Chapter 59 — How Brahma Creates and Sustains

Vasishta continued:—

There is nothing in this world except the gratification of carnal desires and the pleasure of eating, drinking and lust with the vulgar. But the good and great desire the lasting good of men.

Crooked and creeping beings and things, beasts and wicked men, and ignorant people are gratified only with carnal pleasures. They are all fond of everything that is conducive to their bodily enjoyments. They are human asses who dote on the beauty of female bodies which are no better than lumps of flesh, blood and bones. This may be desirable to dogs and devouring animals, but not to man. All animals have fleshy bodies, just as trees have trunks of wood and minerals their forms of earth.

There is the earth below and the sky above and nothing that is extraordinary before us. The senses pursue sensible objects, but human reason finds no delight in them. Men’s consciousness only leads them to error. True happiness, which is desired by all, is situated beyond all sensible objects and gratifications. The result of worldly pleasure is sorrow and misery, just as the product of a flame is soot and blackness. The functions of the mind and senses are all fleeting and have their rise and fall by turns. All enjoyments are short lived owing to the fleeting nature of objects and the decay of our powers of enjoyment. Prosperity fades away like a plant encircled by a poisonous snake. Our consorts die away as soon as anything born of blood and flesh. The delusion of love and lust makes one body embrace another, both of which are composed of impure flesh and blood. Such are the acts, O Rama, that delight the ignorant.

10 Wise men take no delight in this unreal and unstable world which is more poisonous than poison itself and is able to infect even those who have not tasted the bitter affliction of grief. 11 Because the thought of your materiality has taken possession of your mind, forsake your desire of enjoyment and seek to be united with your spiritual essence.

12 Whenever the thought of making the unreal world arises in the mind of Brahma the Creator, he takes an unreal body upon himself of his own will. 13 It becomes as bright as gold by his own light, then he is called Virinchi on account of his will, and he is also called Brahma because he is born of Brahma.

14 Rama asked, “How does the world become a solid substance from having been a visionary form in the spirit or mind of God?”

15 Vasishta replied:—

When the lotus-born Brahma rose from his cradle of the embryo of Brahma, he uttered the name of Brahman, which is why he was called Brahma. 16 He then had the conception of the world in his own imagination, and that conception assumed a visible and solid form by the power of his will. It is called the conceptional or ideal world.

17 At first he conceived a luminous idea of light which, having assumed a visible form, spread on all sides like a creeping plant in autumn is stretched all about. 18 The rays of this light pierced all sides like threads of gold. They shone and spread themselves both above and below. 19 Concealed in this light, the lotus-born cosmic egg (hiranyagarbha) conceived in his mind a figure like his luminous form and produced it as the four-faced Brahma. 20 Then the sun sprung forth from that light and shone like a globe of gold amidst his world-encircling beams. 21 He held the locks of his flaming hair on his head, which flashed like fire all around him and filled the sphere of heaven with heat and light.

22 Afterwards the most intelligent Brahma produced some other luminous forms (marichis) from portions of that light which proceeded from it like waves of the ocean. 23 These most potent and competent beings were possessed of their own concepts and will, and in a moment they produced figures as they thought of and willed. 24 They conceived the forms of various other beings which they produced one after the other as they desired and willed.

25 Then Brahma remembered the eternal Vedas and the many ceremonial rites which he established as laws in his house of this world. 26 Having taken the gigantic body of Brahma and the extensive form of the mind, he produced the visible world as his own offspring. 27 He stretched seas and mountains, and made trees and upper worlds. He raised Mount Meru on the surface of the earth and all the forests and groves upon it. 28 It was he who ordained happiness and misery, birth and death, and disease and decay. He created the passions and feelings of living beings under their threefold divisions of sattva, rajas and tamas.

29 Whatever has been created by the hands (faculties) of the mind of Brahma, the same continues to be perceived by our deluded vision. 30 He gave the mind and laws to all beings and he makes the worlds again as they are situated in his mind.

31 Therefore it is error that has given rise to the false conception of the eternity of the world. It is the conception of the mind alone that creates the ideal forms. 32 The acts of all things in the world are produced by their conception and wishes. It is the concept or thought that binds even the gods to their destiny.

33 The great Brahma that was the source of the creation of the world sits in a meditative mood contemplating on everything that he has made. 34 It was by a motion of the mind that the wonderful form of the living principle was formed, and it was this that gave rise to the whole world with all its changing phenomena. 35 A motion of the mind made the gods Indra, Upendra and Mahendra and others, as it did the hills and seas in all the worlds above and below us, and in the ten sides of the heaven above.

36 Then Brahma thought in himself, “I have thus stretched out at large the network of my desire. I will now cease from extending the objects of my desire any further.” 37 Being so determined, he ceased from the toil of his creation and reflected on the eternal Spirit within his own spirit. 38 By knowing the Spirit, his mind was melted down by its brightness and reclined on it with the same ease as one finds in his soft sleep after long labor. 39 Being freed from his selfishness and egoism, he felt that perfect tranquility which the soul receives by resting in itself and which is like the calm sea after it subsides in itself.

40 The Lord sometimes leaves off his meditation, like the reservoirs of water sometimes overflow their banks and boundaries. 41 He beholds the world as a valley of misery with very little of happiness in it and where the soul is tightly bound to its alternating passions and is led by its changing hopes and fears. 42 He takes pity on the miserable condition of man, and with a view towards their welfare and for their guidance, he promulgates sacred scriptures and rites which are full of meaning. 43 He propounds the Vedas and their branches, the Vedangas, which are filled with spiritual knowledge and the teachings of wisdom. He revealed the Puranas and other scriptures for the salvation of mankind.

44 Again the spirit of Brahma reclined on the Supreme Spirit and was relieved from its toil. He remained as tranquil as the calmed ocean after it was churned by Mandara Mountain. 45 Brahma having observed the efforts of mankind on earth, and having prescribed to them the rules of their conduct, returned to himself where he sat reclined on his lotus seat.

46 Sometimes he remains entirely devoid of all his desires. At other times, from his great kindness, he takes his cares for mankind upon himself.

47 He is neither simple in his nature nor does he assume or reject his form in the states of his creation and cessation. He is nothing other than consciousness which is neither present nor absent in any place. 48 He is conversant with all states and properties of things, and is as full as the ocean without intermixture of any crude matter in him. 49 Sometimes he is quite devoid of all attributes and desires and is only awakened from his inertness by his own desire of doing good to his creatures.

50 I have thus expounded to you about the existence of Brahma and his real states of sattwika, madhyanika and suranika creation. 51 The intellectual sattwika creation is what rises of itself in the Spirit of Brahma, and the mental is the result of his mind and will. The first is the direct inspiration of Brahma into the Spirit of Brahma.

52 After creation of the material world by the rajas (active) nature of Brahma, there rises the visible madhyanika creation in the air by the will of the creator. 53 In the next step of animal creation, some were born as gods and others as yaksha demigods, and this is called suranika because the suras or gods were created in it.

54 Every creature is born in the shape of its inherent nature, then it is either elevated or degraded according to the nature of its associations. It also lays the foundation of its future state of bondage to birth or liberation by its acts commenced in the present life.

55 In this manner, O Rama, the world has come to existence. Its creation is evidently a work of labor, as it is brought into being by various acts of motion and exertion of the body and mind. All these products of the god’s will are sustained by continuous force and effort on his part.