Chapter 3 — The World Is Eternal; There Can Be No Creation or Dissolution

Rama said, “But it is said that Brahma, the lord of creation, springs up by his memory at the end of a kalpa and stretches out the world from his memory of it, in the beginning of creation.”

Vasishta answered:—

So it is said, O support of Raghu’s race, that after the universal dissolution, the lord of creatures rises by his predestination and at the commencement of a new creation. It is by his will that the world is stretched out from his recollection and is manifested like an ideal city in the presence of Brahma, the creative power.

The Supreme Being can have no memory of the past at the beginning of a new creation because he has no prior birth or death. Therefore this tree-in-the-sky of memory has no relation to Brahma.

Rama asked, “Doesn’t the memory of the past continue in Brahma at his recreation of the world, like the former memory of men upon being reborn? Or are all past memories effaced from the minds of men by the delirium of death in their past lives?”

Vasishta replied:—

All intelligent beings, including Brahma and all others of the past age, who attain nirvana or extinction are, of course, absorbed in one Brahma. Now tell me, my good Rama, where do these past memories and those-with-memories live when they are wholly lost at the final liberation of those-with-memories? It is certain that all beings are liberated and become extinct in Brahma at the great dissolution. Therefore, without the persons who remember, there cannot be memories of anything.

The memory of itself that lives impressed in the empty space of individual intellects, is truly the reservoir of the perceptible and imperceptible worlds. This memory is eternally present before the sight of God as a reflection of his own Consciousness. 10 It shines with the brightness of his self-consciousness from time without beginning and end, and is identical with this world, which is therefore termed self-born.

11 The spiritual body that is the attribute of God from time without beginning is the same as the manifestation of himself (viraja) exhibited in the form of the world or the microcosm. 12 But the world is said to be composed of atoms, which compose the land and woods, the clouds and the firmament. But there are no atoms to form time and space, actions and motions, or revolutions of days and nights. 13 The atoms of matter that fill the world have other initial atoms (of spirit) which are inherent in them and cause them to appear in the forms of mountains and the like. 14 But these forms seeming to be conglomerations of atomic particles, and showing themselves to our vision as lighted objects, are in reality no substantial things.

15 Thus there is no end of the real and unreal sights of things. The real presents itself to the view of the learned, and the unreal to that of the unlearned. 16 The cosmos appears as the immutable Brahma only to the intelligent, and as the mutable visible world to the unintelligent.

17 As these bright worlds appear to roll about like eggs in their spheres, so there are multitudes of other orbs, shining in every atom in the universe. 18 We see pillars carved with figures upon figures upon figures. In the same way the grand pillar of the universe is composed of systems under systems to no end. 19 As sand on a rock, is attached but separable to it, and the grains are countless in number, so the orbs of the three worlds are like dust particles in mountainous body of Brahma. 20 It may be possible to count the particles of ray scattered in sunbeams, but it is impossible to number the atoms of light emanating from the great sun of Brahma.

21 As the sun scatters the his light particles on the sparkling waters and sands of the sea, so does the Intellect of God disperse the atoms of its light all over the emptiness of the universe. 22 As the notion of emptiness fills the mind with the idea of the visible sky, so the thought of creation, which is identical to Brahma, gives us the notion of his intellectual sphere.

23 To understand the creation as something different from Brahma separates man from him, but to take creation as synonymous with Brahma leads him to his joy. 24 The enlightened soul, free from its knowledge of the physical seed and knowing Brahma alone as the fullness filling the vacuum of intellect, knows the Knowable in his inward understanding as being that same as what has proceeded from Him.