Chapter 15 — Story of Leela and Saraswati (Padma’s Body on the Shrine)

Vasishta said:—

The world is a void and as null as the pearls in the sky (seen by optical delusion). It is as unreal as the soul in the emptiness of consciousness. All its objects appear like un-engraved images on the column of the mind that is without any engraving or engraver.

As the motion of waters in the sea causes waves to rise of themselves, so phenomena as they appear to us are like waves in the calm spirit of the Supreme. Like sunbeams seen underwater, and like water appearing in the sands of the desert (mirage), so it is fancy that paints the world as true to us. The world’s bulk is like that of an atom appearing like a hill. The fancied world is no more than a facsimile of the mind of its maker, just as sunbeams underwater are only reflections of the light above, a false idea.

The ideal world is only a castle in the air, and this earth is as unreal as a dream and as false as the objects of our desire. In the light of philosophy, the earth that appears solid is no better than the water in the mirage of a sandy desert. It is never in existence. In this supposed substantial form of the world, the illusive forms of phenomena resemble only castles in the sky and rivers in a mirage. If the visible scenes of the world were to be weighed on scales, they would be found to be as light as air and as hollow as a vacuum.

10 The ignorant taken away by the sound of words in disregard of their meanings, when they come to their senses, will find that there is no difference between the world and Brahma. 11 The dull world is the issue of Consciousness, like sky is of sunbeams. The light of Consciousness is like the light of the rarified rays of the sun that, like water from huge clouds, causes seeds to shoot into plants.

12 As a city in a dream is finer than one seen in the waking state, so this world that can be seen is as subtle as an imaginary one. 13 Therefore know the dream world to be the inverse of the conscious soul, and the substantive world to be the reverse of the insubstantial vacuum. The words fullness and vacuum are both as empty as airy breath because these opposites are only different views of the same Consciousness. 14 Therefore know that this visible world is no production at all. It is as nameless as it is undeveloped, and as nonexistent as its seeming existence.

15 The universe is the sphere of the spirit of God in infinite space. It has no foundation elsewhere except in that Spirit of which it is only a particle filling a space equal to a bit of infinity. 16 It is as transparent as the sky and without any solidity at all. It is as empty as empty air and like a city pictured in imagination.

17 Attend now to the story of the Temple which is pleasant to hear and which will impress this truth deeply in your mind.

18 Rama said, “Tell me at once, O holy one, the long and short of the story of the temple, which will help my understanding of these things.”

19 Vasishta said:—

In the past, on the surface of the earth, there lived a king named Padma (Lotus) because he was like the blooming and fragrant lotus of his race. Padma was equally blessed with wisdom, prosperity and good children. 20 He observed the bounds of his duties, just as the sea preserves the boundaries of countries. He destroyed the mist of his adversaries, like the sun dispels the darkness of night. He was like the moon to his lotus-like queen, and like burning fire to the hay of evils and crimes.

21 He was the asylum of the learned, like Mount Meru is the residence of the gods. He was the moon of fair fame risen from the ocean of the earth. He was like a lake to the geese of good qualities, and like the sun to the lotuses of purity. 22 In warfare, he was like a blast to the vines of his antagonists. He was like a lion to the elephants (desires) of his mind. He was the favorite of all learning, a patron of the learned, and a mine of all admirable qualities. 23 He stood fixed like Mount Mandara after it had churned the ocean of the demons. He was like spring season to the blossoms of joy, and like the god of the floral bow to the flowers of blooming prosperity. 24 He was the gentle breeze to the shimmering of playful vines, and like the god Vishnu in his valor and energy. He shone like the moon on the florets of good manners, and like wildfire to the brambles of licentiousness.

25 His consort was the happy Queen Leela (Play), playful as her name implied and filled with every grace, as if Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, had appeared in person upon earth. 26 She was gentle with her submission to her lord, and was sweet in her speech without art. She was always happy and slow in her movements, and ever smiling as the moon. 27 Her lovely lotus-white face was decorated with painted spots, and her fair form, fresh as a new blown bud, appeared like a moving bed of lotuses.

28 She was buxom as a playful plant and bright as a branch of kunda jasmine flowers, full of glee and good humor. With her palms red like coral and her fingers white as lilies, she was in her person a collection of spring beauties. 29 Her pure form was sacred to touch and conferred joy to the heart, like the holy stream of the Ganges exhilarates a flock of swans floating upon it.

30 Leela was like a second Rati born to serve her lord. Padma was Kama in person on earth to give joy to all souls. 31 She was sorry at his sorrow and delighted to see him delightful. She was thoughtful to see him pensive. Thus she was an exact picture of her lord, except that she was afraid to find him angry.