1 Vasishta continued:—
It was for your enlightenment, O high minded Rama, that I have told you the story of Dama, Byala, and Kata so that you may derive instruction thereby, and not let it go for nothing as a mere idle story.
2 Slighting the truth and following untruth incur endless miseries of which the careless pursuer of untruth is scarcely aware. 3 See how great was the leadership of Sambara’s army and how they defeated the hosts of the immortal gods. Reflect on the change of their state to contemptible fish in a dry and dirty quagmire. 4 See their former strength which put legions of immortals to flight, and think on their later base servitude as hunters under the chief of Kiratis. 5 See at first their unselfishness of mind and great patience, then at last their vain desires and assumption of the vanity of egotism.
6 In the forest of the world, selfish ego is the root of the extended branches of misery that produces and bears the poisonous blossoms of desire. 7 Therefore, O Rama, be diligent to wipe the sense of your ego from your heart. Try to be happy by always thinking, “This I is nothing.” 8 The error of egoism hides the bright moon of truth like a dark cloud and causes the cooling moonbeams to disappear from sight.
9 The three demons Dama, Byala and Kata, being under the demonic influence of ego and by the excess of their illusion, believed their non-entity to be a positive entity. 10 They are now living as fish in the muddy pool of a lake among the forest lands of Kashmir. Presently they are content feeding with zest upon the moss and weeds growing in it.
11 Rama said, “Tell me sage, how did they come to existence when they were non-existent before? For neither can a nothing be an existent being nor an entity become a non-entity at anytime.”
12 Vasishta replied:—
So it is, O strong armed Rama, that nothing can ever be something and anything can never be nothing. But it is possible for a little thing to be great, and for a great one to be reduced to minuteness. 13 Tell me, what non-entity has come to being or what entity has been lasting forever? All these I will explain to you by the best proofs and examples.
14 Rama answered, “Why sage, all that is existent is ever present before us as our own bodies, and all things beside ourselves. But you said Dama and the other demons were unreal, produced by the magic of Sambara. How could they become real?”
15 Yes Rama, the non-existent and unreal Dama and others seemed to exist by mere illusion, like a mirage appears to be full of water by optical illusion. 16 It is in the same manner that we, these gods and demigods, and everything else are unrealities in fact, and yet we seem to turn about and speak and act like real persons.
17 My existence is as unreal as yours, yet it appears as real as our dream of death in sleep. 18 As the sight of a dead friend in a dream is not real, so the notion of the reality of the world ceases upon the conviction of its unreality, just as that of the death of the person seen in a dream. 19 But such assertions of our non-existence are unacceptable to those deluded into the belief of the reality of the objects of the senses. It is the habit of thinking its reality that will not listen to its contradiction. 20 This mistaken impression of the reality of the world cannot be effaced without the knowledge of its unreality derived from the scriptures and the certainty of thinking it so. 21 He who preaches the unreality of the world and the reality of Brahman is derided by the ignorant as a mad man.
22 The learned and the ignorant cannot agree on this subject, just as drunken and sober men cannot reach an understanding. One who has the distinct knowledge of light and darkness knows the difference between shade and sunlight. 23 It is impossible to turn the ignorant from their belief in the reality of unrealities to truth, just as it is impossible to make a corpse stand on it legs and walk. 24 It is in vain to preach the doctrine of that “Brahman is all” to the vulgar who do not know pure meditation and remain devoted to their ideas that things which can be sensed are real. 25 The learned who know themselves to be Brahman know that it is useless to lecture the ignorant on this subject.
26 The intelligent man, who believes that the supremely quiet spirit of Brahman pervades the whole universe, cannot be distracted by anyone from his firm belief. 27 Nothing can shake the faith of the man who knows himself as nothing but the Supreme Being who is all in all, and who thinks himself to be dependant on the substantiality of God, just as the form of a ring depends on its substance of gold.
28 The ignorant have no notion of the spirit, only matter which they believe to be the cause and effect of its own production. A learned man sees the substantive spirit in all forms of creation, just like he sees the substance of gold in all the ornaments made of that metal. 29 An ignorant man is composed of only his ego and a sage is filled with only his spirituality. Neither is ever thwarted from his own belief. 30 What is one’s nature or habit of thinking can hardly be altered, for it would be foolish for one habituated to think himself as a man to take himself for a pot or otherwise.
31 Therefore, though we and others, and that Dama and the other demons, are nothing in reality, yet who can believe that we or these or those are not ourselves? 32 There is but One Being that is really existent, who is truth and consciousness himself and of the nature of emptiness and pure understanding. He is immaculate, all pervading, quiescent and without rise or fall. 33 Being perfect silence and void, he seems as nothing existent, yet all these creations exist in that emptiness as particles of his own splendor. 34 As the stars are seen to shine resplendent in the darkness of night, and as worms and waves are seen to float on the surface of waters, so do all these phenomena appear to occur in his reality.
35 Whatever that Being purposes himself to be, he immediately conceives himself to be the same. It is only that empty Consciousness which is the true reality. All others are also real when viewed in It and rising and setting in It out of Its own will. 36 Therefore there is nothing real or unreal in the three worlds. It is all of or in the same form as it is viewed by Consciousness. It all arises before Consciousness of its own spontaneity.
37 We also have sprung from that Divine Will, like Dama and others. Therefore there is no reality or unreality in any of us, except at the time when we exist or cease to do so. 38 This infinite and formless void of Consciousness is omnipresent and all pervading. In whatever form this Consciousness manifests itself in any place, it appears there in the same figure and manner.
39 As divine Consciousness expanded itself with the images of Dama and others, it immediately assumed those shapes by its notions of the same. 40 So it is with every one of us, that all things are produced to our view according to our notions presented to our consciousness. 41 What we call the world is the representation of things to us as in our dream. It is a hollow body like a bubble rising in the empty ocean of Consciousness and appearing as the water in a mirage.
42 The waking state of the empty intellect is called the phenomenal world, and its state of sleep and rest is what we call liberation, emancipation or salvation from pain. 43 But Consciousness which never sleeps, nor has to be awakened at anytime, is the emptiness of the Divine Mind, in which the world is ever present in its visible form. 44 There the work of creation is united with the rest of nirvana, and the cessation of the act of creation is joined with uninterrupted quiet. Yet no difference whatever exists in God between alternating work and rest at anytime. 45 The Divine Intellect views its own form in the world, and it views the world in itself in its true sense; like a blinded eye sees the inner light in its orbit. 46 The Divine Intellect, like the blinded eye, sees nothing outside, but views every form within itself. This is because there is no visible or phenomenal world other that what is within the empty sphere of the Intellect.
47 There are all these things everywhere, as we have ideas of them in our minds, but there is never anything anywhere if we have no previous idea of it in the mind. It is the one quiet spirit of God which lies extended in all these forms coming to our knowledge. Therefore knowing him as all in all, give up all your fears and sorrows and duality, rest in peace in his unity.
48 The great intellect of God is as solid and clear as a block of crystal, which is both dense and transparent in the inside. They appear to be all hollow within, but replete with the images of all things from without.