BOOK VI – PART2C – CHAPTERS 121-180 – The Latter Treasury (Uttaradha Bhaga)
Chapter 121 — King Vipaschit’s Companions Settle by the Ocean and Pray to Agni
1 Vasishta related:— Then King Vipaschit and his companions sat on the seacoast and did whatever was necessary to establish his sovereignty. 2 They chose spots for their homes at that place and made houses for themselves according to their positions. They settled the boundaries of the provinces and set guards for their defense. 3 At last they went down into the ocean, then proceeded to the other side of the world to show Vipaschit’s glory to other parts of the world.
4 Then dark night came in the form of an all-shading cloud and all people, after finishing their daily works and rituals, sank into the lap of sleep. 5 The companions were amazed to think how they had been led so insensibly over such a great distance in so short a space of time, meeting the ocean-like currents of rivers falling into it. 6 They said, “It is a wonder we have come so far without any attempt on our part. Therefore this great speed must be attributed to the swiftness of the vehicles of the great god Agni.”
7 “Lord!” they say, “how extensive is the view before us stretching from one end of Asia to its other extreme of the vast salt ocean, and thence again to the islands in it, and other lands and seas beyond them. 8 There are islands and seas beyond these, and others again beyond them. How many such and many more may there be of this kind, and how inscrutable is the delusion which is thus spread before our minds? 9 Therefore let us pray to the fire god Agni that we may see at once everything on all sides by his favor and without any effort or pain on our part.”
10 So saying and thinking in this manner, they all reflected on the fire god Agni with one accord, and meditated on him as they sat in their respective places. 11 The fire god Agni appeared to them in his tangible form and spoke to them, “Ask my sons, what favor you desire of me?”
12 They said, “O lord of gods who abides beyond this visible and elemental world, ordain that by means of Vedic mantra and our purified minds we may know in our minds what is knowable. 13 Give us, O fire god, this great and best boon that we ask of you, that we may know by your light whatever is knowable by the external senses, mind or self-consciousness. 14 Enable us to see with our eyes, O lord, the paths which lead the spiritual masters and yogis to the sight of the invisibles. Make us also perceive in our minds the things that are imperceptible to them. 15 Let not death overtake us until we have reached the ways of the spiritual masters. Let your grace guide us in the paths where no embodied being can pass.”
16 Vasishta said:— “So be it,” said the fire god Agni, and instantly disappeared from their sight, just like an undersea fire bursts forth and immediately vanishes in the sea. 17Dark night appeared as the fire god Agni disappeared. After a while, the night also fled and sunshine returned with the reviving wishes of the king and his men to survey the wide ocean lying before them.
• • •
Chapter 122 — King Vipaschit and His Companions Walk on the Ocean
1 Vasishta related:— Rising in the morning, they regulated the affairs of the state according to the rules prescribed by law. They were eager to see the sea, as if impelled by some supernatural force which nothing less than the power of ministerial officers could restrain. 2 So exasperated by their mad ambition, they forgot their affections for family to undertake their perilous sea voyage, leaving them all weeping. 3 They said, “We will see what there is on the other side of the sea, then return instantly to this place.” Saying so they muttered the invocatory mantras of the fire god Agni, who inspired them with the power of walking with feet dry over the sea.
4 All the representatives of the king, followed by their companions on all sides, proceeded to the borders of the various seas, walking over the watery maze. 5 They walked upon the waters as if they were walking upon the ground. All four bodies of the fourfold king met together in one place. Immediately afterwards they separated with all their forces. 6 Marching on foot over the vast expanse, they surveyed all that was in and upon the sea, then disappeared from the sight of people on the shore, like a cloud vanishes in autumn. 7 The forces traveled on foot over the watery path of the ocean with as much fortitude as the king’s elephants tread patiently on land when bound on a distant journey. 8They mounted high and went down along rising and lowering waves, like men climbing and descending steep mountains, or like one galloping on horseback, or like Vishnu floating upon ocean waves. 9 They paced over whirlpools like straw floats on water. They walked about as gracefully among waves as the beautiful moon passes through clouds. 10The brave soldiers, so well armed with weapons and so well protected by the power of their mantras and amulets, were discharged from the bowels of sharks as often as they came to be devoured by them. 11 Pushed onward by waves and driven forward by winds, their bodies were carried many leagues in a moment.
12 Huge wave surges lifted them to great heights, like the enormous elephants on which they used to mount and ride about in their native land. 13 The vast expanse of water is like the empty space of the sky. Its successions of heaving waves are like the folds of gathering clouds in heaven, emitting lightning as they dash against one another. 14 Loose, loud surges of the sea resembled elephants loose on the battlefield. Though they dashed against the shore with all their force, yet they were unable to break them down, like elephants baffled in their attempt to break down a stone rampart.
15 Surging waves reflect the rays of brilliant pearls and gems borne from shore to shore. They resemble eminent men who, though they pass alone from place to place, are accompanied by their train and glory everywhere. 16 The surf tramples over masses of hoary froth with contempt, like a snowy white swan treads upon the bed of white lotuses with contempt. 17 The loud ocean, even louder than roaring clouds and waves, has no terror to those who stand like rocks thereon. 18 The cloud-kissed waves of the ocean, rising above the mountains then falling low at their feet, were likely to touch the sun and then sink into the nether worlds.
19 The companions were not afraid of the rising waters. They passed over the sea like upon a sheet of cloth, shrouded by drizzling clouds that formed a canopy over them. 20Thus the king’s companions crossed the ocean full of sharks, alligators and tremendous whirlpools. They were sprinkled with water like showers of flowers and adorned with marine gems and pearls. They crossed on foot, as others do in fleets of ships.
• • •
Chapter 123 — King Vipaschit Wanders in Various Continents
1 Vasishta related:— Thus they proceeded to explore visible phenomena exposed before them by ignorance. They continued to walk over the watery maze and the islands it contained. 2 They passed over the ocean to some island, then from that island to the sea again. In this manner they walked over many mountains and wildernesses in endless succession.
3 Then as the king proceeded towards the western ocean, he was seized and eaten by a voracious fish, like the undying breed of Vishnu’s fish, and as fleet as a boat in the stream of Bitasta Beyah. 4 The fish fled to the Milky Ocean with the king in his belly. Finding him too hard digest, he carried him in his bowels over a great distance in another direction. 5 He was carried to the Sugar Ocean on the south.
There he was cast on the island of yaksha demons where he was overpowered by love for a female yaksha fiend by her art of enchantment sorcery. 6 Then he went towards the east and passing by the Ganges, he killed a shark that had pursued him, and arrived at last at the district of Kanyakubja. 7 Then proceeding towards the north, he came to the country of Uttara-kurus where he was elevated by his adoration of Shiva and became freed from the fear of death, in all his wanderings on all sides of the earth. 8 In this way, travelling long and far, both by land and sea, he was often attacked by wild elephants on the boundary mountains, and repeatedly gorged and disgorged by sharks and alligators in the seas.
9 Then proceeding towards the west, he was picked up by a garuda bird and set upon his back. The bird took to his golden wings and carried him in an instant to Kusa-dwipa across the ocean. 10 From there he passed to Krauncha-dwipa on the east where he was seized and devoured by a rakshasa demon of the mountain, but who he later killed by ripping up his belly and its entrails. 11 Then wandering in the south, Daksha, the king of that part, cursed him to become a yaksha demon. After some years he was released from that state by the King of Sakadwipa. 12 Then he passed over the great and smaller seas lying in the north and after passing over the great frigid ocean, he arrived at the country of gold where he was changed into a stone by the spiritual masters of that place. 13 He remained in that state for a hundred years until by the grace of his god Agni, he was released from the curse of the spiritual master who received him again into his favor.
14 Then travelling to the east, he became king of the country of coconuts. After reigning there for a full five years, he was restored to the memory of his former state. 15 Then passing to the north of Meru Mountain, he dwelt for ten years among the apsara nymphs in the groves of kalpa trees living on coconuts. 16 Afterwards he went to Salmali-dwipa in the west, which abounds in trees of the same name.
He lived with the birds for many years, having been instructed in their language when he had been carried away by the garuda. 17 From there, journeying in a westerly course, he reached Mandara Mountain which abounded in vegetation and madara forests. Here he resided for a day in company with a kinnara female named Mandari. 18 Then he journeyed to the Nandana garden of the gods, which abounded in wish-fulfilling kalpa trees rising as tall as the waves of the Milky Ocean. He remained in the company of the woodland gods for a seventy years, sporting with apsara nymphs in their amorous play.
• • •
Chapter 124 — Fourfold State of King Vipaschit
1 Rama said, “Tell me sage, how was it that the fourfold Vipaschit entertained different desires though one person with a single consciousness?”
2 Vasishta replied:— Any person conscious of his self identity and its invariability and indivisibility may still think himself to be another person doing different things, just as a man does in his dream. 3 Again, the clarity of the soul shows abstract images of things in itself, as it did in the soul of the wise King Vipaschit, and as a mirror reflects the discrete figures of objects, and of the sky and sea, in its clear and empty space. 4 As reflectors made of the same metal reflect one another in themselves, so all things, which in reality are of an intellectual nature, reflect themselves in the intellect. 5 Hence whatever object presents itself to the senses of anyone is nothing other than the solidification of his intellectual idea of it. 6 The one and the same thing appears as many, and varied ones in reality are only the unchanging one. There is no positive variety or uniformity in existence because all apparent variety is positive unity. 7 Hence whatever part of the king was conscious of anything that presented itself at anytime, the same is said to be the state of his being during that time.
8 It is possible for a yogi who sits secluded in one place to see all present, past and future events simultaneously. In the same way, it is possible for a king sitting retired in his palace to manage all affairs of his whole domain and much more, for King Vipaschit delegated to his viceroys as if they were members of his body.
9 A cloud stretches itself to all the quarters of the sky and at the same time performs the different functions of quenching the parched earth with its water and of growing vegetables and fructifying trees. Similarly, a man boasts of doing several acts at the same time. 10 So also are the simultaneous acts of the Lord God and those of the lords of men and yogis who design and perform at the same time the multiple acts relating to the creation, preservation and management of the world.
11 So the one Vishnu, with his four arms and as many forms, acts many parts independently, such as the preservation of the world on the one hand and the enjoyment of his fair consorts on the other. 12 Again though a person’s two hands are enough to discharge the ordinary affairs of life, yet it is necessary to have many arms to use many weapons in warfare.
13 In the same manner, the one monarch was situated with his fourfold persons in all four sides of the earth where, though each was impressed with the consciousness of the one identity, each acted his part distinctly from the others. 14 They were all similarly conscious of the pains and pleasures of lying down on bare ground, passing to distant islands, and travelling to various forests, groves, and desert lands. 15 They all remembered their journeys over hills and mountains, as well as their voyages by water and air. They knew how they floated on the seas and rested on clouds. 16 They knew how they mounted upon waves of seas and rode on the back of flying wind, and how they lay on seashores and at the feet of mountains.
17 Again, the king proceeding to Saka continent on the east passed into an enchanted city of yaksha demons lying at the foot of the eastern Udaya-giri mountain where, being spellbound by their sorcery, he lay asleep for a full seven years in the woods of leafless mansasija trees. 18 Afterwards, rising from his drowsiness, he was converted to the dull state of a stone by drinking some mineral water and was condemned to remain for seven more years with the mineral substances of the earth. 19 Then he was confined in a cave in western Astachala Mountain which reaches to the region of clouds and is shrouded by darkness. There he became enamored of the company of pisacha and apsara females.
20 Then he arrived at a region free from fear where a high mountain rose with waterfalls on all sides. Here the king was lost in the forest of Haritaki having myrobalan fruits and become invisible for years. 21 The king that had before been spellbound by the yaksha afterwards travelled to the frigid climate. There, being transformed to a lion, he wandered about Raivata Hills for ten days and nights. 22 Then being deluded by the black art of pisachas, he was changed into the form of a frog and lived in that state in the caves of the golden mountain for a hundred years. 23 Afterwards, travelling to the country of Kumarika, he dwelt at the bottom of the northern ridge of Black Mountain. Then going to the Saka country, he was transformed into a hog and lived in a dark hole in that shape for a hundred years. 24 He lived for fourteen years in the land of Maribaca when the western form of the king was turned into a vidyadhara by virtue of his skill in learning various mantras. 25 There he enjoyed sexual intercourse to his full satisfaction under scented gardens of cardamom trees and passed his time in amusement.
• • •
Chapter 125 — Each Body of the King Helps the Other; On Yogis; None but
Yogis Can Know the Mind of Another; Indifference to Fate
1 Vasishta continued:— Now of the four bodies of the king, one was transformed into a tree in a valley called the vale of fearlessness in Saka continent. It supported itself by drinking the cascading water flowing down from the rocks above. 2 Then the western body of the king, by the power of its mantra incantations, came to the relief of the eastern part and released it from its seventy-year long curse of a vegetable state.
3 Then the western body of the king that had traveled to the frigid climate was transformed into a stone by curse of the chief of a pisacha tribe. He was released from that state by the southern body offering meat food to the carnivorous pisacha. 4 At another time, as this western body was settled beyond the western horizon, it was changed into the form of a bull by a female fiend that had assumed the form of a cow, and was freed from that state by the southern body. 5 Again, the southern body of the king was doomed to live as a demon in a tree on a mountain in Kshemaka and was liberated from it at last by the yaksha prince. 6 Then again, the eastern body of the king was transformed into the shape of a lion on a mountain in the province of Vrishaka. He was delivered from his transformation by the western body.
7 Rama asked, “Sage, how can the one king, confined in one place like a yogi, be present everywhere at the same time? How could he simultaneously perform various acts at different times and in different places by the all comprehensive universality of the mind?”
8 Vasishta replied:— O Rama, let the unenlightened think whatever they may regarding this world, but you attend to what I say regarding the meaning in which it is viewed by enlightened yogis.
9 According to the wise, there is no other essence except the one Universal Consciousness. Phenomena are an utter nonexistence. The creation or uncreated entity of the world blends into nothing. 10 This Universal Consciousness is the eternal residence of and is the same as the eternal and Universal Soul and constitutes the essentiality and universality of the Supreme Soul at all times.
11 Say, who can obstruct the course of the great mind anywhere or by any force? It is omnipresent and all comprehensive, exhibiting itself in various forms in the endless varieties of its thoughts. 12 What can we call ours when all these sights are exhibited in the Supreme Soul or Consciousness in all places and times, and all that is present, past and future are comprised in that all-comprehending mind? 13 The far and near, a moment and an age, are the same to Consciousness which is never altered in its nature. It is both near and afar. It is the past, present and future.
14 All things are situated in the soul, yet through creation’s illusion and ignorance, they appear to be placed outside as we see them with our naked eyes. 15 The soul is the substantial omniscience of empty form. It exhibits the three worlds in its emptiness without changing its emptiness. 16 The Universal Soul appears in the universe as both viewer and the view, or as the subjective and objective in its same nature. How is it possible for the inherent soul of the apparent world to admit of a visible form in any way, unless it be by the delusion of our understanding to think it so?
17 But tell me, O sage who knows the truth, what is impossible for God for whom all things are possible at all times and places? So also to wise King Vispaschit who was conscious of his self identity in all his four forms.
18 The enlightened intellect of a yogi who has not yet arrived at his transcendent state of unity with God and retains the sense of its individuality, can yet readily unite itself with the souls of others in all places.
19 There is nothing impossible for the Supreme Soul. But the half-enlightened soul that lingers between knowledge and ignorance and has not attained transcendent wisdom is confounded in its intellect regarding the true knowledge of things. 20 The soul that is somewhat advanced in its knowledge is said to have partly progressed towards its perfection. Hence the four parts of Vipaschit situated on the four sides made up a perfect whole. 21 These four parts were like so many states of perfection which happened on Vipaschit like the rays of heavenly light. These states helped and healed each other, just as the different parts of the body assist and supply to the defects of one another.
22 Rama said, “Tell me, O venerable brahmin, why the fourfold King Vipaschit ran on all sides like brutes if he was so enlightened in every part? Why he did not sit collected in himself as he was?”
23 Vasishta replied:— What I have told you about enlightenment applies only to yogis who, though they are combined of many parts in their minds, yet remain tranquil in themselves in the same state.
24 The four Vipaschitas were not wholly enlightened like holy yogis, but being partly enlightened, they remained in the middle state between the two, as if hanging between the states of enlightenment and ignorance at the same time. 25 They carried the marks of both at once: discretion and discernment on the one part, and passions and affections of their minds on the other. These two parts led them two different ways of liberation as well as of bondage.
26 Those who are ever vigilant in the discharge of their pious acts, wavering between their temporal and eternal concerns such as the Vipaschitas, continue in their course of action. Such persons cannot be perfect, esoteric yogis in this life. 27 Devotees devoted to a particular god, as the Vipaschitas were devoted to the god of fire, are called concentration yogis. Only if they attain transcendental knowledge are they called transcendent yogis. 28 The learned yogi does not see any mist of ignorance obstructing his sight of the light of truth. But the ignorant devotee is blind to truth, though he may be received into the favor of his favorite god.
29 The four Vipaschitas were all subject to ignorance. They rejected knowledge of the true soul by their attachment to gross material bodies which are, at best, only vain unrealities. Therefore listen to what I will now tell you about those who are liberated from their grossness even in their lifetime.
30 Yogis, of course, retain their knowledge of the material as they conduct the external affairs of life. Liberation is the virtue of the mind, consisting of its freedom from subjugation to gross materials. Liberation exists only in the mind and not in the body or its consciousness.
31 But, as the bodily properties are inseparably connected with the body, and as consciousness cannot be separated from the body, therefore a liberated soul is not attached to the body, nor does a yogi ever take any heed of the body in his mind. 32 The mind of a liberated yogi is never reunited with his body, anymore than pollen ever returns to its parent stalk. The physical properties of the body of a living liberated yogi always remain the same as those of worldly persons.
33 All can equally perceive the bodies of both yogis and worldly people, but not the minds which are hidden in them. A liberated soul cannot be seen by others, but the imprisoned spirit is known to all by its addiction to the discharge of its bounded duties. 34 A person can well recognize self-liberation in oneself, just as his perception of the sweetness of honey and the taste of other things are well known to him. One is well acquainted with his liberation and bondage from his consciousness of pleasure and pain from the one or the other. 35 Thus one’s inner perception of his liberation is why he is called liberated. It is also the inner coolness of his soul and the detachment of his mind that constitute his liberation even in his lifetime. 36 Neither bondage nor liberation of the soul, nor the pleasure or painfulness of one’s mind can be known to another, whether you divide the body into pieces or place it upon a royal throne.
37 Whether laughing or crying, the liberated soul feels no pleasure or pain because in either state he remains situated in the unalterable spirit of God. 38 The minds of liberated persons are settled in the Divine Spirit and nowhere else, even when they are receiving or doing anything with their bodies. But learned men of the different schools are seen to be quite otherwise because they are unacquainted with liberation. 39 The bodies of liberated persons are not affected by external events. Though such a one may appear to be weeping, yet he never weeps in grief, nor does he die with the death of his mortal body. 40 A great man who is liberated in his lifetime does not smile though he has a smiling face. He is not affected by or angry at anything, though he seems to be moved by affections and anger. 41 Without any delusion, he sees the delusions of the world. Unseen by any, he sees the failings of others. All pleasure and pain seem as ideals to him.
42 Everything is like nothing to a liberated sage, like flowers growing in the garden of the sky. The existence of the world is nonexistence to he who sees only unity in all existence. 43 The words pleasure and pain are like flowers in the sky to the liberated who are indifferent to them. They have become victorious over their feelings by their liberation from all sensations in their lifetime.
44 They who have known the truth are unchanged in their nature, just as the mouths of Brahma are unflinching in the recital of Vedas. 45 Shiva, with the nail of his finger, ripped the upper head of Brahma like a lotus bud. Brahma neither resented it nor grew another head, which he was well able to do. So the meek yogi does not resent any harm done to him.
46 Of what use is the upward looking face to he whose inner, intellectual eye shows him the emptiness of all things around. Hence, possession of the external organ of sight is useless to he who sees everything within himself. 47 Everyone gets what allotted to him by his fate in retribution of his past actions. Fate affects not only mortals, but also binds the god Shiva to the sweet embraces of Gauri, as well as to his somber contemplation forever. So also, the Milky Ocean bears the ambrosial moon in his ample bosom.
48 Good minded men are seldom seen to abandon their passions, though they are capable of doing so in their lifetime. But they become quite dispassionate upon their death when the five elemental principles of their bodies are burnt away upon the funeral pile. 49 But the living liberated man gains nothing by doing anything, nor does he lose anything by doing nothing. He has no concern with any person or interest whatever with anything here on earth. 50 What avails one’s passion or dispassion in this world? What is fated in this life cannot be averted by any means.
51 Vishnu, who is liberated in his life, does not cease from his work of slaying asura demons or to have them slain by the hands of Indra and others. He becomes incarnate to die himself or by the hands of demons. He is repeatedly born and grows up to become extinct at last. 52 No one can immediately give up his alternate activity and rest, nor is there any good to be reaped by his attachment to the one or his renunciation of the other. 53 Therefore let a man remain in whatever state he may be, without having any desire of his own. So Vishnu is without any desire in himself, being only the form of pure Consciousness and Intelligence.
54 Changing time changes and moves the steady soul on every side like a ball, just like it makes the fixed sun appear turning around the world. 55 The lord of the day is not able to restrain his body from its apparent course, though he is seated in his nirvana as he is, without any desire to change his place. 56 The moon also appears to be waning under his wasting disease, though he remains always the same in all kalpa ages of the world. So the soul of the liberated person continues the same, though his body is subject to decay with age.
57 Fire also is ever free and liberated in itself because nothing can extinguish its latent heat at anytime. Though it was suppressed for a while by the sacrificial butter of Marutta and the seminal liquid of Shiva, yet it revived again as it was before. 58 Brihaspati and Shukra, the preceptors of gods and demigods, were liberated in their lifetime and with all their ambitious views of predominance, they acted like dull and miserable persons. 59 The sagely King Janaka is perfectly liberated in his mind, yet he is willing to rule over his kingdom and defeat his enemies in battle. 60 The great Kings Nala, Mandhata, Sagara, Dilipa, Nahusa and others were all liberated in their lives, yet they reigned and ruled over their kingdoms with all the vigilance of sovereigns.
61 A man acting wisely or foolishly in life is neither bound nor liberated in this world. His ardent desire or apathy to worldliness is what constitutes his bondage or liberation. 62The demon Kings Vali, Namuchi, Vritra, Andhaka, Mura and others lived quite liberated in their lives, yet they acted as unwisely as if they were elated by their ambition and passions. 63 Therefore the existence or disappearance of passions in anyone’s conduct makes no difference to his spiritual character. Pure vacancy of the human soul and mind constitutes his liberation in this world.
64 Being possessed of the knowledge of God as pure vacuum, the living liberated person is assimilated to the likeness of emptiness itself. He is free from the duality of thinking himself to be other than the Divine Spirit. 65 He is conscious of the fallacy of phenomenal appearances, which he knows to be no more than like the variegated rainbow reflected in empty air. 66 As the various colors are seen shining in a rainbow in the field of empty air, so these countless brilliant worldly bodies are only empty particles appearing in infinite space.
67 This world is an unreality that appears like a reality. It is unborn and uncreated, yet it is irresistibly conspicuous to our sight, like the appearance of the empty sky. 68 It is without beginning or end and yet appears to have both. It is a mere void seeming to be a real substantiality. It is uncreated, yet thought to be a created something. It is indestructible, though thought to be subject to destruction. 69 Its creation and destruction are phenomena occurring in the empty essence of God, just as the structure of a wooden post and statue takes place in the substance of the wood.
70 The mind freed from its imagination and drowned in deep samadhi, as in the state of a sleepless sleeper, comes to the sight of an even intellectual emptiness, absorbing the sights of all the worlds as if absorbed in it. 71 As a man passing from one place to another is unmindful of the intermediate scenes, so when attention is directed solely to the sight of the intellectual void, the thought of the world and other existences is wholly lost. 72 The thought of duality is lost in unity in this state of intense meditation. This idea of oneness disappears in that of a vast void which ends in a state of conscious bliss. 73 In this state of mental sameness, the duality of the world is lost in the nothingness of emptiness. The knowledge of self personality is decreased by spirituality. All future presents itself clearly to the view of the clairvoyance of the enrapt yogi.
74 The perfect yogi remains with his mind as clear as the empty sky, enveloping phenomena in its ample sphere. He sits silently, still and cold as a stone. He views the world in himself and remains quiet in rapturous amazement at the view.
• • •
Chapter 126 — Death and Further, Varied Consciousness of the Four
1 Rama said, “Now tell me sage, what did the four Vipaschitas do, being cast in seas, islands and forests in the different parts of the earth?”
2 Vasishta replied:— Rama, now hear about the four Vipaschitas and their wandering in forests of palm and tamara trees, upon the hills and in the islands in all directions.
3 One of the Vipaschitas, wandering about the westerly ridge of a mountain in Kraunchadwipa, was crushed to death by the tusk of an elephant, just as when it tears a lotus in the lake. 4 Another was smashed in his contest with a rakshasa, who carried his mangled body aloft in air, then cast it amidst an ocean fire where it was burnt to ashes. 5 The third was taken up by a vidyadhara to the region of the celestials. There he was reduced to ashes by curse of the god Indra who was offended at the king’s lack of respect for him. 6 The fourth, the one that went to the farthest edge of a mountain in Kusadwipa, was caught by a shark on the seashore which tore his body to eight pieces. 7 In this manner, all four lost their lives. They all fell as sorrowfully as the regents of the four quarters at the destruction of the world on doomsday.
8 After they were reduced to the state of emptiness in the vast vacuum, their empty and self-conscious souls were led by memories of their former states to see the earth. 9They saw the seven continents with their belts of seven oceans and the cities and towns with which they were decorated everywhere. 10 They saw the sky above with the sun and moon forming the pupils of its eyes. They also saw clusters of stars hanging like chains of pearls about its neck and billowy clouds that formed its folded vest. 11 With their intellectual eye, they saw the stupendous bodies that rose out of chaos at the revolutions of past kalpa cycles, filling the vastness of the sky and all sides of the horizon with their gigantic forms.
12 Being possessed of consciousness in their spiritual forms, they descended to observe the manners of elemental bodies that were exposed before them. 13 All four Vipaschitas were moved by their previous impressions to inquire into the measure and extent of the ignorance that led people to the belief that the body is the soul, for their lack of knowledge of the spiritual soul. 14 They wandered from one continent to another to observe in which part of this ideal planet of the earth was this ignorance most firmly seated so as to give it the appearance of a visible substance.
15 Passing over the seven continents and oceans, the western Vipaschit happened to meet with the god Vishnu standing on a parcel of firm land. 16 From the god, Vipaschit received the incomparable knowledge of divine truth and remained in samadhi trance at that spot for a full five years. 17 Afterwards, finding his soul to be full of the divine presence, he renounced even his spiritual body. He fled like his vital breath to the transcendent vacuum of final nirvana. 18 The eastern Vipaschit was carried to the region of moon where he sat beside that fully bright globe. But the king, though placed in the exalted sphere of the moon, continued to lament the loss of his former body. 19 The southern king, forgetful of his spiritual nature, thought he was ruling in Salmalidwipa and employed himself investigating external objects of the senses.
20 The northern one, living in the clear waters of the seventh ocean, thought he had been devoured by a shark which held him in his belly for a thousand years. 21 There he fed upon the bowels of the shark, which killed the animal in a short time. Then he came out of its belly as if the shark had given birth to a young shark. 22 Then he traveled over the frigid ocean of snows and its icy tracts stretching eighty thousand leagues in dimension. 23 He arrived at a spot of solid gold which was the home of gods and stretched to ten thousand leagues. Here he met with his end. 24 In this land King Vipaschit attained the state of a godhead in the same way a piece of wood is turned to fire in a burning furnace. 25Being one of the principal gods, he went to Lokaloka Mountain which surrounds the earth like an aqueduct surrounds the base of a tree. 26 The mountain rises to the height of fifty thousand leagues and has the inhabited earth on one side of it which faces the sunlight, and eternal darkness reigning on the other.
27 He ascended to the top of Lokaloka Mountain which pierced the starry sphere. As he was seated upon it, he was seen in the light of a star by the beholders below. 28 Beyond that spot and far away from this highest mountain lay the deep and dark abyss of infinite void. 29 Here was the end of this earth. Beyond it was the emptiness of the sky of fathomless depth and full of impervious darkness. 30 There reigns a darkness of the color of a swarm of black bees and like the shade of black tamara trees. There is neither the dark earth nor any moving body under the extended sky. This great void is devoid of support, nor does it support anything whatever at anytime.
• • •
Chapter 127 — Cosmology of the Universe
1 Rama said, “Please tell me sage. How is this globe of the earth situated? How and where does Lokaloka Mountain stand upon it? Do the stars revolve about it?”
2 Vasishta replied:— As children build their fancied castles in empty air, so this world is the creation of the imagination of the mind of Brahma, and no more than this. 3 As a dim sighted man sees the shadow of the moon and other false sights before his eyes, so in the beginning, the creative power (Brahma) sees the phantoms of the phenomenal world in the emptiness of its Intellect. 4 As an imaginary city is situated in the mind and is invisible to the eye, so the notion of the world is assumed in the intellect and not exhibited in actuality. 5 Whenever there is a reflection of anything in the mind arising spontaneously of its own nature, the same presents itself, even then and in that state, before sight as in a dream. 6 As a dim sighted eye sees false sights in the sky, so the deluded mind sees the earth and heavenly bodies. 7 As the currents of water flow on the surface of rivers, and there resides a latent fire underneath, so the notions of things presenting themselves as dreams of the mind are manifested as real ones before sight. 8 Hence, as thoughts and ideas of things continually occur and settle in the mind, so the earth and heavenly bodies constantly appear to revolve in their spheres.
9 The world is entirely nonexistent to dull and inanimate beings. It is visible to those who have physical sight but utterly invisible to the blind and altogether unknown to those who are born blind. It is imperceptible to the insensible and perceptible only in the same manner as it is presented in the mind. So it is only in the power of the mind to represent it in some form or other to one’s self. 10 Thus it is according to mental conception that the bodies of stars are considered to be as large as the earth and the unreal world is believed to be a real entity.
11 The world has both light and darkness owing to the presence or absence of the sun. Beyond this there is a great abyss of emptiness, a vast expanse of darkness except where there is a glimpse of zodiacal light. 12 The polar circle is called Lokaloka Mountain from the bulging of the poles at both ends. It is also called Lokaloka because it has a light and a dark side, owing to the course of the sun towards or away from it. Its distance from the starry circle also deprives it of zodiacal light.
13 Beyond Lokaloka Mountain and far away from the sphere of the sky, there is the sphere of the starry frame which revolves around them at a great distance on all the ten sides. 14 This starry zodiacal belt encircles the sky up and down, from the heavens above to the infernal regions below, in the vast emptiness of space extending to all sides. 15 The starry belt of the zodiac turns round Lokaloka Mountain on earth and its nether regions, as it appears to our imagination and not otherwise as fixed and motionless. 16 The sphere of zodiacal stars is twice as distant from the poles as they are distant from the middle of the earth, in the same way as the shell of a ripe walnut is distant from the sheath of its seeds. 17 Thus the starry belt is settled at double the distance from the poles, as Lokaloka Mountain is situated from the equator. It turns all about the ten sides, like a bael fruit whirling in the sky. 18 The aspect of the world is according to the pattern situated in the imagination of Brahma, and as reflected from its original model in the Divine Mind.
19 There is another sphere of the heavens, far away from the starry frame and twice in its extent. This is lighted by the zodiacal light and beyond it there reigns a thick darkness.20 At the end of this sphere there is the great circle of the universe, having one half stretching above and the other below and containing the sky in the middle.
21 It extends millions of leagues and is compact with all its contents. It is a mere work of imagination, formed of emptiness in the immensity of vacuum.
22 The sphere of light turns on every side of the great circle of emptiness, with all the radiant bodies of the sun, moon, and stars in its circumstance. There is no upside or downward in it, but are all the same. 23 There is no actual ascending, descending or standing of any planetary body. They are merely manifestations of the intellect which exhibits these variations in the workings of the mind.
• • •
Chapter 128 — Endlessly Wandering in the Vacuum of Brahma; Everything We Perceive Is through God
1Rama, I have told you all this from my own personal perception and not by any guesswork. Through their purely intelligent bodies, yogis like ourselves have come to the clear sight of these things in nature which are otherwise unknowable to the material body or mind. 2 Thus the world of which I have spoken appears to us as in a dream, and not in any other aspect as it is viewed by others. 3 Now whether the world is seen in the light of a dream or any other thing is of no matter to us. It is the business of the learned to speak of its situation and what it relates to.
4 There are the two Meru poles situated at the utmost extremities of the north and south of the world. It is the business of the learned to inquire into the endless kinds of beings lying between them. 5 These varieties are well known to the people of those particular parts, but not to us here where they do not appear in their native beauty. 6 The two poles standing at the farthest extremities limit the earth with its seven continents and seas, and stretch no farther beyond them.
7 Now hear, O Rama, that the whole body of water on earth is ten times as much as the extent of the two continents that are surrounded by it. 8 The two continents attract the encircling waters around them, just as a magnet attracts iron needles. The water upholds the continents just like the wish-fulfilling kalpa tree supports the fruit upon it. 9 All things on earth are supported by it, just as the fruit of a tree is supported by its stem. Therefore everything on earth falls down on it, like fruit falling upon the ground.
10 Far below the surface of the water there is a latent heat which is always burning without any fuel. This latent heat is as still as the air and as clear as the flame of fire. 11 At a distance of ten times from it, there is the vast region of air. As many times far away from that, there is the open space of transparent emptiness. 12 At a great distance from that, there is the infinite space of the emptiness of Divine Spirit. It is neither dark nor bright, but full of Divine Consciousness.
13 This endless emptiness of the Supreme Spirit is without beginning, middle or end. It is called the Universal Soul, the great Intellect, and perfect bliss.
14 Again there are numberless globes in the distant parts of these spheres that appear and disappear from view by turns. 15 But in reality, there is nothing that appears or disappears in the uniformly bright soul of Brahman where everything continues in the same manner throughout all eternity.
16 I have thus related to you, Rama, all about the phenomenal worlds that are perceptible to us. Now hear me tell you about what became of Vipaschit in Lokaloka Mountain.
17 Being led by his former impressions and accustomed habit, he kept wandering about the top of the mountain. But afterwards he fell down in a dark and dismal pit. 18 He found himself lying as dead when the birds of air, as big as mountain peaks, descended upon his dead body, which they tore to pieces and devoured. 19 But as he died on the holy mountain, he still had a spiritual body. He did not feel the pains which are inevitable upon the loss of the physical body, but retained his clear consciousness all along. 20 Yet as his self-consciousness did not attain the transcendent perceptivity of his soul, he remembered the grossness of his past acts and deeds and was conscious of them, as any living body.
21 Rama asked, “Sage, how is it possible for the disembodied mind to perform the outward actions of the body? How can our spiritual consciousness have any kind of perception of anything?”
22 Vasishta replied:— As desire drives a householder man from his house, and as imagination leads the mind to many places and objects, so the mind of this king was led from place to place. 23 As the mind is moved or led by delusion, dream, imagination, error or misapprehension and recital of stories, so the mind of the king was led to believe whatever appeared before him.
24 It is the spiritual, intellectual body that is subject to these fallacies, but the human mind forgets its spiritual nature in course of time and thinks on its materiality. 25 Upon disappearance of these fallacies, like the mistaken idea of a snake in a rope, only the spiritual body appears and not any physical one. 26 Consider well, O Rama, that the spiritual body is the only real substantiality. All that appears to exist beside consciousness does not exist at all.
27 The mind of a man going from one place to another passes quietly over intermediate places and is quite unconscious of them. Such is the case with the intellect, which passes to endless objects without ever moving from its support or changing itself to any other form. 28 Therefore tell me. Where is there a duality? What object is there that deserves your friendship or hatred when all this totality is only one Infinite Deity known as transcendent understanding? 29 Transcendental understanding is that calm and quiet state of Consciousness which is without the workings of the mind. Though King Vipaschit was settled in his spiritual body, he had not yet attained that state of transcendental knowledge.
30 Lacking this perception, he saw a vastness in his mind. With his spiritual body, he saw a dark gloom, like what appears to a fetus confined in the embryo. 31 Amidst this gloom, he saw the cosmic egg split in two, and then perceived the surface of the earth situated in its lower hemisphere. It was a solid substance, bright as gold and extending millions of leagues. 32 At the end of this he saw the waters eight times in extent as that of the land. These, in the form of crusts of the oceans, formed the two hemispheres of the earth. 33 After passing over this, he reached the region of light, blazing with the sun and stars emitting flames of fire issuing from the vault of heaven. 34 Having passed that region of fire, without being burnt or hurt in his spiritual body, he was led by his mind to another region where he thought and felt himself carried by the winds to his former home. 35 As he was carried in this manner, he felt himself to be of a spiritual body. For what other than the mind can lead anybody from one place to another?
36 With this conviction of himself, the patient king passed over the region of the winds. At last he got to the sphere of vacuum, which was ten times in extent to that of the former. 37 Passing over this, he found the infinite space of the emptiness of Brahman in which all is situated and from where all had proceeded, which is nothing and yet something, of which nothing can be known or attributed. 38 Moving along this empty air, he was carried far and farther onward in his aerial journey until he thought in his mind that he could see all the other spheres of earth and water and fire and air which he had passed over before. 39 There were formations of worlds and their repeated creations and dissolutions to be seen. There were retinues of gods and men, and those of hills and all other things going on in endless succession. 40 There was a recurrence of the primary elements, and their assumption of substantial forms, and repetitions of creations and reappearances of worlds and the sides of the compass.
41 Thus the king is still going on in his journey through the infinite void of Brahman, finding successions of creations and their dissolutions to no end. 42 He has no cessation from his wanderings owing to his conviction and habit of thinking the reality of the world. Nor does he get rid of his ignorance, which also is from God.
43 Whatever you see in your waking or in your dream is the discernment of the Divine Soul which ever displays these sights in itself. 44 This world is an apparition of our ignorance, like the phantoms that are seen in deep darkness. But know that the transparent intellect of God represents it so and will ever do the same. 45 Both the dark sight of the gross world and the clear light of its transparency proceed from the same mind of God. So it is impossible to conceive whether it is the one or the other, or both alike. 46 Hence, O Rama, this king, uncertain of the transparency of the Divine Spirit, has been wandering forever in the dark maze of his preconceived worlds, just like a stray deer wanders in the tangled wilderness.
• • •
Chapter 129 — Identical Self Develops Different Desires from Different Circumstances; Ignorance Is Identical with Brahma; Vipaschit the Stag Is Brought to the Court
Rama asks, 1 “You said two Vipaschits were liberated by the grace of Vishnu. What became of the other two brothers who have been wandering all about?”
2 Vasishta replied:—
Of these two, one learned by long habit to subdue his desires. He wandered in many islands and at last settled in one of them and obtained his rest in God. 3 Having renounced the sight of the outer garments of the world, he saw millions of globes rolling in emptiness and is still enrapt with the view. 4 The second one was released from his personal wanderings by remaining close to the moon. There his constant association with the deer-like mark on the face of that luminary changed his form to that of that animal, which he still retains in his situation upon a hill.
5 Rama asked, “How is it sage, that the four bodies of Vipaschit, having only one mind and the same desire and aim in view, could differ so much in their acts that brought upon them such different results of good and evil?”
6 Vasishta replied:—
The habitual desire of a person becomes varied in course of time according to the various states of his life and in different places. It becomes weaker and stronger in degree, though it is never changed in its nature. 7 According to circumstances, the same desire of a person is modified in different forms. Whatever is greater in intensity takes precedence over others and comes to pass in a short time.
8 In this divided state of their desires, the four bodies of the king arrived at four different states in their modes in life. Hence two of them were immersed in their ignorance, the third became a deer, and the last gained his liberation at last. 9 The two former have not yet arrived at the end of their ignorance. They have been groveling in darkness by their blindness to the light of truth which can hardly dispel the darkness that is continually spread by ignorance. 10 Only the light of knowledge is able to drive the gloom of ignorance. Then ignorance, however deep rooted, flies far away like the darkness of night is dispersed before the light of day.
11 Now listen to what this Vipaschit did in the other world, where he was cast across the far distant ocean of sweet waters onto a coast of gold which he mistook for this habitable earth. 12 Beyond this he saw a globe in the emptiness of Brahma, which was how he thought of the emptiness of the great Brahman. 13 Here he was led by his excellent virtues to the company of the learned. From them he learned to see this visible world in its true light and he was merged into the state of Brahman. 14 As soon as he arrived at that state, his ignorance and his body disappeared from him, like a sea in a mirage vanishes before closer view, and like falsehood flies before truth.
15 Thus I have described all about Vipaschit and how ignorance is as eternal as Brahman because it is contemporary with him. 16 Millions of years have passed in eternity, but the mind by its nature is quite unmindful of their course and number. 17 As the knowledge of horses is said to be false when known, so the knowledge of the world is a falsity. But being truly known, it is found to be Brahman himself. 18 There is no difference between ignorance and the essence of Brahman because one exists in the other. Brahman is the perfect Consciousness that shows the difference in the modes of reasoning intellect.
19 Another Vipaschit, who was wandering all around the universal sphere, could not come to the end of his ignorance in his course of several yuga ages.
20 Rama said, “How was it, sage, that he could not reach the utmost limit of the universe, nor could he pierce its vault to get out? Please explain this fully to me, which you have not yet done.”
21 Vasishta replied:—
When Brahma was first born in the cosmic egg, he used both hands to break the shell into upper and lower halves. 22 The upper hemisphere rose too far upwards from the lower half. So the lower hemisphere descended as far below the upper part. 23 Then there are the circles of earth, water and air which are supported upon these hemispheres, while these two serve as bases for the support of other spheres. 24 In between is the empty sky, infinite in its extent, which appears to us as the blue vault of heaven. 25 It is not bounded by the circles of earth and water, but is a pure void, the basis of all other spheres that rest upon it.
26 He passed by that way into the infinite void, just like the circles of the starry frame revolve in the same void. He went on in order to examine the extent of ignorance and to obtain his release from it, as he was taught to find. 27 But this ignorance exists and grows with Brahma, so it is as infinite as God himself. She (avidya, ignorance) is as unknowable as God and no one has been able to know her nature. 28 Vipaschit, continuing to rise far away and higher in the heavens, found the nature of ignorance to have the same boundary as the extent of the worlds, through which he traversed on high.
29 Now see how one of these persons was liberated and another grazed about as a deer. See the other two fast bound to their former impressions, forced to wander about the worlds which they took for realities in their ignorance.
30 Rama said, “Tell me kindly, O sage, where and how far and in what sorts of worlds have these Vipaschitas been still roaming, with getting their final release? 31 How far away are those worlds in which they are born over and over again? All this is very strange to me, as you have described it.”
32 Vasishta said:—
The worlds where the two Vipaschitas have been carried and where they have been wandering are quite invisible to me, in spite of all my efforts to look into them. 33 The place where the third Vipaschit is wandering as a deer is also a land known to no one on earth.
34 Rama said, “Sage, you said that the Vipaschit who is transformed into a deer has been wandering on a hill. Therefore tell me, O most intelligent seer, where is that hill and how far away is it?”
35 Vasishta answered:—
Hear me tell you how far away that world is from here, the world where Vipaschit entered after passing through the vast emptiness of the Supreme Spirit and where he has been wandering in his form of a deer. 36 It is somewhere between these three worlds. All these worlds are spread at great distances from one another in the vast emptiness of the Divine Spirit.
37 Rama asked, “How is it consistent, sage, to say with good reason that Vipaschit was born and died in this world, and is still wandering as a deer in it?”
38 Vasishta replied:—
As the whole must well know all the parts of which it is composed, so I know everything everywhere that is situated in the all comprehensive soul of God in which I have assimilated myself. 39 I know the absent and all that is destroyed, as well as all forms of things, whether small or great. They are all interwoven together and exhibited before me as if they were produced of this earth of ours. 40 Hence all that I have told you, O Rama, regarding the adventures of the king was the work of his imagination and took place in some part of this world where he lived and died.
41 The Vipaschitas all wandered about other worlds in empty air. All this was the work of their imagination, which is unrestricted in its flight through boundless space. 42 One of these has happened to be born here as a deer. It is in a mountain valley somewhere upon this earth. 43 The place where the king is reborn in the form of a deer, after all his wanderings in other spheres were over, is in this earth globe. There he is placed on a certain spot by an act of unaccountable chance.
44 Rama said, “If it is so, then tell me sage, in what region of this earth, on what hill and in what forest of it, is this deer placed at present? 45 What is he doing now, and how does he nibble the grass in the green plain? How long will it be before that experienced seer may come to remember his former state and past actions?”
46 Vasishta replied:—
It is the same deer which was presented to you by the ruler of the province of Trigarta. It is kept close in your pleasure garden for your amusement.
47 Valmiki said:—
Rama was quite surprised, as were all the people sitting at the court, to hear the sage say this. Rama ordered his attendants to bring the deer immediately. 48 The brute deer was brought and placed before the open court, when the court-people found it plump and fat, quite tame and gentle. 49 Its body was spotted all over as with the stars of heaven. Its eyes were as outstretched as the petals of lotus flowers and by far more handsome than the eyes of beautiful ladies. 50 It looked with timid glances at the blue sapphires which decorated the court. It ran to bite them with its open month, thinking them to be blades of grass. 51 Then, as it fearfully gazed at the assembly with its neck raised, ears alert and eyes staring, people raised their heads, lifted up ears, and looked upon the animal with open eyes for fear the deer would leap and jump upon them.
