1 Vasishta resumed:—
The Supreme Deity is the all-pervading spirit and the great God and Lord of all. He is without beginning or end and is identical with the infinite bliss of his translucent self-reflection. 2 It is from this supreme joy and purely intellectual substance that the individual soul and mind have their rise before their production of the Universe.
3 Rama asked, “How could the self-reflection of Brahma, as the infinite spirit and one without a second, conceive in it a finite individual soul other than itself and which was not in being?”
4 Vasishta replied:—
The immense and transparent spirit of Brahma remained in a state of non-existence (asat), a state of ineffable bliss as seen by the adept yogi, but of formidable vastness as conceived by the uninitiated novice. 5 This state of supreme bliss, ever tranquil and full with the pure essence of God, is altogether indefinable and incomprehensible, even by the most proficient in divine knowledge.
6 Thence springs a power (an aspect), like the germ of a seed, possessed of consciousness and energy which is called the living and conscious soul and which must last until its final liberation. 7 The vast empty sphere of this being’s clear mirror of the mind reflects images of innumerable worlds set above one another, like statues engraved upon it.
8 Rama, know that the individual soul is an extension of Divine Spirit, like the swelling of the sea and the burning of a candle when its flame is unshaken by the wind. 9 The individual soul is possessed of a finite awareness as distinguished from the clear and calm consciousness of the Divine Spirit. Its vitality is the nature of the living God, but it is only a flash of the empty consciousness of Brahma. 10 Vitality is the essential property of the soul, resembling the inseparable properties of motion in wind, warmth in fire and coldness in ice. 11 When we forget the nature of Divine Consciousness and Spirit, our self-consciousness leaves us with a knowledge of ourselves and this is called the individual soul. 12 It is by means of this positive consciousness that we know our egoism or self-existence. It strikes us more glaringly than a spark of fire, and enlightens us to the knowledge of ourselves more than any other light.
13 When we look up to heaven we see a blue vault beyond which our eyes have no the power to pierce. In the same way, when we inquire into the nature of soul, we cannot see beyond consciousness of ourselves. 14 Our knowledge of the soul is presented to us in the form of an ego that is known by its thoughts, like the empty sky appearing as a blue sphere because of the clouds. 15 Ego differentiates the soul from our ideas of space and time and stirs within it like the breath of winds by reason of its subjectivity of thoughts. 16 The subject of thoughts is known as ego. It is also called various other names like the intellect, the soul, the mind, illusion (maya) and nature (prakriti).
17 The mind (chetas) which is the subject of thoughts contemplates on the nature of elementary matter, and thus becomes of itself the quintessence of the five elements. 18 The quintessential mind next becomes like a spark of fire and remains like a dim star, a nebula in the emptiness of the yet unborn universe. 19 The mind takes the form of a spark of fire by thinking on its essence, which gradually develops itself like a seed in the form of the cosmic egg by its internal force. 20 The same fiery spark figuratively called the cosmic egg (brahmanda) became like a snowball in water and conceived the great Brahma within its hollow womb.
21 Then as sensuous spirits assume some bodily forms at pleasure, although they dissolve like a magic city in empty air, so this Brahma appeared to view in an embodied form. 22 Some of them appear in the form of immovable, and others in those of moving beings. Some assume the shapes of aerials or whatever their fondness leads them to choose for themselves.
23 Thus in the beginning of creation, the first born living being had a form for himself as he liked. Afterwards he created the world in his form of Brahma or Virinchi (“Creator”). 24 Whatever the self-born and self-willed soul wishes to produce, the same appears immediately to view as produced of its own accord. 25 Brahma, originating in Divine Consciousness, was by his nature the primary cause of all without any cause of his own. He appointed the acts of men to be the cause of their transition from one state to another in the course of the world.
26 Thoughts naturally rise in the mind to subside in itself, like water foaming, but acts done thereby bind us like passing froth or flying birds are caught by ropes and traps. 27 Thoughts are the seeds of action and action is the soul of life. Past acts produce future consequence, but inaction is attended with no result.
28 The individual soul bears its vitality like a seed bears the germ in its bosom. This sprouts forth in future acts, like the seed in various forms of leaves, fruits and flowers of trees. 29 All other individual souls that appeared in the various forms of their bodies had such forms given to them by Brahma according to their acts and desires in pre-material creations in former kalpa ages.
30 So people’s own personal acts are the causes of their repeated births and deaths in this or other worlds. They ascend higher or sink lower by virtue of good or bad deeds that proceed from their hearts and the nature of their souls. 31 Our actions are the efforts of our minds and they shape our good or bad destinies according to their merit or demerit.
All fate and luck in the existing world are the fruits and flowers of past acts, even of those done in prior kalpa ages. This is called their destiny.