves to the rest and refuge of inaction are freed from the expectation of reward from whatever they do, and also from the fear of any evil for what they avoid to perform. 28 They who have eradicated the seeds of action with their roots and germs from the ground of their minds always have an undisturbed tranquility to rest upon which is attended with a serene delight.
29 The meek are slightly moved in their bodies and minds by the current of business in which they have fallen. The reckless are carried onward, whirling in the torrent, like drunken people lying on the ground or like anything moved by a machine. 30 Those who are seated in any stage of yoga and are graced with the calmness of liberation appear as cheerful as men in a playhouse who are half asleep and half-awake over the act in this great theatre of the world.
31 We say a tree is wholly eradicated when it is drawn out by its roots. If we merely chop off its branches, it will grow again. It must be uprooted from the ground. 32 So the tree of your acts, though its branches be chopped off, will grow again if it is left rooted.
33 To abandon your acts, it is enough to remain unconscious that you are performing them. Other recipes for the same will come to you of themselves.
34 Whoever adopts any other method to abandon his actions, other than those prescribed here, his attempts are as useless as striking the air. 35 The reasoned abandonment of a thing is true renunciation. Whatever is done without intent is like a fried grain or seed that never sprouts or brings forth fruit. 36 An act done with will and physical effort becomes productive with the moisture of desire, but all other efforts of the body without the will are entirely fruitless to their actor.
37 After one has gotten rid of his action and freed himself from further desire, he becomes liberated for life, whether he may dwell at home or in the woods or live in poverty or affluence. 38 A contented soul is as solitary at home as in the midst of the most remote forest, but a discontented mind finds the solitary forest to be as thickly crowded with irritations as much as the disturbances in a family house. 39 A quiet and calmly composed spirit finds the lonely woodland, where a human being is never to be seen even in a dream, to be as lovely as the bosom of a family dwelling. 40 A wise man who has lost the sight of visible phenomena and the endless particulars abounding in this forest of the world beholds the silent and motionless sphere of heaven spread everywhere around him.
41 A thoughtless ignorant whose unsatisfied ambition grasps the whole universe in his heart, rolls over the surface of the earth and all its loud seas with as much joy as upon a bed of flowers. 42 All these cities and towns, so tumultuous with crowds of men, appear to an ignorant, moneyless man as a garden of flowers where he picks up his worthless penny with as much delight as holy men culling fragrant blossoms to make their offerings to holy shrines. 43 The wide earth with all her cities and towns and distant districts and countries, so full of mutual strife and broil, appear to the stained soul of the ignorant and greedy as if they are reflected in their fair forms in the mirror of their minds, or painted in their bright colors upon the canvas of their hearts.
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Chapter 4 — Annihilation of Egoism
1 Vasishta continued:— One abandons the world through diminishing one’s ego, like a lamp going out for lack of oil, and by knowing that all that can be perceived lies within the conscious soul. 2 Abandonment of the world is not giving up actions but renunciation of the knowledge of the objective world. The subjective soul is without the reflection of the visible world, and the objective self is immortal and indestructible. 3 After the knowledge of the individual self and “this” and “that” and “mine” and “yours” becomes extinct like an extinguished lamp, there remains only the intelligent and subjective soul. 4 But he whose knowledge of himself and others, and of “mine” and “yours” and “his” and “theirs” has not yet abated in his subjectivity has no intelligence, tranquility, abandonment or extinction of himself.
5 After extinction of one’s egoism and selfishness, there remains the sole and tranquil and intelligent soul, beside which there is nothing else in existence. 6 The egoistic part of the soul being weakened by the power of true knowledge, everything in the world wastes away and dwindles into insignificance. Though nothing is lost in reality, yet everything is buried with the extinction of the self. 7 The knowledge of ego is lost under that of the non-ego, without any delay or difficulty. It being so easy to effect, there is no need to resort to difficult methods to remove the ego. 8 The thoughts of ego and non-ego are only false conceptions of the mind. The mind being as empty as the clear sky, there is no solid foundation for this error.
9 No error exists unless it moves upon the basis of ignorance. It grows upon misjudgment and vanishes in the light of reason and right judgment. 10 Know all existence to be only Consciousness which extends like an unreal emptiness. Therefore sit silently in the empty space of Consciousness in which all things are extinct as nothing. 11 Whenever the idea of ego occurs to the mind, it should immediately be put down by its negative idea of non-ego, that I am nothing. 12 Let the conviction of non-ego replace that of ego. Ego is a meaningless term, as untrue as empty air or the flower of a tree rooted in the air. Being fixed like an arrow in the bow-string of holy meditation, strive to hit the mark of Divine Essence. 13 Always know that your ideas of ego and you and I are as unreal as empty air. Being freed from the false idea of every other thing, quickly cross the delusive ocean of the world.
14 How can a senseless and beastly man attain the highest state of divine perfection if he is unable to overcome his natural tendency towards egoism? 15 He who by his good understanding has been able to subjugate the six-fold beastly desires of his nature is capable of receiving knowledge of great truths, and not any other foolish man in human shape. 16 He who has weakened and overcome the inborn feelings of his mind becomes the receptacle of all virtue and knowledge. Such a person is called a man in its proper sense of the word.
17 Whatever dangers may threaten you on rocks and hills and upon the sea, you may escape them by thinking that they cannot injure your inner soul, though they may hurt the flesh. 18 Knowing that your egoism is nothing in reality, except your false conception of it, then why do you allow yourself to be deluded by it like the ignorant who are misled by their frenzy? 19 There is nothing here that is known to us in its reality. All our knowledge of things is as false as that of an ornament in gold. So our knowledge of the ego is lost by our forgetfulness of it.
20 Try to dislodge the thoughts that arise in your mind like constant vibrations in the air by thinking that you are not the ego and that your ego has no foundation at all. 21 The man who has not overcome his ego and its accompaniments of covetousness, pride and delusion listens to these lectures in vain. They are useless to him. 22 The sense of egoism and the other which abides in you is nothing other than the stir of the Supreme Spirit which stirs alike in all like motion impels the winds. 23 The uncreated world which appears like an act of creation is inherent and apparent in the Supreme Soul. In spite of all its defects and frailty, it is fair by being situated in the Supreme Soul.
24 The Supreme Soul neither rises nor sets at anytime, nor is there anything else existent or nonexistent besides that One.
25 All this is transcendental in the transcendent spirit of God and everything is perfect in his perfection. All things are quiet in his tranquility and whatever is, is good by the goodness of the great God. 26 All things are extinct in the ever existing spirit of God. They are quiet in his quiescence, and all good in his goodness. This extinction in the ever existing soul of God is no annihilation. It is understood like the sky, but it is not the sky itself.
27 Men may bear the strokes of weapons and suffer the pain of diseases, yet how is it that nobody can tolerate the thought of the extinction of his ego? 28 The word ego is the ever growing seed of the meaning of everything in the world. That egoism being rooted out of the mind, this world also is uprooted from it. 29 The meaningless word ego, like empty vapor or smoke, has the property of soiling the mirror of the soul, which resumes its brightness after removal of the mist.
30 The significance of the word I or ego is as force or fluctuation in the calm and quiet atmosphere. This force being still, the soul resumes its serenity like that of the unseen and imperceptible and one eternal and infinite air.
31 The significance of the word ego produces the shadow of external objects in the mind. That shadow being lost, there follows the serenity and tranquility of the soul which are the attributes of the unknowable, infinite and eternal God. 32 After the cloudy shadow of the sense of the word ego is removed from the atmosphere of mind, the clear sky of transcendent truth appears shining with serene brightness throughout its infinite sphere. 33 After the essence of the soul is cleansed of its impurity, without any alloy or base metal, it shines with bright luster like pure gold when purified from its mixture with copper or other metals.
34 As an insignificant term bears no accepted sense, so the unintelligible word ego bears no definite sense of any particular person. It is equal to the non-ego or impersonal entity of Brahman. 35 Only Brahman resides in the word ego. Brahman exists as named objects and materials, like calmness which is a reflection of being. 36 The meaning of the word ego, which contains the seed of the world in it, is rendered unsuccessful by our ceasing to think of it. Then what is the good of using the words “I” and “you” that serve only to bind our souls to this world?
37 The essence is the pure and blissful spirit which is afterwards soiled under the name of ego. Ego rises out of that pure essence, just as a pot is produced from clay, but its substance is forgotten under its form, just as gold is forgotten in its form of an ornament. 38 From this seed of ego, the visible plant of creation takes its rise and produces countless worlds as its fruit which grow to fade and fall away. 39 The meaning of the word ego, like the minute seed of a long pepper, contains the wonderful productions of nature consisting of the earth and sea, hills, rivers, and forms and colors of things with their various natures and actions. 40 Heaven and earth, air and space, hills and rivers everywhere are like the fragrance of the full blown flower of ego. 41 Ego, in its widest sense, stretches out to the edges of creation and contains all the worlds under it, just as daylight comprehends all objects and their action under it. 42 As early daylight brings the forms and shapes and colors of things to view, so our ego presents the false appearance of the world to our visual sight.
43 When ego, like a particle of dirty oil, falls into the clear water of Brahman, it spreads over its surface in globules that resemble worlds floating in the air. 44 At a single glance, ego sees multitudes of worlds spread before its visual sight, just as the blinking eye observes thousands of specks scattered before its sight. 45 Egoism being extended far perceives the furthest worlds lying stretched before its sight. But the unselfish soul without ego, like a sleeping man, does not perceive the nearest object, just as our eyes do not see the pupils lying within them.
46 We can get rid of the mirage of the world only through the force of unfailing reasoning and the total extinction of our egoistic feelings. 47 Only by our constant reflection upon our consciousness does it become possible for us to attain the great object of our ultimate end, the attainment of the perfection of our souls. Then we have nothing more to desire or grieve at, nor any fear of falling into error. 48 It is possible by your own endeavor, and without the help of any person or thing, to attain your perfection. Therefore I see no better means for you than the thought of the extinction of your egoism.
49 Now Rama, this is the summary of the whole doctrine: that you forget your ego and yourself and extend the sphere of your soul all over the universe and behold them all in yourself. Remain quite calm and quiet and without any sorrow, exempt from all acts and pursuits of the frail and false world, and think of the soul as one whole and not as a part of the universe.
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Chapter 5 — Bhushunda’s Story of a Vidyadhara and His Questions
1 Vasishta continued:— A conscious man who employs himself to inquire after truth, after controlling his nature and restraining his organs of sense from their objects, becomes successful at last. 2 But a man of perverted understanding who has no command over his own nature finds it as impossible to gain any good or better state, just as it is in vain to expect any oil from pressing sand. 3 A little instruction is as impressive on the pure mind as a drop of oil sticks to clean linen, but no education has any effect on the hard heart of fools, just as the most brilliant pearl makes no impression on a dirty glass mirror.
4 I recall an example of this teaching from an old story related to me by the aged Bhushunda in past days, when I was living with him on the top of Sumeru Mountain. 5 In times of old, I once argued this question, among other things, with the time-worn Bhushunda when he was living in his solitary retreat in one of the caves of Mount Meru. I said to him, 6“O long living seer, do you remember ever having seen a person of infatuated understanding who was unconscious of himself and ignorant of his own soul?”
7 Bhushunda replied:— Yes, there lived a vidyadhara spirit of old, on the top of the mountain on the horizon, who was greatly distressed with constant struggle and yet anxious for his longevity. 8 He took up austerities of various kinds and observed abstinence, self-restraint and vows of various forms and thereby attained an life without decay which lasted for many ages of four kalpas of four yugas each. 9 At the end of the fourth kalpa he came to his senses and his perception suddenly burst forth in his mind, like emeralds glaring out of the ground at the roaring of clouds.
10 Then the vidyadhara reflected, “What stability can I have in this world where all beings are seen to come repeatedly into existence, to decay with age, and at last to die and dwindle away into nothing? I am ashamed to live in this state of things and under such a course of nature.” 11 With these reflections he came to me quite disgusted at the frailties of the world and distasteful of harmful vanities. He asked me questions regarding the city with its eighteen compartments [i.e., ten organs, five vital airs, mind, soul, and body]. 12He advanced before me and bowed down profoundly. After being honored by me, he took the opportunity to ask his questions.
13 The vidyadhara said, “I see these organs of my body, which though so frail are yet as hard and strong as any weapon of steel. They are capable of breaking and tearing everything and hurtful in their acts of injuring others. 14 I find my senses to be dim and dark, always disturbed and leading to dangers. The passions in the heart set fire to the forest of our good qualities and boil with the waves of sorrow and grief. The dark ignorance of our minds envelops everything in the deepest gloom. Hence our real happiness consists in control over our bodily organs, senses, and the passions and feelings of the heart and mind. Happiness is not to be had from any object of sense.”
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Chapter 6 — The Vidyadhara Expresses His Disgust with the World to Bhushunda
1 The vidyadhara spirit continued:— Tell me now, what is the most noble state which is devoid of increase or decrease or any pain whatever, which is without beginning or end, and which is most sanctified and sanctifying?
2 For so long I have been sleeping like an inert soul. Now I am awakened to sense by the grace of the Supreme Soul. 3 My mind is heated with the feverish fervor of my unsatisfied desire. It is full of regret at my ignorance. Now raise me from the depth of darkness in which I grovel under my delusion.
4 Many a time does misfortune overtake the fortunate, and bitter sorrows befall the wise and learned, just as in the end, hoarfrost falls on tender lotus leaves and discolors them. 5 We see frail living beings constantly springing to birth and dying away to no purpose. They exist neither for virtuous acts nor their liberation, but are born only to die like gnats and insects.
6 I have passed through different stages of life, now with one state of things and then with another, and deceived by the gain of worthless trifles. We are always discontented with the present state and cheated repeatedly by the succeeding one. 7 There is no end to the rambling of the restless, unwary mind, ever running after its frail pleasures and floating as it were upon the breakers of its enjoyments. The mind has no rest after its struggles but wanders onward in the desert paths of this dreary world.
8 The objects of enjoyment, which are the causes of our bondage in this world, appear at first to be very charming and sweet, but they are all frail and ever changing in their natures, and in the end prove to be our destruction. 9 Moved by our egoism and led by a sense of honor to live in dishonor, I am degraded from the dignity of my high birth as a vidyadhara spirit. I am not pleased with myself.
10 I have seen the pleasure garden of Chitra-radha (chief of gandharvas) and all the sweet and soft flowery beds on earth. I have slept under the branches of wish-fulfilling kalpa trees in paradise and have given away all my wealth and property in charity. 11 I have played in the groves of Mount Meru and about the cities of the vidyadharas. I have wandered about in heavenly cars and in the aerial regions on all sides. 12 I have rested amidst heavenly forces and reposed in the arms of my consorts. I have joined bands of heavenly women in their joyous frolic and music, and I have walked through the cities of the rulers of mankind. 13 I saw nothing of any worth among them, only the bitter sorrow of my heart. Now I come to find by my best reason that everything is burnt down to ashes before me.
14 My eyes, ever inclined to dwell upon the sights of things and become infatuated for the face of my mistress, have been the cause of great affliction to my mind. 15 My eyesight runs indiscriminately after all beautiful objects without its power of considering whether this or that is for our good or bad. 16 My mind also, ever prompt to meet all hazards and to expose itself to all kinds of restraints, never finds its rest until overwhelmed under some danger and exposed to the peril of death.
17 My sense of smell likewise is ever alert seeking after fragrant and delicious things to its own peril. It is difficult for me to repress it, like trying to restrain an unruly horse. 18 I am restrained by the sense of smell through the two canals of my nostrils bearing the body’s rotten breath, coughs and colds. I am constrained like a prisoner of war in a dungeon.
19 My craving tongue forces me to seek my food in these rugged and dreary rocks, the haunt of wild elephants where wolves search for their food. 20 I need to restrain the sensitivity of my body and make my skin endure the heat of hot weather, burning fire, and burning sun. 21 My ears, sage, which ought to take a delight at hearing good lectures, are always inclined to listen to talk that is no way profitable to me but misleads me to wrong, just as grass covering a well tempts a silly deer to his ruin. 22 I have listened to the endearing speeches of my friends and servants and attended to the music of songs and instruments, but I have derived no lasting good from that.
23 I have seen the beauty of women and the natural beauty of objects everywhere. I have seen the sublime beauty of mountains and seas and the grandeur of their foothills and coasts. I have witnessed the prosperity of princes and the brilliancy of gem and jewels. 24 I have long tasted the sweets of the most delicious dishes. I have relished food of the six different tastes served to me by gorgeous ladies. 25 I have associated with lovely damsels clad in silken robes wearing necklaces of pearls, reclined on beds of flowers, and fanned by soft breezes. I have had all these pleasures of touch and enjoyed them unrestrained in my pleasure gardens. 26 I have smelled the odors on the faces of heavenly damsels and I have had the smell of fragrant balms, perfumes and flowers. I have inhaled fragrances carried to me by the breath of soft, gentle and fragrant breezes.
27 Thus have I seen and heard, felt and smelled, and repeatedly tasted whatever sweets this earth could afford. Now they have become dry, distasteful, stale and unpleasant to me. Say, what other sweet is left for me to enjoy? 28 I have enjoyed all these enjoyments of my senses for a full thousand years, and still I find nothing either in this earth or in heaven that is able to yield full satisfaction to my mind.
29 I have reigned for a long time over a realm and enjoyed the company of courtesans in my court. I have vanquished the forces of my enemies in battle, but I know of no great profit that I have gained thereby. 30 Those demons who were invulnerable in warfare and seized the dominion of the three worlds, even those invincible asura demons have been reduced to ashes in a short time.
31 I think the best gain is that which, once gained, leaves nothing else to be desired or gained. Therefore I must seek that precious gain, however difficult it may be to attain.
32 What difference is there between those who have enjoyed the most delightful pleasures and others who have never enjoyed them at all? Nobody has ever seen the heads of the former kind crowned with kalpa tree wreaths or the latter with diminished heads. 33 I have long been led by my organs of sense to enjoy beautiful objects in the wilderness of this world. I have been quite deceived by them, like a child by a cheat. 34 Only now and too late, and after being repeatedly deceived by my organs of sense, I have come to know that the objects of my senses are my greatest enemies. 35 I see the deceitful organs of sense, like so many sly hunters, have laid their snares about the wild forest of this world to trap all unwary people, just as they do silly deer or beasts of prey by enticements. 36 There are few men in this world who are not poisoned by the deadly venom of their serpent-like organs of sense.
37 The forest of the world is full of furious elephants of enjoyments, surrounded by the snare of our desire. Our greed wanders rampant with sword in hand, and our passions stir like keen spearmen tearing our hearts and souls every moment. 38 Our bodies become a field of battle where the commanding charioteer of our egoism has spread a net of deceit employing our efforts as horsemen and our desires as noisy revelers. 39 The organs of sense are the flag-bearers set at the extremities of the battlefield that is our body. They are reckoned the best soldiers who by their bravery are able to overtake these staff-bearers in the field.
40 It may be possible for us in war to pierce even the head of furious Airavata, the war elephant of Indra, but it is too hard for anyone to repress the unruly senses within their proper bounds. 41 The greatest victory that may be won by the valor, magnanimity and fortitude of great men is to conquer the unconquerable organs of sense. 42 When a man is no longer thrown and carried about by the irresistible force of his sensual appetites, like a bit of insignificant straw, he is said to have attained the perfection and excellence of the gods of heaven. 43 I account men of well governed senses and great patience to be truly men. All other men of ungoverned minds are mere moving machines made of the flesh and bones that compose their bodies.
44 O sage, I think I can overcome all things if I could only reduce the force of the five external organs of sense which form the battalion under the mind’s command. 45 By the prescriptions of reason you may be able to heal the sensual appetites which form the great sickness of the mind. Otherwise you cannot get rid of them with any medicine or mantra, or by holy pilgrimage or any other remedy. 46 I am led to great distress by the joint force of my senses, just as a lonely traveler is robbed by a gang of thieves.
47 The organs of sense are like dirty canals of the body with their stagnate and foul watery matter. They are filled with harmful and hairy moss and emit a stink of malaria. 48 The senses seem to me to be like so many deep and dark forests covered with impenetrable snows and full of terrors that render them impassable to travelers.
49 The organs of the outward senses resemble the stalks of lotuses growing upon the dirt of the body with holes in them, but without any visible thread inside. They are knotty on the outside and without any consciousness of their own. 50 Our senses are like so many seas with salty water and huge waves dashing on every side. They are full of various gems and pearls, but they are also full of horrible whales and sharks. 51 Sensual pleasures bring on the untimely death of the sensualist and causes grief and sadness to his friends. It makes others take pity on his state and mourn at his fate, which leads him only to repeated reincarnations.
52 The senses are a vast and unlimited wilderness to men, friendly to the wise and hostile to the unwise. 53 The sphere of the senses is as dark as that of a cloudy sky where the black clouds of distress are continually growling and the lightning strikes of joy constantly flash with their impermanent glare. 54 The organs of sense are like underground crevasses or mounds of mud upon earth. Inferior animals take refuge in them, but they are shunned by superior and intelligent beings. 55 They are like hidden pits covered with thorns and brambles and inbred with venomous snakes in which the unwary fall to be struck and bitten to death.
56 All sensualities are like savage rakshasa demons who wander and revel in their adventurous excursions in the darkness of night and feed on human victims. 57 Our organs of sense are like dry sticks, all hollow and empty in the inside. They are crooked and full of joints, fit only as fuel for fire. 58 The bodily organs are the instruments of vice, like pits and thickets obstructing our way, like a reed flute full of dirt. 59 The limbs of the body are the implements of its action and the instrument for producing an infinite variety of works. They are like the potter’s wheel, turning and whirling with their mud in order to produce the fragile pottery of clay.
60 Thus sage, I am plunged in the dangerous sea of my sensual desires. You alone are able to raise me out of it by your kindness to me. They say that in this world only holy saints are victorious over their senses. Only their company removes the grief of mankind and saves them from the perilous sea of sensuality.
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Chapter 7 — Bhushunda Describes the Seed of the Tree of the World
1 Bhushunda replied:— Having listened to this holy speech by the vidyadhara spirit, I answered his questions in plain words as follows.
2 Well said, O chief of the vidyadharas. It proves that you are awakened to your good sense by your good fortune. After so long you now desire to be raised out of the dark pit and dungeon of the world. 3 Your holy intentions shine brightly like blazing clouds in midday light, and like pure liquid gold melted down by the fire of right reasoning. 4 Your clear mind will easily be able to grasp the meaning of my advice to you, just as a clean mirror is capable of receiving the reflection of every object set before it. 5 You must give your assent to what I say by uttering the syllable Om. You need have no doubt and may take what I have come to know by my long research as certain truth.
6 By giving up your ignorance, you well know that whatever you feel within yourself is not your self, and that it is hard to have it, in spite of your long search. 7 Know it for certain that there is no “I” or “you” and no phenomenal world that may be called real. All this is the blissful God who is no cause of either your happiness or misery.
8 We cannot use reason to determine whether this world is a creation of our ignorance or whether it is ignorance itself, because there being only one simple entity, there is no possibility of the coexistence of duality.
9 The world appears like water in a mirage. It is insubstantial and though it appears to be something real, in reality it is nothing at all. The phenomena that appear to view are all Himself and nothing else. 10 The world being like water in a mirage, it neither exists or doesn’t exist. There can be no reflection of it either. Therefore it must be only Brahman.
11 The seed of the world is the “I” ego, the subjective self. The “you” or the objective world is derived from the subjective self or egoism. Such being the case, the visible world with all its lands and seas, its mountains and rivers and gods also, is a huge tree growing out of the same original source of egoism.
12 The great tree that represents all the worlds grows out of the particle of egoism. The organs of sense are the juicy roots of this tree, and the far extending sky is the many branches of the main tree of the mundane world. 13 The starry frame in the sky is the netted canopy high over this tree. The groups of constellations are bunches of blossoms of this tree. The desires of men are like the long fibers and filaments of the tree. Luminous moons are its ripe fruit. 14 The many spheres of heaven are the hollows of this large and great tree and Meru, Mandara and other mountains are its great boughs and branches. 15 The seven oceans are the ditches of water dug around the trunk and roots of this tree. The infernal region is the deep pit underlying the roots of this tree. The yugas and other cycles of time are its knots and joints, and the rotation of time over it is like a circle of worms constantly sucking up its sap. 16 Our ignorance is the earth in which it grows, and all peoples are like flights of birds hovering upon it. Its false apprehension forms its great trunk which is burnt by the fire of nirvana and our knowledge of the utter extinction of all things.
17 The sights of things, the thoughts of the mind, and the various pleasures of the world are all as false as a forest growing in the sky, or like silver in white clouds or in the coating of conch and pearl shells. 18 The seasons are its branches and the ten sides of the air are its smaller branches because they spread themselves in all directions. Self-consciousness is the core and essential part of this tree and the wind is the breath of life that fluctuates in every part of this tree of the world. 19 Sunshine and moonbeams are the two flowers of this tree. Their rising and setting represent the opening and closing of blossoms. Daylight and the darkness of night are like butterflies and bumble bees fluttering over them.
20 In the end, know that one all pervading ignorance extends all over this tree of the world. Ignorance stretches from its roots in the nether worlds through all sides of the compass to its top in the heavens above. It is all an unreality appearing as real existence. When egoism, which is the seed of this fallacy, is burnt up by the fire of non-egoism, the tree will no longer grow or give seed for future births in this imaginary world.
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Chapter 8 — Bhushunda Describes the Tree and the Temple of Illusion
1 Bhushunda continued and said:— Now vidyadhara, you have heard how the mundane tree comprises the earth with her mountains and cavern abodes, and stretches to all sides and touches the skies bearing all living beings continually moving and living upon it. 2 Such is the tree of the world that grows out of the seed of egoism. But when this is roasted by the fire of reason, it ceases to sprout forth anymore.
3 What is visible does not exist. “I” and “you” are not a positive reality. The fallacy of their existence is completely burnt away by the knowledge that all is identical with God. 4The thought of “I” and “you” becomes the seed of the world. Therefore, the thought of non-ego and no you removes the idea of egoism and you, and this is the true and best knowledge of God.
5 Think of the nonexistence of the world before its creation. Tell me, where was this knowledge of egoism and the other, or this delusion of the unity or duality? 6 Those who strive diligently to get rid of their desires altogether, according to the instructions of their spiritual teachers, truly become successful in obtaining the supreme state. 7 As the confectioner becomes skillful in his profession by learning and practicing of the art of confectionary, so the inquirer after truth becomes successful by constant application and by no other means.
8 Know that the world is a wonderful phenomenon of the intellect. It does not exist in outer space as it appears to the naked eye, but in the inner mind. 9 As a picture is the copy of the pattern inscribed in the painter’s mind, so the opening and closing of our thoughts unfolds or obscures the world to us. 10 This thought or fancy of the mind makes us see a large building supported on huge columns, studded with gems and pearls and gilded with bright gold. 11 It is surrounded by a thousand pillars of precious stones, rising high like the peaks of Mount Sumeru and emitting the various colors of the rainbows, glittering with the brightness of the evening sun on clouds. 12 It is furnished with many a fountain for the enjoyment of men, women and children living under it among the decorations of all kinds of animals. 13 It is full of elements with its enemy of darkness that is light. Darkness and light are its alternate results, hence it has derived its name as picture.
14 There are lakes of lotuses with kalpa trees beside them for the sport of women who pluck their flowers to decorate themselves, flowers that scatter their fragrance as plentifully as clouds sprinkle their rain all around. 15 Here the great boundary mountains are as light as toys in the hands of children. The breath of little children toss and whirl them about like playthings. 16 Here the bright evening clouds are like ladies’ glittering earrings and light autumn clouds are like flying fans and flappers. The heavy clouds of rainy season move as slowly as the waving fans of palm leaves. The orb of the earth moves about under the canopy of the starry heavens like dice on a chessboard. 17 Here all living creatures and the sun and moon move about like dice and the king and queen on a chessboard. The appearance and disappearance of the world in the arena of vacuum are like the gain or loss of a chess piece in a game played by the gods.
18 A thought long dwelt upon and brooded over in the mind comes to appear as really present before the sight of its creator. 19 In the same way, this world of forms is a visible representation of the thoughts of the mind. It is as an exquisite performance of the artist’s mind from a prototype grafted in the soul. 20 It is the apparition of an unreality, present in appearance but absent in substance. It truly is the appearance of an unreality, by whatever cause it may have come to appear.
21 It is like the various forms of ornaments made of the same gold substance. The vault of the world is as full of ever changing wonders as the changeful and wonderful thoughts of the mind. Therefore the cessation of thought causes the extinction of the world. 22 Hence it lies entirely within your power to have or leave the world as you may like.Either disregard your temporal enjoyments, if you seek your final liberation, or continue in your acts and rites in order to continue your repeated reincarnations through endless births and deaths.
23 I understand you have attained a state of reason and you have purified your soul in this your second or third stage of yoga. I believe you will not fall back down to a lower order. Therefore hold your silence and rely on the purity of the soul and shut out all that is visible from your sight.
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Chapter 9 — Bhushunda on the Creations of the Intellect
1 Bhushunda said:— The unintelligible objects of thought are phenomena of the intellect. They lie as calmly in the great, inert body of the intellect like sunbeams shine on the surface of a clear basin of water. 2 The unintelligent world exists in the intelligent intellect by its power of using the intellect and remains alike with the unlike, just as the undersea fire resides in water and latent heat with cold. 3 Both the intelligent and the unintelligent have their source in the understanding process of the intellect which produces and reduces them from and into itself, just as the wind both fans land extinguishes fire.
4 Rest in the intellect that remains after negation of your egoism. Remain in that calm and quiet state of the soul which results from your thinking in this manner. 5 You are settled in your form of intellect, both within and without everything, just as sweet water remains in and out of a raining cloud.
6 There is nothing as “I” or “you.” All are forms of the one intellect connected with the intellect which is Brahman itself. There is nothing else endued with intelligence. The whole is one stupendous intelligence with which nothing can be compared. 7 The one Intelligence is the earth, heaven and nether world, together with their inhabitants of men, gods and demigods. It exhibits in itself the various states of their being and actions. 8 As the world is seen to remain quietly, a representation like a map, so does the universe appear from its portrayal in the emptiness of the Divine Mind. 9 Hence we see various appearances unfolded from the Divine Mind and exhibited to view. It is your choice whether to view them as animate or inanimate beings.
10 These are the wonderful phenomena of the intellect. They appear like so many worlds in the open sky. They are like a mirage created by sunshine to delude the ignorant. They appear as empty air to the learned who see them in their true light. 11 As a blinded eye sees apparitions in clear sky, so the world appears as a phantom before the general short-sightedness of unspiritual and ignorant people. 12 Knowledge of the objective world and that of the subjective ego are mere reflections of ideas in the mind. They appear and disappear by turns, just as a city is gilded or shaded by the falling and failing of sunlight. But in this case, city houses are realities but the apparitions of the mind are as baseless as a garden in the empty sky.
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Chapter 10 — Bhushunda Describes Brahman
1 Bhushunda continued:— Know O vidyadhara spirit, that the world is an evolution of Divine Intelligence, and not as it appears to be: an inert mass distinct from that intelligence. The reflection of hot sunbeams on water is not different from the cold water. In the same way, the reflection of the world in Divine Intelligence is not different from the substance of that Intelligence itself. 2 Therefore remain at rest without making any distinction between your knowledge of the world or its absence. A picture drawn on the tablet of the painter’s mind, and not painted on an outward canvas, is as false as a fairyland in empty air.
3 The omnipotence of Brahman also contains unconscious matter in his intelligence, just as the calm and clear water of the sea contains the matter which is its future waves, froth and foam. 4 As the froth is not produced in water without some cause or other, so creation never proceeds from the essence of Brahman without its particular cause. 5 But the uncaused and causeless Brahman can never have any cause whatever for his creation of the world, nor is there anything in this or any other world that is ever born or destroyed in Brahman. 6 The complete lack of a cause makes the growth and formation of the world an utter impossibility. It is as impossible as the growth of a forest or the sight of a sea in a mirage in a desert.
7 The nature of Brahman is the same as infinity and eternity. It is tranquil and immutable at all times. Therefore it is not liable at anytime to entertain a thought or will to create. Thus, there being no temporary cause for such, the world itself must be identical with Brahman. 8 Therefore, the nature of Brahman is both as empty as the hollow emptiness of air and as dense as the density of a rock. The solidity of Brahman represents the solid cosmos, as his insubstantiality displays the empty atmosphere.
9 Whether you can understand anything or nothing regarding the mysterious nature of God, remain quite unconcerned about it. Rest your soul in that Supreme Spirit in which all intelligence and its absence are both alike. 10 The everlasting bliss of the uncreated God has no reason to create the world which cannot increase his bliss. Therefore, from the improbability of God making a creation for no purpose whatsoever, know that all that exists is uncreated God himself.
11 Of what use is it to reason with the ignorant concerning the production and destruction of creation when they do not know the Divine Intellect? 12 Wherever there is the Supreme Being, there are worlds also because the meaning of the word “world” conveys the sense of their variety. 13 The Supreme Brahman is present in everything in all places, in the woods and grass, in the habitable earth and in waters likewise. So the creatures of God bring forth every part of creation together with the all-creative power.
14 It is improper to ask what is the nature and constitution of Brahman because there is no possibility of ascertaining the essence and absence of the properties of an infinite and transcendental entity.
15 All lack is absent in Him who is full in himself. Any particular nature is inapplicable to the Infinite One who comprehends all nature in him. All words that describe his nature are mere reasoning contrary to logic. 16 Nonexistence is altogether impossible for the everlasting and self-existent being who is always existent in his own essence. Any word descriptive of his nature is only a misrepresentation of his true nature and quality. 17 He is neither I nor you. He is unknowable to understanding and invisible to people in all worlds. Yet He is represented as such and such, which are like false phantoms of the brain presenting themselves as ghosts to children.
18 That which is beyond the sense of “I” and “you” (subject and object) is the truly Supreme, but what is seen under the sense of “I” and “you” proves to be null and void. 19 The distinction of the world from the essence of Brahman is entirely lost in the sight of those who see only the unity of Brahman. The subjective and objective are of equal importance to those who believe all objects of sense are mere productions of fancy from the very substance of Brahman, just as the various ornaments are only transformations of the same gold material.
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Chapter 11 — Bhushunda: Creation Necessarily Is of the Same Nature as Brahman
1 Bhushunda continued:— He is said to abide in the Supreme whose mind is unmoved by the blow of a weapon on his bare body, or even a touch on his naked skin. 2 One must strive by exercise of his manly powers and patience to practice rigid mental quietness and indifference to attain deep sleep state over all visible appearances. 3 A wise man acquainted with the truths of nature is not troubled by the severest trials or persecution, just as the heaving waves of the lake cannot submerge a lotus that stands firm in its water. 4 He who is impassive as empty air to the blows of weapons on his body, and who is unaffected by the embraces of beautiful women, is the only person who inwardly sees what is worth seeing.
5 As poison assumes the form of an insect which is not different from the nature of poison, 6 so the infinite number of souls produced in the Supreme Spirit retain the nature of their original substance and which they are capable of knowing. 7 As an insect born in poison does not die from it, so the human soul produced by the Eternal Soul is not subject to death, nor does it forsake its own nature though it takes a grosser form like vile, poisonous insects. 8 Things born in and produced by Brahman are of the same nature with Brahman, though different from it in appearance, like an insect from poison which adheres to the food and appears as otherwise. So the world exists in Brahman but appears to be without it.
9 No worm is born in poison that does not retain the nature of poison. It never dies in it without being revivified in it.
10 Owing to the indestructible property of self-consciousness, all beings pass over the great gulf of death, just like they leap over a gap in the ground caused by the gouge of a bull’s hoof.
11 Why do men neglect to lay hold on that blessed state which is beyond and above all other states in life, and which when had, infuses a cool calmness in the soul? 12 What a great stain to the pure soul to neglect meditation on glorious God, before which our mind, egoism and understanding all vanish into insignificance. 13 As you look upon a pot or a piece of cloth as mere trifles, so you should consider your body as brittle as glass and your mind, understanding and egoism as empty nothings.
14 The wise and learned divert their attention from all worldly things, and also from their internal powers of mind and understanding, to remain steadfast in their consciousness of the soul. 15 A wise man takes no notice of others’ faults or merits, nor does he notice the happiness or misery of himself or anyone else. He knows full well that no one is the doer or sufferer of anything whatsoever.
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Chapter 12 — Bhushunda on the Identity of Will & Its Work of Desire; Vasishta on the Four Quarters to Attain Liberation from Ignorance
1 Bhushunda continued:— The supposition that an emptiness is a part of the universal emptiness is false, so the concept of an individual ego is altogether an error. 2 The false conception of limited emptiness produced from unlimited emptiness has given rise to the mistaken belief of unreal and individual souls proceeding from the one universal and undivided soul of God.
3 Divine Intellect exists in the form of air in air which it takes for its body. It is manifest throughout the aerial sphere and therefore I am neither the ego nor the non-ego. 4 The unity of subtle intellect is of such a nature that it contains the gravity of the immense world in the same manner as a heavy mountain is contained in an atom. The conscious intellect is of the form of air, empty and all pervading. 5 The intellect, rarer than subtle air, thinks of the gross nature of unintelligent matter which exhibits itself in the form of the world.
6 It is well known to the spiritually minded person that our egoism and the materiality of the world are only expansions of intellect, just as the currents and swirls of streams in whirlpools are only expansions of water. 7 When this process of intellect is stopped, the whole course of nature is at a standstill, just like the water of a lake without waves or the quiet sky without wind. 8 Thus there is no cause of any physical action in any part of the world except what is derived from the agitation of Intellect, without which this whole is a shapeless void and nothing. 9 The action of Intellect makes the world appear to us at all times and places, whether in the sky, water or land, or when we wake, sleep, or dream. 10The action and inaction of the Intellect is imperceptible to our understanding because of the extreme subtleness of the mind, more transparent than clear sky.
11 The knowing soul is one with the Supreme Spirit. It is unconscious of pleasure or pain or the sense of its egoism. Melted down into Divine Essence, it resides as the fluidity of psychic fluid. 12 A wise man has no regard for any external intelligence, fortune, fame or prosperity. Having no desire or hope to rise or fear to fall, he sees none of these things before him, just as one in the gloom of night sees no object visible in broad daylight.
13 The moonlight of the intellect issues forth from the moonlike disc of the glory of God. It fills the universe with its ambrosial flood. There is no other created world, nor any receptacle of time or space except the essence of Brahman which fills the whole. 14 Thus the whole universe being full with the glorious essence of God, it is the mind which revolves with the spheres of the worlds on itself, like ripples on the surface of waters. 15 The revolving world is rolling on like a running stream to its decay with its ever rising and sinking waves and its gurgling and spiraling currents and whirlpools. 16 As moving sands appear like water and as distant smoke seems like gathering clouds to the deluded, so this world appears to them as a gross object of creation, a third thing beside Divine Spirit and mind.
17 As sawed off wood appears to be separate blocks, and as water divided by wind has the appearance of detached waves, so this creation in the Supreme Spirit seems to be something without and different from it. 18 The world is as un-solid and insubstantial as the trunk of a plantain tree, and as false and frail as the leaves of the tree of our desire. It is plastic in its nature, but as hard as stone in substance. 19 It is personified in the form of Viraj with his thousand heads and feet, and as many arms, faces and eyes, his body filling all sides with all mountains, rivers and countries situated in it. 20 It is empty within and without any core. It is painted in many colors and has no color of itself. 21 It is covered with bodies of gods and demigods, gandharvas, vidyadharas, and great naaga serpents. It is inert, moved by the all moving air of the all connecting spirit of God (sutratma). It is animated by the all enlivening vital life force of the Supreme Soul.
22 As the scene of a great city appears brilliant in a painting well drawn on canvas, so the picture of the world displayed by imagination in the retina of the mind appears charming to those who do not choose to consider it in its true light. 23 The reflection of the unreal and imaginary world which falls on the mirror of the fickle and fluctuating mind appears to swim upon its surface, like a drop of oil floating over the surface of water. 24 This world is covered with the network of feelings imprinted in the heart and interspersed with winding, whirling currents of mistake and misery. It runs with the flood of our affections and with silent murmurs of sorrow.