52 The king with his ministers and courtiers were all amazed at the sight of the animal and thought that what they saw before them was all magic. 53 The wondering eyes of the assembled people and the shining gems adorning the bodies of princes made the court hall appear as if it were studded with full blown lotuses all around.
Chapter 130 — Vipaschit the Stag Enters Fire, Is Restored and Becomes Bhasa
1 Valmiki related:— Rama then asked Vasishta to tell him how Vipaschit could be released from his animal shape and restored to his human form.
2 Vasishta said:— The way by which a person has had his rise is the only way that leads to his success, welfare and happiness in life.
3 Vipaschit had been a worshipper of the fire god Agni. So only through his return to the refuge of that god that his deer form may be altered and the king restored to its former figure of bright and unalloyed gold. 4 I will try the means of his restoration in your presence, so you all may witness it with your open eyes. This deer will of itself enter into the fire before your sight.
5 Valmiki related:— Saying so, the benevolent sage touched his water pot with his hand and muttered his mantras upon it in the proper form. 6 He thought intently upon the god of fire with his flashing flames all around him. Immediately upon the sage’s reflection on Agni, a blaze of fire manifested in the royal hall. 7 This was a pure flame, burning with a rumbling noise but without any coal or fuel, or any smoke or soot. 8 Brighter and brighter it burned in its beauty, shining like a dome of gold and shedding a golden light all about. The light was like a blushing kinsuka blossom, glowing like the evening clouds of heaven.
9 Seeing the spreading flame, the assembled host moved backward but the deer, on seeing its adored deity manifest, became flushed with the passion of its former faith. 10 As it looked on the fire with its ardent desire, he got rid of his sins as if they were burnt away by its flames. Then advancing slowly towards the fire, the deer suddenly jumped into the blaze like a lion springing upon his prey.
11 At this moment, the muni moved his mind to meditation and found the king’s sins had been burnt away from his soul. Then he addressed the fire god, saying, 12 “O lord who carries the sacrificial butter to the celestials, recall the past acts of the king in your mind and his faith in you. Kindly restore him to his former handsome figure again.” 13 As the sage was praying in this manner, he saw the deer released from the flame and running towards the assembled princes with the speed of an arrow flying towards its mark. 14 Having been in the burning fire, he appeared like a flaming body. The assembly saw him in this form as bright as the appearance of an evening cloud. 15 Thus the deer was changed to the form of a man before the sight of the assembled princes, just as a spot of cloud is seen to assume another figure in the face of the bright vault of heaven. 16 Within the flames, he assumed a figure like pure gold, then after he emerged, he took the form of a man of handsome shape and appearance.
17 He appeared like the orb of the sun, like the disc of the moon in the sky, like the god Varuna in the waters of the deep, or like the evening cloud or rising moon. 18 There was the reflection of the sun in the pupils of his eyes, just as the sun reflects on the surface of water or on a mirror or bright gem. The fire of his faith blazed serenely deep within his eyes. 19 Shortly, this blaze of light disappeared from the court, just as the light of a lamp is blown away by the breath of wind, or as the colors of evening clouds vanish under the shade of night.
20 Then the man stood in the hall as plainly as the idol of a deity is seen to stand in a ruined temple, or as an actor is seen behind the scene without his dress. 21 He stood silently holding prayer beads in his hand, his sacred thread hanging down a chain of gold about his neck. He wore a robe of pure white bleached by the fiery heat. He appeared like the bright moon rising before the assembly.
22 On seeing the brightness of his body and clothing, the courtiers all and everyone cried out saying, “O, such radiance (bha)!” Because he shines (bhasa) as brightly as daylight, everyone called him “Bhasa”. 23 The courtiers also confirmed it by saying, “Because he is as bright as brightness itself, let him be called Bhasa,” which name he bore ever afterwards.
24 He sat in the hall in his meditative mood and remembered all the incidents of his past life and former body. 25 The assembly was struck with wonder and remained quite motionless and speechless, absorbed in thought as Bhasa reflected upon the adventures of his past life. 26 Then after a short while, the king rose from his reflections. He advanced towards the assembly under his newly obtained title of Bhasa, the light. 27 He first advanced towards Vasishta and saluted him with delight, saying, “I bow down, sage, before you, as the giver of my life and light of knowledge of myself.”
28 Vasishta raised him by touching his head with his hand, saying “May your protracted ignorance, O prince, disappear this day and forever after.
29 “Victory to Rama,” said Bhasa, and bowed down to King Dasharata who, rising a little from his seat, approached him smilingly.
30 Dasharata said, “You are welcome, O prince! Be seated on this seat. You have wandered through many difficulties of the world. Now take your rest here.”
31 Valmiki related:— Thus approached by the king, the prince now bearing the name of Bhasa, after making his salutations to the venerable sages Vishwamitra and others, took his seat on a cushion. 32 Dasharata exclaimed, “O the pains that Vipaschit has so long undergone under the bondage of Ignorance, like a wild elephant tied by his feet in fetters by ruthless huntsmen. 33 O to what miseries is man exposed owing to his lack of precise understanding, and by his false knowledge of the reality of these worlds seen revolving in empty shape. 34 How wonderful are these worlds, so extensive and remote, through which Vipaschit has traversed, and how incredible are the pains through which he has passed for so long. 35 O how wonderful is the nature and glory of the empty Intellect of the empty spirit of the Supreme that exhibits the blank thoughts of his all comprehensive mind in empty air as substantial ones.
• • •
Chapter 131 — Vishwamitra Lectures on Endless Phenomena; — Bhasa
Describes His Lives Searching for the End of Ignorance
1 Dasharata said, “I understand that Vipaschit has acted unwisely taking so much pains in his wanderings for a knowledge of the spheres. It is all in vain to inquire into unrealities and useless matters, and it was his ignorance alone that led him to the search.”
2 Valmiki related:— At this moment, the sage Vishwamitra, who was sitting beside the king, opened his mouth and said on the subject now under consideration.
3 Vishwamitra said:— O king, there are many such men who, without a good understanding and for want of best knowledge, are apt to think it possible for them to know all things. 4 Hence the sons of King Vatadhana have been wandering all over this earth for very many years in search of true knowledge without ever being able to arrive at it. 5 They have ceaselessly struggled to explore the limits of this earth, like a river runs in its constant course forever.
6 This great world is situated like an globe in the air, like a child’s imaginary tree growing in the sky, or like a toy ball of playful Brahma rolling about in empty air. 7 As ants crawl around a sugar ball without falling off, so do all living bodies move about on their support of this earth sustained in empty air. 8 Those who are situated on the lower surface of this globe are moving about as erectly as those who are on its upper side. 9 The sun, moon, and planets, together with the starry frame and the heavenly stream are attracted to turn round it constantly, without ever coming in contact with it. 10 The sky encircles and surrounds it on all sides, though the sky appears to be above our heads and the earth below our feet. 11 Living beings below the earth are moving downward or flying upward, just like the beasts and birds on the upper side. The region to which they fly is called the upper sky.
12 On some part of this earth there is a warrior race named Vatadhanas. In days of the past, three princes were born to this royal family. 13 Like Vipaschit, they were firmly intent to know the limits of the visible world. They set out in their journey to explore with a firm and unfailing resolution. 14 They passed from land to water, and from waters to other lands again. Thus they passed many lives and ages in their repeated inquiries with new bodies in repeated births. 15 Wandering forever all about the earth, like ants moving on a sweet cake, they found no end to it. They never reached any spot beyond the earth even in their thought of another one. 16 They are still turning around the world in the air, like busy ants on sugar. They are still in the same search without being tired of it. 17 Because whoever stands on any part of the globe thinks it to be the uppermost, and all other places to be lower. So people living below, on the opposite point on the globe, think they are uppermost.
18 Then the three princes said to themselves that if they could not find the end of the earth after all their struggle, they must give up the pursuit and go elsewhere.
19 So it is with this world, O king, which is no more than display of the thoughts of Brahma. It is a work of creation only in the mind, a delusion like that of an extended dream.20 The mind is the Supreme Brahman and Brahma is same as his mind. They both are in the form of consciousness and there is no difference between them, as there is none between open air and the sky. 21 Consciousness operates in itself, like waters running in whirlpools. As the whirling currents and bubbles are nothing other than the water, so the operations of the mind are modifications of the mind itself.
22 The sky, which is only emptiness and was a void in the beginning, shows itself in the form of the world which is neither created nor ever destroyed. 23 Whatever the intellect suggests, the mind obeys and is inclined in the same way, and continues to view the outer world as it has always existed in thought. 24 The visible world has the same form and is equally imperishable as the intellectual. Eternal God manifests himself in this manner, which is otherwise nothing of itself.
25 There is an atom of Divine Consciousness, an infinity of minute atoms in the shape of ideas, just as there are innumerable stones in the body of a rock. They reside in the spirit of God and are as translucent as the Divine Spirit. 26 They abide in their own natures in the unexpanded spirit of God. But they do not live independently of themselves as there is nothing separate from the Supreme Spirit. 27 Therefore this world is said to be the manifestation of the Divine Mind. The learned arrive at this conclusion through logical consideration of the antecedent and subsequent arguments. 28 Therefore, it is strange that the human soul should sorrow for its degradation and think itself a different thing when it is inseparable from the one Universal Soul.
29 Now let the so called prince Bhasa, otherwise known by his former name as the mighty monarch Vipaschit, tell us what other strange things he remembers to have seen during his wanderings through worlds.
30 Bhasa replied:— I have seen many sights, wandered without tiring through many regions, and remember having felt various changes in my life. 31 Hear O king, how much I have known and felt in my course through remote regions in the spacious sky on high. Know the joys and grief that I have enjoyed and suffered in my mind for such a long time during my reincarnations in different bodies and distant worlds. 32 By favor of the god of fire and by the good and bad turns of fate, I have seen a great many scenes in my various forms and lives, like the revolving waters in a whirlpool, with a calm and constant and resolute mind. 33 Moved by past memories and misled by a mistaken view of phenomena in the different forms and changes of my body, I was compelled by my firm zeal to inquire into all worldly things.
34 I was a tree for a thousand years, having my senses undeveloped and feeling the hardships of all climates and seasons within myself. I had no mind or mental action except those of drawing moisture from the earth through my roots and expanding myself into fruits and flowers. 35 I was a mountain deer for a hundred years, with skin of golden color and ears as flat as leaves of trees. I fed on blades of grass, was charmed by all kinds of music and, being the weakest of all animals of the forest, I could do no injury to anyone. 36 I lived for fifty years as a Sarabha animal with eight legs. I dwelt in the caves of Krancha Mountain and brought on my death by falling down from a crag while attempting to fight with rain clouds on high.
37 Once I was born as a vidyadhara and lived on the tableland of Malaya Mountains in the happy forests of mandara trees, smelling the sweet scent of sandalwood and kadamba flowers. There I breathed sweet air perfumed by kalaguru trees and enjoyed the company of celestial vidyadhari ladies. 38 I was born the son of the swan of Brahma and tasted the honey of golden lotuses for more than a hundred years, playing on the banks of the heavenly stream of Mandakini and on the celestial Mount of Meru. 39 For a hundred years I remained by the side of Milky Ocean, feeling the cooling breezes blowing the moisture of its waves and the fragrance of forests, listening to the songs of the songsters of spring which vanish the infirmities and sorrows of life.
40 Once I was born as a jackal in the woods of Kalenjara Mountains and wandered about blossoming gunja and karanja forests. There I was trodden upon by an elephant and was about to die when I saw a lion kill that elephant in his turn. 41 At one time I was transformed into the form of a celestial nymph and cursed by a spiritual master to live alone in some other world. There I lived for the period of half a yuga upon Sahya Mountain, smiling with the blooming blossoms of santanaka trees.
42 Next I lived as a valonika bird of raven color in a nest among Indian oleander plants growing in marshy ground at the foot of a mountain. There I passed my solitary life of a hundred years with a fearless heart and ceaseless scrambling on dreary rocks. 43 Afterwards I saw a level plain somewhere, with shady bowers of forest creepers under the shade of sandalwood trees. I saw some females playing and swinging like fruit on the branches of trees, then seized and away by passing spiritual adepts. 44 At another time, I passed my days as a hermit under the shade of kadamba trees at the foot of a mountain. There I lived meditating upon the single object of my devotion and thus foolishly met my end with the pain of not meeting my object.
45 I saw this universe full of beings everywhere, like fish in the ocean. The air, sky and light are all inhabited by beings, as well as this earth of ours. 45 There is another wonder which fills this universe, just as the shadow of the sky fills the ocean on all sides. It pervades the air, water, sky and light, as well in all forms of things on earth. 46 I also saw another wonder in a woman who contains the three worlds in her ample womb. She is pictured with the forms of hills and all things, resembling their reflections in a mirror. 47 I asked her, “O you big bodied and big bellied one! Tell me who you are.” To which she replied, “Sage, know me to be the pure and clear Consciousness that contains all these worlds within herself.” 48 She added, “O sage, as you see me so wonderful in form, so must you know that all things in the world are of the same kind. But people who see things in their ordinary forms find them otherwise. When they look at things in their spiritual light, the gross forms vanish into nothing.”
49 Even without the directions of the Vedas and scriptures, innumerable beings on earth continually hear a warning voice arising from some part of their bodies bidding them what is right or wrong for them to do. 50 Nature reigns over all elements like the eternal cosmic vibration. The elements appear immovable at sight but, in fact, they possess inherent mobile forces. No one can assign any cause over them except delusion.
51 Once I went to a place where there were no females to be found, nor had those people any desire for them. Yet many among the living there were quickly passing away, and many others were newly coming to existence. 52 I have seen the wonder of some portentous clouds in the sky charging against each other with a jarring noise, pouring down their rain with fragments of things on all sides which were picked up by men and used as weapons. 53 I saw another wonder somewhere that these earthly cities and buildings were passing in their aerial course amidst a mist of thick darkness. Then I saw them vanish into the air, returning to be your homes here below. 54 Another wonder I saw was that all these men and gods and reptiles, having left the differences of their species, came to be of one kind with all other beings. Because all things first proceed from vacuum, and to this they return at last.
55 I also saw a place full of light that shone brightly without light from sun, moon or stars. I remember well that brilliant glory, before which there was neither darkness nor day and night and nothing else in existence. 56 I also saw a place never seen before which was devoid of gods or demons, men or animals of all kinds. It was without plant life with no home of any kind of being. It was a world where the present and future and all worlds blend into eternity.
57 In short, there is no place which I have not seen nor any side where I have not been. There is no act or event which I have not known. In a word, there is nothing unknown to me that is unknown to the knower of all. 58 I remember hearing the jingling sound of Indra’s armlets which resembled the noise of the rattling clouds on high, or like the jangling jar of the jewels that glisten on the peaks of Mandara Mountain in fear of churning the Milky Ocean.
• • •
Chapter 132 — Bhasa (King Vipaschit) Describes His Reincarnations and Experiences
1 Bhasa (King Vipaschit) continued:— Once I lived as a siddha spiritual adept at the foot of Mandara Mountain under shady branches of mandara trees. I had been sleeping in the sweet embrace of an apsara named Mandara when the current of a river carried us both away like straw down in its course. 2 I held up my partner floating on the water and asked her to tell me how could it happen to be so. Then she with her quivering eyes answered me saying, 3 “This mountain is sacred to the moon. Full moon causes flash floods to rush out as rapidly as ladies run to meet their consorts at moonrise. 4 I was enraptured by your company, so I forgot to tell you about this.” Saying this, she lifted me up and fled with me into the air, like a female bird flies into the sky with her young.
5 I was taken to the top of that mountain where I remained seven years with my dried and unsoiled body, like a bee remains unsullied on the petal of a lotus flower growing in the bed of the Ganges River. 6 Then I saw some other worlds beyond the starry circle which were encircled by another like the coatings of a plantain tree. They were bright by their own light and peopled by luminous bodies. 7 There were no distinctions or directions or divisions. There were no scriptures or rules of conduct or Vedas for religious guidance. There was no difference between gods and demigods, but the whole was bright with its own light.
8 Next I was born as a vidyadhara and lived for fourteen years as an ascetic under the name of Amarasoma. I lived in a grove of kadamba trees at the foot of a cloud-capped mountain frequented by aerial cars of the celestials for their pleasure, play and diversion. 9 Then I was carried with the speed of wind far away to the ethereal regions on high. From there I saw numberless elephants, horses, lions, deer, and woods and forests filled with beasts and birds, all moving along in the form of clouds below. 10 In this way, by favor of the god of fire and the passion of my desire to see the extensive range of the delusion of ignorance, I rose from earth to heaven with the force of the garuda bird of heaven and passed through infinite space spread all around.
11 Once I felt myself falling away and far from the solar world. It seemed to be an ethereal ocean inhabited by stars, amidst which I was situated as one with the consciousness of my fall and course of time. 12 With only the consciousness of my fall from the sky, I felt in myself a sense of falling fast asleep from fatigue. Then in that state of my body’s sound sleep, I thought I saw the sensible world in my mind, as if it were in my waking state. 13 I saw the same world within the horizon and the same Mandara Mountain of the gods. Meanwhile I had been fluttering in the midst of its abyss, like a bird sitting on a slender twig is shaken and tossed about by blowing wind. 14 With my eyes I saw to the utmost extent of the sensible world. Again and again I was led to the sight of all that is visible to enjoy only that which can be sensed.
15 Thus I passed a long series of years, seeing visible and invisible objects and passing through passable and impassable paths. 16 Nowhere could I find any limit to this ignorance. I found only phenomena. It is a fallacy that has taken the possession of our minds, just as the apparition of a demon takes a deep root in the heart of a child. 17 These and those phenomena are not realities. This is the firm conviction of all in their right reasoning. Yet the false sight of this and that as a reality is never removed from anybody. 18We find our pleasures and pains occurring to us every moment with the changes of time and place. Their course is as constant as the currents of rivers ceaselessly succeeding one another.
19 I remember having seen a world with all kinds of moving and unmoving beings. In the middle I saw a green mountain top rustling with the breeze and shining of itself without the light of the luminaries. 20 This mountain peak is delightful to solitary recluses. It is quite free, alone and unlimited, beyond all fear of change or decay. In this bright world, I have never seen a glory comparable to this divine brightness.
• • •
Chapter 133 — Bhasa’s Story of the Wonderful Carcass
1 Vipaschit (Bhasa) said:— In some part of some other world, I saw another great wonder which I will now describe to you. It was a horrible sight that attends sin, and which I had to see by my blind attachment to ignorance.
2 Somewhere in the vast emptiness there is a wonderfully bright world which is quite impassable for you. It is situated in an emptiness like this of ours, but so different, just as a city in dream differs from one in waking life. 3 I wandered in that world searching everywhere for the object that I had in my heart. I saw a huge and unmoving shadow, like that of a body of locusts spread over the earth. 4 I was astonished at what I saw, and looked all around to see what it was. I found the mountainous form of a man falling fast from the sky, hurling down upon the earth like a whirlpool. 5 I thought, “Who can be this person? Is it Lord Viraj with his mountainous body, or a mountain falling from the clouds? It fills the sky and the whole space of heaven, hiding the light of the day under its all developing shadow.”
6 As I was watching, thinking about what this portent might mean, I saw the bulky body of the sun falling down from heaven. It seemed to be hurled down by the hurricane of desolation, hitting with a hideous crash against the backbone of the cosmic egg of Brahma. 7 As this hideous and enormous body fell down on the earth, it filled its whole surface covering the face of the seven continents and oceans. 8 With that impact, I feared for my imminent destruction, together with that of entire earth. I was determined to enter into the ever burning fire by my side. 9 Then the fire god Agni, the source of Vedas and my adored divinity in a hundred repeated births, manifested before me in his cooling, moonlike form and said, “Fear not. No evil will betide you.”
10 Then I addressed the fire god, saying, “Be victorious, O my lord and adored one in repeated births. Save me from this untimely desolation which is now impending on all.”
11 Thus invoked by me, the fire god replied with the same words, “Fear you not, but rise, O sinless one, and follow me to my region of the highest heaven.” 12 Saying so, he made me sit on the back of his parrot vehicle. He flew with me up to heaven by burning through a part of the falling body. 13 Getting to the upper sky, I found the huge, falling body as if it were made of wood. It was this that had created so much terror below, like that attending a terrible omen.
14 Then, as the huge body fell down with full force, the earth shook beneath its weight, with all trembling waters and tottering mountains and shaking woods and forests. Mountains burst forth in waterfalls which flooded the land creating horrible holes and chasms. 15 The earth groaned from inside and the sky roared on all its four sides. The heavens resounded to the roar and mountains growled with the fearful howling of all beings, like at the approach of their last doom. 16 The earth groaned under the burden and all the quarters trembled with fear. The emptiness was filled with the echo of cries rising from the earth and garuda birds were in flight shaken by fear. 17 There arose a harsh and hideous uproar on high from the loud shattering of mountains below. It was like the crashing and clattering of dark and dense flood clouds when they are shattered and scattered by the blasts of howling winds during the world deluge.
18 The earth trembled and roared at the impact of the fall of the hideous carcass and the sky roared to the sound from its hundred mouths. Mountains burst on all sides, their falling fragments hurried headlong and were buried under the ground. 19 Its fall was like the breaking down of a mountain peak, smashing the tops of lower hills, rending and splitting the ground, and leveling all things on earth with the dust. 20 It disturbed the waters of the deep and hurled hills down to the ground. It crushed all living beings and gave ample range to the play of the agents of destruction. 21 The sun fell upon the earth and hid the face of the continents under him. There was the crushing of mountains and a breaking down of towering cities.
22 The celestials saw all these from above this earth which forms one half of the cosmic egg, turning to a vacuum form. 23 As I was looking at that mountainous body of flesh, I observed that the ample space of all the seven continents of the earth was not enough to contain this single body. 24 Seeing this, I applied to the good grace of the god of fire and asked him, “Lord, what is this and what does it mean? 25 Why did the sun down from heaven with that corpse? How is it that the entire earth and all its oceans do not have sufficient room to contain it?”
26 The god of fire replied, “Hold your patience, my son, for a while until this portentous event passes away. Then I will explain this marvelous matter fully to you.” 27 As soon as the god had said these words, an assembly of celestials gathered all around us.
It consisted of all kinds of beings that are born and move about in the aerial regions. 28 There were siddhas, sadhyas, apsaras, daityas, gandharvas and kinnaras among them, together with munis, rishis, yakshas, Pitris, Matris and gods with them. 29 All these celestials bowed down their heads in veneration. All joined with their prostrate bodies to praise the dark goddess of night, who is the refuge and resort of all.
30 The celestials said, “May that goddess who is stainless and incomparable protect us, her supplicants. She has the grey braids of Brahma’s hairs tied at the top of her sword and the heads of the slain Daitya demons strung to the neck-chain hanging on her breast. She wears the feathers of garuda on her head. After devouring the world, in the end she swallows all beings and worlds. May that goddess be compassionate and protect us.”
• • •
Chapter 134 — The Story of the Carcass Continued: Goddess and Demons Devour It; Celestials Lament the Loss
1 Vipaschit (Bhasa) continued:— All this time I was looking at the carcass that had fallen from above and covered the whole surface of the earth under it. 2 I distinguished that part of the body that was the belly. Inside it the whole earth, with all its seven continents and immeasurable mountain, was hidden. 3 Then the god of fire told me that there was no limit to its arms or thighs or the extent of its head, and that it had fallen from beyond Lokaloka Mountain, which is inaccessible to mankind.
4 The goddess who is so much praised by the celestials is the manifestation of emptiness. She appeared in the sky with a dry and lean body. 5 She is represented as accompanied by vetala and dakini spirits. She was followed by demons and demons that walk in her retinue and shine like stars and meteors in the night sky. 6 Her long and muscular arms stretched to the skies like the tall pines of the forest. Her eyeballs flashed with living fire and scattered sunbeams all around. 7 She brandished weapons in her hands that jangled in the sky. Her missiles darted like flocks of birds flying from their aerial nests. 8 Her flaming body and flashing eyes and limbs glistened with the glare of dry reeds set on fire, or like the sparkling of a flight of arrows midway in the air. 9 Her glittering teeth shed the light of the beaming moon and brightened the faces of the four quarters of heaven with a milk white splendor. Her tall slender stature reached and touched the sky.
10 She stood without any support, like clouds stretched over the evening sky. She was mounted on a dead body as if she were resting on the blessed seat of Brahma. 11 She shone in her brilliant form like the crimson clouds of evening. She added the burning blaze of an undersea fire to the ocean of the ethereal expanse. 12 She flaunted her decorations of human skeleton and bones. She was swinging her weapons of the club and others, darting her arrows all around like a mountain scatters its flowers all about. 13 She flew into the air with her necklace of human skulls sounding with a harsh clattering noise that resembled the rattling of stones falling down a mountain with the rains.
14 The gods then prayed to her saying, “O Mother Goddess, we make an offering of this carcass to you. Please join with your adherents, take this corpse for your food and make an end of it.” 15 Upon this prayer of the gods, the goddess with her inhaling breath began to draw the blood and core of the carcass into her bowels and intestines. 16 As the goddess was absorbing the dead blood by breathing it in, the red fluid rushed into her wide open month, like the entrance of the evening clouds into the cavity of the western mountain. 17 The ethereal goddess drank the blood drawn in by her breath. Her lean skeleton-like frame grew fat from being well fed. She stood acknowledged in her form of the goddess Chandika.
18 Being thus filled and fattened by full drinks of the bloody drink, she had the appearance of a blood red cloud with flashing lightning shooting from her eyes. 19 The pot bellied goddess, giddy with her bloody drink, became loose in her dress. She began to move her ornaments and swing all her weapons in the empty air. 20 She began to dance and toss about in the air which was almost filled by the bulk of her body. Meanwhile the gods kept watching her movements from their seats on distant mountains.
21 Immediately upon this, the whole host of her female ghosts and demons, composed of rupikas and others, flew upon the carcass, just as rain clouds alight upon mountains.22 The mountainous carcass was grabbed by the clutches of kumbhandas and torn to a thousand pieces. Meanwhile, the rupikas pierced its belly and the yakshas gored its back with their elephantine tusks. 23 But they could not get or break its arms, shoulders or thighs because these members of its body stretched far beyond the limits of the solar system.24 Therefore they could not be reached by the ghosts who are confined within the limits of this world. They could not go beyond where those parts rotted away of themselves.
25 As the goddess was dancing in the air and her demons were prancing over the carcass, the celestials remained sitting on mountain tops looking on this dreadful scene. 26They saw disgusting morsels of putrid flesh. The stench of the rotten carcass filled the air and blood red clouds shrouding the scene. It seemed like burning bushes forming the fuel of the furnace. 27 The chopping of fetid flesh raised a sap-sap sound. The breaking of its hard bones sent forth a kat-kat noise. 28 The gathering of demons caused a clashing sound like the impacts of rocks and mountains colliding against one another.
29 The goddess devoured mouthfuls of flesh roasted in the fire that flashed forth from her mouth. Waste material and fragments fell down and covered the earth below with filth. Meanwhile, drops of blood from the draughts she drank reddened the sky with tints of vermilion color. 30 The celestial spectators saw a universal ocean of blood within the visible horizon over the surface of the continents of the earth. 31 All the mountains on earth were covered with blood that reflected their redness to the cloud on high. It gave the appearance of a red covering veil spreading over the faces of the female regent deities of all sides of heaven.
32 The sky below blazed with the flash of weapons waving all around in the hands of the goddess. There was no trace of any city or house to be seen on earth. 33 It was an incredible sight to see. All the moving and unmoving objects of nature were absorbed into the bodies of the ghosts of insatiable death. 34 Dancing demons were waving their arms in air as if they were weaving nets to snare birds. They were lifting and dropping them up and down as if measuring the height and depth of the sky. 35 They stretched out the victim’s entrails from the earth below to the circle of the sun above. They appeared to measure the distance with lines and cords.
36 The gods saw the earth endangered by the ominous carcass, its surface converted to an ocean of blood. 37 They felt dismayed and distressed sitting in their seats on Lokaloka Mountain beyond the boundary of the seven continents where the stench of the putrid carcass could not reach their nostrils.
38 Rama asked, “How is it sage, that the stench of the carcass could not reach the gods in their seats on Lokaloka Mountain when the dead body is said to extend even beyond the limits of the mundane system?”
39 Vasishta replied:— It is true, O Rama, that the dead body stretched beyond the limits of the mundane sphere, but its belly lay within the boundaries of seven continents and its head, thighs and feet extended beyond. 40 But from its breasts, two sides and its loins and waist, which lay out of this sphere, one could have a clear view of the polar circle, as well as that of its mountainous top. 41 Sitting in those parts and places, the gods could well see the peaks of the mountain which were surely bright to sight, and as white as the rainless clouds of the skies.
Presumably, Bhasa continues:—
42 Then the Matris (mother goddesses) of heaven danced on the wide spread dead body. Meanwhile hosts of ghosts devoured the flesh as the corpse lay with its face turned downwards. 43 Seeing streams of reddish blood running around and the putrid stink of rotten body spreading on all sides, the gods all felt sorrowful at heart and grieved among themselves, exclaiming as follows:
The gods lament:—
44 Ah alas! Where has the earth disappeared with all the bodies of waters upon her? Where have all those multitudes of men fled, and where are the mountains swept away from its surface? 45 Alas for those forests of sandal, mandara and kadamba woods which had so ornamented the earth! What sorrow for the flower gardens and the happy groves of the Malaya Mountains! 46 Where are those uplands of the lofty and gigantic snowy mountains of the Himalayas which now appear to be reduced by anger to lurid clay with the red hot blood of the bloody ghost of the carcass? 47 Even the gigantic kalpa trees that grew below the Krauncha Mountains in Krauncha Continent, trees which had spread their branches up to reach the world of Brahmaloka, are now reduced to dirt.
48 O you lordly Milky Ocean, where are you now? You had produced the moon and the goddess Lakshmi from your bosom. In the past you yielded the parijata flower and the celestial nectar of the gods. 49 O
you Ocean of Curd, what has become of you who was full with waving forests of billows rising as high as mountains, carrying sweet butter with their foaming froth? 50 O you sweet Sea of Honey, bordered by mountains studded with coconut trees whose fruit gave sweet liquor for the drink of goddesses, where have you and they fled?
51 O Krauncha Continent that did abound in kalpa trees inseparably clasped by twining ivy of golden color, say, where have you hidden with your towering Krauncha Mountain? 52 O Pushkara Continent, where are you now with your clear fountains, always decorated with beds of lotus bushes where the silvery swans of Brahma used to play? 53O, where have your kadamba groves gone, with their outstretched branches on all sides, whose sheltered coverings were frequented by aerial apsara nymphs for their secluded amusements?
54 O where has Gomedha Continent gone with its springs of sweet waters, and flowery gardens by its holy places? Where are those valleys beautified by kalpa trees and their golden creepers? 55 Ah, where is Saka Continent with its forests of heavenly evergreen trees? The very memory of them raises a sense of holiness and sensations of heavenly bliss.56 Ah!
Where are those tender plants that waved their leaves at the gentle breeze? Where are those blooming flowers that had brightened the scene all around? 57 The devastation of all these beautiful landscapes fills our minds with pity and grief. We do not know how much more piteous and painful it must be to the majority of mankind.
58 Ah, when shall we again see sugar-cane fields by the sea of sugar waters and hardened sugar candy on the dry lands about? When shall we see candy made of molasses and confectionary dolls of sugar? 59 When shall we again sit on our golden seats on Mount Meru and see the merry dance of beautiful apsaras daubed with sandal paste in their palm and tamara tree grooves, blown by the cooling breeze of kadamba and kalpa trees on woodland mountains?
60 Ah, we remember the memorable Jambuvati River flowing with the sweet juice of jambu fruit, passing through Jambu Continent to its boundary ocean. 61 “I often remember,” said one, “the giddy song and dance of celestial apsaras in the thick and shady groves of sailendra trees and in the shelter of mountains beside the heavenly stream. It tears my heart. like the lotus flower as it opens its petals in the morning.”
62 Another one said, “Look at this ocean of blood, sparkling like melted gold on the top of the golden mountain of Meru, brightening the beams of the rising and setting sun, or as moonbeams spread over the face of all sides of heaven.”
63 Alas, we know not where the earth has gone, with all her encircling oceans about the continents. Nor do we know where that high hill of Himalaya has fled, which was the resort of many rainy clouds and yielded lotus flowers on its summit. 64 We do not know where those rivers, forests and groves which had decorated the earth have gone. We have pity for the cities and villages and their people that are now seen no more.
• • •
Chapter 135 — The Carcass Disappears and Used to Recreate the World
1 Vasishta resumed and said:— After the corpse had been partly devoured by the demons, the gods who had been sitting on Lokaloka Mountain with Indra at their head spoke to one another in the following manner. 2 “Lo, the voracious demons have not yet wholly devoured the corpse. They have thrown its fat and flesh into the air to test the paths of vehicles of vidyadharas which, being blown away and scattered about by the winds, appear like huge masses of clouds spreading over the skies. 3 See the demons also throwing away traces of their food and drink over the seven continents and oceans of the earth, making it reappear to view. 4 Alas, that the once delightful earth is now polluted by impure carrion and blood and covered under blankets of its forests, just as the sky is overshadowed by clouds. 5 The big bones of its bulky body form the mountains of this earth. What is this high Himalaya but the huge backbone of the gigantic skeleton?”
6 Vasishta said:— As the gods were speaking in this manner, the demons were employed constructing the earth anew with the materials of the carcass. After this they flew in the air and kept on dancing and moving wildly there. 7 As the ghosts were playing in their giddy dance in the air, the god commanded the liquid portion of the dead body to be collected together in one great basin of the ocean which was the home of whales and sharks. 8 As this ocean was made from the pleasure of the gods, it is thereafter called the ocean of wine.
9 The demons, having danced in wild uproar in the air, came down to drink full draughts of that dark bloody pool. After that they returned to their aerial home to dance again.10 Demonic elemental beings are still accustomed to indulge themselves drinking from that bloody pool and to dance in their airy circles in company with their attendants. 11Because the earth was smeared with the fat and flesh of the corpse, it is thereafter called Medini or corpus.
12 At last after the disappearance of the dead body of the demon, the succession of day and night appeared again. Then Prajapati, the lord of creatures, having formed all things anew, restored the earth to its former shape.
• • •
Chapter 136 — Story of the Asura Cursed to Become a Gnat: He Becomes a Deer and a Hunter
1 Bhasa said:— O lord of the earth (King Dasharata), now hear what I then said to the god of fire as I sat under the wing of his riding parrot, and the god’s answer to my question. 2 I said, “O Lord of the sacrificial fire and sacrifice, please explain the mystery of the carcass and the accompanying events.”
3 The god fire replied:— Listen, O prince, and I will explain everything that has happened about the carcass, as it is well known in all the three worlds. 4 Know there is an eternal formless and transcendent Consciousness in the form of boundless and formless emptiness in which there are countless worlds existing as minute atoms in endless space. 5 This intellectual void, which contains all and everything in itself, happened of its own spontaneity to be conscious of its contents in course of time. 6 By its innate knowledge, it conceived the abstract idea of fiery particles in itself, just as you find yourself traveling in your dream by thinking of it in your state of waking. 7 It was thus that Divine Consciousness saw particles of fire, like in the unconscious state of its dream, and like one sees lotus dust before him in his imagination.
8 Then, as this Consciousness reflected on the expansion of these particles of fire, it became assimilated with them. In its thought, it evolved itself into the shape of the powers and organs of sense in those particles of its body. 9 Then it saw the sense organs as receptacles of their particular faculties. It saw the world with all its beings appearing before it as in its dream, just as we see a city in our dreaming state.
10 An asura among those living became haughty and proud of his dignity. He was vain and addicted to vanities. He had no parents or forefathers of his own. 11 Being elated with giddiness, he once entered into the holy hermitage of a sage and destroyed and defiled the sacred asylum in his anger. 12 The sage pronounced a curse upon him saying, “Because you have demolished my home with your gigantic figure, die immediately and be born as a contemptible gnat under my curse.” 13 The anger of the sage created a burning fire which immediately reduced the asura to ashes on the spot, just as a wildfire consumes woods, and as an undersea fire dries up a channel.
14 Then the asura became like air, without form or supporting body. His heart and mind became as unconscious as in a swoon. 15 His consciousness fled from him and became mixed with the ethereal air. They were hurled up and down by the course of flying winds. 16 They existed in the form of the intelligent and airy soul, which was to become the living soul that is connected to the body composed of particles of the undivided elements: earth, fire, water, and air (and space). 17 The quintessence of five elements, being joined with a particle of the intellect, creates a motion of their own accord just like the empty sky produces wind by its breath and of its own nature. 18 At last, the particle of intellect is awakened in the airy soul, just as a seed, in course of time, germinates when it contacts earth, water and air.
19 The understanding of the asura became obsessed with the thought of the sage’s curse of becoming a gnat. It brooded over thoughts about its body becoming a gnat, and the asura became a gnat, 20 a tiny, short-lived insect born in dirt by daylight and blown away by the breath of wind.
21 Rama asked, “If living animals are only creatures of our dream, as you said before, how can they be born from other sources? Please tell me, are they really born or is it otherwise?”
22 Vasishta replied:— Rama, know that all living beings, from the great Brahma to the small animal and vegetable below, have two kinds of birth. The first is that they are all full of Brahman. The other is that they are the creatures of our errors.
23 The false but deeply rooted knowledge of the previous existence of the world, and of all creatures besides, leads to the belief of the reincarnation of beings from memories of the past. This is called the false conception of births in the visible world. 24 The other is seeing the image of Brahman in all things appearing to exist in this nonexistent and unreal world. This is called the pantheistic view of the world, and not as a production either by birth or creation. 25 Thus the gnat, produced by its delusive knowledge of the world and continuing in that same blunder, did not allow itself to see the one Brahman in all, but led to different views and attempts, as you shall hear just now.
Presumably, Bhasa continues to relate the story narrated to him by Agni, but it becomes Vasishta’s story to Rama about the unnamed sage’s story to the asura reincarnated as a hunter :— 26 It passed half a day of its lifetime whistling its faint voice among the humming gnats in the bushes of reeds and long grass. It merrily drank their juice and dews, and played and flew all about. 27The next day it kept fluttering over a pool of mud and mire, in company with its female partner. 28 Then being tired of its swinging, it rested on a blade of grass some place. There it was trodden upon by the foot of a deer, which killed him on the spot, as if a rock had fallen upon it.
29 Now, because it died looking at the face of a deer, it was reborn in the shape and with the senses of a deer. 30 The deer was grazing in the forest when it was killed by a hunter’s arrow. As the deer saw the face of the hunter in its dying moment, it came to be born next in that same form. 31 The hunter was roaming in the forest when he happened to enter into the hermitage of a hermit, by whom he was rescued from his wickedness and was awakened to the light of truth.
32 The muni said, “O foolish man! Why did you roam so long, afflicting the innocent deer with your arrows? Why do you not rather protect them and observe the law of universal benevolence in this transitory world? 33 Life is only a breath of air in the shadow of clouds of disasters, frail as a drop of falling water. Our enjoyments are a series of clouds interspersed by fickle and flickering lightning. Youth is fleeting and its pleasures are like gliding waters. The body is as transient as a moment. Therefore, O my child, attain your happiness while in this world, and look for ways to free yourself from the bondage of the world and attain nirvana at the end.”
• • •
Chapter 137 — An Unnamed Sage Teaches the Hunter; Travel through Breath into a Student’s Body to Investigate the States of Waking, Sleeping, Dreaming and the Fourth State
1 The hunter said, “Instruct me now, O sage, on the way from misery to my salvation. Teach me the best mode of conduct, which may neither be too difficult nor too easy to practice.”
2 The sage replied, “Now be submissive to me and throw away your bow and arrows. Bring yourself to the silence and conduct of sages. Be free from trouble and live here.”
3 Vasishta related:— Being thus advised by the sage, the hunter threw away his bow and arrows. Bringing himself to the conduct of sages, he remained still even without asking for food. 4 In the course of a few days, his mind turned to the investigations of scriptures, just like a full blown flower enters into the minds of men by means of its far smelling fragrance. 5 Once, O Rama, he asked his teacher to tell him how and in what manner outward objects come to be seen within us in our dream.
6 The sage said:— This very question, my good fellow, how these shadows of things beyond us arise like the bodies of clouds in the sphere of our minds during sleep, has been asked of me before. 7 I applied myself to meditation and practiced concentration into this matter. I steadily sat with legs folded in lotus posture, intent upon investigating this matter. 8 Sitting like this, I stretched my thought all about and afar, then retracted them into the recess of my mind, just as the rising sun stretches out his beams in the morning and afterwards draws them back into its disc in the evening.
9 I sent forth my breaths in quest of knowledge, and then called them back to myself. I continued exhaling and inhaling my breaths, as flowers let out and contract their fragrance by turns. 10 My mind being connected to my breath, it rested in the air before me. Then my mind was with the air inhaled by the student sitting before me. Then it entered into his nostrils. 11 Thus, my breath mixed with his entered into his heart, like a snake is drawn in by the breath of a bear sitting with his wide open mouth at the entrance of his den.
12 Thus I entered into his heart through the vehicle of my breath. My folly of following my breath into his heart placed me at risk of being stuck there. 13 I passed through arteries and aorta, and was led through all the channels and blood-vessels of all the nerves and veins, both large and small and inside and outside the body. 14 At last I was confined within both sides of the rib cage. I had fleshy masses of liver and spleen presented before me. This was the painful home for my living soul and these were like pots full of meat set before it.
15 My intestines coiled within me with a hissing sound. They were surrounded by a flood of red hot blood continually flowing and boiling, like the waves of the ocean heated under hot sunshine. 16 I had fresh supplies of sweet scents constantly carried to my nostrils by the blowing breeze. These tended to infuse life to my body and consciousness to my soul. 17 But then I was tormented in my dark, dismal prison as in hell by boiling blood, bile and phlegm.
18 The free and slow passage of the vital airs through the lungs regulates the circulation of blood in all parts of the body. This determines the state of the bodily humors, a derangement of which tends to create future diseases. 19 The vital airs, pushing against each other, burst and explode within their cavities. Meanwhile, the digestive fire burns like an undersea fire through the tubular stomach, resembling the hollow pipe of a lotus stalk. 20 The external air carries particles of things through the outer organs of sense into the body. These then enter into the mind, either in their gross or pure state, like thieves enter a house at night. 21 Internal winds carry the blood with digested body juices through the intestines to all parts of the body, just as the outer air carries feint and loud sounds of songs in all direction.
22 Then I entered his heart, which is difficult to access. I passed inside with as much jostling as a strong man making his way in a densely crowded group of men. 23 Soon afterwards I found the sight of some shining substance at a distance from the heart, just as a man scorched by sunshine finds the sight of the cooling moon in the gloom of night.24 It was the spiritual light which, like a mirror, reflects all these triple worlds in itself. It throws its rays upon all things. It is the essence of whatever there is in existence, and the receptacle of all living souls. 25 The scriptures say that the living soul or life pervades the whole body, just as a flower’s fragrance runs through all parts of it. Yet life chiefly resides in the heat of the heart, just as a flower’s fragrance dwells in the pistils after the blossom is expanded by the solar heat.
26 Then I crept unperceived into that heat, which was the cell of the living soul. There I was preserved from extinction by the vital airs, like a lamp burning in a lantern is protected from being blown out by its interior airs. 27 I entered into that heat-like fragrance passing through air, or like a hot wind pushing cold air, or like water rushing into a pot.28 I passed into the second sheath which is as bright as moonlight and as clear as a spot of white cloud. Thereafter I ascended to the fair sheaths known by the names of the cells of butter, sweets, and milk-white water.
29 Being tired with my difficult passage through these sheaths, I returned and rested in the genial warmth of my heart, where I saw the full view of the world appearing like a dream before my sight. 30 It showed the images of the sun and moon and pictures of seas and hills with the shapes of gods and demigods and human forms. It also presented the sights of cities and countries and the face of the sky on all sides around. 31 It also exhibited oceans with their islands, the course of time and seasons, and all moving and unmoving objects to my view. 32 This vision of my dream continued steadfast and quite alike even after I was awake. I remained in the same state after my sleep as I had been when sleeping. What I saw in my waking state was what I had seen in my sleep.
33 Now listen to me, O hunter, what I did then. I said to myself, “What is this waking dream that I see before me?” As I was thinking in this manner, I had this knowledge of it awakened in me. 34 Truly it is the representation of Divine Consciousness. It is the manifestation of God himself. All these objects under different names are only manifestations of the Divine Spirit in various shapes in the world.
35 Wherever there is the substance of Consciousness, impressed upon it is the cosmic image of God in its empty form, which it never forsakes. 36 “Ah! now I understand,” I thought to myself, “that all these appearances passing under the names of the world are mere representations of Consciousness in the form of a passing dream.” 37 What we call a dream is a little expansion of the essence of Consciousness. A greater expansion is what we call waking, but both dream and waking are displays of the very same intellectual essence.
38 A dream is said to be dream in the waking state, and not while one continues in his dream state when it appears as waking. So our waking is only a dream, and the two states are waking dream and sleeping dream. 39 Even our death is a dream that continues with our consciousness even after our death. The consciousness that resides in the body does not die even in a hundred deaths of the body. For who has ever heard of the death of anyone’s soul? 40 This consciousness is a void and empty substance, dwelling in and expanding with the body. It is infinite and undivided, and remains indivisible and indestructible, both with as well as without the destructible body.
