1 Vasishta said, “Tell me, my lord who bears the crescent moon on his forehead. How does the pure and simple essence of Consciousness, which is an infinite unity and ever uniform and immutable in its nature, become transmuted to the finite dualities of the variable and impure soul and mind? 2 Tell me, O great god, how this uncaused prime cause becomes diffused in endless varieties. How can we get rid of the plurality of our creeds by our wisdom and put an end to our miseries?”
3 Shiva replied:—
When the omnipotent God remains as one unity of immensity, then of course it is absurd to speak of his duality or plurality, or of any manifestation of a part of himself. 4 Taking the single to be double is to ascribe duality to unity. It is futile to ascribe duality to simple consciousness that by its nature is indivisible. 5 The lack of the number one means there is neither unity or duality. There can be no dual without the singular, or single unless there be the number two. 6 The cause and its effect being of one nature, they are both of the same kind, just as the fruit and the seed contained in it. The difference attributed to cause and effect from the change of one thing to the other is only the mere fiction of imagination.
7 The mind itself evolves in its thoughts at its own will. The changes occurring in itself are in no way different from its own nature, just as the seed and fruit are of the same nature. The same fruit produces the same seeds, and these again bring forth the same fruit. 8 Many modifications constantly arise in the infinite mind of the almighty Maker as its eternal will. These actually take place in positive existences. In this world, substantive forms bear the relation of causes and their effects. 9 These productions are like waves in the sea, or a mirage to the children of a barren woman, or the horns of a rabbit, all which are nothing and not in being. They are all as negative as water on a mountaintop or barley growing on the head of a hare.
10 If we inquire into the real truth, we must refrain from arguing over words. Though all things tend to establish the unity, yet it is difficult even in thought to do away with differences, such as those between words and their meanings.
11 The essence of divine omnipotence is not divisible into portions or fractions, like sea waves that are broken into foam and spray. 12 As the leaves, stalks, branches and flowers of trees are nothing other than the same substance, so unity, duality, I, you, and the objectivity of the phenomenal world are not different from the essence of the subjective Consciousness which contains and puts forth itself in all these forms. 13 All time and place and variety of forms are only modifications of Consciousness, so it is improper for us to question the reality of those and assert the certainty of this Consciousness.
14 Time and space and the powers of action and destiny all derive from and are directed by Consciousness and have their own conscious natures. 15 As the power of thinking, the thought and its object together compose the principle of the mind, so the whole universe and everything that bears a name are all included under the term Consciousness (chit) in the same way as water and its rise and fall are all included under the word “wave”. 16 The thoughts that continually rise and fall in the great ocean of the Intellect are like the waves that heave and settle on the surface of the noisy sea.
17 This Supreme Consciousness is known by the various names of the Lord, God, Truth, Shiva, Intellect and others, as it is by the various names of emptiness, unity and Supreme Spirit. 18 Such is the nature of God, whom no words can express and who is called the Ego or the subjective “I am that I am”. God is beyond the power of speech to describe. 19 All that is seen is only the leaves, fruit, flowers and branches of the all creeping vine of Consciousness which, being diffused in all, leaves nothing that is different from it.
20 Divine Consciousness (chit) being omniscient has the great ignorance underlying it. Then looking at this side of itself, it takes the name of the living soul and beholds this shadowy world stretched outside the Divine Mind, as when we see a second moon in the moon’s reflection cast upon clouds. 21 Then, the intellect thinking itself to be a living being and other than what it is, it becomes of the same nature as it thinks and forms itself by its own will. 22 Being transformed from its perfect and immaculate state to that of an imperfect and impure nature, it is made to wade in the stream of this world without ever thinking.
