BOOK VI – PART2B – CHAPTERS 61-120 – The Latter Treasury (Uttaradha Bhaga)
Chapter 61 — Creation and Destruction Are Only Memory and Forgetfulness of the Intellect
1 Vasishta continued:— Our understandings catch the reflection of this universe from the face of Divine Consciousness, just like the waters of the deep receive the images of the clouds in the upper sky. It is this Consciousness which gives us life and guides our minds. 2 Our living souls and minds are of the form of the clear sky. These countless worlds are productions of empty emptiness.
3 Rama asked, “Tell me sage. After the universal annihilation when all kinds of beings were entirely liberated from the bonds of their bodies and their souls, what is created again, and from where is it undone again?”
4 Vasishta replied:— Hear me describe how at the great destruction or deluge, all things together with the earth, water, air, fire and sky, and the spheres of heaven vanish and are liberated from their respective forms, and how this universe comes to appear again to our imagination.
5 After the destruction, only the indefinable spirit of God remains which the sages call the great Brahman and Supreme Consciousness. This world remains in the heart of that being, from which it is altogether inseparable and indifferent. 6 He is the Lord, and all this that passes under the name of the world is contained in the nature of this heart. By his pleasure he exhibits to us the idea that we have of the world, which is not his real form.
7 Considering this well, we find nothing created or destroyed by him. The supreme cause of all is imperishable by his nature, so we know his heart is also indestructible and the great kalpa ages are only parts of himself. 8 Only our limited knowledge shows us the differences and dualities of things. But upon examination, these are not to be found and vanish into nothing. 9 Therefore there is nothing of anything that is ever destroyed to nothing, nor is there anything which is ever produced from Brahman who is unborn and invisible and always rests in his tranquility. 10 He remains as the pure essence of consciousness in atoms of a thousandth part of the particles of simple emptiness.
11 This world is truly the body of that great Consciousness. Then how can this mundane body come to be destroyed without destruction of the other also? 12 As consciousness awakes in our hearts, even in our sleep and dreams, so the world is present in our minds at all times and presents to us its airy or ideal form ever since its first creation. 13 Creation is a component part of the empty intellect. Its rising and setting is only the airy and ideal operations of the Intellect. There is no part of it that is ever created or destroyed at anytime.
14 This spiritual substance of consciousness is never capable of being burnt or broken or torn at anytime. It is not soiled or dried or weakened at all, nor is it knowable or capable to be seen by those who are ignorant of it. 15 It becomes whatever it has in its mind and, as it never perishes, the idea of the world and of all things in its mind are neither created nor destroyed in any way. 16 It falls and revives only because of its forgetfulness and memory at different times. The rising and setting of an idea gives rise to the ideas of the creation and destruction of the world.
17 Whatever idea you have of the world, you become that yourself. Think it perishable, and you also perish with it. But know it as imperishable, and you become imperishable also. 18 Know then that the creation and great destruction of the world are only recurrences of its idea and forgetfulness, only two phases of consciousness.
19 How can the production or destruction of anything take place in the emptiness of airy consciousness? How can any condition or change be attributed to the formless intellect at all? 20 The great kalpa ages and all periods of time and parts of creation are mere attributes of consciousness. Consciousness is only an attribute of Brahman. They all merge into the great Brahman. 21 Consciousness is a formless and purely transparent substance. Phenomena are subject to its will alone. One sees an object appear according to the will or wish that he has in his mind, like the fairylands of imagination.
22 As the body of a tree is composed of its several parts of roots, trunk, branches, leaves, flowers, fruit and other things, 23 so the solid substance of the Divine Spirit, more translucent than the clear sky to which nothing can be attributed in reality, has creation and destruction as the different parts of its own essence. 24 The various states of pleasure and pain, happiness and misery, birth, life and death, and form and formless are only the different parts of the same spirit. 25 The whole body of this spirit is imperishable and unchangeable in its nature, so are all the parts and states of its being also.
26 There is no difference in the nature and essence of the whole and its parts, except that one is more tangible to sight by its greater bulk than the other. 27 Our consciousness is the root of existence of a tree, so our consciousness is the root of our belief in the existence of God. 28 This consciousness shows us the varieties of things as something in one place and another elsewhere. It shows us creation as a great trunk and all the worlds as so many trees. 29 It shows somewhere the great continents like the branches of these trees and their contents of hills and plains as their twigs and leaves. Elsewhere it shows sunshine as its flowers and darkness as the black bark of these trees. 30 Somewhere it shows the concavity of the sky as the hollow of the tree and elsewhere the dissolution of creation as a vast desolation. It shows in one place the council of gods as a cluster of flowers and in another beings, like bushes and brambles and barks of trees. 31 So all these are situated in formless and empty consciousness which is the great Brahman itself, and they all are nothing other than the same nature with Brahman.
32 There was a past world, here is the present one, and in another a would be creation in the future. All are only ideas of our minds known to us by our consciousness of them, which is as unchangeable in its nature as Brahman himself. 33 Thus there is no color or cloud or shades of light or darkness in the moon that can be attributed to the supreme and self conscious soul of Brahman that is as transparent as empty space.
34 How can there be the taint of anything in the transcendent and transparent space? How can first, middle or last, or far and near attach to infinity and eternity? 35 Lack of comprehensive and abstract knowledge is the cause of attributing such and other qualities to divine nature. It is removed by right knowledge of the most perfect one. 36Ignorance, known as such by recognition of truth, is removed by itself, just as a lamp is extinguished by the air which kindles the light. 37 It is certain that knowledge of one’s ignorance causes its removal. Therefore knowledge of the unlimited Brahman makes him known as all in all.
38 Thus Rama, have I explained to you the meaning of liberation. Deliberate on it attentively with your intellect and you will undoubtedly attain it. 39 This network of worlds is uncreated and without its beginning, yet it is apparent to sight by means of the spirit of Brahman manifest in that form. Whoever contemplates the eight qualities of the Lord with the eye of his intellect becomes full with the Divine Spirit, although he is as mean as a straw in his living soul.
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Chapter 62 — Identity of Intellect with the Intellectual World
1 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, were you sitting in one place or wandering about in the skies when you saw all this with your empty and intellectual body?”
2 Vasishta replied:— I was filled with the infinite soul that fills and encompasses the whole space of vacuum. Being in this state of omnipresence, how could I be wandering from one fixed place to another? 3 I was neither seated in any place nor was I moving about anywhere. Therefore I was present everywhere in the empty air with my airy spirit, and saw everything in my self.
4 As I see with my eyes all the members of my body composing one body from head to foot, so I saw the whole universe in myself with my intellectual eyes. 5 Though my purely empty and intellectual soul is formless without any part like my body, yet the worlds formed its parts, neither by the soul’s diffusion in them nor by their being of the same nature and essence in their substance. 6 An example of this is your false vision of the world in your dream. You retain a real memory of the dream though it is an airy nothing.
7 As a tree perceives in itself the growth of leaves, fruits and flowers from its body, so I saw all these rising in myself. 8 I saw all these in me as the profound sea views the various marine animals in its depths and the endless waves and whirlpools and foam and froth continually floating over its breast. 9 In short, as all embodied beings are conscious of their own bodies, I was consciousness of all existence in my all knowing soul.
10 Rama, I still retain the memories of whatever I saw on land and water, and in the hills and valleys, as they are embodied with my body, and I still behold the entire of creation as if it were pressed into my mind. 11 I see the worlds exposed before me lying within and without myself, just as they lay the inside and outside of a house, and my soul is full with all these worlds unified with my understanding.
12 As water knows its fluidity, frost has its coldness, and air its ventilation, so the enlightened mind knows and scans the whole world within itself. 13 Whoever has a reasoning soul in him and has attained a clear understanding is possessed of the same soul as mine. 14 After understanding is perfected by absence of knowledge of subject and object, there is nothing that appears to him except the self same intelligent soul which abides alike in all.
15 As a man sitting on a high hill sees distant objects many miles away, so from my elevation of yoga meditation I saw with my clairvoyance all things situated far and near and within and without me. 16 As the earth perceives minerals, metals and all other things lying inside it, so I saw everything as identical with and nothing other than myself.
17 Rama asked, “Be this as it may, but tell me, O brahmin. What became of that bright eyed lady who was reciting the arya verses?”
18 Vasishta replied:— That aerial lady who recited in the arya meter came courteously towards me and sat beside me in the air. 19 But she being as aerial as myself could not be seen by me in her form of spirit. 20 I was of the aerial spirit and she also had an air-like body, and worlds appeared as empty air in my airy meditation in an aerial seat.
21 Rama asked, “The body is the seat of the organs of sense and action of breathing. Then how could a bodiless spirit utter the sounds of articulate words composed in verse?22 How is it possible for a bodiless spirit either to see or think of anything? Explain to me these inexplicable truths about the facts you have related.”
23 Vasishta replied:— Seeing sights, thinking thoughts, and uttering sounds are all productions of empty air as they occur in our airy dreams. 24 The sight of a thing and the thought of anything depend on the aerial intellect, as they do in our aerial dream. These sights and sounds are impressed in the hollowness of consciousness, both in waking as well as dreaming states. 25 Not only sight, but whatever is the object of any of our senses and the whole world itself are the clear and open sky. 26 The transcendent first principle has the form of unknowable intellect. It exhibits itself in the composition of the universe, which is truly its very nature.
27 What proof do you have of the existence of the body and its senses? Matter is mere illusion, and as it is with another body, so it is with ours also. 28 This is as that one, and that is as this. But the unreal is taken for the real, and the real is understood as an unreality.
29 As the uses that are made of the earth in a dream, its paths and houses, prove to be false upon waking, made in empty air, so the applications made of the words “my”, “your”, “his” and the like made in our waking are all buried in forgetfulness in the state of sound sleep.
30 All our struggles, efforts and actions in lifetime are as false and void as empty air. They resemble the bustle, commotion and fighting of men in dream, which vanish into nothing upon waking.
31 Do you ask where does this phenomenon of dreaming and all its different shapes and varieties come from? To this nothing further can be said other than it is the reproduction or memory of impressions.
32 In answer to this question, it can only be said that there is no other cause of its appearance to you other than the appearance of this world to you.
33 We have the dreaming man presented to us from the very beginning of creation in the person of Viraj. This being is situated in open air with its aerial body in the shape of the dreamer and dream mixed up together. 34 The word “dream” that I have used and presented to you is an example to explain the nature of the phenomenal world. It is to be understood as neither a reality nor an unreality, but only Brahman himself.
35 Now Rama, I approached that lovely lady who became my loving companion in the form in which I saw her in my consciousness. 36 I conversed with her ideal figure in my clairvoyant state, just as men seen in a dream talk with one another. 37 Our conversation was of that spiritual kind, as between men in a dream. Our conversation was as airy as our persons and spirits. So Rama, you must know the whole world affair is only an airy and fairy play. 38 The world is a dream and the dream is an illusion of air. They are the same emptiness with only their names different. The illusion of waking daytime is called the world and the world of sleeping nighttime is called a dream. 39 This scene of the world is the dream of the soul, or it is empty air or nothing. The clear understanding of God or his own essence is so displayed.
40 The nightly dream needs a dreamer, and to see the “I”, “you”, “he” or anybody else needs a living person. But not so the day dream of the world which is displayed in the emptiness of clear Consciousness itself. 41 As the viewer of the world is the clear emptiness of consciousness, so its view also is as clear as its viewer. The world being like a dream, it is as subtle as the rare atmosphere. 42 The empty dream of the world appears of itself in the empty and formless intellect within the hollow of the mind and has no substantiality. Then how can it be said to be a material substance, when it is perceived in the same manner by the immaterial intellect?
43 When the vision of world in a dream of a physical being such as ourselves proves to be only emptiness, how do you take it for a material substance? It is contained in its immaterial form in the incorporeal spirit and intellect of God. Why not call it an empty air when it resides like a dream in Divine Consciousness? 44 The Lord sees this uncreated world appearing before him as in a dream, something designed without any material cause or support. 45 The Lord Brahma called Hiranyagarbha has framed this creation in air, with the soft clay of his empty consciousness. All these bodies with numerous cavities in them appear created and uncreated at the same time.
46 There is no causality, no created worlds, and no one occupying them. Know there is nothing and nothing at all. Knowing this, go on doing your duties to the end like a mute stone and care not whether your body may last long or be lost to you.
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Chapter 63 — Identity of the Universe with the Universal Soul; Dreams within Dreams
1 Rama asked, “O sage, how could you converse with the incorporeal lady? How could she utter the letters of the alphabet without organs of speech?”
2 Vasishta replied:— Of course, incorporeal bodies have no capability of pronouncing the letters of the alphabet, just as dead bodies are incapable of speech. 3 Should there even be an articulate sound, yet there can be no intelligible sense in it and the sound must be unintelligible to others, just as a dream perceived by the dreamer is unknown to other sleepers in the same bed. 4 Therefore, there is nothing real in a dream. It is really an unreality and the ideal imagery of Consciousness in empty air accompanied with sleep of its own nature.
5 The clear sky of the intellect is darkened by its imageries, like the moon by its blackness and the sky by its clouds. But these are as false as the song of a stone or the sound of a dead body. 6 Dreams and images that appear in the sphere of the intellect are only appearances of itself, just as the visible sky is nothing other than invisible vacuum itself. 7 Like dreams in sleep, this world appears before us in our waking state. In the same way, the invisible vacuum appears as visible. So the form of the lady was a shape of the intellect.
8 The very clever intellect in us exhibits all these varieties of exquisite shapes in itself, and shows this world to be as real and permanent as itself.
9 Rama asked. “Sage, if these be only dreams, how can they appear to us in our waking state? If they are unreal, why is it that they seem as solid realities to us?”
10 Vasishta replied:— Hear how visionary dreams appear as substantial worlds. They are only dreams, never real, solid or substantial in any way.
11 The seeds of our ideas play at random like dust in the spacious sky of Consciousness. Some are of the same kind and others different, producing like and unlike results. 12Some are contained one under the other, like the skin of plantain trees. There are many others that have no connection with another and are quite unconscious and unknown to others. 13 They do not see each other, nor do they know anything of one another, but as inert seeds they decay and moisten in the same heap. 14 These ideas, being as void as vacuum, are not like shadows in the visible sky nor are they known to one another. Though they are of conscious shapes, yet they are as ignorant of themselves as if under the influence of sleep.
15 Those who sleep in their ignorance find the world appearing to them during the day in the shape of a dream. Then they act according to what they think themselves to be. So asura demigods in their dream think they are fighting and are defeated by the gods. 16 They could not be liberated owing to their ignorance, nor were they reduced to the unconsciousness of stones, but remained dull and inactive within the imaginary world of their dreams.
17 Men laid up in the sleep of their ignorance, seeing the dream of the world before them, act according to their custom and observe how one man is killed by another. 18There are other intelligent spirits who, being bound tightly to their desires, are never awakened or liberated from their ignorance, but continue to dwell in the imaginary world which they see in their daydream. 19 Rakshasa demons who lie sleeping in the imaginary world of their dreams are placed by the gods in the same state as they were accustomed to be. 20 Say then, O Rama, what became of those rakshasas who were slain in their dreams by the gods? They could neither obtain their liberation owing to their ignorance nor could they be transformed to stones with their intelligent souls.
21 Thus this earth and its seas, mountains and peoples seen situated in it are thought to be as substantial as we think of ourselves by our prior ideas of them. 22 Our imagination of the existence of the world is like that of other beings regarding it. They think of our existence in this world in the same light as we think of theirs. 23 To them our waking state appears as a dream and they think that we are dreaming men, just as we think they are. As we view their world to be imaginary, so they see ours as imaginary also.
24 As other people have the idea of their existence only from their memories, so we have ours and they have theirs from the omnipresence of the intellectual soul. 25 As dreaming men think of their reality, so others think of themselves likewise. So you are as real as anyone of them. 26 As you see cities and people in your dream, so they continue to remain there in the same manner to this day because Brahman is omnipresent everywhere and at all times.
27 By your waking from the sleep of ignorance and coming to the light of reason, these objects of your dream will be divested of their substantiality and appear in their spiritual light as manifestations of Brahman himself. 28 He is all and in all and everywhere at all times. So he is nothing and nowhere, not the sky or is he ever anything that is destroyed. 29He abides in the endless sky and is eternal without beginning or end. He abides in the endless worlds and in the infinity of souls and minds. 30 He lives throughout the air and in every part of it, and in all orbs and systems of worlds. He resides in the heart of everybody, in every island and mountain and hill. 31 He extends all over all districts, cities and villages. He dwells in every house and in every living body. He extends over years and ages and all parts of time.
32 In him live all living beings, those who are dead and gone, and those who have not obtained their liberation. All the detached worlds are attached to him to no end and forever. 33 Each world has its people and all people have their minds. Again each mind has a world in it, and every world has its people also. 34 Thus phenomena having no beginning or end are all only false conceptions of the mind. They are nothing other than Brahman to the knower of God who sees no reality in anything other than Brahman.
35 There is only one consciousness that pervades this earth below and the heaven above, which extends over the land and water and lies in woods and stones and fills the whole and endless universe. Thus wherever there is anything in any part of this boundless world, they all inspire the idea of divinity in the divine, while they are looked upon as objects of the sense by the ungodly.
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Chapter 64 — A Beautiful Vidyadhari Complains to Vasishta about Her Uninterested Husband
1 Vasishta continued:— Once I gently looked upon a graceful vidyadhari with lotus-like eyes, her sidelong glances darting like a string of malati flowers. I asked her with tenderness, 2 “Who are you sweet lady, who is as fair as the pollen of the lotus flower and comes to my company? Say, whose and what are you? Where do you live and where are you going? What do you desire of me?”
3 The vidyadhari replied:— It is fitting, O silent sage, that you greet me in this way. I come to you with a grieving heart and I will lay my case confidently before you for your kind advice.
4 This worldly dwelling of yours is situated in a corner of the cell of the great vault of emptiness. 5 This dwelling house of the world has three apartments, namely earth, heaven and the infernal regions. In this house the great architect (Brahma) placed a young girl by name of fancy as a mistress of this dwelling.
6 Here the somber surface of the earth appears as the store-house of the world, encompassed with numerous islands surrounded by oceans and seas. 7 The earth stretches on all sides extending ten thousand leagues with many islands in the midst of its seas and with many mines of gold underneath. 8 It is bright and visible, fair as the vault of heaven. It supplies us with all the objects of our desire and the luster of its gems competes with the starry heaven. 9 It is the pleasure and promenade ground of gods, spiritual masters, and apsara nymphs. It abounds with all objects of desire, filled with all things for our enjoyment. 10 The two polar mountains called the Lokaloka Ranges are at its two ends. The two polar circles resemble two belts at both extremities of the earth.
11 One side of the Lokaloka Mountains is always covered by darkness, like the minds of ignorant people. The other side shines with eternal light, like the enlightened souls of the wise. 12 One side of these is as delightful as society with the good and wise, while the opposite is as dark as company with the ignorant and evil. 13 On one side all things are as clear as the minds of intelligent men. On the other, there is an impenetrable gloom such as hangs over the minds of unlettered brahmins.
14 On one part there is no sunshine or moonlight. One side presents the habitable world and the other shows the vast void and waste beyond the limits of nature. 15 One side abounds with the cities of gods and the other with those of demons. One side lifted its lofty summits on high, the other bent below towards the infernal regions.
16 Somewhere eagles hover over valleys and at others, lands appear charming to sight, mountain peaks appearing to touch the celestial city of Brahma on high. 17 Somewhere there appears a dismal and dreary desert forest with loud blasts of death hovering over them. At others there are flower gardens and groves with the vidyadharis of heaven sitting and singing in them. 18 In one part there is a deep infernal cave containing horrible Kumbhanda demons. In another are beautiful Nandana pleasure gardens with the hermitages of holy saints. 19 On one part hang eternal clouds roaring loudly like furious elephants, while rain clouds shower on the other. There are deep and dark caves in one part and thick forest trees on another.
20 Laboring woodmen cut down the trees of woodlands inhabited by evil spirits on one side, driving away the devils by felling the woods where they haunt. The other is full of inhabited tracts with men more polished in their manners than the celestials of heaven. 21 Some places are laid desolate by their inhabitants and by driving and whirling winds. Others, secure from every harm, flourish in their produce. 22 Somewhere there are great and desolate deserts, dreary wastes dreadful with howling winds. In some places there are rippling lakes of lotus with rows of noisy cranes gracing their shores.
23 In some places gurgling waters can be heard, and in others the growling of clouds. In others gay and merry apsara nymphs, turned giddy with their swinging, can be heard.24 On one side the landscape is troubled by horrible demons and is shunned by all other beings. On the other, the happy spirits of spiritual masters, vidyadharas and others are seen sitting and singing by the side of cooling streams. 25 Somewhere rain pouring from clouds cause ever flowing rivers to encroach upon the lands. And there were light and flimsy clouds also, flying like sheets of cloth driven here and there by gusts of wind.
26 There are lotus bushes on one side with swarms of humming bees fluttering about their leafy faces. Rosy reddish teeth of celestial damsels can be seen blushing with the stain of betel leaves on the other. 27 In one place there is a pleasant gathering of people pursuing their various callings under the shining sun. In another is an assembly of hideous demons dancing in their demonic revelry in the darkness of night. 28 Somewhere the land and its people are laid waste by devastations and portents befalling on them. Elsewhere the country is smiling with rising cities under the blessings of a good government. 29 Sometimes a dreary waste distracts, and at others a beautiful population attracts the sight. Sometimes deep and dark caves occur to view and at others a dreadful abyss appears.
30 Some spot is full of fruitful trees and luxuriant vegetation and another is a dreary desert devoid of water and living beings. Somewhere you see bodies of big elephants and at others groups of great and greedy lions. 31 Some places are devoid of animals and others peopled by ferocious rakshasa demons. Some places are filled with the thorny karanja thickets and others are full of lofty palm forests. 32 Somewhere lakes are as large and clear as the expanse of heaven, and at others there are vast barren deserts as void as the empty air. Somewhere there are tracts of continually driving sands, and at others there are excellent groves of trees flourishing all seasons of the year.
33 This mountain has many a peak on its top, as high as ordinary hills elsewhere. Kalpa clouds are perpetually settled upon them, blazing with the radiance of gems by the colors of heaven. 34 There are forests growing on milk-white and sunny stones of this mountain, serving as homes for foresters and always resorted to by lions and monkeys.
35 There is a peak on the north of this mountain, with a grotto towards the east, and this cave affords me a secluded home in its hard and stony interior. 36 There I am confined, O sage, in that stony prison-house, and there I have passed a series of yuga ages.
37 Not I alone, but my husband also is confined in the same cave with me. We are doomed to remain imprisoned there, like bees closed up at night within the cup of a closing lotus flower. 38 My husband and I have continued to live in the stony dungeon for a very long period of many years. 39 It was our own fault that we do not obtain our release even now, but continue to remain there as prisoners forever.
40 But sage, it is not only we who are confined in this stony prison-house. All our family, friends, and dependants are enslaved in the same stronghold without end.
41 An ancient person, my twice-born brahmin husband, is confined there in his dungeon. Though he has remained there for many an age, yet he has never moved from his seat. 42 He is employed in his studentship and living as a celibate since boyhood. He listens to recitals of the Vedas and is steadfast in his observances without deviation.
43 But I am not so, O sage. I am doomed to perpetual distress because I am unable to pass a moment without his company. 44 Hear now, O sage, how I became his wife and how there grew a sincere affection between us.
45 When my husband was still a boy, he acquired a little knowledge by remaining in his own house. 46 He thought in himself, “Ah, I am a Vedic brahmin. Can it be possible for me to have a suitable partner?” 47 Then, out of himself, he produced me with this beautiful figure, just like the bright moon causes moonlight to issue out of his body.
48 Being thus produced from the mind of my husband, I remained as his mental consort and grew up in time like blossoms in spring, as beautiful as a mandara plant in bloom.49 My body became as bright as the face of the sky by its nature. All my features glittered like the stars in heaven. My face was as fair as the full moon and attracted all heart towards it. 50 My breasts were swollen like flower buds and luscious like juicy fruit. My arms and the palms of my hands resembled two tender vines with their red leaflets.
51 I became the delight and captor of the hearts of living beings. The side long glances of my stretched antelope eyes infatuated all minds with a maddening passion of love. 52I was prone to the allurements and dalliance of love, and prompt in jokes, impulsiveness and disguised smiles and glances. I was fond of singing and music and was unsatisfied in my joy. 53 I was addicted to the enjoyment of all bliss, both in prosperity and adversity, both of which are alike friendly to me. I was never tempted by the delusive temptations of the one and never frightened by the threatening persecution of the other.
54 I do not sustain the household of my brahmin lord alone, but I support the mansions of the inhabitants of all the three worlds because by being a mental being, I have access to all places far and near. 55 I am the legal wife of the brahmin, fit to propagate and support his offspring, and also fit to bear the burden of this house of the triple worlds.
56 Now I am a grown young woman with swollen breasts. I am as giddy with my youthful gaiety as a cluster of flowers swaying in the air. 57 My husband, owing to his natural disposition of procrastination and studiousness, is employed in his austerities. In expectation of getting his liberation, he is delaying marriage to me to this day. 58 But I am advanced in my youth and fond of youthful dalliance. I burn in the flame of my passion for him, like a lotus flower in a fiery furnace. 59 Though I am always cooling myself with the breezes of brooks and lotus lakes, yet I constantly burn throughout my body, like sacrificial embers reduced to ashes in the sacred fire place.
60 I see gardens covered with flowers falling in showers from shady trees, but I burn as the land under the burning sands of a burning desert without shade. 61 The soft gurgling of waters, the gentle breeze of lakes full with blooming lotuses and lilies, and the sweet sounds of cranes and water fowls are all rough and harsh to me. 62 Though decked with flowery wreaths and garlands and swinging upon my cradle of flowers, yet I think I am lying down on a bed of thorns. 63 Sleeping on beds made of the soft leaves of lotus and plantains, I find them dried under the heat of my body, powdered to ashes by the pressure of my body.
64 Whatever fair, lovely, charming, sweet and pleasant things I come to see and feel, I am filled with sorrow at their sight and my eyes are filled with tears. 65 My eyes steam with tears from the heat of my inner bosom. They trickle and fall from my eyelids like dew drops on lotus leaves. 66 Swinging with my playmates on the hanging branches of plantain trees in our pleasure gardens, I think of the burning grief in my heart and burst out in tears. I cover my face with my hands. 67 I look at our gardens of cooling plantain leaves, scattered with snow all over. But fearing them as bushes of thorny brambles, I fly far away from them.
68 I see the blooming lotus of the lake and the fond crane showing affection with its stalk-like arm, then begin to despise my youthful bloom. 69 I weep at seeing whatever is handsome and keep quiet at what is moderate. I delight in whatever seems ugly and I am happy in my utter unconsciousness of everything. 70 I have seen the fair flowers of spring and the hoarfrost of winter and thought them all to be only heaps of the ashes of lovelorn ladies, burnt down by the flame of love and scattered by relentless winds on all sides. 71I have made beds from the blue leaves of lotuses and other plants and covered myself with wreaths of snow white flowers. But I found them turning pale and dry by their contact with my body. So pity me, that my youthful days have all gone in vain.
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Chapter 65 — The Vidyadhari Explains Her Frustration and Prays to Vasishta
The vidyadhari continues speaking to Vasishta:— 1 After the lapse of a long time, I found my passions diminishing and I grew as detached to my susceptibilities as tender greens become juiceless and dry after autumn is over. 2 Seeing my husband grown old and divested of all his receptivity and vigor, sitting quietly in his steadfast tapas with an unwavering mind, I thought my life is useless to me. 3 I thought that early widowhood, even premature death or rather a lingering disease or lasting misery is preferable to a woman living without a loving husband.
4 It is the blessing of life and a woman’s greatest good fortune to have a young and loving husband who is of good and pleasant temperament and yielding in his manners. 5 A woman is given for lost who does not have a sweet and lovely spouse, just as understanding is lost when it is not filled with learning. Prosperity is in vain when she favors the wicked, and a woman lost to shame is in vain. 6 She is the best of women who is obedient to her husband. That is the best fortune which falls into the hands of the virtuous and good. That understanding is praised which is clear and ample, and that goodness is good which has a fellow feeling and equal regard for all mankind.
7 Neither disease nor calamity, nor dangers or difficulties can disturb the minds or afflict the hearts of a loving pair. 8 The prospect of the blossoming pleasure garden of Nandana and the flowery paths of paradise appear like a desert land to women who have no husbands, or husbands who are wicked and rude in their behavior. 9 A woman may forsake all her worldly possessions as having little value to her, but she can never forsake her husband, even for any fault on his part.
10 O chief of sages, you see all these miseries to which I have been subject these very many years of my puberty. 11 But all this fondness of mine is gradually turning to indifference. I am pining and fading away as fast as a frost beaten lotus flower shrinks and shrivels for lack of its sap. 12 Being now indifferent to the pleasure of my enjoyment of all things, I come to seek the bliss of my nirvana. I stand in need of your advice for my salvation. 13 Otherwise, for those unsuccessful in desires and ever restless and perplexed in their minds, buffeting and carried by the waves of deadly troubles, it is better to die than live in this world.
14 My husband, desirous of obtaining his nirvana, is now intent day and night upon subduing his mind by the light of his reason, just as a king is roused to conquer his foe in company with his princes. 15 Now sage, please dispel both his as well as my ignorance by your reasonable advice which may revive our memory of the soul. 16 My lord meditating solely on the soul, without my company or any thought about me, has created an indifference in me and a complete distaste for all worldly things.
17 I am now set free from the influence of worldly desires. I have equipped myself with the Khechari Mudra magic charm whereby I am able to fly through the air. 18 I have acquired the power of flight by means of this magic charm, and it is by virtue of this power that I am able to associate with spiritual masters and converse with you. 19 Having equipped myself with this magic charm, I have acquired the power to see all past and future events even though I remain in my house on earth, which is the basis and center of all the worlds.
20 Having seen within my mind everything relating to this world, I have come to survey the outer world. I have seen as far as gigantic Lokaloka Mountain. 21 Before this, O sage, neither I nor my husband ever had any desire to see anything beyond our own home.
22 My husband, completely occupied with meditating on the meanings of the Vedas, has no desire whatever to know anything relating to the past or future. 23 For this reason my lord has not been able to succeed to any station in life. It is only today that both of us desire to be blessed with the best state of humanity.
24 Therefore we ask you, O venerable sage, to grant our request, as it is never in the nature of noble persons to refuse the prayer of their suppliants. 25 I have been wandering in the ethereal regions among hosts of perfected spiritual masters. I have not found anyone except you, O honorable sage, who may burn the thick gloom of ignorance.
26 The nature of good people is to do good to others, even without knowing the reason to have pity for their suppliants. So you, O venerable sage, should not refuse the petition of your suppliant.
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Chapter 66 — The Vidyadhari’s Description of the Inside of Her World inside Stone
1 Vasishta said:— Then, seated as I was in my imaginary seat in the sky, I asked the lady who was also sitting like me in the imaginary air, 2 “Tell me, O gentle lady. How could an embodied being like you live inside a block of stone? How could you move about within that impervious substance? What was caused you to live there?”
3 The vidyadhari replied:— Wonder not, O sage, at this kind of home which is as habitable to us and inhabited by other creatures as the open and spacious world in which you live. 4 There are the snakes and reptiles living and moving about the interior of the earth. There are huge rocks deeply rooted underground. Waters run in the bottom of the ground with as much freedom as winds flying in the open air. 5 Oceans flow with the fullness of their waters and fish move slowly beneath and above their surface. There are infinite numbers of living creatures constantly born and dying in them. 6 Waters glide inside the cavity of the mundane stone just like winds fly above. Here celestials move and wander in the air, and the earth and planets revolve with their unmoving mountains and other inert materials.
7 There are also gods, demigods and human beings moving in their respective circles within the womb of this stone. From the beginning of creation, waters of rivers run like those of the oceans. 8 Again, since the beginning of creation the sun has been sending his beams from above and scattering them like lotuses on the lake-like land, while the dark clouds of heaven hover over them like a swarm of black bees fluttering upon those blooming blossoms. 9 The moon spreads her light on all sides like sandal paste and thereby erases the darkness of night and covers the face of the evening star.
10 Sunlight is the lamp of his light in heavenly mansion, scattering its rays on all ten sides of the skies, conducted by means of the air. 11 The wheel of the starry firmament continually revolves in the air by the will of God, like a threshing mill turning about its central axle by means of a rope. 12 This circle of celestial bodies, revolving about its axis of the pole, kills all things under its clouds that look like two doors between heaven and earth, just as the wheel of fate grinds them to dust. 13 The surface of the earth is full of hills and mountains and the bosom of the sea is filled with rocks and islands. The upper sky contains celestial abodes and demons occupy the lower regions below the ground.
14 The orbit of this earth resembles the earring of Lakshmi, goddess of the three worlds. The green orb of this planet is like the hanging gem of her ringlet, continually fluctuating with its people. 15 Here all creatures are impelled by their desires to their mental and bodily activities, as if moved to and fro by flying winds, and thus are led to repeated births and deaths. 16 The silent sage sits in calm meditation, just as the sky is unmoved with its capacity of containing all things within itself. But the earth is shaken and wasted by dashing waves, fire is put down by its blazing flame, and everything is moved about by the wind of its desires like a monkey.
17 All living beings abounding in earth and water, and those flying in the air, as well as those who live in hills or on trees, together with gods and demons are all alike doomed to death and rebirth, just like short lived insects, worms and flies. 18 Time, the greatest slaughterer, destroys gods, giants, gandharva spirits and all else with its many arms of ages and yugas, and of years, months, days and nights, just like a herder kills the cattle he has reared himself. 19 All these rise and fall in the eventful ocean of time. Having leapt and jumped and danced a while, they sink in the abyss of the fathomless whirl of death from which none can rise again. 20 The gust of death carries away all sorts of beings living in the fourteen spheres of the world like dust and ashes to the hollow womb of air where they disappear like empty clouds in the autumn sky.
21 The high heaven, ever clad in the clean and clear attire of the atmosphere and wearing the framework of stars like crown on its head, holds the two lights of the sun and moon in either hand and shows us the works of gods in the skies. 22 It remains unmoved forever, never changing its sides composed of the four quarters of heaven in spite of changes in the sky, the rushing of winds, the tremors of earth, the roaring of clouds, and the intense heat of the sun. 23 All things continue in their destined course, whether they are conscious or unconscious of these changes in nature, whether meteors and portents appear in the sky, the clouds roar, planets eclipse, or the earth trembles below. 24 The undersea fire sucks up the overflowing waters of the seven great oceans on earth in the same way as all-destroying time devours creatures in all the different worlds. 25 All things continue in their course like the continued motion of currents in the air. Namely, all earth-born worms move on and return to the earth, the birds of the air move and fly on all sides of the sky, fish swim and glide all about the waters, beasts return to their caves in earth and hills, and such is the case with the inhabitants of all continents and islands lying in the womb of this world.
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Chapter 67 — The Vidyadhari Praises Continued Practice, the Force of Habit
1 The vidyadhari continued, “If you, O sage, have any doubt about any part of my story, then please walk with me and see that home. There you will see many more wonders than what I have described.”
2 Vasishta said:— Upon this, I said, “well” and traveled with her on an aerial journey, just as the fragrance of flowers flies with the winds to an aerial nothing in which they are both lost forever. 3 As I passed far and wide in the regions of air, I met with multitudes of ethereal beings and saw their celestial abodes. 4 Passing over regions traversed by celestials in the upper spheres of heaven, I arrived at a blank, white sky above the summit of Lokaloka Mountain. 5 Then I passed into this pale sky and at last came out of it, just as the fair moon appears under the white canopy of heaven. Above me I saw the bright belt of the zodiac containing the golden spheres of the seven planets. 6 As I was looking at that belt of the zodiac, I found it was like a crystal marble burning with fire. I could not discern any of the worlds that it encompassed.
7 Then I asked my lovely companion to tell me where were the created worlds, together with the gods and planetary bodies and stars, and the seven spheres of heaven. 8Where were the oceans and the sky with all its different sides? Where were the high and heavy bodies of clouds, the starry heaven, and the ascent and descent of the rolling planets?
9 “Where,” I asked, “are the rows of lofty mountain peaks and the marks of the seas upon the earth? Where are the circles and clusters of islands? Where are the sunny shores and dry, parched grounds of deserts? 10 There is no reckoning of time here, nor any account of actions of men. There is no delusive appearance of a created world or anything whatever in this endless and empty void. 11 There are no different races of beings, such as the gods, demigods, vidyadharas, gandharvas, and other races of mankind. There is no sage or prince or of anything that is good or evil, or any heaven or hell, or day or night and their divisions into watches and hours. 12 There is no calculation of time and no knowledge of merit or demerit. It is free from the hostility between gods and demigods and the feelings of love and hatred.”
13 While I had been talking in this manner in my amazement, that excellent lady who was my guide in this maze spoke to me, her eyeballs rolling like a couple of fluttering black bees.
14 The vidyadhari said:— I also do not see anything here in its former state. I find everything presenting a picturesque form in this crystal stone, like image in a mirror. 15Because of my preconceived ideas eternally engraved in my mind, I see the figures of all things in this. Your lack of preconceptions causes you to be blind to them. 16 Your habit of thinking regarding the unity or duality of the sole entity, and your forgetfulness of our pure spiritual and intellectual bodies, made you were blind to the sight of reality, while I had a dim glimpse of it.
17 By my long habit of thinking, I have learnt to look upon this world like a vine in the sky. I never see it as you do to be a reality, but as a dim reflection of the ideal reality. 18Before, the world appeared conspicuously to my sight. Now I find it indistinct, like a shadow of it cast upon a glass.
19 Our prejudice in favor of an old false belief in the personality of the body makes us miss the ease of relying upon the spiritual body, and thus we have fallen into the deep darkness of delusion. 20 Whatever we are habituated to think in our minds, the same grows and takes deep root in the heart under the moistening influence of the intellectual soul. The mind becomes of that nature, like the force of early habit forms a youth. 21 There is nothing likely to be brought about by the lessons of the best scriptures or the dictates of right reason unless they are applied and constantly practiced.
22 Your false speech regarding the nonexistence of the world in this empty space proceeded only from your constant habit of thinking the reality of the false world, which was about to mislead me also. Now be wise that you have overcome your previous prejudice and known the present truth. 23 Know, O sage, that your habitual thinking of a thing as such makes it appear so to you, just as a mechanic master’s art is by his constant practice under the direction of his teacher. 24 The false conceptions of this thing and that, and of the existence of the material world, and the reality of one’s egoism and personality, are all prevented by the culture of spiritual knowledge and by force of a constant habit of seeing all things in their spiritual light.
25 I am only a weak and young disciple to you, and yet I see the stony world too well which you with your all-knowingness do not perceive. This is because of my habit of thinking it other than you are used to do. 26 See the effect of practice which makes a dunce into a learned man and reduces a stone to dust. Look at the force of an inert arrow hitting a distant mark. 27 In this manner the gloom of our ignorance and the disease of false knowledge are both dispelled by right reasoning and deep thinking, both of which are the effect of habit.
28 Habit produces an enjoyment in the tastes of particular articles of food. Some have a taste for what is sour and pungent, while others indulge in what is sweet and tasty. 29 A stranger becomes friendly by his continued stay in one’s company, and so is a friend alienated by his living in an alien and distant land.
30 Our spiritual body, perfectly pure, aerial, and full of intelligence, is converted to and mistaken for the gross material body by our constantly thinking of our materiality. 31 The impression of being a material body will fly away like a bird flies off in the air as soon as you come to know yourself to be a spiritual and intellectual soul, but it is the habit of thinking yourself as such that makes you really so.
32 All our meritorious acts are destroyed by a slight offensive act of demerit, and our prosperity flies away at the approach of adversity, but there is nothing which can remove our habit from us.
33 All difficult matters are made easier by practice. Enemies are won over to friendship and even poison is made as delectable as honey by virtue of habit. 34 He is reckoned as too mean and evil who does not accustom himself to practice whatever is good and proper for him.
Without practice, he never acquires his object, but becomes as useless in the family as a barren woman.
35 Whatever is desirable and good for one is to be gained with repeated effort all through one’s lifetime, just as one’s life, which is his greatest good in the world, is to be preserved with care until the approach of death. 36 Whoever neglects to practice any act or art that is conducive to his welfare is prone to ruin and the torments of hell. 37 Those inclined to meditation of the spiritual soul easily cross over the swollen rivers of this world, although they may be attached to it in their outward and bodily practices.
38 Practice is the light that leads one on the path of his desired object, just as the light of the lamp reveals a lost pot or cloth. 39 The tree of repeated effort bears fruit in its time, just as the wish-fulfilling kalpa tree yields all the fruits of our desire, and as the hoarded capital of the rich is attended with great profit and interest. 40 Habitual inquiry into spiritual truth serves as the sunlight to enlighten the nature of the soul. Otherwise our soul lies hidden in the darkness of the sunless night.
41 All animal beings are in need of certain food for the support of their lives, and these they have to obtain by continued search, never without it. Therefore the force of habit prevails in all places like the powerful sunshine. 42 All fourteen kinds of living beings have to live by habit of their respective activities. It is impossible for anyone to get its desired object without real activity. 43 The repetition of the same action takes the name of habit, and habit is one’s personal effort. It is impossible for anybody to do anything without any effort. 44 Constant habit of action, joined with bodily and mental energy, is the only way to accomplish anything, and not otherwise.
45 There is nothing impossible for the power of habit, which is as powerful as the strong sunbeams which give growth to everything on earth. Only habitual energy gives prosperity and courage to the brave on earth and water and mountains, and in forests and deserts.
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Chapter 68 — Vasishta in Samadhi Sees the Pure Ideals from which Intellect Fabricates the Unreal World
1 The vidyadhari continued:— The habit of long practice, combined with the understanding and reflection, makes one proficient in a subject. So these applied to meditation of the spiritual and pure soul will cause the material world to vanish in the stone.
2 Vasishta said:— After the celestial vidyadhari had spoken in this manner, I retired to a cave in a rock where I sat in lotus posture and became absorbed in samadhi. 3 Having given up all thoughts of corporeal bodies and continuing to think only of the intellectual soul according to the holy teachings of the vidyadhari, as I have related.
4 Then I saw a clear and fair intellectual void in me resembling the clarity of the empty vault of heaven in autumn. 5 Through my intense application to meditate on the true one, my false view of phenomena entirely vanished within me. 6 The intellectual sphere of my mind was filled with a transcendent light which knew no rising or setting but was always shining with a uniform radiance. 7 As I looked into and through the light that shone in me, I could find neither the sky nor that great stone which I sought to find. 8 Then I found the clear and thick blaze of my spiritual light seizing my outward sight, just as it had enraptured my inner vision.
9 As a man dreams seeing a huge stone in his house, so I saw the vast emptiness like a crystal globe situated in the clear atmosphere of consciousness. 10 A dreaming man may think he is another person, but after he is awakened, he comes to know himself. 11 Those who dream themselves to be headless beings and remain so in this world can be of no good or use to themselves, though they have a little knowledge afterwards. 12 A man drowned in utter ignorance comes to right understanding in the course of time and in the end comes to know that there is no real entity except the essence of God.
13 Thus, when I saw the solid and transparent light which appeared like a crystal stone lying in the emptiness of Brahman, I could see no material thing like the earth or water or anything whatever in connection with it. 14 Everything bore the same pure and spiritual form in which they were presented at their first creation in our ideas of them. 15 All these bodies of created beings are only forms of Brahman considered in their primordial and spiritual and natural natures. The mind gives them the imaginary shapes of materiality in its fabricated dominion of the visible world. 16 The spiritual form is the true essence of all things. All that is perceptible to the senses is mere fabrication of the original inventive mind. 17 The prime creation was in the abstract and imperceptible to the senses. It was perceptible to the mind in the form of the ideals which the ignorant converted to phenomena.
18 A yogi, like knowing minds, sees all things in the abstract and in a general view. But the ignorant who are deprived of the power of abstraction and generalization fall into the errors of concrete particulars and deceptive phenomena. 19 All sensation is only a temporary perception and presents a wrong impression in the mind. Know all conscious perceptions to be false and deluding. The concepts in the mind of a yogi are the true realities.
20 O, the wonder of taking phenomena for invisible truth when we know that concepts, which are beyond the senses, are the true realities. 21 The subtle form of a thing first appears before the mind. Afterwards it is represented in various false shapes before us, and this is true of all material things in the world. 22 Whatever has not been before, has never been afterwards. As different ornaments of gold are nothing but gold itself, so pristine subtle ideas cannot have any gross material form.
23 O the great ignorance of men that takes error for truth and falsehood as true. There is no way for the living soul to discern true and false except by right reasoning. 24 The material body cannot be maintained by correct reason, but its immaterial essence is indestructible, both in this world and in the next. 25 The error of materiality in the incorporeal, spiritual body presided over by the intellect is like the fallacy of a vast sea in the shining sands of a sandy desert.
26 Consciousness of materiality, which one has in his spiritual and intellectual form, is like seeing the figure of a human body in a mountain peak. 27 The false supposition of materiality in the spiritual entity of our being is like the error of seeing silver in the shells on the seashore, or sunshine on sands for water, or a second moon in the mist. 28 O the wonderful effectiveness of error that represents the unreal as real and vice-versa. O the great power of delusion which springs from the unreasonableness of living beings.
29 A yogi finds spiritual force and mental activity to be the two immaterial causes of all action and motion moving everything in both the physical and intellectual worlds. 30Therefore a yogi relies only on his internal perception and rejects those of his external senses. By comparison, common people run giddy drinking the vapors of the mirage of senses.
31 That which is commonly called pleasure or pain is only a fleeting feeling in the mind of men. It is of short duration. Genuine and lasting peace of mind, which has neither its rise or fall, is called true happiness.
32 Infer the super-conscious from what can be sensed and see the true source of your sensations manifest in your presence.
33 Reject the sight of this triple world which your perception presents to your imagination, because there can be nothing more foolish than taking a delusion for truth. 34 All these bodies and beings carry only their immaterial forms of mere ideas. Only the demon of delusion causes us to suppose their materiality. 35 Whatever is not produced or thought of in the mind cannot present its figure to our sight. That which is no reality of itself cannot be the cause of anything else.
36 When phenomena are nonexistent and unreal, what else is there that may be real? How can anything be said to be real whose reality is by the unreal and delusive senses? 37Phenomena being proved unreal, there can be no reality in perceiving or thinking about them. It is impossible for a spider to maintain its web before a storm that blows away an elephant. 38 So likewise, visual evidence being proved false, there is no proof of any object of vision anywhere. There is only one unchanging entity in all nature whose solidity depends upon the consolidation of Divine Consciousness, like sea salt in solidified seawater.
39 Like a dreamer dreams of a house on high hill in its ideal form, which is unknown and unseen to others sleeping with him in the same house, so we thought of that stone we have been talking about, and which is nothing other than the intellect. 40 The intellectual soul exhibits a great many ideal phenomena within itself, such as “this is a hill” and “this is the sky” and “this is the world” and “these are me and you,” all of which are as insubstantial as empty air.
41 Only men of enlightened souls can perceive these phenomena of intellect in themselves, not the unenlightened soul. It is like a person who listens to a lecture understands it, but not one who dozes through it. 42 All these false sights of the world appear true to an unenlightened person, just as the still trees and mountains seem to be dancing to an inebriated man.
43 A yogi beholds one irrepressible form of God in all places, manifest before him in the form of his intellect. But the ignorant are deceived by their false guides to place their reliance on the objects of senses, in spite of their frail nature.
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Chapter 69 — Vasishta and the Vidyadhari Awaken the Brahmin; He Explains Who Is the Vidyadhari
1 Vasishta added:— The world is without any form or substance, though it presents the appearance of such. It is seen in the light of the pure and imperishable essence of God through the keen sight of transcendental philosophy. 2 The world is that quintessence which exhibits in itself the rare show of the cosmic mirror of Consciousness. The forms of hills and rivers are seen like pictures in a panorama, or like apparitions in empty air.
3 Then the vidyadhari entered that cosmic block by resistless efforts. Curious, I also penetrated it after her. 4 After that untiring lady made her way into the cosmos of Brahma, she took her seat before a brahmin and shone supremely bright in his presence.
5 She introduced him to me saying, “This is my husband and supporter with whom I have made my betrothal in my mind a long time ago. 6 He is now an old man and I also have attained my old age. Because he has delayed his marriage with me until now, I have become utterly indifferent about it at present. 7 He also has grown adverse to his marriage and desires to attain that supreme state in which there is no view or viewer, and which is also no airy emptiness. 8 The world is now approaching its dissolution and he has been sitting in meditation as silently and as immovable as a stone. 9 Therefore, O lord of saints, please awaken both him and me also. Enlighten and confirm us in the way of supreme bliss until the end of this creation and the recreation of a new one.”
10 Having said this to me, she awakened her husband and spoke to him saying, “Here, my lord, is the chief of saints who has come today to our home. 11 This sage is the offspring of Brahma in another apartment of this worldly dome. He deserves to be honored as worthy guest according to the proper rite of hospitality. 12 Arise and receive the great sage offering worship and water to him, because great persons deserve the highest regards and respects one can offer.”
13 The holy devotee awoke from his samadhi. His consciousness rose in himself like a whirlpool rises above the sea. 14 The courteous sage opened his eyes slowly, as flowers open their petals in spring after winter is over. 15His returning senses slowly allowed him to move his limbs, just as the returning moisture of plants in spring makes new sprouts and branches shoot forth. 16 Gods, demigods, spiritual masters, and gandharvas immediately assembled around him from all sides, just as swans and cranes flock to a clear lake blooming with full-blown lotuses. 17 He looked upon me, the fair vidyadhari lady, and everyone else standing before him. Then in the sweet tone like the sound of Om (pranava), he addressed me as the second Brahma himself.
18 The brahmin said, “I welcome you to this place, O sage who sees the world like a ball placed in the palm of your hand and who resembles the great ocean in the vast extent of his knowledge. 19 You have come a long way to this far distant place. You must be tired from your long journey. Please sit in this seat.”
20 As he said these words, I saluted him saying, “I salute you my lord.” Then I sat on the jeweled seat which he pointed out to me. 21 Then he was praised by the assembled gods and holy spirits standing before him, and received their worship, presents and adorations according to the rules and rites of courtesy. 22 Then as the praises and prayers of the assembled host ended, I approached the venerable brahmin and spoke to him.
23 “How is it, O venerable sage, that this vidyadhari nymph has turned to me and tells me to enlighten you both with true knowledge? You are acquainted with whatever is past and all that is to take place. 24 You sage are lord of all, fully acquainted with all knowledge. What does this silly woman want to learn from me and what do I want to learn from you? 25 Why did you produce her to become your spouse when you remained indifferent and never took her in wedlock?”
26 The brahmin replied:— O Saint, hear me to tell you how it came to be so with us, because it is right and fit to explain everything in full to the wise and good.
27 There is an unborn and imperishable entity from all eternity and I am only a spark of that ever sparkling and brilliant intellect. 28 I am of the form of empty air or vacuum, situated forever in the Supreme Spirit. I am called the self-born in all the worlds that were to be created afterwards. 29 But in reality, I am never born, nor do I ever see or do anything in reality but remain as the empty intellect in the intellectual emptiness of the very same entity. 30 Addressing one another in the first and second persons is nothing but the sounds of waves of the same sea dashing against each other.
