1 Vasishta continued:—
Everyone feels consciousness residing in the soul, just like everyone feels the sharp smell inherent in pepper. It is this consciousness whereby we have reasoning of ego and non-ego and the distinctions of duration and space in what is undivided dimension and infinite. 2 The soul is like the universal ocean of salt, and consciousness is the salt in it. Consciousness gives us the knowledge of ego and non-ego and appears in the forms of infinite space and time. 3 The consciousness of which we have knowledge is inherent in the soul, like the sweetness of the sugarcane, and spreads itself in the different forms of ego and non-ego of worldly objects.
4 The intellect, the hardness inherent in the stone-like soul, diffuses itself in the shapes of the compact ego and the unsolid non-ego of the world. 5 The rock-like soul solidifies itself in the forms of “I” and “you” and the diversity of the world all about us. 6 The soul, like a great body of water, presents its fluidity in the form of the intellect and assumes the forms of the whirlpools of the ego, and the varieties of non-ego in the world. 7 The great tree of the soul stretches itself in the plentiful branches of consciousness producing the fruits of ego and the various forms of non-ego in the world.
8 The intellect, which is only a gap in the great vacuum of the soul, produces the ideas of “I” and “you” and of the universe beside. 9 The intellect is as vain as vanity itself in the emptiness of the soul. The intellect gives rise to the ideas of “I” and “you” and of the world beside. 10 The intellect situated within the environs of the soul has its egoism and non-egoism situated without it.
11 When the intellect is known to be of the same essence as the soul, then the difference between ego and non-ego proves to be only an act of reasoning and not reality. 12 The reflection of the inner soul is understood to be the ego, mind and animated soul.
13 When the bright and moonlike soul entertains and enjoys the ambrosial beams of consciousness within itself, it forgets its egoism, which rises no more in its bright sphere. 14 When the sweetness of consciousness is felt within the molasses of the soul, the mind tastes it with a zest and forgets its egoism in itself. 15 When the bright gem of the soul shines with the radiance of consciousness in itself, it finds its egoism to be completely lost under the brightness of its intellectual light.
16 The soul perceives nothing in itself because of the complete lack of phenomena in it. It does not taste anything in itself for want of anything to be tasted. 17 It thinks of nothing in itself for want of anything to be thought of, nor does it know anything in itself for want of anything to be known there. 18 The soul remains blank of all impressions of the subjective and objective, and also of the infinite fullness of space in itself. It remains by itself in the form of a firm and solid rock.
19 By way of common speech we use the words “I” and “you” and refer to an objective world. In reality, they are nothing whatever. 20 In the soul there is no seat or agent of thought, nor any error of the world. The soul remains like a mute and transparent cloud in the autumn sky.
21 As the fluidity of water causes it to form vortices in the sea, so the delusion of the knower and known in the intelligent soul assumes its errors of “I” and “you” in its undivided self. 22 As fluidity is inherent in water and motion in air, so egoism and the objective known world are innate in the subjective knower.
23 The more a man understands the truth, the more clearly he knows that objects are the display of Divine Omniscience, the living god or jiva Brahma. But if owing to his vitality and activity he comes to conceive the individual self or objectivity of all others, even a learned or knowing man is no better than an egoist. 24 To the extent the intelligent soul (jiva) derives pleasure from its knowledge of objects, it identifies with the knowledge of its sameness with or difference from that object.
25 Living, knowing, and the knowledge of things are properties of the animated or concrete soul, but there is no difference of these in the distinct, or universal and intellectual soul. 26 As there is no difference between the intelligent and the living soul, so there is no diversity between the intelligent soul and Shiva, the lord of animated nature who is the undivided whole.
27 Know the all quiescent and the unborn one who is without beginning, middle or end, who is self manifest and joy itself, and who is inconceivable and beyond all assignable property or quality. He is all quiescent and all verbal and visual descriptions of him are entirely false. Yet for the sake of our comprehension, he is represented as the holy one, or Om.