Chapter 44 — Enlightened Leela Sees Viduratha’s Queen Leela; Habits of the Mind Reproduce the Same Images

Vasishta said:—

At this instant the great queen, who was in the bloom of youthful beauty, entered Viduratha’s camp like the goddess of grace pops upon the lotus flower. She was decorated with hanging wreaths of flowers and necklaces, and accompanied by a train of her youthful companions and handmaids, all terrified with fear. With her face as bright as the moon and her form as fair as the lily, she appeared like a star of heaven, her teeth shining like sets of stars and her bosom throbbing with fear.

Then one of her companions informed the king about the fate of the warfare, which resembled the onset of demons upon the apsara tribe. “Lord!” she said, “This lady has fled with us from her harem to take refuge under your arms, like a tender vine seeks the shelter of a tree from a rude gust of wind. See the ravishers ravishing the wives of citizens with their uplifted arms, like the swelling waves of the sea in their rapid current carrying away the tree groves from the bank. The guards of the royal harem are all crushed to death by the haughty marauders, as the sturdy trees of the forest are broken down by the furious tornado. Our armies, frightened by the enemy from afar, dare not approach the falling city, as nobody ventures to rescue lotus beds from a flood under the threatening thunders of a rainy night. Hostile forces have poured into the city in terrible numbers and, having set it on fire, are shouting loudly under the clouds of smoke, their weapons brandished on all sides. 10 Handsome ladies are dragged by the hair from their families like screaming cranes caught and carried away by cruel fowlers and fishermen. 11 Now we have brought this luxurious tender creeper to you so that your might may save her from similar fate.”

12 Hearing this, he looked at the goddesses and said, “Now, I will go from here to war and leave this my lady as a humble bee at your lotus feet.” 13 Saying so, the king rose in a rage from his seat and sprang like an enraged lion when pierced and pressed by the tusk of a furious elephant.

14 The widowed Leela saw the queen Leela to be exactly of her form and features, and took her for a true reflection of herself in a mirror. 15 Then the enlightened Leela said to Saraswati, “Tell me, O goddess, how can this lady be exactly like myself? She is what I have been before. How did she come to be like me?”

16 “I see this prime minister with all these soldiers and citizens, these forces and vehicles, all to be the same as mine, and situated in the same place and manner as before. 17 How is it then, O goddess, that they came to be placed in this place? I see them as images placed within and outside the mirror of my mind, and know not whether these are living beings (or my imagination).”

18 Saraswati replied:—

All our external perceptions of things are the immediate effects of our internal conceptions of them. The intellect has the knowledge of all that can be perceived in it, just like the mind has the impressions of mental objects in itself. 19 The external world appears in an instant in the same form and manner to one who has its notion and impression in his intellect and mind, and no distance of time or place or any intermediate cause can create any difference in them. 20 The inner world is seen on the outside, like the internal impressions of our minds appear to be seen outside us in our dreams. Whatever is within, the same appears without, as with our dreams and desires and in all our imaginations and fancies of objects.

21 It is the constant habit of your mind that presents these things as realities to your sight. You saw your husband in the same state in which you thought he was when he died in that city of yours. 22 It is the same place where he now exists. Even now he is presented with the same objects of his thought as he had at that moment. Anything that appears to be different in this state comes from the turn of his mind of thinking it so before. 23 All that appears real to him is the creation of his fancy and is as unreal as his dream or desire; for everything appears to be the same as it is thought of in the mind.

24 Say therefore, what truth can there be in these envisioned objects which are unsubstantial as dreams and in the end vanish into airy nothing? 25 Then know that everything is no better than nothing and, like a dream, proves to be nothing upon waking. Waking is also a dream and equally nothing at death. 26 Death in lifetime is a non-existence and life in death becomes null and extinct. These extinctions of life and death proceed from the fluctuating nature of our notions of them.