41 The empty particle of consciousness, indestructible by nature, shines forth eternally and without limit by itself. It has the so-called world for its core and sap and is ever attached to itself.
42 The emptiness of consciousness contains the minute particles of ideas within its space, each of which represents a part of the great variety of objects that compose its totality. 43 The soul, when separated from consciousness of visible phenomena, rests in its receptacle of heart. It sees various sights in its dream which consciousness unfolds before it.
44 Again, the soul is inclined to the outer mind of sights exposed before it by its own intellect. It comes to see visions of external objects which we call the world of phenomena.45 In the same state, the soul sees in itself the sights of all things both within and without it, such as this earth and sky, the winds and waters, the hills and cities, and all things spread on all sides. 46 As the sun situated in the heaven above also appears reflected in full blaze in waters below, so the soul is situated both inside and outside in the form of the world.
47 Therefore knowing that the intellectual soul sees the internal dream and the external world in itself, whoever abstains from craving anything is surely blessed. 48 The soul cannot be cut into parts or burned away. Whoever says otherwise must be betrayed by the delusion of duality, like a child deceived by a deceitful yaksha demon. 49 He who knows his inner soul sees the world internally in itself is said to be dreaming in himself. Whoever finds his soul looking outwardly on the external world is said to be waking.
50 Having come to this realization regarding dreaming and waking states, I was curious to know about the state of sound sleep. I continued my investigations. 51 I thought, “What good is the sight of the visible to me? Better remain quiet in myself because thoughtless forgetfulness and consciousness of Self is true detachment or the sleep state (sushupti).”
52 As we never think of the hair and nails of the body, though they are well known to belong to and to be attached to it, so the mind, in its state of sound sleep when it rests in its self consciousness alone, is quite unconscious of all material and immaterial objects in nature. 53 Tired with the wanderings and sights of my waking and dreaming states, I sought my quiet rest in the state of thoughtless self consciousness. This is the sole aim and end of sound sleep. There is no other meaning of the sleep state (sushupti).
54 It is possible to have this sound sleep state (sushupta) even in the waking state by our determination of thinking of nothing except that of sitting quietly in the abstracted trance state. 55 The state of abstraction is called sushupti (sound sleep), but when sleep is light (vikshepa) it is called sleep or dream (swapnam). 56 Having settled by mental inactivity into the trance-like sushupti state, I was resolved to seek after the turiya or fourth state of supreme bliss. With this resolution, I set out in search of it with my best introspection and diligence.
57 I tried my utmost, but I could get no indication of its true form and feature. In the end I found that it was not to be had without our clear-sightedness, just as sunlight is imperceptible to the dim sighted eye. 58 Clear sightedness is when our view of the world is utterly lost. Then we see from the perspective in which the world exists in the Divine Mind. 59 Therefore the three states of waking, dreaming and sound sleep are all included under this fourth state. In that fourth state, the world is seen as it exists, in the light of a nothingness.
60 This, then, is the turiya or ultimate view of the world: that it is produced by no cause from nothing. It is Brahman himself that exists from all eternity in this state of tranquility.61 The impossibility of preexistent or primordial causes precludes the possibility of anything being produced or created. It is only the reasoning of the intellect that gives rise to the conception of creation, just as it is the nature of water to assume its fluidity and exhibit its expansion.
• • •
Chapter 138 — The Unnamed Sage Describes Entering the Student’s Consciousness, Seeing Double, then Realizing All Is One; Vasishta Describes the Process of Brahman, Brahma and Creation
1 The (unnamed) ascetic sage continued:— Then I thought of being united with his consciousness and I breathed out the breath of my life to be joined with his, like a ripe mango sends out its flavor to mix with the fragrance of lotus flowers. 2 I did not forsake my vital heat until I entered his intellect. I began by infusing my outward sensations into the organs of his external senses. 3 Then I used the internal consciousness of my heart to attract my outward sensations. I mixed them with those of his, like a drop of oil mixes and dissolves in water.
4 As my consciousness intermingled with his sensations, I became aware of a double feeling of all external objects. Objects appeared to my senses in duplicate forms. 5 All things everywhere seemed to be doubled about me, and I saw two suns and two moons. Heaven and earth appeared in double forms before me. 6 As one face is seen as two in some mirror reflections, so all things presented their double forms to the mirror of my eyes. All these double shapes seemed to be as closely united as the world. 7 As the intellect resides in the same form of oil in two sesame seeds, so with my intellect united with his in his body, I saw two worlds mixed up together.
8 Though my consciousness was united with his in the same body, yet it was not wholly assimilated with his. Each saw the world in different lights, like milk and water. 9 Yet as I continued to looked into his consciousness and compared and measured it with mine, I found both were the same thing and of the same essence.
10 My consciousness was joined with his in the same way as one season joins with another, or as two rivers run together, or as smoke mixes with clouds, or as wind carries the fragrance of flowers. 11 Thus, as our consciousness continued being mixed together, the double view of the world became one, just as the false sight of two moons in the sky is soon changed to one upon correct understanding. 12 My power of discernment, which was in his person, became finer and finer without wholly losing itself in his. It resided together in his body.
13 Afterwards, I saw the faculties of his mind which resided in his heart were directed to observing external objects, taking delight noticing the occurrences of the day. 14 After taking his meal and drink, he rested from his weariness. He felt drowsy and inclined to sleep, like a lotus flower shutting its petals at nightfall after sucking the nectar-like liquid of the lake. 15 He withdrew his mind from observing the events that circulated all about the busy scene of the external world, just as the setting sun retracts his rays from the face of the world as he goes to take his rest in the evening. 16 The functions of his senses receded into heart. The operations of his mind retired to his brain and remained hidden there like the limbs of a tortoise drawn inside its shell. 17 His eyelids were closed as his heart had shut up. He remained as dead as a lifeless block, or as a figure in painting or statue.
18 I also followed the course of his mental faculties and settled with them in his mind. My senses being under the direction of the mind were set in the recess of his heart. 19Then unconscious of all outward perceptions and their conceptions, I remained with that spirit in me, like sleeping on a soft bed, perceiving nothing but a void all about me. 20 As the breathing of our vital breath was neither obstructed in the aorta nor passed rapidly through the lungs, as it does when eating and drinking in excess and fatigue, it passed evenly through the nostrils. 21 Then our souls remained in the heart with the Supreme Soul, keeping the course of the naturally uncontrollable mind under subjection. 22 Then the soul is employed in its consciousness of supreme bliss. It takes no notice of others’ actions. In that state of sound sleep, the body rests in perfect bliss.
23 Rama asked, “Tell me sage. If the vital breath, the cause of the mind’s operations while awake, is subjugated, then what does the mind do? The mind has no form other than breath. How can it exist without the breath?”
24 Vasishta replied:— Even so, there is no body other than one’s own idea of it.
Only the mind’s imagination makes the body, just as the dream causes a mountain and other things to appear. 25 As there is no mind without the idea of it, and as there is nothing with a thought of it, so there is no production of the visible world for lack of a cause at the beginning of creation. 26 Therefore all these are forms of Brahman because he is the soul of all. The world itself is nothing other than the image of God.
27 Both mind and body are Brahman to those who know the truth, even though mind and body appear otherwise to ordinary knowledge.
28 O intelligent prince, I will now explain how the triple world is Brahman, and how he is the soul of all these varieties.
29 Only pure Consciousness exists forever. It has the form of infinite emptiness. It alone shows itself always in all forms, without being either the world itself or its visible appearance. 30 The Lord being omniscient, took the form of the character or substance of the mind upon himself, without forsaking his nature of pure consciousness free from disease or decay. 31 Then, as the Lord thought upon the movement of his mind, he assumed the relationship of the vital breath upon himself. O Rama, know that the best of men knows the knowable, that these are only forms of the very same being of God.
32 Now as this expansion of air appears to be a model form of the Divine Essence, so sensations and bodily perceptions and the entities of space and time are only various modifications of the same being. 33 Thus the whole world is entirely the formation of the Divine Mind. As this mind is the very intellect of the Supreme Brahman, so the totality of creation is only the expansion of the mind of Brahman himself. 34 The formless Brahman, without beginning or end, who has no reflection of himself and is free from disease and decay, is the quiet intellect. The quiescent entity of Brahman has the whole universe for its body. 35 The Supreme Being is omnipotent, so the mind also retains its power everywhere, though it remains like empty air.
36 The will of the mind is called Brahma. Volition immediately produces whatever it wills at anytime in itself. The mind’s ability to reproduce whatever is in it is a truth well known, even to children.
37 Now behold, O Rama, the almighty power of the mind which first became a living being by breathing. Then it became an intelligent being by its power of thinking. Next it became the living soul with its body. It made the three worlds and became the Purusha in the form of Brahma. It became embodied from its aerial form in the shape of Viraj. Thus it created everything in itself of its own will, as men produce all things in their imagination and see the cities of their fancy in dream.
• • •
Chapter 139 — Vasishta Explains the Relationship between Mind and Prana; — the Unnamed Sage Describes Being Taken in by His Student’s Dream of Universal Flood
1 Vasishta related:— Whatever the mind (chitta) wills regarding the creation of the world, the same immediately appears before it, whether producing something nonexistent to view, annihilating something that once existed, or the representing one as another. 2 The mind is said to be subject to the vital breath (prana, subtle energy, life force) whenever it fancies itself as the vital breath, and can neither exist nor do anything without it being moved by the air of respiration. 3 It thinks it cannot live long without the association of respiration, and it must come back to its life and its living action of thinking with the return of breathing.
4 Again, as the mind fancies that it is accompanied by vital breath in some living body, it finds itself instantly joined with such breath. It beholds the world rising to view like an enchanted city. 5 The mind thinks of the convenience of its union with the vital breath and body. With this thinking it is pleased to remain forever as a triple being, combining intellectuality, vitality and materiality.
6 Know that false knowledge keeps the mind in suspense and is the cause of great sorrow to mankind. There is no way of getting rid of it except by the true knowledge of the Self. 7 He who thinks there is a distinction between his self and another can have no correction from his error except by spiritual knowledge of the only spirit. 8 There is no way to true knowledge except by inquiry into liberation. Therefore be employed with all diligence to inquire into the means of liberation. 9 Truly the very conceptions of individual ego and “I” and another are false and proceed from utter ignorance. There is no other means to remove them except through liberation.
10 Hence any thought which is habitual to the mind comes to be firmly impressed upon it in time. Therefore the idea that the vital breath is one’s life and all makes his mind dependent upon the breath. 11 So also, when the body is in a healthy state with its vitality, the mind is dependent on it and has its free play. But being in bad health, it feels its life embittered and forgets to know itself in its true nature. 12 When the respiration is quick in discharging the duties of the body and the mind is engaged in its busy thoughts; then neither is capable of meditation unless they are repressed in the heart. 13 These two, mind and respiration, are related to one another like car and driver. What living being is there who is not driven along by them?
14 The Supreme Spirit ordained the mind and vital breath in this way at the very beginning of creation. Therefore, this law of their cooperation continues unaltered to this day.15 Hence the mind and vital airs act in concert in all living bodies, conducting them at all times in all places in their stated course of action. 16 The equal course of both serves the regular conduct of the functions of life. But their unequal course produces dissimilar effects, like that of dreaming when the mind alone is active. The inactivity of both causes the inertness of the body and soul in the state of sound sleep.
17 When the intestines are blocked or controlled by the digestive juices of food taken into them and the breathing becomes dull and slow, then the mind also becomes calm and quiet. Then follows the blissful state of sound sleep. 18 When the stomach is filled with food and the lungs are weak with weariness, then breathing remains shallow, bringing on a state of sweet state of deep sleep (sushupti). 19 Again when the intestinal parts are cool and phlegmatic, or exhausted by loss of blood owing to some sore or wound, and breathing is stopped in the body, there comes the state of numbness of sleep.
20 The ascetic said:— Then I had entered into his heart. It became all dark to me as night. He fell into a sound sleep from his satisfaction with the fullness of his food. 21 I was assimilated into his mind and lay in deep sleep with him without any effort of my own. 22 Then as the passage of his lungs reopened, after his stomach digested the food, his breathing resumed their natural pattern and he began to breathe slowly and softly in his slumbering state. 23 After the sound sleep had become light and airy, I saw a sunny world arising out of my heart and manifesting before me in my dream.
24 This world seemed to rise out of a troubled ocean and be filled with water on its surface. The water was released from the dark flood clouds which had enveloped the world like mists hanging over oceans. 25 There was a hurricane blowing over it, carrying rocks and stones in its whirling and uproarious course. It was carrying away uprooted trees with shrubs and grassy turf with them. 26 It was carrying away and hurling fragments of the last conflagration of desolation. It was blowing down pieces of celestial cities from high.
27 Then as I was looking at a certain place, I found myself situated with my wife in one of the houses of a splendid city rising at that spot. 28 As I was sitting in company with my wife and children, attended by my friends and servants and supplied with dishes and cups of food and drink, suddenly I was carried away by the waves of flood waters. 29 The deluge swept me away, together with the houses and the city in which we were situated. We were floating on the tops of mountainous waves, buffeted in the water.
30 There arose a loud dashing noise louder than the roaring sea. I was stunned by the harsh vibrating sound, unaware of the fate of my family. 31 Men were driven away and hurled down into whirling currents of water and buried deep in dreadful mud, wailing , crying loudly, and beating their breasts. 32 Houses and huts were breaking and cracking, their beams and posts splitting, pillars and supports bursting. Roofs were falling down while women were looking out fixed at the windows.
33 As I was looking at all this, affected by the sight and weeping sorrowfully, I saw the entire house falling down on the ground. 34 All four walls broke down, burying old and young and women occupants under them. Then these were carried away by the waves in the same way that an impetuous waterfall carries away shattered and scattered stones to a hundred different places. 35 Then I was blown away into the waters of the flood, leaving my family and friends behind and accompanied only by my mind and vital breath.
36 I was tossed about by waves and carried away hundreds of leagues. I was thrown upon a floating forest which roasted me by their burning wildfire. 37 I was dashed against floating planks and timbers and slashed in many parts of my body. Then falling into a whirlpool I was hurled into the depths of hell. 38 For a long time I was tossed all about, hurled up and down, buffeted by waves and waters and their gurgling, roaring and rumbling sounds. 39 Then I was buried under mud released by the friction between drowned mountains. Then I was again lifted upward like an elephant by another flood of water. 40 As I rested on a hill covered with foam and froth, immediately I was run over by a rush of water, like a man overtaken by his enemy. 41 Being overwhelmed by water and carried away wherever the waves and currents pleased, I lost sight of whatever I was seeing and was greatly dejected in my mind.
42 At this moment, I remembered that a certain silent sage was going to give a public lecture, that Vasishta was going to teach Rama. 43 I remembered my former state of samadhi and exclaimed, “O, I was an ascetic in another world. 44 I have entered the body of another person in order to see the sights in his dreams. All that I am now seeing is nothing more than a dream, a mere error of the mind and falsehood. 45 It is from our habitual bias to believe in what is present before us that I believed these falsehoods as true. In the dream I was troubled to see myself carried away by the flood. Now I feel happy to find it was only a dream.”
46 What I saw as water was whirling currents in the ocean of the universal flood, as false as water in a mirage. The hills and woods and cities and towns that were swept away by the flood were as false as any visual deception. 47 There were gods and aerials, men and women, and huge snakes carried away by the flood. Great cities and mansions of the rulers of men were all floating upon the waters. 48 I saw mountains merged and mixed up with the waters, battered and shattered by waves. I saw within myself the approaching dissolution of the world. 49 Even Lord Shiva with his three eyes was swimming upon and swept away like straw on the waves. O what a shame and pity that there is nothing impossible for destiny.
50 Fragments of houses floating upon the waters looked like lotus flowers displaying themselves under the sunbeams. 51 It was astonishing to see the bodies of gandharvas, kinnaras, men and naagas floating on the waters, like swarms of bees fluttering over lotus beds in a lake. 52 Fragments of the splendid palaces of the gods and demigods and others, decorated with the ornamental works of vidyadharas, were floating like golden vessels on the wide expanse of the ocean. 53 Lord Indra was floating on the clear water as if he were lying in his crystal palace. He mounted over waves as if riding on his elephant. He was swinging on waves like a cradle. 54 Waves rising to the sky washed the faces of the stars. Winds were scattering them all about, like flowers from the garden of Meru drop down on the mansions of the gods, or like men scattering flowers on the ground.
55 Waves as high as mountains rose to the sky. Breakers flying aloft like stones flung from slings fell upon the lotus seat of Brahma, turning it about with the god sitting upon it in deep meditation. 56 Clouds roared loudly with deep and appalling thunder and waves flashed like frightful lightning in the air. Elephants, horses and ferocious lions wandered in the atmosphere and forests as large as the earth floated in the sky. 57 Dark blue waves of overflowing waters pushed against one another with force so violent that it seemed as if the god of destruction was pushing them in an act of utter annihilation.
58 Gods, men and naagas, together with their homes in heaven, earth, and the regions below, were pulled down into the deep waters. 59 The irresistible flood covered all sides of earth, heaven and hell. The bodies of gods and demigods were all floating together like great numbers of fish. Their heavenly cars and vehicles were swimming on the surface of the waters like in a field of battle. 60 The dark blue waters resembled the blue form of Krishna. Their foaming froth resembled the milk white calves about Krishna. It became the reason for their being swept off to sea. 61 The waves pushed one another with a terrible sound that drowned everything. The women of both gods and demons wailed and howled loudly. 62 The loud cries raised by all at the destruction of their houses echoed over the waters on all sides. The clouds moving over the rolling waves appeared like the covers of fallen, floating domes.
63 Ah, it was pitiful to see how the whirling currents hurled down even the gods into the deep, and how Indra, Yama and Kubera breathed their last breaths in the form of flying and flimsy clouds.
64 Learned and saintly persons were carried away with the ignorant like dead bodies devoid of their pride. The cities of the gods Brahma, Vishnu and Indra were swept away, all broken and crushed to pieces. 65 The bodies of weak women were washed and carried over by the waves. There was nobody left to save them from the grasp of death which devoured them under his horrid jaws.
66 The floods which at first flowed with serpentine crooked courses into the caves of mountains, in the end flooded them to their tops. The cities of the gods which at first floated like boats upon the waters by the mountain tops, in the end were hurled to the bottom. 67 Gods and demons and all other beings, together with their homes in heaven and on the continents and mountains of earth, were all submerged and shattered like lotus beds by the waters. The three worlds were turned into a universal ocean and all their grandeur and splendor were swallowed up by time, together with all the sovereign powers of earth and heaven.
• • •
Chapter 140 — The Unnamed Sage Describes His Life as a Brahmin in the Body of Viraj; — His Escape through the Mouth of Viraj; — Finding His Own Life; then Trying to Find Where He Had Been
1 The hunter said, “Tell me sage, how could a sage like you be deluded by a dream of a flood? Why did your meditation not deliver you from your mistake?”
2 The sage replied:— At the end of the kalpa age, all kinds of beings meet with their destruction. Thus there is a termination of the false forms of the worlds and a cessation of the luminous bodies in the heaven. 3 Sometimes the dissolution at the end of a kalpa takes place gradually. At others, it comes suddenly with simultaneous turmoil and disorganization everywhere. 4 So when everything was flooded, the gods fled to Brahma, the first cause of all, for protection but they were all swept away by the overflowing tide.
5 Moreover, O forester, know that time is the most mighty destroyer of all things. Everything must occur in its time, as it is predestined at the beginning. 6 The time of one’s dissolution being near, there follows a destruction in the strength, intellect, and energy of everybody. Not even the great are left out.
7 I have also told you, O fortunate forester, that everything seen in a dream is mere dreaming. Nothing of it comes to take place in reality.
8 The forester responded, “Sage, if the dream is a mere falsity and error of imagination, then what was the good of you describing all this dream? You know well what is good and useful for mankind.”
9 The sage replied:— There was much value for me to tell you all this, O intelligent hunter, to improve your understanding. As you come to know that what can be seen are all as false as sights in sleep, you shall know what is real and true.
10 Now as long as the flood waters lasted, I remained seated in the heart of the medium, the student as I had mentioned, and saw some other false sights in his dream. 11 I saw the flood waters recede to the unknown region from where they had come. The huge waves disappeared altogether, as when winged mountains flee from fear of Indra’s thunder.
12 By my good fate, I was carried to some distant shore where I was seated as firmly as upon the peak of a high and solid mountain. 13 From there I saw the waters settle down in their basins. The stars of heaven were shining upon them, like sparkling particles of splashing waves or their foaming and floating froth. 14 The reflections of stars in water seemed like jewels shining in the heart of the ocean. The stars that shone above in the sky appeared like nightly flaming bushes on the tops of mountains. 15 The sky studded with bright stars appeared like an island beaming with gold. The blue sky seemed wrapped with the blue garments of celestial ladies. 16 The blue flood clouds floating in the sky resembled a bed of sky blue lotuses in an ethereal lake. The lightning that flashed in the bosoms of the clouds resembled the yellow powder of flowers flying all about the sky. 17Masses of mountain-like clouds, flushed with frost, poured down showers of rain on all sides. The floods rolled down with their reflections, bearing huge kalpa forests in their bosom.
18 Afterwards the basin of the universal ocean dried up and turned into an empty and dry hollow. The peaks of Mandara and Sahya hills had been drowned under the waters and were left melted down to mud or washed away by the receding flood. 19 Here the sun and moon were found sunk in the mud hole. There the gods Yama and Indra were hidden under soil. Somewhere the serpents and Takshaka naagas were rolling in the mire. Elsewhere kalpa trees lay buried with their tops and branches under the mud. 20 In some places, people’s heads and hands were scattered over the ground and looked like lotus buds and flowers torn from their stalks and scattered about the bare and barren land.
21 In one place there were vidyadhara women drowned up to their necks in slime, crying with their piteous shrieks. In another, there were the huge bodied buffaloes of Yama lying, resembling the huge bodies of dead elephants appearing in a dream. 22 In some place lay the bulky body of Garuda, bulging out like the huge mountain of the gods. In others, the embankments were swept away as if they were slashed by the mace of Yama falling upon the ground. 23 There were the remains of the dead swan of Brahma, stuck in the mire somewhere. The footprints of Indra’s elephant Iravata were stuck in the mud in another place.
24 In the meanwhile, I found some flat land in one place. There I rested from my weariness and was overtaken by sound sleep. That unconscious state quickly stole upon me. 25Then waking from my sound sleep, I found myself seated in the heart of the hunter. Retaining possession of my awareness, I was led by my innate desire to see similar sights of desolation as before. 26 Upon my waking, I saw the flat land where I was situated was in the heart of the hunter. I was seized with great grief and sorrow at my sight of the spectacle.
27 I saw the rising of the bright and beautiful sun on the next day. That light revealed the worlds, the sky, this earth and its hills. 28 But I soon found that the earth, sky, air, hills and rivers were all only the reproductions of my mind, like leaves shooting forth from trees. 29 On seeing these things, I began to view them in a ordinary way as I had somewhat forgotten their right and proper use.
30 After my birth, I passed sixteen years at that place and had the knowledge of this man as my father and that woman as my mother and that place as my home. All this knowledge arose spontaneously from my self-reflection. 31 Then I saw a village with the home of a brahmin. There I saw a house and found a friend, and many more other places.32 Thus I remained with friends in village huts. I passed many days and nights in repeated watchfulness and returning sleep. 33 Remaining in this company over the course of time, I came to lose the light of the understanding I had attained before. I forgot myself and became one of them through my habitual mode of thinking, as if a man had forgotten himself and become a fish.
34 In this manner, I remained a village brahmin for a long time, relying only upon my body as begotten by a brahmin and quite forgetful of other things. 35 I believed in my identity only as my material body and only my wife as my partner. I understood the essence of my soul to be only my desires and thought that riches only were the sole object to be gained in life. 36 My only treasure was an old cow and my only provisions were the greens of my garden. My only possessions were the sacred fire and sacrificial animals and my only utensil was a water pot. 37 My hopes were as frail as perennial plants. My conduct was the same as that of other men. The state of my living was as mean as the mud with which my hut was constructed.
38 I passed my days pruning and weeding the garden of my greens and performing my daily ablutions in the streams and rivulets reckoned as holy by men. 39 I was employed providing my food and drink and procuring fuel and cow dung for fire. I remained entangled in the snare of scrutinizing what was right or wrong for daily observance. 40 In this way a life of an entire hundred years passed away at that place.
Then it happened one time that a holy hermit from far away passed by and became my guest in my humble home. 41 Being welcomed and honored by me, he entered in my hut and took rest after washing and bathing himself. Then after his meal he sat on his bed and began to tell his story as night approached.
42 He spoke of many places and countries and of many lands and mountains. He talked about their different customs and manners, which were pleasant to hear and related to various subjects. 43 “All these,” he said, “are the display of the one Consciousness which is infinite and immutable in its nature. It manifests itself in the form of cosmos and is forever present with it as it is now seen to be.” 44 Being thus enlightened by him, I was filled with a flood of light. I listened attentively to whatever he said on this and other subjects.
45 I also heard about my own story from him. I learned that the person who contained me within its womb is no less than the body of Viraj himself. I was eager to come out of that body. 46 As long as I did not know that the mouth of Viraj is the only way out from that body, I kept moving through it, as if wandering in the vast extent of earth and oceans.
47 Then I left that place, surrounded as it was by my friends and relations. I entered into his vital part to make my exit with the vital breath. 48 I intended to see both the inside and outside of Viraj’s body in which I had been housed. I continued to mark the process of its outer movements and inner thoughts. 49 I fixed my attention upon my own consciousness and remained settled in one place without moving. Then I breathed out with his breath, like the fragrance of flowers accompanies the wind. 50 Then rising with his respiration, I reached the opening of his mouth. Then mounting on the vehicle of the wind, I went forward and saw all that lay before me.
51 In the distance I saw the hermitage of a sage situated in the grotto of a mountain. I found it full with hermits, myself sitting in lotus posture among them. 52 These hermits stood before me as my pupils. They were employed in their duty of taking care of my body in its state of samadhi. 53 After a while, I saw the student among them in whose heart I had been staying. He was resting, lying flat on his back after taking some food which he got in the nearby village. 54 Seeing this wonder, I remained quiet and did not speak anything about it to anybody waiting upon me. Then I reentered my body for my own amusement.
55 I got to the region of vitality situated within the heart. I had a my lasting desire to see the friends I had before, the ones I had left behind. 56 As I was looking around, I saw the end of the world approaching with its dreadful aspect, changing the course of nature together with the positions of the world. 57 Mountains appeared altered and changed to another state. The sky presented another face. The whole world seemed to be dislocated from its place. 58 I could find no trace of my former friends or hut. I could not find where that land had been. All seemed swept away by winds and I could not know where they had been taken.
59 Then I found the world appearing in another form, presenting a sight altogether different from what it had been before and quite fresh to view. 60 I saw the twelve suns of the twelve signs of the zodiac shining all at once and burning in all the quarters of heaven and melting down high mountains, heat melting snows and icebergs to water. 61Volcanic fire spread from mountain to mountain and fire leapt from forests to forests. The earth was parched with all the gems in her bowels. No trace remained except in the memory of men. 62 The seas were dried up and the earth was full of burning embers everywhere. A strong gale rose which blew away all the ashes. 63 Underground, terrestrial and ethereal fires began to issue forth in flames and flash on all sides. The face of the whole universe flushed with a blaze glistening like the glowing clouds of the evening sky.
64 I entered into this burning sphere like a flying moth falls into a flame. I was confined within its cave, like a wandering bee is closed up in a shutting lotus, yet I was quite unscathed by the burning flames. 65 Then I then flew among the flames as freely as in air, flickering like a flash of lightning in a cloud. I sometimes hovered over the burning fire, as a light winged butterfly flies over a lotus.
• • •
Chapter 141 — The Unnamed Sage Describes His Own Dream of Universal Fire
1 The sage continued:— Though repeatedly burning in those fires, yet I was neither consumed nor felt the least pain. Though falling from one fire into another, I remained thinking that all this was a dream in my dreaming.
2 Fires flew aloft and filled the vault of heaven with flames. I was flying like a firebrand amidst and all about. 3 As I was wandering with my spiritual light and unwearied soul in this universal conflagration, suddenly a tremendous hurricane arose. 4 It howled and growled loudly like the roaring of clouds on high. It blew fiercely, bearing down and carrying away everything before it. 5 The whirling and howling hurricane raged with redoubled force in the forest. It lifted large tracts of woods in the form of clouds, mixing them with rolling firebrands resembling the revolving suns above.
6 Flames of fire flashed above like the evening clouds of heaven blazing like hundreds of fiery pools on high. The earth with the homes of men, demons and gods burned like burning mountains everywhere.
7 Burnt, un-burnt and half-burnt devils and demons wandered together throughout the heated air, grasping each other in the ethereal streams. 8 Gods and goddesses fell down like flames of fire. The homes of the celestials melted in showers of fire. 9 Flashes of fire flickered like lightning from the burning vault of heaven. Clouds of dark smoke hid the face of the high sky in darkness. 10 The faces of earth and sky and all sides of heaven were covered with a flaming veil like that of an evening cloud. The whole universe with its seven spheres appeared like a massive mountain of flaming fire.
11 On one side the sparks of flaming fire flashed overhead. On another, a huge mountainous mist of smoke hid the hemisphere from sight. In the midst there appeared a mountainous body of fire like that of Shiva, the god of destruction, dancing amidst the destructive winds of the Rudras blowing on all sides.
• • •
Chapter 142 — The Sage Continues: There Is No Karma; Pure-Born Souls;
Religious Acts Useless
1 The sage resumed and said:— Continuing in this journey of my false imagination, I was led to many such painful sights. Eventually they raised feelings of sorrow and sorrow in me and my curiosity gave way to weariness. 2 Then I thought in my mind that it was merely a dream in the mind of another person which I had come to see from my seat within his heart. Therefore, I should refrain from such sights and curb my useless sorrow for them.
3 The hunter asked, “You entered the body of another person to investigate the nature of dream. Tell me then, what did you learn and how were your questions answered? 4How did you come to see the ocean in the heart which never existed there? How did you see the fire in the heart and the tornado in the bowels which are never to be found in any of those places? 5 You said you saw the earth and sky and rivers, mountains and many other things in the mind. But how can these and the world itself be situated in the mind in any manner?”
6 The sage replied:— All these things and the world itself are all mere nonentities as there was no preexistent material cause for the production of the world before it came into existence. Therefore neither the term creation nor its sense is in any way applicable to this world or the way we see it. 7 Hence the world creation and its meaning proceed from ignorance of the Supreme Soul, which is immutable in its nature. Ignorance of this truth produces the false knowledge of creation.
8 Therefore I say, O you fortunate one, that after you come to your knowledge in this respect, your ignorance of his supremely pure nature is removed. 9 Like me, you will no longer believe in the false impression of your consciousness. But you must come to know that this causeless and uncreated world is only the expanded reflection of your own mind.
10 Where is the body and the heart and where are these elements of water and the like? What is this dream and what are these conceptions and perceptions? What is life or death or anything else? 11 There is only one transparent Intellect everywhere, before which the subtle ether is gross and the biggest mountain is small. 12 Of its own nature, this intellectual emptiness reflects on something in its thought and sees the same as its body of air. This is what is called the world.
13 Because it is only our intellect that reflects itself in various forms in our dream, and because there is nothing other than the intellect that presents itself to our view, therefore this world is nothing other than the aerial form of the intellect. 14 This universe is a quiet emptiness without any stir or shadow of anything in it. The dimness of the blind eye of the intellect presents these false shapes to sight, like blind men seeing black spots in the clear sky. 15 To my sight the world is neither an entity nor a nonentity. It is not a mere void or the shadow or reflection of anything. It is only the formless infinity of empty Consciousness.
16 In the state of our sleep, pure consciousness sees itself in the various forms of its dream, without any cause whatsoever. In the same way, it sees everything in its own emptiness in the waking state also, without any external objects of sight or its act of seeing them. 17 It is something inexplicable, without beginning or end. It is an appearance of its own conceptions which are one with it. There is no duality in its nature. 18 As there is only one endless duration embracing the periods of creation as well as annihilation. As a tree comprehends all its parts, blossoms, and fruit, so Brahman is the Soul of all.
19 As one’s great building appears as an empty space to another, and as one’s sight of a castle in a mirage appears as nothing to another, so this visible world of waking people is the dream of sleeping persons rising on the ground of their imagination. 20 From time to time the transparent emptiness of consciousness exhibits itself in itself. We see things in our dream as we see them when we are awake, and we see things awake like we see them in our dreams. 21 As the fragrance of flowers lies hidden in the invisible air, so the world lies concealed in the invisible intellect which sees through every opening.
22 By shutting out thoughts of anything and everything from your mind, you may be quite pure in yourself. Only then can your infinite soul have its everlasting peace and rest, when it is freed from all cares, both within and without.
23 The hunter said, “Tell me sage, how can men get rid of their thoughts and cares of life when they are invariably accompanied by the acts and memories of their past lives? Tell me, what kind of men are subject to the tendencies of their past conduct and what kind are released from them?”
24 The sage replied:— Those souls who are full of intelligence and have their spiritual bodies are never subject to renewed births or the consequences of their past actions. Such were the bodies of Brahma, Kapila and others who became manifest of themselves. Such also were the supernatural bodies of the gods and divine incarnations. 25 Their bodies were not of this world and were not subject to its dualistic illusory imaginations. They were forms of pure intelligence and of a subtle and spiritual nature.
26 In the beginning of creation, there was no primordial act of anybody to fashion his form or frame of mind. Only the sole and self-existent Brahman existed who manifested himself in the form of the world. 27 As the great Brahma and others were the manifestations of the supreme Brahman in the beginning, so there have been many thousands more who manifested from the same divine essence and are known as pure intelligences and a superior orders of beings.
28 But those who are deluded by their ignorance of truth to think they are other than Brahman, dull and unintelligent beings separate from the nature of God, 29 are born again because of their past actions. They are accompanied with the results of those acts, whereby they are confined in their unintelligent bodies in order to lead their unspiritual lives, quite forgetful of their divine nature and subjected to the false belief of their materiality.
30 But those who preserve the purity of their divine character by thinking themselves as inseparable from the Divine Soul are known here as uncontaminated by their former acts, like the divine trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. 31 All those who know the true nature of the soul remain with its purity in the spirit of God. But those who understand the soul in the light of a mere individual living spirit (jivatma) live in themselves as if detached from the Divine Soul. 32 Whenever one thinks he is merely a living being, he certainly is accompanied by ignorance. The soul takes the name of animal spirit or life, which means having knowledge only of the world in which it is situated. 33 But in course of time, as he comes to know the true and divine nature of his soul, he is reinstated in his real spiritual state and becomes one with the Supreme Soul of all.
34 As the fluidity of water in some waters exhibits itself in the form of whirlpools, so Divine Consciousness shows the nonexistent world as existent to those understandings who are ignorant of the nature of the Supreme Soul. 35 The world is the reflection of omniscience and not the representation of our dreaming or waking states. Therefore, when it is nothing in reality, it can have no action or property of itself. 36 In fact neither the knowledge of the world nor ignorance of it, or its action or motion or any of its properties, is anything in reality. All these are the results of our thoughts that represent the unreal as real to us.
37 Brahman, being the very creation or the great cosmos itself, is truly the soul of all beings. Therefore it is useless to suppose our prior acts as the cause of our births. That God is the creator of the universe is a mere assumption made from his omnipotence. 38 It is impossible for anyone to be bound by the chains of his prior acts at his first creation in the world. It only afterwards, through his ignorance, that he fabricated a fate or causality of his actions to himself for results in later lives.
39 Tell me, does the whirlpool of the sea have any action of its own? It is only whirling water, as Brahman himself is apparent in the form of this seeming world. 40 As people appearing in our dream have no prior acts for their appearance, so living beings when first formed are endowed with only pure understanding. 41 It is a mere supposition that they had a cause at first creation, and that ever since all living beings have been wandering bound fast by the chain of their prior acts.
42 This creation is no act of creation but truly the manifestations of Brahman himself. Such being the case, tell me, what can “acts” mean? From where do they proceed and where are they? 43 Only the ignorance of the Supreme Soul binds us to the bondage of acts. But its chains fall off from the believer of Brahman by his knowledge of truth.
44 Know the outward acts of faith proceed from ignorance of the universe. But as the wise man advances in his knowledge, he frees himself from the bondage of all religions and ceremonial acts and observances. 45 External acts of faith are entirely devoid of any substantial merit, so it is not difficult to get rid of them at once. Only our spiritual bond is our chief concern, beside which there is no bond whatsoever.
46 As long as there is fear of the dreadful illusion of this world, you do not attain wisdom. As long as you exhibit your wisdom, you do not fall into the whirlpool of worldly affairs. Therefore, you men of pure hearts and soul, always try to acquire wisdom and learning. There is no other way you can fly from the fears of the world, except by means of your right understanding.
• • •
Chapter 143 — The Philosophy that All Is within God Is Compatible with All
Beliefs, but It Is Wrong to Confuse God to Be like the World; Various Thoughts Create Various Worlds
1 The (unnamed) sage continued:— A wise man investigates the duties of religion and ceremonial acts and serves the welfare of men in both worlds. He shines in the assembly of the learned, just as the sun illuminates an assembly of lotuses. 2 Learned and wise men attain heavenly bliss through spiritual knowledge. Compared to this ocean of bliss, even the wealth of Indra vanishes like rotten straw tossed by waves. 3 I find nothing anywhere in the three regions of this earth, heaven above, or the netherworld which is comparable with the bliss and wealth of learning and wisdom.
4 The learned see the true state of all things as clearly as moonlight gives a clear view of the sphere of stars in a cloudless sky. 5 The visible world soon vanishes from sight and turns into invisible Brahman by the knowledge of the wise, just as a rope, at first appearing to be a snake, upon inspection is soon found to be a rope.
6 Brahman, the God ever situated in his Godhead, is a truth evident by itself. His nature gives rise to the words creation, destruction, body and others. 7 He to whom the existence of the world is nonexistent has no concern for acts or duties which are no more than meaningless words to him. 8 It is possible to believe that the material world was produced from something if there were such a prior material cause. But without a prior material cause, there can be no material world. Therefore, without cause, the world itself is nonexistent and void. 9 It is only the reflection of Brahman that takes the names of earth and all other things. It is not necessary for mere reflections to have any cause at all.
10 Men seen in a dream have no real cause other than the dreamer’s imagination. The same is true of men seen in our waking dreams. They are only mere reflections of our imaginations and not the products of their parents. 11 There is no causality of prior acts for the appearance of people in our dreams. Neither is there any actual cause for people seen in waking dream assuming the garb of humanity. 12 Neither prior acts nor desires are causes of living beings in different shapes in repeated births, just as prior acts or desires do not cause the production of people seen in our dreams. 13 Men appear as dreams and their impressions in the course of their births and deaths. They are conscious of this state or that as they think themselves either as the one or the other.
14 People appear to be as they think they are from their own consciousness of themselves. Their purpose and actions appear the same in dreams and when awake. 15 The desires and sensations of a dreaming man are like those when he is awake. The only difference is that a dream is dimmer and being awake is more distinct. A dreaming man derives the same satisfaction as an awake man obtaining the object of his wish, though the dream is more concealed and being awake is more of a manifest nature. 16 When our pure consciousness of things shines forth of its own nature in either of its two states of clearness or faintness, the reflection of one takes the name of waking and of the other is known as dream.
17 As long as consciousness continues to shine in anyone, from his first creation until his final emancipation, he is said to be a living being with repeated births and deaths. 18The meaning of the words waking and dreaming is not at all different from that of consciousness. The irrepressible reflection of consciousness constitutes the essence of both states, just as light is the quality of heavenly bodies. 19 As heat is the essence of fire, motion is the quality of wind, fluidity of water is the quality of the waves, and coolness the essential nature of breeze, so consciousness is the essence our waking and dreaming states.
20 The whole universe is an undisturbed chasm and an unchanging unreality. The seeming reality of the world is united with its negative sense of nonexistence. 21 Brahman, in its external sense, is both the creation and the destruction of the world. The visible form and the idea of the world are equally alike. But being viewed in its inner meaning, it is seen only as pure Consciousness, the one alone that is forever calm and quiet and without decay in itself.
22 Whatever thought of causality or effect passes in the mind of Brahman at anytime, the same comes to take place immediately, just as men construct their houses in cities as they please. 23 The entire creation abides in the mind of God just like the city you dream is in your thought. Their cause and effect are the same in each case. 24 Both cause and effect are contained in the womb of dense Consciousness. These are exerted to create the world in the same way you construct your imaginary castle. 25 Divine Consciousness employs its will to cause its intended creation, just like you form a plan to construct your building. Thus causality and its effect are combined together in the one and the same mind. 26 The Divine Mind develops itself into the form of the sky and the world that is forever situated within. Then the mind is called the creation residing in the expanse of that sky.
27 The light which the sun of our consciousness is cast upon the imaginary city in the mind. What is called cause and effect is this light. 28 The forms in which the mind first displayed itself continues to exist in the same state ever since. These are called time, space, and the rest. 29 Whatever names are given to things exhibited in the emptiness of Consciousness, they are seen as realities, some under the names of causes and others as their effects. 30 Creation is first miraculously displayed in Consciousness in its ideal form as mere ideas. Afterwards, it receives the name of the world.
31 This triple world is an empty form. It is situated in the emptiness of Consciousness just as clear air innately contains its blowing vibration. 32 As vapors and clouds covering the face of the sky give the appearance of blueness to it, so the dizziness of ignorance misrepresents the clear Intellect in the form of the gross world. 33 But on receiving the true reflection of the spirit in the Intellect, by means of intense meditation, the idea of creation turns into that of non-creation, as the false sight of a snake in a rope is changed to that of the rope upon its realization.
34 The dead find a future world like what they used to see in their dreams. But that world, as well as this, are equally as formless as the vacuum of the Intellect.
35 The hunter said, “Tell me sage, why are men reborn in new bodies to suffer and enjoy future births? Tell me also, what are the principal and accompanying causes for our rebirths in this world? 36 If pious or impious acts done in our present destructible bodies destine us to their later retributions, then tell me. Why should our indestructible souls be brought to feel their results in other bodies? This seems to be very absurd to me.”
37 The sage replied:— The words piety and impiety mean the same as our desires and acts. They mean causation, framing the living soul according to its own impressions. But these are mere suppositions. They are not the true causes of the doubts in our souls or the modes of our lives.
38 The mind is situated in the empty intellect. The mind has the power of thinking and it imagines various states of things and gives names to them accordingly. 39 The conscious soul, by means of its intellect, comes to know its own body in its empty self. After death it sees its body existing as in its dream or imagination. 40 The knowledge of the dead in the next world is also like a dream. Because this dream state of the soul continues for a long time, he assumes it to be real.
41 If another person frames a new body for a deceased person to enter, then how does the new born body have any memory of the past? How does this body be what the dead person had been before? As for his intellect, it is a mere emptiness and cannot pass from one body into another. 42 Therefore no one who is dead is born again or is to be reborn afterwards at anytime. It is only an idea of the mind that I was so and am reborn as such. It is a vain wish in emptiness to be born again in some form or other. 43 By nature and habits of thinking, men are impressed with the belief of rebirth, both by popular belief and scriptural evidence of a state of future retribution, which is altogether false and fanciful.
44 The soul is an aerial and empty substance that gives rise to the phantoms of visible phenomena in the forms of shadowy dreams in its spacious emptiness. The soul is forever seeing its births and deaths in this world in endless repetitions. 45 It sees every particular object in the illusive network spread in its ample sphere. It seems to see and act and enjoy everything without being in the actual enjoyment of anything. 46 In this manner millions and millions of worlds are constantly rising before its sight. They appear to be so many visible phenomena in its ignorance. But when viewed in their proper light, they prove to be the display of only one, all pervading Brahman.
47 No phenomenon ever occupies any space, nor does any ever exist anywhere in reality. There is only that one Brahman that spreads undivided though all and knows all these as an undivided whole, and yet everyone of them forming a world of itself.
48 Now all beings in these worlds are connected with one another in a common link. They appear as realities to the false sight of people, but when seen from the true perspective, they prove to be identical with the unborn one. 49 To the knower of the knowable, the one without decay is known as the true reality. What an enlightened sage understands to be unreal is believed to be true by the ignorant.
50 It is enough to reconcile these opposite parties by believing in one common faith, a universal philosophy of the one reality, that all things everywhere are real because they are all reflections of the same one reality. 51 Or, to determine whether the world as one sees it is real or unreal, let one consult his own consciousness and rely on its verdict whether the world is real or otherwise.
52 Who can doubt the evidence of consciousness with regard to the difference or identity of things, or their unity or duality? 53 Knowledge of the knowable God, in as much as we know it to be correct, establishes the identity of the knowable one with his knowledge. But it is false and mistaken to believe that the world of phenomena is the same as the unknown and invisible God.
54 The knowable one is not distinct from knowledge of him. But being seated in finite understanding, the ignorant have no knowledge of the knowable one who is then quite unknown to and apart. 55 The knowable one is known in proportion to our knowledge of him. But it is not so to those who are ignorant of him. As our knowledge increases, so the knowable soul spreads of itself over our souls. 56 Hence I know nothing about the unreal worlds that appear of themselves as real before the eyes of the ignorant. They are nonexistent and nothing to my sight. 57 Being rightly understood, all things are only forms of the one Intellect and equally void as the Intellect. The Intellect appears in a thousand different shapes to the understanding of the ignorant.
