Chapter 53 — The Second Leela Visits the Temple of Dead King Padma; Representations of Memory Are Not the Creations of Brahma
1 Vasishta said:—
The second Leela having obtained the blessing of the goddess, proceeded with her imagined body to meet her royal spouse in heaven beyond the skies. 2 Having assumed her spiritual form which was as light as air, she fled merrily like a bird and was blown aloft by the fond desire of joining her beloved lord. 3 She met a maiden sent by the goddess of wisdom issuing out of the best model of her heart’s desire. 4 The maiden said, “I am the daughter of your friend Saraswati. I welcome you, O beautiful lady, to this place. I have been waiting and expecting you here on your way through the sky.”
5 Leela said, “Lead me, O lotus-eyed maid, to the side of my husband, as the visit of the good and great never goes for nothing.”
6 Vasishta said:—
The maiden replied, “Come let us go there.” So saying, she stood before her looking forward on her way. 7 Then both proceeding together onward, they came to the doorway of heaven which was as broad as the open palm of the hand and marked with lines like those read in palmistry. 8 They passed the region of the clouds and stepped over the currents of winds, then passing beyond the orbit of the sun, they reached the stations of the constellations. 9 From there they passed through regions of air and water to the worlds where gods and saints live, then they crossed over the worlds of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to the great circle of the universe. 10 Their spiritual bodies pierced through its opening like the humidity of ice water passes out of the pores of a tight water-jar. 11 Leela’s body was of the form of her mind, which was of the nature of its own bent and tenor, and conceived these wanderings within itself.
12 Having traversed the worlds of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and having crossed the limit of the manifest spheres and the environs of atmospheric water and air, 13 they found an empty space as spacious as the scope of the great Consciousness and impassable by the swift garuda even in millions of kalpa ages. 14 There they saw an infinity of shapeless and nameless worlds scattered about like countless fruit in a great forest. 15 They pierced through the circumference of one of these orbs before them and passed inside like a worm creeps inside a fruit that it has nibbled.
16 This brought them back by the same worlds of Brahma, Indra and others to the orb of the globe below the starry skies. 17 Here they saw the same country, the same city and the same tomb as before. After entering the tomb, they sat beside the corpse of Padma covered under a heap of flowers.
18 At this time Leela lost sight of the heavenly maiden (sent to accompany her) who had been her companion all this while, and who had now disappeared like a phantom of her illusion. 19 Then she looked at the face of her husband, lying as a dead body in his bed, and recognized him as such by her right discretion. 20 “This must be my husband,” she thought. “Ah my very husband who fell fighting with Sindhu. Now he has attained this seat of departed heroes where he rests in peace. 21 By the grace of the goddess I have arrived here in person and reckon myself truly blessed to find my husband also as such.” 22 Then she took a beautiful fan in her hand and began to wave it over his body like the moon moves in the sky over the earth.
23 The waking, first Leela asked, “Tell me, O goddess, in what manner did the king and his servants and handmaids speak to this lady, and what did they think her to be?”
24 The goddess replied:—
It was by our gift of wisdom to them that this lady, that king and those servants found themselves to share in the one and same intellectual soul in which they all existed. 25 Every soul is a reflection of Divine Consciousness and is destined by his own fixed decree to represent individual souls to one another like refractions of the same, or like shadows in a magic show. 26 Thus the king received his wife as his companion and queen, and his servants as related with himself. 27 He saw the unity of his soul with hers and theirs, and no distinction existing between anyone of them. He was astonished to find that there was nothing distinct in them from what he had in himself.
28 The waking, first Leela said, “Why did not that Leela meet her husband in her own body according to her request and the boon that was granted to her?”
29 The goddess replied:—
It is not possible for unenlightened souls (such as that of the young Leela) to approach holy spirits in person. They are visible and accessible only to the deserving. They are unapproachable by gross bodies as sunlight is inaccessible by a shadow. 30 So the established law from the beginning of creation is that intelligent souls can never join with dull beings and gross matter, as truth can never be mixed with falsehood. 31 And so is that as long as a boy is prepossessed of his notion of a ghost, it is vain to try to convince him of the falsehood of demons as mere shadows of his imagination. 32 And as long as the feverish heat of ignorance rages within the soul, it is impossible for the coolness of the moon of intelligence to spread over it. 33 So long also as one believes himself composed of a physical body incapable of travel in the higher atmosphere, it is impossible to make him believe otherwise.
34 By virtue of one’s knowledge and discrimination, and by his own merit and divine blessing, one acquires a saintly form with which he ascends to the higher regions, as you have done with this body of yours. 35 As dry leaves of trees are burnt in no time by burning fire, so this physical body is quickly lost by one’s assumption of his spiritual frame. 36 The effect of a blessing or curse on anyone is nothing else than his obtaining the state he desired or feared to have.
37 As the false appearance of a snake in a rope is attended with no motion or action of the serpent, so the unreal views of Leela’s husband and others were only the motionless images of her own imagination. 38 Whoever views the false apparitions of the dead as present before the vision of his mind, he must know them as reflections of his past and constant memories of them. 39 So our notions of all these worlds are mere products of our memories. They are not any creation of Brahma or from any other cause but the simple productions of our desire.
40 They who are ignorant of the knowable spirit of God have in them only the notions of the outer world as they view the distant orb of the moon within themselves.