Chapter 46 — Parable of a Carved Rock as the Soul

Rama said, “Venerable sage who knows the substance of all truths, I understand the parable of bael fruit, which you just told me, is related to the essence of compact consciousness, which is the only unit and identical with itself. The whole totality of existence together with the personalities of I, you, this and that form the fullness of consciousness. There is not the slightest difference between them, such as this is one thing and that another.”

Vasishta answered:—

As this cosmic egg, the universe, is similar to a gourd containing mountains and all other things as its inner substance, so does consciousness resemble the bael fruit, the great foundation that contains even the universe as the kernel inside it. But although the world has no other receptacle beside Divine Consciousness, yet it is not literally the kernel inside that crust. 5 Consciousness resembles the hard coating of the pepper seed, containing inside the soft substance of its central core. It is also similar to a block of stone bearing carved figures peacefully sleeping in it.

O moon-faced Rama, hear me relate another pleasant story which will appear equally charming and wonderful to you.

There is a huge block of stone somewhere which is as big as it is thick and solid. It is bright and glossy, and cold and smooth to touch. It never wastes or wears out, or becomes dark and dim. Within the bosom of this wonderful stone there are many full blown lotuses and unnumbered buds of water lilies growing in a clear lake of water.

There are many other plants also growing in that lake, some with their long and broad leaves and others with their alternate and joint thin leaves. 10 There are many flowers with uplifted and downcast heads, and others with their petals hanging before them. Some flowers grown on a single stalk and others grow separate and apart from one another. Some are concealed and others manifest to view. 11 Some have their roots formed of the fibers of the outer layer and others have their outer layers growing upon the roots. Some have their roots on the tops and others at the foot of trees, while there are many without their roots at all.

12 There are a great many conch shells about these, and unnumbered diseases also scattered all about.

13 Rama said, “All this is true. I have seen this large saligrama stone in my travels. I remember it was placed in the shrine of Vishnu in a bed of lotus flowers.”

14 Vasishta replied:—

You say truly that you have seen that great stone and know its inside also. But do you know the unperforated and hollow-less stone of the Divine Mind that contains the universe in its hollow receptacle and is the life of all living beings? 15 The stone of which I have been describing is marvelous and supernatural and contains in its void-less bosom all things as nothing. 16 The stone-like consciousness contains all these massive worlds within its spacious sphere. It is figuratively called a stone from its solidity, cohesive impenetrability and indivisibility, qualities like those of a block of stone.

17 This solid substance of consciousness, in spite of its density without any void, contains all the worlds in itself, just as the infinite space of heaven is filled with subtle and atmospheric air. 18 The mind is occupied with all its various thoughts, just as the world is filled by earth, sky, air and atmosphere, and the mountains and rivers on all sides. There is no hole or hollow that is not occupied by something or another. 19 The solid soul of God resembles this massive stone. It contains all these worlds that are displayed like so many beds of lotuses in their blooming beauty. Yet there is nothing so very pure and unstained as this solid crystalline soul.

20 It is the practice of men to paint blocks of stones with figures of lotuses, conch shells and other images. So it is the tendency of the fanciful mind to picture many fantastic forms on the solid rock of the soul. 21 All things in the world appear exactly like the various figures carved on a stone, seeming to be separate but carved in relief. 22 As a lotus carved in rock is not different from the rock itself, so no part of existence is set apart from the substantiality of Divine Consciousness which represents its subtle ideas in their condensed forms. 23 The forms of creation are as inseparable from the formless intellect of God just as the forms of lotus flowers carved in stone are not separate from the shapeless stone.

24 These endless chains of worlds are all linked together in the boundless intellect of God in the same way as clusters of lotus flowers are carved together in stone, and like seeds are set together inside a long pepper. 25 These revolving worlds do not rise or fall in the sphere of the Infinite Intellect, but they remain as firm as the kernel of a bael fruit and as fixed as the fidelity of a faithful wife. 26 The revolution of worlds and their changing scenes seen taking place in Divine Consciousness do not prove a change within the all-containing Infinite Intellect because its contents of finite things are so changeable in their nature. 27 At last, all these changes and varieties subside in the Divine Intellect, just as waves and water drops sink down in the sea. The only change observable in the Supreme Intellect is its absorption of all finite changes into its infinity.

28 The word that has produced all this causes their changes and their dissolutions in itself. But know that the word “change” is altogether meaningless because it is from Brahman that this divine command and these changes have sprung, and all these and the original divine command are only Brahman. 29 Brahman being both the mainspring as well as the mainstay of all changes in nature, he is neither excluded from or included under any change which occurs in the sphere of his immensity.

30 Know change in one or the other of two senses. Change of the Divine Spirit in the works of creation resembles the change or development of the seed into its stem, fruits and flowers and other parts. The other is change is a display of delusion like the appearance of water in a mirage.

31 As the substance of a seed gradually transforms itself into the various states of its development, so the density of Divine Consciousness condenses itself more and more in its production of solid and compact worlds, and this is the course of the formation of the cosmos by slow degrees. 32 The union of the seed with the process of its development forms the duality that is destroyed by the loss of either of these. Only imagination paints the world as a dull material thing when there is no such grossness in pure Consciousness. 33 Consciousness and dull matter cannot combine, nor can the one be included within the other. Therefore the ideal world resembles marks carved in stone and in no way different in their natures.

34 As the core and foundation of a fruit is nothing other than the fruit itself, so the cosmos forms the gist of solid Consciousness and is no way separable from Consciousness which is like a thick stone containing marks and under-marks layered under one another. 35 So we see the three worlds lying under one another in the womb of the unity of God, just as we see the sleeping and silent marks of lotuses and conch shells carved in the hollow of a stone. 36 There is no rising or setting of the course of the world, but everything is as fixed and immovable in it as an inscription carved in stone.

37 The core and foundation of Divine Consciousness causes the creative power and the act of creation, just as the substance of stone produces and reduces the figures in the stone. 38 As the figures carved in stone have no action or motion of their own, so the agents of the world have no action of their own, nor is this world ever created or destroyed at anytime. 39 Everything stands fixed in the mind of God as if they were firm and immovable rocks. All have their forms and positions in the same manner as they are ordained and situated in the Divine Mind.

40 All things are filled with the essence of God and remain in a state of near sleep in the Divine Mind. The various changes and conditions of things that appear to us in this world are the mere aimless digressions of our false fancy, for everything is as fixed and unchanged in the mind of God as the inert images on a stone. 41 All actions and motions of things are as motionless in mind of God as the carved figures lying asleep in the hollow of a stone. It is the wrong, irrelevant view of things that presents all these varieties and changes to us. Considered in the true and spiritual light, there is no body or any change that presents itself to our sight.