BOOK VI – PART2D – CHAPTERS 181-216 – The Latter Treasury (Uttaradha Bhaga)
Chapter 181 — Kundadanta And The Ascetic Travel – Find A Hermit At What Was Gauri’s Ashram By The Kadamba Tree
1 The guest Kundadanta resumed his narration and said:— We journeyed homeward towards the holy city of Mathura, which was as fair and splendid as the solar and lunar mansions and Indra’s celestial city of Amaravati. 2 We reached the rural town of Raudha and stayed by a rock in the mango forest. Then we turned towards the city of Salisa where we remained two days cheerful in spirits. 3 We passed our time with that cheerfulness of heart that always comes with travelling through unknown places and scenes. We rested under the cooling shade of woodland trees, and refreshed ourselves in the cooling brooks and breezes.
4 Faded flowers falling in profusion from flowery vines growing on river banks of rivers, the splashing of the waves, the humming of the bees, and the singing of birds are delightful to the souls of passing travelers. 5 We enjoyed thickening and cooling shades of trees on the shores of rivers, herds of deer and flights of chirping birds, and frozen ice and dew drops hanging quivering like pearls on tree leaves and blades of green grass. 6 We passed many days through woods and forests, over hills and valleys, through caves and narrow passages, over marshes and dry lands, and in cities and villages. We also crossed over a great many rivers and channels and running waters. 7 We passed our nights under trees of thick plantain forests. Being weary with walking over snow and dew, we rested on beds made of plantain leaves. 8 On the third day we came to a jungle full of gigantic trees which, for lack of human homes, seemed to have divided the empire of heaven among themselves.
9 Here that devotee left the right path and entered into another forest, uttering these useless words to me. 10 The ascetic said, “Let us go to the sanctuary of Gauri here, where many munis and sages from all quarters stay. It is the ashram where my seven brothers went to attain their objects. 11 We are eight brothers in all. All of us fostered great ambitions in various respects. We are all equally resolved to devote ourselves to rigorous austerities to succeed in our determined purposes.
12 This is why I seek their shelter in this holy ashram where they practiced various acts of self mortification with fixed determination, whereby they have been cleansed from their sins.”
13 “Before this I accompanied my brothers and remained here with them for six months. Now I find this same sanctuary of Gauri in the same state as I had seen it before. 14 I see this ground overhung by the shady flowers of trees. I see the young animal cubs resting in this their peaceful retreat. I also see leafy branches with birds listening to sages underneath reciting the scriptures.”
15 “Therefore, let us go to the ashram of the sages which resembles the throne of Brahma crowded by the brahmins on all sides. Here our bodies shall be purified of their sins and our hearts will be sanctified by the holiness of the place. 16 By seeing these holy men of superior understanding, the minds of learned and saint-like persons and even those who know truth are purified.”
17 Upon his saying so, we went to that ashram of sages and hermits, but to our great disappointment, we saw nothing, only total desolation. 18 There was not a tree or a plant or even a shrub or vine to be seen. There was no man, muni or child, nor any altar or priest anywhere. 19 It was only a vast desert, all void and devoid of bounds, an unlimited space of burning heat. It looked like a blank expanse of sky had fallen down of the ground below.
20 “Ah woe to us! What has all this come to be!” we said to each other. We continued to wander about for a long while until we chanced to see a tree at some distance. 21 It presented a thick shade and cooling aspect, like that of a dark and drizzling cloud in the sky. There we saw an aged hermit sitting in meditation beneath it.
22 We two sat upon a grassy area out in front of the hermit. We sat there for a long time, yet we could find no rest in the hermit’s withdrawn meditation. 23 I felt uneasy being there for such a long while, so I broke my silence in impatience and cried out in a loud voice, saying, “O sage, suspend the long meditation of your mind.”
24 My loud cry awakened the muni from the trance of his reverie, like the roaring of a rain cloud wakens the sleeping lion, rising straight with his yawning mouth. 25 The hermit asked us, “Who are you pious people here in this desert? Say, where has that sanctuary of Gauri gone? Who has brought me here? Tell me, what does this change mean? What time is this?
26 I replied, “You, O sage, know all this and not we. Tell us, being a sage and a seer how do you not know yourself?”
27 Hearing this, the holy man meditated again and saw all the events that had occurred to him and to us also. 28 He remained a moment in deep thought, then coming to himself from his meditation, he said to us, “Learn about this marvelous event, and by your good common sense, know it to be only a delusion.” The hermit speaking:— 29 This young kadamba tree that you see here giving me shelter in this desert is now flowering in kindness to me. 30 It was for some reason or other that the chaste goddess Gauri lived upon it for a full ten years in the form of the goddess of speech. She suffered all the harshness of the seasons sitting in this tree. 31 An extensive forest of trees grew by her at this place which became known by her name. The forest was decorated by plants of all seasons. 32 It was a romantic spot for all grades of gods and men who sang and played here with the melodies of tuneful and playful birds. The air was filled with clouds of flowers, bright like multitudes of moons in the sky. The pollen of full blown lotuses perfumed the air everywhere in the forest. 33 The pollen of mandara and other flowers perfumed the air around and the opening bud and blooming blossoms brightened like moons. Flowering vines sent forth their fragrance all abou and the whole courtyard of the forest seemed to be scattered with perfume. 34 Its branches were the seats of the god of the spring season and plants. An orchestra of black bees sat and sang in concert with their mates on the top of flowers. Flower beds were spread out like sheet of moonlight and like swings for the swinging play of spiritual masters and celestial apsara nymphs.
35 Here brooks were frequented by cranes, herons and other aquatic birds of various kinds. Spacious lawns were graced by cocks, peacocks and other land birds of various colors. 36 Gandharvas and yakshas, siddhas and the hosts of celestials bowed down to this kadamba tree. Their crowns rubbed against the branch sanctified by the touch of the feet of the goddess Saraswati who is also known as Gauri. The flowers of the tree looked like the stars of heaven and exhaled their fragrance all around. 37 Gentle breezes played among the tender vines diffusing a coolness throughout secret branches, even in the light and heat of the blazing sunshine. The flying pollen of kadamba and other flowers spread a yellow carpet over the ground.
38 The lotus and other aquatic flowers were blooming in the brooks frequented by storks and cranes and herons and other watery birds that played upon them while the goddess entertained herself amidst the flowery groves, which displayed her wonderful powers in the variety of their flowers.
39 It was in such a forest as this that the goddess Gauri, the wife of the god Shiva, resided for a long time for some cause known to her godly mind. Then by changing her name and form to that of Kadamba-Saraswati, she waved as gracefully as a kadamba flower on the crown of the head of her spouse and partner, Lord Shiva.
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Chapter 182 — The Kadamba Tree Hermit Describes the Tapas of the Eight Brothers, Their Wives’ Austerities, and Durvasa’s Curse
1 The old hermit resumed and said:— The goddess Gauri, of her own accord, lived on this same kadamba tree for a full ten years, then she left this tree of her own will in order to join her Lord Shiva on his left side. 2 This young kadamba tree, blessed by the ambrosial touch of the goddess, never becomes old or fades or withers, but ever remains as fresh as a child in the lap of her mother.
3 After the goddess left this place, that great garden was converted to a common bush and was frequented only by woodmen who earned their livelihood by woodcutting. 4As for myself, know me to be the king of the country of Malwa. I have abdicated my kingdom and have become a refuge in this hermitage of holy ascetics. 5 When I came to this place, I was honored by the inhabitants of this holy ashram. I made my home beneath this kadamba tree, where I have been in meditation ever since.
6 It was sometime ago that you, sage, came here with your seven brothers to practice religious austerities. 7 You eight have lived here as holy devotees since that time, respected by all the resident devotees of this place. 8 It came to pass in process of time that one of you left here for Srisailam Mountain, then the second went out to worship Lord Kartikeya in another place. 9 The third left for Benares and the fourth to the Himalayas. Four remained here and employed themselves in rigorous austerities. 10 It was the earnest desire of each and everyone of you to become the sovereign lord of all the seven continents of the earth.
11 In the end, all succeeded and accomplished their objects of desire, which were all the same, by the grace and reward which they obtained from the respective god each worshipped who was pleased with the austerity of his particular devotee. 12 The brothers returned to their home while you were employed in meditation. After their enjoyment of the rewards of this earth in the golden age, they ascended to the highest heaven of Brahma.
13 O sage, your brothers, finding their respective gods favorable to them and willing to confer blessings, made the following request of the gods, saying, 14 “You gods! Make our seven brothers lords of the seven continents of the earth and let all our subjects be truthful and sincere, attached to the occupations of their respective orders.” 15 The gods who they adored gladly fulfilled their prayers and having assented to their request, disappeared and vanished in the open sky.
16 Afterwards, all the ascetics gathered here went to their respective homes and met death except this one who is now here. 17 Only I have been sitting alone, devoutly intent upon meditation. I have remained as motionless as a stone beneath this kadamba tree which is sacred to the goddess of speech. 18 Now as the seasons and years have been rolling over my devoted head, I have lived to see this forest broken and cut down by the woodmen who live in the outskirts of these trees.
19 They have spared only this unfading kadamba tree, which they made an object of their worship as the home of the goddess of speech, and me also whom they believe to be absorbed in rigorous meditation.
20 Now sirs, as you seem to have recently come to this place and bear the appearance of aged ascetics, I have told you all that I have come to know only through my meditation. 21 Rise then, you righteous men, and go to your native homes where you will meet your brothers in the circle of their family and friends. 22 You will find eight of your brothers remaining in their home and resembling the eight high minded Vasus sitting in the high heaven of Brahma.
Kundadanta speaking:— 23 After that great devotee had said his much, I interrupted him saying, “I have a great question about your wonderful story. Please explain it to me. 24 We know this earth is composed of only seven continents. Then how is it possible for eight brothers to be the lord of them all at the same time?
25 The kadamba ascetic said:— What I have told you is not inconsistent. There are many things which seem inconsistent but become evident when they are explained. 26 These eight brothers, when they complete their periods of asceticism, will all become lords of the seven continents of the earth in their domestic circles. 27 All eight brothers will remain in their respective houses on the surface of the earth and there become the lords of the seven continents, in the manner as you shall now hear from me.
28 Every one of these eight brothers had a wife at home who was of unblemished character. They resembled the eight stars or planets of heavens in the brightness of their bodies. 29 After these eight brothers departed to conduct their protracted meditation abroad, their love-born wives became saddened at their separation, which is altogether intolerable to faithful wives. 30 In their great sorrow of spirit, they made painful austerities to the memory of their absent lords. They completed a hundred chandrayana vows and rites to the satisfaction of the goddess Parvati. 31 After each had performed her daily devotion to the goddess, she appeared invisibly to each separately in her inner apartments and spoke to her. 32 The goddess said, “O child, you have been fading away by your austerities, like a tender shoot under the scorching sun. Now accept this reward to your heart’s desire, both for yourself and also for your husband.”
33 Hearing the voice of the goddess of heaven, Lady Chirantika offered handfuls of flowers to Parvati and began to address her prayer to the goddess. 34 The reserved and close tongued lady uttered her words in a slow flattering voice flushed with joy. She addressed the heavenly goddess like a peacock accosts a rising cloud. 35 Chirantika said, “O goddess, as you bear eternal love for Shiva, the god of gods, such is the love I also bear to my husband. Make him immortal.”
36 The goddess replied, “Know, O good minded lady, that according the fixed decree of destiny, ever since the creation of the world, it is impossible to gain immortality. No devotion, austerity or charity can buy immortal life. Therefore ask for some other blessing.”
37 Chirantika said, “O goddess, if it is impossible to attain immortality, then grant this much, that he being dead, his soul may not depart beyond the confines of this his house.38 When my husband’s body falls dead in this house, then grant me this reward that his departed soul may never depart from this place.”
39 “Be it so, O daughter, that your husband being gone to another world, you may still continue to be his beloved wife, even after his death.” 40 Saying so, the goddess Gauri remained silently in the air, as if the sound of clouds had stopped after indicating the welfare of the world. 41 After the goddess disappeared into the air, the husbands of these ladies returned from all sides, and after the lapse of some time the wives received their desired blessings. 42 Husbands were restored to their wives, brothers met each other, and friends and relatives conversed.
43 Now listen as I tell you about a wonderful event that happened to them at this time. It presented itself as an obstacle towards the achievement of their noble purpose. 44While the brothers were employed in meditation, their parents went out with their wives to search for them. With sorrowful hearts they were wandering about the hermitages of saints. 45 Unmindful of their personal pains and pleasures, concerned only for the welfare of their sons, they intended to see the village of Kalapa which lay on their way. 46 Passing by the village of munis and saints, they saw a white man of short stature with grey and erect hairs on his head, his body smeared with ash. 47 Thinking he was ordinary old pilgrim, the parents forgot to do him due honor and let the dust of the ground they trod upon fly upon his sacred person.
This irritated the old sage, who spoke out in anger. 48 You great fool going on pilgrimage with your wife and daughters-in-law, you don’t respect me, Sage Durvasa. You neglect to do me due reverence. 49 For this act of your negligence, the rewards so dearly earned by your sons and daughters-in-law will go for nothing and the results will have a contrary effect.”
50 On hearing this curse the old parents and their daughters-in-law began to do him reverence, but the ancient sage disappeared and vanished in the air. 51 The parents and their daughters were greatly dismayed and disheartened. They returned home with sad faces.
52 Therefore I say, this was not the only strange thing, that each of the brothers reigned over the seven continents all at once. There were many other inequalities awaiting them as there are on all human wishes. These occurred as thickly one after the other as sores and ulcers grow on the throat. 53There are as many oddities and vanities always occurring in the wishes and aerial castles of the empty mind, just as numberless portents and comets and meteors and unnatural sights are seen to appear in the empty sky.
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Chapter 183 — Blessing and Curse Argue before Brahma; — the Blessings Bear Fruit in the Minds of the Brahmin Brothers
1 Kundadanta said:— I asked the hermit of Gauri’s ashram, whose head was hoary with age, and whose hair resembled the dried blades of withered grass. 2 “There are only seven continents on this earth. Then how could every one of the eight brothers become the sole lord of earth at the same time? 3 How could a person who never left his house conquer the seven continents or govern them himself? 4 How could they who had a reward on one hand and its opposite curse on the other, go either way? They are opposed to one another, like the cool shade of trees and the heat of sunshine. 5 How can opposite qualities reside together at the same time? It is as impossible as the container and contained becoming the same thing.
6 The kadamba tree hermit replied:— Listen, O holy man, as I relate the sequel of their tale and you will come to see the sequence of their contrary fates.
7 As for you two, you will reach your home after eight days from this place. There you will meet your relatives with whom you will live happily for some time. 8 These eight brothers also, having joined with their families at home, will breathe their last in course of time. Their bodies will be burnt by their friends and relations. 9 Then their conscious souls will remain separately in the air for a little while in a state of sluggishness, such as in the insensibility of sleep. 10 During this time their acts will appear in the empty space of their minds for the sake of receiving their punishment and justice. The blessings of gods and the curse of the sage will visit them at his time.
11 Their acts will appear in the shapes of the persons to whom they were done. The blessings and curse also will assume their particular forms in order to make their appearance before them. 12 The blessings will assume the forms of fair moon-bright bodies with four arms holding a lotus bud, a club and other weapons. 13 The curse will take the forms of Shiva with his three eyes, holding lance and mace in either hand and having a dark terrific body with an arrogant grim and frowning countenance.
14 The Blessings will boastingly say, “Be far away you accursed curse! It is now our time to work, as it is with the seasons to act their parts at their proper times.”
15 The Curse will say in his turn, “Be far away from here, you blessed blessings. Do not intrude upon my time. It will take effect like any one of the seasons. There is none capable of counteracting its wonted course.”
16 The Blessing will reply, “You, cursed curse, are only a creature of a human sage. But we are messengers of the god of day. Now as the first born god of light has preference over a human being, it is proper that we should have our precedence here.”
17 Upon the blessings saying so, the personified curse of the sage Durvasa became enraged and replied, “I am no less the creator of a god than you since we are born of the god Rudra by his wife Rudrani. 18 Rudra is the greatest of gods, and the sage was born with a portion of Rudra’s bravery.” Saying so, the accursed curse lifted its head as high as the exalted summit of a mountain.
19 On seeing the haughty high-headedness of the personification of curse, the personified image of the blessing smiled scornfully at him. He replied with a speech of well weighed words. 20 “O you criminal curse, leave your wickedness and think on the end of this affair. Think about what is to be done after we are done arguing. 21 We must go to the father of the gods to get a decision on this case. It is better if we go now as sooner or later he is the one to make the determination.”
22 On hearing these words from the personified blessing, the Curse replied, “Well, I agree to what you say. Even a fool cannot decline to accept a reasonable proposal.” 23 The Curse agreed to go with the divine Blessing to the home of Brahma because the wise always seek the company of great minded gods for answers to their questions. 24 Curse and Blessing kneeled down before Brahma and related all that had occurred between them. The god, on hearing the whole of both sides, replied in the following manner.
25 Brahma said, “Listen unto me, you masters of blessing and curse, and let him have precedence who is possessed of intrinsic merit and essence.” 26 Upon hearing this from the mouth of the great god, each entered into the heart of the other in order to estimate his understanding and discover his respective parts. 27 Having searched into the eternal essentialities of the other, and having known the other’s character, each returned before the presence of the god and implored him in turn.
28 The Curse said, “I am overcome, O lord of creatures, by my adversary. I have no internal merit in myself. I find the blessings of my foe are as sound and solid as a hard rock or a powerful thunderbolt. 29 But Blessings and I, being only intellectual beings, have no material body whatever to boast of at anytime.”
30 The Blessing replied, “The intellectual blessing given to the eight brahmins is here present before you, entrusted to my charge. 31 Each person’s body is the evolution of his intelligence. This body enjoys the consequence of the curse or blessing that is passed on according to his knowledge of it, whether his eating or drinking or his feeling in all his wanderings at all times and places. 32 In time, the blessings received strengthen in the recipient’ mind. At last, the blessing acting forcibly within one’s self overcomes the power and effect of the curse.”
33 “The gift of a blessing to a devotee becomes strong and effectual only when it is deeply rooted and duly fostered in one’s self. 34 Through continued culture of our conscious goodness and by the constant habit of thinking about the results of our boons, they become perfected in one’s self and convert their possessor to their form. 35 Only pure and remorseful conscience consummates one’s consciousness in time. But the impure conscience of the evil minded never finds any peace or tranquility. Therefore, the brahmins’ thoughts of the blessing took possession of their minds, and not the curse. The earlier one, though it be minute, takes priority over the latter, and there is no rule or force of pride to counteract this law.”
36 “Hence the gods’ blessings, being prior to the sage’s curse, must take precedence over the latter. In fact nothing would like to increase the impact of a curse. 37 But where both sides have equal force, both must have joint effect upon the same thing. So the curse and blessing joined together must remain like water mixed with milk. 38 The equal force of blessing and curse must produce a double or divided effect on the mind of man, just as a person dreaming of the fairy city thinks he has become one of its citizens.”
39 “Now pardon me, O lord for repeating the same truths which you previously have taught me. Permit me to take leave and depart for my place.” 40 Upon Blessing saying so, Curse felt ashamed and fled from the presence of the god, just as the ghosts and demons fly away when darkness is dispersed from the sky.
41 Then the other Blessing, the one that the departed ghosts would remain in the confines of their houses, came forward and presented itself before Brahma instead of Curse and began to plead his cause, as a substitute does for his dependent. 42 He said, “O lord of the gods, I do not know how human souls can fly over the seven continents of the earth after separation from their dead bodies. 43 I am the same blessing of the goddess who promised them dominion over the seven continents in their own house, and also their conquest of the whole earth. 44 Now tell me, O lord of the gods, how am I to restrain their spirits to the narrow limits of their own homes and, at the same time, confer the domain of the sevenfold earth to each of them?”
45 Brahma responded, “Hear me, O you Blessing of conferring the realms of the seven continents on each of them, and you Boon of detaining their departed spirits within the confines of their home. Both of you are successful in executing your respective purposes on them. 46 Now retire from here with full assurance that the delivered ghosts of these brothers will never depart from their present homes after their deaths, but will continue to live there forever with the belief of being lord of the seven regions of this earth. 47 After the loss of their frail bodies, their souls will remain a proper distances from each other. Each will consider himself as lord of the seven regions of earth, though dwelling in the empty air of their own homes. 48 How could there be the eight regions and seven continents of the earth, when to all appearance the surface of the earth is a flat level everywhere?”
Blessing asked, 49 “Tell us lord! Where are these different divisions of the earth situated? Where is of their petty home? Is it not as impossible for their small house to contain the wide earth as it is for a small lotus bud to hide an elephant?”
50 Brahma replied, “It should be quite evident to you as it is to ourselves that the universe is composed of only infinite emptiness. It can be contained within the hollow of the human heart or in a minute particle of the empty mind which contains all things in the manner of its dreams. 51 If the minute granule of their empty minds can contain the images of their houses and their domestic circles, why should it be impossible for them to compress the greater and lesser circle of this earth within their ample space?”
52 “After the death of a person, the world exhibits itself in the minute atom of his mind. This is only an empty mass of the visible and material world in its invisible and imaginary figure. 53 In this invisible particle of the mind, the world is seen in its abstract form within the precincts of the body in each person’s home. This earth appears drawn like on a map, with all its sevenfold continents and their contents. 54 Whatever manifests in the mind is only a mere mental conception inborn in the mind. In reality, there is no such thing as an extraneous or material world. The vacant mind presents these fanciful ideas of the world and everything else that is visible, just as the empty sky shows varieties of atmospheric appearances to our sight.”
55 Having learnt this abstract truth from the mouth of divine Brahma, personified Blessing who had conferred this reward upon the brahmin brothers abandoned his false conception of the material world and returned to the homes of the deceased brothers who had been released from the mistake of their mortal bodies. 56 Personified Blessing bowed down to the bounteous Brahma, then departing with speed, entered the room of the eight brother kings in his eightfold spiritual personality.
57 They saw the brothers in their respective homes, each sitting as the lord of the earth with its seven continents. Each one was occupied performing his sacrifices and enjoying his blessings, like eight lordly Manus for the whole period of a day of Brahma. 58 They were all friendly to each other, though unacquainted with the others respective dominions. Each was employed with his concerns with the world without clashing with the other’s authority over it.
59 One of them, handsome in the bloom of his youth, held his happy reign over the great city of Ujjain located in the precincts of his own house, or rather, in the boundaries of his own mind. 60 Another had his empire over the country of Sakadwipa where he settled to conquer the Naagas. He sails as a privateer over wide foreign seas, victorious on every side. 61 Another reigns secure in his capital of Kusadwipa conferring perfect security to his subjects from all dangers. Like a hero who has conquered his enemies, he rests in peace on the bosom of his beloved. 62 One of the brothers indulges himself playing with the celestial vidyadhari nymphs, skimming over the waters of the lakes on mountain tops, and in the gushing waterfalls on mountain sides. 63 Another is engaged these eight days conducting his horse sacrifice in his royal palace at Kraunchadwipa, which he has greatly increased with gold collected from other continents. 64 Another is occupied waging a battle in Salmali Continent where his war elephants have assembled and have been uprooting the boundary mountain from their bases with robust tusks. 65 The monarch of Gomedha Continent, who had been the eighth and last of the brahmin brothers, was smitten with love for the princess of Pushkara Continent. He enlisted a large army to seize her in warfare. 66 The monarch of Pushkara Continent, who was also the master of the mountainous regions of Lokaloka, set out with his deputy to inspect the land of gold mines.
67 Thus every one of these brothers thought he is the lord of his respective province, just as his imagination portrayed himself in the region of his mind. 68 Blessings, having renounced their several forms and personalities, became united and one with the consciousness of the brahmins. They felt and saw whatever passed in them as if they were passing in themselves. 69 These brothers became and found in themselves what they had long been longing after. They attained their respective lordships over the seven regions of the earth, which they have continued to enjoy ever since to their heart’s content.
70 In this manner these men of enlarged understandings obtained what they sought in their minds through austere meditation and firm devotion to their purpose. So it is with the learned that they find everything beside them, whatever they are intent upon in their minds, through acting upon the same principle and using the proper means leading to that end.
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Chapter 184 — The Kadamba Tree Hermit Explains to Kundadanta: — Diversity in the One, Fate Governs All, and No Original Memory
1 Kundadanta said:— I asked the devotee sitting beneath the kadamba tree to tell me how the seven large continents of the globe could be contained within the narrow limits of the homes of each of these brothers.
2 The kadamba tree hermit replied:— The essence of consciousness, though so very empty in itself, is the largest and exists everywhere in anything in existence. It is present in its own nature with all things wherever they are known to exist. 3 The soul sees the form of the triple world, and everything else besides in itself, as a part of its own nature and without changing itself into anyone of them.
4 Kundadanta asked, “You see variety as intrinsic to everything in nature, but how do you attribute multiplicity to the purely simple and immutable nature of the Supreme Soul?”
5 The kadamba tree devotee replied:— The sphere of the intellectual void is all quiet and serene. There is nothing of any multiplicity in it. The changes apparent in its face are no more than the waves and whirling currents on the surface of the changeless sea. 6 Infinite creations seem to be continually whirling about the immensity of intellectual emptiness, just as rising waves are seen whirling in the sea. They appear to sink in its fathomless depth, the waters in the hollow of the deep.
7 The forms of substantial things that rise in the insubstantial essence of the intellect are like the various forms of substances seen in the dreaming state of the soul, all of which are utterly forgotten in the state of sound sleep. 8 As a hill seen in dream is no hill at all, and as things appearing to be in motion in dreams are found afterwards to be perfectly motionless, so all things in nature are only mere unrealities, though as real from the real nature of soul itself.
9 The intellect is an immaterial substance. It neither creates nor perceives anything material by itself, but conceives everything as it is manifested to it in its idea in the beginning. 10 The intellect sees a great variety of objects in dream which it takes to be reality for the time. In the same way, the intellect’s belief in the reality of its ideas causes it to conceive them as real entities. 11 The empty intellect, flashing of itself in its own state of transparence, comes to find the world shining in the same light within itself.
12 As we have consciousness of heat in the fire, even when seen in dream, so we are conscious of the presence of everything in our minds, even though the thing itself is absent from us. 13 As we have the idea of the solidity of a pillar in our dream of it, so have we the idea of the great variety of things in existence even though there is no diversity or difference in the nature of the one unchanging unity that pervades the whole.
14 In the beginning all substances were as pure and simple as the essence of their maker. They still continue to be in the same state of their ideal purity as they were originally made out of that airy entity and unity. 15 As a tree is diversified in the various forms of its roots, fruits, leaves, flowers and trunk, so the Supreme Unity is varied in all and everywhere in his same and undivided essence. 16 In the fathomless ocean of the Supreme Essence, the immensity of creation exists like the waters of the deep. An infinite number of worlds have been rolling on in their original empty and apparently visible forms in the boundless space of that transcendent emptiness. 17 The transcendental immaterial soul and the comprehensible material world mean the same, like tree and bower. Their difference lies in the intelligibleness of the one and unintelligibility of the other. True intelligence leads us to the unconceivable One, while our ignorance deludes us into the knowledge of the many, which tends only to our distress.
18 The mundane and super-mundane are surely the same according to the deduction of spiritual philosophy. The knowledge of this sublime truth is sure to lead one to his ultimate liberation.
19 The world is the product of the will of God. Will is a power or faculty belonging to the personality of God. God is transmuted to the form of the world. Therefore, it is proved that the world is the formal part of the Supreme Soul.
20 He whom no words can define and yet who defines the senses of words, who is subject to no law or prohibition, or to any state or condition of being, but appoints them for all sorts of beings, is indeed the only Lord of all. 21 He who is ever silent but speaks through all, who is inactive as a rock but acts in all, who is always existent and appears as nonexistent, is the Supreme Lord of all. 22 That subtle essence that constitutes the solidity of all gross bodies and remains without decay in all frail bodies, is the pure Brahman himself. He neither wills nor lacks will to create or destroy. There is no possession or lack of the property of anything. 23 It is the one and unchanging Soul who always rests in its state of rest and sleep and perceives the succession of creation and destruction of the world in its alternate states of dream and sound sleep, which present themselves as two pictures before its sight.
24 Unnumbered worlds seem to rise and set in succession in the substratum of Consciousness. They appear like pictures passing before the mind, without being painted there.25 As the mixing of one thing with another produces a different effect in the mixture, so the union of the mind with the organs of sense causes a variety of impressions to be imprinted in consciousness. 26 All things exist only in the essence of consciousness. Without consciousness, nothing is knowable to anyone. Hence there is nothing in nature other than a representation of the original idea in the mind.
27 Our consciousness that things are identical with the essence of our intellect proves them to be as immaterial and immovable as their fixed ideas in the mind. 28 Thus the world, so visible and perceptible to us, is nothing but a mere nothingness in reality. Whatever appears to exist, together with the great gods and celestial beings, are no more than the false visions in our dream and fancy. 29 We see various fluctuations and phenomena rising in the waters of the vast ocean of Consciousness and appearing in the forms of our joy and grief, and those of moving and unmoving bodies in creation.