25 Common understanding is ready to attribute choice, the predicates “I” and “you” and so forth to the original and prime Intellect, but none of these is separate from the Supreme One, just as fluid is no other than water itself. 26 The luminous Intellect itself is called creation, or else there is no other creation or any creator. 27 As the power of impulse is inherent in every moving substance, like the blowing of winds and flowing of water, so the Intellectual Soul, being of a empty form, knows all things only in their empty or ideal states. 28 As seas and oceans become the seeming cause for separate countries by separating one land from another, though the vacuum remains ever the same, so delusion is the cause of different ideas and dreams of material objects, but spirit remains unchanging forever.
29 Know the words mind, egoism, understanding and such other words which signify the idea of knowledge proceed only from ignorance. They are soon removed by proper investigation. 30 Through conversation with the wise it is possible to remove one half of this ignorance. By investigation into the scriptures, we can remove a quarter of it. Our belief in and reliance on the Supreme Spirit serves to put down the remaining quarter.
31 Having thus divided yourself into these fourfold duties, and by each destroyed the four parts of ignorance, at last you will find a nameless something which is the true reality itself.
32 Rama said, “Sage, I can understand how a portion of our ignorance is removed by conversation with the wise, and how a quarter of it is driven away by the study of scriptures. But tell me. How is the remainder removed by our belief and reliance in the spirit? 33 Tell me sage, what do you mean by the simultaneous and gradual removal of ignorance? What am I to understand by what you call the nameless one and the true reality, as distinguished from the unreal?”
34 Vasishta replied:— It is proper for all good and virtuous people who are dispassionate and dissatisfied with the world to have recourse to wise and holy men, and argue with them regarding the course of nature in order to get over the ocean of this miserable world. 35 It is also proper for intelligent persons to search diligently after passionless and unselfish men wherever they may be found, and particularly to find and revere such of them who possess knowledge of the soul and are kindly disposed to share their spiritual knowledge with others. 36 Finding such a holy sage takes away half of one’s temporal and spiritual ignorance by setting him on the first and best step of divine knowledge.
37 Thus half of one’s spiritual gloom is dispelled by association with the holy. The remaining two-fourths are removed by religious learning and one’s own faith and devotion.38 Whenever any desire of any enjoyment whatever is carefully suppressed by his own effort, it is called self-exertion and it destroys one fourth of spiritual ignorance. 39 The company of the holy, the study of scriptures, and one’s own efforts tend to take away one’s sins. This is done by each of these alone or all of these together, either by degrees or all at once.
40 Whatever remains after the total extinction of ignorance, whether as something or nothing at all, is said to be the transcendent and nameless or unspeakable something or nothing. 41 This truly is the real Brahman, the undestroyed, infinite and eternal one. Being only a manifestation of the insubstantial will, Brahman is also understood to be a nonexistent blank. By knowing the measureless, immeasurable and unerring Being, rely upon your own extinction in nirvana and be free from all fear and sorrow.
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Chapter 13 — Bhushunda’s Anecdote of Indra’s Rule of an Atomic World
1 Bhushunda said:— The universe contains the totality of existence and appears as a wide extended sphere. It is not in need of any preexistent place or time as recipients of its substance just as ethereal light requires no prop or pillar in the heavens for its support. 2 The fabrication of this triple world is the mere thought or working of the mind. All this is more quiet and calm, more minute and light, and much more translucent than odor residing in the air. 3 The world is a wonderful phenomenon of the intellect. Though it is as minute as a particle of fragrance borne by the wind, the world appears as big as a mountain to outward organs of sense. 4 Everyone views and thinks of the world in the same form and light as it presents itself to him, just as the operations of the mind and visions in a dream appear as they occur to their recipients and to no one else.
5I will tell an old legend of what happened to Indra, the lord of the gods, when he was confined in a minute particle in times long ago. 6 Once upon a time it came to pass that this world grew up as a small fig fruit on a branch of the great tree of a kalpa age. 7 The mundane fruit was composed of the three compartments of earth, sky and infernal regions which contained the gods and demigods of heaven, the hills and living creatures on earth, the marshy lands below, and troops of gnats and flies. 8 It was a wonderful production of consciousness, as high as handsome full-blown buds with the juice of desire. It was scented with all kinds of smelling fragrances that were tempting to the mind by the variety of its tastes that were sweet to eat.
9 This tree grew upon the Brahman tree which was overhung by millions of creepers and orchids. Egoism was the stalk of the fruit which appeared beautiful to sight. 10 It was encompassed by artery nerves called oceans and seas whose light is the principal door of liberation. It secreted the starry heaven above and the moist earth below. 11 It ripened at the end of the kalpa age when it became the food of black crows and cuckoos, or if it fell below there was an end of it by its absorption into the indifferent Brahman.
12 At one time the great Indra, the lord of the gods, lived in that fruit, just like a big mosquito lives in an empty pot as the great leader of its company of small gnats. 13 But this great lord was weakened in his strength and valor by his study and his teacher’s lectures on spiritualism, which made him a spiritually minded person and a seer in all past and future matters.
14 It happened once upon a time, when the valiant god Narayana and his heavenly host had been resting and their leader Indra was weakened in his arms, that the demon asuras rose in open rebellion against the gods. 15 Then Indra rose with his flashing arms and fire and fought for a long time with the strong asuras. At last Indra was defeated by superior strength and fled from the field. 16 He ran in all ten directions, pursued by the enemy wherever he fled. He could find no place to rest, just as a sinner has no resting place in the next world.
17 Then as the enemy lost sight of him for a moment, he made use of that opportunity. He compressed the thought of his big body in his mind and became a minute form on the outside. 18 Then through his consciousness of his personal minuteness, he entered the womb of an atom which was glittering amidst the expanse of solar rays, like a bee entering a lotus bud. 19 He immediately rested in that state and his hope of final bliss in the next. He utterly forgot the warfare and attained the ultimate bliss of nirvana.
20 In that lotus and instantly in his imagination, he conceived his royal palace. He sat in lotus posture as if resting on his own bed. 21 Then Indra, seated in that mansion, saw an imaginary city containing a grand building in the middle, its walls studded with gems, pearls and coral. 22 From within the city, Indra saw a large country all around containing many hills and villages, pasture grounds for cattle, forests and human dwellings. 23 Then Indra felt a desire to enjoy that country he had formed in his imagination, with all its lands and hills and seas. 24 Afterwards Indra conceived a desire to possess the three worlds, together with all the earth and ocean, sky and infernal regions, the heavens, planetary spheres above and mountain ranges below. 25 Thus did Indra remain there as lord of the gods in possession of all abundance for his enjoyments. Afterwards, a son was born to him named Kunda, of great strength and valor. 26 Then at the end of his lifetime, this Indra of unblemished reputation left his mortal body and became extinct in nirvana, like a lamp extinguished for lack of oil. 27 Kunda reigned over the three worlds. Then, having given birth to a boy, he departed to his ultimate state of bliss after the end of his life term. 28 That son also ruled in his time, then departed at the end of his lifetime to the holy state of supreme bliss. He also left a son after him. 29 In this manner a thousand generations of grandsons of the first Indra have reigned and passed away in their time. There is still a prince named Ansaka reigning over the land of the lord of the gods.
30 Thus generations of the lord of immortals still hold sovereignty over the imaginary world of Indra in that sacred particle of sunbeam in empty air. That atomic particle is continually decaying and wasting in this long course of time.
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Chapter 14 — Bhushunda: Countless Indras Ruling an Atomic World
1 Bhushunda continued:— There was a prince born of the race of that Indra who also became lord of the gods. He was endowed with prosperity and all good qualities and devoted to divine knowledge. 2 This prince of Indra’s race received his divine knowledge from the oral instruction of Brihaspati. 3 Knowing the knowable one, the prince persisted in the course of knowledge as he was taught. Being the sovereign lord of the gods, he reigned over all three worlds.
4 He fought against demigods and conquered all his foes. He made a hundred sacrifices and got over the darkness of ignorance by his enlightened mind.
5 He remained long in meditation, his mind fixed in the central channel within his subtle body (the sushumna nadi) that resembles the thread of a stalk of the lotus. He continued to reflect on hundreds of many other matters. 6 Once he had a desire to see the essence of Brahman by the power of his understanding in meditation. 7 He sat in quiet seclusion and in the silent meditation of his tranquil mind, he saw the disappearance of the chain of causes all about and inside himself.
8 He saw the omnipotent Brahman extended in and about all things, present in all times and places and existing as all in all. 9 His hands stretch to all sides and his feet reach the ends of the worlds. His face and eyes are on all sides and his head pierces the spheres. His ears are set in all places and he endures by encompassing all things everywhere. 10 He is devoid of all organs of sense, yet possessed of the powers of all senses in himself. He is the support of all. Being destitute of qualities, he is the source and receptacle of all quality.11 Unmoved and unmoving by himself, he is moving in and out of all things, as well as moving them all both internally and externally. He is unknowable owing to his minuteness and appears to be at a distance though he is so near us.
12 He is like the one sun and moon in the whole universe, and the same land in all the earth. He is the one universal ocean on the globe and the one Mount Meru all about. 13He is the core and gravity of all objects and he is the one emptiness everywhere. He is the wide world and the great cosmos that is common to all. 14 He is the liberated soul of all and the primary consciousness in every place. He is every object everywhere and beside all things in all places. 15 He is in all pots and huts and in all trees and their coatings. He moves carts and carriages and enlivens all men and other animals.
16 He is in all the various customs and manners of men and in all the many modes of their thinking. He resides equally in the parts of an atom as in the stupendous frame of the triple world. 17 He resides as pungency in the heart of pepper and as the empty space in the sky. The three worlds exist in his intellectual soul, whether they are real or mere unrealities.
18 Indra saw the Lord in this manner. Then being liberated from his animal state by the help of his pure understanding, he remained in the same state of meditation. 19 In his abstract thought, the magnanimous god saw all things united in his meditative mind. He saw this creation in the same form as it appears to us. 20 Then he wandered in his mind all over this creation, believing himself as the lord of all he saw. He became the god Indra and reigned over the three worlds and their many colorful spectacles.
21 Know, O chief of the race of vidyadhara spirits, that to this day the same Indra who descended from the family of Indras is still holding his reign as lord of the gods. 22 Then he perceived in his mind, by virtue of his former habit of thinking, the seed of his memory sprouting forth with the lotus stalk in which he thought to have lain before. 23 I have told you about the reign of the former Indra in the heart of an atom in the sunbeam, and of the residence of his last generation, the latter Indra, in the hollow fiber of the lotus stalk. 24So have thousands of other Indras gone by, and are going on still in their fancied realm in the empty sky, all in the same manner and mode as observed by their predecessors.
25 So runs the course of nature in ceaseless succession, like the current of a river running onward to the sea. So do men, whether or not acquainted with divine knowledge, flow on as streams to the abyss of eternity. 26 Such is the lengthening delusion of the world which appears to be true but vanishes to nothing at the appearance of the light of truth. 27 From whatever cause, and in whatever place or time, and in whatever manner this delusion is seen to have sprung, it is made to disappear by knowledge of it.
28 Only egoism produces the wonderful appearance of delusion, like clouds in the sky cause rain. Ego spreads itself as a mist, but disappears immediately at the sight of light.29 He who has gotten rid of his belief in sight of the world and has attained knowledge of the self-reflecting soul, who has placed his belief in one empty form of empty air devoid of all properties and beyond all categories, is freed from all option and settled in the only One.
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Chapter 15 — Bhushunda, the Sense of Ego Is the Seed of Error
1 Bhushunda resumed and said:— Wherever anyone has a thought of ego, the idea of the world is found inherent in it, just as it appeared to Indra within the heart of an atomic particle. 2 The error of the world covers the mind like green grass spreads over the ground. The origin of the error is the idea of one’s ego and it takes its root in the human soul.
3 This minute seed of ego, moistened with the water of desire, produces the tree of the three worlds on the mountain of Brahman in the great forest of emptiness. 4 The stars are the flowers of this tree, hanging on high on the branches of mountain crags. Rivers resemble its veins and fibers, flowing with the juicy core of their waters. The objects of desire are the fruits of this tree. 5 The revolving worlds are the fluctuating waves of the water of egoism. The flowing currents of desires continually supply varieties of exquisite social meetings, sweet to the taste of the intellect. 6 The sky is the boundless ocean full of ethereal waters, abounding with showering drops of starlight. Plenty and poverty are the two whirlpools in the ocean of the earth, and all our sorrows are the mountainous waves on its surface.
7 The three worlds are presented as a picture of the ocean, with the upper lights as its froths and foams swimming upon it. Planets are floating like bubbles upon it and their belts are like the thick valves of their doors. 8 The surface of the earth is like a hard and solid rock, and the intellect moves like a black crow upon it. The hurry and bustle of its people are like the constant rotation of the globe. 9 Infirmities and errors, old age and death, are like waves gliding on the surface of the sea. The rising and falling of bodies in it are like the swelling and dissolving of bubbles in water.
10 Know the world to be a gust of the breath of your ego. Know it also as a sweet scent from the lotus-like flower of ego. 11 Know the knowledge of your ego and that of the objective world are not two different things. They are one and the same thing, just as the wind and its breath, water and its fluidity, and fire and its heat.
12 The world is included under the sense of ego, and ego is contained in the heart of the world. These being productive of one another are reciprocally the container and contained of each other.
13 He who erases the seed of his ego from his understanding by ignoring it altogether has washed the picture of the world from his mind by the water of ignorance of it. 14Know, O vidyadhara spirit, that there is no such thing as ego. It is a causeless nothing, like the horn of a rabbit. 15 There is no egoism in the all pervading and infinite Brahman who is devoid of all desire. Therefore, there being no cause or ground for it, it is never anything in reality. 16 Whatever is nothing in reality could not possibly have any cause in the beginning of creation. Therefore egoism is a nothingness, like the son of a barren woman is a nothingness.
17 The lack of egoism on the one hand proves the deprivation of the world on the other. Thus there remains the Intellect or the one mind alone in which everything is extinct.18 From the proof of the absence of ego and the world, the operations of the mind and the sight of all that can be seen come to an end. Nothing remains for you to care for or fear.19 Whatever is not is a nothing. The rest is as calm and quiet as nothing in existence. Knowing this as a certainty, be enlightened and fall no more to the false error which has no root in nature. 20 Being cleansed from the stain of imagination, you become as purified and sanctified as the holy Lord Shiva forever. Then the sky will seem to you like a huge mountain and the vast world will shrink to an atom.
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Chapter 16 — The Extinction of the Vidyadhara in Samadhi
1 Bhushunda continued:— As I was speaking in this manner, the chief of the vidayadharas became unconscious of himself and fell into the trance of samadhi. 2 Despite my repeated attempts to awaken him from that trance state, he did not open his eyes but remained wholly absorbed in his nirvana trance. 3 He attained the supreme and ultimate state and became enlightened in his soul. He made no other further attempt to know what he sought.
Vasishta speaking:— 4 Rama, I have told you this story to show the effect of instruction on pure hearts, where it floats like a drop of oil on the surface of water. 5 This instruction consists in forgetting the existence of individual ego in the Supreme Spirit. This is the best advice and there is nothing else like this calculated to give peace and comfort to your soul. 6 But when this advice falls on the soil of evil minds, it is suppressed and lost in the end, just as the purest pearl falls from the surface of a smooth mirror. 7 Good advice sticks fast in the calm minds of the virtuous, entering their reasoning souls like sunlight shining in a diamond.
8 Egoism is truly the seed of all worldly misery. The seed of the thorny silk tree grows only prickles on earth. In the same way, the thought that “this is mine” is the out stretching branch of this thorny tree. 9 First the seed ego, then its branches of me or my-ness produce the endless leaves of our desires. Their sense of selfishness produces the burdensome fruits of our sorrows and misery.
10 Then the vidyadhara said (to Bhushunda), “I understand, O chief of sages, that with this knowledge even dull people become long lived in this world. This true knowledge is the cause of your great longevity and that of other sages. 11 After the pure in hearts and minds are once admonished with the knowledge of truth, they soon attain the highest state of fearlessness.”
12 Vasishta said:— The chief of the birds of air spoke to me this way on the summit of Sumeru Mountain. Then he held his silence like the mute clouds on the top of Rishyasringa chain. 13 I took leave of the sagely bird and went to the home of the vidyadhara spirit to learn the truth of the story, then returned to my place which was graced by the assembly of sages.
14 I have told you, O Rama, the story of the ancient bird and the calmness attained by the vidyadhara with little pain and knowledge. Eleven great yugas have elapsed since my conversation with Bhushunda, the ancient chief of the feathered crow tribe.
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Chapter 17 — The Minute Seed of Egoism; as a Cannonball
1 Vasishta said:— The tree of desire which produces the fruit of worldliness and is filled with the taste of all kinds of sweet and bitterness may be checked in its growth by means of the knowledge of one’s lack of egoism. 2 By the habit of thinking one has no egoism, one comes to view both gold and stone and all sorts of rubbish in the same light. By being calm and quiet in all events, one never has any cause for sorrow at anything whatsoever.
3 When the cannonball of egoism is fired from the gun of the mind by force of divine knowledge, we are at a loss to know where it takes its flight. 4 The stone of egoism is flung from the parapets of the body by the gigantic force of spiritual knowledge. We do not know where this heavy egoism will land and be lost. 5 After the stone of egoism is flung away by the great force of the knowledge of Brahman, we cannot say where this engine of the body is lost forever.
6 The meaning of ego is frost in the heart of man. It melts under the sunshine of the lack of ego. It flies off in vapor, then disappears into nothing we know not where. 7 Ego is the juice of the inner part of the body and the lack of ego is the solar heat without. The former is sucked up by the latter and forsakes the dried body like a withered leaf, then flies off where we know not. 8 The moisture of egoism, being sucked up from the leafy body of the living, flies by the process of suction by solar heat to the unknown region of endless vacuum.
9 Whether a man sleeps in his bed or sits on the ground, whether he remains at home or wanders on rocks, whether he wanders over the land or water, wherever he sits or sleeps or is awake or not, 10 this formless egoism abides in him, either as gross matter, the subtle spirit, or in some state or the other which, though far away from him, seems to be united with him. 11 Egoism is seated like a minute seed in the heart of the fig tree of the body where it sprouts forth and stretches its branches and makes up the different parts of the world. 12 Again, the big tree of the body is contained within the minute seed of egoism which bursts out into branches forming the various parts of the universe. 13 As everyone sees the small seed as containing a large tree which develops itself into a hundred branches, bearing all their leaves, flowers and abundant fruit, so the big body resides within the atomic seed of egoism with all its endless parts of physical organs and mental faculties which are discernible to the sight of the intelligent.
14 Egoism is not to be had in the body by reasoning, which points out the mind of everybody, but seek it in the sphere of Empty Consciousness. The seed of egoism does not spring from the heart of unreality. The blunder of the reality of the world is destroyed by the fire proceeding from the spiritual wisdom of the wise.
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Chapter 18 — All Memories Remain in Bits in the Air; Each Sees Only His Own
1 Vasishta related:— There is never and nowhere an absolute death or total dissolution of the body, mind, soul or egoism. The final release is the creation of the inner imagination of the mind.
2 Look at these flying sights of Meru and Mandara Mountains displayed before you. They are not carried to and fro to everybody, but are reflected in everyone’s minds like the flying clouds of autumn in the water of a river. 3 These creations are placed over, above, below and under one another like the coatings of a plantain tree. Creations are either in contact or detached from one another like clouds in the sky.
4 Rama said, “Sage, I do not fully understand the sound sense of what you say by the words, ‘look at these flying sights.’ Therefore I ask you to explain this clearly to me.”
5 Vasishta replied:— Know Rama, that life contains the mind and the mind contains the worlds within it, just as there are various kinds of trees with their various parts contained in the core of a small berry.
6 After a man is dead, his vital energies fly and unite with the ethereal air, like the waters of streams flow into the ocean. 7 Then the winds of heaven disperse his vital energies and the imaginary worlds of his lifetime which existed in the particles of his vital breath. 8 I see the winds of heaven carrying away the vital energies together with their contents of imaginary worlds and filling the whole space of air with vital breath on all sides. 9 I see Meru and Mandara Mountains drifting with imaginary worlds before me. You also will observe the same before the sight of your understanding.
10 The ethereal airs are full with the vital energies of the dead which contain the minute particles of mind. These minds contain the various types of the worlds in them, just as sesame seeds contain oil inside. 11 As the ethereal airs carry the vital energies, which are of the same kind, so the vital breaths carry particles of the mind. These again bear pictures of the worlds in them, as if they were grafted upon them. 12 The same emptiness contains the entire creation and the three worlds with the earth and ocean, all of which are carried in emptiness like different odors are carried by the winds. 13 All these are seen in the sight of understanding and not by the sight of the visual organs. They are the portrayals of our imagination, like the fairylands we see in our dreams. 14 There are many other things more subtle than the visible atmosphere and which, owing to their existence only in our desire or fancy, are not carried upon the wings of the winds as the former ones.
15 There are some certain truths derived from intellect called intellectual principles. They have the power to cause our pleasure and pain and lead us to heaven or hell. 16 Again our desires are like the shadows of cities floating on the stream of life. Though the current of life is continually gliding away, yet the shadowy desires, whether successful or not, ever remain the same. 17 The vital breath carries its burden of the world along its course to the stillness of endless emptiness, just as breezes carry away the fragrance of flowers to the dreary desert where they are lost forever.
18 Though the mind is ever fickle, changeable and forgetful in its nature, yet it never loses the false idea of the world which is inherent in it, just as a pot removed to any place and placed in any state never gets rid of its inner emptiness. 19 So when the fallacy of the false world has taken possession of the deluded mind, it is equally impossible either to realize the form of the formless Brahman or to set the false world at nothing.
20 This world is a revolving body carried about by the force of the winds, yet we have no knowledge of its motion. It is like sitting quietly in a boat that is carried miles away by the tide and winds. 21 As men sitting in a boat have no knowledge of the force which carries the boat forward, so we earthly beings have no idea of the power associated with its rotating motion. 22 As a wide extending city is represented in miniature in a painting at the foot of a column, so this world is contained in the core of the minute atom of the mind.
23 A thing however little or insignificant is given much too great importance by the low and mean, just as a handful of paddy rice is of greater value to a little mouse than gems, and a particle of mud to a contemptible frog than the pearls under the water. 24 A trifle is taken as too much by those who are ignorant of its insignificance, just as the learned in the error of their judgment mistake this imaginary world as a preparation for their future happiness or misery. 25 The inner belief of something as really good and of another as positive evil is a mistake common to the majority of mankind, and to which the learned also are liable in their conduct in this world.
26 As the intelligent and embodied soul is conscious of every part of the body in which it is confined, so the enlightened living soul (jiva) beholds all the three worlds displayed within itself. 27 The unborn and ever lasting God, who is of the form of conscious soul extending over the infinity of space, has all these worlds as parts of his all pervading empty body (as in the god Viraj).
28 The intelligent and ever living soul sees the uncreated worlds deeply impressed in itself, just as a rod of iron, were it endowed with intelligence, would see future knives and needles in itself. 29 A clod of earth, whether endowed with intelligence or not, knows the seed hidden in it which later sprouts. In the same way, the ever living soul knows the world contained in it. 30 As the sensitive or insensitive seed knows the germ, plant and tree within its core, so the spirit of God perceives the great tree of the world conceived in its deepest womb. 31 As a man with eyesight sees the image of something reflected in a mirror which a blind man does not, so a wise man sees the world in Brahman, which the ignorant does not perceive. 32 The world is nothing except the union of the four categories of time, space, action and substance. Egoism, being indistinct from the attributes of the world, exists in God who contains the whole in Himself.
33 Whatever lesson is taught to anybody by means of a parable, know that the simile relates to some particular property of the compared object and not in all respects.
34 Whatever is seen moving or unmoving here in this world is the expanded body of the living soul, without any alteration in its atomic minuteness. 35 Leaving intelligence aside and taking force only, we find no difference between this physical force and the giver of the force. 36 Again, whatever alteration is produced in the motion or choice of any thing or person at any time or place or in any manner, it is all the act of Divine Consciousness.
37 Consciousness infuses the mind with its power of choice, volition, imagination and the like because none of these can sprout in the mind without consciousness and without a conscious cause. 38 Whatever desires and fancies arise in the minds of the unenlightened, they are not like the positive will or decree of the Divine Mind owing to the endless varieties and inconsistencies of human wishes. 39 The desires arising in the minds of the enlightened are like no desires and as if they never arose because 40 all thoughts and desires being groundless, they are as false as children’s idle wishes. For who has ever held the objects of his dream? 41 Intention (sankalpa), with its triple sense of thought, desire and imagination, is impressed by consciousness on the living soul from its past memory. Though we have a notion of this idea of the individual soul, yet it is as untrue and insubstantial as a shadow, but not so original Consciousness which is both real and substantial.
42 He who is free from the error of taking the unreal world for real becomes as free as the god Shiva himself and, having gotten rid of the physical body, becomes manifest in his spiritual form.
43 The imagination of the ignorant whirls about the worlds like cottonseed flying in the wind. But they appear to be as unmoved as stones to the wise who are not led away by their imagination. 44 So there are multitudes of worlds amidst many other things in the vast womb of emptiness which nobody can count. Some are united with one another in groups, and others that have no connection with another. 45 Supreme Consciousness, being all in all, manifests itself in endless forms and actions filling the vast space of infinity. Some are as transient as raindrops or bubbles in air and water that quickly burst and disappear. Others appear as great cities situated in the heart of the Infinite One. 46 Some of these are as durable as rocks, and others are continually breaking and wearing out. Some appear bright as if with open eyes and others dark as if with closed eyelids. Some are luminous to sight and others hidden under impenetrable darkness. Thus the heart of Consciousness resembles a vast expanse of ocean with the waves of creation rolling through all eternity. 47 Some, though set apart, continually tend towards another, like the waters of distant rivers run to mix with those of seas and ocean, and like the luminous bodies of heaven appear together to brighten its sphere.
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Chapter 19 — The Form of Viraj, the Living Cosmos
1 Rama said, “Sage, tell me about the nature of the living soul. How does it assume its different forms? Tell me also, what is its original form and what forms does it take at different times and places?”
2 Vasishta replied:— The infinite consciousness of God, which fills all space and vacuum, takes of its own will a subtle and minute form called by the name of Intellect. This is expressed by the term living soul (jiva). 3 Its original form is neither that of a minute atom nor a bulky mass. It is neither an empty void nor anything having solidity. It is the pure intellect with consciousness of itself. It is omnipresent and it is called the living soul.
4 It is the minutest of the minute and the hugest of the huge. It is nothing at all, and yet the all which the learned call the living soul. 5 Know it as identical with the nature, property and quality of any and every object that exists anywhere. It is the light and soul of all existence. It is identical with all by its absorbing the knowledge of everything in itself.
6 Whatever this soul thinks in any manner of anything at any place or time, it immediately becomes that by its notion thereof. 7 The soul possesses the power of thinking, just as air has its force in the winds. The soul’s thoughts are directed by its knowledge of things and not by the guidance of anyone, like children creating the appearance of ghosts.
8 As the existent air appears to be nonexistent without the motion of the wind, so the living soul which desists from its function of thinking is said to be extinct in the Supreme Deity.
9 The living soul is misled to think of its individuality as the ego by the density or dullness of its intellect. It supposes itself to be confined within a limited space of place and time and within the limited powers of action and understanding. 10 Being thus circumscribed by time and space, and endowed with substance and properties of action and the like, it assumes to itself an unreal form or body with the belief of it being a sober reality. 11 Then it thinks itself to be enclosed in an ideal atom, just as one sees his own unreal death in a dream.
12 Just as in a dream of the mind one finds his physical features changed to another form, so the soul in its state of ignorance forgets its intellectual nature and becomes the same nature and form as it constantly thinks upon. 13 Thinking itself to be transformed into a gross and material form, such as that of Viraj the macrocosm, it views itself as bright and spotted as the moon with the black spot upon it. 14 Then, in its body resembling the moon, it finds the sudden union of the five senses of perception appearing of themselves within. 15 Then these five senses are found to have the five organs of sensation for their inlets, by which the soul perceives the sensation of their respective objects.
16 Then the Purusha, or First Male power known as Viraj, manifests himself in five other forms said to be parts of his body. These are the sun, the sides, water, air, and the land, which are the objects of the five senses. He then becomes endless forms according to the infinite objects of his knowledge. Thus he is manifested in his objective forms, but remains quite unknown to us in his subjective or causal form which is unchangeable without decay.
17 At first he sprang up from the Supreme Being as its mental energy or the mind. He was manifest in the form of the calm and clear sky with the splendor of eternal delight. 18He was not of the five elemental form, but the soul of the five elements. He is called the Viraj Purusha, the macrocosm of the world, and the Supreme Lord of all. 19 He rises spontaneously of himself, then subsides in himself. He expands his own essence all over the universe, and at last contracts the whole in himself. 20 He arose in a moment with his power of volition and with all his desires in himself. He rises of his own will at first and after lasting long in himself, dissolves again in himself.
21 He is the same with the mind of God. He is the great body of the material world. His body is called the container of the eight elementary principles, and also the spiritual form. 22 He is the subtle and gross air manifest as the sky, but invisible as subtle ether. He is both within and without everything, and is yet nothing in himself. 23 His body consists of eight members, namely the five senses, the mind, the living principle and egoism, together with the different states of their being and not being. 24 He (in the form of Brahma) first sang the four Vedas with his four mouths. He determined the meanings of words and it was he who established the rules of conduct which remain in fashion to this time. 25 The high and boundless heaven is the crown of his head and the lower earth is the footstool of his feet. The unbounded sky is his large belly and the whole universe is the temple over his body. 26 The multitudes of worlds all about are the members of his body. The waters of seas are the blood of the scars upon his body. The mountains are his muscles and the rivers and streams are the veins and arteries of his body. 27 The seas are his blood vessels and the islands are the bonds round his persons. His arms are the sides of the sky and the stars are the hairs on his body. 28 The forty-nine winds are its vital airs. The orb of the sun is its eyeball while its heat is the fiery bile inside its belly. 29 The lunar orb is the sheath of his life and its cooling beams are the humid humors of his body. His mind is the receptacle of his desires and the core of his soul is the ambrosia of his immortality. 30 He is the root of the tree of the body and the seed of the forest of actions. He is the source of all existence. He is cooling moonlight diffusing delight to all beings by the healing beams of that balmy moon planet Oshadhisa (lord of medicinal herbs).
31 The scriptures say that the moon is the lord of life, the cause of the body and thoughts and actions of all living beings. 32 It is from this moonlike Viraj which contains all vitality in himself that all other living beings in the universe take their rise. Hence the moon is the container of life, mind, action and the sweet ambrosia of all living beings.
33 The will or desire of Viraj produced the gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva from himself. All the celestial deities and demons are the miraculous creations of his mind. 34 It is the wonderful nature of intelligent Consciousness that whatever it thinks upon in its form of an infinitesimal atom, the same appears immediately before it in its gigantic form and size.
35 Rama, know that the entire universe is seat of the soul of Viraj and that the five elements compose the five component parts of his body. 36 Viraj shines as the collective or Universal Soul of the world in the bright orb of the moon. He diffuses light and life to all individuals by spreading moonbeams which produce vegetable food for the support and sustenance of living beings. 37 The plants supply animal bodies with their sustenance and thereby produce the life of living beings. They also produce the mind which becomes the cause of the actions and future births by the mind’s efforts towards the same.
38 In this manner a thousand Virajes and hundreds of mahakalpa periods have passed away. There are many such still existing and yet to appear, with varieties of customs and manners of peoples in different ages and climates. 39 The first and best and supremely blessed Viraj Purusha resides in the manner in which we conceive him, indistinct in his essence from the state of transcendent divinity, his huge body extending beyond the limits of space and time.
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Chapter 20 — Description of Viraj & the Origin of Individual Life
1 Vasishta continued:— This Viraj Purusha is a volitive principle. Whatever he wills to do at anytime, the same appears instantly before him in its material form of the five elements. 2 O Rama, the sages say that this will has become the world because by being intent upon producing the this world, it expanded in that same form. 3 Viraj is the cause of all things in the world which came to be produced in the same form as their material cause.
4 As the great Viraj collectively is the aggregate of all souls, so is he distributed likewise in the individual souls of everyone. 5 The same Viraj is manifest in the meanest insect and the highest Rudra, in a small atom as in a huge hill. He expands himself from a seed to a very large tree. 6 The great Viraj himself is the soul of every individual, from the creeping insect to the mighty Rudra of air. His infinite soul extends even to atoms that are sensible and conscious of themselves.
7 As Viraj expands and extends his soul to infinity, so he fills the bodies of even microscopic atoms with particles of his own essence. 8 In reality, there is nothing great or small in the world. Everything appears to be in proportion as it is filled and expanded by the Divine Spirit.
9 The mind is derived from the moon and the moon has sprung from the mind. So does life spring from life and fluid water flows from the congealed snow and ice and vice versa. 10 Life is only a drop of seminal fluid, distilled as a particle by the amorous union of parents. 11 Then this life reflects in itself, derives the properties of the soul, and becomes like it in the fullness of its perfections.
12 Then the living soul has consciousness of itself and of its existence as one pure and independent soul. But there is no cause whatever as to how it comes to think of itself a material being composed of the five elements.
13 Opposing nature leads one to error but in fact, nature always remains the same. It is like wrong interpretation of language that instills bad ideas while the character remains the same. 14 The living soul is conscious of its existence by itself. The mind’s instinct to perceive things is devoid of consciousness, and not the breath of life or external air. 15 But being harassed by the frost of ignorance and confined to the objects of sense, the living soul is blinded of its consciousness and is converted to the breathing soul or vital life, and so loses the sight of its proper course. 16 Being thus deluded by the illusion of the world, the soul sees duality instead of its unity. Being converted to the breathing of vital life, unity is lost to the sight of the soul which is hidden under it.
17 We remain confined to this world of ignorance as long we enjoy the idea of ego. But as soon we give up the idea of ego, we become free men. 18 Therefore, O Rama, when you are able to know that there is no salvation and confinement in this world, and no existence or nonexistence, then and there you will be a truly free man.
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Chapter 21 — Earning a Living from the Scriptures
1 Vasishta continued:— A wise man must always conduct himself wisely and not with mere show or affectation of wisdom, because even the ignorant are preferable to affected and pretended lovers of learning.
2 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, what is meant by true wisdom and by the show or affectation of it? What is the good or bad result of either?”
3 Vasishta replied:— A friend to learning is someone who reads the scriptures and teaches to earn his livelihood without endeavoring to investigate into the principles of his knowledge. 4 This is learning only to earn a living in a busy life without showing its true effect upon the improvement of a person’s understanding. 5 Someone satisfied with his food and clothing as the best gains from his learning is known as an amateur and novice in the art of explaining the scriptures. 6 He who performs righteous and ceremonial acts as ordained by law with an intent to gain results is called a probationer in learning and is nearly to be crowned with knowledge.
7 Knowledge of the soul is reckoned as the true knowledge. All other knowledge is merely a semblance of it, being empty of essential knowledge. 8 Those who are content with bits of secular learning without receiving spiritual knowledge, all their labor in this world is in vain. They are called mere novices in learning.
9 Rama, you must not rest here with your heart’s content unless you can rest in the peace of your mind with your full knowledge of the knowable one. You must not remain like a novice in learning in order to enjoy the fruits of this painful world. 10 Let men work honestly on earth to earn their bread and let them take their food for sustenance of their lives. Let them live to inquire after truth and let them learn that truth which is calculated to prevent their return to this miserable world.
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Chapter 22 — The Meaning of Knowledge; the Wise and the Not Wise
1 Vasishta resumed:— The truly wise man, by his knowledge of the knowable One, has placed his reliance in Him, has set his mind to its pristine purity by cleansing it from its worldly propensities, and has no faith in the merit of acts. 2 The truly wise are the learned who know all kinds of learning and yet are employed in acts with indifference to everything. 3 The heart of a truly wise man is detached from all his acts and efforts, and his mind is unaffected, calm and quiet at all times.
4 The true meaning of the word knowledge is the sense of one’s liberation from the doom of birth and death. The art of earning food and clothing is only the practice of cunning fellows. 5 He is called a wise man who, although engaged in mundane transactions, remains without any desire or expectation and continues with a heart as vacant as empty air. 6 The accidents of life come to pass without any direct cause and to no purpose. What was neither present nor expected comes to take place of its own accord. 7 The appearance or disappearance of an event or accident proceeds from causes quite unknown to us, and these afterwards become causes of the effects they produce.
8 Who can tell what is the cause for rabbits to lack horns or the appearance of water in the mirage? They cannot be found out or seen. 9 Those who explore the cause for rabbits to lack horns may well expect to embrace the necks of the sons and grandsons of a barren woman.
10 The cause of the appearance of unreal phenomena of the world is nothing other than our lack of right sight which presents these phantoms to our view, and which disappear at a glance of our rational vision. 11 The living soul appears as the Supreme Spirit when it is seen by the sight of our blind intellect, but no sooner does the light of Divine Consciousness dawn in our minds, than the living or animal soul shrinks into nothing. 12 The unconscious Supreme Soul becomes awakened to the state of the living soul, just as the potential mango of winter becomes the positive mango in spring. 13 The intellect awakened becomes the living soul which, in its long course of its living, becomes worn out with age and toil and passes into many births in many kinds of beings.
14 Wise men who possess their intellectual sight look within themselves in the recesses of their hearts and minds without looking at what is visible outside, and without thinking of anything or making any effort whatever. They move on with the even course of their destiny like water flowing on its course to the ocean of eternity. 15 They who have come to the light of their transcendent vision fix their sight on brighter views beyond the sphere of phenomena and discern the invisible exposed to their view. 16 They who have vision of transcendent light, owing to their heedlessness of everything in this world, have slow and silent motion like that of a hidden water course. 17 They who are regardless of phenomena and are thoughtless of the world’s affairs are like those who are disentangled from their snares. They are truly wise who occupy themselves with their business as freely as the airs of heaven gently play and move the leaves of trees. 18 Those who have seen the transcendent light across the dizzy scenes of mortal life are not restricted to the course of this world, just as sailors are not restricted to shallow and narrow pools and streams.
19 They who are slaves to their desires are bound to the bondage of works ordained by law and scriptures. Thus they pass their lives in utter ignorance of truth. 20 The bodily senses fall upon carnal pleasures like vultures pouncing upon rotten dead flesh. Therefore curb and retract desires with diligence and fix your mind to meditate on the state of Brahman and the soul.
21 Know that Brahman is not without creation, just as no gold is without its form and reflection, but keep yourself clear from thoughts of creation and reflection and confine your mind to the meditation of Brahman filled with perfect bliss. 22 Know Brahman is as inscrutable as the face of the universe is indiscernible in the darkness of the chaotic state at the end of a yuga age when there is no appearance of anything and no distinction of conduct and manners, 23 and the elements of production in the consciousness of divine nature are in their quiescent agitation in the Divine Spirit, like the movements of flimsy vapors in the darkness of an immovable and wide spreading cloud.
24 As water particles are in motion in a still pond, so are the changing thoughts in the changeless soul, and so are the motions of elemental bodies in the unchanging essence and nature of God. 25 As the universal and undivided sky and space take the names of the different quarters of heaven, so indivisible Brahman, being one and same with creation, is understood as distinct and different from it.
26 The world contains egoism as the ego contains the world. One contains the other, just as the covering layers of the plantain tree contain and are contained under one another.
27 The living soul (jiva), being possessed of egoism, sees its internal world through the openings of the organs of sense which seem to be lying without it. In the same manner, mountains look upon lakes issuing out of its caves as if they were outward things. 28 So when the living soul makes the mistake of seeing itself, it is like taking a bar of gold for an ornament which is to be made of it. 29 Hence they who are acquainted with the soul and are liberated in their lifetime never think themselves as born or living or dying at anytime.30 Those who are awakened to the sight of the soul are employed in the actions of life without looking at them, like a householder discharges his domestic duties while his mind is fixed on the milk pot in the cow stall.
