Chapter 73 — Visualizations of the Soul; Its Experience More Manifest in Living Beings; — Knowledge, not Liberation
1 Vasishta continued:—
By reasoning in this manner and by renouncing the knowledge of duality, the yogi comes to know the nature of his soul, just as the gods know the divine nature which is the gem of their meditation.
2 Now hear about this unsurpassed sight which is the soul or in-being of all visible beings. By this attitude, you will have the keen clear vision of the gods and get sight of God.
3 Think of yourself as the light of sun and the endless sky with all its ten sides and the upper and lower regions of space, and that your soul is the soul of gods and demigods and the light of all luminous bodies. 4 Know yourself as darkness, the clouds, the earth and seas, the air and fire and dust of the earth, and that the entire world is combined in you. 5 Know that you are everywhere in all the three worlds together with the soul abiding in them, and that you are nothing other than the unity itself. There is no duality of anybody, only the unity which pervades the whole. 6 Being certain of this truth, you will see innumerable worlds situated in your internal soul. By adopting this attitude, you will escape from being subjected to or overcome by the joys and sorrows of life.
7 Tell me, O lotus-eyed Rama. How can you call one as connected or separate from you when you know that the entire creation including yourself is contained in the all-containing Universal Soul? 8 Tell me, do the wise live outside that Being that they should give way to joy or grief, which are the two phases of the Universal Soul?
9 There are two kinds of individual egos growing out of the knowledge of truth. Both of these are good and pure in their natures and produce spirituality and liberation of men. 10 One ego is the form of a minute particle, transcending all things in its minuteness. The other is the ego of one’s self. The first is that the one ego is all. (“I am the extremely subtle and transcendental self.”) The second is the knowledge that my or your ego is the same one. (“I am all and everything.”)
11 There is a third sort of ego amounting to the non-ego which takes the body for the ego and thus becomes subject to misery and finds no rest in this life or in the next. 12 Now leaving all these three kinds of subjective, objective and non-egos, he who holds fast to the fourth sort of non-ego sees the sole intellect beyond these three. 13 This Essence, being above all and beyond the reach of all existence, is the manifesting soul of the unreal world. 14 Look into your notion of it and you shall find yourself assimilated with it. Then get rid of all your desires and ties of your heart and become full of divine knowledge.
15 The soul is not known by any logical inference or from the light the revelations of the Vedas. It is always best and most fully known to be present with us by our direct experience of it. 16 All the sensations and vibrations that we have in our bodies, and all the thoughts of which we are conscious in our minds, are all attributes of the sovereign Soul which is beyond our vision and visible phenomena. 17 This Lord is no real substance, nor an unreal non-entity. He is not a minutiae or a vast massiveness either. He is not in the midst of these dimensions, nor is he this or that, but is always as he is. 18 It is improper to describe him as such and such, or that he is otherwise than this or that. Know him therefore as the inexpressible and indefinable one.
19 To say that this is the soul and that is not the soul are only verbal differences of something that words cannot express or differentiate. The soul is an attribute of the omnipresent Power. 20 It is present in all places and comprehends the three times of the past, present and future in itself. Yet it is invisible and incomprehensible to us, owing to its extreme rarity and immensity.
21 The soul resides in the infinity of substances. It reflects itself as the living soul in animated bodies, just as sunlight reflects its rays through a glass prism. 22 Owing to the animating power of the soul, we have some experience of the soul. Although the soul pervades all things, it is most manifest in living bodies, as the air which surrounds all bodies everywhere circulates only in the open ethereal space. 23 The intellectual soul is all pervading and everywhere and never stationary in any place. The spirit of the Lord has the same boundaries as the vast range of his creation. 24 But the animating soul of living beings does not breathe in minerals but only in animals, just as the light enlightens the eye only and the dust flies with the winds.
25 When the animating principle resides in the soul, it bursts forth with all its desires, just as people pursue their callings when the sun has risen above the horizon. 26 But just as the sun is unaffected if people should cease their activities when he is shining above their heads, so it is nothing to consciousness whether men be without their desires and actions while it resides in the soul. 27 If the soul exists by the inherence of the Lord (Consciousness) in it, it suffers no loss by the absence of the frail body.
28 The soul is not born nor does it die. It does not receive or desire anything. It is not restrained or liberated, but it is the soul of all at all times. 29 The soul is awakened by its enlightenment, or else the soul is supposed to be what is no soul only for our misery, just as the snake is supposed to be in a rope only for our error and fear. 30 The soul being without its beginning, it is never born. Being unborn, it is never destroyed. It seeks nothing except itself for lack of anything beside. 31 The soul is unbounded by time or space. It is never confined in any place. Being always unconfined, it requires no liberation.
32 Such, O Rama! are the qualities of the souls of all persons. Yet the ignorant deplore its loss from their want of reason. 33 Look thoroughly, O Rama! into the course of all things in the world and do not lament for anything like senseless men. 34 Abandon thoughts of both your imaginary confinement and liberation. Behave like wise men: like a dumb self-moving machine.
35 Liberation is not something confined in this earth or in heaven above or the seven lower regions (Patala), but resides in the hearts of the wise, in their pure souls and enlightened understandings. 36 The minute subtlety of the mind, by extinguishing its gross desires, is said to be its liberation by those who know the truth and look into the workings of their souls. 37 As long as the pure light of consciousness does not shine forth in the sphere of the mind, it longs for liberation as its chief good. Liberation, or freedom from all feelings, is less meritorious than the knowledge of all things. The sage gives preference to knowledge above liberation. 38 After the mind has the fullness of its intellectual powers and consciousness has been fully enlightened, it would not care for all the tenfold blessings of liberation, much less desire its salvation.
39 O Rama, stop thinking about the distinctions of the bondage and liberation of the soul. Believe its essence to be exempted from both. 40 Be free of your thoughts of the duality and remain steadfast in your duty of ruling the earth to its utmost limits of the sea dug by the sons of Sagara.