58 An intellectual soul assumes many forms to itself in its dreams, then absorbs them all again into one, single form of unity in sound sleep. In the same way, the Divine Soul appears in one or more forms to our intellects. 59 Thus God, though one and same, appears to our consciousness in various forms according to the various apprehensions of men, whether empty or with form, as our dreams and works of our imagination. 60 Men give the name of world to their consciousness of the dreams they have in the vacuum of their minds. But in deep sound sleep, the mind is unconscious of anything and that state is called the extinction or trance of the mind. This comparison applies equally to them.
61 This substantial totality of existences is only a mere perception of the mind. Whatever appears in any manner in any thought at anytime or place, the same seems to present itself in reality before us, even then and there. 62 It was only thought that first manifested itself in the forms of the primary elements of fire and water and earth at the beginning of creation. All this arose in the mind like dreams and the phantoms of its imagination.
63 Again the inner impressions of these things are preserved in the empty space of our consciousness. They unite of themselves and exhibit this world to us in the form we see it in our presence. 64 Our consciousness appears to us in both its transient and permanent states. In reality, it is no temporary thing, but continues with us even at the end of all transitory things and our transient lives. 65 Our consciousness accompanies us forever wherever we stay or go. Think about the example of traveling east or west. You see many things and cities on your way, but can never lose your memory of the past or the consciousness of yourself as you proceed onward.
66 Anything that the mind has seen or willed or is long practiced to do or think upon is never erased from consciousness, unless it be from numbness or unawareness of Consciousness. 67 You may wander wherever you please, either to the east or west, and you will find your consciousness continuing the same, never changing with the change of your location.
68 We have seen how a man of steady consciousness, by his firm perseverance, attains the object or state of his wish. By comparison, an unsteady mind is sure to lose both. 69 A man of steady consciousness is possessed of both the object or state of his wish regardless whether he goes to north or south. But one who is unsteady in himself and his purpose is deprived of both himself and his object. 70 The man of firm purpose who thinks he is both in heaven and earth has them both by fixing his mind upon one [heaven] while his body is placed in the other [earth]. In the same way, a man may travel both east and west by walking one way and thinking of the other. But the man of unsteady purpose is neither for this world nor the other. He neither walks one way nor the other.
71 By steadfast belief in the One, we find that only Intellect pervades the whole emptiness of space. But this One appears as many, many thousands to the understanding of ignorant skeptics. 72 Whether the body is destructible because of its materiality or indestructible because it is only a reflection of Divine Consciousness, in either case it is all merely appearance in the dream of the living soul, whether in this or in the future world.
73 Wizards invoke ghosts and spirits of foreigners and make them relate the incidents of their past lives. It is evident from these examples that men’s souls do not die with their bodies. 74 Men in foreign countries, long dead and burnt to ashes, disappeared with their living souls, are known to reappear before people and deliver their messages. 75 If it is impossible for departed souls to reappear like the living, which is what the Charvakas say, then let me ask them, why do they not believe their absent friends to also be dead and unable to return? 76 If the property of action is true of the living, why should it not be equally true of the dead?
77 The doctrine of the imaginary dream of the world is the established and irrefutable truth of Vedic scriptures. It is quite compatible with the doctrine of eternal ideas maintained in Indian philosophy. 78 These worlds are equally true as they are false, just as seeing shapes in the moon which appear real to the person seeing them although the shapes have no substance to them. 79 The subjective world is real because all its objects are parts of the true entity. The subjective mind is a reality, although it is composed of only pure ideas. The Intellect is true only as a reflection, and so they are all true without having any reality of themselves. 80 All these are immutable and quiet, lying unmoving in the emptiness of Divine Consciousness. They are unmovable and inconspicuous of themselves, lying immanent in the Divine Soul. 81 Steady consciousness is conscious of whatever it is fixed upon at anytime or place. It shows all things real or unreal that are inbred or inherent in it.
82 Let our bodies rise or fall, and let our destinies overtake us as they will. Let happiness or misery befall us as they are decreed. They cannot affect the serenity of the indifferent soul. 83 Hence it makes no difference to us whether these are realities or not, or whether it may be so or not so. Avoid your desire for anything. Be wise and at rest after all your wanderings.
• • •
Chapter 144 — The Individual Mind is a Microcosm of Brahman; Dreams and Creations; the Rules for the Dreams (Destiny) Are Inherent in Brahman
1 The sage continued:— The visible world is something in nothing, an entity based upon nonentity. It resembles our consciousness of things seen only in our dreams. As all things are eternally situated in the Divine Mind, there can be no meaning in our being bound to or liberated from them. 2 These worlds appearing to move before us are seen like specks of dust flying about in sunbeams. They are only impermanent phantoms in the air that appear like stable bodies in the minds of the ignorant.
3 Whatever is seen placed before us in any form or state is soon found to change its mode and manner. In the same way, all things here are in constant change, continually revolving like water in a whirlpool. 4 The earth, air, water, and other elements are the materials that combine to form frail bodies that are doomed to decay and dissolve in a short time. Yet the ignorant expect it to last for kalpa and yuga ages. 5 The world is a dream and the totality of existence a mere nothing. Yet the idea of existence that is had of this nonexistence is no other than a reflection of the one Eternal Intellect.
6 There are hundreds and thousands of other worlds to be seen in the skies like this solar world of ours, and we can believe that others have the same ideas about other peoples. 7 We see seas and lakes swarming with living beings of various kinds, and find pools and bogs full of frogs everywhere. But none of them know anything about reservoirs or their inhabitants other than their own. 8 A hundred men sleeping in the same room see as many different air-built castles in their dreams. In the same way, different worlds appear in the airy intellects of some which are unseen and unknown to others. 9 Just like many men sleeping in the same room dream as many different aerial cities, so these aerial worlds appear in the empty sphere of our minds. They are said to be in being and not being at the same time.
10 The sky is a miracle of the mind and a phenomenon of itself. It is visible without its form, appears as limited without its limitation, and as created without its creation. 11 The emptiness bearing the nature of the empty mind is vainly called the physical sky. It presents the forms of fleeting objects to sight as understanding represents its ideas and passing thoughts to our knowledge. 12 The memory of a thing is the cause of its dream by night, just as the desire of something (samskara) causes its conception in the mind, and as the apprehension of one’s death comes from seeing it in others.
13 In the beginning of creation, the world appears as an image in the mind. It is only a flash or reflection of Divine Consciousness. No other name can be properly given to it other than a thought in Divine Consciousness.
14 The saying that Brahman shines like world does not mean that he shines anew in the form of the world, but that this form eternally exists in his omniscience.
15 It is said that cause is identical with the effect because the common cause of all is specialized in its form of the effect. An action initially confined in the cause afterwards evolves into the germ of creation. 16 When things we have not seen or known before occur in the mind in dreams, they are called pristine impressions in the mind and not the external objects of sense which are not innate in the mind. 17 These mental impressions or memories are perceptible to us in our dreaming and not in the waking state. Yet they are not lost as long as we retain those impressions in the mind. They naturally appear in the soul in dreaming, just as visible phenomena appear to sight in the waking state.
18 Thus the Vedantist comes to know the nonexistence of the outer world, and by knowing the knowable one, they come to attain their object.
19 The impressions of the waking state which occur in the state of dreaming are the newly made imprints of the waking hours on the memory. These make the sleeping hours seem like waking to the dreaming soul. 20 These recent ideas fluctuate in the mind like the breath of the wind. They occur and reoccur of themselves without the agency of pristine impressions.
21 There is only one Consciousness that possesses many multitudes of airy dreams. Being dispossessed of them at last, it remains solely by and in itself. 22 The consciousness that we have of the dreams, ranging at large in the empty sphere of our intellect, is truly what we call the world. The lack of this consciousness in our sound sleep is what we call the extinction of the world. This comparison applies equally to the nature of the self-existed One.
23 There exists only the infinite sphere of one eternal Intellect (chidakasa). In that Intellect appears an infinity of shapes, perpetually rising and setting in its open space like dreams. These are born of its own nature, are called the world, and bear the same intellectual form with itself. 24 Thus the atomic particle of the Intellect contains the form of the entire cosmos within its open space. This cosmos is an exact pattern of its original model, just as the reflection in a mirror is the true representation of the original. 25 The opening of the Intellect contains consciousness diffused in it like an atom being stretched. It extends throughout without beginning or end and this is called the cosmos. 26 The emptiness of Intellect extends to all infinity. Connected with it is the appearance of the cosmos which is immanent and identical with itself at all times.
27 Intellect is identical with the cosmos, therefore all minds and intellectual beings such as I and you are also worlds or microcosms. This is why the great macrocosm of the world is said to be comprised in the womb of an atom of consciousness in the mind. 28 Therefore I, who is a minute soul, also have the form of the whole world. Hence I abide everywhere likewise, even in the midst of an atom. 29 Being in the form of the minute atom of the intellect, I am also as great as the Universal Soul, and as expanded as the open air all around. I also see all three worlds wherever I live or move.
30 I am an atom of the intellectual soul. I am joined with the intellectual soul of the universe. When I see the Supreme Spirit in my meditation, I am lost in it like a drop of water is lost in the ocean. 31 Having entered into the Divine Spirit and feeling its influence in me, I am filled with its consciousness. I behold the three worlds within me, just as the seed lies hidden within its husk. 32 I see the triple world expanding within myself, beside which there is no outer world on the outside of anybody.
33 Whenever the world appears in any form, whether in gross or subtle form, such as in the states of our waking or dreaming, all these interior or exterior worlds are to be understood as reflections of the ideal one imprinted in the intellect. 34 When the living soul indulges itself dreaming of sights of the world, it is to be understood as a reflection of the expanded particle of the intellect. The sleeping soul delights to show fondness upon such reflections.
35 The hunter said, “If the visible world is causeless or without its maker, then how could it come into existence? If it is a caused or created exterior world, then how could we have any knowledge of it during sleep when the soul is dreaming?”
36 The sage replied:— All this is without a cause. The world proceeded at first without any causality whatever. 37 Truly it is impossible for gross and perishable bodies and transient beings to come to being without a cause. But that which is only a copy of the original model of the eternal mind cannot possibly have any cause at all. 38 It is Brahman himself that shines brightly by nature of his intellectual brightness. Hence the world’s creation and destruction are utterly inapplicable to what is without beginning or end. 39Thus uncaused creation abides in the substance of the great God and shines forth with divine glory to all infinity. The appearance of gross bodies appears only to gross minds that are prejudiced with the grosser ideas of materiality.
40 What numberless varieties appear in the unchangeable Brahman! What unnumbered diversities of shapes and forms are seen in the formless One that is ever unchanged and imperishable! 41 Brahman is formless in his person, yet because he is the mind, he exhibits himself in many forms. There he represents his spiritual self in all the various forms of moving and immovable bodies. 42 He makes gods, sages, and seers in his likeness, and also directs them to their different degrees and duties. He establishes the laws and prohibitions of conduct and appoints the acts and observances at all times and places.
43 All existences and privations, productions and destructions, whether of moving or unmoving bodies, or great or small ones, are subject to his decree. None can ever transgress any of his general laws. 44 Ever since the general decree, nothing takes place without its proper special cause, just as you can never expect to extract oil from sand. 45The destined decree of providence leads all events in the world. It is like one part of Brahman’s body curbs the other part of himself, like we restrain the action of one hand by the other.
46 This unavoidable destiny overtakes us, despite our prudence and will, like the sudden fall of a fruit on a flying crow. Destiny drives us along with its course, just as the tide carries waters with it. 47 The preordination of certain effects from certain causes is called destiny. Without that, there would be only disorder and disturbance, and not even Brahman can abide that. Therefore destiny is the imperishable soul of all existence. 48 Therefore destiny is the cause of all. Although it is unseen and unknown, yet it acts on everything as it is destined for them ever since their very production.
49 The uncausing Brahman causes nothing. Yet the ignorant, through their error in judgment, mistakenly believe Brahman to be the cause of creation. 50 However, a wise man seeing the sudden appearance of the world before him, like the rotation of a wheel, considers its causes as such and such or this and that, just as they have been determined by their preordained destiny. 51 All existent bodies have their special causes in their primordial destiny, which determines their subsequent lots in endless succession. Hence occurrences in our waking state, resembling visions in our dreams, are never without their antecedent causes.
52 I dreamed the destruction of the world caused by impacts of elements and waters. I dreamed this way because of its cause inbred in me. I had memories of the great deluge that I had heard in traditional stories. 53 In this manner we see the reflections of almighty power in all things, just as we see crystals and shellfish shining with their intrinsic brightness. May this Omnipotent power that is the ever-living soul of souls, known to us in our imperfect notion of him, be glorified forever and ever.
• • •
Chapter 145 — Concentration Expands Ideas; Descriptions of Body Fluids Affecting the Quality of Dreams
1 The sage continued:— The living soul perceives the dream of the outer world by means of the external organs of sense, and that of the inner world by the internal senses. But the quickness of both the internal and external senses gives the sensations of both these worlds to the soul. 2 When the outer senses are busily employed with outward objects, then the perceptions of mental objects and inner functions become faint and fainter by degrees. 3 When the external senses are all directed to the inside and the inner senses are concentrated in the mind, then the object of thought and the idea of the world, however minute they had been before, gradually assume a more expanded form and present their extended appearances to the soul. 4 In this manner the world which is nothing in reality, being once thought upon as something however small in its idea, expands itself in the mind to an enormous size, which at last also casts its reflection on the external organs of sense and make it appear so big and vast to sight.
5 When the eyes and senses of a living person are occupied with outer objects, then the soul only beholds the intellect in the form of the exterior world. 6 The intellectual and intangible soul is composed of a collection of all outward sensations, namely hearing, touch, seeing, smelling and taste, as well as the four internal sensations of will. 7 Therefore the living soul is always present at every place accompanied by all the senses. Hence the airy intellect is always unobstructed, knowing and seeing everywhere.
8 When the body fluids fill the veins and arteries of a living person, then the soul is lulled to sleep to see false visions in its dream. 9 It seems to swim in a sea of milk and soar in the moonlight sky. It thinks it sees a clear lake about it, filled with full blown lotuses and their blooming buds. 10 In itself it sees the flowery gardens of spring season covered in clothes of flowers, contending with the star-sparkling sky, and resounding with the warbling of birds and the buzz of humming bumble bees.
11 It sees all merriment and festivity stirring in its mansion and the merry dance of playful ladies sporting in its compound. It views its courtyard filled with provisions of food and drink. 12 It beholds flowing streams like adolescent maidens running playfully to join the distant sea, encircled with swimming flowers and smiling with their flashy foams, darting about their fickle glances in flitting motions of shrimp fluttering on the surface of the water. 13 It sees palaces and towers rising as high as the summits of the Himalayan Mountains and the tops of icebergs with their white washed walls appearing as if they were varnished with moonbeams.
14 It sees the landscape covered by the dews of the dewy season, or as hidden under the mists of winter, and shrouded by the showering clouds of rainy weather. It views the ground below overgrown with herb-bearing plants and muddy marshes grown over with blue lotuses. 15 The woodlands are seen covered with flowers, herds of deer and weary travelers resting there that halted under the cooling shade of the thickening foliage of the forest, soothed by soft breezes of the woodland spot. 16 The flowery tree groves had all its gardens and vaulted places scattered with the flaring powder of flowers. The crimson dust of kunda, kadamba and mandara blossoms blush and cover the scenery all around.
17 Lakes are clothed in blue with blue lotuses and the ground wears the flowing floral garment of flowers. Woodlands are clear of clouds and the sky is clear and cold under the autumn sky. 18 The mountain range is crowned with rows of kunda, kadamba and kadali plantain trees. These trees wave their leafy fans on their exalted heads, which appear to nod at the dancing of the leaflets. 19 Tender vines shake without care, buds and blossoms upon them. They appear like young ladies dancing gracefully with strings of pearls on their slender bodies.
20 It sees a royal palace and regal assemblies shining as brightly as a blooming lotus-bed in a lake. It also sees white chowry fans waving over them, like feathered birds flapping their wings over the floral lake. 21 It also sees running streams softly gliding in a playful mood with curling vines and flowers wreathed with their currents, murmuring along with the mixed music of birds on the branches beside them. 22 The earth is filled and flooded by torrents of water falling from mountain waterfalls. All sides of heaven are hidden by showers of rain and snow falling all about its vault.
23 When the internal channels of the body are filled with bile fluid, the soul remains with its internal vigor as an atom in its cell, then sees the dreams of the following nature in itself.
24 It sees flames of fire about it and red kinsuka flowers upon its withered trees, blasted by the winds. It also sees the forms of red lotus flowers burning like flames of fire before it. 25 The inner nerves and veins became as dry of gastric juice as when clear streams turn to dry sandbanks. Then flames of wildfire appear and dark smoke flies over the darkened face of nature. 26 Fire appears to be burning all around and the disc of the sun seems to dart its burning rays. Wildfires are seen in forests. Withered and dried ponds emit a poisonous gas instead of their clear waters. 27 The seas are seen with boiling waters turning into beds of hot mire and mud. The horizon is filled with hot winds and the forests with flying ashes, while the deserts appear quite desolate all about. 28 Moving sands spread about fly in the air like flights of storks. The landscape appears different than in the previous example. The former greenness of the trees no longer comes to sight. 29 The soul sees the fearful wayfarer covered by the burning sands of a parching desert. He is looking longingly on the distant tree by the wayside, spreading its cooling ambrosial shade over the parched ground. 30 It sees the earth burning like a flaming furnace with all its lands and places hidden under ashes, and a dark cloud of dust covering the face of the sky on all sides. 31 The world appears in flames everywhere. All its planetary bodies, cities and seas, hills and forests and the open air are seen burning in a blaze. 32 It sees the empty clouds of autumn, spring and hot seasons serving to favor the fires instead of quenching them. It beholds lands below covered with grass and leafy vines that entrap them as coverings of clouds. 33 It sees the ground glittering like gold everywhere and the waters of lakes and rivers, and even snowy mountains all lukewarm or hot.
34 When the channels of the body are dried up for lack of gastric juice, they are filled with wind and gas. The soul, retaining its vigor, sees various dreams of the following description. 35 Disturbed by the wind in its dream, understanding sees the homes of men, the forests and the earth quite differently from how they appeared before.
36 The soul sees itself flying in the air with hills and hilly lands all around. It hears a rumbling noise like that of the whirling of chariot wheels. 37 It seems to be riding about on horseback, or upon a camel or eagle or on the back of a cloud, or riding in a chariot drawn by swans. 38 It sees the earth, sky, cities and forests appearing before it, trembling like bubbles in water as if in fear. 39 It finds itself fallen in a blind ditch, or in some great danger, or as mounting in the air upon a tree or hill.
40 When the arteries of the body are filled with a combination of all three fluids of phlegm, bile and gas then the soul is led by the windy quality to see several dreams of the following nature.
41 It sees rainfall flowing down mountains and hailstones, to its terror, hurling down its sides. It hears hills and buildings bursting and sees trees moving about. 42 Woods and forests appear to encircle the distant horizon which is overcast by huge clouds and traversed by big elephants and lions. 43 Palm and tamara trees appear to be burning all around. Hollow caves and caverns appear to resound with the harsh noise of flashing fires and falling trees. 44 Mountain crags seem to be clashing and crashing against one another and caves resounding to their harsh crackling sounds. 45 Mountain tops seem to clash against each other, emitting a harsh and hideous noise. Streams running among them appear to be wearing necklaces of the loosened vines and bushes which they carry away. 46 Fragments of rocks are seen carried away by mountain streams to the ocean. They carry torn bushes which seem to spread as far as the utmost pole.
47 Craggy hills seem to crash each other with their sharp edges, crashing and splitting themselves with their harsh and hideous sounds. 48 Forest leaves with vines are scattered all around by the strong wind. Broken stones from mountains make their bed over the moss below. 49 Tall palm trees fall to the ground with a crushing sound, like the wars between gods and demons of the past. All birds fly with a harsh scream, like the crying of men on the last day of the destruction of the world. 50 All wood, stones and earth mix together as one mass, like the jiva soul in dream surrounded by soldiers of air.
51 Silence reigns like a worm underneath the earth, or a frog under a stone, or an embryo within the womb, or a seed within the fruit, 52 like boiled rice and solidified liquid in a bowl, or a doll carved in the wall of a wooden pillar. 53 Vital air ceases to blow and all things get stalled as if they are encased within the hollow of the earth. 54 Deep darkness reigns there and deep sleep (sushupti) appears like a deep dark well within a mountain cave.
55 As heavy food is digested by the body and becomes a separate juice with new energy, so the vital air which once disappeared makes its appearance again. 56 After digestion a certain kind of juice appears within the body in the shape of vitality, so the jiva soul experiences stones which begin to fall within. 57 As fire increases and creates more fire, a little adds a little more, so the combination of the three body fluids composes the inner and outer essence of the body. 58 Thus the living soul, confined within the bonds of the body and led by force of the three body fluids, sees the dreams of the absent world as it sees visions of visible phenomena, with its external organs of sense.
59 The mind is liable to see its internal visions, in a greater or lesser degree, according to the greater or lesser excitement of the senses by the greater or lesser irritations of its body fluids. But if the action of the body fluids is uniform, then the course of the mind runs in an even course.
60 The living soul, surrounded by irritated body fluids, looks out over the wide world and sees the earth and sky and mountains turning round and flames of fire issuing from burning piles. 61 It finds itself rising and moving in the skies with the rising moon and mountain ranges. It sees forests of trees, hills, and floods of water washing the face of heaven. 62 It thinks it is diving and floating on water, or wandering in heavenly abodes, or in forests and hilly places, or floating in the sky upon the backs of white clouds. 63 It sees rows of palms and other trees ranged in the sky, and sees the false sights of hell punishments, such as the sawing and crushing of sinful bodies.
64 It fancies itself hurled down by a turning wheel and rising instantly into the sky again. It sees the air full of people and thinks it is diving in waters upon the land. 65 It sees the business of daytime carried on everywhere at night, the sun shining at night as in daytime, and a thick darkness spreading over the face of the day. 66 Mountainous terrain is seen in the skies. The land is seen full of holes and ditches. Rows of buildings are seen in the air. Friendship is found combined with hatred. 67 Relatives are thought of as strangers and wicked people are taken for friends. Ditches and valleys are viewed as level land. Flats and plains appear as caves and caverns. 68 White mountains of milky whiteness and crystal gems appear sounding with the melody of birds. Clear lakes are seen gliding below, their water as sweet as butter. 69 Forests of various trees appear and houses adorned with women appear like lotuses filled with bees.
70 The living soul thinks that it lies hidden within and is closed within itself, yet it perceives all these sights outside as if it were awake to them. 71 In this manner, the work of impaired body fluids represents many such sights of external objects in the forms of dream to the minds of people. 72 It is usual with men of disordered body fluids to see many extraordinary sights and fearful appearances, both within and without.
73 When the internal organs are steady in their action, then the course of nature and the conduct of people appear in the usual state. 74 Then the situations of cities and countries, and the positions of woods and hills, are seen in the same calm, clear and unperturbed state as they are known to exist agreeably to the natural order of things, such as cool and clear streams, shady forests, and countries and paths traversed by travelers. 75 Days and nights decorated with pleasant sunbeams, moonbeams and starlight, and all other appearances, however unreal in their nature, appear as wonders to the sight and other senses.
76 The perception of phenomena is as inherent in the mind as movement is inherent in wind. The essential property of the mind’s nature is to see the unreal as real, to see the intrinsic, or what is derived from within the mind, as separate and extrinsic or derived from without the mind.
77 The calm and quiet spirit of Brahman gives rise to all things which are equally calm and quiet. The world is mere emptiness without having any reality in it. The empty mind represents endless varieties of forms in the sphere of its own emptiness as the endless reflections of its empty person.
• • •
Chapter 146 — Brahman Does not Sleep, Dream or Awake
1 The hunter said, “Tell me, O great sage, what did you do and see afterwards, from your seat in the false spirit of that person?”
2 The sage replied:— Hear me tell you what I did and saw afterwards, by my union and sitting within the spirit of that infatuated person.
3 As I resided in the dark cave of his heart, in the confusion of the last doomsday, I thought a hurricane arose which blew mountains away like straw on the day of the final desolation of the world.
4 It was soon followed by outpourings of rainwater from mountain tops which carried away woods and hills in its torrents. 5 As I dwelt in that opening in union with the vitality of that individual, even in that state of my spiritual minuteness, I perceived rain and hailstones falling from mountain tops.
6 Then I was enfolded within the vitality (ojas) of that person and fell into a state of sound sleep. I felt a deep darkness envelop me all over. 7 Having laid down in sleep for some time, I gradually woke up from my sleepy state, just as the closed lotus of the night unfolds its petals in the morning. 8 Then, as a man lying in darkness comes to see some circular discs appearing to sight, so I saw some flimsy dreams flying about and hovering over me. 9 Being released from the chain of sleep, I fell into a series of dreams. I saw a hundred shapes of things arising in my spirit, like shapes of unnumbered waves and billows rising on the surface of the sea. 10 Very many forms of visible things appeared in the cell of my consciousness, just as a great many flying things are seen moving about in the still and motionless air.
11 As heat is inherent in fire, coldness is inherent in water, fluidity is characteristic of liquids, and pungency is immanent in pepper, so is the world inherent in Brahman. 12 The nature of Consciousness being uniform and the same in itself, the phenomenal world is engrained in it, just as the dream of a new born child presents itself to the sight of a sleeping man.
13 The hunter asked, “Tell me sage. How is it possible for Consciousness to have the sight of anything in its state of sound sleep, since dreams never occur in the mind except in the state of light sleep? 14 Again, when both you and the person in whose heart you merged were both in the state of sound sleep, how could the sight of the creation appear to you?”
15 The sage replied:— Know that creation is expressed by words, namely jayati is born, bhati appears, and kachati shines. These words are applied indiscriminately to all material things, such as pots and pictures as well as the world itself. All these words are used by men whose brains are heated with duality to express a duality. 16 Know that the word born means only being and its synonyms are manifestation, which is derived from the root bhu to be. 17 Now the meaning of bhu is being, which word
also expresses the sense of being born. The word sarga means production or creation. It is the same as being.
18 With us learned men, there is nothing made or born or destroyed. All is one calm and quiet unborn being. 19 The whole and soul of this entity is the one Brahman. The totality of existence is called the cosmos, the macrocosm, or the world. Say then, what substance or insubstantiality is there that can be positively affirmed or denied of the One which is uniformly alike? 20 That which is called the active energy of God literally resides in the Divine Spirit, but not as a free or separate power of itself. All power exists in omnipotence, which is identical with Brahman, and not as an attribute or part of him.
21 According to the reflection of men learned in divine knowledge, the properties of waking, sleep and dreaming do not belong to the nature of God because God never sleeps or dreams or wakes in the manner of his creatures. 22 Neither sleep nor the airy visions of dreaming nor anything else that we know or have any idea about can have any relation to the nature of the Inscrutable One, any more than the impossibility of our having any idea of the world before its creation. 23 It is the living soul that sees the dream and imagines creation in itself. Pure Consciousness is quite unintelligible in its nature. It remains as clear as either in the beginning of creation.
24 Consciousness is neither the observer nor enjoyer. It is something as nothing, perfectly quiet and utterly unspeakable in its nature. 25 In the beginning there was no cause of creation and creative agent of the world. It is only an ideal of the Divine Mind, existing forever in the same state like a vision in a dream or an airy castle of imagination.
26 The unwise apprehend individual intelligence as a duality, but never the intelligent. An ignorant men, like silly infants, is afraid of a tiger or snake that is painted upon his own body. But the intelligent, knowing them too well to be marked upon their own bodies, never suspect them as anything other than their own body.
27 The one unchanging and translucent soul, without beginning, middle or end, appears to be varying and various to the unreflecting dualist and polytheist. But the whole which appears so changeful and noticeable to sight, is in itself a perfect calm and quiet and serene appearance.
• • •
Chapter 147 — The Sage Awakens within His Student, Becomes Absorbed in His Own Memories, and Forgets Himself; Unless One Cultivates Knowledge, One Relapses into Forgetfulness and Ignorance
1 The sage continued:— Hear me now, O strong armed archer, how I awoke from my sound sleep and saw the sight of the world in my dream, just a man rising to the surface from the depth of the sea surveys the heavens above him.
2 I saw the heavens as cut out of the ethereal vacuum. I saw the terrestrials as sculptured out of the earth. I found them all to be fashioned out of the Divine Mind, or framed in that manner by my organ of sight. 3 The world appeared like an early blossom of the tree of the eternal mind, or like the ceaseless waves of a vast ocean, or like phantoms of my deluded eyesight. 4 It seemed to appear from the space of the sky above, or to have proceeded from all sides of heaven. Moreover, it seemed like masonry carved out of the mountains of all quarters of the sky, and also like a prodigy rising out of the earth. 5 It also seemed to have sprung out of the heart like any of its feelings or affections. It appeared to have filled all the space of emptiness, just like the all pervading clouds of heaven. I also thought it was like the produce of a large forest, or like seeds or grains growing out of the earth.
6 As pictures of houses with apartments are painted upon the planes of level plates, so the figures of living beings are drawn upon the smooth flatness of Consciousness, together with all the limbs and organs of their bodies. 7 These worlds appear to have sprung in some unknown part of Infinity, and to have presented themselves to our view like flying herds of distant regions coming to our sight, or as presents are brought to a prince from different lands, or as the retributions and rewards of one’s good or bad deeds in this life meet him in following reincarnations.
8 The world is only a blossom of the great tree of Brahman, or a little wave in the vast ocean of eternity. It is a carving on the colossal pillar of Consciousness without being carved or cast. 9 Space is an ample field filled with an infinity of worlds that appear to be our earthly homes in an empty city of air. Like an infuriated elephant, the mind randomly wanders everywhere with an airy empty life as fickle and fleeting as a breath of air. 10 The building of the world has no foundation and is unsupported by any walls. The sky appearing so bright and variegated has no color or tint of its own. The magical power of the great magician displays these wonders and spreads a curtain of delusion over the ignorant and infatuated world.
11 Though creation always seems so exuberant everywhere, yet it is quite quiescent, unbounded by any limitation of space or time. Though it appears as having great variety, yet it is a single unity. Though seemingly having great diversity, yet is all only one unchanging uniformity.
12 A gandharva fairyland, for example, is exactly the same as this world in that both are unreal. The error that occurs to us in our dreams is the same that possesses us in our waking state of dreaming. 13 Only the reflection of the mind represents the absent past and future as already present before it, whether they relate to anything of time or place, or substance or action, or anything relating to its creation or its destruction.
14 There are numberless beings contained among every species of animal, which contain others without limit in their ovaries, bearing microscopic organisms like seeds of pomegranate fruit. 15 Rivers, forests, and mountains are seen surrounded by clouds of the sky and studded with the shining stars of heaven. The sea is heard to resound with the loud alarm of battle drums raised by warring winds with conflicting currents.
16 Then before me I saw a visible sphere in which I saw the village of my prior dream. I recognized my former home. 17 I saw all my former friends and relatives in the same place and of the same age as I had seen them before. I saw my wife and my children sitting in the very same house. 18 Seeing my fellow villagers and my former village scenes, my heart wished to meet them as violently as the sea waves swell to meet the shore. 19 I began to embrace all my relatives, feeling happy with our reunion. Being absorbed in my desire to see more and more, I utterly lost all my memory of the past.
20 As a mirror receives the reflection of whatever is present before it, so the mirror of the mind is wholly occupied with the objects of its future desires, and becomes unmindful of the past. 21 It is the emptiness (chidakasa) of Consciousness that has the knowledge of everything. There is no other principle of understanding beside Consciousness which ever exists by itself.
22 He who has not lost his pure understanding and his memory of himself is never misled by the demons of dualism and doubt to think of a duality. 23 He whose understanding is awakened by his constant inquiry into truth and divine knowledge, and by his study of good scriptures and attendance on divine sages, does not forget his enlightenment anymore. 24 He who is imperfect in his divine knowledge and whose mind is bound by worldly desires is liable to lose his good understanding, as if by the influence of an unfavorable planet or inauspicious star.
25 Know, O hunter, that your understanding, which is not yet cultivated by association with the wise, is liable to fall into the error of duality and thereby involve you in repeated difficulties.
26 The hunter answered, “It is all very true, O sage, that in spite of all your lectures, my understanding does not find its rest in the knowledge of the only true One. 27 My understanding still hangs in doubt as to whether it is so or not. Though I rely upon my conception of the truth as you have declared, yet my mind finds no peace in it. 28 Ah, though I fix my faith on the doctrine you have preached, yet I cannot rest secure in it as long as my ignorance reigns supreme in me. 29 Unless understanding is enlightened in the company of wise men by attending the doctrine of the best scriptures and due examination of their teachings, there can be no end to the errors of the world, nor any rest for the weary soul wandering continually in a maze of errors.”
• • •
Chapter 148 — No One Can Say Whether Dreams Are Real or Unreal; Certainty Makes Things Real; There Is No Other Law of Dreaming
1 The hunter said, “If the sight of the world is no more than a vision in dream, then O great sage, tell me, where lies its truth or falsehood? This is a matter of great doubt and difficulty to me.”
2 The sage replied:— That dream which rises in our consciousness under the conditions of proper place and time, and right actions and things, is true and actually happens. 3 A dream caused by the use of some gem or drug, or by effect of some mantra or amulet, actually happens, whether favorable or not to the dreamer. 4 When a man’s earnest desire presents itself in the shape of a dream before his mental sight, it comes to happen by accident, by the law of chance. 5 Whatever we believe with certainty in our consciousness, the same is sure as fate. We are sure to see and become the same.
6 Certainty removes uncertainty. If anyone reaches certainty, uncertainty falls down absolutely. 7 No object is ever situated inside or outside of anybody. Only consciousness assumes the various forms of worldly things and remains in the same state as it knows itself to be. 8 The certainty arrived at by evidence of the scriptures, that phenomena are like appearances in a dream, makes it believed indeed. But a disbelief in this belief makes one a skeptic who wanders about in his doubts forever. 9 If one gains his object by any means other than certainty, in spite of his belief in that the world is a dream, that gain is reckoned as imaginary only. 10 Whatever is determined to be true in the world by the strong consciousness of anybody in his waking state, then either sooner or later in course of time and change of place, the same comes to be known as untrue.
11 In the beginning the world existed in Divine Consciousness and was represented in its subtle and incompressible form. It had its essence in the mind of God, then extended its slender substance to any length according to its free will and desire. 12 Know that beside the true and immutable entity of the intellect of Brahman, all others are both real and unreal, and lasting and transient also. 13 Brahman is the only one being and soul of all. There can be no other that may be called as such. Therefore tell me, what else is there that may be called a reality or a non reality? 14 Therefore, neither the ignorant nor the enlightened part of mankind can say whether a dream is true or false at anytime.
15 The phenomenal world appears before us by delusion of our senses and misconception of our consciousness. The visible worlds, commonly referred to as illusion, has nothing of reality or certainty in it. 16 Divine Consciousness flashes forth in the mind with the glare of the glaring world, just as fluidity is seen quivering and flowing in all bodies of waters and liquids. 17 As one first sees a dream then afterwards falls fast asleep, so does everybody see phenomena in his waking state, then falls naturally into a deep and sound sleep. 18 Know then, O great sage, that the waking state is similar to that of dreaming. Know the dreaming state to be like that of waking, and that both these states are only two phases of the one and the same Brahman.
19 Divine Consciousness is an empty and incomprehensible entity. The specious universe is only its reflection. The three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping are the triple foundations of the same being.
20 There is no law regarding the effectiveness of dreams. How can you determine any rule for ascertaining the results of various dreams? 21 As long as the mind dwells on the appearance of dreams, it is troubled with its aimless wanderings. Therefore the sage must wipe their impressions off from his consciousness.
22 The temperament of the mind gives rise to dreams, like vibration in air causing wind currents. There is no other cause of dreams or any law that governs them, except that in sound sleep, these appearances entirely settle down and vanish. 23 The learned attribute the cause of impressions in our consciousness to external appearances of this thing or that. But relying on the doctrine that external objects have no cause, they prove to be nothing other than mere imaginations of the subjective mind. 24 Therefore the only law with respect to this is that the appearances of things, whatever they be, are generally granted as such by the common sense of mankind. 25 Thus, as there is no law of dreaming, sometimes there is some truth in some dreams, and at others there is no truth in any of them at all. Because there is a lack of any constancy, it is only an accidental occurrence.
26 Whatever appears subjectively to one’s self, either from his own nature or by means of artificial devices, and whatever one is habituated to think of anything in himself, he sees the same in that form, both in his dreaming as well as waking states. 27 The appearances of things, both in men’s sleeping and waking states, are merely the reflections of their minds. They remain the same whether when one is waking or lying in the imaginary city of his dreams.
28 It is not enough to call only waking to be awake because a dream also appears as waking to the waking soul that never sleeps. 29 So there is nothing such as dreaming that may be called by that name. It is only a particular form of thinking in the Divine Mind which sees sleeping and waking in the same light.
30 Or it may be that neither of the two states of waking or dreaming exists because the ever living soul of a dead person continues to behold the visible even after its separation from the body and its rebirth after death. 31 The soul remains the same never becomes other than what it is regardless what state it is in, just as endless duration never changes with the course of time, and the ocean continues alike under its rolling waves, and airy space remains unchanged above the changing clouds. 32 So creation is inseparable from the Supreme Soul, whether it exists or becomes extinct. As the perforations and marks in a stone are never distinct from it, so the states of waking and sleeping are coincident with the Divine Soul.
33 Waking, sleeping, dreaming and sound sleep are the four forms of bodies of the formless and bodiless Brahman who, though devoid of all forms, is still of the form of whole creation, cosmos and the mundane soul. 34 The Supreme Soul that pervades and encompasses all space is visible to us only in the form of infinite space or sky. Therefore, endless emptiness being only the body of Supreme Consciousness, it is no way different from it. 35 Air, wind, fire and water, together with the earth and clouds on high, are reckoned as the causes of all creation, but they only exist in their ideal shapes in the mind of Brahman. 36 The Lord is devoid of all names and attributes. He remains united with his body of Consciousness containing the knowledge of all things within itself. Phenomena are never separate from their ideas.
• • •
Chapter 149 — Many People Sharing Same Event; Only Brahman Is a Possible “Cause”
1 The hunter asked, “Tell me, O sage! What then became of the world that you saw in your dream? Tell me all about it until its final extinction.”
2 The sage replied:— Then listen as I tell you, O honest fellow, what then passed in the heart of the person in whom I had entered. Listen to the wonderful tale with proper attention.
3 As I remained there in that forgetful state of my transformation, I saw the course of time gliding upon me with its train of months, seasons and years passing imperceptibly by. 4 I passed there a full fifteen years in my domestic life, happy with the enjoyment of my married life.
5 It happened there, once upon a time, that a learned sage came as a guest to my house. I received the venerable and austere devotee with honor within my doors. 6 Being pleased with my honorable reception, he took his meal and he rested at ease. Then I asked him the following question regarding the happiness and sorrow of mankind.
7 “Sage,” I said, “you are possessed of vast understanding. You well know the course of the world and therefore you are not known to become angry at adversity or delight in prosperity. 8 All happiness and sorrow proceed from the acts of men engaged in busy life in the world. The farmer reaps good or bad crops in autumn according to how well he cultivated his field.”
9 “So when all the inhabitants of a place suffer and fall under some severe calamity all at once, are they all equally faulty in their actions at the one and same time? 10 We see famine, drought, portents and catastrophes repeatedly overtaking a large portion of mankind at the same time. Say then, is it owing to the wickedness of the people at the one and very time?”
11 Hearing my words he stared at me. He looked as if he was taken by surprise and seemed confounded in his mind. Then he uttered these words of reverence and ambrosial sweetness.
12 The sagely guest said:— O well spoken! These words of yours indicate your highly enlightened mind and how well you have understood the cause of phenomena, be it real or unreal. Tell me, how did you came to know it?
13 Remember only the Universal Soul and think nothing about what you are and where you sit. Reflect well in yourself, what am I and from where and what is phenomena, and whether it is anything substantial or only an ideal of the mind. 14 All this is the display of dream. How is it that you do not know this yet? I am an imaginary being to you, just as you are the phantom of a dream before me.
15 The world you see is a formless and nameless nothing, a mere formation of your imagination. It flashes with the glare of the crystal Intellect and is a glaring falsehood in itself. 16 Therefore all forms whatsoever that you think or take to be anywhere are the true, nonfictional, and omnipresent Intellect. 17 Now, in assigning a cause to things, you will find that the Intellect is the cause of all. In ascribing one cause to anything, you have the uncaused and uncausing Intellect for everything. 18 The Universal Soul spreads through all and in whom all living beings reside. It is known as the common soul of all. It is regarded as residing in us and it is known to be all individual souls linked together in a series.
19 There will be other living beings in the future, with the common soul pervading in all of them, and causing their happiness or sorrow according to their desires. 20 The soul is disturbed by the disorder of fluids in the body, then men’s limbs and other body parts become disturbed likewise. 21 Drought, famine and destruction may come upon mankind occurring simultaneously of themselves, because 22 it is possible, O good soul, that there are many persons living together who are equally guilty of some crime at the same time and are waiting for their simultaneous punishment, falling like the fire of heaven on a forest.
23 The mind that relies on the effectiveness of acts comes to feel the effects of its actions. But the soul that is free from such expectation is never involved in its acts or exposed to their results. 24 Whatever one imagines in any form at any place or time occurs to him in the same proportion as he expected it, whether that object be with or without its cause.
25 Imaginary appearances in dreams are in no way accompanied by their immediate or accessory causes, as all actual existences are. Therefore this imaginary world is the appearance of the everlasting Intellect of Consciousness, which is Brahman itself. 26 The world, appearing as a false dream, is only a causeless unreality. But considering it as the appearance of Brahman, it has both its cause and reality.
27 The casual occurrence of dreams deludes our consciousness of them. So the accidental appearance of the world is equally delusive of our understanding of it. Its extension is a delusion like the expansion of a dream. 28 Everything appears to be as caused or uncaused as we take it to be. 29 It is a deception of the understanding to take the imaginary world to be the product of a real causality. It is natural to the waking state to take the world as real which, in our sleep and dreams, appears quite calm and unreal.
30 Now hear me tell you, O great minded sage, that the one Existent Being, Brahman, is the sole cause of existence. What else can cause all nature and this all pervading vacuum? 31 Say, what can be the cause of the solidity of the earth and the lightness of air? What is the cause of our universal ignorance? What is the cause of the self born Brahman? 32 What may be the cause of creation and what is the origin of the winds, fire and water? What is the source of our apprehensions of things that are mere vacuum in empty intellect? 33 Tell me, what can be the cause of the rebirth of departed souls into the mass of material bodies? The course of creation is going on in this manner from the beginning. 34 Thus all things seem to be going on and reoccurring in this world, like wheels and spheres turning in air, because we have a constant habit of thinking and seeing them as such.
35 Thus the great Brahman himself, in the form of Brahma the Creator, spreads and moves throughout the world. Afterwards this Brahma receives as many different names as the different phases and forms he displays in nature, such as the earth, air and the like. 36 All creations move about like fluctuations of winds in the spacious firmament of the Divine Mind which conceives of itself various forms of things in its own imagination. 37 Whatever it imagines in any form or shape, the same receives the very form as a decree of fate. Since these forms are the very images or ideas of the Divine Mind, they are considered to form the body of God.
38 Whatever likeness the Divine Intellect first designed, it bears that same form and figure to this day. 39 But as the Divine Mind is all powerful and omniscient, it is able to alter them and make others anew by its great efforts. 40 Whenever anything is supposed to have a cause, it is also thought to be subject to the will of that cause. Wherever there is no hypothesis of a cause, there is no capacity or possibility of its alteration. 41 Like vibration in air, the world first existed as an idea in the Divine Mind. As it was insubstantial before, so it continues ever still.
42 They who amass the merits or demerits of their pious or impious deeds reap the good or bad rewards or results accordingly in this life. There are others who are crushed under a thousand disasters, falling upon them like showers of hailstones or the thunderbolts of heaven.
• • •
Chapter 150 — The Sage in the Dream Is the Sage Who Forgot Himself in the Dream: He Imagined Everything
1 The sage then said:— It was through this kind of reasoning that my sagely guest made me acquainted with whatever was worth knowing. 2 Then by pleading, I forced my guest to remain longer with me. He consented to stay at my house, which resembled the home of a dead, ignorant person. 3 The sage who spoke those instructive words to me, bright and cooling as moonlight, behold him to be the same venerable person who is now sitting beside you.
4 Without me having to ask, the sage gave me the following speech to remove my ignorance. It was as if Agni, the god of sacrifice, had risen out of the fire pleased with my sacrifice.
Vasishta speaking:— 5 Hearing these words of the sage, the hunter was confounded with wonder. He could not understand how the sage who explained the theory of dreaming was the same sage sitting before him.
6 The hunter said, “O, it is a great wonder, inconceivable in my mind, that the sage who expounded the nature of dreams is now manifest before me. 7 I wonder at this, O sage, that the sagely guest you saw in your dream and who explained the cause of dreams to you, should now be seen in this waking state. 8 Say, how could this imaginary sage seen in your airy dream appear in a solid body and sit calmly here, like the fancied ghost of children? 9 Please explain your wonderful story, in due order. Who is he and from where does he comes in this questionable form?”
10 The sage replied:— Hear me patiently, O fortunate man. Let me relate this wonderful story. I will tell it briefly, but you must not be hasty about it.
11 This sage who now sits by you, who I had then met, told me that he was a learned man and had come to tell me his tale too long to relate. 12 As he said these words, he remembered his former nature, which was as bright and fair as the clear sky at the end of spring season.