31 As the god Viraj is situated with his moonlike appearance in the heart of the universal frame, so the living soul resides in the heart of every individual body like a little or large dew drop, according to the smallness or bigness of the physical body. 32 This false and frail body is believed to be a solid reality because of its tripartite figure and is mistaken for the ego and soul because of the consciousness displayed and dwelling in it. 33 The living soul is confined like a silkworm in the cell of its own making (karma-kosha) by acts of its past life. The living soul resides with its egoism in the seed of its parents like fragrance in the honey cups of flowers.
34 Egoism residing in the seminal seed spreads its consciousness throughout the body from head to foot, like moonbeams scattered throughout the universe. 35 The soul stretches out the fluid of its intelligence through the openings of its organs of sense. This being carried to the sides through the medium of air, extends all over the three worlds like vapor and smoke cover the face of the sky.
36 The body is full of consciousness, both in its inner and outer parts, but the cave of the heart is where our desires and egoism are deeply seated. 37 The living soul is made up of only its desires. Desires soon come out from within the heart and appear on the outside in a person’s outer conduct. 38 The error of egoism can never be suppressed by any means other than one being inattentive to himself and his awareness of the fullness of divine presence in his calm and quiet soul.
39 Though dwelling on your present thoughts, yet you must rely upon your reflection of the empty Brahman by the speedy suppression of your egoism by degrees and your self-control. 40 They who know the soul manage themselves here without fostering their earthly thoughts. They remain like silent images of wood, without looking at or thinking of anything at all. 41 He who has fewer earthly thoughts is said to be liberated in the world. Though living in it, he is as clear and free in his mind as the open air.
42 Egoism breeds in the heart and grows into intelligence circulating throughout the whole body from head to foot, like the sunbeams that pervade the sphere of heaven. 43Ego becomes the sight of the eyes, the taste of the tongue, and hearing in the ears. Then the five senses, being fastened to the desires in the heart, plunge the ego into the sea of sensuality. 44 Thus omnipresent consciousness loses its purity and becomes the mind employed with one or other of the senses, just as the common moisture of the earth grows the sprout in spring.
45 He who thinks on the various objects of the senses without knowing their unreality and the reality of the only One, and who does not endeavor for his liberation here, has no end of troubles in this life.
46 That man reigns as an emperor who is content with any kind of food and clothing and with any sort of bed anywhere, 47 who with all his desires of the heart is indifferent to all the outward objects of desire, who with his vacant mind is full with his soul, and being as empty vacuum is filled with the breath of life, 48 who whether he is sitting or sleeping, or going anywhere or remaining unmoved, continues as quiet as in his sleeping state, and though stirred by anyone, he is not awakened from his slumber of nirvana in which his mind and its thoughts are all drowned and have become extinct.
49 Consciousness is common to all. It resides in each heart like fragrance in flowers and flavor in fruit. 50 Self-consciousness makes an individual person. The extinction of self-consciousness is said to form the wide world all about, but being confined to one’s self, it eliminates the sight of the world from view. 51 Be unconscious of the objects on earth and remain unconscious of all your prosperity and affluence. If you wish to be happy forever, make your heart as hard as impenetrable as stone.
52 O righteous Rama, convert the feeling of your heart to unfeeling and make your body and mind as unconscious as the hardest stone. 53 Of all the positive and negative acts of the unwise and wise men, there is nothing that makes such a marked difference between them as those proceeding from the desire of the unwise and the lack of desire of the wise. 54 The result of the desired actions of the unwise is the world stretched out before them, while the result of acts done without desire by the wise serves to put an end to the world before them.
55 All that which is visible is destructible, and that which is destroyed come to be renewed to life, but that which is neither destroyed nor resuscitated is you, your very soul. 56The knowledge of the world’s existence is without foundation. Though it is thought to exist, it is not found to be so in reality. It is like water in a mirage.
57 The right knowledge of things removes the thought of egoism from the mind, and though a thing may be thought of in the mind, yet it takes no deep root in the heart, just as a burnt seed does not sprout in the ground. 58 The man who does his duties or not, but remains passionless and thoughtless and free from frailty, has his rest in the soul and his nirvana is always attendant upon him. 59 Those who are saintly remain calm and quiet through their control of the mind and by suppression of desires for enjoyments. But those who are weakened in their natures have a mine of evils in their hearts.
60 The wise soul is distinguishable from others by its brightness, full of light like a cloudless sky. The same soul is alike in all, but in the ignorant the soul appears as dim as evening twilight. 61 As a man sees the light of heaven coming from a great distance and filling the space around him, so the light of the Supreme Soul fills and reaches all. 62 The infinite and invisible consciousness, as wonderful as the clear sky, conceives and displays this wonderful world within the infinity of its own emptiness.
63 To the learned and unerring, those who have gotten rid of the error of the world and rest in their everlasting tranquility, the world appears like a consumed and extinguished lamp. To all common people, the world appears to be placed in the air by the will of God for the enjoyment of all.
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Chapter 23 — Story of Vasishta Meeting the Brahmin Manki in the Desert Seeking Rest in an Outcaste Village
1 Vasishta said:— I have spoken on dispassion and renunciation of worldly desires. Therefore rise and go beyond the material world after the example of one Manki. 2 Once there lived a brahmin named Manki who was applauded for his devotion and steadfastness to holy vows.
3 It happened at one time on some particular occasion that I was coming down from the vault of heaven upon an invitation from your grandfather Aja. 4 As I wandered on the surface of the earth to reach your grandfather’s kingdom, I encountered a vast desert scorched by sunshine. 5 It was a dreary waste without end, filled with burning sands and hidden by grey and fly dust, marked by a few scattered hamlets here and there. 6 The extended waste, its unrestricted emptiness, howling winds, burning heat and light, seeming water in sand, and untraveled ground resting in peace appeared like the boundless and spotless immensity of Brahman. 7 Its deceptive mirages upon sand, its dullness and empty space, and the mist hanging on all sides seemed as delusive as the appearance of illusion itself.
8 As I was wandering along this hollow and sandy wilderness, I saw a wayfarer idly walking before me and muttering to himself in the agony of his wearisome journey. 9 The traveler said, “This powerful sun afflicts me with blazing beams as much as the company of evil-minded men annoy me. 10 Sunbeams pour down fire on earth and melt the core of my body and bones, just as they dry up leaves and ignite forest trees. 11 Therefore I must go to that distant hamlet for relief from this weary journey and recover my strength and spirits to continue my travel.” 12 So thinking, he was about to proceed towards the village where low caste Kiratas lived when I interrupted him.
13 Vasishta said:— I salute you, O you passenger of the sandy desert. May all be well with you who is my fellow traveler on the way, looking so good and passionless. 14 O traveler of the lower earth who has long lived among men, and who has not found your rest, how is it that now you expect to have it in this remote village of mean people? 15 You can have no rest in the homes of vile people in that distant village which is mostly peopled by Pamara villains, just as thirst is not appeased but increased by drinking salty water.16 Those huts and hamlets shelter cowardly cowherds and those who are afraid to walk in the paths of men, just as timid deer are adverse to wander beyond their own track. 17They have no stir of reason or any flash of understanding or mental faculties in them. They are not afraid evil actions, but remain and move on like stone mills.
18 Their manliness consists in the emotions of their passions and affections and in exhibitions of the signs of their desire and aversion. They delight mostly in actions that appear pleasant at the moment. 19 As there are no rain clouds over dry and parched desert lands, so there is no shadow of pure and cooling knowledge stretched over the minds of these people.
20 Rather dwell like a snake in a dark cave, or remain like a blind worm in the center of a stone, or limp about as a lame deer in a barren desert, rather than mix in the company of these village people. 21 These rude rustics resemble poison mixed with honey. They are sweet to taste for a moment, but prove deadly at last. 22 These villainous villagers are as rude as rough winds that blow gusts of dust amidst shattered huts built with grass and dried leaves.
23 After I addressed the traveler in this way, he felt as glad as if he had been bathed in ambrosial showers.
24 The traveler said:— Who are you sage? Your magnanimous soul seems to be full and perfect in yourself, full of the Divine Spirit. You look at the bustle of the world like a passer-by is unconcerned with the commotions of a village. 25 Have you drunk the ambrosial nectar of the gods that gave you the divine knowledge? Are infused with the spirit of the sovereign Viraj that is quite apart from the fullness of space it fills, quite full with its entire emptiness? 26 I see your soul is as empty yet as full as his, and as still and yet as moving as the Divine Spirit. It is all and not all what exists, something yet nothing. 27 It is quiet and fair, shining and yet unseen. It is inert and yet full of force and energy. It is inactive with all its activity and action.
28 Though now journeying on earth, you seem to range far above the skies. You are without support, though supported on a sound basis. 29 You are not stretched over objects, and yet no object exists without you. Your pure mind, like the beautiful moon, is full of the nectar beams of immortality. 30 You shine like the full moon without any of her digits or blackish spots. You are cooling like moonbeams, full of ambrosial juice as that watery planet. 31 I see the existence and nonexistence of the world depend upon your will and your intellect contains the revolving world, like the germ of a tree contains within it the would be fruit.
32 Sage, I am a brahmin descended from sage Sandilya. My name is Manki and I am intent on visiting places of pilgrimage. 33 I have made very long journeys and I have seen many holy places in my travels all about. After long time, I have turned my course to return to my native home. 34 But my mind is so sick and adverse to the world, that I hesitate to return home. I have seen the lives of men pass away from this world like flashes of lightening.
35 O sage, please give me a true account of yourself, as the minds of holy men are as deep and clear as clear lakes. 36 When great men like you show kindness at the first sight of someone as mean as I am, his heart is sure to glow with love and gratitude, just as lotus buds are blown. I am hopeful of your favor towards me. 37 Hence, sage, I hope that you will kindly remove the error which is born in me by my ignorance of the delusions of this tempting world.
38 Vasishta replied:— O wise man, I am Vasishta, the sage, saint and inhabitant of the ethereal region. I am traveling this way on an errand of sagely King Aja. 39 I tell you sage, do not be disheartened at your ignorance. You have already come onto the path of wisdom and you have very nearly gotten over the ocean of the world and arrived at the shore of transcendental knowledge. 40I see that you have come to possess the invaluable treasure of indifference to worldly matters. This kind of speech and sentiments, and the calmness of disposition which you have displayed, can never proceed from a worldly person and indicates your high-mindedness.
41 A precious stone is polished by gently rubbing away its impurity. So the mind comes to its reasoning by rubbing off of the impurity of its prejudice. 42 Tell me what you desire to know and how you want to abandon the world. In my opinion, knowledge and abandonment are accomplished by practicing the teacher’s instructions and by questioning what he does not know or understand. 43 It is said that whoever has a mind to cross the doom of his soul’s reincarnation should possess good and pure desires in his mind, and an understanding inclined to reasoning under the direction of his spiritual guide. Such a person is truly entitled to attain to the state which is free from future sorrow and misery.
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Chapter 24 — Manki Complains about Life to Vasishta
1 Vasishta said:— Being thus approached by me, Manki fell at my feet. Then shedding tears of joy from both eyes, he spoke to me with due respect.
2 Manki said:—
O venerable sage, I have long been travelling in all ten sides of the earth, but I have never met a holy man like you who could remove the doubts arising in my mind. 3 Sage, today I have gained the knowledge which is the chief good of a brahmin whose sacred body is more venerable and far more superior in birth and dignity than the bodies of all other beings in heaven and on earth. But sage, I am sorry at heart to see the evils of this nether world. 4 Repeated births and deaths and the continued rotations of pleasure and pain are all painful because they end in pain. 5 Because pleasure leads to greater pain, it is better, O sage, to continue in one’s pain. The sequence of fleeting pleasures being only lasting pain, pleasure is to be considered as pain.
6 O friend, all pleasures are painful to me. My pains have become pleasurable at my advanced age when teeth and hair are falling with decay and my internal parts are also wearing out. 7 My mind continually aspires to higher stations in life, but it fails to persevere in its holy course. The seedling of my salvation is suppressed by thorns and thistles of my evil and worldly desires. 8 My mind is situated amidst its passions and affections within the covering of my body, just as the banyan tree stands amidst its falling leaves inside a rustic village. Desires fly like hungry vultures all over its body in search of their abominable sustenance. 9 My wicked and crooked thoughts are like the brambles of creeping and thorny plants. My life is a weary and dreary maze, a dark and dismal night.
10 The world with all its people, without the moisture of true knowledge, is parched and dried up like withered plants, decaying day by day with constant cares, fast advancing towards its dissolution without being destroyed all at once. 11 All our present acts are drowned in those of our past lives and, like withered trees, bear no flower or fruit in our present life. Actions done with desire end with the gain of their transitory objects. 12 Our lives are wasted in our attachment to family and dependents. We are never employed to lead our souls across the ocean of the world. The desire of earthly enjoyments decay day by day and a dreadful eternity awaits us. 13 Our prosperity and possessions, whether they are more or less, are as harmful to our souls as the thorny and poisonous plants growing in the hollow caves of earth. We are attended with thoughts and cares causing fever heat in the soul and emaciating the body.
14 Fortune sometimes makes brave and fortunate people fail at the hands of foes, just as a man ardent with the desire for gems in his mind is tempted to catch naaga serpents lying in dark caves with shining gems on their hoods.
15 I am entirely inclined to give up the objects of sense. My mind is polluted by worldly desires and is all hollow within. I am abandoned and shunned by the wise like a dead sea with its troubled and muddy waters. 16 My mind turns about false vanities like rheumatic pains throughout the body. 17 Despite my innumerable deaths and although my mind is cleansed from the impurity of ignorance by reading scriptures and associating with good men, I am still hunting with sorrow after desired emptiness, just as the moon and stars with their power to remove darkness stand good in emptiness. 18 There is no end to the dark night of my ignorance when the gloomy apparition of my egoism has played out its part. I do not have knowledge which will destroy my ignorance, like a lion destroying a furious elephant, and burn down my actions like a fire burns straw. 19 The dark night of my earthly desire is not yet over, and the sun of my disgust of the world has not risen. I still believe the unreal as real and my mind wanders about like an elephant. 20 My senses continually tempt me. I know not what will be the end of these temptations which prevent even the wise from observing the precepts of the scriptures. 21 This lack of sight and disregard of the scriptures lead to our blindness by lighting our desires and by blinding our understanding.
22 Therefore sage, tell me. What am I to do in this difficulty? What may lead to my chief good? I am asking you to tell me. 23 It is said that the mist of our ignorance flies like clouds at the sight of wise men and with the purification of our desires. Now sage, confirm the truth of this saying of wise men by enlightening my understanding and giving peace to my mind.
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Chapter 25 — Vasishta Instructs Manki
1 Vasishta said:— Consciousness, the reflections of consciousness, the desire of having them, and their imagination are the four roots of evil in this world. Though these words are meaningless, yet considerable sense is attached to them as the four sources of knowledge. 2 Know that knowledge is also their reflection which is the seat of all evils. All our disasters proceed from that, just as thickly as vegetation growing by water.
3 Men clothed in the robes of their desires walk in the dreary paths of this world with very many varieties of their actions, like circles drawn under circles. 4 But these wanderings over earth and desires cease for the wise, just as moisture in the ground dries at the end of spring season. 5 Our various desires grow the very many thorny plants and brambles in the world, just as spring sap causes thick clumps of plantain trees to grow. 6 The world appears as a dark maze to the mind sweetened in the serum of its greedy appetites, just as the ground is shaded under bushy trees growing from the water supplied by spring season.
7 There is nothing in existence except the clear and empty Consciousness, just as there is nothing in the boundless sky except the hollow emptiness of air. 8 There is no intelligent soul beside this One. All else is the everlasting reflection of this One alone. The world is called ignorance and error. 9 He is seen (in spirit) without being seen, and is lost upon being seen (by visual sight).
Looking with ordinary sight one sees only what is unreal, like ghosts and demons appearing before children, and not the true Divine Spirit. 10 By rejecting all visible sights, understanding views the one essence of all. All things merge into it, just as all the rivers on earth fall into one universal ocean.
11 As an earthenware cannot be without earth, so all intelligent beings are never devoid of their consciousness or intellect. 12 Whatever is known by understanding is said to be our knowledge. But understanding has no knowledge of the unknowable, and no lack of understanding can have any knowledge, owing to their opposite natures. 13 As there is the same relation of knowledge among the looker, his seeing and the sight, so it is omniscience of Brahman which is the only essence. All else is as nothing as a flower growing in the air, which never exists. 14 Things of the same kind carry a relationship to one another and readily unite in one. So the world being alike to its idea, and all ideas being alike to the eternal ideas in the mind of God, therefore the world and the Divine Mind are certainly the same thing and no other.
15 If there be no knowledge or idea of wood and stone, then they would be the same as the nonexistent things of which we have no idea. 16 When the outer and visible features of things are so exactly similar to our ideas and knowledge of them, they appear to be no other than our ideas or knowledge of them. 17 All visible appearances in the universe are only the outstretched reflections of our inner ideas. Their fluctuation is like that of the winds and their motion is like that of the waters in the ocean.
18 All things are mixed together with the omnipresent spirit, just as a log of wood is covered by black dye. Both appear to be mixed together to the unthinking, but both are taken for the one and same thing by the thinking part of mankind. 19 The idea of reciprocity is unity, and the knowledge of mutuality is also union. Examples are the interchange of water and milk, the correlation of vision and what can be seen, and not the union of the wood and black dye with one another.
20 The knowledge of one’s egoism is his bondage. Knowledge of his lack of ego is his emancipation. Thus one’s imprisonment and freedom from the confines of his body and the world being both under his control, why should he neglect freeing himself from his perpetual bondage?
21 Like seeing two moons in the sky or water in a mirage, we believe in the reality of our egoism which is altogether an unreality. 22 The disbelief in one’s egoism removes the concept of “I” and selfishness. It is possible to everyone to get rid of these mistaken ideas. So how is it that anyone should remain ignorant?
23 Why do you maintain your egoism and remain confined in your body like a plum drowned in a cup of water, or like air confined in a pot? Your relation to God is to be nothing else but like himself and to be one with him. Have the reciprocal knowledge of yourself in the likeness of God. 24 It is said that the lack of reciprocal knowledge makes the union of two things into one, but this is wrong both ways. Neither does any dull material thing or any spiritual substance lose its own form. 25 Force is not converted to inertness from the indestructibility of their nature. Whenever the spiritual is seen or considered as the material, it becomes a duality, and there is no unity in this view of the two.
26 Thus men under the influence of their desires, harassed by their varied vanities, continue going downward like a stone torn from the head of a cliff falls from precipice to precipice headlong to the ground. 27 Men are carried here and there by the currents of their desires like bits of straw. They are overtaken and overwhelmed in an endless series of difficulties which are impossible for me to number. 28 Men, cast like a ball flung from the hand of fate, hurry onward with their ardent desires until they are hurled into the depth of hell where, worried and worn out with hell torments, they take other forms and shapes after lapses of long periods.
1 Vasishta said:— Thus the living soul, having fallen into the maze of this world, is subject to disasters and accidents as countless as the microscopic organisms generated in rainy season. 2 All these accidents, though unconnected with one another, follow as closely upon each other as stones lying scattered together in the rocky desert, linked in a lengthening chain of thoughts in the mind of man. 3 The mind blinded of its reason becomes a wilderness overgrown with the tree of its disasters, yet the mind by its pretended merriment and good humor appears to men to be smiling like a spring grove. 4 O how pitiable are all those beings! Bound to their subjection to hope, they are subject to diverse states of pain and pleasure in their repeated births in various forms on earth. 5 Alas for those strange and abnormal desires which subject the minds of men to the triple error of taking the nonexistent to be actually present before them.
6 Those who know the truth are delighted in themselves. They are immortal in their mortal life. They are diffusers of pure light all about them. What is the difference between the wise sage who is coldly detached in all respects and the cooling moon? 7 What is the difference between a whimsical boy and a covetous fool who desires anything without consideration of past or future? 8 What is the difference between the greedy fool and voracious fish that devour the alluring bait of pleasure or pain and will not give up the bait until they are sure to give up their lives? 9 All our earthly possessions, whether our bodies, lives, wives, friends or properties, are as frail as a brittle plate made of sand. As soon as it dries, it crumbles and breaks to pieces.
10 O my soul, you may forever wander in hundreds of bodies of various forms in repeated births and pass from the heaven of Brahma to the highest sphere of Brahma, yet you can never have tranquility unless you attain the steady detachment of your mind. 11 Bondage to the world is dispersed by mature introspection into the nature of things, just as an uneven, rugged road does not stop a wayfarer from walking with his open eyes. 12 The negligent soul becomes prey to desire and unruly passions, just as a heedless traveler is caught in the clutches of demons. But the well-guarded spirit is free of fear of any demon.
13 As opening one’s eyes presents what can be seen to sight, so waking consciousness introduces ego and the phenomenal world into the mind. 14 As closing one’ eyes shuts out visible objects from sight, so the closing of consciousness puts out the appearance of all sights and thoughts from your eyes and mind. 15 The sense that the external world exists, together with that of one’s individual ego, is all unreal and empty. It is consciousness alone that shows everything in itself by the fluctuation of its mistaken wanderings, just as the motion of wind displays the varieties of clouds in empty air.
16 It is only Divine Consciousness which exhibits unreal phenomena as real in itself, without creating anything apart or separate from its own essence. It is similar to how clay or metal produces a pot or a jar out of itself, which is not distinct or separate from its substance. 17 As sky is only an emptiness and wind is a mere fluctuation of air, and as waves are composed of nothing but water, so the world is nothing other than a phenomenon of consciousness. 18 The world exists undivided in the bas-relief of consciousness. The world has no existence separate from its substance of the conscious soul, which is as calm and clear as the empty air. The world resembles the shadow of a mountain on the surface of water, or a surging wave rising on the surface of the sea.
19 The wise and unexcitable sages have a calm coolness in their souls. To them the shining worlds appear like cooling moonbeams falling on the internal mirror of their minds.20 How is this invisible supreme light produced in the calm, quiet and all-pervading auspicious soul in the empty expanse of the universe? 21 That essence called Brahman forms the essential nature and form of everything. Brahman permeates throughout all nature, except where it appears to be obstructed by some preventive cause or other. 22 Anything which presents a hindrance to the permeation of divine essence, like a flower growing in the air, is a nothing in nature.
23 The wise man sits quietly like a stone without the action of even his inner mental faculties, because the Lord is without reflection or sensation of anything and without birth or decay at anytime. 24 He who by constant practice remains unconscious of everything, like the empty state of the open sky, arrives at a state of sound sleep or trance without the disturbance of dreams.
25 But how do we know that the world is the mere thought or will of the Divine Mind? Where is it said that the creative power of Brahman’s thought forms the wonderful world in his mind without the aid of any tool or instrument or means or ground for its construction? Hence the world is merely an ideal and nothing real. There is no cause or creator of it whatsoever. 26 As the Lord stretches out the world in his thought, he or it instantly becomes the same. As the Lord is without any visible form, so this seeming world has no visible or material form whatsoever, nor is there any framer of what is simply an ideal.
27 So all men are as happy or unhappy as they think themselves to be in their minds. They all abide in the same Universal Soul which is common to all. Yet everyone in his own mind believes himself to be of his own kind. 28 Therefore it is vain to regard anything or any intellectual being as a material substance, just as it is false to regard the imaginary hills of one’s dream as being real rocks situated on earth. 29 By assigning egoism to one’s self, one becomes subject to error and change. Lack of egoism places the soul in unchanging identity and tranquility.
30 As the meaning of bracelet is no different from the gold of which it is made, so the sense of your false egoism is no different than the tranquil soul. 31 The tranquil sage, calm and sober minded like a silent muni, is no voluntary actor of any act, although he may be physically employed in his active duties. The quiet saint carries with him an empty and careless mind, although it may be full of learning and wisdom. 32 The wise man manages himself like a mechanical figure or puppet, never moving of its own motion but moving as it is moved. Having no impulse of his own desire within him, he sits as quietly as an immobile doll. 33 The wise man who knows the soul is as quiet as a baby sleeping in a swinging cradle, moved without moving itself. The wise man moves his body like a baby, without having any cause for doing so.
34 The soul that is intent on the thought of the One only, calm and quiet as the infinite spirit of God, becomes unconscious of itself and all other things, together with all objects of desire and expectations of good or bliss. 35 He who is not the viewer himself, who does not have the view before him, and who is exempt from the triple condition of subjective, objective and action, such a person can have no other object in his view that is concentrated on the vision of the invisible One.
36 Our sight of the world is our bondage. Our disregard of it is our perfect freedom. Therefore, he who rests in his disregard of whatever is expressed by words has nothing to look after or desire.
37 Say, what is ever worth looking after or worthy of our regard when our material bodies are as evanescent as our dreams and our individual existence is a mere delusion? 38Therefore a wise man rests only in his knowledge of the true One by subjecting all his efforts and desires and suppressing all his curiosity, being devoid of all knowledge save that of the knowable One.
39 Hearing all this, Manki was released from his great error, just like a snake sloughs of its skin to which it had been tightly bound. 40 He retired to a mountain where he remained in deep meditation for a hundred years. He discharged the duties that occurred to him of their own accord, without retaining any desire of anything. 41 He still resides there, unmoved and unconscious like a stone, quite detached in all his senses and feelings, and wakeful with his internal consciousness by the light of his yoga contemplation.
42 Now Rama, enjoy your peace of mind by relying upon your habit of reasoning and discrimination. Do not corrupt your understanding under fits of passion. Do not let your mind be fickle like a fleeting cloud in the dry season of autumn.
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Chapter 27 — All Is One, so We Cannot Conceive Diversity
1 Vasishta continued:— Be dead to your senses and retain the tranquility of your soul by accepting whatsoever you get as your lot. Otherwise fair will appear as foul, like a pure crystal showing itself black in the shade. 2 All is contained in the only one all extended Soul, so we can not conceive how variety or multiplicity can arise from unity.
3 The attributes of consciousness are entirely of an empty nature, having neither beginning nor end. Consciousness is neither produced nor destroyed with the production and destruction of the body.
4 All unconscious and material bodies are moved by the miraculous power of the intellect or mind which, being unmoved of itself, gives motion to bodies, just as the still waters of the sea give rise to waves. 5 As it is error to suppose a sheet of cloth in a cloud, so the supposition of egoism in the body is altogether false. 6 Do not rely on the unreal body which is of this world and grows to perish in it. Depend on the real essence of the endless spirit for your everlasting happiness.
7 Empty consciousness is the essential property of the immortal soul. This is the transcendent reality in nature, and may this super-excellent entity be your essence likewise. 8 If you are certain of this truth, you become as glorious as that essence because a person in deep meditation loses himself in the object on which he meditates.
9 The triple aspects of viewer, view, and viewing are the three properties of the one and same intellect. There is nothing other than the knowledge of this, as there is no thought unlike the act of its thinking. 10 The soul is ever calm and clear and uniform in its nature. It does not rise or fall like the tides by the moon’s influence, nor is it soiled like seawater by stormy winds. 11 A passenger in a boat sees the rocks and trees on the bank to move. One thinks a shell or conch contains silver. The mind mistakes the body for reality. 12 As the sight of the substance dispels the view from the intellectual perspective, so the intellectual view dispels belief in the material. When knowledge of the living soul is dissolved in the Supreme Soul, there remains nothing except the unity of the all pervading spirit.
13 The knowledge that all this world is quite calm and quiet and that all is an evolution of the Divine Spirit takes away the belief in everything else, which is nothing but the product of error and illusion. 14 As there is no forest in the sky, moisture in sand, or fire on the moon, so there is no material body in the sight of the mind.
15 Rama, do not fear for this world, a mere creation of your error without any real existence whatsoever. Know this transcendent truth, O you who is the best among those who inquire after truth, that this world is a nothing and void. 16 Your mistake of the existence of the visible world and any disbelief about the invisible soul must have been removed today by my words. Say now, what other cause can there be for of your bondage in this world?
17 As a plate, water-pot or any other earthenware is no more than clay, so the outer world is nothing other than the inner thought of the mind. It wears away under the power of reasoning.
18 Whether exposed to danger or difficulty, placed in prosperity or adversity, or subject to wealth or poverty, O Rama, you must preserve your even disposition while conscious of your joy and grief. Be joyfully free from the knowledge of your individual ego and remain as you are, calm by nature and not subject to any state. 19 Remain Rama, as you are, like the moon in the sphere of your race, with your full knowledge of everything in nature. Avoid joy or grief at every occurrence and give up your desire or disgust for anything in the world. Do so or as you may choose for yourself.
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Chapter 28 — Destiny, Deed, Agent & Doing Are All the Same; God as the Seed
1 Rama said, “Please sage, explain to me about the acts of men which become the causes of their repeated births, just as seeds are sources of future trees. Explain those acts described as divine dispensation, destiny, or fate (daiva).”
2 Vasishta replied:— The meaning of daiva or destiny is as that of a potter producing pottery. It is the act of intelligence and not of blind chance or human effort. 3 How is it possible for any action to be done only by human effort without some effort of understanding directing human energy to action? It is this intelligent power that makes the world and all that it contains. 4 The prosperity of the world depends on understanding exerting itself with a desire to bring about some certain end. It ceases when understanding, the cause of the course of the world, ceases.
5 Mental indifference or lack of desire in the mind is called a negative act. The mind that merely moves on without engaging in any pursuit is like the smooth current of a stream without surges. 6 There is no difference between a thinking and unthinking soul except that the mind of one is moved by its imagination to invent some art or work. 7 As there is no essential difference between water and its waves, or between desire and its result, so there is no difference between the intellect and its function, nor is there any difference between actions and their agent.
8 Rama, know the action as the agent. The actor is the same as his action. Both are quite alike just as ice and coldness.
9 As frost is cold and cold the same as frost, so the deed is the same as its doer, and the doer is the same as the deed he does. 10 The vibration of Consciousness is the same as destiny which is also the agent of action. These are synonymous terms expressing the same thing. Destiny, deed and other words have no distinct meaning. 11 The vibration of consciousness is the cause of creation, just as the seed is the source of a tree. Lack of this vibration produces nothing. Therefore intellectual activity contains the seed of the whole world. 12 The Divine Mind contains in its infinite expanse all the ample space of time and place. Of its own nature, it sometimes fluctuates and sometimes is at a standstill, much like the vast ocean.
13 The causeless and un-causing seed of the Intellect, being moved by desire, becomes the cause of the precise details of material bones, just as the seed produces sprouts and plants. 14 All plant life, whether grass, vines or trees, grows from their particular seeds, and these seeds originate from the vibration of the Divine Mind, which is uncreated and without any cause. 15 There is no difference between the seed and its sprout, just as there is no difference between heat and fire. As you recognize the identity between seed and its sprout, so must you recognize the identity between man and his acts.
16 Divine Intellect exerts its power in the womb of the earth and grows the sprouts of unmoving plants as from their seed. These become great or small, straight or crooked as Divine Intellect would have them to be. 17 What other power is there beside that of the Intellect to grow sturdy oaks from soft clay and humid moisture that are the womb of the earth? 18 It is this Intellect which fills the seeds of living beings with vital fluid, like the sap inside plants gives growth to flowers and fruit on the outside. 19 If this all inhering Intellect were not almighty, say then, what other power is there that could produce the mighty gods and demigods in the air and the huge mountains on earth? 20 The Divine Mind contains the seeds of all moving and unmoving beings. They all have their being from the movement of this intellectual power, and from no other source whatever.
21 As there is no difference between the alternate productions of seed, plant and fruit from one another, so there is no difference in the reciprocal causation of man, his acts and vice versa. In the same way there is not even a shade of difference between the swelling waves and the sinking waters of the sea.
22 Shame on that silly and beastly being who does not believe in the reciprocity of man and his actions, or agent and his act, as taught in the Vedas. 23 The restless craving that is inherent in one’s consciousness is the embryonic seed of his reincarnation, just like the growth of plants. Therefore it is necessary to kill the seed by frying it in the fire of renunciation. 24 The learned say that detachment is performing an act, whether good or bad, without taking it to the mind. 25 It is also said that detachment is the destruction of desire which loosens a man from all connection to an act. Therefore try by all means in your power to create in your mind a total unconcern for everyone and an indifference to all things whatsoever.
26 In whatever manner you think it possible, get rid of your craving desires, whether by theoretical or practical yoga or your human efforts. You must root every desire from your heart in order to secure your best welfare and perfect bliss. 27 You must endeavor to the utmost of your human power to suppress some portion of your egoism in order to prevent the rise of selfish passions and desires within your heart. 28 There is no other way to cross the impassable expanse of the world except by the exercise of our human virtues, nor is there any other way of extinguishing our ardent desires except by the extinction of egoism.
29 The inherent consciousness of the ever existent Soul is both the prime seed as well as the first sprout of the world. It is the source of action and its cause and effect on men. The ever existent Soul is called destiny and the happiness and sorrow of all.
30 In the beginning there was no seed or sprout, nor any man or his action. There was no such thing as destiny or doom or any other prime cause, but all that existed was Supreme Intellect which is all in all. 31 There is no seed or sprout in reality, nor is there any action or its active agent in fact. There is only one Supreme Intellect in absolute and positive existence. It is under the auspices of this hollowed name that you see all these gods and demigods and all men and women performing their respective parts as actors on the stage of the world. 32 Knowing this certain truth and thinking yourself as the imperishable one, be free from your thoughts of agent and action. Give up all your desires and false imagination, and live to reflect only upon your self-consciousness.
33 Remain fearless, O Rama, and be graceful with the calm composure of your mind. Subdue all your desires and lay aside your fears with them. Rely on your clear intellect and continue to do your endless acts. Be full in yourself with the Supreme Soul, and thus you shall have the fullness of your desires fulfilled in you.
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Chapter 29 — Sermon on Holy Meditation
1 Vasishta continued to say:—
Always remain looking inwardly by being freed from the feelings of passion and desire. Continue in the performance of your actions everywhere, but always reflect upon the quiet and spotless consciousness within yourself. 2 The mind which is clear like the open sky, full of knowledge and settled in the Divine Consciousness, always even, graceful and replete with joy, is said to be highly favored of heaven and expanded by Brahman. 3 Whether overtaken by pain and grief, or exposed to dangers and difficulties, or attended by pleasure or prosperity, in a greater or less degree, 4 in whatever place and in whatever state you are placed, bear your afflictions with a glad heart. Whether you weep or cry, or become a play of opposite circumstances, be joyful for both are meant for your good.
5 If you are delighted in the company of your consorts and feel happy at the approach of festivity and prosperity, it is because you are tempted by your fond desire of pleasure, like ignorant people. 6 Fools who are allured by their greed for gain meet with their fate in hazardous exploits and warfare. It is fit that they should burn with the fire of their desire, like straw consumed in a fire.
7 Earn money by honest means with the caution of a crane in whatever opportunity presents itself to you. Do not run in pursuit of gain like the ignorant crowd. 8 O you destroyer of your foes, forcefully drive away all your desires as your greatest enemies, just as the winds of heaven drive away the empty, rainless clouds of the sky.
9 Be tolerant, O Rama, of ignorant people who are led away by their desires and deserve your pity. Be reverent towards high minded men. Be delighted in yourself by speaking sparingly and without being misled by your desires likes the ignorant mob. 10 Congratulate with joy and sympathize with sorrow. Pity the sorrows of the poor and be valiant among the brave. 11 Turn your eyes into your heart and be always joyous by communing with your soul. Then whatever you do with a liberal mind, you are not to answer for it as its agent. 12 By remaining fixed in the meditation of your soul and by having your eyes always turned within yourself, you shall be invulnerable even at the strike of a thunderbolt of Indra.
13 He is said to be master of himself who is freed from the delusion of desire and lives retired in the cave of his consciousness, who is attached to his own soul and acts at his own will and has his delight in his very self. 14 No weapon can wound the man established in the Self, no fire can burn his soul, no water can drench the spirit, and hot winds cannot dry him up. 15 Grasp the firm pillar of your soul, which is unborn and uncreated, without decay and immortal. Adhere steadfastly to your soul just as one clings to the pillars of his house.
16 The world is a tree and all things in it are like the flowers of this tree. Our knowledge of all things is like the fragrance of these flowers, but our self-consciousness is the essence of them all. Therefore look internally to this inward essence before you mind the externals. 17 All outward affairs are brought about by their inner reflection in the mind. It is as hard to bring a desire into being as it is to raise a stone to life. 18 Get rid of your bodily exertions and lull your mind to sleep. Do all your duties like a tortoise with its contracted limbs. 19 Manage your affairs with a half-sleeping and half-awakened mind. Do your outward functions without the effort of your mental faculties.
20 As children possess their innate knowledge and dumb creatures are endowed with their instinct, without the feeling of any desire rising in them, so masters live and act with their minds unattached to anything, as vacant as the empty air. 21 Remain untroubled and free from care, with a entirely sleepy and indifferent mind within yourself, a mind devoid of all its functions and quite absorbed in itself, and slightly acting on the members of the body. 22 After your mind is cleansed from the stain of desire, you may continue to discharge or dispense with your duties by subduing your mind with knowledge and resting quietly in your pure consciousness.
23 Go on managing your outward affairs in your waking state as if your faculties were dormant in sleep. Neither desire to have anything nor let go of anything that presents itself to you. 24 If you are dormant when waking, by your inattention to all about you, so you are awake when sleeping by your trance in the heart of the Supreme Soul. And when you are in the condition of the union of the two, you attain the state of perfect enlightenment. 25 Thus by your gradual practice of this habit of mental indifference, you reach that state of unity which has no beginning or end and is beyond all other things.
26 The world certainly is neither a unity nor duality, therefore leave inquiry into its endless varieties. Resort to your supreme bliss with a mind as clear as the translucent sphere of empty air.
27 Rama asked, “If it be so, O great sage, that there is no ego or you, as you say, then tell me, why are we conscious of ourselves? How are you sitting here under the name of sage Vasishta?”
28 Valmiki said:—
Being thus questioned by Rama, Vasishta, the best of speakers, remained silent for a moment, reflecting on the answer he should make. 29 His silence created some anxiety in the royal audience. Rama, also perplexed in his mind, repeated his question to the sage saying, 30 “Sage, why are you as silent as I am? There is no argument in the world which sages like you are unable to solve and expound.”
31 Vasishta replied:—
It is not owing to my inability to speak or want of argument on my part that made me hold my tongue. It is the wide scope of your question that kept me from giving its answer.
32 Rama, there are two kinds of questioners, namely, the ignorant and the intelligent. So there are two modes of argument: the simple mode for simpletons and the rational form for intelligent and reasonable men. 33 Rama, for so long you have been ignorant of superior knowledge and fit to be taught in ordinary, ambiguous language. 34 But now you have become an expert in superior truth and found your rest in the state of supreme bliss. Therefore you no longer benefit from the ambiguous language of common speech. 35Whenever a good speaker wishes to deliver an eloquent speech, (he must first consider) whether it be long or short or relate to some abstruse or spiritual subject.
36 There is no counterpart to the ego which lacks all representation and cannot be described by the sound of any word. Ego is beyond the attributes of number and other categories, so one cannot attribute any such fiction of fancy to it. It is the totality of all, as light is composed of innumerable particles of ray.
37 It is not right, O Rama, that one who has known the truth should give an imperfect or defective answer to a question. But what can he do when no language is perfect or free from defect, as you well know? 38 It is right, O Rama, that I who know the truth should declare it to my students. The knower of abstract truth is known to remain as silent as a block of wood. The soundness of his mind is hard to sound. 39 Lack of self-reflection causes a person to speak. They who know the supreme excellence hold their silence. This is the best answer that can be given to your question regarding this truth.
40 Every man, O Rama, speaks of himself as he is, but I am only my conscious self, which is unspeakable in its nature and appertains to the unspeakable one. 41 How can that thing be given a definite term which is inexpressible in words? Therefore I cannot express the inexpressible in words. As I have already said, all words are only fictitious signs.
42 Rama asked, “Sage, you disregard everything that is expressed by words and regard them as imperfect and defective symbols of their originals. Now you must tell me, what do you mean by your statement, ‘lacks all representation’ and what are you yourself?”
43 Vasishta replied:—
It being so, now hear me tell you, O Rama, who is the best among the enquirers of truth, what you are and what am I in truth, and what is the world in reality.
44 This ego, my boy, is empty consciousness, imperishable in its nature. It is neither conceivable nor knowable and is beyond all imagination. 45 I am the empty sky of consciousness and so you also are the empty sky. The whole world is an entire emptiness and there is nothing else except an everlasting and infinite emptiness everywhere. 46 The soul is identical with pure knowledge. It is free from the knowledge of the senses and beyond conscious knowledge. I cannot call it anything other than the Self or the Soul.
