Chapter 79 — Spiritual Knowledge: All Is Subjective

Rama said, “Sage, you have described the methods of suspending the mind by means of yoga practices. Now I hope you will kindly tell me how it is brought to stand still by means of perfect knowledge.

Vasishta replied:—

Perfect knowledge means a man’s firm belief in the existence of one self manifest or Supreme Soul that is without beginning or end. This is what the wise mean by full or perfect knowledge. Its fullness consists in viewing all visible forms, such as these pots, those pictures, and all these hundreds of types of beings, to be manifest in the fullness of that Spirit and not distinct from it. Imperfect knowledge causes our birth and pain. Perfect knowledge liberates us from these. Our defective sight shows us the snake in the rope. Our complete view of it removes the error.

Only knowledge free from imagination and free from any belief in the objective and complete reliance on conscious subjectivity lead to the liberation of men. Nothing else can do. Knowledge of the purely subjective is identical with that of the Supreme Spirit. This purity intermingled with the impure objective matter is termed ignorance (avidya). Consciousness itself is the thing which it is conscious of. Knowledge is identical with the known. There is no difference between them. The soul knows only itself as there is no other beside itself.

“Seeing the soul alone in its true light in all the three worlds,” is equivalent to the expression “all this world is the soul itself” in the Sruti scriptures. Knowledge of this truth constitutes the perfection of man. The whole being the soul, why talk of an entity or a non-being? What meaning can there be in bondage or liberation? 10 The mind is nothing other than its perceptions which are manifested by God himself. The whole is an infinite vacuum. There is no bondage or liberation of anyone. 11 All this is the immense Brahman extending in the form of this vast immensity. Therefore, you may enlarge your invisible soul by yourself and by means of your knowledge of yourself.

12 By this comprehensive view of Brahman, as all in all, you can find no difference between a piece of wood or a rock and your cloth. Why then are you so fond of making these distinctions? 13 Know the soul as the only indestructible substance. It remains quiescent from first to the last, and know this also to be the nature of your soul. 14 Know that this boundless universe, with all the fixed and moving bodies it contains, is a transcendent void where there is no room for your joy or sorrow whatever.

15 The shapes of death, disease, unity and duality arise constantly in the soul like endless waves in the sea. 16 He who remains in the close embrace of his soul with his inner understanding is never tempted to fall a prey to the trap of worldly enjoyments. 17 He who has a clear head for right judgment is never moved by the force of earthly delights, but remains as unshaken as a rock against the gentle winds of the air. 18 Ignorant, unreasonable and stupid men, guided only by their desires, are preyed upon by continued misery like fish in a dried pond are eaten mercilessly by cranes. 19 Knowing the world to be full of spirit and without the matter of ignorance, close your eyes against its visible phenomena and remain firm with your spiritual essence.

20 Plurality of things is the creation of imagination. They have no existence in reality. It is like the many forms of waves in the sea, which in reality are only its water. Therefore, the man who relies on his firm faith in unity is said to be truly liberated and perfect in his knowledge.