31 I who was of this nature became disturbed in time by feeling some desire rising in me and seeing that lady within the blaze of my intellect. 32 I thought of her as myself, though she appears as another person to you and others. Though she is manifest before you, yet she lies hidden in me as my very self.
33 I find myself to be that imperishable entity which abides in me as I abide in the Supreme Soul. I find my soul to be imperishable in its nature and delighted in itself as if it were the lord of all. 34 Though I was thus absorbed in meditation, yet the memory of my former state produced in me a desire to reproduce, and over there, that vidyadhari is the incarnate divinity presiding over my will. 35 She is the presiding divinity over my will who is standing here manifest before you. She is neither my wife nor have I betrothed her as such. 36 It is from the desire of her heart that she considers herself the wife of Brahma. For that reason she has undergone troubles before she got rid of her desires.
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Chapter 70 — Words of the Brahmin Who Created the Worlds in Mundane Stone
1 The brahmin related:— Now as the world is approaching to its end, I am going to take my rest in the formless void of consciousness. This is why this divinity of worldly desires is drowned in deep sorrow. 2 I am about to forsake her forever. It is for this very reason, O sage, that she is so very sorry and sick in heart. 3 Being of an aerial form, when I become one with the Supreme Spirit, all my desires end and the great dissolution of the world takes place. 4 That is why she pursues me with deep sorrow. For who is there so senseless that does not follow the giver of her being?
5 Now the time has come to end the Kali Yuga and the cycle of four ages. The dissolution of all living beings, Manus, Indras and other gods is near at hand. 6 Today is the end of the kalpa and the great kalpa age. This day puts an end to my energy and will and makes me merge with the eternal and infinite emptiness. 7 Now this personification of my desire is about to breathe her last, just like when a lake dries out, its lotus beds are also lost in the air.
8 The quiet soul, like the calm ocean, is always at a state of rest unless it is agitated by fickle desires, like the sea troubled by its fluctuating waves. 9 An embodied being naturally has a desire to know the soul and to be freed from its prison. 10 Thus this lady, being filled with spiritual knowledge and long practiced in meditation, has seen the world you inhabit and the four different pursuits of its inhabitants.
11 Traversing through the regions of air, she has come to see the previously mentioned ethereal stone above Lokaloka Mountain which is our celestial home and the pattern for your world. 12 Both that world of yours and this home of ours rest on a great mountain which carries upon it many other worlds. 13 With our discriminating eyesight, we also do not see them separately from one another, but behold them all combined in one in our abstract view of yoga meditation.
14 There are numberless worlds of creations in earth, water, and air and everything else under the sky, as if they were compressed or carved in the body of a huge block of stone. 15 What you call the world is a mere fallacy. It resembles your vision of a fairy city in dream. It is a false name applied to an object that exists nowhere outside consciousness.
16 They who have come to know the world as an airy vision of the mind are truly called wise men who are not liable to fall into error. 17 By application and practice of yoga contemplation, some come to attain their desired object, such as this lady succeeded to gain your company. 18 Thus the illusory power of the intellect displays these material worlds before us. Thus the everlasting Divine omnipotence manifests itself.
19 There is no action or any creation ever produced from anything or ever reduced to nothing. But all things and actions, together with our ideas of space and time, are only the spontaneous growth of consciousness.
20 Know that the ideas of time and space, of substance and action, as well as of the mind and its faculties, are the lasting figures and marks on the stone of consciousness, ever prominent in it without setting or being shaded at anytime. 21 This consciousness is the very stone, either at rest or rolling on like a wheel. The worlds pertain to it as its properties and accompany it as motion does the wind.
22 The soul, being provided with its full knowledge of all things, is considered to be the solid world itself. Though the soul is infinite in time and space, yet it is thought of as limited owing to its appearance in the form of the bound and embodied mind. 23 The unbound intellect appears as bound by its limited knowledge. Although it is formless, yet it appears in the form of the mind representing the worlds in it.
24 As the mind sees the form of an aerial city in its dream, so it finds itself in the form of this stone, with the worlds marked upon it in the daytime. 25 There is no rolling of planets in this universe and no running of streams here. There is no object existing in reality anywhere. They are all mere representations of the mind in empty air. 26 There are no kalpa or great kalpa ages in eternity. There is no substantiality of anything in the emptiness of our consciousness. There is no difference between the waves and bubbles from the waters of the sea.
27 The worlds that appear to exist in the mind and before the eyes are, in reality, utterly nonexistent in the intellect which spreads alike everywhere as the all pervading and empty vacuum. And as all empty space in every place is alike and the same with infinite emptiness, so the forms of things appearing to the limited understanding are all lost in unlimited consciousness.
28 Now Vasishta, go to your place in your own world. Have your peace and bliss in your own seat of samadhi. Give over your aerial worlds to empty air, while I myself go to the supreme Brahman.
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Chapter 71 — Vasishta Describes a Final Dissolution of the World (1)
1 Vasishta added:— So saying, the brahmin Brahma sat in lotus posture and resumed his intense meditation in samadhi, as did his celestial companions also. 2 He fixed his mind on the pause placed at the end of half syllable “m”, the final letter of the holy mantra of omkara, and sat quietly with steady attention like an unmoved picture in a painting. 3 His lustful consort, Desire, also followed his example. She sat reclined at the end of all her endless wishes, an empty and formless emptiness.
4 When I saw them growing thin for lack of their desires, I also reduced myself by means of my meditation until I found myself one with all pervading Intellect in the form of endless emptiness. 5 I saw that as the desires of Brahma were drying up in himself, so I found all nature to be fading away with the contraction of the earth and ocean, together with the diminution of their hills and islands.
6 I saw trees and plants and all sorts of vegetables fading away with the decay of their growth. All creation seemed to come to its end in a short time. 7 It seemed that the stupendous body of Viraj containing the whole universe was sick in every part. The great earth carried in his body was falling unconsciously into decline and decay. 8 She was stricken with years, grown dull and dry without her mild moisture, wasting away like a withered tree in the cold season. 9 As the unconsciousness of our hearts numbs our bodies, so did one’s loss of sensation produce the lack of consciousness of all things in the world.
10 The world was threatened by many a portent and ill omen on all sides, and men were hastening to hellfire, burning in the flame of their sins. 11 The earth was a scene of oppression and famine. Troubles, disasters and poverty waited on mankind everywhere. As women trespassed the bounds of behavior, so men sinned against the bounds of order and conduct. 12 The sun was hidden by mist and frost resembling gusts of ash and dust. People were greatly and equally afflicted by excess heat and cold, two opposites they did not know how to prevent. 13 Low caste shudras were tormented by burning fires on one side and floods of rainwater on the other. Wars being waged devastated entire provinces.14 Tremendous omens were accompanied by falling mountains and cities and the loud cries of people upon the destruction of their children and many good and great men. 15The land burst into deep ditches where there had been no water channels before. Peoples and the rulers of men indulged themselves in promiscuous marriages. 16 All men lived like travelers and all paths were full of tailor shops. All women were engrossed with their hair and promiscuity. All rulers imposed head taxes on their people. 17 All men lived by hard labor, farmers living only upon litigation. Women lived in impiety and impurity and the rulers of men were addicted to drinking. 18 The earth was full of unrighteousness, its people misled by heretical doctrines and vicious scriptures. All wicked men were wealthy and fortunate and all good people in distress and misery. 19 The evil non-aryans (foreigners) were the rulers of earth and respectable and learned men had fallen into disrepute and disregard. People were all guided by their evil passions of anger, greed, hatred, envy, malice, and the like. 20 All men were apostates giving up their religion, inclined to the faith of others. Brahmins were despised for their sermons and the evil inhabitants of border regions persecuted others. 21 Robbers infested cities and villages, robbing temples of gods and the houses of good people. There were parasites pampered with others’ delicacies, but short lived and sick with their gluttony. 22 All men indulging themselves in idleness and luxury and neglected their rituals and duties. All quarters of the globe presented scenes of dangers and difficulties, sorrows and grief. 23 Cities and villages were reduced to ashes and districts were laid waste on all sides. The sky appeared to be weeping with vaporous clouds and the air disturbed by whirling tornadoes.
24 The land resounded with the loud crying and wailing of widows and unfortunate women. Those who remained were compelled to live by beggary. 25 The country was dry and destitute of water, lying bare and barren in all parts. The seasons were unproductive of seasonal fruits and flowers. So every part of this earthly body of Brahma was out of order and painful to him.
26 Upon her approaching dissolution, there was a great famine on earth. The body of Brahma grew senseless owing to the loss of the watery element in all its canals of rivers and seas. 27 The spirit of Brahma being disturbed, there occurred a disorder in the course of nature. It brought on a transgression of good manners, as when the waters of rivers and seas overflow their boundaries. 28 Then furious water surges began to break down their shores and run madly upon the ground, flooding the land and laying waste to woodlands. 29 Whirlpools whirled with harsh noise, turning about on every side with tremendous violence. Huge surges rose high to wash the face of heavy clouds in the sky. 30Mountain caves were resounding to the loud roar of huge clouds on high and heavy showers of rain fell in torrents from the sky, flooding mountain tops far and near.
31 Gigantic whales rolled along with the whirling waves of the ocean. The bosom of the deep appeared like a deep forest with huge bodies of the whales floating on heaving waves. 32 Mountain caves were scattered with the bodies of marine animals killed there by hungry lions and tigers. The sky glittered with marine gems carried on high by the rising waters. 33 The dashing of rising sea waves against the falling showers of the sky and the dashing of the whales against the clouds on high raised a huge uproar. 34 Elephants floating on flood waters washed the faces of the stars with the waters spouted from their trunks. Their jostling against one another hurled hills to the ground. 35 The loud surges of the sea dashed against the rocks on the shore let out a noise like the loud roar of elephants resounding in mountain caves.
36 The nether sea invaded the upper sky. Its turbulent waves drove the celestials from their homes just like an earthly ruler attacks another and his triumphant host dispossesses the inhabitants with loud outcry. 37 Floodwaters covered the woods, both in the earth and air. Waves spread over the skies like the winged mountains of times past.38 Loud winds broke the waves of the sea, driving them ashore like fragments of mountains. Splashing waters dashed against the rocks on the shore washing fossil shells on the coast.
39 Twisting whirlpools sucked huge whales inside and flowed over falling rocks in their fathomless depth. 40 Huge whales were carried with the torrents and drowned in the depths of caves on mountain tops, and these they attempted to break with their hideous teeth. 41 Tortoises and crocodiles hung from trees, their full length extended. The vehicles of Yama (buffalo) and Indra (elephant) stood terrified with erect ears. 42 They listened to the fragments of rocks falling with hideous noise on the seashore and saw fish with their broken fins tossed up and down by the falling stones.
43 The forests shook no more in their dancing mood, and the waters on earth were all still and cold. But the marine waters were flaming with an undersea fire emitting a dismal glare. 44 The whales, afraid of the marine fires, fell upon the waters on mountain tops and competed with the earthly and mountainous elephants. 45 Rocks carried away by the rapid current looked as if they were dancing on the tops of the waves. There was a loud concussion of swimming and drowned rocks as they dashed against the mountains on land. 46 Men and wild animals sought protection on large mountains and in woods. Herds of wild elephant roaring loudly at a distance like trumpets. 47 The infernal regions were disturbed by torrents of water, as by the infernal demons. The elephants of the eight quarters raised loud cries with their uplifted trunks. 48 The nether world emitted a growling noise from their mouths of infernal caves. The earth, fastened to its polar axis, turned like a wheel on its axle.
49 The overflowing waters of the ocean broke their bounds with as much ease as they tear marine plants apart. Breathless skies resounded to the roaring of the clouds all around. 50 The sky was split into pieces and fell down in fragments. The regents of the skies fled far away with loud cries. Comets and meteors were hurled from heaven in the forms of whirlpools. 51 Fires and firebrands were seen burning on all sides of the skies, earth and heaven, flaming and flashing like liquid gold and luminous gems, and like vermilion colored snakes.
52 Many flaming and flying comet portents with burning crests and tails were seen flashing all about in the heaven above and earth below, flung by the hands of Brahma. 53 All the great elementary bodies were disturbed and put out of order. The sun and moon and the gods of air (Pavana) and fire (Agni), together with the gods of heaven (Indra) and hell (Yama), were all in great confusion. 54 Even the gods seated in the abode of Brahma were afraid of their impending fall when they heard the huge trees of the forests falling headlong with a tremendous crash.
55 Mountains standing on the surface of the earth were shaking and tottering on all sides. A great earthquake shook the mountains of Kailash and Meru to the very bottom of their caves and forests. 56 Ominous tornadoes at the end of the kalpa period overthrew mountains cities and forests, and overwhelmed the earth and all in general ruin and confusion.
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Chapter 72 — Description of Viraj as God in the Form of Creation
1 Vasishta continued:— Now the self-born Brahma, having compressed his breath in his form of Viraj, the atmospheric air carried on the wings of wind, lost its existence. 2 The atmospheric air, the very breath of Brahma, being thus compressed in his breast, what other air could there remain to uphold the starry frame and the system of the universe? 3The atmospheric air, compressed with the vital breath of Brahma, meant that creation was about to come to its ultimate extinction.
4 The sky, being no more upheld by its support of the air, gave way to fiery bodies of meteors falling down on earth like starry flowers from the tree of heaven. 5 The stars of heaven, being unsupported by the intermediate air, fell on the ground like the unfailing and impending fruits of our deserts, or the flying fates falling from above. 6 The gross desire or the crude will of Brahma was now at its end at the approach of dissolution. There was an utter stop to the actions and motions of the spiritual masters, just like the flame of fire before its extinction.
7 World-destroying winds blew in the air like thin, flying scraps of cotton. Then the spiritual masters fell down mute from heaven after losing their strength and power of speech. 8 The great fabrics of human wishes fell down with the cities of the gods. Mountain peaks were hurled headlong by shocks of tremendous earthquakes.
9 Rama asked, “Now sage, if the world is only a representation of the ideas in the mind of the great god Brahma or Viraj, then what difference do earth, heaven and hell make to him? 10 How can these worlds be said to be the members of his body? How can it be thought that God resides in them with his stupendous form? 11 I well know that Brahma is the willful spirit of God and has no form of himself. So I take this world to be a formless representation of the will or idea in the Divine Mind. Please sage, explain this clearly to me.”
12 Vasishta replied:— In the beginning this world was not in existence and not in nonexistence either. There was the Eternal Consciousness which absorbed all infinity in itself, and the whole emptiness of space with its essence. 13 This emptiness is known as the thought. The intellect, without forsaking its form, becomes the power of using the intellect itself.
14 Know this power of using the intellect to be the living soul which, being condensed, becomes the gross mind. But none of these essences or forms of existence have any form whatever. 15 The emptiness of the intellect remains as the pure vacuum in itself forever. All this which appears as otherwise is nothing without the very same soul. 16 The very soul assumes to it its egoism, and thinking itself as the mind, becomes soiled with its endless desires in its empty form.
17 Then this intellectual principle thinks itself to be the air by its own volition. By this false supposition of itself, it becomes of an aerial form in the open air. 18 Then it thinks of its future gross form, and immediately finds itself transformed to an aerial body by its volition (sankalpa). 19 Though the soul, spirit and mind are empty in their natures, yet they can assume aerial forms to themselves by their will, just as the mind sees imaginary cities. So the Lord takes upon any form it pleases.
20 As the knowledge of our minds is purely of an aerial nature, so the intelligence of the all-intelligent Lord is likewise of an intellectual kind. He takes and forsakes any form as he supposes and pleases for himself. 21 As we advance in the knowledge of hidden truth, so we come to lose the perception of size and extension and know this extended world is a mere void, though it appears as a positive entity. 22 By knowledge of real truth, we get rid of our desires. By our knowledge of the unity and the absence of our egoism or personality, we obtain our liberation.
23 Such is he, the supreme one. Brahman is the entity of the world. Know Viraj, O Rama, to be the body of Brahman, the form of the visible world. 24 Desires or will and the false conceptions which rise in it have the form of empty vacuum. The same give birth to the world, which is then called the cosmic egg.
25 Know all this is nonexistence. The forms you see are only the formation of your fancy. In reality there is nothing in actual existence. You and egoism are no entities at anytime. 26 How can the gross world ever be attached to the simple Consciousness which is of the nature of a void? How can a cause or secondary cause ever be produced in or come out from a mere void? 27 Therefore all this production is false and all that is seen is a mere falsity. All this is a mere void and nothing, falsely taken for something.
28 It is only Consciousness that exhibits itself in the forms of the world and its productions, in the same manner as air creates its vibrations as winds in the very calm air itself. 29The world is either as something or a nothing at all, devoid of both unity and duality. Know the whole to lie in the empty emptiness of Consciousness, void and transparent as Consciousness.
30 I am extinct to all these endless particulars and distinctions. Whether you take them as real or unreal, or be with or without your egoism, it is all nothing to me. 31 Be without any desire and quiet in your mind. Remain silent without fickleness in your conduct. Do whatever you have to do, or avoid it without anxiety. 32 The Eternal One, ever existent in our idea of him, is manifest also in phenomena which is no other than himself. But our imperfect idea of God has many things in it which are unknown to us and beyond our comprehension. Such is also with phenomena that are so perceptible to us.
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Chapter 73 — More Description of Viraj, the God of Nature
1 Rama said, “Sage, you have talked at length about our bondage and liberation, and also about our knowledge of the world as neither a reality nor an unreality, and that it neither rises nor sets but always exists as at first and ever before. 2 I have well understood all your lectures on these subjects, yet wish to know more for my full satisfaction with the ambrosial drops of your speech.”
3 “Tell me sage, how is there no truth or untruth to either a false view of the creation as a reality, or its view as a mere vacuum? 4 In such a case, I well understand what is the real truth. Yet I want you to say more about this for my comprehension of the subject of creation.”
5 Vasishta replied:— All this world visible to us, with all its moving and unmoving creatures, and all things with all their varieties occasioned by differences of country and climate, 6 together with the gods Brahma, Indra, Upendra, Mahendra, and the Rudras, are subject to destruction at the great dissolution of the world. 7 There remains something alone which is unborn and uncreated and without beginning which is ever calm and quiet in its nature. To this no words can reach, and of which nothing can be known.
8 As a mountain is larger and more extended than a mustard seed, so the sky is much more than a mountain. But the entity of emptiness is the greatest of all. 9 Again as the dust of the earth is smaller than a great mountain, so the stupendous universe is a minute particle compared to the infinite emptiness of God.
10 After the long lapse of unmeasured time in the unlimited space of eternity, and after the dissolution of all existence in the transcendent vacuum of the Divine Mind, 11 the great empty Consciousness, unlimited by space and time, quite tranquil by being devoid of all desire and will, sees the minute world in aerial state in itself by its memory. 12 The intellect inspects this unreality within itself as it were in its dream. Then it thinks on the sense of the word Brahman and beholds the expansion of these minute ideas to their intellectual forms.
13 It is the nature of consciousness to know the minute ideas contained in its sensations. Because it continues to look upon them, it is called their looker. 14 As a man sees himself dead in his dream, and the dead man sees his own death, so consciousness sees minute ideas in itself. 15 Hence it is the nature of consciousness to see its unity as a duality within itself, and to remain of its own nature as both subjective and objective by itself. 16 Consciousness is of the nature of emptiness and therefore formless in itself. Yet it beholds the minute ideas to rise as phenomena before it, and thereby the subjective viewer becomes the duality of the objective view also.
17 Then it finds its minute self springing out distinctly in its own conception, just as a seed is found to sprout forth in its seedling. 18 Then it has a distinct view of space and time, and of substance and its attributes and actions. But as these are yet in their state of internal conceptions, they have not yet received names. 19 Wherever the particle of consciousness shines is called place, whenever it is perceived is called time, and the act of perception is called action. 20 Whatever is perceived is said to be the object. The sight of it is the cause of its perception, just as the light of a luminary is the cause of eyesight.
21 Thus endless products of consciousness appear before it, distinct from one another by their time, place, and action. All these appear as true, like the various colors in the sky.22 The light of consciousness shines through different parts of the body. The eye is the organ whereby it sees, and the other organs of sense allow different sense perceptions.
23 The intellectual particle, shining at first within itself, has no distinct name except that of tanmatra or its inward perception, which term has no more significance than empty air. 24 But the shadow of minute consciousness falling upon empty air becomes the solid body which shoots forth into the five organs of sense owing to its inquiry into their five objects of form and the rest. 25 The intellectual principle, in need of retaining its sensations in the brain, becomes the mind and understanding.
26 Then the mind being moved by its vanity, takes upon it the name of egoism and is inclined to make imaginary divisions of space and time. 27 Thus the atomic consciousness (the jiva) comes to make distinctions of time by giving them different names of present, past and future. 28 Again, with regard to space, it calls one place as upper and another as lower and goes on giving different names to the sides of the one unchanging space in nature. 29 It then comes to understand the meanings of words, and invents words signifying time and space, action and substance.
30 Thus consciousness, having an empty form in the primordial vacuum, became the spiritual or subtle body of its own accord until it was diffused all over the world. 31 Having long remained in that state as it thought, it took the completely concrete material form through which it was transfused. 32 Though formed originally of air and perfectly pure in its nature, yet being incorporated in the false corporeal form, it forgot its real nature, just as solar heat in association with sand is mistaken for water. 33 It then takes upon itself, and of its own will, a form reaching to the skies to which it applies the sense of word head to some part and feet to another. 34 It applied to itself the sense of the words breast, sides to other parts by adopting their figurative sense and rejecting the literal ones. 35 By thinking constantly on the forms of things, such as this is a cow and that is a horse, and their being bounded by space and time, it became familiar with the objects of different senses. 36 The same intellectual particle likewise saw the different parts of its body which it called its hands, feet and the like as its outward members, and the heart and the like as the inner members of the body.
37 In this manner the bodies of Brahma, Vishnu, the Rudras and other gods are formed. The forms of men and worms are also produced from the conception of them. 38 But in fact there is nothing that is really made or formed. All things are now as they have ever been. All this is the original vacuum and primeval Consciousness. All forms are the false formations of fancy.
39 Viraj is the seed producing the plants of the three worlds, which are productive of many more, just as one root produces many bulbs. Belief in creation puts a lock on the door of salvation. The appearance of the world is as that of a light and fleeting cloud without rain.
40 This Viraj is the first male, rising unseen of his own will. He is the cause of all actions and acts. 41 He has no material body, no bone or flesh, nor is he capable of being grasped by anyone’s hand. 42 He is as silent as a sleeping man who does not hear the roaring sea and clouds, the loud roar of lions and elephants, or the uproar of battle. 43 He remains neither as a reality nor entirely as an unreality, but like an awaken man’s idea of a warrior seen fighting in his dream. 44 Although his huge body stretches millions of miles, yet it is contained within an atom together with all the worlds that lie hidden in every pore of his body. 45 Though thousands of worlds and millions of mountains compose the great body of the unborn Viraj, yet they are not enough to fill it completely, just as a large quantity of grain is not sufficient to fill a winnowing basket.
46 Though innumerable worlds are stretched in his body, yet they are only an atom compared to the infinity of Viraj, and all is contained in his body. Yet it occupies no space or place, but resembles a baseless mountain in a dream. 47 He is called the self-born and Viraj. Though he is said to be the body and soul of the world, yet he is quite empty himself. 48He is also called Rudra and Sanatana, and Indra and Upendra also. He is likewise the wind, the cloud, and the mountain in his person.
49 The minute particle of Consciousness, like a small spark of fire, inflates and spreads itself at first, then by thinking its greatness, takes the form of the thinking mind which with its self-consciousness becomes the vast universe. 50 Then being conscious of its inspiration, it becomes the wind in motion, and this is the air form body of Viraj. 51 Then it becomes the vital breath from the consciousness of its inspiration and expiration in the open air. 52 Then it imagines an fiery particle in its mind, just as children fancy a ghost where there is none, and this spark assumes the forms of luminous bodies in the sky.
53 The vital breath of respiration is carried by turns through the respiratory organs into the heart from where it is carried on the wings of air to sustain the world, which is the very heart of Viraj. 54 This Viraj is the first principle of all individual bodies in the world and in their various capacities forever. 55 All individual bodies have their rise according to their different desires from this Universal Soul. As desires differ from one another in their outward shapes, so they are different also in their inner natures and inclinations.
56 As the seed of Viraj first sprang forth in the nature and constitution of every individual being, it continues to do so in the same manner in the heart of every living, agreeably according to the will of the same causal principle. 57 The sun, moon and the winds are like the bile and phlegm in the body of Brahma. The planets and stars are like the circulating breath and drops of that god’s spit. 58 The mountains are his bones and the clouds his flesh. But we can never see his head and feet, nor his body and skin.
59 Know, O Rama, this world is the body of Viraj, an imaginary form by his imagination only. Hence the earth and heaven and all their contents are only the shadow of his Intellectual emptiness.
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Chapter 74 — The Cosmic Body of Viraj, Continued
1 Vasishta continued:— Now hear more about the body of Viraj, which he assumed to himself of his own will in that kalpa epoch, together with the variety of its order and division and its various customs and usages.
2 The transcendent empty sphere of consciousness makes the body of Viraj. It has no beginning, middle or end and it is as light as an aerial or imaginary form. 3 Brahma, who is without desire, saw the imaginary cosmic egg appearing about him in its aerial form. 4 Then Brahma divided this imaginary world of his in two. It was of a luminous form, from which he came out as a luminary, like a bird matured in its egg.
5 He saw one half of this egg rising high in the upper sky and the other half making the lower world, both of which he considered as parts of himself. 6 The upper part of Brahma’s egg is called the head of Viraj. The lower part is called his footstool. The middle region is called his waist. 7 The middle part of the two far separated portions is of immense extent and appears like a blue and hollow vault all around us. 8 Heaven is the upper roof of this hollow, similar to the palate of the open mouth. The stars which cover it resemble the spots of blood in it. The breath of the mouth is like the vital air which supports all mortals and the immortal gods. 9 Ghosts, demons and ogres are like worms in his body. The cavities of the different worlds are like the veins and arteries in his body. 10 The nether worlds below us are the footstools of Viraj. The cavities under his knees are like the pits of the infernal regions. 11 The great basin of water in the middle of the earth and the surrounding islands are like the navel and its pit in the center of the body of Viraj.
12 The rivers with their swirling waters resemble the arteries of Viraj, with purple blood running in them. Asia is like his lotus petal heart, with Mount Meru as its outer layer. 13The sides of his body are like the sides of the sky. The hills and rocks on earth resemble the spleen and liver in the body of Viraj. The collection of cooling clouds in the sky is like the thickening mass of fat in his body. 14 The sun and the moon are the two eyes of Viraj. The high heaven is his head and mouth. The moon is his essence and the mountains are the filth of his person. 15 The fire is the burning heat and bile in his bowels. Air is the breath of his nostrils. 16 The forests of kalpa trees and other woods and the serpent races of the infernal regions are the hairs and tufts of hairs on his head and body. 17 The upper region of the solar world forms the head of Viraj’s body. The zodiacal light in the curved hollow beyond the mundane system is the crest on top of Viraja’s head.
18 He is the Universal Mind itself. He has no individual mind of his own. Being the sole enjoyer of all things, there is nothing in particular that forms the object of his enjoyment.19 He is the sum of all the senses. Therefore there is no sense beside himself. The soul of Viraj being fully conscious of everything, it is a mere fiction to attribute the property of any organ of sense to him. 20 There is no difference between the property of an organ and its possessor. The mind, in the person of Viraj, perceives all organic sensations without the medium of organs.
21 There is no difference between the doings of Viraj and those of the world. His will alone acts with many forces, both in their active and causal forms. 22 All actions and events of the world are same as his. All our lives and deaths in this world conform to his will. 23 The world lives by his living and so it dies with his death. Like air and its motion, so is the world and Viraj. They act or subside together. 24 The world and Viraj are of the same essence, like air and wind. That which is the world is Viraj. What Viraj is, the very same is the world.
25 The world is Brahma and Viraj. The names are synonyms according to its successive stages. They are only forms of the will of the pure and empty Consciousness of God.
26 Rama asked, “Be it so that Viraj is the personified will of God and has the form of emptiness. But how is he considered in his inner person as Brahma himself?”
27 Vasishta replied:— As you consider yourself as Rama and situated in your body, so Brahma, the great father of all, is the willful soul in his body. 28 The souls of holy men also are full with Brahma and their material bodies are like mere images of him. 29 As your living soul is capable of fixing its residence in your body, so the self-willed soul of Brahma is far more able to reside in his body of the universe. 30 If it is possible for a plant to reside in its seed and for animal life to dwell in the body, it must likewise be even more possible for the spirit of Brahma to dwell in a body of its own imagination.
31 Whether the Lord is in his consolidated form of the world or in his subtle form of the mind, he is the same in his essence, though the one lies inside and the other outside of us in his inward and outward appearance.
32 The holy hermit who is delighted in himself, remaining silent like a log of wood and quiet like a block of stone, remains with his knowledge of “I” and “you” fixed in the Universal Soul of Viraj.
33 A holy and God knowing man is passionless under all persecution, just like an idol made with ropes of straw and string. He remains as calm as the sea after its howling waves are hushed. Though he may be engaged in a great many affairs in the world, yet he remains as calm and quiet in his mind as a stone is unperturbed in its heart.
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Chapter 75 — Vasishta Describes a Final Dissolution of the World (2)
1 Vasishta continued:— Then, sitting in my meditation of Brahma, I cast my eyes around and saw a region before me. 2 It being midday, I saw a secondary sun behind me, appearing like a fire over a mountain on the horizon. 3 I saw the sun in the sky like a ball of fire and another in the water burning as an undersea fire. I saw a burning sun in the southeast corner and another in the southern quarter. 4 Thus I saw four fiery suns on the four sides of heaven, and as many in the four corners of the sky also. 5 I was astonished to find so many suns all at once in all the sides of heaven. Their fires seemed to burn down their presiding divinities, Agni, Vayu, Yama, Indra and others.
6 As I was astonished looking at these unnatural appearances in the heavens above, suddenly there appeared a terrestrial sun before me, bursting out of the undersea regions below. 7 Eleven of these suns were like reflections of the one sun seen in a prismatic mirror. They rose out of the three suns of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva in the emptiness of the different sides of heaven. 8 The same form of Rudra with its three eyes shone forth in the forms of the twelve burning suns of heaven.
9 In this manner the sun burnt down the world like fire burns the dry wood of the forest. The world was dried up of its moisture, as in the parching days of summer. 10 The solar fire burnt away the woods without any literal fire or flame. The whole earth was dry as dust by this fireless heat. 11 My body became hot and my blood boiled from the heat of a wild fire, so I left that place of torrid heat and ascended to the remoter and higher regions of air.
12 I saw heavenly bodies hurling like tops flung from the string held by a mighty hand. From my aerial seat I saw the rising of blazing suns in heaven. 13 I saw the twelve suns burning the ten sides of heaven, and I also saw the extensive spheres of the stars whirling with incredible velocity. 14 The waters of the seven oceans were boiling with a gurgling noise, and burning meteors were falling over the cities in farthest worlds.
15 Flames with splitting noise flashed upon distant mountains, making them flare with red color. Continuous lightning flashed upon great buildings all around, putting the canopy of heaven in a flame. 16 Falling buildings emitted a cracking and crackling noise all around and the earth was covered with columns of dark smoke like thick clouds and mists. 17 Fumes rose like crystal columns appearing as small towers and spires upon the towers on earth. The loud noise of wailing beasts and men raised a gurgling sound all over the ground. 18 Cities falling upon men and beasts made a hideous noise and huge heaps of debris on earth. Falling stars from heaven scattered fragments of gems and jewels over the earth. 19 All human houses were in flames, bodies of men and beasts burning in their respective homes and houses. Noiseless outskirts of villages and towns were filled with the stink of dead and burning bodies.
20 Marine animals were burnt under the warm waters of the seas. The cries of people within cities were hushed by the howling of the surrounding flames. 21 The elephants of the four quarters of heaven fell down and rolled upon the burning ground, lifting hills with their tusks. 22 Burning hamlets and houses were crushed and smashed under falling stones and hills, which made the mountain elephants yell aloud with their dying groans and agonies. 23 Heated by the sun, all living beings rushed and splashed the hot waters of seas. Mountain vidyadharas fell down into the hollow bosom of mountains bursting from their volcanic heat.
24 In some places, some grew tired of crying. Others resorted to yoga meditation and remained quiet. Serpent races were left to roll on burning cinders below and upon the earth. 25 Voracious marine beasts like sharks and whales baked in drying channels and were driven to the whirlpools of the deep. Poor fishes attempting to evade the fire flew into the air by thousands and thousands. 26 Burning flames rising high in the air, as if clad in crimson apparel and dancing, caught the garments of apsara nymphs in heaven. 27 The devastating kalpa fire, wreathed with its flashing flames, began to dance all around with the loud sound of bursting bamboos and cracking trees, like the beating of drums and tambourines. 28 The playful fire danced like an actor on the ruined stage of the world. 29 The fire ravaged all lands and islands and desolated all forests and forts. It filled all caves and the hollow vault of sky until at last it reached the tops of the ten sides of heaven.
30 It blazed in caves and over cities and in all sides of valleys and lands. It blazed over hills and mountain tops, the seats of the spiritual masters, and on the seas and oceans. 31Flames flashing from the eyes of Shiva and the Rudras boiled the waters of lakes and rivers, burned the bodies of gods and demons, and those of men and serpent races. A harsh whispering sound arose from everywhere. 32 With columns of flaming fire over their head, people began to play by throwing ashes upon one another, like playful demons flirting with dust and water.
33 Flames flashed forth from underground caves on earth and all things around them were reddened by their light. 34 All sides of heaven lost their blue color under the vermilion color of the clouds hanging over them. All things lost their respective colors and assumed the rosy tint of the red lotus. 35 The world appeared covered under a crimson canopy from the burning flames which spread all around, resembling the evening sky under the parting glories of the setting sun. 36 Covered with spreading, burning fires, the sky appeared like a hanging garden of blooming asoka flowers, or like a bed of the red kinsuka blossoms hanging in the sky. 37 The earth looked like it had been scattered with red lotuses and the seas seemed to be sprinkled with red dye. In this manner the fire blazed in many forms, with its tails and crests of smoke.
38 The conflagration raged with its youthful vigor in the forest where it glared in many colors, like a burning scenery shown in a painting. 39 The natural changes of sunrise and sunset disappeared from the Vindhyan Hills because of the constant burning of woods upon its summit. 40 Flying fumes emitting flashes of fire appeared like the luster of the gems in the blue Sahya Mountain in the south. 41 The blue vault of the sky looked like a greenish blue lake, decorated with lotus-like firebrands all over. Flames of fire flashed over the tops of the cloudy mountains in air. 42 Flames of fire, with smoky tails that resembled the tail of a comet, danced about on the stage of the world like dancing actresses with loosened and waving hair. 43 The burning fire burst the parched ground and flung its sparkling particles all around, like fried rice flying all about the frying pan in various colors. 44Rocks and woods, burning with a bursting and splitting noise, exhibited a golden color on the surface of the earth.
45 All lands were crushed together with the cry of their inhabitants and all seas dashed against one another with foaming froths in their mouths. 46 Waves shone in their faces with the reflection of the shining sun upon them. They clashed against each other as if they were clapping their hands, and dashed with such force against the land that they broke down the rocks on the seashore. 47 The raging sea with his wavelike arms grasped earth and stone, as foolish men do in their anger, and devoured them in his hollow cell with a gurgling noise, as fools swallow their false hopes with vain weeping.
48 The all destroying, harsh sounding fire melted rivers with their banks and the rulers of the spheres fell before the jets of heated water. 49 The ten sides of the compass were out of order and confounded together. All mountains, together with their woods, houses and caves, were reduced to liquid fire. 50 By degrees enormous Mount Meru dissolved into snow by the heat of fire, and soon after the same fire melted down great Mount Himalaya like black lac-dye.
51 All things were cold and pinched in themselves, as good people are melted by the fear of the wicked, except Malaya Mountain which yielded its fragrance even in that state.52 A noble minded man never forsakes his nobleness, though he is exposed to troubles, because the great never afflict another, though they are deprived of their own joy and happiness. 53 Burn sandalwood, yet it will diffuse its fragrance to all living beings. The intrinsic nature of a thing is never lost or changed into another state. 54 Gold is never consumed or disfigured, though it is burnt in fire. Thus there are two things, namely aura and emptiness, that cannot be consumed by all destroying fire. 55 Those bodies are above all praise which do not perish at the destruction of all others. Emptiness is indestructible on account of its omnipresence, and gold is not subject to any loss owing to its purity. 56 The property of goodness alone is true happiness, and not passion or inertia. Then the fiery clouds moved aloft as a moving forest, sprinkling ash showers of vivid flame. 57 Mountainous clouds of fire accompanied with flames and fumes poured liquid fire around, burning away all bodies already dried up from heat and lack of water. 58 Dried leaves of trees floating high in the air were burnt away by flames instead of the rain of heavy clouds.
59 The encompassing and gorgeous flames passed by Kailash Mountain without touching it, knowing it to be the seat of the dreaded god Shiva, in the manner of wise men flying from the mud and mire of sin. 60 Then the god Rudra growing furious at the final destruction of the world, shot the dreadful flame of his fiery third eye and burnt down sturdy trees and robust rocks to ashes with stunning cracklings. 61 The foothills of mountains, crowned with flames of fire, moved forward as if to fight the fire with their stones and clubs made of tree clumps. 62 The sky became like a bed of full blown lotuses and creation became a mere name like that of Agastya who departed and disappeared from sight forever. 63 The suffering idiot, on remembering the great dissolution, took the world to be at an end, as the fire consumes all objects like the unreality of the world.
64 Falling thunderbolts pierced all bodies and glittering flames consumed all trees and plants. The winds blew with fiery heat burning everything, even scorching the bodies of the gods. 65 Wild fires raged loose among the trees in the forest. There were clouds of hot ash flying in the air. Smoky mists emitted red hot embers and fiery sparks. Darkness rose upward with fagots of fire falling from within. Gusts of wind blew with speed and force to help the destructive fire.
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Chapter 76 — Vasishta Describes a Final Dissolution of the World (3)
1 Vasishta added:—
Destructive winds blew and shook mountains by their force, filling the seas with tremendous waves and tearing the skies with cyclonic storms. 2 The force of winds made seas break their boundaries and run to the limitless oceans, just as poverty drives poor people to run to the rich. 3 The earth, fried by fire, went under the overflowing waters and joined with the infernal regions lying below the waters of the deep. 4 Heaven disappeared into nothing and the entirety of creation vanished into air. Worlds were reduced to emptiness and sunlight decreased to that of a star in the starry sphere.
5 From some opening in the sky appeared some hideous clouds called pushkaravarta and others in the forms of dreadful demons, roaring with tremendous noise. 6 The noise was as loud as the bursting of the mundane-egg or the hurling down of a large building, and like the dashing of waves against one another in a furiously raging sea.
7 Loud sound resounding through air and water reechoing off city towers, deafening and stunning to the ear. Swelling on mountain tops, it filled the world with uproar. 8 The sound, swelling as if in the conch-shell of the cosmic egg, echoed with triple clanging sounds from the vaults of heaven, sky and the infernal world. 9 The supports of all distant sides swayed at their base. The waters of all seas mixed together as if to quench the thirst of the all devouring doomsday. 10 The doomsday advanced as the god Indra mounted on the back of his elephantine clouds roared aloud amidst the waters contained in the ethereal ocean from the beginning. 11 The great doomsday was attended with a noise as loud as that of the churning of the ocean in olden days, or as that emitted by the revolving world or a hydrostatic engine of immense force.
12 Hearing this roaring of clouds amidst the surrounding fires, I became quite astonished at the harsh creaking noise and cast my eyes on all sides to see the clouds. 13 I saw no trace of a cloud in any part of the heavens. I only heard their roar and saw flashes of lightning in the sky with showers of thunderbolts falling from above. 14 The flaming fire spread over millions of miles on all the sides of earth and heaven, burning everything in a horrible devastation.
15 After a little while, I discovered a spot at a great distance in the sky and felt cool air blowing on my body. 16 I observed kalpa clouds appearing and gathering at a great distance in the sky, where there was no trace of the living fire perceptible to the naked eye. 17 Then kalpa airs blew from the watery corner or western side of the sky, burning at last in blasts capable of carrying away the great mountains of Meru, Malaya and Himalaya. 18 These winds blew away the mountainous flames and burning cinders like birds. The winds carried down the spreading sparks and drove away the fire from all sides. 19 Clouds of fire disappeared from the air, like evening clouds. Then clouds of ash rose into the sky and the atmosphere was cleared of every particle of fire. 20 The air was blowing with fire passing everywhere and melting down the golden strongholds on flying Mount Meru. 21The mountains on earth burning, their flames spread all about like the rays of the twelve suns. 22 The waters of oceans boiled with rage and the trees and leaves of the forest were burning with the blaze. 23 Cities and celestials, sitting on their happy seats in the highest heaven of Brahma, fell down with all their inhabitants of women, young and old people, all burnt by the flames.
24 The end of period (kalpanta) fire of dissolution was mixed with the water of the lake of Brahma. 25 Strong winds uprooted deep rooted mountains and rocks and plunged them headlong into the fiery swamp of the infernal regions. 26 Chaotic clouds advanced like a troop of dark colored camels, moving slowly in the blue sky with a grumbling noise.27 They appeared from a corner of the sky, like a huge mountain flashing with lightning of gorgeous flames, filled with the waters of the seven oceans. 28 These clouds were capable of tearing the great vault of the world with their loud uproar, splitting all sides of heaven standing upon their solid snow white and impregnable walls. 29 The doomsday was like a raging ocean. The planets were the rolling islands in the whirlpools of their orbits. Quickly moving lightning strikes were like its shifting aquatic animals and the roaring of clouds was like the howling of its waters.
30 The moon, being devoured by Rahu and burned away by the fiery comet, rose to heaven again and assumed the colder form of a cloud to pour down more moisture than her nightly beams and dews. 31 Lightning, like golden spheres in the frigid shapes found in the Himalayas, held all paralyzed waters, woods and hills. 32 After the clouds split the vault of heaven with their harsh crackling and thunder, they dropped down solid snow at first, which then melted to the form of liquid rain.
33 There was a jarring of discordant sounds that rubbed upon the ear and proceeded from the bursting of woods by wildfire, and the harsh shrill sound of thunderclaps in the bellowing air, and the cracking and crackling and dashing and crashing of everything in the shattering world. 34 There was a sharp and shrill noise arising from the warring winds blowing in a hundred ways, and drifts of bleak cold showers of driving snow covered the face of heaven.
35 The vault of heaven, supported by the blue and sapphire-like pillars of blue skies on all sides, shattered the earth and its props of the mountains with big and heavy showers of flooding rain. 36 The earth was bursting and splitting from the blazing furnaces of fires on all sides. The hearts of all living beings were torn by the loud rattling of thunderbolts from heaven. 37 The rain that ruled long over the realm of the fiery earth was now going upward in the form of steam which the burning earth heaved from her surface like her sighs towards heaven. 38 Now the vault of heaven appeared to spread with a network studded with red lotuses of the flying fires on high. Dark showers appeared like swarms of black bees, the raindrops like their fluttering wings.
39 All sides of heaven resounded to the mingled clatter of hailstone and firebrands falling down simultaneously from mixed clouds of terrible and dreadful appearance. The scene all around was as dreadful to see as the mingled warfare of two dreadful forces with deadly arms and mixed bloodshed.
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Chapter 77 — Vasishta Describes a Final Dissolution of the World (4)
1 Vasishta continued:— Hear now about the chaotic state of the world brought on by conflict of earth, air, water and fire with one another, and how the three worlds were covered by the great antediluvian floodwaters.
2 Dark clouds flying in the air like pitch black ash spread over the world like a great ocean with whirlpools of rolling smoke. 3 The dark blaze of fire glimmered amidst flammables and converted all of them into heaps of ash which flew and spread over all the world. 4 The swelling sound of hissing showers rose as high as if they singing a song of their victory. 5 All five kinds of clouds assembled and all of them poured their waters profusely upon the ground. These were the ashy clouds, the grey clouds, the antediluvian clouds, the misty clouds, and the showering clouds.
6 Howling breezes shook the foundations of the world. The strong wind rose high to heaven and filled all space, carrying flames to burn down the cities of the gods on every side. 7 Winds dived deep into the depths of water, carrying and dispersing their frigidity in all directions, numbing the senses and deafening ears. 8 A loud noise filled the world raised by the constant fall of rain in columns from the vault of heaven, and by the roaring and growling of the kalpa fire. 9 The entire earth became one ocean filled with water falling like waterfalls from the clouds of heaven, resembling the torrents of Ganges and the currents of all rivers.
10 The canopy of antediluvian clouds, pierced by shining sunbeams above them, appeared like the leafy tuft at the top of a blackish palm tree, with clusters of lurid flowers peeping through the dark leaves. 11 The all destroying tornado carried away the broken fragments of trees and rocks and the tops of towers and castles, dashing them against sky covered mountains, breaking them into pieces. 12 Swift stars and planets clashed with rapid comets and meteors, striking sparks of fire and flame from their impacts, burning like fiery whirlpools in the air. 13 Raging, rapid winds raised the waves of seas as high as mountains that struck against rocks on the seashore, breaking and hurling them down with tremendous noise. 14 Deep dusky and showering clouds joined with wet antediluvian clouds cast bright sunlight into shade and darkened the air with their dark shadows.
15 Seas overflowed their beds and banks, bearing down broken fragments of rocks under their depths. They became dreadful and dangerous from the rocks falling and rolling down with their currents. 16 Huge sea surges carried fragments of rocks on their waves, raised aloft by cloud-tearing winds. They dashed against and broke down shores with deep and tremendous noise. 17 The antediluvian cloud then broke the vault of heaven asunder and split the ceiling of the sky with its loud rattling, then clapped together its oak-like hands to see the universal ocean which it had made. 18 Earth, heaven and infernal regions were torn to pieces, tossed and lost in the all devouring waters. All of nature was reduced to its original emptiness, as if the world was a vast depopulated desert.
19 Now the dead and half-dead, the burnt and half-burnt bodies of gods and demigods, of gandharva spirits and men saw one another in the general ruin. They fled and fell upon each other with their lifted arms and weapons and the speed of the winds. 20 Antediluvian winds were flying like funeral ashes from the piles, or like the arjunavata disease of bile drives a person up and down in the air like a column of ash. 21 Heaps of stones collected in the air fell forcibly on the ground, breaking whatever they struck, just as falling hailstones from heaven clatter out of season and shatter everything where they fall.
22 Rustling breezes howling in mountain caves resounded with a rumbling noise from the fall of the mansions of gods of every side. 23 Winds growled with harsh sounds resembling the jarring noise of demons. Winds blowing in the woods appeared to be passing through windows. 24 Cities and towns burned with the demonic fire, and the mountains and homes of the gods were blazing with solar flashes, sparks in the air flying like swarms of gnats. 25 The sea roared with its whirling rain waters on the surface and boiling with undersea fire below, destroying great mountains below and the homes of the gods above.
26 The conflict between waters and rocks demolished the cities of the rulers of earth and hurled down the homes of gods and demons, spiritual masters and gandharva spirits.27 Stones and all solid substances were pounded to powder. Firebrands were reduced to ash when flying winds blew them all about like dust. 28 Homes of gods and demons being hurled down, their walls smashing together emitted a noise like that of clouds crashing or the jarring sound of metal upon metal.
29 The sky was filled with people and buildings falling from the seven regions of heaven. The gods themselves were whirling in the air, like something fallen in a whirlpool of the sea. 30 All things whether burned or not were swimming up and down in the ethereal ocean, like dry leaves tossed about by winds. 31 The air was filled with jarring and jingling sounds from fallen buildings hitting various metals and minerals in all the worlds.
32 Then the smoky and ashy clouds all flew upward, while the heavy, watery clouds lowered upon the earth. Again swelling waves rose high upon the water and the hills and all other substances sank below. 33 Whirlpools wheeled against one another with gurgling noises. The old ocean was rolling on with gigantic mountains floating on it like clumps of leaves and shrubs.
34 The good deities were wailing loudly and weary animals moved slowly. Comets and other portents flew in the air and the universe appeared dreadful and horrible. 35 The sky was full of dead and half-dead bodies carried by the breezes into its broad expanse. It presented a grey and dingy appearance, like that of dry and discolored tree leaves.
36 The world was full of water falling in profuse showers from the mountain peaks. Hundreds of streams flowed down the sides of mountains, carried all about by the breeze.
37 Fire now ceased to rage with its hundred flames and the swelling sea ran over its boundary shores and overflowed its banks. 38 A mass of grassy plants mixed with mud and mire appeared like a large island. Intellect appeared in the far distant emptiness, like lighting over a forest.
39 The rains stopped, having extinguished the fires, but the rising fumes and smoke filled the air and hid heaven so that the existence of the prior world and the former creation was altogether forgotten from memory. 40 Then there rose the loud cry of the extinction of creation and there remained only the one being who is exempt from creation and destruction. 41 Now the winds that had been constantly struggling to upset the world, continually filling the universe with their particles, like an unceasing supply of grain, also stopped. 42 The bodies of comets clashing against one another were reduced to sparks of fire resembling gold dust. These extinguished at last to ashes, filled the vault of heaven with powdered dust.
43 The orb of the earth and all its contents was shattered to pieces, rolling in large masses together with the fragments of the infernal worlds. 44 Now the seven regions of heaven and those of the infernal worlds, being mixed up in one mass with the shattered mass of the earth and its mountains, filled the universal space with chaotic waters and antediluvian winds. 45 Then the universal ocean was swollen with the waters of all its tributary seas and rivers. There was a loud uproar of rolling waters resembling the clamor of enraged madmen.
46 Rain began to fall in the form of fountains and cascades, then it assumed the shape of falling columns or water spouts. At last it took a figure of a palm tree, pouring down its showers in torrents. 47 Then it ran like the current of a river, flooding on all sides. Raining clouds made the surface of the earth one extended sheet of water. 48 The flaming fire at last subsided, just like some very great danger in human life is averted by observing the precautions given in the scriptures and the advice of the wise.
49 At last the vast vault of the mundane world became desolate of all its contents and submerged in water, just as a bael fruit loses its substance by being tossed about in play by the hands of children.
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Chapter 78 — Vasishta Describes a Final Dissolution of the World (5)
1 Vasishta continued:— The rainstorm, falling hail and snow shattered the surface of the earth. The violence of the waters increased like the oppression of kings in the Kali Yuga. 2 Rainwater falling on the ethereal Ganges made it run in a thousand streams flowing with huge torrents higher than the mountains of Meru and Mandara. 3 Here waves rose to the path of the sun and there waters sank down and lay dull in mountain caves. The dull element made the universal ocean, just as a fool made the sovereign lord of earth.
4 Great mountains were hurled down like straw into the deep and broad whirlpools of water. The tops of huge surges reached the far distant sphere of the sun. 5 The great mountains of Meru, Mandara, Vindhya, Sahya and Kailash dived in the waters moving like fish and sea monsters. The melted earth set like its soi, and large snakes with their lotus-like hoods floated on the waters like plant stalks. 6 Half-burned wood and floating plants were like its moss and bushes and the wet ash of the burned world was like the dirty mud underneath the waters.