47 Yet it is the fashion of disputants, in order to maintain their own ground or for the liberation of their pupils, to multiply the egoism of the one soul and distribute it into a thousand branches.
48 When a living soul remains calm and quiet in spite of the management of its worldly affairs, when it is as motionless as an egoless corpse, it is said to have attained its perfect state. 49 This state of perfection consists in refraining from external exercise and devotion, persistence in continual meditation, feeling no sensation of pain or pleasure, and being unconscious of one’s self-existence and the coexistence of all else. 50 Freedom from egoism and the consciousness of all other existence brings on the idea of a total nonexistence and emptiness, which is altogether beyond thought and meditation. All attempts to grasp a nothing are as vain as a blind man’s desire to see a picture. 51 The posture of sitting unmoved like a stone at the shocks and turn of fortune is truly the state of nirvana or deathless trance of a conscious being. 52 This state of saintly trance is not noticeable by others or perceived by the saint himself, because the knowing sage shuns the society of men in disgust and is enlightened with the spiritual knowledge within himself. 53 In this state of spiritual light, the sage loses sight of his own ego and you and all others and beholds the only one unity in which he is extinct and absorbed in pure and spotless bliss.
54 The process of using conciousness is said to create phenomena. This is the cause of the creation of the world, which is the cause of our bondage and continual sorrows. 55Dormancy of the intellect or unconsciousness is when the intellect is not employed with phenomena. Then it is called the supremely calm and quiet state of liberation and is free from decay. 56 When the soul is in its state of peaceful tranquility, its ideas of space and time fly away like clouds in autumn. Then it has no thought of anything else for lack of its power of thinking.
57 When the sight of the soul is turned inwards in sleep, it sees the world of its desires rising before its consciousness in their aerial forms. But soul’s sight directed to the outside in its waking state sees the inner objects of desire presented in the gross forms of the outer world. 58 The mind, understanding and other faculties depend upon the consciousness of the soul. They are of the same nature as the intellect, but being considered in their intimate relation with external objects, they are represented as grossly material. 59 The same intellect is spread over our consciousness of all internal and external feelings and perceptions. Therefore, it is vain to differentiate this one and undivided power by applying different names. 60 There is nothing set apart from the perception of the conscious intellect which is as pure and all-pervading as emptiness and which is said by the learned to be indefinable by words.
61 Being seen very acutely, the world appears hazy in the divine essence, as it were something between a reality and unreality. You also appear as something real and unreal at the same time. 62 In the same way, I am empty air, free from desire, and you also are pure consciousness if you could only restrain your desires. 63 He who is certain of this truth, knows himself in reality. Whoever thinks himself as somebody under a certain name is far from knowing the truth. Again, anyone remaining in his unreal body, but relying in his intellectuality, is sure to have his tranquility and liberation.
64 Man’s exercise of his intellect improves the love of union with the original Intellect by removing ignorance, just as heat of the fire mixes with primitive heat when wind ceases to blow. 65 Living beings converted to the state of unmoving trees and stones by mental detachment or unconsciousness of themselves, are said to have attained their liberation which is free from disturbance. They are situated in a state without decay. 66 A man having obtained his wisdom through his knowledge is said to have become a muni or sage. But a fool even with teaching, owing to his ignorance, becomes a brute creature or degraded even lower to some plant life.
67 The knowledge that “I am Brahman” and this other is the world is a gross error proceeding from gross ignorance. But all untruth flies away before investigation, just as darkness vanishes before the advance of light. 68 The wise, with the perception and actions of his outward organs, is simply devoid of inner desires. He does not think or feel about anything in his mind. He remains quite calm and composed in his outward appearance. 69 The samadhi of a wise man is like sound sleep unaffected by dream in which phenomena are buried within himself and he sees nothing but his self or soul.
70 As the blueness of the sky is a false conception of the brain, so the appearance of the world is a fallacy to the silent soul. The world is no more than a mist of error that obscures the clear and empty sphere of the soul. 71 A true sage, though surrounded by the objects of wish, still lacks desire for any. He knows them all to be mere unrealities and false vanities.
72 Know, O intelligent Rama, that all objects of desire in this world are as marvelous as those seen in our imagination, dream, and in the magic of jugglers. Such also are all the objects of our vision, on which you can place no trust or reliance. 73 Know also that there is no pain or pleasure, or any act of merit or demerit, or anything owing to the impossibility of there being any agent or passive agent. 74 The whole universe is a vacuum without any support. It appears like a secondary moon in the sky or a city in one’s imagination, none of which has reality in nature.
75 Abide only by the rules of the community or strictly observe your silence, remaining like a block of wood or stone. Be set free in the Supreme. 76 The tranquility and intellectuality of the Supreme Deity do not admit any diversity in his nature. His lack of corporeality does not admit the attribution of a body or any of its parts to him. 77 There can be no nature and no conception that can be attributed to the pure spirit. This Divine Spirit being inherent in all bodies, there can be no nature ever imputed to him.
78 Atheists reason there is no consciousness in the uncreated spirit or, in other words, the nonexistence of a self-conscious Eternal Consciousness. This is not acceptable, for though our knowledge of the container and contained is very imperfect, yet there is someone at the bottom that is ever perfect.
79 O Rama, rely upon that uncreated and indestructible Supreme Being which is ever the same and pure, irrefutable and adored by the wise and good. It is the irrefutable truth on which you should quietly depend for your liberation. Though you may eat and drink and play about like all others, yet you must know that all this is nothing.
Chapter 30 — Sermon on Spirituality
1 Vasishta continued:— Egoism is the greatest ignorance, an impassable barrier in the way of our ultimate extinction. Yet foolish people are seen to fondly pursue their final bliss through their egoistic efforts, which are no better than the attempts of a madman. 2 Egoism is the sure indicator of the ignorance of unwise people. No cool headed and knowing man is ever known to have a concept of “I” or a sense that he is the agent of doing anything. 3 The wise and knowing man, whether embodied or liberated, renounces the impurity of his egotism and relies on the utter nothingness of himself, which is as pure and clear as the emptiness of heaven, free from trouble and anxiety.
4 The autumn sky is serene and clear, and so are the waters of the calm and unperturbed sea. The disc of the full moon is fair and bright. But none of these is as cool, calm and full of light as the radiant face of the wise and knowing sage. 5 The features of the sage and wise are ever calm and steady, like painted figures of warriors in battle array, even in the midst of business and trifles, and even when engaged in the commotion of warfare and fury of fight. 6 All worldly thoughts and desires are nothing to a sage existing in nirvana. They are as imperceptible as the slender lines in a painting, and as lean as the rippling waves on the surface of the sea which are indistinct from its waters.
7 As the rolling waves of the sea are nothing other than its heaving water, so visible phenomena in the world are nothing other than the play of the spirit of Brahman in itself. 8Hence the soul that is undisturbed by wave-like commotions is freed from all worldliness. It is calm and quiet both inside and outside like the still ocean, and raised above worldly matters in its holy meditation. 9 Ego rises of itself as an uncreated thing in the form of consciousness in the all comprehensive intellect of God, just as waves rise and fall in the waters of the deep and have no difference in their nature. 10 As rising smoke in the sky exhibits various forms of forts, chariots and elephants, and as none of them is anything other than the same smoke, so all these phenomena and ideas are in no way different from the nature of their divine origin.
11 By considering the fallacy of your individual ego consciousness, you will, my royal hearers, get rid of your error. Then you will exult in your knowledge of truth and be victorious over yourself. Do not despair, for you are wise enough to know the truth.
12 As the growing sprout conceives the would be tree with all its future flowers and fruit, so the ignorant man conceives in his vacant mind the false ideas of himself, his soul, his ego and of everything else according to its fancy. 13 The conceptions of the mind are as false as the sight of things, like seeing a circle in the twirling of a lighted torch. Though the presiding soul is always true, yet these thoughts of the mind are as untrue as its fancy of fairies in the orb of the moon.
14 Now my royal hearers, continue to enjoy your peace by considering, at your pleasure, the rise, end, and continuation of the world, and remain free from disease in all places and times. 15 Conduct yourselves with calmness in whatever turns to be favorable or unfavorable. Unless you behave like dead bodies, you cannot perceive the bliss of your final nirvana, the cessation of mental activity.
16 He truly attains the state of supreme bliss in this world who gives up his egoism and egoistic desires from his mind and renounces the animal nature of his life to live a life of consciousness. 17 Living the animal life leads only to sorrows and misery. Men thus bound by the chain of their animal desires are like big boats burdened with heavy loads of cargo. 18 Strangers to reasoning, addicted to the gross thoughts of ignorance, are never blessed with liberation. How is it possible to obtain in this life what is attainable only by the deceased in the next world? 19 Whatever a man fancies in this life and desires to have in the next, he dies with the same and finds them in his future life. But where there is no such fancy, desire or hope that is truly the state of everlasting bliss. 20 Therefore be fearless with the thought that there is no such thing as yourself or anyone else. By knowing this truth, you will find this poisonous world turned into a paradise.
21 Examine your whole material body composed of your outer frame and the inner mind. Say, in what part do you find your egoism situated? If nowhere, then accept the truth that you have no ego anywhere. 22 Seeing all and every part up to the seat of your egoism, and finding it seated nowhere, you see only an open space of which no part is ever lost or destroyed. 23 In this (attainment of liberation) you are required to do no more than to exert your courage to renounce your enjoyments, cultivate your reasoning powers, and govern yourself by subduing your body and mind. Therefore, you ignorant men who desire your liberation, delay no longer to practice self-control.
24 The learned explain liberation as meditation upon God without any desire of the heart or duplicity in the mind. They say this is not possible without the assistance of spiritual knowledge. But the world being full of error, it is necessary to derive this knowledge from spiritual works, or else it is very likely to be entrapped in the very many snares which are forever set all about this earth.
25 Knowing full well the unreality of the world and the uncertainty of one’s self, one’s body, friends, family, wealth and possessions, whoever is distrustful of them and identifies himself with his intelligence and pure emptiness, truly finds his liberation in this and in no other state whatsoever.
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Chapter 31 — Sermon on the Means of Attaining Extinction
1 Vasishta said:— He who has devoted his whole soul to the contemplation of Consciousness and feels it stirring within himself, knows in his mind the vanity and unreality of all worldly things. 2 By habituating himself to this sort of meditation and seeing the outward objects in his perceptive soul, he sees the external world like an appearance in his dream. 3 All this is truly the form of Consciousness represented in a different garb. Consciousness is more subtle than pure air, but collects and condenses itself as the solid world, then recognizes itself as such. The world is no other than the consolidated consciousness, and there is nothing beside this anywhere.
4 It has no dissolution or decay, nor has it any birth or death. It is neither emptiness nor solidity. It is neither extension nor lack of density, but it is all and the supreme one and nothing in particular. 5 Nothing is lost by the loss of individual ego or this world. The loss of an unreality is no loss at all, just as the loss of anything in our dream is the loss of nothing. 6 Nothing is lost at the loss of an imaginary city, which is altogether a falsity. So nothing is destroyed by the destruction of our egos and this unreal world. 7 Our perception of the world comes from a nothing. If it is granted as such, then there is nothing that can be attributed to it, like a flower growing in the air. 8 After mature thought with regard to this unreality, the conclusion is that you must remain as you are, as firm as a rock in the state in which you are placed and in the conduct appropriate to your station in life.
9 The world is the creation of your fancy as you wish it to be. There are particular duties attached to your station in all your wanderings through life. But all these immediately cease at the moment (of your realization in meditation), and this is the conclusion arrived at (by the scriptures). 10 All this is inevitable and unavoidable in life. It is avoided only by divine meditation, in which case the entire creation vanishes into nothing leaving no trace behind.
11 Unholy souls who view creation before them like the dreams of sleeping men are called sleeping souls. They see the world rising before them like waving waters in a mirage.12 We do not know what to say about those who consider the unreality of the world as a reality, other than saying they are like the offspring of barren women.
13 The souls of those who have known the true God are as full as the ocean with heavenly delight because they do not look upon or even notice visible objects. 14 They remain as calm as the still air and as tranquil as the unmoving flame of a lamp. They continue to be quite at ease even if they are employed or unemployed in action.
15 As a minute atom makes a mountain, so the sage’s heart becomes full when it is employed in business. Yet the cold-hearted detachment of the wise seer continues the same as ever before.
16 The wish makes the man, though it is not seen by anyone. It is the cause of the world, though it is not perceived by anybody. 17 What is done by oversight or in ignorance is undone by the knowledge of it, just as, for example, thefts carried on in darkness are undone and disappear before the blaze of daylight. 18 All beings composed of fleshy bodies and the five elemental substances are altogether unreal, mere gross productions of only error. Understanding, mind, egoism and other mental faculties are of the same nature.
19 Leaving aside both the elemental and mental aspects of your body, you attain the purely intellectual state of your soul. This is called your liberation. 20 When attachment to consciousness and adherence to intellectual thoughts are secured, there will be an end to seeing phenomena and there will be no more appearance of any fancy in the mind, or any desire or craving rising in the heart. 21 But he who has fallen into the error of taking phenomena as true, his sight of the unreal prevents him from seeing true reality. In the end he finds that the phenomenal world is only a mirage, never faithful to anybody at any place. 22 He whose soul has risen to enlightenment finds the falsity of the world, but whoever happens to have any memory of the world in him comes to fall into the error of its reality again.
23 Therefore avoid your reliance on all worldly objects. Rely only on the one who is simply emptiness. Remember that it is good for you not to remember the world anymore, and that your forgetfulness of it altogether is best for you. 24 In your forgetfulness of the world you will find nothing to be seen or enjoyed in it, and nothing of its existence or nonexistence whatsoever. It is forever well, quiet and still as the calm and undisturbed ocean. 25 The whole visible world is Brahman himself. As such, the ocean of Brahman is to be understood as a positive reality. It is a bubble in his eternity, which is all quiet and calm after the absorption of bubbles and waves.
26 Meek and tolerant men are calm and dispassionate in their worldly transactions. They rest in the Supreme Spirit in their souls. 27 The saint whose soul is extinguished in God has only meekness remaining in him. Being devoid of all desire, he is unfit for all worldly concerns. 28 As long as one is not perfect in the extinction of his soul in God, he may be employed in his every day duties by being devoid of passions, hatred, and fear of anyone. 29 The saint being freed from his passions and feelings of anger, fear and other affections, and getting the tranquility of nirvana extinction in his mind, becomes as cold as snow and remains like a block of stone forever.
30 As the lotus contains the seed of the future flower, so the saint has all his thoughts and desires quite concealed in his innermost soul. He never gives any expression to them on the outside. 31 The mind wanders outside by thinking about the outer world. It remains confined within itself by meditation on the inner soul. Such is the contemplation of the Supreme Being, either as he is thought of or seen in spirit in the inner soul, or viewed himself to be displayed in his works of creation in the outer world. 32 The outer world is nothing other than an external representation of the delusive dream that is inside ourselves. There is not the slightest difference between them, just as there is none in the same milk contained in two different pots. 33 The motion or inertness and the fickleness or steadiness of the one or other are no more than the effects of our lengthened delusion. The state of one being the container of the other makes no difference in them, as there is none between the ocean and the waves it contains.
34 The dreams that we see in sleep are only operations of the mind, though in our ignorance they are supposed to be separate from ourselves. 35 He who remains in the manner of the Supreme Soul, quite calm and tranquil, free from all fancy and desires, becomes (extinct in) the very soul by thinking himself as such. He never becomes so unless he thinks himself to be so. 36 Perfect stillness of the soul is the divine state when there is not even a dream stirring in the mind, but what that state is or isn’t is incomprehensible to the mind and inexpressible in words. 37 Yet this state is made intelligible to us by the instructions of our spiritual guides, by entirely removing our error, and by our intense meditation of it. Otherwise, no one can explain what it really is.
38 Therefore it is proper for you to remain entirely extinct in the Eternal One and tranquil as the Divine Spirit by giving up all your fear and pride, your grief and sorrows, your covetousness, and all your other errors. You must also forsake the dullness of your heart and mind, that of your body and all its parts, together with the sense of your individual ego and the distinctions of things from the one perfect unity.
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Chapter 32 — Sermon Inculcating Knowledge of Truth
1 Vasishta continued:— As soon as the intellect’s reasoning commences to act, it is immediately attended by the sense of individual ego, the cause of the false conception of the world. This introduces a series of unrealities, just as the stirring of air causes winds to blow. 2 But when the intellect’s reasoning is directed by knowledge, its fallacy of the reality of the world does not affect us in any manner. We see the world as a reflection, a display of Brahman himself, but we are liable to great error by thinking the phenomenal world to be distinct from Him.
3 As the opening of the eyes receives the sight of external appearance, the opening of the intellect’s thought receives the false idea of the reality of the phenomenal world. 4What appears on the outside to be quite distinct from the nature of the inner intellect cannot be a reality. Therefore this unreal show is no more than the dancing of a barren woman’s son before one’s eyes. 5 Consciousness is perceived by its conception of the idea of things, but when we consider the fallacy of its conceptions and its idea of the unreal as real, it appears as a delusion like the appearance of a ghost to children.
6 Our egoism, from the knowledge that “I am such a one,” serves to bring us misery. But by ignoring this knowledge of myself, that I am not this or that, loosens me from my bondage to it. Therefore I say that our bondage and liberation are both dependent on our own choice. 7 Therefore, meditation which is accompanied with self-extinction and forgetfulness of one’s self in samadhi, and remaining moving and quick in the manner of the quiet and dead, is the calm tranquility of holy saints, which is ever the same, unaltered, and without decay. 8 Therefore, O wise men, do not trouble yourself like the unwise with the discrimination of unity and duality and the propriety or impropriety of speech, all which is wholly useless and a painful frivolity.
9 A covetous man with his increasing desires meets with a series of ideal troubles gathering as thickly about him as the thronging dreams that assail his head at night. These proceed from his fondness of outward and visible objects and from his fond desires inwardly cherished within his heart. They grow as thickly upon him as the creations of his wild fancy. 10 But the meek man of moderate desire remains inactive in his waking state. By his freedom from desiring temporary objects, he does not feel the pain or fear the pains of his real evils. 11 Hence desire being moderated and brought under proper bounds resembles our freedom from its bonds. We get rid of our once intense thought of something by our neglect of it over the course of time and changing events. 12 The complete curtailment of desires is sure to be attended with liberation, just as the complete disappearance of frost and clouds from the sky leaves the empty vacuum to view.
13 The means of diminishing our desires is the knowledge of ego as Brahman himself. This knowledge leads to one’s liberation, just as the study of science and association with the wise serve to convert ignorant men to discernment and knowledge. 14 In my belief there is no ego other than the one Supreme Ego. This belief is enough to bring men to the right understanding of themselves and make their living souls quite calm, tranquil and dead to the sense of their personality and self-existence.
15 The world appears as a duality or something distinct from the unity of God, just as the motion of the wind seems to be something else beside the wind itself, or breathing as another thing than breath. But this fallacy of dualism will disappear upon reflection of, “how can I or anything else be something of itself?” 16 That “I am nothing” is what is meant by extinction. Why remain ignorant? Go and associate with the wise and argue with them and you will come to learn. 17 In the company of those who are acquainted with truth you loosen the bonds of your worldly errors, just as darkness is dispelled by light and night recedes before the advance of day. 18 Make it the duty of your whole life to argue with the learned about such topics as, “What am I?” and “What are these visible objects? What is life and what this living soul? How and from where did they come into existence? 19 The world is seen to be full of animal life and I find my egoism is lost in it.” The truth of all this is learnt in a moment in the society of the learned. Therefore take yourself to the company of those inspiring men of truth.
20 Resort one by one to all those who are wiser than you in the knowledge of truth, and by investigation into their different doctrines. The demon of your controversy will disappear forever. 21 As the demon of controversy rises before the learned like a ghost appearing before children, so the error of egoism rises before the learned in their attempt to maintain their respective arguments. 22 Therefore let the diligent inquirer after truth attend separately to the teaching of every scholar of particular doctrines. Then, taking them together, let him consider in his own mind the meaning of their different teachings. 23 Let him weigh well in his own mind the meanings of their different sayings to sharpen his own reasoning and to accept the doctrine which is free from the flights of imagination and all earthly views. 24 Having sharpened your understanding by associating with the wise, cut short the growth of the plant of your ignorance by degrees, bit by bit.
25 I you to do so because I know it is possible for you to do so. We tell you people as we ourselves have well known. We never speak about what is improper or impracticable for you. 26 As the gathering or dispersion of clouds in the sky and the rising and sinking of waves in the sea is no gain or loss to either, so the attainment or deprivation of any good whatever is of no concern to the unconcerned sage or saint. 27 All this is as false as the appearance of water in a mirage, while our reliance on the everlasting and all pervading One is firm, secure and certain. By reasoning rightly in yourself, you will discover your egoism to be nowhere. Then how and from where do you create this false phantom of your imagination?
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Chapter 33 — Sermon on the True Sense of Truth
1 Vasishta continued:— Rama, if a man will not gain his wisdom by his own efforts, by his own reasoning, and by the development of his understanding in the company of good men, then there is no other way to it. 2 If one tries to remove the false creations of his imagination by the prescribed remedies of the scriptures, he will succeed to change and correct himself, just as they remedy one poison with a counter poison. 3 All fancies and desires are checked by un-imagining them, and this un-imagining or lacking desire is the cause of liberation. Renouncing worldly enjoyment is the first step to liberation.
4 First consider well the meanings of words, both in your mind and utterance of them, and all habitual and growing misconceptions will slowly cease and subside of themselves. 5 There is no greater error or ignorance in one’s self than the sense of one’s own individual ego. Once this error of ego has subsided by disregarding of its accepted sense, then liberation is near. 6 If you have the least reliance upon your body and individual ego, you surely lose the infinite joy of your unbounded soul. But by forsaking the feeling of your personality, you are freed from the bondage of your fondness for anything of this world and become perfected in divine knowledge and blissfulness.
7 Lack of understanding makes all these unrealities appear as real to the ignorant. But we venerate and bow down to the sage who remains as unmoved as a stone at all this. 8Who, from lack of any sense of external objects, remains as cold as a stone and remains at peace in the Supreme Spirit by meditation on the Divine Mind in his own mind, sees only an empty void both within and all around himself.
9 Whether visible phenomena exist or not, they tend to our misery. Only our thoughtlessness of them leads to our happiness. Therefore it is better to remain unconscious of them by shutting our senses against them.
10 There are two very serious diseases waiting on mankind because of men’s cares for this and the next world. Both are attended with intolerable physical and temporal pains to the patients who suffer them. 11 In this world, the intelligent are seen throughout their lives vainly trying to remove their diseases of hunger and thirst by their best medicines of food and drink. But there is no remedy whatever to heal their spiritual illnesses of sin and evil, or to prevent their inevitable fate of death and rebirths in endless succession.
12 The best sort of men are trying to heal their spiritual illnesses and prevent their future fate by means of the ambrosial medicines of dispassion, good company, and improvement of their understanding. 13 Those who are careful to cure their spiritual complaints become successful through their desire to get better and the best medicine of abstinence and refraining from evil. 14 This deadly disease of sin leads men to hellfire in the future. Say, what remedy is left to try after he has gone to the next world where there is no balm to heal the sickly soul? 15 Try all earthly medicines to prevent your life from being wasted away by earthly diseases, and keep your souls pure for the next world by the healing balm of spiritual knowledge in this life.
16 This life is only a breath, like a trembling dew drop hanging at the end of a shaking leaf, ready to fall down. But your future life is long and enduring under all its variations. Therefore heal it for the everlasting future. 17 By carefully attending to the treatment of spiritual diseases at present, you will not only be healthy and holy in your soul in the next world, but you will evade all the diseases of this life which will fly far away from you.
18 Know your conscious soul to be like a microscopic organism which evolves itself into the form of this vast world, just as an atom contains a huge mountain which in time evolves from its core. 19 As the evolution of your consciousness presents the forms that you have in your mind to your sight, so does the phenomena of the world appear in the womb of vacuum. They are no more real than a false fantasy.
20 In spite of the repeated deluge and destruction of the visible earth, there is no change or end of the false phantom of our mind where its form is neither destroyed nor resuscitated owing to it being a fantasy without any reality whatever. 21 Should you like to lift up your soul from the muddy pit of earthly pleasures and desires where it is drowning, then you must put forth your human virtues as the only means to this end, without which there is no other. 22 The man of uncontrolled mind and soul is a dull-headed fool fallen in the muddy pit of carnal desires. He becomes the receptacle of all kinds of danger and difficulty, just as the seabed is the reservoir of all the waters falling to it.
23 As boyhood is the first stage in the life of a man, an introduction to later stages for perfection of human nature, so the first step to one’s self-extinction is the renunciation of carnal enjoyments which leads to the subjection of passions.
24 The stream of a wise man’s life is ever flowing onward with the rising and falling of events, without overflowing its banks or breaking its bounds. It resembles a river drawn in a picture, flowing without the current of its waters. 25 The course of the lives of ignorant people runs with tremendous noise, like the swift currents of rivers. It rolls onward with dangerous whirlpools and flows on with rising and setting waves. 26 Continuous creations and courses of events transpire with the succession of our thoughts. They appear before us like the illusive series of our dreams, the false appearance of two moons in the sky, or the delusion of mirage and apparitions rising to the sight of children. 27 So the constant waves raised by the rising and falling waters of our consciousness appear like an endless chain of created objects, rising in reality to our view but, being taken into mature consideration, false and unreal as they seemed true and real to our false apprehension of them.
28 It is said that there are worlds and cities of gandharva spirits and spiritual masters contained in the hollow vault of the sky. It is supposed that the space of the sky is a reservoir of waters. But all these are only creations of the mind. There are no such things in reality. 29 Worlds are like bubbles of water in the ocean of the conscious mind. They are only the productions of the fanciful mind, things such as they are thought to be. Together with the idea of ego, all are only forms of our varying thoughts.
30 The expansion of consciousness unfolds the world. Closing consciousness conceals phenomena from view. Therefore these appearances are neither inside nor outside of us. They are neither realities nor altogether unreal either. 31 There is one thing alone of the form of Consciousness which is unborn and unknown, and the Lord of all without any decay. It is devoid of substance and property. It is called Brahman or immensity and tranquil spirit, which is as quiet and calm as the infinite void and is rarer than even the empty atmosphere. 32 There is no cause whatever which can be reasonably assigned to the agitation, consciousness, and creations of the spirit of Brahman which, being above nature, is said to have no nature at all. Its agitation is like that of the air whose cause is beyond all conception.
33 Brahman has his thoughts rising in him like waves in the ocean, like our consciousness of dreams rising in our soul. In reality, the nature of this creation is neither as that of his dream or the wave produced from his essence. 34 Only this much can be said of him. There is only an unknowable unity which is ever the same and never as quick as thought or as dull as matter. It is not a reality or unreality, nor anything positive or negative.
35 The yogi who remains in this detached tranquil state of Brahman, unaware of his own consciousness, is said to be the best of sages and saints. 36 Who becomes inactive and inert as a clod of earth, even while he is alive, who becomes unconscious of himself and the outer world and thinks of nothing, is said to be the best of sages and saints. 37 We lose sight of wished for objects by ceasing to wish for them. We get rid of our knowledge of ourselves and the world by our ceasing to think about them.
38 All things expressed in words have certain causes assigned to them. But the cause of their nature remains inexplicable. Only the knowledge of the cause of this prime nature leads to our liberation. 39 Nothing whatever has a nature of itself unless it is implanted by the intelligence of God, as if by infusion of the moisture of divine intelligence. 40 All our thoughts are agitated by inspiration of the breath of the great Intellect. Therefore know them as proceeding from the vacuum of the entity of the supreme Brahman. 41 There is no difference whatsoever between creator and creation, except the difference between air and its agitation, which are the one and same thing. The thought of any difference is as false as the sight of one’s death in his dream.
42 An error continues only as long as the blunder does not become evident by the light of reasoning. When the error is cleared of its falsity, it vanishes into the light and truth of Brahman. 43 Error, being the false representation of something, flies away before a critical insight into it. All things being only productions of our error, like our conception of the horns of a rabbit, they all vanish before the light of true knowledge, leaving only the entity of Brahman. 44 Therefore give up all your errors and delusions and thereby get rid of the burden of your diseases and decay. Meditate only on the One who has no beginning, middle or end, who is always clear and the same, and who is full of bliss and bliss. Assimilate yourself into the nature of the clear sky (in that supreme state of Brahman-space).
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Chapter 34 — Sermon on the Practice of Spiritual Yoga
1 Vasishta continued:— A man lost in the pleasure or pains that fall to his share in this life is lost forever for the future. But the scriptures pronounce that he who is not lost is imperishable. 2 He who has his desires always rising in his mind is always subject to the changes of fortune. Therefore it is proper to give up desire at first in order to prevent alternating pains and pleasures.
3 The error that this is “I” and that the world does not attach to the immortal soul which is tranquil and unsupported, quite dispassionate and without decay. 4 That this is “I”, that is Brahman, and the other is the world, are verbal distinctions that breed error in the mind by giving different names to the one, uniform and unchanging emptiness that is ever calm and quiet. 5 Here there is no ego or world, no fictitious names of Brahman and other. The all pervading One is quite calm and all in all. There is no active or passive agent at all in this place. 6 The multiplicity of doctrines and the plurality of terms used to explain true spirit and the inexplicable One are invalid and refutable. Among them, the word “ego” in particular is altogether false and futile.
7 A man absorbed in meditation does not see visible phenomena, just as a thoughtless person has no perception of a ghost standing in his presence, and just as a sleeping man does not perceive the dreams occurring to another sleeping by his side, or hear the loud roar of clouds in the unconscious state of his sound sleep. 8 In this manner the courses of spirits are imperceptible to us, though they are continually moving all about us. It is our nature to perceive what you know and never know anything which is without or beyond our knowledge.
9 Knowledge, being like our soul, shows all things like itself. Therefore our knowledge of ego and the world is not separate from the soul and the Supreme Soul. 10 Our knowledge manifests itself in the form of the world before us, just as our dreams and desires represent themselves to us as true. These various manifestations of the inner soul are in no way different from the soul, just as waves and bubbles are nothing but the water in which they arise. 11 In spite of the identity of the soul and its manifestations of knowledge, concept, ideas and others, ignorant thinkers consider them to be distinct things. The learned make no distinction whatever between the manifestation and its manifesting principle.
12 As the indivisible soul becomes a component body by assuming all its organs and limbs, so the eternally undivided spirit of God appears to be multiplied in all parts of the world and in the various works of creation. 13 The intellect contains numberless thoughts in itself, just as a tray holds a great many golden cups. Whenever this intellect is awake, it sees innumerable worlds appearing before it. 14 It is Brahman himself who shines in his brightness in the form of this fair creation. He is dissolved throughout the whole in his liquefied form of Intellect, just as the sea shows itself in the changing forms of its waves. 15 Whatever the mind thinks, it appears in the form of the world. Formless thought takes a definite form. But what is not in the mind never appears to view.
16 The concepts of exercising the intellect and the lack of any thought are both applied to the Supreme Intellect because of its almighty power to assume either to itself. This sort of explanation is for the instruction of others. In reality, there are no such states appertaining to the ever intelligent soul. 17 The world is neither a reality nor an unreality, but exhibits itself as such by using the reasoning of the intellect. But as the world does not appear absent reasoning, the same is taught in this lecture. 18 Reasoning and its absence are like the agitation and stillness of the soul. If both are under your subjection, it is quite easy and never difficult for you to restrain yourself by remaining as still as a piece of stone.
19 An appearance which has neither essence nor substance, nor any assignable cause for its existence, is the very nature of this egoism of ours. We know not from where it appeared like an apparition before us. 20 It is very strange that this apparition of your ego, which is no entity in reality, should take such possession of your mind as to make you unconscious of yourself.
21 By accident one happens to observe the ego in the person of the impersonal Brahman, just as a man by deception of his eyesight comes to see a tree in the sky. 22 If my ego and the world are really the same as Brahman, then how can they have their production and dissolution, and what is the cause of our joy or sorrow in either of these cases? 23 This world of thought comes to be visible by the almighty power of God. But the absence of thought prevents its appearance to us. Thoughtlessness of the world avoids its sight.
24 By mere accident the empty mind of Brahman exhibits the ideal world in itself, just as any man dreams a fairy city, or sees the objects of his desire and fancy in his mind. How is it possible to separate the contained from the containing mind? 25 Creation abides in the Divine Mind like waves abide in the sea, a statue abides in the wood from which it is carved, and pots and other things abide in the clay from which they are made. So all things abide in Brahman.
26 As all things appear in their formless state in the insubstantial and transparent emptiness of the mind, so ego and this world also appears in the Divine Mind. 27 As air by its natural inflation breathes out in various sorts of breezes, so the one whose nature is unknown evolves himself in every form of ego of each individual and of the world. 28 As formless smoke presents forms of elephants, horses and the like in empty clouds, so the insubstantial spirit of God represent the formless ego, you and all things beside in itself. 29Creation is a component part of the unknown body of Brahman, just as leaves and branches are component parts of a tree. Each contains both the other’s cause and effect.
30 Knowing the impossibility of the existence of the world other than in the self, the ever existent soul, remain at peace within yourself without trouble. Be free from attributes and errors. Remain as free and detached as the free, open and empty space. 31 Know that neither you nor ourselves nor the worlds nor the open air and space are ever in existence. Brahman alone is ever existent in his eternal tranquility, calmness and fullness. 32 Seeing the endless particulars in the universe, remain free from all particularities such as I, myself, you, yourself, and the like. Think yourself to be in the sole and Supreme One and you shall have your liberation. 33 Knowledge of particulars serves only to bind you to them. Your ignorance of particulars lends only to your liberation. Sit as you are and do your business in your state of tranquility totally unaware of everything. 34 Do not let anything visible attract your sight or allow their thoughts to absorb your mind. Thus the world disappears with your thoughtlessness of it. Say what else have you to think about?
35 The absence of the visible and its observer resembles the state of the waking sleeper. It will make the mind as void of thoughts as the autumn sky is devoid of clouds. 36 We distinguish between creation and creator because we assume the action of Divine Consciousness is distinct from the unchanging Brahman. In the same way, our knowledge of the difference between wind and air causes us to think they are different. Therefore, our liberation lies in the absence of making this distinction and the knowledge of the unity of Brahman. 37 The knowledge of the vibration of the Divine Spirit is truly the cause of our knowledge of the world. The absence of this knowledge of differences is called our nirvana or utter extinction in God.
38 As the seed is conscious that the sprout growing out of it is its own kind, so Divine Consciousness knows the world produced from it is the same as itself. 39 As a seed becomes a plant from its conception of the plant in itself, so Divine Consciousness becomes creation from its concept of creation. 40 As thoughts are only various modifications of the mind, so creation is a pattern of Divine Consciousness. All kinds of seeds serve as examples of having products of the same nature. 41 The world is the changeless form of the unchanging essence of one. Know it to be as unchangeable and without decay as He who is without beginning or end.
42 The Divine Soul is full of its innate will whereby it produces and destroys the world out of and into itself. This form of unity and duality is like the appearance and disappearance of an imaginary city. 43 As you have no distinct idea of the things expressed by the words sky and emptiness, so you must know that the words Brahman and creation bear no distinction from the Divine Spirit. 44 The great Consciousness or omniscience, which is the everlasting form of divine essence, has the knowledge of ego jointly eternal with itself, which men by ignorance assume to themselves. 45 There is nothing that ever grows or perishes in the mundane form of Brahman, but everything rises and falls in it like the waves of the sea, rising and falling in all ways and never to be lost in any way.
46 All things being of the form of Brahman remain in the same Brahman, just as all spaces remain in infinite space and all waves and billows rise and fall in the same sea. 47Wherever you are placed and whenever you have time, attend but for a moment to the nature of the soul in your consciousness and you will perceive the true ego.
48 The sages, O Rama, have described two states of our consciousness, namely its sensible and insensible states. Now therefore, be inclined to that which you think is for your best good and never be forgetful of it.
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Chapter 35 — Description of the Supreme Brahma
1 Vasishta continued:— The state of the soul is as calm as an untroubled mind during a journey from one place to another, when it is free from the cares of both places. 2Therefore, to secure your unchanging composure, be quite unconcerned in all states of your life, whether when you sit or walk or hear or see anything. 3 Being thus devoid of desires and undistinguished in society, continue as steadfast as a rock in the particular conduct of your station in life. 4 Being placed in this manner beyond the reach of ignorance, one is blessed with the light of knowledge in his mind. 5 After ignorance disappears from the mind, there can be no trace of any thought left, nor can the mind think of anything when tranquility arises in it.
6 Brahman is truly one with the world and the same one appears as many to our ignorance which represents the fullness of Brahma as a multitude and his pure spirit as extended matter. 7 The fullness (of creation) appears as an emptiness, and emptiness appears as substantiality, brightness deemed darkness, and what is obscure is brought to light. 8 The unchangeable is seen as changing and the steady appears as moving. The real appears as unreal and unreality as reality, so that seeming as otherwise, and so vice versa also. 9 The indivisible appears as divided and energy appears as inertia. The unthinkable seems to be the object of thought and the undivided whole seems to shine in innumerable parts. 10 Without ego appears as the very ego and the imperishable one appears as perishable. The unstained seem tainted and the unknowable is known as the knowable throughout the known world. 11 The luminous one appears as the deep darkness of chaos and the oldest in time manifests as a new born creation. The one who is more minute than an atom bears the boundless universe in its heart.
12 He the soul of all, yet he is unseen or dimly seen in all these his works. Though boundless and endless in himself, he appears as bounded in the innumerable works of his creation. 13 Being beyond illusion, he binds the world in delusion. Being ineffable light, he centers his brightness in the dazzling sun. Know then, O best of inquirers, that Brahman resembles the endless expanse of the vast ocean. 14 This immense treasure of the universe, so enormous in size, appears as light as a feather when put into balance with the immensity of Brahman. The rays of his illusion, eluding moonbeams in their transparency, are as invisible as the glare of the mirage.
15 Brahman is as boundless and impassable as the vast ocean. He is situated in no time or place or in the sky where he has set forests of star clusters and huge mountains of planets. 16 He is the minutest of the minute, and the bulkiest of the bulky. He is the greatest among the great, and the greatest of the great. 17 He is neither doer, deed nor instrument of doing anything, neither is he the cause of another, nor has he any cause for himself. Being all empty within, Brahman is full in himself.
18 The world which is the great casket of its contents is as empty as a vast desert. In spite of containing countless solid and stony mountains, the world is as flexible as plastic ether and as subtle as rarefied air. 19 All things however time worn appear again every day. Light becomes dark by night, and darkness is changed to light again. 20 Things present become invisible to sight and objects at a distance present themselves to view. The intellectual changes to the material and the material vanishes to the super-physical. 21 The ego becomes the non-ego and the non-ego changes to the ego. One becomes the ego of another, and that other, and the ego becomes something other and different than the ego.
22 The full ocean of the surface of Brahman gives rise to innumerable waves of the world, and these waves like worlds evolve from and dissolve into the ocean of Brahman’s breast by their liquid-like and plastic nature. 23 The empty body of Brahman bears a snow-white brightness over all its parts, making all creation full of a light as fair as snow and frost. 24 This God being beyond the space of all time and place and without any form, figure or shape whatever, stretches out the unreal figures in the world in space and at all times of day and night, like the unstable waves of the sea.
25 In this light shines the bright filament of worlds in the vast space of the sky. They appear like so many ancient trees standing in a large forest bearing the five elements as their five petal leaves. 26 The great God has spread out this light like a clear mirror before his sight as he wished to see the shadow of his own face represented in the translucent twilight. 27 The unbounded intellect of God produced of its own free will the spacious firmament in which the Lord planted the tree of his creation, which brought forth the luminous orbs as its fruit in various different parts. 28 The Lord created a great many varieties of things, both inside and outside of himself, which appear as internal thoughts in his consciousness, and as all entities and non-entities in his outer or physical world.
