1 Rama said, “Tell me sage. What became of the many forms that the mendicant saw in his dream? Did the different forms of Jivata, the brahmin, the swan and others return to themselves, or did they forever remain as Rudras?”
2 Vasishta replied:—
They all remained with Rudra as parts and compositions of himself. Being enlightened by him, they wandered all about the world and rested content with themselves. 3 With Rudra, they all saw the magic scenes displayed before them until at last they were dismissed from his company to return to their own states and places.
4 Rudra said, “Go you now to your own places, and there enjoy your fill with your family. Return to me after some time having completed the course of your enjoyments and sufferings in the world. 5 Then you will become parts of me and remain as my attendants to grace my residence until at last we all return to the supreme at the end of time and be absorbed in the last ultimate state of all.”
6 Vasishta said:—
So saying, Lord Rudra vanished from their sight and mixed with the Rudras who viewed all worlds in their enlightened intellects. 7 Jivata and the others returned to their respective homes where they had to share in their domestic joys in the company of their families for their allotted times. 8 Then, having wasted and shuffled off their mortal coils at the end of their limited periods, they will be promoted to the rank of Rudras in heaven and they will appear as shining stars in the firmament.
9 Rama replied, “All those forms of Jivata and others are only creations of the empty imagination of the mendicant. I cannot understand how they could be beings as there is no substance in imaginary things.”
10 Vasishta replied:—
The truth of imagination lies partly in our consciousness and partly in our representation of the image. An image giving a false shape to anything is as untrue as any nothingness in nature. But what we are conscious of must be true, because our consciousness comprehends everything in it. 11 Thus, all that is seen in dream and shown to us by imagination is impressed in our consciousness at all times and forever.
12 A man traveling from one country to another, and again to some other place, has no knowledge of the distance of his journey unless he is conscious of its length and duration in space and time. So without our consciousness of it in our sleeping state, we are ignorant of the duration of our dream and our passing from one dream to another. 13 Therefore our consciousness contains all things that are represented to it by the intellect. It is from our reasoning that we have knowledge of everything, because the intellect is full of knowledge and pervades everywhere. 14 Imagination, desire and dream are one and same thing. One produces the other and all are lodged in the intellect. Their objects are obtained by our intense application to them. Desire produces imagination which is the cause of dream. They are phenomena of mind and their objects are the results of deep meditation.
15 Nothing is to be had without its practice and meditation of it. Men of enlightened minds gain the objects only through their yoga and meditation of them. 16 These adepts view the objects of their pursuit in all places, such as the god Shiva and other master yogis.
Such was my aim and attempt also, but it was not attended with success. 17 I was unsuccessful because of my lack of fixed resolve, failing in both because attending to both sides. [Vasishta may be referring to something Shivabalayogi often related, that even Vasishta, who sat in tapas for many centuries, was unsuccessful so long as he thought his individual ego was God (aham brahmasya). TLP.] Only the firm resolution in one point gives a person success in any undertaking. 18 One going in a southerly direction cannot arrive at his house in the north. Such is the case with pursuers and what they pursue, which they well know to be unattainable without their firm determination on it. 19 Whoever resolves to gain his desired object must fix his view on that object. The mind fixed on the object brings it into effect.
20 So the mendicant having Rudra as the sole object in his view became assimilated into the very form of his wish. Because whoever is intent on one object must remove all duality from himself. 21 The other imaginary forms of the mendicant were all different persons in their different spheres. They had obtained their different forms according to their respective desires from one state to another. 22 They did not know or look on one another, but they all had their thoughts fixed on Rudra alone. Because those who are awakened to their spiritual knowledge have their sight fixed on their final liberation, while unenlightened mortals are subjected to repeated births because of their repeated wishes.
23 It was according to the will of Rudra that he took this one form and many others upon himself, such as he wills to become a vidyadhara demigod in one place and a pundit scholar in another.
24 This story of Rudra serves as an example of the efficacy of intense thought and practice. All men may become one or another or many more, whether learned or ignorant, according to their thoughts and conduct. 25 One may have his manhood and his godhead by courageous and godlike actions at different times and places. Being both at the same time requires much greater ability and energy of the mind and the body.
26 The living soul, being one with the Divine, has all the powers of the Divine implanted in it. The Infinite being grafted in the finite, they are of the same innate nature. 27 The living soul expands and contracts in its life and death, just as the Divine Soul has its evolution and involution in its acts of creation and dissolution. But the Divine Soul destroys no soul because it is the soul of souls and the collection of all souls. Therefore anyone who would be godly must refrain from slaughter.
28 Yogis and yoginis continue to discharge their sacred rites, as enjoined by law and usage, and either remain in this world or freely wander about in others at large. 29 A yogi may be seen in different forms at once, both in this world and in the next, according to the merit of his actions, just as the great yogi and warrior King Kartavirya Arjuna became the terror of the world as if he were everywhere while he remained quite at home. 30 So also does the god Vishnu appear in human forms on earth while he sleeps at ease in the Milky Ocean. The yoginis of heaven hover over animal sacrifices on earth while they reside in their groups in the ethereal sphere. 31 Indra also appears on earth to receive the offerings of men while he is sitting in his heavenly seat on high, and Narayana takes the forms of a thousand Ramas upon him in his conflict with multitudes of rakshasa demon legions. 32 So did one Krishna become a hundred to receive the obeisance of his reverential princes. He appears as a thousand in the company of many thousands of monarchs in the Kuru assembly. 33 God becomes incarnate in many forms, with parts and particles of his own spirit for the preservation of the world. The one Lord became many in a moment in the company of his mistresses.
34 In this manner did the forms of Jivata and others, which were the creatures of the mendicant’s imagination, retire at the command of Rudra to their own particular homes and respective desires. 35 There they enjoyed all their delights for a long time until they entered the home of Rudra where they became the demigod’s attendants and remained in his retinue for a great length of time. 36 They remained in the company of Rudra, dwelling in the Nandana gardens of evergreen and ever blossoming kalpa vines of paradise, blooming with clusters of shining small flowers, wandering at pleasure to different worlds and to the celestial city of Shiva on Mount Kailash, playing in the company of heavenly nymphs and bearing the crowns of immortality on their heads.