Chapter 71 — Samadhi and Beyond; Body Unrelated to Soul; Various Names for Jiva

Vasishta continued:—

The fourth stage (turiya) is attended with the knowledge of the oneness of all and, according to statements in the Vedas, this is the characteristic of the living liberated man. Beyond this is a state in which one sees nothing but an empty void. This is the state of disembodied spirits who are lost in infinity and of whom the scriptures can say nothing. This state of quiet rest lies far away from the farthest objects and is attained by those who are liberated of their bodies, just as the aerial path is found only by aerial beings. After a man has been in his state of sound sleep for sometime, he forgets the existence of the world and gains the fourth state of turiya which is full of joy and bliss.

The manner in which yogis have come to know the non-dual state (turiya) should also be followed by you, O Rama, in order to understand that unparalleled state of joy which attends upon it. Remain, O Rama, in your state of trance (susupta) and continue in your course of worldly duties even in that state. Your mind, like the moon in a painting, will not be subject to its waning phases or be seized by any alarm. Do not think that the waste or stability of your body can affect the state of your consciousness. The body is not related to the mind. That is only a false conception of the brain.

Although the body is nothing, yet it must not be destroyed by any means. You gain nothing by destroying it and you lose nothing by its firmness. Continue with your duties and leave the body to go on in its own habitual course.

You have known the truth that God presides over the world. You have understood the divine nature in all its threefold states. You have attained your true state of spirituality. You are freed from your worldly sorrows. 10 You have rid yourself of your liking and disliking for what you desire or despise. You are graced with the cooling light of your reason. You have removed the dark cloud of prejudice. You have become as graceful as the autumn sky with the brightness of the full moon (of your intellect) shining over it.

11 Your mind has its self possession and does not lower itself to meaner things. It has become as perfect as those who are accomplished in their meditation, so that you would not want to stoop to earth from that higher sphere. 12 This is the region of the pure and uniform consciousness that has no bounds. There are no false landmarks of “I” and “you,” “this” and “that,” “mine” and “yours” and similar errors.

13 In common speech this Divine Consciousness is labeled with the imaginary title of Atma (Soul or self), but there is no occasion to distinguish any name or form in that being who is quite distinct from all. 14 The sea is a vast body of water with its waves of the same element and in no way different from the sea itself. In the same way all this fullness composed of pure soul and this earth and water are nothing other than itself. 15 As you see nothing in the ocean except the vast body of water, so you find nothing in the universe except the one Universal Soul.

16 Say O intelligent man, what do you want to call yourself, itself and the like? What do you call yourself and what belongs to you? What is not yourself or does not belongs to you? 17 There being no duality beside the only soul, there can be no material body at all. There is no relation between this and that, any more than there is between the light of the sun and the gloom of night.

18 Even supposing the existence of a duality, yet I will tell you, O Rama, that the existence of material bodies bears no relationship with the spiritual soul. 19 As light and shade and darkness and sunshine bear no relation to one another, so the embodied soul has no connection with the body. 20 As the two opposites of cold and hot can never combine, so the body and soul can never join with one another. 21 As two opposites can have no relation between them, so is it with the body and soul. One is dull matter and the other an intelligent principle. 22 A connection between the body and the pure intellect of the soul is as improbable as the existence of a sea in a fire.

23 The sight of truth removes every false appearance, just as understanding light in the sandy desert removes the mirage of water. 24 The intellectual soul is immortal and without decay, perfectly pure and shining by itself. The body is perishable and impure. Therefore the body cannot be related to the spirit. 25 The body is moved by vital breath and is fattened by solid food. Therefore it cannot be related with the self-moving soul which is without increase or decrease.

26 So even if we acknowledge the duality of the body, that does not prove its relation with the soul. The duality of material bodies being disproved, the theory of its relativity falls at once to the ground.

27 Knowing the essence of the soul, you must rely on its subjective being within yourself. Then you will be free from both your bondage and liberation in all places and at all times. 28 Believe all nature to be quiet and full of its quiescent soul. Let this be your firm belief whatever you see inside or outside yourself. 29 The thoughts that “I am happy or miserable” or “wise or ignorant” proceed from our false, comparative view of things. You will always remain miserable as long as you continue to believe in the substance of outward things.

30 As there is a huge difference between a rock and a heap of hay, and between a silk-pod and a stone, the same applies to the comparison of the pure soul with the gross body. 31 As light and darkness bear no relation or comparison between themselves, such also is the case, O Rama, between the body and soul, which are quite different from one another. 32 We never hear of the union of cold and hot, even in story, or of the union of light and darkness in any place. In the same way, there is no union between the soul and body. They are never joined together.

33 All bodies are moved by the air, and the human body moves to and fro by its breath. It makes sound by means of its breath and the machinery of its wind pipes. 34 The human body utters its sounds combined with the letters of the alphabet by means of its internal breathings. Its mechanism is the same as that of a hollow bamboo pipe. 35 The internal air moves the pupils and the eyelids. It is the same air that gives motion to the limbs of the body. But consciousness moves the soul and gives movement to its intellect.