29 In this manner, the Divine Mind exhibits the different forms of things in itself and of its own will, just as the tongue displays the varieties of speech within the cavity of the mouth. 30 The flowing of Divine Will forms the worlds. It is the conception of pleasant sensations in the mind that causes these torrents and whirlpools in the ocean of the world. 31All things proceed from Divine Mind, just as light issues from fire. By lulling the creative mind to rest, the glow of all visible objects is extinguished and put out of sight.
32 All the worlds belong to Divine Consciousness, just as the property of whiteness adheres to the substance of snow. All things proceed from Divine Consciousness, just as cooling moonbeams issue from the moon. 33 It is from the flow of colors from this bodiless Consciousness that the picture of the world derives its variegated colors. This Consciousness alone is known as an infinite extension without deprivation or variation at anytime. 34 This stupendous Consciousness, like a gigantic fig tree of the forest, stretches out its huge branches on the empty air of heaven, bearing the enormous bodies of orbs of worlds like clusters of flowers and fruit. 35 Again this colossal Consciousness appears like a huge mountain firmly fixed in the air, letting down many a gushing and running stream flowing with numberless flowers fallen from the mountain trees.
36 In this spacious theatre of emptiness, the old actress Destiny acts her part to represent worlds in their repeated rotations and successions. 37 In this stage the boy player of Time is also seen to play his part producing and destroying by turns an infinity of worlds in the continued course of kalpa and mahakalpa ages, and in the rotation of the parts of time. 38 This playful Time remains firm in his post in spite of the repeated entrances and exits of worlds in the theatre of the universe, just as a fixed mirror ever remains the same though shadows and appearances in it are continually shifting and gliding.
39 The Lord God is the causal seed of the worlds, whether existing at present or to come into existence in future, in the same manner as the five elemental principles are causes of the present creation. 40 The twinkling of God’s eye causes the appearance and disappearance of the world with all its beauty and brightness. But the Supreme Soul has no outer eye or its twinkle. He is confined in his spirit.
41 The very many great creations and dissolutions of worlds, and the constant births and deaths of the living, all of which are continually going on in the course of the nature, are all the various forms of the one unvaried spirit whose breath, like the inflation of air, produces and reduces all from and into itself. Know this and be quiet and still.
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Chapter 36 — Sermon on the Seed or Source of the World
1 Vasishta continued:— The false varieties of the world take us by surprise, like whirlpool currents that attract passing vessels, but all variety is found to be of the same nature, like the various waves of the sea. 2 The nature of the whole world is unknowably known to us, just as the universal emptiness which rests in God is imperceptibly perceptible to our eyes. 3 I find nothing in the fancied cities of demons in the air. This really ideal world appears to be in real existence only to the ignorant. 4 The sight and thought of visible appearances are like the visions and memories of objects in dream. This world is only an appearance to sight and a fantasy in the mind. 5 Phenomena and fancy have no place except in consciousness, beside which there is nothing to be had except only an unbounded emptiness. Where then is the substantiality of the world?
6 The error of the world consists in the knower’s knowledge of it. Ignorance (of the existence) of the world is free from this error. The knowing or ignoring of it is dependent upon you because the thinking or unthinking of a thing is entirely within your power.
7 The empty intellect is of the form of the transcendent sky or an extended space to which it is impossible to attribute any particular nature or quality whatsoever. 8 The world also is of the form of the intellect, so it also has no particular character or variable property assignable to it. It is seen to exist, but having no particular feature of its own, it is not subject to any variation in its nature. 9 All this being a representation of empty intellect, it has no substantiality whatsoever. It is the substance and not the knowledge of a thing that is subject to any change in its form. Knowledge belongs to the intellect, which is always unchangeable.
10 I see the all quiet, calm, and pure spirit of God. I am without the error of ego, or “you” and see nothing about me, just like we can never see a forest growing in the air. 11Know that my voice is the empty air, just like my conscious thought. Know also that my words proceed from my empty consciousness, which likewise resides in empty spirit.
12 What they call the transcendent essence is the eternal and involuntary state of rest of the Divine Soul, and not what it assumes to itself of its own volition. That state of rest is like that of a slab of stone with the figures naturally marked upon it, or like pictures drawn on a plate or chart. 13 The silent sage whose mind is calm and quiet in the management of his ordinary business remains unmoved like a wooden statue without the disturbance of any desire or anxiety.
14 The living wise and detached man sees everything in his lifetime like a hollow reed, all empty within and without, having no core inside. 15 He who is not delighted with the outer world reaps the pleasure of his inner meditations. But he who is indifferent to both is said to have gone over the ocean of the world. 16 Give out words from your lungs like a sounding reed from its hollow pipe. Clear your mind from its thoughts by keeping your body detached from busy affairs. 17 Touch the tangibles as they come to you without desiring them. Remain in your solitary cell without wishing or caring or grieving.
18 You may enjoy the various flavors offered to you. Take them to your mouth with a spoon without wishing for or taking a delight in their sweet taste. 19 You may see all sights that appear before you without desiring or delighting in them. 20 You can smell sweet perfumes and flowers that fall in your way without you seeking them. Take the scents only to breathe them out, just as fragrant winds scatter flowers all around. 21 In this manner, if you enjoy the objects of sense with utter detachment, neither longing after nor indulging yourself in any, you shall have nothing to disturb your peace and content at anytime. 22 Whoever finds his taste for the poisonous pleasures of life increasing day by day casts his body and mind to be consumed in their burning flame and loses his endless bliss.
23 Lack of desire in the heart is said to be the dull unconsciousness of the soul, called samadhi by dispassionate sages. There is no other better lesson to secure peace of mind than contentment without any desire. 24 Increasing desire is as painful as living in hellfire, while reducing desires in the mind is as delightful as living in heaven. 25 The feelings of the heart and mind are only desire. Desire moves mankind to practice austerities and penances according to the scriptures. 26 Whenever a man allows his desire to rise in any manner in his heart, he scatters a handful of the seeds of affliction to sprout forth in the fair ground of his mind. 27 To the extent one’s craving is lessened by his reason, the pain of his covetous thoughts cease to harm them. 28 The more a man holds fond desires in his mind, the more they boil and rage and wave in his breast.
29 You heal the sickness of your desire by the medicine of your own efforts. I think you will never find a more powerful balm to rid this chronic disease. 30 If you are unable to check to your desires altogether, you must still try to do it by degrees, just as a traveler never fails to reach his destination even by slow paces. 31 He who does not try to diminish his desires day by day is reckoned as the meanest of men, destined to dive in misery every day.
32 Our desire is the causal seed of the crop of our misery in this world. When this seed is fried in the fire of our best reason, it will not sprout in the ground of our breast. 33 The world is the field of our desires and the harmful source of only our misery. The extinction of desires is called nirvana. Therefore never be tempted by the delusion of desire which leads to your utter destruction.
34 Of what use are scriptures’ dictates or teachers’ precepts if we fail to understand that our samadhi, our final rest, consists in the extinction of our passing desires? 35 He who finds it difficult to check the desires in his mind will find it hopeless to derive any good from his teachers’ instructions or scriptures’ teachings. 36 The poison of greed proves harmful for human life, just as forests full of hunters prove destructive to deer. 37 If one is serious about acquiring self-knowledge, he may learn to lessen his cravings and through lack of sensory perception be led to acquire his spiritual knowledge. 38 Extinction of wish is the eradication of anguish, and this is the bliss of nirvana. Therefore try to reduce your desires, and thereby to cut off your bondage. This will not be difficult for you if you only try.
39 The evils of death and old age and the weeds of continued sorrows are the produce of the secret seed of desire, which is to be burnt speedily by the fires of equanimity and detachment. 40 Wherever there is renunciation, you find liberation from bondage. Therefore always suppress your rising desires, just as you repress your fleeting breath. 41Wherever there is craving, there is bondage in this world. All our acts of merit or demerit and all our distresses and diseases are the unchanging companions of our worldly wishes.42 Deprived of its activity and the indifferent saint free from its bondage, desire is made to weep and wail like a man robbed. 43 To the extent a man’s desire is decreased in his heart, his prosperity increases leading him onward towards his liberation.
44 A foolish man, ignorant of himself and fostering fond desire for anything, is watering the roots of the poisonous tree of this world only to bring his death by its harmful fruits.45 The tree of desire grows in the human heart and yields the two seeds of happiness and misery. But the latter, fanned by the breeze of sin, bursts into a flame that burns the other, together with it its possessor.
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Chapter 37 — If Will Is within God, Why Lecture against Desire?
1 Vasishta continued:— Rama, listen as I explain more fully what I have already told you in brief regarding the treatment of the disease of desire, which also forms an article in the practice of yoga asceticism.
2 Tell me if the will is anything other than the soul in which it exists? If it is nothing apart from the soul, how do you wish to attribute an agency to it other than that of the soul?3 Divine Consciousness, more subtle than open air, consequently is without any part and is indivisible. It is an integral whole, one with myself, yourself and the whole world itself. 4This Consciousness is like an infinite emptiness. It is the knower and the known, the subjective and the objective. Then what is that other which you call the will?
5 There is no relationship between the container and the contained, or between subject and object, or between it and ourselves. We do not know of any saintly man who knows any object of his knowledge (to exist separately). 6 We are at a loss to determine the relationship between our own subjectivity and objectivity. It is just as impossible to determine my egoism and me as it is to see a black moon in the sky. 7 Such is the case with all the triple conditions of knower, known, and knowing. They have no existence of their own in the nature of things. I do not know how they can exist except in the essence of the one soul.
8 All unrealities exist in the reality of the soul. Our individual ego, the subjective, the objective, and all other things liable to destruction become extinct by nirvana in the self-existent and everlasting soul. 9 In nirvana there is no presence of anything, nor is there anything present that becomes extinct. The idea of the simultaneous presence and absence of a thing is as absurd as the sight of light and darkness together in the same place at the same time. 10 Neither can abide together on account of the repugnance of their nature, nor can both be extinct at the same time because we see the presence of the one and the absence of the other before our eyes. So there is no nirvana in the living because one is a state of rest and the other of pain and misery.
11 Phenomena are fallacies and afford no real happiness. Think them as unreal and rely solely upon the uncreated Lord by your extinction through nirvana in him.
12 The pearl shell looks like silver, but you will find none in it. It is of no use or value. Then why do you deceive yourself with such like trinkets of the world? 13 The presence or possession of trinkets is full of misery and their absence is filled with bliss. When you understand absence, thoughts of detachment proves to be a substantive good. 14 Why do the ignorant not come to perceive their bondage in riches? Why do they neglect to lay hold of the treasure of their eternal welfare, which is even now offered before them? 15Knowing causes, effects and states of things to be full of the presence of the One and nothing else, why do they fail to feel his immediate presence in their consciousness, which spreads alike through all?
16 Mistaken men, like stray deer, seek Brahman in the causes and states of things. They do not know that the all pervading spirit spreads undivided and unspent throughout the whole emptiness of space. 17 But what is the conclusion of the doctrine of causation unless it establishes the Cause as the primary source of all? But how can the force which causes wind or the fluidity inherent in fluids be accounted as the creator of wind and water? 18 It is absurd to say that emptiness is the cause of vacuum, or that creative power is the cause of creation, when only the one God is the cause, effect, state, and all of everything himself. 19 Therefore it is absurd to attribute terms implying causality and creation to Brahman, who is identical with all nature, is unchangeable in his nature, and derives neither pleasure nor pain from his act of the creation of worlds.
20 Brahman, being nothing other than consciousness, can have no will or volition stirring in his nature, just as a toy soldier or painted army is nothing other than the material of which it is made without any movement in them.
21 Rama said, “If the world and our ego are all unreal and phenomena are nothing other than the unknowable Brahman, then it is the same whether there be any will stirring in the Divine Mind or not, since God is always all in all. 22 Again if the rising will is identical with the nature of God, just as the rising wave is the same as the sea water, then what does it mean to teach the need to control the will?”
23 Vasishta replied:— O Rama, it is true, as you have understood it, that the Divine Will is nothing other than divinity itself. Those who are awakened to the light of truth know this. But hear me say more on this subject.
24 Whenever a wish arises in the breast of the ignorant, it gives rise to knowledge of the wished for object, just as the gloom of night departs before the advance of sunlight. 25But in the heart of a wise man, the rising wish sets of itself. When there is understanding, questions about duality vanish from the mind. 26 When desire for anything is dead, no one can wish for anything. Who is free from ignorance sees the pure light of his liberation. 27 A wise man is neither fond of nor adverse to the sight of phenomena. He views the beauties of visible nature as they appear before him without enjoying them in his own nature. 28 If anything offers itself to him by some means or another’s cause, and if he finds it right for him to take it, then he may then have the choice to either accept or refuse it, as he may like.
29 Truly will or desire and the unwillingness of the wise are moved by and proceed from Brahman himself. They have no uncontrollable or inordinate desire, but pursue their own course and have nothing new or unusual to wish for. 30 As wisdom rises on one side, so desires set down on the other side. They cannot combine or dwell together. It is impossible for desire and wisdom to reside together in the mind, just as there is no possibility of light and darkness meeting at the same place.
31 A wise man does not need any exhortation or prohibition for any act because his heart remains quite cool to all desires. There is nobody to tell him anything to any purpose.32 This is the character of a wise man. His desires are imperceptible in his heart. While he is full of joy in himself, he is unconcerned to all others about him. 33 There is also a shade of heavenly sadness settled in his outward face, and a distaste or detachment to everything in his mind. It is then that the current of desires ceases to flow in his heart, and his mind is elevated with the sense of his liberation. 34 Whose soul is serene and his intellect unclouded by the doubts of unity and duality, his desires turn to detachment and all thoughts remain concentrated in the Lord.
35 He resides calmly in the tranquility of the Supreme Soul whose knowledge of duality has entirely subsided in his intellect, whose belief of unity is not mixed with any other thing, and who is quite at ease without any uneasiness. 36 He has no object to gain by his acts or anything to lose by their omission. He has no concern whatever with any person or thing either for his good or otherwise. 37 He is indifferent to his desire as well as to his coolness. He has no care for the reality or unreality of things. He is not concerned about himself or others. He is not in love with his life or in fear of his death. 38 The self-extinguished soul of the enlightened never feels any desire stirring, and if ever any wish is felt to rise in his breast, it is only an agitation of Brahman.
39 To him there is no pleasure or pain, no grief or joy. He views the world as the quiet and uncreated soul of the divinity manifest by itself. A man who goes on in this manner, like the course of an underground stream, is truly called enlightened and awakened. 40 He who thinks pleasure to be his pain is one who takes bitter poison for his sweet nectar. The wise say that a man who converts evil to good and thinks himself happy in his mind is awakened to his right sense. 41 The world is one with Brahman when we think of ourselves as emptiness in the vacuum of Brahman, quiet as the tranquility of the Divine Spirit, thinking everything rests in the spacious mind of God. 42 In this manner all consciousness is lost in unconsciousness and the knowledge of the world is lost in the infinity of empty air. The error of our egoism is likewise drowned in the depth of the even and vast expanse of the divine unity.
43 All that is seen here in the forms of moving and inert bodies of the world are as quiet as the motionless, empty sky that contains them, or as a visionary paradise of imagination. 44 As there is a free exchange of thoughts among people without any obstacle to their passage from one mind to another, in the same manner there is the same reflection of this shadowy world in the minds of all at once. 45 Earth, heaven, and sea, with hills and all other things, appear before our empty minds exactly as the false sights of water appear in a mirage to our eyes. 46 The dream-built city of the world appearing visibly before us is as false as a dream and as delusive as a demon appearing in the imaginations of little children. 47 Our egoism, our consciousness of ourselves which seems to be a reality to us, is nothing other than a delusion of our brain and an false conception of the mind.
48 The world is neither an entity nor a nonentity, nor is it completely a substantiality or un-substantiality. It cannot be determined by the senses or explained by speech, yet it exhibits itself as a fairyland in empty air. 49 Here our wish and effort, as well as our lack of both, are all alike in the opinion of the learned. But in my opinion it is better to remain coolly indifferent.
50 The knowledge of I and the world is like that of air in endless emptiness. The vibration of the intelligent soul, like a breath of air in vacuum, causes this knowledge in us, beside which there is no other cause. 51 The aptitude of the intellect of the intelligent soul to its thoughts, which is its longing for external objects, makes it what we call the mind, which is the seat of what is called the world. But the soul released from this aptitude is said to have its liberation. Follow this precept and keep yourself quiet.
52 You may have your desire or not. You may see the world or its dissolution. Ultimately you will come to learn that neither is any gain or loss to you, since there is nothing here in reality and everything is, at best, only the shadowy and fleeting form of a dream. 53 Will and no will, entity and nonentity, the presence or absence of anything, and the feeling of pain or pleasure at the loss or gain of something, are all only ideas and merely aerial fantasies of the mind.
54 He whose desires are decreased day by day becomes as happy as an enlightened wise man and similarly shares in the liberation of his soul. 55 When the sharp knife of keen desire pierces the heart, it produces very painful wounds of sorrow and grief which defy the remedies of mantras, minerals and all sorts of medications. 56 Whenever I look back into the vast multitude of my past actions, I find them all to be full of mistakes. Not even one was done without error, fault or blunder. 57 When we realize that all our past conduct has been in error, we understand all has been done for nothing. How is it possible for us to discern the hearts of others which are like inaccessible hills to us? 58 Our dealing with the unreal world is lost in the twinkling of an eye. For who can expect to hold the horns of a rabbit in his fingers?
59 The belief of our egoism, our personality consisting in our gross bodies, serves to convert the aerial intellect to a gross substance in a moment and make our mind a part of the solid body, just as a raindrop is frozen into a hailstone. 60 Our intellect gives us the concept that our unreal bodies are real, just as the undying principle of the intellect happens to see its own death in our sleep. 61 As the unreal and insubstantial emptiness appears to be the blue sky, so we suppose this creation is attributed to Brahman, which is neither real nor quite unreal.
62 As emptiness is the inseparable property of vacuum, and movement is that of air, so creation is an inseparable attribute of God, one and the same with the essence of Brahman himself. 63 There is nothing produced here as the world, nor is anything lost or annihilated in it. All this is like a dream to a sleeping man, which is a mere appearance and nothing in reality. 64 The nonexistent earth and others are apparent only in their appearance. Then why do you bother to care or fear about being or not being of this world? The world is no more than a production and subversion of it in the region of Consciousness.
65 The apparent body is no reality made up of the five elements. It is only a formation of the Divine Consciousness situated in the Divine Spirit. 66 The instrumentality of the mind in the causation of the world is also untrue and absurd, owing to the union of two causes in one. 67 All things are uncaused and not consecutive in the Divine Mind where they are eternally present at one and the same time, just as the whole series of the actions of a man from his birth to death appear in an instant of his dreaming states. 68 All things are contained in and are as empty as vacant Consciousness. This spacious earth with her high hills of solid bases and all her peoples with their actions and motions are ever existent in their aerial forms in the knowledge of the aerial intellect of God. 69 The world is a picture painted on the airy surface of the Divine Mind. Its various colors are derived from the intellect of God. It never rises or sets, nor does it ever become faint, nor does it fade or vanish away.
70 The world is a huge wave of fluidity in the water of Consciousness. Nobody can say why it is so or how it is produced or how and when it subsides. 71 When the great emptiness of consciousness is calm and quiet, then the world remains in its form of an empty void. When the soul is quite thoughtless in itself, there can be no rise or fall of any object before it. 72 As we imagine mountains touching the skies and the sky encompassed by mountains, we suppose the presence of Brahman in all things of creation.
73By the application of a bit of their intelligence, yogis convert the world to empty air or fill the hollow air with the three worlds. 74 As we imagine thousands of paradise cities of the perfected gods situated in the different regions of heaven, so there are numberless worlds scattered apart from one another in the infinite space of Divine Consciousness. 75Ocean currents whirl apart from one another and seem to make so many seas of themselves though they are composed of the same water. 76 So numerous worlds, revolving separately in the emptiness of the Divine Consciousness, are all of the same nature, and not otherwise.
77 The enlightened yogi views worlds above worlds in his clairvoyance. The sages relate how they can pass to the ethereal regions of the perfected spiritual masters. 78 There are numberless imperishable beings and immortal spirits contained in the Supreme Spirit, just as endless worlds are situated in the hollow sphere of heaven. 79 It is the intrinsic pleasure of the Divine Soul to scatter wandering worlds about it, just as the scented flower diffuses its immanent fragrance and spreads its flying pollen all around. They are not extraneous, but are born within itself like the lines and marks in a diamond or crystal. 80 The fragrance of flowers, though mixed together in the air, are yet separate from one another. So all created bodies exists together in the air, all distinct in their natures.
81 Our fancies make air assume different shapes in the minds of men, such as gross material forms. Holy saints view them in their pure forms in the mind. 82 Neither gross materialists nor pure spiritualists are correct in their conceptions of things. But everyone has to feel according to his particular view and belief of a thing. 83 By thinking the world is contained in the thought of Consciousness, it will be found to be no way different from it, than water is from its liquidity.
84 Know time and the universe, with all the worlds contained in it together with the ego and you and all others, to be the one and very unity, which is the calm and quiet vacuum of the great Consciousness, the unborn and soul of God without decay. Therefore be not subject to passions or affections which do not appertain to the nature of God.
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Chapter 38 — Disquisition of Nirvana — Quietism
1 Vasishta continued:— The intellect sees the world because of the fallacy of its understanding, just as a man sees mountains in the sky because of the delusion of his eyesight.2 The doctrines that the world is a creation of Brahman or of the mind are both alike in substance in that they regard the world in an immaterial and not physical sense. 3 The world that exists in our consciousness of it is the same as its internal knowledge. It does not exist outside of our consciousness, although it appears to be situated outside. The outward appearance is only our inner thought.
4 In our opinion, there is no difference between the two systems of interior and exterior knowledge of the world. Both rely upon our knowledge of them and both deny any reality to an exterior form. 5 Hence all things are the same as our intellectual knowledge of them. This knowledge is indistinct and unchanging in its nature, so the distinctions of the changing scenes of the world can have no place in it.
6 Therefore I adore that omniscience which is the soul of all, in which all things exist, from where all come to existence, which is all and displays all things in itself and pervades all infinity forever. 7 When the subjective intellectual power becomes united with the objective intelligible world, through intrinsic consciousness, then the organs of sense get the sensation of objects and not otherwise.
8 The intellect alone is both the subjective as well as the objective, both viewer and the view, the seeing and the sight. It comes to the same effect that the knowledge of all these is derived from and dependent upon the main intellect. 9 If the subjective and objective are not alike in the intellectual soul, then the subjective and intellectual soul can have no perception of the objective and material world. 10 Because the objective world is intellectual in nature, it is perceived in the subjective soul, just as a drop of water mixes with the body of waters owing to the similarity of their natures. This comes out of experience, not otherwise. Otherwise there is no combination of them, like two pieces of wood.11 When there is no homogeneous affinity between two things, such as between intellect and a block of wood, there can be no union between them. Two pieces of wood cannot know one another because they lack intellect. 12 As two pieces of wood have no knowledge of one another owing to their dull unconsciousness, so nothing unconscious can be conscious of anything, except the intellect which has knowledge of only intellectuals. 13 The great intellectual soul beholds the world as one with itself in its intellectual light. It sees material bodies settled like a rock in it, without properties of life or motion. 14 Life, understanding and other faculties are the products of the intellect’s reasoning. They arise spontaneously in itself. 15 The essence of Brahman exists and exhibits itself in the form of the quiet and unmoving universe. It is personified as the male agent of creation because his seminal seed resembles the minute seed of a fig fruit.
16 First there is a small seed which develops into a tree. But that first seed had another smaller seed from which it was produced. Thus the primary or initial seed is the smallest and is contained within and let out as an emanation of the Supreme Soul. 17 Brahman is the first and minutest soul of all which gives seed to innumerable souls. The inner souls abiding in the spirit of God are known as spirit. The grosser sorts known as things are wrongly considered as other than God, though they are of the same nature with their original. 18 Whether placed above or below, a thing is the same and not different from itself. Everything is the very same Brahman no matter what state or form it may appear to us.
19 As gold in various forms of jewelry is nothing other than gold, so the unchanging nature of the unchangeable spirit of God continues the same in all the changing scenes and varieties in nature. 20 As the clouds of shadowy dreams that hang over your mind are in no way related to you, so the great bustle of creation and its dissolution bear no relation to my empty soul, nor do they disturb the even course of my mind. 21 As the blueness and moistness attributed to the empty atmosphere of heaven are nothing in reality, and as the legions of spiritual masters spirits who are supposed to traverse the regions of air are only deceptions of our eyesight, so the spectacle of the world in only empty air and a fallacy of our vision.
22 The desire of the heart and the false fancy of the mind lead out from within us and bring forth the fruit of the world, just as dirty water at the bottom of the earth moistens the seed that in time produces a big tree. 23 A wise man who forgets his egoism becomes one with the Supreme Spirit. By reducing himself like a bit of rotten straw, he becomes a tiny particle of the Divine Soul.
24 I find no one among gods, demigods and mankind in the three worlds who wishes to approach the Great Spirit who has the whole world as a hair upon his body. 25 He who knows the unity of the soul of the universe is free from the thought of a duality in every state of his life and wherever he may be situated. 26 Who has a great soul and views the world and everything in it as a mere emptiness and nothing in reality, how can he have any desire for unspiritual and sensible objects? 27 He who is indifferent and unconcerned with the endless particulars of the world, who views the existent and nonexistent in the same light, is truly a great soul and beyond all praise.
28 There is no living being that lives or has any property forever. It is only the inner consciousness that shows the various appearances in the empty space of the mind. 29 In vain do men think of their life and death in this world of nothingness. Neither is anything in reality. Both are false as the flowing and ebbing of waters in the mirage of life. 30 Upon due examination, this error vanishes together with its cause, then it appears that there is nothing such as life or death outside the existence of the imperishable Brahman.
31 A man is said to have crossed the ocean of the world who has withdrawn from the sight of what can be seen, who is quiet and content with himself, and who while he is living reckons himself with the dead and as nothing. 32 Our nirvana extinction is said to be the cessation of our mental actions, like extinguishing a burning flame. Nirvana is assimilation into the quiescent spirit of God and continuation in the mental tranquility of a holy saint. 33 Again, he is called the liberated who finds no delight either in ideas or phenomena, but remains quiet and aloof from everything that is an intangible emptiness.
34 I speak of my ego because of my lack of reason, but reason proves there is no ego in me. Hence the word ego has no sense to me, and that makes the existence of the world quite invalid and void to me. 35 Intellect is a mere vacuum. Our consciousness gives us knowledge of the nature of our inner understanding. The mind views external appearances agreeably to its internal ideas.
36 The real entity of your soul will become truly blessed in itself when you get the mind freed from all its objects everywhere and always, and by doing every work in the name of God. 37 Whatever you do or eat, anything you give or offer in sacrifice, and whatever you see, kill or desire, know them all to proceed from God. 38 All that we call ourselves or yourselves or any other, what we name as space, time and sky, mountains and the like, all these together with all actions are supported and full of the power and spirit of God. 39What we see with our eyes and the thoughts of the mind, the world and its three times, and all our diseases, death and decay are phenomena appearing in the emptiness of Divine Consciousness.
40 Remain if you can like a silent sage, unseen and unknown by men and without any desire, thought or effort on your part. Remain as a lifeless thing, and this is the extinction of a living being in Brahman. 41 Be freed from your thoughts and desires and remain fixed in the Eternal One without any care for anything. You may be busy or sit easy, like the air when it breathes or is calm and still. 42 Let your humanity be above feelings of desire or affections. Let your thoughts be directed by the rules of scriptures and your action by the motion of a clock. 43 Look on all beings without the show of fondness or disfavor to anyone. Be an inconspicuous light of the world, resembling a lighted lamp in a picture, never to be directed by the men of the world.
44 A man who has no desire or any object in view and who has no enjoyment in carnal or sensual enjoyments can have no delight except in his inquiries after truth by the light of the scriptures. He who has his mind purified by the teachings of the scriptures and the precepts of holy men finds the inscrutable truth shining vividly in his consciousness of it.
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Chapter 39 — Vasishta’s Sermon on Peace of Mind
1 Vasishta continued:— The man whose reliance on this world is really lessened, who is free from desire and unobservant of his religious vows, knows them all to be in vain. 2Our egoism is like the vapor of our breath, falling and sticking on the surface of glass which, when taken under consideration, proves to be a causeless sight and in a moment vanishes to nothing at all. 3 He who is released from the veil of delusion, who has numbed his rising wishes and efforts, whose soul is filled with heavenly nectar, is said to be happy in his very nature and essence.
4 An enlightened mind not shrouded by the mist of doubts or skepticism resembles the full moon by illuminating the sphere of its circle with the splendor of its intelligence. 5An intelligent man, freed from his worldliness and doubts, who has come out from behind the curtain of ignorance and received the light of truth, is known as the knowing soul, shining in the sphere of the autumn sky. 6 A holy man is like the pure breeze of heaven that blows freely from the region of Brahma, without any aim and without its support. It is cool in itself, cooling and purifying everything by its touch.
7 The desire to have an unreality is to expect something that is a nothing in nature, such as dreaming of heaven or seeking the son of a barren woman. 8 It is the same with belief in this imaginary world, which appears as something in existence. Such also is the nature of our desires which attribute a materiality to an aerial nothing. 9 The world is an unreality even at present, so there can be no reality in a heaven or hell in the future. Yet the use of these words is as false as the negative expression of a barren woman’s son or the flower of an ethereal tree.
10 The world is truly the form of Brahman himself. It is neither an actual nor an ideal existence, nor does it rest on any support. So we are at a loss to understand what is in reality. 11 By relying on the tranquil nature of the soul and confidence in yourself, you lose your reliance on the natures of things and avoid the troubles accompanying the whole creation and created beings. 12 The sight of the intellect, like the eyesight of men and the light of the stars of heaven, in a moment passes over millions of miles. In the same way, the sight of Divine Consciousness stretches all over the unlimited space of creation in an instant.
13 Divine Consciousness is as inconceivable as the womb of vacuum and as imperceptible as the calm and breathless air of the sky. Yet it is as joyous as a plant in full bloom. 14The learned know all living beings belong to the nature of that consciousness. Therefore men of good intellect and judgment place no faith in the creation of the world.
15 As we have no knowledge of the dreaming state in our sound sleep, or that of sound sleep in our state of dreaming, so is our error of the world’s creation and annihilation. 16Error is incidental to the nature of things, and sleeping and dreaming are properties incidental to the material body. Hence neither do these nor the acts of creation and annihilation relate to the omniscient and self-sufficient intellect. 17 Error is the unreal appearance of something. Error flies before examination, vanishing before it can be held. The silver in a seashell is an unreality because you cannot get your expected silver from it. 18 Whatever is unattainable is a nothing. Whatever is wrongly supposed is impossible to be had. A thing that is unobtainable by its very nature is never to be expected. Anything otherwise is contrary to nature. 19 It is the nature of a thing to agree well with itself at all times. The invariability of anything can never admit a variety under any circumstance.
20 All that is natural is attended with ease and delight. But the unnatural is full of pain and misery. Know and consider it well, and do what you think is best.
21 A minute seed containing a large tree is an example that applies to the formless spirit of God containing the form of the universe in itself. This is a statement of the Vedas. 22Hence visual sight and sensations, mental thought and understanding, consciousness of ego or self, and all other properties belonging to intellectual man are the transcendent spirit, just as fluidity is inherent in water. All these intellectual and spiritual properties are of an airy or empty nature. 23 As an embodied being discharges his bodily functions using his physical body, so spirit and spiritual beings conduct their spiritual functions like the air, without actually doing them. 24 It is by force and power of the spirit that we mute creatures are enabled to utter the words I, you, and the like which are mere meaningless sounds, like those emitted by a drum, and bear no sense.
25 An appearance which vanishes upon closer inspection must be held as no appearance at all. So the world of forms and phenomena vanishes into the formless and invisible spirit of God. Nothing is real or substantial of itself. 26 Those who dream this world are dreaming men joined together with their dreams. They are never united with the spirit of God, nor do they join the society of holy spiritual guides like ourselves. 27 All these men are identical with me in spiritual light, being one with Brahman in the tranquil and empty nature of the very same spirit. But physically considered, they are different from me, in as much as they fluctuate in their busy course like vacillating winds.
28 I who am full of the True One appear as a dream or a dreaming man to these day dreamers. While they in reality are as nonexistent and nothing to me as the dream of a man drowned in the depth of his sleep. 29 Whatever be their conduct in life, my business is only with Brahman and my living and reliance are upon only Brahman. Let others think and see whatever they like and do. They are all nonexistent and nothing to me.
30 I am nothing myself, but belong to the all pervading essence of Brahman. By means of Divine Spirit the body appears as something and utters the word “I” and the like. 31The soul is pure consciousness, not subject to the contrary sense, with neither its desire for enjoyments or liberation. They who know the Lord have nothing else to desire. 32 The bondage or liberation of men is dependent on their own dispositions. It is foolish to foster a great ambition here, as it is foolish to look for a sea in the hole of a cow’s hoof on the ground. 33 By restraining our natures and reducing our wants, is possible to obtain our liberation here. Otherwise, no riches or friends or any endeavor can bring about the emancipation we eagerly seek.
34 Consciousness is stretched over all our thoughts about this imaginary world, just as a drop of oil spreads over and diffuses itself in circles upon the surface of water. 35 As scenes seen in a dream seem pleasant in memory upon awakening, so the wise sage sees worldly sights and his egoism also in the same light of a dream. 36 It is only by the practice of yoga meditation that the impressions of the world are so erased from the mind as not to leave any trace behind, save that of an infinite and still emptiness. 37 Whenever the true nature of the soul appears with its solar blaze within us, it dispels the mists of our irrational desires and displays an empty nothingness of all existence. 38 After desires are dead and gone and understanding is cleared of its ignorance, the soul shines forth within us with the light of a burning lamp.
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Chapter 40 — On the Quiescence of the Soul
1 Vasishta continued:— The sight of things, the actions of the mind, the internal faculties and perceptions of the senses are all of a super-physical nature. The true states of these categories are far removed from our knowledge and present only a faint appearance to us. 2 The minuteness of the super-physical, non-Brahmic nature is extended in the forms of external objects, but this extended appearance of the outer world is a mere illusion. 3 When this external nature disappears and subsides in the inner soul, then this phenomenal world is absorbed like a dream in the sound sleeping state of the soul.
4 Our enjoyments, our greatest ailments, our kindred and relations are our strongest bondages here on earth. Our wealth is for our harm and sorrow. Therefore hold yourself to yourself alone. 5 Know your bliss consists in your communion with yourself and that you lose yourself by your familiarity with the world. Become one with the supreme emptiness. Be calm and quiet like it and do not disturb yourself like the turbulent wind.
6 I know not myself, nor do I understand what this visible and mistaken world may mean. I am absorbed in the calm and quiet Brahman. I feel myself as the sound Brahman himself. 7 You see me as another person and address me with words “you” and the like in the second person. But I find myself as calm and quiet as the transcendent vacuum itself.8 You see false appearances in the empty sphere of the Divine Soul. They are produced there by the misconceptions of your mind. These errors continually arise in your mind like the mind’s own erratic apprehensions.
9 The tranquil soul of Brahman knows no effort of creation, nor does the nature of creation know the quiescent nature of Brahman. It is like a soundly sleeping soul knows no dream, nor does the dreaming man know the state of sound sleep. 10 Brahman is ever wakeful and the world is nothing other than a waking dream. The living liberated man knows each phenomenon as a reflection of the ideal in Brahman’s tranquil understanding. 11 An intelligent man well knows the true state of things in the world, and holy men are as quiet in their souls as the autumn sky with a moving cloud.
12 The false conceptions of one’s egoism or personality and the existence of the world are like the impression of a battle preserved in one’s memory or in his imagination. In both cases, truth and falsehood are found blended together. 13 The phenomena of the world, which is neither exhibited in the Divine Spirit as an intrinsic or subjective part of itself nor has a viewer for itself, which is neither an emptiness nor solid, cannot be otherwise than a false conception of the mind.
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Chapter 41 — Repose in One’s Essential Nature
1 Vasishta continued:— It is absurd to find the sense of egoism or self personality so deeply rooted in human nature. Therefore it is right that you should extinguish this unnatural egoism of yours by correcting your own nature.
2 This is done by enlightenment of understanding accompanied by detachment and distaste of the world. Understanding and detachment are associated with one another as the sun with its light.
3 There is no making or maker or act of this world, or any looker, looking or view of it. This stupendous world is altogether inadmissible, being only a picture on the plane of vacuum. 4 There is nothing prominent in it. All is situated on a perfect level, which is the calm intellect of one unvarying Brahman. 5 The Divine Soul exhibits the wonders of its Consciousness in the variegated colors of its imagination. No one can count the pictures of worlds painted on the plane of the infinite space of emptiness. 6 All these aerial bodies are countless like flying atoms. They are continually dancing and playing their parts in the open arena of Brahman, just as players exhibit their various passions, emotions and gestures in a theatre.
7 The seasons dance in circles with their towering heads. The points of a compass turn around with their encircling arms. The lower region is the platform of this stage and the upper sky is the awning stretched on high. 8 The sun and moon are the two playful and rolling eyes, and the twinkling stars are the glistening hair on their bodies. The seven regions of air are the members of the body and the clear and all adorned sky is the clean apparel on it. 9 The seas encircling the islands are like bracelets and wristlets round their arms, and the girding mountains of lands are like girdles around their loins. Fleeting airs are the winds of their breath, constantly breathing to sustain the lives of living beings to support their bodies. 10 Flowers, groves and forests form the wreathed decorations on their bodies. The sayings of the Vedas and Puranas are their script, the ceremonial acts are their action, and the results of their actions are the parts that all have to play.
11 Thus all this is only a dance of puppet show presented before us with the play of waters gliding with the fluidity of Brahman and the vibration of playful breezes. 12 The cause of causes is the cause of unnatural movements of bodies. It is the ever wakeful intellect that remains sleepless in the sleeping state of nature, and the waking awakener of dreams in the non-deep sleep state of man.
13 Rama, remain sleepless in your sleeping state and reflect on the nature of things as you see them in your dream. Be steady when you are awake and never be drowned in your sleep or deceived by your beguiling dreams. 14 The wise say that human liberation is when waking resembles sound sleep and there is no liking or cringing for anything. 15The living liberated man sees his God diffused throughout the universe, and not as its cause or instrument, nor any witness of its sight. He does not leave to look on outward phenomena, nor does he think of the inner ideal that has displayed the whole. 16 He sees the world shining with the glory of God, and beholds it fair and perfect with the beauty and perfection of God. 17 Viewed in the reality of Brahman, the unreal world becomes a reality. Then it seems to be as tranquil as the nature of God, and creation is seen in himself until at last all is lost in the womb of a void vacuum, as if hidden in the hollow cavern of a rock.
18 The universe is like the womb of a luminous gem. Though it is thickly peopled everywhere, yet it is void like empty air. It is a nonentity and entity at the same time, something and nothing of itself. 19 It is in actual existence and in potentiality to the minds of many, but to one who sees clearly, it appears like an extended reflection of the infinite mind of the One.
20 As an imaginary city never disappears from imagination, so the reflection never vanishes from the mind of God in which all things are present at all times. 21 As glistening gold glitters and scatters its rays all around without changing or wasting itself, so Brahman appears to shine in his creation, yet remains quiet and without decay in himself. 22 The phenomenal world continues ever the same, though it is subject to constant productions and destructions of all beings. It appears unproduced and indestructible, as various and variegated as the very many beings in it. 23 Brahman is seated in his impenetrable tranquility in the form of the rising world without ever rising or setting himself. He is as free and void as emptiness and without any nature or property of his own. He is known to enlightened understanding.
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Chapter 42 — Lecture on Duality within Unity; Worship of God; to Remain Still Is to Be Like God; Mistaken Renunciation Makes Thinks Worse; True Nirvana
1 Vasishta continued:— The mind is as calm and quiet as Consciousness. There can be no difference between them. When the Divine Mind is in its undeveloped and tranquil state, it is impossible to assign creation to it. 2 The burning lamp of understanding being extinguished, the false conceptions of the world vanish into the air. Sight and other mental operations are like waves in the water of consciousness.
