1 Rama said, “Tell me O brahmin, for the sake of my advancement in knowledge, how does the mundane system exists in the extra mundane immaterial soul?”
2 Vasishta replied:—
Worlds have no separate existence except in the Supreme Mind. They are all situated in Divine Consciousness like future waves exist in a calm sea.
3 As the all-pervading sky cannot be seen owing to its extreme lack of substance, so the undivided nature of the all-pervasive Consciousness cannot be perceived on account of its subtlety. 4 As a gem has its own brilliancy whether or not someone moves it, so the unreal world has its potential existence in the Divine Spirit, both in its states of action and inactivity.
5 As clouds in the sky do not touch the sky or have a tangible feeling of the sky’s emptiness, so the worlds existing in the receptacle of the intellectual soul have no contact with the extraneous intellect, which is unconnected with its contents. 6 As the light residing in the waters of the sea or a pot of water is not connected either with the water or the pot, nor is it felt by us but by its reflection, so the intangible soul abides unconnected in its receptacle of the body and reflects itself only to our knowledge.
7 Consciousness is devoid of every desire and designation. It is nameless and formless, but our intelligence gives names and forms to its reflections from some one of our intelligible ideas, such as the living soul and the like. 8 Consciousness is clearer than translucent air and finer than it by a hundred times. It is known as an undivided whole by the learned who view it as identical with the whole undivided world, which consciousness comprehends within itself.
9 As seawater shows itself in various forms in all its waves, so consciousness does not differ from various representations of its own motion that it shows to us. 10 The diversities of our subjective and objective knowledge of “myself” and “yourself” and “these” are like the varieties of surging waves in the ocean of consciousness. These are false notions because they are only representations of the same element, the very same consciousness.
11 The various states of consciousness (chit), exercise of consciousness (chinta), intelligence (chittam) and that which is intelligible (chetyas), all belong to the main principle of the soul. They are differently conceived by the learned and ignorant, but the difference is a mere conceit.
12 Consciousness presents two different aspects to wise and unwise people. To the ignorant, it shows its unreal nature in the realistic conception of the world. To the learned, it exhibits its luminous form in the identity of all things with God.
13 Consciousness by its internal (intellectual) light enlightens the luminous bodies of the sun and stars. It gives a relish to things by its internal taste and it gives birth to all beings from its inborn ideas of them. 14 It neither rises nor sets, nor gets up or sits. It neither proceeds nor recedes back and forth. It is not here nor is it nowhere. 15 The pure and transparent consciousness, which is situated in the soul, displays in itself the phantasmagoria which is called the world.
16 As a heap of fire emits its flame, a luminous body blazes with its rays, and as the sea swells in surges and breaks in with its inlets, so consciousness bursts out in its creations. 17 Thus consciousness which is self-manifest and omnipresent of its own nature, develops and envelops the world by its own manifestation and sight, and by its acts of integration and segregation, and its acts of accretion and secretion. 18 By its own error and of its own accord, it is led to forget and forsake its state of infinity. By assuming its individual personality of ego, it is converted to an ignoramus. 19 By its act of specialization, it falls from its knowledge of generals to that of particulars and comes to make differences between positive and negative, and inclusion and exclusion. 20 It strives and struggles within the confines of the sensuous body and it multiplies in these bodies like weeds sprouting out of the bosom of the earth.
21 It is consciousness that stretches the spacious vacuum to make room for the subsistence and growth of everything. Consciousness makes the all and ever moving air and the liquid water for the vitality and nourishment of all. 22 It makes the earth firm and the fire bright and the fixed worlds all around. It employs time by its injunctions and prohibitions. 23 It gives fragrance to flowers, growing by degrees their filaments and pistils. It makes the moisture in porous ground to grow vegetables on earth. 24 The rooted trees bear fruit from their juicy saps beneath, displaying their leaves with outlines in them like their veins and arteries. 25 It renovates the forest with its gifts of various colors, and dies them with the variety of colors from the rainbow of Indra.
26 Consciousness bids the thin layers of rocks, fruits and flowers to wait upon the flowery season of spring, then brings their fruits to perfection under the heat of the summer sun. 27 It makes the dark blue clouds of heaven wait for the approach of rainy weather, and causes the harvest of fields to follow in the train of autumn. 28 The cold season is decorated with its smiling frost, in its faces of the ten sides of the sky. Dewy weather is made to blow its icicles of dew drops on the wings of winter’s chilling winds. 29 It makes ever-moving time revolve in its rotation of years and cycles and yuga ages, and it causes the tide of creation to roll on in its waves of worlds on its bosom of the ocean of eternity.
30 The decrees of Consciousness remain fixed with a wonderful stability, and the earth continues firm with its quality of containing all things. 31 It made the universe abound with fourteen kinds of beings in as many worlds, the fourteen planes of creation (chaturdasa-bhuvana). These are as different in their modes of life as in their forms and figures. 32 These are repeatedly produced from and reduced to nothing, and move in their accustomed courses forever, like bubbles in the waterless ocean of eternity.
33 Here the miserable multitudes move madly in vain struggles after their desired objects, and in their imbecility under the subjection of disease and death. They are constantly coming to life and going away in their exits, remaining in their living states and acquiring their ends, and forever running back and forth in their repeated births and deaths in this world.