30 The nature and course of the world obscures the bright mirror of Consciousness, hiding it under the dirt of our passions and covering it under the clouds and snows of our ignorance. 31 As apparitions and dissolving views appear in the air before the sight of the dim sighted, so does this shadow of the world appear as substance to the view of the spiritually shortsighted. 32 Whatever we imagine, the same we find and seem to enjoy for the time. We are delighted with the scene of an imaginary city during sleep, and we indulge ourselves in the sight of this imaginary city of the world. 33 As we seem to enjoy our ecstasy in the imaginary city of our fancy, so under the belief of its reality, we are fooled by the delusion of this unreal world.
34 There is one eternal destiny which ever runs swiftly in its accustomed course and preordains all beings to continue in their allotted careers as ever before. 35 Destiny produces moving bodies from living beings and the inert ones from the inert. Predestination has destined the downward course of water and fluids and the upward motion of the flames of fire. 36 Blind impulse compels the limbs of the body to their respective actions and makes the luminous bodies emit their light. It causes winds to blow about in their continuous course and makes mountains stand unmoved in their proper places. 37 It makes the stars of heaven roll on in their regular revolutions and causes the rains and dews of the sky to pour down in their stated seasons. This eternal destiny directs the courses of years, ages and cycles, and the whole chariot of time to run its accustomed course. 38Divine ordinance has ordained the limits of the earth and the distant ocean and seas and has fixed the position of hills and rocks. It has allotted the natures and powers of all things and prescribed the laws of rights and duties for everyone.
39 Kundadanta said, “The memory of the scenes of past life occurs in the present state of existence, in the forms of our imagination and our desire for them. These inner thoughts become the foundation that frames our current lives. But tell me sage, how could the first created beings in the beginning of creation have any memory upon which their lives and natures were framed?”
40 The kadamba tree devotee replied:— All that offer themselves to our view are quite unprecedented and without their original patterns in the mind. They resemble the sight of our own death in a dream. The omniscience of Brahma caused the first creation, and not his memory of the past as it is with us and other created beings.
41 It is the nature of our consciousness to represent the imaginary city of the world in its empty emptiness. It is neither a positive reality nor a negative unreality, being now apparent and then lost to sight by itself. 42 The clarity of the intellect represents the imaginary world in the manner of a dream. But the pure empty intellect neither sees nor bears the memory of the world in itself.
43 The wise who are devoid of joy and grief, remaining unchanged in prosperity and adversity, are men of right integrity and equanimity in their nature. They move on as steadily as the wheel of fortune leads them onward.
44 As the intellect retains the memory of what it has seen in its dream, so it retains the false impression of this triple world to its end. 45 That which passes under the name of the world is only the reflection of our consciousness. Knowing the nature of your consciousness to be mere emptiness, you will blot out the impression of the world. 46 Know that the all and everything from which all have issued and in which they exist is that all which fills all space in which all things are situated.
47 Thus I have fully explained how you may come to know this creation as its creator, the great Brahma himself. I have also explained the means whereby you may get rid of your impression of the phenomenal world. 48 Now rise you brahmins and return to your homes, just as bees return to their cells and outer petals of lotuses at the dusk of the day. Go and perform your evening services, while I remain here in my pensive meditation, absorbed in my spiritual ecstasy forever.
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Chapter 185 — Kundadanta Completes His Story, Attains Liberation from Listening to Vasishta
1 Kundadanta narrates:— The old sage, having said this much, closed his eyes in meditation. He became as motionless as a statue or picture, without any action of breath or mind. 2 We prayed to him with great fondness and endearment, yet he uttered not a word to us. He seemed to be so rapt in his meditation as to have become utterly unconscious of the outer world.
3 We then departed from that place, our hearts broken and faces dejected. After a few days journey, we were received at home by our glad friends. 4 We live there in joyous festivity, as long as the seven brothers were living. We passed our time narrating our adventures and stories of bygone times. 5 In course of time, the eight brothers perished one by one into the vast ocean of eternity, like the seven oceans at the end of the world. They were released from their worldly cares, like so many of my other friends.
6 After some time, my only remaining friend also sank like the setting sun into darkness. I was left alone to lament their loss in sorrow and misery at our separation. 7 Then, with sorrow in my heart, I returned to the devotee under the kadamba tree to derive the benefit of his advice to dispel my mental suffering. 8 There I waited on him for three months until he was released from his meditation, when upon my humble request, he decided to answer me as follows.
9 The devotee replied, “I cannot pass a moment without being engaged in my meditation. I must return to my meditation practice without any loss of time. 10 As for you, you can not derive benefit from my transcendental advice to you unless you diligently engage in the practice of my teachings. 11 Now I tell you to go to the city of Ayodhya where King Dasharata reigns and lives with his son Rama. 12 Go now to this Rama who has been listening to the lectures of sage Vasishta, the preceptor and priest of the royal family who delivered these lectures before the princes assembled in the imperial court. 13 There you will hear the holy sermon on the means of attaining our final emancipation, and thereby you will obtain your highest bliss in the divine state like that of mine.”
14 Saying so, he became absorbed in the cooling ocean of his meditation. I came here and arrived at last before Rama and this princely assembly. 15 Here am I, and all these are the incidents of my life, as I have related, regarding all that I have heard and seen and experienced.
16 Rama said, “Eloquent Kundadanta who has just made this speech has been constantly sitting by my side in this assembly. 17 This same brahmin named Kundadanta has sat here all along and has heard the entire sermon delivered by the sage on the means of obtaining our liberation. 18 Now ask this Kundadanta, who is sitting here by me, whether he has understood the context of this lecture and whether his doubts are wholly dispelled or not.”
19 Vasishta said:— Upon Rama saying so to me, I looked upon Kundadanta and asked him the following questions. 20 “Tell me, O good brahmin Kundadanta, what have you learnt and understood by your long attendance upon my lecture calculated to confer liberation on men?”
21 Kundadanta replied, “Sage, your lecture has wholly removed the doubts of my mind. I find myself to be perfect master of myself, by my victory over all selfish passions and by my knowledge of the knowable one. 22 I have known the pure One that is to be known and seen the One without decay that is worth our seeing. I have obtained all that is worth obtaining and I have found my rest in the state of transcendent bliss. 23 I have known this totality to be the condensation of that transcendental essence, and that this world is only a manifestation of this same soul (chidakasa). 24 The Universal Soul, being also the soul of every individual, is likewise the soul inherent in all forms of things. Only the self-existent Soul becomes apparent in all existences and all places.”
25 “It is possible for the human mind, which is smaller than the molecule of a mustard seed, to contain the whole world in itself, though it is nothing but a mere zero before the clear sight of the intelligent. 26 It is possible for a little room to contain the seven continents of the earth, though the room itself is no more than a mere empty space. 27 Whatever object is perceptible to us at any time or place, is only the concrete form of the Divine Spirit which is quite apart from everything that is being experienced.”
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Chapter 186 — Demonstration of All Nature as Brahma; Intellect Equally Everywhere in Varying Degrees of Individual Awareness; Curse or Blessing is All Ordained in the Beginning
1 Valmiki said:— After Kundadanta finished talking, venerable Vasishta delivered his enlightening speech on spiritual knowledge, saying:— 2 The elevated soul of this person has found rest in the paradise of spiritual philosophy. He will see the world like a globe in his hand, glowing with the glory of the great God.
3 The phenomenal world is a false conception. It is truly the uncreated Brahman himself shining in this manner. This false conception is the same Brahman, one, ever calm and without decay. 4 Whatever thing appears anywhere, in any state, form or dimension, it is the very same Deity showing himself in that condition of his being, form and mode of extension. 5 This unborn, self-existent Deity is ever auspicious, calm and quiet. He is without decay, imperishable and pure and extends through all as the wide and endless space.
6 Whatever state of things he proposes in his all-knowing Intellect, the same he causes in a thousand ways, like a plant branching out in the rains. 7 The great cosmic egg is situated like a particle in the bosom of the great Intellect of God. This world of ours is also a mere particle in a grain of our brains. 8 Therefore, my good friend, know that your intellectual sphere is boundless, without beginning or end. Absorbed in the meditation of your personal extinction (nirvana), remain as quiet as you are sitting, relying upon your unperturbed and imperishable soul.
9 Wherever there is anything in any state or condition in any part of the world, there you will find the presence of the Divine Spirit in its form of emptiness. The Divinity, without changing its nature of calm serenity, assumes to itself whatever form or figure it likes. 10 The Spirit is itself both the view and its viewer. It is equally the mind and the body and the subjective and objective. It is something and yet nothing at all, being the great Brahman or Universal Soul that includes and extends throughout the whole.
11 Phenomena are not to be supposed as a duality or anything else other than the same Brahman. Phenomena are to be known as one and the same with the divine Self, like the visible sky and its emptiness.
12 The visible is the invisible Brahman and the transcendent One is manifest in this apparent whole. Therefore the manifest is neither inactivity nor in motion, and the formed is altogether formless. 13 Like dreams appearing to the understanding, these visions present themselves to view. The forms are all formless conceptions of the mind, mere intangible ideas of the brain.
14 As conscious beings become unconscious of themselves in their state of sleep, so all these living and intelligent beings become unconscious and ignorant of themselves and their souls, becoming like sluggish trees lost to their sensibility. 15 But in time, the intellect is capable of returning from its state of vegetable sluggishness to its true awareness, just as the dormant soul turns to see dreams in sleep, then behold the vivid outer world after waking. 16 Until the living soul is liberated from its charm of self delusion, it is subject to seeing its deceitful reveries of elemental bodies appearing as a series of airy dreams before the mind’s eye in sleep. 17 The mind gathers the waste of dullness about it, just as the soul draws the sheath of sleep upon itself. This dullness or dimness of apprehension is not intrinsic in the mind, but an extraneous relation contracted by it from without.
18 The intellect molds the form of one who is conversant with material and unconscious things into a motionless and immobile body. The same intellect shapes the forms of others who are conscious of their intellectual natures into the bodies of rational and moving beings. 19 But all these moving and unmoving beings are only different modifications and aspects of the same intellect, just as the nails and other parts of the human body are only diverse qualities of the same person.
20 The order and nature of things have invariably continued the same as they have been ordained by the Divine Will ever since its first formation of the world. Creation is a copy of its original mold in the Divine Mind. It is as ideal as any working of imagination or vision in dreaming, both in its states of being and not being. 21 But the intangible and tranquil Brahman is ever calm and quiet in his nature. He is never permeated with the nature of things, nor is he assimilated with the order of nature. 22 He appears as the beginning and end of creation, or as its cause of production and dissolution. But these are the mere dreams of Divine Consciousness which is always in its state of profound sleep and rest.
23 The world is ever existent in his spiritual nature, without any beginning or end himself. The beginning and end of creation bear no relation to his self-existent and eternal nature. 24 There is no reality in the nature of visible creation or in its existence or dissolution. All these are nothing other than representations shown in the spirit of God, like figures painted in a picture. 25 As an army drawn in painting does not differ from its model in the mind of the painter, so these tangible objects of creation, with all other endless varieties, are not different from their prototype in the mind of God.
26 In spite of the lack of any difference between the ideal and phenomenal worlds, yet the mind is inclined to see differences of subjectivity and objectivity, just as it is prepared to differentiate its own doings and dreams in the states of its sleep and ignorance. It is profound sleep and drowsiness of the soul that cause its liberation from this mistaken view, just as its sensibility serves to bind it more tightly to the bondage of the visible.
27 The reflection of the invisible soul exhibits the visible to view, just as the subtle sunbeam displays a thousand solid bodies glaring in sight. The soul shows the different phases of creation and dissolution as in its visions in dreaming. 28 The dreaming state of sleeping consciousness is called its existence in idea, and the waking state of the self-conscious soul is termed its existence in being, just as in the examples of men and gods and other intellectual beings. 29 After passing from these, and knowing the unreality of both these imaginative and speculative states, the soul falls into its state of profound sleep or trance (sushupti) which is believed by those who seek emancipation to be the state of liberation.
30 Rama said, “Tell me, O venerable sage, in what proportion does intellect abide in men, gods and demons respectively? How does the soul reflect itself during the dormancy of the intellect in sleep? In what manner does it contain the world within its bosom?”
31 Vasishta replied:— Consciousness abides the same in gods and demons, as well as in all men and women. It dwells also in asuras, pisachas, rakshasa, naagas and in all beasts and birds, reptiles and insects, including plants and all inert things. 32 Its dimension is both boundless and as minute as an atom. It stretches to the highest heaven and includes thousands of worlds within itself.
33 The capacity that we have of knowing the regions beyond the solar sphere, and even of penetrating into the darkness of Lokaloka Mountain, is all the quality of our intellect which extends all over the boundless space and is perfectly transparent in its form and nature. 34 So very great is the extent of consciousness that it comprehends the entire universe in itself. Mundane creation originates from the act of Consciousness comprehending the whole universe. 35 Consciousness spreads all around like the current of a river gliding over the ground both high and low, leaving some parts of dry and filling others with its waters. So does Consciousness supply some bodies with intelligence while it forsakes others, leaving them in ignorance.
36 Consciousness is the living soul of the body, which is otherwise said to be lifeless and unconscious. It resides in all bodies, like air in empty pots, and becomes vivid in some and imperceptible in others, however it likes. 37 Knowledge of the soul removes the error of its materiality. Ignorance of its spiritual nature tends to foster the sense of its materiality, like one’s false conception of water in a mirage.
38 The mind is as minute as the minutest ray of sunbeams. Truly the living soul contains the whole world within it. 39 All this phenomenal world is the phenomena of the mind as it is displayed in its imaginary dreams, all being the display of the living soul. There is no difference at all between the ideas of things and their expression as phenomena.
40 The intellect alone is assimilated into all these substances which appear to have substantiality of their own. Whatever is seen without intellect is like its imaginary dream, or like the various forms of jewelry made of the same gold.
41 As the same water of the one universal ocean appears different in different places in its multiple forms of waves and billows, so does Divine Consciousness exhibit the various forms of the visible in itself. 42 As the fluid body of waters rolls on constantly in different shapes within the basin of the great deep, so do these multitudes of visible things, inherent in and identical with Divine Consciousness, glide on forever in its fathomless bosom. 43 All these worlds are situated like statues, as if engraved sculptures in the ethereal column of Divine Consciousness. They are all alike, immovable and without any motion of their own through all eternity.
44 We see the world in the empty space of our consciousness, just as we see the appearances of things in our airy dreams. Moreover, we find everything fixed in its own sphere and place, continuing in its own state without any change of position or any alteration in its nature. 45 The exact conformity of all things in this world to their conceptions in men’s minds, with respect to their unchanging equality in form and property, proves their identity with one another, or the relation of one being the container of the other.
46 There is no difference between the phenomenal and ideal worlds, just as is there none between those in our dream and imagination. They are, in fact, the one and same thing, just as the identity of waters contained in tanks, rivers and seas, and between the curses and blessings of gods.
47 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, is a curse or blessing the effect of any prior cause, or does it cause subsequent consequences? Is it possible for any effect to take place without an adequate cause?”
48 Vasishta replied:— The manifestation of the clear firmament of Divine Consciousness in itself is called the world, just as the appearance and motion of waters in the great deep is called the ocean and its currents. 49 The revolutions of eternal thoughts of the Divine Mind resemble the rolling waves of the deep. The sages call these the will or volitions of the ever willful mind of God. 50 In course of time, through habitual meditation and reasoning and by naturally good disposition and evenness of mind, a clear minded soul comes to regard this manifestation of the Divine Will in its true spiritual light. 51 A wise man with perfect wisdom and learning becomes acquainted with the true knowledge of things. His understanding becomes wholly intellectual. He sees all things in their abstract and spiritual light and is freed from the false view of material duality. 52 The philosophic intellect, unclouded by prejudice, is the true form of the great Brahman himself who shines transparently manifest in our consciousness and has no other body besides. 53 An enlightened soul sees this entire infinite fullness of creation as a display of Divine Will, an exhibition of the tranquil and transparent soul of the divinity, and nothing else.
54 This manifestation of Divine Will in the boundless space of the universe is similar to an aerial castle of our imagination or a city of palaces seen in our dream. 55 This will that produces all is identical to the Divine Soul. It produces whatever it likes any place or time. 56 Like a boy thinking of flinging stones at the aerial castle of his imagination, so Divine Will is at liberty to scatter numberless of balls in the open and empty space of boundless emptiness.
57 Everything in all these three worlds is the manifestation of Divine Will. There is nothing such as a blessing or curse that is separate from the Divine Soul.
58 As in our fancy we can see oil gushing out of a sandy desert, so can we imagine creation coming out from the simple will of the Divine Soul. 59 It is impossible for an unenlightened understanding, never free from its knowledge of particulars and their differences, to understand that both good and evil come under the heading of universal good. 60 Whatever is willed in the beginning by the omniscience of God remains unchanged at all times unless it is altered by the same omniscient will. 61 The opposites of unity and duality dwell together in the same manner in the formless person of Brahman, just as the different body parts of an embodied being remain side by side in the same person.
62 Rama asked, “Why are some ascetics of limited knowledge so very ready to confer their blessings or pour their curses on others? Are they are attended with their good or bad results?”
63 Vasishta replied:— Whatever is disposed in the beginning by the Divine Will existing in Brahman afterwards comes to pass, and nothing else. 64 Brahma, the lord of creation, knew the Supreme Soul in himself and thereby he became the agent of the Divine Will. Therefore there is no difference between Brahma and the Divine Will. 65 Whatever the lord of creatures, Brahma, proposes to do at first is inspired in him by the Divine Will. The same takes place immediately and the very same is called this world. 66 It has no support or receptacle for itself, but appears as an empty bubble in the great emptiness. The world resembles a chain of pearls fleeting before the eyes of blind men in the open sky.
67 Brahma willed the productions of creatures and the institution of the qualities of justice, charity and religious austerities. He established the Vedas and scriptures, and the five systems of philosophical doctrines. 68 The same Brahma also ordained that whatever devotees learned in the Vedas pronounce in their calmness or dispute takes place immediately.
69 Divine Will has formed the chasm of emptiness in the inactive intellect of Brahma and filled it with the fleeting winds and heating fire together with liquid water and solid earth. 70 It is the nature of this intellectual principle to think of everything in itself and to conceive the presence of everything within it, whether it be a thought of you or me or of anything else. 71 Whatever the empty intellect thinks in itself, it sees present before it, just as we come to see the unreal sights of things in our dreams. 72 As we see the unreal flight of stones as a reality in our imagination, so we see the false appearance of the world as true by the will of God and the contrivance of Brahma.
73 Whatever is thought of by pure consciousness must likewise be of a purely intellectual nature. There is nothing that can do anything otherwise. 74 We are inclined to conceive things in our consciousness according to how we think about them. We don’t see things in a way in which we are not accustomed. Hence we conceive all that we see in our dreams as true because of they are similar to what we are used to in our waking state. 75 By uniting one’s intellectuality with the universal and Divine Consciousness, and by the union of the subjective and objective and their perception in one’s self by means of triputi yoga (observer, observation, and observed), we can see the world in its true light.
76 One universal and empty consciousness, being all pervading and omnipresent, by itself is the all seeing subject and all seen objects. Hence whatever is seen or known to be anywhere is the very truth of the intellect and nothing else. 77 As vibration is inherent in air, and fluidity is inherent in water, so is largeness inherent in Brahma and absolute fullness is innate in the Divine Mind. 78 I also am Brahma in his self manifest form of Viraj which embodies the whole world as its body. Hence there is no difference between the world and Brahma, just as there is none between air and emptiness.
79 As drops in a waterfall assume many forms and run their several ways, so the endless works of nature take their various forms and courses at different places and times. 80 All beings devoid of senses and understanding issue like waters of a waterfall from the pouring forth of the Divine Mind. They remain forever in their uniform courses with the consciousness of their existence in Brahman. 81 But that which comes forth from the Divine Mind with senses and intellects in their bodies deviate in different ways, like liquid water, in pursuit of their many worldly enjoyments. 82 They do not know that the world is identical with the uncreated spirit of God, so because of their lack of good sense, they are insensibly led to regard this world as theirs.
83 We see the existence and distribution of other bodies in us, and the inertness of stones in our bodies. In the same way the Lord perceives the creation and annihilation and inertia of the world in himself. 84 In sleep we have both sound sleep and dreams. In the same way the Divine Soul perceives creation and its annihilation in its state of perfect rest and tranquility. 85 In its state of tranquility, the Divine Soul perceives the two phases of creation and destruction succeeding one another as its day and night, just as we see our sleep and dreams recurring like darkness and light.
86 As a man dreams of both moving bodies and immovable rocks in his sleep, so the Lord perceives the ideas of both stable and unstable in his intellectual tranquility. 87 As an absent minded man has no heed of the dust flying on any part of his body, so the Divine Spirit is not polluted by entertaining the ideas of gross bodies within itself. 88 As air and water and stones possess consciousness of their airy, watery and solid bodies, so are we conscious of our material, intellectual and spiritual bodies. 89 As the mind freed from seeing visible objects and liberated from entertaining all thoughts and desires flows along like a stream of clear water, so the current of the Divine Spirit eternally glides on with the waves and whirlpool currents of creation and dissolution perpetually rolling on and whirling.
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Chapter 187 — Cosmology of the Living Creation; Ideas Beget Words Beget Objects
1 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, how can one paramount destiny guide the fates of these endless chains and varieties of beings? How can one uniform nature be the predominant feature of all these various kinds of beings? 2 Why is the sun so very shining among the multitudes of gods? What is the cause of the lengthening and shortening of days and nights?”
3 Vasishta replied:— Whatever the Lord has ordained at first of himself, the same appearing as the accidental formation of chance, is called the system of the universe. 4 All that is manifested in any manner by omnipotence is and continues as real in the same manner because what is made of the core of the Divine Will and intelligence can never be unreal. Nor is it possible for the manifest and obvious to be impermanent. 5 All that appears to us in any manner, being composed of Divine Consciousness, must continue to remain forever in the same manner. The appearance of creation and its disappearance in dissolution are both attributed to the unseen power of its destiny. 6 To say this one is such and that is otherwise is to attribute these qualities to the manifestation of Brahman. These formations together with their ultimate dissolution are called the acts of their destiny.
7 The three states of waking, sleeping and dreaming that appear to the nature of the soul are in no way separated from it, just as the fluidity and motion of water are nothing other than properties of the same clear liquid. 8 As emptiness is the property of air and warmth of the sunshine, and as scent is the quality of camphor, so the states of waking, sleeping and dreaming belong to the nature of the soul and are inseparable from it.
9 Creation and dissolution follow one another in the one and the same current of Divine Consciousness which, in its empty form, exists in the empty spirit of Brahman. 10 What is believed to be creation is only a momentary flash of Divine Consciousness. That which is thought to be a period of a kalpa age is only a transient reflection of the light of Divine Consciousness. 11 Sky, space, things and actions that come to our knowledge at anytime are like mere dreams occurring to us by a flash of the shining nature of Divine Consciousness. 12 The sights of things, eternal thoughts, and whatever else occurs at anytime or in any place are all presented to us by our minds from their formless shapes or ideas in the empty intellect of God. 13 Whatever is manifested by the mind or designed by it at anytime is called its destiny, which is devoid of any form like the formless air.
14 Natural philosophers who know all nature use the word nature to describe the uniform state of things for a whole kalpa age, measuring only a moment of Brahma. 15 The one soul (consciousness) is diversified into a hundred varieties of living beings. Every portion of this general intelligence retains the same reasoning like its original, without forsaking its nature. 16 Some of the intelligences that belong to and manifest themselves in the supreme Intelligence of God imagine to assume to themselves some embodied forms, in utter ignorance of their intellectual natures.
17 Earth, air, water, fire and vacuum are severally the receptacles of many properties. Empty consciousness is the great repository of these that appear as dreams hovering all about it. 18 Consciousness is the vast receptacle that receives all tangible and solid bodies. This spacious earth with all the population on its surface is seated in the midst of it. 19 It has place for the vast ocean and affords a seat to the sun. It has a space for the course of the winds and an emptiness containing all the worlds in it. 20 It is the reservoir of the five elements which are the fivefold principles of our knowledge. It is the container of the highest essence of Brahma, what is seen or anything else before it. 21 The learned call this Consciousness the intellect and omniscience. It has all forms and one form and is all-pervading, perceived by all owing to its greatness and its great magnitude.
22 Brahma the son or offspring of Brahman is the same Brahma who, by expanding his intelligence, has expanded the void under the name of space, like an awning of silk cloth. 23 When delusion rules over the consciousness of Brahma and over subtle and gross matters, how is it possible for other things that are only parts of them to stand good in law? 24 It is simply by his will that this god Brahma stretched the network of the universe, like a spider weaves its web out of itself. The universe revolves like a disc or wheel in the air and whirls like a whirlpool in the hollow depth of Consciousness, appearing as if it were a perceptible sphere in the heavens. 25 This sphere presents some bodies of great brightness and others of a lesser light. Some are scarcely visible to us and all appear like figures in a painting. 26 All created objects appear in this manner, and those that are not created never appear to view. But to the sight of the learned, they all appear as visions in a dream.
27 Consciousness is the one soul and lord of all. The seeming visible is all really invisible. They are all impermanent because they lack any body that lasts. They are not visible by themselves, nor are they ever perceptible or seen by us. 28 Empty intellect sees these as its dreams in the great emptiness of the intellect. This world being nothing other than a phenomenon of the empty intellect, can have no form other than that of mere void.
29 Whatever is manifested by the intellect in any manner is called its form and body. The expression of that manifested form for a certain period is called its nature or destiny. 30The first manifestation of Divine Consciousness is the form of emptiness and the vehicle of sound. Afterwards that became the source of the world, which sprouted forth like a seed in the great granary of emptiness. 31 But any account given of the origin of the world and of the creation of things one after the other is a mere fabrication of sages for the instruction of the ignorant and has no basis on truth. 32 There is nothing that is ever produced of nothing or reduced to nothingness at anytime. All this is as quiet and calm as the bosom of a rock, and ever as real as it is unreal.
33 As there existed no separate body before, so it can have no end either. All things exist as an inseparable infinitesimal with the spirit of God. Therefore nothing can rise or set in it where they are always present. 34 The empty world exists in the vacuum of the Divine Spirit. It is a pure emptiness. Therefore, how is it possible for the world to rise or set or go beyond it to rise or set elsewhere?
35 The world is only a ray of the ever shining gem of Divine Consciousness, before whose omniscience, everything shines forever in its own light and nature.
36 Divine Spirit, though unknown to all, makes itself somewhat conceivable to us in our consciousness of it and in our ability to think about it through reasoning and reflection.37 We can get some knowledge of it by our reason, as we can draw inferences of future events by means of our reasoning. This knowledge is rarer than the subtle element of air and fainter than our foresight into the future of all things. 38 Then this transcendental essence of the Divine Spirit, being about to reflect in itself, becomes the thinking principle called the intellect, which is somewhat intelligible to us.
39 Having then the firm conviction of its consciousness in itself, it takes the name of the living soul, which is known by the title of soul (jiva), meaning the Supreme Spirit or soul. 40 This living soul embodied in itself the nameless ignorance which shrouded the atmosphere of its intellect and superseded the title of the pure intelligence. 41 The living soul forgets its spiritual nature and becomes completely occupied in thoughts of its bodily conduct and worldly affairs. 42 Having forgotten its nature of emptiness, which possesses the property of conveying the sound, it becomes preoccupied with the error of taking future material bodies for real instead of the reality of the intellect.
43 Next it gets the notion in its spiritual body of its egoism and the idea of time, then these two run together in quest of the material elements, which are the seeds for the growth of the forthcoming world. 44 Then the thinking power of the living soul begets the sense of consciousness within itself and produces therein the conviction of the unreal world as a positive reality. 45 After this the thinking principle or the mind bursts out like a seed into a hundred sprouts of its wishes. Then, by reflecting on its egoism, it immediately thinks it is a living being. 46 Thus pure spirit, under the name of living soul, becomes entangled in the maze of its false and unreal reality and rolls like a heaving wave in the depth of the Universal Spirit. 47 The mind, which at first reflected on the empty nature of the living soul, in the end becomes foolishly misled to think it is solidified into animal life or the vital air and breath of life.
48 The mind becomes the source of articulate sounds or words which express certain meanings and signify certain things that were to be created afterwards and were to be embodied in the wording of the Vedas. 49 From him was to issue the would-be world through the words he spoke to denote the things he meant. The words he invented were filled with meanings and produced the things they expressed. 50 The intellect being employed in this manner is called a living being which, being clothed in significant words, produces all existent entities. 51 This self-existent entity produced the fourteen spheres that fill the whole space of emptiness and which give rise to so many worlds that exist within.