7 The twelve suns shone like so many full blown lotuses in the large lake of the sky. The huge and heavy pushkara cloud, with its dark showers of rain, seemed like a blue lotus bed filled with the dark leaves. 8 Raging clouds roared aloud from mountain sides, like foaming waves of the ocean. The sun and moon rolled like two pieces of sapphire over cities and towns. 9 The gods, asura demons and people at large were blown up and carried into the air until at last they flew up and fell into the disc of the sun. 10 Clouds rained in torrents with loud clattering noise, their currents carrying floating rocks into the distant sea as if they were mere bubbles of water. 11 Deluging clouds rolled in the air after pouring their water in floods on earth, as if they were in search of other clouds with their open mouths and eyes.
12 Rushing tornados filled the air with uproar and with one gust of wind, blasted the boundary mountain from its bottom into the air. 13 Furious winds collected the waters of the deep to the height of mountains, which ran with a great gurgling noise all about in order to flood the earth under them. 14 The world was torn to pieces by the clashing of bodies driven together by tempestuous winds which scattered and drove millions of beings over against one another in mingled confusion.
15 Hills floated on waves like bits of straw. Dashing against the disc of the sun, they broke it into pieces as if by throwing stones. 16 The great void of the universe, spread with the great net of waters in its vast space, caught the great hills resembling big eels caught in fishing nets. 17 Big animal bodies and whales, living or dead, rose, floated and plunged in the deep from the currents made by whirlpools. 18 Those still alive floated about the tops of sinking mountains resembling the floating froths of the sea. Gods were fluttering over them like gnats and flies. 19 The spacious firmament, filled with innumerable raindrops shining like bubbles of water in the air, appeared as the thousand eyes of Indra looking on the rains below. 20 Indra, the god of heaven with his body of the autumn sky and his eyes of bubbling raindrops, looked on the floating clouds in the midway skies flowing like the currents of flooded rivers. 21 Pushkara and avartaka clouds with their world floods joined together in embrace, like two winged mountains flying in the air and clashing against one another. 22 These clouds, at last satisfied having devoured the world under their all swallowing waters, were now roaring loudly and flying lightly in the air, as if they were dancing with uplifted hilly arms. 23 Clouds were poured their floods of water and mountain tops were aflame in the midway sky. The huge snakes that had supported the earth were now diving deep into the mud of the infernal regions.
24 The constant showers filled the three regions, like the triple stream of Ganges running in three directions. They drowned the highest mountains, whose tops floated like froth in the universal ocean. 25 Floating mountains struck against the sphere of heaven and broke it into fragments. The vidyadharis of heaven floated like pretty lotuses on the surface of waters. 26 The universe was reduced to a universal ocean which roared with a tremendous noise. The three worlds, split to pieces, were carried away into the waters of the endless deep.
27 There remained no one to save another. There was no one who was not swept away by the flood. For who can save us when all devouring time grasps up in his clutches? 28 There remained neither sky nor horizon. There was no upside or downward in infinite space. There was no creation or creature anywhere. All were submerged under one infinite sheet of water.
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Chapter 79 — After Dissolution, Vasishta Sees the Gods in Nirvana; Creation Linked to Desire
1 Vasishta resumed:— Seeing the end of all, still I retained my seat in infinite emptiness. My eyes were captured by the sight of a glorious light shining like the sun’s morning rays. 2 While I was looking at that light, I saw the great Brahma sitting like a statue carved in stone, intent upon his meditation of the Supreme One, surrounded by his transcendent glory.
3 I saw a multitude of gods, sages and holy persons: Brihaspati and Sukra, the preceptors of gods and demigods; the gods of wealth (Kubera) and death (Yama); 4 the gods of water (Varuna), fire (Agni) and others, and companies of rishis, spiritual masters, sadhyas, gandharvas and others. 5 They were all sitting in meditation, like figures in a painting. They all sat in lotus posture and appeared as lifeless and immovable bodies. 6 Then the twelve suns met at the same center and they sat in the same lotus posture of meditation as the other gods.
7 Then after a while, I saw the lotus-born Brahma as if I saw the object of my dream after waking. 8 Then I lost the sight of the gods assembled in the world of Brahma, just as when great minded men lose sight of the most important objects of their desire. Nor did I see the aerial city of my dream upon my waking. 9 Then the entire creation, which is only a pattern of the mind of Brahma, appeared like an empty desert to me, the earth as a barren waste upon the ruin of its cities. 10 Gods and sages, spiritual masters and vidyadhari spirits were nowhere to be seen. They all had blended in the same void everywhere.
11 Then, seated in my ethereal seat, I came to know by my perception that all of them had obtained their nirvana extinction. 12 With the extinction of their desires, they also became extinct, just as sleeping dreamers come to themselves after they are awakened from their illusory vision. 13 The body is an aerial nothing appearing as a substantial something because of our desire. It disappears with the removal of our desire for it, like a dream vanishing from the sight of a waking man. 14 The aerial body appears as real like any other image in our dream. Nothing remains of it when we know its unreal nature and the vanity of our desires. 15 When we are awake in samadhi, we also have no consciousness of either our spiritual or physical bodies.
16 I use the example of something seen in our dream being false because it is well known to children and everybody and it is used in the Vedas and Puranas. 17 Only a great imposter would deny the falsity of his ideas in dreams and support the reality of visible sights. Such a one deserves to be shunned, for who can wake the waking sleeper? 18 What causes the physical body? Not the dream, because the bodies seen in a dream are invisible to the naked eye. This being true, it follows that there is no solid body in the next world.
19 Should there be other bodies after the loss of the present ones, then there would be no need of repeated creation of bodies if the original bodies were to continue forever.20 Anything having a form is, of course, perishable. The position that there was another kind of world before is likewise untenable. 21 If you say that the world was never destroyed and that understanding is produced of itself in the body in the same way as spirit is generated in fermented liquor, 22 then your position is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Puranas, the Vedas, and other scriptures, which invariably maintain the destructibility of all material things.
23 Should you, O intelligent Rama, deny the acceptance of these scriptures, like the Charvakas, then tell me. What faith can be placed in the scriptures of those heretical teachings, which are as false as the offspring of a barren woman? 24 The wise do not favor these heretical doctrines because of their destructive tendencies. There are many discrepancies in them, as you shall know from the few that I am going to point out to you.
25 If you say the human spirit is like the spirit of liquors, then tell me what makes the departed spirit of a person who dies in a foreign country revisit his friends at home in the shape and form of a fiend? 26 To this they answer that the apparition is only a false appearance. Granting such, why not recognize our own appearances to be equally false? 27 It being so, how can you believe that the departed souls of men assume bodies in the next world, as said in the scriptures? 28 There is no truth in the proof of a ghost, just as there is no proof of spirit in liquor. Hence if the supposition of the former is untrue, what faith is there in a future body in the next world?
29 If the existence of spirits is granted from the common belief of mankind in them, then why not accept as true the doctrine of a future state of the dead, upon the testimony of the scriptures? 30 If belief that a person is suddenly possessed by an evil spirit is any ground for reliance, why then should he not rest his belief in his future state, which is confirmed by the dogmas of the scriptures?
31 Whatever a man thinks or knows in himself, he supposes it to be true at all times. Whether his belief be right or wrong, he knows it correct to the best of his belief. 32 A man well knowing that the dead will live again in another world relies fully upon that hope and does not care to know whether he shall have a real body there or not. 33 Therefore the nature of men is to have a preconceived opinion about their future existence. This with their growing desire to have certain forms of bodies for themselves, leads them to the error of seeing several shapes before them.
34 Abstaining from this desire removes the disease of the errors of looker, looking, and the look. Retaining this desire leads us to see this apparition of the world always before us. 35 So the feeling of desire led the Supreme Spirit of Brahma to create the world. But its abandonment causes our nirvana, while its retention leads us to the error of the world. 36This desire first sprang in the Divine Mind of Brahma and not in the immutable spirit of Brahma. I feel this desire rising now in me, seeing the true and supreme Brahman in all and everywhere.
37 All this knowledge that you derive here is said to form nirvana by the wise. That which is not learnt here is said to constitute the bondage of the world. 38 True knowledge is to see God everywhere. It is self-evident in our innermost soul and does not shine without it. 39 Self-consciousness of our liberation is what really makes us so. The knowledge that we are bound to this earth is the source of all our sorrows and it requires great pains to remove it.
40 The awakening of our consciousness of the world is the cause of our being enslaved to it. Our highest bliss is the dormancy of such awareness in the trance of samadhi. By being awake to the concerns of the world, you find the unreal appearing as real to you.
41 Lying dormant in holy trance, without the sluggishness of unconsciousness, is called our spiritual liberation. Our wakefulness to the outer world is said to be our state of bondage to it. 42 Now let your nirvana be devoid of all desire, trouble, care and fear. Let it be a clear and continuous peace without consideration of unity or duality. Let it be like the spacious firmament, ever calm, clear and undisturbed.
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Chapter 80 — Vasishta Describes a Final Dissolution; Appearance of Adipurusha (Rudra, Shiva); Various Numbers of Voids
1 Vasishta continued:—
Afterwards the celestials who were present in the heaven of Brahma vanished and became invisible like a lamp with its burnt out wick. 2 The twelve suns disappeared in the body of Brahma. Their burning beams burnt away the heaven of Brahma, just as they had burnt down the earth and other bodies. 3 Having consumed the seat and home of Brahma, they fell into the meditation of the Supreme Brahman and became extinct in him like Brahma, like a lamp extinguished for lack of oil.
4 Then the waters of the universal ocean invaded the celestial city of Brahma, flooding its surface like the shade of night fills the face of the earth with darkness. 5 Now the whole world was filled with water, from the highest seat of Brahma to the lowest pit of hell. All was as full of water as a ripe grape is swollen with its juice. 6 Waving waters rising like mountain tops blended with the flying birds of air and washed the seats and feet of the gods hovering over them. They touched the antediluvian clouds, which deluged rain over them.
7 In the meantime, from my aerial seat, I saw a dreadful appearance in the skies which horrified me altogether. 8 It was a deep and dark chaos that embraced the entire sky in its grasp and appeared like the gloom of night accumulated from the beginning to the end of creation. 9 This dark form radiated bright beams of millions of morning suns, resplendent like three suns together, steady lighting flashing. 10 Its eyes were dazzling and its face flashed with the blaze of a burning furnace. It had five faces, three eyes, and ten hands, each holding a trident of immense size. 11 It appeared before me with its body outstretched in the air, standing transfixed in the sky like a huge black cloud extending all over the atmosphere. 12 It remained on the visible horizon, below and out of the universal ocean of waters, the position and features of hands and feet and the rest of its body indistinctly marked in the sky.
13 The breath of its nostrils agitated the waters of the universal ocean like Vishnu’s arms churning the Milky Ocean after the great flood. 14 Then from the antediluvian waters arose a male being who would later be called the First Male, Adipurusha. He was the personification of collective ego, the causeless cause of all. 15 He rose out of the ocean like a huge mountainous rock, then flew into the air with his big flapping wings extending over and enclosing the whole space of infinite emptiness. 16 From his triple eyes and trident, I knew him to be Lord Rudra himself. I bowed down to him as the great god of all.
17 Rama asked, “Sage, why did Lord Rudra have that form? Why was he so gigantic and dark? Why did he have ten arms and hands, and five faces and mouths? 18 Why did he have three eyes and such a fierce form? Was he absolute in himself or delegated by any other? What was his errand and what did he do? Was it a mere shadow of its substance?”
19 Vasishta replied:—
This being is named Rudra because he is the sum total of Egoism. He is full of self-pride and the form in which I saw him was clear emptiness. 20 This lord was of the form of vacuum and the color and brightness of emptiness. On account of being the essence of empty consciousness, he is represented as the blue sky.
21 Being the soul of all beings and being present in all places, he is represented in his gigantic form. His five faces represent his five internal organs of sense. 22 The external organs of sense and the five members of his body are represented by ten arms on both sides of his body. 23 This lord of creation and all living bodies and mankind is absorbed in the Supreme One at the final dissolution of the world. When he is let out to pass from the unity, he appears in this form.
24 He is only a part of the Eternal Soul. He has no visible body or form of his own. He is thought of in this form I have described by the false conception of men. 25 Having proceeded from the emptiness of Consciousness, Lord Rudra is set in the material vacuum. He also resides in the form of air in the bodies of living beings. 26 The aerial Rudra becomes exhausted in course of time, then by forsaking animated bodies, he returns to the reservoir of eternal rest and peace.
27 The three eyes of Rudra are the three qualities, the three times, the three intellectual faculties of the mind, understanding and egoism, the three Vedas, and the three letters of the sacred syllable of Aum. 28 The trident of Rudra is his scepter, held in his hand to imply his dominion over the three worlds. 29 He is represented as having a living body and soul to indicate his personality and personification of the egoism of all living beings, and that there is no living body apart from himself.
30 His nature and business is to provide for all living creatures according to their wants and deserts. Therefore he manifests in the form of Shiva, which is Divine Consciousness in the form of air. 31 This lord, having destroyed and devoured the whole creation at the end, rests in perfect peace and becomes of the form of pure air and the blue sky. 32 After affecting the destruction of the world, he drinks the universal ocean. Then being quite satisfied, he rests in perfect peace and inaction.
33 Afterwards as I saw him drawing the waters of the ocean into his nostrils by the force of his breath. 34 I saw a flame of fire flashing out from his mouth and thought it was the flash of the latent fire of the water drawn in him by the breath of his nostrils. 35 Rudra, the personified Ego, remains in the form of latent heat in undersea fire and continues to suck up the waters of the ocean until the end of a kalpa epoch.
36 The waters then enter the infernal regions like snakes entering holes beneath the ground, and the antediluvian winds entered his mouth in the form of the five vital airs, just as the winds of heaven have their recess in hollow sky. 37 Lord Rudra then goes on to swallow and suck up the marine waters, just as bright sunlight swallows the gloom of the dark night. 38 At last there appears a calm and quiet emptiness in the blue sky, resembling the wide ocean filled with flying dust and smoke, devoid of any being or created thing, and stretching from the world of Brahma to the lowest abyss of hell.
39 I described four different spheres of empty void, bearing no vestige of anything moving or stirring in them. Listen to me, O son of Raghu, and you will hear what they were.
40 One of these lay in the middle of the air and was sustained in it without any prop or support, like particles of fragrance floating in the air. This was Rudra in the form of the blue sky. 41 The second was lying far away and appeared like the curved, hollow vault of the sky over this earth. It was a part of the mundane system and below the seven spheres of the hell regions. 42 The third was a region above the mundane sphere. It was invisible to the naked eye owing to its great distance beyond the blue sky. 43 Then there was the surface of the earth with its lower hemisphere of the watery regions. It was traversed by the great Himalaya Mountain which was the seat of the gods and surrounded by islands, sands and shores surrounded by sea.
44 There is another sphere, lying at the furthest distance from the other circles of the world, which comprises the infinite space of emptiness. It extends unlimited like the unbounded and transparent spirit of God. 45 This was the remotest sphere of heavens that I could observe. There was nothing else observable on any side, beside and beyond the limits of these four spheres or circles.
46 Rama asked, “Tell me, O venerable sage, is there any sphere or space beyond what is contained in the mind of Brahma? Then tell me what and how many of them are there? What are their boundaries and how are they situated and to what end and purpose?”
47 Vasishta replied:—
Know Rama, that there are ten other spheres beyond this Brahmanda world. Of these, the first is the sphere of water lying beyond the two parts of the earth. It is ten times greater than the land which it covers, just as the shadow of evening spreads over the sky. 48 Beyond that is the sphere of heat, which is ten times greater in extent than that of water. Far from this is the region of the winds, whose circle is ten times larger than that of solar heat and light. 49 Next to these is the sphere of air, which is ten times as wide as the circuits of the winds. It is the highest sphere of transparent air and is said to comprise the infinite emptiness of the Divine Spirit. 50 Afar and aloft from these, there are some other spheres also, whose circles extend to the distance of ten times above one another in the vast infinity of space.
51 Rama said, “Tell me, O chief of sages, who holds up the water of the deep below and supports the air of the sky above the world? How they are held up?”
52 Vasishta replied:—
All earthly things are upheld by the earth, as water supports the leaves of lotuses upon it. Every part depends upon the whole, just as a child depends upon its mother. 53Hence everything runs to and is attracted by whatever is larger than it, and situated nearer to it than others, just as the thirsty man runs to and is attracted by the nearby water. 54So all metallic and other bodies depend upon the close union of their parts, which being joined together, are as inseparable from one another as arms and legs are attached to a person’s body.
55 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, how do the parts of the world exist together? How are they joined together? How are they separated from one another and destroyed in the end?”
56 Vasishta replied:—
Whether the world is supported by someone or not, and whether it remains fixed or falls off, in reality it is an insubstantial form, like a city in a dream. 57 What falls away or remains fixed on some support? It is seen in the same manner as our consciousness shows it to us. 58 The world is contained in and shown by the intellect in the same manner as wind is contained in and let out of air, and as the sky presents blueness and other airy appearances. 59 These habitable worlds forming the universe are only imaginary cities and creations of Consciousness. They are only airy representations of the airy mind, just as the formless sky is represented in empty emptiness, and appearing in various forms to us.
60 The nature of our intellect is to give many things to our consciousness and to make us unconscious of their disappearance by day and night. 61 An innumerable series of thoughts are constantly employing our minds when we are sitting and at rest, and so they are flying off and returning to us by day and night.
62 All things appear to approach their dissolution to one who knows their destructibility and their ultimate extinction at the end of a kalpa period. All things seem to be always growing in the emptiness of the mind of one who is familiar with only their growth. 63 All our thoughts appear in the vacuum of our minds like the vaporous chains of pearls seen in the autumn sky. They are both as false and fleeting as the other, and yet they press so very thick and quick on our sight and minds that there is no counting them.
Chapter 81 — The Dance of Kali, Bhairavi
1 Vasishta related:— Afterwards, O Rama, I saw the same Rudra standing in the same sky dancing with a hideous form. 2 This body became so big as to fill the whole atmosphere, and as deep and dark black as to cover the ten sides of the sky under the shadow of its dark appearance. 3 Its three eyes flashed with the flaming lights of the sun, moon and fire. His body, black as the fumes of a dark flame, was as silent as the ten sides of the naked sky. 4 The eyes blazed with the flame of the undersea fire and the arms were as big as the huge surges of the sea. The blue body seemed like the consolidated form of waters rising from the blue universal ocean.
5 As I was looking upon this enormous body, I saw a form like that of its shadow rising from it, jumping about as if dancing. 6 I was thinking in my mind, “How could this shadow appear in this dark and dreary night when the heavens were hidden under darkness and there was no light shining in the sky?” 7 As I was reflecting in this manner, in the foreground of that ethereal stage I saw a strong phantom of a dark dingy female with three eyes, prancing and dancing and glancing all about.
8 She was of a large and lean stature with dark black complexion. Her flaming eyeballs burned like fire. She covered with wild flowers all over her body. 9 She was as inky black as pasted pitch and as dark as the darkest night. Her body of darkness looked like the image of primeval night. 10 With her horrid and wide open jaws, she seemed to view the spacious vacuum of air. With her long legs and outstretched arms, she appeared to measure the depth and breadth of open space on all sides.
11 Her frame was faint, as if reduced by long enduring fast, and it stooped lower and lower as if pressed down by hunger. It was wavering to and fro, like a body of dark clouds is driven backward and forward by driving winds. 12 Her stature was so lean and long that it could not stand by itself. Like a skeleton, it was supported by bands of ribs and arteries to keep it from falling. 13 In a word, her stature was so tall and towering that it was by my daily journey in the upper and lower skies that I came to see the top of her head and the base of her feet.
14 After this I saw her body. Held together by its complicated bands of tendons and arteries, it looked like a bush of tangling thickets and thistles. 15 She was wrapped in vests of various colors and her head was decorated by luminaries, like a headdress of lotus flowers. She was encompassed by the pure light of heaven and her robe flashed like fire enflamed by the breath of winds. 16 The lobes of her long ears were adorned with rings of snakes and earrings of human skulls. Her knee bones were as prominent as two dried gourd shells and her two dark mammary glands hung loosely upon her chest. 17 The braid of hair on the top of her head was adorned with feathers of young male peacocks and defied the crowned head of the lord of the gods and the circle of his discus. 18 Her moonlike teeth cast their luster like moonbeams. They glistened amidst the dark ocean of chaotic night, just as moonbeams play upon the surface of waves of the dark blue deep.
19 Her long stature rose like a large tree in the sky. Her two limbs resembled two dry gourds growing upon it and as she turned about in the air, these clattered like the rustling of a tree by a breeze. 20 As she danced about in the air, her dark arms lifted on high, they resembled the rising of the waves of the dark ocean of eternity. 21 Now she lifts one arm and then many more, and at last she displays her countless hands to play her part in the playhouse of the universe. 22 Now she shows only one face and then another, and afterwards many more without end in order to represent her various and infinite parts in the vast theater of the world. 23 Now she dances on one foot, then instantly on both feet. She stands on a hundred legs in one moment and on her numberless feet at another.
24 I understood this person to be the figure of chaos. The wise name her Goddess Kali or eternal night.
25 The sockets of her triple eyes flashed with a flame like that of the furnace of a fire engine. Her eyebrow was as glaring and flaring as burning Indranila Mountain. 26 Her cheek bones were as frightful as two high hills projecting over her hideous open mouth, which appeared like a mountain cave capable of swallowing the whole world. 27 Her shoulder blades were as high as two mountain peaks piercing the starry frame where they were decorated by clusters of stars, like strings of pearls.
28 She danced with her outstretched arms resembling the waving branches of trees. She displayed the brightness of her nails, like that of blooming blossoms upon them, or like so many full moons shining under the blue sky. 29 As she turned and tossed her dark hands on every side, she looked like a dark cloud moving in the sky. The luster of her nails appeared to shed the splendor of stars all around. 30 The face of the sky resembled a forest filled the black trees of her two dark arms. Her outstretched fingers, looking like the twigs of trees, were covered by the blossoms of their pearly nails which waved like flowers in the blue sky.
31 With legs taller than the tallest palm and tamara trees, she stalked over the burning earth and put to shame the largest trees that grew upon it. 32 The long and flowing hairs on her head reached and spread over the skies. They formed black coverings for the dark elephantine clouds moving about in the empty air. 33 From her nostrils she breathed a rapid gale of wind which carried mountains aloft in the air and blew great gales in the sky resounding with loud sounds of thunder from all sides of its boundless spheres. 34 The breath of her nostrils and mouth blew in unison all about the circle of the universe and kept the great sphere in its constant rotation, as if with regular harmonic tones of progression.
35 Then, as I looked on her attentively, I saw that her stature was enlarging with her dancing, until at last I found it to fill the whole space of the air and sky. 36 As long I continued to observe her dancing, I saw great mountains hanging all about her body like a string of jewels. 37 Dark antediluvian clouds formed a black costume about her body, and the phenomena of the three worlds appeared as the various decorations that adorned her body. 38 The Himalaya and Sumeru Mountains were like her two silver and golden earrings and the rolling worlds looked like ringing bells and belts about her waist. 39 The ranges of the boundary mountains were like the chains and flower wreaths upon her body, and cities, towns, villages and islands were like the leaves of trees scattered about her. 40 All the cities and towns of the earth appeared as adornments on her body, and all the three worlds and their seasons and divisions of time were as ornaments and garments upon her body.
41 She had the streams of the holy Ganga and Yamuna Rivers hanging down like strings of pearls from the ears of her other heads. The virtues and vices decorated her ears. 42The four Vedas were her four breasts which flowed with sweet milk like her sweat. The doctrines of other scriptures flowed like milk from their nipples. 43 Her armor and arms, the various weapons such as sword, shield, spear and club which she carried, decorated her body like wreaths of flowers. 44 The gods and all fourteen kinds of animal beings were situated like lines of hair on her body in her form of animated nature itself.
45 Cities, villages and hills situated in her body all joined in their merry dance with her in the expectation of being restored to life in the same forms again. 46 The unstable moving creation which rested in her appeared to me as if situated in the next world, dancing with joy in the hope of its restoration of life.
47 Chaotic Kali, having devoured and assimilated the world in herself, danced with joy like a peacock with a snake in its belly that it has greedily eaten at the appearance of a dark cloud. 48 The world continued to remain and exhibit its real form in her wide extended figure like the shadow of a thing seen in a mirror, and the locations of countries shown on a map. 49 I saw her sometimes standing still, with the whole world and all its forests and mountains moving and dancing in her body, and all forms repeatedly reduced and produced from her. 50 I saw the harmonious vibration of the whole in the mirror of that body. I saw the repeated rising and setting of the world in that circle, without its utter extinction. 51 I marked the revolution of the stars and the rising of mountains within its perimeter, and I observed the host of gods and demigods assembling and dispersing on her in time, just as flights of gnats and flies are driven to and fro by the winds in open air.
52 All these heavenly bodies and these islands in the ocean were moving around her like the flying wheels of a broken war-car. They whirled up and down about her like rocks and wood in a whirlpool.
53 She was clad in the robes of blue clouds, rolled up and folded by the breezes of air. The cracking of wood and bones under her feet answered the sound of her footsteps and anklets. 54 The world filled with the noise of the concussion and separation of its objects, and the tumult of worldly people appeared like passing shadows in a mirror, or like the entrance and exits of actors in a play on stage. 55 The high-headed Meru and the long armed boundary mountains seemed to be dancing about her like moving clouds, and the forest trees seen in the clouds seemed to perform their circular dance all around. 56 High-swelling seas heaved their waves to heaven, carrying with them the uprooted woods from the coasts on high, then throwing them down and sinking them in the waters below. 57 Cities were seen rolling with a tremendous noise in the waters below. No traces of houses or towers or any human homes were found beneath.
58 As chaotic night was thus wandering at random, the sun and moon, with their light and shade, found shelter in the tops of her nails where they sparkled like threads of gold.59 She was clad in the blue covering of the clouds, adorned with necklaces of frost and icicles. Worlds hung about her like the trickling dewdrops of her perspiration. 60 The blue sky formed a veil about her head, the infernal region her footstool, the earth her bowels, and the several sides were so many arms on her. 61 The seas and their islands formed the cavities and pimples on her body. Hills and rocks made her rib bones and the winds of heaven were her vital airs.
62 As she continued her dancing, huge mountains and rocks swung and reeled about her gigantic body like her attendant satellites. 63 Mountain trees turning around her appeared to weave garlands and dance about, congratulating her for commencing a new kalpa cycle. 64 Gods and demigods, hairless serpents and worms, and all hairy bodies are only component parts of her body. Being unable to remain motionless while she is in motion, they all turned round with her.
65 She weaves the three-fold cord of the sacred thread, consisting of acts, sacrifices and knowledge, which she proclaims aloud in the thundering voice of the triple Vedas. 66Before her, there is no heaven or earth. One becomes the other by its constant rotation like the wheel of a vehicle. 67 Her wide open nostrils constantly breathe out harsh currents of her breath which give rise to the winds of air and their loud roaring and whistling. 68 Her hundred-fold arms revolving in all four directions give the sky the appearance of a forest filled with the tall heads of trees and their branches, shaken by a furious tornado in the air.
69 At last my steady eyesight grew tired seeing the varieties of productions from her body and their movements resembling the manners of an army in warfare. 70 Mountains were seen rolling as if by an engine and the cities of the celestials fell downward. All these appearances were observed to take place in the mirror of her person. 71 Meru Mountains were torn and carried away like branches of trees and the Malayas were tossed about like flying leaves. The Himalayas fell down like dewdrops and all earthly things were scattered like straw. 72 Hills and rocks fled away and the Vindya Mountains flew like aerials in the air. Forests rolled in whirlpools and stars floated in the sea of heaven like swans and geese in lakes below. 73 Islands floated like straws in the ocean of her body and seas were worn like a bracelet on her. The homes of the gods were like lotus flowers blooming in the large lake of her person.
74 As we see the images of cities in our dream and a fair sky light in the darkness of night, so I saw all things in her dark body as vividly as if shining in broad daylight. 75 All things, even immovable such as mountains, seas and trees, appeared moving and dancing in her body. 76 Wandering worlds danced in the great circle of her spacious body as if they were mere straw in the vast ocean of creation. Thus the sea rolled on mountains and high hills pierced the hollow of heaven above. This heaven, with its sun and moon, turned below the earth. The earth with all its islands, mountains, cities, forests and flower gardens danced in heaven around the sun. 77 Mountains wandered in the surrounding sky and the sea passed beyond the horizon. Cities and all human houses traversed the skies. Rivers and lakes passed through other regions like objects reflecting themselves in different mirrors or like a storm-tossed branch is hurled far away. 78 Fish glided in the desert air as they swam in the watery plain. Cities were situated in empty air as firmly as if fixed on solid earth. Clouds raised waters to heaven, then were driven back by winds to pour their waters on mountain tops.
79 Groups of stars wandered about like lights from a thousand lamps in the sky. They seemed to shed gems with their rays as they rolled, or scatter flowers from all sides on the heads of gods and aerial beings. 80 Creations and destructions accompanied her like fleeting days and nights, or like jewels of brilliant black gems on her body. They were like two fortnights resembling her white and black wings. 81 The sun and moon were the two bright gems on her body and clusters of stars formed her necklaces of lesser gems. The clear sky was her white dress and flashes of lightning formed the brocaded fringes of her garment. 82 As she danced her giddy dance of destruction, she threw worlds together under her feet like anklets, making a jingling sound like that of her trinkets.
83 In her warfare with the jarring elements, rolling on like waves of the ocean and darkening the daylight as by the waving swords of warriors, she listened to the tumult of all the worlds and their peoples. 84 The gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, together with the rulers of sun, moon and fire and all other gods and demigods who shine in their respective offices, were all made to fly before like a flight of gnats with the speed of lightning.
85 Her body is a collection of conflicting elements and contrary principles: creation and destruction, existence and non-existence, happiness and misery, life and death, and all injunctions and prohibitions. 86 The various states of production and existence, and the continuance of action and motion and their cessation which appear to take place in her body, as they do in all physical beings, together with the earth’s revolution and all other worlds in empty air, are all only false delusions of our minds because there is nothing in reality except a boundless emptiness. 87 Life and death, peace and trouble, joy and sorrow, war and truce, anger and fear, envy and enmity, faith and distrust and all other opposite feelings accompany this worldly life. They dwell together in the same body like gems stored in a chest.
88 The intellectual sphere of her body abounds with ideas of multifarious worlds which appear like phantoms in the air, or like fallacies of vision to a dim sighted man. 89Whether the world is unmoving in the intellect or a passing phenomenon of outward vision, it appears both as stable and as moving, like the reflection of objects in a revolving mirror. 90 All worldly objects fluctuate like the changing shows in a magic play. They forsake their forms and assume others as quickly as the fickle desires of whimsical children are ever shifting from one object to another.
91 Combinations of causal powers cause the production of bodies. Their separation effects their dissolution. In the same way, accumulation of grain makes a granary and their removal tends to its disappearance.
92 The goddess now appears in one form, then in another. Now she becomes as small as a thumb, then in a moment she fills the sky. 93 That goddess is all in all. She is changed through everything in world. She is the cosmos itself and also the power of the intellect. She fills the whole curved hallow vault of the sky with her form of pure emptiness. 94 She is the intellect that embraces all, whatever is contained in the three worlds and in all three times. She expands the worlds contained in her, like a painter draws figures pictured in his mind.
95 She is the all comprehensive and plastic nature or form of all things. Being one with the intellectual spirit, she is equally as calm and quiet as the other. Being thus uniform in her nature, she is changed to endless forms in the twinkling of her eye. 96 All these phenomena appear in her like lotuses and carved figures marked in a hollow stone. Her body is the hollow sphere of heaven. Her mind is full of all forms appearing like waves in the depth of sea, or like objects reflected in a crystal stone.
97 The very furious goddess Bhairavi, the consort of the dreaded god Bhairava, the lord of destruction, was thus dancing about with her fierce forms filling the whole firmament. 98 On one side the earth was burning with fire issuing from the eye on the forehead of all destroying Rudra. On the other was his consort Rudrani, dancing like a forest blown away by a hurricane. 99 She was armed with many weapons, such as a spade, a mortar and pestle, a club, a mace, and others which adorned her body like a garland of flowers. 100 In this manner, she danced and scattered the flowers of her garlands all around in her acts of destructions and recreation. 101 She hailed god Bhairava, the ruler of the skies, who joined her dancing with his form as big and tall as hers.
102 May god Bhairava with his associate goddess Kalaratri (Chaotic Night) preserve you all in their act of heroic dance, with the beating of loud drums and the blowing of their buffalo horn, as they drink their bowls of blood and are adorned with wreaths of flowers hanging down from their heads to the breasts.
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Chapter 82 — All Phenomena Are Void; Shiva
1 Rama asked, “Sage, who is this goddess dancing her act of destruction? Why does she carry pots and fruit like flower garlands on her body? 2 Are the worlds completely destroyed at the end, or do they become extinct in the goddess Kali and reside in her body? When does her dance come to an end?”
3 Vasishta replied:— Neither is he male nor female, nor was there dancing by one or a duality of the two. Such being the case and the nature of their action, neither has any form. 4 That which is without beginning or end is the Divine Consciousness alone which in the manner of infinite emptiness is the cause of all causes. 5 The uncreated and endless light exists from eternity and extends over all space. This calm and quiet state of ethereal space is known as Shiva or tranquil, and its change to confusion at the end is called Bhairava or the dreadful.
6 It is impossible for pure and formless consciousness to remain alone and aloof from its association with plastic nature, just as it is unlikely to find any gold existing without some form or other. 7 How can intellect exist without its intelligence, or pepper without its pungency? 8 Consider whether there can be any gold without a form of a bracelet or something else, or how a substance can exist without its substantial property or nature? 9 Say, what is the extract of the sugarcane unless it has sweetness? You cannot call it sugarcane juice unless you taste sweet flavor.
10 When the intellect is devoid of its reasoning, you can not call it the intellect. Nor is the empty form of the intellect ever liable to any change or annihilation. 11 Emptiness admits of no variety. It only retains it identity as emptiness. In order to assume diversity, the void must remain a void. 12 Therefore the unchanged and undisturbed essential essence must be without beginning and unlimited, full of all potency in itself. 13 Therefore the creation of the three worlds and their destruction, the earth, the firmament and the sides of the compass, together with all acts of creation and destruction are the random phenomena of emptiness.
14 All births, deaths, delusions and ignorance, being and not being, together with knowledge and dullness, restraint and liberty, and all events whether good or evil, 15knowledge and its want, the body and its loss, temporariness and long durations in time, together with mobility and inertia, and egoism and you and all other things are That alone. 16 All good and evil, goodness and badness, ignorance and intelligence, together with durations of time and space, substance and action, and all our thoughts, fancies, and imagination, 17 the sight of the forms of things and the thoughts of the mind, the action of the body, understanding and senses, the elements of earth and water, fire, air and vacuum extending all about us, 18 these and all others, proceed from the pure intellectual emptiness of the Divine Spirit which resides in its empty form in everything and is always without decay and decrease.
19 All things exist in pure emptiness and are as pure as emptiness itself. There is nothing beside this empty air, though they appear as real as a mountain does in our hollow dream. 20 The intellectual spirit, which I have described as transcendent void, is the same as what we call soul (jiva), the everlasting, and Rudra, the eternal. 21 He is adored as Vishnu by some and as Brahma the great progenitor of men by others. He is called the sun and moon, and Indra, Varuna, Yama, Kubera and Agni also. 22 He is the wind, the cloud and sea, the sky, and everything that there is or is not, whatever manifests itself in the empty sphere of Consciousness.
23 In this manner all things appear under different names and are taken to be true by the ignorant eye. They all vanish into nothing in their spiritual light which shows them in their pure intellectual natures. 24 In the understanding of the ignorant, the world appears separate from the spirit. But to the intellectual soul, the emptiness of the intellect is known to be situated in the Divine Spirit. Therefore there is no distinction of unity and duality to the knowing mind.
25 The living soul is tossed about like a wave in the ocean of the world. It runs the course of repeated births and deaths until it comes to know the nature of the Supreme Spirit, when it becomes as immortal and perfect as the eternal soul and the same with it. 26 By this knowledge of the Universal Soul, the human soul attains its perfect tranquility. It no longer sees itself as a fluctuating wave in the ocean of the world, but sees itself and everything else to be as calm and quiet as the eternal and infinite spirit of God.
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Chapter 83 — All Is Shiva
1 Vasishta added:— I have already told you that Shiva is the representation of empty consciousness and that Rudra is dancing all about. 2 The forms attributed to them are not real, only representations of the grosser aspects of intellectual emptiness.
3 With my intellectual and clear vision, I saw that sphere of intellect in its clear, bright and clear light. But it did not appear so to others who, in their ignorance, saw it as dark as the black complexion of the associate goddess. 4 At the end of the kalpa cycle, I saw the two apparitions of delusion appearing before me. One was furious Rudra and the other ferocious Bhairava. I knew them both to be only delusion, creatures of my mistaken fancy. 5 The great deep opening seen to exist in the empty sphere of the Consciousness is supposed to be a vast void represented as dreadful Bhairava. 6 We can have no conception of anything without knowing the relation, the significant term and its meaning. For that reason I related this to you, as I found it to be.
7 Rama, know that whatever idea is conveyed to the mind by a word’s meaning, the power of delusion presents the very same like a magical appearance before the outward sight. 8 In reality there is no destruction and no destructive power of Bhairava or Bhairavi. All these are only false conceptions floating in the empty space of the intellect. 9 These appearances are like those of cities in dream, or warfare shown in our imagination. They are like the paradise realms of one’s imagination, or our feelings upon some pathetic and ear-stirring description. 10 As the dream city in the sky is seen in the field of fancy and strings of pearls seen hanging in the empty air, and as mists and vapors darken the clear atmosphere, so there are troops of fallacies flying all about the firmament of the intellect.11 But the clear sky of pure intellect shines of itself in itself. When it shines in that state, it shows the world in itself. 12 The soul exhibits itself in its intellectual sphere in the same manner as a figure seen in a picture. The soul also manifests in the raging fire of final destruction.
13 I have told you about the formlessness of the forms of Shiva and his consort Shivani. Now listen as I tell you about their dance, which really was no dancing.
14 Sensation cannot exist anywhere without the action of the power of the intellect’s reasoning, just as it is impossible for anything to be a nothing or appear other than what it is. 15 Therefore the powers of sensation and perception are naturally united with all things, just as Rudra and his consort who are blended together like gold and silver in one and the same metal. 16 Whatever is sensation and wherever it exists, it must be a sensible object and have motion as its natural property. 17 Whatever is the action of the Intellect, whose consolidated form is named Shiva, that is also is the cause of our motions. As these are moved by our will and desires, they are called the dance of the intellectual power. 18Therefore the furious form and dance of Rudra which Shiva assumes at the end of a kalpa is the vibration of Divine Intellect.
19 Rama asked, “In the sight of the right observer, this world is nothing in reality. Anything that remains in any sense is destroyed at the end of the kalpa. 20 Then how does it happen at the end of the kalpa, when everything is lost in the formless void of emptiness, that this consolidated form of intellect known as Shiva remains and thinks in itself?”
21 Vasishta replied:— O Rama, if you entertain such a question, then hear me tell you how you can get over the great ocean of your doubts regarding the unity and duality of God.
22 The subjective soul then thinks of nothing, but remains quite tranquil in itself resting in the solid emptiness of its omniscience, just like and unmoving and mute stone. 23 If it reflects at all on anything, it is only on itself because it is the nature of consciousness to dwell calmly in itself. 24 As consciousness appears to itself like an inner city that it sees within itself in a dream, so there is nothing in real existence anywhere except the knowledge that is inherent in consciousness.
25 The Divine Soul, knowing everything in its empty intellect, sees the manifestation of the universe at the time of creation by the simple development of itself. 26 The intellect develops itself of its own nature, within its empty cell at first, then in a moment envelops this false universe in itself, and at his will at the time of its destruction. 27 The intellect expands itself in itself in its natural state of vacuum. It transmits itself likewise into its conceptions of “I” and “you” and all others. 28 Therefore there is no duality or unity, or any empty emptiness either. There is neither an intelligence nor its lack or both together. There neither I (subject) nor you (object). 29 There is nothing that ever thinks of anything, or anything whatever that is thought of that has its own nature. Therefore there is nothing that thinks or reflects, but all is quite rest and silence.
30 The unalterable steadiness of the mind is the ultimate samadhi of all scriptures. Therefore the living yogi should remain in his meditation like the silent and immovable stone.
31 Now Rama, remain to discharge your ordinary duties as they are required upon you by the rules of your race. But continue to be quiet and steady in your spiritual part by renouncing all worldly pride and vanity. Enjoy a peaceful composure in your mind and soul, like that of the serene, calm and clear hollow vault of the sky.
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Chapter 84 — Description of Kali, Shiva and Shakti; All Ideas Are Real
1 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, why is Goddess Kali said to be dancing about? Why is she armed with axe and other weapons and decorated with wreaths of flowers?
2 Vasishta replied:— The vacuum of consciousness is called both Shiva and Bhairava. It is this intellectual power that is called Kali and its consorting mind. 3 As wind is one with its vibratory energy, and fire is identical with its heat, so consciousness is identical with its vibratory energy. 4 As wind is invisible even in its act of vibratory motion, and heat is unseen even in its act of burning, so consciousness is imperceptible in spite of its acting. Therefore consciousness is called Shiva, the calm and quiet.
5 It is because of the wonderful power of Shiva’s vibration that he is known to us, and without which we could have no knowledge of his existence. Know this Shiva is the all powerful Brahman, who is otherwise a motionless being, unknowable even by the learned. 6 His vibration is the power of his will which has spread out this visible appearance, just as the will of an embodied, living man builds a city according to his thought. 7 The will of Shiva creates all this world from its formless state. This creative power is the Intelligence of God and the intellect of living being.
8 This power also takes the form of nature in her formation of creation. She is called creation she assumes on herself the representation of the phenomenal world. 9 She is represented with a crest of undersea fire on her head and to be dry and withered in her body. She is said to be a fury on account of her furiousness, and called the lotus form from the blue lotus-like complexion of her body.
10 She is called Jaya and Siddha because she is accompanied by victory and prosperity at all times. 11 She is also called Aparajita (invincible), Virya (mighty) and Durga (inaccessible). She is also called Uma because she is composed of the powers of the three letters of the mystic syllable Aum. 12 She is called the Gayatri hymn because it is chanted by everybody, and Savitri also from her being the progenitor of all beings. She is also named Saraswati because she gives us an insight into whatever appears before our sight. 13 She bears the name of Gauri because of her fair complexion and Bhavani because she is the source of all beings and because of her association with the body of Bhava, or Shiva. She is also called the letter A in Aum to signify her being the vital breath of all waking and sleeping bodies.
14 Uma also means the digit of the moon on the forehead of Shiva which enlightens the worlds. The bodies of God Shiva and Goddess Uma are both painted blue and black because they represent the two hemispheres of heaven. 15 The sky appears dark and bright from the two complexions of these gods who are situated in empty forms in the space of the great emptiness itself.
16 Though they are formless as empty airs, yet they are conceived as the first-born of the void. They are figuratively attributed with more or less hands and feet and holding as many weapons in them. 17 Now know the reason why they attribute many weapons and instruments to the goddess. It is no more than showing her as the patron of all arts and their employments.
18 She is identical with the Supreme Soul. She is it’s power of self meditation from all eternity. She assumes the shapes of the acts of sacred ablutions, religions, sacrifices, and holy gifts as her primal forms in Vedas. 19She is of the form of the blue sky, comely in appearance. She is the beauty of phenomena. She is the motion of all objects and the varieties of their movements are the various modes of her dancing. 20 She is the agent of Brahma in his laws of the birth, decay and deaths of beings. All villages, cities, mountains and islands hang on her agency like a string of gems about her neck.
21 She holds together all parts of the world by her power of attraction and infuses her force as momentum as if into the different parts of her body. She bears the various names of Kali, Kalika and others according to her various functions. 22 As the one great body of the cosmos, she links together all its parts like her limbs to her heart and moves them all about her, though this formless body of force has never been seen or known by anybody.
23 Know this ever vibrating power is never different or unconnected from the quiet motionless spirit of Shiva the changeless god. The fluctuating winds are never apart from the calm vacuum in which they abide and vibrate forever. 24 The world is a display of the glory of God, just as moonlight is a manifestation of the brightness of the moon which is otherwise dark and obscure. So the Lord God is ever tranquil and quiet without any change or decay in his works. 25 There is not the least shadow of fluctuation in the Supreme Soul. It is the action of this agency that appears to be moving us.
26 The tranquil spirit of the god Shiva is that which returns itself from action and reposes in its understanding apart from its goddess, the active energy which possesses the intellect. 27 The intellect resting in its natural state of understanding is called Shiva. The active energy of intellectual power is what passes under the name of the great goddess of action.
28 That bodiless power assumes the imaginary forms of these worlds with all the peoples that are visible in daylight. 29 This power supports the earth with all its seas and islands, and its forests, deserts and mountains. It maintains the Vedas, scriptures, sciences and the hymns with its limbs. 30 It ordains the injunctions and prohibitions and gives the rules of auspicious and inauspicious acts and rites. It directs sacrifices and sacrificial fires and the modes of offering cakes and oblations. 31 This goddess is adorned with sacrificial implements, like the mortar and pestle, and the post and ladle. She is also carries many weapons of warfare such as the spear, arrows, lance, 32 mace and many throwing weapons, accompanied by horse and elephants and valiant gods. In short she fills the fourteen worlds and occupies the earth with all its seas and islands.
33 Rama said, “I ask you sage, to tell me now whether the thoughts of creation in the Divine Mind existed in the Divine Soul, or they were incorporated in the forms of Rudra and which are false and fictitious?”
34 Vasishta replied:— Rama, she is truly the power of the Intellect, as you have rightly said. Everything that she thinks is all true as her thoughts. 35 Thoughts that are subjective and imprinted in the inner intellect are never untrue, just as the reflection of our face cast in a mirror cannot be a false shadow.
36 Those thoughts are false which enter into the mind from without, such as the physical body. These fallacies are removed upon our right reflection and by means of our sound judgment. 37 But in my opinion, the firm belief of the human soul in anything whatever is reckoned as true by everyone. The picture of a thing in a mirror, the representations of things seen in a dream, and the creatures of our imagination are all taken as true and real by everyone for the time, and for their usefulness to him.
38 But you may object and say that things that are absent and at a distance from you are no way useful to you. Yet they cannot be said to be nonexistent or unreal because they come to use when they are present before us. 39 As the productions of a distant country become of use when they are presented before us, so the objects of our dreams and thoughts are equally true and useful when they are present in view. So also every idea of a definite shape and meaning is a certain reality.
40 As an object or its action seen by anyone is believed to be true by its observer, whatever thought passes in his mind is thought to be true by him. But nothing seen or thought of by another is ever believed by someone else as true to him. 41 Therefore, the embryo of the creation is contained forever in the power of Divine Consciousness. The entire universe is ever existent in the Divine Soul and it is wholly unknown to others. 42 All that is past, present, and ever to be in future, together with all desires and thoughts of others forever really exist in the Divine Spirit, else it would not be the Universal Soul.
43 Only adepts in yoga practice acquire the power of looking into others’ hearts and minds, just as others come to see different countries by traveling over the barriers of hills and valleys. 44 As the dream of a man fallen into deep sleep is not disturbed by moving his bed, so the fixed thought of anyone is never lost by his moving from place to place.
45 So the movements of Kali’s dancing body cause no fluctuation in the world that is contained within it, just as the shaking of a mirror makes no alternation in the reflection which is cast upon it.
46 The great bustle and commotion of the world, though seeming real to all appearance, yet is only a mere delusion in sober reality. It was delusion whether it moves or not. 47When is the city seen in our dream said to be a true and when is it pronounced as false? When is it said to exist and when destroyed? 48 Know the phenomenal world exposed before you is only mere illusion. It is your sheer fallacy to see unreal phenomena as sure realities. 49 Know that your conception of the reality of the three worlds is as false as the aerial castle of your imagination or the air-drawn city of your fond desire. It is like the vision in your dream, or any conception of your error.
50 The endless error that tightly binds the mind forever is “I” the subjective and the other is the objective world. It is a gross mistake like that of the ignorant who believe the endless sky to be bounded and take it for blue. The learned are released from this blunder.
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Chapter 85 — Relation of Shiva and Kali
1 Vasishta continued:— Thus the goddess was dancing with her outstretched arms, which with their movements appeared to make a shaking forest of tall pines in the empty sky. 2 This power of the intellect, which is ignorant of herself and ever prone to action, continued to dance with her decorations of various tools and instruments. 3 She was arrayed with all kinds of weapons in her thousand arms, such as the bow and arrows, the spear and lance, the mallet and club, the sword and all sort of missiles. She was familiar with all things whether in being or not being, and was busy at every moment of passing time. 4 She contained the world in the vibration of her mind, just as airy cities exist in the power of imagination. She herself is the world, just as imagination itself is the imaginary city.
5 She is the will of Shiva, as fluctuation is innate in the air and as air is still without its vibration. So Shiva is very quiet without his will or volition. 6 The formless volition becomes the formal creation in the same manner as the formless sky produces the wind which vibrates into sound. So does the will of Shiva bring forth the world out of himself. 7 When this volitional energy of Kali dances and plays in the emptiness of the Divine Mind, then all of a sudden the world comes out, as if by union of the active will with the great void of the Supreme Mind. 8 Being touched by the dark volitional power, the Supreme Soul of Shiva is dissolved into water, just as an undersea fire is extinguished by its contact with seawater. 9 No sooner did this power come in contact with Shiva, the prime cause of all, the same power of volition is inclined and assumes the shape of nature, converted to some physical form.
10 Then forsaking her boundless and elemental form, she took upon herself the gross and limited forms of land and hills, then beautiful gardens and trees. 11 She became like the formless void and became one with the infinite emptiness of Shiva, just like a river with its impetuous velocity enters into the immensity of the sea. 12 Then she became as one with Shiva by giving up her title of Shiva, and this Shiva the female form became the same with Shiva the Purusha who is the formless void and perfect tranquility.
13 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, how can sovereign goddess Shiva obtain her quiet by coming in contact with the supreme god Shiva?”
14 Vasishta replied:— Rama, the goddess Shiva is the will of god Shiva. She is called nature and famed as the great Illusion of the word. 15 This great god is said to be the lord of nature and Purusha also. He is of the form of air and is represented in the form of Shiva, which is calm and quiet like the autumn sky. 16 The great goddess is the energy of the Intellect and its will also. She is ever active as force put in motion. She abides in the world in the manner of its nature and wanders all about in the manner of the great delusion. 17As long as she is ignorant of her Lord Shiva, she ranges throughout the world who is ever satisfied with himself, without decay or disease, without beginning or end or a second to himself. 18 But as soon as this goddess becomes conscious of herself as the same as the god of self-consciousness, she is joined with her Lord Shiva and becomes one with him.
19 Nature coming in contact with the spirit forsakes her character of gross nature and becomes one with the sole unity, just as a river joins the ocean. 20 A river falling into the sea is no longer a river but the sea. Its water joining with seawater becomes the same salty water. 21 So a mind inclined to Shiva is united with him and finds its rest there, just as iron becomes sharpened by returning to its quarry.
22 As the shadow of a man entering into a forest is lost amidst the shade of the wilderness, so the shades of nature are all absorbed in the shadow of the Divine Spirit. 23 But the mind that remembers its own nature and forgets that of the Eternal Spirit has to return again to this world and never attains its spiritual bliss.