3 The world bears the same relationship to the Supreme Soul as the fluctuation of the winds bear to air, and as the radiation of rays bears to light, which have no other causality except in themselves. 4 The world is inherent in the Supreme as fluidity is inherent with water and emptiness is inherent with air. But why and how they are so intimately connected with one another is quite inconceivable to us.
5 The world that is immanent in the vast emptiness of the great Intellect is manifest to our minds like brilliancy in a gem. 6 Therefore the world appertains to the Supreme Intellect in the same manner as liquidity is related with water, fluctuation with air, and emptiness with the infinite void. 7 As wind is related to air, so does the world relate to the Supreme Intellect. There is no reason to suppose a duality of any two to exist in the unity.
8 The world is manifest to the sight of the ignorant, but it is frail and nebulous in the estimation of the intelligent. However, the world is neither manifest nor mysterious to the wise who believe it to be an existence in the being of the self-existent unity. 9 It is well known through knowledge that there is nothing in existence other than the sole Intellect, which is pure intelligence and has no beginning, middle or end. 10 This is the great intellect of some and the holy spirit of others. It is the eternally omniscient Brahman according to some, and the infinite void of the vacuists. It is also called knowledge by the wise. 11 Some people understand this infinite and intellectual spirit in the sense of an intelligible being. Others suppose him to be knowable in themselves, and thus trying to know, become quite ignorant of him.
12 Without the intellect there is no knowledge of what can be sensed or any faculty of reasoning, just as there is no air without space or movement. 13 So it is the shadow of the great Intellect that makes our consciousness perceive the existence of the world. Whether the world is an entity or nonentity, there is no other cause of its knowledge except the intellect. 14 It is owing to the unity of this duality that this sense of their identity is verified. There is no one who can make unity or duality the all pervading emptiness. 15 There is only one universal, whole sphere of the empty sky, and the dualism of air and its winds is only words and nothing in reality.
16 The duality of the universe and its universal Lord is only a verbal and not a real distinction of the one positive unity of God. It is impossible for the self-existent soul to have a counterpart of itself, except its own consciousness. 17 That which has the appearances of the world is no world in reality but a shadow of it. That which is limited by space and time cannot be the infinite and eternal sphere. 18 As the different forms of ornaments are related to the substance of gold, so the world is related to Brahman whose unity admits of no duality or the attribute of cause and effect.
19 If the world is only a creation of the imagination, then it is nothing other than a nothing, the emptiness of space and the fluidity of water. 20 As the sky bears the appearance of the sky, so Brahman presents the sight of the world. Both of them being of the same kind of emptiness, there can be no duality or unity of the two in one.
21 Duality and unity are of the like kind, like the vast vacuum of itself. They are identical in their nature with the one all extended and transparent essence of the interminable Consciousness of God.
22 As all pebbles, clay dolls and marble statues have stony substance in them, and as there is no relation of cause or effect in anyone of them, so these varieties of beings have no difference in them from the nature of divine essence. 23 It is impossible for emptiness to be anything other than emptiness, and the reflection of light is no different from the light source, so this creation resides in and radiates from the great Intellect. 24 As images carved in a stone are of the same stone, so O wise Rama, upon insight, all these various forms of things in the world are lost in the substance of the all absorbing Consciousness of the great God.
25 The delusion of your mind presents all this bustle and commotion of the world to your sight. Upon your right inspection of them, they must remain as silent and motionless as a block of wood and as imperceptible as to a man with closed eyes. 26 As things absent from sight appear to be present in one’s thought of them, both in waking and sleeping states, so the misconception of the mind presents phenomena to the sight of the open-eyed man. 27 Hallucination of your mind makes you see absent objects as present before you, both when you are awake as well as asleep. But suppress your thoughts and you will be as inert as a stone, as if in the abstracted and sound sleeping states of your mind.
28 However, you must not allow your mind to become as unconscious as a stone. Remain in your natural state and employ it in the service of your adorable object with the best offerings of your reason on all things about you. 29 Adore the Supreme God of nature for the enlargement of your understanding. Worshipped with your right reason and good sense, He will soon reward you with the best boon of your transcendent bliss. 30 The adoration of Indra, Upendra and the other gods, as opposed to that of God in spirit, is like worshipping rotten straw. Offering flowers and sacrifices are nothing compared to cultivation of reason and association with wise and learned men. 31 The Supreme God, the giver of all blessings, being worshipped in the true light of the spirit in one’s own soul, confers his best blessing of liberation in an instant.
32 Why does the ignorant man resort to another when his soul is the sole Lord? Associate with the good, have your composure and content, and adore the Supreme Soul with your best reason. 33 The worship of idols, pilgrimages and all sorts of devotion, together with all your charities, are as useless as offering scentless sirisha flowers and as harmful as fire, poison and the wounds of weapons are to the body.
34 The actions of mean minded men are as useless as ash on account of their unreasonableness. Let them act with reason in order to render their deeds fruitful. 35 Why don’t you develop the reasoning powers in your mind through knowledge of the true natures of things and concentrate your desires in the Supreme Spirit? 36 Only by divine grace does the mind have the faculty of reasoning. Therefore the power of reasoning is to be cultivated in the mind by sprinkling the ambrosial water of self-control over it. 37 Until the fountain of error in the mind is dried up by the blaze of right knowledge, the tendency towards material things continues to run over it everywhere. 38 Equanimity overcomes the sense of shame, sorrow, fear and envy. The conviction of the nonexistence of the world and all material things removes the possibility of their existence at anytime.
39 If the world is the work of a cause, it must be the self-existent Brahman that is both cause and effect at once, just as the reflection is also the reflector, and the reflected knowledge of a pot or picture is nothing in reality. 40 Know this world to be the shadow of Consciousness, just as one’s feature is seen within a mirror, but the idea of the shadow vanishes when one is acquainted with the original.
41 For lack of the objects of objective knowledge, there remains the only unknowable one who has the form of everlasting bliss. This soul of the immaterial spirit extends all over infinite space in its form of perfect tranquility. 42 All knowledge, knowable and knowing are said to be quite mute and silent in their nature. Therefore it is necessary for you to remain as quite and calm as stones and the caves in rock.
43 Remain like knowing and wise man, both when you are sitting or doing anything, because wise men know the unknown and are the personifications of true knowledge. 44Remain as clear as the sphere of the sky. Be content with whatever may happen to you, whether you are sitting quietly or moving about or doing anything, and in every state of your life. 45 Wise men do what they have to do and whatever comes in their way, or give up and renounce all and everything and remain with their quiet and peaceful minds at every place. 46 Whether sitting in solitude or in silent meditation, let the wise man remain as quiet as a statue or a picture. Having repressed his imagination, let him see the world as an imaginary city or an airy nothing. 47 The waking wise man sees the rising world as sitting down in his state of sleep. Let him see the manifestations before his eyes like a man born blind who has no sight of anything before him.
48 An ignorant man seeking his nirvana by renouncing the world has more cause for regret than peace of mind. Preaching good ideals serves to increase their ignorance rather than enlighten in the path of truth. 49 An ignorant man who thinks himself wise in his own conceit is deluded to greater ignorance by thinking himself successful with his ill success. 50 A man comes to ill success who strives to grow by improper means. The learned reckon all fanciful steps as no steps at all to success. 51 It is wrong to resort to renunciation because of some transitory mishap that is always happening to humanity. The wise know that true nirvana is when a man has full knowledge of the errors of the world, complete disgust and distaste of all worldly affairs, and is therefore indifferent.
52 Rama, as you delight at the recital of tales, so should you should take pleasure in spiritual instructions with a melted heart and mind. Unless you know the transparent intellect and see it as diffused in the form of the infinite world, you cannot attain your extinction in it.
53 The knowledge of God that you have gained from the Vedas is sheer ignorance and resembles the false notion of the world that is born blind on earth. Trample over that knowledge and do not fall into its errors. Know God in spirit and by your extinction into it, be exempt from future reincarnations.
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Chapter 43 — On the Infinite Extension of Brahma
1 Vasishta continued:— The internal sense of egoism and the outward perception of the world vanish into unreality upon right inspection. Then the truth of self-consciousness appears and removes even the dullness of the dull headed. 2 He who is freed from the fever of ignorance, whose soul is cooled by the drink of good understanding, is known by the indication that they have no further thirst for worldly enjoyments.
3 It is useless to use many words in philosophical debates when the simple knowledge that one’s individual ego does not exist is enough to lead him to nirvana. 4 As waking men do not enjoy the pleasure of things seen in their dream, so wise people feel no enjoyment either for themselves or the world. The wise know they are as false as the sights in their sleep.
5 As one sees the illusion of a magic city in a forest, filled with the families of yaksha demons everywhere, so the living soul looks upon this world and all its contents. 6 As the deluded soul sees demons and their houses as realities and stable in their nature, so it believes its individual personality as a reality and the unreal world as material. 7 As the phantoms of demons are seen with their false shapes in the open desert, so we see all these creatures in the fourteen worlds around us.
8 He who knows himself to be a nothing and that the knowledge of his ego is an error, finds his illusion of a demon to be no such thing in reality. His mind melts into the condition of his intellect. 9 Be as quiet in your mind as you are sitting still before us. Renounce all your fears and fancies, all your giving and taking, together with the suppression of all your desires.
10 Perceptible phenomena are neither in actuality nor in potentiality. The whole extent of the objective world is identical with the subjective spirit of God. Or, if it is impossible for subjective reality to become the objective unreality, then tell me, how can the objective come to exist? 11 The humidity of spring season produces and diffuses itself in the vegetation of the ground. Similarly, the core and essence of intellect fills and exhibits itself in the form of creation. 12 If this appearance of the world is only the reflection of intellect, then why speak of its unity or duality? Know that the world is identical with the sole entity, and hold your peace and tranquility. 13 Be full with empty intellect. Drink the sweet nectar of spirituality. Sit without fear and full of joy in the blissful paradise of nirvana.
14 Why do you men of false understandings wander about in the desert of this earth like vagrant deer? 15 O you men of blinded understandings! Why do you run so hurriedly with your unsatisfied thirst after the mirage of the world, only to be disappointed in your most confident expectations? 16 Why do you, O foolish men, thirst after the mirage of the appearances and fancies of your minds? Do not waste your lives in vain struggles, or fall victims to your desires like deluded deer. 17 Demolish the magic castle of worldly enticements by the stronger power of your reason. See how you can destroy the series of evils which at first sight appear as pleasures.
18 Do not make the mistake of looking at the blue vault of heaven as a reality. It is a mere show amidst the great emptiness of Brahman. You should fix sight on its true empty aspect. 19 O you men who are as frail and fickle and liable to fall down like shaking dewdrops hanging on the edge of a leaf, regardless of your fates, do not sleep in the womb of this frail and mortal world. 20 Remain always, from first to last, in your true nature of calmness, without ever being unmindful of yourself. Remove the faults of the subjective and objective from your nature.
21 The world which the ignorant know as a reality is utterly nonexistent to the wise. That one which is the true reality has no name. 22 Break the iron chains of desire which bind you fast in this world. Rise high above the heaven of heavens, like a lion climbing to the towering tops of mountains by using force to break loose from his imprisoning cage. 23The knowledge of “I” and “mine” is an error. Only peace of mind makes liberation. It is the essence of the yogi, wherever and however he may be situated.
24 The tired pilgrim of the world has the following five stages for his rest, namely his self renunciation, his lack of any desire, and the absence of the three sorrows that result from his own fault, those of others, and the course of nature.
25 The wise man is unknown to the ignorant and the ignorant are unknown to the wise. Ignorant and wise see the world in two opposite lights, each quite unknown to the other. 26 Once the fallacy of the world has fallen from the mind, no more worldly things appear before the mind, just as a seafarer seeing one vast expanse of water about him does not see the inland water inlets which gush out of the sea as its offspring. 27 After the error of the world disappears from the awakened mind of the tranquil yogi, he sits quite unconscious of it, as if it had melted into eternity. 28 Like grass and straw burnt to ashes, we do not know where the ashes fly and vanish with the winds of the air. So the nature of the sage being deadened by detachment, his knowledge of the world goes to nothing.
29 It is good to know the world as the imitation of the essence of Brahman. But the meaning of the word “Brahman” being Universal Soul, it does not apply to the sense of the changing world as the work of God. 30 As the world appears to be everlasting and unchanging to the ignorant lad, so it seems coexistent with its eternal cause to the detached sage. 31 The wakeful sage keeps vigil at night when it is time for all beings to lie down in sleep. Daytime, when all creation is awake, is the night of retired saints. 32 The wise man is active in his mind while he seems to be sitting still and inactive in his body. When he is waking, his organs of sense are as dormant as those of figures in a painting. 33 The wise man is as blind in his knowledge of the outer world as one who is born blind. The wise man has merely a faint idea of the world in his mind where it appears or not at times, like a dream in his slight and sound sleep.
34 All worlds and worldly things lead to the sorrow of the ignorant who are unacquainted with and delight in untruth. They are busy with the objects of the senses and their thoughts about them, just as one with visions in his dream.
35 As a wise man tastes no pleasure in his waking state, so must he remain unconscious of them in his sleep, continuing with undivided attention in the meditation of the Supreme Being. 36 A wise man who has curbed his desire of worldly enjoyments and is liberated from its bonds remains with his cool and composed mind and enjoys the tranquility of nirvana without even his efforts of yoga meditation.
37 As the course of water always run downward, never upward, so the course of the mind is ever toward the objects of sense, and sensible objects are the only delight of the mind. 38 The mind’s nature, with all its thoughts of internal and external objects, is the same as a great ocean full of its own currents and the streams of rivers that flow into it. 39 As streams combine into the united flow of a river, so all the internal and external, righteous and unrighteous thoughts of the mind run in an unchanging course. 40 Thus the mind appears as a vast and wide extended sea, rolling on with all its indistinct thoughts and feelings, just as the inseparable waters and waves of the sea. 41 In this manner, the absence of one thing causes the extinction of both, just as in the example of air and its winds. If either is lacking, there is neither wind nor its ventilation. 42 The mind and its working being one and the same thing, they are both controlled if one is brought under control. Know this well, to develop one’s mind, nobody should hold any earthly desire dear. 43 The mind gets its peace by true knowledge. The mind of a wise man, with all its desires, is destroyed of itself without the aid of austerities. 44 As a man gets free of the fear of an enemy’s hatred by destroying the image he created himself, so one is able to kill his mind by committing himself to the Divine Spirit. 45 A wise man sees the cosmos and chaos as accompanying with each other, though they appear separate. Birth and death and prosperity and adversity are mere errors. There is nothing else beside the one infinity. 46 As one has no knowledge of the dream of another sleeping by his side, as an adult man does not have a timid child’s fear of a demon, and as a warrior knows no demon, so the wise sees no inanimate world before him.
47 The ignorant think the wise are fools and the barren woman thinks of her child, so one unacquainted with the meaning of a word attempts to explain its sense. 48Understanding is ever existent, without beginning or end, and nature is known to exist ever since creation has begun. The word mind is meaningless. Mind is undivided and unbounded in its nature. 49 Understanding resembles the water of the sea, and the mind and intelligence are similar to its clear waves. How can this fluid have an end, and what is the meaning of mind, but a shape of this psychic fluid? 50 All error is useless. Live to your nature for your good. Be of the nature of pure understanding and you will become as clear-sighted as the clear autumn sky.
51 After passing through the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep, there is no perception of the mind or mental operation for the withdrawn yogi. The knowledge of endless varieties of unrealities of creation is blown away and lost in the sight of the Everlasting One. 52 Forsake the endless chain of phenomena and be attached to your nature of solid consciousness. All things, whether internal or external, are comprehended under its knowledge.
53 Say, how can you separate objects from the mind as you do seed, branches and fruit from one another? What can be known cannot be known without their knowledge, and knowledge is no known category. 54 The endless varieties and particulars are still and quiet in the Divine Soul, which is the only entity and manifests itself as all. All objects being only ideas in the mind, and the mind being a negative also, they are all only errors of the brain. 55 The mind which is the framer of objective thoughts is a nothingness of itself and an error also. The Eternal Spirit being the solitary soul of all, it is useless to imagine the entity of the mind.
56 The objective, being a false idea, is only a false apparition. Objects also having no cause for their creation also prove the subjective mind to be a falsity. 57 The mind is as fickle as flickering lightning and deludes us by the flashes of things of its own making. 58 The mind is nothing before knowledge of the Self-existent One. With that knowledge of the One, the mind no longer deceives us with its false shows. This world, which is the creation of the mind, disappears before the knowledge of the soul.
59 Men vainly wish to take silver from sea shells and believe the negative world is a positive one, but such is found to be nothing before the light of reason. 60 The error of egoism is opposed to the truth of nirvana, and error is the cause of only misery to mankind. Ego is truly as false as a mirage, a nonentity as emptiness itself.
61 The knowledge of the self or soul removes the error of egoism. By knowing and being full with the knowledge of the soul, one is absorbed with it, both internally and externally. 62 One who is unified with the Universal Soul resembles a wave that mixes altogether with the main water. The Divine Soul sends its essence to all, just as a tree supplies its sap to all parts from root to leaf. 63 There is one unchanging soul that shines far beyond the reach of our knowledge in the same way as the clear vault of heaven appears to be millions of miles away from us. 64 There is only one Unknowable and Infinite Being, and that is far beyond our knowledge of what can be perceived, and is purer and more rarefied than the all pervading emptiness. 65 Therefore know that pure and holy one to be both the states of knowledge and what can be known, just as chilled clarified butter becomes as compact as stone.
66 Divine Consciousness makes itself the object of its thought as a thinkable being. The soul thinks in itself as the mind, from eternity throughout the infinity of space. 67 The unintelligent Nyaya school of philosophy maintains the unity and positive rest of God. Although they may not be mistaken in this position, yet it is wrong to separate omniscience from the being of Divine Unity.
68 All great minded souls who are free from pride melt away into the inscrutable quiescence of God. Those who are unerring in divine knowledge find their eternal rest in samadhi, the renunciation of themselves to the Supreme Spirit.
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Chapter 44 — Growing the Tree of Samadhi; the Deer-Like Mind
1 Rama said, “O holy sage, describe the tree of samadhi in detail, together with all its vines, flowers and fruit which supply holy men with good refreshment throughout their lives.”
2 Vasishta replied:— Hear me describe the tree of samadhi, which always grows in the forest of holy people and is ever filled with luxuriant foliage and flowers and luscious fruit.
3 The learned say that somehow or the other, whether by culture or its own spontaneity, a dissatisfaction with the wilderness of this world grows in the heart of a reasonable man. 4 Its field is the heart of the wise man, furrowed by the plough of prosperity, watered with delight day and night, whose channel is now flowing with sighs. 5 The heart’s regret of the world is the seed of samadhi. It grows of itself in the ground of the humble heart of the wise in the forest land of reasonable men.
6 When the seed of humble reflection falls in the minds of magnanimous men, it must be diligently and untiringly watered with the following articles, namely: 7 the society of pure, holy and detached men, who speak sweetly and kindly for the good of all others, and whose speech serves like the sprinkling of fresh water, milk or dewdrops on the seedling’s ground; 8 and by irrigating with the sacred waters of the sayings of the holy scriptures, which serve to grow the seed through their cool and ambrosial moisture.
9 When the magnanimous soul perceives the seed of humble reflection has fallen in the mind, he must try to preserve and cultivate that seed with all diligence. 10 This seed is to be grown by the fertilizer of austerities, by the power of using other means, by visiting and resting in places of pilgrimage and holy shrines, and by stretching perseverance as his fence around the garden of the seed.
11 After the seed has sprouted, the duty of well taught man is to always protect it with the help of his consort, having contentment and cheerfulness. 12 Then he should keep birds off his expectations, protect the seedling from the vultures of his desire and cupidity, and chase away the fowls of his affection for others so they do not dart upon and pick up the seed. 13 Then desire-promoted activity is to be swept away by gentle acts of piety serving as sweepers of vice and unrighteousness. Then the shades of ignorance are to be dispelled from this ground by the indescribable light of the sun of reason.
14 Wealth, women and all sorts of frail and fleeting enjoyments overtake this rising seedling of discrimination, just as darts of lightning issue from the clouds of unrighteousness. 15 Such thunderbolts are prevented by the iron rod of patience and gravity, by the repetition of mantras, by holy ablutions and austerities, and by the trident of the three letter Om. 16 In this manner the seed of meditation, being carefully preserved from neglect, sprouts forth in the seedling of discrimination with its handsome and prospering appearance.
17 The ground of the mind shines brightly with this brilliant seedling of discrimination. It gladdens the hearts of men in veneration of it, just as smiling moonbeams illuminate the sky. 18 This seedling of discrimination shoots forth a couple of leaves that grow out of themselves. One of them is the knowledge of scriptures and the other is the society of the good and wise.
19 Let your fixedness support the stem and height of this tree and make your patience its covering bark. Through your detachment from the world, supply it with the moisture of detachment. 20 The tree of godliness, nourished with the moisture of un-worldliness and watered by the rainwater of scriptures, attains its full height in course of short time. 21Being thickened by the core of divine knowledge, the foundation of good society, and the moisture of detachment, this tree attains a fixity which is not to be shaken by the apes of passions and affections.
22 Then this tree shoots forth in luxuriant branches of wisdom which stretch far and wide with their fresh vegetation and green leaves, distilling their juicy sweets all around. 23These are the branches of frankness and truth, of constancy and firmness, of equanimity and unchangeableness, of calmness and friendship, and of kindness, self-respect and renown. 24 These branches are adorned with the leaves of peace and tranquility and studded with flowers of good repute and fame. This tree of godliness becomes the parijata tree of paradise to the hermits of the forests.
25 In this manner the tree of divine knowledge, filled with its branches, leaves and flowers, brings forth day by day the best and richest fruits of knowledge. 26 It blossoms in clusters of the flowers of fame and is covered with leaves of bright qualities all over. It flows with the sweets of dispassion and its filaments are full of the dust of intelligence. 27 It cools all sides like clouds in rainy weather and the heat of worldly anxieties, just as moonbeams assuage the heat of sunshine. 28 It spreads the awning shade of harmony, just as clouds cast a cooling shadow below. It stretches a quiet composure over the mind, just as an extensive cloud spreads a still calm in the air. 29 It builds a sound and sure basis for itself like rocks standing on their solid bases. It lays the foundation of future rewards on high and causes all blessings to attend upon it. 30 As the tree of discrimination grows higher and higher, day by day, so it stretches a continuity of cooling shade over the forest of the hearts of men. 31 It diffuses a coldness that pacifies the heat below and makes the plant of the understanding shoot forth like a tender creeper sticking out of snow.
32 The deer-like mind, tired of its wandering about the deserts of this world, takes its rest and refuge under this cool shade, just as a weary traveler, worn out since birth in his journeys among men, comes to take his rest at last. 33 This deer of the mind irritates its mouth by browsing on thorny brambles of the forest for food. It is hunted by its enemies the passions, which lay waiting like hunters to kill the soul, just as they slay the body of the deer for its skin. 34 The deer-like mind, ever impelled by its vain desires, wanders all about the desert lands of this world seeking the poisonous water of the mirage of its egoism. 35 It sees an large green valley at distance, and batters and shatters its body running after its vegetation. Harassed in search of the food and forage for its offspring, it falls headlong into the pit for its destruction. 36 Being robbed of his fortune, put to bodily troubles, led by thirst of gain to the ever running stream of desires, man is at last swallowed up and carried away by the currents of waves
37 Man flies far away for fear of being overtaken by a disease, just as the deer does for fear of a hunter, but man is not afraid of the hunter who is the fate that falls upon him unawares at every place. 38 The timid mind is afraid of the shafts of bad fortune flying from every known quarter, of being hit by stones flung from the hands of enemies on every side. 39 The mind is ever hurled up and down with the ups and downs of fortune. It is continually crushed under the millstone of his rising and setting passions.
40 One who follows after thirst without placing reliance upon the laws taught by the great falls headlong into the delusion of the world, just as one who suffers a scratch may as well be wounded over his body passing through beautiful, thorny vines.
41 Having entered into man’s physical body, the mind is eager to fly away from it, but there is the uncontrollable elephant of sensuous desire who stuns it with its loud shrieks.42 There is also the huge snake of worldly affairs which numbs the mind with its poisonous breath. Women on the face of the earth serve to enslave the mind in love to them. 43There is also the wildfire of anger, burning like stinging bile in the human breast, inflaming the mind with endless pain by its repeated recurrence in the breast. 44 Desires clinging to the mind are like gnats and fleas biting and stinging it constantly. Its carnal enjoyments, desires and revelries are like jackals shrieking loudly. 45 The mind is led by its actions to wander all about without any rest or profit, driven from place to place by tiger-like poverty staring grimly at its face. The mind is blinded by its affections for children and others, and at last it is lost in the hidden pitfall of death.
46 Again, the mind trembles with the sense of honor and its fear of losing it, which like a lion strikes fear in its heart while struck with terror at the glaring of the wolf of death at its face. 47 The mind is afraid of pride, just as a forester dreads dragons coming to devour him, fearing their appetites, open mouths and bloody teeth that threaten to engulf the mind in ruin. 48 The mind should have no less fear of its female companions in youth, whose amorous embraces, like gusts of wind, threaten to hurl it headlong to repeated hell-pits.
49 It seldom happens, O prince, that the deer-like mind finds its rests in the tree of godliness, just as the living beings do when they come from darkness to daylight. 50 O you hearers, let your deer-like minds find that delight in the tree of the peace of samadhi, whose name is not even known to the ignorant who are deluded by their fickle and smiling fortunes that resemble the quivering smiles of flowers.
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Chapter 45 — The Deer-Like Mind; Climbing the Tree of Life; Meditation in
1 Vasishta continued:— O destroyer of enemies, the deer-like mind, having found rest in that sacred tree, remains quite pleased with it and never thinks of going to any other tree. 2 In course of time, the tree of discriminate knowledge brings forth its fruit which ripen gradually with the sweet substance of spiritual knowledge inside. 3 The deer-like mind, sitting under the good tree of its meditation, beholds its outstretching branches hanging downward with loads of the fruit of merit and virtue.
4 It sees people climbing in this tree with great persistence and pains in order to taste these sweet fruit in preference to all others. 5 Worldly people decline to climb the tree of knowledge, but those who have climbed high upon it never think of ever coming down from the high position which they have attained. 6 He who has ascended on the tree of reason and knowledge to taste its delicious fruits, forgets the taste of his ordinary food and forsakes the bondage of his former deserts, like a snake casting aside his old skin.
7 The man who has risen to a high station, looks at himself and smiles to think how miserly he had passed for so long in his past life. 8 Having mounted on the branch of fellow feeling and putting down the snake of selfishness under his feet, he seems to reign in himself as if he were the sole monarch over all. 9 As the digits of the moon decrease and disappear in the dark fortnight, so the lotuses of his distress are lost in oblivion and the iron chains of his greed are rubbed out day by day. 10 He does not pay attention to what is unattainable, nor does he care about what is not obtained. His mind is as bright as a clear moonlit night and the passions and affections of his heart are all quite cold.
11 He sits pouring over pages of the scriptures, meditating in silence on their profound sense. He observes the course of nature with a broad view, from the highest and greatest objects to the mean and most minute. 12 He sits smiling, looking derisively upon the previously described sevenfold grounds of his past errors, full with thick forests of poisonous fruits and flowers. 13 Having fled from the tree of death and descended from that of life, his aspiring mind rises by degrees to its higher branches like a quick flying bird. There he sits like a prince delighted in his elevated station. 14 From there he looks down upon family and friends, wealth and property, as if they were from a former life or visions in his dream. 15 He coldly views his passions, feelings, fears, hopes, errors and honors as actors playing out their various roles in the drama of his life.
16 The course of the world is like that of a rapid river running onward with furious and mischievous currents, laughing with its foaming wave breakers, now swelling high and then suddenly sinking. 17 He does not feel any craving in his breast for wealth, wife or friends who live dead to his feelings like an unconscious corpse. 18 His sight is fixed only on that single fruit on high, which is the holy and conscious soul or consciousness. With that one object in his sight, he climbs up to the higher branches of this tree of life. 19 He remembers the blessings of the preceding steps of his yoga meditation, filled with the ambrosia of contentment. He remains as content at the loss of his riches as he had felt at their gain. 20 He is as displeased and annoyed with the callings of his life, whether private or public, as one who is untimely roused from his wholesome sleep.
21 A weary traveler, fatigued from his long and tiring journey, longs for rest from his labor. In the same way, a man tired of his repeated journeys through life caused by his ignorance requires his rest in nirvana. 22 As a wing lights a fire without the help of fuel, so let him light the flame of his soul within by the breath of respiration and become united with the Supreme Spirit. 23 Let him forcefully check his desires for anything that falls of itself before his sight, although he is unable to prevent his yearning eye from falling upon it.24 Having attained this great dignity which confers the fruits of best blessings on man, the devotee arrives to the sixth stage of his devotion, whose glory no language can describe.
25 Whenever he happens to meet with some unexpected good which fortune may present to him, he feels a dislike for it, like a traveler unwilling to trust a mirage in a barren desert. 26 The silent sage, full with divine grace within himself, attains a state of indescribable bliss similar to the sleep of a weary traveler exhausted from the bustle of the busy world. 27 Having arrived at this stage of devotion, the sage advances towards attainment of the fruit of spiritual bliss, like the aerial spirit of a spiritual master has descending upon Mount Meru, or a bird of air dropping down on top of a tree. 28 There he forsakes all thoughts and desires and becomes as free as the open sky. Then he takes, tastes, eats and satisfies himself feeding freely upon this fruit of spiritual bliss.
29 Attainment of godliness or full perfection in life means day by day leaving every object of desire, living the entire day with perfect composure with one’s self. 30 To attain such a state of perfection, do away with all distinctions and differentiations and remain in perfect union and harmony with all and everything. The learned say that this state of mind is the assimilation and approximation of the nature of God, who is ever pure and the one and same in all from eternity to eternity.
31 One disgusted with his desire of the world and its people, having abandoned desire for his wife and family and forsaken his desire to acquire riches, can only find his rest in this blissful state. 32 The ultimate union of both intellect and true knowledge in the Supreme Spirit melts away all sense of distinction, just as the heat of the sun melts frozen snow.
33 One who has known the truth is not like a bent bow which becomes straight after it is loosened. Rather, he is more like a curved necklace which retains its curve even after it is let loose on the ground. 34 As a statue carved on wood or stone is seen in bas-relief, so the world is manifest in the great pillar of the Supreme Spirit without being an existing entity or a nonexisting one of itself. 35 We cannot form any idea in the mind how material exists in the immaterial spirit, nor is it proper in our ignorance to entertain any idea of what is the unknowable nature of the Self-existent One.
36 Whoever has utmost indifference to phenomena is capable of knowing the invisible spirit. But the unenlightened soul is incapable of forsaking and forgetting phenomena.37 Knowledge of phenomena is utter ignorance. Samadhi means never losing that which is never lost to consciousness and relying upon it. 38 When viewer and view are seen in the same light of identity, and so relied upon by the mind, then it is called the union of both into one. The yogi places his rest and reliance upon this belief.
39 He who has known the truth finds a natural distaste for phenomena. Wise men use the word materialism for ignorance of truth. 40 Fools, ignorant of the truth, feed only upon the objects of sense, but the wise have a natural distaste for them. They who have the taste of sweet nectar cannot be disposed to taste a sour porridge or a bitter drink. 41 A man without desires, content in himself, is quite devoid of the triple desires described before. But a learned man who is not inclined to meditate is addicted to the increase of his wealth.
42 Self-knowledge results from the absence of lust. Whoever loses his self by his corruption has neither his self-possession nor any fixed position to stand upon. 43 A learned man, though he may employ all his knowledge, does not prosper in his meditation because his various desires divide him within, though he was made as the whole and undivided image of his maker. 44 But the soul freed from desires of itself comes to possess endless bliss by being dissolved in the Source through meditation, as if wingless mountains were fixed upon the earth. 45 As the soul becomes conscious of holy light in itself, it loses the sense of its meditation and is wholly lost in that light, just as a drop of clarified butter offered in sacred oblation is burnt away in the sacrificial fire.
46 The complete renunciation of all objects of sense constitutes the peace and stillness of the mind. He who has accustomed himself to this habit is entitled to our regard as a venerable and holy sage. 47 Truly, the man who has become proficient suppressing his appetite for worldly objects becomes so firm and calm in his holy meditation that not even the combined power of Indra, the gods and demigods can shake him from his meditation. 48 Therefore resort to the strong and firm refuge of meditation. Know that all meditations other than that of knowledge is as frail and fragile as straw.
49 The word “world” is used to refer to ignorant people. The wise are not the subject of its meaning. The difference between the words ignorant and wise consists in the one forming the majority of mankind and the other their superiors. 50 Let wise men resort to and rest at that place where all meet in union in one self-shining unity, whether it be on the ground of the understanding of saintly spiritual masters or those of enlightened sages.
51 No one has yet been able to explain the unity or duality of the real or unreal. The way to learn it is first by means of scriptures, then by association with wise and holy men. 52The third and best means to nirvana is meditation, which is arrived at one after the other. Then it will appear that the immense body of Brahman takes upon itself the name and nature of the living soul.
53 The world appears in various forms by the meeting of like and unlike principles. It becomes divided into eighteen regions by the omniscience of God who knows the past and the future. 54 Both the knowledge and the dislike of the world are attained by attainment of either one of them. The thoughts of our mind, flying with the winds in open air, are burnt away by the fire of knowledge. 55 The worlds, like flying cottonwood seeds, flee into the Supreme Soul, but nothing is known about where they end up flying. Man’s gross ignorance of man is not removed by knowledge, just as dense snow does not melt from a fire in a painting.
56 Though the world is known to be an unfounded fallacy, yet it is hard to remove this error from the mind. On the other hand, the world increases with ignorance as ignorant men acquire more knowledge of it. 57 As the knowledge of the ignorant tends to increase their ignorance, so a wise man finds ignorant people’s knowledge of the world to be meaninglessness. 58 The existence of the three worlds is known to us only as they are represented in our knowledge of them. They are built in emptiness like aerial cities stretched out before us in the empty dreams of our sleep.
59 Knowledge of the world is as false as fanciful desires in the minds of the wise. For neither the existence of the world or even his own self-existence is perceptible in the understanding of a wise man. 60 There is only the existence of one supremely bright essence which shines in our minds, resembling pieces of wet or dry wood in as much as they are moistened or dried by the presence or absence of divine knowledge. 61 To right understanding, the whole world with all its living beings appears as one with one’s self, but men of dull understanding bear no mutual sympathy for one another. The knowledge of duality tends towards differences and disunion among men, but knowledge of oneness leads men to fellow-feeling and union. 62 The wise man possessing a greater share of wisdom becomes as one with the Supreme One. He does not consider the question of the being or nonexistence of the world. 63 A man who has arrived at the fourth stage of yoga takes no notice of men’s waking, dreaming or sleeping states. A reasonable man takes no account of the vain wishes of his heart and the false fancies of his mind.
64 Hence the deer-like mind does not choose its annihilation for the sake of its liberation and has no reality in it. 65 Thus the tree of meditation by itself produces the fruit of knowledge which is ripened by degrees and in course of time to its lusciousness. Then the deer-like mind drinks its sweet juice of divine knowledge to its fullness and becomes free from its chains of earthly desire.
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Chapter 46 — On Samadhi Meditation
1 Vasishta continued:— After the Supreme Being, the object and fruit of meditation, is known as present in the mind and the bliss of release from flesh is felt within, then all sensations are lost altogether and the deer-like mind becomes spiritualized into the Supreme Essence. 2 Then the mind loses its deer-like quality of browsing thorns, just as the extinguished lamp loses its flame. It assumes a spiritual form and shines with an inexhaustible blaze.
3 In order to attain the fruit of its meditation, the mind assumes a firmness like that of mountains after their wings were mutilated by Indra’s thunderbolts. 4 Its mental faculties fly away and there remains only pure consciousness which is irrepressible, indivisible and full with the Supreme Soul. 5 The mind, being roused to reasonableness, now rises as the sentient soul and dispenses its clear spiritual light from its identity with the uncreated and endless One. 6 It remains in that state in perfect freedom from all wishes and strivings. It is assimilated into the everlasting spirit of God in its form of eternal contemplation.
7 Until we find that blessed state and know the great Brahman, the mind remains a stranger to meditation because it dwells on other thoughts. 8 After the mind has obtained its union with the Supreme One, we know not where the mind has fled, or where our wishes and actions, our joys and grief, and all our knowledge fly away.
9 The yogi is seen to be absorbed solely in his meditation, sitting steadfast in his contemplation like a wingless and unmoving mountain. 10 Disinterested in sensual enjoyments and numb to all sensibilities, adverse to the various sights and objects of senses, the yogi is pleased only with himself. 11 With his sensations numbed by degrees, his soul resting in tranquility, and his mind dead to the enticements of wealth and sensible objects, the yogi is pleased with himself.
12 All men of right understanding are fully aware of the tastelessness of the objects of sense. They remain like human figures in painting, without showing strong affection or looking upon them. 13 A man who is master of himself, his soul and his mind refuses to look upon earthly treasures because he has no desire for them. He is firmly fixed in his abstraction as if he were compelled to it by another’s force.
14 The soul immersed in meditation becomes as full as a river in rainy season. There is no power that can restrain the mind fixed in meditation.
15 The mind immersed in deep meditation has a cool aversion to all sensible objects and feels an utter detachment to all worldly affairs. Then it is said to be in samadhi. 16 It is a settled distaste for the objects of sense that constitutes the core and essence of meditation. The maturity of this habit makes a man as firm as a diamond. 17 Therefore a distaste for worldly enjoyments is the germ of meditation, while the taste for such pleasures binds a man tightly to the world. 18 Full knowledge of truth and the renunciation of every desire at all times lead men to nirvana meditation and to the infinite joy of the divine state.
19 When there is renunciation of enjoyments, why think of anything else? When there is no such renunciation, what avails any other thought or meditation? 20 The intelligent sage who is free from enjoying phenomena is situated in steadfast meditation and in the enjoyment of continuous bliss. 21 He who is not delighted with phenomena is known as the most enlightened man. He who takes no delight in what can be enjoyed is considered a fully wise man. 22 He who by nature is disposed to tranquility can have no inclination towards enjoyments. It is unnatural to indulge in carnal enjoyments. The subdued nature needs nothing to enjoy.
23 Let men meditate after hearing a lecture, reciting the scriptures, repeating mantras and uttering their prayers. When tired with meditation, let them return to their lectures and recitals. 24 Sitting in meditation in an untiring mood, resting at agreeable ease with freedom from fear and care, and remaining in rapturous nirvana with a quiet and composed mind are like the fair autumn sky with its unclouded and serene aspect.
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Chapter 47 — The First Step towards Liberation
1 Vasishta continued:— Hear now the manner and measures a yogi adopts to obtain release from his heavy burden and troubles of the world. 2 The seedling of discrimination springs first in the mind from contempt for the world. 3 All good people take shelter under the wide stretching shade of this large tree, just as a weary and sunburned traveler rests under the cool shade of trees.
4 A wise man shuns the ignorant at a distance, just as the wayfarer casts aside sacrificial wood because the worshippers of gods observe only the ceremonious rites of holy ablutions, almsgivings, austerities and sacred oblations.
5 In his fair, just, polite and open behavior, and in his calm and pleasing countenance, a wise man resembles the fair moon with her ambrosial beams. 6 He acts with sound wisdom and prudence, is polite and civil in his manners, is prompt in serving and obliging others, is holy in his conduct and humorous in his discourse. 7 He is as clear, cold, soft and pleasing as fresh butter, and his company is delightful to people even at first encounter.
8 The deeds of wise men are as pure for mankind as the dews of moonbeams refresh and cool all of nature. 9 No one sleeps so delighted on a bed of flowers, a flower garden devoid of fears, as he who rests secure in the company of reasonable and pious men. 10 The society of holy and wise men, like the pure waters of the heavenly river, serves to cleanse the sins and purify the minds of the sinful. 11 The society of the holy recluse and liberated men is as cooling as a house filled with ice and flowers. 12 The great delight which a holy sage feels in his heart is not to be enjoyed in the company of apsara fairies, gandharva spirits, the gods, or any ordinary human kind.
