1 Rama asked, “Now I understand how particles of the Divine Spirit take the forms of living souls, but I cannot conceive how it assumes the physical body composed of bones and ribs.”
2 Vasishta replied:—
Why don’t you know it, Rama, when I have explained it to you before? Where have you lost your deductive reasoning of arriving to the conclusion from those premises?
3 All these physical bodies in the world and all these moving and unmoving persons and things, are only false representations rising before us like the visions in our dreams. 4 The phenomenal world differs from dreams only in it being a longer and more delusive. It is like the optical illusion of seeing a double moon or seeing a mountain in the delusion of darkness.
5 The enlightened mind, cleared of its drowsiness of ignorance and freed from the chains of its desire, views the world to be no more than a dream. 6 The world is a creation naturally conceived in the imagination of all living souls. The world remains impressed upon the soul until the soul attains its final liberation. 7 The fleeting essence of the soul is like the whirling current of waters, or like the germ of a seed, or more like the leaflet of a sprout. 8 As the flower is contained in the branch and the fruit within its flowers, so this creation of the imagination is contained in the receptacle of the mind.
9 As the ever-changing form of the chameleon exhibits only a particular color at a time, so the ever-varying mind shows only the form that is prominent in its thought for the time being. 10 The same thought assumes a visible form, like clay taking the form of a pot. Good thoughts and actions of the prior state of life serve to give the soul a good form in its next birth on earth.
11 We see the mighty lotus-born Brahma situated in the bud of that flower and find it to be the effect of the good thoughts he had in his mind. 12 This unlimited creation is the false fabrication of imagination from which the living soul in conjunction with the mind obtains the state of Virinchi, Brahma the Creator.
13 Rama said, “Sage, I need to be fully informed whether all other beings sprang from the same cause as Brahma, the lotus-born.”
14 Vasishta answered:—
Let me tell you again, O long-armed Rama, how Brahma has a body. From his example, you will learn about the existence of the world.
15 The Supreme Soul, which is unlimited by time or space, of his own will and by the power of his omnipotence takes the limited forms of time and space upon himself. 16 The same becomes the living soul and is filled with various desires in itself of becoming many.
17 When this limited power which is Brahma thinks on the state of his having been the Cosmic Egg (hiranyagarbha) in his former state of existence in the prior kalpa, he is immediately transformed to that state which is in his mind, and which is ever busy with its thoughts and imaginations.
18 First it thinks of the clear sky, the receptacle of sound, which is perceptible by the auditory organs. This thought being condensed in the mind makes it vibrate like the wind does the air. 19 Then it thinks about the vibrations of air, which are the objects of feeling, through the porous skin and the mind. It is moved by the thoughts of air and wind to assume that form which is invisible to the naked eye. 20 The condensation of the elements of air and wind together produce the idea of light which is the cause of sight and which has colors and forms for its objects. Thus the mind, moved by its triple thoughts of air, wind and light, produces the property of fire. 21 These immediately join to produce the idea of coldness, the property of water. Then the mind forms the ideas of the four elements of air, wind, fire and water. 22 These united together produce the gross form of earth, the receptacle of scent. Then the mind, filled with its thoughts of these minute elementary particles, forsook its fine form of the spirit for its gross body of the five elements (the fifth being ether, akasha).
23 The mind saw this body shining like a spark of fire in the sky, which joined with its sense of self, ego, and understanding, formed its personality. 24 This is called the spiritual body within the eight-fold embodiment (earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intellect and identity). The spiritual body is situated like a bee in the middle of the lotus-like heart and it gives growth to the outer body by its inner working.
25 It is thickened by the action and internal heating process of the heart, like the bel fruit or woodapple. The outer body receives the qualities of the inner mind, just as a jewel shines with the luster of the little particle of gold, melted and infused within. 26 The quality of the inner soul or mind manifests itself in the outer body in the same way as the quality of a seed appears in the form and taste of its fruit.
Then the mind dwells upon the thoughts of its actions, which are expressed in the different organs and actions of the body, all produced by the motions of inner thoughts and acts, just like tree leaves and branches are projected by the inner process and operations of the seed. 27 Its thoughts of up and down lift and lower its head and feet upward and downward. Its thoughts of both sides extend its two arms to the right and left. 28 Its thoughts of backward and forward place its back behind and its breast and belly before. The hairs on the head and fingers of the hands are like the filaments and twigs of trees.
29 In this manner did Brahma, who is called a muni and a mental being because his body sprung from his mind, produced the different parts of his body according to his thoughts of their usefulness to him. 30 He brought the body and its limbs to compactness, just as the seasons bring their fruits and grains to perfection. Thus everything is perfected in time, and all beings have their beautiful bodies and figures.
31 He, Lord Brahma, was the progenitor of all beings filled with the qualities of strength and understanding, activity, dignity and knowledge. 32 Being begotten by the empty Brahman, he resides in the lap of emptiness. He is of the form of melted gold, like every other luminous body in the heavens. 33 Though situated in the Supreme, yet the mind of Brahma is liable to the mistakes of his own making, and at times it quite forgets having no beginning, middle or end, like his Source.
34 Sometimes the lord thinks he is identical with the waters that existed in his mind before creation; at another as the cosmic egg which was as bright as the fire of universal destruction. 35 Sometimes the lord thinks he is the dark forest that covered the earth before creation of living animals, and then as a lotus bed. Afterwards he became many forms at each phase and epoch of creation.
36 Thus Brahma became the preserver of many kinds of beings which he created of his own will from his mind at each stage or kalpa-period. Of these beings, Brahma was the first that issued from Brahman himself. 37 When Brahma was first begotten, he remained in his happy state of unconsciousness and forgetfulness, but being delivered from his mental inactivity in the womb, he came to see the light. 38 He took a physical body with its breathings and respirations. It was covered with pores of hair and furnished with gums and thirty-two teeth. 39 It had the three pots of shin bones, thighs, and backbone standing on feet below, with the five airs, five partitions, nine cavities, and a smooth skin covering all the limbs. 40 It is accompanied by twice ten fingers and their nails, and with a couple of arms and palms and two or more hands and eyes.
41 The body is the nest of the bird of the mind and it is the hole of the snake of lust. It is the cave of the goblin of greediness and the den of the lion of life. 42 It is a chain at the feet of the elephant of pride and it is a lake of the lotuses of our desire.
The lord Brahma looked upon his handsome body and saw that it was good. 43 Then the lord thought in himself, from his view of the three times of the past, present and future, and from his sight of the vault of heaven with a dark mist like a swarm of flying locusts, 44 “What is this boundless space? What had it been before? How did I come into being?” Thus pondering in himself, he was enlightened in his soul.
45 He saw in his mind the different past creations and recollected the various religions and their various sects which had grown upon earth one after the other. 46 He produced the holy Vedas as spring does its flowers. He formed with ease all varieties of creatures from their archetypes in his mind. 47 He set them in their various laws and customs for their temporal and spiritual welfare, as he saw them in the city of his mind. 48 From their prototypes in his eternal mind, Brahma thought upon the innumerable varieties of scriptures which had existed before and all of which came to exist on earth in their visible forms, like flowers springing from the womb of spring season.
49 Thus, O Rama, did Brahma take upon himself the form of the lotus-born and create by his activity all the different creatures form the models of them that existed in his mind, and which took their various forms in the visible world at his will.