52 Before this being had the power of speech and of the use of limbs and body, it remained to reflect only on the meanings of words, having only his mind as the active part of himself. 53 As air develops the seed of a plant by exhaling on its outer coat, so does the intellect develop the bodily functions of living beings by working in its internal parts. 54 As the vibrating intellect or mind happens to come across the idea of light, it beholds light appearing to view as it is conveyed before it by its significant sound. 55 Light is only our reasoning or idea of it. It is nothing without its idea. In the same way, feeling is our consciousness of feeling and not the perception derived by means of the touch of anything. 56Sound is only our consciousness of it. Sound is a subjective conception of our mind, just as emptiness is a conception of the empty mind that serves as the receptacle of sound. 57 Sound is known to be the product of air in its own emptiness, so everything else is the product of our consciousness and there is nothing as a duality beside it.
58 The properties of scent and flavor are also substances of sound and air and these unrealities seem as real, like the dreams that are seen and thought of in our minds. 59 Heat (tejas), which is the seed or seat of the tree of light and evolves itself in radiance and luminous bodies, are forms of the same intellect that shows itself in all things. 60 So flavor is merely a quality of empty air, though it is thought of as a reality in every article of our food and drink. It is a mere name without substance. 61 All other things which were designated by different names such as fragrance and the like are only so many forms of the thoughts and desires existing in the mind of this living being Brahma.
62 This being had in his mind the seed of all forms and dimensions from which proceeds this terrestrial globe that was to become the support of all creatures. 63 All things yet unborn appear as already born in this Divine Mind which is filled with the models of all future existences of every kind. All these formless beings have their forms afterwards, as it thought and willed them to be. 64 These forms appear to view as if by an act of chance. The organs whereby they come to be seen are afterwards called eyes, or the visual organs of sight. 65 The organs which give the perception of sounds are named ears. Those which bear the feeling of touch to the mind are called the organs of feeling. 66 The organ of perceiving the flavors is called the tongue or the organ of taste. That which receives the perception of smell is called the nose or the organ of scent.
67 The living soul is subjected to its physical body, yet the imperfect and lifeless bodily organs really do not perceive any distinction between time and place. 68 All things are only imaginations of the soul, ideas of the intellect that are wholly confined in the soul. They neither appear nor set on the outside, but are set as silent engravings in the stony and stiff bosom of the soul.
• • •
Chapter 188 — Creation Stories Are Fiction; How Yogis See Creation
1 Vasishta continued:— As said before, the story of in the beginning and the first rise of the living soul from the calm and quiet spirit of God is only a fiction meant to explain that the nature of the animate soul is the same as the Supreme Soul. 2 The fiction serves to explain that the individual soul is not only a part of the Supreme Soul, it truly is the same with it.
When the subjective soul is employed with thoughts of the objective, it is called the living God or individual soul. 3 The inclination of the self-intelligent or subjective soul towards the objects of thought garbs it under a great many fictitious names, which you, O Rama, shall now hear me describe in all their varieties.
4 It is called the living soul or jiva from its power of living and thinking. From its addiction towards thoughts, it is called the thinking (chitta) principle and the intellect. 5 It is termed intelligence for its reasoning (buddhi) of this thing as that, as well as for its knowledge of what is what. It is called the mind (manas) from its minding, willing and imagining of many things. 6 The reliance in self that “I am” is what is called egoism (ahamkara). The vulgar call the principle of perception mind which, when freed from everything, is called the intellect by the wise and those acquainted with the scriptures. 7 It is called the sum total of the eightfold principles (puryastaka) or totality of existence when it is combined with all its wishes of creation. It is named subtle nature (prakriti) for its production of the substantial world. 8 Being absent or imperceptible to our perception, it is called hidden nature. In this way, many other fictitious names are given to God by way of fiction or fabrication of our imagination. 9 All these fictitious names that I have mentioned are mere inventions of our fancy for the one formless and changeless Eternal Being. 10 In this manner, all these three worlds are only the fairylands of our dreams and the castles of our imagination. They appear as objects made for our enjoyment and bliss, but in reality, they are an intangible emptiness imperceptible to touch.
11 So must you know, O best of embodied beings, that this body of yours is of a spiritual and intangible nature. It is the intellectual body formed of the empty intellect, which is rarer than rarefied air. 12 It neither is born nor dies in this world, but continues with our consciousness of ourselves until our final liberation from the sense of our personalities. This mental body or mind of ours is the recipient of the fourteen worlds and all created objects. 13 In the course of time, millions of worlds continue to be created and dissolved in the extensive regions of our minds. An unnumbered train of created beings are growing and falling like fruit in the mind over the long run of time. 14 This intellectual body beholds the world, both inside and outside of it, like a looking glass reflects and refracts its outer and inner images, and as open air reflects and shows us the upper skies. 15 The mind must bear these images in its mirror until its final dissolution with all things at the end of the world when all minds and bodies and all the world and their contents are to be incorporated in the great emptiness of the Divine Mind.
16 The compactness of the Divine Mind, which comprehends all images or ideas in itself, imparts them partly in all individual minds, which are only parts of itself and which are made to think likewise. 17 This spiritual body that is occupied in viewing the inborn world in itself is called the form of the great Brahma by some, and the god Viraj by others. 18Some call him the everlasting and others give him the name of Narayana or floating on the surface of the waters. Some name him Isha (Lord) or Prajapati, the lord of creatures.
19 This suddenly chanced to have his five organs of sense seated in the various parts of his body, where they still retain their seats as before. 20 Then his delusion of phenomena seems to extend far and wide without any appearance of reality, all being a vast waste and void. 21 It is all the appearance of that eternal and transcendental Brahman, and not of the phenomena which is never real. It is the same Brahman without beginning or end appearing in a light quite unintelligible to us.
22 Our inquiry into the spiritual form of God leads us to take the world to be a delusion, just as the longing of an ardent lover after his loved one leads him to see her swelling body in his dream. 23 As we have the blank and formless notion of a pot presented in the real shape of the pot in our minds, so have we the ideas of our bodies and the world represented as realities in dreams and imagination. 24 As dreamed objects of our empty minds seem to be real while we sleep, so all these ethereal objects in nature appear as solid substances in the delusion of our dreams by daylight.
25 This spiritual and formless body of the jiva comes to be gradually perceived in us, and by itself also, as we come to see ethereal forms presenting themselves to us in our dream. 26 Then the forms are embodied in a gross body composed of flesh and bones and all its organs and its covering of skin and hair. In this state it thinks of its carnal desires. 27 Then it reflects on its birth and acts in that body and upon the duration and end of that body, and it entertains the false ideas of the enjoyments and incidents of its life. 28 It comes to know that it is subject to decay, decrepitude and death. It wanders on all sides of the wide sphere of this globe. It gets knowledge of the knower and known, and also of the beginning, middle and end of all acts and things.
29 And thus the Primordial Spirit, being transformed to the living soul, comes to know the elementary bodies of earth, air, water and fire and the varieties of created beings and conduct of men. Having been the container of all bodies and space, it finds itself contained and confined within the limits of its body and of this earth.
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Chapter 189 — The Creation of Brahma’s Thoughts
1 Vasishta continued:— This spiritual body, as Prajapati Brahma, the primeval creator of all, being possessed of volition, by an act of chance and of its own motion, comes to think and brood on its thoughts. 2 It continues to remain in the same state as it is ever conscious of in itself and sees of its own nature this universe exposed before it as it had in his mind, nor is there any wonder in this. 3 Now this viewer, Brahma, and his viewing and the view of the world, must either all be false or they must all be true, having the spirit of Brahma at its foundation.
4 Rama asked, “Now sage, please tell me. How can this spiritual and shadowy sight of the primeval lord of creation be realized in its solidified state? What reality can there be in the vision of a dream?”
5 Vasishta replied:— The spiritual view is ever apparent by itself within ourselves. Our continuous and ceaseless sight of it gives it the appearance of a solid reality. 6 As the sights in our dreams come to be realized by our continuous thinking about them, so the spiritual appears as real by our constant habit of thinking them as such. 7 The constant thought of the reality of our spiritual body makes it appear as a real object to our sight, just as a deer’s constant craving after water makes it appear in a mirage of a parched desert.8 The sight of this world, like every other fallacy, has misled us, like the poor thirsting deer, to the misconception of water in the mirage. This and all other unrealities appear as real ones in our ignorance.
9 Many spiritual and intellectual objects, like a great many unreal things, are taken as material and real by the eagerness of their desires and ignorant admirers. 10 The impression that “I am this” and “that one is another” and that “this is mine” and “that is his” and that “these are the hills and skies about us” are all as false as a conception of reality in our dreams and the false phantoms of the brain.
11 The spiritual body was at first conceived in the sight of the prime creator of all, Brahma, as the material form of the cosmic egg. 12 The living soul of Brahma, being born of the cosmic egg in a corporeal body, forgot, or rather, abandoned thinking of his incorporeal intellectuality and thought himself as composed of his material body. He looked into his thought and thought that this thought was his body and the recipient of his soul. 13 Then he becomes confined in that body by his belief that his thought is a factual reality. Then he thinks of many things within himself, and goes on seeking and running after them all.
14 Then this god makes many symbolic sounds and forms, invents words for names and actions, and at last, upon his utterance of the mystic syllable Aum, the Vedas rang out and sang in currents of many words. 15 Then through the medium of those sacred words, the god ordained the ordinances for the conduct of all mankind. Everything turned out to be as he wished and thought it to be in his own mind.
16 Whatever exists in any manner is Brahma himself. Yet nobody perceives it as such owing to everyone’s predominant error of believing the unreal world to be a real existence. 17 All things from the great Brahma down are only false appearances like those of dreams and a magic show, yet this spiritual reality is utterly lost to sight under the garb of material unreality. 18 There is nothing such as materiality anywhere at anytime. All is only spiritual which, by our habitual mode of thinking and naming, is said to be substantial, elemental and material.
19 This, our fallacy of materiality, has come to us from our very source in Brahma, the creator who entertained the false idea of the material world and transmitted this error even to the minds of the wise and very great souls. 20 How is it possible, O Rama, for the intelligent soul to be confined in a piece of earth? All this must either be an illusory scene or a representation of Brahma himself. 21 There can be no other cause of this world except the eternal causality of Brahma who is self-existent without any action or causation of himself. The Supreme Soul is wholly devoid of the attributes of cause and effect. What can this world be other than an extension of the Divine Essence?
• • •
Chapter 190 — Rama’s Enlightenment: Short Answers to Many Questions
1 Vasishta continued:—
Gaining knowledge of what is knowable is called our bondage in this world. Our release from the bonds of knowable objects is called our liberation from it.
2 Rama asked, “But sage, how is it possible to escape from knowledge of the knowable? How can we remove our rooted knowledge of things and our habitual sense of bondage to them?”
3 Vasishta replied:—
Our misjudgment is removed by the perfection of our knowledge and the feeling of it as such. Then, after our inborn bias disappears, we get liberation from error.”
4 Rama asked, “Tell me sage. What is that simple uniform feeling that completely releases a living soul from its chains of error? What is said to be that complete and perfect knowledge?”
5 Vasishta replied:—
The soul is full of subjective knowledge, intuition. It has no need for objective knowledge of the knowable without. Perfect knowledge is our inner sense and is not expressible in words.
6 Rama asked, “Tell me sage. Is the internal knowledge of the soul the same or separate from itself? Is the word knowledge to be understood in its instrumental or abstract sense?”
7 Vasishta replied:—
All perception is knowledge and knowledge also describes causation. Hence there is no difference between knowledge and the knowable, as there is none between air and its movement.
8 Rama asked, “If it be so, then tell me. How does the error arise of perceiving a difference between knower and the known? The idea of the materiality of the perceptible or objective world must be as false as that of the horns of a rabbit which have never existed and are unlikely to exist anytime in the future.”
9 Vasishta replied:—
The error of the reality of external objects also gives rise to the error of believing our knowledge of them to be real. But no inner object of thought and no object of the outward senses has any reality to it.
10 Rama asked, “Tell me, O sage. How can you deny the existence of objects that are evident to your and my senses, and all others’ alike, and which are ever present in thoughts in the minds of conscious beings?
11 Vasishta replied:—
When the world was first created, the self manifested god Viraj exhibited the outline of the cosmos in a corner of his all-comprehensive mind. But as nothing was produced in reality, there is no possibility of our knowing any as a knowable or real entity.
12 Rama asked, “How can our common sight of the present, past and future prospects of this world and our daily perception of things, which are felt by all in general, be regarded as nothing by your teaching?”
13 Vasishta replied:—
Just as the dreamer’s vision in sleep, the deer’s mistake of water in a mirage in sand, the illusory sight of a second moon in the sky, and the appearance of our delusive fancies all disappear on correct observation, so the false perceptions of worldly things and the mistaken conceptions of our own existences are as false as the sights of false lights in empty air.
14 Rama asked, “If our knowledge of “I” and “you” and this and that is as false as that of all other things in the womb of the world, then why were these brought into existence? Why were they not left as ideas in the mind of their creator, as they had existed before he created them?”
15 Vasishta replied:—
It is certain that everything springs from its cause and not otherwise. What could be the material cause for the creation of the world after the dissolution of everything at the universal destruction?
16 Rama asked, “Sage, why cannot that being be the cause of recreation? That being remains undestroyed and indestructible after destruction of creation.”
17 Vasishta replied:—
Whatever substance abides in the cause is also in its effect. Hence the essence of Brahma, being composed of only intellect, could not give rise to the material world from itself, just as the substance of a pot cannot produce a painting or cloth.
18 Rama asked, “Sage, why has the world existed in its subtle ideal state in Brahma’s mind, from which it issued forth anew after dissolution of the former creation?”
19 Vasishta asked:—
Tell me, O intelligent Rama. How could the Lord God conceive the essence of the world in himself, which, like the productive seed, sprang out in the form of the future creation? Tell me, what sort of entity was it?
20 Rama said, “It is an entity of Divine Intelligence situated in that form in the subjective soul of God. It is neither a empty nothingness nor an unreal entity.”
21 Vasishta said:—
If it be so, O mighty armed Rama, that the three worlds are only Divine Intelligence, then tell me why bodies formed of pure intelligence and those having intelligent souls in them are subject to birth and death?
22 Rama said, “If there has been no creation at anytime, then tell me sage. From where has this fallacy of the existence of the world come to be in popular acceptance?”
23 Vasishta replied:—
The nonexistence of cause and effect proves the nothingness of being and not being. All that is thought of to exist is the thought and thinking of the Divine Soul, which is the triple entity of thinker, thinking, and thought together.
24 Rama asked, “The thinking soul thinks about the implements and the acts, just as the looker looks on the objects of his sight. But how can the divine looker be the dull spectacle, unless you maintain that the objective fuel burns the subjective fire?”
25 Vasishta replied:—
The viewer is not transformed into the view owing to impossibility of the existence of an objective view. The all seeing soul shows itself as one solid fullness of space in itself.
26 Rama asked, “The soul is only pure consciousness without beginning or end. It thinks only on its eternal and formless thoughts. How then can it present the form and appearance of the visible world?”
27 Vasishta replied:—
All that is thinkable, being all causeless of themselves, has no cause whatsoever. Taking away what is thinkable indicates the liberation of the intellect.
28 Rama asked, “If it is so, then tell me how we have the thoughts and conceptions of ourselves, our knowledge of the world, and our sense of motion and the like?”
29 Vasishta replied:—
The impossibility of cause precludes the possibility of any production. From where could the thinkable proceed when all is quite calm and quiet everywhere and the knowledge of creation is only an error and a delusion?
30 Rama asked, “Sage, describe how this error comes to overshadow the unknowable, unthinkable, and the immovable being that is self-manifest and ever untainted and clear by itself?”
31 Vasishta replied:—
There is no error or mistake here owing to the lack of any cause for it. Our knowledge of “I” and “you” is drowned in that of one permanent unity.
32 Rama asked, “O venerable sage, I am so bewildered by the error of my consciousness that I do not know what other question to ask. I am not as enlightened as the learned to be able argue more on this point.”
33 Vasishta replied:—
O Rama, do not stop asking your questions concerning the causality of Brahma until you are satisfied with the proof that he is without cause. Such questions test the purity of gold in stone. By knowing this, you will be able to rest in the blissful state of the supremely blessed.
34 Rama asked, “Sage, I grant as you say that there is no creation for lack of its cause, but tell me now. From where do I get my error of the thinkable and its thought?”
35 Vasishta replied:—
There is no error in the belief of uncaused creation and its perfect calmness. Because you lack the habit of thinking this way makes you so restless.
36 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, from where rises this habit and how do we discontinue our mode of thinking? How does rest proceed from the one mode of thought and our disquiet from the other mode?”
37 Vasishta replied:—
Belief in the eternal God breeds no error in that of the eternity of the world. The habit of thinking otherwise creates the error of creation. Therefore, be as sound in your mind as the calm minded sages have been.
38 Rama asked, “Please tell me sage, as you preach these lectures to your audience, what other mode of practice there may be to attain a quietude like that of the living liberated sages?”
39 Vasishta replied:—
The lesson we preach is to know one’s self as Brahman resting in the spirit of Brahman. This knowledge is sure to release the soul from its longing for liberation and its fear of bondage in this world.
40 Rama asked, “Your doctrine, by its all negative distinctions of any knowledge of time and space, and of our actions and things, serves to drive away our consciousness of all existence whatsoever from the mind.”
41 Vasishta replied:—
Yes. All our objective knowledge of the distinctions of time and place and of actions and things is the effect of our ignorance of the subjectivity of the soul. There is no substance other than the soul before the liberated spirit.
42 Rama asked, “The absence of any knowledge of an intelligent agent or an intelligible object completely deprives us of any intelligence at all. The impossibility of unity and duality being combined must preserve our distinct knowledge of the knowing principle and the known or knowable object.”
43 Vasishta replied:—
You get knowledge of God by your act of knowing him. Therefore the word is taken in its active sense by you and others. But with sages like ourselves who possess our intuitive knowledge of ourselves as the deity, it is only a self-reflexive verb.
44 Rama asked, “But how do you feel your finite selves or sense of ego and your limited knowledge to be the same as the infinite soul and omniscience of God? Do you ascribe your imperfections to the transcendental divinity, who is purer than the purest water and rarer than the rarefied ether?”
45 Vasishta replied:—
What we call individual ego is the feeling of the perfections of the Divine Soul in ourselves, and not attributing our imperfect personalities to him. The duality of living souls and the Divine Soul resembles the unity of the blowing breeze with the universal and still air.
46 Rama asked, “As waves of the ocean have been continually rising and existing in it, so the objective thoughts of one’s egoism and the world besides must be always rising and falling in the subjective soul of the Supreme Being, as well as in the souls of self-liberated persons.”
47 Vasishta replied:—
If so it be, then tell me. What is the fault, so much criticized in the popular belief of duality, in the creed of unity which is eternal and infinite, full and perfect in itself, quite calm and quiet in its nature, called the transcendent one?
48 Rama asked, “If it be so, then tell me sage. Who and what power conceives the ego, you, and others, which feels and enjoys all as their agent, if the fundamental fallacy of the world be the root of all?”
49 Vasishta replied:—
The knowledge of the reality of the objective or knowable things is the cause of our bondage in this world. True knowledge does not recognize their reality. Full intelligence which assumes the forms of all things in itself sees no difference between bondage or liberation.
50 Rama asked, “Intelligence, like light, does not show us all things the same way. Intelligence shows us the difference between a pot and a picture, just as light shows white and black to view. Again as the light of our eye sight shows us the different forms of outward objects, so our intelligence confirms and indicates the reality of our visual perceptions.”
51 Vasishta replied:—
All outer objects, having no cause for their creation or any source for their production, are as incredible as the offspring of a barren woman. The appearance of their reality which is presented to our sight is as false as that of silver in a conch shell or in glittering sands.
52 Rama asked, “The sight of this miserable world, whether it be true or false, is like a frightening apparition in a dream, attended only with pain. Therefore tell me the best way to avoid and get rid of this error.”
53 Vasishta replied:—
The world, being no better than a dream, is the reflection of the idea of its reality. That view is the best way to get rid of the trap of its tempting joys and sorrows.
54 Rama asked, “But how to effect this perspective to gain our bliss and rest? How do we put an end to the sight of the world which shows the sights of falsities as realities in a continuous series of deluding dreams?”
55 Vasishta replied:—
It is the due consideration of the antecedent and subsequent states of things that must remove the false impression of their reality. It is no different from how we reflect upon our dreams. Their reality is eliminated once we examine them.
56 Rama asked, “But how do the rising apparitions of the world disappear in the depth of our minds? What do we come to perceive after the traces of our memories of material substance have faded away?”
57 Vasishta responded:—
After the false appearance of the world has vanished from view, like the faded sight of a city, the detached mind of the unconcerned soul looks upon the world as a painting wholly washed out by rain.
58 Rama asked, “Then what becomes of the man after worldly sights and desires are decreased from his mind, like the material-looking objects of a dream, and after the mind rests in a state of total detachment?”
59 Vasishta replied:—
The world recedes from his sight. His liking of it and his desire for its enjoyment depart and die away along with it.
60 Rama asked, “How can this blind and deep rooted inclination, which has accompanied the soul from many previous births and branched out into multiple desires, suddenly give up its hold of the human heart?”
61 Vasishta replied:—
The knowledge of truth serves to disperse the rooted error of the material world from the mind. In the same way, the sense of the vanity of human desires and the bitterness of their enjoyment suddenly dispel their seeds from the heart.
62 Rama asked, “After the error of materiality and the visible spheres of worlds dissipate, what is that state of the mind which follows? How is its peace and tranquility at last?”
63 Vasishta replied:—
After dispelling the error of the material world, the mind reverts to its seat in the immaterial soul where it is released from all its earthly bonds and finds its rests in the state of detachment and mental indifference.
64 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, if the error of the world is as little as that of a child’s idea of sorrow, then what trouble is there for a man to remedy it?”
65 Vasishta replied:—
When all our desires, like the fond wishes of children, are wholly extinct in the mind, there remains no more cause for any sorrow. This you may well know from the association of desires in all minds.
66 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, what is the mind and how are we to know its nature and workings? What good do we derive by our best investigation of mental powers and properties?”
67 Vasishta replied:—
The inclination of the intellect towards intelligible objects is called the mind because it minds only what is thinkable. The right knowledge of the mind’s workings leads to the extinction of all our worldly desires.
68 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, how long does this tendency of the intellect towards the thinkable continue? When does the mind eliminate thoughts, which causes our extinction in the state of nirvana?”
69 Vasishta replied:—
If there is a complete absence of thinkable things, what is left for the intellect to be intent upon? The mind dwells only upon its thoughts, but the lack of thinkable objects leaves nothing for it to think upon.
70 Rama asked, “How can there be an absence of thinkable when we have ideas accumulated in memory to think and reflect upon? There is no one who can deny the existence of ideas which are always imprinted in the mind.
71 Vasishta replied:—
Whatever idea the ignorant have has no truth and is denied by the learned. The only conception the wise have is that of a nameless and formless unity.
72 Rama asked, “What do the ignorant know of this triple world which has no truth or reality to it? What is the true knowledge of the wise about the world which is inexpressible in words?”
73 Vasishta replied:—
What the ignorant know about the duality of the world is wholly untrue from first to last. The true knowledge of the wise neither recognizes a duality nor acknowledges its production.
74 Rama asked, “Of course, whatever is not produced in the beginning cannot exist at anytime. But how is it that this unreal and unapparent nothing could come to produce in us its conception of a something?”
75 Vasishta replied:—
This causeless and uncaused unreality of the world appears as a real entity like a daydream presents the false sight of the cosmos as a reality.
76 Rama said, “What we see in our dreams and the images we conceive in our imagination are only perceptions derived from our impressions of them in our waking state.”
77 Vasishta replied:—
O Rama, tell me whether the things you see in your dream or conceive in your imagination are exactly of the same forms that you see in your waking state?
78 Rama said, “The things we see in our dream and conceive in our imagination appear to us in the same light as they show themselves in our waking state.”
79 Vasishta questioned:—
If the impressions of the waking state appear in our dreaming, then tell me Rama, why do you find your house standing in the morning which you saw to have fallen down in you dream?
80 Rama answered, “I understand that the things seen in waking do not appear the same in dreams. But tell me sage, why do they seem to resemble those that have been seen before?”
81 Vasishta replied:—
It is not the idea of anything that appears as a reality in our minds, but the inherent impression of the world in the soul that exhibits it to us from first to last.
82 Rama said, “I understand that this world is no better than a dream. But tell me sage, how do we remove our fallacy of its reality which holds us fast like a demon?”
83 Vasishta replied:—
Consider how this dream of the world came into fashion and what may be its cause. Knowing that the cause is not different from its effect, see this visible creation in the light of its invisible origin.
84 Rama said, “But as the mind is the cause of the sights seen in our dreams in sleep, it therefore must be the same with its creation of this world, which is equally insubstantial and without decay as itself.”
85 Vasishta replied:—
So it is, O most intelligent Rama. The world is truly the mind of God, which is nothing other than the consolidation of Divine Consciousness. Thus the world being situated in the mind, it is only this mind that exhibits these dreamlike shows which originate from it. There is no other source.
86 Rama asked, “But why can I not identify creation with Brahman, the Divine Mind? The relationship of sameness exists between a component part and its integral whole, as there is between the branch of a tree and the tree itself. But it would be absurd to identify the undivided and formless Brahman with the divided and formal world.”
87 Vasishta replied:—
It is impossible, O Rama, to identify this frail perishable world with the eternal Brahman, who is uncreated, quite calm and quiescent, and intact in his nature.
88 Rama added, “In the end I find by a haphazard way that my conception of the world from first to last is false, as is the error of my attributing the qualities of activity and passivity to the nature of the transcendent being.”
89 Vasishta concluded saying:—
Now I have fully exposed the false views of the world, both by the elegance of my poetic speech and by the enlightening reasoning of the learned. Both eloquence and reasoning are calculated to remove the mistaken views of the emptiness and delusion of the world by establishing the truth of all being composed of the essence of the one sole and Supreme Entity.
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Chapter 191 — Solution of Great Question of Unity & Duality
1 Rama asked, “If it is as you say, sage, the world must be a great riddle as it can neither be said to be in existence with all its contents, or be a perfect nothing with everything quite extinct in it. 2 This existence that shows itself to sight as the world appears as a delusion or deception, though it cannot properly be called an illusion if it is composed of divine essence as you say.”
3 Vasishta replied:— The accidental appearance in which Brahman manifests himself of his own accord is known to him as the world and exists in himself.
4 Rama asked, “How does Brahman manifest himself as the world before space exists and after its extinction? How does the Divine Spirit shine itself as the world when there is no light in the heavens?”
5 Vasishta replied:— The world shines with the light of Divine Consciousness. Know that this light proceeds from the Divine Spirit which is thus diffused all over the universe. 6As the light of the lamp enlightens a house with its brightness, the holy light of the Divine Spirit shines of itself without presenting an outward appearance or having anyone to look upon it. 7 Thus it is an immaterial and imperishable entity, without any appearance or observer to see it. It shines with the light of the intellect upon the basis or stand of the Divine Spirit.
8 It shines with an appearance visible only in the sight of the spirit which constantly looks upon it, as it sees its dreams in sleep. 9 It shines only in the light of the intellect and it appears as the created world before its creation. All creation’s visible and shining brightness is derived from the Supreme. 10 The one Supreme Intellect alone assumes the triple forms of the sight, seer, and seeing in the beginning of creation. It shows itself as the created world of its own nature and accord.
11 Our dreams and imaginations resemble this appearance. In the same manner, this creation shines before us with the light of consciousness. 12 This world is like an empty body appearing in the emptiness of Consciousness. Creation has neither beginning nor end. It is a development of the Consciousness which is distributed through it.
13 It has become habitual to our nature to suppose the existence of the world, but the false impression of its sight is lost in the consciousness of high-minded men. 14 To them this creation presents no visible form, or any sensible appearance at all. To them creation is only the appearance of a fallacy, like the mistake of a man in a statue or taking a false apparition as real. 15 In this manner the blunder of a duality in the soul produces a dualism in the mind. But before the existence of creation, there existed no dualism of the creator and the created, or of the one who manifests and the manifested.
16 The lack of a cause causes the appearance of a duality. But tell me how could there be a cause when there is no creation in existence? 17 Only Divine Consciousness manifests itself in the manner of the world. There is a complete absence of all visible objects. Though this seems to be the waking state of the Supreme Soul, yet it is neither its waking, sleeping or dreaming state.
18 The visible world is no production of dream but a manifestation of Brahman himself. Only Divine Consciousness exists in the manner of the infinite void before the birth of the atmospheric void of the world. 19 The Intellect which beholds this universe as its body, without being distributed or changed in the form of the world, is purely a spiritual or empty form that manifested itself in this visible form before it came to existence. 20 This visible world that is so manifest to view is as void and empty as the empty air.