13 A pious devotee attains knowledge and clear understanding by continued performance of proper acts. Then the significance of the scriptures is reflected clearly in the tablet of his mind, just as the reflections of objects are seen in a mirror. 14 Good understanding moistened by the instruction of scriptures grows in the mind of a holy man, just as a plantain tree grows in the forest. 15 The mind cleared by good judgment retains the clear impression of everything in it, just as a mirror reflects the images of objects on its surface.
16 A wise man whose soul is purified by the association with holy men, and whose mind is cleansed with the washing of scriptural instruction, is like a sheet of linen cloth flaming with fire. 17 A holy saint shines with the brightness of his presence just like the sun does with his golden beams, diffusing a pure light all around the world. 18 A wise man follows the conduct of holy sages and the precepts of the scriptures to imitate and practice them himself. 19 Thus by degrees, a beginner becomes as good as the great objects of his imitation and as full of knowledge as the scriptures themselves. Having then put down all the enjoyments of life, he appears to come out of a prison by breaking down his chains and fetters.
20 He who has become accustomed to reducing his desires and enjoyments day by day resembles the crescent moon daily increasing in brightness. He enlightens his family just as the moon throws her luster over the stars about her. 21 A stingy miser is always as gloomy as the face of an eclipsed moon. He is never as smiling as the face of a liberal man, which is bright as the face of the moon when freed from eclipse. 22 The liberal man spurns the world as mere straw and becomes famous among the great for his generosity. He resembles the wish-fulfilling kalpa tree of paradise which yields the desired fruit to everybody. 23 Though one may feel some compunction in his mind at the willful abdication of his possessions, yet the wise man is happy with no property at all.
24 Anyone who comes to know what he was and how he now is may laugh at his prior acts, just as a low savage remembering his prior births and comparing them with his present laughs in disgust.
25 Even spiritual masters and holy saints look upon a yogi with wonder, full of esteem for him. They see him with delighted eyes like the moon rising over the earth. 26 A yogi, ever accustomed to despise all enjoyment and having attained right judgment, does not esteem anything that can be enjoyed in life, though it presents itself to him in the proper manner. 27 A holy man whose soul is raised and enlightened feels his former enjoyments to become as dull and tasteless as a luxuriant tree becomes dry and withered in autumn.28 He resorts to the company of holy men for his greatest and lasting good, and becomes as sane and sound as a sick man becomes healthy by his abstinence and recourse to physicians. 29 Being then exulted in his mind, he dives into the deep sense of the scriptures like a big elephant plunging into a large lake of clear water.
30 It is the nature of virtuous men to deliver their neighbors from danger and calamity and to lead them to their well being and prosperity, just as the sun leads people to light.31 A reasonable man is adverse to receiving anything from another and lives content with what is his own. 32 He hates to taste others’ delicacies because he is gratified by the nectar drink of contentment and prepares to abandon what he already possesses. 33 He is accustomed to give away his gold and money to beggars and beg his vegetarian food from others. By habitual practice of giving away whatever he has, he is even ready to part with the flesh of his body. 34 Truly a man of subdued mind and holy soul gets over the hidden traps of ignorance with as much ease as a running man leaps over a pothole.
35 A holy man accustomed to despise the acceptance of wealth from others learns speedily to neglect the possession of any wealth for himself. 36 Thus aversion to wealth and others’ possessions leads a wise and holy man by degrees to be adverse to retaining anything for himself.
37 There is no such trouble on this earth, nor any great pain in the torment of hell, as there is in the punishment of earning and accumulation of wealth. 38 Ah, how little are the money-making fools aware of the cares and troubles they have to undergo in their restless days and nights in their servitude for money. 39 All wealth is only lengthening sorrow. Prosperity brings adversity. All enjoyments are only ailments and thus every earthly good turns to its reverse.
40 One cannot have a distaste for sensual enjoyments as long he thinks on the objects of sense, or as long as he has any craving for riches, which are the springs of all evils and harms in human life.
41 He who has a taste for the highest heavenly bliss looks upon the world as a heap of straw, and riches as the fire that lights them ablaze. Avoid this fire and be cool and quiet.42 The meaning of wealth is known as the source of all evils in the world and the cause of all wants and disorders and even of diseases and death. It is also the cause of oppression and plunder, of agitation and the like, and their consequent poverty and famine.
43 In this mortal world of death and diseases of living beings, there is only one elixir which gives perpetual health and life to man, and this is contentment. 44 The spring season is charming, and so are the gardens of paradise, moonbeams and celestial ladies, but all combine only in contentment which alone is capable of yielding all delights. 45 The contented soul is like a lake during rains when it is full and deep, clear and cooling as the nectar drink of the gods. 46 An honest man is strengthened by his contentment and flourishes with full joy like a flowering tree is covered with blossoms in flowering season.
47 As a poor ant, in its ceaseless search and hoarding of food, is likely to be crushed under the foot of every passerby, so a greedy and needy man is liable to be spurned for his constant wanderings after worthless gains and money. 48 A deformed and disfigured beggar is like a man plunged into a sea of troubles, buffeting in its waves without finding any support for rest or any prospect of ever reaching the shore. 49 Prosperity, like beauty, is as frail and fickle as the unstable waves of the ocean. What wise man can expect to find his reliance on prosperity or beauty, or have rest under the shade of the hood of a hideous serpent? 50 He who knows the pains that attend gaining, keeping and losing money, but still persists pursuing it, is no better than a brute and deserves to be shunned by the wise as unsociable. 51 He who cuts down the growing grass of his internal and external appetites from the field of his heart by the means of the sword of detachment, gets it prepared for reception of the seeds of divine knowledge.
52 Ignorant people take the world for a reality and wise men also conduct themselves under this supposition although they are well aware of its unreality. This is owing to their neglect of practicing what they are taught to believe.
53 The sum of the whole is that renunciation of the world leads men to the society of sages and study of the scriptures. Then by reliance on the holy precepts, one abandons his worldliness. At last, his firm dislike of the temporal leads him to seek his spiritual bliss.
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Chapter 48 — The Nature of a Yogi; the Worship of the Lord God
1 Vasishta continued:— After a man comes to renounce the world, associates with holy men, has well digested the precepts of the scriptures, and has abandoned his carnal desires and enjoyments, 2 then, having a distaste for worldly objects, he gains the reputation of being a man of integrity, being outwardly an inquirer after truth and inwardly full of enlightenment. 3 He does not long for wealth, but shuns it like one flies from darkness. He gives away whatever he has in hand, just as a man throws away dry, rotten leaves from his house.
4 Everyone is seen worn out with toil and care for the support of his family and friends throughout his life. Yet like a weary traveler laboring under his load, he is rarely found to cast off his burden as long he has strength to bear it. 5 A man in full possession of his senses and sensible objects all about him is yet quite unconscious of them if he is possesses a calm, quiet mind. 6 Wherever he remains, whether in retired solitude remote from his country or in a forest or sea or distant deserts or gardens, he is perfectly at home in every place. 7 He is not in love with any place, nor dwells secure in any state whether it be the company of friends in a pleasure garden or in learned discussions in the assembly of scholars. 8 Wherever he goes or stays, he is always calm and self-governed, silent and communing with the Self. Though well informed himself, yet he is always in search of knowledge in his inquiry after truth.
9 Thus by his constant practice, a holy sage sits on low ground or in water and rests himself in the Supreme One in the state of transcendent bliss. 10 This is the state of perfect stillness, both of inner soul and of outward senses. A yogi remains quite unaware of himself with his consciousness of indisputable truth. 11 This transcendent state consists in the unconsciousness of sensible objects and the consciousness of an emptiness full with the presence of omniscience spirit. 12 The state of highest bliss is first one’s concern with the knowledge of unity, and lastly his unconsciousness of himself and everything besides, whether of a void or substance.
13 A saint, mindless of everything and resting in his consciousness, has no desire for anything, but remains like a block of stone amidst the encircling water. 14 The self-conscious person, having attained that state of perfection which shuts out all objective thoughts, remains silent and slow, quite unmindful of everything beside itself. He reposes in his own being like a human figure in a painting. 15 He who has known the one that is to be known sees in his heart all things as nothing. All magnitudes shrink into minuteness and the whole fullness appears like an emptiness to him. 16 The knower of God no longer has knowledge of himself or the world. All space and time and existence appear as nonexistent before him. 17 The seer who has seen the glory of God is situated in the region of light. Like a lighted lamp, he dispels his inner darkness and all his outward fears, hatreds and affections.
18 I bow down before that sun-like sage who is set beyond darkness on every side and is raised above all created things, whose great glory is never liable to be darkened. 19 I cannot describe in words the most eminent state of a divine seer whose soul is filled with divine knowledge, whose mind is quite at rest, and whose knowledge of duality is wholly extinct. 20 Know, O most intelligent Rama, that the great Lord God is pleased to bless him with the bliss of his final nirvana as reward for his serving him day and night with sincere devotion.
21 Rama asked, “Tell me, O chief of sages, who is this Lord God? How is he propitiated by our prayers and faith in him? Explain this mystery to me, for you are acquainted with all truth.”
22 Vasishta replied:— Know, O highly intelligent Rama, that the Lord God is neither at a distance nor unattainable. The Lord is the all knowing soul, and the soul is the great God. 23 In Him are all things and from him have come all these. He is all and everywhere with all. He is immanent in and the same with all. He is everlasting and I bow down to him.24 From him comes out this creation, as well as all its change and dissolution. He is the uncaused cause of all which rise like winds in the hollow vault of heaven.
25 All these creatures, the moving as well as inert, worship Him always, as well as they can and present Him the best offerings that they can find. 26 So men by adoring Him in their repeated births, with all their hearts and minds and in the best manner that they can, at last propitiate the supreme object of their adoration. 27 The great Lord God and Supreme Soul, being thus propitiated by their firm faith, at last sends his messenger to them, with his good will for their enlightenment.
28 Rama asked, “Tell me, great sage, how does the Lord God and Supreme Soul send his messenger to man? Who is this messenger, and in what manner does he teach?”
29 Vasishta replied:— The messenger sent by the Divine Spirit is known by the name of wise discrimination (viveka, wisdom). It shines as coolly in the cave of the human heart as moonlight does in a clear sky. 30 Wise discrimination awakens and instructs the brutish and lustful soul to wisdom and saves the unwise soul from the turbulent ocean of this world. 31 The Vedas and Vedic scriptures call this enlightening and intellectual spirit residing in the human heart the adorable cosmic sound of Om. 32 This Holy Spirit is propitiated daily by men and the naaga tribe, and by gods and demigods, by their prayers and oblations, by their austerities and almsgivings, and by their sacrificial rites and recitals of the scriptures.
33 This Lord has the highest heaven for his crown and the earth and infernal regions for his footstools. The stars glisten like hairs on his body. His heart is the open space of the sky and all material bodies are like the bones of his body. 34 He being the intellectual soul of all, spreads undivided everywhere. He is ever wakeful, seeing and moving everything as if they were his hands and feet, his eyes and ears, and the other organs of his body.
35 The living or sentient soul, being awakened to wisdom by destroying the demon of the sensualistic mind, takes upon a bright spiritual form and becomes a spiritual being.36 Now shun the various wishes of your heart, which are ever changeful and full of evils, and exert your efforts to exult your soul to the state of meeting with divine grace.
37 The rambling mind resembles a demon buffeted by the waves of the furious ocean that is the world. Only an enlightened soul shines brightly over the dark, dreary and dismal waste of the earth. 38 See your mind is blown away by the gale of its greed to the vast waves of the ocean of the world, hurled to the deep cavity of its whirlpools from whose depth no man can rise again. 39 You have only the strong ship of your divine wisdom to bear you above the waves of your carnal desires and passions and get you across the sea of your ignorance.
40 In this manner the Lord, being propitiated by his worship, sends discrimination as his messenger to sanctify the human soul, and thus leads the living being to his best and most blessed state through the gradual steps of holy society, religious learning, and right understanding of their esoteric and spiritual sense.
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Chapter 49 — The World as Light from Gems; Total Detachment and Indifference
1 Vasishta continued:— Those who are staunch in their discernment of truth and firm in the abandonment of their desires are truly men of very great souls, conscious of their greatness in themselves. 2 The vast magnanimity of noble minded men and the fathomless depth of their understanding are even greater than the space occupied by the fourteen worlds. 3 Wise men have a firm belief that the reality of the universe is a false conception. They are quite at rest from all internal and external accidents which overtake the ignorant, unaware man like sharks and alligators.
4 What reliance can there be in any hope or desire for anything in this world, which is as tempting and deceitful as the appearance of two moons in the sky, of water in a mirage, and the prospect of an illusory city in the air? 5 Desires are as vain as the empty void owing to the nothingness of the mind in which they arise. Therefore the wise are not led away by their desires which they know have their origin in the unreal and vacant mind.
6 The three states of waking, dreaming and sound sleep are common to all living beings generally. But the state or nature of the Supreme Being is beyond those triple functions. It is all seeing and all knowing without being seen or known. 7 The soul in its enraptured state sees the world as a collection of light issuing from gems of various kinds and the human soul as a reflection of that light, not as a solid or material substance.
8 The phenomenal world that presents its various appearances to eyesight is an empty void. The varieties of light and luminous bodies which appear in it are nothing other than reflections of the rays of the vast mine of brilliant gems which is hidden under it and shoots forth its glare in the open air. 9 Here there is no other substance in reality, neither the vast cosmos nor boundless emptiness itself. All this is the glare of that greatest of gems whom we call the great Brahman, whose glory shines all around us. 10 The created and uncreated all is one Brahman alone and there is no variety or destructibility in these or in him. All these are formless beings. They appear as substantial in imagination only, just as sunbeams paint various figures in empty clouds in the air.
11 Thus when the imaginary world appears to blend with the ethereal void, this solid mass of material world will vanish into nothing. 12 The whole wandering world is seen to be a perfect insubstantiality. It is quite impossible for it to have any property or attribute whatever, although they are usually attributed to it, because there is no probability of any quality belonging to an absolute nothing, just as it is impossible for a bird to find a resting place on a tree rooted in the sky. 13 There is no solidity of anything, nor is there any emptiness at all. The mind itself is a nonexistence, but that which remains after all these is the only being in reality which is never nonexistent at anytime. 14 The soul is one alone and without variation. It has consciousness of all varieties in itself and these are inherent in its nature, just as all the various forms of jewelry are ingrained in a lump of gold.
15 A wise sage who remains in his own essential nature finds his egoism, the consciousness of his mind, and the world all shrink into himself. It is difficult to describe the mind of a wise man which remains identified with the nature of the Self-existent Being.
16 Understanding is perplexed and confounded from observing things whose substance is hidden. Understanding requires slow and gradual knowledge of truth through right reason and argument.
17 By withdrawing the mind from its fascination with phenomena, the production of the god Viraj, and leading it to contemplate the spiritual cause of these works, true knowledge of the author of the present, past and future worlds can be attained. 18 He is known as a wise sage whose well discerning soul has perceived the truth in itself, who has found his rest in the One Unity, and who has no perception of the visible world, and all its endless varieties which are attributed to Viraj.
19 All of what has been said here by way of advice is perceived by wise men through their intuition, just as the wise sayings of good people are self-evident.
20 The substance of all this is that there is no size or magnitude of beings in general, nor its absence as an emptiness. Therefore there is neither a gross nor an airy mind, but the One that exists after all is the true and ever existent entity. 21 This entity is Consciousness which is familiar with all phenomena in itself. Its manifestation in the form of our senses is filled with all our sorrows, while its disappearance leads to our bliss.
22 Being developed, it evolves itself into the shape of outward organs and takes the form of the gross body, just as liquid water consolidates by degrees to the bulky forms of islands and huge mountainous bodies. 23 This consciousness, absorbed by ignorance, assumes the gross form of mind and binds itself tightly to the physical body, just like a man seeing his aerial dreams as material substance. 24 In these states in which consciousness is converted to sensation, perception and other faculties, Consciousness remains the same and unchangeable though it is described with different words of human invention. 25 The soul remains the same both in its conception of mental thoughts and ideas, as well as in its perception of outward objects. It is not changed in either case, unlike the mind that sees its dreams within and objects outside.
26 Consciousness resembles an empty substance. It is as unchangeable in nature as that of emptiness and eternity. The objects which present their ideas in the soul are like dreams that appear in the mind. They are nothing in reality. 27 The gross nature of external objects bears no relation to the pure internal intellect. Their impurity touch or pollute the purity of the soul. Therefore consciousness is not subject to the mutability of external nature. 28 Understanding never acquires the mutable state of the objects it dwells upon. It always remains in its immutable nature and is never in any other state or condition.
29 The yogi who has attained extreme purity of understanding in the seventh or highest degree of his perfection becomes identified with consciousness and of the meaning of its presence or absence. 30 The minds of ordinary people are impressed with idea of their materiality because they understand themselves as material bodies. 31 They falsely take their fleeting minds, which are as pure as the clear sky, for a material object. In the same manner, players in a drama take upon themselves the false disguise of pisacha demons.
32 All error is corrected by the habit of unerring wisdom, just as the madness of a man is cured by his thinking himself as not a mad man. 33 The knowledge of one’s falseness makes him get out of his error, just as the error of dreaming is lost upon one’s coming to the knowledge that all he saw was mere dream.
34 The reduction of our desires lessens our attachment to the world. Desire is a great demon which must be destroyed by the wise man. 35 As the madness of men is increased by their habitual ravings, so the constant practice of abstinence diminishes his giddy insanity. 36 As the passing or subtle human body is mistaken as physical in thought, so it is taken in a spiritual sense by the learned because of their understanding. 37 The passing or subtle body, having taken the form of the living soul, is capable of being converted into the state of Brahman by the intense nurture of its understanding.
38 If anything is produced according to its substance, and if anybody thinks himself according his own understanding, then how is it possible for a material being to take itself in a spiritual sense? 39 A dispute over the use of words increases doubts. Following one’s advice, the error is removed, just as evil is removed by chanting mantras rather than knowing their meaning. 40 The world is thought to be identical with the thought it, so it is believed to be an immaterial and bodiless substance until in the end its substance is lost in the emptiness of Consciousness.
41 When the mind is quite at rest from all its internal and external thoughts, the real spiritual nature of the soul appears to light and manifests itself in the form of the cool and clear sky which must be held for one’s rest and refuge.
42 A wise man will perform his sacrifice with knowledge, planting the stakes of his meditation in it, and at the conclusion of his all-conquering sacrifice, he will offer his renunciation of the world as his oblation to it. 43 A wise man is always the same and equally firm in himself, whether he stands under a shower of rain or falling fire stones from above, whether he walks in a deluge storm, travelling all over the earth, or flying in the air. 44 No one who is not practiced sitting in steadfast meditation can attain the station of a detached sage whose mind is tranquil by its lack of desire and has obtained its enclosure within itself.
45 The mind can never derive that perfect peace and tranquility, whether from the study of scriptures, or attending on holy lectures and sermons, or by practice of austerities and self-control, as it does by its distaste for all external objects and enjoyments. 46 The mind, like a bundle of hay, is burnt away by the fire of renouncing all worldly objects. This fire is lit by the breath of abandonment of all things, and fanned by the belief that all prosperity is followed by adversity.
47 The perception of sensible objects casts a mist of ignorance in and all about the mind. Only one’s knowledge shines like a brilliant gem within himself. 48 Only Consciousness shines in this gloom, like a star in the sky. It looks over all mankind, naaga snakes, asura demons, and over mountains and in their caves. 49 It is by the infusion of this Consciousness that all things move in the dull womb of the universe. They are whirling in the whirlpool of Consciousness. They are deriving their freshness from the enlivening power of that source. 50 All living beings whirling in the great whirlpool of Consciousness are like weak little fishes encircled by the net of ignorance. They are swimming and gliding in the water of the vast vacuum, quite forgetful of their spiritual origin. 51 It is Divine Consciousness that shows itself in various forms within the sphere of itself, just as air presents the variegated forms of thickening clouds in the wide arena of the sky.
52 All living beings, when they are devoid of their desires, are of the same nature with their spiritual source. Desire makes the different states and causes them to fly about like the dry leaves, rustling in the air like hollow reeds. 53 Therefore you must not remain like the ignorant, but rise above them by raising your mind to wisdom. This is to be done by calling the manly powers to your aid, then overcoming your dullness to suppress the whole band of your rising desires, and next breaking the strong chains and prison-house of this world to devote your attention to your improvement in spiritual knowledge.
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Chapter 50 — Description of the Seven Kinds of Living Beings; We Are Dream-Objects
1 Vasishta added:—
The bodies of living beings seen to fill the ten sides of this world consist of the different classes of men, naaga serpents, sura deities, gandharva spirits, mountaineers and others. 2 Of these, some are waking sleepers, and others are waking in their imaginations only and therefore are called imaginative wakers. Some are only wakeful, while there are others who have been waking all along. 3 Many are found to be strictly wakeful, and many also are waking sleepers both by day and night. There are some animals that are slightly wakeful, and these constitute the seven classes of living beings.
4 Rama said, “Sage, tell me for my satisfaction. What is the difference among the seven species of living beings? They appear to me to be as different as the waters of the seven seas.”
5 Vasishta replied:— There have been some men in some former age and parts of the world who are known to have been long sleepers with their living bodies. 6 The dream that they see is the dream of the existence of this universe. Those who dream this dream are living men and called as waking sleepers or day dreamers.
7 Sometimes a sleeping man sees a dream rising of itself before him by reason of some prior action or desire of the same kind arising in the mind. Such is the uncalled for appearance of anything or property to us. Therefore that they are called dreaming men. 8 They who awaken after their prolonged sleep and dream are called awakened from their sleep and dream and are said to have gotten rid of them. 9 I say we are also sleepers and dreamers among those sleeping men because we do not perceive the Omniscient One who by his omnipresence is present everywhere as the all in all.
10 Rama asked, “Tell me where those awakened and enlightened men are situated now that those kalpa ages in which they lived are gone along with their false imagination?”
11 Vasishta replied:— Those who have gotten rid of their false dreams in this world and are awakened from their sleep, pass to some other bodies which they meet with, agreeably to the fancies which they form in their imaginations. 12 Thus they meet with other forms in other ages of the world according to their own peculiar fancies. There is no end to the connections and ideas of fancy in the empty air of the mind.
13 Those who are said to be awakened from their sleep are those who have gotten out of this imaginary world, just as inborn insects come out of an old and rotten fig tree.
14 Hear now about those who are said to be waking in their fancies and desires. They are born in some former age in some part of the world, completely restless and sleepless in their minds owing to some fanciful desire springing in them and to which they were wholly devoted. 15 They also are those who are lost in meditation and subject to the rule of their greedy minds. They have lost all their former virtues and become strongly bound to their desires.
16 They whose desires have been partly awake from before and have gradually absorbed all the other better endeavors of their possessors are also said to be wakeful to their desires. 17 They who after their former desires cease, indulge in some fresh wishes again, are not only greedy people themselves, but think that we also are of the same sort.
18 I have already told you about the vigils of their desires. Now know them to be dormant over their desires who bear their lives as they are life beings, dead to their wishes like ourselves. But hear further of those who are ever awake. 19 The first patriarchs produced from the self-evolving Brahma are said to have been ever wakeful because they were immersed in profound sleep before their production. 20 But being subjected to repeated births, these ever wakeful beings became subject to alternate sleep and waking owing to their being subject to repeated work and repose. 21 These again became degraded to the state of trees on account of their distasteful deeds, and these are said to be in a mindless state because of their lack of consciousness even in the waking state.
22 Those who are enlightened by the light of the scriptures and the company of wise men look upon the world as a dream in their waking state, and therefore are called waking dreamers by day. 23 Those enlightened men who have found their rest in the divine state and are neither wholly awake nor asleep are said to have arrived at the fourth stage of their yoga.
24 Thus have I related to you the difference among the seven kinds of beings, such as that among the waters of the seven seas. Now be of that kind which you think to be the best. 25 After all, O Rama, give up your error of reckoning the worlds as real entities of themselves. As you have come to your firm belief in one absolute unity, get rid of the duality of emptiness and solidity and be one with that Primordial Consciousness which is free from unity and duality.
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Chapter 51 — Admonition to Arrive at the Yoga of Ultimate Rest
1 Rama said. “Tell me sage, what is the cause of mere waking for nothing? How does a living being proceed from the formless Brahman? That is equivalent to the growth of a tree in empty air.”
2 Vasishta replied:— O highly intelligent Rama, there is no work to be found anywhere which is without its cause. Therefore it is altogether impossible for anybody to exist here who is merely awake for nothing. 3 Like this, it is equally impossible for all other kinds of living beings to exist without a cause. 4 There is nothing that is produced here, nor anything which is destroyed. It is only for the instruction and comprehension of pupils that such words are used.
5 Rama asked, “Then who is it that forms these bodies, together with their minds, understandings and senses? Who is it that deludes all beings into the snares of passions and affections, and into the net of ignorance?”
6 Vasishta replied:— There is nobody who forms these bodies at anytime, nor is there anyone who deludes the living beings in any manner at all. 7 There is only the self-shining soul, residing in his conscious self, which evolves in various shapes like water gliding on in the shapes of billows and waves. 8 There is nothing such as an external phenomenon. Consciousness shows itself as the phenomenon. It rises from the mind, like a large tree growing out of its seed. 9 O support of Raghu’s race, this universe is situated in this faculty of understanding just as images are carved in stone. 10 There is only one spiritual soul which spreads internally and externally throughout the whole extent of time and space. Know this world is the emanation of Divine Consciousness scattered on all sides.
11 Know this as the next world by suppressing your desire for a future one. Rest calmly in your celestial soul even here. Do not let your desires range from here to there. 12 All space and time, all the worlds and their motions together with all our actions are included under the province of the intellectual soul. The meanings of all these terms are never insignificant or nothing.
13 O Raghava! Only they who are well acquainted with the meanings of Vedic words and those keen observers who have ceased to look upon phenomena can comprehend the Supreme Soul, and not others. 14 It is impossible for those who have light minds buried in the depth of egoism to ever to come to the sight of that light of the Self. 15 The wise look upon the fourteen regions of this world, together with multitudes of their inhabitants, as members of this embodied spirit.
16 There can be no creation or dissolution without its cause, and the work must be consistent with the skill of its maker.
17 If the work is accompanied with its cause, and the work alone is perceptible without its accompanying cause, then it must be an unreality because we have no perception of its cause. 18 The product must resemble its producer, just as the whiteness of the seawater produces white waves and froths. The productions of the most perfect God must bear resemblance to his nature in their perfection. But the imperfect world and the mind not being so, they cannot be said to have proceeded from the all perfect one.
19 Therefore all this is the pure spirit of God, and the whole is the great body of Brahman. In the same manner one clod of earth is the cause of many a pot, and one bar of gold becomes the cause of many ornaments. 20 As the waking state appears as a dream in dreaming on account of the forgetfulness of the waking state, so the waking state seems as dreaming even in the waking state of the wise. 21 If what is seen is understood as a creation of the mind, it proves to be as false as water in the mirage. It proves at last to be a waking dream by the right understanding of it. 22 By right knowledge all material objects, together with the bodies of wise men, dissolve like the bodies of clouds in their proper season.
23 As the clouds disappear in the air after pouring their waters in rain, so the world disappears from the sight of men who have come to the light of truth and knowledge of the soul. 24 Like the empty clouds of autumn and the water of the mirage, the phenomenal world loses its appearance as soon as it is viewed by the light of right reason. 25 As solid gold is melted down to liquid by hot fire, so all phenomena melt away to an aerial nothing when they are observed by the keen eye of philosophy. 26 All solid substances in the three worlds become rarefied air when they are put to the test of a rational analysis, just like the stalwart apparition of a demon vanishes into nothing when the child awakes.
27 Endless thoughts of images rise and fall of themselves in the mind. The image of the world is only a concept of the mind. There is no reality in it, nor is there anything which has any density or massiveness in it. 28 Knowledge and ignorance of the world consist only in the conceptions of the mind. When the knowledge of the world’s existence disappears from understanding, then where is the idea of its massiveness anymore in the mind? 29 The world loses its bulk and solidity in our knowledge of the state of our waking dream. Its bulkiness turns to rarity, just as gold melts to liquid when put in fire.
30 Understanding becomes dull and dense by degrees, just as liquid gold when left to itself, becomes solidified in a short time. 31 Thus one who in his waking state considers himself to be dreaming and sees the world in its rarified state, comes to lessen himself with all his desires and appetites, just as a heavy cloud is uplifted in autumn. 32 A wise man sees all the visible beauties of nature set before him to be extremely subtle, like in dreams, so he takes no notice or enjoyment of them.
33 Where is this rest of the soul and where is this struggle for wealth? They abide in the one and same man like the meeting of sleep and wakefulness together, and the union of error and truth in the same person at the same time. 34 He who remains unaffected by the false imaginations of his mind acts freed from his false belief in the reality of the world. 35 Who is it, O high minded Rama, who takes pleasure in an unreality, or satisfies himself drinking the false water of a mirage? 36 The saintly sage who rests in his knowledge of truth looks upon the world an infinite emptiness surrounded by stars that shine like the light of a lamp set behind windows.
37 The waking man knows everything to be void and blank, so the wanderings of his mind cease and he does not long for the enjoyment of anything. 38 There is nothing desirable in that which is known to be nothing at all. For who runs after the gold that he saw in his dream at night? 39 Everybody desists from desiring that which he knows to be only his dream. He is released from the bondage which ties the beholder to the object of this sight.
40 The most accomplished man is not addicted to pleasure and is of a composed mind without pride. He is a man of understanding who is dispassionate and remains quiet without any care or struggle. 41 Distaste for pleasure produces a lack of desire, just as the flame of fire being gone, there is an end of its light. 42 The light of knowledge shows the sky as a cloudless and lighted sphere. But the darkness of error gives the world an appearance of a hazy fairyland. 43 The wise man neither sees himself nor the heavens nor anything besides. His ultimate view is fixed upon the glory of God.
44 The holy seer does not see himself or the sky or the imaginary worlds about him. He does not see the phantasms of his fancy, but sits quite unconscious of all. 45 The earth and other existences, which are gazed and dwelt upon by the ignorant, are lost in the sight of the sage who sees the whole as empty and is unconscious of himself. 46 There comes a calm composure and grace in the soul, resembling the brightness of the clear sky, and the yogi sits detached from all, as a nothing in himself. 47 Unmindful of all, the yogi sits silent in his state of self-seclusion and exclusion from all. He is set beyond the ocean of the world, and the bounds of all its duties and action.
48 The great ignorance which causes the mind’s apprehension of earth, hills, seas and their contents, though these things appear to exist before the ignorant eye, is utterly dissolved by true knowledge. 49 The wise sage stands unveiled before his light of naked truth, his tranquil mind freed from all skeptical doubts, and nourished with the nectar of truth. He is as firm and fixed in himself as a sturdy oak.
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Chapter 52 — Description of Brahma
1 Rama said, “Tell me, O sage, where does our knowledge of the world as distinct from God come from? How is this difference removed and refuted?”
2 Vasishta replied:— An ignorant man takes to his mind all that he sees with his eyes, and nothing that he does not see. He sees a tree with its outward branches and leaves, but does not know the root lying hidden from his sight. 3 A wise man sees a thing by the light of the scriptures and uses it accordingly. But an ignorant fool takes and grasps anything as he sees it without considering its hidden quality.
4 Be attentive to the dictates of the scriptures and intent upon acting according to their teaching. Remain like a silent sage and attend to my words which will be an ornament for your ears. 5 All these visible phenomena are false. They have no real existence. They appear like the flash of light in water and they are known by the name of ignorance. 6Attend for a moment and for my sake to the meaning of the instruction which I am now going to give you. Knowing this as certain truth, rely upon it.
7 A question which naturally rises of itself in the mind is where did all these come from and what are they. You will come to know by your own reflection that all this is nothing and not in existence. 8 Whatever appears before you in the form of this world, and all its fixed and moveable objects, and also all things of every shape and kind, are altogether impermanent and vanish in time into nothing. 9 The continual wasting and division of the particles of things indicates their unavoidable extinction at last, just as water slowly flowing by drops from a pot make it entirely empty in a short time. 10 Thus all things are perishable, and as all of them are only parts of Brahman, it is agreed by those skilled in logic that Brahman is neither endless nor imperishable, nor even existent at this time.
11 This conceit of atheists is like the intoxication of wine. Atheism cannot overpower our theistic belief because we know phenomena as things in a dream that have no real substance. 12 The phenomenal world is perishable, but not the Spirit which is not matter or destructible. This is consistent with the doctrines of the scriptures, which mean no other.
13 Whether what is destroyed comes to revive again is utterly unknowable to us. All that we can say by our inferences is that the restorations are very much like the former ones. 14 It is impossible to believe that upon its dissolution, matter becomes emptiness. Again if there is an emptiness like before, then there could not have been a total dissolution. 15 If the theory of the identity of creation and dissolution be maintained, then the absence of causality and effect supports our belief that they are one and the same thing. 16 Emptiness being conceivable by us, we say that when everything is annihilated, everything is transformed or hidden in the womb of emptiness. If there is any other meaning to dissolution, let us know what it may be. 17 Whoever believes that things which are destroyed come to be restored again is either wrong to call them annihilated or must accept that others are produced to supply their place.
18 Where is there any causality or consequence in a tree, which is only a transformation of the seed in spite of the difference of its parts, such as the trunk, branches, leaves and fruit? 19 The seed is not inactive as a pot or picture, but exhibits its actions in the production of its flowers and fruit in their proper season. 20 Every system of philosophy maintains that there is no difference in the substance of things. This truth is also upheld in spirituality. Therefore there is no dispute about it. 21 Substance being considered to be an eternally inert form and of a plastic nature, it is understood to be of the essence of emptiness, both by right inference and evidence of scriptures.
22 Why the essential principle is unknown to us, and why we still have some notion of it, and how we realize that idea, are what I am now going to relate to you step by step.
23 All these visible spheres are annihilated at the final dissolution of the world. The great gods also become extinct, together with our minds and understandings and all the activities of nature. 24 The sky is also undefined and time shrinks into a divisible duration. The winds also disappear and fire blinds into chaotic confusion. 25 Darkness also disappears and water vanishes into nothing. All things to which you can apply words grow into nothing and become void in the end.
26 There remains the pure entity of conscious soul, completely unbounded by time or space, without beginning or end, decrease or waste, and entirely pure and perfect in its nature. 27 This one is unspeakable and indiscernible, imperceptible and inconceivable, without any name or attribute whatever. This is an utter void itself and yet the principle and receptacle of all beings and the source of all being and non-being.
28 It is not the air or the wind or understanding or any of its faculties. It is neither void nor nothingness. It is nothing and yet the source of everything. What can it be except transcendent emptiness?
29 It is only a notion in the conception of wise. Otherwise, no one can conceive or know anything about it. Whatever definition or description others apply only repeats the words of the Vedas. 30 It is not time or space, or the mind or soul, or any being or anything else that can be said. It is not in the midst or at the end of any space or side, nor is it anything we can ordinarily know. 31 This something is too translucent for common understanding, conceivable only by the greatest understandings by those who have retired from the world and attained the highest stage of yoga.
32 I have left out popular descriptions which the scriptures avoid. The expressions of the scriptures are displayed here like playful waves in the clear ocean. 33 There it is said that all beings are situated in the common receptacle of the great Brahman as the figures are exhibited in relief upon a massive stony pillar. 34 Thus all beings are situated and yet not situated in Brahman, who is the soul of and not the same with all, and who is in and without all existence.
35 Whatever be the nature of the Universal Soul, it is devoid of all attributes. In whatever manner it is viewed, it comes at last to mean the very same unity. 36 It is all and the soul of all, and being devoid of attributes, it is full of all attributes. In this manner it is viewed by all.
37 O intelligent Rama, as long as you do not feel the complete suspension of all your objects, you cannot be said to have reached the fullness of your knowledge, as indicated by your questions until then. 38 An enlightened man who has come to know the great glory of God has clear sightedness in his mind. He remains quiet seeing the inner being of his being. 39 Fallacies of “I”, “you” and “he”, the world and the three times are all lost in his sight of the great glory, just as many gold coins merge together in a lump of gold.
40 Gold produces various kinds of coins. These worlds and their contents are not produced as things of a different kind from the nature of God. 41 The detached soul always looks upon different bodies as contained within itself and remains in relation to this dualism of the world like gold is related to various kinds of ornaments that are produced from it.
42 It is inexpressible by the words implying space or time or any other thing, though it is the source and seat of them all. It comprehends everything, though it is nothing of itself. 43 All things are situated in Brahman like waves in the sea. All things are exhibited by him like pictures drawn by a painter. He is the substratum and substance of all, just as the clay of the pots which are made of it. 44 All things are contained in it. They are and they are not there at the same time, neither distinct nor indistinct from the same. They are ever of the same nature, equally pure and quiet as their origin.
45 The three worlds are contained in it, as uncarved images are concealed in wood, seen with joy even there by the future sculptor. 46 The images become seen when they are carved and manifest on the stone pillar. Otherwise the worlds remain in that soul, just as undisturbed waves lie calmly on the surface of the sea. 47 Divine Consciousness, like the sculptor, sees the worlds as divided and distinct when they are still undivided and indistinct before their creation. They appear to be shining and moving when they are dark and motionless on the outside. 48 In this Brahman there is a combination of atoms that composes these worlds and makes them shine so brightly when no particle has any light in itself.
49 The sky, air, time and all other objects said to be produced from the formless God are likewise formless of themselves. The Lord God is the soul of all, devoid of all qualities and change, without decay and everlasting, and named the most transcendent truth.
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Chapter 53 — Knowing the Nature of Brahman is Nirvana
1 Rama said, “How is there consciousness in conscious beings? How is there durability in time? How is vacuum a perfect void? How does inertness abide in dull material substances? 2 How does fluctuation reside in air, and what is the state of things in the future, and those that are now absent? How does motion reside in moving things, and how do plastic bodies receive their forms? 3 From where comes the difference of different things and the infinity of infinite natures? How is there visibility in what is visible, and how does the creation of created things come to take place?
4 Tell me, O most eloquent brahmin, all these things one by one. Explain them from the first to last in such a way that they may be intelligible to the lowest understanding.
5 Vasishta replied:— That endless great emptiness is known as the great and solid consciousness. This cannot be known other than as a tranquil and self-existent unity. 6 The gods Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and others are reduced to their origin at the last dissolution of the world and there remains only that pure source from where they have sprung. 7There is no cause to be assigned to this prime cause of all who is also the seed of matter and form, as well as of delusion, ignorance and error.
8 The original cause is quite transparent and tranquil, having no beginning or end. Subtle ether itself is dense and solid in comparison with its rarity. 9 It is not proper to call it nonexistent when it has an intellectual body, nor can it properly be called an existent being when it is completely calm and quiet. 10 The form of that being is as inconceivable as the idea of that little space of time which lies in middle of our thought of the length of a thousand miles, which the mind’s eye sees in a moment. 11 A yogi, unconscious to the false and delusive desires and sights of objects that intrude upon internal mind and external vision, sees the transient flash of that light in his meditation, just as he wakes amidst the gloom of midnight. 12 A man who sits with quiet calmness of mind without any joy or grief comes to feel the vibration of that spirit in himself, just as he perceives the fluctuation of his own mind.
13 That which is the spring of creation is the source of all plant life and that also is the form of the Lord. 14 He is the cause of the world which is seen to exist in him in all its varieties of fearful forms and shapes, all of which is a manifestation of himself. 15 These having no actual or real cause are no real productions or actual existences. Therefore there is no formal world or a duality coexistent with the spiritual unity. 16 That which has no cause can have no possible existence. The eternal ideas of God cannot be otherwise than mere ideal shapes.
17 Emptiness has no beginning or end and is no cause of the world. Brahman is formless, but the empty sky which presents a visible appearance cannot be the form of the formless and invisible Brahman. 18 Therefore he is that in which the form of the world appears to exist. Hence the Lord himself appears as that which is situated in the emptiness of his consciousness.
19 The world being of the nature of the intellectual Brahman, is of the same intellectual kind with him, though our error shows it otherwise.
20 This whole world springs from that whole intellect and it exists in its entirety in that entire one. The completeness of that is displayed in the totality of this. The completeness of creation depends upon the perfection of its cause.
