Chapter 12 — Yama on the Mistake of Individual Consciousness; Different Levels of Awareness

Yama said:—

The consciousness of gods, demigods and men as distinct beings is quite wrong because they are in no way distinct from the infinite ocean of Divine Spirit of which they are all like undulations. Our false conceptions make us distinguish between ourselves and the Supreme Soul. The thought of being separate and apart from the Supreme Spirit is the cause of our degradation from our pristine holiness and the image of God, in which man was made at first and was infused with his holy spirit.

Remaining within the depth of the Divine Spirit, yet thinking ourselves to live without it, is the cause of keeping us in darkness on the surface of the earth. Our consciousness of ourselves as Brahma, being spoiled by the various thoughts in our minds, becomes the root of our activities; while the pure consciousness of “I am” is free from all actions and energies. The inner desire of the heart and mind becomes the seed of earthly actions which sprouts forth in thorny plants like the karanja, a handful of which fills the ground with thick weeds. Living bodies lie scattered like pebbles on earth, rolling about or lying down with their temporary joy and grief in continued succession, owing to their ignorance of themselves.

From the highest heaven of Brahma down to the lowest deep, there is a constant undulation of the Divine Spirit, like the vibration of the wind, which keeps all beings in their successive wailing and rejoicing, and in their constant births and deaths. There are some of pure and enlightened souls, like the gods Hari (Vishnu), Hara (Shiva) and others. Some are of somewhat darkened understandings, such as men and the inferior demigods. Some are placed in greater darkness, like worms and insects. Others are situated in utter darkness, like trees and vegetables. 10 Some grow far away from the great ocean of the Divine Spirit, like the grass and weeds of the earth that are ever degraded owing to their being the emblems of sin. Others, like dull stones and heinous snakes, are barred from elevation. 11 Some have come to being only with their bodies and they do not know that death, like a mouse burrowing a house, has been undermining the fabric of their bodies.

12 Some have gone through the ocean of divine knowledge and become like gods in their living bodies, like Brahma, Hari, and Hara. 13 Some, having a little understanding, have gone down the depth of holy knowledge without ever reaching the bottom or finding its other shore. 14 Some beings, having undergone many births and having many more yet to pass through, remain abortive and unenlightened without the light of truth. 15 Some are tossed up and down, like fruit flung from the hand. Those flying upward have gone higher still, and those going down have fallen still lower and lower.

16 It is forgetfulness of Supreme joy that causes one to wander in various births of happiness or sorrow. Knowledge of the Supreme causes the cessation of reincarnation, just like the memory of Garuda destroys the power of the most destructive poison.