1 Rama said, “Tell me, sage, about the production of animal beings from Brahman, and let me know their different names and natures in full length.”
2 Vasishta replied:—
I will tell you in brief the manner in which different species of beings are produced from Brahman, and how they are destroyed afterwards, and also how they obtain their liberation in the end, 3 also the manner of their growth and sustenance and fitness in the world.
4 The omnipotent energy (chit-shakti) of the consciousness of Brahman becomes whatever is thought of (chetya) in Divine Consciousness. 5 The exercise of consciousness becomes condensed to a certain subtle form which, having the powers of thought, becomes the principle called the mind. 6 Then the mind, by an effort of its conception (called the will), expands itself to an unreal (ideal) scenery like that of the fairyland, by falling off from the nature of thoughtlessness that is Brahman.
7 Consciousness, when remaining in its original state, appears as a vacuum or space, but upon manifesting itself in the form of the mind, men see it as the visible sky. 8 Taking the conception of the lotus-born, it finds itself in its conceived form of the lotus, god Brahma the Creator, and then it thinks of creation in the form of Prajapati or lord of creatures.
9 He then formed this creation from his thought (chitta). It contains the fourteen worlds with all the multitudes and varieties of living beings in them. 10 The mind itself is an emptiness with an empty body. Thought is the mind’s field of its action, and its sphere is full with the false workings of the mind. 11 In the mind of Brahma there are many kinds of beings, some laboring under great ignorance like beasts and brute creatures. There are some with enlightened minds such as the sages. Others stagger in the intermediate class, like the majority of mankind.
12 Among all living beings confined in this earth, only the human race living in this part (India) are capable of receiving instruction and civilization. 13 But most of these are subject to diseases and distress, suffering under the thrall of their ignorance, enmity and fear. Therefore it is for their benefit that I will deliver my lecture on social and saintly conduct. 14 I will also talk about the everlasting, imperishable and omnipresent Brahman who is without beginning or end, whose mind is without error, and who is of the form of Intellectual light. 15 I will explain how endless beings are put to motion by the momentum of a particle of his motionless body, resembling the rolling of boisterous waves on the surface of a clear and tranquil ocean.
16 Rama asked, “Sage, how can there be a part of the infinite Spirit, or a momentum of the motionless God, or a change or effort from one who is altogether without them?”
17 Vasishta replied:—
It is the usual and current mode of expression, both in scriptures and language, for people to talk in terms of, “All this is made by or come from Him.” But it is not so in its real and spiritual sense.
18 No change or partition, and no relation of space or time, bears any reference to the Supreme, who is unchangeable, infinite and eternal. There is no appearance or disappearance of Him at anytime or place, who is ever invisible everywhere. 19 There never was nor can there ever be any way of representing the incomprehensible, except by symbolical expressions. Therefore, I have made use of words that are used in common speech.
20 Whatever words or expressions are used as symbolic of some sense, whether they express “produced from it” (tajja) or “change of the same” (tanmaya), the same should be used in that sense all along. 21 It is tajja when we say “fire proceeds from fire” (meaning, the “mundane Brahma comes out of the spiritual Brahma.” Here fire is symbolical of Brahma and the world). It is tanmaya in the expression “Brahma is the producer and produced” (meaning the identity and transformation of the Creator to the creation). 22 The first expression is applied to the world as proceeding from Brahma, but the other expression, that of the producer and produced, also means the creative power which made the world.
23 The expression, “This is one thing and that another” (idam-anyat) is false. The difference is verbal and not real because there is no proof of it in the nature of God, which is one and all.
24 The mind, by reason of its birth (tajja) from Brahma, possesses both the power and intelligence of his Consciousness, and is enabled to accomplish its intended purpose by means of its intense application. 25 To say that one flame of fire produces the other is mere word dispute. There is no truth in this assertion. 26 That one produces the other is also false reasoning because the one Brahma, being infinite, could produce no other thing beside reproducing himself.
27 It is the nature of argument to contradict each another by replies and rejoinders, but it is not right to defeat an adversary by false reasoning.
28 The learned know Brahman as the ocean rolling in its endless waves, and significant words and their meanings go together like Brahman and his creation. 29 Brahman is consciousness, Brahman is the mind, Brahman is intelligence, and Brahman is substance (vastu). He is sound, he is understanding, and he is in the principles of things. 30 The whole universe is Brahman and yet he is beyond all this. In reality the world is a nothing for all is Brahman alone.
31 This is one thing and that is another, and this is a part of the great soul, are all contradictory assertions of ignorance. No words can express the true nature of the unknown.
32 The spirit rises as the flame of fire and this flame signifies the mind. Its tremor signifies the fluctuation of the mind, which in reality is not the case, there being no rise or fall of the Divine Mind. 33 It is untruth that wavers and equivocates in double meanings. It deviates from the truth, as the defective eye sees a double moon in the sky.
34 Brahman being all of himself and all pervading and infinite of his own nature, there can be no other thing beside himself and anything that is produced of him is likewise himself. 35 Beside the truth of the existence of Brahman, there is nothing which can be proved as absolutely certain. It is a scriptural truth that says, “Truly, all this is Brahman.”
36 This also must be the conclusion, which you will arrive at by your reasoning, and which I will propose with many examples and teachings in the Book of Nirvana (Liberation).
37 This single question raises many things of which you are ignorant. You will come to know fully in the future, and your questions on this subject will be dispelled. 38 Unreality having disappeared, reality appears to view, just as the darkness of night being dispelled, the visible world comes to sight. 39 The spacious world which appears to your false sight will vanish, O Rama, on your attainment of the state of calm stillness. False appearances must disappear from your vision as soon as the light of truth comes to dawn upon your soul.