Chapter 45 — Dependence of All on God; Nothing Is Lost Which Doesn’t Exist

Vasishta continued:—

The world appears as substantial but has nothing substantive in it. It is all a emptiness, a mere representation of images and aimless digressions of the mind. Neither time nor space is filled by any world at all, but by the great Spirit who has no form except that of vacuum.

This is all imaginary and as visionary as a city seen in a dream. Whatever is seen anywhere is fallacy existing in infinite emptiness. It is a painting without its base, a vision of unrealities. It is an uncreated creation and a multi-colored picture without its canvas. The imagination of the mind has stretched the three worlds and made the many bodies contained in them. Memory is the cause of these creations, as the eyesight is the cause of vision. The spectacle and display of the world is like a false representation, like the elevations and depressions in a painting. They are not distinct from the Supreme Spirit in which they are situated as buildings stand on their foundation.

The mind has made the body for its own home, as some silkworms build their cocoons. The soul also has its sheaths. There is nothing which the mind can not get or build in its empty imagination, however difficult or unattainable it may appear to be. What impossibility is there when the mind in its secluded cell possesses the same powers that reside in omnipotence?

10 It is not impossible, O Rama, for anything to be or not to be at anytime or always, when there is the omnipotent Lord who can create or annihilate all things at his will. 11 Remember that if the mind is empowered to make its own body and to form others in its imagination, how much more is the power of the Almighty to make and unmake all things at his will. 12 It is Divine Will that has brought the gods, demigods and all mankind into existence. It is by the cessation of the Will that they cease to exist as a lamp is extinguished for lack of oil.

13 See the sky and all things under it to be displayed by Divine Will and understand the universe as the visionary scene of your dream laid open to your sight. 14 There is nothing that is born or dies here at anytime, because everything is a nothing in its true sense. 15 There is nothing that becomes more or less in any way when there is nothing in existence. How can soul have a body when it is bodiless? How can the soul be divided when it is an undivided whole?

16 Rama, by your keen sightedness you see that all these bodies are bodiless. As the mirage is made to appear by the heat of the sun, 17 so do these false appearances seem as true to you from the certainty of your individual mind. So also Brahma and others are only creatures of your fancy. 18 They are as false as the sight of two moons in the sky by your false imagination. It is the great fallacy of your mind that represents these false forms of the world before you.

19 As the passenger in a boat sees the fixed objects on earth to be moving about him, so these varieties of visible objects offer themselves to your view. 20 Know the world is an enchanted scene presented by the magic of your error (maya). It is a fabrication of the working of your mind. It is a nothing though appearing as a reality. 21 All this world is Brahman. What else is there beside him? What other adjunct can he have? What is that? From where did it come and where is it located?

22 That this is a mountain and that is a tree are appendages affixed by our error and mistake. It is the prejudgment of the mind that makes unreality appear as a reality. 23 The world is the creation of error and the idol of fools. Shun your fond desire and thoughts of it, Rama, and think of your unworldly soul. 24 The world is as false as the visionary scene of a prolonged dream, or a building in the sky of the fancies of the mind. 25 Shun this grand display of the world which is so substantial to sight and so insubstantial when felt. It is the den of the serpents of desire foaming with the poison of their passions. 26 Knowing the world as unreal, try to regard it as nothing, because the wise will never go after a mirage knowing it as such.

27 The foolish man who runs after some imaginary object of his heart’s desire is surely exposed to trouble and disappointment for his folly. 28 Whoever desires to have anything in this world, after knowing it as an unreality, surely perishes with his soul for his forsaking the reality. 29 Only an error of the mind makes it mistake a rope for a snake. It is the variety of the thoughts and pursuits of men that makes them roll about in the world.

30 When some vain thought labors in the mind, like the moon appearing to move under water, it deceives only little children and not the wise like yourself. 31 He who pursues virtues for his future happiness surely kindles the fire of his intelligence to destroy the frost of his ignorance.

32 All gross bodies seen here in this world are creatures of the workings of the mind, like building castles in the sky in our thoughts. 33 It is the heart’s desire that produces these things, as it is lack of desire that destroys them all. The unrealities appear as true like fairylands appearing to view.

34 Know Rama, that nothing that exists is lost upon the dissolution of the world, and nothing which is non-existent of its nature can ever come into existence. 35 Tell me Rama, what things are entire or broken, or are growing or decaying, when these ideas are only the formations of your sound or unsound mind or the working of your fancy? 36 Children make and break their toy dolls of clay at will. In the same way the mind raises and erases its thoughts of all things in the world.

37 As nothing is lost or drowned in the magical trick of a conjuror, so nothing is dead or dissolved in the magical sea of this world. 38 The unrealities being all untrue, it is true that nothing is lost by their loss. Hence there is no cause for our joy or sorrow in this unreal world. 39 If the world is altogether an unreality, I do not know what there is that could be lost in it. And if nothing whatever is really lost in it, what reason can there be for the wise to sorrow for it? 40 If God is the only absolute existence, what else is there for us to lose? The whole universe being full with Brahman, there can be no cause for our joy or sorrow for anything whatever. 41 If the unreality can never come into existence, it cannot have its growth. What cause is there of our sorrow for their lack of growth or existence?

42 Thus everything is only unreal and merely a cause of our delusion. What can a wise man have to desire that may be reckoned as the best boon for us? 43 But when all this is taken in the sense of being full with the Divine Spirit, what thing is there so trifling for a wise man to dispose or refuse to take? 44 But he who considers the world as an unreality is never subject to joy or sorrow at his gain or loss of anything. Only the ignorant are elated or depressed at the one or the other. 45 That which was not before nor will remain afterwards is likewise the same nothingness at present. Therefore who desires the non-existent is said in the scriptures to be nothing himself.

46 What was before and what will be in the end, the same is in being even now. Therefore, what is always in being is that entity alone that is seen everywhere and at all times.

47 There are the unreal sky and moon and stars seen underneath the water. It is only a deluded child who likes to look at them, but never the wise. 48 Children take a liking for light, empty and flashy trinkets which are of no good or use to them or anybody else. Children prefer to be sad at their loss rather than derive any good from their gain whatever. 49 Therefore, O lotus-eyed Rama, do act like a child but conduct yourself like the wise by looking at these fleeting trinkets as ever impermanent. Rely on the Everlasting alone.

50 Rama, do be not sad or sorry to learn that all these, together with yourself and myself, are nothing in reality. Do not be glad or joyful to know that all these and ourselves are real entities. But consider alike whether these be or not be. Because it is the one Being that becomes and un-becomes anything. It is the only Being that becomes all things.

51 Valmiki said:—

As the sage was explaining in this manner, the day glided away to its dusk. The sun departed to his even tide and evening service, and with him the assembly parted to their evening ablutions and rest. After, with the rising sun, they assembled again in the court.