24 An honest man dwells with thieves so long as he knows them not as such. But as soon as he comes to know them as so, then he is sure to shun their company and fly from the spot. 25 So the mind dwells with unreal dualities as long as it remains ignorant of the transcendent reality. But as it becomes acquainted with the true unity, he is sure to be united with it. 26 When the ignorant mind comes to know the supreme bliss that attends the state of its self-extinction or nirvana, it is ready to rest it like an inland stream runs to join the boundless sea. 27 The mind roaming remains bewildered in its repeated births in the tumultuous world so long as it does not find its ultimate bliss in the Supreme, to whom it may fly like a bee to its honeycomb.
28 Who would forget his spiritual knowledge having once known its bliss? Who forsakes the sweet having had once tasted its flavor? Say Rama, who would not run to enjoy the delicious nectar, which pacifies all our sorrows and pains, prevents our repeated births and deaths, and puts an end to all our delusions in this darksome world?
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Chapter 86 — Vasishta Describes the Stone: Creation as Images in Unchanging
God; All Things Are Repetitions of Themselves
1 Vasishta added:— Rama, hear how this whole world resides in the infinite void and how the airy Rudra which rises from it is freed from his deluded body and finds his final rest in it.
2 As I stood looking upon that block of stone, I saw the aerial Rudra and the two upper and nether worlds marked over it, remaining quiet at rest. 3 Then in a moment, that airy Rudra saw the two partitions of the earth and sky within the hollow of vacuum, his eyeballs blazing like the globe of the sun. 4 Then in the twinkling of an eye and with the breath of his nostrils, he drew the two partitions to him and threw them into the horrible abyss of his mouth. 5 Having devoured both divisions of the world as if they were a morsel of bread, he remained alone as air and one with the universal air about him.
6 Then he appeared like a piece of cloud, then the size of a small stick, and afterwards the size of a thumb. 7 I saw him become transparent like a piece of glass which at last became as minute as to melt into the air and vanish altogether from my microscopic sight. 8 Being reduced to an atom, it suddenly disappeared from view and, like an autumn cloud, became invisible. 9 In this manner did the two gates of heaven disappear from my sight, the wonders of which I had been viewing with so much concern and delight.
10 The cosmos being thus devoured like grass by a hungry deer, the firmament was quite cleared of everything. It became as transparent, calm and quiet as the serene vacuum of Brahman himself. 11 I saw only one vast expanse of intellectual sky without any beginning, middle or end. It resembled the dreary waste of ultimate dissolution, a vast, desolate desert.
12 I also saw the images of things drawn upon that stone as if they were the reflection of things in a mirror. Then remembering the heavenly vidyadhari and seeing all these scenes, I was lost in amazement. 13 I was amazed, like a clown coming to a royal city, to see that stone again far clearer than ever before. 14 This I found to be the body of goddess Kali in which all the worlds seemed to be inscribed like on a slab of stone. I saw these with my intellectual eyes, far better than they appear to the supernatural sight of the gods. 15On that stone I saw everything that ever existed in any place, though it seemed to be situated at a distance from me. Yet I recognized it as the very stone (Divine Consciousness).
16 I saw only this stone. There was nothing of the worlds it contained so clearly. The stone remained forever in the same unchanging state, with all worlds lying concealed in it.17 It was stainless and clean, fair and clear as an evening cloud. I was struck with wonder at the sight, then started my meditation again.
18 I looked to the other side of the stone with my contemplative eye and found the bustle of the world lying dormant at that place. 19 I saw it full of the great variety of things, as described before. Then I turned my sight to look into another side of it. 20 I saw it abounding with the very many creations and created worlds, accompanied with their tumults and commotions as I had seen before. Whatever place I thought of and sought for, I found them all in the same stone. 21 I saw fair creation as if it were a pattern cast upon a mirror. I felt a great pleasure exploring the mountainous source of this stone. 22 I searched in every part of the earth and traversed through woods and forests until I passed through every part of the world, as it was exhibited in that stone. 23 I saw them in my understanding and not with my visual organs. Somewhere I saw the first born Brahma, the lord of creatures.
24 Then I saw his arrangement of the starry frame, the spheres of the sun and moon, and the rotations of days and nights and of seasons and years. I also saw the surface of the earth with its population here and there. 25 I saw level land somewhere and the great basins of the four oceans elsewhere. I saw some places quite unpopulated and unproductive and others abounding with sura and asura races.
26 Somewhere I saw assemblies of righteous men, with their manners and conduct as those of the pure Satya Yuga. Elsewhere I saw the company of unrighteous people following the practices and usages of the corrupt Kali Yuga. 27 I saw forts and cities of demons in certain places, with fierce and continuous warfare going on all along among them. 28 I saw vast mountainous tracts without a pit or pool in them anywhere. I saw elsewhere the unfinished creation of the lotus-born Brahma.
29 I saw some lands where men were free from death and decay, and others with moonless nights and bare headed Shivas in them. 30 I saw the Milky Ocean unchurned, filled with the dead bodies of gods, and the ocean horse and elephant, the Kamadhenu cow, the physician Dhanvantari and the goddess Lakshmi, together with the undersea poison and ambrosia, all lying hidden and buried therein. 31 I saw in one place the body of gods assembled to baffle the attempts of the demons and the devices of their leader Sukra. In another I saw the great god Indra entering into the womb of Diti, the mother of demons, and destroying the unborn brood inside.
32 It was on account of the unchangeable course of nature that the world was brilliant as ever before, unless some things were placed out of their former order. 33 The everlasting Vedas ever retain their same force and sense, and never did they feel the shock of change by the revolution of ages or even at the kalpanta dissolution of the world. 34Sometimes the demons demolished parts of the heavenly abodes of gods and sometimes the paradise of Nandana Garden resounded with the songs of gandharvas and kinnaras.
35 Sometimes a friendship was formed between the gods and demons. In this manner I saw the past, present and future commotions of the world.
36 Then I saw in the body of the great soul of the worlds (Paramatma) the meeting of Pushkara and Avarta clouds. 37 There was an assembly of all created things in peaceful union with one another in one place. There was a collision of gods, demigods and sovereigns of men in the one and same person. 38 There was the union of the sunlight and deep darkness in the same place, without their destroying one another. There were dark clouds and their flashing lightning also in the same place. 39 There were the demons Madhu and Kaitabha residing together in the same navel-string of Brahma. There were the infant Brahma and the lotus bud in the same navel of Vishnu. 40 In the ocean of the universal deluge, where Krishna floated on the leaf of a banyan tree, chaotic night ruled the along with him and spread its darkness over the deep.
41 There was only one vast void in which all things remained unknown and undefined, as if they lay buried and asleep in the unconscious womb of a stony grave. 42 Nothing could be known or inferred of anything in existence. Everything seemed to be submerged in deep sleep everywhere. The sky was filled by darkness resembling the wingless crows and wingless mountains of old. 43 On one side the loud sounds of thunder were breaking down the mountains and melting them by the fire of flashing lightning. In another, floodwaters were sweeping away the earth into the deep. 44 In certain places there were the wars of the demons like Tripura, Vritra, Andha, and Bali. In others there were terrible earthquakes owing to the shaking of the furious earth supporting elephant in the regions below. 45 On one hand the earth was shaking on the thousand hoods on the infernal serpent Vasuki, which trembled with fear at the kalpanta deluge of the world. On the other the young Rama was killing rakshasa demons and their leader Ravana. 46 On one side was Rama frustrated by his adversary Ravana. I saw these wonders, now standing upon my legs on earth, then lifting my head above the mountain tops. 47 I saw Kalanemi invading one side of the sky where he stationed the demons by ousting the gods from their heavenly seats. 48 In one place I found asura demons defeated by the gods who preserved the people from their terror. In another the victorious son of Pandu, Arjuna, with the aid of lord Vishnu, protected the world from the oppression of Kauravas. I saw also the slaughter of millions of men in the Mahabharata war.
49 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, how I had been before in another age, and who were these Pandavas and Kauravas who existed before me?”
50 Vasishta replied:— Rama, all things are destined to revolve and return over and over again as they had been before. 51 As a basket is filled repeatedly with grains of the same kind, or mixed sometimes with some other sorts, so the very same thoughts and ideas with their same or other associations recur repeatedly in our minds.
52 Our ideas occur to us in the shape of their objects as often as the waters of the sea run in their course as waves beating upon the banks. Thus our thoughts of ourselves, yourselves and others frequently revert to our minds. 53 No thought ever comes to mind which has not been a previous thought in the mind. Though some seem to appear in different shapes, it is simply owing to our misapprehension of them, just as the same seawater seems to show various shapes of its waves. 54 Again, a delusion presents us with many appearances that never come to existence. This shows us an infinite series of things coming in and passing and disappearing like magic shows in this illusive world. 55 The same things and others of different kinds appear and reappear to us in this way. Thus they move around in cycles.
56 Know all creatures are like drops of water in the ocean of the world. They are composed of the period of their existence, their respective occupations, understanding and knowledge, and accompanied by their friends and properties and other surroundings. 57 All beings are born with every one of these properties at their very birth. But some possess them in equal or more or less shares, compared with others. 58 But all beings differ in these respects, according to the different bodies in which they are born. Though some are equal to others in many of these respects, yet they come to differ in them in course of time. 59 Being at last harassed in their different pursuits, all beings attain either to higher or lower states in their destined times. Then being shackled to the prison houses of their bodies, they have to pass through endless varieties of births in various forms. Thus the drops of living beings have to roll about in the whirlpool of the vast ocean of worldly life for an indefinite period of time, which nobody can gainsay or count.
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Chapter 87 — Vasishta Describes the Infinity of the World Shown in His Material Body
1 Vasishta continued:— Afterwards as I directed my attention to my own body for a while. I saw the un-decaying and infinite spirit of God surrounding every part of my material frame. 2 Pondering deeply, I saw the world was seated and shooting forth within my heart, just as grains sprout in a granary from rainwater dropping into it. 3 I saw the formal world, with all its sentient as well as insensitive beings, rising out of the formless heart resembling the shapeless embryo of the seed. 4 As the beauty of phenomena appears to view as one awakens after sleep, so only the intellect gives sensation to one who is waking from his sleep. 5 So there is conception of creation in the same soul before its formation or bringing into action. The forms of creations are contained in the emptiness of the heart, and in no other separate emptiness whatever.
6 Rama asked, “Sage, your assertion of the emptiness of the heart made me understand it in the sense of infinite space of emptiness, which contains the whole creation. Please to explain to me more clearly, what do you mean by your intellectual emptiness which you say is the source of the world?”
7 Vasishta replied:— Hear Rama, how once in my meditation I thought myself as the self-born (svayambhu) god in whom existed the whole. There was nothing born except by and from him. I will also describe how I believed the unreal as real in my revelry, like an air-built castle in my dreaming.
8 As I had been looking at that sight of the great kalpa dissolution with my aerial spiritual body, I found and felt the other part of my body was infused with the same sensibility and consciousness. 9 As I looked at it for a while, with my spiritual part, I found it purely aerial and endowed with a slight consciousness of itself. 10 The empty intellect found this elastic substance to be of a subtle and rarefied nature, such as when you see external objects in your dream, or remember the objects of your dream upon waking.
11 This ethereal air, having its primary powers of intellect and consciousness (chit, samvid), becomes the intellect’s process of understanding and consciousness. Then from its power of reflection, it takes the name of reflection. Next from its knowledge of itself as air, it becomes the airy egoism. Then it takes the name of understanding (buddhi) because of its knowledge of itself as plastic nature and its forgetfulness of its former spirituality. At last it becomes the mind, from its minding many things that it wills. 12 Then, from its powers of perception and sensation, it becomes the five senses, to which are added their fivefold organs upon the perversion of the subtle mental perceptions to grossness.
13 As a man roused from his sound sleep is subject to flimsy dreams, so the pure soul, losing its purity upon its entrance in the gross body, is subjected to its accompanying miseries. 14 Then the infinite world, appears all at once to those who say it is an act of spontaneity, or as a sequence of events by others. 15 I conceived the whole in the minute atom of my mind. Being myself like empty air, I thought the material world was contained in me in the form of intelligence.
16 The nature of emptiness gives rise to the currents of air. So it is natural for the mind to assign a form and figure to all its ideas, by the power of its imagination. 17 Whatever imaginary form our imagination gives to a thing at first, there is no power in the mind to remove it. 18 Hence I believed myself as a minute atom, although I knew my soul to be beyond all bounds. Because I had the power of thinking, I thought myself as the thinking mind, and no more.
19 Then with my subtle body of pure intelligence, I thought of myself as a spark of fire. By thinking so for a long time, I became at length of the form of a gross body. 20 Then I felt a desire to see all that existed about me and I had the power of sight immediately supplied to my gross body. 21 In this manner I felt other desires and had their corresponding senses and organs given to me. Now I will tell you, O race of Raghu, their names and functions and objects as they are known among you.
22 The two holes of my face through which I began to see are called the two eyes with their function of sight. They have the visible phenomena of nature for their objects. 23When I see is what I call time and how I see that is called its manner. The place where I see an object is simple emptiness and the duration of the sight is governed by destiny. 24The place where I am situated is said to be my location. When I think or affirm anything, I say the present time. As long I feel the shining of my intellect, so long do I know myself as the intellectual cause of my action. 25 When I see anything, I have its perception in me. I also have my conviction that what I see with my two eyes is not empty emptiness, but of a substantial nature. 26 These two eyes are the organs with which I saw and felt the world in me, the keys to the visible world. Then I felt the desire to hear what was going about me. It was my own soul which prompted this desire in me. 27 Then I heard a swelling sound, like that of a loud sounding conch, reaching me through the air, where it is naturally carried and through which it passes. 28 The organs by which I heard the sound are my two ears. The sound is carried by the air to the ear where it enters the ear-holes with a continuous hissing.
29 Then I felt a desire to feel. The organ whereby I came to it is called the skin. 30 Next I came to know the medium whereby I had the sensation of touch in my body. I found the air conveyed that sense to me. 31 As I remained conscious of the property of feeling or touch in me, I felt the desire to taste, then had the organ of taste given to me. 32 Then my empty self contracted the property of smell by the air of its breath. Thereby I had the sense of smell given to me through the organs of my nostrils. Being thus furnished with all the organs of sense, I found myself to be imperfect still. 33 Being thus confined in the net of my senses, I found my sensual desire increasing quickly in me. 34 The physical sensations of sound, form, taste, touch and smell are all formless and untrue. Though they appear to be actual and true, yet they are really false and untrue. 35 As I remained ensnared in the net of my senses and considered myself a conscious being, I felt my egoism in me, that with which I am now addressing you. 36 The sense of egoism growing strong and compact takes the name of understanding. This being considered and mature comes to be called the mind. 37 Being possessed of my external senses, I pass for a sentient being. Having my spiritual body and soul, I pass as an intellectual being in an empty form.
38 I am more rare and empty than the air itself. I am as the emptiness itself. I am devoid of all shapes and figures and I am irrepressible in my nature. 39 As I remained at that spot, with this conviction of myself, I found myself endowed with a body and it was as I now look. 40 With this belief, I began to utter sounds. These sounds were as empty as those of man dreaming he is flying in the air. 41 This was the sound of a new born babe uttering the sacred syllable Aum. From them it has become the custom to pronounce this word at the beginning of sacred hymns. 42 Then I uttered some words like a sleeping person. These words are called the Vyahrites which are now used in the Gayatri hymn.
43 I thought that I had become like Brahma, the author and lord of creation. Then with my mental part or mind, I thought of creation in my imagination. 44 Finding myself containing the mundane system within me, I thought I was not a created being at all because I saw the worlds in my own body and nothing besides without it. 45 Thus the world being produced within my mind, I turned to look minutely into it. I found there was nothing in reality except an empty void. 46 So it is with all these worlds that you see. They are mere void, nothing other than your imagination of them. There is no reality whatever in the existence of this earth and all other things that you see.
47 The worlds appear as the waters of the mirage before the sight and to the knowledge of our consciousness. There is nothing outside the mind. The mind sees everything in the pure emptiness of the Divine Mind. 48 There is no water in the sandy desert, and yet the mind thinks it sees it there. So the deluded sight of our understanding sees the baseless objects of delusion in the burning and barren waste of infinite void. 49 Thus there is no real world in the Divine Spirit, yet the erring mind of man sees it falsely to be situated there. It is all owing to the delusion of human understanding that naturally leads us to groundless errors and fallacies.
50 The unreal appears as the real extended world to the mind in the same manner as an imaginary utopia appears before it, and as a city is seen in the dream of a sleeping man.51 One knows nothing of the dream of another sleeping by his side, without being able to penetrate his mind. The yogi sees it clearly by his power of looking into the minds of others.
52 One knows this world who can penetrate the mundane stone where it is represented as the reflection of something in a mirror, which in reality is nothing at all. 53 Although the world appears as an elemental substance to the naked eye, yet when it is observed in its true light, it disappears like Lokaloka Mountain hidden under everlasting darkness. 54He who sees creation with his spiritual body and his eyes of discernment finds it filled with the pure spirit of God which comprehends and pervades throughout the whole. 55 The eyes of perception see the extinction of the world everywhere because they see only the presence of the Divine Spirit and nothing that is not the spirit, and therefore nothing. 56What the clear-sighted yogi perceives through his conclusive reasoning is that transcendent truth which is hard to be seen by the triple-eyed Shiva, or even by the god Indra with his thousand eyes.
57 But as I looked into the emptiness of the sky filled with its multitudes of luminous bodies, I saw the earth full with the variety of its productions. Then I began to reflect that I was the lord of all below. 58 Then thinking that I was master of the earth, I became joined with the earth as if it were one with me. Having forsaken my empty intellectual body, I thought myself as the sovereign of the whole. 59 Believing myself as the support and container of this earth, I penetrated deep into its bowels and thought all its hidden mines were parts of me. So I took whatever it contained both below and above it to be the same with me. 60 Being thus endowed in the form of the earth, I became changed to all its forests and woods, which grew like hairs on its body. My bowels were full of jewels and gems and my back was decorated by many a city and town. 61 I was full of villages and valleys, of hills and dales, and of infernal regions and caves. I thought I was the great mountain chain connecting the seas and their islands on either side. 62 The grassy vegetation was the hairy cover of my body and the scattered hills as pimples on it. The great mountain tops were the crests of my crown, or the hundred heads of the infernal snake Shesha. 63 This earth was freely joined by all living beings, came to be parceled by men, and at last oppressed by belligerent kings and worsened by their lines of fighting elephants.
64 The great Himalaya, Vindhya and Sumeru Mountains had all their tops decorated with the falling streams of Ganges and others, sparkling like their pearly necklaces. 65 Caves and forests, the seas and their shores furnished it with beautiful scenes. Desert and marsh lands supplied it with clean linen garments. 66 The ancient waters of the deluge receded to their basins and left the pure inland reservoirs decorated by flowery banks and perfumed by the scented dust of trampled flowers.
67 The earth is ploughed daily by bullocks and sown in the dewy and cold season. It is heated by solar heat and moistened by rainwater. 68 The wide level plains are its broad breast. The lotus lakes are its eyes, the white and black clouds are its turbans, and the canopy of heaven is its dwelling. 69 The great hollow under Lokaloka Mountain forms its wide open mouth and the breathing of animated nature makes the breath of its life. 70 It is surrounded all about and filled inside by beings of various kinds. It is peopled by gods and demons and men on the outside, and inhabited by worms and insects in its inner parts. 71 In the organic poles and cells of its body, it is infested by snakes, asura demons, and reptiles. Aquatic animals of various kinds populate all its oceans and seas. 72 It is filled in all its various parts with animal, plant and mineral substances of infinite varieties, and it is plenteous with provisions for the sustenance of all sorts of beings.
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Chapter 88 — Further Description of the Earth within Vasishta
1 Vasishta related:— Hear you men what I conceived afterwards in my consciousness as I was looking in my form of the earth and considered the rivers running in my body.
2 I saw in one place a number of women lamenting loudly on the death of somebody. I also saw the great rejoicing of certain females on the occasion of their festive rejoicing.3 I saw a terrible scarcity and famine in one place, with the seizing and plunder of the people, and I saw the profusion of plenty in another and the joy and friendliness of its people.4 In one place I saw a great fire burning down everything before me, and in another a great flood over the land drowning its cities and towns in one common ruin. 5 Somewhere I saw a busy body of soldiers plundering a city and carrying away their booty and fierce rakshasa demons bent on afflicting and oppressing the people.
6 I saw reservoirs full with water running out to water and fertilize the land all around. I saw also masses of clouds issuing from mountain caves, tossed and carried by the winds afar and aloft in the sky. 7 I saw the outpourings of rainwater, the uprising of vegetation, and the land smiling with plenty. I felt within myself a delight which made the hairs on my body stand upright. 8 I also saw many places, hills, forests and homes of men, and also deep and dreadful dens with wild beasts and bees in them. Here there were no footprints of human beings. They avoid those places for fear of falling in those terrible caves.
9 In some places I saw wars waged between hostile hosts and others where armies were sitting at ease in glad conversation with one another. 10 I saw some places full of forests and others of barren deserts with tornadoes howling in them. I saw marshy grounds with repeated cultivations and crops in them. 11 I saw clear and swirling lakes frequented by cranes and herons, smiling with blooming lotuses. I saw barren deserts with heaps and piles of grey dust collected together by winds. 12 I saw some places where rivers were running, rolling and gurgling in their play, and at others, the grounds were moistened and sown and shooting forth in buds and sprouts.
13 In many places I also saw little insects and worms moving slowly in the ground. They appeared to me to be crying out, “O sage, save us from this miserable state!” 14 I saw a big banyan tree rooting its surrounding branches in the ground. I saw many parasite plants growing on and about these rooted branches. 15 In some places huge trees were growing upon rocks and mountain tops, embracing one another with their branching arms shaking like the waves of the sea. 16 I saw the raging sun sending his drying rays and drawing the moisture from shady trees, leaving them to stand with their dried trunks and withered, leafless branches.
17 I saw the big elephants living on the summits of mountains, piercing sturdy oaks with the strokes of their tusks which, like the bolts of Indra, broke down, felled and hurled them below with hideous noise. 18 In some places many tender sprouts grew with joy as the green blades of grass, or like the erect hairs rising on the bodies of saints, enrapt in their reveries and sitting with their closed eyelids.
19 I saw the homes of flies and leeches and gnats in the dirt, and of bees and black bees on the petals of lotus flowers. I saw big elephants destroying lotus bushes, just as the ploughshare overturns the furrows of earth. 20 I saw the excess of cold when all living beings were shriveled and withered in their bodies, when waters froze to stone, and keen and cold blasts chilled the blood of men.
21 I have seen swarms of weak insects crushed to death under the feet of men, and many others diving and swimming and gliding in the waters below, and others to be born and growing therein. 22 I saw how water enters seeds and moistens them in the rainy season, and these put forth their hairy shoots on the outside, growing as plants in the open air. 23 I smile with the smiling lotuses when they are slightly shaken in their beds by the gentle winds of heaven. I parade with the gliding of rivers to the ocean of eternity for final extinction.
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Chapter 89 — Phenomena as Reproductions of Memories
1 Rama said, “Tell me sage. In your curiosity to observe the changes of earthly things and affairs, did you see them in their earthly shapes with your physical body or in their ideal forms in the imagination of your mind?”
2 Vasishta replied:— It was in my mind that I thought I became the great earth. All the things that I saw were only the simple conceptions of the mind. They could not possibly have a material form. 3 It is impossible for the surface of the earth to exist without its conception in the mind. Whatever you know as either real or unreal, know them all to be the work of your mind.
4 I am the pure empty consciousness which is the essence of my soul. The expansion of this intellectual soul is called its will. 5 Will becomes the mind and the creative power Brahma, and it takes the form of the world and this earth also. This empty mind is composed of its desires and assumes to itself whatever form it likes. 6 In this way my mind stretched itself at that time and put forth its desires in all those forms as it liked. From its habitual capacity of containing everything, it evolved itself into the shape of the wide-stretched earth. 7 Hence the sphere of the earth is nothing other than the evolution of the mind. It is only an unintelligent counterpart of intelligent consciousness. 8 Being empty itself, it remains forever as such in infinite emptiness. But by being considered as a solid substance by the ignorant, they have altogether forgotten its intellectual nature.
9 The knowledge that this globe of earth is stable, solid and extended is as false as the general impression of blueness in the clear and empty sky, and this is the effect of a deep-rooted bias in the minds of men. 10 It is clear from this argument that there is no such thing as the stable earth. It is of the same ideal form as it was conceived in the mind at the first creation of the world. 11 As a city in a dream and consciousness in emptiness, so the Divine Consciousness dwells in the form of the creation within emptiness.
12 Know the three worlds in their intellectual light. They are like the aerial palace of childish fancy and hobby. Know this earth and all visible appearances to be the creatures of imagination.
13 The world is a copy or reproduction of the intellectual Spirit of God. It is not a different kind of production of the Divine Will. In fact it has no real or positive existence at all, although it may appear as solid and substantial to the ignorant.
14 The unreal visible world is known only by the ignorant who are unacquainted with its real intellectual nature. Only he who is acquainted with its true nature knows well what I have been preaching to you all this time. 15 All this is the thinking of Divine Consciousness, the manifestation of the Supreme Self in itself. The visible world which appears as something other than the Supreme Soul is inherent in that same Soul.
16 As a sparkling stone exhibits the various colors of white, yellow and others without their being infused in the stone, so Divine Consciousness shows this creation in all its various aspects within its empty sphere. 17 The spirit does not do anything or change its nature. Therefore this earth is not a mental or a material production. 18 Empty Consciousness appears as the surface of the earth. But of itself it has no depth or breadth. It is transparent on its surface. 19 Its own nature shows itself as anything wherever it is situated. Though it is clear like the open air, yet it appears as the earth by its universal inherence and permeation in all things.
20 This globe of land and water appearing as something other than the Great Consciousness is in the very same form as it is pictured in the mind, like the shapes of things appearing in our dream. 21 The world exists in empty spirit, and the Divine Spirit also being empty, there is no difference in them. The ignorant soul makes the difference, but it immediately vanishes before the intelligent soul.
22 All material beings that have been or are to be in the past, present and future are mere errors of vision, like the false appearances in our dreams and the air-built cities of imagination. 23 The beings that now exist and are to come into existence and the earth itself are of the same nature of a universal fallacy, instead of the Divine Spirit pervading the whole.
24 I and all others who are included in this world have the visible perceptions of all things as they are preserved in our memory.
25 Rama, know only Divine Consciousness, as the Supreme Soul and essence of all existence without decay which sustains the whole in its person without forsaking its spirituality. Knowing the whole world is contained within you, which is not different from the Supreme Soul, you shall be exempt and liberated from all.
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Chapter 90 — Description of Water in Creation
1 Rama said, “Tell me sage, what else did you see on the surface of the earth?”
2 Vasishta replied:— With my waking soul, I thought as if in sleep that I was assimilated to land. I saw many groups of lands scattered on this earth. I saw them in my mysterious vision, then I reflected on them in my mind.
3 As I saw those groups of lands lying everywhere before my intellectual vision, the outer world receded from my sight. All dualities were quite lost and hushed in my tranquil soul. 4 I saw those groups like so many places lying in the expanded spirit of Brahman which was a perfect void, quite calm and unresponsive to all agitations. 5 Everywhere I saw large tracts, great and solid as the earth itself. But I found them in reality to be nothing more than empty dreams appearing in the vacant mind. 6 Here there was no diversity or uniformity, nor was there any entity or nothingness either. There was no sense of my egoism also, but all blended in an indefinite void. 7 Though I conceived myself to be something in existence, yet I perceived it had no personality of its own and its entity depended on that one sole Brahman who is uncreated and ever without decay. 8 Thus these sights were like appearances in dream in the empty space of consciousness. It is unknown how and in what form they were situated in the Divine Mind before they were exhibited in creation.
9 Now, as I saw those tracts of land in the form of so many worlds, so I also saw large bodies of water. 10 Then my active spirit became like the inert element of water called seas and oceans in which waves lay and played with a gurgling noise. 11 These waters constantly flowed bearing loads of grass and straw, and bushes of plants and shrubs and trunks of trees which float like bugs and leeches crawl and creep on your body. 12 These are carried by whirling waters like small insects and worms into the crevices of caves, and from there thrown into the womb of whirlpools whose depth is beyond all comparison.
13 Currents of waters flowed with leaves and fruits of trees in their mouths while floating vines and branches served as necklaces. 14 Drinkable water, taken by the mouth, went into the hearts of living beings producing different effects on the humors of animal bodies according to their properties at different seasons. 15 Water descended in the form of dew sleeping on leafy beds in the shape of icicles, shining under moonbeams everywhere and always without interruption. 16 Water ran with irresistible course to many lakes and brooks. It flowed in the currents of rivers unless stopped by some embankment.
17 The waters of the sea, like ignorant men on earth, ran up and down in search of its proper course, but failing to find it, they tumbled and turned about in whirlpools of doubts. 18 I saw water on mountaintops which, though it rested on high, yet fell owing to its restlessness in the form of waterfalls where it was dashed into a thousand splashes.
19 I saw water rising from the earth in the form of vapor on high, then mixing with the blue ocean of the blue sky, or appearing like blue sapphires among the twinkling stars of heaven. 20 I saw waters ascending and riding on the backs of clouds, there joining with lightning as their hidden consorts, shining like the blue god Vishnu mounted on the back of the ancient serpent Shesha.
21 I found this water both in atomic and elementary creations, as well as in all gross bodies on earth. I found it lying unperceived in the very grain of all things, just as omnipresent Brahman inheres in all substances. 22 This element resides in the tongue which perceives the flavor of things from their particles and conveys the sense to the mind. Hence I believe the feeling of taste relates to the soul and its perception, and not to the physical senses. 23 I did not taste this spiritual taste by means of the body or any of its organs. It is felt only in the inner soul and not by the perceptions of the mind which are misleading and therefore false and unreal. 24 There is this flavor scattered everywhere in the taste of seasonal fruits and flowers. I have tasted them all and left the flowers to be sucked by bees and butterflies. 25 Again the sentient soul abides in the form of this liquid, in the bodies and limbs of all the fourteen kinds of living bodies. 26 It assumes the form of rain showers and mounts on the back of driving winds. Then it fills the whole atmosphere with a sweet aromatic fragrance.
27 Rama, remaining in my state of sublimated trance withdrawal, I perceived the particulars of the world in each individual and particular particle. 28 Remaining unknown and unseen by anybody, I perceived the properties of all things with my physical senses, as I marked those of water appearing as gross matter. 29 Thus I saw thousands of worlds repeatedly rising and falling like the leaves of plantain trees. 30 Thus did this material world appear to me in its immaterial form as a creation of Consciousness presenting a pure and empty aspect. 31 Phenomena is nothing. We have only the mental perception of this world. This also vanishes into nothing when we know this all to be a mere void.
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Chapter 91 — Description of Fire in Creation; Astral Travel
1 Vasishta related:— Then I believed I was identical with light. I saw its various aspects in the luminous bodies of the sun and moon, in the planets and stars, and in fire and all shining objects.
2 This light by its own excellence becomes the light of the universe. It is as brilliant as the mighty monarch before whose all surveying sight the thievish darkness of night flies at a distance. 3 This light, like a good prince, takes upon the likeness of lamps and reigns in the hearts of families and houses in a thousand shapes to drive off the thievish night and restore the properties of all before their sight. 4 Being glad to lighten all worlds, it brightens the globes of the sun, moon and stars who with their rays and beams dispel afar the shade of night from the face of the skies. 5 It dispels the darkness that bereaves all beings from their view of the beauties of nature. It dispenses useful light which brings all to the sight of visible phenomena. 6 It is an axe to the root of the black tree of night. It adds a purity and value to all things. It gives value to all metals and minerals and makes them so dear to mankind. 7 It reveals all sorts of colors, such as white, red, black and others. It is light that causes colors like parents cause children. 8 This light is in great favor with everyone upon this earth. Therefore it is protected with great fondness in all houses, just like they protect their children in homes with earthen walls.
9 I saw a slight light even in the darkness of hell. I saw it partly in the particles of dust which compose all bodies on the surface of the earth. 10 I saw light, the first and best of God’s works, to be eternally present in the homes of the celestials. I saw it as the lamp of the mansion of this world, which before had been a great deep of waters and darkness. 11 Light is the mirror of the celestial gods in all the quarters of heaven. Like the winds, it scatters the dust of frost from before the face of night. It is the essence of the luminous bodies of the sun, moon and fire, and the cause of the red and bright colors of the face of heaven. 12 It exposes grain fields to daylight and ripens their grain by dispelling darkness from the face of the earth. It washes the clear bowl of heaven and glitters on its dewy waters.
13 Because light gives existence and brings all things to view, it is said to be the younger brother of the transcendent light of Divine Consciousness. 14 The light of the sun revives the lotus bed of the actions of mortals and is the life of living beings on earth. It is the source of our sight of the forms of all things, just as the intellect is that of all our thoughts and perceptions. 15 Light decorates the face of the sky with numberless gems of shining stars. Sunlight divides the days, months, years and seasons in the course of time, and makes them appear like passing waves in the ocean of eternity. 16 This immense universe bears the appearance of the boundless ocean in which the sun and moon revolve like rolling waves over the scum of this muddy earth.
17 Light is the brilliance of gold and the color of all metals. It is the glitter of glass and gems, the flash of lightning, and the vigor of men in general. 18 It is moonshine in the nocturnal orb and the glittering of glancing eyelids. It is the brightness of a smiling face and the sweetness of tender and affectionate looks. 19 It gives significance to gestures of the face, arms, and eyes and the frowning of eyebrows. It adds a blush to maiden faces from the sense of their invincibility.
20 The heat of light makes the mighty spurn the world like bits of straw, break an enemy’s head with a slap, and strike the heart of a lion with awe. 21 This heat makes hardy and bold combatants fight each other with drawn and jangling swords, clad in armor clanking on their bodies. 22 It gives the gods their antagonism against the demons and makes the demonic races antagonistic to the gods. It gives vigor to all beings and causes plants to grow.
23 All these appeared to me like a mirage in a desert. I saw them like apparitions in my mind. This scene of the world was situated in the womb of emptiness. These scenes, O bright eyed Rama, appeared to me like an optical illusion. 24 Then I saw the glorious sun above, stretching his golden rays to all ten sides of the universe, flying like a garuda bird in the sky. I also saw this speck of the earth looking like a country estate surrounded by the walls of its mountains. 25 The sun turned about and lent his beams to the moon and to the undersea fire beneath the dark blue ocean. The sun himself stood like the great lamp of the world giving daylight on the stand of the meridian.
26 I saw the moon rising as the face of the sky, a lake of cooling and sweet nectar inside. Moonlight appeared like the soft and sweet smile of the dark goddess of night, and like the glow of the nightly stars. 27 The moon is compared to all beautiful objects in the world. The moon is companion of the evening star and the most beloved night object for women and the blue lotus.
28 I saw twinkling stars like clusters of flowers in the tree of the skies, delighting the eyes and faces. They appeared to me like flocks of butterflies flying in the fair field of the firmament. 29 I saw many shining gems washed away by waters, tossed about by the waving arms of the ocean. I saw many jewels in the hands of jewelers, balanced in their scales.
30 I looked into the undersea fire lying latent in the sea, and the currents moving silvery shrimp in whirlpools. I saw the golden rays of the sun shining like the filaments of flowers upon the waters, and I also saw lightning flashing among clouds. 31 I witnessed the auspicious sacrificial fire blazing with indescribable light. I noted its burning flame, splitting and cracking sacred wood with a crackling and clattering noise. 32 I saw the luster of gold and other metals and minerals, and I found how they are reduced to ashes like learned men overpowered by ignorant fools. 33 I observed the brightness of pearls, which gave them a place in the form of necklaces on women’s breasts, as on the necks and chests of men and demons, and of gandharva spirits and chiefs of men.
34 I saw the firefly with which women adorn their foreheads with bright spots, but which are trod upon as worthless by ignorant passers. Hence the value of things depends on their situation and not their real worth. 35 I saw flickering lightning in unmoving clouds and fickle shrimp gliding upon the waters of the calm ocean. I also heard the harsh noise of whirlpools in the quiet and noiseless sea and marked how restlessness consorted with calmness. 36 Sometimes I saw soft flower petals used as lamps to light bridal beds in inner apartments.
37 Being then exhausted like an extinguished lamp, I became as dark as black pigment and slept silently in my own cell, like a tortoise with its limbs contracted. 38 Being tired with my travel throughout the universe at the kalpanta end of the world, I remained fixed among the dark clouds of heaven, like the elephant of Indra living there in company with his lightning. 39 At the end when the worlds were dissolved and waters absorbed by the undersea fires, I kept myself dancing in the ethereal space, which is devoid of its waters.
40 Sometimes I was carried on high by burning fire with its teeth of sparks and flaming arms, its flying fumes resembling the disheveled hairs on its head. 41 The fire burnt down straw-built houses, fed upon animal bodies, and consumed the eight kinds of wood ordained in sacrificial rites. 42 I saw sparks of fire emitted from the red hot iron hammered by the strokes of blacksmiths. They were rising and flying about like golden brickbats to hit the hammerer.
43 In another place I saw the whole universe lying invisible for ages in the womb of a stony, cosmic egg.
44 Rama said, “Tell me sage. How did you feel confined in the stone? Was it was pleasure or pain to you and the rest of beings?”
45 Vasishta replied:— A man falls into sleep with the dullness of his senses, yet he has his airy intellect fully awake in him. In the same way that outward unconsciousness is filled with intellectual consciousness. 46 The great Brahman awakens the soul when the body lies as unconscious as the dull earth. So the sleeping man remaining in his lethargic state has his internal soul full with the Divine Spirit.
47 Because the earthly or physical body of man is truly a falsity without reality, it appears like a visual phantom to the sight of the spectator. But in reality it is one with unchanged spirit of God. 48 Knowing this certain truth, whoever views these all as an undivided whole sees the five elements as one essence, and the subjective and the objective as the same. 49 Having assimilated myself into the pure spirit of Brahman, I viewed all things in and as Brahman because there is none beside Brahma that is or can be or do anything from nothing. 50 When I saw all these visible phenomena as manifestations of the same Brahman, then I left myself also situated in the state of Brahman himself. 51 On the other hand, when I reflected myself as combined with the fivefold material elements, I found myself reduced to my dull nature, incapable of intellectual reflection and the conception of my higher nature. 52 I thought as if I was asleep in spite of my power of reasoning intellect. Being thus overtaken by my sleepy unconsciousness, how could I think of anything of a transcendental nature?
53 He whose soul is awakened by knowledge loses the sense of his physical body and raises himself to his spiritual form by means of his purer understanding. 54 A man having his sentient and spiritual body, either in the form of a minute particle or larger size as one may wish, remains perfectly liberated from the chains of his body and his bondage in this world. 55 With his intelligent and spiritual body, a man is able enter the impenetrable heart of a hard stone, or to rise to heaven above or descend to the regions below.
56 Hence, O Rama, having my intelligent and subtle body, I did all that I told you with my essence of infinite understanding. 57 In my entrance into the hard stone and my passages up and down the high heaven and the nether world, I experienced no difficulty anywhere. 58 With my subtle and intelligent body, I passed everywhere and felt everything as I used to do with my physical body.
59 A person going of his own accord in one direction and wishing to go in another immediately finds himself then and there by means of his spiritual body. 60 Know this spiritual and subtle body to be no other than your understanding. Now through your own intelligence you can well perceive yourself to be of that imperishable form. 61 Thinking one’s self as empty Consciousness abiding in the sun and all visible objects, the spiritually minded person comes to know the existence of only his self. All else beside himself is nothing.
62 But how is it possible to see the visible world as nonexistent? The answer is that it appears as real as the unreal dream to the sleeping person, but vanishes into nothing upon his waking. Reliance on the nonexistent world is the belief of ignorant man in falsehoods. This reliance is confirmed by habit, although it is not relied upon by others who know the truth. 63 This reliance is as vain as the vanity of our desires and the falsity of our aerial castle building, all of which are as false as the marks of waves left on the sands of beaches, or the marking of anything with charcoal, which is neither lasting nor perceptible to anybody.
64 We see woodlands blooming with full blown flowers and blossoms. But these sights are as deluding as the sparks of fire presenting the appearance of a flower garden in fireworks. 65 These fireworks, prepared with so much labor, burst suddenly at the slight touch of fire, then are blown away as soon as the prosperity of cheats.
66 Rama, I saw the growth of the world to be as false and fleeting as the appearance of light in particles of dust. All these appearing like so many things of themselves are in fact nothing other than the appearances of hills and cities in the emptiness of the mind in our dreams at sleep.
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Chapter 92 — Description of Air in Creation, the Universal Spirit
1 Vasishta continued:— Now in my curiosity to know the world, I thought myself as transformed into the form of the current air, and by degrees extended my essence all over the infinite extent of the universe. 2 I became a breeze with a desire to see the beauty of lovely plants all about me and to smell the sweetness of the fragrant blossoms of kunda, jasmine and lotus.
3 I carried about the coolness of falling rains and snows and dew drops, with a view to restore freshness to the exhausted limbs of tired and weary laborers. 4 My spirit in the form of the current winds carried about the essences of medicinal plants and the fragrance of flowers, and carried away loads of grass, herbs, vines and plant leaves all around. 5My spirit travelled as the gentle warm breeze in the auspicious hours of morning and evening to awaken and lull lovely maids to sleep. Again, it took the tremendous shape of a tornado in storms, breaking down rocks and carrying them away.
6 In paradise it is covered with the reddish pollen of mandara flowers. In the mountains it is white with white frost and snows. In hell it burns in infernal fires. 7 In the sea it has a circular motion with swelling waves and revolving whirlpools. In heaven it carries aloft and moves the clouds, both to cover and uncover the mirror of the moon hidden behind them. 8 In heaven it has the name of prabha air and it holds up the starry frame and guides the course of legions of stars and the cars of their commanding generals, the post of gods.
9 It is considered to be the younger brother of thought owing to its great velocity. It is formless but moves over all forms. Though intangible, yet its touch is as delightful as cooling sandalwood paste. 10 It is old with the white frost it bears on its head, it is youthful spreading the fragrance of spring flowers, and it is young when it is quiet and still. 11Here it travels at large, loaded with the fragrance of Nandana Garden. There it moves freely carrying the perfumes of the grove of the gandharva Chitraratha to tired persons and worn out lovers.
12 Though fatigued with its work of raising and moving the constant waves of the cooling and purifying stream of Ganges, yet it is ever alert to lull the work of others, being quite forgetful of its own weariness. 13 It gently touches its brides of spring plants bending down under the load of their full blown flowers, ever shaking their leafy hands, flitting eyes of fluttering bees resisting its touch. 14 The fleeting air, after drinking dew drops flowing from the moon and being fanned by the cool breath of lotuses, buried its weariness in its soft bed of clouds.
15 Like the swiftest steed of Indra, he carries the powder of all flowers to him in heaven and becomes a companion with Indra’s elephant, who is giddy with the fragrance of his ichor. 16 Then blew the winds with the soft breath of shepherd’s horns, driving clouds away like cattle, blasting showering raindrops that set down the dust of the earth. 17 It is perfumed with the fragrance of flowers flying in the air. It is the birth brother of all sounds which proceed from the womb of emptiness. It runs in the blood and humors, within the veins and arteries of bodies, and is the mover of the limbs of persons. 18 It dwells as life within the hearts of human bodies and is the only cause of all their vital functions. It is ever on its wing. Being omnipresent throughout the world, it is acquainted with the secrets of all the works of Brahma.
19 It is the plunderer of the rich treasure of scents and the supporter of ethereal cities. It is the destroyer of heat and, as the moon, darkness. This air is the Milky Ocean that produces the fair and cooling moon. 20 It forms islands and preserves the machine of living bodies by conducting the vital airs. 21 It is always present before us, yet it is invisible in itself, like an imaginary palace or oil in palm seeds or chains on the legs of infuriated elephants.
22 It blows away all the mountains at the end of the world in a moment. It marks waves with their whirls and collects the sands of rivers. 23 It is false in appearance as water in a cloud of smoke, or a whirlpool in it. It is as invisible as the streams above the sky and lotuses growing in the lakes of the blue ethereal sky. 24 In its form of wind gusts it is covered with bits of rotten grass. It opens lotus blossoms by its gentle breeze and showers down rains in its form of sounding blasts. 25 Its body is like a wind instrument at home, and like an elephant in the forest of the sky. It is a friend to the dust of the earth and a wooer of flowers in woods and gardens.
26 It is always busy in its various acts of solidification and drying, of upholding and moving, and of cooling the body and carrying perfumes. It is constantly employed in these six-fold functions to the end of the world. 27 It is as fleet as light and skillful in extracting juices like penetrating heat. It is ever employed in the acts of contraction and expansion of the limbs of bodies, at the will of everybody. 28 It passes unobstructed through the avenues of every part of the city of the body. By its circulation in the heart, distribution of bile, and blood vessels, it preserves the functions of life. 29 It is expert in repairing the losses of the great citadel of the living body by removing its excrements and replacing its gastric juices, and the formation of its blood and fat, and flesh, bones and skin.
30 I looked through every particle of the body by means of circulating air, just as I viewed every part of the universe by means of the encompassing air. I conduct this body of mine because of my vital airs. 31 The winds carry innumerable particles on their back, as if they were so many worlds in the air. In fact, nothing is carried by them when there is nothing but an utter negative emptiness everywhere.
32 I saw all bodies including those of the gods like Hari and Brahma and the gandharva and vidyadhara celestials. I saw the bright sun and moon, of fire and Indra and others. 33I saw seas, oceans, islands and mountains stretching as far as the visible horizon. I also saw other worlds and the natures and actions of their inhabitants. 34 I saw heaven and earth and the infernal regions and noted their peoples and their lives and deaths. 35 I saw various kinds of beings composed of the five elements. In the form of air I traversed throughout the universe like a bee entering the petals of a lotus flower. 36 In my aerial form, I passed through bodies of all physical beings composed of earth, water, air and fire. I sucked the juice of all animal bodies and drank the moisture of trees drawn by their roots.
37 I passed over all cold and solid bodies and liquid sandalwood paste. I rested in the cool lunar disc and lulled myself on beds of snow and ice. 38 I tasted the sweets of all seasonal fruits and flowers in the tree gardens of every part of this earth. I drunk my fill in the flower cups of spring and left shelters for the honey drink of bees. 39 Then I rolled on the high and soft beds of clouds spread out in the wide fields of the sky, and I slept on soft and downy wings of clouds like a place bedded by heaps of butter. 40 I rested on flower petals, green tree leaves of trees, and on the soft bodies of heavenly nymphs without any lust on my part.
41 I played with lily and lotus blossoms in their beds and bushes. I joined with cackling geese and swans in their pleasure lakes. 42 I moved with the flow of streams and the rippling waters of lakes and channels. I carried the globe of the earth on my back, all her mountains like hairs upon my body. 43 The wide extent of hills and mountains and long streams falling from them, together with all the seas and oceans, were all like pictures reflected in the mirror of my body. 44 All the terrestrials and celestials that lived and moved at large upon my body appeared to be moving and flying about me like lice and flies.
45 By my favor the sun received the various colors with which he shines and which he diffuses to the leaves of trees in the different colors of red, black, white, yellow and green.46 The earth is situated with the seven seas surrounding the seven great continents, like so many bracelets on men’s wrists.
47 I was delighted at the flight of celestial vidyadhari maidens, just as I see gladness within myself. 48 The earth’s rivers of pure water and its solid hills and rocks were like the veins and blood, and flesh and bones of my body. 49 I saw innumerable elephantine clouds and countless suns and moons in the starry frame of the sky, just as I see flights of gnats and flies in the emptiness of my mind.
50 In my minute form of the intellect, O Rama, I held the earth with its footstools of the nether regions upon my head. 51 I remained in my sole empty and spiritual state in all places and things at all times and as my own free agent, and yet without my connection with anything whatsoever. 52 In this state of my spirituality I had the knowledge of both the intellectual and material worlds, and of all finite and infinite, visible and invisible, and formal and formless things. 53 I saw a thousand worlds and mountains and seas in my own spirit. They appeared like carved statues and engravings in the empty tablet of my mind. 54 I carried many hidden and visible worlds in my spiritual body. They showed themselves as clearly to my innermost soul as if they were reflections of real objects in a mirror.
55 So in my empty soul I perceived the four elemental bodies of earth, air, fire and water in the same manner as we see the delusive objects of our dream in the emptiness of our intellect. 56 In that state of my trance, I also saw innumerable worlds rising before me in each particle of matter, appearing to fly before me in the hollow space of vacuum. 57 I saw a world in every atom flying in empty air, just as we see many creations of our dreams, and many creatures in those dreams.
58 I myself became the globe of the earth and the clusters of islands as their pervading spirit, though my spirit never comes in contact with anything at all. 59 With my earthly body I suck rainwater and the waters of the seas in order to supply moisture for trees to produce juicy fruits for the food of living beings.
60 When I came to pure understanding and the clairvoyance of my intellectual sight, I found that the millions of worlds and worldly things disappeared from my view and united in a single unity. 61 This is a miracle of the intellect that strikes wonder in us, that the miracles of the inner mind manifest themselves as external sights before our eyes.
62 I felt it painful to think of the existence of nothing anywhere. But I found out the truth, that there is nothing in reality except one spiritual substance which displays all these wonders in itself. 63 There is only one Universal Soul without decay and the continuous cause of all producing and living throughout the whole. As my soul awakened to knowledge, I saw this whole in the soul of Brahman. 64 Awakened to the knowledge of the Universal Soul as the all and everywhere, omnipresent and all supporting, I became unconscious of all objects and was myself lost in the all subjective unity.
65 Continuous creations appear to rise in the empty, wide vastness of pure Divine Spirit. But the extinction of these extinguishes the burning flame of worldliness in the mind and extends the knowledge of all these ideal particulars into that of one infinite and ever existent entity.
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Chapter 93 — A Siddha Master Comes to Vasishta’s Aerial Home
1 Vasishta continued:— As my mind was turned from the sight of phenomena and employed in meditation of the only One, I found myself suddenly transported to my holy cell in the air. 2 There I lost the sight of my own body. I did not know where I was sitting. Suddenly the sacred person of a spiritual master, an aerial siddha saint, appeared sitting in front of me.
3 He sat in deep meditation, entranced in his thought of the Supreme Spirit. His appearance was as bright as the sun and his body shone like flaming fire. 4 He sat quiet and steadily in lotus posture, absorbed in meditation, having no idea of his body and no thought of anything in his mind. 5 His body was smeared with ash and his head was erect upon his shoulders. He sat quietly with great ease, his face bright and his posture stable. 6 The palms of both his hands were lifted up and set open below his navel. Their brightness caused his lotus petal heart to be as full blown as sunshine expands lotuses in lakes. 7 His eyelids were closed and his eyesight was weak in that he saw all phenomena only in one light of whiteness. His eyes seemed to be sleepy like closing petals of a lotus at the close of the day. 8 His mind was calm in all its thoughts, like the sides of the horizon in their stillness, and his soul was as unperturbed as the serene sky freed from a storm.
9 I could not see my own body, yet I could plainly see that of the saint placed before me. Then I reflected with the clear-sightedness of my discernment. 10 “I find this great and perfect siddha saint in this solitary part of the firmament and I believe him to be as absorbed in his meditation as I am at ease in this lonely spot. 11 It is very likely that this saint, being earnest in his desire for deep meditation and finding my secluded hut favorable, has come here of his own accord. 12 He thought that I had cast off my mortal body and because of his deep attention, could not perceive that I had returned to it. So he threw away what he thought was my dead body and took up residence in this hut of mine.”
