Chapter 59 — Knowledge of the Latent and Inscrutable Soul

Vasishta continued:—

Keep this lesson in mind, O Rama! Know it as the purifier of all sins. Remain in your renunciation of all attachments and resign yourself to God. Know the Supreme Soul in which all things reside, from which everything has issued, and which is everything itself on all sides of us. It is changed through all and is ever the same in itself. It seems to be far away but it is nearest to us. It appears everywhere always situated in everything. It is by that essence that you live and it undoubtedly is what you are.

Know that the thinking principle, consciousness itself, is the highest state, above whatever can be known by the mind. It is knowledge and intelligence by itself, beyond our thoughts and what we can think about. 5 It is the highest consciousness and that supreme joy which surpasses the majesty of majesties and is the most honored of the honored. This thing is the soul and its consciousness. Emptiness is the immensity of the supreme Brahman. It is the supreme good which is joy and tranquility. It is full of knowledge and omniscience, the highest of all states.

The soul abides in the intellect. It has the form of consciousness of all things, feeling and perceiving everything. It exists of itself. It is the soul of the universe, like oil in the sesame seed. It is the central core of the tree of the world, the light and life of all animal beings. It is the thread that connects all beings like pearls in a necklace suspended on the breast of empty air. It is the flavor of all things, like the pungency of pepper. 10 It is the essence of all substance, the truth that is the most excellent of all the truths of truths. It is the goodness of whatever is good and the greatest good in itself.

11 By its omniscience, the soul becomes the all that is present in its knowledge and which we take by our misjudgment for real entities in this world. 12 We are the soul, but we mistake ourselves to be in the world. All these mistaken entities vanish away before the light of reason. 13 The emptiness of Brahman, the space occupied by Divine Spirit, is without beginning or end and cannot be comprehended within the limited space of our souls. Knowing this for certain, the wise are employed in their outward duties.

14 That man is free from ups and downs who always rests in the calm tranquility of his soul, whose mind is never elated or dejected at any event, but always retains the evenness of its course. 15 He whose mind is as vacant as empty air is called a great soul (mahatma). His mind resting in the state of unity remains with the body in a state of sound sleep. 16 An ideal man with a great soul who preserves the evenness of his mind remains as undisturbed under the pressures of his duties as a reflection in a mirror. They are both the same, being only shadows of reality. 17 He who retains the impression in his mind like images in a mirror, in their even and unvaried state, is himself a reflection in Divine Consciousness. 18 So let a man discharge the customary duties of life as they occur to him, with a pure transparent mind, as all the creatures of God perform their various parts like images imprinted in Divine Consciousness.

19 There is no unity or duality in Divine Consciousness. The application of the words “I” and “you” to one or the other really refers to the same, as they have come to be used from the instruction of our elders.

20 Consciousness which of itself is tranquil in itself, acts its wonders in itself. It is the pulsation of consciousness that displays the universe as its development, and this pulsation is the omnipotence of God. 21 If the pulsation of Divine Consciousness stops, the course of the universe ceases. As it is with Supreme Consciousness, so it is with its parts of individual consciousness whose action and inaction spread out and limit the sphere of their thoughts.

22 What is called individual consciousness or its action is a non-entity in nature. The subtle body of Consciousness is a mere emptiness. 23 The world appears as something by our thinking of it as such. It vanishes when we cease to think of it as something objective, disappearing like figures in a picture burnt to ashes. 24 The world appears as one with the deity only to one who sees unity in himself. Only the vibration of the intellect causes the revolution of worlds like the turning of a potter’s wheel. 25 As the measure, shape and form of a gold ornament are not different from the gold, so the action of the intellect is not separate from the world. Intellect forms the world, just as gold becomes the ornament. The world and intellect are the same thing, just as the ornament and its gold. 26 Not knowing that the mind is the pulsation of intellect is what frames a separate world, just as ignorance of the gold makes an ornament appear as something else. 27 The mind is wholly absorbed in intellect, so pure intellect is all that is.

As we come to understand the nature of one’s self or soul, there is an end of worldly enjoyments. 28 Disregard of enjoyments is an education of the highest wisdom, therefore no kind of enjoyment is acceptable to the wise. 29 Know that another indication of wisdom is that no man who has eaten his fill ever has a craving for any bad food (sensual pleasure) that is offered to him. 30 Another sign of wisdom is our natural aversion to craving enjoyments. He knows that the vibrations of his intellect creates the sense of one’s perception of all pleasures. 31 A wise man is one who has this good habit deeply rooted in his mind. An intelligent man refrains from enjoying whatever is enjoyable in this world.

32 Whoever pursues his perfection in order to be admired by others may as well strike the air with a stick or beat the bush searching for perfection because it requires sincerity of purpose to be successful in anything. 33 Sometimes people emaciate and torture the body in order to have a full view of the inner soul.

34 As long as the unconscious spirit flutters in its unsteadiness and goes on wandering from one object to another, the light of understanding do not rise or shine within. 35 But as soon as the light of tranquil consciousness appears in its brightness within the inner soul, the fluttering of the unsteady spirit is put to flight, like the flickering of a lamp after it is extinguished. 36 There is no such thing as vibration or suspension of the tranquil spirit because the quiescent soul neither moves forward nor backward. It has no motion in any direction.

37 The soul that is neither unconscious of itself nor has any vibration in it, is said to be calm and quiet. As the soul remains indifferent to vibrations and gains its forms of pure transparence, it is no more liable to its bondage in life nor seeks to know its liberation to set it free from rebirth. 38 The soul that is settled in Supreme Soul has no fear of bondage or need of its liberation. Consciousness being without its reasoning, or having no object to dwell upon, becomes unconscious both of its existence as well as extinction. 39 He that is full with the spirit of God in himself is equally ignorant of his bondage and his liberation. The desire of being liberated indicates a lack of self-sufficiency and perfection. 40 “Let me have my equanimity and not my liberation.” This desire is also a bondage in itself. Unconsciousness of equanimity and liberation is reckoned as our chief good. The supreme state is pure consciousness without a shadow.

41 The restoration of consciousness to its proper form consists in divesting it of all that it can perceive. Phenomena are only vibrations of the great Consciousness. 42 Only that which is seen and destructible in its nature is subject to bondage and liberation. The invisible soul, which can take the name of ego, is indestructible and has no position or form or figure of itself. 43 We know not what there is to be brought under or loosened from bondage by anyone. It is not the pure desire which the wise form for themselves, and it does not affect the body.

44 Therefore, the wise practice the restraint of their breath in order to restrain their desires and actions. Being devoid of these, they become pure Consciousness. 45 These being suppressed, the idea of the world is lost in the density of Consciousness because the thoughts of the mind are caused only by the vibration of Consciousness. 46 This is the realization of the truth. The world is born of the vibrations of Consciousness. The world vanishes being destroyed by the knowledge of the light of splendid Divine Consciousness. 47 There remains nothing, no action of the body or mind, only the vibration of Consciousness. The phenomenal world is nothing but a protracted dream from one sight to another. The learned are not deluded by these appearances which they know to be exhibitions of their own minds.

48 Know within yourself in your meditation that hidden soul which gives rise to our consciousness of the essences of things appearing constantly before us. All these fantasies of our brain dissolve in that hidden soul like dirt in the water. All our perceptions and conceptions of the passing world are flowing in a perpetual stream within the soul.