13 O, I also remember that afterwards I became a sage with an expanded mind. My heart was swollen with joy and I remained amazed at my wonderful change. 14 In that state of my life, I was happy from my desire for the enjoyments of the world. But I had been deceived like a weary passenger pursuing a mirage with eager expectation of water. 15 Alas, that the phantoms of the phenomenal world should so attract even the wise, just as the tempting fiends of hell deceive mankind only to mislead them. 16 Alas, even I wonder at how I was misled by my own ignorance. I was misled by my false knowledge of the world to this state of life which is utterly devoid of every good. 17 Whatever I am, I find I am full of only errors. There is no truth whatever in me, yet it is the error of errors and the greatest blunder that we should be so deceived and betrayed by unrealities. 18 I am neither this nor that nor any other entity at all. Yet it is a wonder that all these false appearances should appear as realities.
19 Then what must I do now to break my bondage to these falsities? I see the germ of error lying inside me. This I must tear off and cast away from me. 20 If there is a primeval ignorance prevalent all over the world, she, being a mere negation herself, can do us no harm. Now I must try to get rid of my error of considering the unreal as real.
21 That this sage is my teacher and I am his student is all a mistake because I am in and am the very same Brahman and the person sitting next to me is like the man on the moon or in a cloud. 22 Then I thought of speaking to that great sage of enlightened understanding. So thinking, I addressed him saying, 23 “O great sage! I will now go out from the body of this person into my own body so that I may see what I may be doing there.”
24 Hearing this, that great sage said smilingly to me, “Ah! Where are those bodies of you two that are blown far away in their ashes? 25 You may go there yourself, if you please, and see the matter yourself. By seeing their present state, you will know everything relating to them.”
26 Being thus advised by him, I thought of entering my former body. To reach the place where it was located, I united my soul (jiva) with his vital air (prana) flow. 27 I told him, “Do remain here, O sage, until I come back here after seeing my former body.” So saying I became a breath of air and fled from my home.
28 Mounting on the wind, I wandered through the air, gently blown a hundred ways like the scent of a flower. For a long time I was carried rapidly all about by fragrant breezes.29 Wandering long in this manner, I tried to enter that body through its lungs. But finding neither that or any other passage, I kept floating in the air. 30 Then with deep felt sorrow, I returned to my place and again became tied to that world by my returning affections for it. 31 Returned to my house in that place, I saw that venerable sage sitting before me, and earnestly asked him in the following manner.
32 “Tell me sage,” I said, “for you know all the past and future. Your all seeing sight allows you to know what all this is. 33 How was it that I could not find the person whose body I had entered or my own body? 34 I wandered throughout the vast expanse of the sphere of this earth, and searched among all fixed and living bodies there, but I could not find that opening of the throat from which I had come out.”
35 Being thus addressed by me, that high minded sage then said:— It is not possible for you to find with your bright and brilliant eyes unaided by my advice. 36 If you should search after it with the light of your yoga meditation, then it is possible for you to find it out as fully as one sees a lotus placed in his palm. 37 Now therefore, if you wish to listen to my words, then pay attention to my advice and I will tell you all about it.
38 Know that just like sunlight expands lotus blossoms in a lake, Brahma’s enlightening beams develop the lotus of understanding.
You can know nothing by yourself.
39 You once sat in meditation and dreamt your abstract reverie of entering into the heart of another person. You were confirmed in your consciousness of that belief. 40 You believed you saw the three worlds and the great sphere of heaven and earth contained in the bosom of the heart of that person you thought you had entered. 41 In this manner, as you were absorbed in your reverie thinking you resided in the body of another person, you happened to fall asleep and your hermitage in the forest suddenly caught fire and was burnt down.
42 The burning hut sent forth clouds of smoke to the sky. Blazing cinders flew to the sun and moon. 43 Flying ash covered the sky like a grey cloud or an ash-colored blanket, covering the blue vault of heaven with a canopy. 44 Wild animals fleeing from their caves and caverns let out horrible yells and growls. Bursting sparks filled the horizon. 45 Tall palm and other trees caught fire and appeared like trees of fire. Flying and falling fire cracked like clattering clouds. 46 The flames leaped high in the air and appeared like lightening fixed in the sky. The sky assumed a face like that of molten gold. 47 Fiery sparks flying far into the starry sky doubled the number of stars in heaven. Flashing fires in the open space of the sky delighted the eyes of ladies. 48 Blowing and booming fires, roaring in the hollow sky, startled sleeping foresters in the woods. They rushed out from their caves and caverns and wandered about in the forest. 49 Wild beasts and birds, half burnt in their caves and nests, fell and lay dead on the ground. Lakes and river waters boiled with heat and foresters were suffocated by fumes. 50 Young chauri bulls were burnt in the flames. The stink of burning fat and flesh of wild beasts filled the air with nasty stench.
51 This all devouring wildfire, raging like the fire at the end of the world, wholly consumed your hermitage, like a serpent devours its prey.
52 The hunter asked, “Tell me sage, what was the real cause of this fire? Why were the brahmin lads who dwelt in that ashram also burnt?”
53 The sage replied:— The vibration or effort of the will or designing mind is the true cause or incentive for the production or demolition of a desired object. Its inactivity is the cause for the absence of the three worlds. 54 As a sudden fear or passion causes palpitations of the heart, so an effort or desire of the mind is the mobile force that causes the three worlds. 55 The vibration of the Divine Mind causes the imaginary city of the world together with its increase of population and its rains and draughts.
56 The will in the Divine Mind is the source of the creative mind of Brahma, which in turn gives rise to the minds of the first patriarchs who transmit it to others in endless progression. All of this proceeds from the first quiet and calm intellect through the medium of vacuum. 57 The learned well know that the brightness of the pure and empty Consciousness shines in the vacuum of their own intellects. But the ignorant think that it is what appears to them, which is not the reality.
• • •
Chapter 151 — The Dream Sage’s View of Inexistence
1 The other sage, the one in the dream, continued:— Afterwards the whole village, together with all its dwellings and trees, were burnt down to ashes like dry straw. 2 All things being burnt away, the two bodies of the two of you who had been sleeping there were also scorched and burnt, like fire heats and splits a large rock.
3 Then the fire set upon satisfying itself by devouring the entire forest, just like the sea sat below its basin after its waters were sucked up by sage Agastya. 4 After the fire was quenched and the ashes of the burnt cinders had become cold, they were blown away by gusts of wind, just as the winds carry away heaps of flowers. 5 Then nothing was known about where the hermit’s hut and the two bodies had been carried away, or where was that imaginary city and its great population that had been seen as vividly as if waking. 6 In this manner, the two bodies disappeared. Their existence remains in the conscious soul as a memory of externals remains in the mind when the unconscious body is in the state of dreaming.
7 Therefore, where is that passage of the lungs and where is that jiva soul, the self of Virat, anymore? They are burnt away together with the vigor and vitality of the dead body.8 On account of this, O sage, you could not find those two bodies and wandered about in this endless world of dreams, as if you were awake.
9 Therefore know that this mortal state is like a mere dream that appears as if awake. All of us are only daydreams. We see each other like we see imaginary beings in our dreams. 10 You are an imaginary man to me, and so also am I to you in this intellectual sphere in which the soul is situated within itself. 11 Before you had been an imaginary being in your life, until you thought you were a waking man in your domestic life.
12 Thus I have described the entire matter to you as it has occurred to you, and which you well know by your own conception, perception and meditation of them. 13 Know at last that it is the firm conviction of our consciousness which shines forever in the emptiness of our minds like the glitter of gold. The intellectual soul catches the color of our deeds, be they fair or foul or a mixture of both, in its state of a regenerated spirit.
• • •
Chapter 152 — The Dream Sage Proposes Living with the Hunter’s Sage
1 The sage, the one in with the hunter, resumed:— Saying so the sage held his silence and lay himself in his bed at night. I was as bewildered in my mind as if I had been blown away by the winds. 2 After a long time, I broke my silence and spoke to that sage, “Sage, in my opinion, such dreams appear to have some truth and reality in them.”
3 The other muni sage replied:— If you can believe in the truth of your waking dreams, then you may also rely upon the reality of your sleeping dreams. But should your daydreams prove to be false, what faith can you place on your night dreams? 4 The entire creation from its very beginning is no more than a dream. It appears to be comprised of the earth and other elements, yet it is devoid of everything. 5 Know that the waking dream of this creation is more subtle than our recent dreams by night. O lotus eyed teacher of the hunter, you will shortly hear all this from me.
6 You think that the object you now see in your waking state in the daytime appears to you in the form of dream in your sleep. So the dream of the present creation is derived from a previous creation which existed from before as an original model in the emptiness of the Divine Mind. 7 Again, seeing the falsity of your waking dream of this creation, how do you say that you entertain doubts regarding the untruth of sleeping dreams, knowing full well that the house in your dream is not yours? How do you want to show fondness upon it anymore?
8 In this manner, O sage, when you perceive the falsity of your waking dream of this world, how can you be doubtful of its unreality anymore?
The hunter’s sage speaking:— 9 As the sage was arguing in this manner, I interrupted him with another question. I asked him to tell me how he came to be the hunter’s teacher.
10 The other sage replied:— Hear me relate this incident to you also. I will be brief, but know O learned sage, that I can easily extend it to any length.
11 I have been living here as a holy hermit for a long time. I have been solely employed in the performance of my religious austerities. After hearing my speech, I think you too would like to remain in this place. 12 Seeing me situated here, I hope you will not leave me here alone as I truly desire to live in your company. 13 But then, I will tell you sage that in the course of some years hence, a dreadful famine will come to pass in this place and all its people will be swept away. 14 Then there will be warfare between the raging border chiefs and this village will be destroyed and all its houses will be emptied of their occupants.
15 Then let us remain in this place, free from all troubles, in perfect security and peace, free from all worldly desires by our knowledge of the knowable. 16 Here let us reside under the shelter of some shady trees and perform the routine of our religious functions, just as the sun and moon perform their revolutions in the solitary sky. 17 Then many kinds of trees and plants will grow in this desert land and deserted place and cover the surface of this lonely place. 18 The land will be adorned with fruit trees with many singing birds sitting upon them. The waters will be filled with lotus beds, with the humming bees and chakora birds chirping amidst them. We shall find happy groves for our rest like the Nandana paradise garden of heaven.
• • •
Chapter 153 — Prediction of the Arrival of the Hunter; the Sage’s Self-Inquiry Results in the Conclusion that the One Soul Is the Cause of All
1 The other, dream sage said to the hunter’s sage:— When both of us are living together in that forest, remaining in our practice of austerities, a certain hunter will appear, weary with fatigue from chasing a deer. 2 Then you will rescue and enlighten him through your meritorious lectures. Then, from his aversion to the world, he will commence and continue to practice austerities. 3 Continuing in his austere meditation, he will desire to gain spiritual knowledge and will ask questions about the phenomena of dreaming. 4 Then you will instruct him fully in divine knowledge. He will become proficient in it through your lectures on the nature of dreams. 5 In this manner you will become his religious instructor. It is for this reason that I have spoken to you with the title of the hunter’s guru.
6 Now I have told you about our errors of this world, what I and you are now, and what we shall become afterwards.
The hunter’s sage speaking:— 7 Hearing what he said and learning all these things from him, I became filled with wonder. He was more amazed as I discussed these matters with him. 8 Thus we passed the night in conversation. After we got up in the morning, I honored the sage with due respect and he was pleased with me.
9 Afterwards we continued to live together in the same simple hut in the same village with our steady minds and our friendship daily increasing. 10 In this manner time glided peacefully upon us with the revolutions of his days and nights, and the return of months, seasons and years. I have been sitting here unmoved under all the changes of time and fortune. 11 I do not long for a long life, nor do I desire to die before the destined day. I live as well as I may, without any care or anxiety about this or that.
12 Then I looked upon the visible sphere and began to thinking what and how and from where it was, and what can be its cause.
13 What are these multitudes of things, and what is their cause? Is it all only the phenomenon of a dream appearing in the emptiness of Consciousness?
14 The earth and heaven, air and the sky, hills and rivers, and all the sides of space are only pictures in the Divine Mind displayed in empty air.
15 The moonlight of Consciousness spreads its beams all around the ample space of emptiness. It is this which shines as the world, which is an indelible copy in the air of Supreme Consciousness. 16 None of this earth or sky, these hills and valleys, is really in existence. Neither am I anything at all. It is only the reflection of the Supreme Mind in empty air.
17 What could be the cause of an assemblage of solid bodies when in the beginning there is no material cause for material bodies? 18 The conception of matter and material bodies is only a fallacy. What can be the cause of this error other than delusion of the sight and mind?
19 The person in whose heart I remained in the manner of his consciousness was burnt down to ashes together with me. 20 Therefore this vacuum which is without beginning or end is full with the reflection of Divine Consciousness. There is no efficient or instrumental or material cause of creation, except it being a shadow of the substance of the Divine Mind.
21 All these pots and pictures, these prints and paints before us, are only the prints of the Divine Mind. You can never get anything without its mold. 22 But Consciousness too has no brightness of it own, except its pure clarity. For how can a mere emptiness have any light other than its transparency? 23 Consciousness is the pure Intelligence of the extended entity of Brahman. It shows the panorama of the universe in itself. What else can the visible be and where else can they be seen? 24 There is only one omnipresent soul, uncaused and not causing, without beginning, middle or end. 25 He is the essence of the three worlds and their contents. He is something as the universal intelligence, and shows all and everything in itself.
• • •
Chapter 154 — The Sage Describes His Own Life and Admonishes the Hunter to Practice Becoming Established in Knowledge
1 The hunter’s sage continued:— Having thus considered the vanity of the visible, I remained free from my anxious cares about the world. I became passionless and fearless, without any ego and abiding in the state of nirvana. 2 I became without support and not supporting anything. I remained without depending upon anybody. I was quite calm with my self-composure and my soul was elevated and rested in heaven. 3 I did as my duty called, doing nothing of my own accord. I remained as void and blank as an emptiness devoid of all action and motion. 4 Earth and heaven, the sky and air, mountains and rivers, and all that lies on all sides and the sides themselves are nothing but shadows in the air. All living bodies are no more than the embodied Consciousness or intellectual bodies. 5 I am quiet and composed and manage myself as well as I can. I am quite happy in myself. I have no injunction or prohibition to obey, nor do I have to act an inner or outer part.
6 Thus I resided here in my even temper with the same course of my mind and actions. It is by mere chance that you have come to meet me here.
7 Thus I have fully explained the nature of dream and my personal self to you, together with that of the phenomenal world and yourself. 8 Hence you have well understood what is this visible world that lies before you, and also what these other beings and people are, and after all, what is Brahman. 9 O hunter, now that you know that these things are all false, you must have peace of mind with the conviction that all this is the representation of the Intellect in empty air. It is this that is dimly seen, nothing else.
10 The hunter replied, “If it be so, that I, you and even the gods are nothing, as you say, then all these are only the phantoms of a dream, and all men are no men, and all existence is nonexistence.”
11 The sage replied:— It is truly so. All and everyone of us is to each other like the apparition of a dream, like phantom dream beings in the panoramic cosmos of the world. 12These dream beings appear in forms according to one’s conception of them. The only one appears as many, like the rays of light. All these radiations cannot be wholly true or untrue, or even a mixture of both. 13 The imaginary city of the world that appears in our waking state is only a waking dream or an apparition of our minds. It appears like the appearance of a distant city that we never saw before.
14 I have fully explained all this to you already and you have been enlightened in the subject to no end. Now you have grown wise and know well all and everything. Do therefore as you may like best for you.
15 Though thus awakened and enlightened by me, your corrupt mind is not yet turned to reason or found its rest either in transcendental wisdom or in the transcendent state of the most high. 16 Without habit or practice you cannot concentrate your wandering mind in your heart, nor can you attain the height of wisdom without the practice of constant reflection. 17 It is impossible to attain the summit of perfection without your habitual observance of wisdom, just as it is impossible for a block of wood to contain any water unless it is scooped out to form a wooden vessel.
18 Habitual reliance upon wisdom and constant attendance to the teachings of the scriptures and spiritual guides, tend to the removal of the mind’s uncertainty between unity and duality and set the mind to its ultimate bliss of nirvana quietism. 19 Indifference to one’s worth and state, passivity to all worldly affections, refraining from the evils of bad associations, and abstaining from all earthly desires and cravings of the heart, 20 joined with one’s deliverance from the chains of dualities and freedom from all pleasurable and painful associations, are the surest means that lead the learned to the state of unalterable bliss of nirvana.
• • •
Chapter 155 — Agni Describes the Hunter’s Astonishment; the Sage Predicts the Hunter’s Tapas, Boon to Become Huge, and His Huge Body Falling on the Earth
1 The fire god Agni said:— Upon hearing all this, the hunter was lost in wonder and remained as dumbfounded as a figure in a painting of a forest. 2 He could not pause to fix his mind on the Supreme Being and appeared to be out of his senses and mind, as if he was hurled into a sea. 3 He seemed to be riding on the wheel of his reverie, pushing him onward with the speed of a bicycle, or appeared to be caught by an alligator carrying him speedily up and down in the currents of his meditation. 4 He was drowned in doubt wondering whether this was the state of nirvana or delusion. He could not find rest, but was tossed headlong like a headstrong youth in his foolhardiness.
5 He thought the visible was the work of his ignorance, but then he had a second thought, that this delusion of the world was the production of Providence. 6 “Let me see,” he thought, “the extent of the visible from the beginning. This I will do from a distance, by means of the spiritual body which I have gained by means of intense meditation. 7 I will remove myself to a region that is beyond the limit of the existent and nonexistent worlds. I will rest quiet in a place above ethereal space.”
8 Having thus determined, he became as dull as a fool. He set his mind to the practice of yoga meditation, as it had been taught to him by the sage who had said that no act could be fruitful without constant practice. 9 He left his habit of hunting and applied himself to austerities in company with sages and seers. 10 He remained long at the same spot in the society of sagely seers. He continued in the practice of his sacred austerities for very many years and seasons.
11 Remaining long in the discharge of his austere duties, the entire time suffering the severities of his difficult penance, he once asked his sagely guide when he would obtain peace and release from these struggles. The muni responded to him this way.
12 The muni said:— The little knowledge that I have given you is a spark of fire able to consume a forest of withered wood, though it has not yet burnt down the impression of this rotten world from your mind. 13 Without the habit of practice you cannot have transcendental bliss in knowledge. With practice, it is possible to attain it in the course of a long time. 14 Such truly will be your case if you will rely upon my assurance of this and wear my words as a jewel about your ears, knowing them to be forecasting events in this world.
15 You praise the unknown spirit of God in your ignorance of his nature. Your mind is hanging in uncertainty between your knowledge and ignorance of divine nature. 16 You are led of your own accord to inquire into the nature and extent of the cosmos, which is only a phantom of delusion. 17 For ages you will be employed this way in your difficult understanding of making this research, until Brahma the creative power will appear before you. He will be pleased with your investigation into his works. 18 Then you will ask a favor of your blessing god, that he release you from your heavy doubt of the reality or delusiveness of the world.
You will ask, saying, 19 Lord! I see the cosmic panorama of the phenomenal world spread out everywhere like a delusion before our sight, but I want to see a place which exhibits the true mirror of the Divine Mind and which is free from the blemish of all that is visible. 20 The mirror of the empty mind, though as minute as an atom, yet represents the reflection of this vast universe in some part or other within it. 21 Therefore I want to know how far this boundless world extends for only our misfortune, and how far the sphere of ethereal space stretches beyond it. 22 It is for this that I ask your good grace, to make me acquainted with the infinite space of the universe. Accept my prayer, O you lord of the gods, and readily grant this my request.”
23 “Strengthen and immortalize my body and make it mount upon the regions of sky with the speed of the garuda bird of heaven. 24 Make my body increase to the length of a league each moment until it encircles the world like its surrounding sky. 25 Let this preeminent favor be granted to me, O great and glorious god, that I may reach beyond the bounds of the sky which surrounds the sphere of the visible world.”
26 Being thus supplicated by you, O righteous man, the lord will say to you, “Be it as you desire,” then he will disappear like a vision from your sight, vanishing into the air with his attendant gods along with him. 27 After the departure of Brahma with his accompanying deities to their divine abodes in heaven, your thin and lean body, emaciated by your austerities, will assume a brightness like that of the brilliant moon. 28 Then bowing down to me and getting my leave, your radiant body will mount to the sky instantly in order to see the object of your desire which is settled in your mind.
29 It will rise high into the air like a second moon, and higher still than the bright sun itself. It will blaze above as brightly as a burning fire defying the brightness of the luminaries. 30 Then it will fly upwards in the empty sky with the force of the strong winged garuda, running forward with the speed of a running current to reach the ends of the world. 31 Having gone beyond the limit of the world, your body will increase in its bulk and extent and become as swollen as the ocean at the time of dissolution when it covered the face of the entire universe.
32 There you will find your body growing bigger and bigger still, like a big cloud filling the empty space of air which is devoid of all created things. 33 This is the great emptiness of the Divine Spirit, filled with the chaotic confusion of elements flying about like whirlwinds. It is the unbounded ocean of the Infinite Mind swelling with the waves of its perpetual thoughts. 34 Within this deep and dark emptiness you will find numberless worlds and created bodies hurling headlong in endless succession, just as you perceive a continuous series of cities and other objects appearing in your dreams.
35 As the torn leaves of trees are seen tossed about in the air by a raging storm, so you will see multitudes of worlds hurled to and fro in the immensity of the Divine Mind. 36 As the passing world presents a faint and insubstantial appearance to one looking down at it from the top of a high citadel, so all these worlds appear as mere shadows when viewed from above in their spiritual light. 37 As the people of this world see black spots on the moon that are never observed by the moon’s inhabitants, so these worlds are supposed to exist in the Divine Spirit. But in reality they are nothing other than the fleeting ideas of the Infinite Mind.
38 Thus you will continue to worlds after worlds, moving in the midst of successive spheres and skies, passing a long time viewing creation stretching to no end. 39 After seeing multitudes of worlds crowding the heavens like the leaves of trees, you will be tired to see no end of them in the endless abyss of Infinity. 40 Then you will be annoyed at this result of your meditation and the expansion of your body that allowed you to observe the immensity of space.
41 “Of what good is this big body which I bear like a heavy burden upon me? It is so big that by comparison, millions of mountain ranges a great as Mount Meru shrink away like bits of straw. 42 My boundless body fills the whole space of the sky but answers no purpose whatever that I can possibly think of. 43 My heavy body measures the whole space of the visible world, yet remains in the darkness of ignorance without its spiritual knowledge, which is the true light of the soul.”
44 “Therefore I must cast off this huge body, which is of no use to me to acquire knowledge or to keep company with wise and holy men. 45 Of what good is this big and bulky body to scan the unknowable infinity of the endless and unsupported Brahman, whose essence contains and supports the whole of this universe?”
46 Thinking so in yourself, you will throw away your bloated body by exhaling your breath. Then you escape your frame like a bird casts off the skin of a fruit after sucking its juice. 47 After casting off the mortal lump and turmoil of your body, your soul will rest in empty air accompanied with its respiratory breath of life, which is more slender than the subtle ether. 48 Then your big body will fall down on earth, just like when the great Mount Meru fell on the ground when angry Indra cut off its wings. Your body will crush all earthly beings and smash mountains to dust underneath. 49 Then the dry and starved goddess Kali, with her hungry host of Matris and spirits, will devour your prostrate body and restore the earth to its purity by clearing it of its annoyance.
50 Now you have heard me fully describe your future fate. Therefore go to the tali forest that is some distance away and remain there practicing your austerities as well as you may like.
51 The hunter replied, “O sage, how great are the sorrows that are awaiting me, and which I am destined to undergo in my vain pursuit after knowledge. 52 Pray tell me sage. Do you have anything to say how I may avert the great disaster that you have predicted? Tell me also, is there any means to avoid the destined evil?”
53 The sage replied:— There is no person and no power whatever that is ever able to prevent the eventualities of fate. All attempts to avert them are thrown on one’s back. 54There is no human power to change the relative positions of the limbs of one’s body, so there is no possibility to alter the decree of fate. 55 The knowledge of the science of astrology serves only to acquaint us with the events of our fate. There is nothing in it that can help us to counteract the arrows of adverse fortune. 56 Therefore those men are blessed who, with their knowledge of sovereign predestination, are still employed in their present duties, and who after the death and burning of their bodies, rest in the eternal peace of Brahman in their consciousness.
• • •
156 — The Hunter Becomes King Sindhu and Defeats King Viduratha; His Minister Explains the Events of Viduratha, Lila, and Saraswati
1 The hunter asked, “Sage, tell me what will become of my soul that remained in the air and my body that fell on the earth?”
2 The hunter’s sage replied:— Listen carefully as I tell you what will become of your lost body on earth and your living soul sustained in the air.
3 The body being withdrawn from your whole self, your soul will assume an aerial form and will remain in empty air united with its vital breath. 4 In that airy particle of your soul, you will find the surface of the earth situated in the recess of your mind. You will see it as clearly as see the world in your dream. 5 Then, from the inner desire of your heart and in the fullness of your mind you will see that you have become the sovereign lord of this wide extended world.
6 The will of this idea rises of itself in your mind. You have become a king named Sindhu who is highly honored by men. 7 When you are eight years of age, your father will depart from this mortal world and leave you this extensive earth, reaching to its utmost boundaries of the four seas. 8 On the borders of your kingdom you will find a certain lord named Viduratha who will rise as your enemy. You will find it difficult to conquer him.
9 Then you will reflect upon your past and peaceful reign of a full hundred years. You will think of the pleasures you have so long enjoyed in the company of your consort and attendants. 10 “What a misfortune that this lord of the bordering land has now risen against me in my old age, putting me to the trouble of waging a formidable warfare against him.” 11 As you are thinking in this way, there will occur the great war between you and that lord of the land. All the four branches of your army will be greatly defeated and reduced. 12 In that great war, you will succeed and kill that Viduratha by striking him with your sword while standing on your chariot.
13 Then you will become the sole lord of this earth to the limits of its four oceans. You will become dreaded and honored by all, like the regents of all the sides of heaven. 14Having thus become the sovereign monarch of the earth, reigning over it under the name of mighty Sindhu, you will pass your time conversing with the learned scholars and ministers of your court. 15 The minister will say, “O lord, it is a mighty wonderful deed that you have achieved by killing the invincible Viduratha in single combat.”
16 Then you will say, “Tell me, O good man, how did this Viduratha grow powerful to become so very rich and possess forces as numerous as the waves of ocean? What caused him to rise against me?”
17 The minister will reply, “This lord has Lila as his lady. She had won the favor of the fair goddess Saraswati, the support of the world, by her extreme devotion to her. 18 The kind goddess took this lady as her foster-daughter and enabled her to achieve all her actions, even to obtain her liberation with ease. 19 It is by favor of this goddess that this lady Lila was able to annihilate you with a single nod or word. Therefore it was no difficult task for her to destroy you all at once.”
20 Sindhu then will answer him saying, “If what you say is true, it is wonderful indeed. Then how could the invincible Viduratha be slain by me in warfare? 21 If he was so highly favored by the goddess, how could he not get the better of me in combat?”
22 The minister will reply, “Because he always prayed to the goddess with earnestness of his heart to give him liberation from the cares and troubles of this world. 23 Now then, O lord, this goddess, who knows the hearts of all men and confers to all the objects of their desire, gave you the victory you sought and by your hands conferred on Viduratha the liberation he sought.”
24 Then Sindhu will respond, saying, “If that is so, then I must ask. Why didn’t the goddess confer the blessing of liberation on me also? I have been so earnestly devoted to her at all times.”
25 The minister will then reply, “This goddess resides as intelligence in the minds of all men and as conscience in the hearts of all individual beings. She is known to all by the title of Saraswati.
26 Whatever object one constantly desires and earnestly asks of her, she is ever ready to confer as it is felt in the heart of everyone. 27 You, O lord, never prayed for your liberation at the shrine of this goddess. You craved for your victory over your enemies, which she accordingly has decided to confer upon you.”
28 Sindhu will then respond and say, “Why is it that this King Viduratha did not pray to the goddess of pure wisdom to obtain a kingdom like me, and how was it that I neglected to pray to her for my final liberation as he did? 29 And why is it that the goddess knowing the desire of my heart for liberation, left me only to desire it without attempting to seek after it?”
30 To this the minister will reply saying, “The tendency of doing evil is inherent in your nature, so you neglected to bow down to the goddess and pray to her for your liberation. 31 It is well known since the creation of the world that intrinsic disposition forms the nature of man. This truth being evident to all from their boyhood to age, there is nobody to ignore or repudiate it at anytime. 32 The purity or impurity of the inner heart, to which one is habituated by his long practice and habit, continues to prevail over all his qualities and actions to the very end. There is no power to deny it in any manner.”
• • •
Chapter 157 — The Minister Explains Creation and King Sindhu’s Tamasic Nature; the King Retires and Attains Nirvana
The hunter’s sage
1 Then King Sindhu will say, “Tell me sage. What kind of a bad person was I? How ignorant was I that I still retain the evil propensities of my past life and am doomed to be reborn in this earth.”
2 The minister will say in his reply, “Hear me attentively for a while, O king. I will tell you this secret which you require me to relate. It will surely remove your ignorance.”
3 “There is a self existent and being without decay from all eternity, without its beginning or end. It is called the great Brahman and it is known here under the names of ‘I’ and ‘you’ and ‘this’ and ‘that.’
4 I am that self same Brahman by the consciousness of my self reflection. This becomes the living principle with the power of reasoning. This power does not forsake its personality. 5 Know that this Consciousness is a spiritual substance with a form rarer and more transparent than that of the subtle ether. This is the only being in existence and there is nothing in it which is of a material substance.”
6 “This formless takes the form of the mind by being combined with the act of willing. It sees this and the next world in its state of life and death, and of waking and sleep. 7 The mind, though formless, stretches itself into the form of the world of phenomena, just as the formless air expands itself in the form of vibration in all material bodies. 8 The world is identical with the mind, just as the seeming and visible sky is the same as empty emptiness. So the material is the same as the intellectual and there is no difference whatever between the material and mental worlds. 9 This network of worlds resides in the mind, in their immanent impressions in it. In reality, the outer world is only the formless mind. The cosmos consists of ideas in the formless mind. Its appearance of form has no real substance in it.”
10 “At first there arose the pure personality of the impersonal and Universal Spirit of God in the person of the creative power known under the name of Brahma. This personal god assumed to himself the name of Ego from his will of creation. The undivided spirit was divided into many impure personalities from its desire of becoming many.”
11 Then Sindhu will say, “Tell me sage, what you mean by impure bodies and personalities? How and from where come these names of the Supreme Being, the Indefinite One?”
12 The teacher-minister will reply saying, “As all embodied beings possess bodies with organs and limbs, so the bodiless spirit is comprised of an infinite variety of minor spiritual forms under it. These are known as good or bad spirits. 13 The very same one spirit then calls all these different parts of itself by various names. The incorporeal spirit assumes to itself an endless variety of material and land and water natures and names. 14 Thus the Universal Spirit continues to exhibit in itself all the various forms of this imaginary world at its own will. It gives a distinct name and nature to each and everyone of these representations of itself.”
15 “When the Divine Spirit decided to conceal itself into the personality of Brahma, and in those of me or you and other individualities, it became altered from its state of original holiness and purity to those of impurity and foulness, known as passion and inertia. 16 The unalterable pure nature of the holy spirit of God, being thus transformed to un-holiness, passed into different states of impurity in the living souls of beings.”
17 “The spirit of God is breathed as the living soul in an animal body. The soul that comes to perceive its imprisonment in flesh and its doom to suffering is said to be of the pure sattva nature. 18 Those who, while still living in the world, possess politeness and good qualities, are said to be of a sattva good nature. 19 Those who are born repeatedly, destined to the enjoyments of life until their final liberation at the end, are designated as having a rajas nature. 20 Those souls who are born in this lower world who are inclined to practice only their manly virtues are famed as having merely rajas nature. They are few in number.”
21 “Those souls who have been undergoing repeated reincarnations since the beginning of creation, and who are continually wandering in bodies of inferior beings, are said by the wise to belong to the species having the most impure tamas nature. Even so, it is possible for them to attain their salvation in the end. 22 Those who have been wandering in many births in the forms of vile animals, until they attain their salvation at the end, are designated as merely viletamas nature by the wise who are versed in the distinction of classes.”
23 “Philosophers have classed the emanated souls of beings into many grades and species among which, O my respected sage, your soul is reckoned among the vilest of the vile tamas nature. 24 I know you have passed through many births of which you know nothing. These have been as various as they were filled with the different scenes of life. 25 In vain you have passed all your lives doing nothing that is useful, most particularly your late sky life with that gigantic body of yours. 26 Being thus born with the vile class of your soul, it is difficult for you to obtain your liberation from the prison house of this world.”
27 Sindhu will then say in his response, “Tell me sage. How can I divest myself of this inborn vile nature of my soul so that, by your counsel, I may learn to live and purify my soul to correct the conduct of my life? 28 There is nothing in all these three worlds that is hard to acquire through earnest endeavor and intense application. 29 As a failure of the previous day is corrected by its correction today, so one can purify the pristine impure soul by pious acts of the present day. 30 Whoever yearns for anything and labors hard is sure to gain it in the end. The negligent are sure to meet with failure. 31 Whatever a man is intent upon doing and tries to effect at all times, and whatsoever one desires with earnestness and is constantly devoted to its pursuit, he is to succeed and have his object without fail.”
32 The hunter’s sage related:— The king being thus instructed by his minister, was determined to resign the burden of his state, and to renounce his realm and royalty even at that very moment. 33 He wished to retire to some far distant forest, and he asked his ministers to manage his kingdom. But they declined to take the charge, though the state was free from all its enemies.
34 He then remained in the company of wise men, enlightened by their discourses like sesame seeds became fragrant by being placed in a heap of flowers. 35 Then from his inquiries into the mysteries of his life and birth, and into the causes of his confinement in this world, he obtained the knowledge of his liberation. 36 Thus by means of his continued inquiries into truth and his continual association with the wise and good, the soul of Sindhu attained a sanctity so holy that compared to it, the prosperity of Brahma is like a bit of straw or the dried leaf of a withered tree tossed about by the winds of the sky.
• • •
Chapter 158 — Agni Completes the Story of the Fall of the Hunter’s Huge Body
1 The hunter’s sage resumed and said:— I have thus related these future events to you as if they were past accounts. Do now, O hunter, what you wish and think best for yourself.
2 Agni the god of fire said:— Hearing these words of the sage, the hunter remained aghast in wonder for a while. Then rising with the sage, they went to bathe themselves in the nearest pool. 3 In this manner they continued together, conducting their religious austerities and discussions at the same place, remaining in terms of disinterested friendship with one another. 4 After some time the muni sage met with his final extinction in the state of nirvana. By casting off his mortal body, he obtained his last rest in the state of transcendent tranquility.
5 In course of time and the lapse of ages, it pleased the god Brahma to give the hunter a call in order to confer upon him the object of his desire. 6 The hunter, unable to resist the impulse of his longing, begged to obtain the very same favor blessing of his god which the sage had predicted to him. 7 “Be it so,” said the god, and he returned to his favorite abode. The hunter flew aloft into the open air in order to enjoy the fruits of his austere meditation.
8 He flew with incredible velocity to the extensive empty space which lies beyond the spheres of worlds. It was over the course of an incalculable duration that the ever expanding bulk of his body filled the regions of the upper sky, like a mountain range stretches across this lower world. 9 He flew with the force and swiftness of the great garuda, up and down and to all sides of heaven, until the huge bulk of his body occupied the whole area of open air over the course of an indefinite period of time. 10 Thus increasing in his size with the course of time, and infatuated in the maze of his delusion, he began to grow uneasy in himself.
11 From the great anxiety of his mind, he suppressed the respiration of his breath until he breathed out his last breath of life in the air. His body dropped down as a carcass in the earth below. 12 His mind, accompanied by his vital breath, fled through the air into the body of King Sindhu who became the ruler of the whole earth and the great antagonist of King Viduratha. 13 His great body, resembling a hundred mountain ranges, became a huge mass of a carcass that fell down with hideous clattering of thunder, like one earth falling upon another. 14 At a certain time, it shines like a ball of hair (kesandraka). At other times it appears like a covering of a huge range of buildings in sky.
15 I have already related to you, O learned sage, how this huge carcass fell from above and covered the surface of this earth. 16 The earth where this huge carcass fell resembled in every way this earth of ours, which appears to us as a city in our dream. 17 Then the dry and big bellied goddess Chandi devoured this carcass, filling her bowels with its flesh and stuffing her entrails with its red hot blood. 18 The earth is called medini or fleshy from the flesh of this corpse which spreads over its surface with its prodigious bulky frame. 19 It was this huge fleshy body which was reduced to the substance of the earth over time. It received the name of the earth from the dust of this body. 20 This fleshy earth gave rise to forests and habitable parts. The fossil bones rose high in the forms of mountains from underneath the ground, which grew everything useful to men.
• • •
Chapter 159 — Vipaschit (Bhasa) Wanders; Indra Says He Has Still to Become a Deer; Indra Cursed by Durvasa; Bhasa Explains How All Possibility Lies within Brahman
1 The god of fire added:— Go now O wise Vipaschit, to your wished for abodes and with the steadiness of your mind, conduct yourself with proper behavior everywhere on earth. 2 Indra, the lord of the assembly of creatures, has been performing his hundred sacrifices in his celestial abode. There I am invited to attend by his invocation.”
3 Bhasa (Vipaschit) said:— Saying so, Lord Agni disappeared from that place. He passed through the transparent ether like the electric fire of lightning. 4 Then I was led by my predestination to roam about in the air and direct my mind to the investigation of my allotted acts and the termination of my ignorance. 5 I again saw an innumerable host of heavenly bodies wandering about space, holding their positions in different worlds containing inhabitants of different natures and customs.
6 Some of these were of the same form and resembled floating umbrellas in the sky. Their shining appearance and slow motion attracted the hearts of men. 7 Some of them were of earthy substance, but shining and moving onward like mountains in motion. 8 Some were of woody appearance and others of a stony substance. But they were all airy bodies, all moving onward in their uninterrupted course. 9 I also saw some figures like carved stone statues standing in the open space of my mind, talking together all their entire days. 10 In this manner, for a long while I saw many such figures, like images in my dream. I was quite bewildered in my utter ignorance of them.
11 Then I intended to perform austere meditation to obtain my liberation. The god Indra appeared to me and said, “No, Vipaschit. You are doomed to become a deer again. You are not entitled to liberation now. 12 You are propelled by your previous inclination to prefer the pleasures of heaven. Therefore I must direct you to dwell in my paradise and wander there amidst my gardens of mandara trees.”
13 Being thus bid by him, I replied and said to him, “I am weary, O lord, with the troubles of the world, and want to get my release from them. Therefore ordain my immediate emancipation from them.”
14 The god listened to my prayer and said, “Emancipation attends on the pure soul, cleansed from all its desires. This has already been explained to you by the god of fire. Therefore ask some other boon,” said he. I begged him to tell me about my next future state.
15 Indra replied and said, “I find you fated to be changed into the state of a deer from the fond desire of your heart to wander about and feed freely in the fields. 16 By becoming a deer, you will have to enter the holy assembly of Dasharata where another deer like you has previously obtained his liberation by listening to the spiritual instructions I had delivered there. 17 Therefore be born with your pensive soul as a deer in some forest on earth. Then you will come to recollect your past life from listening to Vasishta describe it. 18 You will learn there that all this existence is only the delusion of a dream, the creation of imagination. You will hear the account of your future life depicted in its true color.”
19 “After being released from the body of the deer, you shall regain your human form and perceive rays of holy light shining in your inner spirit. 20 This light will dispel the long prevailing gloom of ignorance from your mind. Then you shall attain nirvana, like the calm and breathless wind.”
21 After the god had said so, I had the conviction of being a deer in this forest. I entirely forgot my human nature under my firm conviction of having become a deer. 22 Ever since I have been living in these woods under my impression of being a deer. Ever since I have been feeding upon the grass and herbs growing on the mountain top. 23 Once I saw a body of soldiers coming on a hunting excursion. Being frightened at the sight, I started to flee. 24 They laid hold of me and took me to their place where they kept me for some days for their pleasure. At last they brought me to this place before Rama.
25 Thus I have related to you all the incidents of my life and the magical scenes of the world too full of marvelous events. 26 It is the production of our ignorance that pervades all things and branches out into innumerable forms in everything that presents itself to our view. There is nothing whatever to dispel this darkness, except the light of spiritual knowledge.
27 Valmiki relates:— Then, as Bhasa (Vipaschit) remained silent after speaking in this manner, he was approached by the well minded Rama with the following words. 28 Rama said, “Tell me sage. How can a person without any desire of his own see the object of another’s desire in himself? How could the deer which arose in your desire (sankalpa) be seen by others in Indra’s Paradise?”
29 Bhasa (Vipaschit) replied:— Let me tell you that the earth where the huge carcass fell was once before trodden upon by Indra with the pride of his having performed a hundred sacrifices. 30 There, strutting along with his haughty strides, he met the hermit Durvasa sitting still in his meditative mood. Believing him to be a dead body lying on his way, he knocked Durvasa down with his feet. 31 At this the angry hermit threatened the proud god, saying, “O Indra! As you have dashed me with your feet by thinking I was a lifeless corpse, so will a huge carcass shortly fall upon this ground and slash it to pieces and reduce it to dust. 32 And as you have spurned me as a dead body, so are you cursed to be crushed on earth under the falling carcass.”
33 He who before was the king of kings was transformed into a deer. He remained in that appearance according to his ideas. 34 In truth, neither the actual world is a reality, nor the imaginary one an unreality. In fact, they are the one and same thing, whether we conceive it as the one or other.
35 Listen now, O Rama, to another explanation which clearly settles the point in question. 36 He in whom all things reside and from whom everything proceeds, who is all in all and who is everywhere in all must be the one that you may call All and beside whom there is none at all. 37 It is equally possible for him to bring forth whatever he wills to produce as it is for him not to produce whatever he does not wish to bring to existence.
38 Whatever anybody earnestly desires eventually must come to pass to him in reality. This is as true as the example of light always being accompanied by its shade. 39 If it is impossible for the desire and its act, which are opposite in their nature, to meet together in fact, then it would be impossible for the God of all forms to be all things both in being and not being. Therefore, the objects of our desire and thought are equally present with us as the real ones. 40 There is a reality attached to every form of existence. There is nothing which of itself is either an entity or a nothing.
41 O the great magic of illusion which is over everywhere and pervades all nature in every form and at all times and binds all beings in inescapable delusion. 42 The nature of the great God comprises the community of spirits in his spirit. It combines in itself all laws whether permissive or prohibitive acting in concert and eternal harmony. 43 His infinite power has displayed the ignorance which spreads over all the three worlds from time with or without beginning. Only our delusion depicts all things in their various forms to our view.
44 How could the creation that was once destroyed by the great deluge come to resuscitate again unless it were a rehash of the memory of the past one? The elementary bodies of water, air, fire and earth could not possibly be produced from nothing. 45 Therefore the world is nothing other than a manifestation of divine nature. This is the verdict of the scriptures and the conviction of mankind from the very beginning of creation.
46 Things which have no sufficient proof for their material existence can easily be proved to exist by being considered with proper understanding. 47 Things of a subtle nature, imperceptible by the senses, are known in their essence by the understanding of the learned. Hence the essence of Brahman is pure understanding, of which we are quite ignorant owing to our ignorance of the Intellect.
48 The world is obvious to us from its form, just as air is evident by its vibration. Hence nobody is born or dies here. 49 That I am living and the other is dead are conceptions of our minds. Hence death, being only the total disappearance of the visible world from our view, must be as pleasing to us as our own deep sleep. 50 If the life or rebirth of a man is his ability to perceive the visible, then there is nothing in the world which is commonly called the life or death of beings. 51 At a time, the intellect appears a duality, and at other an unity. Both are nothing but intellect.
52 It is the reasoning of Divine Intellect that infuses its intelligence into all minds. What is life without the intellect and the faculty of reasoning? 53 The intellect being free from pain, there is no cause of complaint in any intellectual being. The word “world” and all that it means to express are only manifestations of empty intellect.
54 It is wrong to say that the intellect is one thing and the body is another because the Unity is the Soul of all and pervades all diversity. As waves and whirlpools are seen in waters, so are all these bodies known to abide in the Supreme Being. 55 The universal permeation of divine essence, like that of the subtle air, is the Cause of causes and the sole Cause of all. Hence the world is also a subtle substance, being only a reflection of Divine Intellect.
56 It is wonderful how this subtle world appears to us to be a solid body. It is only our conception of it as such that makes it appear so. But conception is no substance at all. Therefore the world has no materiality in it. 57 The demon of error reigns over us in its aerial form, deluding us to take the shadowy world as substance. In fact, this creation of error is as nonexistent and void as the empty creation of the intellect. 58 Hence this nether world below and the ethereal worlds above are as void as the super-physical world of Divine Consciousness. All these, being only reflections of the Divine Mind, are exhibited in various ways. 59 The Intellect being a subtle entity, there is nothing like a solid substance anywhere. Phenomena are all insubstantial subtleties, though they appear to us as solidified realities.
60 The knowledge of true reality and unreality are so blended together that we must remain in mute silence, like a block of wood or stone, to pronounce anything affirmative or negative about either. 61 The visible whole is the infinite Brahman. This universe displays the majesty of the great God. All these bodies are various forms exhibiting the infinite attributes of God. 62 In this manner, the substance of Divine Consciousness displays in itself. It is the empty spirit of God that manifests this insubstantial world in its own emptiness.