21 Now knowing this in your own understanding, you must remain devoid of all dualism in your mind. Be as mute as a block of stone. Give no heed in your heart to the words of the universe. Do not care for their sayings of earthly enjoyments.
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Chapter 192 — Rama Realizes there Is No Error, No Ignorance
1 Rama said:— Alas that I have so long strayed about in the false maze of the world without knowledge of it being a mere void. 2 Now I come to know the fallacy of my conception of the world, which is only a mere nothingness, which never is or was, and which never will be proven to be a positive reality. 3 It is all still without any support, existing only in our false knowledge of it. It is an endless formation of solid intellect, a mere empty conception that we have without any figure or form or color or mark of its own.
4 The world is the transcendental emptiness of a wholly inconceivable nature. Yet how wonderful it is, what we call our world, our earth and the sphere of our action. 5 How it appears as a duality, and how these worlds and mountains are seen as separate and solid bodies when in reality they are only the transparent sky appearing as thick and opaque to our misconception of them. 6 This creation and the future world are like the dreams that we see, the workings of our imagination. Only consciousness shows itself as these intelligible objects, which otherwise could not present their visible aspects to us.
7 The thought that I am in heaven or hell in this life makes this world appear as such to us because all that is visible are objects or creatures of our consciousness of them. 8There is nothing such as visible or its vision, nor this world or its creation, unless it is caused by consciousness within us. It is neither a scene in our waking or sleeping, nor is this anything real in its nature.
9 If this is only a false conception of the mind, then how could such negative error produce this positive spectacle? Tell me, O sage, how could this blank fallacy bring forth the thought of this real existence? 10 How is it possible for error to creep into the infallible mind of omniscience? It is improbable that error should reign at large over this perfect creation. Therefore, it is the Lord himself who exhibits his glory in this manner.
11 How else can we think of the continuity and infinity of space, emptiness and time other than they are attributes of omnipotence? How are we to look on the transparency of air and crystal without thinking them as manifestations of his nature? 12 A false notion is as false as the sight of one’s own death in a dream. But how can this world which is so perceptible to sight be lost or expunged from our sight without losing our sight of the One who manifests its?
13 Of course, the sights of a mirage, fairy cities and double moons in the sky are deceptions of vision and productions of our error. But the same analogy does not apply to our sight of the world. 14 Children’s apparitions of ghosts never lay hold on adults and the waking, or on anyone in the daylight and open air. This and similar errors arise only in our ignorance and vanish upon second thought and true knowledge.
15 It is improper in this place to raise the question from where this imaginary demon of error could arise among mankind because it is evident from our own reasoning that there is no such thing as ignorance ever in existence. 16 It is evident by rational reasoning that whatever is invisible and imperceptible to us is called not being, and the conception or idea of that is called an error. 17 That which is not clearly obtained by any proof or reasoning, and is as impossible as a sky-flower or the horn of a rabbit, cannot be believed to be anything in existence. 18 And a thing however apparent to sight, but having no cause or evidence of its reality, cannot be believed as a thing in existence, but must be a nothing like the child of a barren woman. 19 Therefore there can no error at anytime, nor can an error ever produce anything whatever. It is therefore the manifest omniscience of providence that is conspicuous in every part of this wide and grand display.
20 Whatever we see shining before us is the manifestation of the Supreme Being itself. The same Supreme Spirit fills this fullness of space and is full with it in itself. 21 There is nothing that is either shining or not shining here at anytime, unless it is the calm and quiet and transparent spirit of God that inheres in its body of the mundane world. 22 The one unborn, undying and unchanging everlasting being is the most adorable and ever adored lord of all who fills and pervades the whole with his essence. He only is the word ego, self-manifest, pure and all pervading, while I and all others are without our individual egos and shining in that unity.
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Chapter 193 — Rama Realizes that All Questions Become Meaningless upon God Realization
1 Rama said:— There is the only One alone whom neither the gods nor the rishis know or comprehend. He is without beginning, middle or end. It is that being who shines himself without this world and these phenomena.
2 It is useless for us to mind the difference between unity and duality, or to be led to the questions created by the misleading words of false doctrines, without relying upon the state of one tranquil and unvarying spirit. 3 The world is as clearly an empty body appearing in the womb of emptiness like a string of pearls or aerial castles seen in the open sky. 4The world is attached to the solidity of the invisible intellect in the same manner as emptiness is inherent in vacuum, hardness in stone, and fluidity in water. 5 Though the world appears to be spread on all sides of space, yet it is no more than an empty void lying calm and quiet in the hollow womb of the great Intellect.
6 This world which appears so fair and clear to the sight of ignorant people vanishes like a phantom into nothing at the sight of the boundless glory of the transcendent God. 7The impression of difference and duality that exists among worldly men between creator and creation vanishes upon reflection, like waves in the waters of the sea. 8 The existence of the world, together with all our miseries in it, vanishes before the light of our liberation, just as the darkness of night flies away at sunrise and the light of the day disappears before the gloom of night.
9 Whether in plenty or poverty, or in birth, death or disease, or in the troubles and turmoil of the world, the wise man remains unshaken, though he may be overpowered by them. 10 There is no knowing or error in this world, no pain or pleasure, and no distress or delight in it. They are all attributes of God whose pure nature is unsoiled by them.
11 I have come to know that this existence is pure Brahman himself. Lack of knowledge means thinking there is anything other than the spirit of the great God. 12 I am awakened and enlightened in divine knowledge. I find external existence ceases to exist in any presence. 13 Perfect knowledge tells us that all these worlds are only Brahman himself. But lack of this knowledge says, “I was not Brahman before, but now I have become so by my knowledge.” 14 The known and the unknown, and the dark and the bright are all only Brahman, just as emptiness and unity, and brightness and blueness all belong to the one and same sky.
15 I am extinct by nirvana in the Deity and sit unafraid of anything. I am devoid of all desire with my leaning in perfect blessedness. I am as I am, seized in my infinite bliss, without my sensibility of what or which. 16 I am wholly that one and sole entity which is nothing but perfect tranquility. I see nothing but a calm and quiet which utterly absorbs and enraptures me. 17 Knowing the knowable is to un-know one’s self and ignore the visible. As this knowledge continues to dawn in the soul, the whole cosmos sinks into oblivion and seems like only a block of stone, without the name or sign of anything being known.
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Chapter 194 — Rama Understands that Knowledge of the One Is Indescribable, Describes Realization
1 Rama said:—
In whatever manner and form the individual soul conceives the Universal Soul within itself, it has the same conception or idea presented before it, agreeably to its concept. 2All these worlds lie in concert in their spiritual state in the boundless spirit of the great Brahman. But they appear to us in various lights, like different rays radiating from the one and same gem. 3 The great and bright quarry of the Divine Mind contains all these sparkling worlds in its unbounded bosom. All of them unite to shed and scatter their joined light upon us like the mixed rays of jewels in the womb of a vast mine. 4 All these different worlds, shining together like so many lamps of a reflected light, are clearly perceived by some and are imperceptible to others, just as the blaze of daylight is dazzling to the clear-sighted but quite dim to the blind.
5 As the rushing of the contrary currents create whirlpools in the waters of the deep, so the contact and conflict of elementary atoms produce the consolidation and dissolution of worlds, which are no acts of creation. 6 Creation everywhere is only a joining together of the drizzling drops of the icy Consciousness. Therefore, who can count the countless watery particles that are constantly flowing out of Consciousness and condensed in the forms of worldly, spherical bodies?
7 As a part is not different from the substance of the whole, so creation is not different from its creator other than the difference between the two words used to describe creation and creator.
8 The causeless and un-causing unity is the original model of infinite variety. These numberless multiplicities are only copies of that sole part, and neither a duality nor pluralities whatever. These copies and counterparts never rise or fall apart from their original prototype. 9 That intelligence shows the objects of the intellect in itself. It produces these unproduced productions to view, just as sunlight exposes the visible to light.
10 From my non-desire of all things in existence I have accomplished perfection and acquired that prosperity which is called mental detachment or nirvana. 11 Realization does not come from understanding this bliss, nor can we have any knowledge of this bliss by our perception. There is no knowledge whereby we may know the unknown one who alone is to be known.
12 It is a knowledge that rises of itself, a waking of the soul from its sleepiness. It throws a light like that of the midday sun in the innermost soul. It is neither confined in nor absent from any place or time. 13 After all desires are dispelled and all actions with desires ended, this stillness attends upon the enlightened soul. 14 The saint of awakened understanding who is confined in himself and absorbed in meditation is inclined neither to the craving of anything nor to the avoidance of anything whatever. 15 In this state of rapture, the mind of the saint, though in full possession of its mental faculties, remains as fixed and inactive and unmindful of all worldly things and bodily actions as a burning candle that consumes itself while it illuminates others, without any shaking or motion of its own.
16 The soul becomes united with the world (vishwarupa) in its condition of thoughtfulness and is called the mundane soul (vishwatma). Or else it is said to be situated in the state of the immense void of Brahman when it is devoid of thoughts. Hence creation and its cessation both belong to the Divine Intellect in its state of activity or thoughtfulness and its state lacking thoughts or nirvana.
17 He who is enrapt in divine ecstasy and settled in his belief in the identity of God and his thinking of Him remains closely confined in himself with his rapture and secure from the distractions of his mind. 18 He who relies only upon meditation on his self, regardless of all other things in the world, comes to find the reality of only his self-absorption, and everything else besides is as void as empty air.
19 The man of enlarged understanding has an unbounded store of knowledge in himself, but this ultimately ends in the knowledge of the unspeakable one. 20 It is therefore in our quietism that we feel the very best being of our consciousness to be either dormant or extinct. This state of tranquility of the mind is inexpressible in words. 21 The summit of all knowledge is the abstract and concealed knowledge of all as the true one. Hence the world is a real entity, in as much as it abides in the eternal one.
22 The bliss of nirvana-ecstasy, with the utter extinction of all desire and the consciousness of a cool and calm composure of one’s self, is the supreme good or highest state of bliss and perfection that is aimed at to be attained even by the gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
23 All things are always present with it in all places and at all times. They are always accompanied with our concepts of them in Consciousness, which is the only pure entity that is ever in existence and is never dissolved.
24 Too hot is the busy commotion of the world and very cooling is the bliss of nirvana insensibility. It is therefore far better to have cold heartedness of detachment than a heart burning with the heat of worldliness.
25 As an artist conceives the design of a statue sculptured in relief in the slab of his mind, so the great Brahma sees this universe inscribed in himself in relief, and not carved out of him. 26 Just as the spacious ocean looks upon the waves heaving upon the surface of its waters, so the great Brahma sees the multitude of worlds rolling about in the midst of its Consciousness.
27 Ignorant people of dull understandings see those fixed, inseparable spectacles in the light of separate apparitions appearing in various shapes and forms in the spheres of their consciousness. 28 In whatever manner anybody conceives anything in his mind, he truly thinks and sees it in that same light because of his habitual mode of thinking it as such. 29 A man waking from his sleep finds no truth in anything he saw in his dream, whether it was the death or presence or absence of a friend. In the same way, the enlightened soul sees no reality in the life or death of any living being seen in this visible world, because none lives by himself or dies or departs away of himself. All are delegated alike in the tablet of the eternal mind. 30 Whatever appears to pass under and away from our sight is the fixed inert and quiescent rehash of its divine original. The conviction of this truth in the mind is enough to prohibit the mind from falling into the error of taking the copy for its mold.
31 This lesson will certainly tend to lessen the enjoyments of your body. No enjoyment will ever serve to prevent the body’s fall to nothing. This lesson will also protect you from the error of taking for real what are numberless and, at best, only passing sights in your dream. 32 Lack of desire for earthly enjoyments increases our wisdom, and wisdom serves to diminish our worldly desires. Thus they mutually serve to increase one another, like open air and sunshine. 33 The knowledge which tends to create aversion to riches, family and friends is averse to your ignorance and dullness. Acquisition of the one immediately serves to put an end to your ignorance. 34 That is the true wisdom of wise men, unmixed by greed. This is the true learning of the learned, uncorrupted by any yearning.
35 But wisdom and renunciation, alone or combined, are of no good unless they have attained their perfection. Unless perfected, they prove as vain as the blaze of a sacrificial fire in a picture which has no power to consume the sacrifice offered upon it. 36 The perfection of wisdom and renunciation is a treasure which is called liberation because anybody attaining it remains in a state of infinite bliss freed from all the bonds of care.
37In this state of emancipation we see past and present, and all our sights and doings in them, as present before us. We find ourselves situated in a state of even calm and tranquility of which there is no end or any interruption whatever. 38 The self-contented man who finds all his happiness in himself is ever cool and calm and tranquil in his soul, devoid of all desire and selfishness in his mind. He relies upon his cool hearted detachment and apathy to all worldly objects and sees only a clear void stretched before him.
39 We scarcely find one man in a hundred thousand human beings who is strong enough and has the bravery to break down the net of his earthly desires, like a lion breaking the iron bars of his cage.
40 The inner light of clear understanding dispels the mist of desires that overcasts the craving mind, melting thickened greed like sunshine dissolves thickened ice in autumn.
41 Lack of desire is the knowledge of the knowable and stands above all things that are desirable or worth desiring. It resembles a breath of air without any external action. 42He sits quiet and firm in himself, his thoughts fixed upon discerning the truths and errors of the world. He looks upon all others in the light of himself, without having anything to do with them or have any desire for them. 43 He sits rested in the immensity of Brahman with his enlightened view of the visible as existing in him. He remains indifferent to all things, devoid of desire for anything, sitting quietly in the inactive silence of liberation which the wise call liberation (moksha).
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Chapter 195 — Vasishta Tests Rama: Why Didn’t God Create the World?
1 Vasishta said:—
Bravo Rama! You are awakened to light and enlightened in your understanding. The words you have spoken are calculated to destroy the darkness of ignorant minds and rejoice the hearts of wise.
2 These phenomena that appear so very bright to our sight lose their glowing brightness with our lack of desire and disregard of them. Knowledge of this truth is attended with peace and tranquility, and liberation and calmness. 3 As we suppress our imagination of phenomena, all these imaginary sights vanish from our view like lack of movement in winds reduces them to one common and calm air.
4 An enlightened man remaining unmoved as a stone or moving quietly in his conduct in life is truly said to have his clear liberation. 5 Look at yogis like ourselves, O Rama, who have attained this state of liberation, have been cleansed of all our iniquities, and are now set at quiet rest, even while we are engaged in our worldly affairs. 6 Know that the great gods Brahma, Vishnu and others are situated in this state of quiet and freedom. They remain as pure intelligences even while discharging the offices of their divinity.
7 O Rama, attain the enlightenment of holy sages and remain as still as a stone like ourselves.
8 Rama said:—
I see this world as a formless void situated in the infinite emptiness of Brahma. It is an uncreated and insubstantial nothing. With all its visibility, it is an invisible nothing. 9 It is like the appearance of water in a mirage or a whirlpool in the ocean. Its glare is like the glitter of gold in dust or the sands on a beach in sunshine.
10 Vasishta said:—
Rama, if you have become so enlightened and intelligent, then I will tell you more for the enlightenment of your understanding. Let me ask you some questions so that your answers will remove my doubts.
11 Tell me, how can the world be a nothing when it shines so very brightly all about and above our heads? How can all these things be nonexistent which are so resplendent to sight and always perceptible to our senses?
12 Rama said:—
The world was never created in the beginning, nor was anything ever produced at anytime. It is therefore as nonexistent as the offspring of a barren woman. It is only a creation of our imagination. 13 There is no result without its cause and nothing comes from nothing. What can be the cause of the world when it is a nothing, a production of only our error? 14 The immutable and everlasting deity cannot be the creator without changing itself to a finite form. Therefore how can God be the cause of these frail and finite forms?
15 It is the unknown and nameless Brahman that shows himself as the cause of the world which proceeds from him and is his very self. The word “world” does not bear any other sense.
16 The first intelligence called the god Brahma arises from and abides for a little while as that unknown and nameless category of the Universal Spirit which we call the conscious soul with a spiritual body. 17 Then it suddenly comes to see the luminaries of the sun and moon and the heavenly hosts rising in the infinity of the Divine Mind. It thinks a small moment to be a long year in its reverie of a dream. 18 Then it perceives the ideas of space and time and their divisions and motions. The whole universe appears to its sight in the vast immensity of emptiness. 19 Upon completion of the false world in this manner, its false contriver, the self-styled Brahma, is employed wandering all over the world as his creation.
20 So each living soul, deluded by its mistaken conception of the world as a positive reality, traverses up and down and all about creation, repeatedly wandering in its false world. 21 Although the events of life take place according to the wishes of the soul, yet these are mere accidents of chance. It is a mistake to think they are permanent results of fixed laws. 22 Because it is as wrong to suppose the substantiality of the world and the permanency of the events, just like it is wrong to grant the birth of a child born of a barren woman and feeding it with the powder of pulverized air.
23 Nothing can be positively affirmed or denied regarding the existence of the world except that whatever it is, it is nothing other than the diffusion of the all pervasive spirit of the Eternal One. 24 The world is as clear as the transparent atmosphere and as solid as the density of a rock. It is as mute and still as a stone and quite indestructible in its nature. 25The world is originally an idea from the ideas of the Eternal Mind. Then it is spiritual from the permeation of the all pervading spirit of Viraj. Thus what appears to us as a solid body is a mere void.
26 Thus Brahma being the great void and its fullness, where is there any other thing such as the world in it? The whole is a dead calm like death, a void devoid of beginning or end. 27 As waves continuously heave and dive in the bosom of the waters of the deep, and as the waves are not distinct from the waters, so the worlds continuously rolling in the breast of the empty Brahman are nothing other than the very same essence of Brahman himself.
28 The few who are versed in their superior and esoteric knowledge, as well as in the inferior or exoteric knowledge, live as long as they live then dive at last into this Supreme, like drops of water mix into the sea. 29 The exoteric phenomena of the world abides in the esoteric ideal of Brahman and is of the same transcendent nature as the Divine Mind. For it is never possible for the gross, changing and transitional nature to exist in the pure, unchanged and quiet state of God. 30 If one knows the nature of dream to be false and a mirage as a fallacy, how can he ever believe them to be realities? Anyone who knows visible nature to be of the nature of Brahman can never ever take it to be dull and gross material substance. 31 An enlightened sage who has esoteric knowledge of the world and reflects its spiritual sense cannot be misled to see it in its gross material light. A holy man who tastes ambrosia is never inclined to drink impure wine.
32 He who remains in nirvana meditation by turning his view away from the sight of the visible towards mental examination of his self, and who represses his mind from the thoughts of thinkable objects, is truly seated in the tranquility of the Supreme Spirit.
33 Vasishta asked:—
If visible creation is situated in Brahman, their cause and origin, then why not consider creation to be substance and God its cause, like the sprout of a plant is situated in its seed?
34 Rama said:—
The sprout does seem to be situated in the seed, but as it is produced from the same essence, the sprout appears to be the same substance as the seed. 35 If the world as it appears to us is inherent in Brahman, then it must be of the same essence and nature as Brahman. These being eternal and imperishable in Brahman, then the world also has to be so. 36 We have never seen or heard that any finite, material or perishable thing has ever proceeded from an infinite, formless and imperishable cause. 37 It is impossible for a formless thing to remain in any form whatsoever, just as it is never possible for an atom to contain a mountain in its bosom.
38 Only an idiot would say that the stupendous world with its gigantic form abides in the formless abyss of Brahman, like bright gems are contained in the hollow of a box. 39 It is inappropriate for anybody to say that the transcendent and tranquil God supports the material and moving world upon it, or that a physical body is an imperishable thing.
40 Our perception of the world having a form is no proof of its reality because there is no truth whatsoever to the many curious forms that present themselves in our dreams. 41It is an unprecedented dream that presents the sight of the world of which we had no innate or preconceived idea. By comparison, our usual dreams are commonly known to be the reproduced representations of our former impressions and perceptions, the results of our memories. 42 It is not a daydream, as some would have it, because night dreams disappear in the daytime. But how does a dreamer of his own funeral at night come to see himself alive upon waking in the day? 43 Others again maintain that no bodiless things can appear in our dream because we dream only of certain bodies. But this belief has no truth in it, since we often dream of and see the apparitions of bodiless ghosts both by day and night.
44 Therefore the world is not as false as a dream, only an impression settled like a dream in our very conscious soul. The formless deity manifests itself in the various forms of this world to our understanding. 45 As only our consciousness remains despite the forms and other things appearing to us in dreams as we sleep, so Brahman remains solely in himself in the form of the world that we see. God being wholly free and apart from all can not have any accompaniment.
46 There is nothing that is either existent or nonexistent in him because we have no conception of him ourselves, nor can we form any concept of him. 47 What is this nameless thing that we cannot know in our understanding? It is known in our consciousness, but whether it exists or not, we know nothing. 48 It is a nonexistence appearing as existent and an existence seeming to be nonexistent. All things are quietly manifest in it at all times and in all forms. 49 It is the development of Brahma in Brahman, just as the sky evolves in emptiness. Nothing can be found to fill the emptiness of Brahman except Brahman himself.
50 Therefore I, my seeing, and my sight of the world are all mere fallacy. Only the calm and quiet extension of Divine Consciousness fills the infinite emptiness of his own spirit, and nothing beside. 51 As the aerial castle of our imagination has no building or reality in it, so this world is only a calm and quiet emptiness, an unfailing vacant idea. 52 It is a boundless space full with the essence of the Supreme Spirit. It is without beginning or end, wholly inscrutable in its nature, and quite calm and quiet in its aspect.
53 I have known my own state to be without birth or death, as calm and quiet as that of the unborn and immortal Brahman himself. I have come to know that I am as formless and indefinable as the Supreme Soul. 54 I have now given expression to all that I find impressed in my consciousness, just as whatever is contained in a seed comes to sprout out of it.
55 I only know what I have in my consciousness, and nothing about unity or duality, because the question of unity and duality arises only from imagination. 56 All these knowing and living liberated men, liberated from the burden of life by their knowledge of truth, are silently sitting here devoid of all their earthly cares, like empty air in infinite emptiness. 57 All efforts of mixing with the busy commotion of the world are at an end. They are sitting here as quiet and silent as a mute and motionless picture on the wall, engraved on the bright regions in their minds. 58 They are as still as statues carved in rock, or as people described in fairy tales living in the city that Sambara built in the air.
59 This world truly is a phantom appearing in our dream of creation. It is a structure without any foundation, a figure intangible to our touch. Where then is its reality? 60 The blinded ignorant see the world as a positive reality. The keen-sighted sage finds the world to be a negative nothing. He sees it in the light of Brahman and a manifestation of Brahman, as still as the calm air resting in the quiet emptiness of that transcendent spirit. 61 All these existences, with their moving and unmoving beings, and ourselves also, are mere void and vacant nullities in the knowledge of the discerning and philosophic mind.
62 I am void and so are you. We and the world beside are only mere blanks. The intellect is a void also, and by doing all the different voids in itself, it forms the immense intellectual vacuum which is the sole object of our adoration. 63 Being thus seated with my knowledge of the infinite emptiness of Brahman, I take you also, O you best of two-footed beings, as indistinct from the knowable one, who is one and same with the all comprehending void, and so I make my obeisance to you.
64 This world rises and sets by turns from the all comprehensiveness of empty consciousness. It is as clear as transparent air and has no other cause except the vibration of consciousness. 65 This knowledge of the nature of Brahman is beyond all other existences and above the reach of all scriptures. By attaining this state of transcendentalism, one becomes as pure and superfine as empty air. 66 There is no self, my feet or hands, or this pot or anything else that I perceive, which has any material existence. All is air and empty and insubstantial as air. Knowing this, let us turn ourselves to our subtle intellects only.
67 Sage, you have shown me the nothingness of the world and the vanity of all worldly things. The truth of this doctrine is evident in the light of our spiritual knowledge, in defiance of the clever arguments of our opponents. 68 The agnostic philosopher who upsets the silent sage with his clever arguments can never expect to see the light of spiritual knowledge shining upon him. 69 The being who is beyond our perception and conception, without any designation or indication, can be only known in our consciousness of him and not by any kind of reasoning or argument. 70 The being who is without any attribute, sight or symbol of his nature is purely empty and entirely inconceivable by us except by means of our spiritual understanding.
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Chapter 196 — Realization Cannot Be Obtained from Scriptures; Story of the Wood-Cutters and the Philosopher’s Stone
1 Valmiki relates:— After the lotus-eyed Rama, had said these words, he fell into a trance and remained silent, his mind reposing in the state of supreme bliss. 2 He felt supremely blessed resting in the Supreme Spirit. Then, awaking after a while from his holy trance, he pensively asked a question of his sagely teacher.
3 Rama asked:— O venerable sage who dispels my doubts like clear autumn scatters dark clouds, a doubt which has so long troubled my heart has at last quite been set to rest.4 I find this knowledge to be the best and greatest of all, capable of saving me from the noisy ocean of this world. It transcends all other doctrines which are mere words to trap the careless minds of men.
5 If all this is certainly the same Brahman and our consciousness of him, then O venerable sage, he must be unspeakable and inexpressible in words, even by the most learned and wisest of men. 6 Remaining in meditation of the knowable one, without any desire in our minds for any earthly good, we are able to attain consciousness of our highest bliss which is unattainable by learning and inexpressible in words. 7 How can this certain and unchanging state of bliss be obtained from the dogmas of the scriptures which are at variance with each other and are employed in listing of categories? 8 We can gain no true knowledge from the doctrines of different scriptures. At best they only contradict one another. Therefore it is vain to expect any benefit from scriptures that are at based upon mere theories of our pretended leaders.
9 Therefore, O venerable sage, tell me whether it is of any good for us to learn the doctrines of the scriptures or attend to the teaching of our preceptors?
10Vasishta replied:— So it is, O mighty armed Rama, that the scriptures are not the means to divine knowledge. Scriptures are profuse with words; divine knowledge is beyond the reach of words. 11 Yet hear me tell you, O best of Raghu’s race, how the dictates of the scriptures and the lectures of your teachers are of some help towards improving your understanding.
12 There lived in a certain place some wood-cutters who had always been unfortunate and miserable in their lives. They wasted and faded away in their poverty, like trees withering in summer heat. 13 Extreme poverty made them cover themselves with patched up rags. They were emaciated in their despair, like fading lotus flowers lacking water. 14Dried out by famine and despairing for their lives, their only thought was how to fill their bellies. 15 In this state of distress and despondence, only one thought shone in their minds: to cut wood day by day, take it for sale as fuel in town, and live upon the income. 16 Thus determined, they went to the forest to cut down wood, because any plan made in distress is best used to preserve life. 17 Thus they continued daily to go to the forest to cut wood, bring it to town for sale, and fill their bellies and support their bodies with the proceeds.
18 It happened that the outskirts of the forest where they went were full of woods with loads of treasure consisting of gold and precious gems lying hidden under the trees and exposed to view. 19 Then it turned out that some of the wood-cutters happened by their good luck to discover the brilliant gems which they took to their homes. 20 Others saw valuable sandalwood trees, some saw beautiful flowers in some place, and some found fruit trees somewhere, all of which they took and sold for their food and livelihood. 21Some men of dull understanding neglected all these goods and kept collecting blocks of wood which they carried to edge of the forest where they sold then at very low prices. 22Among all these woodmen employed cutting wood, some by their good luck happened to find some precious gems which set them at ease for every care.
23 Thus amongst all who had been working in the same field of labor, some happened to obtain their desired reward: the philosopher’s gem (chintamani) which converts all things to gold. 24 Having obtained the desirable gem, which bestowed all blessings of wealth and prosperity, they became preeminently happy with their fortune and remained quite content in the same woods. 25 So the seekers and sellers of worthless wooden blocks, having gained the bountiful gem of their heart’s desire, remained happily with themselves, like gods dwelling in harmony in heaven. 26 Thus the Kirata woodmen, having obtained the best gain of what is the core and foundation of every good in the land, remained quiet and contented in themselves. They passed their days without any fear or grief enjoying their everlasting mental peace and bliss.
27 This world is comparable to the wilderness. All its busy people are like the laboring Kirata foresters, daily working and suffering in their hard work for the sake of their daily bread. Some are happy to find the precious treasure of true knowledge, which gives them the real bliss of life and lasting peace of mind.
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Chapter 197 — The Value of the Scriptures
1 Rama said:—
O greatest of sages, please give me the best treasures of knowledge, like the wood-cutter obtained his precious treasure of the philosopher’s stone, whereby I may attain the full, perfect and indubitable knowledge of all things.
2 Vasishta replied:— The woodmen I mentioned symbolize all mankind in general. Their great poverty that I have described refers to the extreme ignorance of men which is the cause of all their miseries. 3 The great forest where they live is the vast wilderness of knowledge which humans have to traverse under the guidance of their teachers and scriptures. Their labor cutting and selling wood for daily food is the hard struggle of humans throughout their lifetimes for their simple food and support.