23 The intellectual form, being then assimilated with the elemental body (puryashtaka, astral or subtle body), receives its vital or mortal life and living soul which lives by reflection of the essence of Supreme Consciousness. 24 The spiritual body is transformed into the frail living body, which being joined with quintessence of the five-fold elements, comes to know itself as material substance. 25 Next this substance is infused with the vital breath and receives its vigor and strength like the seed of a plant. Then it feels itself to be endued with life and is conceived in the uterus in its own conception. 26 The same false conception of its gross materiality misleads consciousness into the belief of its own ego and personality. It also conceives its state as a moving or inert being, and this conception instantly converts it into that same form.
27 Again, the simultaneous meeting of a person’s memories and desires changes its former habitual and meaner form to that of a larger and grosser kind. 28 Duality from one’s essential identity and unity results from thinking oneself to be other than what he really is, just as a man becomes a devil by thinking he is possessed by a ghost. 29 The thought of duality of one identical soul in its two aspects of Supreme Soul and individual souls is driven away by the conviction that I do nothing and the agency of all actions rests in the great God himself. 30 The unity is perceived as duality by the dualistic habits of men. Belief in unity destroys the sense of dualism and plurality. 31 There is no duality or secondary being in the individual soul. The living soul may be regarded as the Supreme Soul because there is only one soul, unchangeable without decay at all times and everywhere.
32 All works of imagination disperse with the dispersion of the fumes of fancy, just as one’s aerial castle and fairy city vanish after the frenzied flight of the imaginary dream. 33 It is painful to erect a fabric of imagination, but there is no pain whatever in breaking it down. The mental machinery of imagination is well skilled in building the aerial cities, but not in demolishing them. 34 If the fullness of one’s desires and fancies fill life with pains and troubles, the lack of such wishes and views must serve to set him free from these pains forever. 35 If even a slight desire is enough to expose a man to many cares in life, then its utter privation must afford him complete rest and quiet in his transient state of being.
36 When your mind is loosened from your many serpentine desires, then you will enjoy the sweets of the garden of paradise. 37 Drive away and disperse the clouds of your desire by the breeze of your reason. Come and enjoy your rest under the calm and clear autumn sky of your detachment. 38 Dry the impetuous currents of your rapid desires by the charms of amulets and mantras, then restrain yourself from being carried away by the flood and restrict your mind to its dead inaction. 39 Place your trust in the conscious soul (chit atma) seated in the cavity of your heart, and look upon mankind driven to and fro by the gusts of their desire to be like bits of straw flying randomly in turbulent air. 40 Wash the dirt of your desires out from your mind by the pure water of your spiritual knowledge. Secure the perfect tranquility of your soul and continue to enjoy the highest bliss of a holy life.
41 God is all powerful and omnipresent and displays himself in all forms everywhere. 42 It is thought or imagination that makes the false world appear as true. To make the world vanish into nothing also depends upon thought. 43 The network of our thoughts and desires is interwoven with the threads of our repeated births. The winds of our detachment and indifference blow off this web and settle us in the state of supreme joy.
44 Greed is a thorny plant that has taken deep root in the human heart. It is fostered under the shade of the tree of desire. Root out this tree of desire and the thorny bush of greed will fade away of itself.
45 The world is a shadow, a reflection that rises to view and disappears by turns. An error of the brain presents the sight of the course of nature, like that of a fairyland presented to us in a dream. 46 The king who forgets his nature as the Almighty mistakes himself for a prince who has become the ruler of a land. This concept springs from ignorance of his divine nature. It soon vanishes after he comes to the real knowledge of himself. 47 The king in possession of his present royalty has no memory of his past states, as in the serenity of the autumn we do not remember the foulness of past rainy weather. 48 The thought that is predominant in the mind naturally prevails over fainter and weaker thoughts, just as the highest pitch in music overcomes the bass tones and takes possession of the ear.
49 Think in yourself that you are One. Keep this single reflection before you and holding fast to it, you will become the object of your meditation.
50 Such is the spiritual meditation of spiritually minded people like you who aspire to the highest joy of the Supreme Being. The external forms of worship are fit only for ungoverned minds who seek only their temporal welfare. Worship composed of the worshipper, the forms of the ritual, and the offerings are of ignorant minds and are too insignificant to the wise.