63 The number of living beings since the beginning of creation is unlimited everywhere. Of these there are many that exist either in their corporeal or incorporeal forms. 64There are spiritual masters and other spiritual beings living with their subtle natures and subtle forms in the Supreme Being. They live in groups in all elements, but never come to perceive each other even though they are of the same kind.
65 The liveliness of the visible world, being purely of aerial and empty form, is never seen in its true and intellectual light, except when it appears to us in aerial shapes in our dreams. 66 The world, being well known, remains as it does in our inner conception of it, like a hazy mist appearing to sight at the end of night. 67 When seen from a distance, the world is a dark and indistinct maze with nothing distinguishable in it. It becomes clearer from a closer view. By keeping far away you lose sight of it altogether.
68 As particles of water fly off and fall back into the sea, so do the atoms of consciousness in all living beings continually rise and subside in the vast ocean of the Divine Mind.69 This grandeur of creation is like the crowding multitude of our dreams which lay slumbering in the hollow space of the Divine Mind. Therefore know these emanations of Divine Consciousness to be as calm and quiet as the undisturbed spirit of God.
70 I have seen infinite glories of creation and I have felt the various results of my deeds to no end. I have wandered for ages in all quarters of the globe. But I found no rest from the struggles and troubles of the delusive world, except in the knowledge of the vanities of the world. 71 Ignorance appears as true knowledge since it is carried inside himself by Brahman as knowledge.
Chapter 160 — Vasishta Explains that Ignorance is Limitless and Is Brahman; Description of Heaven and Hell; the Mind, an Aspect of the Body, Is Carried Forward in Rebirth
1 Valmiki related:— As Bhasa (Vipaschit) was going on saying these things, the sun wished to put an end to his speech and proceeded with rapid strides to enlighten another world. 2 Loud trumpets gave the alarm of the departing day and filled the air on all sides with their swelling sounds. All quarters of heaven seemed to echo their joy of the fanfare of victory.
3 King Dasharata gave Vipaschit many gifts of money, maidservants and houses. He bestowed on him many rich and royal presents worthy of kings. Then he rose from his seat.4 The king, Rama and Vasishta, having taken leave of the assembly, saluted one another in proper order, then returned to their respective homes. 5 Then, having bathed and refreshed themselves, they passed the night in ease and rest. The next morning they returned to the assembly and sat in their respective seats.
6 Sage Vasishta resumed the subject of the previous discourse. He spoke his sweet words with such pleasure in his face as if the beautiful moon was shedding her ambrosial beams from her bright and cooling face.
7 Let me tell you, O king, that despite all his efforts, Vipaschit has not been able to ascertain the limits, extent or true nature of ignorance. It is not an error of the mind that makes the unreal appear as real. 8 The nature of ignorance, as long as it is unknown, appears to be eternal and endless. But being understood, it proves to be as nonexistent and as nothing as clear water in a mirage.
9 You have already heard, O wise monarch, the story of Bhasa, King Vipaschit. Now you shall hear of his liberation in his living state.
10 It is likely that he will become acquainted with truth from some or other source or discourse. Then he will be liberated in his lifetime by being freed from his ignorance. 11Since this ignorance is ever accompanied with Consciousness of the Lord himself, it is for this very reason that unreality is falsely taken for the reality. 12 If this ignorance is an attribute of God, then it is nothing other than the same God. The unknown or mysterious nature is nothing other than the inscrutable nature of God.
13 This ignorance is infinite. It produces endless offshoots like the sprouts of spring. Some are tasteless and others tasty; some are delicious, while others are ripe and intoxicating. 14 Some grow like thorny plants and are all hollow inside and outside. Others are straight and herb-like, such as juicy sugarcane. 15 Some of are unfruitful and unprofitable. Others attract the heart by their untimely blossoming, which only predicts evil without any desirable good.
16 Ignorance has no form or shape except that of its shapeless bulk which fills all worlds. It is a long and broad mass of darkness infested by demons and devils. 17 All that is visible appears to our view in the clear sky like false light and phantoms in the open air, and like the linked and twisted specks of light curling about in the sky. In reality, they are only fallacies of our vision. 18 The various scenes stretched everywhere in empty space without any connecting link between them are like the many colored rainbows of heaven presented by falling rains that melt into empty air.
19 The universe resembles a river swollen with rains, all its worlds like countless waves of water with dirty and foaming froths floating everywhere, revolving planets like frightening currents and whirlpools. 20 The world is a vast and dreary desert forever exhibiting waters of mirage on its surface while, in reality, it is only a body of dust filled with the ashes of dead bodies.
21 As a man wandering in the fairyland of his dream finds no end to his journey, so have I been wandering forever in the land of my waking dream without finding any end to my travelling. 22 The web of desires that I have been fondly weaving for so long, at last proved to be fragile and frail. Hence men of firm minds learn in a short time to abandon their desires for any of the whole panoply of visible objects. 23 All those objects contained in the empty space of Consciousness are like precious germs safely stored in the container of the mind. By our misconception of them, they appear like visible objects placed in the open space of air.
24 Those worlds are like the celestial cities of the siddhas, the spiritual masters who are situated in the air and are quite invisible to us. Those who do appear to our view are nonentities, mere phantoms of our fancy. 25 The heavenly abodes of siddha godly souls appear to be overflowing with gold, precious gems and rubies, with rivers yielding pearls and fields of diamonds. They are abundant with food supplies and rivers running with clear and drinkable waters. 26 They are said to abound with honey and wine, with milk and curds, with butter and clarified butter also. There are streams of sweet drink and groups of celestial apsara nymphs. 27 There fruits and flowers grow in gardens in all seasons. Heavenly apsaras are always playing in the tree gardens. All sorts of gains and enjoyments readily attend on anyone’s immediate desire.
28 There a hundred suns are shining on one side and a thousand moons on another. Some inhabitants are dressed in gold and purple while others are drinking their fill of nectar. 29 There is a spontaneous darkness in one place and full sunshine in another, and an everlasting joy in some place. The siddhas, the perfected spirits with their light and ethereal bodies, are continually moving like a breeze from one place to another. 30 Some meet with birth and death at each moment, while others live to enjoy the everlasting joys of heaven. 31 There are magnificent palaces and great honors of all sorts. It is filled with the delights of all seasons and with whatever is desirable to the mind and delectable to the spirit.
32 But these desirable blessings attending upon the pious deeds of virtuous find no place in the quiet minds of the righteous. 33 There is nothing that is desirable to the soul which is devoted only to the contemplation of Brahman. Say therefore, O you unholy, of what good are all these blessings if they do not lead to divine bliss?
34 If in the beginning there was no creation at all owing to its lack of a creator, say then, what is this world, of what it is composed, and how did it come into existence? 35 If the world is not produced by any cause and is nothing in reality, then how does it appear to exist? The everlasting will of God manifests itself in the Divine Mind, just as we see the display of our rising thoughts and wishes in our mind.
36 O you simpletons, it is the same as how you or I or he comes to see our imaginary castles in the air. It is by the stretch of our imagination, or the liveliness or flights of our fancies.
37 He whose sole pursuit and object in life is divine bliss comes to attain that supreme bliss after he forsakes his mortal body. 38 Whoever pursues both heaven and heavenly bliss through his religious rites and sacrifices in this life afterwards acquires both. 39 The siddhas reign in the said manner, according to the thoughts in their minds, while the unholy are doomed to the torments of hell owing to the sinful thoughts of their minds. 40 Whatever one thinks upon, he feels the same in himself as long as he possesses his mortal body. After he loses his material body, he feels it in his mind, which is only a part of the body.
41 When a living person quits one body for another, he carries the same mind he previously had into the new body. He sees the same things in its thoughts which he was accustomed to look upon before. 42 A good conscience has all pleasing prospects before it. A corrupted soul meets with ghastly aspects on all sides. The lofty mind sees only ethereal shapes in its emptiness. 43 Only pure souls come to enjoy the sights of these siddha cities in the air. Impure spirits are subjected to suffer their torments in hell.
44 There is a continuous rotation of unwieldy grinding stones that crush vicious souls. The wicked are hurled into blind wells or dark pits out of which they can rise no more. 45Some bodies are cast in frozen snow where they are frozen to stones. Many are thrown into the burning coals of devils, or led amidst the burning sands of trackless deserts. 46Clouds drop living fire and skies pour forth fiery showers and red-hot bolts and arrows darted down from heaven. 47 Stones and maces and swords float on the running stream of the sky. They fall like cloud fragments upon the chests of the cursed, breaking them like strokes of chopping axes. 48 Hot iron hailstones and brimstones fall with a hissing sound. Weapons are hurled from engines with a loud tremendous noise. 49 Missiles and bolts and maces, together with pikes, clubs, swords and arrows fall in showers. Traps and nets and hammers and clubs strike by the hundreds.
50 Hot, burning sands bury the dead. Burning meteors fall like torches while large ravens devour dead bodies everywhere. 51 The dead are engulfed by blazing piles from which they can never get out, while darts and spears and bolts and arrows are piercing other bodies all about. 52 Hunger and dismay and excruciating pains torment in turn the bodies of dead unbelievers. Others are hurled down from high hills and heights onto rough and hard stones below. 53 Some wallow in blood and roll in pools of dirt, rotten flesh and disgusting pus. Others are crushed under stones and weapons and beneath the feet of horses and elephants. 54 Hungry vultures and owls pick and tear at dead bodies, their limbs and guts cut and scattered all over the ground.
55 This is how men are influenced by sacred writings and their thoughts of punishment for their guilt. They suffer, both in their bodies and minds, the same way in which they have their inner impressions. 56 Whatever form or figure appears in the emptiness of Intellect, or whatever is dreamt or thought of at anytime, the same holds fast the imagination and presents itself before the mirror of the mind of its own accord.
• • •
Chapter 161 — Vasishta Explains Dreams and Waking Are identical; Nirvana Is
1 Rama said, “Tell me sage. Were these various events in the lives of the hermit and hunter due to any cause, or did they arise spontaneously?”
2 Vasishta replied:— These events are like the appearance of whirling currents in the vast ocean of the unknown Soul. They are continuously rotating in their airy forms in the whirlpool of the soul of their own accord. 3 As the vibrating particles of air are always in motion, so the current of thoughts is continually in action in the vast emptiness of consciousness. 4 Whatever issues from its source in any shape retains its original form until it is converted or restrained to another form. The aerial thoughts of the empty mind remain until they are drawn, painted or exhibited in another form.
5 The empty essence of Divine Consciousness inheres in every form it exhibits and derives from itself. It is like the substance of a body that permeates throughout all its organs and limbs, or the woody substance of a tree that is diffused throughout all the leaves and branches that shoot forth from it. 6 Brahman appears to remain permanent in some existences, such as in the four elemental forms of earth, water, fire and air. In other existences, he seems transient and impermanent, such as the frail bodies of mortal bodies, all of which abide in their aerial state in the empty spirit.
7 Therefore, all these various objects are only reflections of Consciousness impressed upon the soul. It is impossible for us to determine which of these is substantial or insubstantial or real or unreal. 8 All these are altogether unknowable except that we know them to be reflections in the emptiness of Consciousness. You who are totally ignorant of everything, do you think this visible world is real or unreal? 9 Whatever you see anywhere in the universe is only an exhibition in the emptiness of Divine Consciousness. What use is it to you who know the truth whether you believe the world is real or unreal? Therefore rely upon your belief of it as it is.
10 These forms of reflections rise of themselves in the Divine Mind, just as waves and billows exhibit themselves on the surface of the sea. They are the spontaneous offspring of the Divine Spirit. They are of themselves both causes and effects. 11 The display of the transcendent emptiness of the Divine Mind is called its will or volition, or its imagination and creation, or the creation of its imagination. Hence this world is to be understood under anyone of these interpretations, and not as being composed of earth and water.
12 This appearance of the Divine Mind appears in this manner and nothing besides. The Divine itself resides in Divinity and passes under the title of Ignorance from our ignorance of its nature. 13 There is no material grossness in the integrity of Divine Intellect. It is purely empty and immaterial and composes the whole universe. This is transcendental knowledge and its perfection is liberation.
14 The reflection of empty Intellect spreads over the whole universe. It is subtle and uncompressed, ever calm and quiet, and passes by the name of “world.” 15 Only the meditative man whose eyesight is fixed in his meditation, whose body is emaciated in penance, and whose mind is abstracted from the concrete and absorbed in reasoning, is capable of seeing the Intellectual world.
16 Whatever the empty essence of Consciousness exhibits in any form at any place, the same appears to be present there of its own nature. 17 The unthinking man and unreasonable soul sees only false sights in the midst of skies, just as one who is dim-sighted and blind by birth always sees a double moon in the sky. 18 Whatever is seen anywhere is nothing other than the unpolluted Brahman himself. The empty sphere of Consciousness, being forever clear and transparent, is never soiled by any foulness of gross matter. 19The intellect, without forsaking its pure form of self-consciousness, exhibits varieties of gross objects in the form of dreams within itself. So also, our consciousness of the world is like our dreams.
20 By comparing the statements of the scriptures with one another, and weighing them well with acute judgment, one will find his rest in himself. But the man of little understanding will not find it so. 21 The ignorance that floats upon the sea of your understanding does not contaminate my mind like dirt polluting a pure and clear stream. 22 As there is neither the earth nor any earthly thing to be encountered in our sleep, though we are conscious of them in our dream, so also the phenomenal world has no real existence, though we are conscious of it in our waking. 23 As the clearness of the Intellect, like sunlight or flaming fire, shows us many things in our sleeping dreams, so does its light exhibit the visible to our view in our waking dreams by day. 24 There is no difference between the two states of dreaming and waking. Both are of the same nature. The difference lies in how we understand them.
25 The waking man never understands his waking state to be a dream, but the dead man who rises again to life in the next world thinks that his past life was a dream. 26 People generally consider dreams to be of short duration and waking life to be of long duration, and that is a difference between dreaming and being awake. But while experiencing either, they both seem real and are similar to the other. 27 Sleeping and waking dreams, both having the same quality of presenting false objects to view, necessarily are of the same nature. There is no difference whatever in their outward features, just as there is no elder or younger between twin brothers. 28 Whatever is the waking dream, the same is waking in a dream. There is no difference behind the two states of waking and dreaming.
29 We know the inconsistency of the hundreds of dreams we have in the course of our lifetimes. In the same way, an unredeemed and unenlightened soul sees hundreds of waking states. 30 Living mortals may remember many sleeping dreams they have seen throughout their lives. In the same way the immortalized souls of siddha spiritual masters remember a number of waking dreams they have seen in their past incarnations in different bodies. 31 Thus our waking is as valid as our dreaming. Our dreams are equivalent to waking. They correlate with one another both in quality and our perception of them.
32 As the word “worlds” and “phenomena” means the same, so the words “dreaming” and “waking” mean the same and are interchangeable. 33 As a fairyland city in a dream is as clear as the open space of the Intellect, so is this world an empty void without the materiality that ignorance attributes to it.
34 The world is a empty substance which ignorance mistakes for gross materiality. Therefore I am as free as air and any other airy thing in the world. Only my imagination binds me to my gross materiality. 35 Therefore do not confine your free and unconfined nature in the bondage of gross matter. Never change the pure vacuum of your self to a material stuff, or impair your formless and intellectual self in a gross and finite form.
36 There can be no bondage or liberation of anything whatsoever in this visible world of our ignorance because everything is a mere reflection of the formless void of Divine Consciousness. 37 Here there is no display of ignorance any no misconception of anything. There is no bondage or release of anything whatever and there is nothing that exists or is nonexistent.
38 For us there is no ignorance or knowing of anything because it is only uncreated Consciousness that manifests itself in this manner. It reflects all forms in itself, as if they were all its dreams or creations.
39 As a man keeps his mind in check as he passes from one place to another, so should we keep our minds quiet and still between our sight of the visible and our dreams. 40One has his body and mind very quiet and calm in his sleep at night, and in the delay of acting on his sights and thoughts in the states of his waking and dreaming. This same state of lacking sense perception is what is called a yogi’s nirvana.
41 Know that our knowledge of a difference between objects is equally untrue as that of our waking and dreaming states. It is impossible for us to conceive of any matter existing in immaterial Consciousness.
42 Our knowledge of identity and diversity proceed from the same empty intellect which combines the unity and duality in unbroken union and harmony in itself. 43 Knowing all as parts of an undivided whole, all these are the same whatever they appear to be. Hence the visible, however diversified they may appear, are all one and the same principle. 44Hence the ethereal sphere of Brahman contains all in itself, who as an aerial point concentrates all in it. Creation, together with all its varieties, is the unity of Brahman.
45 Knowing all things as full of God, you must reject them all and rest yourself in the empty Intellect as the great rock of your refuge.
46 Now, O fortunate Rama, remain to act in conformity with the rules of your order and the laws of society and the requirements of your position and dignity. Continue to go on, eat and drink and rest in your usual course, rely upon your desired object, and always rest in the glorious and holy lord of your intellect, the supreme God of all.
• • •
Chapter 162 — Vasishta on Ignorance; the Folly of Worshipping Form
1 Vasishta continued:— All objects are convertible according to the conceptions of the empty intellect, so the entire universe is supposed to be seated in the hollow mind. Therefore both the outer sights of things and the inner thoughts of their forms are all only ideal images in the empty mind. 2 The world is only a dream and the form of an ideal city in the mind has nothing substantial to it. Therefore it is a quiet emptiness in itself, without having any diversity whatsoever.
3 The uniform display of Consciousness appears to us with many forms. Consciousness sees this variety, though not subjective to the soul, within itself, just as we see the fairyland of our dream rising within ourselves. 4 This world appeared in the beginning like the aerial castle of a dream in the emptiness of Consciousness. It was a mere reflection of the Divine Mind. Though it had the form of a false shadow, it remained substantive to the Supreme Spirit.
5 The knowing sage well knows this mystery, which is mysterious to the unknowing ignorant. The word “creation” bears the sense of both reality and unreality. 6 Both the knowing sage and the unknowing agnostic acknowledge the reality of creation, but neither can understand how it exists or communicate to the other their correct conception of it. 7 They both know the meaning of the word “creation” in their own minds. One has the sense of stability ever wakeful in their minds, and the other has the sense of its unsteadiness always waking in them. So they resemble the sober and drunken men who see the world in its steady and shaking states.
8 As the liquid waters in a river constantly rise in restless waves, so the rolling worlds push forward into being in the vast expanse of the Divine Mind. 9 These creations which are not of the nature of the intellect still have their seats in Consciousness, like the thoughts that rise and fall in it. Though these are invisible in their nature, they appear as visible things, like the fair objects and fairy cities in our dreams. 10 The spreading shadow of Divine Consciousness passes under the name of the world. This which is formless in itself appears as having a form, like the shadow of anything else.
11 It is a gross error to take the insubstantial shadow for a substantial body, just as it is a gross error to suppose the empty shadow of a ghost to be an embodied being. 12 The world is as unreal as an imaginary city and as false as a string of raindrops. Then why do you rely upon an unreality which is known from the experiences of both ignorant and knowing men? 13 Therefore, the words used to express this thing and that are mere empty sounds, like those emitted splitting block of wood, or those heard when waves crash or winds blow. The air conveys the empty sound into the open emptiness of the sky. But they are all unreal and meaningless and bear only a conventional sense with which it has no connection whatsoever. 14 The light of the Lord reflects itself in his creation. The reflection of his edict reverberates through the whole. In reality there is no sound or substance that is heard or seen in the universe.
15 Whatever shines or exists here is the transcendent reality of the Lord. Otherwise there is nothing that could appear at first without its cause. 16 Therefore, from the distinctions of words and things, know that the one is all in all and remain as quiet and calm as the indefinite and infinite emptiness itself. 17 Forsake the fickleness of your mind through the calm resting of your soul, the purity of your understanding, and by the even course of your disposition, because a fickle soul is troublesome in life.
18 It is one’s own self who is a friend or enemy to himself. If one will not try to guard and save himself by his own self, there is no one else to do it for him. 19 Get over the ocean of the world while you are young. Make your good understanding the ferry boat that carries your body safely to the other shore. 20 Do what is good for you today. Why defer till tomorrow? You can do nothing in old age when your body becomes a burden to you. 21 Know youth is like old age if it is filled with learning. Consider infirmity as death itself in your lifetime. Youth is truly the life of the living, provided it is filled with knowledge (buddhi).
22 Having obtained your life in this living world, which is as transient as fleeting lightning, you must try to derive the essence from this dirty earth by availing yourself of the benefit of good scriptures and the company of the wise. 23 Woe to the ignorant who will not seek their salvation in life, who are sinking in the pits of mud, and who never strive to lift themselves above the mire.
24 The ignorant rustic is afraid at the sight of earthen images of ghosts and bows down to them, something those who are acquainted with the meaning of the word ghost would never do. 25 Those who see God in an idol or in his visible creation are misled to think it is their god and worship it as such. Those who know the true meaning of the term never worship any visible object.
26 As things in motion come to rest, the visible disappears from the sight of learned men who are acquainted with their true meaning, 27 just as the sights in a dream, seeming to be true while dreaming, disperse upon waking and the realization of their unreal nature. 28 So this world, conceived as something existing in the emptiness of understanding, in the end melts into empty air upon our knowledge of its intellectual nature.
29 This living world is like a wilderness burning with the fires of various evils that are attendant on life. Here we are exposed like weak antelopes living upon our precarious sustenance. Here we are governed by our uncontrollable minds and restless passions and senses of our bodies. All these need to be subdued in order to obtain liberation from repeated births and deaths.
• • •
Chapter 163 — Means of Governing the Senses: Control the Mind; the Value of this Book
1 Rama asked, “Sage, I know that all knowledge is vain and useless without proper control of our senses. So tell me how the senses may be kept under control so that was can have a true knowledge of things unbiased by them.”
2 Vasishta replied:— The obstacles to self-control and liberation are addiction to enjoyments, displays of manhood, and devotion to the acquisition of the means of life and wealth, just as blindness is an obstruction to one’s sight of a light. 3 Listen to my advice, the least, shortest and best means to control your senses. This is sure to lead one to success by his own effort without struggle or trouble.
4 Know that the intellect is the person who manages you. Its power of reasoning makes you a living man. Whatever the living soul thinks within itself, it truly becomes the very same. 5 Let the strength of your consciousness use the pointed goad of your acute good sense. You will undoubtedly subdue your otherwise uncontrollable elephantine mind and be victorious shortly. 6 The mind (citta) is the captain of the army of your bodily and mental senses. If you subdue this leading mind, you will conquer the whole host of your senses, like a man walking in boots treads over thorns lying in his way.
7 You must settle your self-consciousness in your consciousness of the omnipresent vacuum of the Divine Soul, and rest yourself quietly in the cave of your heart. Then your mind will sit quietly of itself, just as the snows of winter settle down of themselves in autumn. 8 By stopping the action of your consciousness, you will also shut up your mind and put a stop to the operation of all its faculties. This you can never accomplish with all your meditation and austerities, your pilgrimages, your knowledge and sacrifice, and all other ceremonies and acts and duties.
9 Whatever occurs in consciousness must be forgotten or buried in the consciousness of the great God alone. So the forgetfulness of all enjoyments and their objects amounts to our victory over them. 10 We must try by all means to shut out the objects of sense from our consciousness. This state of being unconsciousness of sense objects is equivalent to the state of heavenly bliss.
11 Another way to preserve the steadiness of the mind is the contentment that comes from acting in conformity with the rules of our order. Therefore remain firm in the practice of your particular duties and seek no other happiness. 12 He who abandons his inclination towards the attainment of what is unlawful for him and remains content with earning his lawful gains is truly said to be a man of subdued desires, one who has self-control. 13 He who is pleased with his inner and conscious gratification and is not grieved at the unpleasant things all about him is said to have governed and subdued his mind.
14 By suspending the action of consciousness, the mind also comes to forget and forsake its activity. The sensations also become relaxed from their restlessness and the mind pursues discrimination and judgment. 15 The discriminative and judging soul becomes ennobled and magnanimous, keeping its command over feelings and senses. It is not impelled by the waves of its desires to be tossed about on the surface of the wide ocean of this world.
16 The man of well controlled senses, by his association with the wise and his constant study of religious works, comes to know all things in the world in their true light. 17 All worldly errors are dispelled by the light of truth. Otherwise, one must fall into the pit of misery by his mistake of falsehood for truth, just as an ignorant traveler is engulfed in dreary sands by mistaking a mirage for water. 18 The wise know this world to be the unknowable intellect itself, and that this material world is the immaterial mind of God. This is the true light in which the wise view the cosmos, and the wise have no fear of falling into the snare of error, nor do they require any release from it. 19 As the dried up waters of a river are seen no more flowing even slightly in their course, so the formless phenomena of the world never appear in the sight of the wise or leave the slightest trace in their minds.
20 Knowledge of the world as an infinite void and being freed from the false individualities of myself and yourself lead to the knowledge of a Supreme Self which is apart from all and the only Ego that fills the whole. 21 All these conceptions of our subjective, individual egos and the objective world are only errors of our brain proceeding from ignorance. They are all situated in the void of Consciousness and are void of themselves. All bodies are only empty shadows in air, as quiet as nothingness itself. 22 This world appears like a shadow of the Intellect in the emptiness of the same Intellect. It is a void within the void of Consciousness which is certainly a void itself. 23 Nobody can deny the similarity of the world to a shadowy sight in a dream. It is an unreal idea, as insubstantial as all ideas can be, and as the idea of a void is void itself. 24 A dream is nothing other than our consciousness of it and the airy realms that it presents to our view for a time. In the same way, Consciousness shows us the sight of the world without any action or passion or instrumentality of Consciousness.
25 So I am of the substance of the same Consciousness which is without activity, passivity or instrumentality. The world cannot be assigned to any causality or instrumentality, so it exists only in our simple conception of it. 26 As the conception of one’s death in a dream is no reality at all, and as the sight of water in a mirage is only a visual deception, so the sight of the world is no real existence at all.
27 The empty intellect first reflects its thoughts in the clear mirror of its emptiness, which is a mere haphazard of chance without firm base or support. 28 The world appears fixed and firm, yet has no foundation anywhere. It seems to be shining brightly with dark opacity. So know that this fixity and brightness is the permanence and glory of the eternal and glorious God.
29 The vital force of living beings displays the spirit of the ever living God. The air is his emptiness. Running waters show the whirlpool-like currents of the eternal Soul. 30 As every part of the body is a constituent part of the whole frame, so all the various parts of animated and inanimate nature constitute the entirety of the one cosmic Deity. 31 As a crystal mirror shows the shades of everything in itself, so the transparency of the Divine Soul exhibits the reflections of all things in it. The silent soul is as quiet as the mute crystal, but it shows the varying scenes of nature as continuously as a clear mirror reflects everything.
32 There is no beginning or end of the Supreme Being. We see dimly only what is in between. The rest is all enveloped in ignorance, though there is no ignorance in the Omniscient. 33 The living soul wakes from its sleeping dream then falls back to its waking dream. Thus it continues dreaming forever, whether waking or sleeping, which are both alike. 34 The soul only finds rest while it remains in the fourth state (turiya) of sound sleep. Otherwise, it passes from dream to dream, whether sleeping or awake. Dreams continually haunt the soul unless it is drowned in its sound sleep of trance (sushupti), the only resort of the wise. 35 But waking and sleeping, dreaming and sound sleep, are all the same to the enlightened soul. He is equally indifferent in all states, whether asleep or awake, and he is never infested by dreams or set beside himself.
36 The knowledge of unity or duality, or that of “I” and “you”, or the subjective and objective, never disturbs the enlightened. He views the whole as an empty void and is alike unconscious of all as well as nothing. 37 The distinction of unity and duality, made in the meaningless speech of the unwise, is laughed at by the enlightened and the wise, just as aged and intelligent men scorn and laugh at the pranks and idle talk of young children. 38 The controversy of unity and duality spontaneously grows in the heart like an indigenous plant which without pruning will not put forth its blossoms to perfume the atmosphere of understanding.
39 The discussion of unity and duality is as beneficial to men as their best friend. It sweeps away the dirt and impurity of ignorance from their minds, just as they sweep dust from within the doors of their houses. 40 The minds of men become settled in the Divine Mind when they share, communicate, and participate in each other’s joys and bliss. 41Men who are always joined together in fellowship, serving one another with delight and kindness in their hearts, attain enlightenment of their understanding whereby they are admitted into communion with the Most High. 42 It is possible for a man to be benefited even by his careful preservation of a trifle. But it is never possible for anybody to attain the most hidden knowledge of God without his diligent inquiry into it.
43 Whatever high position one may enjoy in this material world, if one does not remain aloof from all kind of vices, it is to be recognized by all as nothing. 44 What happiness is gained by the possession of a kingdom which in the end is no better than a mere annoyance of the mind? But the mind that has gained peace and tranquility in truth and divine knowledge spurns the state of rascals and kings as mere bits of straw. 45 The sleepy and the wakeful are both ready to see the visible and they are enraptured by the sight. But the saints who are calm and quiet and at rest with themselves are averse to sight-seeing and see only the one in themselves.
46Without painstaking and continued practice of contemplation, you cannot attain this state of infinite bliss. Know that this state of transcendent bliss can only be attained through intense meditation. 47 What I have said at length is to impress the necessity of intense meditation upon you. The evil-minded say, “What good is all this?” to me and neglect and take no heed of all that I have been telling you for so long. 48 The ignorant can come to the right view of truth by steady attention to these lectures, by long and repeated practice of meditation, and by listening and analyzing these lectures.
49He who reads this spiritual work once, then neglects it thinking he has already read it and turns to the study of unspiritual books, is a miserable fool who collects burnt ashes after the fire is extinguished. 50 This excellent work is to be read always, like the recital of the Vedas which are embodied in this work. This book is calculated to reward the labor of the student if constantly read with reverence and rightly explained with diligence. 51 From this book, the student will learn everything he can expect to find in the Vedas because this book embodies both the practical and the spiritual doctrines of the sacred scriptures. A knowledge of both is available by properly reading this work. 52 By learning this book, one may have knowledge of the doctrines of the Vedanta and Siddhanta scriptures, because this is the only book that treats the doctrines of all schools.
53 I have presented these doctrines to you because of my sympathy for you all. It is not by way of deception that I impose these lessons on your gullibility. You are the best judges of my discourse. You can well detect whether there is anything like deception in my instructions. 54 The knowledge you may derive by carefully weighing the instructions in this great work will serve you like salt that seasons the taste of teachings in other scriptures, which at best are only different dishes before this book.
55 The materialist who is familiar with visible phenomena discredits this book because of its occult teachings of spiritualism. But don’t be the killer of your souls by neglecting your eternal salvation. Don’t revisit this material world and become busied with your temporal affairs. 56 Biased minds cling to the dogmas of broken systems. Ignoble men drink the foul water of tanks dug by their ancestors. You are reasoning men. Therefore do not remain forever tightly bound to your ignorance.
• • •
Chapter 164 — How the Wise and the Ignorant View the World
1 Vasishta continued:— The atoms of living souls in the world are like the particles of light rays in the sun. These parts, taken collectively, make the one undivided whole. There is no division within the unity of God throughout the whole of creation. 2 By attaining the transcendental knowledge of all being the one and the one as all, everything loses its shape and form before us. Nothing remains as a distinct being or duality. 3 The true believer or knower of truth sees the same in all states and forms of things. This is the transcendent and translucent Brahman, and nothing else whatsoever at anytime.
4 All the ignorant know of reality is the objects of their senses, but we do not recognize ourselves or others or what the ignorant can sense as real. 5 An ignorant man’s belief in the reality of himself, yourself, and all others does not affect the knower of truth, just as the delusion of mirage never overtakes a man on Mount Meru. 6 As a man intent upon one object has no consciousness of any other thing in his mind, so one enrapt at the sight of only God is conscious of nothing else. 7 There neither is nor was nor shall ever be any such thing as the material world at anytime. The world in existence is the image of Brahman himself abiding in his spirit.
8 The world is the splendor of the crystal vacuum of the Divine Intellect. It exists in the emptiness of the Supreme Soul itself. It is from this perspective that the universe is seen in the yoga of abstract contemplation. 9 As there is nothing in an empty dream or in the aerial castle of imagination except the clear atmosphere of Consciousness, so there is no essence or substance or form or figure to this world that we see in our present waking state. 10 At first there was no creation of any kind, no world which appears to us. It exists in its aerial form in the Divine Mind from all eternity. There being no primary or secondary cause for the world, how is it possible to call it a material thing that has its own spontaneous growth?
11 Therefore there is nothing that sprang itself out of nothing, nor was there ever a creator called Brahma or any other name the ignorant might use. In the beginning there is nothing but an infinite void from eternity to eternity, filled by the self-born or uncreated spirit whose intellect exhibits this creation contained forever and ever in its emptiness.
• • •
Chapter 165 — Play on the Similarity between Waking and Dreaming; Real or
Unreal, Why Be Deluded?
1 Vasishta continued:— In the state of waking dream, dream is called waking. In the state in which we dream of being awake, this waking goes by the name of sleep. 2 The dream ends upon waking, the waking man rises from his dreaming, then falls back into his awake-dream. One awakened from his dream of being awake afterwards falls into his waking dreams. 3 The dream of the awake dreamer should also be called a dream, the waking dream of this world. Similarly, we can call the dream of being awake a man’s waking state. 4 Therefore the wakefulness of one who remains in his dreaming state can be called his waking state and not any dream. So also the dream when awake and the daydreams imagining airy castles are to be called dreaming and never being awake.
5 Whatever lasts for a short while, a temporary delusion or a flight of imagination, is called a dream even if experienced while awake. Similarly, being awake seems brief to the dreamer.
6 Therefore there is no difference whatsoever between the two states of waking and dreaming, other than the absence of one in the other. Both are unreal because they blend into one another. 7 The waking dream of the world vanishes when we become unconsciousness of the world at death. Similarly, the consciousness of dreaming is lost when we wake and know it was an airy nothing. 8 A dying person who does not perceive the vanity of the imaginary world on his death-bed has no hope of being awake in the next world. 9Whoever believes he is alive among the varying scenes of this empty world lives content with them. He can never see the visions that await him.
10 As the intellect displays its wonders in the exhibitions of the various scenes of worlds to the sight of one in his dream, so does this universe appear before the minds of men at the time of their waking. 11 These creations, so conspicuous to sight, in their transcendental light are at best only nothing. All the forms of things are like empty shadows appearing in our dreams. 12 The world with all its varieties of visible objects appears in a dream in its empty and shadowy form. It is equally empty, only an intellectual form, in our waking state.
13 It is the nature of the empty Consciousness to show the form of the world in its own space. So this earth appears to us in the spacious atmosphere like balls of light in the skies. 14 The wonderful display of Consciousness shines before us under the name of universe. These wonders are as inborn and innumerable in itself as watery and earthly particles are innate and diffused throughout nature.
15 What can you mistake as a reality in this unreal world that is an empty body in the infinite womb of emptiness? 16 The words recipient, receipt, reception, subject, object, and attribute are all meaningless with regard to this empty world. Whether it is a reality or unreality, we have no perception of it. 17 Whether the world is real or unreal or anything else, why should you mistake it for anything at all regardless of how you view it? It will amount to mistaking an empty ball for a fruit.
• • •
Chapter 166 — Story of the Unnamable Crystal Rock
1 Vasishta continued:—
The true sense of the word “soul” or “self” is to be understood from the title applied to it. This title of “soul” is borne out by the simile of a solid and transparent blue stone.
2 From the beginning of creation, the empty soul is diffused in itself. The reflection it casts in its own emptiness is what is called world or creation. 3 No river runs in it. No rock rises or falls in it. It is a mere emptiness existing in infinite void in which the intellect reflects itself without any action or bidding or command. 4 This reflection of Divine Consciousness is cast without any utterance of “word” and quite without its “will” or “thought.” It is without the device of any subsequent material, and this is the true sense of the word “soul” or “self.”
5 The soul itself is the whole world. There is no other expression for it. Being devoid of a name, it is expressible by no other name though they give many names to it. 6 Its name being nameless, whatever name they give it is not opposite but inappropriate. Therefore, what is the good of giving it a name or no name? 7 It’s all the same whether it is nameless or given a wrong name because all that is visible is nothing other than a display of the wonderful fabric of the Divine Mind. 8 Whatever shines in any manner and at any time in the empty space of the Divine Mind, the same shines forth even then and in that manner like the rays of that Intellect. 9 One calls it the soul, another nonexistence, and others nothing. All these are only the mystery of consciousness, but in fact, all are the attributes of soul. 10 The word itself conveys the meaning of “soul” or “self.” It is without beginning or end. No language can express it. In fact, it is an undivided whole.
11 Now listen to a long story which illustrates this subject. It will serve to gladden your hearts and ears by removing the duality from your sight and enlightening your understanding.
12 Know that there is a very large crystal stone which extends many thousands of leagues in space, stretching like the solid blue fabric of the sky all around us. 13 It is all one piece without any joint or parts. It is as dense and compact as a hard diamond. It is thick, big and bulky in size. But at the same time, it is as clear and far away as the face of the sky.14 It continues from countless times and endures to endless duration. With its pleasant and translucent body, it appears like the clear sky or the blank vacuum on high.
15 No one ever knows its nature or kind because no one has ever seen anything like it. No one knows from when and where it has come into existence. 16 It does not contain anything substantial in it, such as the material elements. Yet it is as dense and solid as a crystal and as impossible to dissolve as a diamond.
17 Yet it has innumerable streaks and marks embodied in itself. These resemble the veins and fibers on lotus leaves, or the marks of conches, lotuses, maces and discuses on Lord Vishnu’s feet. 18 These marks are named air, water, earth, fire, and vacuum, though there are no such things to be found in that crystal stone except that it possesses a living soul which imparted its marks.
19 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, how could that stone of yours have life or consciousness in it? The stone is an unconscious thing which is unable to give names to the marks on its body.”
20 Vasishta replied:—
That immense and luminous stone is neither a conscious nor an inert body. Nobody knows its nature and state, and there is no other like it.
21 Rama said, “Tell me sage, who saw those marks imprinted on the surface of that stone? How could anyone ever break that stone to see its contents and its marks?”
22 Vasishta replied:—
It is difficult to break this hard stone. Nobody has ever been able to break it because it extends over infinite space and encompasses all bodies within its space. 23 It is full of numberless spots in its spacious cavity. These consist of the marks of mountains and trees and of countries, towns and cities. 24 There are small and large dots in it with many forms and figures. They serve to represent the forms of men, gods and demigods, just as an outline shows the images of things. 25 Drawn in the crystal stone is a long line in the form of a circle which represents the great circle of the visible horizon. This contains the two central points, signifying the sun and moon.
26 Rama said, “Tell me sage, who saw those marks of such forms? How it is possible for anybody to look into the cell of a solid or hollow ball?”
27 Vasishta replied:—
It is I, O Rama, who saw those marks of different forms in that impenetrable block. It is possible for you to look into it, if you will only like to do so.
28 Rama said, “How could you, O sage, look into those marks inside that solid stone which, you say, is as hard as a diamond and incapable of being broken or perforated by any means?”
29 Vasishta replied:—
I sat in the very heart of that stone, so I came to see those marks and penetrate into their meanings. 30 Who else is able to penetrate that rigid stone besides me? By my penetration, I have been able to pry and pierce into the mysteries of those hidden marks.
31 Rama said, “Tell me sage, what is that stone and what are you? Explain to me where you are and what you are saying? What are those things that you have seen and what is their meaning that you have penetrated?”
32 Vasishta replied:—
It is the Supreme Soul, the sole entity and calm reality. This is represented by a figure of speech as the great crystal stone that I have been describing. 33 We are all situated in the cavity of this Supreme Spirit. The three worlds form the flesh of this Great Being who is devoid of all substantiality.
34 Know that the spacious firmament is a part of this solid rock, and the ever flying winds are fragments of its body. Fleeting time and impermanent sounds, together with all our varying actions, desires and imaginations of our minds, are all only insubstantial particles of its substance. 35 Earth, air, water and fire, as well as emptiness and understanding, together with our egoism and sensibilities, are only portions of its totality. 36 We all are only bits of the great rock of the Supreme Soul. Everything whatever that is in existence proceeds from that source. We know of no other cause or causality whatsoever. 37 This large stone is the great rock of Divine Consciousness. There is nothing beside or beyond its intelligence. Tell me if there is any such thing and what it does?
38 All things, whether a pot or cot, a picture or anything else, are only mere ideas. They appear in us as our dreams and rise before us like waves in water. 39 All is the substance of Brahman and the essence of the great Consciousness which fills and pervades the whole. Therefore know that all these are one with the substantiality of the Supreme Spirit, and all is as quiet and calm as itself.
40 Thus all this fullness is situated in the space of the great rock of the Intellect. It is without beginning, middle or end and without any hole or doorway. Therefore it is only the Supreme Soul which contemplates in itself and produces this ideal creation of the universe which passes under the name of the visible or material world.
Chapter 167 — Words Cannot Describe Consciousness, Not Even Awake, Dream, Sleep or Turiya; Use Reasoning to
Acquire Knowledge and Rest in Aum
1 Vasishta continued:— The four titles under which the world is known in its different senses — namely, the self-styled, the misnamed, the nameless, and the otherwise named — are all meaningless to the knower of truth. 2 These different words do not disturb the mind of the knower of truth whose soul is at rest in the Supreme Spirit and who pays no regard to the use of words.
3 All that is visible rises from Consciousness and bears no name of its own. They are pure vacuum and appear to us in their simple, empty forms. 4 This soul and, and this its title, are all false conceits and creations of the brain. The spirit admits of no expression. Therefore, take no concern of any word but only the mind and its meaning. 5 Whatever appears to be moving or stationary or doing any action is as calm and clear as the empty air and as devoid of action as the Divine Soul. 6 All things, whatever noise they make, are as silent as the silent crystal stone I described. Though they seem to be always moving, they are always as quiet as the void of the sky, and as still as the inactive stone.
7 Though all things appear to be acting in their various ways, yet they are as motionless as unmoving emptiness. Though the world appears to be formed of the five elements, yet it is only a void without its own essence. 8 The world with its fullness of things is only a collection of your conceptions. It is full with the all-pervasive and transparent Consciousness that displays visions of great cities, like the empty sights in our dreams. 9 It is full of action and motion without any activity or mobility in it, like the passing city of our imagination. It is the air-built castle of our errors, like the fairyland in our dreams. 10 It is a false conception or idea of the mind, like the fading shadow of a fairy. It is the creation of our fancies, altogether insubstantial in its substantiality.
11 Rama asked, “I think of this world is a waking dream, a reproduction of our memories, because our memories present the absent to our view and bring outer objects to our awareness.”
12 Vasishta replied:— No Rama, the world is the reflection which the glassy mirror of Consciousness casts before us. The same appears to us even then in its empty form. There is no idea or thought of anything that lays a firm hold on the mind or has its foundation there. 13 Therefore, phenomena always belongs to the ideals of the Supreme Spirit. Fluctuating phenomena always abide in it, like surging waves playing in the calm waters of the sea.
14 The uncaused world exists of itself in the Supreme Soul. It becomes extinct of itself in the emptiness of the Universal Soul. 15 Everyone sees the world in the same light as it is reflected in himself. Hence the ignorant are always at fault for having a wrong view of it. But not so the wise, who know it as nothing.
16 Again, the lord god Brahma himself has exhibited the clear nature of his being according to the four states or conditions which are natural to the soul. 17 These are the three states of waking, dreaming and sleep, together with a fourth called turiya or the state of sound sleep. These names are applied to the soul by the Supreme Soul itself. 18 But in reality none of these four states belongs either to the Divine or the living soul, which is always tranquil and of the nature of an indefinite void.
19 Or it may be said that the soul is either always wakeful or in its ever dreaming state, or in a state of continuous rest and sleep. 20 Or it is always in its fourth state of turiya, which is beyond all
these triple states. But whether it is in this or that or whatever state, we know nothing as we are always in a state of anxiety and agitation. 21 We know nothing of the emptiness of the empty soul, whether it is like the chasm in foam or froth, or whether it is like the air in a bubble or spray, or whether it is like the gap between the waves of the sea, or what it is at all. 22 As a thing is known in imagination, so it is impressed in our conception of it. As anything appears either as real or unreal in a dream, we retain the same idea of it in our waking state. 23 All this is a display of our consciousness. Whatever reflection it exhibits to us, it is only an empty shadow in the hollow of the vacant mind residing in the emptiness of the empty intellect that pervades the infinite vacuum of the soul.
24 Consciousness is the core of empty Intellect, and it retains this form at all times. It neither rises nor sets. This world is inherent in it. 25 The creations in the beginning and the dark nights of dissolution are only parts of its body, like its nails and hairs. 26 Its appearance and disappearance, its clarity and dimness, are nothing other than the breathing air of the great Intellect. 27 Therefore what does it mean to say the soul is waking, sleeping, or dreaming? What does the term sound sleep or the turiya of the soul mean? So the word volition and lack of volition are meaningless when applied to the soul, which is always composed and indifferent.
28 Inner consciousness exhibits its inner concepts as outward objects. How then is there a duality or anything objective? What does the memory of extraneous matter mean? 29 All that appears to sight is without base or foundation. They are the reflections of our consciousness in open air, wholly devoid of any material object.