4 Men who are not craving or employed in business, yet desire to enjoy life, are those who devote themselves to acquire learning. 5 Those who earn a living teaching and dependent on others for their support become successful acquiring learning by their practice of teachings and diligent study habits. 6 The wood-cutters initially sought worthless wood but in the end obtained valuable gems. In the same way, men pursuing their studies for a small maintenance and self support, in the end succeed in gaining divine knowledge.
7 There are some skeptics who say derisively that there is no good to be derived from studying books. But in the end, even they turn out to be true believers. 8 Worldly men devoted to achieving the fruits in this life and acquainted with the objects of mental and spiritual truths, come distrustfully to listen to the doctrines of the scriptures. But in the end, they become fully convinced of their truths. 9 Men are led many ways by the different doctrines of different scriptures and by their different desires and inclinations. But at last they meet in the same path of glory, like the wood-cutters and their treasure gem.
10 He who is not inclined to injure others but goes on in his own beaten course is called an upright man. His judgment is sought and followed by everyone. 11 Men ignorant of truth earn their living and are doubtful of the benefits of righteous conduct or the study of the scriptures. 12 But men persisting in righteousness gain both their livelihood and liberation, just as the honest woodmen obtained their wood as well as the gems, and in the same place. 13 Among the woodmen, some obtained sandalwood, some gained precious gems, while others found some common metals. A great number found only the wood of the forest trees. 14 Some of us gain the objects of our desire and some acquire riches or deeds of virtue and merit. Others obtain their liberation and attain skill in the scriptures.
15 Know, O Rama, that the scriptures deal only with instructions to acquire the triple blessings of livelihood, riches and virtue. They give no direction for knowing the Supreme One who is inexpressible in words. 16 Words and their meanings serve only to express the intelligible objects which they signify, such as the seasons signify the fruits and flowers which they bear. But knowledge of the Supreme Being is derived from one’s intuition and is felt only in our consciousness.
17 The scriptures state that Divine knowledge transcends the knowledge of all other things, and that the brilliance of the Divine Person surpasses the brightness of all objects, just as the beauty of the female body excels the luster of the brightest gems. 18Transcendental knowledge of God cannot be derived from the doctrines of the scriptures, or from the teachings of our preceptors. We can never know the unknowable one through gifts and charities, or by divine service and religious observances. 19 These and other acts and rites are falsely said to be the causes of divine knowledge, which can never be attained by them. Now listen to me, O Rama, and I will tell you the way to your rest in the Supreme Soul. 20 The study of the scriptures serves, of course, to purify the mind from vulgar errors and prejudices. But the lack of desire or aversion to worldly enjoyments makes the mind look within itself where it clearly sees the image of God shining. 21 Scripture establishes right understanding instead of ignorance, and this right reasoning serves to drive away all gross errors from the mind. 22 Scriptures or learning principally and initially serves to cleanse the mirror of the mind from its impurity of errors, then it purifies the person of its possessor by the force of its doctrines.
23 As the rising sun casts his image spontaneously upon the dark surface of the ocean, so the light of the scriptures and learning of its own accord sheds the bright light of truth in the minds of ignorant. 24 As the sun enlightens all objects by his presence, so the light of learning by its gracious appearance illuminates the dark understanding of the illiterate. 25 In this manner there is an intimate relation between learning derived from the scriptures and the mind of the man who desires his liberation, in as much as scriptures alone afford the knowledge of the otherwise unknowable one to our minds.
26 As the sight of the sun and the ocean shows us the blue waters of the one turning to a bright expanse by the rays of the other, so the scriptures and their doctrines show the enlightenment of human intellect by means of the other. 27 As children play with pebbles, rubbing them together in water and having their hands cleaned of dirt, so discussions of the scriptures and refuting disagreeable opinions clear minds of their errors. 28 It is in this way that learned men, by refutation of offensive and hateful doctrines, clear minds of doubts and questions. They become perfected in forming right principles and ascertaining truth from falsehood.
29 The scriptures are the distilled sweetness of holy texts. They infuse the sweet healing ointment of true knowledge into the mind. They are as full of sweetness as the sugarcane oozes with its sweet juice which is so delicious to taste. 30 As the rays of sunlight falling on the walls of houses become perceptible to us through the organ of sight, so the light of spiritual knowledge pierces the souls of men through hearing the scriptures through the organ of hearing. 31 Learning acquired to obtain the triple good of this world, namely virtue, wealth and the objects of our desire, is no learning at all without the knowledge of the scriptures leading to our liberation. Much learning, both in theory and practice, is worth nothing without the salvation of our souls. 32 The best learning gives us the knowledge of truth. True knowledge causes our mental evenness in all states of our being. That is called perfect equanimity and it produces our trance in waking.
33 Thus all these blessings are obtained from learning the scriptures. Therefore let everyone devote himself to the study of the scriptures with all diligence. 34 Hence, O Rama, know that the study of the scriptures and meditation upon their hidden meanings, together with one’s attendance on his teacher and listening to his lectures and counsel, as well by equanimity and observing vows and discipline, a man can attain supreme bliss in the everlasting God, who is beyond all worldly things and is the supreme Lord God of all.
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Chapter 198 — Excellence of Equanimity, Humility and Universal Benevolence
1Vasishta continued:— Rama, hear me tell you something again to perfect your understanding. The repetition of a lesson serves to impress it more deeply in the memory of inattentive persons. 2 Before I told you about the existence of the world. I spoke at length about its creation or production, whereby you have come to know that both the appearance and existence of the world are mere fallacies of our understanding. 3 Next I explained in the Upasama Prakarana (Book V), my lecture on detachment, of the necessity of observing and maintaining a total indifference with regard to all creation. 4 In my discourse on detachment, I described the different stages of detachment. The attainment of the highest summit of detachment ultimately will contribute to your obtaining the blissfulness of the nirvana numbness, which is discussed in this book on nirvana samadhi. 5Now you shall have to hear about how the learned conduct themselves in this phenomenal world, after they have learnt and obtained whatever there is to be known and obtained here.
6 Having received his birth in this world, a man from his boyhood should accustom himself to see phenomena as they are without any concern for himself in order to be secure and happy without reliance upon others. 7Regard everything in the same light as yourself and observe a universal benevolence towards all beings. Then placing your reliance upon your own self-control, you can be safe and secure everywhere. 8 Know that this plan of your even-mindedness produces fruit of the most pure and delicious taste, bearing blossoms of unbounded prosperity and flowers of unfading good fortune. 9 Humble disposition yields the fruit of universal benevolence and makes the prosperity of the whole world wait at its service. 10 Neither the possession of a kingdom on earth nor the enjoyment of the best beauties here can yield that everlasting and essential happiness derived from the equanimity of the humble.
11 The utmost limit of a cool disposition and a entire lack of all anxious cares are the two remedies to ignore the fervor and vapors of sorrow from the human mind. 12 Among the spheres of all these worlds it is very rare to meet a person filled with the nectar of cool mental detachment who is friendly to his enemies and whose enemies are his friends, and who looks on all alike as he does to himself. 13 The mind of the enlightened man shines as brightly as the luminous moon and dazzles with drops of ambrosial dews. The sages all lived to drink the cooling drink of immortality, as you learn from the lives of the royal sage Janaka and others of immortal fame.
14 The man practicing his equality of self restraint has his faults described as his qualities, his sorrows seem as his pleasure, and his death is eternal life unto him. 15 Equality is always accompanied by good grace, good fortune and serenity, all of which constantly attend the detached sage, just as a faithful wife fondly clings to the sides of her beloved husband. 16 Equanimity is the perpetual prosperity of the soul, and not the transitory merriment of the mind. Therefore there is no treasure whatsoever that is a stranger to humility of spirit.
17 He who is honest in all his dealings, steady in his own profession, and liberal in his mind is as valuable as the richest gem and is treasured by all as a god upon earth. 18 An even minded man, righteous and upright in all his doings and dealings, magnanimous in his soul and benevolent in his mind, is neither burnt by fire nor stained by water. 19 Who can defeat the man who does what is right and observes things in their true light, who is not susceptible of joy or grief? 20 All his friends and enemies rely upon a righteous and unflinching man. He is honored by his king and master and loved by all wise men with whom he has any dealing.
21 Wise and even sighted men are of indifferent minds. They do not try to flee from evil or rejoice receiving any good. They are content with whatever comes to pass upon them, whether good or bad, because they care for nothing. 22 Humble minded men are unmindful of any good or desirable thing which they may happen to lose because they rest in the happy state of their equanimity of which no calamity or chance can deprive them. 23 Men enjoying the bliss of equanimity laugh to scorn at the tribulations of the world. They live uninjured under all the varying circumstances of life. Even the gods venerate them because of the unchanging sameness of their minds.
24 If the unfavorable course of events ever happens to pass a shadow over the face of a patient man, the inner equanimity of his mind still serves to shed ambrosial beams of a tranquil moonlight within himself. 25 Whatever an even minded man does for himself and whatever he says to criticize others’ misdeeds are all praised with applause by the majority of men. 26 The public approve whatever good or evil is known or done by an impartial observer at anytime whether past or present. 27 A man who sees all things in the same light of detachment is never displeased or dejected with any calamity or danger that may befall him at anytime.
28 Prince Shibi of old is recorded in history as having given away pieces of flesh from his own body to feed a hawk and save the life of a pigeon captured in its claws. 29Consider the impassive King of Anga who did not sink into despondence seeing his beloved consort maltreated before his sight. 30 Mind also how Yudhishthira, the King of Trigarta, lost a wager with a horrible rakshasa yet offered his only son to the fiend. 31 Look at the great King Janaka, how he remained undismayed and undejected at the burning of his well decorated city of Mithila. 32 Look at the quiet and submissive prince of Salyadesa, how he calmly struck off his own head from his body, as if it were the plucking a lotus flower from its stem, in order to satisfy the demand of a god. 33 The Sauvira sovereign, who had won the big Airavata elephant of the god Indra in combat with him, in the end returned the elephant as a gift to the same god with as much unconcern as one offers a heap of white kundu flowers or huge heaps of rotten straw upon a sacrificial fire. 34 You have heard how the elephant named Kundapa used his trunk to help the brahmin’s cows, lifting them from being stuck in the mud. Afterwards he devoted his body to serve the brahmin, for which he was taken up to heaven in a celestial car.
35 Let your continued observance of toleration preserve you from acts of intolerance, which tend at best to oppress others. Know that the spirit of intolerance is like the demon of Kadamba forest. 36 Remember the young and gentle Jada Bharata who by the natural dullness of his mind devoured the firebrand that was thrown into his alms pot, thinking it was a piece of meat, and without any injury to himself. 37 Think of the sober-minded Dharmavyadha who in spite of his following the profession of a butcher all his lifetime, was after death taken to heaven and placed in the company of the souls of righteous men. 38 Think of the detachment and lack of desire of the royal sage Kapardana, who being seated in the garden of paradise in his youth, surrounded by celestial ladies, felt no desire for any of them.
39 Know how many princes and lords of peoples, from the unperturbed detachment of their souls, have renounced their realms and society of mankind and taken themselves to lonely forests and solitary caves of the Vindhyan Hills where they spent their lives in motionless samadhi. 40 Think of the great sages and saints and divine and devoted adepts who have passed away and were adored by even the gods for the steadiness of their holy meditation observing their rigid and steady vows of universal indifference. 41 Remember the many examples of monarchs, ordinary men, and base and mean hunters who have been honored in all ages and countries for their observance of an undisturbed equality in all states and circumstances of their lives.
42 All intelligent men strictly observe the rule of preserving their equanimity throughout life, whether it be to achieve success and understanding of every kind in this life or the next. 43 They neither long for longevity nor desire their death in difficulties but live as long as they have to live, and act as they are called to act, without any grudge or murmur. 44The business of a wise man is to conduct himself in life with a content mind and tranquil attitude in favorable and unfavorable circumstances, as well as in the happiness or misery of himself or others.
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Chapter 199 — Varieties of Ways in which Living Liberated Men Live In The World
1 Rama said, “Tell me sage, when a wise and liberated man is endowed with spiritual light and bliss and his mind is freed from all earthly cares, why does he not abandon all earthly affairs?
2 Vasishta replied:— Observing or avoiding all ritual and pious acts are the same and of no avail to a truly enlightened man who is indifferent to anything of good or evil. 3There is nothing in this frail world that may be desirable to a man of right understanding, nor anything of positive evil that deserves to be avoided or loathed. 4 A wise man derives no positive or permanent good from doing of any act prescribed by custom or usage. Nor does he lose anything by neglecting them. Therefore, it is best for him to stand in the middle course and act according to the common rules of society and his country.
5 As long as there is life in the body, it is called a living body and it has its motion. Therefore measure your movements according to the breaths of your life, neither accelerate nor slacken them beyond their just measure. 6 If it is the same for anyone to walk one way or the other to his journey’s end, yet it is much better to walk by the beaten path rather than taking a strange and unknown way. 7 Whatever action is done at anytime with humility and mild disposition, and with a calm frankness of the mind, is always held as perfectly pure and humble in its nature and is never blamed in any manner.
8 We have seen many wise, learned and farsighted men conduct themselves very honorably and blamelessly in this world full of faults and pitfalls, harassed by traps and snares on every way. 9 Everyone is employed with perfect composure discharging the duties of the particular sphere in which he is placed. Some begin their lives as a householder, ascending gradually to state of living liberation. 10 There are many wise and well discerning kings and princes, like yourself and others sitting in this assembly, who are vigilantly occupied ruling their respective states without attachment and without desire of reaping any reward, but simply as a disinterested discharge of duty.
11 Some follow customs from the true sense of the Vedas and take their food from what is left after their daily offerings to the sacrificial fire. 12 All men belonging to any of the four castes are employed observing their respective rites and duties, and in the acts of worship of the gods, and in their meditations with different ends and views. 13 Some men of magnanimous minds and higher aims of future liberation have renounced all ritual acts and remain with their spiritual knowledge of the only one, inactive like ignorant people.
14 Some are seen sitting silently and insensitive in deep and unbroken meditation in dreary and dismal deserts where even deer and other wild beasts do not traverse, and in other distant and lovely solitude where no trace of a human beings is ever seen, not even in a dream. 15 Some are found living in some sacred place of pilgrimage where they perform their acts for future rewards. Others are known to rest in some holy hermitage or sacred shrine of saints, there passing their lives quite unknown to other men practicing renunciation and detachment. 16 Many are seen to leave their own houses and quit their native countries to avoid the hatred and scorn of their fellow countrymen. They go to other lands where they settle as strangers. 17 There are many who, being dissatisfied with their families, forsake their company and desert their homes. They wander about as wanderers from forest to forest, over hills and valleys, and cities and towns, without settling anywhere.
18 Many travel to the great city of Benares, the holy city of Prayaga, the sacred shrine of Badarikasrama, and visit other holy hills and cities. 19 Many rest in the holy places at Salagrama, the sacred cave in Kalapagrama, the holy city of Mathura, and the sacred hill at Kalinjar. 20 See the number of pilgrims thronging in the woodlands on Mahendra Mountains, upon tablelands of Gandha Madana hills. See also the pilgrims on the plains of Dardura Hills and upon the level lands of Sahya Mountains. 21 See pilgrims thronging on the crags of the Vindhyan range, and those dwelling in the hollows of the Malaya Mountains. See them living in the happy groves of Kailash and in the caves of Rikshavata Mountains. 22 In these and many other holy places and mountains, you will find a great many hermits and farsighted devotees dwelling in peace, wholly devoted to their holy meditation.
23 Some have deserted their prescribed duties and become renunciant monks. Those who are Brahmacharins strictly observe the law and their sacred rites. Those who have faith in Buddha are apostates forsaking the holy faith, becoming fanatics in their practices. 24 Some have left their native homes and others have left their native lands altogether. Some have settled homes in some place and others lead their nomadic lives from place to place. 25 Among these, O Rama, those who live in the nether or hell regions of this world are known as Daitya demons.
26 Some have clear understanding and are well acquainted with the civil laws of their society. Some have enlightened understanding. Others are acquainted with the past and have foresight into the future. 27 Some have unenlightened understanding, always in suspense with suspicion in their minds. They are addicted to vice, unable to govern themselves, and always under the government of others. 28 Some are half-enlightened, proud with all of their knowledge of truth, so they break away from observing customary duties and therefore are not yet an esoteric yogi or spiritualist. 29 Thus among these great multitudes of men crossing the vast ocean of life, everyone is striving to attain according to his different aim and object.
30 But one does not cross the impassable gulf of this world by confining himself at home, or remaining in his native country, or going to a hermitage or living in some solitary forest, or observing customary duties, or practicing painful austerities. 31 No dependence on righteous acts or forsaking them, or observing customary usages, or any attainment of great powers can be of any use to save a person from the troubles of the world. 32 Only one’s self-control is the means to salvation. The man whose mind is not attached or tied down to anything in this world is said to have passed over it.
33 It makes no difference what a man does or neglects, or the righteous deeds of his religion and society, provided he keeps a humble mind and is never attached to anything. Such a man is considered a sage and is saved from having to return to this world of suffering. 34 The man who does nothing righteous or unrighteous in life, but has his mind fixed upon this earth and is attached to earthly objects, is considered a hypocrite and is destined to revisit this earth in repeated births. 35 Our minds are like nasty flies prone to fly about and suck upon the sores of worldly pleasures. It is hard for us to deter them, as it is impossible for us to kill them all at once to attain salvation.
36 Sometimes it happens by good fortune that a person’s mind of itself turns towards perfection. By a flash of inner light, he comes to see the presence of the Divine Spirit in his own soul. 37 The mind, being enlightened by the flash of spiritual light in the soul, becomes enrapt at the sight and loses all earthly attachment. It is unified with the Supreme Unity.
38 Being unmindful of everything and conscious of yourself as a particle of infinite emptiness, remain perfectly happy with yourself in the everlasting bliss of your soul. 39 Being filled with knowledge of transcendental truth and devoid of the faults and frailties of your nature, have the magnanimity of your soul with equanimity of mind and elevation of your spirit. Thus, O support of Raghu’s royal race, remain without sorrow or fear of death and rebirth. Be as holy as the holy of holies.
40 Know the clear state of the most holy Brahman is quite clear of all the grossness and foulness of nature, free from all the qualities and properties that are attributed to him. He is beyond our conception and above the reach of our thought. He is uncreated and ever existent of himself, manifest in his home of our intellect. Knowing him as yourself, remain quite free and fearless forever.
41 There is nothing more that can be gathered on this subject from the use of any more words. Nothing remains to be communicated to you for instruction in divine knowledge. You are roused, O Rama, to your full knowledge of the essential doctrines of divinity. You have become aware of whatever is knowable and hidden in nature.
42 Valmiki says:—
After the chief of sages had said this much, he saw Rama rapt in ecstasy and lacking mental efforts. The entire assembly sat fixed in meditation. They were all entranced in their reveries and meditations upon the mysterious nature of God like humming bees ramble over lotus petals with their soft and silent murmur and revel upon the sweetness of the flowers’ honey cups.
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Chapter 200 — Loud Applause for the Sage’s Speech
1 Valmiki continued:— Upon completion of the holy sermon on nirvana, a loud commotion arose outside the court which put a stop to the sage continuing any discourse. 2The entire audience in the court hall was immersed in a state of steadfast trance, settled attentive in the Supreme. The faculties of their mind were quite clear and their workings at rest. 3 The entire audience, on hearing the lecture on the investigation after consciousness, became passengers on the raft of existence and they all gained salvation.
4 Immediately a loud chorus of applause arose from the mouths of emancipated sages and spiritual masters dwelling in the upper regions of the skies. The vault of heaven was filled with the acclamations of praise for the venerable sage. 5 Shouts of praise also arose from the holy sages seated in the assembly, including Vishwamitra, the son of Gadhi, who sat at their head. 6 A swelling sound filled the face of the four quarters of the sky, just as blasts of wind fills the hollows of withered bamboo in the forest, making them resound with a soft sweet melody. 7 Next arose a flourish of trumpets from the celestials, mingling with the praises of the spiritual masters, which rumbled together and resounded loudly amidst the hollow caves of distant mountains and valleys.
8 Along with the fanfare of celestial trumpets, showers of flowers fell from above like cascades of snow covering all sides of heaven. 9 Flowers were scattered over the floor of the court hall and the fanfare of drums filled the mouths of hollow caves. Flying dust covered the face of the sky and the rising smell of after rain were carried upon the wings of winds everywhere. 10 Then there was a mingled rumble of shouts of applause and the sound of heavenly trumpets joined with the whistle of hissing showers of flowers and the rustling of the winds all about.
11 The courtiers looked around with uplifted faces and eyes, struck with wonder and surprise. The beasts all about the palace and in the parks remained amazed at the event with ears uplifted. 12 Women and children inside sat staring with wonder-stricken eyes. Princes sitting in the court hall looked astonished at one another with smiling faces.
13 The face of the sky became exceedingly brightened by falling showers of flowers from above. The great vault of the world was filled with the hissing sound of falling rain. 14Showers of flowers and drizzling raindrops with their hissing sounds gave a festive appearance to the royal palace. 15 Not only the palace, but all places in the worlds seemed to celebrate their festive joy, tossing flower garlands and joining with the celestial music. 16 The shouts of spiritual masters and their utterances of joy rolled and growled high in the upper sky as rolling billows and bellowing waves howled in the depth of the ocean.
17 After the commotion of heavenly hosts subsided, the following words from the spiritual masters above were heard uttered in an audible and distinct voice. 18 The spiritual masters (siddhas) said, “Since time first began, we have listened to thousands of sermons in the assembly of spiritual masters on the means of attaining liberation. But never before have we heard a lecture so impressive on the mind as this last lecture of the sage. 19 We see children and women and brute creatures, together with creeping and crawling animals, all enrapt by this soothing speech which will doubtless enrapture its readers and hearers in the future. 20 The sage has used every argument and example to rouse Rama to his bliss. It is doubtful whether he has ever shown such affection even to his wife Arundhati.”
21 “Hearing this lecture on liberation, even brute beasts and birds became emancipated from the burden of their base bodies. As for men, they altogether forget the nets of their bodies in their embodied state. 22 Our drink of these nectar drops of divine knowledge through the vessels of our ears has not only satisfied our appetite for wisdom, but renewed our understanding and added a fresh beauty to our spiritual bodies.”
23 On hearing these words of the heavenly host of spiritual masters, the citizens of Ayodhya were struck with wonder and looked upward with open eyes. Then, as they cast their looks below, they saw the surface of the court hall scattered with flowers and lotuses falling in showers from above. 24 They saw heaps of mandara and other celestial flowers piled to the roof of the lofty hall. They saw the courtyard covered with blossoming plants and vines and with garlands of flowers without space between. 25 The surface of the ground was covered with blossoms of parijata plants. Thick clouds of santanaka flowers covered the heads and shoulders of the assembled people in the court. 26 The saffron flowers of yellow sandalwood hung over the jeweled crowns of princes like an awning of rain clouds spread over the glittering ceiling lights of the assembly hall.
27 Seeing these events in the court, all the people repeatedly shouted with loud applause, talking with one another of this and that as befitted the solemnity of occasion. 28They adored the sage by prostrating their bodies and limbs, offering him their obeisance with offerings of handfuls of flowers. 29 After the loud sounds of applause had somewhat settled down, the king also rose and prostrated himself and worshipped the sage, offering a tray of presents and flower wreaths held in his hands.
30 Dasharata said, “By your teachings, O husband of Arundhati, I was released from my mortal frame and gained the transcendent knowledge which filled my soul and joined it with the supreme essence in perfect bliss. 31 I think we have nothing in this earth or with the gods in heaven which is worthy enough to be given as a proper offering in your adoration. 32 Yet I beg you to ask something in order to free myself of my duty to you, and to render my services to you and have them prove effectual to me. I hope you will not be irritated at what I am saying. 33 I adore you with my queens and my wealth in both worlds, together with all my dominions and servants. 34 All my possessions are yours, so my lord, take them as yours and make them part of your hermitage. Please dispose of these as you please or use them as you like.”
35 Vasishta replied, “Know, O great king, that we brahmins are pleased with the mere obeisance of people. We are truly satisfied receiving reverence from men, and this you have already done and shown to me. 36 You know how to rule the earth. Therefore its sovereignty is suitable to you. You cannot give an example of any brahmin who has ever reigned as a king. Therefore keep what is yours and prosper.”
37 Dasharata answered, “What is this insignificant realm to me, which I am ashamed to call and own as mine? It cannot lead me to the knowledge of its true lord. Therefore lead me to this knowledge so I may clearly and truly know the most high.”
38 Valmiki relates:— As the king was saying this, Rama rose from his seat and threw handfuls of flowers on the sacred body of his preceptor. Then lowly bowing before him, he addressed him as follows. 39 “Venerable sage, as you have made the king speechless by telling him that you are pleased with mere obeisance of men, so I am taught to wait here with my simple prostration at your venerable feet.” 40 Saying so, Rama bowed his head down lowly at the feet of his guide, then scattered a handful of flowers on his pure body, just like trees on mountain sides sprinkle their dew at the foot of the mountain. 41 Then the pious prince repeatedly bowed in reverence to his venerable preceptor, while his lotus-like eyes were filled with the tears of his inner joy and piety.
42 Next rose the brother princes of Dasharata’s royal race, namely Bharata, Satrughna and Lakshman, together with their equals in friends and kindred relations. They all advanced to the sage and bowed down to him with respectful reverence. 43 The other chiefs and nobles and regents who sat in their order at a distance, together with saints, sages and the priest at large, rose in groups from their seats and paid their homage to the sage, flinging handfuls of flowers upon him. 44 At this point, the sage was almost covered and hidden under heaps of flowers poured upon him from all sides, just like the snowy Himalaya Mountains are wrapped and concealed under the snow.
45 After the clamorous sounds and exuberances of the assembly was over and the loud ringing sounds of their hailing had ended, Vasishta remembered what he had said to the assembled sages, sharing with them the truth of his doctrines and removing the doubts of his audience regarding the miracles he had effected. 46 Then with both arms he shoved heaps of flowers from his sides revealing his fair face, as if the moon had appeared from behind hoary clouds. 47 There followed a hush over the flourish of the trumpets and a silence upon the fanfare of applauses. The falling of flowers was at a stop and the murmur of spiritual masters above ceased with the noise of the assemblage below. 48 After the princes and assembled nobles had made their obeisance and greetings, there was a calm stillness in the assembly, like a lull in the atmosphere after a storm.
49 Then the chief of sages, Vasishta, having heard the applause poured upon him from all sides, spoke softly from the unblemished purity of his soul to the royal sage Vishwamitra. 50 “Hear me, O sage who is the lotus of the princely race of Gadhi, and you other sages who are assembled here, namely Vamadeva, Nimi, Kruta, Bharadwaja, Pulastya, Atri, Narada, Ghrishti and Sandilya, and 51 also you sages Bhasa, Bhrigu, Bharanda, Vatsa and Vatsayana, together with all others now assembled here who have had the patience to listen to my unworthy discourse 52 with your well known graciousness to me. Please point out to me whatever you have found to be meaningless or unintelligible or ambiguous in my discourse.”
53 The audience responded, “O venerable sage, we have never heard or marked a single word in your spiritual and divine discourse that is meaningless or unintelligible to anybody. 54 We confess that whatever foulness was inbred in our natures by our repeated births in this sinful world has all been cleansed out by your holy lecture, just as the alloy in gold is burnt away by purifying fire. 55 O sage, our minds are as expanded by your divine sermon like blue lotus buds are opened to bloom by the cold and ambrosial beams of moonlight. 56 We all bow down to you, O chief of sages, as our best guide in divine knowledge and the giver of true wisdom with regard to all things in nature.”
57 Valmiki relates:— The sages hailed and bowed down to Vasishta again. Their united applause for him rose as high as the loud roar of raining clouds. 58 Then the speechless spiritual masters again poured down showers of flowers from above which covered the sage’s body like the clouds of winter cover rocks under ice and snow. 59 Afterwards, the intelligent and learned men in the court praised King Dasharata and Rama saying that the four princes were no other than the fourfold incarnation of the god Vishnu himself.
60 The spiritual masters said, “We hail the four princes of Dasharata’s line who are the fourfold forms of the self incarnate Vishnu, quite liberated from the bonds of flesh in these their living states of humanity. 61 We hail King Dasharata as having the mark of sovereignty over the whole world that extends to the limits of the four oceans and lasts forever with his race. 62 We hail sage Vasishta who is as bright as the sun and stands at the head of the whole host of sages, and also the royal sage Vishwamitra of renowned fame and dignity. 63 It is through their means that we have had this fair opportunity to hear this divine discourse, so full of knowledge and filled with reason that it serves to dispel the great gloom of error at once.”
64 So saying the spiritual masters of heaven again let fall handfuls of flowers in showers, making the assembly look up to them in silence with uplifted eyes and gladdened minds. 65 Then there were greetings between the spiritual masters from above and the assembled people below. 66 At last the assembly broke with their respectful greetings to one another, accompanied with mutual offerings of flowers and salutations. The celestial and terrestrial, the great munis and sages, the pundits and brahmins, together with princes and nobles bade farewell to and took leave of one another.