36 The soul is present in all places, whether in heaven above or in the worlds beneath, and its image is seen in the mind as its mirror. 37 You will have some notion of the soul in your mind by thinking that it flies like a bird from the cage of its body and wanders about at random being led by its desires and fancies. 38 As knowledge of a flower is accompanied by its fragrance, so the knowledge of the soul is inseparable from that of the mind. 39 As the all pervading sky is partly seen in a mirror, so the omnipresent soul is partially seen in the mirror of the mind.

40 As water seeks the lowest level in a reservoir, so the soul makes the mind the receptacle of its knowledge. 41 The knowledge of the reality or unreality of the world reflected upon the internal organ of the mind is all the working of the conscious soul, just as light produces solar rays. 42 This internal organ of the mind is regarded as the actual cause of all, the cosmic egg. The soul, which is the prime cause of causes, is regarded as no cause at all owing to its transcendent nature.

43 Men of great minds have given the name of fallacy, misjudgment and ignorance to this internal or causal mind which is the source of the creation of worlds. 44 It is error and lack of full investigation that make us mistake the mind for a distinct entity. It is the seed of all our ignorance which casts us in darkness from the sunlight of reason.

45 Rama, the mind becomes a nothing through true knowledge of the soul, just as darkness becomes nothing before the light of the lamp. 46 Ignorance mistakes the mind for the cause of creation and recognizes it under its various names, whether jiva or the living soul, the internal organ, the mind, the thinking principle or thought.

47 Rama said, “Tell me sage, why are there so many different names heaped upon the only one thing of the mind? Deliver me from the confusion they cause in my mind.”

48 Vasishta answered:—

All these are only various modes of the single substance of the soul whose intellect displays these modalities, just as the same substance of water displays itself in the variety of its waves. 49 The soul is a fluctuating principle which inheres in all its modifications, just as the fluidity of water is inherent in the moving waves of the sea.

50 The Supreme Soul is sometimes without its vibration and remains stationary in all immovable things, just as water which presents its fluidity in moving waves shows its inelasticity in liquids at rest. 51 Hence stones and other immovable substances remain at rest with their inherent spirit, but men and all animated nature are like the foaming froths of the distilled liquor of the Universal Soul.

52 The almighty power resides in all bodies with the inertia of his spirit, known as the unconsciousness, dullness or ignorance of inert bodies. 53 The infinite soul involved in that ignorance takes the name of the living or animal soul that is confined like an elephant in the prison house of the delusion of this world. 54 It is called jiva or living because of its animation, and also ego from its egoism. It is termed understanding from its power of discernment, and the mind from its will or volition. 55 It is called dull nature from its natural dullness, and also body from being embodied with many elementary principles. It is inert in its natural state, and conscious also from the essence of the soul inborn in it. 56 The spiritual substance that lies between the inert and active principles is called the mind. It passes under various names according to its different faculties and functions.

57 This is the essential nature of the animating soul (jiva), as given in the Brihadaranyaka and other Upanishads. There are many other definitions of it to be found in the other works of Vedanta. 58 But over and above these, fools using false logic have invented many other words to designate the animal soul, and thereby they have bewildered and misled the ignorant to false beliefs.

59 Know thus, O long armed Rama, that this animating soul is the cause of creation, and not the dull and dumb body which does not even have the power to move itself without being moved by some spiritual force.

60 Many times it happens that the destruction of either the container or contained causes the destruction of both. So it is with the receptacle of the body and its content the soul. The removal of the one leads to the dissolution of both. 61 The moisture of a leaf when dried is neither wasted nor lost in air, but extracted from it to reside in the rays of the all sucking sun. 62 So the body being wasted, there is no waste of the embodied soul. It is carried to live in banishment from its former abode and to reside in the region of empty air or in the reservoir of the Universal Spirit.

63 He who falls into the error of thinking himself as lost at the loss of his body is like a baby who is snatched away from the breast of its mother by a fairy. 64 He who is thought to have his utter extinction is said to rise again (by the reincarnation of his soul). Cessation of the mind is called utter extinction and liberation of the soul. 65 A dead person is said to be lost, but this is entirely false. Just as one who has been long absent from his country returns, so the dead man revisits the earth in his repeated reincarnations.

66 The current of death carries away men like sticks and straw to the vast ocean of eternity. Having disappeared, they appear in other scenes according to the fruits of their nature, soil and season. 67 Living beings bound to their desires are led from one body to another in endless succession, like monkeys quitting decayed trees to search for others elsewhere. 68 They leave them again when they are worn out and go to others at distant times and climates. 69 Each hour living beings are seen moving about and led away from place to place by their unsatisfied desires, just as restless infants are rocked and carried by their cunning wet-nurses.

70 Bound by the rope of desire to the decayed trees of their infirm bodies, men drag their lives of labor in search of their living in this valley of misery. 71 Even when men have grown old and decrepit and loaded with misery, shattered in their bodies at the last stage of their lives, they are still dragged about by the inborn desires of their hearts to be cast into hell pits.

72 Valmiki said:—

As the sage had said thus far, the sun sank down and bade the day to observe its evening rites. The assembly broke with mutual salutations and all of them proceeded to their evening cleasning rituals until they met again after dispersion of the gloom of night by the rising rays of the eastern sun.