1 Vasishta continued:—
O strong armed Rama, after the great father of creation took himself to his activity, he formed and supported the worlds by his energy and might. 2 All living and departed souls are tied like buckets to the rope of their desire and made to rise and fall in this old well of the world by the law of their predetermined destiny.
3 All beings proceeding from Brahma and entering the prison house of the world have to be concentrated into the body of the air-born Brahma, just as all the waters of the sea have to be whirled into the whirlpool in the sea. 4 Others are continually springing from the mind of Brahma, like sparks of fire struck out of a red-hot iron, while many are flying into it as their common center.
5 Rama, all lives are like waves in the ocean of the everlasting spirit of Brahma. They rise and fall in him according to his will. 6 They enter into the atmospheric air like smoke rising and entering the clouds, at last mixed together by the wind in the spirit of Brahma. 7 Then they are overtaken by the elementary atoms flying in the air which lay hold on them in a few days just as demons seize the host of gods with violence. 8 Then the air breathes the vital breath in these bodies which infuses life and vigor in them. 9 Thus living beings manifest themselves on earth, while others are flying as living spirits in the form of ethereal smoke.
10 Some appear in their subtle elemental forms in their airy cells in the sky and shine as bright as the beams of the luminous moon. 11 Then they fall upon the earth like pale moonbeams falling on the Milky Ocean. 12 They land like birds in the groves and forests and become stiffened by sipping the juice of fruits and flowers. 13 Then losing their aerial and bright forms of moonbeams, they settle on those fruits and flowers and suck their juice like infants hanging upon their mothers’ breasts. 14 The protozoa are strengthened by drinking the juice of fruit ripened by the light and heat of the sun, then they remain in a state of unconsciousness until they enter the animal body.
15 The animated microscopic organisms remain in the womb with their undeveloped desires in the same manner as unopened leaves are contained in the seed of a fig tree. 16 All lives are situated in the Great God like fire is inherent in wood and a clay pot resides in the earth. After many processes they have their full development.
17 One that has received no bodily form and moves without manifesting itself is said to be a satya (truth) or spiritual being and has a large scope of action. 18 He who gets his liberation in or after his lifetime is said to have a pure (sattvika) birth, but whoever is obliged to be reborn by his acts is said to belong to the active-pure (rajas-sattvika) class. 19 Anyone of this class who is born to rule over others becomes giddy with pride (tamas, passive) is said to be of the nature of ignorance (tamasika). I will now speak of this class of beings.
20 Those originally born with pure (sattvika) nature are pure in their conduct and have never to be born again. 21 Men of active-pure (rajas-sattvika) temperament have to be reborn on earth, but being elevated by their reasoning powers, they have no more to be born in this lower world. 22 Those who have directly proceeded from the Supreme Spirit (without any mixture of these natures) are men filled with every quality and are very rare on earth.
23 The various classes of tamasic (idle, lazy) creatures of ignorance are both unconscious and speechless. They are of the nature of immovable plants and minerals and need no description.
24 How many among gods and men have been reborn to the cares of the world owing to the demerit of their past action! I myself, though filled with knowledge and reason, am obliged to lead a life of the rajas-sattvika kind (owing to my interference in society).
25 It is by your ignorance of the Supreme that you behold the vast extent of the world, but by considering it rightly, you will soon find all this to be only the one unity.