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Chapter 201 — The Assembly Gathers again; Rama Describes His State; Vasishta Exhorts Him to Serve Vishwamitra and Dasharata
1 Valmiki related:— When the assembly returned the next day, there was a profound silence and a cheerfulness in the faces of princes enlightened by the previous lecture. 2Having come to the light of truth, people seemed to be smiling from reflecting on their former errors and follies. 3 The wise men in the assembly appeared to be sitting fixed in their steadfast meditation. The feelings and passions of their minds were curbed and subdued upon their access to the taste of true knowledge.
4 At this time, Rama with his brothers sat in lotus posture with legs crossed over each another, palms of their hands folded together, their eyes fixed steadfastly upon the face of their preacher. 5 King Dasharata remained in a sort of entranced meditation, thinking himself liberated in his lifetime and placed in a state of infinite bliss. 6 The sage remained silent while he was adored by his reverential audience, then spoke to them at last in distinct words. He wanted to know what they would like to hear about.
7 He said, “O lotus eyed Rama, who is like the cooling moon in the clear sphere of your race, tell me what you now wish to hear. What is the most desirable and delightful to your mind? 8 Tell me the state in which you find yourself at present and in what way you view the appearance of the world now before you.” 9 Being thus addressed by the sage, Rama looked at his face then spoke to him in his distinctly audible voice, with plain and unfaltering accents.
10 Rama said:—
It is all owing only to your favor, O venerable sage, that I have attained my state of perfect holiness and become as pure as the clear sky in autumn calm and serenity. 11 I am entirely freed from all the errors which are so harmful to the right course of our lives in this world. I am as pure as the clear sky in the true state of infinite emptiness. 12 I am set free from all bonds and released from all attributes and parts. I find myself situated in a crystal sphere, shining there as clear as crystal.
13 I am quite pacified in my mind. I am neither willing to hear nor do anything else. I am quite satisfied in myself and require nothing more for my satisfaction. I am quite at rest as in a state of trance. 14 My mind is quite calm in its thoughts and entirely pacified in its wishes. All my desires have fled from my mind and I find it resting in perfect peace and supreme bliss. 15 All my thoughts are settled and my desires subdued while I live in this waking world. I am enrapt and entranced while quite sane and sound and sleepless at all hours by day and night.
16 With my soul devoid of all wishes and expectations, I live while I am destined to live in this material body of mine. I remain rejoicing as long as I sit listening to your inspiring lessons. 17 Now I have no more need of reproof or instruction from the scriptures. I have no need to acquire riches or friends, nor do I have any need to get rid of them either.
18 I have found and I enjoy that pure happiness which attends on one in heaven or paradise, or in his attainment of the sovereignty of the whole world.
19 The world which I perceive within myself by my outward senses is conceived to be far brighter and more transparent than the outer atmosphere because I see it in the light of consciousness and consider it to be a part of its infinite empty sphere. 20 I think this world certainly is an emptiness. My belief in the nothingness of phenomena has awakened me to my immortality.
21 Let me remain content with all that is or comes to pass on me, whether they are desirable to me or occur themselves. Let me act without fail as the full extent of the law requires, but without any object or expectation of reward. 22 I am neither contented nor discontented with anything, nor do I rejoice or complain at any event. I do what is my duty in society without retaining any false conception of reaping their reward. 23 Let this creation be otherwise or go to utter destruction, let the winds of the last destruction blow with their fury also, or let the land smile in its plenty and beauty, yet I sit unmoved by them and remain in the divine self or spirit.
24 I rest in myself which is unseen or dimly seen by others and is untainted and without decay in itself. I am not chained to my wishes but am as free as the air which you cannot compress in your clutches. 25 As the fragrance of flowers upon trees is blown by the breeze and deposited in the air, so my soul is carried away from the confines of my body and placed in emptiness. 26 As these princes and rulers of people live and enjoy themselves in their realms at pleasure, whether they are enlightened or not, they are employed in their respective occupations. 27 So I enjoy myself with the steadiness and equanimity of my mind freed from all fear, grief or joy and desire.
28 I am happy above all happiness. My happiness is in the everlasting one. There is no other happiness which I may prefer. But because I live here as a human being, you are at liberty to appoint me to any duty, in common with all mankind and appropriate to humanity. 29 I cannot be averse to manage myself with the unimportant things of this world as long as I am destined to them. In the same manner children are never to be blamed for indulging themselves in the playthings of their childhood. Sage, as long as I have to live in this body, I must do my bodily acts, but with my mind fixed in only upon the sole One. 30 I must live to eat and drink and continue in the course of my business in life, but I am freed from all fear of my failings in them, by your kind counsels to me.
31 Vasishta replied:— O bravo Rama! You have chosen the most meritorious course of life. You shall never have to repent from the beginning to the end of your career. 32 By this cold detachment in yourself and complete equanimity in every state, you have truly become established for the unbroken rest in your life, as the visible sky has found infinite emptiness. 33 By your good fortune, you have gotten rid of your sorrows. It is fortunate that you have become so well composed in yourself. It is your good luck to be freed from the fears of both worlds and it is happy for you to be at your heart’s ease and rest. 34 You are lucky, my lord, to have purified the lineage of Raghu to be so filled with holy knowledge and the knowledge of present, past and future.
35 Now prepare yourself to accomplish Vishwamitra’s request to complete his holy sacrifice and, at your father’s request, continue to enjoy sovereignty of the earth subject to your royal parent. 36 May the mighty king reign forever in prosperity over his prosperous realm in association with you and his other sons, relatives and nobles, and in possession of all his infantry, cavalry, chariots and elephants, and without any disease or fear of his enemies.
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Chapter 202 — Rama Describes His State
1 Valmiki related:— Upon hearing these words of the sage, the assembled princes and lords of men in the court felt a coolness in their souls, as if they had all be sprinkled with ambrosial waters. 2 Rama, with his lotus-like eyes and moonlike face, remained as resplendent as if they were filled with the nectar of the Milky Ocean. 3 Then sage Vamadeva and others who were filled with divine knowledge exclaimed their admiration for the preacher, “O the holy instruction that you have given us this day!” 4 The face of the king, his soul pacified and mind joyous, shone as if he had a new light infused in him. 5 After many other sages who were well acquainted with the knowledge of the knowable One had pronounced their praises, enlightened Rama opened his mouth again and spoke in the following manner.
6 Rama said:— O seer who knows past and future, you have cleansed away all our inner impurities like fire purges gold of its impurity. 7 Venerable sage, we have now become all knowing by our knowledge of the Universal Soul, though we are confined in these our visible bodies and seeming to all appearance as knowing nothing beyond them.
8 Now I feel I am perfect and full in all and have become quite without decay in myself. I am freed from all fear and apprehension and I am quite aware of all things. 9 I am overjoyed to no end and I am happy beyond all measure. I have risen to a height from which there is no fear of falling. I am elevated to the supreme summit of prominence and perfection.
10 I am cleansed by the holy and cooling water of divine knowledge which you have so kindly poured forth in me and whereby I am as happy as a full blown lotus in the lake of my heart. 11 By your favor, I am now set in a state of joy which makes the face of the universe bright to me with ambrosial delight. 12 Now I hail myself, that I have become so fair within myself with the clarity of my mind and by the disappearance of all sorrow from it. I have received a grace in my face from the peace of mind and purity of my wishes. I am joyous in myself with my inner joy and I am wholly pure with the purity of my soul.
1 Valmiki related:— As Rama and the sage were talking in this manner, the sun advanced towards its zenith to listen to their holy conversation in the royal hall. 2 Sunbeams spread on all sides with greater force and brightness as if to expose the sense of Rama’s speech to clearer and greater light. 3 Then the lotus beds in the ponds of the royal palace pleasure gardens began to expand their enclosed buds to bloom before him, just as the princes shone forth brightly the royal hall. 4 The air was gladdened with joy at hearing the holy lectures of the sage. The air seemed to be dancing with the sunbeams, glistening in strings of pearls suspended at the windows of the palace. 5 The early gleams of the sun brightly glistened on the glittering glass doors and shining ceiling lights of the court hall, just as the gladdened hearts of the audience glowed in response to the sage’s enlightening speech.
6 After Rama was settled in his calmness, his face reflected the rays of the sage’s look upon it and shone as bright as a blooming blue lotus. 7 The sun advanced towards the summit of the horizon, like an ocean fire rising on the surface of the blue ocean, and by his darting flames dried up the dewy humidity of the sky, just as an undersea heat swallows the waters of the deep. 8 The blue sphere of heaven appeared like a lake of blue lotuses and the shining sun looked like the golden petals of the flower. His bright beams resembled the golden powder of flowers and his slanting rays were like the slanting flowers in the air. 9 He shone like the dazzling crown upon the head of the goddess Lakshmi, queen of the worlds, and was hanging like a resplendent earring pendant on the ear of heaven, while the crown lay hidden under his glaring light like bits of diamonds concealed under the brightness of a blazing ruby. 10 The ethereal maids of all the quarters of heaven held out the mirrors of silvery clouds before his face, their uplifted arms of the mountain peaks all around, and these were adorned with solar rays like rainless clouds on mountain tops. 11 Sunstones in the quarries on earth emitted a fury blaze which adorned the skies with a greater light than that of the sun.
12 Trumpets sounded aloud with the wind blown by the months of trumpeters, and conch shells blew as loudly at midday, just as the winds of the last deluge set sea waves to their tremendous uproar. 13 Then drops of sweat appeared on the faces of the princes, like dew drops falling on lotus leaves. They were so closely connected together as to appear like strings of pearls. 14 The thickening noise of the hurry and flurry of men resounded harshly within the hollow walls of the hall filling the ears of men like crashing waves fill the curved depression of the hollow sea. 15 Waiting maids came forward with cups of liquid camphor in their hands to sprinkle on the princes’ bodies and reduce the intensity of the solar heat.
16 Then the assembly broke, and the king rose from his seat accompanied by Rama, the princes and Vasishta, together with all the lords and nobles present in the assembly. 17The assembled lords and princes, the ministers of the state and religion, together with the high priests and sages rose from their seats. Having gladly made their greetings to one another, they took their leave and departed to their respective homes.
18 The front of the royal inner apartment was fanned with flapping fans of palm leaves blowing clouds of camphor powder scattered for reducing the midday heat. 19 Then the chief of sages, Vasishta, opened his mouth and spoke to Rama while the instrumental compositions of noonday music resounded amidst the walls of the royal hall.
20Vasishta said:— Rama, you have heard whatever is worth hearing. You also know all that is worth knowing. Now I see there is nothing left worth communicating to you for your higher knowledge. 21Now you have to reconcile in yourself, by your best understanding, all that I have taught you and what you have read and learnt in the scriptures, and harmonize the whole for your guidance.
22 Now rise to do your duties while I hasten to perform sacred bathing rites. It is now midday and the proper time for our bathing is quickly passing away. 23 Then whatever other questions you may have to satisfy your wishes, you can ask them of me tomorrow morning when I shall be happy to elaborate on the subject.
24 Valmiki related:— After the sage spoke in this manner, mighty King Dasharata saluted the parting chiefs and sages, honoring them according to their proper ranks and degrees. 25 Then, as advised by Vasishta, the virtuous king with Rama by his side proceeded to give due honors to the sages, spiritual masters and brahmins, one after the other. 26He gave them gems and jewels, money and bouquets of flowers. He gave some riches equivalent to the values of gems and jewels, while to others he gave strings and necklaces of pearls. 27 He honored some with his respects and deference and others with money suited to their worth and degree. To others he gave gifts of cloths and seats, food and drink, and gold and lands. 28 He saluted others with perfumes and aromatic spices and wreaths of flowers. He honored the elders with due respect and gave his bare regards to others.
29 Then the king rose from amidst the assembly with the whole body of his courtiers and the holy sages and Vasishta with him, just as the splendid moon rises in the sky with the retinue of stars about him. 30 The rising of the assembly and its people was attended with a rumbling noise like that heard when men tread over a marsh of knee-deep mud and mire. 31 The clashing of the concourse against one another and the cracking of their armlets and wristlets by their friction with each other, joined with broken jewels and scattered pearls slipped from the nobles’ torn necklaces, gave the floor of the court hall the appearance of the star sparkling heaven. 32 Bodies of sages, saints, brahmins, princes and nobles all jumbled together. There was a rapid waving of chowry fans waving in the hands of fanning maid servants. 33 But there was no crowding or dashing or pushing as they were intent upon reflecting upon the sense of the sage’s preaching. Rather, when they came in contact with each other, they asked to be excused with the gestures of their bodies.
34 At last the king and the sages and nobles approached one another with sweet and soft words and took their parting leave. 35 Then they left the palace and proceeded to their residences with gladdened faces and contented minds, as when the immortals return to all parts of heaven from the heavenly council of King Indra. 36 After everyone had taken leave of others and arrived at their respective houses, they employed themselves in the discharge of their ritual services of the day. 37 Thus the king and all performed their daily ritual bathing and services as usual, until the end of the day.
38 As the day ended with the discharge of the duties of the daily ritual, the tired sun, the traveler of the ethereal path, sat down to rest in the west. 39 After performing evening prayers, Prince Rama and the people at large passed their nights awake talking and thinking about the discourse of the day. 40 Then the rising sun advanced in the east, sweeping away the dust of darkness from before his path, scattering the starry flowers on his way in order to fix his seat in the middle of his dome of the universe. 41 The new rising sun reddened the skies with his rays resembling the crimson color of kusambha flowers. Then he embarked on the board of his bright globe amidst the wide ocean of the ethereal region.
42 Then the reigning princes and lords of men, together with the nobles, peers and their ministers, met at the assembly hall of King Dasharata. The great saints and sages, with Vasishta at their head, also gathered there. 43 They entered the assembly hall and took their seats according to their different degrees and ranks, just as the stars of heaven appear and occupy their places in their respective constellations and circles in the expanse of heaven. 44 Then the king and his ministers advanced and bowed down to Vasishta and ushered him to his high seat and pulpit. They all poured forth their praises to the sage after he was seated in the speaking pulpit.
45 Now the lotus-eyed Rama, who sat before the king and the holy sage, opened his lotus-like mouth and spoke in the following manner, with his natural good sense and usual elegance of speech. 46 Rama said, “O venerable sage who is acquainted with all religions and is the great ocean of knowledge, you are the axe to all knotty questions and doubts, removing the grief and fears of mankind. 47 Please tell us whatever more is worth hearing and knowing, for you know best whatever remains to be said for the enlightenment of our knowledge.”
48 Vasishta replied, “Rama, you have gained full knowledge and you have nothing more to learn. You have attained the perfection of your understanding and obtained the supreme good which is sought by all, wherewith you are quite content in yourself. 49 It is better if you consider and tell me how you find yourself and your inner mind at present, and consider what else you wish to know and hear from me.”
50 Rama asked, “O sage, I find myself fully perfected in my understanding. I am possessed of the peace and tranquility of my mind from the blessing of nirvana and the ultimate bliss of my soul. I have nothing to ask or desire of you. 51 You have said all that you had to teach me and I have known all that is worth knowing. Now sage, take your rest with the goddess of speech, who has done her utmost to instruct us all. 52 I have known the unknown and knowable one that is the only One to be known as the true reality. Knowing this all as the one Brahman, I am freed from my knowledge of duality. I have gotten rid of the deception of the diversity of the visible and I am released from reliance upon any worldly thing.
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Chapter 204 — All Forms, Dream or Awake, Are Manifestations of Intellect
1 Vasishta resumed and said:— O Rama, let me tell you a few words on transcendental knowledge. The mirror of the mind shines more brightly when it is cleaned and polished of external images, rather than when it is clouded by outer shadows. 2 The significant words that describe what we know are as insignificant as the hissing murmurs of waters and waves. Phenomena are only an apparent resemblance of ideas, just as a dream is the reflection of the mind and the visible world is only a reflection of a visionary dream. 3 The waking state is that of dreaming and its scenes are those of our dreams. These scenes present themselves before us in both waking and sleeping states from our memories of them. They are the inner concepts of our consciousness appearing to be situated outside our consciousness.
4 I am conscious of the clarity of my intellectual sphere in spite of seeing fairylands in its state of dreaming. In my waking, I find my mind to be equally clear of all its imaginary forms of the three worlds and their contents, which in reality are a formless emptiness only.
5 Rama asked:— If all things are formless in the formless void of the universe as an empty emptiness of the intellect, then tell me sage. How do these endless shapes and forms arise, such as earth, water and fire, and those of these hills, rocks and pebbles? 6 Tell me why the elements have different forms and qualities and why the empty air, space and time have no form or property. What makes the wind so very fleet and what causes the motions and actions of moving bodies? 7 Why is space only a vacuum? Why is the mind also empty? These are all the various properties of things. I would like a good explanation for my own knowledge.
8 Vasishta replied:— Rama, you have asked good questions as they naturally occur to everyone who seeks the truth. But tell me, why do you see varieties of earth and sky and all other things that you see in your dream? 9 From where does the water you see in your sleep come? How are the pebbles scattered about you in your dream? Why do you see flaming fires and all sides of heaven appearing before your sight? 10 How do you have the idea of time in your dream? How do you perceive the actions and motions of people and things in dreams? From where do all those accidents proceed that you see occurring in your sleeping and dreaming moments? 11 What creates, produces and gives the formless dream its fascinating form, then dissolves it to nothing in the end? You find it produced and presented to your view, but you cannot say how it acts and of what stuff it is composed.
12 Rama said:— The dream of the dreaming world has no form or position of its own. Its soul and substance are empty. The earth and rocks which dream presents to sight are a traceless nothing, as if in the clouds. 13 Only the empty soul is the cause of dream, which likewise is as formless and without support like the soul. The formless void is never in need of support.
14 Consciousness never produces anything or has any relationship with anything. All we perceive are only reflections of consciousness situated in the recess of the mind. 15 The mind is the evolution of the intellect which reflects images of things in the form of ideas upon the mind. Hence the ideas of time and space, and of air, water, hills and mountains are all reflections of the intellect upon the mind. 16 Our consciousness is also a void which receives the impressions of emptiness in the form of its emptiness, and the impressions of earth, air and water in the forms of their solidity, vibration and liquidity. 17 In reality there is nothing in existence such as the earth or any solid body or its form or sight. They all exist in their abstract states in the great void of consciousness, and are as equally void in their natures as consciousness itself. 18 In fact there is nothing in reality which is visible to sight. There is only the infinite emptiness of consciousness which represents all things in itself and is identical with all of them.
19 Conscious Intellect has the idea of solidity in its abstract notion of it. Thereby Intellect conceives itself in the forms of earth, rocks and hills. 20 So by its conception of vibration and fluidity, it perceives the form of air and water in itself. By its inner conception of heat, it feels the fire in itself without forsaking its intellectual form. 21 Such is the nature of this intellectual principle. It is an airy and empty form called spirit, soul or mind that develops itself in all these various qualities and schemes without any cause or incentive.
22 There is nothing anywhere in nature beside these intellectual attributes of intellect itself, just as there is no sky or vacuum without its emptiness, or any vast expanse of the ocean without water. 23 Know then there is nothing else anywhere, not even the sense of yourself or myself or anything else, except in the recess of intellectual emptiness. So commit yourself to that all filled void and remain quite calm in yourself.
24 As you see earth and heaven and all their contents in your dreams and creations of your fancy in the recess of your mind and in the midst of this house of yours, so should you see everything in their incorporeal forms to be contained in the vast space of the infinite vacuum of Divine Consciousness and its all-knowing intelligence. 25 The emptiness of Consciousness shines forth as the substratum of all bodies, but without a body of its own in the beginning of creation because there is no prior material cause for any material existence. It must be understood that only Consciousness, through our own ignorance, exhibits all material existence in its empty space. 26 Know that your immaterial mind, understanding and individual ego, together with the material existences of the elements, these hills, skies and all others, are situated as dull and dumb rocks in the quiet, calm and clear sphere of Infinite Intellect. 27 Nothing produced or destroyed. There is nothing which may be said to exist of itself. This world as it appears exists in the emptiness of Divine Intellect.
28 The sunshine of the Consciousness manifests the world in its visible shape and form, just as sunlight shows objects hidden in darkness, and as the fluidity of water gives rise to waves and bubbles. 29 This appearance of the world is no real appearance. In its true and proper sense and light, and as it is viewed by the wise, the world is only the representation of the intellectual void. The ignorant may view it in any light as they please.
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Chapter 205 — There Can Be No Material Cause for Material Creation
1 Rama asked:—
Sage, if the whole fullness of space is emptiness, like the phenomena in our dreams, it must follow that the world we see in our waking state is also emptiness. There can be no doubt in it. 2 But answer my important question. How does the formless and bodiless intellect appear to become embodied in all these various forms of bodies that we see in our waking dream?
3 Vasishta replied:— Rama, visible phenomena that appear to view in our waking dream by daylight are all empty bodies. They are born, rest and are supported in empty emptiness. Hence you cannot on any reasonable basis doubt their emptiness.
4 This infinite and eternal void is entirely devoid of any and all material causes. It is impossible for any material creation to come from this nothing. 5 The formless intellect could not bring forth material earth to form solid bodies. It is impossible to believe that any phenomena which appear has any real existence in nature.
6 Therefore the airy intellect sees the visible in the daytime in the same manner it sees visions in its dreams at night. It sees them all rising in their intellectual light within itself, but appearing as real and material objects set outside itself by its delusion. 7 The reflection of the workings of the intellectual soul appears as real within the hollow sphere of the intellect. What we see awake resembles what our memories represent in the mind in our sleep, and it takes the name of the visible world.
8 The clear perception of these intellectual representations in the emptiness of the mind is called a vision or dream. The gross conception of them in the mind is called the gross or material world. 9 The intellect itself gives different names to its different views of the same internal thought and ideas. It calls the finer and purer ones thoughts, and the grosser ones visible or material objects. 10 The same reflection of the intellect is called both dream and the world. The workings of the mind and its reflections in itself are natural to intellect. Though the dreams vanish upon waking, yet the working and reflections of the mind are never at rest, either in waking or dreaming.
11 Many such visions of creation alternately rise and set in the emptiness of Brahma’s mind. They are never apart from it, just as empty air is either in motion or at rest in the hollow of the great void and is always inseparable from it.
12 Rama said:—
Sage, you have told me that there are millions of worlds. Tell me now, which are situated within the sphere of the cosmic egg and which are beyond? 13 Which worlds are the terrestrial globes and which are empty spheres? Which are fiery bodies in the sphere of fire and which are the airy bodies in the regions of air? 14 Which have surfaces of earth situated in the midst of emptiness on which hills and forests are set at the opposite sides of the globe, hanging up and down perpendicular in empty air? 15 Which are the aerial bodies with their living souls and which have inhabitants of darkness with their dark shapes? Which are formed of only emptiness and which bodies are full of worms and insects? 16 What sorts of beings settle the ethereal sphere and what live in the midst of rocks and stones? What dwell in bodies of water and what live in the air like birds? 17 Tell me, O greatest of philosophers, how this cosmic egg of ours is situated among all these worlds.
18 Vasishta replied:— These wonderful unknown, unseen and unheard of worlds are mentioned and described in the scriptures which also give examples. They have been received and believed as true by their students. 19 Rama, the cosmology of the world has been described and explained by gods and sages in hundreds of their scriptures called the Agamas, all of which you are well acquainted with. 20 Now as you are well acquainted with the descriptions given in the scriptures, it is not necessary to relate them again here.
21 Rama replied:—
Yet tell me, O venerable sage, how the great void of the intellect came to be produced from Divine Spirit? Tell its extent and duration in time and space.
22 Vasishta replied:— The great God Brahman is without beginning or end and is ever existent and without decay. There is no beginning, middle or end of him, nor are there any materials or shapes in his transcendent emptiness. 23 The emptiness of Brahman is without beginning or end and is spread unspent and unbounded to all eternity. It is this which makes the universe which is ever without beginning or end.
24 The reflection of the intellectual void in its own emptiness is called the universe by itself to no purpose. 25 As a man sees a fair city in his dream by night, so he sees the sight of this world in his dream by daylight. 26 Do not think that solid rock has any solidity in it, or fluid waters have any fluidity in them. Do not think that empty space is emptiness or the passing time has any flight or counting of it. 27 All things are fixed in their formless, unchanging and ideal states in Divine Consciousness. The false and unsteady nature of the human mind gives and views them in different forms according to its own fancy.
28 The mind sees the uncreated eternal ideas of the intellect as created objects, just as in its dream it sees rocks where there are no rocks and sky where there is none. 29 As the formless and unconscious mind sees material worlds in its sleep, so it sees the invisible and formless world as a material form during its waking hours. 30 As air even at rest is always in motion, so the spirit of Brahman is constantly vibrating without its rise or fall.
31 This world resides in the Divine Spirit of Brahman just like the property of fluidity resides in water, emptiness resides in vacuum, and substantiality resides all substances. 32The world is neither produced nor external to the soul. The world does not occur to anyone or develop from the life or death of anybody. The world is causeless. It comes from no cause and is neither joined with nor separate from the Divine Spirit, 33 the one who has no beginning or end or any indication of itself. It is formless, only an intellectual emptiness. It can never become the cause of a visible, material creation. 34 Thus as parts and features together make an entire body, so this empty world is situated in the undivided and formless emptiness of Brahman.
35 All creation is without substance other than pure intelligence without any materiality or foulness. There is no entity or nonentity here, nor can anything be said to exist or not exist. 36 All this is only an air drawn city of our imagination and dream. Everything here appears to be stretched out in a fairy dance all about us. But in reality, it is only a calm and quiet emptiness full with the unchanging and un-decaying spirit of God. 37 The whole is the hollowness of the divine heart and the empty sphere of the omniscient Consciousness. Its reasoning intellect reflects many a transparent image in its own sphere and to no end. This is called the world or the image of the Divine Soul, which continues forever and ever.
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Chapter 206 — The Story of King Prajnapti Asking How Immaterial Can Create Material — (the Great Buddhist Inquiry)
1 Vasishta resumed:— The appearance of the uncreated phenomenon of creation is nothing in reality. Only the transcendental principle of supreme Brahman is the true reality.2 Once someone asked me about this subject. Now I will share with you how I answered that question so that you, O high-minded Rama, may have a strengthened understanding.
3 The great island of Kushadwipa is surrounded by seas on all sides like a watery belt. This land is renowned for its beauty all over the three regions of the world. 4 On its northeastern side there is a city called Ilavati surrounded by a series of pillars gilded all over with gold, glittering with radiant beams reaching from earth to the skies. 5 There formerly reigned a king called Prajnapti who ruled on earth like the god Indra in heaven and to whom this land paid homage.
6 On one occasion I happened to encounter this king, as the sun descends on earth on the last day of desolation. 7 The king hailed and adored me with offerings of flowers and presents and made me sit by him with due reverence. Then in the course of my conversation with him, he fondly asked me as follows.
King Prajnapti speaking:— 8 Tell me sage, what becomes of the world after the destruction of all things, when the causalities of recreation are all extinct and annihilated in the indefinable vacuum of desolation? 9 What becomes the prime cause of things at the recreation of the world? What are the accompanying elements to reproduce objects? How and from where do they arise?
10 What is the world and what was the beginning of its creation? What was the primeval chaos and whence is this earth? What is the air, the support of the seas, and the hell filled with worms and insects? 11 What are the creatures contained in the womb of air and what creatures live in the bosom of mountains? What are the elementary bodies and their productions? How have understanding and its faculties come into existence? 12 Who is the maker of all these and who is their witness? What is the support of the universe and what are the things it contains? I am quite certain that the world can never have its ultimate destruction.
13 All the Vedas and scriptures are opposed to one another in their different views and interpretations. Each one makes a hypothesis according to its own particular view. 14From our knowledge of the world, we do not know whether it is indestructible or an unreality.
15 Tell me, O chief of sages, what is the form and cause of those bodies that are doomed to dwell in hell after men die on this earth and their bodies are cremated and destroyed? 16 What causes bodies to regenerate after they are destroyed upon death? The virtues and vices of departed souls, all being immaterial things, cannot cause the formation of their material bodies. 17 It is absurd to reason that something that is immaterial could possibly produce a material body, just as it is impossible to believe that there can be a child without the original cause of its parents.
18 Tell me sage, what could possibly cause the production of material bodies? For lack of any such cause, it is also improper to deny the existence of a future state. 19 It is contrary to the dictates of Vedas and scriptures, and also to the conviction and common sense of mankind, to deny the future state of our existence. The resurrection of our bodies is as unavoidable as exile to a distant land by decree of law, though it be against our wish or will.
20 How are beings born and put into action over the course of their lives by invisible causes that are quite unconnected? Pillars of stone were converted to gold, not just gilded, by the word of the brahmin. How did the brahmin suddenly obtain this vast treasure? 21 Why call something great which lasts only for a moment? What is the need to frame strict laws for the present to reap a harvest in future when all that is not based on sound reasoning?