21 The nirvana of sages is to know that one who is ever even and quiet, who has neither rise nor fall or any form of likeness, but remains in its translucent unity like the vast sky, and is the everlasting all, combining reality and unreality together in its unity.
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Chapter 54 — There is no Cosmic Seed; only the Consciousness of God
1 Vasishta continued:— The world is a clear emptiness existing in the entity of the empty Brahman. It is like the visible sky in the empty sky, and it means the manifestation of Brahman. 2 The words “I” and “you” refer to the same Brahman seated in his undivided individuality. All things are seated calmly and quietly in him as if they were not seated there, though they shine by the same light.
3 The earth with its hills and mountains resembles the protrusions on the body of Brahman. The whole world remains as dumb as a block of stone in the body of Brahman. 4 He views what is visible as he is no viewer of them. He is the maker of all without making anything, because they naturally exist with their different natures in the Supreme Spirit. 5This knowledge of the existence of all nature in the essence of God precludes our knowledge of the positive existence of anything else. Our ideas of entities or emptiness, of action and passion, all vanish into nothing.
6 The one solid essence of the everlasting one is diffused through all everywhere, just as the solidity of a stone stretches throughout its parts. All varieties blending into unity are always alike to him. 7 Life and death, truth and untruth, and all good and evil are equally indifferent in that empty spirit, just as endless waves continually rise and fall in the waters of the deep. 8 The very same Brahman becomes divided into the viewer and the view, the one being the intellect and the other the living soul. This division is known in the dreaming and waking states of the living soul when the same is both subject and object in either state. 9 In this manner the form of the world is exhibited as a vision in a dream in the sphere of the Divine Consciousness. From the beginning, the form of the world is manifest as the counterpart or representation of Brahman himself. 10 Therefore know this world and all things in it are exactly of that spiritual form in which they are exhibited in the Divine Spirit. There is no variation in their spirituality owing to their appearance in various forms, just as there is no change in the substance of the moon during her different phases.
11 All these worlds reside and wander amidst the quiet spirit of God in the same manner as waters remain and roll in waves in the midst of the calm surface of the ocean. 12Whatever is manifest is manifested as the work, and that which is not apparent is the hidden cause of them. There is no difference between them in as much as both are situated in that spirit, their common center. A traveler is always going forward, yet is never moving from the center of the earth.
13 Hence the prime cause of creation is as nothing as the horns of a rabbit. Search for it as much as you can and you will find nothing. 14 Whatever appears anywhere without its reason or cause must be a fallacy of vision and mind. Who can account for the truth of an error which is untrue itself? 15 How and what effect can come to existence without its cause, and what can it be other than an error of the brain for a childless man to say he sees his son? 16 Whatever comes to appearance without its cause is all owing to the nature of our imagination which shows the object of our desire in all their various forms to our view, just as our fancy paints fairylands in our minds.
17 As a traveler passing from one country to another still finds his body standing in the middle of this globe, so nothing departs from its nature. It only turns about that center.18 Understanding also shows many false and huge objects in its airy and minute receptacle. Examples are the many objects of desire and the notion of mountains which understanding presents to us in our waking and dreaming states.
19 Rama asked, “We know well that the future banyan tree resides within the minute receptacle of its seed. Then why don’t you say that creation was hidden in the same manner in the un-evolved spirit of God?”
20 Vasishta replied:— The seed in its material form contains the formless big tree in its undeveloped core. The seed develops into gigantic size by aid of auxiliary causalities. 21The entire creation is dissolved in the end. Tell me, what remains in the form of its seed? What ancillary causes are there to be found which cause the production of the world?
22 The pure and transparent spirit of God has no possible shape or figure in it. If it is impossible for even an atom to find a place in God, what possibility is there for a formal seed to exist in God?
23 So the reality of a causal seed being altogether untrue, there is no possibility of the existence of a real world, nor can you say how, from where, by whom or when it came into being.
24 It is improper to say that the world consisted in a minute particle in the Divine Spirit, and quite absurd to maintain that it remained in an eternal atom. How is it possible that a body as big as a mountain could be contained in a minute thing as small as a mustard seed? It is therefore a false theory of the ignorant. 25 Had there been a real seed from eternity, it is possible for the world to be produced from it by causes inherent in it. But how could a real and formal seed be contained in the formless spirit of God? By what process could the material proceed from the immaterial? 26 Therefore that prime and transcendent principle exhibits itself in the form of the world and there is nothing which is ever produced from or reduced into it.
27 The world is situated in its intellectual form in the emptiness of Consciousness. The human heart portrays it in its material shape. The pure soul views it in its pure spiritual light, but the perverted heart perceives it in a gross and concrete state. 28 It appears in the mind as empty air and fluctuates there with the vibration of the wind. There is no substantiality of the world in the mind, nor even an idea of its creation, as the word creation (sarga) is meant to express. 29 As there is emptiness in the sky and fluidity in water, so there is only spirituality in the soul which sees the world only in a spiritual light. 30 The world is a reflection of Brahman and as such it is Brahman himself, and not a solid or extended thing. It is without beginning or end and quiet in its nature, never rising or setting of itself.
31 As a wise man going from one country to another finds his body to be always situated in the middle of this globe, so the universe with all its remotest worlds is situated in the emptiness of the Divine Spirit. 32 As fluctuation is innate in air and fluidity is inherent in water and emptiness is essential to vacuum, so this world is intrinsic in the Divine Soul without anything accompanying it.
33 The empty phantom of the world is in the emptiness of Divine Consciousness, Divine Intellect. Being thus situated in the Supreme Soul, it has no rising or setting like that of the sun. Therefore knowing all these to be included in that vacuum, and there is nothing visible beside the same, cease viewing the phantoms of imagination and be as the very emptiness yourself.
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Chapter 55 — The Spiritual Sense of the World
1 Vasishta continued:— Thought and its absence produce the gross and subtle ideas of the world which, in reality, was never created in the beginning for lack of a creator. 2The essence of consciousness is not material so it cannot be the cause of a material thing. The soul cannot produce an embodied being, like seed bringing forth plants on earth.
3 The nature of man is to think of things according to his own nature. Hence intelligent mankind views the world in an intellectual light, while the ignorant take it in a gross material sense. The intellect is capable of conceiving everything in itself. 4 The ethereal soul enjoys things according to its taste, and the intellect entertains the idea of whatever it thinks upon. The ignorant soul creates the idea of creation just as a drunken man sees many shapes in his intoxication.
5 Whenever the shape of a thing, which is neither produced nor existent, presents itself to our sight, it is a picture of the ideal figure which lies quietly in the Divine Mind. 6Empty Intellect dwelling in the emptiness of consciousness, as fluidity resides in water, shows itself in the form of the world like water displays itself in the form of waves upon its surface. So the world is the very same Brahman, just as the wave is the very water.
7 Worlds shining in empty air are like clear visions in a dream, or false appearances in the open sky to a dim-sighted man. 8 The mirror of the intellect perceives the spectacle of the world in the same manner as the mind sees things in dream. Hence what is termed the world is only emptiness. 9 The dormant Intellect is said to be awakened in its first acts of creation. Then follows the inaction of the intellect, which is the sleep and night of the soul.
10 As a river continues to run in the same course in which its current first began to flow, so the whole creation moves in the same unchanging course as at first, like the continuous current and rippling waves of rivers. 11 As the waves of river accompany the course of its waters, so the source of creation lying in the empty seed of airy Consciousness gives rise to its constant course, along with its ceaseless series of thoughts.
12 The destruction of a man in his death is nothing more than the bliss of his repose in sleep. The resurrection of his soul in this world is also a renewal of his bliss. 13 If there is any fear or pain in sin, it is equally so both in this life and the next. Therefore, the life and death of the righteous are equally blissful. 14 Those who look on and salute their lives and deaths with equal indifference are men who have an unbroken tranquility of their minds. They are known as men of cool inner being.
15 As conscience becomes clear and bright after its impurity is cleansed and wiped from it, so shines the pure soul which they call the liberated and free. 16 Upon the utter absence of our consciousness, there follows a total disappearance of our knowledge of phenomena. Then our intellect rises without a vestige of phenomena in it and without its knowledge of the world’s existence. 17 He who knows God becomes unified with the divine nature, which is neither thinkable nor of the nature of the thinking principle or intellect, or any thing thought of by the intellect. Being absorbed in meditation, he remains quite indifferent to all worldly pursuits.
18 The world is a reflection in the mirror of the intellect. It is exhibited in the transparent emptiness of the Divine Spirit, so it is in vain to talk of bondage or liberty. 19 The world is produced by the vibration of airy intellect. It is an act of intellect’s imagination. It is pure airy spirit from where it has risen, and never in the form of the earth or anything else as it appears to be.
20 There is no space or time or any action or substance here, except a single entity which is neither a nothing nor anything that we know. 21 It is only a spiritual substance appearing as a thick mist to our sight. It is not empty or a substance but something purer and more clear than the transparent emptiness about us. 22 It is formless with its apparent form, and an unreality with its seeming reality. It is entirely a pure intellectual entity appearing as manifest to sight like an aerial castle in a dream.
23 Nirvana of a man is when his view of this extended, gross and impure world becomes extinct in its pure spiritual form in the emptiness of his mind. The vast and extensive world presenting all its endless varieties has no diversity in reality. It forms an infinite unity, like the empty space of the sky, and the fluidity of waters of the one universal ocean on the globe.
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Chapter 56 — Story of Vasishta’s Search for Seclusion and Hundred Year Meditation
1 Vasishta added:— Having proved that Consciousness is always and everywhere, in every manner the all in all, it becomes evident that it remains like the empty and translucent air in everything in the whole universe.
2 Wherever there is Consciousness, there is also creation. Consciousness resides alike in void and in fullness. All things are full of Consciousness, and there is nothing whatsoever in existence beside this universal Consciousness. 3 Just like all created things appear in their imaginary forms in our dream, so the empty Consciousness alone appears in various forms of existence in our waking dreams.
4 Rama, listen to my story of the stone, which is as pleasant to taste as it is a remedy for ignorance. I will tell you what I have actually seen and done myself.
5 Being anxious to know the knowable one, I was fully resolved in my mind to leave this world and all its false usages. 6 After forsaking all the eagerness and restlessness of my body and mind, I remained a long while in a state of calm and quiet meditation for the sake of solitary peace and rest. 7 Then I thought of taking myself to some seat of the gods and sitting there quietly to continue my survey of the changing and transitory states of worldly things.
8 I thought, “I find all things quite tasteless to my taste, though they seem pleasant for a while. I never see anyone anywhere who is always content with his own state. 9 All things create only care and sorrow, with the acutest pains of remorse and regret. All these phenomena produce only evil from their appearance of good to those who see them. 10What is all this that comes to our view? Who is their viewer and what am I who look upon these phenomena? All this is the quiet and unborn spirit which flashes forth in the empty sky with the light of its own intellect.”
11 With thoughts like these, I sought to retire to a proper place where I might confine myself within myself, a place which might be inaccessible to the gods and demigods, and to the spiritual masters and other beings. 12 I sought a place where I might remain unseen by any being, sitting quietly in unalterable meditation, placing my sole reliance on the one transparent soul, and getting rid of all my cares and pains.
13 Where could I find such a place entirely empty of all creatures where my mind would not be distracted by interruptions of the objects of my five external organs of sense? 14I cannot choose the mountains for my seat. Whistling breezes of the forests, the dashing noise of waterfalls, and the flocking of wild animals serve to disquiet the mind without the capability of being stilled by human power. 15 Hills are crowded with hosts of elephants, valleys are filled with hordes of tribal peoples, and countries are full of hateful men more harmful than the poison of venomous serpents. 16 The seas are full of men and horrible beasts in their depths. Cities are disturbed with the noise of business and the agitation of citizens. 17 The foothills of the mountains and the shores and coasts of seas and rivers are as thickly peopled as the realms of the rulers of men. Even the summits of mountains and the caves of infernal regions are not devoid of animal beings.
18 Mountains sing with the whistling of breezes and trees dance with the motion of their leafy palms. Blooming flowers smile gently in the caves of mountains, in forest grounds and in low lands. 19 I cannot go to river banks where mute fish live like silent munis in their caves, gently shaking water lilies by their giddy flirtation, because these places are also disturbed by the loud noise of whirlpools and roaring whirlwinds. 20 I can find no rest in barren deserts where howling winds raise clouds of dust, nor can I go to mountain waterfalls where the air resounds with the stunning noise of constant waterfall.
21 Then I thought of sitting in some secluded corner of a remote region of the sky where I might remain absorbed in holy meditation without disturbance. 22 In this corner, I thought of making a cell in my imagination and keeping myself quite confined by a complete renunciation of all my worldly desires.
23 With these reflections, I mounted high in the blue vault of the sky and found a vast space in its womb that knows no bounds. 24 There I saw spiritual masters wandering in one place and roaring clouds rolling in another. On one side I saw vidyadhara spirits and excellent yakska demons on another. 25 In one place I saw an aerial city and in another a region of rattling winds. I saw rain clouds on one side and raging yoginis in another. 26 There was the city of the Daityas hanging in the air on one side and the place of gandarva spirits appearing in another. The planetary sphere was rolling about in one way and the starry frame revolving at a distance. 27 Somewhere the sky was brushed over by flights of birds and great gales were raging in another part. Somewhere there appeared portents in the sky and elsewhere there were canopies of clouds formed in the heavens. 28 One part of heaven was filled with cities peopled by strange kinds of beings. The car of the sun was gliding on one side and the wheel of the moon was sliding in another. 29 One region of the sky was burning under the hot sun and another part was cooled by moonbeams. One part was intolerable to little animals and another was inaccessible owing to its intense heat. 30 One place was full of dancing demons and another with flocks of flying Garuda eagles. One region was deluged by doomsday rains and another was overrun by tempestuous winds.
31 Leaving these attended parts behind, I passed onward far and further until I reached a region entirely desolate and devoid of everything. 32 Here the air was mild and no being was to be seen even in a dream. There was no omen of good, or anything indicating evil, or any sight or sign of world. 33 I saw myself in a solitary cell with some space, but without any exit, pleasing as a lotus bed. 34 It was not perforated by worms, but was as handsome as the bright disc of the full moon and as lovely as the beautiful features of lily and lotus, jasmine and mandara flowers.
35 This abode of my imagination was inaccessible to all beings except me. I sat there alone with only my thoughts and the creations of my imagination. 36 I remained in lotus posture, quite silent and calm in my mind. Then, after acquiring spiritual knowledge, I rose from my seat after a hundred years. 37 I sat in unwavering meditation absorbed in samadhi. I remained as quiet as the calm stillness of air and as immovable as a statue carved in relief upon the face of the sky. 38 At last I found what I had long been searching for in earnest. At last the breath of my expectation returned into my nostrils.
39 The seed of knowledge which I had sown in the field of my mind came to sprout forth of itself after the lapse of a hundred years. 40 My living soul was awakened to its intuitive knowledge, just as a tree left withered by the dewy season becomes revivified by the renewing moisture of spring. 41 The hundred years which I passed in my meditation glided away as quickly as a single moment, because a long period of time appears a very short space to one who is intensively intent upon a single object. 42 My outward senses had expanded from their contracted state, just as withered trees expand themselves into flowers and foliage by the growing influence of spring.
43 Then vital airs filled the organs of my body and restored my consciousness to their sensations. Soon after I was seized upon by the demon of my egoism, accompanied by its consort of desire, and these began to move back and forth just like strong winds shake sturdy oaks.
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Chapter 57 — Vasishta’s Stirring of Ego Dispelled by Certain Knowledge that All Is a Dream
1 Rama asked, “Tell me, O most wise sage, how it is possible for the demon of ego to take hold of you, who is extinct in God? Please dispel my doubts here.”
2 Vasishta replied:— O Rama, it is impossible for any being, whether knowing or unknown, to live here without a sense of his egoism, just as it is impossible for the contained to exist without its container. 3 But there is a difference which you must know. The demonic egoism of a quiet minded man is capable of control by means of his knowledge of the scriptures. 4 Childish ignorance raises up this idol of egoism, though it is found to exist nowhere, just as little children make dolls of gods and men, images that have no existence at all. 5 This ignorance is also nothing of substance because it is dispelled by knowledge and reason, just as darkness is driven away by the light of a lamp. 6 Ignorance is a demon dancing in the dark, a fiend that flies far away from the light of reason.
7 In absence of knowledge and reason, we grant the existence of ignorance, yet at best it is only a fiend of delusion, shapeless as the darkest night. 8 The second rabbit [in Indian tradition, the rabbit is considered sacred to the moon] will be seen only when the second moon exists. Similarly creation is only possible when basic ignorance exists. 9Creation having no other cause, we do not know how ignorance finds a place in it, as impossible as a tree growing in the air. 10 When creation began in its pure and subtle form in the womb of absolute emptiness, how is it possible for the material bodies of earth and water to proceed without a material cause?
11 The Lord is beyond the mind and the six senses, yet it is the source of the mind and senses. But how could that formless and incorporeal being be the cause of material and corporeal things? 12 The seedling is the effect, germinating from the seed as its causal source. But how and where can you expect to see the sprout springing without the productive seed? 13 No effect can ever result without its formal cause. Say, who has ever seen a tree springing and growing from empty air? 14 Only imagination paints these prospects in the mind, just as the vapor of imagination shows you the sight of trees in empty air. So it is the temporary madness of the mind that exhibits these phenomena before your eyes, but which in reality have no substance in them.
15 So the universe when it appeared at its first creation, in the emptiness of Divine Consciousness, was all a collection of worlds swimming in empty air. 16 It is the same as it shines in the spacious intellect of the Supreme Soul. It is divine nature itself which is called creation and which is an intellectual system having proceeded from the intellect, all the same divinity. 17 The vision of the world presented in our dreams, a daily occurrence for us, furnishes us with the best example of this. In the dreaming state we are conscious of the sights of cities and hills all before our mental eyes. 18 The nature of Consciousness is the same as a dream. Consciousness sees the vision of creation like we see the appearance of uncreated creation before our eyes, all in the same manner as it appeared at first in the vast void.
19 There is only one incomprehensible intelligence, a purely unborn and imperishable being that appears now before us in the shape of this creation, as it existed with its everlasting ideas of infinite worlds before this creation began. 20 There is no creation here, or these globes of earth and others. It is all calm and quiet with only one Brahman seated in his immensity. 21 This Brahman is omnipotent because he instantly manifests himself in any manner without forsaking his purely transparent form. 22 As our intellect shows itself in the forms of imaginary cities in our dream, so does the Divine Intellect exhibit itself in the forms of all these worlds at the beginning of their creation.
23 The empty intellect is situated in the transparent and transcendent vacuum of the Intellect. Creation is a display of its own nature by an act of its thought in itself. 24 The entire creation exists in the clear emptiness of the Intellect. It has the same nature of spirit situated in the spirit of God. 25 The entire creation is only the diffusion of the same spiritual essence of God. There is no possibility that a material world or ignorance or egoism exists in the creation and pervasive fullness of the Supreme Spirit.
26 Everything have I told you about the ending of your egoism and knowing the unreality of egoism serves to get rid of this false belief, like a child freed from his fear of a ghost.
27 In this manner, as soon as I was fully convinced of the futility of egoism, immediately I lost the sense of my personality. Though I fully retained consciousness of myself, yet I was freed from my selfishness, like a light autumn cloud unloading its watery burden. 28 Our knowledge that a painting of a fire is ineffective to burn us removes the fear of being burnt by it. In the same way, connecting our fallacies of egoism and creation serves to remove the impressions of the subjective and objective from our minds. 29 Thus I was delivered from my egoism and my passions became tranquil. Then I found myself seated in a sky free of clouds in an uncreated creation. 30 I am no egoism, nor is it anything to me. Having gotten rid of it, I have become one with the clear intellectual vacuum.
31 In this respect, all intelligent men are of the same opinion as I am. It is well known to them that our idea of individual ego is as false as the fallacy of fire in a painting. 32 Being certain of the unreality of yourself and of others, and of the nothingness of everything beside, conduct yourself in all your dealings with detachment and remain as silent as a stone. 33 Let your mind shine with the clearness of the vault of heaven, and be as impregnable to the excess of all thoughts and feelings as solid stone. Know that there is only one Intellectual essence from beginning to end, and that there is nothing to be seen except the one God who composes the whole fullness of space.
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Chapter 58 — There Is Nothing Physical in God Who Is Consciousness
1 Rama said, “O great sage, what an extensive, noble, grand and clear prospect you have exposed to my sight! 2 I also find by my perception that the one and only abstract being fills the whole space at all times and places, and that this essence shows itself alike in every manner and form always and everywhere forever and always.”
3 “Sage, I still have some moral principles disturbing in my heart. I hope you will please remove them by explaining the meaning of your story of the stone.”
4 Vasishta replied:— Rama, I will tell you the story of the stone in order to establish that this whole is existent in all times and in all places. 5 This story explains how thousands of worlds are contained within the compact and solid body of a stone. 6 This story will also show you how there are thousands of worlds in the great emptiness of elemental space.7 From this story you will also find that in the midst of all plants and their seeds, and in the hearts of all living animals, and also in the heart of the elementary bodies of water, air, earth and fire, there is sufficient space containing thousands of productions of their own kinds.
8 Rama asked, “If you say, O sage, that all plants and living beings are full with the productions of their respective kinds, then why is it that we do not perceive the numerous productions which abound in the empty air?”
9 Vasishta replied:— I have already told you, Rama, much about this first and essential truth. The whole of this creation which appears to our sight is empty air, existing only in emptiness. 10 In the first place, nothing was ever produced in the beginning, nor is there anything which is now in existence. All that appears as visible to us is nothing other than Brahman himself.
11 There is no room for even an atom of earth to find its place in the fullness of Divine Consciousness which is filled with its ideal worlds. No material worlds exist in Brahman, who is of the form of pure emptiness. 12 There is no room even for a spark of fire to have its place in the intellectual creation of God which admits of no gap or opening. These worlds do not exist in any part of Brahman who is entirely a pure emptiness. 13 There is no possibility for a breath of air to exist in the compact fullness of the intellectual creation of God, nor do any of these worlds exist except in the purely empty Consciousness of Brahman. 14 There is not even a bit of visible emptiness that finds a place in the intensity of the ideal creation in the Divine Mind, nor is it possible for any of these visible worlds to exist in the compact vacuum of the deity. 15 The five great elementary bodies have no room in the consolidated creation of God, which exists in its empty form in the emptiness of Divine Consciousness.
16 There is nothing created anywhere. Everything is the vacuum in the emptiness of the great spirit of God. 17 There is no atom of the great spirit of God, which is not full of created things. There is no creation, only the void in the emptiness of the Divine Spirit. 18 There is no particle of Brahman distributed in creation because the Lord is spirit, always full in himself. 19 Creation is the supreme Brahman, and the Lord is creation itself. There is not the slightest trace of dualism in them, as there is no duality between fire and its heat.
20 It is improper to say that this is creation and the other is Brahman, and to think them as different from one another, just as it is wrong to consider a tree and it being torn as two things from the difference in the sounds of the words. 21 There exists no difference between Brahman and creation when their duality disappears into unity, and when we cannot have any idea of their difference, unless we support the gross dualistic theory.
22 We know all this as one clear and transparent space, without beginning or end and quite indestructible and tranquil in its nature. Knowing this all wise men remain as silent as a piece of solid stone, even when they are employed in business. 23 Look at this whole creation as extinct in God and see the visible world only as a vast void. Look upon your egoism and the world as mere fallacies. Behold the gods and demigods and the hills and everything else as imaginary appearances in our dream which spread their nothingness of delusion over the minds of men.
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Chapter 59 — Vasishta Seeks the Source of a Sound, Describes Infinite Networks of Alternative Realities
1 Rama asked, “Tell me, O sage, about what you did after you arose from your hundred years of samadhi in the cell of your aerial abode.”
2 Vasishta replied:— After I awoke from my trance, I heard a soft and sweet sound. It was slow but distinctly audible, clearly intelligible both in sound and sense. 3 It was as soft and sweet as if it proceeded from a female voice, and musical to the ear. It was neither loud nor harsh owing to its feminine quality. I kept watching from where the words were heard. 4 It was as sweet as the humming of the bees, and as pleasing as the tune of stringed instruments. It was neither the chime of crying nor some recitation, but like the buzzing of black bees known to men as the melody in vocal music.
5 Hearing this melody for a long time and vainly seeking its source, I thought, “It is a wonder that I hear the sound without knowing its author or from which of the ten sides of heaven it proceeds. 6 This part of the heavens,” I thought, “is the path of the spiritual masters. On the other side I see an endless emptiness.” I passed over millions of miles that way, and then I sat there awhile and reflected in my mind. 7 “How could such feminine voice proceed from such a remote and solitary quarter? I see no vocalist with all my diligent search. 8 I see the infinite space of the clear and empty sky lying before me. I find no visible being appearing to my sight in spite of all my diligent search.”
9 As I was thinking in this manner, looking repeatedly on all sides without seeing the maker of the voiced sound, I thought of the following plan. 10 I must transform myself into air and be one with the empty vacuum. Then I would make some sound in the empty air, which is the receptacle of sound. 11 I thought of leaving my body in its posture of meditation, as I had been sitting before, and with the empty body of my intellect, mix with the empty vacuum like a drop of water mixes with water. 12 Thinking so, I was about to forsake my material frame by sitting in lotus posture and entering samadhi, shutting my eyes tightly against all external sights. 13 Having given up my sensations of all external objects of sense, I became as void as my intellectual vacuum, preserving only the feeling of my consciousness in myself.
14 By degrees I lost my consciousness also. I became only a thinking principle. Then I remained in my intellectual sphere as a mirror of the world. 15 Then with that empty nature of mine, I became one with the universal vacuum and melted away like a drop of water with common water, and mixed as an odor in the universal receptacle of empty air.16 Being assimilated to the great vacuum, which is omnipresent and pervades over the infinite space, I became like the endless void, the reservoir and support of all, although I was formless and unsupported myself.
17 In my formless space I began to look into multitudes of worlds and cosmic eggs that lay countless in my infinite and unconscious heart. 18 These worlds were apart from, unseen by, and unknown to one another. They appeared with all their motions and manners as mere space to each other. 19 As visions in a dream appear as solid to a dreaming man and as nothing to other sleeping people, so the empty space abounds with worlds to their observer, but these universes are invisible to each other.
20 Many things are born to grow and decay and die away at last. What is present is reckoned with the past, and what was in the womb of the future comes to existence in numbers. 21 The imaginations of men build many magic scenes and many aerial castles and buildings, together with many a kingdom and palace in empty air. 22 Here there were many buildings with several apartments (idea principles) counting from unit to the digit. 23 There were some structures constructed with ten or sixteen apartments (idea principles) and others which had two or three dozen doors attached to them. 24 The entire ethereal space is full of the five primary elements which compose elementary bodies of single or double or triple natures. 25 Some of these bodies are composed of four, five and six elements, and others of seven different elementary principles called the seven great elements. 26 There are many supernatural natures which are beyond the power of your conception, and there are spaces of everlasting darkness without the light of the sun or moon.
27 Some parts of the void were devoid of creation, and others were occupied by Brahma the creator. Some parts were under the dominion of the patriarchs and under influence of various customs. 28 Some parts were under the control of the Vedas and others were ungoverned by regulations of scriptures. Some parts were full of insects and worms and others were peopled by gods and other living beings. 29 In some parts the burning fires of daily oblations were seen to rise, and at others the people observed only the traditional usages of their respective tribes.
30 Some parts were filled with water and others were the regions of storms. Some bodies were fixed in the remote sky and others were continually wandering and revolving. 31Growing trees were blossoming in some parts and others were bearing fruit and ripening at others. There were grazing animals moving with their face downwards in some place and others were swarming with living beings.
32 The Lord alone is the whole creation and he only is the totality of mankind. He is the whole multitude of demons and he also is the entire multitude of insects and birds everywhere. 33 He is not far from anything, but is present in every atom that is contained in his bosom. All things are growing and grown up in the cell of emptiness, like the layers of a plantain tree. 34 Many things are growing unseen and unknown to each other, never thought of together. Such are the dreams of soldiers which are unseen by others. 35 There are endless varieties of creations in the unbounded womb of vacuum, all of different natures and manners. There are no two things of the same character and feature.
36 All men are of different scriptures, faiths and beliefs from one another, and these are of endless varieties. They are as different in their habits and customs as they are separated from each other in their houses and places. 37 There are worlds above worlds and spheres of spirits over one another. There are a great many big elemental bodies like hills and mountains that come to our sight.
38 It is impossible for understanding like yours to comprehend the unusual things which men like we speak about. 39 We must derive the atoms of spiritual light which proceed from the sphere of emptiness as we feel the particles of mental light which issue from the orb of the sun of our intellect.
40 Some are born to remain just as they are and become of no use to anyone at all. Others become somewhat like themselves as the leaves of forest trees. 41 Some are equal to others and many are unlike them. For some time they are alike to one another and at others they differ in their shapes and nature. 42 Hence there are various results of the great tree of spirituality, among which some are of the same kinds and others of different sorts. 43 Some of these are of short duration and others endure for longer periods. There are some that exist temporarily and others endure forever. 44 Some have no definite time to regulate its course and others are spontaneous in their growth and continuance.
45 Different regions of the sky that lie in the hollow of boundless vacuum exist from unknown periods of time in a state beyond the reach of our knowledge. 46 These regions of the sky, this sun and these seas and mountains which are seen to rise by hundreds to our sights, are the wonderful display of our Consciousness in the sky, like a series of dreams in our sleep. 47 It is from our false notions and the false idea of a creative cause that we take the unreal earth and all other appearances as if they really exist. 48 Like the appearance of water in a mirage and the sight of two moons in the sky, these unreal phenomena present themselves to our view although they are altogether false.
49 The imaginative power of Consciousness creates these images like clouds in the empty air. They are raised high by the wind of our desire, and roll about with our efforts and pursuits. 50 We see the gods, demigods and men flying about like flies and gnats about a fig tree. Its luscious fruits are seen hanging and shaking with the winds of heaven. 51 It is only from the naturally creative imagination of Consciousness, like the playful nature of children, that cities of fairy shapes are shown in empty air.
52 The false impressions of “I”, “you”, “he” and “this” are as firmly fixed in the mind as the clay dolls of children are hardened in sunlight and heat. 53 Playful and ever active destiny works all these changes in nature, just as the pleasant spring season makes the forest fruitful with its moisture. 54 Those called the great causes of creation are no causes, nor is creation created all. All is a perfect void. All has sprung of themselves in the emptiness of Consciousness.
55 They all exist in their intellectual form, though they appear to be manifest as otherwise. What is perceptible is all imperceptible, and what exists is altogether nonexistent.
56 The fourteen worlds and the eleven kinds of created beings are all the same in the inner intellect, just as they appear to outer sight. 57 In their true sense, heaven and earth and the infernal regions and the whole host of our friends and foes are all empty nonentities though they appear to be very busy. 58 All things are like inelastic fluid, just like the fluidity of seawaters. They are as fragile as sea waves inside, though they appear as solid substances on the outside. 59 They are the reflections of the Supreme Soul, just as daylight is that of the sun. They all proceed from and melt away into the empty air like gusts of wind.
60 Egoistic understanding is the tree bearing the leaves of our thoughts. They are nonexistent like beings in a dream who seem separate from the dreamer. 61 The rituals and their rewards prescribed in the Vedas and Puranas are like fanciful dreams occurring in light sleep. But they are buried into forgetfulness by them and are led up in the sound sleep like the dead.
62 Consciousness, like a gandharva spirit architect, is in the act of building many fairy cities in the forest of Brahman, lighted with the light of its reason, blazing as the bright sunbeams. 63 In this manner, O Rama, in my samadhi I saw many worlds created and scattered without any cause, just as a blind man sees many false sights in the open air.
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Chapter 60 — Networks of Alternate Realities, Continued
1 Vasishta continued:— Then I went on forward to find the source of the ethereal sounds, continuing my journey onward in the empty region of my mental thoughts without any interruption from any side. 2 Far beyond me I heard the sound that came to my ears resembling the jingling thrill of the Indian lute. It became more distinct as I approached until I heard the metrical flow of sounds with a measure in it called arya
[a two-line meter used in Sanskrit verses]. 3 In my meditation, as I glanced towards the source of the sound, I saw a lady as fair as liquid gold brightening that part of the sky.
4 She had necklaces hanging on her loose garments and her eyelashes were colored with lac dye. With loosened traces and fluttering locks of hair, she appeared like the goddess Lakshmi sitting in the air. 5 Her limbs were as beautiful and handsome as if were made of pure gold. Sitting on the wayside with the bloom of her youth, she was as fragrant as the goddess Lakshmi, beautiful in every part of her body. 6 Her face was like the full moon and she was smiling like a cluster of flowers. Her face was flushed with her youth and her eyelids signified her good fortune. 7 She was sitting under the vault of heaven, the brightness of her beauty blooming like the beams of the full moon. Decorated with ornaments of pearls, she walked gracefully towards me.
8 With her sweet voice, she recited the verses in arya rhythm, smiling as she recited them by my side in a high tone of her voice, saying, 9 “I salute you, O sage, whose mind is freed from the evil inclinations of those who are deluded to fall into the current of this world, and to whom you are a support, like a tree standing on its border.”
10 Hearing this voice, I looked upon that charming face. Seeing the maiden with whom I had nothing to do, I disregarded her and went on forward. 11 Then I was struck with wonder, seeing the magic display of the mundane system, and was inclined to wander through the air and neglect the company of the lady. 12 With this intention in my mind, I left the ethereal lady in the air and assumed an aerial form to travel through the ethereal regions and scan the fantastic illusion of the world.
13 I went on seeing wonderful worlds scattered about in the empty sky. I found them no better than empty dreams or the fictions in works of imagination. 14 I never saw or heard any of those creations and creatures that existed in former kalpa and great kalpa ages of the world.
15 I did not see the furious pushkara and avarta clouds of the great flood, or the ominous and raging whirlwinds of old. I heard no thunder claps that split mighty mountains and broke worlds asunder. 16 The fires of the end of the world that cracked Kubera’s palaces, and the burning rays of a dozen suns were seen no more. 17 The lofty abodes of the gods hurled headlong on the ground, and the crackling noise of the falling mountains were no more to be seen or heard. 18 The fires at the end of the world raged with tremendous roar all about, boiling and burning away the waters of the ethereal oceans, were now no more. 19 There was no more hideous rushing of waters which flooded over the homes of gods, demigods, and men, nor swelling of the seven oceans which filled the whole world up to the face of the sun. 20 People all lay dead and unconscious of the universal flood, like men singing the battle alarm in their sleep. 21 I saw thousands of Brahmas, Rudras and Vishnus disappearing in the different kalpa ages of the world.
22 Then in my mental thoughts, I dived into those dark and dreary depths of time when there were no kalpa or yuga ages, no years and days and nights, no sun or moon, and no creation or destruction of the world. 23 All these I saw in my intellect, which is all in all, to which all things belong, and which is in every place. It is the intellect which absorbs everything in itself and shows itself in all forms.
24 O Rama, whatever you say to be anything, know that thing is only the intellect. This thing being rarer than subtle air, know it to be next to nothing. 25 Therefore this empty air exhibits everything under the name of the world. As sound proceeding from empty air melts again into the air, so all things are only aerial and transcendent air. 26 All these phenomena and their sight are simply false and pertain only to the empty intellect, exhibited as leaves of a tree in the sky. 27 Intellect, consciousness and emptiness are identical and of the same nature with themselves, and this I came to understand from the entire absence of all my desires.
28 These worlds linked together in the chain of the universe, lying within the limits of its ten sides, are only the one Brahman. The infinite emptiness, with all its parts of space and time and all forms of things and actions, are only the substance and essence of Brahman.
29 In this manner, in the numerous worlds that manifested before me, I saw many great sages like myself, all sons of the great Brahma and named Vasishta, and other men of great holiness and piety. 30 I saw many revolutions of the Treta Age with as many Ramas in them. I marked the rotation of many Satya and Dwapara Ages of the world, which I counted by hundreds and thousands. 31 From my common sense of concrete particulars, I saw this changing state of created things. But by the powers of my reflection and generalization, I found them all to be only the one Brahman, extended as infinite emptiness from all eternity.
32 It’s not that the world exists in Brahman or he in this. Brahman is the uncreated and endless all himself. Brahman is whatever bears a name or is thought of in our understanding. 33 He is like a block of silent stone that bears no name or description. It is of the form of pure light, which is also named the world. 34 This light shines within the sphere of infinite intellect beyond the limit of our finite intelligence. It manifests itself in the form of the world, which is as formless and as unknown to us as anything in our dreamless sleep.
35 Brahman is nothing other than himself. All else is only his reflection. His light is the light of the world, and shows us all things like sunlight. 36 It is by that light that these thousands of worlds appear to view. It is by that light that we have understanding of heat in the moon and of cold in the sun.
37 There are some creatures that see in the dark and not in daylight, such as owls and bats. There are men of the same kind. 38 There are many here who are lost by their goodness, and others who prosper and ascend to heaven by their wickedness. Some come to life by drinking poison, and many die by the taste of nectar. 39 Whatever a thing appears to be by itself, or whatever is thought of it in another’s understanding, the same comes to occur and is presented to the lot of everyone, be it good or evil.
40 The world is a hanging garden in the air, with all its orbs fixed as trees with their firm roots in it, yet rolling and revolving about like the shaking leaves and tossing fruits of this tree. 41 Sand, like mustard seeds crushed under stony oil mills, yield the fluid substance of oil. The tender lotus flower grows out of the clefts of rocks. 42 Moving images carved out of stone or wood are seen in the company of celestial goddesses conversing with them. 43 The clouds of heaven are seen shrouding many things as their vests, and many trees are found to produce fruits of different kinds every year. 44 All terrestrial animals are seen moving upon the earth in different and changing forms with different parts of their bodies and heads.
45 The lower worlds are filled with human beings who are without the regulations of the Vedas and scriptures. They live without any faith or religion and lead their lives like beasts. 46 Some places are peopled by heartless peoples who are without feelings of love or desire. Others are not born of women but appear to be scattered like stones on the ground. 47 There are some places full of serpents that feed only on air. There are other places where gems and stones are taken with indifference, and others where many people are without greed and pride. 48 There were some beings who look on their individual souls and not on those of others, and other beings regard the Universal Soul that resides alike in all.
49 As the hairs and nails and other parts of a person are parts of his same body, though they grow in different parts, so do all beings pertain to the one Universal Soul, which is to be looked upon in all. 50 The one infinite and boundless vacuum seems like many skies about the different worlds which it encompasses. By exertion of divine energy, these empty spaces are filled with worlds.
51 There are some who are entirely ignorant of the meaning of the word liberation and move about like wooden machines without any sense in them. 52 Some creatures have no knowledge of astronomical calculation and are ignorant of the course of time. Others are quite deaf and dumb and conduct themselves by signs and body movements. 53Some are devoid of eyesight, so the light of the sun and moon are all in vain to them. 54 Some have no life in them. Others have no sense of smell. Some are quite mute and cannot utter any sound, while others are deprived of the sense of their hearing. 55 There are some who are entirely dumb, without the power of speech. Some have no sense of touch or feeling and are like unconscious blocks of stone. 56 Some have only their sense of conception without the organs of sense. Others manage themselves as foul pisacha demons and therefore are inadmissible in human society.
57 There are some made of one material only and others have no solidity in them. Some are composed of watery substance and others are full of fiery matter. 58 Some are full of air and some are of all forms. All these are empty forms and are shown in the emptiness of understanding.
59 So the surface of the earth, air and water swarm with living beings. Frogs live in the cave of stones and insects dwell in the womb of the earth. 60 There are living beings in vast bodies of water, as in lands, forests and mountains. So there are living creatures gliding in the other elements and air, like fish swimming in the air.
61 There are living things peopling the element of fire, moving in fiery places where there is no water to be had. There they fly and move about like sparks of fire. 62 The regions of air are also filled with other kinds of living beings. These have airy bodies like the bilious flatulency which runs all over the body. 63 Even the region of vacuum is full of animal life. These have empty bodies moving in their particular forms.
64 Whatever animals are shut up in infernal caves, or skip aloft in the upper skies, and those that remain and wander about all sides of the air, these and all those which inhabit and move about the many worlds in the womb of the great vacuum, were seen by me in the emptiness of my intellect.