30 The external world is said to be real because it is a concept of the Divine Mind, out of which it has risen to view. Its cause is said to be memory because our memories of the first creation continue with us. 31 But there is no outward object at all because there is no material element, and there being no five material elements, there was no first creation. 32 Rabbits have no horns, trees do not grow in the air, a barren woman has no children, and there is no dark moon shining in the sky. 33 So this visible world and these personalities we think ourselves to be are misrepresentations of our ignorance. They are things invisible and nonexistent in themselves, seen and known by only the ignorant. 34 To the ignorant the world appears as a false body and they see the personalities and abstractions of persons. But there is nothing fictitious or abstract to the knower of truth who views all in one undivided Divine Spirit.
35 Consciousness, the nature or essence of the soul, exposes all these concepts to light. Consciousness is the manner in which it displays them to the imagination. That is how phenomena make their appearance to our sight. 36 Whenever our misconception portrays a concept in a material form, or gives a name and form to an airy nothing, we come to see in our imagination in the empty void of our mind.
37 The great Consciousness has the appearance of the sky for itself, which in ordinary language is expressed by the word “matter” consisting of the four elements. But the endless void is devoid of them. 38 The unchanging and un-decaying Consciousness bears only the form of air which it conceives by mistake to be the stable earth, just as imaginary men believe air-built castles to be real. 39 Consciousness, being an incorporeal substance, has neither this form nor that nor anything at all. It has vibration and rest in itself, like the breath and stillness of the winds in the air.
40 As consciousness manifests itself in its own sphere in the two states of its volition and no will, so the world seems to be in its states of motion and stillness taking place in the space of vacuum. 41 As the sphere of consciousness remains unchanged with the rise and fall of its thoughts, so emptiness remains unvaried with all the creations and dissolutions in its space.
42 The world is always in the same unvaried state, whether you call it so or otherwise. The seeming revolutions of bodies and succession of events are well known to be nothing to the learned and wise, but not to others. 43 The wise soul dwells in the hearts of all, which it views alike as its own self. But the ignorant soul, because it sees the outer world and knows the difference of bodies from one another, is unconscious of its identity.
44 What is there inside or outside? What is visible or invisible? All this, whether active or still, is in the Lord. Know all is Aum and rest quietly in that Aum.
45 There can be no reasoning without an insight into the meanings of significant terms. Consideration of both sides of a question leads to right judgment. Hence reasoning leads us to truth, just as light guides us through the darkness of night. 46 Therefore drive off the multitudes of diverse desires and doubts from your mind through the light of your understanding, and by your attention to the true interpretation of the scriptures. Then rise and fly above to the higher regions of light and truth and attain the highest, best and most perfect state of Divine bliss and self-liberation.
• • •
Chapter 168 — Forms of a Tree; the Value of Investigating Our Dreams; the Origin of Dreams & Creations Are Random; the Carved Image; the Process of Creation
1 Vasishta continued:— Like an unconscious tree displaying various forms in its branches, so the unconcerned spirit of God exhibits the airy semblance of creation in air. 2 Like the ocean describing whirlpools insensibly upon its surface, so the spirit of God exhibits these spinning worlds indifferently on the surface of its own emptiness where they are seen by all.
3 The Lord also gives internal faculties of the mind, understanding and egoism to the conscious part of his creation, and also many other powers under different names. 4 The material world is the production of the unconscious Intellect, whose volitional faculties are as loose as the rolling currents of rivers and seas. 5 The mind, understanding and all mental faculties proceed from Divine Consciousness in the same way as the whirlpools, currents, waves and surges rise on the surface of the sea. 6 A picture is nothing other than its canvas. The world, which is no more than a painting, is drawn on the canvas of the intellect. This is an empty substance with the luminous reflection of the world in it.
7 I gave you the example of the unconscious tree and sea which produce branches and whirlpools. This example also applies to Intellect which shows creation rising in its emptiness, not by an act of its intention or will, but by ordinance of fate which governs all things. 8 A tree exhibits various forms named like plant, shrub, flowers or vine. In the same way, the intellect displays its many features, like its flowers, called by different names like earth, air, or water. 9 The branches and leaves of a tree are not different from the tree itself. The productions of the great Intellect are nothing other than its very substance. 10 There are many things made of the substance of a tree and having different names. The productions of the Intellect and the offspring of a living being also pass under different forms and names. 11 The offshoots of the Intellect are all the creatures that grow in and rise from the mind. They appear to be the works of the mind, as if the mind caused them. But they are no better than the dreams.
12 Should you ask why these conceptions of creation vainly arise in the mind, I would answer that they arise like dreams in sleep, which you cannot deny enjoying. 13 As a tree displays various forms in its productions, and as imagination presents different shapes to our mental sight, so the Intellect is employed realizing many such creations in empty air.14 As the scents of flowers fly about invisibly in the open air, and as vibration abides inherent in the wind, so intellectual powers are intrinsic in the very nature of the soul. 15 These creations likewise are ingrained in the Divine Spirit, as fragrance is inborn in flowers, as emptiness is intrinsic in air, and as vacillation and speed are innate in winds. 16 As air, wind and a flower are receptacles of emptiness, vibration and scent respectively, so the Intellect is a container of creation, although it is literally only an empty emptiness.
17 Emptiness is nothing other than a vacuum, just as fluidity is not separate from liquids. Fragrance is as inseparable from flowers as movement is never separated from the wind. 18 Heat is not separate from fire, nor is coldness apart from snow. In this way, know that the world is in no way different or disengaged from the transparent, empty Intellect.19 In the beginning, the Divine Intellect sees creation appear in itself like a dream rising in the mind. Thus, the world having no extraneous cause and being subject to the Intellect, it is no way a diverse mass or different from the Divine Mind.
20The example of the dream is the best illustration of creation. You can judge creation well by the nature of the dreams you have every night. Say, what is there substantial in a dream other than it being essential to the Universal Soul? 21 A dream is not the effect of any impression in the mind, or the result of memories stored in the mind, because dreams show us many sights unseen and not thought of before. Say therefore, how does this happen? 22 If what is seen in a dream presents itself when we remember the dream, because it is not experienced, it implies that one thing is in two states. 23 Therefore these spinning worlds are like spinning whirlpools in the wide ocean of the infinite mind. They are the accidental appearances of chance. Whatever occurs in the mind afterwards passes for its dreams.
24 Creations are insensibly produced from the Divine Mind, like waves and whirlpools in the ocean. Afterwards creation receives its stability and continuity, just like whirling waters and ever rolling waves continue once started. 25 Whatever is born without its cause is equal to the unborn because the unborn are forever similar to those who have no cause for their birth.
26 As precious gems growing insensibly of themselves have their luster inherent in them, and as this brilliance is no substance or anything real at all, so the appearance of the world has no substantiality of itself. 27 Somehow or another, the world has its rise, like waves or whirling currents in a river, then it continues to go on like the continuous course of the stream. 28 There are numberless worlds of intellectual forms gliding in the vast emptiness of Consciousness, all passing like aerial dreams without any cause whatsoever. 29 All these again become causes and produce others. They are all empty forms, even the great Brahma and all other gods and angels. 30 All that is born in and produced from void (shunya) is nothing and void also. They grow in the void and return to emptiness.
31 Emptiness appears as fullness, as in the example of an empty dream that appears to be something. The man who denies his own perception is no better than a fool or a brute. 32 The unreal appearing as real is the fabrication of error and ignorance. But the wise man who knows the truth sees the world as the wonderful display of the Divine Mind.33 Long standing and deep rooted prejudice produces the false conceptions of the creation and destruction of the world. Wisdom is to know it in its true light, and foolishness is to take a wrong view of it.
34 The light of the Divine Spirit, once seen in this causeless void of the visible world, continues forever before our sight, just as a dream seen in our vacant minds remains ever afterwards in our memory.
35 The intellect presents the accidental appearance of the world to our minds in the same manner as the sea shows its whirls and waves to our sight. 36 Such is the nature of the Intellect also. It shows itself in this manner and exhibits spinning worlds only in its own ethereal essence. 37 Then the aerial Intellect, by a retrospective view in itself, invented certain words afterwards, an expression of its mental and intellectual powers as well signifying material elements and their properties.
38 Rama said, “Sage, memories are impressions left on the mind. If it is true that everything is the spontaneous growth of chance, then how can the mental power of memory suddenly be produced without memories? Please explain this to me.”
39 Vasishta replied:— Hear me, Rama, and I will destroy your doubt like a lion kills an elephant. I will establish the one unchanging unity like the broad daylight of the sun.
40 There is only a Universal Soul, invisible amidst the vacuum of his Intellect, like an un-carved doll remains unseen in the wood of every forest tree. 41 We can see a carpenter carving the puppet from wood, but we cannot see the Soul that carves the figure of the world from the great bulk of Consciousness. 42 The puppet does not appear in the wood unless and until it is carved by the skill of the carpenter. The hidden world does not appear in the Intellect unless and until it is brought to view by the talent of the Mind. 43 Yet the un-carved body of the world still appears in its aerial form, which is the original and genuine form in Divine Consciousness.
44 In the beginning of creation, the inventive Intellect forms of itself the concept of the future world, appearing as an airy dream in the sight of the soul. 45 Empty Consciousness conceives the airy ideal of the world as if it were a toy or doll gliding of itself in itself. 46 It conceives itself as the essential part of the great Brahman, the seed of the mundane system. Then it imagines itself as the source of life and the living soul and the receptacle of individual consciousness. 47 It imagines itself as understanding and the mind, the reservoir of space and time. It considers itself as the root of the knowledge of “I”, “you”, “he” and others, and as the essence of the five elements. 48 It sees in itself the collection of the inner and outward senses, as also of the eight faculties of the mind, and both the spiritual as well as the elemental bodies contained in itself. 49 It thinks itself to be the great trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It sees the sun, moon and stars in itself. It considers itself as the whole creation and the interior and exterior part of everything.
50 All these are the imaginary creations of the Intellect. There is nothing whatever other than itself. But in essence, Intellect is quite transparent. There is no concrete matter in it. No memory of gross materials is ever attached to it. No duality whatsoever exists in the unity of its nature. 51 The world is a causeless, uncaused, and uncreated thing, in reality a nothing at all. Its creation is a dream and its appearance is like a delusive shadow in empty air. 52 It appears as a phantom in vacuum, and as an intelligence in Consciousness. It is intelligible as it is, and that is in the sense of a nothing.
53 What is the memory of a thing other than a dream of something, a nothing in reality? What is time of which we have no conception, except that it is an imagination of the mind in empty air? 54 What is contained inside the compact Intellect, the very same appears on the outside of it. But in reality, there is no substance to the exterior object of sight, just as there is nothing to the interior object of thought. All is only the glittering of Consciousness. 55 Whatever issues out of the bodiless and nameless something, which is forever still and calm in its nature, is considered to be a causeless and uncaused production that appears before blinded sight.
56 Therefore know that this world is to be viewed in the same intellectual light as you see the Supreme Brahman himself. Know that this world is a castle in the sky, like a dream in the empty space of your mind when you sleep. 57 There is no such thing as a visible or material world at anytime. Where can you find any dust on the watery surface of the sea? How can you see anything visible in the invisible spirit of Brahman? 58 If the world appears as anything at all to your sight, you must view it as the manifestation of God himself, in his unthinkable and incomprehensible nature. 59 The world is full of the glory of God. One is not derived from the other. The world is a full representation of divine splendor on the face of nature.
60 Though I have been repeatedly giving these lectures, yet the deluded minds of men are far from receiving them. They believe the world of their dreams as if they were awake. Even though they know the unreality of their own dreams, still they will never get rid of their rooted prejudice of being awake.
• • •
Chapter 169 — Description of the Calm and Tranquil Mind
1 Vasishta continued:— He who is not delighted with his delights or dejected in his distress and looks only within himself for his peace and solace is truly called a liberated man in his lifetime. 2 The mind of a self-liberated man is not moved from its steadiness in the solid rock of intellectuality towards the worldly enjoyments that are spread before him. 3The liberated soul rests in its intellectuality and has its mind ever fixed in it. He delights in intellectual culture and he has his calm rest therein. 4 The true liberated soul rests in the Supreme Soul. His mind does not slide from divine contemplation, nor does he take any delight in the visible objects that are all around.
5 Rama said, “Sage, I think that the man who feels no pain in pain, who derives no pleasure from what is pleasurable, and who is entirely unconscious of both, is a mere block devoid of both senses and consciousness.”
6 Vasishta replied:— The self reposed rests only in his empty consciousness. From the purity of his understanding, his soul derives a spontaneous delight that can be found in nothing and nowhere else. 7 He rests in the Supreme Soul whose mind is cleansed of its doubts in all things and who by discrimination has obtained the true and certain knowledge of everything. 8 He who takes no delight in any earthly thing is said to rest in God. Though he is outwardly employed in discharging the duties of his life, yet his soul is fixed in his God. 9 He is known to be tranquil whose activities are all without any aim or expectation. He lives contentedly with whatever offers itself to his fate. 10 In this world of sorrow and misery, he alone is happy and successful who, in his long, restless, helpless and tiresome journey in it, has found his rest in the Supreme Spirit through his own intellectual improvements.
11 They who, after running their long race in the active course of worldly life, have come at last to set themselves at ease and quiet at the latter end of their lives, are like men who appear to have fallen fast asleep, enjoying their rest after the distressing dreams of their busy days. 12 In the open sphere of their intellects, they shine as brightly as the glorious sunrises in the sky, running his daily course without stopping anywhere. 13 Good people seem to be sleepy in their minds, though they seem awake and employed in business with their bodies. They remain as inactive as any inert body, though they are never inactive in their souls.
14 They who lie asleep on their beds, drowned in their reveries and dreams, are said and believed to be sleeping, though they are conscious of the workings of their minds. 15When a tired traveler rests after a long and wearisome journey and is unable to utter a word from his hard breathing, such dullness does not indicate his dead silence or sluggishness.
16 The man of transcendent knowledge, with perfect peace and tranquility of mind and soul, remains as blind to the splendors of day as the blind owl. He remains as quiet as anybody in the darkness of night, when the whole creation sleeps in the gloom of ignorance and unconsciousness. 17 He is a happy man who, presented with the varied scenes of this visible world while awake, sleeps through them without noticing its sorrows. 18 He who pays no regard to ceremonial rites, remaining sincere to the welfare of his own soul, such a man is said to be self satisfied from his communion with himself. He is never, O Rama, considered as dead himself. 19 He who has passed over the miseries of this world and reached the other side remains supremely blessed in himself because of his sense of heavenly bliss in his inner soul.
20 He who is tired with his long journey in this world, always deluded by the five senses and the objects of the senses, becomes dissatisfied with his enjoyments in life and in the end meets with the phantoms of despair. 21 Overtaken by hoary old age, he is battered and shattered by the hoarfrost of diseases. Then like a old and worn-out antelope, he vainly wishes he could return to his native forests and plains.
22 Forsaken by the Supreme Soul, the only faithful guide in our journey through life, we are exposed to intricate mazes of thorns and thickets until the weary traveler, sitting in a shady grove, is at a loss to know where to take his rest. 23 Here we are robbed of our passport and money by the highwaymen of our sins and sensualities. We are overcome by our weakness and exposed to numberless dangers and difficulties along the way.
24 He who is possessed of his soul through his own spiritual knowledge crosses the ocean of the world (samsara) and reaches spiritual regions. There he rests calmly on the bedstead of his spirit and without the bedding of his body. 25 The man who moves about without any aim or effort of his own, and without his dream and sound sleep, whose mind is ever wakeful and whose eyes are never closed in sleep, such a man sleeps softly in the lap of his soul. 26 Like a well bred horse that sleeps standing and running, the self-possessed person sleeps in himself, even though he is employed among mankind with the acts of life.
27 How very sound and profound is the trance of the philosophic mind that it is not disturbed even at the roar of thunder or the explosions of volcanoes. 28 How wonderful is the ecstasy of the right discerner of truth who sees within himself all that an external observer with his open eyes sees as lying outside. 29 The man who sees the world disappear from the sight of his open eyes is joyful with his ecstatic sights, and not with intoxicating liquor. 30 Ah, how happily he sleeps in his reverie whose soul is satisfied and at rest after it has swallowed the visible world and drank the ambrosial drink of self satisfaction. 31 How happily does the self-possessed man sleep in his singleness, who is always joyful without anything to enjoy. He enjoys the everlasting bliss of unity. He sees the bright shining light of his inner spirit without any mortal thing on the outside. 32 Happy is the self-possessed soul who is blind to the objects of common desire and rejoices in the blaze of transcendent light in himself. He delights in subtle and spiritual joys as much as others take delight in their solid food and gross enjoyments.
33 The spiritual man sleeps happily with the inner peace of his mind. He shuts his eyes against the outer world which abounds only in sights of sorrow and the restlessness of the exuberant mob. 34 The self-possessed rest in the perfect peace of their minds. In their outer behavior, they debase themselves as the meanest of the mean, but in the greatness of their souls, they consider themselves to be the greatest of the great. They rest in the lap of the vast emptiness of their selves.
35 The knower of truth sleeps happily in the Universal Soul, his body resting in its vast emptiness which contains an infinity of worlds in every atom. 36 The knower of truth rests perfectly blessed in the Supreme Spirit which is full of indescribable light. He sees the repeated creations and dissolutions of the world in the Spirit, without being destroyed himself. 37 Blessed is the godly man who, seeing the world like a dream in his sleep, rests in the spirit of his God where he sees everything as clear as daylight and as bright as open sky. 38 How blessed is the knower of truth with his musings, who contemplates on the essences of all substances and absorbs the entirety of nature in himself, and whose comprehensive mind grasps the cosmos in itself, just as the emptiness of space comprehends the whole universe within its ample womb.
39 How happily does the self-communing sage sleep in his abstract contemplation of the clear and bright heavens in himself. He sees the entire universe in the light of the clear sky, resounding with the sound of his own breaths and snoring. 40 How happily does the self-communing sage rest in the depth of his innermost thoughts. He finds himself as empty as the infinite void itself. He sees the universe hovering like a dream in a corner of that emptiness. 41 How cheerfully does the self-musing sage lie down in his humble bed, which he finds to be like a mat made of straw swept before him by the tide of time and the current of contending circumstances.
42 The sage, by his diligent self-reflection, has come to know the true nature of himself. He lives in his lifetime as if in the state of dreaming. He deems his dream to be an aerial figure existing in empty air. 43 The sage, by his diligent self-reflection, has come to the knowledge of his own emptiness. He comes to the same knowledge of all nature at large, until at last he comes to reduce and assimilate himself to that emptiness.
44 The waking man falls asleep and the sleeping person rises to wake again. In this manner they pass their time in endless turns. Only the sound sleeper is ever wakeful to his true friend, self-liberation. 45 He who, having passed his days in the company of his best friend, self-liberation, comes to enjoy the sweet companionship of that friend self-liberation in his future life for a long period of time. He is truly entitled to perpetual rest and everlasting bliss in the state of the Divinity itself forever.
• • •
Chapter 170 — The Friends of a Wise Man: Good Conduct and Mind
1 Rama asked, “Tell me sage. Who is that friend with whom he lives? What is the nature of this enjoyment? Is it subjective or objective? Is it is derived from within oneself or from external objects?”
2 Vasishta replied:— Only our own conduct is our true friend, whether it is innate in our nature or derived from outside through training and education from others. 3 Our inborn good conduct is as infallibly and friendly to us as the natural beneficence of our parents. Our extraneous good behavior is as governing upon us as the control and restraints of a faithful wife in the intricate maze of life.
4 A fearless course of life, a well earned livelihood, and a well regulated mode of living, together with a dispassionate temper and coolness of mind are filled with unrestricted and ambrosial sweets. 5 An unblemished life acquired from early youth is able to save a person from all dangers and difficulties in the world and render him trustworthy for every trust, a repository of all wealth and treasures. 6 It is able to preserve men from all evils, just as a father prevents his children from daubing their bodies with dust and dirt and hinders them from all acts of wickedness. 7 Such a life gives a man the passion of fire and the sweetness of flowers. It adds a clarity to his mind and face, just like sunlight brightens the face of day. 8 It supports a man like a father feeding and fondling his child, protecting him from every accident, just as a father ever ready to shield his children from all harm.
9 As fire purifies the body of gold from alloy and separates the impurity that is to be rejected, so does it show the good qualities from whatever is to be shunned and avoided.10 It gladdens the hearts of men with polite speech controlled against awkwardness. It is a repository of all laudable pursuits, just like a treasury full of coins and precious gems.
11 As the sun never shows darkness, so a good man never exposes his dark side. As a loving wife shows only her affection to her beloved, so he shows only his tenderness to people. 12 He speaks and behaves kindly with all men, doing them only good. His words are always sweet and cooling without any self-interest. 13 He is the well-wisher of men and therefore is revered by all. He speaks smilingly to all without any craving of his own and displays the form of only goodness to all beings.
14 Should he happen to meet an enemy in a contest who is ready to strike the first blow, he tries to evade his opponent’s blow by some trick or skill.
15 He is the patron of gentle and polite men, the protector of women and his family. He is like nectar medicine to the souls of all who are ailing under sickness of body or heart.16 He is particularly a patron of learning and the learned. He is a servant of respected men and favors the eloquent and argumentative. He is a companion and trusted friend to his equals in birth and breeding. 17 He gains the favor of princes, noblemen and the liberal towards him. He obtains their favor conducting all sacrifices, charitable acts, devotional austerities and pilgrimages, and contributions from his honest means.
18 He partakes of good food and drink in the company of his friends and brahmins, joining with his wife, children and all his family’s dependants and house residents. He never keeps company except with the good and great. 19 He abstains from all enjoyments, considering them to be like bits of straw and the causes of disease. He occupies himself conversing upon good subjects with his view to the enlightenment and betterment of mankind.
20 In this manner he passes his time in company with his friends and family. He is content with his own state and happy with what fortune has provided for him.
21 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, in short, who are his wives and children and his friends? What are their different forms? What are their respective qualities and virtues?”
22 Vasishta replied:— His many sons are sacred ablutions and charities, religious austerities and meditation. They are all great souls who are entirely devoted to him.
23 His wife is named Moon-ray (Chandra-lekha). She is like a phase of the moon in her appearance. Her very sight delights the eyes. She is his constant companion, always loving to him and content in herself. 24 She is the ravisher of his heart and the dispeller of the gloom of his mind by reason of her loving kindness to him. She is the delight and delighter of his soul, an ever faithful helpmate to him.
25 He has another consort named Same-Mind (Samata) who is dear to his heart and keeps the door to his house. She pleases him by her very appearance. 26 She fixes her mind always at the mansions of virtue and patience. She runs before and guides the steps of her oppressed lord to the abode of the blessed and blissful.
27 That strong man has another wife named Friendship (Maitri) whom he bears along with Same-Mind on either shoulder. Friendship advises him how to quell the enemies of his king’s states. 28 She is his clever counselor in all honorable acts, giving proof of the truth of her advice by increasing his wealth and rendering him honorable before all.
29 Being employed this way in the discharge of his duties in the circle of his friends, family and advisers, the wise man is always pleased in himself and never complains or grumbles at any person or anything whatever. 30 The wise man always remains as he is, silent and calm in his mind. He always remains as unmoved as a figure in a painting, though he may be moving about in the ordinary affairs of life. 31 He remains as dumb as a stone in fruitless discussions, pretending to be deaf in useless conversation. 32 He is like a dead body in acts that are against the social usage, but in conversations regarding polity and good manners he is as eloquent as the wise Brihaspati and as fluent as the snake Sesha with its hundred tongues. 33 When engaged in some righteous discourse, he exposes the fallacy of sophistic reasoning. He clears all doubts in a moment by the versatility of his conversation on various subjects all at once.
34 He is tolerant and magnanimous, bounteous and charitable. He is flexible and gentle. He is sweet in his speech, handsome in his look, and famed for his pious acts. 35 Such is the character of enlightened men of their own nature. No practice or education can ever make anyone this way. The sun and moon and fire are bright by themselves. There is nothing else that can ever make them shine.
• • •
Chapter 171 — Meditation of Pure Emptiness: the Space between Thoughts
1 Vasishta resumed and said:— Our empty consciousness exhibits the phenomenal world to us. In reality, there is no such thing as this world, or its appearance, or a vacuum in nature, or a thing such as consciousness in ourselves. 2 Whatever is apparent before us is the manifestation of Consciousness. It is vainly called the world, just as the open air called the sky is nothing other than the air itself. 3 A man going from one place to another experiences a gap in between when thinks of the place he has seen and left behind. In the same way, the world a mere gap and thought of the mind.
4 Before creation there was nothing. Then how could this something appear from that nothing? The latter having no material cause, it is no material or visible thing. 5 Then there was not even an atom in existence. So how and from what could this spinning world have its rise and form? 6 Therefore this form of visible world could not have sprung from it, just as no child could ever be born of a barren woman. Hence there is nothing such as the visible world. The conception of it must be entirely false.
7 Whatever appears as visibly present before us is only the blank emptiness of Consciousness. This is the transcendental state in which the supreme unity appears to us. 8 In the depth of our sound sleep a fleeting dream appears before us. So it is with Supreme Consciousness which never forsakes the serene and unalterable tranquility of its divine nature.9 It always exists of itself, in itself, in its calm and quiet state before the appearance of creation. It manifests intellectual emptiness in the form of the visible world, which is how it appears to us.
10 The idle thoughts of the mind present themselves like airy castles in our sleep. So does the emptiness of Supreme Consciousness exhibit the appearance of creation in its own empty space. 11 Empty air evolves itself in the manner of whirlwinds. So does the intellectual emptiness exhibit the phenomenal world that exists in its own self. 12 Hence the three worlds that appear so real to our view are in their very nature quite unintelligible and hidden to our sight. It is the Supreme Deity itself that appears in this manner of its existence in its own empty substance. 13 There is nothing such as the form of earth or anything else whatever at anytime, be it with or without form.
14 As a formless mountain appears in dream then disappears in the air upon waking, so the world that is visible when awake becomes invisible in sleep. In the same way, the triple world appears and disappears by turns in the transparent and tranquil Consciousness. 15 To the watchful and enlightened mind, the world appears as identical with God. But however intelligent we may be, we can never know whether we are sleeping or awake.
16 During the space of journeying from one place to another, the mind can be unoccupied with any object. The minds of all livings beings are naturally unoccupied with any preconceived idea. This blankness is the true state of the intellect. 17 That unemployed state of mind which one has in the interval of his journey from place to place is what is called the transcendent void which contains all existence. 18 Now, this emptiness of the mind and the emptiness of the world are similar to one another. Their contents are similar. Neither contains anything except the principles of the five elements, whether in their ideal or gross forms, which we call the unreal and real. 19 The unreal or ideal elements are the inner conceptions of the mind and are called mental idea objects. The real or gross forms of the elements are called visible form objects. Both of these are only different modes of divine essence. All of them are like whirling currents and waves rising on the surface of the infinite ocean of God. 20 Hence there is no such thing as an objective world, except that it is of the nature of that vacant mind of the traveler in the interim of his journey from one place to another.
21 The rising and setting of the passions and affections in the mind are mere modes of the mind. So the being and not being of anything, the presence and absence of the world are mere modes of the Divine Mind. 22 The chasm between one thought and another is truly characteristic of the emptiness of the Divine Mind. The visible world is only a wave in the ocean of eternity, or a mirage in a sandy desert. 23 The Divine Spirit never changes from its state of calm rest and vacant mindedness, like the mind of the traveler in the interval of his journey from one place to another. Such is the state of this world which is ever calm and quiet.
24 From the beginning, since the first creation of the world, nothing was made that seems to be made. It is only a magic show that appears so perceptible to sight. 25 Alas, all this that shines so clearly to sight is nothing. Yet it is something true when viewed in the light of Brahman himself. Then it affords us fresh joy. 26 Where shall I go? How can I get away from this ungodly world that is ever prone to unrighteousness? It is an insubstantial sight that passes for substantial. Nobody understands that this world is Brahman, the same God who exhibits himself in this mode and manner. 27 It is no production or reflection, neither is it the original pattern or its copy. What then are these phenomena and how and from where? All these that appear to view are of the emptiness of Brahman who exhibits himself in this manner in all shapes.
28 As a gem shines of its own brightness and not derived from without, so empty Consciousness shines of its own splendor, shown forth in the creation which is the same as itself. 29 In that calm and quiet emptiness, this sun shines with all his glory. More accurately, a spot of that emptiness shines in the shape of the sun, which is only a limited part of it and nothing else. 30 Though situated within God, yet neither the sun nor the moon shines of itself. God illuminates those luminaries, neither of whom can illuminate that transcendent Supreme Lord to us. 31 It is his brightness that enlightens this visible mundane sphere. It is he alone who gives the light of the sun, moon, stars and fire, as well as all other shining bodies that shine with their borrowed light from him.
32 Whether God has a shape or is formless, or has a body or is without body, can only be a verbal discussion of the ignorant. The learned well know that any possible description of God is as unreal as the possibility of a flower growing in empty air. 33 A particle of sand shines brightly in sunshine, but even the sun and moon do not shine as brightly as those particles before the great glory of their maker. 34 The shining sun, moon and stars are only offshoots of the flaming gem of the empty Consciousness of God. Say, how can they be anything other than flashes of the same gem from which they are emitted?
35 The divine state of pure consciousness, divested of intellectuality and devoid of emptiness, becomes deprived of its essence and all qualities. Being thus drained of all its properties and attributes, it becomes full of the totally of all existence. 36 The earth and all elemental bodies exist in it, yet in a manner nothing exists in it. All living beings (jiva) are in it, yet none exists as separate from it. 37 All things combine in unity, in their atomic forms, without forsaking their grossness without. The Divine never forsakes its uniformity, without any mixture or duality in its pure being of unity. 38 Anything here is nothing, yet it is not a nothing either. Therefore it is too difficult to say what thing is or is not.
39 There is one thing which is infinite without any intersection and ever extended everywhere. This is the essence of the empty Consciousness that contains the germ and foundation of the universe in itself. 40 The mind is vacant and still in the space between passing from one thought to another. Such is the nature and form of the world, although it appears so diversified to view. 41 Though it appears to have great diversity, yet it is the only uniform Consciousness that extends consistently over all emptiness, seeing the five elemental bodies hovering about it as if in a dream.
42 As Consciousness passes from its rest of sleep to the sights in its dream, so it passes from the state of the void of universal desolation to the commotion state of creation. 43As sleep and dream reoccur to every soul, so the extinction and renovation of the world occurs to all alike. So also waking is like the enlightened state of the soul (turiya). Hence the world is no other than a phenomenon in intellectual emptiness. 44 Thus the whole universe is no more than a state of waking, sleeping, dreaming, and turiya scenes. Such is the understanding of the learned on this subject. We know nothing about how the ignorant see the world.
45 The Lord is inscrutable amidst living brutes and all inert creation. We can come to no conclusion with regard to the nature of that Being who is beyond the knowledge of our minds and understanding. 46 This much is knowable of Him. He is pure Consciousness and all things are full of Him. Yet things are not of the same form as that Reality which manifests itself in the form of the universe. 47 The wise use words like permeate and diffusion to describe the omnipresence of the Divine Spirit in creation. Actually, there is no trace of meaning to such words to describe the Divine Essence in all nature.
48 Since the first creation of the world, this great essence of empty Consciousness is situated of itself and in the souls of great men. 49 All pervading Consciousness is always situated in the minds of the sages whose souls are full with the presence of the one Supreme Spirit. It is that Consciousness which conceived in itself the idea that passes under the name of the world. 50 The knowledge of the bliss of the world, like that of a dream upon waking, is attained with delight. But lack of this knowledge, like a nightmare when sleeping, makes us uneasy all the while.
51 The silent saint who knows the truth is always in the same state of tranquility, whether he be walking or sitting anywhere, or waking or sleeping. 52 The wise man who remains indifferent to everything, sitting contentedly even in his distress, caring not whether he lives or dies, has nothing to gain or lose. 53 The wise man who is outwardly employed in worldly affairs without taking anything to heart, neither parting with nor craving anything, remains inactive in his active life.
54 Complete detachment is characteristic of the wise man, just as heat and cold are natural to fire and snow. This habit of the mind is not acquired by practice or education.
55 He who by his nature does not have this control of his mind is ever ignorant of truth. Ignorance of this truth is the sign of a character that is inclined towards base desires. 56The truly wise man remains perfect and strong in his own good nature. He is quite satisfied with the sweet ambrosial drink of his transcendent tranquility. He is calm in his mind without changing desires for this thing or that.
• • •
Chapter 172 — There Is no Memory; All Thoughts Are Memories
1 Vasishta continued:— The world is devoid of any material element, whether the earth or others. I believe the first creator to be only the Mind, the fruitful tree of desires. 2 The word mind derives from the act of minding. Afterwards it came to be used as a name for the thinking power, just like the whirling of waters loaned its name to a whirlpool. 3 The mind’s connection with Consciousness gives its understanding and other faculties. Otherwise, it would be as blank as empty air, which would have no dust were it not for the earth underneath it. 4 The mind is neither the body nor the heart, not the senses or desires, nor does the mind even have any of these. Though these are commonly attributed to the mind, yet in its true sense, it is devoid of all properties.
5 How can memory be the cause that reproduces the world? If the creator Brahma is liberated or extinct with the extinction of the world, how could he have retained his memory of it? The new creator of the new world could not possibly have any memory of what he did not know.
6 Holy and liberated souls have no bodies or memories. The passing currents of rivers do not return or whirl back, like the whirlpools of some. 7 If a liberated soul has any body at all, owing to the memory of his former state, it must be an unearthly and immaterial body, still and rarefied like an imaginary form.
8 Our imagination presents an imaginary mountain to the mind’s eye. Such is the air-drawn body of the all encompassing Viraj presented to us without any earthly form. 9Therefore there is no such thing as memory whatsoever at any time. It is merely built upon popular belief and not upon the reason of wise men.
10 Rama asked, “O inspired sage, explain why there was no memory in the first creator Prajapati. He must have remembered the creation of a first kalpa or learnt it by his inspiration.”
11 Vasishta replied:— The preexistence of memory is possible in the outward or visible world which admits of cause and effect. But can there be memory when there is no such world, only mere emptiness? 12 There is nothing visible here, from the highest heaven to the lowest pit. If everything is only a nothing, then what is memory and what use is it? 13The thought of a prior, absent world is called its memory. But when there never was and never will be any visible world, how can you think of its memory, even in fancy? 14 The complete absence of phenomena at all times makes it identical with the invisible Brahman himself. This being the truth, tell me. How can you fancy the memory of anything? 15 Therefore the prime creator can have no memory of a prior existence, nor could he have any bodily form as he is in the form of a spirit with only pure intelligence.
16 We should remember the past from our present state, that we are mortal beings undergoing repeated reincarnations. We should not bring other persons and things to our memories, as others think it to mean. 17 Memory (smriti) means the retention of past things in our mind. But what can we remember when nothing was or is or shall ever be? 18 All this stupendous fabric is the Supreme Brahman itself. He remains as immovable as a mountain, without beginning, middle or end. What then is the memory or presence of it?
19 The Lord being the Universal Soul is the soul or essence of all things, shining like the luster of empty Consciousness. Outwardly he is quite calm, as I may say, he is resting in our memory. 20 So the memory of the Lord is as he is seen in the light of nature. Hence the habitual meditation on the Lord corresponds with the contemplation of external nature. 21 Whatever is known to us is nature, that is the object of our meditation. Hence the appearance of anything in the mind is called to its memory.
22 If anything that is absent or nonexistent appears before our sight, like the false appearance of water in a mirage, that is also the case with our misleading memory. 23 Again, any prejudice rooted in the minds of men that appears as correct by long habit of thinking it as such, this also passes for memory. 24 Any sudden accident or passing event that strikes the mind for a moment also passes also under the name of memory, even though it may or may not happen anymore. 25 An idea rises of itself in the mind and by being fostered for any length of time, becomes impressed upon it. Anything else that resembles it passes for an object of our memory. 26 Anything passes for an object of memory, like the movement of air by means of a fan. 27 Again, whatever occurs in the mind, like parts of a whole subject, is also called its memory, just like any part of the body is also called the body.
28 There are also many mental fabrications that arise of themselves before the mind, like magic shows appearing before our sight. If the memories of these be called memory, then say, what truth or reliance is there in it? 29 Consider how this faculty of memory is very imperfect and false to man. There is no visible creation at all. Therefore its memory is altogether meaningless. 30 The world is only a display of the density or volume of the Divine Consciousness. It is reflected at present as a visible object in the minds of the ignorant who have given them the name of memory, which in reality is nothing at all.
31 I cannot tell you how to obtain liberation, nor do I know what it means. However, to clear the doubt of the questioner, I will now tell you something about it.
32 Until there is an end to the sight of the visible, an oblivion to the memories of past events, and a cessation of ignorance and delusion, liberation is hard to be attained. 33 The ignorant have a belief in things quite unknown to us. They can never conceive whatever is imperceptible to their senses. 34 The enlightened are unacquainted with the gross errors that lurk in the darkness of ignorant minds, just as the ever shining sun knows nothing of what passes in the gloom of night.
35 Whatever likeness of anything appears to be impressed in the mirror of the mind, that is the result of habitual thoughts. The impression of anything studied or stored in the mind is called memory. 36 But when these glaring impressions in the imagination are rubbed out of the mind like the colors of a painting, nothing remains of any color or tinge of the mistaken world, such as in the clear minds of the learned.
37 A mirage shows the appearance of water which is a mere delusion and never true. So is the dream that shows this creation to view, which is no more real than a false vision.38 Empty Consciousness contains creation and shows its representation in ourselves. Thus the world only appears in the emptiness of the Consciousness and not anything as fallen or detached from it. 39 The Supreme Soul shows this form in itself and makes its unreality appear as a reality to us. Though this form was manifested at the beginning, yet it is nothing more than the display of an unreality.
40 Tell me. Where does this world with all its pleasant and unpleasant things come from? It is never anything of a plastic form. It is not an appearance proceeding from memory. 41 The world has no cause in the beginning. It appears as the very form of the Supreme. It is only to our sorrow that we regard its visible form or search for our liberation.42 Both of these views are wrong and tend to our bondage in the world. The view of the world’s emptiness in the emptiness of Consciousness is the only means to our release and liberation from it.
43 The only way to obtain liberation in this world is to regard the apparent world in its empty form, situated in the emptiness of Consciousness, identical with the true form or spirit of God, and undetached in its essence from the divine essence. 44 The only means for our release from the bondage of this world is to see visible bodies, such as those of the sun, moon, and mountains, and the invisible bodies, such as space, time, and other ideal objects, in the empty space of Divine Consciousness. 45 The only way to our emancipation from temporal bondage is to see the same spirit situated or dwelling in the recess of Consciousness, identical with its own notion of itself and bearing resemblance to the nature of the dream which proceeds from its essence.
46 How can any earthly or other elemental body have its place in the spirit of God which is not of the earth or any other element? It shines of itself in itself as the quiet void of Consciousness. 47 How and from where could the earth and other elements proceed in the beginning unless they were inherent and contemporary with the divine essence, just like the many objects of our dream arise from our own nature? 48 Afterwards these creations of the spirit are named the earth and the like and considered as material objects. But say, how could spiritual emanations assume such corporal and tangible forms either by pure memory or by creating forms?
49 The world is not the production of our error. It is not a representation of our delusion or a magic show. It is not the permeation of the spirit throughout all nature. It is the very essence of the same deity itself. 50 It is the divinity Brahman itself that shines in the form of this wonderful world. It is the very same unity which appears to manifest, and yet is so very obscure and mysterious to us. All that is visible is only pure light, the serene clarity of open air which glows bright then dims by turns, the changes of light and darkness being creation and destruction.
• • •
Chapter 173 — Brahman Is Both Conscious and Unconscious; Brahma Is the Mind,
Viraj the Imagined Body
1 Rama asked, “The universally entertained idea is that the Divine Spirit is the common soul of all, infinite in its permeation. They why is it supposed to be the soul of only the living body and called the ego or a personal being? 2 How does Consciousness become inert in the state of our sleep, as in a block of wood or stone? Why is it said to exist or become extinct in the state of its numbness?
3 Vasishta replied:— In ordinary, common speech we say that the Universal Soul resides as the ego or personal being in the body, just as we say the hands of the body are its hands and not its feet. 4 As the leaf of a tree is considered only a part of the tree, so the Universal Soul residing in the tree is called only a tree. 5 As emptiness in the sky is also called the sky, so the Universal Soul dwelling in matter is referred to as that matter. 6 An aerial castle in a dream appears as a tangible castle to the dreamer for the time. In the same way, the Universal Soul living in our sleep, dreams and waking state is thought to be sleeping, dreaming, or being awake at that time.
7 As stones, trees or cliffs are seen to rise on mountains, and waves on the surface of waters, so the huge mountain also rises as a stone or a tree from the bosom of the all pervading Spirit. 8 As the living body gives growth to dull and dead nails and hairs, so the living soul of the universe grows unconscious stones and trees upon it. 9 As the conscious soul becomes as unconscious as a block of wood in its sleep, so the Universal Soul becomes inert before creation and after its dissolution. Again, as the sleeping soul sees a series of dreams arising out of it, so the tranquil spirit of God beholds the light of creation issuing out of it. 10 As the conscious and unconscious soul of man produces both conscious offspring and unconscious excrements from its body, so the Universal Soul produces both living beings and inert bodies from itself.
11 The conscious and the unconscious are both embodied in the person of the Universal Soul which is possessed of both the movables and the inert in itself, although it is formless in its substance.
12 All these contraries in nature disappear before the sight of the truly learned, just as the false sights in dreams disappear from the view of the awakened man who knows the falsity of dreams. 13 All this is the emptiness of Consciousness in which there is no sight, view or viewer, just like a dreamer, awakened from his dreaming, neither sees his dream nor his dreaming sights anymore.
14 Millions and millions of creations are appearing and disappearing in the vacuum of Consciousness, like recurring waves and revolving whirlpools in the sea. 15 The waters of the ocean show various shining forms in its rising waves. In the same way Consciousness raises many creations bearing different names in its own intellectuality. 16 To the truly learned, the world appears as it is, as Brahman. To the ignorant mass of men, it appears as many and changing because they lack precise knowledge of it. 17 The wave who knows its nature to be only calm and cool water thinks no more of being a fluctuating wave. So the man knowing himself as Brahman thinks no more of his mortal state.
18 The idea that the Divine Spirit vibrates, which comes from the fluctuating appearance of creation, is mistaking the calmness of the Divine nature. The fluctuation belongs to the powers residing in the Divinity. 19 Empty Consciousness never forsakes its tranquility. The variety of knowledge that rises in it, like a varying series of dreams, is attributable to the mind, which they call Brahma or the great progenitor of all. 20 Thus the first lord of creatures was the formless mind that does not decay. It was of intellectual form like an imaginary being, and supposed to be the cause of all.
21 Saying “you are nothing” is like saying the word “gold.” The word has no form of itself. Its purity is the gold itself.
22 Uncreated Brahman, being an intellectual and empty form, an imaginary body imbued with volition, appeared as the Prime Ego or a personal being containing the world in his body. 23 The empty void of Consciousness displays these wonders that are known as the alternating creations, preservations and destructions of the world. 24 The clear and uncreated light to which Consciousness evolves itself of its own accord, like the evolution of airy dreams from the mind, is named the first father of all.
25 As a wave assumes one form or another and rolls on endlessly over the vast expanse of the sea, so runs the heavenly mind in the forms of the revolving creations and their dissolutions. 26 The light of the intellectual vacuum is called Viraj and is of the same mind as Brahman. It stretches out creation like a castle or city in one’s imagination. 27 Viraj is the combined form of the triple states of waking, dreaming and sleep. The first two are analogous to the creation and preservation of the universe, and the last is similar to the utter darkness of dissolution. 28 From the chaotic state of his dissolution, there sprang light and darkness, like dark and white hairs growing on his head. The rotations of time resemble the joints of his body. 29 His mouth represent the fire, his head the upper sky, and the air is below his navel. His foot-stool is the earth, his eyes are the sun and moon, and the east and west are his two ears. In this manner Lord Viraj manifests himself in the imagination of his mind. 30 Thus did the expanded empty form of Viraj represent the whole visible world in his ideal body which was a figure of his own imagination, just like any of the insubstantial forms of our dreams or fancies.
31 Whatever is thought of in the emptiness of Consciousness, the same comes to be vividly exhibited there. Such truly is the form of this world which we conceive in our self. 32Viraj is truly an intangible being in himself who appears to be as widely extended as the vast extent of the universe. In his own nature, he is like a city or mountain that we see in our dreams. 33 Whatever one thinks himself to be, he conceives in him to have become the same, without his actually being as such. So an actor is seen to play his part in dream from the concept of his acting on the stage.
34 Whatever be the doctrines of the Vedanta, Buddhism, Sankhya, and Saugata systems of the philosophy, and whatever may be the doctrines of Tryaksha, Pashupati, and other teachers of Agama scriptures, they all agree in acknowledging Brahman as the giver of the boons that they all respectively desire. All of them obtain the particular object of bliss from the same. Such is the glory of the great God, whose soul fills all bodies and whose bounty supports them all.
• • •
Chapter 174 — Nirvana Is Knowing God Is All and Nothing Else Exists; Only
This Knowledge Yields Nirvana
1 Vasishta continued:— Consciousness alone shined in the beginning with its thought of creation appearing before it like a vision in a dream. This was an image of the three worlds, a reflection of the light of Brahman himself. 2 These creations were like endless waves in the ocean of the Divine Mind rising from the flexibility of his omniscience. Hence there is no difference between the creation and its absence. Nor is there any sorrow in the one or bliss in the other.
3 Both dream and sound sleep of the soul belong to its sleeping state when the mind remains as vacant as empty air. In the same way, visible and invisible creation are both the same in the emptiness of Consciousness. 4 This world in our waking state, appearing like a city seen in our dream, is not worthy of reliance by the wise who are well acquainted with its nature of being an imaginary appearance. 5 Upon awaking we realize the falsity of the imaginary city we saw in our dreams. In the same way, in the end we realize our mistake of taking the world to be real.
