Chapter 3 — Subtle & Gross Bodies; Formless Mind (Brahma) Wills the Appearance of Forms

Rama said, “It is even so as you have said, that the mind is a pure essence and has no connection with the earth and other material substances. Mind is truly Brahma itself. Now tell me, O holy one, why the memory of his former states does not cause his birth, as it is in the case of mine, yours and of all other beings.”

Vasishta replied:—

Whoever had a former body, accompanied with the acts of his prior existence, necessarily retains its memories, which are the cause of his being reborn. But when Brahman is known to have no prior act, how is it possible for him to have memory of anything? Therefore he exists without any other cause except the causation of his own mind. It is by his own causality that the Divine Spirit is self-born, and is himself his own spirit. He is everlasting. His body is born of itself from the self-existent Brahman. This unborn or self-born Brahma has no material body whatever, except his subtle spirit body (ativahika) or astral body (linga deha).

Rama said, “The everlasting body is one thing and the mortal body is another. Now tell me sage whether all created beings have a subtle body like that of Brahma?”

Vasishta replied:—

All created beings produced of a cause have two bodies (subtle and gross). But the unborn being which is without a cause has only one body. The uncreated Brahman is the cause of all created beings, but the uncreated spirit, having no cause for itself, has only one body. 10 The prime lord of creatures has no material body but manifests himself in the empty form of his spiritual body. 11 His body is composed of only mind and he has no connection with the earth or any other material substance. He is the first lord of creatures who stretched creation from his empty body.

12 All creation is only forms of images or ideas in his empty mind. They have no other pattern or originality in their nature. It is a truth well known to everyone that everything is of the same nature with its cause.

13 Brahma is a nonexistent being in the manner of perfect consciousness. He is purely a mind form. He is an intellectual entity, not material. 14 He is the prime cause of all material productions in the physical world, and he is born of himself with his prime mobile force in the form of the mind. 15 It was by the first impulse given by the prime moving power that this expanse of creation came to be spread in the same ratio as the currents of air and water are in proportion to the impetus given to them. 16 This creation shining so bright to our sight derives its light from the luminous mind of the formless Brahma, and it appears real to our conceptions.

17 What we experience in dreams is the best illustration, like the enjoyment of sexual bliss in a dream. In a dream an unreal object of desire presents itself as an actual gain to our fond and false imagination.

18 The empty, immaterial and formless spirit is described as the self-born and corporeal lord of creatures in the form of the first male. 19 He remains imperceptible in his state of pure consciousness, but becomes manifest to all by the evolution of his will. He cannot be discerned in his absolute state (of inaction), but becomes conspicuous to us in the display of his nature (in creation).

20 Brahma is the divine power of will. He is personified as the first male agent of creation, but he is devoid of any physical body. He has only the spiritual form of the mind, and he is the sole cause of the existence of the three worlds.

21 It is Brahma’s will that makes the self-born exert his energies, just as human desires impel all mankind to action, and as the empty mind manifests itself as a mountain of desires. 22 Then it forgets its everlasting and incorporeal nature and assumes to itself a solid material body and shows itself in the shape of a deceptive apparition. 23 But Brahma, who is of an unsullied understanding, is not involved in forgetting himself. That occurs through the transformation of his unknowable nature to the known state of will. 24 Being unborn of material substance, he sees no appearance like others who are exposed by their ignorance to the misleading errors of falsehood that appear before them like a mirage.

25 As Brahma is merely of the form of the mind, and not composed of any material substance, so the world being the product of the eternal mind is of the same nature as its original source. 26 Again, as the uncreated Brahma has no cause for himself, so his creation has no cause other than himself. 27 Therefore there is no difference between product and its producer, and it is certain that the work must be as perfect as its author.

28 There is nothing like cause and effect to be found in this creation because the three worlds are only prototypes of the archetype of the Divine Mind. 29 The world is stretched out in the model of the Divine Mind. It is not formed by any other holy spirit. Creation is as immanent in the mind of God as fluidity is inherent in water. 30 The mind spreads out this extended unreality of the world, like castles in the air, and builds paradise cities. 31 There is no such thing as materiality, which is as false a conception as mistaking a rope for a snake. Hence it is impossible for Brahma and other beings to exist as individual bodies.

32 Even spiritual bodies are nonexistent to enlightened understanding. As for the material body, it has no room in existence. 33 Man (manu), who derives his name from his mind (manas), is a form of the will-soul called Virinchi (the Creator, a name of Brahma). His dominion is the mental or intellectual world (mano-rajyam) where all things appear in the form of realities. 34 The mind is the creative Brahma (virinchitvas) through the exercise of its inherent will (sankalpa, intent, volition) for beginning or creation. It displays itself in the form of the visible universe by development of its own essence.

35 This Creator or creative power is of the form of the mind, just like the mind itself is of the form of the Creator. Neither has any connection with any material substance, which is a mere creation of the imagination. 36 All visible things are contained in the bosom of the mind, just as the lotus blossom resides in the seed of the lotus. Hence there is no difference between the mental and visible appearances of things, nor has anyone anywhere ever doubted this.

37 Whatever you see in a dream, whatever desires you have at heart, and all the ideals of your fancy, together with your ideas, notions and impressions of phenomena, know that it is your mind that is the receptacle for them all. 38 But the mind can choose to hold phenomena as desirable, making them as harmful to their beholder as an apparition is to a child. 39 The ideal of phenomena develops itself as the germ contained in the seed and, in its proper time and place, it becomes a large tree.

40 If there is no rest with what is real, there can be no peace with phenomena that are full of troubles and give no solace to the mind. It is impossible for the feeling of the perception of phenomena to ever be lost to their perceiver, yet only its subsidence is said to constitute liberation.