13 Seeing the loss of my body here, I thought of going back to my own home (Saptarshi Mandalam, the world of the Seven Rishis). As I was attempting to go there, I renounced my attachment to the lonely hut. 14 This hut had dilapidated over time, leaving only an empty void. The saint who had taken my place inside also lost his place for lack of the hut and fell downward in his meditative mood. 15 Thus I lost that lonely hut together with the loss of my fond desire for it, just as an imaginary city vanishes with the dream and desire which presented it to view.
16 The meditative saint then fell down from it, like rain falling from a cloud, or winds blowing a small cloud in empty air, or like the moon traversing the sky. 17 He fell on the earth like a heavenly spirit falls to earth after the reward for his meritorious acts, and like an uprooted tree falls to the ground. 18 So when wishing for a stable life and home, we see both ending suddenly, as it happened to the falling siddha.
19 Seeing the falling siddha, I felt a kind of concern for him. In the flight of my mind, I came down from heaven in my spiritual form to that spot on earth where he had fallen. 20He fell on the wings of air currents which conveyed him whirling like in a whirlwind beyond the limits of the seven continents and their seven-fold oceans, to a place known as the land of gold and the paradise of the gods. 21 He fell from the sky in the same lotus posture in which he had been sitting, his head and upper body erect owing to the upward motion of his prana and apana breaths. 22 Though hurled from such height and carried such distance, yet he did not wake from the mental inactivity of his samadhi, but fell down unconscious like a stone and as lightly as a bale of cotton.
23 I was greatly concerned for his sake and in my anxiety to waken him, I roared loudly from my place in the sky like a cloud, and I also showered a flood of rainwater on him. 24I threw hailstones, flashing like lightning, to waken him. I succeeded to bring him to sense like clouds rouse the peacock in rainy season. 25 His body flushed and his eyes opened like a blooming flower. The drizzling rains enlivened his soul, as the driving rain makes the lotuses of lakes bloom.
26 Finding him awake and sitting before me, I cast my calm look upon him and very politely asked him about the prosperity of his spiritual concerns. 27 I said, “Tell me, O great sage, who are you? Where do you live and what do you do here? How is it that you are so unaware of your state, in spite of your fall from such a great distance?”
28 Being addressed by me in this manner, he looked steadfastly at me, then remembering his visit at my hut, he replied to me in a voice as sweet like that of a chataka cuckoo to loud sounding clouds. 29 The sagely siddha said, “You sage, shall have to wait awhile until I recollect myself and my former state. Then I will relate the latter incidents of my life.”30 So saying he fell to the recollection of his past incidents, then having them in his memory, he related the particulars to me without any reserve, as if they happened that same day. 31 Then he spoke to me in a voice as soft and cooling as sandalwood paste and moonbeams. The words were as blameless and well spoken, pleasing to my ears and captivating of my soul.
32 The siddha said:— Now I come to know you, sage. I greet you with reverence and beg you to pardon my intrusion, as it is the nature of the good to forgive others’
faults. 33 Know me, O sage, to have long enjoyed the sweets of the gardens of the gods in the form of a butterfly, like a bee sucking honey from lotus flowers in a lake. 34 I fluttered over a running stream and found it swelling with sounding waves at pleasure. Then seeing it whirling with horrid whirlpools, I began to reflect with sorrow in my mind. 35Such is the sight of the troubles in this ocean of the world. The sight overwhelms me with sorrow and grief. I have become like a thirsty and grieving swallow that wails aloud at a lack of rainwater.
36 I find my chief delight consists in consciousness. I perceive no pleasure in worldly enjoyments. Therefore I must rely only upon my intellectual speculations and abide without any anxiety in the unclouded sphere of my spiritual bliss. 37 I see there is no real pleasure here, only what is derived from our sensations of the sensible objects. I find no lasting delight in these, that I should depend upon them. 38 All this is either the emptiness or fabrications of the intellect. Why should I be deluded by these false appearances, as a madman or a deluded mind is apt to do?
39 The phenomena of the senses are like poison that causes unconsciousness, like women delude men and provoke their passions. All sweets are only bitter and all pleasures are only a sort of pleasing pain. 40 This body which is subject to sickness and decay, its mind as fickle as a shrimp, is hourly watched by relentless death, just as an old crane lurks after swimming fish for his prey. 41 The frail body, being subject to instant extinction, is like a bubble of water in the ocean of eternity. It also resembles the flame of a lamp burning brightly before us but which can be extinguished in a moment.
42 What is life other than a stream of water running between the two shores of birth and death? It flows with the currents of passing joys and grief, swells with the waves of incidents, and whirls with the whirlpools of dangers and difficulties. 43 It is muddied by the pleasures of youth and whitened with the hoary froths of old age. It casually emits a few bursting bubbles of joy and gladness which float for a fleeting moment. 44 It runs with the rapid torrent of custom making a harsh noise of current choices. It is overcast by the roaring clouds of envy and anger and overflows the earth in its liquid form. 45 The expression stream of life is as pleasing to the ear as the expression stream of water is soothing to the soul. But its waters are constantly boiling with the heat of the triple sorrows and abounding with whirlpools of illusion and greed that carry us up and down for ever more.
46 The course of the world is like that of a river which carries away present things on its back and brings with its current what was unforeseen and unexpected. It is thus full of these events. 47 All that was present before us is lost and carried away. It is vain to regret their loss. Whatever was never thought of before comes to pass. But what reliance can we have on any of them?
48 The waters of all the rivers on earth continually pass away and are filled in turn from their sources. But the water of life in the river of the body, once gone, is never replenished from any source. 49 Changes in fortune are constantly turning like a potter’s wheel over the destinies of people, affecting some person or another at every moment in this ocean of the world. 50 A thousand thieves and enemies of our estate are constantly wandering about to rob us of our properties, and nothing helps whether we sleep or wake to ward them off.
51 The particles of our lives are wasting and falling off every moment. Yet it is a wonder that nobody is aware of the loss of the days of his life, as long as he has only a little while to live. 52 The present day is reckoned as ours, but it soon passes like previous past ones. Ignorant of the flight of days, nobody thinks about the duration of his life until he comes to meet with his death. 53 We have lived long to eat and drink, to move about from place to place, and to travel in foreign lands and woods. We have felt and seen all sorts of happiness and sorrow. Say what more is there that we can expect to have for our share?
54 Having well known the pain and pleasure of grief and joy and experienced their changes and the reverses of fortune, I am fully impressed with the idea of the impermanence of all things and therefore keep from seeking anything. 55 I have enjoyed all enjoyments and seen their impermanence everywhere. Yet I found no satisfaction or distaste for anything, nor felt my cool renunciation for them anywhere.
56 I wandered on the tops of high hills and travelled in the airy regions on the summits of Mount Meru. I travelled to the cities of many rulers of men, but met with nothing of any real good to me anywhere. 57 I saw the same woody trees, the same kind of earthly cities, and the same sort of fleshy animal bodies everywhere. I found them all frail and transitory, full of pain and misery as never to be liked. 58 I saw that no riches or friends, and no relatives or enjoyments of life were able to preserve anyone from the clutches of death. 59 Man passes away as soon as rainwater glides down mountain glades. He is carried away by the hand of death as quickly as a heap of hollow ash is blown away by the wind.
60 No enjoyment is desirable to me. The attraction of prosperity has no charm for me when I find my life is as transient as the passing glance of a loving woman. 61 How and where and whose help shall we seek, O sage, when we see a hundred evils and imminent death hanging over our heads every day? 62 Our lives are as frail as falling leaves upon the withered woods of our bodies. The moisture they used to derive is soon dried up and exhausted. 63 I passed my life in vain desires and expectations and derived nothing that is of any intrinsic good or profit to me.
64 My delusion is at last removed and I see it is useless to carry the burden of my body any longer. I find it better to place no reliance upon it rather than lowering ourselves by depending on it.
65 All prosperity is only adversity because of its transitory and illusive nature. Therefore the wise, accounting it as such, place no reliance on the vanities of this world.
66 Men are sometimes led by the directions and prohibitions of the scriptures, like objects carried by rising and falling waters. 67 The poisonous air of worldliness contaminates the sweet scent of reason in the mind of man. Worldliness is harmful to a person like a caterpillar in a flower bud corrodes the future flower. 68 The vanities of the world are usually taken for realities, as all other unrealities in nature are commonly taken for actualities. 69 Men are moving about with their bodies upon earth with as much haste as rivers running to the seas. Thus the great mass of mankind here is seen in pursuit of the sensible objects of desires.
70 The desires of our hearts run to their objects with the speed of arrows flying from an archer’s bow. But they never return to their seat in the heart or the bowstring, like ungrateful friends forsaking us in our adversity. 71 Our friends are our enemies, like blasts of wind that blow us away. All our relations are our bonds and chains and our riches are only causes of our poverty. 72 Our pleasures cause our pains and prosperity is the source of adversity. All enjoyments are sufferings and in the end all fondness tends towards distaste and dislike. 73 All prosperity and adversity tend only to our temporary joy and misery. Our life is only a prelude to our extinction. All these are the display of our unavoidable delusion.
74 As time glides on, its shows a man various sights of joy and misery. The poor creature lives only to see the loss of his friends and to complain at his hapless and helpless longevity. 75 Enjoyment of pleasures is like playing with the fangs of a deadly serpent. They kill you as soon as you touch them and they disappear from your sight whenever you look at them.
76 Life is spent without any attempt to attain that perfect state which is obtained without any pain or struggle. Instead, life is employed every day in the hardships of acquiring perishable, worthless things. 77 Men bound to their carnal desires are exposed every moment to shame and the insults of the rich, like wild elephants tied with strong chains at their feet. 78 Our fortunes and favorites are not only as frail and fickle as passing waves and bubbles, they also are deadly like the fangs of a snake. Who is there so silly as to take rest under the shadow of the hood of enraged serpent?
79 Granted, the objects of desire are pleasing and the gifts of prosperity are very charming. Still, what are they and this life other than the fickle glances of a mistress’ eyes? 80Those who enjoy pleasures now must come to feel them quite tasteless at the end and fall into the hell-pit at last. 81 I take no delight in riches worshipped only by the vulgar, always subject to disputes, earned with labor, kept with great care, and yet as unstable as the winds. 82 Fortune which is so favorable for a while, turns to misfortune in a moment. She is very charming to her possessor, but she is as fickle by nature as the fleeting flash of lightning. 83 Riches are like flatterers, very flattering at first and as long as they last, but as fleeting as those deceitful cheats who mock us upon their loss. 84 The blessings of health, wealth and youth are as impermanent as the fleeting shadows of autumn clouds. The enjoyments of sensual pleasures are destructive at the end.
85 Say, who has remained the same to the end of his journey in this world, even among the great? The lives of men are as fleeting as dew drops trickling on the edges of tree leaves. 86 Our bodies decay in time, our hair turns grey with age, and teeth fall off. All things in the world wear out except our desires which know no decrease or decay. 87 Carnal enjoyments, like wild beasts, end up decaying us in the forest of the body. But the poison plant of our desire growing in that forest is always flourishing.
88 Our boyhood passes as quickly as our infancy and our youth passes as quickly as our boyish days. Here there is an equal impermanence seen in both the comparison and the object compared. 89 Life melts away as quickly as water trickling out of our palms. Like the current of a river, it never returns to its source. 90 The body passes away as hurriedly as a hurricane sweeps in the air. It vanishes even before we see it, like a wave or a cloud, or as fast as the flame of a lamp.
91 I have found unpleasantness in what I thought to be very pleasant, and found the unsteadiness of what I believed to be steady. I have known the unreality of what I took to be real and hence I have become distrustful and disgusted of the world. 92 The ease and rest that attend the soul and the cool detachment of the mind can never be obtained in any enjoyment that the upper or nether world can ever give anybody.
93 I find the pleasurable objects of my senses still allure me to their trap, just as a fruit or flower entices the foolish bee to fall upon it.
94 Now after a long time, I am quite released from my selfish egoism. My mind has become indifferent to the desire of future rewards and heavenly bliss. 95 I have long found rest in my solitary bliss of emptiness. I have come here, like you, to this ethereal cell. 96 Afterwards I learned that this cell belonged to you. But I never thought that you would return to it. 97 I saw a lifeless body and thought it to be the frame of a spiritual master and saint who, having left his mortal body, became absorbed in his nirvana.
98 Sage, what I have just told you is my story. I am seated here as I am and you can do whatever you may like with me. 99 Until a spiritual master sees all things in his mind and considers them well in his clear judgment, he is incapable of seeing the past, present and future in his clairvoyance, even though he be as perfect as the nature of the lotus-born Brahma himself.
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Chapter 94 — Conclusion of Siddha Story; Vasishta Travels like a Pisacha; Description of Pisachas, Origin from Brahma
1 Vasishta continued:—
Now as we were at a place of great extent, as bright as the golden sphere of heaven, I spoke to the siddha as a friend. 2 I said, “Sage, it is true what you said, that it is the lack of due attention which prevents our comprehensive knowledge of the present, past, and future. But it is a defect not only of yours and mine, but of the minds of all mankind in general. 3 I say so from my right knowledge of the defects and fallibility of human nature. Or else sage, you would not have to fall from your aerial seat. But pardon me, I am equally fallible also. 4 Therefore, rise from this place and let us go to the aerial abode of the siddha spiritual masters where we were seated before, because one’s own seat is the most pleasant to man and self-perfection is the best of all perfections.”
5 So saying, we both got up and rose as high as the stars of heaven. We directed our course in the same way as a flying traveler or a stone flung in the air. 6 Then we took leave of each other with mutual farewells and each of us went to the place that was desirable to him. 7 I have now related to you fully the whole of this story, whereby you may know, O Rama, the wonderful occurrences that happens to us in this ever changeful world.
8 Rama said, “Tell me sage, how and with what form of body did you did travel about the regions of the spiritual masters when your mortal frame was reduced to dust?”
9 Vasishta replied:—
Ah! I remember it, and I will tell you the details about how I wandered throughout these worlds until I arrived at the city of the Lokapala (Guardians of the World) gods and joined with the hosts of spiritual masters traveling in the regions of the midway sky. 10 I travelled in the regions of Indra without being seen by anybody because since losing my material frame, I was passing in my spiritual body. 11 O Rama, I had become of an aerial form in which there was neither receptacle nor recipient beside the nature of empty and intellectual soul. 12 I was neither the subject nor the object of perception by persons like yourself, who dwell on material objects alone. Nor did I make any reckoning of the distance of space or succession of time.
13 The soul (the aerial form) is concerned with the thinking principle of the mind, not the various material objects composed of earth and the other elements. The soul is like the meditative mind or ideal man that meddles with no material substance. 14 It is not pressed or confined by material things, but is always busy with its reflections. The soul deals with beings in the same way as men in sleep do with the objects of their dream.
15 Rama, know that the simile of dreaming to explain the doctrine of the reasoning intellect is quite irrefutable, although it is refuted by others. 16 As the sleeping man thinks he is walking and acting in his dream, without such actions being perceived by others, so I thought that I walked before and saw the aerial beings without their seeing me. 17 I saw all other terrestrial bodies lying manifest before me. But nobody could see me hidden from their sight in my spiritual form.
18 Rama asked, “Sage, if you were invisible to the gods, owing to your bodiless, empty form, then how could you be seen by the siddha in the Kanaka land? How could you see others without having eyes of your own?”
19 Vasishta replied:—
We spiritual beings view all things by means of our inner knowledge of them, just as other people see the things they desire to see and nothing for which they have no desire.20 All men, though possessed of pure souls, forget their spiritual nature by being too deeply engaged in worldly affairs and unspiritual matters.
21 I wished that this siddha person could have sight of me. So according to my wish, I was observed by him, because every man obtains what he earnestly desires. 22 Men being negligent in their purposes become unsuccessful in their desires. But being strong to my purpose and never swerving from my pursuit, I succeeded in gaining my desired object.23 When two persons are engaged in the same pursuit, or one of them is opposed to the views of the other, the effort of the stronger effort is crowned with success and that of the weaker effort meets with failure.
24 Then I travelled in my spiritual body through aerial regions of the Lokapala regents of the sky. Passing by the celestial city of the siddha spiritual masters, I saw people with manners quite different from my former habits. 25 Then I began to observe their strange manners in ethereal space and being unseen by anyone there, I distinctly saw everybody there and their mode of life and dealings. I was amazed.
26 I called them aloud, but they neither heard nor gave heed to my voice. They appeared to me like empty phantoms, like the images of our dreams and visions. 27 I tried to lay hold of some of them, but my hands could grasp none. They evaded my touch, just like the ideas of images in the human mind. 28 Thus Rama, I remained like a demoniac pisacha spirit in the abode of the holy gods. I thought I had been transformed into a pisacha spirit in the open air.
29 Rama asked, “Tell me sage. What kind of beings in this world are pisachas? What are their natures and forms? What are their states and occupations?”
30 Vasishta replied:—
I will tell you, Rama, what sort of beings the pisachas are in this world, because it is rude on the part of a teacher not to answer the questions of the audience.
31 The pisachas are a sort of aerial being with a subtle body. They have hands and feet and other body parts like you do, and they see all things as you do. 32 Sometimes they assume the form of a shadow to terrify people. At other times they enter peoples’ minds in an aerial form in order to mislead them to error and wicked purposes. 33 They kill weak bodied people, eat their flesh, and suck up their blood. They lay a siege about the mind and destroy men’s vitals, internal organs, strength and lives.
34 Some of them have aerial forms, some have the form of frost, and others are like imaginary men with airy forms that we see in our dreams. 35 Some have the form of clouds and others a nature like the winds. Some carry illusory bodies. But all of them possess mind and understanding.
36 They do not have any tangible form that we can hold or that they can use to hold anyone else. They are merely empty airy bodies, yet conscious of their own existence. 37They are susceptible of feeling the pain and pleasure occasioned by heat and cold. But they are incapable of the actions of eating, drinking, holding, or supporting anything with their spiritual bodies. 38 They possess desire, envy, fear, anger and greed, and they are also liable to delusion and illusion. They are capable of being subjugated through the spell of mantras, the charm of drugs, and through other rites and practices. 39 It is likewise possible to see and control some of them by means of incantations, captivating exorcisms, amulets, and spirit chanting invocations.
40 They are all the progeny of fallen gods. Therefore some of them carry the forms of gods also. While some have human forms, others are like serpents and snakes in appearance. 41 Some have forms similar to dogs and jackals, and some are found living in villages and woods. There are many that reside in rivers, mud and mire, and hell pits.
42 I told you all about the forms and homes and doings of pisachas. Now hear me now tell you about the origin and birth of these beings.
43 Know that an omnipotent power of its own nature exists forever. It is unintelligible Consciousness itself and it is known as Brahman the great. 44 Know this as the living soul, which being condensed becomes ego. The condensation of egoism makes the mind. 45 This Divine Mind is called Brahma, which is the empty form of the Divine Will. Brahma is the insubstantial origin of this unreal world, which is as formless as the hollow mind.
46 So the mind exists as Brahma, whose form is that of formless emptiness. It is the form of a person seen in our dream, which is an entity without reality or physical body. 47 It was devoid of any earthly material or elemental form, and existed only in an immaterial and spiritual form. For how is it possible for the principle of will existing in empty air to have a material body?
48 Rama, as you see an aerial city in the imagination of your mind, so the mind of Brahma imagines itself as Virinchi, the creator of the world. 49 Whatever one sees in his imagination, he considers it to be true for the time. Whatever is the nature and capacity of any being, he knows all others to be of the same sort as himself. 50 Whatever the empty soul sees in its empty sphere, the same it knows to be true, just as the spirit and the mind of Brahma exhibit this ideal world as a reality. 51 Thus the contemplation of the present spectacle of the world as ever existing at all times strengthens the belief in its reality, like that of a protracted and romantic dream.
52 The long meditation of Brahma in his spiritual form of the creative power, presented to him the ideas of multitudes of worlds and varieties of creations, of which he became the creator. 53 The ideal, being perfected, grew compact and took a tangible form which afterwards was called the world and all the many varieties of which it is composed.
54 This Brahma, the creative mind, is the same as Brahman the Supreme Soul. These two are forever identical with the uncreated soul and body of the universe. 55 These two (Divine Spirit Brahman and mind Brahma) are always one and the same being, like the sky and its emptiness. They forever abide together in unity, like the wind and its movement.
56 The Divine Spirit sees the phenomenal world as a phantom, nothing real, just as you see the unreality of a figure of your imagination. 57 This Brahma then displayed himself in the form of a material body named Viraj consisting of the fivefold elements of earth, water and the rest as the five solid and liquid parts of his person. 58 As this triple nature (soul, mind and material frame) of the god is no more than the variation of his will, so it represented itself as the one or the other in its thought only, and not in reality. 59 Brahma himself is empty consciousness. His will consists in the emptiness of consciousness. Therefore the production and destruction of the world resemble the rise and fall of figures in the dreaming state of the human mind.
60 As the Divine Mind of Brahma is a reality, so its parts and contents are also real and its acts or productions of the sun, moon, and stars, as well as their rays, the Marichis, are also real. 61 Thus the existence of the world and all its contents is called the dominion of the mind which is only an unsupported emptiness, like the emptiness of the unsupported sky on high. 62 As a city seen in dream is insubstantial and a hill formed in imagination is a mere void, so both Brahma and his world are like the transparent sky, having no shape or substance of them. 63 So the world is only a reflection of Divine Consciousness. It is ever existent without decay. Belief in a beginning, middle or end of creation is as false as the sight of the ends and midpoint of skies.
64 Tell me, Rama, whether you find any material substance growing in the empty space of your mind or any other person’s mind. If you find no such thing there, then how can you suppose it to exist in the emptiness of Divine Consciousness and in the emptiness of the universe? 65 Then tell me why and from where feelings and passions, such as anger, affection, hate and fear, take their rise? All these are of no good to anybody, but rather harmful to many. 66 In truth I tell you that these are not created things, yet they seem to rise and fall of themselves, like our wrong notions of the production and destruction of the world. These are only eternal ideas, equally eternal with the eternal mind of God.
67 The vast extent of infinite void is full with the clear water of Divine Consciousness. But being soiled by our imaginary conceits, this produces the dirt of false realities. 68 The boundless space of Divine Consciousness is filled with the empty spirit of God which, being the primary productive seed of all, has produced these multitudes of worlds scattered about and rolling like stones in the air.
69 There is really no field and no seed which is sown there in reality. Nor is there anything which is ever grown or produced. But whatever there is exists forever as the same.
70 Now among the scattered seeds of souls, there are some that grow mature and put forth in the forms of gods. Others are of a bright appearance and become intelligences and saints. 71 Those that are half mature become human beings and naaga races. Still others are put forth in the forms of insects, worms and vegetables. 72 Those seeds which are bloated and choked and become fruitless at the end, these produce the wicked pisachas, which are bodiless bodies of empty and aerial forms. 73 It is not that Virinchi or Brahma made them so of his own accord or will. They became so according to the desire which they created in themselves in their prior existence.
74 All existent beings are as insubstantial as the Consciousness in which they exist. They all have their spiritual bodies which are quite separate from the material forms in which you behold them. 75 It is by your long habit that you have contracted the knowledge of their materiality, just as it has become habitual with us to think ourselves to be waking in our dreaming state. 76 All living bodies are accustomed to think of their physicality and to live content with their frail and base material forms. In the same way, pisachas are habituated to pass gladly in their ugly forms.
77 Some men look upon others and know them as well as villagers know and deal with their fellow villagers. But they resemble people living together as seen in a dream. 78Some meet with many men, like in a city constructed in dream, and are quite unacquainted with one another because of their distant homes and different nationalities. 79 In this manner, there are many races of beings of whom we are utterly ignorant, such as pisachas, kumbhandas, pretas, yakshas and others.
80 As the waters on earth collect only in the lowlands, so pisachas and demons dwell only in dark places. 81 Should a dark pisacha dwell in bright midday light, upon a sunny shore or open space, it darkens that spot with the gloominess of its appearance. 82 Even the sun is unable to dispel that darkness. Because a dark demon is so delusive and evades human sight, no one can discover the place where he makes his home. 83 As the sun and moon and the furnace of a burning fire appear bright before our eyes, so on the contrary the home of pisachas is ever hidden by impenetrable darkness which no light can pierce.
84 The pisachas are naturally of a wonderful nature that vanishes like sparks of fire in daylight and become lighted again in the dark.
85 Now Rama, in the course of this discourse I have fully described the origin and nature of the pisacha race, and how then I had become like one of them in the regions of the regents of the celestials.
Chapter 95 — Description of Vasishta’s Bodies
1 Vasishta continued:— Having my ethereal intellectual body, which was quite free from the composition of the five elements, I travelled about in the air like a pisacha ghost, seeing all and seen by none. 2 I was not perceived by the sun or moon or by the gods Hari, Hara, Indra and others. I was quite invisible to the spiritual masters, gandharvas, kinnaras and apsaras of heaven.
3 I was astonished to realize, like any honest person who is a stranger in another’s house, that the residents of the place did not perceive me, though I advanced towards them and called them to me. 4 Then I thought to myself that as these ethereal beings were seekers of truth like me, it was right that they should see me among them in their ethereal abode. 5 Then they began to see me standing before them. They felt astonished at my un-thought appearance, just as the spectators are startled at the sudden sight of a juggler’s trick in some magic show. 6 Then I managed myself as I should in the house of the gods. I sat quietly in their presence and addressed and approached them without any fear.
7 Those who saw me and were unacquainted with the details of who I was, thought that I was only an earthly being known as Vasishta. 8 When I was in sunlight by the celestials in heaven, they took me for the enlightened Vasishta, who is well known in the world. 9 As I was seen afloat in the air by the aerial spiritual master siddhas, they called me by the name of the aerial Vasishta. 10 The watery sages who rose from amidst the waters of the deep saw me and called me the watery Vasishta, from my birth in the water. 11 I came to be known under different names by different sets of beings. Some called me the earthly Vasishta, and others named me the luminous, the aerial, and so forth according to their own kind.
12 Then in course of time, my spiritual body assumed a material form which sprang from within me and of my own will. 13 That spiritual body and this material form that I have were equally aerial and invisible because it was only in my intellectual mind that I perceived the one and the other. 14 Thus my soul, the pure intellect, appears sometimes as emptiness and at others shining as the clear sky. It is transcendent spirit without any form. It takes this form for your benefit.
15 The liberated living soul is as free as the empty spirit of Brahman, although it may deal with others in its physical body. The liberated bodiless soul remains as free as the great Brahman himself.
16 As for myself, I could not attain the station of Brahma, though I practiced the rules to obtain my liberation. Being unable to attain a better state, I have become the sage Vasishta that you see before you. 17 Yet I look upon this world in the same light of being immaterial as the sage sees the figure of a person in his dream. It appears to him to have a material form, though it is a formless nonentity in reality. 18 In this manner the self-born god Brahma and others, and the whole creation at large, present themselves as visions to my view, without their having any entity in reality.
19 Here I am the self-same empty and aerial Vasishta appearing as an imaginary shape before you. I am habituated to believe myself over grown, as you are accustomed to think of the density of the world. 20 All these are only empty essences of the self-born Brahma, and as that god is no other than the Divine Mind, so is this world nothing more than a production of that mind. 21 The appearance of me, you and others, together with that of the whole world, proceeds from our ignorance. It is like the apparitions of empty ghosts before deluded children, appearing as solid realities to your sight.
22 Being aware of this truth, it is possible for you to grow wise in course of time. Then your delusion is sure to disappear, just as our worldly bonds are cut off by renouncing our desires and affections. 23 Our knowledge of the density and reality of the world is dispelled by true wisdom in the same way our desire of a jewel in a dream is dispelled upon waking. 24 The sight of phenomena immediately vanishes from view as we arrive to the knowledge of truth, just as our desire of deriving water from a mirage disappears with our knowledge of the falsity of the view.
25Reading this Vasishta Maharamayana is sure to produce the knowledge of self-liberation in its reader, even during his lifetime in this world. 26 The man whose mind is addicted to worldly desires and thinks its vanities are his real good leads a life of misery like those of insects and worms. He is unfit to be born as a human being in spite of all his knowledge of this world and all his holy devotion. 27 The liberated man, while he lives, considers the enjoyments of his life to be no enjoyment at all. But the ignorant person only values his temporary enjoyments instead of his everlasting bliss. 28 By reading this Maharamayana, there arises a coldness in the mind resembling a frost falling on spiritual knowledge.
29 Liberation is the cold detachment of the mind and our bondage consists in the passions of our minds and hearts. Yet the human race is quite opposed to cold detachment and, in their foolishness, men diligently pursue only temporal welfare, much to the astonishment of the wise. 30 Here all men are subject to their senses and addicted to the increase of wealth and family, all to the injury of each another. Yet it is possible for them to be happy and wise, if they will only reflect well upon the true meaning of spiritual scriptures.
31 Valmiki says:— After the sage had said these words, the assembly broke with the setting sun and mutual salutations to perform their evening devotion. They made their ablutions as the sun sank down into the deep, and again went back to the court with the rising sun at the end of the night.
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Chapter 96 — Summation of the Story of the Stone; Nothing Exists or Does Not Exist
1 Vasishta resumed:— O intelligent Rama! I have described at length the story of the stone which shows you plainly how all these created things are situated in the emptiness of Divine Consciousness, 2 and how nothing whatever exists at anytime or place or in the air except the one undivided intellect of God which is situated in itself, like salt and water mixed together.
3 Know Brahman as Consciousness which presents many imaginary shows of itself in the dream which is inseparable from itself. 4 God being the Universal Spirit and creation full of manifestations, it is not inconsistent to the nature of the universal and immutable soul to contain endless varieties of manifestations in the infinite emptiness of Divine Consciousness without any change in itself.
5 There is no self-born creative power as Brahma or its creation of the world. The world is only a production of the dreaming intellect. It is situated in our consciousness, just as the dreams are imprinted in the memory. 6 As the city seen in your dream is situated intellectually in yourself, so the entire universe, from its creation to its annihilation, is situated in Divine Consciousness. 7 As there is no difference between gold and the gold mountain of Meru, or between the dreamed city and the mind, so there is no difference whatever between the intellect and its creation.
8 Only consciousness exists and not the world of its creations, just as the mind exists without the gold mountain of its dream. 9 As the mind shows itself in the form of the formless mountain in its dream, so the formless Brahman manifests itself as the world of forms, which is nothing in reality. 10 Consciousness is all this vacuum, uncreated, unbounded and endless, neither produced nor destroyed in thousands of the great mahakalpa ages.
11 This intellectual vacuum is the living soul and Lord of all. It is the ego without decay and embraces all the three worlds in itself. 12 The living body becomes a lifeless carcass without this aerial form intellect. Consciousness is neither broken nor burnt with the fragile and burning body, nor is there any place to extract the empty intellect from the body.13 Therefore there is nothing that dies and nothing that ever comes to being. Consciousness being the only being in existence, the world is only a manifestation of itself to the mind.
14 Consciousness alone is the embodied and living soul and should it ever be supposed to die, then the son would be thought to die by the death of the father because the one is only a reproduction of the other. 15 Again the death of one living soul would involve the wholesale death of all living creatures, and then the earth would be void of all its population.
16 Therefore, O Rama, no one’s intellectual soul has ever died anywhere up to this time. Nor has there ever been any country devoid of a living soul. 17 Knowing that I am one with the Eternal Soul and the body and its senses are not mine, I do not know how I or anyone else could ever die at anytime. 18 He who knows that he is the purely intellectual soul, and yet ignores it and thinks to himself that he is dying like a mortal being, truly is the destroyer of his soul and casts himself into a sea of troubles and misery.
19 If I am the intellectual soul, without decay and everlasting, as transparent as the open air, then tell me, what is life or death to me, and what does my happiness or misery mean in any state? 20 Being the empty and intelligent soul, I have no concern with my body. Anyone conscious of his soul who forgets to believe himself as such is truly a destroyer of his soul. 21 The wise consider a foolish man who has lost his consciousness of being the purely empty soul to be a living dead body.
22 The knowledge that I am the intelligent soul and the bodily senses are not essential to me is what leads me to attain to the state of pure spirituality, which neither death nor misery can deprive. 23 He who remains firm, relying upon the pure intellectual soul, is never assailed by disasters, but is unaffected by sorrow as a block of stone to a flight of arrows. 24 Those who forget their spiritual nature and place their trust in the body are like foolish people who ignore gold and collect ashes.
25 The belief that I am the body, its strength and its perceptions falsifies my faith in these and destroys my reliance on the spirit. But my trust in the spirit confirms my faith in spirit by removing my belief in the body and its senses. 26 The belief that I am pure empty consciousness, quite free from birth and death, is sure to dispel all illusions of feelings and passions and affections. 27 Those who neglect the sight of empty consciousness, unable to see their bodies in the light of the spirit, deserve the name of physical beasts and are receptacles of only physical desires and passions.
28 He who knows himself to be unbreakable and unburnable like a solid and impenetrable stone, not in his unreal body but in his consciousness, cares little for his death. 29 O the delusion that spreads over the sight of clear-sighted sages who fear total annihilation at the loss of their bodies. 30 When we are firmly settled in our belief in the indestructible nature of empty consciousness, we are led to regard the fire and thunder of the last day of destruction in the light of a shower of flowers over our heads.
31 I am imperishable consciousness and nothing that is perishable. Therefore the wailing of a man and his friends at the point of death appears as a ridiculous comedy to the wise. 32 That I am my inner intelligence and not the outer body or its sensations, is a belief that serves as an cure against the poison of all grief and sorrows. 33 That I am empty consciousness without any annihilation and that the world is full of intelligence, is a sober truth which can never admit any doubt.
34 Should you suppose yourselves to be anything other than consciousness, then tell me, you fools. Why do you vainly talk of the soul and what do you mean by it? 35 Should the intelligent soul be liable to death, then it is dead with dying people every day. Then tell me how you live and are not already dead with the departed souls of others? 36Therefore the intelligent soul neither dies nor comes to life at anytime. It is only a false idea of the mind to think it is living or dying; it never dies.
37 As the intellect thinks to itself, so it beholds the same within itself. It goes on thinking in its habitual mode. It is never destroyed in its essence. 38 It sees the world in itself, and is likewise conscious of its freedom. It knows all that is pleasurable or painful without changing from its unalterable nature at anytime or place. 39 It is liable to delusions through knowledge of its embodiment, but by knowledge of its true nature, it becomes acquainted with its own freedom.
40 There is nothing whatever that is produced or destroyed at anytime or in any place. Everything is contained in the sole and self-existent Consciousness, displayed in its clear and empty sphere.
41 There is nothing real or unreal in the world. Everything is taken in the same light as it is displayed by Consciousness. 42 Whatever the intelligent soul thinks to itself in this world, it retains the ideas of them in the mind. Everything is judged by one’s consciousness of it. Something which one thinks to be poison, another believes to be nectar.
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Chapter 97 — Different Beliefs Lead to the Same Unity; Examples of Self-realized
1 Vasishta continued:— The world is only a vision of the Supreme Soul situated in the emptiness of the Divine Mind. The world appears in our consciousness as the idea of Brahman. 2 The delusion of the visionary world, being too tangible to our view, has kept the Supreme Spirit out of our sight, just as the spirit of the wine is kept hidden in the liquor, though it can never be lost.
3 Our belief in the endless emptiness and in the absence of any positive existence in reality, necessarily results because we discard unreal phenomena as delusion and we recognize the real as incomprehensible.
4 The principal source is that the embodied Consciousness, called the soul, is the supreme cause, and the world proceeds from the unknown principle. The truth of this view of the creation rests wholly upon the opinion of the philosopher Kapila.
5 The Vedantists believe that the visible world is the form of the all pervasive spirit of God. This opinion regarding the formal world and its inherent principle depends solely upon the conception of these philosophers. 6 The position of the Positive and Atomic philosophers of the Nyaya system is that the world is a collection of particles. All these doctrines are relied upon and maintained by the best belief of every party. 7 Some believe that both present and future worlds are as they are seen and thought to be. The spiritually minded person looks upon the world neither as an entity nor a nonentity. 8 Others acknowledge only the outer world and nothing which is beyond their eyesight. These Charvaka atheists do not believe even in the existence of the intelligent soul within their bodies. 9 There are others who, seeing the constant changes and fluctuations of things with time, attribute omnipotence to time and have become concerned with time with a belief of the vanishing away of the world. 10 The belief of foreigners regarding the resurrection of the soul from the grave, which is built on the analogy of a sparrow flying away from its imprisonment, has gained a firm ground in the minds of men in these countries, and is never doubted by any of them.
11 The tolerant sage looks at all apparent differences alike and takes them in equal light. They know that all these varieties in the world are only manifestations of the one all pervading and unchanging soul. 12 The nature of the world is to go on in its course, so it is natural for the wise to entertain these various opinions regarding the world. The truth, however, is quite mysterious and hard find by inquiry. But it is certain that there is an all-creative power guided by intelligence and design in all its works.
13 That there is one creator of all is the truth arrived at by all godly men and truthful minds. Whoever is certain of this truth is sure to arrive at it without any obstruction. 14 That this world exists and a future one also are the firm beliefs of the faithful, and that their sacred ablutions and oblations to that end never go for nothing. Such assurance on their part is sure to lead them to the success of their object.
15 Reality is an infinite emptiness. That is the conclusion arrived at by the Buddhist. But there is nothing to be gained by this inquiry, nor any good to be derived from a void nothingness. 16 It is Divine Consciousness that everyone seeks, just as they seek a priceless gem or the kalpa, wish fulfilling tree of life. This fills our inner soul with the fullness of the Divine Spirit.
17 The Lord is neither emptiness nor non-emptiness. It is not a nonentity as some maintain. He is omnipotent, and this omnipotence does not abide in him, nor is it without him, but is the same as he. 18 Therefore let everyone rely upon his own belief until he arrives to the true and spiritual knowledge of God. By doing so he will obtain the reward of his faith and therefore he must refrain from fickleness.
19 Therefore consult with the learned and judge with them about the right course. Then accept and follow what is best and correct and reject all what proves to be otherwise.20 A man becomes wise by knowledge of scriptures, by practicing the conduct of the good, and by associating with the wise and good, wherever such persons may be found. 21He who serves and attends upon the preachers of sacred scriptures and those who practice good and moral conduct is deemed a wise man, and his company also is to be resorted to by the wise. 22 All living beings are naturally impelled towards whatever tends to their real good, just as the nature of water is to seek its own level. Therefore men should choose the company of the good for their own best good.
23 Men are carried away like bits of straw by the waves in the eventful ocean of the world. Their days pass as rapidly as dew drop falling from blades of grass.
24 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, who are those far seeing persons who, sensing this world to be full of weeds and thorns, come at last by their right judgment to rest in the state of indescribable bliss?”
25 Vasishta replied:— Scriptures state that among all classes of beings, there are some such persons whose presence sheds a luster as bright as broad daylight. 26 Beside them are others who are quite ignorant of truth, tossed about and whirled up and down like straw by the whirling waters of the dangerous whirlpool of ignorance in the dark and dismal ocean of this world. 27 These are drowned in their enjoyments, lost from the bliss of their souls. They are ever burning in the flames of worldly cares. Some such are among the gods who are burning on high like mountain trees inflamed by wildfire. 28 Proud demigods were vanquished by hostile gods, cast down into the abyss by Narayana like big elephants into the pit with the ichor of their giddiness. 29 Gandharva songsters show no sign of right reason in them. Being giddy with the wine of melody, they fall into the hands of death just like silly stags caught in a snare. 30 Vidyadharas are mad with their knowledge and do not esteem the esoteric and grand science of divinity for their liberation. 31 Yakshas, impregnable themselves, are ever apt to injure all others on earth. They exercise their harmful powers chiefly upon helpless infants, old men, and other weak and infirm people. 32 Then there are the huge and elephant-like rakshasa demons who have been repeatedly destroyed by Vishnu and will be utterly eradicated by you like a herd of sheep by a powerful lion. 33 Pisacha cannibals are always in quest of human prey. They devour their bodies like fire consumes offerings. Therefore they are in utter darkness of spiritual knowledge. 34 The naaga race that dwells underground resembles stalks of lotuses drowned under the water, or tree roots buried in the earth. Therefore they are quite unconscious of truth. 35 Those of the asura race dwelling in underground cells are like worms and insects groveling in dark underground, utterly ignorant of any knowledge or discrimination. 36 And what must we say of foolish mankind who like the poor ants, are moving busily by night and day in search of a morsel of bread?
37 All living bodies are running up and down in vain expectations, unconsciously gliding over them like drunken men indulging in bad desires, vices and actions. 38 The knowledge of pure truth never enters into the mind of men, just as dust flying over the surface of water never sinks in the water. 39 The holy vows of men are blown away by the blasts of their pride and vanity, just as the husks of rice are blown off by the wind of the threshing mill. 40 Other people without true knowledge are like sorcerers and shudra lower castes. They are addicted to the carnalities of eating and drinking and roll like insects in stink, stench, mud and mire.
41 Among the gods, only Yama, Surya, Chandra, Indra, Rudras, Varuna and Vayu, are said to live liberated forever. So are Brahma, Hari, Brihaspati and Shukra. 42 Among the patriarchs, Daksha, Kasyapa and others are said to be living liberated. Among the seven sages, Narada, Sanaka and the goddess-born Kumara are liberated forever. 43 Among the Danava demons, there were also some who had their emancipation. These were Hiranyaksha, Bali, Prahlada and Sambara, together with Maya, Vritra, Andha, Namuchi, Kesi, Mura and others. 44 Among rakshasas, Vibhisana, Prahasta and Indrajit are held as liberated, as are Sesha, Takshaka, Karkotaka and some others among the naaga serpent race.
45 The liberated are entitled to dwell in the worlds of Brahma and Vishnu, and in the heaven of Indra. There also are some ancestral spirits of the pitris, siddhas and saddhyas who are reckoned as liberated. 46 Among the human race, there are some who are liberated in their lifetime. There are a few princes, saints and brahmins whose names are preserved in the sacred records.
47 There are living beings in multitudes on all sides of us in this earth, but very few are enlightened with true knowledge. There are unnumbered trees and forests growing all around us, bearing their fruit and flowers and foliage to no end. But there is scarcely a desire-yielding kalpa tree to be found among them.
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Chapter 98 — Praise of Good Society
1 Vasishta continued:— Those among the judicious and wise who are indifferent and unconcerned with the world, and have surrendered to God resting in His state of supreme bliss, have all their desires and delusions stopped and their enemies lessened in this world. 2 Such a man is neither gladdened nor irritated at anything, nor does he engage in any matter or employ himself in the accumulation of earthly effects. He does not annoy anybody, nor is he annoyed by anyone. 3 He does not bother his head about theism or atheism, nor torment his body with religious austerities. He is agreeable and sweet in his behavior and pleasing and gentle in his conversation. 4 His company gladdens the hearts of all, just as moonlight delights the minds of men. He is prudent in all affairs and the best judge in all matters. 5 He is without any anxiety in his conduct, polite and friendly to all. He patiently manages all his outward business, but remains quite cool in his inner mind. 6 He is learned in the scriptures, taking delight in their exposition. He knows all people both past and present. He also knows what is good and bad and is content with whatever comes to pass on him.
7 The wise act according to the established custom of good people and refrain from what is opposed to it. They gladden all men with their free advice, just as the warm breeze entertains them with the freely given scent of flowers. They afford a ready reception and table to the needy. 8 They treat the needy that come to their doors with respect, just as the blooming lotus entertains the bee that rests on it. By their endeavors, they attract the hearts of people to save them from their sins.
9 They are as cold as any cooling thing, like the clouds of rainy season, and are as quiet as rocks. They are capable of removing the disasters of people by their meritorious acts.10 They have the power to prevent impending dangers of men, just as mountains keep the earth from falling at an earthquake. They support the failing spirit of men in their calamitous circumstances and congratulate them on their prosperity. 11 Their faces are as pleasant as the fair appearance of the moon and they are like the well wishers of men, like loving consorts. Their fame fills the world like flowers of spring in order to produce fruit for the general good.
12 Holy men are like the spring season. Their voices are like the notes of kokila nightingales, delighting all mankind. Their minds are like profound oceans, undisturbed by turbulent waves or whirlpools of passions and thoughts of other people. 13 They pacify others’ troubled minds by their wise counsel, just as cold weather calms turbulent seas and puts their noisy waves to rest. 14 They resemble robust rocks on the seashore, withstanding the force of the dashing surges of worldly troubles and afflictions that overwhelm and bewilder the minds of mankind. 15 Only good people seek out these saintly men in times of utmost danger and distress. These and the like are the signs whereby these good hearted people are distinguished from others.
16 Let the weary traveler, in his tiresome journey through this world that resembles the rough sea filled with huge whales and serpents, rely only upon his maker for his rest. 17There is no other means to pass over this hazardous ocean without the company of the good which, like a sturdy vessel, safely carries him across. There is no reasoning required to prove it so. It must be so.
18 Therefore do not remain like a dull bear in its den, vainly worrying over your sorrows. Seek refuge in the wise man who possesses any of these virtues. That is your remedy and leave all other concerns. 19 Mind not his fault but respect his merit. Learn with all diligence, beginning in your youth, to discern the good and bad qualities of men. 20 First of all, improve your understanding by all means and by the company of the good and by careful study of the scriptures. Serve all good people without minding their faults. 21 Shun the society of men who are conspicuous for some great and incorrigible crime. Otherwise it will change the sweet composure of your mind to bitterness and disturbance.
22 This I know from my observation, the righteous turning to unrighteousness. This is the greatest of all evils, when the honest turn to dishonesty. 23 This change and falling off of good men from their moral righteousness have been seen in many places and at different times. Therefore it is necessary to choose the company of only the good for one’s safety in this and salvation in the next world. 24 Therefore no one who is to be regarded with respect and esteem should live far from the society of the good and great. The company of the good, though slightly sought, is sure to purify the newcomer with the flying fragrance of their virtues.
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Chapter 99 — Consciousness in Plants, Insects and Animals
1 Rama asked, “Truly we have a great many ways to relieve our pains, such as our reason, the teachings of the scriptures, the advice of our friends, and the society of the wise and good. There are also the applications of mantras and medicines, charitable giving, performances of religious austerities, going to pilgrimages and resorting to holy places. 2But tell me. What is the state of brute creations such as worms and insects, birds and flies, and the other creeping, crawling and bending animals? Like us, are they not also susceptible to pain and pleasure? What means do they have to remedy their pains and evils?”
3 Vasishta replied:— All creatures, whether animal or vegetable, are destined to partake of the particular enjoyments that are allotted to their respective shares, and they are ever tending towards that end. 4 All living beings, from the noble and great to the mean and minute, have their appetites and desires like us. The difference lies in their lesser or greater proportion compared to us.
5 Great Virat-like big bodies are moved by their passions and feelings. So also little puny tribes of insects are fed by their self love to pursue their own ends. 6 See the unsupported birds of the sky, flying and falling in the air. They are quite content wandering in emptiness without seeking a place for their rest. 7 Look at the constant efforts of the little ant in search of its food and hoarding its store like we do for the future provision of our families, never resting content for a moment. 8 Little mollusks, minute as atoms of dust, yet are quick in quest of its food like a swift eagle in pursuit of its prey in the sky.
9 As we pass our time in the world thinking of ourselves — our egoism and mine and of this and that — so it goes on with every creature having its selfish thoughts and cares for its own kind. 10 The lives of filthy worms are spent like ours in their struggle and anxious care for food and provisions, at all places and all times for the duration of their lives in the world.
11 Plants and trees are somewhat more awakened in their state of existence than mineral productions, which continue dead and dormant forever. But worms and insects are as awakened from their dormancy as men in order to remain restless forever. 12 Their lives are as miserable as ours upon this earth of sin and pain. Their deaths are as desirable as ours in order to set us free from misery after a short-lived pain.
13 As a man sold and transported to a foreign country sees with wonder all things that are not his own. So it is with brute animals that see all strange things in this earth. 14 All animals find everything on earth to be either as painful or as pleasant to them as they are to us also. But they do not have the ability like us to distinguish what is good from what is harmful to them. 15 Brute animals are dragged by their bridles and nose-strings like men sold as slaves to labor in distant lands have to bear all sorts of pains and privation, only animals are not able to communicate or complain to anybody. 16 Trees and plants and their seedlings are subject to pains and troubles like us, when our thin-skinned bodies are annoyed by stormy weather, or assailed by gnats and bugs while trying to sleep.
17 And as we mortals on earth have our knowledge of things, and the wisdom of forsaking a famine-stricken place for our welfare elsewhere, so it is with the animals and birds to migrate from lands of scarcity to those of plenty. 18 The delightful is equally delectable to all. The god Indra as well as a worm are both inclined towards what is pleasurable to them. This tendency to pleasure proceeds from their own choice. This freedom of choice is not denied to any but is irresistible in all. He who knows his free will is altogether free and liberated.
19 The pleasure and pain arising from passions and feelings and from enjoyments in life, as well as the torments of diseases and death, are alike to all living beings. 20 The exceptions are the knowledge of things and that of past and future events and the arts of life. All the various kinds of animals are endowed with all other animal faculties and inclinations like those of mankind. 21 The drowsy plant kingdom, the dormant mountain, and other unconscious natures are fully conscious within of an empty intellectual power on which they exist.
22 But there are some who deny the consciousness of an intellectual spirit in the dormant and fixed bodies of trees and mountains, and they allow the consciousness of the empty intellect in only a very slight degree in moving animals and in the majority of the living and ignorant part of mankind. 23 The dense state of mountains and the sleepy nature of the plant creation, being devoid of the knowledge of dualism, have no sense of the existence of the world except that of a nonentity or mere emptiness.
24 Knowledge of the world is accompanied with utter ignorance of its nature, or with agnosticism. For when we do not know ourselves or the subjective, how is it possible for us to know the objective world? 25 The world is ever situated in a state of dumb sluggishness, like a dull block of wood or stone. It is without beginning or end and without an opening in it. It is like the dreaming wakefulness of a sleeping man. 26 The world exists in the same state as it did before its creation. It will continue to go on forever even as now because eternity is always the same both before and after. 27 It is not the subjective or the objective, not the full or emptiness, and not a mute substance or anything whatever.
28 Remain as you are and let me remain as I am. Freed from pleasure or pain in our state of emptiness, we find nothing existent or nonexistent here.
29 Say, why do you forsake your state of absolute nothingness? What do you get from your imaginary city of this world? It is all calm and quiet without, just as your empty consciousness is serene and clear within you. 30 The lack of right knowledge causes our error of the world, but as soon as we come to detect this false knowledge of ours, this error flies away from us. 31 The world being known as a dream without any reality, it is as vain to place any reliance on it as it is to place one’s affections on the son of a barren woman, or to confide in such a one. 32 Even in a dream we can recognize that we are dreaming of a false world, so what faith or confidence can we place in the world on coming to know its nothingness upon waking? 33 What is known in the waking state could not be otherwise in sleep. Whatever is known in the later hour of coming to its knowledge, the same must have been its previous state also.
34 There are the three times of present, past and future. Our knowledge of these proceeds from our ignorance of endless duration, which is the only real tranquil and universal substratum of all. 35 As waves crashing against one another do no harm to the waters of the sea, so the destruction of one body by another does no injury to the inner soul which is ever impregnable and also indestructible. 36 The empty Consciousness within us gives rise to the false conception of our bodies. Therefore the loss of the body or its false conception affects neither our intellect nor ourselves.