6 As upon waking, we understand the falsity of all our efforts and desires in the imaginary city of our dream. So do we find, at last, that all our aims and attempts in our waking state in this world are equally false and fleeting.
7 If anyone assigns any other cause, then he should admit that what he says is mere fancy. 8 Guessing knowledge is no better than a dream of the world. The authority of what you can see is much stronger than that which you cannot see. 9 It is better to judge the soul and other attributes by examples that are nearer and more familiar rather than something remote. Otherwise it is like a fall from the top of a hill in a dream.
10 Perfect insensibility is complete inertness, a changeless state of body and mind. The nature of the world and the state of things in it are constantly restless and changing. Therefore it is impossible to attain samadhi in either of these two states. 11 Meditation in worldly life must be too sensitive and variable, while trance stupefies a man to a stone. True liberation consists neither in the changeableness of mind nor in its stone-like insensibility. 12I think no liberation is obtainable from stone-like, apathetic trance any more than one gains liberation from deep sleep. 13 Only through consummate knowledge can reasoning men dispel their ignorance. He who has secured his liberation in his lifetime has no chance of his being born again.
14 Inflexible abstraction is said to have no bounds. It consists in sitting steadfast in profound meditation, without distraction or diversion. Such a posture is said to be all illuminating, the eternal sunshine of a yogi. 15 It is called the endless absorption of the soul, and this is the fourth or last state of contemplation. It is also called nirvana, or losing one’s self in one’s reveries. This is what they call liberation from all bonds and cares of the world.
16 Liberation is the density or depth of wisdom and the intensity of mental examination. There is a complete absence of any memory of phenomena in it. It is known as the state of perfect transcendentalism or glory. 17 It is not the stone-like inertness of some philosophers or the trance or sound sleep of others. It is neither the lack of choice of the Patanjalas or the nonexistence or utter annihilation of the Buddhist. 18 It is the knowledge of Brahman as the prime source of all and the nothingness of visible creation. It is knowing God as all and yet nothing that exists. Therefore it is to know him as he is in his all pervading spirit.
19 The consummate knowledge of all gives us our positive rest of nirvana, knowing that the world is the same as its nonexistence, 20 that all this variety is no variety at all, and that there is no entity in reality. All apparent realities are mere unrealities. It is the end of all our conceptions and inductions. It is the only reality. 21 The entire nothingness of the visible world is the state of nirvana. The settled knowledge of this in anyone constitutes his supreme bliss.
22 This state is attainable by one’s pure understanding and his habit of constant meditation, joined with a knowledge of the scriptures and scrutiny into the right sense of significant words and their meanings. 23 Constant study of this work is the best guide to liberation. It is attainable by no means other than enlightenment of the understanding. 24Liberation is never attainable by pilgrimage or charity, sacred ablutions or learning, meditation or yoga contemplation, religious austerities, or sacrifice of any kind.
25 The world is only a delusion causing the unreal to appear as real. The world is only an empty void which presents the appearance of the world, like a dream in the emptiness of Consciousness. 26 No religious austerity or pilgrimage is ever able to remove our error of the world. At best, they can earn us the reward of heaven, but never secure to us our liberation or final beatitude. 27 Our error is eradicated only by the light of the scriptures and our good understanding. Above all, the best means to our liberation and final salvation is spiritual knowledge. 28 The vivid light of the scriptures is sure to destroy our error of the world, just as sunshine dispels the gloom of night.
29 Light, clarity, shade, creation, preservation and destruction appear by turns in the clear empty mirror of Consciousness, like the movement of air in a breeze or the fluctuation of waves in water. 30 The first principle of a future form is contained in the heart or embryo of everything. Air contains wind in constant motion within itself. The existence of the world is inherent in Divine Consciousness. Hence the world has its evolution and dissolution in Divine Consciousness, like the rise and fall of wind in empty air.
• • •
Chapter 175 — Manifestation of All as Intellect’s Dream; the Value of the Yoga Vasishta
1 Vasishta continued:— The emptiness of Consciousness which first presented the shadow of a dream could not possibly assume the form of a causal and conscious body in order to be visible and form the visible world. How is it possible for an intellectual void to have a physical form at all?
2 O Rama, in the beginning of creation there was nothing except a shadow dream in the Intellect. There was no this creation or the next world in visible existence. 3 The world appeared only in the form of an insubstantial idea of it. The empty intellect remained as quiet with its ideal world as the mind rests quietly with the nightmare in its dream. 4 Such is the essence of the Intellect, translucent and without beginning or end. Though it is a clear void in itself, yet it bears the ideal model of the world in its mirror.
5 So long as this is unknown, the world appears as a gross substance. But being known as contained in the Divine Spirit, it becomes a spiritual substance. Since how is it possible for any gross matter to attach itself to the transcendent void of which there is no beginning or end? 6 This pure and abstract knowledge of the world is like the dream of a city. Such being the state of the world before its creation, how can any earthly or other matter ever be joined with emptiness?
7 The light of the Divine Soul, shining in the emptiness of Consciousness, is called the cosmos or the universe consisting of, as it is supposed, matter, mind and faculties. 8 Only the lack of understanding makes us suppose a thing such as a material earth spinning around like a whirlpool with the force of the wind. It has no basis or stability. 9 Afterwards the same Divine Spirit (jiva), wishing to display its own glory in its personality of Brahma, thought of the ideal forms of the earth and other things. 10 Then the great mind of Brahma shone with a purer light of itself. This is called his creation which is of an aerial form and nothing else. 11 That pure light was nothing substantial of itself; but only the brightness of Consciousness shining with the radiance of the Divine Spirit. 12 This light is the body of the spirit shining as intellectual light in the void of Consciousness. It presented the appearance of the world in it like dreams floating before the empty mind.
13 There is no other inference that can be derived. There is no other cause that can possibly be assigned or produced. It is certain that in the beginning the Divine Spirit sees itself in the form of creation within the emptiness of its Consciousness. 14 This body of the world, having no property of a tangible body, is never fragile in its nature. But it is as void as the emptiness of Consciousness and as insubstantial as empty air. 15 The form of the world is that of the Supreme Being, which is without any form whatever. It is identical with the Divine form. The Supreme Being comprehends all bodies in itself and extends undivided as all in all in its own self.
16 This is better understood with the example of a dream which rises of itself and shows itself in various forms. But all these varieties are nothing but empty visions, so the diverse scenes and sights of the world are no more than shows of the Divine Spirit. 17 The Divine Soul of Brahman assumed to itself the state of the living spirit and, without forsaking its transparent form, became of the form of mind. 18 This power extends the universe in its ethereal form in air, which appears to be changed from its unchangeable state of transparency to that of a gross nature.
19 The mind is Brahman who gives an external and visible form to the world that was seated invisibly in his heart. It is continually employed in the process of repeated creation and destruction of all. 20 The immaterial mind of Brahman evolved the world from its living matter, which was originally seated in his heart. From there it appeared in a different form as a counterpart of the original, or as the formless representation of something in a dream. 21 The god Brahma, dwelling in himself with his formless mind in his embodied form of the triple world, is being diffused in endless forms of conscious and unconscious beings in the triple world. 22 But there is no earth and no material form, not even anything of a visible appearance in the world. It is only the mind of Brahma which exhibits itself in the form of the formless and empty world.
23 Then Lord Brahma thought that his mental form was nothing of substance as it did not appear to sight. It was only Consciousness which shone in this manner within itself, without solidity or substantiality. 24 This mental conception or abstract contemplation of the world cannot be described with words. Realization makes the meditator remain in mute astonishment and causes him to continue as dumb in this ordinary conduct in life. 25 The mind reflecting upon infinite and unlimited Consciousness is lost in infinity. Hence Brahma, having remained in a long silence, at last awakened to his knowledge.
26 After the unconscious mind of Brahma came to its sense, it revolved in itself with its thoughts, just like the liquid waters of the sea turns in whirlpools by agitation. 27 As unconscious air is moved by its internal motion, so all living souls, who are identical with the calm and quiet Supreme Soul, slide away like waters flowing from their main source.28 As winds and waves are identical with the calm air and still water, yet blow and flow in all directions of themselves, so the minds of living beings, which are the same with the Supreme Intellect, run in different ways of their own accord. 29 Hence the empty intellect of all living beings is the same as the Divine Intellect. This, O most intelligent Rama, is otherwise also known as the Supreme Soul.
30 To us, the Divine Soul appears to be blinking its eyes, like the movement of air. Closing them causes the end of the world an opening exposes creation to view. 31 Its opening of eyes causes the visibility of creation. Closing its eyes makes it invisible or extinct to view. The absence of both these acts is equivalent to the formless void of the world. 32 Seeing the opening and shutting of its sight, or seeing the visibility and disappearance of the world in one unvaried light, makes existence and nonexistence the same in the mind and indicates the perfection of the soul. 33 Seeing and not seeing and their results of creation and extinction make no difference in Divine Consciousness which is always the same. 34Therefore know this world is as calm and quiet as the Divine Soul. It is of the nature of the uncreated void which is ever the same and has no decay.
35 The sensing, conscious Intellect exhibits itself as the insensible and unconscious emptiness. The same Consciousness shows itself in the form of the world, which in a manner is its body and home. 36 Consciousness is neither born nor made, nor does it ever grow or decay. It is never visible or perceptible, nor do we have any idea of it. It displays its wonders in itself without any extraneous substance in it. 37 All that is called phenomena is the brightness of the blazing gem of the great Consciousness proceeding from the quarry of its emptiness, just as the sunshine which illuminates the world issues from the sun.
38 Brahman shines forth as creation, just as our sleep exhibits the imaginary world in its dream. All this creation is as quiet as sleep, yet it is full with the commotion of the slumbering world. 39 Whatever is known in any manner in the mind, whether existent or nonexistent in the world, is the reflection of Consciousness, whether it be an entity or nonentity.
40 Should the mystery of existence lead us to assume some cause, such as primary atoms or the like, then what cause can be assigned to the appearance of sights in our dream? 41 If the origin of the world is not ascribed to Brahman as the origination of dreams to consciousness, then neither is there any truth in the existence of the One nor in the appearance of the others, both of which cannot be true.
42 The minds of men are inclined towards the particular objects of their fancy. Hence those who believe and delight in God take him to be the origin of all things that appear to them. 43 Whatever is in the minds of men, and whatever is the object of constant devotion in their hearts, they know them as the only objects of their lives and the very essence of their souls. 44 He who delights in Brahman immediately becomes of the same mind. So anyone who is gratified in anything is united with that in his mind. 45 The man who has obtained his rest in God has found the highest bliss in his mind, though he shows himself as otherwise in his outward conduct and social dealings.
46 There is no reason to speculate about unity or duality when the entirety of existence is as I have taught. It is in vain to look at anything else. 47 There is nothing visible or invisible, or anything as formless or having a form. There is nothing as subject or object, nor anything of reality or unreality here. The whole is the very Brahman himself. 48 This world is without beginning or end and is known to the world as soul. But in fact, one Brahman rules over all without any fixed rule, like a path without a name.
49 That which is conceived as the serene Brahman is also called the bright Brahma or the creator god, just as what is known as the calm and clear sky is also called empty space.50 Nebulae that seem to dim the face of the sky are something in appearance and nothing in substance. In the same way our mental faculties appear to flutter and obscure the clear atmosphere of Consciousness. They seem to be dualities and other than the serene intellectual principle. 51 But the mental, physical and all other perceptive and active powers of living beings are the common properties of the intellectual soul, just as the many gaps and hollows in various bodies are in common with the emptiness of the one universal vacuum.
52 As the quiet soul passing from its sleeping to the dreaming state retains its identity without change, so the Divine Soul passing into creation after its quiescence remains the same unchanged unity. 53 Thus the Supreme Spirit reflects the shadow of its great Consciousness in the forms of creation and dream. Hence neither this creation nor the sights in dreams are anything in substance other than a mere shadow of the picture in the Divine Mind. 54 The bright picture of the Divine Mind in the emptiness of the Great Consciousness exhibits its form and the ideal appearance as visible creation, like a fairyland in dream.
55 It is impossible for the world to appear by any of the means conjectured by different schools. From the lack of any prior cause, it must be that Consciousness saw itself exhibited in its own emptiness.
56 In the beginning of creation, the formless void of Consciousness showed itself in this visible and intangible form, representing itself as a picture of its mind or dream or its imagination. 57 Like a dream, it is a blank without any attribute. It is changeable but not breakable. Although it has the substance of intellectual emptiness, yet it is corrupted with the stain of our misapprehension of it, called ignorance. 58 Like a dream, it seems to possess some properties in its appearance, but in substance, it is wholly devoid of any. It is never different from the spiritual nature of the Lord, though it appears otherwise to our misconception of it.
59 The phenomenal world is like a mountain seen in dream and is inseparable from the soul in which it resides. Therefore the visible appearing in the emptiness of Consciousness is more empty than the vacuum of space. 60 That which is the Supreme Soul and is devoid of all form, the very same and of the same nature is all this which we call the visible world. 61 Whatever conception we have in our dream, the same is the display of our intellect. The cities and castles we see in the dreams are no real existences, only appearances presented to us by the intellect.
62 As the recognition of our acquaintance in dream and the memory of impressions in our mind are altogether insubstantial, so are the sights of the visible and the perception of things also quite unreal.
63 Therefore leaving these unrealities of our recognitions, perceptions and memories which are so much relied upon by the ignorant, we should take these forms in the light of the direct manifestations of God. 64 As waves constantly roll on the surface of the sea, so innumerable worlds continually revolving on the surface of the Supreme Soul are of the same nature as the Supreme Soul.
65 All laws and their exceptions and all varieties and complexities unite in harmony in the Divine Nature. 66 Therefore Brahman is all in all and there is none and nothing besides. He alone is the soul of all, as all these live in him.
67 The wandering mind thinks the world is wandering about with all its contents. But the steady minded take it to be quite calm and quiet. Hence it is impossible even for the learned to settle their minds without the habitual calmness of their attention. 68 There is no other means to suppress the mind from the sight of the visible, only the constant habit of attending to the lectures on this sacred scripture. 69 Though it is difficult to repress the mind from its thoughts of this world, either in its states of living or death, yet it is possible to do so immediately by eliminating its impressions through the study of this spiritual scripture.
70 Knowledge that the visible body is nothing, and knowledge that the mind lacks any body, both in this world as well as in the next, will always serve to preserve our peace and quiet. 71 The mind, body and all that is visible are suppressed under the sense of their nothingness, just as the mind, its force and moving clouds all disappear in the absence of their cause.
72 The only cause of restlessness is ignorance which is altogether dispelled by the study of this scripture. Those whose minds are enlightened a little become composed from attending to the recital and preaching of this work. 73 The unintelligent will be able to understand the teachings. He who understands the words and meanings of these lectures will never return disappointed. 74 Know that this scripture is the best means to drive away error and to produce a universal indifference or sameness everywhere. 75 Therefore try your best to weigh well the teachings of this scripture. Whether you study one or both parts of this work, you will doubtless be freed from your misery thereby.
76Should this scripture prove distasteful, owing to it being the composition of a holy sage, then the student may consult the sacred scriptures to perfect his spiritual knowledge.
77 Do not spend your time in false reasoning or offer your precious life to fame and ashes. Let your wise understanding commit the visible to the invisible soul. 78 No one can buy a moment of his lifetime for all the gems in the world. Yet there are many who foolishly misspend their time in their worldly dream.
79 Though we have a clear conception of the world, yet it is a false sight together with that of its beholder, the living soul. It is as false as dreaming the wailing of one’s friend at one’s own death.
• • •
Chapter 176 — Brahma Gita, the Story of Brahma: the Cosmic Egg
1 Rama asked, “There are innumerable worlds in the universe. Many have gone before, many are in existence, and many are yet to be. Sage, how can you persuade me to believe they do not exist?”
2 Vasishta replied:— You well know, Rama, the relationship which the world bears to a dream. Both mean a passing scene. This meaning cannot be denied by anyone in this audience.
3 The words spoken by the wise, who know their application and sense, are neither understood nor received in the hearts of common people, though the words are in common use. 4 When you come to know the knowledge of the One, then you will discern the three times (past, present, and future) clearly and see them all as present before you.
5 It is only consciousness that displays itself in the form of the world in our dreams. In the same way, Divine Consciousness exhibits the worlds in itself in the beginning of creation. There is no other cause for the production of creation. 6 Hence there are innumerable worlds spinning like atoms in infinite space. There is no one who can count their number or discover their modes and natures.
7 It was of old that my honorable father, the lotus-born Brahma, all besmeared with the fragrant dust of that flower, delivered a discourse on this subject, which I will now relate to you. 8 It was of old that my father Brahma told me about the number of worlds and their respective situations in the heavens where they appear to us.
9 Brahma said:— O sage, all that is manifested as the world is Brahman. It is the infinite entity of the deity in its abstract essence. But viewed in the concrete, the world is a nonentity. 10 Listen to my story which is as happy to the soul as it is pleasant to the ear. It is called the story of the Cosmic Egg, the mundane mass.
11 In the infinite void there is an empty substance known as the empty Consciousness in the form of a minute atom. 12 It saw itself in a dream as being as a living soul, resembling the movement of wind in empty air. 13 Thus the Lord became a living being. Forsaking its empty form, it thought itself to have become the ego in its intangible form.14 He had his egoism, an egoistic sense in himself. This was the knowledge of himself as an unit, which is only an act of delusion.
15 Then he thought himself as changed into the conditions of understanding, mind and ego, all as in his dream. He was inclined of his own choice to impose mutability upon his immutable nature. 16 Then in his mind, as if in dream, he saw the five senses attached to his body. These are as formless as the appearance of a mountain in dream, which the ignorant are apt to take as a solid body.
17 Then in the atom of his consciousness, he saw that his mental body was comprised of the three worlds in their abstract forms, apparent to view but without substance or solidity or any basis at all. 18 This stupendous form was composed of all beings, whether of the conscious or inert kinds. 19 He saw all things comprised in himself just as they are seen in a dream or reflected in a mirror. The triple world appeared in his person like the picture of a city newly printed on a plate. 20 He saw the three worlds in his heart, just as they are seen in a looking glass, together with all things in it with their varied, vivid colors.
21 He observed more minute atoms existing within the minute atoms, and stupendous worlds on high clustering together in groups and rings. 22 These seen in ignorance of their natures appear as gross material bodies. Viewed in the clear light of their essence, they prove to be only the display of the Divine Mind. 23 Thus the viewer who sees the world in the light of Brahman finds this view of it: a vision in a dream. He comes to know that there is no real viewer to view it, or any cause for it, or any duality whatsoever.
24 All things that appear everywhere around us are quite motionless in their nature, existing only in the Divine Spirit as their main substratum. They are all situated in the Universal Soul from eternity to eternity. 25 Numberless worlds situated in the Divine Spirit appear to be settled outside it, just as the waves of the sea rise above its waters and scatter its salt spray in the air.
• • •
Chapter 177 — Brahma Gita, There Can Be No Cause for Creation
1 Rama asked, “If the world has no cause and proceeds of itself from the essence of Brahman, as our dreams, thoughts and imaginations proceed of themselves from the nature of our minds, 2 and if it is possible for anything to proceed from no cause, then tell me sage, why does everything we see have its proper cause?”
3 Vasishta replied:— Rama, I am not speaking about what men commonly perceive, the production of anything by application of its proper causalities. I am speaking about the creation of the world, which is not in need of any atomic principle or material elements, as the Atomists maintain.
4 People see this world in whatever light they imagine. Someone else sees it in a different manner according to his own imagination. 5 Some imagine it as the diffusion of the Divine Soul and think it is one with the nature of the deity. Others think of it as the living body of Viraj, with the unconscious parts resembling the hairs and nails growing upon his body.
6 The concepts of causation and lack of causation do not apply to God because the Lord, being almighty, has the power to be either the one or other as he likes. 7 If there is anything whatever that is supposed to be other than Brahman in its essence, then it is reasonable to suppose Brahman to be the cause of that which otherwise could not come to existence. 8 But when all things that appear to be so different from one another are without beginning or end and are coeternal with the Eternal One, then tell me, which of these can be the cause of the other?
9 Here nothing comes to exist or desist at anytime. All eternally exist in the self-existent One as one and the same with his empty Self. 10 What is the cause of anything, and to what purpose should anything be caused at anytime? The Lord expects nothing from his creatures, and therefore their creation is equal to their not being created at all. 11 Here there is no emptiness or fullness and no entity or nonentity either, or anything between them, as there is nothing attributable of the infinite emptiness of Brahman. 12 Whatever is simply is, and what does not may not be. But all is Brahman only, whether what is or is not.
13 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, how can the Divine Spirit not be the cause of all when all who are ignorant of its quiet inactive nature believe that it is the sole cause?”
14 Vasishta replied:— No one is ignorant of God. Everyone has an innate conviction of God as his own consciousness. Whoever knows the empty entity of God also knows that this nature admits of no scrutiny or discussion. 15 Those who know the unity of God and his nature of motionless quiet, full of intelligence, also know that God’s unknowable nature is beyond all scrutiny.
16 Ignorance of God abides in the knowledge of God because one acknowledges the existence of God, yet says he is ignorant of God’s nature. This is like our dreaming is included under the state of sleeping.
17 I say that God is the soul of all, or is the all in all, to describe the omnipresence of God only for the instruction of the ignorant. In reality, his holy spirit is perfectly pure without decay. 18 Different understandings entertain different views regarding existence, whether caused or uncaused. 19 Those who see phenomena from a proper perspective have no reason to assign any cause to them whatever. Therefore, creation is without any cause whatever. 20 Therefore assigning a cause to this creation, either as matter or spirit, undermines one’s self-consciousness of divine permeation. It is all merely useless words of philosophers using clever arguments that serve only to confuse.
21 In absence of any other cause, creation is nothing other than like an appearance in our dream. There is nothing such as the gross material form or its visible appearance whatsoever. 22 What cause can the ignorant assign to their sight of a land in their dream other than the nature of Consciousness which exhibits such phenomena to minds? Say if there can be any other meaning to dreams? 23 Those who are unacquainted with the nature of dreams are deluded to believe them as realities. But those who are acquainted with their falsehood are not misled into believing them or this world to be real.
24 It is the impudence of fools to introduce any hypothesis of causality, either by their supposition, arrogance or in the heat of their debate. 25 Is the heat of fire, the coldness of water, or the light of luminous bodies as the ignorant suppose them to be, or any other nature of things and their respective causes? 26 There are hundreds of speculative theorists who assign as many causes to creation without agreeing upon any. Let them explain the cause of the aerial castles of their imagination.
27 The virtues and vices of men are formless things that bear fruit upon the spiritual body in the next world. How can they be causes of our physical bodies in this world? 28How can our finite and shapeless knowledge of things be the cause of the constant rise and fall of endless and minute bodies in the world, as it is maintained by the Vijnana Vada gnostic school? 29 It is nature, says the Naturalist, which is the cause of all events. But as nothing results from the nature of anything without its combination with another, it is too indefinite in its sense.
30 Therefore all things appear as causeless illusions to the ignorant and their true cause is a mystery to them. The intelligent know them to be the wonderful display of Divine Consciousness that shows everything in itself. 31 As one who knows the falsehood of dreams is never sorry at his loss of anything in dream, so those who have the knowledge of truth never feel any sorrow even at the possession or separation of their lives.
32 In the beginning there was no production of the visible world. It is nothing more than the emptiness of the intellect. In its own and true form, it appears as a dream, and it is nothing other than a dream in its essence. 33 There is no other hypothesis which is more accurate than the world resembles a dream. This conception of the world has only the great Brahman for its ground work.
34 As fluidity, waves and whirlpools are the inherent properties of pure water, the revolutions of worlds are only appearances on the surface of the Divine Mind with the divine spirit of Brahman at their bottom. 35 As velocity and ventilation are inborn in the nature of pure air, the creation and preservation of the world are ingrained and intrinsic in the nature of God. 36 As infinity and emptiness are inherent properties of the great void, so the knowledge of all things existent and nonexistent, and of creation and annihilation are immanent in the Divine Mind.
37 All things in existence and lying dormant in the Divine Mind are perceptible to us because we participate in the very same mind.
38 This creation and its destruction both abide side by side in the dense intellect of the Divine Soul, just as thickening dreams and sound sleep reside together in the calm sleeping state of our soul. 39 As a man passes from one dream to another in the same sleeping state of his soul, so the Supreme Soul sees the succession of creations alternately taking place in its own essence. 40 The clear atmosphere of the Divine Soul, utterly devoid of earthy and other material substances, yet appears to be possessed of them all. In the same manner, the human soul sees many things in its dream without having any of those things in itself.
41 As the human mind sees the forms of a pot or painting rising before it in a thought, so the all seeing mind of God sees worlds upon worlds appearing at once in its presence with a glance of its thought. 42 The all seeing soul sees all things as they are in itself. It finds them to be of the same intellectual nature as its own intellect, and all things are equivalent to the words that express them.
43 What is the use of scriptures and what good is reasoning upon words when our lack of desire is the best way to bliss? There being no creation because it has no cause, we have nothing to do with what appears only seemingly so. 44 It being proved that the absence of desire is our best bliss below, the sensation of desire must be the source of perpetual misery to man. Though our desires are many, yet the feeling of it is one and the same. They betray the craving mind, just as the various dreams by night disclose the intense desire nature of the soul.
• • •
Chapter 178 — How Spirit Can Perceive Physical; Story of Indu’s Ten Sons, the Aindavas (again); How Yogis Perceive Creation
1 Rama asked, “The world is known to consist of two sorts of beings, namely the physical or material substances and the incorporeal or subtle essences. 2 Subtle ones do not strike one another. Those are said to be solid which push and dash against each other.
3 Here we always see the dashing of one solid body against another. But we know nothing of the movement of subtle bodies or of their coming in contact with another. 4 We do know something about the quick motion of our subtle senses to their respective objects, without coming in contact with them. For example, we can perceive the distant moon.”
5 “I repudiate the theory of the half-enlightened who maintain the material world is the production of the will or imagination. I cannot believe that the immaterial intellect can either produce or guide the material body.”
6 “I believe the will is the material breath of life, moving the living body to and fro. But tell me sage, what is that power which propels the living breath in and out of beings? 7Tell me sage, how can the intangible intellect move the tangible body and carry it about, like a porter carrying his load? 8 If the subtle intellect is capable of moving the solid body at its will, then tell me sage. Why can’t a man move a mountain by his own will?”
9 Vasishta replied:— The opening and closing of the mouth of the aorta in the heart lets the vital breath in and out through the passage of its hole and the lungs. 10 Like the hollows of an ironsmith’s bellows, the hollow of the aorta lets vital air in and out by the breathing of the heart.
11 Rama asked, “It is true that the ironsmith closes and expands the valves of the bellows. But tell me sage, what power blows the wind pipe of the heart and lets the air in and out of the inner lungs? 12 How does the single breath of inhalation become a hundredfold, and how do these hundreds combine again into one? Why are some beings conscious and others as unconscious as wood and stone? 13 Tell me sage, why the inert have no vibration at all and why only moving bodies have pulsation and mutation?”
14 Vasishta replied:— There is an internal perception which moves the interior cords of the body, just as we can see the ironsmith work his bellows.
15 Rama asked, “Say sage, how is it possible for the subtle and intangible soul to move the vital airs and tangible internal parts in the animal body? 16 If the imperceptible observant soul can move the intestinal and other inner parts of the body, then it should be equally possible for a thirsty soul to draw distant water to itself.
17 If tangible and intangible can come together at will, then what is the use of the active and passive organs of action? 18 As the intangible powers of the soul bear no connection whatever with the outward objects of the world, some think they can have no effect on the internal organs of the body.” “So please explain it more fully to me. 19 Tell me, how do you yogis perceive the outward material things in your inner incorporeal souls? How can your formless souls have any command over or any contact with solid bodies?”
20 Vasishta replied:— Listen to me explain so that all your doubts are rooted out. These words will not only please your ears, but they will give you a conception of the unity of all things.
21 There is nothing here at anytime what you would call a solid substance or a material body. Everything is a wide and extended emptiness of the fine and subtle spirit. 22 This spirit is of the nature of pure intelligence, quite calm and intangible. All material things such as the earth are as imaginary as our dreams, the creatures of imagination. 23 There was nothing in the beginning, nor shall there be anything at the end, for lack of a cause for its creation or dissolution. Present existence is an illusion, like any fleeting shape or shadow appearing before the dreaming mind.
24 The withdrawn yogi loses sight of the earth, sky, air and water, and the hills and rivers that ordinarily appear to sight. Through his meditation, the yogi sees them in their ideal and intangible forms. 25 The outer elements and their inner perceptions, the earth, wood and rocks, are all only empty ideas of the intellect, which is the only real substratum of ideas and besides which there is no reality.
26Listen to the story of Aindavas which explains this doctrine. This will not fail to please your ears, though I have told it to you once before. 27 Listen to the story which I am going to repeat in answer to your question. You will come to know that these hills and others things are identical with your intellect.
28 Once in days of the past in some part of the world, there lived a certain brahmin named Indu who was famous for his religious austerities and observance of Vedic ceremonies. 29 He had ten sons by whom he was surrounded like the world by its ten sides. The sons were men of great souls, magnanimous spirits respected by all good and great men. 30 In the course of time the old father met with his death and departed from his ten sons like the eleventh Rudra at the time of the dissolution of the world. 31 His chaste wife, for fear of the miseries of widowhood, followed his funeral by cremation, much like evening twilight follows departing daylight like a faithful bride, with the evening star shining upon her forehead. 32 The sons performed the funeral ceremonies and, in sorrow for their deceased father, they left their home and domestic duties and retired to the woods for holy meditation.
33 They practiced the best method for the intensity of their concentration, best calculated to secure the accomplishment of their meditation. This was constant reflection upon their identity with Brahman. 34 Thinking so in themselves, they sat in lotus posture. Wishing to gain knowledge of the unity of all things, they did what you shall be glad to learn from me. 35 They thought the whole world presided over by the lotus-born Brahma was contained within themselves. They believed they had been transformed into the form of that mundane god. 36 Believing themselves to be Brahma, they sat long with the thought of supporting the world. They remained with their closed eyes as if they were mere figures in a painting. 37 With this belief they remained fixed and steady at the same spot, and many a month and year glided over their heads and motionless bodies. 38 They were reduced to dry skeletons, parts of which were beaten and devoured by hungry beasts. Some of their limbs were torn and disappeared from their main bodies, like parts of a shadow by the rising sun. 39 Yet they continued to reflect that they were the god Brahma and his creation, and the world with all its parts were contained in themselves.
40 In the end their ten bodiless minds were thought to be converted into so many different worlds, in their abstract meditation of them. 41 Thus by the will of their intellects, each became a whole world in himself and remained so in a clear or abstract view of it, without being accompanied by its grosser part. 42 In their own consciousness they saw the solid earth with all its hills and other things in themselves. Since all things have reference to the intellect, and are viewed intellectually only.
43 What is this triple world? It is only its knowledge in our consciousness, without which we have no perception of it and with which we have a clear conception of everything. So all things are of the empty nature of our consciousness, and not otherwise. 44 As the wave is nothing other than the water of the sea, so there is nothing movable or immovable whatever without our conscious knowledge of it.
45 As the Aindavas remained in their empty forms of intellectual worlds in the open air, so are these blocks of wood and stone pure intellectual beings or concepts in the sphere of our minds. 46 As the will of the Aindavas assumed the forms of the world, so did the will of lotus-born Brahma take the form of this universe. 47 Therefore this world together with all these hills and trees, and also these great elements and all other bodies, belong only to the intellect which is thus spread out to infinity. 48 The earth is the intellect and so are its trees and mountains. Heaven and sky are also only the intellect. There is nothing beside the intellect, which includes all things in itself, like the intellectual worlds of the Aindavas.
49 The intellect, like a potter, forms everything upon its own wheel and produces this pottery of the world from the mud of its own body. 50 The conscious will is the cause of creation and the framer of the universe. It could not have made anything which is either unconscious or imperfect in its nature, and even mineral mountains and plant life are not devoid of their sensations.
51 If we say the world is the work of design, or the memory of former impressions, or the work of Divine Will, these are still only different powers of Consciousness. The world still proves to be a product of Consciousness. 52 Therefore there cannot be any gross substance in Divine Intellect which blazes with the shining light of Consciousness in the Universal Soul of God, like a mine of bright gems. 53 Anything however mean or useless is never apart from the Divine Soul. Sunlight shines on all objects. So does the light of Consciousness take everything in the light of the great Brahma which pervades alike on all.
54 As water flows indiscriminately upon the ground, and as the sea washes all its shores with its turbulent waves, so does Consciousness ever delight to shed its light over all objects of its own accord without any regard to its near or distant relation. 55 As the great Creator evolves the world in the first formative period of creation, like the petals of his lotus navel, so does the Divine Intellect unfold all parts of the mundane system from its own sanctuary, which parts are therefore not distinct from itself. 56 The Lord is unborn and uncreated and unconfined in his nature and purely empty in his essence. He is calm and tranquil. He is immanent in the interim of existence and nonexistence. Therefore this world is no more than a reflection of the intellectual or its ideal pattern in the Divine Mind.
57 Therefore the wise are aware of the consciousness in all creation and laugh at ignorant men who declare the insensibility of inanimate objects. Rocks and trees in this ideal world are not wholly devoid of their sensations and feelings. 58 The learned know that these ideal worlds in the air are full with the Divine Soul. They know this creation of Brahma’s will to be only an ethereal paradise without any substantiality. 59When this material world is viewed in its ethereal and intellectual light, the distresses of this delusive world take to flight and its miseries disappear. 60 As long as this intellectual view of the world does not reveal itself to the sight of a man, the miseries of the world trouble him stronger and closer on every side.
61 Men, infatuated by their continued folly and blind to the view of the world as intellect, can never have reprieve from the troubles of the world or find their rest from the hardness of the times. 62 There is no creation, no existence or nonexistence of the world, and no the birth or destruction of anyone here. There is no entity nor nonentity of anything. There is only the Divine Soul glowing serenely bright with its own light in this manner. There is no light whatever except the manifestation of the Divine Spirit.
63 The cosmos resembles a vine with multitudes of its budding worlds. It has no beginning or end. It is impossible to find its root or top at anytime, or to discover the boundless extent of its circumference. Like a crystal pillar, it bears innumerable statues in its recesses which are thickly studded together without end. 64 There is only one endless being stretching his innumerable arms throughout the infinity of space. I am that empty soul embracing everything without limit. I find myself to be that stupendous pillar in my uncreated and all comprehensive soul which is ever as tranquil and transparent and without any change in itself.
• • •
Chapter 179 — Phenomena Are Points of Consciousness; Dreams Evidence
Things Exist without Cause; — Each Soul Is Conscious of Multitudes within
1 Vasishta continued:— When the triple world is known to be a purely intellectual entity, then there is no possibility of the existence of any material substance, as it is believed by the ignorant majority of mankind. 2 Then how can there be a tangible body, or any material substance at all? All that appears to our sight is only an intangible extension of pure emptiness. 3 It is the emptiness of our intellectuality contained in the emptiness of the Divine Intellect. It is all an extension of calm and quiet intelligence existing in the serene intelligence of the Supreme One. 4 All this is only tranquil consciousness, like a dream of which we are conscious in our waking state. It is a pure spiritual extension, though appearing as a consolidated expanse of substantial forms.
5 What are these living bodies and their limbs and members? What are their inner parts and their bony frames? Are they not mere shadows of ghosts and spirits appearing as visible and tangible? 6 The hands, the head, and all the other parts of the body are seats of consciousness or perception. They are the seats of the imperceptible and intangible in the form of the brain or sense impressions.
7 The cosmos appears as a dream in the emptiness of the Divine Mind. The cosmos may be described as caused and uncaused owing to its repeated appearance and eternal inherence in the Eternal Mind. 8 It is true that nothing can come from nothing, nothing can exist without its cause. But what can be the cause of what is eternally destined or ordained in the Eternal Mind? 9 It is possible for a thing to come into existence without any assignable cause. Such is the presence of everything that we think of in our minds. 10 If it is possible for things to appear in their various forms in our dreams, and even in the unconscious state of our sleep, then why should it be impossible for them to appear in the daydream of our waking hours, the mind being equally watchful in both states of its being?
11 Things of various kinds are present at all times in the all comprehensive mind of the Universal Soul. These are uncaused entities of the Divine Mind. They are also described as caused when they are brought to appearance.
12 As each of the Aindavas thought he had become a hundred in his imagination, so every one of these imaginary worlds swarms with millions of beings. 13 Everybody is conscious of being many, either consecutively or simultaneously at the same time, just as we think of our diversity in the different parts and organs of our bodies. 14 As the one universal body of water diverges itself into a thousand beds and basins, branching into innumerable channels and creeks, and as one undivided duration is divided into all the divisions of time and seasons, so does the one and uniform soul become many.
15 All compact bodies are only ethereal phantoms of our dream rising in the empty space of our consciousness. They are as formless and subtle as a hollow mountain in a dream. 16 Our consciousness consists of only the concepts and ideas of things. Therefore the world must be considered to exist only as an idea. It appears as fleeting ideas of things glide over the emptiness of the intellect.
17 Our knowledge and ignorance of things resemble the dreaming and sleeping states of the soul. The world is same as the intellect, like the identity of air with its breeze. 18Ideas and phenomena are the same state of the Intellect. Ideas are the subjectivity of its empty self, and phenomena are the objectivity of its own reasoning and dreams. Therefore this world appears as a protracted dream in the hollow cavity of the sleeping mind.
19 The world is a nonentity. The error of its entity is caused by our ignorance of the nature of God from the very beginning of creation. In our dream of the world, we see many terrific aspects of ghosts and the like, but our knowledge of its nonentity and of the vanity of worldliness dispel all our fears and cares. 20 As our single self-consciousness sees many things in itself, so it beholds an endless variety of forms appearing in the infinite emptiness of the Divine Mind. 21 As many lighted lamps in a room combine to emit one great blaze of light, so the appearance of this diverse creation displays the omnipotence of one almighty power. 22 Creation is like a bursting bubble, or foam and froth covering the ocean of omnipotence. It appears as a wood and wilderness in the clouded face of the firmament, but disappears in the clear empty atmosphere of the Divine Mind. There is no speck or spot of creation in the infinite ocean of Supreme Consciousness.
• • •
Chapter 180 — The Story of Kundadanta and the Upside-down Ascetic
1 Rama said:—
Sage, I ask you to remove the shade of a doubt from my mind, just as sunshine dispels darkness and brings to light whatever is dark and obscure in the world.
2 Once I saw a self-controlled ascetic who came to the Gurukula school where I was sitting among the council of the sages and learned men, conversing on subjects of theology and divinity. 3 He was a learned brahmin of godly appearance. He came from the land of the Videhas and was practiced in religious austerities. The shining luster of his body was as unbearable as the terrible seer Durvasas himself.
4 On entering the assembly, he made his obeisance to the illustrious persons. We also saluted him in return and provided a seat for him to sit down. 5 The brahmin being well seated, I picked up many discourses with him from the Vedanta, Sankhya and Siddhanta philosophies. When his weariness was gone, I asked him this question. 6 “Sage, you seem to be tired with your long journey to this place. Please tell me, O eloquent brahmin, from where you have started here today?”
7 The brahmin (Kundadanta) replied:— So it is, O fortunate prince. I have taken great pains to come here. Now hear me tell you the reason that brings me here to see you. 8There is a district here named Vaideha. It is populous and prosperous, resembling a heavenly paradise. 9 There I was born and educated and lived. I was named Kundadanta because of the whiteness of my teeth, bearing resemblance to the buds of white kunda flowers. 10 Afterwards I renounced my worldly concerns and traveled far and wide about this earth. I stayed in the ashrams of holy sages and saints and the shrines of gods to rest from the fatigue of my travels.
11 I stayed near sacred Srisailam Mountain where I sat silently for a long period practicing my meditation austerities. 12 There I found a desert devoid of grassy pastures and woody trees where the light of the sun and the shade of night reigned by turns, as the place was completely open to the sky. 13 In the middle of this desert was a branching tree with a few green leaves and leaflets. The bright sun dispensed his gentle beams from the upper sky through its cooling foliage. 14 Under one of its branches, there hung a man of holy appearance. He blazed as the resplendent sun hanging in the open air by the cords of sun’s wide extending beams and radiating rays. 15 The man’s feet were tied up by a thick cord of munja grass. His head hung downward towards the ground beneath. This gave him the appearance of an offshoot of a banyan tree rooted in the earth below.
16 After a while I approached him. I saw that his two folded palms were affixed to his breast. 17 Advancing nearer to the body of the brahmin, I found it was alive and breathing, having the feeling of touch and the perception of heat and cold and that of the breeze and change of weather. 18 Afterwards I devoted myself to attending upon that holy person. I underwent all the difficulties of the sun and seasons until I was received into his confidence. 19 Then I asked him, “Who are you lord, that you have taken up this sort of painful meditation? Tell me, O far sighted seer, what is the object of your protracted state of self-mortification at the expense of your precious life?”
20 He replied to my question, “First, O devotee, tell me what is the object of your tapas and those of all others who are devoted to whatever they pursue?” 21 This was his introduction to what he was going to say. Being pressed further by my troublesome questions, he gave the following answer to my questions. 22 “I was born at Mathura where I grew up in the house of my father and acquired my knowledge of philology and the arts in course of time. 23 I also learned that princes are the receptacles of all pleasures and enjoyments and that early youth is capable of enjoying all the fruits of life. 24 Since then I began to reflect upon possession of the seven continents of the earth and to foster the ardent expectation of gratifying all my desires of this life.
25 That is why I came here, to meditate in order to attain the objects of my desire. 26 Therefore, O my disinterested and self offered friend, return to your own country and desired home. Leave me to remain in this state, with my firm resolution to accomplish my desired object.”
27 Being instructed by him to leave, listen now to what I said to him. This will amaze you and the wise will be gladdened in their hearts. 28 I addressed him saying, “O holy saint, let me remain here at your service underneath this holy tree until you obtain the desired reward of your meditation.” 29 The humble minded devotee remained as cool and quiet as a block of stone. His eyes remained closed as he persisted in his quiescence like a dead body, without any motion in his outer limbs.
30 I stayed with him for six months. I remained quiet and quiescent like a block of wood, enduring the rigors of climate and seasons without shrinking. 31 Once I saw a person bright as the blazing sun descending from sun, then standing in the presence of the devotee. 32 The ascetic mentally offered his adoration to this divine person and I bodily prostrated myself before him. He uttered his words, in a tone as sweet as the flowing out of ambrosial sweetness.
33 He said, “O persistent brahmin who has long been hanging from this branch of a banyan tree, suspend your severe austerities and accept your desired reward which I am ready to confer upon you.
34 As you wish, you shall reign over the seven oceans and continents of this earth with your present body for seven thousand years.” 35 In this manner, this second sun gave his blessing to the devout ascetic, then plunged into the bosom of the ocean out of which he had come.
36 The god having departed, I approached the ascetic hanging below the branch and said to him, “I witnessed today what I had heard before, that the gods are ever gracious to their suppliants. 37 Now O brahmin, as you have gained the object of your desire, it is desirable that you should give up your austerity and pursue the proper callings and the course of your life.”
38 He agreed to my proposal. I climbed the tree and loosened his feet, like they loosen the feet of an elephant from its chains. 39 Then, having bathed himself, he made offerings with his pure hands for the remission of his sins. Then with the fruit which he was fortunate to pluck from the tree, he broke the fast of his long penitence. 40 By virtue of his meritorious devotion we obtained plenty of the delicious fruits of that holy tree. We refreshed ourselves lived on that fruit for three days.
41 Thus this brahmin, desiring to obtain sovereignty of the earth with its seven continents encircled by the seven oceans, completed his painful fasting hanging upside down until he obtained his desired reward from the god of day. He refreshed himself for three days in that place, then both of us set out on our journey towards the city of Mathura.
Auto Shankar, played by Upendra, is an auto driver belonging to the middle class section of the society. He is friendly and jovial. Maya, who is a money-lender, is brought up in a rich family. She is portrayed as a boorish character. She is unscrupulous in recovering loans given to the poor and has designed […]
True to the title ‘Money is God’, film revolves around money. Muthuraman is ‘Venniradai’ Moorthy’s son. Manorama is Moorthy’s second wife. Manorama dominates and she is so stingy in spending for her family. Srikanth is Muthuraman’s cousin. Whole family toils hard even to obtain a single penny from Manorama. Lakshmi joins in as Manorama’s secretary. […]
Democracy is in crisis. A new generation of elected leaders are dismantling freedom and democracy as we know it. Filmed over three years in five countries, Freedom for the Wolf is an epic investigation into this new regime. From the young students of Hong Kong, to a rapper in post-Arab Spring Tunisia and the viral […]
2014 saw the eagerly anticipated return of Porsche to the Le Mans fray. The 919 hybrid looked to add to the legend forged by cars like the 917, 956 and 911. Le Mans in 2014 is a very different proposition to that faced by the Munich company’s designers and engineers in 1998 when they last […]
Jess has introduced hundreds of people to meditation. Meditation helps you change the way your mind works and provides unlimited mental and physical health benefits Related posts: The ASMR Lounge #1 – Introduction – Whispered binaural session for relaxation, meditation & sleep RELAXATION MUSIC FOR STRESS RELIEF RELAXING AND HEALING MEDITATION Guided Meditation for Relaxation […]