22 Tell me sage, how do you reconcile such disagreements in the Vedas which mention the existence of being and not-being in the beginning? Tell me also how that not-being existed before creation, and then the being or creation was born of the not-being. 23 How could the primeval nonentity become Brahman? How could Brahma be produced or born from a mighty emptiness? Then tell also me sage, how come there are no other Brahmas born of its spacious womb?
24 Tell me how plant and other creations are produced without their different sources. How do they derive their nature of being able to propagate their own kinds by their own seeds? 25 Tell me why the life and death of a man are contemporaneous with those of his friend or adversary. How do people happen to obtain their wishes in their next lives by dying in holy places such as Prayaga? 26 Should the wishes of men be crowned with success in their next lives, then tell me sage, why isn’t the sky filled with multitudes of moons? The worshippers of the moon are seen dying each day with the expectation of becoming a brilliant moon in the next state of their existence in heaven. 27 How can men attain their wishes for the future when most of them desire the same object? It necessarily falls to the lot of only one of them, just as a maid expected to be wedded by many is destined to be married only by one man.
28 Again, how can a woman be called a wife who is either unchaste or leads a life of celibacy even when dwelling in her husband’s house? 29 What is the difference between the blessing and curse pronounced on the brahmin brothers for their sovereignty over the seven continents on the one hand, and having no such thing on the other, when they remained thinking themselves as monarchs of the world in their own house?
30 The acts of piety, whether charities, austerities or subservient ceremonies, which are supposed to produce some unknown reward in the next world, are of no benefit on this earth to those who practice them. So what is the good derived if they afford no earthly benefit to the earthly body, but to a future body with which no one here has any concern?31 Should it be said that the soul of the pious observer reaps the reward in its future state, then this also is impossible because the disembodied soul is incapable of enjoyment. Should it have another body to enjoy hereafter, of what use is that distant body to the body of the present observer (of the pious acts)? 32 Should these acts be accompanied with any reward, either in this life or in the next, they should be known to the actor. Lacking this knowledge, their observance appears to be an irreconcilable inconsistency.
33 These are my doubts which I beg you will kindly remove by your cool and clear reasoning, like moonlight disperses evening twilight. 34 Now sage, please dispel my doubts in my inquiry after transcendental truth so that it may lead to my good in both worlds. The company of the righteous is ever filled with very great blessings to all people.
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Chapter 207 — Vasishta Replies to the Questions (of the Buddhist): Non-Dualism in a Nutshell
1 Vasishta replied:— Hear me prince and I will clearly expound to you the doctrine which will immediately root out your doubts.
2 All these entities in the world are nonexistent nothings forever though they appear as realities in our consciousness. 3 We do not consider the true nature of reality, so we think that whatever appears in any manner in our consciousness is as real as it seems to be. 4 That is the nature of consciousness. Everyone who knows what consciousness is thinks it is the same as the bodiless soul. 5 Its body is the knowledge in the mind, either in waking or dreaming. This false consciousness is believed to be its body, and there is nothing else besides this that they call a solid body.
6 The world shines before us like the sights seen in a dream. The absence of all causes for the production of the world prove that it is nothing other than the phantom of a dream. 7 This pure and unstained knowledge of the universe is called Brahman himself. The very same shines as the world, which is nothing other than that.
8 Thus the world remains quite pure and unchanged from ever before and forever more. So it is thought and said to be by the Vedas and all good and great scriptures, and also by the common agreement of all thinking men in all ages and countries. 9 Those who deny the sole existence of the Being which is impressed in the consciousness of all beings, the Being full and perfect everywhere and acknowledged by all great souls, are the most ignorant fools and resemble croaking frogs living in the recesses of dark caves and pits.
10 There are many who are deluded by their ideas of the appearances of things and the evidence of their senses. They have fallen into the error of understanding the gross body as causing consciousness and inner impressions. 11 They are exuberant with their wrong ideas. They are not worthy of our discourse because one cannot converse with those who are intoxicated without liquor and are learned fools. 12 When the discourse of the learned is not capable of answering the questions of men in all places, such discourse is to be understood as foolish talk of the universe. 13 He whose beliefs rely upon only what can be sensed and who regards the believer of the invisible to be a fool, is considered for his illogical reasoning to be like a block of stone. 14 The fool who maintains this materialistic doctrine in opposition to all rational philosophy is said to be like a frog in a dark cave because he is blind both to the past which is out of his sight and to the invisible future. He is concerned only with what is present before him.
15 The Vedas, the sayings of wise men, and the inferences of their right reasoning, as I have maintained in these lectures, can remove doubts in these matters. 16 If the conscious body is consciousness, then why is the dead body unconscious of anything?
17 This world is an imaginary city of the Divine Mind in its form of Brahma, the creator. Hence the phenomenon of the world appears to our minds like a phantom in our dream.18 Therefore all that you see is only the creation of Divine Consciousness which is an intellectual entity in itself. You are not mistaken in your judgment if you consider them as phantoms in your dream appearing in the emptiness of your mind.
19 Hence this earth and the skies, these hills and cities, are all only appearances in the void of the intellect, the conceptions of your mind like those appearing in the reveries of dream, or like castles built in the air.
20 The dense emptiness of self-consciousness is called the great Brahma or the personal god of creation. The display of his will in the material is known as Viraj or the visible universe. Thus the pure and distinct consciousness of Brahman is condensed into the form of the world. 21 Whatever is imagined in the imaginary city of Brahma is conceived as existent in reality, just like you imagine objects of your desire or fancy to be actually present before you. 22 Whatever is thought of in one’s imagination, whether a fancied city or a fairyland, seems to be present before him for the time being. 23 Brahma, in his form of the mind, thinks of living and dying bodies, so are they thought of by all mankind.
24 After the great dissolution of the world, it is said that the world is reproduced from nothing, but because there is no material cause that can produce a material world, it is certain there is no material being in existence. 25 Brahma, the lord of creatures, having got rid of the world upon its dissolution, was also freed from all his memories and ideas of creation forever. Therefore only the reflection of divine light appears as the world before us. 26 Thus the Supreme Soul of Brahma reflects itself in itself in the beginning in the manner of an imaginary castle of his will, which is as air-drawn as the visible sky in the invisible vacuum. This is known as the cosmos or world existing in empty space.
27 An imaginary castle is the creation of the intellect and presents only its intellectual form to our minds. In the same way, the world appears to us in its intellectual form, an evolution of the intellect without any other cause for its appearance. 28 Whether there is anybody anywhere, there is empty Consciousness which is everywhere. Know that the Divine Spirit pervades all over this totality, whether it be an embodied duality or an empty unity.
29 Hence the empty mind of a dead body sees the form of the whole world within its emptiness. The empty mind of a living being, in its imagination or dream, sees the shapes of both solid and subtle bodies. 30 The living man thinks this immaterial world is a solid mass of dull matter. The dead person thinks this empty universe is a solid and substantial existence lying exposed before him in its mind. 31 But the enlightened or awakened soul of a living body sees no trace of scenes of its dream upon waking, so the soul of a redeemed dead being sees no trace of the objects and sights of this world upon its redemption and bliss in the next world. 32 The very same is the case with the enlightened soul of everybody in this world. It bears only inner conceptions within itself. There is no outward perception. Therefore there is no material reality in existence because there is no material cause in emptiness.
33 As a sleeping man sees an imaginary world in his dream as if it were real, so the unenlightened person sees the phenomenal world as a factual reality before him. In the same way, the souls of the dead see the world of their departed spirits in the emptiness before them. 34 The souls of the departed see earth and heaven and mountains and everything else as they had seen before appearing in the open air. 35 The departed soul perceives its separation from a dead body and thinks of its rebirth in another body on earth where it will have its enjoyments and suffering again as before. 36 The soul never gets rid of this delusion of its reincarnation as long as it neglects to seek its salvation and final liberation. It is freed from its error of reproduction through knowledge of truth and the absence of desire.
37 The consciousness of the soul, its righteous or unrighteous desire, represents the picture of this airy world in the hollow sphere of the mind. 38 Therefore the world is neither substantial nor empty but the display of Divine Consciousness. The lack of this knowledge is the source of all misery to man. Its true knowledge, that it is a show of divine wisdom, is filled with all bliss and joy.
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Chapter 208 — Vasishta Explains that Everything is the Expression of an Idea in God, — including Laws and Secondary Causes
1 Vasishta continued:— Now hear me tell you why men happen to meet with good or fortune at home and how, in the same way, rewards and punishments come upon departed souls from unforeseen causes in the far distant world.
2 You know that the entire world is a creation of Divine Will. The world appears as material phenomena to our outer sight, as concepts to our inner insight, and as concepts to Brahman himself in its spiritual light. 3 In this volitional world, everything appears in the same way as you want to see it. 4 In your own house, you are master of your children and you can dispose of your things and affairs as you please. In the same way, the Lord is the sole disposer and dispenser of all things in this world of his will, as he likes of his own accord. 5 In your own home you find everything to your liking as you wish it to be. In the same way, the Lord directs and disposes all things in His world.
6 The disorder that appears to take place in the order of nature is to be attributed to the Divine Will as the sovereign law of all. 7 The good or evil which waits on men owing to their obedience or transgression of the law is both attributable to Divine Will. 8 It is also the dispensation of Divine Will whereby all living bodies have their perceptions of worldly things, just as they have the conception of the existence of the world which, in reality, has no substance. 9 It is by will of Divine Intellect that everything appears to exist before us. It is the opening and closing of Intellect which causes the appearance and disappearance of the world to our view.
10 King Prajnapti asked, “Tell me sage, if the world is the production of Divine Will, why did it not exist before, with the eternity of Divine Will, and why did it came to be manifested afterwards? Is the world an unstable and vanishing appearance in the air, or it has any fixity in the Divine Mind or stability in nature?”
11 Vasishta replied:— Such is the nature of the empty and volitional city of Divine Consciousness. It comes into being and not being in succession in the states of repeated waking dreams of creation and in the sleeping oblivion of its desolation.
12 Like the mud-built house of playful children and the air-drawn castles of fanciful men, the appearances of creation appear both real and unreal in Divine Consciousness, as well as to our minds. 13 You build and break your imaginary city in the air. You make and unmake a fabric of your will elsewhere, whether of your own choice or for any other reason. In the same way, the Divine Will constructs and retracts any of its works at its pleasure. 14 Thus all beings are continually rising and falling in this empty city of the Divine Will which is ever shining in its nature with the pure light of the Divine Mind. 15 The whole fullness of the world is an emptiness full with the dense intelligence of omniscience. This omniscient intelligence does whatever it thinks upon and wills.
16 Therefore it is not the hidden but the self manifest God that does all things, even at a distance of millions of miles and over multitudes of ages, as if they lay before him at the present time. 17 So there is nothing in any country or in any world which is not known or thought of by the sole and unhidden soul of all. 18 As a brilliant gem reflects its light and shade within itself, so does the gem of Consciousness reflect the various changes of the world in itself by its own light.
19 Laws and prohibitions necessary for the preservation of people are implanted in the human soul.
20 The soul neither dies nor revives. Brahman himself is the source and origin of the human soul. The human soul is his reflection constantly emanating from the Divine Soul. 21Being the viewer, it supposes itself to be the view and thinks its imaginary world is a visible phenomenon. In the same way it thinks itself to be born, living and dying.
22 When the soul of its own nature ceases to cast its reflection, or suppresses it within itself, and remains quietly in the empty sphere of Divine Consciousness by assimilating itself into the Universal Soul of Brahman, then it is said to be quiet in death or vanishing from the world. 23 The emission and admission of its reflection are as natural to ignorant and imperfect living souls of animal beings as vibration and calm are inherent in air.
24 In the city of your imagination, you see the growth, decay and death of people at different times and places. 25 In the same way, the nature of this imaginary city of God is to exhibit these changes everywhere, as in the cases of animals, plant and all other things in all three worlds. 26 But God neither wills nor does everything himself in this creation of his will. He acts by general laws and secondary causes, like children playing, growing grass from grass, producing trees and their fruits from seeds, and everything else. 27 The nature of the almighty intellect of God is to bring forth whatever it wills to be in being.
28 All things originally have an intellectual form. Afterwards they appear in whatever forms and different natures as the Almighty Intellect invests them with. 29 Hence everything here, because they originate from Divine Intellect, ultimately and truly is of an intellectual form. Because the intellect includes all things in itself, it displays every form and shows itself in any form it likes.
30 This same intellect is the omniscient and Universal Soul without beginning, middle or end. It is omnipotent, something which is nothing, and an entity appearing as nonentity. It appears such as it remains anywhere and shows itself as anything. It is the origin of all things and beings and the source of all plants and grass.
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Chapter 209 — Judgment and Reincarnation; Any Idea Can Manifest
1 Vasishta continued saying:— The life of a person is dear and useful to him as long as he lives and not afterwards. But hear me tell you the good of a man dying in some holy place with a wish for future reward in his next life. 2 God has ordained certain virtues and merits to certain places, even in the beginning of his imaginary city of this world. 3Whatever merit is assigned to any place awaits on the soul of a person after its release from bondage when he has performed the acts of piety commanded by the scriptures. 4Hence any great sin committed by anybody anywhere is either partly or wholly erased by the good act of the person, according to comparative merit of the holy place or the degree of remission in the mind of the penitent sinner. 5 If the sin is insignificant compared to the holiness of the place, the sinner is completely released from his guilt and attains the object of his wish. 6 If the sin is equal to the holiness of the place, the penitent man receives two bodies in his next life, a physical body and a spiritual soul. 7 Such is the effect of the earliest guilt and merit of mankind. They are endowed with double bodies, physical frames and spiritual souls. Such is the Divine Soul even from before.
8 The principle is called Brahman in its sense of the whole. It is called Brahma as the totality of living souls (jivas). It is called I or the ego to refer to any living soul in particular. As God remains in any manner, whether whole or part, so he manifests himself as the world.
9 The reflection of purity acquired in some holy place appears to the penitent soul. It appears to be the opposite to the guilty soul which is not freed from its sin in any holy place.
10 A person sees visions of his own death, his living relatives weeping, and considers himself to be a departed ghost in the next world, all alone and without a single soul beside him. 11 He also sees the deaths of his friends there, and he also thinks that he hears the wailings of their relations at that place. He sees all these mental illusions in his frenzy, just like a man with deranged body functions sees the apparitions of imaginary demons in his confused state.
12 So it also happens with great souls. They see the sights of both good grace and fear according to the measure of their merit or guilt in this life. Thus thousands of hopeful and hideous shapes float about in the imaginations of men, owing to the purity or depravity of their natures.
13 The friends of a dying man, lying unconscious as a dead body, weep and wail over his corpse then take him to the funeral ground for cremation. 14 But a guiltless man, accompanied by his self-conscious and righteous soul, approaches his infirmity and death with firmness and without any feeling of sorrow. 15 With his material body he sees himself as a living being. With his invisible part, his inner soul, he sees his conquest over death by the merit of his holy pilgrimage. 16 The guiltless man fears his death only momentarily. He is conscious of the indestructibility of his inner soul, just like a man clad in armor is fearless of the arrows of his lightly armored enemy. 17 In this manner the deceased’s relatives find his pure soul obtaining immortality after his death. Life and death are indifferent to the virtuous and purified person.
18 The sights of all three worlds are equally false both in their tangible and intangible forms, just as the vision of an object in a dream is as false as another (in a waking state) in their visionary nature. 19 We have a clear understanding that the dreams and imaginations arising in our minds are deceptions. But the deceptions of our waking dreams in broad daylight appear more real and are less conspicuous.
20 King Prajnapti asked, “But tell me sage, how do virtue and vice, both of which are bodiless things, assume the bodily forms of living beings in the course of their reincarnation?”
21 Vasishta replied:— There is nothing impossible for the creative power of Brahman to produce in the imaginary fabric of this world of his mind. The substantive Divine Will is able to give substantial forms to intellectual things.
22 There is nothing which is unimaginable and there is nothing that cannot be produced by the mind of Brahman. It is the same with us. The only things we know are what we imagine in our finite minds.
23 A visionary city in a dream and an imaginary castle of imagination both present a similar, ideal form to the mind. Both are composed of a collection of ideas which appear as real objects for the time being. 24 All the numerous thoughts that lie like a dead and dormant mass in the states of our deep and sound sleep appear to us in endless forms in the visions of our dreams and our waking imagination and leave their traces in the memory. 25 Who has not had the idea of aerial castles of his dreams and imaginations and found them composed of only his ideas in the airy world of empty consciousness? 26 Therefore, what is there that is not capable of being produced in this aerial world? Everything can be produced in the airy imagination of the empty intellect, and its substance is the same.
27 Therefore what appears in the form of the visible universe is only a fallacy. There is nothing in real existence or nonexistence. All things appear to be existent and nonexistent in the luminous conscious space (chidakasa) of the Divine Mind. 28 Anything that is perceived in any manner is a manifestation of a thought, an inspiration of it. The enlightened seekers of truth find nothing wrong in believing this.
29 Therefore, if the doctrines of his religion teach a man to hope for the enjoyment of a heaven with flowery banks and streams flowing with nectar, then it is very probable that he will meet with the same things in his future life in the next world. 30 Therefore, the acts done in this world by anybody are attended with their like rewards for him in the next. There is nothing inconsistent in this belief, though it appears so to the unbeliever.
31 Should there be anything which may be said to be permanent in this world, it must be always be present in the sight of its viewer. If this is the standard, then let any man identify what always remains in his sight. Only the ideas of things in his mind are ever present in his knowledge and never lost sight of in his consciousness.
32 I have compared dreams and thoughts to prove the essentiality of our notions and ideas. Because the worlds belong to the will and exist in the mind of omniscience, they are nothing other than the essence of the great Brahman himself. 33 There is nothing wanting or impossible in the aerial castle of your imagination. There is nothing which does not and cannot exist in the will and mind of the Almighty. 34 Whatsoever form is conceived in the Divine Mind, the same remains fixed there and appears situated before our sight like a picture or a screen play. 35 Therefore this appearance of the Divine Mind is perceived only by our internal senses. There is nothing to be perceived by any external organ, or to both internal and external at once, because only our minds perceive the impressions of the Eternal Mind and it is our minds that impel the internal organs to receive those reflections.
36 As the Lord has willed everything at first, so it lasts with him to the very end of his creation when his will of creating the world anew gives another form to the state of things in future. 37 The Lord manifests himself as he wills, in the manner of his will and in the form of another world in every kalpa duration of creation. In the same way the minds of men come to see another world and another state of things in each successive dream.
38 There is nothing which does not exist in this worldly city of Divine Will. All that exists there is nothing but the production of Divine Consciousness. Therefore this world is to be known as full of the forms of the productive mind of God.
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Chapter 210 — We See What We Believe; Karma; upon Realization, Phenomena Disappear
1 Vasishta resumed and said:— Now let me reply to your question why heaven is not filled with a hundred moons. If a hundred people wish to become the moon in their future lives, and if their efforts are crowned with success, why do we not see a hundred moons? 2 Those who aspire to become as bright as the full moon of heaven actually became so in their conception of themselves in the sphere of their minds, and not by their situation in the vault of the sky or in the globe of that luminary.
3 Tell me who has ever anywhere gotten into another’s imaginary city? Who has ever obtained any fancied treasure except the person who framed the fancy and fabricated the wish for wealth? 4 Everyone has a heaven of his own in his conception of creation. That is where he is situated and shines as a bright, full moon without phases of wane or wax. 5All those aspirants to luminosity had thought of entering into the moon of his own mind. There he found himself resting at last with full light of that luminary and the delight of his conscious soul. 6 Each thought of entering the shining moon in their minds. Each felt as glad in their situation as if they were seated in the globe of the celestial moon.
7 Whatever one seeks and searches after, the same becomes natural with his consciousness. If one has a firm belief is some state, he thinks and feels himself to be the very same. 8 As everyone who aspires to be the full moon comes to be according to his conception, so the marriage suitors of the same bride become wedded to her according to his own conception of her. 9 The one pure maiden who is thought of as taken to wife by many men in their minds is never defiled by anyone of them. They have a simple enjoyment of her idea only.
10 As the sovereign ruler of the seven continents holds his sway over them without ever going out of his city, so the soul passes through everything while remaining in the precincts of its body, and so does every man see his imaginary castle in the sphere of his own house. 11 When the whole universe owes its origin to the imagination of its omniscient originator, the self-born Brahma, what else can the universe be but an intangible void, quite calm and quiet in itself?
12 Now let me tell you about the unknown and invisible results of the acts of piety such as charity, funeral rites, religious austerities and the repetition of holy mantras which accumulate to the departed ghosts of bodily beings in the next world.
13 Souls marked with traces of pious acts in them come to see them vividly as actual works painted in lively colors fabricated by their lively intellects, like their dreams. 14 A carnal mind distrusts the reality of these impressions of consciousness and disregards the internal operation of the inner intellect. It becomes restless for its sensuous enjoyment and the exercise of the outward organs of action. Only by decrease of this passion does it become restored to inner peace and tranquility.
15 The theme of early poets tells us that the impressions of acts of piety and charity are imprinted in the intellect and reflected in the passive soul in the next world when the conscious soul continues to keep the gratification of those acts. 16 Thus the rewards of charity and miserliness are equally felt in the gratification and dissatisfaction of the soul in this world in which everything is according to our feelings of it.
17 Thus I have fully answered whatever you have asked of me. Now from all this, know that the sensible world is an intangible dream, an air-drawn spectacle of the mind.
18 King Prajnapti asked, “But sage, please tell me how could the intellect exist alone before the production of the body? How can a light exist without its receptacle of a lamp?”
19 Vasishta replied:— The sense in which you use the word “body” is quite unknown to spiritually minded persons who discard the material meaning of the word, just as they reject the idea of rocks dancing in the air. 20 The meaning of the word “body” is the same as that of Brahman. There is no difference in meaning, just as there is none between the words fluid and liquid.
21 The body is an imaginary appearance. The great body of Brahma is like a phantom in vision which represents the forms of all things in the stupendous fabric of the universe as in a dream. 22 The difference between your dream, or what you see, and the fullness of Brahman is that what you see is the result of only what you have previously thought and they disperse and vanish upon your waking. But the universe exhibited in the fullness of Brahman is not so impermanent. 23 What is this thing we call the body, and how does it appear to us in the shape of something in our dream? Why does anything appearing as a reality in dream vanish and appear as nothing and an error upon our waking?
24 There is no waking, sleeping or dreaming or any other condition of being in the turiya transcendent state of Brahman. It is something like pure and primeval light, like transparent air, all quiet and still. 25 It is the same as the unknown and inscrutable light which shows and glows before us to this day. It is the same primeval and primordial light that first showed the sight of the world to view, as if a dream in the gloom of night.
26 A body traveling from one district to another, though proceeding onward, is always in the middle of its circuit, yet never fixed at any spot. In the same way, all things are in endless rotation in this world, whether singly or collectively.
27 The sight of the world, like that of a dream, presents a favorable aspect to some minds, but it presents a clear and serene prospect to men of unclouded intellects. 28 The same empty Intellect is the emptiness of space and the innumerable fullness of objects in space, the reflection and the eclipse of all things, the existence and nonexistence of the world and matter, and unity and duality. 29 The world is entirely a complete evolution from the fullness of God. The world stands as a complete counterpart of the original. It is neither a shining nor a not-shining body by itself, but is as bright as the contents of a crystal within its bowels.
30 Wherever there is the evolution of the world in the Intellect, there is the presence of the subtle soul. Whenever there is a speck of thought anywhere, it is attended with the thought of the world also. 31 The emptiness of Intellect is present everywhere. This omnipresence is the divine presence which is termed the world.
32 The Divine Soul is as quiet and unchangeable as this universe is stable and stationary. The fluctuation of the supreme mind causes these variations in the face of the city of the Divine Will.
33 The impossibility of any other inference proves that the universe is necessarily of the same essence as God. Any hypothesis of agnostic philosophers is unreasonable and inconsistent with this subject. 34 The common belief of mankind, the testimony of the scriptures, and the statements of the Vedas are established and incontrovertible truths. Therefore nobody can have any doubt about the reality of the Divine Spirit. 35 This being acknowledged, it becomes evident that the world is God itself. When the world appears as one with God, it is seen in our clear spiritual insight to be extinct in the Divine Essence.
36 Because the impermanent sight of the world is ultimately the same as God, when the living soul is conscious of the Intellect, the sight of phenomena is lost. This is the doctrine of Pantheism in which all of nature is seen as God. 37 He who is conscious of the sphere of his intellect is also conscious of the tree of the world that is dependent upon consciousness. He sees the three worlds in himself, whether he is in the state of bondage or liberation. 38 The visible world, though so manifest to view, is entirely lost to sight upon its right knowledge. He who knows this becomes like the setting sun, wholly invisible to public sight, and remains as mute as a lump of silent stone.
39 The way established by the Vedas and accepted by the general consent of wise men must be acknowledged as the right path leading to sure success. 40 He who adheres steadily to his own purpose by utter disregard of all other objects is said to be firmly determined and is sure to reap success in the end.
41 Everything appears in the same light in which a person is accustomed to see and know it. Whether the object of one’s faith is true or false, it still appears to each person as he is accustomed to believe it.
42 This is the conclusion of your question, as I have determined and delivered to you. Now be quick and walk your way with perfect ease of your mind, health of your body, and agility of your limbs.
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Chapter 211 — Seeing the Supernatural; All Is the Creation of the Viewer
1 Vasishta resumed:— After I said these things to the king, he honored me with his obeisance. Then thinking I had finished my task for him, I rose up to proceed on my aerial journey. 2 Thus I have related to you this day, O most intelligent Rama, regarding the omnipresence of the Divine Spirit. Keep this empty view of Brahman before your sight and proceed everywhere with the peace of your mind. 3 Know all this to be Brahman itself, only a nameless and insubstantial emptiness. It is something unborn and uncreated, all calm and quiet, without beginning, middle or end. 4 It is said to be the reflection of intellect and it is called Brahman because of its immensity. It is also called the most transcendent, and something without any name at all.
5 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, how can we see the celestials, the siddha spiritual masters, the perfect (sadhya) spirits, Yama, Brahma and the heavenly vidyadharas and gandharvas? Tell me also, sage, how people of other spheres can be visible to us?”
6 Vasishta replied:— The celestial siddhas, sadhyas, the gods Yama and Brahma, and the vidyadhara demigods, together with all other beings of great souls and wonderful might, 7 are all visible to you both day and night, and above, below, behind and ever before you, if you will only look at them with the eyes of your mind. But if you shut your mental eye against spirituality, you can never see spirit presented before your view. 8 If you become used to seeing these spiritual beings, they are never far away. They are described as self-willed beings and they are said to be always wandering everywhere.
9 These volitional beings are as unsteady as the living creatures of this earth, like the volatile winds which blow at random in every direction. 10 They resemble the airy creatures of your imagination and dreams which hover fluttering in the air and gather about you by day and night. Others have no will or motion and remain stationary in their respective spheres. 11 Through silent and steadfast meditation, then in the calm quiet of your mind and soul, you can see the reflection of any of these spirits and, without fail, you can visit them in the innermost recess of your soul. 12 This is how men see the gods and spiritual masters, arrayed with all their majesty and glory as they are imagined to be in their intense meditations. 13 Men of steady minds find themselves soaring to heaven accompanied by spiritual masters and clad in all their glory. Those of unsteady and unsettled minds must take great pains to gain control of the fleeting object of their contemplation.
14 The world is an insubstantial and imperceptible thing, ever a silent and serene void, the emptiness of the intellect. However, it appears to be a solid and compact mass, according to the notion we have of it in our consciousness. 15 It does not exist in our unconsciousness, it does not appear to exist, and it is not a dull, unconscious or unthinking being. It is an emptiness and a nothing, an utterly intangible and imperceptible thing to our senses and consciousness. 16 The nature of consciousness is to reflect in itself. All that we see about us is the shadow of that reflection. The knowledge that this shadowy reflection is substantial proceeds from the vanity of the intellect, and not from its nature which is free from mistake.
17 There can be no talk of causation, production or vegetation in the nature of the universe. It is an absolute void entirely devoid of the elements of cause and effect. 18 That which appears to be produced is only a void in the midst of primeval emptiness. There can be no attribution of unity or duality to infinite emptiness. 19 Yet the world appears to your mind as something that exists and it is visible to your eyes. This happens in the same manner as you have consciousness and sight of dreams in the undisturbed calm of your empty sleep. 20 Imagination causes mountains to rise in the empty sphere of our minds, but in reality there are no mountains. Such is this creation, an airy working of the Divine Mind.
21 Hence the wise and intelligent remain as quiet and mute as motionless blocks of wood. Great minds manage themselves like wooden puppets, moving as they are moved by the prime moving power of God alone. 22 As waves are seen rolling on the surface of waters and as currents whirl round and hurl headlong into the deep, so all of creation and all created things turn about the axle wheel of the great Brahma. 23 As emptiness is inborn in space and vibrations are immanent in the air, so these creations are inherent and inseparably connected with the Divine Spirit in their formless and ideal shapes. 24 An air-drawn castle of our will or imagination, with all its lack of substance, presents a substantial shape before us. In the same way, this world appears as a compact frame shown before us in spite of its situation in the formless mind of Brahma.