27 So there is neither any entity nor a non-entity either. Both appear to us by turns as fallacies. For what after an kalpa aeon neither was nor will be cannot exist today or in any epoch (yuga), whether gone before or coming afterwards. 28 That which is never non-existent is the ever existent Brahman, and That is the world. It is in Him that we see everything rise and fall by our fallacy, and what we falsely term as the creation or the created.

29 As phantoms appear in the emptiness, are all vacant and void, and as the waves of the sea are nothing but its water so do these created things exist and appear in Brahman only. 30 As the minutiae appearing in the air vanish in the air, and as the dust driven by the winds is lost in the winds, so the false notions of yourself and myself are lost in that Supreme Self in which all things rise and fall like waves of the ocean.

31 What reliance can there be in this dust of creation which is no more than the water of the mirage? When everything is united in that sole Unity, the knowledge of individualities is mere fallacy. 32 We see apparitions in the dark, though the darkness itself is no apparition. Our lives and deaths are the false notions of our error, and the entirety of existence is equally the production of gross error (maya). 33 All this is Himself, for He is the great kalpa or will that produces everything. It is He who exists when all things are extinct in Him. Therefore these appearances are neither real nor unreal of themselves.

34 But to say both real and unreal are Brahman is a contradiction. Therefore it is He who fills the infinity of space and abides equally in all things and their minutest particles. 35 Wherever the spirit of Brahman abides, and even in the most minute living particle, It views the whole world in Itself, like one thinking on heat and cold of fire and frost has the same sensation within himself at that moment. 36 So does the pure Consciousness perceive the Holy Spirit of God within itself, just like one sees particles of light flying in his closet at sunrise. 37 So these multitudes of worlds move about like particles in the infinite space of the Divine Mind, as the particles of odorous substances oscillate in empty air. 38 In this way this world abides in its incorporeal state in the mind of God, with all its modifications of existence and nonexistence, emanation and absorption, its condensation into dense and diffusion into subtle, and its movement and rest.

39 But you must know all these modes and conditions of being belong only to material and not to the spirit, which is unconditioned and indivisible. 40 There is no change or division of one’s own soul, so there is no partition or variation of the Supreme Spirit. It is according to ideas in our minds that we see things in their different aspects before us.

41 Yet the word “world” (vishva) is not a meaningless term. It means the all as contained in Brahman. Therefore it is both real and unreal at the same time, like the fallacy of a snake in a rope. 42 It is the false notion (of the snake) that makes the true (rope) appear like the untrue snake to us, which we are apt to take for the true snake itself. So in the same way we make the mistake of taking Divine Consciousness, which is the prime cause of all, to be an individual soul. 43 It is this notion (of the individual soul) that makes us think of ourselves as living beings which, whether it be false or true, is like the appearance of the world in empty air.

44 Thus these little animals delight themselves with their own misconceived idea of being living beings, while there are others who think themselves so by their preconceived notions as such. 45 There are some who have no preconceived notions, and others who retain the same as or a somewhat different notion of themselves than before. Somewhere inborn notions predominate, and sometimes they are entirely lost. 46 Our preconceived notions of ourselves represent unrealities as realities to our minds, and present the thoughts of our former family and birth and the same occupations and professions before us.

47 Such are the representations of your former ministers and citizens, imprinted as realities in your soul, together with the exact time and place and manner of their functions, as before. 48 Because the consciousness of all things is present in the omniscient spirit of God, so the idea of royalty is inherent in the soul of the king. 49 This notion of his goes before him like his shadow in the air, with the same stature and features and the same acts and movements as he had before.

50 In this manner, Leela, know this world is only a shadowy reflection of the eternal ideas of God, and that this reflection is caught by or refracted in the consciousness of all animal souls like in a prismatic mirror. 51 Everything shows itself in every place in the form in which it is. So whatever is in the individual soul casts out a reflection of itself, and a shadow of it is caught by the intellect that is situated outside it.

52 Here is the sky containing the world in which you and I and this prince are situated like reflections of the One Ego only. Know all these are contained within the empty womb of Consciousness and remain as tranquil and transparent as emptiness itself.