Chapter 27 — Bali’s Detachment

Vasishta said:—

After Shukra, the son of Bhrigu and senior in the assembly of gods and demigods, made his departure, Bali, the best among the intelligent, reflected in this way.

Bali thinking to himself:—

Truly the seer said that Consciousness composes the three worlds, that I am this Consciousness, and Consciousness fills all the quarters and shows itself in all our actions. It is Consciousness which pervades the inside and outside of everything. There is nothing anywhere which is without Consciousness. It is Consciousness that perceives sunbeams and moonlight, or else, had not there been this intellectual perception, there would be no distinction between them and darkness.

If there were no intellectual perception as this earth is land, then there would be no distinction between earth and water, nor would the word earth apply to land. If consciousness could not understand vast space as the quarters of the sky, and the mountains as vast bulges on earth, then who could call the sides of space and mountains by those names? If the world were not known as the world and the vacuum as emptiness, then who could distinguish them by the names that are in common use? If this big body was not perceived by consciousness, how could we properly call the bodies of embodied beings by their names?

Consciousness resides in every organ of sense. It dwells in the body, mind and all its desires. Consciousness is in the internal and external parts of the body. Consciousness is all that is in existence and non-existence. 10 Consciousness forms my whole self by its feeling and knowing everything that I feel and know. Otherwise, without guidance of consciousness, I cannot perceive or conceive or do anything with my body.

11 Of what value is my body which is inert and unconscious as a block of wood? Consciousness makes my self and the intelligent spirit is the Universal Soul. 12 I am the intellect which resides in the sun and in the sky. I am the consciousness which dwells in the bodies of all beings. I am the same intellect which guides the gods and demigods, and dwells alike in bodies that move and don’t move.

13 Consciousness being the sole existence, it is in vain to suppose anything besides. There being nothing otherwise, there can be no difference between friend or foe to us. 14 What if I, Bali, strike off a person’s head from his body? I can not injure the soul which is everywhere and fills all space. 15 Feelings of love and hatred are properties of consciousness (Soul). These feelings are not separated from the soul by its separation from the body. Hence passions and feelings are inseparable from Consciousness or soul.

16 There is nothing to be thought of beside Consciousness. There is nothing to be obtained anywhere, except from the spacious womb of Consciousness which comprehends all the three worlds. 17 But passions and feelings, the mind and its powers, are mere attributes and not properties of Consciousness. Consciousness, being altogether a simple and pure essence, is free from every attribute.

18 Consciousness (chit) is the Ego, the omnipresent, the all pervasive and ever blissful soul. It is beyond all other attributes, and without duality or parts. 19 The term Consciousness (chit) as applied to the nameless power of reasoning (chiti) is only a verbal symbol signifying the omniscient Intelligence manifest in all places. 20 The Intellect (chit) is the Supreme Lord that is ever awake and sees all things without manifesting any appearance of himself. He is purely transparent and beyond all visible appearances.

21 All its attributes are lame, partial and imperfect. Even time, which has its phases and parts, is not a proper attribute for it. It is only a glimpse of its light that rises before us, but the eternal and infinite light is beyond our comprehension. 22 I must think of Consciousness only in the form of light within my own self. I must know it apart from all other phenomena and thoughts, quite aloof from all shades and colors.

23 I salute His identical form of Consciousness and the power of Reasoning, unaccompanied by the intelligible and employed in its proper sphere. 24 I salute that light of His in me, which represents everything to me, which is beyond all thought, and which is of the form of Consciousness going everywhere and filling all space. 25 It is the quiet consciousness of all beings, the real Intellect and the Great. Consciousness (chit) is as infinite as space, yet more minute than an atom and spreading in all alike.

26 I am not subject to the states of pleasure and pain. I am conscious of my self and of no other existence beside myself. I am Consciousness without the phenomena spread out before me. 27 No worldly entity or non-entity can work any change in me, for the possession of worldly objects would destroy me at once (by their separating my soul from God).

28 In my opinion, there can be nothing that is distinct from me when we know all things are produced from the same source. 29 What one gets or loses is no gain or loss to any, because the same Ego always abides in all and is the maker of all pervading everywhere. 30 Whether I am any thought object or not, it matters little for me to know because Consciousness is always a single thing, though its phenomena are endless.

31 As long as my soul is not united with the Divine Spirit, I am in sorrow.

Vasishta speaking:—

So reasoning, the most discerning Bali fell to a deep meditation. 32 He reflected on the half mantra of Om, a symbol of Infinite God. He sat quietly with all his desires and fancies lying dormant in him. 33 He sat undismayed by suppressing his thoughts and his thinking powers within him. He remained with his subdued desires, after having lost consciousness of his meditation, of being the person meditating, and of the object of meditation (i.e., nirvikalpa samadhi).

34 While Bali was entranced in this manner, at the window decorated with gems, he became illumined in his mind like a lamp flame unshaken by the wind. He remained long in his steady posture, like a statue carved of a stone. 35 He sat with his mind as clear as the autumn sky after having cast off all his desires and mental anxieties, filled within himself with his spiritual light.