25 All three worlds that we are accustomed to believe as real, the sites of our temporal and spiritual concerns, are all void and formless and as unreal as the airy castles of our imagination. 26 The imagination of our minds creates populated cities. In the same way, the thought of the mind of God creates these numerous worlds and presents them to our minds and eyes.
27 Though we always think of this visible world as a reality, it bears no meaning at all. It resembles the sight of a man’s own death in his dream. 28 A man sees a dream in which his own funeral is conducted by his son. In the same way, the unreal world is seen as a reality, in as much as it is reflected as such by its supreme contriver. 29 Both the existence and non-existence of the universe constitute the body of the pure God in the same way as a made-up name applied to a person makes no difference to his character.
30 Whether what I have said is true or not, you have nothing to lose or gain. It is useless for wise men to expect any reward by casting offerings into Falgu River. So to the intelligent who have known the true God, there is no value to take the pains of invoking the aid of the minor gods.
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Chapter 212 — On Ascertainment Of Truth
1 Vasishta resumed:— The man who possesses intellect and intellectual powers and considers himself as “I am that Brahman” is elevated to the rank of Brahman and contains the whole world in himself. 2 As Lord Brahma Hiranyagarbha remains in this state, he is not then the creator of the world but was also the uncreated Brahman, the everlasting God, as he continued from all eternity.
3 The world appears in our consciousness like a mirage in a desert, an unreality that appears as a reality. 4 Since creation this primeval emptiness began to present the illusion of the world in itself. How can such an illusion arise unless it was presented by Brahman himself? 5 The world is a revolving sphere in the vast empty ocean of Brahman. How can the question of unity or duality arise in this? How can we talk of dualism in the whirling currents of the waters of the deep, or of unity if there is a lack of duality? 6 The great Brahma is profoundly quiet. Having his intellect inherent in himself, he is conscious of his being the great or sole “I” in his mind. He sees himself as a vast expanse of emptiness. 7As fluctuation is inherent in air, heat is innate in fire, and the moon contains its coolness, so the great Brahma broods over the eternal ideas of things contained in the cavity of his fathomless mind.
8 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, how does the Divine Mind come to think and brood upon his creation when it is always employed in its reasoning process of intellect?”
9 Vasishta replied:— It is even so, O Rama! The great Ego of God always thinks of everything in itself. There is nothing unknown to the uncreated and ever existent spirit of God.10 Empty Brahma is always and everywhere present in both creation and non-creation. There is nothing known to him as existing or not existing at anytime. 11 As the mind is conscious of its fluctuation, the moon of her coldness, and the air knows its emptiness, so Brahma knows himself to be Ego and never thinks himself without the other. 12 Such is the entity of God, never otherwise. As Brahma is imperishable, this world must be without beginning or end.
13 You are led to a belief in duality of the non-dualistic unity of God only from a lack of sufficient intelligence and a prejudice arising from the idea of non-ego. 14 In reality, there is no one and nothing that thinks of anything of itself other than the Divine Ego. 15 The apparent threefold world is always one with and inseparable from God who dwells alike and evenly in all and who composes one uniform whole without any mixture of diversity or duality.
16 O Rama, know that nothing like a rock or tree is produced in empty emptiness. These seemingly solid worlds can never be produced in the empty spirit of Brahma. Know this and go on freely in your own way.
17 Teachings cannot persuade men of little intelligence and doubtful minds of the truth. As long as they cannot comprehend the unity, they are ever apt to believe in the multiplicity of objects. 18 No teaching or scripture can lead the ignorant to the knowledge of truth unless they can get rid of their prejudice of diversity which the creator Brahma has spread over the minds of men.
19 Rama asked, “Sage, I understand what you say, but I ask you to give some illustration so that I may understand better. 20 What does the supreme Brahma do by assuming the title of Ego or thinking to himself he is an agent? (What happens when the notion of “I” arises in God?) You know everything, but the audience’s understanding is less than satisfactory.”
21 Vasishta replied:— The Supreme One was quite indistinct. He assumes the title of Ego to himself and becomes divided and distinguished into the distinct essences of emptiness, space and its directions, and time with all its divisions. 22 Then the Ego assumes its personality and finds many such distinctions appearing before itself which are quite imperceptible in its state of impersonality. 23 The knowledge of these empty principles and their qualities and attributes is preserved in the soul as abstract ideas. Afterwards they are expressed by certain symbolic sounds or words, which are also as empty as air. 24 Thus the formless and empty principle of the Ego entertains in itself the ideas or knowledge of time and space in their ideal forms.
25 This universe which appears as an expression of the ideal of the Ego and seems to be visible and substantial is in reality only the intangible Brahma appearing as the tangible non-Brahma. 26 The world is truly the quiet spirit of Brahma. It is one with him without beginning, middle or end. It is truly the void of Brahma who assumes to himself the titles of Ego and the living soul, empty himself in his own vast and extensive empty self.
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Chapter 213 — Rama’s Prior Learning under Vasishta
1 Vasishta continued:—
O Rama, the destroyer of your enemies, this same question which you asked me today, you asked me before when you were a student under my teaching. 2 In a former age we had a spiritual discourse when you were my student in a certain forest. The present is only a repetition of a past life. The wheel of life rolls and revolves constantly from age to age.3 I sat there as your teacher and you sat before me as my student. You asked me this very same question with the gravity of your understanding.
4 The Student said, “Sage who knows all things, please remove my doubt and difficulty. What perishes and doesn’t perish in the final, great flood?”
5 The Teacher replied:—
My son, know that the traces of all things are utterly destroyed at the last deluge, just like your dreams disappear in your sound sleep. 6 Hills and rocks on all ten sides of the earth are all destroyed without distinction. Nothing is left of the actions of men and the routine of their business. 7 All beings are destroyed at the end, and the great void that is the receptacle of all bodies becomes a perfect void.
8 The gods Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, Rudra and others who are the prime causes of the causal agencies of this world all become extinct at the end of the world. No trace of them remains. 9 All that remains is the great emptiness of Divine Consciousness which is ever existent without decay. This is known from the Divine Spirit who remains witness to both annihilations and regenerations of past and future worlds.
10 The Student said, “The entity never becomes a nonentity and the nonentity never becomes an entity. Therefore, tell me where the past world has gone when it disappears, and from where does the future world comes to existence?”
11 The Teacher replied:—
This world, my boy, is not wholly destroyed. It is quite true that nothing never becomes anything and anything never proceeds from a nothing. 12 That which is an entity in reality can never become a nonentity. How can that which is nonexistent of itself ever become a nothing and nonexistent afterwards? 13 Where is the water in a mirage? Where are the two seeming moons seen in the sky? Where are the delusive hairs found floating in the air, and when does a false conception prove to be true?
14 My son, know that all these phenomena are mere delusions without any reality. They appear like the cities and towns in our dreams. 15 They are liable to vanish from sight in the end, just like our dreams vanish upon waking, and just like our waking scenes vanish under the veil of sleep. 16 When we wake up, we do not know where the city of our dream has vanished. When the universe vanishes at its dissolution, we are equally ignorant about its location in the chaotic void.
17 The Student asked, “If the world is a nothing as you say, then sage, please tell me what is it that appears to us and disappears by turns? What is that empty intellect which presents this extensive view before us? How does the void present its reflection as the fullness of space and to what purpose?”
18 The Teacher replied:—
My boy, the empty sphere of consciousness shines with its transparency. Its reflection is called the world. It is nothing else but this. 19 It is the reflection of the widely extended substance of the great void of the intellect. This apparently material form is nothing other than the transparent form of that intellect.
20 The incorporeal Brahman, like all corporeal bodies, presents both a fair and a dark complexion. He also discloses himself sometimes and hides at another, which causes the creation and annihilation of the world. 21 The clarity of the Divine Spirit always remains the same and unaltered, whether before or after creation and its dissolution. It’s like a fountain of clear water that always remains clear even though it may or may not reflect the shadows of bordering trees.
22 As a man remains unchanged in his sleep, whether he is dreaming or enjoying deep sleep, so the Spirit continues unchanged in its intellect, whether it is in the act of creation or annihilation. 23 The ideal world appears to be calm and quiet in both the dream of the dreamer and his sound sleep. This visible world of ours is always viewed as calm in the tranquil spirit of the Lord and in the tranquil spirit of the contemplative saint.
24 Hence I do not recognize the existence of an emptiness or a sky anywhere that is independent of our soul. The same appears in the souls of others as it does in ours according to our view of it. 25 If we can perceive the light of our intellect even at the point of our death when the world disappears from us, then why should we not believe the same happens to others, that they also perceive the same intellectual light in their consciousness.
26 The Student said, “If such is the case, that others who are awake have the same view of the world as the dreamer has in his dream, then I believe that all those who are living have the same view of the world as those who are dying.”
27 The Teacher replied:—
So it is, O my intelligent lad. The world does not appear in its real form because it appears as a reality to ordinary perception. 28 In reality, the world does not appear and is nothing. There is nothing in the world that has any reality to it. It is a mere reflection of the intellect, and there can be no reality in our false sight of it. 29 It is apparent and seems to be everywhere always, but it does not exist in any way anywhere or at anytime. 30 Because it is both the real and unreal form of Brahman, it is both a reality and an unreality. Being an intellectual void, it is never destroyed.
31 The empty entity of Supreme Consciousness exhibits the phenomena of creation and its destruction. If we have any degree of concern for it, it is only for our misery. We are unaffected if we remain altogether unconcerned with its casualties. 32 All these appearances exist everywhere at all times in the same manner as they appear to the ignorant. But in truth, they appear nowhere in any manner or at anytime to the wise and learned.
33 The same being appears as a god in one place and a pot in another. Here he is seen as a hill and there as a stream or valley. He is a tree here, a shrub there, and spreading grass in another. He is the moving and movable somewhere and the unmoving and unmovable elsewhere. He is fire and all other elements everywhere. 34 He is entity and nonentity, both emptiness and solidity. He is action and duration, and earth and sky likewise. He is the being and not being and their growth and their destruction. He is good as well as the evil that attends on one and prohibits another. 35 There is nothing that is not he who, though one, is always all things in all places. He is in and out of everything and extends along the beginning, middle and end of all things. He is eternity and duration and the three divisions of time also. 36 He is all and exists in all things and in all places and times. Yet he is not the all and does not exist with anything at anytime or place.
37 Rama, know now that Brahman is the Universal Soul. He is all in all places and times. Because Brahman is the conscious soul, he exhibits all things to our consciousness like images in our dreams or the creatures of our imagination.
38 The maker of a material world must have a material body. The framer of the woody trees must have a wooden frame. But the Lord God of all has no material body or shape.39 Some make a mountain god the lord of all. Some even make and worship a human figure as the supreme god. 40 Some make a picture the lord and maker of all. Others make some image and worship it as the great god of all. 41 But there is only one Supreme Being who is the maker, supporter and the Lord God of all others. He is without beginning or end. The spirit of Lord Brahman upholds and supports all others. 42 A straw-made image or an earthen pot is attributed with divine powers and is represented to be the most high. So the formless God is shown in frail images made and destroyed by human hands.
43 An outward object is made the actor and enjoyer of acts. The wise know only consciousness to be the active and passive agent of all actions. 44 The truly wise acknowledge no active or passive agent of creation, although many among the wise recognize one God as the only actor and enjoyer of all. 45 All these views may be probable and may very well apply to the most High, the sole object of all these theories, because there is nothing which can be positively affirmed or denied of Him. 46 All these believers see and manifest God as they desire in the empty space of their intellects, and by viewing the whole world in themselves, they remain without decay at all times. 47 All that is visible, all laws and prohibitions, and all desires and designs of men are confined within men as ideas. Hence those who are true to their faith and firm in the observance of their duties and performance of their acts, by seeing all of creation within themselves, truly are of the nature of the Divine Soul.
48 This same doctrine was taught to you before, when you had been a student under my tutelage. But as you could not fully comprehend it then, you are condemned to another birth to learn it from me again.
49 The world represents a long, dark and dreary winter night, yet is also presents the pure light of knowledge, shining with the serene and cooling beams of the autumn moon.
Now, O Rama, as you are improved by pure intelligence, shake off the impurity of dull ignorance and continue to discharge your duties as they have descended upon you and your royal race. 50 Remain released from your attachment to all things of this temporal world. Rely solely upon the one supreme and Universal Soul whose pure nature is perceptible throughout all nature. Be as clear as the transparent sky with the peace of your mind and delight of your soul. Learn to rule your realm with justice and impartiality.
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Chapter 214 — Description of the Great Celebration
1 Valmiki related:— As the sage finished saying these things, the celestials sounded their trumpets from heaven and the clouds showered nectar-like rain. The face of the sky was whitened everywhere, as is if by snowdrifts in hoary winter, and the surface of the earth was covered by rain dropping like showers of flowers. 2 Earth appeared to be blessed with prosperity in the beauty of flowers stretching their pistils and stalks, like beautiful women with their evening decorations, and sending far away the fragrance of their powdery dust, like the perfume on the bodies of fairies. Their outer ornaments and inner cool sweetness are truly gifts of the gods. 3 The rampant hurricane of heaven made flowers fall from the dried branches of heavenly trees. Vying with the glittering stars, the flowers scattered all over the face of the sky, laughing with bashful and blushing smiles. 4Then clouds descended upon the assembly hall with sounds of trumpets, drizzling raindrops and falling flowers, like snow falling on Himalaya’s head, filling the assembly with wonder, gaping mouths and staring eyes.
5 The assembly seated in their order, took handfuls of these heavenly flowers and poured them upon Vasishta with their obeisance, casting away all their earthly cares and sorrows with those celestial offerings to the sage.
6 King Dasharata said, “O wonder that we are so lightly released of our cares and sorrows in this wide extended vale of miseries of the world. Our souls are now lightened of their pain by your grace, like the heavy clouds lightened of their weight and at last floating lightly on the Himalayas. 7 We have reached the goal of our acts and we have seen the end of our miseries in this life. We have fully known the knowable one and we have found our rest in that supreme state.”
8 “We know to rest in the ultimate void in our meditation and to get rid of our false thoughts of bodies by our intense application to the abstract, 9 by ridding ourselves from the inventions and wanderings of our imagination, by escaping from the hot passion for the sights of this dream world, by ceasing to mistake the shells of clams for silver, by our deliverance from falsely judging ourselves as dead either in our sleep or dream, 10 by our knowledge that the wind and its movement are identical and water is the same as its fluidity, by our distrust in this magical world and fairyland of our fancy, 11 by our disbelief in the magical scenes of this world and the aerial castles of fairies, by our mistrust of water in a mirage, gardens in the sky, and double moons of heaven, 12 by knowing it is no earthquake if our tottering footsteps should shake and slip in our drunkenness, and by not seeing a ghost in a shadow as children do, or seeing the braids of hair hanging down from the clouds in heaven. 13 Sage, from these and other examples that you have given for our instruction, you have suddenly erased our belief in the visible sights of this world.”
14 Rama added, “My ignorance is dispelled. I have come to the knowledge of truth by your good grace. O chief of sages, I acknowledge you as having brought me from impenetrable darkness to light. 15 I am freed from my doubts and set to the light of the true nature of God. Now I will act as you say, acknowledging the transparent truth (of viewing God as manifest in nature). 16 Remembering and reconsidering your words, so filled with ambrosial sweetness and full of delightful taste, I am filled with fresh delight, though already satisfied and refreshed by their sense.”
17 “I have nothing to do for myself at present, nor is there anything left for me to do. I am as I am and have ever been, always without any craving for myself. 18 What way can there be to our true bliss other than what you have shown? Otherwise, I find this wide-extended field of the earth is full of only sorrow and misery. 19 I have no foe to annoy me or a friend to give me any joy. I have no field to work in, no enemy to fear, and no good soul to rely upon. Our misunderstanding makes this world appear so troublesome, while our good sense makes it all agreeable.”
20 “How could we know all this without your good grace? It is never possible for a boy to cross over a river without the assistance of a boat or a bridge.”
21 Lakshman said, “I have come to know the truth today through your divine sermon, holy sage. You have removed the doubts that had been inherent and inherited in my repeated births. All this is by virtue of the merit I acquired in former births. I feel the radiance of a holy light in me, shining as brightly as the cooling beams of moonlight. 22 It is strange that men disregard this heavenly bright light and become entangled in a thousand errors to be burnt in the end like dried wood by their foul mistake and great misfortune.”
23 Vishwamitra said, “Through our great merit we have heard this holy lecture from the mouth of the sage which has cleansed our inner souls like a thousand baths in the clear stream of the Ganges.”
24 Rama said, “We have seen the highest peak of all prosperity and the best of all that is to be seen. We have known the end of all learning and the last extremity of adversity. We have seen many countries and heard many speeches, but never have we heard or seen or known anything better than the discourse on the beauty of the soul which the sage has shown to us today.”
25 Narada added, “Today our ears are purified from hearing what we have never heard before, whether preached by Brahma, the gods above, or men below.”
26 Lakshman replied, “Sage, you have entirely dispelled all our inner and outer darkness. You have shown us the transcendent light of the bright sun of the Divine Soul.”
27 Satrughna said, “I am satisfied and tranquilized and thought free in the Supreme Soul. I am forever full and perfect in myself. I sit quite content with my singleness.”
28 Dasharata repeated, “By the merit of our deeds of repeated lives, O chief of sages, we have been sanctified this day by your sacred and sanctifying speech.”
29 Valmiki related:— As the king and his courtiers were speaking this way, the sage opened his mouth again and spoke words filled with pure and purifying knowledge. 30Vasishta said, “Hear me, O moonlike king of Raghu’s race, and do as I ask. Rise now and honor the assembled brahmins who deserve their due honor at the close of a discourse.
31 Rise therefore and satisfy their desires with your plentiful gifts. Thereby you will obtain the merit that attends on the learning of the Vedas, doing your duties according to their dictates. 32 It is the obligation of even a mean, worm-like man to honor the brahmins to their utmost at the end of a sermon on salvation. How much more important it is for a monarch to discharge this necessary duty.”
33 Hearing this command of the sage, the king held reverent silence and signaled his messengers to go to all ten sides of his dominions and invite thousands of brahmins who were acquainted with the Vedas to come without delay to the royal court. 34 He ordered them to go to Mathura, Surashtra and Gauda and bring with due respect all the brahmins born of Vedic families who lived in those districts.
35 More than ten thousands of brahmins assembled at the royal palace. The king fed them all alike, paying particular regard to the more learned among them. 36 He treated them with the best sorts of food and rice, honored them with their rewards, and gave them a good many gifts. After honoring them in this manner; he offered his oblations to the spirits of his departed ancestors and gave his offerings to the family gods of his house. 37 Next King Dasharata treated his friends and relatives with proper food, then fed his companions and servants and the citizens all on the same day. His attention was at last directed to the feeding of the poor and needy, and of the lame and blind and lunatics.
38 Having discharged the duties of the festival to his utmost, he commanded a great festival to be held in his hall, all decorated with silk and embroidery and with gold, gems and pearls. 39 The city was adorned and lighted like the ever bright Mount Meru. There were celebrations and merry dancing of exuberant girls and players in every house. 40 Bells rang and cymbals sounded everywhere, drums beating at every door. Flutes and wind instruments blew on every side, and guitars and stringed instruments were played competing with each other. 41 Markets were closed. Buyers and sellers stopped their business. Raised arms of merry dancers in the streets, shaking and waving, looked like a grove of plants shaking in the air. The glittering light of the teeth of strolling players, displayed in their comic dance and loud laughter, looked like the starry heaven. 42 There were heroic dances attended by the players’ loud shouts, and melodramas accompanied by the soft and sweet musical compositions of performers. There was also a staggering and strutting dance on one leg, thumping the ground with the other.
43 Here they flung flower wreaths glittering like stars and falling down in showers. Flowers scattered over the ground like raindrops were indiscriminately trodden under the feet of passersby.
44 Here actresses danced with loose ornaments and gestures of love. There the bards chanted their hymns with clarity as brahmins recited and songstresses sang. 45 Here fools and drunkards drank their fill of wine and food mongers fed upon their foods of various kinds.
46 The insides of houses were whitewashed like bodies of princes with ointments of moonlight color. 47 Servants and maids attending on the king idly walked about adorned in flashy clothes of various colors. They graced the royal festival with their decorations of necklaces and sweet perfumes on their bodies. 48 Sprightly ballet girls, smeared with perfumed pastes and decorated with glittering ornaments, promptly ran to the ball at the royal hall.
49 Thus King Dasharata entertained for a whole week, passing a full seven nights in festive rejoicing while he distributed gifts and food for as many days, which contributed to inexhaustible prosperity on earth.
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Chapter 215 — Eulogy on This Work and the Mode of Its Recital
1 Valmiki said:— O most intelligent Bharadwaja, the chief of my students, now you have heard how the great Rama and others came to the knowledge of the knowable One. They passed across this vale of misery and sorrow by attending to these lectures.
2 Fix your sight upon the light of Brahman and conduct yourself gladly by abandoning all your affections and cares of this world and by remaining brave with your living liberation and tranquility of mind. 3 O you sinless one, know that the learned and the humble do not mix with worldly men but remain steady as Rama and others in their right principles. They are never liable to be deluded although they are troubled by temptations on all sides. 4 Thus these men of great natures such as King Dasharata, Prince Rama and his brothers, together with their companions, all attained the state of the living liberated.
5 Now, my son Bharadwaja who naturally is of a liberal mind, you have become more liberated by hearing these sermons on the salvation of souls. 6 It is possible even for children to obtain liberation by attention to those holy lectures. They are the most evident and surest means to salvation. Therefore they cannot fail to convince you of their truth.7 The high minded, sinless and sorrow-less sons of Raghu’s race attained the holy state of perfection and self-liberation. So you also obtain that best and highest state by attending upon the lectures of the divine sage Vasishta. 8 Weak men of good understanding can know the knowable though the advice of the good and service under the great, and by humble questions and the explanations of the learned, just as the Raghavas and others did under Vasishta.
9 The ties of greed and affection that have tightly bound the hearts of the ignorant all tend to prevent them, like playful children, from inquiring into the means of their liberation, until they become too old to benefit by their knowledge. 10 Only those who can discern the minds of high minded men can come to the knowledge of truth. Only such men no longer return to this world of sorrow. This is the substance of all that I can speak to you. 11 Having first received your instruction from the teacher, you must weigh well and digest its meaning in yourself. Then communicate its sense to the most sensible and intelligent student. Sages and saints say that this constitutes the three liberal arts of science. Know this and you need no more to become wise when your boyhood is over.
12 Whoever read this book with some understanding of its meaning, and whoever copies it without expectation of getting a fee, and whoever recites or causes it to be recited either with or without any desire of reward, shall have his ample reward in the land of the Aryas.
13 These men receive the same reward as performing a rajasuya sacrifice. They are entitled to heavenly seats in their pure essence as often as they ascend after their death on earth, and until they attain final liberation.
14 The god Brahma of unknowable form first composed this work in his excellent diction. Considering it to be the only means to liberate mankind, Brahma had revealed it to the assembly of saints. Therefore let nobody take the truth of this saying to be an untruth.
15At the close of reciting these lectures on the way to attain human salvation, it is suitable for every sensible man to honor brahmins with diligence and serve them with desirable gifts of food and drink and furnish them with good houses for their lodging. 16 They should also be rewarded with gifts and payments and supplied with money to their hearts’ desire and to the utmost capacity of the donor. Then the giver or master of the ceremony should rest assured of having discharge his duty and reaped the merit according to the intent of the scriptures.
17 Thus I have repeated to you this great scripture which explains divine knowledge and pure truth with many great tales and stories that serve as examples and illustrations so that you may clearly understand these concealed doctrines. May your hearing these serve to lead you to utter indifference of this world and to desire your liberation while you are alive in this world. May this also tend to your continued prosperity and engage your attention towards perfection of your knowledge and devotion, and to the discharge of the duties of your station in life without fail.
• • •
Chapter 216 — The Celestial Messenger’s Message of Liberation
1 Valmiki continued to say:—
Thus I have related to you, O King Arishtanemi, whatever the pot-born Vasishta taught and preached to the princes. It is certain that you will attain the same elevated state as they did by hearing these lectures on sacred knowledge.
2 King Arishtanemi replied:—
O venerable sage, your kind look is enough to free us from bondage in this world. Hence I am not only brought to light, but saved from the ocean of this world by your favor.”
3 The Heavenly Messenger said (to the apsara Suruchi):—
After saying this, King Arishtanemi seemed amazed. Then he began to speak these words to me with a graceful voice. 4 The King said, “I bow down to you, O divine messenger, and wish all safety to attend on you. It is said that the friendship of the good is attended with seven benefits, all of which you have conferred upon me. 5 Now return safely to your seat in the heaven of Indra. Know that I am both gladdened and grown unconcerned with worldly concerns by hearing this discourse from you. 6 I shall continue to remain here for ever more without feeling any anxiety. I will think well and ponder deeply into the sense of all that I have heard from you.”Now I tell you, O lady, that I was quite surprised to see so much courteous behavior on the part of a king. 7 He said, “I have never heard before such words filled with so much knowledge as I have come to hear from you. It has filled my inner spirit with as much joy as if I have drunk my fill of ambrosial nectar.”
8 Then I came to you, O sinless apsara, at the asking of Valmiki, in order to relate to you all that you have asked of me. Now I shall turn my path towards the celestial city of Indra.
9 The apsara said:—
Now I must thank you, O very fortunate messenger of the gods, for all that you have related to me. My knowledge of this and its benign influence has entirely calmed my spirit.10 I am quite satisfied in myself, and will remain always free from sorrow and all the sickening cares of life. You may now go to your destination at Indra’s world with all speed attending on your journey there.
11 So saying Suruchi, the best of the apsara nymphs, continued to keep her seat on the slope of the Himalayas, near the Gandhamadana Mount of fragrance, and reflect on the sense of what she had heard of divine knowledge. 12 Now my son, as you have fully heard all the teachings of Vasishta, you are at liberty to do as you like upon considering well their meaning.
13 Karanya said:—
The memory of the past, the sight of the present, and the talk of future events, together with the existence of the world are all as false as the sights in our dreams or of water in a mirage or the birth of a child to a barren woman. 14 I gain nothing from my deeds, nor lose anything by what is left undone. I live to do as it happens, or at the impulse of the occasion and without any effort on my part.
15 Agastya said:—
O Sutikshna, saying thus Karunya, the worthy son of Agnivesya, continued to pass his time in the discharge of his duties, as they occurred to him from time to time. 16 You, O Sutikshna, should never keep any doubts regarding the acts you must perform after you attain divine knowledge. Doubt destroys the virtue of the deed, just as selfishness takes away its merit.
Unnamed person speaking:—
17 Upon hearing the sage’s speech which reconciles the two incompatible fields of action and reflection into the unity of their combination, Sutikshna bowed to his teacher and uttered the following words with due submission to him.
18 Sutikshna said:—
Any action done in ignorance of the actor is reckoned as no act of his. It is one’s act only if done with full knowledge. But actions done with reason by reasonable men are invaluable in their nature. All our acts are best seen by the light of the intellect, just like the actions of actors on a stage lit by candle light. 19 The presence of the Supreme Soul in us, the action of our hearts, directs the motions of our bodies. It is like the malleability of gold that allows it to be molded into many forms of jewelry. 20 The great body of waters gives rise to roaring waves and little playful waves that heave and move in our sight. So the inherence of the great Soul fills great and small alike.
21 I submit and bear with all that happens to me because there is no escape from destiny and no neglecting the sound sayings of sages. O venerable sage, I acknowledge my knowledge of the knowable one only by your good grace. 22 I owe it to myself to be quite happy with your favor. I prostrate on the ground before you for lifting me up from the sorrowful pit of the world. There is no other way to repay my gratitude to my venerable teacher. 23 There is no other act whereby one may express one’s obligation to the teacher for his salvation in this world. I can only offer myself to your service with my whole body and mind and the words of my mouth.
24 By your good grace, O my good sage, I have passed over the ocean of this world. I am filled with infinite joy amidst all these worlds. I am set free from all my doubts. 25 I bow down to that Brahman who is sung of in the Sama Veda as filling all this universe, like the waters of the ocean fill the boundless deep, whose memory fills our souls with ecstasy. 26I also bow down to sage Vasishta who is pure knowledge incarnate, who is immersed in the joyous ecstasy of divine bliss, who is beyond all duality and sees only the one in the unity of infinite emptiness, who is ever like the pure and stainless one, who witnesses the innermost of all minds, who is beyond all states and conditions, and who is quite devoid of the three qualities.
27Here ends the Maharamayana of sage Vasishta with its continuation by his recorder Valmiki and the speech of the celestial messenger at the latter end of the Book on Nirvana, the ultimate extinction of the living soul.
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