37 The waking soul sees the world situated in the emptiness of Consciousness, as it were in its sleep. This of creation in the mind, being devoid of materiality, is very much like a dream. 38 The ideas of material things are produced in the beginning of creation from their previous impressions left in the intellect. The world being only a dream or work of imagination, it is an error of the brain to take it for a reality. 39 Traces of prior dreams and reminiscences are preserved in the memory or mind and appear and reappear in it, representing their aerial shapes as substantial figures.
40 This error has taken possession of the mind in the same manner as the untrue is taken for truth. Meanwhile the transcendent and clear truth of the omniform soul is rejected as untrue. 41 In reality there is only Divine Consciousness that has existed forever. The most certain truth is that Brahman is all in all, therefore the doctrine of memory and forgetfulness goes to nothing. 42 Sheer ignorance devoid of this spiritual knowledge views things only in their material light, and in this realization lies true knowledge which breaks open the door of ignorance. 43 At last nothing remains after expulsion of the error of materiality, only the pure spirit of God who is both the viewer and the view, and the subjective and objective in himself.
44 As the reflection of anything falling on a mirror shows itself within itself, so the world shines of itself in the emptiness of Divine Consciousness, the reflection of anything else being ever cast upon it. 45 As the reflection of a thing exhibits itself in its manifestation, though nobody is there to look at it, so the world is shown in Divine Consciousness, though the same is invisible to everyone.
46 Whatever is found as true, both by reason and proof, must be the certain truth. All else is mere semblance of it, and not being actual can never be true. 47 Though the knowledge of the material world is proved to be false and untrue, yet it is found to mislead us, just as the act of sleep walking does in our sleep and dreaming state.
48 The light of the Divine Luminary casts its reflection into Consciousness and displays the intellectual sphere supremely bright. Tell me therefore, what are we and this spectacle of the world anymore than a rehash or a print of that archetype? 49 If there is a rebirth after our death, then what is it that is lost to us? Should there be no rebirth after death, then there is a perfect tranquility of our souls by our utter extinction and emancipation from the pains of life and death. Or if we have our liberation by the light of philosophy, then there is nothing here that is the cause of any sorrow in any state whatsoever.
50 Only an ignorant man knows the state of the ignorant. The wise are quite ignorant, just as only fish know the perilous state of a deer that has fallen amidst the waves and whirling currents of the sea. 51 It is only the open sphere of Divine Consciousness that represents the diverse images of “I”, “you”, “he” and this and that in its hollow space, just as a tree shows the different forms of its leaves, fruit and flowers in its all producing body or stem.
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Chapter 100 — Refutation of Atheism, Material Determination
1 Rama asked, “Please tell me, sage, what are your arguments for relieving the miseries of this world against the position of others who are attached to it? 2 They say that a living being is happy as long as the fear of death is out of his view, and there is no reappearance of the dead who are reduced to ashes.”
3 Vasishta replied:— Whatever certain belief one has, he finds it in his consciousness. That he feels and conceives accordingly is a truth well known to all mankind. 4 As the sky is firm, quiet and omnipresent, so also is the omnipresence of Consciousness. They are considered to form a duality by the ignorant dualist, while the wise take them as the one and same thing from the impossibility of conceiving the coexistence of two things from eternity.
5 It is wrong to suppose the existence of a chaos before creation began. That would be assigning another cause to creation when it has proceeded from Brahman, who is without cause and is diffused in his creation. 6 Those who do not acknowledge the meaning of the Vedas and the final great dissolution are known as men without a revelation and religion. We consider such men to be like dead. 7 We agree with those whose minds are settled in the undisputed belief of the scriptures, that all this is Brahman or the varied God himself. 8 As our consciousness is ever awake in our minds without any intermission, so Brahman that constitutes our consciousness is ever wakeful in us, whether the body lasts or not.
9 If our perceptions produce our consciousness, then man must be very miserable indeed because the sense of a feeling, other than that of the ever blissful state of the soul, is what actually makes us so. 10 Knowing the universe to be the splendor of intellectual emptiness, you cannot suppose the knowledge of anything, or attach the feeling of any pleasure or pain to an empty nothing. 11 Hence men who are quite certain and conscious of the entirety and pure unity of the soul can never find feelings of sorrow or grief arising in any way, like the dust of earth rising to the sky filling its sphere with foulness.
12 Whether the consciousness of unity is true or not in all men, yet the common notion of it, even in the minds of children, cannot be discarded as untrue. 13 The body is not the soul or any other thing of which we have any conception. Consciousness is everything and the world is as consciousness conceives it to be. 14 Whether it is true or not, yet we have the conception of our bodies by means of this. It gives us conceptions of all things in earth, water, and heaven independent of their material forms, as we see the aerial forms of things in our dreams. 15 Whether our consciousness is a real entity or not, yet it is this power which is called the conscious soul. Whatever is the conviction of this power, the same is received as positive truth by all.
16 The authority of all the scriptures rests upon the proof of consciousness. The truth which is generally arrived at by all must be acknowledged as quite certain in my opinion also. 17 Therefore the consciousness of atheists, corrupted by their misunderstanding but later purified by right reasoning, likewise produces good results. 18 But a perverted conscience or corrupt understanding is never reproved by any means, whether by performance of pious acts at anytime or place, or by study of Vedas, or by pursuit of other things. 19 Errors of understanding reoccur in an unprincipled man as often as they are corrected from time to time. Say therefore, what other means can there be to preserve our consciousness from fallacy?
20 Self-consciousness is the soul of man. In proportion to its firmness or weakness, the happiness or misery of man increases or decreases accordingly. 21 If there is no consciousness in men, including those who are conscious of the Divine Essence and are sought by the pious for their liberation from the bonds of the world, then this world would appear like a lifeless, dumb block of stone, or a dark and dreary desert.
22 The knowledge of nature or gross materialism which rises in the mind of man because of his lack of self-consciousness is like the dark ignorance one has in his sleep.
23 Rama asked, “Sage, what about the atheist who denies the end of the ten sides of heaven, who does not believe in the destruction of the world, but believes only in what exists without thought of what does not exist, 24 who does not perceive the perfect wisdom displayed throughout the universe, but sees only whatever is visible, without knowing their destruction? 25 Tell me sage, what are their arguments about relieving the evils of the world? Remove my doubts to increase of my knowledge in this important truth.”
26 Vasishta replied:— I have already given my reply to your question regarding the nonbelievers. Now hear me reply with regard to your second question touching the salvation of the soul.
27 O best of men, Rama, you have said that the human soul is made of consciousness alone. 28 This intelligence is indestructible, so it is not destroyed with the destruction of the body. It is joined with the Divine Consciousness without fail. If the (subtle) body is indestructible, then there is no cause for sorrow at its temporary loss.
29 Intelligence is said to be divided into various parts in the souls of men and the different parts of their bodies. If it is so, then intelligence is destroyed with the destruction of individual souls and the physical body. 30 The self-conscious soul that is liberated in the living state does not have to return to earth after death. But consciousness which is not purified by divine knowledge cannot be freed from its reincarnation. 31 Those who deny the existence of consciousness are doomed to the gross ignorance of stones for this disbelief. 32 As the knowledge of sensible objects keeps the mind in utter darkness, so the death of such persons is calculated as their final bliss because they no longer have to feel or see the visible world anymore. 33 Men of pure understandings who have lost the sense of their corporeality are never to be reborn on earth anymore. But those of dull understandings become like gross physical bodies immersed in impenetrable darkness. 34 To intellectual philosophers who view the world as an aerial city in his dream, the world presents its aspect as a phantom and nothing else.
35 There are some who maintain the stability and others who assert the frailty of the world and everything else. But what do they gain by these opinions? The knowledge of either does not increase human happiness or lessen mortal misery. 36 The stability or instability of the greatest or least of things makes no difference in any of them whatever. They are all like the radiating rays of the intellect, though they appear as extended bodies to the ignorant.
37 Those who hold that the essence of consciousness is unlimited, but unconsciousness is limited, and maintain the permanence of the one and the impermanence of the other, talk mere nonsense like the babbling of children. 38 They are the best and most venerable of men who know the body to be the product of and encompassed by the intellect. They are the meanest among mankind who believe the intellect to be the product and offspring of the body.
39 Consciousness (personified as Hiranyagarbha or Brahma the Divine Spirit) is distributed into the souls of all living beings. The infinite space of emptiness is like a network or curtain in which all animals live, flying within its ample expanse like gnats and flies, rising up and sinking below or moving about like shoals of fish in an endless ocean. 40 As this Universal Soul thinks of creating various species, so it conceives them within itself, like seeds conceive future plants in themselves which later develop. 41 Whatever a living being thinks of or conceives, the same quickly springs forth from it, and this truth is known even to children.
42 As vapors fly in the air and waters roll in the ocean, forming whirlpools and waves of various kinds, so the lives of living beings are continually floating in the vacuum of Divine Consciousness.
43 As the emptiness of Consciousness presents the sight of a city to a man in his dream, so the world presents its variegated aspects since its first creation to the sight of the day dreaming man. 44 There were no supporting causes of material bodies at the first formation of the world. It rose spontaneously of itself as the empty sights appear in our dream.
45 As in a city seen in dream, its houses and their apartments, come to appear gradually to sight, so the dream becomes enlarged and expanded and divided by degrees to our vision.
46 All this creation is only the emptiness of Consciousness. There is no duality or variety in it. It is one even plane of intellect, like the open sky, without any spot or place attached to it. 47 The moonlight of Consciousness diffuses its coolness on all sides and gladdens the souls of all beings. It scatters the beams of reasoning intellect all around, and casts its reflections in the image of the world. 48 The world, as it is now visible to us, lies forever in the mind of God in the same empty state as it was before its creation. It is to be reduced to nothing upon its final destruction. It is the twinkling, or the opening and closing of the intellectual eye, that this empty shadow of the world appears and disappears amidst the universal vacuum of the Divine Mind. 49 Whoever views this world in any light, it appears to him in the same manner. As the world depends only upon Consciousness, it is shown in various forms according to the fancy of its observers.
50 The minds of the intelligent are as pure as the clear sphere of the summer sky. Pure hearted and holy people think themselves as nothing other than their intellects, or only as intellectual beings. 51 These pious and holy people are free from ignorance and the faults of society. They share the gifts of fortune as it falls to them by the common lot of mankind. They continue in the conduct of their worldly affairs like some working machine.
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Chapter 101 — Consciousness Is Self-Evident; No Reason to Fear Death
1 Vasishta continued:— Consciousness is the soul of the body and is situated everywhere in the manner as I have described. There is nothing so self-evident as Consciousness.2 It is the clear expanse of the sky and it is the vision of the viewer and the viewed. It composes and encompasses the whole world, therefore there is nothing to be had or lost without it.
3 The philosophers of the atheistic school of Brihaspati do not believe in a future state because they are ignorant of it. They believe in the present from their knowledge of it. Thus knowledge or consciousness is the basis for their belief, so we bear no favor or disfavor to their doctrine. 4 The world is only a name for the dream produced in the vacuum of our hidden knowledge. Tell me. What is the need for a disputant to argue his one-sided view of the question? 5 Our consciousness well knows internally what is good or bad and therefore acceptable or not. The pure soul is manifest in the clear emptiness of air where there is neither this or that view of it exhibited to anyone.
6 The conscious soul is immortal, O Rama. It does not have any form like a rock or tree or any animal. Consciousness is a mere void. All being and not being are like the waves and whirling waters in its ocean of eternity.7 We are all floating in the vacuum of consciousness — you, I and he as well as any other. None of us is ever liable to die, because consciousness is never susceptible of death.
8 Consciousness has nothing to be conscious but of itself. Therefore, O lotus eyed Rama, where can you get a duality, except the single subjectivity of Consciousness? 9 Tell me, O Rama, what is the product or offspring of the empty Intellect? Tell me also if that Intellect could die, from where could we and all others proceed? 10 Tell me what sort of beings are these atheistic disputants, the Saugatas, Lokayatikas and others, if they are devoid of their consciousness, which they so strenuously deny and disallow?
11 This empty consciousness is the same as what is called Brahman. Some call it knowledge and others an empty vacuum. 12 Some call it the spirit, like that of alcoholic liquors, and others use the term embodied spirit (purusha). Others call it the empty Intellect, and Shaivites give it the names of Shiva and the soul. 13 Sometimes it is called only the Intellect, which makes no difference between it and other attributes. The Supreme Soul is ever the same in itself regardless of the name expressed by the ignorance of men.
14 Be my body as big as a hill or crushed to atoms like dust, it is no gain or loss to me in any event because I am the same intellectual body and being forever and ever. 15 Our sires and grand sires are all dead and gone, but their intellects and intellectual parts are not dead and lost with their bodies. For in the case of their death, we would not have their rebirth in us.
16 The empty intellect is neither generated nor destroyed at any time. It is uncreated and imperishable at all times. Say how and when could the eternal void disappear from existence? 17 The infinite and indestructible sphere of Consciousness displays the scene of the universe in its ample space of emptiness. It is without the changes of rising or setting and is ever existent in the Supreme Soul. 18 The Intellect represents the reflection of the world in its clear sphere, like a crystal mountain reflects a wildfire in its translucent space. The Intellect rests forever in the vacuum of the Supreme Soul which is devoid of beginning, middle or end.
19 As the shades of night obscure the phenomena from sight, so the clouds of ignorance darken the bright aspect of the universe as it is represented in the soul divine. 20 As the waters of the ocean roll of themselves in the forms of waves and currents, so does the Intellect exhibit the spectacle of the universe of itself and in itself from all eternity. 21 The Intellect itself is the soul of the body, and like air is never extinct or wanting anywhere. Therefore it is vain to be in fear of one’s death at anytime.
22 It is a great joy to pass from one into another body. Therefore you fools, why do you fear and grieve to die when there is every cause to rejoice at it? 23 If there is no rebirth after death, then it is a completion devoutly to be wished because it eases and releases from heart-burning disease and dread of being and not being, and their repeated sorrows and miseries. 24 Therefore life and death are neither for our happiness or sorrow because neither is anything in reality, only the representations of the intellect.
25 If the dead are to be reborn in new bodies, it is a cause of rejoicing and sorrowing. The death or destruction of a decayed body for a sound one is considered a change for better. 26 If death conveys the meaning of the ultimate dissolution of a person, it is desirable even in that sense because our pains cease altogether. Or if death is used to mean one’s rebirth in a new body and life, then it must be a cause of great rejoicing. 27 If death is dreaded for fear of the punishment awaiting vicious deeds, then this is no different from life where we suffer penalties for our guilt here. Therefore refrain from doing evil for your safety and happiness in both worlds.
28 You all are always crying for fear that you will die, but none of you is ever heard to say that you are going to live again. 29 What is the meaning of life and death, and where are the lands where these are seen to take place? Do they not occur in our consciousness alone, and turn about in the vacuum of the mind? 30 Remain firm with your conscious souls. Eat and drink and act your part with detachment. For being situated in the midst of emptiness, you can have nothing to ask or wish for. 31 Being carried away in the reverie of your dream, and enjoying the gifts of time and changing circumstances, live content with what is got without fear, and know this to be the holiest state.
32 Regardless of the intervening evils that overtake us in every place and time, the holy sage conducts himself with equanimity throughout the tumults of life, like a sleeping man. 33 The holy sage is neither sorry at his death nor glad of his life and longevity. He neither likes nor hates anything, nor does he desire anything whatever. 34 The wise man, who knows all that is knowable, manages to live in this world like an ignorant simpleton. He is as firm and fearless as a rock, and reckons his life and death as rotten and worthless straw.
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Chapter 102 — The Life of the Awakened; Feigning Wisdom
1 Rama asked, “Tell me sage. After a holy man is acquainted with the supreme essence that is without beginning or end, what perfection does he seek?”
2 Vasishta replied:— Hear the high state arrived at by a holy man after he has known the knowable, and how such a man conducts his life throughout the whole course of his existence.
3 He lives apart from human society in his solitary retreat in the woods. The stones of the valleys, the trees of the forest, and young antelopes are his friends, family and associates. 4 He considers the most populous city to be a lonely desert. His disasters are his blessings and all his dangers are celebrations to him. 5 His pains are his pleasure and his meditations are like musings to him. He is silent in all his dealings and quiet in all his conduct through life. 6 He is as asleep in his waking hours and remains as if dead to himself while he is living. He manages all his affairs with a coolness, as if he were engaged in nothing.
7 He is pleasant without tasting any pleasure. He is friendly to his fellow beings without any selfish interest of his own. He is strict with himself but always kind to others. He is has no desire for anything, but has a full desire for the common welfare. 8 He is pleased with others’ conduct without having any course of action for himself. He is devoid of sorrow, fear and care, yet he is always seen wearing a sad appearance. 9 He afflicts nobody, nor is he afflicted by anybody. Though full with his private afflictions and privations, he is ever pleasant in company. 10 He is neither delighted with his gain nor depressed at his loss nor desirous to get anything. Though there may be causes for him to feel joy and sorrow, yet they are never visible on his face. 11 He sympathizes with the unhappy and congratulates happy people. But his collected mind is always invincible in every circumstance of life.
12 His mind is not inclined to acts other than those of righteousness, as is the habit of noble-minded men by their nature, and not any effort on their part. 13 He is not fond of pleasantry nor is he addicted to dullness. He does not run after wealth, but lacks desire and is finished with all cravings. 14 He abides by the law and acts accordingly, whether he is pinched by poverty or rolling in riches. He is never dejected or elated at the unforeseen good or bad events of life.
15 Wise men are seen joyful or sorrowful at times, without changing the quietness and serenity of their nature at anytime. They act the part of players on the stage of the earth.16 Those who know the truth bear no affection for greedy relatives and false friends, as if they were looking at bubbles of water. 17 Without the affection of the soul, they bear full affection in their hearts for others. The wise man remains quite possessed of himself, while showing his paternal affection to all. 18 The ignorant are like winds passing over running streams. They slightly touch the poisonous pleasures of their bodies, like winds touching the rising waves, and at last are drowned in the depths of their sensuality. 19 But the wise man outwardly deals alike with all with perfect coolness and stillness of his soul within. He seems outwardly to be engaged in business, but his inner mind is wholly disengaged from all worldly concerns whatsoever.
20Rama asked, “But how can a true sage of such nature be distinguished from the many pretended ones, and the ignorant also, who falsely assume such a character only to beguile others? 21 Many hypocrites wander about like horses, wearing the false costume of devotees, pretending true devotion to religion.”
22 Vasishta replied:— Rama, I say that such a nature, whether it is real or pretended, is the best and highest perfection of man. I know that the learned in Vedic knowledge always view this state as the model of perfection. 23 Those who are dispassionate and unconcerned with acts still manage to conduct their secular affairs and actions, like those who are moved by their passions. Though they are adverse to criticism, yet they cannot help but criticize the ignorant because of their compassion towards them.
24 Visible phenomena are all imprinted in the mirror of their minds, like the reflected shadows of buildings. They look upon phenomena with full knowledge of their shadowiness, just as they perceive the fallacy of laying hold of a lump of gold in a dream. 25 There is a coolness pervading their minds, altogether unknown to others, just as the sweet fragrance of sandalwood is unperceived by brutes at a distance.
26 Only those who know the knowable and are equally pure in their minds can distinguish hypocrites from other people, just as only a snake can trace the course of another snake.
27They are the best of men who hide their good qualities from others. For what man is there who will expose his most precious treasure in the market with the raw produce of his land? 28 The reason to conceal rare virtues is to keep them unnoticed by the public. The wise who lack desire for reward or reputation have nothing to gain or expect from the public. 29 Rama, know that solitude, poverty, disrespect and disregard of men are more pleasing to the peaceful sage than mankind’s most valuable gifts and honors. 30 The indescribable delight which attends on the wise man from his conscious knowledge of the knowable is inexpressible in words and is invisible to others, as is its knower also.
31 The egoist wishes men to know his qualification and honor him for it, and not those who are beyond egoistic feelings. 32 It is possible even for the ignorant to reap the results of their practices, such as rising and moving about in the air by means of mantras, and the power of certain drugs that are adapted to those ends. 33 He who can makes effort for any particular end succeeds in accomplishing that end whether he is a clever or ignorant man.
34 Tendencies towards good or evil are implanted in the bosom of man as results of the acts of their past lives. These come to display themselves in action at their proper time, just as sandalwood emits its latent fragrance in its season all around. 35 He who is prepossessed with the knowledge of his individual ego, coupled with his desire for enjoyment of phenomena, takes up the practice of khechari yoga [the practice of placing the tongue above the soft palate and into the nasal cavity] whereby he ascends in the air and gains the reward of his action.
36 The wise man who has nothing to desire knows such practices to be as false as empty air. He refrains from displaying his actions, which he knows at best is only casting to the winds. 37 He derives no good from observing practical yoga, nor does he lose any of his holiness by not observing them. He has nothing to gain from anybody and loses nothing at the loss of anything. 38 There is nothing in earth or heaven, or among the gods or anywhere else, which may be desirable to the magnanimous or to one who has known the Supreme Soul. 39 What is this world to him who knows it to be only a heap of dust and who considers it no better than straw? Then what can be in the world which could possibly be desirable to him?
40 The silent sage, whose soul is full of knowledge and whose mind is quite at rest without fondness for human society, remains content in the state as he is, quite satisfied with whatever occurs to him. 41 He is always cool within himself and reserved in his speech. Eternal truths form the ground work of his mind which is as full and deep as the ocean, and whose thoughts are as bright as daylight. 42 He is full of cool composure in himself, like a pleasant lake resting with its clear waters. He also gladdens all others about him, like the fair face of the full moon cheers the spirits of all. 43 The mandara groves of Nandana paradise, with their woodlands scattered with the dust of their blossoms, do not delight the soul as much as the wise sayings of pundits cheer the spirit.
44 The moon diffuses its cooling beams and the spring season scatters its fragrance around. The concise sayings of the wise and great scatter their sound wisdom all about, serving to elevate and enrich all mankind. 45 The substance of their sayings proves the appearance of the world to be as false as a magic show. They inculcate the prudence of wearing out worldly cares day by day.
46 The wise saint is as indifferent to the suffering of heat and cold in his own body as if they were disturbances in the bodies of other men. 47 In his virtues of compassion and charity, he resembles the fruitful tree which yields its fruits, flowers, and all to the common use, and exists itself only upon the water it sucks from the ground or receives from heaven. 48 This tree gives to all whatever it possesses of its own body. By virtue of its unsparing munificence to all creatures, this tree lifts its lofty head above them all.
49 One seated in the palace of knowledge has nothing of sorrow for himself, but he pities the sorrows of others, just as a man seated on a rock takes pity on miserable men groveling in the earth below. 50 A wise man is tossed about like a flower by the rolling waves in the eventful ocean of this world. He is set at rest as soon as he gets over it and reaches the shore on the other side. 51 He laughs with the calmness of his soul at the same unvaried course of the world and its people. He smiles to think on the persistence of men in their habitual error and folly.
52 I am amazed to see these deviant men wandering in the mazes of error, fascinated by the false appearances of the phenomenal world as if they were spell-bound to visible phenomena. 53 I have learnt to spurn the eight kinds of prosperity as mere straw. They are of no real good, but rather are causes of evil to men. Though I am inclined to laugh at them, yet I refrain from my habitual disposition of tolerance and patience.
54 I see some men living in mountain caves and others frequenting holy places. Some live at home with their families and others travel as pilgrims to distant shrines and countries. 55 Some roam about as vagrants and mendicants and others remain in their solitary hermitage. Some continue as silent sages, observing their vow of silence, and others sit absorbed in meditation. 56 Some are famous for their learning and others as students of law and divinity. Some are princes and others their priests, while some are as ignorant as blocks of stone. 57 Some are adept in their exorcism of amulets and collyrium, and others are skilled in sorcery with the sword, rod and magic wand. Some are practiced in their aerial journey, others in other arts, and some in nothing like ignorant low caste shudras.
58 There are many who are employed in ceremonial observances and others have abandoned rituals altogether. Some are fanatical in their conduct and others indulge themselves in wandering and travel.
59 The soul is not the body or its senses or powers. It is neither the mind nor the mental faculties, nor the feelings and passions of the heart. The soul is Consciousness which is ever awake and never sleeps or dies. 60 It is never broken or consumed, not soiled or dried up. It is immortal and omnipresent, ever steady and immovable, infinite and eternal.
61 The man who has his soul awakened and enlightened is never contaminated by anything, regardless whatever state or wherever he may happen to be. 62 Whether a man goes down to hell or ascends to heaven, or traverses through all the regions of air, or is crushed to death or pounded to dust, the immortal Consciousness which abides in him without decay never dies with his body or suffers any change with the changes of the body. He remains quite as quiet as still air, which is the uncreated deity itself.
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Chapter 103 — Consciousness Creates Both Knowledge and Ignorance; Praise for the Yoga Vasishta; — Impossibility of Causation or Materiality
1 Vasishta continued:— Consciousness, without beginning or end, the indescribable light and its reflection shining forever serenely bright, is never destroyed or extinguished in any way. 2 Such is Consciousness and such is the soul which is also indestructible. For if it were destroyed at all at anytime, there could be no recreation of the world or any rebirth of human souls. 3 All things are subject to change and have many varieties. But not so Consciousness, which is ever immutable and always perceived to be the same in all individuals.
4 We all feel the coldness of frost, the heat of fire, and the sweetness of water, but we have no feeling of any kind regarding Consciousness, except that we know it to be quite clear and transparent like open air. 5 If the intellectual soul is destroyed with the destruction of the body, then why should you lament its loss? Why not rejoice at its annihilation which releases you from the pains of life? 6 The loss of the body involves no loss on the empty intellect. Living friends can see the departed souls of savages hovering as ghosts over cemeteries. 7 Should the soul exist for the same duration as the body, then why does a dead body, while it is still not rotten and is entire, not move about? 8 If seeing ghosts is a feeling inherent within the mind, then tell me. Why does a man not often see ghosts, except on the occasion of the death of his friends? 9Should it be a misconception inborn with the mind to see the ghosts of departed friends, then tell me. Why don’t you see the ghosts of friends who die in a distant country, but only of those who die before your eyes?
10 Hence Consciousness, being the soul of all and everywhere, is not confined in any place. It is known to be of the same nature as everyone thinks it to be. 11 It is unconfined and unrestrained anywhere, and is of the nature of one compact consciousness that is felt by all, and is the cause of our knowledge of all things. 12 There can be no other which may be supposed to be the prime cause of all at the beginning of creation. Should there be any other that is supposed to be such, let the philosophers now declare it before me.
13 There was nothing uncreated before creation, nor was there anything created in the beginning. The duality that now presents itself in the form of the universe is only a reflection of unity. 14 Phenomena are no more than reflections or copies of ideas and our impression of phenomena being a visible something is as false as all other false sights mistaken for true reality. 15 Phenomena are a wonderful display of almighty power exhibited in the sphere of Divine Consciousness. Wakeful understanding sees these visible phenomena as one sees sights in dream, but never in the ignorance of sound sleep.
16 Even knowledge and ignorance amount to the same thing because the difference is only verbal and not real. Nothing visible to the eye is substantial in its essential nature.17 Whatever was thought and said to be seen by others is the effect of their error and lack of reason. Now if they are disproved by right reason, where can you find the visible anymore?
18 Therefore employ your reasoning to investigate spiritual knowledge. Your diligent and persevering inquiry will secure to your success in both worlds (knowledge and ignorance). 19 Inquiry into spiritual knowledge will dispel your ignorance, but you will never be successful without constant practice. 20 Leave aside all anxieties and their causes and devote every bit and moment of time observing one’s sacred vows day by day. The study of sacred scriptures with due attention leads a man to his welfare in both worlds. 21Whether one is proficient or not in his spiritual knowledge, he may still improve on it by constant discussion of the subject with his superiors. 22 Whoever requires this precious treasure must exert effort to attain it, or else he must leave off altogether if he tired in his pursuit. 23 He must keep from reading heretical works and study authentic scriptures. Then he will gain peace of mind as one obtains victory in warfare. 24 The course of the mind, like that of a stream of water, runs in the channels of wisdom and of folly, forming a lake wherever it runs more rapidly, and settling as in its bed.
25There was never a better scripture than this, nor is any like this now in existence or likely to be in fashion in the future. Therefore let the student reflect well upon its teachings to improve his understanding. 26 Whoever studies it well will find his mind instantly elevated with superior knowledge, unlike the effect of a curse or blessing which comes too late upon its recipient. 27 Knowledge of this scripture is calculated to do you more good than you can derive from the tender care of a father or mother or the efficacy of your pious actions.
28 Know, O gentle Rama, that this world is the prison of your soul and its bondage is the poisonous pain of your mind. There is no release or relief other than through the knowledge of your soul. 29 The dark illusion of gross ignorance has misled you to a sense of your individual ego. Only by reflecting upon the meaning of the scriptures can you can be freed from your deplorable state.
30 The world is a hollow cave in which the horrible snake of illusion lies in ambush. Illusion feeds on the empty air of vain enjoyments that appear pleasant to taste at first, but prove to be as fleeting as empty air in the end. 31 It is a pity that your days fly past as quickly as the wind and you are unaware as they come and go. While you are occupied with your activities, you are fostering your own death with your negligence. 32 We all live in death, our lives sustained by alternate hopes and fears until the few days of our lives end in death. 33 The approach of death is attended with extreme pain and remorse. The inner parts of the body are separated from the outer, and the outer must be smeared with dust such as sandalwood paste.
34 They who purchase wealth and honor at the expense of their lives are grossly ignorant and false. They avoid gaining their permanent bliss by the teachings of the scriptures.35 Why should a man bear the feet of his evil enemies on his head when he can attain his highest station of divine bliss in the sphere of his intellect, and with little or no pain? 36 O men, forsake your vanity and ignorance, your persistence in the course of your baseness, then by the knowledge of the great soul you will gain your redemption from the sufferings of the world. 37 I am preaching to you constantly, day and night, only for the sake of your own good. Take my advice to turn your souls to the eternal soul by forsaking the knowledge of your egoism for that of your souls. 38 If now you neglect to take steps to cure the evil of your impending death, then O silly man, what preparation can you make for the hour of death when you are on your sickbed?
39 There is no other work for true knowledge of the soul except this. Therefore this must be acceptable to you as well as we accept collecting sesame seeds for their oil. 40 This book will light your spiritual knowledge, just as a lamp lights up a dark room. Drink it deep and it will enliven your soul. Keep it by your side and it will please you like a consort. 41 A man having self-knowledge, but untaught in the scriptures, has many things unintelligible and doubtful which he will find clearly expounded here in the sweetest language. 42 This is the best among the principal works of the scriptures. It is easily intelligible and delightful. There is nothing new here, only what is well known in spiritual philosophy.
43 Let a man read the many stories contained in this book with delight. He undoubtedly will find this book the best of its kind. 44 Whatever has not yet been explained in full light, even to scholars learned in all the scriptures, will be found clearly explained in this book, just as they find gold appearing amidst sand.
45 The authors of scriptures are not to be despised at anytime or in any country, but the reader should employ his reason and judgment to dive into the true meaning of the writing. 46 Those who are led by their ignorance or envy, or moved by their pride and delusion to disregard and neglect this scripture through their lack of judgment, are to be regarded as killers of their souls, unworthy of the company of the wise and good.
47 I know you well, Rama, and I know my audience and each of your capacities to learn and my capacity to instruct you. I like to teach you these things because of my compassion for you, as I am naturally communicative and kindly disposed to my listeners. 48 I see your understanding develop and therefore I am interested in communicating my knowledge to you. I am a man and not a gandharva or rakshasa. Therefore I bear a fellow feeling towards you all. 49 I see you all as intelligent beings, pure in your souls. I have become this friendly to you because of these merits in you.
50 Now my friends, learn speedily to realize the truth of your detachment to everything that you see in this world. 51 Whoever neglects to remedy his diseases of death and hell fire in this life, what will he do to avert them when they are irremediable and when he goes to a place where no remedy is to be found? 52 Until you feel a distaste for everything in this world, you will not find an end to your desires. 53 O great intellects, there is no other means to elevate your soul other than subjugating your desires to the minimum. 54 If you think there is anything in this world that is of any good to you, it will only serve, at best, to bind your soul, and then it will disappear like the horns of a rabbit.
55 All earthly goods seem to be good when they are untried and least understood. But whatever seems something in the end proves to be no such thing, or tends to your ruin.56 All worldly existences prove to be nothing by right reasoning. But how they are real and what they are, whether self-existent or made, or permanent or temporary, cannot be rightly known.
57 To say all worldly existences are self-existent because we can assign no cause to them, or because they were already created in the beginning, proves that all existence is the uncreated and ever lasting Supreme Being itself. 58 There is no cause for consciousness in the Being that is without and beyond the senses. The mind is not the cause of objects that are sensed because the mind is only the sixth organ. 59 How can the one unspeakable Lord be the cause of these varieties of things passing under various names? How can reality have these unrealities in itself, and how can the Infinite Void contain these finite solid bodies?
60 The nature of a plastic body is to produce something plastic, just as the seeds of fruit bring forth only their own kind. But how is it possible for an amorphous void to produce solid forms from its emptiness, or the solid body to issue forth from a formless mind? 61 How can you expect to derive a solid seed from a void nothing? Therefore it is a deception to think that the material world is produced from the immaterial and formless void of empty consciousness.
62 There are no conditions of creator or creation in the Supreme Being. These states are the fabrications of many words and reveal the ignorance of their inventors. 63 The lack of supporting causes that are coexistent with the prime cause disproves the existence of an active agent and his act of creation. This truth is evident even to children. 64 Knowing that only God is the cause, but acknowledging causes for of the earth and other elements, is as absurd as saying that the sun shines and yet it is dark.
65 To say that the world is formed of atoms is as absurd as believing in a bow made from the horn of a rabbit. 66 If the meeting and arrangement of dull, inert and unconscious material atoms form the world, then it would of its own accord make a mountainous heap here and a bottomless deep there in the air. 67 The particles of this earth and the atoms of air and water are constantly flying about from place to place in the forms of dust and humidity. Why do they not yet form a new hill or lake anywhere again? 68 Invisible atoms are never seen or known from where or how they are, nor is it possible for formless atoms to unite together and form an idea.
69 The creation of the world cannot be the work of an unintelligent cause. Nor can this frail and unreal world be the work of an intelligent maker because only a fool makes something for nothing. 70 Unconscious air, composed of atoms with a motion of its own, is never moved by reason or sense, nor is it possible to expect air particles to act wisely. 71We are all composed of the intellectual soul and all individuals are made of empty selves. They all appear to us like the figures of people appearing in our dream.
72 Therefore there is nothing that is created and this world is not in existence. The whole is the clear void of the intellect which shines with the glare of the Supreme Soul in itself. 73 The empty universe rests completely in the vacuum of Consciousness, just as force, fluidity and emptiness rest respectively in wind, water, and open air. 74 The form of the intellectual vacuum is like that of the airy mind which passes to distant climates in a moment, or it is like that of consciousness which is seated in the hollow of the heart, and yet is conscious of everything in itself. 75 Such is the empty nature of all things. They are perceived in their intellectual forms only in intellect. So the world is an empty idea that is only imprinted in the intellect.
76 The revolving nature of Consciousness exhibits the picture of the universe on its surface. Therefore the world is identical with the empty nature of the intellect, and nothing else. 77 Therefore the world is the counterpart of the intellectual sphere. There is no difference in the empty nature of both the world and the intellect. They are both the same thing presenting two aspects, just as the wind and its vibrations are one and the same thing.
78 As a wise man going from one country sees all varieties around him, yet he knows he is the same quiet and unvaried soul everywhere. 79 A wise man remains aware of the true nature of the elements. Hence the true nature of the elements is never forgotten from the mind of a wise man.
80 The world is only an empty sphere of reflections resembling a curved, hollow reflector. It is a formless void in its nature, unimpaired and indestructible in its essence. 81There is nothing that is born or dies in it. There is nothing which having come to being, is ever annihilated anywhere. The world is not separate from the emptiness of Consciousness, and Consciousness is as empty as the insubstantial world itself. 82 The world never is, nor was, nor shall ever be in existence. It is only a silent appearance passing in the intellectual emptiness of the Supreme Spirit. 83 Divine Consciousness alone shines forth in its glory as the mind exhibits its images of cities and the like in dream. In like manner, our minds show us the image of world like day dreams in our waking state.
84 If there is no physical body in the beginning, how could any physical body exist at any time? Therefore there was no corporeality whatever except in the dream of the Divine Mind. 85 The Supreme Consciousness first dreams of its self-born body, and that we have sprung from that body and have ever afterwards continued to see dream after dream to no end.
86 It is impossible for us with all our efforts to turn our minds to the great God because our minds are not of the nature of Divine Consciousness, but born in us like swellings on the thyroid only for our own destruction.
87 The god Brahma is not a real person, only a fictitious name for Hiranyagarbha, the totality of souls. But ever since he is regarded as a personal being, the world is considered as body and he the soul of all. 88 But in truth all is unreal, from the highest heaven to the lowest pit. The world is as false and frail as a dream which rises vainly before the mind and vanishes in a minute. 89 The world rises in the emptiness of Consciousness and sets therein like a dream. When it does not rise in the enlightened intellect, it is like a dream disappearing from the waking mind and flying before daylight.
90 Although the world is known to be false, yet it is perceived and appears to us as true. In the same manner, the false appearances in our dreams appear true to our consciousness at the time of dreaming. 91 As the formless dream presents many forms before the mind, so the formless world assumes many shapes before our sight. All these are perceived in our consciousness, which is as minute compared to infinite space and sky as an atom of dust is small compared to Mount Meru.
92 But how can this consciousness, which is only another name for Brahman, be any bit smaller than the sky? How can the empty world have any solid form when it has no cause with form to form it so? 93 Where was there any matter or mould, and where from this material world was it molded and formed? Whatever we see in our waking minds during daylight is similar to the baseless dreams we see in the empty space of our sleeping minds in the darkness of the night. 94 There is no difference between waking and sleeping dreams, just as there is none between empty air and sky. Whatever is pictured in the sphere of the intellect, the same is represented as an aerial castle in the dream.
95 As the wind is the same as its vibration, so the rest and vibration of the spirit are both alike, just as air and emptiness are one and the same thing. 96 Hence it is only the intellectual sphere which shows the picture of the world. The whole is a void without any support. It is the splendor of the light of the intellect. 97 The whole universe is in a state of perfect rest and tranquility, without rising or setting. It is as a quiet and indestructible as a block of stone, ever shining serenely bright.
98 Therefore tell me, from where and what are these existent beings? From where does this understanding of their existence come? Where is there a duality or unity? From where do ideas of egoism and distinct personalities come?
99 Be ever prompt in your actions and dealings, with an utter indifference to everything and an unconcern about unity or duality. Preserve an even and cool disposition of your inner mind. Remain in the state of nirvana with your extinguished passions and feelings, free from disease and anxiety. Be aloof from the visible and remain in pure Consciousness only.
100 This chapter is a lecture on entity and nonentity and the establishment of the spirituality of the universe.
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Chapter 104 — The Process of Production Is Indescribable Except as a Dream
1 Vasishta continued:— The sky is the receptacle of sound and air is perceptible to feeling. Their friction produces heat and the removal of heat causes cold and its medium of water. 2 The earth is the union of these, and in this way they combine to form the world that appears to us like a dream. How else is it possible for a solid body to issue forth from the formless vacuum?
3 This progression of productions leads us too far beyond our comprehension. But it being so in the beginning, it brings no blemish upon the pure nature of the empty spirit. 4Divine Consciousness is also a pure entity that manifests in the same spirit. The same is said to be the world and this is the most certain truth of truths. 5 There are no material things and no five elements of matter anywhere. All these are mere unrealities, yet they are perceived by us like the false appearances in our dreams.
6 As a city and its various sights appear very clearly to the mind in our dreams during sleep, so it is very pleasant to see the dream-like world shining so brightly before our sight during our waking hours.
7 I am of the nature of my empty consciousness, and so this world is also of the same nature. Thus I find myself and this world to be of the same nature, like a dull and unconscious stone. 8 Hence the world appears like a shining jewel, both at its first creation and in all its following formations, because it always shines with the brightness of Divine Consciousness.
9 Whether the body is something or nothing in its essence, its lack of pain and the happiness of the mind are forms of its state of moksha or liberation. Its rest with a peaceful mind and pure nature is reckoned as its highest state of bliss.
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Chapter 105 — Waking and Sleeping Dreams Are Alike
1 Vasishta continued:— The Intellect conceives the form of the world of its own intrinsic nature, then fancies itself in that very form as if it were in a dream. 2 It pretends to be asleep while it is awake and views the world either as solid stone or as void as the empty air. 3 The world is compared to a dream of a country adorned with a great many cities. There is no reality in the objects of dream, so there is no reality in anything appearing in this world. 4 All the three worlds are as unreal as the various sights in a dream. They are only daydreams to us although we may be awake.
5 Whether waking or sleeping, there is nothing that we name the world. It is only an empty void and, at best, only an air-drawn picture in the hollow of the Intellect. 6 It is a wonderful display of Consciousness in its own hollowness, like an array of hills and mountains on the horizon of the sky. In the minds of the wise, the sense of the world is like a waking dream. 7 This world is nothing material, nor is it anything of the form of Consciousness. It is only a reflection of Consciousness. The emptiness of the intellectual world is only an empty nothing. 8 The triple world is only a reflection and like the sight of something in dream, it is only an airy nothing. The empty air becomes diversified and remains entirely bodiless, though seeming to be embodied in our waking state.
9 The inventive imagination of men is ever busy even in the hours of sleep and dreaming. It presents us with many creations that were never created and many unrealities appearing as real. 10 The universe appears to be an extensive substantiality implanted in the space of endless emptiness. But this huge body, with all its mountains and cities, in reality is nothing other than the original emptiness. 11 The howling of the sea and the clattering of clouds on mountains, though so very tremendous to a man awake, are not heard by the person sleeping soundly by his side.
12 As a widow dreams bringing forth a son in her sleep, and as a man thinks he is ever living by forgetting his past death and rebirth, so are men unmindful of their real state. 13The real is taken for the unreal and unreal for the real, just as a sleeping man forgets his bedroom and thinks he is somewhere else. So everything turns to be otherwise, just as the day turns to night and the night changes to day. 14 The unreal soon succeeds the real, like night, and the impossible becomes possible, as when a living person sees his own death in his sleep. 15 The impossible becomes possible, just as the supposition of the world in the empty void. Darkness appears as light, as the nighttime seems to be daylight to the sleeping and dreaming man at night. 16 Daylight becomes the darkness of night to one who sleeps and dreams in the daytime. The solid ground seems to be hollow to one who dreams of being cast into a pit. 17 As the world appears to be a unreal when we sleep at night, so it undoubtedly appears real when we are awake.
18 The two suns of yesterday and today are the one and the same, and two men are of the same kind, so doubtless the waking and sleeping states are alike.
19 Rama asked, “That which is subject to objection and exception, of course, cannot be admissible and reliable as true. The sight of a dream is only momentary and falsified upon our waking. Therefore it cannot be the same as the waking state.”
20 Vasishta replied:— The disappearance of dreamed objects upon waking does not prove their falsity or make any difference between the two states of dreaming and waking because dream objects are like what a traveler sees in a foreign country. They are lost upon his return to his own country, and the foreign sights are soon lost upon his death. Hence both are true for the time being and both are proved equally false and fleeting at last.
21 A dead man is separated from his friends, like from those he saw in his dreams. Then the living are said to be awakened when a sleeper awakes from his slumber. 22 After seeing the delusions of happiness and misery, witnessing the rotations of days and nights, and feeling many changes, the living soul at last departs from this world of dreams. 23After the long sleep of life, there comes an end when the human soul becomes assured of the untruth of this world and that the past was a mere dream. 24 As the dreamer perceives his death in the land of his dream, so the waking man sees his waking dream of this world when he meets with his death, in order to be reborn in it and to dream again.25 The waking beholder of the world finds himself dying in the same manner in his living world, where he is doomed to be reborn in order to see the same scenes and to die again.
26 He who in his waking state dies in the living world comes to revisit this earth in order to see the same dreams which he believed to be true in his former births. 27 Only the ignorant believe their waking sights to be true. The firm conviction of the intelligent is that all these appearances are only daydreams at best. 28 Taking the dreaming state for waking and the waking one for dreaming are only verbal distinctions implying the same thing. Life and death are meaningless words for the two states of the soul, which is never born or dies.
29 He who sees his life and death in the light of a dream is said to be truly awake. The living soul who considers itself to be awake or dying is quite the opposite. 30 Whoever dwells upon one dream after another, or wakes to see a waking dream, is like one who wakes after his death and finds his waking also to be a dream. 31 Our waking and sleeping are both like events of history to us. They are comparable to the past and present histories of nations. 32 The dream-sleep seems like waking, and the waking-dream is no other than sleeping. In fact, both are only unrealities, the mere rehash and reflections of the intellectual sky.
33 We find moving and inert beings on earth and innumerable creatures all around us. But in the end, what do they all prove to be other than the representations of the eternal ideas in Divine Consciousness? 34 As we can have no idea of a pot without that of the clay of which it is made, so we can have no conception of blocks of stone unless they were represented to our minds from their prints in Divine Consciousness.
35 All these various things which appear to us in waking and dream states are nothing other than the ideas of blocks which are represented in our dreams from their original models in Consciousness.
36 Now tell me, O intelligent Rama, what else must this Consciousness be other than the infinite and empty essence which acts in us, both in our dreaming and waking states?37 Know that this Consciousness is the great Brahman who is everything in the world. It is as if the world were the divided forms of his essence, yet Brahman is the figure of the whole world, as if he were the undivided whole himself. 38 As a clay pot is not conceivable without its substance of clay, so the intellectual Brahman is inconceivable without his essence of Consciousness. 39 Again, as a stone jar is beyond our conception except with the idea of its stony substance, so the spiritual God is beyond our comprehension without our idea of spirit.
40 As water is a liquid substance that cannot be conceived without its fluidity, so Brahman is conceived as composed of only his Consciousness or Intellect, without which we can have no conception of him. 41 So also we have the conception of fire by means of its heat, without which we have no concept of it. Such also is our idea of God; that he is Consciousness and beside this we can form no idea of him. 42 We know wind only by its movement and by no other means whatsoever. So God is thought as Consciousness or Intelligence itself, beside which we can have no idea of him. 43 There is nothing that can be conceived without its property, just as we can never conceive vacuum to be without its emptiness, or have any conception of earth without its solidity.
44 All things are composed of empty Consciousness, just as a pot or painting appearing in the mind is composed of the essence of consciousness only. So the hills and other objects appearing in a dream are only representations of Consciousness. 45 We are conscious of the aerial sights of hills and towns presented to our minds in dream. In the same way we know all things in our consciousness in our waking. Both in our sleep and waking, there is a quiet calm emptiness in which only our intellect is ever busy showing itself in endless shapes before us.
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Chapter 106 — Description of Intellectual Emptiness; the Impossibility of Material Creation
1 Rama said, “Tell me again, O venerable sage, about that intellectual emptiness which you say is Brahman. I am never satisfied listening to the holy words distilling like ambrosia from your lips.”
2 Vasishta replied:— I have fully explained to you that the two states of sleeping and waking mean the same thing. The twin virtues of composure and self-control are both the same, though they are differentiated by two names. 3 In reality there is no difference, as there is none between two drops of water. They are both one and same thing, as the empty essence of Brahman and Consciousness.
4 As a man travelling from country to country finds his self consciousness to be the same everywhere, Consciousness is the same, dwelling within himself in its empty form which is called the intellectual sphere. 5 This intellectual sphere is as clear as the ethereal sky in which earthly trees display their greenness by drawing the moisture of the earth through their roots. 6 Again, the intellectual sphere is as calm and quiet as the mind of a man who is free from desires and is at rest in himself, and whose composure is never disturbed by anything. 7 Again, the intellectual sphere is like the quiet state of a man who is rid of his busy cares and thoughts and reposes himself at ease before he is lulled to the unconsciousness of his sleep.
8 As trees and plants growing in their season rise and fill the sky without being attached to it, such also is intellectual sphere, filled by rising worlds after worlds without being touched or related to any. 9 Again, the intellectual sphere is as clear as a cloudless sky and as vacant as the mind of a saintly man wholly purified from the impressions of visible phenomena and from its thoughts and desires about anything in the world. 10 The intellectual state is as steady as those of stable rocks and trees, and when such is the state of the human mind, it is then said to have attained its intellectuality.
11 The intellectual emptiness, devoid of the three states of the view, viewer, and viewed, is also said to be devoid of any attribute and all change. 12 The intellectual sphere is where thoughts of various kinds of things rise, last and set in turn without any effect of change on its immutable nature. 13 The intellectual sphere is that which embraces all things, which gives rise to and becomes everything itself, and which permeates throughout all nature forever.
14 That which shines resplendent in heaven and earth, and inside and outside of everybody with equal blaze, is said to be the emptiness of the intellect. 15 It extends, stretches and bends through all, connected by its lengthening chain to infinity. The emptiness of the intellect envelops the universe, whether we see the universe as an entity or nonentity.16 The intellectual vacuum produces everything and at last reduces all to itself. The changes of creation and dissolution are all the workings of this emptiness. 17 The emptiness of the intellect produces the world, just as the sleeping state of the mind presents its sights in our dreams. And as dreams are dispersed in deep sleep, so the waking dream of the world vanishes from view upon dispersion of its fallacy from the mind.
18 Know that the Intellectual Vacuum possesses its process of understanding and is quiet and composed in its nature. It’s mere thought, in the wink of an eye, makes the world exist and disappear by turns. 19 The Intellectual Vacuum is found in the discussions of all the scriptures to be what is neither this nor that nor anything, and yet as all and everything in every place and at all times.
20 As a man traveling from country to country retains his consciousness untraveled in himself, so the intellect always rests in its place though the mind travels far in an instant.21 The world is full of the intellect, both as it is or had ever been before. Its outward sight is dependent on its ideas within the mind, giving it the forms and figures as they appear to us. 22 In a slight winking of its eye, it assumes and appears in varied shapes, though the intellect never changes its form or alters the clarity of its empty sphere.
23 Look on and know all these objects of sense with your external and internal organs without any desire for them. Be ever wakeful and vigilant observing them, but remain as in a deep sleep with regards to them. 24 Be without desire for anything and indifferent in your mind when you speak to anyone, take anything, or go anywhere. Remain as deadly cold and quiet as long as you have to live. 25 But it is impossible for you to remain without desire as long as your eyes and mind are fixed upon the visible before you, and as long as you continue to see the mirage of the world and look upon its duality like two moons rising in the sky.
26 Know that the world is no production from any beginning. The lack of a prior cause precludes any such sequence and it is impossible for a material creation to proceed from an immaterial cause. 27 Whatever appears as existent before you is the product of a causeless cause. It is the appearance of the Transcendent One that appears visible to you. 28The world as it stands at present is nothing other than its very original form. The same non-dual and undivided pure soul appears as a duality, just as the disc of the moon and its halo create the appearance of two moons. 29 Our false notion of duality has given us a strong bias towards the error of believing in the false and taking the shadow of a dream for reality.
30 Therefore the phenomenal world is no real production, nor does it actually exist or is likely ever to come into existence. Likewise it is never annihilated because it is impossible for a nonexistent to be nothing again. 31 Hence that which is only a form of serene vacuum must also be quiet calm and serene. This exhibits itself in the form of the world, but necessarily remains of its own nature quite clear and steady, imperishable through all eternity. 32 Nothing we see before us, nothing that is visible, is ever reliable as real. There is never any viewer because there is nothing separate to be viewed.
