Chapter 26 — Shukra Teaches Bali that All Is Consciousness

Vasishta said:—

So saying the mighty Bali closed his eyes and thought upon the lotus-eyed Shukra living in his heavenly abode. Shukra, who was sitting intently meditating on the all-pervading spirit of God, came to know in his mind that he was remembered by his disciple Bali in his city. Then Shukra, the son of Bhrigu whose soul was united with the all-pervading infinite and omniscient Spirit, descended with his heavenly body to the shining window of Bali.

Bali knew the body of his teacher by its brightness, just as the lotus flower perceives the rising sun by his dawning beams. He honored his guru by adoring his feet on a seat decked with gems, and garlanding his guide with mandara flowers. As Shukra sat and took his rest from the labor of his journey, his body was strewn with offerings of gems and his head covered with heaps of mandara flowers.

Bali addressed Shukra, “Venerable sage, your illustrious presence emboldens me to address you, as the morning sunbeams send all mankind to their daily work. Sage, I have come to feel an aversion towards all kinds of worldly enjoyments that produce the delusion of our souls. I want to know the truth about it so I can dispel my ignorance of myself. In short, sage, tell me what are these enjoyments good for? How long do they extend? What in reality am I, you, or these other people?”

10 Shukra answered:—

I can not tell you in length about it as I soon have to return to my place in the sky. Hear me, O monarch of demons, briefly say this much for now.

11 There is truly only consciousness in reality. All other existence is truly consciousness and full of consciousness. The mind is consciousness, and I, you, and these people are collectively the same consciousness. 12 If you are wise, know you derive everything from this universal Consciousness. Otherwise, all gifts of fortune are as useless to you as offerings of butter on (ordinary) ashes.

13 The trap of the mind is to see consciousness as something thinkable, an object of thought. What confers liberation to the soul is the belief that consciousness is free and incomprehensible. 14 Knowing this for certain, look on everything in the same way. See the Spirit in your spirit in order to arrive at the state of Infinite Spirit.

15 I must immediately return to the sky where the Seven Rishis (saptarshis) are assembled and where I must continue performing my divine service.

16 I tell you, O king, that as long as you are in your body, you must not abstain from your duties, though your mind may be free from everything.

Vasishta speaking:—

17 So saying, Shukra flew like a bee smeared with the powdery gold dust of the lotus to the golden roof of heaven. He passed through the watery path of waving clouds to where the revolving planets were ready to receive him.