33 Rama asked, “If this is so, then O most eloquent sage, explain the nature of the visible, their view, and viewer. What are these that appear to our view?”
34 Vasishta replied:— There being no assignable cause for the appearance of the visible, their vision can only be a deception. The hypothesis of scholars is that this is true. 35Whatever appears as visible to the sight of the viewer is all fallacy, the offspring of the great delusion of Maya. The world in its concealed sense is only a reflection of the Divine Mind.
36 The intellect is awake in our sleeping state and shows us the shapes in our dreams like the sky shows changes and differences in its ample garden. Thus the intellect manifests itself in the form of the world and in itself. 37 Hence there is no formal cause or self evolving element since the first creation of the world. That which sparkles anywhere before us is only the great Brahman Himself. 38 It is the sunshine of the Intellect within its own hollow sphere that manifests this world as a reflection of his own being.
39 The world is an exhibition of the quality and unqualified emptiness of the Intellect, just as existence is the quality of existent beings, emptiness is the property of vacuum, and form is the attribute of a material substance. 40 Know that the world is the concrete counterpart of a distinct attribute of the transcendent glory of God. The world is a very reflection of God visibly exposed to the view of its beholders. 41 But in reality, there is no duality whatever in the unity of God. He is neither the reflector nor the reflection. Say, who can ascertain what he is, or tell whether he is a being or not being, or a something or nothing?
42 Rama asked, “If it is how you describe, that the Lord is neither reflector nor reflection, and neither viewer nor the viewed, then tell me. What is the difference between cause and effect? What is the source of all these? If they are unreal, why do they appear as realities?”
43 Vasishta replied:— Whenever the Lord thinks on the manifestation of his Consciousness, he beholds the same at that same moment, then becomes the subjective beholder of the objects of his own thought. 44 The intellectual vacuum itself assumes the form of the world, just as the earth becomes a hill by itself. But it never forgets itself for that form, as men do in their dreams. Moreover, there is no cause to move it to action except its own free will. 45 As a person changing his former state to a new one retains his self consciousness, so Divine Consciousness retains its identity in its transition from prior emptiness to its subsequent state of fullness.
46 The thought of cause and effect and the sense of visible and invisible proceed from errors of the mind and defects of vision. False imagination frames these worlds and nobody questions or upbraids himself for his error. The states of cause and effect and those of visible and invisible are mere phantoms of error rising before the sight of the living soul and proceeding from its ignorance. Then its imagination paints these as the world and there is nobody who realizes his error or blames himself for his blunder.
47 If there is another person who is the cause, beholder, and enjoyer of phenomena, then tell me who it is and what are these phenomena? That is the point in question. Is it liable to proof?
48 The state of our sleep presents us only with the indiscernible emptiness of Consciousness. So how is it possible to show one soul as many without being blamed for it? 49Only the self-existent soul presents the appearance of the world in the intellect. The ignorance of this truth has led to the general belief of the creation of the world by Brahma. 50Ignorance of this intellectual phenomenon has led mankind to many errors called by various names of illusion, ignorance, phenomena and, finally, the world.
51 Manifestations in the intellectual vacuum take possession of the mind like a ghost. The unreal world appears as a reality, like the false phantom of a ghost takes a firm hold on a child’s mind.
52 Although the world is an unreality, yet in our empty consciousness we have a notion of it as something real. This is nothing more than the embodiment of a dream which shows us the forms of hills and cities in empty air. 53 Consciousness represents itself as a hill or a Rudra, or as a sea or as the god Viraj himself, just as a man thinks in his dream that he sees hills and towns in his empty mind.
54 Nothing that has any form can be the result of a formless cause. Hence the impossibility that the solid world exists, that the world is formed of atomic elements, that it was annihilated before its creation, or that there will be any world dissolution. Therefore it is evident that the world always and only exists in its ideal form in the Divine Mind. 55 The world is a mere uncaused existence inherent in its empty state in the empty Mind. What is called the world is nothing other than an emptiness appertaining to the empty Consciousness.
56 The minds of ignorant people are like glassy mirrors receiving the dim and dull images of things set before their senses. But those of reasoning men are like clear microscopes that spy the vivid light of the Divine Mind that shines through all. 57 Therefore, the best of men shun the sight of visible forms. They view the world in the light of intellectual emptiness, remaining as firm as rocks in the meditation of the steady Intellect, placing no faith or reliance on anything else.
58 Consciousness shows the revolution of the world in itself by its constant act of airy reasoning, just as the sea displays its circular movement throughout the watery world by the continual rotation of its whirlpools. 59 As the figurative tree of our desire produces and yields our wished-for fruits in a moment, so Consciousness instantly presents everything before us that is thought of. 60 As the mind finds its wished for gem and the fruit of its desire within itself, in the same manner the internal soul instantly meets with its desired objects in its empty self.
61 As a man passing from one place to another rests calmly in between, such is the state of the mind in the interval between its thoughts, when it sees neither the one nor another thing. 62 It is only the reflection of the Consciousness that shines clearly in variegated colors within the cavity of its own sphere. Though devoid of any shape or color, yet it exhibits itself in color like the blue in the emptiness of the sky.
63 Nothing unlike can result from empty Consciousness, only that which is empty as itself. A material production requires a material cause, which is lacking in Consciousness. Therefore the created world is only a display of the Divine Mind, like the appearance of dreams before our sleeping minds.
• • •
Chapter 107 — Formless Cannot Create Form; All Is Subjective (Ideal)
1 Vasishta continued:— The world is the subjective Intellect and inborn in it, and not the objective which is perceived from without. It is the empty space of Consciousness-Intellect which displays ideas in itself, and here the triple state of the thinking principle, its thinking and thoughts combine together.
2 In its ample exhibition, all living beings are displayed as dead bodies. I and you, and he and it are all represented like lifeless figures in a picture. 3 All persons engaged in active life appear in Consciousness-Intellect as motionless blocks of wood, or as cold and silent bodies of the dead. All moving and unmoving beings appear as empty air. 4 The sights of all things are exposed here, like the glare of the crystal surface of the sky. They are to be considered as nothing, for nothing substantial can be contained in the hollow mind.
5 Bright sunbeams, splashing waves, and the gathering vapors in the air present us with forms of shining pearls and gems. But never does anyone rely on their reality. 6 So this phenomenon of the world, which appears in the emptiness of Consciousness and seems to be true to the appearance of all, yet should never be relied upon by anyone. 7Consciousness is entangled in its false fancies and dwells on the errors of unreal material things rising like smoke before it, just like a child entranced in his own hobby.
8 Say men of ignorance, what reliance can you place on mine and yours that you say “this is I” and “that is mine”? Ah, well do I now perceive that it is the pleasure of ignorant people to indulge themselves in their imaginary flights. 9 Knowing the unreality of the earth and other things, men are yet prone to pass their lives in those vanities and in their ignorance of truth. They resemble miners who, instead of digging the earth in search of gold, expect it to fall upon them from heaven.
10 The lack of any prior or supporting cause proves a priori the
impossibility of the effect. The lack of any created thing proves a posteriori the nonexistence of any causal agent. 11 They who deal with all the unreal shadows of persons and things in this uncreated world are like ignorant fools who nourish their unborn or dead offspring. 12 Where does this earth and all other things come from? Who made them and how did they spring to sight? It is the representation of the Intellectual emptiness that shines in itself, and is quite calm and serene. 13 The minds of those addicted to imagine themselves, a causality and its effect, and time and place, are inclined to believe that the earth exists. But we have nothing to do with their childish reasoning.
14 The world, whether considered material or immaterial, is only a display of intellectual emptiness which presents all these images to our minds like dreams, and like the empty sky that shows its colors and figures to our eyes. 15 The form of empty consciousness is without form. We have knowledge of it only through our perception. It is the same which shows itself in the form of the earth and other phenomena. The subjective soul appears as the subjective world to our sight.
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Chapter 108 — Story from Another World of a Besieged King (Vipaschit)
1 Rama asked, “He whose mind is bound by ignorance to the bright vividness of visible phenomena sees the perceptible scenes of thoughts as mere idle dreams, as imaginary as empty air. 2 Now, O sage, please tell me again about the nature and manner of this ignorance of the true nature of things as thoughts. To what extent and how long does this ignorance of the spiritual bind a man?”
3 Vasishta replied:— Know Rama, that those who are infatuated by their ignorance think this earth and the elementary bodies are as everlasting as they believe Brahman to be. Now, O Rama, listen to a story on this subject.
4 In some corner of infinite space there is another world with its three worlds of upper, middle and lower regions, like here in this world. 5 In that other world there is a piece of land as beautiful as our own called the plateau level land, where all beings had their free range. 6 In a city of that place there ruled a king well known for his learning who passed his time in the company of the learned men of his court.
7 He shone as handsome as a swan in a lake of lotuses and as bright as the moon among the stars. He was as dignified as Mount Meru among mountains and he presided over his council as its president. 8 The strain of poets fell short reciting his praises, and he was a firm patron of poets and bards, like a mountain supports those seeking refuge. 9 The prosperity of his valor flourished day by day and stretched its luster to all sides of the earth, just as the blooming beauty of lotus blossoms, under the early beams of the rising sun, fills the landscape with delight every morning.
10 That respectable king of brahmin faith adored Agni as the lord of the gods with his full faith and did not recognize any other god as equal to Agni. 11 He was surrounded by a conquering army consisting of cavalry, elephants and foot soldiers. He was surrounded by his councilors like the sea is surrounded by its whirlpools and rolling waters. 12 His vast and unflinching forces were employed in the protection of the four boundaries of his realm, just as the four seas serve to surround the earth on all its four sides. 13 His capital was like the hub of a wheel, the central point of the whole circle of his kingdom. He was as invincible a victor of his foes as the irresistible discus of Vishnu.
14 Once a shrewd messenger appeared to the king from the eastern borders of his state. The messenger approached the king in haste and delivered a secret message that was not pleasing to him. 15 “Lord, may your realm be never detached, which is bound fast by your arms as a cow is tied to a tree or post. But hear me tell you something which requires your consideration. 16 Your chieftain in the east is snatched away from his post by the relentless hand of a fever. He seems to have gone to the regions of death, to conquer, as it were, the god Yama at your command.”
17 “Then as your chief in the south proceeded to quell the borderers in that region, he was attacked by hostile forces who poured upon him from the east and west and he was killed by the enemy. 18 Upon his death, the chieftain of the west proceeded with his army to seize those provinces from the hands of the enemy. 19 On his way he was met by the combined forces of the hostile princes of the east and south who put him to death.”
20 Vasishta continued:— As he was relating in this manner, another messenger driven by his haste entered the palace with the great a rush of a flood’s current.
21 He said, “O lord, the general of your forces on the north is overpowered by a stronger enemy and is defeated and driven from his post, like an embankment broken down and carried away by rushing waters.”
22 Hearing so, the king thought it useless to waste time and leaving his royal apartment, he commanded as follows. 23 “Summon the princes and chiefs and the generals and ministers to appear here immediately in their full armor. Open up the arsenal and get out the destructive weapons. 24 Put your armor of metal link plates on your bodies. Set the infantry on foot, number the regiments, and select the best warriors. 25 Appoint the leaders of the forces and send the messengers all around.” Thus said the king in haste, and such was the royal command.
26 Then the watchman appeared before the king and lowly bending down his head, he sorrowfully expressed, “Lord, the chieftain of the north is waiting at the gate and expects like the lotus to come to your sun-like sight.”
27 The king answered, “Go quickly and bring him to my presence so that I may learn from his report the genuine events of that quarter.” 28 Thus ordered, the watchman introduced the northern chief to the royal presence. The chief bowed down before his royal lord, who saw the chieftain in the following condition.
29 His entire body, every part of it, was full of wounds and scars. He breathed hard, spouted out blood, and supported himself with difficulty. 30 With due obeisance and faltering breath and voice, his limbs contorted, he delivered this hasty message to his sovereign. 31 The chieftain said, “My lord, the three chiefs of the other three quarters, with numerous forces under them, have already gone to the realms of Yama (death) in their attempt to conquer enemies at your command. 32 Then the clansmen, finding my weakness defending your realms alone on this side, assembled in large numbers and poured upon me with all their strength. 33 With great difficulty I have very narrowly escaped from them to this palace, all gory and gasping for life as you see. I implore you to punish the rebels who are not invincible before your might.”
34 Vasishta continued:— As the yet alive and wounded chieftain was telling his painful story to the king in this way, there suddenly appeared another person entering the palace after him who spoke to the king in the following manner. 35 “O sovereign of men, the hostile armies of your enemies, like the shaking leaves of trees, have all surrounded the outskirts of your kingdom in great numbers on all its four sides.36 The enemy has surrounded our lands like a chain of rocks. They are blazing all about with their waving swords and spears, and with the flashing of their forest-like maces and lances. 37 The bodies of their soldiers, with flags flying and weapons shaking on them, appear like chariots moving upon the ground. Their rolling war cars seem like sweeping cities all about. 38 Their uplifted arms appear like forests of fleshy trees rising in the sky. The loud sounding phalanx of big elephants seemed like huge bodies of rainy clouds roaring on high.”
39 “The ground seems to rise and sink with the bounding and bending of their snorting horses. They give the land an appearance of the sea, sounding harshly under lashing winds. 40 The land is moistened and whitened by the thickening froth fallen from the mouths of horses, bearing resemblance to the foaming sea, full with its salt spray. 41 Groups of shining armor and weapons in the field resemble the warlike array of clouds in the sky and are like huge surging waves rising upon the surface of the sea, troubled by the gusts of the deluge.”
42 “The weapons on their bodies, their armor and crowns, shine with a flash that equals the flame and fire of your valor. 43 Their battle array, in the forms of circling crocodiles and long stretching whales, resemble the waves of the sea that toss these marine animals upon the shore. 44 Columns of their lancers are advancing with one accord against us, flashing with furious rage and fire, uttering and muttering their abusive insults to us.”
45 “It is for this purpose that I have come to report these things to my lord, so that you will consider proceeding in battle array to the borders and drive these insurgents like weeds from the outskirts. 46 Now my lord, I take leave of you, with my bow and arrows and club and sword as I came, and leave the rest to your best discretion.”
47 Vasishta added:— Saying so, and bowing lowly to his lord, the messenger immediately went out, like waves of the sea disappear after making a gurgling noise.
48 Upon this, the king with his honorable ministers, his knights and attendants and servants, together with his cavalry and charioteers, men and women and all the citizens at large were struck with terror. The sentinels of the palace trembled with fear as they shouldered their arms and held their weapons, which resembled a forest of trees shaken by a hurricane.
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Chapter 109 — King Vipaschit Immolates Himself in Sacred Fire, Producing Four Copies
1 Vasishta continued:— In the meanwhile, the assembled ministers advanced before the king, just as the sages of the past sought the help of celestial Indra when they were invaded by the Daitya demons. 2 The ministers said, “Lord! We have consulted and determined that because the enemy is irresistible by any of the three means (peace, dissension, and bribe) they must be quelled by force or due punishment. 3 When the proposal of friendship is of no avail and the offer of hostages also fails, it is useless to propose any other term for reconciliation.”
4 “Evil enemies who are base and barbarous from different countries and races, great in number and opulence, and acquainted with our weakness and weak parts are hardly conciliated by terms of peace or bribes of subsidy. 5 Now there is no remedy against this insurrection other than showing our valor to the enemy. Wherefore let all our efforts be directed towards the strengthening of our gates and ramparts.”
6 “Give orders to our brave soldiers to rush out to the field and command the people to worship and implore the protection of the gods. Let the generals give the war alarm with loud sounding drums and trumpets. 7 Let warriors be well armed and let them rush to the field. Order soldiers to rush upon the plains in all directions like dark flood clouds inundating the land. 8 Let outstretched bows rattle in the air and bowstrings twang and clang all around. Let the shadows of curved bows hide the skies like clouds. 9 Let bowstrings flash like flickering lightning in the air and the loud war whoops of soldiers sound like growling clouds above. Let flying darts and arrows fall like showers of rain and make combatants glare with sparkling gold rings in their ears.”
10 The king said, “All of you proceed to battle and promptly do all what is necessary on this occasion. I will follow you directly to the battlefield, after finishing my ablution and the adoration of the fire god Agni.”
11 In spite of the important affairs which waited on the king, yet he found a moment’s opportunity to bathe by pouring pots full of pure Ganges water upon himself, in the manner of a grove watered by a shower of rainwater. 12 Then he entered his fire temple and worshipped the holy fire with the reverence commanded in the scriptures. Then he began to reflect in the following manner.
King Vipaschit’s thoughts:—
13 I have led an untroubled and easy life, passing in pleasure and prosperity. I have kept the security of all the subjects of my realm stretching to the sea. 14 I have subdued the surface of the earth and reduced my enemies under my foot. I have filled the smiling land with plenty under the arc of the sky everywhere. 15 My fair fame shines in the sphere of heaven like clear and cooling moonbeams. The plant of my renown stretches to the three worlds like the three branches of the Ganges. 16 I have lavished my wealth upon friends and relatives and respectable brahmins in the same way as I have amassed treasures for myself. I quenched my thirst with the waters of coconuts growing on the edges of the four oceans. 17 My enemies trembled before me for fear of their lives. They groaned before me like croaking frogs with distended pouches. My rule extended over and marked the mountains situated in islands in distant seas.
18 I have wandered with bodies of spiritual masters over the nine regions beyond the visible horizon. I have rested on the tops of bordering mountains, like flying clouds that rest on mountain tops. 19 With my full knowing mind and my perfection in divine meditation, I have acquired my dominions entire and unimpaired through my goodwill for public welfare. 20 I have bound lawless rakshasa demons in strong chains. I have kept my cares for religious duties, and those for my treasures and personal enjoyments, within proper bounds without letting them clash with one another. 21 I have passed my lifetime in the uninterrupted discharge of my triple duties. I have enjoyed my life with great satisfaction and renown. But now hoary old age has come upon me, like snow and frost fallen upon withered leaves and dried straw. 22 Now old age has come and blasted all my pleasures and efforts. After all this, these furious enemies have overpowered me and are eager for war. 23 They have poured upon me in vast numbers on all sides and victory is doubtful. Therefore it is better for me to offer myself as a sacrifice to the god of this burning fire, which is known to crown its worshipper with victory.
24 I will pluck this head of mine and make an offering of it to the fire god Agni as a fit fruit to offer, and say, “O fire god, I make here an offering of my head to you. 25 I give this offering, as I have ever before given my oblations to fire. Therefore accept this also, O god, if you are pleased with my former offerings. 26 Let the four vessels of your fiery furnace yield four forms of me with brilliant and strong bodies, like that of Narayana with his mighty arms. 27 Thus, with my four bodies, I will be able to meet my enemies on all four sides and be invulnerable like you, by keeping my thought and sight ever fixed in you.”
28 Vasishta continued:— So saying, the king took hold of a dagger and separated his head from his body with one stroke, like children uses their nails to tear a lotus bud from its stalk. 29 As the head became an offering to the fire of dusky fumes, the headless trunk of the self-immolated sovereign also sprang and flew upon the burning furnace. 30 The sacred fire, fed with the fat and flesh of the royal carcass, yielded four such living bodies from amidst its burning flames. It is the nature of the good and great to make an instantaneous gift fourfold of what they receive in earnest.
31 The king sprang from the fire in his fourfold forms of royal appearance. These were as bright with light as the radiant body of Narayana when it first rose from the formless deep. 32 The king’s four bodies shone brightly, adorned with their inborn decorations of the royal crown and other ornaments and weapons. 33 They wore armor, crowns, helmets, bracelets and fittings for all and every part of the body. Necklaces and earrings hung upon them as they moved along. 34 All four princes were of equal forms and of similar shapes and sizes in all the parts of their bodies. They were all seated on horseback, like so many Indras riding on their Uchaisrava horses. 35 They had long and ample quiver, full of arrows with golden shafts. Their heavy bows and bowstrings were equally long and strong with the god of war. 36 They also rode on elephants and steeds and were mounted on their chariots and other vehicles in their warfare. They were alike impregnable by the arms of the enemy, both themselves as well as the vehicles they rode.
37 They sprang from the pit of the sacred fire, nourished by the offerings poured on it, like flames from an undersea fire rise in the ocean. 38 Their flowery bodies on jeweled horses shone light on all sides like four smiling faces of the moon. Their good figures looked like Lord Vishnu, as if they have come out from fire and water.
• • •
Chapter 110 — Description of Battle
1 Vasishta continued:— In the meantime the battle raged in full fury between the royal forces and the hostile bands that had advanced before the city gates. 2 Here the enemies were plundering the city and villages, and there they set fire to houses and hamlets. The sky was hidden by clouds of smoke and dust and the air was filled by loud cries of havoc and wailing on every side. 3 The sun was hidden by the thickening shadow of a network of arrows spread over the skies. The disc of the sun now appeared to view and was then lost to sight the next moment.
4 The burning fire of incendiaries set flame to the leaves of forest trees. Firebrands of burning wood were falling loosely all around and iron sheets of arrows were hurling through the air. 5 The flame of the blazing fire added a double luster to burnished and waving weapons. The souls of the great combatants falling in battle were carried aloft to the regions of Indra where heavenly apsara nymphs took care of them.
6 The thundering sounds of fierce elephants excited the bravery of warriors. Missile weapons of various kinds were flung about in showers. 7 The loud shouts and cries of combatants depressed the spirits of treacherous cowards. The white clouds of dust flying in the air appeared like elephants intercepting the paths of the midway skies. 8 Chieftains eager to die in the field wandered about with loud shouts. Men were falling in numbers here and there as if stricken by lightning on the battlefield. 9 Burning houses were falling below and fiery clouds dropped from above. Flying arrows in the form of rocks were rolling on high and descending upon and dispatching to death numbers of soldiers who were ready to die. 10 Galloping horses in the field made it appear like a wavy ocean from far away. The crashing of the tusks of fighting elephants crackled like clashing clouds in air. 11Arrow shafts filled the forts and its strongholds, their flashing on roofs making a glare of fire around.
12 The dashing of one another passing to and fro tore their garments into pieces. The furling of flags in open air and the clashing of shields between combatants made a pat-pat noise all around. 13 The flash of elephant tusks, the crash of weapons dashing on stony rocks, and the loud uproar and clamor of the battlefield invited the elephants of heaven to join in the fight. 14 Flights of arrows ran like rivers into the ocean of the sky. Flying lances, swords and discuses flung into the air resembled sharks and alligators swimming in the ethereal sea. 15 The impact of the armor of the clamorous combatants and the clashing of arms in commingled warfare were like the sound of the ocean crashing against islands.
16 Foot soldiers’ feet trod down the ground into a muddy pool. Blood issuing from arrow wounds in their bodies ran like rivers carrying down broken chariots and slain elephants in its rapid course. 17 The flight of winged arrows and the falling of battle axes resembled waves of a sea of missiles in the air. Broken arms of the vanquished floated upon it like sea animals.
18 The sky was set on fire by flames issuing forth from the clashing arms. The celestial regions were filled with the deified souls of departed heroes, now released from the chains of their wrinkled and decaying frames of earth. 19 Clouds of dingy dust and ash filled the sky with flashes of lightning flaming like arches amidst them. Missile weapons filled the air, as the drawn out arms occupied the surface of the earth. 20 Contending combatants hooted at one another and broke and cut their weapons in mutual contest. Cars were split by clashing at each other and chariots were destroyed by dashing together.
Í21 Here the headless trunks of the kabandhas (man eating cannibals) mingled with the gigantic bodies of vetala demons. It was disastrous on every side as demonic vetalas plucked hearts for their tasty meal. 22 Warriors tore the arteries of the slain, breaking apart their arms, heads and thighs, while the uplifted and shaking arms of kabandhas made a moving forest in the air. 23 Demons moving about with open and jeering mouths made their stomachs and jaws into caskets for carrion. Soldiers passing with their helmets and crowns looked fiercely on all around.
24 To kill or die, to slay or to be slain, was the soldier’s final glory in the field. Their greatest shame was to retreat giving or receiving wounds. 25 He makes death happy who dries up the boast of soldiers and chieftains, who drains the flowing ichor of ferocious elephants, and who is entirely bent on destruction. 26 Loud applause was given to the victory of modest and unknown heroes, and great censures were poured upon nameless and treacherous cowards. 27 Rousing the sleeping virtues of bravery is as glorious to the great and strong as the laying out of treasures for the protection of their protégés.
28 Elephant trunks were broken in conflicts of elephant riders and charioteers, stopping the flow of fragrant ichor fluid from their front lobes. 29 Elephants left loose by their flying leaders fell into lakes and cried like shrill storks. Here they were pursued and overcome by men who inflicted terrible wounds upon them. 30 In some place unprotected people, abused and half dead in their fight against each other, fled and fell at the feet of their king, just as daytime takes shelter under the shining sun. 31 Maddened by pride and the force of giddiness, they became subject to death, just as millionaires and traders seek a better place in fear of their life.
32 The red coats of soldiers and the red flags lifted upon their arms like a forest of trees spread a reddish color all around, like the adoration of the three worlds. 33 White umbrellas, resembling the waves of the Milky Ocean when churned by Mandara Mountain, covered the weapons of the soldiers and made the sky appear like a garden of flowers.
34 Eulogies sung by bards and gandharvas added to the valor of the warriors. Flowing juice from tall palm trees infused a vigor to their veins, like that of Baladeva. 35 There was the clashing of arms of the rakshasa demons who fought together in bodies big as lofty trees, taking bodies to fill their mountain caves so they could feed on the carcasses.
36 On one side there was a forest of spears rising in the sky with the severed heads and arms of the slain attached to them. There were flying stones on another side, flung from the slings of combatants and covering the ground below. 37 There was the clapping of hands and weapons of champions, resembling the splitting and bursting of great trees. The loud wailing of women was also heard echoing amidst the lofty buildings of the city. 38 Flights of fiery weapons in the air resembled flying firebrands on high, with a hissing and whistling sound. People fled from them, leaving their homes and treasures all behind. 39 Onlookers fled to save their heads from arrows flying all about, just as timid snakes hide for fear of the devouring garuda bird flying upon them from the sky. 40 Brave soldiers were ground under elephant tusks as if pounded under the jaws of death, or like grapes crushed in pressing mills.
41 Weapons flying in the air were repelled and broken by stones flung by machines. The shouts of champions resounded like the echoing yells of elephants issuing out of ragged caverns. 42 Hollow sounding mountain caves resounded to the loud shouts of warriors who were ready to expose their dear lives and dearly earned vigor in the battlefield.43 The burning fire of firearms and the flames of incendiaries flashed on all sides. These conflicts and chariot fighting went on unceasingly all around.
44 The battlefield was surrounded by surviving soldiers who were as brave hearted as Mount Kailash with the strong god Shiva seated therein. 45 Brave men who boldly expose their lives in battle enjoy a lasting life by their death in warfare. But they die in their living state by their flight from the battlefield.
46 Big elephants were being killed in the battlefield like lotus flowers immersed into the waters of lakes. Great champions were seen to stalk over the plains like towering storks strutting on the banks of lakes. 47 Showers of stones fell in torrents with a whizzing sound. Showers of arrows were flying with a whistling noise around. The uproar of warriors growled in the skies. Flying weapons hurled through the air, and the neighing of horses, the cries of elephants and the whirling of chariot wheels, together with the hurling of stones from the height of hills, deafened the ears of men all about.
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Chapter 111 — The Fourfold King Lets Loose His Weapons and the Enemy Flees
1 Vasishta continued:— Thus the war waged with the fury of the four elements in their mutual conflict on the last doomsday of the world. Forces on all sides were falling and flying in numbers in and about the battlefield. 2 The sky was filled with the harsh sound of the fourfold noise of drums and conch shells and the rattling of arrows and clattering of arms. 3 Furious warriors violently dashed against one another. Their steel armor clashed and split in two with a clattering noise. 4 The ranks of the royal forces were broken in the struggle. They fell fainting in the field, chopped off like leaves and plants, mown down like straw and grass.
5 At this time the trumpets announced the king’s advance with a sound that filled the quarters of the sky. Cannons thundered with a treble roar resounding with the uproar of kalpa doomsday clouds. 6 They tore apart the sides of the highest hills and mountains and split rocky shores and banks everywhere in two. 7 Then the king issued forth on all four sides with his fourfold forms, like the four regents of the four quarters of the sky, or like the four arms of Narayana stretching to so many sides of heaven. 8 Followed by his fourfold forces (cavalry, elephants, chariots and foot soldiers), he rushed out of the confines of his city of palaces and marched to the open fields lying outside town. 9 He saw the thinness of his own army and the strong armament of his enemies all around. He heard their loud clamor all about, like the wild roar of the surrounding sea.
10 Flights of arrows flying thickly through the air appeared like sharks floating in the sea. The bodies of elephants moving in the wide battlefield seemed like huge waves of the ocean. 11 Battalions wheeling in circular formations seemed like the whirling currents in the sea. Racing chariots with flags waving appeared like sailing ships with their unfurled sails. 12 Uplifted umbrellas were like sea foam and the neighing of horses was like the frothing of whales. The glare of shining weapons appeared like flares of falling rain under sunshine. 13 Moving elephants and sweeping horses seemed like huge surges and swelling waves of the sea. Dark barbarians babbled like the gurgling bubbles of sea waters.
14 Big elephants with towering and dark bodies seemed like they were mounting from the heights of mountains and breaking their hollow caves, howling with rustling winds.15 The battlefield looked like a vast expanse of water in which slain horses and elephants seemed to be swimming like fragments of floating rocks, and where moving legions appeared like the rolling waves of the sea. 16 The field presented a dismal appearance of an untimely dissolution. It appeared like an ocean of blood stretching to the borders of the visible horizon. 17 Fragments of shining weapons sparkled like gems in the womb of the sea. The movements of forces resembled the casting of projectile stones into it. 18Falling weapons were like showers of gems and snow from above, presenting the appearance of evening clouds in some place and fleecy vapors in another.
19 Seeing the ocean-like battalions of the enemy, the king thought of swallowing it up like sage Agastya had sucked up the ocean. With this intent, he remembered his airy instrument which he thought to employ on this occasion. 20 He got the Vayavya airy weapon and aimed it at all sides, just as when the god Shiva set the arrow to his bow on Mount Meru to slay the demon Tripura. 21 The king bowed to his god Agni, then let his mighty missile fly with all his might to repel the raging fire and protect his own forces from destruction. 22 He hurled his airy Paryaya arrow, together with its accompaniment of cloudy Vayavya arms, both to drive off as well as to set down enemy fire. 23 From these weapons propelled from his crossbow, eight beings emerged into a thousand horrible weapons which ran and filled all four quarters of the sky. 24 Then from these there issued forth an abundance of darts and arrows, currents of iron spears and tridents, and volleys of shots and rockets. 25 There were torrents of missiles and mallets, as well as currents of discs and battle axes. 26 There were streams of iron clubs, crowbars and lances, and floods of bhindipalas, short arrows thrown from the hand or through tubes, and splashes of spring nets and air instruments of incredible velocity. 27 There was a pouring out of fire-bolts and a flowing of lightning, as also showers of falling rains and swift movements of flying swords and sabers. 28 There were fallings of iron arrows, javelins and spears of great force and strength, and fallings of huge snakes found in mountain caves that grew there for ages.
29 In no time the force of these flying arms blasted the ocean of hostile forces. They fled in full haste and hurry in all directions, like heaps of ash before a hurricane or whirlwind. 30 The thunder showers of arms and the driving rain of weapons were driven away by impetuous winds. Invading hosts hurried to all sides like the torrent of a river in the rains breaks its embankment and flows over the land. 31 The four bodies of enemy troops (horse, elephant, chariots, and foot-soldiers) fled defeated from the battlefield to the four directions, just as mountain waterfalls rapidly move down on all sides during rains.
32 Lofty flags and their posts were torn, broken and hurled down like large trees in a storm. Forests of uplifted swords were broken to pieces and scattered on the ground like the petals of marichi flowers. 33 Sturdy bodies of strong soldiers rolled like stones on the ground, smeared with blood gushing out of their wounds, while the groans of their agony broke down the stoutest hearts. 34 Large elephants rolled upon the ground with their tusks sticking up like trees. They roared aloud with crackling sounds as loud as thunder and roaring clouds.
35 The clashing of the weapons against one another was like the crashing of tree branches. Horses clashing on one another sounded like the clashing of waves of the sea. 36The crackling of war cars and their huge wheels sounded like the rattling of a hailstorm from high, and the mingled noise of the clashing of carriages, horse, elephants and foot soldiers sounded like the crashing of rocks. 37 The harsh sound of war hoops and shouts was loud on all sides. Cries of dying soldiers, “We die! We are slain!” swelled in the air all around. 38 The army appeared like a sea and their march was like the whirling of an whirlpool with its gurgling sound. Blood shed on their bodies exhibited the roseate color of the evening sky. 39 Waving weapons appeared like a dark cloud moving upon the shore. The ground smeared in blood looked like the fragment of a purple cloud. 40 Lancers, mace bearers and spearmen looked as if they were carrying tall palm trees in their hands. Cowardly crowds of men were seen crying aloud like timid deer in the plains.
41 The dead bodies of horses, elephants and warriors lay on the ground like the fallen leaves of trees. The rotten flesh and fat of bruised carcasses were trodden down to mud and mire in the field. 42 Their bones were pounded to dust under the hoofs of horses. The impact of wood and stones under driving winds raised a rattling sound all around. 43 The clouds of doomsday roared and the winds of desolation blew. The rains of the last day were falling and the thunders of destruction were clapping all about. 44 The surface of the ground was all muddy and miry and the face of the land was flooded all over. The air was chilly and bleak and the sky was drizzling through all its pores.
45 Huts and hamlets and towns and villages were all in a blaze. People and their cattle, with all the horses and elephants, were in full cry and loud uproar. 46 Earth and heaven resounded with the rolling of chariots and rumbling of clouds. The four quarters of heaven reverberated to the twanging of the king’s fourfold bow on all the four sides.
47 Forked lightning played with the friction and clashing of clouds. Showers of arrows and missiles fell profusely from them, with thunderbolts of maces and darts of spears. 48The armies of the invading chiefs fled in confusion from all four sides of the field. Fleeing forces fell in numbers like swarms of ants and troops of gnats and flies. 49 The armies of the border tribes were burnt amidst the conflagration of fiery arms, pierced by the fiery weapons falling like thunderbolts upon them from the darkened sky. The fleeing forces resembled marine animals of the deep, disturbed by the perturbed waters of the sea, plunging into an undersea fire.
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Chapter 112 — Catalogue of Fleeing Foreign Foes
1 Vasishta continued:— The Chedis of Deccan, who were as thickly crowded as the sandalwood of their country, and clothed with girdles resembling the snakes about those trees, were felled by battle axes and driven far away south to the Indian Ocean. 2 The Persians fled like the flying leaves of trees. Striking against one another in their madness, they fell like vanjula leaves in the forest. 3 Then the demon-like Daradas, who dwell in the caverns of the distant Dardura Mountains, were pierced in their breasts and fled from the field with their heart-rending sorrow.
4 Winds blew away the clouds of weapons that poured down torrents of missile arms, shattering the armor of warriors, glittering like twisting lightning. 5 Elephants fell upon one another, piercing their bodies and goring each other to death with their tusks. They became heaps of flesh like the lumps of food with which they filled their bellies.
6 Another people of the Raivata Mountains, fleeing from the battlefield by night, were waylaid by fierce pisacha ghosts who tore their bodies and devoured them with a huge appetite. 7 Those who fled to palm and spice forests, and to the old woods on the banks of Dasarna River, were caught by crouching lions and tigers and were throttled to death under their feet. 8 The Yavanas living on the coasts of the western ocean, and those in the land of coconut trees, were caught and devoured by sharks in the course of their flight. 9Sakas warriors, unable to endure the painful touch of black iron arrows, fled in all directions. Ramatha people were blown away and broken down like a lotus bed by blowing winds. 10 Routed enemy flying to Mahendra Mountain covered its three peaks with their armor of black metal-link plates, making them appear as if covered by the dark clouds of rainy weather. 11 Legions of these hostile forces, broken down by the arms of the king, were first plundered of their clothing by highway robbers, then killed and devoured by the night cannibals and demons of the desert.
12 The surface of the land was converted to the face of the sky with broken fragments of weapons glistening like the stars of heaven twinkling in large multitudes above. 13 The caverns of the earth, resounding to the noise of the clouds above, were like a grand orchestra sounding the victory of the king both in earth and heaven. 14 Peoples inhabiting islands lost their lives under whirling discs, as those dwelling in watery marshes perish on dry lands for want of rain. 15 The defeated islanders fled to the Sahya Mountains and, having halted there for a week, departed slowly to their respective places. 16 Many took shelter in the Gandhamadana Mountains, while multitudes took refuge in the Punnaga forests. Retreating gandharvas became refugees in the sanctuaries of vidyadhara maidens. 17 Huns, Chinese and Kiratas had their heads struck off by the king’s flying discuses. These were blown away by opposing winds like lotus flowers by the blast. 18 The Nilipa people remained as firm as trees in a forest, and as fixed in their places as thorns on stalks and brambles.
19 Beautiful pastures of antelopes, woodlands and hilly tracts on all sides were desolated by showers of weapons and the rush and crush of the forces. 20 Thorny deserts became the asylum of robbers after they deserted their homes to be overgrown by thorns and thistles. 21 Persians who were abundant in number got over to the other side of the sea. They were blown away by the hurricane, like stars blasted by the storm of final desolation. 22 Winds blew as on the last day of destruction, breaking down woods and forests all about and disturbing the sea by shaking its hidden rocks below. 23 The dirty waters of the deep rose on high with a gurgling noise. The sky was invisible from the clouds of weapons which hid its face on all sides. 24 Howling winds raised a clapping and flapping sound all about. Showers of snow also fell which flowed on earth like the waters of the sea.
25 The charioteers of Vidura country fell down from their cars with the loud noise of waves and were driven to fall into the waters of the lake, like bees from lotuses. 26 Defeated foot soldiers were as numerous as the dust of the earth and well armed from head to foot. They were so overpowered under the showers of arrows and discs that they were blinded by the tears of their eyes, unable to beat their retreat. 27 Huns were buried with their heads and heels in their flight over the sandy deserts of the north. Others were as muddied as dirty iron from being stuck in the swampy shores of northern seas. 28 The Sakas were driven to a cardamom forest on the bank of the eastern shores. There they were confined for some time, then released without being dispatched to the regions of death. 29 The Madrasis were repulsed to the Mahendra mountains, from where they lightly descended on the ground as if fallen from heaven. There they were protected by great sages who preserved them there with care as tender as they bear for the deer of their hermitage.
30 Fugitives flying to the refuge of the Sahya Mountains instead found their imminent destruction in the underground cell, the twofold gain of their present and future good. Thus it comes to pass that many times good issues out of evil where it was least expected. 31 Soldiers flying to Dasarna, at the meeting of the ten rivers, fell into Dardura Forest like the fallen leaves of trees. There they lay dead all about by eating the poisonous fruits there. 32 The Haihayas who fled to the Himalayas drank the juice of visalya-karani pain-killing plants by mistake, and thereby became as violent as vidyadharas and flew to their country.
33 Then the people of Bengal, who are as weak as faded flowers, showed their backs to the field and fled to their homes, from which they dare not stir even to this day, but remain like pisacha ghosts all along. 34 But the people of Anga or Bihar who live upon the fruits of their country are as strong as vidyadharas and play with their mates as if in heavenly bliss.
35 The Persians, defeated in their bodies, fell into palm and spice forests where, by drinking their intoxicating extracts, they became as giddy as drunk men. 36 The light and swift spirited elephants of the dark skinned Kalingas pushed against their fourfold armies in the field of battle, where all lay slain in haphazard heaps.
37 The Salwas, passing under the arrows and stones of the enemy, fell into the waters which encircled their city. They perished there with the whole of their hosts that are still lying there in the form of heap of rocks.
38 There were numbers of hosts that fled to different countries in all directions. Many were driven to distant seas where they drowned and were carried away by the waves. 39But who can count the countless hosts that fled and lay dead unnoticed in every part of the wide earth and sea, on fields and plains, in forests and woods, on land and water, on mountains and valleys, on shores and coasts and on the hills and cliffs. So there is nobody who can tell what numbers of living beings are dying every moment, in their homes in cities and villages, in caves and dens, and everywhere in the world.
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Chapter 113 — Combatants Exhausted; Description of the Ocean
1 Vasishta continued:— The four Kings Vipaschit pursued the fleeing hostile forces for a great distance, as said before. 2 These four forms of almighty power, and of one soul and mind, went on conquering the four regions on every side with one intent and purpose. 3 They chased retreating enemies to the shores of the seas on all sides without giving them any rest, just as river currents keep on their course to the coast of the far distant ocean without rest. 4 This long course of royal forces and the enemies they chased soon put an end to all their provisions and ammunition. All their resources and strength were exhausted at last, like a stream lost under sands before it reaches a lake. 5 At the end, the king saw his forces and those of his enemies to be as exhausted as the merits and demerits of a man upon his ultimate liberation.
6 Weapons ceased to fly about, as if they were resting having done their part in the sky, and as the flames of fire subside of themselves for lack of combustible fuel. 7 Horses and elephants went under their shelters and weapons stuck to trees and rocks. They seemed to fall fast asleep like birds upon their tree branches at nightfall. 8 As waves cease to roll in a dried up channel, as snow falls under cloudy sky, as clouds fly before a storm, and as the fragrance of flowers is carried by the wind, 9 so flying weapons were submerged like fish under showers of rain, and dripping drops of darts were thwarted by thickening showers of snow.
10 The sky was cleared of whirling discs that had been hurled by the hundreds in the hazy atmosphere. It was swept clean by gathering clouds that were soaring up in surges and pouring down floods of rain. 11 The sky appeared like an immense ocean composed of a vast void and containing sparkling gems of stars in its bosom, and the burning undersea fire of the sun in its midst. 12 The great vacuum appeared as extensive, deep, bright, serene, and devoid of the dust of pride as the minds of great men.
13 Then they saw the oceans, lying like junior brothers of the skies, being of equal extent and clarity, stretching to the utmost limits of the horizon. 14 These with their deep sounding waves and foaming froths are as gratifying to the minds of people as roaring clouds with their showers of snow captivate human hearts. 15 Having fallen down from high heaven, stretching wide their huge bodies on the earth below, they seem to be rolling grievously on the ground with deep groaning and breathing, raising up their wavelike arms to lift themselves on high.
16 They are gross and dull bodies, yet full of force and motion. Though they are mute and dumb, yet they are full of noise and howling in their hollow cavities. They are full of dreadful whirlpools, as is this world with all its dizzy rounds. 17 Gems sparkling on banks add to the brightness of sunbeams. Winds blowing in conch shells resound all along the coast. 18 Huge waves growl like big clouds roaring loudly on high. Circling currents whirl around scattering shattered coral branches.
19 Harsh snorting of sharks and whales howl in the bosom of the deep, their tails lashing water sounding like oars splashing.
20 Dreadful sharks and alligators devour mermaids and sailors in numbers. A thousand suns shine their reflections on rising waves. 21 Fleets of ships float on the surface of the waters, rising aloft on the tops of the waves, driven forward by blowing winds howling horribly through the furling sails and cracking ropes.
22 The ocean with his hundreds of arms of heaving waves handles the globes of the sun and moon and displays varieties of sparkling gems with reflections of their light rays. 23Shoals of sharks glide over the foaming ocean. Water spouts rise to the skies like columns of elephants’ trunks and like a forest of bamboo. 24 In some places, rippling waves glide like twisting creepers with hairy tufts and frothy blossoms. In other places, little rocks resembling the backs of elephants and bearing spring flowers are scattered in the midst of the waters. 25 Somewhere are heaps of froth and frost and hills of icebergs resembling the homes of gods and demigods. Elsewhere are groups of sparkling little waves that laughed to scorn the clusters of shining stars in the skies.
26 Here are branches of rocks concealed in its depth, like little gnats hidden in underground hollows. There are huge wave surges that make dwarfs of the high hills on earth. 27Its coasts are spread over with sparkling gems, like flower beds on the ground. Glistening pearls burst out of their silvery shells and sparkle in the sand. 28 The sea seems to weave a vest of silk with its cloudy waves, decorating it with floating gems and pearls. Rivers flow into it from all directions, serving to color it with their various waters. 29 Coasts studded with gems and pearls of various colors display the beams of a hundred moons in the multicolored nails of its feet. 30 The shadows of tall forests on the shores fall on the swelling waves of the sea imbued with the colors of marine gems. They appear like moving trees with their variegated foliage, fruits and flowers.
31 Shadows of different fruit trees reflect in the waters gliding below, rising up and falling down with their reflections in the moving waves and billows. False and falling shadows gathered numbers of marine beasts under them, gorging themselves on the falling fruit. 32 Greedy fish gather, leaping to catch the birds sitting on the fruit trees and seen in their reflections on the waves. 33 There are many sea monsters that break the embankments and randomly wander about in the watery maze, like birds flying freely in the empty air.
34 The ocean, being a formless deep, bears the image of the three worlds impressed on its bosom. It also bears the image of pure emptiness, as it bore the image of Narayana in its breast. 35 Its great depth, clarity and immeasurable extent give it the appearance of the majestic sky which is reflected in its bosom, as it were impressed upon it. 36 It bears the reflection of the sky and flying birds as if they were the images of aquatic fowls swimming on its surface, or resembling black bees fluttering about its lotus-like waves.
37 Its boisterous waves are carried to the skies by violent winds, washing the sky’s face with their salty spray. The deep sounding ocean, resounding from its hollow rocks, roars aloud like the clouds of the world flood. 38 The gurgling noise of whirlpools resembles the loud thunder claps of heaven. The undersea fire is sometimes seen to burst out of the deep, like the latent flame of the sage Agastya that consumed the waters of the ocean. 39 The watery maze presents the picture of a vast wilderness with its waves like the waving trees, its surf like as blossoms, and foam and froth like flowers. 40 The high heaving surges with great numbers of fish gliding and skipping appear like fragments of the sky fallen below, carried away by gliding waters.
41 Thus the hostile forces were driven far away to the shores of the salt seas extending far and wide and bounding the earth on every side. Lofty mountains, rising to the skies with their green tops, intercepted the sight on all sides.
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Chapter 114 — The King’s Companions Praise Nature in India
1 Vasishta continued:— Then the royal army saw whatever was on all sides of them, namely forests, hills, seas and clouds, foresters and hill people, and the trees of the forest.
2 They said:— Behold, O lord, that high hill which lifts its lofty top to the sky and invites the clouds to settle upon it, while its midmost part is the region of the winds and its base is composed of hard and rugged stones. 3 See, O lord, how they abound with fruit trees of various kinds, and groves whose fragrance is blown around by gentle winds. 4 The sea breaks down peninsulas with its battering breakers, dispersing rocks on its banks. It shatters bordering forests with its wavy axes, scattering their fruit and flowers all over the waters. 5 Behold the sea breeze blowing away clouds, settling on tops of mountains, shaking and dancing over the leafy branches of trees like men blowing smoke away with fans.
6 Here are trees on its coasts, like the trees in the Nandana garden of paradise, whose branches are as white as the conch shells growing in the full moon tide, and whose fruit are as bright as the moon. 7 These trees with their wives, the vines, are honoring you with offerings of flowers from the rosy palms of their red leaves.
8 There is Rikshavanta Mountain, howling like a ferocious bear, devouring huge sharks and swallowing waves in its cavern-like mouth and under its stony teeth. 9 Mahendra Mountain growls at roaring clouds with a loud uproar, like a stronger champion hurling defiance at his weaker rival. 10 There enraged Malaya Mountain lifts his lofty head, decorated with sandalwood forests, threatening the loud ocean below, rolling with its outstretched arms of waves on the shore.
11 Celestials on high look upon the ocean rolling constantly with its sparkling waves on all sides, as if carrying away the earth’s treasured gems. 12 Wild hillocks, woods and ruddy rocks on the tops, wave with the blowing gales looking like huge serpents creeping with their crescent gems and inhaling the breeze. 13 Huge sharks and crocodiles move and grapple with each other upon the surges. This sight delights the minds of men like that of a rainy and light clouds opposing and pursuing one another.
14 There an elephant has fallen in a whirlpool, unable to raise itself up. It left its trunk on the water and dies sputtering water from its trunk on all sides.
15 High hills and low seas are all equally filled with living beings. As the oceans abound with aquatic animals, so all lands and islands are full of living beings. 16 The sea, like the earth and all worlds, are full of whirlpools and things revolving, and all these are mere falsities that are taken and viewed as realities. 17 The ocean bears liquid waves in its bosom that are inert in themselves, yet appear to be in constant motion. So Brahman contains innumerable worlds which seem to be solid without any substance.
18 When the gods and demons of the past churned the ocean, they stole all of its bright and hidden treasures which since have fallen to the lot of Indra and the gods. 19Therefore, the ocean has adopted wearing the reflections of the greatest and brightest lights of heaven as its false and fictitious ornaments. These are seen even from the nether worlds, and of these no one can deprive it. 20 Among them is the shining sun whose image the ocean bears in its bosom with equal splendor as it is in heaven. This bright gem is daily thrown like a deposit in the western sea to give its light to the nether world. It is called the gem of day because it makes day wherever it shines.
21 There is a coming together of all waters from all sides. This assemblage in its reservoir gives it a clamorous sound, like that of crowds of men in a mixed procession. 22 Here is a continuous conflict among marine monsters, just as currents and torrents of the waters of rivers and seas jostle at the mouths of gulfs and bays. 23 There large whales roll and dance on rising waves, spurting forth water from their mouths, shedding showers of pearls carried aloft and scattered by the winds. 24 Streams of water, flowing like strings of pearls bearing bubbles like brilliant pearls, adorn the breast of the ocean like necklaces, whistling by their impacts.
25 Sea winds serve to refresh the spirits of the siddha spiritual masters and sadhya classes of spirits who dwell in the caves of Mahendra Mountains and traverse the howling regions of the sounding main. 26 Again, winds exhaled from the caves of Mahendra Mountains gently shake the woods growing upon it, stretching a cloud of flowers over its tablelands.
27 Here is Mount Gandhamadana full of mango and kadamba trees. There fragments of clouds enter its caves like deer eyes flashing like lightning. 28 Winds issuing from the valleys of the Himalaya Mountains, passing through the encircling bowers of creeping plants, scatter the clouds of heaven and break the waves of the sea. 29 The winds of Gandhamadana Mountain exhale the fragrance of kadamba flowers growing upon it, agitating the surface of the sea with whirling waves. 30 After twisting fleecy clouds into the forms of curling locks of hair on the peaks of Kubera’s Alaka residence, winds pass by the valleys of Gandhamadana groves, forming a canopy of flowers at this place. 31 Here scented airs creep slowly in the alleys bearing the sweet burden of fragrant flowers and moistened by a mixture of icy showers.
32 See there, nalikera vines diffusing their sour scent to the breezes, which being made acid by their sourness, turn towards the regions of Persia. 33 Here winds blow the scents of Shiva’s flowery forests on Kailash Mountain. There they breathe the perfume of lotuses from mountain lakes and blow away camphor white clouds from the face of the sky.
34 Liquid ichor flowing from the frontal trunk of elephants is dried and stiffened by breezes issuing out of the caverns of Vindhya Mountain. 35 The women of the Savara foresters, their bodies covered with the dry leaves of trees and accompanied by their dark skinned males in leafy apparel, have been making a town of their jungle by eradicating wild animals with their iron arrows.
36 Behold, great lord, these seas and mountains, these forests and rivers, and these clouds on all sides look as if they are all smiling under your auspices, as under the brightness of sunbeams. 37 Flower beds designed by vidyadharas on mountain and forest paths and the footprints from the shores suggest that man is tired of making love so the woman has gone on top of the man to continue the act of love making.
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Chapter 115 — The King’s Companions Continue to Praise Nature in India
1 The royal companions related:— Hear, O high minded lord, the kinnara women enjoying themselves singing their songs in their homes in leafy tree branches. Kinnara men, enraptured by the music, listen attentively and forget their business of the day.
2 There the Himalaya, Malaya, Vindhya, Krauncha, Mahendra, Mandara, Dardura and other mountains, from a distant view, appear to be clothed in robes of white clouds, or like heaps of stones covered with the dry leaves of trees. 3 Those distant and indistinct chains of boundary mountains appear to stretch themselves like the walls of cities. Those rivers seen falling into the ocean with their gurgling noises appear like the warp and woof threads of a broad sheet of ocean waters. 4 The ten sides of the sky spread over mountain tops appear like royal consorts looking at you from their lofty palaces, smiling gladly at your success. The many colored and roaring clouds in the sky resemble the variegated birds of air, warbling their notes on high. Rows of trees dropping showers of flowers from high appear like the arms of heavenly apsara nymphs showering their blessings upon your head with their hands. 5 High hills overgrown with rows of trees stretching all along the seashore appear like ramparts. These hills, beaten by surges of waves, seem like mere moss gathered on the coast.
6 O! the extensive, all sustaining and wonderful body of the ocean that supported the body of Vishnu sleeping upon it. It contained the unrighteous creation at the great deluge and it covered all the mountains and rocks and undersea fires under it. 7 There is the northern ocean into which the Jambu River pours all the gold from Mount Meru. It contains numerous cities and forests and mountains and countries. It washes the face of the sky and all its lights and therefore is adored by gods as well as men. 8 Mount Meru reaches the sun, presenting the trees on its top like its cloud-capped head. May the earth extending to this mountain all be yours, and may this mountain which hides the sun under its clouds not obstruct the expansion of your realm.
9 In the south is Malaya Mountain growing fragrant sandalwood which converts all other woods into its own nature. Its sweet paste decorates the bodies of gods, men, and demons and is put as a spot on the forehead like Shiva’s third eye. It is sprinkled over the body like perspiration on women’s bodies. 10 The waves of the ocean continually wash the coast overgrown with sandalwood forests and encircled by folds of snakes. Meanwhile, woodland vidyadhari nymphs wandering on this mountain throw a luster about it by the beauty of their bodies.
11 Here is the hill called Krauncha, its groves vibrating with the sound of cuckoos cooing, its rugged caves and rivers resounding harshly to one another. Meanwhile, bamboo cracks as they rub against each other. Bumble bees hum and we hear the warbling of migrating cranes on high and the loud screams of peacocks that are terrifying to snakes. 12Behold here, O great lord, the play of woodland vidyadhari nymphs in the groves of their soft leafy bushes. Listen to the tinkling sound of their bracelets, so sweet to the ears. 13There behold the dripping ichor exuding from elephants’ foreheads and making swarming bees giddy with the drink, which has made the sea melt in tears on account of being neglected by them. 14 Behold there the fair moon with his retinue of celestial stars, playing in their reflections in the lap of his father the Milky Ocean, from which it was churned as its froth. 15 See there the tender vines dancing merrily on the tablelands of Malaya Mountain displaying their red petals like the palms of their hands, winking their eyes formed of fluttering bees. Blooming flowers speak of their spring festivity and warbling cuckoos fill the groves with their festive music.
16 Here raindrops produce a pearly substance in the hollows of bamboos, the frontal pearl in elephants’ heads, and large pearls in the womb of pearl shells. So the words of the wise produce different effects in different people, 17 and so gems produce various effects depending on their settings, whether decorating men or stones, in seas and forests, in frogs, clouds, and elephants. They gladden and distract the mind, cause fear and error, fever, death, and many other supernatural effects.
18 Behold here the city smiling under the rising moon and singing the praises of that ambrosial luminary through all its windows, doorways and openings, as it were from the mouths of its women, as if responding to the praises sung by Mandara Mountain from the many mouths of its caves and caverns, and the pipes of hollow bamboo.
19 Wondering women of the siddha spiritual masters behold with astonished and uplifted faces and eyes a large cloud carried away by winds. They wonder whether it is a mountain peak carried away by the winds, or a forest of the snowy mountain flying upward in the air, or a column to measure the distance between earth and sky, or a balance to weigh their weight. 20 See the plains at the foot of Mandara Mountain. How cool they are with breezes blowing the coldness of the waves of Ganges. See its foothills inhabited by fair vidyadhara spirits. Behold its flowery woodlands all around, topped by shady clouds of flowers. 21 See forests, groves and thickets scattered with men’s huts, hamlets and homes. Look at the holy shrines and the sacred brooks and fountains lying in them. Their very sight disperses our sorrows, poverty and iniquities.
22 There are mountain crags and ridges on all sides of the horizon. Valleys, groves and caves are overshadowed by clouds. Still lakes resemble the clear sky. Such sights are sure to melt away masses of our crimes. 23 Behold here my lord, the ravines of Malaya Mountain scented with the odor of the aromatic sandalwood. There are the Vindhyan Hills abounding with infuriated elephants, Mount Kailash yielding the best kind of gold in its olden poetic tradition, and Mount Mahendra filled with its mineral ores. The summits of the snowy mountain are plenteous with the best kind of horses and medicinal plants. Every place is found to abound with richest productions of nature. What a pity that man complains in his time worn cell, like an old and blind mouse in its dirty hole.
24 Behold the dark rain cloud on high, appearing like another world to submerge the earth under its flood, threatening it with its flashing and forked lightning, and swimming like frisky shrimp in the ethereal ocean. 25 O the bleak, rainy winds blowing with the keen icy blasts of frozen snows, poured down profusely by the raging rainy clouds on high. They are howling aloud in the air, chilling the blood and shaking the body with hairs rising erect. 26 O the cold winds of winter are blowing with the dark clouds of heaven, scattering clusters of flowers from the branches of trees. Drizzling raindrops drop in showers upon thick forests scented with the fragrance of kadamba blossoms. 27 Winds bear the fragrance of the breaths of longing females as if it were the celestial odor of ambrosia, stolen and carried on the wings of warm breezes. 28 Here gentle breezes breathe with the breath of freshly blooming lilies and lotuses of the lake, sweeping their tender odors to the land. Blasts of wind burst the flakes of folded clouds, blowing perfumes from the gardens and groves. 29 Beyond, mild airs calm our struggles, cooled by their contact with the evening clouds of heaven, and resembling servant gardeners perfumed all over from picking flowers from the royal gardens. 30 Some are perfumed with the scents of different flowers, and others with the fragrance of lilies and lotuses. In some places they scatter showers of blossoms and in others they shed pollen. Somewhere the air blows from hoary mountains of frost and at others from those of blue, black, and red minerals.
31 The sun scatters his rays like firebrands in some places, spreading a fire with a loud noise in the woods, like an unruly crowd in the country. 32 Winds, like the sun’s wicked attendants, spread the fire caused by the sun and carry their clattering noise far away. 33 Cooling winds blowing from the woods, moistened by the gentle moonbeams, though cheering others’ souls, appear as fiery hot to separated lovers.
34 Behold here, O lord, how Sabara women on the lowlands of the eastern sea are covered with their rude and rough leafy garments, wearing their noisy bracelets of brass. See how they strut about in the giddiness of their prime of youth. 35 See how these newly loving ladies cling to the bodies of their mates for fear of darkness of the approaching night, like timid snakes twining about the trunk of sandalwood trees. 36 Struck with fear by the alarm given by the bell at daybreak, the loving consort leans on the bosom of her lover as darkness lingers in the enclosed room.
37 There is a shrub of kinsuka flowers blooming like firebrands on the border of the southern sea which is continually washing them with the watering of its waves, as if it wanted to extinguish them. 38 Winds blow their smoking powder flying upwards like mists of hazy clouds to heaven. Flowers fall like flames of fire. Birds and black bees hover over them like extinguished cinders of fire. 39 Behold, there on the other side, real flashes of living wildfire blazing in the forests on the east. Their flames are carried above the mountain tops by the flying winds of the air.
40 See the slow moving clouds shrouding the lowlands lying at the foot of Krauncha Mountain. Observe crowding peacocks dancing under them, screaming aloud with their grave and shrill cries to the clouds. Behold there the gusts of rain-winds rising high, blowing fruit, flowers and leaves from trees afar on all sides. 41 Behold the sun-setting mountain in the west, with its thousand peaks of glittering gold shining amidst the dusky color of the evening sky. See the sloping sun descending below, his chariot whirling down with rattling wheels in the rustling of evening winds. 42 The moon rises upon the eastern peak of Mount Meru like a full blown flower in order to give light to the darkened mansion of this world. The moon itself is accompanied by its black spots, sitting like black bees upon a blossom. Hence there is no good thing in this perverted world which is free from fault or frailty.
43 Moonlight shines like the laughter of the god Rudra in his dome of the triple world. Moonlight is like a whitewash over the great hall of the universe, or like the milky fluid of the Milky Ocean in the night sky. 44 Look on all sides of the sky, tinged with evening twilight and the variegated colors of mountain tops, filled with milky moonbeams churned from the Milky Ocean by Mount Mandara. 45 Look there, O incomparable lord, those hosts of Guhyaka ghosts, hideous as large palm trees. See those puny vetala-ghost younglings pouring upon the ill-fated dominions of the Hunas, devouring troubled inhabitants at night.
46 The face of the moon shines brightly like the beautiful face of a lady, as long as it does not appear out of its nighttime home. But in daylight, the moon’s beams are cut off and it appears like a piece of fleecy cloud, just as the lady’s face becomes disgraced by appearing out of her inner apartment.
47 Look at the lofty peaks of the snowy mountain covered with the fair vesture of bright moonbeams. See its crags washed by floods of the falling Ganges. Behold its head capped by perpetual snow, surrounded by creepers of snowy whiteness. 48 Behold there Mandara Mountain touching the sky, crowning the forest with its lofty ridges. Here winds blow the cradle chimes of apsara nymphs, and there the mountainous mines sparkle in various colors. 49 See high hills all around abounding with blooming flowers like offerings to the gods. See thickening clouds around their loins, resounding harshly within their hollows, while the starry heaven shines over their heads.
50 There is Mount Kailash to the north, contending with the sky in its brightness. Below it there is the hermitage of Skanda and the moon shines in her brilliance above. 51Behold, the god Indra has let loose his winds to break the branches of trees and demolish the huts on the ground, carrying their fragments afar. 52 Winds blow the profuse fragrance of flowers after the rains, filling men’s nostrils with their odors. Meanwhile, flights of bees float like clouds in the blue sky.
53 I think goddess Lakshmi has chosen the blooming flowers in the forests, the clear waters in marshy grounds, and villages abounding in fruitful trees and flourishing fields for her home. 54 Windows are overgrown with creeping vines in the rains and house tops are decorated with the flowers of the climbing creepers upon them. The ground is scattered with flowers up to the heels. Breezes blow flower pollen all about. All these have made the woodlands the homes of the forest gods.
55 The rains have converted a rustic village into a romantic paradise with blooming champaka flowers, rural nymphs swinging in their cradles made of flowering vines, the warbling of birds and gurgling of waterfalls, the blossoming of the tall palm trees in the outskirts, tender vines blooming with clusters of snow-white blossoms, peacocks dancing on roof tops, borders shaded by trees, and rain clouds hanging over the village and its neighboring hills. 56 Again, soft and sweet breathing breezes, the variegated leaves of plants and creepers, the vegetation of the village, the cries of cranes and other fowls, and the wild notes of foresters, together with the merriment of the shepherds and other pastoral people over their plenty of milk, curd, butter and ghee, and their joy in their peaceful abodes, add a charm to this hilly tract.
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Chapter 116 — The King’s Companions Continue: Praise of Sky and Air as Metaphors for God; a Beautiful Valley; Men Are Dirtier than Dogs; Nasty Crows and Pleasing Cuckoos
1 The companions added:— Look lord, the field of battle stretching to the bordering hills. Look at the heaps of shining weapons and the scattered forces of elephants, cavalry, infantry and chariots. 2 Look at the slain and their slayers, combatants attacking their rivals, and how their dying souls are carried in heavenly cars by celestial apsara nymphs to heaven.
3 The victor finding his adversary defeated in war should not slay him unjustly unless he is justified to do so by the laws of warfare, like love making in youth. 4 As health, wealth and prosperity are good for men when they are rightly gained, so it is right to fight for those by whom one is supported. 5 When one kills his opposing rival in combat, without violation of the laws of warfare, he is justly styled a heavenly champion. Not so one who takes undue advantage of his enemy.
6 Behold there, the bold champion waving his sword as if he were swinging a blue lotus in his hand, casting a dark shadow of the evening dusk on the ground. Lakshmi would court such a hero for her wedlock. 7 Look at those flourishing weapons, flaming like the flying embers of a wildfire in a mountain forest, or like the dreadful serpents of the sea dancing on land with hundreds of flashing hoods and heads. 8 Look at the sky on one side, resembling the sea with its watery clouds, shining with strings of its stars on another. See how it is covered by dark clouds on one side and brightened by moonbeams on the other. 9 Look at the sky filled with multitudes of revolving planets resembling the rolling chariots of warriors, crowded by multitudes of moving stars like soldiers on the battlefield. Yet the error of the ignorant is to think it an empty vacuum, an error which is hard for the wise to remove.
10 The sky — with its clouds spread all over, its fiery lightning, its thunderbolts that break down mountains, its starry display, and the battle of gods and demigods that took place in it — is still as mysterious in his nature as the solid minds of the wise whose magnitude no one can measure. 11 O wise man, you have been constantly observing the sun, moon, and all the planets and stars in the sky, together with all the luminous bodies of comets, meteors and lightning. Yet it is astonishing that your ignorance will not let you see the great god Narayana in it. 12 O dark blue sky brightened by moonlight, you retain your blackness like the black spots on the bright face of the moon. Such is the wonder with ignorant minds, that with all their enlightenment, they never get rid of their inner bias and prejudice.
13 Again the clear sky, full with endless worlds, is never contaminated by their faults, nor ever changed in its essential state. It resembles the vast and pure mind of the wise, full with its knowledge of all things and devoid of all their pollutions. 14 O profound sky, you are the receptacle of the most elevated objects of nature. You contain lofty clouds and trees and summits in your womb. You are the recipient of the sun, moon and the aerial spirits that move about in you. Yet you are inflamed by the flames of the fiery bodies that rise in you, to our great regret, in spite of your greatness, which helps them spread themselves high in heaven. 15 O sky, you are filled with pure and transparent light. You are great giving quarters to all the great and elevated objects of nature. But it is greatly to be pitied that the dark clouds, to whom you give room to rise under yourself, trouble us like base upstarts, throwing their hailstones at random. 16 Again O dark sky, you are the witness of all lights, just as the touchstone is the test of gold. You are a void in your essence, yet you support the substances of stars and planets of clouds and winds and all real existences at large. 17 You are the daylight at daytime, the purple red of evening, and turn black at night, yet remain devoid of all color of yourself. You exhibit all colors in yourself. Hence it is impossible even for the learned to understand correctly your nature and its convertible conditions. 18 As a helpless man can achieve his purposes through patient perseverance, so the empty sky has risen above all by means of its universal spread.
19 The sun persisting in his accustomed course rises to the vertical point in time, but unmoving straw and trees, dormant hills and places, and stagnant pools and ponds are ever lying low on the ground. 20 The night invests the sky with a dark dress, sprinkles fair moonlight over it like the cooling dust of camphor, and decorates it with stars like clusters of flowers. The day covers the sky with bright sunbeams. The seasons serve to cover it with clouds and snows and in the flashing attire of spring flowers. Thus Time is always busy decorating the heavenly paths of his lords, the sun and the moon, the two time keepers by day and night. 21 The sky, like a magnanimous mind, never changes the firmness of its nature, even though it is constantly assailed by disturbances of smoke and clouds of dust and darkness, of the rising and setting sun and moon and their dawns and dusks, and the coming together of stars and combats between gods and demons.
22 The world is an old and decayed home of which the four directions are its walls, the sky its roof above, and the earth its ground floor below. The hills and mountains are its pillars and columns and cities and towns are its rooms and apartments. All the various classes of animal beings are like the ants of this home. 23 Time and action reside in this mansion from age to age. All its ample space presents the aspect of a smiling garden. Every day there is fear that it will be blown and blasted away, yet the wonder is how this frail flower last so longs and forever.
24 I think the air puts a stop to trees and hills growing taller for, though it does not actually restrain their growth, yet its influence, like the authority of noble men, puts a check to the rise of aspiring underlings. 25 O pity for that learning which calls air void and empty, seeing how the air contains millions of worlds in its bosom, producing and reducing countless beings in its boundless bosom. 26 We see all things born in air and return to it. Yet we see the madness of men who reckon the all containing and all pervading air is something different from God. 27 We see the works of creation continually being produced, existing and extinguishing in air, like sparks of fire. I believe this pure and sole air to be God, without beginning, middle or end, the universal source and end of all, without any other distinct cause. 28 Emptiness is the vast reservoir for the three worlds bearing the innumerable productions of nature in its vast space. I understand infinite emptiness as the body of Consciousness, that transcendent being in which this false conception of the world has its rise and fall.
29 There, in the woodlands on mountain tops, a solitary forester chants his charming strains amidst his woodland retreat, attracting the heart of a lonely passerby who lifts up his head to listen to the rapturous times. 30 Listen O lord, to the sweet music coming from the thick groves on that distant lofty mountain, emitted with the heart rending strains of lovelorn vidyadhari nymphs. See the lonely passerby whose lovesick heart, smitten by the sound, has neither the power to go forward or backward from the spot, or even utter a word. 31 I hear a lovelorn vidyadhari lady singing her love song in the woods of the hill, her sighs heaving and tears flowing profusely from her eyes. She sang saying, “Lord, I well remember the day when you led me home holding my chin and kissing me on the cheeks with your smiling face. Now the pleasing memory of that glad moment has left me deploring its loss for years.”
32 I heard her tale, O Lord, which the forester related to me when I passed by. He said, “Her former young lover was cursed by a relentless sage to become a tree for a dozen years. Since his ill fated change, she has been leaning on that tree singing her mournful song to it.”
33 Now observe the wonder. As I approached, the tree-like lover was released of his sad curse. Shedding a shower of flowers upon her, he changed his form and clasped her to his arms with his face smiling like his blooming flowers.
34 Hilltops are decorated with flowers like the heads of elephants are painted with white dye. The sky is whitened with stars and falling meteors, like a mountain summit is bleached with white frost and snow. 35 Behold, the beautiful stream of Cauvery River gliding along with a great number of fish swimming in its waters. Its noisy waves resound with the cries of shrill and clamorous cranes. See its banks covered with garments of flowers, its shores freely grazed by timid deer without any fear.
36 Look at Survela Hill, washed by the waves of the sea god Varuna. Its stones shine like gold under sunlight and sparkle like marine fires washed by waves. 37 Look at the homes of Ghosha shepherds at the foot of the mountain constantly shrouded by clouds. Behold the beauty of blossoming palasa and patala trees there. 38 Look at the plains, whitened by full-blown white flowers. See mandara trees with twining and flowering vines. Look at the banks crowded with cranes and peacocks. Look at those villages and the waterfalls, sounding like music from the mouths of mountain caves and forests, evoking joy among the happy inhabitants of the valley.
39 Here buzzing bees play around the new blown petals of plantain flowers, inspiring fond desire in the breasts of Pamara foresters. They enjoy a bliss in their rustic pastures and hidden hilly caverns which, I believe, is not attainable by the immortal gods in their celestial gardens. 40 Behold the black bees playing and swinging in their cradles of flowery vines of the forest, and the Pulinda forester singing to his beloved, his eyes fixed upon her face. Mark also the sportive Kirata, forgetting to kill the deer wandering beside his lonely cave. 41 Here a weary traveler is refreshed by the sweet scent of various full blown flowers, his body cooled by the fragrant pollen blown by the breeze from flowering vines. Meanwhile, moisture bearing winds wash the valley on all sides, rendering the place more delightful than the spotted disc of the moon. 42 Here are unceasing gliding of waters, the constant waving of palm trees, the dancing of blossom-bearing branches, and the shaking of the spreading vines in the air. A forest of lofty sala trees in the borders and clouds hanging over the foothills all combine to add a charm to this village of the valley, like that of gardens in the planet of the moon. 43 Lightning flashing, clouds roaring deeply, peacocks dancing merrily with loud shrieks and screams, and their trailing retinue displayed in the air decorate the valley with a variety of multicolored gems. 44 The bright moon appearing on one side and dark clouds rising like huge elephants on the other serve to adorn the village in the valley and the hills in its outskirts with a beauty unknown in the heavenly kingdom of Brahma
45 O, how I long to live in a mountain cave among the fragrant trees of beautiful Nandana forest, among the delightful groves of blooming santanaha blossoms where busy bees continually flutter over mandara and paribhadra groves. 46 O, our hearts are attracted by the cries of tender deer browsing green and delightful vegetation, and by blooming blossoms on hills and in valleys, as they are by the sight of the cities of mankind. 47 Look at that far off village in the valley where the waterfall appears like a column of clear crystals and peacocks merrily dance about the cascading waterfalls. 48 See how the happy peacocks and joyful vines, bending down under the burden of their blossoms, are dancing delightfully beside the swirling waters of the waterfall. 49 I believe the lusty god of desire, Kama, plays at his pleasure in this village of the valley protected by hills all around. He is playing with handsome green harita birds in green groves beside crystal lakes resounding with the sweet singing of water fowl.
50 O most prosperous and magnanimous raincloud lord who is the center of all virtues and the highest and gravest of men, you are like a towering mountain, mankind’s refuge from heat and the cause of their plenty. 51 O who bathes in holy waters, exalted above all earthly beings, choosing to live in hills and wildernesses like holy hermits, and who is silent like them from the pure holiness of your nature, you also appear fair when you are emptied of your waters in autumn. All this is good in you. But say, why do you rise in your fullness with lightning flashing in your face and thunder roaring in your breast, like lucky upstarts of low origin? 52 All good things being misplaced turn to badness, just as water ascending to the clouds turns to hoarfrost and cold ice. 53 O, wonder that drops distilled by clouds fill the earth with water, and that this water supports all beings and makes the poor grow with plenty of harvest.
54 Ignorant people are like dogs in their unsteadiness, impudence, impurity and wayfaring. Hence I know not whether the ignorant have derived their nature from dogs or these from them. 55 There are some people who, in spite of all their faults, are yet esteemed for certain qualities, just as some dogs are taken into favor because of their valor, contentment and faithfulness to their masters. 56 We see all worldly people like madmen pursuing worldliness, pushing in the paths of business at the sacrifice of their honor, and likely to tumble down with fatigue. I find them flying to and fro like trifling straw. I do not know whether their will, madness or stupidity has made them chose this foolish course.
57 Among brute creatures, the brave lion hears tremendous thunder claps without shuddering, while the cowardly dog trembles and shuts his eyes with fear at the sound. 58 I believe, O vile dog, that you have been taught to bark at your fellows and to wander about the streets by some arrogant and stupid fellow. 59 The Divine Creator, who has ordained varieties in all his works, has made the nasty breed of his daughter Sarama, the bitch of the gods, all equally filthy. These are the dogs that dig holes in dirt for their kennels, feed upon filth and carrion, copulate in public places, and carry an impure body everywhere.
60 “Who is there lower than you?” asks a man of his dog. To which the dog answers, “You, the silly man, is the lowest of all.” Dogs combine the best qualities of valor, fidelity and unshaken patience. These are hard to find among humans who grovel in the darkness of their ignorance amidst greater impurities and disasters. 61 A dog eats impure things and lives in impurity. He is content with what it gets, feeds upon dead bodies, and never hurts the living. Yet men are fond of throwing stones at dogs everywhere. Thus men make dogs playthings, contrary to the will of God.
62 Look there, at the crow flying with the offerings left for the Shivalinga on the farther bank. There it is, in clear sight telling its story to everyone, saying; “Behold me on high, with my degrading sin of stealing from the altars of the gods.” 63 You croaking crow who crows so harshly and treads the marshy lake, no wonder you annoy us with your cries that drown out the sweet buzz of humming bees. 64 We see the greedy crow ravenously devouring dirty filth in preference to the sweet lotus stalk. No wonder that from long habituated taste, some would prefer sour to sweet.
65 A white crow, sitting in a bush of white lotus flowers and their snowy filaments, was at first taken for a swan or a heron, but as it began to pick up worms, it came to be known as a crow. 66 It is difficult to distinguish a crow from cuckoos, both having similar dark feathers, unless the one makes itself known by giving out its own vocal sound. 67 The crow sitting on a forest tree, a mound of clay or a tall building looks on all sides for its prey, just as a nightly thief climbs a chaitta tree and sits watching the ways of people.
68 It is impossible for a crow to live with cranes and storks by the side of a lake that abounds in lotus flowers diffusing their somber pollen all about. 69 For shame that the noisy crow should have a seat on the soft lotus bed in company with silent swans and play his disgraceful tricks among them. 70 You crow who cries with the sound of a grating saw, say, where have you lost your former reserve today? Why do you brood over the young cuckoo, whose sweetness of voice you can never attain and who you can not retain as your young?
71 On seeing a dark crow sitting like a black goose in a bed of white lotuses, crowing aloud with delight at that place, a person said to him, “It is better for you, O clamorous crow, to use your cracking voice to grab the ears of those who are not tired of splitting others’ heads with their crafty words.”
72 It is good that the cunning keep company with the cunning, like a crow and a crab meeting at a pool, or a crow joining with an owl in a tree. The two rogues, though seemingly familiar, will not fail to frustrate each another by their natural hatred. 73 The cuckoo associating with the crow and resembling him in figure and color is distinguished by his sweet notes, just as a learned man makes himself known in the society of the ignorant by his speech. 74 A blossoming branch is well able to bear the cuckoo plundering its flowers, but it will not suffer the association of crows and cranes, and cocks and vultures upon its twigs.
75 How delightfully do people listen to the sweet notes of the cuckoo uniting separated lovers. But who can tolerate listening to the jarring cries of the crow or the hooting of the owl without disgust? 76 When the sweet notes of the young kokila nightingale serve to entertain the ears of listeners with the glad tidings of spring season, the grating cry of the crow immediately intrudes upon their ears, demanding the melodious cuckoo to be its foster child. 77 Why and what have you been cooing so long, O you tender cuckoo, with so much joy and joy in that distant grove? Behold, your pleasant spring season is too soon over with its fading flowers. Behold the stern winter approaching fast to blast blossoming trees with its icy breath, bidding you hide your head in your nest.
78 A separated mistress seeing a sweet kokila nightingale pour forth his notes to the tender blossoms of the spring season thus addressed to him saying, “Say, O sweet cuckoo, who taught you to say that spring season is for you and your enjoyment? This is truly a sorrowful lie you told me. Instead of saying ‘It is mine and yours’, you are enjoying your companion.”
79 The cuckoo sitting silent in an assemblage of crows, appears as one of them in its form and color of its feathers. The graceful gait of the cuckoo makes it known from the rest, as the wise man is marked in the company of fools. Hence everybody is respected by his inner talents and outward behavior more than by outer form and feathers. 80 O brother kokila nightingale, you coo so sweetly but in vain when there is none to appreciate its value. Therefore, when flocks of crows are crying so loudly and when it is time for dew to fall and not spring flowers, it is far better that you sit quietly in your secluded concealment under shady leaves. 81 It is a wonder that a young cuckoo forsakes its mother for a fostering crow that begins to prick it with its bills and claws. As I reflect on these, I find the young cuckoo growing into the likeness of its mother. Hence I conclude that the nature of a person prevails over his training.
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Chapter 117 — Description of a Lotus-Lake, Bees and Swans
1 The companions said:— Behold there, O lord! The lotus lake on the tableland of the mountain reflects the sky in its bosom and resembles the pleasure pond of Kama. Behold there the beds of white, red and blue lotuses with their protruding stalks. Listen to the mingled sounds of water fowls playing there. 2 See the full blown lotus standing on its stalk with its thousand petals and the royal swan resting on its petal. It is crowded by double streaked bees and birds of various kinds, as if it were the home of the lotus-seated Brahma himself.
3 Mists and fearful frost are everywhere. The red pollen of full blown flowers and lotuses have been flying all about. Bees and birds, giddy with the scents spread around, hum and warble their tunes and notes in the open air. Clouds are spread above like an aerial canopy. 4 There is the lashing sound of the breaking waves beating against the shore. Here is the rumbling noise of humming bees contending with one another. Somewhere the silent waters are sleeping in the deep. Elsewhere the fair lotuses of the lake are lying hidden in the bushes. 5 Pearly particles of water lull heat away from people. Wild beasts prowl on the bank overgrown with wild thickets. Waves wash the stones on the bank. The land appears like the clear sky on the earth. 6 The bosom of the lake displays lightning flashes from the red clouds bearing flower pollen. One side is hidden by a dark rain cloud while the other side shows the variegated rays of the evening skies above it. 7 There is a fragment of autumn cloud carried aloft by driving winds, appearing like a part of the sky supported upon air.
8 Waves of the lake rippling by gentle breeze and moist humming bees fluttering over a lotus lake make a noise all around like flowers falling from trees on the river bank. 9Large lotus leaves are waving like fans made of palm leaves, foaming froths puffing like the snowy chowry fans of princes. Buzzing bees and cooing cuckoos sing in praise of the lake which lies like a lord in the assembly of lotuses resembling the consorts of his harem. 10 Behold the chorus of black bees singing their charming chimes before him. The yellow pollen of lotus flowers scatter his waters with dust of gold. Yellowish froth float like fragments of its gold colored flowers. The flowery shrubs on the bank decorate the lake like its headdress. 11 The deep fountain, having beautiful lotuses on its bosom, enjoys their sweet fragrance like princes derive from an assembly of talented men in their courts.
12 The translucent lake, reflecting the clear autumn sky on its surface, resembles the mind of a wise man which is ever clear and composed with the light of the true scriptures.13 The clear lake is little discernible in winter when the keen blasts have covered it with hoarfrost and converted its blueness to white. 14 So the world appears to the wise like a vast sheet of the glory of God. All these distinct forms of things, like waves on the sea, are lost at last in the bright element of Eternity.
15 Everyone should try to raise himself above the sea of error by his own effort. Or else he must continually whirl in the whirlpool of blunder, like all other ignorant men. 16 As the waters of wells, tanks, lakes and seas differ from one another in their quality, so men and women are different from each other in their respective dispositions.
17 Who can count the aquatic plants and lotuses growing in the lakes as plentifully as the passions and desires spring in the fountain of the human heart, carried away by the waves of accidents, or hurled into the whirlpool of perdition? 18 O the wonderful effect of bad company, that the lotus growing in the company of aquatic plants loses its fragrance in the waters and shows its thorny stalks to view. 19 The good qualities of a person, like those of the lotus, are lost in the company of vicious faults, just like the pores, hollowness and too fine and fragile fibers of the lotus stalks make them entirely useless to anybody. 20 But the lotus which adorns its native waters and fills the air with its fragrance is like a nobleman born with the noble qualities of a noble family, and whose virtues are impossible for Sesha, the hundred hooded serpent, also to describe.
21 What can equal the lotus in praise, which in the form of Lakshmi, rests on the bosom of Hari and graces his hand like a bouquet of flowers?
22 Both white and blue lotuses are esteemed for their quality of sweet scent, though they differ in their color. Hence one is sacred to the sun and the other to the moon. 23 The blooming beauty of a lotus bed cannot be compared to full blown flowers of the forest. Nor does a lotus lake bear compare with the starry heaven. They are to be compared with the comely and smiling face of a dancing girl in her entertainment.
24 Blessed are bees that have all along enjoyed their lives reveling with the sweets of flowers without having anything else to care about. 25 Blessed are bees and cuckoos that feast upon the flavor of mango fruit and entertain themselves with the fragrance of their flowers. All others not so blessed are born only to bear the name of the species. 26 Bees filled with honey and giddy with the flavor of lotuses in the lake where they play laugh to scorn others of their tribe that led humble lives on the common powder of flowers. 27The black bee buzzing to the lotus, living and playing in their company and sleeping in their honey cups at night, was in trouble at the approach of autumn, not knowing what flower to choose for its fare and rest. 28 A black bee sitting on an unopened flower bud looks like Andhaka placed over a trident by Shiva.
29 O you unsatisfied bee, ever wandering over hills and dales and sucking the sweets of all kinds of flowers, why do you still wander, unless it were for your restless discontent?30 You soft bodied bee, raised on sweets and feeding upon pollen, it is better for you to resort to the lotuses of the lake than bruise your body in thorns and thistles. 31 O bumble bee, if stern winter deprives you of sweet flowing food and your fair diet of pollen, still you should repair like wise men do, as may suit your taste, and be congenial to your nature rather than be mean and debase yourself by attending upon the base and mean.
32 Look there, O lord, an assembly of milk-white swans swimming in the lake, feeding upon the silvery fibers of lotus stalks and making gurgling sounds as gravely as those who chant the Sama Veda. 33 Here the gander, pursuing geese sitting in their cradles of lotus bushes, thinks the clear lake to be the blue sky, and the lotus cradle as a cloud, and stops his pursuit. 34 Let nobody be so unfortunate, O lord, as this gander in pursuit of the shadows of geese.
35 The sweet music of the swan is unmatched by the crow or crane, although they are taught to learn it for many years in its society. 36 Although the swan and drake are both of the same kind, of like form and figure living upon the same sort of food, yet they differ widely from one another in their respective species and qualities. 37 The swan soaring in the sky, his snow white wings and feathers, appears like the hoary lotus sitting upon its stalk. Then it gladdens the minds of men, like the full moon with her icy beams. 38 The elevated stalks of lotuses, rising like the lofty stems of plantain trees, with lotuses sitting like the goddess Lakshmi upon them, afford delight only to swans and to no other bird.
39 Behold how the lake is adorned like a beautiful lady with waves like her waving bracelets, ripples like her necklaces, and aquatic plants and flowers as wreaths and garlands on her bosom. 40 Strings of fluttering bees are like streaks of black spots on her body. The swelling of cranes and storks are like the tinkling of her anklets and rippling waves are the glances of her eyes. 41 The lake is graced, like a lady, by young swans crying by her side as her young ones, looking up to the mountain as her lord for a fresh supply of fresh water from his flowing waterfall.
42 Don’t you, O harmless swan, reside with malicious water fowls and birds of prey in one and the same lake? It is better that you remain with your own kind who can help you in distress. 43 Look to your end, O silly bee, now so giddy with your drink of sweet honey, treading on the heads of elephants to sip and suck their flowing ichor and wandering at large among blooming lotuses. The winter of scarcity is fast approaching when you shall be forced to live upon dewdrops drizzling on blades of grass or dripping from stones. 44 O lord, the milk-white swan with wide stretched wings enters into the lotus bush to look after his young ones. On seeing him, they begin to cackle like a child seeing his father. The young ones said, “O father, it is all delusion, like a white pearl in silver and seeing an overcast of fog over his head at midday.”
45 The swan silently floats over the clear waters of the lake like the bright moon gently glides along the translucent atmosphere of the sky. As it passes through lotus beds, the swan’s wings bruise the blossoms, causing them to distil their fragrant fluid which is gulped by fish like the holy water of the Ganges.
• • •
Chapter 118 — Descriptions of Cranes, Herons, Deer & Travelers
1 Some companion said:— Behold the crane which, despite lacking all good qualities, has one special instinct of uttering the sounds imitating the rain. 2 O crane that resembles the swan in the color of your feathers, you might well be taken for a young swan if you were without the rapacity of the kingfisher. 3 There is a line of kingfishers expert in diving amidst deep waters and catching fish in their wide extended beaks. Now they are sitting idly on the shore, not venturing into the water for fear of sharks floating there with open mouths and wide stretched jaws. 4 Thus murderers also dive upon men like kingfishers and cry out saying, “This kingfisher is our instructor in killing.”
5 Seeing a white heron with its long neck and uplifted head sitting silently and watching on the shore, people first took it to be a swan. But afterward, finding it catch a shrimp from the marsh water, they came to know it as a heron. 6 A woman saw a crane sitting on the shore for the entire day like a devotee. Meanwhile, in reality it was watching for prey until the evening shade, like day laborers do for their bread. 7 “Look there,” says a wayfaring woman to her companion, “how these rustic women pluck lotuses from the frosty lake. If you like, you can follow them, but I will fall back from you.”
8 Look there, O lord, says the companion to the king, how that traveler appeases his angry mate and leads her to the flowery bower of the weedy bush. 9 Look then, O lord, at the dalliance of the lady, and at her smiling face mixed with her frowning looks, and listen to her speech to her associate. 10 The crane, kingfisher and other rapacious birds that live together in the same place are all of the same mind and purpose. But the fool and wise man can never agree, though they live together in the same society forever. 11 As a cricket caught in a woodpecker’s bill whistles to his face, so the retribution of our past misdeeds unfolds and flies like a flag before us.
12 As long as the cruel crane of fate keeps clucking upon the tall tree on the shore, the fearful shrimp keep itself concealed in the bog with its inner fear. Hence there is no rest of the body or soul until the ultimate release of both. 13 The bodies of animals, devoured by rapacious beasts and birds, then disgorged unhurt and entire out of their bowels, resemble their rising from the lap of sleep or a state of profound trance. 14 The fear that overtakes fish in their native waters at the sight of rapacious animals is far greater than those of thunderclaps or thunderbolts falling upon them. This I know from my memories of my past life as a fish, and it cannot be denied by the wise.
15 See there a herd of deer resting in rapture on a bed of flowers under the shade of trees on the borders of the lake. Look also at the hive of the bees about the new blown flowers of the grove. 16 Look at the high minded and lofty headed peacock craving and crying aloud for rainwater to the great god of the clouds and rains. In return, the god Indra pours floods to fill the whole earth with water, for the greatness of gods looks to the general and individual good. 17 Peacocks, like suckling infants, attend on the clouds as their wet nurses. Or it may be that the black peacocks are the offspring of dark clouds. 18 Behold the wanderer looking with wonder on the eyes of the antelope and finding they resemble those of his dear one at home, remaining stupefied like a statue at the sight of the objects exposed to his view.
19 The peacock, instead of drinking water from the ground, forcefully snatches a snake from underneath. Wherefore I am at a loss to know which of these to blame for its malice. 20 Why is it that the peacock shuns to drink from the large lake, which is as generous as the minds of great men? It is content to swallow drops of rainwater, spit out and poured by clouds. It refuses to drink from the large lake for shame of having to stoop down his head. 21 See the peacock dancing, displaying his flashy feathers to the clouds and shaking their starry plumage in the rain as if they were the offspring of the rainy season. 22 A rainy dark cloud, carried by the wind from the bed of the ocean, appears over the forest lake and meets with the joyful dancing peacock below.
23 It is better for you, O chataka cuckoo, to pick up blades of grass for your food, drink water from fountains, and rest in the shady plantain grove of the forest. You should not have to dwell in the hollow cave of a withered tree in sultry heat because of your pride of never stooping down for your existence. 24 Think not, O peacock, that this cloud is a sea and home for sharks. Know it is a watery cloud, born of the smoke of wildfire and the vapors of mountains ascending to the sky. 25 The peacock, seeing a cloud full of rain even in autumn, sometimes becoming so scant of its supply as not even to fill a tank, sustains its thirst with patience, in gratitude to the cloud’s past favors. It does not blame its former supporter for failing or consider drinking any other earthly water like common people. 26 The peacock, accustomed to drinking crystal drops from clouds, would not stoop to drink dirty water from a ditch, though pressed and pinched by drought and thirst. The sweet memories of his past drink supports him from fainting, and the expectation of fresh drinks preserves him from dying.
27 Travelers lessen the struggles of their journey by conversation on the way, just as the ignorant who are unable to be with themselves communicate their thoughts with others to hide the dullness of their lives. 28 Look there, O lord, at the slender stalks of lotuses supporting the burden of the water on the lotus leaves like distant tender ladies carrying water pots on their heads. 29 Asked why they were carrying those of lotus flowers and leaves and for what use, they replied, to make cooling beds for reducing the fever heat of the love sick wives of travelers from their homes. 30 These impassioned ladies, with swollen breasts and youthful amorous play and the motions and gestures of their bodies, served to excite the memories of separated brides left behind by the travelers in their far distant homes.
31 “Ah surely,” says a traveler, “my dear one must be weeping and wailing in my absence, or falling down and rolling on the ground seeing that distant dark cloud in the sky.” 32Behold there, lines of black bees fluttering on lotus cups and little bees giddy with the sweet nectar of flowers. Gentle breezes blow on all sides, blowing the fragrance of the opening blossoms. Meanwhile the leaves of trees are dancing to the tunes of the rustling winds.
• • •
Chapter 119 — A Lovelorn Traveler Talks to a Cloud and Is Almost Cremated
1 The king’s companions continued:— The traveler having returned home and finding his beloved one by the trees of Mandara Mountain, began to relate to her the pains of his extended separation. 2 “Listen to my marvelous tale,” said he, “and what happened to me one day when I tried to send someone to you with my tidings.”
3 “In my painful separation, I sought long in vain to send someone to you at this my house. But where can one be found in the world who would take a severe interest in another’s affliction for the sake of charity or mere friendship? 4 Then I saw a big cloud on the top of a mountain resembling the steed of Indra. It appeared cheerfully before me, accompanied by swift lightening as his precursor. 5 I advanced before him and addressed him, saying, ‘Ah brother cloud, you carry the rainbow of Indra like a collar about your neck and are graceful in your course. Have pity on me for a moment. Please go to my dear one and tell her my tidings with your low voice, sympathetic tears and breath of sighs. Because the tender form of a yielding vine is unable to bear your loud uproar. 6 I know not, O dark cloud, to what dwelling to direct you to find my beloved one, who is pictured in my heart by the pencil of my mind and is forever situated in my heart. 7 But now, O my friendly cloud, my distracted mind has lost that figure of my beloved in my heart, together with her sight from my eyes. Now having lost the freedom of my body in a foreign country, I have become only a wooden framework without my love, which is its living soul. For what living body can bear the pangs of separation?’ “
8 “People thought I was dead and with tears in their eyes, they began to prepare my last rites and collect wood for my funeral. 9 I was carried away to be burnt on a dreadful funeral pile, which was horribly crackling with cracking wood from the blazing fire on the burning ground. 10 There, O my lotus eyed love, I was laid on the pile by some persons with eyes weeping. The pyre was surrounded by a number of men who stood as spectators of the horrible sight. 11 At that time the twisting smoke of the pyre began to enter my nostrils like the stalks of lotus plants and like the dark and lengthy body of a curved snake enters a hole in the ground.”
12 “But in all this, I was defended by the strong armor of my firm love for you, just as the unborn son of the god Brahma was defended from the showers of darts of an entire army of demons. Thinking myself to be plunged in the cooling pool of your love within my heart, I was untouched by the flames of fire burning all about me. 13 All this time I lay in the ecstasy of my love for you, and I felt raptures of joy rising in my breast as I imagined being with you. I deemed myself drowned in an ambrosial lake while I was in that state of rapture. I thought sovereignty of the whole world was too insignificant before my ecstatic transport. 14 I thought I felt raptures of inexpressible delight fill my whole soul at the thought of all your flattery and graces, and in the allurements of your speech, sweet smiles and side glances, and all your gestures and motions that spread an ambrosial charm all around me.”
15 “I imagined we embraced in amorous holds until exhausted with excess, I lay upon a cool soft bed as if I were drowned in the cold and icy ocean of the moon. 16 At this moment as I lay in my bed, moistened with cool sandal paste and the cooling beams of the full moon, I heard a thundering noise accompanied with flames of fire rising from the burning pile of woods under me, like undersea fire from the Milky Ocean where I was lying.”
17 The king’s companions resumed:— When the husband had said this much, his wife cried out aloud, “Ah me! I am dead, I am gone!” She was afraid she would hear the sad ending and fell into a swoon, senseless. 18 The husband finding her fainting, began to fan her with lotus leaves sprinkled with water and taking her up to his bosom, tried to restore her to her senses. 19 She wanted to hear him finish his story, so he began to tell the rest holding her chin with his hand.
20 “As I felt the pain of the burning flame touching my body, I cried out and groaned. The spectators hastened to extinguish the blazing pile, delighted to find me alive. 21 With loud shouts of joy like the sound of drums and with garlands of flowers, attendants raised and embraced me to their bosoms. They went on shouting and singing and dancing and laughing with exultation.”
22 “Then I saw the funeral ground that looked like the formidable body of Bhairava, the god of destruction. It was covered with ashes, wreathed with snakes, and studded with human skulls. Bones scattered over the ground looked like the rays of the moon crowning the head of Shiva. 23 Howling winds blew from the funeral piles, like from the burning fire on Hara’s head, bearing the burnt ashes of dead bodies like a dark mist. They bore stink of rotten bones and carried the rustling noise of bones jostling against one another. 24Burning piles, their flashing flames and flying sparks, and the fiery winds scorching trees and grass gave that place the appearance of the playground of the gods of wind (Vayu) and fire (Agni) and of the sons of the Sun god (Yama and Saturn).”
25 “Thus I saw the funeral ground full of terrors, covered with skeletons of half-burnt bodies and putrid carcasses. It was infested by hungry dogs, howling jackals, and other voracious beasts, and ravenous ravens and vultures. It was a place where vetala and pisacha demons played with fearful shrieks and jarring sounds. 26 I saw the coffins of dead bodies carried by their mourning friends with loud cries and lamentations that filled the air all about. I saw beasts and birds tearing the bodies’ entrails and arteries, yet moist with blood, and I saw the ground scattered with half burnt logs of wood and bushes. 27 In some places, the glaring pyres gave a gloomy light, and in others the tufts of hair were heaped like spots of clouds. In one place the ground was smeared with blood and looked like a lurid sheet of cloth. Elsewhere clouds roared as the sun set below the horizon.”
• • •
Chapter 120 — Description of Breezes & Winds, Flowers without Fragrance, Celestial Gardens, and other Various Objects on All Sides
1 The king’s companions continued:— Thus the loving pair, after taking to one another in the aforesaid manner, began to sip their delicious wine. And now attend, O lotus eyed lord, to the other things of things of this place.
2 Lo, there the winds, shaking plantain leaves and clusters of their flowers, blowing pollen from various flowers everywhere. 3 Breezes are loaded with scents exhaled by the flowers of the forest. Gentle breezes blow perfumes stolen from the locks of their favorite ladies. 4 Here blasts blow from the salt sea on the south, driving as fast as a stern lion rushes into woods and mountain caves, with the force of fierce demons attacking the gods on the top of Mount Meru. 5 There a strong wind plays and shakes tall spice, palmyra and other palm trees. Meanwhile, gentle gales softly glide over waves blowing their moisture to tender plants below. 6 Soft breezes wander with pollen thrown out by flowers. Meanwhile gentle warm breezes move about like princes amidst trees and flower gardens. 7 There the wind god Vayu plays his sweet woodland pipe in the holes of hollow bamboo, like female sweet musicians tuning their reeds in the city of Hastinapura.
8 Here every plant is filled with bees, except the karnikara flower which they avoid because that flower disregards the wind god Vayu by withholding tribute scent and pollen. 9The palm tree, rising high as a column but yielding no fruit or flower to the hungry passerby owing to its inaccessible height, is as disgraceful as an uncharitable rich man. 10Ignorant and unworthy people build their pride on an outward show, just as the kinsuka flower displays the beauty of its color but lacks fragrance. 11 Look at the karnikara flower, blooming only to decay because its lack of fragrance makes it worthless and despicable, like unworthy and ignorant men disregarded by all. 12 So the tamara tree with its blushing blossoms beguiles the thirsty chataka cuckoo by its false appearance of a rainy cloud. So the fair, outer appearance of the fool deceives the unwise by his inward foulness.
13 Look at these robust, woody, shady and cloud capped hills that afford shade and shelter to others. They are possessed of many more qualities befitting the kings of men and are standing like lofty bamboo. 14 Look at the distant cloud on the mountain top, resting as it were upon the seat of its tableland of bright gold and twirling its yellow covering of lightning, appearing like the god Vishnu in his garment of golden yellow.
15 Look at the blooming kinsuka flowers with fluttering bees and birds about them, appearing like fighting warriors pierced by flying arrows and smeared with crimson blood.16 Behold the golden mandara flowers touching the orange colored clouds of heaven. They appear like giddy gandharva lads lying on top of Mahendra Mountain. 17 Behold the weary wayfarers, laying and lulling themselves to rest under the shade of kalpa trees in the Nandana garden of paradise. Meanwhile siddha spiritual masters and vidyadhara spirits are sitting at ease, singing their songs to the tune of their stringed instruments. 18 Behold celestial ladies stretched at ease, laughing and singing in the groves of kalpa trees in the celestial garden. 19 There is the silent home of the great sage Mandapala famed in legends, and the cave of the celebrated eagle Jarita said to be his wife. 20 See there, the line of hermitages of the ancient sages where the envious animals forget their mutual hatreds and live together in perfect concord and friendship.
21 There are coral plants growing with other shrubs and bushes by the sea coast. Drops of water trickling upon them glisten like gems from the sun. 22 Waves roll with precious gems on the bosom of the ocean, like playful ladies rocking with their ornaments on the breasts of their lovers. 23 We hear the jingling of the jewelry of celestial ladies traveling in the celestial regions to the infernal homes of serpents.
24 Mountain caves whistle with a sound resembling the buzzing of wild bees falling down giddy from drinking the ichor flowing from the forehead of elephants. 25 Behold the sea ebbing with the waning moon during the dark fortnight of the month, and the receding tides leaving the linear marks of their regression upon the sands on the shore. 26Behold the woodland decorated like a beauty with clusters of flowers hanging like wreaths and garlands on every side, breathing fragrance all about and attired in the robe of its cooling shade. 27 Variegated foliage form its party-colored dress and waterfalls seem like its sweet smiles. Scattered flowers appear like the flowery bed of a happy woodland goddess.
28 High-minded sages and hermits are as highly delighted with their quiet woodland retreats as the celestials are joyous in gardens of Nandana. 29 The tranquil and indifferent minds of sages are equally delighted with these solitary woodlands as the restless and impatient minds of lovers and worldly people. 30 The waters of the sea, whether running into the land or washing the foot of a rock on the seashore, are equally shinning and sounding as their tinkling anklet ornaments. 31 Punnaga flowers blooming on mountains appear like golden mines. Gold finches flying over them look like winged gods in the aerial path. 32 Mountain forests appear to be on fire with their full blown champaka flowers. Bees and clouds hover over them like smoke. Meanwhile, winds spread their pollen and petals like sparks of fire. 33 Behold the kokila nightingale swinging and singing on his seat on the topmost branch of a karavira tree. His mate comes and embraces him there and sings in response to his songs with her clamorous chattering. 34 See the salt waters of the salty ocean roaring aloud against the shore. But the coast lands are kept in subjection under the hands of their able masters.
35 O lord, please make this earth stretching to the four seas as your footstool. Establish your rule over the remaining kings who have escaped the brunt of your valor. Appoint rulers over all provinces on all sides. Provide them with the force and arms necessary to keep them in order. Continue to govern your realms with mercy and moderation.
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